8 Ways to NOT spend money on your baby
Hattie Garlick, a British mom and blogger, has surprised many with her "minimalist mom" approach to parenting. Right before Christmas of 2012, she lost her job. She and her husband Tom, a carpenter and musician, decided to stop spending money on any kid-related items for 2013 (barring any necessities like medical care). At the time they had a toddler, Johnny, but a coulple of month's later they found out that Hattie was pregnant. Instead of giving up on their kid-related spending freeze, they decided to keep at it. Guess what? It went so well, that they are going to keep doing it through 2014, with a few monthly exceptions.
We are so bombarded with the notion that we have to get our kids all kinds of gear that this no spending approach may seem impossible, but it's not. Some parents don't call it minimalism, they call it necessity. I can attest to that and I can also give you tips on how not to spend money on your baby or toddler.
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I had two children in the span of three years. Those three years happened to be some of the most financially trying times for my husband and I. Because we had very little to spend on our children, we did spend very little on them. It wasn't a conscious decision, we had no other option. The truth is our kids were still overwhelmed with abundance.
Here are eight ways you can spend no money on your baby or toddler:
1. If you are able to, breastfeed. I wasn't able to breastfeed entirely with my first, but with my second, my milk supply was plentiful. We saved buckets of money because we bought no formula.
2. Go to the library and check out tons of books from their children's section. The added bonus is that your kids will fall in love with the library. They also offer free reading hours for the kids and tons of no-cost events.
3. Let your kids use everyday household items as toys. Trust me, they don't need bells and whistles, they are thrilled with things like cardboard boxes, wooden spoons, and pots.
4. Embrace hand-me-downs. When people find out you are pregnant, they will go out of their way to give you stuff. Accept their generosity, especially when it comes in the form of gently-used children's clothes. We were given so many clothes for our kids that we didn't have to start buying our eldest anything until she was 4-years-old.
5. Let grandparents be grandparents. If your children are lucky enough to have living grandparents who insist on gifting them with commercial goods, let them. Do like we did and stash some of those goodies to dole out throughout the year.
6. Use the internet. You can get tons of baby items for free from Craigslist, Freecycle, or online parenting groups. Need a stroller? There is a parent out there willing to give you the one their child has outgrown, I promise.
7. Go to the park. It's free and it provides your child with entertainment, stimulation, and interaction with other children. You may feel like you need to enroll your child in one of those fancy classes that cost mucho dinero, but really all they are doing is playing and you can get that for free.
8. Take advantage of free days. Children museums have free days, find out when they are and go early.
These are basic, simple ways to save money when it comes to your kids. It's really not that hard to keep it simple, especially when you have no other choice.
Image via Corbis