Good news – I got my check from jury duty yesterday. As compensation for my service I have received a check for $92. While certainly less than what I usually make, it’s nice to get some money. I’ll be adding that money to our debt snowball as soon as the check clears. Having the payment automated and scheduled takes the pressure off of me.
I also want to remind you that you should check your email and twitter account today as I’ll be trying to contact the winner of the TurboTax giveaway. I hope the winner is you!
Favorite Personal Finance Posts This Week
Here are some personal finance posts I enjoyed this week. To get all of my Twitter updates as they happen, please follow me here.
“Pawn shops are ridiculous” via @mrmoneymustache – While I haven’t heard any great things about them, I didn’t realize how bad pawn shops can be. Read MMM’s story and see how the owner lost out on a potential sale and a woman lost a chance to earn some money.
One of popular series here on Couple Money is the Baby Expenses series. I started it when we first found out that we were expecting a little as a way to track our spending and to get other parents’ expenses with their little ones. As we shared the changes in our finances, we had many parents share their stories and tips on how to keep the bills in check.
I decided to do an update since our baby girl moved from a being a baby to transitioning into a toddler. While some expenses have been fairly consistent, we have learned a bit more about how to optimize our expenses.
Diapers and Wipes
After our little one turned 1, we decided to try mixing up disposable diapers with clothe. I ordered a pack from Fuzzibunz to get us started (about $60). I wish I could say we made the switch to completely clothe, but that didn’t happen.
I’ve used clothe around the house with her and she hasn’t really noticed a difference. However, cleaning the clothe diaper is holding me back from using it full time. I waffle back and forth between clothe and diaper, hoping to get more comfortable with the clothe. When we go out, though, it’s just convenient to use the disposable ones. We’ll still keep using clothe (at least until she’s potty trained).
That debate aside, the cost of diapers have been fairly insignificant in regards to our budget. We use Amazon to subscribe and save on our disposables. We order about a box every 2 months for about $38 which is very affordable. As for wipes, we found that Costco’s own Kirkland brand wipes to be a great deal. For about $20/box we have a couple of months of wipes covered.
Sharing Foods with Our Little Ones
One of my favorite parts of being a parent is sharing new things with our daughter. Since she started eating solids we have tried to keep her menu similar to what we eat as a way to share meals together. She loves a little bit of spice with her meals. While she has preferences for certain foods, she will at least try something.
As far as finances go, we’ve only seen a bit of a bump in our food budget – when she is watched by others I have a lunch ready for her. The good news is that having a little one has pushed us to eat healthier a bit more. Using The Produce Box has helped us to have more fresh foods in our diet and reduce our stops by the stores to pick up snacks (usually the junk food kind).
Looking Cute While Saving on Clothes
Like many parents, we love to dress our little one up in cute outfits. I’ve been guilty of grabbing some clothes from the store that I thought would look so adorable with our girl.
One option that has worked well for us is picking up gently used clothes over to a consignment store. The wonderful thing about baby and toddler clothes is that they are hardly used as many little ones outgrow them in such a short period of time.
I’ve had outfits where it was a bit big one week and the next time she wears it, she’s already outgrown it. Most of her clothes are practically new. Using the consignment stores lets us get several outfits and some shoes for the price of a couple at the store.
We also are extremely grateful to our friends who have shared their kids’ outgrown clothes. It’s perfect since we have plenty of play and dressy clothes. Not having to buy all of her clothes allows us to grab the little extra something when we’re at the store and still stay within budget. It also allows us to use the money saved for other items that she needs now and for the future.
Who’s Watching The Kid?
Childcare can be a huge expense for parents. For us, though, we have bypassed this bill for now. One of the decisions we made during the pregnancy was that I was going to try to watch our baby girl while being self-employed.
Part of it was due to my desire to spend time with our baby girl during the day. Having decided to try to keep our necessary living expenses until one income meant that we had the flexibility to try it. So far it has worked out – adjustments have been made as we tried to find a schedule that balances my work and my childcare responsibilities.
Thoughts on Raising a Toddler
I’d really love to hear from other parents about the joys and the challenges of raising their little ones. If you can, please share the numbers. I’m the main care provider for our baby girl, so I’d appreciate parents who use daycare, nannies, and other options to share their expenses.