Wednesday, January 17, 2018

milk money – how we’ve cut corners since baby #2

am i the only one who still remembers having to bring a quarter for an extra milk?!

funny thing is, i don’t even drink milk anymore.  guess i got my fill in elementary.

when we found out we were expecting our second bundle there were certainly moments of sheer joy and others of ‘oh, sh*t’.  we were in the middle of our home build, i was looking at another position and our oldest hadn’t even turned one.  then we started to consider the financials.  yuck!  sure, babies don’t have to be expensive but if you haven’t made the choice {nor desire} to stay home those daycare costs can really add up!

i consider myself frugal, not cheap – there’s a difference – so here are the top areas  we’ve either chose to scale back or be a little more penny-wise without sacrificing quality or quality of life.

Let’s start with the three biggest baby costs:

childcare –  our center offers a discount for multiple kiddos – you better believe we took advantage of that.  it kind of cracks me up!  just like retail, only it’s more like: have more, save more.   we are also utilizing our ‘vacation time’ days to reduce costs on days we are home with the kids anyway (dr. appts., birthdays etc.) – this saves us up to $70 a month + we max our flex spending account each year!  huge pre-tax savings!!  we don’t have much family in the area so if we want to go out we either trade childcare with our close friends who have kiddos the same age or ask our parents for planned nights before hiring a sitter.  in short: we don’t go on many solo dates.

diapers – i’ve tried just about everything and sampled several brands because they were free and because carson has sensitive skin.  i’ve settled on the target up&up brand.  they work really well for my little guys and save us roughly $10-20 a month + we often buy in bulk and get target gift cards on bundled purchases.  whoop!

formula – breastfeeding both my boys (even though i’ve exclusively pumped most of the time) has been a huge cost saver!  it’s a labor of love in my opinion and i, for one, have a love-hate relationship with it.  i will only need to supplement with tatum for a few months before moving to milk so I’ve asked the ped clinic for formula samples of the same brand i used on carson and have LOADS of formula in our pantry.  with any luck we shouldn’t need to buy any more.

then there are the other things:

food – did you know sam’s club offers discount memberships for expecting moms?!  me either.  until we signed up.  we’ve actually saved quite a bit by shopping there on a monthly basis.  we’re selective and i crowd-sourced the best deals before going crazy.   i’m also religious with meal-planning and only buy what we need.  it’s worked great since having carson!  we don’t dine out much and even when we do we prefer sport’s bars or sub shops.

clothes – where do i start?!  i’ve identified a few ways i prefer to save for each of us but there are lots more.  i definitely love dressing our family in current trends but also recognize i spend in this category more than most.  it’s a personal choice.  i’m also more inclined to spend more for something if it’s great quality, timeless and versatile.  so what do i do to save:

for me// bottomline: i spend less – aka #momguilt aka #lackoftime.  i’ve cut back my personal clothing spend by lots.  i’ve instead focused on buying more/earning more ;o) accessories and plain pieces that work well for both work and my momiform.  i layer jackets for work and spend little on items i’ll wear once.  (you guys!  i just scored a formal for an upcoming event for $38!!!  ah-may-zing buy!) i also co-sign.  this year alone i’ve co-signed and earned $300 from things i’ll never wear or carry again now that i’m a mom.  the move into our house was motivation to clean out my closet.  i used that money to invest in things i needed for my new job like a raincoat, blazer and flat booties.

for the boys// i either buy second-hand, with gift cards, or from small shops.  i rarely buy them anything brand new unless it’s for a special occasion and even then it may be second-hand.  i co-sign here too and use my credit to buy things as the need arises – like spare snow pants for daycare or more sleepers for tatum because he’s growing.so.fast.

for cody// he couldn’t care any less.  he just wants to be dressed appropriately.  i buy him things for special occasions or as needed.  every now and then i drag him to the store to shop – with a coupon.  it’s a delight, lemme tell ya.

target – after several asks at the cash register i finally signed up for the dang card.  it’s linked to my checking account and it saves me 5% each trip, even at the starbucks!  i also get bundles of coupons each quarter that i actually use…..and since we all know my affinity for target it’s also a no-brainer.  i also limit the number of trips i make.  if i don’t go i’m not tempted – and i’m tempted by nearly everything they carry.  lately i’ve only gone twice a month…and still feel like i need an intervention.  haha!

collaborations – not many of you have this as an option but if you do – work it!  the blog has allowed me to collaborate on so many products in exchange for reviews that i would’ve had to buy otherwise.  even when companies reach out i only collaborate on items i actually want or would use frequently.

experiences – living rich in experiences vs. things has been a mind shift.  we are putting money away for a big vacation (hopefully next year) while also planning for a few smaller family and mommy/daddy only getaways in 2018.  we stay home a lot more now and rarely go out so that frees up more to spend on the mini getaways that we have planned so that we enjoy them fully.

here’s me being incredibly open about our financials…..gulp:

cody and i look at our budget frequently.  i’ve become uniquely (and annoyingly) aware of my spending habits and trends.  we can pay all of the necessary expenses on just 1 income (it would be super-duper tight if we had to, but we could).  we live within our means yet are still able to give a little something to our church.  we put plenty into retirement, have fantastic health insurance, cars that (while they aren’t flashy) are well maintained and a new home.  we are very fortunate but have also worked very hard.  we don’t get lavish gifts and we aren’t getting any assistance.  budgeting stinks but we’re committed to it.  i’m not going to lie and say it’s easy.  i want SO.MANY.THINGS. (especially for the house) it’s dumb.  being a mom has been the best budget incentive.

how are you cutting corners??  i would love to know!

milk bath photography//ls photography

 

Comments

  1. where do you do the co-signing with your clothes? love this topic! i buy the sam’s club brand of formula and it’s insane how much we save with that! Twice as much for half the cost of name brand. we have awesome friends who threw derek a diaper party before our peanut arrived and we have only had to buy 1 or 2 boxes of diapers so far, she’s 6 months) and it was only because didn’t have enough of newborn size when she was in them. her closet is still loaded with size 2, 3, and even some 4s. i’m sure we will have to start buying some before too long but this has been a huge saver!

    • stephanie.r.sobotka@gmail.com says:

      i co-sign with a local shop called ‘duck worth wearing’ for the boys and at worn for myself. cody also had a diaper shower when carson was born – it definitely got us through several months!!

  2. I still need to sign up for the Target card – as much as I go, why haven’t i?? I do love these tips as we are working hard to save money this year. Breastfeeding did save us greatly – another added perk! we also just joined Costco to buy in bulk – hoping it helps with our grocery budget!

  3. OMG, these pictures are absolutely darling!! So many great tips for expecting moms. I definitely need to remember this post and send it to some of my girlfriends who are expecting, they will be so excited!

  4. Clearnace!! I shop off season racks! Just bought rylie a cute Xmas shirt in size 3T for next year for .25😱.

  5. I totally need to stop slacking on the target red card! Injust often use different payment methods so I dont know if it’ll really work for me, but your tips are awesome and my family is also FRUGal!

  6. DO you have a program you use for budgeting? I need to be more aware of my spending habits but it pains me to think of having to track every penny I spend on a spread sheet!

  7. I shop at yard sales and resale shops. I’ve found practically new clothes and toys for my toddler for a fraction of the retail sale prices. We also bought a small freezer. We buy on sale, repackage and freeze.

  8. I had no idea about sams club! Thats way awesome though.

  9. Babies are so expensive and it’s so hard to juggle finances especially with two! Great tips 💕

  10. Jessica Bradshaw says:

    These photos are precious! Such great tips for new moms- well, all moms actually. I agree about the clothes thing. They grow out of them so fast!

  11. Definitely BookmArking this post! Always looking for ways to save a buck!

  12. Omg this article is very helpful. Thank you. I’m a first time mom so there are a lot of things that i didn’t have in mind. Thank you!

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