My sister, Krista, is married and just had her 3rd baby. She makes me look like a spend-thrift, the way she shops 2nd hand stores, makes her own-everything, and saves $$$. She's stretched dollars while her hubby has been in medical school, and now residency.
In the past, she structured her meals around what she could buy at ALDI. If she couldn't get the ingredient there, she didn't make it. (simple, eh?!)
I also love the story of George and Krista "enlightening" their friends about the bargins they get at ALDI...only paying .99 for a jar of spaghetti sauce. The guy (who also had just cooked them a gourmet dinner) was amazed and said that he pays "like 8 bucks for spaghetti sauce at Whole Foods." (and maybe he was exaggerating, but it makes for a funny story) He said he'd have to check it out. ;)
Here's a few tips from my sister, on baby items:
Baby Wipes Idea #1:
"I have made wipes...super easy out of flannel (double the flannel and zig-zag around the edge)or you could just use baby washcloths. I have a small bottle of water that I use to wet them before I use them. They work better than regular wipes and you're less likely to get anything on your hands :) Someone we know has also made their own wipes out of paper towels soaked in some solution."
[Note: I've tried the recipe for homemade baby wipes, and even used *Bounty* paper towels...I didn't care for how they turned out (too thin), I made a mess, and felt that it was easier just to buy them. Do what works for you. I'd definitely try the homemade ones, though, if I sewed. I prefer to use my hot glue gun, or send it over to Grandma Bobbie, if it really needs sewing. LOL!]
Baby Wipes Idea #2: For infants: cut them in half! Their bums are so tiny to begin with. A whole wipe is too much! (saves double!!)
1. Buy generic...although I usually "splurge" for a few weeks and buy the "Pampers Newborn Snugglers"--they're just SO cozy ;)
2. Go cloth: it's the "in" thing to do now, and they're much nicer than they were 30 years ago! My sister found the cheapest place to order online:
I considered it for about 1.5 minutes w/ my 4th baby, and decided, "Nah, I have other things to worry about than washing diapers and my laundry is already mountainous" :) I definitely would've done it w/ my 1st, if I knew more about it back then. I have lots of friends that use them and love them.
1. Breastfeed-as long as possible! I made it 1 year with my last 2 babies. It's the healthiest and the cheapest: Organic for free!!
2. Make your own baby food. It's really not that hard. Thankfully, I had a cheap-o mini food processor. I just pureed a little of our supper veggies. Either refrigerate for a few days, or freeze in ice cube containers. My kids ate a lot of sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, and avocados. They loved it! (and do your own research, but from what I've read, it's better to wait to feed grains till at least 1 year, maybe 2...veggies, meat, & some fruits are best)
Special "Baby" Detergent for clothes:
~I just used my regular homemade laundry soap instead of Dreft. None of my babies had issues...but some do. You can make the laundry soap with a different bar soap than Fels Naptha. Try Ivory, or even Castille bar soap.
The best baby/baby gear advice I got, were actually from several piano students' moms. (seasoned, wise ones :)
*You don't need ALL the stuff that's advertized. Stick with the minimums. (I'm kinda bent this way, anyway) For example: if your house is small, you don't need a baby monitor. ("Ah! Never thought of that!")
*Another mom said, "Our first baby was born in the summer, had a few onesies and slept in a medium sized tupperware tub" (kinda shocked me, but, hey, we don't really need all the stuff we think we do, right?!
*Another one said, "If the baby comes before the nursery is done, don't sweat it. They're never going to know or care, if the room gets painted before or after." (thank you, fellow-type-A-mom!)
She also suggested keeping the nursery a neutral color, or at least one that could be paired with either blue or pink, that way decorating is not a complete overhaul, when another baby comes along, and it's not the same gender.
On another note: Healthy eating vs. "Cheap eating"
(as explained by my sister on a recent Facebook message, Leah)
"I love your blog post! I didn't want to write it on the comment, but I get so frustrated when people talk about or write on Facebook how expensive it is to eat healthy. If we ever need to, (like we want some new electronic item, haha, and want to save all extra money), Nathan and I can eat for a week on $30-50. Bulk rice and beans, meat from the freezer, spaghetti, PB&J, left-overs for lunch, oatmeal for breakfast, tuna, a big bag of carrots and a big broccoli or whatever other vegetable. Anyway, that's my soapbox! Hot dogs and mac & cheese are not cheaper!"