Friday, September 2, 2011

Baby Boom in a failing economy?

It really seems just about every woman I know is pregnant lately!  If I had a dollar for every time I've heard the term "there's something in the water" I'd be a rich woman by now! This got me thinking about how many of the people I know are also struggling financially. The U.S. is in one of its toughest economical times, yet, I see families growing. This left me wondering why families would be expanding at such hard times. Allow me to share some of my thoughts with you.

During these tough times, many families have a mom or a dad staying at home because they are out of work. I am seeing a turn toward more one income families where we haven't seen this in a while. I am starting to think that this may actually be a positive thing!  Could it be that as we have a parent back at home and less work that we are realizing the value of family? With a loss of one income, there often will be downsizing to allow for the loss in finances. Maybe a family moves into a smaller home, or in with family. Maybe the family goes down to one car when they previously had two or more. The families are forced to downsize. Maybe even begin to live with in their means.  This is where the baby making starts. I think some families are realizing that they dont NEED to have all that "stuff" to have a happy family. They can be happy with a small home, a modest car (or maybe no car and they take the bus!) and be surrounded by those they love. During tough times, we look for something to inspire us and look forward to. A new baby to many symbolizes hope and a future.

Now, if you fall in this category of expanding your family while the budget is tight, you know that babies are not free. But they dont HAVE to cost you insane amounts. There are ways to be frugal. Here are 3 tips to save you money.

1) Breastfeed.
 Not every mother will be able to breastfeed, but most mothers do have this capability and it is not only very healthy for your baby, but it will save you BIG bucks! Formula is expensive.You can easily spend $100 a month just on formula. Breastmilk is FREE.One of my favorite sites to find lactation information is . There are tons of great answers and help for you to successfully start and continue breastfeeding.

2)Cloth Diaper.
Another big money saver. You may be thinking pins and prefolds and rubber pants, and while you could choose that route, modern day cloth diapering is easy and cute! Once you have a good amount of cloth diapers, you dont have to buy any more disposables! I like the tip that disposable moms give to buy a pack of diapers each week you go to the grocery store while you are pregnant. But instead, buy a cloth diaper each week. If you start at the beginning you could end up with 40 cloth diapers by the time the baby comes! Many cloth diapers cost less then a pack of disposables.  If you wait till baby is born and want to switch from sposies to cloth, with out having any extra money, you can buy one cloth diaper for the month. Use it in rotation with your sposies and by the end of the month you will have saved enough to buy another one the next month. The next month you will have saved enough from the two cloth diapers to buy two more the next month. And now you have four in just three months.  It is a cloth diaper snow ball plan lol! (if you are a fan of Dave Ramsey you will know what I'm talking about here ).
Many cloth diapers companies have an economy line of cloth diapers that you can get for cheap to help you get started.

3)Make your own baby food.
This sounds time consuming, but it really is not. You can go about this a couple different ways. You can go all out and buy fresh fruits and veggies, which actually is cheaper and healthier! You can also buy frozen, which is still cheap and easy.  Once you've decided on fresh or frozen, now you cook it. Either boil or steam, which ever you prefer. Once they are soft and ready to eat, you will place the food in a blender or a small food processor. I found one at wal-mart for just $13.99. If that is too much for you to spend, then go to a thrift store. They have food processors there all the time for $2-$5. Once you have your food pureed, you can either serve fresh or you can freeze. A tip for freezing is to pour the baby food into ice cube trays. Each cube is approximately an ounce. After the food freezes, you can put all the cubes in a ziplock back and store in the freezer for easy and quick servings later. At serving time, simply take a few cubes out and boil in a baggy to de-thaw.

I hope you found these tips helpful and you find your hands and your heart full.
Feel free to leave any frugal tips for raising a baby in comments for others to see ;)

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