Frugal Family

What Have We Really Spent?

There has been an article floating around the web about a family that have chosen to not spend a penny on their children- ‘minimalist mom vows to spend NOTHING on toddler and new baby’. After reading the post it got me thinking. What have we really spent on our babies? ‘A lot less than most’ I believe the answer to be.

I like using cloth on my girls’ bums. I am a huge fan of reusable nappies and have spent hardly anything on my nappy products. I was very lucky to get some nearly new nappies from a carboot after Olive was born. I paid £8! This bundle of nappies lasted from birth and 9 months later, I am still using them now. You can read more about my great nappy buy here. I was very lucky to also get lots of free (yup totally free!) nappies from Freecycle and also from a friend who was de-stashing. The amount of nappies I got will last any baby in our family from birth to potty. I am so incredibly happy that covering Olives bum has only cost such a small amount, obviously there is money spent on running the washing machine though. I do wash all my nappies in a cool wash and weather permitting I use the washing line to dry the nappies and not the tumble drier. How many £’s would we have spent if we only put her in disposable? We do use disposable nappies when going out for a long day, but only buy the value nappies costing around £1.30 per pack and a pack would last us ages as they are rarely used. I know I could save more if I used cloth 100%, and I am going to try and use them even more. Now I have started potty training Willow (who also normally wears cloth) I am using even less nappies as when we are home she is just naked!

cloth reusable washable nappies camo

I also use cloth on my babies bums in another way. Reusable baby wipes! In effect these are just flannels. I have some bought wipes (Cheeky Wipes) that have a handy wet box to store them in, but I have also made my own from old towels and old fleece, and even got some from Freecycle in a bundle of nappies. If a pack of baby wipes cost around £1 to buy, and you use about 2 packs a week (this is just a guess) the price of wipes soon adds up. We have only picked up a few packs of wipes in 2 years, just to keep in the car etc. Once again the estimated £5 we have spent on wipes.
I breastfed both my babies. I only breastfed Willow for 4 months but I am still feeding Olive. Formula costs a fortune! I think it’s around £8 a tub that only lasts around a week. That’s a lot of money for a tiny mouth, and we wouldn’t be entitled for any milk tokens. I understand that not everyone can breastfeed for so many different reasons, but for my family it worked well, and has saved us quite a few pence.
We have spent nothing on prams (or what I have spent I made back). Yup something that families can spend hundreds on (several times) has cost us zilch. The only 2 prams we ever paid for have since been sold on for the price we paid for them. So how did I get free prams? Luck. When Willow was newborn she won a beautiful baby comp (no surprise right?!), the prize was a Love To Shop voucher, that we spent some of it in Mothercare on a stroller. Then came an amazing opportunity to work alongside a huge parenting magazine reviewing pushchairs. Then finally we dug my Mother In Law’s old Silver Cross out from the loft. The wheels needed replacing that cost £50 but MIL paid for that… Something to do with still owning the whole pram… Hahahaha!

Vintage Silver Cross Pram, Forest Green

I have some amazing friends that have passed onto us clothes and toys. We have not had to spend much on the girls’ wardrobes. Infact, nothing at all on Olives. Friends gave us clothes that their kids had grown out of and just wanted rid. We have had beautiful dresses, coats, jeans, well everything! I was even given maternity clothes. Olive now wears the hand-me-downs and a few new clothes that were given to us as gifts and they look just fine. It would be lovely to spend money on a beautiful selection of clothes for them but I remind myself that kids grow fast. They don’t wear them for long. When my girls have finished with the clothes I shall pass them on to another couple. I have already passed on quite a few items to friends 🙂

End of Line clothes from Mothercare

Our fist cot was given to us by my nan and granddad, that was from a friend. It lasted us the whole time Willow used it, but because it was old and not a sturdy as it should have been, Willows continuous jumping eventually meant that it had to go. She went into her bed at 12 months old. The bed cost us £10 and the mattress was given to us by a friend. Olives cot cost us £20 from a friend and was brand new and never used.

Christmas was on a budget too this year. We needed a new tree (£5, Facebook selling page) and made a lot of our own decorations as well as using decorations that were my nans when she was little. Vintage! Presents were brought, but to a budget (no more that £100 for the whole family) and quite a few toys were Jays old toys that MIL had kept in her loft. Kids don’t care where toys come from or how much they cost. The most played with toy is a dolls buggy that cost £2.50 in ASDA!
Days out. We don’t have many days out to be honest. If we have a day out it tends to cost us bit much more than the petrol to get us there. We like to take the kids swimming and even discovered that our local pool has a discount if you are on a form of benefit, it’s worth asking at your local pool if they have any similar offers as this can make a huge difference.
I am quite proud of how frugal I am with food. Recently we got a huge chest freezer (£20, Facebook selling page) and have taken full advantage of this. We can now buy tonnes of reduced food and enjoy the time of night when Tesco bring out the food priced at %10 of its original price. 9p loaves of bread are always a win! I also cut big chunks of meat into small portions and freeze separately, we eat a lot of offal which is cheap and very versatile and I often accept free food! Yup, with some farmer friends a free brace of pheasant is always welcome on our dinner table. Each year I also grow my own fruit and veg and have had healthy stocks of potatoes, tomatoes, beans and herbs each year to name a few.

The list does go on but I just wanted to highlight how a baby and a toddler has cost us next to nothing. And although some of my methods may not work for you, if you get thinking there can be lots of ways that you can save a few pennies for your family.

I think all in all our children have cost us in all around £300 (actual physical products). That’s for both of them not individually.
And that I think, is a huge saving.

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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