Today we are looking at one aspect of healthy living. Financial Health. There are many pieces to this conversation; but, we need health in all of our life. And if we aren’t financially “free” (under piles of debt, credit cards, tight budgets, etc.) Then we don’t know financial health at all. According to CNN the average American family with one credit card has over 15K in debt with an interest rate in the mid to high teens. That’s a whole lot of debt. Some say that debt is a good thing, that you need it to secure a loan, a car, a house. Let me just tell you. My husband and I are 100% debt free, we don’t own a credit card, and we qualified for a great loan on our first house. It is possible and there is SO much freedom. If you have access to Dave Ramsey’s course- Financial Peace University; it is an amazing course (all over the US) that looks at all areas of financial freedom and helps you plan for the future at the same time. I HIGHLY recommend it!
A big piece in our financial life currently, is a new “ish” baby. Our desire, once we had kids was that I would be able to stay home full time and raise them. I understand there are a lot of life circumstances, but in most families, the cost of me going to work evens out with the cost of having someone else watch your kids. Also, I don’t want to miss things. First steps, owies, and new words are music to this momma’s ears. I do some side work, but nothing that brings in any real amount of money. God has also blessed me with a husband who fully supports me being home and caring for our kids. With that said, a national survey shows that most families spend 12K on a new baby, just in their first year of life. After 2 years, it goes up to $12,500 a year. That comes from about $50 a week on diapers, formula, and baby related items; add in the crib, furniture, stroller, etc. and you’re well on your way.
Here are a few things we have done personally that I have saved us, not only a lot of time, but also a TON of money. First off, it really does take a village to raise a baby. We were incredibly blessed with so many friends and family who showered us with gifts, cards, love, food, etc. The people God has surrounded us with were so incredibly generous and I can’t imagine doing it without them. Our biggest savings yet….CLOTH DIAPERS. I know what you just did, “Ewww…gross.” “I can’t wash that, poop in my washer, disgusting.” “That takes way too much time.” I’ve heard it all, got a new one, email me, I’m sure I’ve heard it. Well let me burst your bubble. So easy. So cheap. So wonderful.
Everyone thinks of cloth diapers with big old safety pins, washing by hand, line drying, on and on and on. Let me just tell you, if it really was that hard- no way would I be doing it. We started our cloth at 2 weeks old, and have only bought 3 packs of diaper since (for vacation- I’m not that hard core.) It is the easiest thing ever; baby dirties diaper, rinse diaper off, throw in diaper pail, wash said diapers about once a week, place in dryer, and put back in the drawer. We’ve calculated if we spent about $30 a week on diapers we would have already spent $1230. I paid $250 on craigslist for everything. Diapers, sprayer, liners, etc. Therefore I’ve already saved almost 1K and we aren’t even close to potty training. Plus multiply that by however many kids= $$$.
Another big thing we do to save money, just say no to store bought baby food. Certainly I have bought a few pouches here and there, and keep some around for when we are running out of time and I am out of food. But 99% of the food he eats comes right from my fridge. The best part- all organic, no sugar, no added anything- just solid nutrition. Current favorites at our house- sweet potato, bananas, strawberries, green peas, spinach, quinoa.
Lastly- babies need a lot of STUFF. I wish someone would have sat down with me and actually said, “you’ll never use that,” “can’t live without that.” The can’t live without list is incredibly short. Yes there are some amazing baby products, and items. But the $75 you spend on a bouncer for 4 months of use is ridiculous when you can find one for $5 on craigslist, garage sales, or consignment shops. I agree that car seats shouldn’t be bought used- but everything else- why not. And for the love, don’t add a changing pad to your list- your baby will never sit still enough to use it and then it’ll just take up space in your kids room…Ahem…
Financial freedom, it’s possible. Living frugally with kids, possible. The freedom you find in not having the debt or the stuff really is just that, FREEDOM. Live healthy in all areas of your life, take responsibility of your finances, and your life and health with thank you for it.