Thursday, December 29, 2011

How we save money, part II

Yesterday I thrilled you all with details about how we save money by making our own baby food. I know that you have all been thinking, "When will she post more about saving money?" Especially my child-free friends ;). So, rather than have you all checking your computers incessantly, I am going to take advantage of one sleeping boy and two other boys who are currently entertained by our furry house guest.

When we moved into the rental house last year Benjamin was hanging out in utero. We also had one child in diapers. Having done the whole "two children in two different sizes of diapers" bit before, I was not looking forward to dropping 50.00 at a time every time we needed to buy diapers. Knowing that we would finally have access to washer/dryer hookups, we decided that we would purchase a washer and a dryer and look into cloth diapering our third child.

I began to do lots of research and asked my cloth diapering friends loads of questions. One internet friend pointed me towards the cottonbabies website. After looking around the website, it quickly became my favorite 'go-to' for all things cloth diapers. They were super informative and helpful, AND (as an added bonus), provided free shipping! What's not to love?

I decided that we would try the BumGenius 4.0.

First of all, these diapers are adorable. Check it out.

Our first batch of BumGenius 4.0, adjusted to fit Aaron.

Second of all, the diapers are super easy to use and very similar to disposable diapers. All I had to do was put the liners inside of the pockets, then put it on my child. The snaps are super convenient because they don't pill and lose their snappy-ness, much like Velcro does.

Finally, the kids look super cute in the diapers, if I do say so myself. :)

Aaron showing off the cloth diapers.
They even work for nap time!

They worked great on the newborn as well (and look at that fluffy butt!!).

At first I was nervous about washing the diapers, I mean, the one thing I actually liked about disposables was that I could just throw out the mess. Although, with leaks and such I still had to deal with poop, but just the thought of having to dump and rinse and other stuff, I was not looking forward to it. But, once I decided to suck it up and do it, the "dirty job" of washing diapers was really not so bad. For one, we have a wet bag that hangs on the door knob of Benjamin's closet. It has a water proof liner and a cute fabric cover. The pee diapers are simply dropped into the wet bag while the poop diapers have the solid waste dumped into the toilet, then the diaper is deposited into the wet bag. The bag contains all of the smell, I promise! No one has ever entered our house and said, "Woah, what is that smell?" In fact, having used a Diaper Genie for my disposables in the past, I would have to say that that thing reeked, while my wet bag contains the odors super well.

Every other day I simply dump the bag into the washer, do a rinse cycle, a wash cycle on hot, another rinse cycle, then put the inserts in the dryer while the covers line dry. It's super easy and I have saved myself time and money. I don't have to drive to the store any more (it usually happened late at night) to get diapers, all I have to do is a load of laundry!

Now, let me break down the cost for you.
We have 26 BumGenius 4.0 diapers. We bought all of them on sale (buy 5 get 1 free). On average, one BumGenius 4.0 costs $16.99 (Now they are $17.95, but I'm going to estimate how much we saved/are saving so I will use the 16.99 price). So, 22 diapers (because we got four free with their sales) cost us $373.78. I also bought wipes and a wipe warmer and some wet bags, but I'm solely going to go off of the cost of diapers to keep this blog entry shorter).

On average, our kids have been potty trained around the age of 2.5. So, for Benjamin we will have spent $373.78 on diapers for his whole life. If we had bought disposable diapers, that would have cost us approximately (based off of the price of Luvs on, and off of the average of 8 diapers per day-I'm guessing lower because while newborns use more diapers, toddlers don't use as many) $1,918.00. That is a savings of approximately $1,445.00.

That more than made up for the cost of our washer and dryer.

Not to mention we used the cloth diapers on Aaron for the past 8 months, which saved us more money (I can't figure out the math...).

Since doing my research, 3 of my friends have begun to use cloth diapers (although, I think they were more inclined to do so before I said anything). I've also become somewhat of a zealot with cloth diapers. I can't help it though! Who doesn't love to save money? And, it is so easy!

I write all of this to help my friends who are wondering if cloth diapering is worth it. But, I'm also writing this in response to a contest that Jennifer Labit (the founder of cottonbabies) is having. I am not receiving any compensation at all for this post, but if she likes my post I could win 12 free BumGenius diapers. Also, one person who comments on my post will win 12 BumGenius diapers of their own (if my blog post wins). Considering I have a full supply of diapers, I will happily gift most of my set given to someone else as well (I know lots of pregnant people right now).

So, help me win my Internet friends and family! Comment away and let me know what you think of cloth diapers. Does it work for you? Would you be willing to try it? Do you think I'm crazy? Aren't the BumGenius diapers cute? I will let you know on January 16th whether or not I've won (and which one of my commentators won as well if I've won).

And, if you haven't considered cloth diapering, DO IT! :) If not, at least click on over to the cottonbabies website and check it out. It's more than just diapers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How we save money, part I

In the next day or two I'm going to write a post all about cloth diapers and how much money we've saved in doing cloth diapering. There's a purpose behind it; the desperate hope that I will win a give away that is doing. 12 free BumGenius 4.0's and 12 to give away to another mom. I know people who need cloth diapers so...

It got me thinking. There are many different ways in which we are able to make ends meet while having three small children who tend to go through clothes (and other items) like they are going out of style. So, here is just one way in which we save money when our children are small.

We make our own baby food (and I breast feed exclusively except for giving sippy cups with water for the first year).

Think about it. On average, one serving of Gerber baby food is about $0.75. That is $2.25 a day, 15.75 a week, and $819.00 a year. Just on pureed food (and that is baby food, not toddler food which is more expensive, for example one mac and cheese dinner will cost you $2.33).

On the other hand, we bought a variety of fruits and vegetables at Trader Joe's on Monday. The apples were $0.69 each, and I used two of them to make baby food. The two apples made about 10 servings. That is $0.13 per serving. I saved $0.62 on just one serving of applesauce. I bought frozen peas at $1.29 and used half of them to make baby food. It made 6 servings (I think). That figures out to $0.11 a serving. I could go on, but...well, I digress.

I've also thought about the savings in gas and time. Sure, it took me about 45 minutes to make about 40 servings of baby food yesterday morning. But, in that time I also did dishes, packed up stuff to go hang out with friends, and got my kids to go out and play. If I had gone to the store to buy 40 servings of baby food it would have taken me at least that long to get to the store and back. Not to mention wrangling three small children in and out of the car and in the grocery store.

Plus, there are huge benefits for Benjamin as well. Have you ever tasted store bought baby food? It's gross. It's also super bland. It's no wonder that so many kids only want plain white bread and macaroni and cheese to eat. I'm hoping that by giving Benjamin foods such as hummus and green and red peppers he will develop a taste for more interesting foods.

So, that's my thoughts on baby food. I will write about my cloth diaper research later on this week! :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just when I think I have something witty to write about...

Well, I actually don't. I have blog entries rolling around in my brain when I'm supposed to be doing other things. Like preparing awesome lessons for my amazing Junior High students. But, then I find myself with free time, and...hello writer's block.

You would also think that with three adorable little boys, I would have some pictures to show...

Sure, if I ever took the time to get them off of my phone and onto my computer.

So, I'm going to have to just thrill all of my readers (*cough*) with fun boy stories.

First of all, I managed to make my five year old cry this morning. Go, me. We were in L.A. getting ready to visit the La Brea Tar Pits and the Page Museum but first we were getting our coffee fix. I don't know how it came up, but Sam's dad started talking about how tasty babies were, and I agreed quickly and then told Nathaniel that's what happened to his older brother, Bobby. Cue the laughter and general merriment. Cue Nathaniel, thinking that we were laughing at him (or that we were serious about our family being cannibals and eating one of our kids), started crying. Epic fail.

Then, later on I encouraged the boys to roll down the giant grassy hill that surrounds the Page Museum (seriously, loads of fun and anyone who lives around L.A. ought to check out the Page Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits). Not to be out done, I decided that one roll down the hill would be great fun as well for me.

Note: I am not 5 years old anymore and I can barely handle riding on the carousel at Disneyland. Therefore, rolling down a hill immediately makes me dizzy and a little queasy as well.

I handed Sam my phone and headed down the hill. My loving husband recorded my roll, then immediately posted it to Facebook. *Love Him* So, anyone who is my friend on Facebook will not only see my graceful roll down the hill. But, you can also hear me squeal loudly like a five year old girl; watch me kick my son in the head on the way down the hill; AND, if you look closely, will get a good view of butt crack at the very end of the video because, well, things shifted en route.

Other than that, I think I'm doing an okay job at parenting. Aaron has said multiple times today, "Oh goody-goody!!". I have also given my 7 month old a taste of frozen yogurt, which he loved and then cried after I wouldn't give him any more. He had to settle for plain old blueberry baby yogurt for dinner. Benjamin also slept through the night last night (after the 11pm wake up feeding). That's happened a few times the past week or so. I don't think I'm going to second guess my kids or my instincts anymore. I know that some people's kids start sleeping through the night at 6 weeks. But each of my kids need those extra couple of feedings for awhile longer. My kids generally weighed about 3-4 pounds more than most of my friends' kids at birth, so...they need the extra calories!

We're hanging around here for Christmas this year. We traveled last Christmas and realized it's expensive! Plus, I think the kids enjoy being here (even if Nathaniel has bugged us about going to Iowa). Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I refuse to feel guilty.

There's this weird thing that goes on among parents, or mainly moms. We get this weird complex and hold ourselves, and others, to these impossibly high standards. We sit in our playgroups carefully watching our kids interactions with the other kids and thinking, "Oh, my little Johnny is definitely more advanced than little Timmy." Or we embellish stories of our kids, making them sound smarter, brighter, more advanced, etc. than their peers.

Your Suzie was walking at 11 months? That's nothing, my little Sally was already being scouted for the 2024 Olympic Gymnastic team.

Don't even get me started on our houses. Maybe this is just me, but I always feel the pressure to have my house clean. Not just clean, but super organized and guest ready. I've relaxed a little bit since having three children, realizing that cleaning while the boys are awake is like raking leaves while the kids are outside playing. I get something clean, go to clean something else and turn around to find that my clean living room has been turned into fort land. (Not to be confused with Fort Dodge, fort land has a little more going for it...ha!)

So, since that little digital sign told me that I was pregnant over 6 years ago I've had this nagging sense of guilt and feeling of not being good enough, not being held up to the right standard.

I work outside of the home and *gasp* my children go to some form of daycare. According to some people, that means my children will be maladjusted miscreants, who should only hold out hope of getting menial jobs which may or may not include asking if someone would like fries with that (I'm only slightly exaggerating this).

I will sometimes get a babysitter and go to a morning movie on my day off of work. And yes, while some people have "their priorities straight" (direct quote from a mom of another kindergarten when she heard me say I was going to the movies one morning) I will occasionally partake in a movie and popcorn and soda ALL BY MYSELF and watch what I want to watch.

And today, after spending the morning hanging with a dear friend I went back to my house with all intentions of cleaning while the boys napped. Instead, I curled up in bed with Aaron and we read books and giggled and I fell asleep and woke up covered in stickers because apparently, Aaron didn't fall asleep. :)

And you know what, I still have Cheerios all over my kitchen floor and laundry in the washer/dryer from the day before yesterday(?), but Aaron had a giggly time with his Mommy and I had got to spend some good one on one time with my poor neglected middle child.

And I don't feel guilty.