Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Making the Most of Your Money....Expecting or Not

It has been really tough making decisions on what to buy, what not to buy etc. With a baby on the way there are a lot of things that we truly do need. And a lot of things that are just extras… for example, yesterday’s stroller. Here are some ways I have chosen to save money and how you can relate it to your life even if you aren’t expecting.
We have decided against getting the 3D ultrasound. It is $175, and is not medically necessary. While it would be really cool to see, I don’t feel I am missing out. We will get to see and actually HOLD the baby soon enough. Plus, we already know it is another girl, so waiting to see her makes it a little more of a surprise on her birthday.

This could be similar to deciding to get professional pictures taken of your family. The portrait studios lure you in with a great sounding price, but once you see all those great photos it is hard to get out the door for under $200. So, set up your camera and take some great shots yourself or using your timer. My family always does this for our Christmas photo and it has actually become a comical family tradition.
We are waiting on the “waitable” items. I already talked about the stroller, but we also decided to wait on a highchair because we won’t need one for a while. This gives us time to save specifically for that item, while keeping more money in our emergency savings.

What can you wait on? I love the idea of putting things you want on a 30 day waiting list. This is where you write down the item the price and the date you decided you wanted it. If after 30 days you still can give yourself a good reason to buy it, it is all yours. Nine times out of 10 you will have talked yourself out of it, or put a bigger and better item on your list J
I have about a week’s worth of maternity clothes. I had several tops and two pair of jeans left over from my last pregnancy. That was not going to cut it so I did have to buy a few more items. However I have exactly 4 pair of work pants, plus my jeans on Friday to get me through the work week. I would LOVE to have a whole maternity wardrobe, but I couldn’t justify the cost for clothes that I would only be able to wear for maybe 7 months of my pregnancy and a few months after it. I have had to remind myself of why I am not getting any more many times, but I have probably saved myself well over $200 on the items I have placed back on the rack after talking myself out of it.

This doesn’t just apply to maternity clothes. Anyone who works knows that after a while you get tired of wearing the same old thing. Try to find many pieces you can mix and match to cure the monotony then STOP buying. I also take pieces out of my regular wardrobe at certain times of the year and actually box them up. When I reopen the box, it is like going shopping. If you are into all the latest trends this won’t work for you. I suggest getting some timeless pieces and only adding trendy things to them a few times a year. Remember, trendy clothes go in and out very quickly so you will not get as much of your money’s worth on them.

I have finally learned to appreciate second hand items. I was really kind of grossed out when my mother-in-law gave me a used Diaper Genie when I was pregnant last time. It had been used by my sister-in-law so that made it not so bad for me. However, I swore I was going to buy a new one as soon as I could get to Walmart again. Guess what… three years later that Genie is about to fall apart, but we are still using it. We will be getting a new one for this baby, but only because the other is really falling apart.

I have never really minded second hand items except when it came to my children. I would often go shopping at the thrift store for clothing, craft supplies, video games, tapes, and cd’s…. but never wanted anything for the baby to come from there. Why? I guess the thought of a new baby brings thoughts of new “stuff”. However we soon found out that the thrift store also contained the same VHS tapes we had been buying at the store for $10 for a whopping $0.99!!! That pretty much cured me. Except for the car seat, we will probably be doing some garage sale shopping for this baby after my shower. Again I am talking about baby items here, but if there is something you want and can possibly get at the thrift center or a garage sale, go for it!!! If it is useable and saves you money what is the problem?
Don’t get me wrong. I still splurge occasionally. I got a baby sling for close to $70, but I figure this might also keep me from needing that tandem stroller. I also found a cute maternity top the other day, but only bought it because it is a style that can be worn after the baby and well after I am back in regular clothes. However, saving where we can has made it easier to handle my $500 worth of new brakes that HAD to be purchased, and my diabetic testing supplies that I now need to keep my sugar in check while pregnant. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Think about some of the changes you have made since getting your own finances in order. Share them with us, or just give yourself a big pat on the back. I am proud of you... and me!!

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