Any faithful follower of the Frugal Oyster Budget Challenge may have noticed that while we are doing extremely well with the numbers, a few things haven’t gone the way we originally intended. To wit:
We planned to cloth diaper the little oyster until we realized how impractical that would be for our lifestyle. We don’t have in-unit laundry. We pay per load. We would have used disposable while traveling. Many day cares–which we were originally considering–and the little oyster’s aunt who was her nanny refuse to use them so ultimately our frugal tushy plans were waylaid and the oyster budget has included disposables. Saving grace: We have found that Target brand diapers are the best out there, and significantly less expensive than the name brands. (Oh, I was also seriously considering infant potty training. You can laugh. I am, now.)
2. A crib
We also weren’t planning to have a crib. With the little sister-nanny living with us we still have the little oyster in her Pack n Play in our bedroom but we do have a crib. A family friend of the husband’s owned a baby furniture company and we were invited to choose a crib and changing table from the stock. It was an extremely generous gift and I’m grateful for it. As the husband pointed out to me once, just because we can go without it doesn’t mean we have to.
I was planning to nurse exclusively for the first year. Instead the little oyster and I made it to six and a half months and decided that was enough. Truth bomb: It’s really hard to nurse exclusively when you’re working full time. Really really hard, even when every allowance is made in the work place. My building had private nursing rooms with hospital grade pumps and no one had any problem when I left twice a day to use them. After a few months of pumping at work and nursing at home, I wasn’t enjoying it so I decided to end on a high note. I weaned the little oyster one weekend and she has been formula-fed until recently, when we also introduced baby food.
4. Baby food
I had planned from the start to make my own. HAHAHA. Yeah, that never happened. She’s fine.
5. Child care
I went back to work when the oyster was 9 weeks old and the husband took a month of paternity leave. After that we needed someone to care for her while we both worked and the little sister was a willing and able party. She moved in with us in January and was the little oyster’s nanny until May. We paid her and I did not include that cost in the frugal oyster budget tally. Including child care costs puts the tally well over our $2,700 budget so instead of seeing the numbers and giving up on being frugal, I just didn’t include child care costs. Had I done so, with our particular situation, we’re still well under the minimum end of the average baby budget.
Like I said, the little oyster has lived in our bedroom since January. We don’t do the family bed thing (shudder) and yes, it’s a bit of a tight fit but we more than manage. I love the little oyster’s bedroom and when she’s back in there, I will enjoy having that space again. Until then, it’s totally ok with us that our American child doesn’t have her own fabulously individual nursery, like so many Pinterest accounts would have one believe is absolutely crucial to the health and well-being of said child. A nursery is fun but by no means necessary. The nice thing about living around here is that a lot of people get that. I know a family that has twins and lives in a nice one-bedroom apartment. The twins have a cute crib in the living room. It works, Pinterest be damned.
The little oyster, at 9 months old, is wearing 9 and 12 month sizes. Friends and family gave us clothing in staggered sizes, which has been nice and has kept this spending area low. Almost everything we have picked up for the oyster clothing-wise has been discretionary spending.
And there you have it. A small update on what hasn’t gone as planned in the frugal oyster budget and why. Still, we’re trucking right along.