The Frugal Oyster Budget FINAL Tally

We have arrived now at the moment of truth. Many moons ago I made a bet with myself that we could eschew the average baby budget money-bleed and outfit, feed, care for, and celebrate the little oyster, from conception to first birthday, for much less than our culture’s average of $7,000-$12,000. I chose $2,700 as our budget limit and tallied all expenses, rounding to the nearest dollar in the categories you see below. Note that this final tally also includes what we spent on her first birthday, which was spent with the husband’s family on the beach in Delaware, pictures to follow in a later post.

And so now we answer the question.

Question: Is it possible to outfit, feed, care for, and celebrate a baby in the United States, sacrificing not the safety, comfort, or even convenience of that baby or her mom, from conception to baby’s first birthday, for less than the average American expenditure of $7k-$12k in the first year of life only?

Answer: Oh, you better believe it.

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #17

September 30, 2013, final update

Final tally: $2,585

1st Birthday Party:

Gifts from us:
Wheely ride-on cow, Amazon, $67
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, Bethany Beach Books, $7
Melissa & Doug bendable giraffe, Pitter Patter children’s boutique, $12
Plastic zippy car, Pitter Patter children’s boutique, $6

Gifts from others:
Animal sleepers, jeans, winter shirt, winter hat, illustrated book of parables, handmade stuffed owl buddy, handmade Jemima Puddle-Duck rag book, handmade puzzle ball, handmade crib bumper, Melissa & Doug farm animal puzzle, musical jewelry box, Melissa & Doug mirror toy, Melissa & Doug plush fishing set, All God’s Creatures book, Bed Time Blessings book

Food:
Boutique muffins, Bethany Beach Bakrie, $33

Total: $125

 

Maternity clothes:

Gifts:

Now usable from pre-preg closet: Everything

Total: $0

Baby toys and books:

A Pocket for Corduroy, Goodwill, $1

Arthur’s Nose, Goodwill, $1

Eloise in Moscow, Goodwill, $1

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Goodwill, $1

Winnie the Pooh (classic chapter book edition), Goodwill, $2

Come Along, Daisy!, Goodwill, $1

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, consignment sale, $1

Carl’s Christmas, used bookstore, $4

A Birthday for Francis, used bookstore, $5

Harry by the Sea, Bethany Beach Books, $7

Gifts:

Total: $24

Baby clothes:

3 fall onesies, Old Navy, $18

Fall pants, Old Navy, $6

2 sets of pajamas, Old Navy clearance, $15

2 next-summer shirts, Old Navy clearance, $13

3 next-spring rompers, Target clearance, $12

UVA/UVB retro sunglasses, Babybanz.com with shipping, $25

2 sleepers, consignment sale, $7

Gifts:

Two long-sleeved fall shirts, two pairs of leggings, toddler dress with glasses pattern (ha! Love!)

Total: $96

Baby essentials:
Diapers, Target, $22

Formula, Target, $37

Baby food, various brands, Target, $33

Baby puffs, Walmart, $3

Baby cup, Target, $2

Wipes, Target, $5

Sunscreen, Target clearance, $4

Benadryl, Walgreens, $7

Gifts:

Total: $113

Other:

Baby book, PaperSource, $30

Gifts:

Total: $30

Running total for complete baby budget challenge: $2,585

Balance remaining in budget: $115

Percent of budget used: 96%

Months into challenge: 21

Months remaining in challenge: 0

 

The bet is that we can come in at or under my self-imposed dollar amount, without sacrificing safety or comfort of baby or parents, when calculating everything spent by us on the little oyster from conception to the first birthday. This includes all furniture, baby and maternity clothes, toys, vitamins and toiletries, and equipment, everything included in the “average” budget. This excludes insurance costs when the baby is added to the policy and the cost of the food I eat if nursing, which are also not included in the “average” budget. I will save receipts, round to the nearest dollar, and keep a running total on the blog.

The amount to meet or beat is $2,700.

Advertisements

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #16

I know, I know, the posts have been thrilling this summer. But that’s exactly it, it’s summer and I have been on a break. From…posting… Anyway, it’s the second to last frugal oyster tally! The odds appear ever in our favor as we head into the final six weeks of receipt-tracking and point-proving.

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #16

August 17, 2012

Next and final update:  September 29, 2013

 

Maternity clothes:

Gifts:

Now usable from pre-preg closet: Everything

Total: $0

 

Baby toys and books:

Gifts:

Total: $0

 

Baby clothes:
Hoodie sweatshirt, on vacation, $21

Onesie with a moose, on vacation, $10

Sleeveless peasant shirt, Target clearance, $7

Gifts: Camping pajamas, rain pants

Total: $38

 

Baby essentials:
Diapers, Target, $7

Formula, Target, $44

Travel wipes, Target, $2

Baby food, various brands, Target, $62

Crib mattress, Amazon, $40

Crib mattress protector sheet, Amazon, $13

Crib sheets (2), Amazon, $20

Baby acetaminophen, Target, $4

Gifts: Travel high chair, hand me down

Total: $192

 

Other:
Photo frame for the wall, Target, $12

Gifts:

Total: $12

 

Running total for complete baby budget challenge: $2,197

Balance remaining in budget: $503

Percent of budget used: 81%

Months into challenge: 20

Months remaining in challenge: 1!

 

The bet is that we can come in at or under my self-imposed dollar amount, without sacrificing safety or comfort of baby or parents, when calculating everything spent by us on the little oyster from conception to the first birthday. This includes all furniture, baby and maternity clothes, toys, vitamins and toiletries, and equipment, everything included in the “average” budget. This excludes insurance costs when the baby is added to the policy and the cost of the food I eat if nursing, which are also not included in the “average” budget. I will save receipts, round to the nearest dollar, and keep a running total on the blog.

The amount to meet or beat is $2,700.

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #15

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #15

July 17, 2012

Next update:  August 17, 2013

 

Maternity clothes:

Gifts:

Now usable from pre-preg closet: Everything

Total: $0

 

Baby toys and books:

Gifts:  Little Lamb puppet book, pool floater

Total: $0

 

Baby clothes: Gray and white romper, some little boutique, clearance, $17

Gifts: Polka dot bathing suit, pink and white outfit with leggings, romper, popsicle dress, butterfly dress, shorts, tank top

Total: $17

 

Baby essentials: Diapers, Target, $43

Formula, Target, $37

Wipes, Target, $6

Baby food, various brands, Target, $85

Sippy cup, Target clearance, $6

Mesh food bags, Target, $7

Gifts: Convertible car seat (hand me down)

Total: $184

 

Other:

Gifts:

Total: $0

 

Running total for complete baby budget challenge: $1,955

Balance remaining in budget: $745

Percent of budget used: 72%

Months into challenge: 19

Months remaining in challenge: 2

 

The bet is that we can come in at or under my self-imposed dollar amount, without sacrificing safety or comfort of baby or parents, when calculating everything spent by us on the little oyster from conception to the first birthday. This includes all furniture, baby and maternity clothes, toys, vitamins and toiletries, and equipment, everything included in the “average” budget. This excludes insurance costs when the baby is added to the policy and the cost of the food I eat if nursing, which are also not included in the “average” budget. I will save receipts, round to the nearest dollar, and keep a running total on the blog.

 

The amount to meet or beat is $2,700.

About the frugal oyster

happy face

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:

1. Diapers
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.

3. Nursing
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.

6. Nursery
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.

7. Clothes
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.

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #14

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #14

June 17, 2012

Next update:  July 17, 2013

Maternity clothes:

Gifts:

Now usable from pre-preg closet: Everything

Total: $0

Baby toys and books:

Gifts:  Wooden cars, musical bath toy

Total: $0

Baby clothes: Summer onesie, Target, $5

Striped shorts, Target, $6

Fall jacket, Target clearance, $13

Gifts: Purple striped summer onesie

Total: $24

Baby essentials: Diapers, Target, $30

Formula, Target, $66

Two-pack travel wipes, Target, $2

Pacifier clip, Target, $5

Bottle nipples, Target, $6

Wipes, Target, $5

Swim diapers, Target, $9

Overnight diapers, Target, $9

Baby food, various brands, Target, sale, $10

Gifts:

Total: $142

Other: French Kids Eat Anything book, Amazon, $14
High chair and tray, Ikea.com including shipping, $37

Gifts:

Total: $51

Running total for complete baby budget challenge: $1,754

Balance remaining in budget: $946

Percent of budget used: 65%

Months into challenge: 18

Months remaining in challenge: 3

 

The bet is that we can come in at or under my self-imposed dollar amount, without sacrificing safety or comfort of baby or parents, when calculating everything spent by us on the little oyster from conception to the first birthday. This includes all furniture, baby and maternity clothes, toys, vitamins and toiletries, and equipment, everything included in the “average” budget. This excludes insurance costs when the baby is added to the policy and the cost of the food I eat if nursing, which are also not included in the “average” budget. I will save receipts, round to the nearest dollar, and keep a running total on the blog.

The amount to meet or beat is $2,700.

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #13

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #13

May 17, 2012

Next update:  June 17, 2013

Maternity clothes:

Gifts:

Total: $0

Baby toys and books:

Gifts:  

Total: $0

Baby clothes:

Gifts:

Total: $0

Baby essentials: Diapers, Target, $14 (sale)

Formula, Target, $22

Aveeno baby sunscreen, Target, $6

Gifts:

Total: $42

Other:

Gifts:

Total: $0

Running total for complete baby budget challenge: $1,579

Balance remaining in budget: $1,121

Percent of budget used: 58%

Months into challenge: 16

Months remaining in challenge: 5

 

The bet is that we can come in at or under my self-imposed dollar amount, without sacrificing safety or comfort of baby or parents, when calculating everything spent by us on the little oyster from conception to the first birthday. This includes all furniture, baby and maternity clothes, toys, vitamins and toiletries, and equipment, everything included in the “average” budget. This excludes insurance costs when the baby is added to the policy and the cost of the food I eat if nursing, which are also not included in the “average” budget. I will save receipts, round to the nearest dollar, and keep a running total on the blog.

The amount to meet or beat is $2,700.

Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #12

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #12

April 17, 2012

Next update: May 17, 2013

 

Maternity clothes:

Gifts:

Now usable from pre-preg closet: Everything

Total: $0

 

Baby toys and books:

Gifts:  Little Golden Book Bible, wind-up hopping bunny and bunny ears, Alphabet City, Peekaboo Baby Faces

Total: $0

 

Baby clothes: Summer outfit, Gymboree, $24

Ladybug bathing suit and matching hat, Gymboree, $25

Gifts: Watermelon sun hat, Bahamas t-shirt, socks

Total: $49

 

Baby essentials: Diapers, Target, $22

Formula, Kroger, $16

Formula, Target, $37

Travel wipes, Target, $1

Gifts: Spoons, bowls, over-the-hand wash cloth, two teething toys

Total: $76

 

Other: French Kids Eat Anything book, Amazon, $14

Gifts:

Total: $14

 

Running total for complete baby budget challenge: $1,676

Balance remaining in budget: $1,024

Percent of budget used: 62%

Months into challenge: 16

Months remaining in challenge: 5

The bet is that we can come in at or under my self-imposed dollar amount, without sacrificing safety or comfort of baby or parents, when calculating everything spent by us on the little oyster from conception to the first birthday. This includes all furniture, baby and maternity clothes, toys, vitamins and toiletries, and equipment, everything included in the “average” budget. This excludes insurance costs when the baby is added to the policy and the cost of the food I eat if nursing, which are also not included in the “average” budget. I will save receipts, round to the nearest dollar, and keep a running total on the blog.

The amount to meet or beat is $2,700.

 

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #s 7-11

(Funny how much time it takes to have a baby and get one’s ducks in a row. Fortunately, I have remembered to save my receipts! See below for the latest update in The Frugal Oyster Budget Challenge. Any line items left out of this update will be included in April.)

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #7, 8, 9, 10, and 11

March 17, 2012

Next update: April 17, 2013

Maternity clothes: Nursing bras

Gifts:

Now usable from pre-preg closet: All clothing except button-front shirts

Total: $90

Baby toys and books: Stuffed giraffe, stuffed panda, two books (Christmas from us), $54

Gifts:  So many! Christmas did happen, after all.

Other: Silver necklace, Bedtime Bible Promises book, Press Here book

Total: $54

Baby clothes: Christmas outfit, Target, $9
Christmas Eve outfit, Baby Gap clearance, $13
Shirt, Target clearance, $4
Dress, Target clearance, $8
Onesies, Target, $9
Leggings, Target clearance, $3
Hoodie, Target clearance, $5

Gifts: So many! Again, Christmas.

Other: Giraffe hat, cupcake jammies, owl shoes, knitted socks, spring dress, shirt with hearts, Valentine’s Day outfit, leg warmers

Total: $51

Baby essentials: Baby wipes, Target, $15
Diapers, Target, $165
Pacifiers, Target, $12
Formula, Target with coupons, $39
Vaseline, Target, $1
Baby Tylenol, Target, $5
Milk storage bags, Target, $45
Hospital-grade pump adaptor kit, Amazon, $35
Gas drops, Target, $4

Gifts:

Total: $321

Other:

Gifts: Christmas!
Other: Baby’s first silverware set

Total: $0

Running total for complete baby budget challenge: $1,537

Balance remaining in budget: $1,163

Percent of budget used: 57%

Months into challenge: 15

Months remaining in challenge: 6

The bet is that we can come in at or under my self-imposed dollar amount, without sacrificing safety or comfort of baby or parents, when calculating everything spent by us on the little oyster from conception to the first birthday. This includes all furniture, baby and maternity clothes, toys, vitamins and toiletries, and equipment, everything included in the “average” budget. This excludes insurance costs when the baby is added to the policy and the cost of the food I eat if nursing, which are also not included in the “average” budget. I will save receipts, round to the nearest dollar, and keep a running total on the blog.

The amount to meet or beat is $2,700.

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #6

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #6

October 17, 2012

Next update: November 17, 2012

In an interesting twist, the spending tally remains unchanged in the last month. I attribute this entirely to the amazing generosity of others and the fact that neither one of us has been up for shopping at all.

Maternity clothes:

Gifts:

Now usable from pre-preg closet: Cardigans and open sweaters, pajamas, yoga pants, short dresses, some SHOES! 😀

Total: $0

Baby toys and books:

Gifts:  On the Night You Were Born, red stuffed elephant

Total: $0

Baby clothes: Gray fleece jacket, leggings, long-sleeved onesie, all Target (gift card)

Gifts: Hand-knit sweater and pants, polka dot onesie, handmade owl hat, tiny Uggs, tiny white fur boots, toddler PJs, various hand-me-overs

Total: $0

Baby essentials: Formula cooler, kit and formula (hospital), pacifiers (hospital), wipes and dipes (hospital), diapers (gift card)

Gifts: Baby-to-toddler rocker, bottles, handmade fleece blanket

Total: $0

Other: Post-delivery mom things (hospital)

Gifts: Target gift cards

Total: $0

Running total for complete baby budget challenge: $1,021

Balance remaining in budget: $1,679

Percent of budget used: 38%

Months into challenge: 10

Months remaining in challenge: 11

The bet is that we can come in at or under my self-imposed dollar amount, without sacrificing safety or comfort of baby or parents, when calculating everything spent by us on the little oyster from conception to the first birthday. This includes all furniture, baby and maternity clothes, toys, vitamins and toiletries, and equipment, everything included in the “average” budget. This excludes insurance costs when the baby is added to the policy and the cost of the food I eat if nursing, which are also not included in the “average” budget. I will save receipts, round to the nearest dollar, and keep a running total on the blog.

The amount to meet or beat is $2,700.

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #6

The Frugal Oyster Budget Tally #6

September 17, 2012

Next update: (around) October 17, 2012

Maternity clothes: Jeans, Target: $32

Gifts:

Borrowed:

Still usable from current closet: Cardigans and open sweaters

Total: $32

Baby toys and books: Make Way for Ducklings, $8
Olivia and the Fairy Princess (gift card)

Gifts:  Play mat, foam floor squares, Raggedy Ann, Raggedy Ann doll, peek-a-boo stuffed owl

Total: $8

Baby clothes: Sweater dress, Target: $16
Fall sweater with hood (and ears!), Target: $16
Philadelphia Eagles onesies (3 pack), Target: $19

Gifts: Tiny socks, tights, hair do-dads, handmade hat, Christmas outfit, lamb PJs

Total: $51

Baby essentials: Newborn and size 1 disposable diapers (gift card), newborn pacifiers (gift card), Pack ‘n Play sheets-2 (gift card), squeezable feeding spoon (gift card), milk storage bags (gift card)

Gifts: Stroller, diapers, handmade bibs, convertible cup, pump, nursing items, swaddling blanket, changing table, Boppy, Boppy covers, baby tub, crib

Total: $0

Other: Ottoman, Target clearance: $17
Rocking chair, amazon.com: $99
Rocking chair pillow, Target clearance: $10
Clock, Target clearance: $3
3 canvas bins/drawers, Target clearance: $15

Gifts: Hand-sewn wearable blanket, handmade hooked rug, handmade quilt, woven toy basket with handles, Target gift card, Sacred Parenting book, hand-crocheted blanket, carry-all shoulder bag, flowers 🙂

Total: $144

Running total for complete baby budget challenge: $1,021

Balance remaining in budget: $1,679

Percent of budget used: 38%

Months into challenge: 9

Months remaining in challenge: 12

The bet is that we can come in at or under my self-imposed dollar amount, without sacrificing safety or comfort of baby or parents, when calculating everything spent by us on the little oyster from conception to the first birthday. This includes all furniture, baby and maternity clothes, toys, vitamins and toiletries, and equipment, everything included in the “average” budget. This excludes insurance costs when the baby is added to the policy and the cost of the food I eat if nursing, which are also not included in the “average” budget. I will save receipts, round to the nearest dollar, and keep a running total on the blog.

The amount to meet or beat is $2,700.