In which Trader Joe’s and I bury the hatchet

In the interest of full disclosure, when Trader Joe’s first came to the old home state, I was indifferent at best. And then I shopped there a few times, found it organized in a way that didn’t make sense to me, not much better price-wise than the regular grocery stores, and generally overwhelming and my indifference turned to animosity. That people who didn’t live near a Trader Joe’s would send grocery lists with friends who would be traveling past one blew my mind.

Also, when I found out one July that the chocolate truffles are seasonal and that season is winter, I almost punched a kitten in the face.

So for many years I have loathed Trader Joe’s and saw no reason to change my mind on this.

Then we moved to Virginia and the Trader Joe’s (Traders Joe’s?) abound(s?). I found myself slipping into the Old Town location now and then, for the wine, and always under duress. The place frustrated me with its big, bubbly signage that is hard to read, its constant rearranging of products, and the stupid conveyor belt-less check out lanes. Plus, the orchids are by the dog food…what? Why? What?

And so I bought our wine there and continued to hate it.

But then I noticed that flowers were a good price, a better price than our corner Safeway. And nicer looking. Target, where I do 94% of all my shopping, doesn’t carry flowers. Well, maybe I could stand to get a bunch of tulips when I come for wine.

And then I started to host one of my book clubs more often, and the cheese and cracker options at Trader Joe’s really were second to none, and decently priced and without the additives and preservatives in my standard Target choices. Well, since I’m already stopping in for wine and flowers, I may as well get cheese and crackers, too.

Soon I was buying all of our wine, flowers, cheese, and most crackers at Trader Joe’s. On a semi-weekly basis. And we eat a lot of cheese.

Then I realized that .19 cents per banana really is a deal, and those were often in our cart when we checked out. Then so was the broccoli. And then the coffee.

Still, I would have called my relationship with Trader Joe’s cordial, but not friendly. Not even the cookie butter had swung the pendulum as far as friendly.

The staff at our Trader Joe’s is kind, and each time we go in, the little oyster is greeted with smiles and pinches and happy chatter. I soon realized that these people are happy to be there and they love to see a jolly little girl roll in, applauding other shoppers and dancing along with the music that is always playing. More than once we’ve been in an aisle minding our own business and heard, “There she is!” as one employee brings another to meet “the cutest baby you’ve ever seen.”

It has certainly seemed for some time like Trader Joe’s wanted to be friends with us. But I wasn’t willing. Mostly because it’s always crowded no matter what time of day we go, they still use that stupid bubbly, colorful signage that makes my brain twitch, and the dumb cash registers! I can’t see what my kid is doing, find my ID for the wine, make pleasant conversation back at you, put the nice paper bags into my cart, and still remember to pay!

I figured that Trader Joe’s and I would always be on speaking terms, but never truly friends. We’d be those classmates who go to school together for 13 years, don’t mind working together in chem lab, but would never end up at the same lunch table, much less each other’s houses. But after months of dancing around the subject of whether or not we could really become friends, something happened today that settled the debate for good and in the affirmative.

Today I discovered that Trader Joe’s sells milk for $2.99/gallon.

You know what, Trader Joe’s? You can put your orchids and dog food wherever you want, I’m just going to help myself to a few of your $2.99 gallons of milk, move my flowers and wine and cheese in the cart to make room for them, and be on my way. Good buddy.

Floating on my cloud of new friendship with the place, the oyster and I checked out at one of the lanes quaintly named after the picturesque streets of Old Town. And suddenly the no-conveyor-belt thing didn’t annoy me so much. What’s the point, really? Who needs a conveyor belt? You just hang on to my bags on that side of the counter until after I have paid you and have room for them in my cart and we’ll be golden. No harm, no foul, no petty larceny. Ahh, my friends.

Also, our cashier today pointed out the prominent bite marks on the cheese he was ringing up and asked if they were from my shopping companion or if I would like to choose a new piece of cheese. No no, said I, we broke it, we bought it.

Also, our cashier today pointed out the prominent bite marks on the cheese he was ringing up and asked if they were from my shopping companion or if I would like to choose a new piece of cheese. No no, said I, we broke it, we bought it.

 

The oyster and I got our parking slip stamped (oh yeah, our Trader Joe’s and its parking lot are half-way underground because that’s the only place left to put anything around here) and waved at other departing patrons–my sisters! my brothers!–as we gamboled back to our car.

One thought about my new friend still niggled in the back of my mind. The signage. The unreadable signage. Trader Joe’s signs are like a unibrow. I know that other people find it quirky and endearing. I find it puzzling, hard to look at, and not something I’d ever go for. But what I call difficult to understand, someone else would call a style choice.  And on a friend, like my new friend Trader Joe’s, I can respect a style choice. Especially when my friend sells me milk for $2.99 a gallon.

I’m so glad we’re friends now, Trader Joe’s. Unibrow signs and all.

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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.

A credit union, a flower, and six strangers

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Her favorite “toy” in the kitchen is the box of garbage bags. She likes the sound it makes when
she pops the cardboard “lid” in and out of the box. Preferences.

 

One of the most exciting and most humbling parts of being a parent is realizing, usually a little more each day, that this tiny person I’m taking care of isn’t just a baby, she’s another person. A whole, complete person and that means she has a personality and preferences of her own. It’s cool to see and like I said, humbling. I think the earlier parents learn that our kids do and will have their own preferences that may not be the same or even similar to ours, the less hurt and offended and frustrated we’ll be as those preferences and personalities develop and gain mass. Helping these little people do just that is part of the whole idea, after all.

Yesterday the little oyster and I went to Old Town with the little sister. We were heading for the used book store on King St. and the little sister had to stop at the credit union. She dashed inside and the little oyster and I sat down on the edge of a large cement planter in a courtyard. Planted behind us was a colorful tangle of little flowers. Tiny white, pink, and yellow blooms were cuddled up with vibrant greenery, each delicate petal and leaf swaying gently in the light breeze.

I love flowers. I love to look at them and take in the colors and decide which blossom I think is the prettiest and which one is the most tenacious and which one I’d want to live in if I were Thumbelina and there were no such thing as ants. I like watching the wind move things. So I faced the little oyster toward the planter and pointed out the different colors. “Flower, baby girl.” “Yellow.” “Petals.” “Bumble bee.” The oyster watched the flowers quietly until a city bus drove by behind us and she craned her little neck over my shoulder to see what she was missing.

I turned us both around to face the street. As the bus chugged by the little oyster squealed with delight. A tall gentleman walked past wearing sunglasses, a messenger bag over his shoulder. The little oyster waved frantically at him and when he smiled, waved back, and greeted her with a “Hello, little girl!” she applauded. As he went into the building she looked for someone else to “talk” to. An older man dressed in gym shorts and a shirt that didn’t match shuffled by. The oyster waved both hands at him and chirped when he paused to wave both hands at her. A woman on a cell phone–smile and wave–delight on both their faces. Six strangers walked by between the time we turned toward the street and when the little sister came of the credit union. Six strangers in my estimation, six new best friends if we ask the little oyster.

By no means is anyone required to acknowledge my sweet baby when we’re out and about, but she’ll do her best to get you to. When we shop, she leans out of the cart and around displays when she hears people talking so she can see them and wave. She grins, her little eyes squinted up like an anime drawing and all six teeth showing, when someone walks by. Sometimes people see her and greet her and she claps for them. Sometimes they walk by unaware of the beaming little face shooting silent friendship rays at them. I make it a point to look people in the eye and smile at them when we pass, but I don’t seek them out the way the little oyster does. I was grabbing a box of Milk Bones off the shelf at Target the other day when a repetitive motion coming from my cart caught the attention of the only other shopper in the aisle. The oyster was bobbing her head like a turkey, staring down the other dog owner. When the lady smiled at the oyster and told her she was such a happy little baby, the oyster let out an ear-splitting shriek of sheer delight. Hear that, Mom? She likes me! We’re friends! I made another friend!

The little oyster is like her dad in this regard. Less shrieking on his part, but the outgoing, “How about those Nats, where are you from, I’ve been there before, let’s get a drink” is the same. You expect big personality from big people, but a lot of people see babies and figure they’re all the same, they’re all “just babies.” Sure they’re babies, but babies are wee people and their personalities may come in earlier than their teeth. I will be a better mom if I learn early and often that my daughter may prefer to watch traffic and wave at strangers instead of stopping to smell the petunias. That’s fine, the bees were getting too close for comfort anyway.

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.

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.

The road not taken

I kid. Lots of people take this road, I just didn’t know when or if I would be one of them.

baby Next week is my last week on the Hill, working for The Good Congressman. By the end of this month I will be at home full time with the little oyster and I. can. not. wait.

An old classmate who saw my announcement on Facebook sent a short note saying she and her husband are also considering what is next for their young family and asked how we arrived at this decision. Sometimes it is hard to sort through all the options, particularly when you’re in the middle of things, and someone else’s story or perspective can be helpful.

In the end, for us it came down to cost and quality of life.

This is our story:

On February 15, a friend asked if we had dressed the little oyster in a special outfit for Valentine’s Day, the day before. The sad fact was no, we hadn’t–I hadn’t even seen my daughter dressed that day. She was in pajamas when the husband and I left for work and she was in bed by the time we got home. That sucked and that day I applied for a job in Old Town Alexandria, two minutes from home.

I got that job–Director of Government Affairs–and the day the executive director was supposed to send a written offer, he instead emailed to say they were reassessing their needs and wished me the best of luck. Suddenly my raise-in-pay, closer-to-home, easier-hours work alternative was no longer on the table. Obviously God had a reason for that, although we didn’t see it in February.

That’s when our conversation began. I realized I didn’t want a new job at all, I wanted very badly to stay home with the oyster. The husband wanted that for us, too.

Easter came, and the husband, the oyster, the little sister, and I went to the old home state to see family. The husband and I both interviewed for very promising jobs while we were there and believed that either one of us getting either one of them would answer all our questions. I shushed the little voice in the back of my head that told me I would be sad to leave our little home near the Potomac so soon.

But we didn’t get either one of those jobs and then the conversation got serious. The little sister had plans to go full time at her weekend job in the spring and we would need a new care situation for the little oyster.

I called reputable day cares, near and far. The earliest anyone could get her in was next February. But who cares? The husband and I realized that we didn’t even want her in a day care. (Before she was born we had put ourselves on a Capitol Hill day care center waiting list, the shortest one we could find–we were #140.)

Next stop was a new nanny. I joined nannyshare websites and was quickly inundated with offers and pages-long biographies of women who promised to “love little child as my own, as you do, her mother.” Umm, no thank you. I removed myself from nannyshare websites.

Then one of our office interns offered to post an ad for me on her church’s listserv. Other moms at our own church who had posted ads for nannies had come up short. Alright, I figured–if the Presbyterians didn’t want the job, I’d try the Mormons.

Very quickly I had a short list of promising candidates. I emailed with them and one in particular stood out. I knew the asking price for a private nanny in this area was going to be a bitter pill to swallow. Still, this young woman seemed to be just what we were looking for. I again shushed the little voice in the back of my head that said figuring out logistics–from having enough building keys to how to pay for late days at work to how we would fit four adults, a baby, and a Rottweiler in the condo in the mornings before work–was going to be a nightmare. I also ignored the ulcer that was forming between the time I asked her required salary and the time she replied.

I shouldn’t have worried. Her answer was the last straw we needed to confirm the choice we had been leaning toward for a few weeks. Her asking price was my entire take-home pay every month. Plus some.

On top of the financial considerations was the very real feeling that our quality of life was suffering. As Congress has gained momentum this year (and they have, even if you don’t see a lot of progress back home), the number of bills on the floor increases and days in the office get later. Twice this week the husband and I have come home after the little oyster is in bed. The only reason I haven’t cried about that is because I know that starting next week it won’t happen again.

Regularly being at work late, being here physically and mentally, was bringing me down. Capitol Hill is a young woman’s job.

Such long days at work meant I haven’t been able to take care of my house and my family the way I want. I can’t keep things as clean as I would like. We eat out more often than we should. Our evenings are rushed. The laundry piles up. A simple Target trip means we don’t see the baby before she’s asleep.

Everything came together in the perfect storm and pointed us to our decision: My time and energy will be better spent full time at home. Once we decided I’d put in my notice and the husband will look for a new job that pays better, we had complete peace. And now I’m really, really excited for my retirement.

This is an expensive area of the country and we had to agree to changes in our discretionary spending but we’re confident we’ll be fine on that front–the little oyster isn’t the only frugal one in the house. There are no down payments in our near future and that’s ok for us; it’s nice that we live in a vacation spot in the meantime.

I want to be home with the little oyster. I like my job but I love being in the company of my little girl. Today The Good Congressman, in telling me goodbye and good luck, said that my analysis of today’s votes was further proof of his opinion that policy is my niche, I have hit my stride, and I will be missed. I told him thank you, it’s nice to leave on a high note.

Leaving the Hill to be home with our daughter was an easy decision for us to make and I’m ready for next week’s retirement. My recent diagnosis of sciatica, about which my doctor said the worst thing I can do is sit all day at a desk job, is, I think, God’s way of confirming we’ve made the best choice for our family. Recommended treatment for this sciatica? Walking and swimming. Our pool opens this weekend and the little oyster already has her suit. Bring it, future. We’re pumped.

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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.