How to Parent on a Shoestring

So. I haven’t written in ages after daring myself to write every day this year, but frankly there’s been a ton going on and I’m just sort of emerging from our February Fun Days. To wit: we have had four houseguests, one grand first birthday party, a lovely dinner and ballet date, and I’ve been to my first hockey game since 2004 when I was hit by a hockey puck in the first sixty seconds of play. To ensure that that didn’t happen, I arrived just in time for the first intermission following the first period. Okay, there may have been a little traffic on the way to the babysitter and a little bit of plain, old-fashioined getting lost involved, too. Either way, I missed the first minute of play and escaped mostly uninjured. The fact that I sustained a nasty bruise on my thigh from a freak run-in with the washing machine that same day was purely coincidental.

All that being said, I’ve got a ton of things to write about swirling in my head, but I’ve been challenged by a friend who recently found out that she and her husband were expecting their first child (CONGRATULATIONS!) to title my first post “How to Parent on a Shoestring.” It should be noted that we are hardly experts here. We’re one year into this whole parenthood thing, and I can assure you that my son already has far too many toys. We’ve also chosen to spend more on things that could easily have been obtained cheaper (such as his crib and dresser) because we’re style snobs. (That being said, his nursery furniture, bought at Wally World and Ikea, was still far cheaper than comparable “high fashion” items from “mod baby furniture” makers.)

So here, in three words, I present my theory of parenting on a shoestring:

Free – Gifts, Registry stuff, hand-me downs, Freecycle or Freepeats, and even (gasp) Bulk Trash.

Clearance – Use the internet, find cool prices. Get free shipping and it’s even better. Stores, of course, have good clearances, too – but I have a hard time dealing with stores, especially with the baby in tow. Also, I really love to receive packages, especially boxes. Even when I already know what’s in them, it feels like Christmas.

Craigslist – EBay would be a close second here, but I’m the type who would prefer to drive clear across town to pay $40 for a $300 juicer (used “once if at all”) rather than pay for shipping and wait for the item to arrive. Though I do love to receive packages. (See previous item.)

So there you have it. Further thoughts (like on buying groceries in bulk and cooking rather than eating out) forthcoming.

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