Babies are expensive. They go through a lot of diapers, baby wipes and clothes. These expenses can be a lot to handle for young parents or those that are already on a tight budget. You can be frugal and still enjoy life. Saving money is important, especially when you have a fast growing newborn that is going to require new clothes and bigger diaper sizes frequently.
Make your Own Baby Wipes
Using items that are already in your home, you can make baby wipes which will save an average of $30 per month. To make your own, simply use a good brand of paper towels and separate them into a stack. Make a mixture of one cup of water, a tablespoon of baby wash and 2 teaspoons of baby oil. Soak the paper towels just one at a time when you need them or have a few that are ready to use in a plastic baggie.
Use Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are reusable and washable. This saves over $100 per month on the cost of diapers. It does take a little practice to get the hang of putting them on but you will find that it is far more cost efficient to buy cloth diapers once and wash them.
Consider Eliminating Cable Television Service
With the availability of streaming services and some major networks offering prime time television on their websites for free, cable television is not necessarily a necessity in this day and age. The expense alone cuts an average of $60 per month from the budget. This frees up money for items that the baby needs such as formula, bottles and specialty products.
If you don’t use coupons, you are missing out on a lot of savings. There are several ways to obtain coupons including online, manufacturer websites, on products in a store and in the Sunday newspaper. The savings can help make it possible to afford everything that your new baby needs. Many stores double coupons or make their value an even dollar when they are less than one dollar.
Saving money can be done when you have a newborn if you work at it. This may mean missing drinks with friends once in a while or not going to dinner on Friday night, but making sure that your newborn has what he or she needs is far more important. Date nights and entertainment will return once the baby his or her growth plateau, but be forewarned, it won’t last long.
A couple weeks ago, I read a Times’ article The Typical Household, Now Worth a Third Less. The punchline of this article was the fact that the US median household saw their net worth fall from $87,992 in 2003 to $56,335 in 2013.
The article linked to a report, Wealth Levels, Wealth Inequality, and the Great Recession. It offered further context to the median wealth numbers.
Keep in mind, during this period, stocks, as measured by the S&P 500, rose by an inflation adjusted 61%. Yet, total wealth (look at the first line, the mean number) fell by 8.6%. This would be disturbing enough, but the top 5% saw an increase 14.4%, identifying a large shift in wealth to the top. Three quarters of households fell behind, losing 36% or more of their wealth.
The ten year period in question contained the housing crash, and the losses shown reflect the fact that even at the 75th percentile, much of one’s wealth is contained in their home. Overall, real estate represents less than 25% of wealth in this country, but this number doesn’t spell out how this is distorted at the sub 75th percentile. For the median family, most, if not all of their wealth might be in their home.
Back to the title of this post. These ten years reflect the continuation of a frightening trend, a middle class that is fading away. Income hasn’t kept up with inflation or with the long term trend of improved productivity. In other words, the average worker is producing more, yet seeing no increased reward for the fruits of his labor. We’ve seen the results of economic bubbles, how a too-high NASDAQ (remember the dotcom bubble?) will come crashing down. We saw the housing crash. Now, I’m looking carefully at this statistical shift in wealth. A democratic society can’t continue on this path, as this trend simply shifts more and more wealth to a select fewer and fewer people. I don’t have a solution to offer, only these observations. And the desire to see a strong middle class return to this country.
I was watching an old tape of Comic Relief ’87 when I saw the Tweets that Robin Williams had passed away. He had an amazing career, graduating from stand-up comedy to TV, to roles in movies which showed his amazing range of talent. The only other celebrity that I believe can claim such range is Tom Hanks. Let me know if you have another nomination for ‘best range’. Rest in peace, Mr. Williams.
I was away for a weekend, at a friend’s house on the lake in New Hampshire, and we went to pick up lobsters for diner. The price list caught me a bit off guard.
I always understood the larger lobsters would cost a bit more per pound, so for example, the 1-1/2lb lobster is $18 vs $10 for the 1lb’er. No issue with that. What struck me was the drop in price per pound for the 4lb or bigger. Let’s do the math, 2lbs for $26, 3lbs for $39, 4lbs for $32. Let’s fill in the gap, 2.5lbs for $32.50. I did the math and wondered why anyone would buy one between 2 and 4 pounds.
If you are not a lobster eater, it’s tough to understand. A small lobster has a piece of tail meat and two claws. In a larger lobster, the small claws are also worth eating as is the body, where the effort of cracking it open and digging in is well rewarded. I’d happily split a 4lb lobster with a friend than to have a 2lb one to myself any day. I asked the store owner why the drop in price. He explained that the big ones don’t sell. They don’t sell because they come out tough. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault lies not in our lobsters, but with our chefs. First, lobsters should never be boiled, not unless you are making lobster bisque. If you are serious about your lobster eating, you’ll get a steamer pot big enough to steam your lobsters. 35 minutes or so and they’re done. A nut cracker for each dinner guest will help, as will a mallet and towel if the shells are a bit hard. I love lobster, but not enough to risk cracking a tooth. Now you know.
Do you live where fresh lobsters are sold? Is the pricing flat or does it look more like the picture above?