Getting pregnant is one ginormous wake up call. Time to get my crap together! I’m eating better, exercising more regularly (walking up the stairs counts, right?), and totally paranoid about our finances. They say a woman looks into her baby’s crib and feels a surge of protectiveness, while a man looks into the crib and thinks, “How am I going to pay for this?”
As the Bargain Babe, I’m apprehensive about money, too. Our baby girl is slated to arrive sometime in January, and my husband and I are already doing things much differently with our money.
1. We bared down and faced death. Yes, we bought life insurance. This new monthly bill packs on $275 per month and has given us a new jest for life. Nothing brings you closer to your own mortality than paying someone to soften the blow of your spouse’s last breath.
2. Free drinks at the bar. Can you say seltzer? Many bartenders don’t charge for fizzy water, which is delicious with lime. I know some women drink while pregnant, but I think the trade off – a chance for a healthier mini me – in exchange for a relatively brief stint of sobriety, is worth it. The downside is that my husband feels compelled to drink for three. Doh!
3. We updated our budget to see if we can live on one income. We can, but only if we get really tight with our money. No massages, many fewer flights, and almost no eating out. We downgraded our cell phone plan, raised the deductible on our car insurance, and lowered our annual charitable contributions. More stuff is on the chopping block – our local, organic CSA groceries, our second car, and our Netflix subscription. We’re making slow changes now, so that we can acclimate, instead of going cold turkey. Still, it’s hard to imagine that our family will get bigger - but that we’ll actually spend less.
4. I updated my resume so that when I’m done with diapers and ready for paid work, I will have a current list of my skills and experience. I’m not convinced there is such a thing as “mommy brain,” but time off will certainly fade my recall of what I do well at work. Among the changes I made was to add a new line of my pre-baby activities: Improv Comedy, Ultimate Frisbee, Triathlons. Now what’s the statute of limitations for how long you can list an activity you no longer have time for?
5. I’m spending more time on Freecycle and Craistlist. You’d be shocked at how much amazing baby gear is free — or extremely cheap – on these sites. Already, I’ve nabbed a free Diaper Genie, a free crib with mattress, a $20 bassinet, a $30 Pack n’ Play, a $35 two-piece glider rocker, and a $75 Pottery Barn changing table. Brand new, this gear would have cost me $925 or more. But by scanning listings, I shelled out just $160. Score!
How did having kids change your life – financially, I mean? (I’ve heard enough whining about sleep deprivation, people!)
Julia Scott blogs about saving money on everyday expenses like groceries, gasoline, and gifts at BargainBabe.com.