Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baby Spend and Splurge

Maternity leave is a recipe for crappy finances. As soon as you add a massive expense in your life, you are reduced to 55% of your income, which is effing taxable. I have no idea what I'm going to get slammed with come tax season, but I be scared.

Since I worked from home, it's not like I'm saving money on food in any way. There's no, "Well, at least you won't be buying your lunch." Buying lunch? Pfft, I've been scrounging for crumbs in the cupboards since 2008. When I started working from home, I stopped planning for lunch altogether for some reason. Even now when we have left overs it's like a revelation, "Hey, I can have lunch tomorrow!" As opposed to, you know, not having lunch.

I once ate baking supplies because the Dude polished off the last of the bread due to gluttony and pecans and chocolate chips were all that I could find to eat. I really should plan better. Hey, there's ice cream in the freezer! I think I may have a bowl. After this, of course. 

When I was planning my mat leave, I had intended to breastfeed, which should have costed me zero dollars, except that I bought nursing bras, a few nursing tops and a manual pump (crap) and an electric pump. And herbs, tincture and drugs that probably did something, but not much. I bet it's calculable how much each ounce I extracted actually cost and my guess is way more than formula, and that's scary 'cause formula is hella pricey. Pricey considering baby sustenance was designed by nature to be free, but again with the useless purchases I outlined above. 

Now I'm paying $100 a month roughly for formula. I was gifted bottles that caused gas problems (I'd picked these bottles out, so I really have no one to blame but myself) and had to replace them and get bottle brushes. I think all this cost around $60 to $70. I don't remember. I blocked it out. I also bought a powder dispenser so I could actually leave the house without being on the clock 'cause formula goes bad in two hours, probably faster in the heat we had this summer. That humidity could curdle milk still in the breast.

There's sales and coupons and I take advantage of Shopper's Drug Mart's Optimum points like no one's business. I don't even buy formula now unless I can get bonus points for them. I think this habit is warping me because even though I was running very low, I felt very put out for having to buy a can without being bonus-points rewarded for it. Like, yeah, I need this product to keep my baby alive and everything, but I have to buy it without getting anything else out of it? Whaaaa?

I recently bought a high chair for Jack for $80:

Yeah, there are used items on Kijiji and Craigslist, but ain't no one got time for that. Renting a car adds to the price of a used chair or borrowing a family member's car means too much organizing with random strangers over time windows not fully in your control. And anyway, all the other chairs were over $100.

I also bought more Tots Bots diapers 'cause they're better than the BumGenius, if you ask me (I'll review them another time in full), and they're damn cute. Also very expensive, about $25, which will pay for itself over time and it's a better sort of diaper to send to daycare when the time comes. No one wants to be a pain the ass about what goes on their child's ass, not with people you want to like your son and not view him as a, well, pain in the ass.

Moo. Hehe! Love cows.

And I saw baby food on sale, so I thought, "Well! I'll stock up on rice cereal, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes..." I know I can make my own baby food, but if there's anything motherhood has taught me, it's that I am not going to get a medal for going out of my way to be perfect. And Jack will probably be fine. I value my time more than I value saving a little money on baby food. I'll probably mush some bananas and avocados because I'm not that lazy, but that's about as far as I intend to go.

I mean, I'm already using cloth diapers. Surely that's crunchy and frugal enough. 

When Jack started teething, I bought Camilia (on the recommendation of a friend and reader) and it's around a dollar a dose! Of course when it's worth it, it's worth it, and I've also used baby Tylenol. Don't understand not using that stuff. I know there are wary parents out there, but I would never try to sleep unmedicated with tooth pain, so yeah. And bought Sofie the giraffe for chewing on. 

And then there's daycare coming up. $1,500 a month, and god help me, please let us get the subsidy! If not, I don't know how we'll manage for a few years with that cost. I know we could do it, we just wouldn't have any fun. Like ever.

When people say kids are expensive, they ain't lying. And I was all frugal. But babies, they are a money suck. You can borrow things, buy on sale and used, and go crunchy, but in the end you're still bleeding cash. On mat leave pay. 

I don't even know what I'd do with all the extra money we used to have. Probably buy dresses.


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