Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Making" Money

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how finances affect their parenting choices. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Part of the way I parent has to do with being more conscious of the environment and the impact that our family has on it. Choosing a "greener" lifestyle doesn't have to mean spending more money. In fact, replacing disposable products in the home will save lots of money over time. The upfront cost might seem like a lot, but just think—you will rarely have to spend money to replace those things! Cloth diapers, cloth napkins and towels, reusable menstrual products, cloth baby wipes, reusable shopping bags...all these things are saving my family money over time.

Still, the upfront expense can be more than I'd like to spend sometimes. One of the ways I try to cut back on those costs is by making things myself. Our old clothes get freecycled and donated to thrift stores, but only if I can't re-purpose the cloth to make something new. I strive to cut down on the things I buy that I could make not only because it saves money, but because I find joy in creating things with my hands. Then, getting to use those things in our home brings me even more satisfaction. It feels like I'm making money by re-purposing things that would've otherwise been discarded.

Several months ago, Daniel developed a sensitivity to synthetic diapers. That threw our diapering plans for a loop, since the majority of our stash was made up of pocket diapers with microsuede (polyester) lining. The first thing we did after Daniel's pediatrician suggested that we switch completely to natural fiber diapers was to go out and buy a dozen toddler sized cotton prefolds. Prefolds are one of the most inexpensive ways to cloth diaper, and we knew we'd have to go that route for a while (if not for the rest of the time Daniel is in diapers). Shortly after that, I crocheted him a wool soaker with some yarn I bought on sale, since we needed to use PUL covers less of the time to increase breathability. I got a few used fitted diapers from a diaper swapping group on Facebook, and I've also recently made him a few fitteds from tshirts I got from a thrift store. They're really cute, very functional, and extremely inexpensive (though a bit labor intensive) to make. I really enjoyed the challenge of taking on that new project!

Daniel's wardrobe is simple and inexpensive, currently consisting of tshirts, homemade baby leggings, socks and one pair of soft soled shoes. Besides making things myself, keeping things simple is our other main money saving strategy. Jaymz and I realized early on with Daniel that he wouldn't need that many clothes, since he grows out of them so fast anyway. I don't mind dressing him in the same things, because the things we have I really love. Almost all of his clothes come from consignment sales, thrift stores, and clearance racks. I love a good deal!

These strategies help me to both save money and feel like I'm making a difference with the amount of waste we produce. I also find creating things to be very therapeutic, which makes it even more beneficial to the whole family!

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon October 11 with all the carnival links.)

  • Money Matter$ — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares her experiences on several ways to save money as a parent.
  • A different kind of life... — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one!
  • Show Me The Money! — Arpita of Up, Down & Natural shares her experience of planning for parenting costs while also balancing the financial aspect of infertility treatments.
  • Material v Spiritual Wealth - Living a Very Frugal Life with Kids — Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares her family's realizations about the differences between material and spiritual wealth.
  • If I Had a Money Tree — Sheila at A Gift Universe lists the things she would buy for her children if money were no object.
  • Financial Sacrifices, Budgets, and the Single Income Family — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of living within your means, the basics of crafting a budget, and the "real cost" of working outside of the home.
  • Overcoming My Fear of All Things Financial — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares how she is currently overcoming her fear of money and trying to rectify her ignorance of all things financial.
  • Confessions of a Cheapskate — Adrienne at Mommying My Way admits that her cheapskate tendencies that were present pre-motherhood only compounded post-baby.
  • Money MattersWitch Mom hates money; here's why.
  • Money? What Money?! — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw's Newest Thoughts describes how decisions she's made have resulted in little income, yet a green lifestyle for her and her family.
  • What matters. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life might worry about spending too much money on the grocery budget, but she will not sacrifice quality to save a dollar.
  • Making Ends Meet — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares about being a working mom and natural parent.
  • Poor People, Wealthy Ways — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses how existing on very little money allows her to set an example of how to live conscientiously and with love.
  • The Green Stuff — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares how natural parenting has bettered her budget - and her perspective on creating and mothering.
  • Jemma's Money — Take a sneak peek at That Mama Gretchen's monthly budget and how Jemma fits into it.
  • 5 Tips for How to Save Time and Money by Eating Healthier — Family meal prep can be expensive and time-consuming without a plan! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares five easy tips for how to make your cooking life (and budget) easier.
  • Belonging in the Countryside — Lack of money led Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales towards natural parenting, but it also hinders her from realizing her dream.
  • Total Disclosure and Total Reform — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl gets down to the nitty gritty of her money problems with hopes that you all can help her get her budget under control.
  • Save Money by Using What You Have — Gaby at Tmuffin is only good with money because she's lazy, has trouble throwing things away, and is indecisive. Here are some money-saving tips that helped her manage to quit her job and save enough money to become a WAHM.
  • Two Hippos & Ten Euros: A Lesson in BudgetingMudpieMama shares all about how her boys managed a tight budget at a recent zoo outing.
  • ABBA said it — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen ponders where her family has come from, where they are now and her hopes for her children's financial future.

  • Money vs. TimeMomma Jorje writes about cutting back on junk, bills, and then ultimately on income as well ~ to gain something of greater value: Time.
  • An Unexpected Cost of Parenting — Moorea at MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about planning for parenthood.
  • 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares 5 self-imposed guidelines that help her spend as little money as possible.
  • Frugal Parenting — Lisa at My World Edenwild shares 8 ways she saves money and enriches her family's lives at the same time.
  • Conscious Cash Conscious — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares her 5 money-conscious considerations that balance her family’s joy with their eco-friendly ideals.
  • Money, Sex and Having it All — Patti at Jazzy Mama explains how she's willing to give up one thing to get another. (And just for fun, she pretends to give advice on how to build capital in the bedroom.)
  • Money could buy me ... a clone? — With no local family to help out, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wants childcare so she can take care of her health.
  • Spending IntentionallyCatholicMommy loves to budget! Join her to learn what to buy, what not to buy, and, most importantly, where to buy.
  • New lessons from an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a follow-up guest post from Sam about the latest lessons their four-year-old's learned from having his own spending money.
  • How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares tips and links to many resources for saving money while homeschooling from preschool through high school.
  • It's Not a Baby Crisis. It's Not Even a Professional Crisis. — Why paid maternity leave, you may ask? Rachael at The Variegated Life has some answers.
  • "Making" Money — Do you like to do-it-yourself? Amy at Anktangle uses her crafty skills to save her family money and live a little greener.
  • Money On My Mind — Luschka at Diary of a First Child has been thinking about money and her relationship with it, specifically how it impacts on her parenting, her parenting choices, and ultimately her lifestyle.
  • Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance — Melissa at The New Mommy Files discusses the various choices she and her family have made that affect their finances, and finds it all to be worth it in the end.
  • Accounting for Taste — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life shares their budget and talks about how they decided food is the most important item to budget for.
  • Money Matters... But Not Too Much — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting shares how her family approaches money without putting too much of a focus onto it.
  • Parenting While Owning a Home Business — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the pros and cons of balancing parenting with working from home.
  • Crunchy Living is SO Expensive...Or Is It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about her biggest objection to natural living - and her surprise at what she learned.
  • Mo' Money, Mo' Problems — Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how a financial accountability partner changed her family's finances.
  • The Importance of Food Planning — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro discusses how food budgeting and planning has helped her, even if she doesn't always do it.
  • Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses her family's approach and experiences with starting an allowance for preschoolers.


  1. I love Daniel's simple wardrobe, and did't realize all of his leggings were homemade. A great way to save money indeed! I wish I were nearby so that I could learn some of your crafty ways!

  2. I love re-using stuff to make new stuff but I'm nit particularly good about coming up with ideas :)
    And I know what you mean about having baby clothes you really love instead of having a lot. And really who notices if they wear the same thing ever week, and more importantly, who cares!

  3. fantastic, you really are making money! I'm not in the least bit crafty, but I do a similar thing in the kitchen I guess. We have virtually zero food waste and most food is made from scratch; I really feel I'm making the most of a minimal budget this way :)

  4. How awesome that you can make all that stuff for your little one! I wish I was more creative with making clothes and things (my efforts at sewing have been kind of hilarious) but I do find it fun to keep plugging away until I find something that I CAN make. My goal this year is to make all our Christmas gifts; I've already started with a few people's birthdays and it's been surprising how gratifying it is to give people gifts made specially for them.

  5. I think that I should have used this post(changing Daniel's name) for my own carnival post because it is EXACTLY what I do. OK, I haven't made any fitted diapers from t-shirts and I don't know how to crochet, but you get the idea. :) Making things that I use just makes me feel so happy and purposeful, so much better than just simply buying something. Do we belong in the 18th century? Wanna collaborate on a time machine? :)

  6. @Dionna: LOL!

    @melissa: Thank you! Most of his leggings are homemade, though I have bought and been gifted some. I make them even nicer now, and those I sell in my Etsy shop. =)

    @mrs green: I could definitely do better about food waste, though we do compost...so I'm trying!

    @Kelly: That's totally how I started with being more crafty: deciding to do all handmade holiday gifts. I've gotten more confident (and thus, more skilled) since that first Christmas. It's great to practice on family and friends!

    @Amanda: Definitely, I'd love to make a time machine with you! Let's just make sure the men aren't too sexist when we get there, though, OK? =P

  7. That was one cute kiddo that I saw. I love the leggings and diaper cover! I agree making stuff for the family is not only cost saving but SO much fun. Do you have a tutorial for the fitteds you made from thirft store tshirts?? I would LOVE to try it out!

  8. I keep meaning to try making diapers. It sounds so satisfying. I'm in the midst of creating a wool fabric cover, but I haven't finished it yet (started just before the birth, so of course not!).

  9. @Arpita: I don't have a tutorial for making fitted diapers from t-shirts...I used several different ones and traced a diaper that I already have for my pattern. I'll be sure to take photos the next time I make one and put the tutorial up on here!

    @Lauren: When you do finish your wool cover, I have snap pliers & polyresin snaps that you could use to finish them (if you're interested). =)

  10. Oh, thank goodness — I tried looking for snap pliers at JoAnn's last time I was there, but there were people blocking the aisle and then all I could find were the metal snaps. I was trying to figure out a way to use Velcro but it's way too much (I'm trying to make it a one-size with an adjustable rise). Anyway, thanks!!

  11. @Lauren: You're welcome! Just let me know when you'd like me to bring them up. They don't sell them at JoAnn's anyway. I had to get mine off of Amazon...and now I'm trying to get a bunch of use out of it to justify the cost! =P

  12. My wardrobe is pretty simple, but Kyra's is stunning. She has more clothes than I've probably ever had! Fortunately little of it I've paid for - now that we're not getting as many gifts for her anymore, it's definitely reduced the fanciness ;)

    And I do love freecyle too!

  13. I really, really, really wish that I had learned to mend and sew. My mother could have taught me, but she passed away years ago. I hate that I have to pay to have someone hem things and mend things for me, and the expense becomes a barrier to taking care of things properly.

    Luckily, just about all of the Critter's clothing comes from a friend with a boy just a couple years older than him.

  14. I love the idea of reusing old clothes by making them into something else. I'll have to look into that. I bet my husband would love some of his old worn out band shirts to become napkins. :-P

    How did you find out that your son had a sensitivity to synthetic diapers? My daughter has been having awful rashes since she was around 1 and we originally thought they were her peanut allergy, but that's gone now and she's still getting them. I'm trying putting an extra layer between her and the soaker (we use gdiapers with homemade inserts) because I'm thinking it's either the actual insert that's irritating her or possible the wetness against her skin. I haven't ever heard of the synthetic diaper thing though, so maybe that's another avenue I should examine.

  15. @theadventuresoflactatinggirl: The synthetic diaper sensitivity discovery was a bit of trial and error on our part. Daniel started getting diaper rashes that were getting infected, and our pediatrician actually was the first one to suggest that perhaps we should try natural fiber diapers to see if that would make it go away. Now we do a lot of EC as well as cover-free time (where he wears a prefold or fitted without a cover at home) to increase airflow and encourage us to change him more often. I hope you figure out what's going on with your daughter! Let me know if you have any more questions about what we tried.

  16. I love the leggings and diaper cover! I agree making stuff for the family is not only cost saving but SO much fun. Do you have a tutorial for the fitteds you made from thirft store tshirts?? I would LOVE to try it out! disney world vacation packages hotel and tickets

  17. I tried looking for snap pliers at JoAnn's last time I was there, but there were people blocking the aisle and then all I could find were the metal snaps. I was trying to figure out a way to use Velcro but it's way too much is bubblegum casting legitimate

  18. I tried looking for snap pliers at JoAnn's last time I was there, but there were people blocking the aisle and then all I could find were the metal snaps. I was trying to figure out a way to use Velcro but it's way too much is bubblegum casting legitimate

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