Once upon a time we had fewer kids and more money. It's a long, sad story, our move from lower middle class to upper middle class to total poverty (law school) and then back up to lower middle class. And, I'll tell ya something...it's actually hardest in the middle. One good thing though, is that over the years and through all that movement, I've learned a thing or two about frugality.
The easiest way to be frugal is to just not buy stuff. Seriously...just don't buy it. It's easier to just not buy stuff than it is to coupon or shop sales or go bargain hunting. Most of the time, you don't even miss it, and it's easy enough to find a way to do without. Plus, stuff annoys me. It clutters up my house and takes up space.
So here are 7 things I don't buy and 1 thing I do. And, since there are 7 of them, I'll just link up with Jen from Conversion Diary for 7QTF.
1. Baby food
I just feed my babies little bits and bites of whatever we are eating and it's all good. They learn to like lots of different textures and learn to handle "chunks" of food a bit earlier, which I like to think makes them at a lower risk of choking because they become more adept at handling food in their mouth at an earlier age. I like to think that anyway. And, it saves a ton of money, because those little bits of food are basically negligible when it comes to increasing our grocery bill.
We just use cloth towels for cleaning....throw then in the wash when dirty and then re-use. Works just as well as paper towels and savers a ton of money....especially for me. Because I know myself....I am a paper towel waster....the type of person to use 4 paper towels when one would do. It's easier to just not use them at all. I'm also a toilet paper waster, but don't worry, I'm NOT going to give up toilet paper.
Body Skin Stuff
We don't use any skin lotions or moisturizers or anything like that. My personal theory is that they are all make your skin drier, hence requiring more moisturizer or lotion...it's a conspiracy I tell ya. Plus, they are horrible for you and contain all sorts of carcinogens and other bad stuff. The same goes for chapstick. Chapstick actually makes your lips drier. Plus, I'm a bit of a hippie, so I tend to shy away from that stuff anyway...although I do use shampoo and deodorant (although I make my own) and I swear, I also shave...so I'm not totally completely out there, I promise.
I just use small washcloths with water and it works just as well as actual baby wipes, with a lot less expense. and no nasty chemicals. I just throw them in the wash with the cloth diapers and it's all good. Plus, I'm a baby wipe waster, so it's easier for me to just not buy them.
Processed/Convenience Food Anything
This is as much for health reasons as it is for frugality. We don't eat hardly any processed food. It's just as easy to make our own BBQ or Honey Mustard sauce or Taco Seasoning or Spice Rub or whatever else. And with a little bit of practice and advance planning it's really not all that hard to make our own snacks and pizza and macaroni and cheese and whatever. The only exceptions are I do buy bread (I find that making my own doesn't actually save money and takes too much time, even accounting for buying the more expensive, healthier brands of bread) and gluten-free pasta and the occasional splurge of gluten-free crackers (because I've just never been able to master making crackers).
Okay, I wouldn't say that I NEVER buy kid's clothes, but it's very, very, very rare for me. Through a combination of saving clothes to pass down and very generous friends who've given us hand me downs, I've very rarely needed to buy kid's clothes....and almost never for Greta or John or Elsa. I have had to buy more stuff for Heidi...mostly because she was the oldest and because she was always really big for her age and grew at a super fast rate, so she outgrew clothes much quicker than the other kids do. For the younger three though...I've very rarely had to buy anything...only really shoes and underwear. If you don't have friend's willing to pass down clothes...make some. Seriously...get the word out there that you're looking for kid's clothes and I bet you'll soon be inundated with way more than you can use.
Feminine Hygiene Products.
Okay, I'm sure this is too much information...and any guys reading this,...just stop reading now. Just stop...you've been warned.. Several years ago, I got into "mama cloth" which is basically cloth pads. I find them to be way more comfortable, and I *think* they may actually help reduce flow heaviness and cramps. Can't swear by it, but since I've started using them...I almost never get cramps and have lighter flow...when I actually need them that is. Ecological breastfeeding greatly reduces the amount of the time I actually need any sort of product at all.
The One Thing I Do Buy: Disposable diapers because I value my sleep. Now, we do use cloth diapers most of the time, but I use one disposable diaper a day...or should I say night. The cloth just can't hold an entire night's worth of pee from a nursing all night baby, but the sposies can. And, I refuse to get up in the middle of the night and change diapers, so sposies it is, at least overnight until babe gets night-weaned.
And, those are my 7 things I don't buy. What are some things YOU don't buy ?