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.
I’ve been doing a bit of mental inventory lately about how our financial situation has altered since we’ve been ‘becoming crunchy’.
It’s been an interesting process. One of the main reasons I was never more then on the edges of ‘natural living’ was the idea that it cost too much – in both money and time. When we had Bean, the husband and I felt we were making some big sacrifices that we’d never been willing to make for ourselves in terms of spending extra for organics, etc.
But as we’ve transitioned so much over the past 13 months, I’ve come to realize that we’re not only (for the most part) evening out – we’re actually spending less in many cases, and the time saved in one place easily makes up for more time spent in another.
It’s been quite a shock really – the expense is one of the biggest objections you hear when you talk about getting into all that organic stuff – but how does it really end up breaking down?
Here’s something of a snapshot of what it’s been like for our family (I am guestimating on the prices)…
Things I Used to Buy vs. Things I Buy Now
Household Cleaning Products Then:
- Ceramabrite (cleaner for the stove top) – $4, lasts 3 months
- All Purpose Spray Cleaner – $3, lasts 1-3 months
- Lysol Disposable Wipes – $3, lasts 1 week (I used these for SO much, to my shame)
- Comet – $2, lasts 3-6 months
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner – $3, lasts 2 months
- Glass Cleaner – $3, lasts 3-6 months
- Swiffer Mop refills – $10, lasts 3 months
- Laundry Detergent – $10, lasts 1-2 months
- Fabric Softener – $4, lasts 1-3 months
- Dish Soap – $2, lasts 1-2 months
- Dishwasher Liquid – $6, lasts 1-2 months
- Dishwasher ‘glass brightener’ – $5, lasts 3 months
Altogether (if my math skills are good, which they may well not be), it added up to around $30/month.
Household Cleaning Products Now:
- Baking Soda – $5 (large box), lasts 3-6 months
- Vinegar – $2 (large bottle), lasts 3 months
- Castile Soap – $15 (medium large bottle), lasts 1 year +
- Dish Soap – $2, lasts 1-2 months
- Dishwasher Powder – $6, lasts 3 months
- Smartklean Laundry Ball – $80, lasts 1-2 years
$11.03/month. Not only that, but I save a ton of time – I used to go grocery shopping, then Walmart/Target shopping – now I can get pretty much everything at the grocery store. I don’t even have to visit as many aisles. And those minutes really do add up!
Let’s look at another area (feel free to skip to the paragraph if you just want to know the end result – I won’t mind )
Personal Care Products Then:
- Shampoo – $6-$10, lasts 1-2 months
- Conditioner – $6-$10, lasts 1-2 months
- Body Wash – $8, lasts 1-2 months
- Body Scrub – $3, lasts 2 months
- Face Wash – $20, lasts 2 months
- Face Lotion – $35, lasts 2-3 months
- Hair Gel – $10, lasts 3-6 months
- Hair Dye – $10, lasts 3 months
- Hair Spray – $8, lasts 3 months
- Tampons – $12, lasts 1-2 months
- Pads, $12, lasts 1-2 months
There are others I’m sure, but these are the ones I can mainly think of now. Add it all up, and I was easily spending around $70/month on this stuff (probably more, really)! Kinda find it hard to believe now…
Personal Care Products Now:
- 1 bottle organic shampoo (I did no ‘poo for several months but recently switched back to shampoo; I will talk more about that later ) – $8, lasts 8 months +
- Castile Bar Soap – $5, lasts 3 months
- Coconut Oil – $10, lasts 6-12 months +
- Cloth Pads – $60, lasts 1-2 years+
- Diva Cup – $40, lasts 1 year +
$12.67/month. HA! Boy have I changed my tune lol. And again…the time I save? I feel weird sometimes walking into the store and realizing, I have zero need to even enter those aisles I used to spend so much time in. It’s pretty freeing, let me tell you.
How about some of the other things I used to buy ALL the time and never buy now? Paper plates, paper cups, paper towels, napkins. I do still buy diapers and wipes – my childcare won’t use cloth (though we try to use as often as possible at home), and we haven’t switched to family cloth yet, though I swear the day is coming. But it does make for even more aisles I don’t have to visit.
And let me emphasize – this is not a bragging post – this is more like a ‘what the hell was wrong with me?’ kinda thing. I don’t even know why I spent so much money on all that stuff…it was just what I grew up doing and never thought to change it for the longest time.
But now that I don’t, I have extra to buy organic fruits and veggies. I can justify spending more on antibiotic and hormone free meat. I have the few extra minutes I need to prepare something fresh at home because I’m not already exhausted from trekking around the entire grocery store and then visiting another store for all the paper and cleaning products.
Some of the ideas we’ve subscribed to as ‘attachment’ parents have even saved us quite a lot! We already had a crib, but we never used it and wouldn’t have bought one since we co-sleep. Babywearing meant very little need for a stroller (though I have used one often just for carrying all the stuff that has to come along with baby lol). If you breastfeed you don’t have to spend on bottles or formula (and trust me, those add up!). We’re not into ‘baby trainers’ so we don’t shell out for any of that kind of thing.
Even being ‘green’ and more willing to take something used over buying something new has been a huge savings…there’s no way on earth we’ve spent that $10,000 or whatever it is a new baby is supposed to cost in their first year.
All this to say, crunchy organic living really does not have to cost as much as you may think it will. And if we were even better about it, I know there are many more places we would be saving – and we’ll continue to work towards getting there.
Beyond that, I find the things that truly do cost more are usually very worth it – what we spend in money we save in cost to our health and well being, something I’ve come to be more and more okay with as the past year has gone by.
I’m far from perfect and I wish I always stood by my convictions, but the more I do, the more I realize – saying it’s all too expensive is just a myth, in more ways than one. I’m just glad I finally figured it out…
Have you found crunchy living to be more, or less expensive than mainstream living? Do you have tips for cutting costs when it comes to living naturally?
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon October 11 with all the carnival links.)
- Money Matter$ — 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 Matters — Witch 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 Budgeting — MudpieMama 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. Time — Momma 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 Intentionally — CatholicMommy 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.