Help me stop the hemorraging
This is my little cutie. He is amazing. He is hard to handle. And he is EXPENSIVE.
There’s the obvious expenses of food, clothes, shoes, toys etc. But those aren’t bad - he eats what we eat, I buy all of his cloths, shoes and toys used.
No, the place where we hemorrhage is random desperate Amazon purchases of items that promise to make life easier with my tiny monster. Plug covers. Room darkening shades (oh please sleep). ANOTHER BABY GATE (and another, and another, and another.)
How do I stop this random desperate purchasing? I never use my brain. It’s animal instinct when I hit “buy now”. Help a mama out.
Its just plain old discipline, and if he is your first child, that makes it worse. I have three kids. We were blessed to have all three in 35 months (planned that way, we got married later in life). The first kid you go crazy and buy all sorts of things that you really don't need by the second child you begin to see the folly of your purchases. One example? The Diaper Genie. We just had to have it!! It promised convenience and it promised to banish odor. The only problem is the dang things are USELESS. Put two diapers into it and you have to empty it out...no room for a third diaper. So it really didn't do anything it promised. Example #2? The tandem stroller. That thing was so big and so heavy, it was useless. We were much better off using two of the cheap umbrella strollers.
All of this is to say, it will be hard, but forego all purchases. See if you can go a week without it. If so, see if you can go another week without it. and so on. If I had back half the money we spent on stuff that we didn't use or proved to be less than useful, I could probably retire. :)
Also remember that almost everything you buy for your child, they will out grow in a year or less. Strollers, baby carriers, car seats, etc., etc. They outgrow it all. See if you can get buy without the purchase for a while and if yes, just don't buy it.
On the other hand, some items are just natural winners...the $10 umbrella strollers, the pack and play, a good diaper bag. Those things are worth the money in my mind. And until he gets a lot older, don't buy anything battery operated for him (toys, bouncy seats, chair swings, etc.) They just break and really offer no value.
Don’t allow the Paranoia Police to dominate you. Keep your child safe, of course, but let him roam about. They don’t really stick their fingers in plug sockets, they learn to negotiate steps (if you let them!), you can stop doors slamming on their fingers by throwing a towel over the top of the door, most cupboards can be opened safely, if they poo on your dvd collection it washes off (yes, I really do know from experience...).
Relax. He’s great and he’s going to be fine without all that stuff.
One thing that's often recommended for Amazon is to avoid linking your credit cards -- having to manually input that number every time may be just enough of a hassle to make you reconsider.
Also try forcing yourself to wait at least 24 hours between adding something to your cart and checking out, to help prevent impulse purchases and make sure you actually need the item you want. The longer you can wait between wanting something and purchasing something, the more likely you are to reconsider and the less likely you are to spend money unnecessarily.
Also- my toddler kept grabbing the plug out of my laptop and putting it in his mouth. I freaked out. He kept doing it. So I put it in my mouth, to get a sense of what was happening (I also licked my wall, to make sure it wasn't sweet/ lead, since he kept licking it. The things we do for our kids) and it gave me such a shock it numbed my mouth. And that's when i realized he was teething and using the shock to self medicate.
When i realized I had an amazon problem with my first, I decided I could only spend $100/ month on amazon. That really helped me, since I could still fill my cart and "save for later", but in the new month I had to prioritize.
We have several local "pre-loved" groups on Facebook. If there was a type of thing I was looking for I'd look there (or even post there, asking if anyone was thinking to get rid of it). Especially with larger items, people will give it away if you pick it up.
Good luck getting enough sleep. And may you have enough coffee for when you don't.
Things I loved when my kids were that small.
- Pack and play - to be honest, my youngest never had a crib. When he wasn't napping in bookshelves(?!), inside cabinets (why?), or on the backs of couches(!), he slept in the pack and play until he moved to a twin trundle bed.
- Umbrella stroller and baby wrap, often used in tandem, as my little monsters are fairly close in age. We splurged on a fancy $60 umbrella we got used for $20. I loved that thing. LOVED it. Quite possibly the best $20 I've ever spent. I also liked baby wearing when I had one kid in the stroller and another strapped to my front/back. I liked mei tais wraps. If you're in a mom group, ask around, I bet you could borrow several kinds of baby carriers to see what works for you.
- a binky leash. If your kid uses a pacifier, clip that (literal) sucker to his/her clothes. My kid regularly got food in his ears (wrong hole, bucko) but could find his dropped binky about 90 times a day. 90 times a day I didn't have to.
- a camera. 'nuff said.
- baby gate with animal door. Kept the animals (including the baby) where we wanted them and/or safe from one another
- Raising the Christmas tree up. We got apartment-sized trees and put them on top of speakers or filing cabinets. Kept the tree out of reach of little hands (and paws).
- white noise maker. Kidlet the first is a poor sleeper. Now there are free white noise apps and stuff if you don't want to buy a machine that goes shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
- Freaking expensive car seats, several skinned knuckles, and some blood, sweat, and tears. One day we spent over $600 on car seats (my wallet cried. Diono Radians, for the record). It was a heck of a lot cheaper than a new car and the new carseats allowed us to install 3 carseats in the back seat of a 2001 Honda Civic (that's where the blood and sweat came in).
- Paying for a plane seat for an under 2 year old if you find yourself flying anywhere with the wee beastie if the flight is over 90 min. Maybe your kid is happy to sit in your lap or sleep the whole time, in which case count your blessings. My kids were whirling dervishes and would stand, elbow, or knee me in the bladder every 3 seconds. And bounce. And never nap. In the carseat they'd nap on the plane.
- Tuck your car seat in a car seat bag if you fly with kid in lap or sitting in his/her seat with lap belt. Also, gate check that car seat (plus, you can tuck lots of crap like jackets and clothes in the car seat bag). The car seat is more likely to make it where you're going in one place if you do both - do not trust the rental car company or dear Aunt Sally to have an in-date, functional car seat. Also, check the rules now but we found ways to roll our carseats to the gate. A folding handcart with carseat and kid strapped on or straps that strap your carseat (generally without kid) to your carry-on bag.
- Snacks. I carried and carry snacks everywhere. Every where. Kid's got to eat when a kid's got to eat, not when it's convenient for you, and not half an hour later.
- Reusable bottle liners, reusable snack containers, reusable water bottles, reusable sandwich wrappers, reusable cloth diapers, reusable lunch containers, you get the idea. My first kid got a Klean Kanteen and it's still going strong 9 years later. We bought Easy Lunchboxes and while we've lost/killed several over the years, we've been using those daily for years. That's several hundred plastic bags per kid per year.
- Dishwasher. We had three kids before we got a dishwasher. Don't be us. Just don't. *sobs into dishpan hands*
- Sleep. I'd heard about this precious commodity but didn't see much of it for over a decade. My oldest didn't sleep through the night until age 9.
Good luck. And leave stuff in the cart on Amazon for a week. Check Craigslist or ask other moms if you can borrow the latest gadget du jour.
One last thing:
- sleep sacks. When I could no longer swaddle, I got a sleep sack. And then increasingly larger ones. Then even bigger ones. I had kids in sleeper sacks for years; the oldest ones eventually slept in sleep sacks with feet holes. What my kids didn't have? The ability to sleep under a blanket. I guarantee you that my oldest is sleeping on top of his covers right now.
It's so easy to overspend and think you need every gadget under the sun.
In truth with ours, there was only a couple of things that we actually used every day.
Around us there were plenty of second-hand baby markets on a weekend - great places for bargains. Most parents just want rid of the stuff, so it goes for peanuts. My Wife was also able to find plenty of bargains on local Facebook selling groups.
Oh, and if you're not fussy about color, sometimes pink things sell for cheaper used. A lot of moms will put their girl in boys' hand me down clothes and equipment but the same can't be said about putting their boy in girl stuff. All of our equipment was neutral or 'boy' colors as I don't care for pink. That said, my boys looked super cute in their pink sleepers and sleep sacks. TechiCub#3 in particular has the skin tone to really carry off pastel pink. Male genitalia will not fall off in the presence of pink, I promise.
Funny story, my elderly neighbor thought my oldest was a girl for about 2 years because the other neighbors' little girls abbreviated his name into a girl's name. Think Chrissy for Christopher. I didn't correct him when the neighbor referred to "Chrissy" and "her" because he was a very proud man and by the time I realized in my sleep-deprived stupor he'd been doing it for a year. I certainly didn't care and neither did the two year old. But my neighbor was so relieved when my mom corrected him on the kid's name and pronouns when she was visiting. I guess he got perturbed by my 'girl' in boys' clothes and with short hair. OTOH, #2 rocks a cute pixie cut and she gets called a boy all the time when she's wearing head to toe pink clothes and skirts and dresses. *shrug*
Force yourself to add things to a wish list in Amazon AND in YNAB. Put "3rd baby gate" in your budget and let it sit with you for a while. Now, I went nuts on baby gates (best one I ever purchased was for the bathroom door so I could pee without them climbing on me but could still see me - and it kept them from getting in there when I wasn't looking) but I got a lot of them at 2nd hand stores and from FB marketplace.
I was really lucky to have a good friend have her 3rd baby right before I had my first. So I got to witness first hand the "babies bounce" mentality and didn't freak out too bad with mine.