Matt and I have never enjoyed a time in our relationship when both of us were working full-time jobs. Either one was in school while the other worked, or we were both working part-time jobs while attending school. In Rhode Island, I worked full-time while Matt finished his Ph.D. and, currently, I’m at home with the boys while Matt works to repay all the money we borrowed for all that school! In retrospect it wasn’t the best plan, but it’s too late for that now . . .
All this is to say that we aren’t new to the frugal lifestyle. We’ve known for a long time that there is often a less expensive way to do things than the way everyone else is doing it. When we talked about parenthood, long before we were actually pregnant, we knew that we wanted to do it on the cheap. With the money we saved, we could pay down debt and save for a house.
As with most frugal lifestyle choice, there is no one-size-fits all approach. Some things that work wonders for us–like being a 1-car-family or not buying Christmas or birthday presents for our young children–might not work for another family. That being said, two things that have saved us a lot of money over our almost 3 years of parenting are cloth diapering and making our own baby wipe solution. Based on figures about the cost of cloth diapering as well as our personal energy costs, investment in cloth diapers, and our wash and dry routines, I would conservatively estimate that cloth diapering and using cloth wipes has saved our family at least $4000 so far. And our diapers can still be used on future children!
When I decided to make a cloth wipe solution, I consulted this list of recipes I found on Google, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients. So, I adapted the Olive ‘n’ Tea Tree recipe to what I call World’s Easiest Wipe Solution:
Mix together the following:
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon baby shampoo
Put the solution in a spray bottle to spray directly on baby’s bottom (or let’s be realistic . . baby’s legs, hands, etc) or spray directly onto baby wash cloth. Launder wash cloth in your diaper laundry. Repeat the process for the next 3 years.
I like to mix together a big batch of 8 cups at a time and then just refill the spray bottles as necessary. I also keep a mini spray bottle, small enough to pass through airline security, in my diaper bag for clean up on the go. It is also a great use for that olive oil that isn’t as pure as I originally thought it was . . .