Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cash or Credit?

Everyone tells you that having a baby weighs down your wallet but -- rest assured -- you won't notice the change for awhile. 
This is definitely true. 
Initially a baby is relatively inexpensive, especially if you're nursing and don't have to pay for formula.  Aside from diapers and wipes and a hodgepodge of useless crap that various baby books INSIST that you buy, a newborn typically won't break your budget. 
Then one day... WHAM, BAM... You have a real human being who's growing, and this baby gets pretty expensive pretty fast. 
You're suddenly spending more without even realizing where your money is going. 
Diapers get pricier the bigger they get. 
You can't seem to keep the pantry stocked with enough jars of Vegetable Turkey Dinner to feed an army. 
The introduction of table food results in some gag-inducing diaper changes which result in an excessive use of baby wipes.  

(I think I've now set the record for the number of wipes used during a single diaper change.) 
And let's not overlook the Ponzi scheme known as baby-proof-apalooza. 
Retailers can get away with charging $100 for a safety gate because we, as parents, are inevitably going to opt out of allowing our children to go weeeeeeeee, all the way down the stairs.
I never thought I'd be one of those women who reveled in the art of cutting coupons and turned it into a weekend activity.  I similarly never imagined that I'd revolve my shopping around whichever store had the best deals going on.  But having a baby has made me acutely aware of the benefits of savvy shopping. 
Target for yogurt, BJ's for wipes, for... well, diapers... 
Use this coupon at CVS, that one at Harris Teeter, those two at Buy Buy Baby.
I probably spend more in gas mileage driving to eight different stores than I actually save on any actual products.
I often wonder if this little retail dance is worth the intricate choreography (everything must revolve around nap time!) But another part of me thinks that it may just give me something to do in order to break up the day.  As in -- "Ooooh, a new thing to do... we haven't been to Target in 3 days!"
Still another part of me wonders if it's just the impulse to buy that keeps me going (Women, you may be interested to know, control about $20 trillion in consumer spending each year, according to the Harvard Business Review.)
Any way you look at it, I'm responsible for making sure there's soap in the shower, food in the fridge, and enough diapers to get us through an introduction to dairy.
And while I used to peruse the latest Sephora catalogue for whatever new breakthrough they were promoting in anti-aging skincare, drop $200 at the store, and race home eager to smear my face with lotions and potions that promised to make me glow from within... 
My glow these days tends to come from my $3 coupon for Ultra Soft Charmin. (Hey, a soft tushy is a happy tushy.)


  1. I find myself shopping at Whole foods for Dylan. Me on the other hand, had macaroni (that dylan didn't like...Safeway brand) and canned tomatoes for lunch today while my son at Organic spinach, mango and pear puree, artesian bread and threw it on the floor.

    I do find myself ALWAYS shopping for him.

  2. You know what's even better than for diapers? Amazon. They have this mom site, and you get stuff you get on a subscription, like diapers, for 30% of with free shipping. And if you get enough, you can earn up to a year with their prime membership (free two day shipping on most everything else). Love it.