The Eco-nomical Baby Guide Podcast on Dandeliondish

Our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, is a record of how we saved thousands of dollars by going green. In my podcast with Tanya Lieberman of Dandeliondish.com, I got to reflect on how The Eco-nomical Baby Guide can support new parents as they save money and the planet. If you’re wondering exactly what the book is about, take about fifteen minutes to listen to this interview and see if it might work for you. (And The Eco-nomical Baby Guide is still miraculously cheap right now at just under eight bucks on Amazon–it will earn several dozen times its cost in savings!)

When Did You Start Becoming a Green Parent?

My pregnancy moved my thrifty, green tendencies to a whole new level, but people discover this blog at different points in their parenting journeys.  Why are you considering eco-friendly, budget-friendly choices?  Was is economic necessity?  A newfound environmental awareness?  A friend or relative who blazed the trail?  (Rebecca was certainly a huge help for me since we were both pregnant at the same time and she tutored me in cloth diapering, buying used, and reducing purchases.)

Whether you’re just beginning to make frugal, green shifts, or were eco-conscious to begin with , you may want to read our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet.  Request it at your local library to read it for free or pick up a copy of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide on Amazon for less than ten bucks.  (That’s 60% off the cover price!)
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Supporting New Moms with The Eco-nomical Baby Guide

It’s official.  We’re done procreating around here.  Sad, but also relieved to be moving into a more sleep-filled future, we rounded up the baby gear (which was all handed down to us or purchased used) and gave it to a pregnant friend.

And here’s the bonus—my friend had read our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, and heeded its wisdom completely!  She and her husband have made it known that they’re open to all used gear and have been loaded up with hand me downs from family and friends.

Their nursery is almost complete and the only thing they have bought thus far is the paint.  The crib, the dresser, cloth diapers, changing table, car seat, clothes and much more have all been given to them.  When they shared what they read in the book about buying used instead of spending thousands on baby’s first year alone, they became heroes in their social circles.  Baby rearing families all proclaimed that they wished they would have bought less paraphernalia and acquired more of it used.
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How Much is Eco-friendly, Budget-Friendly Wisdom Worth?

Our new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, costs $13.57 on Amazon.  Is it truly worth that much when you can read our tantalizing posts for free?

Only if you want to save thousands on baby’s first few years.  Thousands?  Seriously?  How can that be?  Here’s a quick outline:

Nursery Gear.  If you use our tips for scoring quality, safe secondhand gear or repurposing what you already have, you’ll save several hundred dollars on nursery furnishings alone.  Plus there’s a directory of quality green products for your eco-splurges.

Diapering. Want to avoid spending nearly two thousand dollars on diapering per child?  Check out our tips on using cloth!  It’s easier than ever and your savings will accumulate without regular runs to the store to stock up on pampers.  When your second or even third baby arrives, you won’t need to spend a dime on new supplies. Plus you’ll keep several tons of waste out of our landfills!
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Ode to The Eco-nomical Baby Guide

You love your baby with your whole soul, right?  Well that is how Rebecca and I feel about our new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-To-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and The Planet. (We love our actual children more, but this creative work is a close second…)   It has taken us years to write this gem and it may take us years to celebrate its arrival.  So bear with me for today’s adventure in substandard poetry….

Ode to The Eco-nomical Baby Guide

Oh manifesto of glorious green thriftiness
How I love perusing your pages
And deeply understanding
Every cloth diaper in existence.
Oh treatise of eco-frugality,
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The Friday Question: Why did you go green with baby?

go green with babyWere you worried about environmental toxins lurking in the Lysol, baby’s dirty diapers filing local landfills, or blinking plastic toys threatening to take over your household?  Were you motivated by family and friends or did they challenge your attempts to be an eco-conscious parent?

We’re very interested in what makes expectant families go green because the lure of mainstream baby rearing with its hoards of innovative gadgets and convenient products can be hard to evade when you’re nervous about the transition to parenthood.  When did you decide that you’d like to be a conscientious consumer or even less of a consumer?

When we were both pregnant at the same time, Rebecca and I typed flurries of frantic emails to each other trying to figure out how to use cloth diapers and make our own baby food.  Everyone else thought our cutting edge environmental parenting was a bit kooky, but with the support of each other (a two person green parenting community that has now been joined by all of you!) we took the plunge.  It was far less adventurous and much more fun that we ever expected to be eco-friendly parents.
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Five Ways to Score a Free Copy of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide

The Eco-nomical baby guideWe’re so proud of our new book that we’d like to get it in everyone’s hands.  The information stuffed between the bindings saved us about six thousand dollars in our babies’ first year alone so it’s worth shelling out a few bucks for a copy—but card carrying tightwads might want to know how to get the book for FREE.

  • Check it out! What?! Your library doesn’t have it? Most libraries have online forms where you can recommend books for purchase.  Once your library gets it make sure you put it on hold for yourself!
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Book Title Brainstorm

 Help!  We need a new title for our book!  After two years of working on The Green Baby Guide; Down-To-Earth Ways to Save Time, Money, and the Planet our publisher’s sales team has informed us that our title has to change—and we have less than two weeks to come up with another one.  Apparently “green fatigue” is in full swing, and they want to keep the word “green” out of the title.

The unique aspect of our eco-friendly guide is that it’s focused on frugal, eco-friendly baby rearing—which seems to be just what parents need in this economic recession.  Most green baby guides focus on buying high end organic products, which isn’t really accessible for all families.  How can we express that in a catchy title?  So far we’ve come up with the following:

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Tightwad Tips for Raising Baby from Frugal Zealot, Amy Dacyczyn

Last week we reviewed Amy Dacyczyn’s Tightwad Gazette, the ultimate guide to creative frugality.  We could ooze on for hours about her innovative outlook on reusing and reducing, but instead we’ll give you some concrete examples of how she made budget friendly, eco-friendly choices with her twin babies. 

Since Dacyczyn thought her fourth child would be her last, she had given away all of her baby things, only to find out that she was having a surprise set of twins.  She spent less than $100 on their first year of life by employing some zany acts of simplicity.  These are just some of the items she skipped with her babies:

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The Freedom of Frugality

Growing up, frugality was more of a lifestyle than a choice. Even though my parents didn’t necessarily practice penny pinching with the environment in mind, many of their cost-saving practices were eco-friendly as well.  My sister and I thought that showering consisted of getting wet, turning off the water to “soap up” and then following with a quick rinse.  We flattened aluminum cans for the recycling bin and took the compost out without any realization that we were helping the environment.  However, through the practice of penny pinching we did learn that our resources are precious.

baby-beach-walk.jpgAlthough it may sound like I lived a horribly deprived childhood, the truth is that many of our thrifty practices were quite adventurous. Instead of going to Maui, my family spent our vacations camping in Oregon rainforests or visiting relatives, where we often set up sleeping bags on the living room floor.  On car trips we had picnics at rest areas rather than swinging through fast food restaurants.  No one in my family ever belonged to a gym, but we enjoyed nightly moonlit family beach walks near my home to stay healthy and enjoy the outdoors. 

Roscoe Goes Beachwalking 

Now that I’m in my mid thirties, I’ve learned to appreciate my quirky saving skills and all the benefits they’ve brought to me over the years. Having the ability to prioritize my values and then differentiate between wants and needs has been an extremely helpful skill.  I was able to pay off huge graduate school loans in four years on a starting teacher’s salary because of extreme (and sometimes neurotic) tightwaddery. Most of the time, all that penny pinching had huge advantages for the environment as well.  I biked for transportation whenever possible and bought most of my clothing at thrift shops.  To cut grocery costs, I ate very little meat and rarely purchased convenience foods.

As a parent, I find that all that self-restraint ends up providing personal freedom in more ways than one. Financially, it has allowed us the freedom to take more time with our son and relax about the costs of having a child.  We want to model thriftiness and living simply right from the start with Roscoe.

With that in mind, we outfitted most of Roscoe’s nursery with used furniture, dress him in quality hand-me-downs and use cloth diapers.  Roscoe doesn’t eye his crib with disdain and will never care that another soul has worn his clothes before him, but the cost savings are phenomenal.

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Even though as a teenager I swore I would live a more luxurious life someday, I now have a great appreciation for my frugal roots.  When Roscoe grows up a bit and resents the simple life, I’ll remind myself that in the long run, we’re giving him the gift of self-reliance, self-restraint, and an environment that’s just a little bit cleaner.

Roscoe Enjoys Cost-Free Fun on The Playground Slide