When Frugality Goes Too Far

Some of us come by thriftiness naturally. Because of my depression era, midwestern relatives, I’m genetically programed to avoid waste at all cost. In college, while other students were buying extravagant items like milkshakes and cheeseburgers, I was preparing ramen noodles in my hot pot. (and feeling ever so resourceful)

For the last nearly four decades of my life, I have embraced adventurous frugality with humor and sometimes even a bit of moral superiority. During the decade that we drove my un-airconditioned car while holding frozen wash clothes in our armpits, my husband and I were proud of our sweaty sheen when we arrived at our destination. This was after hours of heat exhaustion interrupted only by squirts of ice water that we kept in a squirt bottle in the cup holder.

Do You Use Rain Barrels?

Here in Oregon we have been sopping wet for weeks.  With a hot summer ahead and an organic garden to water, I’ve been considering purchasing rain barrels.   This week calls for lots of rain, but I’m not sure that they’re easy to use and store. Is it possible to hook the hose up to the barrel and water your beds or do you have to individually fill watering cans?  There’s a local installer that will deliver the barrels and build a stand for them for around $70 each, but I’d love to find a less expensive option.  Any ideas? Please inspire me to take the plunge!

Money Saving Monday: Green Baby Guide’s Top Ten Penny Pinching Posts

Today marks our final in a series of posts dedicated to saving cash while keeping the environment in mind.  (Check here, here, and here for some great frugal blog resources to support your money saving efforts.)  Over the past two years we’ve written dozens of posts on budget friendly, earth friendly practices, but we’ve picked our favorites to help you save money in 2010.saving-money-and the planet

  • Did you know that there’s one brand of high quality, name brand green laundry soap that’s far cheaper than even generics? Check this post to see how you can save money and the planet while tossing those yam-encrusted baby bibs into the wash.
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The Long Term Rewards of Under Indulgence

Is under indulgence the same thing as deprivation?  We think not!  Buying fewer, thoughtful gifts and treats for your child will allow him or her to have an enhanced sense of appreciation, plus you’ll be helping lighten the load on our planet and your pocketbook.  But beyond the immediate rewards, you’ll also reap benefits for years to csaving money and environment by under indulgingome.

  • Less financial stress: The leading cause of arguments between spouses is money.  When you co-commit to set more aside for the future, you’re also giving your baby a family with less conflicts.
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Were You Frugal Before the Recession?

The hand-me-downs, the homemade bread, the generic groceries—living a low-cost life is less than glamorous.  I used to complain about my ultra-cheap childhood, but in these rough financial times, I appreciate my lifelong education as a skinflint.  As more Americans struggle with unemployment and lower wages, it seems that all of us are moving away from consumerism and towards frugal adventurism.

saving money during a recessionHere at Greenbabyguide.com, we celebrate our nation’s new fascination with penny pinching, but we’ve been enjoying life on the cheap for decades.  Far before this recession or the arrival of our babies, we were living with less, buying used, and relishing the challenge of stretching a dollar as far as it could possibly go.

The Top Five Ways to Save Money and The Planet

Since fuel expenses, high food prices, and child-rearing costs are eating into our thrifty budgets, here are some simple, eco-friendly tips that can save some money. They all come directly from stopglobalwarming.org, which has another five money saving tips available for your perusal.  While you’re there, use their handy-dandy online calculator to estimate your carbon and cost savings.

Run your dishwasher only when it’s loaded to full capacity.  It’ll save you $40 per year and reduce your carbon emissions by a whopping 200 pounds.

Move your thermostat down two degrees when it’s cold and up two degrees when it’s hot.  This minor switch will save your family $98 annually and bring your carbon emissions down by two thousand pounds!


How Much Money Do Cloth Diapers Save?: A Cloth vs. Disposable Cost Comparison

Consumer Reports estimates you’ll spend $1500-2000 for disposable diapers before your child is potty trained.  Can you save by using cloth?  Yes!  The cheapest option, prefolds plus covers, can cost as little as $243 over 2.5 years—that includes washing and drying expenses.  An all-in-one (such as this one by bumGenius) or pocket diaper (such as a Fuzzibunz) can cost around $17 each, so people tend to buy fewer and wash them more often, raising the total price over 2.5 years to $792.  To see our calculations and learn how to save money using cloth diapers, keep reading.

Prefolds: The Cheapest Diapering Option.  My daughter just turned two.  According to my obsessively detailed calculations, I spent $129.50 on the first year and $66 on the second.  I don’t foresee buying any more supplies, so after 2.5 years (the average age of potty training), I’ll have spent $213.50 diapering my child.  That figure includes all my cloth diapers, some disposables for travel, and washing and drying.