Shopping on a Shoestring with Kids in Velcro Shoes

Baby Chick shoesI’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to share a new feature with you here on Purposeful Money. 

If you’ve ever been frustrated by the challenges of raising kids on a tight budget, then we have some good news for you!  New mommy and budget stretcher extraordinaire Andra Baehr will be sharing her money saving tips and tricks with us here.  I’m extra thrilled because she’s also my daughter-in-law, mother to two of our grandsons, and a lovely person to boot.   I’ll let her fill you in on how this all came about.  I know you’ll find some good stuff in her posts, and I hope you’ll join in the conversation and share your tips too.

Now, here’s Andra-

Andra and Caleb

Andra

Awwww, babies.  They’re so cute, aren’t they?  From those adorably chubby cheeks, to their chunky thighs, all the way to their sweet little piggies.  Oh!  Those little toes, how cute are they?  Seriously, baby feet get me every time.  It’s a well-known, scientifically proven fact that those squishy, wrinkly little feet have the ability to melt the hearts of even the toughest, most aloof grown men out there.  And then there are the itty-bitty shoes.  There are tiny dresses, sweater vests, hair bows… but the little shoes take the cake.

Something that has baffled me since my first pregnancy, while admiring all the adorable accessories and outfits available for kids, is how a store can get away with charging $25 for a pair of soleless, velcro, practically disposable shoes that may be worn once or twice by a baby who can’t even walk, doesn’t need shoes at all, and will likely grow out of them entirely within a few short weeks.

BUT, they are so cute, a must-have, right?  Wrong.  Well, maybe you do need them, because your hormones say so, or because you’ve already picked out your baby-to-be’s first Christmas outfit and those shoes you’re gawking at would match perfectly.  Whatever the case may be, if you’re an average middle class parent, spending that kind of money on one pair of shoes each month, or every time your child grows into a bigger size or has a new outfit, is simply not feasible.  Certainly not at full price, anyway!

As a newer parent, I’ll admit, I’ve been caught in that trap.  The “Oh my goodness, it’s so ridiculously cute, my child must have it any cost” trap.  But here’s the thing– kids are expensive.  From the moment you welcome your bundle of joy into the world, to the day you tearfully cart them off to college, they’re costing you money, and a lot of it.  Bringing a child into the world is a beautiful, life-changing experience.  It shifts the dynamics of your relationships, your schedule, and quite importantly, your finances.  Even if you’ve got a solid, comfortable budget you’re working with, having a child inevitably introduces an entirely new set of expenses, and in many cases, a large loss of income.

diapers for my sonAfter the birth of my first son, my husband and I came to the conclusion that it would be most cost effective for our family if I were to not return to work.  This decision eliminated a part of our income that we relied on, while our new baby was introducing expenses we hadn’t quite planned for.  Sure, we expected diapers, that’s a given.  But what about the cost of health insurance, deductibles, and copays?  What about birthdays, Christmases, baby food, and clothing?  What about all those other little things here and there that cost money?  I have spent a good part of my time as a mother finding ways to stretch our budget.  I must say, I often have to pat myself on the back for my resourcefulness.

I’m very pleased to introduce “Shopping on a Shoestring with Kids in Velcro Shoes,”  where I’ll be sharing useful and practical ideas on how to make your budget work for you and your little ones.  There are a lot of ways to save money out there, and I’m excited to pass along some of the methods I use!  Get your gears grinding; it’s time to think outside the box!

Andra Baehr lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons.  She is a stay-at-home mom who recognizes the truth in the old saying “a penny saved is a penny earned.”  You can also find her working at Baehr Family Financial from time to time.

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