Jemma’s Money

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how finances affect their parenting choices. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Before Jemma was born we made some significant plans to fit baby into our budget. Two of the biggest things were our birth center and cloth diapers.
  1. BIRTH CENTER – We had the most fabulous experience with our birth center. Hands down the best care with all the amenities of a vacation (not kidding – huge bath tub, yummy food, postpartum massage, comfy bed, and so much more!). Insurance didn’t cover a dime – thank you, United Healthcare – so we opted to cash flow the cost of our prenatal, birth, and postpartum care. We chose to pay in full by 35 weeks for a discount which put us at $3,750 for everything.
  2. CLOTH DIAPERS – Thinking ahead to the mounds of diapers and wipes we would need for a baby I decided to go the cloth route. We registered for them and used money gifts to complete our stash and to date I’ve spent maybe $75 on regular diapers and wipes for travel, some nights, and lazy days.

On a monthly basis this is how Jemma fits into our budget …

  • FOOD – Breastmilk is free – score and I use small canning jars to store any frozen breastmilk. Jemma eats table food with us so I don’t spend any extra on baby food. We’ve tried a few things over the months, but nothing has been a hit. We haven’t seen our grocery budget increase at all since Jemma joined us.
  • UTILITIES – Although we’re washing cloth diapers we haven’t seen a significant increase in our water bill. 
  • CLOTHING – Garage sales, Value Village, and seasonal consignment sales. Need I say more? Jemma is one stylin’ gal if I don’t say so myself, and most everything she wears is second hand. I use her monthly allowance to buy sizes ahead so when she has a growth spurt a wardrobe in the next size is just waiting in a tub in the garage.
  • EXTRAS – Every month we budget $50 just for Jemma, it’s her little allowance. Each month I spend it on something different. Sometimes it’s all fun like hair bows and Target clearance. Other times it is less fun things like a gate to ward off our expert stair climber :) I need to do better at saving a $10 or so every month for when bigger things come up or I run across a great sale, but generally, $50 covers her.

So, on the daily, having Jemma doesn’t really cost us. Monthly, a small increase. And, of course, every penny has been worth it :) Having Jemma has helped us to really hone in on what’s truly important, and that’s priceless.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon October 11 with all the carnival links.)

  • Money Matter$ — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy shares her experiences on several ways to save money as a parent.
  • A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one!
  • Show Me The Money! — Arpita of Up, Down & Natural shares her experience of planning for parenting costs while also balancing the financial aspect of infertility treatments.
  • Material v Spiritual Wealth – Living a Very Frugal Life with Kids — Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares her family’s realizations about the differences between material and spiritual wealth.
  • If I Had a Money Tree — Sheila at A Gift Universe lists the things she would buy for her children if money were no object.
  • Financial Sacrifices, Budgets, and the Single Income Family — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of living within your means, the basics of crafting a budget, and the “real cost” of working outside of the home.
  • Overcoming My Fear of All Things Financial — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares how she is currently overcoming her fear of money and trying to rectify her ignorance of all things financial.
  • Confessions of a Cheapskate — Adrienne at Mommying My Way admits that her cheapskate tendencies that were present pre-motherhood only compounded post-baby.
  • Money MattersWitch Mom hates money; here’s why.
  • Money? What Money?! — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw’s Newest Thoughts describes how decisions she’s made have resulted in little income, yet a green lifestyle for her and her family.
  • What matters. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life might worry about spending too much money on the grocery budget, but she will not sacrifice quality to save a dollar.
  • Making Ends Meet — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares about being a working mom and natural parent.
  • Poor People, Wealthy Ways — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses how existing on very little money allows her to set an example of how to live conscientiously and with love.
  • The Green Stuff — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares how natural parenting has bettered her budget – and her perspective on creating and mothering.
  • Jemma’s Money — Take a sneak peek at That Mama Gretchen’s monthly budget and how Jemma fits into it.
  • 5 Tips for How to Save Time and Money by Eating Healthier — Family meal prep can be expensive and time-consuming without a plan! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares five easy tips for how to make your cooking life (and budget) easier.
  • Belonging in the Countryside — Lack of money led Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales towards natural parenting, but it also hinders her from realizing her dream.
  • Total Disclosure and Total Reform — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl gets down to the nitty gritty of her money problems with hopes that you all can help her get her budget under control.
  • Save Money by Using What You Have — Gaby at Tmuffin is only good with money because she’s lazy, has trouble throwing things away, and is indecisive. Here are some money-saving tips that helped her manage to quit her job and save enough money to become a WAHM.
  • Two Hippos & Ten Euros: A Lesson in BudgetingMudpieMama shares all about how her boys managed a tight budget at a recent zoo outing.
  • ABBA said it — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen ponders where her family has come from, where they are now and her hopes for her children’s financial future.
  • Money vs. TimeMomma Jorje writes about cutting back on junk, bills, and then ultimately on income as well ~ to gain something of greater value: Time.
  • An Unexpected Cost of Parenting — Moorea at MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about planning for parenthood.
  • 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares 5 self-imposed guidelines that help her spend as little money as possible.
  • Frugal Parenting — Lisa at My World Edenwild shares 8 ways she saves money and enriches her family’s lives at the same time.
  • Conscious Cash Conscious — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares her 5 money-conscious considerations that balance her family’s joy with their eco-friendly ideals.
  • Money, Sex and Having it All — Patti at Jazzy Mama explains how she’s willing to give up one thing to get another. (And just for fun, she pretends to give advice on how to build capital in the bedroom.)
  • Money could buy me … a clone? — With no local family to help out, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wants childcare so she can take care of her health.
  • Spending IntentionallyCatholicMommy loves to budget! Join her to learn what to buy, what not to buy, and, most importantly, where to buy.
  • New lessons from an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a follow-up guest post from Sam about the latest lessons their four-year-old’s learned from having his own spending money.
  • How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares tips and links to many resources for saving money while homeschooling from preschool through high school.
  • It’s Not a Baby Crisis. It’s Not Even a Professional Crisis. — Why paid maternity leave, you may ask? Rachael at The Variegated Life has some answers.
  • “Making” Money — Do you like to do-it-yourself? Amy at Anktangle uses her crafty skills to save her family money and live a little greener.
  • Money On My Mind — Luschka at Diary of a First Child has been thinking about money and her relationship with it, specifically how it impacts on her parenting, her parenting choices, and ultimately her lifestyle.
  • Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance — Melissa at The New Mommy Files discusses the various choices she and her family have made that affect their finances, and finds it all to be worth it in the end.
  • Accounting for Taste — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life shares their budget and talks about how they decided food is the most important item to budget for.
  • Money Matters… But Not Too Much — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting shares how her family approaches money without putting too much of a focus onto it.
  • Parenting While Owning a Home Business — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the pros and cons of balancing parenting with working from home.
  • Crunchy Living is SO Expensive…Or Is It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about her biggest objection to natural living – and her surprise at what she learned.
  • Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems — Sarah at Parenting God’s Children shares how a financial accountability partner changed her family’s finances.
  • The Importance of Food Planning — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro discusses how food budgeting and planning has helped her, even if she doesn’t always do it.
  • Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses her family’s approach and experiences with starting an allowance for preschoolers.
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  1. says

    It's amazing how much you can save using cloth isn't it?! We're lucky enough to get loads of beautiful girls clothes handed down which is VERY handy, "pre-loved" stuff makes so much sense especially when they're little and grow out of everything quickly!

  2. says

    I could have written this post about my own son :) Even at 3 yrs old, he really has not bitten into our budget that much (other than an upcoming dental procedure – but hey, that could have been me or Tom too!). Of course my hubby would argue that he caused a huge plunge in our income since I quit work to SAH, but that's a topic for another day ;)

  3. says

    Great post!One of the things we purposely calculated into our "having a second baby budget" was paying for our homebirth midwife. As of right now, it's entirely out of pocket (aren't insurances great?), but we're hoping to get reimbursed after the birth. It'll be a fight, but I'm going to try. As for right now, it's $300 and it hurts to spend that much, but it'll be worth it. Getting the birth I want and giving our baby the best start will always be worth it.

  4. says

    You know, even with my insurance, I still had to pay $2750 for my hospital birth. A home birth would have been over $4000, and we don't have a birth center. I say you scored with that deal! Having babies has not really cost us extra either. We have gotten so much handed down to us, and we have a consignment shop where I can get an entire season's worth of clothes for $20. I don't have $50 a month to spend on the kids right now, and the nice thing is that I don't need to! Of course we have an emergency fund, but it's nice to know that if you live naturally and reuse and repurpose as much as possible, you're really not spending extra on your kids.

  5. Jennifer de cupcake says

    I chose to not even deal with the paperwork with the insurance our midwife was so reasonably priced and allowed for monthly payment options. {about 3,000 hospital would have been $25.} you can not put a price on a good birth experience. and in regards to monthly budgeting I agree, doing things naturally, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, Elimination Communication, Co-sleeping saves so much money, it's easier and they way things "should be done" so yeah, hardly any additional cost to have this baby :) thanks for sharing your post, I did one similar a little while back with a downloadable spreadsheet for monthly expenses… might do a more current one now.

  6. Jennifer de cupcake says

    p.s. my insurance WOULD have covered 70% of the contracted amount, that is what my out of network coverage was.

  7. hobomama says

    I was surprised that anyone thought a baby added a lot of expense to a family's budget, because we had the same experience as you with little difference from before — and then when tax time came around, the extra deduction more than made up for it! Of course, once (if) you start school fees and extracurriculars and other health bills and such, the price goes up, but I think babies can be pretty cheap.

  8. says

    I agree with you, Gretchen – A baby doesn't have to add to a family's budget. Breastmilk is free, baby-food can be table-food, and clothes (even diapers!) can be gently used (I LOVE thrift stores!). It's interesting how much hype there is surrounding adding a new little person to the family. I mean, there is an immense amount of advertising out there that suggests that there are a million things that you need for baby. . . when all you really need is a smart head on your shoulders and a loving heart! Thanks for writing! It's so nice to *meet* you and your lovely little fam!

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