Money On My Mind

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I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing in my head on the subject of money lately. It’s just such a hard topic to discuss really, without people becoming uncomfortable, or the subject actually causing rifts in friendships. But a few things have happened in my life recently that I thought I could share with you and while in effect there are three different thought processes, they’re what’s been milling about my mind, so here goes.

1) Soon after Ameli was born, I started thinking about money and about how having it or not having it affects my parenting – or at least the things around my parenting. If I had limitless means, or even enough means to justify it, my daughter would have only wooden toys. She’d eat only organic food, and wear only organic clothing. She’d probably go to the best school just so that contacts with the “right people” could set her up for life.

But those aren’t our realities, and certainly for the first year of her life, I didn’t buy a single item of clothing for her, or even one toy. Everything was given to us. We were spoiled for being the first of our friends, and the first of my family to have a child. Whereas I’d have little to no pink in Ameli’s cupboard (both because it’s not a colour I’m fond of, and because I hate the stereotype that girl equals pink) but within days of her birth, the pink clothes began trickling their way into her wardrobe.

We were spoiled, and blessed to be given everything including toys, and I wouldn’t even dare be ungrateful for a moment, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a small little part of my heart that wishes for that organic, best of the best life for my little girl.

2) Standing in line at the supermarket the other day, I felt sorry for the woman in the queue in front of me. Her basket was stacked high with follow on formula milk, disposable nappies and bottles upon bottles of pureed food. When her basket was rung up, the amount made my heart sink on her behalf. I know from our own recent use of disposables that her supply would last her no more than two weeks. At 3 bottles a day, the jars of puree would last about the same. I’m not sure how long the follow on milk would last, but I’d imagine about the same again. Her total for two weeks worth of baby supplies was almost that of our two weekly food budget.  I would be bankrupt if we had spent the same instead of spending money on reusable nappies, which can be used for Squidgy too, and even resold later, practicing baby led weaning, and breastfeeding. I’m so grateful that we found a different way.

It’s no wonder people think babies are expensive.

3) Someone told me recently that I was lucky to be able to stay at home with Ameli. This annoys me. I’m not lucky. I’ve made different choices. I drive a ten year old car that my husband and I share. She has an out-the-box new car every couple of years. She has a standing fortnightly appointment with a nail technician and hairdresser. I haven’t had my hair professionally cut in over two years. My sister paid for me to have my nails ‘done’ once in the last two years. She has a designer wardrobe and has more clothes than I’ve owned in my life. I haven’t bought anything new or non-essential since my maternity wardrobe (which consisted of four breastfeeding tops and four dresses… all of which are still in my wardrobe and in ‘circulation’.)

No. I’m not lucky. I’ve made different choices. If the house with two rooms to each person, the car, the clothes and the appearance were my priorities, I can assure you I would also not be ‘lucky’ enough to afford to stay home to raise my child. (I know that it’s not an option for everyone, and some people simply have to work to make ends meet. I’m just saying that each person’s idea of what those ends ‘meeting’ involve is different. )

Money. Something I’m finally realising about money, 32 years in, is that while it does make  the world go round, and it doesn’t buy happiness or love, having an understanding of money as a resource rather than a reason is essential, otherwise you’ll spend your life never having enough, and that’s a sad and frustrating place to be.

 

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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 Matters — Witch 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 wishes parenting through play was her only responsibility during the day.
  • 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 heeds 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 Budgeting — MudpieMama 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. Time — Momma 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 Intentionally — CatholicMommy 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 an allowance.
  • 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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32 thoughts on “Money On My Mind

  1. I absolutely love this post. I’ve had countless coversations with friends who tell me how sad they are that they ‘have’ to go back to work and that I’m so ‘lucky’ to be at home. All of these people’s partners earn more than my husband. I do count myself very blessed to be able to be at home with my girls but it’s not just ‘luck’- it’s a lot of effort and hard work, too. I will certainly be having a look at those nappies you mention, we are using disposables and it’s inspired me to see about these washable ones! :)
    Hannah’s last blog post ..Never Again

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  2. Pingback: The Green Stuff
  3. Pingback: ABBA said it! «
  4. I love the end of this post where you’re talking about your friend saying you’re “lucky” you can stay at home. I understand that there are situations that it absolutely can not work financially (like a single parent), but I make sacrifices in order to stay home. There’s no luck in it, just working it out. If someone truly wants to stay home, they’ll make it work.

    When my sister-in-law lost her job a while back, she and her husband were devastated. They didn’t know how they’d live on just his income until she found a new job. It was so baffling to me that they couldn’t survive on one income with no kids when that one income was more than my husband makes. It all boils down to living within your means. They probably trimmed a bunch of stuff that they would normally have, but for us those things were already beyond our scope of what we get. Perspective.
    Claire’s last blog post ..No More Time Out

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    Luschka Reply:

    @Claire, I agree – perspective and priorities. This same friend was in a state of torment a few years back because, going on maternity leave would mean they could only afford to eat out two or three times a week. It’s hard not to guffaw in those situations. At that stage we’d not ‘afforded’ (we weren’t poor, but our priorities were different, I guess) a meal out in six months. It’s all about priorities, and yes – perspective. Thanks for the comment :)

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  5. Pingback: Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance | Vibrant Wanderings
  6. Ahh..what we could do if we *only* had money! I dream about wonderful wooden and challenging toys and definitely an all organic diet. We had so much (and still do) given to us that I am incredibly grateful for, but the snobby side of me still wants the “better” things for my children (organic, etc etc).

    Of course, here I am talking about “things” when, like you said, no single “thing” is going to make me or anyone else truly happy. We are certainly doing the best with whatever means we have and for us, knowing what things we need and what we really don’t need really makes a big financial difference!

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  7. Amy

    I can SO relate to this post, Luschka! I have had the same feelings standing in line at the grocery behind folks with formula and disposable diapers in their carts. It’s so sad to see all that money that could be saved with different choices (and the freedom and support to make them). What you wrote about not being “lucky” really resonated with me as well. My partner and I share a 10 year old car, we live in a townhome with 2 rooms and no yard, and it’s been over a year since I’ve had a haircut. It’s not about luck, it’s about choices and priorities. Thank you so much for this reminder!

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  8. Kelly

    I definitely sympathize with #1…we often have the ‘if we won the lottery’ discussion, but I’d like to be more in line with #3 (in many ways we are, but still are too bad too often about purchasing outside our means and not being content with what we have).

    Actually found #2 kinda funny…we did buy formula and it was crazy expensive, but I never even thought about the idea of buying formula, diapers and baby food altogether…my first reaction was that would just be awful!! But it’s the norm for so many…
    Kelly’s last blog post ..Crunchy Living is SO Expensive…Or Is It?

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  9. “Money. Something I’m finally realising about money, 32 years in, is that while it does make the world go round, and it doesn’t buy happiness or love, having an understanding of money as a resource rather than a reason is essential, otherwise you’ll spend your life never having enough, and that’s a sad and frustrating place to be.” Wow! Yes, this is an amazing observation.

    I also find that “lucky” statement comes up often. I agree with you that it is about making different choices according to your priorities as a family. If your priorities align elsewhere, then work situation is different. On the flip-side, I do feel lucky that my partner and I agree that me staying home is a priority for our family.
    Zoie @ TouchstoneZ’s last blog post ..Conscious Cash Conscious

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  10. I hear that all the time too. You are so lucky to be able to stay home. But, yeah, I chose this and with it comes a lot of financial sacrifice.
    I feel you on the wooden toys thing. I read about More natural toys after my son was born and I wanted my next baby to only have wooden. I was with my son and baby at the toy store yesterday and saw a cute little wooden rattle- 18$ whoa! So yeah we can’t afford to have all wooden stuff. But, like you, I’m so blessed with clothes and toys from family I really have no room to complain!
    Loved your post thanks for sharing!!

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    Luschka Reply:

    @Cassie, Thanks Cassie. Like you, I’m grateful for what we have, but yes, it comes with a lot of sacrifice – everyone makes sacrifices when they have children. For some that sacrifice is time with their children so they can go out to work, for some it’s the other stuff, so they can be with their children. It just seems that choosing to sacrifice STUFF makes you more open to ridicule than choosing to sacrifice TIME does.

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  11. Pingback: Total Disclosure and Total Reform « The Adventures of Lactating Girl
  12. Pingback: Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers « Intrepid Murmurings
  13. Yes, yes, yes! I definitely would love to put Annabelle in only sweatshop-free organic cotton clothing. Heck, I’d like some more of it myself, but we just can’t afford it. Secondhand clothing is my compromise, and it’s certainly not the best of the best, but my conscience is happy.

    I’m sure it’s frustrating to hear that you’re “lucky” when you have worked incredibly hard and made a great many sacrifices so that you could live in a way that is in line with your priorities. I can relate to that one!

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    Luschka Reply:

    @Melissa, Thanks Melissa. Yes, I do find it pretty hard, it annoys me. But everyone has their opinion, I guess.

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  14. SAHMs are usually not “lucky” – we’re usually pretty darn smart to make everything work on our budget ;) And I think as with most things, parenting is about finding a balance – sure we all wish we could do things ideally, but we live in reality! Thank you for sharing yours :)

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    Luschka Reply:

    @Dionna @ Code Name: Mama, Not only that, but we’re normally a lot more exhausted than a lot of moms who get to go to work every day! At least there’s no one AT home to mess up their homes! Lol.

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  15. Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    There’s so much here that felt familiar to me. We also got SO MUCH free stuff (still do) for our boys, and a lot of it is not what I would choose, but it seems frivolous to stick our noses up at it. We also have had people tell us we’re lucky to be able to work from home, which in one sense is absolutely true, and in another sense is something we chose, very specifically, and worked hard for, with a lot of sacrifices along the way. And #2: No kidding! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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    Luschka Reply:

    @Lauren @ Hobo Mama, You’re right. We know that we’re lucky to both be able to work from home and for ourselves – but it comes with it’s own sacrifices and challenges. Every decision does.

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  16. The last remark you make, about money as a resource is a fie piece of wisdom!
    hugs to you
    Mamapoekie’s last blog post ..Money Matters… But Not Too Much

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    Luschka Reply:

    @Mamapoekie, thank you. When I remember that, I feel less miserable about what I don’t have, if that makes sense.

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  17. I was talking to my best friend recently about just this and we were both laughing that we refuse to buy lower welfare meat and spend any “spare” money on craft things and beautiful wooden toys, yet we consider owning more than one pair of shoes, a haircut, or a handbag to replace the one with a huge hole in the top, “optional extras” and luxuries. We can afford the former – things we consider essential to the children’s wellbeing and education, and our bare minimum duty to the planet we live on – but neither of us has had a hair cut in years and have both had to wait and save up to replace our own single pair of utterly beaten up practical shoes!

    We have just come out of living for six months on welfare WITH two extra people to provide for. We have wonderful friends; and, I guess, a socially odd view of what is necessary vs unnecessary. We have carried on paying off our debts (from ten years ago) at the same rate we were doing before. We haven’t bought non-organic meat or any convenience foods at all. But yes, we have bought children’s shoes in cheap stores, we have bought non-organic store cupboard foods, and we haven’t afforded petrol to get anywhere except job interviews!
    Sarah’s last blog post ..Another few days

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    Luschka Reply:

    @Sarah, Oh, it’s so hard, Sarah. I empathise. We haven’t switched to organic meat yet, but it’s on the cards. Well done to you for keeping your principles, despite your circumstances. That takes a strong person.

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