Author Topic: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?  (Read 3117 times)

TheThirstyStag

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This is going to be a great year for me.  My first child is on the way!

Among the many logistics that I will be juggling in the future, remaining mustachian in my upcoming purchases will still be important to me.  I recall over the years reading a few threads here and there about some slick ways folks have handled the financial burdens of parenthood, but now that it's getting real for me I need to pay attention.

So what advice do you have for me?  What long term habits and commitments can I make to keep the costs of the kid reasonable?  Of all the upcoming purchases (car seats, diapers, crib, clothes, daycare, etc.), are there any slick deals to be had (second hand stuff from local parents?). 

This is completely new territory for me.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2018, 09:14:34 AM »
Ha - you know I've been on these boards for years and never noticed there's a mini money mustache sub forum.  Pre-parenthood tunnel vision, I guess.

It looks like many of my questions can be answered in the threads linked in this forum's sticky.  I will check those out, but of course if there's any general advice not covered there I'd still love to hear it!

Caroline PF

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2018, 10:02:38 AM »
So the first lesson is that almost everything in the first year is optional. The marketing will make it seem like a life and death matter that you have all of the equipment, but it's all false. Buy things only as you need them, and try to get them secondhand. Here is my list, and my comments; I'm sure others will add a lot more.

  • Car seat: necessary if you drive cars. There is a huge variation in prices. All, even the cheapest, meet the same safety requirements. The difference relates to ease of installation, maybe more comfortable (my kids never complained of a difference between cheap and expensive seats), and ability to fit in small cars. Generally, buy these new. If you buy used, make sure it has never been in an accident, and check to see how long you have until it expires.
  • Car seat #2: A convertible car seat will work from newborn until they graduate to a booster seat. A bucket seat is optional for the baby stage (they generally grow out of it by a year old), but can be very helpful. The bucket seat can be removed from its base and carried inside, which allows you to not wake a sleeping baby. On the other hand, they are awkward to carry. Some people swear by them, others hate them.
  • Car seat #3: Car seats are really annoying to move from one car to another. Get a car seat (or a bucket seat base) for every car that the kid will be riding in at least once per week. Seriously, this is not the place to save money. You don't want to be installing car seats more than about once or twice a month. As an extra piece of advice, if you take a trip by airplane when your kid is in a carseat, bring an extra seat, and leave the one already installed in the car. The last thing you want to do at the end of your trip, when you're tired, and have schlepped all your stuff to the car, is to install a car seat. So much better to have one already installed, and just throw the extra one in the trunk.
  • Diapers: necessary (unless you're committed to elimination communication). Choose between disposable and cloth. Both of these are good mustachian options. If you use cloth diapers, you can look for second-hand on craigslist or facebook. You can also sell cloth diapers if you discover you don't like them. (I have used cloth for 2 kids, and love it, but not everyone does).
  • Food: necessary. Breastmilk or formula. Just remember, 'fed is best'.
  • Food #2: rice cereal: not necessary, but can be useful to help baby sleep through the night, since it isn't digested as fast. There isn't good evidence that it works for that, but some people swear by it.
  • Food #3: baby food: not necessary. Sold as a convenience item, but the ultimate in convenience and mustachianism is 'baby-led weaning.' Google it, it's awesome.
  • Clothing: From newborn to age 3, there are a ton of used clothes. You shouldn't need to buy new. Look for yard sales, thrift stores, or consignment stores. Buy ahead.
  • Everything else is optional. Really. In general, for everything else, try it before you buy it. Some babies love swings. Others hate them. Some people want a crib in a separate room. Others want a cosleeper, and then put baby on a mattress on the floor when they're old enough. Some people love babywearing, others want strollers.

I've got to go now, but I will respond to questions later today. Definitely check out the mini-mustache subforum.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2018, 10:22:26 AM »
Congratulations!!!!! I just had my second baby. I am not an expert by any means and have made mistakes along the way, but hopefully this advice will be helpful. This is by no means a comprehensive list:

Talk to HR at work about parental leave. Take as much as you possibly can. Save up your vacation if you have to. I took 12 weeks with each kid at it was not enough.

Re-evaluate your health insurance needs. It is probably too late to upgrade before the birth but look at the costs of different plans vs what is covered. For example, I chose a more expensive plan that has no copay for office visits.

What sort of spouse/family support do you have?  Talk to your partner about decisions like cloth vs disposable diapers, also expectations for division of labor.

If you choose disposable the Target generic brand is pretty decent. Every couple months they have a sale where you get a $20 gift card with $100 purchase. That is the best time to buy.. Huggies can be gotten cheaply at Walgreens or CVS when they have points deals, but you will need to use coupons as well. Once the baby gets a little bigger, the overnight diapers are worth the extra money.

Weigh the costs of daycare vs flexing your schedules or having a SAHP.

Sign up for formula samples/coupons even if you plan to breastfeed. They are good to have around in a pinch, will save you money if you need them, and can be donated if you don't use them. Your insurance will give you a free breast pump if you live in the US (very small consolation prize for no real parental leave). Make your own baby food.

Second hand is best for clothing and most baby items. Just use your common sense when it comes to safety. Car seats have an expiration of 7 years after manufacture. Cribs made after 2005 are generally ok. I would buy the mattress new though. A pack and play can double as a bassinet and changing table (don't get the fancy attachments, just the top part). As far as other gear goes it depends on your lifestyle and climate.

Finally, don't use the kid as an excuse to upgrade your house or car.

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2018, 10:48:10 AM »
Random thoughts to add to the other comments..

If you know daycare is the route for you, start looking yestserday. The good places usually have a waiting list. That being said, there is so much more than money to consider in the SAHP- 2 working parents decision. Babies get sick a lot, if you both work at least one of you needs to be able to stay home for a day or two with a sick baby, with no advance notice.

You will want a safe place to put baby (holding & cuddling is fun but not forever). This could be the floor if you donít have pets. Youíll also want either a stroller and/or carrier to hold baby while you are out. Both can be bought secondhand.

I totally agree that the majority of the expenses in the first year are optional or vary greatly in expense (type of food, number of baby gadgets, diapers, omg this new toy that helps them sleep). You should plan on a few desparate purchases, paid at a premium, out of lack of sleep. It really does go fast and the spending is temporary- the first year is about survival and adjustment.

In fact, expect a temporary increase in expenses overall and a decrease in your homes cleanliness for 6 months. It will go back to normal, donít pressure yourself to find your new normal right away.

Make sure mom gets pampered during pregnancy and early postpartum too. Watch out for PPD. The hormones can be all-consuming (as mine were).

The smiles, giggles, and hugs will make it all worth it!!
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 10:56:30 AM by Millennialworkerbee »

starbuck

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2018, 11:34:36 AM »
So what advice do you have for me?  What long term habits and commitments can I make to keep the costs of the kid reasonable?

There are a bunch of previous threads on acquiring baby stuff on the cheap, so I won't rehash that. And Caroline PF's point that most of it is optional is right on.

As for long term habits, my best piece of advice is to just slow down. Life today (especially with two parents working outside the home) happens at such a frantic pace, and the cult of 'busy' is everywhere. Cut out all the noise and slow down, simplify your routines and schedules, and leave space for the magic of childhood. Don't feel like you need to sign your 4 month old up for a baby sign language class, or a music class and art class at 1 year, or soccer and tee ball at 2 years old. Kids (and their parents) get over scheduled so quickly, and then you resort to just throwing money at all of life's hiccups (housekeeping, takeout, yard work etc.) If you're not as busy as other families in your life, that's a GOOD thing.

And simplifying and slowing down doesn't just apply to schedules. For example, I was just talking with another parent who has a 1 year old, and she mentioned that she has to keep buying new sippy cups because her baby couldn't drink out of it. She was actually buying a different one every day to see if her daughter could successfully use it. To me, this is crazy! Her daughter just needed a little time to figure out how to fit her mouth on the spout, and she'd be good to go. Or you know, just use a normal cup for a while until she was a bit older and could figure out straws. Sometimes we expect miracles in minutes, when we should be letting the kid work at their own pace.

And prioritize EVERYONE'S sleep. If everyone is sleeping well, life is just so much easier to deal with. And I'm not talking about just during the hazy newborn stage. This is a life-long principle!

Kmp2

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2018, 12:56:14 PM »
1) Do Less
2) Unstructured free play is awesome, and totally underrated (and cheap)
3) Buying used is awesome - at least until kids start wearing things out (~5 years ish), now I buy a year in advance for DD - we just bought next year's winter coat on sale. :)
4) There is no way to be a perfect parent, but there are 100's of different ways to be a great parent, do what works for you.
5) Try to make conscious decisions about activities, parenting values and goals... and not just fall into things because of... (exhaustion, overscheduledness, it's what everyone else is doing etc.) (as with anything mustachian)
6) Learn to let things go, and then learn to let more things go.

Sleeping, eating and the little enjoyable moments are my highest priorities. That dust bunny in the corner, I swear I'll pick it up before this baby learns to crawl... I'm 6 months pregnant with our 3rd... so I have until Halloween at least! :)


RookieStache

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2018, 02:01:36 PM »
1) Do Less
2) Unstructured free play is awesome, and totally underrated (and cheap)
3) Buying used is awesome - at least until kids start wearing things out (~5 years ish), now I buy a year in advance for DD - we just bought next year's winter coat on sale. :)
4) There is no way to be a perfect parent, but there are 100's of different ways to be a great parent, do what works for you.
5) Try to make conscious decisions about activities, parenting values and goals... and not just fall into things because of... (exhaustion, overscheduledness, it's what everyone else is doing etc.) (as with anything mustachian)
6) Learn to let things go, and then learn to let more things go.

Sleeping, eating and the little enjoyable moments are my highest priorities. That dust bunny in the corner, I swear I'll pick it up before this baby learns to crawl... I'm 6 months pregnant with our 3rd... so I have until Halloween at least! :)

As a father of a 17 month old girl, this is right on the money.

How to remain Mustachian:
1) Most of our weekends now consist of going to someones house and bringing the baby along. We pack her pack and play so when 8:00 PM hits we lay her down to go to bed and party on. Weekends are extremely cheap now that we are so limited in what we can do without getting someone to watch her.
2)  I hosted a large Beer Pong party 3 weeks before the baby was born and half the entry fee was a pack of diapers or wipes.  We have yet to buy a diaper yet because of this. Host a diaper party, your friends want to help!
3) Fight the urge to buy you baby clothes / toys. My wife can't help herself but I try to contain her. Half the clothes our daughter has will never be worn and she plays with circa 15% of her toys. She gets so many gifts on Christmas and her birthday, it's unbelievable.
4) Daycare is expensive, no way around it unless you have a relative who would watch for free.
5) Breast feeding saves a TON of money, formula is extremely expensive.

Kids really aren't that expensive (up to this point) if you exclude daycare. However, they do have an opportunity cost of eliminating 90% of your free time!

thedigitalone

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2018, 03:12:08 PM »
Don't delay the boring stuff, update your life insurance + Will + medical directives, if you don't have them in place now is the time.

If you don't someone else will make the decisions on how your child is raised and your estate is distributed if something unfortunate happens to you and your spouse.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 04:03:57 PM by thedigitalone »

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2018, 03:33:55 PM »
This is all FANTASTIC advice.  Thank you for taking the time to share it. 

bogart

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2018, 07:42:19 PM »
... Some people swear by them, others hate them. ...

This pretty much sums up almost all baby gear, and a bunch of other aspects of parenting as well.

There's a short list of stuff you need during the first week after the baby is born, much already summarized here.  I'd add a breast pump if BF is at all in consideration -- should be covered by health insurance these days, I believe, and useful for both over- and under-supply problems, and the chances mom will have neither one of those are slim, based on my unscientific observation.   Baby will also need some seasonally suitable clothes, fitted sheets for wherever they will sleep, a few blankets, wipes, and burp cloths.  I'd also advocate having a bunch of easy-to-grab-and-eat food on hand (e.g. dried fruit, peanut butter crackers) because mom is likely to be hungry, hungry, hungry.

You'll find you desperately want/need other stuff, but which other stuff you, personally, will desperately want/need will vary significantly in ways you'll never predict; we live in the 21st century, and you can order tons of stuff online and have it at your house within two days.  Plan on using that some.  It's a blessing.  There are very few baby gear emergencies that are so urgent they can't wait 2 days to be addressed.

The paid childcare question is really a function of where you live -- I live an MCOLA and had no trouble finding good quality childcare without signing up years in advance.  It wasn't cheap.  It was well worth it; neither DH nor I wanted to be a SAHP. Every year our son gets older, I more enjoy spending time with him and I am glad I didn't take a chunk of time out of the workforce when he was littler in ways that would reduce how much time I can spend with him now or in the future.  OTOH, you may feel totally different about this and prioritize being home while your child is an infant, and that's good too -- whatever works for you.

Last but not least, congratulations!

okits

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2018, 09:12:59 PM »
Not mentioned yet: work hard to maintain the health of your relationship, the physical and mental health of your partner, and yours.  Discuss ahead of time parenting, domestic, familial/social, and breadwinning responsibilities, and hold up your end.  Ensure each of you has roughly equal free time and roughly equal opportunities for good-quality sleep (night time duty is not for only one parent).  Have time together as a couple.  Take care of each other and pay attention to each other.

The money you can save by frugally sourcing baby care supplies can be wiped out (and then some) by a health breakdown or a marital breakdown (to say nothing of the stress and heartbreak).  Make sure any scrimping you do isn't actually costing you and your family in other, more expensive ways.

ysette9

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2018, 09:21:23 PM »
I agree with others that you can live without most of the baby gear out there. When my first came early we had exactly one baby item: the boppy nursing pillow (which is great, by the way). Everything else we got after the baby came home, mostly borrowed or gifted used from friends. If we decided we needed something in the moment, well, that is why god gave us Google Express. Wait until you really have a need unless it is something you can get used or borrowed from someone else. Used clothes especially are the way to go so you don’t feel bad when they get pooped on.

Baby wearing is an absolute life saver. We even wore our first at night when she would sleep when she would only sleep on someone.

Congrats and good luck
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TheThirstyStag

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2018, 10:34:25 AM »
More great advice.  Thanks.

My SO and I have discussed how we cannot be great parents if we do not take care of our relationship, so I will be following that advice very closely.

Childcare is a very likely outcome.  We live in a MCOL area, but I still expect it to be quite a significant expense.  Our schedules are very flexible and it's possible that we settle on part time child care, but we definitely don't want one of us to be out of the workforce for a year or two, especially with the difficulties it may present in getting back in and not under-employed.


fuzzy math

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2018, 06:03:14 PM »
Elimination communication will save you $$ hundreds in buying fewer diapers.
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formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2018, 08:50:25 AM »
Congratulations!!!

1) I'll add a pack-and-play as a required item if you intend to go visiting anywhere.  Ours got tons and tons of use - including setting it up in the shade in the backyard so I could garden and not have to worry about baby eating much or leaves (both of my kids thought mulch was a delicacy).

2) I'll second @okits on setting aside time. You've said you are bought into the idea of scheduling time with your spouse, but it also necessary for you to have time for YOU.  As a working mom with an infant, I had all the requisite mommy-guilt.  I wasn't spending enough time with my kid!  I wasn't spending enough time with my husband!  My house was a mess!  We ate convenience foods because I didn't have time to cook!  So of course, when I had "free" time, I was trying to alleviate the guilt, and I lost a bit of what made me ME.

It's okay to leave your kid one evening and go out with your friends or go to the gym or go sit in a quiet spot somewhere where no one needs you to actually DO anything.  It's not only okay, it's imperative that you continue to feed your soul, too.

One of the things I did was to make a list of all the things that made me smile (ranging from paint my toenails or light a candle to read a book to go on vacation).  Every day, I had to do one of those things.  Just for me.

3) Your relationships with your friends / your socialization patterns will probably change.  That's okay.  I spend a lot of time with my other mom friends on walks.  We can go to the high school track in the evening, and let the older kids play in the middle while we walk (sometimes with a baby in a stroller) and chat.  We get exercise, conversation, and a play date for the kids all at once...for the cost of gas.

4) If you have a decent-size freezer, stock it now with homemade meals you can put in the oven or crockpot. You will not want to cook for months.  Sleep is way more important than anything else in the beginning.

5) When you get overwhelmed in those first few months, remind yourself that what is really important is that baby is fed and clean and safe and that you are fed and clean and have slept.  Make sure you have identified someone ahead of time whose job it is to look after you.  When my youngest was 8 weeks old I found myself lying on the floor bawling inconsolably because he needed to nurse ALL THE TIME and I was so exhausted and so tired of sitting in the damn chair and omg if I stopped nursing I'd be such a bad mom.  I finally called my husband and he basically told me to get over myself and that he was buying formula on the way home because my mental health was more important than what kind of food baby got as long as he got fed.  I weaned baby that week, and I don't regret it, even though that wasn't my original plan.

6) Remember that no matter what it looks like, no other mom has it all together.  They are all just like you - frazzled and feeling guilty and convinced that everyone else - especially you - has found the magic secret to parenthood.  Do the best you can. 
Boldly leading a blended family into (future) financial independence

GreenQueen

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2018, 09:51:02 AM »
Definitely do less and expect very little.

Cloth diapers are great at home, and elimination communication can help you avoid changing at least poopy diapers. We haven't changed a poopy diaper since our toddler was 5 months old.

Best purchase for budget and sanity: small chest freezer. I froze a huge amount of bone broth, soups, etc before the baby, and now we fill it with food from Costco visits and healthy frozen dinners so when we're exhausted, there is always good stuff to heat and eat.

Enjoy!

OutOfTheAbyss

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2018, 02:38:13 PM »

1) FMLA - know the rules! If you quit within (30 days?) after returning to work, you may have to pay back employer paid health insurance premiums from when you were out, which in my case was several thousand dollars. So here's what I did- collected disability (C-section qualified for me). Then when I figured out after having my child that I had no intention of going back, I negotiated working from home for 3 weeks (flaky nanny excuse, can't find one I trust, just need one more week, etc) and then came back to the office for the 4th week. This allowed me to resign at 30 business days after returning while still spending 3 weeks of that time at home with my child and not ending up on the hook for the insurance. I had ZERO guilt about doing this to my employer because they treated me badly while pregnant, even though I never called in sick one single day of my pregnancy. And they added travel requirements when I was 8 months pregnant. So I  had no guilt, but this is hard on the conscience if you work for a small business and really like your employer.

2) formula has by far been our biggest expense. I only quasi-breast fed. Breast feeding will stretch out your formula dollars, but it's inconvenient and prolongs unpleasant hormonal changes. By doing both, my child was ok either way and not impacted when I stopped after about a month. I would buy powder or big containers of formula cheap with coupons and only use ready made for the middle of the night or travel. I reused disposable rubber nipples but they mildew fast so you need to really inspect them in the light.

3) Car seat- I disagree that you need two. We bought one seat and 2 of the $35 bases, one for each of our cars. The seat went with whoever had the baby. Do NOT let your baby sleep in the car seat, infant's heads can lull forward and cut off their airway!

4) Coupon, coupons, coupons..join Enfamil, similac, etc mailing lists, Publix baby club, etc.

5) Diapers - not cheap, but nowhere near as expensive as formula. generics are fine. I try not to pay more than $0.12-0.14/diaper by browsing deals on target, amazon, walgreens, etc

6) I bought most of my baby stuff on Amazon with my rewards card and would get like $30-50 back in credits each month.

7) you do NOT need toys. Our house is full of fancy toys from friends and family, and all my child wants to play with is a wooden spoon, metal bown, empty paper towel roll, etc. The toys are just underfoot and collecting dust.

8) I agree about the pack and play. Never used the basinet and the swing only lasted a few months.

9) at 6 months, make your own baby food. like I said, formula is the biggest expense. I started diluting it then, and making my food without salt, blending it, and then adding salt to only my serving (babies are less salt tolerant). I did not like the baby bullet. It did not work as well as my nutri bullet or food processor. I'd just get a food processor and some little glass yogurt storage containers or something. Also, I stock up on convenience baby food when it's on sale because it's usually good for at least 6 months.

10) To extend baby clothes life, turn your washer off of "hot" and spray with oxy spray before washing to get the food and stuff out.  I never had to buy clothes because of grandparents.

11) vaccines are expensive. Talk to a doctor you trust and Choose them wisely some may be necessary and some not, depending on your situation (e.g. whether your kid is in daycare) and some might be able to be postponed.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2018, 03:26:41 PM »
Great post @OutOfTheAbyss ! It made me think of a couple more things.
Vaccines are 100% covered by my insurance, worth checking though. My opinion on vaccines is the sooner the better.

Those blender bottles with the metal ball thing are great for mixing formula. We mix a few bottles worth and keep it in the fridge until needed.

I freeze homemade baby food in silicone muffin cups, then store in Ziploc bags in the freezer.

ysette9

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2018, 03:35:39 PM »
I am surprised at 11. I have never paid for any vaccine. We have Kaiser which believes strongly in prevention and so all prenatal, well-baby, and immunization visits are free. Please please please do not try to save money by not getting vaccinated. That is foolish and risky.

Totally agree that a pack-n-play works just fine for a crib. Both of our babies did that.

We were introduced to the idea of what is oddly called “baby-led weaning” which basically means feed babies real food instead of baby food. We never fed our baby anything puréed so we saved time and money. She ate banana, avocado, oatmeal, squash, sweet potato, etc. We are doing the same with our second except she doesn’t seem to care for solids much yet, so it is pretty limited.

Craigslist or similar is great for baby gear, especially since you have no idea whether your baby will like any of the products. For example, I got a free swing that I kept for a couple of weeks until I was sure that my kid didn’t want anything to do with it. :-)
"It'll be great!"

wordnerd

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2018, 04:11:53 PM »
If you're in the US and your health plan is not grandfathered (which should be the vast majority at this point), all recommended vaccines should be covered with no cost-sharing.

Caroline PF

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2018, 05:24:16 PM »
3) Car seat- I disagree that you need two. We bought one seat and 2 of the $35 bases, one for each of our cars. The seat went with whoever had the baby. Do NOT let your baby sleep in the car seat, infant's heads can lull forward and cut off their airway!

I don't see any disagreement. Seems like we're saying the same thing.

  • Car seat #3: Car seats are really annoying to move from one car to another. Get a car seat (or a bucket seat base) for every car that the kid will be riding in at least once per week. Seriously, this is not the place to save money. You don't want to be installing car seats more than about once or twice a month.

LiveLean

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2018, 09:17:01 AM »
1. Daycare - Avoid it. Find a way for one of you to stay at home. Or work from home. Reconfigure your life, career, or spending. You'll never get the time back you don't spend with your child. They'll be healthier and better off.

2. Car seats - Use them, yes, but don't obsess about them. You probably went your entire childhood without one. Heck, if you're over 40 you probably went much of your childhood without seatbelts. Guidelines call for kids to use them up until 80 pounds. There are teenage girls driving who don't weigh this much. Beyond the age of 5-6, you'll realize it's not worth it to check seats on planes, travel with them, make grandparents have them, etc. I know a couple, 5-10 and 6-4, whose boys were six inches taller than anyone else by second grade and yet they still had them in car seats a few years later at 80 pounds. Don't be those people.

3. Diapers - They don't cost nearly as much as you think. Costco, baby.

4. Clothes - Graciously accept hand-me-downs from spendypants relatives and friends. Kids don't care about fashion until a certain point. That point can extend well into their teenage years if you don't obsess about it when they're little. Or you can start buying them designer brands from birth and pay the consequences later.

5. Crib - See No.4.

6. Food - As soon as possible, have them eating what you eat and provide no other alternatives. (You should be eating healthy yourself.) If you don't eat crap, they won't eat crap. Do not feed them chicken nuggets, fish sticks and other crap unless you want them eating that forever. All of which will be cheaper, healthier, and keep you from going insane.

7. Beverages -- Have them drink water and nothing else. Jack LaLanne famously noted that humans are the only species to consume milk beyond the suckling stage -- and we consume it from another species! Most parents start their young kids on juice boxes -- 100 percent sugar -- and then have them graduate to Gatorade, a sugary drink designed for 300-pound University of Florida football players sweating in August humidity. Then parents wonder why their kids are bouncing off the walls. Have them drink water. Lots of it. You, too. Don't have soda in the house.

« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 09:27:09 AM by LiveLean »
Living lean at www.tolivelean.com

ysette9

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2018, 10:45:52 AM »
I’m sorry but I just have to put in a counterpoint to you first comment about daycare. Quality daycare is a wonderful godsend and no one should feel shamed for putting their kids in daycare. Some people are great at being stuck with little kids all day and other people suck at it, even when it is their own well-loved crotch fruit.

My daughter is better off because she is in daycare with a loving, energetic, trained childcare provider who does arts and crafts and learning activities that would never even occur to me even if I had the inclination to do that stuff, which I don’t. I am a happier person when I have kid-free time during the week which means the time I have with my kiddos is higher quality. Lots of people around here put their kids in immersion daycare in another language so they can get that learning. My kid does that to reinforce the language that she only gets from me at home. Our lives are easier, richer, and our relationships with our kids are better due to daycare.
"It'll be great!"

Caroline PF

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2018, 05:33:22 PM »
2. Car seats - Use them, yes, but don't obsess about them. You probably went your entire childhood without one. Heck, if you're over 40 you probably went much of your childhood without seatbelts. Guidelines call for kids to use them up until 80 pounds. There are teenage girls driving who don't weigh this much. Beyond the age of 5-6, you'll realize it's not worth it to check seats on planes, travel with them, make grandparents have them, etc. I know a couple, 5-10 and 6-4, whose boys were six inches taller than anyone else by second grade and yet they still had them in car seats a few years later at 80 pounds. Don't be those people.

I respectfully, but strongly, disagree. This is survivorship bias.

I am 38 years old. My parents insisted that I wear a seatbelt whenever I got in a car. Despite wearing one tens of thousands of times, a seatbelt has NEVER saved my life. So based on my experience, I shouldn't worry about my kids, right?

Well, my cousin died at the age of six in a car crash. He would be 41 today if he had been wearing a seatbelt. The other child in the car was young enough to still be in a car seat, and had no injuries.

Serious crashes are rare events. Just because they are rare doesn't mean that seatbelts and car seats are worthless, or that the guidelines are overblown.

Also, when it comes to car seat guidelines, they are based on 3 things:
  • age: kids' joints and ligaments get stronger with age, and the size and weight of the head decrease in size relative to the body with age. So the older a child, the better their body (especially their neck) is able to handle the forces of a crash. You want to stay rear-facing as long as you can for this reason. A 2-yr-old who is tall for his age still has 2-yr-old joints, and is at just as much risk as a small 2-yr-old.
  • height: people need to be tall enough for proper seat belt fit across the hips and across the chest. Until a person is tall enough, they should be in a booster seat, regardless of age or weight.
  • weight: the only way that weight affects guidelines is that as weight increases, force increases in an accident. So seats have an upper weight limit to ensure that they can keep the child secured in a crash. As an interesting tidbit that I didn't know until recently: the LATCH system has an upper weight limit of 65 pounds (car seat plus child's weight). If you exceed that limit, you should use the seatbelt to secure the seat instead of the latch system, as the seatbelt is rated for much higher weights.

Check out http://thecarseatlady.com/ for lots of information.


Iím sorry but I just have to put in a counterpoint to you first comment about daycare. Quality daycare is a wonderful godsend and no one should feel shamed for putting their kids in daycare. Some people are great at being stuck with little kids all day and other people suck at it, even when it is their own well-loved crotch fruit.

+1

No shame for using daycare.

firelight

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2018, 10:50:33 PM »
I’m sorry but I just have to put in a counterpoint to you first comment about daycare. Quality daycare is a wonderful godsend and no one should feel shamed for putting their kids in daycare. Some people are great at being stuck with little kids all day and other people suck at it, even when it is their own well-loved crotch fruit.

My daughter is better off because she is in daycare with a loving, energetic, trained childcare provider who does arts and crafts and learning activities that would never even occur to me even if I had the inclination to do that stuff, which I don’t. I am a happier person when I have kid-free time during the week which means the time I have with my kiddos is higher quality. Lots of people around here put their kids in immersion daycare in another language so they can get that learning. My kid does that to reinforce the language that she only gets from me at home. Our lives are easier, richer, and our relationships with our kids are better due to daycare.
+1 daycare is the best choice for our family. Our kid gets socialization, more adults that love her and care about her in her life, a world of her own, happy and involved parents who have had time to recharge themselves mentally, more and varied activities, more kids her age to play with (no need for constant playdates), more confidence that she can handle things and much much more. If I had to do it again, I'd still put her in again.

For the record, both my kids stayed home till they were a year old and seeing how well my older one has blossomed in daycare, my younger one would be starting there soon. So I'm all for quality daycare, which IMO is way better than keeping kids home alone with one parent. I'm not saying parents won't do great but some parts of daycare (more socialization with kids their age, learning by watching other kids, etc) are harder to replicate at home unless you have a large number of neighborhood kids all around the same age and who all spend time with each other regularly.

OurNextStop

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2018, 04:16:01 AM »
Congratulations! Kids can definitely be a black hole as far as expenses but it certainly doesn't have to be that way. As far as the baby years go:
1) You don't need as much stuff as you think you will need. When the baby first comes home you pretty much need diapers, clothes and someplace for the baby to sleep. I would highly recommend borrowing things like baby swing, bouncer, etc. The period that you will need them is SO short and some babies don't enjoy being in them anyway so a purchase would go unused.
2) Check out thrift stores and facebook swap groups for gear that you do need. I made the mistake of buying everything new and I sent a lot of almost brand new gear to other families at about a quarter of the price I paid for it.
3) Buy toys that will grow with baby (when you start needing to buy more toys). The classic, non-battery operated toys are a good bet. (My profession is in child development so not only am I saying this from a money saving perspective, but also from a "what's best for kids" perspective.) Wooden blocks and train set, some sturdy pretend food and baby doll, etc. are all timeless and will prevent you from having to buy new toys with each developmental stage.

You're not there yet but when they get older some great ways to save money include:
1) If you don't have family nearby that will babysit for free, hook up with other parents to do babysitting swaps. You babysit for them one night and the babysit for you on another night-the trading economy isn't dead!
2) Finding family activities can get really expensive. Find out what free community resources in your area offer events for families. For us, the libraries and nature centers are abundant enough that we haven't paid for weekend entertainment for quite some time.
3) Finally, find fun ways to eat at home. Restaurants and take out can cut deeply into a family budget because they become entertainment. We avoid that by doing things like "make your own pizza night" and "ice cream sundae bar Sundays".

Good luck. It goes so fast, enjoy every minute of it!
Family of four trying to reach financial independence in five years or less. Once we're there we'll quit our jobs, sell the house and hit the road to be full time travelers.

www.RetiringToTheRoad.com

mavendrill

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2018, 07:07:13 AM »
Congrats.

Others have said things related to this, and mmm philosophy is helpful but:

The biggest thing you can do for safety is too vaccinate according to schedule.  The second biggest thing is to about car use.  Tossing in cars is dangerous for kids, and the best solution is restructuring your life to the best of your ability so that you don't need to take your kids in the car often.  Conveniently, this will probably save lots of money.

The cost of raising kids has not changed in the last 60 years in the USA.  The perceptions have.  Be wary of marketing and hype.

ysette9

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2018, 05:04:49 PM »
Quote
    2. Car seats - Use them, yes, but don't obsess about them. You probably went your entire childhood without one. Heck, if you're over 40 you probably went much of your childhood without seatbelts. Guidelines call for kids to use them up until 80 pounds. There are teenage girls driving who don't weigh this much. Beyond the age of 5-6, you'll realize it's not worth it to check seats on planes, travel with them, make grandparents have them, etc. I know a couple, 5-10 and 6-4, whose boys were six inches taller than anyone else by second grade and yet they still had them in car seats a few years later at 80 pounds. Don't be those people.


I respectfully, but strongly, disagree. This is survivorship bias.

Thanks for bringing this up. My mother and my husband both have scars on their chins from baby+car without carseat combo. My mother was thrown forward into the dash from the backseat as a baby when they hit a deer and my husband was dropped from the passenger side seat onto the ground when a car was coming to a stop (raised in a country where people don't use seatbelts, much less car seats). They are both lucky to be alive with nothing more than a little scar.
"It'll be great!"

mavendrill

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2018, 06:39:53 AM »
One note on car seats.  A great car seat has two features:
one, it keeps baby safe
two, you can use it.
Lots of correct ways to get number one.  But if you install or use it incorrectly, like the majority of users, safety may be greatly compromised.  Depending on region, jackets are a huge problem, as they generally prevent shoulder restraints from working effectively for the very young.  Other frequent problems include not tightening the restraints sufficiently and installing a seat that doesn't match to car.

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2018, 08:00:46 AM »
You have all given me a lot to think about.  Most is in confluence with my own philosophy, but I've learned some great new tips too.  Thanks!

brellis1vt

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2018, 09:38:48 AM »
Even if you have insurance always call and ask for a discount if you pay for the bills in full (10-20%).  Sometimes this works sometimes it doesn't.  Check you bills closely to make sure you weren't over charged.  If you have a large hospital bill understand your states laws and start making payments immediately (if they won't give you a discount.) In many states as long as you are making a monthly payment they can't charge you interest but you have to pay every month.  They will try to strong arm you into agreeing to a payment program but you probably don't have to do this.  I hate debt but it's interest free so I can't justify paying it off.  Also, schedule an appointment with the local police department to check if you installed the car seat base properly.  Pre buy stuff you think you need but only open it after the baby is here and you have a use for it.  Then take back the stuff you don't need.  You won't have time to go to the store early on.

kei te pai

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2018, 02:35:02 AM »
Is it legal to drive with children unrestrained in the US?

BeanCounter

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #33 on: March 26, 2018, 04:45:17 AM »
Iím sorry but I just have to put in a counterpoint to you first comment about daycare. Quality daycare is a wonderful godsend and no one should feel shamed for putting their kids in daycare. Some people are great at being stuck with little kids all day and other people suck at it, even when it is their own well-loved crotch fruit.

My daughter is better off because she is in daycare with a loving, energetic, trained childcare provider who does arts and crafts and learning activities that would never even occur to me even if I had the inclination to do that stuff, which I donít. I am a happier person when I have kid-free time during the week which means the time I have with my kiddos is higher quality. Lots of people around here put their kids in immersion daycare in another language so they can get that learning. My kid does that to reinforce the language that she only gets from me at home. Our lives are easier, richer, and our relationships with our kids are better due to daycare.
+1 daycare is the best choice for our family. Our kid gets socialization, more adults that love her and care about her in her life, a world of her own, happy and involved parents who have had time to recharge themselves mentally, more and varied activities, more kids her age to play with (no need for constant playdates), more confidence that she can handle things and much much more. If I had to do it again, I'd still put her in again.

For the record, both my kids stayed home till they were a year old and seeing how well my older one has blossomed in daycare, my younger one would be starting there soon. So I'm all for quality daycare, which IMO is way better than keeping kids home alone with one parent. I'm not saying parents won't do great but some parts of daycare (more socialization with kids their age, learning by watching other kids, etc) are harder to replicate at home unless you have a large number of neighborhood kids all around the same age and who all spend time with each other regularly.
+1 to both comments
My boys are 9 and 5. We had a wonderful "granny nanny" who took care of them from 0-3. And then wonderful (expensive) daycare from age 3-kindergarten. It has been a godsend. Staying home with little ones would have been terrible for my mental health. And during this time, despite exorbitant childcare costs, we have clawed our way to FI. I'm going to work a few more years to make sure we have enough for college and then I'm out to be with them. Once your kids get to school age, finding care for all their crazy days off and after school gets increasingly harder. And as they get to middle school they are less happy to be with a babysitter. What they really need is a listening ear and a driver. So contrary to what many say about staying home when they are little and then going back to work when they get into school, I'm doing the opposite and I think it's a good choice. Just something to consider.

letsdoit

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2018, 12:13:23 PM »
to the above comment:  are you are going to be home during their Middle school age?  and stay home the whole time they're in High school?

letsdoit

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2018, 12:16:15 PM »
1. Daycare - Avoid it. Find a way for one of you to stay at home. Or work from home. Reconfigure your life, career, or spending. You'll never get the time back you don't spend with your child. They'll be healthier and better off.

2. Car seats - Use them, yes, but don't obsess about them. You probably went your entire childhood without one. Heck, if you're over 40 you probably went much of your childhood without seatbelts. Guidelines call for kids to use them up until 80 pounds. There are teenage girls driving who don't weigh this much. Beyond the age of 5-6, you'll realize it's not worth it to check seats on planes, travel with them, make grandparents have them, etc. I know a couple, 5-10 and 6-4, whose boys were six inches taller than anyone else by second grade and yet they still had them in car seats a few years later at 80 pounds. Don't be those people.

3. Diapers - They don't cost nearly as much as you think. Costco, baby.

4. Clothes - Graciously accept hand-me-downs from spendypants relatives and friends. Kids don't care about fashion until a certain point. That point can extend well into their teenage years if you don't obsess about it when they're little. Or you can start buying them designer brands from birth and pay the consequences later.

5. Crib - See No.4.

6. Food - As soon as possible, have them eating what you eat and provide no other alternatives. (You should be eating healthy yourself.) If you don't eat crap, they won't eat crap. Do not feed them chicken nuggets, fish sticks and other crap unless you want them eating that forever. All of which will be cheaper, healthier, and keep you from going insane.

7. Beverages -- Have them drink water and nothing else. Jack LaLanne famously noted that humans are the only species to consume milk beyond the suckling stage -- and we consume it from another species! Most parents start their young kids on juice boxes -- 100 percent sugar -- and then have them graduate to Gatorade, a sugary drink designed for 300-pound University of Florida football players sweating in August humidity. Then parents wonder why their kids are bouncing off the walls. Have them drink water. Lots of it. You, too. Don't have soda in the house.

I like the opinions about food and water and sugar.  it's hard for us to find time to buy and  make all of those veggies, but worth it.  other people can buy tater tots all they want

MrsCoolCat

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Re: Okay Mustachian Parents, It's My Turn Now. What Do I Need To Know?
« Reply #36 on: June 27, 2018, 10:53:21 PM »
Following. Baby #2 and last on the way!