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finances | Frugal & Simple - Part 2
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Dressing Baby on a Budget

When we found out we were expecting our first child, we didn’t give into the temptation of beginning to shop for baby! We knew that we would have family and friends who would shower us with gifts and  hand-me-downs.

We purchased the very first outfit on the day we found out we were having a boy to celebrate {and we paid with a gift card!} Before he was born, we picked up a few items on clearance and some essentials that we needed, using gift cards we had been given for him, but paid absolutely no cash out of pocket for clothing!

It is possible to dress your baby for almost nothing if you are grateful for the ways people bless you and aren’t too picky! {Sure, we’ve been given things that we wouldn’t pick out for Paxton to wear but honestly babies look cute in almost anything!}

Here are sources of dressing baby on a budget:

Shower/New Baby Gifts

Newborn sleeper we received at a shower

Almost every mama-to-be has a shower – or 2 or 3- for a first baby! Even second or third babies are given gifts so this is a great way to outfit your little one!

We were very, very blessed with gifts of clothing for our son. We returned the duplicates and items we received too much of (like 20 size 0-3 month bodysuits!) We used the cash and store credit from returns to purchase items we needed for him.


Hand-me-down romper from my parents pastor's boys

Hand-me-downs are the cheapest way to outfit children! We’ve been given several boxes of clothing from friends over the course of the past year. Looking through a box of hand-me-downs and finding adorable clothing is so much fun! Paxton’s wardrobe for this coming fall/winter is composed of at least 50% hand-me-downs from friends at church!


Borrowed overalls from friends at church

Borrowing is another great way to save lots of money on outfitting your children! Since we have been given so many clothing items, we haven’t had the need to borrow much but we’ve had a few friends who have loaned us clothing items we need to fill in gaps in the wardrobe. If our second child is a girl, I plan to borrow most of her clothes from my sister who has 2 girls!

The best part of borrowing clothing, once you’re finished with it, you return it and don’t have to store it!


Secondhand t-shirt from a resale store

Buying children’s clothing secondhand saves a ton of money! I still haven’t needed to purchase many items for my son but almost all of the items I’ve bought for him have been from secondhand stores.

We are very blessed to have several resale stores in our town. I’ve sold items for cash and store credit at two different stores in town. Having store credit has been a frugal way to supplement his wardrobe without spending anything out of pocket! This past spring I sold some clothing and after purchasing several items, I still have about $25 in store credit that I can use for any fall/winter items Paxton may need or to purchase items for our new baby!

{Buying baby clothing from yard sales would fall under this category too. That is a wonderful way to spend almost nothing to outfit your child. Since we have been so blessed with hand-me-downs, gifts and store credit to a secondhand store, I’ve had no need to yard sale for his clothing.}

Birthday/Christmas Gifts

A play outfit he received as a birthday gift

Paxton has received many clothing items as Christmas and birthday gifts. This past Christmas we received clothing that helped our quickly growing boy get through the rest of the winter! He received several outfits as birthday gifts which make up a large part of his summer wardrobe. Don’t be afraid to ask for clothing for gifts for your child, babies and young children don’t need many toys!!


Romper purchased on clearance at the end of last summer

Clearances are another wonderful way to save big dollars on clothing! Last summer I purchased several cute clothing items (up to size 3T shirts) that were marked down very low (with a gift card we received as a shower gift, costing us nothing out of pocket!) This is another great way to save money on clothing. It does take some guess work in sizing but even if your child can’t wear an item or two you can always give them as gifts or resale them!

These are the ways we outfit our son (and will do the same with baby #2)! At 15 months, we’ve yet to spend a dollar out of pocket for his clothing {remember we’ve used gift cards and secondhand store credit to purchase the items we’ve personally bought for him.} Sure he’s not wearing $50 smocked items or clothing from trendy and expensive baby stores but we think he’s dressed incredibly cute! {Of course we have our family and friends to thank for most of these cute clothes!!}

Now that we’re expecting baby #2, we’ve only bought a size 3 month white bodysuit (we didn’t have a white one in this size and white will work for boy or girl!)

Babies aren’t as expensive as most people make you believe! If you don’t give into the temptation of having the latest, greatest and most expensive baby items you can have a baby on a budget! {And I’d much rather outfit my children on a budget and have a house full!!}


Grocery Budget & Meals: Week 2

I’m continuing to share about our grocery budget and meals this week! Last week, I gave you a glimpse into our pantry and shared what food we had stockpiled as well as a detailed plan.

We’re working with a $175 budget for the month of May. After last week’s grocery trip we had $125 left.

Our grocery trips this week:

3 Chickens (@$1.79/pound)

Total: $21.38

  • 6 Avocados $9
  • Chicken Sausage (marked down) $2.49
  • 4 Oranges $2
  • 2 boxes Whole Wheat Pasta $.98
  • 2 blocks Cheese $3.58
  • 1 box Butter $3.19
  • Plain Yogurt (organic) $2.69
  • Spaghetti Sauce $2.58
  • Northern Beans $1.89
  • Milk (organic) (marked down) $3.29
  • 4 bags Chips $3.96
  • 2 boxes Cereal $1.98
  • Annie’s Chocolate Bunnies $2.81

Total: $40.44 (minus coupon plus tax) $36.83

Grocery total for the week: $58.21

{$66.79 left in the grocery budget for the month.}

*Yes, I did purchase a few processed foods and chips! {We love those chips by the way!} We have pretty good eating habits but not perfect!


Our Meal Plan:


Breakfast– Cereal

Lunch– Lunch Out

DinnerChicken Soup (using broth from a boiled chicken)

To Do- Soak Pintos


Breakfast- Fruit & Yogurt

Lunch- Leftovers

Dinner-Small Group (make tortillas & guacamole)

To Do- Cook Pintos, Layout Venison, Make Bread, Make Mayo, Make Tuna Salad


Breakfast- Strawberry Smoothies

Lunch- JD-Tuna Salad; Avocado/Guacamole & Chips

Dinner- Mexican Casserole


Breakfast- Strawberry Smoothies

Lunch- JD-Leftovers; Carrots, Mango, Yogurt & Cheese

Dinner- JD @ Church; Leftover Mexican Casserole


Breakfast- Cereal

Lunch- Leftover Mexican Casserole

Dinner-Homemade Pizza & Cheese Bread

To Do-Layout Chicken




Dinner-Enchiladas Verde

To Do-Make Buns


Breakfast- Breakfast at Church

Lunch- Leftovers

Dinner– Chicken Sausage with Chips & Apples

Do you meal plan?

Also, I’d love to know what your grocery budget is and what it includes (ours is only groceries, no toiletries or household products.)

Grocery Budget & Meals: Week 1

During the month of May, I’m sharing a glimpse into our food budget and menu planning. Each week, I’ll share the groceries we purchased and a detailed meal plan.

Our grocery budget is currently $175 for our family of 3 and I am considering bumping it up soon to $200 since we are working towards healthier eating, incorporating more organics, better quality milk and fresh from the farm meat. We value our health and we’re no longer trying to eat for as little as possible. We are trying to frugally eat healthy!

Food we began the month with:

Produce: 8 apples, 1 mango, 2 kiwis, 1 orange, 8 ounces carrots, 10 pounds sweet potatoes, 5 pounds potatoes

Dairy: 1 block cream cheese, 3 8-oz blocks cheese, 8 ounces sour cream, 1/2 gallon milk, 3 sticks butter

Dry Goods:

The contents of our pantry.

{We also have a shelf of venison and 4 chicken breasts and chicken wings in the freezer. Of course, this is not a complete list of the foods that we have but most of the food!}

Our grocery trip for the week:

  • Oats $3.39
  • Saltines $1.00
  • Plain Yogurt (organic) $2.69
  • 3 cups Greek Yogurt $2
  • Greens $1.00
  • Green Chilies $.79
  • White Wine Vinegar $2.69
  • Green Salsa $2.69
  • Sloppy Joe Sauce $.79
  • Dijon Mustard $.89
  • Flaxseed Mill $3.79
  • Granola Bars-2 boxes (organic) $2.38
  • Chocolate Chips $3.49
  • Cheese $3.29
  • Fried Chicken $3.29 (marked down…not healthy but easy!)
  • Chicken Sausage (organic) $1.99
  • Sausage Links $2.50
  • Bananas (2.84 pounds) $1.56
  • Cabbage (4.27 pounds) $2.09
  • Mango $1.00
  • Orange $.50
  • Avocados (2) $3.00
  • Lemon $.50
  • Cantaloupe $1.99
  • Eggs $2.99
  • Chips (not pictured) $2.99

Total: $50 (With tax & 10% off coupon)

{$125 left in the grocery budget for the month.}

Our Meal Plan:


Breakfast-Sausage, Eggs & Toast

Lunch-Leftover Chicken with Homemade Fries

Dinner-Sloppy Joes with Apples & Chips

To Do-Layout Venison


Breakfast-Yogurt & Apples

Lunch-Leftovers for JD, Avocado/Guacamole with Tortillas and Kiwi

Dinner-Grilled Venison, Baked Sweet Potato, Fried Cabbage and Bread

To Do-Make Banana Flax Muffins, Make Bread


BreakfastBanana Flax Muffins


Dinner-At Church


Breakfast-Banana Flax Muffins

Lunch- JD out for lunch; Carrots, Mango, Yogurt & Cheese

Dinner- JD at church; Fried Cabbage, Bread with Yogurt & Kiwi

To Do-Make Homemade Mayo, Make Tuna Salad, Soak Tortillas, Layout Chicken


Breakfast– Sausage & Hashbrowns

Lunch– Tuna Salad for JD, Leftover Cabbage & Fruit

Dinner– Chicken Tacos with Homemade Tortillas

To Do– Cook Rice


Breakfast– Sausage Omelets

Lunch– Leftovers

Dinner– Chicken with Fried Rice & Stir Fry Vegetables

To Do– Layout chicken


Breakfast– Breakfast at Church

Lunch– Leftovers

Dinner– Smoked Chicken Wings with Homemade Sweet Potato Fries


{I apologize for the long post but I wanted to give you as much information so you can get a good idea about our grocery budget and meal planning!}


Frugal Moving Tips

{This post was originally posted on October 22, 2010. Since we’re currently in the midst of moving this is applicable! I plan to soon start sharing our new home and about our downsizing process!}

Moving is not easy! You are packing up your entire home and moving everything into a new home which can be quite daunting. Add to that movers, renting a truck, buying boxes, buying tape, and the expenses can add up quickly! However, it is possible to move on the cheap!

Frugal moving tips:

Invest in a Tape Gun Dispenser: My mother-in-law gave us one 3 moves ago and it has been an extremely helpful tool! This enables us to quickly build broken down boxes as well as securely tape up packed boxes. A tape gun dispenser is very inexpensive, you can purchase a decent one for around $10!

Use Free Boxes: Since we didn’t have much time between finding out we were moving and our moving day we thought we were going to have to purchase boxes. Do you know how much boxes cost? Small boxes are around $1.50 and large boxes are about $2.50, each! We could very easily spend $100 or more just on boxes!

We found sources of free boxes! My husband brought 10 or so home from work, a lady from church who worked in a retail store brought us about 25 really nice boxes and I called Dollar General and was able to get around 40 boxes! All of the free boxes were broken down but building boxes only takes about 15 seconds with a tape gun. I’m willing to invest 15 seconds per box to save $1.50 or more!

Have 3-4 Good Markers: Having a few good markers instead of just one makes labeling boxes more time efficient! Since there were several markers throughout the house, I never had to walk far to find one! (It seems like they just walk off sometimes!) Remember that labeling boxes very clearly makes unpacking much easier!

Do It Yourself: Don’t hire movers! We toyed with this idea too but it’s expensive! Plus, I’m a little picky and really didn’t want other people packing my boxes, mostly because of the unpacking! I clearly label all of our boxes and know exactly what is in it before opening. Thankfully, our parents helped us load the truck and friends from our new church helped us unload!

Rent a Truck: Renting a truck and driving it yourself saves money over paying someone to drive! It cost $380 to rent the largest truck U-Haul had! (Yes, it is a little embarrassing that we needed a truck that big! And no, it wasn’t packed to the brim!) The first time we moved, we used John David’s parents’ small pull behind trailer. We had our mattress strapped to the top and John David’s mom’s van loaded. Trust me, it’s much easier to just pay for a moving truck and not worry if it is going to rain and ruin things that are strapped to roofs!

And don’t worry about hiring a babysitter, just use a moving box to contain your child! (We had to snap a picture of Paxton in a box to document the moving process!!)

These frugal moving tips helped keep money in our pockets!

Comments from this move:

*We didn’t rent a moving truck, we used our truck and SUV to move the majority of our belongings and borrowed a larger truck and trailer! Yes, this required several trips but done over the course of several days and with each load we were setting furniture up or cleaning and unpacking in the new house!

*When you have an active 11-month-old, it’s best to take friends up on their offers to watch him! We were baby free for about 8 hours on ‘moving day’ which allowed us to do about twice the amount of work that we could have done if we had Paxton with us. Plus, he had a blast since he was able to hang out with other kids!

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