Tot Tuesday: Does Wanting the Best for Our Kids Sabotage Our Budget?

Does wanting the best for your baby have to sabotage your savings?


Tot Tuesdayis a weekly feature where I highlight a special kids activity, frugal recipe for kids, kids tutorial, etc.

Guest post by Lisa

Help! My efforts to be frugal are sabotaging my family’s budget!

I’m expecting a baby in November. It’s our second, another son.  But since we borrowed most things the first time around, we need to source nearly everything again.

Let’s preface this confession with a necessary detail. At the risk of sounding like a snob, I’m going to tell you I don’t like cheap things. I want soft, organic clothing for my baby that also looks cute. I can’t abide the polyester maternity clothing you find at typical mall stores. And I don’t want to clutter up our house with baby gear in obnoxious primary colors—I want nice baby stuff that blends in with our décor.

Of course, being frugal doesn’t mean you have to buy cheap, poorly made things. As a stay at home mom, part of my work is to choose quality over quantity while sticking to a budget. But I must admit I’m struggling to avoid rampant consumerism and tone down a shopping addiction that seems to have followed me most of my life as I stare down the homestretch of this pregnancy.

Setting out to fill the list of baby things we needed, I borrowed a host of items again. Good start, right?

Then I turned to daily deal sites, thinking I would snag bargains as my pregnancy progressed. Zulily became my best friend. I waited for that daily email telling me a new list of vendors was up and ready for browsing. And then I dug in.

So, three months later, how is my plan progressing?

I’ve more than filled our need for organic baby clothing. My maternity wear is varied and comfortable, despite the fact I am wearing few things from my first pregnancy.

BUT we’re still lacking a monitor, car seat, high chair–all the big ticket items! Not to mention other things we’ll need like a changing pad and cloth diapers.

Our budget is shrinking. Yet those daily deal sites still suck me in. I tremble as I see yet another organic baby clothing company featured, afraid to look but unable to close my browser.

I have to remind myself constantly: Just because it’s a deal doesn’t mean you should buy it. If you don’t really need it, don’t get it!

Like Heather long ago, I’m just starting to learn how to be a frugal mom. You’d be horrified if you knew how much I spend on food every month. I tell myself it’s because I buy mostly organic and rarely pick up the processed items that most coupons seem to be available for.

But does living healthy have to be so expensive? As this new baby’s due date approaches, I’m realizing the choices I make now will impact our savings for his and his brother’s benefit down the road.

I want to make better, more frugal choices for my family. But I need help.

Tell this frugal newbie, how do you keep your spending on track?

Lisa Banks is the resident blogger at, where you’ll find the cutest children’s hats ever knit by hand. Shop sweet baby girl hats and rambunctious baby boy hats , for newborns right up to picky preteens. Stop by the Beanie Designs Blog for promotions, giveaways, and family inspiration—then catch us on Facebook and Twitter, too!

Are you interested in guest posting on Family Friendly Frugality? Please email me heather @ I’m looking for anything in the family friendly/frugal niche, but specifically how-to’s, DIY posts and RECIPES! Must be original content not posted elsewhere.

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Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google + View all posts by Heather

12 thoughts on “Tot Tuesday: Does Wanting the Best for Our Kids Sabotage Our Budget?”

  1. Those daily deal sites can be killer on the budget! I don’t look unless there is something I need. I will get a few nice, cute outfits each season for my kids, but the rest is just play clothes or stuff on clearance at our local department stores. I do shop consignment sales too and have found some really nice stuff!

  2. You said it, “the choices I make now will impact our savings for his and his brother’s benefit down the road.”
    Realizing that, if your purchase is really a NEED, you would pay full price if you had to, so when you find a deal, put the amount your are “saving” into Savings! That is the only way to truly save when you actually are buying.
    Just a thought!

  3. Cloth dipes can really set you back but I found some great places to get gently used diapers at half the price. Some are cloth diaper stores, then there are a few groups on facebook and then theres diaperswappers. Feel free to email me if you want more info

  4. Lisa has an addiction. First thing, she must unsubscribe from all the daily deal sites. If you insist on the finer things try the upscale consignment shops. I found a car seat still in the unopened box at less than half price for my granddaughter.
    remember you are NOT supermom. Everything will not be perfect.

    1. My kids wear a LOT of top name brands…all found at consignment shops! If you had told me pre-kids that I’d be shopping at consignment stores, I never would have believed you. I LOVE it now!

  5. Hi, it’s Lisa from weighing in. Katie, yes, Zulily has brought some wonderful things my way. It has also introduced me to brands I never would have heard of otherwise. But, as Celeste points out, it’s become an addiction. In fact, I unsubscribed at one point. This takes 5 days to take effect. But in the meantime I clicked through again and made another purchase, and it looks like I was automatically re-subscribed. (After Christmas this past year, I also unsubscribed from all the retail emails I was receiving, as the deals are just addicting for me. Then I got pregnant and Zulily happened…) PJ and Tiffany, thanks so much for the tips! I never thought of banking the difference–and I will be EC’ing my LO from the start, so I do hope to save a bit on diapers that way… But your encouragement (and just printing this out loud) is helping my resolve already. Must make the effort to get out to the fab consignment shops we have in town.

    1. Consignment shopping is SO FUN! You will love it.

      (and not to feed your addiction, but did you see the Totsy/Plum District deal today? Eek!)

  6. I’m expecting my first and scheduled to deliver on August 1st. Luckily, I found a GREAT deal on furniture for the nursery. I spent just over $700 for a convertible crib (and the conversion kits), changing table, and dresser. The changing table is fully enclosed and can be used as a second dresser once he is no longer being changed. The crib is a convertible crib and comes with the toddler bar. I also in this transaction purchased the rails that turn the crib into a full sized bed. The site is always free shipping. Of course, I got a 10% discount because my husband is military, but the total before discount was still around/under $900 which I find a GREAT deal because I won’t have to buy new furniture for him for a LONG time (if ever). The site: simplybabyfurniture !!!! <3!!!! I'm not against used items, but there are certain things that I will not buy used. Cribs for the recalls and carseats because you never know if they have been in a car accident or not (and you are supposed to replace car seats after a collision). I think that the trick is, to make a list of everything that you still need at this point, and shop around. Remember that some stores do still have layaway (Kmart and Burlington Coat Factory). And if you have a Burlington, their Baby Depot is amazing. All of the top brands at lower prices. And a consignment shop can be your best friend when it comes to the swing/highchair/ and other daily necessities that are high dollar items new. Also: CRAIGSLIST!!!!!! I can't even begin to tell you the deals on baby stuff that I have found on there.

  7. I live in a small town where craigslist has nada and thrift stores are few and far between. I have been addicted to the flash sale sites too, especially since totsy has been selling vouchers on so many deal sites lately. I am going through and unsubscribing this morning. I also hid the deal fb pages from my feed and only go to them when looking for something. I always check babycheapskate’s blog they list the best pricing for big ticket items and every year do polls to compile a list of toys that get played with. My first place I check for expensive stuff is If you look there I assure you the big ticket items like high chairs will come cheap. Check out their fb page for coupon codes. I also have a upromise account. I linked every card we have and do my online shopping through their site to earn college savings for my daughter.

  8. I’m also going to second (third? fourth?) the consignment shop recommendation. My kids also wear almost all top-name brands and they’re all either from consignment shops OR from shopping the stores directly (but always shopping the clearance racks with an additional coupon or sale). For instance, GapKids has been running sales lately where the entire store is 30-40% off. I use those days to shop the clearance racks and usually find a ton of clothes, brand new, that are less than those I could find at off-brand stores.

    Also I’ve tried to really adhere to a certain number of outfits in each size, especially for the first couple years. With my son it’s been easier, because his clothes are much more mix and match. He has about a week’s worth of plain, classic bottoms and several tees that are easy to find inexpensively (even the top-name stuff).

    So far I’ve noticed that girls’ clothes seem to come in more “outfits” rather than mix-and-match separates, so we’re still trying to perfect our formula with my daughter’s wardrobe. 🙂

  9. Thanks everyone for the great suggestions and sources. I’ve got my registry set up sort of as a to-buy list for myself now, too, at I’m going to try to stick to only things on there now, since they will not be an impulse purchase, and I’ve researched the options. I took my toddler out to the main consignment shop here yesterday, the first time I’d been in months, and it was pretty disappointing. Mostly Old Navy and other lower quality mall type of clothing that doesn’t wear well, with none of the gear I’m looking for either. Even the maternity clothing made me cringe, polyester or other already-full-of-pills fabrics. I guess you have to visit regularly to catch the good stuff. But getting there is just hard to do with a toddler and my low energy levels these days. Perhaps I can find the items I’ve already researched on some of the discount sites you’ve mentioned. Thanks for all the input on where to look!

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