So, although the readers of STFU, Parents were rather snarky about the idea, I'm loving what this British family is doing - aiming to spend no money on "consumer items" for a year for their just-turned-two year old.
Mark and I are already fairly frugal. Yes, in 2012 we splashed out on a trip to Europe and a new car, and we have fully renovated the study into a nursery, but we budgeted and saved for those items, thoroughly researched things and used them to really "add value" to our lives.
Neither of us buy stuff for the sake of having it. Nor do we buy expensive stuff just because its expensive. Looking around our lounge / dining room, the only piece of furniture we have that wasn't won, gifted, loaned, or bought at the Warehouse is the lounge suite. We took a LONG time to buy that lounge suite. We took measurements of the room to make sure we didn't look at anything too large, visited every single store that sells lounge suites at least once, and even when we found the one we now bought, we came home and debated it for a full 24 hours before going back and buying it, because it was not cheap. But it was comfortable, looked good, and fitted in the space we had. And its a long-term investment that we spend a LOT of time on.
Now, yes, I have a lot of books. And yes, we have a lot of boardgames. (both, of course, only in comparison to some people we know and not others). But we dont have piles of random shit. We regularly go through stuff we have kept and ensure that keeping it still has a purpose. We recycle as much as we can - either direct through the recycling bags, or by taking things to an up-cycler.
Because we have been thrifty, we have managed to survive on one income for over a year now (well, I earnt a small amount in 2012). Since I probably wont work for all of this year, (but at least we wont have the same travel costs), our aim is to continue being frugal and end up at least evens with the start of the year, if not slightly better off (Mark having cleared his student loan should help with this).
I am a firm believer that very young children do not really need much in the way of "stuff". Nor does a lot of that "stuff" need to be new.
Peanut has a huge pile of clothes already for the first three months that I bought in bulk, second hand online, plus a few items I bought new - all of which were clearance or sale, nothing has been bought at full price.
Our generous family have gifted or loaned us all the basics - a cot, capsule, carseat, pram, floor gym, some reusable nappies, a jolly jumper and a nappy bag. We have purchased (again, from the Warehouse) a chest of drawers and a bookshelf to put in the nursery. Our list of things we still feel we need is very small: Some more bibs, some bottles and teats in case I cant breastfeed, cot sheets and blankets. We also want a nice, lightweight portacot (although someone has offered a larger traditional one - perfect for Granma & Pops).
Our total spends so far? Renovations: $2,900 (including insulation, plasterboard, paint, curtains and tradies), Clothes and other stuff for me: $750, baby-specific stuff: $250 (clothes, nappies) and other stuff: $650 (Antenatal classes, the bookshelf and drawers). So thats $4,500, of which nearly $3,000 is renovation-specific (which we would have done about now even without the pending arrival).
I reckon we can do the rest of 2013 in under $1,500 (since the renovations and big furniture only finished being sorted a week or so ago). A few new clothes (and a lot of second hand), wipes, nappies and a couple of toys. Right. Time to start hunting through TradeMe for a second hand travel cot. I promise to keep track of what we spend where and report back on how we are going on a regular basis.
1. All baby-related purchases will be tracked and reported.
2. Travel expenditure is excluded if we are going away as a family - extra accommodation costs will be included however.
3. Maternity-specific clothing will be included
4. Health expenditure that is baby-specific will be included
5. Reporting back once a month on progress.