- What's Old is New for Parents Looking
to Save Money
(ARA) - Because raising a child
in tough economic times can be expensive and financially challenging,
many families are looking for ways to reduce their spending without
having to sacrifice their family's well-being. This has resulted
in a slew of families getting creative by making old items new
Shanaka Brown's family is one
of many that is looking to save money by repurposing and reusing
items from around the house.
Brown, a stay-at-home mom, says
she believes the consumer-oriented society has prevailed for
too long and has to stop. "I think a lot of people are doing
things to change the spending mindset. Even if people just take
baby steps in changing the way they do things, added up it all
can make a huge difference in the long run."
Brown says that her family is
doing a lot of unique things to save money these days.
"For one, I cloth diaper
my children which I figured has saved us a ton of money and cuts
back on our curbside trash," she says. Brown also says she
regularly participates in clothing, toy and book swaps with the
more than 60 moms in her playgroup, makes her own cleaning concoctions,
and religiously uses refillable water bottles. After all, tap
water is free.
"I also repurpose leftovers
to make new meals and look for other uses for things in the kitchen
such reusing empty food storage containers. Even my husband reuses
milk and juice jugs in the basement to organize his stuff,"
Kelly Wels, the owner of KellysCloset.com,
a cloth diapering boutique that offers modern cloth diapering
selections like FuzziBunz, bumGenius and Happy Heinys, has seen
a huge rise in the number of families using washable and reusable
cloth diapers. "I think that families are looking for ways
they can save and cloth diapers are a surprisingly easy and sensible
solution these days. Families can save thousands of dollars over
the course of a few years by cloth diapering their baby,"
Kira Williams, a physician from
California, says that even though she and her husband have stable
jobs, they are still mindful of their expenditures.
"Cloth diapering has definitely
saved us money. Even with the extra money we spend on the water
bill, we're saving more than what we would have spent on disposable
diapers. That said, while the cost savings are important, I am
even more concerned with minimizing waste and streamlining our
lives. I feel that so many of us have become obsessed with spending
more and having more and it clearly hasn't made us better individuals
nor a better society. I want to teach my daughter to be happy
with less and to treasure the simple things in life," she
Williams says she prefers reusing
items and says she was lucky to have inherited many maternity
and baby clothes, as well as a lot of baby gear, all which she
plans to pass along to others someday. She also makes her own
baby food and saves the plastic souvenir cups she gets at NFL
games, which have become one of her daughter's favorite stacking
and nesting toys.
Texas stay-at-home mom, Amy Scott,
is also one of those moms getting creative by repurposing items
that she might have once considered throwing out. For example,
Scott says she keeps a small bowl on the dining table where her
family puts leftover sauce packets from take-out restaurants.
"We'll never have to buy hot sauce or soy sauce again,"
Scott also says she and her husband
repurposed old nightstands that were dangerously close to being
tossed. When her daughter was born, they realized they needed
extra storage space. "One of our old nightstands became
a feeding station to store formula, bibs, burp clothes, etc.,
and the other went by my back door to store mail as to not clutter
my kitchen counter," she says.
Wels adds that, with a little
thought and effort, moms can save a lot of money by finding new
ways to use old things.
"Think of all the new disposable
products on the market that are touted as convenience items like
disposable swim diapers, bibs and placemats. I don't understand
how it's easier to keep buying new things only to end up throwing
them away and buying more. If more people took a little extra
time to wash items that we normally throw out, we can rack up
a lot of savings and be much kinder to Mother Earth," says
Wels. "Perhaps this tumultuous economy is just the excuse
families need to spend less, reuse more and overall lessen their
Brown agrees, "New is not
always better or necessary. Reusing not only helps our environment
but also my pocketbook because I don't have to spend money buying
things over and over again. Being a family of four on one income
was difficult at first, but now I feel that we are making it