Monday, January 18, 2010

Frugality, Environmentalism, Charity and Insanity

In my new role as a stay at home mom I am exploring new outlets for my need to work. See, since I'm not working-working I have found new *jobs* for myself. Number one is saving money on groceries and household items. I've always used coupons and shopped sales but never put too much effort into it. Now that I am at home, not bringing home a paycheck and have some more time I am devoting a chunk of my week to couponing. Did you know its a verb now? Kind of like scrapbooking...oh that reminds me, I'm woefully behind on my scrapbooks but that's another post.

I've been following blogs about couponing, baby products and deals in general. They have been enormously helpful b/c the writers are more experienced and spend even more time on it than I do. They know what is a good deal on hand soap and what is something to pass over. I might think I know but I don't really know. My new favorite store is Walgreens b/c I can now get so many things for free or nearly free on a weekly basis. Whatever extra soap or toothpaste I end up with I can set aside for donations to charities.

Last week I was so excited about my grocery trip I actually took a picture of my purchases. I saved 79%!!! I spent only $20 on this trip and saved $72. Not too shabby right? Mike says I'm a coupon ninja.

Today I found a charity that helps military families living abroad. It seems they are allowed to use expired coupons at commissaries in foreign countries. This charity matches up donors with bases and families in need of coupons. We all know that the military families don't get paid what they should and this is a little way to help those who are fighting for our country. I sorted through my coupon organizer and pulled out expired coupons and then re-clipped the Sunday coupons for all the other ones I did not plan on using. I will set these aside and send them once a month to help those families in need. Sometimes charity isn't so much about a dollar amount but just taking a little extra time to help out someone else.

I am also a huge supporter of the March of Dimes. Everyone has the charity that speaks to them most and mine happens to be the March of Dimes. After having 3 complicated pregnancies and 2 babies in the NICU you can understand my fondness for their work. I will continue to expand my level of involvement with MoD and when Heidi is a little older I will try to volunteer my time at a NICU or in a support group for parents of babies in the NICU. When I had Colin I could have used a shoulder to lean on and the advise of a parent who had been there before. I've tried to do this with my own friends but its not all that often (thankfully) that a friend has a baby in the NICU.

Now, my final experiment falls under the insanity section (as well as environmental and frugality). I bought some cloth diapers. Yes, CLOTH diapers. I'm not hard core enough to use prefolds with diaper pins but cloth nonetheless. I have environmental guilt from using disposable diapers on the boys and on Heidi. I go through so many diapers a week with Heidi and Colin. Yes, he is not potty trained (more on this later). I just feel so guilty. I try to be environmentally conscious about the things I use and do. This is a sort of atonement for using thousands of disposable diapers over the past 6 years. I've been buying diapers for SIX years. I wonder (no I don't) how much I've spent on them.

These cloth diapers are actually kind of cute but lordy does she have a bubble butt now!

Anyway, I spent $100 on 7 cloth diapers for Heidi and I'm working on potty training Colin. I will probably stick to 7 diapers a day with Heidi and use disposables when we are out or while the cloth ones are being washed/dried. I started this endeavor hopeful and then Heidi pooped in her first diaper. Thank you for that honey! Trial by, poop. You know it wasn't that bad. She blew out a diaper the day before so rinsing out a diaper really isn't any different from rinsing out a onesie. Ask me this again in 6 months when she's eating mostly table food.

So for now I'm a sling wearing, extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, stay at home, never say never. Oh, and don't worry. I still use deodorant and shave my legs.

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