Now that I’ve been a mom for two months, I know precisely two things: when it comes to kids, there are lots of opportunities to spend money and there are lots of opportunities to embarrass yourself. Take, for instance, the weekend I stood up in a wedding. I met the other bridesmaids at the nail salon. At the start of the session, the manicurist filled up the little glass bowl with water, took one look at my nails, and inquired about what appeared to be an old French tip on my nail. The only problem was the white she was seeing wasn’t actually old nail polish. It was dried diaper cream crusted under one nail from an hour before. Hashtag new mom don’t care…or something like that. And it turns out, trying to buy baby gear on the cheap can also lead to some shrugs and cringes.
If I ever make a fortune for inventing something as seemingly useless as headphones that can be worn on a pregnant belly (they exist and they’re expensive!), it will be for diaper suspenders. Up until recently, HP was quite the pipsqueak. While his legs have filled out considerably, he still has the same caboose as his father. Which is to say he doesn’t have one. As a result, it’s been more than a little bit of trial and error to keep everything—errrrr—contained in his diapers.
I thought I had a winner. The brand sported a cute print and was still relatively eco-friendly for disposables. Unfortunately, they also resulted in a lot of laundry. But I wasn’t willing to give up. On day four of the diaper disasters, my mom tried to understand why I was still bothering with these diapers. I explained: “They’re filled with certified wood pulp. They’re chlorine free. They’re better for the environment. Plus I already bought four bags, and they’re not cheap!”
She promptly returned, “How good for the environment can they be if you have to do 17 loads of laundry a week because of them?” Touche, Mom. Touche.
My dad, sensing the other part of my diapering woes, offered, “I can save you a real buck. We’ve got a pile of wood chips out back that we don’t need. Find a cloth and get to stuffing.” Hardee har har.
A Diaper By Any Other Brand
After said diaper disaster, I moved on to another brand. More specifically, I moved on to every brand that I could get my hands on. This past weekend, we traveled north and brought a jumbo pack of diapers with us. My dad noticed it was a different brand. “Why’d you switch? No, wait. Don’t tell me. You had a coupon.”
To be fair, I had a coupon and an Ibotta rebate. What can I say? Sometimes people just have your number.
The Dresser Debacle
Months before our baby was born, my parents made it known that they wanted to gift us a new furniture set. I protested. I requested my old crib. I played the nostalgia card. I lost. (If you don’t already know, the grandparent card trumps everything.)
In an effort to maintain hold of my claim to frugal living, I selected one of the most inexpensive cribs that I could find at Buy Buy Baby. It was a simple white style that would fit nicely in the room. It was also dramatically cheaper than many of the other models.
After what can only be explained as a lesson in you get what you pay for, we had taken delivery on three different crib and dresser sets. The last dresser was damaged so badly during shipping that fault lines appeared whenever you opened the drawers. Not sure what I mean? Picture the seams in Jenga tiles. Buy Buy Baby was really apologetic again and sent over another delivery crew to pick up the damaged set again. One of the guys pulled no punches as he picked up the dresser: “I hope they don’t try to charge people too much for this. It really is a piece of $hit.”
So Tell Me…Any good frugal fails you’d like to share?