My beautiful angel is one today. Wow where did that year go!!! It just flew by so crazy fast. What a whirl wind! So happy birthday to my darling baby Gabriel (as John calls him; actually it’s more like Daby Dabriel! So cute). Traditional families make a huge deal out of a child’s birthday and buy them lots of stuff. I’m not traditional. Don’t get me wrong I make a huge deal out of birthdays they are super special to me. It is your special day after all! It is your day of birth and really it doesn’t get more special than that. So why did I not buy any birthday gifts or anything else for Gabriel throughout the last year?
I love my children and I don’t think they need gifts or consumerism to tell them I love them. Oh I love gifts as much as the next person and one of my love languages is gifts but to me a gift means that someone has thought of me rather than just bought some random gift. A gift is a beautiful handmade item someone made just for you. A gift is a homemade meal for you. A gift is a physical manifestation of a thought. So a gift is to think of someone and tell them you love them through physical means. So by not buying my son a gift doesn’t mean I don’t love and that I don’t think of him I believe a store bought gift is just not necessary. I could say that his new bedroom that we’ve spent so much time on and that he only moved into at 9pm last night is his gift. The beautiful tree I painted for him could be his gift. The gift of having is own space and room is his gift but really I refuse to get sucked into the consumerism that is considered normal when you have children!
In the last year I have spent no money (well very minimal money) on Gabriel as we already have MORE than enough! In the past three years I’ve been very careful about only spending money on John when it was necessary and then most of the time I bought second hand or got given hand me downs. Even then sometimes I got sucked into “needing” something for John when really I thought how cool we so want that. So I decided to be even more strict with Gabriel and step further out of the consumer box!
Gabriel really is a second hand baby; he’s been wearing all John’s old clothes, sleeping in John’s old bed, playing with all John’s old toys, uses John’s old car seat; the hand me down list goes on. I have bought a few items second hand or on sale as he needed them. Kids really don’t need much clothing and wow they always have more clothes than they wear anyways! How often do you go through their drawers and find an item with the tags still on that they’ve never even worn! or then worn once and grown out of them straight away! So second hand or hand me down clothes are prefect! Basically I haven’t spent any money on Gabriel as he always wears and uses hand me downs so no need to spend any money!
Nappies! Oh the golden item that always costs parent’s truck loads. Well guess what Gabriel wears John’s old nappies. The great thing about buying such good quality cloth nappies is that they have worked and still look great on not one but two children!!! So using cloth nappies and wipes not only saves you money the first time round but even more come the next child!! Just another great reason to use cloth.
We didn’t buy “baby foods” for Gabriel he eats with the family or we make up a huge pot of food that is frozen into baby meal portions. Don’t get sucked into buying “baby foods”. You really don’t need them. On the odd occasion I have bought a few jars of baby food for emergencies but with Gabriel I haven’t bought any of the baby crackers or other baby single serve plastic wrapped items. What I did have to spend a lot of money on was lactos-free formula until Gabriel was about seven months then we were slowly able to change him over to normal formula so maybe that cancels out all the saving I made in other areas? Oh who knows just being honest here.
Toys. Uhh yes the other big ticket expensive item. Well for christmas Gabriel got a second hand book and a formula tin drum and he did get half a trampoline that he got with John that we went halves in with the family. So I guess he got a great big toy for christmas. Well trampoline aside (yeah yeah I know going against everything I’ve just said please don’t yell at me. Actually it has become fun for the whole family and is a mama sanity saver!), so trampoline aside Gabriel has had no new toys from us at all. He’s played with John’s toys and in general all those toys were given to us (new or second hand) or has been given some toys of his own from other people (especially cool handmade or second ones too). Not to mention the amount of cardboard boxes he has played in or newspapers he’s played with. So stop and think before you buy that toy; do we really need this or just want it?
To save even more money and your environmental impact don’t buy other “baby” related “stuff” ie no baby soaps, baby shampoos, no baby bath stuff/ lotions/ gels, etc. I use lavender oil in Gabriel’s bath and wash him with that water. Babies really don’t get that dirty and so soap is unnecessary. I make my own botty balm instead of buying expensive baby creams. Coconut oil or bee balm works great as a body lotion on baby’s skin.
Another thing I haven’t done with Gabriel is go to any music clubs or groups. We have an amazing antenatal group that catches up regularly and we go to a Dutch club once every fortnight but I haven’t paid for any groups for Gabriel. Sure it’s a great way to get out of the house and meet other mums but I really haven’t felt the need to do this. So I haven’t paid for any swimming lessons, art classes, etc these things can just as easily be done at home for your little one or out together as a family without paying for an instructor.
I’ve talked before about saving money with children and not needing to buy everything new. Either way only buy what you really, really need and even better buy it second hand. It pays to remind yourself every time you buy something is this a need or a want? Even I sometimes need reminding but it gets easier all the time. I can’t wait for the massive declutter I’m going to do super soon!! I declutter about once a year as I feel weighed down buy all the extra stuff in my life so there will be a fire sale!! Everything must go! And nothing is coming back in!!!
So happy birthday to my beautiful second hand baby. I love you and the world is a better place since you have less stuff!
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