Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Scope of Thrift

"The scope of thrift is limitless."  Thomas Edison

So because the sight of this

Moses basket and rocker, Craig's List, $40

nearly reduced me to tears of happiness this afternoon when I rounded the corner at the top of the stairs, I realized how many incredible gifts we've been given in terms of baby items in this financially dry season.  The sources?  A smart mom and sister who saved nearly every one of my niece's baby items, yard sales and thrift stores.

Speaking of that smart mom, boy, is she smart.  My parents moved to the mid-Atlantic in 1983 from Illinois when they were about 4 months pregnant with me.  They had one tiny, beat up car filled with some boxes and a big dog named Buns and pulled an even tinier U-haul with a few more boxes.  They even ran over a skunk after leaving a rest stop for my morning-sick mom.  

When they got here, they moved into an eensy apartment.  My dad worked 12, 15, even 18 hour days and my mom worked at a bank.  They had absolutely nothing, and she'd come home from work and sit her ever-growing self on a pillow in front of a tv on the floor.  

When I was little, I was aware that things were really tight, but my parents always found a way to meet our needs.  Always.  Even though I remember financial stress, I can honestly say that I never once felt "lacking" growing up.  I thought our house was beautiful, my toys wonderful, my clothes pretty.  And they were, because my parents sacrificed to provide for us, worked incredibly hard (I don't know two people who work harder than them) and made really wise decisions financially.  Now they live here:
My parents have taught me two basic financial rules that I think fully shape the way we view money.

1.  Give generously.
2.  Spend wisely.  

My dad is a financial planner, so teaching me to spend wisely came naturally.  My mom is creative, artistic and an incredible steward.  She will patiently wait for sales, she compares prices and researches, and she loves thrift stores and yard sales.  She can fix anything up to make it beautiful and useful.  She has always said though that she wishes she had discovered thrift stores and yard sales sooner, because it would have made her early years raising kids so much easier.  

This past week my mom and sister gave me basically everything they'd had for my niece that she's outgrown and we started setting up the nursery.  I also had an amazing trip to the thrift store and an awesome morning yard-saleing on Saturday.  This week, combined with a few other neat things I've picked up for the past few months, made me step back and realize last night that we could bring this baby home and be set.  I am utterly convinced that babies are only as expensive as you make them, and that God will provide no matter when you start a family because His creation is precious.  

So, just to prove my point, I want to do a little cost comparison.  We went from not being ready at all to basically being ready for the baby for the whole first year of her life in the course of a few days.  Below are some of our deals and steals. 

1.  The Moses basket and rocker shown above, which also includes bedding that I haven't washed, $40
2.  Boppy brand folding swing, $10

3.  Graco Duo-Glide stroller, for when we're with my niece, $20
4.  Graco Metro-Lite stroller in Heirloom, $12 (I LOVE this thing, and I was SO excited to find it used.  I wanted a Metro-Lite anyway, and the twall fabric has been discontinued so it's hard to fine. 

5.  Fisher Price play mat, used once, $5

6.  Two baby gates, $10
7.  Three large storage baskets for various baby items, $13
8.  Beautiful white curtains, $8
9.  Brand new (in packaging) changing table organizer, $4.50 
10.  The following items came from one yard sale this weekend and cost a grand total of $10; 20 infant clothing items in like-new condition (no stains/pilling), a brand new (in packaging) bottle warmer, baby cowboy boots, a Bebe Au Lait nursing cover, a stroller arch, a crib toy and two packages of infant diapers.  (The diapers they gave us for free because their little one was too big for them!)

11.  At another yard sale a while back they had you pay five bucks and you could fill a grocery bag with as many clothing items as you could fit in the bag.  I got two bags ($10) of unstained onesies, sleepers, playclothes and even two Kiddopatomus swaddlers. 

12.  New in box bumbo with tray, $3

13.  From my niece:  Boppy with cover, 5 infant toys, Diaper Genie, millions of clothes, about 30 pairs of shoes, another play mat, a big bag of bottles and various other random baby items.  Free!

14.  Baby Trend infant car seat with base, $8.  This was also an exciting find because I wanted to go with Baby Trend anyway after reading 313498 reviews of 12349 car seats.  The seat has not been in any accidents and is in great shape.

15. Bouncer seat with infant massager, music and vibration, free 
16. Ok, so this came from Macy's, but it's insanely cute for next spring, it's Ralph Lauren and it cost $7 on clearance.  So sweet!
Grand total we've personally spent:  About $160, give or take.  I know there are some things I'm forgetting!

Blessed by frugality?  I think yes.  Just to put this into perspective, the Graco stroller alone runs about $160 new.  The infant car seat and base go for about $100.  The moses basket and rocker would also have been about $100 new. 

I'm so thankful for all of the hand-me-downs from my family.  It's truly astounding.  I'm even borrowing a crib and changing table from my sister.  But I'm most thankful for the spirit of thriftiness that's been handed down from my mom.  I know it might feel a little weird to some to use so many already-loved items, but with a few rules you can truly make them good as new.  I disinfect EVERYTHING like a fiend, and I can't purchase or take items that look like they've had crumbs or been eaten on because of my allergies.  

After spending the end of the week and this weekend doing an inventory of all these things and putting them away, I'm beyond thankful.  I'm excited to see how we've been provided for already with this baby girl in a season that's been scary financially.  It so fully proves that finances shouldn't hold someone back from having a baby, or make anyone think that a baby is coming at the "wrong" time.  Never.  I've believed for years that babies are always a blessing (and that's coming from someone who works with teen moms) and I've kept on believing it wholeheartedly even when I know that some probably thought we were crazy to start a family when we did.  

Now excuse me, because I need to go wash my moses basket bedding!           


  1. I'm so impressed with all of the deals you found, you have great stuff!! I'm sure you just can't wait to see your baby girl in everything...thrifting is so great/fun for babies, I don't think I've paid much more than a dollar for any of Emme's clothes, which is so helpful when they grow out of them in practically a day!

    I also wanted to comment on your last post, your openness and honesty was so refreshing and encouraging to me - you voiced so many things that I have thought/been anxious about and kept inside. When Joel was trying to find a new job and I was going to have Emme in a month it was soooo soooo hard! We are praying for you guys and the way you are trusting in God's goodness and faithfulness has encouraged my heart so much. Emme and I would love to spend time with you and your baby girl!!

  2. Anonymous2:12 PM

    How awesome! We have that swing and Norah did like it once upon a time. :) I have been blessed by our church family with most of what we have, except for the furniture and bedding. I can't imagine how hard it would have been w/out their blessings! You go, girl! Can't wait to see the nursery next week. :)

  3. Anonymous3:23 PM

    Hey, I gave you a blog award. ;) Head over to mine and check it out, girl!


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