There’s nothing like honest to goodness experience when it comes to finding your way through a new life change, but when it comes to having kids, you really can’t anticipate how your life will change. In many ways, life is the same. I’m just as excited about work. I get up in the morning, put my clothes on, and think about my to-do list. There are just a couple more steps (several more steps) I take before heading out the door each morning now that we have kids. While our little ones make life a little more complicated and your wallet a little lighter, experience has shown me that this new life has brought about so much more positive change than I could have realized. It forces us to rethink the way we do things and look for opportunities to make life a little easier. You are forced to figure out what REALLY matters to you, and make lifestyle choices to support it.
At one point this year, Joe and I found ourselves rushing out of the house with a diaper bag that had no diapers in it, no milk, and no snacks. Just a couple of stale goldfish and the TV remote we lost months prior (thanks, August). Talk about a parenting fail. Embarrassingly we asked parents at the park if we could borrow a diaper or two and found the nearest grocery store to buy supplies. Fifty dollars later, I looked at Joe and asked him if he ever considered how much money we’ve thrown at solving problems that could have been avoided with a bit more foresight. Both of us agreed that we didn’t want to know what the figure was, but that we needed to be a little more practical when it came to having a flexible social life when the kids are in tow.
Enter our amazing nanny, who was hired because she is precisely good at everything Joe and I are terrible at. She looks at the challenge of feeding a toddler with gusto, can navigate her way around a grocery store with two kids in tow like a champion, and got two kids on the same nap schedule within a week of her arrival. She does all that while building furniture, running a photography business, and growing her own food at home. A true unicorn! When we talked with her about how difficult it was for us to keep up a standard routine/supply of baby goods without turning to delivery services or expensive grocery stores when in a bind, she was kind enough to withhold judgment. In her mind, there were ways to navigate through life with kids that made more room for adventure and fun and less time running around looking for bibs. We were so used to winging it, we couldn’t seem to imagine a life where we weren’t constantly trying to keep up with life in general.
The first big change we made was shopping smarter and on a schedule. We shared a grocery list, signed up for CSA, and began shopping at ALDI each week for essentials. With two kids in diapers and eating solids, our food budget was OUT OF CONTROL until we made the switch to ALDI. In addition to finding an awesome selection of the foods we already loved, we gave a new brand a try: Little Journey! Given diapers and food pouches are the two items we purchase the most, I stashed my car and diaper bags with their new and improved diapers. The Little Journey Organic Pouches are stocked in our pantry for easy grab-and-go access in their favorite flavors which include Butternut Squash, Banana, and Creamy Ancient Grains. Bennett goes nuts for these and even when August is refusing to eat, he is always happy to pop one in his mouth. We also learned that one blanket in your bag goes a long way, whether its for an impromptu nap, playmat, soothing object or (as a last resort) something to mop up a mess with.
I think that’s the best part about becoming more experienced parents. You spend less time worrying about the parent you’ll become and a lot more time making time and space for just enjoying the best parts of the whole experience. You are less embarrassed about making mistakes because you just know you’re not going to be perfect all the time. Even with a better handle on keeping our house stocked, the biggest impact has been on our wallets. For transparency sake, I’ve included an overview of what our go-bag looks like and how much money we’ve saved without compromising on quality by switching over to ALDI.
Average saving per month: $75-$125
I felt like we had uncovered an awesome secret. Parents, I see you and know better than to judge the decisions you make when it comes to what you feed your children! For Joe and I, making smarter choices with our money has allowed for the things we value just a little bit more than we did before we became a family of four (FIVE with Winnie)!
Any tips, parents, on how you save money and stay prepared for life with kids? I’d love to hear it!
Ed. note: This post was sponsored by ALDI. The compensation received in exchange for placement on Wit & Delight is used to purchase props, hire a photographer, write/edit the blog post and support the larger team behind Wit & Delight.
While compensation was received in exchange for coverage, all thoughts and opinions are always my own. Sponsored posts like these allow for the development of additional dynamic content to be produced, unsponsored. Thank you for supporting our partners!
BY Kate Arends - September 6, 2018
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.