@lolapie Amen, sister. I loved my midwives. LOVED THEM. In fact, I was sort of sad when it was all said and done that, after my six-week follow up, I didn't have an excuse to go visit them every few weeks anymore.
I love Budget Bytes — and have cooked some seriously tasty meals inspired by her recipes — but I have to confess: I can't bring myself to buy budget groceries. Buying dried beans and cooking them at home? Sure. Baking my own bread? Absolutely! Popping popcorn on the stovetop instead of buying pricy potato chips for snacktime? Yum. But I'm a food snob. I don't know if I should try to change that or not... but buying organic veggies and locally, humanely-raised meat is really important to me. I'm curious if anyone has tips about being budget savvy while also indulging in some of those areas. Frankly, I often find myself thinking that food SHOULDN'T be cheap; we spend less of our incomes on food than at any other time in American history, and the costs get shifted to other places. Ugh, I sound obnoxious, I know...
@Meaghano Definitely go for a diaper service if you have access and can swing it! (We live in the sticks, in the grayest state in the country; so old people + low population density means, no diaper service here. I was bummed.) Another option that a few friends of mine have done is disposables for the first few months — while baby is growing like a weed — and then settling in to cloth three or four months later. There are some great services out there where you can essentially "rent" a package of cloth diapers (I think Jillian's Drawers had one, but I bet you could find something local in NYC) to see which kinds you prefer. I highly, highly recommend prefolds and covers, though, just for ease of care, cheapness, etc.
Congratulations! My little fellow is seven months old, and yes, they're pricey! (Still paying off that $5,000 deductible... and probably will be until he's 2. :((( ) Here's the good news: They really don't need much in the first few months. A few outfits (you'll be doing laundry a ton anyways, so you don't need THAT many options). Swaddling cloths. So many burp cloths. SO MANY BURP CLOTHS. A good carrier. Some advice: Don't buy any baby stuff now, at all. Chances are, you'll get so much from friends and family. A lot of what you might feel compelled to buy now you'll later realize you don't need, or never use. Whatever you do, don't buy any clothes. Those you'll DEFINITELY get. Find a good used clothing or consignment store for later on, when the tiny adorable newborn clothes no longer fit. If you're trying to get a sense of what you DO need, I really recommend Lucie's List. And if you're on the fence about cloth diapers... go in with an open mind. I love love love not having to buy disposables. We got kind of obsessed with our cloth diapers when we realized how much more effective they were at catching that runny newborn poop — seriously only ever had blowouts in disposables. You can get some pretty affordable set-ups (I did prefolds and Thirsties covers), and a lot of cloth diapers have great resale values. I buy disposables occasionally for convenience, vacations, etc., and every time I lay down $10 or $20 for something that goes in the trash, I cringe. But I do have a washing machine, and depending on your NYC set up, that could be a deal breaker. You're in for such an adventure! The best possible kind. Good luck these last few months!
@la_di_da I have to wonder the same thing. I won't dive into the numbers now, but isn't the beauty of compounding interest such that what we save now (in our 20s and 30s) magically turns into mucho mucho money by the time we want to retire? I'm one of those humanities majors, and I don't doubt that my soft skills have made, and will make, me marketable to employers. But I'm skeptical that an extra $2k a year when I'm middle-aged will make up for the big differences now.
@ifwecantaloupe That's an interesting idea! I'm about to have a baby, and I could see the convenience of either ordering in groceries in the days after the baby is born — or arranging something similar as a gift for a friend after an illness, birth or surgery. That said, I can't imagine using this in any kind of normal circumstances. Especially when it comes to produce, I like being able to pick and choose based on what looks the freshest in the store.
@seachange I was in a somewhat similar position: I took a job in my (very small) college town after graduating. I was reluctant about "sticking around" when my peers were all striking off for big cities and new adventures. To K: If you end up taking the job, my biggest advice would be to make your life feel distinct from life as a college student. Live off campus. Use your municipal library, not the college library. Join a club or volunteer or whatever so that you start identifying as a person who lives in Town X, not a person who goes to College X. I set some ground rules with friends who were still living on campus — I'd be down for cooking dinner together at an apartment, but not eating at the dining halls. Hanging out the weekends? Cool. Just not on campus/in dorms. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the world beyond my college campus opened up to reveal an amazing, intriguing community, one I hadn't even noticed while still in school. And even if the work doesn't feel relevant to your long-term career goals, there's something to be said for having a steady job and a line on the resume. Suddenly you're not a fresh-out-of-school grad with no work experience — you're a year older, a year wiser, and for whatever karmic reasons, new jobs tend to find people who already have jobs, rather than those who don't.
@highjump I'll just throw this out there: There are funded programs to be found. It often means moving to a part of the country you might otherwise never have considered, but they're out there. My stipend while in my fully funded MFA was, if memory serves, about $1200 a month — plenty to live on with roommates, or if you have a partner with even a part-time job. I also was able to tap into some sweet fellowships and grant money for travel that would otherwise never have been possible. Just do your research. I still have mixed feelings about the MFA in general, and even with the money, I'm not sure I'd do it over again. That said, I'm sure as hell glad I didn't go into debt for it. Even if it was a mistake/superfluous/not truly that helpful, at least it was "free." (Not counting opportunity costs of giving up a better paying job, etc.)
This is extremely relevant to my interests! I'm nearly 10 weeks along in my first pregnancy, and I keep reassuring myself that there will be plenty of time to research all this crap once I stop feeling like such a zombie. (Fingers crossed?) I'm bookmarking this one for the months ahead.
Oh, this is all so relevant to my interests/horrible addiction to buying dresses. I went through a big Anthropologie phase when I was first out of college, paying very little in rent, and making a decent wage. And it was yes, one hundred percent aspirational spending. My new goal is to spend less on clothes — or, at least, spend less on cheap clothes. I'm easily seduced by the idea of "investment" pieces, which I know could be a hoax for getting me to part with my money, but in truth I'm very attracted to the idea of buying well made, flattering pieces that will last for years and years. But as far as I can tell: Those clothes do not exist! Plus I spent an embarrassing amount of money to buy a handmade dress from an independent designer on Etsy only to discover 1) it didn't fit as well as I would like and 2) expensive and handmade doesn't prevent me from spilling coffee all over myself.