Three years ago when Henry was kicking around on the inside, I gathered quite a list of baby necessities and prepared to shop up a storm. My best friend, two kids ahead of me, went through the list with her Sensible Mum hat on. Did I really need a nappy machine which would wind the nappies into special bags which needed replacing regularly, or would a regular bucket do? Did my kids need to be dressed top to toe in organic cotton or would onesies from The Warehouse be just fine? Did I need to buy an exersaucer the size of a Mini Cooper or could I borrow one for a few months?
I bought a $10 nappy bucket, and I’ve never looked back. She was right. She always is. Following her budget approach to parenting has not only saved us a buttload of money, but it’s made me enjoy this aspect of my job as a stay-at-home mum. I might not bring home much bacon, but I can work hard at making sure one wage isn’t a stressful existence.
Before we were even married, my husband and I agreed that I would stay home with the kids for as long as possible. It was really important to me to enjoy the preschool years and the idea of just being “allowed” to bow out of the workforce was pretty enticing. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve made it work and it’s made me more determined than ever to bring up the kids with a belief that money can’t buy you happiness and “things” are just “things”.
I desperately don’t want them to be materialistic, I don’t want them to think they have to keep up with the Joneses. I want them to be self-assured big people relying on their personalities and talents rather than their place on the socio-economic spectrum. They may grow up wearing second-hand clothes and holidaying in campsites with long drops, but I don’t think they’ll miss out on anything if we don’t go to Fiji every year (or ever!) Most of all I really don’t want them to be lazy little turds without work ethics who think the whole world should be handed to them on a platinum platter.
Last week I saw a quote on Dr Libby’s Facebook page which really summed it all up for me – my budgeting philosophy and more. It said: “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognise how good things really are”. I won’t hear a word of complaint from my little loves, not as long as we’re living happily together in our safe and cosy home, in our not-too-bad street, in one of the best cities in the world, surrounded by two loving families and so many good friends. Money can’t buy such good luck.