Four years ago, I became a stay-at-home mom. I gave up my income as a RN and trusted God and my husband to get us through and get the bills paid. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been a sacrifice I gladly made and still make. After giving up my paycheck, I learned how to budget, how to reduce our expenses, cut corners, clip coupons and only buy things that are worth their price tag.
The first thing I learned to do was research. When I was pregnant with my son, I knew my days of being employed were numbered. I began to beef up my research skills and read as much as I could before making any purchase. Google became my best friend as I would search for any and all information I could find on hundreds of different subjects and products. It started with baby items. I knew we needed to save our money for after the baby was born, so I didn’t want a nursery filled with useless junk. I joined forums where I could interact with other mothers and there I learned the baby items that were truly needed, those that were luxuries and others that were just downright a waste of money.
When I decided that a particular product was worthy of my hard earned money, I began to search for the cheapest prices. I would start online, checking the prices at various stores and also looking for rebates, online coupon codes and other discounts. If I could, I looked for the product on Craigslist. I can’t tell you how many baby items I purchased for a tiny fraction of their original cost. I purchased an “exersaucer” for my son when he was about 9 months old for $25 on Craigslist. It was in excellent shape and retailed for $100 brand new. My daughter still uses the same exersaucer four years later!
There are some things that you shouldn’t purchase used, unless you’re buying them from a trusted friend or family member. These items include car seats, cribs and breast pumps. I know these items are expensive, but it’s worth buying them new! Car seats shouldn’t be used after going through an accident and if you buy one used, you never really know. Cribs can be damaged or recalled and breast pumps, well, that’s self explanatory.
Sometimes, despite all of my research, reading reviews and hours put into making sure that items were worth my money, I got a dud. In these situations, I quickly learned that all was not lost. Most of the time you can return the item to the store where you purchased it, even if it was online. If the retailer will not accept your return, contacting the company is the next best option. After my daughter was born, I purchased a nursing bra from a local store after getting “fitted” from their staff. After wearing it for a few hours, it became clear that either I hadn’t received the right size, or the bra was very poorly made. I paid more than $50 for this bra and was very disappointed! The store would not own up to their mistake so I contacted the manufacturer to find out if maybe the one I received was defective. It turned out that I had been sized incorrectly and the size I needed was not made. Go figure! The company instead sent me a nursing tank free of charge that was much more supportive and comfortable than the bra ever was! I didn’t get my money back, but I did get a different product that I could use.
I want you to be educated and knowledgeable about your purchases and realize that if you ever purchase a product or service that does not live up to the manufacturer claims, you do NOT have to accept it or throw your money away! In most cases, the situation can be rectified! It’s your hard earned money, please don’t waste it!