Category Archives: cost of kids

School Choice

This is the first week of school for many. I know that all the advertisers want you to believe that it’s about shopping, but it’s really about engaging your child in a lifelong love of learning. Yet, finding the right school is often easier in theory than practice. 
Since our kiddos are in the Wobbler and O.P. (Older Preschool) classrooms, my musings are more hypothetical. Next year will be our first big lesson in school choice. Unfortunately, our local elementary doesn’t have the best reputation, so I’m still not sure whether we will try it out.


I can hardly wait for our final child care “tuition” payments, so it’s hard to imagine paying for elementary school. 


Here are few articles that are helping shape my choice:
Finding a Great School
Public vs. Private
My Million Dolloar Question


Do you kids attend public or private school?
Is private school really worth the price?




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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Summer Reading

As I written about before, our local library is one of our favorite places. Participating in the summer reading program gives us another reason to plan a visit, and our Big Guy was thrilled to “earn” a pass to the Oregon Zoo for his first level prize.


Getting to the library can be an challenge for a family with limited means though, and the Children’s Book Bank is brings books to children in need. Plus, there are some classic books you just want to read again and again, and boy do kids love repeats 😉


I love going to the Goodwill for kids books, and when our Big Guy was first born I started stopping there on our neighborhood walks. We’ve found some family favorites, like Apples to Oregon for $1. We also love going to our county library’s secondhand book store, Tidal Wave, which is conveniently in walking distance too.

I’ll save some favorites, like my Mama saved Richard Scarry’s Best Picture Dictionary Ever for thirty years to pass on. But I’m definitely planning to donate many of our growing personal library to the book bank as our kids outgrown them. For now, we are enjoying some leisurely summer reading.


What’s your favorite summer kids books?



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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Maybe Two

Despite the challenges of parenting, every day I feel like we’ve hit the kid-jackpot. Our kiddos are goldmines of giggles and treasures of enthusiasm and delight. I couldn’t imagine a better way to invest my energy, and they take every bit. The dividends of smooches and stories are worth it all, and it’s hard to imagine life without a family.


Yet, lately the idea of staying a family of four has permeated my conscious. After having Girly we were both on the fence about whether to have a third child, and Hubby was even tilted toward three. Knowing how nice it has been to have a three year space between kids, I wasn’t ready to be swayed until there was the prospect having a break in washing cloth diapersIt’s not my personal energy that limits me from wanting another child, it’s the energy required from the planet. 


I know it’s a personal decision, and I certainly don’t judge families with three or more. Many who opt to have a single child for environmental reasons. One of favorite activists Bill McKibben, wrote the case in Maybe One. Personally, I yearned for a second child, and it would have been too great a sacrifice. Yet, at this point I feel that having a third child would be a bit greedy. Two is my happy medium.


While finances don’t dictate our choice, there are financial considerations to your family size. Costs begin in utero, through birth, paternity leave, and won’t lighten up for about two decades. That’s before college. Grandparents out there will remind me that the expense never really goes away, it just changes. 


How do your family finances and sustainable values impact your family size?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Online Sales

Do you feel guilt about online shopping? As long as you are thoughtful about your purchases, and sticking to your family budget, you shouldn’t feel guilty. Actually, a Carnegie Mellon study showed that online shopping uses a third less energy than traditional retail.


I’m really a fan of online shopping simply because I find shopping more stressful than soothing. I also try to be very mindful when shopping online so that I feel more satisfied than suckered into a deal.


My favorite place to shop for kids clothes is Children’s Place. Each season they discount 40%, and you can usually find all the basics for $3-5. Sales are better online and you’ll have the pick of the warehouse rather than one local retailer.


I have a few money-saving habits. 

  • Sign up for sales email from your favorite stores, set them to deliver directly into an online shopping folder so you won’t be bothered constantly.
  • Only shop seasonally as-needed.
  • Know your limits – make a list and budget before you shop and stick to it.
  • Make sure you have cash, but use credit. You’ll earned miles or cash back, plus you’ll  be reminded of how much you spent when you pay your monthly credit tab.
  • Search for promo-codes. I usually save 10-15% or get free shipping. It adds up and is worth the two minutes.

What are your favorite places to shop online?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Milking It

Now that I’ve weaned Girly, I can finally talk about lactating without getting sentimental or engorged. I chose to breastfeed for health reasons, both for my children and myself. But it was also convenient and saved us a lot of money. 


Rough estimates show that you can save at least $1500 in the first year of life. The Journal of Pediatrics research shows that breastfeeding could save billions of dollars! The statistics are pretty startling:


The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90 percent of U.S. women breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says…About 43 percent of U.S. mothers do at least some breast-feeding for six months, but only 12 percent follow government guidelines recommending that babies receive only breast milk for six months. 


The beauty of breastfeeding is that it’s free and natural. If case you can’t help yourself, there some great green breastfeeding paraphernalia you may “need.”


I never really researched myself, but I found an in-depth article about why breastfeeding is better for the environment too. Here’s another “eco-mama’s” take on overcoming breastfeeding challenges.


Pumping is certainly the least glamorous aspect, especially if you accidentally flash the mailman like I did! I pumped for a year with both kiddos, and it can be physically exhausting, but the pay is worth it. I bought a standard Medela pump, but I found the second time around that an inexpensive hand pump actually expressed the same amount in the same time, plus at home I could nurse while pumping. You’ll need some BPA-free bottles too. I also chose cloth breast pads, rather than disposal ones, and my Big Guy loved calling them “booby socks.”


Sadly there are toxic pollutants in breastmilk, but feeding is still encouraged. It only makes me want to take action so that my Girly will be able to feed her family. I’ve been active online with MOMS: Making Our Milk Safe for almost five years now, and despite the circumstances progress is possible. 


Do feel supported or judged about breast feeding?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.