Last month, I organized a perfectly frugal baby shower that will help a new family to raise their new baby for almost no cost.
All the decorations and foods for the party were homemade. All the gifts were wrapped in a baby blanket, new or old, and tied shut with real ribbon or yarn.
I helped the new mom plan her baby registry, so she was asking only for gifts that were "needed items" that will help cut the cost.
We asked that the gift givers bring cloth diapers. Regular Gerber prefolds. We asked for the Internet-savvy folks to order the diaper wraps, requesting 12 of each size from newborn to toddler size. This Mom will never need to buy disposable diapers.
We gave her a recipe of how to make baby wipes with the extra receiving blankets, baby wash, and baby oil.
We asked for a breast pump, 12 small bottles to freeze breast milk, and the caps and nipples for feeding. We even helped her sign up for free classes at the local hospital, just so she will be confident. Now this Mom, who plans to breast feed, will not have to spend money on formula.
We asked for everyone to go through their homes and bring the hand-me-downs that they could spare, from size 0 to 5x. Each family participating was to put them in a bright-colored Rubbermaid storage bin. Each of them could also add a little cash, whatever they could spare, to purchase the clothing items still needed from thrift and consignment shops. This worked so well. We all went through the clothes and placed the different sizes in different boxes and labeled the bins for her while we were at the shower. We didn't get many shoes, but this mom will have very little need to shop for clothes for her son for the next five years. (She may need to buy him some underpants in about three years.)
We were able to collect a bin of toys for a toddler from birth to age 3. She was given a secondhand stroller and playpen that were in great condition.
Another mother quilted two nice wall hangings for the baby's room.
She also received a crocheted blanket, which was made with love and care by a teenager, and it was beautiful.
Some of the mothers, who were bringing used things, felt a tinge of guilt and brought a little extra like a new bottle of lotion, baby wash, or baby oil.
We all chipped in to get her a convertible car seat that will last a few years.
Babies need a lot of love, but not a lot of expensive new things. She was given so much that we had to use three cars to get the load of goodies to her home. Everyone was so happy to be a part of this special day and to see so much love and such a little money go so far.
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send to MyStory@stretcher.com.
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