Should We Spend Our Child’s Money?

How many of you live a distance from your loved ones? If you are a military family, most likely, you do not spend many holidays and birthdays with your extended family.

Do you have nieces, nephews, or grandchildren who you would love to give a small gift from time to time. But can not justify spending $20 in postage to send a $10 gift. Me too!!!

So when our little one received his first cash gift for Easter I wasn’t entirely surprised. I get it. Shipping can be ridiculous! Plus standing in the dreadful line at the post office. No thank you!

Which leads me to my question for you…

should we spend our childs money (3)

Should We Spend Our Child’s Money?

If you have children too young to express what they want to buy.

Do you buy something your child “needs”? Do you save it for college? Do you save it for when they are older and can decide what to do with it for themselves? Do you try to purchase something that you believe the giver intended?   

The Dilemma  

I know this cash gift shouldn’t leave me scratching my head. But it most certainly has been on my mind more than it should. Here we are months after Easter and the cash is still sitting on the fireplace mantle.

I know most parents would not even think about a $5, $10, or $20 cash gift to their child. For some reason, both my husband and I view spending our child’s money as a big decision. As with any big decision, we have weighed our options.

Buying Something Our Child Needs

Our baby boy is not quite 3 months old yet. His “needs” are very basic. Food, shelter, and love… check, check and check.

Clothes? Thanks to our EXTREMELY generous family and friends he is set for clothing until he is 3 years old!!!

Diapers? Yes. We could always use more diapers. However, poo-ing on a gift and throwing it in the garbage just doesn’t seem quite right. Am I wrong?  😉 LOL.


We could place the gift in college savings. However, we have not started saving for his college at this point and this gift is not enough to get a fund started.

We could let it sit in a savings account (or piggy bank) until we have a better plan or our little one is old enough to tell us what he wants to do with it. However, we worry that we will forget about it and it will be shuffled with other money.

Giver’s Intended Use

The giver in our situation gave no indication how they intended the money to be used. So we attempted to put ourselves in their shoes. We believe if they would have given our little one an Easter present that was not money it would have been most likely a toy or clothes.

So do we buy a toy that will only be played with for a month or so and then be placed in a box for three months during our move? Plus he’s only 3 months old. The couple of toys he has keeps him entertained.

Our Decision

After thinking about this for way too long, we are leaning towards saving the cash gift until we are in Hawaii. We will then buy him a toy. He will be just shy of 6 months old and will be far more interested in toys at this point. 

Bonus for us… we will need a distraction for him while we attempt unpacking in our next home! A new toy hopefully does the trick.


What Do You Think:

Do You Spend Your Children’s Cash Gifts?
If You Do, What do You Buy? How Do You Decide?


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$1000 Baby Budget Update: February

The last few weeks have definitely been busy purchasing baby items and receiving box after box from the post office. It is difficult to believe here in just a few days our baby will be considered “full term” and we will be waiting for his soon arrival! For the most part we are fairly set-up and ready for our baby boy and we can’t wait!

If you are wondering where we stand on our $1000 Baby Budget, please click on the link for the most up to date budget. You can also check out our Minimalist Baby Wish List to see if we were able to get most of the items we “needed” for baby.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please view our Disclosure Policy for details.

$1000 Baby Budget February update

$1000 Baby Budget Update

Baby Products Won


Pampers Sensitive Wipes – I won a 56 count wipes pack with an extremely easy Twitter entry through the Pampers UK Twitter page. Every Wednesday, they have a #WipesWednesday promotion and all you do is retweet the message. At the end of the day, they randomly select ~10 winners. (approx. value: $1.50)

$150 Amazon Gift Card

As you may have remembered several months ago I won a $150 Amazon gift card! When we did our Amazon Registry Completion purchase, I finally used it! I’m quite thrilled with what I purchased with it! Saved us a bundle!

Evenflo Symphony LX Car Seat (US Car Seat!) – Lots and lots of research went into purchasing this car seat. Our little guy will have about 35 HOURS of flight time in his first 8 months of life! Yuck!  Anyway, I wanted an FAA certified car seat so the airlines are technically required to allow us to use it. There are not many car seats that are FAA certified and even fewer under $300! So I narrowed it down to two choices and then sent my sister (who was a nanny to many different kids for lots of years) to actually see them in person.

After discussing it with her, we decided the Evenflo Symphony LX Car Seat was the best option for us! Unfortunately, I could not find a company who would ship it to me in the UK. 🙁 So, there it sits in my sister’s house until we make it back to Washington this summer (Having my sister ship it would cost MORE than the actual car seat!). 🙁

Munchkin Backseat Organizer – I primarily want this backseat organizer for our long flight back to the U.S. I am hoping it will keep things organized and easily accessible during the flight. It will also be great for the day to day car trips too.

Baby Gifts

Our baby boy’s aunt, uncle and cousins spoiled him with gifts! Their generous gifts will definitely be used over and over again! A family with three kiddos, I have an idea they may know what baby items we will need 🙂 They generously gifted us:

Messenger Diaper Bag – It’s perfect! Not bulky, fits right around my hip with the adjustable strap, has several compartments to organize all of baby’s necessities, plus well-made with a heavy duty fabric. Oh, did I mention super affordable if you are in the market for a diaper bag! We love it and can’t wait to use it!

Summer Infant 2-pack Swaddles – I sure hope our little guy likes to be swaddled AND is a good sleeper! Is that too much to ask? LOL. Our swaddles are slightly different fabric (a darker blue swaddle and a “trucks” swaddle) but Amazon no longer has it in stock. Bummer, because they are so cute! 🙁

Phillips Avent Pacifiers – AND… if he is not a good sleeper… I’m thinking we will need these! LOL.

Burt’s Bees: Baby Gift Set – These are smaller sizes of all the Burt’s Bees Baby products, which is perfect because I wanted to try it all out. Determine for myself which ones I LOVE and need to purchase the full size product. I may have to buy another one for our PCS because these sizes are perfect while we are living out of suitcases!

FridaBaby Nasal Aspirator – I have read over and over again mommies raving about the Nose Frida! Gone are the days of the bulb aspirators. YAY! This product is suppose to work amazingly well, so I guess we will see with the little guy’s first stuffy nose.


Grandma and Grandpa continue to spoil us too! Our family members have been incredibly generous during our preparation for our little one. We are forever so grateful for their generosity and we can’t wait for them to meet him and give him cuddles!

Graco Pack N’ Play Playard – We seriously LOVE this pack n’ play! We wanted something compact and portable because our English bedroom is quite small and we knew our family would be moving between hotels and temporary housing A LOT when our baby is 3-5 months old. We also wanted to give our baby somewhat of a consistent place to sleep. The reversible napper and changer was also a selling point because it gave us somewhere to change the little guy’s diaper upstairs.
The Forecaster style print was slightly different than I expected. On my screen it looks red, but in person the accents look more orange. I’m not usually an orange fan, but I do still love the color. There is also a slight aqua/blue accent and the main color is a little more brown than gray. It’s great for a neutral gender option!

Baby’s First Year Calendar – My parents had a first calendar for each of my siblings and me. I knew with all of our moving this year. I needed a simple solution to keep track of baby’s milestones. I plan to put together a Shutterfly Baby Book once we are “settled” and hopefully life gets to a new normal towards the end of 2016.

God Gave Us You & Open the Barn Door – We LOVE books in our home and we hope to make reading a regular part of little guy’s routine. He has already heard muffled versions of these stories. LOL. God Gave Us You is a beautifully illustrated book. Open the Barn Door was surprising very small in size, perfect for the diaper bag!

Baby Items Purchased

Purchased New

As I mentioned before we did our BIG Amazon Baby Registry Completion purchase. I LOVED using the extra one-time discount they offer to complete your registry. They offer a 10% discount or 15% discount for Amazon Prime Members starting 60-days before the baby’s due date! The discount really adds up when buying all the baby gear!

We purchased the following items using Amazon Gift Cards that I earned through Swagbucks. I used $130 worth of Amazon Gift Cards and ONLY paid $0.11!!! Yes, that is NOT a typo… 11 CENTS!!! Plus, we have $75 of Amazon and $25 of Target Gift Cards left. I should be able to earn another ~$200-$300 in gift cards  through Swagbucks by the time we are settled into our new location in the U.S. This will definitely help with the purchase of a crib and stroller!


Gerber 2 Pack Long Sleeve Side Snap Mitten Cuffs Shirt – I wanted to try these kimono style shirts because I figured they would be great to have the first couple of weeks. Easy to put on, make keeping his umbilical cord clean and dry easier and with the mitten cuffs we wouldn’t have to worry about losing the tiny scratch mittens. We will see what I think once we actually use them. 


Matimati Bamboo Washcloths (6 pack) – These washcloths are soooo soft and in my opinion worth the little bit higher price. They will be so gentle on our little one’s sensitive skin.

Hooded Towel and Washcloth – At the time of ordering I didn’t know we would be gifted 2 other hooded towels at the Bundles for Babies class. Plus my sister has made us a towel apron and my mom has purchased a few hooded towels too. We will receive these shortly after baby’s arrival. So we will have plenty of hooded towels. 🙂


Aden + Anais Swaddle Muslin Blankets – I love, LOVE these blankets! They are super soft, HUGE, and super cute! They will be perfect to swaddle our little one, use as shade and nursing covers and I’m sure they will clean up a few messes here and there. So happy that I “splurged.” At the time they were on sale, plus I got to use my 15% registry completion. So I only paid $30!

Summer Infant Cushy Straps – These car seat strap covers were too cute and affordable to pass up. They are sooo soft and will be very gentle and snuggly for our lil’ guy.



Summer Infant Changing Pad – I wanted a place, besides the floor to change our baby’s diaper. Although getting up and down from the floor numerous times a day might be good exercise. 😉

Munchkin Changing Pad Liners – I bought these to help protect the changing pad cover when little guy has a massive dirty diapers and to help protect the baby gear like the bouncer. Hoping to decrease the need to put the large things in the wash. I know, I’m dreaming! 🙂

Boudreaux’s Butt Paste (2 pack)- I asked all my friends who have had babies in the past couple years “what’s the best diaper rash cream?” Believe it or not, they ALL gave me a different answer! LOL. So I asked my sister who was the nanny who has dealt with many babies with different skin types and has tried just about every product out there. She said without hesitation Bourdreaux’s, so we are giving it a shot!


Lansinoh Lanolin (x2) – Hopefully two packs will at least get us started on our breast feeding journey.

Lansinoh Nursing Pads (x2) – Supposedly Lansinoh is the best brand for disposable nursing pads. I will take other moms’ wisdom and go with it. I know I can get these exact pads through UK Amazon for about the same price and it will be on my door step in 2 days. So I only purchased 2 boxes for now.

Phillips AVENT Thermal Gel Pads – These are suppose to help tremendously with breastfeeding. Both with pain and with encouraging let down before each feeding. I figured it was worth a try!

Medela Quick Clean Bags – These are to clean the tubing and accessories of the Medela breast pump.

Medela Nipples – For some reason insurance will cover bottles for the breast pump, but not the nipples.

Medela Battery Pack – We bought an American breast pump. However, we needed this battery pack to use it while we are living in England because of the different electricity voltage.

Amazon UK Purchase

Over the past year, I have been completing surveys on I-Say and earning Amazon UK Gift Cards. I used £50 (~$71) of Amazon gift cards on these purchases and a total of £0.01!!! Yes! Less than 2 CENTS!!! 🙂 This may seem like A LOT for seven items. However, some of these are pricey items (water wipes alone £25)  and believe it or not are actually cheaper in the UK than in the US. I have an additional £20 to use in the future, which I will most likely use to purchase things like diaper rash cream and nursing pads.

Water Wipes 720 Count (UK link)- Water Wipes are expensive wipes and they are relatively “new” to the U.S. Although Target has just started to keep them in stock over the past few months. These wipes are “chemical free” made with 99.9% water and 0.1% fruit extract. We figured this huge case will last us the first couple of months and will be good while our little guy has super sensitive newborn skin.

Sophie the Giraffe Teether (UK link)- Okay this was completely a “Nichole wants it and she’s going to get it” type of purchase. I’ve thought these little Sophie Giraffes were just too adorable way before we even thought about having our own children. So naturally, I wanted one! LOL. They are ~$5 cheaper in the UK than the US, so I got it because it was a “good deal.” 😉 LOL.

Disposable Diaper Sacks (UK link)- These are WAY cheaper in the UK vs. US. 200 count for ~$1.80. I did not want to buy a Diaper Genie, just to have it packed up and in a box for months and months while our household goods make the trip to the U.S. So, I’m hoping these scented diaper sacks will help if I can’t immediately get the diaper outside.

Medela Breastmilk Collection Shells (UK link)- These sound like a good idea in theory and were about half the price on the UK site when compared to the US site. So I’m going to give them a try.

Lindam Sensor Night Light (UK link)- I wanted a night light to help us cope with night time feeds and diaper changes.

Earth Friendly Shampoo/Bodywash & Oil (UK link) – I knew the smaller bottles of Burt’s Bees body wash wouldn’t last too long, so I also bought these.

Insurance Purchase

We purchased the breast pump and accessories separately and have submitted it for insurance coverage. The total was $188.92. I will not be adding this expense to our baby budget until we receive reimbursement from insurance.

Medela In Style Double Breast Pump – After some research and knowing some of my mom friends have been happy with this breast pump. I settled on it.

Medela Breast Pump Kit – Insurance is suppose to cover two of these kits. So I figured why not have an extra set of tubes, shields, etc.

Medela Bottles – I think insurance should cover these. The paperwork said “bottles” it didn’t indicate how many. It probably only meant 2 bottles in order for the breast pump to operate. However, these were the fewest amount I could buy on Amazon. We will see.

Medela Breastmilk Storage Bags – These Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags are much cheaper. However, per insurance guidelines everything has to be the same brand for insurance coverage.


Like I said, our mail box has been busy receiving packages of baby items! However, can you believe we only spent $0.13 on ALL of these baby products!!! I was impressed! lol. We are just weeks away from baby boy’s arrival and we have spent a total of $77.87! Meaning we have $922.13 remaining in our $1000 Baby Budget! Check out our $1000 Baby Budget page for a list of all our purchases!

What Do You Think:

Are We Forgetting Any Must Have Baby Products?


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$1000 Baby Budget Update – January

When my husband and I began thinking about the possibility of starting a family nearly a year ago. My brain went into over-drive. Thinking of ideas how to minimize the financial impact of having a baby. Hoping to not slow down on our financial goal of becoming debt free!

I came up with the idea of having a total $1000 Baby Budget for the first year of the baby’s life. I knew it would be challenging but also possible. Baby boy is expected to arrive in about a month and it appears that we on track with our budget.

I may have left a few of you wondering where we stand on our baby budget because of my lack of updates over the past couple months. In all honesty, we did not purchase or win many things between in November and December. However, with about a month to go until baby’s arrival. We have started acquiring many baby items! The corner of our office has now become over ran with baby items!

Definitely time for an update!

Baby Gifts

raccoon outfit

3-piece Raccoon Outfit & Airplane Socks

Grandma and Grandpa continue to spoil. I mean love by showering with gifts. Little guy received this ADORABLE outfit in my favorite colors for baby (gray & aqua) and airplane socks (sorry forgot to include them in the pic) for a Christmas present. Even though he is yet to be born. 🙂

You may have noticed quite a few raccoon clothing items for baby. When I was little, I miss pronounced raccoon as “rack-a-toon.” Apparently, my family thought this was adorable because I had several raccoon things growing up. Thirty years later and I’m still receiving raccoon items. Don’t worry, I know how to say raccoon now. 😉 lol.

 Air Force Aid Society
Air Force Aid Society Gift

Air Force Aid Society is a fabulous charity of the Air Force. The charity has many great programs to help out Air Force families. Programs such as providing financial grants or interest free loans during a financial crisis/emergency, free child care for families during a PCS or a few hours once a month when the military spouse is deployed, car care (oil change vouchers) for spouses of a deployed airman, and college scholarships. Just to name a few. The charity’s motto is “Airmen helping Airmen.” It is funded through profits of investments and donations (most coming from current and veteran Air Force families).

One of their programs is “Bundles for Babies” which is the class I attended earlier this week. They put on a 3-4 hour class for expecting parents to inform them of all kinds of different programs and classes that are offered on base. As well as, topics such as budgeting for your new arrival and birth certificates/passports (very important for us overseas parents). At the end of the class each expecting couple receives a “bundle” of free baby items to help prepare for their little one on the way.

Bundle included: 2-pack of Sleep-n-plays (3-6 month), 2-hooded towels, 3-burp cloths, 3-bibs, 3-scratch mittens, 5-pack onesies (6-9 month), crib sheet, and a receiving blanket. Plus there was a local group (I wish I caught their name) who crochets little sweaters and blankets and donates them to families attending the class. I received the adorable blue sweater pictured above.

Baby Items Won

Hot Milk Nursing Bra & Bravado Nursing Tank

I was excited to win this pretty and high quality Hot Milk nursing bra and Bravado nursing tank. Much better than any of my pre-pregnancy bras! LOL. (Total value ~$80).

BabyBjorn carrier

Baby Bjorn WE Carrier

I was thrilled to have won this Baby Bjorn WE Carrier! However, I have my heart set to splurge on an ErgoBaby Carrier when they come back to Zulily. 🙂 I have not completely decided, but I am leaning towards selling this carrier and putting the money I get from selling it towards an Ergobaby carrier. (Value ~$96)

Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets – Princess Posie

I love, love, LOVE these Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets in Princess Posie! Believe it or not, I “splurged” and bought some at a great price ($30) with an Amazon gift card less than 6 hours before being notified I won this prize! I thought about canceling my order, but then decided our little boy gets to be spoiled from time to time (yes, cheap/frugal Nichole had a “weak” moment LOL).

I kept my order for these more “neutral” and less girly Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets in Up, Up and Away print. I have not decided what to do with the Princess Posie blankets. I think I will hold on to them. It would be a fabulous baby shower gift or I may decide 4 of these blankets are just not enough and keep these for our baby boy too! (Value ~$45).


Baby Purchases

Items Bought Used

Silver Cross UK Car Seat – $10

Yes, yes “don’t buy used car seats.” I get it. You can’t guarantee the safety because you never know if it has been in a car accident. We bought this car seat from another trust worthy military family who used it as a back up car seat in their 2nd car. The car seat was only used a handful of times and with a quick scrub down it looks brand spankin’ new! This is a $200+ car seat when new (baby gear in the UK is EXPENSIVE!!!). Considering we will only be using it a handful of times for ~4 months before we leave the UK. It was perfect for us!

Summer Infant Change Pad Cover- $5

This Summer Infant Change Pad Cover is a new item but removed from packaging. The lady who I bought it from decided it didn’t go with the nursery after it was shipped to her. It costs $9.97 on Amazon, so I was happy to take it off her hands and save nearly $5. 

Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym – FREE!

This Fisher-Price Piano Gym was definitely in “used” condition. All the toys were missing and there were a couple small permanent marker stains on the fabric. However, the piano is in perfect working order. All I will have to do is get some link rings and toys to dangle from the bar and it will be perfect at the perfect price of FREE! Considering this toy runs ~$40 new. I’m going to say it was definitely a BARGAIN! 🙂

Summer Infant SwaddleMe Wrap – FREE

Yes, this Summer Infant SwaddleMe Wrap in Leopard is a little “girly” for our baby boy. However, he won’t know the difference and it was the perfect price! 🙂

Items Bought New

Aldi diapers

Mamia Diapers from Aldi – £17.31 (~$25.10)

-Newborn: 144 diapers (£8.94)
– Size 1: 132 diapers (£8.37)

*only half of diapers are pictured.

In previous posts I have shared how much we LOVE Aldi and how we Save A LOT of Money Shopping at ALDI! Well, diapers are one item you can definitely save a small fortune by purchasing at ALDI. The smaller sizes come out to $0.09/diaper. That is regular price at Aldi. You don’t have to clip a single coupon or wait for a sale. All the reviews I have read, rave about these diapers and many compare them to brands like Pampers.

We have purchased enough diapers that should get us through the first month with our little one. I am not going to buy any more just in case he is for some reason sensitive to this brand. Or if he is born small and needs more newborn size or if he is a big baby and doesn’t really need too many newborn diapers. At any rate, I feel comfortable with our stash. It will get us through the first few weeks without requiring us to make a special trip to buy diapers.

$1000 Baby Budget January update

Baby Budget Update

You can view our Minimalist Baby Wish List to see what we have been gifted, bought, and won. Take a look at our $1000 Baby Budget to view details of our purchases.

Our little one is expected to arrive in just over a month and to date we have spent $77.74 on baby purchases. Meaning we have $922.26 remaining in our budget for the next ~13 months.

Baby Items on the Way

We have been told there are a few gifts in the mail for our little one and should be arriving in the next couple of weeks. Plus we have made our large registry completion purchase from Amazon (YAY!) which should arrive at the end of the month! So, I will have another baby purchases and budget update towards the end of the month!

What Do You Think?

Are there any “Must Have” Baby Items You would Recommend?
What were some Your most Expensive Baby Expenses?  

*This post contains affiliated links. Please view our disclosure policy for details.


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Baby and Maternity Products Won

In the $1000 Baby Budget post, I discussed many techniques we are using to limit our expenses for baby purchases. One of these techniques is to win items via giveaways and competitions on various blogs, websites, and at community events.

On majority of days, I enter between 10 and 20 baby-related or gift card giveaways. So far, I have been quite lucky and have won a few items that will help tremendously in stretching our baby budget. If you are interested in what giveaways I enter, I typically tweet about the giveaway. Follow me on Twitter!

My favorite win so far… the $150 Amazon Gift Card!!! That was a HUGE win and will easily buy many baby items or cover something “big” like our little guy’s car seat!

My second favorite and probably not one I would have splurged on (because I did not know better) was the Theraline Maternity Pillow. Seriously a GAME CHANGER when it comes to sleeping while pregnant. It just may become my “go to” pregnancy gift to my expecting friends/family members.

As you can probably guess, most of the giveaways I win are in the United Kingdom and therefore are British products. If the same product is not available in the United States, I will provide a link to a very similar item. This way, if you are interested in the product you have a link to provide further information.

***This “Baby Products Won” page will be updated monthly and can be found in the menu under the tab “Baby Budget.”

Baby and Maternity Products Won

Gift Cards

$150 Amazon Gift Card


Theraline Maternity/Nursing Pillow ($69.99 value)

Emma-Jane Maternity/Nursing Bra (£13.45 (~$20) value)

UK link

Hot Milk Nursing Bra & Bravado Nursing Tank (~$80 value)

Baby Gear

BabyBjorn carrier

Baby Bjorn WE Carrier (~$96 value)


MAM Infant Essentials Baby Bottle Feeding Gift Set ($79.98 value)

actual prize: (UK) MAM Breast Feeding & Sterliser Set (£45.99 (~$70) value)

By Carla Mum and Baby Support Pack  (£31.29 (~$47) value)

By Carla Mum and Baby Support Pack (UK site)

360 Trainer Cup ($9.10 value)

Waterproof Long Sleeve Bib ($11.66 value)

actual prize: By Carla Long Sleeve Bib & Splash Mat (UK site) (£9.99 (~$15) value)


Pampers Sensitive Wipes – 56 count wipes. (approx. value: $1.50) Won through the Pampers UK Twitter page.


Sleeping Bag- 1.0 tog for 0-6 months ($29.99 value)

actual prize By Carla Sleeping Bag (UK site) (£18.84 (~$28) value)

Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets – Princess Posie (~$45 value)

*This post contains affiliate links. This means Budget Loving Military Wife does receive a small commission when purchases are made using these links. Please read Disclosure Policy for details.


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