Posts Tagged ‘children’


Greening the Nation’s bottoms

August 3, 2009

One thing most parents seem to share is dread at the cost of nappies. These things are seriously expensive, and if you chose the wrong option, then you’re talking several thousand dollars over the duration. One friend commented specifically that their grocery bill plummetted after their 2nd child graduated.

To address this dreadful expense my partner and I talked over our options before the wee tacker was born, and settled on re-useable nappies. And he being 8 months old tomorrow I thought I’d give a progress report.

In short: Not so bad.

We thought that things might become… different… when he moved to solid food, but we’ve been lucky and the reusables options has worked out well. The principle of the nappy is that it has a waterproof cover, an absorbent cloth, and a disposable liner. The liner is supposed to act as a “catch-all” that allows you to easily dispose of any offending solids. And that’s pretty much exactly what it does. You just gather up the liner and flush it. Since there are no solids heading in the wash cycle the need for a rigorous soaking/washing sterilisation process is less, and a decent warm wash followed by sunlight by kill any bacteria.

And that’s the next issue. Hot washes. We’re still tracking the power bill compared to last year, but it’s being complicated by bad billing in 2008 (a topic for another day), and this winter being so much more cold. But initial figures suggest it’s not too bad, and it includes the additional washing needed to keep on top of grubby baby clothes (feeding is messy!). Total power bill for 2008 was $1021, and this year to date is $633 (6 months). Mind you, we are only using warm washes, but it seems to do the trick, and every few months we spend a week doing spanking hot washes, just in case.

Meanwhile, costs for cleaning are not substantial. Our entire detergent bill last year was $58 (seriously…), and cost to date (January to July), is $50. That includes concentrate, baking soda (bleach), and white vinegar (disinfectant), the latter two bought from Moore Wilsons, the former from the Warehouse in 5kg bags.

Pretty good right?

But! I hear you say. But the initial cost of he nappies!! It’s a killer!!

Well, total cost of nappies including disposables (used at night or when/if we travel), is [drum roll maestro]… $602.

Compared to the cost of buying disposable nappies that is a fairly big saving. We figure the boy will run through a minimum of 6 nappies a day (not skimping and making him wear them for longer), but at least 8. A 20-nappy pack costs a minimum of $10 on special, but more usually $12. Wolfram Alpha tells me that we have 243 days between 4 December and 4 August. This gives us a potential consumption of 1944 nappies, costing us a minimum of $972. Of course this is in reality likely to be higher.

And, we can change the boy as many times in a day as we want. The most water we ever need use is the minimum setting on the washing machine, so 8 nappies or 15 nappies makes no difference. Plus, the disposable liners are actually good for a couple of washes if they have only been peed on! Another saving!

We’re thinking that we won’t have to make the outlay for the next size up nappy for several months (his growth has evened out at around 11.5kg), so the next $180-odd so a little way of, meaning that from here till then the only cost is cleaning and purchasing additional liners ($10 for 100, cost to date included in the $602).

The final word? Well worth it.


How to Pimp Ur Ride

June 14, 2009

Kids. One things kids are not is cheap. The mountain of crap you need to keep them in all the stuff you need to keep them in is immense.

And one thing the suppliers like to ensure is that you spend a heap more than you need to.

Queue: the introduction of the Mountain Buggy, Urban Elite.

This is a pretty good pram. There’s one on TradeMe as I write this selling for $310 (with two bids). It has a lightweight frame, a mobile from wheel, sunshade, rain cover, nice wide berth and high riding position for the baby who is both urbane, and elite.

Brand new they retail for around $800. Which I would not pay. And not only because the website makes me a little sick in my mouth… But because it is daylight robbery.

Second Chef, bless her frugal heart, found this buggy in a second-hand place for a whopping… $50. The only trouble is, it needed a little love.

But a whole lotta love we got. Number one issue was that the canvas on the seat area had started to give way, and the metal frame of the sun cover had worn through. So, we got in touch with the very nice man at Hurry Up Shoe Repair in the bottom of the State Insurance Building. He was able to whip up some patches and have the whole deal fixed for $18, as depicted.

The next problem was that the tyres had pretty much worn down, and were likely to pop unexpectedly causing both crying and shouts of exasperation from respective family members.

So, a quick trip to Capital Cycles, and for $30 they sold us two new tyres and put them on for free.

Finally, new sun/rain covers to keep the wee guy happy, which were a whopping $90 all up…

And there we go. One pram restored to former glory for under $200.

Verdict? Excellent. The pram is larger so the not-so-small man is happier. It’s lighter so it’s easier on Second Chef. And it has an adjustable handle so those of us taller folk don’t have to stoop to push it, and it therefore preserves the back.

A win.


School holiday bleg

September 22, 2008

So the hols are upon us. Bored young minds must be kept entertained. Preferably, of course, for free (or at least very little).

On the agenda thus far:

  • Weta Cave
  • Baking
  • South coast walking
  • Te Papa (again!)
  • Reading
  • Exploiting child labour in the garden
  • Ditto in domestic chores
  • Art/craft project

What have you got up your sleeve?