Making Decisions as a Broke-Ass Mom

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Last week I received an interesting question that got me thinking: “In what world is a $500 stroller broke-ass?” Although it just so happens that a stroller is a lot cheaper than buying a car (the BOB is our car), and we also bought it used for $200 (in the usual broke-ass manner, we never buy anything new if we can help it), the reader does have a point.

When you become a parent, your decision process changes, and being broke-ass makes it just that much different. Before I was a broke-ass mom, I was a broke-ass girl. I was also, at one point in my life, a broke-ass girl working in Manhattan. Back then, broke-ass meant I drank my way through dinner and only during happy hours, brought lunch to work, lived in New Jersey, and rode a bus into the city every day. One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about New York is that you CAN be happy, have fun, and be a broke-ass. I could easily buy my lunch and breakfast off two different food trucks for a grand total of $10, and it would be killer. The trick was knowing where to go.

Once you become a broke-ass parent, things change. Eating your meals off a truck, and drinking your way through dinner might not be a possibility (unless of course, you have a babysitter, then maybe). As a broke-ass parent you have to make different choices, and smart ones. You can’t redecorate the extra room into a baby’s room because you don’t have an extra room. Your baby, instead, sleeps in the closet, or in your bedroom. Instead of buying a new pair or jeans, you buy diapers. But you don’t buy diapers at the grocery store, because they will up-charge the shit (pardon the pun) out of you. You choose to buy your diapers at because they are at least half as expensive (and they deliver to your door!). Last but not least, you buy a kick-ass stroller instead of a car.

Buy clothes and shoes used as much as you can. And sure you could buy a cute little bassinet when you’re baby is first born, then a crib, then a toddler bed, then a real grown-up bed. But why would you do this, when you could save money on the Stokke crib (bought used of course) that lasts until your child is ten years old, and turns into a chair after that. Every penny you save on the smaller stuff can amount to one more really cool bigger thing. I will admit, though, that sometimes making these decisions can be long and tedious. It took us six months to decide on a stroller (we used a carrier until then). But the pay-off is worth it.

Photo by: istockphoto michellegibson

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Jennifer White - Mommy No Bucks

Jennifer White - Mommy No Bucks

Jennifer has been a bit of a nomad having lived in seven different cities. Her life as a gypsy has settled down for the moment in San Francisco with her husband and two-year old son. Recently, she decided to throw caution to the wind, quit her job as an analyst to be a full-time mom while chasing her dreams (and the Pulitzer Prize). When she's not writing, she's aspiring to be a luddite (although blogging isn't helping), knitting the occasional hat, or running in the park with her son and his secondhand compost truck in tow.


  1. Broke ass grandma
    March 9, 2012 at 10:37 am

    disposible diapers are never cheap… used clothes are fine, but buy your kid good shoes, soft developing bones..

  2. Laura
    March 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Lots of good points here. You never skimp on your kid’s safety; that’s just too costly. And another great thing about waiting six months while you make your decision is that sometimes the kid will outgrow the item in question by then, and you won’t need it anyway.