Hattie Garlick, a mom in London, is taking a stand against kiddie consumerism. According to MSNBC, she's decided to not spend any money on her two-year-old son Johnny in 2013 and document it on the blog Free Our Kids. Garlick lost her newspaper job near Christmas—and her son's birthday. Between unemployment and the insane push for toys products, she decided to put an end to her mindless consumerism and start thinking a lot harder about where her family's money went.
On the about page of her blog, Garlick remembers how she and her husband were among the parents who shelled out $600 for a stroller and how that now seems like a unwise spending decision. Her getting laid off, it turns out, is a time for introspection:
So that’s how we came to look at our bank account, our routines, the insides of our fridge, wardrobes and toy box… and realise that we were being taken for a ride that had started on the day we discovered I was pregnant.
She did research and was shocked by what she found, like how the average baby has 56 outfits but even so, British children are reportedly the least happy in the world. Circumstance and finance led this family to lay out the rules for the year:
- No kid-specific food: The fancy packaging on the tiny yogurts and other snacks for toddlers seemed to be just a way to get more money from parents. They'll waste less by feeding everyone the same thing, with smaller portions for her kid.
- No new clothes: Hand-me-downs are good enough for her two-year-old since toddlers outgrow their clothes so quickly. And fashion just isn't that important: She writes,"This boy is two years old. He doesn’t need to be on trend. He needs to be warm and dry so that he can explore the world." Johnny will even get his haircut at home.
- No more new toys: Because Johnny wasn't playing with the ones he already had.
- No more disposable diapers: Garlick's research found the average family spends close to $1,500 a year on disposable diapers in a year, so they're making the switch to cloth diapers (and eventually potty training, we assume).
- No more mommy and me classes: Plenty of kids, Garlick argues, survived, and still survive, even thrive, without expensive entertainment.
Of course, she knows she won't be able to watch every single one of her pennies. She'll of course spend money on healthcare and she's asked her readers for advice on what to do about shoes.
Is she crazy or is this a good idea?