Frugalwoods family foto!

We’re expecting baby #2! I decided to buck my customary tendency and, for once in my life, not bury the lead. Due in mid-February, baby #2 will make Babywoods a big sister and poor Frugal Hound a big sister times two. In fine frugal fashion, Mr. Frugalwoods and I are both thrilled that we’re having another girl because we already have all the clothes! Hooray for hand-me-down-down-down-downs… oh yes, many of our baby clothes are on their fifth baby (at least) and still going strong.

Quick administrative note: as longtime readers know, our first daughter has always been called Babywoods. She will now be Babywoods 1 and her little sister will be known as Babywoods 2. Look, I never said I was a genius at naming conventions…

As I’m quickly discovering is the case when you’re pregnant and also have an exuberant 22-month-old, a thriving online business, a striving homestead, and an elderly greyhound, things do not always get done quite on time. Hence, I’m already 18 weeks pregnant and just now getting around to sharing the news… Oh well, better late than never!

Another thing I’ve realized is that one starts to look pregnant A LOT earlier with baby #2 and so I couldn’t post any photos of myself until I explained the situation to you all. I posted this picture on Instagram in which I didn’t think I looked all that pregnant, but quite a few folks excitedly spotted my maternity dress. Whoops. So, consider yourself informed from the source.

Why We’re Having Baby #2 Now: Frugal Efficiency

Babywoods 1 will be 2 years and 3 months old when her little sister joins our family and we are delighted about this spacing. It’s still to be determined if having kids this close in age is actually a good idea in practice, but, Mr. FW and I are all–ALL–about efficiency and we foresee a number of efficiencies in close sibling ages.

Our home and lives are already orchestrated around a baby/toddler schedule. Our living spaces are baby-proofed and safe for small people to explore independently. Our cars are encrusted with Cheerios and other bits of food (hopefully it’s food… ). Our bedtimes, wake times, and routines are all oriented around allowing Babywoods (and us) to get plenty of sleep. Our social lives are primarily centered around activities that easily accommodate our child. Our daily schedule is rife with little kid stuff: play dates, play groups, daily hikes in the jogging stroller, snacks!, etc.

Pregnant with Babywoods #2!

We are, in sum, very much in the baby zone of our lives. I’m a proponent of leaning into whatever phase of life you find yourself in as it is profoundly less stressful (not to mention less expensive) than trying to militate against it. Rather than battle with an overtired Babywoods during an evening outing? We don’t go out at night. Rather than engage in a never-ending struggle to always have clean clothes on everyone? I don’t sweat it. Embracing the realities and necessities of where we’re at in life is liberating and a whole lot less expensive.

Mr. FW and I already have low (very low) expectations for personal appearance, personal space, and personal cleanliness. To whit, the pants I’m currently wearing are spotted with hummus, avocado, and… soap maybe? We are very comfortable dealing with a great number of bodily functions. We don’t do things like stay up late or go out late or party long into the night. I remember how to breastfeed, how to swaddle an infant, how to nestle a teeny one into a carrier.

My body is WELL accustomed to the presence of a wee child clawing at my neck for a snuggle–I haven’t worn a necklace in two years. Mr. FW specifically wears t-shirts with words on them so that Babywoods 1 can sit in his lap and read the letters off. We are supremely content with the pace of life (slow, often dirty) we’ve established with Babywoods 1 and so it seems like an ideal time to add another small being into the routine. I mean, who knows, but it sounds good in theory, doesn’t it?!?

It’s our hope that these efficiencies will continue into the future as our girls age. For starters, they’ll both be in elementary, middle and high school for quite a few overlapping years, which means an easier commute/schedule for the whole fam. They will, hopefully, be able to participate in some of the same extracurricular activities/camps/clubs given their similar ages (again, efficiency in pricing, commuting and scheduling!).

Glorious view of the Eiffel Tower from a trip Mr. FW and I took to Paris a few years ago

I’m also hopeful we’ll be able to participate in family activities, trips, and vacations that appeal to both of our children. I am 13 years younger than my sister and 10 years younger than my brother and it was tough for my parents to find family outings that appealed to everyone. Mr. FW and I greatly enjoy international (and domestic) travel–something we did every year pre-baby–and it’s something we look forward to one day sharing with our kiddos. I love that they’ll both be at a good age to travel internationally at the same time. I envision us in NYC when they’re six and eight and London when they’re eight and ten and perhaps Tokyo when they’re nine and eleven and India at ten and twelve… And then they’ll be teenagers and won’t want to travel/be seen with us anymore… but I figure we’ll get a few good years in.

I’m under no delusion that our girls will be best friends (although one can always dream and one will dream… ) but at the very least, they can hike and explore our woods together in somewhat similar developmental stages. Their proximity in age also means we’ll be able to use all of Babywoods 1’s stuff as hand-me-downs for her sister. Yay!

All of this, of course, is conjecture on my part and we’ll just have to see how it works out in practice. But boy am I optimistic for these potential frugal efficiencies. At the very least, these are the stories I tell myself as I wrangle Babywoods 1 away from eating fur straight off the dog while feeling gigantically, pregnantly exhausted. And also the stories I reassure myself with as I envision the potentially apocalyptic scene of having a two-year-old and a newborn under the same roof. It’s all about how you spin it, right?!

A Note On Fertility Because Why Not

Me: Let’s take a photo together!
Babywoods 1: NO!!!

It’s also exceedingly true that fertility rarely complies with what we mere mortals have in mind for structuring our lives. For an example, one need look no further than the journey Mr. FW and I went on while trying to conceive Babywoods 1. In retrospect, that period feels like a blip in time, but as we were going through it, I couldn’t imagine anything beyond the pain and frustration we felt every day.

You can read the full story here, but the summary is that it took us 13 months to conceive Babywoods 1, during which time I took fertility drugs and we ended up getting pregnant the month before we were scheduled to start a round of IUI. In the end, we lucked out and our experience with infertility pales in comparison to the years of heartache that many couples endure. But infertility is one of those things that–when you’re experiencing it–leaves you with a feeling of hopelessness at the seemingly impossible event that your reality will ever change.

And then there was this time around. Assuming it would take us a similarly lengthy period of time to conceive Babywoods 2, Mr. FW and I decided to start trying on the early end of things, but at a time when we felt ready. Good thing we felt ready because this baby is apparently in a rush to join her sister. We got pregnant almost immediately and were met with an onslaught of emotions: joy, first of all, then surprise, relief, and a questioning of if we really were ready.

Although we planned for this and are thrilled to expand our family, I think there’s a natural feeling of uncertainty at the precipice of any major life change. We are a very happy family of three and becoming a family of four will entail a disruption of this status, this routine we’re now comfortable with. I had these same emotions before Babywoods 1 was born, but they’re more pronounced now that I have a better sense of just how much change a baby portends. This isn’t to say I’m not delighted and filled with excitement, it’s just to acknowledge that we become comfortable in our routines and tend to fear any alteration.

I think this natural fear of change is why so many of us have a hard time taking the first step towards bettering our finances. We want to be smarter about our spending, we want to start investing for the longterm, but that would entail a change in how we presently live. Accepting that fear and allowing yourself to feel it is, in my opinion, the best way forward. Brushing it aside and pretending it doesn’t exist won’t allow you the mental clarity to make lasting changes.

If, as you read this, you’re thinking about a change you know you need to make, but that you hesitate on every time, sink into that feeling of hesitation. Accept that it’s there, don’t hide it, and meditate on why it is present in your life. Then, get up and take action. Start making progress (incremental is fine) towards the things you need to do. P.S. If you’d like a concrete way to begin improving your finances, take my free Uber Frugal Month Challenge and join the over 20,000 folks who’ve accepted the challenge, transformed their finances, and saved thousands of dollars.

Frugality While Pregnant

Babywoods 1: How about I bolt across the lawn instead?!

I’ve received quite a few emails, messages, and comments lately asking for my advice on remaining frugal while pregnant and parenting. There must be something in the water… At any rate, I’m delighted to share that it’s very easy to remain frugal while pregnant and parenting: you just do as you did before becoming pregnant/a parent. Seriously!

Here’s why: if you ingrain frugality into your life, allow it to guide your decisions, transform the way in which you view consumerism, and redefine what constitutes a “need” versus a “want,” then you will have no problem maintaining this regime no matter what changes occur in your life.

Longterm, joyful frugality isn’t about hacks or even tips and tricks, it’s about accepting that you have enough in your life, that happiness is not something you can buy, and that deep joy stems from doing what you want with your life–not from buying what you want. All that being said, there is some practical advice I can offer. Pregnancy and parenting are a marketer’s dream come true. You (prospective parent) will be inundated with advertisements and prompts to buy everything imaginable for your new small person. These ads largely play on fear: our fears that we won’t be ready to be parents, that our kids won’t be happy, that they’ll be unsafe or deprived. Set those concerns aside.

Who doesn’t need a toddler to help them with sledgehammer work?!

If you’re truly worried about your fitness as a parent (a concern that dogs me daily… ) check out some parenting books from the library and arm yourself with skills and knowledge about childhood development. An arsenal of knowledge will be a WHOLE LOT more useful to you than a bunch of baby bouncers and infant contraptions. Trust me. I read parenting books almost constantly because my child changes and develops constantly and nothing has better prepared me for each of her milestones and behavioral advances.

Here are a few of my favorite parenting books (thus far), roughly in age order:

Love our hand-me-down high chair!

In terms of the stuff of babies, I will grant you that they do need some material possessions. For this, I recommend first of all, accepting any and all hand-me-downs and, for anything that doesn’t come your way via hand-me-down, buy it used. Babywoods 1 doesn’t own much of anything new. Almost all of her stuff is used and it’s all fabulous. When Mr. FW and I found out we were pregnant with Babywoods 1, we put the word out to everyone we knew that we’d gladly take their baby hand-me-downs and stuff came in droves out of basements and attics and closets. We spent all of $20 preparing for Babywoods 1; everything else was a hand-me-down.

Other excellent sources are the Buy Nothing Project, garage sales, thrift stores, Craigslist and online buy-and-sell parent groups (which are often run through Facebook). Don’t be telling me you can’t find used baby stuff because I found tons of used baby paraphernalia when we lived in the city and I find tons of used baby stuff out here in the veritable middle of nowhere. I recently purchased a used glider and ottoman–something I didn’t have with Babywoods 1 and really wanted–from a friend for $20. Those things, in case you’re wondering, retail for around $200. I also recently stocked up on heavy duty winter snow boots for Babywoods 1 at a garage sale for the whopping price of… wait for it… 0.50 cents per pair. Commit to finding whatever you need used and you won’t have to spend more than a few bucks. In case you’re curious, I didn’t have a baby shower for my first child because I couldn’t bear the thought of my friends and family buying new stuff when I knew I could find what we needed on the used market for a fraction of the price (or, more often than not, free)!

Me at 39 weeks pregnant with Babywoods 1 in my hand-me-down maternity garb

If you’re concerned about the safety of used items, fear not! What I do is research the serial number of every hand-me-down we receive. This informs me if there’s been a recall for that item. If there is a recall–as was the case with our beloved hand-me-down high chair–the manufacturer will send you the parts to repair the recall for free.

For more advice and strategies on sourcing used items, check out:

In terms of frugality-while-pregnant, I recommend following much the same route. I didn’t buy any maternity clothes for my first pregnancy and I don’t plan to buy any this time around either. How? By utilizing the wonderful world of hand-me-downs and borrowing. When you’re pregnant, you REALLY need maternity clothes; and when you’re not? You REALLY don’t want to wear them. Hence, the magical world of lending and trading maternity clothes. I lent out a bunch of my clothes between my pregnancies and I’m currently the beneficiary of borrowed clothes from a friend who is similarly between pregnancies.

For more on my entirely free maternity (and nursing bra/top) wardrobe, please enjoy:


The big sisters-to-be

What about food? It’s undeniable that my food needs, tastes, and quantity requirements change during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I’d say our grocery bill reflects this to a minor degree, but what’s important to remember is that cravings and unusual food predilections are usually brief. I went through a phase this pregnancy where all I wanted to eat–and I mean THE ONLY THING I could eat–were beef tacos. There’s no explanation for this, there was no need to rationalize it, I was simply pregnant and needed TACOS. I ate tacos at 10am, I ate tacos at 3pm. I literally ate only tacos. But it didn’t cost us any more money. Why? Because we stuck to our frugal guns and made them from scratch at home.

Mr. FW cooked up a delicious vat of grass-fed organic beef, I shredded a bunch of cheese, and he diced up jalapeños and limes along with a red onion. Voila! Taco accouterments in the fridge for me to munch on at all hours. We didn’t get pre-made taco fixins’, we didn’t go out for tacos, we didn’t order taco delivery, we made them at home. And this taco-obsessed phase? It only lasted two weeks, after which I felt very much back to my normal self. So if you’re beset by pregnancy cravings (and for anyone who hasn’t experienced these, it’s not a craving like “oh I could really go for some pickles right now” it’s a craving like “I WILL DIE IF I DO NOT EAT PICKLES”). It’s intense. So don’t sweat it. It’s also true that nausea and food aversions often accompany these cravings (at least, they do for me) and, as was my case with the TACOS, only one food will suffice. So eat tomatoes for three weeks straight, or tacos, or whatever it is. But adjust your grocery purchases accordingly: don’t be buying eggplant if it makes you gag and don’t delude yourself into thinking you’ll be able to eat something other than tacos.

Babywoods + groceries

Give into the craving, buy it at the grocery store, make it from scratch, and rest assured that it’ll pass soon (even if it lasts your entire pregnancy, it’s only nine months). These cravings only become expensive when we decide we must eat out for every meal, or run through the drive-through, or buy take-out every night. As long as you stick to your frugal pattern of cooking at home, you can weather these cravings with barely a dent to your budget. Same goes for the increase in appetite, which I found to be most dramatic while breastfeeding Babywoods 1. I ate more, but it didn’t cost all that much more because we simply added on a few items to our grocery list. I NEEDED cookies, and so we baked them from scratch (that’s pennies per serving). I REQUIRED chili so Mr. FW whipped up a huge pot.

Don’t use pregnancy (or parenting) as an excuse to spend money. Buy what you need, but don’t go overboard and start rationalizing every purchase as “just because I’m pregnant.” And, take snacks everywhere!! Do not leave the house without snacks, a practice that will serve you well with kids too. It’s not a surprise, or an emergency, to need a snack while you’re at work or running errands–it’s an entirely expected and predictable incident that you can (and should) plan for. No excuses.

For more inspiration and motivation on how to avoid take-out and always plan ahead, please enjoy:

Does A Second Child Change Our Financial Projections?

In a word: no. Mr. Frugalwoods and I adhere to the philosophy of always saving more money than we think we’ll need. This approach to saving allows us to pursue unusual dreams–such as reaching financial independence and moving to our 66 acre homestead in the woods of Vermont–and it also enables us to easily manage more quotidian changes to life. Since we don’t have the often-astronomical expense of daycare (as we both work from home), a second child doesn’t add an appreciable difference to our budget on an ongoing basis.

Another failed attempt at a baby + mama photoshoot…

Frugality is a compounding game and the less you spend, the more you save, the less you need, and the more money you have in the long run, thanks to the appreciation of your investments (which in my case are our rental property and low-fee index funds, both of which I discuss in greater detail here). There is no downside to spending less and needing less in your life. It’s a question of wholesale simplicity and an understanding that material goods aren’t what we require in order to live the good life.

Yes, it is more expensive to have a kid (or a second kid) than to not have a kid, but our frugality isn’t about saving every single penny. Rather, it’s about creating the life we want to live and spending only on our priorities. With a second child there will be more expenses related to food and activities/sports and plane tickets and shoes and, of course, college, but there are also a great many efficiencies to realize with a subsequent child (as outlined above).

Thus far, I’ve found parenting to cost far, far less than most estimates tout. I also find a lot of peace in simplified parenting. I do not buy fancy electronic toys. I do not buy high-end clothing for my child. I do not buy every single item ever created for babies. I do not sign my toddler up for expensive classes that she doesn’t need and wouldn’t understand. Instead, we go on hikes, and pick berries in our yard, and go to free playgroups, and play with friends, and explore the creek behind our house, and read books by the wood stove, and sing songs together. This stuff is all free and it’s all enrichment. Our very presence in our children’s lives in enrichment: we are how they learn to speak, to read, to interact, to empathize, and to develop. Toys and videos cannot take on this role for us (although sometimes, let’s be honest, all we need is some freaking Elmo).

If you enshrine frugality as your worldview, as the lens through which you operate, then pregnancy and parenting will merely fold into your approach. Frugality is the philosophy that blankets everything I do. Whether its parenting, or choosing a car to buy, or deciding not to eat out, frugality guides my decisions. It makes my life effortless in many ways and it ensures I’m always focused on my highest, best priorities. I’m not a parent who is frugal, I’m a frugal person who also happens to be a parent.

How do you incorporate your parenting into your frugality?

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  1. Congratulations!!!! That is so exciting!! I had 3 kids in 5 years, so I can tell you that the 2 year spacing has been really great for us. It keeps you in the baby mindset, so you don’t have to relearn all the sleeplessness rules. 🙂

    We spent very little after the first baby. We reused all the baby items, as I was specific to all family during baby #1 that we needed gender neutral items. So we never to struggle much with that. Plus, there are always moms trying to get rid of clothes their kids have outgrown, so we were regularly the recipients of those.

    Something that also helps is going as naturally as possible when delivering. I went totally naturally, but at a hospital which was a must for my peace of mind. But our whole hospital cost was around $3-5000, and if you paid in full in cash immediately when the bills came up, you got a 15-25% discount off the bill. But it was only applied if you asked, so I recommend trying that!

    Close babies are hard, but I highly recommend it. Our kids love having built in playmates, and it makes life a bit easier to know they have eachother.

    Congrats again!!

      1. We also pre-paid for our son’s birth. If my memory serves me well, it was around $880. I was a grad student back then and didn’t have the best health insurance plan.

        We will definitely pre-pay for the birth of our second baby as well. 🙂

      2. The $450 for a birth is amazing.
        My first one cost about $12,000 due to some ridiculous circumstances and out of network charges that the insurance company denied an appeal for. My second cost about $5,000- not quite my out of pocket maximum (on a non- high deductible plan). No one offers discount to prepay. Otherwise I would have!

        If I had kids 10 years ago at a different company it would have been $0. No copays or coinsurance at all on maternity!

    1. I tried to pre-pay for our daughter’s birth, and people just stared at me. They said “you don’t know what kind of delivery you’ll have, so you can’t prepay.” No discount for paying in full either. However, at our more rural hospital (we live in a small city of 25k folks), things are affordable. I think we paid about $3,500ish for me and about $1-1,500 for each of our kids. We have a high deductible plan with a $6k deductible. I had an epidural (cost $500 — totally worth it) but otherwise uncomplicated deliveries.

  2. Congratulations!
    Have you considered graduating Babywoods to Toddlerwoods and leaving Babywoods for the newest family member? I could then see Tweenwoods and Teenwoods, but I guess being so close in age they’ll be in the same phase at the same time sometimes.

    I had a lovely day yesterday at a craft fair but did get rather spendy. Although at the end of the day I was the last person at one of the stalls so they gave me everything they had left! If I feel guilty I ruin the feeling of fun I remember so trying not to do that.

  3. Congrats on #2!!! My wife is due any day with our 2nd son. We are super pumped as well that it’s a boy since we already have all the clothes and toys set up for both children. Plus being able to have hand me downs is perfect. In the meantime, anything that we didn’t need during the first baby has been tossed out and my wife and I have been actively looking on Craigslist that we thought was super helpful but returned back to my sister for her kiddo.
    We’ve been able to find double strollers, power wheels, bouncer and more clothes for free using the NextDoor App and Craigslist. It’s amazing the things people will give away for free 🙂

  4. Congratulations!!!! The age spacing is perfect, dont worry! We have 3 kids, ages 2.5yrs old, 15 months old and 4 months old, and, while I dont recommend such close spacing, it has its perks: they can play together, go to school together, and you haven’t forgotten what it is like to pull a sleepless night. A friend of mine, mother to 5, once told me that you have to have another child before your youngest sleeps a full night, or you get used to the good life and never have another kid 😊
    As for being frugal, as you said, kids don’t cost much money, but time and effort. We have spent a lovely weekend, going to the park, taking walks and enjoying the weather. Total cost: 0euros. And im sure the kids had fun!!!
    Congrats again and take care. Caring for a toddler while pregnant is hard.

  5. Congratulations on the great news! You look glowing!

    Hubby and I have also discussed whether we are ready for a second baby. Our son is 2, and we think it’s a good time to have a new family member. However, we also want to wait until we are totally ready. We are thinking in a year or so we will start trying.

    Thanks for the great tips!

  6. Omg! Congrats!

    We currently have 2 (and would like 1-2 more – this parenting gig is fun!) And ours are 2 years and 8 months apart. It’s GREAT timing. Especially since our oldest transferred to her “daddy is awesome” stage right before I gave birth – very convenient!

    I highly recommend books about babies and very simplified “where they come from” prior to delivery – my daughter LOVED Everywhere Babies, among others.

    For the pregnancy/food thing, I just wanted to say that it CAN have a financial impact – for each pregnancy, the first 3.5 months have been absolute hell for me. Throwing up multiple times a day, basically couldn’t look at food, exhausted and nauseous and UGH. Um. We basically went to costco and stocked up on prepared foods for a bit (since, while Husband can cook, he couldn’t cook AND do all the childcare AND finish building the house on a deadline before the home inspection AND do all the housework AND have a job. And I could have a job and also lie on the couch and try not to pass out or throw up. Thats it.) Different pregnancy experiences lead to different solutions. Oh, and the only thing I could keep down was fresh fruits and vegetables. Crunchy ones. In a Quebec winter. Yeah. $$. (And forget the smell of meat. Apparently pregnancy turns me borderline vegan.)

  7. Congratulations! Our youngest two are almost exactly two years apart and they are best buddies! And I wholeheartedly agree that society encourages us to spend more on kids than is necessary – I love the suggestion of reading up in parenting rather than spending beaucoup bucks on gear.

  8. I’m very excited for you! I’m really hoping we will be able to have a second before I run out of time in my imaginary “I’m too old for this” deadline. Needing an emergency C-section means the spacing is going to be greater than the plan, and if we don’t get pregnant quick once it is “allowed”, then I guess we will have an only…

    I think it has been extremely easy to be frugal with an infant. I think the challenge will come when she is in school and learns what brands are and wants to do all the activities. Like you, we own almost nothing new for her, what is new was bought on really strong sales. I took every hand me down offered, and have kept things- even when we don’t use them for her (swing, rock and play etc) because the next baby might like them… She often dresses “like a boy” so much so that we have a pretend name for her when strangers ask us “his” name; people seem to feel bad when they guess wrong, and we will never see them again!

    The Buy Nothing Project has been wonderful! Breastfeeding did not start well due to a tongue tie and poor suck, but because so many samples are out there, I never actually paid for formula (we are now breastfeeding, which saves a lot. It cost us a few hundred dollars to revise the tongue tie, but compared to what a friend pays for formula, that was worth it!) I hope if we have another I’ll be able to breastfeed again, but if not, we could work formula into the budget.

    Our biggest expense is daycare. Even in a relatively LCOL area, it is $260 a week. I have a nightmare of being pregnant with twins next time and having to pay that times 3. I suppose we could get a nanny, but I like the socialization of daycare, as well as the reliability of a center.

    I’m pretty frugal when pregnant- maternity clothes are hand me downs, and two pregnancies thus far I’ve found I absolutely despise eating, so it isn’t really an issue. Otherwise, nothing really changes.

    We did eat out more right after the baby was born, because visitors expect it. Even when my husband makes incredible home cooked meals our guests want to go out for something “nice”. IMO, his meal is always nicer, but with my family it somehow doesn’t “count”. My family is extremely generous, so I consider this an investment in the baby’s future by keeping a good relationship with them.

  9. Congrats! Our children were born with the exact same spacing, and I have to say it’s hard in some ways and great in others. My two-year-old didn’t know any different so we didn’t have to go through the “hating the baby” struggle more common with older kids. Sleep was a nightmare as baby #2 was not complying with the sleep training like baby #1 did. But we have enjoyed embracing this phase and being able to do similar activities. And hand-me-downs and used are absolutely the way to go for most children’s items.

    As our first child just hit school-age, I’m seeing the small but frequent costs associated with having kids. We’ve done a couple sessions of organized sports, there are school fundraisers, pictures, birthday party gifts for friends, etc. We say yes to some and no to other things. We want our child to grow up embracing simple living rather than resenting it so we try to choose wisely and not have him feel like the odd one out unnecessarily. But I think having kids is so worth the costs, which don’t have to be nearly as much as many make it out to be.

  10. Congratulations!! It will be beautiful to watch the girls grow together, and a shade over 2 years is perfect. Estelle is a proper toddler now, not a ”little baby”, mobile, learning to talk and just generally less wholly dependent. I think that must be the major issue with having 2-under- 2 (or 2 in 16 months or worse!), the fact that you effectively have 2 babies. Estelle has had your whole attention for her babyhood, and within the next 6-12 months will be potty-trained, probably sleeps a lot better, eats well… you have some mental real estate to give her baby sister.

    I think the timing is great. Anything between 2 and 3-4 years seems right to me!

  11. Congrats!!! I’m pregnant with baby #1!!!! I’ll make sure to check out all of your posts about frugal baby-life 🙂 congratulations and enjoy it!

  12. Congrats and enjoy the life of 1 child while it lasts. We also like a lot of the other readers have 2 girls, 18 months apart (3yr 8 mos) and (1yr 10 mo). I believe there are endless benefits to having a sibling but at this stage it is tough. The younger one has progressed so quickly from watching the older one and has been exposed to so much more. The older one sees her as competition sometimes. In the beginning stages the older one wanted to be the baby cause she saw the attention the baby was getting, this wrecked havoc on potty training. Meanwhile the “baby” is a pro at going on the potty before she is even 2. My advice to any parents is be a strict as you can with sleep training and start as early as you can. For at least my kids sleep like pros which gives us the energy each day to parent them.

    Costs…well I won’t say the costs go up that much especially if you have a child of the same sex but in a lot of ways everything is now doubled. Healthy kids are as expensive as you want them to be.

    P.S….they drove me and my wife nuts yesterday!!!

  13. Yayy, .congrats on Babywoods 2!! I do agree that you don’t have to spend a lot while your pregnant. With food just get a bit more snacks but not go overboard. Mother with Cents had to eat a little more than usual while she was pregnant with Baby with Cents but not to have an extra meal day.
    Looking forward to hearing your progress during these next few months Mrs. Frugalwoods!

  14. Congrats! Our two girls are close in age and it does make clothes, gear, and toys so much easier. Plus if I buy something used, I know it will work for one of them. Or if one outgrows it quick, the younger is going yo get some use from it. The dynamic shift from 1 kid to 2 was bigger than the work load for us. Now that we have 5, I’m not sure 6 would be all that much of a dynamic shift. 🙂 But I doubt we’ll ever find out! 😉

    1. We have 7, and I think it’s easier now thenjoy it was with 2 or 3. But my oldest is 19 and then they range all the way down to 1, so I have lots of help and build in babysitters.

  15. Congratulations! My oldest daughter is two and a half years older than her twin sisters. It was the perfect age difference! They are such a fun little tribe of people. We encourage them to always include the others in play and to understand that all the toys belong to everyone and not to any one person specifically. So far, this mentality has proven to create friendships and goodwill instead of fighting. Going from one to three was the biggest change for us and unfortunately we were not in the financial position you were. We had to renovate a room and buy a van, both of very unexpected expenses. We also in the past few months moved into our dream home and have been straying from our previous Uber frugality to finance items needed to support a lifestyle very different from our previous in town experience.

  16. I am so very happy and excited for you! My “babies” are teenagers now and 21 months apart…I love that they are so close in age! It’s always been nice for us that they were at similar stages developmentally. And we have been able to take some wonderful trips together, both local and internationally. Thank you for your insightful and helpful writing! 🙂

  17. Congratulations! My husband and I are expecting our first baby (a boy!) due at the end of January. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your articles on frugal pregnancy, baby gear, and working from home with a baby.

  18. Congratulations on baby #2! Sounds like a great age difference – it’ll be nice for them to grow up with built-in playmates!

  19. Congratulations! I have three granddaughters and the first two are 28 months apart in age. They are now 3 and 5 and are the best playmates!

  20. perfect timing, perfect approach: my sons are 17 mos, 3 wks apart by design, in order to avail myself of military hospitals before my husband left service. i never made them compete for my attention and insisted that they negotiate their differences. they are 47 and 48-1/2. they still like each other and me, although there have been times…. we still occasionally travel together. very best wishes.

  21. This is simply unbelievable ! First of all, congratulations!!!! I am so happy for you and even happier for Babywoods who s gonna get a sibling yeeey!!! I wish you an easy pregnancy and most of all healthy and joyful.
    The even more amazing part is that this article came like a gift for me. You have no idea how I was searching today for an article about remaining frugal while pregnant and after, and I was hoping I could find it on your blog; I knew you must have written something related to this situation. I have literally just scrolled down my FB page and there you are: writing this and giving us such great news!!! Thank you and enjoy your pregnancy!!:):) xx

  22. Congratulations! You both sound as prepared as possible. I love how you tackle any fears instead of hiding from them – something I’m working on and find inspiring.

    I never had the benefit of hand me downs for my daughter, but yard sales and my local consignment shop were my best friends. Once she started to pick out her own clothes she’d typically wear the same favorite outfits, so an ignored $1 shirt burns less then an ignored $10 shirt.

    And of course, lots of love for the roadside treasures people throw out!

    As far as extracurriculars, I don’t force them (aside from swimming lessons) and my 7 yr-old isn’t interested. She’d just rather play. Except for horseback riding lessons, which has been mentioned repeatedly (so I know she’s serious) and may be her birthday present next year.

  23. Congratulations! The two year spacing is wonderful. We had four in six years and the two year spacing worked really well for our family. One out of diapers and the next in. My husband and I thought it better to go through the baby stage repeatedly, rather than move on and go back later. I had my girls first, and then my two boys. I can say it is possible for them to be best friends. (My girls are teenagers and are still best friends) My boys are pre-teens and are best friends so far. The value that you place on family and good relationships can and will spill over to your children. Spending time teaching them how to be kind, love, and respect one another goes a long way for their relationships.. There are lots of bumps along the way, but I am sure you and your husband will help them navigate them. When I had my second daughter, a young nurse was so excited for me because she told me she and her sister were the best of friends and that I would love being the mother of two girls. She was right! I think of her comment and encouragement often. Yes, having two close together can be a little overwhelming at first, but in the long run, it is really wonderful. Congratulations, and good luck to you. You will do very well! For us, one to two was not that much of a difference, it was two to three that was a big change for our family. Either way, with each child added, your heart just grows. Congratulations!!

      1. Even if they aren’t at first, it doesn’t mean they won’t be at some point. Our girls are 2 years and 5 months apart in age. We joked for 15 years that our first born never got over her sister being born. Something happened in their teen years and they became the best of friends and still are at 29 and 27. Congrats to you and your entire family!

  24. Congrats!!! As someone who shares a 5 year difference with their sibling, I know at times it seemed… a little too much of a gap 😛 But maybe that’s just because of personality, and not age. So excited for you and your family! I have one friend who’s spent countless $ on their soon-to-be baby; and another who’s spent virtually nothing. While I’m a proponent of frugality, if you have the means, and that’s what makes you happy – why not? It seems silly to me, but I try not to judge. Loving parents and a happy baby are all that’re really important in the long run.

  25. Congratulations! When I was reading the last post, I was thinking when your second one is coming and here it is – very exciting! And thank you for sharing ALL the emotions that big life change brings up and not only good ones.

    Me and my husband just started trying to have our first child and although we’ve had this planned more than a year, it still makes me worry about the future and all the changes that are going to happen. But at the same time I am so ready and excited! I also have all your baby posts in my bookmarks, so I can read them and remind myself that it is possible to have a baby without spending thousands and thousands of dollars.

  26. Congratulations! I’m glad #2 didn’t take you as long to conceive — it is painful to wait so long for a baby. My two little ones (4 and 3) are 18 months apart. You are right about being in similar stages and liking similar things. At times you will start to question your decision to have them so close together (especially when you have two toddlers who are both whining about nothing in particular), but I wouldn’t change a thing. Just remember though, your daughters may have very different personalities. My sister and I are 25 months apart and we have always had very little in common. You seem quite adept at following the natural flow of life, which I think is probably the single most important thing you need to keep your sanity with children. Congratulations again! I hope all goes well for you and Babywoods #2!

  27. Congrats!! We have five kids, and I think a baby should always be celebrated. I’m so happy that you wrote about how babies don’t need to be as expensive as people claim. I’m always taken aback when I read the cost of raising a child today. It can be done for much cheaper, and you don’t have to miss out.

  28. Congratulations!
    What wonderful news! 🙂

    We’re not parents just yet but most of our friends are already raising their second child. I’ve learned a lot of ways to save from them, and most advice and ideas resonate with what you’ve just presented in your article.
    Baby showers are not a custom over here, although close family and friends almost always buy “a little something” each time a newborn is welcomed to the family.

    PS: I wasn’t a fan of being ‘the big sister’ growing up, but a very small age difference has helped my sister and I tremendously in bonding as adults. Babywoods is so lucky to have a little sister on her way 🙂

  29. Congratulations! I am so happy for all of you! I’m relieved to hear that you didn’t have to experience such a hard road with fertility this time around, too. Can’t wait to see pictures of the chubby little one! 🙂

  30. Congratulations! As a mom of three now grown kids – we had 3 in 5 years – I know I have amnesia about some of the difficult parts – oh, and there will be difficult parts – parenting isn’t for sissies! – but I wouldn’t do it any differently. I am also a much younger sibling – my brother is 8 years older and my sister 11 years so I wanted to have my kids all be in the same season in life. It worked out for the most part and now they are all pretty close – even though they live far from each other.

  31. Congratulations!! One of my favorite things is despite how frugal, Babywoods (and the rest of the family) always looks adorable. I love her presumed frugal bows – bows on baby girls are one of my favorite things. My sister and I are 23 months and 27 days apart – we weren’t always best friends but we did a lot together and she’s the best sister as an adult. We used to spend a lot of time on frugal outdoor childhood adventures.

  32. Congratulations!

    I’m pregnant with our first and due in March… I’m also hoping to get everything hand-me-down once we find out the gender in a few weeks. For now, we’ve gotten a crib hand-me-down but that’s it. I also don’t look pregnant yet so I’m sure the offers will come in at that point.

    Maternity clothes may be tricky though.

  33. I love that your photos *don’t* end with a perfect mother-daughter shot 😀

    Also: congratulations!! For us it’s a great age difference.

  34. Congratulations to all of the Frugalwoods crew!!! Our 2 kids are almost exactly two years apart. In the early days it was definitely difficult, but the learning curve isn’t nearly as steep the second time around. Now our kids are 4 and 6, and I think things just keep getting better. So happy for you!

  35. Thanks so much for your gentle handling of the infertility issue. As someone who tried for 13 months to get pregnant before finding out that it was going to be impossible, it can be hard to see others going on to get pregnant again and again. I love your blog and am always slightly shocked at how kind and smart and AWARE you are, from this issue to your privilege. The internet seems full of jerks somedays. 🙂

    It is such a pleasure to follow your little family’s life. 🙂

  36. CONGRATULATIONS, I am so happy for you guys and for Babywoods now she will have a built in play friend sister….how sweet is this ?
    The ages of the girls will be great….mine are 13 mos. apart, started school together, from kindergarten to graduating from High School..I had double of everything to buy at one time, and was a working single mother, had 2 class rings to buy, 2 Senior Trips for them to go ot Cancun with other Seniors….then they both went to a Christian College for 2 yrs., lived on campus, that was more money, but with grants, Award money they made it happen, and then my Son got a job in a Technical Co. my Daughter went on to a Christian College and got her degree in Nursing ,and worked at a Children’s Hospital, several yrs. later married her best friend she met at the first Christian College, my Son joined the Air Force (very sad time in my life) lots of worry..then Daughter left home for better job in Texas (another sad time in my life) when I think about this too, the tears still flo….it hurts when they leave home….. but now proud to say, I am so proud of both of my kids, my Daughter is a Nurse & my Soon works for the DEA… a very proud mama here 🙂 and I did it by myself…..and it sure wasn’t easy…..I was never on food stamps or welfare either…..I worked… kinda proud of myself too….could write more, but this is your show LOL

  37. We had 2 girls 2 years apart. I had saved some clothing b/c we are foster parents but already passed on a large amount. We decided to surprised with the gender of baby #3. A friend gave me her leftover gender neutral clothing & when our newest baby was 6 days old we were blessed with 4 bags of —more baby girl clothing! I am glad I have friends close by so we just pass everything around.

  38. Congratulations! I just (as in last week) found out that I’m pregnant with baby #1, so I’m excited that I’ll be able to see bits of Babywoods #2 growing a few months ahead of ours!

  39. Congrats on the new addition! You can always call the babies B1 and B2. LOL Let B1 feel your tummy a lot so she won’t be quite so jealous of baby sister when she’s born. But, you probably already know that. My granddaughter at age 5 acted like her brother’s mother when he was born, insisted on feeding him and changing his diaper.

  40. Congratulations! I’m 13 weeks into pregnancy #1. I fully anticipate that baby clothing and stuff I will be able to obtain used. I have been scouring Craigslist, FB Buy/Sell/Trade groups, and ThredUp and been striking out on maternity clothing in my size. (And unfortunately, no Buy Nothing group in my area.) I work in an office, so I need to have some professional clothing that will accommodate the bump, and I don’t have any friends who are similar size who’d have maternity clothes to lend. My mom has made me some belly bands which I intend to use to bridge the gap, but I have bought a few staple items on sale. I know thrift stores are an option, too, but frankly I do not have the energy for non-online shopping at this point.

    1. One thing about maternity clothing: don’t worry too much about finding them in your exact size. I don’t really have any maternity clothes that are my actual size! I’m an XS/S and most of my maternity clothes are M-XL, but it doesn’t really matter too much–once you start showing, it’s all sort of loose and baggy anyway. I worked in a professional office during my first pregnancy and found that I wore black dress pants and blouses pretty much everyday, along with a regular-sized cardigan sweater. This was comfy and not too obvious that the maternity clothes weren’t exactly my size 🙂

  41. Hooray! Congratulations! That’s so very exciting for you guys 🙂

    I’m glad you addressed the question of cravings and food while pregnant because I was thinking of that the whole time I was reading up to that point. In my first pregnancy, the only thing I wanted for about 3 weeks was STEAK (too bad it wasn’t a more frugal option, ha ha), but I was curious to see what your thoughts were on the matter. In the end, I think we did end up going out for steak once or twice, but by and large, I made my own, which, while still an expensive food choice to have for weeks, was at least cheaper than going out.

    Hope you’re feeling well and that this pregnancy goes well for you!

    1. Haha STEAK! I hear ya, I neeeeded those beef tacos!!! The cravings are intense. I say, go with the craving–and with whatever food you can stomach–but cook it at home.

  42. Congratulations!! Two girls! You are so right about the hand me downs, clothes and toys! We have three girls and they are all pretty good friends to one another. I still get asked occasionally while out with them by total strangers if we are going to try for a boy….nope, 3 is good, I love be surrounded by all these ladies! 🙂 Besides, my wife and I wouldn’t know what to do with a boy! That usually shuts them up. Haha

  43. Congratulations! As for the spacing of children – my mother wanted my sister and I to be as close as she was to her sister. We were NOT. We were about the same years apart as they were, but it never worked out that way. They will work out their own relationship.

    As for children not willing to travel with you when they are older – our now 23-year old never went through that phase where she didn’t want to be out in public with us, or travel with us. We are older parents (both newly retired), and her position now is she’d rather spend it with us than spend it after we’re gone. We just returned from an overseas trip with her, and are planning another for next year – we want to make sure we’re still young enough to enjoy the travel.

  44. Congratulations! I had four children in four years, three months, eight days….and I had no twins. I had three boys and a girl, with girl being number 2 child. I am so glad I did it that way. They are all grown and rang in age from 26 to 30 (almost 31). I agree, I was set up to have babies, I already had the crib (which finally tanked after baby #4, when we moved). I had the playpen, which again tanked after baby #4. The swing, which some kids liked and some did not, and I bought both it and the playpen at a garage sale for $10 total. I had plenty of boy clothes. So, yes, it is easier in my opinion. However, I did not really “vacation” except to take them to the beach that was five hours away for maybe a couple of nights a year. I did not have that much time off from my job, since I worked full time outside the home, and it was just too much work for me…lol. I hope you are able to do the vacation thing better than I was…lol. Again, congrats!!!

  45. Congratulations, wonderful news! My grown daughters are almost exactly 3 years apart, and we felt like the spacing was good for us. They didn’t always get along (that might be a slight understatement, cough, cough) but most of the time they really were good pals growing up, and are even more so now that they are grown and living in their own homes — they get together because they want to do so, now, not because they are forced to be together by living in the same house. They have a great relationship and it warms our hearts.
    I got a crib, 2 dressers, crib linens, a set of curtains and a lamp from differing people as hand-me-downs when I was first pregnant, and while a nursery theme wasn’t important to me, it was funny that the donors all turned out to have had Winnie-the-Pooh as their theme, so everything matched. Unisex baby clothing was much more common in those days before routine sonograms, so they could wear hand-me-downs from either sex in most cases, and I was happy to receive them.
    I totally agree about the temptations parents get to spend on their babies. I know a couple of new parents who have just enrolled their child in a weekly music class — that child is five months old. Wouldn’t some nice music playing at home, and mama and daddy singing to him do just as well at this age?
    Oh, and it took me two years to get pregnant the first time, but about 15 seconds to get pregnant the second time. Funny how that works!

    1. While I agree that paying for music classes for a 5 month old is ridiculous, I did pay for baby/mommy gymnastic classes when my second daughter was 1-2 years old. Why? All of the free play dates, reading time at the library, other baby events, etc. were scheduled at times convenient for stay-at-home moms. As a full-time working mom I couldn’t attend any of these events because they were during my work day. I really missed not being able to meet other moms, have play dates, etc. so I signed up for a class that you had to pay for (and it was scheduled on Saturday morning). Also, I paid to have my kids take swimming lessons that were scheduled in the early evening (after work). So, there might be a reason that parents are paying for activities for their kids. Sitting around the house listening to music together is fine, but sometimes what people are looking for is community. Also, I should mention that it was hard for me to meet other working moms, which I found to be frustrating and isolating. I work in a male-dominated field (engineering) and it’s hard to connect with other moms (or even women, for that matter).

      1. I see your point, and you’re right, so much is designed for stay at home mom’s, but this music class is during the work day, and the baby in question has a mom who works 3-4 days a week and a grandmother who happily keeps baby when mom is at work. Mom usually isn’t even the one taking baby to class, grandma is, at mom’s request.
        I was a working mom, and so are my daughters — they’ve enrolled their own kids in things like evening swim lessons for toddlers and evening gymnastics for primary school age kids. I have no problem with that. I just think music appreciation class for a five month old is unnecessary.

  46. Congratulations! Thank you so much for providing us with all the details, from why you decided to have kids close together to the fertility struggles (or lack of). When I saw the title of this article I had a million questions and I feel like you answered all of them. Looking forward to hearing more updates!

  47. Congratulations! I’m excited for your new changes! (And there is nothing like the exhaustion of being pregnant while runnimg after a toddler) My biggest surprise was how much the new baby adored the toddler… but if you think about my circumstances as a SAHM then, the new baby heard his brother’s voice (while in the womb) even more than his Daddy’s, since Daddy had to work. It’s so much fun when they talk and play amd read together.. Enjoy!!

  48. Hey! Congrats on Baby 2! (Yeah, I know everybody has said that already… I still mean it)

    You’ll find plenty of frugal efficiency with two kids, we certainly did! While we do have more mouths to feed, we simply plant a bigger garden and use the next size bigger pot when cooking. More kids means more little garden helpers too! 😉

    Frugal parents always find a way! Good luck!

  49. Congratulations. I am glad to read your fertility journey. I am going through the same thing now and trying to not think I waited too long to have one. I have also taken Clomid and will continue testing.

  50. Congrats! We have 2 kiddos that are 26 months apart. It’s wonderful. I’d love to hear how you plan to continue your work with a second kid in the mix. I’m a part time consultant, and with a second kid, we’ve had to use babysitters to preserve my work time. Would love to hear your creative solutions!

  51. Congratulations!! Our 2 are spaced about the same and it has worked out well. We also have 2 girls, and for now they really do get along. The nicest thing is having them at the same schools for periods of time. One drop off and one pickup is the best! Your pregnancy frugality sounds right on! I wish you lived close to here…we had a hurricane last week and everyone has the urge to purge now. There are so many free baby and toddler items on the curbs right now!

  52. Congratulations!! I have two girls with the same age gap (born in the same months as yours too) and for our family it is perfect! And the ability to share clothes is a bonus! When my 3 yo discovers something doesn’t fit her anymore, she says, “Oh! I’ll just put this in sister’s room”. She doesn’t seem to have any qualms about sharing clothes with her sister quite yet. Now touch her doll house and that’s a different story. 🙂

  53. Congratulations! As the mother of 3 children born within 3 minutes of each other (yes, triplets), my children wore plenty of hand-me-downs from their cousins! Over the years, I learned to stop at every thrift shop that had the words “Bag Sale” prominently displayed. Some of the clothes I bought fit right away; others were put away for later. (We have a fairly large house with plenty of room for storage.) My children had plenty of outfits that cost no more than 50 cents, probably less!

  54. Congrats, Frugalwoods!! Such exciting news. I feel like our journeys have been similar in many ways – struggled with our first, then got pregnant nearly immediately with number two. Our two boys are two years apart, and while these first months have been crazy and busy, they’ve also been joy-filled. Hooray for re-using baby clothes and gear, although we have had to scramble for a few additional clothing items as the timing on the seasons for clothing hasn’t quite matched up. I’m looking forward to reading more of the kid saga as it unfolds over the upcoming years.

  55. Congratulations! So exciting. What you say about having babies closer together being more frugal is spot on. I have two older boys closer in age (3.5 years apart) and one that’s 7-11 years younger than his older brothers. We basically had to re-buy everything all over again, and it can be tricky to find activities that interest a teen and a toddler at the same time. My older two were able to (and still can) hand down everything. Best of luck to you, and best wishes for an easy second pregnancy!

  56. Our girls have the exact age spacing! Awesome! When I planned my pregnancy, I did have it in mind that I wanted the kids close in age, but my reasoning was more because I’d grown up with siblings close in age and felt that it really worked, but more relevant — I wanted the seasons on the clothes to match up closely if possible and for the most part, they do. My toddler is end of March and my newborn is mid June. So happy to hear your news though — I actually teared up! It crazy to think I discovered your blog before you were revealed to the world! It’s still weird to see pictures haha!

  57. congratulations on baby #2! I will say that the current state of our financial situation is one in which it makes more sense for us to wait to have a second kiddo (kiddo #1 just turned 18 months) as we’re saving up to get a bigger house. I can your age gap affecting your personal view of parenthood timing. My brother and I were 4 years apart, and I think along that time frame as being a little better, gap-wise, for my husband and I’s lifestyle. We might actually push it a little more, like to 5 or even 6 years, as an aunt of mine had her kids that far apart and my cousins still are close now plus it also was easier on my aunt and uncle, especially since the older cousin could help out with his baby sister since he was old enough to do so. There is no right or wrong way to have more than one kid, just like people can stop at 1 kid or no kids. Just being there for your kid(s) is what counts! I would agree that having kids of different ages can affect vacations, but I’ve seen families with different aged kids taking one-on-one vacations with a kid while family watches the younger baby, as it a) gives that kid some one-on-one time they don’t get anymore and b) enables you to do vacations you couldn’t take with a wee one. But again, not everyone has young in-laws or other family who would be willing to watch a baby for 4-5 days, so I wouldn’t bank on being able to do that when planning a family! I think in our own household growing up, my parents were honestly too poor to take vacations until I (the youngest) was 4 or 5 anyways, so perhaps that’s why my baby-ness never was a drag on my parent’s free time.

  58. You will LOVE having babies close in age (okay, some days you’ll think you lost your mind but most days it’s awesome!). Most folks think we were crazy for having 3 kids in 3 1/2 years but it’s been an incredible blessing. Carseats can get handed down, extra diapers that don’t fit can get used up. It’s so awesome! Congratulations darlin’! I can’t wait to see the new little one!

  59. I’m the youngest of four kids, and we are all about 2.5 years apart. I’ve always felt like that spacing is pretty much ideal! Of course, when we were little, society expected parents to toilet train babies by age 2, and now it’s often much later than that, so you may have two in diapers at the same time, which my mother didn’t have to deal with. But I think it’s good for the kids to be close enough in age to be friends, sometimes able to enjoy the same things as they grow up. By the time I was in third or fourth grade, my 2.5-years-older sister and I would often enjoy the same books, and talk about them once we had both read them. We were interested in the same fads, and just generally enjoyed a lot of the same things.

  60. Congrats to the Frugalwoods Family! We have similar spacing between our two daughters (who are now 10 and 8) and I will warn you not to be too surprised if baby #2 can’t totally rely on baby #1’s hand-me-downs. In our case, our girls were shaped totally different—while they were both 9 plus pounds at birth, the first was tall and lean and the second was our little Buddha baby. One was born in summer, the other winter.One has narrow feet, the other requires a wide shoe. One grows really fast, skipping sizes even—while the other grows slower and needs those sizes her sister skipped over! You get the picture. One frugal win that does work very well with our two daughters is sharing a bedroom. Good luck guys!

  61. Congratulations! My son and daughter are 2 years 5 months apart (my youngest turns 1 this week!). Clothing hand-me-downs haven’t been as easy since they were born in different seasons and are different genders, but I don’t have as much of a problem with my girl wearing boy clothes as some people do. I just accept that sometimes strangers will tell me I have a cute baby boy.
    My son went through some behavior changes when his sister was born, and the book “Setting Limits with your Strong-Willed Child” by Robert MacKenzie worked REALLY well for helping him through his strong emotions. It works even for kids who are not normally strong-willed. And he really liked the book “What Baby Needs” by William Sears to help him understand what it was going to be like to have a baby in the house. “New Baby” books targeted at toddlers seem to fall into one of two camps: breastfeeding families and bottle-feeding families. I thought it was important to have a book that depicted breastfeeding since I knew I would be spending a LOT of time doing that in front of him.

    1. Thank you so much for these book recommendations! Clearly I am obsessed with parenting books, so I will be checking these out!! I’ve also gotten “cute little boy” comments on Babywoods thanks to some of her hand-me-downs too 😉

      1. I have twin girls, and everyone new always tries to guess which is a boy and which is a girl. They seem to think one must be, or any baby wearing blue or pants must be a boy. It’s so silly, you wouldn’t expect a 10 year old girl to wear dresses or pink every day, why does a baby girl have to?

    2. My son has some pink pajamas and sleepsacks that he got as hand-me-downs. He doesn’t care and only wears them at home anyway. And who says boys cant wear pink!

  62. Congratulations! I’m looking forward to the escapades of Babywoods #2 in addition to all of your other stories!

  63. The only food I could handle in my first trimester was watermelon and bagels with cream cheese. At least it was cheap! I tried to buy the ingredients to put it together and eat at home. Congrats on your pregnancy! You look lovely.

  64. Well congrats! Our 2 daughters are 17 months apart and people sometimes ask if they are twins. Though the first few years were difficult, it’s nice now. They’re close to the same maturity level, and only 1 year apart in school. They share many of the same friends and interests. School is pretty easy as they’ll be at the same place most years. They are already talking about “when we’re roommates in college” which is so sweet but I’m afraid they might kill each other if we aren’t there to intervene in the occasional “disagreement” 🙂

    Oh, and re: tacos, there’s nothing wrong with eating them every day for weeks at a time 🙂 I do it and I’m not even pregnant. Simply put, tacos are awesome. And fairly frugal since you can make them out of very inexpensive cuts of meat and basic vegetables.

    1. TACOS!!!!!!! And, thank you for sharing the stories about your daughters–that makes me so happy to hear 🙂

  65. Congratulations! My 2 are 2y8m in age difference and its a great age gap. They can do quite a few activities together and older one constantly shows younger one how to do things and younger one(who is also 22months old like babywood #1) is now able to learn these skills.
    I found it really hard for the first 18months when they both needed me constantly. 3 things that saved my sanity were: coffee machine, baby carriers, and learning to accept help from others.

    1. A huge YES to the coffee machine! Somehow, no matter how little you’ve slept the night before, a shower and a cup of coffee in the morning can make you feel like you’re ready to deal with the whole parenting gig another day.

  66. That’s lovely news – congratulations! I must confess I was waiting for an announcement, so I’m very happy to read this. 🙂 I also have a baby girl due in February – exciting times! My son will be 3 years and 3 months, which I feel is still a close enough age gap for them to have things in common. Although I won’t have the benefits of sharing clothes when the girl is older, I have no qualms about putting a boy onesie on a baby girl. It will only fit for a couple of weeks, anyway. I wish you a wonderful, smooth pregnancy and birth!

  67. My two girls were almost exactly 2 years apart and have very different personalities so it was frequently not easy. I congratulate you on this joyful occasion and whatever the result on the personalities this is what you want and what you want to spend your dollars on when needed. That’s all that matters. I wish you all the very best in your latest endeavor – it will be fun and exciting however you both decide to pursue the future.

  68. Oh my gosh! I’m so excited! Especially because I’m right behind you–I’m due in early March! Since this is my first, I’ll be looking to your posts for plenty of wise advice, as the one who’s gone through this before…

    OK, now I’m going to read the whole post and the comments like I usually do 😉

  69. I am so happy for you and happy for Babywoods as well! My sister and I are about the age difference that your girls will be and it gave us both a much happier childhood. Now in our 60s we share so many memories and laughter as we recall those funny little sisters whose biggest goal was to be high school girls and wear poodle skirts!

  70. I’m so excited, congratulations! Our first two were very close in age and Are best friends. We found the first 3 months to be the most difficult, when I needed the most help, and then, having a second just made things seem easier and definitely lots more fun. Fun was multiplied instead of added.
    I agree, I don’t know who came up with ‘how much it costs to raise a child’, but they are so far off. Two don’t cost much more than one, but the blessings- priceless.

  71. Congrats! As a dad of three girls (a 7-year old and twin 5-year-olds), I can attest that having kids close together does bring some serious benefits. While they don’t get along all the time, they overall are great playmates for each other. In addition, sharing clothes, toys, and the gear you need to raise kids is a bonus.

    Wishing you all the best – happy prayers for you and your family!

  72. Yay!! We had 6 children in 13 years and have been a strong adherent to The Tightwad Gazette method. Love the FrugalFreedom lifestyle…keeps us creative and content! Just one in high school now and the rest are “off payroll” as we like to say…weeee!!! It really is a wonderful life (even while there were 4 teenagers in the house at the same time). Enjoy these happy days.

  73. First, congrats!!!
    Second, you made me look up the word “quotidian” and I love that about your writing style. Throw in those cool words, girlfriend! 🙂

    Enjoy the new journey! Life’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

  74. Congrats !! I am a firm believer that anything over 2 years is to much time between children. At this length of time they will be closer and have a much stronger bond. That applies for boys and girls alike. My grandkids are about the same amount apart as yours . A boy and girl. They are so close! You will be thrilled at the closeness you will observe over the years.

  75. What great news to hear that you will be welcoming your second daughter. Congratulations! Your family photo is lovely. What an adorable little girl Babywoods is. As a dog person as well I enjoy seeing pictures of your greyhound as well. I am a mom of six children in 12 years so mine were about 2-3 years apart. It worked out well. Kids 3-6 are the closest as far as relationships go but they all get along well. Hope that you are feeling well with your pregnancy.

  76. Hearing about the cost of giving birth is an eye-opener. The NHS provides all care free at the point of use and while it is not perfect, it is wonderful. I have 12 years between baby number one and two. I had fertility problems. Baby number 3 appeared 2 weeks before his brother’s second birthday. No problem. So pleased to hear your good news and send best wishes for the future!

  77. Congratulations! How exciting for you! Our friends just found out that they are having a second boy, and I immediately thought how great it is that they can use all the hand-me-downs from their older son. Frugality for the win!

  78. Congrats to the Frugalwoods! I had to laugh at people commenting on your dress at the conference, when I saw it I thought that either you were pregnant or this frugality has gone a little too far if you were wearing that dress to give a talk:)

  79. Congratulations!!! Our daughters are 3 years apart (now ages 7 and 10). It’s a love-hate relationship but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My book recommendation is 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12‎. The book advocates counting and then consequences. It helps us A LOT with daughter #2 who likes to challenge the rules. Now my 10 year old is starting to show signs of tween/teen attitude problems. Anyone have any recommendations for books about parenting tween/teens?

    1. Thank you so much for the book recommendation!! I’ve heard that Duct Tape Parenting is a good book for older kids, although I haven’t read it yet myself. Good luck :)!!

      1. Not sure where you’re at with potty training Babywoods 1, but I found the book Oh Crap Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki really awesome for my son. I started at 2 years and 3 months, and it only took a few weeks using that method.

  80. Congrats and exciting! We had a daughter first and now have a son. They are 2 years and 10 months apart, and we think the spacing has been great. Our daughter loves her little dude. We found that we can reuse a lot of her stuff, and then we’ve used hand me downs from others and presents from friends/family to fill in the gaps. You might find you need a few things to fill in gaps because your daughters will have slightly different seasons. I’m a tiny bit nervous that I won’t have the right size snowsuit to get through the winter, but we’ll see. My guy started out bigger than his sister but is ending up growing at about the same rate as she did, so he’s not advancing through clothes super fast.

    I love that you talk openly about being frugal with kids. We are going the frugal route, but sometimes I feel like a moocher when grabbing hand me downs. But in addition to the money saved, I love the time saved from not having to run to the store all the time for kid stuff!

  81. Congratulations! So happy for you and your family 🙂 Talking about baby-proofing, do you have baby gates for those stairs or did you find an alternative?

  82. Congratulations!! I am also pregnant and due in February – with number 5. How fun to watch you go through it at the same time! I am also highly in favor of closely spaced kids, they will have so much fun together. My others are about two years apart, and now a 2.5 yr gap to this fifth baby. I agree with your many strategies. This weekend, a friend having her fourth girl (who has one boy) and I (one girl and pregnant with fourth boy) are swapping most of our saved clothes. Baby clothes are available free or cheap in abundance, as are many baby items. For me, with “high risk” pregnancies (truly not the end of the world by a long shot, but requiring extra attention), they are just expensive. We have a high deductible insurance plan, so we’ll hit our out of pocket max for me in both this year and next year. But really, it’s not the end of the world, and this is what we have money for, right? My first trimester nausea is extreme enough that we did resort to some convenience food and takeout, but it’s very temporary, and I think the big thing is to get back to your usual routine as soon as you can. To me, it’s a delight to be back to cooking.

  83. Congrats on the pregnancy! My wife is pregnant also and we plan to use hand me downs as we’re having another boy 🙂
    She is also using previous maternity clothing and some borrowed items from friends and family. Finally we have learned from trial and error on the first baby what works in terms of formula brand diapers and the best stores to shop for baby oil, powder, etc.

  84. Congratulations! Might I suggest instead of Babywoods 1 & 2, using Youngwoods and Babywoods….or Kidwoods and Babywoods?

  85. Speaking as a Mum who had 4 boys in 5 years, the baby years are BUSY… then as they grow up a bit you’ll find that the kids will grow up together and will pretty much entertain themselves, so life gets easier and easier. Congratulations – I tried my best to have at least one girl but it clearly wasn’t to be. 🙂

  86. Congratulations!! I’m pregnant too and due to have my first baby in a month. We have received so many items second hand (especially clothes) and bought the rest second hand from facebook and friends. I have to admit to buying a few maternity clothes new, but then discovered a fb group I could’ve used for second hand clothes if I had looked earlier. OOPS

    I would like to have a baby shower just to see everyone, but we don’t need any gifts. I think I will just tell people gifts of food we can freeze or future babysitting is all we need.

    My husband and I started reading your blog maybe 3 years ago and it’s really inspiring. We started tracking all our expenses on an excel sheet he’s made himself just over a year ago. Most of our furniture is second hand as well and we are trying to cut down on eating out. We are trying to freeze as much food now as possible for the weeks after the baby when we won’t feel like cooking.

    I love reading your blog! Thank you so much for keeping it going. I find it entertaining as well as informative.
    I really like the case studies as well (it’s good to be able to compare ourselves to others to check our own expenses and how we can improve), maybe we will have to submit ourselves for a case study one day!!

      1. It is! We have a tradition among some of our friends of doing subsequent baby showers where the only gifts are frozen meals and diapers. We celebrate the mom and new baby, and nothing unnecessary is purchased. It’s great!

  87. Congratulations Mrs. Frugalwoods! That is such very exciting news!! I have loved having two boys–you’re right that the clothes efficiencies are wonderful! I rarely need to procure clothing for our youngest, because he gets the oldest’s hand-me-downs handed down. And ours are the best of friends. In some ways, that will be inevitable, with so much family time together. Our boys still sleep in the same bed at night, for bedtime efficiency, and to keep each other company, and I think that contributes to sibling closeness, too. 🙂

  88. Late to the party, but just wanted to offer you my warm congratulations. Also, as someone who struggled with fertility (we were not able to have biological children in the end) I really appreciate you sharing your own fertility struggles. I don’t think folks know how common this is. It has certainly made me more conscious of what I say to folks about children! In the U.S., at least, we make some assumptions that can be hurtful. (Like the colleague who asked me if I didn’t have children because of my professional goals).

    And I second the frozen food!! We do this for all of our friends (including those with new puppies :). ). and it is a tremendous help.

  89. Congratulations! As I read through your blog this summer and began seeing pics of an ever growing Babywoods I would think that she needed a sibling. I’ve read your entries out of order so even today I thought this post was about your first pregnancy. I’m happy for you. Thank you for your wise, thrifty example. 🙂

  90. Congratulations! That’s so exciting. I have two boys 3 years apart and love being able to reuse everything. We have a revolving stash of maternity and baby clothes that we trade between a few friends and I haven’t had to buy much at all for either one of my pregnancies or my kids. We jokingly call it the “Sisterhood of the Travelling Maternity Clothes and Baby Items.”

    And I’m totally not against using girl items for my boys – in fact, my youngest has been wearing a pink sleepsack to bed from his cousin, no complaints 😉 One of our biggest money savers was potty training at 2.5 years (some kids potty train earlier) so I can’t wait until my second one is no longer in diapers.

  91. CONGRATULTIONS! What wonderful news, this just makes my day! And as always, Liz, you have taken your life experience and crafted a lovely essay from it that teaches another lesson to your flock. I love the thought of not using pregnancy as an excuse to spend money—this goes across the board for so many situations when one could try to find an excuse for getting spendy (tiredness, stress, guests, lack of time, too much time, etc.). A well-balanced life stays balanced, step by step.

    Thanks for sharing your marvelous news and we will all be eagerly awaiting the debut of Babywoods 2.

  92. I have three kids, now 14, 12 and 10. Knowing what I know now, I wish I had saved all our money in babyhood and toddlerhood, because…. your kids develop interests later and interests cost money!

    My daughter (12 yrs old) is a dancer. And she’s good (shocking since she’s MY daughter!). It costs about $10K per year. She takes it very seriously, works hard at it and loves every second.

    My 14 yr old son is also a dancer (less so than his sister) but also plays instruments and takes karate etc. My other son is 10 and adores soccer. So, it’s the rep league for him.

    12 yr old daughter is on a school camping trip – for $225. At the end of the year she will on a school trip to another province (we’re in Canada) – for $550.

    We can choose not to do all these things, but … it makes them happy. And they put in the work (if they didn’t it would be a totally different situation!).

    Anyway, all of you pregnant people and /or those with littles, save your money NOW, because it becomes much harder later!


    1. I completely agree with this approach, Kim! I am all for saving now in order to spend on activities/sports/camps later. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

  93. Congratulations….you have inspired me start the process of living frugally, even though I am already a grandma. It’s never too late.

  94. Hi, I too thought you might be pregnant as last month their were very few entries, even though you later said you were out of town for some of the month. One of my daughters is pregnant with her second, and as yet does not wish to know the gender. I thought she may be pregnant as she hardly ever rang or skyped (she lives 800 plus kilometres) away and she is a dead give away for being pregnant as she has heavy pigment on her face when pregnant. When I questioned her if everything was ok she said she would skype this afternoon and the first born told us mummy had a baby in her tummy. She also suffers from extreme morning sickness whilst trying to work full time. Dad is the main care giver to the first born and was able to do everything else that needed doing. My daughter used cloth nappies (diapers) for her first child which I had great delight in providing and I have just bought her next supply for the second baby. I have been able to purchase both lots second hand but basically purchased and unused by original buyer.
    Look forward to following your pregnancy with delight

  95. Congratulations!! I’ve been a bit time lurker for awhile now but I love reading your posts. So happy for you that you didn’t need any fertility treatment this time. Do you hope to have more after this little pumpkin comes? I used to always think I wanted 3, but I think I’ll go for two. I really like what you wrote about being present in the time that you’re in- babies have different needs and I’ve had to learn to respect that (my little one is 11 months). Congrats again!!

  96. Congratulations! That is so exciting! Our two boys are similarly spaced, and we had the same fertility story: a year to get pregnant with #1 and a quick #2 after him. Enjoy!! You’ve got this and I’m so glad you’re confident in your parenting decisions. It really is great when they are old enough to play together and all you have to do is supervise…and break up fights, you know 😉

  97. Congratulations! That’s wonderful news and I’m glad everything is progressing well.

    I do wish you had tread a little more lightly on the spacing issue. I know you did touch on the infertility issue afterwards, but I found the post very difficult to read. I don’t think there is any one “perfect” age gap between children, for frugal reasons or anything else. I know you would not have meant this, because you are so thoughtful, but I felt like the post blurred the line between “this family arrangement is perfect for me” and “this family arrangement is perfect” and I (at least) found it a bit alienating to a reader who doesn’t have a family that aligned with convention.

    I have two children, a boy and a girl who are five years apart. Is that what we wanted? No. Is that what we planned? No. But we are so lucky to have two children, and there have been great positives (often unexpected) for us with this gap. With the big brother in school the baby had the same precious one-on-one time her brother enjoyed. He was old enough to understand how much she needed- we never had any jealousy or aggression towards her. If I was in the shower he could sit in her room or even in her crib and keep her entertained. They play together really well and big brother is far more patient with her than with his parents! Plus, as someone who struggled with infancy, this time around it was wonderful to have the school community and the routine of pick up and drop off to give structure to the days of mat leave, as well as to have my son to talk to.

    From a frugality perspective she’s cost us almost nothing. She wears his hand-me-downs, now on their fifth child, and has also benefitted from several mums at school passing along the clothes from their daughters who are a year or two older. Everything we gave away when we thought we were done we’ve been able to find again for free. We are using the same cloth diapers, the same stroller, the same carrier, etc. Looking forward, the gap means we likely will not have to pay for university at the same time.

    Will they be friends when they grow up? I hope so, but there is no guarantee. I think that is more about personality than gender and age.

    We have definitely made some adjustments to our travel plans- trips that were perfect to do with a big little kid are back off the table for another few years. But we will have time again eventually.

    Having children who are two different genders and several years apart does not make it harder to be frugal!

    I also recommend saving your money for when the after school activities start up and/or for when they walk so much second hand shoes are no longer a good option- the only thing I had to buy for my son last year was footwear, but indoor and outdoor runners plus rain boots and winter boots still adds up!

    I’m horrified about having to pay for birth (I’m in Canada) and hope for that reason (as well as many others) that you have a smooth second half of the pregnancy and an easy delivery.

  98. Firstly, congrats! Thanks for sharing frugal info for having babies. My question is, how do you (others feel free to chime in!) go about bringing gifts to other people’s baby showers? We may be frugal, but other folks may expect new items.

  99. Congratulations! I think the second child is more fun because you know you’ll get through all the hard parts and there’s no fear about what is coming next. Of course, it’s also the second child’s job to be as different as their older sibling as humanly possible.

  100. Congrats!!!! I have 5 kids 8 and under….it’s been fun but crazy lol. I wouldn’t change a thing!
    I apologize if you have answered this, but have you thought about a VBAC? Totally your decision of course and no judgement either way….I had a c section then 4 VBAC’s so I wanted to say that if you ever have any questions I am happy to answer them if that would help.
    (I had 2 labors start on their own and 2 induced 1 with a foley bulb 1 with low Piotcin of the 4 VBAC’s) and 1 with a epidural and 3 without. All with a doula. Anyway if you have any questions please ask away! 🙂

  101. I totally missed this, probably because I gave birth mid-July, and moved mid-August. Congratulations! I do find I am eating much, much more with nursing this time around and that did increase our expenses,

    1. Thank you! And congrats on your new little one :). I definitely ate more while breastfeeding Babywoods 1 than I did while pregnant!

  102. Congratulations! During my pregnancy, I was lucky to be gifted maternity clothes but there were still a few things I needed. My due date was January in New England. I didn’t want to have to buy a winter coat that I would only need for such a short time. I was able to let out the waist of an old jacket that I already had. Also, I bought one nursing bra and HATED it. I ended up buying a few comfy jogging bras instead. They were much more forgiving of the fluctuations of size and shape and I was able to still use them when I was done nursing. The baby industrial complex can be avoided!

  103. Thanks for discussing your fertility issues. My husband and I have been trying for nearly 4 years and after 7 failed IVF attempts we are looking into adoption. Infertility sucks and it helps when people talk about it. It makes me much less lonely.

    I love your blog – thank you so much for being an inspiration to me

    1. Hi Jane, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had to go through this. I can’t imagine the pain it must bring. I wish you all the very best in the adoption process and I hope you’re able to expand your family soon!

  104. Congratulations! I love your thoughts on the efficiency of having a second one – I completely agree both in terms of stuff and parenting experience. I wouldn’t wan’t to waste all that knowledge about teaching a baby to nap any more than the hand me down clothes 🙂 And oh boy does the pregnancy show earlier. For the last month random strangers tell me I look like I’m about to drop the baby today. I’ve still got 5 weeks to go 😉 Wishing you all the best.

  105. Hello! I am just going through and reading older articles on your post. Congrats on baby #2!!! My husband and I actually had our children 14 months apart (2015 and 2016) and while I wasn’t quite ready to have them this close, I have heard many people state it’s good to get it all out of the way all at once. They are 3 and 23 months old now. While the first is a girl ad second a boy, I have always bought gender neutral items for close to everything they need to play with and I need to take care of them (except for clothing). This helps tremendously!!! I try to be as fugal as I can and for the most part, it works very well.

  106. Congrats! Me and my sister are a bit less than two years apart but I have to say we are pretty close. Sure, we may be closer to frenemies, I still think we are pretty good friends though. So I feel a small gap has helped. Good luck!

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