Make an Impact

Young family makes environmentally friendly choices and saves money

February 3, 2023 | Natasha Ridenour

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

We can make choices as consumers

Raising a young family can be expensive; little humans and their items can also have quite the carbon footprint. We can lessen the financial and environmental impacts by taking the time to plan, think about what we might actually use, and checking out what used items are available online or in stores.

Planning is key

When my husband and I found out we were having twins, we panicked. We will need two of many things, such as cribs and car seats. How were we possibly going to squish two of everything into our little condo, as it didn’t make sense to move at this point in our lives. How can we tell them apart if they turned out to be identical – turned out not to be the case.

We found we only needed two of a few things, and we figured the twins would learn how to share at an early age. As space was limited, we questioned everything we might need. We had gone through many online lists of the ‘basics’ that all new parents need. Turns out there are a lot of things on those lists that we didn’t get (and didn’t need) or got less than what was suggested. We also put a lot of thought into the length of time things we brought into our place would be used. We opted for items that would be used for longer such as grow-with-me pants, or items that could be multi-used, such as a change table on a dresser and on an Ikea shelf unit as well – we did need two change tables.

Buying second hand helps

We had heard of the local Twin and Triplet club having a sale of used clothing and equipment. When we went, the whole world of consigning opened up. We loaded up on a tonne of baby basics and got a major deal on the twin stroller. After that, we explored other second hand/consignment stores, and stocked up on baby clothes and blankets, frequently checking back for any new stock. We were gifted a few new items, bought some, and borrowed some from friends. I was quite pleased that we managed to get so much on the cheap, and not buying new clothes that would be used for a few months only.

After the twins were born, I also discovered Facebook marketplace and Kijiji. We found loads of used baby equipment, two high chairs, and the extremely valuable Twin Z pillow, that we used all the time. And when they grew out of these items, they were posted on marketplace or donated, as space was at a premium. Not only did we save a lot of money buying second hand, it lowered our impact on the planet. Planning also helped to avoid buying new items at the last minute.

What about toys?

We aim to bring in toys that work over multiple ages, spark imagination, or build some physical and mental skills.  Our twins LOVE cars – like LOOOOOVE them. The best toy they got for Christmas 2021 was a consigned/second hand bag of about 20 little cars for $7 (Definitely a mom win!). They play with these cars every. Single. Day. They also got some pretty expensive locally made toys that they do not play with at all – a sobering lesson. They want to play with the 35-cent cars – kids DO NOT CARE if their toys (or clothes) are second hand.

Moving forward

As the twins grow, we are continuing the journey we started – making consumer choices that reduce expense and waste. Through our choices, we save a few dollars and help the environment as well – a winning combination.

Natasha Ridenour

Natasha Ridenour has a PhD in oceanography from the University of Alberta and is currently a postdoc with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. During her spare time, she’s either crafting or hanging out with her family. The views expressed on this website do not reflect those of her employer.

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