When Does Quality of Life Matter More than Being Frugal?

My wife and I have been having an interesting discussion in the last few days. You see we have been using cloth diapers for our son most of the time for the last three years. Now we have started toilet training him we have noticed his old cloth diapers are falling apart which has resulted in some leaks. So we are just moving him over to disposal diapers rather than investing in another set of cloth (which would set us back around $150) until he is trained.

Yet what was really interesting is our discussion about our next kid. My wife wants to stop using the cloth diapers in the beginning for this one. At first I wasn’t sure, but she did lay out her case very well and she even gathered data on the cost of diapers at different sizes and the approximate number of chances per day. Overall it will cost more on a monthly basis, but there is a significant quality of life to be gained (mainly for my wife, since she is the one home with the kids). So I was convinced to spend the extra cash.

This got me thinking that perhaps being frugal requires a dip curve to people’s spending. At first we go down be eliminating all unnecessary spending and our wasteful habits. After a time we get used to our new spending level and then start to critically look at our spending and where we can spend more to boost our happiness/quality of life. So then the curve moves up slightly, but your spending if targeted to those things that matter most to you.

So has anyone else experienced this curve? What do you target as must have spending for happiness?

15 thoughts on “When Does Quality of Life Matter More than Being Frugal?”

  1. This type of decision happens almost every day. I have realized that there are so many times when it is worth the money to make your life easier or more enjoyble instead of saving a few bucks.

    My son is 2 weeks old and we have already realized that Pampers are far superior to Huggies, and I wouldn’t want to take the chance on private label diapers…It’s worth whatever extra is costs…although I do wish I could try Kirkland Signature diapers from Costco without having to buy 256 of them because they are much, much cheaper than Pampers..

  2. MG,

    Actually we love using the Parent’s Choice from Walmart. We also hated Huggies. We were given a pack by someone and I end up giving them away because they always seem to leak.

    Also a good idea is to get out of the Newborn size as soon as possible. Size 1 is much cheaper.

    Tim

  3. moneygardener, from what i’ve been told, the kirkland brand diapers are made by the same manufacturer as the huggies diapers. having said that, yes, pamper fits my kid much better, but they are definitely more expansive!!

    As for being too frugral. absolutely. you need to find the balance between enjoying life and saving for retirement. what good is retiring early if you live miserably?

  4. Perhaps it comes down to the intangible components versus the relative costs. A balance between our wants . We need diapers but we don’t want to handle them any longer than necessary.

  5. I agree with Four Pillars but…. I also add one factor: the environmental and socially responsible one.

    Now, the green jury’s out on which is best, cloth or disposable. There are arguments for both and I’m not up to date ont these. But I always try to do the “environmentally responsible” thing. (That sounds so pompous, but I really do!)

    Remember Kermit’s “it’s so hard being green”? He wasn’t kidding when it comes to diapers.

    Walmart? Don’t get me started!

  6. Lise,

    Ah, environment was a significant part of the debate around switching. Which is why my wife put out the idea of switching the new baby to cloth at around 18 months (we are hoping that will help with potty training).

    I don’t think there is really a debate. Cloth wins hands down by less waste going into a landfill. Our problem is our other environment choice has shot us in the foot (aka: front load washer which uses less water). You see with a top load you can just pour in the diaper pail and spin them out. Much easier to deal with. Now we have a front load the entire thing is a mess to deal with. I give my wife credit for keeping it up with the front load for the last two years.

    So my options are buy a second top load washer just for diapers (which includes cost, materials and energy to create) or switch to disposable.

    I like to be green too, but I also realize some decisions have a potentially larger impact (ie: getting a second washer).

    I hope the clears things up a bit. Let me know if you have any more questions.

    Tim

  7. Indeed, a friend tells me Toronto’s green composting bins… that makes cloth the friendlier choice now, I think. No power and water for washing, fully compostable… sounds like a winner.

  8. Comfort at a cost or laziness because others follow…. An example of a simular nature might be mining and usage of rare earth elements for electric auto motors. An American company CHOMF (DOW Jones ticker) that produces a variable torque and graduated speed electric motor. The motor propels the electric auto excellently through all power and speed ranges. Now If I said we were in a world war, would you give up your tin, rubber, gas, sugar…. If we were in a population bomb-environmental war, would you give up some comfort to help save your childrens world? Have you floks looked up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? The Gyre?
    All my neices and nephews use disposible. I live with no heat 1/2 of each year and recycle all.
    Hobby or nutt?
    ChangeItOrDrownIt

  9. Comfort at a cost or laziness because others follow…. An example of a similar nature might be mining and usage of rare earth elements for electric auto motors. An American company CHOMF (DOW Jones ticker) that produces a variable torque and graduated speed electric motor, and uses no rare earth elements. The motor propels the electric auto excellently through all power and speed ranges. Now If I said we were in a world war, would you give up your tin, rubber, gas, sugar…. If we were in a population bomb-environmental war, would you give up some comfort to help save your childrens world? Have you floks looked up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? The Gyre?
    All my neices and nephews use disposible. I live with no heat 1/2 of each year and recycle all.
    Hobby or nutt?
    ChangeItOrDrownIt

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