Thursday, October 30, 2014

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 21 - Use Your Library

Libraries are filled with tons of FREE resources!  I was able to check out loads of baby books, and some videos to gain the baby knowledge I was craving as a pregnant woman, for FREE!  They also have a wall FULL of pamphlets, including some with information about classes and resources that the Hospital and Health Department offer.  Once Howard gets a little bigger, we can check out books for him to read, as well as children's videos, and audio books.  We can also reference the pamphlet wall for fun FREE local activities for us to do as a family.  So, to save money, make sure you take advantage of all the FREE resources your library has to offer!

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 20 - Coupon for Baby Necessities

I use coupons for almost everything I buy, or at least as much as I can.  Baby necessities are no different.  When I found out I was pregnant, I waited until the 20 week sonogram, and then I started stocking up.  I shopped at CVS for diapers, since I could combine manufacturer coupons with CVS coupons, and get ECB's back for some super cheap jumbo packs.  I picked up wipes at Giant combining sales with doubled coupons.  And, I was able to pick up most of Howard's toiletry items at Target using the infamous $2/2 Up and Up Baby Items coupon.  I could get baby powder for less than a $1, baby wash for about $0.49, and diaper creams for about $1.49.  Those are AWESOME prices for those needed baby items!  Needless to say, I stocked up, saved money, and haven't had to shop for any of these items since Howard was born.  Couponing for the win!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 19 - Sign Up for Newsletters

Going along with Rewards Programs is Newsletters.  Signing up for FREE newsletters not only gets you personalized information sent right to your email, but usually also promo codes, samples, and coupons -- all of which can save you some major cash!  There are plenty of baby-related sites to sign up at, my favorite are Huggies, Pampers, The Bump, and Everyday Family.  Throughout my pregnancy I was sent information about the development of the baby, symptoms I might notice about my pregnancy, advice to help with pregnancy symptoms (like muscle aches and nausea), as well as promo codes for things like baby leggings, a nursing pillow, and plenty of good, old-fashion coupons!  Not only did signing up for newsletters bring the FREE reference material to me, in my very preggo-comfy PJ's, but it saved me money with promo codes and coupons!

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 18 - Join Rewards Programs

Even before I was pregnant I had signed up for all sorts of rewards programs, including Huggies, Pampers, and Disney.  Each program has it's own benefits.  The programs are FREE, and are easy to use.  Simply enter the codes found inside wipes and diaper packages online to earn your points.  Then you can spend your points on coupons, toys, sweepstakes entries, or a wide variety of other rewards.  Disney rewards will be great once Howard gets a little older.  You enter those online as well (from purchased Disney movies), and then they can be redeemed for more Disney movies.  All three offer free bonus points periodically online or in their newsletters, which is always nice.  I also signed up for a FREE rewards program through our insurance.  I entered the dates that I went to the doctors for my prenatal check-ups, and now I enter the dates I take Howard for his wellness visits. So far we have earned several FREE gift cards to Old Navy, as well as a free thermometer, a wheel toy that hooks to a table or high chair, and a baby dental care kit.  So join those FREE rewards programs to save money by earning FREE stuff!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 17 - Make Homemade Baby Food

Not only is making your own baby food healthy for your baby (since you control what goes into it), it can save you a TON of money.  Pictured above are some carrots and sweet potato baby foods that I made last week for Howard.  The carrots were 1-1 lb baby of organic baby carrots from ALDI that I cooked and pureed in the food processor with a little water.  They cost $0.99. As for the sweet potatoes, I purchased 1-3 lb bag from ALDI for $1.29, this made almost 18 (3-4 tbsp) meals for Howard.  If I would have bought 18 pouches of sweet potatoes at the grocery store, it would have cost me at least $18, and that's if they were on sale.  I took me almost no time at all to make the food.  I washed the potatoes after doing dishes at lunch.  Then I left the skins on, and cut the two potatoes into about 3 chunks each, as they were a little large, and covered them with water.  While I was cooking dinner, the potatoes simmered on the stove.  When dinner was ready, the potatoes were done too, so I drained them, and let them cool while we ate.  After eating dinner, but before washing dishes, I got out the food processor, and popped the taters out of their skins and into the processor bowl.  I pureed the potatoes with a little filtered water, and stuck them in labeled containers in the fridge.  Then I washed the food processor with the dinner dishes.  Since I multi-tasked, it took me only a few minutes to get 3 or 4 days worth of food ready for Howard, and it saved me a LOT of money - almost $20, which is about $1500 a year!

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 16 - Use Promo Codes

Once I found out I was pregnant I started to sign up for every newsletter/baby site I could find baby related.  So, I received a boat-load of things in the mail, including a coupon strip for things like a free nursing cover (pictured above), a carrier, baby leggings - 5 pairs for free, and a few other items.  I only had to pay shipping (about $10 or so dollars), which in my opinion was a GREAT deal!  Instead of paying the normal $40 or so for a nursing cover, which I use a LOT (like every time we are out anywhere) I paid about $10.  An AMAZING savings in my opinion, especially for something I use a ton, and probably wouldn't have bought without the deal.  So, use those promo codes to save money on things you need, or want :-)

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 15 - Use Old Socks to make Baby Leg Warmers

 had received a free promo code for baby leggings (which I ended up using, and got 5 pairs for just shipping), but before I made a purchase, I wanted to see if Howard was going to like wearing them.  I had a pair of socks that had a huge hole in the bottom that was un-mendable, so I cut that part off, and tried them on Howard.  They were amazing!  He liked having his legs warm, and I LOVED the fact that I didn't have to take his pants off and then put them back on with every diaper change!  This picture is before I hand stitched a piece of elastic in the bottom, and put a small stitch in the top to make them fit his leg better.  The ones I bought online are nicer, but for FREE, I can't complain, and they work just as well.

Monday, October 20, 2014

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 14 - Take Items from the Hospital

When you leave the hospital, take as much as you can, since you/your insurance have probably already paid for it.  When we left the hospital with Howard, we were specifically told to take everything they provided for him, including diapers, wipes, an aspirator, hats, and a wash pan.  We needed to leave the shirts and blankets.  I was also told to take as many pads as I wanted.  Since I had a c-section, they had given me special cottony wipes to lay on the area to keep it dry.  I asked for some to take home, and they gave me an entire package!  Also, since I was breastfeeding, I was provided with bottles, nipples, syringes, breast shields for the pump, and lanolin.  All of which I was told to take home with me, in addition to three extra tubes of lanolin that I requested.  Since we have fairly good insurance, I paid for none of this, and it saved us a lot of money, and probably at least one trip to the store. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 13 - Save Baby Extras

Save baby extras to save money!  Every time you purchase medicine for your child, you receive a new washable dispenser.  Save a few.  You never know when you might need one.  We like to keep one in the house and one or two in the diaper bag so we always have a clean one at the ready.  Also, if you lose one, you have a spare, instead of having to actually buy one.  So save some extras, to save money!

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 12 - Take Advantage of Freebies

Joe and I were walking around a festival with Howard in his baby k'tan, and a woman approached us and wanted to give us a nap sack full of baby goodies, for FREE! We gladly accepted.  When we got home and we opened it up, it was filled with all kinds of goodies that we could use, including a pacifier, a pacifier holder, wipes, a blanket, a wash cloth, a towel, a sippy cup, a suction bulb, a travel toiletry set, and a really cute little thermometer.  There was also literature about the effects of drinking and smoking while pregnant, which I'm sure was the purpose of the whole thing, but it was still really nice for her to give us one, and we definitely appreciate the freebies!  So, to save money, accept freebies, you never know what you might get.
*contains an affiliate link

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 11 - Make do with what you have

I looked every where to find an old mobile that I could rip the old critters off of and create a beautiful shooting stars mobile out of.  No dice!  So, I used the arc-shaped vine one that came with our pack and play and hung 2 monkeys off of it.  It's not stars, but it sure keeps Howard's attention.  So, when you can't find what you want for the price you are willing to pay, try to make do with what you have.

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 10 - Buy Toys Used

 Howard only has a handful of new toys, all bought by the grandparents.  Every toy we've bought him has been used.  In great shape, and easily sterilized, but used.  Kids don't need a lot of toys, and they definitely don't need them to be new.  Howard's favorite toy right now is the stacking rings pictured above.  They cost me 75 cents and a little time to soak them in bleach water, and he LOVES them!  I can't wait until he can play with the $2 blocks, $1 puzzle, and 50 cent little people pictured below.  So, save yourself a LOT of money, and buy your kids used (in good condition and easily cleaned) toys!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Weekly Spending Report: 10/05-11-2014

This week we did some major stocking up at Giant and ALDI.  Lots of good deals, and healthy items!  Here's what we ended up with...
  • Tuesday's CVS Trip: $11.71 oop, Earned $6 ECB's
  • Tuesday's Giant Trip: $36.47 oop
  • Tuesday's ALDI Trip: $24.05 oop
  • Tuesday's Staples Trip (just 1 ream paper): $2.97 oop, Earned $2.80 Easy Rebate
Total OOP: $75.20
Total Earned: $8.80
Total Remaining for October: $159.48

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekly Spending Report: 09/28-10/04/2014

This week we didn't need a whole lot, so I just picked up the couple things we did, and spent my money on some deals at CVS and ALDI.  Here's what we ended up with...
  • Monday's Giant Trip (just 2 boxes of Tea Bags): $2.50 oop
  • Wednesday's Giant Trip (just Chips and marked down bread): $3.49 oop
  • Wednesday's CVS Trip: $32.91 oop, Earned $5 ECB's
  • Wednesday's ALDI Trip: $26.42 oop
Total OOP: $65.32
Total Earned: $15
Total Remaining for October: $234.68

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 9 - Stock-pile Baby Food

Do NOT go clear shelves of baby food, and stock years worth in bins in your basement!  Just buy what you think you'll need (on sale and with coupons), or a little more or less.  If you end up with a few extras of something your baby hates, you can always donate it to someone who needs it.  If your baby loves something you only have 3 jars of.  You can always buy more, you've still saved money by buying what you did ahead of time on sale and with a coupon.  I plan to make most of Howard's baby food, but I wanted the convenience of ready-made organic baby food for when we were out running errands or going out for dinner.  So, after he was born, I knew he'd be six month in October, which is when most breast-fed babies begin baby food.  So I started shopping for free or cheap baby food utilizing sales and coupons, and being careful to check expiration dates, so I knew the food would get eaten and not wasted.  I probably have a dozen or so pouches/jars of various types of organic baby food that I paid no more than $0.50 for, most were free or a quarter.  I continue to shop sales and use coupons to acquire more baby food, since we run errands once a week, I know I'll use at least one pouch/jar a week.  This has saved me a boat-load of money, since most pouches are about $2.30 ea, and I've only paid about a quarter a piece -- that's a 89% savings!
So, follow the sales, and use coupons to buy-ahead on your baby's food, and save money!

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 8 - Re-use Containers for Baby Cereal On-the-go

When we started feeding Howard cereal, I hadn't bought the nice baby bowls with the lids yet.  We had been at home, so it didn't matter, I just mixed his cereal up in a regular bowl, and fed him with a baby spoon (which I had bought).  So, the first day we went out to run errands during his lunch time, I knew I'd have to feed him cereal in a restaurant.  Enter the butter dish.  I save butter dishes mostly to send leftovers home when we have company for dinner, that way I don't have to worry about them being returned.  But, as I surveyed my cupboards for a cereal carrying vessel, they seemed perfect.  They would...
  1. Easily hold 3 tablespoons of cereal.
  2. Allow me to mix the cereal and feed Howard all with 1 container.
  3. I could pitch/recycle it at the restaurant and not have to bring it home to be washed (unless I wanted to).  And thus not have to worry about it leaking all over the diaper bag.  
And best of all, it was FREE!

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 7 - Save Your Baby Items for the Next One

If you plan to have more than one child, or even if you think you might, SAVE your baby items.  Now, obviously you don't need to save everything, but definitely save the items you used, and the outfits you find adorable!  My guideline is, if I used it, or I loved it, I keep it.  If I used it because I had to, but I hated it, I donated it.  Easy as that!  By re-using your baby items (not just clothing, but swings, car seats, carriers, bumbos, you name it), you are getting twice the mileage out of each item you purchased or even better, were given.  Think about how much the items you used for your first baby cost, that's about how much you would have to spend on each child you had if you bought all new things.  That's a HUGE savings, and all you have to do is store them in a corner of your attic/basement/guest room closet.  Totally worth it in my opinion, and that's saying something, since I'm a Type-A, OCD, Clutter-phobe ;-)
So, save your baby stuff and reuse it to save some MAJOR moo-lah!

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 6 - Buy Ahead on Clothes

Shop at the thrift stores, consignment stores, yard sales, and clearance racks around you.  Buy at least two sizes ahead, and store them until you need them.  Babies will always need onsies, pants, and sleepers, no matter what the season.  We would sometimes put Howard in a long sleeve onsie during the day and a fuzzy sleeper at night, in AUGUST because the air conditioning made it too cold for him to be in anything less.  Also, it's pretty easy to gauge two sizes ahead if you want to buy things like swim trunks and shorts.  I try to have a couple of each item listed below, and then we are ready regardless of the season.  My goal price is $0.50- $1 per item, with sometimes spending a little more on things like winter coats and heavy sweat shirts. 
Items to consider:
  • Short Sleeve Onsies/Pull-over Shirts
  • Long Sleeve Onsies/Pull-over Shirts
  • Jeans/Khakis/Sweat Pants (we use sweats at home, and a pair of jeans for going out)
  • Shorts
  • Cotton Sleepers
  • Fuzzy Sleepers
  • Sweat Shirts/Sweaters
  • Rain Jacket/Heavy Coat
  • Dresses/Jumpers (for the ladies)
  • Overalls (optional, but super cute!)
  • Swim Trunks (also optional)
  • Socks
  • Bibs
I've been able to buy all of these things used at my goal prices, mostly from yard sales, Good Will, and the Community Aid thrift store.  Some things with the tags still on them!  I did have to purchase some new bibs, but that's because I couldn't find enough nice ones used.  Howard is in 6 months clothes, and he is set on clothing up through 18 months for the most part.
 So buy ahead, and save money!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 5 - Accept ALL Hand-me-downs

You should accept all the hand-me-downs you can get, they're FREE!  Even if you end up with things that you don't need, you can always pick out what you do, and pass on the other unneeded items to someone you know who could use them, or to Good Will.  When I found out I was pregnant, and started telling people, a LOT of people wanted to give me boxes and bags of stuff to 'clean out' their attic/garage/etc.  It was a win-win situation, I got to go through FREE stuff and pick out cute things for my baby, and they got rid of stuff that was cluttering up their attic and garage.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 4 - Stock-up on Wipes

Joe and I decided that for convenience we were going to cloth diaper at home, but use disposables while we were out and about.  Since we were using disposable diapers out, I knew I'd need wipes too.  We've already discussed stock-piling diapers, but don't forget about the wipes too!  I've been able to get name brand Pampers and Huggies wipes for $0.99 a tub/pkg (or less) at Giant.  When they go on sale, I buy as many as I have coupons for, and bring them home and stack them up until we need them.  Don't worry about them going dry, you will go through them a LOT faster than you think you will.  Most poopy diapers are not a 1 wipe job, some take 2 or 3, and blow-outs take even more.  Plus wipes are handy to clean hands and faces, especially when you start baby food.  So, do yourself a favor, and stock-pile wipes when they are on sale, and you have coupons.  Not only will you get the best price, but you'll have them on hand when you need them!

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 3 - Use Baby Wash Rags as Cloth Wipes

We were given two baby showers before Howard was born, and both yielded a large quantity of baby wash cloths.  Now, I will say that since we have started rice cereal we use a lot more than we had for the past 5 1/2 months, but still no where near the amount that we have.  We have also been cloth diapering, so it made sense to use cloth wipes as well.  I could wash them with the diapers, since they take up almost no room at all in the machine.  I had saved my Peri bottle from the hospital, and filled it with water and a little baby soap, gave it a shake.  I store it next to our diapers and changing pad, along with a basket full of baby wash rags.  When it comes time to change a diaper, I just wet a wash rag with the soap/water mixture, and I'm ready to go.  You can also use receiving blankets cut into squares, or purchase some really cute ones online, but I highly suggest you give it a try.  Not only is this saving me money, but I have noticed a decrease in diaper rash as well.

Monday, October 6, 2014

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 2 - Use Cloth Diapers

I did a LOT of research on cloth diapers, in regards to the different types, styles, and brands.  And then, I reviewed the budget, and bought the kind I thought was best, but that we could actually afford.  I was given a $50 Amazon gift card as a shower gift, received free shipping because my order was over $35, and used gift cards earned through Swag Bucks for the remaining cost.  I worked out beautifully!  Even though they ship from China, I went with the AIO 12 diapers with 12 inserts combo.  They are amazing - fit great, no leaks, easy to wash, and dry!  I do diaper laundry every day and a half, so 12 with the occasional disposable is perfect for us.  It a great way to save money, even if I would have had to pay cash, it was less than $60 for 12 diaper covers and inserts.  We don't pay for water and electric where we live, so we are really saving.  But even if you did there have been many comparisons made that prove that cloth diapering can save you a bunch of cash!
*Contains affiliate links

Thursday, October 2, 2014

31 Days of Baby Saving Tips: Day 1 - Stock-pile Diapers

 One thing babies need a LOT of is diapers.  If you choose to use disposables, you will go through hundreds of them before your child is potty trained.  I knew that I wanted to cloth diaper when I got pregnant, but I also knew that I wanted to have disposables on hand for when we were out and about so I wouldn't have to drag dirty diapers around and back home to be washed.  We were given some diapers as shower gifts, but 90% of the other diapers we have used or have stock-piled came from CVS.  They run the best promotions!  The sale price of $8.99 per jumbo pk is the same as every where else (Giant, Rite-Aid, etc), but they have the added savings of ECB's, CVS store coupons, with manufacturer coupons.  I've been able to stock-pile hundreds of diapers for just pennies.  Usually the deal is buy $25 or $30 and receive $5 or $10 ECB's or CVS gift card.  I can also use a $4 or $5 off $20 or $30 purchase CVS coupon, plus manufacturer coupons, and use ECB's from previous purchases to pay.  Then after you pay, you receive $5 or $10 ECB's/gift card for the next time.  Stock-piling diapers by using sales, coupons, store coupons, and promotions, will save you a boat-load of moo-lah!