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Posts Tagged ‘saving money’

We just got back from an awesome vacation in the United States of America. It was great, BUSY and fun! It was also our first time travelling anywhere with Buddy Bear. Let me tell you, I was stressed! But, we survived and I even learned some helpful things for when we travel next. Or maybe even when you travel next?

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of vacationing with a baby

  • Don’t put a white baby in a white shirt
    • Our little Buddy Bear is a special brand of white. We liken his skin tone to clear. As we were visiting family on our vacation, a family picture was necessary. We decided to dress him in a cute little white button-up shirt. We thought he looked rather dapper and darling. Until we saw the pictures and realized that a white baby in a white shirt does not look dapper, but um, washed out and white. VERY, VERY white. Lesson learned
  • Do use an unstuffed cloth pocket diaper as a reusable swim diaper.
    • So thrifty, so very thrifty! And if you already have pocket diapers you’re like 10 steps ahead!
  • Don’t use a cloth swim diaper the day before you fly internationally
    • Nobody wants to travel with a nasty poopy diaper in their carry on. At least I don’t! Which meant a rushed load of laundry on the morning we flew out. Which we almost left in the dryer.
  • Do bring a traveling buddy with you.
    • I cannot imagine taking a baby through an international airport, trying to make a tight connection without Mr. Man’s assistance. Actually, I lied. I CAN imagine it, and it makes me want to cry.
  • Do breastfeed if at all possible
    • Plane taking off? Breastfeeding can help! Baby need help sleeping in a new environment? Breastfeeding can help! Trying to minimize the sheer amount of baggage you’ll be hauling around? Breastfeeding can help! Need I go into more detail?
  • Do bring lots of wet wipes they’re useful for more than diaper changes
    • I’m sure you can fill in the blanks for this one.
  • Do use a cloth unstructured baby carrier
    • Hello? One little (ok, HUGE) piece of fabric can be a renegade blanket, nursing cover, extra modesty provider, as well as allowing you to carry baby hands free. Done and done!
  • Don’t try to institute new sleep habits on vacation
    • All you seasoned parents are laughing at me, I know because I can hear you all the way over here! In my innocence/naiveté I planned to teach Buddy Bear to sleep in his own bed, WHILE on vacation, WHILE in a completely new environment, WHILE losing any semblance of routine/normalcy. Yeah, that was a stupid move. We ended up sleeping on the floor the whole week because Buddy Bear did not take to my harebrained scheme. AT ALL. The worst part was we were squished next to an EMPTY queen size bed the whole time, because Buddy Bear can’t sleep on an air mattress. It still stings.
  • Don’t haul all the toys in the world
    • I fretted for weeks whether Buddy Bear would have enough things to play with while on vacation. I didn’t have to worry because he had so many cousins, aunties and Gramma’s and Grampa’s vying for his attention that he was never bored. His favourite toy when he wasplaying by himself? Banging on the coffee table.
  • Do give your baby grace & time when meeting new people
    • It would be great if Buddy Bear had leapt out of my arms to embrace his grandparents when they met us at the airport. BUT. If he had been that eager to greet, essentially strangers, I think I would have died! I don’t want him walking away with the first person that calls him by name! BUT. Within a couple days, my Buddy Bear would gladly go to his Gramma and Grampa for cuddles (when mama was around, but still). Which means that I can still sleep at night.
  • Don’t expect baby’s eating habits to be the same as at home
    • It’s vacation! No one is eating like they do at home. (Hello, all-you-can-eat-shrimp-buffett)! So if Baby is eating even a smidgen of food, I’m gonna count it as a success!
  • Have fun!
    • Its vacation, its not forever! So Baby wears clothes with food stains and eats Cheerios for 3 meals in a row. No biggie. You can worry when you get home. Now, just relax and have fun. That’s why you took a vacation, right?

 

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Smart, thrifty, baby cuddling mama/papa seeks comfortable carrier to hold baby, go lots of places, and wash easily. Preference given to carriers that are not the most expensive of the world.

Does this sound like you? Then I have a response that you’re gonna love.

You see this? This exceptionally long piece of fabric? Its gonna change your life. Not in a E-Harmony, my life is complete now, change your life. More of a baby-lugging, wallet-saving life.

Let me explain…

Required Items:

  • Very Sharp Scissors
  • Exceptionally long fabric (At least 5 yards (15 feet) though I think an extra yard would have made it easier for Mr. Man to use)
  • A friend with a discount card for fabric for extra savings(or maybe you are this person already, then nix that step)
  • A friend who has a baby in some form (or maybe  you don’t have a friend to share with, or maybe you want two carriers for yourself, or… you get the picture)
  • Instructions

I could not find the cotton knit with curling edges that the instructions suggested, mainly because I am helpless in a fabric store. BUT I did find a lightweight cotton-type material that curled on the edges (read: does not need to be hemmed). Mr. Man says it looks like the inside of his gym shorts. I said I didn’t care, because all the little holes make it way cooler than a jersey-type wrap. That’s what I said anyways, I have no proof either way. But once we bought the material we simply cut it in half lengthwise so we had two long-narrowish (about 30 inches a piece actually) pieces of fabric and we were done.

Yes, that’s it.

Ok, maybe wash it too.

Especially if your baby likes to suck on everything like mine does.

If you have 2 and a half minutes, 3 minutes if you’re a slow cutter and $20 (less if you are a better dealfinder when it comes to fabric) and you have a completely functional and super comfortable baby wrap. Perfect for schlepping that darling little one from here to there and back again. If you get a nice manly colour, then you can pawn baby off on daddy when  you are schlepping around together.

TADA!

If this is your first time using a non-structured wrap, PLEASE make sure you are tying your wrap correctly before putting baby in it. There are lots of tutorials and instructions online. You can just youtube videos of the different ‘carries’ or if you are a visual/text learner like me, I found Wrap Your Baby was excellent for a step-by-step guide for tons of different carries.

Try it, see if it works for you, love it, report back.

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I thought about it and here are my ideas on how to get a “new” maternity wardrobe without blowing your child’s education fund (you can do that later when you plan a trip to Hawaii because the crazy no-summer weather is making you….crazy).

BEG

Simple enough. Convince a good friend or sister that is roughly around your size to have a baby 9 months before you get pregnant and then beg to use her clothes. Especially if she has good taste in clothes. That’s how I dressed myself in college…a few good roomies with excellent clothes and a generous spirit. My little sis Andg and I have made this system work for us. I got pregnant with my Boo, 9 months later she was pregnant with her Buddy Bear, a year after that my second is on the way. We just pass our boxes of maternity clothes back and forth, adding a little as time goes by.

Also, I have some awesome friends who are either done with their child bearing ways or are on a break from child bearing that have offered me the use of their wardrobe. WIN! I love having good friends 🙂 Or you can mention on facebook that you need maternity clothes and do a sad smiley face 😦 maybe somebody will give you some.

BORROW

(This is totally not a maternity shirt but a cute loose flowing top that I absolutely love wearing when pregnant! And yes, I am making cupcakes. Baby likes to eat!)

From your old wardrobe. Remember that shirt you bought but never wore after a co-worker asked you how far along you were? Now is the time for that shirt to shine! And those comfy elastic waist skirts, best thing for summer. My favourite way to borrow more time out of my “pre-pregnancy” clothes is that fancy dancy why-didn’t-I-think of that Bella Band.

A stretchy bit of tube shaped fabric that you can wear over your regular pants so that you don’t have to do up the fly. I think that little number bought me 7 months of pregnancy use out of plain old clothes. Another bonus? You can wear your long t-shirts with the belly band underneath so you don’t get awkward stretch mark sightings. It also keeps that precious cargo from getting cold when your other clothes are wanting to ride up.

Yes, also borrow your husband’s clothes. Especially cozy sweaters and t-shirts. Just do it. I don’t think there is a pregnant woman alive who has never been caught in hubby’s shirt.

STEAL

But not from another preggers! There is something drastically wrong about the idea of one pregnant woman stealing clothes from another pregger. But get yourself a STEAL of a DEAL! *Ba dum ching!* Best way to do that? Let somebody else pre-wear your clothes for 9 months and then snap them up. The markdown on used maternity clothes is amazing. Especially considering the clothes are worn for maybe 18 months (usually less).

My fave way to find a sweet deal is websites like www.kijiji.ca

Some sweet lady out there has had a baby and bought herself some trendy clothes and now she doesn’t need them anymore. Oh wait! I can help you.

It’s not a fast process. You have to shop around and keep your eyes peeled for a couple months until *boom* you spot an ad and the clothes just speak to you in a pregnancy-induced hormonal way. You email her and ask what size she was pre-pregnancy and all of a sudden you have found a preggo-twin with similar taste and body shape.

You go to her house with a handful of cash, you bond over babies and bellies, coo at her little one and then low-ball her and haggle a good deal. Admit it. It has to be done!

Most kijiji clothes are pretty cheap already. Maybe $5-10 per piece. If somebody thinks their clothes are awesome they might try to scam you with $20+, just walk away. And check back in a week when they realize they can’t sell them for that. Lot deals will always give you more clothes for your moola but also run the risk of being shackled with an awkward pair of beige pleather maternity pants (seriously?)

For anywhere from $100 to $250 you can pick yourself up a whole new wardrobe that will keep you feeling cute and feminine for at least 7 out of 9 months!

That just might leave room for a few “luxury” items, favorites from a real store. But don’t buy those full price either! Always clearance. Always.

*Phew* instead of spending $1098, you spend $250.

Money saved: $848

That will go a long way towards Boo’s aspirations to be a princess.

How have you saved money on maternity clothes? Elfreda had a great idea to sew your own. I wish I could do that!

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I hate spending money on things that you throw away. Especially things that you use to wipe your baby’s bum. It kind of feels like you are wiping your baby’s bum with money. And I would never do that. Do you know where that money has been? It is probably dirtier than my baby’s bum!

Math problem: If your baby is in diapers for 2 years (I wish!) and you change 6-8 (or more!) diapers a day and each of those diapers changes require at least 1 wipe (sometimes 2 or 3 depending on the explosion quality). And maybe you are a thrifty mommy and you can find a good deal but maybe I am a lazy mommy and just go with a quick run to Wal-Mart and buy whichever wipes are the cheapest on the shelf at the moment.

 And those wipes from Wal-Mart (Pampers Soft Care baby wipes pack of 720 for $16.63) cost me 0.023 cents per wipe. By the time my sweet little (not so sweet smelling at time) Boo is ready to head off to college or has mastered independent toileting, how much money have I used to wipe her bum?And go!

I don’t know the answer yet, I am still trying to figure out how to clear the screen on my calculator. And get the 0 to stop sticking. Calculators are not toys. They are serious tools of money saving opportunities. Do not use them to distract your juice wielding toddler.

Pencils down. Can you please come to the front of the class and show your work.

 

(*shudder* the sight of that calculator reminds me of the horror of high school math….NO! I can never go back to that torture!)

730 (365 x2) days of diaper changing x 6 diapers a day = 4380 diapers (don’t think about it, just forget this number. But remember it later when you try and recall what you did for the first 2 years of your child’s life. Hint: It starts with a grunt and ends with a smell you can’t ignore)

1 wipe per diaper (give and take, a few more for the biggies and maybe none for just the pees) 4380 x 0.023 cents = (DUN DUN DUH!) $100.74

Actually that is not that bad. 100 smackeroos, you can spend that on one pair of shoes, or on a fancy haircut. That would just be one real fine date night OUT including a sitter. A quarter of my monthly grocery budget. My gas bill for the month. Or provide tools such as shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows for one village to grow food (https://donate.mcc.org/project/chad-growing-new-crops)

Never mind. Every little bit counts. There are much better uses for $100 than wiping my baby’s bum.

But I still got to wipe that cute little toosh. It’s a bad situation if I don’t.

If you are already using cloth diapers it is as simple as ummmmm simple as PB & J. But even simpler because PB & J requires at least 5 steps and bread and a trip to the grocery store and a knife or a clean finger.

Homemade wipes in 5 steps.

  1. Get a big pile of reusable wipes/cloths/old diaper inserts. I like the little newborn insert that came with our Bum Genius diapers. Too small to do any use for the big pees that happen now but just the right size (and nice and soft, absorbent microfiber material) for a thorough bum wiping. Best part. I already paid for them when we got our diapers so because this is their second re-incarnation they are free!
  2. Fill a squeeze bottle with water. Any sort of bottle will work. Empty shampoo bottle, dish soap bottle, water bottle. Anything with a flip top and is squeezable. In our neck of the woods the hospital sends all new mommies home with a “peri-bottle” meant for cleansing another bottom if you know what I mean. It looks like this. And is the perfect size and squeezie-ness for my little Boo’s bottom.
  3.   Squeeze some water (warm if you are feeling generous, room temperature if you have the bottle filled and sitting on your change table all day like we do. Same temperature as baby wipes! No baby wipe warmers at our joint.) onto your wipe/cloth/insert and wipe away. Repeat as necessary. If you have a particularly “fun” bum to wipe, you can drizzle a little baby soap on your wipe and then follow with a clean wet one.
  4. Toss the wipe in with your cloth diapers. Or save a stash and toss all the wipes in the wash separately.
  5. Think of some creative way to use that $100 you saved.

I love simple. I love not spending money.

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Do you know where copper wire comes from? From mommies pinching pennies!
Forgive me, but I still find that joke funny, no matter how many times I hear (or tell) it.

As a stay-at-home mommy,  I have been a little bit consumed with saving money, so I can continue to stay at home with Boo Bear. We all know that breakfast is an essential part of a healthy diet, (if you didn’t know this before, Breakfast is good for you! So eat it. Everyday!) For us, breakfast normally is a bowl of brand-name cereal (Life Cereal is my fav) and a cup of coffee with milk and sugar. (What do you put in your coffee?) Now the coffee is a non-negotiable, as I explained to Mr. Man when the subject of cutting coffee to save money was brought up.

I am a very growly bear before I have my coffee.
You do not want a growly bear for a wife.
The coffee stays.
End of discussion.

So what can we do to trim the budget a bit?

Where we live, the gigantic box of Cheerio’s or Life usually run between 6 and 8 dollars, depending on how good of a sale I can snag. But, with two grazing adults in our home, we can run through the gigantic box in about 10 days. No word of a lie.

Enter the Breakfast Scheme.

Instead of buying cereal which is ridiculous expensive, at about 50 cents a bowl (Yes I calculated it. I know I’m a nerd. Thanks) I spend about 15 minutes making muffins or something and spend around $1.50 for about a week of breakfasts.

Ta Da. Money saved. To the tune of $30 a month.

If you’re not worried about being healthy, then you can totally make yummy chocolate chip (or double chocolate!) muffins or other naughty breakfast things. Because you’re saving money! And with the money you save on food, you can totally afford to go to the gym.
If you want to.
Which I don’t.

So, I decided to go the healthy route and make bran muffins. I used this one from Allrecipes.

But instead of buying buttermilk, I threw 1 tbsp of lemon juice into a one-cup measuring cup and filled it up with milk and let it sit for 10 minutes with the bran. Done and done. I made mine in mini muffin form so I can have as many as I am hungry for instead of eating a whole muffin when I only needed half.
A little bonus of having mini muffins kicking around is that Mr. Man ends up munching on these while he’s playing video games instead of cookies. Double win.
What ways have you found to save money this week?

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