Monday, November 25, 2013

Must Haves for Baby

Since baby number three arrived last month, I've been thinking about all the baby things that I absolutely wouldn't live without (as well as those that I never opened).  At the top of the list is definitely some waterproof pads.  I use them for everything (changing pads, to put down on the changing table to stop pee from "traveling,").  I love using them in the crib for when my baby leaks through her diaper.  It sure beats having to change the whole sheet in the middle of the night...

Cloth diapers.  I love them.  I love that I'm not throwing my money away every 3-4 weeks on a new box of diapers and the amount of trash my family of 5 puts out to the curb every week amounts to about 1 trash bag full (yes, its true).  I've got both a set of prefolds with a snappi and they work great for the early days and they are economical.  I also have some Bumgenius 4.0's that are awesome and do double duty in our house since my 2.5 year old wears them too.  Adjustable, one-sizes are a great way to save some money.  I also like to support local businesses so check out Diaper Junction in Virginia Beach, Va.  They have some great sales on diapers throughout the year so you can save even more money.

A fan or a sound machine are also on my list of must haves.  Anything to create a bit of noise so baby is not falling asleep in pure silence.  I use a fan to create white noise in boys' room so they don't hear us bustling around downstairs and wake up.  I've got a baby sound machine that also has a projector on it that plays white noise (heartbeat, ocean waves, rain) as well as songs that I put on when I put my 6 week old down for the night.  It's like a mobile but doesn't hook onto the bed and just sits on the floor.  It also doesn't require batteries which is a good thing in my book as they are expensive and not very environmentally friendly.

A good baby carrier is a must.  I have an Ergobaby carrier that I wouldn't live without (especially since I have two older children under the age of 5 to chase around).  It's comfortable to wear and my baby loves to be in it.  It can be worn on the front or after about 6 months of age can also be worn on the back.

Those are my must-haves.  I know there are definitely other things that you need for a baby, but these are the things that I think are often forgotten or overlooked.  :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Quality Gently Used Designer Clothes for Kids (and Women!)

I love to be able to be as green as I possibly can in just about every aspect of my life.  I definitely frequent the thrift store and consignment shops in our area when I can.  It's much easier for me to do a bulk of my shopping online though.  This is where ThredUP comes in...

ThredUP is an online consignment shop that sells quality, often never used women's and kids clothes.  They pick out only the best of the best to sell from consignors who send in bags of clothes to their company in CA.  You can sell your very gently used clothes and get credit to use on the site.  I've gotten some really great things from there for my boys (and now my little girl who's due any day now...).  They carry some of the really great brands: Gap, Baby Gap, Old Navy, Janie and Jack, Gymboree, Children's Place, Loft, Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor,  J. Crew among others for less!  I've gotten some really great stuff for less than $5 that looked brand new.  I've ordered stuff before only to get it in the mail and have certain items credited back to me (they had slight flaws that were not caught before I placed my order).  I have yet to find the flaws by the way.

Anyways, I hope you check it out!  Here's a link that will get you signed up with an account (for free) and give you a $10 credit to go shopping with!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Maternity for Less

So I'm in the home stretch of my third pregnancy and while my first two pregnancies were over the winter months, I had to purchase some summer maternity wear this time around.  I had tried the resale outlets around us and had no real luck in my size and what I needed.  I hit up Old Navy as they are generally cheaper for clothing in general than some other retailers.  I couldn't believe the prices on some of their maternity stuff.  I was able to find stuff on sale in the past in their maternity section when we lived in another state but the store nearest me here had absolutely nothing on sale.  So where did this leave me?

I had a brilliant idea while standing in the middle of store.  I made a beeline for the back of the store to the clearance section and searched for shirts made of stretchy material a few sizes larger than what I would normally wear (to accommodate a growing belly).  I was able to find 4 tank tops for about $2 each after my 10% off coupon!  I'm still wearing them now at 34 weeks pregnant and they have turned out to be an awesome buy.  

Pants are a bit trickier but anything stretchy and low rise (so your belly can grow) works pretty good too.  You may have to get something in a size or two larger to fit the best and the longest during your pregnancy.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pet Food--More Convenient

So my dog doesn't eat the cheapest dog food out there....He eats Blue Buffalo, which costs a decent amount of money but I'm convinced its better for him.  I used to make a trip across town to the local Petsmart to pick up bags of this food (since I could use my Petperks card when it was on sale).  However, there's nothing really on that side of town that I need to get besides dog food.

Today I found a solution. offers free shipping on certain brands of dog food (Blue Buffalo is included.)  Not only that but I found a coupon code for $15 off a $75 purchase plus free shipping (which I was already getting...).  It made each bag $44.49 (ie. way cheaper than I've ever paid per bag even with my Petperks card in store.)

Moral: Why should I trek across town when I can get dog food delivered to my door for less than what I'd pay in-store?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Greening Your Babies

I know I've written about this before (in a more brief way) but I thought I'd write something a bit more in depth now that I'm fully committed.  Right before my second child was born I looked into using cloth diapers because a friend of mine on Facebook had mentioned they were going to do so.  I did all kinds of research and decided what we were going to use and just went for it when the diapers I bought fit my little guy (right around the month and a half mark).

My little guy is now 25 months old and we are still holding strong.  I purchased some Bumgenius 4.0's at the very start of our cloth diaper journey and they are still holding strong 2 years later!  I have maybe 20-24 diapers I use on a regular basis doing laundry every 3 days or so.  It is by far the easiest laundry I do since none of it really requires folding and I don't put the covers in the dryer.  The best part is I'm not laying out 40 dollars plus a month in diapers either!

I purchased most of our diapers on a buy 5, get 1 free promotion that Cotton Babies was running.  This promotion is currently running again if you are interested in getting some diapers.  So I saved money there and I bought some baby cloth washcloths at the dollar store for wipes which saves me on disposable wipes too.  (Might as well since I'm doing the laundry anyway).

Not only am I saving money by cloth diapering but I am helping to save the environment by placing fewer disposables in the landfills.  It really is very easy to do and the cost in the long run is proving to be far cheaper than diapers (especially since I'll be able to use these diapers on multiple children).

Interested in cloth diapering?  Check out Cotton Babies, Cloth Diaper Geek, and Jack Be Natural for great tips and information on how to get started!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Small Kitchen Appliances Worth Having

A friend of mine is getting married this summer and it got me thinking about all the "stuff" I registered for when I got married.  Some of it I've definitely used.  Others...not so much.  So I thought I'd put together a quick list of the items I use all the time and consider worth their weight in gold.

1. Rice Cooker--I use it to make quinoa and all different kinds of rice.  I recently made copycat Chipotle Cilantro Lime rice and it was awesome.  I use this all the time because I can set it and forget it.

2. Crock Pot--Great for set it and forget it meals.  I especially like making crock pot lasagna in it.  I use it at least once a week.

3. Stand Mixer--I have a Kitchen-aid one.  I use it to make icing, pizza dough, cookies, etc.  It's a multi-functional machine and you can buy all sorts of attachments for it so it does even more.

Those are the small appliances I use all the time.  I have a few other things I use a good bit (a set of reusable containers, measuring spoons and cups and kitchen utensils) but these are all things that end up on one's registry anyway.  Hope this was helpful.  :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Greening Your Dog's Poo...

Yeah, I went there...While I think its great that people are responsible pet owners and buy bags to bag their dog's poo, I do it a little differently.  I don't buy bags for dog poo, I reuse other bags around the house.  Grocery bags are ok as long as you check to be sure that there are no holes... My favorite though are bread and bagel bags.  Not only are they hole free, since the bread has to stay fresh, but they are usually very strong.  The best part is that they are free!  These are bags I was going to throw away anyway, why not reuse them?  I'm not adding to the manufacture of new bags (of which I would have to pay) and I'm being a little more green.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

My New Favorite Place to Shop

I've been a long-time admirer of Trader Joe's and their business model.  There are no Trader Joe's factories.  Their model is a lot like a small, privately owned grocery store.  A lot of their products are made by the big companies, but Trader Joe's keeps the cost of their products down (sometimes in half) by having a contract with these big companies that doesn't allow them to advertise their affiliation with making products for Trader Joe's.  This is great as a consumer because I don't have to coupon (which also costs a company money to do) to get a great deal on great food products.

They have pretty good prices on organic.   Organic at the regular supermarket is almost always outside of my budget.  I have a heart attack just looking at the $6/half pint price of organic blueberries (one of the dirty dozen veggies/fruits)!  Trader Joe's prices on some of their organic products are pretty good compared to your regular grocery store and oftentimes it looks and tastes better too.

They have a wide variety of different foods.  I love that I can get different types of peanut butter (including something called cookie butter), different kinds of gourmet type noodles, sundried tomatoes, and chia seeds, etc.  There's a lot of really healthy stuff at reasonable budget prices.  Heck, you can try something you've never had at Trader Joe's and if you don't like it for any reason, they'll take it back and refund you.  Why not try something new?

And here's another big reason I like to shop here--taste.  The stuff I buy at Trader Joe's almost always tastes better than similar products I buy at the grocery store.  I can pay the same amount for TJ's wheat crackers as I can on Meijer brand wheat crackers.  And I think TJ's taste better!

It's a little bit further for me to travel to Trader Joe's but I think I might try to do it more often out of principal of price and taste.

Wondering where some of Trader Joe's products come from?  Check out the following article:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Coupons With Minimums Equal to Your Discount

I love when I come upon a great coupon.  I'm not an extreme couponer by any stretch of the imagination (See my rant on extreme couponing here).  I do keep an eye out in my email and in my mail for great store coupons that come my way.

I recently came upon a $15 off your first order at (an online resale boutique) coupon with no minimum to spend.  I paid just shipping costs for 2 pairs of shorts and a pair of pants for my 3 year old.  The pair of pants I ordered apparently had a very small stain (I couldn't even find it for a really long time) so they gave them to me for free!  Oh and gave me a credit on my account (I didn't actually spend any money on this order so I basically got a free credit).

I got an email from Thredup the other day for free shipping, one day only.  I bought 2 pairs of shorts for my youngest and didn't pay a cent (since I used the credit from the pants).  The shorts I ordered came in the mail the other day and again, one pair must have had a stain because they refunded it as well (I have yet to find the flaw, by the way...).  I now have $4 in credit sitting in my Thredup account.  This is a major bonus because I can either cash out (and make myself $3.99 on everything I've purchased from Thredup lately) or keep it in my account and wait for another free shipping day and get more free stuff.

I also got a JCP flyer the other day.  I was surprised to find in the inside cover a $10 off your purchase of $10 or more coupon/code.  I used it to buy my son 3 pairs of pj pants for next year and had them shipping to the store (i.e. I didn't have to pay for shipping).  I got 3 pairs of brand new pj pants for $2.12.  Not too shabby....

The moral of this story is check those flyers for retailers you get in the mail or your email, you never know what kind of deal you can work out with the coupon and clearance items....

*The above is not an actual working coupon, just a nice example of a coupon with a minimum that's equal to the discount :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

For All the Students Out There

This post is for you!  My husband recently went back to school to get his PhD.  We don't have cable and I have two kids running around so often getting to the store for things other than groceries can be difficult.

We looked at getting an Amazon Prime membership but wasn't sure it was worth $79 to us at the time. However, we did find that my husband qualified for Amazon Student, which gave us a discount on Amazon Prime membership (only $39 for a of 4 years).  Half price?  It was a no brainer!

We've had Amazon Prime for a year and its been great!  We enjoy access to the instant videos on Prime which are free with our membership and free 2 day shipping.  With all the incentive groups out there (Swagbucks and E-Miles) that offer Amazon gift cards as prizes for earning "bucks" or for depositing miles, it makes it a no brainer too.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Get In Shape for Less

It's the New Year and that means resolution time!  I think its safe to say that almost everyone puts "lose weight" or some iteration thereof on their resolution list at least once in their lifetime.  So here are some tips to keep the cost low on your quest to be fit!

  • Check out workout DVD's from the library.  It's free!  No gym membership required!  My library even has some Zumba dvds.   
  • Search the web for workout videos.  You'd be surprised what you can find.  Try in addition to Youtube.  I've found some Zumba videos there...
  • Check out a membership to your local YMCA or Rec. Center.  Usually its less than $100 a year and it may include classes as well as gym and pool usage.  
  • When in Pinterest.  There are many things posted on getting in shape/losing weight on Pinterest and you may just find the blog/inspiration you've been looking for.  Here's a link to one of my boards that has some fitness stuff on it to get your started.  
Hope this helps you on your way to a slimmer/more fit YOU!  And Happy New Year!