September 30, 2013

An Adventure in Cloth Diapering: Resources

This is my extensive list of cloth diapers resources! 

Where to Start
Cloth Diapering 101 Videos
If you saw the first post of my cloth diapering mini-series, then you know already that I recommend watching all 8 Cloth Diapering 101 videos (I discuss it at the bottom under the 'Start Here' section). They are excellent in providing you with information on many different cloth diapering topics, from types of diapers to how many you'll need. 


My Cloth Diaper Pinterest board has a ton resources that I've compiled! From leaking, to DIY wool dryer balls to a list of CD (cloth diaper) safe diaper creams! (If you're not familiar with Pinterest, all you do to follow the link is click the picture, it'll bring you to the Pin, then click the picture again and it'll bring you to the specific pin site where you'll see all the details/instructions for that Pin!)

Where to Purchase cloth diapers & accessories online or in a store
Kelly's Closet *Best online place to purchase*
If you read my post on how to save $ as a stay at home mom, you know I love Kelly's Closet. They run coupons all the time to earn free diapers if your purchase meets a certain amount, you can earn points for the items you purchase and use those points for future items, you can try their cloth diapers risk free for 30 days (return them even used if not satisfied), and it's small family business! I love supporting mom-n-pop shops, especially ones that run great coupon deals :o)


Comparable to Kelly's Closet in that they sell everything cloth diaper related. They don't run coupons like Kelly's Closet, so I don't purchase from them. Lots of people I know do, and have had good experiences.
Buy Buy Baby *Best place to purchase in a store*
If you didn't read the section 'Building my Stash' from the first cloth diapering post, do so! I share in detail why I love BBB! If I want brand new diapers, I will make a trip to my local Buy Buy Baby (which is inside of a Bed Bath and Beyond) to take advantage of their $5 off of $15 purchase. Brand new BumGenius diapers for $13!

Will you save money?
Yes you can! Many cloth diapering mama's become VERY addicted and spend tons of money on a diaper stash of over 50+ diapers for just one baby, and accumulate a variety of accessories that they don't end up using. I must say I've gotten the bug and look at cloth swap groups on Facebook ALL the time, but my stash is under control at about 30 cloth diapers. Just make sure you don't go overboard.

If you watch Lesson #3 on Naturally Thrifty Mom's Cloth 101 diaper series, she explains in details the cost comparison between the different types of cloth diapers and disposables.

Also, Diaper Pin has an online calculator that adds in the cost of energy used for cloth diapering. To help save even more, when you're doing laundry, don't do a lot of little loads. Do one or two big loads since you'll use the same amount of energy to run a small load vs a large load.
Facebook Swaps, Chats and Compendiums
These groups are great to join to purchase second hand dipes and CD related accessories and ask questions. Make sure to read each groups rules and files so that you know how they want their group run.
Cloth Diaper Swap
Cloth Diaper Swap II
Cloth Diaper Chat (only for questions, no B/T/S (buying/trading/selling)
bumGenius B/T/S & Swap Group
Buy/Sell/Trade bumGenius
bumGenius Buy Sell Trade and Chat
Crunchy Mama B/S/T
The Cloth Diaper Asylum (They are a great group for debunking CD myths. Read all their files first! They have LOTS! Bleaching, washing, prepping new CDs etc.)
*I have many BumGenius links because I was looking for mainly BG 4.0s when I started my stash. I like other diapers too, like Fuzzibunz.

If I come across more CD resources, I'll be sure to add them to my Pinterest board, or if they're REALLY good, I'll add them here! :o) 

I hope this list of resources helps you out! The more fluffy butted babies out there, the better! :o)

Next up in my cloth diaper mini-series: Stash and Supplies!

September 25, 2013

An Adventure in Cloth Diapering: The beginning

If you are thinking about cloth diapering, I highly suggest it, especially if you are a stay at home mom or dad! This is my story on how I came to cloth diapering, how I got started, the resources I used, my cloth diaper stash, my wash routine, and other related cloth diapering details. On with my mini-series of my adventure in cloth diapering!

In the beginning, there were G's
In an effort to help us save more money since I am a newly stay at home mom, we started cloth diapering. How exciting! Weird to be excited about cloth diapering? Maybe, and I never thought I would be, but motherhood/parenthood is life changing and your perspective on many things change.

We were using G Diapers before cloth, which is already a hybrid diaper: part cloth, part disposable (I talk more about them here). We really liked our sized (s, m, l, xl) G Diapers because we knew that we were doing our part by helping reduce the waste in landfills by using the biodegradable inserts. (I know, I know, I'm a semi-crunchy mama, but when you learn that it takes ONE disposable diaper on average of 500 YEARS to's just not worth it, especially since you hope that your kids will grow to procreate. Don't you want them to have a nice, beautiful world that doesn't have a landfill every other mile? On with it!-->) G diapers worked out great for daycare and it was easy to learn. We were good to go.

Unfortunately the inserts were costing us just as much as disposable diapers, so we decided to make a change, especially since we were already half way to cloth diapering.  

Making the switch
I took the plunge and purchased a few second hand cloth diapers from a Facebook cloth swap group, and learned that it wasn't all that much more work! I know you might be thinking that using second hand diapers is, well, gross. BUT, I made sure they were all in EUC (excellent used condition), meaning no stains, the elastic was in great condition, minimal wear etc. I also washed them in a load with bleach, which basically sanitizes them, before I put them on Christian.

Love at first change
I fell in love with researching all things cloth diapers and accessories (like a diaper sprayer), collecting different colors, and perfecting the art of cloth diapering! :o) 

Once I started Christian in cloth diapering, I found how I liked to work with cloth diapers best, hence I was perfecting my craft. For instance I found I do not like to dunk and swish my diapers in the toilet. Many people like this option since it's quick and easy and no purchases necessary (except maybe some big kitchen rubber gloves). I just didn't like it, so I'll be trying out a diaper sprayer. That's yet to come still!

Building a stash
Since I started out with three second hand BumGenius pocket cloth diapers and liked it, I decided to get more. I purchased more second hand diapers off of different cloth swap groups, as well as purchased my first BRAND NEW cloth diaper. *Exciting!* It was glorious being able to walk into a store and look at all the lovely different kinds of diapers and styles and pick out the one you wanted (considering I had been limited to what people were selling). I knew if I was going to do this I'd need at least 24 diapers (this is the recommended number since newborn changes will be more frequent). I still do not have that many, but my stash is slowly growing.

I learned that Buy Buy Baby sells BumGenius diapers and inserts, and that if you save their coupons it cuts down on the cost A LOT! A regular BG (BumGenius) pocket diaper runs for $18. I know... expensive. If you save their $5 off of $15 purchase coupon though, it brings it down to $13! For $13, you'll get the diaper and 2 inserts (a regular adjustable insert with snaps, and a newborn insert). Many people often sell their second hand diapers for around $13, so this is a good deal! Plus, since Buy Buy Baby is owned by Bed, Bath and Beyond, you can use their coupons as well to get 10% or 20% off an item, depending on which coupons you can get your hands on. Start to ask your family to hold on to their coupons they receive in the mail for you, if they will not use them! 

In the beginning it was very confusing learning the different styles, brands, websites, types of diapers etc. But once I was on cloth diapering websites for a few days, I had it down. I did have to get used to the cloth diapering acronyms, but the swap groups helped with that by having a list and their meanings. I'll soon post about the resources I used, and it will have an extensive list of all of these different things! 

TIP: As in learning anything new, it takes time. Do not frustrate yourself or let yourself feel overwhelmed. Learn a little bit each day, and go from there! Have fun with it! 

Start here
First, I watched Naturally Thrifty Mom's: Cloth Diapering 101 videos before making any purchases. These videos will give you MOST of the information you'll need to start with, plus a great understanding of the basics of cloth diapering. I also knew after watching her videos, what type of diaper I'd want to try first (pocket diapers). Her first video I have below, but the others you can find by clicking the cloth diapering 101 link above. 

She has 9 videos in her series: 
  1. Intro: >2 minutes. She describes what and how she'll be shooting her vids.
  2. Lesson 1: (12:22) Cloth diapering styles (from watching her and the diapers, you might be able to choose which you'd like to start with!)
  3. Lesson 1, part 2: (8:39) Finishes up lesson 1 with the different options of cloth diapers available (also hits on the material used).
  4. Lesson 2: (6:24) How many diapers do you need?
  5. Lesson 3: (18:45) Cost comparisons of cloth diapers (talks about how much you can save with using cloth diapers! Hundreds! She gives actual numbers and prices.)
  6. Lesson 4: (7:42) Snaps vs Velcro closures
  7. Lesson 5: (7:45) Cloth wipes
  8. Lesson 6: (9:15) What you need to start cloth diapering 
  9. Lesson 7: (5:27) How to lanolize wool covers

Watching these videos will definitely get you started. Next part: Resources!

September 23, 2013

Baby Favorites: 9-12 months

These are my favorite items for baby C, for 9-12 months!
1. Chicco Hook On Chair
This was another great item I was able to find for cheap at a garage sale ($6!). This summer I have found so many, as you might know from reading my other baby favorites.
I liked to use this chair at our table once Christian was able to sit up on his own pretty well. We still use his space saver high chair every once and awhile, but this one stays attached to the table. Once he's over the 30lbs limit, we'll probably go back to the high chair. This one is nice because it easily folds up into a travel bag and hardly takes up space.
2. Nuby Sippy Cup
I really like these specific sippy cups for many reasons. These sippys have a straw that C can easily use, probably because he is a breast fed baby, and the straw is actually in the shape of a straw (not a long oval shape like other cups). These are easy to because of their raised ridges and skinny middle, and they are leak proof!
3. Touch and Feel books
Christian LOVES touch and feel books! He loves opening the bright colored pages, and feeling the patches of material or fuzz. We like the Bright Baby brand because they are, well... bright! They also have many sorts of books series like animals, shapes, colors, trucks etc.
4. Dohm (White Noise) Sound Machine
We really like this sound machine because it makes the white noise of rushing air. You can adjust this machine many different ways to get different tones and volume since the top ring and side panel swivel. This causes the air holes to close/open or get bigger/smaller. There are also two speeds, high and low. My friend who turned me on to this machine, said she uses the lower setting at night (since babies sleep more soundly at night) and uses the higher speed for naps. Good idea! 

This was a great machine to switch to since we were using a fan. Winter is coming and I don't want to have C's room chillier, so this was a great alternative. Plus, you can find this machine at Buy Buy Baby/Bed, Bath and Beyond, and use a 20% off coupon!! 

Also note: This is the WHITE NOISE machine, not to be confused with this sound conditioner machine that they also sell. Even though there isn't a huge difference between the two, the white noise machine creates the exact white noise sound, while the other machines pitch is VERRRY similar but slightly different. (Apparently "white noise" is a specific tone and sound. I couldn't tell the difference at all.) The other difference between the two is that the sound conditioner has a vibrating foam dampening pad on the bottom... mine does not. 
If you're at the store:
White noise machine= white box
Sound conditioner machine = pink/blue box
5. Baby Legos
We love baby legos! They are nice and large and great for stacking. C also loves to bang these around in containers or mouth them. I think he likes the hard little edges. They are also bright and colorful. We stack them all together to build a large blob of towering legos, and C loves to destruct it!
6. Summer Infant Sure and Secure Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate
We really like this gate because it a pressure mounted gate. We didn't want to have to drill any more holes into our walls unless absolutely necessary. Since we don't have stairs, this is perfect. But if we do ever move and want to put this at the top or bottom of stairs we could since it also comes with the feature of hardware mounting. I like that it's extra tall so it helps keep mister in even more, plus the dog. The best features about this gate is that the door can swing BOTH ways, and it auto-shuts!
7. Umbrella Stroller
We love our little umbrella stroller because it is so quick, easy and light. We got this one from Babies R Us for a good enough price. I liked the fact that it can lock together with a little red latch, it has a handle so that when it's folded you can carry it horizontally, it comes with an adjustable shade, AND it has a mesh holding bag attached to the back which is great for keys, phone, doggy bags, snack cups etc.
8. Snack Catchers
I used to see all the kids have these snack catchers, and I wondered why before I had C. Now I know how great they are! C is at the age where he wants to be independent and I love it! He wants to do things himself, so for snacks I let him. I fill up one of these cups with a snack and he can pull them out by himself. The snack stay contained even though it has a flexy lid. The bendable tops allow for kids to put their hands in and out but keeps the food in too.
9. Simplehuman Step Trash Can- Stainless Steel
I'm very glad that we invested in this stainless steel trash can. It really does keep the smell in without it permeating the trash can since it's steel! It has a convenient step pedal and the lid has an awesome silent close feature.... none of that awful smacking of a steel lid clanging.

10 month old Christian :o)
Next up... Toddler Favorites: 12-15 months! Also check out my Mommy Favorites!

September 20, 2013

A Realistic Motherhood Movement: 4th Trimester Bodies Project

If you haven't heard about the 4th Trimester Bodies Project, then listen up! 

This is a realistic motherhood movement that's coming your way! Photographer Ashlee Wells Jackson is dedicated to normalizing breastfeeding and projecting a realistic image of mothers and their bodies through her photo documentary, the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. 

It's on the rise and getting notice! This coming Monday, September 23rd, Ashlee will be on The Today Show at 9am CST! Set your DVR's! 

4th Trimester Bodies Project is going on the road too! The only scheduled cities are: Philadelphia, Portland, Los Angeles and Kansas City, but they are adding more! Check out dates and more info on their travelings here

Even though the 4th Trimester Bodies Project is offering the world a tasteful, real look at women and motherhood, they are being banned from Facebook and Instagram! They are in no way violating Facebook's photo policies, and Instagram just deleted their account without notice. For more details and to help put a stop to this censoring, sign their petition at change (dot) org. You can visit them and get updates through their Facebook page too.

Tasteful, real images of motherhood and breastfeeding should not be banned or treated as if we mothers are doing something embarrassing, shameful, or lewd. If we are all honest, we have seen more skin than these photos at the beach, bar, or even street corner.

We need to bring ourselves back to our roots and embrace the essence of the culture we once were! Motherhood and breastfeeding are as natural as breathing air or eating, and it's very sad and unfortunate that we have to remind our society that it is so. How do you think we all got this far anyway?! :o)

Mommy Favorites

These are my Mommy Favorites that have gotten me through motherhood so far!!

1. Bella Materna
Since I am larger chested, I couldn't just go to TJ Maxx, Target or even Motherhood Maternity to pick out a bra. I thought I could just get away with going up in band size which increased the cup size a little bit each time, but I was very wrong. I went a full 10 months wearing completely the wrong size. After 10 months, I threw in the towel and thought "Since I'm having more kids, I need a nursing bra that fits! I don't care how expensive they are!" 

Bella Materna bras not only have my correct size (which after taking my own measurements, I had to go down a band size and up 2 cups sizes!), but they are also comfortable and come with some cool features. First, I love that although expensive, all of their bras come with bra extenders allowing you to wear them while pregnant and through nursing. After you are through with nursing, the bras come with little connecting rings to change your bra to a regular bra, if you choose.

They come in underwire, wire free, night time use etc. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't find my unicorn of a bra with this brand. (I swear I'm not looking for something that's so unreasonable! I just want a bra that a) comes in my size with under wire b) has foam cups for modesty and d) has FULL coverage so there's no spillage). Although I couldn't find this with Bella Materna, I did like some others that they had. 

*If you see anything that comes even remotely close to my unicorn bra, let me know!!*  

Larger sized bras (anything over a DD cup) are hard to find. Stores don't really carry them, and shopping online is a HUGE pain because you can't try anything on. But Bella Materna's customer service was spectacular! They worked with me over the phone many times on how I could get bras shipped to me to try on and then shipped back free of charge. They really do put their customers first!
2. Tervis cup
Being a mom on the go, I need a sturdy cup that'll fit most cup holders, plus one that'll keep my beverage hot or cold, especially since I end up forgetting about them quite often. Tervis cups do not get condensation on the outside of the due to its double cup layers. It's great not having to worry about it dripping or slipping with a baby in tow. You can find these at Bed Bath and Beyond cheaper than any where since you can use their 20% off coupons on both the cup and lids (which are sold separately, boo). Another plus though is that they are dishwasher and microwave safe!!
3. Udder Cover
The best thing about this cover is that it was free! They run promo codes all the time to get a free cover and all you pay is shipping. This cover comes in handy when nursing in public. It has a flexible top that allows the cover to arch so you can see baby, but that also makes it handy for people behind you to sneak a peek. :o/ In an effort to avoid that though you can just keep the top loose, and fold it down so there is no gap. I've also seen the shawl type covers and thought it'd be neat to try those, but wondered how well they would work, especially in the summer when it'd be pretty hot.
4. Blogger 
Ever since staying home, I love that I have the time to blog. I do have to plan and schedule things out to make sure I have the time, but it's worth it! I usually blog during nap times and/or after C's bedtime. It's a great way for me to have an outlet outside of baby world, as well as help keep my interests and loves at the top of my priorities. It's fairly easy, free and there's no pressure to impress (especially at my level when there aren't thousands of readers) :o)
5. Total Baby App
This app has been a life saver! Although it costs $5, it paid for itself the first day I used it! It's an amazing app that tracks EVERYTHING: diapers (pee, poo), feedings (nursing and which side, bottle feeding, juice etc.), pumpings, milk storage (plus expiration times), bath times, nap times, medicines, growth charts, doctor appointments, vaccines, timers for when to feed and change them, and so much more! 

What I use daily with this app, are mainly the timers. I time C's naps and I keep track of his diaper changes and feedings. I'm horrible at remembering when I fed him last, and my timer will ding at the set time lapse that I set. I also love looking at the growth charts. I'll plug in his data when we're at the doctors office and I'll be able to see how much progress he has made. Check it out, it's great!!
6. Glamourmom Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top
I love this tank top because it's a full coverage top, and it's long! There's nothing worse when you're nursing, and your breasts are already larger than normal, to be wearing a tank top that will show major cleavage. It's just wrong for anyone, including women with smaller chests. NO ONE needs to see side or in between boob. This top I do not mind wearing outside of the house and it's very comfortable. Since I'm larger on top, I wanted something that I didn't need to wear a bra underneath. This top lets me do just that. It's supportive enough (I'm not going to be doing jumping jacks or anything) and I like that it has an adjustable band. They also sell these tanks on Amazon. The only downer is that if you purchase a white tank, the top fabric is just see through enough that you can tell there are holes cut out on the underneath layer. If you wear breast pads, they seem to help cover it pretty well. I also used the sizing chart on Glamourmom's site, and it fits great.
7. The First Years Breastflow Milk Storage Organizer 
I really liked having this milk storage organizer while I was a WAHM (work at home mom). I was able to put my pumped milk bags into this organizer, and it would squeeze them flat while standing up right! After they were frozen, I could then switch them to ziploc bags labeled with their expiration date. It took up less room in my small freezer and it helped keep things very organized! For only $14 it was a good investment.

8. KellyMom I really love this website because it's SO informative. I'd use its search engine all the time to find out pretty much anything concerning breastfeeding such as which medicines can I take if I have a cold, what to do about a fast let down, when to start solids and how, how to encourage good breastfeeding manners etc. Another thing I love about this awesome resource is that they also have a Facebook support group where you can ask questions, and other mother's can respond! They also have a pregnancy support group.
9. First Frame
This was a great site that allows you to customize your own baby frame! You can choose between different fonts, clip art and add up to 200 characters to the top and bottom portion of the frame. I created a simple baby collage of C from the hospital to put in my frame. It came out great, and I plan to use this site for future kids!
10. Crawford-Lehigh RC40 40-Feet Retractable Clothesline
This clothes line has come in real handy even though we live in a condo! We set ours up between our two patio banisters, and even though it's a small space to line dry items, it still works! I purchased the 40ft. line instead of the 8ft or even 20ft. because I know that we will not always live in the same place, and when it comes time to line dry at a new, bigger house, I'll be ready! I love that this clothes line is retractable and easy to set up. The unit it pretty large, but that doesn't bother me. I have yet to buy a set of laundry pins, but I plan on purchasing these in the future since I've heard great things. When drying my items, I either drape them over the line, or thread the clothes line through a sleeve, pant leg etc.
Ahhh, swimming lesson season :o)
Check out my baby favorites: 0-3months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, and 9-12 months

What other kind of mommy things would you like to see?

September 18, 2013

Quilting: Variation 9 Patch Block

For this variation 9 patch quilting block, I used the same fabric choices as the 9-Patch block (left).

*Makes 2 total blocks* 

Strip sets of each:
Light color- cut one 1 1/2" x 22" strip (these are small! they are those itty-bitty patches!)
Dark color- cut one 1 1/2" x 22" strip

1. Sew the light and dark strips together.
2. Cut your now sewn strip into 16- 1 1/2" segments.
3. Arrange the segments into 8- 2 1/2" squares (these are the corner squares that have 4 small squares in one box. see above.)
4. Cut 8- 2 1/2" squares from your Light color and one 2 1/2" square from your dark color. In the picture above, these are the large single light colored squares in the block.
5. Arrange small squares into rows: 
  • Top row and bottom row: 2 small 4 patch squares, separated by a large light colored square. 
  • Middle row: 2 large light colored square separated by a large dark square.
For instance, take the red row below. You will take the three small squares and sew them together as shown, down the dotted line. Then you'll sew the green row and then the blue row the same. 
6. Sew each strip row by row, like the 9-Patch block. Sew the red strip to the green strip, then sew the green strip to the blue strip. Done!

*Pay close attention to how you place your small squares in the rows! In my block, the small dark squares lead into the middle.
*Make sure the seams butt up together so that the they line up for a nice meeting of corners. 

Since I'm a beginner quilter, I found this block a little more difficult. There are lots of squares of varying sizes, and my corners didn't always want to meet up perfectly. Oh well! 

Happy quilting!

September 16, 2013

How to Save $$$$ as a SAHM (stay at home mom)

20+ ways to save $!

1. You need to be able to plan some what. Listed below are many ideas on how to save money being a SAHM, but being able to plan (as well as being patient, which I'm not good at), is very helpful. Having the patience and planning for sales using specific strategies etc. will help save you $ in the long run. For example, I love using Shutterfly to create digital photo books, but, I will not purchase them for full price. I wait until I get a discount (around the holidays is a good time), or even better a free book code. To make sure I catch the deals and they don't pass me buy, I have to have my Shutterfly account ready with books made and ready to order (ideally) or at least half way finished. That way I can order them quickly and almost effortlessly during the sale!

2. Shop sales (& stock up). This might sound easy, but this is one that takes planning (like the example I used above). Make lists of all the things you NEED (baby clothes of a certain size, diapers ete.) and shop using coupons and coupon codes. Search the internet for coupon codes that others share. Also shop sales such as Labor Day sales, Back to School sales, Fourth of July sales etc. for birthdays, Christmas gifts, or just random family moments such as picnics. Many items found can also be turned and repurposed into daily home items for you or others as gifts. For example I stocked up on crayons during the back to school sale so I could use them as a party favor for C's birthday party! I also stock up on food when there is a sale such as buy one, get one. Most recently, I bought boxes of pasta because they were $1/box!

Another great time to purchase is right AFTER a holiday like Halloween and Christmas or towards the end of a season like summer! It might be picked over, but most times you'll be able to find something to use that season or the next. 
Also check this site out for how to use multiple coupons and competitor coupons in a single purchase at Michael's, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's Fabric. JoAnn's Fabric also lets you use multiple coupons at once from their different sources. In one purchase you can use a coupon code from a snail mail coupon, an internet coupon, an app coupon AND their flyer coupon, which is in the store. Cha-ching! Great savings!!! 

Another tip: keep in mind when it's best to buy seasonal food and most everything else (airfare, appliances, electronics, tires etc).

3. Shop sites that have great rewards. These are sites that have a good rewards program as well as a good satisfactory policy. Kelly's Closet is a great example of this. They are always running promos and have a system in place to earn points for your purchases. Their return policy on cloth diapers is 30 days risk free! You can return your diapers (washed, used etc.) within 30 days if you're not satisfied with the product! That's says a lot: they have a lot of faith in their products, and they value their customers' happiness.

Ebates and ShopAtHome are also sites that give you cash back for just ordering online through their links! For example, if you want to purchase something from Old Navy, go to Ebates, search for Old Navy in the search bar, see what cash back deal they are running (maybe 3% for kid clothes), click the link and it'll take you to Old Navy's site and you can order! A check will come in the mail for the cash back amount! Easy!

4. Utilize your birthday. Tons of places give you discounts or free items during your birthday month. Here's a great freebie list, to scan and plan so that you're ready come your birthday month. :o) You can do this for the whole family and each of their birthday months!

5. Get into Pinterest. If you have not discovered the amazing benefits of Pinterest, I'd suggest you get into it. Dive in head first! You'll soon become an addict, but if you keep yourself on a time limit and keep yourself organized (by making "boards" to categorize your finds), you'll save money quickly. This is a great site to use to find ideas for almost anything, quickly and cheaply. There are so many DIYs and step by step tutorials that it'll spin your head... at first. Check out my Pinterest boards (linked at the top right of my blog with a "P") and see what I've collected over the years. You will have so many ideas and tutorials at your finger tips, that you won't have to rack your brain on how to come up with an inexpensive way to make baby crib railing covers, for example.

6. Shop resale. I'm a frequenter of my local Good Will and baby resale shop. I buy most of my books from Good Will and I have purchased many baby items from our baby resale shop like C's jumperoo, swing and some clothes. I also hit up garage sales hard! I have purchased SO MANY things through garage sales and for cheap, it's hard to keep track. My favorites have been: C's splash pad, many Melissa & Doug wooden toys (we are big fans!), a wooden activity cube, tons of links, a travel hook on chair and more. I also love shopping on facebook resale groups. It's quick, easy access and there are good deals. PLUS, you can also try to make a little $  by selling items on these sites too! Look for one in your area by searching "Facebook garage (or yard) sale of ______" (insert your county or town).

7. Re-purpose and reuse items. Not creative? No problem, you can find so many ideas on Pinterest on how to re-purpose or reuse certain items like toilet paper rolls, milk jugs, boxes etc. One item that we reuse and repurpose in my house is our deli meat containers. We reuse those as our tupperware!

8. Find a deal? Take it!  When I find a deal on something I know I'll use in the future, either in my house, as a gift, for my baby etc. I buy it. Come the time I need to use that item, I know where I've stored it and it's already handy, and bonus, I didn't have to pay full price or make an extra run out of the house! I think it's worth it to store something for a few months for someone's birthday, and then have it ready to go at a moments notice!

9. Don't be afraid of hand-me-downs.  I love it when a friend or family member has something that they are getting rid of and asks if I could use whatever it is. This is how we scored on our Dr. Brown bottles, some baby clothes, furniture etc. There's nothing better than free!

10. Cut back on home technology/electronics. We saved a lot of money when we cut back on cable, our cell phones, and electricity. What did we do? 
  • discontinued our Xbox streaming service 
  • discountinued our Netflix (their streaming didn't seem to be all that great any way!)
  • scaled back on our cable package (besides, we can use Redbox) 
  • looked into an employer reimbursement program for our cell phones through my husbands company
  • asked Verizon about company discount programs (they have discounts for certain certain companies. My husbands company is very small, so yours could be one too! Look into it!)
  • cut back on our cell phone package (since I stay at home, I can use my home wifi all the time, which is free, and hubby can use his work's wifi. Our data package is very small. We share only 1GB of data!)
  • use our families and close friend's wifi. They don't mind us asking for their wifi code, especially if we are there a lot (it's like using their laptop). Now every time we are at homes where we have connected through the wifi, our phones automatically connect, done!
  • are conscious of the electricity we use (turn off lights/fans when we're not in the room, keep appliances unplugged etc.)
Watch Naturally Thrifty Mom's video of how to cut back more on electricity! She's also a great gal with a nice family that is fun to watch. She talks a lot about natural products, cloth diapering and odds and ends about being a SAHM! Love her!

11. The Dollar Tree is your friend. I can't tell you how much stuff I have found at my local Dollar Tree! They have everything! Cards, gift bags, seasonal gear like Halloween costumes and fall decor, pens, sharpies, notebooks, school supplies, teacher supplies, office supplies, coloring books, markers, poster boards, dog and cat supplies and food, books, nightlights, mattress covers, socks, toothpaste and brushes, cotton balls, shaving cream, liquid soaps, shampoo, baby products like lotions, candy, Arizona iced tea, dishes, contact paper, mugs, chips, canned products like corn and kidney beans, cleaners like Comet, sponges, mops, dish soap, hand mitts, cookie sheets, aluminum foil.... the list goes on!! (Yes I made notes as I walked through once.) This is a great place to buy basics for your home as well as gear for birthday parties! I found mostly all of Christian's birthday party supplies here like plates & silverware, plastic table covers, streamers, happy birthday sign etc. My Dollar Tree store even has a helium station! I don't know the specifics about it, but it looked like you could blow up your own balloons (for a little bit of an extra cost I believe).
Our heavy duty Dollar Tree mug! Michael loves it!
12. Don't buy every toy under the sun. There is something to be said about leading a life that is SIMPLE.... hence the name of this blog. You and your family will be more happy when you learn that less really is more. You'll spend more of your time with what really matters, your family and make memories. Christian finds more happiness in empty water bottles, pots and pans and wooden spoons than he does it all those over the top, light up ring-a-ding toys. We intentionally purchase only a few toys for him for certain holidays like Christmas and his birthday, and ask that of our family too. He will enjoy his toys more, and appreciate what he does have. Plus it's fun creating memories of finding things around the house to play with. :o)
Christian playing with tupperware

We made our own toy! Bottle filled with rice and odds and ends. Super glued shut.

13. Utilize your local resources. Find activities in your area that are free and fun! We always page through the local flyer for our park district that comes to our home. Our park district is always putting on events to get the community together, such as holiday activities, walks etc. We scope out their web page too and find when activities are free. A lot of times, a business will have a time for families to enjoy their facility for free. It usually occurs on a week day night, between certain hours. They do this for our pool, splash pad, and children's museum. We also utilize other park districts around us that have free activities too. Our neighboring town has a splash pad this is always free! 

Another great place to look for free activities are the local libraries. They will have story times, social hours, movie showings with popcorn (we are lucky!) and other activities. It's always fun to bring Christian to our library because he loves looking at their books, and playing with their toys in the youth section.
Library toys are fun!
Library fish are fun to watch!
Yea for toddler library bins!
14. Ask other mothers. There's no shame in asking other mother's how they cut corners in order to save money. Mothers have been saving by cutting corners for ages, and no one likes to find out how, last. Most SAHM will be willing to share everything they know, like me! I've never understood those that keep this sort of thing to themselves... why when others could benefit? The same goes with crafts, projects etc. The more sharing, the merrier, right?

15. Sell what you don't need or use. Garage sales are not the only way to do this. (This kind of goes with #6-Shopping resale.) Facebook is a great place to list your items for sale. I've sold and purchased this way many times. I would suggest meeting in a public place for any exchanging of items/$. There are also other places on Facebook that sell specific things. For example, I'm part of a Facebook group for cloth diapering swap. This is a group of moms that are always listing cloth diapers and accessories to purchase, sell, or trade. My local baby resale shop also purchases items that are gently used and have not been recalled.

16. Try cloth diapering. I know that it is a completely different world than disposables, but you will save a TON of $ doing this. Naturally Thrifty Mom has an awesome video on the cost comparison for cloth diapers vs disposables (plus tons of other very informative cloth diapers videos. Check out her channel!) She estimated in her video, using Kelly's Closet as her price source, that regular Bum Genius pocket cloth diapers cost about $450 (for 24) compared to disposables that cost $2,000-$3,000! (She has a video that describes all the types of cloth diapers too. Link above. :o)

17. Join research mom groups. I found out about this through an email I received. They were looking for mom's to participate in their website surveys for products. I have been participating ever since Christian was born, maybe even a little before, and I have received multiple Amazon credits for simply completely surveys! I used those credits to purchase things we needed for the home that I found deals on like cloth laundry soda.
18. Do your own taxes. This might sound really hard, but we have used TurboTax always, and it's pretty easy. It takes you through step by step, and if you have all of your paper work handy, you just punch in the numbers and away you go. Now you've only spent about $50 for the annual TurboTax computer program instead of hundreds going to an accountant. Plus, at the end of the program you can file your Federal papers through the program online, so that's quick, easy and done. Plus you can also insert your bank account info and your return money will be directed there. You do have to print out the state tax forms (they are filled in though through the program), but then all you do is mail them in. I think they also have a TurboTax program that allows you hand in both Federal and your state taxes online, but that's an additional cost. I save myself the extra $30 or whatever it is, and just mail it in. (The version we purchase is the one shown, TurboTax Deluxe.)

19. Make your own baby purees. This one I was not able to do since I was still working when Christian was getting a majority of his purees, so I didn't have the time. But if you stay at home and your baby is still eating purees for solids, then I encourage you to make your own, especially since you have the time! You can buy avocados, sweet potatoes, butternut squash etc. and puree them with a food processor after baking them, and you'll have a ton left over!

20. Network. Network to save $? SURE! Networking for SAHMs means making friends. :o) Meet other moms through baby groups, the library, the splash pad, other moms etc. It's a great opportunity to meet new people and to set up more free activities for your kids. Play dates are a thing, and going to the park or someones house doesn't require an entry fee. 

21. Call your car insurance company. If you are now staying home you need to update your car insurance company! Since you are now spending less time on the road due to no longer commuting to and from work, this will change your coverage and the amount of money you pay. Our amount we have to pay decreased by $54 every 6 months. Only $9 a month, but that's something! We also received a refund for $44 since we recently paid our insurance but our coverage decreased.

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