How to Save Money on Infant Formula

Baby formula is expensive and depending on what type your child needs or your pediatrician recommends it can sometimes be difficult to find savings. Breastfeeding is highly recommended although it is not for every mom, and therefore saving money on formula can help any budget! I recently discussed the average cost of raising a child per year and found that formula can cost around $1,000!

Here are a few of my favorite money saving tips: (more…)

Cutting the Cord with Cable

Cutting The Cord with CableI seem to come across posts about “cutting the cord” quite often, and if you asked me two years ago if I could do this I would probably laugh. However, last year we did stop paying for cable and I can’t say that I’ve missed it! There are a few different ways to still watch your favorite shows, and they are a lot cheaper than paying a monthly cable bill!

Streaming Devices – These little devices are so handy because you can plug one into any TV in your home. They are essentially “smart devices” that will stream your favorite content. We own a Roku and there are a lot of free streaming apps such as Crackle, PBS Kids, The History Channel, and CBS. The devices can range anywhere from $10-$100 depending on what type you are looking for.

Antenna – I was very skeptical about installing an antenna, but when we did I was blown away. We receive 30+ channels, and they come in crystal clear. This option will not be the same for everyone as the amount of channels you  receive depends on your area as well as the type of antenna you own. We purchased an inexpensive flat antenna that can mount to a window.

Hulu- This is a great service that provides the latest shows and movies just two days after they have aired. It’s $7.99 a month as long as you don’t mind a few commercials, plus you can refer friends to receive 2 weeks free! You can also link your Plenti card to your account and earn points for watching your favorite shows. I love Hulu because you can share with a friend as well as stop your subscription at any time! I recently read a post here, about how they use their Bing Rewards to pay for their Hulu every month, so it’s basically free!

Netflix – This is my favorite service for watching movies. It’s packed with movies that over time become catered to you based on what you like to watch. It also has a kid’s only section that is packed with not only movies but also shows! You can earn free Netflix every month by participating in Swagbucks!

Amazon Video – Accessing Amazon Video means that you need an Amazon Prime membership which is $99 a year. This turns out to be $8.25 a month, and not only gives you the benefits of streaming shows, but also gives you free 2-day shipping on thousands of items and access to members only coupons. Another part of Amazon Prime that I really like is that you can access their Kindle library, and you receive a free book every month! You can try out a free 30-day trial here!

These are just a few of the ways to help “cut the cord”, you can always just stop watching TV altogether, or rent your favorites from the library once they arrive. Since cutting the cord I honestly haven’t watched TV as much, which means Baby Budget isn’t looking at a screen either! It’s become a win-win for the whole family!

-Mama Budget

 

How To Save Money for Christmas from Home

How To Save Money for Christmas from HomeThe holiday’s are quickly approaching, which can both be an exciting time, and a stressful time for those who are on a tight budget. Without planning in the extra expenses you may face during the holidays, a lot of people end up going over budget. While we won’t be buying many gifts for Baby Budget this year, we’ll be buying 5 – Christmas pajamas, a “big girl” blanket, a book, an ornament, and a new bathtub toy. So, how can we do this without leaving the house?

 

Bing Rewards –Bing Sign Up

Bing is a search engine that offers you rewards points for simply searching. Every day you can receive a minimum of 30 points, 10 for searching on mobile and 20 for searching on your computer/tablet. Most days there will also be 1-2 additional rewards points. You can also earn 150 points for inviting friends. I like to save for Amazon or Toys R Us gift cards which are 525 points for $5. If you reach your 30 point goal every day, it will take you 17.5 days to earn a $5 gift card. That means that any extra points you receive, such as friend referrals, will help get you there faster. If you start now, you could have at least $15 in gift cards by Christmas! You can sign up for an account here!

 

Swagbucks-

Swagbucks is a muti-use platform that offers you rewards points for completing various activities, using their search engine, shopping through them, and answering surveys. There are so many ways to earn Swagbuckspoints! A $5 Amazon gift card is 500 Swagbucks, but they also have varying denominations that often go on sale. Another bonus, they have a ton of options to choose from! They offer various goals every day, and if you reach that goal, you earn additional Swagbucks! I highly recommend signing up and going through their “Get Started” tour, which will help explain all the ways to earn. Completing general tasks that don’t require a purchase will amount to $5-$10 a month in gift cards! You can sign up for an account here!

 

Ibotta-

Ibotta is a phone app that pays you for buying groceries. When you download the app it will have various stores that have offers. You simply click on the offer you want, and then “unlock” it. This can be done by reading a fact, watching a short video, or answering a poll. You unlock all of the offers you want, Ibotta purchase the items, then upload your receipt by taking pictures of it. Not everything you purchase may be on there, as many items are brand specific, however lately they have had a few non-brand specific items as well. Rebates can range from $0.20 up to $40.00 if you complete bonus offers. There is a section in the app that tracks your bonuses, such as purchasing 2 of the same brand will sometimes give you an extra $1.00. Currently when you sign up and redeem your first offer it will give you a free $1.00. Plus for each friend you refer that redeems an offer, you will receive $2.00. May not sound like much now, but it does add up, and depending on the brands you purchase you could earn at least $10.00 by Christmas. You can sign up for an account here!

 

ShopAtHome-

ShopAtHome offers you cash back for your online purchases. This is one of my favorite cash back sites as they offer a 110% guarantee, meaning if someone has a higher cash back percentage, they will beat it. They also offer ShopGold which are essentially points you earn on top of your cash back. Each purchase earns you at least 50 ShopGold and a $5 gift card is only 500 ShopGold. Even better, right now when you sign up and make your first $20.00 purchase, you earn your normal percentage cash back, a $10.00 bonus, and 100 ShopGold. The minimum amount to cash out is $20.00, and they will mail you a check. If you know you are going to be purchasing items that would qualify for free shipping from a store, look at it in store, then come home and purchase the item to receive the cash back. Plus most stores offer online discount codes to help you save even more! You can sign up here!

ShopAtHome

None of these are get rich quick schemes, and all of them are tried and true. There are various other ways to earn money, such as selling items around the house, or performing odd jobs. The ways I’ve provided can be used year round, and you can customize how often you want to use each one! Let me know if you’ve found any other tried and true ways to earn money at home!

 

-Mama Budget

~The links in those post are my personal affiliate links and by signing up through these links I may earn a small commission.~

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Free Sippy Cup with a $15+ Purchase at Babies R Us

Have I ever told you that we never paid a penny for any of Baby Budget’s bottles? It’s true! Now, we’re working on getting all of her sippy cups for free! Want in on the secret? Toys R Us has a coupon page, and around every holiday they offer a freebie with a minimum purchase! Last year it was a Dr. Brown’s bottle with a $15 purchase, and this year it’s a sippy cup with a $15 purchase! Now I know that not everyone shops at Toys R Us all the time, but if you need to pick something up and they have it, why not do it there? Plus, did you know that they accept manufacturer’s coupons? We also split our purchases up, so that Papa Budget and myself could both take advantage of the coupon!

Babies R Us Sippy Cup Coupon

Also, just so you didn’t miss that little bit about Toys R Us having a coupon page, you can find it right here. The coupons are what come out in the monthly booklet, so they generally end at the end of the month. They generally have coupons for both Toys R Us and Babies R Us, so make sure you check both! Make sure you save your ink and find the coupons on your smartphone before heading to the store!

-Mama Budget

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How to Have a Baby On A Budget: The Basics

How to Have A Baby On A Budget

First off, you’re on the right track! Simply reading this means that you are expecting, or already have a little one and are looking for ways to save money. This is technically the first step, wanting to save money doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to take away from other things in your life.

 

Step 1: Start now. Start saving for your baby today. There’s little things that you can start doing right away, and that includes either setting aside money every week or purchasing something small every week. Start with the little things, this week when you go buy groceries add in a bottle of baby shampoo, or baby q-tips. Think of things that aren’t going to go bad by the time baby gets here, and are things that you will continuously use. I know a lot of mom’s want to go out and buy a bunch of clothes, but don’t! If this is your first and you are having a baby shower then you will most likely receive a bunch there. If it’s not your first or you’re not having a baby shower, wait and shop the off-season sales for clothes.

Step 2: Make a plan. Most people think this should be step one, but I think getting in the mindset for saving, and actually saving is most important. Plus, my plan isn’t how am I going to pay for this baby, but rather what products are we going to use with this baby. You need to decide, but always be ready to change your mind on a few things:

 

Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers

Nursing vs. Formula Feeding

Baby Shower vs. No Baby Shower

Co-sleeping vs. Crib Sleeping

 

Now, you don’t have to make a final decision on these things, and you could decide to do one and end up doing the other. Just start somewhere! I highly suggest doing what’s right not only for your family, but what also feels right for you. Do a little research, you’re going to get plenty of advice from others on all of these topics, just make sure you’re doing what’s right for you and your baby.

 

Step 3: Make a registry. Even if you are not going to have a baby shower, register for the items that you want. Why? Most places offer you a registry discount when your baby is born. This can range from 10-15% off anything left on your registry. Plus, most places give out registry gifts, which means free items for baby and sometimes even mom! Another great thing about a registry, besides letting others know about the items that you want, it also allows you to keep track of what you still need. If you decide that you have to have a specific item, then you can watch the sales for that item. At the same time, be flexible. I knew that I wanted a white crib, and the one I had picked out was gorgeous, but Amazon had a similar crib on sale for $80 vs. the $150 one I had chosen, so we purchased the $80 one. Does Baby Budget know, care, or sleep any differently than had we chosen the more expensive crib? Absolutely not!

 

Step 4: Get thrifty. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to shop at thrift stores, but there’s nothing wrong with buying something second hand, as long as you’re mindful of recall’s and outdated items. Getting thrifty means that you are not only watching the sales, but also purchasing wisely. Often times Toys R Us will offer something for free if you reach a dollar amount threshold. Last year they offered a free Dr. Brown’s bottle for each holiday if you spent $15. I took advantage of this by buying gifts during this time for other family members, or by picking something up for Baby Budget. Between the bottles I received through the promotion, and the bottles I received from baby registries, I never purchased a bottle. Another way to get thrifty is to follow a coupon/deal site that does weekly drugstore roundups. These are great ways to get diapers for pretty cheap if you are going to use disposables. I also recommend checking out Amazon Warehouse.

 

Step 5: Be realistic about the items you need. Papa Budget hates stuff. If it doesn’t serve a purpose on a daily basis, he tries to get rid of it. So, this meant that we planned out each and every item we purchased. If you have a very small budget, or just wish to raise a baby in a more minimalist approach, then just buy the needs. We also tried to purchase things that would serve multiple purposes. We don’t have a changing table, but we have a dresser with the pad you buy for a changing table on it. It serves as a changing table and storage, plus it can be used until the day Baby Budget moves out.

 

That’s it for now. Follow this page, take a deep breath, and prepare for an amazing time in your life. There’s a ton of more tips and tricks to help you save money that I’ll be discussing, but those are the basics. Do you have any additional tips, or tricks that you used to help you save for baby? Share them with us!

 

-Mama Budget

 

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Product Complaints – Contacting the Company

“If you don’t tell them, they can’t fix it.” -Papa Budget

This is Papa Budget’s favorite line. Anytime I have a problem at work, an issue with a product, or someone in my family is driving me nuts, Papa Budget simply asks if I’ve voiced this frustration. Generally my answer is no, giving him an opportunity to throw in his favorite line. Now how does this play into having a baby and saving money? When you buy products for a baby, especially if it’s your first one, you are generally going off of the recommendations from others. This bottle worked best for your aunt, but this pacifier worked best for your sister, and your mom says that this bassinet is a must. So, what happens when you follow these recommendations and you have an issue with the product? I’m not saying that you don’t like the look of the bassinet or the feel of the pacifier, but rather that the bassinet leans or the pacifier is falling apart.

I’ve seen a video surfacing on the web a lot lately about Huggies wipes containing actual pieces of something. The something that is in question is still up in the air as to what it actually is, however Huggies “claims” they are still safe for baby.  I was telling Papa Budget about the Huggies issue, and he threw in his favorite line.

Contact the company! Yes, let others know, but please also let the company know! They can’t fix their products if they don’t know something is wrong! Plus, they are usually very understanding and sometimes compensating. Now,  I’m not telling you to falsely contact a company. However, I’ve had bottles that leak, toys that fray, and wipes that contain some not so pleasant pieces. The first thing that I do is contact the company. I make sure that I have the item in question in hand, and let them know everything about the item; how long I’ve been using it, what my problem is, and I ask for a solution. I never ever ask for compensation, I do however ask that they help me remedy my problem, or just let them know that I’m so fed up with a leaking bottle that I’ll just be tossing it in the trash, and would love if they would change their design!

Almost all of the companies that I’ve contacted have been fantastic, and truly do want to know about any issues I’m having so that they may better their products. On the flip side of this, if you ever find a product that you just adore, let the company know! There’s been a few times where I genuinely loved a product, and after letting the company know, I’ve sometimes also received coupons for additional products! So, whether it’s good or bad, let them know!

-MamaBudget

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How to Save for Baby with Giveaways

It seems like every business or company is participating in giveaways these days, and this can be a major benefit for you! You may be thinking, there’s absolutely no way that I will win anything, because that’s exactly what I thought when I first started entering.

There are many different types of giveaways, some of which I avoid altogether. However, if you have the time to enter them, you can’t win if you don’t enter right?

 

IWG – Instant Win Games, these are exactly what they sound like. You play the game and you may instantly win. A lot of companies offer giveaways like this, and if I have extra time then I will enter them. Sears offers some for their Shop Your Way Rewards Members to earn points, so before I make a purchase I try to win some points! If it’s something that I would really like to win, then I try to remember to enter everyday. Raisin Maid was hosting a giveaway for “Goodnight Moon” books awhile back, and wanting to build my little’s collection, I entered every day until I won one! It’s a very nice hardcover version, and we try to read it every night!

Goodnight Moon
Goodnight Moon

Instagram Giveaways – Many companies/pages are starting to offer Instagram giveaways. A lot of time you will find “page hops” on IG. Meaning that you have to like a page, and when you click on the picture it gives you the next page to like, and you continue doing so until you land on the main page.  Other IG giveaways simply entail liking a photo and tagging a friend. Although I don’t do these often, I have found a lot of pages that I really like by entering these!

 

Facebook Giveaways – I’m sure you’re familiar with Facebook and companies have been using it for giveaways since they joined. These can be as detailed as a giveaway tab on their page that requires you to visit or like certain pages, or as simple as liking a picture and leaving a comment. These are often easy to find just by following your favorite brands! I recently won a prize pack from Earth Mama Angel Baby during a Facebook giveaway!

Earth Mama Angel Baby
Earth Mama Angel Baby Giveaway Winner

Blog Giveaways/Blog Hops – Blog giveaways can be structured much like other giveaways that require you to simply leave a comment, or various other tasks. These are my favorite as many show how many entrants there have been, and you can enter many of them daily! Blog hops are much like the IG version where you visit a few different pages and then leave a comment or like! One of my favorite blogs features a weekly cloth diaper roundup of giveaways! If you cloth diaper check out Change Diapers for their weekly roundup!

 

Weekly Chats – A few pages that I follow on social media offer a weekly chat. During the chat you are able to ask the company/person questions, or they are simply there just to offer information. A lot of these chats will be followed with a giveaway for participants! I won a package of Osocozy Prefolds from a chat a few weeks ago!

Osocozy Prefolds
Osocozy Prefolds

I’m sure there are a ton of other giveaway options including the ones where you just leave an email address and hope that you win when it closes in three months. Those aren’t my favorite, but doesn’t mean I won’t enter them!

Now, as I said before, I was a major skeptic when I first started entering giveaways! However, my favorite ones I would add to my bookmark bar and every time I got on my computer I would enter! I’ve also found a few friends that don’t mind if I tag them in giveaways, this means I’m not tagging people who may get annoyed at all my giveaways! I don’t share many on my personal Facebook page, but if it’s something super special I will! Entering and winning some giveaways has allowed me to win so many different things that have helped me to save money for other things that I need for my little!

Glee Gum
Glee Gum Giveaway Winner

If you have made it this far, congrats! Every Monday I will be posting a roundup of some of my favorite giveaways! Make sure you visit the page to see if there’s something you may like to win! Also, let me know if there are any other types of giveaways that you have found or enjoy!

-Mama Budget

How to Save At Amazon

Amazon Prime:
Prime is a program that costs $99 for a year, but you can try it out for the first month for free here! They offer so many benefits including free 2-day shipping on a vast majority of items, a book lending library, instant music and videos, exclusive discounts, and the best part? Amazon Mom. To become an Amazon Mom member, you have to have a Prime membership, but Amazon mom is free once you have Prime! Amazon mom offers 20% off diaper subscriptions, and 15% off eligible items on your baby registry! Not having Amazon Prime means you can still shop there, but shipping will only be free on select items or on orders over $35.

 

Subscribe & Save:

When shopping on Amazon you may notice that there are two options on many products, a normal price and a Subscribe & Save price. Subscribe & Save gives you a 5-15% discount for signing up for a subscription. You can change or cancel your subscription at any time. Once you reach 5 subscriptions in one month, you will receive the 15% discount, otherwise it’s a 5% discount. Now reread the “cancel your subscription at any time”. That’s right, you can sign up for a subscription one month, and then cancel as soon as you receive your item if you no longer wish to receive it any longer. The price of diapers and wipes greatly fluctuates so sometimes I’ll sign up to save on some wipes, and the price will go back up so I will cancel my subscription. Even better, items purchased with Subscribe & Save ship for free!

Subscribe & Save
Subscribe & Save

Amazon Coupons:

Saving money is the goal right? Amazon makes that easy with Amazon clippable coupons. You can find the whole list of coupons by clicking on “Today’s Deals” on the top of the Amazon webpage, or you’ll sometimes find them right on a product page you may be viewing. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of Today’s Deals you will see Top Coupons and below that “See more Coupons”. If you click that it will take you to all of the coupons that Amazon is offering at that time. You can filter by category, and then “clip” the coupon you wish to use. Keep in mind that each coupon can only be used once. However, they do change often so keep an eye out for new ones! If a product qualifies for a coupon you will see it on the coupon detail page, or right on the product page underneath the price.

amazon
Amazon Coupons

 

Amazon Lightning Deals:

Amazon offers Lightning Deals and a Deal of the Day which can also be found by selecting “Today’s Deals”. You can sort these by category as well, there are two separate baby categories. Baby and Baby Clothing & Accessories. There are also other categories available that may feature children’s items such as Toys & Games, or Everything Else. Amazon Prime members are able to purchase Lightning Deals 30 minutes before everyone else.

 

Amazon Warehouse:

Amazon Warehouse is a section of goods that may be used, have damaged packaging, or returned for some reason, and are now being resold. When purchasing these items make sure you check to see why the item was returned so that there are no surprises when you receive the items. You can often find greatly discounted items with only damaged packaging, which if you aren’t gifting the item it may make no difference!

 

Combine all of these together and you have a great way to shop from home and save money while doing so. One of my favorite things is to find items that qualify for Amazon coupons as well as Subscribe & Save so that the items ship free, and I save a little more than usual! I’ve been shopping Amazon for many years, and have found some great deals. Any time I’ve had a problem, which is rare, Amazon was quick to fix the problem, and returns are a breeze!

-Mama Budget

 

-This post was not sponsored by Amazon, the thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. The links in this post are my personal affiliate links and by shopping through these links I will receive a small compensation.-