Don’t Judge Me.

I’m on social media as it seems almost everyone is these days. I’m in mommy groups, business groups, craft and hobby groups, you name it I’m probably in it. However, the one thing that bothers me most in these groups are moms who feel the need to say; don’t judge me… These are some of the most common ones I’ve seen:

Don’t judge me for the messy house.

Don’t judge me for no makeup, I have a newborn.

Don’t judge the outfit I didn’t leave the house today. 

Don’t judge her outfit she picked it out herself. 

I know his shoes are on the wrong feet but he did it himself, don’t judge.

The list could go on and on. But why? Moms stop judging each other and you wouldn’t have to be worried about being judged yourself. Stop apologizing for something that you have no reason to apologize for! We’ve all left the house with something we weren’t quite sure what it was on our shirts, or we knew and just didn’t care. We’ve all had days were we don’t want to put makeup on because “hey I just had a baby and it’s hard work!” Or there’s moms who haven’t had any issues and have a perfect house, congratulations! That doesn’t mean we should shame them and say oh just you wait until blah blah blah. Then again that seems to be what social media has given us. It’s given us freedom to sit behind a screen and judge others while our own kids are running around naked and peeing on the floor. So I ask, no I beg, please stop judging! You never know the situation or the circumstance that a child or parent might be in. See the child and not the tantrum, see the beautiful mom and not the messy hair, see the home that a family is able to live in and not the mess. See the beauty in life. 

-Mama Budget

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

 

Thrift Store Shopping

One of my favorite ways to save money is to shop at a thrift store. Many stores have websites or social media pages that will let you know about their latest sales or promotions. My local Salvation Army has colored tag sales, if the item you are purchasing matches the color of the day it’s only $0.99. I often find some great items at thrift stores, like a complete set of Winnie the Pooh books for $1.00. However, there are also a lot of things you shouldn’t purchase at a thrift store, especially for a baby.

To Buy or Not To Buy:

Clothes: BUY! Babies grow so quickly that you may feel like all you are doing is buying new clothes for the first few years. Purchasing from a thrift store can save you a lot of money, just make sure you check the item completely. Look for any stains, holes, missing buttons, anything that will keep the outfit from being worn. Make sure you wash the item before putting it on baby!

Blankets: BUY! Blankets much like clothes can be easily washed, just check for any wear that would keep the blanket from being used.

Car Seats: PASS! Car seats should never be used if they have been in an accident. If purchasing from a thrift store you have no access to the seats history. Plus, car seats are always evolving to better protect your child, so do your research and purchase one new that is best for your family.

Cloth Diapers: MAYBE. This is a big maybe for me, I would not personally purchase a cloth diaper from a thrift store unless it was new in the package. I would however, purchase a cloth diaper from a garage sale where I could ask the owner how they were washed and how the elastic and PUL are holding up. Purchasing from a thrift store you run the risk of them not having been properly cared for and possibly leaking. Also, make sure you know your brands. Thrift stores may not be familiar with pricing on cloth diapers and may sell an $8 diaper for $10 without even knowing they were charging more.

Cribs: PASS! There are always great deals on cribs, and without knowing if all the pieces are there or if the crib has been recalled it’s better to just pass. Older cribs can have the wrong slats, and crib sides that are adjustable are no longer recommended.

Nursery Furniture: BUY! Looking to purchase a dresser or rocker? Buying used is perfect, just make sure it’s in good working condition and that the paint is not peeling or chipping before taking it home.

Toys: MAYBE. It’s always nice to save on toys, however if buying used make sure you thoroughly inspect the toy for any damage; cracks, broken pieces, anything that might snag. Also, make sure it’s something that can be fully cleaned. I don’t recommend purchasing stuffed animals new, however I know others who have no problem with it.

Overall, purchasing secondhand can be a great way to stretch your budget. Just make sure you are checking for product recalls, and that the items you are purchasing are safe for your child!

-Mama Budget

Children’s Cough Medicine Recall

The manufacturer Perrigo has issued a recall for it’s children’s cough medicine sold in CVS and HEB stores. 

The dosage cups included in the packages were incorrectly labeled and may lead to incorrect dosages given. The specific products are Guaifenesin in Grape flavor and Guaifenesin DM in Cherry flavor. You can learn more about the recall as well as check to see if your products have been affected here.

-Mama Budget

 

Recyclebank Rewards

Recyclebank is one of my favorite rewards programs because you not only earn rewards without actually having to purchase anything, but you also learn some fantastic information about different ways to recycle, save energy, and other earth friendly tips. Depending on the area you live in you may even earn points for simply recycling!

From the site:

Recyclebank inspires and rewards smarter, everyday choices for a more sustainable future.
We know that it takes a group effort to make a positive impact, which is why we bring
together communities, businesses and people like you.

Recyclebank Daily Pledge

You can earn points quite easily, and they add up very quickly. There are interactive options such as completing a quiz, viewing a slideshow, or reading an article which all offer points. You can also click on the “Daily Pledge” on the right side of the page to receive 5 points every day. You can sign up here, which will then prompt you for your information which includes your address, they will determine if there is a recycling option in your area. If there is then you will earn points just for recycling, if it is not available in your area you can still earn points. I have never had the option to earn points for recycling and I have earned quite a few rewards.

Earn Recyclebank Points

Little Twig Bath Mitt

The rewards range from magazines and discounts to actual products and gift cards. My favorite one to save up for is the One Twine gift card. One Twine is Recyclebank’s own store and they offer some amazing products. I recently earned enough points to cash out for this cute little Ladybug bath mitt!

Rewards points vary, and to earn the most points it does require you to be able to recycle in your area. However, if you check in once a week, or once a day to do the daily pledge, the points do add up. Set a goal for yourself, I’m currently working towards a $25 One Twine gift card to buy new bath products for Baby Budget! I often like to use rewards programs to purchase the items I wouldn’t normally purchase, or things that may be out of my budget. The ladybug bath mitt is currently being set aside for Baby Budget’s birthday, something small, but at this age they don’t remember the presents, it’s just fun watching them open them!

Do you have a favorite reward program? Let me know in the comments, and I may just add it to my list!

-Mama Budget

Babies Don’t Need Toys

Have you ever seen the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium? It has a character that receives a block, and continues to call it a plain piece of wood, until she believes it’s more than a block. I feel like this is a parenting point of view on toys. Your baby needs very few things when they first come into this world and those are; food, diapers, clothing, shelter and love. While it’s nice to have fancy gizmos and gadgets, if you are on a budget those items should be your main focus.  If you are buying gifts for someone on a budget please keep this in mind as well.

Children have absolutely amazing imaginations, and low expectations when it comes to things to play with or keep them occupied. Currently, Baby Budget is playing with our dog pen, opening and closing the door repeatedly. This is where Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium comes in, we may look at a plain piece of wood and see simply that, however a child looks at that same piece of wood and sees something different. Parents often joke that they could have given the child the box the toy came in, instead of the toy itself, and this is true. When Baby Budget was first learning to sit we used a large red bowl to help her keep her balance, it was something we already owned, and we still use it rather than going out and getting something such as a Bumbo to assist her. Am I telling you to never purchase toys for your child? No, I’m simply saying that if you have a budget, don’t spend it on toys for a baby, find fun things to play with in your house.

Some examples include:

  • Measuring Cups
  • Boxes, of all shapes and sizes!
  • Clothing – socks seem to be a favorite.
  • A Blanket – Peek-A-Boo anyone?
  • Bathroom Mirror – As babies age they love to look at themselves!
  • Tupperware containers
  • Music (This isn’t exactly a toy, however most kids love music!)

 

Anything that is safe meaning no sharp edges, can’t be swallowed, won’t suffocate a child; can easily be turned into a toy. Larger items such as blankets should be used under supervision unless the child is older and can safely play with it themselves. Again, I’m not saying your child doesn’t deserve toys, however buying them should not be at the top of your list when you only have enough money for food and diapers. They are little and they won’t remember not having every toy under the sun. Save your money for the important things, and if or when you have room in your budget, purchase a few small toys!

-Mama Budget

 

Tips for Traveling with Baby

Traveling with Baby

The holiday season is here which may mean over the next few weeks you will have to travel with baby. Whether your little one is brand new, or even a few years old, travel can be stressful. I’m here to try to help your travels go a little more smoothly, without breaking the bank.

Traveling in the car, be prepared for the weather, but if it’s  a long trip don’t overdress. Everyone wants to keep their little warm in the winter, but adding coats and car seats don’t mix. If you are going on a long trip, dress your little one in lighter clothes such as pants and a long sleeve onesie or sweatshirt, and then add layers as needed over their car seat. Once you are ready to take them out of the car you can bundle them up. This allows you to add or take away layers while driving, whereas if they were to get too warm while driving you would have to stop and take layers off.

Bring Snacks. If your little isn’t eating snacks yet, this may not apply, but don’t forget to pack bottles, or if you are nursing be prepared to pull over. A hungry baby makes for a grumpy baby, so take the time to make sure they are well fed before you start your trip, but realize that babies have little stomachs and may need to eat again depending on how long your travels are. If your little one can eat snacks, then pack them in little hands friendly containers. For my sanity I always pack things that are easier to clean up like crackers instead of yogurt.

Bring Entertainment. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a DVD player for your car, or an iPad so your little has something to do. Just pack a few things that they like to play with on a normal basis, and maybe even something they haven’t played with in a long time. If you’re traveling on a longer trip I like to purchase one or two items that are brand new. Try picking up a coloring book or small toy that they may like, this can be done for only a few dollars. If you don’t have the budget for something new you can always set a toy or two aside for a week, it’s like brand new when you bring it on the trip!

Diapers, extra clothes, etc. Make sure you pack not only extra diapers, but also a change of clothes. I promise there’s almost nothing worse than opening your diaper bag only to realize that you don’t have an extra pair of pants and the ones baby is currently wearing are wet. Papa Budget always looks at me like I’m crazy when packing the diaper bag, but I like to be prepared. I like to pack pants that have feet, that way you don’t have to worry about baby taking off and losing their socks.

Flying. The first time we took Baby Budget on a plane (6 months), I Googled everything I could about tips for flying with a little one. We’ve flown twice so far, and both times went quite well. The one thing that helped make it such a smooth trip was my Tula. Any baby carrier would have worked, but it kept my hands free at all times, and I didn’t have to take Baby Budget out when going through security. Some parents opt to bring a stroller, but I liked the ease and lack of extra items that the Tula provided. Plus, Baby Budget generally falls asleep in the Tula, which helps. I also tried to make sure that Baby Budget was sucking on something when the plane took off and landed to help her ears, however the second trip on the way home she didn’t want anything, and her ears were fine.

 

Everyone has their own ways of making trips go smoothly, and these are some of mine. If you have any extra tips let me know in the comments!

-Mama Budget

 

Ultimate Holiday Giveaway

Giveaway #2

Who doesn’t love the holiday season for one reason or another!  BUT, it can create a feeling of stress as we near the shopping season especially!  Make Our Own Network wants to make it easy for all to find a gift for everyone in their lives.  The Ultimate Holiday Giveaway is a way to kick off the season and give a few people a jump start on their shopping lists!

This list will include entertaining necessities for the holidays as well as gift ideas for all types of people – business, men, women, children, eco-enthusiasts, entertainers, outdoor enthusiasts, pet lovers and many more.

Hosted by:
Make Our Own Network
Blog Event Ambassadors:
A Lucky Ladybug, and A Ladybug on the Go

(more…)

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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