Top Five Ways to Save Money as a New Parent

765500e0739c9b82c56108534584887c.jpgAhhh, kids. So cute and cuddly (and frustrating sometimes, let’s be honest), but oh my goodness, do they cost a fortune!

A few friends have recently given birth, and I shared with them my tips for saving money the first few years, so I thought I’d share them with you too!

  1. Resale shops, consignment shops, clothing swaps, and hand-me-downs are life (and budget) savers. Kids grow so fast, there is no reason that you need to break the bank buying new clothes. Most of these also have gear and toys too!
  2. Speaking of kids growing quickly, Car seats are a thing that has to be replaced too. Between September 16-30t, 2019, you can trade in an old car seat at Walmart and receive a Free $30 Walmart Gift Card to use on the purchase of a new car seat or other baby gear item. Target sometimes holds similar events.
  3. Mom support groups- Hear me out. Mommy groups get a bad wrap on social media, but it’s nice to know that there are people out there that know what you are going through. You can find mom groups via Facebook and Meetup.
  4. Free Stuff. There are so many companies that cater to parents and kids, everyone is giving away something, you just need to know where to look. Formula companies give away samples and send coupons (I won’t get into the whole debate of breastfed vs. formula fed. If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know about my struggles with IGT– FED IS BEST). Kabrita has a great offer. And as your kids get older, companies like Enfamil/Enfagrow have transitional formulas- and they offer samples and coupons too. I post freebie offers that include stuff for kids and babies each week!
  5. Stores like Walmart and Target usually run free gift bag deals when you start a registry. Right now you can order a Free Walmart Welcome Baby Registry Box when you start a registry.  Huggies has a “Made By You” free sample kit right now as well.

If you aren’t a new parent but know of one, here are a few ways you can help them out (and a recipe, because really, I love cooking!).

 

Freebie Friday!

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Samples

 

Magazines

 

 

Free Sample of Kabrita Formula!

When the kids were little, they both had problems taking most formulas. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know I have IGT, so that meant that my breastfeeding experience was limited.

But, a baby’s gotta eat, right? Yeah, so enter Kabrita. It’s made from Goat Milk, so it’s great for little tummies that can’t handle lactose (that was my kiddos issue), and another bonus: it smells like milk.  If you’ve ever formula fed, you know the gross “formula smell”. Kabrita Goat Milk formula smells like milk. It pours like milk, and yes, it tastes like milk too- yes I have tasted it.

Right now, you can score a free can to try with your kiddos- 14oz Goat Milk Toddler Formula + Bonus Value Coupon 

And if your kiddos like it, you can use that awesome $5 off coupon that comes with your sample. Locally, it’s sold at Sprouts.

How I’m dealing with International Breastfeeding Week….

IMG_0501This is Birdy. She doesn’t want her picture taken. She’s busy nursing. If you’ve got a baby and/or a social media account, you are probably aware that it’s International Breast Feeding Week.

That means your feeds are being flooded with photos of happy, milk drunk babies, boobies, women nursing in public, articles about how breast is best, and ads for stuff like nursing covers or breast pads. But for some mommies it’s not all sunshine and flowers, soaked breast pads and milk stains on your shirts. I’m one of those mommies that isn’t blessed with bursting, milky breasts. I have IGT (insufficient glandular tissue). For me, it means trying everything I can- seeing several Lactation Consultants, having the baby checked for lip and tongue ties, supplements, special foods, pumping like it’s going out of style, tons of skin to skin. Anything to try and increase my output of milk. I’ve tried so many things and gotten a lot of advice, mostly unsolicited. Some are common sense things (get some rest, drink more water), and some were kinda weird (Eat nothing but red meat and 100 oz. of water a day). I have spent so much time crying in pain and shame because society has made mothers like me and so many others into pariahs. Well, no more. This International Breastfeeding Week, I’m holding my head high. I’m sharing with others that I have IGT! I’m still a breastfeeding mom~ I still nurse Birdy (mostly for her comfort and bonding), I still pump (only a few ounces a day) and bottle fed her expressed milk, and I give her formula.

belibeahookRecently, I was able to try a new bra that helped me. Not increase my supply, but made pumping easier, and helped me get every single drop I could into the bottles and not on me. When you don’t produce a lot of breast milk EVERY DROP COUNTS. I posted on FaceBook a few weeks ago, “Whomever said, “Don’t cry over spilled Milk”, has never pumped!”.

If you’ve never seen a typical pumping bra, well, it looks like a medieval torture device. The BeliBea bra is not at all like that. You can wear it as a nursing bra, or as a pumping bra. It’s got two sets of hooks, so there is no fiddling with it, trying to get your boobs out. BeliBea bras have a seamless stretch fit, plush-lined adjustable straps and a ribbed band to provide flexible support as well as a v-neck scoop and center ruching. I’ll save you the visual of a woman 8 weeks postpartum in a nursing bra selfie…

I will, however, show you what the bra looks like in it’s full pumping glory (on a mannequin, not on me.. I like you guys, but ya’ll don’t need to see mah boobs).

belibeaHaving worn a lot of nursing bras, first with Lil’ Man and now with Birdy- this bra is super comfy.

If you aren’t a nursing mom, or a parent, and you see someone in public bottle feeding their child, before you give them the side eye, stop. There are a million reasons that child is eating from a bottle.  Here are just a few:

  1. The baby was adopted. While there are medications women can take to make themselves lactate even though they have not given birth, they can be costly, and take months and months to go through the regimen of pills (and it isn’t always covered by insurance).
  2. The bottle has pumped breastmilk in it (That way Dad can feed the baby too!).
  3. The baby has allergies and cannot consume it’s mother’s breast milk.
  4. The bottle contains donor milk. Wet Nursing is the oldest profession, and even today there are women who over produce breast milk and donate it to help others who can’t make enough (or any at all).
  5. The mother has a medical condition such as IGT and cannot produce enough milk to feed the baby.
  6. The mother may be ill or undergoing a medical procedure which prevents her from breastfeeding.

As someone who has received the side eye (and worse) for bottle feeding my two babies in public, there is no worse feeling than dirty looks from others or receiving the “breast is best” lecture from complete strangers (especially those who aren’t even parents). As long as the baby is being fed and loved, it shouldn’t matter the source of the food!

mommyAll moms care for their babies the best they can- and that’s what we should be celebrating this week!

 

I received the BeliBea Nursing and pumping bra free of charge to facilitate my review. I was not monetarily compensated, and all opinions are my own.

Money Saving Tips for Parents!

With the arrival of Bitty Bird, saving money has never been more important for our family. Here are just a few ways we save money and earn rewards! Kids are expensive, that’s a fact of life! With coupons, shopping sales, and the myriad of programs that manufacturers run to entice and keep consumers coming back, you will never pay full price for anything baby or kid related again!


Diapers:
Huggies and Pampers both have a long running loyalty programs. Each package of diapers and wipes contains a code that can be entered on the manufacturer’s website. Codes are worth points, and those points can be redeemed for gift cards, toys, even free diapers and wipes! Depending on the size of the package, the amount of points varies. Larger packages yield more points. Visit Huggies and Pampers websites to learn more each program and the amount of points that can be earned from each package. Make sure to sign up for their newsletters too. Codes are sometimes in the newsletters too.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.43.18 AMFrom Left to Right: Sample Pampers and Huggies Codes found in diaper and wipe packages.

Some stores (Target, Babies R’ Us, and Walgreens to name just two) allow you to stack a manufacturer coupon and store coupon.  Frequently Target has printable store coupons on their website.
Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.43.12 AMTarget store coupon from Target.com/coupons

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.43.31 AMFormula: For those that will be formula feeding their baby, three of the major formula manufacturers (Enfamil, Similac, and Gerber Good Start) offer high value coupons and/or formula checks and usually samples. Formula checks can be defined as a combination of coupon and an item specific gift certificate. They look like checks and are usually for a high value. Retailers accept them and deposit them like the checks you write from your own checkbook. The formula manufacturers honor the check and the retailer receives the face value of the formula check. Many stores allow you to pair a formula check with a coupon for even more savings.  Target allows you to use a formula check, a manufacturer coupon and a target coupon!

If you are interested in receiving samples and formula checks, visit the infant formula websites and sign up:

Once your baby is old enough to eat baby food, Gerber will send you coupons for cents and dollars off jars of baby food and snacks (like puffs and yogurt melts). Sign up with Beechnut and they will send you some great coupons for rice cereal, baby food and snacks.

Clothing, Toys, and misc. baby stuff: Babies need a lot of STUFF.  If you have friends or relatives with babies, you may receive a lot of hand me downs, and that is great.  It will save you a lot of money and time.  Another cost saving measure is to visit consignment shops tailored to babies and kids. Most consignment shops buy and trade clothes, toys, and furniture. Craigslist is also a great choice! Learn more about clothing swaps and consignment shops here.

Before buying or accepting a carseat, crib, stroller, or baby carrier, check to make sure that it has not been a part of a recall. In the case of carseats and bases, check to make sure the carseat is not expired. Carseats are safe for 5 years.  After that time, the components can break down, the plastic can weaken,  the straps can stretch and no longer hold in the child safely.

When your child grows into the next size, you can take the outgrown clothes to a consignment shop and exchange the outgrown clothes for new (to you!) baby clothes.  We have done that with Little Mans’ clothes since he was little tiny, and it’s a great way to save money! I recently saved up a bunch of store credit at our local baby consignment store so I could purchase a new to us Baby Ergo infant carrier. They can be pretty pricey, so I was saving my credit wisely. I turned outgrown clothing and toys into something that we needed!!