deals


So I know that  cloth diapering can be a fairly large up front expense, and especially if you don’t know exactly what kind of diaper system you want. A way to save a little money possibly is to enter give away’s online. A lot of cool blogs do product testing, reviews and then giveaway some of their diapers. Now it isn’t a sure way to increase your stash, but  it is a lot of fun and you never know you just might win. (I did, I won 3 pocket diapers totaling almost 60$ in value!)

Here is one giveaway that is going on now: Cake blast She is reviewing and giving away some great name brand diapers from Thirsties.

Duo Diaper

Have fun! Happy entering =)

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I have to say I am rather impressed with how far we can make our grocery budget stretch. Many people will tell you there secret to stretching groceries is “couponing”. I have to say, I am not one of them. Coupons work really well for some people just not me. Maybe it is because no one has ever really showed me how. But every time I try to try it, the only coupons I can find would require me to purchase something I wouldn’t really purchase anyway. So I would end up spending $1.00 (for extra product) in order to save .20 on that same product. For me (so far) it just hasn’t been worth it. But if someone could show me the trick to coming home with getting paid for buying toothpaste, I would probably reconsider.

Since I don’t coupon, my “secret” is simple:

Buy Bulk.

Generally speaking, the larger the quantity something is sold in the cheaper per unit it costs. Last week I once again, struck gold. Our local bulk foods market ran a sweet special. Boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.59/lb if you bought 40lb boxes. So I of course did! In fact I bought 2! I split one of the boxes with mom, so I ended up with 60 lb of chicken breast. Unfrozen, just waiting for me to do wonderful things to it.

Now I will tell you, it was a lot of work up front. But it will save me TONS more time and money in my grocery budget for the next several months. Here is what I did:

My set up

Step one was trimming the chicken. I cut off all the fat, then measured it using a kitchen scale. I cut each breast into 3.5-4 oz (the recommended serving size) pieces. If a piece was smaller than that I set it to the side to be used for stir fry.

Pre- packaged individual meal servings.

After it was all sectioned I put 3 pieces into one quart freezer bag. If it was the “scraps”  it got cut up into stir fry pieces and 10 oz went into one quart bag.

Yumminess!

Once it was bagged I added the marinades to each quart bag. This will help out already knowing what to do with it in the future. This time I used, Raspberry Chipotle BBQ, Italian and home made Teriyaki. I also left  some just plain so as to allow for creativity in the future.

Who says pre-cooked meals can't be yummy?

Some Chicken I didn’t marinade, I cooked it on my (mom’s much larger) George Forman grill. Then bagged 3 of those. This way if I need something SUPER quick it is ready, or to grab for a quick lunch. Better than deli meat in my opinion =)

Meals for the winter/spring.

Meals for the winter/spring.

Once each quart bag was marinaded (or not) I put quart bags into larger freezer bags, and labeled. I fit about 7 quart size into 1 gallon size. The reason is two-fold. First extra protection against freezer burn, and second. This made for a more organized freezer.

All in all, I ended up with 84 meals worth. Which breaks down to $1.07 a meal for meat total, or .37 per person per meal. And I now have  “convenience” food without the convenience food price!

But just to be clear, any dish I take anywhere this winter, will involve chicken 🙂

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There are few things that I love more than saving money. Except possibly (ok definitely) seeing my kids smiling and having fun! Enter : All Kids Stuff Sale. Pretty much the best thing ever for cheap thrifty parents.

It is basically a giant, amazingly organized garage sale, with some quality control. (They really don’t sell junk stuff) Priced somewhere between garage sales and chain re-sale shops (like Once upon a child). I have found that especially with baby/kids things getting something new is really overrated. The kids don’t use something long enough (in general) to make it worth the outrageous price that a lot of retailers put on the item simply because it is labeled “baby”. I went tonight and struck gold! Here is how I do it.

1. I sorted through all the kids clothes last week to see where they are lacking. (Alex only needs snow pants, Kalea some
more 6-9 or 9-12mo stuff. More on this later)
2. Jason and I talk about and compile a list of what we think the kids need, so I have a plan of attack going in.
3. I get there an hour before the doors open to the sale so I can get a front spot in the line.
4. First place I head is if I have any major items on my list (like a pack n play, stroller or crib.) This time my “big item” was outdoor toys.
5. If something even makes me think about it and it is a “big item” I grab the tag off of it (claiming it as mine, even if I can’t lug it around the whole sale) I can always put a purchase back.
6. I always go in with a budget and keep a running tally (roughly) in my head.
7. I re-evaluate all my purchases before I check out.
8. My general rule of thumb on pricing is : if I can’t make it cheaper, I will buy it. If I haven’t seen it cheaper I will buy it.

9. Unless there is a major clothing item (like a winter coat) I don’t purchase any clothes till Saturday. That is their half price day. There are soooooo many clothes that it is easier to even look for clothes when they have been kinda picked over.

So here is what I got last night:

All my finds

      

They will cook lots of yummy meals with this!

Some pretty cool inside toys.

Some pretty cool inside toys

Two wall hangings with matching bedroom set.

All in all I got : Play kitchen, lots of play food/dishes, outside swing, two baby dolls, baby basket, head bands for Kalea, play lawn mower, Little Tikes car, complete bedroom suite (including 2 twin quilts and 2 wall hangings), somewhere around 15 match box cars, somewhere around 10+ animal “action figures”

For a grand total of: $64.00.

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I have just a few more things to finish up in the nursery (finish binding my quilt, finish one more bumper, and put away all my baby’s adorable little clothes and things) but I thought I would share a quick update on the *almost* finished nursery.

My secret diaper storage, cleverly hidden behind the crib.

My secret diaper storage, cleverly hidden behind the crib.

Extra storage for clothes and bedding etc.

Extra storage for clothes and bedding etc.

I had gotten these storage crates as a graduation present (a few years back) and love them. I said something to Jason about setting them up. And he came up with the idea of hanging them on the wall. They are all independent of eachother so if we need to move one we can without moving the others. Plus I think it looks really cool how he has it set up. (Great job Jason!!!)

All the nursery furniture in place

All the nursery furniture in place

We got the crib and mattress at once upon a child. The crib is in AWESOME condition, not a scratch on it. And the mattress was a nice Serta. All together we got it for $150.00. And the changing tabel I got at the All kids stuff sale.  For $15.00

The bumpers I made for the crib :-)

The bumpers I made for the crib 🙂

I got my bumpers (well one anyway) done for the crib. My sis Karissa takes total credit for the  frog theme because she is the one that found the fabric and inspired the theme. (Nice taste K) I kinda had to make up my own pattern but I think that it turned out OK 😉

Some bibs that I made.

Some bibs that I made.

Blocks that I made.

Blocks that I made.

These are just a few more of the little crafts I have made. Two of the blocks have little bells in them. And the one with ABC on it, I made out of some scrap  terry cloth from the bibs. I had some fun with these, and after I finish a few more pressing projects I’m going to make some more of both 🙂

If you want to make more projects like these, I found the patterns here. You can save a TON of money by making your own things, and buying second hand. I am just about ready to add up the total of what our nursery expenditure has been. I’ll post it when we do.

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 More has been done in preparation for Sully to arrive. 


He has a few toys and things. For Christmas Krunkle R, Auntie D and cousin A got him little rattles and things. And my mom and dad gave him/me “Goodnight Moon” which was my favorite book when I was little. Mom and Dad read it to me nearly every night.

I found this adorable flannel quilt top at JoAnn’s. (Of course on sale and coupons, so I think it will end up costing about $16!!) I  got a soft yellow (like the stars in the frog background) flannel for backing. Jason, mom and dad helped put it in my grandma’s baby quilt frame. I can’t wait till it is done. 
We found an area rug at Wal-mart for cheap so now we have carpeting in the nursery.

And this is probably my favorite find,. This hamper we originally saw on Home Depot’s website for $12.00. While we were in Wisconsin we were walking around Menards and saw the exact same hamper marked down to $5.oo. We thought it was pretty cute so we picked it up!
We actually have a little more done since these pictures were taken. Like getting the cradle out, getting a dresser top changing table and getting some diapers. (We got one 92 ct of the size 1, thinking that we don’t know how big the baby will be when he is born but he probably won’t be under 8lbs for too long so we didn’t want to risk getting a pack of  newborns.)
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Two of the four walls in the nursery are glazed cement block wall. Very practical for a basement. Not very soft and nursery like for a baby. We decided instead of dry walling and painting, or painting glazed block, we would try something a little different. I dreamed up this odd idea of covering the walls with fabric instead of paint. It is a little more versatile for us. After we move out I can take the curtains and use them as curtains for windows, or turn it into a quilt, or whatever I dream up!!!!


Here is my inspiration. The long wall to the left when you walk in the room will be the solid blue color. (You should have seen the lady at the cutting table when I told her I needed 8 yards of the solid blue) The green and blue plaid will cover the short back wall. That’s the other reason I wanted to use fabric. I can be way more creative with it than I could have been with painting.

My sister found this fabric, I thought it was totally cute. The colors match perfectly, and the froggies are adorable! I will use this to make bumpers for the crib and other little items around the room. It is flannel and it feels very comfy. I would like to pull out little bits of orange/yellow and accent as well.
Here is what it all looks like together.

Cut twice, measure once…. right?

I did a simple rolled edge around 3 of the sides. Then did a 1 1/2″ hem. Then we are going to put gromets in the top and either hang from hooks along the top of the room, or string a line and thread it through the gromets. Jason hammered some of the gromets in tonight. I have two of the curtains done!!! This is going much quicker than I thought it would… hopefully it continues this way!

 This is what the back wall looks like now that the curtains are done. 

Oh yeah, and with coupons and gift cards, I spent around $25 out of pocket. I would have spent more than that on paint alone!

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One of the staples of every family with a baby is a stroller. Unfortunately one of the other things that most families with a baby have in common, is a slim budget. And those strollers are expensive!!!! One of the ways we decided to get around the cost was to shop on e-bay. We found the following stroller…



This was bought by a grandma who ended up using it only a few times. (The wheels look barely worn and the fabric is in great shape) It folds simply with one hand, reclines, and has a nice storage basket under the seat. We figured blue and green was fairly safe for boy or girl, but it will definitely work now that we found out we are having a boy!

The best part was the price. The asking price was only $10.00 and with shipping we ended up paying around $30.00 for a gently used stroller. I was pretty happy with that purchase 🙂

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Since we heard the baby’s heart beat we have decided it is “safe” to start purchasing some need-to-haves. My sister-in-law told me about a local baby store that is going out of business. Since I am always on the look out for sweet deals I decided to check it out. From my experience, I have come up with some guidelines for getting the best deal possible.

1. Scope out and ask around. I went in last week and looked at what they had. I took a pen and paper and made notes of items that were of interest to me. Everything in the store was 25% off. So I wrote down the items, and the prices, then went home without buying anything. I asked my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law about what good prices are for the items I had written down. That way I could narrow it down to what I really wanted to get.

2. Just because it says sale doesn’t mean its a deal. This is why I asked around before I bought. Some things really were decent (like a toddler to infant bath tub for $9) Other things really weren’t a deal at all. (Like a bebe pod infant seat for $35). But since I am not familiar with baby pricing I did some research, so I didn’t get sucked in to spending more than I needed to just because I saw the sign “sale”.

3. Prioritize needs over wants. Think ahead. What is something that you are really going to need. What can your baby not adequately survive without? Those adorable baby bumpers, and wall hangings really are cute, but are they needed. Spend money on the needed things first, then think about what you can get as shower gifts, then get whatever you really really want with left over money.

4. Don’t fall for fancy trimmings. I walked into the store tonight (for the second time) and the owner remembered me. I picked up a fisher price infant to toddler aquarium bathtub. It was quite adorable. Originally priced at $24 at this shop (other places had it retailing at $30) then 25% off of that dropped it down to $18. I was happy with this price, saving $12 on typical retail price. But before I checked out I saw a table that was marked down to 50% off. On it was also an infant to toddler tub. It was a First Year brand. Original price $18, but at 50% off it was only $9. Before I purchased either tub, I compared the two.

The First Years brand

The Fisher Price Brand

As you can see the Fisher Price brand is flashier, and could be quite tempting. But when it comes right down to it, the only real difference between the two tubs was the 3 bath toys that came with the Fisher Price one. They both had rounded plastic bodies, they both had soft rubber grips/cushions for the toddler, they both had plugs in the bottom to let water out and they both had soft mesh infant attachment. The Fisher price had patterned material and the First Years one had plain material and of course the lack of toys. Practically speaking, babies won’t play with toys in the tub, nor do they care if their are fish on their seats or not. So I decided to spend $9 and get an infant to toddler bath tub 🙂

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