Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A few photos

My computer is acting funny so I was not able to put pictures in yesterdays post but I still wanted to share a few pictures, so here they are!

Here is my little boy in all his cloth diapered fluffiness!  He is wearing a Flip one-size hybrid type diaper in Twilight with a stay-dry insert.  I love the Flip diapers, so easy, trim and no leaks!  Kelly's Closet (located in South Paris, Maine, see right column for link!) carries this brand.  They run frequent deals that if you spend a certain amount of money, they will throw in a free diaper.  Right now (ending tomorrow) if you spend $79 you will get a free diaper with a guaranteed value of at least $22!  They also have free shipping on orders over $49. 























Here is a shot at some of the baby food I made recently, apple/pear/blueberry, so yummy!


















And just because he is so cute...


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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You can be green and save green!

I don't necessarily consider myself a very green person, but I do like it when something I already do has added environmental benefits.  I like these things even more when it has an impact on my wallet, no matter how small.

Some of the biggest things that I do have come about because of my son.  The three biggest being, breastfeeding, homemade baby food and cloth diapers.

I think I always knew that I would breastfeed my children.  Not only do I feel that this is what is best for them but it is also FREE!  This was something that I really had to work for in the beginning.  Because my son was early he had a hard time latching and therefore, I had to pump and feed him with a bottle.  He eventually caught on and we no longer need bottles!  I understand that there are sometimes circumstances where breastfeeding is very difficult or even impossible and other mothers make the choice not to breastfeed and I feel that there is nothing wrong with using formula.  I give those momma's props for being able to get up in the middle of the night and to be awake enough to fix a bottle.  I had to do that for the first few weeks when I was pumping and to me that is a lot harder than the alternative!

Homemade baby food was not something I really thought about until I was pregnant with my son.  I have always really liked to cook and baby food is one of the easiest things that you can make.  I liked the idea that I would know what my baby was eating and where it came from.  I also liked that once he was ready to transition to regular food, the food wasn't going to taste any different from what he had been eating from day one, it was just going to be in bigger chunks.  The Today Show had a segment one morning where Norah O'Donnell and her husband Chef Geoff Tracy were promoting their book "Baby Love" which is all about food for babies and toddlers.  It was during this segment that I learned how much money you can save making your own baby food.  Commercial baby food costs around $.20 an ounce where as homemade baby food is typically under $.10 an ounce.  That is half the cost!  Making my own food doesn't really take that much time either.  I can spend less than a hour and have 2 weeks worth of food for my son.  You can do that while you are waiting for your dinner to cook in the oven!

Cloth diapering is NEVER something that I saw myself doing.  I knew of a few people who cloth diapered their children and honestly I didn't get it!  Why would anyone want to wash pee and poop off of anything when it is just as easy to throw it away?  (Writing that now, I can see how bad that sounds.)  It wasn't until I realized how much disposable diapers cost, how much trash they produce and how much stink they make that I started doing some research.  I found that there were a lot of advantages to cloth diapers.  After doing the math I figured out that it would cost roughly $1500 for 2.5 years of diapers, and most kids are not potty trained by 2 and a half.  You can get a good stash of cloth diapers that will last until potty training for under $200!  These calculations are just for the diapers, it does not include all the other diaper related stuff (wipes, creams, disposal fees, detergents, etc.).  Disposable diapers produce a lot of trash.  We probably doubled our weekly trash when we were using disposable diapers.  That is some HEAVY trash too!  Unless you take every single dirty disposable diaper outside, you are going to smell them.  I was surprised how little dirty cloth diapers smell.  Even in an open wet bag, I can only smell them if i stick my nose in the bag.  Washing the diapers is not nearly as bad as I had imagined it would be either.  It only requires a little extra work and I actually find that I would rather do diaper laundry than regular laundry.  The last advantage and one that I was surprised by the most, is how darn cute they are!  There are so many cute diapers out there and unlike disposable diapers, they don't get saggy!  I love my little fluffy bottomed boy!

I have a new found love for being green and I love that it is allowing me to save a bit of green in the process!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Patience

"Good things come to those who wait"
 A big part of saving money is having patience.  You can save a lot of money if you buy what you want or need when it is on sale.  The hard part is not letting your money burn a hole through your pocket.  If you can wait for something to go on sale, you are often rewarded.  The great thing about social networks (facebook, twitter, blogs, etc.) is that if you "like" or "follow" your favorite stores and brands, you will be one of the first in line to hear about their special sales and coupons.  A lot of websites also have newsletters that you can sign up for.  These newsletters are e-mailed on a regular basis and often have promotional deals associated with them, free shipping, coupons, etc.  The other way to find out about special sales is to be persistent and check their website often.  A lot of these special deals fall around holidays or special anniversaries.  So with only a little bit of effort and some patience, you might be able to save your self some big bucks!

Don't forget to "follow" my blog and "like" me on facebook so that I can help you find those good deals!

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: The First Swim



















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Friday, March 25, 2011

Quick Deals

Barnes and Noble is having a deal right now to get a year subscription to Parents Magazine for $1!  Just use the coupon code K4M8W9D at checkout.  This offer is good until March 30th.  If you link to Barnes & Noble through ebates you will get 4% cash back, which is only $.04 or so but every penny counts!

Kanga Care posted the details to their deal last night on Facebook.  They added a second offer for those on a tighter budget.  The sale is only for 2 hours, from 12 pm-2 pm MST (2 pm-4 pm for those of us on the east coast).  The codes are as follows: use coupon code HBS2FB for $38.13 off your purchase of $80 or more and use coupon code HBA5FB for $19.06 off your purchase of $40 or more.  Click here to see the complete details.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Big Reward for Being a "Fan"

Head over to Kanga Care's Facebook page and become a fan!  Today at 3pm (MST), they will take their fan count and multiply that number by .01 (which is 1 cent for every fan) and offer a coupon code for that much off an order placed on their website tomorrow (March 25th)!  Right now they are up to 2,757 fans, thats $27.57 off your order!  The details and coupon code will be posted at 6pm (MST).  Check out their website here.

Kanga Care is the home of Rump-a-Rooz diapers.  They have some really cute prints in both pocket diapers and diaper covers.  With the number of fans right now, that equals at least one free diaper!  They also sell baby gear such as Boba baby carriers, Sophie the Giraffe, Sleepy Wraps, aden + anais, and more!   Have a great day and have fun shopping!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My crafty weekend

I spent this past weekend at my first scrapbooking event with some girl friends and I had a blast!  Unfortunately, I ended the weekend with a 24 hour flu bug, I spent Monday recovering and re-gaining my energy and I spent yesterday catching up on housework.  Now its Wednesday and the week is already half over!  Back to this weekend though...

I have been scrapbooking since I was in middle school but I have never scrapbooked with anyone else.  This weekend was the first time that I was able to see how other people use their pictures to tell their story.  I was surrounded by women who love to scrapbook and as I walked into the room that we would be using for the weekend, I found myself very intimidated by the talent that was in the room!  As our group of 6 started to get set up, I realized that not only was there a lot of talent in that room, there was a lot of talent sitting with me at that table!  There were scrapbooks of families, children, birthdays and vacations everywhere I looked.  As I settled in, I was reminded that everyone has their own style and there isn't a right or wrong way to do it.  Over the weekend, I learned a few new techniques and how to use some new tools and I picked up a really cute new album for my baby boy!


















I finished 10 pages and got a really good start on my baby's first year!  Here are a few of the pages that I put together.




















































I had a great time and look forward to being able to do something like it again!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Earn $5 to Amazon.com

Viewpoints is a website that has user reviews on just about anything you can think of.  They occationally reward you for writing reviews.  Right now, if you write 5 qualifying reviews before March 21st, they will send you a code for a $5 gift certificate to Amazon.com!  Check it out here.

You will have to set up an account and then write 5 reviews of at least 700 characters (not words) in any of the following categories: home & garden, family & pets (excluding toys), health & beauty, kitchen (excluding food & drink), or computers & electronics.  Just an FYI: You will not get a confirmation that you have completed the 5 reviews, you just have to wait about 2-3 weeks and they will e-mail you the certificate code.  I have already earned 2 rewards, one for $11 and one for $10!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Benefits of Baby Magazines

While I was pregnant with my son, I was bombarded with multiple oportunities to subscribe to baby and parenting magazines.  I ended up with a subscription to Parenting ($12 a year) as well as Parents (for $1 a year!).  The thing I didn't know at the time was how much money these magazines could save me.  Almost every month, my magazines have coupons in them.  Almost always, there is a $10 off or 20% off coupon for Amazon.  Using these coupons as well as my Amazon Mom subscription (for more information on this program, click here), I have been able to save a lot of money on baby stuff.  There are usually coupons for other baby related stores as well (Diapers.com, Gymboree, Pottery Barn Kids, etc.).

Along with my Parenting subscription, I was able to sign up for Parenting Privileges (free with paid subscription).  Parenting Privileges is like ebates, you start at the Parenting Privileges website and route to another website through them to make purchases and earn cash back.  Parenting Privileges is not just cash back at baby stores either, it has a lot of the same stores as ebates.  I always check both ebates and Parenting Privileges to see where I get a higher percentage of cash back.  I have already more than earned enough money to pay for my subscription.  If you get your subscriptions through Magazines.com, ebates will give you 26% cash back on your subsriptions.  As a bonus, I have seen Magazines.com as the daily double twice in the last few months as well, making your cash back 52%!

There are a couple of free baby and parenting magazines out there as well, American Baby and Baby Talk.  The free subscriptions are at the bottom of those websites.

Happy reading...and happy shopping!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wetbag Tutorial

As I promised on Friday, I made a couple of wetbags this weekend and took some pictures of the process.  I ended up making two travel sized wetbags.  The larger of the two is 12"x16", it would be perfect for a weekend.  The smaller is 8"x10" and would be great for a day trip or a wet swimsuit or two.  These can be machine washed (zipper open) and line dried.  They can occasionally be machined dried but they will last longer if it is only once in a while.

What you will need:
  • Fabric for the outside (2 pieces cut 9"x11" for the smaller bag or 13"x17" for the larger one)
  • PUL fabric for the inside (cut the same as above)
  • Zipper (9" for small bag or 14" for large bag)
  • Matching (or contrasting) thread
  • Ribbon for zipper pull
1. Once your material is cut, place your inner material right side up on your work surface and lay the zipper (also right side up) along the top side.  Then lay your outer material right side down on top of that, lining up all of the top edges.



































2. Sew along that top edge so that the zipper is sewn in between the inner and outer layers.  Once sewn together, open the layers up so that the right sides of the material are showing.

3. To make a more finished, clean looking edge, top stitch through all the layers.


















4.  Place your other piece of inner material right side up on your work surface.  Place your zippered piece on top of that, also right side up.  Put your outside piece right side down on top of everything with the top edges all lined up.  Repeat steps 2 and 3.


















5. Open up the zipper half way (this will be important when you turn the bag inside out)

6. Open up the outer material, and line them up, right sides together and do the same with the inner material.  Sew along three edges, leaving the short side of the inner material open.

7. Turn the bag inside out so that you can see all of the right sides of the material.  Make sure to push the corners out so that you have a sharp corner.


















8. Fold in the open edges of the inner material and sew shut.  


















9.  Push the inner material into the outer material, paying special attention to the corners.  Zip shut and add your ribbon to the zipper so that it is easier to open.  You are done!


















Please feel free to add comments with any questions and I will try my best to clarify anything that I can.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Friday, March 11, 2011

Prep work and brainstorming

Today is a lazy, rainy Friday so I just started my prep work for the wetbags I want to make this weekend.  I ended up with enough material for a medium sized travel bag and two small day bags.  Here it is all cut out:


















I have a few baby boy fabrics that I love but I am not sure what I am going to do with them yet (blanket with the quilted one maybe?)


















If all goes well this weekend, I will have pictures to post on Monday on how I made my bags!  Wish me luck and have a good weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today's craft project: Hanging wetbag

After searching online for a wetbag for my cloth diapers and not really finding what I wanted or what I wanted to spend, I decided to make my own.  I found some material that I liked at Joann's and they even had a coordinating PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric, which makes it waterproof).  I figured that since I wanted a few different bags (1-2 for my sons room and 1-2 for traveling), that it would be chaper to make them myself.  The PUL was a little difficult to work with but it wasn't too bad.

Today was just a test run at making one so I didn't take any pictures of the process but I will be making a smaller version of it this weekend and will try to take some pictures to post.  Wet bags aren't only for cloth diapers, they can be used for wet swimsuits and towels, they can also be kept on hand in case your child has an accident while out and about.  They can be thrown in the washing machine to be cleaned and hung to dry (they can be put in the dryer every once in a while to help seal the PUL but they will last longer if they aren't put in the dryer every time they are washed).

Here is the final product:























This is the bag opened so that you can see the PUL inside:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Online scrapbooking and more

My blog is now a week old!  In honor of that, I would like to share with you one of my favorite things, Shutterfly!  I love to scrapbook but I really don't have a great place to do it anymore.  I found photo books at Shutterfly and now I can scrapbook online!  Shutterfly products are high quality and the website is easy to use.



















I have made 5 photo books since my son was born, and I have a few more that I need to make!  There are lots of options for layouts as well.  Here is a look at the inside of one of my books:


















If you are new to Shutterfly, you get 50 free 4"x6" prints just for signing up.  You have free, unlimited photo storage as well.  I am always getting coupons from them in my e-mail for free shipping, 20%-30% off, free cards, and sometimes free books!  They also have a program that will give you the option to share your creation on your website for a free $25 gift card.  You get 8% cash back at Shutterfly through ebates.

They also have share sites that allow you to post pictures to a website that you can share with friends and family.  You can protect this website with a password so that you can control who can see the photos.  This is a great option for sharing photos with those who don't use Facebook (which is how I normally share my photos).

If you didn't already know about Shutterfly, check it out and have fun!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

DIY Wedding: Escort Cards

















One of the easiest projects I did for my wedding was my escort cards.  The picture above is what they looked like set up at my wedding.  I used the white cards for the women and the blue-green cards for the men.  The colored stars you see in the corner of each card told the waiters what meal each person had ordered.

The escort cards were made out of 3" x 3" card stock, folded in half.  The best tool I ever invested in was a paper cutter.  This project would have been one of the most time consuming projects I did had I not had it.



















I used it to cut my paper into the 3" x 3" squares but I was also able to use it to fold the cards in half.  I never really knew what a time saver this would be until I used it.  The folding blade (the black one) is blunt and just makes a slight indent in the paper and allows you to fold the paper cleanly (which can be hard to do with thicker paper).

I used the same snowflake stamp I used on my invitations to cut out snowflakes in both white and blue-green.  I used a glue dot to put a small crystal in the middle of each snowflake and then another glue dot to attach the snowflake to the escort card.  I used a ultra fine point sharpie to write the names on the card and I had the name and number of the table written on the back of the card.

This is what the final product looks like up close:





















Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, March 7, 2011

Big deals for little kids

After spending yesterday at a baby shower for one of my good friends, I have decided to make this post all about babies.

I will start with Amazon Mom.  This free program from Amazon is not only for Moms though, you could be a Dad, Grandparent or really anyone who might have a child in their life.  Through this program you get 3 months of free 2-day shipping on most anything sold on the Amazon website.  For every $25 you spend in a single order from the baby store, you will get an additional month of free shipping, you can earn up to an additional 9 months (for a total of a year of free 2-day shipping).    You also get 30% off select diapers and wipes when you sign up for subscribe and save.

The next mom, baby and kid website is Zulily.  This website posts new deals everyday from around a dozen different companies.  These deals are short time deals that are usually around 40% off regular retail price.  Sign up here.  You can also get 3.5% cash back through ebates.

babyearth is website that sells baby items but they have what they call Gaga deals that are posted every hour.  The deal gets better as the hour goes on, but there is a limited number of items so the longer you wait the higher the chance that the item will sell out.  Don't forget to shop at babyearth through ebates to get 6% cash back.

A few other baby deal websites are Eco Baby Buys, BabySteals.com,  and MamaBargains.com.

Friday, March 4, 2011

DIY Wedding: Invitations

This will be the first of a few posts about my DIY wedding.  Everything that was made out of paper at my wedding, was made and designed by me.  I had a few non-paper projects as well.  I was able to have everything that I wanted without having to spend the money to have someone custom make them for me.

After lots of research, I could not find a wedding invitation that I loved, that was also within my budget.  I really liked the look of pocket invitations and finally decided that it wouldn't be that hard to make my own.  I found my pockets at envelopperinc.com.  I also ordered my envelopes from them.  I figured that since the invitation was kind of like an envelope on its own, I didn't need an inner envelope (money saved right there!).  I designed the rest myself using Microsoft Word and had them printed at Staples (if you have Staples Rewards, you get 10% back on printing services).

Here is a picture of the pocket as it was purchased:

This is a picture of all the parts before they were assembled:

I used a snowflake punch on the corner of my invitation page to add a little bit of the winter theme.  The invitation page and the blue-green page behind it were attached using Glue Dots, which can be found any most craft stores.

The final product when it is opened up:


I put a coordinating ribbon around the whole thing before I put it in a silver envelope:

The ribbon was attached to itself using a Glue Dot and then a snowflake sticker was added to hide the raw edge of the ribbon.

I was very happy with the final result and ended up with a custom invitation made exactly how I had envisioned.  If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask and I will try to go into more detail.

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Savings on the essentials

I frequently use diapers.com now that I have my son.  They have a large selection of baby gear and baby essentials.  The baby registry on this site is great as well.  For every $500 that is spent from your registry, you earn a $50 credit.  You also get a 10% off completion coupon after your baby is born.  They have free 2 day shipping on orders over $49.  If you have never ordered from them before you can use the following code at checkout to receive a 15% off coupon: DMSC7828.

This code can also be applied to orders from their sister sites soap.com and beautybar.com.  Soap.com has a large selection of, you guessed it, soap!  They have household products, hair care, bath and body products, vitamins, over the counter medicines, etc.  They have free 1-2 day shipping for orders over $39.  Beautybar.com has skin and hair products, makeup, fragrances, etc.  They are the newest addition and currently have a few promotions, free 1-2 day shipping over $25, if you enter BBGift15 at checkout you will get $15 to spend on your first order over $50 and they send 3 free samples with every order!

Don't forget to link to this site through ebates.com to recieve 1%-5.5% back on your purchase!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Online shopping coupons

Before you check out when shopping online, check retailmenot.com first.  They have the most comprehensive list I have seen for online coupon codes.  They also have a few printable coupons for use in store.  I hardly ever pay full price for anything that I buy online!

Earn money with Ebates!

Here is the first of many ways to earn/save some money when shopping online: ebates!  Ebates is a website that rewards you for shopping online.  With ebates, you get a certain percentage back on your purchases when you link to stores through their website.  They also have coupon codes posted for some stores.  When you sign up, you get a $10 bonus reward.  When you tell friends about ebates, as I am doing now, you get rewarded as well.  Everyday, they have a daily double.  The daily double is a website where you can get twice (sometimes more) the rebate for purchases made that day.  I just started using this website a few months ago and I have already received, what they call, my first Big Fat Check.  They have good customer service too.  There was a purchase that I had made that was not showing up on my account and when I contacted them about it, the purchase was credited to my account within a few days.  Have fun shopping!  Check them out here!

And so it begins...

I am new to blogging and am starting this with a little gentle nudging from a good friend.  I am always sharing money saving ideas, crafty ideas and diy projects with her and she suggested that others might find them helpful as well.  So here it is, my first blog, "Living Life and Saving Money"!

I guess I will start with a little bit about myself and what you might expect to see in future posts.  I am married to my best friend who I have been with for over 8 years.  I am also a stay at home mom to our son, a handsome, 8-month old.  I love crafts but my favorites are scrapbooking, sewing and cooking/baking!  Most of the things at my wedding were made and designed by me and I have since helped other friends make things for their weddings as well.  Ever since I have become a stay at home mom, I have made it part of my job to find the best deal possible for anything we need or want.  I figure that if I am not bringing in an income I should do my best to make my husbands income go as far as we can stretch it.

With all that said, that is where my blog name came from, this blog will be about easy ways to save money without having to change how you live your life.  It will give you ideas for how to be crafty in your own life, it will show you ways to make things that you might otherwise buy with only a little added effort and it will help you save money in the process.

I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.
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