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  • 03/07/12--09:36: Our Cloth Diaper Stash
  • Even when we were trying to conceive I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers.  When we finally got pregnant I started doing research (basically asking a million questions to one of my BFFs) and decided to go the simple route and try prefolds and covers. Prefolds are the cloth diapers you probably think of- the old fashioned ones your grandmother probably used.  The covers are a lot easier to use now and have snaps or aplix (velcro) that secure the diaper on the baby and keep the baby’s clothes dry.  There were many benefits for using prefolds: 1. They are cheap compared to other diapers like pocket diapers and all-in-ones.  I couldn’t afford $20 per diaper that would get used once and have to get washed. $1.50, I can handle that.  If one gets ruined, no big deal.  If I ruin a $20 diaper, I would cry. 2. They are natural cotton fibers, which come clean easier and rarely have stink issues.  Easy to take care of and wash! 3. There are many sizes to choose from, which makes [...]

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  • 04/28/12--09:01: I’m a Recovering Tightwad
  • I’m starting to realize that before I had a baby, I was pretty much a tightwad.  Since my baby’s been born, I’ve loosened up a little.  For instance, I’ve purchased a few new outfits for her that didn’t come from a thrift store.  I’ve purchased new cloth diapers that I didn’t really need just because I wanted to try them or they are cute (I can also re-sell them if I don’t like them, or when I’m done with them).  We’ve used the dishwasher and dryer more times than I’d like.  We probably aren’t saving quite as much money as we could (but we’re still saving). I’m happy.  Spending a little money on things that are important to me makes me happy.  Hoarding my money doesn’t do me any good if I’m miserable.  One of my 2012 financial goals was to find a nice balance, and I’m still working hard to achieve that.  It’s a constant struggle for me, because most of the time I think I should live as cheaply as possible in order to save the most amount [...]

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  • 06/21/12--08:25: Miscellaneous Thursday
  • For the past 5 months I’ve been a stay at home mom.  There are a lot of things that I’ve noticed over these past few months about our money spending habits.  Before I quit my job, Mr. Money and I enjoyed eating out frequently.  It was our hobby I guess.  Well, after we had the baby we’d find ourselves so tired that we’d grab take out or just go out for dinner.  Looking over our budget and bank balance, I’ve realized that’s got to change.  We just can’t afford to go out to eat like we used to and still be able to meet our savings goals and stay on budget.  I’m going to make a conscious effort to meal plan a bit better and make sure that we aren’t just being lazy when we go out to eat.  Maybe it would help to have a set night to go out to dinner? I get the moving itch every few weeks or so.  It is hard having a baby and not being around family!  The reason is probably not what [...]

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    As you can imagine, we received many gifts when we found out we were expecting Penny and also after her birth.  I’ve said before that I didn’t want a ton of baby “things” and that still holds true.  However, my mother never got that memo (well, she did but she’s an excited grandmother) and went completely overboard.  I appreciate her gesture, but it is overwhelming to go through numerous garbage bags full of baby clothes and toys multiple times.  I’ve gone through and donated items to some less fortunate mamas and that makes me feel good.  Now that Penny is 5 months old I’m starting to go through and evaluate what we want to keep for future babies.  Here are some of the things we have, and what we plan on doing with them. -Baby swing: keeping.  Penny still uses it, and it was a shower gift brand new, so it stays.  The only time it gets used is when I shower, and then it’s presence is invaluable. - Pack N Play:keeping. We’ve used this as a changing table and [...]

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  • 07/25/12--07:23: Boba Carrier 3g Review
  • I love wearing Penny, and to be honest, sometimes it’s the only way I’m able to get things done! Either she’s fussy and just wants to be held, or I want to keep her from getting into trouble while I try to do laundry or clean. Babywearing helps me in so many ways, and it also benefits Penny! I’ve tried a few different styles of baby carriers so far (it’s addicting!) and one of my favorites is the Boba 3g. Here are some of the features I love about this soft structured carrier (SSC). Picture courtesy of Boba -It’s super easy to use. Once you adjust it to your personal settings, you just clip two buckles (one at the waist and one at the shoulders) and it is secure. My dad has used the Boba 3g Carrier, and you just let out the straps (or take them in) and it’s good to go for another person. -The comfort is amazing. My mother was skeptical about the Boba Carrier hurting her back.  She tried it and loved it!  I have worn [...]

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  • 09/25/12--10:42: Thinking About Christmas
  • We’re exactly three months away from Christmas.  Yikes.  I’m already planning because this is my first Christmas as a stay-at-home mom, and my lack of income is going to make it more interesting to purchase Christmas gifts.  I’m sure we’ll be fine though, and it will just spur me to be more creative.  Here are some things I’m working on to make our Christmas season a good one without over spending! 1. Make gifts. This is an obvious.  I need to get a move on this because if I’m going to knit things, it is going to take time.  And with an 8 month old baby, I’m going to have to find time first!  My plan is to knit a ton of dish cloths while I’m riding in the car and when I have some down time.  I think that will be the easiest.  I’d also like to knit some socks for people and maybe some new cute things for Penny. 2. Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a great way to make a little extra money for me.  What I do is [...]

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  • 11/20/12--05:39: My Husband Lost his Job
  • So, this is a post I never thought I would be writing.  After seven years of working for the same company, Mr. Money lost his job.  I think we’re both still in shock and will try to figure out what is the best plan for our family.  I am so thankful that we have always been able to live on not a lot of money, so it’s not like we’re going to feel a huge lifestyle downgrade. I hope he is able to find a job quickly and that it is even better than the last one he had.  Benefits would be amazing!  Right now we have to pay for our really crappy health insurance ourselves and it’s expensive and doesn’t cover a lot.  Better health insurance and a 401k plan would be amazing.  While we’re at it, I’ll take good hours too. I’m trying to come up with some ideas to make money from home for myself.  I could start babysitting now that Mr. Money is home to help but after he goes back to work it may be [...]

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    I had to unsubscribe from the feed of one of my favorite home decorating blogs this morning.  I’ve been reading it for years, but lately I’ve noticed that their pictures of beautiful rooms and neat projects was making me feel like my house was greatly inferior.  Years ago I was embarrassed of my house, and while the feeling is still there sometimes, for the most part I am proud of how I’ve fixed up and decorated.  It really feels like home now, and I love the size and layout.  I have such a hard time reading blogs and looking at pictures online and not comparing them to my house.  It’s hard to picture the houses not picture-perfect (and I’m sure that most of the houses aren’t immaculate all the time).  I realized that by reading all these house blogs I was setting unrealistic expectations of my own house and had to change something.  It was stressing me out when anything in my house was out of place or dirty.  With Penny, it’s harder for me to do things than in [...]

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  • 12/12/12--14:02: The Bare Bones Budget
  • Obviously, with Mr. Money unemployed, we’re adopting a bare bones budget.  Here’s our budget and what we’ve done so far: Mortgage- $793.00 (Can’t change this) Escrow- $220.00 (Can’t change this) Gas & Electric- $140.00- Since we budget this ourselves, we currently have a surplus.  If things get really bad I can use up all the money in our electricity account and start contributing again when Mr. Money has a job.  I’ve started line-drying all the clothes and we’ve turned the thermostat down a little.  Hopefully those two things will help. Car Insurance- $92.00- I can shop around for quotes but since we bundle our homeowners insurance with it, I don’t know how much cheaper I can get it. Groceries- $300.00 I cut this a lot, and it makes me sad.  I am hoping we can actually make it on $300 a  month for groceries. Cell Phone- $43.00- Mr. Money is going to take over my phone since he’s losing his company phone.  I’ll go without until I get a prepaid. Cable, Phone, Internet- $145.00- I’m going to call to see [...]

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  • 02/08/13--09:54: An Update
  • It’s been way too long, and I owe you guys an update. -Mr. Money got a job! He is the chef of a restaurant again, working noon to midnights, but he has benefits! It is awesome.  We are so, so thankful.  We were able to spend Thanksgiving with my family and my sister came to spend Christmas with us so that was nice. -Penny celebrated her first birthday last month.  I cannot believe my baby is a year old!  She is now walking and babbling and busy being cute. -I’m hoping we get a tax refund this year.  Hopefully with my lack of income and us having Penny will help.  I’m confused on how many exemptions Mr. Money should claim, so I’m trying to figure that out. I have so many things I’d like to blog about, but it is so hard to find time when caring for a baby basically by myself.  I’m so thankful that Penny is such a joy to be with.  We spend  a lot of time at home playing with toys and hanging out. I’ll [...]

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  • 02/25/13--08:39: 2012 Goals Update
  • I realize that we’re almost two months into 2013, but I’d still like to go over our 2012 goals and recap how we did. I also need to set up some 2013 goals! 1. Set up a savings account for the baby. We opened a savings account with ING (now Capital One 360) for the baby a few months after she was born.  We put any birthday/gift money into it for her.  I need to research 529 plans and see if that is something we’d like to do. 2. Figure out life insurance. We have some life insurance though Mr. Money’s employer but should probably look into getting more. 3. Change beneficiaries.  Did this!  It was very easy once we got the baby’s social security number. 4. Make more money blogging/working from home. Looking back, this was quite a lofty goal.  I mainly focused on taking care of my high needs baby while trying to keep the house clean.  It was a little crazy.  Although I didn’t quite achieve this goal, I don’t feel one ounce of guilt about it. [...]

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    Over the past few months I’ve been a little more lax about spending money than I used to be.  I have had a hard time in the past spending money on fun things, and was always beating myself up about it.  I decided to be a little more laid back and it’s come back to bite me in the butt.  It’s not like we’re living paycheck to paycheck as a result of it, nor have we gone into debt, but I have noticed little habits that I’d like to nip in the bud before they get out of hand. It’s so hard because when I spend money and get fun new things (especially in the mail) it makes me so happy! Then I realize how much money I’ve spend and how I probably didn’t need that thingamajig and it makes me sad.  Luckily, I’ve noticed that this has become a problem and I’m starting to address the issue. My biggest problem is shopping as a hobby.  I’ll admit, there have been quite a few days where I’ve been bored and […]

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  • 09/03/13--03:22: Surviving a Pay Cut
  • Last November Mr. Money lost his job.  Luckily, he was able to find a great job that paid really well and actually provided benefits. Last week we received the unfortunate news that he will have to take an hourly position for 40 hours a week at a huge pay cut.  I’ve been an emotional wreck for a few days, but I’m trying to see the positive in the situation and try to do something about it.  I feel if I have a plan that will make me feel better.  Here are some of the things I’m going to be doing: -Going over our budget and getting back on the bare bones budget.    This bums me out because I liked having wiggle room, saving for retirement, and being able to pay our bills.  With Mr. Money’s new pay, we’re either going to be really close or short with being able to pay our bills.  I’ll know more once he gets that first lower paycheck. -I’m going to be working more at freelance writing to see if I an generate more […]

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    Cloth diapering is an excellent way to save money and reduce waste.  Disposable paper diapers are made with dangerous chemicals, use resources, and can take over 500 years to break down in a landfill.  Before we got pregnant, I made the decision to cloth diaper Penny for all the aforementioned reasons.  We decided to buy cotton prefold diapers and PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) diaper covers to try.  I’m very glad we did, as they worked fabulously for us while we used them.  Unfortunately, she is sensitive to wet cotton rubbing her and would get a rash so we had to switch to a different kind of cloth diaper. Flat diapers and prefolds are an excellent way to start cloth diapering.  Flat diapers are “old school” and are pieces of single layer cotton fabric measuring about 27×27 inches.  They need to be folded in a certain way before being put on the baby, and there are many different folds available.  Flat diapers are the least expensive option for cloth diapering. One option for cloth diapering is to buy 24 flats and 4-6 […]

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     For some reason, the ants this year have been especially bad in our kitchen and bedroom. I make sure all the food is put away and the counters are clean, but they still love to make their ant trails all over my house. It seems to get worse in the summer.  Annoying! We’ve been using Terro liquid ant killer, and it works really quickly, but I don’t want the chemicals in my house. I worry that Penny might get a hold of one of the traps and that wouldn’t be good. Obviously, we make sure they are out of her reach but you never know with a kid around! My mother in law mentioned that she’s had really good luck with a homemade natural ant killer.  I decided to give it a try, and it works really well!  Here’s how you make it: Ingredients: -1/2 cup of water -2 Tablespoons of borax -1 cup of white sugar Mix 1/2 cup of water, 2 Tablespoons of borax (the same kind you use in your laundry detergent recipe!), and 1 cup of […]

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    Chlorine bleach is very toxic to not only people, but it’s also bad for the environment.  Bleach releases dioxins and other chemicals in the air when you wash with it.  It’s not something you really want to have around your house if you can help it.  Unfortunately, many people use bleach as a disinfectant and brightener for clothes, as bleach has been around for many years.  It does work well, but it’s not something I want to use on a regular basis.  Every time I think of bleach and the environment, I think of the coral reefs in Australia that are losing their color.  Sad news! Fortunately, there are many alternatives to chlorine bleach, and many of them work well to disinfect and whiten whites.  Here are some eco friendly alternatives we use instead of chlorine bleach. -Sunshine.  The sun is a powerful whitener and brightener.  We hang our whites outside to dry.  Not only does it save us from having to use the dryer, which saves us money, but it also will help remove spots out of clothes.  I […]

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  • 09/26/13--03:22: Minimalism versus Frugality
  • I cannot stand having excess “things” around my house.  I like to have things organized and clean for the most part, and when we have too much crap it annoys me.  One thing that I struggle with is trying to figure out what to keep and store versus getting rid of and taking the risk of having to re-buy it eventually. My mother has been so generous in buying Penny clothes from yard sales and thrift stores.  However, she also has gone a little overboard and we’ve ended up with three ginormous tubs of clothes in the basement that Penny has outgrown.  She’s only wearing 12 month or 18 month clothes right now, so that’s a ton of clothes in newborn-9 month size! I struggle with deciding if I should keep everything in case we have another girl eventually, or just selling it and giving my mom the money since she bought it all in the first place.  The frugal side of me says it’s silly to get rid of anything because if we do have another girl she can […]

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  • 09/27/13--03:01: I Don’t Have a Cell Phone
  • I left my job at the bank in January of 2012 before Penny was born. Mr. Money was working for a restaurant and they provided him with a cell phone (an iPhone) that they paid the bill for.  When he lost his job, he obviously lost the previously paid-for cell phone plan.  This left us with a dilemma: we needed to figure out what we were going to do about our cell phone service.  Prior to him having that job, we both had Motorola Razrs (ha!) that we had on a family plan with Verizon.  The phones served their purpose and we had a basic plan. We’ve thought about starting our own business and then we could use both phones for that, but once we realized the importance of business loans we squashed that idea. Mr. Money became spoiled by the iPhone and wanted to keep the phone active.  We checked with various providers and the plans were around $80 a month, a lot more than I wanted to spend. We discussed putting both of us on a family plan […]

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    We’ve really been conscious as to where our money’s been going lately, and I’ve been taking many steps to ensure that there is little to no unnecessary spending. There are so many tips and tricks to save money, some of them easier than others; some are downright a pain-in-the-butt. Lots of things I don’t like doing just because they aggravate me or are more work but when you want to conserve as much money as possible, you do them. Here are some of the things I don’t like to do to save money. -Wash and reuse plastic freezer bags. I feel like it is hard to get these clean, but really it’s not as bad as I make it to be. They drying is the longest part- often when the outside dries I flip them inside out to get the inside to dry. One really good thing about reusing the plastic sandwich bags is that we’re keeping them out of the landfill. We do use glass reusable storage containers, but for some things, plastic freezer bags are the way to […]

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  • 11/15/13--03:04: How My Laziness Cost me $115
  • So back in 2011 I was looking for fee free IRAs. Mr. Money and I both had IRAs at a brokerage firm and the $40 annual fee was eating into our accounts, especially mine that contained around $400.  I said I was going to either move it to a new brokerage firm that had no or low annual fees or move it to ING where it could sit in an IRA savings account.  At least if I did that, I’d be avoiding the $40 annual fee. Well that didn’t happen. Penny was born, life got crazy and I didn’t even think about that IRA after that.  Until last month when I got another bill for $40. Doh.  And now the account balance was roughly $379, since they took out the $40 annual fee for last year.  So I called them up, asked about closing it and moving it over to Capital One 360 so I would avoid penalties and they reminded me of the $75 closing fee.  Yay.  So now I’m down to $264 after the annual fee and closing […]

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