Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Money Saving Tips- Baby Style

The key to saving money when purchasing baby items is to first answer these questions:

How many kids would we like to have? Will we need to reuse items with future kids or will our income be enough to buy new items, unique for each child?  This was a key question for us.  We would like to have lots of children, but we know that our income isn't going to raise drastically and we are trying to save in every area so that I can continue to stay at home in the future.  This means that most of what we purchase now will be used for a LONG time.  This may seem like a simple realization- that the crib, glider, changing table, bouncy seat, etc. will need to last awhile- but many people forget in the heat of baby registries and gender reveals that future children probably won't be the same gender as your first.  Is the crib paint or wood style suitable for a boy or girl?  A boppy cover is a simple thing to switch out for a different gender, but the stroller is a lot more expensive.  That cute pink bouncer or the train-themed high chair may be worth it for some people, but we chose to buy gender neutral big-ticket items.  Now if you really can't pass up the precious girly items, then remember that you can always sell them to consignment when a boy comes along and get a little bit of your money back... or who knows, you may have all girls!

Are there any multi-use items we could purchase to save money? Many nurseries are small and you need to find multi-use options to save on space, but it is also a great way to save a little money!  Some people already have a guest room or office set up that needs to be turned into a nursery.  Are there any of these items that can be repurposed, painted or reupholstered?  Here are a couple examples from JR's nursery:  The room was empty when we started, but we did find several yard sale/neighbor's trash items that we painted and recovered.  We needed storage space and a footrest for the glider, so I found a reasonably priced round leather ottoman that opened for storage.  He will be able to easily reach in for his toys, I can relax comfortably in the glider and the leather added a needed texture to the design of the room.  Another item was the changing table.  Originally, I was looking for a dresser that I could mount a changing pad on top to multiply storage and still have a changing station.  I couldn't find a dresser to fit in the space for my desired price, but I did find a changing table at Goodwill and baskets from Ikea to fit both needs (and in neutrals so I can use them in the future).

What is the highest priority and what would simply be nice to have if received as a gift or have an extra gift card?  This is different for every family.  Some people prefer function over design or memorable trinkets over clean organization.  Obviously a crib is a high priority, but do you want to spend the majority of your money on a large wooden 3 in 1 crib, or purchase a simple crib and spend money somewhere else.  Do you want to splurge on tiny details or spend almost all on one big piece of furniture?  I have added a list of items below that may be high priority on your list, but were the areas that we chose to save or remove from our long baby purchase list.

Wipes Warmer: Okay, not to be mean... but my baby's buns will be just fine with a regular wipe.  If he gets one, then don't I need a TP warmer? ;)  I somewhat understand trying to keep a baby sleepy in the middle of the night and not startling him with a cold wipe during a diaper change, but I didn't find it worth while.  JR may tell me different later, but I think he is just fine with me saving money in this area.  We did have a sweet friend in Louisville give us her old one, but it wouldn't fit in our suitcase so we never had the chance to try it out.

Diaper Genie: I do use cloth diapers for the majority of the time now, but for the first two months I used disposable (because they fit him better & it helped him to fit in newborn clothes longer with smaller disposable diapers).  For the times we use the disposable, I simply use the trash can (with a lid- that's key!) that we already had in the bathroom.  It takes an extra step when leaving his bedroom & during trash pick-up days, but it's worth the savings from a new trash can and the monthly cost of diaper genie specific trash bags.  Now, there is a new diaper pail {here} that looks really cool and uses regular trash bags, so if you have to purchase a trash can anyways, I would make sure it takes your regular household trash bags and not the high-priced diaper pail ones.

Crib Bedding: Bedding Sets can be extremely expensive.  I worked around this cost by buying items individually and opting out on a few pieces.  (I do have to say that this is probably a lot easier to do with a boy nursery- those girly bedding sets are pretty darn cute!) I decided that the crib did not need a skirt (I preferred a more open look) and crib bumper.  There are differing safety views on a crib bumper.  Some people feel like the babies look too tiny in a large crib without bumpers, but JR was so swaddled and cuddled that he didn't care. :)  We definitely didn't need one until he started rolling, that awkward stage where they roll but don't know how to roll in a specific direction.  I recently bought a white breathable mesh from Diapers.com when he got to that stage.  It was at least half the price of standard bumpers and cushioned just enough if he bumped his head.  I purchased a solid and a patterned sheet from Target for a cheap price and added home-sewn & PB clearance pillows to the crib (when he isn't sleeping in it) and glider to create the color scheme and feel of the room that I wanted.  There are many decorating styles than would look better with a patterned crib skirt or more detailed bedding.  A great option would be to purchase your own fabric and make your own! You don't even have to sew- a crib skirt could be done with iron-on hem tape.  If you take the gender-neutral advice from above, a great way to add colors and themes is with pillow fabric & artwork...

Artwork: Frame some pages from a vintage children's book.  Find unique frames on clearance or Goodwill, update them with paint and fill with photographs or other pieces of art.  Even a pretty fabric can easily be framed or wrapped around a cheap canvas for large scale art.  Stencil a special phrase or verse on a canvas.  While I love the look of photo canvas, I knew that I would be taking lots of photos and probably want to buy a new each month, so I opted on buying 3 nice frames for over the crib.  Now I can alternate the pictures as needed or even use them in another part of the house when he gets older.

There are so many other ways to save money on baby items.  I'll probably end up writing another post all together.  Until then, what are some ways that you have saved money on baby items or decorating a nursery?  Leave a comment with your tips & tricks!

Also, here are a couple website that helped me along the way:
{Better Mom}
{Simply Real Moms}
{Money Saving Mom}

Monday, July 30, 2012

my little roaring lion

This little boy has been doing a new "roar and squeal" thing the past few days- SO cute!

Can't help but think of this worship song:

"My God's not dead, He's surely alive
He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion
My God's not dead, He's surely alive
He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion

Let Heaven roar and fire fall
Come shake the ground with the sound of revival
Let Heaven roar and fire fall
Come shake the ground with the sound of revival."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wild Climber

 I barely remember when this tiny boy slept all cuddled up in his Rock n Play.
 He would sit and look around the room while I got ready in the mornings... Hard to believe that those days are gone.  About a month ago, he started sitting up in the rocker... and now tries to crawl out!  As of this morning we can no longer use it because (despite being completely buckled in) he flipped over and was crawling up the back of it!!  Glad I was right next to him.

This big boy has reached a TON of milestones this month & I can't believe he will be 7 months this week!  We are at the beach with the Garcia side of the fam this week.  Hope you all have a wonderful week and we will be back soon to catch up!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Family Photoshoot 2012

 (Thanks Sadie for taking these pictures!! We love them!)

Pool Time!

 It is HOT here in Texas... well not nearly as hot as last summer... but we definitely have been trying to stay cool in the afternoon heat!  John Ryman loves the water & has enjoyed his baby pool so far:

We leave tomorrow for Garcia family vacation in Florida!!!!  Can't Wait to spend time with family & take JR to the beach!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

4th of July!

 "Aunt Sadie- Get me outta here!"

 "Oh yea, much better!"
 Fun time in the pool with friends on the Fourth!
 this boy LOVES to splash: