babies http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6205/all en-US 7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_twin_girls_000010839496.jpg" alt="Learning money lessons after having twins" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I first found out that my wife and I were having twins, I figured that raising our boys would be expensive. Learning that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that middle-income parents would spend an <a href="http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/expenditures_on_children_by_families/CRC2013InfoGraphic.pdf">average $25,880</a> on twins in their first year really shocked me.</p> <p>The USDA estimated that U.S. families could spend from $353,100 to $815,640, depending on the family&rsquo;s income level, to raise twins born in 2013 through high school. These estimates didn&rsquo;t even include college tuition!</p> <p>The good news is that there are plenty of ways to bring down the estimated costs of raising twins. Here are the seven lessons about money I learned after having twins.</p> <h2>1. Don&rsquo;t Buy Everything</h2> <p>&ldquo;Two of everything!&rdquo; is one of the first things that people tell me once they find out that I have twins. In theory, having twins should double your expenses. In reality, it doesn&rsquo;t. More than one parent of multiples advised me not to buy everything and they were 100% right. You can do just fine with only one of many items, including baby bathtub and pack-and-play.</p> <p>Even more, there are so many baby items marketed to parents that you can do without, such as the <a href="http://amzn.to/1Xe2RBD">Baby Brezza Formula Pro One Step Food Maker</a> retailing for $150. While you always want to give your babies the very best, keep in mind that sometimes less is more. You already have a long list of must-buy-two items, including car seats and cribs (you can get away with just one only for so long!), so don&rsquo;t hesitate to cut down on non-essentials.</p> <h3>Money Lesson</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett">Warren Buffett</a> said it best: &ldquo;If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.&rdquo; Splurging should be the exception and not the rule.</p> <h2>2. Look for Niche Discounts</h2> <p>Somedays you may feel that you&rsquo;re the only parent of twins in your neighborhood. The reality is that the U.S. twin birth rate was <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_12.pdf">33.9 per 1,000 births</a> in 2014, up from 33.7 per 1,000 births in 2013. As more parents have twins, more businesses are extending special discounts to those parents.</p> <ul> <li>Babies R Us extends a 10% discount when you purchase two of the same item on the same in-store visit. Qualifying items include baby furniture, car seats, strollers, high chairs, and gates.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Pampers offers a <a href="http://news.pampers.com/faq-item/do-you-have-pampers-multiple-birth-offer">one-time set of coupons</a> to parents of twins and multiples by mailing your name and address along with the hospital discharge copies to: Pampers Multiple Birth Offer, The Procter &amp; Gamble Company, P.O. Box 599, Cincinnati, OH 45201 or by calling 1-800-726-7377.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Luvs Diapers also offers a one-time set of coupons as well and you can write to the same mailing address as above with attention to &ldquo;Luvs Multiples Birth Program&rdquo; or call 1-888-665-3257.</li> </ul> <h3>Money Lesson</h3> <p>Businesses seek ways to attract customers from different niches. There may very well be a discount out there for you, but it may require you to do some extra leg work, such as calling the company or mailing a letter.</p> <h2>3. Buy Life Insurance</h2> <p>Now that you are a parent, buying life insurance is one of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-7-money-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">money moves to make</a> or you&rsquo;ll regret it 20 years from now. Right now is the cheapest rate that you&rsquo;ll ever be able to get life insurance, so you&rsquo;re better off locking into it now than waiting several years.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re the main or sole breadwinner of your household, provide financial security to your dependents in case you&rsquo;re no longer there for them. Could your spouse tackle the monthly mortgage payments, car payments, and living expenses without you at all? Nobody likes to think about their own mortality, but things are very different now.</p> <h3>Money Lesson</h3> <p>Life insurance is the foundation of financial planning to help protect your family against life&rsquo;s pitfalls.</p> <h2>4. Start or Build Up Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>With twins, I have learned how essential it is to have a cushion to lessen the blow of many surprise costs &mdash; such as certain vitamins and medicines not covered by health insurance, or changing to a more expensive baby formula due to sensitive digestive systems. Only 38% of Americans can pay unexpected expenses, such as $1,000 for an emergency room visit or $500 for a car repair, from savings. Achieving the right balance between interest rate and liquidity is often possible with a high-yield online savings account, which provide interest rates ranging between 0.75% and 1.25%. Make sure to read the fine print on access to funds to avoid surprises.</p> <h3>Money Lesson</h3> <p>Having a rainy day fund is essential to keep your monthly budget on track, so start (or build up!) yours today.</p> <h2>5. Adjust Your Withholding</h2> <p>Of course, since I&rsquo;m asking you to start paying for life insurance and putting money away in a savings account, I do need to give you a way to come up with those extra monies! The easiest one is to revisit how much you&rsquo;re currently withholding every month for taxes. In 2014, the IRS doled an <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/2014-Refunds-Ahead-of-Last-Year">average of $3,096</a> in tax refunds.</p> <p>Unless you got a refund entirely based on tax credits, you&rsquo;re withholding too much in taxes. Using the $3,096 average, you could have an extra $258 every month. Now that you have dependents, you may qualify for several exemptions and tax credits, including the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Child-Tax-Credit">Child Tax Credit</a> and the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Child-and-Dependent-Care-Information">Child and Dependent Care Credit</a>, to effectively reduce your tax bill.</p> <p>Remember that a refund is money that just sits in Uncle Sam&rsquo;s pocket making you 0% interest!</p> <h3>Money Lesson</h3> <p>Use the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/IRS-Withholding-Calculator">IRS Withholding Calculator</a> or talk with your accountant to find out how much you should withhold every month. Then, accordingly adjust your W-4 with your employer.</p> <h2>6. Open a Traditional or Roth IRA</h2> <p>While the 401K is the most popular type of retirement account, the Roth offers much more flexibility when it comes to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">taking distributions before age 59 1/2</a>. As a parent of twins, having my retirement account as a last-resort fund that I could tap into without IRS penalty to help my sons is very important.</p> <p>For example, I could take up to a $10,000 distribution to help them to pay for their first home. As long as I don&rsquo;t go over that total limit, I can split the distribution as I see fit and can take one in separate years. Another penalty-free withdrawal from an IRA I can take is to cover qualified higher education expenses, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for the enrollment or attendance of my sons at an eligible educational institution.</p> <p>Bonus: Using an IRA, you can save an extra $5,500, or $6,500 if you're age 50 or older, in 2015 and 2016 for retirement.</p> <h3>Money Lesson</h3> <p>Saving in an IRA allows you to take early distributions without penalty for qualifying purposes.</p> <h2>7. Start Saving for Your Kids</h2> <p>Another great Buffet-ism is &quot;Someone&rsquo;s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.&quot; Imagine if you had an extra 18 years to save for college or retirement, wouldn&rsquo;t that be awesome? That&rsquo;s exactly the lesson that my wife&rsquo;s and my own parents passed on to us the moment they found out we were having twins. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-when-you-find-out-youre-pregnant?ref=seealso">8 Money Moves to Make When You Find Out You're Pregnant</a>)</p> <p>A little bit goes a long way. Even saving $100 every year for 10 years is much better than starting to save $1,000 10 years from now:</p> <ul> <li>With a 0.5% annual rate of return, you would end up with $1,025.57.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>With a 1% annual rate of return, you would end up with $1,051.88.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>With a 2.5% annual rate of return, you would end up with $1,135.45.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>With a 4.5% annual rate of return, you would end up with $1,258.57.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>With a 7% annual rate of return, you would end up with $1,443.48.</li> </ul> <p>When thinking about saving for your kids, especially for education-related expenses, evaluate all options, including custodial IRA accounts and 529 plans. Many of these type of accounts provide full or partial income tax deductions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <h3>Money Lesson</h3> <p>Leverage the power of interest compounding over a long period of time and give your children a head start on saving for education or retirement.</p> <p><em>What money lessons did you learn with the arrival of your baby?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy">8 Reasons the Easter Bunny Should Give Money Instead of Candy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on">9 Child Care Purchases You Should Never Skimp On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">6 Financial Mistakes to Stop Making by Age 40</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family babies financial planning kids life insurance multiples retirement twins Wed, 17 Feb 2016 11:30:04 +0000 Damian Davila 1654792 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves to Make When You Find Out You're Pregnant http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-when-you-find-out-youre-pregnant <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-to-make-when-you-find-out-youre-pregnant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_pregnant_belly_000043766734.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves after finding out she&#039;s pregnant" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the U.S., we welcome close to four million babies every year. These little bundles of joy rock our worlds and, often, our budgets as well. As a parent of three wonderful boys, I tried to prepare as much as I could before for their arrival.</p> <p>Between deciding what car seat to buy and picking out the perfect name, take the time to plan ahead for the financial wellbeing of your baby, your family, and yourself. Here are the top eight money moves to make when you find out you're pregnant.</p> <h2>1. Figure Out Parental Leave</h2> <p>Unlike other industrialized countries, the United States is the only nation without paid parental leave required by law. Under the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act, employers with 50 or more workers are required to let their employees take unpaid, job-protected leave for 12 weeks after the birth of a child, while keeping their group health insurance coverage.</p> <p>However, about <a href="http://www.today.com/health/problem-parental-leave-u-s-t38701">13% of Americans</a> <em>do </em>have access to some form of paid leave. So, inquire with your employer your options:</p> <ul> <li>Find out if the size of your company affects policy (e.g. businesses in Hawaii with 100 or more employees are subject to the Hawaii Family Leave Law);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ask your employer whether or not they offer temporary disability insurance (TDI) under its health insurance plan, what percentage of your salary that TDI pays, and whether or not you qualify for TDI;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Figure out if TDI is affected by method of delivery (usually six weeks for a normal vaginal delivery and eight weeks for an uncomplicated cesarean delivery); and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Discuss with your manager about the type of leave you'd like to take.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Discuss Flexible Work Arrangement</h2> <p>Whether you're the primary caregiver, or a spouse or partner that wants to be more involved during baby's first months, talk with your employer about a flexible work arrangement. Times are changing and more and more companies are willing to work with their employees to create flexible arrangements.</p> <p>Dads, don't shy away from asking your employer about a flexible work plan. According to the Professional Women Report survey by Citi, when asked about their biggest career regrets, 17% of men would have spent less time at work and more time with their families or on personal pursuits. Not spending enough time with their children was ranked within the top five career regrets by men. It's worth a shot because <a href="http://familiesandwork.org/site/research/reports/NSE_2012.pdf">14% of fathers</a> receive some amount of replacement pay for paternity leave.</p> <h2>3. Choose a Health Insurance Plan</h2> <p>Another important move is to decide to whose health insurance plan you'll add your baby. Ask your HR department to detail your available options if you were to add children or your spouse to your plan. Ask your partner to do the same with their employer. Then, compare the available options and choose the plan that better serves your needs.</p> <p>Don't forget to consider if some doctors that you currently visit, or will visit in the future, will be within the network of those plans. A plan may offer attractive coverages, but those benefits may be cancelled out by paying higher copays for visiting doctors outside the network.</p> <h2>4. Get a Breast Pump</h2> <p>Most health insurance plans must provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. Contact your insurance plan for more details about applicable benefits.</p> <p>Of special attention is the coverage of a breast pump, which could be a rental or for you to keep, manual or electric, or available before or after birth. Depending on your plan, it may cover even some of the premium breast pump models, some of which retail for close to $300. Your plan must cover the entire cost of the breast pump!</p> <p>Depending on the retailer and your plan, you may only be able to redeem your breast pump by visiting in-person authorized retailers or by calling a centralized redemption center.</p> <h2>5. Look for Hand-Me-Downs and Secondhand Stores</h2> <p>Take it from a dad of three boys: You will get so many clothes and toys, that many of them will go unused. For my third boy, my wife and I barely bought him clothes because he inherited all of his brothers' (some even still in their original packaging).</p> <p>Many of your friends and relatives have been waiting for the opportunity to share their baby clothes with you. This is a great free way to determine whether or not a onesie, burp cloth, or toy is worth the purchase. If you and your baby enjoy an item so much that it wears out in a few months, then purchasing that item brand new is definitely worth it.</p> <p>Also, find out through social media and search engines about secondhand stores for baby items in your area. Secondhand stores are very useful for exchanging unwanted gifts that have no receipt for items that you or your baby really need.</p> <h2>6. Join Amazon Family</h2> <p>Formerly known as Amazon Mom, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/family/signup/welcome/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;*Version*=1&amp;*entries*=0&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=EPW2LLWNIPJ54PVH">Amazon Family</a> is a variation of the Amazon Prime program, focusing on parents and caretakers with family-oriented offers. This includes 20% off diaper subscriptions, free two-day shipping, and a 15% baby registry completion discount.</p> <p>To maximize your savings, look for a free trial opportunity (which range from 30 to 90 days), test it out, and then decide if you would like to keep your Amazon Family subscription ($99 per year). During the trial period, look for high-ticket items, including strollers and cribs, that may be cheaper at Amazon than at local retailers. In my case, I saved about $200 on a crib and close to $150 on a stroller.</p> <h2>7. Research Babysitting and Preschool Options</h2> <p>Now is the time to start looking for babysitters and preschools. It may sound a bit extreme, but many preschools have waiting lists that go back one to two years. Your future self will thank you that you took the time to do this in advance and you don't have to settle for subpar alternatives.</p> <h2>8. Research Custodial Investment Accounts and 529 College-Saving Plans</h2> <p>Imagine if somebody offered you an extra 20 years to save for retirement or college &mdash; would you take it? In a heartbeat! That's why you should look into setting up a custodial investment account or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-conversations-you-must-have-with-your-family" target="_blank">529 plan for your child</a>.</p> <h3>Custodial Investment Account</h3> <p>Many brokerage houses allow you to set up an account to make a financial gift to a minor and help teach them about investing. With as little as $100, you can open a custodial account, have $0 maintenance fees unless you make a trade, and enjoy tax-free earnings until a specified limit. The account will be turned over to your child when he or she reaches the age of majority.</p> <h3>529 College-Savings Plan</h3> <p>The earlier that you start saving for your child's education, the less that you will have to contribute per month. Also, remember that federal taxes don't apply to earnings in a 529 plan, and 34 states offer full or partial income tax deductions.</p> <p><em>What money moves are you taking in preparation for the arrival of your baby?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-when-you-find-out-youre-pregnant">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-76-best-life-lessons-you-should-learn-by-30">Flashback Friday: The 76 Best Life Lessons You Should Learn by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-of-highly-frugal-people">7 Habits of Highly Frugal People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle babies children expectant mothers family pregnancy Wed, 23 Dec 2015 16:00:03 +0000 Damian Davila 1625891 at http://www.wisebread.com Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baby_diaper_change_000049964944.jpg" alt="Parents learning cloth diapering basics" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One way you can save big bucks during baby's first years is by cloth diapering, especially if you plan on having multiple children and can reuse them. Choosing cloth for your child will also save you tons of cash on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-trash-bags">trash bags</a> (not to mention heaps of diapers in the landfill). Here's the process broken down for those who might be curious or even feel intimidated.</p> <h2>How It Works</h2> <p>Many people are surprised to learn that cloth diapering doesn't take a whole lot more effort than standard diapering. You put the diaper on your child, he or she soils it, you change the diaper, and then you start fresh. The only difference is that you'll be dealing with the diapers again on the washing end. As you can imagine, getting the job done requires some planning and practice.</p> <p>The good news: laundering diapers is far less gross and time-consuming than you might think. And there are many options available to you depending on your commitment level and lifestyle.</p> <h2>Types of Diapers</h2> <p>There are a multitude of cloth diapering options, and what you choose is up to you. Some diapers have a gazillion snaps. Others have tricky Velcro closures. Some need covers. Others come in two parts. Here are the most common types &mdash; demystified.</p> <h3>1. Pocket</h3> <p>The majority of my cloth diapers were pocket style from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=bum%20genius%20pocket%20diaper&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Abum%20genius%20pocket%20diaper&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=D32B7OKWILONMOMC">bumGenius</a>. Basically, the diaper comes in two parts &mdash; the waterproof outer shell and the absorbent insert. Our diapers fit our daughter from a few weeks after she was born until she was potty trained. Stuffing and un-stuffing does take a few extra minutes at wash time, but it becomes automatic.</p> <h3>2. All-in-Ones</h3> <p>If you choose <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=all-in-one%20diaper&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aall-in-one%20diaper&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=7S3KD65PIFLRURHZ">all-in-one diapers</a> (AIO), you'll get everything you need in one convenient package. There's no stuffing or covers required because it's all sewn together. My only issue with AIO is that they take longer to dry than the other types. Otherwise, they're super easy to use and come in a variety of fabrics.</p> <h3>3. Prefolds</h3> <p>A lot of people picture <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=prefold%20diapers&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aprefold%20diapers&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=556WLYXRRNKOXFJM">prefold diapers</a> when they think of the cloth process. This type is much like what your mother or grandmother may have used with pins, but it's still a popular choice today and most often the best choice for your budget. Instead of pins, you can use snazzy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YWKWJO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004YWKWJO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ZCF7D3XWJUB2Z2GH">diaper fasteners</a>. You'll cover your prefolds with a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=prefold%20cover&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=GUGNZRWDPDH45VNL">waterproof cover</a>.</p> <h3>4. Fitted</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=fitted%20diaper&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=AAZBTMFBJ7NGI44P">Fitted diapers</a> also require waterproof covers. The key difference between fitted and prefolds is that they don't need folding or any special fastener to stay closed. If you choose this type, you'll have to buy different sizes as your baby grows. Each size fits a good range of weights, though.</p> <h3>5. Hybrids</h3> <p>I eventually added some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZYM06K/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003ZYM06K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5M6LGQVHONC6VQ2U">gDiapers</a> to my collection when we started traveling and using a sitter more frequently. As the name implies, hybrid diapers provide a mix of options depending on your preferences. You can fill the reusable waterproof cover with a disposable or cloth insert. They come in one-size and individual sizes. Hybrid diapers certainly offer the most flexibility in the bunch.</p> <h3>6. Used</h3> <p>Seriously. There are thousands of people who incorporate used cloth diapers into their stashes. In fact, that's another reason cloth is a good investment &mdash; you can sell them or reuse them when your baby is done. Check out sites like <a href="http://clothdiapertrader.com">ClothDiaperTrader</a> where you can get gently used diapers for a fraction of their original prices.</p> <h2>Smart Setup</h2> <p>Once you've chosen your diaper type(s), move your attention to your diaper station setup. Much of what you assemble will be the same as if you were using disposables. However, there are some key things that will make life easier on you and others who diaper your child.</p> <h3>1. Diaper Pail and Liner</h3> <p>You'll need somewhere to store the dirty diapers while they're waiting to be washed. We used a tall <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004L9L3KW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004L9L3KW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ONSCRGLHSFCGLMP4">plastic garbage can</a> with a snap-shut cover and wheels. Instead of lining it with a garbage bag, we bought two reusable <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004Q2Z9TK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004Q2Z9TK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4YMSAPCV7A6ZBOVR">diaper pail liners</a> that get washed with the diapers. Toss the diapers in the bin, wheel it to your washing machine, and go.</p> <h3>2. Prep Your Diapers</h3> <p>If you use pocket diapers, prefolds, hybrids, or anything else with more than one part &mdash; stuff it or lay it out ahead of time. I used to do this while watching television when they were fresh from the dryer. If you use all-in-ones, you can skip this step. Regardless, taking a bit of time to have everything organized is well worth it.</p> <h3>3. Diaper Liners</h3> <p>Over time, diaper creams and salves can cause the diaper to lose its absorbency. If you need to use creams on your baby, you'll want to use <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=cloth%20diaper%20liners&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acloth%20diaper%20liners&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=F3TCUUSCVQZPT5BV">diaper liners</a> to protect the fabric from buildup. To make sure you use them, stick them somewhere next to your wipes. Bonus: Diaper liners also make cleaning up solids much easier.</p> <h3>4. Cloth Wipes</h3> <p>Using <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=cloth%20wipes&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acloth%20wipes&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=END2OJ54XJRTHJIO">cloth wipes</a> is entirely optional. But if you're already washing diapers, tossing in wipes isn't that much more work. You can even make your own cloth wipes by cutting pieces of flannel fabric and soaking them in a gentle <a href="http://www.zany-zebra.com/cloth-wipe-solution.shtml">wash solution</a> that's just a mixture of water, soap, and oil. Keep your wipes in a plastic bag or container until you're ready to use.</p> <h2>Notes on Laundering</h2> <p>To keep your stash fresh and friendly for your child's bum, you'll want to wash every day or every other day. Jillian's Drawers, a cloth diaper shop near where I live, suggests washing no more than <a href="https://www.jilliansdrawers.com/newtocloth/washingcloth">12 to 18 diapers at a time</a>, using your machine's highest water level setting and hot water.</p> <p>Try sticking to detergents that leave little residue, fragrance, and other gunk on diapers. Skip fabric softeners. The buildup can make diapers lose their absorbency over time. You can use specific diaper detergents like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003N0JXSO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003N0JXSO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=LGUI5RZZ56WNR3YD">Rockin' Green</a> or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F8LIZQM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00F8LIZQM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=H3VBRZQXI5C6AZZL">Molly's Suds</a>. A lot of people use plain Tide or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AM16MZO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AM16MZO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=LVNYB2W6UHZX7W6J">Charlie's Soap</a>.</p> <p>What about number two? It's also a great idea to install a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OKSCWN6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00OKSCWN6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HPMQJTMACZRZBJN3">diaper sprayer</a> on your toilet to help wash away solids before they sit for too long. It takes just minutes and can save you a big stink later.</p> <p>And when it comes to drying, the sun works wonders. If you can, put your diapers on a line outdoors and let the air freshen and the sun zap out stains. Otherwise, dry prefolds and diaper inserts in your machine. Try hanging covers and other diapers on a line or drying rack. They'll keep their integrity longer with gentler care.</p> <p><em>What does your cloth diapering process look like? Any tips to share?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on">9 Child Care Purchases You Should Never Skimp On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-terrible-things-science-says-you-do-to-your-kids">6 Terrible Things Science Says You Do to Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-parenting-books">The 5 Best Parenting Books</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Green Living babies cloth diapers eco-friendly kids parenting reusing Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:00:42 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1578820 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Child Care Purchases You Should Never Skimp On http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_stroller_child_000033375724.jpg" alt="Mother walking child in stroller she didn&#039;t skimp on" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the movie <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Away-We-Go-John-Krasinski/dp/B0021L8UOY">Away We Go</a>, there's a character who refuses to own a stroller, asserting &quot;I love my babies. Why would I want to push them away from me?&quot;</p> <p>When I was pregnant with my first child, I was that mom. Because I planned to practice attachment parenting, I figured I wouldn't need a swing, or a high chair, or any of those devices that would come between my loving arms and my child.</p> <p>Then I gave birth to a real, actual baby, and I realized that sometimes I needed to use the bathroom or take a shower, and that carrying an increasingly heavy kid everywhere in my arms was a recipe for a backache and seething frustration. I began equipment shopping, and although my budget was small, I learned that there are certain baby and child items worth spending more on.</p> <h2>1. Car Seat</h2> <p>You probably will not be able to leave the hospital without this piece of equipment; but don't grab just any car seat to fulfill the requirement.</p> <p>&quot;Every hour, nearly 150 children between ages 0 and 19 are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/Road_Traffic_Injuries/index.html">motor vehicle crashes</a>,&quot; the Centers for Disease Control and Protection warns. Fortunately, you have some control over whether your child is injured in a car accident: You can research car seat safety on <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/car-seats.htm">Consumer Reports</a> (it's worth paying for a month's subscription to the website to access this information) and buy the highest-quality seat that fits well in your vehicle. Never buy a used car seat, because you can't be sure that the seat was never in an accident, which can compromise its safety.</p> <h2>2. Stroller</h2> <p>After logging thousands of miles pushing my three kids through neighborhoods, grocery stores, and airports, I have owned perhaps a dozen strollers. This is the one item that I wish I'd spent more on from the get-go. If you plan to walk a lot, grocery shop with your stroller, or have more than one child, do some research and invest in the best stroller you can afford. If I could do it again, I'd happily pay $500 or more for a stroller that wouldn't fall apart after a couple of years.</p> <p>If you plan on running with your baby &mdash; which can be a great way to fit exercise into your schedule &mdash; consider investing in a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=jogging%20stroller&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;sprefix=jogging%2Caps%2C154&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Dbaby-products&amp;linkId=QOMFABQZDWLFLAPO">high-quality jogger</a> as well. We had a cheap jogging stroller that listed to the left, which means that after the first few tries, I never jogged with it.</p> <h2>3. Swing</h2> <p>When I finally broke down and bought a swing, I bought a tiny, inexpensive model because that was all that fit in our tiny, expensive San Francisco apartment. That didn't cut it for babies two and three, who had to spend more hours swinging because I didn't have eight arms to change toddler diapers, help preschoolers use scissors, and hold baby at the same time. If you are buying new, Consumer Reports has an extensive <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/baby-swings/buying-guide.htm">baby swing buying guide</a> that lays out the many options available nowadays. Go for powerful motion and long battery life (or a plug-in model) over bells and whistles.</p> <h2>4. Photography</h2> <p>This can feel like a luxury when you have diapers to buy and preschool tuition to pay, but a quality portrait session is really an investment. Your kids will change faster than you realize, and although the snapshots you take are precious, an annual sitting with a really good photographer will result in keepsakes you will treasure forever. I have taken my kids to cheap photo chains, and I have taken them to pros, and believe me: The high-end professional photos are the ones that are now framed on the walls, and that I love looking at day after day. Also, framed portraits make inexpensive holiday gifts for doting grandparents, which helps defray the cost.</p> <h2>5. Childcare</h2> <p>I've tried many methods for saving money on childcare over the years; and to some extent, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-babysitting-without-ending-up-on-the-local-news">less expensive childcare</a> has worked okay for my family. But I have also visited inexpensive home daycares that I would never leave my kids in, like the place where I rang the bell and a two-year-old walked barefoot across the parking lot to greet me at the gate. Friends have sent their kids to low-end daycares and noticed that hygiene practices were subpar, or even had their children get hurt. You should do your research with any childcare provider, but be especially wary if the price is much lower than other providers. You have to ask yourself: Is the provider able to provide a safe environment and quality staff for the price they're charging?</p> <h2>6. Sunscreen</h2> <p>I'm happy to buy the cheapest brand of toothpaste or deodorant, but the truth is, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sun-screens-can-really-cost-you-by-the-ounce-and-by-the-tumor">safest sunscreen</a> for your kids &mdash; the kind that uses physical blockers instead of chemical ones &mdash; is pricey. Pay up, or cover up.</p> <h2>7. Breast Pump</h2> <p>An inexpensive model may work fine for occasional pumping, but if you plan to pump every day, you're going to need a professional-grade breast pump. The FDA warns against borrowing or purchasing <a href="http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/HomeHealthandConsumer/ConsumerProducts/BreastPumps/ucm061952.htm">used breast pumps</a> (<a href="http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/lv/lvjunjul04p54.html">La Leche League</a> explains the different kinds), so this is an item that you may have to pony up for. Still, even a high-end pump pays for itself if it saves you from buying formula, and some health insurance plans may <a href="http://www.second9months.com/should-you-buy-a-used-pump-for-breast-pumping/">reimburse the cost</a>.</p> <h2>8. Crib and Mattress</h2> <p>Crib safety standards have changed drastically in recent years, so you really need to do your research if you try <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-used">buying a used crib</a>. As for the mattress, concerns are growing about the toxins released by all kinds of furniture in our homes. Considering the number of hours a baby spends in its crib, I found it worthwhile to spend three or four times as much on a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006G94D3O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006G94D3O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CQX7PAZY3L54PCYO">non-toxic crib mattress</a>. Second-hand mattresses can raise safety concerns and may even be associated with <a href="http://nursery.about.com/od/Safety/f/Faq-Used-Crib-Mattresses.htm">Sudden Infant Death Syndrome</a>.</p> <h2>9. Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups</h2> <p>Bisphenol A (BPA), is now banned from the plastic in baby bottles, but uncertainty still lingers around the safety of many plastics. Pediatrician Juliet Baciocco Spurrier, founder of BabyGearLab, recommends <a href="http://www.babygearlab.com/a/11078/Are-Plastics-Safe-for-Baby-Bottles-and-Sippy-Cups">choosing plastics</a> No. 2, No. 4, or No. 5, or sticking to glass. As your child gets older, exercise the same vigilance over the cups they drink out of, at least at home (where they're less likely to lose their cups).</p> <p><em>What kid care items are you willing to pay more for?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-lessons-that-teach-your-kid-to-be-their-own-boss">5 Lessons That Teach Your Kid to Be Their Own Boss</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy">8 Reasons the Easter Bunny Should Give Money Instead of Candy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family babies car seats childcare kids safety strollers Tue, 21 Apr 2015 09:00:05 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1392240 at http://www.wisebread.com Save Money With These 19 Inventive Uses for Baby Products http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-with-these-19-inventive-uses-for-baby-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-money-with-these-19-inventive-uses-for-baby-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baby-products-480748741-small.jpg" alt="baby products" title="baby products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What do you do with all that baby stuff after your baby's all grown up? Repurpose it, of course, so you can continue to get your money's worth. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-dont-actually-need-to-buy-for-your-new-baby-plus-5-you-must?ref=seealso">10 Things You Don't Actually Need to Buy for Your New Baby</a>)</p> <h2>1. Baby Powder</h2> <p>There are a plethora of uses for the pleasant-smelling baby powder we know and love.</p> <p>Use the powder to prevent chafing and excessive sweat (&quot;boob sweat&quot; is what one friend told me), and a media friend divulged his &quot;newsroom secret&quot; that baby powder helps control oil and shine on your face.</p> <p>Outside of cosmetic uses, there are more practical applications, however, like using <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/home-organizing-new-uses-for-old-things/baby-powder-dry-shampoo">baby powder as a dry shampoo</a>; sprinkling it on bed sheets to keep cool on warm summer nights; and getting sand off your body more efficiently since the baby powder will draw out moisture, letting you brush the sand right off.</p> <h2>2. Baby Oil</h2> <p>If you're struggling with dandruff, try applying baby oil to your scalp, the healing effects of which are <a href="http://www.livescience.com/22478-dandruff-cradle-cap-treatment-oil.html">backed up by science</a>. You also can use baby oil to remove stubborn temporary tattoos that kids (and some adults) love to apply to their bodies.</p> <h2>3. Baby Shampoo</h2> <p>Mild baby shampoo is ideal for washing sensitive skin around the eyes since it won't agitate the area. Particularly, <a href="http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/understanding-sty-prevention">this shampoo is good at preventing eye styes</a>, especially if you get them rather frequently.</p> <h2>4. Diaper Rash Cream</h2> <p>According to at least one mom, diaper rash cream is great for treating dark circles under her eyes, but it's also proven to treat acne, likely due to zinc oxide and other antifungal ingredients. In addition, my aunt swears by diaper rash cream on her feet to soften calluses.</p> <h2>5. Baby Wipes</h2> <p>Baby wipes have many applications &mdash; at least 33, according to the blog <a href="http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/08/7247.html">One Good Thing by Jillee</a> &mdash; which include using them as face/hand wipes, removing stains from clothing, taming frizzy hair, and cleaning the leaves of houseplants. They're also apparently useful for pet accidents like &quot;cleaning cat vomit from carpet,&quot; as demonstrated by a friend.</p> <h2>6. Pacifier Clip</h2> <p>When your baby is over his or her binky, use the pacifier clip to keep important keys handy.</p> <h2>7. Bottle Drying Rack</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J46LF2I/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00J46LF2I&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=EUKY5DNTHIMRVJ75">grass drying racks from Boon</a> aren't just for baby dishes. You also can use them to drip-dry small kitchen items, particularly utensils, and wine glasses, which you'll probably be using a lot more of now that your baby is a toddler. Other bottle drying racks, especially the more standard designs, are perfect for holding spools of ribbon.</p> <h2>8. Cloth Diapers</h2> <p>Keep cloth diapers around to dust the house; sweep wood floors (just attach them to your Swiffer); wash, dry, and polish your car; and make batting for quilts.</p> <h2>9. Disposable Diapers</h2> <p>I was honestly surprised at the many uses for clean, disposable diapers. My friends are using them to pack fragile dishes, sop up oil spills, and make freezer gel packs after wetting them under the faucet. The most ingenious application, however, has to be the smarty-pants who uses a disposable diaper to hide valuables in at the beach. Nobody wants to touch that.</p> <h2>10. Baby Pen</h2> <p>If your kid is begging for a pet, particularly a rabbit, you can turn his or her baby pen into a pen for the animal. It'll allow the animal more space to move about and give your kid an opportunity to interact with it in a safe environment.</p> <h2>11. Honest Company Soothing Bottom Wash</h2> <p>One of my mommy friends uses this brand of baby wash as a facial toner/cleanser, so why shouldn't we? We're all striving for skin as smooth as a baby's bottom, aren't we?</p> <h2>12. Baby Food</h2> <p>If your baby has graduated from baby food even though there's still a stockpile of it in the cupboard, don't toss it out. You can use it as an ingredient in plenty of other recipes, including delicious desserts. Parents magazine has <a href="http://www.parents.com/recipes/baby-food/recipes-using-leftover-baby-food/">a few you might like</a>.</p> <h2>13. Boppy Pillow</h2> <p>If you have a Boppy nursing pillow, you've probably already discovered the alternative uses on your own, like using it to rest your own weary head. You also can use it to prop up books to make bedtime reading a more hands-free experience.</p> <h2>14. Orajel</h2> <p>You're not likely to use an entire tube of Orajel while your baby is teething, which means you'll have plenty left over to treat minor insect bites, bee stings, cold sores, hemorrhoids, ingrown toenails, sunburn, and splinters.</p> <h2>15. Teething Rings</h2> <p>Pop a clean, frozen teething ring into your reusable water bottle to keep your drink colder, longer.</p> <h2>16. Nipple Cream</h2> <p>Blisstree provides <a href="http://www.blisstree.com/2007/01/07/sex-relationships/top-10-uses-for-lansinoh-lanolin-nipple-cream-fun-facts/">10 alternative uses for Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream</a>, which include healing winter-ravaged cuticles, lips, and cheeks; treating eczema; un-sticking a stuck zipper; and moisturizing dry and itchy elbows, knees and heels.</p> <h2>17. Crib Mattress</h2> <p>Don't toss out that crib mattress just because your baby has outgrown it. Store it in your home as an extra bed for small guests, like other family members or your children's friends, who may spend the night</p> <h2>18. Baby Hangers</h2> <p>Small hangers are great for hanging and keeping small accessories like scarves, bras, and lingerie. Better than being stuffed into a drawer.</p> <h2>19. Pedialyte</h2> <p>This is by far my favorite one of the bunch. While there's no real cure for a hangover, Pedialyte has gained popularity as a hangover remedy in recent years. The electrolyte-loaded drink is meant to rehydrate a dehydrated body &mdash; one of the biggest after-effects of a night of hard drinking. Alas, there's no hard evidence that Pedialyte cures hangovers, but it's worth putting in your morning-after kit. It certainly won't hurt worse than that pounding headache.</p> <p><em>Do you have more baby products that adults can use in a different way? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-with-these-19-inventive-uses-for-baby-products">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-107-best-breakfast-hacks-to-start-your-day-off-right">Flashback Friday: The 107 Best Breakfast Hacks to Start Your Day Off Right</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-affording-education">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Affording Education</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things">4 Reasons You Should Splurge on Experiences, Not Things</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living babies baby products clever uses upcyling Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1240474 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Homemade Child Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother-feeding-baby-466386317-small.jpg" alt="mother feeding baby" title="mother feeding baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether it's to save money, avoid harsh chemicals, or simply for the joy of creating, there are tons of good reasons to make your own baby and child products. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-homemade-pet-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought?ref=seealso">7 Homemade Pet Products That Are Better and Cheaper Than Store Bought</a>)</p> <p>If you're feeling that DIY itch coming on, try these homemade child and baby products that are both cheaper, and better quality, than what you'll find at the store.</p> <h2>1. Baby Food</h2> <p>Pouches and jars of store-bought baby food are convenient, but homemade baby food tastes better and is more nutritious, not to mention cheaper (most pouches run over $1 each, which can add up with a hungry baby!). With my first baby I kept a variety of pre-packaged baby food for emergencies, but for meals at home I definitely made my own purees. Here's a great place to look for <a href="http://weelicious.com/homemade-baby-food-recipes/">baby food recipes</a>. Any fruit or veggie, cooked until soft, can be pureed, and the combinations are endless!</p> <p>Freeze extra purees in ice-cube trays for convenience. Then at mealtimes, heat up a few cubes. You can also buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AM5NTIS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AM5NTIS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=46CNNOKK67VRDHQ2">reusable baby food pouches</a> (easily cleaned in the dishwasher) for bringing homemade purees out when you're on the go &mdash; just remember to pack them with an ice-pack.</p> <h2>2. Diaper Rash Cream</h2> <p>With all the unpronounceable ingredients found in baby products these days, it's nice to know exactly what's going onto your baby's bottom. This recipe for <a href="http://wellnessmama.com/17140/natural-diaper-cream-recipe/">natural diaper cream</a> works as well or better than store bought. Although you'll have to buy all the ingredients, you'll spend less than buying the expensive organic brand diaper creams in the long run.</p> <h2>3. Baby Laundry Detergent</h2> <p>Little ones have sensitive skin that can sometimes be irritated by the chemicals in commercial detergents. It is easy and cheap to make your own with minimal and natural ingredients. Check out this tutorial on how to make your own natural <a href="http://dailymom.com/make/easy-diy-baby-laundry-detergent/">baby laundry detergent</a>.</p> <h2>4. Baby Wipes</h2> <p>If your child has sensitive skin, the alcohol in store-bought wipes might irritate his or her skin. You can make your own <a href="http://thenewlighterlife.com/homemade-baby-wipes/">homemade baby wipes</a> that don't have any irritating ingredients and that are almost as convenient as store-bought wipes.</p> <h2>5. Toys</h2> <p>If you've ever hung out with a baby or toddler, you'll have quickly realized that they can be surrounded by the most expensive, fancy, developmentally-appropriate toys, but all they want to do is play with a cardboard box. In fact, one of the most fun things to do with your child is to make things together. My daughter and I have spent hours creating furniture for her dollhouse (which was also a DIY my husband nailed together from wood boards). Cardboard beds, &quot;paintings&quot; for the walls, blankets and towels, a bathtub made from a plastic food box &mdash; all of these have inspired hours of creative play.</p> <p>Other examples of DIY toys we've tried include:</p> <ul> <li>Plastic cups and a wooden spoon for play cooking</li> <li>A hand-drawn &quot;map&quot; to drive toy cars on</li> <li>A paper gift bag and some play &quot;money&quot; made of paper for pretend shopping</li> <li>Paper crowns for dress-up</li> <li>Homemade <a href="http://fun.familyeducation.com/sculpting/recipes/37040.html">play-dough</a></li> </ul> <p>The vast majority of the &quot;interactive&quot; toys &mdash; the ones that make noises and have blinking lights &mdash; sit forgotten in the toy box. It's the toys with scope for imagination that get the most use.</p> <h2>6. Kids' Paints</h2> <p>Kids love to do crafts, and you can make your own washable <a href="http://www.allparenting.com/my-family/articles/967401/homemade-water-color-paints">watercolor paints</a>, diy <a href="http://easiepeasie.blogspot.com/2010/07/homemade-finger-paints.html">non-toxic finger paints</a>, <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Homemade-Face-Paints-31540547">face paint</a>, or washable <a href="http://www.frugalfanatic.com/diy-crafts-washable-sidewalk-paint/">sidewalk paint</a>. Paint isn't expensive to buy, but by making your own you can ensure you know exactly what is going into each paint, in case little painted fingers find their way into curious mouths. Also, since these paints are made with common household materials, you have an unlimited supply.</p> <h2>7. Accessories</h2> <p>It seems crazy to spend a lot of money on kids' accessories when they're just going to get lost under the sofa cushions, so good thing it's super easy to make your own hair clips and accessories with some basic supplies and a glue gun. Check out these tutorials for <a href="http://www.usefuldiy.com/diy-easy-double-bow/">ribbon hairclips</a>, <a href="http://loniemae.blogspot.com/2012/04/diy-baby-headbands.html">baby headbands</a>, and for the little man in your life, <a href="http://thepleatedpoppy.com/2011/04/bow-tie-tutorial/">baby bowties</a>. In my opinion, these diy accessories are cuter than store-bought ones anyway.</p> <h2>8. Baby Linens</h2> <p>If you know how to use a sewing machine, the following baby linens can be made by sewing more-or-less straight lines. You'll have the satisfaction of having your child sleep in bespoke linens right from birth.</p> <ul> <li>Baby <a href="http://www.thinkingcloset.com/2013/03/27/burp-cloth-tutorial-for-the-beginner-sewist/">burp cloths</a></li> <li>Fleece-lined <a href="http://www.cheeriosandlattes.com/easy-baby-blankets/">baby blanket</a></li> <li>Baby <a href="http://aliceandlois.com/diy-baby-bibs/">bibs</a></li> </ul> <h2>9. Bubble Solution</h2> <p>Kids love bubbles and go through bubble solution fast! Instead of buying the bottles from the store, try making your own <a href="http://www.dosmallthingswithlove.com/2014/01/homemade-bubble-solution.html">homemade bubble solution</a>, which allows you to make as much as you need with easily accessible ingredients.</p> <h2>10. Nursery Decorations</h2> <p>Decorate your child's room with some DIY art &mdash; better yet, involve your child in the creation of the room's decor. Try this cute <a href="http://modernmommyhood.com/2011/12/button-letter-nursery-artwork-tutorial.html">button monogram art</a>, a <a href="http://www.pnmag.com/baby-buzz/project-nest-nursery-diys/">yarn mobile</a>, <a href="http://aedriel.blogspot.com/2009/05/sweet-girl-deserves-sweet-wall-decor.html">embroidery hoop art</a>, or a cute <a href="http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/10/10-ways-to-make-a-garland.html">DIY garland</a> for your child's room. Decor for kids' rooms can get expensive if you buy it in the store, and your homemade creations will be much more special.</p> <p><em>Do you create for your child? What kids' products have you made that are better than store-bought?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cute-ways-to-upcycle-shoeboxes">12 Cute Ways to Upcycle Shoeboxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-toys-and-games-you-can-make-at-home">10 Fun Toys and Games You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Shopping babies crafts kid stuff kids toddlers toys Thu, 02 Oct 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1225627 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Parenting Books http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-parenting-books <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-parenting-books" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pregnant-2739729-small.jpg" alt="pregnancy" title="pregnancy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a clueless first-time parent, I inhaled parenting books from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I went down the list of popular and highly rated books on Amazon, dutifully borrowed them from the library, and read each word. For the most part, they're a blur of contradictory tips and alarming scenarios. However, there are a few of them that stand out with advice I am grateful to have come across and highly recommend to other parents.</p> <p>Of course, we live in a country where judging parents and their kids is a national pastime. There are inconsistent studies and advice coming from the same doctors. There is no perfect way to raise a child. Every child is different. No one knows your own family. Yada yada.</p> <p>These are books that I recommend not because I think they are <em>the</em> bibles to parenting, nor do I wholeheartedly agree with and endorse every single piece of advice in them. I recommend these books because I found them to be insightful and helpful in giving me a different perspective or strategy, one that I wouldn't have intuitively known. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-a-new-baby-really-needs">What a New Baby&nbsp;Really Needs</a>)</p> <h2>Bringing Up Bebe</h2> <p>I just finished &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594203334/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1594203334&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting</a>,&quot; and boy do I wish I had read this before my little boy came along. French kids are well-behaved and healthy, and they sleep through the night at two months. My 17 month old sleeps through the night occasionally, and by that I mean he wakes up once. I don't know if the French method would have worked on him, but I sure wish I had known to have tried. Now, the entire French parenting philosophy might seem a bit extreme, maybe cold and harsh, and there is a lot of criticism of American parents. If you find that hard to swallow and are completely in the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/William-Sears/e/B000APRWIS/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1371170265&amp;sr=8-3&amp;tag=babybr03-20">Dr. Sears</a> camp, this book is not for you. But I found this to be an eye opening example of how to be a firm but loving parent in order to have well-mannered kids and still enjoy life outside of being a mom. I heart this book!&nbsp;</p> <p>If you want to read more about the French parenting method, or how to not have a picky eater, check out &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062103296/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0062103296&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">French Kids Eat Everything</a>.&quot;</p> <h2>The Happiest Toddler on the Block</h2> <p>I read his &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553381466/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553381466&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">The Happiest Baby on the Block</a>,&quot; and I thought it was just okay. The five Ss strategy didn't really work for my baby (although the SHHHH did...sorta). My sister-in-law swears by it though, and it's very popular, so I think it's a safe one to pick up for a gift or yourself. They also have a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006J021C/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0006J021C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">DVD</a>.</p> <p>However, I really, really liked &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553384422/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553384422&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">The Happiest Toddler on the Block:&nbsp;How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful, and Cooperative One- to Four-Year Old</a>&quot; (also available on <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001ZJQ72/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0001ZJQ72&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">DVD</a>). It gave a very anti-intuitive way to deal with toddlers and their ever increasing frustrations. I see that it works very well with my niece, and I'm using it a lot on my 17 month old. It really seems to do the trick (most of the time) in calming him down when he's erupting.</p> <h2>NurtureShock</h2> <p>I'll use a word from one of the reviews on &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0446504130/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0446504130&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children</a>&quot; &mdash; revelatory. There are a lot of &quot;conventional wisdom&quot; myths that are dispelled with hard research. It talks about why praise is damaging, the cause behind the moody, sulky, angry teenager (it's not hormones, but something completely avoidable), and the profound reason why kids lie (we tell them to). It'll blow your mind.</p> <h2>Brain Rules for Babies</h2> <p>&quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008W3I4SM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008W3I4SM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">Brain Rules for Babies: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child From&nbsp;Zero to Five</a>&quot; is the book that my husband will recommend to every new parent (especially dads!). He's an engineer, and he likes facts, please. This book is for all the parents who want to know <em>how do I get my kid into Harvard</em>? He answers this question, I&nbsp;promise.</p> <h2>How to Talk So Kids Will Listen &amp;&nbsp;Listen So Kids Will Talk</h2> <p>My son isn't quite at the age yet where these tips can be used on him, but I'm hoping that they will work and faciliate a more communicative relationship. It's like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553384422/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553384422&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20"><em>Happiest Toddler</em></a> but for older kids. So much of parent-child communication is tangled by a lack of empathy on the parents' part. They think because they <em>know</em> better, their kids should automatically listen and believe them. Obviously those parents don't remember what's it like to be a kid &mdash; the one who <em>also</em> thinks she knows better. &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451663889/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1451663889&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">How to Talk So Kids Will&nbsp;Listen &amp; Listen So Kids Will Talk</a>&quot; gives very clear instructions on how to break through those biases and actually hear each other.</p> <p>That's it?? What about all those sleep books? Guides to pregnancy? Childbirth? Breast feeding?&nbsp;</p> <p>I read those, too. All of them, it feels like. I read the entire 2.5 pounder, &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316778001/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0316778001&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">The Baby Book</a>&quot; by Dr. Sears. I read a ton of books on breast feeding, watched documentaries on childbirth. I read <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743201639/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0743201639&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">Ferber</a>, the &quot;cry it out&quot; guy. Then&nbsp;I read &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071381392/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0071381392&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">The No-Cry Sleep Solution</a>.&quot; I wanted to know everything that was going to happen, anything that might go wrong and how to deal with it. I wanted to know every single sound or movement my baby might make during his first few weeks. And of course I&nbsp;wanted to know how to raise a confident, smart superhero.</p> <p>In the end, none of those books were ever helpful. Reading them made me <em>feel</em> prepared, but what actually happened wasn't the way it was described in the books. Birth, breast feeding, the first few weeks...we had problems that were never mentioned in the books, and if they were mentioned, the solutions listed didn't work. Whatever popped up, like the hundred things that went wrong while breastfeeding, we had to Google or, more helpfully, hash out with a lactation consultant.</p> <p>These five books I&nbsp;felt were actually worth the time it took away from whatever else I could have been doing (resting, napping, relaxing).</p> <p><em>Disclaimer: I did not receive any of these books free to review. I borrowed or bought these books on my own and have selected them without any outside influence.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-parenting-books">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-rules-thatll-save-you-big-in-babys-first-year">5 Money Rules That&#039;ll Save You Big in Baby&#039;s First Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-manage-costs-while-youre-on-maternity-leave">5 Ways to Manage Costs While You&#039;re on Maternity Leave</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family babies new parents parenting Parenting books toddlers Thu, 27 Jun 2013 10:24:30 +0000 Lynn Truong 978155 at http://www.wisebread.com Too Broke to Buy Diapers? http://www.wisebread.com/too-broke-to-buy-diapers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/too-broke-to-buy-diapers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baby_in_diaper.jpg" alt="Baby in a diaper" title="Baby in a diaper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A recent <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-diaper-sales-down-diaper-rash-up-in-tough-economy-20111004,0,2019365.story">Wall Street Journal report</a> suggested that tough times have brought parents to a new low &mdash; leaving tots in dirty diapers to save money.</p> <p>Well, maybe. The report noted a drop in diaper sales and an increase in use of diaper rash cream. It even quoted a doctor who was seeing more diaper rash cases. But the article also acknowledged that <em>most </em>of the drop in sales is due to a lower birthrate over the past couple years.</p> <p>Still, the piece got me thinking that a lot of parents are paying more than necessary to keep baby booties dry. Here are some hints for reducing diaper expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a>)</p> <h2>Cloth Diapers</h2> <p><a href="http://www.momadvice.com/parenting/cloth_diapers.aspx">Estimates for savings</a> over the three years most kids are in diapers are usually in the $1,000-$2,000 range. And there are certainly compelling environmental reasons to use cloth. However, these estimates assume you are spending 17-28 cents per diaper and changing them an average of eight times a day. Bargain shoppers will not save this much. Nor will lazy moms like me who change only five or six times a day and try to potty train at age two. I estimate that disposable diapers cost me only $5 a week, for about 130 weeks per child (two-and-a-half years). Even assuming that I spent more than $5 during those newborn months (a vague memory at this point), the total per-child cost of disposables was under $1,000 &mdash; capping my possible savings somewhere south of that.</p> <p>If you decide to use cloth, consider shopping secondhand or asking for hand-me-downs. <a href="http://www.freecycle.org/">Freecycle</a> groups are great for this. Don't be grossed out by the thought of used diapers &mdash; after all, diaper service clients use diapers previously worn by other children every day.</p> <h2>Join Amazon Mom</h2> <p>Members of the free <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/mom/signup/welcome">Amazon Mom</a> service get 30% off diapers and wipes when they order through the Subscribe &amp; Save option. Add this to free shipping, frequent unannounced sales, and coupons you can load on the site, and Amazon has been my diaper store of choice for a year now. Tip &mdash; because prices fluctuate on Amazon, stock up when you see a great price.</p> <h2>Combine Coupons and Promotions</h2> <p>Target, Babies 'R' Us, and drugstores such as Walgreens and CVS all issue store coupons for diapers and take manufacturer's coupons as well. You can pair one of each for every pack of diapers you buy. Target sometimes offers a $5 or $10 gift card for buying packs of diapers &mdash; if you come in with a manufacturer's coupon, a Target coupon, and get the gift card, you've often brought the price down to an acceptable level.</p> <h2>Do the Math</h2> <p>Some diaper sales sound like a good deal, but turn out not to be. You need to know your target price <em>per diaper</em> in your child's size in order to accurately price compare. <a href="http://babycheapskate.com/">Baby Cheapskate</a> has a GREAT resource for figuring out how many diapers are in a mega or jumbo pack and what makes a good price for each size &mdash; the <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/53166568/How-Many-Diapers-Per-Pack-Stockupportunity-Pricing">diaper stock-up price chart</a>.</p> <h2>Try Store Brands</h2> <p>Store brands' quality have improved in recent years. While a newborn with a lot of &quot;blowouts&quot;* may need the highest-end diaper you can buy, older tots may be just fine in any old brand. I used Costco's Kirkland even on newborns with no problem, and now that my youngest is a toddler, I find Luvs, Walgreens, CVS, and Target diapers all just fine.</p> <h2>Keep Your Eyes Open</h2> <p>I have purchased opened packs of diapers at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-successful-garage-sale">garage sales</a> and found boxes with discontinued packaging on deep clearance discount at grocery and drugstores.</p> <h2>Accept Help</h2> <p>Times may be tough, but babies shouldn't be the ones to suffer. If you can't afford enough diapers to keep your baby dry and comfortable, apply to a program such as <a href="http://www.huggies.com/en-US/promotions/everylittlebottom/diaper-help">Huggies Every Little Bottom</a> or apply for other assistance.</p> <p>* If you're not a parent and don't know what a blowout is, <em>don't ask</em>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/too-broke-to-buy-diapers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-more-ways-to-save-on-maternity-clothes">4 More Ways to Save on Maternity Clothes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/85-easy-frugal-halloween-costume-ideas">85 Easy, Frugal Halloween Costume Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping babies diaper deals store brands Mon, 10 Oct 2011 09:48:11 +0000 Carrie Kirby 736880 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Breast-Feeding Saves Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-breast-feeding-saves-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-breast-feeding-saves-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baby_in_blanket.jpg" alt="Baby in blanket" title="Baby in blanket" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I breast-fed my son exclusively for the first six months of his life, and then I supplemented his meals with some homemade baby foods. For his first twelve months, most of his food was breast milk. I didn't do this out of cheapness, but I did save thousands of dollars on feeding my child. Here are some reasons why breast-feeding can save money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-way-to-get-rid-of-plastic-baby-bottles">Cheap Way to Get Rid of Plastic Baby Bottles</a>)</p> <h3>Breast Milk Is &quot;Free&quot;</h3> <p>I never knew how much baby formula cost until I started to look at baby products during pregnancy. Formula currently costs around $2,000 to $3,000 for the first year of a baby's life if purchased at retail prices. On the other hand, breast milk is produced by the mother from the food she consumes, so it is essentially &quot;free,&quot; since the mother needs to eat anyway. Some women need to take in more calories than usual, but most women have enough fat stores from pregnancy so that extra food is not needed to produce milk. Personally I did spend a couple hundred dollars on breast-feeding equipment, and you can read <a href="http://parentingsquad.com/electric-breast-pump-versus-manual-breast-pump-which-should-you-choose">my detailed account about breast pumps</a>.</p> <h3>Breast-Feeding Equipment Is Tax Deductible</h3> <p>As mentioned in the previous section, you do have to buy breast pumps and other breast-feeding equipment if you intend to store your milk. A <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2011/02/18/breast-feeding-gets-a-nod-from-the-irs-pumps-are-deductible/">recent IRS ruling on breast-feeding equipment</a> just made this expense tax deductible, so you can use your Medical Flexible Spending Account to pay for them. This means that you can potentially use pre-tax money to buy breast-feeding equipment, and that makes the costs even lower. This decision is stirring up controversy because many claim that this discriminates against non-breast-feeding moms, but that brings me to part of the next point, that breast-fed babies generally cost the government less in medical costs.</p> <h3>Breast-Fed Babies Are Sick Less Often</h3> <p>There are numerous studies that show that breast-fed babies are less likely to experience Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other childhood diseases. One big reason is that breast milk carries many antibodies produced by the mother, and the baby gets some of the immunities against the diseases the mom has already experienced. A healthy child incurs very few medical costs, and in an analysis published in <em>Pediatrics</em> last year, the authors state that if all U.S. women followed the recommendation to breast-feed their babies exclusively for the first six months of life, then the <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2010/04/breastfeeding-costs-support.html">nation would save $13 billion a year in medical costs</a>.</p> <h3>Health Benefits to Mom</h3> <p>There have been numerous studies that show that moms who breast-fed for six months had less chance of developing diseases such as reproductive cancer and diabetes. Another huge benefit is that breast-feeding moms lose their pregnancy weight a lot easier than moms who do not breast-feed. This is because producing a full day's milk for a baby burns 500 to 600 calories. This is equivalent to running for an hour and a half. Personally, I lost almost 40 pounds in nine months on the &quot;breast-feeding diet,&quot; which consisted of eating as much as I wanted and feeding the baby breast milk. My BMI went from overweight to the middle of the normal range, and I'm keeping the weight off. Less obesity and health issues for breast-feeding mom also means fewer medical costs.</p> <p>Breast-feeding is a very personal choice, and it does not work out for everyone for many reasons. However, from a purely financial perspective it is the cheapest way to feed and care for your new baby. I am glad that it worked out for my family, and I really encourage new moms to at least try it out if possible. It takes patience and practice to get a good routine going, but it is definitely worthwhile. The money we saved on formula has already gone to our son's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/saving-for-college">college fund</a>, and in 17 years the couple-thousand dollars we contributed will hopefully grow into a tidy sum.</p> <p><em>What do you think? Did you ever consider the financial benefits to breast-feeding?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-breast-feeding-saves-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-ways-to-celebrate-mothers-day">Free Ways to Celebrate Mother&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-cut-waste-when-feeding-kids">10 Ways to Cut Waste When Feeding Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on">9 Child Care Purchases You Should Never Skimp On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle babies breastfeeding feeding kids Mon, 28 Feb 2011 12:48:13 +0000 Xin Lu 495757 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 More Ways to Save on Maternity Clothes http://www.wisebread.com/4-more-ways-to-save-on-maternity-clothes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-more-ways-to-save-on-maternity-clothes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baby marcus_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="217" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, WC Porter shared 3 super ways to get by on a smaller budget when <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-save-money-on-maternity-dresses">purchasing pregnancy duds</a>. As someone who just gave birth to her 5<sup>th</sup> child, I&rsquo;ve gotten pretty efficient with spending less for maternity wear. Here are four clever tips you may not have known about!</p> <h2>Pregnancy Bands</h2> <p>It had only been 3 years since my last child was born, but my pregnancy jeans from that era were sadly outdated (and fit strangely&hellip;have you seen how large the caboose can be on some styles?). Instead of pulling out my credit card to buy yet another 3-4 pairs of maternity jeans, I improvised with a few different brands of maternity &ldquo;bands.&rdquo; These clever accessories fit over the waist of any of your regular jeans, and helps hold them up and together when you grow too large to button them. They work great for women who are too small to fit into most maternity jeans, and I was able to sport one over my baggy pairs until my 8<sup>th</sup> month of pregnancy &mdash; saving $100 or more on jeans I didn&rsquo;t have to buy. (I reviewed <a href="http://www.lillepunkin.com/2010/01/battle-of-bands-we-try-out-maternity.html">two of the major brands</a> and compared the features of each.)</p> <h2>Dress Rental</h2> <p>Remember the movie <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0988595/"><em>27 Dresses</em></a>? The recurring joke was that the brides seemed convinced that the bridesmaid dresses could be worn again after the wedding (as if). The only thing worse than being saddled with an expensive bridesmaid dress after the event is being saddled with an expensive <em>maternity</em> bridesmaid dress after the wedding. As someone who was an attendant in a wedding with a significant baby bump, I&rsquo;m aware of the added cost that a formal wear shop will attempt to bestow on the mom-to-be, and how I will NEVER wear my chocolate tulle elephant dress again. That&rsquo;s why companies like <a href="http://www.rentmaternitywear.com/">Rent Maternity Wear</a> are so appealing. You can rent a dress for a fraction of buying new, and you can even pay extra to be guaranteed that your dress will be brand new when you get it! (Likewise, each dress only gets rented out a few times, which means you get a pristine outfit for your next event!) Moms who aren&rsquo;t sure what size they will wear can get the next size larger or smaller for no extra charge, provided they send it back if it doesn&rsquo;t fit. How cool is that?</p> <h2>Non-Maternity Gear</h2> <p>Just because you feel like a house, it doesn&rsquo;t mean you have to shop in the house department. Some of my most comfy maternity clothes aren&rsquo;t maternity clothes at all! Long flowy dresses with drawstring waists, stretchy tees, and yoga pants with low waists kept me comfy and stylish for casual outings well into my 7<sup>th</sup> month. If you find yourself popping out beyond the limits of even your most forgiving clothes, go ahead and buy new. But don&rsquo;t confine yourself to maternity alone. A plus-sized outfit or something in a few sizes larger may look better on you than a maternity piece in your own size. Play around with it, and look for bargains in every department.</p> <h2>Shop Online</h2> <p>Some of my favorite maternity retailers also have online outlets (<a href="http://www.motherhood.com/">Motherhood Maternity</a>, for example). The exact same pieces were sold in store as on their website, but the site was consistently sale priced at 20% less than the brick and mortar option. I would frequently visit the site, pick out a few clearance items that I could wear year-round, and then visit the actual store to get a good idea of how it fit. Then I would go home and order online for a greater discount. Paying $12 for a nice dress instead of $20 feels really good!</p> <p><em>What about you? In addition to consignment and garage sales, asking a friend, and those tips I mention above, do you have some secrets to getting fabulous maternity clothes at a deep discount (or even free?).</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-more-ways-to-save-on-maternity-clothes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/too-broke-to-buy-diapers">Too Broke to Buy Diapers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-on-pregnancy-expenses">6 Ways to Save on Pregnancy Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-save-money-on-maternity-dresses">3 Ways to Save Money on Maternity Dresses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping babies maternity clothes pregnancy Sun, 04 Jul 2010 15:42:15 +0000 Linsey Knerl 165120 at http://www.wisebread.com