Hello again, savvy savers! So, in an attempt to connect more with my online friends, readership, and future site newbies I thought I would share a little of what’s currently going on behind the scenes this month at The LadyPrefers2Save!
First, and foremost, our family is TTC! We are very excited to be embarking on this journey, and expanding out family, for this new aspect of our lives! For the past month, my husband and I have been very low-key socially, spending a great deal of time when not working and running errands, staying home, eating together as a family, and discussing out plans for the future. We are currently in chart and prep-mode. How did we come about this? We came together, frankly discussed our goals, finances, and aspirations for the next year. We discusses his career goals, my scholastic, career, and business goals, and both decided it’s time to build the next! How we plan to do this is a very unique, even-yoked method for planning for our future, with the help of a few LadyPrefers2Save methods!
Here’s what we are doing to help make our goals a reality:
1) We set a timeline. Funny, I know… but realistic. We made a one year plan; we will be TTC for one year, and at that time we will discuss more medical options if out plan is not fulfilled, but we have every hope that it will! We are walking in faith! I am currently thirty-one, and feel that this is the right season of my life to start this journey!
2) We set a budget. We set a house budget. We cut unnecessary fat; we cut our cable bill, unplug unessential small appliances, the washer and dryer, and power strips at night, cut our water bill by 1/3, scaled back out cellular bundle, upped our intake into savings, scaled back to one vehicle, are upping our freezer cooking principles, and are snowballing the last of our debt. We then created a baby budget. We decided to allocate $1,000.00 for the start of a nursery.
3) We decided as a family to utilize my blog’s economic strategies to realistically prepare for a baby. We have also been de-cluttering our home, and by home I mean my entire home. With that said, it’s good to know that I am a planner. I make a plan, I execute a mission, I just have always been this way. So, with this idea in mind, I came up with a way to fully fund my baby budget, without taking a dime out of our families existing monthly expenses. I have done this, and still in the process of doing so, as I have cleaned out my dining room, which is now set up as a staging area for furniture and home items which have been cleaned, sorted, listed and sold via online Facebook Community Groups and Craigslist. In the past two weeks, I have sold enough items to meet my entire baby budget, just from items we were not using! What inspired this idea, was a recent article in Consumer Reports stating that the average American Home contained $3,500.00 worth of items that have not been used in a year, were in fine market value, and could be locally sold. They were right! I am only a 1/3 done with my selling, but am thus fall hopeful! Anything that does not sell, will be sent to a consignment shop, recycled, placed on Freecycle, or donated for tax receipts! Also worth noting, you can save your tax receipts for baby purchases, up to four fiscal years, in order to qualify for the $1,000.00 federal family tax credit, and so my expenses will be recouped, entirely!
4) We have decided to look into online resources/savings to help us afford a baby. As a blogger, I receive many promotional items, hosted party opportunities, and product reviews, which also help out with this budget. Rest assured, I am married to the most honest, hard-working, ethical, faithful men I know, but he is not a going to be the bargain hunter for this mission! I have been joining baby programs online, completing surveys for Amazon Gift Cards, gaining Swag-bucks, and will be receiving awesome freebies, and have been priced out awesome deals on new carpeting for our nursery; I also have an online Amazon wish list, of baby toys and extras, and if I am able to earn extra gift cards, I’ll use those funds to buy the other “happies.”. With that said, my husband is behind me one hundred percent, as he knows I will diligently be looking online for ways to supplement my budget, and he gives me the two thumbs-up seal of approval for it all. He has agreed to be my moving man and pick-up service for whatever I will find, check our PO boxes diligently, and to install my new nursery carpet for me! For that I am grateful; he is always charitable with his time. We will also be joining online support groups, joining new church groups, and connecting with others in our area entering the journey we are currently on!
5) We have decided to start making purchases. We made a list of nursery essentials which will be purchased now. So, for the purchasing of both gender-neutral baby equipment, furnishings, new carpet, and clothing I find online, Daddy Bear will be picking-up, installing, and helping with. For those who may think this is premature or a jinx, I will kindly agree to disagree with you. We sat down last month and created Now and Later lists, and decided collectively which items should be purchased in the next few months, as we are able to find them, as well as items we will wait to purchase. We will now be purchasing baby furniture and equipment, second hand, all with a set price point; we will pay no more than 20-30% of market value for each item online and locally. All items will be gender-neutral, or paint-able to be as such, and will not be assembled until they are needed; we also apply this principle to blankets and clothing. These items will be stored in a spare bedroom, conveniently painted in a jungle-motif mural, which came with our home! As each item is not currently pressing, we will not be pressured into hurriedly paying exorbitant prices for much needed essential, and can focus on being exacting, in terms of the utilitarian and educational aspect aspect of each item.
Also consider, we will not be having a baby shower or asking for baby essentials; our families collectively are very small, spread through the country, and after praying on this topic, decided it would be less of an imposition just to budget for these expenses ourselves.
We have also found that many parents are willing to sell items at rock bottom prices to clear out space in their own homes, creating continued, budgeted blessings for both families! In addition, we will not be purchasing any gender-specific outfits, cloth diapers, or the life, until a confirmed second trimester pregnancy. We will also be holding off on purchasing shoes, toys, and story books; babies require few shoes, toys, and books their first year!
Some examples of recent Craigslist purchases have been:
- An excersaucer, $5.00.
- Fisher Price Play Mat, $2.00.
- A crib, $20.00.
- An antique rocking horse, $5.00.
- A World Market Glider and Matching Ottoman, $20.00.
- Osh Kosh B’Gosh Overalls, $0.25.
- A bassinet, $10.00.
- A baby bath tub, $1.00.
- A bumbo seat and tray, $5.00.
- A box of pottery barn linens, $10.00.
- A diaper box full of of Baby Gap jammies, onesies, and booties, $5.00.
- A new, unused high chair, $10.00.
An additional purchase I treasure, a $5.00 1950’s stamped quilt rack; I will be using this rack to store my baby blankets and covers, which cannot be used in-crib due to SIDS concerns, while my baby uses swaddleme’s. For me, these prices were too great to pass up! I will continue to widdle down my list, buying only essentials, or items under my price point.
6) We are Buying Used, and Saving the Difference. We decided together that we would buy used, save the difference, and use those earned savings to help pay for all of out post-birth medical bills, which will leave us virtually debt-free during our first year of parenthood. Also factoring into this equation, if additional medical treatments, testing, or medications are needed to conceive, as they are in up to 20% of couples, we will be able to absorb our costs ourselves, without dipping into our respective 401-k accounts. Though I am only 31, and in the prime of mommyhood, it’s always good to prepare!
7) We will be couponing. We will be couponing, as a family, for baby purchases, as needed. We will be purchasing baby toys, wipes, etc. with coupons as they come available; the sheer number of manufacturer coupons available for baby essentials is staggering and just requires a little for thought and planning!
8) We are committing ourselves to a healthier lifestyle. We have decided to walk ourselves, and our fur-children, daily. We will be purchasing ten percent more organic goods. We have planned to cloth diaper, breast feed/pump, and will later create out own baby food. We have also committed ourselves to staying up-to-date on physicals, dental exams, eye exams, vaccinations, and screenings. I will also be tweaking my health insurance this fall to a more comprehensive, prenatal plan.
9) We will be preparing our home for our own enjoyment. In the recent past, we had the privilege of having my Grandmother live with us, due to her ongoing battles with Diabetes, Stroke, and Stroke Induced Dementia. My Grandmother has now moved on to live with other relatives, with nursing experience, and my husband and I am now able to lay out our home in a way that best suites our goals and lifestyle. We have set up our back patio as an outdoor kitchen. We moved our living room sectional set into a spare bedroom, creating a man cave for Daddy Bear and his Who Dat, army, drumming, and other collectibles! We used the existing dining room built-ins, previously used to house china, as a home library. We downsized our kitchen appliances to create room for a breakfast nook. We cleared out our Sun Room for a new up-cycled home office and play area. We cleared out our dining room and living room, which will be painted, and I am currently on the lookout for new pieces to chalk paint; I have already sketched a design for the two rooms, and will have them done within the next year, purchased with the funds of the remainder of the previously mentioned furnishings being stored in my dining room.
We have thus far been able to find an antique buffet and pie safe, both from the 1940’s. I paid under both $100.00 for both, delivered! We also found a salvaged 1920’s church stained glass alter pane, which I will be faux stain glassing and it’s going to look awesome! I have also allocated a portion of this years federal tax return for four rooms of carpeting, so check and check there! Also, if I get stressed, I continue pulling down wallpaper in my dining room!
We are committed to turning our house in a spacious, un-cluttered home, which we intend to stay that way! Our goal? Create a space that you long to come home to, and by lavishing in your own home, you will build a contentment within our family, and save money in the process. Beyond this, we have both agrees to continue with my seasonal gardening, landscaping, and holiday decorating! After all, it’s almost Fall Ya’ll! Now is the time to stop and take in the beauty of this coming seasons mums, especially the awesome ones starting to bloom on our back patio beds; a mum care tutorial will be rolling out on the blog soon!
Something else that’s cool? Yesterday we came across a new Craigslist ad for a free 7.5″, pre-lit tree, free for the taking! After testing out this gem, a charming military family, in the process of moving, helped my husband load it up, and so this fall Daddy bear will now have his own sports-themed, black and gold, NOLA tree in his new cave!
10) We are committed to our marriage. The first step in this journey, by way of a lovely lunch at our local Cracker Barrell, started with Daddy Bear and I praying together over the direction of our lives, and we decided that our first goal, other that being faithful stewards, was to one another. He’s my bestie, and I’m his buddy. We both love another, agree to disagree, and hold steadfast to out commitment to one another. We also believe that being committed to this journey, means being committed to being satisfied with the process. We are enjoying the steps to becoming a parent, and the time we spend together in doing so! Having kids should be fun, and we are committed to not losing site of this ideal.
We are committed to a calm, purposed journey, starting this fall!
Beyond the TTC, I have been:
- Gearing up for new Fall Etsy Wreaths!
- Preparing for my 31 Days of Projects for the blog in October!
- Reading book reviews.
- Received a raise at work!
- Taking a semester off of graduate school, as the classes I need are not being offered this term.
- Working on a new Rosetta Stone experience!
- Working out and walking.
So, that’s a little of what is currently going on behind the scenes here at The LadyPrefers2Save. So, what is going on in your neck of the woods? How are you planning for this fall? How are your families? How are you doing today? Please leave me a comment and let me know how you all are!
Here’s to the journey,