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15 Ways to Save on Baby Expenses

How to save big on baby expenses

It’s Monday and I’m starting to get back into the swing of things here on the site. My husband is taking his paternity leave to help me around the house as I get acclimated with my new routine. Our mothers were here the first few weeks to give us an experienced hand and I have to say, it was wonderful.

Having a baby has been a huge change in more ways than one, but something that surprised me is how inexpensive they can be if you’re willing to do a little work. Family helped us find ways we can cut back on baby expenses while still getting what she needs.

15 Ways to Cut Down on Baby Expenses

I decided to consolidate some of the best tips and advice I’ve heard and read so far from others into a list that you can print out and put on your fridge.

  1. Have a trusted friend or family member babysit your child. Don’t take advantage of a loved one’s generosity; you should still compensate them for their services. After all, you most likely get a discount and you’ll have some peace of mind over your little one’s well being.
  2. Make your own baby food. If you have the right kitchen tools and the time, go ahead and make your baby’s food. It’ll also give you the freedom to introduce a variety of different foods to your baby early on.
  3. Buy baby supplies in bulk (when appropriate). You can save quite a bit of money if you buy certain items in bulk, like diapers. consider subscription services like Amazon Mom to save 30% on diaper orders.
  4. Consignment stores are your best friends. We have quite a few consignment stores in Raleigh with some high quality items. There’s one that specializes in baby clothes and gear a short drive from us that has fantastic deals. We picked up some outfits for $1-$4/each, with some of them having the tags still on.
  5. Cook at home. Not exciting, but a huge cost saver. Eating at home not only helps you keep more money in your wallet, but you’ll have more control over what you eat. That means better health and more wealth. Curious about what foods to try or what cooking tips can save you time? Check out my blog Married Food for ideas.
  6. Watch your toy budget. Babies don’t need as many toys as you think. It’s tempting to get the latest educational toy that comes out, but some basic ones really go a long way. Plus they have the added bonus of encouraging imagination.
  7. Buy for the long term. When looking at cribs, my husband and I wanted to look for something that would last for years. Besides getting a convertible crib, we also looked at the material. We didn’t want the bed to break down after a move or two.
  8. Go generic.Your baby can tell if she’s wearing the name brand shoes or having her bottom cleaned by the store brand wipe. Save yourself some money and go generic.
  9. Buy washable nursing pads. You’ll go through them quickly, so it may pay to invest in some washable ones.
  10. Check out the clearance rack. You can pick up some nice clothes and baby gear by looking at the clearance rack.
  11. Keep the change. Go ahead and collect all the loose change you have at the end of the day. You can use that to build the family’s savings or put it aside for your baby’s future expenses, like a college fund.
  12. Take advantage of coupons and discounts. Use manufacturers’ coupons and sites like Amazon Mom to score deals on necessary baby items.
  13. Try free mommy programs at the library.
  14. Wait for the baby shower. If you’re watching your dollars, be patient. If loved ones buy you some necessary items for your little one, you can pick up what’s missing.
  15. Network with other parents. Parents can be a great resource for sales and deals in your area.

Save Even More on Baby Expenses

Looking for more ideas on saving with baby expenses? I’ve included the Baby Expenses series (as of today) to help you get started.

Join In the Baby Expenses Series

Are you a parent or a parent to be with some helpful advice or stories? Please go ahead and join in on the fun, there are 4 ways you can be a part of it:

  1. Leave your tips in the comment section. I  love reviewing thoughtful comments from readers. Some topics have several ‘right’ answers and I think sharing different view points can be helpful.
  2. Submit your stories for future posts. As you know, baby and expenses can cover a variety of topics. If you have a short story or some tips you want to share, please submit them. If you’re a blogger, please share your site’s address with the email so I can credit you if you want.
  3. Write a blog post about your experience. Please include a link in your bio for your site and if you have a relevant post on your site, please link to it in your post.
  4. Share you favorite posts with friends. If you have a favorite post, please share them with your friends who are expecting. I’ve included share buttons for Facebook and Twitter to make it easier and you can always email them your favorite posts as well. If you think it’s a great for them, please encourage your friends to sign up and receive updates through RSS or directly to their inbox. It’s free and an easy way for them to keep up with the latest posts on Couple Money.

If you’re expecting or raising a newborn, I wish you and your family the best!

Photo Credit: Ann Gordon

How to Select A Guardian for Your Children

guardians for your children

Becoming a parent means being responsible for the care and well-being of your child for at least 18 years.  But what if the unexpected happens?  Who’s going to take care of your child(ren) if both parents are no longer around?

I remember the discussions my kids’ dad and I had when preparing our first wills many years ago.  It’s natural for each parent to want the child to go with “their” family and it took some time to come to an agreement.  Here is a list of criteria that can help you in this decision.

Values and Beliefs

Religious upbringing is an important consideration.  Most likely, you want your child brought up by someone with the same religious background.  Consider if the prospective guardian’s level of involvement in spiritual activities is something you would want for your child.

What values and characteristics are important to you?  Make a list of qualities you would want your children to have and learn.  Use this list to screen potential caretakers.


Do you want your children to grow up where you live now?  If this is important it will definitely narrow the list of candidates for many people.  For me, this would be not a high priority, but then I spent my childhood moving from one military base to another.

Family Situation

Do your prospective guardians have children already?  If yes, are the ages compatible with your child’s?  If you have multiple children, maybe it would be better to select a couple that don’t have any especially if keeping the children together is important (which I think it should be).


I don’t mean can the guardian run a marathon, but rather can they handle raising children.  Your parents or grandparents might make wonderful caregivers but are they physically up to the demands of small children?   We’re in good health and can be quite tired after a weekend with our 2-year-old grandson.

Is the guardian financially able to take on additional family members?  Even with insurance and social security payments, it may not be enough to cover the cost of your children to their family.

Last, is the person emotionally fit to take on the job of guardian?  You chose to take on the responsibility of parenting but it would be thrust upon the guardian.  Are they strong enough for all the challenges of child-rearing?


I put this last but it is maybe the most important criteria.  Who has a strong relationship already with your child or children?  It would definitely be easier on the child to live  with someone who they already know and love.


Once you’ve made a decision, talk to the person and make sure they’re willing and able to take on the role.  I would share the decision with close family members so they  know your wishes.

Thinking about the worst things that can happen in life is not fun.  Knowing your child is taken care of no matter what, makes it worth the work!  What is your experience in selecting a guardian?

Photo Credit: docentjoyce

2nd Opinion From Mechanic In

car mechanic second opinion

For those who have been curious about our car drama, I’m happy to report we got an update to share. If you remember from my original post, my husband took his car in to get the air conditioning fixed. With the heatwave it became even more important to get this done. However, we were blown away by the shop’s call.

1st Mechanic – Replace or Repair

After we dropped off the car to his regular shop, my husband was expecting a phone cal telling him that the repairs had been completed and he could pick up his vehicle. Instead he received a list of what was wrong with the car.

Here’s a rundown of the original mechanic’s diagnostic:

  • New A/C Compressor and Clutch Needed
  • Replace Serpentine Belt
  • Replace Radiator
  • Replace Head Gasket

Total estimated cost for parts is about $2,000 and then there’s labor. So we’re looking at $3,500 to repair a car that cost less than that. Needless to say, we were stressed and worried about having to replace the car while we expecting to have a baby any day.

2nd Opinion – Much Cheaper

When the baby arrived, the car drama took a back seat. After things settled down somewhat we took the Toyota down to the shop a friend recommended to get a second opinion.

My husband got the update from the mechanic about the diagnostic’s results. According to the shop, we DON’T need to replace the head gasket. There are some repairs that have to be made, though, and the estimate to get our car running fine is….around $300.

I thought I misread the message my husband sent. $300?! That’s less than 10% of the original estimate. I did find out that the estimate was preliminary. They were going to recharge his car’s air conditioner system, but it may not work. However, they wanted to start with the easiest (and least expensive) solution.

My husband was ok with the repairs, so we’ll wait and see what happens next. I’m so hoping that we get this finished soon and back to two cars.

Thoughts on Car Mechanics

Depending if this second mechanic can come through, we’ll switch mechanics. I know Sam has found a great mechanic; how about you? Did getting a second opinion on car repairs pay off for you? Did you switch mechanics?


ING Direct Now Has Paper Checks

piggy banking

Great news this week for current and future ING Direct users. They’re now offering paper checks with their Electric Orange accounts. While the paperless checking account takes care of 90% of our banking needs, we have had some experiences where writing a paper check would’ve been more convenient.

Why We Bank with ING Direct

Basically we signed up with ING Direct because they offered what we were looking for as couple with our banking needs.

  • FDIC insured
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • $0 required minimum balance
  • Free online billPay service
  • Conveniently located ATMs
  • Earn some interest rate if possible

We also were looking for a reputation of good customer service and from what I heard ING Direct had fit the bill.

Want to take advantage of the new paper check, but curious on how to order your checkbook? Here’s how:

  1. Sign in to ING Direct
  2. Click on your Electric Orange Account
  3. Click ‘Account Maintenance’
  4. Click ‘Order New Checks’ in the Checkbook section
  5. When your checks arrive, sign in to ING Direct to “Activate” your checkbook

We went ahead and signed up. I think having a checkbook for our ING Direct account would be helpful in those rare cases when paper checks are needed.

Personal Finance Posts to Catch Up On

If you have some free time this weekend and want some tips and information for your finances, be sure to read some of these wonderful posts.

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did. I also recommend checking out my blogroll to pick up some great personal finance blogs to follow. Please also let me know what are some of your favorite blogs that you enjoy reading on a regular basis.

Have fun this weekend with your family and try to stay cool!

Photo Credit:  bradipo

Defendants Lose The Weight Of Their Assets In “Hoodia” Weight Loss Case

In April of 2009 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged makers of a “Hoodia” weight loss supplement with deceptive advertising. The companies, Nutraceuticals International, Stella Labs and key company players and controllers David Romeo, Deborah Vickery, Craig Payton, and Zoltan Klivinyi claimed that using their product would lead to weight loss and appetite suppression.

In its complaint, the FTC alleges that the defendants not only made false and deceptive claims about what hoodia could do, but also, on one or more occasions, claimed that their product was Hoodia gordonii, a plant native to southern Africa, when it was not. They claimed their product was scientifically proven to suppress appetite, resulting in weight loss; and was clinically proven to reduce caloric intake by 1,000 to 2,000 calories per day.

Last week the charges were settled against the aforementioned (sans Klivinyi who is no longer residing in the United States). Under the settlements:

David Romeo, controller of Nutraceuticals International and Stella Labs, are banned from making any weight-loss claims while marketing foods, drugs, and dietary supplements. The settlement imposes a $22.5 million judgment against Romeo and the two companies, which will be suspended when Romeo forfeits his vacation home in Vermont, and assigns to the FTC the right to collect on $635,000 in business loans owed to him. If it is later determined that the financial information Romeo gave the FTC was false, the full amount of the judgment will become due.

Nutraceuticals International principal Craig Payton is banned from marketing any foods, drugs, or dietary supplements. The order against Payton does not require him to forfeit any assets, as they were already seized in an unrelated federal drug case.

Nutraceuticals International marketing executive Deborah Vickery is required to pay a $4 million judgment, which has been suspended due to her inability to pay. If it is later determined that the financial information she gave the FTC was false, the full amount of the judgment will become due.

All five defendants (the three mentioned and the two companies) are prohibited from making any false or unsupported claims about foods, drugs, or dietary supplements, and from helping others to make these claims. They also are barred from misrepresenting the results of any scientific study – Source.

Consumers should be wary of any dietary supplement and/or weight loss diet ad. As with anything else in life, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. Take caution folks. Talk to your doctor about any weight related questions or concerns.

Author: This article was contributed by, a site that helps free help for people getting out of debt.

Source: Defendants Lose The Weight Of Their Assets In “Hoodia” Weight Loss Case