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Welcome To The Frugal Baby!

Babies are expensive–in fact, some studies suggest that a baby’s first year costs more than $10,000 on average (and that doesn’t include the cost of the birth!). The good news is, there are so many ways to save money on all of your baby expenses: baby food, child care, diapers, baby clothes, formula, babysitting, and more.

The Frugal Baby is chock full of money-saving tips for all of these things, plus ways to save all around the home. Take a look around and explore the many ways to raise a baby — frugally!

Saving Money on Glasses for Infants and Toddlers

Considering how poor mine and my husband’s eyesight is, it’s a wonder our kiddos don’t need glasses yet. There are many infants and toddlers out there who do need glasses, though. If your child is one of them, guest blogger Sara Roberts has some tips for saving money on them.

If your baby or toddler has vision problems, it’s not easy to keep them in glasses. Not only is it difficult to find frames and lenses that fit them properly and stay put, but it’s also expensive to continually replace their glasses when they’re growing so fast. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect glasses for your baby while saving money, too.

What you should look for when buying glasses for your baby?

  • Durability–Because your child is so young, he or she will have no sense of responsibility for their glasses. Babies just want to explore their world – crawling, walking, and running – so their glasses need to be extremely durable. Look for glasses that are soft plastic to provide some give when they’re bumped. The lenses should be scratch and impact resistant to withstand constant abuse.
  • Comfortable Fit–If your baby can’t talk yet, they can’t tell you how their glasses feel. It’s up to you to ensure their glasses continue to fit comfortably. Plan to replace them every few months, because your baby’s head will do 80 percent of its growing during the first two years! Check for redness or lines on your baby’s face each day to make sure their glasses aren’t becoming too tight. Look for frames that offer special features for babies, such as a durable outer shell with a softer layer of plastic on the inside for added comfort. You’ll also find many styles with cable temples, which wrap snugly around the back of the ears for stability.
  • UV Protection–Since your baby’s eyes are still developing, it’s very important to protect them from the sun. Look for lenses that have UV protection built-in. Transitions lenses are an option for many styles of baby frames. These lenses will automatically adjust to the level of sunlight your child is exposed to.

 

 

Where you can buy them?

There are a lot of different styles of glasses on the market for babies and toddlers, but unfortunately you won’t find too many of them in any given store. To save time, call around to your local vision centers and ask what kind of selection they offer for infants and toddlers, and find out how much experience they have working with children this young.

Another great place to look is the internet. One of the leading providers of eyewear for babies and toddlers is Solo Bambini (www.solobambini.com). They offer a wide selection of frames in many colors and styles that are suitable for infants and children through six years of age. They can even make prescription sunglasses for your baby!

How much do they cost?

If you purchase glasses from your local vision center, expect to pay around $150 per pair without insurance coverage. Make sure you check to see if you have any coverage through your employee benefits package. Look through the available opticians in the coverage network to find out if any of them specialize in infants and toddlers. If there aren’t any, research the out-of-network costs if you choose your own doctor. Either way, you’ll still save money over paying for everything out-of-pocket.

If you don’t have coverage through your job, consider purchasing a vision plan, but in reverse order. Instead of purchasing a plan and then finding out which doctors accept your new insurance, find a doctor who specializes in pediatric optometry and ask them which insurance plans they accept. By participating in a vision plan, you’ll save in the long run on exams, fittings, frames and lenses, and you’ll find the glasses will usually be automatically covered under an extended warranty instead of charging extra for it.

Before you purchase frames in a local store, do some comparison-shopping on the internet. Online stores offer the same high-quality frames you’d find at your local vision center, but at a much lower cost. Once you have your child’s prescription, simply mail or fax it in with your order, and your child’s new glasses will be delivered to you within a week or so. Respectable online retailers offer generous return and exchange policies, and many frames come with warranties as well. You can also submit a claim to your FSA or insurance company to be reimbursed for your costs.

Sara Roberts writes for Just Eyewear, a discount eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses online retailer.

Milk Nursingwear Review and Giveaway (Ended)

***Congratulations to Lisa L.! She won the $50 gift certificate from Milk Nursingwear! Thank you to all who entered!***

I have nursed two children and loved almost every minute of it 🙂  One of the biggest challenges for me was nursing discreetly in public. I tried various tactics but I always felt slightly exposed. If my breasts were covered, my tummy was showing and vice versa. And I’ve never been a fan of nursing covers because I hate the fact that my baby would be covered up by them.

So, when I was given an opportunity to try Milk Nursingwear, I jumped at it. If you’re unfamiliar with Milk, they are a line of very stylish nursing wear with nursing panels built right in. You simply pull one layer of fabric aside for easy nursing access. It’s extremely discreet. In addition to its functionality, these clothes are really cute, too! So cute, in fact, that you could wear their clothing even when you’re not nursing. And that’s exactly what I did.

I’m between babies at the moment so I got a chance to see if the Milk top really would pass for a “normal” top. I was reviewing the Chic Crossover Top in teal. I wore it to church one Sunday morning with a pair of black slacks. It looked GREAT. At church, the top was really put to the test. I was working in the nursery that day so I had kids climbing on me, I was holding babies, and I was running around. Amazingly, the nursing panel stayed in place the whole time.

 

The fit of the top was excellent, as well. When I first opened the box it came in, it looked like it might be too short. But when I tried it on, it was honestly a perfect fit. My only complaint (and it’s a small one) is that the material was rather clingy. This made it harder to hide bulges but since the overall shape was flattering, I thought it still looked great. In fact, I loved the top so much that I’m planning to go back and buy the sleeveless Ruffle Top (so cute!).

And if you are currently pregnant, many of Milk’s items can be worn during pregnancy, too. Since they do double duty, this makes them a good wardrobe investment.

Now, how about a chance to win a gift certificate from Milk? One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Milk! Here’s how to enter:

Mandatory Entry: Like Milk Nursingwear on Facebook (if you don’t mind, let ’em know The Frugal Baby sent you!)

Optional Entry: Tweet this: “WOW the nursing wear by Milk Nursingwear is so pretty http://www.milknursingwear.com

Optional Entry: Visit the Milk Nursingwear website, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Facebook “like” button (this is different than liking their Facebook page).

Optional Entry: Tweet this: “Enter to win Milk Nursingwear at The Frugal Baby. http://bit.ly/jiDCk8”

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry and be sure to include your email address. You may enter through July 14, 2011. A winner will be drawn randomly from all entries on July 15, 2011 and the winner will be notified by email that day.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me at no charge for the purpose of review. I was not compensated in any other way and this review reflects my honest opinion of the product. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.

 


A Good Trip to Kroger

Late last night, I realized that I had a Kroger catalina that was going to expire today. Although I had not planned to go to Kroger this week, the catalina changed that. So I sat down and took a look at the store’s deals, made my list, and headed out first thing this morning. All in all, I thought I did pretty well. Here’s a photo of the haul:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got:

  • 1 Coke 2 liter
  • 1 Diet Coke 2 liter
  • 2 packages of smoked sausage
  • 2 packages of sliced cheese
  • 2 bags of chips
  • 1 gallon of milk
  • 3 bottles Snuggle fabric softener
  • 2 Suave hair products
  • 2 bottles of tea
  • 1 bag of sweet potato fries
  • 1 pound deli-style lunch meat
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 package of razors
  • 1 tub of Cottonelle moist wipes
  • 1 loaf of bread

My total before coupons was $79.69.

My total after coupons was $20.91.

My total savings was 78%. All in all, I was pleased with this trip.

Happy Mother’s Day

Moms, I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day with your families this Sunday. And while I know it’s hard, please take my advice and LET THEM PAMPER YOU! So what if they don’t clean the kitchen just right? And does it really matter if the laundry basket goes unattended to for one day? And, my friends, I know you want to be frugal. I know and I understand. But if your sweet husband wants to take you out for dinner–let him!

We, as moms, work really hard to take care of our families. So if they want to take this day to show you that they care, enjoy it. After all, next Mother’s Day is another 365 days away.

Before I wrap up for the week, I did want to mention a couple of fabulous deals. You may have already seen these but I think they bear repeating.

First, you can get a yearly subscription to Family Fun Magazine for $1! New users who sign up for Eversave will receive an instant $4 credit in their account. Meanwhile, the current Eversave deal is for Family Fun. If you use your $4 credit, you will only pay $1 for your subscription! And if you don’t already subscribe to Family Fun Magazine, I highly recommend it.

The other deal is for the free 8×10 collage print from Walgreens. Not only would this make a nice Mother’s Day gift for Grandma, but it would also be a great way to group together some photos for a display. I actually took several photos from our recent vacation and turned them into a collage. It was adorable and it’s a nice way to display several photos all at once. Just enter promo code FREECOLLAGE when you check out and be sure to choose the store pick-up option so you aren’t having to pay for shipping.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Something for Nothing

Most of us who are obsessed with living frugally get a big thrill from scoring freebies. For example, I still get a rush when I use coupons to get free toothpaste, yogurt, or shampoo. And I absolutely adore getting freebies in the mail. I also enjoy rewards programs that give me something for nothing–or at least, something for very little.

If you’ve been on the saving money train for a while, you’re probably familiar with most of these programs. If not, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite rewards programs so that you can reap the benefits of them, as well.

  1. BzzAgent — BzzAgent is a really fun program. They let you try out a product or service for free and then you tell others about the product or service. You earn MyPoints points (see below) for telling others about the item so you reap rewards on both ends. As a BzzAgent, some of the free products I have received include: eyeshadow, lipstain, mascara, sunscreen, an automatic shower cleaner, cleaning products, new food products, and lots more.
  2. MyPoints — This is an easy program that rewards you for taking surveys, reading emails, and shopping. BzzAgents also earn MyPoints points for “buzzing” about new products. You will also earn points for referring friends. I use MyPoints to score free gift cards, especially around Christmastime. One year, I “bought” every gift card on my list with points from MyPoints.
  3. Survey Savvy — As its name implies, Survey Savvy is a survey program. Periodically, they send out emails inviting you to take a survey. Surveys pay anywhere from a dollar or two on up. Recently, I was able to try a new laundry detergent for free PLUS I earned $30 for answering a few questions about it. Survey Savvy also rewards you for referring friends.
  4. Inbox Dollars — When you sign up for Inbox Dollars you will begin receiving periodic emails. For each email that you read, you’ll earn five cents. You can also earn cash for taking surveys, trying out offers, etc. Inbox Dollars also pays bonuses for referring friends.
  5. House Party — I love House Party. Here’s how it works: you apply to host a party at which you will share a new product. House Party provides a party pack which includes free products, party favors, recipes, ideas, etc. You then host the get-together and post pictures and info from it on the House Party website. So far, I have hosted two parties–one for the Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop and the other for Zatarain’s products.

There are several more rewards programs that I want to mention but since this is enough to keep you busy for a while, I’ll save those for another day. Do keep in mind that while the rewards may seem small individually, they can add up to something impressive. If you have a rewards program that you love, let me know about it and I may mention it in my next post on rewards programs.

Giveaway Time

In case you missed it, The Frugal Baby’s 1,000 fan giveaway has begun on Facebook. There are some great prizes like cloth wipes, gift cards, Usborne books, and lots more. Be sure to check it out and enter soon–it will only be open through April 24th.

Mommy’s Money Saving Obsession is holding their Welcome Spring Follower Appreciation Celebration now but it ends TODAY at noon. The Frugal Baby has sponsored a Baby Einstein CD so be sure to get over there and enter if you haven’t already!

Also, Just Married with Coupons is holding their 10K Fan Fiesta right now and The Frugal Baby has sponsored a prize. It’s a Melissa and Doug puzzle for toddlers. That giveaway will end when they reach 10,000 fans so be sure to enter soon.

Finally, Fabulous Family Reviews and Giveaways will be holding their 5,000 Fan Appreciate Celebration as soon as they hit 5,000 fans. The Frugal Baby has sponsored a Snack-Trap Bowl in that giveaway so get over there and “like” their page.

Helping Japan–On a Budget

I know that many of us are feeling pretty helpless after the recent natural disasters in Japan. As the evolving story grows even more grim, a lot of people want to find a way to help. If you are living on a tight budget, though, you may feel like you can’t possibly make an impact. The good news is, you can.

  • First of all, donations of any size will be helpful to relief efforts. Can you spare $1 or $2? If thousands of people donate even a little, think how quickly the total will grow. Here is a list of charity organizations that are providing aid to Japan.
  • Do you have a website? Consider adding a donation bar to your website to make donating quick and easy for your readers. Here is a simple script to get you started.
  • Spread the word about Google’s person finder. With text in Japanese, this tool is designed to help displaced family members or out-of-town relatives to locate one another.
  • Make a paper crane. The origami crane is a symbol of hope to the Japanese and legend suggests that folding 1,000 of them will earn you a granted wish. Dosomething.org is asking that people join in with this symbolic show of support for the people in Japan. This would be a great activity to do with your children.
  • Pray. The people of Japan need our prayers right now. This is something that anyone can do as it only takes a moment and doesn’t cost a dime.

Latest Giveaways

Here at The Frugal Baby we love giving stuff away. As a result, we currently have a few giveaways going on or starting soon. Make sure you enter to win some great prizes!

Click here to win Where Are Baby’s Easter Eggs? by Karen Katz. This adorable board book would be a perfect addition to your child’s Easter basket.

Click here to enter (beginning soon!) the Fabulous Family Reviews and Giveaways fan celebration. The Frugal Baby is offering a Snack-Trap snack bowl as one of the many prizes in this giveaway.

Click here to enter (beginning soon!) Valerie’s Creations fan giveaway. The Frugal Baby is offering a baby food masher as one of the great prizes in this giveaway.

Click here to enter (beginning soon!) The Frugal Baby’s Facebook fan giveaway. We are lining up a bunch of great prizes and we are still looking for more sponsors.

Easter Book Giveaway

We have a winner! Congratulations to Deborah R!

Easter is late this year but it will be here before we know it. Filling an Easter basket can add up quickly so I have decided to do a giveaway to help! I will be giving away one copy of Karen Katz’s book, Where Are Baby’s Easter Eggs? This is an adorable lift-the-flap book with bright illustrations and simple language. It is perfect for babies and toddlers.

So how do you win it? Between now and March 23rd, do any of the following:
1. “Like” The Frugal Baby on Facebook
2. Follow The Frugal Baby on Twitter
3. Follow The Frugal Baby on Google Friend Connect
4. Subscribe to The Frugal Baby feed
5. Share this post on Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, or other bookmarking sites. (You can use the buttons at left.)

For EACH item you complete, post a separate comment and be sure to include your email address. A winner will be drawn randomly from all entries on March 24, 2011 and the winner will be notified by email that day. The winner has three days to send me his/her mailing address or another winner will be chosen at random. Please note that this prize can only be shipped to U.S. addresses but is open to everyone 18 and older (void where prohibited).

Be sure to come back on Monday for ideas for filling an Easter basket frugally!