10 Spring Super-Savers Every Parent Should Know

Being that I'm a first-time parent, I feel like each season we start over with buying new clothes and season appropriate budget busters, which sucks becuse we are a family that lives on a budget. So, I've had to get crafty. Really crafty.

Today I'm sharing seven years worth of experience 'gettin' crafty'. I present, my Top 10 Spring Super-Savers Every Parent Should Know...




1. Make a list: I learned very early that kids do not need half as much stuff as I think they do. Before my baby was born, he had enough clothes to go for a month without wearing a new outfit. Most of which, he never wore because he grew too fast! I quickly learned that I need to make a reasonable list of what I actually need each new season for my son. I cannot recommend this enough, make a list of the number of shorts, shirts, and shoes that you actually need to start the season, then buy everything one size up to leave room for a mid-season growth spurt. STICK TO THE LIST!

2. Shred those winter clothes: When it comes to outside playtime, kids get to get dirty. The last thing you want them to do is grime-up the nice new clothes splashing through spring-rain mud puddles. Go through the winter clothes and pulls the ones that have holes in the knees or tears in the sleeves and turn them into after-school and weekend shorts and tees.




3. Borrow Budget Busters: For those one-off seasonal family portraits or special occasions, you normally buy an incredibly expensive outfit your child will most likely only wear once, check out your friend's closets, first.  

4. Secondhand Staples: Children's secondhand shops/facebook groups/ Next Door... are full of clothes and everything else you need to cover an entire wardrobe for under $50. 

5. Facebook Finds: Every city has at least one Facebook mommy group that has the low-down on local clothes exchanges and lists where big family sales are taking place. To find them, ask your FB-friends if they know any great mommy groups on Facebook. I bet you'll get plenty of replies!

6. Garage Sale Heaven: Garage sales are a great place to pick up the big toys that people want to get rid of because their kid is over it and it takes up too much space. TIP: On Fridays, go to Craigslist or wherever your city list garage sales, and find ones close by. Look for multi-family sales then grab a friend and some coffee and start shopping!



7. Priced-to-Sell-FAST Retailers: I love Groupon, ZuLily, Amazon, JET, and department store 'clearance' racks that can offer well-made stuff at a huge discount. NOTE: Retailers thrive on seasonal sales and try to move merchandise like it's on a conveyor belt, which means huge clearance sales on last season stuff, so make sure to check the racks and website 'Sale' tab to pick up pants, jackets and boots two sizes too big for next season at 70-90% off.

8. Daily Deals: Did you know there are hundreds of websites that crawl the Internet daily for the best online daily deals then list them in an easy to search format so you can quickly search for items on your must-have list? My favorite is DealNews.com. SO worth checking out!

9. Grow Food For Family Health: When it comes to springtime treats and healthy fruit snacks, the budget can bust very quickly. I make smoothie-popsicles with fruit and veggies we grow! If you have a sunny spot in your yard, patio or balcony, you have a place to grow your own food. For real.  Did you know strawberries grow well in a pot? So does spinach, tomatoes, Meyer lemon and many others. TIP: Go to your local nursery and see what they have that looks good and pick TWO favorites to start - in my case, the local nursery is cheaper and the plants are healthier and hardier than big box store nurseries.

But first, know your zone and when it's safe to start an outdoor garden. (Grower's Zone).







10. Never Buy Online Without Searching For a Coupon Code AND Getting Cold Hard Cash Back For Your Purchase.  There are way too many apps and websites available today that list coupon-codes for major and small online retailers not to at least search for one. It's a simple as Googling: "The retailer's name + coupon code" (Target Coupon Code). But first, sign-up for Ebates to get a percentage in cash back for your online purchases. It's real, swear. Below is a screenshot of my Ebates account. I've had $421.09 deposited in my PayPal account over the past two-and-a-half years shopping online! MENTAL. If you've never checked out Ebates, GO NOW!


If you have any great tips, please leave a comment below, or join my Facebook discussion, here. 

Tips To Save Buku Bucks On Spring Beauty Purchases


Yesterday I covered spring money-saving hacks for kids stuff, so now it's time to talk about mama's stuff! 
With Spring on the horizon, I thought I would share a few of my top tips for buying champagne style beauty products on a beer budget. (Aveda, Trish McEvoy, Lancome, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Sephora, OPI...) Or, how I rarely buy high-end beauty products at full price and get a lot of awesome free stuff in the process, and not because I'm a blogger. Let's just say, I'm a product whore with a laughable budget and years of buying experience. 

1. First and foremost, sign up for email alerts from your favorite brands. This alone makes it easy to get the most bang for your buck from your go-to brands. FACT: Department/Beauty store brands (Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Trish, Laura...) promote 'gift with purchase' specials YEAR-ROUND. TIP: Check your favorite brand websites for the weekly gift with purchase specials and free shipping... add a coupon code and SCORE BIG!! 

2. NEVER Buy anything without getting something free! I'm not kidding. I have yet to buy any products without getting free samples. If the brand website is not offering 'gift with purchase' specials, stores like Sephora, Ulta, Nordstroms and Macy's may offer in-store/on-line promotions for the multiple brand's products. Do you see where I am going with this? Research your brand-loyal beauty products online before heading to the store. Always.





3. Print Monthly In-store CouponsLove your Cover Girl Mascara or Almay Tinted Moisturizer? Before you shop for shadow and gloss, spend some time downloading + printing coupons. If you play your coupons right, you might score big combining it with an in-store promotion. 


4. Reap the Rewards, Reviews + RatingsThanks to stores like Sephora, Ulta, and Amazon, getting the 411 on products is easier than ever. Amazon is a gold mine for finding reviews, photos, and deals on beauty products. Sephora is the spot for finding new products and scoring a loot bag of sample size products. Ulta sends coupons for discounts on a single item or entire purchase via snail mail and email, so signing up for the email list is worth it for that alone. I use this for self-tanner and nail polish purchases!






5. Google What Gets You. The next time you want to splurge on a new miracle cream, Google it before buying it. But try googling the specific need,"dark circles," "deep wrinkles", then look for best sellers, then read the reviews. There is no reason to spend a month's salary on an eye serum with so many great options available for a fraction of the cost. Did you know, Amazon's best selling serum cost $15? It does. It also as 4300 reviews and 4.5 stars. 

                                                               

6. GET CASH BACK! Last, and my biggest and best shopping tip, EBATES. I promise I am not getting paid to say that. I cannot recommend enough signing up for Ebates, then downloading the Ebates browser plug-in. Then, every time you shop online, Ebates notifies you automatically of the percentage of cash back you get for purchases and then at checkout, auto loads available coupon codes. IT'S AWESOME! Download and get cash back on nearly every online purchase, here.






Can you add to this list? Please leave your best tip in the comments below or say Hi! on social media:




Easter Hacks And Crafts Worth Knowing







Make your own Easter basket grass! The plastic shreds you buy in the grocery can be fatal to children and animals if ingested. Skip the killer store-bought-strips and make your own Easter grass by shredding colored paper then crumple it!



Make Bunny Tracks - I LOVE THIS! I can't wait to see my little guy's face when he sees the Easter Bunny hopped into our house! All it takes is White Chalk!



Crafty Morning's Easter Bunny Fruit Platter is my new favorite Easter treat!




Another little gem from Crafty Morning are these Rice Crispy Treat Easter Bird's Nest.


                         

Mmmmmm Breakfast. Easter Bunny Cinnamon Rolls from Betty Crocker..




The Idea Room's Easter Bunny Bread Bowls are SO CUTE!



Goldfish Party Carrots - I'm making these for The Kid's Easter Party at school.



Tea Light Eggs!




Easter Egg Planters!



Dye your eggs with All-natural Easter egg dye.


Not into DIY dye? McCormick Spice has every recipe and design idea imaginable for DIY Easter Eggs 



Do This For Thirty Days And Loose 8-15 Solid Fat Pounds!

For most of us Northern Hemisphere dwellers,  the temps are rising, the birds are chirping and the snow is melting. Meaning, SPRING IS NIGH!

Spring is also the time we start to really notice winter weight gain. This year, instead of freaking out and joining a gym you know you're NEVER going to go to, lace up the shoes and take control of your health, happiness, sleep and fat booty.

Y'all, I've been touting this on my blog every spring for SEVEN years and every year, I get dozens of emails from readers thanking me. With this program, you can lower your heart attack risk, lose weight, add years to your life, sleep better and of course, better your overall health and mood IN LESS THAN 30 DAYS. 

Oh, and, it's FREE.  

All you have to do is walk. No gym membership, diet or personal trainer screaming at you.




        
AND THAT'S NOT ALL!

The best part is this program shows results in just two weeks! Seriously, in two weeks you could be sleeping better, reducing your cholesterol and chances for a heart attack, and be down a few pounds, (Some reported SEVEN POUNDS!)



Bottom line:  Become a healthier, happier person in fourteen days.

How could you not want to at least try?

So, here is the plan: Walk for thirty minutes a day for thirty days. It's that simple.

You can walk fast, slow, or sprint. You can walk three times a day for ten minutes, twice for fifteen or all thirty in one trip. It's up to you. Just walk every day for thirty days!

 Start by making small tweaks to your daily routine:

1. If you take public transportation to work, walk to the next stop or station to catch your ride. 
2. At lunch, walk 15 minutes away from your desk, eat, then walk back--maybe even take the long way back. 
3. On the weekends go explore a nature trail with the family. 
4. New mothers on maternity leave, both your buns and baby will benefit from a daily thirty minute stroll. 
5. Only need a couple things from the store? If one is close enough, walk there! 
6. Walk the kids to anf from school for the month. 
7. On rainy days, clean or organize a closet for 30 minutes, better yet, go to the indoor mall for some retail therapy -- kill two birds with one stone!
8. Set up walk-dates with freinds. Maybe even a different friend three nights a week.
9. Each day walk out of your front door and take a different street or path and see what you find! 
10. Park WAAAAAY in the back at the grocery.
Tell as many people as you can you're doing this. Get a support group to help encourage and hold you accountable. YOU CAN DO THIS!  30 minutes for 30 days. It's not hard or an ongoing commitment. This is a challenge that you know you can do.


Don't forget to let me know how you're doing!

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5 Things To Know Before Hiring An Essay Writing Service

5 Things To Know Before Hiring An Essay Writing Service


As a student, from time to time, you may need assistance with an essay. There are plenty of options available from talking with the instructor to hiring an essay writing service. With more and more essay writing services popping up online, below are a few things to know before hiring the most affordable essay writing service.

Non-native Versus Native

In most cases, a non-native speaker would be cheaper than a native speaker. The risk you run is that the non-native writer may provide a quality paper, but the sentence flow may not be on point, in other words, read it before turning it in. That said, you could get a non-native writer that has good quality reviews, and they’re confident that they can deliver the type of particle that you require. This would be one way you could save some money but still get a professional writer involved in your essay writing, you'll just need to do the final edit.


Expertise

Depending on the type of article that you’re after, you may be able to get away with a writer who does not have as much experience as a more expensive 'expert' writer. If you are confident that you just need the bare bones of an article writing service and you will amend and change the article where necessary yourself, you may be able to save quite a bit of money by doing this, since an expert will charge a premium. Finally, don’t forget to look at the reviews posted by past clients, just because someone says their an expert doesn't make it so.

Negotiate the Budget

Budget is a vital area that you need to consider before you embark on looking to hire a professional essay writer. Have a clear budget in mind the see if there is any movement on the price that they are charging, and work to get down to your budget.

Assignment Type

Although you have no control the article subject matter, make sure you work with someone familiar with the subject, to save research cost and the risk of a quickly thrown together paper with surface information. Make sure that you and your hired writer are on the same page, so to speak. Once you’re both happy with what has been laid out and you are confident that both parties understand each other’s need, you will able to proceed with confidence.

The Deadline

Many people who look into getting assistance with any essay wait until the last minute. It is far better to plan ahead - short deadlines and tricky articles will inevitably cost more money.




Here's What Will Having A Baby Will Cost You



Having a baby is expensive and although it seems a lot just now it's even more alarming what a child will cost over the course of a lifetime, some estimates are up to $233,610 per child. Let's take a look at the costs that might face a parent throughout a child's life and things we might do to make sure we are in a position to meet those costs.


Baby Stuff

There is a whole list of baby items you're told to get for a new baby and the sums add up to a lot, but don't worry people have been raising children for millennia without spending thousands on them. So there are plenty of money saving tips out there so prioritize what you need and what is not so essential, see what can be purchased second hand and you'll be fine.



School Trips & Activities

Once they get a little older there is a whole series of activities, events and school trips on offer and depending on where you are going to school the cost of some of these can be staggering. You can see from these examples that estimates of cost for a school field trip can vary from about $15 up to thousands so this can be very scary and especially if your child is pressuring you to let them go as they will claim “all of their friends are going” but what to do is to be strong and pick and choose which trips you can afford and which ones are really essential. Don't worry there will be plenty other families whose kids aren't going on every trip no matter what the kids say.



Emergencies, Family Issues Etc

You can't assume everything is always going to be smooth sailing and be prepared for issues and emergencies as they emerge. You could lose your job, have an accident or worst case scenario you or your partner could have a fatal illness or accident. Ensure you have adequate financial planning in place for such events and have appropriate insurance cover built into your family budget, a quick search on Moneyexpert.com can quickly show you what this might cost.



College Or University

It seems a long way away but you really need to be thinking about planning for your young ones college or university fund as soon as possible. There are various ways to save for a college education but no matter what way you do it pick an option and start straight away.



Weddings

Once college is all done and dusted the next thing will be a child's wedding, and although another very happy occasion it is another large expense as the average cost of a wedding in the USA being over $25k even if you are only providing some of the cost. Make sure you have savings set aside to budget for this. When the planning starts though be sure you know what part of the wedding you are going to be responsible for and be sure your child knows what budget you are willing to spend.




These NASA Approved Air-Purifying Houseplants Are Everything This Winter

It's the dead of winter. The windows haven't been open in months. The air is dry and filled with dust and winter blah. Thankfully, there's a natural and beautiful way to purify the air in your home with these 18 NASA Approved Air-purifying Houseplants!



But first, some background on NASA approved air purifying houseplants... It all started in 1989 when NASA wanted to figure out a way to clean the air in space stations. Plants were a no-brainer since they have long been praised for absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

 The study found that "certain common indoor plants provide a natural way of removing toxic agents while neutralizing the effects of sick building syndromeThe findings suggested efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space. Other more recent research found that micro-organisms in the potting mix (soil) remove benzene from the air, so it's not just the plant, but the soil doing the work, too!



So what are these magical plants? Good news, you probably already know/own one or two, but most of all, you can easily find them at your local nursery or big box store. See below for everything you need to know to pick out the best plant for your space. (NOTE: Some may be toxic to your pets, please check plants for warnings before purchasing.)

FIRST! Find out what's lurking in your air, then choose the right plant for your needs.

SECOND: Use the above to match the perfect plant, below!






Here are actual pictures of the plants...




The following is a sort of cheat sheet to find which plant is best for various toxins and how to care for it.



To see specific plants and care instructions, check out my Houseplant Air Purifier Pinterest Board, Here.



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