Category: Popular Thrifty Tips

Baby on a Budget: How to Prepare for a Baby Financially

how to prepare for a baby financially

Your family’s growing, and you couldn’t be happier. But having a child is a huge financial commitment, just as it is an emotional one. Knowing how to prepare for a baby financially before you enter parenthood is key to enjoying your new blessing without so much stressing.

Research shows that the average family in the United States will spend about $12,000 on baby-related expenses during their infant’s first year.

Translation: As much as we love babies, they certainly aren’t cheap. We’ve compiled a guide on how to prepare for a baby financially and manage your new family budget.

Let’s get started!

How to Prepare for a Baby Financially: Understand Health Insurance

One of the most important moves you can make to prepare financially for baby is to ensure that you have a good grasp of your medical insurance coverage and anticipate your costs accordingly.

After all, giving birth to a child is costly even if you’ve got insurance.

The earlier you forecast your anticipated costs, the more prepared you’ll be for the medical bills that will ensue.

Also, start looking ahead of time for a pediatrician who is within your medical insurance network. Your new baby will need to see this doctor within the first week after he or she is born.

And don’t just trust the clinic to tell you that it is within your network. Call the insurance company yourself to double-check. You don’t want to get hit with unexpected charges for going outside of your network.

Budget, Baby!

Surrogate mothers enjoy the benefit of being paid to get pregnant for other couples. For instance, they can earn $43,000 or more — easily an annually salary — based on their individual circumstances.

But if you’re having a baby for yourself, you may experience the opposite effect: You may lose your yearly salary if you decide to stay home.

This is why it’s so critical that you create a post-baby budget before the baby comes. This will give you an idea of how his or her arrival will impact your finances.

If you decide to stay home, can your household truly absorb the loss of your income? If not, would a day care service in your area be affordable, or could a relative watch your bundle of joy at no cost?

Figure out these answers right away by doing the math. Then, act like these charges are in effect today so you’ll have an easier transition to life with a baby tomorrow.

Save

You may have spent the past few years trying to pay off debt. That’s great, but with baby on the way now, it’s time to step on the brakes.

In other words, stay on top of your minimum debt payments, but quit putting extra money toward your debt. Instead, put it in your savings account for emergencies that might crop up during your pregnancy or after the baby is born.

Then, once you’ve confirmed that both mom and baby are healthy, you can keep moving forward with your debt-payoff plan.

How I Can Help

I offer a wide range of tips and advice about how you can save money. Why pay more when you don’t have to?

Contact me to learn more about how I can help you to enjoy a fuller bank account and thus a fuller life long term.

Top 5 Cool Fashion Trends That Don’t Break the Wallet

cool fashion trends

Spring is just around the corner. The world will soon be full of fresh vegetation, baby animals, and cool fashion trends for spring.

Women get a bad reputation when it comes to clothes and shopping. There’s a stereotype that women spend far too much on clothes that they’ll wear once.

To some extent this is true. About 50% of women say that they don’t use 25% of their wardrobe. Seventy-three percent of women say they update 25% of their closets every three months.

Luckily, there’s no need to spend tons of money on fashion if you know how to shop thriftily. These cool fashion trends will help you stay up-to-date without breaking the bank.

Original Denim

This spring, original denim will be in. Clothes hoarders and thrift shopper rejoice.

The original denim trend means we’ll see more jean jackets and original cut denim pants out and about. These pieces pair perfectly with other trendy spring items like floral blouses and romantic, flowy dresses.

If you’ve held onto your clothes from the 90s, see if you have any old denim pieces in there. You can also ask friends and family if they have any old pieces you could take off their hands.

Trenches

Trench coats will always be a spring trend as the temperatures rise and the rainy season starts.

This season, you’ll notice updated silhouettes as well as traditional cuts. One new take on a trench that we love is one with bell sleeves from Mango.

Outerwear is something we recommend splurging on for a better quality coat that will last you a bit longer. This is especially the case for a piece that will continuously come back into style each year.

Florals

Florals will pretty much always be a spring trend. After wearing blacks and greys all winter, we can’t wait to don pretty pastels that reflect the new flowers blooming around us.

You don’t have to buy these pieces new. Check out which floral pieces you have from last season that are still in good shape.

Consignment shops are also a great place to check at the beginning of spring. In many cases, you can get items from your favorite labels at a deep discount.

Sheer Details

This spring, you’ll notice many tops with sheer top layers and sheer sleeves. Designers love the chance to play with delicate details, light, and transparency.

This trend has filtered its way down to the fast fashion houses where you can sheer pieces for little money. The drawback is that these pieces won’t last for a long time.

From fast fashion to plus size clothing, you’ll love the chance to play with different sheer pieces this spring.

Lavender

Lavender is an underrated pastel. Thank goodness you’ll see tons of it this spring.

You’ll notice lavender sweaters, dresses, accessories, and shoes all featuring lavender. We recommend sticking with one apparel piece and one accessory to prevent you from ending up with a closet full of lavender.

More Cool Fashion Trends for 2018

There are plenty more cool fashion trends to keep an eye out for this year. You’ll also see lots of red, sequins, fringe, lace detail, and updated suit pieces.

As you shop for older pieces like denim and trench coats, remember you can easily repair or patch up anything that looks a bit worn. Check out our sewing guide to help you get started on fixing your thrift store finds.

8 Budget-Friendly Romantic Weekend Ideas

romantic weekend ideasDreaming of a romantic getaway but wondering how your wallet will ever stretch for one?

Spending a weekend away is a wonderful way to reconnect with your partner and create some new memories.

A lot of couples, however, skimp on getaways as a way to save money. But romantic weekends don’t have to cost a fortune.

There are definitely ways to save some dollars and spend a memorable weekend with the one you love. Read on for more insight into some budget-friendly romantic weekend ideas!

1. Do Nothing

Turn your own home into a romantic getaway, without having to spend much of anything!

If you have kids, see if your sister-in-law or mother can take them for the weekend or even for just the day. Wipe your weekend clear of appointments and other engagements, turn off the technology, and light some candles.

Have your favorite food delivered, go for a walk near your home, or simply sleep in and have long talks over breakfast.

A lot of people underestimate the value of a staycation in this way. But having nowhere to be or nothing to do can be the best type of romantic weekend.

2. Seek Out A Waterfront

You don’t have to book tickets to Hawaii in order to experience a waterfront. Sign you and your honey up for a lakeside weekend retreat for an affordable, romantic excursion.

With the onset of AirBnb, it can be easy to find luxurious waterfront accommodation at any nearby lake or oceanside town. You may also be able to find lakeside cottages, resorts, or recreational areas in your area.

A waterfront getaway is one of the best romantic weekend ideas because it gives you so many options.

You could spend a relaxing weekend renting a small coastal cottage, for example, and save dollars by cooking your own meals, exploring the seaside, and reading on the porch.

Or you could rent kayaks for the day and paddle along a gleaming lake surface. You may even try out river rafting.

3. Visit a National Park

National parks are everywhere, and they can be easy and affordable to travel to. When it comes to romantic weekend ideas, a national park is a budget-friendly and beautiful destination.

Just hop in a car and drive to your nearest national park. Drop by the visitor’s center for a free map and then experience the magic of the park yourself.

Depending on the park you’ve chosen, and how outdoorsy you feel, you may be able to hike, glimpse steaming geysers, and take photos of wildlife.

If it’s the right season, bring along your camping gear for a romantic getaway. Don’t forget to bring cooking supplies and plenty of water.

4. Travel During the Off-Season

If you’re keen to visit a dazzling city like New York or Italian villa in Europe, it’s still possible to do so. Just travel during the off-season for more affordable rates and budget-friendly options.

Visiting Chicago during the off-season, for example, can mean cheap hotel rates and less crowded museums and other attractions. You may be surprised at the prices you can find.

If you can swing it, try traveling during the week, too. Sometimes accommodation prices can dip on a Tuesday or a Wednesday.

5. Do A Winery or Brewery Tour

If you live in an area known for its fine wines and craft beers, why not spend a weekend trying some of the best?

Some people assume that winery tours are expensive. While this may be the case in some areas, there are plenty of affordable tour options out there.

In many cases, you can spend a solid day sipping wine and eating cheese, and not spend more than $100 per person!

Tours are also ideal if you just have time for one day and/or night together. What’s more, many tours include transportation in the total cost.

6. Take a Mini Road Trip

Road tripping can be incredibly memorable and romantic, especially if you’re seeking a low-key, budget-friendly getaway. Simply pack some provisions, hop in the car, and away you go.

Explore some of those nearby little towns you’ve been dying to experience, or leave the GPS at home and just drive.

You can stay overnight at a campground if it’s the right season, drop by an AirBnB, or linger at a bed and breakfast.

7. Book a Cruise

When it comes to romantic weekend ideas, cruises are always at the top of the list. But they are also affordable options for anyone seeking a romantic excursion of any kind.

Cruises come in all shapes and sizes. The good news is that most cruise prices are all-inclusive, meaning you’ve got accommodation, food, and experiences included.

If you’re looking for a more extended romantic getaway, browse cruises for an affordable option. You may even be able to snag a 7-day cruise for as low as $499!

8. Try a Spa Weekend

Treat you and your loved one to some spa indulgence. A spa weekend can be relatively easy on the wallet, especially if you sign up for couple’s massages or treatments, which are often discounted.

You may even be able to experience spa treatment as part of a weekend hotel or resort package. This is quite common and often fairly affordable, given that packages are often for a weekend or single overnight stay.

Check out deals and coupons for affordable local spa treatments if you prefer to stay in town. You may be surprised at the promotions and discounts you find!

Or stay at the Old Orchard Inn for a weekend and indulge in their spa offerings.

Romantic Weekend Ideas

It is definitely possible to plan a romantic weekend getaway that is easy on the wallet.

Depending on the season and your own interests, consider visiting a nearby national park or taking a mini road trip. Indulge in a spa weekend, book an affordable cruise, or seek out the nearest waterfront.

Don’t underestimate sites like AirBnB and Groupon for helping you find affordable weekend travel solutions.

Planning your next romantic getaway? Check out our other posts on affordable travel and vacations for any thrifty couple.