Weight Loss Surgery: Is It Worth the Trouble? What the Results Say

Nearly 72% of American adults over the age of 20 are either overweight or obese.

Being overweight or obese not only affects your self-esteem, but it also puts you at a higher risk for serious diseases and health conditions. Although exercise and a healthy diet may help, many people struggle to lose significant amounts of weight using this method alone.

If you struggle with weight that’s resistant to diet and exercise, weight loss surgery may be an option for you. But deciding between your weight loss surgery options takes some research.

Keep reading to learn about your options and the results they achieve.

What is Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery is also known as bariatric surgery. These surgical procedures help you lose weight when even the most extreme weight loss tips don’t work. They help you lose weight in two ways.

First, they restrict the amount of food you can eat. By making your digestive system smaller in different ways, you’re not able to hold as much food. That results in a significantly reduced caloric intake.

The other ways in which they help you lose weight is through malabsorption. Some of these surgeries will shorten or bypass the small intestine. The result is that fewer calories and nutrients are absorbed by the body.

Weight Loss Surgery Options

There are four types of weight loss surgery. We describe each in more detail below and discuss the potential pros and cons. 

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

In a gastric bypass procedure, a small pouch is created at the top of the stomach. The small intestine is cut just below the main stomach and connected to the pouch.

After surgery, the new pouch is where your food goes. Because it’s much smaller than your stomach, the pouch puts a limit on how much you can eat and drink. The changes to the small intestine also result in fewer nutrients and calories being absorbed. 

Pros

This surgery results in more substantial weight loss than a gastric band, which we’ll discuss in more detail next. You also don’t have any foreign objects placed in your body in order to help you lose weight.

Cons

On the negative side of this surgery is the fact that it’s difficult to reverse. There’s also a higher risk of surgery-related problems than if you had a gastric band. 

Because fewer nutrients are absorbed by the small intestine, this type of surgery may lead to a vitamin deficiency. It’s also linked to an increased risk for alcohol use disorder.

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding

Gastric banding involves placing a band with an inflatable balloon around the stomach. Fixed in place around the upper section of the stomach, this creates a narrow opening to the stomach.

Because the opening is much smaller than your regular stomach, you feel full sooner and you’re not able to hold as much food. Without changes to the intestine, this type of weight loss surgery doesn’t restrict the nutrients and calories being absorbed.

Pros

Gastric banding doesn’t involve any incisions or changes to your stomach or intestinal system. As such, the surgery is relatively low-risk and only requires a short hospital stay.

Gastric banding can also be reversed or adjusted if needed. It also carries very little risk of a vitamin or nutrients shortage.

Cons

A gastric band needs constant adjustment, which requires frequent follow-up visits to the doctor. It’s also possible that you don’t adapt to the band. In those cases, you may have to undergo a second surgery to remove or replace the band system.

In comparison, gastric banding also results in less weight loss than the other types of weight loss surgery.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

In this form of weight loss surgery, a part of the stomach is removed. What remains is formed into a tubelike shape that doesn’t hold as much food.

In addition, a sleeve gastrectomy causes the body to produce less ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for your appetite. Meaning, you won’t feel as hungry, as often.

Pros

A sleeve gastrectomy involves a short stay in the hospital, no changes to the intestine, and no foreign objects placed inside your body. It also produces greater weight loss than a gastric band.

Cons

In comparison to a gastric band surgery, sleeve gastrectomy has a higher chance of surgery-related problems. It can result in a vitamin shortage as well as the development of acid reflux. This type of surgery also can’t be reversed.

Duodenal Switch With Biliopancreatic Diversion

This type of weight loss surgery actually involves two surgeries. The first surgery is like a gastric sleeve surgery and the second surgery shortens the small intestine.

The result is a smaller stomach and food bypassing most of the small intestine. This means you won’t be able to eat as much food and your body will absorpt fewer calories and nutrients. 

Pros

Of all the weight loss surgeries, this leads to the most weight loss.

Cons

While it leads to the most significant weight loss, it also carries a higher risk for surgery-related problems. Many surgeons won’t perform this type of surgery due to the risk of complications.

Which Is the Best Weight Loss Surgery?

In one comprehensive study, researchers sought to find out which type of weight loss surgery was best. They looked at 46,000 patients that had either gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or adjustable gastric banding. The results were as follows:

  • Gastric bypass. After one year, patients lost an average of 31% of total body weight. After 5 years, patients lost an average of 25% of total body weight.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy. After one year, patients lost an average of 25% of total body weight. After 5 years, patients lost an average of 19% of total body weight.
  • Adjustable gastric banding. After one year, patients lost an average of 14% of total body weight. After 5 years, patients lost an average of 12% of total body weight.

The results demonstrate that gastric bypass surgery was the best weight loss surgery in term of total body weight lost.

However, this procedure also has the highest rates of post-surgery complications. In fact, the rate of serious complication 30 days following surgery was almost double what it was for a sleeve gastrectomy. These complications include reoperation/repair, blood clots, and even death.

Deciding between the types of weight loss surgery involves a careful balancing of the pros and cons. As a first-hand account of pre and post-surgery, reading patient testimonials may also help you in making this important decision.

More On Your Health

There are four types of weight loss surgery, each with their own pros and cons.

While gastric bypass has been shown to be the most effective for weight loss, it also carries the highest rate of complication. This is why choosing the weight loss surgery that’s right for you means consulting with a medical professional who can offer you the best option for your lifestyle.

And for more information on your health, diet, and lifestyle, check out our blog.

Marriage and How Your Spouse Affects Your Health

It turns out married men live longer than single men, but married women do not live longer than single women. The commitment of marriage plays a significant role in your mental and physical health. 

After all, you spend the majority of your time around another person. Their way of thinking and habits will influence your life. 

The hope is to experience positive effects from your marriage. Keep reading to find a few different ways your spouse may be influencing your health for better or worse. 

They Are an Optimist 

We are going to start with a positive influence your spouse may have on your health. If your significant other is an optimist, you benefit by having more mobility and fewer chronic illnesses. 

This effect happens regardless of your level of optimism. The theory is that the positive thinking partner influences the other to eat better, exercise, and have a better outlook on life overall

They Work Long Hours 

This is a tricky one to define because men that work more than 40 hours tend to have wives who are in better health than men who work 9 to 5. The trend seemed to work in the opposite direction for women who worked a lot though. 

Men whose wives worked 40 hours a week tended to be in worse health than those whose wives worked less. 

They Help out 

If your spouse doesn’t help out around the house, it could cause you to have increased levels of calcium buildup in your arteries. This is a predictor of heart disease. 

Some researchers think that the perceived lack of support leads to increased feelings of stress. So while it isn’t necessarily the lack of help, but their lack of emotional support that is detrimental to your health. 

If your spouse isn’t supportive, then you and your spouse could benefit from marriage counseling. By improving the communication between the two of you, you can also enhance the level of support you feel from your significant other. 

They Diet with You 

It may seem like a great idea to diet together. After all, you can make a New Years resolution together and motivate each other, right? Wrong. 

Studies have shown that when romantic partners decide to diet and lost weight together, one partner loses weight, and the other doesn’t. There is always one person who loses weight and gets in shape faster. 

The problem with this is that the other lagging partner becomes less confident in their efforts. The ability to portion food correctly become an issue which ultimately leads to weight gain for the one partner. 

They Avoid Touch and Intimacy 

Usually, your partner’s touch will decrease your pain. There is a connection between the positive connection you have with your partner and the decrease in pain experienced. 

However, it doesn’t work this way for everyone. When your partner tends to avoid intimacy and closeness, their touch can increase the pain you experience. 

Is Your Marriage Bad for Your Health?

Did you read through this list and realize your spouse has a negative influence on your health? Then it is time to make some changes in your marriage.

Even if you and your partner only have positive effects on each other’s health, some influences can start healthy and turn toxic if taken too far. Codependency is a perfect example of this. 

Improve your codependency issues with these 5 practical tips

Locked Out of Your Car? How to Get In and On Your Way

Picture it: it’s really hot (or cold), so you start your car while you load the groceries in the trunk. As you finish up and close the trunk, you realize the minute it closes and the doors automatically lock that you’ve locked your keys in there and you’re locked out of your car. 

We’ve all been there. The good news is that it’s fixable if you know what to do. Keep reading to learn what to do so you can get in your car and get on your way. 

1. Stay Calm and Review Your Options

It’s easy to freak out when you lock yourself out, but try to avoid that. Remain calm and think about the options that you have. Do you have a spare key somewhere? Is there someone who can bring it to you? Do you have any services that can come and unlock the door for you? 

If you don’t have a spare car key, companies like Car Key Replacement LLC can make you a replacement key to have on hand. 

2. Try to Unlock the Door Yourself

This is probably easier with older cars. We’ve all probably seen the old wire hanger trick but did you know that you can unlock your car with a shoestring? Or a tennis ball? A screwdriver? A slim jim (no, not the convenient store snack!).

There are plenty of tools and methods out there that might work to get you back in your vehicle, but of course, use these at your own risk. There’s always the risk of damaging your vehicle if you try to unlock it on your own. 

3. Call Roadside Assistance

Many car companies offer roadside assistance for their vehicles. There’s often a sticker on your window with the contact information if you have it. Your car insurance might also offer this and even some credit cards provide roadside assistance.

Figure out whether you have any of this assistance before you start making calls because roadside assistance is typically free of charge. 

4. Call a Tow Company or AAA

If you don’t have free roadside assistance, calling a tow company or locksmith on your own is an option. Be prepared to pay a premium price for this and wait awhile, especially if it’s a particularly busy time. AAA is another option. Your AAA membership typically offers a certain number of calls per year with no charge other than your yearly membership fee. 

5. Break the Window 

This should be used as a last resort and only in an emergency situation, such as a baby or a pet being locked in a hot car. Not only is it dangerous, but it can also be expensive to repair. 

It’s not advisable to do it yourself either. If there is time, call 911 and emergency responders can safely break the window for you while keeping the occupants of the car safe.

If you do need to do it yourself, a hammer, screwdriver, or golf club could get the job done. The center of the glass is the strongest, so aim for the outer edges. You should also choose the window furthest away from the child or pet to minimize any glass getting on them. 

Final Thoughts on Getting Locked Out of Your Car 

A lot of times you can look back on getting locked out of your car and laugh, but it’s not so funny when you’re running late or it’s raining or cold out.  Hopefully, you remember these tips and can stay calm and collected while you figure out how to get back in. 

If you liked this post, check out some of our other posts on family life, business, and how to save and earn money! 

Ready to Launch an Etsy Business? First Learn All About Etsy Shipping (The Easy and Cheap Way)

Did you know that 62% of billionaires in the United States are self-made? That’s grand and all, but what does this have to do with you?

Well, if you’re one of the 15 million Americans who are currently self-employed full-time, this statistic means a lot. Most business owners start their businesses from scratch. One day, you could be one of those billionaires.

So let’s start at the beginning. 

Are you running an Etsy shop, selling goods and products you make and love? Are you familiar with all the rules, regulations, and processes of Etsy shipping?

Being as informed as possible about this aspect of your business ensures you’re not losing money. And that you’re holding up a good reputation to your buyers.

If you want to work from the comfort of your home, you’ve got to do things right. You can’t afford to make excessive (or expensive) errors.

Here’s how to be a savvy shipper!

First, Why Etsy?

If you’re selling crafty, homemade, or vintage items, Etsy is the platform for you. This e-commerce site specializes in selling personalized goods, ranging from jewelry and furniture to artwork and clothing.

As of 2018, Etsy’s inventory reached over 60 million items! They had a hand in connecting 2.1 million sellers with 39.4 million buyers. This kind of reach is essential for entrepreneurs to be successful. 

Remember those billionaires we were talking about earlier?

Etsy’s Gross Merchandise Sales for the year of 2018 were $3.9 billion. If you want to dip your toes into that pool of money, Etsy is one way to do it.

With your business launched online, how can you hone in the details? Let’s look at Etsy’s shipping procedures next.

A Look at Etsy Shipping

Why would you use Etsy’s shipping rather than calculating and doing it yourself? There are many benefits to using Etsy to ship your products:

  • It saves you money (more on this later)
  • It’s convenient as Etsy has a shipping feature built into its platform
  • It offers start-to-finish tracking so you can ensure your package’s arrival
  • It can calculate the costs of shipping for you (less manual labor!)

When it comes to shipping, Etsy’s thought of everything. Their program is navigable, easy to read, and not a headache for Etsy sellers. Many a retailer has raved about their convenience. 

One way Etsy does this is through their “Print Shipping Label” button.

Clicking this leads you to enter details about your package: its shipping type, package type, dimensions and weight, and insurance. Once these get entered, you can calculate your shipping costs.

This gets done through either Calculated shipping or Manual shipping. 

Calculated shipping is what it sounds like. Taking all the info you entered about your package, Etsy will calculate a shipping cost for you. Since they’ve negotiated shipping rates with the Post Office, Etsy’s rates tend to be lower than if you went through a service other than Etsy.

Calculated shipping costs get determined by the size of the packaged item, not the thing itself.

Manual shipping works well for different businesses depending on circumstance. It takes more work on your part, but for certain situations, this could save you money (as opposed to Etsy’s pre-calculations). 

Should You Ship Internationally?

This isn’t that difficult of a question for you to answer! International shipping won’t affect your business as much as not offering it would. It only requires one more simple step.

Etsy has provided four customs forms that you would print, sign, and date. Place these forms in a USPS-appropriate envelope (available from their site). Stick this envelope on the top of your package and—voila!—that’s it.

A Look at Shipping Services

Your buyer can choose from a few different options when they decide on their shipping. If you wish, you can even offer extended options such as Priority mail. To get an idea of the quotes given, you can see for yourself—these UPS carrier partners offer free UPS shipping quotes.

Etsy generally offers the following six shipping services on their page:

  • USPS Priority Mail (1-3 days)
  • USPS Priority Mail Express (1-2 days)
  • USPS First Class Package Services (2-5 days)
  • USPS Priority Mail International (6-10 days)
  • USPS Priority Mail Express International (3-5 days)
  • USPS First Class International Package Service (Can vary)

Once your customer has made their order, the rest is up to you!

Ensure that all looks good—do the addresses match up? Are the dimensions and weights accurate? Is everything good to go?

Then print that shipping label!

Shipping Supplies Checklist

Of course, you’re packaging everything yourself. You’ll need to have the supplies necessary, from envelopes and boxes to tape and bubble wrap.

Your supplies checklist will vary based on the product you’re selling. Is it fragile? Is it incredibly tiny or pretty darn huge? Alter this list to your business’s products.

In general, here are some items that you’ll likely need to ensure a quality, safe, and insured shipment:

  • Boxes (small, large, corrugated, etc.)
  • Envelopes (padded and not)
  • Long boxes or mailing tubes
  • Poly bags (to group miscellaneous items)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Air pillows

And you could need more, depending on your operation. This list isn’t all-inclusive!

Another tip from one consumer to another—don’t hesitate to get creative or unique with your packaging. This can really make yours stand out from the bland beige. 

If you’re selling something lightweight like a T-shirt, consider mailing it in a cute, printed envelope. Hand-stamp all your boxes with your label. Or throw some free stickers in with every order over $50.

One Last Tip Before We Go

Did you know that you can schedule a USPS pick-up to come to your front door?

This is great if you’re mailing a lot of packages at once (or if you don’t have the time to make it to the post office that day). You can schedule a totally free—and convenient!—pick-up, as long as you do so before 2 a.m. on the same day.

Now that’s a great tip. Don’t forget to tap into services like these to save yourself time and money!

That’s what being a thrifty business owner is all about.

Etsy Is Thrifty

Working from home is a gift in itself.

To ensure the longevity of your freelancing career, try to save money here and there by using quick, affordable options like Etsy shipping.

We know you’re busy. After all, you’re your #1 employee! That’s why we put together 10 more awesome tips for running a successful home business.

8 Smart Ways to Save on Private School Tuition for Your Child

Private school for an elementary student averages $7,770 per year. For high school, that number climbs to $13,030 each year. How do those numbers fit into your budget?

You want the best education for your child. But you also need to pay your mortgage on time and keep food on the table.

How do you balance your regular budget demands with the extra cost of private school tuition? 

Luckily, you don’t have to give up all your comforts. But you may need to cut back in some areas.

Keep reading to explore eight ways to make private school more affordable.

1. Check into Financial Aid

Don’t let the sticker shock of private school cost scare you away from applying. Private schools offer financial aid to offset the costs.

Parents often think they make too much money to qualify for financial aid. That’s not always true. 

Your child may qualify for private school scholarships or grants to cover part of the tuition cost. That makes the remaining portion much more affordable.

It’s always a good idea to apply for financial aid even if you don’t think you’ll qualify. 

Some states offer scholarships and other programs to cover the costs of private school. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is just one example. It covers private school costs for kids from low-income families.

You can learn more about financial aid options by visiting the websites of any private schools you’re considering. Check with your state’s department of education for state financial aid options.

2. Ask about Payment Plans

Worried you’ll have to cut a check for the full tuition cost when you enroll? Paying upfront often saves you a little on tuition. If you have the money, that may be the best option.

Most private schools offer payment plans if you can’t pay it all. This option lets you spread out the cost throughout the year. If you’re on a tight budget, the payment plan can make it more feasible to cover private school tuition.

Payment plans vary by school. Some offer a semi-annual plan to break the tuition into two payments. Others let you pay monthly for even smaller payments.

3. Cut Back on Spending

If the cost of private school doesn’t fit into your budget, can you cut back in other areas? You can’t eliminate your mortgage or other fixed expenses. But you can ease up on extra spending.

Here are areas where most families can cut back:

  • Dining at restaurants less
  • Skipping the movie theater in favor of a movie at home
  • Replacing cable with low-cost streaming services
  • Planning cheaper meals to cut grocery costs
  • Waiting to replace furniture, vehicles, and other major expenses
  • Taking cheaper vacations or skip a year or two
  • Refinancing or consolidating debt to reduce payments

Not sure where your money’s going? An expense tracker can help you spot areas where you can cut back.  

4. Save on Uniforms

Tuition is only part of the private school cost. You’ll likely need uniforms and other equipment for your kids.

Ask if the private school offers a uniform swap program. These programs let you get free uniforms from other families whose kids have outgrown theirs.

If you know other families who go to the private school, you may be able to get old uniforms from them that no longer fit. Check local children’s thrift stores or garage sales for uniforms. 

Some schools have a specific uniform and retailer you have to use. Look for discount codes through those retailers. You might get a bulk discount for ordering multiples or a free shipping code for a large order.

Other schools have a general dress code, such as dress pants and a polo. Look for clothes that fit the requirements on clearance racks to save money.

5. Look for Discounts

We already talked about getting discounts for paying tuition in full. You may find a few other discounts if you ask.

One common private school discount is for families with multiple children. Many private schools offer a sibling discount for enrolling more than one student.

Even if you only have one child, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a discount. The school may offer discounts for other reasons. Some provide a tuition discount for school employees.   

6. Get Tax Breaks on Savings Plans

Educational savings plans help you grow your money for tuition. These investment accounts let you earn interest on your savings. They come with tax perks that can help you save money.

A Coverdell Education Savings Account works for elementary, secondary, and college expenses. Each child can have up to $2,000 in contributions every year. It won’t cover all the tuition, but it helps.

You can’t deduct your contributions on your income taxes. But the money grows tax-free in the account. 

Distributions are also tax-free in most cases. The distribution has to be less than the qualified education expenses to be tax-free. If it’s more than the expenses, a part of the earnings may be taxed.

A 529 plan is a way to save for private school tuition. You can choose your investment portfolio to help grow your money.

Each state runs its own 529 plan. The specifics and investment options vary. You can open a 529 plan in another state to take advantage of better terms.

Tax advantages happen a few ways. Some states offer tax benefits on your contributions. You might be able to deduct the amount from your state taxes.

If you withdraw the money for qualifying educational expenses, you don’t have to pay federal income tax on the earnings.  

7. Ask for Family Donations

Do your kids get way too many toys as gifts? Maybe the grandparents always ask for gift suggestions, but you don’t know what to say.

Why not ask them to donate toward your child’s education? It’s a practical option that helps you and your child. 

Some relatives like to give a physical gift other than cash. One option is to ask them to buy a uniform or two. 

8. Look for Other Money Sources

Still trying to figure out how to cover the costs of private school? We have a few more potential sources of money that may work.

If you don’t mind taking on some debt, you can take out a loan to cover the tuition cost. Check the terms of the loan, including the interest rate and penalties for paying off the loan early. Make sure you can afford the loan payments in your budget.

Another option is making extra money to cover the costs. Selling items you no longer need is one idea when you need money now to cover tuition. 

You can also take on a small part-time job. Ideas include babysitting, lawn care, rideshare driving, and running errands for people. Put any money you earn through these side gigs toward tuition.

Save for Private School Tuition Now

How are you saving for private school tuition? It can take a little creativity, but it is possible to work it into your budget.

Leave a comment to let us know how you afford the costs of private education! 

DIY Summer Projects: 5 Backyard Ideas on a Budget

Over the last few years, there’s been a major increase in the number of people who choose to do things like home repairs and decorating themselves.

In fact, experts even estimate that the whole DIY (do-it-yourself) market is going to reach a $13.9 billion valuation by the year 2021.

If you’re brand new to the DIY world, it’s best to start with something simple, like backyard updates. There are lots of ways you can upgrade your backyard on your own without spending a fortune.

Read on to learn some great DIY backyard ideas on a budget. There are lots of ways you can revamp your backyard without spending a fortune.

Why DIY?

There are lots of reasons to take the DIY approach, whether you’re updating your backyard or another area of your home. Some of the greatest perks include:

Save Money

One of the most well-known benefits of handling projects yourself is that you can save money.

If you’re working with a strict budget, DIY-ing your backyard upgrades can leave more money in your bank account while still helping you get the outdoor oasis you’ve always wanted.

Develop Your Skills

When you do things yourself, you get to develop new skills.

Whether you’re building furniture, planting flowers, or adding a fresh coat of paint, there’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes with doing something yourself. This is especially true if it’s something you’ve never done before.

Stay Active

We all could stand to be a bit more active during the day, right?

DIY projects are a fun way to burn a few extra calories while also improving your property. It might not be fun when you’re doing the work, but you’ll probably feel much better when it’s finished.

Strike up a Conversation

Finally, handling projects yourself also gives you a great conversation starter.

When someone compliments the upgrades in your backyard, you can let them know (humbly, of course) that you did them yourself. This is a great way to keep the conversation going when you’re talking to people you don’t know well.

5 DIY Backyard Ideas on a Budget

Do you have DIY fever yet? If so, start by trying out one of these fun DIY backyard updates:

1. Lay Your Own Path

A great way to revamp your backyard is to lay down a path to lead people from the house or gate to the party spot. Bricks and flat stones are highly affordable and easy to lay down yourself once you’ve cleared a path. This is a great weekend project that should only take a few hours to complete.

2. Repurpose an Old Tire

If you have old tires laying around, don’t despair. Use them for your next DIY project instead!

Consider spray painting old tires and using them as hanging planters. You could also stack them and cover them with outdoor pillowcases to create outdoor benches or ottomans.

3. Try Vertical Gardening

If you love the idea of a garden but don’t have a lot of space, consider a vertical garden instead. Vertical gardens take up very little space and they cost very little money.

A good starting point is to simply use a wooden ladder with some terra cotta pots to start your vertical garden. You could also repurpose old paint cans and use them as hanging planters.

4. Add Some Mood Lighting

Outdoor lights make your backyard much more fun and inviting. They don’t cost a lot of money, either.

White twinkle lights cost just a few dollars per strand. String them up across your patio or in your trees to transform your backyard into a romantic, relaxing place to hang out.

5. Throw in a Splash of Color

Pops of color are a great way to update your backyard on a budget.

Try making your own outdoor pillowcases with fabric from the scrap bin at your local craft store. You can also repaint your old patio furniture with some bright new paint to instantly revamp the backyard.

Get Your Backyard Barbecue-Ready

In addition to these DIY projects, there are lots of other steps you can take to make sure your backyard is barbecue-ready. The following are some things you might want to do before you invite people over for a big summer bash:

Mow the Lawn

First, make sure your lawn is freshly mowed. Nobody wants to traipse around in ankle-high grass during an outdoor event.

Wash the Deck or Patio

Use the house to spray down the deck or patio, too. Give it a good sweep, too, to get rid of dirt or debris.

Get Rid of Pests

Nothing ruins a backyard bash faster than pests like mosquitos or flies. Consider setting up some mosquito lights or lighting some citronella candles to keep bugs at bay.

You may also want to invest in a termite treatment for your deck. You don’t want it to collapse when people are standing on it during your party, right?

Many people don’t realize they have termite damage until it’s too late. Be proactive and get ahead of that before it becomes a serious problem!

Make Sure the Grill Is Good to Go

Finally, make sure that your grill is clean and ready for cooking. Give it a good scrub and make sure that it’s operating properly. Don’t forget to make sure you have a full propane tank or plenty of charcoal, too. 

It’s Time for Some Summer Fun!

As you can see, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to improve the appearance and functionality of your backyard.

Now that you have some fun DIY backyard ideas on a budget, it’s time to get to work! Which project are you going to try first? 

Once your backyard has been updated and is guest-ready, you might find yourself looking for some activities everyone can participate in during your upcoming summer soiree.

Check out this article to learn about some fun outdoor summer activities that everyone will enjoy.

You’ve put all this work into improving your backyard — don’t let it go to waste!

Don’t Break the Bank: How to Throw a Fun (And Affordable!) Gender Reveal Party

There are many exciting moments that happen in the course of pregnancy- revealing to your partner that you’re pregnant, feeling the baby kick for the first time, and seeing the results of the first ultrasound. 

But, out of all the exciting moments that come with pregnancy, undoubtedly, one of the most exciting moments is finding out the sex of your baby. 

Of course, you are going to love your baby whether they are a boy or a girl. But still, finding out the sex means you can start picking out clothes, making a list of potential baby names, and decorating their future bedroom. And, best of all, finding out the sex means you get to throw a gender reveal party!

Gender reveal parties are the perfect opportunity to share with your loved one the news about the sex of your baby. And, they’re a great way to have some fun and take your mind off of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy. 

But, how do you throw an awesome gender reveal party that your guests will love and that will have the baby kicking in excitement?

Check out this guide to learn how to throw a gender reveal party that is both fun and affordable. 

Throw It Outside of Mealtime Hours 

Typically, they say that when throwing a party, you are supposed to plan for a half a pound of meat for every guest. 

While that may not seem too ridiculous, that can quickly add up to months and months worth of diapers in pregnancy dollars. 

To save money on the food, we suggest throwing your gender reveal party outside of regular dining hour times. While times will vary according to your schedule, we usually find that the sweet spot is somewhere between 1-6pm. 

And, be sure to let your guests know that you’ll just be serving finger food. That way, they’ll know they should have a proper meal beforehand. 

Or, if you really want to save some money, you can turn the event into a potluck. Chances are, your friends and family will be more than happy to bring over some food to feed your pregnant belly!

Sips and Bits 

Whether you provide the food yourself or have your family and friends pitch in, you are still going to want some gender-revealed themed snacks and drinks- aka, refreshments that are blue and pink. 

If you’re on a budget, don’t worry about splurging on an elaborate seven-layer cake. There are plenty of treats that are affordable and simple that your party-goers will love. 

Here are a few quick refreshment ideas: 

  • Blue and Pink Cake Pops: Cake pops are all the rage right now, and for a good reason. They are super easy to make and they make the perfect bite-sized dessert. 
  • Blue and Pink Puppy Chow: Throw some powdered sugar, Chex cereal, butter, chocolate, and peanut butter together and you have the delicious, budget-friendly dessert that is puppy chow. And in some blue and pink food dye to make it party-themed!
  • Lemonade: Pink lemonade couldn’t be easier to whip up. For a blue drink, consider Kool-Aid. 
  • Colored Candies: If baking sounds like too much work, why not just buy candies that are already blue or pink? For example, you can load up on pink starbursts, blue M&Ms, pink Laffy Taffys, or blue Airheads. Or, grab a pink and blue marker and color in the lighter parts of the wrapper!
  • Pink and blue cotton candy

Also, don’t feel like every food item you serve needs to be pink or blue. Having two or three color-themed items is plenty. The rest can be normal finger food. 

If you’re looking for more recipes, you can also check out this Gender Reveal Guide

The Decor 

Lively decor is what makes a gender reveal party truly festive. 

But, purchasing gender reveal party decor can quickly add up. That’s why we suggest DIYing your decor. 

And don’t worry, you don’t need to be a skilled artist to whip up some professional looking decor items. 

Here are some simple and affordable DIY decor ideas:

  • Wrap blue and pink ribbons around white dollar store candles
  • Use card stock and ribbon to create a gender reveal banner
  • String blue and pink streamers all around your home
  • Lay out white plastic tablecloths and sprinkle blue and pink confetti all over them

Or, you can also totally skip these ideas and throw your party outside and let nature be your decor. 

The Reveal

The reveal is undoubtedly the most exciting moment of the gender reveal party. 

But, a great reveal isn’t about the money you put into it- it’s about creating an element of suspense for your guests. 

Here is a few affordable gender reveal ideas that are also huge crowd pleasers:

  • Pinata: Stuff a neutral-colored pinata with either pink or blue candy. If you want to make it really cutesy, stuff the pinata with pink or blue-colored party favors that the guests can then take home. 
  • Balloons in a Box: Put pink or blue balloons in a box and then decorate the box however you want. Have your guests count down to release the balloons. 
  • Paint War: As a future parent, you have a lifetime of messes coming your way. Why not start preparing for them now by having a paint war? Have your guests wear cheap, all white clothes, and then break out into a paint fight in the backyard for a good time.
  • Smoke Fountains: Colored smoke fountains may seem like they’d cost a lot of money, but you can easily find them for as little as $15
  • Silly String War: The same idea as a paint war, just a little less messy. 

As you can see, there are many simple reveal ideas out there that won’t cost you a fortune!

Are You Ready to Throw an Unforgettable Gender Reveal Party? 

As you can see, throwing a fun gender reveal party doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. 

If you have any questions about throwing an unforgettable gender reveal party, please let us know in the comments below. 

And, don’t forget about the baby shower! Be sure to put these baby toys on your baby shower wish list.