Money-saving Mama

DIY

I’m a big fan of shopping, but I’m an even bigger fan of recycling and reducing. Especially when there’s a great deal to be found! So, as an expecting mom, how do I save money while preparing for our little one, and making sure we have all the essentials?

I’m anticipating the strain on our budget when I move from a full salary to EI; I’m sure that I’ll find more great ways to save, but for now, here are my top tips:

Reuse! I googled the maternity and baby stores in my area that buy and sell gently used items, and found that right around the corner for me was a great place: Once Upon A Child. I sold five or six items and they paid me cash. In turn, I browsed the racks and racks of adorable baby items, everything from clothes arranged by size and type, to mobiles and baby gates. For less than $30 I got:

Three sleep sacks, swaddles for $3-$5 each

Then, mixing and matching sizes, I grabbed 5 items for ten bucks from the ‘sleep’ section and ten for $10 clearance items; supplementing the wonderful gifts from our shower with these great finds will have our little babe well outfitted. Definitely see what is happening in your local area.

Next, check out Facebook Marketplace and online ‘Mommy Groups’. I got a lead on our stroller AND car seat, which my parents ended up offering to get us as our shower gift, still in the box, never used and with all the warranties and manufacture boxes checked for a cool $200, retailing online for $450. I’ve also been able to locate items from our registry at great prices, so if you happen to have your eye on a particular item, like I do on the Halo bassinet, scouring the Internet and checking reviews on the seller might lend you the item you’re looking for at way less than store price.

Amazon Prime. Save tons of money on your shipping, search for and save items to your wish list and get notifications when the prices go down, and when you create a registry you can get a 15% off completion discount if you decide to purchase items from your registry.

BUNZ it. What is BUNZ, you ask? It started as a local swap site in Toronto, but has expanded to many other major cities and suburbs. The motto is no cash, all trades. Sounds suspect? I have traded lamps I no longer wanted for laundry soap; pants that no longer fit for handbags; a cactus and succulent for picture frames. Now I have my sights set on trading items that of been cluttering up my basement for things like baby wipes. One person’s trash, as they say. Now BUNZ even has an app.

Sign up for store email lists, you can Always unsubscribe later! By registering at Thyme Maternity And Snugglebugz I received a whole bag full of samples:

Use gift cards, trade gift cards, enter raffles. If you have a gift certificate for The Keg, but you’re a vegetarian, why not trade it for one to Babies R Us?

Borrow from friends and accept hand-me-downs! This is especially great if you have parents or in-laws who might need to have items that they use in frequently, like car seats and play pens. Some very generous friends have given us items to keep at my moms house so that when we travel we won’t half to take an extra car seat for Nana to cart our little dude around.

One neat thing about our shower is that people know us really well, and knowing how much we love supporting local, we were gifted a store credit to use at an Etsy store where the owners make handmade baby accessories. So, I picked out three reversible bibs and a teething toy that is also a soother clip. Perfect! Shout out to Urban Rustic Baby Co.

Last but not least, see if your place of employ has a buy and sell for its members. As a teacher we have our own version of Kijiji. Here, from someone I assume it’s not a total creep as they work in the teaching profession, I was able to get a crib mattress, mattress cover and she threw in two sets of sheets … for $125. No kidding. She still had all the assembly instructions and because I picked it up at her house, I was able to see the immaculate place where the crib used to live and feel confident that it had a nice life prior to coming home with me.

That’s my two cents about saving a ton of money. If you have tips please post them in the comments. I am eager to learn!

DIY baby shower decor

DIY

I’m all about reusing things. And they say, fortune favours the bold. But I’d like to add crafty to that. In preparation for one of our baby showers this summer, my friend and I got down with the glue guns and twine.

How do you create a festive look while saving your cash and diverting items from the trash? Reuse and repurpose, craftily.

Our gender neutral shower is going to feature a flora and fauna theme, with lots of personal touches, like the gold and silver animals from our wedding centrepieces – which will find new life as jar toppers for candy, tea and body scrub favours. Or the hundreds of paper flowers made by students for our school’s Arts Banquet, saved from the recycle bin, which we’ve turned into a photo backdrop and some Pom Pom garlands, using a hammock chair bar and some fabric leftover from our wedding.

Other sweet details that aren’t overly fussy, are some more sentimental touches like advice to the ‘mommies to be’ – which we’ll surely need, and a guessing game of bizarre baby items and trivia.

For a backyard, poolside barbecue, the breezy boho decor will be as sweet looking as it was fun to make and the whole thing was eco friendly with all the reusing. I can’t wait to celebrate (and to meet this little guy once he decides to pop!)

For now, we are ready for our closeups.

Wrap Star

DIY

I’m not a traditional person, in many ways, but especially when it comes to holiday decor. Our tree is a multi-colour fiesta, with sweet ornaments that are precious, kitschy, handmaid and mismatched, plus a garland of bright fabrics from India, pom-pom neon elephants from Thailand… macarons, owls, deer, foxes, and even a beaver for good measure. It makes me so happy to see the colours, all interwoven with gold and white lights.

So, it’s no surprise that when it comes to wrapping, I am a huge fan of DIY, reused, recycled and quirky styles. This year the tree, in all its colourful splendour, has an array of bright packages tied up with yarn, ribbon and twine. The main papers are bright cactus-print with gold, hot pink paper with zebras, and some magenta paper with graphic avocados. I reused some pretty patterned boxes, and did colour coordinated (reused) gift wrap inside all the boxes, for an unexpectedly bright and irreverent holiday melee.

Here are some of my favourite inspiration pics to get you in the wrapping mood (all photo credits and links available here: https://www.pinterest.ca/alisonjc/gift-list/)

Although boxes were my vehicle of choice this year, I am always game to think outside the box when it comes to the wrapping! Enjoy!

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What would you like to see a blog about in upcoming entries?

Emoji Me

DIY, style

If summer inspires me to dress in … well, dresses and some bright lipstick choices,  winter brings forth a desire to bundle. Inevitably, I tend to wear fewer accessories (since gloves and scarves and layers tend to make rings, earrings and other things that get caught on woollen items pretty annoying), so there is always the question: how do I keep things original and fun, while planning pieces that are warm and layerable?

I like to make things personal. Recently, like the popular, now familiar denim jacket with patches, I've started to sew my brightly coloured patches to anything that has lost its charm.

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I've loved my patch jacket, but now its sweaters' turn to shine. So, there are a few directions you could go:

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I voted a black sweater with drop shoulders and a loose fit out of my closet, plucked a handful of bright appliques (cacti, popsicle, banana, orange slice, ice cream cone, pizza, sunglasses, palm tree and pineapple) focusing the colourful adornments on the shoulders. Then I picked a matte lipstick in dayglo pink to match the cactus flowers, paired it with some grey slacks that fit like sweats with pleats, and some patent leather brogues… I am a happy, comfy camper.

Et voila:

 

For all photo credits, see links at: https://www.pinterest.ca/alisonjc/style-sa-vie/

DIY Rainbow Halloween Pumpkin

DIY, style

For a very pretty, not so spooky Hallowe’en stoop we got local pumpkins and some rainbow marbles. With the trusty drill and some elbow grease we created a glowing rainbow lantern that looks just as pretty with battery operated tea lights. Now we will just wait for the sun to go down.

* drill holes slightly larger than the marbles, make sure they are free of pumpkin guts, then pop them in place!

Easter in the Garden 

DIY

I’m excited for the chill that is absent in the spring air. I can see the grass greening up. I love a good hand-drawn aerial map of the flower beds. It’s time to reinvent, after a long winter. 


This is phase one. After borrowing my sister in law’s spray paint, attacking some old, tired-looking pots and getting a few starter plants to help me see it coming into focus, bright and boho yard transformation is well-underway! 


DIY pots in two-tone jewel tones and gold. Mixing old and weathered with the new. 

What is your yard up to? Patio or balcony? Indoor nook with some indoor gems?