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Bringing Up Baby on a Budget: 10 Ways to Save Money on Baby Essentials

{This post contains affiliate links to help support this site.}

“Poverty is hereditary – you get it from your children.” – Phyllis Diller… Yep, you get a lot of things from your kids. Sleepless nights – first, when they’re a newborn and require constant care, then again as teenagers, when you’re up all night worrying whether they’re safe. Wrinkles from worry, grey hairs from stress, and if you’re not careful – one heck of a hole in your budget! So many people assume that babies have to be expensive – but honestly, through experience, I’ve learned that does not have to be true. Keep reading to find out what I’ve learned, and how I learned it…

Bringing up baby on a budget: How to save big on baby essentials [Read more…]


Do You Know the True Cost of Trick or Treating?

The true cost of trick or treating…. Let’s break it down: Approximately 38 million trick-or-treaters will roam America’s neighborhoods this year, collecting candy from nearly 59 million households. That means for every one trick-or-treater, there will be about 1.5 homes distributing treats. Sounds like good odds, right? Now, the average adult spends $21.05 on Halloween candy. So, if all the purchased candy were distributed equally among all trick-or-treaters (which it actually isn’t, since 41 percent of adults eat candy from their own bowls), every child would come home with a bag of candy worth $31.58. That’s a $10.53 profit for every trick-or-treater! So, if your household is sending out at least one trick-or-treater, by the end of the night you may have earned back your initial candy investment and then some. But wait, there’s more to consider… [Read more…]


What Would You Build on a Free Piece of Land?

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” – Ellen Goodman… Now, that doesn’t sound much like the American Dream that we all imagine, does it? Definitely not my idea of happiness. After losing my job while I was on maternity leave a couple of years ago, I had to make a lot of changes in life – I had to find ways to cut down my bills, simplify my life, and chart a new path. That led to buying a house with my mom instead of saving to buy one on my own. {Yep, we like each other well enough to live together. Almost all of the time… Lol.} It led to me starting this site, and finding freelance work online instead of going back into retail management. It meant selling some of our unneeded things, cutting back on things like cable and nights out, and cutting more coupons. But – without ever meaning to, these changes are leading me to actually finally get closer to my ideal life. My version of the American Dream – I get to work from home, spend time with Abby, have flexibility when I need it, and am my own boss. Sure, I’d love to make the income that I made running retail stores, but I’m happier here at home.

American dream - How to build your dream home

What would your perfect home be like?

The house that I bought with my mom isn’t my “perfect” home, but it truly is pretty great. It sits on a really big piece of property, with a covered patio, 4-bay shop, fenced yard for Abby to play, and an in-ground pool that quickly became the gathering spot for all of our friends and family each summer. There’s enough space for us all to be comfortable, and I even have a guest bedroom for when friends come into town to visit. The house isn’t huge, but it’s cozy, it’s got what we need, and it makes me happy. And, our untraditional living arrangement really works well for us. It started out with more of my family living with me too – which was a little bit crazy for a couple of years. But I love that Abby has gotten to grow up so close to her grandma, cousins, and uncle James. And I’m lucky that we all get along well enough to have made the situation work, so that I’m able to get by on a smaller income while I build my business. I’m so grateful that when life gets tough, I have a great home filled with amazing family to rely on!

American Dream - How to buy a piece of land with little down

American Dream – How to Build Your Dream Home on a FREE Piece of Land

My dream, ever since I was a little girl, was to build my own house someday. {I also wanted to be an architect, and would draw out my perfect floorplans and stuff all the time…} I love the idea of creating something that’s just exactly what I want – unlike when you are looking at homes, and have to find one that’s “almost” perfect to settle for. We still sometimes dream about this – but honestly, I wasn’t even sure how we’d get started. I recently was introduced to this really cool option by a friend of mine – It’s called LandCentral. They make it easy to buy your own piece of land without a ton of money down, to build on now, or as an investment for your future. And – the coolest thing about it all is that to help introduce their program to more people, they are doing a giveaway where one amazingly lucky winner will get to choose their own TOTALLY FREE piece of land in one of five states! Can you even imagine? To enter, visit It only takes a few minutes, and could lead to an amazing opportunity for you and your family!

free property in Colorado

Click through – then look for the sidebar box that looks like this to click and enter to win!

What would YOU do with a free piece of land? Build a dream home? Build a vacation cabin? Save it to pass down to your kids? Leave me some comments!

{Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this post. I seriously love LandCentral and what they can offer you, and wanted to share this fantastic giveaway with you. I hope one of you win this – Good luck! Photo Credit one: Jeffweese. Photo Credit two: Jeda Villa Bali – both on Flickr Creative Commons.}


How Much Do You Really Know About Your Health Insurance?

Insurance provides a safety net for your family – which should bring you a lot of peace of mind, right?… The problem is, so many of us don’t really understand our health insurance, so we don’t know if we’re getting the right coverage, if we’re paying for benefits we don’t need while missing out on things we DO need, paying too much, or worse – missing coverage that you might need to help in an emergency. According to a recent study on consumers and health care, 1 in 4 Americans choose the wrong level of health care coverage. The main reason that this happens is because people don’t understand health insurance very well, and don’t have the time to read through hundreds of pages to figure out the differences between all of the options that are available to them – so they kind of go on autopilot, and stick with the same plan year after year. But plans change – what was included in that plan last year might not still be there this time. And families change – new babies, new doctors, new health problems all lead to new needs in your plan. So what do you do?

Understanding Health Insurance During Open Enrollment

For many people, this is the season of open enrollmet, meaning it’s the time of year when you make a choice on which insurance to commit to for the whole new upcoming year. Here are a few terms you’ll need to know:

  • Deductible: This is a fixed dollar amount that you will have to pay out of pocket for medical expenses before your insurance will kick in.
  • Copayment: This is the fee that you have to pay {usually upfront} out of pocket for each service you get. There are usually different copays for doctor visits, specialists, out of network doctors, and hospital stays. Since this is a fee you know you’ll be paying, it’s an important one to compare.
  • Flexible spending accounts or arrangements (FSA):  These are accounts offered and administered by your employer, that provide a way for you to set aside, out of your paycheck, pretax dollars to pay for your share of insurance premiums or medical expenses not covered by your health plan. This can be a tricky one to estimate – but if you know that the kids will need braces, or other services that will lead to big out of pocket expenses, you can save by using one of these accounts.
  • Maximum out-of-pocket expense: Until this dollar amount is reached, you and your insurance will split your bills according to the plan agreement. After this dollar amount is reached – they’ll pick up all expenses after that. If you have any on-going medical problems in your family, this can be an important number to compare.

These are some of the main things that I look at when comparing plans. But, if you have any other terms that confuse you, you can check out this health insurance terms glossary to find anything you need help with. And – keep in mind, no matter which insurance you choose, there are ALWAYS going to be expenses that are not covered. But – there’s one more tip to know, to help protect your family in case of emergencies. {Because we all know, as a mom – you MUST expect the unexpected!}

How to protect your family in an emergency

The video explains how Aflac works pretty darn well, but if you need a little more info, or want to get a quote, visit them online at And, I can tell you from multiple experiences that this is a service that totally lives up to the claims it makes. It has exceeded my expectations every.single.time. They have a lot of options to choose from, and even one of the smallest plans {at the lowest rates} is still going to be a life saver to you if something goes wrong. When I had Abby – things happened pretty unexpectedly. My water broke 3 weeks early. Her delivery suddenly took a bad turn while I was pushing – her oxygen dropped, her vitals were bad. They brought in an NICU team to take her away as soon as she was out, before I could even hold her. We spent over a week at the hospital – meaning a lot of extra expenses. Having Aflac to help with the extra expenses that insurance didn’t cover helped me avoid a ton of unneeded stress, and just focus on my family, and getting us all back home again. I seriously recommend this for every family out there – You will not regret it, but you may regret not joining, when you face an emergency yourself.

Let’s Chat: What are your biggest challenges with your insurance? Do you have a story to share about Aflac too? Leave some comment love….

{Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Aflac and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate. All opinions are 100% my own – Only the best services and products get shared here – I love Aflac, and think you will too.}


Hundreds of Dollars in Amazon Savings with Huge Fall Coupon List

To help you transition from summer to fall, and into the new back to school routines – is offering a HUGE selection of online coupons to use on the everyday essentials that you want to stock up on, as well as some super cool new gadgets and gear. And, if you combine these coupons with other Amazon savings tools like Amazon Mom, Amazon Prime, or Subscribe and Save – this is a seriously sweet time to do some shopping for fall. Many of these products are already on sale, and you can use the coupon right on top of that sale price – plus get the free shipping! Be sure to read each page to see any expiration dates, exclusions, and all that good stuff. Add items to your cart, and they’ll all get taken off of your total at check out. Love it, right?

Office and School Supply Coupons

  1. Save $2.00 on the Vaultz Locking Pencil Box – Ruby Bling Skull {This is seriously cool.}
  2. Save .25 on Zebra #2 Mechanical Pencil 10 Pack.25 on Zebra #2 Mechanical Pencil.25 on Zebra #2 Mechanical Pencil 0.7mm, Yellow, 10 Pack (51351) {Look retro like a classic pencil – but they’re mechanical. Fun.}
  3. Save $8.00 on Edutige EIM-001 i-Microphone Voice Recorder
  4. Save $2.00 on Zebra’s Sarasa Gel Retractable Pens, 10 Pack
  5. Save $1.00 on Scotch Magic Tape Desk Dispensers {Love the pink high heel dispenser!}
  6. $2.50 Off Select Organizers and File Boxes
  7. 20% off Five Star Notebooks
  8. 1.50 OFF ONE Duracell Rechargeable Batteries or ONE Duracell Charger
  9. Save $2.00 off Post-it Super Sticky Notes
  10. Save $2.00 off Zebra’s Zazzle Brights Liquid Ink

Make-Up & Beauty Product Coupons

  1. $5.00 OFF ONE Olay ProX or Olay Regenerist Facial Moisturizer
  2. $2.00 OFF ONE Clairol Product
  3. $1.00 OFF ONE CoverGirl Product
  4. $1.00 OFF ONE CoverGirl Face Product
  5. $3.00 OFF TWO CoverGirl Products
  6. $3.00 OFF ONE Nice N Easy Color Blend Foam Product
  7. $3.00 OFF TWO Herbal Essence OR Aussie Products
  8. $3.00 OFF ONE Olay Total Effects Facial Moisturizer or Facial Hair Removal
  9. $3.00 OFF TWO Pantene Products
  10. $3.00 OFF ONE Natural Instincts Product OR ONE Nice N’ Easy Non Permanent Product
  11. $5.00 OFF TWO CoverGirl LashBlast Mascaras
  12. $2.00 OFF ONE Clairol Nice N Easy OR Natural Instincts Product

Personal Care and Health Product Digital Coupons

  1. $4.00 OFF ONE Gillette Fusion ProGlide Razor
  2. $0.75 OFF ONE Crest Toothpaste 4.0oz or more or liquid gel
  3. $1.50 OFF TWO Always Pads or Feminine Cleansing Cloths
  4. $2.00 OFF ONE Secret Clinical Strength
  5. $1.00 OFF ONE Prilosec OTC product
  6. $1.00 OFF ONE Gillette Fusion ProSeries Skin Care Item or Gillette Fusion ProGlide Shave Prep
  7. $0.50 OFF ONE Oral-B Stages, Crest Pro-Health Stages or Crest Kids Toothpaste
  8. $0.75 OFF ONE Oral-B Glide Floss 35m or larger or ONE Oral-B Glide Floss Picks
  9. $2.00 OFF ONE ZzzQuill Product
  10. $4.00 OFF ONE Venus Refillable Razor
  11. $1.00 OFF ONE Oral-B Adult Battery Toothbrush or 3D White Action Rechargeable Toothbrush
  12. $1.00 OFF ONE Crest Rinse

Baby & Toddler Essentials – Online Coupons

  1. Save $2.00 on Goodnites Underwear {Spiderman or Tinkerbell designs included too!}
  2. Save $2.00 on Huggies Overnites Diapers
  3. $0.50 OFF ONE Pampers Wipes 60ct or higher
  4. $1.50 OFF ONE Pampers Box of Diampers or Pants
  5. Save $36.00 on the Graco Dynamo Lite Travel System, Adaline

Laundry and Cleaning Supplies Coupons

  1. Save $1.00 Off ONE Gain Detergent, Gain Fabric Softener, or Cheer product
  2. Gain with Freshlock Liquid Detergent
  3. $0.75 OFF ONE Tide Detergent or Downy
  4. Save $0.50 OFF ONE Era
  5. $2.00 OFF ONE Tide boost
  6. $0.50 OFF ONE Dawn Dishwashing Soap {Try the green apple. It rocks.}
  7. $1.00 OFF ONE Swiffer Dusters 6 ct or Dry Cloths
  8. $1.50 OFF ONE Duracell Rechargeable Batteries or ONE Duracell Charger or ONE 6-pack or larger of Duracell Hearing Aid Batteries
  9. $0.50 OFF ONE Febreze Fabric Refresher Product {My fave is Thai Dragon Fruit. So fresh!}
  10. $0.25 OFF THREE Puffs Singles or one 3 pack or larger
  11. $0.50 OFF ONE Mr. Clean Liquid, Spray, or Eraser {Magic Eraser is the most amazing thing I’ve ever found. Cleans crayons off walls easy peasy.}
  12. Save $5.00 off Swiffer WetJet Spray, Mop Floor Cleaner Starter Kit

Food and Kitchen Gear Online Coupons

  1. $2.50 off any ONE (1) Lipton® Cup-a-Soup product
  2. Save 25% on all Rice Krispies {Boxes, individual cups, and snack bars.}
  3. Save 25% on Keebler Cookies and Snacks
  4. Save 5.00 off on Jamie Oliver Nonstick Hard Anodized Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator 10-Piece Cookware Set, Black5.00 off on Jamie OliverNonstick Hard Anodized Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator 10-Piece Cookware Set, Black5.00 off on Jamie Oliver by T-fal C942SA64 Nonstick Hard Anodized Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator 10-Piece Cookware Set, Black5.00 off on Jamie Oliver by T-fal C942SA64 Nonstick Hard Anodized Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator 10-Piece Cookware Set, Black5.Jamie Oliver by T-fal C942SA64 Nonstick Hard Anodized Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator 10-Piece Cookware Set, Black
  5. $2.00 off French Roast Coffee 5-Pound Bags
  6. Save a bonus $25.00 off Sale Price on Emeril by T-fal TG8000002 X-Large Griller with Two Independent Temperature Controls Removable Nonstick Die-Cast Aluminum Grill Plates, Silver
  7. Save 25% off on Pop-Tarts
  8. $1.00 off any ONE (1) Skippy® Peanut Butter product

Whew!! That’s a ton of sweet savings! Most of these codes expire at the end of August or September, but you’ll have to check individual items to be sure. Stock up your cart – make sure to sign up for Amazon Mom too if you haven’t done so already! – and if it’s an item you’ll use regularly, set up the Subscribe & Save option for even more dollars off. This is SO much easier than running around to a bunch of stores to find the best deals – save gas, save time, and save your sanity by just ordering online with Amazon.

Want to shop for FREE on Amazon?

I mean, these coupons and deals are pretty darn sweet. But free is always even better, right? I do almost all of our household shopping on Amazon to take advantage of the low prices, shipping that’s fast and free, and the huge amounts of free Amazon credit that I stock up on each month. My fave way to earn FREE Amazon bucks?

Swagbucks – Earn free Amazon credit, PayPal cash, and more! Get rewarded when you surf the web, shop, print coupons, and other online activities you’re doing already. Why not earn free stuff while you’re at it?

Amazon Local Deals
One last way to save big with Amazon – check out the new AmazonLocal! Huge discounts of up to 90% on restaurants, attractions and theme parks, services, and shopping – right in your own hometown!

Enjoy the savings – and Be sure to Tweet and Share this post with your friends too!



Free Local Family Fun Passes to Print Today – And More!

“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you”- Ralph Waldo Emerson If you were an early reader of this site, you’ll remember that I started out as a much more “Frugal Living” style of blog. One of my first big successes was my How to Get Free Stuff series, where I showed pics of the amazing amount of goodies I got completely free from things like entering giveaways, joining awesome mailing lists, or signing up for the best rewards programs. I still do all of that stuff, but as the blog evolved and grew into something a little different {I call it Smart Solutions for Busy Moms} – I stopped sharing as many of my frugal-style tips and tricks. But – sometimes I come across a new program that is so awesome, I can’t help but share it with you guys… And as you have probably guessed, I have one to share with you ladies today. It will rock your socks.

Scott's Shared Values - free stuff for families

“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship”- Benjamin Franklin

So what is this awesome new program that I think is worth joining? Why join yet another rewards program? I know those are the questions you’re thinking right now, lol. Well – first off, the more programs and mailing lists that you’re on, the more amazing cool stuff you’ll get. I mean, I get super cool free samples in the mail I’m not even expecting – simply because I’m on a list of interested peeps somewhere. I find super helpful emails each day with the best new offers for free or deeply discounted deals on things I need for the fam – just because I’m a part of so many great rewards programs. So this stuff is seriously worth joining. {Get a list of great newsletters I recommend to get freebies and cool stuff here.} And this new program from Scott’s is one of the cooler ones that I’ve seen in a long time – It’s actually simple to join and get started, the rewards are the type of things that you actually want and need, and it’s just really honestly cool.

free family fun passes

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” – Benjamin Franklin

When I signed up – for Yakima, Washington, and then entered my zip for a Family Fun Pass – They let me choose from the location I wanted, so I requested a free admission to our local skating rink – Skateland. They emailed within a minute, printed my voucher – easy peasy, and done. Seriously – sign up to see what free Family Fun Passes are available for you this month, then keep checking back each month for new ones. No strings – just free, and super cool.

how to get free values for your family

Want to get started earning free family rewards asap??

Of course you do. It’s simple. It’s free. It gives you cool free stuff. And it’s from an awesome brand. If that hasn’t sold ya – here are a few more goodies – You can buy super cool ticket packages to see of the best racing events this summer. Or get 3 full free months to try out that new Blockbuster movie by mail program. You can get super sweet discounts on Hertz car rental too. Or get great coupons instantly for Scott’s brand products. Awesome, I know. So use this form to sign up now – without even having to click through to another site.

If the form doesn’t load or work for you – you can also find it in my sidebar all month, or click here!

So what are you waiting for? Sign up, get your freebies – then use the tweet button below to share with your own friends or networks. Or use my easy peas share buttons to post to Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, or whatever social media you love most. Because, friends don’t let friends pay full price, right? And this is such a sweet program you totally have to share it! It’s brand new, so most of your friends may not have even seen it yet! And it is rockin’ – for real.

 Join Scott’s Free Rewards Program for New Freebies Every Month – Including Free Family Fun Passes for August! 

{Disclaimer: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Scott. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating and am able to earn additional rewards throughout the campaign.}



Daily Deal Site that Brings Deals to Cities the Other Guys Often Miss

Good looking AND smart? Sign up, and you can be both!… Ok, there are a million daily deal type sites out there, I know. But admit it – you might say you’re not interested in signing up for any new ones – but secretly, you’re always still on the look out for the next best thing. {I know I am… } Well, when I heard about this new site,, I was a little skeptical. But let me tell ya why I’m totally a fan now, and what made me add them to my must-watch list of awesome deal sites…

75% off furniture daily deal

$49 for $200 of Furniture at Mor Furniture for Less – OVER 75% OFF!

Ok, the first BIG thing that sold me was this deal – this is available at any stores here in Washington or Oregon, and is seriously pretty freakin’ amazing. They have some gorgeous room sets, so this money could go a LONG way towards upgrading your space. Plus, I have a really hard time finding deal sites that actually have things for cities like mine that aren’t the BIGGEST city in the state. So that fact that this is a daily deal site for Yakima & the Tri-Cities is pretty awesome. {Loads of other smaller cities too – check for yours today!}

With Spotted Fox you are in charge of the deals that you receive

Instead of wasting time reviewing deal after deal that is not relevant to you, we allow you to tell us in advance which deals will interest you. During the sign up process, we give you the option to customize your account so that you only receive the offers that match your interests! We also make it easy to sign up for other cities that you visit, so you can take advantage of our offers when you travel.You can change these any time you like in your Account Settings page. If you haven’t already, sign up and give it a try. If you have signed up, make sure that you have customized your Account Settings so that we send you ONLY the deals that you want.

Ready to check it out?

A deal site that caters to smaller cities that the other guys often miss, has HUGE discounts on stuff that you actually want to buy – and sends you ONLY the deals you want to see? Yep, that’s what you get when you sign up at Spotted Fox. Hope you join me today!