Thursday, January 28, 2010
I suggest you join Groupon because they have some really great deals daily. Today's deal is 5 classes of your choice at It's Yoga for $25. This is a 50% savings. I wouldn't normally be able to afford to do these classes, so I took advantage of this offer for sure. I know a couple days ago they had a deal for a massage at a place called Affinity. So yeah, these are the kinds of things everyone loves to get a deal on, am I right?
At Udder Covers you can get a nursing cover for free ($32 value) and only pay shipping of $9.95 with the code "Family2010"
I heard about this through momsincincy.com, from user emmasmom. Thanks for the tip! She said:
"Go to uddercovers.com, click on "Shop Now", select the product you would like (they also have 3 piece gift sets available with this promotion) and you will automatically be directed to the center of the page where you can enter in the promo code! Type in "Family2010" and it will pull up the ones available. They are selling out fast. You can use the code more than once - you just have to open a new browser/window to do so. Good Luck!"
Penny would never let me use a nursing cover, but maybe you will have better luck than me.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I would just like to take a minute and praise the money-saving glory that is the cloth diaper...
When I was prego and researching all of the different baby care items out there (b/c researching is just what I do), I discovered how much money I could save by using cloth diapers instead of disposables, for my lovely daughter (not to mention the probable health benefits in exposing her to less chemicals I don't know how to pronounce the name of!)
After more research, I decided to use BumGenius 3.0's, which I purchased from a wonderful WAHM (work at home mom) run website. At first I ordered just one so I could see what it looked like and make sure it was what I wanted to use, then I ordered a dozen b/c you will usually get a better price when you order in bulk. Later on, when the same site was having a sale, I ordered a few Happy Heiny's, which are similar to BGs, but have more color options (and cost about a dollar more) ;D
I spent about $270 and ended up with a diaper stash of 17 cloth diapers, and that is what I have been using from ages 3 months until the present (19 months), with a few vacations here and there when life was too hectic for laundry--like when we were moving to our new house, and when we were out of town.
I always have a pack of disposables on hand for times when I am lazy and don't get the laundry done fast enough. I also use disposables when we are leaving the house for an extended period of time, and I use extra absorbency Pampers for night-time (we live with enough sleep issues around here without having to add several overnight diaper changes to the mix). So I end up buying about 1 pack of regular disposables and 1 pack of night-time disposables per month (getting them super cheap with coupons, of course).
This system of mixing mostly cloth with some sposies has saved us so much money. It was a little intimidating at first to drop almost $300 for the initial cloth diaper purchase, but when you do the math, even adding the cost of water used to wash the diapers, it still ends up being MUCH cheaper.
A couple of other things to keep in mind that make using cloth diapers cheaper:
*Cloth diapered children are generally potty-trained at an earlier age b/c they can actually feel when they are wet.
*You can use the same cloth diapers for subsequent children.
*Cloth diapers retain a great resale value!
I am quite pleased with the diapers I chose to buy, but I will say, you could manage to build a stash in cheaper ways than I did...
You could buy used diapers from ebay, craigslist, and places like Diaper Swappers! Also, there are so many different types of cloth diapers, which means you could make the endeavor as cheap or expensive as you like. Pre-folds and a few covers would get you by in probably less than $100, or you could get real swanky and shell out some bucks for the coveted GoodMamas which run almost $30 a pop. You would probably still save money in the long-run, especially if you use the diapers for more than one child, and GMs have a very high resale value!
You can also cut costs even more by using cloth wipes, which can be made from anything from organic bamboo, cotton, or hemp to flannel bought at JoAnn fabrics and cut yourself. Cloth wipes actually are a lot less hassle too b/c you can put a cloth wipe inside a cloth diaper when they are both icky and throw them into the diaper pail together. Much more fun than using a disposable wipe and forgetting to take it out of a diaper, resulting in either fishing it out of an icky diaper pail, or accidentally washing it, causing a bunch of laundry fuzz.
A lot of people make their own wipes solution.
And along with the theme of my most recent entries, I have to mention the fact that cloth diapers have a much better environmental impact than disposables do. Although this is constantly being debated, the research findings seem clear to me.
Here are a couple more good links which delve into the cloth vs. disposable issue further:
Friday, January 15, 2010
Simple shoes has sales really often. Right now they have a few men's and women's shoes 50% off. All Simple shoes are made from materials such as organic cotton, bamboo, and recycled car tires. They are dedicated to a sustainable business model, and they have great products!
I signed up for their email list a while ago and I can attest that they don't spam you with tons of emails, but you do find out about their sales, which they have often.
I keep waiting for the toddler poodle shoes to go on sale b/c they are so cute!
Also, you can go to Shop at Home and search "simple shoes". If you shop through there, you will get a big ol' 9% back as a rebate! I think you get a $5 bonus when you first sign up too.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
My first conscious consumer post for your pleasure:
Lately, I have been reading a lot about how cotton is grown and manufactured. I have learned that it is not a very pretty picture. It is the most pesticide-drenched crop out there, and it has all kinds of bad environmental impacts. I am not an expert on the subject, but all you have to do is google "why organic cotton" or something like that and you will get tons of sites that explain all about it. I will link a few at the end of this post. So anyways, reading about all of this makes me think twice about buying non-organic cotton. It is somewhat unavoidable due to the cost of organic cotton products being way more expensive, but I would like to add a few organic pieces to my wardrobe once in a while, in hopes of one day having a good majority.
It takes some searching to find fashionable organic clothes for adults, but one thing is for sure, there is no shortage of adorable organic cotton, bamboo, and even soy children's clothing. Of course, a lot of it is prohibitively expensive, but one thing I have discovered is that you just need to keep your eyes peeled, and things inevitably go on sale, especially when they are off-season. Even on sale, some of these clothes are still a bit pricey, but it is certainly better than full price, and most of them are so simple that they will go with almost anything, so you get a lot of wear for your buck (until the kid grows up a size of course). After reading, "The fact that babies are smaller means they absorb more pesticides per pound of body weight than adults. The bottom line is toxins stay in their systems longer and can have more impact than fully developed adults" (wikipedia: organic baby products) it sounds worth some extra money.
Kicky Pants is a company that sells baby and toddler clothes made of organic bamboo, which is a fabric with amazing temperature regulation qualities, and is incredibly soft. I went to their site and lo and behold, they have a bunch of off-season stuff on sale 50% off right now! Check it out!!
Another one of my favorite organic cotton retailers is one I have mentioned before. Happy Green Bee has sales sometimes, but one thing that is awesome is that they have a factory store on their website which has small amounts of items for very cheap which are changing all the time. We are talking numbers like 80% off.
Shipping is reasonable on both sites.
I will update more sales like this as I see them.
Wikipedia about organic cotton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_cotton
Facts about cotton: http://www.reusablebags.com/facts.php?id=11
"Why Organic Cotton is Better: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/Organic-Cotton-Benefits.aspx
Of course, these sites are going to be biased, but the facts are generally the same on any site I've seen. As always, don't trust someone else, do your own research.
I want to take a minute to write on a couple of things that are semi-related to this blog's topic:
A couple of my unofficial resolutions this year are to be a more conscious consumer and to be more environmentally friendly in my daily life...
I find that it is often hard to balance being frugal with these aforementioned goals. Yeah, sometimes you can find a deal on an organic food or whatnot, but it is not usually often enough to make buying organic/fair trade/etc. a viable option for day-to-day purchases. So I frequently end up in a situation where I have to choose between my money and my conscience. This is never fun. So I am hoping to make it a goal of mine these year to explore the line between the worlds of having MORE crap vs. having QUALITY crap. The way I see it (sometimes) is I could go to Old Navy and spend $100 and get like 10 things (this is with combining sales/clearance and coupons of course), or I could buy from either a local business (i.e. Park + Vine) or an online shop that sells items which take into account environmental sustainability, working conditions, potentially harmful chemical use, activism, philanthropy, etc, etc. and only get a few things for that same $100; and leave without a guilty conscience. You may be wondering if I really, truly do deal with a moral dilemma or remorse after buying stuff from big chains, or am I just saying that to make myself sound good. I am here to tell you that I sincerely do have constant inner turmoil over purchase decisions I make on a daily basis. Of course I know that I can never be perfect and only buy things which do not harm anyone (or the planet) in any way at all, but I do think I can make an effort to be a little better and just a little more thoughtful about where and how I spend my valuable consumer dollars. I know I can make my conscience happier if I can just get over my wanting more more more and learn to appreciate the value of only having SOME, some really fantastic things which I bought after much forethought about the ethical issues surrounding said things.
Anyways, this is turning into a rant, but my point is that I want to try to be a more conscious consumer w/o putting my family into the poorhouse, and therefore, my couponing ways will need to be re-evaluated to some extent. Will I still be looking for bargains? Of course. But I will be looking for bargains in a different way, taking into account more criteria than before. Is that pair of Target shoes I bought off the clearance rack really a bargain if you can't stop thinking about the poverty-stricken sweat-shop workers (possibly children) who toiled away at every stitch, or the environmental impact of the rubber on the soles, or the chemicals being leached by the "imitation upper" or whatever.... I just don't know anymore...
Does this mean I will never buy anything from Target again. Most likely not. But I will be thinking twice before I do it. Do I really NEED this? Is there a better option out there? Will it be that much more expensive? Is it worth it? ETC>
So I'm thinking I will start making posts about the things I buy here and there and try to sort through the decision process for particular purchases. This is more for me than anything, but hopefully it will be interesting to someone else out there as well. But no biggie, I don't think much of anyone reads this blog anyways ;D
But if anyone is out there, you are welcome to follow along on my journey to more conscious consumerism.
And I will still post some deals too, don't worry.
(Sorry if this post is disjointed, I am sleep-deprived and feeling it at the moment)
Friday, January 1, 2010
Amazon now has baby food and snacks on subscribe and save. The prices are already good on these items, but now you can save 15% more if you subscribe to have it delivered every x amount of months. And you can go in and end your subscription at any time, even after your first order. Plus they usually send you an email before your next shipment to make sure you still want it and then you can either unsubscribe or change the shipment date if you want to.
I found Earth's Best Crunchin' Crackers on there for about $13 for 6 boxes. These are usually $3.99 a box at Kroger, and you rarely find coupons for them. That makes them about $2.16 ea. on Amazon. That's a good deal, especially for organic! I also found Earth's Best apple juice boxes 44 count which came out to be about .5 per box. I usually by Junior Juice by Hansen's juice boxes at Kroger which run .25 per box, so Amazon is a much better deal!
The only problem with ordering these things on Amazon is that you have to order in bulk, the amount depends on how many are packaged together, so like I said 6 boxes of crackers, or 44 juice boxes, so it is only a good deal to buy it if you know you will for sure use them all. But I don't see my lil' one not eating crackers and drinking apple juice anytime soon.
Also myfrugaladventures has the scoop on how to get Amazon Prime for 3 months for $1 right now! That means free 2-day shipping in all Amazon orders!!
PS I want to add that you can find great deals for all kinds of things with subscribe and save on Amazon, but I am featuring baby food because it is a newly added product to the program.