In Our day to day life on
August 21, 2017

Our first family vacation

This past week we took our first family vacation. Growing up I have always taken trips down the shore, especially to stay at my grandparents camper down in South Jersey, however I had never stayed at the beach before. I looked forward to spending a week down in Wildwood with TJ, Landon, my  mom and my practically step-father.

The weather all week was very great. One day it was overcast and on our final night it rained a little- but overall we got a lot of sun! We stayed at Water’s Edge Oceanfront Resort in Wildwood and really enjoyed our stay there. It is two blocks from the boardwalk, so the location couldn’t be more ideal. The hotel was 5 minutes from the beach and we had a great view off of our balcony.

We had a blast on the boardwalk- so many fun activities to do and rides to go on! “Watch the tram car please”….a little joke for those of you who have been there!

Landon was not a huge fan of the ocean, however he didn’t mind sitting on the chair near the water with me holding him (such a momma’s boy). He absolutely loved the pool at the hotel and being pushed around in this little pool floatie.

Most of our days were spent on the beach, getting a tan and enjoying a cool dip in the water, however, we also went to the Cape May Zoo & even saw a Harlem Globetrotters game. The night that TJ and I went to the Globetrotters game, we were chosen to get free upgraded seats – courtside. It was so much fun. We got to sit on the bench with the team players and really felt a part of the performance.

Overall, our first family vacation was a success! Landon was a champ and was so well behaved which made it that much more enjoyable. We had a lot of fun spending time with my Mom and Manny (aka M&M), eating many amazing home-cooked meals that my mom prepared for us and playing cards late at night while drinking Mimi wine (we call her grandma Mimi) We had an awesome time in Wildwood and will look back on this ‘first vacation’ and be thankful for the memories we all shared together!

In Budgeting, Motherhood on
August 16, 2017

How to financially prepare for your new baby

There’s so many questions when preparing to have your first baby, as my husband and I quickly found out. You can predict some extra (and unexpected) costs when it comes to adding a new addition to your family, some of which may end up being a burden on your finances. I’m here to help give you some practical advice on how to plan your finances as a new mom-to-be, as well as advise you on what to prepare ahead of time so you can save a few bucks during your pregnancy. 

One of our biggest money savers when having Landon has been shopping secondhand for nursery furniture. Have you ever looked at the prices of crib sets? A full nursery set can cost you anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000. The dresser alone costs more than an adult dresser! If you’re having your first baby, I understand your wanting to have everything new. That’s totally fine (I’m right there with ya), but I would recommend re-furnishing secondhand items if you are open to the idea. My husband and I purchased a used bar table and after some planning, my husband extended the top part to make it into a baby changing table. It was a $30 find and only took a little labor, some new paint and cheap sandpaper to give it that rustic look we all lust after. We also purchased a secondhand dresser, which we re-painted to match our nursery. There are so many apps, websites and FB groups to use when it comes to finding some cool second hand stuff. We like to use the app Close5, which is where we found our second-hand purchases!

Another great way to save on pregnancy costs, such as copays or blood work is by signing up for a health spending account through your job. If you are planning ahead or thinking of starting a family, be sure to look into this option. An HSA account is a pre-tax account used to pay for eligible medical care expenses that aren’t covered by your insurance plan. If you can stash some money away into an account like this, you should have enough money to cover anything that the insurance doesn’t end up paying. My job offers a similar service, called a Flex Spending Account, where my company actually gives me money to keep healthy by going for routine physicals, dental exams, joining a gym, etc. They basically give out around $500 of free money in incentives to keep myself and my family healthy! It ends up saving insurance money in the long run, so look into what your job offers such as this.

Another piece of practical and pretty obvious advice would be to get to know your personal insurance plan. Do your research and shop around for the right insurance option for you and your family. Check into how much your deductible is and what you will need to pay out of pocket. By knowing your deductible ahead of time, you can anticipate the cost of your delivery and hospital stay. Another great perk of having insurance is that most companies (if not all), cover the cost of a breast pump. When you are in your third trimester you can get a script from your doctor which you can then submit to your insurance and in return receive a free breast bump — often times they will even deliver it to your local Target store. Breastfeeding is another way to save tons of money on milk and is beneficial to your baby’s health.

Finally, be prepared to save. Understand that taking your three-month maternity leave that you will not be paid at 100 percent of your current salary. Most moms only make up to 60% of their normal salary during this time. The best case scenario would be preparing ahead of time and putting aside some money every month to account for this loss of income. I didn’t do my research before I became pregnant, so I was unaware that you weren’t paid your full salary during maternity leave. We always have our savings, but didn’t set aside any extra money for this time. If you could have a special account set up beforehand, you will be better prepared financially and not blindsided by your lessened salary. If you are returning to work full-time after your pregnancy, keep in mind the cost of childcare and set up a plan for aftercare once the baby is born. Compare prices of local day cares or see if a close family member could watch your little one on the days you have to work.

There are so many money saving tips out there, but it can still feel overwhelming as you try and prepare for your first baby. Don’t let your pregnancy get ahead of your bank and make sure your savings are set before your kiddo arrives. 

Feel free to leave me a comment below with your best kept money secrets!

 

This post was written by Jess but first seen on Society Letters here

In Breastfeeding on
August 6, 2017

Latching with love 2017

Today, I had the pleasure of attending my first Global Latch On event to promote and support breastfeeding worldwide. As a writer & contributor for the blog Breastfeeding World, I knew that I had to show up and support my ladies and all of my fellow breastfeeding mommas out there.

We met on the red steps in NYC’s Times Square where we all gathered to nurse our babies for exactly 1 minute together. What an empowering moment, to be able to join together, worry-free, not focusing on anyone looking or wondering what anyone was thinking- just feeding our babies. It was a unique and memorable experience and something that I knew that I wanted to be a part of. As a mother, I feel so proud to be able to breastfeed and feel blessed that I am going nine months strong with my son! Breastfeeding has not only been a health benefit for Landon but a way for me to draw close to him. I truly enjoy the moments I am able to cuddle him close and nurse him. I get sad thinking of the day that he will no longer need me, so I am making sure to soak in these special times now. 

After the latch, we all headed over to Bryant park for some fun entertainment, awesome swag backs and giveaways. Initially the weather had called for rain, but it ended up being the perfect day! Today was the first time that we took Landon into the city and it couldn’t have been for a better reason!

I want to send out a special thanks to the ladies at Breastfeeding World who organized this event and allowed this all to happen. A big shout out to Alexia, Samantha & Lisa for all of your hard work! Already looking forward to next year’s event.

 

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