All Posts By:

Jessica

In Uncategorized on
July 26, 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 are starting to find 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 so far 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 would love to have all new furniture for my little boy), but I would recommend re-furnishing secondhand items. 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.

 

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

In Budgeting on
July 19, 2017

5 easy ways to save money on the fly

Are you making saving a priority in your life? Or do you find it “too hard” or that there “just isn’t enough money to go around?” I know exactly how you feel, I have been there! For that reason, I have been thinking what practical advice that I could offer to help answer these questions. Here is what I came up with.

 

1. Set reasonable goals and stick to them

2. Make saving a monthly bill

3. Only spend what you have

4. Cut back on unnecessary expenses

5. Pack your own food

 

  1. Setting realistic goals is super important. Yes, everyone would love to save $10,000 a year, but is that actually reasonable? Could you actually make that happen? You need to set goals that make sense for you and your family. What goals work for me are different than what may work for you. Everyone is different. People make different incomes and have different expenses. Goal setting is completely personalized to what fits YOUR needs. Make sure to set reasonable goals and then of course, stick to them! Building a hefty savings account does not happen overnight.

 

  1. I suggest treating saving as a monthly expense. Make saving just as important as paying your mortgage bill, rent, or purchasing food. If you put your bills first, then whatever is left over at the end of the month will be your allotted guilt free spending money. My husband and I put our savings right into our budget. It is something that is routine and doesn’t change. We don’t make excuses and make it a payment that has to be met every month. Since we started doing this, we have been able to contribute a significant amount per month into my student loans (on our way to tackling all of our debt!!)

 

  1. By only spending what you have left over at the end of the month, you will not be accruing more debt or racking up a large credit card bill. This is where you need to be in control of your spending and know when to say no. I struggle with this myself, especially when there is something extra that I want to buy that month or somewhere special I want to go. My husband and I set a monthly allowance that we both have to spend on miscellaneous items. It’s simple, if you don’t have the money, don’t spend it.

 

  1. I think most of us can relate to this. If you were to make a list of your monthly spending, would there be things that were non-essentials? Things that you could have passed up or said no to? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can’t have fun…but all in moderation. When you work hard, you should be able to spend your money. But I suggest being reasonable with your spending or splurges. Do you go to Starbucks 15 times a month? What if you cut back and only went 7? That would be an extra $25 every month just from cutting back on coffee. What else can you cut back on? Do you have a monthly gym membership that you don’t even use? Then get rid of it! Go for a walk or run outside. YouTube at home workouts. That would save you another $60 a month. If you are unsure if you are overspending in this area, write down a list of what you bought for an entire month. At the end of the month look over your list and decide what was necessary and what wasn’t. My husband and I do this every month. We keep track of our food receipts and our miscellaneous spending. At the end of the month we keep eachother accountable for our spending.

 

  1. It sounds so simple doesn’t it? This step alone can save you so much money. I know to many people who buy their food out everyday or order out every night. Do you know really how much you are spending on food every month? My husband and I are big on packing lunches, especially since we know how expensive food is! If you have a husband who eats as much as mine does, we would go broke if we didn’t pack our own lunches everyday.  Buying cold cuts at the grocery store will last you 5x more than the 1 sandwich you bought at the local deli for lunch one day. Make a list of what you like to eat and then go pick it up! Yes, it may require some food preparation late on your Sunday night…but the money you will save will be worth it. You will thank yourself later.

 

I hope you found some of these tips to be practical and helpful. Saving isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time, patience and even practice! Make saving a routine bill and then pretty soon it will just become second nature. They say that it’s so much easier to save when you are young, so why not take advantage of our time? What do you have to loose? All you have is money to gain!

 

In Lifestyle on
July 12, 2017

My top 10 affordable swimsuits for summer

Summer is officially upon us! It is time to flaunt that golden tan as you walk along the sand, hearing the waves crashing at your feet. Ok, I’m ready for a trip down the good ‘ole Jersey Shore! Since you know how much I love to save money, I thought I would share with you my top ten favorite affordable swimsuits for women. It always bothers me when I go to purchase a suit and it ends up costing me a fortune! One of the bikinis that I bought this year cost me $60 and it was from Target (aren’t they supposed to be cheaper?!) I feel like baiting suits are getting more and more expensive with each summer that goes by. Well… don’t worry anymore– I have done the research for you! Without further ado, here are my top AFFORDABLE picks for this summer!

 

1. Sexy Ruffle Off-The-Shoulder Floral One-Piece Swimsuit – $18.99

If you follow along on my instagram, you have already seen me ‘repping this gorgeous pastel swim suit.

I have gotten so many compliments on it! I love how perfectly it fits and contours my curvy body.

Hallegave Women's Fashion swimwear sexy bikini Halter Straps Swimsuits Bathing Suit,Yellow,Xlarge

2. V Neck Floral Print Short Sleeve One Piece  $18.99

This swim suit was inspired by my friend Deb (@deborahstachelski)

She recently got this swimsuit and man does it look good on her!

I love how it zips in the front, allowing you to control how much cleavage you want to show off 😉

*the colors are much more vibrant in person*

 

 

3. Vintage Polka High Waisted Bathing Suit – $25.99

This is a cute option for someone wanted some coverage or to hide some belly (or stretch marks)

I love the color combo! Perfect for a hot summer day. Drink please…

CHERRY CAT Two Piece Swimsuit Super Cute Beachwear Bathing Suits (Rose Red&Navy,XL)

 

4.  One-Piece Pin Up Halter Retro Vintage Bathing Suit – $21.99

This suit comes in a bunch of different colors.

It looks very comfortable and is a great option for someone wanting full frontal coverage.

I feel like red is a color that looks good on blonde and brown haired women.

Put some red lipstick on and BAM!

Annigo Womens Retro Vintage One Piece Swimsuit Halter Shirred Details Monokini

 

5. Ruffle Off-The-Shoulder One-Piece Bikini   –  $24.99

I love the elegance and sexiness of this suit.

It is classy and is a very creative design that I have never seen before!

Tengweng Women Leaves Print Flouncing Off Shoulder Swimsuit High Waist Bikini Set L CUTQ01

 

6. Deep V-neck Cross-Back High Cut One Piece Monokini  –  $10.99      

You seriously cannot beat the price of this bikini!

I love the color combo and pattern.                    

The back criss-crosses and ties and has a dramatic look that I love.

        Summer Bay Womens Deep V-neck Cross-Back High Cut One Piece Monokini Swimsuit Pattern Swimmwear

 

7. Leaves & Stripe Halter One-piece (Padded with Cutout in back) – $29.99

I am definitely obsessed with the palm leave look this summer.

I love the contrast with the pink and green and strip combo.

The slit in the center gives a sexiness to this one-piece!

Cupshe Fashion Women's Leaves Printing Stripe Halter One-piece Padding Swimsuit with Cutout (L)

 

8. Boho Style Striped Polka-Dot Halter Bikini – $13.68

This option is a super cute design for someone looking for a 2 piece set.

Love black and white polka dots and the halter look of this suit.

Niveltm Sexy Boho 2pcs Bikini Set Polka Dots Striped Halterneck Swimwear(M)

 

9. One-Piece High Waisted Halter Swimsuit – $15.99

I told you I was obsessed with leaves this summer.

I just love this combo. This suit is so ME!

Women's Sexy Leaves Printing Striped Halter Padding One Piece Swimsuit Cutout

 

10. Push up 2 piece padded bikini – $12.99

This is a sexy option for those of you looking to show a little skin.

There is something about a yellow suit in the sunshine & a golden tan that I find so attractive.

 Nulibenna Push Up Two Piece Bikini Swimsuit Candy Patch Padded Swimwear Yellow Medium

 

Hope you all liked these super cute suit options that I came up with.

The best part about them, is that they are ALL AFFORDABLE!

 

Now who is ready for the beach? (insert emoji of girl raising hand)

 

 *This post may contain affiliate links*

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