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Going through a pregnancy can be an exciting and confusing time for both expectant mother and fathers.  The combination of not knowing what to expect through your pregnancy as well as your expectations as a new parent can leave you with a lot more questions than answers.

Luckily, in today’s technologically based world, we can find these answers as well as a lot of other useful tools and advice at our fingertips.  To help manage your pregnancy and get the answers to the questions you need, try one of the 7 pregnancy apps listed below.

The Bump

bump app

The Bump is a popular pregnancy app that offers a free version as well as an upgraded pay version.  It is a great app for first-time moms who want to know all they can about their developing baby.  The app gives week by week pregnancy and development information and provides detailed checklists for everything from what to ask at appointments to what to bring to the hospital.  The format is easy to navigate even for those less than tech savvy users.

Glow Nurture

glow nurture

Just like the name sounds, Glow Nurture is a pregnancy app created to help promote a healthy pregnancy.  With the app, you can do research on your symptoms, keep track of your upcoming appointments in a planner, and chat and socialize with other would-be moms at the same point in their pregnancies.  What is unique about this app is that it has a section to keep a log of your health and thoughts.  The app is expected to add some new features that are some of my favorites including a timer for contractions and a kick counter.

Totally Pregnant

totally pregnant

If you are looking to mix a little socializing in with your pregnancy app, download Totally Pregnant.  The app provides you with a lot of information about pregnancy and your little one’s development while also connecting you with other moms.  You can follow the real mom vlogs or get tips and tricks by been-there-done-that moms on how to get through your pregnancy and plan for your upcoming arrival.  My favorite part of the app is that it offers prenatal classes at the swipe of a finger.

Related Post: 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Becoming A Parent


sprout app

Sprout is a great app to document your pregnancy while being able to keep records as well.  You can not only log pictures of your growing baby bump but can combine them with your ultrasound photos to create amazing prints or photo albums to document your pregnancy journey or share on social media.  In addition to photo storage, there are also areas to set reminders, keep track of appointments, and mark down questions you may have for your doctor as issues arise.

Who’s Your Daddy

whos your daddy app

One of the best pregnancy apps for dads goes by the lighthearted name of Who’s Your Daddy.  The app comes with the standard fanfare of typical pregnancy apps including a contraction timer, weekly and monthly development information, and checklists such as what to have in your hospital bag.  The unique part of the app is it ties the humor of been-there-done-that dads with insights on to what your partner is experiencing throughout their pregnancy.  What I like best is it gives dad some insider tips on how to help you through your pregnancy such as foot rubs and prenatal massages.

Ovia Pregnancy Tracker

ovia pregnancy

Moms looking to increase or maintain their health during pregnancy will find the Ovia Pregnancy Tracker app the best system for them.  To start, you will enter in your information about your health such as health issues, BMI, age, and fitness level.  The app provides reminders for you to take your vitamins and helps you to stay on track with your weight and diet via a food log to help ensure proper nutrition.  The app also sinks with your fitness tracker to help monitor your activity level and sleep.

What to Expect

 what to expect baby app

One of the most trusted names when it comes to pregnancy, What to Expect, has created an app to help you manage all the aspects of pregnancy.  The app has amazing videos that take you step by step through your growing baby’s development as well as provides you with fantastic tips through each phase of your pregnancy.  You will also receive a daily news feed of these tips to help keep you on track for a healthy pregnancy.  I love the fact that they have taken the information from one of the most popular books on pregnancy and turned it into daily digestible content that continues to be updated to provide the best information for its users.

Help keep track of your health and appointments, learn more about your developing baby, or connect socially with other moms by trying out one of the amazing pregnancy apps above.

Related Post: 12 Smart Ways To Save For A Baby On The Way

Your turn! Which apps are you using?

As the leaves start turning brilliant shades of yellow and red and that crisp feeling enters the air, it is time to pull out the sweaters and store the shorts. For me, the fall is always the coziest time of year; a time when you can still enjoy beautiful weather yet can don a warm scarf or snuggle into blankets on the couch during a chilly evening. But, how can you transition your wardrobe to fall when the weather has a split personality: hot mid-day and chilly commutes? I suggest taking a gradual approach — just like the slow change of the seasons — with a few simple steps to get your wardrobe ready. So, set aside an hour or two this weekend to prepare your wardrobe for the coming fall weather.

Sort and pack things away

To make extra space in your closet and help you put together fall outfits, I suggest taking an hour or two to pull out clothing that isn’t appropriate for the current weather. For where I live, that means packing away shorts, thin dresses, and rompers. I pack these summer clothes away in an under-the-bed container to keep them fresh for next year. But, I keep tank tops as layering pieces in my closet for now. Cropped pants and skirts are still appropriate for the fall too, especially with added layers like tights. I also sort through sweaters and jackets and put ones I want to wear frequently out in the front of my closet.

Create a wish-list

As you go through your clothing, you might notice things that you’d like to add to your wardrobe for the season and items that need replacing. Jotting down what you notice can help you shop more mindfully and not get caught-up by super sales, helping you to save money and buy quality items that fit with your wardrobe and style ( Armed with this wish-list, you can enjoy crisp fall days visiting local shops or evenings curled up with tea while shopping online.

Related Post: 4 Tips To Help You Create A Wardrobe You Love

transition summer to fall wardrobe

Mix and match

Some style websites suggest that you pull out all of your summer clothes and replace them with fall clothes at the same time. But I prefer to take a bit of a slower, more lax process. As I mentioned above, I keep tank tops and t-shirts in my fall wardrobe to accommodate for the occasional hot day and to act as layering pieces with sweaters and jackets. Mixing and matching my favorite summer and fall pieces together is a great way to avoid the dreaded feeling of I have nothing to wear! Later, as the days get colder, I pull out most of the tank tops in my wardrobe to leave more space for bulkier sweaters and pants in my closet.

Wrap yourself in layers

Maybe you aren’t ready to let go of the summer quite yet. That’s okay! To beat chilly morning and evening commutes, be prepared with a warm layer, like a blazer, sweater, or cardigan, to throw atop your work or weekend outfit. A large scarf is another great add-on for colder days.

Keep your legs warm with tights

Tights in a variety of colors, weights, and patterns are perhaps my favorite way to take a look from summer into fall. Continue wearing your favorite wide leg cropped pants with a light weight pair of stockings and healed booties. Or, take your lighter dresses from hot summer days to cool nights with a wooly pair of tights in a complimentary color or fun pattern. And even better, tights don’t take up much closet space at all, helping out fashion lovers with small closets (like me)!

Related Post: How To Create A Wardrobe That Works For Every Season

Are you a weekend warrior, bravely fighting through the week, only to make it to the weekend exhausted and without plans?

I find that the weekly routine in conjunction with necessities like post office runs, grocery shopping, responsibilities at your kid’s school, and other chores can really wear you down by the time Friday evening rolls around, making it tempting to stay indoors, nap, and binge-watch Netflix.

While we all need some downtime to rest and focus on our wellbeing, it can be energizing to get off the couch and try something new over the weekend. With just a tiny bit of planning before Friday rolls around and limited money spent, you could have an active weekend that truly helps to clear your mind for the coming workweek.

Add some excitement and wonder back into your weekend by doing something that breaks you out of your routine. If you have been feeling especially stuck lately, maybe even try something you’ve never done before so you can regain your sense of wonder and be ready to tackle your to-do list come Monday morning.

1.  Visit a nearby town

Even if you are on a tight budget, hopping in your car or on public transportation to visit a neighboring town you’ve never been to before is doable. Imagine walking down streets lined with colorful cookie-cutter houses, hip cafes surrounding a town square, or a great nature reserve just waiting for you to hike through — this could be right around the corner from your home. So break your typical weekend mold, and spend an afternoon out of town.

2.  Try a new restaurant

Maybe you live in a city with a great restaurant scene. Dining at one of the spots you’ve never tried, either solo, on a date, or with your family, can introduce you to new flavors, acquaint you with your new favorite spot, and help to spice up your weekend.

3.  Plan a getaway

Sometimes, the only way to break out of your routine and feel refreshed is to take a weekend getaway. If you feel as though you’ve hit a wall lately with your career or personal life, sometimes the best way to get back on your game is to get away for a weekend. Whether you opt for a city break, natural excursion, adrenaline inducing adventure, or relaxing tropical getaway, you are sure to return feeling inspired and ready to tackle any obstacles you are facing.

Related: 10 Romantic Wine Getaways Perfect For A Weekend Away

4.  Enjoy a staycation

After a trying week, spending some time on your own wellness should be prioritized, and what a better way than booking into a nice hotel in your town. If you can afford to splash out, why not treat yourself to a spa treatment or two and order room service while you enjoy HBO.  Even though you are staying near home, getting out of your house and into some pampering luxury will help you to feel rejuvenated come Monday.

5.  Visit a nearby museum

Enhance your weekend by surrounding yourself with knowledge and culture. If the forecast rains on your sunny-day plans, don’t give in to the call of Netflix; persist by heading to a nearby museum to while away the hours surrounded by interesting facts and well-curated exhibits. Perhaps you’ll even want to combine your day out with a visit to a restaurant or café you’ve never dined at before to make the day even more special.

6.  Do a photo walk

If you are into photography, planning an evening spending golden hour out photographing the most picturesque parts of your home can be a ton of fun, and can remind you of the beauty of where you live. Investing some time into a hobby is good for your personal growth and can help to calm your mind. If you are an early riser, or feeling super motivated, you could even plan a morning photo walk to catch sunrise, with a stop for coffee or brunch afterwards.

Related: 5 Fuss-Free Date Ideas

7.  Head to the library

I’m always an advocate for visiting your local library. Most libraries offer a wide array of facilities, free activities, and workshops in addition to loaning books and movies. Check out which facilities your local library offers by paying them a visit this weekend.

8.  Get outdoors

 Research shows that getting outdoors is an easy and effective stress and anxiety reliever. If your week has been hectic or you expect a crazy week ahead, try to spend the weekend outdoors. It should help to lower your stress and anxiety levels, and moderate exercise will amp up that calming feeling by releasing endorphins. Whether you opt to spend your day on the water, at the beach, on a mountain, or in a forest, you’ll certainly feel relaxed by the time you return home.

What are your plans for this weekend?

There is no doubt that having a baby is such an exciting and special time. The first few weeks after birth are a whirlwind of emotions: euphoria, exhaustion, glee, worry. While all attention is directed towards the sweet bundle of joy, set your attention to the new mother because her life has just been forever changed. If you would like to give your friend a helping hand and word of encouragement but don’t know how, look to this list for thoughtful options and ideas suited to the new mama’s needs.

1.  Comfortable lounge wear

Let’s face it, as a new mom you spend quite a bit of time in pajamas and lounge wear. How about buying a beautiful set for the new mama in your life? She’ll certainly feel a lot more like herself when she is wearing something a bit more her style.

2.  Tablet or e-reader for late nights

Ever heard of the 4th trimester? Being up with a little one at all hours of the night and morning, while still healing, is incredibly hard. Having a tablet or e-reader to catch up on a trashy magazine or fun YouTube videos is a great way for a new mom to keep her spirits up, even when she is beyond tired.

3.  Nursing necessities

If the new mom in your life is planning to breastfeed, buy her some necessities that will help to ease the challenges that many moms face when starting. Think a nursing pillow, such as a Boppy, breastfeeding grade lanolin, and muslin cloths to clean any messes.

4.  Food delivery gift card

As a new mom or a mom of multiple children, you barely have time to shower let alone head to the grocery store for the ingredients needed to cook a healthy meal. Consider buying your friend a gift card to Seamless or another food delivery service (or just give her cash specifically for this), so she can order whatever she is craving.

5.  Babysitting

Know a new mom who could use a nap or some time to pamper herself by simply taking a long shower or bath? Offer to come over and watch her baby. This is a great option if you don’t have extra money to spend, but still want to help your friend out.

6.  Nice coffee

A new mom is sure to have many days where the nights and days simply all blend together and she can hardly function through a haze of exhaustion. Give her the gift of a caffeine boost with delicious bag of great coffee ground to her preference.

7.  Easy to prepare meals

New moms need fuel (other than coffee) to get them through the day, but rarely have time to cook anything for themselves. If you are a wiz in the kitchen, you could prepare a heat and eat meal to help them get through the busiest days.

Related Post: Is It Necessary To Wash New Baby Clothes?

8.  Pampering gifts

Spending some time on pampering can help a tired new mom feel more like herself again. Facemasks, body lotion, nail polish, and other goodies can encourage a new mom to spend time on herself. Pair this with an hour or two of babysitting and you’ve got yourself a killer gift for a new mom!

9.  A non-judgmental ear

Being a mother is difficult and at one point or another, most mothers feel unprepared or insecure. If your friend needs to talk, be that non-judgmental ear and voice of encouragement to help her know how amazing she is.

10.  Magazines

Is a tablet or e-reader way over your budget? Magazines are another option for moms who are up all night, especially since the energy needed to read a book is often lacking.

11.  Grocery delivery gift card

Getting out of the house to buy groceries sometimes feels as though it is an insurmountable task as a new mom. Help your friend out by purchasing her a gift card for grocery delivery that can be used online.

12.  Massage

Though babies are light, holding them for hours on end can leave a mother with sore arms and shoulders. A gift card for a gentle massage could be exactly what she needs.

13.  Hospital necessities

Hospital necessities is an especially great gift for a first-time mother before she gives birth. If it is your first time around, it is difficult to know what you need to bring to the hospital, and often, most new mothers are so focused on preparing for baby that they often forget themselves. Help a first-time mom out by giving her the unglamorous necessities like maternity pads, soft mesh underwear, flip flops, lanolin, and pajamas.

14.  Snacks

Healthy snacks that can be eaten with one hand are a life-saver for new moms. Keep your friend fed with nutritious snacks such as granola bars, nuts, or trail mix. And go ahead, add some candy for those tough days.

Related Post: 7 Moms Share Their Best Advice for New Moms

If you feel caught on the ever-spinning hamster wheel of fast fashion and have whiplash from trying to follow the trends of what’s “in” this season and “out” the next, it’s time to break out of the cycle.

Spending some time rethinking your wardrobe and evaluating what works with your lifestyle, and what doesn’t, can help you create a long-lasting style that is utterly you.

Though fashion is only superficial, I know so many women (including myself) who feel much more confident in themselves when they are dressed in something they feel good wearing.

Instead of frequent shopping trips or hours browsing fashion websites, spend some time to really focus on your current wardrobe and lifestyle, and follow-up with the fun part: purchasing high-quality clothes and lingerie that work for you.

Following the steps I’ve outlined below have helped me to define my style and figure out what to purchase to help me reach my ideal wardrobe (I’m currently on Step 5: Shopping).

1.  Work out what you wear most frequently

Can you immediately think of your most-loved items in your wardrobe? Sure, that’s probably easy for you; mine are ankle cropped, dark blue jeans and a dark purple leather jacket. But do these items match up with your most worn items? For me, that is a bit more wishy-washy as it depends on the season and situation.

I have to admit, even though my lifestyle requires me to have a relatively paired down wardrobe, there are still several articles of clothing that I don’t wear often.

How much of your wardrobe do you wear on a regular basis, and how much of it do you love?

To really see what you wear on a regular basis, consider the simple trick of turning your hanger around when you replace a worn item in your closet.

After a set period of time (say, a week or a month each season), check to see which items you’ve worn. Are there any of your loved pieces in your unworn section?

2.  Clear out what you don’t wear

Now that you know what you wear often, what you love, and what don’t actually fancy, it’s time for a good closet clear out.

I tend to err on the side if you aren’t sure, keep it, so there is no need to do anything as drastic as what popular tidying books, such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, suggest.

After you’ve cleared out what you aren’t keeping, see if you can sell your clothes through a consignment shop or website such as Poshmark.

Later, you’ll get to spend this money on new clothes, but with a more focused approach.

3.  Identify holes in your wardrobe

From your closet experiment of tracking what you wear regularly, you might have noticed that you felt as though you were missing a piece here or there to help you put together an outfit you love.

For example, I recently moved from a cold climate to a hot climate, and after doing this experiment, I’ve found that I’m lacking light dresses and undergarments to go with those dresses, so this is the hole in my wardrobe.

Are you missing any basics that could help to use more of the items in your wardrobe?

Think back to your most loved items and if you’ve worn them enough or if you feel as though you are missing pieces to pull an outfit together.

4.  Pin or take screenshots of your favorite styles

 Maybe you wear all of your clothes frequently enough, but still feel as if you are missing something to create outfits you admire in magazines or on the street. Or maybe you know what holes you have to fill, but still need a bit of inspiration.

Now’s the time to spend an evening curled up on the couch with a relaxing glass of wine, a few of your favorite magazines, and Pinterest.

Search for styles that inspire you and fit with your lifestyle.

Though you might be tempted to head straight back to those fast fashion stores, now is the time to really think about what you need and plan to spend time looking for a high-quality piece that fit directly into your current wardrobe.

5.  Go shopping

Now is the best part (in my opinion at least): shopping.

With all of this combined information, you can head to the shops (either virtual or brick and mortar) to fill the holes in your wardrobe — and any special lingerie to go with the new clothes.

Even when I’m shopping, I sometimes like to refer to the screenshots I’ve taken of style that inspires me, so I avoid purchasing something just because it is inexpensive or on sale.

{This blog post is not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the brands or businesses mentioned in this post}.

As this new school year quickly approaches, I’ve been finding myself reflecting on Septembers past, and how exciting yet stressful they can be. It is easy to mix mom guilt into the start of the year with a multitude of different scenarios that affect each of us differently.

This year, let’s give ourselves a break from the mom guilt that comes with preparing for back-to-school or sending kids off to preschool for the first time.

1.  Forgetting a day of spirit week

Send your kids to school in pajamas on backwards clothes day? With families now busier than ever, it can be really hard keeping all of the balls you are juggling in the air, let alone remembering dress up days at school. If you find yourself feeling bad about missing this spirit day, try to spin it in a positive way. At least you got your child dressed and to school today!

2.  Not buying the trendiest clothes/supplies

When I was a kid, it was Lisa Frank gear, and as I got older, it was American Eagle and Abercrombie. I’m sure you remember what was trending during back-to-school time as you were growing up too. But, with a stretched budget, time-crunch, or both, you might be unable to purchase the trendiest items that your kid really wants. Don’t worry about it if you can only purchase the necessities.

3.  Feeling thankful for school

Hey, it’s completely okay if you are overjoyed with the start of school. If this summer was a long one for you, it might feel like you are finally getting the opportunity for a touch of much needed me time, a break, or simply to be able to work without having kids running around in the background (in the case of work-from-home-moms, like me).

4.  Not wanting to join the PTA or be a room mother

You have enough on your plate already, don’t feel bad about saying no if you are asked to join the PTA or become a room mother at your child’s school. Giving your child space from you gives them the room they need to grow to be an independent adult. And it gives you a bit of sanity.

5.  Dropping your kids off makeup free

I rarely leave the house without a bit of makeup on, but as my son enters school this year, the morning rush to get us both ready and out of the door on time is going to take some practice. Though I’m not too keen on going to school drop off bare faced, I’m going to give myself a break — at least until we get the new routine down.

What will you be giving yourself a pass on?

When expecting your new bundle of joy, you may have had someone ask if you have got your baby clothes washed in preparation for your new arrival.  You may find yourself asking,”do you wash baby clothes before they wear them?”  While this once was common practice among expectant mothers the debate of whether or not to prewash your new baby clothes has been discussed among parents for years.  Some parents may wonder why you would wash clothes that were brand new while others may think it is a health hazard not too.

Why Do Parents Choose to Wash Baby Clothes Before Using Them?

While most parents give clothes bought in thrift shops or borrowed a quick wash to remove residual dirt, pet dander, and smell, they often wash new clothes for entirely different reasons.  Some reasons moms like to wash new baby clothes before wear include:

1.  Newborn skin is delicate.

Your child’s skin is becoming exposed to the sun and elements for the first time as well as learning to adapt to the feel of even being covered in clothes.  New clothes may not be as soft or could have residual dye or chemicals that have been used during the manufacturing or packaging process that can cause rashes or irritation.

2.  Your baby may have unknown allergies.

As mentioned above, new clothes may have residue left from the manufacturing process as well as dust and debris that may have entered the fabric due to the storage or shipping process.  Your newborn has not had much of a chance to build up their immune system so even slight amounts of allergens can trigger a reaction.

3.  Your baby may not care for the scent.

If you have ever opened a sealed package on a new outfit, you may immediately be overwhelmed by a combination smell of fabric dye and plastic.  While this nasal offense may seem small to you, to a baby who is just now discovering their world through their senses, it may be too much for them to bear.  Washing baby clothes in the appropriate detergent can leave them with a fresh less-offensive smell that will not be an assault on their developing senses

How to Wash Baby Clothes

The first time I saw information on how to wash baby clothes, I dismissed it, believing that it must be for people who have never had to do laundry.  Well, apparently the joke was on me as there are certain tips that should be followed to not only ensure that your baby’s clothes are properly cleaned, but also make them wearable on sensitive skin.

1.  Choose the proper detergent.

Many companies will advertise that their formula is the best for your baby’s sensitive skin but the rule of thumb is that you want to find a detergent that is labeled free and clear.  This means that the detergent is free from fragrances and dyes that your child may react to.

2.  Wash all clothes and baby articles before use.

This includes blankets, sheets, burp clothes, etc.  Anything that you may put in contact with your child’s skin should be washed before using.

3.  Rinse everything twice.

By rinsing the articles twice, you will remove the dirt with the first round and then remove any of the additional debris or residual detergent that may be left after the initial wash.  As your child grows, you can slowly discontinue this step unless your little one has allergies or problems sensitivity to soap.

4.  Be sure your fabric softeners are fragrance-free as well.

Choose a fabric softener without out additional chemicals or fragrance that can irritate your child’s skin.  If you want to eliminate fabric softener all together, you can opt for dryer balls which work to soften your clothes and prevent wrinkle without chemicals and with the added benefit of them drying more quickly.  I use these in most of my laundry and it can cut the drying time in half.

The Verdict

So when it comes down to the question of when to wash baby clothes, the answer should be always.  New or used, taking the time to give the clothes a thorough cleaning will avoid possible skin or allergy issues with your little one and help them feel comfortable in the already new feeling of wearing clothes.  I suggest buying a baby detergent early and washing your clothes as you get them so that it will not seem like such as large task and you will be ready in case your bundle of joy decides to make an early debut.

Being a parent is one of the most amazing and rewarding jobs you will ever experience.

While the reward of watching your children grow is worth all of the effort you will have to put in, there will be times that you wish you had some insider knowledge before your little one enters the world.

After I had my first two children, I came to realizations that have helped me make this time around seem to go a lot more smoothly and with a significant drop in stress.

Here are 10 things that I know now that I wished I’d known before I became a parent:

1.  There is No Such Thing as A Perfect Parent.

This is the honest truth and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. With so many types of parenting options and research showing none as superior, there is no magic formula to becoming the quintessential parent.

Find what works best for you, your children, and your lifestyle.

2.  That No Two Children Are Alike.

Each of your kids is special and unique in their way. This can range from personality, to milestone development, to sleeping habits. No matter how consistent your parenting is, your children are individuals and will have different needs throughout their life.

On my second one, I found myself panicking when the milestones were hit later. After an initial panic over the delayed milestones, my pediatrician assured me that even the all-knowing developmental chart can be wrong and they simply use it as a monitoring tool. All three of my children hit their developmental milestones at different times.

3.  That Movies Are an Exaggeration of Typical Families.

When I was first a parent, I would watch the engaging family shows and movies and try to emulate the perfect household and parenting techniques I often observed. It wasn’t long before I realized that these ideas are impossible and require so much effort that they take the joy right out of parenting.

4.  That I Would Truly Come to Miss a Good Night’s Rest.

I was a young mom with my first one, and before her, I had no problem having a late night on the town before catching a few winks and going to work the next day. So when everyone told me to get ready for little sleep, I thought “no problem.” What I failed to realize was that the sleep deprivation would be an ongoing occurrence, without weekends to rest and recoup my lost hours of sleep.

So no matter how much you think you can get done when your child naps, I strongly advise taking the age-old advice of resting when your baby rests for that first year as I guarantee you, in the end, you’re going to need it.

5.  That Most of the Must-Have Babies Items Are Rarely Used.

It seems when you are pregnant, you are inundated with all these amazing products that will help make caring for your child easier and make your life that much simpler. The problem is most of these items have a larger price tag and in reality don’t get the amount of use you think they will. Many of the products I bought that were supposed to make my baby chores easier often required more setup and maintenance, so I eventually stopped using them.

6.  Children Can Incur Unplanned for Expenses.

No matter how well you budget or how much you plan, kids can create some of the most random expenses that you most likely didn’t account for. It could be oddly specific gym shoes that can only be found at a specialty store, unexpected and expensive school supply requirements, and even medical costs for random accidents. I strongly advise adding regular amounts to a child emergency fund so these expenses don’t ruin your budget.

7.  Something So Small Can Take Up a Surprisingly Lot of Space.

Having a small apartment when my first child was born, I figured she’d be so small we should be fine on space. Well, it wasn’t long before this little bundle of joy had taken over most of the apartment leaving me the kitchen for refuge. Whether it is toys, large baby items, or just space to run around and play, children require a significant amount of space in comparison to their body size.

8.  You Can Never Record Enough of Those Precious Moments.

When my first daughter was born, we were unfortunately still in the age of film processing, and while I found it worth the cost to capture the moments, I often missed a lot as I had no idea how the photo came out until it had been processed. Now that digital cameras and video are here don’t skimp on recording every moment. It is amazing how quickly your children will grow and how this record of their life can be around forever.

9.  That Your Life Will Change Completely.

I was the mom that said I would be the same even after I have my kids. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Children change your life completely. Don’t be misled to think that they ruin it, they reshape it and make you a stronger individual. The things you cared about before may seem small in comparison to the magnitude of the job that you are performing when raising a child.

10.  That a Job Could be So Demanding, Exhausting, and Amazing All at the Same Time.

Being a parent is hard work.

I’m not going to lie; it can be exhausting, demanding, and stressful at times.

Yet, you will never find a job more rewarding and more fulfilling than raising a child to become a part of this world. You are creating a whole other life that can become better than you were by combining your knowledge with the new things they will learn. Most parents will tell you there is no love like there is for a child, but until you experience it, there is no way even to describe it.

While becoming a new parent can cause a little bit of anxiety, knowing what to expect will help calm your nerves and let you focus on the excitement of your new bundle of joy.

Between jobs paying less for more work, expenses increasing, and high debt from college loans, many of us live on a tight budget. But, limiting vacation time or even foregoing vacation altogether isn’t a healthy option. With a couple of spare hours per month, you can side-hustle your way to extra money for a vacation of your dreams. Saving a couple of bucks here and there also wouldn’t hurt anyone’s budget. As a frequent traveler who lives on a budget, I want to share the exact methods I’ve used to budget and side-hustle my way to vacation.

1.  Consider each purchase

Although I enjoy shopping, I’m really careful about the purchases I make since that money could be saved for travel. Next time you’re online shopping or at the mall, think carefully about whether or not you need that new pair of shoes — it might even help to think about how many hours of work that new item “costs.”

2.  Consign old clothing

If you have clothes, shoes, or accessories hanging around in your closet that you haven’t worn in ages or are ill fitting, you might consider selling these items. While some areas have great consignment rates, others have limited options, so the online route might sometimes be the way to go. Websites like Poshmark and Vinted let you set a price for each item of clothing, while ThredUp gives you a set price for only the items they decide to sell. Whatever option you choose, you could make a fair bit of extra money.

3.  Hold a yard sale or sell items online

I’ve been really working on minimizing the amount of things I have, yet I still uncover dusty boxes of old toys, books, and collectables. If you search your home for disused items, you’ll probably be surprised by what you’ll find. Selling these items can easily make you a couple of bucks that can later be cashed in for a nice meal while on vacation.

4.  Take up a side job

If you have a bit of spare time on evenings or weekends, you might consider picking up a spare job, such as dog walking, babysitting, or gardening, to earn an extra income.

5.  Look for ways to save

I’m always on the look-out for ways to save a bit of money on my everyday expenses. Religiously unplugging and turn off electrical items when not in use might seem really minor, but the savings do add up. Also, checking insurance, cell phone, internet, and TV plans can also lead to significant monthly savings.

Related: 5 Money Saving Tips For Planning A Last Minute Getaway

6.  Make your own lunches

Though this is nothing new, the savings from making your lunch at home can really add up. I’m really not into meal planning and prep for a whole week, but thinking far enough in advance to make lunch the night before work is a huge money saver.

7.  Find free things to do for entertainment

I’m definitely the last person to say give up entertainment and stay in to save money — I love to try new things! But, being a touch frugal when it comes to fun outside of work can add a bit more wiggle room into your budget. My entertainment generally all relates to good food shared with good friends, but eating out multiple times per week adds up. Instead, I look for happy hour deals and specials, or restaurants that are more budget-friendly like cafes or street food stands.

8.  Get a library card

Whether you prefer to read on an e-reader or a tangible book, completely cutting books out of your budget can be huge if you read a lot. Sign up for a library card at your nearest library and you’ll be able to borrow books and e-books for free!

Libraries also offer a lot of free entertainment options as well as discounts (especially for area parks and museums), so this could be another way for you to save money.

9.  Use your talents

Perhaps you are a really great artist, talented writer, or great at math but don’t use these skills often. Tapping into these interests can help you earn an extra income on the side. Tutoring can be sought out by placing an ad in the paper or searching online. Artists could try their hand at selling their work on a print on demand site and writers could pitch to a wide variety of online publications. While these side-hustles require more experience and time than others, they could turn into an awesome and lucrative pastime.

10.  Sign up for loyalty cards and use coupons

I forgot about loyalty cards until recently, and boy was I missing out on big savings. Using loyalty cards, like those for drugstores or grocery stores, can provide huge savings. Similarly, coupons used in conjunction with sales and/or loyalty cards can sometimes bring down a price to nearly free!

Parenthood comes with a lot to prepare for, from daycare, to daily necessities, to medical expenses, there are a lot of costs you have to account for.  While you don’t want to skimp when it comes to your new bundle of joy, there are areas where budgeting and careful choosing can help cut costs.

With my first child, I found myself getting caught up in the parenting checklists, the television ads showing me how blissful my little one will sleep with the newest soothing bouncer option, and the movies showing me what the perfect play area for a baby should look like.  By the time the third little one came around, I had figured out the formula on how to save money when expecting a baby.

To help stay in budget and save some bucks, try these 12 tips:

1.  Hold Off on Items That Are for Older Babies

While filling out your registry it is easy to get caught up in feeling the need to check everything off that is recommended.  Yet, when it comes to the items that are for when your baby gets older, it is best to hold off.  By the time my first child was three months, I already had many of the big items to help her learn to walk and keep her occupied once she was standing or moving around.  Unfortunately, when she was finally old enough to use them she only showed interest in about half of them, and the additional items took up so much space that they ended up going in storage.

2.  Don’t Overstock

You will want to have a few necessity items ready for when you bring your newborn home such as bottles, pacifiers, and nipples, but don’t overstock on these items.  With my first little one, I stocked up on everything I could to make sure I didn’t have to worry about running to the store to pickup items, only to find out that my sweet girl apparently was not a fan of the pacifier or nipple brand I had bought.  After a little bit of trial and error we finally found out what worked best for her and the extras from my early purchases ended up going to a friend.

3.  Don’t be Afraid to Borrow the Big Items

If you have a friend, who has kids that you feel comfortable borrowing items from, ask them if they mind loaning you a few of the more expensive items.  My best friend and I had our children at staggered intervals and ended up sharing a swing, bassinet, and pack-n-play between four kids.

4.  Make the Nursery a DIY

We all want that perfect nursery that we see in magazines and ads, but in truth, that nursery will only probably look picture perfect until you bring your newborn home.  Lack of sleep, constant feeding and changing will leave you little time to make sure everything in the nursery is precisely in its place.  That being said it doesn’t mean you have to have your nursery plain.  Check out Pinterest for some do it yourself decorative ideas that will help personalize and make your nursery special without costing a small fortune.

5.  Put a Limit on Baby Clothes

My personal baby purchase weakness was shoes, and my little bundle of joy had a wardrobe full.  Due to her rapid growth and seasonal changes, along with the fact that she flat out preferred to go barefoot, I ended up only using about three or four out of the 10 pairs I had purchased for the first year of her life.  The same goes with baby clothes.  Those first few months your child is most likely to spend their day in onesies and jammies aside from the short periods of time you go out.  Check out consignment shops to take care of the outing outfits you need and put the extra cash in the bank for your little one’s future expenses.

6.  Don’t Spend Too Much on Nursery Sets

While the comforter looks cute on the crib when entering the nursery, the truth is you won’t be using it.  You are not supposed to have blankets or comforters in the bed until your child older and will most likely need a bigger blanket at that time.  As for the sheets, opt for less expensive options as they will often be changed and no one will see the fabulous pattern on it expect for you and your significant other.

7.  Check Out Local MTM Sales

Mom to mom sales are an excellent way to find gently used well-kept baby items to get your nursery started.  Many of these are moms looking to make a few extra dollars, while others are charity events trying to raise money.  Either way, you can score some great prices on items that can retail for much higher.

8.  Get Insider Tips From BTDT Moms

The been-there-done-that moms will not only be able to give you insider advice on what items are necessities, but also what products work best.  I find pregnancy and baby forums are great resources to pick the minds of moms who have tried a variety of products and know which ones are worth the cost.

9.  Sign Up for Free Baby Swag

Take the time to sign up for as many baby coupons and offers as you can.  Many of these companies will give you great offers and most will give you some free sample as well as baby gifts to welcome your newborn.

10.  Choose Items That Can Pull a Double Duty

Make the most of your purchases by finding items that can serve a duel purpose.  For my second child, I nixed the changing table and opted for a dresser with a lip on it, then converted it to a changing table by adding a changing pad.  The drawers worked for storage, and when she out grew the table, I had the dresser for the room.

11.  Don’t Be Wowed By Amazing New Items

It seems every day there is a new baby must-have.  Try not to be swayed into buying items you don’t need. When new items come out that I get excited about, I take them time to think about how many times I would use it and limit my purchases to those that I will most utilize.

12.  Hold Off on Purchases Until After Your Shower

Having a baby can be exciting and sometimes it is hard to wait to make purchases, but it is important to limit your purchases until after your shower.  Not only will you have had time to determine what you will need, but you will most likely get a lot of your desired items at your baby shower.

While the excitement of your new bundle of joy may make you want to blow your budget, take the time to find ways to save a few dollars that will come in handy as your little one grows up.

Featured image via royalty-free stock photo
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