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11 ways to save money every month + not even feel the pinch

6. Be your own barista. Getting your coffee fix at home could save you $400+ a year.

11 ways to save money every month + not even feel the pinch

Get potlucky.

Instead of a monthly moms’ night out, rotate houses with your gal pals each month and have a potluck instead.


New foods, wine, girl talk, board games and an excuse to clean the house every now and then? Sign. Us. Up.

Have a mani-pedi party.

Skip the pricy salon mani-pedi and opt for a girl’s night instead! Not only will it be more fun, just think of how much green you’ll save. Yes, you and your friends have our permission to splurge and buy a bottle of the good stuff. ?

Just be sure to pick a host whose baby is a heavy sleeper. ?

Know which products are (much!) cheaper online.

Shopping experts note that products such as books and magazines, water filters and even toilet paper are usually cheaper to buy online.

Prescription glasses are another item that can be found for much less online, according to Crystal Paine, author of Money-Making Mom and creator of Money Saving Mom.

“If you only wear your glasses part of the time or aren’t incredibly particular about how they look, definitely save yourself some money by ordering glasses online.”

Try Zenni Optical for glasses ranging from around $7 to $30.

Eat at home.

Food is expensive, mama. Especially convenient food. You could buy the fanciest dinner option at the grocery store and it would still likely be cheaper than eating at a restaurant. When you make your own dinners most nights, the savings will add up fast!

Plus, if you already make your tot’s lunch for home or school, do the same for yourself! Packing a lunch will save you money, give you healthier options, and even free up part of your lunch hour—instead of driving or walking to a restaurant or waiting in line at the company caf, you can spend that 10 or 20 minutes reading, taking a walk or even meditating for an afternoon pick-me-up.

You don’t have to spend much time making lunches. Buy everyone in the family the same kind of lunch box (I am currently in love with my convenient set of bento boxes) and start an assembly line.

Pack simple and healthy foods, like nuts, carrots, apple slices, whole grain crackers and hummus, maybe even a little chocolaty treat. Yum!

What’s the key to effectively saving money every month?

Set long-term goals and stay focused on them.

Whether you want to pay off student loans (one study shows the average student debt for millennial moms is $29,452), save up for that B&B you’re dying to open, or take that European vacation you’ve been longing for, keep your eye on the prize. What will it feel like to pay off that loan? How will you feel when you can call yourself a small-business owner? What will you see when you get to Rome? Feel that feeling and no impulse buy will compare.

Every penny saved truly does add up. Every. Single. One.

If you’re worried you won’t have the perseverance to hold out until you’ve achieved your goal 100%, create space in your budget to splurge every now and again. For some people, planning for occasional mini-splurges helps them stay on track and keeps that feeling of deprivation at bay.

After all, we mamas deserve a little indulgence once in a while.

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Order groceries online.

Make the most of your Amazon Prime account and do a little grocery shopping online without a hefty shipping cost. Many local grocers are getting in on the action as well.

Not only will it save you time and effort, it can save you money, too!

For one thing, shopping online saves you money on gas. Plus, if you don’t go inside a store, you won’t be able to peruse the many tempting (but unnecessary) offerings on display, making it easier to stick to your budget.

If you’re looking for a specific item, it can be much easier to shop around from the comfort of your couch, too.

When you shop in person, the #1 tip is to simply make a list and stick to it.

Be your own barista.

Skipping your daily Starbucks fix and making coffee at home could save you big bucks—we’re talking on the order of $35 a month (or $420 every year!). And that’s assuming you’re buying a boring old cup of black coffee at Starbucks. Feel free to splurge on much-loved coffees, teas or accessories at the grocery store, because these items will still likely be cheaper than buying each beverage ready-made at a cafe.

After a year or two of savings, you might just have enough dough saved up to buy a new espresso maker… or at least a new mug.

Cancel a paid subscription or service you rarely use.

One of the best ways to save cash is to find a non-necessity you won’t miss and ditch it, says CPA Lena Gott, creator of the site What Mommy Does.

“Odds are you’re a

busy person—and do you really have time to process all the input that comes

into your life? Find that one thing that costs you money that you don’t get

absolute happiness out of,” she says. “Something you probably won’t miss when it’s gone. A

magazine you never have time to read? A premium sports channel you never watch?”

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Hold out for the sale.

Have your eye on something you think you can’t live without? Wait for it to go on sale and track the drop in price with a plug-in like Shoptagr, which lets you save items and alerts you when they go on sale—score!

Your willpower will get a workout and you’ll feel like you really earned it if you can wait.

The best part? Bagging a bargain lights up the reward centers in your brain like a summer fireworks show, so you definitely won’t feel the pinch here!

If you think you just can’t wait and need a little help checking your impulse to buy, we feel you. Kristina Johnson, accountant and creator of Cents + Order, recommends thinking about the cost of an item in terms of work hours.

“How long did you have to work (or will your spouse have

to work) to buy what’s in your hand? Look at pair of shoes in your hand and realize you had

to deal with grumpy customers or a horrible boss for four hours just to afford

them. Thinking about purchases in terms of how many hours I put in at work

definitely curbs my spending!”

Try free activities + save on big-ticket trips.

Look into free weekend activities for you and the family to enjoy, such as camping, hiking, biking, going to the beach or even window shopping. Even if it’s just a trip to the park to throw a Frisbee, your children will love it just as much as pricier activities.

You’ll love it even more.

Alternatively, if your family is dying to try a new (but costly) activity, museum or amusement park, research annual family passes. They pay for themselves quickly, and having them on hand will give you one more option for a fun weekend event that won’t rack up extra costs.

Plus, many annual passes come with discounts and perks.

Bonus: The luxury of being able to return for “free” means you won’t feel obligated to stay until the inevitable meltdown that will ensue after a long day of fun.

Skip the gym.

A power walk, jog or bike ride is a great excuse to get outside. Or you can turn to YouTube and sweat in your living room with free, high-production-quality channels like FitnessBlender, Yoga with Adriene and Jessica Smith TV.

Stacey Rodriguez, the author of Secrets to a Successful Single Income Budget and creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, is a fan of cheaper (and more fun) alternatives to the gym. She explains:

“Skip the monthly gym

membership fees! Both my husband and I work out daily at home and have gotten

awesome results. It’s not important where you work out, and you don’t need fancy

equipment. What matters most is consistency and just doing it!”

Sell or trade clothes for you and baby.

Have a closet full of clothes that, let’s face it, you just never wear? Check out Poshmark to make money on the items you never wear... and buy new designer duds on the cheap.

Other much-loved sites that can help you get children’s clothes at a fraction of the price include eBay (try searching for “lots”—buying items like pajamas in bulk can help you save), ThredUp and Swap.com.

Lots of mamas have also had great success with in-person hauls, so check out local secondhand stores for deals on kids’ clothes. They grow so fast, many of the clothes for sale may be brand-new, anyway!

You might also try a maternity clothes swap with friends, trading wardrobes when one of you is pregnant.

In case you haven’t noticed, mama… kids aren’t cheap.

It costs about $245,000 to raise a child, not including college. Hey, those tiny Converse sneakers and Montessori toys aren’t going to pay for themselves.

If you’re looking for a few easy ways to save money every month, we’ve got your back.

Here are 11 techniques (proven by moms + experts) for saving money each month without feeling deprived:

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.

$79

Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.

$30

Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.

$32

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.

$37

The Snoo bassinet

Snoo

Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!

$1295

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.

$59.99

Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!

$46.99

Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.

$259.00

Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.

$27.95

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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