Tag Archives: Target

Money-Saving Tips for New Parents

One thing (among many) that people tell you to prepare for is how much money you are going to spend when it comes to your first child. From the latest bouncer to multiple sets of crib sheets, and endless supply of diapers and some cute décor to spice up your nursery, let’s be honest: a lot of money is going to go out the door.

My husband and I have attempted to approach the whole ordeal in as practical a manner as possible. We certainly have skimped when it comes to preparing for our little nugget (and have been graciously showered with lots of items from our fabulous family and friends) but we’ve also attempted to stay grounded and realistic and not completely empty our bank accounts for something that the nugget may (or may not) actually enjoy or use.

While money has gone out the door, I’ve been completely surprised at how much money we have not spent. That’s right…through tips from friends, helpful good Samaritans and just randomly stumbling across things in my day-to-day, I’ve actually come away from pregnancy with a lot of freebies!

Below I’m sharing my top picks.

Extra Teeth Cleanings

I am fortunate to have one of the best dentists in town. Not only do they provide fabulous customer and professional services, but also they are super proactive in ensuring their patients get the best care. This past spring I went in for my typical 6-month cleaning and shared the news that I was expecting a little nugget. My dentist and his team immediately informed me that many dental plans offer a supplemental cleaning (at no charge) for preggo ladies. They confirmed my coverage and scheduled me to head back in a few months time.

All insurance plans are different, but it’s totally worth a quick ask to your dentist or dental insurance plan.

Baby Registry Freebies

Marketers LOVE new parents. Why? Because we really don’t have a huge clue of what we’re doing and we’re the quintessential prospective buyer for all their products. So what have these savvy retailers done? Set up fabulous freebies to accompany your baby registries in the hopes that you’ll take advantage of the coupons and discounts and buy even more.

Hands down, it’s super important that you register at the stores that make the most sense for your lifestyle. For me, I wanted stores that provided a variety of name brand goods that was convenient to my home location. In the end, we chose Amazon (because who doesn’t LOVE Amazon, especially if you’re a Prime customer) and Target, because it was the closest brick and mortar store to our home.

While many of the other retailers offers similar programs, these two retailers reward their gift registers with a nice “Welcome Box” filled with freebies. While a lot of the items aren’t particularly useful (small samples and coupons) they do often include a few full-size and travel-size options from some of the most popular companies.

From baby wipes to pacifiers, you will get a ton of random items. I’ll be honest, some of the items just hit the garbage bin, but I did hold on to a few items, including some of the travel-size options that went into small “emergency poop” kits that I plan to store in each of our cars.

In addition to the retailers that we used for our baby registry, we also seemed to accrue similar “freebie” bags at the baby preparation classes we attended and even some maternity clothes shops that I purchased some items from. Again, you may not use all or any of it, but it’s worth a quick look!

Breastfeeding Equipment

While your choice to breastfeed or formula feed is completely your own, I was informed by a friend that most insurance plans cover a portion (if not the full cost) of breastfeeding equipment. Similar to dental coverage, everything depends on the small print in your plan, but I was so glad to get this tip from another mama.

In my case, I had been working diligently on my registry and was pretty shocked at the costs of some of the breastfeeding gear. Sure you can get a standard pump for a fairly reasonable cost, but if you want something that is a bit more high-tech or comes in a carrier case that may be more convenient for a future working mom (like me), then the costs were going up to the $200 range.

After speaking with this friend, I called my health insurance (get used to this, it will happen a lot) and got the skinny on my policy. Typically health insurance companies will outsource the order to a medical supply company (or if you have a group insurance plan like Kaiser, they may handle the request in house) but your insurance company should give you the overview of what you’re entitled to and how to get it.

My plan warned me that they could not take requests on the type, make, or model of the desired pump and I should be prepared to get “what was available.” I still ended up putting a very polite note on my request (which required a doctor’s prescription) asking for a specific brand/model which I had heard good things about.

At the end of the day, it all worked out. I spoke with the medical supply vendor and they were extremely helpful in getting me sorted out. My insurance plan covered a standard model, but allowed me to ‘upgrade’ to my desired mom-friendly option for a small cost.

Dental Equipment

Can I mention how much I love my dentist? Well on my second “free pregnancy” teeth cleaning, I was chatting with the office again and they mentioned that some insurance plans also offer medical (not dental) coverage for teeth-related procedures and equipment. In short, pregnancy can be an extremely strange time for your body and so it’s within everyone’s best interest to keep mama healthy (and happy I may add). In some instances you can use this time to consider purchasing dental items (think an electronic toothbrush or a water pick) to ensure that you have the best items to keep your teeth healthy when they’re most vulnerable. Again, everything is subject to your plan, but it’s definitely worth an ask to see if you can qualify for coverage.

My teeth have taken a bit of a beating during my pregnancy and I had been eyeing a more advanced toothbrush to try to keep them on the healthy track. I am thrilled to have a portion of the cost of this item covered!

Diaper Programs

As with breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, choosing your diaper type is completely a personal decision. For those going the disposable route, you know that a lot of money is going to go toward the endless supply that you’ll need for the next few years. Fortunately a lot of retailers know this, and they want you to buy your endless supply from them!

Amazon has an awesome diaper program for those that use the online giant for their registry. Hit $1,000 worth of merchandise on your registry and they’ll reward you with a $100 credit to use toward diapers. For all the new parents out there, that’s approximately 400 diapers…which may last you just over a month when you have a newborn and maybe two months when your kiddo gets a little older.

Other diaper manufactures like Pampers and Huggies have frequent purchase programs where you can receive credit toward your future purchases based on past purchases. Tip: Most have mobile apps that allow you to scan your purchase barcodes to help simplify the process.

Getting yourself situated for a new baby is a huge process and one that can cost some money. However, I feel fortunate to have been able to receive so many fabulous tips throughout my pregnancy on money-saving options that have helped us stay in budget.

Homemade Monster Trail Mix

Recently, two of my very dear friends Pauline and Sarah made a dangerous introduction: Archer Farms’ monster mix. This addicting snack, courtesy of Target, comes in a variety of variations, but for all practical purposes is a delicious form of trail mix.

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My favorite variation is the “Peanut Butter Monster Mix” which includes peanuts, peanut butter chips, raisins, M&Ms and peanut butter covered pretzels.

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The only downside of the monster mix is…well…you just go through it quickly! So while catching up at a mutual friend’s bridal shower, my girlfriends and I discussed the awesome alternative of making homemade peanut butter monster mix.

Trail mix is by far one of the easiest things to make. It’s also a great snack to customize with a few favorite snack substitutes, including some healthier options.

While on my latest trip to Target, I grabbed a few key ingredients including chocolate and peanut butter chips, raisins and peanuts.

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For my version of the mix, I didn’t add the delicious peanut butter covered pretzels, which I couldn’t locate at Target (Tip: I hear you can grab a bag at Trader Joe’s). I also substituted super dark chocolate chips to replace the standard milk chocolate chips that come in the Archer Farms version. Lastly, I decided to nix the M&Ms, in an effort to reduce the second chocolate element.

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I added the raisins, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips to a large mixing bowl and doubled the amount of peanuts. While I love the sweet elements, I liked the idea of minimizing the sugary components and doubling the savory.

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Next it was time to give the ingredients a good thorough mix with a solid wooden spoon. And yes, I snuck a few peanut butter chips while I worked 🙂 In just a few minutes, I had a huge bowl of my new favorite snack, and boy was I ready to dig in!

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However, I was reminded by the handy little individual portion packages that Target sells to portion out my mix as well, helping to minimize how quickly one might blow through a batch.

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Grabbing a measuring cup and some snack-sized plastic bags, I got to work portioning out servings into the individual bags, which I sealed away and readied for the work week or snack on-the-go.

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Excluding my shopping trip, the whole process took no more than 15 minutes (including clean up) and I’m so excited to grab a little package on Monday morning and enjoy it at my desk at work.

Do you have a copycat snack recipe that you like? If so, please leave a comment below.

Signature 3 (Mar 2016)

Dollar Bin Snowflake Garland

The first year that my husband and I were in our new home, we were gearing up for our Fall wedding and honeymoon and then were whisked away to visit family over Thanksgiving and Christmas. This travel schedule left us little time to outfit our new home with much more than a few leftover decorations that we had acquired throughout our years of apartment living.

While we traveled for Thanksgiving and will be hitting the road again for Christmas, I vowed that this was the year to begin gathering a few decorations for our home. While growing up, my family would typically get together on a weekend afternoon and my Dad would drag out boxes of holiday decorations from our basement. We would spend the time together decorating the house and eating seasonal treats. While it will take some time to gather a several boxes of decorations, I’m looking forward to carrying on this tradition in our new home.

One of the items on my Wish List when we were house hunting was a fireplace. Sure it wasn’t at the top of the list, but it was certainly a home element that I was hoping we would find. Fortunately, I was in luck, and our current home has an adorable red brick original fireplace with a crisp white mantle, which is the perfect background for a seasonal garland.

It wasn’t until I started wedding planning (which basically means spending a whole lot of time on Pinterest and Etsy) that I became more familiar with garlands. I must say, they are one of my favorite decorating elements. They’re simple, but they add just the right touch of décor to set the tone of your theme.

…and I knew I needed one for my fireplace mantle.

No matter what, whenever I’m at a Target, I always swing by the dollar bin section. For whatever reason, the Target Elves always seem to stock things in these bins that I seem to need (wink). Earlier this month, I was perusing the section and came across some adorable wooden die cut snowflake ornament tags. The package included six good-sized snowflake tags and a good portion of rustic twine—and yes, the two packages cost me exactly $2. Immediately, my mind jumped to a garland. Could I make one out of these cute snowflakes?

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When I got home, I googled a few similar garlands to get a sense of style. I decided that I wanted to keep this quite simple and ended up only needing to grab a ruler and a pen. I measured twine to get the exact middle point and looped my first snowflake to the marker, tying it off with a double knot.

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Some quick and easy calculations later, I knew exactly how much space I needed between each snowflake, and continued stringing and tying until I had seven spaced evenly across my twine. NOTE: Be sure to leave a good amount of empty twine on the edges of your garland (especially if what you’re hanging is heavy), as it will help the items hang more evenly.

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Voilà! In about ten minutes, I had an incredibly simple (and inexpensive, I must add) snowflake garland to decorate my fireplace.

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The wonderful thing about making your own garland is you can customize the process. For example, I considered painting my snowflakes and adding in a dusting of glitter, but ultimately opted to keep them plain to match the rustic color scheme of this year’s decorations. Also, Target had a number of other die cut options, and craft stores like Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Joann’s Fabrics carry entire sections devoted to die cut shapes, so the sky’s the limit!

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Also, no matter what your level of sophistication is, when it comes to crafts, you can tackle this project and end up with a decorative product for your home.