Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Clearance Groceries

I quickly stopped in at a local grocery store that I don't normally go to a few days ago. I usually don't go there because it's more expensive, however, I needed hamburger buns, had 3 babies that needed to get out of the house and it was within walking distance! While their regular prices are usually high, turns out they have good clearance prices. $2 well spent!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Frugal Moving Tips

We are currently in the process of packing up our house and moving out into the country and lately it's got me thinking a lot about costs.  I've heard people talk about how expensive moving is way too many times! While buying a new house is definitely expensive, so so expensive, many aspects of moving don't have to be. Today I am excited to share all the things that I am doing to try to make this move as inexpensive as possible.

Some of these may be common sense, but it's our third big move so far and it's the first time I've thought to do many of them!

Don't Buy Boxes

Buying boxes from somewhere like Home Depot will cost you around $1-$3.50 per box. This might not seem like much but if you have as much stuff as we do, that could add a few hundred dollars to your moving expenses. Instead, get yourself some free boxes!

Think Ahead - If you know you are going to be moving in a few months, save any cardboard boxes you get instead of recycling them. I have been doing this with diaper boxes for the last few months. With three kiddos in diapers right now, I've got quite a few diaper boxes laying around. If you don't have any kids in diapers, ask family members and friends who do to save their boxes for you.

Businesses - If you know anyone running their own business, ask them to save shipment boxes for you. Or even a friend working at a restaurant or grocery store could let you know when they have boxes available. If you don't know anyone, call around to stores. We got the boxes for our first move from a Tim Hortons down the road. Also, a friend recently told me that the LCBOs usually have boxes stored in the cupboards near the cash and one of our grocery stores keeps boxes piled near the checkout lines, free for taking.

Food Banks - Food banks often have boxes of food delivered from local grocery stores or food bank distribution centers. In some cases, it is easier for them to give the boxes away than have their volunteers put the time and effort into breaking them down and recycling them. This is where I got all my banana boxes for this move.

Online - Check the free sections of Kijiji or Craigslist, people whp have just moved often give their boxes away. You could even try posting a "Wanted" ad. Next, try writing a Facebook post looking for boxes. A friend may have just recently moved, or even just have some unused boxes sitting around waiting to be recycled.
Banana and Liquor boxes are the strongest!

Don't Use Boxes

Still having a hard time finding free boxes? Maybe it's time to consider not even using boxes... or at least using as few as possible.

Garbage Bags - Garbage bags are a cheap alternative at $0.10 each (depending on which brand you use) and can be used for a multitude of different items like stuffed toys, clothing, pillows, blankets, sheets, towels and so on. They can also squish into places that a big box might not fit, like the front seat of your car.

Suitcases - I have seen people leave their suitcases all stored one inside the other while moving and we've probably even done it ourselves. What a waste of space! Suitcases were literally designed for transporting clothes. This move our suitcases are all filled up with clothing for the new house. Since suitcases are fairly sturdy they could be filled with other non-fragile items, like shoes, as well.

Rubbermaid Bins - If you're going to be purchasing more rubbermaid and storage bins or organizing at your new place anyways than go ahead and stock up now. These are much sturdier than boxes and if you fill them with seasonal items, you probably won't even have to unpack once you get there.

Forget the Bubble Wrap

Linens - Things like blankets, towels and pillowcases have to be moved anyways, why not use them to wrap fragile items. I lined boxes with blankets for any glass items and put different items in
different layers.
This box is lined with a thick blanket since it will hold glass pans. 

Flyers - Save up the flyers before moving. If you get as many flyers as we do, a months worth should be plenty! These are a free, lightweight option for wrapping and protecting fragile items.

 Bags - Even plastic grocery bags make a good barrier for fragile items.

Forget the moving Truck

The need for, and cost of, a moving truck will depend on how far you move, how much stuff you have and what kind of deal you can find. Generally, if you are moving within the same city, it's more cost effective to skip out on the moving truck. 

Multiple Trips - Making multiple trips in your own vehicle is usually cheaper than paying for the gas and rental of a van or truck.

Friends - Gather up your friend. Know someone with a truck or trailer? See if they will help you out for the day. Make it worth their while with some free pizza at the end of the day. If you pile things right, you can fit a lot more than you might think in one pickup truck.

Photo: http://acumenmd.com/blog/ehr-conversions-are-we-there-yet/
If you feel uncomfortable asking for free help, paying a friend for a few hours of their time is totally fair and still way cheaper than a rental. I don't know many people who aren't looking to make some easy money on the weekend.

Boxes make the best toys!

Between the closing fees, home insurance costs and the purchase and installation of a new woodstove, this new home isn't going to be cheap, but there's no way I'm going to let moving costs make it any worse! I'd rather save that money for new home decor... or at least for the supplies I'm going to need for all the DIY projects I plan on doing once we move!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Foster Baby Milestones - A bittersweet Moment

I love watching babies do all their 'firsts'. The first time that they roll over, smile, sit up, get their first teeth, crawl, say their first word. It is so adorable and so exciting. It's actually kind of embarrassing how excited I get, or is it all parents? It's like we don't know that essentially every other baby on the planet is also able to do the exact same thing at some point in their babyhood. As a foster parent, I not only get to watch my son hit all his milestones, but I get to experience double the excitement with our foster baby.

In the short six weeks that Baby has been here, we have seen him learn how to sit up on his own, learning to crawl, pop two teeth, and now stand up. Every time he does something new I yell for my husband and run for my camera. Of course, I usually miss it! Seeing him accomplish all these firsts makes me so happy. I am so happy that, despite everything going on in his life, he is developing properly and accomplishing all these 'normal' things. I am excited that I get to see them and I am so proud!

But, I am also sad. I am sad that I am the one witnessing these things happen instead of his Mom. I am sad that I'm the one taking videos and pictures instead of her. I am sad that when he grows up and asks about his first steps, his first words, she won't know. Or that her story won't be the true story. I am sad that, despite how badly she wants them back, she isn't doing everything required of her to get them.

I can not imagine missing my babies first anything. I can't imagine saying goodbye to my tiny toothless baby boy one afternoon and then having him show up to visit a few days later with two big white teeth sitting in the front of his mouth. I can't imagine not being the one to cuddle and sooth him through the pain of teething. I can't imagine not being there to experience the pure excitement and overwhelming joy of seeing him grab onto the crib rails and stand up by himself, for the very first time. I can't imagine missing the huge smile that crosses his face when he realizes that he is standing, by himself!

I am lucky to have double the fun watching both babies grow and develop. Each time Baby does something new we get excited, we cheer and congratulate him. It is a happy moment for him and it's exciting for us, but it's sad for Mom. The true definition of bittersweet.