Frugally Preparing for Baby


frugally prepare for the arrival of your baby
In January 2019 the husb and I completed on our first house purchase and moved in on 18th. The month prior we found out we would be expecting our first baby. 2019 was an expensive (and very exciting) year!

The house was in desperate need of a deep clean and a redecoration. It hadn’t been decorated in a long time, and everything was filthy and nicotine stained. Thankfully we had bought paint and carpets before moving in and we already had all the furniture we needed from when we were renting, so we didn’t have to wait too long to be able to start buying things in preparation for the baby arrival.

We chose to keep the gender a surprise, so throughout my pregnancy we referred to our little one as Spark.

Preparing frugally for baby 

  1. Sleep Arrangements 
    There is no end of sleeping places you can buy for a baby. Moses baskets, cots, space saver cots, cotbeds, next2me cribs, sleepy heads, travel cots… and a whole host of bed accessories you can splash the cash on from a multitude of cot bumpers (studies suggest to avoid cot bumpers to reduce the chance of SIDS) to canopies and nests.
    Before you buy any beds/cots for baby consider where baby will be sleeping. I knew I wanted Spark in our room with us for the first 6 months, before being transferred into his own room. I also thought that for the first couple months I’d probably want him to have his daytime naps in the living room.
    Therefore I decided to buy a next2me cot and a cotbed. Instead of forking out on a moses basket for the downstairs daytime naps, I decided I would just use the bassinet from the pushchair.  Babies grow out of moses baskets very quickly, so much so most parents I know who bought one say that in hindsight they wouldn’t have bothered getting one.
    Cots, cotbeds and next2me cots are easily bought second hand in very good condition. I bought a Chicco next2me cot secondhand off Facebook Marketplace for £80 and a secondhand Mamas&Papas cotbed for £50 off Facebook Marketplace. A cotbed is a better investment than a cot, as cots are small and only last a year or two at most, whereas a cotbed has various heights for the base of the bed and the sides can be removed to turn it into a toddler bed, meaning your cotbed will take you from newborn to about 4 years old.
  2. Baby Monitor
    With hindsight I wouldn’t buy a baby monitor at all. Unless you live in a big house, or your little on will be sleeping on a different floor of the house to you, a baby monitor may be unnecessary. I live in a two bed semi. Irrelevant of where I am in the house, or where my son is, I can hear him when he stirs/cries. Even now he is sleeping in his cotbed in his own room, I wake up to the sound of him stirring/crying. If you do choose to buy a baby monitor, definitely consider purchasing a second hand one, or alternatively, look for a dog monitor. We bought a dog/pet monitor. It does what most baby monitors do, but was quite a bit cheaper!
  3. Nearly New Baby Sales
    Scope out your local nearly new baby sales to find everything from clothes and toys, to baby monitors, carriers/slings and highchairs. Little Pickles Markets happen every month across the south of England. I went to two Little Pickles Markets whilst pregnant where I picked up a baby carrier, some newborn clothes and a play mat (for £4) among others things.

As well as everything above, the quick tips I would give are to write a list and stick to it. It is easy to get suckered in to buying a lot of stuff you do not need when browsing online and walking around the shops. Buy what you think you will definitely need in preparation for your babies arrival. Other things can be bought once baby is born. Wait for baby events, such as the Asda baby event when lots of essential items are reduced to stock up on things like wetwipes.

All your baby really needs is you and to be warm, dry and fed. Everything else is a bonus.

 

Baby Led Weaning


Weaning using the Baby Led Method

30th December brought my husband and I’s decision to offer solids to Russell for the first time. I knew I wanted to follow the baby led weaning method, but as R was showing weaning readiness before 6 months I started with some purees. However to test his readiness the first thing I gave him was a rusk. He handled the rusk very well so the next day I soaked the rusk in some milk and spoon fed him it.

The NHS recommends that you start weaning from 6 months. However, all babies are different, some may not be ready at 6 months and others may be ready a little before 6 months. Your baby may be ready for weaning if they can sit up with minimal support, can hold their head confidently and have the coordination to pick objects up and put them to their mouth. Even if your baby is able to do all these things it doesn’t mean they are ready. You know your baby best, and weaning should be led by your baby.

starting baby led weaning

Baby led weaning - starting the journey

I have so far borrowed three books from the library on weaning and the one I’ve found most helpful and informative on baby led weaning is ‘Baby Led Weaning : Helping your baby to love good food’ by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett. I’d recommend this book as it goes through chapter by chapter everything you need to know about the baby led weaning method, meaning you will feel confident to pursue this method.

Nearly everything that R has had so far has been home prepped by myself. It’s so easy and cheap to make food for your baby, there really is no need to shell out on the expensive ready made pouches and jars in the baby isle.

After rusk, we went onto fruit and vegetables. In the first full week of weaning R had Parsnip, Sweet Potato, Banana and butternut squash. I peeled, chopped, cooked and mashed the parsnip and sweet potato and butternut squash then stored the excess in the freezer. You can use pots or ice cube trays. 1 large sweet potato made 8 portions for R! The banana I simply mushed before giving it to him. The important thing is, that even if you are spoon feeding purees, your baby should choose how much they eat. Do not try to force or encourage your baby to eat more than they want to. Your baby will show you when they have had enough by closing their mouth, turning their head away, and showing a lack of interest in food. Until 1 year old, milk is still your babies main food and nutrition source so there is no need to stress about how much they eat. I let R guide my hand with his own and even gave him a loaded spoon for him to practice feeding himself.

freezer stash for baby led weaning

After a couple weeks giving R purees I decided he was ready to start real solids as per the baby led method. I was very prepared to buy a second hand high chair as there always seems to be high chairs for sale on Facebook Marketplace, but a friend offered to buy the highchair as R’s Christmas present which was lovely. With baby led weaning you don’t need any weaning spoons or bowels etc as you can just place the food directly on the high chair tray. My parents did buy a bamboo weaning set for R as a Christmas gift, so we have used the bowel and spoon when giving R sloppy foods as R hasn’t mastered the skill of dipping yet to feed himself sloppy foods.

Baby Led Weaning is great for weaning on a budget as with some adaptions you can feed your baby what you’re eating.

Here is everything R has had so far with a brief description of how I served it.

our first month of weaning

How to ensure your wedding comes in on budget – A guest contribution for The Nottingham


Guest Contribution for The Nottingham

Last month The Nottingham Building Society published my guest contribution on their website following them contacting me asking if I would write a piece for them on how to save money whilst planning a wedding.

In the guest post I gave 7 tips on how to easily reduce the cost of your wedding without your big day feeling cheap. For regular readers of Say I Do On A Budget, some of the tips are familiar, but I threw in a couple of tips I’ve not mentioned before, or not for awhile anyway!

Those of you who know my writing style will notice that the ‘voice’ in this post for The Nottingham is not my usual ‘voice’. The reason for this, is because they condensed my contribution to fit their strict small word count. Despite their editing I do feel that my message is still there, and is a message that those who know my blog will recognise, and therefore I am overall, happy with the outcome and pleased that my message is being shared with a wider audience.

Over the years I have done many guest posts for other sites and blogs and always very much enjoy the experience and the chance to reach more people. Although, I have politely turned down some opportunities because the host site didn’t seem to fit with what I’m trying to do with this blog. Two of my favourite guest contributions are:

The High Street Wedding Game Has Reached A New High with John Lewis Wedding Shop


Discovering the John Lewis wedding range

I am sat here incredibly excited, not only because of the new discovery I have made this morning that I will share with you in this post, but also because I am 19 weeks pregnant and my wonderful husband is currently changing the flooring in our bathroom. Whilst I’m on this side note of sharing about myself, if you would like to hear more about my thrifty home decoration and my thrifty planning for the arrival of baby number 1 please let me know.

So today I have discovered the John Lewis Wedding Range and I am in complete awe of what they have available. I’ve looked at a lot of high street stores wedding ranges and John Lewis’ is by far the best range for variety of style I’ve ever come across. Below are a few of my top picks of my favourites from their current range. All of the images below belong to John Lewis and are hyperlinked to the product on their website.

The Raishma is one of the more conventional wedding gown options and is right on point for the current fashion in wedding dresses with the long semi sheer sleeves and neckline. This gown has a small slit opening in the back at the top of the concealed zip fastening.

Discovering the John Lewis Wedding Shop Raishma Bridal Gown

I have a real soft spot for a jump suit and can see this looking amazing on a Bride who knows she does not want a dress for a special day. This is a powerful yet still feminine look that will have a lot of jaws dropping, especially with the details of the frill cap sleeves, mid depth v back and the embellished detachable belt. I can imagine this jumpsuit teamed with a fabulous birdcage style veil. Discovering the John Lewis Wedding Shop Victoriana Bridal Jumpsuit

Could you get a better bo-ho-chic gown for the day you commit yourself to your significant other than this maxi from French Connection? I think you’d struggle especially for this mightily frugal price! The delicate lace at the centre of the deep V neckline and the balloon has me swooning.

Discovering the John Lewis Wedding Shop French Connection Cari Maxi Bridal Dress

 

Out of all of these, this gown is not technically in the wedding range on the John Lewis site, but if you ask me, it really should be, because every about it is screaming 2019 wedding trend. Wedding dresses with colour started to prove very popular last year and featured heavily in bridal magazines, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere this year. From the Rose Pink colouring to the intricate embroidery this dress is a frugal show  stopper and would suit the fashion conscious bride-to-be very well. To add a bit of extra wow-factor team this gown with a chapel or cathedral length veil. Discovering the John Lewis Wedding Shop Phase Eight Yasmin Embroidered Dress, Rose Pink

 

Vicky and Mike’s £8k March wedding in Stockport


Vicky and Mike's 8k DIY March wedding in Stockport (1)

Bride and Groom: Vicky and Mike
Mike is a Site Supervisor and Vicky is a Hairdresser by day and a creator of beautiful hair accessories by evening. Vicky and Mike live in the Stockport area of Manchester.

Wedding Venue: The Joshua Bradley, Stockport

Wedding Date: 17th March 2012

Number of Guests: 80 day guests, and a total of 130 guests for the reception

Wedding Colour Scheme: Orange, Green and Gold

Total Wedding Budget: £8,000

Vicky and Mike’s fabulous wedding suppliers:
PhotographerMike Petch of M Photography, he is a brilliant and fairly priced photographer. Mike was with us all day until the first dance. 
DJ:
The DJ came with the venue. Dave was brilliant and he took photos of the evening reception.
Cake: Was made by Vicky’s Grandma. Mike and Vicky gave her some flowers as a thank you for making the cake.
Hairdresser and MUA: A friend and colleague of Vicky’s did Vicky’s hair and make-up for her as a wedding gift.
Flowers: Vicky made all of the flower arrangements herself using faux flowers purchased from Country Baskets. Vicky hand-made 5 bouquets, 8 button holes, 8 table centrepieces and 2 candelabras. The total cost of all the faux flowers was £250.

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3 Ways to Save When Planning a Hen Do


3 ways to save money when planning a hen party _ a guest post by Bridesmaids Confession for sayidoonabudget

Not all Brides want a big, expensive long weekend party for their Hen Do. There are lots of different reasons why a Bride may opt for a 1 night celebration or a low cost weekend party with their favourite ladies. Some Brides may know that their friends aren’t able to splash out on a long weekend far away from home. Some Brides have young children or other responsibilities that mean they can’t be away from home for a long time which mean they want a at home hen or a low cost local hen celebration. I opted for a low cost Hen weekend myself when my hens and I went to Brighton for 1 night and stayed in a hostel! It is for this reason I thought the US based oracle for Bridesmaids and the expert of Hen parties, Theresa of Bridesmaids Confession would be the perfect person to share some tips on how to plan a wonderful, low cost celebration for the Bride in your life!

 

It’s a day your best friend has been waiting for, the one where he pops the question. After the shock of the proposal fades, she’s asked you to stand by her side and you’ll gleefully say yes. Once you step into the role of Bridesmaid you’ll have a full checklist of responsibilities. The one you can have the most fun with is planning the hen party. These types of things can cost a fortune, but they don’t have to. Here are 3 easy ways to save when planning a hen party.

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Amazing finds in the January Sales


There is one big reason that I love January. The January sales!

If you work the sales right, you can pick up everything from a wedding dress to stationary pieces at very discounted prices. Plus, with the advent of the internet, sales shopping is so much easier than it used to be! You don’t even need to traipse around the shops to pick out some amazing bargains to help you come in under budget.

If you are able to pick up pieces for your wedding day under budget what would you do with the money saved

Put the money towards another part of your wedding day so you can splash out a little more in that areaOr would you keep it in the bank to spend on something non-wedding relatedWhatever you may choose to do with the money saved from sale shopping, we can all agree there isn’t much that will give you a better feeling than finding a beautiful gem at a cost lower than you’d budgeted.

I thought I would search the internet to find some of the best bargains on the web to share with you. *please bear in mind that my finds are right to the time of publishing this post

Images are not linked to websites as in my experiences those types of links change quickly and therefore aren’t reliable. Hopefully the information in the images below will enable you to find the items on the company’s website easily.

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