Guest Post: How Can Millennials Give Back On A Budget


Guest blog post by Valentina Wilson of Best Debt Consolidation. Valentina is based in the USA and her mission is to help people become debt free.

How Millennials give back on a budget _ Guest post from Valentina Wilson of Best Debt Consolidation on sayidoonabudget.com

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”

                                                                Booker T. Washington

Yes, it’s true! And therein lies the importance of giving back to the community! This art of giving back and gifting is known as “philanthropy”.

You know what? Spending time enriching your community can expand your perspective about the world! Besides, you can get a unique idea about life by serving people around you. And that’s important for your community too! It helps to eradicate various social problems and increase wellness in society!

In this context, let me tell you, Gen X peeps or millennials are giving back more to the community! Don’t believe me? A 2019 Forbes report shows that millennials in our country are becoming philanthropic. In fact, they are the future of fundraising!

But always remember, don’t do anything by busting your budget! No matter what, you need to stick to your budget for leading a financially stable life! So, here we have listed some of the best possible ways to give back but without busting your budget!

Donate your time

Time is the most valuable thing in our life. It’s one of those things which we can’t get back. You can volunteer in various places like schools, homeless shelters, etc.

Do you need more ideas about where you should volunteer? If yes, check websites like AllforGood.org, Idealist.org, etc. You can find various ways to volunteer that suit your age and abilities!

Promote your local businesses

Perhaps, the best way to support your community is to help out businesses in your area. You can support the hard-working farmers by shopping at your local farmers’ market.

To learn more about the markets in your area, check out the local food directories of the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). Or, you can join a community-supported agriculture program.

Donate to holiday food drives

Well, during the holiday season, you may find many businesses, community centers, schools, etc. organize food drives. Usually, they collect unopened, non-perishable canned and boxed foods for local food banks. So, when you go shopping next time, buying some extra stuff can bring a smile to someone’s face!

Besides, you can volunteer in one of the food banks. You can play an active role in reducing food waste and supporting needy people. So, find the local food banks to donate to and if you want, you can volunteer too!

Join a community garden

A community garden is a piece of land managed by a group of folks. You may find allotment gardens where individuals give their small plots where you can plan what you want and keep your harvest.

In other types of community gardens, a large garden is shared by all members of the group and the harvest is shared equally among them!

This way, you can impart your gardening skills to others and vice versa! You can also help grow fresh produce for the community. You can share the extra produce with the needy in the area.

And guess what? You are growing your own produce and that too with shared tools and supplies. So, undoubtedly, you don’t have to bust your budget for giving back!

Plan a community cleanup

It’s a great way to give back to your community by making it a better place to live! Call on your friends, neighbours, and co-workers to join the cleanup effort.

First, you need to determine a site that needs environmental maintenance. Most likely, publicly accessible areas like beaches, parks, playgrounds, streets, etc. will need a cleanup!

You can ask the volunteers to bring standard cleanup materials like garbage bags, trash pickers, grabbers, heavy-duty gloves, etc. from their house. Doing so, you won’t have to buy the cleanup materials. Thereby, no question of busting your budget!

Donate on your credit card rewards

Do you use a credit card? If so, you might have stacked cashback, miles or other reward points by swiping your credit card.

What if you can donate them to charity?

Yes, you heard it right! To do so, go to your loyalty program’s charity page and log in to your account. You can donate to big non-profits like Red Cross, UNICEF, etc.

Your reward points will be deducted from your balance. You will get a confirmation letter from your loyalty program or the charity.

However, make sure to use your credit cards wisely! Else, you might end up being debt-trapped! By the way, if you are already debt-trapped, you can find some effective ways to consolidate debts and pay off your debts with ease.

Download charitable apps

Millennials are much savvier when it comes to giving back online! You can install charitable apps in your smartphone, like:

Charity Miles: You can donate money to charity for every mile of activity.

Donate a Photo: Do you love to take photos? If yes, you can give it back with that! Send photos to Johnson & Johnson’s (sponsor of the app) website through this app. The company will donate $1 for every photo you send.

So, what are you waiting for? Help and support your community to grow by giving back. And obviously without busting your budget!

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Thank you to Valentina for this fantastic guest post! All links that go outside of sayidoonabudget.com are Valentina’s links, and all ideas and opinions are hers. 

You can visit:
The Best Debt Consolidation website
Follow her on Twitter, @Valenti11423079
Like the Facebook page, Valentina Wilson

 

How can Millennials give back on a budget _ guest post from Valentina Wilson of Best Debt Consolidation

DIY: Making a Fiddle Board


DIY Fiddle Board blog header making a fiddle board for my son; a Montessori play idea. sayidoonabudget.com mumminonabudget

If you follow me on Facebook, Insta or Twitter you may have seen in my stories and on my wall, pictures of the fiddle board I’ve made for my son.

A few weeks ago I asked my husband to make one. We sat and looked at ideas online and I drew out what I would like to have on the board, but the husband said he had too many other projects on at the moment. So I asked my Dad, he also has a lot of projects on. So I decided I would make it myself!

Fiddle boards are based on the Montessori appraoch of giving babies and children real world items to play with and are ideal for babies once they are able to confidently sit unaided. R is 7 months, has been sitting unaided for 2 months and confidently pulls himself up to kneeling, meaning he is at the ideal developmental stage for an activity board.

I’m no stranger to be a bit of crafting and DIY as you will know if you’ve seen my posts on creating pom pom buttonholes or the time I created my own DIY wedding invitations. How hard could it be?

The first item I sourced was a board left over from when the husband built an under stair storage unit (which I may write about in a post soon), and then I took the little one to B&Q where I bought:

  • 1 wheel £2.90
  • 1 double light switch £3.47
  • 1 furniture pull handle £4.38
  • 1 plumbers T shape pipe £4.20
  • 1 door chain £5.12
  • 1 misc

At screwfix I picked up a pack of spring door stops for £5.49. My shopping finished on ebay with two chunky plastic zips for £1.99 per zip and a foam clock for £1.49.

I decided to use paint we already had from when we decorated our house in January 2019.

Total: £31.03

DIY home made Fiddle board in the planning stage sayidoonabudget.com

With all the items at home I started to plan out where I wanted to put each thing, then the DIY got under way!

The husband set me up in his workshop with the tools and PPE I would need and I set to work creating a cut out hole to recess the lightswitch into. That wasn’t the easiest of tasks as all I had to do it was a drill, enter me drilling a hole in each corner of the square I’d marked out, then drilling holes in the hope they’d join together. This worked better than I thought it would, meaning two taps with a hammer to break the small areas i couldn’t drill out and the recess hole was made.

I then used an electric sander to sand all edges and round off the corners. Two coats of paint took 3 days to dry out in the workshop due to the wet March weather we’ve had.

Attaching each item was fairly easy. Once I was satisfied the board was complete and safe for my son to play with it, I hooked it over the hand gap on the draw of our understair storage unit and sat my son in front of it. So far it has been complete for 5 days and both my 7mo son and 1 year old nephew have got enjoyment from it.

There is space to add extra items to it in future if I wish and I will happily remove items and replace with new things to keep the board fresh and interesting.

Tools and supplies I used:

  • Wood glue
  • Electric sander
  • Electric drill
  • Screw driver
  • Screws
  • Cable tie
  • Scissors
  • Face mask
  • Goggles
  • Pencil
  • Grinder (grinding off screw lengths that stuck out the back of the board)
  • Paint brush
  • Confidence

If you have made one I would love to see a picture of what you included on the board. How did you go about making yours? What toys or activities have you DIYd for your little one/s?

DIY fiddle board _ how I went about making a DIY fiddle board for my son. with costings. sayidoonabudget.com

6+ Free and Cheap Ideas for Entertaining Children


6 Ideas for Entertaining Children

I wrote a blog post for The Nottingham Bank last year titled ‘How to ensure your wedding comes in on budget’ to provide some key advice to their readers on reducing the cost of a wedding. Recently they asked for ideas on how to entertain children during half term that don’t break the bank and I contributed a few suggestions. The Nottingham Bank have put some of my suggestions into a blog post titled Five half term ideas that won’t break the bank on their website.

It doesn’t go undetected for long that living frugally is a topic I’m well versed on so I thought I’d share the tips I gave The Nottingham Bank as well as giving you a few extra ideas for how you can keep your sanity and your ££.

  1. Investigate your local area
  2. Get outdoors with a treasure hunt
  3. Find a community garden 
    For more detail on the above 3 tips, go to The Nottingham Bank’s blog post where you will also find two more tips from other bloggers. 
  4. Hit up your local library. My local library has a ‘story and rhyme’ session on Wednesday mornings. It’s a half hour session designed for babies and toddlers where songs such as ‘wind the bobbin up’ are sung and a big story book is read out. The session is totally free and open to anyone.
  5. Go Scrumping. My childhood often involved scrumping for blackberries or Hazel nuts with my sister. She would climb the Hazel tree and shake the branches whilst I scooped up the nuts as they fell. Another fond memory of scrumping was for blackberries in the hedgerows of a farmers field, getting sniffed by heifers as I filled my bag and my belly with the berries. Exploring the countryside with Tupperware and a mission can be brilliant fun for children of all ages.
  6. Attend new baby and toddler groups. Many baby and toddler groups are free for your first attendance. If you’re stuck in a rut attending the same group every week, look slightly further afield and scope out a different group to give your little one some variety and save yourself a couple ££.

Plus, baking at home anything from simple fairy cakes to a quiche; going old school with a game of rounders on your local playing field; setting out on a bear hunt; hosting a teddy bears picnic; creating decorations from salt dough and signing up to a bird watch to report on what birds you have spotted in your area.

How do you? What’s your children’s favourite things to do in the holidays that don’t break the bank? Let me know in the comments.

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