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Pregnant? Maybe You Can Get a Free Breast Pump Too…

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This would be a HUGE savings for my family, we are expecting right now and the cost of raising a baby is so high. Having a free breast pump would tick off one of the most expensive infant items, without having to get one as a gift from friends or family. I'm going to follow these steps and look at my insurance right away. What a great frugal life hack for our budget.

The following is from my younger sister and occasional guest poster, Teresa Ward.  She thought she could share after she was happily surprised! As Crystal announced, my husband and I are expecting our first child this year!  While we couldn’t be more excited, I am daunted at the LONG list of items we need to purchase before our son’s birth.  One of the biggest ticket items – although not a strict necessity for all mothers – was a breast pump as I plan to breastfeed for several months and would like my husband to be involved. Research Works After realizing on Amazon that breast pumps vary widely in price all the way up to $300, I heavily researched them before making a purchase. Happily, I discovered my medical insurance covered mine 100%!!!  Yes – I actually ended up ordering TWO FREE breast pumps that my insurance will cover (totaling $400 retail, a little less than $300 discounted or online).  The best part – delivery to my front door before my son is even born! The Steps I Followed I wanted to share the process to make sure any parent who qualifies for the same benefit didn’t pay out of pocket … Read more

I’ve Been Matched with Big Brothers Big Sisters!!!

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It’s been a long process, but I finally have been matched with a “Little” with Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS)!  You may have read about the beginning of this whole thing a couple of months ago.  Yep, it took about 10 weeks, but it is totally worth it! Getting to This Point I filled out the first volunteer application in mid-July, sent in all of the requested paperwork, asked 5 of my friends/co-workers (blogging buddies) to fill out reference forms, and took a quick online class and quiz all within a few weeks.  Next, I was interviewed by a match specialist and was officially approved.  Then sat around waiting to be accepted and matched.  That all took about 2 months. Once they called me with a prospect about a month later, I accepted, his parents accepted, and then we met in person a couple of weeks later at the BBBS office for a few minutes.  I had my first real outing with him last week and again yesterday.  🙂 My Match Experience So Far So, I obviously can’t give out too many details so nobody’s privacy is messed with, but I can write about general stuff.  I’ve been matched with a young man (about 4th grade) who is as … Read more

45 Activities with Kids on the Cheap

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Okay, so you know that I am waiting to hear back officially from the Big Brother Big Sister program.  I’ve also been returning to super inexpensive fun on my own since we are being cheap for the next few months.  So today’s post is pretty simple.  Here is the list of activities with kids that I’ve come up with that can be done even with a tiny budget: Activities with Kids on the Cheap Take photos to make annual scrap book. Make/paint/go on shopping trip to find a piggy bank/bank for budget.  I was thinking of making a budget of less than $20 a week and we can save the extra for more expensive outings. Pottery painting. Kids Eat Free days at different restaurants around the city. Zoo – Free first Tuesdays after 2pm from Sept through May at the Houston Zoo. Feed the ducks. Picnic Hike/Walk Petsmart/pet store events.  We can play with cute dogs for free and even volunteer our time. Library Volunteer.  The Big Brother Big Sister program will even let us know when there are openings at things they hear about. Children’s Museum – Free Thursdays from 5-8pm at the Houston one. Dollar Movie Theater – there … Read more

Becoming a Big in the Big Brother Big Sister Program…Hopefully…

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In mid-July, I decided to fill out an application to become a “Big Sister” for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS).  I had been thinking about it for more than a year, but I just now seem stable enough to devote consistent time to a “Little”.  I had no idea what the process would entail though, lol. Process Up to Now Here’s the breakdown of what has been required so far to volunteer with the BBBS program: Fill out basic 5 minute application. Fill out the more detailed 15 minute application. Send in the 5 work and private/social references that they requested.  This took about an hour to find everybody’s basic info and text them all to make sure that using them was okay. Sent in a copy of my driver’s license and car insurance. Spent just 20 minutes overall of texting to make sure that all of my references received the quick info sheet that they needed to fill out about me and send back to BBBS. Scheduled an interview with a match specialist. Took the 1.5 hour online “training course” that consisted of watching 2-5 minute informational videos about BBBS, writing down video codes, and then taking a quick quiz to make sure … Read more

I’m Thinking (JUST THINKING) About Having a Kid

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Don’t die of shock.  This is not a statement that I am actively trying to get pregnant (I’m NOT).  I am still leaning towards the idea that children are not for me right now, but I have officially gone from “Oh, HELLS NO” to “Ummm.  Maybe?”. My View of Having Kids If you have been reading BFS for a while, you may have noticed that I sort of cringe at the idea of having kids.  I’ve named off a bunch of reasons over the years, but here is what it really boils down to: My shallow reasons…Kids in general are messy, sticky, and go through a ton of bratty stages.  I also think babies are generally really ugly, poop way too much, cry way too much, and would completely screw up my figure more than donuts ever have (yep, good ol’ vanity).  Teenagers are just nuts (I still remember how I acted).    And did I mention how messy kids can be?  I really, really like my brand new, shiny house.  I’m not ready to have crayon on the walls (if I get lucky enough that they don’t use markers) or stains on all of the bedroom carpets. My deeper reasons…I think … Read more

Babysitting was a Blast!

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So not only did I survive babysitting this past weekend, but it was actually a lot of fun!  Here was how it worked out: The Kids Just to remind you, I was taking care of three kids: 6 year old girl – I’ll call D 9 year old boy – hereby known as R 11 year old boy – now called G Hanging Out They ended up only needing me from 1pm Friday through 10pm on Sunday night.  The original plan had me getting there at 5:45am Friday morning.  This worked well for me since I didn’t have to wake up at 4:30am Friday morning as expected.  🙂 Friday Friday was the honeymoon period with kids.  First my friend explained the routines including the kids’ medicines and the animals’ feeding habits.  Then they headed off around 2pm and the kids and I figured out what to do.  D, R, and I played a board game right off the back called “Puppyopoly” for about an hour.  This game became a daily habit and I sort became addicted myself.  It’s like what Monopoly really should have been. While we played, G (who is mildly autistic – like the dictionary version of mild autism, … Read more

Babysitting this Weekend, Any Suggestions?

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We are part of a really cool group of people that hang out to board game whenever possible.  We also take turns hosting potlucks and dinner parties pretty regularly as well.  One of those friends and his wife haven’t had 3 days in a row to themselves for more than 12 years!  Holy moly!  So I will be taking care of 3 kids from Friday morning through Sunday night… How Did I Get Into Babysitting? Well, our friend asked me about a month ago to see if anyone could babysit this coming weekend since his regular go-to sitters weren’t available.  He has a 6 year old little girl, an 8 year old boy, and an 11 year old boy. The only special circumstance is that the 11 year old is autistic, but he is actually the most laid back kid of the group.  I’ve been around him for half days two or three times now.  The only thing that seems different is that he can get really, really focused on something to the point of it being almost obsessive.  Like rules or making sure something was worded correctly.  But anytime it’s happened around me, I just distracted him with absolutely anything else for a second and … Read more