DIY Nursery Decor – Top 10 Low-Budget Ideas & Tips

Putting together a nursery is an exciting project. As a new parent, you will likely be spending a lot of time in your child’s nursery at all hours of the day and night. It is only natural to want the nursery to be a comfortable and inviting space. However, all the products you are told you need for baby can be expensive. Be careful that the basic necessities don’t use up your nursery budget before you even get to more fun decor elements. estimates that nursery set-up and decor will set you back around $2,000! And if you’re shopping for high-end products it can cost many thousands more. This does not have to be the case. By shopping around and being prepared for some DIY nursery decor projects, you can have the nursery of your dreams on any budget.

a small white and yellow toy crib with a toy baby in it

How to DIY Nursery Decor on a Budget

Stay focused on what’s really important. Your baby will not care how much you spend on their furniture. Guests will not be able to tell the difference between a new $800 crib and one that you inherited from your sister-in-law. As long as everything is safe and clean, you’ve done your job. That’s not to say you can’t have a beautiful nursery or splurge a bit on what’s important to you.

You might skip the changing table so you can get the comfy rocking chair you know you’ll end up sleeping in almost every night. Determine what your priorities are for the nursery space and work from there. The decor is where you should be ready to roll up your sleeves and DIY to really save. For example, wall art can be expensive, but is one of the easiest things to DIY, even if you’re not crafty.

It’s also cheap and easy to paint furniture you already have to match the color scheme of your new nursery. Be willing to try new things. Following some of these suggestions should get you started.

Top 10 Budget Friendly DIY Nursery Decor Tips

1. Forget the Crib Bedding Set

a complete crib bedding set

A full set of bedskirt, bumpers, sheets, blankets, quilts and decorative pillows can cost around $300. And the baby can’t even use any of it. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) guidelines say that it’s unsafe for an infant to sleep with all that loose bedding. You would have to pull out all the quilts, pillows, and bumpers as soon as the baby comes home with you. Your crib will look great with a cleaner simpler look.

 2. Paint the Crib Yourself

a freshly painted baby crib

If you’re missing the adorable bedding and want to jazz up the crib, paint it a bold color to match your chosen color scheme. Painting furniture is a straightforward DIY nursery decor project.

 3. Frame Pages from Your Favorite Children’s Book

two pink baby paintings with an elephant and a giraffe

There are plenty of children’s books with wonderful artwork. Work your favorites into your nursery theme and get frames at a garage sale or a second-hand shop.

 4. Combine the Changing Table and Dresser

a nursery furniture mix between a changing table and a baby dresser

No need to spend the money on both. You may even already have a low dresser that can do the job. Simply buy a changing pad and put it on top of the dresser. This is a great DIY nursery decor space and money saver, and the dresser will have a lot more storage in it than a changing table. Make sure to put a no slip mat under the changing pad for safety.

 5. Make Your Own Curtains

beautiful curtains with floral pattern

Curtains really pull together the decor of a room and are practical for making the nursery dark for baby. If you know someone with a sewing machine, curtains are an easy project for a DIY nursery decor beginner. Shop around for affordable fabric and find a simple pattern online.

 6. Make Contact Paper Wall Decals

a cute tree contact paper wall decal

Wall decals are popular for DIY nursery decor. It’s as easy as buying a roll of contact paper and cutting out the shapes you want. If you mess up, the contact paper peels off easily without damaging your walls. Choose a color that fits your theme. There are even fun metallic colors available online.

 7. Paint an Accent Wall

nursery decor with an accent wall

Choosing one wall to paint is less work and lets you save money too. You won’t have to purchase as much paint and will probably have some left over to add color accents in other parts of the room. Painting the crib was already mentioned, but you don’t need to stop there. Leftover paint can be used on picture frames or the closet door to tie the room together further.

 8. DIY Mobile

a DIY nursery mobile project

Using ribbons, paper cutouts, or felt shapes is a fun, easy way to design a unique mobile to entertain your child. Hang it in a spot the baby will spend a lot of time looking up at it. Above the crib or the changing table are both good options to place a DIY baby mobile.

 9. Use Clothes as Decorations

cute baby clothes on a table

You probably will get some adorable fancy outfits at your baby shower. Or maybe you have a baby christening gown that your grandmother wore. Some carefully chosen clothes hung on the back of the closet door can be an adorable and easy addition to your DIY nursery decor.

 10. Make Your Own Book Display

a DIY kids book display with books in it

Rather than getting a cumbersome and expensive bookshelf, pick up some spice racks. Paint them, hang them on the wall, and arrange your board books facing out.

Putting It All Together

So, what are you waiting for? An adorable nursery doesn’t have to break the bank. There are enough other costs associated with having a baby to feel stressed about expensive decor. Anyone can incorporate some or all of these tips and create a beautiful, useful, and relaxing space they can enjoy with their baby. Have you recently decorated a nursery on a budget? Let us know your favorite budget friendly DIY nursery decor tips!

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7 Frugal Living Tips for Stay at Home Moms

Over 300 million American families have a full-time stay at home parent. For many, the cost of full-time daycare outweighs the benefits of having both parents in the workforce. Others always planned to have one parent stay with the children. Regardless of the reasons behind your stay at home parenting arrangement, raising a family on a single income is a financial adjustment.

With some small changes to your weekly routine, you don’t have to sacrifice fun or comfort to live more frugally, and you’ll be able to enjoy being home with your kids more with less financial stress. Stay at home parents can stretch the budget with these frugal living tips and reduce household expenses by $500 or more each month.

the word save on a pile of money

How to Live More Frugally as a Stay at Home Parent

Food, items for the children, and entertainment can make up as much as 1/3 of a family’s spending per year, so stay at home moms (and the dads!) who follow frugal living tips can have a huge impact on the budget.

First, make a realistic budget. Find out where your money is currently going, and decide which expenses can be adjusted. Loans, insurance, and savings should be considered fixed, but there are other areas where your spending can be reduced. Figure out exactly what your current income is, and how much more you need to save each month to live responsibly.

Once you have a target budget, you can start to apply frugal living tips. Small changes can save money without sacrificing your quality of life. Don’t try to make all these changes overnight: if you feel deprived, these frugal living tips won’t become habits. Pick one or two that are related to your biggest budget items first, and try them consistently for a whole month. When you see your savings, you’ll be energized to add another tip.

1. Meal Plan

This one action can save the average family over 100$ a week. Without a plan and the right ingredients at your fingertips, meal time for busy families can quickly become stress time. Eating out or wasting food that doesn’t get cooked or that kids won’t eat adds up quickly!

Get your family’s food budget under control by setting aside a few hours a week to make a plan that includes meals and snacks your family will actually eat. Once you get used to planning and cooking most of your meals at home, you can increase your savings by coordinating your plan with store sales, seasonal produce, and buying in bulk for items you use most frequently.

Look for a planning service that can give you a head start with weekly menu suggestions. Use your plan to order online with one of the many grocery pick up services available at major chains. You’ll save even more by reducing your impulse purchases while you wander the aisles. Make meals as easy as possible by prepping your ingredients, planning to reuse leftovers, or having crock pot meals started in the morning.

2. Experiences, Not Toys

Instead of spending all your entertainment budget on things, consider investing in experiences instead. Ask grandparents to gift zoo or museum memberships instead of toys. Many areas have affordable community center classes or activities sponsored by local business and churches that can fill plenty of afternoons with free or cheap entertainment.

Make it easier on yourself by blocking ads in your social media and email promotions from companies that tempt you to buy adorable kids items. Watch streaming shows that don’t advertise new toys. If you have to go to stores with items you normally splurge on, avoid the toy aisles altogether. Out of sight is easier to put out of mind, for your kids and you.

3. A More Efficient Home

One surprising expense of being home full time with children is the added cost of home utilities that comes from using more electricity and heat each day. You can lower this cost by around 10% by making your home more efficient for a stay at home family by using green, frugal living tips. Replace light bulbs with LED and make sure you have appropriate insulation and draft protection.

Day to day, you can turn off the lights in unused rooms, keep your heating and cooling set at the most efficient settings, and only run full loads of laundry and dishes to save on water and heating costs. You can also decrease your fuel costs by taking family walks instead of driving to a park, or consolidating your errands to reduce your total number of driving trips.

4. Simpler Vacations

Getting some time away from the normal routine, either with the family or for some much-needed adult time is crucial for stay at home moms. Keep vacations in the budget by preserving the important elements and cutting anything unnecessary. Do you need some one-on-one time with your spouse?

Skip Vegas and get a sitter and find romantic outings to do in town. You still get a break and have evening time alone, but without the flight, hotel, and overnight childcare cost. Want a memorable family summer trip? Skip Disney and spend a week camping or in beach town off the beaten path. Being flexible with location or time of year can save you a bundle.

a dollar bill cut in half and a knife

5. Shop Used

Buying gently used children’s clothing or large items like playground toys, baby swings, or bikes is more accepted than ever. You can save money and protect the environment by helping items that are still in great shape find a new home at a fraction of the cost. Look for reputable resale stores, or online forums such as local buy sell trade groups on social media or secure online marketplaces. You can even resell your own items as your children outgrown them to make space in your home and help others find a good deal.

6. Kids Involvement

You may be surprised at how many frugal living tips your children have for saving money if you involve them in the process. Give your older child a birthday budget and let him know he can make choices about how much of it to spend on a party and how much will be left for a gift. When your child asks for something new, let them write it down on a list.

Also, remind them they can share that wish for gifting occasions or if they have their own money to buy it. In the meantime, offer a free activity you can do together instead. Ask them what they’d like to pack for a picnic instead of picking up fast food or give them a budget for snacks at the grocery store.

7. Homemade Treats

Stay at home moms know: sometimes you deserve a treat for all the hard work you do and to keep your patience when you’re at the mercy of the whims and schedules of little people. Those minor indulgences add up, though.

So, if your budget shows you’re spending money on treats that really aren’t in the budget, find ways to practice self-care on the cheap. Splurge on a $9 bottle of nail polish instead of a $40 manicure. Buy a great travel mug and a decent coffee to brew at home then drive past the café with your cash still in the bank.

Bottom Line

Being a stay at home mom is a big job, and exhausting work. Living frugally can make the experience of being a stay at home mom more rewarding. With less financial stress, you can enjoy those fleeting years while the kids are young and focus on the time spent together rather than the money you spend.

This list is just a start to help you save money with small changes. What new money saving tactics are you trying for your family this year?

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Top 13 Cheap & Healthy Snack Ideas for You and Your Kids

Let’s talk snacks… If you are a mom, you know how daunting it can feel to include snacks that are nutritious all the time. You make lunches, and they need snacks. When they come home from school, they want to snack before dinner. Finally, there’s the night time snack after dinner. I don’t know about your kids, but mine love to snack! So, where should you find so many healthy snack ideas?

I have found that making my own snacks has been both healthier (I know exactly what goes in them) and cheaper (I purchase the ingredients in bulk). Therefore, many of my favorite snacks are homemade. I’d like to share some healthy snack ideas that not only are a hit with my four boys but that I enjoy as well.

a healthy snack with bananas and peanut butter

No Bake Healthy Snack Ideas

No bake. Need I say more?

First, my favorite no-bake snack that once is in my fridge disappears the same day. I literally don’t bother putting them in Tupperware or baggies because there is no point. The only warning is that they are SUPER addicting.

1. No Bake Energy Bites

The recipe calls for old-fashioned oats, toasted coconut flakes (optional- I’ve made these without coconut flakes, and they are still tasty), peanut butter, ground flax seed, semisweet chocolate chips (or vegan chocolate chips), honey or agave nectar, chia seeds (also optional), and vanilla extract. Basically, all you have to do is measure out the ingredients and mix in a bowl, chill for a half hour and roll into balls. I leave these in the fridge, and they are gone the same day.

2. No Bake Cookies

Yes, this requires a stovetop, but it takes only 15 minutes to prepare. If you love chocolate, peanut butter, and oats, this is a snack you will enjoy. What is also great about these are the ingredients are similar to the energy bites, so some of these are ingredients you want to keep stocked up on. You will need the followings: butter, unsweetened cocoa, peanut butter, vanilla, quick oats, milk, sugar. Some optional ingredients to add are shredded coconut, peanuts, chopped almonds or walnuts.

Healthy Snack Ideas to Keep on Hand

It’s not always convenient to make all of your own snacks, so when you are short on time or need something easy to throw in your bag on the go, here are some choices.

1. Kettle Brand Organic Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Potato Chips

a bag of Kettle Krinkle Cut potato chips

These are light, crunchy, and delicious. They do not contain GMO’s and are just as satisfying as other potato chips, without the guilt.

2. Clif Bars

a large box of Clif bars

These are a family favorite in my house. I always keep a few on hand on the go. There are so many flavor varieties that you are bound to find one that you love. Our favorites are the Crunchy Peanut Butter, White Macadamia Nut, and Sierra Trail Mix.

3. Annie’s Fruit Snacks

the label of a bag of Annie's fruit snacks

I love Annie’s products! They are guaranteed GMO-free and made with organic ingredients. Although they may be a little more expensive than their competitors, I don’t feel guilty about giving them to my kids. They are a little softer to chew than the regular fruit snacks but very tasty!

Healthy Snack Ideas for the Sweet Tooth

Everyone needs a little sweetness in their life. But you don’t always need to have the processed sugar and ingredients to enjoy chocolate.

1. Chocolate Covered Raisins

These are an excellent choice for many reasons. They are very inexpensive, come in small boxes that are convenient for on the go. They are very sweet and nutritious.

2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat Bombs

Yes, they do have fat, but the good kind, without the carbs or other GMOs. Here’s what you will need: pasture butter, virgin & unrefined coconut oil, unsweetened peanut butter, cocoa powder, Stevia or sweetener of choice.

Warm Weather Healthy Snack Ideas

With summer on the rise, ice-cream snacks and pops are popular. Here are two alternatives to cut down on the processed sugar and substitute with nature’s sugar.

1. Banana-Based Ice Cream

Yes, ice cream! It really can’t get any healthier than using fruit to create the favorite summer treat. The best part is, you can eat just banana flavor, but there are clever ways of creating different flavors. All you need are bananas, a freezer, and food processor. Pre-freeze the bananas, slice them, throw them in the food processor, and you’re done!

If you like a firmer ice cream, throw it back into the freezer for a bit longer. For ways to spice up the banana ice cream, there are other ingredients to add to its flavor to create strawberry-banana, mint chocolate-chip, and even green tea.

2. Smoothies!

Another “cool” idea for summer that you can blend up quickly for a refreshing treat are smoothies. There are so many options for how to make them, depending on your favorite fruits. I prefer using frozen fruit. This way you don’t need ice, and you don’t have the worry of your fruit going bad before you use it.

Sometimes fruit can be pricey, but it’s not nearly as expensive as buying them at a restaurant or ice cream shop! I like to wait for a sale. My kids beg for smoothies on a very hot day. So, I stock up on frozen fruit to cut out the drive through for expensive, sugar filled drinks by making these at home!

Healthy Snack Ideas Made with Veggies

Veggies are the biggest struggle to get my kids to eat. So, if you can mask them in a delicious snack, why not? The best veggies to eat are the green ones, so here are two ways to sneak them into a fun way to eat.

1. Green Monster Smoothie

This delicious smoothie is made with banana, peanut butter, spinach, yogurt, milk, and ice. The beauty of it is that the banana and peanut butter mask the spinach taste, and the kids think the color green is fun.

2. Green Power Mojito Smoothie

For more of a tart taste, this smoothie packs nutrition and taste. If you can get your kids to try it, you’ve won the veggie battle! This is made with: spinach, pineapple, orange, banana, and mint leaves.

Healthy Snack Ideas Made with Fruit

Fruit, although delicious, can get boring to eat. Here are two ways to enhance what nature has already made mouthwatering.

1. Frozen Grapes and Kiwi

There’s something about the crunch of food that turns ordinary into special. Simply taking fruit and freezing it creates eating fruit special. If you or your kids aren’t big on eating fruit, give it a try!

2. Yogurt-Coated Strawberries

This is sweet and delicious and simple to make. All you need to do is dip strawberries in yogurt and freeze! It doesn’t get easier than that.

Let’s Recap

Sometimes it just takes getting a few simple, healthy snack ideas to get thinking about more creative ways to snack a little healthier. If you are like me, you like to keep your favorite recipes on hand for less thinking, a quick reference for grocery shopping, and for making the actual snack. Most of the links I have included will lead you to a printer-friendly version of the recipe for a paper version to keep in one spot. I hope this has been beneficial. Happy snacking!

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Top 7 Best Stay at Home Mom Apps that Every Mom Needs

Most people would agree that today’s world is incredibly complex. Luckily, at the same time, modern technology has given us amazing things that can alleviate our daily burden by a great deal. Being literally at the tips of our fingers, software programs such as smartphone apps can help us face quotidian problems more successfully. For that reason, there are specialized apps that cater to different needs. Without a doubt, everyday life can get difficult for everyone, including stay at home moms.

a tablet next to a computer on a desk

Stay at home mom apps provide their users with services that, in a nutshell, help keep things organized around the house, particularly regarding the kids. Even though there are many useful ones in the market, this guide will focus on providing a well-rounded, comprehensive selection of apps that will help stay at home moms with all the different aspects of their noble occupation.

The Top 7 Stay at Home Mom Apps

Before going into the recommendations, it’s important to note that these apps are no replacement for patience, good judgment, attention, and love. Instead, they should be used in a complementary fashion to these important attributes. That said, it’s safe to say good stay at home mom apps can make your family life easier and more enjoyable. Without further ado, here are some of the most useful stay at home mom apps on the market:

1. Budget Touch

a pile of dollar bills on a table

No matter their level of income, all stay at home moms know how important it is to stay within a budget. However, amid the controlled chaos of routine family life, it’s easy to lose your grip on every single spending. That is where a sharp piece of software such as Budget Touch comes in.

This great app helps you keep track of all your spending. In order to do so, it organizes them by putting each one in a separate virtual envelope. It also provides users with options for calculating percentages, balancing accounts and organize your transactions by month, quarter or year.

2. Home Routines

Successful people from all walks of life know the importance of having a routine. Routines help you stay organized and on time, freeing up more time for other activities while avoiding mistakes and confusion. With that in mind, Wunderbear developed Home Routines, an app that keeps track of everything you need to do within specific periods of time.

With it, you can create your own routines and checklists. Additionally, you can control your progress and try to beat your own streaks. It even features a reward system that will keep you motivated to continue adhering to the schedule.

3. All Recipes: Dinner Spinner

the dinner spinner app page

Most people know what it’s like to have food but not know what to cook with it. To solve that problem, this useful app provides you with recipes based on what you have at hand. After you have entered all the ingredients you have available, the app generates hundreds of delicious and practical recipes that you can cook without having to go out grocery shopping.

As if that wasn’t good enough, it also learns your preferences increasingly as you use it. It even gives users the possibility of following specific chefs to get new recipes from them periodically.

4. Cozi

Similarly to the Home Routines app, Cozi allows you to create and oversee schedules. However, this app focuses less on routines and more on synchronizing schedules between different family members. Without a doubt, this is incredibly useful to keep track of your kids throughout the entire day.

Additionally, it allows parents to create and share chore lists, improving their ability to make sure everything gets done in the house. Practical, intuitive and easy to use, Cozi employs a color-coded system that will surely help parents organize their entire family life.

5. Mom Maps

For kids, going outdoors from time to time highly important. It is a great way to decompress, experience new things and become acquainted with mother nature. However, parents often don’t know where to take their children.

Positioning itself as one of the most creative stay at home mom apps out there, Mom Maps solves this problem by displaying all the child-friendly locations in a determinate area. It works in most urban areas, which means it’s great for traveling. However, it’s also great for discovering new spots that are near your home.

6. Yowza!

a white smartphone with apps

In most urban areas, there are many discount opportunities for buying things like grocery and household items. However, it’s often hard to find out about these opportunities. This wonderful app will alert its users of any interesting offers near their location. Additionally, it will send coupons to them directly, eliminating the need to go looking for them. One of the most advantageous stay at home apps available, Yowza! will allow you to save an impressive amount of money.

7. Remember the Milk

Unlike most stay at home mom apps out there, Remember the Milk does not offer a greatly innovative service. It’s, in fact, one among dozens of to-do list apps. However, Remember the Milk stands out due to its family-oriented simplicity. Without a doubt, this family-friendly attitude makes this app one of the most useful stay at home mom apps.

Remember the Milk makes it easy to organize your tasks into different categories. It even allows you to break down every item into subtasks, expanding the amount of control you have over each step necessary to complete each important task.

Let’s Recap

Many people will feel more hopeful after going through this list of useful stay at home mom apps. Even though they are not a substitute for good parenting, they are definitely capable of making everyday family life easier and, why not, more enjoyable as well. Without a doubt, technology can be extremely beneficial when applied to something as important as raising a family. Do you know any other apps that moms will love? Let us know in the comments!

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