Navigating the Wild World of Motherhood
Remember when hanging your child’s name in wooden letters became standard procedure in the nursery? I loved them, but was totally appalled at how expensive they were. So, I decided to do them myself. I pranced my very pregnant self into Hobby Lobby and feeling overly confident in my own new DIY Martha Stewartness, I proceeded to buy a ridiculous amount of stuff. With a basket full of paints, stickers, tiny wooden doodads and thingamajigs, I realized they only had 2 big wooden “E”s and I needed three. It was craft chaos. Long story short, I finished those letters TWO YEARS LATER. But my real point is isn’t it funny how you think a Do-It-Yourself project will save you money and it ends up costing the same if not more?
Well, drop that Prada screwdriver, you diva! Here are 9 Helpful Tips for Saving on DIY Projects from consumer savings expert, Andrea Woroch:
1. Big Box Vs. Small Stores
For the frugal consumer, shopping smart is always a logical first step. When you’re shopping at the big-box like and Lowes, there are always deals going down.
The two heavyweight retailers are highly competitive and both stores offer price matching with an additional 10-percent discount on identical products advertised at a lower price at any competing store. Both stores also post weekly sales, discounts and rebates on their websites so you can be prepared before you hit the store. Not to mention, you can always find for these home and garden giants.
On the other hand, locally owned home-supply stores, like Ace Hardware, often provide email sign-ups that allow you to receive special deals on the same items you would find at the big-box stores. While you may not be able to purchase sheet rock, the smaller places may carry everything from plumbing supplies to finishing notes for your home.
2. Tester Cans and Used Paint
Next to buying a nice area rug, painting is probably the easiest way to change the look of a room. Unfortunately, home improvement stores are aware of this and they like to make you pay for it. There are definitely ways to get around the high prices though.
If you only have a small space to paint, there’s no need to invest in a whole gallon of paint that’ll inevitably take up space in the garage or closet. Ask about small tester cans that can often be found for $5 or less in a variety of colors.
The word is starting to get out on used paint, too. When people order large amounts of custom paint, they often order too much. This paint gets returned to the stores, but the merchant can’t put such cans back on the shelf with the rest of the paint. If you’re in the right place at the right time, you might be able to get gallons of paint for around $5. Not all stores will have used paint, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
3. Buy Lumber in Bulk
Working with lumber can be intimidating. It requires precise measurements and cuts, or you’ll end up wasting money and materials. Prices vary by lumber grade and wood type, so be aware of what materials are required to get the job done.
4. Generic Vs. Name Brand
There’s an incredible variety of nails and screws available, but how much of a difference is there really? nails and screws are often up to par with the name brands, but cost significantly less. In some cases, the only difference between a generic and the brand name is the box!
The same can be said for pipes and plumbing fixtures. Unpackaged fixtures in a bulk bin can have the same quality as their packaged counterparts on the shelf, but cost much less. Longevity is also something to consider when working on a plumbing project. Copper pipes and PVC pipes typically give you the most bang for your buck, lasting up to 60 years.
5. Caulk Singles
Caulk certainly won’t be the most expensive item on your home improvement list, but it’s useful for patching up holes and sealing cracks. Often when people buy a tube of caulk for a small project, they end up making a mess of it and throwing half the tube away.
If you want to keep some caulk around for projects that spring up, try out some caulk singles from General Electric. Much like the fast food ketchup packet, they’re enough for one project and cut back on waste and mess. Watch for coupons to home centers like the Home Depot that offer General Electric’s caulk singles.
6. Government Rebates
Now that warm weather is finally on the way, you can replace your old windows and doors with more energy efficient ones. While it’s a big project, it may be worth it when you save on heating costs next winter.
In an effort to reduce energy consumption, the federal government is continuing to offer tax credits when you install certified windows, doors and skylights. The credits aren’t as generous as last year, but you can still get 10 percent-off for $200 worth of windows and skylights and a rebate of up to $500 for doors.
7. Buy Reconditioned or Rent Power Tools
It’s hard to justify buying an expensive power tool, especially when you know you’ll never use it again. If you live the DIY credo, Home Depot rents such power tools as power washers, paint sprayers, chainsaws and buff sander. By renting, you’ll get the professional finish you want without having to cut corners on expensive equipment.
Many power tool manufacturers have online outlets where they sell reconditioned tools at a discount. These tools are certified by the manufacturer, so you have a guarantee they’ll work. You can save even more when you use a Bosch Outlet coupon or a Bostitch Outlet free shipping code for discount power tools.
8. Used Hand Tools
The garage sale may still be king for finding good deals on hand tools. Many people don’t enjoy inherited tools and are willing to part with them for next to nothing, compared to new tools. Wrench sets, hammers and screwdrivers made by quality toolmakers like Craftsman and Stanley can stand the test of time and are as good today as they were 30 years ago.
9. Working Together
No one escapes a little home maintenance from time to time. If you and a neighbors are working on similar projects, sharing the cost of renting a wood chipper or cement mixer can save both of you time and money.
While skilled friends and family don’t necessarily enjoy manual labor, they can be coaxed into it with the promise of good food, drink or a labor exchange to be named later. Working with friends gets the job done faster and is usually much more fun.
As a media expert source, Andrea Woroch has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, ABC News NOW and many more. Follow @AndreaWoroch on Twitter to receive daily savings tips!
PB Inspired Wood Wall Art
I’m in love with this huge piece of handmade heaven. Thanks to Craft Gossip for keeping me knee-deep in eye candy. Wondering who created this cool art? Check out the Polka Dot Umbrella.
Custom Canvas Gallery Wrap
This is certainly my favorite way to display our most cherished family photos. For the past two years, I’ve been ordering large Canvas Gallery Wrap pieces from Gallery Direct. Their prices are competitive and they do lots of great discounts. In fact, you can get 50% off any order until 3/31! I just ordered a new one of the kiddos for our entry hall. It’s easy to upload your hi res image and see exactly what it will look like. Fun, easy & affordable. Perfect!
Photo Clip Frame
Get a load of this nifty decorative piece of wall art made for wall art. What a genius idea! I like stuff that multitasks, don’t you? The Photo Clip Frame is made of a 23″ square, wooden frame with metal bars the clothes pins hang from. Nine handpainted clothes pins are included.
Have birds always been popular in nursery and child’s room decor, or this somehow related to the popularity of Twitter? Hmmm. I feel like over the past few years I’ve seen a huge array of birdie art. Anyway, these cute birds are sweet, simple and modern. What a perfect wall art duo for your baby’s nursery, child’s room or playroom.
The tricky thing about art for a nursery is you don’t want it to be too babyish. They seem to grow up so fast, it’s a shame to ditch the baby stuff. I like these prints because they are timeless. Thanks to the hip color palette, they work for a boy’s room or a girl’s room. Dwell wall art is digitally printed on gallery frames and uses FSC compliant wood frames. These 16″ x 16″ prints (each) retail for $96 each at ArteBebe.
Don’t you remember how much you loved bean bag chairs when you were a kid? They were so much fun to jump around on and unzip when nobody was looking. How weird was it to stick your hand in the chair and then how annoying were those tiny PVC beads? No matter how hard you shook your arm to get rid of the evidence, they were stuck like glue thanks to static electricity. Fun!
Take a look at these rad bags. Cocoon Couture’s newest member, Cheeky Lucky Elephant Bean Bag Chairs. Each bean bag cover is made of machine washable 100% pinwale cord with an animal accent made of vintage fabrics. Bags include an internal safety lining to keep beans in place. And here’s why you gotta love couture, each bag holds up to 3 cubic feet of beans – beans are sold separately.
If you’ve got birthday parties, baby showers or other special occasions requiring a cute baby gift, don’t fret! You can find some seriously stylish baby goodies for less than $20. You just have to know where to look. A few weeks ago I was in Dripping Springs, Texas, and stopped by Jordyn’s Closet boutique. In addition to the women’s clothes, handbags, jewelry and shoes, they have a GREAT selection of baby items. Take a look:
Okay preggo ladies, do these color swatches mean anything to you? They should. These are color options for a crib. In fact, the Newport Cottages Panel Crib comes in even more colors. This is great news for those of you who can’t seem to turn off your inner perfectionist. It’s very unique concept and the crib itself is gorgeous. Hop on over to Droolicious to read more!
Looking for something cute and functional and ON SALE for your baby’s nursery or child’s room? Take a look at these hip, heavy bookends.
The Posh Panda Bookends can keep all of your kiddo’s books neat & tidy, even the big heavy collection of bedtime stories. The pandas are made of leather and weighted with steel shot. They are on sale for $50 each. And when you can’t locate your weights, you can work out with them because they weigh 5 pounds each! On sale now at Posh Tots.
With spring cleaning season upon us, it’s a great time for parents to think about one of the most germ-filled rooms in their homes – the nursery. A baby’s immune system is not nearly as strong as an adult’s, meaning we must take measures to keep baby’s nursery clean and germ-free.
The list below is brought to by Dr. Benjamin Tanner, president and founder of the Antimicrobial Test Laboratories, LLC (a microbiology laboratory that specializes in the development of disinfectant and antimicrobial technologies) and the fine folks at Diaper Genie.
10 Simple Tips to Maintain a Healthy and Germ-Free Nursery
1. – Identify the germ “hot spots” within your nursery and clean them often. Germ hot spots within the nursery are the areas that come in contact with waste in diapers and other body fluids, either directly or indirectly. Diaper waste–and the millions and millions of germs in it–can be spread by hands and objects that come in contact with it. Since germs are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye, it’s easy to spread many of them to clean surfaces without knowing it.
Areas where most bacteria typically gather include:
Changing Table – This is the place where diaper messes and germs are transferred from the diaper to baby’s skin – and possibly mom’s hands. And a dirty diaper likely has more germs inside it than anything else in the nursery.
Laundry Hamper – Studies have shown that laundry, especially if it has come in contact with bodily fluids, can harbor great quantities of bacteria and even spread them to clean clothes through normal washing cycles.
Floor – Germs on the floor are not a concern for adults, but the floor is where babies lay, crawl, and play. Most floor germs aren’t of the harmful type, but it’s still a hot spot to keep an eye on.
Toys/Toy chest – The average toy isn’t loaded with germs, but toys will transmit them easily if they become contaminated, since toys come in contact with playmates’ hands, skin, and mouths.
2. - Learn the difference between cleaners and disinfectants, and which is appropriate for your nursery. Cleaners remove most soils, but may spread germs around. Disinfectants actually kill germs when used correctly.
To use a disinfectant correctly in a nursery, remove your baby from the spray or wipe zone and apply the product liberally. After the label-specified contact time elapses, wipe off the surface with a wet cloth or paper towel to get rid of any irritating residual chemicals so your baby’s delicate skin does not touch these chemicals.
3. – Set aside a special place in the nursery for disinfectants so they’re readily available for quick cleaning but safely out of reach of children Even “non-toxic” cleaners can be dangerous to children, so keep cleaners on a high shelf in the closet or a child-proofed drawer of the dresser.
4. Keep messes (and germs) to a minimum when changing dirty diapers in the nursery. Establish a quick, mess-free diaper changing routine, and keep supplies handy and close by.
- Get rid of diapers in a hygienic fashion that keeps germs sealed away. Dr. Tanner recommends the Diaper Genie II Elite™ Disposal System. It seals odor into the pail and out of your nursery unlike an ordinary trash can and plastic bag. Diapers only touch the disposable film, not the pail, so there is one less thing to clean. The Diaper Genie II Elite™ Disposal System also has Antimicrobial Protection built into the plastic to inhibit odor-causing bacteria.
5. – Keep soap and warm water, or where soap and water are not available, antibacterial hand wipes, nearby to use after changing your baby in the nursery. This will help stop the spread of germs within the nursery.
6. – Keep baby bottles away from germ hot spots, such as the changing table, and only handle them when your hands are clean Harmful germs can grow very quickly in formula and breast milk – be sure to keep bottles clean and dry when not in use.
7. - Keep a special hamper inside the nursery to use specifically for heavily soiled baby laundry. This special, separate hamper will help prevent bacteria on heavily soiled laundry from spreading throughout the rest of the nursery. Also, take special care when laundering heavily soiled baby clothing and bedding to prevent the spread of germs through the laundry.
8. – Take special precautions within the nursery when baby is sick to prevent spread of illness to other children and throughout the rest of the nursery.
9. – Take special precautions in the nursery when you or other family members are sick, to keep from giving your infection to baby and spreading throughout the nursery.
10. – I know we all love our furry and/or scaly children, but you should reduce pet access to the nursery.
- Reptiles and birds frequently harbor dangerous germs, like Salmonella. Make sure that children wash hands well with soap and warm water after handling reptiles and before coming into the nursery, and keep bird bedding/litter out of the nursery altogether.
- Dogs and cats are less risky but still may carry certain kinds of harmful bacteria. Cats may harbor a parasite that is of particular concern to pregnant women – if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, avoid changing cat litter to reduce exposure to the parasite Toxoplasma.
- If a pet makes a mess on the carpet, make sure to spray it with a non-bleach disinfectant after cleanup to prevent those germs from spreading to baby during playtime.