Friday, October 24, 2008

Bargain Baby

There is no questioning that a new baby costs moolah, and a lot of it at that. Since I really grabbed the reigns of our financial situation in the past few months, I have been all about looking for ways to save some dollars in anticipation of Peanut's arrival and for once Peanut gets here. I gave my husband a run-down, and he was quite impressed with what I have done.

1. I transferred our cell phone bills to automatic bill pay on our AmEx. This gave us 2 $25 statement credits. Our AmEx is paid off every month, and they give us triple points for automatic bill pay through our wireless carrier. It just made sense to do this. On Saturday, I will be transferring our separate plans into one family plan, and this will save us $75 a month. Since my husband is no longer using his phone number for work related calls, he can reduce his minutes way down. And I rarely use all mine. Plus with this new plan, there is a roll over option.

2. I transferred our credit card balances to other cards. I played the shuffle game, and we now only have about 1500 on a card that is above 10%. I am going to call that card this weekend, since I haven't had a balance transfer offer from them in quite some time. We will see what they can do. I have heard this is sometimes very effective, especially since this is the card that we use every month and have had for 10 years now. And when I say it is the only one that is above 10%, it is actually at 13%, and all the others are now less than 6%.

3. I have massive baby coupons. I created an email account just to filter online offers. I get about 5 coupons in the mail per day and get online offers. We have already talked about what kind of diapers and stuff we want to use so I have been prioritizing those coupons. Last night I totalled my coupon savings that can be used until next June and it is almost $100! We have also gotten free diapers (the brand I want), free samples of ointments and creams, free bottles, and free spoons.

4. We started shopping with our online points through AmEx. We have been saving our points up for almost 4 years now, so we have tons. Originally we planned to use these points for airline tickets to Europe this fall. Once we learned about Peanut, we decided to postpone. Next summer is out, and it would only be feasible to go the following summer for our 5 year anniversary. We still may do this. However, last night we redeemed Ben's proshop points for our bouncer, an electric screwdriver (which we decided may be helpful in putting together furniture and hanging stuff, plus Ben has always wanted one), and a family size electric griddle (that I have always wanted) we each got something. I have been scouring the online AmEx catalogue and to my delight, the majority of our "big-ticket" items on our registery are available with our points. In theory, if no one bought them as gifts, we could get our crib, changing table, breast pump system, swing, and gym for free. I am still looking for other items. I have found alot of similar ones, so I have added those to our maybe list. I am also going to check for other stuff we need, like a new dresser for us and a surround sound system. :) Those things are very important for a baby, you know.

5. I finally got a hold of my dentist and discussed my "overpaid" root canal and office credit. It turns out that I overpaid by over $500! Since then I had one "emergency" visit when I broke my tooth and needed it filed (and we all know those visit are more $$$), one comprehensive exam including 4 x-rays, and one bacteria scan and purchase of a mouthwash treatment that tastes like sewage. My credit is down to $21.90, but they are issuing me a refund. I did tell the billing woman that I would have appreciated knowing about the credit in um, February when I had had the work done and was stressed about how to afford this massive root canal. She said nothing.

6. Yesterday at my doctor's appointment, the insurance billing woman told me that my current insurance plan would cover my labor and delivery costs 100% other than my co-pay of $20 per day for the o/p and hospital. It pained me not to be able to sign it since we may switch carriers. She also told me that the two potential carriers we are looking at would most likely cover the same amount, so I have a call into the new potential company to verfiy coverage and costs. If it doesn't meet the coverage we have now, my husband thinks we should swing the premium ourselves for 4 months, which is about $750 a month. Ouchie. I am learning lots about the healthcare system in this process though...I will spare you my soapbox for now. :)

7. We are getting massive hand me downs. We have already gotten a Baby Bjorn that was never used! The people that gave it to us got too many as gifts, so they passed it on. No objections from me! Those things are pretty pricey! I also told them that we don't mind hand me down clothes or anything. Ben's best friend had a baby boy about a year ago, and they have said they will be sending us tons of stuff too. :) Seriously, the baby will never know the difference. I have also scouted a few baby consignment stores to look for stuff we are going to be washing the heck out of anyway, like play yard sheets and bumper covers,etc. No need to buy everything full price. We have some stuff on our registery that we would like, but we really aren't expecting this baby to have all brand new stuff. Nor do we want him too.

I think that is pretty much it. We have also decided to make our own baby food. For our wedding we received an ultimate chopper and a magic bullet (the blender thing ;) ) and both make wicked purees. We are pretty stoked at the idea of being able to control what goes into our baby food. One of my friends did this and it worked really well. We just need to get a bunch of those itty bitty tupperware containers.

My doctor's appointment yesterday went well. He ok'd my change in prenatals. I have gained 4 pounds, which is about what they wanted. My next target is 2-3 for the next month. He says I am doing well with weight gain thus far. Peanut's heartrate is strong. And the doctor measured my belly! This is the first time he has done this. He said everything looks right on track and gave me the order for my follow up ultrasound, which I scheduled for next Friday. I also have to do my 28 week bloodwork, which includes the infamous glucola test....yum.

Thank goodness it is Friday! I am going to pick up my car tonight and drop off my husband's reimbursement requests and hopefully get a check for them. I am soooo looking forward to sleep tomorrow.

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