I love to give presents that I can make for far less than I can buy. So when I was invited to a baby shower, I took the time to make up some cute little onesies. Because a new mom can’t have too many onesies!
I created some graphics to iron on the onesies and printed them out on my inkjet printer. Now you can make your own onesies with these free iron-on printables that you can download here!
I’ve found personalized onesies for about $10 an outfit. But you can make your own for far less. You can pick up basic onesies in a package of three for $9. Iron-on paper runs for $2 a sheet. For $11, you’ve got a present that’s worth $30.
Here’s what I’ve done:
I thought that these emojis accurately reflect baby’s state sometimes.
But it’s not all tears. . .there’s nothing sweeter than a baby’s laugh.
Here’s another one:
And how bout this one?
And here’s a couple for the back of the onesie. This butterfly graphic I downloaded from The Graphics Fairy and altered it for the back.
Here’s some adorable angel wings.
Oooh! I just want to dress up a little one in one of the these outfits and nuzzle his or her cute little neck! ( I swear I’m not baby hungry!)
The iron-on paper can be a big expense — $10 for 5 sheets. However, I’ve positioned the printables, so you can print off either two or four graphics per sheet. This brings the cost of the printables down to 50 cents to a dollar a graphic. Plus, you can get iron-on paper at craft stores as well as office supply stores, and use those JoAnn’s and Michael’s coupons to lower the cost of the paper even further.
I’ve been asked what paper I use. I’ve had a lot of success with Avery Dark Fabric Transfers paper. I like this brand because you can print transfers for dark T-shirts. But this paper works great for iron-ons on light T-shirts as well. There’s no need to reverse the image when you print graphics out on the Avery dark T-shirt.
The iron-ons I created for the shower are gender-neutral, but I’ve also made some blue and pink graphics for you as well. You’ll also notice that some of the graphics are reversed and some are not. That’s because some T-shirt fabric transfer paper require you to reverse the graphics. However, you don’t need to reverse the wings graphics.
Just print what you need. These graphics fit most sizes of onesies, although the butterfly wings and angel wings might be a little too big for a newborn onesie.
When the PDF appears, right-click the image and select Save as. Save the document to your desktop or folder.
You can select the pages that you want to print, or print all of the pages.
You are more than welcome to use the graphics for personal use only. Create a few onesies for personal use or for gifts. And I’d love to see what you’ve done with the iron-ons!
I’ve had so much fun making up these graphics that I’ll be featuring more posts with onesie iron-ons for you to use. Be sure to watch for those upcoming posts. I’ve got so many ideas! Plus, I’m taking requests. (My daughter has already requested little dragon wings for the onesie’s back)
What’s your favorite design?
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase the item through the link, there is no additional cost for you, and I get a little extra.
A few years ago, we jumped into the whole suburban chicken farming movement But it took me a while for me to commit. . (I have a philosophy of not bringing any creature into our place unless I’m prepared to deal with their poop.)
One of the reasons why I dragged my feet on getting chickens is because I was afraid of the start-up costs.
When I first started investigating raising chickens, I calculated my first-year costs for four chickens, including feed, housing, and other essentials. The total was $804. For the year, that would work out to $32 a dozen for eggs.
Fortunately, I was able to reduce my costs significantly. Here’s how you can do it too:
1. Build a chicken coop
A coop will be your biggest upfront cost. Even if you free-range your chickens, you really need a chicken coop to protect your birds from weather and predators. Pre-built chicken coops can cost $400 and up. You can save some money and order a pre-fab chicken coop to assemble yourself for half that cost. But you can save even more by building the coop on your own. Just Google free chicken coop plans to find a plan that works for you. Even with new wood, the costs for a new coop can be just 50 dollars. Use pallet wood or reclaimed wood to bring the cost down even lower.
But does building a coop from scratch (no pun intended) intimidate you? Then you should try:
2. Hack an existing structure into a coop
We built our chickens’ run (the outside pen that chickens run around in) However, we didn’t feel like we could tackle a coop. Fortunately, we knew someone who had decided to stop raising chickens, and they gifted us their old coop ($0). If you’re not so lucky to get a free coop, try to modify an existing structure into a chicken coop.
Chickens only need a few things in their coop:
A place to roost
A nest box
Because of this, you can modify all sorts of items to create a coop. You can:
Reclaim an old shed that’s falling apart
Turn an old plastic sandbox into a coop
Convert one of those big 90’s TV entertainment centers
Look on freecycle.org for cast off items that you can repurpose into a coop.
3. Start with pullets
What are pullets? Well, you can think of pullets as chicken teenagers. Like teenagers, they are not as cute as babies and they are more expensive. Around here, you can get baby chicks for $1 and pullets for $3-$4.
So why do I recommend pullets over chicks? For two reasons:
Baby chicks are delicate. They require extra care, a brooder (which costs), and special feed. You can’t turn them loose outside. They take a lot more effort. Plus, the mortality rate is a lot higher for baby chicks. I would hate to explain to my kids how that cute little chick died without warning under their care.
It’s easier for the chicken farmers to tell gender on a pullet than a chick. When you get your chickens as chicks, there’s a 50% chance you’re raising a rooster than a hen. On pullets, you are 75% likely to get a hen. More on that importance later.
4. Use cheap bedding alternatives
At the feed store, they’ll sell you a big pack of pine shavings to put in the nesting box for the chickens to sit in, as well as the floor of the coop. It’s the same stuff that you use for lining hamsters’ cages. Unlike hamsters with their little pellets of poop, chickens poop a lot. And it’s messy, so you’ll be changing bedding often. That big bag of pine shavings will dwindle pretty quickly. However, you can supplement the bedding with cheaper alternatives. You can use:
straw (if you can get it for cheap)
dry pine needles
shredded dead leaves
mown grass (make sure that the grass is nice and dried out. Green grass will clump and smell)
shredded paper and cardboard (even your kids’ old papers!)
Beats the old “The dog ate my homework,” excuse, eh?
5. Feed chickens table scraps
A bag of feed will last my little flock of four birds one month if that is their only food source. However, chickens love variety, and will eat lots of things that you have designated for the compost pile. Some of the things my chickens love:
leftover cooked rice and pasta
the wilted outer leaves of lettuce
broccoli and cauliflower leaves
vegetable peels, like carrots and cucumbers
apple and pear cores
watermelon and cantaloupe rinds
leftover popcorn (including the unpopped kernels)
and on and on. . . .
It’s easier to list what they shouldn’t eat. They’ll even eat eggs and chicken (shudder) but I avoid that. You should also avoid feeding them:
potato and potato peels
You shouldn’t just feed your chickens table scraps. They do need store-bought feed. However, supplementing their feed really helps stretch the food budget.
6. Let the chickens loose
The flock eliminating every potato bug within a city block
In addition to feeding your flock table scraps, you should let them roam around your yard and scavenge. Chickens love bugs and finding their own green stuff.
By feeding my flock table scraps and letting them free-range, I can stretch a bag of feed to last two to three months.
7. Have an end plan
Chickens only lay eggs for four to five years. But they can live for 20 years. If you get chickens for eggs, you need to plan for the time that they stop laying.
Don’t plan on giving them away. Our Humane Society is swamped with old hens. . .a sad byproduct of overeager suburban chicken farmers who didn’t think ahead. I know of one person who lets his old hens out in a state park. . to go “back to nature.” That’s a terrible idea! Not only is it illegal, but it’s cruel to the chicken. How do you think the chicken will fend for herself in the wild when she’s been raised depending on you for food and shelter?
It’s a hard thing, but you have to be prepared to take the ax to your chicken when it’s time. Or else you will have feathered pets for a long time.
And you may have to do it sooner than you realize. Remember how I mentioned that you should have your chickens sexed beforehand? It’s not an exact science to determine whether you have a girl or a boy bird. You may end up with a rooster.
Many municipalities don’t allow roosters, and I don’t blame them. Growing up in Southern California, we had neighbors who had a rooster. That %$^# thing crowed at all our hours, not just at the crack of dawn.
So when we got our chickens, we started noticing that one of our chickens, Roadrunner, was looking a little masculine. She started getting thicker feet and comb, and she started bossing the other chickens around. We kept thinking that it was because she was the head of the flock. Then one morning, she hopped up and gave us her best crow. We couldn’t deny it any longer. We had to dispatch him.
Not a fun experience, but it had to be done. I now know that I couldn’t raise chickens for meat, and I’m not looking forward to getting rid of the rest of my flock. But it’s a reality when you raise chickens.
Unlike vegetable gardening, the cost benefits of raising chickens for eggs are not so cut-and-dried. You are not going to beat grocery store prices of $1.19 a dozen. But if you want organic and free-range eggs, raising your own eggs actually may save you money. Plus, you get the benefits of all that free chicken manure for your garden and lawn.
And there are those intangible benefits, such as teaching your children where their food comes from. When you raise chickens for eggs, those chickens have a far better life than factory birds–even free-range factory birds. It’s something that I’ve tried to strive for, especially after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver.
Lastly, chickens are just fun. Each chicken has her own little personality. Isabelle loves to tell us when she’s laid an egg. Tyrone jumps up onto everything, including my head. Salt and Pepper are the first ones to come running when I scatter grain.
It may cost us a little more per egg, but for our family, it’s worth it.
What are your experiences with raising chickens?
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links, I get a little extra and it’s no additional cost to you.
Peppers, peppers, and more peppers!
Got my Bountiful Basket Saturday, and here’s the spread. I was stumped on what to do with some of the items. See that huge white carrot-like vegetable? That’s a daikon radish. Thankfully daikon are a lighter tasting radish than round radishes. So I peeled the radish and prepped it for munching, along with the celery. I like to take some hummus and cut up vegetables for lunches.
I also made pickled daikon. Picked daikon is used a lot in Asian cuisine. It’s usually eaten with ramen and bahn mi, a Vietnamese sandwich. I used this recipe from White On Rice Couple.
The Anaheim peppers are a more complicated matter. I already have a lot of Anaheim peppers chopped in the freezer and I only use 1 or 2 Anaheim peppers per meal.
So, I’m roasting, peeling, and freezing the whole Anaheim peppers and using some in a chili relleno casserole later this week. I’ve read that you can freeze chili relleno casseroles, but I want to run this recipe by my family before committing space in the freezer.
Other items that I prepped:
Froze the strawberries for later breakfasts, smoothies, and desserts.
Washed and prepped lettuce for salads during the next week. Hey, worked out great with the empty strawberry containers!
The pineapple is green, so I’ll keep it on the cupboard until it ripens.
Blanched the asparagus and froze it for later in the week. Also chopped up the red peppers and froze them. They’ll be great for fajitas.
Last week, I wrote about dressing kids for cheap. Even though kids go through clothes every time you turn around, dressing kids for cheap isn’t that hard. After all, you are in control. Even though your four-year-old wants to go out the door wearing a neon orange shirt with olive polka dot leggings, you are still pick what goes into the closet.
However, when your kids gets to be pre-teens and older, they start to balk at Mommy picking clothes for them. They’ll want the latest looks that their friends are wearing, and that can cost. A lot.
Thankfully I’m here to help.
For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to refer to your little fashionista as a her, although I know plenty of young men (fashionistos?) that this post would apply to. I’ve got a very fashion-forward, trendy It girl for a daughter.
Here’s how I afford it:
1. Start ’em young
Start training your teens to shop with an eye for savings while they are still little. I know, the thought of dragging little ones clothes shopping may cause you to shudder. But the best way to teach is to take them out with you when you pick up clothes. You can make it a special one-on-one time with your kid. Take your little one to garage sales and thrift stores. Let her pick out an outfit or give her a few dollars to go shopping for herself. This can be empowering and reinforces the idea of finding a bargain. When looking at the clearance racks of a department store, point out the difference between the markdown and the full price. She’ll learn to appreciate low prices.
This training helps when your kids become more independent and start having more input on what they wear. “I would never spend more than ten dollars on a top,” says my fashionista. I silently cheer her reverse-price snobbery.
2. Embrace the look, not the label
Your fashionista is going to want to dress like her friends. That’s okay. She’s trying to find her own identity, and a big part of what girls wear identify where she wants to belong. As long as her choices meet your minimum family and school standards for dress, you should let her go for it.
That said, you need to start working with your girl on finding the look for less. If she admires a certain item from a pricey label, see if you can find the same style elsewhere. Stores like Forever 21 and Wet Seal specialize in discount teen fashion. By hitting the sales and combining purchases with coupons, you can get items for just a few dollars. My fashionista nabbed a $20 coupon for one store and applied it to a pair of boots that were on sale for $19.99. Free boots! She’s worn them for the last two years and loves them.
3. Combine sales online
Subscribe to discount newsletters that alert you when clothes are on sale and get on email lists for stores that you like to frequent. I like the Pinching Your Pennies newsletter, but there are many sites out there that alert you to the best deals. The nice thing about shopping online for teens is that those junior sizes tend to be discounted pretty quickly. Make sure that you get shipping for free or cheap, so you don’t have your savings eaten up by shipping costs.
I once found jeans for $12, which I thought was a pretty good deal, so I grabbed a few for my fashionista’s Christmas present. When the package arrived, my girl freaked. Apparently, I had snagged Rock & Republic jeans–tony luxury jeans that normally sell for $70.
4. Trade with friends
Let your fashionista swap clothes with her friends. You should have an open closet policy. Teen girls love to swap sweaters and shirts. Frankly, half of the clothes in my daughter’s closet are from her friend, and she’s got items at half a dozen friends’ homes.
You could also let your girl rummage through your closet, although I’m too uncool for my fashionista to borrow from.
5. Hit electronic garage sales
My fashionista still goes to the thrift stores for items. But she’s more comfortable with buying and selling her clothes online.
Oh course, eBay is the granddaddy of the electronic garage sale. But there are numerous sales sites, many with mobile apps that allow you to access the sites directly. My fashionista uses Poshmark and Mercari. She’s been able to snag name brand items for just a few dollars. Even with shipping costs, it can be a significant savings. This is a great option to find items that are tougher to locate in a thrift store, like semi-formals for dances.
6. Swap online
I mentioned in my last post the idea of arranging for a larger organized swap. This is still a good option for teens. Organizations like schools could run the swap. My church did a swap with their youth group that was a hit with the group.
However, you can also swap clothes online. For sites like Poshmark and Mercari, you can list your item with a $0 cost, and when you’re contacted by someone who wants to trade, you exchange addresses and ship your items at your own cost. There is a risk, since you’re not protected when you bypass the site instead of brokering through the website. However, my fashionista has been very happy with the trades that she’s arranged.
7. Alter current clothing
In my post about kids’ clothes for cheap, I tell you about altering existing articles for clothing to create new pieces. This is even more important for teens, since their tastes change so quickly. Let your fashionista go wild. Mine took a five dollar backpack, and with 99 cent acrylic paints, transformed that backpack into a gorgeous galaxy backpack, such this one sold for $70 on etsy.
Let her look over Pinterest and pick a tutorial to alter an item that she doesn’t care for anymore. Just by searching Pinterest for DIY altered Tshirts, I found ways to:
I am sewing-impaired. I would love to whip up a prom dress like Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, but it would look like a lopsided pillowcase. But you can still get the benefit of home sewing without having to do all the work.
Instead of sewing items, let your fashionista start sewing clothing for herself. Believe it or not, there are still Home Ec courses that teach sewing. Your fashionista might love the control of creating a skirt with the EXACT color and pattern that she wants. Sewing may turn into a great hobby, allowing her to start making her own creations. This would be fantastic for more expensive items, like prom dresses or business suits.
9. Become a fashion model
This option won’t work for everyone, but I felt I had to mention it, since it works so well for us. Have your fashionista get clothes from clothing manufacturers, take pictures modelling them, and share the pictures on social media.
See the title picture at the top of the post? It’s from one of these modelling sessions.
Here’s how it works for us:
My fashionista’s friend, Hunter, is a budding photographer. He has over 18,000 followers on Instagram. Because he has so many followers, clothing manufacturers contact Hunter and offer him free items to shoot. So Hunter gets together with my fashionista and they have a photo shoot with the item. Fashionista gets to keep the item, and the clothing manufacturer gets cheap exposure on social media. Win for everyone!
That’s how fashionista got the Indy sweatshirt in the above photo for free.
This only works if someone has a lot of followers on social media. This is advertising, after all. And if you are uncomfortable with having your fashionista on social media, this won’t work for you.
This is my least favorite option, but sometimes your fashionista wants an item that you can’t get with the other options listed above. If there is an must-have item that your fashionista wants, you can split the cost with her. Offer to have her put up half her own money. If she doesn’t have money, have her earn the item through working around the house over and above her regular chores. Make sure that you get her to work before you pick up the item! (I’ve dealt with far too many promises with no follow-through.) We did this with a pair of Converse sneakers that fashionista wanted. Again, this should be your last option.
You notice that throughout this post, I keep referring to your fashionista using these tips to save money, not you. This is deliberate. Not only does this give your fashionista more control, it’s perfect life training for your fashionista to manage her money. The clothing may be temporary, but the life skills learned will last forever.
What are your favorite ways to save on teens’ clothes?
This post was part of the following:
It happens: You bring your sweet little bundle of joy home, in the cute outfit that still has the new creases in it. Then the blowout occurs.
And your child’s clothes will never be the same again.
It’s not just the stains. Your little one will triple in size in the first year.
Didn’t know you would be raising a baby Hulk, did you?
And your little one keeps growing, and growing, and growing, and. . .
You can spend a mint on those little outfits that they only wear once. But there are ways to save hundreds of dollars on dressing your kids:
1. Shop garage and yard sales
Along with sagging couches and mismatched dishware, you can find mountains and mountains of gently used kids’ clothing at garage and yard sales. You can even find name brand clothes for cheap. During the summer months, I’ll stop at yard sales and spend a few minutes browsing the piles for an outfit or two. I’ve gotten shirts for as low as 25 and 50 cents and jeans for one or two dollars. Remember, you can always pick up items that are too big and store for another season.
2. Hit the clearance racks for out of season clothes
Stores start marking down clothing in the middle of a season to make room for the new arrivals. This makes January and July great times to search through the clearance racks for clothes at a deep discount. The best deals are for the very seasonal clothes, like winter gloves and swimsuits. Just the other day, I found knit gloves 2 for 50 cents and knit hats for a dollar.
The nice thing about clearance clothes is that your kids can wear them during the same season for a few months. You can also buy a size larger and store the clothes for next year.
3. Shop thrift stores on the discount days
When I was a kid, thrift stores were where Grandma’s clothes went to die. You only shopped there if you needed a polyester jumpsuit for Halloween. Now there are tons of gently used clothes to sort through.
Problem is, the markup on thrift store clothing is higher than I’d like. That’s why I listed this option behind garage sales and clearance racks. Usually the prices are the same as new clothes marked down for discount. However, the thrift store I frequent has certain discount days during the week. I’ll look for A few times a year the store have 50% off the entire store. That’s when I stock up.
4. Arrange for an informal swap
When my kids outgrow their clothes, I pass them along to friends that have younger kids than mine. My friends do the same with their older kids’ clothes. We pass along what we can’t use and keep what we can. I find that kids hate hand-me-downs only when they don’t have a voice in what we keep or not. If an outfit doesn’t appeal to them, I donate it. Clothes that are too worn get re-purposed to something else. My nieces LOVE the outfits my fashionista passes down, and since my guy has grown 10 inches (!) this last year, it’s been nice to swap his too short pants with pairs I’ve had waiting for him.
5. Participate in a larger swap
You can also widen your circle of people to swap outfits with. It takes a little more work, but you can arrange a formal clothing swap with a church group, school PTSA, or neighborhood. All you need is an area with tables, some flyers to advertise the event, and a date. Every one brings clothes that they want to get rid of. At the end of the night, bag up any leftovers, and take them to the thrift store to donate. Win for everyone!
6. Dress up existing articles of clothes
One way to keep clothes lasting longer is by modifying kids’ clothes as they get stained or outgrown. Here are some ideas that I’ve used:
Slap an applique or fabric paint on a shirt to cover a stain
Add a ruffle to a too short shirt or skirt
Make shorts out of too short pants and jeans with torn knees
My kids cringe when I get near a sewing machine. But if you’ve got the talent, you can create some cute outfits. It often takes less than a yard to make a shirt or skirt. Check out the cute shirt that my friend Zina made up for her son:
Isn’t that the most adorable little hedgehog? I just love the running stitch on the collar.
Even though I don’t sew, I’ll often peek in at the blog Running With Scissors with serious sewing envy. You should check it out for inspiration.
Treat kids’ clothes as disposable; when you use these 7 solutions for getting kids’ clothes for cheap, you can save hundreds of dollars as well as your sanity!
What are your favorite ways to save on kids’ clothes?
Next week, I’ll tackle the even harder challenge of dressing teens for cheap.
This is the first in a series of articles where I’ll examine common cost cutting methods and see how they stack up.
The setup: Bountiful Baskets is a non-profit cooperative available in 24 states, mostly in the West and the South. At the beginning of the week, you order a basket for $15 (plus $2.50 handling fee) — an assortment of fruits and vegetables that Bountiful Baskets selects for you. You select a pickup location and on Saturday, pick up the produce (bring your own box). The produce is not strictly local, like a CSA. You can pay extra for an organic basket, as well as add-on specialty items. For more information, see www.bountifulbaskets.org .
I had heard about Bountiful Baskets for a while. People kept telling me how much they save with participating with Bountiful Baskets.
I was skeptical. “Really?” I thought. “There’s no way that a single cooperative could beat my produce prices.” I tend to shop a number of stores, and buy my produce during peak season to save the most money.
But I figured I’d give it a shot. I ordered a basket, brought it home, weighed, and counted the produce. Then I compared the produce to the prices I usually pay. First I figured the lowest price that I like to pay for my fruits and vegetables. Next I wrote down the price of the produce that I found in the stores for that week.
Here are my totals:
Bountiful Baskets Price Comparison
Grocery Sale Price
Grocery Average Price
2lb 10oz lbs
1 lb 8.4oz
Wow. As you can see, there’s quite a difference between the cost of the basket and the individual prices of the items — even when I buy them at the lowest sales price that I can get.
The nice thing about Bountiful Baskets is that, unlike a CSA, you are not committed to purchasing a basket each week. During the summer months, when our garden is producing more than we can eat in a week, we don’t participate as often.
Bountiful Baskets may not be for everyone, however. You won’t find Bountiful Baskets an excellent deal if:
You don’t eat a lot of vegetables – Well, of course, if you are not willing to prepare and eat the fruits and vegetables, you’ll waste a lot of produce.
You must have perfect vegetables – I haven’t had a big problem with the quality of produce, but because it’s packed and distributed by volunteers, some items may not be as picture perfect as found in the supermarket. Be sure to inspect your basket when you receive it.
You are uncomfortable with trying new items – We’ve found lots of interesting vegetables in our box, such as: multi-colored carrots, fennel, chayote, and parsnips. I’ve had to Google items a few times to figure out how to prepare and cook an odd fruit or vegetables.
Fortunately, Bountiful Baskets also has a great Pinterest board where participants post recipes. I’ll also post a weekly menu plan using your basket items, so you can figure out what to do with all that produce!
What’s your experience with Bountiful Baskets?
Bountiful Baskets did not pay or reimburse me for this post, and the links are not affiliate links. All opinions are my own.