5 Books for your Toddler

It’s the holidays and you are searching for that elusive books that your toddler/niece/nephew or any other kid will love. Books that you are hoping that they don’t already own because you want to be a pretty cool caregiver.

Here are the top 5 books that MBP loves. We discovered these from the library. He loves it so much that we started giving it out as gifts for our friend’s kids. It was a hit.

5 books for your toddler

  1. Go Go Go Stop! – The picture books thought my toddler the meaning of green, red and yellow.

2. My Friend Robot – Sing along song that also teaches the concept of Simple Machines.

3. Roadwork – This is a fun picture book with all the trucks and a story on how to build a road.

4. If I Built A Car – I myself enjoy this picture book. It is very imaginative for your little inventor.

5. Whose Truck – Your toddler will learn the function of trucks that they see on the road.

How to sell your wedding dress online

I bought a used wedding gown and paid more than 70 percent off the original price. I eventually sold it for half the cost after I used it a year later. There are many reasons to sell the gown aside from an extra income. Personally, I wouldn’t want to keep a fabulous garment in a closet. I would love to see the gown used by another bride again and pass the savings.  

I bought my gown for $436 including shipping. I sold it for $270. I spent $15.69 to ship it and $30 to list it at preownedwedding dress. Below are the steps I took to sell it online.

How to sell your wedding dress online

Step 1: Know your size the day of your wedding. This is an important detail because you will use it when you list the gown. Measure yourself and take note of it before you go on a honeymoon so it’s handy.

Step 2: Ask your photographer to take a photo of the gown by itself. A professional image can add value to the actual price of the gown. Take some photo with yourself as well. Seeing it on a person can give buyers ideas or fit.

Step 3: Clean your gown, either professionally or yourself. I personally put my wedding gown on a wash and follow these steps. For those that are scared, have it professionally dry clean. If you dry clean it, keep the receipt.

Step  4: List it as soon as possible. This can be hard for some. Who doesn’t want to look at their wedding gowns and be reminded of their special day. If you wait, you might find yourself staring at it in your closet 5 years later and the value of the gown DO NOT appreciate.

Step 5: List on multiple sites or on a consignment store. Before listing it, I send some photos to my local consignment stores of the wedding gown. I prefer to sell it locally, but the shop didn’t accept it. I then listed on ebay and preownedweddingdress.com. Preowned wedding dress charge a $25 fee to list the dress.  If you sell on ebay take note that they charge a selling fee. This fee includes the shipping cost.

Step 6: List as much information as you can. This includes, the gown size, the street size you typically wear, your measurements when you wore the gown as noted on Step #1. The location of the wedding. An outdoor wedding typically means the gown is dirtier. Include the designer, fabric and the style of the gown. 

Step 7: Price it well. I initially price my gown for $400. I searched through the site and it has a comparable price. I waited for about 6 months and I still don’t have any leads. I slash the price for $270

Step 8: Promote the gown. Post the link on facebook. I paid an additional $5 to promote the gown on preowned wedding dress. It’s totally worth it because I received 5 leads in a week and sold my gown during the same week. 

Fall Kids Consignment Haul

Most of MBP’s clothes and toys are either used or free. There are very active Buy Nothing Groups in Seattle where we got MBP’s crib, chairs, clothes, bottles and tons of toys. I supplement his stuff by buying other items on consignment, which typically happens twice a year.

Savings on Kids Consignment

When we moved this May, I joined the local Buy Nothing Group, but it doesn’t have much activity. There are also more people asking for things and I feel bad taking it from them, knowing very well that I can buy it. My favorite consignment store was also in Seattle that was put together by Seattle Parents of Multiples. I don’t have multiples, but I find that most of their items are barely used, and prices are low. Parents probably stop having kids after having two, or three and want to get rid of the items quickly. Unfortunately I’m now an hour away but was able to find one close enough and I was able to last Friday while MBP was in school.

Buying in Consignment is NOT the cheapest route, but the most convenient for me, while still buying used items that my kid will only use for the next 6 months.

I don’t expect to get super great deal at consignment. Sometimes the prices can be consistent with new items that are on sale. I pay for the convenience of having one room filled with most of the items that my kid will need for the next 6 months. It’s typically seasonal as well. Most consignment happens twice a year, one in fall for the fall and winter season and one in spring for the spring and summer season.

How I buy at consignment store

I make a list of items that I know my son will need, from clothings to feeding to bathing. During the fall season, I keep an eye out for winter wear which cost quite a bit when bought new. I’m still fairly new to this, so there are some items that I bought that I probably don’t need or could get cheaper if needed.

I saved about 82% of all items I bought or about $432.17.

And here’s everything I bought

TypeCost UsedCost NewDiscount
January 2, 1900539.9987%
Folding Play Mat1559.9975%
Pregnancy Wedge3.515.9978%
Skip Hop Backpack Owl319.9985%
Number wooden puzzle3.515.9978%
Starbucks Christmas Kids cup1.57.4980%
Nike size 10 toddler526.9981%
North Side Winter Boots size 1154088%
Kamik size 10 winter boots6.542.9985%
Crocs size 8/9218.9989%
Crocs size 10/11518.9974%
Size 9 winter boots329.9990%
Snozu 2t down jacket649.9988%
Baby shark 2t Costumer1024.9560%
8 pair of underwear310.872%
Training pants25.9967%
2 dozen socks52277%
Cookie monster foam puzzle113.9993%
Toddler Camping chair3.516.9979%
Tax8.67347.2458
Total97.173529.345882%

Xfinity Mobile Review 2019

My husband and I switched to Xfinity mobile a month before our early retirement. We were fairly happy with our old plan in T-mobile, but we don’t get coverage in the new house. Verizon have a new cell tower in the area and have great coverage.

Xfinity

Pre Early Retirement Cell Plan

I’ve been a T-mobile customer since 2012. My plan was the cheapest plan. T-mobile actually stopped advertising it. I was on a prepaid plan. I received, unlimited data, unlimited text and 100 minutes per month. I was paying 33.98 per month, tax inclusive. My husband moved in with me in 2014, he switched from Verizon to this same plan. HIs bill went down from $60+ to $33.98. At that time, T-mobile only sell this plan through Walmart. They don’t advertise it. I can’t even find this plan on their website. So since 2014, we were paying $67.96/month for our cell plan.

Discovering Xfinity Mobile

We found out about Xfinity Mobile as recommended by our neighborhood page group. Everyone says good things about it, which surprised me — because you know it is Comcast. I’ve been a Comcast customer because I don’t have a choice – it’s the only provider that gives decent speed in our area. I’m only paying for internet. We don’t have a cable and our phone is through Google which is a one time cost. I don’t want to bundle another product with Xfinity, so I had my doubts.

What is Xfinity Mobile?

Xfinity Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) operated through Verizon Networks. Verizon have a better coverage than T-mobile, according to review.org. This is already an upgrade for us. Customers are also automatically connected through Xfinity Hotspots. Their plan is only available if you are an existing Xfinity Customers.

Our plan

Xfinity mobile plans allows us to share data and pay only for the data we used. 1GB starts at $12 per month. We are retired, so we are not planning to use much data. We use wifi most of the time or use Xfinity Mobile Hotspots. We were using 2GB pre-retirement. This slowly went down to 1.5 GB to less than 1 after retirement. Our bill ranged from $40 – $19. Our last bill came in at $18.24 including fees for 2 lines, using .77 GB of data. We can save 49.72/month if we really want to cap our usage to 1GB. Even if we go on the high end of 2GB, we are still saving money compared to our previous bill.

Other Deals

Xfinity Mobile were offering customers $100 prepaid debit card if you bring in your iPhone. My iPhone is unlocked and it was a breeze to bring in the phone. My husband’s phone is an Android phone, owned by his former employer. We either have to get a phone through Xfinity if he wants to keep his Android or get an iPhone. My sister has an old iPhone with crack screen. She gave it to us for free and it cost $97.99 to get it repaired. We unlocked the phone and port my husbands number to Xfinity. We also received another $100 prepaid debit card as part of the offer.

Savings

We have saved 345.53 for 4 months of usage, including the offer that we were able to avail. I’ve been pretty happy with the service and pleasantly surprised with the coverage, especially the hotspots.

MonthT-Mobile PlanXfinity Mobile# GB used
Month 167.9639.162.34
Month 267.9639.162.64
Month 367.9629.751.34
Month 467.9618.240.77
Total271.84126.31

One Time Deal: $200

Total Savings: $345.53

Surprisingly, I recommend Xfinity Mobile, if you are looking to lower your cost and do not need much data.

Cloth Diapers vs Disposable Diaper – over $500 savings in 2 years

We have been using cloth diapers just a little over 2 years. I wrote an article about how we spent $230 to purchase 63 used BumGenius cloth diapers, saving us about $1300 if we bought it new. With my analysis below, we saved over $500 in 2 years by using these cloth diapers MBP.

Cloth Diapers Vs Disposable Diapers 2 year cost analysis

Hybrid Cloth Diapering

We don’t use cloth diaper exclusively. When MBP turned 18 months, we started using disposables at night. My goal is to go back to using cloth diapers at night, but it is just easier to use disposables. We also uses disposable diaper when we’re on vacation and whenever we have to go out for more than 2.5 hours. It is more convenient to pack disposable diapers. I spent $130 on disposable diapers so far. During the first month, I received a $100 credit from Amazon by using their baby registry. You can only used this for diaper related item. I got the newborn and size 1 diaper and 9 packs of baby wipes for free

Washing Method

We washes cloth diapers every 3 days. We uses 47 BumGenius pockets diapers. Our laundry typically have 24 cloth diapers coming out of the wash. We wash twice, one on lite with no detergent and one on extra heavy with detergent, both on cold. We uses Tide Original HE Powder to wash the cloth diapers. The inserts are dried using the dryer and the shells are line dry. All our appliances are also electric. Our bill went up by about $5 – $7 per month. I used $7 increase in utilities for this assumption. In theory, this increase is not just for the cloth diapers. We also wash more just by the fact that we added an additional person in the family who uses clothes.

Diaper Wipes

We also used cloth diaper wipes. I made these wipes out of a 10 year old queen fitted sheets and 3 pillow cases. The sheets are 100% cotton but has been beaten up over the number of years used. It cost me about $5 for the thread.

Diaper Pail

We have one Dekor diaper pail and 2 Dekor diaper pail liner. I bought it new and cost us $29.95 for the pail and $19.69 for the liner.

Cream / Oil

We uses coconut oil instead of cream. Sometimes, when MBP has a rash we also uses Desitin. The Desitin is free from the NICU, when MBP was discharged. We still have these up to now. I didn’t include this in the calculation.

Disposables Comparison Factor

I used the Costco diaper and wipes for this analysis. I used these because this is where we get our diapers. Using this calculation, there will be excess diaper. In my opinion this is realistic in our situation, because we err on the side of changing more often. We will keep this excess for kiddo #2 or give it away

On Year 1, we changed MBP’s diaper 7 times on average. A LOT more on the first 6 months until he was sleeping through the night. He was only on size 1 for the first 3 months and we upped a size to size 2 up until 10 months and we upped to size 3.

Disposable DiaperPriceQty Total# of changes(# of changes / ct)
Size 1 (192 ct), up to 14 lbs29.994119.966303.28
Size 2 (174 ct) (12-18 lbs)29.999269.9115058.65
Size 3 (198 ct) (16 - 28 lbs)35.99224202.12
Diaper wipes (900 wipes) 19.99359.9721352.37
Diaper Liner26.99253.98
Total575.8

On Year 2, we changed MBP’s diaper 6 times. We changed his cloth diaper every 2.5 – 3 hours during the day and triple the liner or put him on disposable at night.

Disposable DiaperPriceQty Total# of changes(# of changes / ct)
Size 3 (198 ct) (16 - 28 lbs)35.996215.9410955.53
Size 4 (180 ct) (22-37 lbs)35.997251.9310956.08
Diaper wipes (900 wipes) 19.99359.9721902.43
Diaper Liner26.99253.98
Total581.82

Comparison

Using the factors I mentioned above, we saved $504.74 by using cloth diapers. We could save more if we use cloth diapers exclusively. These cloth diapers are still holding up well and ready for kiddo #2.

Year 1Cloth DiaperDisposable Diaper (costco price)
Cloth Diaper229.780
Cloth Wipes50
Cloth diaper sprayer29.990
Disposable Diaper55.44461.85
Disposable Wipes059.97
Diaper liner refill19.6953.98
Detergent36.50
Utilities840
TOTAL460.4575.8
Year 2 Cloth DiaperDisposable Diaper
Cloth Diaper00
Cloth Wipes00
Disposable Diaper71.98467.87
Disposable Wipes059.97
Diaper liner refill053.98
Detergent36.50
Utilities840
TOTAL192.48581.82
 Cloth DiaperDisposable Diaper
Total Cost652.881157.62
Savings504.74

Other reason to choose cloth diapers

The cost is just one of the reason we choose to use cloth diaper. Disposable diaper sits in the landfill for 500 years. We are lessening our carbon footprint by using cloth diaper.

Do you use cloth diapers? How much did you save?

How to Save Money on Cloth Diaper

We have used cloth diapers for 2 years now. MBP was discharged from the NICU by end of August, but we didn’t start him on cloth diapers until September. I waited until he is big enough to use a one size cloth diaper so we don’t have to buy a new born cloth diaper.

What is a cloth diaper?

Cloth diaper is just what it say, a “cloth” diaper. I remember when my little sister was born, she used a flat cotton cloth and we will use safety pins to secure it to her. We then used another water repellant shell, which is called a PUL to keep the liquid in. This was the only cloth diaper that I knew existed back then.

I was overwhelmed when I started researching about cloth diapers before MBP was born. There are so many types and brands to choose from. The cost can be significant, depending on the type you choose.

Cloth Diapers are soo cute!

One Size Pocket Diapers

I tried 2 kinds and 3 different brands of cloth diaper. I tried 2 brands of one size pocket diapers – BumGenius and Fuzzibunz. I also bought Clotheez prefold diaper which is the traditonal flat cloth but the middle section is a more absorbent layer. You need to use an outer shell for these type of cloth diaper. Just a couple of days into it, I knew that we will stick with the pockets. My husband prefer the Bumgenius over Fuzzibunz. He also prefer the velcro vs snaps because it is easier to fit to the baby.

I got my cloth diapers in 3 ways:

  • Free from our local Facebook Cloth Diapering Group
  • Used also from Facebook Marketplace
  • Green Mountain Diapers for the fitted cloth diaper

Getting Cloth Diapers for Free

Cloth diaper is very popular in Seattle. There is a dedicated facebook group where you can buy and sell used cloth diapers. You can also ask any questions to members related to cloth diapers. I’ve seen range of questions from cleaning cloth diapers, traveling with cloth diapers, rashes and fit. I was lucky and received 20 Bum Genius 3.0 from this group. The cloth diapers was used for 18 months by one kid. The elastics needed some repair when I received it. Luckily it wasn’t hard to replace. I also received 2 Planet Dry wet / dry bags.

You can also check out your local Buy Nothing Group. I received 12 Fuzzi bunz cloth diaper. It didn’t have an insert but the PUL is still in great shape. Just like the Bum Genius, I have to replace the elastics for these diapers.

You can also go to The Cloth Option, which is a non-profit organization that provides cloth diaper to those that needs assistance.

Getting Cloth Diapers Used

I bought mine from 2 sellers in our local FB marketplace. I bought 27 Bumgenius 4.0 for $150. The lady who sold it to me used it for 6 months. She lives in an apartment with shared laundry and it became difficult for her to wash it. These are in great condition and I didn’t have to change any elastics. I also bought 16 Bumgenius 1.0 for $40. It was used by one kid 6 years ago and was just stored in her closet. I didn’t end up using it because I have more than enough to rotate in the stash.

The total cost of my “new to me” cloth diapers is $190. Which cost about $4.5 per diaper.

New To Me cloth diaper

Getting Cloth Diapers New

Cloth Diapers can be expensive. An individual BumGenius is priced at $21.95. You can get a discount if you buy in a bundle at $20.55 per diaper. I bought a dozen of Cloth-eez Prefold Diapers for $33.95. I used this as an insert for the Fuzzibunz when we were still trying to determine between Bumgenius and Fuzzibunz based on the free cloth diapers we received. We ended up liking Bum Genius. I sold this same diaper on eBay for $26.

Total Cost of getting the diapers free and used: $229.78

  • $197.95 for the 63 cloth diapers
  • $31.83 for the elastics, cleaning supplies and shipping fee

Total Cost of getting the diapers new at current price of $20.55: $1294.65

Savings: $1064.87