Saturday, October 1, 2011

Baby on a Budget: Shoppers Drug Mart v.i.b. Program

Sorry, this one is for my Canadian friends only.

There are many different baby programs offered by different companies. These usually result in coupons or a package of samples. While this may seem insignificant to many, every little bit counts when you are trying to save up for baby.

Shopper's Drug Mart has a program called v.i.b. (very important baby). Anyone expectant mother (or mother with a child under 3 months) with a Shopper's Optimum card can sign up. Once you sign up you will receive a package. The site claims you will receive the package four weeks to three months after your due date.

When I initially signed up for the program I had a due date in December. I miscarried this pregnancy, but received the package about a week ago, so approximately 3 months before the due date I had entered. Luckily I am once again expecting and was quite pleased to receive my package in the mail.

Contents of the package.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Baby on a Budget: Planning ahead for non-planners

So, let's face it. There are those of us that plan and budget and there are those of us who don't. Some people scrimp and save, while others live paycheque to paycheque. I'm not judging, it's just the way it is. I know just how hard it is to "save." Seeing that money in an account untouched when there are plenty of reasonable things you could use it for? Not easy.

So, this one is for those of you who live paycheque to paycheque. If you're one of these people, you might be concerned what might happen if you are waiting for that next pay cheque and baby needs formula, diapers or worse, medicine. How can you protect yourself from running into these issues without worrying about budgeting or saving?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Baby on a Budget: Starting a Budget

Let's face it. Babies are expensive. Sure, you think, what can it cost to feed a baby? Breastfeeding is basically free. What else do you need?


But, before we get into what a baby costs, you need to figure out just how much money you are spending each month (and how much money you are bringing in). In doing this you will see just how much you are wasting each month on your Starbucks addiction or impulsive internet shopping. A couple bucks here and there never seems like much, but over a month, it can really add up. Once you know what you are spending in a month and how much "extra" cash you have each month (let's be honest, who has extra cash at the end of the month?). From there you can figure out what you can cut out of your budget, or what you have available for baby spending.

Now, the question is how do you keep track of your spending? Well, there is the old fashioned way: collecting receipts and tallying it up with pen & paper. Or, if you have the patience for it, you can set up an Excel spread sheet and enter each and every purchase. But if you want something easy you can do from just about anywhere there is The Birdy.

The Birdy ( is a free online personal finance software. It is incredibly simply to use and keeps track of your purchases by date and by category. Best of all, it doesn't take a lot of me I wouldn't be using it if it did.

Purchases can be entered in a variety of ways (and in a variety of currencies!). First of all, you can log into the site and enter your daily purchases is a very simple format.

But if logging in seems like too much work for you there are other ways. You can set The Birdy up to send you a daily email. All you have to do is reply to that email and tell The Birdy what you purchased that day, using the same hashtag formula shown above. Your purchases are almost immediately added to your account.

Now if even that seems like too much work there is an even simpler option. Text message. You can set The Birdy up to accept texts. Just enter your purchases and voila, updated to your account.

The Birdy will now show you your purchases in several ways: on a calendar with dollar amounts per day, in a pie chart with categories and the percentage of overall money spent and in a graph.

At the end of the month you can review your purchases compared to how much money you earned in the month and determine where you can curb your spending if needed.

Of course, the very best feature of The Birdy is their cute little mascot, Basil. I'll be honest, if it weren't for Basil, I probably wouldn't have given The Birdy more than a passing glance. Okay, that's a joke, but he's still cute.

I started on using The Birdy on September 1st and have entered every single purchase I have made this month (including mortgage, vehicle expenses etc). I am hoping over the next few months I will be able to save a few dollars, allowing me to purchase baby things (and the much dreaded maternity gear!) when the time comes.

The one draw back is that at this time you cannot enter your income, so you will have to compare your purchases to your income on your own. But, The Birdy claims it is working on this feature, as well as many others such as Android & iPhone apps, recurring payments and a feature that will allow you to budget an amount for a certain category each month and notify you when you have exceeded your monthly budget.

I highly recommend that anyone that is pregnant start a budget of some sort as it is the first step in preparing for a baby financially. Better yet, I would recommend that anyone who is trying to conceive start a budget for baby, this will save you a wee bit of panic when you do become pregnant.

So, happy budgeting!

Ford more Baby on a Budget Tips:
Baby on a Budget: Planning ahead for non-planners

Friday, August 26, 2011

The truth about peeing on sticks...

I came across this on an old blog dated 2006. I thought it was hilarious, and incredibly accurate.


Pregnancy tests are about as addictive as crack. The commercials on TV inevitably show attractive, young, active, fertile women who are apparently soothed by the definitive nature of these tests. Use this simple one-step home pregnancy test (AKA HPT), they say, and you will know FOR SURE within a few minutes whether you'll have a beautiful and stress-free pregnancy OR will finally be able to take that much-desired nuclear power plant manager job in New Jersey. The reality is not quite so clear. Even though they say there is only one step, there are actually three. Here is how it REALLY works:

Step One: Pee on the absorbent end of the stick for a full 20 seconds more than the recommended time, just in case the urine at the top of your bladder has more hormones than the urine that comes out first. (Try not to pee on hands, toilet seat, stick handle or floor.)

Step Two: Stare at the test windows for the full 10 minute waiting period, pee a few more drops on it just in case you didn't pee enough the first time, hold it up to the light, hold it at eye level, hold it up in front of a window, toss it away after not seeing anything within the 10-minute limit, retrieve them from the garbage can 30 minutes later and hold it again up to the light, go outside to look at it in the sun, take a picture of it with a digital camera and publish the picture on FF so that hundreds of like-minded, obsessed women can pore over it, enlarge it, invert it and otherwise alter it on any one of a number of photo editing programs, declare that they DO IN FACT SEE A LINE and post emoticons of jumpy green men in jubilant celebration of your obviously impending pregnancy.

Step Three: Repeat steps one and two several times daily beginning 7 days past ovulation (DPO) and continuing until 3 days after period starts. Promise yourself you are not going to pee on anything this next cycle.


Saturday, August 6, 2011


Robitussin is heralded by many as a miracle fertility aid. A quick Google search and you will find plenty of women claiming that Robitussin is what helped them get pregnant. A Globe and Mail article billed it as "a $5 bottle of hope."

How can Robitussin possibly help me get pregnant?

Robitussin's main ingredient, Guaifenesin, is used to thin mucus. It's intended use is to clear chest congestion (phlegm). Guaifenesin has the same effect on all types of bodily mucus, including cervical mucus.

In some cases, a woman might produce too much mucus or have too thick of mucus. In these cases it is believed that Robitussin may help thin out that mucus, allowing sperm to travel through the mucus and *hopefully* fertilize an egg.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Baby Aspirin

After my miscarriage I started reading everything I could on fertility and TTC. Time after time I saw people mention baby aspirin, but as usual I didn't know why. So, I did some research and here is what I found.

Note: I want to preface all of this by saying that if you are interested in starting a daily aspirin you should consult your doctor.

What are the benefits of a low-dose aspirin regime?

I've found many sites that claim that a daily low dose of asprin can have multiple beneficial effects on women who are trying to conceive.

The Center for Reproduction & Women's Healthcare in Houston, TX recommends that all women who are trying to conceive take a daily low dose of aspirin, or "baby aspirin." According to their website a daily low dose of aspirin is associate with:
  1. a significant reduction in preeclampsia in pregnancy
  2. less fetal growth restriction
  3. a higher birth weight
  4. a reduction in preterm delivery
  5. a reduction in the rate of miscarriage. 
A study from 1997 performed at  Infertility Clinic of National Cheng Kung University Hospital found that a 100mg per day dose of aspirin improved uterine blood flow. The common theory is that with improved uterine blood flow comes a thicker uterine lining which in turn will aid with implantation and give the egg more to "hold on to."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cervical Mucus: How to check & what it means

Before I started TTC I never gave any thought to my cervical mucus (CM). To be honest, I never really noticed it. I mean, I knew that from time to time I would have some sort of discharge, but I guess I knew it was normal and never really thought about it. It wasn't until one day when my sister who was TTC at the time told me about egg white cervical mucus (EWCM), thought I didn't know the term for it at the time, she basically said that when you have lots of discharge and it looks like egg whites it means you are fertile. I never put any more thought into it until I started TTC.

I never realized there was so much to know about CM. There are different types of CM and they can help you figure out where you are in your cycle and how fertile you are.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vitamin D

I've noticed a lot of the women on BabyandBump asking for information on Vitamin D. So, I did a little diffing and quite honestly was shocked at what I found. I'm not a doctor, so I don't know the impact of these things first hand, but this is what I am found.

Do you get enough Vitamin D?

An article in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that up to 77% of all Americans have lower levels of Vitamin D consistent with increased risk for deficiency. Given these stats one might expect Canadians would have a higher rate of deficiency, as it is physically impossible to get enough sunlight between October and March in Canadian due to their distance from the equator. Surprisingly according to The Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) in 2007-2009 approximately one-third or 37% of Canadians had lowered levels of Vitamin D.