As promised, I am going to tell you about the musical chairs that helped us fund our adoption! Because that is exactly what it felt like…musical chairs. The first step we took was to pay off or refinance any debts that had higher interest rates. This included our house and one of our vehicles. Lucky us, we bought our first home while the market was low and were able to “buy it back from ourselves” at a higher price with lower interest rate. Meaning, we paid less per month and got to keep a lump sum of cash from the equity. Again, refinancing the truck also helped lower our monthly payment due to the lower interest. Next, we fundraised. Who doesn’t? Fundraising was one of those things I wasn’t entirely comfortable doing, so we made no big push and only raised around $2,500. Every little bit helps. We did not have any to pull from retirement accounts because at the time, I did not have one and Donnie had pulled from his when we bought our first house. We did use some savings and we used some of the house equity to pay off higher interest credit cards. We pulled a private loan from our State Employees Credit Union which to cover the remaining expenses. We did apply for miscellaneous grants but were never awarded anything (which was fine at the time) because we had enough for an adoption until the scam happened. After our second failed match and the scam, we reapplied to a few, the biggest being HelpUsAdopt.org. In that application, we had asked for $12,000 and won $10,000.
At time of placement, I worked for a Hilton brand hotel which enabled us to stay at a Homewood Suites for $35/night. Because of the discount, we never sought out any other lodging options. If you are interested, there are Facebook groups created for housing swaps for families traveling for adoptions. I have also heard that some Airbnb hosts have been generous with discounts if you let them know your reason for travel. As part of our “fundraising-but-not-fundraising” effort, instead of always asking for money, we would ask for credit card referrals. For family and friends who didn’t want to give a monetary donation but had good credit, we could send an email with a referral to our Delta credit card. So, we send the email referral, they apply and get approved through the link, we get lots of bonus flyer miles. We received enough bonus flyer miles to both fly round trip to Utah for free. There are several hotel brands (Hilton being one of them) and airlines that have these kinds of referral systems and if your friends are willing to take a few-point-hit on their credit (probably less than five points, if that), this is a great way to travel for cheap. There are several other ways that friends and family can help without spending a dime or effecting their credit.
Post placement, we found lots of hacks to save money on diapers, formula, and baby supplies. First, create a registry with Target (they even have a due date option for adoption). If you have a target locally, stop by and ask for the registry welcome bag. It is loaded with freebies and coupons. If you want a second freebie bag, have your spouse create a second registry using their email/information. Added bonus, you get a coupon for 15% off anything left on your registry. Two registries=two coupons. Next, CVS. Most people probably already have a CVS Care card. If you pay attention, they typically send two kinds of weekly coupons. The first is a percentage off one item (mine are always 32-40%), the second is a dollar off amount (mine are almost always $8 off a $40 purchase). The coupons can be used in conjunction with each other and also combined with Similac/Gerber/Enfamil coupons/checks. I rarely paid more than $10 for a large canister of brand name formula (sometimes they even ended up being free). Which brings me to my next point: collect friend and family email addresses. If they are willing, you can use the emails to sign up for the formula coupons, once you are enrolled, they can always unsubscribe from the emails (you really just need it to create an account). Then you have a plethora of formula coupons and will never be without one. I think Similac even sends you free milestone stickers. You can also use those email addresses for diaper savings. We only ever used Honest Co. diapers which offers the best deals with subscriptions. So, you use an email address to create an account, go to retailmenot.com for the latest Honest Co. first time subscriber coupon, purchase a diaper bundle, then cancel the subscription once your first box comes. With coupons, it is usually $53ish for seven packs of diapers and four packs of wipes. Don’t forget to cancel the subscription after your box arrives! Then you continuously do this with each email address. Again, they can opt out of the emails, you really only need it to create the account. If you have any other handy money saving hacks, leave them in the comments!