children http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1171/all en-US 5 Money Strategies for the Sandwich Generation http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-strategies-for-the-sandwich-generation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-strategies-for-the-sandwich-generation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-77931648.jpg" alt="Sandwich generation learning smart money strategies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Generation X is commonly called the sandwich generation for two reasons. First, they are sandwiched between the Millennials and the Baby Boomers, both groups that seem to hog media coverage &mdash; and marketing budgets. More importantly, many Gen Xers face the modern problem of caring for their elderly parents while still also caring for their own children. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways the Sandwich Generation Can Get Ahead</a>)</p> <p>Being in the sandwich generation can be stressful and financially draining. Here are five strategies to stay financially afloat if you're caring for others.</p> <h2>1. Talk Openly About Finances</h2> <p>Whether your elderly parents live with you or not, it is important to know where they stand financially. For families that didn't grow up talking about money, this might feel awkward. However, it is important for you to be prepared to assume financial responsibility if anything were to happen.</p> <p>Of course, it is best to have this talk with a certified financial planner and estate attorney, as well. There are a lot of financial matters to discuss.</p> <ul> <li>Who has <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-power-of-attorney" target="_blank">power of attorney</a>?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Where will the funds for your parents' care come from?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Should your parents be receiving veterans' benefits or Medicaid assistance?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do your parents have any investments, and are they making the best rate of return on them?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do your parents have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it" target="_blank">long-term care insurance</a> or enough retirement savings to cover care costs?</li> </ul> <h2>2. Utilize Special Savings Accounts</h2> <p>Money will be tight when you are caring for your parents and children at the same time, but don't neglect saving accounts. Contribute as much as you can to your retirement account and even look into a 529 plan for future college costs.</p> <p>Many employers offer flexible spending accounts (FSAs), which allow you to contribute up to $2,500 into a health account and dependent care account. If both you and your spouse are employed, then you might both be eligible to contribute $2,500, for a combined $5,000. This money can be used for your own medical costs, your kids' medical costs and care needs, and your elderly parents' medical and care needs, if they are declared as your dependents.</p> <p>An elderly parent can be financially taxing, but don't let that cause you to avoid saving for your retirement or your child's college. You don't want to be stuck in a financial black hole once your elderly loved one is gone.</p> <h2>3. Get Tax Benefits</h2> <p>If you do declare a parent as a dependent, make sure you get all of the possible tax benefits. Talk with a tax specialist about getting special deductions for medical home improvements, medical expenses, and care expenses.</p> <h2>4. Prioritize the Budget</h2> <p>Take a look at your budget and see what can be cut or put on hold. You might have to move to a more affordable area or forgo family vacations for a few years. Being in the sandwich generation will take sacrifice, but if you can survive this time without incurring debt, then you will stay financially afloat.</p> <p>If you need extra money, try to sell unwanted or unneeded items. Every little bit helps. If either your child or parent is capable of earning some money with a part-time position, this can help too. A teenager can get a job and take over their cellphone or car payments, and your parent can help contribute to the grocery budget. Even if this only adds up to an extra $100 a month, it can still create a little bit of breathing room.</p> <h2>5. Ask Other Family Members for Help</h2> <p>An aging parent shouldn't fall on the shoulders of just one person. Siblings and other able family members should help financially and physically. Have a serious talk with your other siblings and family members about contributing. If they cannot contribute financially, then they should be able to watch or care for an elderly parent at least a few hours a month to give you a break.</p> <p>Don't try to balance the weight of aging parents and children alone. Start by talking with a financial adviser, who can help put your finances in order and point you to free resources. It can also help to seek advice from peers who have gone through or are going through the same situation.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-strategies-for-the-sandwich-generation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead">6 Ways the Sandwich Generation Can Get Ahead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make">4 Tax Mistakes New Parents Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children">7 Frugal Living Skills You Should Be Teaching Your Children</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-basic-manners-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Basic Manners You Must Teach Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family aging parents baby boomers children dependents generation x household millennials money advice sandwich generation Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:00:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1884961 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Smart Money Moves for Empty Nesters http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-money-moves-for-empty-nesters <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-smart-money-moves-for-empty-nesters" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-108329619.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Parents love their children &mdash; that's a given &mdash; but that won't stop you from breaking out the trumpet in glee when your offspring start footing the bill for themselves. Oh, happy day! Need ideas on what to do with your cash now that it's actually yours again, empty nester? Consider these seven smart money moves once your kids fly the coop.</p> <h2>1. Re-evaluate Spending<strong> </strong></h2> <p>With fewer people living in the house, you'll likely see a reduction in monthly expenses. Re-evaluate your budget and assess how much you were spending before, and then look for areas to cut back. If you have a minivan or SUV that was suited to your larger family, consider trading it in for a smaller vehicle. You could possibly save money on the monthly payment, as well as pay less for insurance and fuel.</p> <p>Or maybe you have the Cadillac of cable TV packages, which accommodated everyone's viewing needs. Look into downgrading to a cheaper cable package. If you don't watch much TV, get rid of cable altogether, and sign up for an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained?ref=internal">inexpensive streaming servic</a>e. Additionally, since there are fewer mouths to feed, come up with a plan to spend less on groceries. The more you save, the more cash you'll have available to reach more important financial goals &mdash; like finally making some headway toward your retirement fund.</p> <h2>2. Grow Your Retirement Account<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Many parents make big sacrifices to provide for their children, which can include establishing college funds and fully or partially supporting adult children as they complete their educations. As a result, maybe you haven't contributed as much as you would have liked toward retirement. With the kids out of the house, now's the time to play catch-up.</p> <p>Work with a financial adviser, review your finances, and develop a realistic plan that lets you contribute as much as possible toward growing a comfortable nest egg. You can contribute up to $5,500 a year to an individual retirement account ($6,500 if you're 50 or older), and up to $18,000 a year to a 401K (plus an additional $6,000 if you're 50 or older).</p> <h2>3. Increase Liquid Savings<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Then again, maybe your retirement account is on track but you lack liquid savings for emergencies like a car or home repair. Instead of spending extra money on vacations, shopping, or redecorating your home, take the cash you're saving each month from cutting expenses and contribute to an emergency fund.</p> <h2>4. Pay Off Debt<strong> </strong></h2> <p>As you inch closer to retirement, the less debt you have, the better. Come up with a plan to pay off debt, especially <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card debt</a>. This is not only costly debt &mdash; it also drags down your credit score.</p> <p>Gather all your credit card statements and write down the amounts you owe and the interest rates you're currently paying. Some people tackle the debt with the highest interest rate first, since this is the costliest, whereas others attack the debt with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-debt-snowball-method-0" target="_blank">lowest balance first</a> for a psychological boost. Whatever method you choose, pay more than your minimum every month, stop charging, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">negotiate your interest rates</a>.</p> <p>Additionally, consider making extra principal mortgage payments to pay off your home loan balance sooner. If you're able to pay off your mortgage before retiring, you can lower your expenses and stretch your retirement income.</p> <h2>5. Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Long-term care is a type of insurance that many people don't think about, but it's important to shop around and explore options while you're young and still relatively healthy. Long-term care insurance &mdash; which isn't covered by Medicare &mdash; pays for future expenses like home care, adult day care, and nursing home care. Some people don't think about getting a plan until they are ready to retire, but premiums are cheaper the earlier you buy.</p> <h2>6. Downsize Your Living Situation<strong> </strong></h2> <p>More than likely, you don't need as much space as before. Rather than stay in a house that's too big for you and your spouse, or waste money heating and cooling rooms you never use, downsize to a smaller space. A smaller house payment and cheaper utilities can increase your monthly savings, freeing up cash for paying down debt or increasing your nest egg.</p> <h2>7. Convert a Term Life Policy to a Whole Life Policy<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Life insurance is a necessity whether you're young or old. The death benefit paid to your beneficiaries can pay for final expenses, such as your funeral and burial, medical bills, and other debt. Term life insurance is cheaper than whole life insurance, which makes these policies an attractive option. But term policies expire after a certain number of years. A whole life policy, on the other hand, is a permanent policy that never expires and accumulates a cash value.</p> <p>Talk to your insurance agent about converting your term policy to a whole life policy. If you make the conversion before the policy expires, you can possibly get the new policy without additional medical underwriting.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-money-moves-for-empty-nesters">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as the Kids Move Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-college-kids-home-for-the-holidays-for-cheap">6 Ways to Get College Kids Home for the Holidays for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting children debt empty nesters kids kids moving out retirement contributions teens young adults Fri, 27 Jan 2017 10:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1878109 at http://www.wisebread.com Should Your Kids Contribute to Family Money Goals? http://www.wisebread.com/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_kid_piggybank_517743380.jpg" alt="Parents asking kid to contribute to financial family goals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many years ago, I remember watching an episode of Wife Swap, a reality television program where &quot;two wives, from two very different families, swap lives for two weeks.&quot; The episode starred Tulsa, Oklahoma mom, Amy King, who made her three children buy their own treats and contribute toward all family vacations.</p> <p>Initially I thought the idea of making your children pay for their own vacation was a little radical and unloving. Obviously you don't want to force your eight-year-old to give up all of their allowance to your home renovation project or make your teenager stay home if they don't contribute to the family vacation fund.</p> <p>But it got me thinking. Could there be some good in asking children to contribute financially to family goals?</p> <h2>Why Set Family Financial Goals?</h2> <p>Setting and striving toward a goal as a family can be a powerful thing. It can bring every member of your family together and can help you work together and keep each other accountable. Spark Parenting says, &quot;Once kids see firsthand how to <a href="http://www.sparkparenting.com/Tip_Sheet_Family_Goals.pdf" target="_blank">set and achieve family goals</a>, they'll better understand what it takes to set and accomplish personal goals.&quot;</p> <p>Some important goals to set for your family can include:</p> <ul> <li>Spending more time together;</li> <li>Reading 10 books together;</li> <li>Getting healthy together;</li> <li>Giving back to the community.</li> </ul> <p>All of those goals are great to pursue as a family, but I encourage you to take on a financial family goal, too, especially when it feels like your budget is too tight for fun or travel. If you have been wanting to take a family vacation for years, yet never have enough money left over after bills, then setting a family financial goal can help.</p> <h2>Make It About the Family</h2> <p>When it comes to setting financial goals, set ones that involve and please the whole family. Yes, your family might be in debt or need new tires on the family van, but these scenarios should not be the responsibility of your children.</p> <p>Instead, make the financial goal something your kids want and can dream about with you. Here are some ideas for things to save up for:</p> <ul> <li>A family vacation in another country;</li> <li>A special dinner out;</li> <li>A day at a theme park;</li> <li>A family game/toy/activity (i.e. basketball hoop or bikes);</li> <li>Movies and ice cream.</li> </ul> <p>Your family financial goal can be big, such as a $5,000 vacation in Italy, or it can be small, like $30 for movies and ice cream. You can even have a mix of small and large goals. You should allow some room for your kids to daydream and plan. Don't just throw out &quot;Hey, kids, we need to visit grandma in Florida next year, start saving,&quot; and expect your kids to donate willingly.</p> <h2>How Much Should a Child Contribute?</h2> <p>Once the family has decided on a financial goal they want to accomplish, figure out a deadline and how much needs to be contributed each week and month. For example, a day trip to Disneyland for my family would cost around $450. If we wanted to go in 10 months, then we would need to save $45 toward our goal each month. We would then break down how much everyone would contribute weekly or monthly, depending on how often you pay allowances.</p> <p>If you assign chores and allowances based on age, then it is easy to assign how much each child should give toward the goal. Ideally, children's allowances should be split 50% &mdash; 60% spend/free choice, 20% &mdash; 30% save, and 10% give. This is true even if you do not do family allowances. If your child earns $10 a month for chores, you want to instill in him that he can keep $5 to $6 of it to do what he likes (depending on saving goals), $2 to $3 should go automatically into the savings account and not touched, and $1 should go toward charitable giving.</p> <p>For family financial goal contributions, 10% should be required of all children. I recommend the 10% coming out of the &quot;spend&quot; category, so that the child's allowance is broken down like so:</p> <ul> <li>50%&ndash;60% free choice</li> <li>20% savings</li> <li>10% family financial goal contribution</li> <li>10% charitable giving</li> </ul> <p>Obviously, your child is not going to be able to afford Disneyland anytime soon with a $1 contribution per month. That is where your contribution comes in. You fill in the gap, so it is important to make this a priority in your budget.</p> <p>So if my two children make $20 a month each from chores, I would expect them each to pay $2 toward the Disneyland fund. Which means my husband and I would then be responsible for $20.50 each per month.</p> <h2>What If Kids Don't Want to Give?</h2> <p>I definitely don't recommend making family goal time a negative thing with consequences and punishments. Instead, I recommend making a chart and setting the rule that parents only contribute on the weeks or months the kids contribute. So if my kids both spent their whole allowance on something else, then they wouldn't be in trouble, but I would show them that mom and dad will not be contributing this week and that our trip to Disneyland is now postponed a month.</p> <p>Making a large chart to track progress is a huge motivator for everyone. I encourage you to set and treat fun, family financial goals as a family matter. Everyone is doing their part. Of course, some kids might be against the idea, and for those issues, I believe you just need to sit down with them one-on-one and get to core of the problem. For example, maybe Johnny isn't contributing willingly to the fund because he doesn't want to go to Disneyland or because he is mad at his brother.</p> <p>Making your children contribute to family financial goals is for their benefit, not yours. This isn't the ultimate plan to get your child to start pulling their weight. Instead, it is a practical exercise that helps children understand the value of working together as a family, and how to save to make their own financial dreams come true.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children">7 Frugal Living Skills You Should Be Teaching Your Children</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family allowance children contributing family goals giving kids lessons saving money Thu, 22 Dec 2016 10:30:27 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1853794 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Frugal Living Skills You Should Be Teaching Your Children http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_education_money_45175586.jpg" alt="Kid learning frugal living skills from parents" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all want to pass our frugal living skills on to our kids, but what lessons are most important? How specific should we get? How soon should we start? Don't sweat the details. Sometimes the most important frugal living skills aren't financial skills at all &mdash; they're life skills that serve us well in dozens of ways. Here are seven frugal living skills you should be teaching your children, no matter how young or old they are.</p> <h2>1. Patience</h2> <p>The ability to delay gratification is the foundation of frugality. It gives us space to mentally separate our needs from our wants, time to find the best deals, and &mdash; most importantly &mdash; a chance to let momentary impulses pass us by.</p> <p>As with most lessons, patience is easier to embrace when taught early. For items your kids want, build in wait times that are dependent on their own effort (grades, chores around the house, or progress toward their own personal goals). If their wants change during that time, which is inevitable with children, complete the lesson by pointing out how the slight delay translates into dollars saved. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-being-patient-saves-you-money?ref=seealso">8 Ways Being Patient Saves You Money</a>)</p> <h2>2. Self-Confidence</h2> <p>Here's the dirty little secret that keeps our consumer culture thriving: Advertisers and marketers hate personal confidence and they do everything in their power to knock our self-image off kilter. Every day, we face a barrage of neuroses-inspiring messages that tell us we have the wrong car, wrong clothes, dull hair, bad breath, and hopelessly yellow teeth.</p> <p>Instilling a strong sense of self-confidence can help kids avoid falling victim to these messages for the rest of their lives &mdash; and sacrificing a large part of their personal wealth in the process. Seize every opportunity to reinforce the idea that your kids are fine just the way are and model that truth yourself. Then, when age-appropriate, pull back the advertising curtain. Point out how commercial messages are artfully crafted to make us all spend more than we should by making us all feel less than we are. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-confidence-makes-you-better-with-money?ref=seealso">3 Ways Confidence Makes You Better With Money</a>)</p> <h2>3. Collaboration</h2> <p>In our hyper-consumer culture, collaborating and sharing are revolutionary acts because they slightly erode the need for more. Why buy your own lawn mower if you can borrow one from a close neighbor? Likewise, why should your neighbor buy a snowblower if he can use yours a few times a year?</p> <p>Encourage sharing at an early age by helping your kids develop strong communication skills, showing them how to make and honor agreements, and teaching them how to be good stewards of what they (and others) own.</p> <h2>4. Creativity</h2> <p>Making do with less takes creativity and ingenuity. It's how the moms and dads of yesteryear stretched meals, made new clothes from old, bartered for goods, and kept life going on what was often a shoestring budget. Foster your children's imagination with free-form toys, unstructured play, and arts and crafts &mdash; anything that gets them moving, thinking, and exploring new ideas.</p> <h2>5. Negotiation</h2> <p>Knowing how to negotiate on price, payment terms, and extras can save a person thousands of dollars over a lifetime. Teach <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master">essential negotiation skills</a> by example; take your kids with you to flea markets, yard sales, and the used car lot &mdash; any venue where a bit of friendly haggling is expected. Show them how to use to research to their advantage, develop a rapport with sellers, and be fair but fearless in what they ask for.</p> <h2>6. Contentment</h2> <p>Much like low self-confidence, discontentment moves product. Keeping consumers in a constant state of desire is how retailers sell us more than what we need. To complicate matters, teaching children to be content is tricky business in America because we're all afraid of sapping their motivation. While encouraging kids to strive for more is important, make it less about things and money. Instead, help them focus on achieving their personal goals, expanding their experiences, appreciating the moment, and building rich friendships.</p> <h2>7. Individuality</h2> <p>In a world where consumerism and consumer debt is a way of life, choosing a different path takes a steely sense of self. Promoting a spirit of individuality in children helps them cope with &mdash; and even celebrate &mdash; being different. Point out how your family's own spending and saving habits go against the grain and don't be afraid to show the benefits (monetarily and otherwise) of your simpler, saner lifestyle. It will serve them well for the rest of their lives.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals">Should Your Kids Contribute to Family Money Goals?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/having-a-baby-nine-financial-considerations-for-new-parents">Having a baby? Nine financial considerations for new parents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family children family frugal living lessons life lessons money lessons parenting parenting tips skills Tue, 15 Nov 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1833153 at http://www.wisebread.com Calculate the "Stock Up Price" to Save on These Baby Essentials http://www.wisebread.com/calculate-the-stock-up-price-to-save-on-these-baby-essentials <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/calculate-the-stock-up-price-to-save-on-these-baby-essentials" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/90635409.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There is no question about it, babies are expensive. Cute, but expensive. One way to minimize the cost of caring for your baby is to stock up on essentials when they are at a &quot;Stock Up Price.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Stock Up Price&quot; is the term given when a price point on an item is so low that you should buy several months' worth at one time. Of course, I am not suggesting you turn your garage or closets into a scene from <em>Extreme Couponing</em>. However, by buying extra baby essentials during great deals, you will save yourself money throughout the whole year. Also, it is always nice to avoid last minute runs to the store at closing time to buy baby items. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke?ref=seealso">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>Diapers</h2> <p>The funny thing about diapers is that when your little one goes up a size, the diaper box comes with less &mdash; and yet, you still pay more. The smaller the diaper, the cheaper it is, but usually the more you will use.</p> <p>For example, newborn diapers cost around .27 cents per diaper without sales or coupons, and size 5 diapers cost .38 cents per diaper (based off Target's current prices). However, newborns can easily go through 10 to 12 diapers a day (costing $2.70 to $3.24 a day). My 19-month old wears a size 5, but she only requires about five or six diapers a day (costing $1.90 to $2.28 per day).</p> <p>Here is a good stock up price list:</p> <ul> <li>Newborn: Under .15 cents per diaper</li> <li>Size 1: Under .15 cents per diaper</li> <li>Size 2: Under .16 cents per diaper</li> <li>Size 3: Under .19 cents per diaper</li> <li>Size 4: Under .20 cents per diaper</li> <li>Size 5: Under .20 cents per diaper</li> <li>Size 6: Under .21 cents per diaper</li> </ul> <p>To save the most money on diapers, stock up when they are at or below the above price. The easiest way to do this is to stock up during a good sale. My favorite places for finding diaper deals are Amazon and Target.</p> <p>Many times Amazon will have coupons on their diapers, which can be combined with Subscribe &amp; Save. The only problem with Subscribe &amp; Save is that you have to wait for your shipment within three to four weeks. I just purchased a box of 160 size 5 Pampers for $30.81 (this price included tax), or about .19 cents a diaper.</p> <p>When you see a phenomenal deal, stock up on other sizes, too. For those who are pregnant or with newborns, I don't suggest stocking up on diapers past size 4. My first child was tiny and ended up being potty trained early, so she only wore a box of size 4 before she was out of diapers all together.</p> <h2>Formula</h2> <p>I don't suggest stocking up on formula until you know if your baby takes a certain brand. With my first baby, we went through about 10 different formulas before we found one that didn't upset her stomach.</p> <p>Once you find the formula your baby likes, then I would stock up on it anytime you could get it 50% off. Since baby formulas vary greatly by brand and unique baby need, I won't give a set stock up price.</p> <p>With my first, we used Similac Sensitive, and I would try to combine coupons with Similac's formula checks and store deals to get the $25 tubs below $12 to $13 and buy five or six at a time. With my second, we used Baby's Only Organic Lactorelief formula for almost her whole infancy. It was tricky to save money on this formula because it was an online-only item and it did not come with coupons or formula checks. Instead, I got the $13.29 can of formula down to $8 or $9 by buying in bulk from third-party companies or using Jet.com promotional codes and coupons.</p> <p>When you stock up, be sure to look at expiration dates.</p> <h2>Baby Food</h2> <p>For jarred baby food, stock up when you can get the price from .25 cents to .35 cents a jar. Squeezable food pouches are a great deal at .25 cents to .40 cents (expect to pay more for the organic varieties). You can find great deals on baby food by matching store coupons with manufacturer coupons. I advise only stocking up on flavors you know your baby loves. If you happen to score a bunch of cheap jars of pureed carrots or prunes, and your baby hates them, don't worry. You can hide the purees in smoothies, baked goods, or soups instead.</p> <h2>Wipes</h2> <p>Wipes are one baby essential that every parent needs. You might be able to breast-feed, cloth diaper, and even make your own baby food, but admit it &mdash; there will always be a time you need a disposable wipe. Stock up on wipes when they are about .01 cents to .015 cents per wipe, or less than a $1 per package of 72 or more.</p> <p>Sometimes you can get the price on the wipes down to the stock up price on Amazon, but it is easier to do in-store at CVS or Target when there are store coupons and manufacturer coupons that you can combine.</p> <p>The idea is to stock up on baby essentials at the lowest price possible so that you don't have to pay full price. If you regularly stock up on baby essentials at 50% off retail price, then you can easily save hundreds of dollars on your first year as a parent. If you have leftovers, just donate them to a local orphanage or pregnancy center and write it off on your taxes.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/calculate-the-stock-up-price-to-save-on-these-baby-essentials">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants">Best Kids Eat Free Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sign-up-for-that-store-credit-card">Should You Sign Up for That Store Credit Card?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-should-buy-at-costco">15 Things You Should Buy at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-at-the-dollar-store-and-10-you-should">10 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store (and 10 You Should)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping babies baby food Bulk buying children deals diapers discounts formula stock up price Wed, 19 Oct 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1813255 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Kids Eat Free Restaurants http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_eating_dinner_41560746.jpg" alt="Family finding best kids eat free restaurants" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One great way to save money while going out to eat is to take advantage of a &quot;kids eat free&quot; deal. My favorite are when you can get up to two free kids meals with the purchase of one adult meal. This allows my family to save even more, since I can share a meal with my husband or one of my kids.</p> <p>While the specifics will vary by area, here are some of the top restaurants that offer a kids eat free deal.</p> <h2>Acapulco</h2> <p>Acapulco varies by location, but when the restaurant does offer free kids meals, it is for kids 11-years-old and under.</p> <h2>Applebee's</h2> <p>Many&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/ApplebeesKidsEatFree/">Applebee's</a> locations offer a free kid's meal with the purchase of an adult entry on Tuesday night. I like their kid's meal options the best because they seem a bit healthier than the usual greasy chicken nugget/French fry route.</p> <h2>Bob Evans</h2> <p>Kids can eat free on Tuesday nights starting at 4 p.m. at Bob Evans. You can order one free kid's meal per adult meal purchased. Breakfast is usually served all day, so your kids can enjoy a fun breakfast for dinner if they wish.</p> <h2>Chevy's Tex-Mex</h2> <p>Every Tuesday, <a href="http://chevys.com/">Chevy's Fresh Mex</a> offers up two free kid's meals for every adult meal purchased. Children must be 10 and under to qualify.</p> <h2>Chick-fil-A</h2> <p>On Tuesday nights, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., kids can receive a free meal for every adult combo meal purchased. Chick-fil-As are individually owned and operated, so not all locations offer this promotion.</p> <h2>Denny's</h2> <p><a href="https://www.dennys.com/food/kids/">Denny's</a> seems to be the most vocal restaurant about their kids eat free promotion. Kids can eat free Tuesdays from 4 to 10 p.m.</p> <h2>Dickey's Barbeque Pit</h2> <p><a href="https://www.dickeys.com/promos">Dickey's Barbeque Pit</a> offers one free kid's meal per paid adult meal. The offer is only valid on Sundays and for kids 12-years-old and under. The best part is that everyone gets free ice cream with their meal.</p> <h2>El Torito</h2> <p>Kids 10 and under can enjoy one free meal with the purchase of an adult entree at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eltorito.com/kids-eat-free/">El Torito</a>. For families of three to four, you can save money by splitting one main meal and one free kid's meal, since it is easy to fill up on chips while you wait.</p> <h2>Firehouse Subs</h2> <p>Days vary by location, but you can receive up to two free kids meals per one paying adult meal. My local Firehouse Subs allows kids to eat free on Saturday and Sunday. My kids got a kick out of the free firefighter hats that came with their meal.</p> <h2>Hooters</h2> <p>Many might not consider Hooters a family-friendly restaurant, but they offer up to two free kid's meals with the purchase of an adult meal all day on Sundays. The meals are valid for kids ages 12 and under. While the meal is free, you do have to purchase them a beverage.</p> <h2>IHOP</h2> <p>According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ihop.com/about-ihop/ihop-news/2016-news/turn-dinner-time-into-family-time-kids-eat-free-at-ihop">IHOP's news release</a>, their kid's eat free promotions are offered periodically. For 2016, IHOP offered a free kid entree with the paid purchase of an adult entree from April to May. Join their eClub to receive a free meal and birthday meal and to be notified if they do another kid's eat free promotion.</p> <h2>Ikea</h2> <p>Many&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/store/burbank/offers">Ikea</a> locations are offering free kids meals for summer. My local Ikea is offering up to two free kid's meals with every adult meal purchased. This promotion is valid every Monday through Friday, between June 6th to July 29th for kids 12 and under.</p> <h2>Joe's Crab Shack</h2> <p>To celebrate school being out, <a href="http://joescrabshack.fbmta.com/members/ViewMailing.aspx?MailingID=34359797387">Joe's Crab Shack</a> allows kids to eat free Sundays and Mondays.</p> <h2>Pizza Hut</h2> <p>Some&nbsp;<a href="http://slickdeals.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=2573326&amp;d=1393957688">Pizza Hut</a> locations offer a free kid's buffet with each adult buffet purchased. This is valid for kids 10-years-old and younger.</p> <h2>Ruby Tuesday</h2> <p>Kids eat free on Tuesday nights, usually from 5 p.m. to close.</p> <h2>Souplantation</h2> <p>Kids two and under can eat free at Souplantation. Souplantation also regularly offers &quot;kids eat free&quot; coupons and family deals. This used to be a favorite spot of my family, since it was easier to find foods my picky toddler wanted to try.</p> <h2>Steak 'n Shake</h2> <p>Sometimes&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/steaknshake/photos/a.10150599697315041.440061.78934590040/10152844874325041/">Steak 'n Shake</a> offers free meals for kids during the weekend or other promotional period.</p> <p>Check with your local restaurants to verify their kids eat free rules. Days and regulations might vary by location. Also, be sure to check with local mom and pop restaurants in your town for kids eat free specials. Don't feel like going out at all? Try these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-and-delicious-meals-to-make-with-your-kids" target="_blank">10 Frugal and Delicious Meals to Make With Your Kids</a> instead.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite restaurant to take advantage of the kids eat free deal?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/calculate-the-stock-up-price-to-save-on-these-baby-essentials">Calculate the &quot;Stock Up Price&quot; to Save on These Baby Essentials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-cities-for-frugal-foodies">The 7 Best Cities for Frugal Foodies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Family Food and Drink children deals dining out discounts free meals kids restaurants Tue, 28 Jun 2016 09:01:03 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1740457 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Expenses You Should Never Cut http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_heart_000071794005.jpg" alt="Woman learning which expenses she should never cut" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the years, I've come up with hundreds of ways to trim proverbial fat from nearly every aspect of your budget. And I stand by those tips, tricks, and strategies because most of us have areas where we can pull back on the spending a bit.</p> <p>But some things are nonnegotiable. There are necessities &mdash; sometimes rather costly ones &mdash; that are required for us to live decent, healthy, and satisfying lives. What are they? Take a look at these eight expenses you should never cut, and let me know some of the areas where you just can't or won't shake out savings in the comments below.</p> <h2>1. Health Care</h2> <p>First and foremost, it's critical to have health insurance. It's required in the United States, whether from a private provider or via Obamacare, and without it you run the risk of either being denied care or racking up serious medical bills that could put your finances in dire straits for the foreseeable future.</p> <p>Aside from that, when you're sick or need medical attention, you want the best care you can get. Some prescriptions are expensive, too, and health insurance can greatly reduce those costs. You should never let coverage lapse because you're generally healthy or you don't think you'll fall ill anytime soon. Murphy's Law dictates that it's in that scenario you'll need medical attention, and you'll want to have insurance on your side.</p> <h2>2. Personal Hygiene</h2> <p>Soap, shampoo, and toothpaste are essential &mdash; and readily available, like on nearly every corner of your neighborhood, for not much money. Which is weird, because I know plenty of people, perfectly well-off individuals at that, who don't seem to use any of it on a regular basis.</p> <p>If you're one of those folks who likes to gripe at the cost of personal hygiene products and therefore use that as your excuse to skimp on washing yourself on a regular basis, you'll be happy to know that bargain brands, like Suave for example, do a bang-up job of keeping you clean. Not to mention that there are always coupons available for hygiene products, especially toothpaste, that can help reduce the cost of these items. Find the items on sale plus pair them with coupons and you'll spend oftentimes less than a dollar on what you need per item.</p> <h2>3. Personal Safety</h2> <p>Most of us practice personal safety consistently. We try to avoid automobile accidents, we look both ways when we cross the road, and we never run with scissors. Those are all subconscious decisions that don't cost a dime, which is why you might be asking yourself how personal safety costs you actual dollars and cents.</p> <p>For starters, the car that you drive should be rated for safety. When you're strapped for cash and need an inexpensive vehicle, choosing a cheap car that gets you from A to B may seem like an ideal option. Certainly there are times &mdash; and financial constraints &mdash; that call for this type of decision-making, but you'll almost always regret it in the long run. Instead, I recommend loosening the purse strings just a little more so you can buy a vehicle that will protect you if you're in an accident, opposed to one that's already falling apart.</p> <p>Another example is safety on the water. Life vests are cumbersome, and nobody likes to wear them. But you know what? They save lives, and there are millions of people in this world who will tell you that they regret not buying or renting life preservers during an outing that resulted in someone's harm or death. It could have been prevented if they had just sprung for the darn things. Thus, spring for the darn things.</p> <h2>4. Healthy Food</h2> <p>It's true, food is expensive, especially the healthy stuff &mdash; but you shouldn't be making cuts to your budget that include reducing the amount of healthy food you're eating by replacing it with less expensive, toxic food &mdash; like that microwaveable junk that comes from the freezer section or the stuff you grab at the drive-thru window.</p> <p>It's okay to indulge in it every now and then &mdash; who doesn't like to dive headfirst into a bag of Doritos from time to time? But most of your food should be fresh and nutritious. You owe it to yourself &mdash; and your longevity &mdash; to eat healthy, and there are lots of ways you can cut down on your healthy food bills if you put in the legwork before going grocery shopping. Wise Bread can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">save a substantial amount</a> on your supermarket bills if you do a little digging for advice.</p> <h2>5. Mental Health Care</h2> <p>Mental health is a hot topic of conversation nowadays, though we should have started talking about it seriously a long time ago. Personally I've suffered from depression and anxiety &mdash; and still do from time to time &mdash; and I've known too many people who have committed suicide because they weren't able to figure things out. Which is why it's my duty to tell you that your mental health is worth every extra penny you can afford. If you need medication, get the medication. If you need someone to talk to &mdash; which can help immensely when you're troubled &mdash; go see a therapist. If you have decent health insurance, prescriptions and therapy should be covered so you can afford to help yourself.</p> <p>And it goes without saying that if you feel like there's no hope left, please believe me when I tell you that there is. People care about you, and you can talk anonymously about whatever you're feeling by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255. You matter; whether you believe it right now or not &mdash; <em>you matter</em>.</p> <h2>6. Insurance</h2> <p>By law in most U.S. states you're required to have car insurance. So if you're thinking about cutting it because you don't drive very often or very far, you're in for a rude awakening if you have the unfortunate luck of being in an accident &mdash; and you'll probably go to jail on top of whatever expenses the crash racked up.</p> <p>Homeowners and renters insurance are also areas where it's not wise to be a miser. You don't have to have super-premium, platinum, Superman coverage, but you should have enough coverage to fully cover the things you own &mdash; so they can be replaced quickly and efficiently &mdash; in the event of an accident.</p> <h2>7. Debt Repayment</h2> <p>If you're already pinching pennies because you're in debt, it can be easy to brush it to the side and try to forget about it. You're in so deep that you'll never pay it off, so why worry about it, right? Wrong.</p> <p>In this case, you have few options to stay on track, but you may be able to cut something less important from your budget to continue making payments, or &mdash; and I know this is an offensive idea to some &mdash; pick up an extra job or side gig to start earning more income. The problem with debt is that it will never go away, and it's your responsibility to pay off what you've accumulated. You alone made those purchases, and you alone need to pay them off. There are assistance programs out there that can help, and I recommend researching your options in that regard, but whatever you do, don't act like it doesn't exist. It does, and it will follow you around like a black cloud for the rest of your life until you address it.</p> <h2>8. Things Your Kids Depend On</h2> <p>There's a buzzword that's being tossed around willy-nilly right now with regards to children and teenagers (and even 20-somethings). We hear it a lot: Entitlement.</p> <p>While I contend that American children tend to be somewhat entitled, there are some things to which they're <em>actually</em> entitled &mdash; like a proper education and health services. If your child needs a tutor, hire a tutor. If your child needs a therapist, seek therapy. Hopefully you had children for the right reasons, because you wanted to have a family to love and care for. If you're trying to be over-thrifty in these areas, you may not be doing the best job of holding up your end of the parenting bargain.</p> <p>Find areas in your own grown-up budget to eliminate &mdash; like one of your many memberships perhaps, or that adults-only vacation &mdash; and help your kid stay on the right path, physically, emotionally, and mentally. You owe them that much.</p> <p><em>What costs do you refuse to skimp on?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children">7 Frugal Living Skills You Should Be Teaching Your Children</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-to-start-taking-better-care-of-yourself-today">9 Easy Ways to Start Taking Better Care of Yourself Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budgeting children expenses family Health healthy foods hygiene necessary costs safety Mon, 30 May 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1717320 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Bad Money Habits You're Teaching Your Kids http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_hammer_piggy_bank_000070437303.jpg" alt="You are teaching your kids bad money habits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money is a taboo subject in our culture, which means it can be tough for parents to know how to talk to their kids about it. But children are little sponges, and the lessons they learn about money may not be the ones you intend to teach them.</p> <p>Here are four bad money habits you might be passing along to Junior and Sis, without even realizing &mdash; and how to start teaching them positive money lessons. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a>)</p> <h2>The Bad Habit: Entitlement</h2> <p>Every single parent has had this moment. You have made it clear to your kid that they may <em>not</em> have the candy bar or Thomas the Tank Engine figurine or other coveted <em>object du jour</em> &mdash; but the fit they throw in the store is worthy of a gold medal at the temper tantrum Olympics, and it's easier to give in than fight your sobbing child all the way back to the car.</p> <h3>How You Teach It: Caving in to the Tantrum</h3> <p>We all know this is the wrong move, but some days your nerves are stretched to the breaking point and it's just easier to buy the candy bar. However, making a habit of caving to a tantrum can lead to a child who rivals Veruca Salt in feeling entitled to anything and everything money can buy.</p> <h3>The Better Move: Acknowledge Your Child's Wants</h3> <p>The best way to head off an incipient <em>I want it NOW</em> temper tantrum &mdash; and thereby teach the difference between needs and wants &mdash; is to recognize that to your child, this <em>is</em> a big deal.</p> <p>For instance, with my own kids, I will often respond that the candy bar <em>does </em>look delicious, but that it's going stay at the store and not come home with us. Similarly, I encourage my kids to say &quot;bye-bye&quot; to toys or books they want me to buy, giving them the opportunity to make the transition from coveting the item to letting it go. It's not a foolproof method, but it does help them to at least have a framework for letting go of wants that they can't have.</p> <h2>The Bad Habit: A Scarcity Mindset</h2> <p>Knowing how much to tell your kids about big topics is something that all parents grapple with, and money is no different. That's why many parents end up simply falling back on stock answers like &quot;We can't afford it&quot; when their kids ask for something.</p> <h3>How You Teach It: Saying &quot;We Can't Afford That.&quot;</h3> <p>The problem with doing this is twofold. On the one hand, it can make kids feel resentful about how money is spent in the family if they do not understand why you make the financial decisions you do. They might notice that their sibling got new shoes but you couldn't afford the video game they wanted that cost the same amount.</p> <p>In addition, hearing that something is unaffordable can make kids worry about money and start focusing on instant gratification. Kids who hear that their parents can't afford something are learning that money is a scarce commodity, and that it should be used up quickly when it is available.</p> <h3>The Better Move: Invite Your Children to Plan Their Purchases</h3> <p>The big problem with the scarcity mindset is that it leads to zero-sum thinking and takes control out of your child's hands. If your teen wants to go on a ski trip with her friends, saying &quot;We can't afford that&quot; simply shuts down the entire discussion and makes her think that things might be more affordable if it weren't for that bratty little brother of hers.</p> <p>Instead, you could ask your teen &quot;How can you afford this?&quot; and put the control right back in her hands. That will allow her to start thinking of money as something she can earn and control, rather than something that controls her life.</p> <h2>The Bad Habit: Relying on the Bank of Mom and Dad</h2> <p>Your son has spent all of his allowance for the week when he is invited to go to the fair with his friends. Even though you swore you wouldn't give him an advance on next week's allowance again, you hand over some cash so he doesn't miss out on fun with his friends.</p> <h3>How You Teach It: Solving Your Kids' Problems for Them</h3> <p>This is such an easy habit to fall into, but it's a terrible lesson for your child. Watching your kid miss out on something &mdash; even if the problem is their own making &mdash; is tough for parents. You want to give them a fun childhood.</p> <p>But it is so important for children to learn that financial decisions have consequences, and spending all of their allowance money as soon as they have it means there's no money for other opportunities.</p> <h3>The Better Move: Let Your Kids Be Disappointed</h3> <p>It is far better to learn the lessons about financial planning when the stakes are low than when your child is an adult and has to ask you for rent money. Feeling the disappointment of missing out on the fair and understanding that you are not there to bail them out of financial woes is a lesson that will stay with your child &mdash; and keep you from having to maintain the bank of Mom and Dad into their adulthood.</p> <h2>The Bad Habit: Seeing Work as a Chore</h2> <p>Unloading about your terrible day at work is a natural reaction to stress. It's not a big deal to let your spouse and family know that you've had a tough day and that no one is to say the word &quot;spreadsheet&quot; within your hearing for the evening.</p> <h3>How You Teach It: Complaining About Your Job</h3> <p>The problem is when the only way you talk about work is through complaints. This teaches your children that work is a chore that must be gotten through in order to collect a paycheck. And while work can sometimes be that, it can also be a satisfying career, or even a higher calling that energizes you. Even if you do not have that kind of relationship with your job, you do want your kids to know that it's possible.</p> <h3>The Better Move: Express Whatever Gratitude You Can for Your Job</h3> <p>One of my favorite parts of the truly terrible final episode of <em>How I Met Your Mother</em> was the running gag about how much the character Marshall hated his corporate law job, but refused to say anything negative about it. Instead of complaining, he would say that his chair was reasonably comfortable and that he didn't cry at work more than twice that week.</p> <p>Though this is clearly an exaggeration, it is a good method to adopt when your job is stressful. Not only will you remember the good things in your job &mdash; even if it's just the fact that you're grateful to have a paycheck &mdash; but it will also help you remember that your kids are learning about the world from you. You don't want them to think growing up is the worst thing in the world.</p> <h2>Teach Your Children Well</h2> <p>Money habits are often picked up unconsciously, rather than taught. Instead of letting your children unknowingly learn negative financial habits, make sure you are intentional with your money lessons. It will pay off in the long run, even if it does cause more temper tantrums in the short run.</p> <p><em>Are you teaching your kids these &mdash; or other &mdash; bad money habits? What are you doing instead?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup&#039;s &quot;Unstuffed&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children">7 Frugal Living Skills You Should Be Teaching Your Children</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle allowances bad habits children job stress kids money lessons spoiled Wed, 11 May 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1703949 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_playing_games_000020528687.jpg" alt="Kids playing fun games that teach them about money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Parents want their kids to be financially savvy, and kids just want to have fun. Games that teach financial skills are a win-win for both the parent and child. Try adding these fun games to your family game night to get your child interested in investing, saving, and spending wisely. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-financial-gifts-for-children?ref=seealso">Great Financial Gifts for Children</a>)</p> <h2>1. Pay Day</h2> <p>How can we not start with one of the most classic games on money management? <a href="http://amzn.to/1S02fh3">Pay Day</a> makes finances fun and helps teach kids where money goes. It instructs on the fundamentals of budgeting and helps encourage an entrepreneurial spirit. If you can get your hands on an original 1970s version of this game, then you will get the version that comes with insurance options and savings options, which are also important to teach children.</p> <h2>2. Dave Ramsey's ACT Your Wage! Board Game</h2> <p>If you are a huge fan of Dave Ramsey's money principles, then the <a href="http://amzn.to/1S02HvY">ACT Your Wage!</a> board game could be a fun way to introduce your children to the same method of thinking. The board game does not come with as many decision-making options (such as in Monopoly) where players are allowed to decide what to buy, sell, and what property to expand to make more money. The main purpose of the game is for the player to do the following:</p> <ul> <li>Save $1,000 into an emergency fund</li> <li>Budget spending by using the envelope system</li> <li>Pay off debt using Ramsey's snowball effect</li> <li>Be the first player to get out of debt and yell, &quot;I'm debt-free!&quot;</li> </ul> <p>All four steps of the game are definitely wise money habits to instill in your children. This game can also be a great tool to open up conversation about the consequences of debt and how freeing it can be to live debt-free.</p> <h2>3. Charge Large</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/1V6Zrle">Charge Large</a> seems like a stark contrast from Ramsey's board game. While this game does promote credit card usage, the ultimate goal is to be debt-free. This game can help kids see that using credit cards is simple and can help you get what you want, but eventually it will lead to expensive debt if they do not use credit cards wisely.</p> <p>For a player to win, they must upgrade to a black card, save $2,500 in cash, and have zero debt. While some families wish to be 100% debt-free and never rely on credit cards, there are times when individuals will need to take out loans or use a credit card. Telling your children just to avoid credit cards altogether could backfire on you &mdash; since they will then be lured by the temptation of using &quot;free money&quot; later in life, not fully understanding the consequences of debt. It would be better to teach them how to use credit cards wisely rather than avoid the subject all together.</p> <h2>4. Cash Flow for Kids</h2> <p>Finance guru Robert Kiyosaki, best-selling author of <a href="http://amzn.to/1XqAiAp">Rich Dad, Poor Dad</a>, developed <a href="http://amzn.to/1SNdFqG">Cash Flow</a> and <a href="http://amzn.to/1V70mlD">Clash Flow for Kids</a> board games. This game teaches children the difference between assets and liabilities. It also teaches basic accounting and investing, while emphasizing the importance of passive income and giving money to charity. The kid's version is a good option for children ages 6-12. Once your children hit the tween and teen stage, try playing the adult version with them.</p> <h2>5. Net Worth</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/1XqArUI">Net Worth</a> is a card game that plays like Crazy Eights. The goal of the game is to collect financial assets and get out of debt. The card game also teaches players to strategize how to navigate financial perils, such as a stock market crash or job loss. The player with the highest net worth at the end of the game is the winner. The best part is that this game is less than $6 and takes 7-15 minutes to play.</p> <h2>6. Daytrader</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/1QST96M">Daytrader</a> is similar to Monopoly but much faster in pace. It simulates the stock market and helps teach young and old alike how the market works. No financial knowledge is needed to start playing. The game allows players to work at different jobs and to buy and sell stocks in the companies they work in to increase their savings. The first player to have enough cash to retire must get to the bank before the stock market sets them back in order to win.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite way to teach your kids about money management?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-money-moves-for-empty-nesters">7 Smart Money Moves for Empty Nesters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family">5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants">Best Kids Eat Free Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals">Should Your Kids Contribute to Family Money Goals?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family budgeting children kids money games money lessons for kids Wed, 23 Mar 2016 09:30:28 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1677288 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Tax Mistakes New Parents Make http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mom_dad_baby_000068517403.jpg" alt="New parents making common tax mistakes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Raising a child in America isn't cheap. CNNMoney and FutureAdvisor reported that it would cost $245,340 to raise a child born in 2013 from birth through age 18.</p> <p>That's a lot of money. But your children can actually save you dollars one time each year: When you're <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-tax-changes-for-2016">preparing your income taxes</a>. Kids come with some valuable tax deductions and credits. The problem? Many new parents, understandably overwhelmed with the burdens of taking care of a baby, fail to claim these savings.</p> <p>And that can cost them thousands of dollars. If you are a new parent, don't pass on these key tax savings.</p> <h2>1. Skipping the Child Tax Credit</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/Ten-Facts-about-the-Child-Tax-Credit">child tax credit</a>&nbsp;shouldn&rsquo;t be overlooked. If you had a new baby in 2015, whether through birth, adoption, or the foster care system, you can claim this additional $1,000 tax credit. It doesn't matter, either, on what day of the year you became a new parent. You can claim the credit even if you had your child on Dec. 31. Your child just needs to be younger than 17 at the end of the tax year in which you are claiming the credit.</p> <p>&quot;Having a baby gives you access to a tax bonus, and will help you reduce your taxable income,&quot; said David Hyrck, partner with New York City's Reed Smith. &quot;I see way too many new parents who overlook this child tax credit. Everyone needs to be doing this.&quot;</p> <p>There is one downside to the tax credit: It is nonrefundable if the credit is higher than your tax liability. Say you owe the government $500. Your $1,000 child tax credit will erase the money you owe the government. But you will lose the extra $500 that you could have claimed if you owed more than $1,000 on your tax bill.</p> <h2>2. Forgetting to Adjust Withholdings</h2> <p>Michael Eckstein, owner of Michael Eckstein Tax Services in Huntington, New York, says that new parents need to adjust the amount of money that their employers withhold from each of their paychecks for taxes.</p> <p>To do this, ask your employer for a new W-4 form. Once you have that form, indicate that you have a new child.</p> <p>Eckstein says that it's important to do this because children bring with them new deductions and credits. You should also tell your employer to reduce the amount of money you&rsquo;re withholding to account for these new tax benefits.</p> <p>If you don't, you will receive a larger tax refund. But remember: Getting a big refund isn't the goal. You'd rather have that extra money in your own hands with each paycheck. You can then use that money for important purchases, or you can invest it and watch it grow. That's a better alternative than giving it to the U.S. government for a full year.</p> <h2>3. Missing Out on Adoption Credits</h2> <p>If you became a new parent this year through an adoption, you're eligible for a significant federal tax credit of as much as $13,400. That's a big help with the high costs that can come with adopting.</p> <p>You don't have to use this tax credit in just one year, either. Say your bill for the 2015 tax year is $5,000. You can use $5,000 of the $13,400 tax credit and then save up the rest of the credit for future years. You can carry over any unused portion of the adoption tax credit for up to five years or until you use up all of the entirety of the credit, whichever comes first.</p> <p>To take this credit, your adopted child must be under 18 at the end of the tax year.</p> <h2>4. Skipping the Child and Dependent Care Credit</h2> <p>New parents should also investigate the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc602.html">child and dependent care credit</a>. This tax credit benefits parents who are working and must pay others to care for their children. To qualify for this credit, both you and your spouse must have earned money during the year from a job and must have paid someone to care for your child while you were working.</p> <p>Calculating how much you can claim for child care expenses is complicated, and depends on how much you spend on childcare, as well as your income. The maximum amount of expenses that you can claim for one child is $3,000, and for two or more children, $6,000.</p> <p><em>Are you making any of these parenting and tax mistakes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-strategies-for-the-sandwich-generation">5 Money Strategies for the Sandwich Generation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants">Best Kids Eat Free Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family">5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family adoption children deductions dependents kids new parents tax credits Mon, 14 Mar 2016 11:00:13 +0000 Dan Rafter 1665554 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves to Make When You Find Out You're Pregnant http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-when-you-find-out-youre-pregnant <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-to-make-when-you-find-out-youre-pregnant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_pregnant_belly_000043766734.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves after finding out she&#039;s pregnant" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the U.S., we welcome close to four million babies every year. These little bundles of joy rock our worlds and, often, our budgets as well. As a parent of three wonderful boys, I tried to prepare as much as I could before for their arrival.</p> <p>Between deciding what car seat to buy and picking out the perfect name, take the time to plan ahead for the financial wellbeing of your baby, your family, and yourself. Here are the top eight money moves to make when you find out you're pregnant.</p> <h2>1. Figure Out Parental Leave</h2> <p>Unlike other industrialized countries, the United States is the only nation without paid parental leave required by law. Under the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act, employers with 50 or more workers are required to let their employees take unpaid, job-protected leave for 12 weeks after the birth of a child, while keeping their group health insurance coverage.</p> <p>However, about <a href="http://www.today.com/health/problem-parental-leave-u-s-t38701">13% of Americans</a> <em>do </em>have access to some form of paid leave. So, inquire with your employer your options:</p> <ul> <li>Find out if the size of your company affects policy (e.g. businesses in Hawaii with 100 or more employees are subject to the Hawaii Family Leave Law);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ask your employer whether or not they offer temporary disability insurance (TDI) under its health insurance plan, what percentage of your salary that TDI pays, and whether or not you qualify for TDI;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Figure out if TDI is affected by method of delivery (usually six weeks for a normal vaginal delivery and eight weeks for an uncomplicated cesarean delivery); and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Discuss with your manager about the type of leave you'd like to take.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Discuss Flexible Work Arrangement</h2> <p>Whether you're the primary caregiver, or a spouse or partner that wants to be more involved during baby's first months, talk with your employer about a flexible work arrangement. Times are changing and more and more companies are willing to work with their employees to create flexible arrangements.</p> <p>Dads, don't shy away from asking your employer about a flexible work plan. According to the Professional Women Report survey by Citi, when asked about their biggest career regrets, 17% of men would have spent less time at work and more time with their families or on personal pursuits. Not spending enough time with their children was ranked within the top five career regrets by men. It's worth a shot because <a href="http://familiesandwork.org/site/research/reports/NSE_2012.pdf">14% of fathers</a> receive some amount of replacement pay for paternity leave.</p> <h2>3. Choose a Health Insurance Plan</h2> <p>Another important move is to decide to whose health insurance plan you'll add your baby. Ask your HR department to detail your available options if you were to add children or your spouse to your plan. Ask your partner to do the same with their employer. Then, compare the available options and choose the plan that better serves your needs.</p> <p>Don't forget to consider if some doctors that you currently visit, or will visit in the future, will be within the network of those plans. A plan may offer attractive coverages, but those benefits may be cancelled out by paying higher copays for visiting doctors outside the network.</p> <h2>4. Get a Breast Pump</h2> <p>Most health insurance plans must provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. Contact your insurance plan for more details about applicable benefits.</p> <p>Of special attention is the coverage of a breast pump, which could be a rental or for you to keep, manual or electric, or available before or after birth. Depending on your plan, it may cover even some of the premium breast pump models, some of which retail for close to $300. Your plan must cover the entire cost of the breast pump!</p> <p>Depending on the retailer and your plan, you may only be able to redeem your breast pump by visiting in-person authorized retailers or by calling a centralized redemption center.</p> <h2>5. Look for Hand-Me-Downs and Secondhand Stores</h2> <p>Take it from a dad of three boys: You will get so many clothes and toys, that many of them will go unused. For my third boy, my wife and I barely bought him clothes because he inherited all of his brothers' (some even still in their original packaging).</p> <p>Many of your friends and relatives have been waiting for the opportunity to share their baby clothes with you. This is a great free way to determine whether or not a onesie, burp cloth, or toy is worth the purchase. If you and your baby enjoy an item so much that it wears out in a few months, then purchasing that item brand new is definitely worth it.</p> <p>Also, find out through social media and search engines about secondhand stores for baby items in your area. Secondhand stores are very useful for exchanging unwanted gifts that have no receipt for items that you or your baby really need.</p> <h2>6. Join Amazon Family</h2> <p>Formerly known as Amazon Mom, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/family/signup/welcome/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;*Version*=1&amp;*entries*=0&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=EPW2LLWNIPJ54PVH">Amazon Family</a> is a variation of the Amazon Prime program, focusing on parents and caretakers with family-oriented offers. This includes 20% off diaper subscriptions, free two-day shipping, and a 15% baby registry completion discount.</p> <p>To maximize your savings, look for a free trial opportunity (which range from 30 to 90 days), test it out, and then decide if you would like to keep your Amazon Family subscription ($99 per year). During the trial period, look for high-ticket items, including strollers and cribs, that may be cheaper at Amazon than at local retailers. In my case, I saved about $200 on a crib and close to $150 on a stroller.</p> <h2>7. Research Babysitting and Preschool Options</h2> <p>Now is the time to start looking for babysitters and preschools. It may sound a bit extreme, but many preschools have waiting lists that go back one to two years. Your future self will thank you that you took the time to do this in advance and you don't have to settle for subpar alternatives.</p> <h2>8. Research Custodial Investment Accounts and 529 College-Saving Plans</h2> <p>Imagine if somebody offered you an extra 20 years to save for retirement or college &mdash; would you take it? In a heartbeat! That's why you should look into setting up a custodial investment account or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-conversations-you-must-have-with-your-family" target="_blank">529 plan for your child</a>.</p> <h3>Custodial Investment Account</h3> <p>Many brokerage houses allow you to set up an account to make a financial gift to a minor and help teach them about investing. With as little as $100, you can open a custodial account, have $0 maintenance fees unless you make a trade, and enjoy tax-free earnings until a specified limit. The account will be turned over to your child when he or she reaches the age of majority.</p> <h3>529 College-Savings Plan</h3> <p>The earlier that you start saving for your child's education, the less that you will have to contribute per month. Also, remember that federal taxes don't apply to earnings in a 529 plan, and 34 states offer full or partial income tax deductions.</p> <p><em>What money moves are you taking in preparation for the arrival of your baby?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-when-you-find-out-youre-pregnant">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle babies children expectant mothers family pregnancy Wed, 23 Dec 2015 16:00:03 +0000 Damian Davila 1625891 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/colorful_crayons_000051716822.jpg" alt="Creating cheap and easy DIY toys kids will love" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking for a great birthday or Christmas gift for your child? There are lots of toys you can DIY to give a personal touch. Check out the projects below for some major inspiration. And share your favorite do-it-yourself toy projects in the comments. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy?ref=seealso">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a>)</p> <h2>1. Colorful Crayons</h2> <p>Melt together a bunch of <a href="http://ourbestbites.com/2012/02/how-to-make-muffin-tin-crayons-and-a-printable/">old crayons</a> using <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=silicon%20molds&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=LK2BUROPZI6ZG46O">silicone</a> molds or cupcake tins. You'll be giving new life to something that might otherwise be tossed out &mdash; and even young kids can help with this project! Just take all the broken remnants, remove the paper labels, toss them in your molds, and bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 20 minutes.</p> <h2>2. Drum Set</h2> <p>Have a bunch of old paint cans you need to recycle? Try assembling this crazy <a href="http://www.floridaysmom.com/paint-can-drum-set/">drum kit</a>. You'll clean your cans and then give them a coat of spray paint. Attach the cans together with bolts and screws. And don't forget to add some fancy stuff like cymbals. Grab a pair of sticks to start jamming.</p> <h2>3. Felt Food</h2> <p>Here's a quiet toy your kids will play with again and again: <a href="http://everydaydishes.com/creative-crafts/diy-felt-play-food/">felt food</a>. Find a stack of felt in assorted colors, print out the free template, and get cutting. Adhere everything together with hot glue and stuff some of the foods (like bread) will <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YZ7G44/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000YZ7G44&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=7CMLIPMBEOLX5657">poly-fil</a>. You'll make watermelon, bacon, pizza, and more.</p> <h2>4. Sand Blocks</h2> <p>Got an old Jenga game hanging around? Use the wooden pieces to make these cool <a href="http://adventure-in-a-box.com/make-rainbow-sand-blocks/">rainbow sand blocks</a>. Glue three of your blocks into an open-ended rectangle, then do it again. You'll make the rainbow sand using cornmeal and food coloring. Then, place the sand into a plastic bag and glue the bag in the middle of your blocks. Add two more blocks on top to finish the frame.</p> <h2>5. Nature Blocks</h2> <p>For kids who would rather be outdoors than anywhere else, you can make <a href="http://adventure-in-a-box.com/how-to-make-waldorf-inspired-nature-blocks-creative-challenge/">nature blocks</a>. These blocks are inspired by the Waldorf toys and are simple to make if you have access to a hand saw. Go into your yard and find branches of different diameters. Then, let them dry someplace for a few weeks. To finish, just cut them into sections.</p> <h2>6. Kinetic Sand</h2> <p>Stop spending all that money on store-bought play sand. Try making your own with this <a href="http://gimmiefreebies.com/make-your-own-kinetic-sand/">kinetic sand</a> tutorial. You'll need plain sand, corn starch, dish soap, and water. Mix everything together and consider adding some tea tree oil to the mix to keep it fresh.</p> <h2>7. Magnetic Fishing Set</h2> <p>If you have a sewing machine, you can whip up these <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2014/09/diy-toy-fishing-pole-that-reels-in-and-magnetic-fabric-fish.html">DIY magnetic fish</a>. Buy some round magnets, cut out fish shapes using scrap fabric and batting, and then sew the magnet into the fish. Make a quick pole using wooden dowels, spools, and rope. Don't forget the magnet at the end of the line so you can catch the fish!</p> <h2>8. Fruit Stand</h2> <p>Forget the play kitchen &mdash; try making a <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/pernfors88/4212633525/">fruit stand</a>. The maker of this project used an Ikea Rast table as the base. The rest is a creative mix of scrap wood, shelf supports, fabric, and little bins. Your finished product might not look exactly like the original, but the idea is to have plenty of places to stash play fruits and veggies.</p> <h2>9. Car Mat</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.ragamuffin-baby.com/2012/09/vans-car-playmat.html">car mat</a> is absolutely adorable. The only problem is that it took the author over 20 hours to cut, sew, and embroider everything together. You can make something similar by picking up some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O7312OO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00O7312OO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QLAJSUJV67RORM44">duck cloth</a> (or other thick, sturdy fabric) at the hardware store, cutting it to size, and painting on a roadway, houses, and other cool spots with craft paints.</p> <h2>10. Hideaway Tent</h2> <p>Give your children a hideaway with this simple <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2014/07/collapsible-fabric-play-tent-for-kids.html">play tent</a>. Create a foldable A-frame using 1&quot; x 2&quot; boards and dowels. Then use five yards of fabric to sew the cover that will tie onto the frame. This project takes around three hours from start to finish.</p> <h2>11. Painted Treasures</h2> <p>Don't feel like making a toy from scratch? Try finding something old and making it new again using spray paint. This <a href="http://www.justalittlecreativity.com/2011/09/pimp-that-cozy-ride-little-tikes-car.html">Little Tikes car project</a> is amazing and only took a couple cans of paint. Clean the toy well before disassembling and painting. You can try this makeover with play cars, houses, and anything else that needs freshening up.</p> <h2>12. Play Road</h2> <p>Before you toss out your old jeans, try using them in this <a href="http://www.howdoesshe.com/easy-diy-road-for-toy-cars-made-out-of-your-old-jeans/">DIY road project</a>. After you trace a pattern for both curved and straight pieces, cut out your fabric from the old jeans. Then use glue and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001IKES5O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001IKES5O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=Z4K4CH2V7TPJ75D5">Mod Podge</a> to fix everything together. Paint on some yellow lines and let the races begin!</p> <h2>13. Lego Table</h2> <p>Your kid will go crazy for this <a href="http://www.chaosandlove.com/targets-toy-emporium/">DIY Lego table</a>. You'll need an old table (a square works wonderfully) and some of those <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K5W9TLY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00K5W9TLY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VDJG4GHI7R2K4CI2">Lego bases</a>. Use glue to adhere the base plates to the table and give them some extra support with a few Lego bricks on the edges. Let the glue dry, and this project is done in around 20 minutes.</p> <h2>14. American Boy</h2> <p>Boys deserve dolls too! So, when I saw this <a href="http://ginadwagner.com/how-i-created-an-american-boy-doll-for-my-son/">American Boy</a> doll in my Facebook feed, my jaw dropped. The mom took a standard girl doll (new or used would be fine), cut its hair, washed off its makeup, and dressed it in some clothes she found on Etsy. You can also sew your own for a personal touch.</p> <h2>15. Doll House</h2> <p>Make a super <a href="http://turkeyfeathers.typepad.com/turkey_feathers/2006/06/in_an_old_house.html">doll house</a> using an old dresser. You'll need a relatively tall dresser as your base, and I recommended checking places like the Salvation Army and garage sales before buying new. Leave the bottom drawers on for storage. Then take the upper drawers out to make space for your rooms. Paint and fill with doll furniture to complete the project.</p> <p><em>What are your kid's favorite DIY playthings?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">10 Homemade Child Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY children crafts gifts kids playing projects toys Mon, 16 Nov 2015 11:15:18 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1612421 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Save on Pregnancy Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-on-pregnancy-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-save-on-pregnancy-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pregnant_woman_belly_000046273858.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to save on pregnancy expenses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Babies are expensive. But if you develop the mindset of saving money before your child is even born, it will be easier for you to raise them frugally. Here are some ideas to save you cash during your pregnancy.</p> <h2>1. Visit the Dollar Store</h2> <p>Pregnancy tests can be crazy expensive. Fortunately, you can also get them at the dollar store! Some people feel concerned about whether or not the cheaper tests will work. Luckily, the technology behind a pregnancy test is pretty basic and, as long as you don't need early detection and aren't concerned what the package looks like, the cheap ones work just as well as the regular ones &mdash; and can save you a bunch of cash.</p> <h2>2. Be Smart About Maternity Clothes</h2> <p>Instead of buying new, try hitting up your friends to see if anyone has maternity clothes you could borrow. Shop thrift stores, too (most have a small maternity section). Buy items you can still wear post-pregnancy, like shirts with empire waists, or use a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005N7YWX6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005N7YWX6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VFEDZDMYKV3UN6PG">Bella Band</a> to extend the life of your regular pants. Sometimes, items in larger sizes will work just as well as maternity wear, and you will want these larger-but-regularly-cut clothes after the baby comes.</p> <h2>3. Add Practical Items to Baby Registries</h2> <p>A lot of people want to have useful things on hand when baby comes, but feel silly putting practical items, like diapers and wipes, on a gift registry. Here's the truth: You won't know if that expensive swing will work for your baby until after you have your child home, but every baby needs diapers. So put those practical things on your registry and let other people buy them for you. Gift cards are great, too.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-dont-actually-need-to-buy-for-your-new-baby-plus-5-you-must?ref=seealso">10 Things You Don't Actually Need to Buy for Your New Baby</a></p> <h2>4. Decide What You Need Based on Your Lifestyle</h2> <p>Instead of buying every baby item under the sun, try prioritizing based on what you already know. For instance, I love to take long walks, so I knew that I wanted to buy a really nice stroller during my first pregnancy. The point is this: You don't have to buy everything. Get what is important to you and wait on the rest. If/when you need it, you can get it then.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-baby-products-are-a-waste-of-money">Which Baby Products Are a Waste of Money?</a></p> <h2>5. Research Pregnancy Freebies</h2> <p>Lots of stores, like Babies 'R Us or <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/mom/signup">Amazon Mom</a>, offer point systems. If you pick one or two of these and use them regularly, you'll be able to earn free items. Since you'll do a lot of purchasing while you're pregnant, you'll be racking up points before the baby even comes. In addition, many doctors offices and companies offer all kinds of free samples if you just ask. Try things like formula, diaper creams, lotions, and more before you buy.</p> <h2>6. Compare Medical Costs</h2> <p>There can be quite a huge discrepancy between what different medical providers charge for the same procedures. Before you choose a doctor, hospital, or provider for any prenatal testing, check out all your options. This means doing everything from making sure that you are going to a provider covered by your insurance to figuring out who will give you the best price on things like ultrasounds.</p> <p><em>Have you saved money on pregnancy expenses? What did you do?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-on-pregnancy-expenses">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/calculate-the-stock-up-price-to-save-on-these-baby-essentials">Calculate the &quot;Stock Up Price&quot; to Save on These Baby Essentials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-financial-gifts-for-children">Great Financial Gifts for Children</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-more-ways-to-save-on-maternity-clothes">4 More Ways to Save on Maternity Clothes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-save-on-maternity-clothes">7 Smart Ways to Save on Maternity Clothes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-strategies-for-the-sandwich-generation">5 Money Strategies for the Sandwich Generation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping children expenses having a baby pregnancy Mon, 02 Nov 2015 11:15:15 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1603185 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Family http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_dinner_000037058432.jpg" alt="Mother doing what science says she should do for her family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We'd all like to create healthier, stronger families and deeper, more meaningful relationships. Fortunately, science provides some simple things to strengthen your family bonds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-body-every-day?ref=seealso">5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Body Every Day</a>)</p> <h2>1. Learn to Communicate With Each Other</h2> <p>Most parents want to speak with their children more and know more about their lives (particularly in the teen years), but when your child decides to speak with you, are you ready to listen? Simplifying their experiences and emotions, or comparing their experiences with your own, may just push your child away further. Instead, let them know that you are always there to listen and help when needed. Listening attentively and uncritically is the best thing you can do for your child or teen when they want to confide in you. Once they are done talking, calmly repeat what you heard them say to show them that you are listening and understand their feelings and actions. If they want your advice or input, they will ask for it.</p> <p>Don't hold a grudge when dealing with loved ones. According to the Mayo Clinic, <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692">holding onto a grudge</a> won't leave much room for happiness. Whether you've been holding onto negative feelings for the short or long-term, it only wastes time and increases stress for everyone involved. Holding onto resentment and negative feelings can even take a toll on your physical health, heart health, and sanity. Instead, talk things out and forgive, even if it's only for your own benefit. It may have all been a misunderstanding in the first place.</p> <h2>2. Spend Time Together</h2> <p>Simply spending more time together will help your family members feel closer and more connected to one another. In fact, family experts recommend <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201509/the-simplest-way-couple-boost-intimacy">sharing meals together</a> as often as possible to benefit your kids' mental health (and your own in the process). Spending as little as five minutes together over food and good conversation can help improve your overall relationship and lighten up everyone's spirits.</p> <h2>3. Get Outdoors</h2> <p>Spending time together is the first step in bonding and creating a closer relationship. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors when the weather is nice can also have a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/14/climate-health_n_4568505.html">direct effect on your happiness</a>. Find activities you can do together, particularly outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, walking, star gazing, and visiting the beach. Not only will you benefit from being outdoors, but you will also get some exercise together. Exercising has a direct effect on your health, fitness, and happiness. And getting a sweat in with family members can also keep you all motivated and on track together.</p> <h2>4. Gift More</h2> <p>You know the old saying that it's better to give than to receive? Well, it's true. A 2008 study showed that when 46 participants were given money to spend, those who spent the money on other people showed a <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/319/5870/1687">higher level of happiness</a>, compared to those who spent the money on themselves. And at the end of the day, who doesn't like getting a gift from someone they love?</p> <p>Gifts don't always have to cost money. Telling someone how much you love them can brighten their day and their outlook on life. Along with giving more to others, it's important to also show your gratitude for things and people you feel thankful for. This will make your family members feel more loved and appreciated, and you can also benefit from associated <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/?&amp;fa=main.doiLanding&amp;doi=10.1037/0022-3514.84.2.377">emotional and interpersonal benefits</a> in the process.</p> <h2>5. Smile More</h2> <p>Creating a household of positivity is key in encouraging your children. By simply smiling more and thinking positively, you can <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pride-and-joy/201212/positiveness-part-i-strengthening-family-relationships">encourage positive emotions</a>, which have been shown to broaden thinking, improve attention spans, increase productivity, and improve family relationships. Smiling <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2011/03/22/the-untapped-power-of-smiling/">stimulates the brain's reward mechanisms</a> even more than receiving money, chocolate, and other similar rewards. It has even been shown to alleviate physical and emotional pain, so practice genuinely smiling more everyday.</p> <p>Everyone deals with stress, but your family should see the positive, supportive side of you. Positive psychology says that having and displaying positive emotions can have a significant impact on our physical and emotional well-being. Most importantly, smiling just shows your loved ones you care and encourages a household of positivity.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite things to do to strengthen your family relationships? Please share your thoughts in the comments! </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants">Best Kids Eat Free Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals">Should Your Kids Contribute to Family Money Goals?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school">10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family bonding children kids love spending time together strengthening relationships Thu, 01 Oct 2015 17:00:37 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1571272 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Genius Ways to Store Toys http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_boy_toy_cars_000030753838.jpg" alt="Little boy learning genius ways to store toys" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your kid's toys can quickly take over if you don't have a great organization system. Sometimes all you need are a few bins or boxes to whip your place into shape. Here are a few ideas you can try in your own home to restore peace and tranquility to your living spaces. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?Ref=seealso">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your Home Look Amazing</a>)</p> <h2>1. Window Seat</h2> <p>Hide your toy clutter in plain sight with <a href="http://www.thriftyandchic.com/2015/03/hidden-play-area-in-plain-sight.html">window seat</a> storage. You'll need a couple of those cube storage shelves from a big box store. Line them up under a window, fill the bins with toys, and then use some decorative throw pillows to finish off the look. Bonus points if you label the containers!</p> <h2>2. Shoe Organizer</h2> <p>Is there anything a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HM5V0A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000HM5V0A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=H6BRWIEZAZYBD4KB">shoe organizer</a> can't do? We use one in the playroom to hold anything from art supplies to toy zebras. The method is pretty darned easy, too. Simply hang the organizer on a closet door and fill with whatever you need to organize. By the way, I like clear organizers best because your kids can see what's in them.</p> <h2>3. Bath Baskets</h2> <p>Scroll down a bit in the link to see this genius <a href="http://8footsix.com/2011/07/bathroom-makeover-before-after.html">bath toy storage</a> idea. Basically, you pick up one of those hanging <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00851FM22/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00851FM22&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ME3P2M3D3VUGYZFP">three-tiered baskets</a>. I've looked for them in stores, but can only seem to find them on Amazon. Then rig it up in your shower to collect rubber duckies, bath crayons, and all other fun water toys.</p> <h2>4. Puzzle Peace</h2> <p>Puzzles are seriously the bane of my existence. We used to find rogue pieces strewn about until we starting following the <a href="http://www.realcoake.com/2014/04/organizing-tips-puzzles.html">bag method</a>. Use quart or gallon zip-top bags when puzzles aren't in use. I've also seen people use pencil bags, boxes, and other containers. No matter what you choose, you won't lose that pesky last piece this way.</p> <h2>5. Storage Mat</h2> <p>We're thinking of getting our daughter her first set of Legos for Christmas this year. And I love this <a href="http://www.freshlypieced.com/2011/10/12-gifts-of-christmas-lego-storage.html">Lego storage mat</a>. You just sew fabric into a round and thread a drawstring through it for gathering. Of course, you could use the mat for storing similar blocks and trinkets. Don't sew so well? (Me neither.) Skip the fancy quilted design and stick with a single piece of fabric. A bed sheet would be an inexpensive option.</p> <h2>6. Hidden Cart</h2> <p>Make this <a href="http://www.jennaburger.com/2014/03/rolling-underbed-wood-storage-cart/">wood storage cart</a> to roll toy clutter under your child's bed. The tutorial describes how to build the low cart from scratch using wood, nails, and basic carpentry skills. I have a better idea! Find a cart at a thrift or antique store that's similar in size (even an old dresser drawer) and add wheels to it.</p> <h2>7. Car Rack</h2> <p>Place all those matchbox cars on the wall instead of in a bucket. I love this IKEA hack idea to take the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q4O5N6M/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00Q4O5N6M&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4CG3TPCIJIMNOVCR">magnetic knife boards</a> and use them in the playroom. Screw them into the wall and stick up all your cars. This isn't just practical, it will also add some cool decor to the room.</p> <h2>8. Book Slings</h2> <p>I made these <a href="http://pennycarnival.typepad.com/penny_carnival/2009/02/tutorial-hanging-book-display.html">book slings</a> when I was still pregnant with my daughter. We've since moved from our old house and into a new one. I'm thinking about trying the tutorial again because I love displaying her books with the faces out versus the binding. To make one sling, just get a couple dowels, some fabric, hemming tape, and wall brackets. You'll fold over the fabric to make a channel to put the dowels through. Then use some anchors to screw your brackets into the wall.</p> <h2>9. Dollar Solution</h2> <p>If you're short on cash, you can still create a great storage system for your child's toys. Head to the Dollar Store or other discount joint and pick up some plastic bins or milk crates. Then make this awesome <a href="http://www.hometalk.com/560837/3-step-storage-solution">storage shelf</a> by mounting them all onto the wall in a straight line. You may want to use anchors for extra support.</p> <h2>10. Toy Rotation</h2> <p>Is your place a toy-explosion no matter what you do? Perhaps you just have too many things out at one time. Try these easy steps for <a href="http://handmadekidsart.com/5-easy-steps-to-toy-rotation-and-organization/#_a5y_p=1291650">toy rotation and organization</a>. Start by dumping all the toys onto the floor (no, really!). Group toys into categories. Figure out what is broken, unused, or can otherwise be purged. Then fill a couple storage containers with a variety of toys and keep them in storage until you're ready to rotate.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your kids' gear organized and out of sight?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized">8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Organized</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-kids-room">11 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Kid&#039;s Room</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-controlling-toy-clutter">7 Strategies for Controlling Toy Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization children kids playroom storage solutions toy room toys Wed, 23 Sep 2015 15:00:25 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1561957 at http://www.wisebread.com