child care http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13074/all en-US 15 Jobs That Capitalize on the Growth in Rich Households http://www.wisebread.com/15-jobs-that-capitalize-on-the-growth-in-rich-households <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-jobs-that-capitalize-on-the-growth-in-rich-households" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_with_a_chefs_hat_in_the_kitchen.jpg" alt="Woman with a chef&#039;s hat in the kitchen" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The rich keep getting richer. Even among high net worth families, the fastest growing group is the richest &mdash; those with $5 million or more in investable assets, according to the Phoenix Wealth &amp; Affluent Monitor. That group grew 8 percent in the U.S. in 2017, and the high net worth market overall (meaning people with at least a cool million in liquid assets) grew by 6 percent.</p> <p>What does that mean for you? Maybe you won't be entering the 1 percent anytime soon, but could you work for the 1 percent? Here are some jobs growing in demand along with the wealthy class.</p> <h2>1. Butler/personal assistant</h2> <p>Perhaps stimulated by the popularity of <em>Downton Abbey </em>on PBS, the profession of butler has been on the rise. Times have changed, of course. Women can now be butlers as well as men. And while today's butler may share a lot of the duties that Carson carried out on <em>Downton Abbey</em>, such as supervising the rest of the household staff and decanting fine wines, they must also be comfortable with more modern responsibilities, such as acting as a concierge to score concert tickets, and making sure handheld devices are charged up.</p> <p>The starting salary is for a butler is around $30,000, but goes up steeply from there. Butlers work an average 60 hours a week and earn between $50,000 and $150,000, according to the International Butler Academy.</p> <p>Another source of demand for butlers is high-end resorts and condo developments, which are increasingly offering butler service as a perk. Sandals, for example, offers butlers with their highest-end suites, who provide services such as unpacking suitcases and bringing you drinks poolside. They book tours for you, and even anticipate your desires, such as having a bubble bath and iced Champagne waiting when you return to your suite.</p> <p>Today's butler may also serve as a personal assistant, or that may be a separate job. A PA handles the boss's calendar, keeps track of correspondence, and runs errands, among other tasks.</p> <h2>2. Chauffeur</h2> <p>When I was a business reporter, billionaire Larry Ellison once visited our newspaper. I waited with other staff in the lobby while his sports car pulled up to the front door. He got out of the driver's seat, and one of his bodyguards switched over from the passenger seat to go park the car. To me, this epitomizes what it's like to be super rich: You can drive when you want to, but you never have to drive when you don't want to.</p> <p>Clearly, the main job of a private chauffeur is to drive people around. You'll also be expected to keep a household's cars clean inside and out and in working order. You may need to keep the car stocked with what your employer needs, whether it's the morning paper for the ride to work or clean glasses and Champagne for a night out. You might be called upon to sit in the car for hours waiting for the &quot;principal,&quot; as servant's employers are typically called. Personal drivers earn about $40,000 a year.</p> <p>Another option for those who would drive the rich is to work for a private car service. While on-demand ride hailing is a new thing for the middle class, it's been available to the rich pretty much forever.</p> <h2>3. Nanny</h2> <p>Lots of middle income people hire nannies, but the ultrarich have their own style when it comes to child care. It's common for wealthy families to list teaching credentials as requirements for the job. In fact, I have a kindergarten teacher friend who interviewed with a wealthy Silicon Valley family to be the nanny for just one of their children; the other child would have his own nanny, and each nanny would have a car to drive her single charge around in.</p> <p>But that's nothing! Check out this <a href="https://www.childcare.co.uk/profile/2398492" target="_blank">UK posting for a nanny position</a> that went viral: It asks for a baby sitter with a degree in child psychology, self-defense training, and a willingness to travel as often as three times a week among the family's homes on four continents.</p> <p>But with great responsibility comes great compensation: The ad also offers a $140,000 salary and access to the family Maserati (unless you prefer to run family errands in the Porsche). This may be an extreme case, but it's pretty common for wealthy families to take their sitters on vacation; I know several nannies who have enjoyed these trips despite the work involved.</p> <p>If you have high-end nanny cred but would rather not live with a single family, perhaps a career as a vacation nanny is for you.</p> <h2>4. Closet nanny</h2> <p>A friend told me she interviewed a nanny once who had previously worked as a &quot;closet nanny.&quot; My friend was slightly disappointed to learn that this job entails not secret closet assignations for diaper fetishists, but merely cleaning up people's drawers and closets a couple of times a week. San Francisco company Clean Slate Interiors calls this service organizational maintenance, and charges $160 per hour for two organizers to keep up any kind of system that the company previously set up.</p> <h2>5. Pet nanny</h2> <p>Americans spent 70 percent more on pets in 2017 than they did a decade earlier, so it's not too surprising that there are more opportunities than ever providing high-end pet care. It may not be unusual to hire a pet sitter to stay in your home while you're on vacation or to walk your dog during a long workday, but the true elite hire live-in nannies to care for their pets 24/7.</p> <p>You could also work at a high-end pet boarding, day care, or grooming facility. Americans spent $5.76 billion on grooming and boarding in 2016. For pet owners who are merely well off, that may mean sending your dog to a $200-a-night spa when you travel. But for the ultrarich, there are services such as The Dog Store in Manhattan and the Hamptons, where you can pay $350 to $1,500 to have your pooch prepped for a trip with beauty treatments and a relaxing massage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-400-a-week-as-a-pet-sitter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Make $400+ a Week as a Pet Sitter</a>)</p> <h2>6. Cosmetic surgeon</h2> <p>Cosmetic procedures in the United States have increased by nearly 50 percent since 2007. This growth in demand has led to predictions of a shortage of cosmetic surgeons. Of course, this job requires years of expensive and rigorous training, but if you happen to be a medical student looking for a specialty, this is one that's growing with the size of the wealthy class.</p> <h2>7. Landscape architect</h2> <p>This is <em>not</em> a gardening job (although those are in demand with the growth of rich households as well). A landscape architect has a bachelor's or master's degree, has passed the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.), and knows how to use computer-aided design software. Median pay is $63,400 per year. These professionals spend most of their day at a computer, designing the models for the grounds of grand estates, as well as campuses and public spaces.</p> <h2>8. Estate manager</h2> <p>Different from a butler, this job involves managing any and all properties owned by the employer. Just as an operations manager for a corporation would be responsible for the campus, an estate manager may hire and oversee the grounds crew, make sure an emergency HVAC issue gets taken care of, and ensure security at all times. It's not uncommon for these managers to come from the ranks of corporate America or the hospitality industry, doing the same thing for private households that they once did for whole companies or grand hotels.</p> <h2>9. Housekeeper</h2> <p>There is overlap in listings for housekeepers, estate managers, and butlers, but in general a housekeeper's job is going to be more focused on housework. One housekeeper listing <a href="https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Householdstaffing.com/jobs/Housekeeper-33a670a4503420b1?q=closet+nanny&amp;vjs=3" target="_blank">offered $30,000 to $55,000 a year</a>, plus lodging, car, a phone, and access to a pool and gym. Required duties included laundry, closet organization, inventory management, and cooking.</p> <h2>10. Wealth planner</h2> <p>Any ordinary Joe can sit down with a financial planner and get advice about funding his 401(k), but elite wealth planners provide much more extensive service. They tend to devote their time to just a few clients, or may work exclusively for one family, planning not only for individual households' wealth but also making a long term plan for the children and grandchildren, as well as multigenerational charitable giving plans.</p> <h2>11. Personal/private chef</h2> <p>A private chef works for one family, making all their meals and sourcing ingredients. Personal chefs &mdash; who are accessible to the merely affluent &mdash; typically work for multiple families, making and packaging meals for the fridge or freezer. Then there are chefs who focus on catering home dinner parties. All these fancy cooks are in demand as the rich look for ways to save the most finite resource: time.</p> <p>Typically trained in cooking academies, with restaurant experience, being a personal chef to multiple clients can be a nice small business with less overhead and risk than a restaurant.</p> <h2>12. Personal trainer</h2> <p>The median pay for a trainer in the United States is only $18 per hour, but if you land a job at an elite boutique gym, you could earn much more. These places charge as much as $50,000 per year and count supermodels among their clients. To work at this echelon, you'll need the best certifications and experience, and will be expected to be able to advise on diet and supplements as well as workouts. Some wealthy gym rats pay two trainers to work with them at once: One to run the workout and the other to observe and give pointers on form.</p> <h2>13. Private jet interior decorator</h2> <p>Sure, you could be a regular interior decorator like a schmuck, but why not shoot for the sky (literally)? Private jet decorators design the client's ideal cabin configuration, pick the perfect upholstery, and if they want every fixture plated in gold or a movie editing studio in the sky, they need only say the word.</p> <p>In general, the private jet market has soared. New Flight Charters, a private jet charter company, has reported 12.5 percent year-over-year growth. Whether the jet is owned by just one rich family, time shared, or chartered, the growing popularity of private flight means there are more jobs for pilots, stewards, and maintenance crews as well.</p> <h2>14. Yacht crew</h2> <p>The yacht industry was expected to grow a whopping 20 percent last year, and yachts are getting bigger, with the average size now up to 51.6 meters.</p> <p>These mega yachts need crews: captains, mates, deckhands, engineers, stewards, chefs. Salaries range from $2,000 to $25,000 a month, depending on the role. You can even be hired to just live on someone's boat, like a house sitter &mdash; but, you know, on a boat.</p> <h2>15. In-house tech support</h2> <p>When you're a billionaire, you don't call Microsoft tech support and wait on hold. You leave that aggravation to your family systems administrator. For example, RDV Corporation, established by the billionaire DeVos family to take care of all their household needs, is hiring a <a href="http://jobs.rdvcorp.com/x/detail/a27vx29pnyl8" target="_blank">Senior Systems Administrator</a> responsible for &quot;ensuring that technology needs are met in family homes, offices, marine vessels, and other locations.&quot; Tasks include desktop support, supporting Apple TV, drones, and testing new products. Requirements include a bachelor's degree and five years working in tech support.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F15-jobs-that-capitalize-on-the-growth-in-rich-households&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F15%2520Jobs%2520That%2520Capitalize%2520on%2520the%2520Growth%2520in%2520Rich%2520Households_0.jpg&amp;description=15%20Jobs%20That%20Capitalize%20on%20the%20Growth%20in%20Rich%20Households"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/15%20Jobs%20That%20Capitalize%20on%20the%20Growth%20in%20Rich%20Households_0.jpg" alt="15 Jobs That Capitalize on the Growth in Rich Households" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-jobs-that-capitalize-on-the-growth-in-rich-households">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/how-to-profit-from-chinas-growing-upper-class-even-if-you-dont-speak-chinese">How to Profit From China&#039;s Growing Upper Class — Even If You Don&#039;t Speak Chinese</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/tactics-of-the-rich">Tactics of the rich</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-reasons-being-a-millionaire-is-overrated">5 Reasons Being a Millionaire Is Overrated</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/9-old-school-jobs-that-are-making-a-comeback">9 Old-School Jobs That Are Making a Comeback</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/highest-paying-jobs-for-people-who-love-kids">Highest Paying Jobs for People Who Love Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting butlers careers chauffeur child care maids one percent personal trainers private jets rich service wealthy yachts Wed, 25 Apr 2018 08:30:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2129348 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Saving Money Is Harder Today http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-money-is-harder-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-saving-money-is-harder-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sad_young_woman_counting_bills.jpg" alt="Sad young woman counting bills" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With a low overall inflation rate, and declining inflation-adjusted prices on goods such as technology and groceries, you might think that saving money today should be easier than ever. But sadly, that isn't the case. Prices of some of the biggest items in most household budgets have actually gone up faster than income has grown. Skyrocketing costs for key expenses, along with slow income growth, are making it much harder for people to save money now compared to past decades.</p> <p>According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U. S. Census Bureau, and the College Board, here are some of the biggest budget-wrecking expenses that are growing faster than your income.</p> <h2>Education</h2> <p>For many families, saving for college is a huge financial challenge &mdash; especially with the rapidly increasing price tag. Building a college savings fund to cover all of the costs is more and more difficult. As a result, more students and families are turning to student loans to make college possible. The average cost for tuition, fees, room, and board at a public four-year university grew 80 percent from 1997&ndash;2016, jumping from $11,390 to $20,500.</p> <h2>Health care</h2> <p>The cost of health care and health insurance has shot up in recent years. In some cases, a big medical expense can spell financial trouble: If an illness or injury keeps you out of work, the loss in income can make it even harder to bounce back from a large medical bill. Health care costs spiked 123 percent between 2000 and 2016, growing from an average $2,066 per year to $4,612.</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Purchasing a place to live has gotten much more expensive, with median new home prices growing from $169,000 in 2000, to $307,800 in 2016 &mdash; an increase of 82 percent. Expensive housing can result in a budget crunch in several ways. It requires a bigger down payment, which takes a lot of money away from savings at the time of purchase. Monthly mortgage payments are higher, and higher home values also result in higher property tax and homeowners insurance premiums. Higher house prices may drive people to consider renting instead of buying, but the price of renting has also gone up rapidly.</p> <h2>Food</h2> <p>The inflation-adjusted price for food has stayed flat or even gone down over the past 16 years. On average, income growth has kept up with food costs. Yet, <em>spending</em> on food has gone up in many households in recent years. People may be electing for more convenient &mdash; and more expensive &mdash; food choices as a consequence of working more hours to boost their income. Average food expenditures grew around 40 percent from 2000 to 2016, rising from $5,158 per year to $7,203.</p> <h2>Child care</h2> <p>This cost varies significantly based on location and the type of care, but many families with young children are struggling to find affordable child care. According to a 2016 Care.com and New America report, the average cost of a full-time child care center for a child up to age four is $9,589 per year, which is more than the average cost of in-state college tuition ($9,410). Even in a dual-income household, child care can be an overwhelming expense.</p> <h2>Debt payments</h2> <p>As budgets continue to get squeezed by growing expenses, debt levels have also increased. This can set up a vicious cycle where you have even less money available, which leads to more borrowing to make ends meet.</p> <p>For example, car prices have been relatively stable when adjusted for inflation, but the amount consumers are borrowing to buy cars has gone up. According to Experian, the average car loan as of 2016 stood at $30,032 with an average monthly payment of $503. Credit card balances and student loan balances are also trending upward, which means bigger payments are due every month, resulting in less money that could go toward savings or other bills.</p> <p>The overall economic trend is that some of the biggest expenses in many household budgets are growing much faster than income is growing, creating a squeeze that is making it harder and harder to save money.</p> <h2>How to save money anyway</h2> <p>There are two basic approaches to dealing with the financial squeeze of higher expenses and limited income growth: reduce expenses or boost income (or both).</p> <p>Housing expenses can be reduced by choosing a smaller, less expensive home. Renting a place to live can also be a less expensive option to owning a house. If you are not looking to move, consider <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths?ref=internal" target="_blank">refinancing your mortgage</a> to a lower interest rate to reduce your monthly payment. If you rent, you may be able to offer to do some maintenance and upkeep on the property in exchange for a rent reduction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs</a>)</p> <p>One way to reduce health care expenses is to stay as healthy as possible. But you can&rsquo;t avoid medical expenses forever, so consider using a high deductible health insurance policy with a tax-advantaged health savings account (HSA) to minimize your out-of-pocket health care costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a>)</p> <p>Meal prep at home is key to keeping your food expenses low. Plan out meals ahead of time so you'll have groceries on hand to cook dinner with instead of going out to eat or ordering takeout. Get in the habit of packing your own lunch instead of going out to eat during the workweek. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-foolproof-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">31 Foolproof Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill</a>)</p> <p>Minimize debt payments by using balance transfers or debt consolidation loans to reduce your interest payments, allowing more of your payment to be applied to the principal. This will allow you to pay off debts faster for less money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Finally, cutting expenses may not be enough to tune up your budget to the point where you can save as much money as you would like. Consider boosting your income with a side hustle to bring in some extra money to help keep up with growing expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs For Fast Cash</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-saving-money-is-harder-today&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520Saving%2520Money%2520Is%2520Harder%2520Today.jpg&amp;description=Why%20Saving%20Money%20Is%20Harder%20Today"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20Saving%20Money%20Is%20Harder%20Today.jpg" alt="Why Saving Money Is Harder Today" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-money-is-harder-today">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-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</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-money-saving-strategies-that-are-actually-hurting-you">25 Money-Saving Strategies That Are Actually Hurting You</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-reasons-why-financial-planning-isnt-just-for-the-wealthy">6 Reasons Why Financial Planning Isn&#039;t Just for the Wealthy</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/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</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/save-money-in-5-seconds-or-less-with-these-27-easy-tricks">Save Money in 5 Seconds or Less With These 29 Easy Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living child care costs debt education expenses Food health care housing income inflation saving money Thu, 28 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2076921 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Ways Your House Can Earn a Paycheck http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-your-house-can-earn-a-paycheck <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-ways-your-house-can-earn-a-paycheck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_for_a_home_concept.jpg" alt="Saving for a home concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As interest rates creep up, the days of wringing cheap cash from your home in the form of refinances and home equity loans are waning. But have you ever thought of making money using your house <em>without </em>tapping the equity?</p> <p>Some concepts, such as taking in roommates, have probably been with us for as long as we have lived indoors. But the rise of peer-to-peer commerce and smartphone apps have opened up new opportunities for homeowners or even renters to put their homes to work.</p> <p>Here are a few jobs your house could get.</p> <h2>1. Billboard</h2> <p>If you're in a suburban homeowners association, forget it. But if you have a property on a well-trafficked street or in view of the freeway, consider selling advertising space on your fence, walls, or even in the yard. You might need to consult local laws to make sure you don't find yourself in violation of the planning department on this one &mdash; which is probably why you tend to see this on highways in rural areas more than in urban or suburban neighborhoods.</p> <h2>2. Filming location</h2> <p>You might not have what it takes to get a close-up on the silver screen, but maybe your home does. The going pay rate for television, film, and even commercial sets is your mortgage payment amount per day. Sign up on <a href="http://www.locationshub.com/list-your-property/" target="_blank">LocationsHub</a> ($5 a month) or <a href="https://www.setscouter.com/" target="_blank">Set Scouter</a> (free, but they take a cut of the rental fee) so producers can find you. And don't think you need a mansion to qualify; productions need ordinary homes, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-home-into-a-moneymaking-star?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Turn Your Home Into a Moneymaking Star</a>)</p> <h2>3. Extra storage</h2> <p>You've seen facilities that rent out industrial-looking storage sheds where you can keep your offseason clothes, Christmas trees, and that chair that never found a spot in your new apartment but you love too much to sell. But did you know that you can rent out a closet in your own place for this kind of use?</p> <p>No matter where you live, you can list your extra space for free on sites like Craigslist, including not just closets, but also garage space, sheds, and even backyard or driveway space. If the storage space has a private entrance, you can provide the renter with their own key; if it's in your living space, you can set access hours and have the renter call you to get let in.</p> <p>This type of service is so in-demand in space-sensitive locations like the San Francisco Bay Area, that there is an entire <a href="https://sfbay.craigslist.org/d/parking-storage/search/sfc/prk" target="_blank">Parking/Storage category on Craigslist</a>.</p> <h2>4. CSA drop-off point</h2> <p>My front porch is the pickup point for neighbors who subscribe to a community supported agriculture farm share program. I don't get paid cash for the space, but I get a healthy discount on my box &mdash; and if more people start picking up here, I could get my box for free.</p> <h2>5. Yard sale spot</h2> <p>I never would have dreamed that anyone would pay for a yard in which to host a yard sale, but then I learned about <a href="http://www.127yardsale.com/find-rental-spaces" target="_blank">127 Yard Sale</a>, an annual 600-mile-long yard sale, for which home and business owners do in fact rent out property along the sale route to vendors. This made me realize that you could also capitalize on other special events this way. Do crowds pass by your yard on the way to the Fourth of July fireworks or the weekly farmers market? You may be able to rent your yard for a sale operator or to a refreshments vendor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-backyard-into-a-moneymaker?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Turn Your Backyard Into a Moneymaker</a>)</p> <h2>6. Co-working space</h2> <p>It never made sense to me that some home-based workers pay to rent out cubicles when most homes sit empty and silent during the workday. As a work-from-home mom, I've often wanted to get out of my noisy house to work, but I didn't want to travel to an urban area and pay top dollar for a co-working space with a fancy coffee bar. If there were a service near me where I could book space at someone else's empty house, I might have considered it.</p> <p>Here in the U.S., it seems that so far, startups trying to connect itinerant workers with empty homes have gone bust. Not to worry, you can always list your extra work-from-home space on Craigslist.</p> <h2>7. Child care location</h2> <p>You can of course open a home-based child care facility, but what if you're not interested in a career in child care? I found out that you can squeeze a little benefit out of your home by offering to host a nanny share for multiple families. Some share arrangements will allow the hosting family to contribute less to the nanny's salary. In my case, I received a different, but equally valuable benefit: Because both toddlers in the share took long afternoon naps, the nanny included several hours of housecleaning service in her workday, at no extra charge to me.</p> <p>Another way I have seen homeowners successfully use their homes for child care, outside the traditional home day care center idea, is by hosting after-school or summer programs. This is a home business that requires your labor in addition to your space, but you can host a summer camp at home based on arts or any other interest you have. Check into local licensing laws and insurance requirements before you get started.</p> <h2>8. Cold storage</h2> <p>There is a market of people who want to buy meat in bulk, but don't have the cold storage space at home. So it's plausible that you could rent out freezer space to folks who want to store a lot of food but don't have their own deep freeze.</p> <h2>9. Foreign exchange student housing</h2> <p>The U.S. State Department doesn't pay exchange student host families, although you can take a $50 per month tax deduction while you're hosting one. However, there are lots of private programs out there that bring foreign students to the U.S. and pay host families for their room and board. You can sign up with <a href="https://4stay.com/" target="_blank">4stay</a> or <a href="http://www.homestaynetwork.com/hosting/overview/" target="_blank">The American Homestay Network</a> to rent a room to students and interns.</p> <p>Another way to go about this is to contact a local university. Some of them keep a list of available rooms, or they allow people to post on a bulletin board to advertise their space for international students or visiting professors.</p> <h2>10. Lodging for nurses or other medical professionals</h2> <p>Some travel nurses move from city to city taking on new assignments arranged by agencies. These agencies may provide housing, so one way to become a host for a travel nurse would be to get in touch with one of these agencies. You can connect with these nurses through the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelnursehousing/" target="_blank">The Gypsy Nurse's Travel Nurse Housing Group</a>, or list your room on <a href="https://www.furnishedfinder.com/members/pm-add-property.aspx" target="_blank">Furnished Finder</a>, a housing site just for traveling professionals.</p> <h2>11. Get a roommate</h2> <p>If you have a second home or travel for long stretches, getting a roommate can be preferable to renting out your entire home, because it allows you to maintain access during the times when you are in town. Social media is a good way to find trustworthy roommates, since ideally they'll be recommended by someone you know. There are also websites and apps dedicated to helping people find renters. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a>)</p> <h2>12. Parking</h2> <p>I live on an island, and the ferry terminal parking lot always fills up before the last ferry of the morning leaves. Some folks who live nearby are capitalizing on that by renting out their empty driveways to ferry riders. You can list a parking spot in any of 15 U.S. cities on <a href="https://spothero.com/rent-my-parking-space/" target="_blank">SpotHero</a>, either on a regular basis or for special events. I've also seen signs offering parking rental posted on lampposts in cities, and seen college kids simply holding up cardboard with the price scrawled on it to rent out their front yards on college game days.</p> <h2>13. Vacation rental</h2> <p>The vacation home rental industry has exploded in recent years thanks to Airbnb, and now anyone who lives in a popular destination can turn a spare bedroom into a consistent source of cash. If you have dismissed becoming an Airbnb host because you don't have an empty bedroom, give it another look.</p> <p>Not everyone realizes that you can list your whole home on Airbnb while you're on vacation; I have done this several times with good results, and have even had guests who were happy to care for my cats in exchange for a discount. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-i-learned-from-renting-out-my-home-on-airbnb?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Things I Learned From Renting Out My Home on Airbnb</a>)</p> <p>You might also be overlooking spaces in your home that are &quot;Airbnbable,&quot; especially if you live in a high-demand area. I have stayed in lovely RVs parked in people's yards. I've seen a breakfast nook rented as a bedroom in Monterey, and a living room sofa listed for $15 a night in Columbus, Ohio. Some people also rent out camping space in their yard; if you do this, think through where your guests will use the bathroom. And if you don't love Airbnb, there are a few competitors, like VRBO or HomeAway, that could help you rent out your space as well.</p> <h2>14. Event space</h2> <p>Even my nonexpansive home has garnered requests for use for a workshop through Airbnb (I turned them down because I don't have one large room where people could gather comfortably). If your home is more of a showcase than mine, you could register it with a company such as <a href="https://www.peerspace.com/host" target="_blank">Peerspace</a>, which lists spaces for all kinds of events.</p> <p>One advantage to listing with a company that specializes in events, rather than Airbnb, is that they tend to offer insurance coverage appropriate for events, and have safeguards in place to make sure your property isn't destroyed.</p> <h2>15. Home swap</h2> <p>This isn't necessarily a way to generate cash from your home, but it is a way to get more value from it. Sign up for <a href="https://www.homeexchange.com/en/nomap?utm_expid=57943643-3.15Uhzp2-R0O3WS1gU0YBCQ.1&amp;utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com%2Fdocument%2Fd%2F1eBh-msBr8BBTqnBECUXr7LmXnLZZMflU8GGTzOAIsYk%2Fedit" target="_blank">HomeExchange</a> or another home swap site, and you can get a free place to stay while you're traveling in exchange for hosting travelers at your own place. Recently, HomeExchange debuted a points program that makes it easier to arrange non-simultaneous exchanges, which is great for folks who might want to rent out their home but don't want to deal with rent, which you may have to report on your taxes.</p> <p>In the past year, my family has enjoyed free stays in Santa Cruz, California; Lake Tahoe, Nevada; and Ashland, Oregon, thanks to home swapping; we're currently working on an exchange for France this summer. We enjoy that we are welcoming members of a more limited community into our home, as opposed to renting on Airbnb, and that when we swap with other cat owners, they are usually more than happy to care for our cats. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-exchanges-free-accommodations-with-perks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Home Exchanges: Free Accommodations With Perks</a>)</p> <h2>16. Package locker</h2> <p>Since ordering online has become the de facto way for many people to shop, secure package delivery has become a problem. Even in my safe community, neighbors are constantly complaining of packages from UPS or FedEx disappearing from their porches.</p> <p>Providing a package locker is partly a work-from-home job, and partly getting paid for your space: <a href="https://eneighbr.com/how-it-works/customer" target="_blank">eNeighbor</a> pays you $3.50 for every package you receive. The work part is that you have to be home from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to sign for packages, then hand them out to their recipients when they come pick them up. The space part, of course, is that your living room or other space becomes a little mailroom for these boxes.</p> <h2>17. Rehearsal space</h2> <p>You could rent out your garage, basement, or other large space to up-and-coming musicians who need a place to jam. Keep in mind, however, that nearby neighbors might take issue with this plan, so be mindful of local noise ordinances.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F17-ways-your-house-can-earn-a-paycheck&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F17%2520Ways%2520Your%2520House%2520Can%2520Earn%2520a%2520Paycheck.jpg&amp;description=17%20Ways%20Your%20House%20Can%20Earn%20a%20Paycheck"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/17%20Ways%20Your%20House%20Can%20Earn%20a%20Paycheck.jpg" alt="17 Ways Your House Can Earn a Paycheck" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-your-house-can-earn-a-paycheck">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-12"> <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/4-ways-to-find-income-while-waiting-for-full-retirement-age">4 Ways to Find Income While Waiting for Full Retirement Age</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/5-costly-pitfalls-of-hosting-on-airbnb">5 Costly Pitfalls of Hosting on Airbnb</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-retirees-can-earn-extra-income">9 Easy Ways Retirees Can Earn Extra Income</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/how-to-turn-your-home-into-a-moneymaking-star">How to Turn Your Home Into a Moneymaking Star</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/got-extra-space-make-money-and-meet-travelers-with-short-term-rentals">Got Extra Space? Make Money and Meet Travelers With Short-Term Rentals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Real Estate and Housing AirBnb boarders child care extra money foreign exchange students homeownership renting roommates side gigs storage venues Fri, 08 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2068117 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby http://www.wisebread.com/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_never_thought_i_could_love_one_being_so_much.jpg" alt="I never thought I could love one being so much" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Can you afford to have a baby?</p> <p>You may have calculated obvious costs such as diapers, clothing, food, and day care, but don't be too quick to assume that you've accounted for everything. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, middle income families spend an average $12,980 a year on each kid, and $233,610 in a lifetime, <em>not including college</em>.</p> <p>When I was expecting my first baby, I thought there was no way I could spend that much. I may have been more frugal than most, but I still ran into all kinds of expenditures &mdash; and decreases in income &mdash; that I hadn't anticipated.</p> <p>Watch out for these unanticipated ways a baby may impact your family budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke?ref=seealso" target="_blank">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>1. A birth that doesn't go as planned</h2> <p>If you have a high-deductible health plan or no health insurance at all, you may have carefully planned for a low-cost birth. That's smart. But one thing I learned from having three babies is that &quot;birth&quot; and &quot;plan&quot; can be oxymorons. So many factors are outside your control, such as when and where your labor begins, whether the baby has any trouble making their big entrance, and what kind of care you and the baby need after the birth.</p> <p>I know couples who planned a homebirth with a midwife, but ended up being transferred to the hospital in an ambulance for a C-section. If you are birthing at home or at a non-hospital birth center, both of which can be great choices, please have a financial plan for what happens if you get transferred. You will be under enough stress on the day of without adding financial unknowns to the mix. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-newborn-costs-that-took-me-by-surprise?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Newborn Costs That Took Me by Surprise</a>)</p> <h2>2. Higher utility bills</h2> <p>When my husband and I were childless, we lived in a San Francisco flat with no central heat and we typically ran our electric wall heaters an hour a day or less.</p> <p>Once we brought home our first child, our electricity bill jumped for two reasons: One, we felt that baby needed a warmer room to sleep in at night, not to mention the fact that I had to leave the cocoon of blankets multiple times a night to feed her. Two, since I took a six-month maternity leave, then left our child at home with a nanny, our apartment was suddenly occupied nearly 24/7 instead of only on evenings and weekends. We ran the heat much more, kept more lights on, and certainly ran more loads of laundry and dishes. If you decide to use cloth diapers, expect your laundry use to increase even more than average. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</a>)</p> <h2>3. Convenience food</h2> <p>When I stopped working full-time to stay home with my new baby, I expected to make more home-cooked meals. In the long run that was true, but in the early months, I had trouble getting dinner on the table. Like many babies, my infant fussed most in the late afternoon, and often I couldn't put her down without her screaming. Many things can safely be done with a baby strapped to your body, but stirring a dish over a hot stove or putting a casserole in the oven aren't among them.</p> <p>For many households &mdash; especially if both parents work and have limited time between day care pickup and dinner &mdash; bringing home a baby is going to mean also bringing home more pizzas, ordering Chinese, and heating up Trader Joe's fake out. Don't guilt yourself about it; just budget for it.</p> <h2>4. Health care</h2> <p>Your health plan may not charge copays for the well baby visits scheduled frequently during the first year, which is great. But keep in mind that these may not be your only doctor visits. An ear infection may lead to two visits and a prescription. For one of my babies, a cold turned into a hospitalization for pneumonia. Another had frequent chest congestion that necessitated a breathing machine at home.</p> <p>If you have been on a health care plan that only covers major illnesses, you may need to look into a plan that covers more frequent visits before your baby is born.</p> <p>Then there are all the nonprescription supplies that you might buy for minor infant health concerns: baby Motrin, teething gel, a humidifier to ease congestion, medicated cream for eczema or rashes, a high-tech thermometer, so on and so forth. All these things add up, and quickly.</p> <p>Babies have to be taken to the doctor so often &mdash; weekly at first, then monthly, plus sick visits &mdash; that even transportation costs for getting to the doctor may have to be taken into account.</p> <h2>5. Loss of income</h2> <p>The last time I earned a full-time paycheck was 13 years ago. I may never earn one again.</p> <p>My family is an extreme example &mdash; many must and do have both parents return to working full-time within six weeks of birth. But I took six months away from my job after my first birth, some of that time unpaid, and then returned as a part-time worker. While pregnant with my second child, I quit my job altogether. I only began contributing freelance income to the family budget gradually as my kids got older.</p> <p>Even for families where both parents plan to keep working full-time, income may decline. Both parents may pass up opportunities for overtime. Time for side hustles evaporates. Parents may have to take unpaid days off if the baby is sick, or for those numerous well baby visits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-side-jobs-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Side Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads</a>)</p> <h2>6. A bigger house</h2> <p>My husband and I brought our first baby home to a 750 square foot, one-bedroom apartment with no immediate plans to move. After all, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sharing a room with your baby! We were sure we would be cozy.</p> <p>Unfortunately, we almost immediately felt crowded out by baby equipment, not to mention the fact that there was nowhere to escape to if the baby was crying and one parent was trying to sleep or work. Living in a building with shared walls also became a problem, especially when the baby learned to bang her toys on the floor.</p> <p>Housing accounts for around a third of the expense of raising a child, according to the USDA. If you think you won't move after you have a baby, go to some open houses and ask the sellers why they're moving. Lots of them will tell you it's because their family is growing. And if you don't move after the first baby, you will probably want a bigger place once the second is on the way.</p> <p>Our family moved out of that one-bedroom flat into a three-bedroom house around the time that our second baby was born. The mortgage is twice what we paid before having kids. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-make-room-for-baby?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Easy Ways to Make Room for Baby</a>)</p> <h2>7. A larger car</h2> <p>You do not need to rush out and buy a minivan the moment you see two pink lines on the pregnancy test. However, it can be shocking how much space today's infant seats take up in the back seat. If you've been driving a two-door compact car, you may find yourself wanting something larger after the baby comes. And if you have more than two children, good luck fitting their car seats in the back of any sedan. The first baby saw us upgrade from a two-door hatchback to a Subaru; the third child sent us from the Subaru to small sport utility vehicle.</p> <h2>8. Life insurance</h2> <p>Before having kids, my husband and I didn't worry about life insurance. If I died, my husband would have been able to handle the payments on our condo by himself, and vice versa.</p> <p>But once you have a child, you have to ask yourself what would happen if one parent suddenly died. Your child would likely receive Social Security payments, but would this be enough to keep living where you live, to pay for child care while the surviving parent works, and to save for college? And what if both parents died?</p> <p>Life insurance costs can vary widely depending on your overall health and lifestyle and the specifics of your plan. However, you need to seriously consider this expense once you become a parent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here's How to Choose</a>)</p> <h2>9. Child care</h2> <p>Of course, you knew before you had a baby that you weren't going to be able to leave it home alone while you worked. But you probably didn't realize just how much child care would cost. According to a recent NerdWallet study, half of expecting parents thought diapering would be the biggest expense of having a baby, not child care.</p> <p>According to that study, the cost of full-time child care ranges from $8,000 at a day care center to $27,000 or more for a nanny.</p> <p>Even if you had realized that child care would be expensive, you may find yourself paying even more than you'd imagined. For instance, when my first child was born, I hoped I wouldn't need child care because I planned to change my work shift to evenings. That plan collapsed when my boss turned down my request. My second thought was to use a day care center, but I quickly found out that all the centers in my urban neighborhood had years long waiting lists for infant care. Home-based day cares were more affordable and available, but each one I visited had a worrisome condition, such as kids sitting in front of the TV for hours or being left crying in their cribs well after naptime. I finally ended up sharing a nanny with another family, at a cost far higher than I had anticipated.</p> <h2>10. All the cute things</h2> <p>You might think that you won't waste money buying clothes and toys for your newborn. After all, you got all those clothes at your baby shower. Then you meet your baby and realize that she's the most beautiful creature on earth and that beautiful creatures need accessories. After my first child was born, I developed a habit of popping into the Gymboree near my work regularly to see if new styles were in and if anything had gone on sale. This routine did not help our family budget.</p> <h2>11. Feeding</h2> <p>If you're planning on breast-feeding your baby, you might expect that to be free, right? Not exactly.</p> <p>A surprising number of newborns have trouble getting the hang of breast-feeding. You might need to consult a lactation specialist just once to help your infant latch and learn to suck, or you may need multiple home visits. You may need to buy products, such as nipple shields, to help the latch happen. All this struggle may wreak havoc on the mother's body and soul, necessitating anything from nipple cream to doctor visits for mastitis to seeing a counselor.</p> <p>Whether your baby succeeds immediately at breast-feeding or not, you still probably need a breast pump. You'll also likely need a better, more expensive breast pump than you thought. I've tried a lot of them, and trust me, a cheap breast pump will not enhance postpartum life.</p> <p>Many parents end up bottle feeding instead of or in addition to breast-feeding, which brings the expense of formula and bottles. You might even buy a sanitizer for the bottles, an insulated carrying pack for either breastmilk or formula, or a mini fridge for the office or nursery.</p> <p>In the second half of the first year, your baby will start eating solids, an occasion you can mark by purchasing many kinds of organic foods for him to spit onto the kitchen walls, and new feeding gadgets such as suction cup bowls and spoons that hold puree in the handle. Expect to throw away most of the food you purchase, either directly from the container because it went bad before your baby finished it, or after scraping it off the floor, walls, cupboards, and your own clothing.</p> <h2>12. Specialists</h2> <p>Taking care of a baby might sound easy before you try it. After all, humans have been doing this since they lived in caves. If that were true, though, there wouldn't be so many specialists out there ready to help you figure it out for an hourly fee.</p> <p>You might realize after you come home from the hospital that you need a postpartum doula or baby nurse to help you get back up to speed and get a few hours of sleep at night. Many more families than you would imagine consult a sleep specialist to help them figure out how to get their infants to sleep.</p> <h2>13. Baby gear</h2> <p>Before my first was born, I read a book called <em>The Baby Book</em> by a certain Dr. Sears. This book, which embraces attachment parenting, convinced me that I wouldn't need anything but my own arms and maybe a sling to care for my baby. After all, I would never want to turn my baby over to a mechanical device like a swing when I could be cuddling her in my arms.</p> <p>Then I brought the baby home, and I realized that sometimes I needed to use the bathroom or shower or cook dinner. This wasn't really covered in the book. We purchased our first baby swing, a weak little portable model. By the time we had our third baby, I had the most powerful swing on the market downstairs, another swing for upstairs, plus a bouncy seat for the bathroom, two strollers, and countless other pieces of baby gear.</p> <p>Even if you think your baby shower will cover your gear needs, the fact is that you will end up spending money on baby equipment. Don't feel the need to buy every single product that's advertised for babies, but accept the fact that there will be gadgets, and some of them really help.</p> <h2>14. Replacing things that baby wrecks</h2> <p>That sweet thing can't even raise his head; how could he destroy your possessions?</p> <p><em>Just wait.</em></p> <p>My babies have slobbered and mouthed a cellphone into oblivion. They've grabbed fragile things that I thought were out of reach and flung them. They have vomited on strangers and caused me to have to pay for those strangers' meals. They have stretched out the necklines of my shirts while reaching for my breasts. One of them even wrecked an expensive ballpark beer before I got the chance to take a sip by throwing a cleaning wipe into the cup.</p> <p>And oh, the pacifiers. I have surely spent thousands of dollars replacing pacifiers that babies flung out of car windows, dropped in the park, and just disappeared into the baby ether.</p> <p>You really can't have nice things with a baby around. And even your mediocre things will need replacing or professional cleaning more often than you'd expected.</p> <h2>15. Entertainment and education</h2> <p>Before I became a mother, I laughed out loud at a colleague who told me he took his infant to a music class. But when I was on maternity leave with my daughter, the hours began to weigh on me. We needed somewhere to go, and you can only grocery shop so many times per day.</p> <p>We signed up for a baby sign language class and later &mdash; yes &mdash; a baby music class.</p> <p>For the parents, there are also continuing education classes to pay for, such as infant CPR. And if you stay home with your baby, there's the cost of being out and about instead of sitting in an office all day. I found myself spending on things like lattes and lunches with other moms, just because I was out pushing the stroller.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F15%2520Unexpected%2520Expenses%2520of%2520a%2520New%2520Baby.jpg&amp;description=15%20Unexpected%20Expenses%20of%20a%20New%20Baby"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/15%20Unexpected%20Expenses%20of%20a%20New%20Baby.jpg" alt="15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby">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/why-saving-money-is-harder-today">Why Saving Money Is Harder Today</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/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</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-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</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/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</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-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family babies child care day care expenses Food Health hidden costs income infants newborns unexpected costs Tue, 24 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2039971 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-520005424.jpg" alt="Couple finding out how taxes change after having a kid" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no question that having a kid will change your life financially. Introducing a new child to your household adds a slew of new costs, but the good news is that the American tax code is written to help families with some of these expenses.</p> <p>The IRS &mdash; yes, that benevolent organization &mdash; offers a variety of tax credits, deductions, and other incentives that could lead to a smaller tax bill when you have a child. But this also makes your taxes more complicated. So here's a review of what your new baby might mean as you file this year's return.</p> <h2>You get to claim an exemption just for having a kid</h2> <p>When you have a child, you can claim an exemption that will reduce your taxable income by $4,050. And for each child you have, you get to claim another exemption. (So four kids represents $16,200 deducted from your taxable income.)</p> <h2>You can also claim the child tax credit</h2> <p>Yes, you get an additional break on your taxes just by adding a member to your family. You can reduce your tax bill by $1,000 for every dependent in your household. This usually includes any family member 17 or under that lives with you, including adopted children, foster children, and even nieces and nephews if you are their primary caregiver. The benefit is reduced once you hit $110,000 gross income if filing jointly, or $75,000 if filing alone.</p> <h2>You can reduce your taxable income by saving for college</h2> <p>The second you have a child, you can begin saving for college and get some nice tax breaks for doing it. The most popular vehicle is called a 529 college savings plan, and many states allow you to deduct contributions from your taxable income. Gains on the investments in a 529 plan also are not taxed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <p>You may save money when you eventually send your child to school. As of 2016, it was possible to get a $2,000 Lifetime Learning Credit each year for qualified education expenses, or a $2,500 American Opportunity Credit. There are <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ar02.html#en_US_2016_publink1000255787" target="_blank">some subtle differences</a> between the two credits, which you can learn more about <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch03.html" target="_blank">at the IRS website. </a></p> <h2>You might take advantage of a health savings account</h2> <p>You and your partner might not worry about health care expenses, but they become more of an issue when you have kids. Many employers offer health savings accounts (HSAs), which allow you to divert some money into an account to pay for health care expenses you might accrue. Any money placed in an HSA is deducted from your taxable income. You may find it's worth contributing to an HSA if your child has health challenges, or if you have a health insurance plan with a high deductible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>)</p> <h2>You might save less for retirement &mdash; and thus pay more tax</h2> <p>Are you planning to dial back your retirement savings in order to meet the financial demands of a new child? If so, it's important to know how that impacts your tax bill. Any contributions you place in a 401(k) or traditional IRA are deducted from your taxable income, so if you are putting less aside, your tax bill may be higher. Ideally, you'll be able to save at the same rate as always, but if not, be sure to anticipate paying more in tax.</p> <h2>You may pay less tax if you stop working</h2> <p>Many families find that their gross income goes down after having a kid because one parent stops working full-time or altogether. Lower income means lower taxes, and you may even move into a lower tax bracket. (Moving from $80,000 to $60,000 in earned income, for example, means you pay 15 percent in tax instead of 25 percent when filing jointly.) This lower tax helps take the sting out of having less income overall, and in some cases, you may even end up with more take-home pay.</p> <h2>If you pay for child care, you might get a tax break</h2> <p>The IRS allows parents to save money on their taxes if they pay someone to care for their children. This is a great thing for working parents. The child and dependent tax credit offers up to $1,050 for one person receiving care, or $2,100 for two or more. Poorer families can get 35 percent back of any qualifying child care costs.</p> <p>Many parents may save more on their taxes by instead utilizing a dependent care flexible savings account. If your employer offers such an account, you can set aside as much as $5,000 of your paycheck to cover child care costs. Contributions to this account are deducted from your taxable income, thus reducing your tax liability.</p> <h2>If you employ a nanny, your taxes could get complicated</h2> <p>In most cases like the situations above, there are tax breaks to help offset the cost of child care. But if you directly hire a nanny &mdash; as opposed to hiring one through an agency &mdash; you may be considered an employer in the eyes of the IRS. That means a boatload of paperwork, and you're on the hook for things like Social Security, unemployment, and Medicare taxes. So be sure to take all of this into account when researching child care options.</p> <h2>Expanding your home may have tax advantages</h2> <p>When you have a child, you may realize you need to expand your home with a new family room, bedrooms, or other space. The bad news here is that you can't claim the cost of home improvements on your taxes. But, any home upgrades will be added to the cost basis of your home. Thus, you may be able to reduce or even eliminate capital gains taxes when you sell.</p> <p>If you do make upgrades, you can deduct the cost of things to make the home more energy-efficient, such as Energy Star rated windows and appliances.</p> <h2>Adopting a child comes with a big tax break</h2> <p>If you adopt a child, you get some significant tax breaks in addition to the ones listed above. The Federal Adoption Tax Credit gives families a maximum of $13,460 to offset qualified adoption expenses. This can include adoption fees, court fees, travel costs, and attorney fees, among other costs. Parents who adopt a child may also receive additional tax credits from their state.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">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/4-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make">4 Tax Mistakes New Parents Make</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/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</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/save-money-with-a-dependent-care-tax-credit-and-fsa">Save Money with a Dependent Care Tax Credit and FSA</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/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care">Don&#039;t Miss Out on This Easy Way to Pay for Child Care</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-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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Taxes adoption american opportunity credit child care children deductions dependents exemptions kids lifetime learning credit parents tax credits Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:30:33 +0000 Tim Lemke 1913753 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Reasons Paid Parental Leave Is Essential for Moms and Dads http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_new_baby_46762432.jpg" alt="New parents learning why parental leave is essential" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The United States is one of only two countries in the world that does not offer guaranteed family leave for new parents &mdash; the other one being Papua New Guinea.</p> <p>The U.S. isn't completely without family leave policy, of course. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 guarantees that eligible workers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a new baby or adoption (or to care for an ailing family member) without it affecting their employment. But only about 60% of American workers meet FMLA eligibility requirements, and even those who do might not be able to afford to take 12 weeks off without a paycheck.</p> <p>There are a couple of deeply entrenched economic beliefs behind America's lack of paid parental leave: First, that companies cannot afford (and should not have to afford) the cost of paying an employee who is not working, and second, that having children is an individual choice that does not (and should not) affect society financially.</p> <p>But the truth is that both of those economic beliefs are just that &mdash; beliefs. In reality, we are shortchanging ourselves as a country by not offering paid parental leave. Here are the five most important financial reasons why paid parental leave is essential. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-best-jobs-for-working-moms-and-dads?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Best Jobs for Working Moms and Dads</a>)</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave Costs Companies Less Than Turnover</h2> <p>It seems like a pretty simple economic truth: An employee is only valuable to a company if he or she is producing work for a paycheck. Paying an employee to stay home with a new baby or newly adopted child costs the employer money without getting any benefit in return.</p> <p>The problem with this view of employment is how narrow it is. An employee's usefulness to a company is much greater than any particular 12-week span, particularly when you consider the cost of hiring a new employee to fill the gap. In California, where 12 weeks of paid family leave has been the law of the state for over a decade, researchers have found that mothers who took such leave were 6% more likely to <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w17715">be working a year later</a> than those who did not.</p> <p>The same researchers have also discovered that California women who took leave and returned to their jobs worked 15% to 20% more hours during the second year of their child's life than those who did not take leave.</p> <p>Looking at the situation from a purely financial perspective, companies are going to be better off paying new parents for leave rather than spending money on hiring new employees, particularly considering the fact that employees who have taken advantage of paid parental leave will feel great loyalty toward their employers.</p> <p>The facts from California bear this out. The President's Council of Economic Advisers reported in 2014 that more than 90% of employers affected by California's paid leave initiative saw either a <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/leave_report_final.pdf">positive or no noticeable effect</a> on profitability, turnover, or morale due to implementation of paid family leave.</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave Saves Money on Health Care</h2> <p>Mothers who have time to stay home with newborns have healthier babies than women who must return to work quickly. According to a study of European paid parental leave policies conducted by the University of North Carolina, more generous paid parental leave is found to <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167629600000473">reduce infant mortality</a> and improve overall health in children. Considering the consistently rising costs of health care in the United States, the cost of paying for parental leave is going to be much cheaper for our government, society, and private sector than the cost of paying for a sick child's health care.</p> <p>But it's not just the children who experience health benefits from paid parental leave. Mothers who have longer paid maternity leave report fewer symptoms of <a href="http://www.nber.org/bah/winter04/w10206.html">postpartum depression</a>, which means they are better able to be fully engaged both at work and with their babies. And the mental health benefits do not stop with baby's first year. According to a study by the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging, and Retirement in the UK, women who were able to use a more generous maternity leave policy were 14% less likely to <a href="http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=133880">suffer late life depression</a>.</p> <p>Fathers also experience mental health benefits by getting paid time off. Israeli researchers have found fathers who work as primary caregivers for their children will see changes in an area of the brain called the amygdala that help them to become <a href="https://consumer.healthday.com/caregiving-information-6/infant-and-child-care-health-news-410/dad-s-brain-becomes-more-maternal-when-he-s-primary-caregiver-study-688176.html">better suited to parenting</a>. In addition, a father's immersion in parenting duties has also been correlated with both <a href="http://www.fira.ca/cms/documents/29/Effects_of_Father_Involvement.pdf">enhanced child development</a> and improved marital relationships &mdash; all of which can help the entire family's mental and physical health.</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave vs. Public Assistance</h2> <p>Several states in addition to California have launched statewide paid parental leave initiatives. In New Jersey, a study from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, discovered that mothers who had used the state's paid family leave policy were <a href="http://news.rutgers.edu/news-releases/2012/01/rutgers-study-finds-20120118#.V4P6mUYrLIV">more likely to be working</a> nine to 12 months after their baby was born than mothers who had not used the leave.</p> <p>So what were the nonworking mothers doing? In many cases, families who do not have access to paid parental leave are forced to rely on other methods of getting by. In particular, the Rutgers study found that women who took paid parental leave in New Jersey were 39% less likely to be on public assistance and 40% less likely to receive food stamps in their child's first year compared to parents who did not take leave.</p> <p>It can be difficult to tease out the differences between the taxpayer costs of state-mandated parental leave compared to the taxpayer costs of public assistance, but it seems much more financially beneficial for the family to use paid leave and ensure job continuity.</p> <h2>Paternity Leave Increases Maternal Paychecks</h2> <p>Much of the conversations about family leave centers around the mother-child bond, which is certainly understandable. Mom is the one whose body goes through the wringer during pregnancy and childbirth, and more time for her to physically recover and bond with baby is a good thing.</p> <p>But when Dad takes time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, the entire family benefits financially. In Sweden, which mandates that fathers must take two months off for the birth of a new child (and that time can be taken anytime in Junior's first eight years), researchers found that the <a href="https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/45782/1/623752174.pdf">mother's annual income increased</a> by nearly 7% for each month that the father took off from work.</p> <h2>The Children Are Our (Financial) Future</h2> <p>As much as parental leave helps parents, it's important to remember how much it benefits the kids. Mothers who used maternity leave will see their children attain higher education, have higher IQs, and <a href="http://ftp.iza.org/dp5793.pdf">earn higher incomes</a> than mothers who didn't, according to research from The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn. These effects were biggest in families where the parents had less education and were less likely to have jobs that offered paid parental leave.</p> <p>That means making a relatively small sacrifice now by instituting parental leave will lead to smarter, better educated, and more financially secure adults in 30 years or so. Those kids are the ones I want taking care of things once I'm back to drooling again &mdash; not the kids who were treated as a financial burden.</p> <h2>Widening Our Vision</h2> <p>The view that parental leave is too expensive is the societal version of spending a dollar to save a nickel. Parental leave benefits parents, children, and society far more than it costs. If everyone treated the cost of having children the same way many U.S. employers do &mdash; as a cost that is too great to bear &mdash; then the world would get dark and depressing PDQ.</p> <p>Children are a social good, and we reap much more than we sow by paying the cost of parental leave.</p> <p><em>Does your employer offer paid parental leave?</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/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads">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-great-retail-jobs-for-working-parents">5 Great Retail Jobs for Working Parents</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/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</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/why-saving-money-is-harder-today">Why Saving Money Is Harder 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/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby">15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby</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/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">New Job? Don&#039;t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Family benefits child care employers having children health care income maternity parental leave paternity salaries turnover Wed, 20 Jul 2016 09:00:13 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1755638 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Miss Out on This Easy Way to Pay for Child Care http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_playing_toys_88157727.jpg" alt="Finding easy way to pay for child care" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lot of people are aware that they can sock money into their employer's Health Care Flexible Savings Account program to be ready for the next root canal or other medical expense. But not everyone realizes that there is another kind of FSA &mdash; the Dependent Care FSA &mdash; that can be an even better benefit to stressed families.</p> <p>Families who make the most of their employer's Dependent Care FSA can save $1,500 or more, says Jody Dietel, Chief Compliance Officer at <a href="https://www.wageworks.com/">WageWorks</a>, one of the companies that administrates FSAs. This is based on the annual $5,000 contribution limit, and her estimate that most families save 30% to 40% in taxes by participating.</p> <p>&quot;You could pay for your family's summer vacation by participating in a Dependent Care Flex Spending Account,&quot; Dietel says.</p> <p>Like Health Care FSAs, Dependent Care FSAs are offered as part of employer benefit packages. Both kinds of FSA allow workers to set aside a certain amount of their pay, free of state, federal, and Social Security taxes, to apply to qualifying expenses. For the dependent care FSA, qualifying expenses are for day care for your dependents while you work or look for work.</p> <p>Sounds good, right? And yet, Dietel says, many workers whose employers offer these plans never sign up for them. Here's why you should not let this opportunity pass you by:</p> <h2>1. Day Care Is Expensive, But Predictable</h2> <p>While you may put aside a lot of money for medical expenses and then not end up needing it, most families with young kids will easily spend the $5,000 contribution limit. In fact, sending an infant to a child care center costs between <a href="http://usa.childcareaware.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Parents-and-the-High-Cost-of-Child-Care-2015-FINAL.pdf">$10,000 and $20,000 a year</a>. And unlike a root canal, you typically know at the beginning of the year that you're going to need day care.</p> <h2>2. If Your Needs Change, You Can Change Your Contribution</h2> <p>Although <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer" target="_blank">child care expenses</a> are relatively predictable, things happen. You may change providers, or change the number of hours you work. Such things are qualifying events that allow you to change the amount you contribute to the FSA or stop contributing altogether, Dietel says.</p> <p>&quot;Let's say your mother comes to spend three months with you during the summer (to care for your children). You could stop your day care flexible spending contributions,&quot; she explains.</p> <h2>3. It's Not Just for Kids</h2> <p>Most people only think of these plans for child care, but they can actually be used to pay for the care of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/personalfinance/lifeevents/benefits/dependentFSAs.php">any dependent or household member</a> who can't care for themselves. For example, if your spouse becomes disabled, or you become responsible for your parents' care, you can use FSA funds to pay for that.</p> <p>&quot;More people now are taking care of elderly parents,&quot; Dietel says.</p> <h2>4. You Can Use It to Pay for Classes and Day Camps</h2> <p>Dependent care FSAs are not just for day care centers or baby sitters. You can also use it send your kid to an after-school gymnastics class or a summer day camp &mdash; as long as the primary purpose of the camp or class is to provide supervision while you work or look for a job. This provision can be a lifesaver for the summer months, when paying for activities while kids are out of school strains family budgets.</p> <p>The only caveats: You can't pay for sleep-away camp with FSA funds, and the primary purpose of the day camp should be care, not learning a skill.</p> <h2>5. Even If You Don't Spend Every Dime, You May Still Come Out Ahead</h2> <p>Some workers are scared away from FSAs by the use-it-or-lose-it aspect &mdash; if you have unspent funds left at the end of the year, you forfeit them. But you shouldn't let that fear keep you from taking advantage of this benefit. First of all, Dietel points out, even when the calendar year ends, many employers now offer grace periods in which to spend any unused funds. And even when the time has truly run out, many families are able to claim any remaining funds by looking through their records and submitting receipts that they had overlooked.</p> <p>But even if you have a few bucks you can't claim, don't despair. As Dietel puts it, if you saved $1,500 over the course of the year, leaving $25 or $50 unclaimed is not a net loss.</p> <h2>6. FSAs Are Usually a Better Deal Than the Dependent Care Tax Credit</h2> <p>When filing your taxes, you have the option to deduct some of your&nbsp;<a href="http://www.probenefits.com/participants/learn/articles/dependent-care-fsa-or-tax-credit">annual child care expenses</a>. You can't double dip &mdash; that is, you can't take a tax credit on care you paid for through your FSA. The FSA is usually the better deal, Dietel says, because it exempts you from state taxes and Social Security, not just federal taxes.</p> <p>Although you can't double dip, you may not have to choose. Dietel points out that if you have enough child care expenses to satisfy the IRS requirements for the Dependent Care Tax Credit and use up your FSA separately, you can use both, applying each to different expenses. Consult an accountant or the IRS for more details on how to do that legally.</p> <h2>7. It's Easier to Use Than You Think</h2> <p>In the past, workers had to fax or scan in and upload paper receipts to get reimbursed from FSAs. But if you haven't had one for a while, you might not know that a lot of administrators now offer more convenient options, like mobile apps that allow your care provider to sign right on your phone.</p> <p><em>Are you using an FSA to help pay for child care?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care">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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</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/save-money-with-a-dependent-care-tax-credit-and-fsa">Save Money with a Dependent Care Tax Credit and FSA</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-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make">4 Tax Mistakes New Parents Make</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-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby">15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby</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-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead">6 Ways the Sandwich Generation Can Get Ahead</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family caregivers child care dependents flexible spending accounts FSA tax credits Wed, 06 Jul 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1745831 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save Money on Child Care This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_laughing_85809327.jpg" alt="Learning how to save money on child care this summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>School's out for the summer, and your kids are probably bouncing off the walls with excitement. However, not many jobs offer the same summer break perks, leaving you with the costly decision of finding summer child care.</p> <p>Here are some solutions to try to save money on your child care costs this summer.</p> <h2>Swap With Someone Who Has a Summer Break</h2> <p>If one of your friends is a teacher or school administrator, then they probably have a good portion of the summer off. Ask a teacher or a stay-at-home mom friend who is willing to watch your children for a few hours a week in exchange for you watching their kids on the weekend. Since many teachers and stay-at-home moms will have to stay home with their children during the weekdays, they might enjoy a weekend break.</p> <p>Just make sure that the agreement is benefiting both of you, instead of being a burden on one of you. One summer, my mom asked my neighbor to watch my sister and I. The neighbor had six children that stayed at home as is, so my sister and I were barely noticed. We had a blast hanging out with our friends, and the mom just kept her schedule as she always did. We even did chores and went to local home schooling conventions.</p> <p>In exchange, my mom was able to give her money each week, and it ended up benefiting us all. The neighbor made a little bit of extra money, my mom paid less for child care, than she would have if she sent us to day camp, and my sister and I had a blast.</p> <h2>Try Working a Flex Schedule</h2> <p>Many times your employer can be more understanding of your need for a flexible schedule during the summer months. Try to work it out with your spouse's schedule so that there will always be someone available to stay home. For example, your spouse can go into work earlier and come home earlier, while you can go in later and work later hours. Perhaps you can even work the weekends so that you have two free days to watch your children during the week.</p> <p>I have witnessed many couples do this successfully, and work it out so that their schedules overlap the majority of the time. You can then fill in the gaps with the use of a family member or a baby sitter. While this schedule will take planning and getting used to, remember it is only for a few months.</p> <p>Of course, many people do not have flexible jobs, but it is worth looking into. Even if you can work from home one day a week or come in two hours later, that is time you do not have to pay for child care.</p> <h2>Look for a Tax Break</h2> <p>Take a look at your benefits to see if you have access to a dependent care flexible spending account. If so, you can use up to $5,000 in pre tax dollars to pay for child care expenses.</p> <p>If your employer doesn't offer an FSA, you can claim the child care tax credit when you file taxes. This credit is good for $3,000 to $6,000 in expenses, depending on how many children you have.</p> <h2>Get the Most Out of Your Babysitter</h2> <p>A baby sitter might be a better deal for the summer, especially if you have more than one child. Be sure to do a background check and to find a sitter that will keep your kids engaged each day rather than parking them in front of the television.</p> <p>When you are going through the hiring process, specify certain tasks/jobs you want done. Obviously it would be unfair to request they deep clean your home, but if they can manage light cleaning, simple dinner prep, grocery shopping, or the kids' laundry, that will take the stress off your shoulders. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on?ref=seealso">9 Child Care Purchases You Should Never Skimp On</a>)</p> <h2>Look Into Camp Scholarships</h2> <p>Ann Sheets, former national president of the American Camp Association said, &quot;About 90% of resident camps and 89% of day camps offer scholarships.&quot;</p> <p>Start your search today and apply to any camp you think your child would be eligible for. Don't forget to apply for higher-end camps too, since their scholarships might cover more than you think. Try to stay flexible with your camp dates. Not sure if a camp offers a scholarship? Just contact them and ask. You might have a better chance at qualifying for a scholarship if not many people know about it.</p> <p>While kids live for summer vacation, it can be hard to deal with the costs. Most professionals will admit that their kids' summer plans look like a mismatched quilt. That is okay! Be creative and stay flexible, knowing that this is only a brief season.</p> <p><em>What are your child care plans for the summer?</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/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer">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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</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/8-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy">8 Reasons the Easter Bunny Should Give Money Instead of Candy</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-find-a-great-babysitter">How to Find a Great Babysitter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family activities baby sitters camp child care kids scholarships summer break summer vacation tax breaks Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1733677 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Find a Great Babysitter http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-a-great-babysitter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-find-a-great-babysitter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/babysitter_and_child_000048728706.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to find a great babysitter for her child" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Leaving your child with a stranger can feel scary &mdash; especially if you live in a big area like we do. Here are some places to start your search for a trusted babysitter. Now get out there and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-6-relationship-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">enjoy date night</a>!</p> <h2>1. Care.com</h2> <p>My friends overwhelmingly recommend using <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-12141287-1435333490000">Care.com</a> to find trustworthy sitters. You can search for anything from one-night gigs to full-time au pairs and childcare centers. Post your job, browse profiles, get background checks, and then interview potential babysitters. Some features are free; others cost anywhere between $25 and $45 a month. You can also take advantage of the easy online scheduling and even pay sitters directly through the site. Care.com also offers senior care, pet sitting, house sitting, and military family help.</p> <h2>2. SeekingSitters</h2> <p>Whether you need full-time babysitting or just a night out, <a href="https://www.seekingsitters.com/memberinformation.asp">SeekingSitters</a> is a solid resource to put in your back pocket. There is a one-time activation fee of $59.99 and a monthly plan rate &mdash; but if you need frequent help, it's worth the money. The benefit? You'll get to browse profiles and create relationships with prescreened, professional babysitters in your area. The site also offers pet sitting, house sitting, and tutoring services.</p> <h2>3. Local Schools</h2> <p>Several of the teachers and helpers at my daughter's school also offer babysitting services. Ask around to see if this is the case at your child's school. Beyond that, you might also find connections through nearby high schools or colleges. Try posting an ad in the job board at your local university. You might even have success calling the preschool or childhood education departments directly.</p> <h2>4. Childcare Swapping</h2> <p>If you live relatively far away from family like we do, friends become a second family of sorts. Try swapping childcare duties with them every couple weeks so you can enjoy date nights. You may need to shift your ideal date time to accommodate everyone's naps and bedtime schedules, but it's worth the extra effort. We have also started getting close with a few neighbors who have offered to watch our daughter in case of emergencies.</p> <h2>5. Word-of-Mouth Recommendations</h2> <p>One of the most useful tools we've used to find childcare is recommendations from neighbors, friends, and other parents. This is especially worthwhile if you're not originally from the area. Once you ask, you're bound to find some good options worth investigating.</p> <h2>6. Parent Groups</h2> <p>Discussions about babysitters come up quite frequently in local parent groups or Facebook pages, and some of the moms might even offer babysitting services themselves. You'll always want to get references if you're unfamiliar with the names you see, but you can find some great care providers this way. Stuck on what to pay? You can even inquire about the going rate for sitters in your area.</p> <p><em>Where do you find a great babysitter?</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/how-to-find-a-great-babysitter">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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</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/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer">How to Save Money on Child Care This Summer</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-save-on-babysitting-without-ending-up-on-the-local-news">How to Save on Babysitting Without Ending Up on the Local News</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-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</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-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family au pair babysitters child care date night kids nanny Fri, 04 Dec 2015 10:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1617987 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Unexpected Expenses for Retirees — And How to Manage Them http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grandparents_with_grandchild_000017586301.jpg" alt="Retiree couple learning how to manage unexpected expenses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you've made the decision to retire. Congratulations! All that hard work and saving has paid off, and now you're ready to relax.</p> <p>If you've worked all your life and were diligent about saving, you may have most of your life expenses covered and funds saved for long-term care as you get older. And for the most part, retirees find that their overall expenses decline as they age. But there still could be unexpected costs that you haven't taken into account.</p> <p>Here are nine things that might hit your wallet harder now that you're retired:</p> <h2>1. Health Insurance</h2> <p>Yes, you may be getting Medicare, but that doesn't cover everything. Many retirees find that to get proper coverage, they will need to pay for a Medicare supplement. And even if you are covered under Medicare Part B, you may have to pay co-payments and deductibles. Older citizens should budget for additional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-costly-health-insurance-mistakes">healthcare costs</a>, even if they believe they are fully covered.</p> <h2>2. Childcare</h2> <p>You thought you were done with childrearing? Think again. According to the Census bureau, about <a href="https://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p70-135.pdf">23% of preschoolers</a> are cared for at least part time by a grandparent. Now that you're retired, you are more available to help with occasional babysitting or even full-time childcare for the grandkids. You're doing it out of love, but you may incur expenses ranging from extra food, kids' clothes, furniture, and kids' activities.</p> <p>If you're worried about the costs, be honest with the children's parents about how much you're spending and ask that they contribute. If the kids have certain favorite foods they like to eat at your house, buy those items in bulk. (My grandmother used to have a seemingly unlimited supply of chicken noodle soup for when I came over.) And don't be afraid to have the kids play with older and used toys, because there's a good chance they won't know the difference.</p> <h2>3. Utilities</h2> <p>When you went to work, there was no need to keep the AC or the furnace going during the day. But now that you're home, you may be adjusting that thermostat to make things more comfortable. (And this is exacerbated by the fact that older people are generally more sensitive to cold.) Plus, you may watch TV, use the computer, and run the appliances more often. All of this can add up to higher utility bills. Consider keeping the house at a slightly warmer temperature in the summer and slightly cooler in winter. You'll get used to it. Also, make the switch to LED light bulbs, and look into finding the most energy-efficient appliances you can buy.</p> <h2>4. Car Insurance</h2> <p>Auto insurance rates generally decline between the ages of 25 and 65, but they increase after that. That's because insurance companies view older drivers as a bigger risk, due to impaired vision, other physical problems, or decline in cognitive function. For older drivers, it pays to shop around for the best rates and even take a driving refresher course to prove you're still good behind the wheel.</p> <h2>5. Car Maintenance and Gas</h2> <p>When you were working, maybe you had a short commute or simply walked to the train station. Now, you're home all day and running to see friends, take care of grandkids, or volunteer. You would be surprised how much more you drive in retired life.</p> <p>To keep these costs in check, buy a small vehicle that suits your needs or even consider an electric or hybrid car. And when you do drive, plan your errands and trips strategically to cut down on excess mileage. Many retirees are also moving back into cities, where they can get around without a car at all. But be careful; moving to the city can be expensive. Speaking of...</p> <h2>6. Urban Living</h2> <p>The Washington Post reported that between 2000 and 2010, more than a million baby boomers moved to within five miles of a city center. Empty nesters no longer have to concern themselves with yard size, school districts, or other factors that keep them in the suburbs. But city living can be expensive. Housing costs more, and there's a temptation to spend money when you're surrounded by great restaurants, theatres, museums, and shopping. You might offset some of this expense with reduced transportation costs, but it you still may want to monitor your spending.</p> <h2>7. Charitable Giving</h2> <p>Older people tend to be very generous, and use some of their retirement savings to give back to causes that they've always wanted to support. According to Morningstar, charitable giving rates are relatively small and steady up until age 60. After that, giving comprises an increasing percentage of a person's annual expenses &mdash; up to 20% for America's oldest citizens. It's great to give, but be sure you can still cover your day-to-day costs and have enough saved for a long life. Consider donating shares of stock instead of cash, as you can avoid capital gains taxes and won't dip into your everyday savings.</p> <h2>8. Lawn Care and Landscaping</h2> <p>You always liked mowing your own lawn and doing your own yard work, but as you've gotten a little older, keeping up with the property isn't as easy as it once once. There's no shame in hiring someone to cut the grass or do some landscaping, but that work isn't free. Getting your lawn mowed might cost you $35&ndash;$40 each time, resulting in hundreds of dollars each month. To save money, do as much yard maintenance as you can on your own as long as you feel you are able. When you need help, seek out a neighbor or grandkid who might do it for free or cheap. (Heck, mowing my grandfather's lawn was the first paid gig I ever had.)</p> <h2>9. More Expensive Travel</h2> <p>You saved all your life to finally take a few big trips in retirement. And that's great, but be sure to take into account some extra expenses you might incur as an older citizen. For one thing, travel insurance is more expensive for older folks, because they are statistically more likely to cancel trips due to health-related problems. And even if you do go on a trip, you may find yourself paying extra for transportation or luggage handling when you may have previously taken care of things yourself. Be sure to factor in these extra costs when booking your next adventure.</p> <p><em>How is retirement costing you more than you expected?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them">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-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</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/5-myths-about-money-in-retirement">5 Myths About Money in Retirement</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/what-to-do-if-youre-retiring-with-debt">What to Do If You&#039;re Retiring With Debt</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/8-things-millennials-can-do-right-now-for-an-early-retirement">8 Things Millennials Can Do Right Now for an Early Retirement</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-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement child care elder care expenses insurance older americans seniors Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:00:25 +0000 Tim Lemke 1616759 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Best Employers for Single Parents http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-employers-for-single-parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-best-employers-for-single-parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father_and_daughter_000050667160.jpg" alt="Man finding best companies for single parents" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Building a career is challenging enough. If you're a single parent? You're working even harder. It's no easy task to manage that work-life balance. How do you give both your children and your career the attention they deserve?</p> <p>You can start by working at a company that actually respects the concept of a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-steps-to-work-life-balance-when-working-from-home">work-life balance</a>. And if you're a single parent, it helps to work for a company that allows employees to work at least part-time from home, provides flexible scheduling, and offers on-site daycare.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are companies like this. Here is a list &mdash; in no particular order and compiled from some of the most respected work-life rankings available &mdash; of the companies that single parents should target.</p> <h2>1. IBM</h2> <p>This venerable tech company based in Armonk, New York, has been featured on Working Mother Magazine's &quot;100 Best Companies&quot; list for all 30 years that the magazine has run this feature. The company's work-life benefits &mdash; key for single parents &mdash; are a big reason.</p> <p>IBM offers parents subsidized daycare options and provides a 529 plan that parents can tap to save money for their children's college educations. IBM also offers financial counseling and college coaching to its employees, something that can help single parents trying to juggle budgeting, raising children, and furthering their education.</p> <h2>2. General Mills</h2> <p>The food-manufacturer based in Minneapolis is also a mainstay of Working Mother Magazine's list. According to the magazine's 2015 list, General Mills offers job-sharing, telecommuting, and flexible schedules to its employees. This is important to single parents hoping to work around at least some of their children's extracurricular activities or who want to drop their children off at school each morning.</p> <p>Not all employees take advantage of these flexible working hours. But Working Mother Magazine reported in its 2015 list that 63% of employees do rely on flexible scheduling and telecommuting at least some of the time.</p> <p>New parents at General Mills are given the choice to reduce their working hours for up to eight weeks as they return to work after maternity or paternity leave.</p> <h2>3. Colgate-Palmolive</h2> <p>In 2015, Forbes worked with employment site <a href="http://www.indeed.com/">Indeed</a> to create a list of the 25 best companies for work-life balance. New York City-based Colgate-Palmolive, famous for its toothpaste and dish soaps, topped the list. Benefits that appeal to single parents are a major reason why.</p> <p>The company offers tuition assistance to parents who want to earn degrees that will help them further support their children. It also offers onsite childcare and free legal and financial counseling to employees. When single parents have to move, they can ease at least some of the stress by taking advantage of Colgate-Palmolive's relocation assistance.</p> <h2>4. SAS Institute</h2> <p>You might not have heard of SAS Institute &mdash; the Cary, North Carolina company is a software analytics company, but this employer has become a favorite of workers. In 2013, Fast Company Magazine featured SAS in a story headlined &quot;How SAS Became the World's Best Place to Work,&quot; and employment site Glassdoor ranked SAS highly in its most recent &quot;Top 25 Companies for Work-Life Balance&quot; list.</p> <p>Of particular interest to single parents? SAS leaders don't focus needlessly on the amount of hours that employees spend in the office. In fact, the company operates a 35-hour work week. This doesn't mean that employees only work 35 hours. Many choose to work more. But for single parents, the option to work fewer hours is a tempting one, making it far easier to shuttle kids around and attend band concerts.</p> <p>SAS also offers discounted child care, an onsite healthcare clinic, onsite gym for parents who want a de-stressing workout, and free work-life counseling for those struggling to juggle their roles as single parents and employees.</p> <h2>5. Wegmans Food Markets</h2> <p>Supermarket chains don't always have stellar reputations when it comes to parent-friendly benefits. Wegmans Food Markets, based in Rochester, New York, is the exception.</p> <p>Fortune Magazine ranked Wegmans seventh on its 2015 list of the &quot;100 Best Companies to Work For.&quot; It's an especially good place for single parents who want to return to college to boost their earning potential. Wegmans provides tuition assistance for both its full and part-time employees, according to Fortune.</p> <p>The supermarket chain also covers 85% to 100% of the health care costs of its employees and their dependents, a huge benefit for single parents worried about covering their children's medical bills. And for those who want to spend more time at home when their children are actually awake? Wegmans offer flexible working hours.</p> <h2>6. Quicken Loans</h2> <p>ComputerWorld in 2015 ranked Detroit-based mortgage lender Quicken Loans as the best place for IT workers. That's a heady honor, but Quicken Loans is actually a great place for anyone to work, especially single parents.</p> <p>Just look at the benefits that single parents can tap: Those who have adopted will earn a $5,000 adoption benefit and 10 days of paid leave. Quicken offers all of its workers 26 days of annual paid holiday and vacation leave after one year of service, and provides 90 days of job-protected maternity leave.</p> <p>The lender also provides onsite child care, telecommuting options, and flexible scheduling.</p> <h2>7. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts</h2> <p>The hospitality industry is another that doesn't have a reputation for providing top benefits. Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is an exception, according to Fortune Magazine, which ranked the hotel chain as one of its best places to work for 2015.</p> <p>According to Fortune, Four Seasons provides 30 days of protected maternity leave for new parents and offers 19 days of holiday and vacation days each year to employees who have worked at the company for at least one year.</p> <p>For single parents who need to work flexible hours, Four Seasons offers compressed work weeks (employees can work more hours in a shorter number of days), telecommuting, and flexible work schedules. Those parents without cars can receive subsidized public transportation to and from work.</p> <p><em>Would you seek out a job that offered great work-life balance?</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/the-7-best-employers-for-single-parents">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-life-skills-for-working-moms">10 Life Skills for Working Moms</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/5-money-moves-every-single-parent-should-make">5 Money Moves Every Single Parent Should 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/8-good-reasons-to-become-a-contractor">8 Good Reasons to Become a Contractor</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/heres-what-to-do-if-you-dont-make-enough-money-at-your-job">Here&#039;s What to Do if You Don&#039;t Make Enough Money at Your Job</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-negotiate-a-raise-out-of-the-blue">How to Negotiate a Raise Out of the Blue</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Family child care employment flexible jobs single parents work life balance Fri, 16 Oct 2015 09:00:36 +0000 Dan Rafter 1587463 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_son_000015641889.jpg" alt="Mother saving big by being stay-at-home parent" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you a stay-at-home parent? Or are you perhaps considering becoming one? It's a scary jump &mdash; and that's something I understand personally. There are a number of factors I considered before leaving the full-time working world to stay home with my daughter almost four years ago. But thankfully, there are ways to find unexpected savings just by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">staying home</a>. Here are an important few to consider as you prepare your new budget:</p> <h2>1. Work Wardrobe</h2> <p>Of course, we all want to look nice and be fashionable. But when you stay home, there's less pressure to maintain up-to-date work clothing and other sets of wardrobes. Not only that, you can also experiment with second-hand shops for your family's clothing. I'll admit, it feels strange to see my closet shift from workwear to mostly casual duds. At the same time, I've been able to adopt a more minimalist approach with my apparel. It's saved us lots of money, at least several hundred dollars a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=seealso">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a>)</p> <h2>2. Meals Out</h2> <p>When I worked my last job at a local university, I would often grab lunch in the union or elsewhere around campus. Little by little, the dollars added up. I'd spend $25 a week (okay, probably more) when I had plenty of food spoiling at home. Dinners, too, would present challenges. All too often, I'd find myself getting out of work late and browsing a takeout menu.</p> <p>Staying at home leaves more hours open for meal planning and cooking. Not only that, you can try out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk cooking</a>, which saves time and money. You'll also have more motivation to survey your grocery store choices. I love budget stores like Aldi, where I can usually pack a whole cart full of food for less than $100. Every bit counts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-from-aldi?ref=seealso">10 Things You Should Never Buy From Aldi</a>)</p> <h2>3. Daily Commute</h2> <p>I left my 9-to-5 when gas prices were at their absolute highest. Though my commute wasn't terribly far, I have friends who travel an hour or more to their jobs. All that money on transportation and upkeep is blown away like so much exhaust. Parents who stay home can work to schedule activities and errands to maximize efficiency. In fact, you may even find the opportunity to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider">become a one-car family</a> in the process. We've been living this way for the past year. It was challenging at first, but the money back in our pockets (gas, car insurance, maintenance costs, etc.) has made it worthwhile.</p> <h2>4. Daycare Costs</h2> <p>Obviously, if you stay home with your kids, you won't need much or any childcare. Since I do work part-time from home, I have my daughter in a preschool class a few mornings a week to give us both a breather. It's a fraction of the cost of full-time daycare. And I can write-off this expense during tax season. For those of you on the fence, try calculating how much you might spend on full-time childcare. How would this expense impact your monthly budget? My old salary, for example, would have been cut in half or worse, making staying at home a more viable option.</p> <h2>5. Basic Living</h2> <p>I've also found that staying home allows me to return to those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-old-fashioned-skills-that-save-you-money">old fashioned ways of living</a> and, therefore, saving money. When I was working outside the home, I didn't have the time or desire to make my own cleaning supplies. Now I mix up batches of all-purpose cleaner, homemade <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes">laundry detergent</a>, and other scrubs like it's my job. Well, I guess it <em>is</em> my job. You get the idea. Staying home allows me to take better stock of what we're spending and how we might less expensively run our household from the inside out.</p> <h2>6. Free Stuff</h2> <p>During nap times or other breaks, you can take a look around at local calendars to find free activities in your area. I've collected coupons, vouchers, loyalty bonuses, and all other sorts of stuff in a binder. That way, when we're looking for entertainment, I can find fun on a budget. And you'll be surprised by the number of free or low-cost things you'll discover when you have the time to seek them out. We have saved a huge amount of money this way and often spend less than $25 on a weekend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free?ref=seealso">20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free</a>)</p> <h2>7. Sound Budget</h2> <p>After I left my job, I had more brain cells to focus on our operating budget. As a result, I have an extremely good handle on how much money goes in and out of our home. I'm able to adjust our budget accordingly. This keen attention to detail has been invaluable to us. It's also an action that's allowed me to stay home without feeling as much financial pressure. We no longer waste money on extras, like magazine subscriptions and gym memberships. Overall, we're just more mindful in our spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-mindless-ways-youre-spending-money?ref=seealso">10 Mindless Ways You're Spending Money</a>)</p> <p><em>In what ways has being a stay-at-home parent boosted your budget?</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/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">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/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-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/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid</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/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach 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/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family child care kids saving money stay-at-home parents Tue, 19 May 2015 23:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1423350 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-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/new_baby_000022503773.jpg" alt="Couple asking important questions before starting a family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Can we even afford one?&quot;</p> <p>This question was the first my husband and I asked ourselves when we had the big baby discussion. Romantic, right? But in reality, finances play an important role in moving from a two-person household to three (or more). So, while a lot of the baby-making process is fun and games, here are some items to consider and situations to plan for before making that jump into parenthood.</p> <h2>1. What Is Your Budget?</h2> <p>Before anything else, we took time to write out our budget in full. After every single last fixed and variable expense was accounted for, we compared that number to our take-home income. You'll find a wide range of figures for how much a <a href="http://www.parenting.com/article/the-cost-of-raising-a-baby">child costs per year</a> ranging from &quot;only your time and love&quot; to $12,000 or more, depending on a number of factors (location, lifestyle, etc.). When we saw what was left over, we got a good idea that adding a child would be doable. We also found areas of our budget that had room to change and free up money for diapers, food, baby gear, and much more. (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>2. Who Will Care for the Baby?</h2> <p>Wrapped up in those yearly costs for taking care of your child is daycare. You'll want to take many personal and practical factors into consideration when making the choice. We decided that much of my income would have been sucked up with childcare costs, so I opted to work part-time from home after calculating many scenarios from best to worst case. Some of you might have family willing to help out full or part-time. Others will rely on paid care exclusively.</p> <p>While you're thinking, it's also a good idea to get in touch with your workplace to see how much time off you get after birth, as well as how much of this time is paid versus unpaid. Same goes with your spouse.</p> <h2>3. What Does Insurance Cover?</h2> <p>Health insurance was the next big piece of the pie. How much of my prenatal care would be covered? What about the birth and delivery? And even before all that, what about possible infertility coverage? (We're dealing with this detail the second time around.)</p> <p>We are fortunate to have good insurance that paid for pretty much everything &mdash; ultrasounds (I needed many), blood tests, delivery, and follow-up. Beyond that, you'll be adding a dependent to your coverage, so your monthly premium might go up. Your child will also have well care visits often in the first year. Speak with your HR department or call your insurance company directly to get information on coverage, deductibles, copays, and any other concerns you might have.</p> <h2>4. Do You Have Space?</h2> <p>Take a look around your place. Some of you might be living in three to four bedroom houses. Others, studio apartments. The truth is, you can make most places work with one child using creative solutions from room sharing to compact closet bedrooms. If you don't think you have a good setup or &mdash; alternatively &mdash; would want to move anyway, you'll want to calculate a new rent or mortgage number into your budget to see how it shifts everything.</p> <h2>5. What About Other Stuff?</h2> <p>Beyond baby's first years, the costs can climb. Things like preschool tuition, extracurricular activities, college savings accounts, and even unexpected medical expenses.</p> <p>Our daughter had a medical issue that required major surgery in her second year of life, and no one could have expected or planned for that. Though insurance took care of the heaviest expenses, like a $100,000 hospital bill, we have paid deductibles for countless doctor appointments and follow-ups. (She's doing great now, by the way.) Most situations like these are unusual and likely not to be of concern. At the same time, if your budget or job is shaky, you might want to try and stabilize things before adding another variable to the equation.</p> <p><em>What other questions did you ask before adding to your family?</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/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-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/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</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/21-things-you-should-make-your-kids-pay-for">21 Things You Should Make Your Kids Pay For</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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</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/3-good-money-examples-every-parent-should-set">3 Good Money Examples Every Parent Should Set</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family child care family planning having babies insurance kids Mon, 04 May 2015 15:00:27 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1406710 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save on Babysitting Without Ending Up on the Local News http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-babysitting-without-ending-up-on-the-local-news <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-on-babysitting-without-ending-up-on-the-local-news" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2908191073_1d47167564_z.jpg" alt="babysitting" title="babysitting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A recent survey by online childcare matchmaker <a href="http://www.urbansitter.com/">UrbanSitter.com</a> found that the average parent pays $14 per hour in my area &mdash; San Francisco &mdash; for care for just <em>one </em>child.</p> <p>My husband and I have three children.</p> <p>Combine these two facts and you might be able to guess that we haven't been out on a date in months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-5-to-30-date-ideas-for-every-budget">From&nbsp;$5 to $30+, Date Ideas for Every Budget</a>)</p> <p>When we do pay for childcare, we don't turn to a website to hire a sitter, because, as UrbanSitter pointed out in its own survey, it's too expensive. We're cheapskates. Still, childcare is not one of those things where I can just try the cheapest thing I can think of. I can't go down to the local day labor lineup and pick up a sitter or give my 8-year-old the password to the Netflix account and hope for the best. If I don't want to end up on the news &mdash; and staying off the news is my minimum goal for each parenting day &mdash; I need to get quality childcare for my meager funds.</p> <p>These are some ways I've managed to do that.</p> <h2>Parent Co-Ops</h2> <p>Whether it's a highly organized network with a thick rulebook and mandatory fingerprinting or a loose understanding among the parents on your block, a parent co-op can be a lifesaver to financially pressured moms and dads.</p> <p>In a co-op, you babysit for other families' kids to accrue points that you use to pay other parents to watch <em>your</em> kids. We have belonged to three co-ops: one spread over the entire North Side of Chicago, one that involved only four families who could practically shout to one another from our front porches, and one of intermediate size. I've used the services of other parents in order to get work done, to get to appointments, and yes, for date nights.</p> <p>A few years ago I wrote about <a href="http://parentingsquad.com/establishing-a-babysitting-co-op-part-i" target="_blank">how to start a babysitting co-op on Parenting Squad</a>. Even if you don't belong to a formal parent co-op, trading off play dates with the families of your children's friends can be great, too.</p> <p><strong>Pros</strong>: You know other parents are experienced at taking care of kids. It's free.</p> <p><strong>Cons</strong>: If you're busy, it might be hard to find time to babysit other peoples' kids. Many co-ops don't do background checks, and you may not know all the families.</p> <h2>Nanny Sharing</h2> <p>When you have only one child, it's kind of a waste to hire a babysitter to come to your home just to watch over him or her. Most caregivers are perfectly capable of taking care of several kids at a time.</p> <p>Ask around or check with local parent groups to find families willing to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nanny-sharing-lowering-the-cost-of-personal-childcare" target="_blank">share a nanny</a>. I use a nanny share once a week for my preschooler, so I can get a few extra hours of work in while the older kids are at school.</p> <p><strong>Pros</strong>: Hourly rate is usually at least 30% less than hiring a babysitter on your own. Your kid will probably have more fun with playmates around. If the other families have already found a great nanny, you're spared the vetting process.</p> <p><strong>Cons</strong>: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-tips-for-a-smooth-nanny-share" target="_blank">Less flexibility due to other families' needs</a>. More administration needed to coordinate schedules. If the other child or children get sick or drop out you may end up paying the sitter's whole fee on your own.</p> <h2>The Gym Childcare</h2> <p>This sounds cheesy, but I have joined gyms before almost entirely because membership included two hours of childcare per day. Plans vary, of course, but if you are a stay-at-home parent who needs a daily break, or a part-time entrepreneur who needs an hour each day to answer emails, the amount of care you can get with a gym membership may really work for you. You might even find time to work out once in awhile, too.</p> <p><strong>Pros</strong>: Some are quite affordable since they are supplemented by dues from all those members who never show up at the gym. It's flexible.</p> <p><strong>Cons</strong>: Quality varies widely. You might catch a few glares from other parents if the childcare is busy and they notice you spent your whole visit using your laptop.</p> <h2>Parks and Rec</h2> <p>Many cities offer low-cost classes, playgroups, and even preschools for small children through their parks departments. Some early childhood programs require the parents to stay, but others don't. You may not actually care if your little one learns gymnastics or painting &mdash; but for $5-$10 per hour, they are out of your hair for awhile and not watching TV. Really awesome park systems offer such classes on school holidays to help working parents out of the childcare-gap pinch.</p> <p><strong>Pros</strong>: Affordable and often nearby.</p> <p><strong>Cons</strong>: Some cities will have waiting lists. Quality varies.</p> <h2>&quot;Mother's Helpers&quot;</h2> <p>I started babysitting at age 11, but nowadays most parents don't consider it safe or responsible to leave such a young child in charge. Which is too bad, because 11- and 12-year-olds have really great rates.</p> <p>Luckily, I work from home, so I am sometimes able hire an under-aged &quot;mother's helper&quot; in the neighborhood to play with my kids and keep them from bursting into my office while I conduct a phone interview. Many kids this age are anxious to get started babysitting and can be a real help.</p> <p><b>Pros</b>: Cheap. Small kids <em>love</em> playing with older kids. You can train a neighborhood kid for several years until he or she is old enough to become a real babysitter.</p> <p><b>Cons</b>: Kids this young may have trouble enforcing rules with smaller children. They tend to let the kids make a big mess. Between school, sports, and activities, many 'tweens are available for limited hours.</p> <h2>Grandma and Grandpa</h2> <p>I so envy those families whose retired parents care for their kids full time. That has never been the case for us, but we still engage the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-do-with-help-from-mom-and-dad" target="_blank">ultimate free babysitters</a> every chance we get.</p> <p>No, Grandma and Grandpa don't do things our way, and they don't follow instructions to the letter the way a paid sitter might, but they <em>love</em> our kids, and that is so important that I am willing to overlook even the fact that the kids ate nothing but hot dogs and chocolate eclaires all weekend. Getting the grandparents to babysit has involved hours of car and even air travel for us, but it's always worth it.</p> <p><strong>Pros</strong>: Free (for most people). Family love, precious memories for the kids.</p> <p><strong>Cons</strong>: They don't do things your way. Travel may be involved.</p> <h2>No-Childcare Alternatives</h2> <p>The other way I've saved on childcare over the years is simply by avoiding using any. No, I'm not talking about leaving the kids alone &mdash; remember, the goal here is to stay off the nightly news. Instead, I'm talking about optimizing time, making schedules that work, and prioritizing what really needs to get done.</p> <p><strong>Split the Shift</strong></p> <p>You get home from work, kiss your spouse, and he heads out the door for the evening shift. It's not easy on a marriage, but millions of families make it work. Both my mother and my husband's mother are nurses, and this is how things worked when we were little. On the upside, with this arrangement, both parents get experience parenting independently, which can be really good for their relationship with the kids.</p> <p><strong>Bring the Kids</strong></p> <p>Most jobs nowadays don't allow for kids in tow, although a few do &mdash; babysitter, newspaper deliverer, for example. But you can try to bring kids on errands when possible to minimize needed childcare time. It's much harder to grocery shop or go to doctors' appointments or exercise with kids along, but it is actually good for the kids to learn to behave in these situations, and it allows you to get more done in the day.</p> <p><strong>A Little TV Won't Kill Them</strong></p> <p>I'm not a big fan of screen time for the kids, but I view it as the parenting equivalent of your emergency savings account. You shouldn't use it every day because you want to save it for when you really need it. So yes, when I have a deadline and I'm not done working by the time they get home from school, there might be an after-school video session now and then.</p> <p>If you're too good a parent to let the TV (or iPad) be your babysitter, then make a <a href="http://www.learnwithplayathome.com/2012/06/diy-busy-box-how-and-why.html" target="_blank">busy box</a> or <a href="http://moneysavingmom.com/tag/busy-bag-ideas" target="_blank">busy bag</a> &mdash; a stash of self-service activities to keep the kids quietly occupied when you're too busy to entertain them.</p> <p>Obviously, use your parental judgment to determine how much supervision your children need while distracted by such activities.</p> <p><strong>Outsource It or Do It From Home</strong></p> <p>If you are hiring a sitter so you can do something other than work &mdash; shop, clean house, do yardwork, walk the dog &mdash; ask yourself if the task is really worth the babysitting costs. After all, in many places you can <a href="http://shop.safeway.com/superstore/default.asp?brandid=1&amp;page=corphome" target="_blank">order groceries online</a> for a small fee, so even if you don't want to take the kids to the store, there is still a cheaper way. Or, check out <a href="http://www.taskrabbit.com/" target="_blank">TaskRabbit</a> to see if you can hire someone to run your errand for less than the cost of a sitter.</p> <p>You can't outsource your date night, of course, but there <em>are </em>ways to have a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/05/date-night-ideas-_n_2412110.html" target="_blank">fun night in after the littles are tucked in their beds</a>. At our house, setting aside an evening to watch a movie, accompanied by a special snack and cocktail, has replaced a lot of expensive nights out. And if you have friends with kids, combining a get-together for the parents with a sleep-over for the kids can be fun for all.</p> <p><em>How have you saved on childcare while keeping out of sight of the news choppers?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-babysitting-without-ending-up-on-the-local-news">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/6-totally-free-babysitting-alternatives">6 Totally Free Babysitting Alternatives</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/how-to-find-a-great-babysitter">How to Find a Great Babysitter</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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</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/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</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/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle babysitting child care date night work at home Thu, 28 Mar 2013 10:24:30 +0000 Carrie Kirby 971468 at http://www.wisebread.com Save Money with a Dependent Care Tax Credit and FSA http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-with-a-dependent-care-tax-credit-and-fsa <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-money-with-a-dependent-care-tax-credit-and-fsa" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_care_xin.jpg" alt="Baby" title="Baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you pay for the care of a dependent, then you may be able to save several thousand dollars a year via a dependent care flexible spending account (FSA) or the Child and Dependent Care Credit. Here is a quick guide to how you can maximize your savings:</p> <h3>Eligible Expenses</h3> <p>The expenses you can claim are usually the same for dependent care FSAs and the Child and Dependent Credit: the amount you pay to someone other than your spouse for the care of a child or dependent. If you are claiming expenses for the care of a child, the child must be under 13 years old. If you are not claiming a child, then the person you are caring for must qualify as an exemption on your tax return. Basically, your dependent must be unable to take care of himself or herself and have lived with you for at least half of the tax year. The expenses incurred also must be due to the need to work. You should keep detailed receipts of who provided the care and their tax identification numbers in order to back up the claim for your expenses. (See also: <a href="http://parentingsquad.com/tips-for-choosing-and-using-a-babysitter">Tips for Choosing and Using a Babysitter</a>)</p> <h3>The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account</h3> <p>The dependent care <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-your-fsa">flexible spending account</a> is a common benefit at workplaces. It has a contribution limit of $5,000 per family, but the contribution is pre-tax, so you get to keep more of your wages. The money is taken out of your paychecks, and you can claim a reimbursement with a valid receipt from a caretaker or preschool. Because the FSA contribution is exempt from federal income tax, payroll taxes, and most state taxes, the maximum amount that families can save with a dependent care flexible spending account varies by their residence and tax brackets. For example, if you were a Californian with a 15% federal income tax, 9.55% state income tax, and a 7.65% payroll tax for a total tax burden of 32.2% and you contributed and spent the full $5,000, it works out to be a savings of about $1,610.</p> <h3>The Child and Dependent Care Credit</h3> <p>The Child and Dependent Care Credit allows a 20% to 35% credit for up to $3,000 of expenses for one dependent. The percentage of credit varies by the income of the tax filer. If your family makes over $43,000 a year, then the credit would be 20% of the expenses you incurred. If you have more than one dependent, you can claim up to $6,000 of expenses. However, you need to subtract the amount you contributed to a dependent care FSA from the amount you claim. So if you already had $5,000 in your FSA and you had more than $6,000 of eligible expenses, you can only claim $1,000 in expenses for the purpose of the tax credit. This means that the maximum credit is $600 to $1,050 if you have one dependent and $1,200 to $2,100 if you have two or more dependents. The percentage of credit varies by the income of the tax filer. Currently the 35% credit is available to families making less than $15,000 a year, and then it gradually decreases to 20% for families making more than $43,000 a year. Since the median household income of the United States is around $46,000, most families will receive a 20% credit. The full details are in <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p503.pdf">IRS Publication 503</a> (PDF).</p> <h3>How to Maximize Your Savings</h3> <p>What is the best choice for your family? Let's assume that you are in a family with the median household income of $46,000. Here are some possible scenarios:</p> <p><strong>Scenario 1: One Dependent&nbsp;<br /> </strong><br /> If you have one dependent and spend at least $5,000 a year, then contributing to the FSA is definitely more advantageous. This is because the tax credit you would receive is only $600, but the amount you save via the FSA is at least $1,132.50 due to a federal income tax savings of 15% and a payroll tax savings of 7.65%. If you have a state tax that's waived on the contribution, then you would save more.</p> <p><strong>Scenario 2: Two or More Dependents</strong></p> <p>If you have two or more dependents and spend at least $6,000, then you should still contribute $5,000 to the FSA and claim $1,000 in expenses for the tax credit. This will yield an additional savings of $200 over the first scenario.</p> <p><strong>Scenario 3: No FSA Available</strong></p> <p>If your workplace doesn't offer the FSA, then you should take the full tax credit available to you. This is a tax credit that is often overlooked.</p> <p>My conclusion is that for most families, it is best to contribute to the FSA first for your dependent care expenses. The percentage of taxes saved is usually higher than what the tax credit would give, but the tax credit does give a boost in savings to low-income families and families that spend above the FSA contribution limit. Either way, if you currently have dependent care expenses, you should definitely run the numbers and see how much you can save.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-with-a-dependent-care-tax-credit-and-fsa">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-5"> <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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</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/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care">Don&#039;t Miss Out on This Easy Way to Pay for Child Care</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-ways-the-government-helps-disaster-victims-recover">6 Ways the Government Helps Disaster Victims Recover</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-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby">15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby</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/tariffs-what-they-are-and-how-they-impact-your-finances">Tariffs: What They Are and How They Impact Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Financial News Taxes child care family finances FSA tax credits Tue, 01 Feb 2011 14:00:15 +0000 Xin Lu 486493 at http://www.wisebread.com