parenting en-US 30 Signs You Were Raised by Healthy Parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/30-signs-you-were-raised-by-healthy-parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="mom and daughter" title="mom and daughter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Were you a locavore before you even knew what the term meant? Were you raised by health-conscious parents who were plugged into organic, cage-free, non-GMO, nutritious eating before it was cool? Are you raising your kids the same way? If so, embrace your history and health! Here are 30 signs you were raised by health-conscious parents. (See also: <a href="">30 Signs You Were Raised by Frugal Parents</a>)</p> <p>1. In your house, soda was reserved for only the rarest special occasions. You had entire friendships based on accessing bootleg bottles of soda.</p> <p>2. For the first 18 years of your life, dessert was synonymous with fresh fruit.</p> <p>3. Your parents diluted chocolate milk with regular milk based on a 40:60 ratio.</p> <p>4. At school, you were known for bringing the freshest, healthiest, least trade-worthy sack lunches.</p> <p>5. In your mind, sugary cereal will always be a Schedule II controlled substance.</p> <p>6. You know the sweet delight of eating a ripe tomato plucked straight from the vine.</p> <p>7. As a kid, odd behavior was always met with the question, &quot;What have you been eating?&quot;</p> <p>8. Your Halloween candy haul was immediately confiscated and dispensed gradually throughout the year.</p> <p>9. A beautiful summer day meant the TV was off and the kids were outside.</p> <p>10. From planting to harvest, you had a working knowledge of gardening by age 9.</p> <p>11. You had the kind of peanut butter that needed to be stirred before use.</p> <p>12. You still think Wonder Bread tastes a little bit like cake.</p> <p>13. As a kid, you had a difficult time distinguishing candy bars from actual currency.</p> <p>14. You campaigned for class president by promising to install a salad bar in the school cafeteria.</p> <p>15. Your trips to the dentist were largely uneventful.</p> <p>16. You waited in vain for yoga and Pilates to be added to your school's Physical Education curriculum.</p> <p>17. You used to sneak your own healthy snacks into movie theaters. Raisins, almonds, apple slices, and homemade popcorn were standard fare.</p> <p>18. You could identify every green in a mixed green salad by age 5.</p> <p>19. You learned to read by studying nutrition labels on packaged food.</p> <p>20. As a youngster, it was difficult for you to fully grasp the difference between a farmer's market and a county fair.</p> <p>21. Your mom or dad made their own baby food using only organic ingredients.</p> <p>22. Your taste buds can't distinguish carob from chocolate.</p> <p>23. In your house, &quot;fast food&quot; meant leftover sliced turkey (free-range, of course) on millet bread.</p> <p>24. Your parents cooked and baked with brown eggs instead of white.</p> <p>25. You went through a profound junk-food binge phase the moment you moved out of your parents' house (but came out the other side).</p> <p>26. You probably ate at least one meal each day at the table with your family &mdash; no TV and no distractions.</p> <p>27. You tend to sweeten things with honey instead of sugar.</p> <p>28. You know that recipes with fewer ingredients are often the best.</p> <p>29. You have a long history with Echinacea.</p> <p>30. There's a small pot of wheat grass setting on your windowsill right now.</p> <p>As much as we may have failed to realize or fought it in our youth, our health-conscious parents were trying to set us up for a lifetime of healthier choices. And if you were a kid in the 1960's and 70's, that kind of thinking has proven to be ahead of its time. As the U.S. fights its fast-food culture, ballooning waistlines, and skyrocketing rates of diabetes and other chronic conditions, any advantage we have in defending our health is a big advantage indeed. Take a moment to thank mom and dad today. Are you passing those same healthy habits done to the next generation?</p> <p><em>Were you raised by health-conscious parents or are you one yourself? What funny stories or fond memories do you have to share?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="30 Signs You Were Raised by Healthy Parents" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Health and Beauty Lifestyle fitness Health parenting Wed, 28 May 2014 08:24:20 +0000 Kentin Waits 1140739 at The 5 Best Parenting Books <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-parenting-books" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="pregnancy" title="pregnancy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a clueless first-time parent, I inhaled parenting books from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I went down the list of popular and highly rated books on Amazon, dutifully borrowed them from the library, and read each word. For the most part, they're a blur of contradictory tips and alarming scenarios. However, there are a few of them that stand out with advice I am grateful to have come across and highly recommend to other parents.</p> <p>Of course, we live in a country where judging parents and their kids is a national pastime. There are inconsistent studies and advice coming from the same doctors. There is no perfect way to raise a child. Every child is different. No one knows your own family. Yada yada.</p> <p>These are books that I recommend not because I think they are <em>the</em> bibles to parenting, nor do I wholeheartedly agree with and endorse every single piece of advice in them. I recommend these books because I found them to be insightful and helpful in giving me a different perspective or strategy, one that I wouldn't have intuitively known. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">What a New Baby&nbsp;Really Needs</a>)</p> <h2>Bringing Up Bebe</h2> <p>I just finished &quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1594203334&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting</a>,&quot; and boy do I wish I had read this before my little boy came along. French kids are well-behaved and healthy, and they sleep through the night at two months. My 17 month old sleeps through the night occasionally, and by that I mean he wakes up once. I don't know if the French method would have worked on him, but I sure wish I had known to have tried. Now, the entire French parenting philosophy might seem a bit extreme, maybe cold and harsh, and there is a lot of criticism of American parents. If you find that hard to swallow and are completely in the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1371170265&amp;sr=8-3&amp;tag=babybr03-20">Dr. Sears</a> camp, this book is not for you. But I found this to be an eye opening example of how to be a firm but loving parent in order to have well-mannered kids and still enjoy life outside of being a mom. I heart this book!&nbsp;</p> <p>If you want to read more about the French parenting method, or how to not have a picky eater, check out &quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0062103296&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">French Kids Eat Everything</a>.&quot;</p> <h2>The Happiest Toddler on the Block</h2> <p>I read his &quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553381466&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">The Happiest Baby on the Block</a>,&quot; and I thought it was just okay. The five Ss strategy didn't really work for my baby (although the SHHHH did...sorta). My sister-in-law swears by it though, and it's very popular, so I think it's a safe one to pick up for a gift or yourself. They also have a <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0006J021C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">DVD</a>.</p> <p>However, I really, really liked &quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553384422&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">The Happiest Toddler on the Block:&nbsp;How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful, and Cooperative One- to Four-Year Old</a>&quot; (also available on <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0001ZJQ72&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">DVD</a>). It gave a very anti-intuitive way to deal with toddlers and their ever increasing frustrations. I see that it works very well with my niece, and I'm using it a lot on my 17 month old. It really seems to do the trick (most of the time) in calming him down when he's erupting.</p> <h2>NurtureShock</h2> <p>I'll use a word from one of the reviews on &quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0446504130&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children</a>&quot; &mdash; revelatory. There are a lot of &quot;conventional wisdom&quot; myths that are dispelled with hard research. It talks about why praise is damaging, the cause behind the moody, sulky, angry teenager (it's not hormones, but something completely avoidable), and the profound reason why kids lie (we tell them to). It'll blow your mind.</p> <h2>Brain Rules for Babies</h2> <p>&quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008W3I4SM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">Brain Rules for Babies: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child From&nbsp;Zero to Five</a>&quot; is the book that my husband will recommend to every new parent (especially dads!). He's an engineer, and he likes facts, please. This book is for all the parents who want to know <em>how do I get my kid into Harvard</em>? He answers this question, I&nbsp;promise.</p> <h2>How to Talk So Kids Will Listen &amp;&nbsp;Listen So Kids Will Talk</h2> <p>My son isn't quite at the age yet where these tips can be used on him, but I'm hoping that they will work and faciliate a more communicative relationship. It's like <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553384422&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20"><em>Happiest Toddler</em></a> but for older kids. So much of parent-child communication is tangled by a lack of empathy on the parents' part. They think because they <em>know</em> better, their kids should automatically listen and believe them. Obviously those parents don't remember what's it like to be a kid &mdash; the one who <em>also</em> thinks she knows better. &quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1451663889&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">How to Talk So Kids Will&nbsp;Listen &amp; Listen So Kids Will Talk</a>&quot; gives very clear instructions on how to break through those biases and actually hear each other.</p> <p>That's it?? What about all those sleep books? Guides to pregnancy? Childbirth? Breast feeding?&nbsp;</p> <p>I read those, too. All of them, it feels like. I read the entire 2.5 pounder, &quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0316778001&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">The Baby Book</a>&quot; by Dr. Sears. I read a ton of books on breast feeding, watched documentaries on childbirth. I read <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0743201639&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">Ferber</a>, the &quot;cry it out&quot; guy. Then&nbsp;I read &quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0071381392&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=babybr03-20">The No-Cry Sleep Solution</a>.&quot; I wanted to know everything that was going to happen, anything that might go wrong and how to deal with it. I wanted to know every single sound or movement my baby might make during his first few weeks. And of course I&nbsp;wanted to know how to raise a confident, smart superhero.</p> <p>In the end, none of those books were ever helpful. Reading them made me <em>feel</em> prepared, but what actually happened wasn't the way it was described in the books. Birth, breast feeding, the first few weeks...we had problems that were never mentioned in the books, and if they were mentioned, the solutions listed didn't work. Whatever popped up, like the hundred things that went wrong while breastfeeding, we had to Google or, more helpfully, hash out with a lactation consultant.</p> <p>These five books I&nbsp;felt were actually worth the time it took away from whatever else I could have been doing (resting, napping, relaxing).</p> <p><em>Disclaimer: I did not receive any of these books free to review. I borrowed or bought these books on my own and have selected them without any outside influence.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Parenting Books " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Lynn Truong</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family babies new parents parenting Parenting books toddlers Thu, 27 Jun 2013 10:24:30 +0000 Lynn Truong 978155 at 3 Life Lessons I've Learned Since Becoming a Parent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-life-lessons-ive-learned-since-becoming-a-parent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Mom and child" title="Mom and child" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The past few months have been a blur as my husband and I welcomed our first child into our lives. Between 3 a.m. feedings, poopy diapers, walking and rocking the baby, and trying to fit a shower into my day, the parenting learning curve has been a steep one. I&rsquo;m learning more every day, and in the midst of this dramatic life change, three glaring lessons have stood out to me since I brought my daughter into the world; three life lessons that took becoming a parent for me to learn. (See also: <a href="">7 Important Lessons Frugal Parents Teach Their Children</a>)</p> <h2>1. Don&rsquo;t Judge</h2> <p>I have to confess that before I had a baby, I subconsciously (and let&rsquo;s admit it, consciously) judged other parents. This included parents frantically trying to calm a screaming baby while shopping, mothers quickly mixing a bottle of formula to give their children while on the run, frustrated parents yelling at their kids, parents who put their kids to sleep in a swing, etc&hellip;.</p> <p>I guess the universe had a karmic lesson to teach me &mdash; after my baby was born, I had difficulties breastfeeding, and finally, when my baby wasn&rsquo;t gaining weight, I was forced to supplement with formula. Good gracious, now I was the one feeling judged and guilty when I whipped out a bottle of formula in front of <a href="">other breastfeeding moms</a> in the nursing lounge at the mall! Additionally, while I had sworn I wouldn&rsquo;t be one of those moms who bought every swing, bouncer, or toy available, now I found myself desperately spending money on any gadget that promised to let me put my baby down for a few minutes and have a cup of coffee. Lesson learned &mdash; don&rsquo;t judge other people&rsquo;s parenting choices, or life choices in general. Instead, I&rsquo;m learning to accept that everyone makes the best choices they can given their unique circumstances.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve found a new level of acceptance and camaraderie with other moms, even if they&rsquo;re just strangers I meet at the grocery store. We swap stories of staying up late at night, which swing works best for calming a baby, and &ldquo;crying-it-out&rdquo; versus &ldquo;attachment&rdquo; approaches to sleeping. The best thing is, although we&rsquo;ve all made different choices, our babies are all doing fine.</p> <h2>2. It's OK&nbsp;to Accept Help</h2> <p>Whoever coined the saying &ldquo;It takes a village to raise a child&rdquo; never said a truer word. While I admire superhero moms who seem to manage to take care of their families on their own with nary a helping hand, I accept that I am not one of them. After days without sleeping, I finally accepted offers from family and friends to watch the baby while I napped, or to clean the house while I held the baby. I was grateful to relatives who bought groceries and made dinner, and I stopped feeling bad about asking the in-laws to take the baby for an evening so I could have some time to myself. I realized that although I felt like I was inconveniencing my friends, they were genuinely happy to help, and I finally found the freedom to feel grateful rather than guilty.</p> <p>In fact, I&rsquo;m starting to believe that modern American life is not conducive to raising children well. Think about it &mdash; in traditional cultures, the entire extended family lives in close proximity, so that grandparents, as well as aunts and uncles, are close participants in the raising of a child. It&rsquo;s not all on the mom or dad. But in our modern culture, where extended families are separated by large distances, all the responsibility falls on the two parents, one or both of whom are probably working full time. Instead of relying on a network of relatives, parents now have to find community through parenting groups, play dates, lactation workshops, and other modern inventions. There&rsquo;s probably nothing we can do about the culture, but it&rsquo;s helpful to realize that we were meant to <a href="">raise our kids in a community</a>, and that there&rsquo;s nothing wrong with needing help.</p> <h2>3. Beware of False Guilt</h2> <p>There are so many things that make you feel guilty as a parent, as I&rsquo;m sure all you seasoned parents can attest. As a first-time mom, I tend to feel guilty about everything. A short list includes giving my baby a pacifier, letting my baby sleep in her swing, bonking my baby&rsquo;s head on the car seat handle, and more. That&rsquo;s not to mention the guilt I feel when well-meaning friends ask me <a href="">what I do all day at home</a> (because I should be working) or when I have to decline doing someone a favor because it will interfere with my daughter&rsquo;s naptime.</p> <p>As a natural people-pleaser, there are days when I feel like everything I&rsquo;m doing is wrong. But I&rsquo;m slowly starting to learn that I have the right to make mistakes and say no to other people&rsquo;s requests, and I don&rsquo;t have to feel bad about it. I&rsquo;m able to bring a lot more happiness and joy into my family&rsquo;s life when I&rsquo;m not guilt-ridden. In fact, I hope that my daughter will learn the same lesson and will eventually grow up to be a joyful, confident person who can learn from her mistakes and stand up for herself without being burdened by false guilt.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="3 Life Lessons I&#039;ve Learned Since Becoming a Parent" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Camilla Cheung</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Personal Development baby guilt Help life lessons parenting Tue, 22 May 2012 10:00:12 +0000 Camilla Cheung 929267 at 24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Happy baby" title="Happy baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="139" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As most new parents can attest, having a baby isn't cheap. There is new furniture to buy and important decisions to make on diapering, nursing, and more. It also seems that as soon as you get pregnant, you get bombarded with advice and marketing on what baby gadget to buy. Although having a baby will likely never be free, there are some ways to pare down your expenses. After all, people have been having babies for thousands of years without most of the fancy baby gear that is available to us now. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">Can You Afford to Have a Baby?</a>)</p> <h3>1. Baby Showers</h3> <p>You&rsquo;ll probably get lots of needed items at a baby shower hosted by a friend or a relative. Register at a baby store so you can get the things you need. If you get extra clothes or repeat gifts, return them for a merchandise credit that you can spend on necessities (Babies &lsquo;R&rsquo; Us, for example, will take returns for store credit even if you don&rsquo;t have a receipt). Have more than one shower if you can, and don&rsquo;t feel guilty about it! People are happy to get together to celebrate your little one and help you out with a few gifts. If you have a lot of out-of-town friends, be sure your registry offers online ordering and reasonable shipping prices (an Amazon baby registry might be a good idea).</p> <h3>2. Loyalty and Rewards Programs</h3> <p>Sign up for <a href="">Amazon Mom</a> (you may have to be on the waiting list for a while) to save up to 30% on Subscribe and Save items such as diapers and wipes. Amazon Mom also gives you free Amazon Prime, which offers free two-day shipping. Become a <a href="">rewards member</a> at chain stores like Babies &lsquo;R&rsquo; Us, which gives you rewards points for purchases (including on purchases that others make on your baby registry) and exclusive coupons.</p> <h3>3. Daily Deals</h3> <p>I found a great high chair reduced to $20 (shipped!) from the original price of over $80 by diligently perusing <a href="">Dealnews</a>. <a href="">Groupon </a>and <a href="">Living Social</a> can sometimes turn up great family and parenting deals. Get on the email list to stay up to date (you may wish to set up a separate email just for coupons and offers). Check <a href="">Amazon</a>&rsquo;s daily deals and their &ldquo;Quick Picks,&rdquo; products geared towards your personal preferences that come with a personalized coupon.</p> <h3>4. Breastfeed</h3> <p>Formula is expensive; breastfeeding is cheap. If you can, breastfeed your baby to save money. Plus, doctors now recommend breastfeeding until babies are one year old. Breast pumps can get expensive, but there are mid-range electric pumps (such as Ameda Purely Yours and Phillips AVENT Twin Breast Pump) that offer great value when compared to the top-of-the-line Medela pump, and will still cost you far less than buying formula.</p> <h3>5. Use Cloth Diapers</h3> <p>Disposable diapers are expensive &mdash; your baby will probably go through at least $2,500 to $3,000 worth of diapers before he or she is potty-trained. Cloth diapers will cost you much less, especially if you have a high-efficiency washing machine and line-dry your clothing. Cloth diapers have come a long way since your mother&rsquo;s diapering days! No more safety pins and rubber pants! The newest cloth diapers are almost as easy to use as disposables. While you&rsquo;ll spend a bit more initially (some new cloth diapers cost up to $20 a piece), you&rsquo;ll save money and the environment in the long run.</p> <h3>6. Use Cloth Wipes</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re going to use cloth diapers, why not use cloth wipes too? Use soft washcloths or cut-up receiving blankets, dampen with a solution of water with a tiny bit of baby shampoo, and wipe, wipe, wipe! Cloth wipes are gentler on baby&rsquo;s bottom and can be tossed in the laundry along with the cloth diapers.</p> <h3>7. Shop Discount Stores</h3> <p>I love looking for baby clothes and gear at discount stores like Ross, T.J. Maxx, and <a href="">Marshalls</a>, where you can get new, good-quality baby gear for half the price. Past season brand-name baby sleepers, deeply discounted play yards, safety gates, toys, books, and other useful items can be picked up for a fraction of the price.</p> <h3>8. Buy Used Baby Clothing and Gear</h3> <p>The thought of putting your baby in another child&rsquo;s poopy pants might gross you out, but in reality, used clothing stores often carry barely used baby clothing, since babies outgrow their clothes so quickly. <a href="">Once Upon a Child</a> is one used clothing store that specifically stocks baby and children&rsquo;s clothing that is in good condition. You can also look for charmingly &ldquo;vintage&rdquo; clothes at thrift stores or shop Craigslist.</p> <p>Although you shouldn&rsquo;t buy items like car seats, strollers, and cribs secondhand because of safety issues, garage sales and thrift stores are a great source for gently used toys and nursery gear (for example, rocker-gliders are great items to get secondhand). Just be sure to <a href="">check for recalls</a> before using the item.</p> <h3>9. Free Meals</h3> <p>Register to receive free meals from friends at a site like <a href=""></a>. Friends and family will love to help out (and perhaps catch a glimpse of the baby), and you&rsquo;ll get a free meal, which may help to preserve your sanity in those first few weeks.</p> <h3>10. Stock Up on Homemade Meals</h3> <p>Make some lasagnas, casseroles, soups, and banana bread to <a href="">stock in the freezer</a> before you go into labor. That way, when you&rsquo;re ravenous post-labor and your body is burning a zillion calories a day producing breast milk, you&rsquo;ll have something to eat instead of ordering in.</p> <h3>11. Shop Generic or Budget Brands</h3> <p>Try generic or budget brands such as Target brand diapers and wipes; IKEA brand crib sheets, towels, and bibs; Kirkland brand diapers and wipes; ALL Free and Clear or Charlie&rsquo;s Soap Powder instead of more expensive baby detergent; prefolded cloth diapers instead of fancy burp cloths; generic baby acetaminophen; and more.</p> <h3>12. Buy Multi-Use Items</h3> <p>You don&rsquo;t really need a play yard AND a bassinet &mdash; most modern play yards have a bassinet insert. Look for a stroller that&rsquo;s light and portable enough to take everywhere so you don&rsquo;t have to buy a second stroller. A convertible car seat may cost slightly more than an infant car seat, but your child won&rsquo;t outgrow it as fast. Some kitchen booster seats can be used instead of a highchair even when your child is younger. And don&rsquo;t forget to get gender-neutral items if you&rsquo;re planning to have another child!</p> <h3>13. Buy Items That Are NOT Designed for Baby</h3> <p>As soon as an item has &ldquo;baby&rdquo; in its name, the price goes way up. Instead of a fancy diaper disposal system, just use a lidded garbage can and sprinkle with baking soda to keep odors down. Skip the changing table and use a sturdy low dresser bought on Craigslist or IKEA that can double as storage (just be sure to avoid really old secondhand items that may have lead paint). Find cheap baskets, storage boxes, and hampers at Walmart instead of expensive &ldquo;diaper caddies&rdquo; and baby hampers.</p> <h3>14. Line-Dry Laundry</h3> <p>Hang clothes to dry to save on energy costs. Added bonus &mdash; the sun&rsquo;s rays can bleach out poop and milk stains!</p> <h3>15. Beg, Borrow&hellip;</h3> <p>See if you can get clothing, bottles, and other necessities from friends who have had babies. Avoid, however, using a secondhand car seat or a crib that&rsquo;s more than a few years old. Safety standards for those two items are revised every year, and an older one may compromise your baby&rsquo;s safety. Along the same lines, trade and request free baby clothing from websites like <a href=""></a>.</p> <h3>16. Combine Coupons</h3> <p>Save manufacturer&rsquo;s coupons (which often come in magazines or on diaper packaging) and combine them with store coupons for extra savings. Before going shopping, do a quick search on the Internet for a printable manufacturer&rsquo;s coupon.</p> <h3>17. Skip the Bedding Set</h3> <p>Bedding sets used to be extremely popular and ran into the hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars. They included matching quilts, sheets, bumpers, crib skirts, window valances, and pretty much anything you could think of. Nowadays, they&rsquo;re falling out of favor. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents that crib bumpers are not safe &mdash; in fact, all you should have in the crib is a firm mattress and a crib sheet. Pillows and thick quilts are also not recommended for use in the crib because of the suffocation hazard they pose. Save your money and buy a few simple crib sheets instead and a few inexpensive &ldquo;sleep sacks&rdquo; or swaddling blankets.</p> <h3>18. Don&rsquo;t Overbuy</h3> <p>Wipe warmers, fancy rompers, colorful plastic diaper disposal bags, and baby seats and positioners are all great extras to have, but they&rsquo;re not necessary.&nbsp; Even a baby bathtub might not be necessary if you&rsquo;re okay with bathing your baby in the sink. And don&rsquo;t buy too many baby clothes before your baby&rsquo;s born &mdash; your little one might grow so fast you don&rsquo;t even have time to use all those cute newborn sleepers.</p> <h3>19. Free Babysitting</h3> <p>If you only need occasional babysitting, trade free babysitting with another parent or group of parents, and don&rsquo;t be afraid to ask grandparents for help (they&rsquo;ll jump at the chance to spend time with their grandchild). If you spend money on child care, get a receipt and look into claiming the Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.</p> <h3>20. Free Parenting Magazines</h3> <p>You can get free subscriptions to <a href="">American Baby</a> and <a href=";i4Ky=HAWA">BabyTalk</a>, two parenting magazines. These magazines are entertaining and informative, and they come with valuable coupons.&nbsp;</p> <h3>21. Free Nursery Art</h3> <p>The Internet is a great resource for printable art for baby&rsquo;s nursery, such as these adorable<a href=""> illustrated alphabet cards</a>. You can also repurpose shower decorations for baby&rsquo;s room and frame some of those cute baby cards.</p> <h3>22. Make Your Own Baby Food</h3> <p>Rather than buying jarred baby food, making your own is cheaper and healthier. You can control all the ingredients and don&rsquo;t have to be concerned about BPA (sometimes found in the plastic lining of baby food jars), high levels of arsenic (recently found in baby rice cereal), and preservatives. Just mash up an avocado, a banana, a steamed carrot, or another whole food, and you&rsquo;re good to go. Some parents freeze baby purees so that they&rsquo;re ready to be warmed up when needed.</p> <h3>23. Free Samples</h3> <p>Request <a href="">free sample packages</a> in the mail from popular brands like Pampers and Huggies. For example, signing up on the <a href="">Pampers</a> website will get you a sample package from Proctor and Gamble, Pampers&rsquo; parent company, as well as $101 worth of coupons. Again, I recommend setting up a separate email account for coupons and offers so your personal inbox doesn&rsquo;t get too cluttered. Also, before you leave the hospital, ask the nurses if they have any free samples you can use, and ask your pediatrician for free samples as well.</p> <h3>24. Swap Toys and Books</h3> <p>Exchange toys and books periodically with other parents to keep your entertainment stash fresh and interesting for your child without having to buy anything. You may also want to consider looking into one of the new toy rental companies out there.</p> <p><em>Frugal parents, do you have any advice to share on having a baby without blowing your budget?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Camilla Cheung</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Family Lifestyle baby family frugal baby parenting Fri, 24 Feb 2012 11:24:21 +0000 Camilla Cheung 904215 at Ask The Readers: Should Kids Get Paid For Doing Chores? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-should-kids-get-paid-for-doing-chores" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Girl washing plate" title="Girl washing plate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href=""><em>Staycee</em></a><em>, </em><a href=""><em>TrishB</em></a><em>, and </em><a href=""><em>Julie</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Simple chores like doing dishes and taking out the trash can teach kids invaluable life lessons. While most parents agree on the value of chores, they are somewhat divided on whether kids should be paid for helping around the house.</p> <p><b>Do you think kids should be paid for doing household chores? </b>Is it a good way to teach kids the value of work? Or are you bribing kids to pull their own weight? What did your parents do?</p> <p>Share your opinion, and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of <a href="">Blacklisted from the PTA</a>.</p> <p><b>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</b></p> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes,&quot; and another one for random tweets.</p> <p>The three winners will each get a $20 Amazon Gift Card and their very own copy of <a href="">Blacklisted from the PTA</a>.</p> <p><b>Extra Prize This Week: Black Listed from the PTA</b></p> <p><a href="">Blacklisted from the PTA</a> is an exciting new book by Lela Davidson, the editor of our sister blog Parenting Squad. Filled with hilarious and irreverent stories of motherhood, the book is a great read for any parent looking for a belly laugh and sanity.&nbsp;It is already getting rave reviews!</p> <blockquote> <p>Blacklisted from the PTA is a hilarious and honest take on motherhood. With her laugh out loud funny writing style and her laser focus attention to detail, Davidson will crack moms up and make them say, &ldquo;Yes, that&rsquo;s exactly what I was thinking. A truly entertaining read for any exhausted mom or mom-to-be.&rdquo;&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="">Kelly Wallace</a>, Chief Correspondent, iVillage/NBC Universal</p> </blockquote> <div align="center"> <h3><a href=""><img width="220" height="282" alt="" src="" /></a></h3> </div> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, July 18th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after July 18th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email, Facebook, and Twitter Direct Message.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p>Note: Due to recent changes in Facebook's promotions guidelines, we have restructured the entry format of our giveaways.</p> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p><a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask The Readers: Should Kids Get Paid For Doing Chores?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways Ask the Readers chores kids parenting Tue, 12 Jul 2011 10:36:12 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 619030 at How Parents Save Money at Costco <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-parents-save-money-at-costco" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="child at Costco" title="child at Costco" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many of our friends are big Costco&nbsp;shoppers and for years talked about how much money they saved at Costco. They couldn't believe that we weren't members and encouraged us to join. I wasn&rsquo;t convinced it was worth it, but once I discovered a few different <a href="">Costco membership discounts</a>, I decided to give it a try.</p> <p>One of the first things I did when we became members was ask around and see what kind of purchases saved people the most money. After all, our friends were the ones encouraging us to join, so I figured they should have some pretty good tips. We have two young kids and many of our friends are also parents of little ones, so I got a decent list of how parents <a href="">save money at Costco</a>.</p> <p>I took all their suggestions and categorized them into the different areas below:</p> <h2>Household Items</h2> <p>These were probably the most commonly mentioned purchases; parents like to save money on the store brands. Three people said that they could actually buy napkins and paper towels a little cheaper than the Kirkland brand (Costco's store brand) elsewhere, but they got them at Costco for convenience. On top of that, with hordes of little kids running around, you can go through a lot of napkins and paper towels, so it helps to buy these items in bulk:</p> <ul> <li>Kirkland paper towels</li> <li>Kirkland toilet paper</li> <li>Kirkland laundry detergent</li> <li>Kirkland dryer sheets</li> <li>Kirkland dish detergent</li> <li>Kirkland dish soap</li> </ul> <p>(See also: <a href="">30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace</a>)</p> <h2>Food</h2> <p>We don&rsquo;t&nbsp;buy as much from Costco as the rest of the parents I talked to, but the thing we do buy the most of is food. We have a few food items that we know for sure we&rsquo;ll save money on that we get every time.</p> <p>One of our friends mentioned an interesting thing I hadn&rsquo;t realized.&nbsp; Apparently Costco has started to carry a lot more organic food. She didn&rsquo;t go into detail on what specific organic food she buys there, but I know buying organic can be pretty expensive, so it&rsquo;s nice to have a cheaper option. Here are the types of food parents save money on at Costco:</p> <ul> <li>Olive oil</li> <li>Almonds</li> <li>Ketchup</li> <li>A-1 sauce</li> <li>Steak and ribs</li> <li>Cheese blocks</li> <li>Eggs</li> <li>Chicken</li> <li>Salsa</li> <li>Kirkland waffles</li> <li>Strawberries</li> </ul> <h2>Drinks</h2> <p>Every week we buy three different kinds of milk: whole for our youngest, 2% for our four-year-old, and skim for us. Buying all that milk adds up, but the prices are considerably lower at Costco, so I definitely agree with the following list. We don&rsquo;t drink much bottled water, but the money we save on milk could almost pay for the cost of membership.</p> <p>Here are the types of drinks that our friends buy for themselves and their kids at Costco (hopefully the Coke's not for the kids):</p> <ul> <li>Bottled water</li> <li>Diet Coke</li> <li>Milk</li> </ul> <h2>Baby Stuff</h2> <p>We're friends with one couple who had&nbsp;twins in addition to a two-year-old, so they&rsquo;ve saved a ton of money buying baby supplies at Costco. Of course, not every parent likes the same brand of diapers...I know we could have saved a lot on diapers at Costco with the generic brand, but my wife really liked a different brand they didn&rsquo;t carry.</p> <p>When the babies were eating and sleeping their way through the first few months of their lives, these are the items parents bought from Costco to help save money:</p> <ul> <li>Kirkland diapers</li> <li>Kirkland wipes</li> <li><a href="">Kirkland formula</a></li> </ul> <h2>Toys</h2> <p>Several of our friends always check prices at Costco first when buying toys for their kids. One lady recently found the same <em>Star Wars</em> Lego set for $10 cheaper at Costco than it was at Target. My wife recently bought a kid&rsquo;s book for our daughter for $8 at Costco, compared to the $15 it costs at the big chain bookstores. Saving $10 here and $7 there can add up, especially during the holidays.</p> <p><em>So parents, what did I miss? What else do you save money on at Costco?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How Parents Save Money at Costco" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ben Edwards</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Shopping articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Shopping costco costco tips parenting Fri, 03 Dec 2010 14:00:08 +0000 Ben Edwards 333090 at How Parents Can Use Cloud Computing to Help With Homework <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-parents-can-use-cloud-computing-to-help-with-homework" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="checking homework" title="checking homework" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s a sad-but-true fact that parents these days are busier than ever. The work day is rarely 9 to 5, the commute eats up time, and it&rsquo;s very common for both parents to be employed full-time to make ends meet. But our nation&rsquo;s children still have the same needs they&rsquo;ve always had, and that includes school studies and homework. Additional tutoring outside of school hours by parents is invaluable for children. And that&rsquo;s where cloud computing can really come to the rescue for parents everywhere.</p> <p>Cloud computing is simply a fancy term for Internet-based computing, where applications, files, and resources are stored in distant servers away from your computer. You can access these resources on demand from any computer. Any time you&rsquo;re using Flickr, Yahoo Mail, Google Docs, Office Live, or MobileMe, you are &ldquo;on the cloud.&rdquo;</p> <h3>Enter the Cloud and a New Level of Parental Involvement</h3> <p>Here&rsquo;s a typical scenario that many of you may have faced on more than one occasion. Your business requires you to fly to another part of the country for a few days, be it to attend a meeting or conference, close a deal, or get additional training. As a parent, that leaves you out of reach. Sure, modern cell phones and laptops help you to stay in touch, but when it comes to helping with homework, most parents rely on email and a phone call as they&rsquo;re stuck in their hotel rooms. And that&rsquo;s, well, old-fashioned and clunky.</p> <p>With cloud computing you can share the information on the laptop in front of you with the desktop computer at home, several thousand miles away, and vice-versa. And it&rsquo;s instant, which means that when the all-important book report is due, you can enter the cloud with your young scholar and work on the project together in real time. You can access the report that has just been saved, make corrections, add notes in the margins, drag pictures into the file, and resave it. It basically allows you to collaborate with your child on a level that makes it seem like you&rsquo;re in the same room. Add videoconferencing to the mix, and you have a virtual homework study session conducted across the country.</p> <h3>Be the Help They Need, Anytime, Anywhere</h3> <p>Cloud computing is not just confined to hotel rooms and home offices. The cloud is accessible anywhere you have access to the Internet. If you take the train or carpool to work every day, you can use that valuable time to collaborate with your children and assist with their homework assignments, research papers, and more. And they could be sitting in the local library, a school bus, or even at the school itself.</p> <p>In fact, if your child&rsquo;s school is also using cloud computing, you can tap into that resource, too. So when you have to deal with a panic-stricken teen who knows they have an essay to write but cannot recall the deadline, you can access the syllabus from the school and see the due dates of your child&rsquo;s homework assignment.</p> <h3>And Remember, It&rsquo;s For All Ages</h3> <p>For the most part, using cloud computing to help with your child&rsquo;s homework is definitely aimed at older children and teens. However, we live in a computer-savvy society and cloud computing is just as accessible for younger children. Helping your 1<sup>st</sup> grader to write a story, draw a picture, or do math can also be done using cloud-based learning tools disguised as games. Sometimes they may need another parent to help them get online, but after that it can be smooth sailing and a lot of fun.</p> <h3>The Cloud Is Here To Help &mdash; Jump In</h3> <p>There&rsquo;s no better time for a parent to experience cloud computing. The technology is at a place that makes it easy to do, and more people than ever are using cloud computing to help with many aspects of family life. Homework is just a small, but important, part of it. Try it today and see what kind of a difference it can make to your busy life.</p> <!--====== PLACEMENT DETAILS ========= Site: Wise Bread Section: Sponsored Post Image Zone Code: Flight Dates: 11/19/2010 - 12/24/2010 Unit: 125x125 FM ID: 373350 Impressions: Flat Rate ===================================--> <div id="ms-banner" style="float: left; margin: -1em 1em 0 0;"> <!-- BANNER #1 --> <script type="text/javascript" src="[timestamp]"></script> <!-- BANNER #1 --> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Thanks to Windows 7 and Windows Live for sponsoring this post about how technology makes parenting so much easier. Visit <a href="">Windows</a> to learn more about the power of the Cloud and what it can do for you.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How Parents Can Use Cloud Computing to Help With Homework" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Technology articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Technology cloud computing homework parenting windows 7 Tue, 23 Nov 2010 22:14:53 +0000 Paul Michael 324770 at Ask the Readers: What's Your Favorite Childhood Memory? (Win $100) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-share-your-best-parenting-tips-stories-100-prize" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>Editor's Note</strong>:&nbsp; Congratulations to <a href="">Candice</a> for winning the $100 Amazon GC!&nbsp; Thank you for sharing such a lovely story with us!</p> <p>We have a new addition to the Wise Bread family. &nbsp;Meet Linsey Knerl's new beautiful baby boy!</p> <p><img alt="" src="" /></p> <p>To celebrate, we're holding a special contest with a $100 Amazon GC&nbsp;prize!&nbsp; Think of this contest as a giant Hallmark card from&nbsp;Wise Bread readers to Linsey. &nbsp;The topic is:&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Share your favorite parenting tip, parenting story, or childhood memory</strong>.</p> <p>What is your best parenting advice?&nbsp; Do you have a funny parenting story to share with Linsey? &nbsp;If you're not yet a parent, what is your favorite childhood memory involving your folks?&nbsp; Linsey would love to hear from you!</p> <h3>How to Enter:</h3> <ul> <li>Check out Linsey's great article, <a href="">6 Smartphone Apps for Expecting Parents</a>. &nbsp;</li> <li>Simply <a href="">leave your comment on that article</a> and you'll be entered to win!</li> <li>Remember, leave the comment on <a href="">My Life Scoop</a>, NOT&nbsp;on Wise Bread.</li> </ul> <p>Contest ends Monday, June 28th at 11:59 pm CST. &nbsp;(Note this is a two week contest, not our usual one week contest.)</p> <p>Winners will be announced after June 28th on the original post.&nbsp; Must be 18 or over to enter. Void where prohibited.</p> <p>Linsey will be checking in throughout the week. &nbsp;Make sure you stop by her article and <a href="">say hi</a>!</p> ZipThis Button Embed <p><a href="" title="Click to save this recipe. Powered by ZipList.">Creamed Leeks with Parmesan Crumbs Recipe</a></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: What&#039;s Your Favorite Childhood Memory? (Win $100)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Will Chen</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Giveaways articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Giveaways Ask the Readers parenting pregnancy Tue, 15 Jun 2010 09:39:31 +0000 Will Chen 134315 at 8 Tips to Help Your Teenager Become Credit Smart <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-tips-to-help-your-teenager-become-credit-smart" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What is the first thing a teenager is going to do with an extra few thousand dollars in their pocket? Spend it of course! (Without any regard to how it's going to be paid back or all of the fees associated with the loan.)</p> <p>When I was a young adult in college, I remember the credit card companies pitching their tents on career day. They would lure us with gifts and enticing giveaways and promises of a bright future because we were proud owners of a shiny new credit card! After applying for every card I could get, I had 5 beautiful credit cards in my wallet that I would flash just to show how grown up I was, and before I knew it, I was several thousands of dollars in debt and didn't know how I was going to pay it off.</p> <p>Every time I looked at my credit card bills, it appeared as if the balances were getting larger and larger. I couldn't keep up with the fees and finance charges! With the help of a financial advisor and a lot of tears, I was finally able to get out of debt and save my credit history, but it took time.</p> <p>Now that I am a mother of two teenagers, credit card abuse is one of the first dangers of financial common sense that I discussed with them. If you do not have the money in your pocket or in your bank account, don't buy it! Use credit for the goal of building a solid credit history and do it with intent and purpose.</p> <p>Fortunately, In May of 2009 the President Barak Obama signed into law the <a href="" title="CARD">Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009</a>, or CARD. It will take effect February 22, 2010 and will make it much harder for credit card companies to prey on teenagers and young adults by making it a requirement that the applicant have a job or co-signer</p> <p>Credit card abuse is easy to fall into, however it is a bit of challenge to rent a place to live or make large purchases without a credit history. Having a non-existent credit history can be as much of a detriment as it is to have a bad one. But there is a way to build a good credit history without falling into the pitfalls of an out of control credit card debt. Here are my tips to help your teenager prepare for responsible credit card ownership.</p> <ol> <li>Limit the credit card ownership to two general cards.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use a debit card instead of a credit card. It is deducted from your bank account and helps avoid over-spending.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Have a job before you even think about getting a credit card. (This is in the new bill.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Put a fraud alert on your credit report. This will not only protect your credit from fraudulent use, it will also reduce the credit card offers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>To avoid temptation of accepting new offers, Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688) toll free to request that the credit reporting bureaus stop selling your name and address to lenders. This request is good for two years. You'll be asked for personal information, including your name, telephone number, and Social Security number.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><em>Never </em>sign up for a department store credit card. They catch you when you are the most vulnerable, right when you are reaching for your wallet and cursing yourself for spending more than you should have. The store clerk flashes her pearly whites and offers you a great deal: &quot;would you like to save 15% off your entire purchase by applying for instant credit?&quot; These predators offer the discount because they know they will make a hell of a lot more in fees and finance charges when you charge your purchase. Not to mention the finance charges are through the roof compared to a regular Visa or MasterCard. This article says it all!: <a href="" title="Credit Reform and My New 703.8% Card">Credit Reform and My New 703.8% Card</a><br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't carry a balance. Make a purchase once a month well below the credit card limit and pay the entire balance every month.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make it a habit to pull your credit report from all 3 agencies every 6 months. You'll be able to catch any discrepancies from the credit reporting agencies and catch any identity theft.</li> </ol> <p>Credit card debt is really a high interest loan in disguise. Here's a breakdown of some typical credit card fees:</p> <ul> <li><b>Finance charge: </b>This can be as high as 25 percent on the unpaid portion of your bill each month.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><b>Annual fee: </b>Some companies charge yearly membership fees of anywhere from $20 to $100. Just in case you are smart enough to avoid carrying a balance, they will make sure you pay something with the annual fee.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><b>Cash advance fee: </b>Interest/finance rates and fees are much higher for cash advances &mdash; avoid it at all costs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><b>Late payment fee:</b> Paying late can also result in hiked interest rates.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><b>Over the limit fee: </b>Going even 1 cent over your approved credit limit can trigger an over limit fee of up to $25-$45 for every transaction over the limit.<b> </b>This one adds up very quickly.</li> </ul> <p>Help your teenager understand the responsibilities of credit card ownership and pitfalls that come along with it. Making a wrong move with credit can literally dictate the lack financial power they will have in the future. My credit card woes prevented my ability to buy my first home with my husband, and it was one of my biggest regrets in life.</p> <p><strong>Additional Resources:</strong><br /> The <a href="">Federal Trade Commission</a> provides free information to consumers on dozens of topics related to credit and credit cards, ranging from &quot;Choosing and Using Credit Cards&quot; to &quot;Avoiding Credit and Charge Card Fraud.&quot;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Tips to Help Your Teenager Become Credit Smart" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Lisa Cintron, Executive Vice President at <a mce_href="" href=""></a>, a social community of consumers and financial advisors who engage in conversation to help you research financial topics and potentially find the right financial advisor for your specific needs.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Lisa Cintron</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Credit Cards parenting teens and money Fri, 12 Feb 2010 15:00:07 +0000 Lisa Cintron 5167 at Budgeting Tricks for Parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tricks-for-budgeting-as-parent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="190" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's not always easy as a parent to have to reject the wants of a child, but it is not only a lesson in learning for mom and dad, it is also an invaluable lesson for kids to learn early the difference between needs and wants from parents who are clear about the difference as well. It is also important for a parent to instill the importance of gratitude. A child who is grateful for what they have, will likely not lament (much) what they have not. While it may be difficult to resist an adorable puppy dog look during a trip to Walmart or the subtle begging to &ldquo;just look&rdquo; in the toy store, your budget may dictate the need to say no. Parents might feel guilty about the budget restrictions, but the reality is budgeting is a necessary evil in order for kids to prosper themselves.</p> <p><em>Here are some tips for balancing the budget as a parent:</em></p> <p><strong>Keep the kids out of the aisles.<br /> </strong>If at all possible, leave the kids at home with the other parent when <a href="">grocery shopping</a>. Not only will you get out faster, you will also not have a ton of extra goodies being thrown in the cart because you are too frustrated to argue the lack of nutrients in fruit snacks and find it easier to say &ldquo;just get it.&rdquo; Freedom to shop alone also allows you time to do price comparisons and use coupons.</p> <p><strong>Do the fake out.<br /> </strong>Marketing professionals are geniuses at getting kids' immediate attention on the most expensive goods. Learn to be a little creative and buy items in bulk. Then recycle the &ldquo;expensive&rdquo; packaging over and over again. For instance, forget the expensive cereal with the high profile character the kids insist you buy. Instead, save the old box and replace the cereal inside with the store brand. Little kids especially will likely not have a clue about any differences in taste and their only concern is who is on the box and what toy is inside. Visit the local dollar store and stash some fun stuff in a high cabinet. You can save money by buying in bulk and repackage it to smaller sizes for easy to grab snacks.</p> <p><strong>Compromise on clothing.<br /> </strong>There are just too many trends for anyone to keep up with but if you are a parent trying to keep up with a teenager's taste in clothes, you might feel you are fighting a losing battle. But there are ways to help quell the arguments. For smaller kids, shop at <a href="">thrift stores</a> and yard sales to get the best deals. While it may take time to rummage for the right size and good quality items, it can save you a tremendous amount of money since kids tend to outgrow sizes quickly. Ebay can also be a great resource for getting a good deal on major label clothing that many older kids want. When it comes to shopping retail, be agreeable about buying a few trendy items but insist your kids put up the extra cash for the additional items they want that cost so much more or do without them. Also, don't forget to connect with other moms who are likely also in the same predicament as you. Round up used clothes your kids can no longer wear and host a swap party each month to trade items amongst friends.</p> <p><strong>Entertain creatively.<br /> </strong>Little kids can be easy to entertain on the cheap. Free museums and parks or even a walk with mom and dad can be all they need to have fun. As kids get older, activities inside and outside the home can get very costly. This includes extracurricular activities. Let the kids pick their favorites and stick with it. Let kids pick the family entertainment once each month, such as a movie or amusement park. Have everyone save up fun money during the month and focus on creating family fun at home inexpensively. Since kids will have that monthly activity to look forward to, they may be more inclined to wait it out. Don't spend a fortune on video games and other electronics. Rent videos and games so when boredom sets in you can change up the games and the movies. To be even more budget-conscious, turn off the games and the television and turn kids on to other activities that cost nothing but do wonders for the family ties. Eat at home and save the <a href="">restaurant experience </a>for a once a month fun time.</p> <p>While kids may still grump about your decisions regarding money, it is also a perfect time for kids to <a href="">learn about money</a> and if they are old enough, gain a little financial independence that is garnered by doing chores and odd jobs to earn their own cash. It may be a constant practice of tough love, but when you make it through the teenage years and are staring down the barrel of college tuition, you'll be glad you spent less and saved more for the future of your kids.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Budgeting Tricks for Parents" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tisha Tolar</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting budgeting money parenting savings tips for shopping Fri, 04 Sep 2009 21:30:02 +0000 Tisha Tolar 3573 at Can You Afford to Have a Baby? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-you-afford-to-have-a-baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Baby" title="Baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>More and more couples are deciding that having a family is not for them (others yet waiting longer to take the plunge), many citing their finances and a higher cost of living as a reason. While I believe that those who really want kids will always find a way to afford it, there may be some truth to this premise. Don&rsquo;t &quot;kid&quot; yourself: children are expensive and can financially ruin those who aren&rsquo;t prepared for all the expenses &ndash; both obvious and otherwise. Here are some financial considerations to plan and account for prior to sprouting your own little guys.</p> <h2>Taking Initial Time Off Work</h2> <p>Although I know of some parents who managed to take little more than a long weekend to pop out their progeny before returning to work, the norm (and preference, thank goodness) still is to take some time off to acclimatize baby to their new world, and adjust to the parenthood lifestyle.</p> <p>But these days mum isn&rsquo;t the only one with the option of taking time off; many workplaces respect paternity leave. So between the two of you, who will take time off from work, or how will you divide your respective absences? Whose income is higher or occupation requires more attention? Do you have the option of paid leave, or must you take an unpaid leave of absence? How good is your job security and ability to return to work after your leave?</p> <p>For those who are self-employed, you will be relegated to an unpaid leave and possible loss of business&hellip;or else going back to work right away. Don&rsquo;t fool yourself: you will not be able to bounce your baby on one knee and office work on the other; new parents are always amazed at how completely occupying their baby can be.</p> <h3>Financial Planning Points for Taking Initial Time Off Work</h3> <ul> <li>Determine who is taking time off, and for how long</li> <li>Save for an unpaid leave of absence, if necessary</li> <li>If you have a reduced paid absence, save up the extra funds required</li> <li>Save for any absence (and prepare your business) if self-employed</li> </ul> <h2>Budgeting for Baby and Beyond</h2> <p>In addition to all the wonderful baby expenses like food, diapers, toys, clothing, and so on, you may have to consider paying for all this &mdash; <em>and your regular expenses</em> &mdash; on one income. Many mums (or dads) choose to stay home with the baby for longer than the prescribed leave calls for, often until the kids start school. And if you plan to have more than one child, this can amount to a lot of years.</p> <h3>Financial Planning Points for Budgeting for Baby and Beyond</h3> <ul> <li>Save into a contingency fund in case you want to take more time off to be with baby (and yes &mdash; this means you!)</li> <li>Budget for the monthly and ongoing expenses of having a new member in the household (once you have an idea of what the budget will be, save the extra money you will be spending on baby stuff, or use it to pay down the mortgage &mdash; see below)</li> <li>Ideally take care of all debts before having children so no obligations hang over your head and eat into your budget</li> <li>Ensure your mortgage is manageable <em>even if the interest rates increase at renewal</em>. Consider making extra payments before the baby arrives</li> </ul> <h2>Retirement Planning</h2> <p>Planning for retirement tends to take a back seat during initial parenting years, and often doesn&rsquo;t reappear on the radar until much later &mdash; and often too late. Initially you stop saving thinking that just the initial maternity/paternity period will be the toughest, but then childcare costs absorb everything you thought you would save, which is then replaced with schooling expenses, and so on. All of a sudden you have adult children and are standing on retirement&rsquo;s doorstep without enough funds to stop working.</p> <p>Especially important to consider are retirement funds for the parent taking time off. Ideally you want to have equal amounts of money in your respective retirement accounts at retirement, so you can draw two taxable incomes and pay less tax overall than if the majority of the retirement funds came from one income. To that end, the parent taking leave can consider maximizing contributions in their last year of work prior to childbirth to make the most of tax deductions and long term growth. Then keep it going with spousal contributions, utilizing the working spouse&rsquo;s tax deductibility and equally contributing to both retirement plans.</p> <h3>Financial Planning Points for Retirement Planning</h3> <ul> <li>Don&rsquo;t assume you will be able to take a short break and resume your retirement savings</li> <li>Maximize contributions for the leave-taking parent in the year or two prior to having the baby</li> <li>Continue making spousal contributions to equalize retirement accounts</li> </ul> <h2>Life Insurance</h2> <p>If something happens to either parent, there are deeper consequences once you have kids than there was before. The surviving parent will be saddled with not only grief, but immediately the need to pay for baby&rsquo;s ongoing care, additional childcare expenses, in addition to the big mortgage and lifestyle you designed for two people to fund. Although you might plan to downsize and adjust your lifestyle accordingly, this won&rsquo;t be an immediate process, and life insurance can help ease the transition and prevent a total financial meltdown.</p> <h3>Financial Planning Points for Life Insurance</h3> <ul> <li>Review your existing policies and take out additional insurance if necessary to accommodate the expenses of having a child in tow with one income</li> <li>Review and update your <a href="">Wills</a> and <a href="">Estate Plan</a> accordingly</li> </ul> <h2>Costs of Pregnancy</h2> <p>Before getting pregnant, it is prudent to figure out exactly what expenses are covered by your health plan and what additional expenses you could face. If there are complications during the pregnancy or childbirth, you could be financially ruined before you are even out of the starting gate. Most <a href="">disability insurance</a> plans don&rsquo;t cover pregnancy-related illnesses, even if you are bedridden for months on end.</p> <p>Some couples choose to have their baby in a country with high-quality but low-cost care (I personally know of a couple who chose to have their baby in Malaysia for this reason among others. Singapore is also a hotspot for &ldquo;medical vacations&rdquo;).</p> <h3>Financial Planning Points for Costs of Pregnancy</h3> <ul> <li>Review your health and <a href="">disability insurance</a> plans and look for gaps in coverage</li> <li>Budget for additional and contingent pregnancy and childbirth medical expenses</li> <li>If you choose to have the baby elsewhere, budget for the trip, accommodation, medical, and even communication expenses (phone calls to and from family and friends will add up)</li> </ul> <h2>Childcare</h2> <p>Eventually, most parents staying at home with the kids will return to work. However with longer and more varied working hours, this means there will be an additional cost for child care, even if it is just during the hours before and after school.</p> <p>After discovering the exorbitant cost for full-time childcare (for kids younger than school age), some parents decide that since one entire salary practically goes to childcare, it would be more beneficial for them to simply stay home with the kids until they reach school age. Although this is a sound decision, don&rsquo;t forget some of the non-salary benefits lost by staying home, such as health care plans, employer-funded retirement contributions, and other government plans and perks funded through taxes (the scope of which vary depending on the country you live in).</p> <h3>Financial Planning Points for Childcare</h3> <ul> <li>Determine how much childcare will cost, and how it will be funded</li> <li>Save up for childcare in advance of having the child if you can</li> </ul> <h2>Planning for Higher Education</h2> <p>This is hard to contemplate as soon as you and baby are home from the hospital, but the clock is already ticking. With the cost of even local post-secondary education being more than a drop in the bucket, it would be best to get cracking on the savings fund. Not only that, but with time on your side, you may be able to save less money overall by using compound growth to your favor.</p> <h3>Financial Planning Points for Planning for Higher Education</h3> <ul> <li>Prior to having baby, determine how much you need to save to fund your child&rsquo;s post-secondary education</li> <li>Incorporate higher education savings into the baby budget from day one to ease the overall burden</li> </ul> <p>Having a family is a life-changing emotional decision, with emotional rewards and consequences. But planning for parenthood is a process that must be backed with logic and proper planning to avoid nasty surprises. Tread carefully and tactically, and you will enjoy many happy years of parenthood &mdash; and beyond.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Can You Afford to Have a Baby?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Family articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Family family planning financially planning for children maternity leave parenting Fri, 21 Nov 2008 02:29:46 +0000 Nora Dunn 2594 at Having a baby? Nine financial considerations for new parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/having-a-baby-nine-financial-considerations-for-new-parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Baby with ipod" title="Fun with Babies Part I" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My friend recently had a baby girl and she told me about the costs for a normal pregnancy and delivery. To say the least I was a bit flabbergasted that over $25000 was charged for a delivery with no complications. Since I want to have children in the future, I did a bit of research into the financial preparations one can do for a baby's arrival. Hopefully this will be helpful for all the potential parents out there.</p> <p><strong>1. Health insurance coverage</strong> - If you do have health insurance you could still end up paying quite a bit out of pocket depending on what happens during delivery and what type of insurance you have. You should definitely check the policy for what your out of pocket expenses are for hospital stays and major surgery in case of a C-section. If your work has multiple insurance options it is possible to switch into a slightly more expensive policy that covers more during a pregnancy and subsequent delivery. If you do not have health insurance and you are pregnant then it is very hard to buy insurance since insurance companies treat pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. However, it is possible for pregnant American women to apply for <a href="">Medicaid</a> before delivery. Any insurance is better than none since a delivery could cost anywhere from $10000 to $30000. Additionally, a newborn is very susceptible to disease so having medical coverage for the baby is very important.</p> <p><strong>2. Set up a flexible spending account if available</strong> - Flexible spending accounts allow you to contribute pre-tax money from your paychecks and pay for medical expenses or dependant care. The only disadvantage is that you must spend what you put into the account within the &quot;Benefit Period&quot; or lose the money you put in. The Benefit Period begins January 1st and ends March 15th of the following year. The great thing about flexible spending accounts is that the full amount you intend to contribute over the year is available for your use immediately even if the year is not over. So for example, if I tell my employer that I need to set aside $2000 next year, that entire $2000 would be available to me on January 1st even though I have not had any paycheck deductions. This is especially beneficial for expectant mothers who intend to quit working after the birth of a child since they could use the entire amount set aside by the employer for hospital expenses and not return to work to pay it back. That money is also not taxed as income</p> <p><strong>3. Pay off major debts</strong> - Once a baby arrives most families' expenses go up so it would be harder to pay off debts. I do not think that people necessarily have to pay off every cent of debt they have before having a baby, but paying off as much debt as possible before a kid arrives could relieve quite a bit of stress later.</p> <p><strong>4. Do not shop too much for the baby before it is born </strong>- This is some advice I got from moms I know. Quite a few women said to me that babies grow so fast that buying every cute outfit out there is a waste of money. It is much cheaper to ask for old clothes from friends and relatives who also had babies. For example, one woman got bags full of baby clothes from a sister in law who had a baby a year prior. Another piece of advice I got was that newborns do not really need toys or shoes so money is better spent on more useful things like bottles and diapers. It is also a good idea to stock up on a variety of diapers during sales before the baby is delivered since inflation will make everything more expensive a year or two down the road.</p> <p><strong>5. Life and disability insurance</strong> - The general accepted advice is to buy term life insurance for yourself before you have a child so it protects your child in case you die before his or her adulthood. For more about choosing a life insurance policy, Julie Rains wrote a good article <a href="/choosing-life-insurance-term-or-permanent">about term and whole insurance here</a> . She also wrote about why you <a href="/do-i-need-life-insurance-for-little-ones">do not need to buy life insurance for your child</a> . </p> <p><strong>6. Raise your income if you need to </strong>- Do you need more income to support a new addition to the family? If so, it is probably best to find ways to earn more money before the baby arrives. This could mean asking for a raise, <a href="" title="Help finding a job">finding a better paying job</a>, or setting up a income generating side business. Once a child arrives you may find that being a new parent is stressful enough without additional money making pursuits.</p> <p><strong>7. Housing</strong> - Many families buy a new house or rent a bigger place before or during pregnancy, but that may not be the best thing to do if the cost of the new space is unaffordable or much higher than before. Babies do not need that much space before they start walking so there is time to search for larger housing after delivery. You could save thousands of dollars by delaying the housing upgrade by a few months or years.</p> <p> <strong>8. Prepare for leave from work</strong> - Most American companies do not have very generous maternity or paternity leaves, but most employees can take a 12 week unpaid leave to bond with a child under the Family and Medical Leave Act without losing their jobs. Since the leave is unpaid you need to figure out if you have enough cash to cover the leave. Also it is important to inform your manager a few months before you go so that you can train someone to fill in for you while you are on leave.</p> <p><strong>9. Childcare</strong> - This is something that needs to be thought about before the baby arrives. Who will take care of the child? Will one parent stay at home? This is probably the most important thing to figure out before the baby arrives. One thing is for sure, good childcare is never cheap.</p> <p>A child is an incredible responsibility, and a bit of planning goes a long way. This is not an exhaustive list of the financial preparations new parents should be aware of before welcoming a baby, but it is a start. After a child is born there are many other financial concerns such as paying for college and adding them as beneficiaries to your will and retirement accounts. Anyway, I think parenting never really ends, but being financially prepared from the start will give you more time with your child.</p> <p><em><strong>What would you add to this list? Feel free to give advice to future parents in the comments!</strong></em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Having a baby? Nine financial considerations for new parents" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Xin Lu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Frugal Living General Tips children kids life money parenting Tue, 12 Aug 2008 23:57:32 +0000 Xin Lu 2324 at The Cost of Giving Baby a Bad Name <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-cost-of-giving-baby-a-bad-name" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="baby shower" title="baby shower" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="130" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Americans (and many other cultures) have always enjoyed the artistic license of being able to name their children whatever they fancy.<span> </span>Many parents start naming their son or daughter the day they learn of their child’s conception.<span> </span>Others wait until days or even weeks after “Baby” is born to research the namesake they are about to gift to their child.<span> </span>But sadly, many decide to just make up a name, inspired by a name brand, favorite movie, or spring break weekend.<span> </span>And many of these names are just bad. When names are in poor taste, the cost can be higher than estimated.<span> </span>Here is a look at how the wrong name can bring a lifetime of expense.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span> </span>Reading, Writing, Remedial – </strong>Unless there is a cultural or genealogical meaning behind your child’s 14-character first name, you may want to reconsider.<span> </span>Children faced with the daunting task of learning to write their uncommon and unpronounceable name may be turned off to learning altogether.<span> </span>Four and Five-year-olds already understand peer conformity, and they may become understandably envious of their classmates with simpler names.<span> </span>(Have you ever given thought to how large younger children write at first?<span> </span>Nothing is more embarrassing than having to hyphenate your own name because it won’t fit on line one of the Big Chief writing paper.)</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span> </span><strong>Cooties</strong> – Teasing is bad enough these days without the added pressure of having no one able to say your name or hecklers rhyming your name with a bodily function.<span> </span>The child with six adorable first and middle names may have ended up being teased anyway, but why chance it? (And while avoiding all teasing is impossible, it is a great feeling to be proud of your name!)</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span> </span>The Logistics of Length – </strong>I have a relatively short name, yet I can sympathize with unnecessarily long given name victims.<span> </span>Applying for a driver’s license, putting a name on a sports jersey, or even just having a locket engraved can be more difficult than needed for someone with a bad or lengthy name.<span> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span> </span><strong>Land of the Free – </strong>When children reach the age of majority in the U.S., nothing prevents them from having their name legally changed.<span> </span>While we can’t always foresee or prevent a child from simply tiring of a perfectly sound name, we can give them the best opportunity for keeping their name by being thoughtful in our choices.<span> </span>If you have even a slight hunch that the name you have picked for your new baby may some day clutter up the legal system, move along, please.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">If you are dead-set on a unique name for your child that may cause any of the problems above, consider a nickname for logistical reasons.<span> </span>I certainly don’t advocate a strict adherence to the top 20 baby names of 2007, but you can usually have a sense for these things.<span> </span>If too many of your relatives give you a raised eyebrow, or the delivering physician asks for the pronunciation and/or spelling of your new baby more than four times, it may be time to go back to the drawing board.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Cost of Giving Baby a Bad Name" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle baby names parenting Tue, 09 Oct 2007 14:24:39 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1269 at Mom and Dad, Your Financial Decisions Matter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mom-and-dad-your-financial-decisions-matter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="old couple kissing" title="old couple parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="234" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With Mother&#39;s Day in the recent past and Father&#39;s Day two days ago, I wanted to give credit where credit is due and encourage all the parents out there who are trying to teach their kids about money. Those things you&#39;re doing at home? They&#39;re working. Your kids are hearing it! Read below for some more suggestions as to what you can do to teach your kids about money. They worked on me! </p> <p>I don&#39;t know why you care about money (though I&#39;d love to hear it in the comments), but I care about money because my parents cared about money.</p> <p>Really, it&#39;s that simple. When I was growing up, my parents both showed me and taught me that my money and how I chose to spend it was important. They gave me an allowance, but they both encouraged and reminded me to save some. They helped me choose toys that I wanted (and could eventually get) to save towards. When I was old enough, they got me a savings account so that I could get my bank statement in the mail each month and see my money making money (and so I could feel like a big person, and associate that &quot;grown up&quot; feeling with &quot;saving,&quot; I suppose). Later on, they co-signed so I could open a checking account and taught me how to write a check, use my ATM card, and balance my checkbook every month.</p> <p>Beyond all of these things, though, I saw my parents value their money. I saw my dad (and later my mom) go to work every morning so that we would be able to have the things we needed and wanted. I saw dad sit down with his checkbook every month and balance it. I saw him write checks to pay the bills and I saw the little stamped envelopes go out in the mail. I heard him on the phone with different financial planners over the years, sorting out investments and retirement funds. </p> <p>I saw my mom buy things that were a good deal and skip the things that weren&#39;t, even when she wanted them. I helped her fill produce bags and weigh them, and then I helped her calculate what she&#39;d pay. I sat down with her to learn how to write a check and I saw her resolve the discrepancies in my checkbook that I didn&#39;t understand.</p> <p>I also saw the fruits of their labors. I watched them buy a car with cash. I went on vacations that we couldn&#39;t have taken without their careful saving. I saw the things that they could buy for each other and for us that wouldn&#39;t have been an option if they didn&#39;t have a financial plan.</p> <p>So to Mom and Dad (and to all the moms and dads out there who care about money and who are trying to teach their children to do the same), thank you. Thank you for showing me not only that making wise decisions about my money was important, but how to make those and what the results could be.</p> <p>Now it&#39;s your turn. Why do you care about money? Did your parents do anything that helped or hindered your relationship with money later in life? Please share: I&#39;d love to hear!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Mom and Dad, Your Financial Decisions Matter" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY balance a checkbook checkbook fruit of their labor mom and dad parenting parents Tue, 19 Jun 2007 17:09:40 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 757 at Thanks, Mom <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/heartpaper.jpg" alt=" " width="232" height="165" /></p> <p>My mom is awesome. There, I&#39;ve said it. My mom is really one of the best moms that anyone could ever hope for. She&#39;s always there to talk, she&#39;s fun to have around, and my whole family is really good about helping each other out. I&#39;m stuck in the office today, on Mother&#39;s Day, but I was thinking about all of the things that Mom has done for me over the years as I plugged away at the computer today.</p> <p>About two hours ago, I was working on some boring xml files, when a baby bird flew into my window. He didn&#39;t hit it very hard, and tried to change direction just beforer running into it, so it wasn&#39;t one of those awful collisions in which you just know that the bird is dead. It was still noisy enough to scare the bejesus out of me and make me spill hot coffee down my front and across my desk.</p> <p>As I sponged off with some Microsoft-issue paper towels, I watched the baby bird sit on the ground and shake his head a few times, trying to get his bearings. He was really quite small and cute, and he looked utterly alone. It was probably one of his first flight attempts, and he clearly hadn&#39;t gotten the &quot;Don&#39;t fly towards those big shiny surfaces&quot; memo. </p> <p>Only a few seconds later, his mother found him. She hopped over, gave him quick once-over, and nudged him a bit.</p> <p>I know birds don&#39;t have particularly expressive faces, but you could almost read the relief in this little guy&#39;s body language. She took a couple of hops away from him and looked back. He hopped unsteadily after her.</p> <p>A few seconds later, he opened his maw and started begging.</p> <p>His mother began gathering seeds and bugs from the ground to drop into his demanding gullet. She seemed to have an air of patient parenting about her, although I know that her behavior is more instinct and less about tolerating lazy offspring. This &quot;baby&quot; is probably getting to the point where he can peck his own food off of the ground. He&#39;s learning to fly, afterall. All his feathers are grown in, and with the exception of the window incident, he looks as though he&#39;s about ready to start taking care of himself.</p> <p>I started to wonder if maybe this baby bird, who I&#39;m calling Larry, is possibly a great big teenager who&#39;s refusing to learn to live on his own. Maybe Larry technically CAN fly and get his own food, but he&#39;d rather mom do all the work for him. Clearly, I have issues with anthropomorphism (I think I used the term correctly this time), because I was really beggining to ponder taking Larry&#39;s mom aside and saying, &quot;You know what? I think Larry can handle this on his own. Also, did you noticed that Larry is getting a little pudgy? Just a thought.&quot;</p> <p>And then I remembered a time that I like to call The Worst 6 Months of My Life.</p> <p>For some reason, my sophomore year in college sucked. It&#39;s a long story involving a crazy roommate, an overly-sensitive Dorm Committee, a vindictive Campus Housing Office, and something that was referred to as &quot;dorm dynamics&quot;. The long and short of it is that, in the spring of 1997, I sort of lost it. The drama of a bad living situation that refused to get better really wore me down.</p> <p>I became depressed. I couldn&#39;t stop sleeping - I would literally wake up, eat breakfast, and go back to sleep for another 23 hours. I got very strange infections under my cuticles so that my fingertips were swollen and red and painful. Then I lost my appetite altogether. To top it all off, my grandfather was very ill and I was thousands of miles away. I remember calling my mom and not really being able to say anything at all.</p> <p>Mom could tell that I was cracking. She flew me back to the West Coast to visit my grandfather. Then, she and I went on a road trip around the rainforests of Washington State. We circled the Olympic Peninsula, staying in small rustic lodges, going for long hikes wearing bright yellow rain slickers, and eating fresh seafood by roaring fireplaces. It was the best time I&#39;d had in ages, a very therapeutic experience, and still a highlight of my life. My mom picked me up out of my slump, reminded me that there were people who cared deeply about me, and took care of me when I most desperately needed her help (it should be noted that my mom, who is a nurse by trade, was also the only person to correctly diagnose my case of appendicitis - the doctors had it pegged as all kinds of other things). </p> <p>Even though I was technically old enough to take care of myself, it was good to have my mom there, being a mom. I was 19 years old, but I felt like a 9-year old. I was helpless at that point, emotionally drained and physically ailing. I don&#39;t know how things would have gone if my mom hadn&#39;t sensed the desperation and pain in my voice. I might have dropped out of college. </p> <p>Basically, I had run into a big glass window. And I might have sat there on the ground with no idea how to go on if my mom hadn&#39;t hopped over and nudged me, taken me under her wing, and reminded me just how much she loved me.</p> <p>I returned to college after a couple of weeks, feeling refreshed and ready to make the best out of a lousy situation.</p> <p>Today, when I was watching Larry the Baby Bird hop around as his mother patiently fed him, I was a little concerned that he wasn&#39;t maturing fast enough. But now I realize that Larry&#39;s mom was just helping him up after he fell. </p> <p>Chances are that she had seen him crash into the window, and fretted a bit over her teenager. Then she swooped down, gave him a little nudge, and fed him until he remembered how to feed himself.</p> <p>About an later, Larry started pecking at the ground on his own. Maybe his mother&#39;s patience ran out, or maybe he just remembered how to take care of himself. But thank goodness his mom was there. I&#39;m sure that Larry is, in his own way, really thankful that he has such an attentive and caring mom.</p> <p>Just as I am thankful.</p> <p><em>(Photo by </em><a href=""><em>Fabrizio Salvetti</em></a><em>)</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Thanks, Mom" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Extra Commentary giving Mother's day motherhood parenting selfless Mon, 14 May 2007 02:05:18 +0000 Andrea Karim 641 at