Family http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4566/all en-US 5 Ways to Make Adoption Affordable http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-adoption-affordable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-make-adoption-affordable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_adoption_000035736418.jpg" alt="Family finding ways to afford adoption" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a perfect world, you would meet the love of you life, get married, have a couple of kids, and embark on a booming career that afforded you many great luxuries in life. Unfortunately, the fairy tale doesn't always work out that way.</p> <p>Many couples are faced with the reality that they are unable to have to kids for one reason or another. Not only that, the cost of adoption has skyrocketed, with many adoptions topping $40,00 in costs. When was the last time you had an extra $40,000 lying around?</p> <p>There's no reason to go broke when you adopt. Here are five ways to afford adoption so you can get your family started right now.</p> <h2>1. Grants</h2> <p>Adoption grants are generally based on some sort of financial need, but for those that qualify, they can provide some much needed cash. A grant is a fantastic way to fund your adoption because they don't have to be paid back&hellip;ever. Some organizations are very specific about the qualifications for grants, while others remain more open. No matter what your situation is, there is an adoption grant waiting for you.</p> <p>Adoption grants require you to be working with a licensed agency and have a home study completed before you apply for the grant. The average cost of a home study is around $2,500, and you can use this home study for grants and loans as needed.</p> <p>There are hundreds of organizations that offer grants, and a good place to start your search is on <a href="http://www.fundyouradoption.tv">Fund Your Adoption</a>. Lori and Jeremy started Fund Your Adoption in 2012 after being swamped with details of trying to find ways to afford adoption. Fund Your Adoption offers a ton of great tips and resources for families who can't quite manage the expense adoption, and loads of wisdom through their experience.</p> <p>Here are a few of the most popular grant organizations:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.helpusadopt.org">Help Us Adopt</a> &mdash; this organization offers adoption grants for everyone, married or single, and regardless of religion.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.giftofadoption.org">Gift of Adoption Fund</a> &mdash; this organization offers grants ranging from $2K&ndash;$5K and accepts all individuals.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.showhope.com">Show Hope</a> &mdash; this organization awards grants averaging $5K.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.achildwaits.org">A Child Waits Foundation</a> &mdash; this organization awards grants ranging from $1K&ndash;$5K and offers grants for everyone.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Crowdfunding</h2> <p>Crowdfunding is no longer reserved for Kickstarter type projects funding the latest and greatest gizmo. It has now become a popular tool to raise money to adopt children, too. All you need is a great network of friends and family (or other potential donors), and a compelling story.</p> <p>Companies like <a href="http://purecharity.com">Pure Charity</a> offer an easy-to-use platform to raise an unlimited amount of funds online. Pure Charity takes 5% of your fundraising to pay for fees and administration costs. In exchange, they offer a site with tools like videos and how-tos, and any funds raised can go directly to an adoption agency that you name. This ensures that the funds raised might also qualify to be tax-deductible to the donor. (Make sure you check with your CPA before you set up your campaign to qualify for tax-deductibility.)</p> <p>Your crowdfunding page is sure to make for an awesome show-and-tell story for your adopted child.</p> <h2>3. Tax Credits</h2> <p>Most people adopting don't realize that they will qualify to receive a tax credit. In 2015, you can claim up to $13,400 in adoption tax credits for qualified adoption expenses. Expenses include a long list of costs, but cover things like adoption and court fees, as well as travel expenses. The tax credit works for all types of adoption, including international, domestic, and foster-to-adopt programs.</p> <p>If you are adopting Internationally, you will usually need to spend a few weeks in country before you are allowed to take your child home with you. The tax credit could certainly help make a dent in those expensive costs. You will want to make sure you keep very good records, receipts, and details of any costs that you expect to use towards the tax credit. You can hand all those documents over to your CPA at tax time to make sure you are applying the right costs.</p> <p>One word of caution: the adoption tax credit is a heavily audited item on tax returns. Many people have abused this tax credit and falsified information. The best advice is to use a CPA or accountant the year that you file for the tax credit in case you are audited.</p> <h2>4. Loans</h2> <p>If you are unable to secure grant money, or just need to fill a gap in funds for adoption, loans can be the answer. You'll probably want to exhaust grants and any crowdfunding ideas before you explore loans, unless the idea of putting your adoption story online sounds like such a terrifying proposition that you'd prefer to assume debt, instead.</p> <p>There are two types of loans &mdash; interest-free and low interest. As with any loan, you need to make sure that you can afford the monthly payments once the loan is in the repayment mode.</p> <p>Interest-free loans are always the preferred method of funding, and there are a couple of great options. <a href="http://www.abbafund.org">ABBA Fund</a> offers loans ranging from $6,000&ndash;$8,000 for Christian families, while the <a href="http://www.hflasf.org">Hebrew Free Loan Association</a> offers loans up to $15,000 for Jewish families.</p> <p>If you can't get an interest-free loan, low interest loans will be your next stop. One of the most competitive interest rates is with A Child Waits, which offers up to $10,000 in funding and charges 5% interest. You have a five-year repayment window, but no penalty for prepayment of the loan. That is still lower interest than most credit cards would offer, but certainly higher than some other options you might have available.</p> <h2>5. Fundraising</h2> <p>If all else fails, good ol' fundraising might do the trick. There are stories after stories of couples that raised enough money for adoption just through fundraising events alone.</p> <p>Some of the more popular are car washes, dinners, auctions, and T-shirt selling campaigns. Credit card rewards points are also a great way to fund adoption. If you configure your spending properly, you could earn a significant amount each year in rewards points that can be traded in for cash and used towards expenses.</p> <p>These are a few of the most popular ways to afford adoption, but certainly not the only ones.</p> <p><em>What are some of the ways you've used to save money adopting?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-adoption-affordable">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-you-are-teaching-your-kids-bad-financial-habits">4 Signs You Are Teaching Your Kids Bad Financial Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-financial-gifts-for-children">Great Financial Gifts for Children</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-emergency-fund-costing-you-money">Is Your Emergency Fund Costing You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-milestones-every-20-and-30-year-old-should-hit">7 Personal Finance Milestones Every 20 and 30 Year Old Should Hit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family adoption children fundraisers grants loans savings Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:00:24 +0000 Shannah Game 1470990 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: How Will You Show Your Appreciation This Father's Day? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-will-you-show-your-appreciation-this-fathers-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-will-you-show-your-appreciation-this-fathers-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fathers_day_gift_000063141029.jpg" alt="Daughter showing her appreciation for her dad on Father&#039;s Day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-will-you-show-your-appreciation-this-fathers-day#comment-776192">Jeff</a>, Michelle, and Susan for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Sunday is Father's Day! While it's important to love and appreciate the special dads in your life all year round, Father's Day is usually the time when many people want go the extra mile.</p> <p><strong>How will you show your appreciation this Father's Day?</strong> Will you be giving a gift, your time, or both? How do you usually show your appreciation when it <em>isn't</em> Father's Day?</p> <p>Tell us how you'll show your appreciation on Father's Day and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For Extra Entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a id="rcwidget_uu0693ue" data-template="" data-theme="classic" data-raflid="79857dfa192" rel="nofollow" class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa192/">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <p>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.</p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, June 22nd at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after June 22nd on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us how you&#039;ll show your appreciation on Father&#039;s Day and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-will-you-show-your-appreciation-this-fathers-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-share-your-best-parenting-tips-stories-100-prize">Ask the Readers: What&#039;s Your Favorite Childhood Memory? (Win $100)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-did-you-spend-your-first-paycheck">Ask the Readers: How Did You Spend Your First Paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-ways-to-celebrate-father-s-day">Free Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-honestly-follow-a-budget-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Do You Honestly Follow a Budget? (Chance to win $20)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Giveaways Ask the Readers Father's Day Tue, 16 Jun 2015 15:00:16 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1456841 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_sons_000039504068.jpg" alt="Stay-at-home mother avoiding common financial pitfalls" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Staying at home with my daughter has been one of the best choices I've made in my life. At the same time, there are a number of money concerns I didn't necessarily expect when I handed in my resignation. For those of you who stay home (or who might be considering this big life change), take heed. You can do it the right way &mdash; protecting your financial future &mdash; with a little research and planning.</p> <h2>1. Retirement Planning</h2> <p>Suze Orman's advice is to <a href="http://www.oprah.com/money/Financial-Advice-for-Stay-at-Home-Parents">contribute what you can</a> in preparation for retirement. Spouses can claim Social Security benefits based on their partners, even in the event of divorce. Use the <a href="http://www.aarp.org/work/social-security/social-security-benefits-calculator.html">AARP's Social Security Calculator</a> to estimate your individual take-home benefit. Beyond that, there are Spousal IRA accounts where you can stash away as much as you like, provided the working partner makes enough each year to cover your contribution.</p> <h2>2. Life Insurance</h2> <p>It's an area nobody likes to think about, but securing life insurance is wise for both working and stay-at-home parents, alike. And just because you're not making money doesn't mean you're not contributing to your family. Securing life insurance will help your family with funeral bills, child care, education costs, and more if something ever happens to you.</p> <h2>3. Divorce Dollars</h2> <p>The rate of divorce has more or less stayed the same over the past several decades at around a whopping <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/emmajohnson/2014/10/27/are-you-a-stay-at-home-mom-facing-divorce-dont-expect-alimony/">50% of marriages</a>. Stay-at-home parents are in vulnerable financial positions if they find themselves in the courtroom to make the split. Whereas alimony used to be the standard means of support in years past, judges are now <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/beverly-willett/are-stayathome-parents-at_b_907792.html">granting these maintenance dollars</a> much less freely. Of course, health insurance, retirement, court fees, and other money woes are wrapped up in this issue as well.</p> <h2>4. Resume Builder</h2> <p>Thinking ahead, I know I'll someday need to go back to full-time employment. Getting a job with a huge gap in my work history sounded daunting. So, I've been keeping my skills current. As a writer, I've had the amazing opportunity to work from home through freelance writing. Even if your area of expertise isn't so easily honed from home, you can check out different volunteer gigs, side-jobs, education opportunities, professional connections, and other ways of staying fresh in your field. That way, when you do submit a resume years down the line, you'll show you've stayed connected to the job market.</p> <h2>5. Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Even the most financially sound families should save up an emergency fund. We found this area particularly important when I decided to stay home. For example, my daughter ended up having some unforeseen medical issues. Our monthly budget only makes ends meet, so having some extra money set aside helped soften the blow from all the doctor bills. A broken furnace, totaled car, or even your spouse's job loss could spell disaster without some planning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-building-an-emergency-fund-always-a-good-idea?ref=seealso">Is Building an Emergency Fund Always a Good Idea?</a>)</p> <p><em>How has staying at home impacted your financial planning?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-nfls-5-most-frugal-players">The NFL&#039;s 5 Most Frugal Players</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family Lifestyle kids retirement savings stay-at-home parents Tue, 26 May 2015 09:00:08 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1431028 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_son_000015641889.jpg" alt="Mother saving big by being stay-at-home parent" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you a stay-at-home parent? Or are you perhaps considering becoming one? It's a scary jump &mdash; and that's something I understand personally. There are a number of factors I considered before leaving the full-time working world to stay home with my daughter almost four years ago. But thankfully, there are ways to find unexpected savings just by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">staying home</a>. Here are an important few to consider as you prepare your new budget:</p> <h2>1. Work Wardrobe</h2> <p>Of course, we all want to look nice and be fashionable. But when you stay home, there's less pressure to maintain up-to-date work clothing and other sets of wardrobes. Not only that, you can also experiment with second-hand shops for your family's clothing. I'll admit, it feels strange to see my closet shift from workwear to mostly casual duds. At the same time, I've been able to adopt a more minimalist approach with my apparel. It's saved us lots of money, at least several hundred dollars a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=seealso">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a>)</p> <h2>2. Meals Out</h2> <p>When I worked my last job at a local university, I would often grab lunch in the union or elsewhere around campus. Little by little, the dollars added up. I'd spend $25 a week (okay, probably more) when I had plenty of food spoiling at home. Dinners, too, would present challenges. All too often, I'd find myself getting out of work late and browsing a takeout menu.</p> <p>Staying at home leaves more hours open for meal planning and cooking. Not only that, you can try out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk cooking</a>, which saves time and money. You'll also have more motivation to survey your grocery store choices. I love budget stores like Aldi, where I can usually pack a whole cart full of food for less than $100. Every bit counts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-from-aldi?ref=seealso">10 Things You Should Never Buy From Aldi</a>)</p> <h2>3. Daily Commute</h2> <p>I left my 9-to-5 when gas prices were at their absolute highest. Though my commute wasn't terribly far, I have friends who travel an hour or more to their jobs. All that money on transportation and upkeep is blown away like so much exhaust. Parents who stay home can work to schedule activities and errands to maximize efficiency. In fact, you may even find the opportunity to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider">become a one-car family</a> in the process. We've been living this way for the past year. It was challenging at first, but the money back in our pockets (gas, car insurance, maintenance costs, etc.) has made it worthwhile.</p> <h2>4. Daycare Costs</h2> <p>Obviously, if you stay home with your kids, you won't need much or any childcare. Since I do work part-time from home, I have my daughter in a preschool class a few mornings a week to give us both a breather. It's a fraction of the cost of full-time daycare. And I can write-off this expense during tax season. For those of you on the fence, try calculating how much you might spend on full-time childcare. How would this expense impact your monthly budget? My old salary, for example, would have been cut in half or worse, making staying at home a more viable option.</p> <h2>5. Basic Living</h2> <p>I've also found that staying home allows me to return to those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-old-fashioned-skills-that-save-you-money">old fashioned ways of living</a> and, therefore, saving money. When I was working outside the home, I didn't have the time or desire to make my own cleaning supplies. Now I mix up batches of all-purpose cleaner, homemade <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes">laundry detergent</a>, and other scrubs like it's my job. Well, I guess it <em>is</em> my job. You get the idea. Staying home allows me to take better stock of what we're spending and how we might less expensively run our household from the inside out.</p> <h2>6. Free Stuff</h2> <p>During nap times or other breaks, you can take a look around at local calendars to find free activities in your area. I've collected coupons, vouchers, loyalty bonuses, and all other sorts of stuff in a binder. That way, when we're looking for entertainment, I can find fun on a budget. And you'll be surprised by the number of free or low-cost things you'll discover when you have the time to seek them out. We have saved a huge amount of money this way and often spend less than $25 on a weekend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free?ref=seealso">20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free</a>)</p> <h2>7. Sound Budget</h2> <p>After I left my job, I had more brain cells to focus on our operating budget. As a result, I have an extremely good handle on how much money goes in and out of our home. I'm able to adjust our budget accordingly. This keen attention to detail has been invaluable to us. It's also an action that's allowed me to stay home without feeling as much financial pressure. We no longer waste money on extras, like magazine subscriptions and gym memberships. Overall, we're just more mindful in our spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-mindless-ways-youre-spending-money?ref=seealso">10 Mindless Ways You're Spending Money</a>)</p> <p><em>In what ways has being a stay-at-home parent boosted your budget?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-family-lives-well-and-even-owns-a-home-on-just-11-an-hour">How One Family Lives Well (And Even Owns a Home) on Just $11 an Hour</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food">8 Creative Ways to Save Money on Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family child care kids saving money stay-at-home parents Tue, 19 May 2015 23:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1423350 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Signs You Are Teaching Your Kids Bad Financial Habits http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-you-are-teaching-your-kids-bad-financial-habits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-signs-you-are-teaching-your-kids-bad-financial-habits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000043444084_Full.jpg" alt="Kids learning parents&#039; bad financial habits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="158" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You spent that extra money in your bank account on a weekend trip to New York City, instead of using it to pay down your credit card debt. Maybe you even accidentally paid your power bill a week late last month.</p> <p>Are you inadvertently teaching your teens bad <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-habits-of-financially-successful-people">financial habits</a>?</p> <p>You might be.</p> <p>It's not easy measuring how influential parents are when it comes to influencing their children's behaviors. Just ask parents who've tried to change a teen's mind on anything from fashion to dating to finding a job. But a 2014 study by Bank of New York &mdash; <a href="https://www.bnymellon.com/us/en/our-thinking/business-insights/new-rules-for-engagement.jsp">New Rules for Engagement</a> &mdash; found that 52% of Millennials ranked their parents as their most trusted source of financial advice, while just 10% trusted the money advice of their peers.</p> <p>&quot;Maybe children don't trust their parents when it comes to picking friends, music, spouses, or even careers, but when it comes to financial advice, parents come out on top,&quot; says Kendrick Wakeman, founder and chief executive officer of FinMason.</p> <p>Because of this, parents have a special burden to pass good financial habits on to their kids. Wakeman says that ideally parents do this by example &mdash; they save money, pay their bills on time, and don't run up their credit cards. Their children see this and do the same things when they're adults.</p> <p>But what if you are far from the perfect financial role model for your children? What if you often forget to make your car loan payment on time? What if the debt on your credit cards grows every month? Might you be passing bad financial habits onto your kids?</p> <p>Here are four signs that you are passing bad money habits onto your teens, and what to do about it.</p> <h2>Can't You Just Use Your Credit Card?</h2> <p>You're in the department store shopping for a flat-screen TV. There are models within your budget, models that you've saved up enough to buy with cash. But there's an even better TV that's outside your budget &mdash; far outside it. Your teens want it. When you tell them it's too expensive, they ask &quot;Can't you just put it on the credit card?&quot;</p> <p>This is a sure sign that your children have watched you use your credit cards to buy items that you can't really afford. It's time to act like an adult and only make credit card purchases that you know you can pay off in full once your bill comes due. You want to teach your teens how to use credit cards wisely; using them to buy items that you can't afford is not how to do this.</p> <h2>Let's Get One More Thing</h2> <p>You're at the grocery store with your teens. You've checked off every item on your shopping list. But as you get nearer to the cashier, your teens start tossing packs of gum, magazines, or candy bars into your cart.</p> <p>The odds are good they've learned how to impulse shop from you. You don't want your teens to grow up to be impulse shoppers. Those extra Milky Way bars and bottles of Diet Pepsi add up. Resist the urge to add them to your cart at the last minute. And make sure to stop your teens from adding them, too.</p> <h2>Can't We Just Buy This One?</h2> <p>You've decided to buy a new laptop for the family to use. Your teens are thrilled with this idea. Your plan is to do some comparison shopping, either online or at local electronics stores. Your teens, though, just want to buy the first laptop they find online, regardless of its price or reviews.</p> <p>Look back at your own behavior. How many times have you simply gone online and ordered a new washing machine after a 10-minute online search? Have you gone to a car lot and simply picked the first car shown to you by the salesperson? If your teens have observed this behavior, the odds are high that you've taught them that comparison shopping doesn't matter. You can reverse this lesson, though. Next time you need to buy a new dishwasher, refrigerator, or other large item, take your kids comparison shopping with you. They need to see just how much money you can save when you shop around.</p> <h2>Why Can't I Have It, Too?</h2> <p>Your daughter wants a new pair of expensive jeans because her friend at school has the same brand. Your son wants a new pair of gym shoes because his friend dropped $50 on the same pair.</p> <p>It's likely that your teens have learned this why-can't-I-have-it-too behavior from you. Have you upgraded to a new car because your neighbor did the same? Have you purchased a swimming pool because you've seen your neighbors enjoying one? It's okay to buy these things, if you can afford them. Teach your kids self-control &mdash; and help them avoid neighbor envy &mdash; by only upgrading to a new car when you're financially ready, no matter what your neighbors have parked in their driveway.</p> <h2>You Don't Need a Big Bank Account to Teach Good Habits</h2> <p>Debbie Crowder, branch banking executive vice president at Richmond, Virginia-based SunTrust Bank, said that parents, even if they are struggling with their own finances, can teach their children how to avoid their mistakes and become financially savvy adults.</p> <p>&quot;Involve your child in in the day-to-day financial decisions you make for your household,&quot; Crowder says. &quot;When the power bill is higher than usual, explain the reason why and discuss how the entire family can conserve energy the next month to lower the bill.&quot;</p> <p>Chris Hogan, a financial speaker with Ramsey Personalities in Brentwood, Tennessee, says that parents can pass on good financial habits even if they themselves have a history of financial mistakes.</p> <p>&quot;The worst thing we can do as parents is to pretend like we're perfect,&quot; Hogan says. &quot;It's important to talk about the mistakes we've made financially. That's what can make a real impact on our children's behavior.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you model good financial behaviors for your kids?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-you-are-teaching-your-kids-bad-financial-habits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-adoption-affordable">5 Ways to Make Adoption Affordable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-places-teens-and-adults-can-learn-about-money">7 Places Teens (and Adults) Can Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-the-sort-of-person-who">Not the sort of person who ...</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family advice children spending teens Thu, 14 May 2015 13:00:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1416805 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Get a Good Workout... Even With Kids Around http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_running_000056855896.jpg" alt="Mother and daughter exercising at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I remember chasing my three-year-old daughter around the front yard, 40 pounds overweight, staggering to keep up, and knowing I had to change. Change my eating habits, change my lifestyle, and most importantly, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-get-more-exercise-without-working-out">change my exercise habits</a>. But finding time to squeeze in some cardio or core strengthening can be hard and often takes time away from the family, which I didn't want to do. Nor did I want to pay for an expensive gym membership that I probably wouldn't use regularly.</p> <p>So I came up with some ways to get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">muscle burn and decent workout</a> throughout my busy day. If you work from home like me, or are a stay-at-home parent, here are some things you can do to get a solid workout and burn some calories.</p> <h2>1. In the Kitchen</h2> <h3>Calf Raises</h3> <p>The next time the microwave is on, do calf raises until you hear the beep. With your feet close together, simply raise your heels off the ground and slowly back down. Try not to let your heels touch the ground for the maximum burn. My calves got pretty darn strong doing this, a minute here and a minute there really adds up.</p> <h2>2. In the Bathroom</h2> <h3>Push-Ups</h3> <p>While the kids are in the bath, grab 10 quick push-ups on the bathroom floor. When I first started doing this, I had a hard time doing more than five so I modified the exercise by doing push-ups from my knees. After a couple weeks, I was able to throw in some standard push-ups as well. Once you are able to do more of them, switch to &quot;sets&quot; of push-ups. Three sets of 10, several times a week, will quickly strengthen your abs, backs, triceps, and core all while your child splashes in the tub.</p> <h2>3. In the Playroom</h2> <h3>Arm and Chest Workout</h3> <p>When you have little kids, you inevitably end up hanging out with them in the playroom/family room after dinner. This is typically where the toys and games are located along with a place for you to sit and relax. Next time, before you chill out, look around for something you can curl with your arms. We had a Home Depot play barbecue that weighed about 20 pounds that I would curl several times a week. I'd start with 10 bicep curls, 10 tricep extensions, and 10 chest presses. You might look kind of silly, but as long as you're getting a good muscle burn, who cares?</p> <h2>4. In the Bedroom</h2> <h3>Bed Plank</h3> <p>Every morning before rolling out of bed, do a one minute plank on the mattress. Start by laying on your stomach, then push yourself up and balance on your elbows, keep your back flat all the way down to your feet. A plank is one of the best exercises you can do for your core and engages your back, arms, shoulders, and hamstrings. Being on the mattress only increases your core engagement as it's a little more flexible than the carpet and requires better balance.</p> <h3>Bed Push-Ups</h3> <p>After you do your plank and make the bed, do 15 quick bed push-ups. While facing the bed, simply put your hands on the side of the bed and extends your feet away from it. Then do a push-up and try to bring your chest down far enough to touch the mattress. This is essentially a modified push-up that is quite a bit easier than a standard push-up. When I started doing this four-five times a week, I was able to increase my sets quickly and finally got up to three sets of 25.</p> <h2>5. In the Dining Area</h2> <h3>Lunges</h3> <p>When setting the table, I'd carry the plates and do leg lunges to the table, and back to the kitchen. My kids thought this was hilarious and actually started doing them with me which was a cool side effect.</p> <h3>Scarecrows</h3> <p>With your hands at your sides, take a dinner plate in each hand and lift both arms straight out in front of you, then slowly back to your side. Then lift your arms directly out to your sides, and slowly back down. Start with 15 repetitions of each and your arms will burn like crazy.</p> <h2>6. In the Hallway</h2> <h3>Stair Climbing</h3> <p>If you have stairs in your home, try jogging up them as quickly as you can. Focus on hitting every step with both feet to maximize your leg burn. If you're not ready to jog up the stairs, then walk up and down them <em>twice</em> when you're not in a rush to get somewhere.</p> <h3>Plyometrics</h3> <p>When walking down the hallway consider doing &quot;tires.&quot; Pretend there are car tires staggered down the hallway that you have to jump in and out of as you work your way to where you're going. I'd do this every time I was headed to my home office and it became a fun game. I'd also switch to fun things like high knees and butt kickers. High knees are when you jog and bring your knees up as high as you can, and butt kickers are when you try to hit your butt with your heels as you jog.</p> <h2>7. In the Front Yard</h2> <h3>Run Anywhere</h3> <p>Our mailbox is about 500 yards away from our house, so I started jogging to it every day to get the mail. At first it sucked as it was all uphill coming back, but slowly I was able to build up my endurance and actually started jogging the route several times a day, two-three times per week. If you don't have a front yard, then start walking or jogging the neighborhood. Bring your kid(s) and let them ride their scooter or Big Wheel as you attempt to keep up with them.</p> <h3>Make Everything a Game</h3> <p>Once you start to build up your cardio endurance, start looking for reasons to get your heart rate up. Make up games with your kids that require some running or chasing and get everyone involved. You'll be amazed with how great you will feel, and if you eat right, the pounds will really start to shed.</p> <p>The key is to be creative and find areas in your life where getting a quick muscle burn is possible. The more places you find, the more calories you'll burn, and the quicker your metabolism will fire up and really start burning the fat. Take it from someone who never thought it could be done, it absolutely can! Here I sit typing these words 40 pounds lighter, and the best part? I never paid a gym membership fee.</p> <p>Be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, even my &quot;around the house&quot; workout.</p> <p><em>Do you have any other tips for finding unorthodox places around the house to get a quick workout?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-avoid-workout-burnout">10 Tricks to Avoid Workout Burnout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-reasons-why-you-should-take-a-walk">25 Reasons Why You Should Take a Walk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/36-workouts-you-can-do-in-your-living-room-while-its-cold-out">36 Workouts You Can Do in Your Living Room While It&#039;s Cold Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">5 Times a Gym Membership Isn&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Health and Beauty children exercise fitness kids working out Thu, 07 May 2015 15:00:17 +0000 Kyle James 1410181 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_silly_faces_000015279016.jpg" alt="Sibling kids with discounts that can save you big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a father of three, I can tell you that raising children is one of the toughest, but most rewarding things you'll ever do. But let's be completely honest &mdash; raising a child is expensive. And raising more than one child is <em>really</em> expensive. Raising three or more? Forget about it.</p> <p>But if you do have more than one child, you may have some financial relief available in the form of sibling discounts. Here are six to be aware of.</p> <h2>1. Orthodontist Discount</h2> <p>My son just recently had braces put on his teeth, and the sticker price of over $5,000 was a tough pill to swallow, especially since my younger daughter is also going to need braces in a couple of years. During the appointment with the business manager, I jokingly asked if I could get a sibling discount on my daughter when it's her turn for braces. Surprisingly, she said, &quot;absolutely, we can give you 15% off her orthodontic treatments when she's ready.&quot; Needless to say, I was very happy I asked.</p> <p>The obvious time to ask about a sibling discount is with twins who need braces at the same time. If you don't fall into that category, but have more than one child getting braces in the span of a couple years, be sure to ask right before the second child gets them put on. This technique may also apply to other elective medical procedures, such as acne treatment lasers, and so forth.</p> <h2>2. Summer Camp</h2> <p>My wife and I spend a good chunk of our summer vacation driving our kids to various camps. A few years ago I started inquiring about sibling discounts, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that almost all of them offer something. The size of the discount varies depending on the length of the camp, and whether it's of the overnight variety or not. From my experience, you stand a great chance of getting a 10%-25% discount simply by asking.</p> <h2>3. College Tuition</h2> <p>It you plan on having at least two kids enrolled in college simultaneously, I hope you take advantage of a 529 college savings plan. You should also be aware of college tuition discounts that many institutions offer. George Washington University famously offers a 50% tuition grant for the second student attending at the same time. Many other universities also offer generous sibling discounts. These include Seton Hall, Gonzaga, and Western New England University. Bottom line: Do your research as this could save a big chunk of money, especially with twins or siblings very close in age.</p> <h2>4. Daycare Costs</h2> <p>If you have more than one child in daycare, ask about a sibling discount. While you'll typically have to pay a babysitter more when they watch multiple children, it's not the case at many childcare facilities. Most will offer a sibling discount in the 10%-15% range. If your children are not in &quot;full-time&quot; daycare, the discount will often be less, typically in the 6%-8% off range. Be proactive and ask when registering your kids.</p> <h2>5. Lessons and After-School Activities</h2> <p>Consider all of the activities your kids are involved in after the final school bell rings. A few extra-curriculars that jump to mind include music lessons, gymnastics, swimming lessons, and dance class. I recently cashed-in on a sibling discount when my two daughters started piano lessons with a private instructor. The piano teacher gave us the option of a 15% discount for separate lessons or a 40% discount on a group lesson. You'll typically need to inquire about these discounts, as they're usually not advertised.</p> <h2>6. Tutoring or Coaching</h2> <p>If you have kids involved in any type of tutoring or special coaching, you'll also want to investigate if sibling discounts are applicable. Whether it's academic tutoring or private athletic coaching, you can often get a percentage taken off when one or more of your kids are involved. Feel free to negotiate a better rate directly with the coach or tutor. Most will happily give you a discount if you have more than one child using their service. Start at 25% off and be prepared to meet in the middle.</p> <p><em>Have you ever cashed in on a sibling discount? If so, how much did you save?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-money-saving-tips-every-parent-should-know">15 Money-Saving Tips Every Parent Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-ways-to-entertain-teenagers">19 Frugal Ways to Entertain Teenagers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-lessons-we-learn-from-our-grandparents">10 Financial Lessons We Learn From Our Grandparents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-great-wedding-if-you-havent-saved-enough">How to Have a Great Wedding if You Haven&#039;t Saved Enough</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family discounts kids saving money siblings Tue, 05 May 2015 17:00:24 +0000 Kyle James 1408972 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_baby_000022503773.jpg" alt="Couple asking important questions before starting a family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Can we even afford one?&quot;</p> <p>This question was the first my husband and I asked ourselves when we had the big baby discussion. Romantic, right? But in reality, finances play an important role in moving from a two-person household to three (or more). So, while a lot of the baby-making process is fun and games, here are some items to consider and situations to plan for before making that jump into parenthood.</p> <h2>1. What Is Your Budget?</h2> <p>Before anything else, we took time to write out our budget in full. After every single last fixed and variable expense was accounted for, we compared that number to our take-home income. You'll find a wide range of figures for how much a <a href="http://www.parenting.com/article/the-cost-of-raising-a-baby">child costs per year</a> ranging from &quot;only your time and love&quot; to $12,000 or more, depending on a number of factors (location, lifestyle, etc.). When we saw what was left over, we got a good idea that adding a child would be doable. We also found areas of our budget that had room to change and free up money for diapers, food, baby gear, and much more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-dont-actually-need-to-buy-for-your-new-baby-plus-5-you-must?ref=seealso">10 Things You Don't Actually Need to Buy For Your New Baby</a>)</p> <h2>2. Who Will Care for the Baby?</h2> <p>Wrapped up in those yearly costs for taking care of your child is daycare. You'll want to take many personal and practical factors into consideration when making the choice. We decided that much of my income would have been sucked up with childcare costs, so I opted to work part-time from home after calculating many scenarios from best to worst case. Some of you might have family willing to help out full or part-time. Others will rely on paid care exclusively.</p> <p>While you're thinking, it's also a good idea to get in touch with your workplace to see how much time off you get after birth, as well as how much of this time is paid versus unpaid. Same goes with your spouse.</p> <h2>3. What Does Insurance Cover?</h2> <p>Health insurance was the next big piece of the pie. How much of my prenatal care would be covered? What about the birth and delivery? And even before all that, what about possible infertility coverage? (We're dealing with this detail the second time around.)</p> <p>We are fortunate to have good insurance that paid for pretty much everything &mdash; ultrasounds (I needed many), blood tests, delivery, and follow-up. Beyond that, you'll be adding a dependent to your coverage, so your monthly premium might go up. Your child will also have well care visits often in the first year. Speak with your HR department or call your insurance company directly to get information on coverage, deductibles, copays, and any other concerns you might have.</p> <h2>4. Do You Have Space?</h2> <p>Take a look around your place. Some of you might be living in three to four bedroom houses. Others, studio apartments. The truth is, you can make most places work with one child using creative solutions from room sharing to compact closet bedrooms. If you don't think you have a good setup or &mdash; alternatively &mdash; would want to move anyway, you'll want to calculate a new rent or mortgage number into your budget to see how it shifts everything.</p> <h2>5. What About Other Stuff?</h2> <p>Beyond baby's first years, the costs can climb. Things like preschool tuition, extracurricular activities, college savings accounts, and even unexpected medical expenses.</p> <p>Our daughter had a medical issue that required major surgery in her second year of life, and no one could have expected or planned for that. Though insurance took care of the heaviest expenses, like a $100,000 hospital bill, we have paid deductibles for countless doctor appointments and follow-ups. (She's doing great now, by the way.) Most situations like these are unusual and likely not to be of concern. At the same time, if your budget or job is shaky, you might want to try and stabilize things before adding another variable to the equation.</p> <p><em>What other questions did you ask before adding to your family?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family child care family planning having babies insurance kids Mon, 04 May 2015 15:00:27 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1406710 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Basic Manners You Must Teach Your Kids http://www.wisebread.com/10-basic-manners-you-must-teach-your-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-basic-manners-you-must-teach-your-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_manners_000019524370.jpg" alt="Kid learning basic manners from his parents" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm sorry, but it's going to be a lot harder than you thought to teach manners to your children. You behaved at home, as a child, and then you went to college, where you likely <em>misbehaved.</em> Eventually, you found yourself in a relationship, and were probably very free about what you said and did. And then came the children, who are just tiny sponges. They soak up everything their parents say and regurgitate it, most often inappropriately.</p> <p>Time to clean up your act.</p> <p>The best way to teach manners to your children is not to immediately hand them the 18th Edition of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061740233/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0061740233&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=2UL2RQJJZHRWNIE5">Emily Post's Etiquette</a> (although I do think that's a lovely graduation gift). They need to learn the rules below before they can read. They need to learn them from you, their parents, and you need to <em>model</em> these manners. Consistently.</p> <p>You want your kids to be successful and get ahead in life, and they won't be able to get through job interviews without shaking hands properly. They need to know they cannot talk on their cells at the symphony. They will need to write thank-you notes. If you don't show them how, who will?</p> <p>Below are 10 types of etiquette rules you really need to teach your children. These are not <em>behaviors</em>, such as not being a bully; they are the rules of a civilized society.</p> <h2>1. Etiquette 101</h2> <p>Here we have the holy grail of beginning etiquette for children. Master these four phrases, and practice them around, and with, your kids.</p> <ul> <li>&quot;Please, may I&hellip;?&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Thank you.&quot;</li> <li>&quot;No, thank you.&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Excuse me.&quot;</li> </ul> <h2>2. Do Not Interrupt</h2> <p>I work with a guy who interrupts anyone and everyone, all the time. Every time he does it, I think, &quot;Your mother failed.&quot; It is rude to not let someone finish their thought. Children are, by their nature, impatient &mdash; but they need to learn patience, which includes not interrupting. When the interruptions happen, say &quot;Please don't interrupt. Let me finish what I was saying.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Introductions</h2> <p>Making introductions is difficult for adults, let alone children. As an adult, though, isn't it nice when someone introduces you? I have found that kids can master this, but they are going to need prompting to remember (&quot;Ben, did you introduce your friends?&quot;). Even the very young can handle &quot;This is Jason, and this is Katie.&quot;</p> <p>If an adult comes to your house, your child should stop what they are doing, and come say hello. Ideally, the child should offer their hand to shake, and say &quot;Hello, Mrs. ____.&quot; If their friends are present, further introductions should be made by the child. When the adult leaves, the child should come and say good-bye. Many children are very shy about introductions, so be patient and keep working on it.</p> <h2>4. Responding to a Polite Question</h2> <p>Following an introduction, or a greeting, an adult will usually attempt to talk to a child. Most of the time, the question will be &quot;How are you?&quot;</p> <p>Respond to the adult and let them know how you are, kiddo. But then, ask the adult how<em> they</em> are. Here is how Uriah, age four and two doors down, handles this one:</p> <p>&quot;How are you today, Uriah?&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I'm GREAT! I have T-ball today! Uhh, how are you? Do you want to see me hit this ball? I had CAKE today! Last week I made it to third base!&quot;</p> <p>Yes, I find him completely charming. Most children, though, I find, just ignore the adults. That's not okay, parents. Even if your child is shy, teach them to smile and say &quot;I am fine, thank you. How are you?&quot;</p> <h2>5. How to Behave at the Table</h2> <p>It is my sincere hope that your family, no matter what its makeup, sits together at least for the dinner meal. A good chore for even young children is to learn to set the table. Once seated, you may say grace, or have a family custom &mdash; but please, no cell phones or other electronic devices at the table. Use this time to reconnect as a family, and instill some basics.</p> <ul> <li>Before each meal, wash your hands.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do not chew with your mouth open.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do not interrupt another family member's story. This is an important time for everyone to share their day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If the child wants second helpings, this is when we use &quot;Please pass the ___.&quot; When the food is passed, they should say &quot;Thank you.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Burps happen. They should be silent, and followed by &quot;Excuse me.&quot; No belching contests, please.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you have a cold or cough, sneeze or cough into your tissue, and then go dispose of the tissue and wash your hands again. If you have no tissue, sneeze into your sleeve, and then go wash.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Absolutely no picking or scratching.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When the child is done with dinner, they should say &quot;Please, may I be excused?&quot; and when permission is granted, they should take their plate, utensils, and napkin to the kitchen (and follow whatever cleanup rules you have).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do not nag (&quot;I told you a thousand times...&quot;) at the table. Just keep correcting, or the dinner experience becomes associated with battles.</li> </ul> <p>You will be really glad you taught them table manners at home before you take them to restaurants, which can be intimidating to children who have no practice with napkins, silverware, and complicated place settings.</p> <h2>6. How to Behave at a Play, Concert, or Movie</h2> <p>Movies are a good place to start teaching your children about how to behave at a public performance. Hit the bathroom and get snacks ahead of time, and encourage them to be quiet, or whisper. Next, try a play or concert, and talk about intermissions, listening, watching quietly, and staying in your seat. Before the event, explain the usher's job. Not okay: Gum, candy wrappers, cell phones, or kicking the seat ahead of you.</p> <h2>7. Writing Thank-You Notes</h2> <p>Being able to compose and send a thank-you note is another skill that will serve a person all their lives. You should write them with the child until approximately age eight or nine, when they should have the ability to write their own. You may need to help them get started.</p> <p>My &quot;trick&quot; in getting thank-yous done was to get out a nice array of stationery, cards, stickers, fun stamps, and colorful pens. I also had my address book at the ready, and mugs of cocoa and snacks. Then, we would do our notes <em>together</em>.</p> <h2>8. How to Shake Hands</h2> <p>Ah, the limp handshake. It still exists, which surprises me every time I encounter it. It's so easy to do it correctly! Here are the instructions.</p> <p>Stand up. Extend your hand. Using a firm grip (not a bone-crusher), grasp the other person's hand and grip/shake while you introduce yourself and the other person introduces him/herself. Here is a great video of some kids who have this <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0CH6hq2gGA">handshake skill</a> down!</p> <h2>9. Avoiding Bad Language</h2> <p>It's very simple: if you swear in front of your kids, they are going to swear, too. The problem is (and I'm Exhibit A): They will use these words at some very inappropriate times. Often, they may not know what the bad words mean, and explaining can help (they will probably be horrified).</p> <h2>10. When Not to Use Electronics</h2> <p>This is especially hard because adult modeling is so poor. You can be a part of that change, though. Readers will probably disagree, but I don't think electronics, or most specifically cell phones, belong at the table, movies, concerts, performances, weddings, funerals, churches, or school. I will hopefully assume you do not use your cell while driving (and that includes texting), which is simply dangerous.</p> <p>I was recently at a picnic, and one of my old friends did not bring her daughter, saying &quot;She is too much of a brat.&quot; I remember thinking, well, that's your fault, and what a shame, because the other children were having so much fun. Yes, teaching manners to children will try your patience, but it will ease their passage into adulthood when they master the basics.</p> <p><em>Anything we've missed? What manners do you consider absolutely essential?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-basic-manners-you-must-teach-your-kids">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-doing-this-on-your-first-date-youre-not-getting-a-second">If You&#039;re Doing This on Your First Date, You&#039;re Not Getting a Second</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-old-school-manners-we-want-back">8 Old School Manners We Want Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-things-people-with-good-social-skills-never-do">18 Things People With Good Social Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-supposed-etiquette-faux-pas-that-actually-make-you-look-good">3 Supposed Etiquette Faux Pas That Actually Make You Look Good</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-youre-driving-your-coworkers-insane">12 Ways You&#039;re Driving Your Coworkers Insane</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Personal Development children etiquette manners raising kids Thu, 30 Apr 2015 13:00:26 +0000 Marla Walters 1401102 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chicago_city_view_000026130108.jpg" alt="Chicago is an afforable city to start a family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking to start a family? Many major metro areas can be tough choices, given their high cost of living, crime statistics, and public school quality. So, we've dug a little deeper to uncover seven U.S. metro areas that offer the best environments for starting a family.</p> <h2>1. Virginia Beach, Virginia</h2> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/virginia_beach_000041511570.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're looking to mix business with pleasure at an affordable price, Virginia Beach is an option that should be within your consideration. With several large companies in and around the area, along with a plethora of government opportunities nearby, the economy is strong and the property values are solid with an <a href="http://www.zillow.com/virginia-beach-va/home-values/">average home price</a> of roughly $240,000. Plus, wouldn't you love to take your kids to the ocean every weekend without having to board a plane or endure a long car ride?</p> <h2>2. Chicago, Illinois</h2> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/chicago_city_view_000026130108.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you can bear the cold (it gets and stays well below freezing for weeks during the winter), Chicago is a fantastically affordable city, relative to its size and offerings. Its many amenities will keep your entire family entertained no matter what your interests. And its <a href="http://www.zillow.com/chicago-il/home-values/">housing costs</a> are among the lowest of any metropolitan area in the country, with an average home price of about $230,000.</p> <h2>3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</h2> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/city_of_pittsburgh_000021195550.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Pittsburgh is a city on the rise, quickly becoming a top education and health care center. These two industries have stabilized and grown an economy that once relied on the steel industry. The city's many museums, active waterfront, nearby natural areas, sports teams, parks, and festivals make it a wonderfully diverse area for families. The <a href="http://www.realtor.com/local/Pittsburgh_PA/home-prices">average home price</a> in Pittsburgh is approximately $230,000.</p> <h2>4. Nashville, Tennessee</h2> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/Nashville_000021951973.jpg" alt="&copy;iStock.com/MoreISO" width="605" height="340" /></p> <p>Music City is one of the greatest areas of innovation and arts in the country at the moment. People from all over the world are visiting and moving there thanks to the vibrant cultural and local business scene. It's no wonder that celebrities who want a lower profile and a high quality of life are buying homes in Nashville. It also happens to be a winner for families and kids, thanks to all of its culture and natural beauty. <a href="http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Nashville-Tennessee/market-trends/">Average home prices</a> are still a bargain here at about $205,000.</p> <h2>5. Madison, Wisconsin</h2> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/Madison_000050792842.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Madison is a top pick for those who love the vibrant energy and cultural opportunity of a university town. Complete with one of the best farmer's markets in the country, a tight-knit community feel, and award-winning family-friendly attractions, Madison is an ideal place for families. <a href="http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Madison-Wisconsin/">Median home prices</a> in Madison are some of the most affordable in the country at around $195,000.</p> <h2>6. Austin, Texas</h2> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/Austin_000048267910.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>&quot;Keeping it weird&quot; is Austin's motto, and they own it. This is a &quot;come as you are&quot; kind of town and known for its friendly, supportive vibe. Here, originality and creativity are highly encouraged and celebrated. Austin offers mild winters, some of the best music in the country, plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, and a growing economy based in the technology sector. <a href="http://www.zillow.com/austin-tx/home-values/">Typical housing costs</a> hover around $345,000. Though this is more expensive than most of the other areas on this list, it's still a far cry cheaper than places like New York City and San Francisco.</p> <h2>7. Chapel Hill, North Carolina</h2> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/Chapel_Hill_000022409564.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Like Madison, Chapel Hill is also rich with university town resources, but its winter is more moderate than Wisconsin's. As part of the Research Triangle, the economy is strong, and like many of the other cities on this list, it has a community vibe to match. Chapel Hill's calendar is loaded with kid-friendly events, and it boasts dozens of places to stage them, including its numerous gardens and parks. <a href="http://www.zillow.com/chapel-hill-nc/home-values/">Median home prices</a> are closer to Austin's at about $330,000.</p> <p>If the time is right to start a family and you're looking for a new city to begin that adventure, this list offers a strong starting point for your search. Curious about how the cost of living between different cities compares? Check out this <a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/">cost of living comparison tool</a> to find out.</p> <p><em>In which cities are you considering starting a family?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-into-a-good-school-district-for-less">How to Get Into a Good School District for Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Real Estate and Housing affordable living cities having kids metros moving raising family relocating Wed, 29 Apr 2015 15:00:26 +0000 Christa Avampato 1401147 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Stop Your Spouse From Overspending http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_saved_piggy_banks_000055929726.jpg" alt="Learning how to keep your spouse from overspending" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spouses aren't always honest with each other when it comes to money. A study released earlier this year by CreditCards.com found that nearly one in five U.S. consumers have hidden purchases of $500 or more from their live-in partners or spouses. The same study found that nearly 7.2 million people have hidden a bank or credit card account from their spouse or partner.</p> <p>It's no surprise, then, that partners often butt heads over spending decisions. One partner wants to save. The other likes to spend, and will spend enough each month to break the household budget, often hiding these purchases until they show up on next month's credit card statement.</p> <p>What if you are the financially responsible partner in a relationship? Is there anything you can do to stop your partner from blowing your household savings on video games, clothes, or expensive electronics?</p> <p>There might be. Changing a partner's bad spending habits requires plenty of work and even more communication. To start, check out these four tips for changing your partner's free-spending ways.</p> <h2>Set a Regular Money Meeting</h2> <p>Robert Stammers, director of investor education at the CFA Institute &mdash; a trade association serving investment professionals &mdash; says that couples need to be willing to talk about money. Unfortunately, too many couples never hold these financial talks.</p> <p>This isn't surprising: Money often scares couples. A survey released in early 2015 by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 47% of couples say that money disagreements are the most common <a href="https://www.nfcc.org/press/multimedia/news-releases/january-nfcc-survey-reveals-top-financial-relationship-stressors/">cause of stress</a> in their relationships.</p> <p>But not talking about money as a way to avoid these disagreements is a mistake. A partner who overspends needs to realize the consequences of this behavior. That can't happen if partners never talk about money. Stammers recommends that couples set a regular meeting date &mdash; maybe once a month &mdash; to talk about money issues.</p> <p>&quot;No two people have the same ideas and philosophy about money and investing, so it is important to determine upfront what is important to the both of you,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>Set Aside Some Fun Money</h2> <p>Creating a separate bank account for fun money might be a solution, says Kelley Long, resident financial planner for El Segundo, California's Financial Finesse, and a spokesperson for the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.</p> <p>This account will give the overspending partner a bit of financial freedom, and might prevent this spouse from breaking into a couple's main account set aside for paying the mortgage, car payment, and other bills, Long claims.</p> <p>&quot;This money can be spent without restriction or comment,&quot; Long says. &quot;When the money in the account is gone, the spender has to wait until the next payday to spend again.&quot;</p> <p>If the overspending partner raids other accounts after cleaning out the &quot;fun money&quot; account? Then a relationship has more serious trust issues that must be addressed, Long says.</p> <h2>Don't Let the Money Come Home</h2> <p>Michael Chadwick, chief executive officer of Unionville, Connecticut-based Chadwick Financial Advisors, has a more practical solution: Send more of the money you're earning into a retirement account and less of it into your savings account. Your overspending spouse can't spend the money you've stashed in a 401(k) account.</p> <h2>Let the Spender Take Control &mdash; For a Month</h2> <p>It may be counterintuitive, but it might help to have your free-spending partner pay the bills and manage the budget for at least a month. As Chadwick says, this might provide your partner with some insight into why wasting money on unnecessary purchases is such a problem.</p> <p>If none of these tips work? Your overspending partner might have a more serious issue, one that perhaps only counseling can solve, Chadwick says. &quot;Spending and shopping when out of control are no different than smoking, drugs, or alcohol.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you and your spouse or partner manage money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-bailbondsman-approach-why-some-of-us-stay-broke">The Bailbondsman Approach: Why Some Of Us Stay Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-when-its-okay-to-take-a-loan">6 Times When It&#039;s Okay to Take a Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-delaying-marriage-or-kids-saves-you-money">Here&#039;s How Delaying Marriage or Kids Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/say-no-7-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-get-married-if-youre-in-debt">Say No! 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn&#039;t Get Married if You&#039;re in Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Family couples finances marriage Spending Money Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:00:28 +0000 Dan Rafter 1399139 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Child Care Purchases You Should Never Skimp On http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_stroller_child_000033375724.jpg" alt="Mother walking child in stroller she didn&#039;t skimp on" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the movie <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Away-We-Go-John-Krasinski/dp/B0021L8UOY">Away We Go</a>, there's a character who refuses to own a stroller, asserting &quot;I love my babies. Why would I want to push them away from me?&quot;</p> <p>When I was pregnant with my first child, I was that mom. Because I planned to practice attachment parenting, I figured I wouldn't need a swing, or a high chair, or any of those devices that would come between my loving arms and my child.</p> <p>Then I gave birth to a real, actual baby, and I realized that sometimes I needed to use the bathroom or take a shower, and that carrying an increasingly heavy kid everywhere in my arms was a recipe for a backache and seething frustration. I began equipment shopping, and although my budget was small, I learned that there are certain baby and child items worth spending more on.</p> <h2>1. Car Seat</h2> <p>You probably will not be able to leave the hospital without this piece of equipment; but don't grab just any car seat to fulfill the requirement.</p> <p>&quot;Every hour, nearly 150 children between ages 0 and 19 are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/Road_Traffic_Injuries/index.html">motor vehicle crashes</a>,&quot; the Centers for Disease Control and Protection warns. Fortunately, you have some control over whether your child is injured in a car accident: You can research car seat safety on <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/car-seats.htm">Consumer Reports</a> (it's worth paying for a month's subscription to the website to access this information) and buy the highest-quality seat that fits well in your vehicle. Never buy a used car seat, because you can't be sure that the seat was never in an accident, which can compromise its safety.</p> <h2>2. Stroller</h2> <p>After logging thousands of miles pushing my three kids through neighborhoods, grocery stores, and airports, I have owned perhaps a dozen strollers. This is the one item that I wish I'd spent more on from the get-go. If you plan to walk a lot, grocery shop with your stroller, or have more than one child, do some research and invest in the best stroller you can afford. If I could do it again, I'd happily pay $500 or more for a stroller that wouldn't fall apart after a couple of years.</p> <p>If you plan on running with your baby &mdash; which can be a great way to fit exercise into your schedule &mdash; consider investing in a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=jogging%20stroller&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;sprefix=jogging%2Caps%2C154&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Dbaby-products&amp;linkId=QOMFABQZDWLFLAPO">high-quality jogger</a> as well. We had a cheap jogging stroller that listed to the left, which means that after the first few tries, I never jogged with it.</p> <h2>3. Swing</h2> <p>When I finally broke down and bought a swing, I bought a tiny, inexpensive model because that was all that fit in our tiny, expensive San Francisco apartment. That didn't cut it for babies two and three, who had to spend more hours swinging because I didn't have eight arms to change toddler diapers, help preschoolers use scissors, and hold baby at the same time. If you are buying new, Consumer Reports has an extensive <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/baby-swings/buying-guide.htm">baby swing buying guide</a> that lays out the many options available nowadays. Go for powerful motion and long battery life (or a plug-in model) over bells and whistles.</p> <h2>4. Photography</h2> <p>This can feel like a luxury when you have diapers to buy and preschool tuition to pay, but a quality portrait session is really an investment. Your kids will change faster than you realize, and although the snapshots you take are precious, an annual sitting with a really good photographer will result in keepsakes you will treasure forever. I have taken my kids to cheap photo chains, and I have taken them to pros, and believe me: The high-end professional photos are the ones that are now framed on the walls, and that I love looking at day after day. Also, framed portraits make inexpensive holiday gifts for doting grandparents, which helps defray the cost.</p> <h2>5. Childcare</h2> <p>I've tried many methods for saving money on childcare over the years; and to some extent, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-babysitting-without-ending-up-on-the-local-news">less expensive childcare</a> has worked okay for my family. But I have also visited inexpensive home daycares that I would never leave my kids in, like the place where I rang the bell and a two-year-old walked barefoot across the parking lot to greet me at the gate. Friends have sent their kids to low-end daycares and noticed that hygiene practices were subpar, or even had their children get hurt. You should do your research with any childcare provider, but be especially wary if the price is much lower than other providers. You have to ask yourself: Is the provider able to provide a safe environment and quality staff for the price they're charging?</p> <h2>6. Sunscreen</h2> <p>I'm happy to buy the cheapest brand of toothpaste or deodorant, but the truth is, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sun-screens-can-really-cost-you-by-the-ounce-and-by-the-tumor">safest sunscreen</a> for your kids &mdash; the kind that uses physical blockers instead of chemical ones &mdash; is pricey. Pay up, or cover up.</p> <h2>7. Breast Pump</h2> <p>An inexpensive model may work fine for occasional pumping, but if you plan to pump every day, you're going to need a professional-grade breast pump. The FDA warns against borrowing or purchasing <a href="http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/HomeHealthandConsumer/ConsumerProducts/BreastPumps/ucm061952.htm">used breast pumps</a> (<a href="http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/lv/lvjunjul04p54.html">La Leche League</a> explains the different kinds), so this is an item that you may have to pony up for. Still, even a high-end pump pays for itself if it saves you from buying formula, and some health insurance plans may <a href="http://www.second9months.com/should-you-buy-a-used-pump-for-breast-pumping/">reimburse the cost</a>.</p> <h2>8. Crib and Mattress</h2> <p>Crib safety standards have changed drastically in recent years, so you really need to do your research if you try <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-used">buying a used crib</a>. As for the mattress, concerns are growing about the toxins released by all kinds of furniture in our homes. Considering the number of hours a baby spends in its crib, I found it worthwhile to spend three or four times as much on a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006G94D3O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006G94D3O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CQX7PAZY3L54PCYO">non-toxic crib mattress</a>. Second-hand mattresses can raise safety concerns and may even be associated with <a href="http://nursery.about.com/od/Safety/f/Faq-Used-Crib-Mattresses.htm">Sudden Infant Death Syndrome</a>.</p> <h2>9. Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups</h2> <p>Bisphenol A (BPA), is now banned from the plastic in baby bottles, but uncertainty still lingers around the safety of many plastics. Pediatrician Juliet Baciocco Spurrier, founder of BabyGearLab, recommends <a href="http://www.babygearlab.com/a/11078/Are-Plastics-Safe-for-Baby-Bottles-and-Sippy-Cups">choosing plastics</a> No. 2, No. 4, or No. 5, or sticking to glass. As your child gets older, exercise the same vigilance over the cups they drink out of, at least at home (where they're less likely to lose their cups).</p> <p><em>What kid care items are you willing to pay more for?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family babies car seats childcare kids safety strollers Tue, 21 Apr 2015 09:00:05 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1392240 at http://www.wisebread.com Becoming a One-Car Family: 5 Points to Consider http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/one_family_car_000026960870.jpg" alt="Family deciding to become a one-car family after consideration" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're looking to simplify your life or just save money, leaning your family down to just one car can be a wise choice. My husband and I have been doing the one car thing for around a year, and it's working out quite well since our daughter is young and I work from home. We made the change after the repairs and gas costs started taking huge chunks out of our monthly budget, and it's proved to be a smart financial choice for us overall.</p> <p>While there are still times when owning two vehicles might be more convenient, with a little compromise and some planning, we're hoping to keep it simple for as long as possible. Here's how you can do the same.</p> <h2>1. Map It Out</h2> <p>Before anything else, click open a map to investigate the area around your home. When I checked our location, I discovered that our daughter's school, as well as a hospital, pharmacy, grocery store, and even a few restaurants and shops, were all within a mile of our front door. Since I work from home, knowing these amenities were in close distance helped us feel confident that we could access most of what we might need on foot in a pinch. You can also choose to switch banks, doctor's offices, pharmacies, and other spots to fit your new lifestyle.</p> <h2>2. Consider the Weather</h2> <p>That being said, we also live in an area where winter overtakes the region a good five months out of the year. If inclement weather is a factor that might make walking or other transportation difficult, weigh it in your decision accordingly. If you have kids, think down the line to when getting to school events or other activities might get tricky with just one vehicle.</p> <h2>3. Group Your Trips</h2> <p>A lot of the bumps in switching to just one car come from convenience and ease of transport. Sometimes you can't go where you want to go at the moment you want to go there. Start keeping lists of items (food, household, etc.) that you need and try to take shopping trips all at once. Group activities, like gym classes and other recreation, to get the most out of your trips. I find it particularly helpful to post a large calendar so my husband and I can see where the car is needed and when. Then practice before you drop that second car. Can you make it work?</p> <p>As a bonus, you may also find you save money by not running to the store every time you need something. Staying home more often has its benefits.</p> <h2>4. Consider Alternative Transportation</h2> <p>There's a lot on the spectrum between driving and walking. Check out the bike routes to work, for example. The average speed bike commuters travel is around 10 mph, and trips of three miles or fewer are actually faster by bike. Those of you who live in cities can check local bus and subway schedules to see if you can get where you need to go in good time. Buying frequent rider passes can be a great way to save on travel this way. Comb Craigslist and other classifieds for motorized scooters. Where there's a wheel, there's a way.</p> <h2>5. Dip in the Pool</h2> <p>Furthermore, if you live in a more spread out area, carpooling might be a good option &mdash; especially for your daily commute. Ask your coworkers or Human Resource office if any employees have organized groups. You may also find community programs by searching online. And there are lots of carshare and rideshare programs, like <a href="http://www.zipcar.com/webch&amp;gclid=COno04Os4sQCFdY8gQodw60Amw">Zipcar</a> and <a href="https://erideshare.com">eRideShare</a>, across the country that allow you to get from point A to point B without owning a car at all. Once you've surveyed all the options, make a plan that works for your family. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carpooling-pros-cons-and-how-to-stay-safe?ref=seealso">Carpooling: Pros, Cons, and How to Stay Safe</a>)</p> <p><em>We'd love to hear your tips on making just one car work for a family (or perhaps no car at all). Please leave your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-driving">Here&#039;s How Rich You&#039;d Be If You Stopped Driving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carpooling-pros-cons-and-how-to-stay-safe">Carpooling: Pros, Cons, and How to Stay Safe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-survive-with-one-car-in-suburbia">Can You Survive with One Car in Suburbia?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Family carpooling downsizing rideshare saving money simplifying life Wed, 15 Apr 2015 21:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1386019 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_son_money_000014942268.jpg" alt="Mother talking to her son about investments" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Roughly 68% of Americans feel that <a href="https://www.wellsfargo.com/about/press/2014/middle-class-retirement-saving_1022/">saving for retirement</a> is harder than they anticipated. Some 25% of all middle-class Americans &quot;get depressed&quot; when even thinking about it. And 40% of millennials have no idea how much <a href="https://www.wellsfargo.com/press/2014/20140610_millennials">money to save</a>. The most frightening statistic: 21% of Americans think that <a href="http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/Financial_Planners_Study011006.pdf">winning the lottery</a> is the most practical way for them to fund their retirement.</p> <p>I discussed these problems and the financial behavior of investors with Rob Pivnick, a financial literacy advocate and author of &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NDHXOH8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00NDHXOH8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5MOTCBD3L7AR5A2F">What All Kids (and Adults Too) Should Know About...Saving &amp; Investing</a>.&quot; His message is that parents should teach their children the right habits as early as possible, so they don't become one of these statistics. And it doesn't have to be difficult. Here are 10 easy ways to teach your children about smart investing.</p> <h2>1. Start Them Off Early</h2> <p>Starting to save as early as possible is the easiest way to let your money work for you. In fact, this is probably the number one thing you can teach your children about money.</p> <p>Consider this example from Rob's book comparing two savers: One starts saving when he is 20 years old, while the other waits until she is 30 years old. Each one saves $100 per month until they are 60 years old, and they both get the same 8.5% return. The early saver will have $406,825. The saver who waited ten years will only accumulate $166,339. That 10 year difference results in over $240,000 more growth! But the difference in the amount contributed was only $12,000 &mdash; compound interest made up all the rest. So, encourage your children to start investing now.</p> <h2>2. Don't Try to Beat the Market</h2> <p>Your kids should want to be average &mdash; at least when it comes to investing. It is better to embrace the market than try to beat the market. It isn't very often in life that you won't tell your children to try to be the best, but when it comes to investing, teach them to be average. Passive management, or indexing, is an investment approach that tries to match the performance of the market as closely as possible rather than try to beat it.</p> <p>Over the long term, it is impossible to consistently beat the market without taking on additional risk. Over just about any historical five year period, passive index funds beat actively managed funds. Over the last five years, for example, only 20% to 35% of <a href="http://www.spindices.com/documents/spiva/spiva-us-mid-year-2014.pdf">actively managed funds</a> beat the benchmark for their category. The professionals aren't smarter than the market. And neither are you (or your kids). It's a humbling fact, but still a fact nonetheless. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett?ref=seealso">5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</a>)</p> <h2>3. Minimize Expenses: Invest in Low-Cost Index Funds</h2> <p>Actively managed funds have an average expense ratio of a full percentage point higher than passive funds. One percent may not sound like much, but over the long term it becomes much more significant. How does this translate into lost dollars? Well, from another example in Rob's book, if you invested $100,000 over 30 years at an average yearly growth of 8.5%, paying for those higher fees would cost you approximately $280,000. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds?ref=seealso">3 Steps to Getting Started With Index Funds</a>)</p> <p>Everyone should know that past performance is no indication of future returns. But does everyone know that the most accurate predictor of future returns is low fees? When looking at factors like past performance, fees, and Morningstar ratings, expense ratios are the only reliable predictor of future performance.</p> <h2>4. Think Long Term: Buy and Hold Is the Best Strategy</h2> <p>The average <a href="http://www.dalbar.com/ProductsampServices/AdvisorsSolutions/QAIB/tabid/214/Default.aspx">investor's annual return</a> is around 4%. That's compared to the historical average market return of 8.5%. Why? Because we tend to invest emotionally &mdash; which causes us to buy high, and sell low (instead of the opposite).</p> <p>Emotional investing is a losing strategy. Don't fall into this trap &mdash; teach your children to stick to their long term plan and ignore the daily market swings.</p> <h2>5. Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket</h2> <p>An important part of smart investing is diversifying. While diversification alone won't increase returns, it allows investors to reduce their risk. Diversification limits losses without sacrificing gains. It's the only way to do that. It's the &quot;free lunch&quot; of investing.</p> <p>By spreading investments over a variety of sectors and assets, the risk that any specific investment will fail is partially canceled by the other investments, thereby lowering the overall risk. Teach your adolescent children to diversify among asset classes, and furthermore, to diversify within each type of asset (such as different sectors, geographical regions, market capitalization, industries, etc.). Pivnick's book devotes a very readable chapter to diversification and provides useful examples of how to make it work for you.</p> <h2>6. Involve Your Children in Investment Decisions</h2> <p>Parents know that children tend to model their behavior after them, so it should be unsurprising that children's saving and investing behavior also follows that of their parents. Any chance you have to involve your children in day-to-day discussions about money are learning opportunities. And they are habit forming. If your children see you making sound, reasoned decisions about spending, they will start to think the same way about their spending habits.</p> <h2>7. Have Kids Write Goals and Savings Charts</h2> <p>It shouldn't come as a surprise that those who write down their goals are a third more likely to reach them. Plus, this can serve as a teaching moment for budgeting.</p> <p>As soon as your children receive birthday money, are old enough to do chores, or begin earning allowance, start a savings chart outlining their budget. People who write down their savings goals save, on average, over two times more than those that don't write a goal down.</p> <h2>8. Practice Learning by Doing</h2> <p>Anything you can do that actually involves your children in &quot;money&quot; tasks is a teaching opportunity and can instill good spending habits. Here are a few examples Rob provided:</p> <ul> <li>Have them help you figure out the restaurant bill and tip.</li> <li>Take them to the bank with their piggy bank to deposit funds in a savings account.</li> <li>Encourage them to take the lead on a refund or return with customer service.</li> <li>Allow them to negotiate a discount on the purchase of goods and services.</li> </ul> <h2>9. Give Limited Control and Let Them Make Mistakes</h2> <p>Once they are old enough, young adults should be given limited access to their money or bank accounts. Limited, in the context of parents-get-final-say-and-approve-silly-purchases, but still providing enough room to allow them to make those silly purchases. It only takes one super wasteful purchase to teach a lesson.</p> <h2>10. Teach Rules of Thumbs and Takeaways</h2> <p>Studies have shown that <a href="https://www.moodys.com/microsites/miic2010/presentationfiles/Fischer.pdf">rule-of-thumb money rules</a> affect financial behavior more than a thorough lesson on the topic. So, the rules of thumb must be included in your discussions. Here are some examples.</p> <ul> <li>After a lesson on compounding, provide an actionable takeaway, such as &quot;start early.&quot;</li> <li>Show the power of diversification with a rule of thumb: &quot;A single stock is riskier than a stock mutual fund.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>In Pivnick's book, you can find a great list of 14 takeaways to share with your children. After all, as parents, you want your kids to succeed &mdash; so set them up for that success by following these tips.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to teach your children about smart investing?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-youre-on-track-for-retirement">How to Tell if You&#039;re on Track for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-baby-bunting-but-dont-pay-full-price">Buy Baby Bunting... But don&#039;t pay full price!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-adoption-affordable">5 Ways to Make Adoption Affordable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-boost-your-odds-of-retiring-early">5 Ways to Boost Your Odds of Retiring Early</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Investment Lifestyle allowance investment money smart raising kids savings Fri, 20 Mar 2015 13:00:11 +0000 Damian Davila 1349215 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Delaying Marriage or Kids Saves You Money http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-delaying-marriage-or-kids-saves-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-delaying-marriage-or-kids-saves-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_wedding.jpg" alt="married couple on their wedding day saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For some, the decision to get married and start a family is as natural as falling in love. But marriage and family are big responsibilities that require emotional and financial maturity. Though there's rarely a perfect time for settling down (love &mdash; and sometimes kids &mdash; strike when you least expect), it's worth considering the financial implications of waiting. Now that many couples are delaying marriage and kids, it's important to know why putting off these major milestones can be good for your financial health.</p> <h2>Debt</h2> <p>Once you tie the knot, you and spouse will share everything, including in some cases, debt. So, sit down together, discuss your combined debt, and map out a smart plan for tackling it. Facing reality and seeing the numbers in black and white might make you rethink your wedding date. Research shows a large number of couples divorce within the first five years &mdash; and problems stemming from debt is the primary reason.</p> <h2>Cost of Marriage</h2> <p>The average wedding cost in the U.S. is $25,000. Some couples spend even more. If you rely on credit cards to finance your wedding plans (i.e. engagement ring, wedding, and honeymoon), you and your spouse will be paying off the debt for several years down the road. It will be difficult to jump-start your new life. Postponing the wedding date, saving for the ceremony, and opting for a less extravagant celebration are all reasonable options for reducing this expense. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-wedding-trick-will-save-you-thousands?ref=seealso">This One Wedding Trick Will Save You Thousands</a>)</p> <h2>Cost of Kids</h2> <p>Having kids probably costs more than you expect. The <a href="http://transform.childbirthconnection.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Cost-of-Having-a-Baby1.pdf">hospital delivery cost</a> in America runs between $33,000 and $51,000, on average &mdash; depending on whether it's natural or a caesarean birth. And don't assume health insurance always covers childbirth. Often couples don't realize they're on the hook for these charges until it's too late.</p> <p>WebMd reports that the cost of a raising an infant during its first year increased to $40,000 &mdash; equivalent to the cost of one year's tuition at an Ivy League university. Daycare alone is an estimated $15,000 per year. The total <a href="http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/cost-of-children/?iid=EL">cost of raising children</a> until they reach the age of 18 is $245,000 each. Planning your family based on your financial ability can reduce household stress and make for a happier home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-it-costs-to-raise-a-child?ref=seealso">What It Costs to Raise a Child</a>)</p> <h2>Tips to Save Money While Delaying Marriage and Kids</h2> <ul> <li>If possible, pay off any high-interest pre-marriage debt before tying the knot. Paying off your loans early will save you thousands on interest charges and reduce any friction over shared finances.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Do not finance the engagement ring. Consider a less expensive option, instead. Take it from a woman: As long as it has bling and it's not cubic zirconia, you'll probably be fine. You can upgrade it on your five year wedding anniversary, or once you're financially settled.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Stay engaged until you have saved enough money saved to cover all wedding day expenses. Create a budget and stick to it.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Consider living together during the engagement. The money saved on rent, utilities, etc. can be set aside to pay down debt or for the wedding. What you learn about each other &mdash; and your financial habits &mdash; will be priceless.</li> </ul> <p><em>Did delaying marriage or kids save your family money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-delaying-marriage-or-kids-saves-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-ways-to-entertain-teenagers">19 Frugal Ways to Entertain Teenagers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-great-wedding-if-you-havent-saved-enough">How to Have a Great Wedding if You Haven&#039;t Saved Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family">The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family affordable having kids marriage wedding cost Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:00:09 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1347548 at http://www.wisebread.com