Family http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4566/all en-US How to Sell Your Kid's Stuff at a Consignment Sale http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hanging_baby_clothes_61959774.jpg" alt="Learning to sell your kid&#039;s stuff at a consignment sale" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you have kids, clothing and toys seem to multiply by the minute. One way I like to stay on top of decluttering is to sell my kids' outgrown items at consignment sales. Here are my top tips to cash in on your kid items through local sales.</p> <h2>How to Find a Local Consignment Sale</h2> <p>I have sold my kid items at an actual consignment shop and a semiannual consignment sale. The latter is better. With a consignment shop, you are limited and do not tend to make as much as you'd hoped. However, with a semiannual consignment sale, you are able to set your own prices, drop off your items, and then pick up what does not sell at the end of the week.</p> <p>Find a local consignment sale by doing a web search of &quot;(your city) + consignment sale&quot; to see if there are any in your area. You can also go to the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.jbfsale.com/home.jsp">Just Between Friends</a> website and search local consignment sales. It will cost $10&ndash;$20 to sign up to be a <em>consignor</em>, and most sales happen at the beginning of spring and fall.</p> <h2>Make Your Items Shine</h2> <p>There are several volunteers who will look over your items for sale, and they can be picky. Make sure your items are in the best shape possible. Spot treat and wash clothing and shoes. Wipe down toys and books. The better your items look, the quicker they will sell.</p> <p>Try using a <a href="http://amzn.to/2ad1S3m">Magic Eraser</a> for spots or scribbles on dolls or plastic toys. I also like to use fabric softener and a laundry brightener when washing the kid clothing to make it look even better. All battery-operated toys will also need to include batteries, so be sure to stock up on packs from the .99 Cent Store or Dollar Tree.</p> <h2>The Brand Name Sweet Spot</h2> <p>More common brand names like Cherokee, Circo, or Carters will sell, but at lower prices. For example, a cute outfit from Target might have cost you $20 and would sell for $3&ndash;$5. Higher end brand names like Gap and Gymboree will sell for more, especially if it is a recent style. Specialty brands such as Naartjie, TEA, or Isobella &amp; Chloe might be better sold online, since many shoppers are not familiar with these brands.</p> <h2>Group Like Items Together</h2> <p>Grouping similar items together for one price helps you to sell more of your stuff and earn more money. I try to group same-sized outfits or pieces together to increase my chance of selling. At these consignment events, there are generally a lot of baby clothes, and there is a good chance no one wants to buy a single onesie for $2. However, if you put together five onesies and five pairs of baby pants for $10, there is a better chance that a shopper will buy it.</p> <p>I also like to group together books to make a better profit. I have found that the books should be related to make the most money. For example, putting an early reader book with some baby books will probably not sell. However, if I put several of the Magic Treehouse series together or several board books together in a bag, then its salability increases dramatically.</p> <h2>Discover What the Best and Worst Sellers Are</h2> <p>If you know of individuals who have consigned in the past, ask them what sells and what doesn't sell well for that particular sale. In my experience, maternity clothes and generic baby items do not sell well. Usually my local consignment sale is full of baby equipment and baby clothes, making it hard to compete.</p> <p>However, for the sale that happens right before Christmas, toys are hot sellers. Shoppers seem more inclined to splurge with the holiday season in mind. I have also found that attractive, brand name clothing in sizes 4-7 sell better than the smaller sizes. I also have good luck with my book lots.</p> <h2>Don't Be Afraid to Discount</h2> <p>Many consignment sales will offer a 50% off day at the end of the sale. Take advantage of this and mark your items for discount, unless you believe you can get a better price on eBay or Craigslist. For most of my items, I price them to sell. Usually my best items are gone before the discount day. The discount day then allows me to sell the rest of my stuff rather than having to take it home.</p> <h2>Get a Bigger Cut</h2> <p>If you volunteer to work the sale, you might get some benefits. For my local sale, volunteers get into the pre-sale early and receive an additional 5% back on their sold items. I will only volunteer if the 5% would equal a nice amount of money and if I want to get into the pre-sale.</p> <p><em>Have you ever sold in a consignment sale? How was your experience? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale">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-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-from-thrift-stores">11 Ways to Earn Extra Cash From Thrift Stores</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/five-tips-for-a-smooth-nanny-share">Five Tips for a Smooth Nanny Share</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/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Family Lifestyle clothes consignment sales kids selling thrift stores toys used Mon, 25 Jul 2016 09:30:34 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1753336 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Pet Flea Medications http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-flea-medications <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-pet-flea-medications" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dog_head_tilt_60704362.jpg" alt="Dog given the best pet flea medications to prevent fleas" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Flea and tick bites can cause your pet discomfort and unhappiness. If left untreated, your pet can contract a number of illnesses, such as flea allergy dermatitis, skin infections and irritation, anemia, and even tapeworms. That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s important to treat infested areas as soon as you notice a problem to stop the flea life cycle.</p> <h2>What Is Pet Flea Medication?</h2> <p>Pet flea medication can be applied to your pet on a monthly basis to kill fleas, ticks, and other pesky critters that may be harming your pet. You&rsquo;ll want a flea medication that works quickly and effectively, is easy to use, and will last about a month per dose. Keep in mind that your pet may still temporarily scratch as a result of the fleas dying.</p> <p>Remember, it&rsquo;s important to always use dog products on dogs and cat products on cats. They cannot be used interchangeably, even if you choose a natural product. However, if the medication specifically states that it is safe for both cats and dogs, then you can use them on all of your furry pals. Even if a medication claims to be completely safe for your animal, each pet is different and yours may not react well. If you notice any problems or signs of lethargy or discomfort after using a flea medication, contact your vet.</p> <p>If you need further protection from fleas and ticks, consider something like the bestselling <a href="http://amzn.to/29ZVwqE">Vet's Best Flea &amp; Tick Home Spray</a> or the bestselling <a href="http://amzn.to/29MEU6b">Vet's Best Flea &amp; Tick Yard &amp; Kennel Spray</a>.</p> <h2>Top 5 Pet Flea Meds</h2> <h3>Bayer Advantage II Flea Control Treatment for Cats</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2a9LgdS"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/bayer.jpg" width="131" height="200" align="right" alt="" /></a>As Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best-seller in cat flea drops, you can count on <a href="http://amzn.to/2a9LgdS">Bayer Advantage II Flea Control Treatment for Cats</a> to effectively kill adult fleas, eggs, and larvae. The fast-working treatment starts safely killing fleas within five minutes. It also kills over 99% of flea larvae within 20 minutes, at least 98% of fleas within 12 hours, and 100% of chewing lice within one week, so your pet won&rsquo;t have to suffer for long. It can also inhibit flea growth and development, so you won&rsquo;t see another infestation for at least a month (if at all).</p> <p>This is safe for cats eight weeks of age and older. It comes with six doses and each dosage prevents further flea infestation for at least 30 days. The waterproof treatment also remains effective even after swimming or bathing. This is one of the top recommendations by Consumer Search. It has outstanding online reviews, including more than 3,400 five-star reviews on Amazon and nearly 2,000 five-star reviews on 1-800-PetMeds. It is also commonly compared to the best-selling Frontline brand. If you are looking for treatment for your dogs, consider the <a href="http://amzn.to/2a9LgKL">Bayer Topical Flea Treatment for Dogs</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2a9LgdS"><em>Currently $52.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Merial Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29MFLUc"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/frontline.jpg" width="200" height="150" align="right" alt="" /></a>As Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best-seller in dog flea drops, you can count on <a href="http://amzn.to/29MFLUc">Merial Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control</a> to provide effective treatment for your dog or puppy. The medicated ointment kills 98%-100% of ticks, lice, fleas, larvae, and flea eggs. It inhibits flea growth and development to completely break the flea life cycle and control tick infestations. The waterproof ointment remains effective even after swimming or bathing.</p> <p>There are various options available to suit the size of your dog. It usually comes with multiple doses and each dosage offers continuous protection from fleas and ticks for at least 30 days. If your dog isn&rsquo;t completely infested, the treatment can work for up to three months. This is one of the top recommendations by Consumer Search and has the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. It is an Amazon best-seller, one of the &ldquo;most wished for&rdquo; items on Amazon, and has outstanding reviews, including nearly 700 five-star reviews on Amazon. It is also commonly compared to the best-selling Advantage and Advantix brands. If you are looking for treatment for your cats, consider the <a href="http://amzn.to/29VF729">Merial Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control for Cats and Kittens</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29MFLUc"><em>Currently $34.95 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets for Dogs and Cats</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29WrqmN"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/capstar.jpg" width="245" height="142" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/29WrqmN">Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets for Dogs and Cats</a> is an over-the-counter tablet that's very safe for both dogs and cats four weeks of age and older. The oral treatment begins working within 30 minutes and will kill more than 90% of adult fleas within four hours on dogs and six hours on cats. Your pet may need repeat treatments over time, as this doesn&rsquo;t last for very long.</p> <p>There are different medications for different pet weights, so your pet gets just the right amount of treatment. The flea control tablets are one of the top recommendations by Consumer Search. They are also one of the best-selling items on Amazon and have outstanding reviews, including more than 2,200 five-star reviews on Amazon and more than 400 five-star reviews on 1-800-PetMeds. They are also commonly compared to the best-selling Comfortis flea treatment.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29WrqmN"><em>Currently $26.85 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea and Tick Control Treatment for Dogs</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29OcViy"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/advantix.jpg" width="148" height="230" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/29OcViy">Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea and Tick Control Treatment for Dogs</a> kills adult ticks and fleas, eggs, and larvae. The topical flea treatment stops fleas from biting in less than five minutes, kills 98%-100% of fleas within 12 hours, and keeps working for a full month. It remains effective even after swimming or bathing. If you apply this year-round, or before the start of flea season, it will ensure that fleas are never an issue for your dog.</p> <p>This is safe for dogs seven weeks of age and older. This package includes six pre-measured easy-to-use applicator tubes, which each treatment preventing further flea infestation for at least 30 days. There are also different solutions for each dog size, so you can find the perfect one for your pooch. This is one of the top recommendations by Consumer Search. It is also one of the best-selling items on Amazon and has outstanding online reviews, including nearly 2,300 five-star reviews on Amazon and nearly 1,900 five-star reviews on 1-800-PetMeds. It is also commonly compared to the best-selling Frontline brand.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29OcViy"><em>Currently $55.33 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29MGncz"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/bayer%20seresto.jpg" width="200" height="150" align="right" alt="" /></a>As Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best-seller in dog flea and tick control, the <a href="http://amzn.to/29MGncz">Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar</a> really does hold up to its lofty claims. It is one of the most highly recommended flea and tick prevention medications made by veterinarians because it is long lasting and really works to repel and kill fleas and ticks. It features sustained release technology, so the active ingredients are slowly and continuously released over eight months to provide continuous flea and tick protection. It has a safety release mechanism, which allows for a pet&rsquo;s release, if it should ever become trapped. The non-greasy, odorless collar is also waterproof and remains effective even after swimming or bathing.</p> <p>Flea collars are a convenient treatment option. All you need to do is put the collar on your pet and they will enjoy continued treatment for several months. However, they are not exactly the same as regular collars, so you won&rsquo;t want to attach leashes to them.</p> <p>This can be used on dogs and puppies seven weeks of age and older. There are various collar sizes available, so you can choose just the right one for your pooch. It is one of the top recommendations by Consumer Search. It is also one of the &ldquo;most wished for&rdquo; items on Amazon and has outstanding reviews, including more than 3,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. If you are looking for treatment for your cats, consider the best-seller in cat flea collars, <a href="http://amzn.to/2a9NhXw">Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Cats</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29MGncz"><em>Currently $40.35 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best pet flea meds. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Wise Bread's Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-flea-medications">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/the-5-best-pet-flea-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Flea Shampoos</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-robotic-mops">The 5 Best Robotic Mops</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-aluminum-and-stainless-steel-water-bottles">The 5 Best Aluminum and Stainless Steel Water Bottles</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/the-5-best-home-hair-dyes">The 5 Best Home Hair Dyes</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-5-best-shampoos-for-frizzy-hair">The 5 Best Shampoos for Frizzy Hair</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Home Shopping 5 best flea medication flea preventative fleas pet care pets product reviews shopping Thu, 21 Jul 2016 09:30:32 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1756350 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_17015005_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="frugal families love board games" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My siblings and I spent our childhood playing popular, mainstream board games. <a href="http://amzn.to/29V2gS0">Monopoly</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2auGmXZ">The Game of Life</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2auI4bu">Clue</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2auHwm6">Chinese Checkers</a>, and <a href="http://amzn.to/2auHrPy">Pictionary</a> granted us hours of family fun, interrupted occasionally by a temper tantrum. Monopoly, as many people know, can be dull and brutal.</p> <p>Playing board games died off in my high school years. Once I hit college, I was introduced to a wider variety of games &mdash; and the spark was rekindled. Instead of vegging in front of the TV or spending money to go see a movie, we began to sit down to play board games once again. Here are eight reasons why you should pick up boardgaming as a family activity, too.</p> <h2>1. So Many Game Options</h2> <p>Dozens of new games are introduced every year by major board game companies and individuals through Kickstarter campaigns. You don't need, nor should you, limit your family to the games you can find on Walmart's shelves.</p> <p>A local game store, or Amazon, will all have a broader collection of board games that range anywhere from $5-$100. This large collection of potential games will increase the chance of finding a game your family will love at the right price range.</p> <h2>2. Game Guidance From the Pros</h2> <p>Don't be intimidated by a new game. No one expects you to fork over the money for a game without a little guidance on how to play. There are a number of YouTube channels dedicated to reviewing and recommending games to help individuals find good games.</p> <p>Frugal families might want to check out any of these YouTube shows to watch reviews of games before purchasing the game:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9QtdiRJYro&amp;list=PL0Y9n5uBJuXxjSe6lJEHRZICCHym3e-aS">TableTop</a> with Wil Wheaton</li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/WatchItPlayed">Watch It Played</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/thedicetower">The Dice Tower</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/MoonratMedia/videos">Board With Life</a></li> </ul> <h2>3. Access to Simple and Clear Game Rules</h2> <p>Board games can be complicated. I have a game that has around 30 pages of rules. Even as an experienced gamer, I find that a tad intimidating. There are a variety of different interactive and visual means to help families deal with learning these complicated rules for more enjoyable game play.</p> <ul> <li>Check out free board game rules introduction videos (as mentioned above) and game playthroughs on YouTube.</li> <li>Search the Android or iTunes app store for free or cheap digital versions of the game. Ascension and Coup are both complicated games that have free app versions that provide interactive walkthroughs.</li> <li>Look for free game aids that can help you understand the rules, set the game's difficulty level, and randomize board setup. Settlers of Catan, Legendary, and Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game all have free player aids.</li> </ul> <h2>4. You Can Shop Bigger, for Lower Prices</h2> <p>Support your local TableTop store when you can, but don't feel bad if you occasionally need to turn to bigger retailers like Toys 'R Us, Target, Amazon, or Walmart for lower prices. Even better, if you find a game at a store you can't in good conscious shop from, you can utilize price matching to get that lower price on either an in-store or online purchase.</p> <h2>5. Try Board Game Rental Services</h2> <p>An alternative option to creating your own version of popular games is to rent board games rather than buy them. This has the bonus of being fairly cheap, allows you to explore different types of games, and allows you to play games that might be out of your price range.</p> <p>You can either rent games by seeing if your local board game store has a rental service, or checking out an online board game rental store. In rare cases, you might even find that your local library has added board games to their rental collection.</p> <h2>6. DIY Board Games</h2> <p>Not ready to spend $60 for a game? Here's a bit of good news: With a little creativity and work, you can easily create <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">DIY board games to save money</a>.</p> <p>Don't stop there though. There are a number of fun games you can easily DIY.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8-XTMbszPk">Telestrations</a> &mdash; A mix of telephone and Pictionary, requires you to cut out 30+ medium-sized pieces of paper and give everyone a pen.</li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0hX47QFtGI">Superfight</a> &mdash; A game where you present a case over which person, object, or animal in a match-up would win. It only requires you to cut out card-sized pieces of paper. On 1/3 of the pieces of paper, you will write any sentient object, person, or creature. On the rest of the cards, in a different color pen or a different color paper, you'll write an object, personality trait, or physical trait.</li> </ul> <h2>7. Fan-Made DIY Board Games</h2> <p>There are tons of dedicated fans that have already done all the hard work of creating original fan games or expansions of already-made board games. All you need to do is download the PDF versions of their work and print it off at home.</p> <p>Here are a few free fan-made versions of board games:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1416104/printer-studio-ready-templates">Legendary: A Star Wars Deckbuilding Game</a></li> <li><a href="http://bangcardgame.blogspot.com/p/bang-custom-expansions.html">Bang!</a></li> <li><a href="http://enter-there.com/">Game of Thrones: The Board Game</a></li> </ul> <h2>8. Choose Games With High Replay Value</h2> <p>Board games can be expensive. Games tend to run anywhere from $10-$60. Yes, a $60 game might be expensive, but you can make that price worth it by carefully choosing games that grant high replay value. These are games that often come with extra boards, scenarios, or cards that offer a slightly fresh gaming experience each time you play. These are also games where it isn't easy for players to pinpoint a set strategy to win.</p> <p>Here are a few games with high replay value:</p> <ul> <li>Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game</li> <li>Betrayal at the House on the Hill</li> <li>Robo Rally</li> <li>Cosmic Encounter</li> </ul> <p>If you need a new pastime, board games can be a fun, cost-effective activity that offer hours of family fun. Between the vast number of games and the rapidly growing TableTop community &mdash; on and off-line &mdash; now is the time to adopt board gaming as a new family pastime.</p> <p><em>Do you have family game nights? Which board games do you play? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-kids-activities">How to Save Money on Kids&#039; Activities</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-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants">Best Kids Eat Free Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment Family board game board games entertainment family time fun things to do game night games kids quality time things to do on the weekend Thu, 21 Jul 2016 09:30:27 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1756345 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Reasons Paid Parental Leave Is Essential for Moms and Dads http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_new_baby_46762432.jpg" alt="New parents learning why parental leave is essential" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The United States is one of only two countries in the world that does not offer guaranteed family leave for new parents &mdash; the other one being Papua New Guinea.</p> <p>The U.S. isn't completely without family leave policy, of course. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 guarantees that eligible workers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a new baby or adoption (or to care for an ailing family member) without it affecting their employment. But only about 60% of American workers meet FMLA eligibility requirements, and even those who do might not be able to afford to take 12 weeks off without a paycheck.</p> <p>There are a couple of deeply entrenched economic beliefs behind America's lack of paid parental leave: First, that companies cannot afford (and should not have to afford) the cost of paying an employee who is not working, and second, that having children is an individual choice that does not (and should not) affect society financially.</p> <p>But the truth is that both of those economic beliefs are just that &mdash; beliefs. In reality, we are shortchanging ourselves as a country by not offering paid parental leave. Here are the five most important financial reasons why paid parental leave is essential. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-best-jobs-for-working-moms-and-dads?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Best Jobs for Working Moms and Dads</a>)</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave Costs Companies Less Than Turnover</h2> <p>It seems like a pretty simple economic truth: An employee is only valuable to a company if he or she is producing work for a paycheck. Paying an employee to stay home with a new baby or newly adopted child costs the employer money without getting any benefit in return.</p> <p>The problem with this view of employment is how narrow it is. An employee's usefulness to a company is much greater than any particular 12-week span, particularly when you consider the cost of hiring a new employee to fill the gap. In California, where 12 weeks of paid family leave has been the law of the state for over a decade, researchers have found that mothers who took such leave were 6% more likely to <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w17715">be working a year later</a> than those who did not.</p> <p>The same researchers have also discovered that California women who took leave and returned to their jobs worked 15% to 20% more hours during the second year of their child's life than those who did not take leave.</p> <p>Looking at the situation from a purely financial perspective, companies are going to be better off paying new parents for leave rather than spending money on hiring new employees, particularly considering the fact that employees who have taken advantage of paid parental leave will feel great loyalty toward their employers.</p> <p>The facts from California bear this out. The President's Council of Economic Advisers reported in 2014 that more than 90% of employers affected by California's paid leave initiative saw either a <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/leave_report_final.pdf">positive or no noticeable effect</a> on profitability, turnover, or morale due to implementation of paid family leave.</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave Saves Money on Health Care</h2> <p>Mothers who have time to stay home with newborns have healthier babies than women who must return to work quickly. According to a study of European paid parental leave policies conducted by the University of North Carolina, more generous paid parental leave is found to <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167629600000473">reduce infant mortality</a> and improve overall health in children. Considering the consistently rising costs of health care in the United States, the cost of paying for parental leave is going to be much cheaper for our government, society, and private sector than the cost of paying for a sick child's health care.</p> <p>But it's not just the children who experience health benefits from paid parental leave. Mothers who have longer paid maternity leave report fewer symptoms of <a href="http://www.nber.org/bah/winter04/w10206.html">postpartum depression</a>, which means they are better able to be fully engaged both at work and with their babies. And the mental health benefits do not stop with baby's first year. According to a study by the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging, and Retirement in the UK, women who were able to use a more generous maternity leave policy were 14% less likely to <a href="http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=133880">suffer late life depression</a>.</p> <p>Fathers also experience mental health benefits by getting paid time off. Israeli researchers have found fathers who work as primary caregivers for their children will see changes in an area of the brain called the amygdala that help them to become <a href="https://consumer.healthday.com/caregiving-information-6/infant-and-child-care-health-news-410/dad-s-brain-becomes-more-maternal-when-he-s-primary-caregiver-study-688176.html">better suited to parenting</a>. In addition, a father's immersion in parenting duties has also been correlated with both <a href="http://www.fira.ca/cms/documents/29/Effects_of_Father_Involvement.pdf">enhanced child development</a> and improved marital relationships &mdash; all of which can help the entire family's mental and physical health.</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave vs. Public Assistance</h2> <p>Several states in addition to California have launched statewide paid parental leave initiatives. In New Jersey, a study from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, discovered that mothers who had used the state's paid family leave policy were <a href="http://news.rutgers.edu/news-releases/2012/01/rutgers-study-finds-20120118#.V4P6mUYrLIV">more likely to be working</a> nine to 12 months after their baby was born than mothers who had not used the leave.</p> <p>So what were the nonworking mothers doing? In many cases, families who do not have access to paid parental leave are forced to rely on other methods of getting by. In particular, the Rutgers study found that women who took paid parental leave in New Jersey were 39% less likely to be on public assistance and 40% less likely to receive food stamps in their child's first year compared to parents who did not take leave.</p> <p>It can be difficult to tease out the differences between the taxpayer costs of state-mandated parental leave compared to the taxpayer costs of public assistance, but it seems much more financially beneficial for the family to use paid leave and ensure job continuity.</p> <h2>Paternity Leave Increases Maternal Paychecks</h2> <p>Much of the conversations about family leave centers around the mother-child bond, which is certainly understandable. Mom is the one whose body goes through the wringer during pregnancy and childbirth, and more time for her to physically recover and bond with baby is a good thing.</p> <p>But when Dad takes time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, the entire family benefits financially. In Sweden, which mandates that fathers must take two months off for the birth of a new child (and that time can be taken anytime in Junior's first eight years), researchers found that the <a href="https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/45782/1/623752174.pdf">mother's annual income increased</a> by nearly 7% for each month that the father took off from work.</p> <h2>The Children Are Our (Financial) Future</h2> <p>As much as parental leave helps parents, it's important to remember how much it benefits the kids. Mothers who used maternity leave will see their children attain higher education, have higher IQs, and <a href="http://ftp.iza.org/dp5793.pdf">earn higher incomes</a> than mothers who didn't, according to research from The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn. These effects were biggest in families where the parents had less education and were less likely to have jobs that offered paid parental leave.</p> <p>That means making a relatively small sacrifice now by instituting parental leave will lead to smarter, better educated, and more financially secure adults in 30 years or so. Those kids are the ones I want taking care of things once I'm back to drooling again &mdash; not the kids who were treated as a financial burden.</p> <h2>Widening Our Vision</h2> <p>The view that parental leave is too expensive is the societal version of spending a dollar to save a nickel. Parental leave benefits parents, children, and society far more than it costs. If everyone treated the cost of having children the same way many U.S. employers do &mdash; as a cost that is too great to bear &mdash; then the world would get dark and depressing PDQ.</p> <p>Children are a social good, and we reap much more than we sow by paying the cost of parental leave.</p> <p><em>Does your employer offer paid parental leave?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/these-7-companies-have-the-craziest-employee-perks">These 7 Companies Have the Craziest Employee Perks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-benefits-of-failure">7 Surprising Benefits of Failure</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/didnt-get-the-raise-ask-for-this-instead">Didn&#039;t Get the Raise? Ask for This, Instead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care">Don&#039;t Miss Out on This Easy Way to Pay for Child Care</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer">How to Save Money on Child Care This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Family benefits child care employers having children health care income maternity parental leave paternity salaries turnover Wed, 20 Jul 2016 09:00:13 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1755638 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as the Kids Move Out http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_carrying_boxes_27414930.jpg" alt="Parents making money moves after kids move out" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have your kids recently flown the coop? Huzzah &mdash; it's time to celebrate, empty nester! Shed a few tears so you don't look completely insensitive, but then get down to business. You've put in 18 years (or, God help you, even more), and now it's time to concentrate on you and your future. Thus, here are six money moves you should make as soon as your little kids strike out on their own.</p> <h2>1. Cut Your Children Off as Financial Dependents</h2> <p>Cutting your kids off the financial gravy train doesn't mean you can't help them out when they're in a tight spot, but they're adults now and they need to start acting like it. Start handing over the bills to their cellphones, car insurance, and whatever other payments you're taking care of on their behalf.</p> <p>Similarly, this also is the time to start reversing the mindset that they can call Mom and Dad whenever they need money. If you've facilitated this kind of reliance in your children, it's time to help them learn to stand on their own.</p> <h2>2. Increase Contributions to Your Retirement Fund</h2> <p>Now that you've freed up a good chunk of your disposable income, you can start concentrating on yourself again &mdash; and right now that means retirement.</p> <p>&quot;Once you have an empty nest, it's time to make sure you're on track for your retirement,&quot; says retirement-savings expert Patty Cathey. &quot;I recommend putting away 15% of your salary into a 401K or IRA. If you can put more away &mdash; do it. You may have some ground to make up if you've been prioritizing you kids over retirement.&quot;</p> <p>CFP Scott Hanson, who owns a financial advising firm in California, offers an additional tip on how to play catch-up on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/using-your-roth-ira-as-an-emergency-fund-ever-a-good-idea" target="_blank">your retirement savings</a>.</p> <p>&quot;You can contribute as much as $24,000 into a 401K plan if you are age 50 or older. Too few of us ever reach that milestone, but from my experience, those that have contributed the most to their employer's 401K or 403B are in the best financial position at retirement time.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Make Improvements to Increase the Value of Your Home</h2> <p>If your home has been neglected for a few years (or more) because you've been paying for your high schooler's academic, athletic, and artistic needs (and then exponentially more during college), now's the time to start directing some of that money back into your tangible investments. Fix what needs fixing and give the joint a cosmetic face-lift where necessary to increase its value. Just be careful that you're not making expensive improvements that won't pay off in the long run. Concentrate on what's key to buyers and leave the rest for them.</p> <h2>4. Develop a Strategy to Pay Off Your Home</h2> <p>If you're nearing retirement age, chances are you're well into paying off your mortgage, if not approaching total payoff. You'll put yourself in the best financial position if you can develop a strategy to eliminate that mortgage debt altogether.</p> <p>&quot;Calculate how much you should pay each month so that your home is paid off by the time you reach retirement age,&quot; Hanson advises. &quot;For example, if you are age 52 and want to retire at age 65, you'll want to adjust your payments so that your home is paid off in 13 years. There are many online calculators that can help you figure this out.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Offer Your Kid's Room to a Rent-Paying Boarder</h2> <p>You'll find help in paying off your mortgage faster or putting more money toward your retirement plan if you can monetize the extra space in your house. If your kid doesn't have any plans to return (or you've changed the locks so they can't &mdash; and high-five for that!), consider turning their bedroom into a short or long-term rental.</p> <p>There are pros and cons to both situations.</p> <p>On the short-term side, there's potential to make much more money per month if you live in a well-traveled area, and you have the pleasure of welcoming new guests on a regular basis (if you like that sort of thing), while avoiding the annoyance of a full-time tenant. If you prefer a more long-term situation, you can count on steady income, though it may net less than a short-term setup, and you won't have to continually greet new guests and clean up after them.</p> <p>Either way, my philosophy is that if your empty room isn't making you money, it's costing you money &mdash; and when you look at it that way, it's easy to discern which is the better solution for your savings goals.</p> <h2>6. Consider Downsizing to a Smaller Home</h2> <p>If you're not keen on renting your extra room(s) to short-term vacationers or a long-term tenant, consider downsizing altogether if you have more space than you really need. At this stage, there's no point in paying for a three or four-bedroom mortgage when you may be able to buy a new one-bedroom condo outright with the money you make from the sale of your existing home. Cutting your mortgage way down will help also you put the excess savings toward retirement.</p> <p>&quot;You'll not only save money on the mortgage, but you can save on utility bills, maintenance costs, and taxes,&quot; Cathey adds. &quot;Not to mention, you may be able to ease some of the home maintenance burdens, freeing up time spent on cleaning, lawn care, and shoveling.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Look at Other Areas in Your Life That You Can Downsize</h2> <p>Driving a gas guzzler? Look into an inexpensive, more fuel-efficient vehicle. Keeping services, memberships, and subscriptions that you don't really use? Cancel them. Energy costs eating up a good portion of your budget? Research ways to cut back and go a little greener. There are likely plenty of areas you can shave money off your bills here and there by reducing what you're using. The amount may seem insignificant singularly, but combined they'll add up fast.</p> <p><em>Did you kids recently move out? What have you done to put more money back in your pocket instead of theirs? Let's discuss in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out">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/does-your-kid-need-an-ira">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</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-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</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-ways-to-keep-your-kids-prom-from-ruining-your-budget">10 Ways to Keep Your Kid&#039;s Prom From Ruining Your Budget</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-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">6 Financial Mistakes to Stop Making by Age 40</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family dependents empty nesters home kids moving out retirement teenagers young adults Thu, 07 Jul 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1745836 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Miss Out on This Easy Way to Pay for Child Care http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_playing_toys_88157727.jpg" alt="Finding easy way to pay for child care" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lot of people are aware that they can sock money into their employer's Health Care Flexible Savings Account program to be ready for the next root canal or other medical expense. But not everyone realizes that there is another kind of FSA &mdash; the Dependent Care FSA &mdash; that can be an even better benefit to stressed families.</p> <p>Families who make the most of their employer's Dependent Care FSA can save $1,500 or more, says Jody Dietel, Chief Compliance Officer at <a href="https://www.wageworks.com/">WageWorks</a>, one of the companies that administrates FSAs. This is based on the annual $5,000 contribution limit, and her estimate that most families save 30% to 40% in taxes by participating.</p> <p>&quot;You could pay for your family's summer vacation by participating in a Dependent Care Flex Spending Account,&quot; Dietel says.</p> <p>Like Health Care FSAs, Dependent Care FSAs are offered as part of employer benefit packages. Both kinds of FSA allow workers to set aside a certain amount of their pay, free of state, federal, and Social Security taxes, to apply to qualifying expenses. For the dependent care FSA, qualifying expenses are for day care for your dependents while you work or look for work.</p> <p>Sounds good, right? And yet, Dietel says, many workers whose employers offer these plans never sign up for them. Here's why you should not let this opportunity pass you by:</p> <h2>1. Day Care Is Expensive, But Predictable</h2> <p>While you may put aside a lot of money for medical expenses and then not end up needing it, most families with young kids will easily spend the $5,000 contribution limit. In fact, sending an infant to a child care center costs between <a href="http://usa.childcareaware.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Parents-and-the-High-Cost-of-Child-Care-2015-FINAL.pdf">$10,000 and $20,000 a year</a>. And unlike a root canal, you typically know at the beginning of the year that you're going to need day care.</p> <h2>2. If Your Needs Change, You Can Change Your Contribution</h2> <p>Although <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer" target="_blank">child care expenses</a> are relatively predictable, things happen. You may change providers, or change the number of hours you work. Such things are qualifying events that allow you to change the amount you contribute to the FSA or stop contributing altogether, Dietel says.</p> <p>&quot;Let's say your mother comes to spend three months with you during the summer (to care for your children). You could stop your day care flexible spending contributions,&quot; she explains.</p> <h2>3. It's Not Just for Kids</h2> <p>Most people only think of these plans for child care, but they can actually be used to pay for the care of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/personalfinance/lifeevents/benefits/dependentFSAs.php">any dependent or household member</a> who can't care for themselves. For example, if your spouse becomes disabled, or you become responsible for your parents' care, you can use FSA funds to pay for that.</p> <p>&quot;More people now are taking care of elderly parents,&quot; Dietel says.</p> <h2>4. You Can Use It to Pay for Classes and Day Camps</h2> <p>Dependent care FSAs are not just for day care centers or baby sitters. You can also use it send your kid to an after-school gymnastics class or a summer day camp &mdash; as long as the primary purpose of the camp or class is to provide supervision while you work or look for a job. This provision can be a lifesaver for the summer months, when paying for activities while kids are out of school strains family budgets.</p> <p>The only caveats: You can't pay for sleep-away camp with FSA funds, and the primary purpose of the day camp should be care, not learning a skill.</p> <h2>5. Even If You Don't Spend Every Dime, You May Still Come Out Ahead</h2> <p>Some workers are scared away from FSAs by the use-it-or-lose-it aspect &mdash; if you have unspent funds left at the end of the year, you forfeit them. But you shouldn't let that fear keep you from taking advantage of this benefit. First of all, Dietel points out, even when the calendar year ends, many employers now offer grace periods in which to spend any unused funds. And even when the time has truly run out, many families are able to claim any remaining funds by looking through their records and submitting receipts that they had overlooked.</p> <p>But even if you have a few bucks you can't claim, don't despair. As Dietel puts it, if you saved $1,500 over the course of the year, leaving $25 or $50 unclaimed is not a net loss.</p> <h2>6. FSAs Are Usually a Better Deal Than the Dependent Care Tax Credit</h2> <p>When filing your taxes, you have the option to deduct some of your&nbsp;<a href="http://www.probenefits.com/participants/learn/articles/dependent-care-fsa-or-tax-credit">annual child care expenses</a>. You can't double dip &mdash; that is, you can't take a tax credit on care you paid for through your FSA. The FSA is usually the better deal, Dietel says, because it exempts you from state taxes and Social Security, not just federal taxes.</p> <p>Although you can't double dip, you may not have to choose. Dietel points out that if you have enough child care expenses to satisfy the IRS requirements for the Dependent Care Tax Credit and use up your FSA separately, you can use both, applying each to different expenses. Consult an accountant or the IRS for more details on how to do that legally.</p> <h2>7. It's Easier to Use Than You Think</h2> <p>In the past, workers had to fax or scan in and upload paper receipts to get reimbursed from FSAs. But if you haven't had one for a while, you might not know that a lot of administrators now offer more convenient options, like mobile apps that allow your care provider to sign right on your phone.</p> <p><em>Are you using an FSA to help pay for child care?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/save-money-with-a-dependent-care-tax-credit-and-fsa">Save Money with a Dependent Care Tax Credit and FSA</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make">4 Tax Mistakes New Parents Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads">5 Financial Reasons Paid Parental Leave Is Essential for Moms and Dads</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-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as the Kids Move Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family caregivers child care dependents flexible spending accounts FSA tax credits Wed, 06 Jul 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1745831 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Kids Eat Free Restaurants http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_eating_dinner_41560746.jpg" alt="Family finding best kids eat free restaurants" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One great way to save money while going out to eat is to take advantage of a &quot;kids eat free&quot; deal. My favorite are when you can get up to two free kids meals with the purchase of one adult meal. This allows my family to save even more, since I can share a meal with my husband or one of my kids.</p> <p>While the specifics will vary by area, here are some of the top restaurants that offer a kids eat free deal.</p> <h2>Acapulco</h2> <p>Acapulco varies by location, but when the restaurant does offer free kids meals, it is for kids 11-years-old and under.</p> <h2>Applebee's</h2> <p>Many&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/ApplebeesKidsEatFree/">Applebee's</a> locations offer a free kid's meal with the purchase of an adult entry on Tuesday night. I like their kid's meal options the best because they seem a bit healthier than the usual greasy chicken nugget/French fry route.</p> <h2>Bob Evans</h2> <p>Kids can eat free on Tuesday nights starting at 4 p.m. at Bob Evans. You can order one free kid's meal per adult meal purchased. Breakfast is usually served all day, so your kids can enjoy a fun breakfast for dinner if they wish.</p> <h2>Chevy's Tex-Mex</h2> <p>Every Tuesday, <a href="http://chevys.com/">Chevy's Fresh Mex</a> offers up two free kid's meals for every adult meal purchased. Children must be 10 and under to qualify.</p> <h2>Chick-fil-A</h2> <p>On Tuesday nights, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., kids can receive a free meal for every adult combo meal purchased. Chick-fil-As are individually owned and operated, so not all locations offer this promotion.</p> <h2>Denny's</h2> <p><a href="https://www.dennys.com/food/kids/">Denny's</a> seems to be the most vocal restaurant about their kids eat free promotion. Kids can eat free Tuesdays from 4 to 10 p.m.</p> <h2>Dickey's Barbeque Pit</h2> <p><a href="https://www.dickeys.com/promos">Dickey's Barbeque Pit</a> offers one free kid's meal per paid adult meal. The offer is only valid on Sundays and for kids 12-years-old and under. The best part is that everyone gets free ice cream with their meal.</p> <h2>El Torito</h2> <p>Kids 10 and under can enjoy one free meal with the purchase of an adult entree at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eltorito.com/kids-eat-free/">El Torito</a>. For families of three to four, you can save money by splitting one main meal and one free kid's meal, since it is easy to fill up on chips while you wait.</p> <h2>Firehouse Subs</h2> <p>Days vary by location, but you can receive up to two free kids meals per one paying adult meal. My local Firehouse Subs allows kids to eat free on Saturday and Sunday. My kids got a kick out of the free firefighter hats that came with their meal.</p> <h2>Hooters</h2> <p>Many might not consider Hooters a family-friendly restaurant, but they offer up to two free kid's meals with the purchase of an adult meal all day on Sundays. The meals are valid for kids ages 12 and under. While the meal is free, you do have to purchase them a beverage.</p> <h2>IHOP</h2> <p>According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ihop.com/about-ihop/ihop-news/2016-news/turn-dinner-time-into-family-time-kids-eat-free-at-ihop">IHOP's news release</a>, their kid's eat free promotions are offered periodically. For 2016, IHOP offered a free kid entree with the paid purchase of an adult entree from April to May. Join their eClub to receive a free meal and birthday meal and to be notified if they do another kid's eat free promotion.</p> <h2>Ikea</h2> <p>Many&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/store/burbank/offers">Ikea</a> locations are offering free kids meals for summer. My local Ikea is offering up to two free kid's meals with every adult meal purchased. This promotion is valid every Monday through Friday, between June 6th to July 29th for kids 12 and under.</p> <h2>Joe's Crab Shack</h2> <p>To celebrate school being out, <a href="http://joescrabshack.fbmta.com/members/ViewMailing.aspx?MailingID=34359797387">Joe's Crab Shack</a> allows kids to eat free Sundays and Mondays.</p> <h2>Pizza Hut</h2> <p>Some&nbsp;<a href="http://slickdeals.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=2573326&amp;d=1393957688">Pizza Hut</a> locations offer a free kid's buffet with each adult buffet purchased. This is valid for kids 10-years-old and younger.</p> <h2>Ruby Tuesday</h2> <p>Kids eat free on Tuesday nights, usually from 5 p.m. to close.</p> <h2>Souplantation</h2> <p>Kids two and under can eat free at Souplantation. Souplantation also regularly offers &quot;kids eat free&quot; coupons and family deals. This used to be a favorite spot of my family, since it was easier to find foods my picky toddler wanted to try.</p> <h2>Steak 'n Shake</h2> <p>Sometimes&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/steaknshake/photos/a.10150599697315041.440061.78934590040/10152844874325041/">Steak 'n Shake</a> offers free meals for kids during the weekend or other promotional period.</p> <p>Check with your local restaurants to verify their kids eat free rules. Days and regulations might vary by location. Also, be sure to check with local mom and pop restaurants in your town for kids eat free specials. Don't feel like going out at all? Try these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-and-delicious-meals-to-make-with-your-kids" target="_blank">10 Frugal and Delicious Meals to Make With Your Kids</a> instead.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite restaurant to take advantage of the kids eat free deal?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-cities-for-frugal-foodies">The 7 Best Cities for Frugal Foodies</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-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-most-affordable-michelin-starred-restaurants">The World&#039;s Most Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Family Food and Drink children deals dining out discounts free meals kids restaurants Tue, 28 Jun 2016 09:01:03 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1740457 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save Money on Child Care This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_laughing_85809327.jpg" alt="Learning how to save money on child care this summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>School's out for the summer, and your kids are probably bouncing off the walls with excitement. However, not many jobs offer the same summer break perks, leaving you with the costly decision of finding summer child care.</p> <p>Here are some solutions to try to save money on your child care costs this summer.</p> <h2>Swap With Someone Who Has a Summer Break</h2> <p>If one of your friends is a teacher or school administrator, then they probably have a good portion of the summer off. Ask a teacher or a stay-at-home mom friend who is willing to watch your children for a few hours a week in exchange for you watching their kids on the weekend. Since many teachers and stay-at-home moms will have to stay home with their children during the weekdays, they might enjoy a weekend break.</p> <p>Just make sure that the agreement is benefiting both of you, instead of being a burden on one of you. One summer, my mom asked my neighbor to watch my sister and I. The neighbor had six children that stayed at home as is, so my sister and I were barely noticed. We had a blast hanging out with our friends, and the mom just kept her schedule as she always did. We even did chores and went to local home schooling conventions.</p> <p>In exchange, my mom was able to give her money each week, and it ended up benefiting us all. The neighbor made a little bit of extra money, my mom paid less for child care, than she would have if she sent us to day camp, and my sister and I had a blast.</p> <h2>Try Working a Flex Schedule</h2> <p>Many times your employer can be more understanding of your need for a flexible schedule during the summer months. Try to work it out with your spouse's schedule so that there will always be someone available to stay home. For example, your spouse can go into work earlier and come home earlier, while you can go in later and work later hours. Perhaps you can even work the weekends so that you have two free days to watch your children during the week.</p> <p>I have witnessed many couples do this successfully, and work it out so that their schedules overlap the majority of the time. You can then fill in the gaps with the use of a family member or a baby sitter. While this schedule will take planning and getting used to, remember it is only for a few months.</p> <p>Of course, many people do not have flexible jobs, but it is worth looking into. Even if you can work from home one day a week or come in two hours later, that is time you do not have to pay for child care.</p> <h2>Look for a Tax Break</h2> <p>Take a look at your benefits to see if you have access to a dependent care flexible spending account. If so, you can use up to $5,000 in pre tax dollars to pay for child care expenses.</p> <p>If your employer doesn't offer an FSA, you can claim the child care tax credit when you file taxes. This credit is good for $3,000 to $6,000 in expenses, depending on how many children you have.</p> <h2>Get the Most Out of Your Babysitter</h2> <p>A baby sitter might be a better deal for the summer, especially if you have more than one child. Be sure to do a background check and to find a sitter that will keep your kids engaged each day rather than parking them in front of the television.</p> <p>When you are going through the hiring process, specify certain tasks/jobs you want done. Obviously it would be unfair to request they deep clean your home, but if they can manage light cleaning, simple dinner prep, grocery shopping, or the kids' laundry, that will take the stress off your shoulders. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on?ref=seealso">9 Child Care Purchases You Should Never Skimp On</a>)</p> <h2>Look Into Camp Scholarships</h2> <p>Ann Sheets, former national president of the American Camp Association said, &quot;About 90% of resident camps and 89% of day camps offer scholarships.&quot;</p> <p>Start your search today and apply to any camp you think your child would be eligible for. Don't forget to apply for higher-end camps too, since their scholarships might cover more than you think. Try to stay flexible with your camp dates. Not sure if a camp offers a scholarship? Just contact them and ask. You might have a better chance at qualifying for a scholarship if not many people know about it.</p> <p>While kids live for summer vacation, it can be hard to deal with the costs. Most professionals will admit that their kids' summer plans look like a mismatched quilt. That is okay! Be creative and stay flexible, knowing that this is only a brief season.</p> <p><em>What are your child care plans for the summer?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-kids-activities">How to Save Money on Kids&#039; Activities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy">8 Reasons the Easter Bunny Should Give Money Instead of Candy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> Frugal Living Family activities baby sitters camp child care kids scholarships summer break summer vacation tax breaks Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1733677 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Lessons I Learned From Dad http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-lessons-i-learned-from-dad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-lessons-i-learned-from-dad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father_son_grandfather_86273959.jpg" alt="Son learning money lessons from dad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's Father's Day soon. In honor of all the dads out there, I thought it would be great to look back on some of the marvelous advice my dad gave me over the years. I'm sure a lot of the advice on the list is familiar to you, as the generation before mine passed down much of the same knowledge to all of us. Still, it's always advice worth following, and has saved me thousands of dollars over the years. Here are 10 tips from my dad, that I now pass on to you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Smart Ways to Save on Father's Day</a>)</p> <h2>1. Don't Throw Good Money After Bad</h2> <p>When my dad first told me this one, I was too young to really understand it. Honestly, even in my midteens I wasn't exactly sure what he was getting at. Then, when I became an adult with an income, and the means to make my own purchases, I got it. First, it was buying a cheap used computer that I had to pour a bunch of money into to make usable. And even when it had the best specs, it was still not as good as a new one, which would have been faster and cheaper.</p> <p>From projects that suck money and time and have no profitable outcome, to investments that keep tanking despite a constant injection of cash, I always remember what my dad told me: Don't throw good money after bad.</p> <h2>2. Do a Job You Love, and You'll Never Work a Day in Your Life</h2> <p>Oh, how right he was on that one. I know it's not really my dad's quote, but it didn't stop me taking it to heart. From as long as I can remember, I have loved drawing, painting, writing, and creating. I did everything I could to follow a career path that utilized those skills, and today I am a creative director in advertising and entertainment &mdash; and I also get to write articles like this one.</p> <p>Sometimes, I feel a bit guilty about getting paid to do something day in, day out, that I really enjoy. And that is the best way to make money; when you aren't even trying. So if you are not yet out of school, follow your dreams and find a job that you will enjoy, if you can. If not, find a way to make money in your spare time by doing something you love &mdash; whether it's fixing cars, painting murals, or singing. When you love it, the money is not hard work. It's not work at all.</p> <h2>3. Buy Cheap, Buy Twice</h2> <p>As someone who loves a deal, I did not take this advice word for word. I don't believe in paying full price for anything, and that could be considered &quot;cheap.&quot; But I like to buy quality items at a lower price. What my dad was saying was that if you buy a cheap tool or a bargain bucket t-shirt, you cannot expect either to last. It's far better to pay $30 for something that will last you a few years, than $10 for something that will last only six months. If you're digging around in the dollar store bins for screwdrivers, you can guarantee you'll be back for a replacement much sooner than if you had picked up a quality item from a hardware store.</p> <h2>4. Don't Buy Champagne on a Beer Budget</h2> <p>&quot;Wait Dad, we never have Champagne.&quot; &quot;Exactly,&quot; was his response to me. I grew up in a working class home in the northeast of England. We rarely ate out, and when we did, it was cheap. I remember coloring in pictures every month at the same cafe because &quot;kids eat free if they color a picture.&quot; My parents never splurged, except at Christmas (which was a case of going overboard to make up for the rest of the year, I think). We bought food once a week, on Friday, and if we wanted something before then, we had to wait.</p> <p>I learned this lesson well. I don't have massive loans or a ton of credit card debt, I have a modest car, a small home, and I live well within my salary every month. This is probably the most important lesson I ever learned, and it has stood me in good stead.</p> <h2>5. You're Never Too Young to Save</h2> <p>Whether it's for retirement, a savings account, or just something on which to spend your allowance, saving was drummed into me from an early age. &quot;Pay yourself first&quot; was another way my dad put it.</p> <p>I had a savings account at the local bank when I was 10 (the Natwest piggy banks were awesome). At 22, I started saving for my retirement. Even though it was just a little each month, the power of compound interest is working its magic on that some 20 years later. Some people say you should live for today, because you'll be too old to enjoy it later on. I certainly don't think you should save everything and live a Scrooge-like existence, but plan ahead, and start saving as soon as you can, with whatever you can. You are going to need it.</p> <h2>6. There's Nothing Wrong With Second-Hand</h2> <p>Many of my friends growing up had new clothes, new bikes, new toys, and new backpacks every few months. I did not. I did get new things, but I made them last. However, I was taught early on that there was no stigma or shame in buying used items. It is a lifestyle choice I continue to practice, and it saves me a lot of money. Used cars are way cheaper than new ones. I will go to Craigslist for appliances, electronic items, tools, and, well, anything else that I need. I will search for &quot;factory refurbished&quot; or used before new. The only exceptions I have on used items are footwear, underwear, and safety items (think infant car seats).</p> <h2>7. Find a Way to Afford It</h2> <p>I grew up around the <em>haves</em>, and <em>have-nots</em>. I would say for the most part, I was in the latter category, but only because the <em>haves</em> were those who had everything they ever wanted. However, if I wanted something really badly, my dad would tell me, &quot;Figure out a way to make it happen.&quot;</p> <p>If my allowance wasn't enough for the book or DVD I wanted, I'd do odd jobs or get a paper route. I would sell things I owned to get something else (I still regret selling my entire Transformers toy collection to get a CD player&hellip; oh, if I had foresight). But today, the same is true. I'll work extra hours. I'll hustle freelance gigs. I will find ways to make it work, rather than the usual &quot;slap it on the credit card&quot; routine so many people follow.</p> <h2>8. Don't Shop on an Empty Stomach</h2> <p>Have you ever done this? It's a nightmare. Everything you see, in every aisle, looks fantastic. You may have a shopping list (in fact, my mum insisted on one) but it goes out the window when you shop hungry. You throw all sorts of food into the cart, and before you know it, you're checking out with way more than you need. Sometimes, you buy so much it goes off. Or you blow your budget for the week, and realize half the stuff in your cart is junk. So, before I do my shopping, I grab a bite. Even if it's just a granola bar, it can really stop those hunger pangs from taking over, and turning you into the &quot;eyes bigger than your belly&quot; monster.</p> <h2>9. Knowledge Is Money (and Power)</h2> <p>The more you know, the better the deal you can get. My dad taught me that from an early age, and to this day I am a research freak. Of course, he didn't grow up with the Internet, so he had to work a lot harder to find bargains and hustle great deals. So before I buy anything, I do my homework. I comparison shop. I ask friends and family. I talk to insiders, or visit forums. For me, buying something without knowing as much about it, and the buying process, as possible is just throwing money away. And knowledge is also power in this context. If you're armed with it, you can negotiate from a position of strength. Know you stuff, it will serve you well.</p> <h2>10. Learn How to Fix (and Make) Things</h2> <p>From as long as I can remember, I was helping my dad out with DIY projects. We didn't have a lot of money growing up, but he certainly knew how to stretch it out. Buying materials to build something was way cheaper than buying it ready-made. Coffee tables, lamps, desks, computer cases, fire surrounds, you name it, he built it. He was really good at it, too.</p> <p>Over the years, he must have saved so many thousands of pounds (as I say, I grew up in England) by making his own things, or fixing things instead of paying for repairs. I try to follow in his footsteps, although sadly, I didn't get his knack for woodworking. But I will look up ways to repair things that are broken, or follow online videos for things like replacing brake pads or cabin filters. Whenever anything is in need of a repair, my dad is in the back of my head saying &quot;Hey son&hellip; you can fix that, go on, give it a go.&quot;</p> <p>Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you, and wish I could see you more. You're my hero.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-lessons-i-learned-from-dad">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/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/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit">The Self-Employed Person&#039;s Guide to Getting Credit</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-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</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-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as the Kids Move Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-important-financial-moments-of-your-life">The 7 Most Important Financial Moments of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family dads family Father's Day fathers money advice savings wisdom Thu, 16 Jun 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Paul Michael 1731288 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Smart Ways to Save on Father's Day http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_66361267_LARGE.jpg" alt="save money this Father&#039;s Day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Father's Day is fast approaching, and dads and grandpas alike deserve some appreciation on their special day. Most of the nation agrees, considering this year, consumers will spend a record-breaking amount on Father's Day. From gifts to meals out, Americans plan to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160607006685/en/Father%E2%80%99s-Day-Spending-Reach-Record-High-14.3-Billion">spend $14.3 billion on dads</a> in 2016. That averages to about $125.92 spent per person on this holiday. However, this huge amount looks subpar when compared to how much was spent on Mother's Day this year, which was $21.4 billion.</p> <p>While fathers deserve the best, you don't have to blow your budget to make your husband, dad, or a grandpa feel special this year.</p> <h2>What Dads Really Want</h2> <p>If you ask Dad what he really wants, he will probably give a frustrating answer of &quot;nothing.&quot; In fact, many dads just want a day of relaxation rather than expensive cuff links or a stressful dinner at a packed restaurant. Here are a few last-minute Father's Day gift ideas that are extra thoughtful and budget-friendly.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-frugal-fathers-day-gift-ideas?ref=seealso">Best Money Tips: Frugal Father's Day Gift Ideas</a></p> <h3>1. Crafts Worth Keeping</h3> <p>While the cute handmade necktie cards are a sweet gesture, try doing a craft with your kids that incorporates their handprint or footprint. This is not only cute, but it seals the memory of just how little your children's hands and feet were in their younger years. Pinterest is filled with many handprint/footprint ideas, including putting two feet together to make a heart, making a football out of a baby footprint, or making a <em>Star Wars</em> Yoda out of a footprint with the phrase, &quot;Yoda best, Dad!&quot;</p> <p>Another idea is to do a photo shoot with your kids holding up different words to a phrase, such as, &quot;I love you.&quot; Two years ago, I had my daughter pose with a letter &quot;D&quot; and &quot;A&quot; and then arranged the pictures to spell &quot;DAD&quot; on a photo card. The total cost was less than $5, and my husband still has the card on his desk at work. You can do this idea for Grandpa, too, and even older children or adult children can do this for their fathers.</p> <p>Last year, I found a printable dad survey on Pinterest and asked my three-year-old to answer questions about her daddy. The results were adorable and hilarious, and my husband asked if I would do that every year and save them.</p> <h3>2. Special Time Together</h3> <p>When's the last time you did something special just with you and your dad? Life can become so busy, and it is easy to put your relationship with your father on the back burner, especially since when we have our own families to manage. Try scheduling special one-on-one time with your father before or after Father's Day. Even if you just sit down and drink coffee together, it will be more meaningful to him then a generic card. Some other affordable ideas include hitting balls at a golfing range, going on a fishing trip (even if that is more your father's thing than yours), or seeing a local sports game together.</p> <p>If you are a family of little ones, your husband might appreciate a day or weekend alone with you or just the guys. Eric Brantner, founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scribblrs.com/">Scribblrs</a> and father to a one-year-old daughter, said, &quot;What I really want for Father's Day is for a night alone with my wife. Having a one-year-old makes that next-to-impossible. But it's what I want more than anything.&quot;</p> <p>Even a trip out as a family can make a great Father's Day treat. Marcus Kusi, marriage blogger at&nbsp;<a href="http://ourpeacefulfamily.com/">Our Peaceful Family</a> and father to two toddler daughters, said, &quot;What I really want for Father's Day is to spend time with my kids, and to appreciate the opportunity they have given me to become a better person.&quot; Try a simple, stress-free outing, such as a trip to the beach or a picnic in the park.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-father-s-day-gifts-dads-actually-want-for-under-100">10 Father's Day Gifts Dads Actually Want for Under $100</a></p> <h2>3. Words Matter</h2> <p>So many times we can save the gushy stuff for Mother's Day and hand our dads a funny or generic card that we signed her name to. But Dad would also appreciate a handwritten note saying how much he is loved. Because who wouldn't want to know that all of their hard efforts and sacrifices have been noticed by their family?</p> <p>Save money by avoiding the generic and cheesy Father's Day cards and opt for a handwritten note instead. Pair it with his favorite chocolate bar, and you have a meaningful gift for under $2.</p> <p>Father's Day is a day to celebrate your day and show him that you appreciate him. Don't get tied up finding the perfect gift that will impress him.</p> <p><em>What are you giving your dad/husband/grandfather for Father's Day this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-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-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/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday Buys</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/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-flea-medications">The 5 Best Pet Flea Medications</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-post-office">How to Save Money at the Post Office</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-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now">The 8 Best Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies Right NOW</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping budgeting father Father's Day gifts gifts for dad Holidays saving money shopping Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:30:27 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1730455 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000045194140_Large.jpg" alt="kids can use new toys to learn about money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last year, my daughter asked for a hamster, and I hatched a nefarious plan. Since I really didn't need another animal in the house, I told her she'd have to pay for it herself, hoping that this would lead her to drop the topic.</p> <p>We went to the pet store and looked at the hamsters, which (to my dismay) only cost a few dollars. Then we priced cages, food, bedding, chew toys, and a hamster wheel. Once we calculated it all, she understood that a hamster costs a lot more than the price of the rodent itself.</p> <p>Instead of giving up like I'd expected (and hoped!), she saved $75 over the next several months, and proudly brought home her new pet, along with all his little hamster accessories, and several months' worth of bedding and food.</p> <p>When my daughter proved me wrong, I realized that we often underestimate kids' capacity for understanding how money works. Here are more ways to harness children's wants to help them learn financial lessons that will last much longer than any toy (or hamster). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids?ref=seealso">4 Bad Money Habits You're Teaching Your Kids</a>)</p> <h2>Don't Shy Away From Discussing Cost</h2> <p>You and your child are in the toy store, and they ask for a new Lego set. Don't just say, &quot;It's too expensive.&quot; Whether you are willing to buy it or not, have the child check the price of the item. Discuss how much time you would have to work to purchase that toy, and what other things you could pay for instead with that amount of money.</p> <h2>Let Them Earn to Learn</h2> <p>Your six-year-old probably won't find a lot of job opportunities on Monster.com, so his pay is probably going to come from you. Whether you choose to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-set-an-allowance-that-wont-ruin-your-kid">pay your child an allowance</a> that is inedependent of chores or jobs they do at home, the important thing is that they get a little cash of their own, so they begin to learn that spending $1 on gum means they no longer have a dollar to put toward a yo-yo.</p> <h2>Let Them Buy Stupid Toys</h2> <p>One of the most agonizing experiences of my life was following my daughters around Chicago's huge American Girl Store, watching them try to decide how to spend a little money I had given them. My older daughter bought something sensible, a folding seat that would allow her to strap her doll to her carryon luggage. My younger daughter wanted a hair-styling set, which included sponge curlers, curling papers, and a plastic spray bottle. It killed me to watch her lay down $20 for a box of small items that would have cost $1 elsewhere, knowing they would soon be scattered all over her bedroom floor.</p> <p>But I let her do it. Just as I expected, she played with the new set for about one day, but I spent years finding the curlers and papers in odd places around the house. Now, a few years later, this daughter does put a litte more thought into how long her toy purchases might last, so &mdash; even though I am still finding those curlers &mdash; it was worth it.</p> <h2>Show Them How to Get More for Their Money</h2> <p>If your child is saving for a specific toy, introduce them to ways they can get there faster, such as using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-teachable-money-moments-to-share-with-your-kids">coupons and sales</a>. Personally, I usually have my kids save enough to cover the full price, then if I have a coupon, I show it to them just before the purchase, and give them back the cash that the coupon saved. Getting cash back in their hands seems to make a big impact.</p> <h2>Practice at Yard Sales</h2> <p>Even if my kids don't have any of their own money on them, I am known to hand them each a dollar or two when we come across a garage sale, because the situation is rife with learning opportunities. It's great practice conducting sales transactions; kids often have to politely ask how much things cost. It's a safe place to make mistakes, because no matter how useless a toy they purchase might be, chances are they only blew a few bucks.</p> <p>And yard sales, of course, offer true bargains. My son recently purchased a toy space shuttle at a block sale using one week's allowance; he would have had to save for months to buy the same toy new. My 12-year-old is getting so confident shopping yard sales that she will actually negotiate with the seller.</p> <h2>Let Them Sell Their Own Used Toys</h2> <p>This tactic takes some supervision, because unfortunately, kids can seriously undervalue gifts adults have purchased for them. I cringed when my son wanted to sell a remote-control dinosaur that he had received for Christmas at our yard sale, where it might have fetched just $5 (it had cost his grandparents about $100).</p> <p>But with a little price research and some talk about the feelings of gifters, kids can resell toys and use the money for something new. Not only is this a way for them to fund their own purchases, it shows them how quickly most new items lose value.</p> <h2>Let Them Choose Gifts for Friends and Charities</h2> <p>Every time my kids are invited to a birthday party, I turn them loose in the toy shop or bookstore with instructions to choose any combination of items that totals $20 to $25. They've learned to check price tags and weigh the benefits of choosing two or three small items versus one big thing.</p> <p>At the holidays, my kids have conducted fundraisers with their service groups to buy gifts for local foster children. First, they raise the money via a bake sale or other fundraiser, then they use the earnings to buy gifts, using everything they've learned about maximizing their money to do the best they can for the kids they're helping.</p> <p><em>How do you teach your kids about money? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-amazon-prime-day-actually-worth-it-this-year">How to Make Amazon Prime Day Actually Worth It This Year</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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family Shopping kids money money lessons money lessons for kids new toys saving money toys Mon, 06 Jun 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1723704 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save Money on Kids' Activities http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-kids-activities <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-money-on-kids-activities" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000074577577_Large.jpg" alt="saving money on kids&#039; activities" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One thing many parents have in common is that they are rushing around from one activity to another for their children. It takes a full-sized calendar to keep track of who has soccer on which day, and which kid has an upcoming dance recital. If your family juggles a lot of activities during the school year and then in the summer, you know how expensive it can get. Here are few ways to save money.</p> <h2>Buy Secondhand</h2> <p>Gently used sports equipment is surprisingly easy to find secondhand. Before you spring for new sports gear or a musical instrument, check Craigslist, eBay, thrift stores, and even your parent friends. Children often outgrow gear quickly, or they lose interest in an activity. This means you might find equipment such as cleats, shin guards, dance shoes, or a French horn in mint condition for a fraction of the cost.</p> <p>My daughter is in ballet/tap class, and I am surprised at how many pairs of tap shoes I come across at the thrift store for about $1.99 each. Avoid getting any headgear used, especially bicycle helmets, for safety reasons. Also, if your child or teen is involved in a sport that requires a lot of running, new shoes will be better for their alignment and performance. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-should-always-buy-used?ref=seealso">8 Things You Should Always Buy Used</a>)</p> <h2>Skip the Pricey, Special Events</h2> <p>Certain activities will come with seasonal recitals, concerts, fundraisers, and fancy dinners. When you sign up for an activity, know upfront which events are required of you. You are not always required to participate in everything. For example, my daughter's dance studio puts on five or so performances a year, each of which might cost $30&ndash;$40 for the costume and tickets to attend. Since she is only three, it is easy to opt out of these performances. The other dance moms are a little perplexed that I would do such a thing, but my main goal is to make sure my daughter has fun and to keep my life simple with two kids under four.</p> <p>As a child, my sister and I were in Taekwondo. There were always tournaments happening, and I remember wanting to go to as many as possible. Thankfully, my parents limited tournaments because, truthfully, as much as I loved doing them, they drained a lot of my time and energy (and my parents', too). When you sign up for a new activity, find out what is really required of you. If your child is still young, like mine, then feel free to forego the optional extras to save money and sanity.</p> <h2>Enroll in One Activity at a Time</h2> <p>I'm always amazed by the parents that juggle two or three or even five different activities with their children. Amazingly, I've never met a parent who actually enjoys being a human taxi to taekwondo lessons, piano lessons, and baseball games. These parents are usually the ones who are stressed out the most or are barking at their kids to hurry up and get ready for the next activity. Guess what? Your kids don't have to do it all. Pick one activity per season. If you have multiple kids have them all enrolled in one activity. If your youngest doesn't want to take soccer with the rest of your kids, then let them know that they will get to choose the activity next season.</p> <p>I think as parents, we are so worried about enriching our children's lives, that we forget they need some downtime and relaxation time with us. It's okay to take a season off of youth soccer. This doesn't mean your child is automatically disqualified from future scholarships or from becoming a pro-athlete (unless of course they are close to graduation).</p> <h2>Get the Sibling Discount</h2> <p>Not only will enrolling your children in the same activity save you some time and stress, but it will also save you money. Many places offer sibling discounts, and siblings can often share equipment. If you don't see a sibling discount offered, don't hesitate to ask.</p> <h2>Start a Hand-Me-Down Bucket</h2> <p>When I first signed up my daughter for dance classes, the teacher asked all the moms if someone had outgrown ballet shoes for us. The next week, another mom brought some for me. I offered her money, but she said, &quot;This is just what the moms do at this studio.&quot; What a resourceful way to help the whole studio.</p> <p>If possible, make an announcement to the parents that you are going to start a &quot;hand-me down bucket&quot; or &quot;share bucket.&quot; Pitch it as a way for them to help with the costs and to clean out their closets of outgrown gear. This works best in settings that kids use the same items each year, such as dance shoes, leotards, karate shirts, and sparring gear, etc.</p> <h2>Pay Ahead</h2> <p>Always ask about discounts for paying ahead or paying in cash. Some places might give you a discount for paying for the whole year upfront, which can save you $30&ndash;$50 that year. The dance studio my daughter is enrolled in offers a $15 discount once a year for those who pay for three months in advance.</p> <p><em>How do you save on your kid's extracurricular activities? Share with us 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-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-kids-activities">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/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants">Best Kids Eat Free Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer">How to Save Money on Child Care This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment Family activities child activities family time kids shopping sports weekend activities Thu, 02 Jun 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1722226 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Frugal Living Truths Every Stay-at-Home-Parent Should Know http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-living-truths-every-stay-at-home-parent-should-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-frugal-living-truths-every-stay-at-home-parent-should-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_children_reading_000089633005.jpg" alt="Stay-at-home-parent learning frugal living truths" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Stay-at-home-moms and stay-at-home-dads are usually the queens and kings of frugality. They know how to stretch a dollar, how to make dinners the kids will love that cost less than $1 per serving, and how to rotate the bills as the money comes in so that everything gets paid. They've learned these things because, often, they had to.</p> <p>There are, though, some greater frugal truths that a lot of SAHMs and SAHDs don't know or, more likely, have forgotten. These are some ideas about frugal living that these folks should keep in the forefront of their minds, so that they can remember the value of what they do. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-myths-about-stay-at-home-moms?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Money Myths About Stay-At-Home Moms</a>)</p> <h2>1. Money Isn't Everything</h2> <p>Sure, you know that being there for and with your kids matters. That's why you made the choice to stay at home. But it's really easy to lose sight of why you chose to stay at home when you feel like all you do is change diapers, break up arguments, and generally try to keep small people from certain death. It's also easy to wonder about your choices when you feel like you're always trying to cut corners financially or scrimp until the next paycheck comes.</p> <p>Here's the thing, though: You being there, at home in the daily mess and viewing the daily joys &mdash; it matters. You are giving your kids your time and your presence, and that means more than anything money can buy. You are building relationships that will last until one of you dies &mdash; close, strong, meaningful bonds. Most likely, you chose to stay home because you, yourself, value these things more than money. So live what you believe and remember that money isn't everything.</p> <p>You matter. What you value and what you do matters. And it matters more than any paycheck you might be bringing in if you weren't at home.</p> <p>Note that this isn't to say that being a SAHM or a SAHD is better or worse than being a working parent. But most parents who choose to stay home do it for a reason, and it can be helpful to remember that reason and what you value when financial questions arise.</p> <h2>2. Frugal Choices Are Okay</h2> <p>Many of the stay-at-home-parents I know feel some guilt about the frugal choices they end up making in order to stay home. Maybe they can't feed their kids all organic produce, or they can't afford the art lessons/club sports/individual tutoring that their child really wants. Whatever it is, it can be easy to wonder if you should go back to work in order to make these financial things happen.</p> <p>In the greater scheme of things, though, your frugal choices are okay, especially when they are in line with what you value. If you think that developing close bonds within your family is more important than what sports your kid plays, then focus on those bonds and don't worry about the sports.</p> <p>When you focus on what you value rather than on what others tell you to value, you're teaching your kids a lesson, too. You're teaching them to think for themselves, and to look within for answers, rather than looking at what all their friends are doing.</p> <h2>3. No One Can Give Their Kids Everything</h2> <p>No one. Not even that super-rich couple whose kid is on the baseball team. No one.</p> <p>Most of us want our kids to be happy, to know the value of hard work, to have good friends, and to achieve some degree of success, however they choose to define it. And guess what? Money can't buy any of that.</p> <p>The things that matter most in life are things that money really cannot touch. When you choose to stay at home with your children despite the financial stress and difficulties that can cause, it's easy to feel like you are making them give up a lot of things they might otherwise want. The truth is, though, that if you are showing them what a good life looks like, then you're giving them something money simply can't buy.</p> <h2>4. You Matter, Too</h2> <p>When you're staying at home, not bringing in any income, it's easy to feel like you can't spend any money on yourself. Especially when money is tight, it's natural to feel like you should always buy your kids things before you buy them for yourself.</p> <p>On the other hand, your work has value. Actual monetary value, if the latest research is correct. But beyond that, you are still working hard every day (maybe harder than you've ever worked before!). And you don't need to splurge to the point of creating more debt to acknowledge that. Buy yourself a coffee when you're out and about on a morning when the kids attacked and you didn't get to make your own, and don't beat yourself up over it. Go out with your family and celebrate your birthday.</p> <p>You will feel better about what you do when you celebrate yourself occasionally.</p> <h2>5. You're Teaching Your Kids About Money &mdash; And Life</h2> <p>When you choose to stay at home, that teaches your kids something. When they see you working through a difficult budget, or saying &quot;no&quot; to something you really wanted because the money isn't there, your kids are learning by your example. You can pass on your financial values simply by living them out.</p> <p>You may feel like you aren't doing much, but they're always watching you and learning from what you do.</p> <p>Remember this when times are tough, when everyone is arguing and you feel so poor and you're questioning your decisions. I said at the beginning that what you do matters, that living in alignment with your values is important, and that's true whether you are having a good day or an awful one.</p> <p>So decide what you want to teach your kids and live that out. Live out your financial values and your other ones, too. Live it in everything you do, and you will teach your kids to live the same way.</p> <p><em>What frugal truths help you as a SAHM or a SAHD? How do you get through a bad day at home with the kids?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-living-truths-every-stay-at-home-parent-should-know">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/6-money-lessons-you-can-learn-from-your-pets">6 Money Lessons You Can Learn From Your Pets</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-great-teachable-money-moments-to-share-with-your-kids">6 Great Teachable Money Moments to Share With Your Kids</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-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-ways-to-entertain-teenagers">19 Frugal Ways to Entertain Teenagers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family money lessons parents raising kids single income households stay at home dads stay at home moms Wed, 25 May 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1713143 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/married_couple_game_000017059049.jpg" alt="Learning things about money after getting married" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Marriage comes with its fair share of life lessons, and money is among the most prominent of these. Here's what I've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-getting-married-is-good-for-your-finances" target="_blank">learned about money while being married</a> &mdash; for better and worse.</p> <h2>1. Credit Scores and Debt Should Be Laid Bare While You're Still Dating</h2> <p>Money is a taboo subject, in general, and couples &mdash; especially new ones who are still navigating the muddy waters of a blossoming relationship &mdash; don't like to talk about the financial predicaments they may be in. But these conversations are necessary.</p> <p>My husband and I were sort of forced into the conversation as we bought our first home before we got married, but even if that's not on the horizon for you and your partner, it's still good to assess the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly" target="_blank">credit score and debt</a> situation so you both know what you're dealing with. That's not to say that you should dump somebody because their financial standing isn't as great as you might have hoped it would be, but it's certainly a factor to consider as you plan your life together.</p> <h2>2. Discuss Future Financial and Investment Goals Before Saying &quot;I Do&quot;</h2> <p>Before I got married I had plans for my future, but those plans changed (at least a little) when I decided to get hitched. I adapted my strategy to accommodate my husband &mdash; but I didn't derail it altogether, and I don't recommend that you do either. It's about compromise &mdash; it's beneficial to discuss your specific plans and goals ahead of your nuptials. Your partner may not want to open that new business, or carry the potential financial burden that comes along with it. On the other hand, your spouse may be totally on board with how you've mapped out your financial future and/or investments, and vice-versa. But you won't know until you discuss it.</p> <p>Lay it all out on the table before getting anywhere near the altar so you each have a clear idea of where your relationship is headed financially (in theory, at least) once you're joined in holy &mdash; and legally binding &mdash; matrimony.</p> <h2>3. Schedule Uninterrupted Time to Discuss Your Finances in Depth</h2> <p>The only way my husband and I stay on the same page about our finances &mdash; and, specifically, the money that's coming in and going out on a constant basis &mdash; is to schedule time to discuss where we're at financially. We usually have a dinner date once a month where at least part of the conversation is about our budget, expenses, debt, and increases or decreases in expected income.</p> <p>We also have an annual meeting at the end of the year to discuss what we anticipate the next year's expenses to be, and how we plan to meet them. While it's not easy integrating another person into the mix financially &mdash; and it can sometimes be stressful for you if you've overspent or missed a bill and you don't want it to result in an argument &mdash; it's needed so that you can both stay on track and repair snags together.</p> <h2>4. Keep Your Family Out of Your Finances &mdash; Period</h2> <p>In a perfect world, we'd all be rich and nobody would want for anything. That's not the case, however, and sometimes family and friends come knocking for a loan. My general rule is to not provide this type of financial support to anyone, as it rarely turns out well &mdash; and most people will tell you that. My husband, on the other hand, views this subject differently, and there's been at least one time where there was zero discussion about providing the loan to a family member, and I didn't find out about it until after the fact.</p> <p>I wasn't particularly bothered by the amount of the loan or to whom it went &mdash; it was his money and he could do what he wanted with it &mdash; but rather that I wasn't included in the conversation. Even though I wasn't contributing to this particular loan, it could have affected our ability to purchase or finance something we needed down the road, and I felt as if I had the right to be informed.</p> <h2>5. You're Morally and Legally Obligated to Help One Another Financially</h2> <p>Whether you like it or not, whatever happens to your spouse financially also, in a sense, happens to you. This could mean a moral obligation to get out of whatever money pickle you may have gotten into, or, worst-case scenario, it could be a legal obligation, like if you file joint taxes and owe the government money. The IRS debt may be the result of one or the other's financial status &mdash; like if you have taxes taken out automatically each pay period from employment, but your spouse is an entrepreneur (like I am) who pays estimated taxes &mdash; but legally you're both on the hook for the debt. Not being prepared for this situation, or how to handle it responsibly and fairly, can lead to resentment and loads of other issues that you're better off without.</p> <h2>6. Keeping Separate Accounts Can Help Maintain Some Independence</h2> <p>My husband and I keep a joint account for shared purchases, like vacations, but we've also always maintained our own separate checking and savings accounts. For some couples this may seem odd, but for us it's helped us keep a part of our individual independence intact. While we consult each other on major purchases, we don't have to ask one another if we can buy some of the smaller things or little luxuries that we want, which in turn helps us to avoid nitpicking each other about things we don't think the other one should be buying.</p> <p>I can only imagine how couples who co-mingle all their money argue about how many coffees or beers each is buying per week, the 19th pair of new shoes she's bought this year, or the new video game he brought home. The bottom line for us is that the bills get paid and we're still able to save; we're allowed to treat ourselves every now and then without having to ask permission or fear retribution.</p> <h2>7. Debt Can Destroy Your Relationship &mdash; If You Let It</h2> <p>A few years ago I discovered a substantial amount of debt that my husband racked up, and I was completely gutted over the situation. How, why, when, where? So many questions went through my mind, not the least of which was, how are we going to pay this off? I was lucky in that regard as my husband took full responsibility for it and promised to pay it off himself &mdash; and he has. But it may not work out like that for everyone.</p> <p>If your partner isn't capable of paying off the debt, you, in fact, may be responsible for it too if it's attached to a joint credit card or another joint account. When that happens, it will likely put a major strain on your relationship. Old debt is one thing, but new debt &mdash; that is, debt acquired singularly by one partner while you're in the relationship &mdash; has a much more damaging and lasting effect. We were able to get past this and get back on track, but it's not easy. It definitely puts stress on the marriage, which can further worsen an already rocky relationship.</p> <h2>8. Money Doesn't Buy Happiness</h2> <p>All the houses, nice cars, designer clothes, and luxury goods in the world will not make you happy in a relationship you don't want to be in. When you're sitting among all your beautiful things and you wonder why you seemingly have everything but still aren't satisfied, you need to look beyond the bling. There's a deeper issue for which you're trying to compensate. Talk about it; make decisions. Your mental health is worth more than what's in your bank account &mdash; always. Remember that.</p> <p><em>What has marriage taught you about money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">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/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</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/make-love-not-money-sort-of">Make Love, Not Money (Sort Of)</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-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity">8 Signs You&#039;re Committing Financial Infidelity</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family Lifestyle budget meetings compromises credit scores debt marriage money lessons relationships spouses Tue, 24 May 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Mikey Rox 1716048 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Smart Ways to Save on Maternity Clothes http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-save-on-maternity-clothes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-smart-ways-to-save-on-maternity-clothes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pregnant_woman_happy_000075421715.jpg" alt="Pregnant woman finding smart ways to save on maternity clothes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It is so exciting to watch your baby bump continue to grow throughout pregnancy. However, the ever expanding size of your waist can make fitting into regular clothes harder. If you shop smart, you don't have to let the cost of new maternity clothes flatten your budget.</p> <h2>1. Thrift Stores, Yard Sales, and Consignment Sales</h2> <p>Shopping second-hand is a great place to start your maternity wardrobe search. In my experience, you will find maternity clothes in either excellent condition or in very worn condition. This is because a pregnant woman will usually only wear out her favorite pieces, while only wearing a certain dress or blouse a few times.</p> <p>The thrift store can have very outdated items (think Motherhood Maternity circa 1980s). However, I have personally scored great maternity pieces at yard sales and a semi-annual kids' consignment sale. Look for yard sale listings that advertise maternity clothing or baby items. Many women are grateful to sell their maternity clothes for very little or even give them to you because they are sick of wearing them. When shopping a consignment sale, wait for the half off days to score an even bigger discount. Also, shopping yard sales with a large, pregnant belly has gotten me a bigger discount, but your mileage may vary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-on-pregnancy-expenses?ref=seealso">6 Ways to Save on Pregnancy Expenses</a>)</p> <h2>2. DIY Maternity Pieces</h2> <p>If you have even a hint of sewing skills, you can pull off a handmade belly band, maternity pants conversion, and nursing tops. These DIY maternity wear projects are easy:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.everyday-reading.com/2013/01/make-your-own-maternity-jeans-tutorial.html">Maternity jeans</a> (Use an old or thrifted pair of jeans and $2 worth of elastic)</li> <li><a href="http://www.sewinginnomansland.com/2011/12/17/617/">Jersey knit pencil skirt</a> (Uses about $8 worth of knit fabric)</li> <li><a href="http://seekatesew.com/belly-baby-ruffled-belly-band-tutorial/">Ruffled belly band</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Maternity-Shirt">Transforming a regular shirt into a maternity shirt</a></li> <li><a href="http://blogs.babycenter.com/tips_and_tricks/diy-the-uncrafty-moms-nursing-bra-conversion/">Nursing bra</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.babybellykelli.com/diy-nursing-tankcami-in-under-10-mins/">Nursing tank and belly band</a></li> </ul> <h2>3. Invest in Basics</h2> <p>Chances are you will want to spend most of your time in leggings, tanks, and flowy t-shirts. No need to pay a premium for these items at the maternity store. Instead, just buy inexpensive brands (i.e. Forever 21 and Ross) in a size or two up. Expect that you will not be able to wear them after you lose the baby weight, since your bump will stretch out your pieces, making them hang oddly.</p> <h2>4. Extend Your Clothes</h2> <p>A <a href="http://amzn.to/1NGN6mn">bra extender</a> and <a href="http://amzn.to/1NGNbqj">belly band</a> (purchased or DIY) will allow you to fit into your clothes for a little bit longer without damaging your current wardrobe. A bra extender costs $3.50 to $7 on Amazon, and a belly band can cost $10 to $20. The bra extender is the best buy, since buying new bras, on top of buying nursing bras, is costly.</p> <h2>5. Share With a Friend</h2> <p>If you have friends that have recently had a baby or will have their baby months before you, then ask if you can borrow their maternity wear. You don't even have to be the same exact size, since maternity clothes sizing is quite forgivable.</p> <h2>6. Buy in a Lot</h2> <p>One thing I did to score a great deal on maternity clothes was to buy them in a lot. I was able to get a whole wardrobe for about $80. This lot included about 20 pieces, and at the end of my pregnancy, I even sold a few pieces on eBay, earning my money back. I ended up getting my maternity clothes for about $4 a piece, and even if I sold all of them for $1 a piece at a yard sale, I would have earned &frac14; of my investment back. This is not too bad considering maternity clothes can be hard to resell, especially for how much they can cost.</p> <h2>7. Shop Clearance</h2> <p>Don't forget to check out the clearance racks of your favorite maternity store, as well as other stores that do not specialize in maternity. Stores like Ross, Marshalls, Target, and Old Navy can have great deals on their maternity clothes. Look for a coupon or Target Cartwheel offer to save even more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-to-save-money-during-your-pregnancy?ref=seealso">5 Surprising Ways to Save Money During Your Pregnancy</a>)</p> <p>Remember that your maternity clothes will only be worn for a few months, so think wisely before spending several hundred dollars on fashionable maternity pieces.</p> <p><em>How did you save money on maternity clothes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-save-on-maternity-clothes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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