Family http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4566/all en-US How to Make Your Pet an Official Emotional Support Animal http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-pet-an-official-emotional-support-animal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-your-pet-an-official-emotional-support-animal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/seeing_eye_dog.jpg" alt="Seeing Eye dog" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a pet parent, I understand the emotional benefits of having a loving four-legged friend by my side. My dog, Diamond, is one of the biggest calming forces in my life. Her mellow demeanor allows me to take her to dog-friendly restaurants, on pet-sitting gigs, and more. I had always considered making her an emotional support animal (or ESA), but knowing I didn&rsquo;t have a medical reason to do so kept me from taking the plunge.</p> <p>However, when I was diagnosed with an iron-overload disorder called Hereditary Hemochromatosis and learned I would have to deal with needles &mdash; my greatest fear &mdash; on a frequent basis, I decided to take the steps to make Diamond an ESA so I could have her with me at my doctor's office.</p> <p>If you are thinking about making your pet an ESA, here's what I learned when I went through the process.</p> <h2>The difference between an emotional support animal and a service animal</h2> <p>The first thing to note is that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), <a href="https://adata.org/publication/service-animals-booklet" target="_blank">ESAs are not considered service animals</a>. While service animals are allowed everywhere, ESAs have limitations on where they can go. This is because service animals are specially trained to assist a person with a diagnosed physical or mental disability, whereas ESAs are not.</p> <h2>Where you can take an ESA</h2> <p>Based on federal regulations, there are only two places your ESA is allowed:</p> <h3>A home you'd like to rent</h3> <p>Under the Fair Housing Act, all <a href="https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=servanimals_ntcfheo2013-01.pdf" target="_blank">landlords must make &ldquo;reasonable accommodation&rdquo;</a> to permit dogs that are ESAs.</p> <h3>When you fly</h3> <p>Under the Air Carrier Access Act, <a href="http://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/73" target="_blank">airlines are required to provide accommodation</a> to passengers traveling with an ESA, upon review of required ESA documents.</p> <p>You can also check with your state or local government to find out their rules on allowing ESAs in public places. I did find that many doctor&rsquo;s offices and medical facilities in my area allow patients to bring their ESA with them to appointments, tests, and treatments. Just call and make sure before you bring them along. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-your-dog-can-save-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Surprising Ways Your Dog Can Save You Money</a>)</p> <h2>Are you a candidate?</h2> <p>If you are dealing with high levels of stress, anxiety, or depression, and your pet helps alleviate these issues, you may be a candidate for an ESA. If you plan on taking your pet on planes or to medical facilities, make sure your pet is obedient and calm enough to be in those environments.</p> <h2>How to prove your pet is an ESA</h2> <p>Many websites sell vests, certificates, or other identification tags stating that your pet is an ESA. While having your pet wear an ESA vest can make them more easily identifiable (I have Diamond wear one for this purpose), these items don&rsquo;t actually prove ESA status. The only thing you must have to verify your pet is an ESA is a letter from a licensed mental health professional dated within the last year on their letterhead stating:</p> <ul> <li> <p>That you are under their treatment</p> </li> <li> <p>Your mental illness or disability</p> </li> <li> <p>The name of your pet</p> </li> <li> <p>How your pet medically alleviates your symptoms</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Avoid fake document sellers</h2> <p>There are countless websites willing to send you a letter from a &ldquo;mental health professional&rdquo; for a fee. These sites make it easy to get a letter classifying your pet as an ESA. However, these letters are fake. In order for the letter to be valid, the mental health professional who writes the letter has to actually be treating you.</p> <p>If you need an ESA to help you feel calm, safe, or to assist with your sense of well-being, being under the treatment of a licensed mental health professional can be beneficial in helping you overcome the difficulties you are facing.</p> <h2>How the process works</h2> <p>Go online to find a few mental health professionals you think would be a good fit for you. Email or call them to explain your situation, why you think having an ESA would benefit you, and ask if they support the use of ESAs in therapy.</p> <p>Once you determine which therapist is right for you, schedule a session to start working through your anxiety, depression, or stress, and have your therapist write you an ESA letter.</p> <h2>Learn from my mistakes</h2> <p>My experience didn&rsquo;t go as smoothly as I&rsquo;d hoped. I contacted a few mental health professionals within my insurance network to see if they supported the use of ESAs, with no luck. Realizing I might have to use a website in order to get the letter (albeit fake) I needed in time for my first treatment, I put out a desperate plea on Nextdoor asking for recommendations for therapists who were advocates of using ESAs. Luckily, I was able to find someone with a couple days to spare before my first treatment.</p> <p>The lesson here is don&rsquo;t get discouraged if you are having trouble finding the right therapist. There are therapists out there that believe in the calming and healing power of pets!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-pet-an-official-emotional-support-animal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-need-to-include-pets-in-your-will">6 Reasons You Need to Include Pets in Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-lower-your-vet-bills">8 Ways to Lower Your Vet Bills</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/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-affordable-alternatives-to-pet-boarding">5 Affordable Alternatives to Pet Boarding</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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle dog family members furry friends service dog support animal therapy dog therapy pet traveling with pets Fri, 26 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1953941 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-kids-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-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/little_girl_looking_at_piggybank.jpg" alt="Little girl looking at piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No matter how well you manage your money, you want your kids to grow up making all the right financial decisions. But if they see you overspending, they might adopt your poor money habits without you realizing it.</p> <p>Some parenting fails teach children about money &mdash; in a bad way. Rather than your kids learning from your mistakes, they might be destined to make the same ones you're making right now. Here are some parenting fails to avoid when teaching your kids about money.</p> <h2>Making impulse buys</h2> <p>Every parent has probably had their child ask for a candy bar or other treat while waiting in the checkout line. Telling them no can be difficult, but it beats raising a child who thinks they're entitled to everything they see.</p> <p>Occasional impulse purchases are fine. Getting an ice cream cone after a tough week at school, or going to see a movie after getting a high test grade can be worthwhile motivators for kids to do better in school. But if you spend too much on an impulse buy &mdash; such as the latest tech gadget &mdash; it can show a lack of restraint in how you shop.</p> <p>Even small impulse buys, if made often, can show your child that it's OK to buy something without giving it much thought. Small purchases add up, and a better lesson would be to put that money aside in a vacation fund for the whole family to enjoy.</p> <h2>Not letting them work for their money</h2> <p>Giving a kid an allowance is a great idea, as long as they work for it. Handing over cash each week without them doing anything to earn it can make you seem like a free ATM. Money doesn't just appear in your pocket magically. You work for it, and so should they.</p> <p>Be it earning money with chores or a part-time job, kids can learn the value of a dollar and find out firsthand how many hours of work it takes to afford that pricey pair of sneakers they want.</p> <h2>Not giving them their own bank account</h2> <p>If your kids don't have a savings account or college savings account by age five, you're doing them a disservice. Heck, if you don't have a savings account or retirement account, you're doing <em>yourself </em>a disservice, while also teaching them the poor habit of not saving for the future.</p> <p>As children become teenagers, parents can teach them about managing money by helping them get an ATM or debit card, a checking account, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-add-your-teen-as-an-authorized-user-on-your-credit-card" target="_blank">possibly a credit card</a> with a low limit.</p> <p>Birthday money and a percentage of their allowance can be put into their savings accounts. Regular trips to the bank to make those deposits also show them how banks work and why they should save. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a>)</p> <h2>Having terrible money habits yourself</h2> <p>You don't have to detail every expense in your budget with your children, but they should have a general sense of what you're budgeting for and why. Sharing this info will teach them how to set their own money goals, and how to manage monthly bills before they're responsible for paying them.</p> <p>If you pay your bills late and constantly complain about how you can't afford the gas bill each month, you're setting a poor example of how to budget for basic expenses. Your kids are watching you, so you should be leading by example.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-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-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/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</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/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</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/when-self-care-actually-harms-your-budget">When Self-Care Actually Harms Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family budgeting budgeting tips parenting parenting fails parenting tips saving money Spending Money Wed, 24 May 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1953075 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Stocks to Buy If You Love Moms http://www.wisebread.com/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-626773718.jpg" alt="Finding stocks to buy if you love moms" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Make no mistake about it: Moms are the best. They're our biggest supporters, our number one fans, and they are always there for us. So this Mother's Day, why not invest in companies that are helping both the mothers (and fathers) they employ, as well as the mothers who make up their customer base?</p> <p>Here are four stocks that anyone who loves moms should buy.</p> <h2>1. Campbell's Soup Company [NYSE: CPB]</h2> <p>The connection between moms and chicken soup alone might be enough for you to want to buy this stock. But Campbell's Soup has made this list because of one specific subset of its food empire: Plum Organics.</p> <p>Founded as a startup in 2007, Plum Organics is a mission-driven baby and toddler food company committed to offering the best sustainable nutrition to all children. In 2013, Campbell's acquired Plum Organics, and in an impressive display of integrity, Plum's president and co-founder Neil Grimmer requested that the smaller company pursue certification as a benefit corporation after the sale. For-profit benefit corporations not only create value for their shareholders, but they also have legal requirements for accountability, transparency, and purpose.</p> <p>Since then, Plum Organics has continued to try to make the world a better place for parents and children. In particular, their The Full Effect program has donated over 8.6 million organic meals and snacks to children in need. The company also works hard to reduce its environmental footprint by both reducing packaging and creating recycling programs for its packaging.</p> <p>Though Plum Organics is only a small part of the Campbell's Soup Company, the fact that Campbell's continues to encourage its child-friendly, mom-friendly, and environment-friendly mission makes it worthy of this list.</p> <p>The Campbell's Soup Company is also working to improve the lives of the mothers and fathers it employs. The company recently revamped its parental leave policy, offering 10 weeks of paid leave for a primary caregiver and two weeks of paid leave for a secondary caregiver. The fact that such a huge company is working to make life easier for new parents is definitely a great step.</p> <h2>2. Etsy [NASDAQ: ETSY]</h2> <p>You may know Etsy as the place to get creative handmade gifts, but it is also a publicly-traded company that does a great deal to support moms.</p> <p>To start, Etsy decided in 2016 to offer all employees 26 weeks of paid parental leave after birth or adoption, regardless of the employee's gender or primary/secondary caregiver designation. Etsy's generous, gender-neutral leave policy can help pave the way for other companies to recognize the importance of supporting young families &mdash; especially if we invest in Etsy by buying its stock.</p> <p>In addition, Etsy's business model has offered a manageable approach to entrepreneurship for moms who wish to straddle the line between staying home with the kids and earning an income. Supporting Etsy by buying its stock means helping to strengthen the finances of creative parents who are trying to balance working from home and child rearing.</p> <p>Finally, Etsy is a certified B Corp, meaning that it is committed to accountability and transparency within its socially responsible mission. To support that mission, Etsy created Craft Entrepreneurship, an educational program that offers creative people in low-income communities the knowledge and skills to start Etsy businesses.</p> <h2>3. Johnson &amp; Johnson [NYSE: JNJ]</h2> <p>Eight of Johnson &amp; Johnson's first 14 employees were women &mdash; all the way back when the health care company was founded in 1886.</p> <p>Women receive 47 percent of all promotions at Johnson &amp; Johnson, while only making up 45 percent of the total company employees. In addition, the company offers leadership initiatives that emphasize gender balance, as well as executive education courses that are specifically tailored to women. All of this is great news for mothers working for the corporation, which employs over 39,000 people.</p> <p>Parental leave at Johnson &amp; Johnson is relatively generous, with at least nine weeks of paid leave offered to new mothers and fathers. But the company continues looking out for families long after babies are born. It also offers six on-site day care facilities, sick-child care, backup child care, and 10 paid days of sick leave per year to look after ill family members.</p> <p>On top of that, a full 95 percent of employees use flextime, and 75 percent telecommute, while managers are specifically trained to implement and manage flexible working arrangements. Those arrangements can be particularly helpful for working parents.</p> <h2>4. Netflix [NASDAQ: NFLX]</h2> <p>Any mother of a newborn can attest to the lifesaving power of Netflix in the middle of a long sleepless night. But Netflix is not just supporting overtired parents with middle-of-the-night TV binges. It is also a leader in providing excellent parental leave to its employees.</p> <p>As of 2016, salaried Netflix employees are permitted <em>unlimited </em>paid parental leave for their child's first year of life. The policy is the same for salaried employees who adopt children. This incredibly generous policy is a great step forward in recognizing that new parents are often the best judges of how much time they need before returning to work.</p> <p>Netflix has also made sure to take care of hourly employees who become parents. Hourly workers receive paid parental leave at 100 percent pay. The amount of time off that they receive depends upon which arm of the company they work for, with Streaming hourly employees receiving 16 weeks, DVD employees receiving 12 weeks, and customer service employees receiving 14 weeks. In all cases, the parental leave is for maternity, paternity, and adoptions.</p> <h2>Putting your money where your mom is</h2> <p>We all talk about how much we love and respect mothers, but it can feel like lip service if our actions don't reflect those feelings. One of the best ways to show your love and respect for Mom is to support the corporations that make it easier for all mothers to take care of business &mdash; at work and at home.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day">6 Financial Gifts Mom Will Love for Mother&#039;s Day</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/investment-allocation-by-age-birth-to-10-years-old">Investment Allocation by Age: Birth to 10 Years Old</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-mothers-day-gifts-moms-will-love">5 DIY Mother&#039;s Day Gifts Moms Will Love</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/158-free-investment-classes-from-morningstar-earn-rewards-while-you-learn">158 Free Investment Classes From Morningstar: Earn Rewards While You Learn</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Investment b corp companies moms Mother's day parental leave stocks supporting women Tue, 09 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1940330 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Lower Your Vet Bills http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-lower-your-vet-bills <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-lower-your-vet-bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-507275074.jpg" alt="Learning ways to lower your vet bills" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Taking your dog or cat to the vet can cause a big hit to your bank account, and if your pet has a medical emergency, you can easily expect to spend more than $500. This can take a toll on any family's finances, which is why we've found some easy ways to save money at the vet, without compromising your pet's health.</p> <h2>1. Take advantage of preventive care</h2> <p>If your vet suggests preventive care services, such as heartworm prevention medication for example, consider how much you'll save with this affordable service, as opposed to what you would spend treating heartworm disease.</p> <p>Maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, grooming, proper food portions, teeth brushing, and overall care. Severe dental issues can cost more than $1,000 to treat, so it's a preventive measure that shouldn't be skipped.</p> <h2>2. Prevent parasites</h2> <p>Get your animal on a flea and tick prevention program to keep fleas, ticks, lice, and worms at bay. These typically come in the form of a monthly pill, and many of these provide protection against several parasites at once. Along with saving you money on future treatments, this will also keep your pet healthy, happy, and comfortable.</p> <h2>3. Take advantage of free exams</h2> <p>Some veterinary offices or hospitals offer discounts or even free exams, to encourage owners to bring their pets in to treat for issues before they become hard to treat. Make inquiries with your local veterinary offices to see what they offer.</p> <h2>4. Compare prices</h2> <p>Compare service and prescription prices in your area before committing to one veterinary practice. Use online rating sites like Yelp to find a highly-reviewed vet that won't break the bank. Inquire about whether the office offers new pet or wellness care packages that can bundle exams and vaccines at a discount. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-dog-costs-you-should-prepare-for-now?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Unexpected Dog Costs You Should Prepare for Now</a>)</p> <h2>5. Keep your pet's weight in check</h2> <p>According to The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, about 59 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Excess weight can lead to a host of health problems for animals. Keep your pet fit and active for a healthier lifestyle and fewer vet visits. Also, be aware of the ingredients in your pet's food. If you're trying to cut out processed food from your own diet, you should do the same for them. Look for food that promotes overall health for your pet's breed and dietary needs, and do not overfeed them.</p> <p>And just because they adorably dance for treats doesn't mean you should keep handing them out!</p> <h2>6. Ask about financing</h2> <p>Many veterinary offices will offer financing, payment plans, or even discounts if you are upfront with them about any financial hardships you're facing. They might also work with a credit lender (like CareCredit), which allows you to pay the fees over the course of several months with no interest, upon credit approval. You can also look into private veterinary discount plans like PetAssure.</p> <h2>7. Get pet insurance immediately</h2> <p>Pet health insurance can save you a huge amount of money if your pet has costly medical expenses in the future. Keep in mind that pre-existing conditions and inherited disorders will not be covered, so it's important to get pet insurance as early as possible. Many policies will also limit coverage to one treatment per illness, so do your research to determine if it's right for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-pet-health-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Pet Health Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>8. Request an estimate before services are rendered</h2> <p>A written estimate will let you know how much you can expect to spend. Don't feel shy about saying &quot;no&quot; to a service or asking for a detailed explanation of the recommended services. If you think that a service is unnecessary or too expensive, visit another vet with your estimate in hand.</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/8-ways-to-lower-your-vet-bills">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/7-personal-finance-tips-for-animal-lovers">7 Personal Finance Tips for Animal Lovers</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-pet-flea-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Flea Shampoos</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-need-to-include-pets-in-your-will">6 Reasons You Need to Include Pets in Your Will</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-ridiculously-overpriced-pet-products">10 Ridiculously Overpriced Pet Products</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-pet-expenses-that-arent-worth-it">4 Pet Expenses That Aren&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Health and Beauty cats dogs family members pet care pet health pet insurance pet owners pets vet bills veterinarian Mon, 08 May 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1940414 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 DIY Mother's Day Gifts Moms Will Love http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-mothers-day-gifts-moms-will-love <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-diy-mothers-day-gifts-moms-will-love" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-175449846.jpg" alt="Daughter making a DIY Mother&#039;s Day gift her mom will love" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You could get away with giving Mom painted flowerpots or glittery picture frames for Mother's Day when you were seven, but it's time to up your game. Mom deserves a thoughtful gift. Why not make her something that she'll appreciate more, due to your efforts? Here are some easy DIY gifts all moms are sure to love. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">30 Meaningful Mother's Day Gifts for Every Budget</a>)</p> <h2>1. A statement necklace</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6nTMGYflkq0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Have you been ignoring DIY jewelry? I have, because I'm lousy with intricate handcrafts. I had ruled that out until seeing this gorgeous <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nTMGYflkq0" target="_blank">DIY statement necklace</a>. And the possibilities for other styles are endless. I like the fact that even little hands could make one of these.</p> <h2>2. Indoor herb garden</h2> <p>Is your mom a fan of Mason jars? They're homey, inexpensive, practical, and can be used for pretty much anything. They also make a really great base for an indoor herb garden. If you don't have time to start herbs from seed, just transplant seedlings into the jars with soil, label them with cute stickers, and present to Mom on Mother's Day.</p> <h2>3. Decadent body scrubs</h2> <p>I'm obsessed with coconut scrub right now, but there are many scent options for making your own sugar scrubs: Coffee, raspberry, lavender, peppermint &mdash; you get the idea. They all smell amazing, are easy to make, and exfoliate the skin, leaving it healthy and glowing. Here's how to make some for Mom.</p> <p><em>Ingredients</em></p> <ul> <li>&frac12; cup of sugar</li> <li>&frac12; cup of coconut oil</li> <li>1 cup coffee grounds or few drops of essential oils, depending on chosen scent</li> <li>1 empty jar</li> </ul> <p><em>Method</em></p> <p>Mix well. Store in a tub or jar that seals tightly. Pop a pretty label onto the jar, and you're good to go.</p> <h2>4. Outdoor throw pillows</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S5sy5CrUw4U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Boy, do I love me some throw pillows. However, they're a little pricey (around $20 a pillow) to buy. Why not make some yourself? Head to your local fabric store and check the &quot;outdoor fabric&quot; section. Don't forget to check the remnant bin, where you might find the perfect small piece. And for these <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5sy5CrUw4U" target="_blank">DIY outdoor pillows</a>, you don't even need a sewing machine!</p> <h2>5. Makeup brush holder</h2> <p>I'm hoping my daughter sees this post so that she'll make me this <a href="http://centsationalgirl.com/2012/04/diy-makeup-brush-holder/#more-27423" target="_blank">DIY makeup brush holder</a>. My makeup brushes are currently without a proper home and regularly fall into the sink, which isn't great. Without a place to put your makeup brushes, they get dirtier, faster, and your makeup drawer is often in a state of chaos. Don't let Mom live like that! The sewing time for this brush holder is about one hour. It's a bonus if you can find fabric that matches her bathroom colors.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-mothers-day-gifts-moms-will-love">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/mama-mia-mothers-day-gifts-that-show-you-really-care">Mama Mia! Mother&#039;s Day Gifts that Show You Really Care</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/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day">6 Financial Gifts Mom Will Love for Mother&#039;s Day</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-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms">4 Stocks to Buy If You Love Moms</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-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping DIY gifts diy mother's day gifts gift ideas gifts for mom Mother's day shopping for mom Wed, 03 May 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Marla Walters 1938296 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Financial Gifts Mom Will Love for Mother's Day http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-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-537871137.jpg" alt="Finding financial gifts mom will love for Mother&#039;s Day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mother's Day is an opportunity to let Mom know just how much she means to you, but it can be hard to find the perfect gift. You know that a World's Best Mom mug and some fancy bubble bath just won't cut it &mdash; so what should you do instead?</p> <p>This year, why not give Mom the gift of money? That doesn't mean handing over a wad of cash in lieu of a present, but instead finding a gift that will help her bottom line. Here are six gift ideas for Mom that will keep on giving financially.</p> <h2>1. Start a dream fund</h2> <p>Maybe Mom has always dreamed about a trip to a certain destination, or planting the perfect garden straight out of a magazine. These things cost money, and if there's little room in the budget, it can be hard and time-consuming to save up for them. This is where you come in: Give Mom a &quot;dream fund&quot; for Mother's Day with seed money to realize her goals.</p> <p>If Mom is a crafty or creative type, you could present the fund to her with a &quot;dream board,&quot; including relevant pictures to inspire her to keep saving. She'll love adding to the board herself. You could even add a complementary gift card (such as to a home and garden store) as a finishing touch.</p> <p>You might also consider saving up for something to do together. My mother and I have always talked about traveling to Greece, so our mother-daughter dream board would include photos of the Greek Isles, illustrations from Greek mythology (which I fondly remember her teaching me when I was a child), and photos of delicious Greek food. I would then also include a gift card to an airline or cruise line as the first step in reaching our goal together.</p> <h2>2. Buy her a share of a company she loves</h2> <p>Buying shares of a company can be a lovely way to honor your mother and give her a gift she will appreciate. You can buy her a gift-ready stock with a framed certificate, or buy shares directly from the company.</p> <p>While a gift-ready stock with certificate included will set you back more money, it does provide you with something to wrap up for Mother's Day and gives her something to display. Consider buying shares of a company whose products you know Mom absolutely loves, like Starbucks, Target, Tiffany's, Hershey, or Netflix.</p> <h2>3. Give her a subscription to a financial magazine</h2> <p>If Mom has remarked that she'd like to know more about how to handle her money, then get her a magazine subscription that can help improve her financial knowledge. Buy a copy of the current issue to wrap up for her on Mother's Day.</p> <p>As for which magazine to choose, both Kiplinger's and Money are considered excellent resources for the personal finance newbie.</p> <h2>4. Donate to her favorite charity</h2> <p>What causes are close to Mom's heart? Pick a charity that you know she supports, and make a donation in her name. Not only will Mom be touched by such a thoughtful gift, but an organization in need will benefit, too. It's a win-win. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/improve-your-giving-with-5-smart-charity-tricks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Improve Your Giving With 5 Smart Charity Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>5. Pay a few of her bills for the month</h2> <p>Help Mom get ahead financially by offering to pay one (or a few!) of her bills for Mother's Day. This could be a mortgage payment, utility bill, medical bill, or credit card payment &mdash; anything she could use a hand with. This will take some of the budgeting burden off her shoulders, and maybe even leave her with wiggle room to treat herself.</p> <h2>6. Pay for Mom to visit a financial professional</h2> <p>Depending on what type of financial needs your mom has, you could pay for her to consult with a certified financial planner. A CFP can be an invaluable resource in helping Mom plan out her saving, investing, and retirement strategies. So how do you go about finding, vetting, and paying for such a gift? You can start by asking around your inner circle for any recommendations. If that doesn't yield any leads, you can locate a fee-only CFP (which means the planner will not be working on commission) near you via <a href="https://www.napfa.org/" target="_blank">NAPFA</a>. The fees that planners charge vary greatly, but once you have found a CFP that you like, you can ask them how much it will cost to make Mom an appointment.</p> <h2>Show mom you love her with the gift of better finances</h2> <p>Flowers fade, brunch is over all too soon, and Mom does not need yet another canister of fancy tea. For Mother's Day this year, give your mother a gift that will keep giving for years to come.</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/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-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-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/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms">4 Stocks to Buy If You Love Moms</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget">30 Meaningful Mother&#039;s Day Gifts for Every Budget</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup&#039;s &quot;Unstuffed&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mama-mia-mothers-day-gifts-that-show-you-really-care">Mama Mia! Mother&#039;s Day Gifts that Show You Really Care</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family accountants dream boards financial magazines gifts Mom money coaches Mother's day presents professionals shares stocks Mon, 01 May 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1934997 at http://www.wisebread.com How Single Parents Can Juggle Retirement Savings, Too http://www.wisebread.com/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-541585308.jpg" alt="Single parent learning how to juggle retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being a single parent is hard work. It's also expensive, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reporting that the estimated cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610. That comes out to nearly $14,000 a year.</p> <p>If you're a single parent with one income, paying for your children's clothing, food, education, and activities might not only be consuming most of your money, but most of your time, too. At the end of another long day, you might think that it's simply too difficult to plan or save for your own retirement.</p> <p>Fortunately, this isn't true. Yes, saving for retirement will be more challenging for single parents. But it can be done, and the steps to start saving and investing for retirement aren't overly difficult.</p> <p>Here are five moves single parents should make today to prepare for their future retirement.</p> <h2>1. Make a budget</h2> <p>Nothing is more important than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps" target="_blank">creating a household budget</a>, and making one is simpler than you think. Once you have a budget, you'll be able to figure out how much money you can allocate to retirement savings each month.</p> <p>First, write down how much money you bring into your household every month. Next, list how much you spend. Start with your fixed expenses, which includes everything from your monthly mortgage payment to your insurance costs. Then, calculate an average cost for expenses that fluctuate. These can include utility bills, transportation, clothing, groceries, and entertainment. Don't forget to include intermittent expenses, such as haircuts and car maintenance bills, which you might think of in annual terms &mdash; find the average so you can estimate a monthly amount. Once you have these figures, you'll know how much wiggle room is left each month to put toward your retirement.</p> <p>Compiling a budget can also help you make positive changes to your overall spending habits. Maybe you'll find that you're spending more money than you're bringing in. You might then make a few small adjustments &mdash; such as eating out less, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord" target="_blank">cutting the cable cord</a>, or dropping a gym membership &mdash; that will free up money each month.</p> <h2>2. Start small and build an emergency fund</h2> <p>After making a budget, set aside at least some of your leftover money in the month to build an emergency fund. You'll use this fund to pay for any unexpected financial emergencies (such as a broken water heater) with cash instead of charging repairs to a credit card. The key to saving for retirement as a single parent is to avoid building debt, and nothing can derail your savings goals faster than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">high interest credit card debt</a>. By having that emergency fund, you'll be far less likely to add big bills to your credit cards.</p> <p>You might not have much money to devote to an emergency fund. That's OK. Even if you can only save $50 a month, do it. By the end of a year, you'll have $600. That may not be a huge amount, but it's a start. Your ultimate goal should be to build an emergency fund that can cover daily living expenses for three to six months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>3. Save in tax-advantaged investment vehicles</h2> <p>As a single parent, it's important to keep as many of your dollars in your household as possible. Tax-advantaged savings vehicles can help you do this.</p> <p>If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, take advantage of it. Contributions to your 401(k) are made with pretax dollars from each paycheck. This means that when you file your taxes for the year, the IRS will treat your income as smaller than it actually was. This will help lower your tax burden each year while simultaneously growing your retirement.</p> <p>You can also invest in a traditional IRA if you don't have access to a 401(k). Contributions to a traditional IRA are also made with pretax dollars, which again, will lower your taxable income.</p> <h2>4. Prioritize retirement over college savings</h2> <p>Like most parents, you probably want to give your child as much financial help as you can to get them into a good college. But too many parents save for their children's education while skimping on building their own retirement fund. This is a mistake.</p> <p>Remember, your kids have options when it comes to their education. They can attend a community college or less-expensive university, seek financial aid, or work their way through school. They might not be able to attend their dream school, but that doesn't mean they can't get a solid college education.</p> <p>You won't have as many options when it's time to leave the working world. You certainly don't want a retirement in which you're struggling to pay your bills, so you need to avoid the impulse to prioritize your child's college fund over your own retirement savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>5. Resist the temptation to overspend</h2> <p>As a single parent, it can be tempting to overspend on gifts and expensive vacations in an effort to make up for whatever challenges you and your children face. The problem is, this kind of emotional overspending can wreck your monthly budget. And when money gets tight, it's your retirement savings that often suffers.</p> <p>It's OK to treat your children, of course. But make sure these little rewards don't come at the expense of building a retirement fund.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too">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/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-kids-about-money">4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</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/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Retirement budgeting children college costs emergency funds investments overspending saving money single parents tax advantaged Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:43:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1935491 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things You Definitely Don't Need for a Baby http://www.wisebread.com/dont-waste-money-on-this-pricey-baby-gear <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-waste-money-on-this-pricey-baby-gear" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-520237993.jpg" alt="Learning to not waste money on pricey baby gear" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's easy to get carried away with cute baby buys when you're strolling through Babies 'R' Us. However, tons of tiny purchases can add up quickly and result in an empty bank account, as well as a lot of items wasting space in the nursery.</p> <p>When the average cost of raising a child is approximately <a href="https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/01/13/cost-raising-child" target="_blank">$12,980 per year</a>, it's important to save money whenever possible. Fortunately, you can start by avoiding unnecessary baby gear. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-rules-thatll-save-you-big-in-babys-first-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Rules That'll Save You Big in Baby's First Year</a>)</p> <h2>1. Extra bedding</h2> <p>The safest way for a baby to sleep is with a tight fitting crib sheet. Anything else could pose a suffocation hazard. One blanket is enough for car rides, stroller time, and cuddling, so there's no need to spend much on multiple bedding sets, bumpers, or other bedding upgrades.</p> <p>Crib bedding and diaper gear are commonly stained due to leaky diapers and spit up, so stick with functional and easy to clean material. Don't worry about pillows or matching duvets. A newborn can't use those anyway.</p> <h2>2. Fancy Diaper Bag</h2> <p>Your diaper bag is going to see a lot of wear and tear. Imagine spilled milk and dirty burp cloths staining the inside, and dust and dirt, stickers and crayon marks marring the outside. Plus, you wouldn't want it to be a target for theft. Get something plain that is easy to carry and use.</p> <h2>3. Matching outfits</h2> <p>When you're digging through the laundry basket (because there will barely be enough time to do the laundry, let alone fold and sort), you won't care much about the matching pants as much as just getting your baby dressed. Even with messes, it's hard to ever run out of onesies since they usually come in packs of five to ten (except the cute matching outfits, which come in packs of <em>one</em>). Don't use your valuable energy on things like matching outfits for your newborn.</p> <h2>4. Shoes</h2> <p>Newborns don't need shoes. And it's not worth trying to wrestle them on a wriggling baby. Stick with socks or footies.</p> <h2>5. Wipe warmer</h2> <p>It's true, babies don't like being changed. They will cry and fuss, regardless of the temperature of their wipes. Also, the inconvenience of having to always go to the spot where your wipe warmer is defeats the purpose of being able to quickly get a baby changed. It's okay &mdash; a little discomfort won't be the end of the world.</p> <h2>6. Mobiles</h2> <p>It's nice to imagine that the mobile is stimulating the baby's brain cells and making her super smart. But a mobile isn't more stimulating than a ceiling fan or the shadows and light coming from a window nearby.</p> <h2>7. Baby food processor</h2> <p>If you're going to make your own baby food, a regular <a href="http://amzn.to/2p2JXoT" target="_blank">food processor</a> or blender might seem bulky but will work just fine. Do you really want to add an extra kitchen gadget that will only get used for six months?</p> <h2>8. Bottle sanitizer</h2> <p>Bottles don't need to be sanitized after every use. Sanitize them the first time in boiling water. After that, warm soap and water will clean them fine. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-a-new-baby-really-needs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What a New Baby Really Needs</a>)</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/dont-waste-money-on-this-pricey-baby-gear">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/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</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-infant-nail-clippers">The 5 Best Infant Nail Clippers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-a-new-baby-really-needs">What a New Baby Really Needs</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/16-best-baby-gifts-on-a-budget">16 Best Baby Gifts on a 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-ways-to-save-on-pregnancy-expenses">6 Ways to Save on Pregnancy Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping baby baby expenses baby gear baby shopping baby shower having a baby new baby nursery items Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:31:08 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1935489 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things You Should Know About Joint Checking Accounts http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-646688660.jpg" alt="Couple learning things about a joint checking account" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Joint checking accounts offer convenient money management for many different types of relationships, including married and cohabiting couples and adult children and their parents.</p> <p>But the convenience of joint checking accounts potentially comes with a cost that families need to consider before signing up. Here are six issues you need to think through before you open a joint checking account with a spouse, a significant other, an adult child, or a parent.</p> <h2>1. There is no accountability for withdrawals</h2> <p>Generally, couples tend to open joint accounts because they are sharing a home and expenses. That means that it's in their best interests to be responsible with the money, since it will affect them both if the rent money is spent on a weekend in Vegas. However, if one person is unreliable with money, or planning to leave the relationship suddenly, a joint account can be dangerous for the other account holder.</p> <p>This issue can be more difficult when the two account holders are parent and child. Often, an adult child will request that they be added to their elderly parents' checking account to help protect dear old Mom or Dad. They can help pay bills, and make sure that there is no fraudulent activity on the account. The problem is that both account holders have every right to withdraw money from the account &mdash; which an unscrupulous adult child could take advantage of.</p> <h2>2. Joint accounts are vulnerable to the financial mistakes of both owners</h2> <p>If either account owner has unpaid debts that go into collection, the creditor has every right to use the joint account to satisfy those debts. This means you might potentially find your joint checking account completely drained in order to pay off debts you are unaware that your co-owner has run up.</p> <p>In addition, if there is a legal judgment against either account owner, the money in the joint account could be considered part of the assets awarded in the judgment. For instance, if Jane is sued because she crashed into a bus, then the assets in the joint account she holds with her elderly father are considered part of Jane's assets in terms of the lawsuit &mdash; even if the account was originally solely in Dad's name.</p> <h2>3. A joint account could hurt your credit</h2> <p>Although your spouse or child's credit rating can't ding your score, the way they handle their money can hurt your credit if you share a joint account with them. Since creditors are required to report joint account information, an account holder who struggles with debt and paying bills on time will negatively affect the co-owner's credit rating &mdash; unless and until the money behavior improves.</p> <h2>4. A joint account can affect eligibility for financial assistance</h2> <p>If either account owner needs to qualify for any kind of financial assistance, from financial aid for college to Medicaid, the money in a jointly held account is included in the eligibility calculations for the financial aid. That means you might end up forfeiting your ability to qualify for the financial assistance if your account co-owner holds more cash in the account than you would as a sole account owner.</p> <h2>5. Your co-owner can close the account without your permission</h2> <p>Certain banks require consent from both parties to close a joint checking account, but most do not. Typically, state laws dictate that any person who can write checks on the account can close it, at any time, regardless if their co-owner is present or even aware. The benefit to this is if one party relocates, passes away, or otherwise becomes incapacitated, there are very few issues the remaining co-owner must go through to close the account. The danger, however, lies in the potential for one co-owner to simply deplete the funds, close the account, and disappear. Always make sure you're sharing a checking account with someone you trust.</p> <h2>6. Parent/child joint accounts can have estate implications</h2> <p>A joint account holder retains sole control of the money in the account in the event of the co-owner's death. In the case of spouses or other cohabiting couples, this kind of financial transfer in case of death is not a problem. However, if the account owners are a parent and child, the issue is much more complicated.</p> <p>That's because the money in the checking account stays with the surviving account holder, bypassing whatever the deceased account holder may have put in their will. For instance, Loretta has three children and has specified in her will that her assets will be distributed evenly among them. But Loretta has a sizable joint account with her son Jason, and upon her death the money in that account will be solely under his control. Unless Jason feels like splitting up the money in the account three ways, his siblings are not going to see that portion of their inheritance.</p> <h2>Merge with caution</h2> <p>While joint checking accounts offer convenience to couples and parent/child relationships, they also come with a number of potential headaches. Make sure you know what you are signing up for before you and your potential co-account owner start picking out your personalized checks.</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/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts">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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</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-frugal-living-truths-every-stay-at-home-parent-should-know">5 Frugal Living Truths Every Stay-at-Home-Parent Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too">How Single Parents Can Juggle Retirement Savings, Too</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Family children credit score debts estate planning joint checking accounts marriage parents shared finances spouse withdrawals Mon, 17 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1927307 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Throw a Kid's Birthday Bash on the Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-kids-birthday-bash-on-the-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-throw-a-kids-birthday-bash-on-the-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-511382332.jpg" alt="Learning how to throw a kid&#039;s birthday bash on the cheap" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all want to throw an unforgettable party for our kids, but we don&rsquo;t have to break the bank to do so. Fortunately, you can throw a big party on a small budget with the right plan. You won't have to sacrifice much, either. Here's how to save money on your child's special day.</p> <h2>Get the kids involved</h2> <p>Get your child involved in planning the party so they take part in the fun leading up to the special day. Invite one or two of their friends over before the party to help decorate. They can make their own decorations, blow up balloons, and cut out signs. Instead of expensive printed or themed tablecloths, cover tables with butcher paper and leave out crayons so the kids can write messages and draw while they eat.</p> <h2>Comparison shop</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t just visit your local party supply store. If you have time (and energy), you can find some great deals at dollar stores and online suppliers like <a href="http://www.orientaltrading.com/party-supplies-a1-551135.fltr" target="_blank">Oriental Trading</a> and <a href="https://www.alibaba.com//Festive-Party-Supplies_pid100002992" target="_blank">Alibaba</a>. Shipping can take a few weeks, but you will likely find everything you need, from plates and cups to streamers and balloons, and even fun toys like bubbles, glow sticks, and water balloons for the party.</p> <h2>Get the timing right</h2> <p>According to Danielle Walker, author of <a href="http://amzn.to/2opfwJp" target="_blank"><em>Against All Grain: Celebrations</em></a>, the best time to throw a party is between 2 p.m. &ndash; 5 p.m., when guests are between meals and won't be expecting a full meal. You can just provide kid-friendly finger foods for them to munch on.</p> <h2>Combine parties</h2> <p>If your child's birthday falls close to one of their classmates' birthdays, you may consider joining forces with the other child's parents to throw a larger dual party.</p> <h2>Stick to the basics</h2> <p>It's great to have a party theme and budget in mind. This can keep you on track and provide inspiration during the party planning stages. However, it can be pricey if you try purchasing only themed items.</p> <p>For instance, purchasing <em>Frozen</em>-themed decorations is an expensive way to achieve the <em>Frozen</em> birthday party theme. You can just as easily achieve the theme &mdash; at a much lower cost &mdash; by purchasing affordable light blue items (like streamers, plates, balloons, and tablecloths) and adding several <em>Frozen</em> balloons, cupcake toppers, or centerpieces.</p> <h2>Call in favors</h2> <p>If you have a brother who dabbles in magic or a friend who can make great balloon animals, ask them to perform at the party as their gift to your child.</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/how-to-throw-a-kids-birthday-bash-on-the-cheap">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/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-ways-to-save-on-audio-books">8 Smart Ways to Save on Audio Books</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day">3 Smart Ways to Save on Father&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-kids-activities">How to Save Money on Kids&#039; Activities</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Family birthday birthday party budget frugal party how to throw a party kid's birthday saving money shopping Thu, 13 Apr 2017 08:30:07 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1926609 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Ways to Make Room for Baby http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-make-room-for-baby <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-ways-to-make-room-for-baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-495176006.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to make room for baby" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Making space for a new baby can be difficult, especially if there's hardly enough room for you and your partner. Fortunately, there are some tricks to create more space.</p> <h2>1. Find furniture that can multitask for you</h2> <p>If possible, choose items that offer more than one purpose or offer extra storage space. This will save you space and allow you to get more for your money.</p> <h3>Playard with napper</h3> <p>These can serve as a <a href="http://amzn.to/2oDyP2z" target="_blank">changing station, play station, and napper</a> in one.</p> <h3>Convertible diaper bag</h3> <p>What better way to lug all your diapers around than with a <a href="http://amzn.to/2o400SZ" target="_blank">travel-friendly changing bed</a>? The foldable changing table can also be used at home.</p> <h3>Clip-on highchair</h3> <p>A <a href="http://amzn.to/2o3XcW0" target="_blank">clip-on highchair</a> can clip onto the edge of a table and can be taken with you wherever you go, so you don't have to find space for a large highchair.</p> <h3>Rollers</h3> <p>You can attach <a href="http://amzn.to/2nEQH8n" target="_blank">rollers</a> to your crib or storage units, so you can easily move them around to maximize space.</p> <h3>Toy hammock</h3> <p>A <a href="http://amzn.to/2nL3x5W" target="_blank">toy hammock</a> can keep toys organized and out of the way.</p> <h3>Convertible crib</h3> <p>Some <a href="http://amzn.to/2oJk1N3" target="_blank">mini cribs</a> can be converted into twin beds for extra space and a better value once your baby is ready to graduate to a real bed.</p> <h2>2. Use your suitcases</h2> <p>If you have suitcases that aren't being actively used, take advantage of the storage space by hiding baby items that aren't needed at the moment, like clothing that your baby can't fit into yet.</p> <h2>3. Think vertically</h2> <p>When there isn't a lot of room on the ground, you need to start thinking vertically. Hang tiers of shelves to take advantage of wall space or invest in tiered stands to store baby supplies. You can even make a makeshift closet by hanging a bar on the wall to hang your baby's clothes or toys.</p> <h2>4. Hang more</h2> <p>These <a href="http://amzn.to/2oDQ0ky" target="_blank">over-the-door organizers</a> can store everything from baby essentials to toys (or anything else that needs to be kept off the floor). No need to get a bulky stroller when a <a href="http://amzn.to/2oJutnM" target="_blank">stroller hanger</a> can help with storage space.</p> <h2>5. Convert a closet</h2> <p>Not everyone has an extra bedroom reserved just for the new baby, but how about a closet? If you can clear out a closet, you can easily store all the baby essentials by taking advantage of every inch of free space.</p> <p>You can also convert the closet into a small nursery by removing the door and replacing it with curtains. &quot;Closet nurseries&quot; are becoming more popular, so you can find endless decorating ideas online. This will allow you to have your new baby in the same room, while still maintaining privacy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-make-room-for-baby">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/free-stuff-and-coupons-for-new-parents">Free Stuff and Coupons for New Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-stock-in-your-freezer-before-baby-arrives">What to Stock in Your Freezer Before Baby Arrives</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-rules-thatll-save-you-big-in-babys-first-year">5 Money Rules That&#039;ll Save You Big in Baby&#039;s First 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/5-ways-to-manage-costs-while-youre-on-maternity-leave">5 Ways to Manage Costs While You&#039;re on Maternity Leave</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-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Home apartment baby maximize space new parents newborn organization hacks organization tricks Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1923217 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Mistakes Parents of Teen Drivers Make http://www.wisebread.com/6-mistakes-parents-of-teen-drivers-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-mistakes-parents-of-teen-drivers-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-472711350.jpg" alt="Learning mistakes parents of teen drivers make" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The day your child gets their driver's license is a big day for your teen and a nerve-wracking one for you. It's natural to worry about the safety of your kid on the open road. And picturing your young driver merging into busy highway traffic might cause you plenty of sleepless nights.</p> <p>Adding a teen driver to your auto insurance policy will also bring a hit to your finances. A study by InsuranceQuotes.com released in the summer of 2016 found that the average family adding a teen driver will see yearly insurance premiums rise by an average of 79 percent.</p> <p>Here are six mistakes to avoid if you don't want your insurance premiums to skyrocket the day they get that long-awaited license.</p> <h2>1. Not adding your teen driver to your policy</h2> <p>You might think there's no need to do it right away, as they're only allowed to drive to school and back, or to other local spots that aren't far from home. But your teen doesn't need an hour commute each day to require the financial protection of an insurance policy. According to an accident survey conducted in 2012 by the NHSTA, 52 percent of car accidents occur within a five-mile radius of home. You never know what can happen once your kid heads out on the road. Make sure they are covered before you hand them the car keys.</p> <h2>2. Letting them drive too soon</h2> <p>Just because teens can start driving at 16, doesn't mean that your child needs to be behind the wheel at such a young age.</p> <p>Maybe your teen isn't ready to start driving at 16. Maybe it makes sense to wait an additional year or two before they start taking driver's education courses.</p> <p>Having your teen wait can actually make financial sense. The InsuranceQuotes.com study found that teen drivers have a lower average hit on your auto insurance premiums the older they are. Waiting until your teen is 17, for instance, could reduce your policy's rate increase.</p> <h2>3. Buying them a new car</h2> <p>It's exciting to hand the keys of a shiny new car to your new driver. You might also justify it by thinking it's safer (newest technology and all). But an expensive new car is also more expensive to insure. Does your teen really need the thrill of driving an impressive car, or can that feeling be saved up for the time when they work hard to pay for one themselves?</p> <h2>4. Forgetting about the good-grade discount</h2> <p>Teen drivers will receive a discount on their insurance rates if they are considered good students. The theory is that better students tend to make for safer drivers. Typically, teens with B averages can expect some sort of good student discount.</p> <p>If your child does get good grades, don't forget to report them to your auto insurer. The discount for good grades is a solid one, and usually ranges from 5 percent to 15 percent off.</p> <h2>5. Failing to enforce the rules</h2> <p>Teen drivers generally face greater restrictions than other drivers. These restrictions vary by state, but your teen might not be allowed to drive past a certain hour in the evening and might be restricted to a certain number &mdash; and age limit &mdash; of passengers.</p> <p>It's important for parents to enforce these rules. If teen drivers are caught violating their driving curfew or with a car full of teen friends, they will get a citation. And that citation will boost your already higher insurance premium.</p> <h2>6. Not checking pay-as-you-go programs</h2> <p>Many auto insurers now offer pay-as-you-go insurance programs. Under these programs, you insert a small electronic device into your car's onboard diagnostics system. The device then tracks how many miles you drive and how long you drive. Some insurers also track the speeds at which you drive and how often you slam on your brakes while driving.</p> <p>If your statistics show that you don't drive too many miles, you might be eligible for a low-mileage discount. You might also qualify for additional discounts if your insurer determines that you generally drive at safe speeds.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mistakes-parents-of-teen-drivers-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-myths-about-car-insurance">5 Myths About Car Insurance</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/repair-the-car-or-spend-the-cash">Repair the Car or Spend the Cash?</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/a-used-car-salesman-reveals-dirty-tricks-and-how-to-beat-them">A Used Car Salesman Reveals Dirty Tricks (and How to Beat 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/4-tips-to-save-on-car-insurance">4 Tips to Save on Car Insurance</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/are-your-new-tires-really-6-year-old-ticking-time-bombs">Are your new tires really 6-year old ticking time-bombs?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Family car insurance car safety Cars driver's license new car new driver teen driver teenage driver Wed, 29 Mar 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1917658 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-520005424.jpg" alt="Couple finding out how taxes change after having a kid" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no question that having a kid will change your life financially. Introducing a new child to your household adds a slew of new costs, but the good news is that the American tax code is written to help families with some of these expenses.</p> <p>The IRS &mdash; yes, that benevolent organization &mdash; offers a variety of tax credits, deductions, and other incentives that could lead to a smaller tax bill when you have a child. But this also makes your taxes more complicated. So here's a review of what your new baby might mean as you file this year's return.</p> <h2>You get to claim an exemption just for having a kid</h2> <p>When you have a child, you can claim an exemption that will reduce your taxable income by $4,050. And for each child you have, you get to claim another exemption. (So four kids represents $16,200 deducted from your taxable income.)</p> <h2>You can also claim the child tax credit</h2> <p>Yes, you get an additional break on your taxes just by adding a member to your family. You can reduce your tax bill by $1,000 for every dependent in your household. This usually includes any family member 17 or under that lives with you, including adopted children, foster children, and even nieces and nephews if you are their primary caregiver. The benefit is reduced once you hit $110,000 gross income if filing jointly, or $75,000 if filing alone.</p> <h2>You can reduce your taxable income by saving for college</h2> <p>The second you have a child, you can begin saving for college and get some nice tax breaks for doing it. The most popular vehicle is called a 529 college savings plan, and many states allow you to deduct contributions from your taxable income. Gains on the investments in a 529 plan also are not taxed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <p>You may save money when you eventually send your child to school. As of 2016, it was possible to get a $2,000 Lifetime Learning Credit each year for qualified education expenses, or a $2,500 American Opportunity Credit. There are <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ar02.html#en_US_2016_publink1000255787" target="_blank">some subtle differences</a> between the two credits, which you can learn more about <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch03.html" target="_blank">at the IRS website. </a></p> <h2>You might take advantage of a health savings account</h2> <p>You and your partner might not worry about health care expenses, but they become more of an issue when you have kids. Many employers offer health savings accounts (HSAs), which allow you to divert some money into an account to pay for health care expenses you might accrue. Any money placed in an HSA is deducted from your taxable income. You may find it's worth contributing to an HSA if your child has health challenges, or if you have a health insurance plan with a high deductible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>)</p> <h2>You might save less for retirement &mdash; and thus pay more tax</h2> <p>Are you planning to dial back your retirement savings in order to meet the financial demands of a new child? If so, it's important to know how that impacts your tax bill. Any contributions you place in a 401(k) or traditional IRA are deducted from your taxable income, so if you are putting less aside, your tax bill may be higher. Ideally, you'll be able to save at the same rate as always, but if not, be sure to anticipate paying more in tax.</p> <h2>You may pay less tax if you stop working</h2> <p>Many families find that their gross income goes down after having a kid because one parent stops working full-time or altogether. Lower income means lower taxes, and you may even move into a lower tax bracket. (Moving from $80,000 to $60,000 in earned income, for example, means you pay 15 percent in tax instead of 25 percent when filing jointly.) This lower tax helps take the sting out of having less income overall, and in some cases, you may even end up with more take-home pay.</p> <h2>If you pay for child care, you might get a tax break</h2> <p>The IRS allows parents to save money on their taxes if they pay someone to care for their children. This is a great thing for working parents. The child and dependent tax credit offers up to $1,050 for one person receiving care, or $2,100 for two or more. Poorer families can get 35 percent back of any qualifying child care costs.</p> <p>Many parents may save more on their taxes by instead utilizing a dependent care flexible savings account. If your employer offers such an account, you can set aside as much as $5,000 of your paycheck to cover child care costs. Contributions to this account are deducted from your taxable income, thus reducing your tax liability.</p> <h2>If you employ a nanny, your taxes could get complicated</h2> <p>In most cases like the situations above, there are tax breaks to help offset the cost of child care. But if you directly hire a nanny &mdash; as opposed to hiring one through an agency &mdash; you may be considered an employer in the eyes of the IRS. That means a boatload of paperwork, and you're on the hook for things like Social Security, unemployment, and Medicare taxes. So be sure to take all of this into account when researching child care options.</p> <h2>Expanding your home may have tax advantages</h2> <p>When you have a child, you may realize you need to expand your home with a new family room, bedrooms, or other space. The bad news here is that you can't claim the cost of home improvements on your taxes. But, any home upgrades will be added to the cost basis of your home. Thus, you may be able to reduce or even eliminate capital gains taxes when you sell.</p> <p>If you do make upgrades, you can deduct the cost of things to make the home more energy-efficient, such as Energy Star rated windows and appliances.</p> <h2>Adopting a child comes with a big tax break</h2> <p>If you adopt a child, you get some significant tax breaks in addition to the ones listed above. The Federal Adoption Tax Credit gives families a maximum of $13,460 to offset qualified adoption expenses. This can include adoption fees, court fees, travel costs, and attorney fees, among other costs. Parents who adopt a child may also receive additional tax credits from their state.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-mistakes-new-parents-make">4 Tax Mistakes New Parents Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-with-a-dependent-care-tax-credit-and-fsa">Save Money with a Dependent Care Tax Credit and FSA</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care">Don&#039;t Miss Out on This Easy Way to Pay for Child Care</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Taxes adoption american opportunity credit child care children deductions dependents exemptions kids lifetime learning credit parents tax credits Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:30:33 +0000 Tim Lemke 1913753 at http://www.wisebread.com 23 Recipes for Slime Your Kids Can Make — and Even Sell! http://www.wisebread.com/23-recipes-for-slime-your-kids-can-make-and-even-sell <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/23-recipes-for-slime-your-kids-can-make-and-even-sell" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-543333194.jpg" alt="Kid making and selling slime with slime recipes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At a Girl Scout retreat last weekend, I watched a middle school girl knead and roll a cerulean ball of pliable, shiny, stretchy &hellip; stuff &hellip; as she chatted with friends. The other girls at the table couldn't take their eyes off it.</p> <p><em>&quot;</em>What slime recipe did you use?&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Can I touch it?&quot;</p> <p>At an age where interests lean toward Snapchat and heavy eye makeup, it was refreshing to see the childlike wonder that a plastic bag of slime brought out in these young teens.</p> <p>That's why the trend of making, Instagramming, and even selling various types of slime in middle schools all over the country warms my heart. It's hands-on. As a non-Newtonian fluid with properties that change with ingredient variations, it's also science-y. It appeals to kids' senses, not just their eyeballs. And since it's made with just a few dollars' worth of household materials, it's frugal fun, too. It can even be a source of spending money for kids who get so good at slime-making that other kids want to buy it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-businesses-your-tween-can-start?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Businesses Your Tween Can Start</a>)</p> <p>If your child wants to get in on the slime trend but needs some instructions to get started, here are some winning recipes.</p> <h2>1. Opaque slime</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.hometrainingtools.com/learning-center/how-to-make-slime/" target="_blank">original slime recipe</a> has been around for a generation. It calls for just three ingredients: school glue, borax, and water. The result is a whitish, flexible putty. Note that slimes containing borax are not edible; the powdery substance can be toxic in large doses.</p> <p>For extra fun, try <a href="https://sciencebob.com/make-your-own-bouncy-ball/" target="_blank">molding your slime into a ball</a> and bouncing it. It will lose its bounce gradually, but keeping it moist in a plastic bag will help.</p> <h2>2. Clear slime</h2> <p>This is the same recipe as above, but <a href="https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/glue-borax-gak/" target="_blank">with clear glue</a>. The difference is striking!</p> <h2>3. Liquid starch slime</h2> <p>Just as borax does, liquid starch can cross-link the polymers in glue, creating that moldable blobbiness that's fun to knead. If you hate mixing powders with your hands, like I do, you might prefer <a href="https://sciencebob.com/make-some-starch-slime-today/" target="_blank">this recipe</a> to the borax version. The resulting slime is the kind that kids can use to make rude noises when moving it in and out of a plastic container. If you don't get it, just ask your tween.</p> <h2>4. Fake snot</h2> <p>Younger kids might enjoy this <a href="http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/fake-snot-edible-gelatin-slime-science-activity/" target="_blank">gross-out snot version</a> more than the middle school set. The recipe includes gelatin, corn syrup, and water.</p> <h2>5. Flavored edible slime</h2> <p>Perhaps disturbingly, the fake snot recipe listed above is an edible slime. To make it more palatable, you can take the same recipe and <a href="http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/taste-science-with-edible-gelatin-slime-activity/" target="_blank">add flavored extracts</a> or small amounts of fruit juice. (Giving it a different name would probably help, too.)</p> <h2>6. Nickelodeon slime</h2> <p>Gen-Xers will remember the early cable Nickelodeon show <em>You Can't Do That on Television,</em>&nbsp;on which the young actors (including Alanis Morissette) were doused with buckets of gross green gook. This <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Nickelodeon-Slime" target="_blank">reverse-engineered recipe</a> calls for Jell-O, flour, Johnson's Baby Shampoo, water, and food coloring.</p> <h2>7. Sticky kitchen slime</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OAe0jEW0RHo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Dish soap, water, and flour. This is a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAe0jEW0RHo" target="_blank">convenient slime recipe</a> to whip up on a snow day, since you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen. Only make this one if the idea of slime that adheres to your hands doesn't revolt you.</p> <h2>8. Soapy slime</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/idkWcHYnqjA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>For some good clean fun, mix <a href="http://www.playbasedlearning.com.au/2009/11/slippery-slime/" target="_blank">soap flakes</a> or a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idkWcHYnqjA" target="_blank">microwaved bar of Ivory</a> with water. This slime is ideal for keeping in a large container and running your hands through it, since the consistency can be soupy.</p> <h2>9. Sticky edible slime</h2> <p>Cook sweetened condensed milk with cornstarch on the stovetop for a <a href="http://childcentralstation.com/2011/05/super-stove-top-slime-off.html" target="_blank">slime that you will have to lick off</a> your fingers. Flavor this with chocolate syrup to make <a href="http://chemistry.about.com/od/slimerecipes/a/chocolate-slime-recipe.htm" target="_blank">chocolate slime</a>.</p> <h2>10. Cookie cutter slime</h2> <p>Using soluble fiber such as Metamucil, you can <a href="http://chemistry.about.com/cs/howtos/ht/flubber.htm" target="_blank">make this slime that is easily sliced</a> with a knife or shaped with a cookie cutter without sticking.</p> <h2>11. Bathroom slime</h2> <p>Mix a thick <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Slime-with-Just-Shampoo-and-Toothpaste" target="_blank">shampoo one-to-one with toothpaste</a>, then freeze to take out the sticky factor. You'll end up with a translucent putty that's easy to make without a trip to the store.</p> <h2>12. Colored slime</h2> <p>To any of the above recipes, add a few drops of food coloring or liquid watercolor paint. If you add green color to the clear slime, it looks like the ectoplasm in <em>Ghostbusters</em>.</p> <h2>13. Glitter slime</h2> <p>Replace the glue in any of the basic recipes with clear glitter glue, or use clear glue and pour in glitter from a jar, and you will have a sparkly slime that's perfect for glam party favors.</p> <h2>14. Galaxy slime</h2> <p>This twist calls for three batches of glitter slime in different colors &mdash; using colored <a href="http://diyjoy.com/kids-crafts-diy-galaxy-slime-recipe" target="_blank">glitter glue, food coloring, or acrylic paint</a>. Lay them side by side and twist them together to get a streaky, Milky Way effect.</p> <h2>15. Black light slime</h2> <p>Use diet tonic water in the Metamucil slime recipe, and you've got a goop that glows under a black light.</p> <h2>16. Attraction slime</h2> <p><a href="http://chemistry.about.com/od/slimerecipes/fl/How-To-Make-Magnetic-Slime.htm" target="_blank">Mixing iron oxide powder</a> into a classic slime recipe will make goop that is attracted to strong magnets. This one is not safe for really little kids who might put the slime or the magnets in their mouths. Watch out for pets around this one, too.</p> <h2>17. Mood ring slime</h2> <p>Color any slime recipe with <a href="http://amzn.to/2mVoFsf" target="_blank">thermochromatic pigment</a>, available on Amazon, and you'll get a <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/color-changing-slime-recipe-609157" target="_blank">substance that changes color</a> when you press your palm into it, touch it to a cold drink, or heat it with a hair dryer. This one should drive the middle school kiddos wild.</p> <h2>18. Slime with mix-ins</h2> <p>Once the novelty of kneading a polymer gets old, you can crank up the sensory factor of your slime by adding mix-ins, as if you're working at Cold Stone Creamery. You can pretty much add anything you want: <a href="http://www.theidearoom.net/halloween-monster-slime-recipe/" target="_blank">Small toys</a> or &quot;<a href="https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/store/jelly-marbles-clear-spheres.html" target="_blank">alien eggs</a>&quot; add pleasant textural and visual surprises as you knead.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FXrfoudPos4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>This is a great way to make holiday-themed slime, such as <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXrfoudPos4" target="_blank">eyeball slime</a> for Halloween or star-spangled slime for Independence Day.</p> <h2>19. Sandy slime</h2> <p><a href="http://frugalfun4boys.com/2015/04/07/how-to-make-sand-slime/" target="_blank">Glue, detergent, and smooth sand</a> make this product that stretches like regular slime but has a nice grainy texture. <a href="http://amzn.to/2n4GZj2" target="_blank">Colored sand</a> would be a fun twist.</p> <h2>20. Fluffy slime</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q6qxULdP5UE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Adding shaving cream and foaming soap to typical slime ingredients yields a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6qxULdP5UE" target="_blank">slime with a lot of air</a> in it, which makes for bubbles to pop and the ability to create pretty swirly shapes.</p> <p>&quot;Adding shaving cream makes it fluffy, which is something that many middle schoolers like. You can also make it more stretchy by putting in a little bit of lotion, which is also something middle schoolers like,&quot; explained a middle school source who agreed to speak with me on the condition of anonymity.</p> <p>Adding in scented personal care products also create a pleasant feel on the fingers.</p> <h2>21. Homemade &quot;Floam&quot;</h2> <p>Take a standard slime recipe and <a href="http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/12/homemade-floam-recipe-for-play.html" target="_blank">add polystyrene beads</a>, the kind that fill a bean bag chair. You can buy them at a craft store, or upcycle Styrofoam packaging by crumbling it up. The result is a more moldable slime, sold commercially as Floam.</p> <h2>22. Iceberg slime</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ID37N1O0Jmg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Start with fluffy slime. Set it out to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID37N1O0Jmg" target="_blank">dry uncovered for two days</a> to achieve a crunchy crust on the top, for the sheer pleasure of breaking holes in the top and watching &mdash; and listening to &mdash; the surface crack.</p> <h2>23. Avalanche slime</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hyXO09Lj7IM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>This project involves <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyXO09Lj7IM" target="_blank">combining white slime in a container with colored transparent slime</a> to create a whirled, multicolored effect.</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/23-recipes-for-slime-your-kids-can-make-and-even-sell">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-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/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</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/frugal-ways-to-help-your-child-get-the-best-education">Frugal Ways to Help Your Child Get the Best Education</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/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-kids-diy-projects-in-your-pantry">Three Kids&#039; DIY Projects In Your Pantry</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Family DIY kids kids toys shopping trends side hustle slime slime recipes toy trends Tue, 21 Mar 2017 11:01:05 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1911508 at http://www.wisebread.com The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family's Estate http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-185267899.jpg" alt="Learning the fair way to split up a family&#039;s estate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've seen many family rifts created over an estate. Without clear guidance on your wishes, heirs and relatives may descend into fights over your belongings, sometimes taking grudges to their own graves. Don't let that happen to your family. Here are a few tips on how to smooth out the kinks of your will before you take your last bow.</p> <h2>Determine Beneficiaries in Your Life Insurance Policy Ahead of Time</h2> <p>If you have a life insurance policy, you have the option to name beneficiaries before you die. You can divide the payout evenly among those you'd like to name, or you can assign a particular percentage of the payout to each individual. Either way, you spare your beneficiaries the unpleasant conversation of who gets how much.</p> <p>If there are any hurt feelings after the fact because this person or that person didn't receive the payout they feel they deserve, it's really not your problem anymore. At least you spelled out your wishes legally and ahead of time.</p> <h2>Involve Your Beneficiaries in Inheritance Decisions While You're Alive</h2> <p>If you want to involve your family in the asset-dividing task while you're still alive, there are a couple ways to make this work. Certified financial planner Jody Giles &mdash; author of <a href="http://amzn.to/2kFEX8m" target="_blank">Missing Pieces Plan</a>, a guide to help people plan for their final wishes &mdash; offers two options for family participation in asset assignment to avoid infighting when you pass.</p> <h3>Round Robin</h3> <p>One way to give away heirlooms now, Giles says, is to hold a &quot;round robin&quot; where each beneficiary gets a turn picking an asset or heirloom.</p> <p>&quot;I suggest making a list of all the items you deem sentimental and circulate it to your loved ones,&quot; says Giles. They can then choose from the list, or add items you may not have even thought about. &quot;You might find they really care about a coffee mug that you don't see as valuable, but they do,&quot; she says.</p> <p>Once you have a complete list, you may consider separating sentimental items (coffee mugs, trophies, a wine opener, nostalgic popcorn bowl) from valuable items, like furniture, silver, jewelry, and art.</p> <p>Drawing names is a great way to determine who starts the round robin, or you can easily go by birth order or other creative option for deciding who goes first. Then have each loved one choose an item off the &quot;sentimental&quot; list, then the &quot;valuable&quot; list, and so forth.</p> <p>At the round robin's completion, your loved ones have intentionally and thoughtfully selected your heirlooms. Then, you can decide what you give away now or what you intend to keep until you pass. Most importantly, you have a documented list indicating to whom all your sentimental and valuable items shall pass &mdash; as they deem fair.</p> <h3>Play Money</h3> <p>Another idea, according to Giles, is to give an equal amount of &quot;play money&quot; to each intended beneficiary. If necessary, you can hire an appraiser to value and price all of your assets. Each heir is then given the opportunity to &quot;buy&quot; items from the estate.</p> <p>&quot;If you want to downsize,&quot; Giles says, &quot;you can certainly make the transfer during your lifetime or keep track of the 'purchases' to reduce tension and make the transfers seamless after you're gone.&quot;</p> <p>You can also have the satisfaction of knowing that heirlooms you hold dear will continue to be treasured by the next generation.</p> <h2>Include a Letter of Explanation in Your Will</h2> <p>Unless you have the good fortune of being part of the &quot;perfect&quot; family, your assets may not be divided equally &mdash; perhaps for good reason. It's your right to divide your assets however you wish, but you can bet it may leave a sour taste in the mouth of whomever gets the short end of the stick.</p> <p>To quell the hurt feelings, include a letter of explanation in your will. It can go a long way toward helping your loved ones understand your decisions. Maybe you're giving less money and property to a more successful child so some of the less successful ones can turn their lives around. Whatever the reason &mdash; if you think an explanation is necessary, provide one.</p> <p>&quot;Most people say that they allocate money based on need and not love,&quot; says Illinois-based attorney Evan Randall. &quot;Obviously a disabled child requires more money in the long run in addition to possibly not being able to work. It gets harder when the needs are on the same level.&quot;</p> <h2>Assign Assets and Let Loved Ones Swap Rights to Them</h2> <p>Nobody wants to contest a will, but siblings and other close family members often end up doing that if your will isn't watertight.</p> <p>Estate-planning attorney Ashley L. Case with Tiffany &amp; Bosco in Phoenix, Arizona, offers a method to eliminate broken hearts and temper tantrums ahead of your death. It involves creating groups of items that you think are equal in monetary or sentimental value.</p> <p>&quot;Each heir could be assigned a group of items at random, which would represent the inheritance of the heir,&quot; explains Case. &quot;In the event that the heir was interested in an item belonging to another heir, the two can negotiate separately.&quot;</p> <p>This allows you to distribute your assets equally while lowering the chances your heirs will have to resort to litigation upon your death. Because, really, who wants to go to court to duke it out over a dead person's stuff?</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/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</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/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies">12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies</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/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind">Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind?</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-real-life-calamities-that-can-drain-your-finances-plus-how-to-defend-against-them">8 Real Life Calamities That Can Drain Your Finances (Plus How to Defend Against Them)</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/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care">A Simple Guide to Planning For a Loved One&#039;s Long-Term Care</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family beneficiaries death estate planning heirs inheritance last will and testament legal life insurance valuables Fri, 17 Mar 2017 10:30:24 +0000 Mikey Rox 1907104 at http://www.wisebread.com