Family http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4566/all en-US 8 Things to Do with Kids at the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-to-do-with-kids-at-the-st-croix-national-scenic-riverway <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-to-do-with-kids-at-the-st-croix-national-scenic-riverway" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stcroix1.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><font color="#666666"><i>This post contains references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Please visit our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/advertiser-disclosure">Advertiser Disclosure</a> to view our partners, and for additional details.</i></font></p> <p>With a three-year-old and an 11-month old, most weekends my family stays pretty close to home. But when I learned that one of our nation's national parks, the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, is less than an hour's drive from my hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, I knew my family could enjoy some time away together without the long drive to make. The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway is a unique national park because it is long and narrow, encompassing 225 miles of the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers along the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and is made up almost entirely of the waterway. And what better way to spend a Midwest summer weekend than on the water? Courtesy of the Amex EveryDay Credit Card our family was able to enjoy some great moments together and create new memories. (<a href="http://bit.ly/1elJ6qC">Jump to details on how to win a free trip to a national park</a>.)</p> <h2>1. Camp</h2> <h2><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/stcroix5.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); line-height: 22.1000003814697px;" /></h2> <p>Interestingly, because the national park is mostly water, the park has extremely primitive camping (think holes in the ground and no real toilets). Instead, the national park's website directs you to camp overnight at some of the many state parks that adjoin the national park. While I might be up for true wilderness camping with just my spouse, with the two little ones we thought a more developed campground would be a better fit. We opted for William O'Brien state park, which shares land and water with the national park. Our older one loved setting up the tent, &nbsp;&quot;building&quot; a fire (by gathering sticks), and exploring the campground with the many other kids nearby. Surprisingly, he slept extremely well in the tent. Our 11 month old loved crawling around the campsite, trying to eat dirt, and playing inside the tent. (She didn't sleep so well.)</p> <h2>2. Boat</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/stcroix6.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Since the St. Croix Scenic Riverway is a <i>river</i>, one of the best ways to explore it is by boat. Both Stillwater and Taylor's Falls have very large boats which you can take a river cruise on. We had planned on taking a lunch cruise out of Taylor's Falls, but due to thunderstorms decided to skip it this time around. Various parts of the rivers are good for kayaking and canoeing, which was a little too risky for our ever-moving 11 month old, but would be great with a child old enough to sit still. Our kids turned out to be good &quot;pontoon-ers.&quot; Slow moving and enclosed, a pontoon boat proved the best way for our family to get out on the water.</p> <p>There are plenty of places to rent boats, or public water access spots, all along the river, and you'll likely need a credit card if you want to rent. If you use your Amex EveryDay, you can get Membership Rewards points for all these purchases.</p> <h2>3. Fish</h2> <p>Interestingly, adult Minnesota residents can fish within the state park without having to obtain a fishing license. And kids younger than 16 don't have to get a fishing license anywhere in the state. We got a kid-sized pole, but the fish weren't active enough for my three-year-old. Nevertheless, it's a great activity to teach kids patience and for them to learn more about nature.</p> <h2>4. Hike</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/stcroix7.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>There are hundreds of miles of trails up and down the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers. We carried our youngest in a baby carrier and let the three-year-old walk. He loved running up and down the trails, climbing the large stones left by glaciers many years ago, and finding interesting leaves and bugs to pick up.</p> <h2>5. Make S'mores</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/stcroix2.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>No trip to a national park is complete without a campfire and s'mores. Luckily for us it didn't rain during our entire stay there and we were able to build a campfire. The three-year-old found sticks for us to cook the marshmallows with. And I can't think of anything that makes a kid happier than eating a s'more. (And I used my EveryDay card for the supplies purchases, making it even easier for me to enjoy this #EverDayMoment.)</p> <h2>6. Eat St. Croix Chocolate</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/stcroix4.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>When I was researching the best locally made chocolates for Valentine's Day this year I learned about the St. Croix Chocolate Company. I didn't order any at the time, but I couldn't have been happier to have stumbled upon it just outside the boundaries of the national park in Marine on St. Croix. We pulled the car over, and like the proverbial kid in a candy store, my son was in heaven. Truly gourmet chocolates, these are as much for the parents as the kids.</p> <h2>7. Visit Teddy Bear Park</h2> <p>While Stillwater, Minnesota is technically just beyond the boundaries of the national park, if you're driving to the St. Croix River from Minneapolis, you'll drive right through the town and by a park called Teddy Bear Park. If you have young children, it is definitely worth a stop. There are activities for kids ranging from just crawling to a playground large enough for 10 or 12-year-olds. They also have clean restrooms which makes it an easy stopping point on your road trip.</p> <h2>8. Eat Snacks on the Road Trip</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/stcroix3.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>I have fond memories of roadtrips with my family when I was growing up, and they all involve peanut butter M&amp;M's (which my dad insisted was a must for every road trip.) We used our Amex EveryDay to load up on snacks at the grocery store (which I love because you get 2x points at U.S. grocery stores) before we headed out of town, and then at stops along the way. With the number of stops we made, it was easy to compile almost our entire 20 purchases, which earn us a 20% bonus each card-period that we make 20 purchases. An added benefit for the roadtrip? The EveryDay card comes with access to the Roadside Assistance Hotline, which will coordinate help if a tire blows or your car breaks down. Thankfully, we didn't need this feature on our trip to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.</p> <p>St. Croix National Scenic Riverway is a phenomenal national park to visit with kids. Load up the car with lots of snacks and the hour drive from the Twin Cities will go by fast.</p> <p>Starting on July 30th, Amex EveryDay is <a href="http://bit.ly/1elJ6qC">kicking off a contest</a> that encourages people to share a photo and caption of their own #EveryDayMoments, taken at any park, for a chance to win one of three trips to some spectacular National Parks: National Mall &amp; Memorial Parks (Washington, DC), Yosemite National Park (California) and Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona).</p> <p><a href="http://bit.ly/1elJ6qC">Click Here to Enter</a> between July 30th and August 31st; terms apply.</p> <p><i>What is your favorite national park to visit with kids?</i></p> <p><i>Disclaimer: I am an Amex EveryDay CardMember and Ambassador for this program. However, all opinions about the Card are my own.</i></p> <div> <p><em>Editorial&nbsp;Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author&rsquo;s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.</em></p> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-to-do-with-kids-at-the-st-croix-national-scenic-riverway">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-saving-tips-for-the-summer-road-trip">5 Money-Saving Tips for the Summer Road Trip</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/train-now-for-a-summertime-family-cycling-trip">Train Now for a Summertime Family Cycling Trip</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-ways-to-minimize-baggage-fees-when-flying">5 Ways to Minimize Baggage Fees When Flying</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/surefire-ways-to-save-on-summer-camp-costs">Surefire Ways to Save on Summer Camp Costs</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/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Travel Thu, 30 Jul 2015 11:00:12 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1476878 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Cheap Fun Things to Do With Kids This Weekend http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_summer_water_balloon_fight_000062702582.jpg" alt="Kids paticipating in cheap summer activities this weekend" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>School's out for summer for a few more weeks, which means <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around">the kids</a> are about to tear your house apart in three&hellip; two&hellip; one. Unless, of course, you help them channel that boundless energy elsewhere with these cheap or free things to do with kids this weekend.</p> <h2>1. Investigate Summer Programs at Your Local Library</h2> <p>Believe it or not, your local library still exists &mdash; and it probably has a whole calendar of activities planned for the summer. Pop in on your ride home from work one day to pick up a schedule to see what programs your kid might like.</p> <h2>2. Take a Hike on Nearby Trails to Search for Wildlife</h2> <p>Even if you live in a big city like I do, you can find well-worn hiking trail that provides a bit of the great outdoors without going too far from civilization. On this hike, let the kids take a camera so they can capture the various wildlife and insects they might encounter along the way.</p> <h2>3. Set Off on a Playground Hopping Adventure</h2> <p>Take that bar-hopping concept you know so well, apply it to playgrounds, and you've got yourself a lively afternoon of exercise for the kids and a bit of bench relaxing for yourself.</p> <h2>4. Visit a Nearby Transportation Hub and Watch the Vehicles</h2> <p>When I was a kid, my grandparents would take me to all kinds of places to watch various kinds of transportation. We'd sit outside of airports to watch planes take off and land, hang out in Baltimore's Inner Harbor to watch the boats, or spend a couple hours at the B&amp;O Railroad Museum learning about old trains and even taking a quick ride on one. Even though those examples are specific to my childhood, you can likely find some version of these activities in your neck of the woods that'll create lifetime memories for your brood.</p> <h2>5. Splash Around in a Public Fountain on a Hot Day</h2> <p>This is equally as fun for the kids as it is for parents &mdash; if the fountain allows adults to participate. A few summers ago I spent a hot day in Boston and headed straight for the Copley Square Fountain. I had a blast, and it looked like all the ankle-biters did too. Do a quick search online to see what your area has to offer.</p> <h2>6. Head to Your Local Lanes for Free Bowling</h2> <p>For several years now,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kidsbowlfree.com/">KidsBowlFree</a> has offered free bowling for kids at participating centers during the summer. It's actually a fairly generous program, which allows two hours of bowling per day per child. That's not to suggest that you should shuffle your kids off to the local alley every day to get them out of your hair, but, you know, when you've had enough it's not a bad way to let them wear themselves out.</p> <h2>7. Pop Into Your Town Cineplex for Low or No-Cost Movies</h2> <p>Legit &mdash; I kind of want to have a child (or at least borrow one part time in the summer) so I can take advantage of the low and no-cost movies available to kids and their parents. Lots of theaters &mdash; most national chains, actually &mdash; participate in this <a href="http://freebies.about.com/od/familyactivities/tp/free-summer-movies.htm">freebie program</a>, and the screenings are titles in which your kids will definitely be interested. Find these cheap or free screenings at theater near you.</p> <h2>8. Beat the Heat at an Indoor Play Area at a Nearby Mall</h2> <p>Too hot outside? Let your kids burn off a few dozen summer junk food calories at the play area at the local mall. These areas are mostly for toddlers, so if you've got big kids give 'em a few bucks for a matinee or the food court so they can do their own thing.</p> <h2>9. Catch a Major or Minor League Baseball Game</h2> <p>One of my all-time favorite summer activities as a kid &mdash; and even now as an adult &mdash; is spending a few hours at the ballpark. Most MLB teams have inexpensive kids' tickets (or free tickets for kids younger than a certain age), and the price is even more affordable to watch MiLB in action. Wise Bread has more tips for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-complete-guide-to-saving-at-americas-baseball-stadiums">saving at America's baseball stadiums</a>.</p> <h2>10. Check the Air Show Schedule to Find One Near You</h2> <p>If you want more of a spectacle than watching airplanes take off and land at your nearby airport, find an air show in your area. These stunt flyers are sure to impress, and it's honest-to-goodness fun for the whole family. This&nbsp;<a href="http://www.airshows.aero/Page/ASCalendar">air-show calendar</a> will help you plan your trip.</p> <h2>11. Find a Fun Pool for Refreshing Playtime</h2> <p>Most neighborhoods have a public pool for the kids to cool off in during the summer months. If that's not an option, perhaps you have a friend or family member who's lucky enough to have a pool in their backyard and willing to let you use it.</p> <h2>12. Pack a Picnic and Enjoy it on the Beach</h2> <p>Beaches &mdash; both along the ocean or surrounding a lake &mdash; offer hours and hours of fun. Bring along all the sand essentials &mdash; shovels, pails, boogie boards, sunscreen &mdash; and let the kids run wild. Pack a picnic with their favorite lunch foods to keep them satiated and out of your hair.</p> <h2>13. Set Up Water Games in the Backyard</h2> <p>When splashing around in a pool isn't an option, get creative with backyard water fun. Turn on the sprinklers, set up a slip-and-slide apparatus, or have a water balloon battle. There are lots of great ways to get wet and have fun without ever leaving home.</p> <h2>14. Invite Your Kids' Friends Over for Crafts and Snacks</h2> <p>There's hot and then there's too hot, so it's not a bad idea to have a plan B if the temps outside are too much for your little ones to handle. On days like this, invite over your kids' friends, set up a couple craft projects, and serve a few snacks so everyone can stay occupied, creative, and cool.</p> <h2>15. Break Out the Board Games on a Rainy Day</h2> <p>You can almost bet that when the weather is unbearably hot, there's a storm a-brewin' to break the heat. When the skies open up, hunker down and introduce your kids to a few of your favorite childhood games that don't require batteries, plugs, or controllers.</p> <h2>16. Look Into What's Happening in Your Neighborhood Park</h2> <p>All the open space should be put to good use, and most areas take great advantage of its green space. Visit your town's website or stop by your local library or town hall to browse a calendar of what's coming up that your kids might like.</p> <h2>17. Visit Some of the Free Attractions Your Town Has to Offer</h2> <p>Do you know what's fun and free in your town? You may think that there's nothing to do that doesn't cost anything, but I can assure you there is. Dig into the Internet to find these special spots that'll entertain the kids while saving you dough.</p> <h2>18. Go on a Mini-Excursion to a Nearby Town You've Never Been</h2> <p>I love to explore, and sometimes I hop in the car with a friend and we visit a not-too-far-away town we've never been to check out the shops, have lunch, and just hang out. Kids can enjoy these mini-getaways too with advanced planning to find things to do that complement their interests.</p> <h2>19. Visit Your Local Retailers' Websites for Cheap Activities and Workshops</h2> <p>A few major retailers (and probably some of your mom-and-pop shops, too) understand that it's a full-time job trying to keep your kids occupied and out of trouble while school's out for summer. That's why they offer classes and workshops for kids to keep their little heads thinking and hands moving.&nbsp;<a href="http://workshops.homedepot.com/workshops/kids-workshops">Home Depot</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.michaels.com/classes-and-events/classesandevents">Michaels craft stores</a> are chief among the retailers that host these type of events, but you can find a bevy of <a href="http://freebies.about.com/od/freestuffforkids/tp/classes-for-kids.htm">more free classes</a>.</p> <h2>20. Put Together a Backyard Campout</h2> <p>Save yourself all that hassle of packing and lugging your camping gear around this summer by setting up a campout in the backyard. The kids will have a blast because they can invite over a few of their friends to join in the fun, and you can rest a little easier since you'll have all the modern convenience of home to pull it off without a hitch. Ghost stories and s'mores will be required.</p> <p><em>Have any other cheap fun things for kids to do this summer? Let us know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend">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/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys 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/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv">25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV</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-awesome-money-making-hobbies">10 Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</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-life-skills-for-working-moms">10 Life Skills for Working 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-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Family cheap fun kids low-cost playing summer Fri, 17 Jul 2015 09:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1486789 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Life Skills for Working Moms http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-skills-for-working-moms <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-life-skills-for-working-moms" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_pressure_stress_000025928475.jpg" alt="Woman learning helpful life skills for working moms" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was a working mom, myself, for 18 years. I won't kid you: It wasn't easy. A lot of it is a blur. So, I polled my co-worker moms, friends, and neighbors to see what skills they need to keep the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">working mom</a>&quot; machine running. Here are some of the top life skills they rely on day in and day out.</p> <h2>1.The Ability to Find Support</h2> <p>&quot;I'd be so screwed if I didn't have my family close by.&quot;</p> <p>All moms interviewed cited the &quot;ability to find help&quot; answer as their most-needed skill. My group relied on husbands or partners, family members (usually their own mothers), babysitters, daycare, after-school programs, neighbors, and friends to help take care of children. A sick kid meant taking time off, but if that wasn't possible, they relied heavily on spouses or family. Struggling the most in my group was &quot;S,&quot; a mother of three, going through a difficult divorce without family close by. She gave credit to her boss, who allowed her to work flexible hours or occasionally work from home.</p> <h2>2. The Ability to Deal With Guilt</h2> <p>&quot;I feel so bad when I don't spend enough time with my son.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Even though she was whiny, I sent her to school, and it turned out she had a double ear infection.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I was late to pick him up at daycare, and he was the last one there. I felt so bad.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I was off work and had to ask for people to cover for me.&quot;</p> <p>Guilt is a powerful emotion. Every working mom I talked to had experienced it, and I know it well, myself. What I found encouraging, or healthy, was that the moms were able to articulate that emotion, discuss it, and then move forward. Even though they all experienced guilt, they weren't letting the negative emotion dictate their lives.</p> <h2>3. The Ability to Find a Family-Friendly Workplace</h2> <p>&quot;It's so wonderful when my boss lets me work from home.&quot;</p> <p>In the group of moms interviewed, most were happy and engaged in their work. The mom with the best situation teaches at a community college, where she also has access to an on-site preschool for her daughter. She enjoys flexible hours, particularly in the summer, and a good salary.</p> <p>The moms who worked for larger corporations appreciated their benefit packages, but complained of the paperwork involved in obtaining time off. Working in smaller offices meant having more work or responsibility, but some moms appreciated that they could just &quot;make up time&quot; and not have to clock in or out. Only one in the group was unhappy with her work situation, but was reconciled to staying in it for the pay and benefits for the time being.</p> <h2>4. The Ability to Schedule Everybody</h2> <p>If you need a person on your staff capable of scheduling, hire a mom. The collective ability of my group to meet work deadlines, get multiple kids to various activities, and handle everyday life is impressive. All owned smartphones, which they credited for keeping things straight. Several also had calendars on refrigerators. Many glowed about teachers who would answer texts, or schools that had online homework portals where they could check on their kids' progress. Today's moms are hardwired.</p> <h2>5. The Ability to Carve Out &quot;Me&quot; Time</h2> <p>&quot;Some days, going up the stairs is the only exercise I get.&quot;</p> <p>Alarmingly, the entire group of moms I talked to was pretty much ignoring exercise. There simply seemed to be no time. If a co-worker dragged them on a quick walk during break, that was it. After work, everyone piled into their cars, picked up kids, and went to after-school activities. This was followed by dinner, baths, homework, and bed.</p> <p>Still, they managed to carve out little bits of time for themselves. Some enjoyed reading magazines on their lunch breaks. Others looked forward to hair or manicure appointments, or visiting with other moms while waiting at soccer, little league, or dance lessons. Many watched reality shows (&quot;I know it's totally fake, but it's my guilty pleasure...&quot;) or playing games on their phones. &quot;K,&quot; a champion multi-tasker, said, &quot;I put the baby in the stroller, attach the dog leash, stick a beer in the beverage holder and we go walk and unwind.&quot;</p> <h2>6. The Ability to Delegate</h2> <p>In my little group, the husbands/partners do almost all of the cooking. Kids over eight do laundry, or fold clothes. Older children make their own lunches, or buy lunch at school. Some do a little yard work or feed the family pets. Clearly, being able to delegate chores at home is a skill that working moms need. You can't do it all yourself.</p> <h2>7. The Ability to Say &quot;No&quot;</h2> <p>Happily, if my group was any indication, today's moms have learned that sometimes &quot;no&quot; is the answer. While they still expressed some guilt about not being able to work overtime, fill in a shift, take that PTA Treasurer job, or bake cookies, they were able to say &quot;no.&quot; when needed. Family has become priority #1, and they all knew how to set boundaries. Also interesting was the fact that, rather than traveling to work meetings, more were utilizing webinars, Skype, or conference calls. &quot;There is no reason I need to drive an hour to sit in a meeting,&quot; said one, &quot;when we can just bang out the details over the phone.&quot;</p> <h2>8. The Ability to Cope With the Difficult Times</h2> <p>&quot;I am being pulled in so many different directions.&quot;</p> <p>Who has it the hardest? Having been there myself, I'd say it's the sandwich generation. These are the women trying to work, take care of children, and take care of parents. K, for example, has three children under the age of 11, works fulltime, and her mother is beginning to experience dementia. Her life involves constant caretaking. She has also had to quickly become an expert in insurance programs, various care facilities, and in-home nursing. She and her husband frequently &quot;tag-team&quot; each other just to get through the day.</p> <h2>9. The Ability to Reconnect</h2> <p>&quot;I never knew I'd learn how to keep score for baseball!&quot;</p> <p>My moms group figured out that they needed to spend time with their families, and I think they have surprised themselves by learning new things in order to stay connected. These moms are cool &mdash; they learned about little league, rodeo, dance, band, etc. &mdash; along with their partners and husbands, and now the whole family is together, no matter what the activity.</p> <h2>10. The Ability to Keep a Sense of Humor</h2> <p>&quot;I'll look back on this and laugh, right?&quot;</p> <p>It's true. I can laugh now about how upset I was at the time about dealing with head lice, or projectile vomiting, or that time when we forgot to pick her up at school. It helps a lot to have other moms to talk to for encouragement. Kids are going to do some dumb things, too, and they're going to occasionally embarrass you, but if you can keep your sense of humor, you'll be all right. Here's just a little more humor:</p> <p>&quot;Being a working mom is not easy. You have to be willing to screw up at every level.&quot; &mdash; Jami Gertz</p> <p><em>What working mom life skills do you find essential?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-skills-for-working-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-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/the-10-best-high-paying-jobs-for-introverts">The 10 Best High Paying Jobs for Introverts</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/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend">20 Cheap Fun Things to Do With Kids This Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-unexpected-costs-of-a-higher-paying-job-offer">4 Unexpected Costs of a Higher-Paying Job Offer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-transition-to-a-new-career-after-30">6 Ways to Transition to a New Career After 30</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/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Family employment kids life skills working moms Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:00:15 +0000 Marla Walters 1484701 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_playing_toy_kitchen_000046919258.jpg" alt="Kid playing with super fun DIY toy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you been to a toy store lately? There are gadgets and dolls and blocks and other stuff for every age and every stage. So many options, in fact, that it can get quite overwhelming to choose something for your child. Plus, the prices on most of these toys are absolutely outrageous.</p> <p>So dig around the house for some raw materials and get back to the basics with this list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-crafts-that-will-save-you-money">DIY</a> toys will help you craft playthings your kids will enjoy for years to come.</p> <h2>1. Baby Gym</h2> <p>Cut a few boards and connect them with a dowel to make your own <a href="http://mthanded.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/wooden-baby-gym-tutorial.html">baby gym</a>. The tutorial is pretty lax because you can make it to suit your individual needs. Once the base is constructed, use links to tie up store-bought (or homemade) toys for playing. The best part? When your child grows out of it, you can sew a cute tent cover for more fun.</p> <h2>2. Kinetic Sand</h2> <p>If you haven't discovered the sand craze yet, save yourself some cash by making <a href="http://parentingchaos.com/diy-kinetic-sand/">kinetic sand</a> at home. This stuff holds shape but doesn't make a mess, so it's easy to pick up. You'll need some fine sand from a craft or pet store. After you've baked it dry, add glue and liquid starch until the mixture sticks together but not to your hands.</p> <h2>3. Rag Doll</h2> <p>So many dolls on store shelves look the same. Give your little one something unique with this <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2013/02/girl-boy-fabric-dolls-pattern-pieces-included.html">DIY rag doll</a>. You'll find patterns for both girl and boy dolls with a detailed sewing tutorial. The difficulty is up to you. The dolls might take some work, but when they're done, you'll be glad you put in the effort.</p> <h2>4. House Blocks</h2> <p>Skip the pricey block sets and make your own <a href="http://mermagblog.com/diy-stacking-house-blocks/">stacking house blocks</a> from scratch. You can cut blocks from 4x4 lumber, but I also recommend checking out your local craft store for cheap pre-cut blocks. Once they're all sanded, decorate with non-toxic acrylic paints and finish with beeswax polish.</p> <h2>5. Animal Spools</h2> <p>Or here's another stacking toy using <a href="http://www.handmadecharlotte.com/diy-mix-em-animal-spools/">wooden spools</a> instead of blocks. Download the free animal template, cut out the parts, and then tape together. Your child will play for hours making different combinations with the heads, bodies, and legs.</p> <h2>6. Play Garden</h2> <p>Grab an old box and get &quot;planting&quot; with this <a href="http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2014/03/diy-plantable-felt-garden-box.html">DIY play garden</a>. You'll use jersey fabric to make round tubes of pretend dirt filled with stuffing. The tutorial describes how to make a variety of colorful veggies from felt. When you've finished sewing, stuff everything together and let your child harvest.</p> <h2>7. Car Ramps</h2> <p>Your kid's cars will zoom faster than ever before with this super simple <a href="http://buggyandbuddy.com/make-wooden-toy-car-ramp/">car ramps</a> project. Cut a few wooden boards to around three feet long. Then paint each black like pavement. Add some yellow dashes for extra flair before placing your new roads on different level surfaces for downhill speed.</p> <h2>8. Toy Treehouse</h2> <p>My jaw dropped when I found this clever <a href="http://www.northstory.ca/dollhouse-no-way-build-your-kids-a-toy-treehouse/">toy treehouse</a> made from various found objects. The author of this project used a branch, cutting board, craft bird house, dowels, and some other thrift and Dollar Store trinkets. Better than spending nearly $200 for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RBWKOO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002RBWKOO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BPYYH7MJUXL7ZLXC">something similar</a>.</p> <h2>9. Play Kitchen</h2> <p>Start combing Craigslist now! You can use an old entertainment center as a starting point for this adorable <a href="http://www.greenyourdecor.com/7042/crazy-beautiful-toy-kitchen/">play kitchen</a>. Depending on how your old furniture is configured, you can make a shelf the cooktop, the cabinet a pretend refrigerator, and add hooks for play plates or towels. Give the whole thing a bright coat of paint for looks.</p> <h2>10. Slime</h2> <p>Everyone loves oozy slime, especially in <a href="http://frugalfun4boys.com/2014/09/29/make-sparkly-gold-slime/">metallic colors</a>. Mixing it together takes just a few minutes. You'll combine liquid starch, clear glue, gold powder, and glitter. Use different powder and glitter for different colors.</p> <h2>11. Cardboard Bed</h2> <p>Here's an awesome <a href="http://www.hellobee.com/2012/10/09/diy-cardboard-bed/">cardboard bed</a> you can make with recycled cardboard and a handy PDF. In other words: It's free. You'll cut out different shapes to make the headboard, footboard, side supports, and more. Then use the slots to nest everything together.</p> <h2>12. Story Stones</h2> <p>I had never heard of <a href="http://thinkcrafts.com/blog/2013/08/27/diy-story-stones/">story stones</a>, but they seem like a genius way to get your kid's imagination going. Look around your house, backyard, or at a park for a few smooth stones. Clean them well, then paint with different pictures &mdash; preferably around a theme. For best results, paint a white background where your image will go. It will help the colors pop.</p> <h2>13. Mini Foosball Table</h2> <p>I want one of these <a href="http://www.handimania.com/diy/mini-foosball-table-kids.html">mini foosball tables</a> for myself. The idea is that cool. You just need an adult-sized shoebox, some dowels, clothespins, and paint. Once you've assembled the playing field, toss in a ping pong ball and keep score.</p> <h2>14. Rainbow Rocker</h2> <p>This <a href="http://ramblingsfromtheburbs.com/2014/01/diy-rainbow-rocker/">rainbow rocker</a> is a multipurpose toy for toddlers that gets wonderfully physical. And the author's inspiration was a toy that retails for $188! To build, you'll need some birch plywood, pocket hole screws, food coloring (to stain wood), and isopropyl alcohol. With materials and printing of plans ($7 at an office supply store), you'll only spend around $50 on this project. Just cut your pieces, sand, stain, and assemble.</p> <h2>15. Play Grill</h2> <p>You can make this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/diy-toy-grill-116515?image_id=1411234">pretend grill</a> for around $20. The most important part is a plastic mixing bowl, so if you have one you're willing to part with, it might be even cheaper. Drill holes in the bowl, make a tripod base for it to rest on with thick dowels. The grate is also made from dowels. After a coat of spray paint, you're done.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite DIY toys?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">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/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend">20 Cheap Fun Things to Do With Kids This Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-toys-and-games-you-can-make-at-home">10 Fun Toys and Games You Can Make at Home</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-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">10 Homemade Child Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought</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-fun-and-frugal-things-to-do-with-origami">8 Fun and Frugal Things to Do with Origami</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 crafts fun kids playing toys Mon, 06 Jul 2015 13:00:11 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1475752 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Make Adoption Affordable http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-adoption-affordable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-make-adoption-affordable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_adoption_000035736418.jpg" alt="Family finding ways to afford adoption" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a perfect world, you would meet the love of you life, get married, have a couple of kids, and embark on a booming career that afforded you many great luxuries in life. Unfortunately, the fairy tale doesn't always work out that way.</p> <p>Many couples are faced with the reality that they are unable to have to kids for one reason or another. Not only that, the cost of adoption has skyrocketed, with many adoptions topping $40,00 in costs. When was the last time you had an extra $40,000 lying around?</p> <p>There's no reason to go broke when you adopt. Here are five ways to afford adoption so you can get your family started right now.</p> <h2>1. Grants</h2> <p>Adoption grants are generally based on some sort of financial need, but for those that qualify, they can provide some much needed cash. A grant is a fantastic way to fund your adoption because they don't have to be paid back&hellip;ever. Some organizations are very specific about the qualifications for grants, while others remain more open. No matter what your situation is, there is an adoption grant waiting for you.</p> <p>Adoption grants require you to be working with a licensed agency and have a home study completed before you apply for the grant. The average cost of a home study is around $2,500, and you can use this home study for grants and loans as needed.</p> <p>There are hundreds of organizations that offer grants, and a good place to start your search is on <a href="http://www.fundyouradoption.tv">Fund Your Adoption</a>. Lori and Jeremy started Fund Your Adoption in 2012 after being swamped with details of trying to find ways to afford adoption. Fund Your Adoption offers a ton of great tips and resources for families who can't quite manage the expense adoption, and loads of wisdom through their experience.</p> <p>Here are a few of the most popular grant organizations:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.helpusadopt.org">Help Us Adopt</a> &mdash; this organization offers adoption grants for everyone, married or single, and regardless of religion.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.giftofadoption.org">Gift of Adoption Fund</a> &mdash; this organization offers grants ranging from $2K&ndash;$5K and accepts all individuals.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.showhope.com">Show Hope</a> &mdash; this organization awards grants averaging $5K.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.achildwaits.org">A Child Waits Foundation</a> &mdash; this organization awards grants ranging from $1K&ndash;$5K and offers grants for everyone.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Crowdfunding</h2> <p>Crowdfunding is no longer reserved for Kickstarter type projects funding the latest and greatest gizmo. It has now become a popular tool to raise money to adopt children, too. All you need is a great network of friends and family (or other potential donors), and a compelling story.</p> <p>Companies like <a href="http://purecharity.com">Pure Charity</a> offer an easy-to-use platform to raise an unlimited amount of funds online. Pure Charity takes 5% of your fundraising to pay for fees and administration costs. In exchange, they offer a site with tools like videos and how-tos, and any funds raised can go directly to an adoption agency that you name. This ensures that the funds raised might also qualify to be tax-deductible to the donor. (Make sure you check with your CPA before you set up your campaign to qualify for tax-deductibility.)</p> <p>Your crowdfunding page is sure to make for an awesome show-and-tell story for your adopted child.</p> <h2>3. Tax Credits</h2> <p>Most people adopting don't realize that they will qualify to receive a tax credit. In 2015, you can claim up to $13,400 in adoption tax credits for qualified adoption expenses. Expenses include a long list of costs, but cover things like adoption and court fees, as well as travel expenses. The tax credit works for all types of adoption, including international, domestic, and foster-to-adopt programs.</p> <p>If you are adopting Internationally, you will usually need to spend a few weeks in country before you are allowed to take your child home with you. The tax credit could certainly help make a dent in those expensive costs. You will want to make sure you keep very good records, receipts, and details of any costs that you expect to use towards the tax credit. You can hand all those documents over to your CPA at tax time to make sure you are applying the right costs.</p> <p>One word of caution: the adoption tax credit is a heavily audited item on tax returns. Many people have abused this tax credit and falsified information. The best advice is to use a CPA or accountant the year that you file for the tax credit in case you are audited.</p> <h2>4. Loans</h2> <p>If you are unable to secure grant money, or just need to fill a gap in funds for adoption, loans can be the answer. You'll probably want to exhaust grants and any crowdfunding ideas before you explore loans, unless the idea of putting your adoption story online sounds like such a terrifying proposition that you'd prefer to assume debt, instead.</p> <p>There are two types of loans &mdash; interest-free and low interest. As with any loan, you need to make sure that you can afford the monthly payments once the loan is in the repayment mode.</p> <p>Interest-free loans are always the preferred method of funding, and there are a couple of great options. <a href="http://www.abbafund.org">ABBA Fund</a> offers loans ranging from $6,000&ndash;$8,000 for Christian families, while the <a href="http://www.hflasf.org">Hebrew Free Loan Association</a> offers loans up to $15,000 for Jewish families.</p> <p>If you can't get an interest-free loan, low interest loans will be your next stop. One of the most competitive interest rates is with A Child Waits, which offers up to $10,000 in funding and charges 5% interest. You have a five-year repayment window, but no penalty for prepayment of the loan. That is still lower interest than most credit cards would offer, but certainly higher than some other options you might have available.</p> <h2>5. Fundraising</h2> <p>If all else fails, good ol' fundraising might do the trick. There are stories after stories of couples that raised enough money for adoption just through fundraising events alone.</p> <p>Some of the more popular are car washes, dinners, auctions, and T-shirt selling campaigns. Credit card rewards points are also a great way to fund adoption. If you configure your spending properly, you could earn a significant amount each year in rewards points that can be traded in for cash and used towards expenses.</p> <p>These are a few of the most popular ways to afford adoption, but certainly not the only ones.</p> <p><em>What are some of the ways you've used to save money adopting?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-adoption-affordable">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-signs-you-are-teaching-your-kids-bad-financial-habits">4 Signs You Are Teaching Your Kids Bad Financial Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-financial-gifts-for-children">Great Financial Gifts for Children</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-biggest-financial-decisions-in-your-20s">The 6 Biggest Financial Decisions in Your 20s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-milestones-every-20-and-30-year-old-should-hit">7 Personal Finance Milestones Every 20 and 30 Year Old Should Hit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-adjustments-you-should-make-mid-year">12 Money Adjustments You Should Make Mid-Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family adoption children fundraisers grants loans savings Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:00:24 +0000 Shannah Game 1470990 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: How Will You Show Your Appreciation This Father's Day? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-will-you-show-your-appreciation-this-fathers-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-will-you-show-your-appreciation-this-fathers-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fathers_day_gift_000063141029.jpg" alt="Daughter showing her appreciation for her dad on Father&#039;s Day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-will-you-show-your-appreciation-this-fathers-day#comment-776192">Jeff</a>, Michelle, and Susan for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Sunday is Father's Day! While it's important to love and appreciate the special dads in your life all year round, Father's Day is usually the time when many people want go the extra mile.</p> <p><strong>How will you show your appreciation this Father's Day?</strong> Will you be giving a gift, your time, or both? How do you usually show your appreciation when it <em>isn't</em> Father's Day?</p> <p>Tell us how you'll show your appreciation on Father's Day and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For Extra Entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a id="rcwidget_uu0693ue" data-template="" data-theme="classic" data-raflid="79857dfa192" rel="nofollow" class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa192/">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, June 22nd at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after June 22nd on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us how you&#039;ll show your appreciation on Father&#039;s Day and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-will-you-show-your-appreciation-this-fathers-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/ask-the-readers-share-your-best-parenting-tips-stories-100-prize">Ask the Readers: What&#039;s Your Favorite Childhood Memory? (Win $100)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-do-black-friday">Ask the Readers: Do You Do Black Friday?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-would-people-be-shocked-by-what-you-earn">Ask the Readers: Would People Be Shocked By What You Earn?</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/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-dream-job-0">Ask the Readers: What is Your Dream Job?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Giveaways Ask the Readers Father's Day Tue, 16 Jun 2015 15:00:16 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1456841 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_sons_000039504068.jpg" alt="Stay-at-home mother avoiding common financial pitfalls" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Staying at home with my daughter has been one of the best choices I've made in my life. At the same time, there are a number of money concerns I didn't necessarily expect when I handed in my resignation. For those of you who stay home (or who might be considering this big life change), take heed. You can do it the right way &mdash; protecting your financial future &mdash; with a little research and planning.</p> <h2>1. Retirement Planning</h2> <p>Suze Orman's advice is to <a href="http://www.oprah.com/money/Financial-Advice-for-Stay-at-Home-Parents">contribute what you can</a> in preparation for retirement. Spouses can claim Social Security benefits based on their partners, even in the event of divorce. Use the <a href="http://www.aarp.org/work/social-security/social-security-benefits-calculator.html">AARP's Social Security Calculator</a> to estimate your individual take-home benefit. Beyond that, there are Spousal IRA accounts where you can stash away as much as you like, provided the working partner makes enough each year to cover your contribution.</p> <h2>2. Life Insurance</h2> <p>It's an area nobody likes to think about, but securing life insurance is wise for both working and stay-at-home parents, alike. And just because you're not making money doesn't mean you're not contributing to your family. Securing life insurance will help your family with funeral bills, child care, education costs, and more if something ever happens to you.</p> <h2>3. Divorce Dollars</h2> <p>The rate of divorce has more or less stayed the same over the past several decades at around a whopping <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/emmajohnson/2014/10/27/are-you-a-stay-at-home-mom-facing-divorce-dont-expect-alimony/">50% of marriages</a>. Stay-at-home parents are in vulnerable financial positions if they find themselves in the courtroom to make the split. Whereas alimony used to be the standard means of support in years past, judges are now <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/beverly-willett/are-stayathome-parents-at_b_907792.html">granting these maintenance dollars</a> much less freely. Of course, health insurance, retirement, court fees, and other money woes are wrapped up in this issue as well.</p> <h2>4. Resume Builder</h2> <p>Thinking ahead, I know I'll someday need to go back to full-time employment. Getting a job with a huge gap in my work history sounded daunting. So, I've been keeping my skills current. As a writer, I've had the amazing opportunity to work from home through freelance writing. Even if your area of expertise isn't so easily honed from home, you can check out different volunteer gigs, side-jobs, education opportunities, professional connections, and other ways of staying fresh in your field. That way, when you do submit a resume years down the line, you'll show you've stayed connected to the job market.</p> <h2>5. Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Even the most financially sound families should save up an emergency fund. We found this area particularly important when I decided to stay home. For example, my daughter ended up having some unforeseen medical issues. Our monthly budget only makes ends meet, so having some extra money set aside helped soften the blow from all the doctor bills. A broken furnace, totaled car, or even your spouse's job loss could spell disaster without some planning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-building-an-emergency-fund-always-a-good-idea?ref=seealso">Is Building an Emergency Fund Always a Good Idea?</a>)</p> <p><em>How has staying at home impacted your financial planning?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-nfls-5-most-frugal-players">The NFL&#039;s 5 Most Frugal Players</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family Lifestyle kids retirement savings stay-at-home parents Tue, 26 May 2015 09:00:08 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1431028 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_son_000015641889.jpg" alt="Mother saving big by being stay-at-home parent" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you a stay-at-home parent? Or are you perhaps considering becoming one? It's a scary jump &mdash; and that's something I understand personally. There are a number of factors I considered before leaving the full-time working world to stay home with my daughter almost four years ago. But thankfully, there are ways to find unexpected savings just by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">staying home</a>. Here are an important few to consider as you prepare your new budget:</p> <h2>1. Work Wardrobe</h2> <p>Of course, we all want to look nice and be fashionable. But when you stay home, there's less pressure to maintain up-to-date work clothing and other sets of wardrobes. Not only that, you can also experiment with second-hand shops for your family's clothing. I'll admit, it feels strange to see my closet shift from workwear to mostly casual duds. At the same time, I've been able to adopt a more minimalist approach with my apparel. It's saved us lots of money, at least several hundred dollars a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=seealso">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a>)</p> <h2>2. Meals Out</h2> <p>When I worked my last job at a local university, I would often grab lunch in the union or elsewhere around campus. Little by little, the dollars added up. I'd spend $25 a week (okay, probably more) when I had plenty of food spoiling at home. Dinners, too, would present challenges. All too often, I'd find myself getting out of work late and browsing a takeout menu.</p> <p>Staying at home leaves more hours open for meal planning and cooking. Not only that, you can try out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk cooking</a>, which saves time and money. You'll also have more motivation to survey your grocery store choices. I love budget stores like Aldi, where I can usually pack a whole cart full of food for less than $100. Every bit counts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-from-aldi?ref=seealso">10 Things You Should Never Buy From Aldi</a>)</p> <h2>3. Daily Commute</h2> <p>I left my 9-to-5 when gas prices were at their absolute highest. Though my commute wasn't terribly far, I have friends who travel an hour or more to their jobs. All that money on transportation and upkeep is blown away like so much exhaust. Parents who stay home can work to schedule activities and errands to maximize efficiency. In fact, you may even find the opportunity to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider">become a one-car family</a> in the process. We've been living this way for the past year. It was challenging at first, but the money back in our pockets (gas, car insurance, maintenance costs, etc.) has made it worthwhile.</p> <h2>4. Daycare Costs</h2> <p>Obviously, if you stay home with your kids, you won't need much or any childcare. Since I do work part-time from home, I have my daughter in a preschool class a few mornings a week to give us both a breather. It's a fraction of the cost of full-time daycare. And I can write-off this expense during tax season. For those of you on the fence, try calculating how much you might spend on full-time childcare. How would this expense impact your monthly budget? My old salary, for example, would have been cut in half or worse, making staying at home a more viable option.</p> <h2>5. Basic Living</h2> <p>I've also found that staying home allows me to return to those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-old-fashioned-skills-that-save-you-money">old fashioned ways of living</a> and, therefore, saving money. When I was working outside the home, I didn't have the time or desire to make my own cleaning supplies. Now I mix up batches of all-purpose cleaner, homemade <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes">laundry detergent</a>, and other scrubs like it's my job. Well, I guess it <em>is</em> my job. You get the idea. Staying home allows me to take better stock of what we're spending and how we might less expensively run our household from the inside out.</p> <h2>6. Free Stuff</h2> <p>During nap times or other breaks, you can take a look around at local calendars to find free activities in your area. I've collected coupons, vouchers, loyalty bonuses, and all other sorts of stuff in a binder. That way, when we're looking for entertainment, I can find fun on a budget. And you'll be surprised by the number of free or low-cost things you'll discover when you have the time to seek them out. We have saved a huge amount of money this way and often spend less than $25 on a weekend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free?ref=seealso">20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free</a>)</p> <h2>7. Sound Budget</h2> <p>After I left my job, I had more brain cells to focus on our operating budget. As a result, I have an extremely good handle on how much money goes in and out of our home. I'm able to adjust our budget accordingly. This keen attention to detail has been invaluable to us. It's also an action that's allowed me to stay home without feeling as much financial pressure. We no longer waste money on extras, like magazine subscriptions and gym memberships. Overall, we're just more mindful in our spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-mindless-ways-youre-spending-money?ref=seealso">10 Mindless Ways You're Spending Money</a>)</p> <p><em>In what ways has being a stay-at-home parent boosted your budget?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sneaky-ways-you-cheat-on-your-budget">6 Sneaky Ways You Cheat on Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family child care kids saving money stay-at-home parents Tue, 19 May 2015 23:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1423350 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Signs You Are Teaching Your Kids Bad Financial Habits http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-you-are-teaching-your-kids-bad-financial-habits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-signs-you-are-teaching-your-kids-bad-financial-habits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000043444084_Full.jpg" alt="Kids learning parents&#039; bad financial habits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="158" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You spent that extra money in your bank account on a weekend trip to New York City, instead of using it to pay down your credit card debt. Maybe you even accidentally paid your power bill a week late last month.</p> <p>Are you inadvertently teaching your teens bad <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-habits-of-financially-successful-people">financial habits</a>?</p> <p>You might be.</p> <p>It's not easy measuring how influential parents are when it comes to influencing their children's behaviors. Just ask parents who've tried to change a teen's mind on anything from fashion to dating to finding a job. But a 2014 study by Bank of New York &mdash; <a href="https://www.bnymellon.com/us/en/our-thinking/business-insights/new-rules-for-engagement.jsp">New Rules for Engagement</a> &mdash; found that 52% of Millennials ranked their parents as their most trusted source of financial advice, while just 10% trusted the money advice of their peers.</p> <p>&quot;Maybe children don't trust their parents when it comes to picking friends, music, spouses, or even careers, but when it comes to financial advice, parents come out on top,&quot; says Kendrick Wakeman, founder and chief executive officer of FinMason.</p> <p>Because of this, parents have a special burden to pass good financial habits on to their kids. Wakeman says that ideally parents do this by example &mdash; they save money, pay their bills on time, and don't run up their credit cards. Their children see this and do the same things when they're adults.</p> <p>But what if you are far from the perfect financial role model for your children? What if you often forget to make your car loan payment on time? What if the debt on your credit cards grows every month? Might you be passing bad financial habits onto your kids?</p> <p>Here are four signs that you are passing bad money habits onto your teens, and what to do about it.</p> <h2>Can't You Just Use Your Credit Card?</h2> <p>You're in the department store shopping for a flat-screen TV. There are models within your budget, models that you've saved up enough to buy with cash. But there's an even better TV that's outside your budget &mdash; far outside it. Your teens want it. When you tell them it's too expensive, they ask &quot;Can't you just put it on the credit card?&quot;</p> <p>This is a sure sign that your children have watched you use your credit cards to buy items that you can't really afford. It's time to act like an adult and only make credit card purchases that you know you can pay off in full once your bill comes due. You want to teach your teens how to use credit cards wisely; using them to buy items that you can't afford is not how to do this.</p> <h2>Let's Get One More Thing</h2> <p>You're at the grocery store with your teens. You've checked off every item on your shopping list. But as you get nearer to the cashier, your teens start tossing packs of gum, magazines, or candy bars into your cart.</p> <p>The odds are good they've learned how to impulse shop from you. You don't want your teens to grow up to be impulse shoppers. Those extra Milky Way bars and bottles of Diet Pepsi add up. Resist the urge to add them to your cart at the last minute. And make sure to stop your teens from adding them, too.</p> <h2>Can't We Just Buy This One?</h2> <p>You've decided to buy a new laptop for the family to use. Your teens are thrilled with this idea. Your plan is to do some comparison shopping, either online or at local electronics stores. Your teens, though, just want to buy the first laptop they find online, regardless of its price or reviews.</p> <p>Look back at your own behavior. How many times have you simply gone online and ordered a new washing machine after a 10-minute online search? Have you gone to a car lot and simply picked the first car shown to you by the salesperson? If your teens have observed this behavior, the odds are high that you've taught them that comparison shopping doesn't matter. You can reverse this lesson, though. Next time you need to buy a new dishwasher, refrigerator, or other large item, take your kids comparison shopping with you. They need to see just how much money you can save when you shop around.</p> <h2>Why Can't I Have It, Too?</h2> <p>Your daughter wants a new pair of expensive jeans because her friend at school has the same brand. Your son wants a new pair of gym shoes because his friend dropped $50 on the same pair.</p> <p>It's likely that your teens have learned this why-can't-I-have-it-too behavior from you. Have you upgraded to a new car because your neighbor did the same? Have you purchased a swimming pool because you've seen your neighbors enjoying one? It's okay to buy these things, if you can afford them. Teach your kids self-control &mdash; and help them avoid neighbor envy &mdash; by only upgrading to a new car when you're financially ready, no matter what your neighbors have parked in their driveway.</p> <h2>You Don't Need a Big Bank Account to Teach Good Habits</h2> <p>Debbie Crowder, branch banking executive vice president at Richmond, Virginia-based SunTrust Bank, said that parents, even if they are struggling with their own finances, can teach their children how to avoid their mistakes and become financially savvy adults.</p> <p>&quot;Involve your child in in the day-to-day financial decisions you make for your household,&quot; Crowder says. &quot;When the power bill is higher than usual, explain the reason why and discuss how the entire family can conserve energy the next month to lower the bill.&quot;</p> <p>Chris Hogan, a financial speaker with Ramsey Personalities in Brentwood, Tennessee, says that parents can pass on good financial habits even if they themselves have a history of financial mistakes.</p> <p>&quot;The worst thing we can do as parents is to pretend like we're perfect,&quot; Hogan says. &quot;It's important to talk about the mistakes we've made financially. That's what can make a real impact on our children's behavior.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you model good financial behaviors for your kids?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-you-are-teaching-your-kids-bad-financial-habits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/5-ways-to-make-adoption-affordable">5 Ways to Make Adoption Affordable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-places-teens-and-adults-can-learn-about-money">7 Places Teens (and Adults) Can Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-financial-gifts-for-children">Great Financial Gifts for Children</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family advice children spending teens Thu, 14 May 2015 13:00:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1416805 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Get a Good Workout... Even With Kids Around http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_running_000056855896.jpg" alt="Mother and daughter exercising at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I remember chasing my three-year-old daughter around the front yard, 40 pounds overweight, staggering to keep up, and knowing I had to change. Change my eating habits, change my lifestyle, and most importantly, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-get-more-exercise-without-working-out">change my exercise habits</a>. But finding time to squeeze in some cardio or core strengthening can be hard and often takes time away from the family, which I didn't want to do. Nor did I want to pay for an expensive gym membership that I probably wouldn't use regularly.</p> <p>So I came up with some ways to get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">muscle burn and decent workout</a> throughout my busy day. If you work from home like me, or are a stay-at-home parent, here are some things you can do to get a solid workout and burn some calories.</p> <h2>1. In the Kitchen</h2> <h3>Calf Raises</h3> <p>The next time the microwave is on, do calf raises until you hear the beep. With your feet close together, simply raise your heels off the ground and slowly back down. Try not to let your heels touch the ground for the maximum burn. My calves got pretty darn strong doing this, a minute here and a minute there really adds up.</p> <h2>2. In the Bathroom</h2> <h3>Push-Ups</h3> <p>While the kids are in the bath, grab 10 quick push-ups on the bathroom floor. When I first started doing this, I had a hard time doing more than five so I modified the exercise by doing push-ups from my knees. After a couple weeks, I was able to throw in some standard push-ups as well. Once you are able to do more of them, switch to &quot;sets&quot; of push-ups. Three sets of 10, several times a week, will quickly strengthen your abs, backs, triceps, and core all while your child splashes in the tub.</p> <h2>3. In the Playroom</h2> <h3>Arm and Chest Workout</h3> <p>When you have little kids, you inevitably end up hanging out with them in the playroom/family room after dinner. This is typically where the toys and games are located along with a place for you to sit and relax. Next time, before you chill out, look around for something you can curl with your arms. We had a Home Depot play barbecue that weighed about 20 pounds that I would curl several times a week. I'd start with 10 bicep curls, 10 tricep extensions, and 10 chest presses. You might look kind of silly, but as long as you're getting a good muscle burn, who cares?</p> <h2>4. In the Bedroom</h2> <h3>Bed Plank</h3> <p>Every morning before rolling out of bed, do a one minute plank on the mattress. Start by laying on your stomach, then push yourself up and balance on your elbows, keep your back flat all the way down to your feet. A plank is one of the best exercises you can do for your core and engages your back, arms, shoulders, and hamstrings. Being on the mattress only increases your core engagement as it's a little more flexible than the carpet and requires better balance.</p> <h3>Bed Push-Ups</h3> <p>After you do your plank and make the bed, do 15 quick bed push-ups. While facing the bed, simply put your hands on the side of the bed and extends your feet away from it. Then do a push-up and try to bring your chest down far enough to touch the mattress. This is essentially a modified push-up that is quite a bit easier than a standard push-up. When I started doing this four-five times a week, I was able to increase my sets quickly and finally got up to three sets of 25.</p> <h2>5. In the Dining Area</h2> <h3>Lunges</h3> <p>When setting the table, I'd carry the plates and do leg lunges to the table, and back to the kitchen. My kids thought this was hilarious and actually started doing them with me which was a cool side effect.</p> <h3>Scarecrows</h3> <p>With your hands at your sides, take a dinner plate in each hand and lift both arms straight out in front of you, then slowly back to your side. Then lift your arms directly out to your sides, and slowly back down. Start with 15 repetitions of each and your arms will burn like crazy.</p> <h2>6. In the Hallway</h2> <h3>Stair Climbing</h3> <p>If you have stairs in your home, try jogging up them as quickly as you can. Focus on hitting every step with both feet to maximize your leg burn. If you're not ready to jog up the stairs, then walk up and down them <em>twice</em> when you're not in a rush to get somewhere.</p> <h3>Plyometrics</h3> <p>When walking down the hallway consider doing &quot;tires.&quot; Pretend there are car tires staggered down the hallway that you have to jump in and out of as you work your way to where you're going. I'd do this every time I was headed to my home office and it became a fun game. I'd also switch to fun things like high knees and butt kickers. High knees are when you jog and bring your knees up as high as you can, and butt kickers are when you try to hit your butt with your heels as you jog.</p> <h2>7. In the Front Yard</h2> <h3>Run Anywhere</h3> <p>Our mailbox is about 500 yards away from our house, so I started jogging to it every day to get the mail. At first it sucked as it was all uphill coming back, but slowly I was able to build up my endurance and actually started jogging the route several times a day, two-three times per week. If you don't have a front yard, then start walking or jogging the neighborhood. Bring your kid(s) and let them ride their scooter or Big Wheel as you attempt to keep up with them.</p> <h3>Make Everything a Game</h3> <p>Once you start to build up your cardio endurance, start looking for reasons to get your heart rate up. Make up games with your kids that require some running or chasing and get everyone involved. You'll be amazed with how great you will feel, and if you eat right, the pounds will really start to shed.</p> <p>The key is to be creative and find areas in your life where getting a quick muscle burn is possible. The more places you find, the more calories you'll burn, and the quicker your metabolism will fire up and really start burning the fat. Take it from someone who never thought it could be done, it absolutely can! Here I sit typing these words 40 pounds lighter, and the best part? I never paid a gym membership fee.</p> <p>Be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, even my &quot;around the house&quot; workout.</p> <p><em>Do you have any other tips for finding unorthodox places around the house to get a quick workout?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/10-tricks-to-avoid-workout-burnout">10 Tricks to Avoid Workout Burnout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-trick-yourself-into-enjoying-cardio">8 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Enjoying Cardio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">5 Times a Gym Membership Isn&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Health and Beauty children exercise fitness kids working out Thu, 07 May 2015 15:00:17 +0000 Kyle James 1410181 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_silly_faces_000015279016.jpg" alt="Sibling kids with discounts that can save you big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a father of three, I can tell you that raising children is one of the toughest, but most rewarding things you'll ever do. But let's be completely honest &mdash; raising a child is expensive. And raising more than one child is <em>really</em> expensive. Raising three or more? Forget about it.</p> <p>But if you do have more than one child, you may have some financial relief available in the form of sibling discounts. Here are six to be aware of.</p> <h2>1. Orthodontist Discount</h2> <p>My son just recently had braces put on his teeth, and the sticker price of over $5,000 was a tough pill to swallow, especially since my younger daughter is also going to need braces in a couple of years. During the appointment with the business manager, I jokingly asked if I could get a sibling discount on my daughter when it's her turn for braces. Surprisingly, she said, &quot;absolutely, we can give you 15% off her orthodontic treatments when she's ready.&quot; Needless to say, I was very happy I asked.</p> <p>The obvious time to ask about a sibling discount is with twins who need braces at the same time. If you don't fall into that category, but have more than one child getting braces in the span of a couple years, be sure to ask right before the second child gets them put on. This technique may also apply to other elective medical procedures, such as acne treatment lasers, and so forth.</p> <h2>2. Summer Camp</h2> <p>My wife and I spend a good chunk of our summer vacation driving our kids to various camps. A few years ago I started inquiring about sibling discounts, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that almost all of them offer something. The size of the discount varies depending on the length of the camp, and whether it's of the overnight variety or not. From my experience, you stand a great chance of getting a 10%-25% discount simply by asking.</p> <h2>3. College Tuition</h2> <p>It you plan on having at least two kids enrolled in college simultaneously, I hope you take advantage of a 529 college savings plan. You should also be aware of college tuition discounts that many institutions offer. George Washington University famously offers a 50% tuition grant for the second student attending at the same time. Many other universities also offer generous sibling discounts. These include Seton Hall, Gonzaga, and Western New England University. Bottom line: Do your research as this could save a big chunk of money, especially with twins or siblings very close in age.</p> <h2>4. Daycare Costs</h2> <p>If you have more than one child in daycare, ask about a sibling discount. While you'll typically have to pay a babysitter more when they watch multiple children, it's not the case at many childcare facilities. Most will offer a sibling discount in the 10%-15% range. If your children are not in &quot;full-time&quot; daycare, the discount will often be less, typically in the 6%-8% off range. Be proactive and ask when registering your kids.</p> <h2>5. Lessons and After-School Activities</h2> <p>Consider all of the activities your kids are involved in after the final school bell rings. A few extra-curriculars that jump to mind include music lessons, gymnastics, swimming lessons, and dance class. I recently cashed-in on a sibling discount when my two daughters started piano lessons with a private instructor. The piano teacher gave us the option of a 15% discount for separate lessons or a 40% discount on a group lesson. You'll typically need to inquire about these discounts, as they're usually not advertised.</p> <h2>6. Tutoring or Coaching</h2> <p>If you have kids involved in any type of tutoring or special coaching, you'll also want to investigate if sibling discounts are applicable. Whether it's academic tutoring or private athletic coaching, you can often get a percentage taken off when one or more of your kids are involved. Feel free to negotiate a better rate directly with the coach or tutor. Most will happily give you a discount if you have more than one child using their service. Start at 25% off and be prepared to meet in the middle.</p> <p><em>Have you ever cashed in on a sibling discount? If so, how much did you save?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-money-saving-tips-every-parent-should-know">15 Money-Saving Tips Every Parent Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend">20 Cheap Fun Things to Do With Kids This Weekend</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-life-skills-for-working-moms">10 Life Skills for Working 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/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family discounts kids saving money siblings Tue, 05 May 2015 17:00:24 +0000 Kyle James 1408972 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_baby_000022503773.jpg" alt="Couple asking important questions before starting a family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Can we even afford one?&quot;</p> <p>This question was the first my husband and I asked ourselves when we had the big baby discussion. Romantic, right? But in reality, finances play an important role in moving from a two-person household to three (or more). So, while a lot of the baby-making process is fun and games, here are some items to consider and situations to plan for before making that jump into parenthood.</p> <h2>1. What Is Your Budget?</h2> <p>Before anything else, we took time to write out our budget in full. After every single last fixed and variable expense was accounted for, we compared that number to our take-home income. You'll find a wide range of figures for how much a <a href="http://www.parenting.com/article/the-cost-of-raising-a-baby">child costs per year</a> ranging from &quot;only your time and love&quot; to $12,000 or more, depending on a number of factors (location, lifestyle, etc.). When we saw what was left over, we got a good idea that adding a child would be doable. We also found areas of our budget that had room to change and free up money for diapers, food, baby gear, and much more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-dont-actually-need-to-buy-for-your-new-baby-plus-5-you-must?ref=seealso">10 Things You Don't Actually Need to Buy For Your New Baby</a>)</p> <h2>2. Who Will Care for the Baby?</h2> <p>Wrapped up in those yearly costs for taking care of your child is daycare. You'll want to take many personal and practical factors into consideration when making the choice. We decided that much of my income would have been sucked up with childcare costs, so I opted to work part-time from home after calculating many scenarios from best to worst case. Some of you might have family willing to help out full or part-time. Others will rely on paid care exclusively.</p> <p>While you're thinking, it's also a good idea to get in touch with your workplace to see how much time off you get after birth, as well as how much of this time is paid versus unpaid. Same goes with your spouse.</p> <h2>3. What Does Insurance Cover?</h2> <p>Health insurance was the next big piece of the pie. How much of my prenatal care would be covered? What about the birth and delivery? And even before all that, what about possible infertility coverage? (We're dealing with this detail the second time around.)</p> <p>We are fortunate to have good insurance that paid for pretty much everything &mdash; ultrasounds (I needed many), blood tests, delivery, and follow-up. Beyond that, you'll be adding a dependent to your coverage, so your monthly premium might go up. Your child will also have well care visits often in the first year. Speak with your HR department or call your insurance company directly to get information on coverage, deductibles, copays, and any other concerns you might have.</p> <h2>4. Do You Have Space?</h2> <p>Take a look around your place. Some of you might be living in three to four bedroom houses. Others, studio apartments. The truth is, you can make most places work with one child using creative solutions from room sharing to compact closet bedrooms. If you don't think you have a good setup or &mdash; alternatively &mdash; would want to move anyway, you'll want to calculate a new rent or mortgage number into your budget to see how it shifts everything.</p> <h2>5. What About Other Stuff?</h2> <p>Beyond baby's first years, the costs can climb. Things like preschool tuition, extracurricular activities, college savings accounts, and even unexpected medical expenses.</p> <p>Our daughter had a medical issue that required major surgery in her second year of life, and no one could have expected or planned for that. Though insurance took care of the heaviest expenses, like a $100,000 hospital bill, we have paid deductibles for countless doctor appointments and follow-ups. (She's doing great now, by the way.) Most situations like these are unusual and likely not to be of concern. At the same time, if your budget or job is shaky, you might want to try and stabilize things before adding another variable to the equation.</p> <p><em>What other questions did you ask before adding to your family?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend">20 Cheap Fun Things to Do With Kids This Weekend</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-life-skills-for-working-moms">10 Life Skills for Working 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/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family child care family planning having babies insurance kids Mon, 04 May 2015 15:00:27 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1406710 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Basic Manners You Must Teach Your Kids http://www.wisebread.com/10-basic-manners-you-must-teach-your-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-basic-manners-you-must-teach-your-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_manners_000019524370.jpg" alt="Kid learning basic manners from his parents" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm sorry, but it's going to be a lot harder than you thought to teach manners to your children. You behaved at home, as a child, and then you went to college, where you likely <em>misbehaved.</em> Eventually, you found yourself in a relationship, and were probably very free about what you said and did. And then came the children, who are just tiny sponges. They soak up everything their parents say and regurgitate it, most often inappropriately.</p> <p>Time to clean up your act.</p> <p>The best way to teach manners to your children is not to immediately hand them the 18th Edition of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061740233/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0061740233&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=2UL2RQJJZHRWNIE5">Emily Post's Etiquette</a> (although I do think that's a lovely graduation gift). They need to learn the rules below before they can read. They need to learn them from you, their parents, and you need to <em>model</em> these manners. Consistently.</p> <p>You want your kids to be successful and get ahead in life, and they won't be able to get through job interviews without shaking hands properly. They need to know they cannot talk on their cells at the symphony. They will need to write thank-you notes. If you don't show them how, who will?</p> <p>Below are 10 types of etiquette rules you really need to teach your children. These are not <em>behaviors</em>, such as not being a bully; they are the rules of a civilized society.</p> <h2>1. Etiquette 101</h2> <p>Here we have the holy grail of beginning etiquette for children. Master these four phrases, and practice them around, and with, your kids.</p> <ul> <li>&quot;Please, may I&hellip;?&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Thank you.&quot;</li> <li>&quot;No, thank you.&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Excuse me.&quot;</li> </ul> <h2>2. Do Not Interrupt</h2> <p>I work with a guy who interrupts anyone and everyone, all the time. Every time he does it, I think, &quot;Your mother failed.&quot; It is rude to not let someone finish their thought. Children are, by their nature, impatient &mdash; but they need to learn patience, which includes not interrupting. When the interruptions happen, say &quot;Please don't interrupt. Let me finish what I was saying.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Introductions</h2> <p>Making introductions is difficult for adults, let alone children. As an adult, though, isn't it nice when someone introduces you? I have found that kids can master this, but they are going to need prompting to remember (&quot;Ben, did you introduce your friends?&quot;). Even the very young can handle &quot;This is Jason, and this is Katie.&quot;</p> <p>If an adult comes to your house, your child should stop what they are doing, and come say hello. Ideally, the child should offer their hand to shake, and say &quot;Hello, Mrs. ____.&quot; If their friends are present, further introductions should be made by the child. When the adult leaves, the child should come and say good-bye. Many children are very shy about introductions, so be patient and keep working on it.</p> <h2>4. Responding to a Polite Question</h2> <p>Following an introduction, or a greeting, an adult will usually attempt to talk to a child. Most of the time, the question will be &quot;How are you?&quot;</p> <p>Respond to the adult and let them know how you are, kiddo. But then, ask the adult how<em> they</em> are. Here is how Uriah, age four and two doors down, handles this one:</p> <p>&quot;How are you today, Uriah?&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I'm GREAT! I have T-ball today! Uhh, how are you? Do you want to see me hit this ball? I had CAKE today! Last week I made it to third base!&quot;</p> <p>Yes, I find him completely charming. Most children, though, I find, just ignore the adults. That's not okay, parents. Even if your child is shy, teach them to smile and say &quot;I am fine, thank you. How are you?&quot;</p> <h2>5. How to Behave at the Table</h2> <p>It is my sincere hope that your family, no matter what its makeup, sits together at least for the dinner meal. A good chore for even young children is to learn to set the table. Once seated, you may say grace, or have a family custom &mdash; but please, no cell phones or other electronic devices at the table. Use this time to reconnect as a family, and instill some basics.</p> <ul> <li>Before each meal, wash your hands.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do not chew with your mouth open.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do not interrupt another family member's story. This is an important time for everyone to share their day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If the child wants second helpings, this is when we use &quot;Please pass the ___.&quot; When the food is passed, they should say &quot;Thank you.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Burps happen. They should be silent, and followed by &quot;Excuse me.&quot; No belching contests, please.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you have a cold or cough, sneeze or cough into your tissue, and then go dispose of the tissue and wash your hands again. If you have no tissue, sneeze into your sleeve, and then go wash.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Absolutely no picking or scratching.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When the child is done with dinner, they should say &quot;Please, may I be excused?&quot; and when permission is granted, they should take their plate, utensils, and napkin to the kitchen (and follow whatever cleanup rules you have).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do not nag (&quot;I told you a thousand times...&quot;) at the table. Just keep correcting, or the dinner experience becomes associated with battles.</li> </ul> <p>You will be really glad you taught them table manners at home before you take them to restaurants, which can be intimidating to children who have no practice with napkins, silverware, and complicated place settings.</p> <h2>6. How to Behave at a Play, Concert, or Movie</h2> <p>Movies are a good place to start teaching your children about how to behave at a public performance. Hit the bathroom and get snacks ahead of time, and encourage them to be quiet, or whisper. Next, try a play or concert, and talk about intermissions, listening, watching quietly, and staying in your seat. Before the event, explain the usher's job. Not okay: Gum, candy wrappers, cell phones, or kicking the seat ahead of you.</p> <h2>7. Writing Thank-You Notes</h2> <p>Being able to compose and send a thank-you note is another skill that will serve a person all their lives. You should write them with the child until approximately age eight or nine, when they should have the ability to write their own. You may need to help them get started.</p> <p>My &quot;trick&quot; in getting thank-yous done was to get out a nice array of stationery, cards, stickers, fun stamps, and colorful pens. I also had my address book at the ready, and mugs of cocoa and snacks. Then, we would do our notes <em>together</em>.</p> <h2>8. How to Shake Hands</h2> <p>Ah, the limp handshake. It still exists, which surprises me every time I encounter it. It's so easy to do it correctly! Here are the instructions.</p> <p>Stand up. Extend your hand. Using a firm grip (not a bone-crusher), grasp the other person's hand and grip/shake while you introduce yourself and the other person introduces him/herself. Here is a great video of some kids who have this <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0CH6hq2gGA">handshake skill</a> down!</p> <h2>9. Avoiding Bad Language</h2> <p>It's very simple: if you swear in front of your kids, they are going to swear, too. The problem is (and I'm Exhibit A): They will use these words at some very inappropriate times. Often, they may not know what the bad words mean, and explaining can help (they will probably be horrified).</p> <h2>10. When Not to Use Electronics</h2> <p>This is especially hard because adult modeling is so poor. You can be a part of that change, though. Readers will probably disagree, but I don't think electronics, or most specifically cell phones, belong at the table, movies, concerts, performances, weddings, funerals, churches, or school. I will hopefully assume you do not use your cell while driving (and that includes texting), which is simply dangerous.</p> <p>I was recently at a picnic, and one of my old friends did not bring her daughter, saying &quot;She is too much of a brat.&quot; I remember thinking, well, that's your fault, and what a shame, because the other children were having so much fun. Yes, teaching manners to children will try your patience, but it will ease their passage into adulthood when they master the basics.</p> <p><em>Anything we've missed? What manners do you consider absolutely essential?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-basic-manners-you-must-teach-your-kids">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-doing-this-on-your-first-date-youre-not-getting-a-second">If You&#039;re Doing This on Your First Date, You&#039;re Not Getting a Second</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-old-school-manners-we-want-back">8 Old School Manners We Want Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-supposed-etiquette-faux-pas-that-actually-make-you-look-good">3 Supposed Etiquette Faux Pas That Actually Make You Look Good</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-immaturity-can-make-you-happier-and-more-successful">7 Ways Immaturity Can Make You Happier and More Successful</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/18-things-people-with-good-social-skills-never-do">18 Things People With Good Social Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Personal Development children etiquette manners raising kids Thu, 30 Apr 2015 13:00:26 +0000 Marla Walters 1401102 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chicago_city_view_000026130108.jpg" alt="Chicago is an afforable city to start a family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking to start a family? Many major metro areas can be tough choices, given their high cost of living, crime statistics, and public school quality. So, we've dug a little deeper to uncover seven U.S. metro areas that offer the best environments for starting a family.</p> <h2>1. Virginia Beach, Virginia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/virginia_beach_000041511570.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're looking to mix business with pleasure at an affordable price, Virginia Beach is an option that should be within your consideration. With several large companies in and around the area, along with a plethora of government opportunities nearby, the economy is strong and the property values are solid with an <a href="http://www.zillow.com/virginia-beach-va/home-values/">average home price</a> of roughly $240,000. Plus, wouldn't you love to take your kids to the ocean every weekend without having to board a plane or endure a long car ride?</p> <h2>2. Chicago, Illinois</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/chicago_city_view_000026130108.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you can bear the cold (it gets and stays well below freezing for weeks during the winter), Chicago is a fantastically affordable city, relative to its size and offerings. Its many amenities will keep your entire family entertained no matter what your interests. And its <a href="http://www.zillow.com/chicago-il/home-values/">housing costs</a> are among the lowest of any metropolitan area in the country, with an average home price of about $230,000.</p> <h2>3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/city_of_pittsburgh_000021195550.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Pittsburgh is a city on the rise, quickly becoming a top education and health care center. These two industries have stabilized and grown an economy that once relied on the steel industry. The city's many museums, active waterfront, nearby natural areas, sports teams, parks, and festivals make it a wonderfully diverse area for families. The <a href="http://www.realtor.com/local/Pittsburgh_PA/home-prices">average home price</a> in Pittsburgh is approximately $230,000.</p> <h2>4. Nashville, Tennessee</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Nashville_000021951973.jpg" alt="&copy;iStock.com/MoreISO" width="605" height="340" /></p> <p>Music City is one of the greatest areas of innovation and arts in the country at the moment. People from all over the world are visiting and moving there thanks to the vibrant cultural and local business scene. It's no wonder that celebrities who want a lower profile and a high quality of life are buying homes in Nashville. It also happens to be a winner for families and kids, thanks to all of its culture and natural beauty. <a href="http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Nashville-Tennessee/market-trends/">Average home prices</a> are still a bargain here at about $205,000.</p> <h2>5. Madison, Wisconsin</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Madison_000050792842.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Madison is a top pick for those who love the vibrant energy and cultural opportunity of a university town. Complete with one of the best farmer's markets in the country, a tight-knit community feel, and award-winning family-friendly attractions, Madison is an ideal place for families. <a href="http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Madison-Wisconsin/">Median home prices</a> in Madison are some of the most affordable in the country at around $195,000.</p> <h2>6. Austin, Texas</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Austin_000048267910.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>&quot;Keeping it weird&quot; is Austin's motto, and they own it. This is a &quot;come as you are&quot; kind of town and known for its friendly, supportive vibe. Here, originality and creativity are highly encouraged and celebrated. Austin offers mild winters, some of the best music in the country, plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, and a growing economy based in the technology sector. <a href="http://www.zillow.com/austin-tx/home-values/">Typical housing costs</a> hover around $345,000. Though this is more expensive than most of the other areas on this list, it's still a far cry cheaper than places like New York City and San Francisco.</p> <h2>7. Chapel Hill, North Carolina</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Chapel_Hill_000022409564.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Like Madison, Chapel Hill is also rich with university town resources, but its winter is more moderate than Wisconsin's. As part of the Research Triangle, the economy is strong, and like many of the other cities on this list, it has a community vibe to match. Chapel Hill's calendar is loaded with kid-friendly events, and it boasts dozens of places to stage them, including its numerous gardens and parks. <a href="http://www.zillow.com/chapel-hill-nc/home-values/">Median home prices</a> are closer to Austin's at about $330,000.</p> <p>If the time is right to start a family and you're looking for a new city to begin that adventure, this list offers a strong starting point for your search. Curious about how the cost of living between different cities compares? Check out this <a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/">cost of living comparison tool</a> to find out.</p> <p><em>In which cities are you considering starting a family?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-should-do-when-you-move-to-a-new-town">14 Things You Should Do When You Move to a New Town</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-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</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/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid">9 Common Apartment Hunting Mistakes to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Real Estate and Housing affordable living cities having kids metros moving raising family relocating Wed, 29 Apr 2015 15:00:26 +0000 Christa Avampato 1401147 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Stop Your Spouse From Overspending http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_saved_piggy_banks_000055929726.jpg" alt="Learning how to keep your spouse from overspending" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spouses aren't always honest with each other when it comes to money. A study released earlier this year by CreditCards.com found that nearly one in five U.S. consumers have hidden purchases of $500 or more from their live-in partners or spouses. The same study found that nearly 7.2 million people have hidden a bank or credit card account from their spouse or partner.</p> <p>It's no surprise, then, that partners often butt heads over spending decisions. One partner wants to save. The other likes to spend, and will spend enough each month to break the household budget, often hiding these purchases until they show up on next month's credit card statement.</p> <p>What if you are the financially responsible partner in a relationship? Is there anything you can do to stop your partner from blowing your household savings on video games, clothes, or expensive electronics?</p> <p>There might be. Changing a partner's bad spending habits requires plenty of work and even more communication. To start, check out these four tips for changing your partner's free-spending ways.</p> <h2>Set a Regular Money Meeting</h2> <p>Robert Stammers, director of investor education at the CFA Institute &mdash; a trade association serving investment professionals &mdash; says that couples need to be willing to talk about money. Unfortunately, too many couples never hold these financial talks.</p> <p>This isn't surprising: Money often scares couples. A survey released in early 2015 by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 47% of couples say that money disagreements are the most common <a href="https://www.nfcc.org/press/multimedia/news-releases/january-nfcc-survey-reveals-top-financial-relationship-stressors/">cause of stress</a> in their relationships.</p> <p>But not talking about money as a way to avoid these disagreements is a mistake. A partner who overspends needs to realize the consequences of this behavior. That can't happen if partners never talk about money. Stammers recommends that couples set a regular meeting date &mdash; maybe once a month &mdash; to talk about money issues.</p> <p>&quot;No two people have the same ideas and philosophy about money and investing, so it is important to determine upfront what is important to the both of you,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>Set Aside Some Fun Money</h2> <p>Creating a separate bank account for fun money might be a solution, says Kelley Long, resident financial planner for El Segundo, California's Financial Finesse, and a spokesperson for the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.</p> <p>This account will give the overspending partner a bit of financial freedom, and might prevent this spouse from breaking into a couple's main account set aside for paying the mortgage, car payment, and other bills, Long claims.</p> <p>&quot;This money can be spent without restriction or comment,&quot; Long says. &quot;When the money in the account is gone, the spender has to wait until the next payday to spend again.&quot;</p> <p>If the overspending partner raids other accounts after cleaning out the &quot;fun money&quot; account? Then a relationship has more serious trust issues that must be addressed, Long says.</p> <h2>Don't Let the Money Come Home</h2> <p>Michael Chadwick, chief executive officer of Unionville, Connecticut-based Chadwick Financial Advisors, has a more practical solution: Send more of the money you're earning into a retirement account and less of it into your savings account. Your overspending spouse can't spend the money you've stashed in a 401(k) account.</p> <h2>Let the Spender Take Control &mdash; For a Month</h2> <p>It may be counterintuitive, but it might help to have your free-spending partner pay the bills and manage the budget for at least a month. As Chadwick says, this might provide your partner with some insight into why wasting money on unnecessary purchases is such a problem.</p> <p>If none of these tips work? Your overspending partner might have a more serious issue, one that perhaps only counseling can solve, Chadwick says. &quot;Spending and shopping when out of control are no different than smoking, drugs, or alcohol.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you and your spouse or partner manage money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-when-its-okay-to-take-a-loan">6 Times When It&#039;s Okay to Take a Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-partner-financially-unfaithful-1-in-3-are">Is Your Partner Financially Unfaithful? (1 in 3 Are)</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/back-in-debt-heres-how-to-pay-it-off-for-good">Back in Debt? Here&#039;s How to Pay it Off for Good</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-relationship-rules-you-should-be-breaking">10 Relationship Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Family couples finances marriage Spending Money Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:00:28 +0000 Dan Rafter 1399139 at http://www.wisebread.com