childcare http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8854/all en-US 9 Child Care Purchases You Should Never Skimp On http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_stroller_child_000033375724.jpg" alt="Mother walking child in stroller she didn&#039;t skimp on" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the movie <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Away-We-Go-John-Krasinski/dp/B0021L8UOY">Away We Go</a>, there's a character who refuses to own a stroller, asserting &quot;I love my babies. Why would I want to push them away from me?&quot;</p> <p>When I was pregnant with my first child, I was that mom. Because I planned to practice attachment parenting, I figured I wouldn't need a swing, or a high chair, or any of those devices that would come between my loving arms and my child.</p> <p>Then I gave birth to a real, actual baby, and I realized that sometimes I needed to use the bathroom or take a shower, and that carrying an increasingly heavy kid everywhere in my arms was a recipe for a backache and seething frustration. I began equipment shopping, and although my budget was small, I learned that there are certain baby and child items worth spending more on.</p> <h2>1. Car Seat</h2> <p>You probably will not be able to leave the hospital without this piece of equipment; but don't grab just any car seat to fulfill the requirement.</p> <p>&quot;Every hour, nearly 150 children between ages 0 and 19 are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/Road_Traffic_Injuries/index.html">motor vehicle crashes</a>,&quot; the Centers for Disease Control and Protection warns. Fortunately, you have some control over whether your child is injured in a car accident: You can research car seat safety on <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/car-seats.htm">Consumer Reports</a> (it's worth paying for a month's subscription to the website to access this information) and buy the highest-quality seat that fits well in your vehicle. Never buy a used car seat, because you can't be sure that the seat was never in an accident, which can compromise its safety.</p> <h2>2. Stroller</h2> <p>After logging thousands of miles pushing my three kids through neighborhoods, grocery stores, and airports, I have owned perhaps a dozen strollers. This is the one item that I wish I'd spent more on from the get-go. If you plan to walk a lot, grocery shop with your stroller, or have more than one child, do some research and invest in the best stroller you can afford. If I could do it again, I'd happily pay $500 or more for a stroller that wouldn't fall apart after a couple of years.</p> <p>If you plan on running with your baby &mdash; which can be a great way to fit exercise into your schedule &mdash; consider investing in a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=jogging%20stroller&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;sprefix=jogging%2Caps%2C154&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Dbaby-products&amp;linkId=QOMFABQZDWLFLAPO">high-quality jogger</a> as well. We had a cheap jogging stroller that listed to the left, which means that after the first few tries, I never jogged with it.</p> <h2>3. Swing</h2> <p>When I finally broke down and bought a swing, I bought a tiny, inexpensive model because that was all that fit in our tiny, expensive San Francisco apartment. That didn't cut it for babies two and three, who had to spend more hours swinging because I didn't have eight arms to change toddler diapers, help preschoolers use scissors, and hold baby at the same time. If you are buying new, Consumer Reports has an extensive <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/baby-swings/buying-guide.htm">baby swing buying guide</a> that lays out the many options available nowadays. Go for powerful motion and long battery life (or a plug-in model) over bells and whistles.</p> <h2>4. Photography</h2> <p>This can feel like a luxury when you have diapers to buy and preschool tuition to pay, but a quality portrait session is really an investment. Your kids will change faster than you realize, and although the snapshots you take are precious, an annual sitting with a really good photographer will result in keepsakes you will treasure forever. I have taken my kids to cheap photo chains, and I have taken them to pros, and believe me: The high-end professional photos are the ones that are now framed on the walls, and that I love looking at day after day. Also, framed portraits make inexpensive holiday gifts for doting grandparents, which helps defray the cost.</p> <h2>5. Childcare</h2> <p>I've tried many methods for saving money on childcare over the years; and to some extent, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-babysitting-without-ending-up-on-the-local-news">less expensive childcare</a> has worked okay for my family. But I have also visited inexpensive home daycares that I would never leave my kids in, like the place where I rang the bell and a two-year-old walked barefoot across the parking lot to greet me at the gate. Friends have sent their kids to low-end daycares and noticed that hygiene practices were subpar, or even had their children get hurt. You should do your research with any childcare provider, but be especially wary if the price is much lower than other providers. You have to ask yourself: Is the provider able to provide a safe environment and quality staff for the price they're charging?</p> <h2>6. Sunscreen</h2> <p>I'm happy to buy the cheapest brand of toothpaste or deodorant, but the truth is, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sun-screens-can-really-cost-you-by-the-ounce-and-by-the-tumor">safest sunscreen</a> for your kids &mdash; the kind that uses physical blockers instead of chemical ones &mdash; is pricey. Pay up, or cover up.</p> <h2>7. Breast Pump</h2> <p>An inexpensive model may work fine for occasional pumping, but if you plan to pump every day, you're going to need a professional-grade breast pump. The FDA warns against borrowing or purchasing <a href="http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/HomeHealthandConsumer/ConsumerProducts/BreastPumps/ucm061952.htm">used breast pumps</a> (<a href="http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/lv/lvjunjul04p54.html">La Leche League</a> explains the different kinds), so this is an item that you may have to pony up for. Still, even a high-end pump pays for itself if it saves you from buying formula, and some health insurance plans may <a href="http://www.second9months.com/should-you-buy-a-used-pump-for-breast-pumping/">reimburse the cost</a>.</p> <h2>8. Crib and Mattress</h2> <p>Crib safety standards have changed drastically in recent years, so you really need to do your research if you try <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-used">buying a used crib</a>. As for the mattress, concerns are growing about the toxins released by all kinds of furniture in our homes. Considering the number of hours a baby spends in its crib, I found it worthwhile to spend three or four times as much on a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006G94D3O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006G94D3O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CQX7PAZY3L54PCYO">non-toxic crib mattress</a>. Second-hand mattresses can raise safety concerns and may even be associated with <a href="http://nursery.about.com/od/Safety/f/Faq-Used-Crib-Mattresses.htm">Sudden Infant Death Syndrome</a>.</p> <h2>9. Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups</h2> <p>Bisphenol A (BPA), is now banned from the plastic in baby bottles, but uncertainty still lingers around the safety of many plastics. Pediatrician Juliet Baciocco Spurrier, founder of BabyGearLab, recommends <a href="http://www.babygearlab.com/a/11078/Are-Plastics-Safe-for-Baby-Bottles-and-Sippy-Cups">choosing plastics</a> No. 2, No. 4, or No. 5, or sticking to glass. As your child gets older, exercise the same vigilance over the cups they drink out of, at least at home (where they're less likely to lose their cups).</p> <p><em>What kid care items are you willing to pay more for?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-adult-children-become-financially-independent">How to Help Your Adult Children Become Financially Independent</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-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family">7 Signs You&#039;re Financially Ready to Start a Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-help-your-adult-kids-and-still-save-for-retirement">4 Ways to Help Your Adult Kids and Still Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family babies car seats childcare kids safety strollers Tue, 21 Apr 2015 09:00:05 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1392240 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Miss These 7 Great Tax Deductions for Parents and Caretakers http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-these-7-great-tax-deductions-for-parents-and-caretakers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-miss-these-7-great-tax-deductions-for-parents-and-caretakers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/caretaker_000039736250.jpg" alt="Caretaker discussing tax deductions while at work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>April 15th will forever be synonymous with an-often dreaded American obligation: filing our income taxes. It can, and often is, a tedious process that we put off for as long as possible. As you wade through a sea of W-2s, 1099s, and deduction paperwork, parents and caretakers should be aware of the following deductions and claim them if and when they apply.</p> <h2>1. Home Modifications</h2> <p>Certain health challenges require home modifications, such as making a bathroom accessible or adding ramps in place of stairs. These expensive modifications can often be deducted from your taxes if without them you wouldn't be able to care for your dependents.</p> <h2>2. Basic Living Expenses</h2> <p>Provided that <a href="http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-02-2013/6-tax-tips-for-family-caregivers.html">basic living expenses</a> such as specialized food, housing, and clothing are medically necessary for your dependents, you may be able to take them as deductions. It's important to note that these expenses are not tax-deductible based on personal preferences. They must be substantiated as required expenses by medical professionals. Make sure that you have paperwork in your files that proves this to be the case in the event that you are audited.</p> <h2>3. Health Care</h2> <p>Once health care costs exceed a certain percentage of your income, it can be taken as a deduction. This includes your own personal health care costs, as well as those of your dependents.</p> <p>If you're caring for a loved one who is ill, these costs can be steep, and you should investigate whether they meet the deduction threshold. This includes out-of-pocket costs for hospitalization, copays, medications, dental care, deductibles, ambulances, bandages, eyeglasses, long-term care costs, alternative medicine, adaptors for TVs and telephones for hearing impairment, smoking cessation, weight loss programs, and wigs that compensate for hair loss. Remember, these costs must be medically necessary or caused by a medical condition, and not just a matter of convenience or preference.</p> <h2>4. In-Home Care for the Disabled</h2> <p>If the care of your loved one requires live-in help or a day- or night-time aide, then the cost of that help may be deductible. It depends upon your income, the cost of the care, and your other dependent care expenses. This credit would be bucketed under the &quot;child and dependent care expenses&quot; deductible. This is a very defined term when it comes to taxes, and there are specific <a href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Family/Tax-Tips-for-Caring-for-a-Disabled-Spouse/INF27737.html">disability criteria</a> you must meet to take this deduction.</p> <h2>5. Child Care</h2> <p>If your dependent is under 13 years old and you paid for a daycare center, summer camp, or babysitter, a portion of those costs may be deducted on your taxes. There are stipulations around your employment status, the expenses you incur, and how many children you have that dictate if and how much you may <a href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Family/Deducting-Summer-Camps-and-Daycare-with-the-Child-and-Dependent-Care-Credit/INF22238.html">deduct child care expenses</a>.</p> <h2>6. Student Loan Interest</h2> <p>If you paid interest on the student loans of your dependents, that interest may be tax-deductible. You can take this deduction if your income is below a certain dollar amount, even if you don't itemize your taxes. The IRS provides a complete and thorough explanation of <a href="http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch04.html">student loan interest deductions</a> on its website.</p> <h2>7. Transportation</h2> <p>When you are caring for a loved one, transportation can also be a deductible expense. Like many of the other things listed above, these transportation costs must be medically necessary to serve as deductions.</p> <p>Whenever caregiving is involved, I always encourage people to seek the advice and assistance of a tax professional, such as an accountant. These laws and guidelines are complicated, and in the event that you are audited, it's important to have all of the paperwork to prove and justify these expenses. With the filing deadline less than a month away, now is the time to get everything in order.</p> <p><em>Which deductions for parents or caretakers will you be using?</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/dont-miss-these-7-great-tax-deductions-for-parents-and-caretakers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making">5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law">12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law</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/dont-get-audited-how-your-side-gig-needs-to-handle-taxes">Don&#039;t Get Audited! How Your Side Gig Needs to Handle Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes caregiving childcare deductions dependents disabled healthcare Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:00:11 +0000 Christa Avampato 1356049 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Save Money on Childcare Services http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-money-on-childcare-services <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-money-on-childcare-services" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid-brother-5077643-small.jpg" alt="kid" title="kid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Bread's Best Money</a> Tips Roundup! Today we found some great articles on saving on childcare services, increasing your chances of getting an email response, and making cheap foods taste delicious.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.cheatsheet.com/personal-finance/6-ways-to-save-money-on-child-care-costs.html/">How to Get Child Care Without Breaking the Bank</a> &mdash; Using your child care tax credit and starting your own babysitting co-op can help reduce the amount you spend on child care costs. [Cheat Sheet]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Get-Email-Response-30778830">10 Tips to Up Your Chances of Getting an Email Response</a> &mdash; To get a response via email, be specific and check your writing. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2014/02/18/6-ways-to-make-cheap-foods-taste-delish/">6 Ways to Make Cheap Foods Taste Delicious</a> &mdash; If you want to make cheap foods taste delicious, add sauces or tweak your technique. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.americandebtproject.com/2014/02/how-will-i-know-when-i-have-enough-to-retire/">How Will I Know When I Have Enough To Retire?</a> &mdash; When determining if you have enough to retire, you have to figure out what kind of return you can expect on your money. [American Debt Project]</p> <p><a href="http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id24232-7-questions-that-businesses-rarely-ask-their-customers-anymore.html">7 Questions That Businesses Rarely Ask Their Customers Anymore</a> &mdash; Do you remember the days when department stores had employees operating their elevators? [Len Penzo dot Com]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/need-know-new-myra-retirement-accounts/">What You Need to Know About the New myRA Retirement Accounts</a> &mdash; A myRA account is similar to a Roth IRA in that you can make up to $5,500 per year in post tax contributions. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://kiplinger.com/article/saving/T059-C011-S001-how-to-save-money-in-paris-france.html?si=1">Ways to Save Money in Paris</a> &mdash; If you are traveling to Paris, buying a multiday metro pass and noting free museum days can help you save. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/thinking-cyclically-better-at-saving.html">Can thinking cyclically help you put away more?</a> &mdash; Thinking cyclically can in fact help you save more money! [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/6-reasons-to-really-love-your-pet-as-if-you-needed-them">6 Reasons to Really Love Your Pet (As If You Needed Them)</a> &mdash; Pets can teach you responsibility and can help kids learn to read. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://donnafreedman.com/2014/02/16/gardening-on-a-small-scale/">Gardening on a small scale</a> &mdash; Did you know you can grow zucchini in containers? [Donna Freedman]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-money-on-childcare-services">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/6-thinking-skills-frugal-people-should-master">6 Thinking Skills Frugal People Should Master</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/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</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/getting-by-on-a-lot-less-money-3-ways-its-easier-than-you-think">Getting by on a lot less money: 3 ways it&#039;s easier than you think</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-secrets-of-historys-most-successful-savers">The Secrets of History&#039;s Most Successful Savers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living best money tips childcare saving services Mon, 24 Feb 2014 11:00:43 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1127294 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Saving Money on Childcare http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-saving-money-on-childcare <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-saving-money-on-childcare" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2522498597_647a8fb8af_z-1.jpg" alt="Saving Money on Childcare" title="Saving Money on Childcare" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on saving money on childcare, mistakes new college graduates should avoid, and saving at the movie theater.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://financialhighway.com/tips-for-saving-money-on-childcare/">Tips for Saving Money on Childcare</a> &mdash; To save money on childcare, join a babysitting coop or barter your skills for a couple hours of childcare. [Financial Highway]</p> <p><a href="http://personaldividends.com/six-money-mistakes-new-college-graduates-need-to-avoid/">Six Money Mistakes New College Graduates Need to Avoid</a> &mdash; If you are a new graduate, don't make the mistake of chasing income over experience. [Personal Dividends]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyqanda.com/save-money-at-the-movie-theater/">5 Ways To Save Money At The Movie Theater This Summer</a> &mdash; Save money at the movie theater this summer by buying your tickets in bulk from the movie theater. [Money Q&amp;A]</p> <p><a href="http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com/save-money-tips">10 Easy Money-Saving Ideas Anyone Can Use</a> &mdash; Want to save money? Look into inexpensive ingredient substitutions. [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Ways-Unwind-After-Work-23819042">6 Ways To Unwind After A Long Work Day</a> &mdash; To unwind after a long day at work, go for a walk or write in a journal. [SavvySugar]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.mangomoney.com/blog/financial-empowerment/8-items-that-are-cheaper-during-summer">8 Items That Are Cheaper during Summer</a> &mdash; Did you know that gym memberships and tools are cheaper during the summer? [Mango Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stackthechips.com/6-daring-ways-to-slash-credit-card-debt/">6 Daring Ways To Slash Credit Card Debt</a> &mdash; Get aggressive about slashing your credit card debt by renegotiating with your creditors. [Stack The Chips]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2012/07/03/how-to-save-money-when-paying-for-kids-sports-expenses/">Save Money on Sporting Expenses</a> &mdash; Want to save money on sporting equipment for your kids? Ask a parent with a child one year ahead of yours if they have any equipment they would like to part with. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://deliverawaydebt.com/debt-elimination/the-disease-of-debt-finding-the-cure/">The Disease of Debt - Finding the Cure</a> &mdash; Sometimes it seems like there is a &quot;debt gene&quot; in which generation after generation follows in the path of their parents and succumbs to debt.[Deliver Away Debt]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/summer-water-safety">Beyond the Pool: Summer Water Safety for Lakes and Oceans</a> &mdash; Before you head to the lake or beach this summer, find out whether or not lifeguards will be on duty as well as currents and undertow information. [Parenting Squad]</p> <h2>News &amp; Events</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news/2012/06/wise-bread-tweetchat-wbchat-1">Wise Bread Tweetchat (#WBChat)</a> &mdash; Don't miss our weekly #WBChat at 12pm PST! We will be giving away prizes!</p> <p>Be sure to check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news">News &amp; Events Calendar</a> to see all the awesome upcoming events in the personal finance world!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-saving-money-on-childcare">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/how-to-prepare-your-kids-to-live-on-their-own">How to Prepare Your Kids to Live On Their Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free">20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free</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-things-to-consider-before-becoming-a-stay-at-home-parent">7 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Stay-at-Home Parent</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-babysitting-without-ending-up-on-the-local-news">How to Save on Babysitting Without Ending Up on the Local News</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle babysitting best money tips childcare kids Thu, 05 Jul 2012 10:00:17 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 938936 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Stay-at-Home Parent http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-to-consider-before-becoming-a-stay-at-home-parent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-to-consider-before-becoming-a-stay-at-home-parent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mom_and_kids.jpg" alt="Mom and kids" title="Mom and kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A couple friends have recently cast off the shackles of the working world to embrace the role of stay-at-home parent.</p> <p>Walking away from any full-time salary in this economy is a tough decision. Scores of parents haven't had the luxury of choice because of layoffs, downsizing, and the overall fiscal turmoil.</p> <p>So far, the decision is proving a rewarding one for our friends, but they certainly debated the merits and quality-of-life considerations long before taking the plunge. Here's a look at some of the major fiscal, social, and familial factors they took into account. (See also: <a href="http://parentingsquad.com/why-stay-at-home-dads-are-good-for-families">Why&nbsp;Stay-at-Home Dads Are Good for Families</a> via Parenting Squad)</p> <h2>1. The Single Salary Budget</h2> <p>It's the obvious starting (and possibly ending) point. The most important question surrounding becoming a stay-at-home parent is whether your family can truly afford living on one salary. Before becoming a stay-at-home parent, make sure to adequately plan for the reduction in income. Make sure that your family is able to maintain the same quality of life they are used to while also having adequate income to save for retirement. Honest budgeting and realistic expectations regarding necessities and wants are key.</p> <h2>2. Having a Safety Net</h2> <p>If the employed spouse becomes injured, terminated, or laid off, will your family be able to support itself until your spouse finds work again? Unless your family is able to support itself for six months without a salary, becoming a stay-at-home parent may not be a good option. A sudden job loss could leave your family in a tough financial spot.</p> <h2>3. Adequate Communication</h2> <p>While one parent is working and the other is staying at home, it is very easy for resentment to build between spouses. One or both may feel taken advantage of, and it is often common for the stay-at-home spouse to feel neglected. Before you decide to stay-at-home, it's a good idea to thoroughly discuss how you will manage the change and how you plan on keeping the lines of communication open. Also plan to make several changes to accommodate the different schedules and remain flexible.</p> <h2>4. Actual Savings</h2> <p>While you may be saving money on child care and gas by choosing to stay at home with the kids, you may spend more money on utilities, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today">food</a>, and activities. Trying to entertain children at home may also prove to be more expensive as you may have to purchase new toys or plan for daily outside activities. Actually sit down and calculate the current expenses you have at the office and those you can expect to have while staying at home.</p> <h2>5. Social Outlets</h2> <p>Staying at home instead of going to the office can bring about strong feelings of isolation and lacking social connections. Before becoming a stay-at-home parent, make plans for maintaining an adequate social life. Also keep in mind that having to create a social life outside of the office can be more expensive. Instead of being able to have lunches in the meeting room with coworkers to fulfill social needs, you may now have to enroll in enrichment activities or plan to eat out more.</p> <h2>6. Career Prospects</h2> <p>While most parents choose to become stay-at-home parents during their childen's younger years, many desire to return to the working world once their children are older. Being out of the workforce for numerous years can decrease the likelihood of securing a job in the future, and parents who choose to stay home need to consider whether they would be comfortable about being in a lower position or not obtaining one at all in the future.</p> <h2>7. The Effects on Children</h2> <p>While many parents believe that staying at home with their children can be more beneficial for their children, it can actually be detrimental. Day care provides children with a great way to learn to be social and how to function well in group settings. When children are kept at home, they can be deprived of socialization unless a parent sets up frequent social experiences such as play dates or trips to the park.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-to-consider-before-becoming-a-stay-at-home-parent">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/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/how-to-prepare-your-kids-to-live-on-their-own">How to Prepare Your Kids to Live On Their Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-lessons-frugal-parents-teach-their-children">7 Important Lessons Frugal Parents Teach Their Children</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle childcare stay at home parent Thu, 08 Sep 2011 09:48:23 +0000 Chris Birk 698101 at http://www.wisebread.com Nanny Sharing: Lowering the Cost of Personal Childcare http://www.wisebread.com/nanny-sharing-lowering-the-cost-of-personal-childcare <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/nanny-sharing-lowering-the-cost-of-personal-childcare" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy baby.jpg" alt="Happy baby" title="Happy baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="189" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having a baby is awesome, but it's also expensive. So when M and I started researching day-care centers and nannies, we realized that we needed a different option &mdash; a cheaper one.&nbsp;A friend of ours had mentioned nanny sharing, which turned out to be the best option for us.</p> <h2>What is Nanny Sharing?</h2> <p>In a nanny share, you hire one nanny to watch two babies. You join together with another family to find a nanny you both like, and then you share her services.&nbsp;The nanny gets paid a little more (but not double) to watch two babies instead of one, and the two families get to split the cost.</p> <p>That's the gist of nanny sharing, but how do you know if it's right for you?</p> <h2>Benefits of Nanny Sharing</h2> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Cost is one of the biggest advantages of nanny sharing. Depending on where you live, nannies charge around $12&ndash;$13 an hour to take care of one baby. Nanny sharing, on the other hand, only bumps the price up to around $15&ndash;$16 an hour. So if you split that halfway, each family is looking at a total cost of around $8/hour. That kind of savings can mean the difference between <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-afford-to-have-a-baby">being able to afford a baby</a> and not being able to.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>One-on-One Time:</strong> When you're a new parent, you always imagine the worst when it comes to day-care centers. You picture your baby sitting in a stinky diaper in the corner by herself, ignored for hours. In a nanny share, instead of being in a day care with a bunch of other babies, you'll have one person splitting his or her attention between two babies. That's as close as you can get to one-on-one...without the cost.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Socializing:</strong> The big upside to a day care is that there are always a bunch of people hanging around: babies to play and socialize with, adults to get accustomed to, etc. It's a microcosm of the real world, and the sooner babies get used to it, the better (germs and all). If you have your own nanny, the baby won't have as much socializing, especially in the winter when going to parks and the zoo is miserable. But in a nanny share, your baby sees another adult and baby every day, which is a start.</p> <h2>Downsides to Nanny Sharing</h2> <p><strong>Multiple Routines: </strong>It's harder to have one routine that you do every day. When it's your turn to host, it's awesome because you don't have to do anything but wait for the nanny to show up, and then you can go to work. But when it's the other couple's turn, things change. So you actually have to have two separate, alternate routines.</p> <p><strong>Inconvenience:</strong> Nanny sharing is great for the days where it's at your house, but when you have to take them somewhere else, it's not as nice. Also, if your nanny gets sick or something like that, it's not like a day care where you can just keep dropping her off and someone will be there to pick up the slack.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Complications and Compromises: </strong>You can't tell your nanny you want things done this or that way without first consulting with the other family. It's a partnership, so if you're a very bossy person who wants things your way, nanny sharing may not be for you. You're both paying her, so you need to reach a consensus on stuff like schedules, taking the babies out, etc.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Is Nanny Sharing for You?</h2> <p>Nanny sharing isn't for everyone.&nbsp;But for couples looking to save a little bit of money on day-care expenses that also want some of the conveniences of having a nanny, it might be the right fit.&nbsp;How do you know if nanny sharing is a good option for you?</p> <ul> <li>You're flexible</li> <li>You don't mind sharing (duh)</li> <li>You have good communication skills</li> <li>You have an open mind about parenting styles</li> </ul> <p>Do your homework, talk to other couples who have done it, and ask questions: You may find nanny sharing is right up your alley.</p> <p>M and I did it mainly for the money we'd be saving, but were lucky enough that our personalities are flexible and we found a great family to nanny share with. It's been a great experience.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nanny-sharing-lowering-the-cost-of-personal-childcare">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/how-to-successfully-negotiate-everything-with-your-kid">How to Successfully Negotiate Everything With Your Kid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom">10 Budget Design Ideas for a Kids&#039; Playroom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-granny-pod-may-be-the-smartest-way-to-care-for-an-elderly-parent">A Granny Pod May Be the Smartest Way to Care for an Elderly Parent</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-big-family-survives-in-a-home-with-one-bathroom">How a Big Family Survives in a Home With One Bathroom</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-best-10-items-to-borrow">The Best 10 Items to Borrow</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Home childcare finances of parenting sharing Wed, 12 Jan 2011 13:00:09 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 442969 at http://www.wisebread.com My Poverty-Fighting Superheroes http://www.wisebread.com/my-poverty-fighting-superheroes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-poverty-fighting-superheroes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/flash superhero.jpg" alt="interviewer with flash superhero" title="interviewer with flash superhero" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="175" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You never know -- your mild-mannered neighbor, co-worker, or long-time buddy may be a hero in the battle against poverty. He might prepare meals for the homeless; she might tutor at-risk kids. I have lots of poverty-fighting heroes but there are a few who stand out because of their fanaticism, contrarianism, or perseverance. Here are their stories in honor of Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty. </p> <h4>Nita unmasks evil sales messages disguised as financial advice.</h4> <p>She wielded her expertise to fight financial illiteracy and empower citizens to make good financial decisions. With a doctorate in Financial Education (Ed.D.), Nita ran a one-person, government-funded <a href="http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/" title="http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/ ">Money Management Center</a> that educated community members on personal finance topics. She shared her expertise through private counseling sessions, newsletters, workshops, in-school programs, and television segments. <p>I met Nita at a speaking engagement and later became a member of her advisory board. At one of the board meetings, I met a church pastor who expressed concern about predatory business practices that affected members of his congregation; at the time, he was complaining about <a href="http://doj.nh.gov/consumer/sourcebook/rent_own.html" title="http://doj.nh.gov/consumer/sourcebook/rent_own.html">rent-to-own agreements</a> that required payments well beyond the original purchase price. Such practices, along with unawareness regarding other purchase options, he believed, were one element in preventing the poor from acquiring wealth. But it is not just the financially naïve who need guidance; Nita helped those who were reasonably savvy (me, for example as I have a BSBA-Concentration in Finance) break down the elements of financial matters and make good decisions. </p> <p><em>Sadly, Nita’s position was eliminated several years ago because of budget cuts.</em> </p> <h4>Debbie smashes inaction.</h4> <p>Debbie is a member of a non-profit, all-volunteer service club of about 20 people who provide support to those with communicative disorders. Members of the group, along with sister chapters, spend a lot of hours raising money (yard sales, spaghetti dinners, bowl-a-thons, ballgame concessions) to fund yearly programs such as one-on-one summertime speech therapy for children receiving group therapy during the school year and a week of traditional camp for children who are deaf or have deaf parents or siblings. </p> <p>So, when random individuals surface with requests of $500 to $1,500 for a hearing aid repair bill or a technology-driven communication device, there is an inevitable hesitation to immediately write a check. Questions about whether government sources of funds have been exhausted are tossed around. But Debbie, <strong><em>who is aware of bureaucratic hurdles and the dangers of long wait-times</em></strong>, urges prompt action so that, for example, the hard of hearing young adult can understand his boss and family (with his now-working hearing aid), and the autistic child (with a special device) can communicate with his teacher and parents as soon as possible.  <br /> <h4>Dean concocts scheme, leverages compassion. </h4> <p>Dean was the mastermind behind an assistance organization that started as a brainstorming session during his Sunday school class and became a long-standing crisis resource for residents of his small town. The organization provides grocery items and money to clients on a one-time or limited-time basis. Though information on each client is recorded, a lengthy interview and intake process is not involved. With immediate needs met, clients can more intentionally deal with problems that the crisis (such as a family member’s death, job loss, or house fire) created. Through quick action, his group helps to prevent escalating problems. <p>The group is now a coalition of more than 10 churches and receives regular support from community members and groups such as the scouts, who organize an annual collection for the pantry. </p> <h4>Linda fights for good nutrition for all. </h4> <p>Linda is an RN who teaches childbirth and nutrition classes to expectant parents in her spare time. She’ll urge any pregnant woman to look into <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/aboutwic/howwichelps.htm#other" title="http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/aboutwic/howwichelps.htm#other">WIC</a> (Women, Infants, and Children), making no assumptions about the eligibility of her audience but rather emphasizing the value of good nutrition and its accessibility for everyone (USA program). <br /> <br /> <h4>Patricia and Sarah lift large obstacles to work. </h4> <p>Patricia is the Executive Director and Sarah is the Director of Support Services of an inner-city child development center that serves low-income families. Access to high quality, affordable childcare is a major obstacle to work for many parents and, more recently, <a href="http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/home_family/grandparents.html" title="http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/home_family/grandparents.html">grandparents</a>. By offering scholarships and sliding scale tuition rates, weekly fees are affordable. Patricia and Sarah are aided by a host of donors throughout the community as well as <a href="/250-miles-with-sarge-lessons-on-loyalty-perseverance-and-more" title="http://www.wisebread.com/250-miles-with-sarge-lessons-on-loyalty-perseverance-and-more">cyclists</a> who participate in the agency&#39;s annual charity ride. </p> <p>Want to help alleviate the causes of poverty or suffering caused by poverty? Here are a few programs that have gotten my attention recently: </p> <ul> <li><a href="http://bikesfortheworld.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=28&amp;Itemid=72" title="http://bikesfortheworld.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=28&amp;Itemid=72">Bikes for the World</a> (donate bikes to the poor in developing countries or the Metro DC area, where the non-profit agency is located)</li> <li><a href="http://www.cropwalk.org/index.html" title="http://www.cropwalk.org/index.html">Crop Hunger Walk</a> (walk and raise money or sponsor a walker to raise funds for local and global hunger-fighting agencies)</li> <li><a href="http://trainforhumanity.org/sponsor-us/sponsor-leo-babauta/" title="http://trainforhumanity.org/sponsor-us/sponsor-leo-babauta/">Train for Humanity</a> (sponsor Leo or others to benefit Darfur Peace and Development Organization)</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a href="http://blogactionday.org"><img src="http://blogactionday.org/img/aa53dac568913bd4c9952d83f5a8a5e46c6b1ba7.jpg" width="88" height="31" /></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-poverty-fighting-superheroes">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/how-to-financially-educate-your-children">How to Financially Educate Your Children</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-less-awkward-ways-to-ask-a-friend-for-your-money-back">10 Less Awkward Ways to Ask a Friend for Your Money 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/7-clever-tricks-to-make-your-new-years-resolution-stick">7 Clever Tricks to Make Your New Year&#039;s Resolution Stick</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/solve-problems-study-and-brainstorm-using-mind-maps">Solve Problems, Study, and Brainstorm using Mind Maps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks childcare financial education obstacles to work war on poverty WIC Wed, 15 Oct 2008 12:27:47 +0000 Julie Rains 2516 at http://www.wisebread.com Making Do With Help From Mom And Dad http://www.wisebread.com/making-do-with-help-from-mom-and-dad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/making-do-with-help-from-mom-and-dad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parenting flower to child.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="181" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ever wonder how the person with about the same salary as you lives in a fully furnished apartment, enjoys Caribbean vacations, and is setting aside money for retirement while you share space with an ever-changing roster of roommates, are hoping for a weekend stay at the beach, and are still paying off student loans?</p> <p>It may be that your coworker, friend, or acquaintance is deeply in debt but it may be <em>just as likely</em> that help from Mom and Dad has moved this person from just making it to living well with few money worries. By my calculations, contributions for college expenses, transportation, childcare, vacation rentals, and weekly dinners could add up to over $400,000 to an adult child’s net worth by the time he or she is 35 years old. </p> <p>I have long considered the advantages of wealthy families but after reading Linsey’s post on <a href="/should-you-be-ashamed-to-be-on-public-assistance" title="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-be-ashamed-to-be-on-public-assistance">growing up poor and receiving public assistance</a>, I started thinking about the financial benefits of having middle-class parents.</p> <p><strong>College Expenses</strong></p> <p>In today’s numbers, my parents&#39; funding of my public university education put me ahead of my indebted peers. For example, if I invested $7,732 per year rather than pay off $60,000 in student loans at 4.9% over 10 years and earned 10% per year, I could have a $218,000 nest egg by 35.</p> <p><strong>Cars</strong></p> <p>Many of my friends had cars before graduation day, wholly or partially funded by their parents. I borrowed my parent’s car to go to job interviews and rode my bike nearly everywhere else. </p> <p>When I did receive an offer for a real job, it was dependent on my having reliable transportation to and from work in a small town with no public transportation (I checked “yes” for transportation on the application with plans to purchase a car). Getting a loan wasn’t quite the snap I expected. My employer, a regional bank who signed me on as a financial analyst, wouldn’t lend me the money to buy the car (the credit department operated separately from human resources).</p> <p>I thought that my parents could help me with the down payment. But after paying for 3 college educations and funding 2 weddings within 10 years, my parents didn’t have extra cash by the time I, the youngest, finished college. I had saved $500, which helped.  </p> <p>My parents did have a relationship with a bank, where I encountered a loan officer who empathized with my predicament. She made the loan with my dad as a co-signer. His credit and my savings gave me the start that I needed. </p> <p>If my parents had given me a $20,000 car on or just before graduation (again in today’s dollars), I could have invested my car payment (annual cost of $4,735 based on 5.9% interest rate over 5 years with 10% investment return) and increased my net worth by over $82,000 at age 35. </p> <p><strong>Housing</strong></p> <p>With my new car, I was ready to start my new job. I didn’t have enough money for a security deposit on an apartment or rental house but that didn’t matter. My relocation package allowed 30 days in a hotel, so I saved my first couple of paychecks to fund my launch into the real world. Housing costs in this area were relatively low and I found a roommate at work so my upfront cash needs were minimal. </p> <p>Contrast my situation with that of a co-worker’s. Her parents didn’t want her to waste dollars on rent so they gave her money for a down payment on a house. Though I can’t recall the details, she may have been able to rent space to a roommate, further elevating her financial status. </p> <p>Still, her parent’s decision, though sensible, didn’t strike me as particularly wise. We lived in a small town with inexpensive, though limited, apartments and houses for rent. Real estate prices weren’t rising very fast – in fact, they were stagnating due to high interest rates.</p> <p>I wish I could say that the gift had thwarted my co-worker’s self-reliance but I don’t think it did. Still, her homeownership made her separate from the rest of us. Did it rob her of the sense of satisfaction of succeeding on her own? Maybe, it did. But, more importantly, she may not have learned how to live with less comfort and more creativity. </p> <p>Here are some things I remember from my close-to-the-financial-cliff days: </p> <p><strong><em>Fun</em></strong></p> <ul> <li>Near-weekly hiking trips in the Blue Ridge Mountains</li> <li>Impromptu parties</li> <li>15 people in a beach house rented from a friend of a friend because we were too young (under 25) to rent from a property management company </li> </ul> <p><strong><em>Finance</em></strong></p> <ul> <li>Light bulbs going off in my and my friends&#39; collective 20something brains that paying the minimum payment on credit cards would keep us indebted for years</li> <li>Thrill of cable television at <em>someone else’s house</em></li> <li>Realization that savings was better than furniture<br /> </li> </ul> <p>Wisdom and social interaction aside, my colleague&#39;s net worth may not have been boosted much by her parent’s generosity. Though $80,000 could have gotten her in a 3 bedroom-2 bath home in our town in the early 80s, interest rates were double-digit (10-13%) so that her monthly payments were likely over $500 and even with a roommate paying $100-200 per month, she could have paid less to live in an apartment (during this time, I paid $112.50-$150.00 for my share of an apartment in the boonies and then a rental house in town; note: small-town living is not exciting but can be very inexpensive). If my co-worker had pocketed and then invested the proceeds from the sale of her home in an amount equal to the down payment (after our employer had been sold to an out-of-town company), she’d be about $45,000 richer at age 35. </p> <p><strong>Gifts of Cash, Stock, and Furniture</strong> <br />Since then, my husband and I have received some gifts from our parents: a loan from his parents to help us through a cash flow crunch right before we bought our first house; college funds for my sons and some furniture from my parents after my mom received an inheritance; and two gifts of cash and stock from his parents. Combined, the gifts total about $18,000 over 20 years. And, if I needed more, I had quick access to support. </p> <p><strong>Financially Self-Made?</strong><br />You may be thinking that, having paid your way through college, establishing your own credit (something I should have done in college), saving for your first house, and never taking a dollar from your parents that you are financially self-made. But there are other ways that Mom and Dad may have helped or are still helping. </p> <p>Consider the value of services that they may provide (estimates): </p> <p><strong>Services</strong></p> <ul> <li>Childcare: $150/week for 52 weeks=$7,800 per year starting at age 28; by age 35, your net worth boost is over $47,000 per child. </li> <li>Sunday dinner: $25/week (considering family members and friends that you may bring along) for 52 weeks=$1,300 per year starting at age 21; by 35, you’re ahead by $45,000. </li> <li>Room and board: $900/month for 12 months each year should cover housing, utility, and some food costs; live at home for 5 years beginning at age 21 and you are $171,000 richer by 35. </li> <li>Vacation home rental: $2,000/year for 9 years beginning at age 24 lets you grow your nest egg by $39,000. </li> </ul> <p>They may also offer you used, big-ticket items such as cars and furniture, or they might make payments on your behalf for your children’s preschool tuition, private school tuition, and college fund. Ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars, these gifts may allow you to reduce your spending and save for the future. </p> <p>What should you do with this information? Here are some ideas:</p> <ul> <li>Thank your parents.</li> <li>Refuse gifts if you think that your parents may not be able to afford them without sacrificing their futures (you’ll have longer to earn and watch your investments grow).</li> <li>Realize that the financial playing field isn’t level. </li> <li>Help someone else who is just getting started. For example, I served as a credit reference to the utility company for the first cousin of a friend who had since relocated, letting the cousin (who I talked to once on the phone) get wired with no cash outlay. </li> </ul> <p>Some of you may have been completely on your own at 18 years or less but many of us have had help of <em>some kind</em> until 21 years or more. I don&#39;t have a trust fund but I see now that I started real life with an advantage. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-do-with-help-from-mom-and-dad">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/learn-good-financial-habits-from-your-parents-or-not">Learn good financial habits from your parents. Or not.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-places-to-stash-cash-in-your-home">The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash in Your 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/4-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-past-presidents">4 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Past Presidents</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/15-smart-things-you-can-do-with-your-finances-even-if-youre-broke">15 Smart Things You Can Do With Your Finances, Even if You&#039;re 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/how-to-build-financial-stability-after-divorce">How to Build Financial Stability After Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance childcare college expenses middle-class parents Fri, 29 Feb 2008 01:54:19 +0000 Julie Rains 1861 at http://www.wisebread.com