Children Change Financial Outlook

Children Change Financial Outlook

Personal financial management presents plenty of obstacles, in its own right, but adding children drastically changes household finances. As a result, moms and dads are typically eager to save money wherever they can. Fortunately, cash-strapped families continue to devise effective solutions to monetary issues tied to child-rearing.

Regardless of the ages of your children, saving money on the cost of kids contributes to financial stability and frees-up resources for other household expenses. If you have experience raising children, however, you’re familiar with the unending spending cycle kids generate. Is it possible to slow this call for cash?

You are not alone in your quest for frugal family solutions, so it pays to use others’ experience to your advantage. The following money saving tips represents a few of the proven tactics parents lean-on to make ends meet.

Entertaining Kids Doesn’t call for Major Investment

There is no way around the fact goods and services cost money. Kids have a unique perspective about entertainment, however, because each new experience adds to their frame of reference – regardless of its price. As a result, children are eager to participate in all kinds of low-budget activities. By committing to this frugal standard, your creative thinking is the bridge to endless family enjoyment, without wiping-out your entertainment budget.

Free Attractions – More than a specific takeaway from a particular outing, kids want your time and attention. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, use their curiosity to keep them entertained. Remember, there are countless parents in your area working toward the same goals, so free attractions are made available by municipalities and local organizations committed to parenting. Reading events at the library, parades, and summer recreation programs are just a few of the worthy distractions put-forth to keep kids entertained – at little or no cost.

Get Outdoors – Parks and other outdoor spaces are perfect stretching grounds for kids on the move. Make an event out of each trip, to get kids on-board the excursions. Depending upon where you live, parks within reach may be equipped with slides, swings, giant sand boxes and other outdoor diversions unavailable at home. If possible, arrange playdates at local parks, bringing you together with like-minded moms and dads.

Finding a Path to Home Ownership

Parents naturally seek to provide the best possible outcomes for their kids, including living conditions that help them succeed. Home ownership furnishes an important building block for financial security, as well as consistency for school-age kids. To deliver this stability, growing families often prioritize home-buying as a near term financial goal.

Credit Concerns – Your primary concern preparing for home ownership is your strength of credit. Loans are available for those without adequate credit references – review them here – but for a home purchase, you’ll need substantial financing. Evaluating credit status up-front helps manage your expectations, and gives you a number to work with, as you compare homes. Loan pre-approval also provides an advantage in today’s real estate market, enabling you to move quickly when a suitable home is found.

Savings Strategies – The best way to save money for a home purchase is sequestering funds specifically for that purpose. Once mingled with household cash flow, the money will likely go toward day to day spending, rather than building for a down payment. To start accumulating a sizable deposit, first run your budget number to determine how much you can afford to set-aside, and then establish a separate bank account in which to deposit your home fund. Set saving goals and do your best to keep the money off-limits for anything other than a new house.

Networking with Other Parents Yields Savings

Other parents’ experience shortens your learning curve, so their input should be welcomed. To benefit from other moms and dads know-how, network with parents in your area. Not only will it shed insight, but keeping in touch with other families can save you money.

Second Hand Cycle Serves Frugal Parents – Kids clothes and furnishings are expensive, so pre-owned savings furnish financial relief for parents. Staying in-touch with others in the same boat creates contacts for buying, selling and trading second-hand furniture, clothes and other kids’ accessories.

Babysitters and Other Benefits – Having walked in your shoes, experienced parents have made valuable contacts. Babysitter referrals from trusted sources are a goldmine for moms and dads without a solid corps of watchful sitters. And this vital information is not the only assistance networking brings, you can also glean valuable knowledge about entertaining, feeding, and caring for kids, on a budget.

Great childcare money tip for moms: returns to cover costs

Great childcare money tip for moms: returns to cover costs

Right now the cost of childcare around the U.S. is rivaling the cost of college tuition. Under these new standards parents would have to start saving for childcare years before the kids are even a twinkle in in their eyes. Check out some of the following guidelines including using some of your tax return to drive down costs.

Compare costs in your area

Cost of day care and more specifically infant care can be very expensive depending on which city in the United States you are located. Check out Childcare Aware’s map of childcare costs across the country to evaluate and compare costs in your area. Even when daycare in your area is affordable – dual working parents, single parents, and especially healthcare workers with night shifts often find daycare is not flexible enough to work with their more complicated schedules.

A Growing family will double or triples costs

Every time parents decide to have another child they also naturally decide to double the price of childcare for their family. After two, three and four or more children, childcare can be pretty pricey. In the case of a daycare costs for example wouldjump from $1,000 a month to $2,000 or $3,000 a month with the addition of more children. Unlike every other form of childcare, however an Au Pair will cost the same no matter how many children a family has.

Au Pairs more affordable than most nannies

While Au Pairs can often be the more affordable childcare choice, the upfront costs of getting the Au Pair into the United States is always more expensive. When families use their tax return for the upfront costs, the only thing they have to worry about after that is the $7.85 an hour to pay the Au Pair for their 45 hours of live in childcare. The Au Pair can do the kids laundry and make their meals and work the more complicated childcare shifts, like evenings and weekends.

After researching costs of childcare in your area, and averaging out costs per child, parents may want to consider putting your tax return towards an Au Pair to get a jump start on their childcare, so they can save for the next more expensive piece to having children: college tuition. Families who have used Au Pairs have been pleasantly surprised how affordable Au Pair childcare is in comparison to daycare or nannies.

Several Ways to Save $10,000 in 2016

Several Ways to Save $10,000 in 2016

If you found yourself with $10,000, what would you do with? It might be something that you have thought about before or not. Yes, it may be fun to spend this money, but wouldn’t it be better to save it for financial security and peace of mind? You bet. Unfortunately, some people would think of ways to spend it on a fabulous day at the spa, a vacation trip, shopping spree and you name it. Some with more wisdom would probably use some of it to pay down debt and build up their emergency fund.

Take Baby Steps

To save $10,000 in the year 2016 (current year), you should take baby steps. You can start by putting away a $100 at a time. Set a short term goal to see how much you can afford to save each week to reach the $10,000 mark at the end of the year. Calculate your income and expenses to see how much money you would have left over and use that amount to put in your savings account.

The Extra Money

However, before you put away in your savings, use some of the extra money to pay down some of your debt. After doing this, you should consider putting away some of the extra money to cover up to six months of bills, in case an emergency occurs such as loss of employment, serious illness or accident.

The Goal Realized

$10,000 saved for the year is a major goal to consider, but it is attainable. You just have to do some financial planning smartly, creating a specific budget and sticking to it. Keep track of your spending and try not to spend money on impulse. Yes, you have to be disciplined, if you want to meet this goal.

Begin with Wisdom

If you are unable to achieve this on your own, you should seek professional help from a financial advisor and/or planner. That is the first step toward wisdom. If you already have one thousand dollars put away, you already know how to save. Saving money is the wisest thing to do when you realize that unexpected situations can occur. It will bring you a sense of relief to know that if your pet needs to go to the vet or your car needs to be repaired, you can afford it. The last thing you want to do is to dip into your emergency fund, but if that is all you can do, at least you have that option.

Serious Budgeting

Have a sit down with your family members to discuss budgeting and the things that the family will have to cut back on. Determine what you will cut out of the grocery list – things needed and not the things wanted. If your budget is flexible, it gives you more traction to save. If there is another income earner in the household, it makes it easier to budget and save. The additional income gives you an edge to save more. Along with budgeting, the extra income can free up some more money for you to save.

Freeze Spending

Freeze your spending. Don’t make any major purchases for the year. You have to be disciplined with this, though. Let someone in the family know of your goal and they will make you accountable. If you are accustomed to going to the hairdresser or nail tech every two weeks, change it to once per month. To save even more, you can do your nails and hair at home or use the expertise of a family member or friend.

There are other ways to save money such as spending less at the grocery store, taking on a second job to earn more, or working more hours.


Buying Clothes For Moms On A Budget

Buying Clothes For Moms On A Budget

Just because you want to save money and ease up on your spending doesn’t mean you have to give up your love for fashion. There are still ways to save money and stay in style. Buying clothes you need and want shouldn’t break your bank. Since kids grow out of their clothes faster than you can buy them. It seems so silly to waste money on expensive clothes that they may ruin or will hardly ever wear. And just because you are a mom doesn’t mean you have to neglect your wardrobe either there are ways to have your cake and eat it too. We will provide you with some thrifty ideas that will save you money and have your family looking great!


There is nothing wrong with wanting to buy new clothing. But to be perfectly honest I never pay full price for anything. I enjoy wearing fun fashionable items but I do not want to fork out the money they are asking for. What I do is always stick with sale items. Just dodge all the clothing in front of the store and head for the back. A wise woman once passed on this piece of information and it has saved me a lot of money. Look for the clearance racks they are usually filled with items you may want or need. You can find yourself purchasing more items for less. The same rules apply for kids clothing as well. And if you’re worried about getting their holiday outfits, you save the most amount of money buying right after the holidays. That way you are already prepared for next year’s holiday season. Shopping off season is where it’s at.  And do not go shopping without those coupons. They are there for a reason. Think about buying a Calvin Klein winter coat on sale and having a coupon, for me that was a 60% savings off the original price.  


Now that you know where in the stores to shop know that it’s also important to shop smart. Shop for clothing that can be used year long. For boys clothing limit the amount of long sleeves you have to buy each year by utilizing tee shirts. Buy neutral thermal long sleeves the little guy can wear under his tees all year long. Dresses can be worn with leggings all year long. Purchase staple items that can be mixed and matched. That way you can enjoy your favorite clothing more.


Check out consignment stores. Bring your gently used clothing and swap out for cash or new used clothing you need. It is astonishing at how much you can save. There are some stores that may not carry what you need but will allow you to cash out for the items you brought. Since it’s clothing you were already getting rid of it will be worth the amount of money you will receive. There are even kids only consignment stores, which will save you probably hundreds of dollars.  


Thrift stores are a hidden treasure. It may take some time digging through clothes but you can even find designer clothing for cheap. As long as it looks like it’s in good condition why not. No one has to know that you bought it from a thrift store or will care. You will probably even get compliments on your frugal finds.


Hand-me-downs are a godsend. You usually know where the clothes are coming from so that will put you at ease and they are free. People love to give their kids clothes to someone that can and will use them.


So get over the thought of having to have something brand new. It’s not budget friendly. And if you prefer something new then shop smart. It’s not worth it to buy clothing at full price when there are so many other pocket friendly options.


Real World Skills To Teach Your Kids

Real World Skills To Teach Your Kids

It’s not enough for kids to have a good education. It is important but not everything they need to become adults in the real world. Provide your children with the tools to succeed in life. Kids need to learn the skills necessary to succeed in life. How to get ahead with finances, changing a tire, budgeting, and the list is endless. So many things you as a parent can do to help provide your children with the necessary skills to survive. You cannot get by with grammar and math alone. You need everyday skills that schools will not teach you. As an adult some skills we possess now we had to learn the hard way. Through trial and error. That’s not always a bad thing we all discover things that way but some things could have been avoided if we had the knowledge beforehand.


Starting Early

You can start early and instill these skills into your kids and lead by example. Sure you have probably already shown your children how to make the bed, how you throw out the, brushing teeth, and know addresses and phone numbers. It’s not just about showing them how to do it. Involve your kids. Let them help you do everyday things so it becomes natural for them to do. Starting around preschool and maybe even before depending on your child. You can start having them help you do things. It would be much faster if you could do them yourself but it’s not enough to just show them and expect them to know. Here is a list of things you can do with your child at preschool age:

  • Picking up toys
  • Water the plants
  • Learn how to reach emergency services
  • Have a fire escape plan and practice
  • Make the bed
  • Wash Hands and Face
  • Learn Address and Phone Numbers
  • Teach how to swim
  • Brushing Hair
  • Cleaning up messes


Elementary School Age

  • Vacuum
  • Basic First Aid
  • Count and Make Change
  • How to Manage and use an allowance
  • Practice Typing
  • Use the library
  • Ride a bus


Middle School Age

  • Load Dishwasher and wash dishes
  • Do laundry
  • Read a Map
  • Shop for clothes and toiletries
  • Make a bank deposit
  • Plan a Party
  • Operate a cell phone
  • Manage Allowance


High School

  • Cook Dinner
  • Change a tire and fill with air
  • Make a budget
  • Making Appointments (doctor, hair, etc)
  • Teach how to grocery shop
  • Pump gas
  • Write Checks
  • What to do and what not to do with a credit card


This basic list is just to help you as a parent to start thinking of what you can teach your child. Get creative and think of things you had to learn on your own that if you were taught it could have made your life easier. Give them a headstart with the basic skills. Get creative and think of other ways you can teach your child how to survive.

Knowing How to Save as a Single Mother

Knowing How to Save as a Single Mother

If you are a single mother, you may have to juggle your finances since your child or children will depend on you to cover for two incomes that should be in the household – from a father and a mother. As a single mother, it is quite difficult to run a household exclusively with car payment, rent or mortgage, utilities, food and school expenses to take care of. It can be very challenging. With all the expenses, how can a single mother be able to save?

Watch Your Spending

Saving as a single mother is possible, but you have to watch the household spending for each month and set a budget, listing your monthly income and your monthly expenses. This will give you a better idea of the funds coming into the household and the funds going out.

Make a List

Once you make a written list of these expenses and income, choose the three that are the largest expenses. Usually, this could be the rent or the mortgage, auto payment and groceries. If you are paying a heavy mortgage, you may want to consider selling your home and purchasing something with less expense or renting an apartment at a lower monthly cost. If your car payment is high, you may want to also consider selling your vehicle and taking the bus instead. Remember that an automobile requires regular maintenance and gas every week. Your primary goal is to reduce your expenses as much as possible, no matter if you have to give up some of the conveniences that you are accustomed to.

Some Advice

If you were to move to a more affordable location such as an older apartment building, you may find that the rent is much less. Walk instead of driving when you can. If you have to work a second job or overtime, use some of the extra funds to put into a bank account. You could also use some of the extra money to pay down your debt so you can free up some of your money.

Eating Out

Instead of eating lunch every day at a restaurant, cook from home or make a quick sandwich to take to work. You can save so much money doing this one thing. Eating out adds so much to your expenses and it can be avoided. If you take your kids to the fast food restaurant more than twice per week, cut back on this. If you don’t know how to cook, invest in a cookbook or borrow one from the library. You will be amazed at how much money this can save you. Stop buying coffee every morning on your way to work or reduce it to just once per week. Make coffee from home and take with you each morning.

Cut Coupons

Nothing is wrong with cutting coupons to shop for groceries. Many single mothers have to resort to this. It might take some work to do this, but it will be worth it in the long run. Have the kids help you, if they are of the age to do so.

These are only some of the simple ways to cut costs as a single mother. Be creative and let the idea of having a saving account become your motivation. Commit to saving and you will be able to do it.

4 Way To Save Money As A Full Time Mom Or Dad

4 Way To Save Money As A Full Time Mom Or Dad

Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs out there, but for all the hard work, it doesn’t exactly bring in the cash. Being a stay-at-home parent doesn’t mean that you have to let financial stresses get to you, though. Whether you’re a full time mom, dad, or any other type of guardian, there are easy ways you can build a bit of savings without having to take time or attention away from your kids or other priorities.

Sell Some Stuff

Here’s the beauty of a garage sale – it lets you clean out your home of all the stuff you’ve accumulated and nets you some cash on the side. If you’re a full-time parent, though, the thought of getting up even earlier than you already do and doing a lot of heavy lifting at the crack of dawn only to go back in and do it all again for the kids probably isn’t an appealing idea. So instead, take the garage sale concept and move it online.

Selling your old stuff through online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist are great ways to make some cash while decluttering, with the added benefit of being able to sleep in. It’s not just about big ticket items. Parents are always looking for affordable deals for school books, clothing and toys kids will grow out of quickly. If you’ve got clothes that don’t fit your kid anymore, you’ve got a tiny gold mine.

Rent Out Extra Space

You might not have extra space in the house, but did you know you can rent out your garage, driveway, or even parcels of your backyard? If you live in a city or near a transportation or office hub, places to park are at a premium. Renting out your garage or driveway is a great way to earn regular cash with little effort.

Renting a small parcel of land for something like gardening is also an option – just be sure to have very clear terms about what can and cannot be done on your land, and have it all in writing. This can help you prevent the planting of anything detrimental to your family and pets, or otherwise against the law.

Take An At Home Job

If you have a bit more time when the kids are in school, an at-home part-time job might be the way to go. You won’t be giving up any time with your family, and you’ll still be right there when you need them, but working as a virtual assistant, content writer, tutor, designer, or whatever else your interest might be comes with the benefit of being able to challenge yourself and do something that you enjoy while still being available as a parent. Be sure to do a bit of research to make sure the person or company for whom you work is on the up and up, but if you find a position you like, there’s no reason you can’t have a career at home.

Do Some Daycare

If you’ve got a kid, odds are they have friends. At least some of those friends probably need watching at least some of the time. Doing a bit of daycare lets you make cash just by watching other kids along with your own. You’re essentially making money for doing what you do every day, but on a larger scale. You can do it as much or as little as you desire, and of course you can pick your own clients. It’s the easiest way to parlay your skills as a parent into cash.

Living On One Income

Living On One Income

It is a fact that more and more families are not staying together. Divorce rates are at an all time high and coparenting seems to be a new fad. It’s a sad reality but it leaves many to be single parents. Whether you are a single mom or dad balancing everything can be a difficult tactic. Often it seems as though you are just struggling to make ends meet. Years ago it was the norm for you to stay home with your children while the other parent worked and it wasn’t a big financial burden. That equation just doesn’t seem to happen much anymore. Being a single parent isn’t easy and financially exhausting but there are ways to make it a little bit easier. And even if you are a stay at home mom and need to find more budget saving ways for you and your family this can help you as well.  These are some tips that can help you live a little less financially stressed.


Start Saving

Take a small amount of income and put it away in a savings account. It will eventually accumulate and be a good cushion for you to lean on when life sends surprises your way. If you are currently living on two incomes and plan to just start living on one start saving and paying off debts. If you are already living on income put some money in savings, pay current bills, and if you have any money left start paying off debts with a small amount. This is what you call the snowball effect. Paying off debts slowing and having a plan set in motion will get you there gradually. Try using your smart devices free budgeting apps to help get you started.


Learn How To Stretch Your Money

Most people do not even realize how much their money can actually get. When shopping for things you need like clothing go directly to the back of the store to the clearance racks.You will be able to purchase more for less. Look for local kids consignment shops and trade in gently used clothes that are just lying around and toys that are not played with anymore. You can use the money to save or to purchase the things you need. Grocery shopping is a must for everyone. Try to spend about ten to fifteen dollars less than you usually do and put that money into savings. Look for sales and coupons on groceries for the things you need, do not buy things just because they are on sale. Do you have cable and do you really need it? Think about your needs and wants. Instead of paying for cable get Netflix or Hulu and you will be amazed at how much you can save each month. Start making your food at home instead of ordering out or going out to eat. Conserve the amount of gas you are using. Try planning your outings so you can stop along the way instead of continuously going back out for things. By using these simple steps it can surprise you with the extra amount of money that will be in your pocket.

Give These Tips A Try

Living on one income shouldn’t be a burden. Using some simple tips by stretching a dollar and saving wherever you can makes it easy. Start saving and give yourself the confidence and independant feeling of knowing that you can do it. Having the security of a backup plan will put your mind at ease when life throws you those crazy curve balls. Stop throwing your money down the drain and save!


How to Save Money at Disney World

How to Save Money at Disney World

Experiencing Disney World really is a magical experience. It’s hard to put a price tag on the memories you and your family will make there. But when you come down to it, it’s one of the most expensive vacations you can take.


Luckily, there are few simple ways to stick to your budget while you’re at Disney World. Here are the three biggest money-sucks of the Disney experience, and here’s how to avoid them:



  • Pricey Peak Hours: Go in the Off-Season



You’ve heard this a hundred times, but it’s easily the biggest Disney-related money-saving tip out there. Don’t go during peak times. This includes during the summer while everyone’s on vacation, spring break, or Christmas.


Some of the best (and cheapest) months to visit Disney World are in January, February, September, or November. Plus, taking a vacation to Disney World in those glum, colder months will give you a nice warm break in the Florida climate, and break up the tedium with something fun and exciting.


Not only will the park itself be cheaper in the off-season, it’ll be less crowded. Other money-saving off-season benefits include cheaper travel and airfare, cheaper hotel rates, cheaper car rentals, etc.


Steer clear of the busy peak months, even if it’s more convenient; ask off of work for a week if you want to save some serious money on your Disney World vacation.


  1. Costly Resorts: Book a Hotel Outside of the Park


The Disney resort packages can seem incredibly appealing, but unless you get some truly significant discount (for example; AAA members get a sizable discount at the All-Star Resort) then you should just book a cheaper hotel offsite.


There are hundreds of hotels orbiting the perimeter of Disney World’s gates, so you’ll have no trouble finding cheap and nearby accommodations. Sure, you’ll lose the novelty of staying in a Disney-affiliated hotel, and you won’t get all the cool resort stuff. But you’re rarely actually saving money when you book the Disney resort package.


Besides; you probably won’t be in your hotel room much. You’ll be too busy exploring the parks! Even if you’re traveling with a baby there are several nursery areas at Disney World where you can put baby down for a nap without having to trek all the way back to a resort or hotel, so closest proximity is less of a concern.


Most hotels near the park offer complimentary shuttle services that’ll take you straight to Disney World, so there’s no real reason to mess with the resorts unless you’re into spending more money.


  1. Sneakily Expensive Meals: Watch What You Eat


The biggest expense that Disney World visitors forget about is the high cost of meals within the parks. Packing snacks is a must, but of course it’ll only get you so far.


You’re sort of trapped in the parks, so Disney can safely ramp up the meal-time prices to $5 for a child-sized soda. Even the cheapest eats will cost about $12 per person. The good news is: most of the meal portions are massive. You can usually split meals between two hungry people and opt for water instead of sodas (you’ll want to stay hydrated anyway).


Stay away from the fancy snacks-on-a-stick and ice creams… they’re even pricier than the meals. Combo meals may also seem like a money-saver, but you actually wind up spending more, so go for the individual options, instead.


Pre-packed snacks and water bottles will be your new best friend, and if you loathe the idea of carrying it around with you, you can always splurge on renting a locker to stash it away for later. It’s still cheaper than spending a chunk of your budget on each meal!

Extreme Coupon Shopping Ideas

Extreme Coupon Shopping Ideas


American families on average spend between up to $1,000 on a combination of items each month, which could include entertainment, groceries, beauty care products, cleaning products and clothes, just to name a few. However, this does not have to be the case. Sacrifices can be made to lower this high monthly expense. In some cases, items can be eliminated or instead, purchase generic brands.


Enjoy Savings

There are ways around shopping and the opportunity to enjoy savings. Couponing could the answer for many Americans. There are four coupon levels, starting from the casual shopper to the extreme. Most people indulge in both level 1 and level 2. However, level 3 and level 4 are trending in many American homes. This is where couponing becomes the extreme strategy to shop. Let’s explore all four levels.


Level 1

This level is for the person that uses coupons casually, filling up an entire shopping cart and only using a few coupons (less than ten). Of course, the person will save a few dollars, but not as much as the extreme coupon shopper. This person is probably busy or too lazy to sit and cut out coupons.


Level 2

This level consists of a person who prefers to buy generic brands. This is where they think most of the savings are, shopping for generic brands only – without having to clip coupons. In level 2, this person believes that they can enjoy up to $300 savings on generic brand purchases. This could be true in certain situations and for specific products.


Level 3

Level 3 consists of the person that looks for the best shopping deal in sales and discounts, capitalizing on the opportunity each time sale items are advertised. In most cases, a person in level 3 will not buy anything that is not on sale and will likely combine sale items with available manufacturer coupons. You have to make an effort to save at this level by being patient and spending up to three hours a week in organizing the manufacturer’s coupons. You could save up to 95% for your efforts at drug stores and grocery stores.


Level 4

Level 4 is where it gets extreme and really requires your time and patience. You probably were not aware that you could use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon to buy the same item in a store. If you did not know, now you know. Did you also know that if you were interested in a buy one, get one deal, two coupons can be used on the one sale item? If you did not know, now you know. Extreme coupon deals are usually combined deals where you can get double the savings and access to multiple deals.



It is not odd to have an extreme coupon shopper to have more than one Sunday paper delivered to their house. Now you are aware of the different levels of coupon shopping, what level do you fall in? Is it really worth the time? For many coupon shoppers, it is.