Family Column

This column focuses on family finances, from starting a family to planning a meal, your family is probably the largest expense in your budget and undoubtably the most important too! We will try to cover all aspects of family planning in this column.


You are currently reading an archive section.
To see the latest articles, please visit the homepage.

 Family 
0
comments

My plan to enjoy summer without overspending


Overspending on vacations. Day trips that wind up more pricey than planned. Keeping the kids entertained on a boring day. Summer can get very expensive, very quickly!

This year I’m determined to keep a lid on those costs. I’ve come up with a plan to have lots of carefree summertime fun without dipping into savings or running up a credit card.

Here’s what I’m going to do.

Avoid food fights

When I think about past summers where the $20 bills seemed to disappear from my wallet every time we left the house, it usually had to do with certain someone’s (a.k.a. my two growing boys) getting hungry or thirsty just as we’d come upon a hot dog cart or pass a Dunkin’ Donuts. And like the cool mom I am, a good percentage of the time I’d give in to their pleas.

    2015 plan: This time around, no more Mrs. Nice Mom. Well, I’ll still be nice, but I’m going to make sure that the boys eat and drink up before we head out, and I’m going to stash a go bag with icy bottled water (our own reusable bottles, that is) and healthy snacks from the house. Better for everyone’s nutrition, and my pocketbook. That’s not to say we’ll never enjoy a treat out, but it won’t be a daily occurrence.


(click here to continue reading…)

 Family 
0
comments

Americans are spending how much on weddings?! Here’s how we had a blast on a budget on our big day

Planning on getting hitched soon? Start saving.

Mitch Strohm and Mandy Boyd on their wedding day

The average cost of a wedding is now a hefty $31,213 (honeymoon not included), according to the 2014 Real Wedding Study from TheKnot.com.

That’s up from $29,858 in 2013.

As a guy — and finance writer — who just got married last year, I find that number pretty outrageous. That’s a down payment on a home.

Thanks to our frugality, and the incredibly hard work of our friends and family, we didn’t even spend a fourth of that on our big day and an entire weekend getaway for our guest list (more on that later).

The study from The Knot surveyed nearly 16,000 brides and grooms married in 2014 to figure out the financial spending habits and trends of couples in America. It includes both national and regional stats on the average costs of tying the knot.

The venue was the priciest part of couples’ budget last year, hitting an average of $14,006. Next was the engagement ring at an average of $5,855 and then the wedding band for music at $3,587.

Couples are also spending more on each guest – an average of $68 last year, up from $66 in 2013, according to the study.

Here’s the wedding budget breakdown from The Knot:
(click here to continue reading…)

 Family 
0
comments

iPad baby seats are dubious devices

Every mom can attest to needing 10 minutes for a shower, to prepare dinner and sometimes even just to put down a colicky baby that has been crying nonstop.

If you’ve seen the new iPad baby seats, from infant activity seats to toddler potty seats, featuring an attachment for an iPad complete with “developmentally appropriate apps,” you might wonder if they are better than a traditional baby seat.

But don’t choose it for educational advantages.

The “educational merit of media for children younger than 2 years remains unproven despite the fact that three-quarters of the top-selling infant videos make explicit or implicit educational claims,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics updated 2011 statement, Media Use in Children Younger than 2 Years.

The academy “discourages media use by children younger than 2 years” for some very good reasons.

The medical group reviewed all of the scientific studies on media use in children under 2 (mostly television viewing) before coming to that conclusion and no research over the past four years has prompted it to revise that opinion.

Yet nine out of 10 parents say heir children younger than 2 years watch some form of electronic media. So where does that leave parents faced with the decision to buy and use one of these iPad baby seats?
(click here to continue reading…)

 Family 
0
comments

Don’t let your savings go to the dogs …

6 tips to save on pet care


You love Rover and Whiskers but the cost of treating your furry friends like family adds up. From vet bills and pet meds to gourmet kibble, pet owners are expected to spend a whopping $58.5 billion on their four-legged charges this year, according to the American Pet Products Association.

“There are many ways to save money and still provide quality care,” says Dr. Liz Hanson, a veterinarian at Corona del Mar Animal Hospital in California.

Try these six savings strategies to keep pet care costs in check.
(click here to continue reading…)

 Family 
0
comments

5 sibling discounts you simply have to ask for


How would you like to pay thousands less for the most common big ticket kids’ expenses?

If you have two or more kids, you’ll be surprised how many places have existing policies for sibling discounts, which can slash 10% to 25% off the stated cost for one or more of your children, depending on the policy.

You just need the balls to ask for the discount whenever paying for more than one-at-a-time for these common, expensive kid costs.

Daycare

The average annual cost for two children (an infant and a 4-year-old) in a full-time childcare center ranged from $9,175 in Mississippi to $28,606 in Massachusetts.

It’s the highest single household expense in the Northeast, Midwest and South, surpassed only by housing costs in the West, according to, “Parents & The High Cost of Child Care 2013″ which surveyed state Child Care Resource & Referral network offices about 2012 daycare costs.
(click here to continue reading…)

 Family 
0
comments

How to save money and avoid birthday party drama

The school year’s well underway and the weekly birthday party invitations are pouring in.

If you’ve got a couple of kids in school, with 20 to 30 children in each of their classes, the birthday party circuit can get very expensive, very quickly.

If you don’t want to add a line item into your budget to cover kid gifts and party items, or become that party pooper parent, here’s a game plan for keeping birthday spending in perspective.

When you’re the guest…

Don’t go to every party. As much as you want your child to be social, only attend parties for the friends that your child is closest with, or that he or she is really excited about attending. And if you’re not going to a party, no, you don’t have to send a gift. If you have a social butterfly type of child who’s disappointed about missing out, make an effort to invite a couple of friends over another day for a play date.
(click here to continue reading…)

 Family 
0
comments

How to get the most mileage out of baby gear


If you’ve ever shopped for baby stuff, you know that it’s very easy to see your paycheck disappear in a flash. So. Much. Stuff!

Do babies really need all of these things, you might wonder? Probably not, but you ultimately buy everything anyway because you want your little ones to have every new high-tech bouncy seat, fancy teething toy, and designer baby cuteness imaginable. And then there are the bottles, baby food, wipes, diapers, and other daily essentials that have doubled your grocery bills.

While you wind up kicking yourself for spending so much on things that baby will outgrow in mere months, or probably didn’t need in the first place (we’re looking at you, baby food processor and wipes warmer), there are some ways to get more mileage out of your baby-related purchases for years to come.

First, some tips to get the biggest bang for your baby buck if you’re newly pregnant and still shopping:
(click here to continue reading…)

 Family 
0
comments

Should you pay your child for good grades?


I’ve paid all three of my kids for good grades many different ways and times throughout their school years. But, I can’t say it ever resulted in better grades.

My son, now a senior in high school, would never push a 78 to an 80 just to get some extra cash.

My oldest daughter, now a 20-year old junior college student, had mostly good grades whether I paid for them or not. In high school, she jumped on the honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes and the ACT study guide because they helped her accomplish her goal of becoming a college volleyball athlete.

Once, I promised my middle school kids $20 for every “A” on their final report card. But, that didn’t help either daughter, both “C” math students (even with a tutor), get an “A” in a difficult subject for them, so they felt worse. I probably should have set a more realistic goal. And, paying three kids for all those “A’s” got expensive, so I was also broke that month.

A 2012 survey for American Institute of CPAs found 48% of 269 parents with kids in school, not only paid their children an allowance, but also paid them for good grades.

The average reward for an “A” was $16.60. Seems I overpaid, too.
(click here to continue reading…)

Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2015 by www.Bargaineering.com. All rights reserved.