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.


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Could Fighting Over Money Be Good for Your Finances?

money argumentsMy husband and I don’t agree much about money. We have different spending priorities, and fights about what we should do with our money have been memorable over the course of the last 11 years. While we have some shared financial goals, much of what we spend money on — and the timing involved — is a source of contention in our marriage.

And, apparently, that can be a good thing.

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10 Small Christmas Gifts to Have on Hand in an Emergency

vintage christmas tree ornamentsOne of the most difficult situations that can arise is when someone gives you gift — and you have nothing in return. One of the ways you can get beyond this is to keep small Christmas on hand for just such an emergency.

These small gifts can be wrapped ahead of time, and even fitted with a tag that you can fill in later, when you have a minute to excuse yourself. Or you don’t even need to tag it all. Just present your attractively wrapped gift to co-workers, neighbors, or other acquaintances who unexpectedly bring a present.

Here are 10 ideas for small Christmas gifts you can have on hand:

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5 Financial Lessons to Teach Your Kids Before College

Arizona State UniversityToo often kids head off to college and take out the maximum amount they are eligible for in student loans, rent a nice apartment, and have fun going out with friends with little regard to the amount of money they spend. They may rationalize that they will only be college students once, and now is the time to have fun. However, that fun can rapidly come to a halt when they attend the financial aid exit seminar before graduation and realize just how much those student loans will affect their lives once they graduate.

If you have high school students and haven’t taught them financial lessons pertaining to college, now is the time to sit them down for a discussion. (Even if you have been teaching them financial lessons all along, reviewing what they know is a good idea.) Here are some topics you may want to tackle with them:

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15 Stocking Stuffers that Don’t Suck

stocking stuffersOne of the biggest dilemmas I face each year is what to put in my husband’s stocking. It’s relatively easy to fill our son’s stocking: Stuff it with candy a few small toys and he’s happy. It’s a little more challenging to stuff a stocking for an adult.

While you can always add candy or nuts (and possibly the obligatory orange) to the stocking, you might need a few other things to fill it out. Here are some ideas that can help you put together a stocking that doesn’t suck:

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5 Money Discussions to Have Before You Marry

Wedding KissMoney troubles are the leading cause of divorce, and yet people may spend more time discussing what wedding invitations to buy and what venue to choose for their reception rather than how they will handle their money after marriage. Your wedding is only one day, yes, an important day, but only one day. Your marriage will last for years and, hopefully, decades. Take the time to discuss how you will handle money before you take the plunge.

If you don’t know where to start, consider tackling these issues:

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5 Tips for Cheaper Child Care

save money on childcareWhen my husband and I lived in Syracuse, New York while attending grad school, there were three hours of each week that our son had to be in daycare. For the most part, our schedules could be arranged so that one of us could watch our son while the other attended class. We both worked on homework together after our son went to bed.

But there was that three hours each week that didn’t work out. That three hours each week cost us $200 a month, since we wanted our son at the best daycare/preschool, and we wanted one convenient to our apartment. We were relieved to move to Utah several years ago, where child care is much, much less expensive.

Child care costs are on the rise — just like almost everything else. For many consumers, child care is one of the costs that comes with raising children. And it can cost thousands of dollars a year. If you looking for a little break on your child care costs, here are 5 ideas:

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 Family 
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How to Prepare Your Adult Children Financially for Your Eventual Demise

I recently read of a story about an adult woman who lived at home and did not work. Her aging mother paid her expenses, and after her aging mother passed, the woman lived off of her inheritance. The only problem now is that the money is gone, and she is only steps away from homelessness.

Of course, this example is extreme, but if you are a 20 or 30 something, how many friends do you know who live at home? Do mom and dad help you to pay your bills some months? Do they frequently take you out for dinner and pay for your meal?

If you are an aging parent, do you do these things for your children?

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How to Save Money with Nanny Sharing

NannyNo matter what option you choose, childcare is expensive. When I discovered it would cost nearly $2,000 a month for childcare for my two children, then aged 6 months and 2 years, I decided it made more sense to quit my job, take care of my children, and work from home. Unfortunately, not all parents have that option.

If you are exploring options for affordable childcare, one option that might make sense is nanny sharing.

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