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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 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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 Family 
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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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 Family, Shopping 
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Predicting 5 of the Hottest Toys for the Holidays 2012

Mattel MONSTER HIGH Series: Robecca SteamEvery year, it seems as though there are a few toys that everyone just goes crazy for. And, once these toys are identified, they fly off the shelves. They are hard to find — and may even sell out. And, if you do find them for sale, you might have to pay a huge price for the ability to make your child smile on Christmas morning.

Spotting which items are likely to be hot can be a little difficult, and what ends up causing a real furor can be hard to pinpoint. However, there are some indications that a toy might become suddenly hot:

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 Family, Retirement 
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The Conversation Project – Making Families Feel Better about End of Life Conversations

familyMy great uncle Andy was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, delivering meals to seniors several times a week. He began volunteering after his own retirement and continued until he was in his mid-90s! He was in an excellent health and did not pass away until he was 99. He simply went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up.

While we might all wish for such a long, fulfilling life and such a peaceful death, the unfortunate fact is that my great uncle Andy’s fate is not the way most of us or our older relatives will see our lives end. Many of us have aging parents and grandparents, and while having financial discussions with them is hard enough, perhaps even harder is discussing how they would like their end of life experience to be. “Sixty percent of people say that making sure their family is not burdened by tough decisions is ‘extremely important’”, but “56% have not communicated their end of life wishes” (The Conversation Project).

The Conversation Project was developed to help make having this type of discussion easier and to bring attention to the need to have this talk.
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 Family 
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Sittercity Review: High Tech Way to Find a Babysitter

Babysitter NeededThere may be nothing harder than handing over your child to a sitter for the first time. Even though you may need a break, a date night, or simply to go to work, putting your trust in another person to care for your little person can be tough.

While you will probably feel a bit of angst no matter what, there are modern resources that can make you feel more confident about who you entrust to care for your child.

People used to find sitters through word-of-mouth. If the sitter could keep one family happy, then she would soon have many more families calling her. There was no better way to vet a sitter than through a friend’s referral. While that technique is still used, there are other alternatives now.

One of the alternatives that I have relied on heavily is Sittercity.

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 Family 
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5 Homemade Low Cost Toddler Halloween Costumes

Toddler CostumesYesterday, we shared five awesome homemade baby Halloween costume ideas, today we’re doing the same for the slightly older kiddos – the toddlers.

Is there any kid who doesn’t love Halloween? They love dressing up and visiting houses to get all that candy. Toddlers are just starting to appreciate the bounty of a full sack of candy, and they are just becoming aware of themselves and their appearance. They know when they look cute, and they like receiving compliments. Toddlers also enjoy playing dress up, and with the right Halloween costume, they can play dress up all year long.

Manufacturers cater to parents who want to indulge their children (and themselves) with toddler costumes that run $40 to $60, typically, but there is no reason to spend that much money. Instead, create your own adorable costume, and you won’t have to worry about your child getting it dirty or playing in it too roughly. Here are some ideas:

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 Family 
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5 Homemade Baby Halloween Costume Guide

Baby PumpkinMy daughter was born just a few days before Halloween, and even though she was too little to have any idea what was going on, we still wanted to dress her up and take her around the neighborhood with our other child. I am a sucker for a baby in an adorable Halloween costume, but there is no sense in spending $30 or more on a Halloween costume she will only wear for a few hours (and it’s not like they’ll fit next month, let alone next year!). Plus, many of the fancier costumes look cute, but they have itchy material or accessories that will likely bother the baby (like rhinestones).

And if you think we’re a victim of holiday creep, we wanted to get you this guide as early as possible (though costumes and candy are already out in stores!) so you can plan ahead. Tomorrow, we’ll have a guide for toddlers.

Instead, consider one of these adorable, low cost costumes that you can probably make from materials you already have around the house (and yes, a baby pumpkin is on the list):

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 Education, Family 
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How to Financially Prepare for Having a Baby

Some may say that there is no way to completely prepare for having a baby, but there is plenty you can do to make the path as smooth as possible financially for baby’s arrival. (I can’t help you with the sleepless nights except to tell you that eventually, though not as soon as you would like, you will be able to sleep through the night again!)

According to the USDA, a child born in 2010 will cost $226,920 to raise to the age of 17. That number doesn’t even include college expenses! Even if you take measures to cut costs, raising a child is still an expensive proposition. Ideally, your preparation should begin before baby is even conceived.

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