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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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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 Family 
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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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 Family 
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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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 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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