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 Build a Children’s Home Library On the Cheap

The best way to raise a reader is to read to your child often when they are young.  Children should also have access to books.  However, if you buy books at retail price, you are looking at spending $4 to $8 or more per book, which can add up quickly.  If you do spend that much money per book, it can be especially frustrating if your child is young and frequently rips or colors in books.  (My first one never did this, but my younger two did this more than a few times.)

Instead of spending a lot of money on books that your child may inadvertently ruin, consider buying low cost books in the following ways:

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 Family 
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Best Summer Jobs for Teens

Lifeguards at workSummer has arrived, and that means that teenagers are looking for a way to make more money. Summer is a great time for teenagers to switch to full time work. High school students can learn a lot from a job, and summer time offers the chance for teens to make even more money, since they don’t have to work around school and extracurricular activities.

If your teenager is trying to figure out how to make a little more money, here are some ideas for great summer jobs for teenagers:

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 Family, Personal Improvement 
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How to Treat Poison Ivy – And Kill It If You Know Where It Is

Poison IvyOne of the staple of summer, it seems, is poison ivy. Whether you stumble upon it while camping, or whether you’ve got a problem with it on your property, poison ivy can cause a great deal of discomfort. Your reaction to poison ivy depends largely on your body chemistry, and how it responds to urushiol, an oily resin common to poison ivy, as well as to poison sumac and poison oak.

Reactions to poison ivy vary. My husband is quite sensitive to poison ivy. He breaks out in severe rashes when he comes in contact with it. I, on the other hand, am not as sensitive. While contact will produce some discomfort, it is not usually the full-blown rash my husband experiences. In most cases, poison ivy isn’t a serious problem. However, you will want to treat it as best you can to alleviate the discomfort until the symptoms subside.

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 Family 
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Are You Giving Your Kids Too Much?

toy box stuffed toyMost of us want our kids to have nice things. We want them to enjoy life, have toys to play with, engage in fun and fulfilling activities, and be happy. While this is a noble goal, it is important to consider that there is the possibility that you are giving your kids too much.

When kids receive too much, there is the possibility that they miss out on valuable life lessons. Sometimes, you need to say no to your kids, and encourage them to work for things on their own.
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 Family 
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Inflation and the Rising Cost of Having Kids

LukeEvery year, the government puts out an annual report on how much it costs to raise your child from birth to age 18. And, every year, the cost goes up. CNBC, via Yahoo! Finance, reports that a child born to a middle income family in 2010 costs $287,000 to raise, once you consider food, shelter, transportation, and other expenses — and adjust for inflation. This number doesn’t even include the cost of giving birth, and it certainly doesn’t include college costs.

That’s quite a lot of money. And, of course, there are a number of issues that need to be addressed before you decide to have children.
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 Family, Personal Finance 
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How to Cure the “Gimmes” in Your Children

This is the first post of our new staff writer Melissa, who regularly blogs at Moms Plans. Please welcome her!

If you are a parent of a child that can talk, you have probably heard, “Can I have this?” or “Will you buy this?” or, if your child is older, “But, all the other kids’ parents buy it for them!” If you are lucky, you have probably only heard this a few hundred times; however, most parents hear their kids whine for something daily. If you are tired of suffering, there is a simple way to cure the “gimmes”—put your child in charge of his own finances (relatively speaking).

My son is nearly eight, and though we don’t give in to most of his wants, he still begs endlessly for things. However, we recently put an end to this behavior by putting him in charge of his own money and allowing him the opportunity to make money.

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 Family 
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Is Upromise a Scam?

There are a lot of programs out there, and you might be worried about which programs are legitimate, and which really will help you earn rewards and save money. One of the more popular programs out there is Upromise, acquired by Sallie Mae in August of 2006.

Upromise is a program designed to help you save up for college. The idea is that every day purchases can add up over time so that your child has enough to go to college. Upromise comes with the added benefit of allowing you invest your rewards money into a 529 college savings plan and help pay down your student loans.

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 Family 
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Should You Cosign on Your Child’s Loan?

Chances are that you want to help your child get the best possible start in life, and with money. Part of that, though, might include helping your child get a loan. Whether he or she is looking for a credit card, or hoping to buy a car that can get him or her to and from work, you might be asked to cosign. It’s important to be careful about cosigning, and to think twice before signing — even for your child.

Remember that when you cosign, you are agreeing to take on the debt. If the borrower doesn’t make payments, the lender can come after you for payment. Additionally, your credit report can reflect the debt, and prevent you from getting a loan later on. Before you cosign for your child, you should think things through very carefully.

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