Posts Tagged ‘ budget ’

Hey, Bargain Hunters! Three Websites To Thrill You

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

As fun as it is to shop till you drop, being a mom means that other endeavors often take priority (someone has to buy all those groceries!). While online shopping is super simple, it can still be just as expensive as heading to the mall (we’ve all thought, “I’ll just add one more item to my cart to reach the free shipping mark,” haven’t we?) However, several sites make shopping for clothing and gifts easy and inexpensive…what could be better?!

Poshmark This is one of the many buy-and-sell sites that allows individuals to list items from their own closet and shop others’ wardrobes. It’s easy to search by brand, size, style, price, you name it–whether you’re looking for an outfit for an upcoming baby shower or bridal brunch or just need some new day-to-day wear, it’s likely you’ll find what you need on the site! I’ve purchased items from brands including Ann Taylor LOFT, J.Crew, and Francesca’s Collections at much cheaper than retail price–and you can always try to bargain with a seller to further reduce a listing. Bonus: Poshmark offers kids clothes, too.

Etsy You’re probably familiar with the site in some form, but the next time you’re shopping for a great teacher gift or holiday accessory, look no further! Etsy offers tons of customizable options (perfect for that monogram-obsessed friend), and it’s also a great place to purchase affordable, clever art prints without scrolling from one website to another. You know that gallery wall has been calling your name for months!

Goodwill Did you know the famous secondhand store has a website? Of course, the shopping experience will be a little different than your normal on-site treasure-hunting expeditions, but you can still purchase items across a variety of categories. Bonus: no need to lug everything home as you would in person! This is a great site to check out if you’re searching for a vintage product or home good.

Shopping for a wee one? We have tips for buying baby clothes on a budget?

How to Buy Baby Clothes on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Clothes on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Clothes on a Budget

 

 

 

 

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Putting Two Kids Through Private School on One Salary

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Editor’s Note: Parents.com has partnered with LearnVest.com to bring you a monthly series of posts about money-related topics related to moms. These guest posts will be shorter, edited versions of longer features from LearnVest.com. The following essay reveals how one mom made the tough decision to whittle her budget in order to send her kids to private school.

When my husband and I were house hunting in 2006, admittedly the last thing on our minds was the quality of our neighborhood school, because we never intended to be living there when our daughter started kindergarten.

Now, six years later, we’re paying five digits a year for our two kids to go to private schools, even though it’s putting a major strain on our finances. We’re a single-earning family, and that sole earner (me) happens to be self-employed in journalism, a field that took a major hit during the recession.

We’re not alone. In 2009-2010, there were more than 5 million American schoolchildren attending private school, according to the Council for American Private Education, which was equal to about 10% of the total number of children enrolled in school in the U.S. Plus, according to CNN, the average annual tuition bill is $22,000 for private schools, across all grades K-12.

Looking back on our own situation, sometimes I wonder how we managed to get here…

We Started Off With a Plan

Our daughter wasn’t even 2 years old in 2006 when my husband and I both quit our jobs. I left my position as a corporate marketing manager to be a stay-at-home mom, and my husband stopped teaching to enroll full-time in graduate school—where he was going to get his doctorate in music education to become a professor—in Urbana, Illinois, a full 700 miles away from where we were currently living in Rochester, N.Y.

I had major concerns about going into this situation with both of us not working. But my husband was awarded a prestigious academic fellowship that came with a $19,000 stipend, we had the option to get student loans and we had some savings as well.

After a lot of talking, and a lot of compromise, we decided we could make it work on a limited income for the time being, but it was going to be very lean.

Our first shock was the high cost of real estate in our new city. In a small college town like Urbana, sellers have you over a barrel when the housing stock is limited and you have no option but to settle there, so we ended up buying a half-built tract house in an “affordable housing” development that also offered a hefty tax incentive. After all, the plan was to move wherever my husband got a job at a university after he graduated in three years…

Where It All Went Wrong

My husband surmised that a typical doctoral program in his field took about three years to complete–two years of coursework and one year writing a dissertation. Then he would hit the academic job market, looking for (and hopefully getting) a position as a professor.

At least, those were our plans. We didn’t anticipate how having a family would impact my husband’s studies. Because we are so far from our support system, he often had to step in and take over for me when I needed to leave the kids at home for some reason, or if I was sick (in the last four years I’ve had three major surgeries). All of that took time away from working on his degree and he fell behind.

A multitude of obstacles (including those mentioned above) have prevented my husband from finishing his schooling. On top of that, his academic advisor left the university, stalling his dissertation until he found a new one. He is slated to graduate in 2013, but the bottom line is, we never expected to still be living in Urbana six years after moving here.

Read the rest of this story and the important lessons learned on LearnVest.com.

Plus: Don’t forget to also sign up for the Baby on Board Bootcamp newsletter, a free newsletter that helps moms budget and manage family finances better over a course of 10 days.

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Camp Millionaire: Where Kids Can Become Money Geniuses

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Editor’s Note: Parents.com has partnered with LearnVest.com to bring you a monthly series of posts about money topics related to moms.  These guest posts will be shorter, edited versions of longer features written by Cheryl Lock, Editor at LearnVest.

Okay, so sending your kid to Camp Millionaire might not actually make him a millionaire, but it’ll get him excited about taking care of his finances. (Which is probably a lot more helpful for his future than making lanyards.)

Still, when we  first heard about camps geared toward teaching kids about money, we were skeptical. Isn’t camp supposed to be about fun and games? Will a camp geared toward finance and money really capture the attention of our kids the way other, more traditional ones, do?

Jan Ruskin, Program Manager, says she believes they are filling a much-needed hole. “I doubt there is anyone out there who won’t agree that financial education is important and imperative for our kids,” Ruskin says. “And the earlier and more often they get it, the better.”

To really find out about the camp, we called Kate Parker, mom of 11-year-old Simon, who attended the camp this past spring. Here’s what she had to say about his experience.

What made you want to send your son to the camp in the first place?

I have a 16-year-old son, and I’ve been watching him lately, noticing the things that he doesn’t know. He’s going off on his own soon, and he doesn’t know a lot about money, so I was wishing he had that kind of education. I decided to try starting younger with my other kids. When my youngest is old enough, I plan on sending her as well.

What kind of activities did your kids do?

The week my son went there, there were about 20 or 25 kids total, and each day was geared toward a different financial lesson. They played a lot of games that pertained to particular things about money, like holding a job, the different ways to make money, budgeting, things like that. Each day was different, but everything they did was geared toward making money and how to be smart with it.

Have you seen any changes in Simon since the camp?

He’s only 11, so he’s definitely not ready to get a job yet, but he sure does appreciate his allowance more! And he certainly understands more now about putting money aside for when he wants something–and he always does want something–that is beyond his allowance amount.

He’s saving, and that’s a big difference I see. This is the first time I’ve seen him establish longer-term goals for his money, instead of waiting and hoping for birthday money to pay for something. We talk more about money now, and he understands the concepts. He’s interested in finance in a way that he wasn’t before.

Read the full feature about Camp Millionaire at LearnVest.com.

Plus: Don’t forget to also sign up for the Baby on Board Bootcamp newsletter, a free newsletter that helps moms budget and manage family finances better over a course of 10 days.

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Win a Free 3-Month Budgeting Plan from LearnVest.com

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Editor’s Note: Due to a link error during the original sweepstakes period, we have fixed the link and decided to extend the sweepstakes.  It will now run between. Fri. 3/30 – Fri. 4/6.  Click here to enter the sweepstakes.

Need some money help? Parents.com partnered with LearnVest.com to bring you the best budgeting and family finance solutions through the Baby on Board Bootcamp newsletter, a free newsletter that helps you manage money better over a course of 10 days.

The LearnVest site is a great resource, one that offers expert advice, helpful tools, (more) free newsletters, and special budget plans that offer round-the-clock, 24-hour consultations with financial experts. There is even a LV Moms section that offers content just for moms worried about balancing the budget at home.

Since Tax Season is upon us, you might be more worried than usual about your finances.  To give you peace of mind, LearnVest is giving away two (2) free voucher codes to access their online Budgeting Plan for free.  The plan includes: a customized list of how to improve all of your financial red-flags, a  30-minute diagnostic phone consultation with a Certified Financial Planner™, and three months of unlimited email support from the same expert.  This helpful plan, valued at $69.00, will help you set realistic budgets and goals and get your financial life back on track.

Here’s how you can be eligible for this giveaway:

1- Sign up for the LearnVest Baby on Board Bootcamp newsletter by CLICKING ON THIS LINK ONLY. Sign up between Fri., March 30 – Fri. April 6.

2- After Fri., April 6, LearnVest and Parents.com will choose two (2) random winners from the sign-up list.

3- The two (2) winners will each be presented with one (1) voucher code to redeem on learnvest.com/make-a-plan/budgeting-plan.  The voucher codes grant the winners access to the Budgeting Plan without any payment.  Winners will have 90 days to redeem the vouchers before they expire.

Read the full sweepstakes rules here.

Goody luck!

More LearnVest.com Features on Parents.com

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Obama Backs Restrictions on Morning-After Pill
President Obama said Thursday that he supported the Department of Health and Human Services overruling an FDA decision to allow an emergency morning-after contraceptive pill to be sold to girls younger than 17 without a prescription.

We Are the Median: Carefully Budgeting for Food, Health Care Costs
A family is living with a very careful budget – on the nation’s median income of about $50,000 a year.

Study: Abortion Doesn’t Raise Mental Illness Risk
Abortion does not increase a woman’s chance of developing mental health problems, according to the largest study ever to investigate the issue.

To Keep Marriage Healthy When Baby Comes, Share Housework
A survey identifies traits, like generosity, that help couples buck the trend toward marital discord once baby arrives.

U.S. to Test Therapy to Prevent Birth Defects
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is set to launch a large trial using antibodies to test a way to prevent birth defects, such as blindness and deafness, caused by mothers passing a common virus to their unborn babies.

The Teenage Babysitter, Replaced by Older Pros
Despite the cost, some parents are turning to career nannies, who come with references and experience, rather than the 15-year-old down the street, even if the need is for just a few hours on a weekend night.

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How to Save Money on Halloween Costumes for 2010

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Avatar Jake Sully Halloween costumeUh oh. Halloween’s around the corner and you still don’t have any Halloween costumes for your family.    

We love the affordable, easy, and do-it-yourself Halloween costume ideas available at Savers.com, the website for a national chain store that specializes in secondhand and gently-used clothes and accessories.

For parents who can’t make it to Savers locations to meet costume consultants, the website has printable costume and makeup tutorials on how to create unique, inexpenPrincess Halloween costumesive, and memorable Halloween looks for everyone from parents to pets. 

By following the simple costume shopping lists and step-by-step makeup instructions, the whole family can be transformed into popular characters from “Avatar,” “Toy Story 3,” or “Sesame Street.” There are also handy tutorials on creating annual Halloween costume favorites such as superheroes and princesses in addition to creating a Steampunk costume, a trend that combines elements of the Victorian era with science fiction.

For budget-conscious families, parents can still save money and time without sacrificing style and personality.  Plus, saving on Halloween costumes for 2010 will mean having enough on the side to plan for next year!

Get inspired by other Halloween costume ideas on Parents.com:

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