Posts Tagged ‘ save money ’

Steal That Kid’s Style! Our Takes on Fave Pitti Bimbo Looks

Friday, July 25th, 2014

High-end clothing and accessories aren’t just for the Carrie Bradshaws of the world. The designers showcased at children’s fashion fair Pitti Bimbo, a bi-yearly event in Florence, Italy, prove that garb for little ones can be just as chic. Unfortunately, some of the pieces can run pretty steep–especially when you consider how much your kiddo grows each year!

Don’t worry, though–even if you’d rather save than splurge, your child doesn’t have to dress like a Plain Jane. Here, we’ve put together looks modeled after some of our favorite Pitti Bimbo fashions shown at past fairs. Your little one will be ready to hit the runway in no time! Click the “Off the Rack” images to shop.

On the Runway: This Miss Bluemarine dress, modeled in January 2013, is perfect for the girl who loves all things pink (and has somewhere super fancy to go!). 

Off the Rack: Florals and bows? Check and check. This Youngland frock from Sears also has the satin look of the designer dress, but it’ll only cost you…wait for it…$13! 

On the Runway: He’ll stand out in the crowd when he sports a neon yellow polo! Classic khakis and a grown-up blazer make for a “brunch at the club” look. This outfit, shown in June 2013, is by Miss Grant.

Off the Rack: These pieces are all great basics, so stock up and replicate this look at a minimal cost. Pair the OshKosh polo ($11-$13.20, Diapers.com) with jeans during cooler months. To make the look more feminine, girls may enjoy wearing this similar-looking blazer, also by OshKosh, over a dress ($18, Target). 

On the Runway: Anchors aweigh! The nautical look goes high-fashion with this Philippe Plein dress, which was shown at the most recent fair this past June. 

Off the Rack: It’s patriotic-looking and summery just like its runway counterpart, but this anchor dress is super affordable. ($32, Zappos)

Images of runway styles 1 and 3 by Giovanni Giannoni; image 2 courtesy of Pitti Immagine. 

Back to school time will be here before you know it! Check it some of our fashion tips:

Back to School: Fashion for Girls
Back to School: Fashion for Girls
Back to School: Fashion for Girls

 

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Sunday Saver: How to Reduce Food Waste and Slash Grocery Bills

Friday, November 8th, 2013

“When my daughter wakes up, she opens her eyes and asks ‘What’s for dinner?’”

“I wish I was kidding,” Alex Guarnaschelli laughs. ”By the time she’s eating breakfast, I better have an answer for her.”

Like moms everywhere, this Food Network star faces The Dinner Question. (And thus, trips to the market and food storage tasks.)

Alex, the author of Old-School Comfort Food and mother to a 6-year-old, is the executive chef at Butter in New York City. Last year, she became one of Food Network’s Iron Chefs, and she is a regular judge on Chopped.

Every morning Alex goes to the kitchen to plan her entire day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Making a plan of attack on your groceries will save time, money, and cut back on waste, she says, which is why she partnered with Glad for the Save It Sunday campaign. The movement, which encourages participants to protect and preserve food, centers on the Sunday ritual of grocery shopping.

“It’s the one day of the week when you can commit to setting aside time: for shopping, cooking ahead meals, and storing other items—it’s about starting the week on the right foot,” she says.

Alex does a lot of her cooking on Sunday, which is why the pledge really speaks to her. But it also goes a step further.

“Ironically, the last thing I want to do when I get home is cook—because I’m doing it all day everyday and by mid-week I’m fried,” she says. “Taking that time on Sunday, and getting joy from it, is wonderful.”

A proponent of reducing waste, Alex is extremely conscious of the issue both at work and at home.

“When I talk to my team about how to prep and store 100 pounds of beans for the restaurant, the same thing applies when I go home and make braised short ribs for my daughter,” she says. “You have to be very proactive.”

According to a 2012 study by the National Resources Defense Council, the average American household throws out 25 percent of the food purchased—roughly $1,500 worth each year.

 

Try Alex’s tips for saving time, money, and reducing food waste:
• Make a meal plan.

“Figure out what you are going to do with everything you buy,” she says. “It’s a pleasure to have an agenda—you’ll feel like you’re pulling a fast one on everybody because it’s so easy!”

Read the Parents meal-plan guide to get started.

 

• Stop thinking about leftovers as, well, leftovers.

“Instead of looking at packaging as something that lets you recycle and throw back in the scraps no one ate, think about it as a new beginning,” she says. “And, by making a plan, you’re actually ensuring there aren’t any leftovers.”

Plus, “leftovers” can be better than the first time around: “Growing up my mom would make a big batch of meatballs and sauce and, to me, the sauce tasted better two days later,” she says. “It’s not a leftover—it’s something you created that got better with age or other ingredients.”

 

• Don’t be hard on yourself.

“Some weeks, I don’t have my act together,” she says. “As a busy working mom, there are nights when I have to say, ‘Guess what kid, it’s fried eggs tonight.’ And that’s okay.”

 

• Reorganize your fridge.

“The crisper can be the kiss of death. Don’t put your fruits and veggies in there,” she says. “Instead, fill it with club soda and put your produce on display. My favorite thing to do is put herbs in a jar of water on the top shelf, or sometimes right on the kitchen table.”

 

• Buy different ingredients.

“Challenge yourself to use new items—like a bunch of thyme or mint—by taking one little step each day for a week. In order to use it up, you’ll find creative ways to add the ingredient to dishes.”

 

To join the #SaveItSunday movement, visit glad.com. If you pledge, you’ll be entered to win a meal prepared by a personal chef.

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Resolve to Reduce Debt in the New Year

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

If your New Year’s resolution is to finally get your finances in order, the SaveUp 30 Day Financial Detox Challenge is here to help! SaveUp is the first free rewards program for saving money and reducing debt—meaning you can straighten out your finances and earn opportunities to win cool prizes like vacations and cash at the same time. Simply choose any credit card in your wallet, and commit to not using it for 30 days by registering it on the SaveUp site. The longer you go without spending, the more chances you have to win prizes. It’s as simple as that. You can also use SaveUp to organize your finances, track your progress, and even get tips from Certified Financial Planners. And best of all, everything is free to use. Research suggests that it takes 30 days to truly break a habit, so participating in the challenge could help you develop lifelong financial skills—and save you a significant amount of money in interest.

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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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4 Helpful Money Tools from LearnVest.com

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Even though Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, the holiday shopping season is still upon us.

For the past year, Parents.com has partnered with LearnVest.com to bring you resources on managing your family budget. To help you figure out how much you should spend, how much you can save, and how to utilize your credit score, LearnVest.com brings you these four helpful tools and calculators.

What to Buy When – a month-by-month tool that shows you the best items to buy (at a discount!) each month

The Purchase Appraiser – a rating tool that helps you determine whether purchases you have made (or are consideration) are worth the money

What Your Credit Score Can Save You – a tool that shows what your mortgage, car loan, or credit card interest would be depending on your credit score

What’s Your Mom Salary? -  a fun calculator to determine how much money you would make if being a mom was a full-time job

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.

LearnVest What to Buy When tool

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8 Small Ways to Invest Big in Your Kids

Friday, October 12th, 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 from LearnVest.com.

Sometimes it can feel like you’re throwing your money down a black hole that happens to be wearing a onesie. But there are ways you can invest money in your child and see a big return, and we’re not just talking about buying savings bonds.  While many of the things you want for your children may seem out of reach now, making little investments now can get them where you want them to be while improving your own finances.

1. Give a $20 Allowance for Cleaning Out the Garage

Studies show that giving an allowance can actually lead to lower financial literacy, lower levels of motivation, and aversion to work. We’ve come down on both sides of the issue of paying for chores, but most experts agree that paying children extra cash for tasks that go above and beyond their normal duties will help both you and them reap benefits later. They’ll have solid finances and you won’t need to bail them out or support them.

Get started by using this website for assigning chores and rewards.

2. Pay $12-$60 for a Year of Girl or Boy Scouts

Group activities encourage cooperation, learning, and healthy habits. Girl Scouts is one of — if not the — most affordable activity available for young girls. But there’s another reason to love a membership: Girl Scout members now learn financial literacy skills as well. Badges added to the roster include Money Counts, Money Manager, Philanthropist, Business Owner, Savvy Shopper, Budgeting, Comparison Shopping, and Financing My Dreams. Boy Scouts have similar merit badges in Entrepreneurship, American Business, and Personal Management, which require them to save up for, budget, and plan for a major purchase.

How much you pay for your own kid’s involvement with the Scouts will vary depending on where you live, but even at its highest price, it’s not too bad.

3. Deposit $200 in a 529 Plan

A 529 plan lets you save tax-free for your child’s college education. Because it’s an investment account, money you deposit will grow at about 7% a year through the years. If you deposit just $200 when your child is 5-years-old, your money will have more than doubled by the time she goes to college; she’ll have about $500 to pick up everything she needs. Think about what depositing $200 a month will yield over 18 years!

You might be wondering if it’s even worth saving for college at all, when it’s so expensive. A college education is still the fastest ticket to the American Dream…unless your child is burdened with students loans. According to FinAid.org, gift aid from the government, colleges and universities, and private scholarships pays for only about a third of total college costs. And taking out loans to cover the rest is much more expensive than saving ahead of time. FinAid.org estimates that if, in the years before your child enrolls in college, you save $200 a month for ten years at 7% interest, your child would have almost $35,000. But if you borrow the same amount at 6.8% interest and pay it back over ten years, you’ll be making payments of over $400 a month. $400 versus $200 a month. Which would you choose?

4. Allow $100 as a First Financial Mistake

We all make financial mistakes. But the hope is that we can avoid some of the bigger ones by learning from small ones. Keep this in mind the first time your kid blows $100 on a ridiculous purchase. $100 is a lot, but as our CFP® Sophia Bera points out, better $100 now than $1,000 or $10,000 later!

Take full advantage of this moment by sitting down with your child and asking questions about his mistake. Was the purchase worth it? How could he have avoided the situation? What will he do next time to prepare for contingencies? Consider that $100 you just spent as education for your child. Just resist the urge to jump in and fix things — then the lesson will be lost.

5. Spend 13 Cents More Per Pound for Organic Produce

A recent study found that 38% of conventional produce has traces of pesticides, while just 7% of organic produce does. This is a big deal, as a 2010 study found a close correlation between the amount of a certain pesticides present in children’s urine and the severity of their ADHD. And prenatal exposure to pesticides has been shown to harm children’s brain formation and lead to lower IQs.

If buying all organic foods seems like a tall order for your grocery budget, you can pick and choose produce–some types are more likely than others to have pesticide residue. Find our list here.

Read about the remaining 3 small investments 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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EXTENDED: Win a Free 3-Month Budgeting Plan from LearnVest.com

Friday, March 30th, 2012

piggy banks

This sweepstakes has ended and the winners have been notified.

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 is now running again between. Fri. 3/30 – Fri. 4/6. 

Since Tax Season is upon us, you might be more worried than usual about your finances.  To give you peace of mind, 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.

As part of the collaboration, LearnVest is also 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.

Be eligible for this giveaway by following these steps:

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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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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