Save For Your New Family

Yes, you have another mouth to feed (and body to clothe and bottom to diaper). But you can still have a college fund, a cash cushion, and a life if you know these shortcuts and strategies.
savings for baby

Paying for college, huh? You're probably too focused on shelling out for baby gear to think that far ahead. But it's not too soon to start: Financial experts predict that by the time today's newborns are packing up their extra-long twin sheets, four years at a private university will cost $350,000 and at a state school as much as $116,000.

Gulp is right. Yet you don't need to have all that dough in the bank. Divide estimated college expenses into thirds, and plan to save a third, pay a third from your salary each college year, and borrow the other third. "This is a practical way to prepare," says Jeanette Pavini, a household-savings expert with "Of course, when possible, stash away more. You can adjust accordingly if life brings the unexpected." Follow these deprivation-free saving secrets and your brainiac should be good to go.

Rejigger Fixed Expenses

Ask utilities to charge you less. Seriously -- ask! "We checked with our cable, car insurance, and cellphone companies to see if they could save us any cash," says Sherry Petersik, half of the budget-minded duo behind home blog and mom of baby Clara. The Petersiks' cable company extended a promotional price that saved them $30 per month, and their insurance company updated their marital status, briskly knocking $134 off the couple's annual bill (they were engaged when they bought the car together).
Saved About $10 per week

Cut out a car if you can. The Petersiks both work from home, so they are able to get by with only one car, even though they live in the burbs. Consider whether your little family could also off-load a set of wheels (and the attendant car payments and insurance costs) by carpooling to the office or taking public transportation. It will be worth it!
Saved About $10 per week

Put your cell phone plan on hold. Danny Kofke realized he'd been kissing away $50 a month for cellphones he and his wife used only in emergencies. So this dad of two and author of How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary switched to a pay-as-you-go plan.
Saved About $10 per week

Find Free Entertainment

Dust off your library card."My kids love our library's storytime hour and sing-along sessions," says Christina D'Angelo Bolduc, of Wrentham, Massachusetts, a mom of two. "The library also provides free passes to local children's museums, the zoo, and kid-centric classes." Plus, Bolduc saves a boatload on books.
Saved About $12 per week

Dine out on a dime. Type "Kids Eat Free" and your zip code into any search engine to find restaurants that offer delicious discounts for the booster seat set. "I order a salad and a glass of wine, my daughters get free pizzas, and the bill is $12!" says Anne Macomber, of Denver, a mom of two.
Saved About $20 per week

Share the sitting. Take turns with a mommy-friend. Or form a babysitting co-op with local families: "Every hour you use costs you a point per kid, and every hour you sit gains you a point; one mom earns some extra points for tracking it all," explains Macomber, who coordinates a co-op with six friends. "If you get stuck for a sitter, you can offer double points as an incentive."
Saved About $20 per week

Do movies at home. "With our basic Netflix membership, we get to watch unlimited movies, TV shows, even yoga videos," Petersik says. "We save on the cineplex and yoga studio while cutting our cable bill."
Saved About $10 per week

Scout out cheap recreation. There are all sorts of entertaining activities right in your 'hood that cost you zilch: A stroll through a pet store saves you on zoo admission; a walk by a local firehouse or construction zone will thrill vehicle-obsessed tots..
Saved About $10 per week

Make your home a hot spot. Dierdre Habershaw, of Boston, throws cheapo dinner parties for her friends after daughter Madelyn goes to bed; Petersik often counters invitations to pricey restaurants with offers to have friends over for a home-cooked meal or a cocktail hour. You can also save some moolah by ordering take-out from your favorite eatery rather than going to the restaurant; the waitress won't be there to remind you about appetizers, dessert, and not-so-free refills.

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