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Lessons for a First Time Mom: The Voice of Reason

Having a baby is one of the most joyous moments of anyone’s life because it’s an amazing life-changing experience. If you’re a first-time mother, you might be a little lost when it comes to shopping and planning for your new arrival. With so many baby products on the market, it can be hard to know exactly what you need. Since babies can cost a lot of money, it’s important to know what items you definitely need and what items you could really do without to save money. Don’t Hesitate To Buy Used One of the most common mistakes first-time parents make is that they buy everything new. When it comes to buying brand new items for your new bundle of joy, things can get pretty expensive. One thing you can do to save a decent amount of money is to buy used. You can buy adorable baby clothing and accessories on www.swap.com for a fraction of the cost of new clothes. Other items besides clothing that are okay to buy used include: Baby toys Shoes Playpens Changing table Rocking chair Strollers When buying used furniture, always make sure there are no loose or missing parts on them. It’s also important ...

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How to Survive an Unpaid Family Leave of Absence

How to survive unpaid leave

Will you survive an unpaid family leave of absence without accumulating debt and ruining your credit history? The United States does not provide paid leave. Health insurance plans have cost sharing components and do not cover every conceivable expense. You may have to cope with a deadly one-two punch: a sudden spike in outlays, combined with a loss of income. Increase your odds of emerging unscathed by researching relevant laws that sometimes provide monetary assistance and job protections, prepare your finances in advance, and make the appropriate adjustments when reality comes knocking at your door. This is a guest post by Kevin Haney. We hope your enjoy! Researching Family Leave of Absence Laws The first step in surviving an unpaid family leave of absence is researching whether any federal or state laws apply to your situation. Do not assume that the government will step in to lend a helping hand. This is a very dangerous because it is rarely true. A smattering of paid leave programs exists to help a minority. Unpaid job protections are available to a slightly wider segment. Paid Family Leave Laws There is no federal paid family leave law in the United States. Only three states ...

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How Much Does It Really Cost to Raise a Child?

costs of having kids

We’ve all read those reports about how it costs almost a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child to age 18. That makes each year of life around $13,611 for middle income families. I have no idea about the rest of the world, but thought it might be fun to share average expenses for our kiddo. She will be nine in a few months, making us half way to adulthood. Here is a breakdown of our costs to raise a child. Keep in mind that we only have one kid, are upper middle class earners, and live in a low cost of living area. Where you live can be a huge influence on how much you spend. Also, as an only child, our daughter probably has the benefit of many more splurges that would be possible with multiple children. Necessary Expenses Food This is a hard category to break down because I don’t track grocery spending into kid vs adult.  Most of the time, we all eat the same things. Having a child means buying a little more. The two notable exceptions are the gallon of organic milk I buy every ten days at $5-$6 a pop and ...

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Cheap Things to do When Kids are Out of School

trail hiking with kids

For the past couple of years, my daughter’s elementary school has dedicated two Fridays per month as teacher work days, meaning no school for kids. I am lucky that my schedule is flexible enough that I’ve been able to take all those days off from work. Instead of sitting around the house, I decided we would get out and explore, thus Field Trip Friday was born. Last year, I had one additional kid whose Mom had to work those Fridays. This year, I picked up two more for a total of four kids ranging in age from 6-9. I have been on the hunt for low cost or free things to keep them entertained and to insure that my house remains intact. Luckily there are lots of fun, cheap things to do when kids are out of school. Spend Time Outdoors What we don’t have in big city amenities, our rural area makes up for in outdoor activities. For our first field trip of the year, we hiked the Geyser Trail to Colorado’s only natural geyser. All the kids had done the trail before, so it was familiar and easy terrain. They made up an elaborate game where the girls ...

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Save on Back to School Shopping

back to school shopping

  I can’t believe it’s already time to think about back to school, but sticking my head in the sand about the impending start of the school year does nothing to help us get prepared. Last year the average family spent almost $700 on back to school costs. Unless your kid requires a computer, I don’t believe it’s necessary or wise to spend that much. Before heading out to stock up on school supplies, take some time to prepare. There are tons of ways to save on back to school shopping. Look Around the House for Functional School Supplies Once you obtain the necessary school supply list, take a look around the house. It’s tempting to pick up the list from the store and throw everything in the cart that same day, but there is a good chance you don’t need to buy everything new. We were able to find an unused glue stick, some markers, folders, scissors, rulers, notebooks, and plenty of paper towels and tissues. Our PE shoes from last year still fit, so that’s a nice savings. Kids also don’t need new backpacks and lunch boxes every year. We will be using our same backpack from 1st ...

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