Family

What to Bring to College: The Smart (and Frugal) College Checklist

Angela writes in: In nine days, our oldest son is graduating from high school. He will be the first one in our family to go to college as he is going to [a major state school]. While we have spent a lot of time figuring out scholarships and financial aid and other things, we are really …

How We Decided an Expensive Child Care Center Wasn’t Worth It

I live in Indiana, and in the Midwest, almost everything is cheap – including daycare. According to Pew Research Center, the average cost for full-time infant care in Indiana is somewhere between $6,000 and $8,999 a year. Compare that to $14,939 in New York or more than $16,000 in Massachusetts. Still, averages mean nothing when you’re …

Categories: Family, Home and Life

10 Smart Graduation Gifts for College-Bound Seniors

Summer is almost upon us, and with it a barrage of social events, from backyard barbecues to weddings to, of course, graduation parties. And while you can bring a tray of baked beans to a neighborhood cookout, and something straight off the registry to a wedding, it’s often difficult to decide what to get a newly-minted high school …

Categories: Education, Family, Shopping

Best Home Security System for 2015

The best home security systems have a proven track record in protecting homes and their valuable contents. Unfortunately, many people don’t address home security until it’s too late — after they’ve already had a break-in. According to the FBI, just under 2 million burglaries were reported in 2013, resulting in roughly $4.5 billion in losses. Homes with alarm …

How to Write a Thank-You Note

With graduation and wedding season upon us, you may be faced with the arduous task of finding the proper way to thank others for their generosity. In some ways, it can be difficult to be on the receiving end: Not only do you have to accept your gift graciously, you also have to make sure your loved …

20 Ideas for a Frugal (Not Cheap) Wedding on a Budget

“Angela” writes in: What advice do you have for a frugal wedding? We’re getting married this fall and want to explore as many cheap wedding ideas as we can. Since we are both in our early twenties and don’t have a lot to spend, we were hoping to keep our wedding as small as possible. …

A Basic Guide to an Inexpensive and Incredibly Fun Family Camping Vacation

This summer, my family and I are going to be camping in northern Wisconsin for several days. We plan on camping at two different locations during the trip so that we get a chance to see and enjoy two completely different areas. Small camping trips are a staple of our summer – we usually camp …

102 Things to Do on a Money-Free Weekend

Some time ago, I offered up the idea of the money-free weekend: For the last few months, my wife and I have been doing something every other weekend or so that we call a “money-free” weekend, in an effort to live more frugally. It’s actually quite fun – here’s how we do it. We’re not allowed to …

Should You Co-Sign a Loan?

“Will you co-sign a loan?” That’s almost like asking, “Will you marry me?” Well, maybe not quite that intense. However, a marriage can end in divorce, while a co-signed loan can last forever. A co-signer is generally needed when a person applying for a loan, say a car loan or student loan, doesn’t have enough …

Four Businesses Kids Can Start Themselves

The Internet was buzzing recently about a 15-year-old New Yorker who rakes in $300,000 a year with her babysitting agency, Nannies by Noa. Noa Mintz saw a need for matching parents with suitable babysitters. She now oversees 25 nannies and 50 babysitters, and she receives 15% of their initial gross salary. While a nanny service …

Five Reasons It Pays to Become a Work-at-Home Mom

After years of decline, a new look at government data shows that the number of stay-at-home moms is finally on the rise. This news comes courtesy of Pew Research Center analysis from 2014. According to the research, the percentage of mothers who don’t work outside the home surged to 29% in 2012, up from only 23% …

Categories: Careers, Family

Three Simple Money Management Lessons for Teenagers

My most important goal for my children is that they grow up to be independent human beings. Although my twins are only a few weeks shy of being one year old, I fully plan to discuss money management tips with them from now (while they can’t talk back) until they’re teenagers and beyond. I had an unusually good …

Financial Success and Parenting

As Sarah and I roll along the path to financial independence, it naturally has some degree of impact on our parenting. The financial choices and decisions we make, like it or not, are different than the average American family and thus likely different than the decisions made by the families of their friends. Our goal …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Joint Finances: Why I Share My Money With My Husband

When I met my husband in 2004, he was sharing an apartment with two roommates and I was a poor student with a low-wage job and not much else. The fact that I almost owned my biggest asset — my car — was balanced out by the fact that my husband (then boyfriend) carried around …

Honey, I Wrecked Your Credit

My husband and I were both in our mid-30s when we married. He was a couple of years into a psychiatric practice, and I had more than a decade of magazine experience under my belt. Each of us had been financially independent for quite some time (although as a freelance writer, my independence was of …

Balancing Spending and Time: How ‘Time Frugality’ Can Save You Lots of Cash

I have a number of hobbies that I deeply enjoy. I really enjoy playing board games and am the member of two different board game groups. I love to read. I love doing things with my children. I love tinkering with electronics, walking around my neighborhood, and countless other things. I also love just trying …

More Than One Kid? How to Save for College

A reader named Autumn asks a good question: “Hi, I need some advice… My sweet newborn was given a little over $1,000 from our family for his higher education. I thought about putting it into a 529 plan, but I don’t want this money to be only in his name since we plan to have …

Free Yourself From the Kids’ Birthday-Party Trap

Sometimes the most outrageous birthday parties are for the kids who probably care the least. One-year-olds, for example, won’t remember that you spent $700 on a standing birthday cake shaped like a My Little Pony, nor will they appreciate the fact that you hired a professional photographer for their “big day.” (Yes, that happened.) But has …

Categories: Family, Home and Life

Five Tax Breaks for Parents

There’s a lot to be said about having children; they’re a joy, they’re a handful — and they’re expensive. How expensive depends upon where you live and how much you earn. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates it costs between $180,000 and $540,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18, and those numbers just …

Categories: Family, Taxes

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