All Articles Tagged "finances"
As most of us already know, having a baby can put a serious dent in your wallet! Between healthcare costs, medical expenses and essentials for your baby, there can be little to no disposable income left over at the end of the month. So how do you manage to give your baby everything he or she needs without breaking the bank? Here are some tips we hope you find extremely helpful.
1. Accept and Ask For Hand-Me-Downs
As one of the last of my friends to have children, my mommy girlfriends were all too happy to part with baby clothes and gear they no longer needed. This mutually-beneficial arrangement allowed them to clear up some much-needed storage space while helping me avoid paying for a number of items, most of which the baby would only need for one to three months anyway (since a baby’s needs vary so much by their ever-changing stages and are most items are quickly outdated).
In addition to providing optimal nutrition for your baby, breastfeeding is also extremely cost-effective since it eliminates the need to constantly restock formula, bottles, disinfecting and warming devices, etc. Granted, not everyone might be lucky enough to produce enough milk, or for other reasons, the baby may not be able to breastfeed, but if you can, nursing is a great way to cut back on baby rearing expenses.
3. Invest in Fewer Baby Clothes
Most new moms especially are easily enticed into buying “adorable” outfits for their little ones. But before you break the bank setting out to doll up your baby from head to toe, consider how quickly they will outgrow those designer newborn onesies – most of which might only be worn a few times at most. When you start retiring outfits faster than it took to purchase them, you quickly realize the time and money wasted.
4. Skip the Designer Stroller
As a new mom, I had no idea how pricey some strollers could be until a friend offered to sell me her $900 stroller for half the price. Can you say “sticker shock!” The fact that she only used it for barely a year and already needed to update to another style to accommodate her second baby on the way, made me realize that an expensive stroller might not be the best investment. Instead I opted for a budget-friendly ‘travel system.’ Considering I’ll already need to update the car seat portion in a few months, I’m glad I didn’t overspend on this purchase.
5. Don’t’ Be Afraid to Go Generic
Wanting the very best for your baby is only natural. However, as an aunt to three teenagers, I’m fully aware that there will eventually come a time when they will ask for and appreciate brand name items. Until then, your baby won’t mind if you’re not buying the premium diapers, wipes or other products, so enjoy that freedom to consciously budget while you still can.
This past Tuesday, Stonegate Bank announced it will issue the first United States credit and debit cards that can be used in Cuba. As the Associated Press reported, Stonegate Bank’s Mastercard will help travelers make purchases at state-run businesses or private restaurants that have point-of-sale devices in Cuba.
“The Cuban government is exempting the cards from the 10 percent government penalty on dollar transactions, making them the cheapest legal way for travelers to move dollars to the island,” AP reported, also noting the Cuban government’s plan to completely remove the 10 percent penalty once international banks allow the country to have their international transactions in dollars.
Prior to this new financial bridge between the United States and Cuba, those traveling to Cuba had to solely use cash and exchange it at state institutions or local cambios (money exchange businesses in Latin America), The Travel Pulse pointed out. Although Stonegate Bank Mastercard and debit cards will help tourists move with more financial freedom throughout the Latin island, as of now no cash advances are being processed in the country. It should also be noted many of the 10,000 point-of-sale devices in Cuba are not in service so just how far this Mastercard will take you remains to be seen.
Despite the setbacks, officials from Stonegate Bank told Travel Pulse that 100 Americans citizens and businesses have already requested the credit card and half of those requests were from educational institution and travel companies.
Most parents will probably agree that raising a child isn’t cheap. There are so many basic necessities that add up each month like food, clothes, toiletries and school supplies. And what about the other things like extracurricular activities or unexpected medical costs for an ailment or a child that’s unwell?
In 2013 the U.S. Department of Agriculture proved just how costly it is to raise a child by releasing a report called “Cost of Raising a Child.” They found that for a middle-income family in the U.S. to raise a child up until 18 years old costs on average $245,340.
But is it more expensive to raise a boy or girl?
The financial site MoneyTips recently did a survey of almost 500 parents around the country asking “which gender is more expensive to raise?” 60 percent of parents all thought it was more expensive to raise a girl and it said that those parents spent more on their girls in clothing, toiletries, and school supplies.
However a UK study from Halifax bank says that parents thought boys were more expensive because they have more wear and tear on their things like clothing, shoes, furniture, and even toys. Halifax said: “Boys are more likely than girls to need items of uniform replacing more frequently due to wear and tear than girls, and with a greater number of extra curricular sports favoured by boys, the cost of buying and replacing the kit for these can add up.”
Regardless of how expensive some people feel it is to raise a boy or a girl, raising kids in general is still pricey. One way to cut back on costs is to budget and plan ahead. Here are some tips that may help.
Tip #1 Shop During Sales And Use coupons
This isn’t always easy to do but that extra amount of effort on your part could save you hundreds of dollars at the grocery store and for clothing and possibly toiletries for your entire household.
Tip #2-Keep Your Receipts For Each Month
When you have time go back and separate them into categories so you can see how much money you spent on groceries, eating out, and extra curricular activities. That way if you are in a bind it will show you where you can cut something for the next month. And if you want to go the extra step keep a budget going every month to help you stay on track and monitor your spending.
Tip #3 Don’t Be Afraid To Barter
Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to introduce bartering into your life. If you are low on cash one month and need a babysitter then ask a trusted friend if she can watch your kids and tell her you will watch hers next time for free when she goes out.
Tip #4 Vintage Is Your Friend
If you aren’t afraid of used or some slightly used things there are many low cost options or sometimes even free things at your disposal. You can make it a weekly routine on a Sunday evening for half an hour to check your local paper or a trusted mom site for people giving away free things like children’s furniture. Sometimes someone has to move to another city quickly and they don’t want the hassle of taking a lot with them. Also places like Good Will or other local vintage stores offer kids clothing at a very low cost.
Love is supposed to conquer all, even money issues. But while you’re able to get away with refraining from having those tough conversations early on, relationships that have reached a more serious level require earnest money talk.
Money matters break up more serious relationships than almost any other issue. Luckily, there’s a way to save what you have and still and work together on monetary concerns.
Talk about problems before they pop up or get really bad and they’ll soon be a non-issue in your relationship. Already arguing about money? Learn how to make those discussions productive and you can put that energy into saving more and fighting less.
How do you handle money issues in your relationship? If you have tricks to keep money as a non-issue, share it in the comment section so we can add it to the list.
It’s free to walk up to someone, to slide in a person’s direct messages, or to slide your number in their hand (or their phone) at a social event, but to actually make a real effort to date them? Now that’s expensive.
In the early stages of dating, the impression you make is important, so you have to choose date venues, activities, and ideas wisely. There’s the pressure of keeping the other party interested, excited, and happy because you don’t want to bore them to death in the process of getting to know them. In the age of $200 date debates, are you ready for this new age of dating standards and expectations? More importantly, can you afford them?
According to Cosmopolitan, the average person will spend between $80-$100 on a single date night. Doing simple math, if you plan about two dates a week, you could find yourself spending upwards of $800 a month. A recent study by Match.com showed that American singles spend about $60 a month on dating, and if you live in a large city, that number basically doubles. It’s not uncommon to splurge in the beginning of the relationship, especially on the first date when you want to make a good impression and show the other party how serious you are about getting to know them, but as time goes on in the relationship, you’re quick to realize that your pockets can’t handle it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with staying in some nights, ordering food, and watching a movie together, but when that becomes your go-to “date,” things can get a bit boring pretty fast.
After surveying a few social media followers on whether finances determined their dating patterns, most admitted to being single because they couldn’t afford to pay their own expenses while also attempting to “wine and dine” someone “every other night.” There were a few followers who said they try to be creative with date ideas in order to save money. Some still resided with their parents and expressed that while they could afford to date someone, it usually didn’t go far because of their living situation. But the consensus was that yes, dating is expensive. It’s something you have to budget for as an entertainment expense. And with prices going up rapidly for many date night activities (remember when movie tickets used to be around $7?), sometimes it feels like you can’t get to know someone without spending a pretty penny.
If you find yourself in the position where you have to say a prayer every time you hand the waiter or cashier your credit card hoping that your payment is processed, chances are, dating is a financial burden for you. If you find yourself constantly bringing up splitting expenses on a sneak tip because you don’t want to just come out and say you don’t have enough and would like for your date to help, you can’t afford to date. When you find yourself constantly swiping when you’re already near the red and hoping you have enough funds in your savings to cover overdraft fees, dating shouldn’t be a priority for you right now. And when the reason you can’t go out on dates is because you’re struggling to pay bills, get groceries, and barely function, you have to ask yourself, are you financially in a place to build with someone towards a relationship or do you need to focus on getting your life together?
A lot goes into changing your financial future. It’s not easy to do, but it’s possible to turn questionable spending, saving and bill-paying habits around. Success, no matter the kind, always begins with changing your mindset. Whether you’re looking to start your journey to “getting to the money” at the end of the rainbow or need to turn the future of your money around and don’t know where to start, all you need is that push. That encouragement to reach your goals. That’s why you should keep the following affirmations in mind. Stick them on your mirror, save them to your phone, put them in your wallet and keep them close.
These positive quotes will help you figure out what you need to do to be more financially stable, and remind you to stick to your goals no matter what life throws your way — even if money isn’t all you want to attract to your life. What affirmations do you use to inspire you when it’s time to hustle toward your goals?
The Today Show recently reported that new parents in America are turning to crowdfunding platforms, i.e. gofundme.com, in order to finance their family leave for newborn care. Currently, there are over 1200 families with active fundraising campaigns. “GoFundMe campaigns that mention maternity leave or child care have raised over $8.8 million across 5,800 fundraisers” spokeswoman for the company, Kelsea Little, told The Today Show.
It is a testament to the intelligence and resourcefulness of this generation that young families are using 21st century technology, such as social media, to solve for decade old issues such as income inequality and the lack of adequate child care in America.
But should these working families have to raise money to care for young children? Why is this necessary in the most educated, hardest working and wealthiest nation in the world? If hard-working men and women, cannot afford to care for the most innocent and vulnerable among us, whose life really matters in America?
The United States of America is the only developed country that does not mandate maternity or paternity leave for families. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees that new parents can take up to 12 weeks off without risk of losing their job, however, this is guaranteed unpaid leave. Only 12 percent of new parents in America have access to paid leave for the purpose of taking care of a newborn.
Over a million people have tuned into entrepreneur Jessica Shortall’s Ted Talk “The US Needs Paid Family Leave.” Shortall makes the case that leave is not just important for funding the love of young families, it is a vital component that ensures the economic well-being of American workers and their families, the people who actually fuel our economic progress as a whole.
After announcing to family and friends the great news of expectancy, most new parents are forced to put their celebrations on hold while they figure out how to finance parenthood.
Crowdfunding is normally associated with the need to source money for new companies, projects, and initiatives. These are ideas that individuals are developing to enhance society’s quality of living in addition to our basic needs. I.e. no one needs UBer, Facebook, Twitter, or an Iphone to live well, but they do make life easier. People interested in creating organizations such as these use crowd-funding platforms for financing. The caveat, in addition to having a great idea, is that these ideas must be able to make money/profits down the line.
What does it mean when parents have to use these same platforms to raise money to validate the value of young children/babies? This is disgusting and shameful and not on behalf of the parents. Over and over again, be it wage inequality, failing public schools, wall street bailouts, student loan deficits, low quality high-priced healthcare, and the prison industrial complex, it is proven that GDP matters more than the wellbeing of human life in America.
According to US Social Security data, the average American worker makes $28,031 per year pre-tax. Now the reported average cost of living per person in America, including housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, and taxes, all the things a person needs to maintain life, equates to $28,474. This means that the average working person in America is operating at a deficit of -$433 per year. This does not include the cost of passions, education, vacation, relaxation, and other pleasures in addition to variances in lifestyle choices like location inflation costs and health status.
Please keep in mind that this number rises for married couples and families with children, who also operate at deficits just to afford the basic needs of life.
Life as an American is expensive. It not just requires us to work hard to maintain our living, but to work hard and still not be able to maintain living. Most working Americans are operating at a deficit and it has nothing to do with their education levels and/or their ambition to create a good life for themselves. Numbers show that even single working people in America are struggling. In light of this fact, what hope is there for the working adults caring for elders and/or children who cannot provide for their own wellbeing?
What kind of America do we live in where working parents are forced to raise money as a company or not-for-profit in order to care for their children? The American people are being robbed of their livelihoods and the most important aspect of life, love and family. If you work hard to contribute your human capital to the wellbeing of society, you should be able to afford a life worth living for. This is not the case in America, and it is sad.
Congratulations to these new families who are being resilient in the face of systematic oppression of the working American. These individuals deserve every dollar they raise time 100, because it the words of the great orator Eminem, “It’s a sick sad world we live in these days.”
Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience, a multi-media inspirational platform. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace.
A Chicago startup named Airfordable might just be the go-to for booking your next trip abroad. Priding itself as a “layaway for airline tickets,” Airfordable allows travelers to pay just one-third of their flight price upfront when using their website and then pay off the remaining balance in bi-weekly or monthly installments. And the maximum airfare, which can be purchased 11 months in advance, is a generous $2,000 per person.
Co-founder of Airfordable, Ama Marfo, developed the Airfordable business model after wanting to visit her family in Ghana but not being able to because flights were too expensive and she didn’t have a credit card. In an interview with Condé Nast Traveler, Marfo said “although many people pay for flights on credit cards and then pay off the cards, Airfordable could stand out by not charging interest.”
There is, however, a 20 percent service fee (that can be paid off along with your payments) for using the site, but if you’re a part of Airfordable’s target demo which is people who have poor credit, expats, visitors and residents who cannot obtain a U.S. credit card, that fee may not matter.
Although there are many who criticize Marfo’s Airfordable business technique because they believe you shouldn’t travel if you can’t afford it, she notes that it will teach people to budget their fiances and give them access to travel. Also, if travelers cannot make their payments or must change their travel plans, the money they already paid will be credited to their Airfordable account and can be used within a year towards a different flight.
Will you be booking with Airfordable?
I typically don’t cry when I watch an episode of the daytime talk show The Real because, well, it’s The Real. But this revelation really spoke to my heart. I recently came across a clip of co-host Jeannie Mai sharing a touching story about her upbringing and the fear she had of not being able to provide for her family.
Her parents immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in hopes of providing better opportunities for their children. With limited funds, her father took a meeting at Jeannie’s school in order to land a janitorial position. The only catch is he wanted to work at night so his children wouldn’t see him. Throughout the week he would treat his family to take-out and would watch them eat. Whenever Jeannie asked him why he wasn’t hungry, he simply answered because he already ate. One night, she found him digging in the trash eating their family’s scraps. Telling this story brought tears to her co-host’s eyes, and mine.
Talk about sacrifice.
There’s something about becoming a mother that has opened my eyes even more to my limits and how far I would go to provide for my family. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, but he can take care of himself at the end of the day. I’m so thankful we’re financially stable, but I know–without a doubt–he would take any and every job he could to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. His parents did the same for he and his sisters in Panama, lighting the path for them to attend college and pursue their dreams. Heck, my own father worked overtime as a police officer to make sure he could help pay for my higher education. Because of his line of work, I didn’t see him all the time, but knew he was out risking his life to make sure I had a better one.
As much as I’d like to think folks would do what’s necessary to provide for their family, I honestly don’t see it as a reality many could handle. If it came down to you having to work a blue-collar job you thought was “beneath you” to pay your bills, would you do it? Could you set your pride aside to ensure your household wouldn’t have a care you couldn’t provide for? The recession really opened my eyes to the reality of people’s financial situations and who was willing to do what it takes to keep their family afloat. I knew some people who would work nights and part-time at CVS or Burger King while others would turn their noses to such a thought because it didn’t utilize their master’s degree. Rather than work an “in the meantime and between time” hustle until they landed a better job, they would kick back until their next interview and collect their unemployment check.
And what about the other end of the spectrum, that is, those who bend over backwards all the time for their family? Is there such a thing as doing too much? While I agree with Jeannie Mai about wanting to provide for my family, I also need to keep it “real” with myself when it comes to who and how. To keep it real, unfortunately, not everyone in my immediate clan is financially savvy. They would definitely misuse any funds I provide, or make excuses as to why they no longer need to work. One close family member in particular has borrowed money from me here and there since I was 18-years-old… and never paid back a cent. I had to learn to love without attaching my wallet because my “bailouts” seemed to create more financial trouble and never taught them to do things on their own.
It’s important to set some realistic guidelines when it comes to providing for your family and just how far you’d go. You have to ask yourself if the sacrifices you’re making to bring in money helps or hinders their general well-being. If someone is bad with money, should you look for financial alternatives, like an IRA that will provide for them down the road? Cut them off entirely?
What would you do to provide for your family?