Whether your child is off to college this year or next, you are thinking about the needs. There are a lot of things a new student needs aside from their supplies list for classes. There are tons of commercials and ads on bedding, laptops, and mini-fridges. When is the right time to buy? How do you know if you are saving money? Here are some of my recommendations.
When a child struggles and the budget is tight, tutoring can become a frustrating ordeal. Some schools offer after-school programs that help with homework. Sometimes you can help. I have looked at several apps and websites that are helpful to tutor your child. They are all free and can be a lifesaver. Some of them are so much fun, your child might want to visit them when they don’t need tutoring.
Children do well when they have a designated spot for doing homework. The area should convey that completing assignments is important. It has everything they have nearby. It is comfortable and quiet. If your child struggles with silence, music from a radio or MP3 player is helpful. I don’t recommend television as it can become a distraction.
There are going to be moments where you are somewhere, and the toddler is in a particularly horrible mood. You will think “I just want to hand them my phone so they will be quiet” and you know it will work. Then you are inundated with those “I am a bad parent” feelings and you don’t know what to do. While we all know that too much screen time can be bad for kids, we also know that sometimes it’s about your sanity. Fortunately, there are ways to combat those feelings by ensuring you provide an educational app so that Cranky Toddler is learning rather than being sucked into some mindlessness. Here are some top picks on free kids apps (without hidden in-app purchases) that are good for your kids.
In a previous post here, I wrote about how my 15-year-old son attends an online school through K12. My boyfriend’s daughter still attends a traditional public school for several reasons.
My son is 15, getting ready to finish his freshman year of high school. Up until the second semester of this school year, he has attended a conventional brick-and-mortar school. Now, he attends a virtual charter school through K12.
There is loads of economic data coming out every day that can have a tremendous effect on the markets. Non farm payrolls is a big data point, but so is data coming from the rest of the US government, like consumer confidence indexes and explanations of defense spending. The US is a massive governmental entity that can have a huge effect on the global economy, in many ways you might not expect.
First, take a look at what economics actually is. The freshman college course that you might have slept through for much of second semester actually had a lot to teach you. Economics deals with choice. It purports to deal with rational human behavior in a world where there is scarce resources. How do we get what we want when our choices always have to have a trade-off.
Economics takes into account the way that corporations invest throughout the world, how business pay their employees and how consumers spend their money. In a world that is governed more and more by capitalism, it makes sense to pay attention to the way that all this activity affects people. And the markets.
One of the largest info bombs that hits the global economy each month is the United States report on non farms payrolls. Sometimes the most effective piece of inof is the number of jobs added to the US economy added each month. That small bit of data can have an effect on the S&P 500, the confidence of consumers spending throughout the country and how foreign investors see the world. All of that can have a major effect on global markets.
Also released with non farm payrolls is the U.S. unemployment rate. That metric is very important in determining the psychological health of the US economy. And the US economy has an outsized effect on the rest of the world. Economic indicators in Europe and Asia have a large effect on the global markets as well, but the US is the most powerful government in the world and the largest economy in the world. So the machinations and changes within the economic fortunes of its citizens are vastly important to traders and global market watchers.
Sometimes analysts are bullish about non-farm payrolls and they tend to think that more jobs will be created. Many times, they are wrong and the market corrects itself. Sometimes the non farms payrolls will outperform expectations and the market will respond accordingly. Either way, there are opportunities for traders to make money on these moves.
Following economic data points is important for any investor because you can really get yourself an education about how the world works when you spend time looking at where the money goes. It can help you make decisions about where to put your money and where to get good at trading. Trading can also flourish off the release of economic data like non farm payrolls because savvy traders know which stocks or commodities will spike or fall based on the data that comes out.
That knowledge comes along with watching the market closely. When you pay attention to economic data then you can grasp a global picture of the market and how it might affect your world. That will give indicators and trends that you can follow as you trade stocks, bonds, commodities or futures. Really any kind of trading or investing can benefit from watching and understanding global economic data.
For more information on how to get started in online trading,, look to this resource for picking the right platform that will match your risk appetite and strategy.
Readers, we’ve created an information-packed ebook on how to teach your children about money. It’s a guidebook for parents of kids at all ages.
Please click on the link below to download the ebook. After you’ve read it, please let us know what you think of it in the comments section beneath this post.
When I was pregnant with my first child, every day held excitement about the future. But I couldn’t quite shake the weight I felt on my shoulders when I thought about returning to work six weeks after her birth. I wanted so desperately to stay home, but simply couldn’t imagine how to afford being a stay-at-home mom.
It just doesn’t come up much in school, does it? “Living On Half Your Income 101.” Yeah, not so much. Today’s culture often says things like “Put it on credit” or “You deserve more” or good ‘ole “YOLO.” But some dreams involve spending and earning a whole lot less.
And they sure are worth it.
See, my husband and I really needed a roadmap, some kind of guidelines to help us navigate these tumultuous waters.
If that’s you, then let me encourage you. Our “get-your-financial-act-together” journey started in 2011. In 2012, my husband and I paid off $22,000 to become debt-free right before our daughter’s birth. We stockpiled as much as we could into our emergency savings and learned to continually live within our means (MUCH harder than it sounds!).
This led to one of the happiest days of my life. It was in May of 2014. I was 30 weeks pregnant with our second child and kept having labor symptoms when I’d work on my feet all day at my job. Rather than risk a premature delivery, that became the catalyst for our leap of faith.
That was the day I quit my job and officially became a stay-at-home mom. I waddled to my car with astonishment stamped on my face. It really was happening.
You need to understand the primary reason for this astonishment. We would now be living on less than $2,000 a month. It seems impossible that we could have done this (especially if you knew how bad we were at budgeting when we were single!). The thing is, we hustled our hineys off and no longer had debt. We’d been budgeting like paupers and renting from family instead of rushing into a home we couldn’t afford.
Even on such a small income, we really were ready. Hence my amazement.
Every dream is different. And that’s OK.
Your dream may not be to stay home. That’s totally fine! If you love working outside the home, then embrace that and enjoy your work. Nor are you required to generate an income if you do decide to stay home full-time. Let’s just get that out there.
So many of the steps we took as a couple had very little to do with me making extra money from home. They set an important foundation that centered around three major components:
- Changing habits
- Financial freedom
Let’s pull back the curtain a little further and explore what I mean.
How to Afford Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
Here are some practical first steps you can take in your journey toward spending more time with your kids!
Step #1: Kick debt to the curb.
When my husband and I committed to paying off our outstanding debt in two years instead of seven, we forced ourselves to:
- Budget every month
- Snip our credit cards and always pay with debit or cash
- Live intentionally on less
- Communicate in healthier ways about money
For example, the biggest way my husband and I melted debt was to intentionally begin living on his income. It took months, but eventually, we were able to apply every dime from my paycheck toward debt.
After that, our small income became that much more powerful. Imagine what you could do with your money if you didn’t have any payments. That one thought spurred us on.
Step #2: Save for the unexpected.
Saving for emergencies is the most powerful way you can create financial stability in your home. Smaller emergencies like an oil leak can be covered in the “auto repair” portion of your budget. But what if your income-generating spouse loses his job? That buffer is the difference between you remaining a stay-at-home mom through that transition or scrambling for work alongside your partner.
A great place to start with a savings buffer is $1,000. More can be accumulated once you’re out of debt, but that first $1k is your Kevlar vest against calamity.
Step #3: Act.
We covered the basics. Whether you’re a mother or would like to be one someday, you can begin this journey today. It’s time to choose your next step and ACT.
A great place to start is a conversation with your significant other. This plan requires openness and commitment from both of you. It’s also going to take time. Best to start the conversation now.
For example, when I messed up the budget, I knew I could approach my husband about it instead of burying my head in the sand like I’d done in the past. We worked through many problems that way. Extend grace. Talk about your dreams. Re-commit.
Another great next step is to further your education. Try joining a Facebook group that centers around whipping your family finances into shape. The added support is tremendous. Here are two great groups you can join:
Build on the foundation.
If you’ve read this far, it means you’re dead serious about your dream of becoming a stay-at-home mom. That’s awesome.
I believe you can do it, but this is just the framework. It’s not going to keep the rain or wind out of your house. To add siding, insulation, a roof, and even some shiplap if that’s your fancy, then I strongly encourage you to check out my eBook called “The Stay-at-Home Mom Blueprint.” In it, I expand my story on climbing out of debt and achieving my dream of staying home. I also walk you through 150 practical strategies that my husband and I used (and still use today) to communicate better, chop debt, and save money.
This is the roadmap I wish I’d had when we first dreamed of transitioning into a single-income family.
Also, if you do want to earn money from home, “The Stay-at-Home Mom Blueprint” includes dozens of ideas to sell your stuff, earn gift cards or cash from home, or build an online business. My business didn’t happen until nearly two years after I became a SAHM. Since then, I’ve made nearly $20,000 just working part-time as a freelance writer. I know without a doubt that this business wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t safely transitioned into a stay-at-home mom first.
Ready to take your journey toward staying home to the next level?
Your Turn: What advice would you give someone on how to afford being a stay-at-home mom? Share with us below!
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Image Credit: AI Photography
Hungry for more financial tips for stay-at-home moms? Look no further!
As you set your goals each year, it’s fun to include your children in the process. Involvement helps them learn to set goals of their own. In the interest of helping them develop strong savings habits, why not have them participate in a 52-week money challenge for kids?
Similar to the well-known 52-week money challenge for adults, the kids’ challenge helps kids to save more money by determining a set amount of cash to put into a savings account, and then increasing that amount each and every week.
How to Personalize Your Child’s 52-Week Money Challenge for Kids
Based on your child’s age and his or her ability to access money, you can pick the weekly money amount that works best for their particular situation.
Even with the smallest weekly contribution, the savings will add up. If your child is younger, you can start with a small amount – for example, a nickel – each week. Here’s how the challenge works:
- $0.05 contribution – WEEK 1
- $0.10 contribution – WEEK 2
- $0.15 contribution – WEEK 3
And so on. If you choose to use a nickel for the challenge, your child simply increases each weekly savings contribution by one nickel. By the end of the 52 weeks, your child will have saved $68.90.
Here is a breakdown of other coin values and potential savings amounts:
- Dime = Save $137.80 by the end of the 52 weeks.
- Quarter = Save $344.50 by the end of the 52 weeks.
- Dollar = Save $1,378 by the end of the 52 weeks.
Why Teaching Kids to Save is Important
We’re living in a time where it’s easy to not save money. Clever marketing and social pressures encourage kids to spend rather than save. Therefore, they start to believe they can have the latest and greatest of everything on the market – without the hard work of earning it.
Saving money is becoming less and less important to people as generations go by. America’s declining savings rate proves it. In May of 1975, the personal savings rate in the United States reached a high of 17%. At the end of 2016, it was 5.4%.
By teaching our children to develop a habit of saving money, we give them a head start on the road to financial responsibility.
Other Ways to Teach Kids to Save
Besides using a 52-week money challenge for kids, there are other ways you can teach your children to make saving money a consistent habit.
- Require your kids to save a percentage of all money they earn or receive as a gift
- Boost your child’s enthusiasm for saving by committing to match what they put into savings dollar for dollar
- Create a savings contest between you and your child (or between your children) to see who can save the biggest percentage of their income for the year
The 52-week money challenge for kids is a great way to encourage children not just to save money, but to challenge themselves to save more than they initially thought was possible. So, give your kids the gift of making savings a habit starting today.
Would you ever do a 52-week money challenge with your child? Have ever done one on your own? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Nathaniel_U (Creative Commons)
Are you a stay-at-home mom? Make sure you bookmark or pin some of these resources for later!
- 10 Steps to a Successful Stay-at-Home Mom Budget
- How to Afford Your Dream of Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom
- 14 Online Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms (That Are Worth Your Time)
- 13 Ways for Stay-at-Home Moms to Save Money
- Loans for Stay-at-Home Moms – What Are YOUR Options?
- The SAHM Budget Test: How to Afford to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom
- 52-week Money Challenge by Saving Advice