toddlers

10 Ways to Save Money and Have Fun with Toddlers

Have you ever found yourself out in public with a child that has just had a bowl movement?

The easiest thing that I have found is free at your local supermarket. Rather than keeping a whole bunch of grocery bags in my diaper bag, when you got to the grocery store, steal a bunch of veggie bags.

They are actually deeper than grocery bags; they are made of less plastic, and seal off the smell just as efficiently.

When you have twins like I do, it’s expensive to spend five dollars on one plate for each child.

Go to the party store instead and buy a pack of hard plastic snack plates in your child’s favorite color. You can hand wash them and they are just as durable.

Kids that love to paint, but go through a ton of paper at each session? Carefully open both sides of old diaper boxes (Pampers, Huggies, etc.) and cut along one side.

It creates a large cardboard area, perfect for finger painting, chalk, markers, or crayons.

When bathing your kids and you towel them off, hang the towel. They are clean so the towel isn’t dirty. You can use it the next day. (When you bathe three kids a day, this is a must!)

Have an old t-shirt? Cut it shorter and make a painting smock for your child! It’s perfect for art, or spaghetti!

It’s hard coming up with things for little one’s to do, especially when it’s hot outside. For something special, if you have two bathtubs.

Put them in their bathing suits, run mildly cold water, and add beach toys to it. No bubbles! Put ice in a blender, add orange juice, and let them have an ice while in the tub!

New places always excite the really little ones, one day; have someone watch them in a separate room for a while. In the mean time, completely rearrange their room.

It becomes a whole new place to explore! This is also perfect if you swap their toys every few weeks. We have ours on a 3 section, 3 week cycle, so nobody ever gets bored!

Great video about saving money as a family:

Admittedly, TV is bad for your child. However, as many DVD’s have been gifted to my kids, they wouldn’t recognize any of them if I rotated them all during the week.

Do two a week, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. They start to become familiar friends, and take up time because they will pay attention!

Don’t forget your local mall! If they have a toddler play area, make use of it! Also the food court. Just because the fast food is there doesn’t mean you have to take part in it. Bring lunch for everyone and make a day of it!

Kids love music! We use the huge vitamin bottles as maracas. I clean them well. Fill them with beads and then seal them off with duct tape.

Take markers and decorate the outside! Decorate buckets for drums! Old bottles taped off and filled with colorful ribbon make good drumsticks, or paper towel rolls!

Remember, little ones don’t have much of an attention span, so it doesn’t take much to entertain!

More great money-saving ideas in this article.

debt management service

Choosing a Debt Management Service

Managing debt is a serious challenge for those who are overwhelmed by monthly credit card and loan payments. While bankruptcy is often seen as the only option for getting out of serious debt, credit counseling can be a financially feasible alternative.

credit counseling serviceEven though credit counseling does not offer the immediate debt relief commonly associated with bankruptcy, it does not negatively affect a consumer’s credit score. When considering credit counseling, it is important to remember that not all credit counseling services are the same.

The majority of credit counseling agencies exist solely to help and educate consumers who are in serious debt. Quite a few require consumers to meet certain requirements (minimum amounts of credit card or unsecured debts) prior to offering to render services.

These credit counseling agencies will reviewer the consumers’ monthly income, expenses, and debt to develop a reasonable repayment plan.

A small fee is charged and broken into monthly payments to cover the cost of debt management courses, negotiations with creditors, and account management.

A few credit counseling agencies do very little to help consumers get out of debt in a responsible manner. These agencies promise to take over the payment of debts to reduce the consumers’ interest, but charge excessive fees.

In many circumstances consumers have found themselves dealing with angry creditors who are not receiving payments in a timely manner.

Quite a few less than reputable credit counseling agencies agree to make payments for consumers, but they do not guarantee that payments will be made on time each month. Consumers who sign agreements with disreputable credit counseling agencies often find their credit scores ruined because of the actions of the agency they have chosen.

Taking the time to educate oneself about a credit counseling agency prior to signing an agreement can save a consumer time and money.

Research a potential credit counseling agency thoroughly by reviewing the testimonials of past clients and comparing their track record with the history of their competitors.

If you are having a difficult time finding credit counseling agencies in your area, contact a local United States Bankruptcy Court, many clerks have a list of approved agencies that offer long term debt management for those who do not qualify for bankruptcy relief.

When you have selected at least three credit counseling agencies, schedule in person meetings to discuss your situation. If the agency is not local, request a phone consultation before agreeing to anything.

During the consultation ask questions about how your debt will be paid, what non-debt related fees will be included in your payment plan, and how long it should take to repay all debts.

The decision to take control of debt is an important one which will positively influence the financial future of the consumer and his or her family. Before putting your finances in the hand of a stranger, be sure that they are able to prove that they can handle the responsibility of assisting with managing your debt.

debt management ideas

Debt Management: Come Out Ahead of the Storm

Debt management takes on even greater importance with all the recent happenings in the world of business and finance.

Some financial experts see what they call a “perfect economic storm” on the horizon.

Those who have written on the matter in detail include Dr. Kent Gilbraith, who, in addition to serving as a forensic economist in courtrooms, is a professor of economics at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, Jeremy Rifkin, who is president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, in Washington DC, and Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect.

Consumer debt, the sub-prime mortgage difficulties, and the housing correction are just a few of the factors coming together to indicate that now is a good time for the average person to focus on debt management so that he is able to withstand, even come out ahead of, the storm.

Assess The Situation

Now is the time to assess the situation, both in terms of the big picture and on an individual level. Understand that lending practices can be expected to tighten up a bit in the near future as lenders struggle to absorb losses and find liquid funds, meaning cash, to work with.

Interest rates have on the rise, and that increase has already been significant enough for many who have taken on ARMs, adjustable rate mortgages, a bit uncomfortable.

Understanding the big picture makes it easier to plan personal debt management. With a potentially difficult fiscal period ahead, it’s important to make an accurate assessment of individual financial standing and debt obligations. It’s the first step in making the right moves to bring debt under control.

Take Debt Management Action

It’s a good time to be proactive on debt management. If you have an ARM, prepare.

debt management conceptIf running the numbers indicates that an interest increase is going to be a hardship, don’t wait until the last minute to try and refinance to a fixed rate or to start setting aside savings specifically earmarked for the increased per month payment that will result from a change in the interest rate.

It is still possible to find good refinancing opportunities, although it may take a bit more of an investment of your time and effort.

If you’re carrying serious credit card debt, make paying it down a goal. Credit counseling can help, though the savvy and inspired individual can typically do for himself most of what a credit counselor can – negotiate with creditors about interest rates and repayment amounts, set up a realistic repayment schedule, and create a workable budget.

In some situations, those actions combined with a debt consolidation loan can make a difficult financial situation much simpler to deal with.

Taking debt management steps now can help to ensure that if a few storm clouds do happen to appear on your fiscal landscape, you are able to better able to withstand them. Acting now to begin managing debt and improving credit is simply a smart move.

4 Money Saving Tips for Students in College

Saving money can boost your self esteem and lead to an overall better life.

So why do college students blow their cash like it is worthless?

Here are four easy tips for anyone in college who values money and plans on having some by the end of the week.

#1 Don’t eat at your school cafeteria

I know it may be cool or fashionable to eat with your pals in campus, but this will put a serious dent in your wallet.

A school cafeteria in college is designed for teenagers to grab a quick bite and pay massively.

It is better to bring a snack from home on a daily basis and try to limit your trips to the campus food aisle.

#2 Sell Your Books

We all know how ridiculously expensive books are in college. This is why it is important to sell them as quick as possible.

Every school has a buyback period which lasts for about a month leading to the end of the semester. However, many students are too lazy to sell those very expensive books back.

Some cool ideas are in this video:

How many times do you plan to read your Math 115 book once the semester is over, not too often right?

Make sure to circle on your calendar when the buyback is at your college and sell all of your books possible.

If you think the school’s asking price is too low, try selling to students next semester or put it up on eBay.com and see how much it is really worth.

#3 Drive Less

Cause: Gas prices are over the roof.

Effect: We should drive less.

It’s very simple yet difficult for young adults to make this sacrifice. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever drive, but there are other alternatives.

Local buses can take you to the exact same location you desire to go without having to pay for gas. Fares are typically inexpensive and you also avoid any potential tickets or car accidents.

You may have to wake up 15 minutes earlier to catch your bus but it seems like a fair price for having someone drive you to your desired location.

#4 Avoid late night binges

We have all been in that situation. It is 11:00pm, you are watching Conan, and desperately craving all kinds of junk food.

This can lead to excessive and expensive food that can cost us more than just are money. Buying multiple cheeseburgers, large bags of chips, beer, and sodas are not very good for your physical health either.

Most of the time we get this craving is because we do not eat properly throughout the day or we need extra energy to finish our homework assignment.

My best advice would be to prepare for your homework assignments and exams ahead of time so you do not have to crash and reload with all sorts of junk food and energy drinks the day before it is due.

Another suggestion would be to eat properly which can lead to extra money, better physical condition, higher self esteem, and an overall better life.