5 Smart Ways to Manage Your Money
Even for families with a moderate household income, keeping expenses down and managing a budget can feel like a job all on its own. Ensuring monthly obligations are met, creating an emergency fund or planning for a major purchase can make the task even harder.
Set a budget. It may seem like an over-simplification, but taking time to sit down and map out your income and expenses can be an eye-opening experience. If you’ve been keeping track of everything in your mind, writing it all down may help uncover areas where you’re over-extending resources. Creating a budget is also a good way to establish a plan for paying down debts and making regular contributions to a savings account.
Get grocery smart. For most families, food accounts for a substantial share of the monthly bills. In fact, although they’re spread out over time and it may not be as apparent, groceries can cost as much or more than the average family’s mortgage payment. Fortunately, there are several ways to cut grocery costs, starting with clipping coupons and shopping store ads. Also take time to compare prices at local stores to ensure you’re getting the best prices, and don’t be afraid to explore discount stores, especially for the basics. Another smart grocery tip: plan your meals and make a list so you can avoid over-buying and wasting food.
Add incremental income. If your schedule allows, taking on a side job can make a big difference. Income from a part-time job can offset numerous smaller bills, or it could provide some extra money for family activities and entertainment. Before committing, be sure you understand the expectations of the job and how it will fit with your current family and work demands. An independent business may be just the solution to provide extra money with plenty of flexibility.
Invest in quality. Though it may seem counter-intuitive when you’re trying to save, spending a little more up front can pay off in the long run. For example, buying a cheap couch to save a few bucks now may end up costing twice as much in a year or two when it needs to be replaced. Choosing the less expensive route isn’t always a bad idea, but failing to factor in considerations like quality can be a pricey mistake.
Trim the fat. It’s no secret that fat adds flavor, but it also adds a lot of unnecessary calories. Chances are good that there are many things you spend on that fit in the same category, running up your monthly expenses. Entertainment and eating out are common culprits, but the solutions can be quite simple. Treat those activities as a line item in your budget, and when that money is gone so are the extras for the month. You can also look to save on entertainment by making minor changes, such as hosting a movie night at home instead of going to the theater or looking for restaurants that offer free kids’ nights.
Find more tips for your budget-conscious lifestyle at eLivingToday.com.
A pizza crust here, a chicken nugget there. Can eating leftovers off your child’s plate really add up? The answer is yes. Eighty-one percent of moms with kids under 18 admit to eating off their kids’ plates before, during or after a meal. What’s more, one in three say they eat less healthfully now than they did before they became a parent, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of Nutrisystem by Harris Poll.
Some of the top foods moms are guilty of eating off their kids’ plates are chicken nuggets, pizza crust, French fries, potato chips, mac and cheese, pancakes and cupcakes.
“While those few bites may seem inconsequential, the extra calories can really add up over time, and may be detrimental to weight maintenance and weight loss efforts,” says Courtney McCormick, corporate dietitian at Nutrisystem.
On average, eating those leftovers on your child’s plate once a day for one week can add up to more than 400 additional calories. Nibbling at that rate equals nearly six pounds per year!
To help moms make healthier choices, McCormick is offering the following tips.
More wellness tips can be found on Nutrisystem’s blog “The Leaf,” at leaf.nutrisystem.com.
Parenthood doesn’t necessarily need to translate to weight gain. With a few smart strategies, you can keep your calorie needs in balance and your weight in-check.
Getting from point A to point B with young kids is an adventure within itself. Whether by plane, train or automobile, parents are on the search for ways to make family travel a little less stressful.
To help, Sandy Chang, mom of two and founder of SandyALaMode.com, is offering her five best travel hacks. These hacks won't guarantee a tantrum-free trip, but they will help parents feel as prepared as possible for the journey ahead.
If you’re flying, bring empty bottles to fill with milk or water before boarding so your family can stay hydrated on the plane.
“I always make sure the kids are eating and drinking at takeoff and landing to help prevent their ears from hurting,” says Chang.
“The Baby Jogger City Tour stroller has been a great option for us. In addition to the backpack-style carry bag that helps keep hands free to tend to little ones, it folds up small enough to fit into many airline overhead compartments,” says Chang. She also notes that, despite its compact frame, it doesn’t compromise on storage space underneath the stroller. The stroller’s UV50+ sun canopy with built-in extension helps protect babies on sunny days, and the durable wheels swivel for greater maneuverability, which is especially helpful in crowded airports. To learn more visit BabyJogger.com.
Many kids love chipping in. “Austin absolutely loves pushing Vivian around in her stroller. I think it gives him a sense of control, and it’s just fun,” says Chang.
Traveling with children is never easy, but having a few well-planned hacks will help ensure a smoother journey and more fun for the entire family.
PHOTO SOURCE: Sandy Chang, sandyalamode.com
When it comes to parenting, there’s no one-child-fits-all handbook. There are times when caring for a little one can be a far cry from the snuggles and smiles that make it all worthwhile.
Healthy skin is critical to a baby’s long-term health and happiness, and it can impact both baby and family quality of life. Caring for a baby’s skin from birth helps avoid skin conditions such as diaper rashes, eczema and other irritations, which are often the source of many sleepless nights.
With these simple tips from the baby and child skin care experts at Mustela, having a happy, healthy baby isn’t as challenging as it may seem.
Protecting baby’s skin
Find more ways to care for your baby at MustelaUSA.com.
Photo courtesy of Isobel Benesch, @BelandbeauSOURCE: Family Features|
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