by Jennifer Wieland
As a mom, it is your job to keep everyone on track. You are responsible for ensuring everyone is fed and clothed. You also have to think ahead to college. By taking control and starting a college savings account for your children, you can help to give them a bright future. However, when finances are tight, as is the case in many homes, it can be tough to figure out how to save. Here are some college savings tricks you can enjoy.
Know the Options
While you certainly can open a savings account to put money aside for your child’s college, there are some other options that allow you to make more use of your money. The most popular choice is a 529 plan. You can either use a 529 savings or 529 prepaid tuition plan. The savings plan is similar to a retirement account except you can get a lot of tax breaks with them. The money in these accounts is invested to hopefully help build it at a quicker rate. The prepaid tuition plan, as the name suggests, lets you prepay tuition at your chosen institution at current rates, which can save you big on inflation. Reviewing your college savings plan options is a good first step.
Develop a Plan for Saving
Before you can start to save, you need to know you have the money to do it. You should go over your budget and add in college savings as an expense. Putting it in your budget makes it much easier to just slip the money away each time you pay bills.
You also can go over your bills and try to find a way to reduce them. Often shopping around or just calling in can help you get lower rates. A good trick for saving on insurance is to visit a local insurance office. The face-to-face interaction makes things more personal and encourages them to work hard to find you a good deal.
Give Up Something to Help Out
Sometimes extra money is hard to come by. However, most people have one or two things they spend money on that they don’t really need. Fast food lunches and expensive coffee drinks are two examples. These things may be something you really enjoy but cutting them out or just cutting them down can free up a nice amount of money that can go towards the college savings.
Use the Grocery Store Trick
When you are shopping for groceries, always hunt out the deals. These days most grocery store receipts will include a line that tells you how much you saved. This leads to a nice trick to saving money easily. Every time you grocery shop, you put whatever you saved in a savings account. This can add up really fast, especially if you shop for deals and use coupons.
Saving money for your kid’s college expenses doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor. You can work ways to save into your everyday life easily. It is all a matter of just being a bit more aware of how you spend and making a few new choices in what you spend.
Are you or did you save for your child(ren)’s college?
by Jennifer Wieland
Thanks to Sam’s Club and IncrediBundles for sponsoring today’s post.
Shopping used to be so much fun for me! Getting out and treating myself to things I wanted when I wanted them. Then I became a mom and a budget and great deals and to many shopping trips became my daily life. I’ve been a Sam’s Club member for years now because I can always find great deals in large quantities that my family needs. Whether it was great prices on diapers and baby wipes when they were younger or stocking up on their favorite snacks, picking up a new outfit, great toy or brand new book I find my mom shopping life easier thanks to Sam’s Club. Even better they have a new way to make mom and dad’s lives even better with the new Sam’s Club Mom’s & Dad’s Club, an exclusive online destination where parents can learn more, save more and win more!
Do you know how Sam’s Club can help you save time and money so that you can focus on what matters most – your family!
- Save on National Brands – Sam’s Club gives you the best prices on the items you need from the brands you know
- Save with the Exclusive Members’ Mark Brand – With over 400 Members’ Mark products – the brand exclusive to Sam’s Club – you save even more and still enjoy national brand quality!
- Save through Sam’s Club Services – Whether you need a new pair of glasses or are in the market for a new car, Sam’s Club offers a wide range of services to help members get the most for their money.
- Save Time with Club Pickup – Need to shop but want to skip the hassle? Learn all about Club Pickup! Order online and your items will be brought to you at the Club Pickup kiosk inside select locations or at one of Sam’s Club’s select Curbside or Drive-Thru locations.
- Save Time with Easy Reorder – Easy Reorder tools at Sam’s Club allow you to select from a list of the items you usually order, so you don’t have to order from scratch each time you shop. Many items are available for free shipping or subscriptions.
Sam’s Club Moms & Dads Club
Sam’s Club has taken their commitment to parents one step further with the Sam’s Club Mom’s & Dad’s Club! Become a member of this online destination and get access to exclusive content, offers and rewards that will make your job as a parent easier.
As a Sam’s Club Mom’s & Dad’s Club Member you will:
- Get Exclusive Offers – Sam’s Club Mom’s and Dad’s Club registered members receive exclusive discounts, offers, samples and more!
- Get Tips & Ideas – Mom’s and Dad’s Club provides product tips and suggestions based on your membership profile as the parent of an infant, toddler, preschooler or elementary aged child. As a member you’ll also get great ideas to turn every day products into family fun! (Check out refreshing #lifehacks)
- Get the Chance To Win – Mom’s and Dad’s Club members have special access to prizes, sweepstakes and giveaways
Sign up to become a Sam’s Club Mom’s & Dad’s Club Member today for free with your Sam’s Club membership!
Are you a mom or dad trying to keep your little one happy and busy this summer? Enter to win a Fun With Mom or Fun With Dad Bundle from IncrediBundles.com! Each of these amazing bundles features a premium diaper bag and a $100 gift card to IncrediBundles.com!
If you win, you will choose between the premium DadGear Diaper Backpack or the sleek and versatile SkipHop Versa Diaper Bag. Each bag is bundled with a $100 gift card to IncrediBundles.com. Shop their carefully curated selection of toys, books and products for children.
What Might You Buy With Your Gift Card?
Buying for children can be overwhelming with so much to choose from! Here are some of our recommendations:
Infants Under 1
- Bright stim toys that clip to strollers and carseats and feature a variety of textures for exploring little hands
- Teethers and rattles made from natural materials and colored with food-grade dyes
- Loads of books for baby, especially sturdy board books with touch-and-feel panels, bright illustrations and simple stories.
1 & 2 Year Olds
- Stock up on toys that allow for open-ended play like balls and blocks
- Toddler-friendly musical instruments like bells, shakers and simple drums
- Lots and lots of books, especially those with repetition and rhyme, basic stories and friendly illustrations
- Games that allow children to learn as they play
- Craft kits that exercise a child’s fine motor skills and creativity
- Toys that encourage hours of happy pretend-play
- Award-winning books with endearing characters and meaningful stories that children will want to hear again and again.
by Jennifer Wieland
I am part of the Restaurant.com Review Crew. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
I like to be able to take the kids for some one on one time periodically. It’s helps to let them know they are special to me and that I want to spend time with just them and hear about anything they want to say. When you have multiple kids it can get hard trying to find that balance to give each child the attention they need and deserve, That’s why these little mommy dates are so important. Luckily, Restaurant.com helps to keep our dates affordable.
Recently I had a mommy date with my daughter, I hopped onto Restaurant.com and found a gift certificate for a family favorite chain of Mexican restaurants, Pepe’s. I printed it off and then we were on our way to our mommy date.
My daughter being the baby of six and the only girl truly believes the universe revolves around her thanks to all the older males in her life treating her like a princess. So for her our mommy date was just some time for her to beam and tell me all about everything that she finds fascinating at the moment while eating food she loves.
Chips and salsa, tacos, tamales and of course her favorite pink lemonade made the meal perfect!
Another reason my daughter loves coming to Pepe’s is that she loves the colorful murals that are in each location. She is always fascinated by them.
Learn more and connect with Restaurant.com
Restaurant.com and Specials by Restaurant.com make great gifts for everyone on your wish list. Remember, for more information on Restaurant.com be sure to check out their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, find them on Google+ or check out their blog, The Dish.
“The only thing better than going out for a great meal, is getting a great deal. Restaurant.com has been filling tables since 1999 and is the destination for dining whether you like to plan ahead or find a meal on the go. Restaurant.com helps diners discover the perfect dining experience and boasts nearly 50,000 dining deals available every day, even on the weekends! And, the deals are easy to use – present the certificate to the server on a mobile device, or print out a copy, and voilà – the savings will be deducted from your final bill. Bon Appétit!”
by Jennifer Wieland
Most parents will tell you that getting their kids to eat healthy is an uphill battle, surpassed only by wrestling kids down for a nap or perhaps getting them into the tub for a much-needed bath. And yet, it’s critical to get something of real, nutritional value into your kids’ bellies. They can’t just eat pizza and fruit snacks all day, every day—so what’s a poor parent to do?
Well, a lot of it boils down to creative thinking. Think critically about how you prepare, present, and plate healthy foods, and you may be surprised by how willing your kids are to eat substantive, nutritious foods.
We’ll show you what we mean in the list that follows.
Creative Ways to Present Healthy Food to Your Kids
Some unique ways to make healthy eating fun for your kids include:
- Turn sunny-side-up eggs into egg flowers! Use colorful bell pepper pieces to create the outer edges of the flowers, with the eggs themselves in the middle.
- You can also use veggies to create a skeleton! Use a bowl of ranch dressing as the head, making a face in it with tomatoes or bell paper pieces. You can use sliced cucumber, peppers, and carrots to fill out the rest of the body. This is an especially fun idea for a Halloween-themed veggie tray!
- This one will be a bit labor-intensive, but if you’re willing to cut some equal-sized cubes of fruit, you can stack them together to form a visually stunning Rubik’s cube fruit salad! Whoa!
- Another fun idea is to cut an apple into the shape of a friendly owl! To see how, check out these images and instructions.
- You can pretty easily smuggle broccoli into your kids’ mac and cheese—a great compromise, letting them enjoy one of their favorite meals while also ingesting something of actual, nutritional substance.
- Make a bread boat! Cut pieces of whole grain bread into the shape of a boat and its sails, then use celery sticks and raisins to decorate. Goldfish crackers can make for a thematic side dish!
- Use colorful fruits and berries to make your own original work of art—a colorful arrangement or design that will catch eyes and get your kids pumped about eating something yummy.
- For dinner one night, create a burger bar! Lay out some yummy toppings and replicate the experience of your kids’ favorite burger place! Make black bean burgers if you want to really play up the healthy angle; your kids likely won’t be able to tell!
Really, anything you do to make the food look exciting and fun will go a long way toward helping your kids forget about their qualms and give it a try. Of course, some of these strategies will work better than others, just depending on your kids and their taste. Play around with some of them today, and see which ones go over the best!