Children Archives

 

canstockphoto7412656Halloween is one of the most fun holidays of the year that both children and adults look forward to. After all, it has a unique tradition. In addition to taking your children to go trick or treating, Halloween parties are the best way to celebrate the holiday. Many people prefer to have parties to make sure their children are safe. However, having a Halloween party can get quite expensive. The good news is there are ways to for you to prevent overspending. Here are a few ways to find Halloween goodies on a budget:

 

1. Buy candy early or when it’s on sale. Check out retail stores like Walmart and Target. They usually have specials on candy and other snacks that’s typically sold during the Halloween season. You may also find these items at a discount at Wholesale Clubs and Dollar Stores. Look for sales on candy  in the weeks leading to Halloween or when the items are first displayed on the store shelves. Candy can be purchased year around since most lasts for a long time.

If you’re a savvy shopper, you’ll stock up on candy when they are at a deep discount when Halloween is over to keep until the following year. The days after the holiday is over is when you will find all types of candy at rock bottom prices. This is similar to buying a turkey the day after Thanksgiving.

2. Ask your guest to bring their favorite Halloween snacks. This will save you a lot of time and money on the snacks. You’ll also get to enjoy a variety of goodies that people will bring. You can focus more on the fun things like decorating and preparing the punch.

3. Buy cheap gift bags. You can find inexpensive gift bags at the dollar store or by visiting orientaltrading.com.  If you want to save money,  you can use freezer bags that you have in your cabinets.

4. Create your own invitations. You can use an online invitation website like evite.com to send email invitations to your guests. However, if you prefer the old school traditional invitations consider making it yourself. A simple design such as a cut-out black spider from construction paper glued to a white card is easy to make. If you’re not the crafty type, you can make them on your computer.

5. Set the mood with some Halloween music. Since we live in the digital age, you can find music quite cheaply. You can easily find a Halloween album or scary sound effects for only a few bucks. All you have to do is plug in your iPod or MP3 player to keep your guests entertained. You can go the extra mile by positioning the speakers in the windows in front of your home for partygoers as they’re approaching your house.

6. Carve some pumpkins. Retail stores typically have discounts on pumpkins. This is a fun and inexpensive activity for your guest to enjoy.

 

Speaking of decorations, you can find them at rock bottom prices right after the holiday. Consider checking out auction sites like eBay to find bargains. Making your own decorations is another way to save some money. If you have sheets, black dye and cotton balls lying around the house, these items are enough to create a scary scene. The cotton balls can be used to make spider webs and the sheets can either be used as a costume or  to decorate the table or wherever your mind takes you. On the other hand, if there will be small children at the party, you may want to prevent the decorations from being too scary since some children are afraid of certain things.

 

If you do some planning and get creative, it will be easy to enjoy a Halloween party on a budget. Make sure you plan ahead, ask others to contribute and embrace your creative side. Since Halloween only happens once a year, make the most of it and have a ball!

canstockphoto6041672Investing in your children’s education is certainly one of the best gifts that you can give. The costs of higher education is getting more expensive every year. With in-state expenses at a public school averaging  just below $20,000 annually, you may be wondering how are you going to pay for it.

 

529 College Savings Plan is one of the best solutions that will ease the financial challenge of paying for your children’s college education. It is a state sponsored savings plan that allow tax-free earnings. Contributions are not deductible for federal income tax, however it is tax deductible in many instances for state tax purposes.

 

Here are some advantages of opening a 529 College Savings Plan:

 

Tax Writes Offs Can Potentially Be Huge

The account holders can write off a maximum of $55,000 from their estate per beneficiary without having to pay a federal gift tax. The limit is $110,000 for married couples.

For example, a wealthy couple with 4 grandchildren could deposit $440,000 ($1000,000 x 4) towards their grandchildren’s college education and reduce that amount from their estate. They are able to do it every five years until the maximum amount is reached.

 

You Will Have Control of The Assets

If you decide to close the account, you may be required to pay a 10% penalty and the income tax on any earnings. The balance is yours to keep and do as you wish.

 

The Beneficiary Can Be Changed

If one of your children decide not to go to college, the account can be reassigned to the next sibling. The account must be transferred to an eligible family member.

 

Can Open An Account In Another State

Each state have different plans, and some are better than others. You are able to invest in plans in nearly every state.

For example, you can be a resident in the state of Arizona and invest in a 529 plan in Connecticut and send your child to school in the state of Florida. There is a lot of flexibility available. Be sure to shop around before you open an account.

 

The fees that’s associated with various plans are also important for you to consider since some will be much higher than others. Many financial experts consider the extra charges to be the most important criteria while choosing a plan. Some fees are incurred when opening an account and there are also annual maintenance fees.

 

If you know for sure where you would like to send your kid to school, there are many universities that offer prepaid 529 plans. This will allow you to pay the cost at the current rate. Unfortunately, there are penalties if your child decides later on to go elsewhere. If you choose this option, make sure where you will be sending your child to college.

A drawback to this method is that investment options are slightly narrow, and the ability to switch between the available investment options is also limited. The tax code currently restrict changes to occur once a year.

 

Like any investment, a 529 plan isn’t for everyone. There are various options to finance a college education. Each have their benefits and limitations.

 

After you have done your research on investment options, you may find that a 529 College Savings Plan is an excellent option that will ease the burden of paying your children’s college education. With the cost of college education on the rise, your kids will thank you later for investing in their future.

canstockphoto3262685The first day of school is just around the corner. There are a few questions that come to mind when it’s time for parents to do their shopping such as “Where can I find the best deals on clothes, notebooks, backpacks and the list goes on. Education is a very important thing when it comes to our children, but at the same time some of these things can be quite costly. Here are  a few simple things you can do to save money on Back To School Supplies.

 

Plan a List 

Write out a list for all of the things that your children will need. The little things such as writing paper, pencils, and crayons may seem like it doesn’t cost that much, but if you purchase it at the retail price you could be wasting a lot of money. You should also involve your children while writing out the list. Depending on their ages, they have an idea of all the things that are needed and this will show them some responsibility.

 

Take Advantage of Tax Holidays

Tax Holiday specials are usually offered annually by many states during the back to school season. This will allow you to purchase school supplies without having to pay the sales tax on any of the items. You may want to do some research by looking in the Sunday’s edition of your local newspaper or by searching online.

 

Purchase By The Bulk

There is a basic economic principle- “The More You Buy, The More You Save.” Well this is relevant if you are making a purchase of a specific item that you will need in the near future. For example, if you are buying pencils you should buy it by the box instead of purchasing individually.

Face it, your children will be using these items throughout the school year. It will be smart to take advantage of the sales while these items are available at rock bottom prices.

 

Prepare Your Children’s Snacks

If your family is not qualified for the free lunch program, take the time to prepare snacks for your children. This will not only save you money, it will ensure that your children are consuming healthier meals. You should also discourage them from purchasing items from vending machines if it’s available at their school. It usually contain high sodium and sugary snacks and drinks. Even though it may cost only a dollar, the money will add up over time especially if it’s purchased on a daily basis. This money can be used to add to their savings.

 Transportation

You may want to consider getting your children a bicycle to bring to school. This of course is not always possible. Providing a cheap and safe way to get your children to school is your top priority . If you are concerned about their safety, you have the option to car pool with your neighbors or to use school bus transportation services in your local district which is usually provided free of charge. Contact the school where your children will be attending for more information.

Saving money on Back To School Supplies isn’t hard. If you follow one or more of these ideas, your savings will add up to a bright future for your family.