6 Ways to Save on Child Care Costs

canstockphoto8769872If you have small children, they need to be watched constantly. Working parents often have to worry about finding someone that’s trustworthy of caring for their little ones. Finding good quality child care without breaking the bank can be a challenge. With the rising cost of child care it is not unusual for parents to spend almost their entire paycheck on child care expenses. This will often cause frustration and leave them wondering what to do next.

There are creative ways for you to save money on Child Care Costs if you’re on a tight budget. Here are some methods to help you get ahead of the game and will also give you a peace of mind knowing that your child is getting the best possible care.

 

Hire a Family Member

Having reliable relatives that are willing to care for your children is one of the best ways to save on Child Care Costs. If grandma and grandpa is retired, ask them if they can care for the children while you’re at work. Paying them a fraction of what you were paying the child care facility and providing food and other necessities will help them out, especially if they are on a fixed income.

 

Get Help From Your Job

Dependent Child Care Spending is a program that allows employees to put some money aside to pay for their child care expenses. The money is deducted so you won’t notice it. This will enable you to budget the rest of your take home pay accordingly to meet your needs.

 

One Spouse Stays Home With The Kids

Although, being a stay-at-home mom or dad is a good option, it is not always possible. Talk it over with your spouse and work out a budget beforehand to see if it will work. The spouse that makes the most money will obviously continue to keep working while the other stay home and take care of the children. You should also have an understanding on who will do the majority of the household chores. This will allow the working spouse to work longer hours to bring home more money.

 

Share a Nanny

If you have close friends or relatives that are also looking for someone to care for their children, you can split the cost of hiring a nanny. She can watch children for both of you when needed. Nannies are a bit more expensive, but sharing the expenses will help you out a lot.

 

Make Extra Money

Nowadays, there are numerous ways to make some extra money online. What skills do you have? If you like to write, there are freelance websites like Elance.com, iWriter.com and Articlez.com where people will pay you to write articles for them. Elance also hire website designers, computer programmers and other countless positions. If you have collectibles and other items around the house that you no longer need, you can sell them on eBay. These jobs alone can possibly take care of the child care expenses.

 

Switch Work Shifts

It is great for both parents to work the shame shifts to enjoy family time in the evening, but this is not always possible. Working opposite shifts can minimize the amount of time that your children spend at day care. You can also ask your employer if your job can become a telecommuting position. Working from home a few times per week will help you out tremendously.

If you use one or more of these ideas to pay for your Child Care Cost, this will possibly save you at least $100 dollars per month while giving your children the best care.

canstockphoto8526950Whether you are young or old, there is a good chance that you had to visit the doctor or have been hospitalized for an illness at least once in your lifetime. Once the bill arrived, you asked yourself why is the bill so high and how are you going to pay it. You may be tempted to ignore the bill, but doing this can affect your credit. If you haven’t signed up for Obamacare or your insurance was cancelled for whatever reason, there are ways for you to consolidate your medical expenses.

Here are 7 Simple Ways to Pay Off Your Medical Bills.

 

1. When you first notice that you are going to have problems paying your medical debt, you should get on the phone right away. Contact the financial department of the medical facility and let them know your situation. Ask if there is a way that you can make monthly payments until it’s paid in full. If you already have a household budget in place, this will give you an idea on the amount that can go towards the medical expenses and when it will be paid off.

 

2. Check again with your insurance company if you were denied. You should review your policy to be sure what is covered and at what percentage. You have the right to appeal the decision while investigating other means of assistance. There may have been something that was overlooked or other mishaps that have taken place.

 

3. Most Doctor’s Offices are approachable for debt payments. You can avoid this altogether, by finding out their payment options before your visit. Many offer a credit program to their patients. Make sure you are clear on the amount you will have to pay if you’re qualified. However, if you are denied, then ask about other payment options.

4. Use your credit cards. This should be used with caution. Many credit card companies offer a no interest rate for the first twelve months. You can pay on the Medical Bills and use the first year to work out a plan for getting the credit card paid off before the interest rate is added.

5. Apply for a loan. A loan will help you do a couple of things: consolidate your debt and set up reasonable payments for you. Visit your bank or credit union and ask about their loan program. Credit Unions usually have lower interest rates than credit card companies and medical debt programs. You can decide which day of the month that your payment is due and also negotiate how long it will take to pay back the loan.

6. Seek Government Assistance. It is available to help repay medical debts. If you are unable to work based on a disability, apply for SSI at the Social Security Administration in your local area. If you are qualified, then any outstanding debts will possibly get repaid by Medicaid.

7. Contact a debt consolidation agency. This is a good choice if you have a busy schedule or unable do this on your own. Make sure that you speak with a medical debt counselor before signing any documents. You will be given a list of resources that’s based on your financial situation that can be helpful and it won’t cost you anything to participate.

Paying off your outstanding Medical Bills isn’t difficult. If you use one or more of these methods, this will avoid getting annoying phone calls from the bill collectors and keep your credit in good standing

How to Save Money On Car Repairs

canstockphoto5695634Owning a car is not a luxury but an important necessity for many families. However, there are a lot of costs and responsibility associated with owning a vehicle. There is the cost of gas, regular maintenance and also Car Repairs. No matter how well that you care for your car, there will be times when it will need to be repaired.

If you don’t know anything about cars, you may feel that you’re at the mercy of the car repair shop and will have to spend whatever amount of money they tell you it will cost. However, there are steps you can take to make sure you are saving as much money as possible on your Car Repairs in the future.

 

Find independent repair shops instead of dealerships. Car dealerships often recommend that you call them first when you need your car repaired. After all, they are most familiar with your vehicle and have the same brand of parts in stock. However, this is often the most expensive route to take. Instead of going to the car dealership, get in contact with a reputable independent repair shop and find out if they will give you a better deal.

If you’re skeptical about using independent car repair shops, ask your friends and family where they get their cars serviced. If they have been going to the same auto mechanic shop for a long time, it is a good sign that they will provide great service. You can also look up  reviews about the company online or contact the Better Business Bureau.

 

Purchase your own replacement parts. There is always a cost for the parts and labor whenever your car needs to be repaired. When the car repair shop get replacement parts for your vehicle, they are not looking for the best deal for you. They are more interested in making a profit. You can save money by purchasing the replacement parts yourself. The only cost you will have to pay is the labor.

Do your own repairs. If you have some experience with cars, you can save yourself some money by doing your own repairs. Some repairs are minor and can easily be accomplished on your own. There are car repair manuals available that you can use or do your research online. Use what you learn to find the correct parts and become your own mechanic. Not only will this save you a lot of money, you will gain new knowledge and confidence about doing your own repairs.

Perform regular maintenance on your vehicle.  Sometimes, major repair jobs can be avoided all together simply by following the recommended maintenance routine for your car. For example, the cost of having your engine cooling system repaired on time will cost less than the possible repair bill for an overheated engine.

Get a second opinion to avoid unnecessary costs. Some auto mechanic shops will recommend you make other repairs that’s expensive and aren’t really necessary. Take it to another repair shop to find out if they will come up with the same results. If the two opinions are vastly different, then you know that there is more research to do and someone may be trying to take advantage of you.

Car Repairs are an unavoidable expense when it comes to owning a car. However, with proper maintenance, doing your research and being creative, you can keep this expense under control.

canstockphoto9190666Do you find yourself without money before payday? You may find yourself  borrowing from friends and family or go without money altogether. If you are struggling every month trying to make ends meet, it is time to give your family a Money Makeover. There are some adjustments you can make that will make your money stretch beyond your belief.

 

Look For Better Deals

You can find better deals on anything from groceries to your monthly cable and mobile phone plans. If you find yourself spending a large amount of money for groceries, there are online coupon websites where you will find great deals on food, beverages and even clothing. Saving 50 cents to one dollar off an item may not seem like such a big deal, but this will save you a lot of money down the road.

Another way to save money is by searching for better cable television and mobile phone plans. If you are struggling to pay your monthly bills, contact your service provider and ask if there is a way you can change over to a cheaper plan. If you are not under a contract, you have the right to go with another company or do without the service altogether.

You can also find better deals on insurance policies. If you feel that you are paying too much for your car or health insurance, do some comparison shopping. Before you renew your insurance, you may find that it’s cheaper to buy insurance online than by going to an insurance company in your local area.

If you are comfortable with your current insurance agent and do not want to shop elsewhere, contact their competitors to find out if they have better deals. If you find one, check with your current insurance holder and see if they will match the price. People are more likely to match prices to keep your business, especially in today’s competitive market.

 

Set Up a Savings Plan

If you do not already have a savings plan, now is the time to take action. It’s really important for you to have a savings account that will sustain the household for three to six months in case of an emergency. You can start building up your savings by putting away a small amount of money from your paycheck each pay period. Once you have enough money in your emergency fund, then you can focus on building on your savings even more.

 

Plan Your Retirement

Having a retirement plan is important, especially if you don’t want to spend your golden years working on a stressful job. Social Security programs are running out of money and may not be available when it comes time for you to retire. This is why it’s important for you to plan ahead. Look into IRAs or other interest-yielding accounts for you to build up enough money for your retirement. If you need help contact a financial advisor at your bank.

You and your family will have a lot to gain by giving yourselves a Money Makeover. By shopping around for better deals, building up your savings for retirement and family emergencies, everyone is doing their part preparing for the future. Implement these money savings methods where possible and watch your nest egg grow.

canstockphoto11612607If your bank account is always down to nothing after paying  the monthly household expenses, you are not alone. Holding on to a dollar can be quite a challenge sometimes. There are ways you can build your Savings, even if you are living paycheck to paycheck. Here are some ways you can give your savings account some real muscle.

 

If you only have a checking account, you should also open a savings account with your bank. You can use your checking to pay your monthly expenses while putting away that extra money into your savings account. This way you won’t be tempted to overspend.

 

Plan a family meeting to talk about your financial goals. Believe it or not, kids can be quite resourceful. They can think of ways to help increase your savings account. Write down all suggestions, no matter how silly it may sound. You may come out with some great ideas.

 

Get Yourself a Piggy Bank. Kids aren’t the ones that get to save their pennies. After you do your shopping, empty your pockets of the change that you have left over and place it in the jar. There are money counters with a digital readout to let you know how much money you have collected. You can create a fun experience by turning this into a game. Allow the to kids scavenge the house for loose change to put in their jars. Take them to a coin machine to cash it in at least once a month. The proceeds can be added to your Savings.

 

Pay Off Your Debt. Once you pay off your credit card or car payments, add that amount of money to your savings account every month. Pretend that you don’t have that extra money so you can boost your savings.

Create extra money. There are ways that you can squeeze money out of your expenses. For example, you can pack your lunch instead of buying lunch every day. You can save about thirty dollars a week with a family of four.

Whenever you receive a raise from your job, pretend that you didn’t get it. Place that money in your savings account. You can even have it transferred to your account every pay period so you won’t even miss it.

Find alternative income streams. Your family can come together and gather ideas on ways to earn some extra money. Perhaps, you can do some odd jobs by dog walking, mowing lawns, raking leaves or cleaning houses for your neighbors. If you have some antiques or other items sitting around the house collecting dust, how about selling on eBay? Someone out there may pay a good price to own them, especially if the items are in good condition.

These are just a few ideas on how you can quickly build your Savings. Get creative and come up with some ideas on your own, so you can watch your money grow and potentially build wealth for your family sooner than you think.

 

If you like what you’ve read, please share this with your Facebook and Twitter friends or Leave a Comment below.

 

 

canstockphoto16926385You have finally met that special someone that you really want to get to know better. Perhaps, you’ve probably been dating for a while, but you are looking for creative ways to keep your relationship exciting. Coming up with ideas for dates can be quite challenging, not to mention that many typical ideas like going to the movies and spending a night on the town aren’t that romantic and can get very expensive. By coming up with some romantic dating ideas, you can add more romance to your relationship without breaking the bank.

Here are a few Fun Cheap Date Ideas to get you started:

 

Cook A Low Cost Meal Together

Although, going out to dinner is fun, restaurants can sometimes be quite noisy and are not conducive to intimate conversations and can get expensive if you are not careful. Prepare a low cost meal together at one of your homes instead of going out. Even a simple meal together can be a nice environment for a romantic conversation. Just add some candles and some soft music and enjoy each other’s company.

 

Take a Trip To An Art Gallery Opening

Art galleries are usually filled with beautiful scenery and will add lots of topics for interesting discussions. They are also beautiful buildings in their own right. This is the perfect setting for a romantic date. If you would like to save money, wait for an art gallery opening instead of paying the entrance fee. They usually offer beverages and appetizers at these events. You may also get a chance to meet some of the artists.

 

Enjoy a Day at The Free Museum

Search for free museums in your area that don’t charge an admission fee or offer discounts on certain days. You can both learn something new together such as the history and the culture of your town. This will also lead to an interesting conversation.

 

Take a Walk At The Park

Taking a stroll in the park is an ideal setting for a romantic date, and you won’t have to pay a penny. If it’s wintertime, you can hold hands while enjoying the snow and watching the animals. If it’s summer you can enjoy the sunshine and the trees. Many parks have benches and gazebos where you can stop and have a romantic conversation or just to enjoy the scenery together.

 

Go Hiking With a Romantic Picnic

If you both enjoy the outdoors, head out for a hike with a delicious picnic. You should pack your favorite meals in a basket and take along a bottle of wine and some wine glasses to add some extra romance. There are a variety of hikes you can go on, from short and easy hiking trails to all day hikes.

 

Enjoy The Night Sky

There’s nothing better than going out for a walk holding hands while watching the stars. You can also cuddle up in your yard or terrace while whispering sweet words to each other. However, it can get quite chilly in the evening, so make sure you bring along a jacket or warm blankets if you don’t want your date to be cut short.

 

Talk About Your Dreams and Goals

There is nothing more romantic than communication. Talk about your short and long-term goals. If this romance blossom into a relationship, you can make plans on helping one another reach those goals.

 

These are just a few of many Fun Cheap Date Ideas that you can enjoy. This will get you on your way to planing some creative and romantic dates without emptying your wallet.

 

canstockphoto13659853Are you tired of looking at that belly fat every time you look in the mirror? The idea of wearing a swim suit may break you out into a cold sweat. You may have thought about joining a gym membership or fitness classes, but ruled it out because of the high price tag. Don’t let your budget be an excuse for not getting that Beach Body that you’ve been dreaming of.

Here are some ideas to help you get your Beach Body without breaking the bank:

 

Only pay for a gym membership if you will actually use it on a regular basis. Hitting the gym is also great if you need the motivation. A much affordable option is to try the YMCA or ask a friend if you can work out in his or her home gym. If you are a high school, college student or a staff member, you will probably be able to gain free access at your school’s facility.

There are alternatives to a gym or fitness class that are easy and affordable. You can use simple exercise equipment without leaving your home. Jump ropes, exercise balls and dumbbells are relatively inexpensive. You can also do some jumping jacks, push-ups and shadow boxing without having to pay a penny.

Another way you can save money is by turning everyday objects that you have sitting around the house into workout gear. You can walk or run down the stairs repeatedly, do some chin-ups by using your children’s swing set and you can even use canned goods as dumbbells. If you are in a seated position for a long period of time, there are some leg exercises you can do whether you are at home or the office.

If you would like to find some good deals on exercise equipment, you can save money by purchasing used or new workout gear by searching on Craigslist, eBay and Amazon. You can also look at the classified ads in your local newspaper or even find some at rock bottom prices at garage sales.

Rent or borrow exercise DVDs. This can be pricey  when you buy it, but are inexpensive to rent. You can check them out at the library for free as long as you return it by the due date. There are lots of You tube videos on a variety of exercises or you can record early morning workouts for later viewing.

Walking is the most simple form of exercise. Almost anybody can do this, even if it’s just walking down the block. Make sure that you have comfortable supportive shoes and you’re all set.

Running is also good exercise, but it requires a higher fitness level to start. A safe location is important to prevent yourself from injury. Make sure the area is free of tripping hazards, loose rocks, dogs and major traffic.

If you live in a warm climate, go to the the beach. Swimming is one of the best workouts you can do. If there are no beaches nearby, go to the park and use their swimming pool. If it’s too cold to swim outdoors, consider using the indoor pool at your local gym or YMCA if you have a membership.

 

These are just a few out of many options you can use to get that Beach Body  that you’ve been dreaming of. You don’t have to pay a high price tag to get healthy. Get off that couch and  exercise for 30 minutes five days a week and you will reach your goal much sooner than you think.

canstockphoto3398083If you have children, a job to go to and way too many chores to do, chances are you will need reliable transportation to get around. A car is the most convenient form of transportation, especially if you have to travel a long distance to get back and forth from your home.

Today, most people have a least one car to get around. When you are looking for ways to lower your household bills, you should consider staying in your budget if you’re going to buy a new car. Many people make the mistake of buying a luxury car to keep up with the joneses. They often wonder how they end up living paycheck to paycheck.

 

Another mistake that many people make is they are so in a rush to get a new car. As a result, they end up with a lemon or being cheated out of their money. If you are not careful you could even be left with a car payment that’s almost as high as your mortgage. There are ways to prevent this. Here are 5 ways you can avoid Car Payments from draining your wallet.

 

1. Consider getting refinancing. Many people simply use the car dealership’s financing company for their car loan. Going this route is expensive for two reasons: the added fees and high interest rates. Even though they can stretch your Car Payments out for six or seven years, you will end up paying much more than the car is worth. You should keep in mind that cars depreciate as soon as you drive off of the lot.

 

2. Visit your credit union. Credit unions are one of the best places for you to refinance your vehicle. You will possibly get a lower interest rate and better terms. Even if you start with the finance company, there is no time like the present to stretch out those payments at a lower monthly rate than you previously had.

 

3. Trading in your car is another option. There isn’t a rule that says you have to keep the same car until it is paid off. The car dealer will inspect your car to see how much it is worth. If you keep your car in good shape by getting your car serviced by a good mechanic and keep it clean, you will have an advantage. The difference will be added to the total amount and you will end up with a less expensive, but reliable car. Car Dealerships are always running specials and you will be able to cash in with a trade-in.

 

4. If you decide that you are going to purchase a new car, here are a couple of things to remember. Try to choose a car that gets good gas mileage and find out what gas octane that it requires. Luxury cars use higher octane, which will cost you more to fill up your tank.

 

5. Finally, another way to save you money is to carpool with your friends and coworkers. This will save you money on gas and the wear and tear on your car. If there are a few people that you know that have a reliable vehicle, you all can take turns driving every week or so. The amount that you save on gas can offset your monthly Car Payments.

If you follow the above tips, this will potentially save you thousands of dollars on your Car Payments and avoid the headache of being ripped off by the car dealership. Whenever you decide to get yourself a new or used car, always do your homework and sit back and enjoy the ride.

How Much Is Fast Food Really Costing You?

 

canstockphoto3476385Are you thinking of ways to save money on meals for your family? Most fast food restaurants have a dollar menu for customers who are looking for a cheap way to feed their families. Although, you can feed an entire family for a little over ten bucks, chances are that fast food is costing you a lot more than you think. Let’s look at the realistic cost of take-out food.

 

The average person spend between $1000 and $2000 a year on fast food. Many people love to eat there because the price is cheap on some items on the menu and it’s convenient. You can go through the drive thru and receive your meal in a couple of minutes instead of standing over the stove. You can get burger, fries and a soft drink for less than $5 for yourself if you order from the dollar menu. Eating these types of meals on a daily basis does have its risks.

Consumption of take-out meals on a regular basis isn’t healthy since it’s full of sodium, sugar and trans fats. It causes fatigue in some people and can lead to more chronic illnesses.  It also contribute to lifelong illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. This will not only eat away at the quality of your life, it can also eat away your bank account. Being sick can get really expensive.

Fast Food Restaurants often have healthy meals on the menu, but you will be surprised that some of the items that you think are healthy are full of calories and fat. Here are some ways to save you money while eating healthy.

 

If you are working a hectic schedule and don’t have time to cook there are ways to eat healthy from fast food restaurants. You can order salads with low-fat or no salad dressing at all. Some salad dressings have high calories, especially if you add a lot. You can choose to eat your burgers without the buns, cheese and mayo.

It would cost you a lot less money by preparing your own home-cooked meals. If you want to cook burgers for your family, it will be a lot cheaper by purchasing it by the pound at the supermarket. Grocery Stores usually have regular sales on ground beef and you will be able to feed a family of four for less than five dollars in most cases. Add two dollars for hamburger buns another two dollars for frozen fries and you will still spend less than ten dollars.

When you add it up, you will save yourself a few bucks.

If you want to change it up with a healthy meal, you can make your salad similar to what’s sold at fast food restaurants. You can get a bag of lettuce for two dollars and add some chopped vegetables, croutons and salad dressing. If you want to add some extra flavor, just add turkey or chicken breast to the mix.  If you include iced tea or soda, this will still save you money.

The amazing part is that you will probably have some food left over, which doesn’t often occur when you get fast food.

Saving a couple of dollars on a meal may not sound like much, but it will add up, especially if you eat out on a daily or even a weekly basis.

The next time you are tempted to order fast food or go to the drive-thru, keep driving and head to the grocery store. You will feed your family for less while staying healthy.

 

canstockphoto16293157Advertisers are doing everything in their power to get consumers to think as they do. Many of them have our best interest at heart while others do not. Their ulterior motive is to separate us from our money. For this reason alone it is in our best interest to educate ourselves on how to beat them at their own game. Here are methods you can use to become a smart spender and possibly save yourself thousands of dollars on everyday purchases in the long run.

 

First let’s talk about how advertisers are getting us to spend a lot of money at the grocery store. Most supermarkets have weekly sales advertisements appear in our mailbox with buy one get one free and other offers at deep discounts. They even have coupons that are fifty cents to a dollar off the regular price of an item. Many people buy these products because they think they are getting a good deal. What they don’t realize is that they are actually wasting money if they are not consuming it in the first place.

I’m not saying not to use coupons and take advantage of weekly sales. This can actually save you a lot of money down the line if you are a smart spender. Look at the item and ask yourself is this something that you need and will use in the near future. You should use this method with all of your purchases whether or not it has a cheap price tag.

 

Many are lead to believe that popular name brands are better than the generic brand products. You may be surprised that the name brands and store brands often come from the same supplier. The only difference is that one of them is packaged in a fancier box. If you find that the ingredients are the same (after comparing the labels) the store brand is going to be sold at a lower price.

 

What About Purchasing a New Car?

You should also use this strategy if you are thinking of buying a new car. Many car dealers offer a zero percent financing for a new car with no money down. This sounds great. However, you should be really careful by reading the fine print before you sign on the dotted line. The loan that you get from the car dealership will end up costing you more of your hard earned money on the back end.

Of course, you don’t have to finance with a car dealership. You can always shop around for a new or used car within your price range (if you have enough money saved up). This will save you a lot of money down the road.

You also have the option to visit your credit union and talk over terms of a loan. Credit Unions usually have lower interest rates than banks and the car finance companies. Whenever the car dealership offer you a deal on a car, believing that you will finance with them, kindly inform them that you have secured financing elsewhere and thank them for the deal.

Shopping For New Clothes

Many of us love to shop, especially for the latest fashion. Advertisers make consumers believe that we need their products so much that we have to be the first one to get that new pair of their jeans and expensive sneakers. What we often end up with is something that is overpriced when we could have saved money by buying a non-popular brand with the same quality.

What is an average consumer to do?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to learn how to be a smart spender. If you are tempted to spend money on an item, there is nothing that you need to buy that can’t wait a week or so. This will give you enough time to make your decision.

You can make that decision based on reading articles and reviews. Also look for better deals and cheaper items that have equal or better quality as the original. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to saving yourself some money.

 

You will become a smart spender by taking the time to weigh your decisions and find other ways to get what you want and need without breaking the bank. Take advantage of this method and watch your money grow in no time.

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