As parents some of us find it difficult to start saving. Many of us have 401K/403B plans through our jobs so we believe that’s saving or some think how can I possibly save any money, there’s never any left over?!?!?!?!? As parents we need a rainy day fund, especially if you have a children, a car, a house or WHATEVER!!! There will always be a time when the unexpected happens.
I started saving early in life, so I was able to buy my first home at 28 years old. I knew I wanted to own a piece of real estate because it had always been a goal. I saved my tax returns every year for three years and I was able to amass enough money for my down payment. I know that’s not for everyone, but I set a goal and went for “the dream.” I am now older, have children, run a small business and I am crazy busy (like all of us). I am not as diligent in saving so when these tools were presented to me, I jumped on them. I have been using these tools over the last few months, they have worked for me and it has removed the “savings worry” from my thoughts.
Whether you’re a working mom, or a stay-at-home mom, there’s no doubt that you’re up to your eyeballs in errands and chores. Moms are some of the busiest people in the world and keeping up with the daily to-do’s, special school projects and doctor’s appointments can become overwhelming in no time flat. From grocery lists to travel assistance to health-related apps, we’ve pulled together a collection of our favorite phone applications that can help busy moms in their day to day routine.
Cozi.com allows you to organize your family calendar, make shopping lists, manage to-do lists, leave reminders to yourself and jot in your family journal — all in one place. With their free Cozi iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps, you can access and manage your Cozi account on-the-go.
My daughters are big fans of BrainPop for its interesting fun facts and “movie of the day” feature. I’m a big fan of BrainPop for the educational benefit it provides. With a variety of topics — including social studies, art, science, and more — kids can continue learning after school has ended.
Do you feel like your baby’s life is already flying by? Do you have trouble keeping friends and family in the loop on all your child’s latest achievements? Karoo, the first mobile app from Care.com, helps parents, caregivers and relatives stay connected and share all the moments of childhood as they happen. You can create a private network of people you want to share information, pictures and milestones with. It’s also great for working parents, as your nanny or sitter can send you updates on naps, pictures of your child’s latest craft project and videos of play time at the park.
With over 2,000 recipes, this app makes meal prep simple. No more worrying about finding healthy dinnertime options to serve your kids. You can browse recipes, personalize them (great for families with picky eaters!), create shopping lists and share ideas with friends. There is also a great hands-free voice option, so you don’t have to actually touch your tablet with flour-covered hands.
Organizing a family’s budget and back accounts is hard work. Those math and economics classes you took in school seem like a very long time ago and maybe you need a little help remembering how to best manage your money. Once you set up an account, this personal finance app automatically stays on top of your transactions, categorizes them into helpful groups so you know what you’re spending money on and shows you how your monthly budget is doing.
One of the best free apps for busy moms, Grocery iQ saves money and time when grocery shopping. Their barcode scanning feature makes creating lists easy. You can sort by category, aisle and more. This app is also integrated with coupons, so you can find easily find savings on the items on your list before leaving home. Grocery iQ is free for iPhone, iPad and Android users.
Kids Meal Deals
To get all the latest “Kids Eat Free” and other family-focused restaurant specials in your area, this app is a must-have. Kids Meal Deals is updated regularly to keep all the dining promotions as current as possible. Available for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android, this app will use your location (or you can enter another one) to find all the best dining deals for kids nearby.
Fandango Movies — Times & Tickets
Every mom and dad deserves an occasional date night. If a movie is in your future, don’t make a move without this free app. Fandango’s “My Movies” list lets you keep track of what you want to see and alerts you when they hit a theater nearby. You can even pick and reserve your seating directly from the app. Fan and critic reviews, as well as movie trailers, are included. So hire a babysitter and treat yourself to a grownups-only night!
Do you have a favorite phone application that you can’t live without? Share it with us!
You’re ready to retire your crib for good, but what to do with that once-so-important piece of furniture? Don’t just put stash it in the basement — repurpose it! Yes, you’ll have to be a bit crafty to pull these awesome ideas off, but the result is totally worth it. Not only can you feel great about a new, totally customized piece of furniture, you can also pat yourself on the back for being eco-friendly!
Similar to the benches above, a comfy daybed or loveseat can be created by simply removing one side of the crib, adding steel corner braces to secure the remaining three sides, paint if desired, and make an easy mattress cover. Accessorize with numerous pillows of different sizes in coordinating colors and fabrics and you’ve got a cozy new loveseat. See how to repurpose your crib to make a cozy daybed: (http://www.2littlehooligans.com/2011/10/21/baby-crib-turned-front-porch-daybed/).
In the Laundry Room
Old bassinets and Moses baskets are great for sorting and storing laundry. Or, build a drying rack, as pictured here, for your non-dryer items and delicates. A crib side rail could also be hung from the ceiling using a chain at each corner to create a suspended drying rack for clothes on hangers or just added clothes storage space. See how to make a drying rack from your old crib: http://cottagelife.com/64108/diy/projects/creative-ways-to-use-an-old-crib
Organize your Pantry or Kitchen
If you don’t have a scrap book or wrapping room, consider mounting the side rail in your pantry or your kitchen. By attaching some simple containers, you can open up an enormous amount of storage space for your spices, mixes and other foods and things that are touch to organize in the kitchen as it is. If you have an empty wall, you have an opportunity to install this cute idea in your home.
Create a Neat Magazine Rack from that Recycled Crib
Here is an idea to hang your magazines or books on in a fun and creative way so you can see what magazines you have rather than stacking them in a corner. It not only serves a purpose, it could even be an art piece in your home.
Teaching kids the importance of money choices and the act of saving money are essential parts of learning and growing. The most important thing to do at the beginning is to make saving fun. Plus, the earlier you start teaching your kids to save money, the better off they’ll be. Even toddlers can do it, but you have to teach this concept in a way they’ll understand. Then, as your children grow, you can introduce more sophisticated saving strategies. Here are some ways you can teach your children about saving money early on!
Set a Good Example
One of the best things you can do is let your child see that you save money too. Put money in a jar while your child is watching and tell him or her it’s your savings jar. This will show your child that saving is “normal.” Plus, since most young children want to be like their parents, seeing you do it will provide them with money lessons that further inspire them to save. Let your child choose his or her own piggy bank. It doesn’t have to be a pig, naturally. You can find character banks from cartoon shows and movies, or you could just get an old jar and let your child decorate it. Make it a fun and special project to choose or make the jar and your child is going to have more of an attachment to it.
There are a number of games available to teach financial concepts to children. Monopoly and The Game of Life, for example, can teach money management skills as well as the importance of planning ahead. Rich Dad Cashflow for Kids is another good option focused on money management. While you are playing, point out how saving money in the game relates to saving money in real life.
Before you recycle all those annoying circulars that arrive on your doorstep Sunday mornings, why not have a coupon-clipping fiesta with your child? Even if you’re not a coupon clipper yourself, it’s worth making the effort to teach your child about savings and discounts. He can help identify coupons that might be a good match for this week’s grocery needs (even nonreaders can do this, because most coupons include pictures), help cut them out, and put them in a large envelope.
Next time you go to the grocery store, let your child be in charge of the coupons. Depending on his age, he can be the “coupon envelope holder,” the “product finder,” the “tracker of money saved,” or all three. Afterward, talk about how much money the two of you saved and how you might use that money.
Showing kids purchases with a credit card won’t do much good, experts say. They recommend not buying items on credit cards or with checks, because that’s completely abstract. Instead, let your kids hold the money and see the money leaving their hands.
A fun way to accomplish this with young children is to deposit coins in a parking meter. Let kids put the coins in. That way, they get to see what money is and that you get something for it. And when kids are 3 or 4, they love putting the coins in the meter.
What are some ways you teach your kids how to save money? – Cute Beltz