Where To Find Cheap Fun Family Activities – 6 Places

Ask anyone with kids and they will tell you – going out with the family can be expensive! Think about it – every activity you might do yourself is multiplied by the number of people in your family.  Going to the zoo by yourself could cost you $10, for example, but for a family of five that could be $50 just to walk in.

But there are ways to find cheap, fun family activities!  Here are six places to look:

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Does Your Kid Deserve A Credit Card?

Credit_Card_Payment

If the thought of your 18-year-old on the loose with plastic in hand terrifies you, you likely share the sentiment of many parents in the same situation.

Lawmakers seem to agree as well, which is probably why the Credit CARD Act of 2009 has made it much harder for young adults age 18 to 20 to obtain their own credit card.

Under this new act, anyone under the age of 21 has to meet a few extra requirements before being granted a line of credit.  They either have to either prove their income is high enough to pay off the bill or have someone over the age of 21 with sufficient income and credit co-sign (i.e. Mom or Dad).
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Organic Food Is Not Expensive

Red and Green Apple

In a previous article I talked about small steps to eat healthier.

Well, a study is out showing a possible link between certain pesticides and ADHD.  The survey studied over 1,100 children between the ages of 8 and 15.  Interviews with the parents determined which children had ADHD.

The findings then found that for those kids with the most frequent pesticide found in their urine samples, 20% had ADHD as opposed to 10% in kids with no trace amounts.

So I ask you this: Is eating organic food really expensive?

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Is It OK To Copy Your Children’s DVD’s

Pile of DVD's

I’m not much of a DVD movie buyer.

Back in the day I would buy VHS movies that I liked.  Most of them were watched frequently so the purchases were justified (I even wore a few out).  But now that we are in the age of DVD (ok, we’re probably past that, but I’m a little slow to catch up to BluRay), I don’t really need DVD’s of my favorite movies.  With cable and Netflix around I can always find something to watch and hardly get to any of the few DVD’s I already own. 

But there’s one BIG exception – KIDS MOVIES!
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Tax Tips For Parents

W4 Tax Withholding

Having children is a wonderful experience that is priceless in so many ways! But do they cost you a lot!  Fortunately there is some tax help for parents in the form of deductions and claims.  Robert Meighan, vice president at Turbo Tax, has listed some great tax tips for parents:
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Go To The Museum For Free – Bank of America Museums on Us

museums-on-us-dates

What a wealth of culture and learning we have here in NYC!

The only thing holding us back from taking in all of the museums, gardens, zoos, and whatnot is time and money.  We’ve been trying to make the time to take the kids out and do things with them whenever we can.

That leaves money!

It’s expensive taking a family out these daysWell, it was a most pleasant surprise to learn that Bank of America was extending it’s Museums on Us program.  Not only did they extend it but they added museums and states that the program takes part in.

What is Museums on Us?

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9 Ways To Save On Baby Costs

Baby Feet

So you’re expecting?  Congratulations! A new baby is an exciting event in one’s life (how’s that for understatement of the year!).  In preparing for the little one’s arrival you’ll start to think of all of the things you are going to need for the baby as well as the costs!  But it doesn’t have to always be expensive.

Here are 9 ways to save on baby costs:

1) Shop at wholesale stores

Places like BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club will be your friend when it comes to shopping for your baby.  We love the big boxes of diapers and wipes that we get at BJ’s.  They also have great deals on car seats and strollers from time to time.  Do your homework on what you expect prices to be of course, but we find that things like diapers are always worth getting at a wholesale store.

2) Reach out to friends, family, and co-workers

If you know anyone else who had a baby before you then talk to them about what they have.  Not only can they give you some practical advice on what they bought but odds are they have a ton of stuff that’s relatively new that they would be happy to give you!  Baby stuff takes up space and parents love to clear out the clutter.  We’ve gotten tons of clothes (it’s great when you can be clothing kids close to free), toys, bassinet, high chair, swing, and much more from friends and family.  Sometimes it was to keep while others said just give it back when we’re done.  Understand that many items will be used for a baby for a few weeks or months and will still be like new!  Heck, there was a time when we had to rush to put our little guy in clothes before he outgrew them.  Seriously, reach out to friends, family, and co-workers!

3) Check Craigslist and local Mommy forums for toys and furniture

Remember my point above about parents wanting to get rid of clutter?  Same idea here.  A parent buys X for their baby, uses it for a couple of months, and now it sits in the garage practically new.  We picked up a huge toy chest for $25 that originally cost about $75.  It looked like new and the Mom was more than happy to have us take it off her hands.  Bargains like that are all over the place!  You want to be careful with something like a crib or anything that the baby would be supported in to make sure it’s fully intact and has all the parts.  Safety first!  Bargains second! (Car seats may not be a good idea to get used as they wear out over time).

4) Breastfeed

This one is a personal choice for sure.  But by breastfeeding you don’t have to buy formula!  Plus it’s natural and better for your baby.  But what about a pump?  First, you may not need one, it depends on your situation.  Second, you could rent them out if needed or possibly you may have a friend that doesn’t need theirs anymore.  My wife bought her pump when her daughter was born.  It was well worth the money as it was used for our son and will be used for the little one on the way.

5) Set Up a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

If your employer has this option you can set up flexible spending money to be taken out of your paycheck pre-tax for child care expenses.  If you already have a plan but re having an additional child you can make flexible spending account changes to account for costs on the additional child.  You then apply with a receipt to get the money back.  The benefit here is this money isn’t taxed!  The limit is $5000/year when I last checked.  That’s a lot to not be taxed.

6) Set up Health Care Flexible Spending Account

Same idea as dependent care but this can be used for things such as prescription medication and doctor’s visit co-pays.  Check with your employer for the contribution limit.

7) Set up a 529 plan for the little one

A 529 plan doesn’t only save for college in the future.  Many states offer tax benefits now for money you contribute to a 529 plan.

8 ) Sign up for a baby registry

I’ve heard parents-to-be say that they don’t want a baby shower; that they don’t like the idea of a registry.  But the truth is this is one even in your life that people genuinely want to help you start off on the right foot and want to contribute to your child’s well-being!  You don’t know who may be planning a surprise shower for you or who wants to send you a gift.  One thing they’ll ask about is a registry to get you something you need.  You don’t have to get a baby registry.  But it could also leave with a TON of onesies, bibs, and clothes as gifts rather than items you really need (nothing wrong with onesies, bibs, and clothes, but there comes a point where it too much).  Maybe your aunts and uncles will chip in to get you a crib?  Perhaps your college roommates will get together to buy you a car seat?  You don’t know!  Give them the option.  Also, most places that have a registry make it very easy to return gifts.  You’re going to find that you have extras you don’t need or items you thought you needed but don’t use.  We had a registry and were still fortunate to get two car seats!  We returned many a bib that we never used too.

9) Check product forums and sites like Amazon for reviews

If I’m making a big purchase I scour the web for product reviews!  I want to know what everyone is saying.  I’ll try to get as much information as I can.  I want to know the pros and cons of an item from people who are not salespeople in the store.  There are a ton of choices out there for expecting parents and it can be a daunting task trying to figure out what is best.  Do your research!  You may find that for some items spending a little more will save you in the long run.  I’m thinking about products like strollers which take a lot of abuse.  Amazon Bonus: They now have a program called Amazon Mom that offers discounts and free Amazon Prime for a time.

There you have it! 9 ways to save on your baby costs.  Can you think of any more?

Creative Commons License photo credit: lepiaf.geo