It’s hard not to get a serious case of celebrity envy whenever I glance at a tabloid magazine. Is it me, or do celebrities seem like professional vacationers in addition to being singers, actors, and TV personalities? Whether lounging on a sun-drenched beach on the coast of Hawaii or skiing on the perfect snow in Colorado, celebs have a lock on luxurious vacation hot spots that we mere mortals can only dream about.
If your child is one of the millions of college freshmen headed off to school, your August might be packed with shopping, gathering textbooks, and packing up entire rooms. And while picking out the perfect dorm decor might seem important, don’t neglect the deeper subjects.
Now is the time to talk to your child about personal finance. As a parent, you have the opportunity and obligation to prep your freshman on budgeting and smart spending strategies before he or she hits campus.
Last summer, an experienced garage sale friend of mine invited me to bring some old baby items to a sale. An afternoon watching her unload inventory and fill the till taught me a ton about effective presentation, dealing with customers, how to be a good negotiator, and, of course, the critical importance of coming up with the right price for each item.
Pricing Garage Sale Items
Buyer’s remorse: It’s that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as you drive away from the store. It’s that tiny, relentless voice that says, “You shouldn’t have bought that,” or “Your spouse is going to be mad,” or, “You let that salesperson walk all over you.”
I’ve been the victim of buyer’s remorse myself. The day I bought our boat I remember getting off the phone with the seller and thinking, “What have I done?” Fortunately, I’m happy with the decision now, but at the time, all I wanted to do was call the seller back and tell him I’d changed my mind.
There’s no doubt that part of the fun of a vacation is planning it, and in the Internet age, vacation planning means having access to comparison sites, traveler reviews, and helpful hints that can make your next trip the best you’ve ever had.
While you can surf the web-based versions of a lot of money-saving travel apps, having quick access to everything you need on your phone or tablet while you tour can be an amazing advantage. And best of all, many apps that can help you save money on your trip are 100% free.
Best Free Money-Saving Travel Apps
Thanks to websites that scour the Internet for the best deals, many people simply select the cheapest flight available that fits their needs. While you can definitely find some amazing deals this way, it also means you’re likely to rack up airline reward miles with several different carriers – with no way to consolidate them for a free flight. Fortunately, this dilemma is not without solution. Even if you can’t get a free flight, there are several ways to spend your rewards points before they expire.
I remember when I received my first credit card offer. I was 18 and fresh out of high school and, frankly, I was flattered that Visa thought I was responsible enough for a card. Of course, I know now that pretty much every 18-year-old receives credit card offers, but at the time I couldn’t wait to get my own. I signed up and was later mailed my shiny card, which came with a $1,500 credit limit.
I live in a fairly established area with a lot of retirees, and it seems that every week I hear about a family whose adult kids are moving back in, sometimes with grandchildren in tow. And the phenomenon is not just limited to my neighborhood – the AARP estimates that 5.8 million kids currently live in their grandparents’ homes.
I’m no stranger to the condition myself – I moved in with my in-laws briefly while our house was being constructed, complete with a dog and a newborn baby. Moving back home with your parents after college can be tough, but living with parents when you’re grown and you have a family of your own is a different scenario altogether.
Have you ever been struck with the mentality that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself? I know I have – and it’s usually when I’m with my kids. I love them, but house cleaners and garden-weeders they are not. Most of the time, I’d rather occupy them with a movie while I do the chores myself, lest I spend hours on cleaning the bathroom with my “helpers” at hand.
However, while doing all that stuff yourself might save time and yield a better result, it doesn’t exactly teach your kids the value of hard work.
I love my usual routine. When my kids are in school, I send them off to the bus and settle down to work. Of course, during the summer it’s a completely different story. Instead, I find myself scrambling to find ways to keep my kids entertained, and more often than not, completely blowing my budget to pay for summer activities. Without a firm plan or routine in place, I find myself overspending on museums, amusement and water parks, movie theater tickets, and whatever else will get my kids out of the house and cooled off during the summer.