How to Plan a Kids Birthday Party on a Budget – 6 Ways to Save

When our son was a baby, my husband and I kept his birthday parties simple and low-key, limiting the guest list to just family. We figured that since our son wasn’t old enough to know the difference, there was no need to spend a small fortune on a party he wouldn’t even remember. However, his third birthday posed more of a challenge because by then he’d reached the age where he was being invited to playmates’ birthday celebrations. We realized that our minimalist family gatherings might be too exclusive and couldn’t compare to some of the more elaborate birthday extravaganzas he’d attended.

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Join Us on Twitter for a Chat About Ways to Save Money in College on Sept 18th at 4PM EST

This Friday, we will be holding a TweetChat with the topic of Ways to Save Money in College in mind from 4-5pm EST. Our guests will be Kasasa, a national brand of free rewards checking accounts offered at community financial institutions

Simply follow @MoneyCrashers and participate in the chat with hashtag #MCchat on Twitter and you will be entered in the prize draw (two winners for $15 Amazon gift cards).

An easy way to follow along and participate in #MCchat is by using our Twitter Chat Room at We hope to see you there!

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How to Plan a Family Camping Trip – Checklist of Gear to Bring

Growing up, my parents didn’t have a lot of money, which meant that cruise vacations or trips to Disney theme parks generally weren’t an option. Camping, however, made for a much more affordable family vacation. So in lieu of resorts or hotel stays we often opted to camp out for a week, explore parks and hiking trails, and enjoy our time together as a family. There were some years when I went along grudgingly, but looking back, some of the fondest memories I have from my childhood are those of our family camping trips.

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What Is a Home Inspection – Checklist, Process, Costs & Tips

The cost of housing varies widely from market to market. According to Zillow, Dallas’s mid-2015 median home price sat near $126,000, up from about $91,000 three years earlier. By contrast, Zillow pegged San Francisco’s mid-2015 median at a cool $1.08 million, up from about $620,000 just three years earlier. Though the average San Franciscan earns more than the average Dallasite, the latter still pays a far lower percentage of income for housing.

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The Visa Clear Prepaid Program – Key Learnings

Sponsorship Disclosure: A huge thanks to the Green Dot® Reloadable Prepaid Visa® Card and Visa Clear Prepaid for working with us to bring you this content.

visa prepaid card handMy 30-day challenge left me with some clear lessons that can be broadly applied by anyone using a reloadable prepaid debit card to budget for day-to-day expenses – particularly if the card is part of the Visa Clear Prepaid program.

1. Clearly Communicated Fees Make Budgeting Easier

One of the first things I noticed when I signed up for my Green Dot® Reloadable Prepaid Visa® Card was the clear, straightforward fee schedule. All possible fees are laid out on a single webpage, making them easy to process at a glance.

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What Is Your Carbon Footprint – How to Calculate & Reduce It

Read through any article about green living, and sooner or later, you’re likely to come across the term “carbon footprint.” The phrase comes up so often that it’s pretty clear the authors think your carbon footprint is something you need to be concerned about. But what they don’t always bother to explain is just what your carbon footprint is, and why it’s so important.

The first question is pretty simple to answer: Your carbon footprint is the sum of all the greenhouse gas emissions you produce through your day-to-day activities. It’s called a carbon footprint because the main greenhouse gas involved in global warming is carbon dioxide, or CO2.

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Visa Clear Prepaid Card – Taking Part in the 30-Day Challenge

To experience the versatility and ease of my Green Dot® Reloadable Prepaid Visa® Card firsthand, I planned and participated in a 30-day challenge, sponsored by Visa Clear Prepaid and Green Dot, that required me to pay for my day-to-day expenses with my prepaid debit card. The Green Dot® Reloadable Prepaid Visa® Card is one of the prepaid cards in the Visa Clear Prepaid program, which helps alleviate stress in choosing and using a prepaid card. Cards meeting the Visa Clear Prepaid standards provide you with transparency and consumer protections. Here’s how it went:

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Radon in Your Home – Symptoms, Mitigation Systems & Cost

radonRadioactive gas seeping through porous building foundations and threatening residents’ health sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but it’s something that homeowners in many parts of North America should legitimately worry about.

The culprit is radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the soil and bedrock underlying huge swathes of the continent. According to the EPA, radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year. It’s the second most common cause of lung cancer overall (after smoking) and the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

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How to Find a Tailor for Clothing Alterations – Cost & Benefits

alterationsThere’s nothing so frustrating as having a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. Maybe you’ve lost a few pounds, and pants that once fit you like a glove now fit more like a saggy diaper. Or maybe you have a whole stack of shirts that you bought because they were such great bargains, but every time you try them on you remember that the sleeves are too long or they gape open between the buttons. Perhaps you even have a few garments lurking in your closet that were the height of fashion when you bought them, but now they make you look like you’re stuck in the past.

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Best New Bank Account Promotions, Offers & Free Money

stack cashWith many financial institutions experiencing a decrease in profits, banks are vying for your business. This is good news for you, because instead of just offering standard perks like no fees, free checking, or a free pen when you sign up for an account, some banks are raising the stakes with cold hard cash, giveaways, and great interest-bearing products.

September is a good month for bank promotions from both big and small banks. Banks are giving away a lot of free cash to attract new customers and get them to open up accounts. The banks listed below have some pretty sweet deals that you should take advantage of if you are in the market for a new bank.

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