Ready for Kids? – 12 Financial Moves to Make to Prepare Beforehand

young familyMy husband and I were married for several years before we were ready to even talk about having kids. We wanted time to travel, build our careers, and simply be together without having to worry about diaper changes and pediatrician appointments.

Once we were ready to consider a family, we came up with a checklist of financial criteria we needed to meet before taking the plunge. It was a daunting task, but we wanted to make sure we were financially stable before bringing children into the mix.

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How to Use Reloadable Prepaid Cards for Budgeting and When It Makes Sense

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

prepaid debitI’m the first to admit that I’m not always faithful to my personal budget. While I’m frugal by nature, I have weak spots, like the occasional nice meal out or live sporting event. Some months, these vices make it harder for me to reach my financial goals.

The consolation is that I’m far from being alone in this predicament. For numerous reasons, many consumers find it difficult to stick to their monthly spending budgets. But what if there were another way?

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Understanding Why Budgets Fail – 8 Steps to Fix a Broken Budget

budgetA Pew poll from March 2015 reports that more than 80% of Americans are concerned about their savings, and seven out of ten worry whether they have enough money to cover their expenses. Yet since 1960, the personal saving rate in the United States has been inconsistent and generally trending downward, ranging from a high of 17.0% in May 1975 to a low of 1.9% in July 2005, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis as reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In April 2015, the rate clawed its way up to 5.6%.

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What Is a Community Garden – Benefits & How to Start Your Own

community gardenThere’s nothing quite as satisfying as growing your own fresh flowers and vegetables in a home garden. Especially if you spend most of your day sitting behind a desk, it’s a welcome change of pace to spend some time outdoors, working with your hands and feeling physically connected to the Earth. And although a garden can be a lot of work, it more than pays for itself in tender lettuce and juicy, homegrown tomatoes that taste far superior to anything you can buy at the supermarket.

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8 Things That Are Becoming Less Affordable for the Middle Class

financial strainWe may think that an ever-advancing, high-tech society means our standard of living is improving. However, many people insist that the present-day quality of life isn’t what it used to be – at least not for the middle class. This is because it doesn’t always matter whether people earn more money than in years past – if it doesn’t have the same proportional buying power, they can feel serious financial strain and become heavily indebted.

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What Is DIF Insurance (Massachusetts Depositors Insurance Fund) – How It Works

Boston photo by Jay YuanIf you have a bank account – or even if not – you’ve likely heard of FDIC insurance. FDIC insurance is deposit insurance overseen by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a federal entity created by the Banking Act of 1933.

FDIC insurance guarantees the safety of deposits in checking, savings, and CD accounts held with FDIC member banks. When a member bank fails, the FDIC reimburses each depositor up to $250,000 per account. As of mid-2015, there are about 6,400 FDIC member banks, according to the FDIC.

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3 Types of Savings You Should Have Right Now: Emergency, Retirement & Personal

saving moneyMoney is a leading cause of stress, there’s no arguing it. The almighty dollar worries us more than work, family, and even our health, according to the American Psychological Association. Money-related stress isn’t just aggravating though. It has actually been linked to negative effects on health and longevity, and is also believed to contribute to poor decision-making.

Why do so many of us succumb to money-related stress? If we’re not handling our finances to the best of our abilities, the shortcomings are often related to our saving habits. We spend too much and save too little, or don’t save anything at all. Every working-age adult should be able to lay claim to three types of savings, and should be committed to ensuring each of those accounts is properly funded.

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Meet “The Compact,” a Frugal Group Dedicated to Buying Secondhand Only

thriftOne of the keys to living a frugal lifestyle is to shop secondhand. Each person has different rules about what they will or won’t buy used: For example, some are okay with used clothes but won’t buy used shoes, while others buy used DVDs but only new DVD players. But just about everyone who wants to save money shops secondhand for at least a few items, because it’s so much cheaper than buying new.

But scattered across the country, there’s a group of people who have taken secondhand shopping to its ultimate extreme. They buy everything used. Unless it’s a consumable product, such as food or medicine, they just will not buy it new.

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What Is a Tool-Lending Library – Benefits & How to Start Your Own

toolsOne of the most frustrating things about home improvement is having to shell out money for a new tool that you only expect to use once. For example, if your bathroom needs re-tiling, you can’t reasonably do the job without a wet saw, which costs anywhere from $100 to $750. But unless you have another bathroom to re-tile after this one, that expensive tool is just going to sit in your garage gathering dust once you’re finished with the job.

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Living on Minimum Wage – Is It Possible? (Live the Wage Challenge)

minimum wageIn the summer of 2014, several prominent politicians made an unusual choice. For one week, they all voluntarily set aside their generous salaries and tried to live on just $7.25 an hour – the federal minimum wage.

No, they weren’t crazy. They were taking the Live the Wage Challenge.

This challenge was created as part of a campaign to raise the federal minimum wage, which hasn’t increased since 2009. The campaign encouraged politicians, bloggers, and others to try living for one week on minimum wage and write about it. The organizers set up a discussion on Twitter at #LiveTheWage for people to share their experiences. Their goal was to show people firsthand how difficult it is to live on $7.25 an hour and encourage them to support the wage hike.

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