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How Much Does It Cost to Have a Baby? – Medical Care, Baby Gear, Clothing & More

By Maurie Backman

baby and motherBefore I had kids of my own, I remember attending a baby shower where the majority of the guests already had children. As I sat and listened to them bemoaning their endless expenses and mounting bills, I couldn’t even pretend to commiserate. At the time, my husband and I were planning a week-long trip to Europe and we’d recently signed a contract to build a fabulous deck for our home.

Fast-forward a few years and three kids later, and I now know those women weren’t exaggerating. Having a baby costs serious money, and while you can take steps to minimize some of the baby expenses involved, many are simply unavoidable.

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Country Wisdom & Investing – 6 Old-Time Sayings Relevant to Your Finances

By Michael Lewis

farm in the old westCountry wisdom is the collection of practical experiences gained by generations of pioneers, farmers, and ranchers as America transformed from a vast frontier to the world’s greatest economy. That experience – the result of constant trial and error – was passed from parent to child in plain language that left no room for misinterpretation. Living on a farm or ranch miles from the nearest neighbor meant solving problems on your own, making do with the materials around you, and accepting whatever happened and moving on.

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How to Save Money on Laundry and Reduce Your Cost Per Load

By Amy Livingston

laundryWhen Ben Franklin said that nothing in the world is certain except death and taxes, he obviously forgot about laundry. Perhaps that’s because he had a laundress to do it for him – but nowadays, most of us are stuck doing this job ourselves. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American family goes through 400 loads of laundry each year – more than one load every single day.

The good news is, thanks to the automatic washer and dryer, washing all those loads is a lot easier now than it was in the days of the washtub and scrub board. The bad news is, between the cost of electricity, water, and detergent, it’s also a lot more expensive.

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Do Intelligent Design & Creationism Belong in Public School Science Classes?

By Michael Lewis

classroomThe tension between science and religion has existed for centuries, the former dealing with the natural world and the latter with the supernatural or spiritual world. Many people may be familiar with the story of Galileo and his trial by the Inquisition in 1633. He was forced to recant his belief that the Sun, not Earth, was the center of the universe – that Earth moved around the Sun, and not vice versa, as the Church taught. More people may be familiar with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which has been attacked by religious fundamentalists for more than 150 years.

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How to Find Antiques & Collectibles and Negotiate a Fair Price

By Michael Lewis

shoppingOwning a piece of the past has universal appeal. According to philosopher and antique dealer Leon Rosenstein, it’s the value, uniqueness, and beauty of older items that attracts us, along with their historical and cultural associations. For some, buying and selling tangible pieces of history is a business – for others, it is a calling. Mike Wolfe, one of the stars of the television show “American Pickers,” says that discovering and restoring old relics from the past to their former glory is akin to saving America’s history, one piece at a time.

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7 Common Types of Theft Abroad – How to Protect Your Money While Traveling

By Brian Martucci

passport and moneyThough we aren’t able to travel as often as we’d like, my wife and I love planning and taking trips, from outdoor adventure excursions and fitness vacations, to quick jaunts back home to reconnect with family. Regardless of the destination, we both take joy in escaping our daily routines and being part of something different for a little while – both during the planning process and throughout the trip itself.

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What to Check for When Buying a Used Car – 10 Warning Signs

By Prashant Bajpai

used car shoppingYou’ve decided to purchase your first used car – and with an economy still struggling to find its former luster and a rapidly growing new car market, that’s certainly a smart choice. However, the real challenge is the purchase process – the act of matching mechanical and financial wits with the salesperson and driving off into the sunset without getting suckered.

The ideal used car is not the cheapest one you can scrape off your local dealership or get from a private seller on Craigslist. If its fuel efficiency is poor and it requires heavy maintenance work every other month, then your finances are in for a rough ride. After all, even used cars aren’t exactly short-term investments.

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How to Get Money to Start a Business – 8 Startup Financing Options

By Christopher Freeburn

raising capitalEvery year, hundreds of thousands of Americans launch their own businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administation (SBA), in 2010, there were 27.9 million small businesses in the U.S. The majority of these – more than 75% – were identified by the government as “non-employer” businesses, meaning that the owner is the only person working at the business.

The odds of success are long. Only about half of new businesses survive for five years, and only a third remain in operation after 10 years. Despite this, a small percentage mature into stable small- to mid-sized businesses, while a microscopic fraction becomes the stuff of legends – like Apple or Hewlett-Packard, companies born in garages that ultimately ascended to the highest ranks of American business.

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How to Negotiate Your Salary & Job Benefits and Get More – 9 Crucial Tips

By Michelle Smith

negotiationAccording to annual Salary.com surveys, only about half of the workforce negotiates their pay. The reason for this could be that prospective employees are scared of not being hired, while existing employees are worried about getting fired – therefore, they accept whatever is offered.

However, those fears are largely unfounded. More than 80% of employers in another Salary.com survey said they always expect workers to negotiate, while nearly all claim they’ve never fired or demoted a person, nor rescinded a job offer, in response to negotiation efforts.

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How to Create & Host a Webinar – Benefits for Marketing & Customer Service

By Michael Lewis

webinarAs the Internet becomes more and more ubiquitous in the workplace, webinars – or what some refer to as “online seminars” – have become increasingly popular. Educators and marketers have embraced webinars as a forum for spreading their message; sponsors find their effectiveness and long shelf-life appealing; and attendees are learning to take advantage of their low cost and convenience.

If you haven’t introduced webinars into your marketing, customer service, or employee training efforts – whether you’re running a Fortune 500 company or a one-person operation – you may be missing out on a significant opportunity.

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How to Attend Weddings on a Tight Budget – Saving Money as a Guest

By Amy Freeman

weddingYou know it’s almost time for wedding season when the first invitation appears in your mailbox. And while you might be excited to celebrate your friends’ or family members’ special day, you also might be worried about the impact on your wallet.

We all know weddings aren’t the most budget-friendly affair – according to The Knot’s Real Weddings Survey, the average wedding in 2014 cost more than $31,000. And as it turns out, weddings can be pricey for guests too, even those who aren’t in the wedding party. In 2014, the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker Survey found that the average guest spent approximately $592 per wedding. Bridesmaids and groomsmen typically shelled out a bit more, with an average of $618 spent per wedding.

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20 Productive Habits of Wealthy & Successful People

By Melissa Rudy

gaining wealthThe vast majority of rich people didn’t get there by accident or luck. Accumulating wealth requires hard work, dedication, and – most importantly – maintaining a specific set of habits that foster prosperity. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

If you’re looking to train your focus in work and in life but don’t know where to get started, these 20 habits of wealthy people can help illuminate your path to success.

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32 Fun & Unique Mother’s Day Gift Ideas on the Cheap

By Mallory Hall

mothers dayChances are, your mom would be happy with a simple phone call on Mother’s Day. But still – why not do a little extra for one of the most important women in your life?

Whether you want to make something with your own hands that she can treasure for years or you’re simply strapped for cash, there are many gift options that can fit any budget – large, small, or nonexistent. Here are some idea’s for Mother’s Day gifts that Mom is sure to love.

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12 Simple Ways to Save on Newborn Baby Expenses

By Maurie Backman

infantWhen my husband and I set out to have a second child, we never imagined we’d be blessed with a bonus baby. But sure enough, when I went for my first trimester ultrasound around the eight-week mark, there it was: the image of twins floating around in my belly.

That day, we experienced a host of emotions, ranging from unadulterated happiness to complete and utter panic. Adding not one, but two children to the mix was going to be a challenge not only logistically, but financially. We realized we’d need to be really smart – and creative – if we wanted to keep our costs manageable.

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5 Problem Solving Steps – Process & Strategies for Success

By Michael Lewis

problem solvingModern humans are the greatest problem solvers the world has ever seen. While our predecessors developed primitive tools to better live in their environments, humans are the first to develop the mental acuity necessary to transform their living space. As a consequence, we thrive around the world, altering hostile, barren desert lands and freezing climates into hospitable habitats with growing populations.

Of course, problem-solving abilities vary considerably from one individual to another – some of us excel in resolving overarching dilemmas, while others are more adept at making basic day-to-day decisions. Researchers at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan believe that difficulty solving problems tends to stem from the following two issues:

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