Personal Finance Round-Up: Burning the Financial Candle on Both Ends

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The annual numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are out, and if you had a baby in 2011 – or are thinking about expanding your family in the next few years – pay attention. Statistics now show that a middle-class family in America will spend about $234,900 to raise a child (born in 2011) from birth to their 18th birthday. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – factor in projected inflation for things like childcare, education, food, and medical-related expenses, and you could be looking at an adjusted figure of $295,560 for those first 18 years.

And that’s not all. Another new report shows that Americans are burning the financial candle on both ends. Not only are we shelling out nearly a quarter-million inflation-adjusted dollars to raise our children from birth through high school, we’re also setting aside more money to help our aging parents as well. A recent survey found that 40% of high-earning Americans between the ages of 18 and 46 have set up a plan for their parents’ financial future, compared to just 20%t of baby boomers who have done the same.

Joe at Retire By 40 knows well the high costs of raising a child. He’s ready to leave the rat race to become a stay-at-home dad, and he’s looking forward to it – not only because he can shave $1,250 in childcare expenses from his family’s monthly budget, but also because it will give him a chance to expand his own self-employment opportunities.

In his post Why I Want to Be a Stay-At-Home Dad, Joe writes, “Baby RB40 came along at the right time for me to become a stay-at-home dad. My current career is played out, and I need to reinvest myself. I don’t mind changing diapers, cooking, and cleaning for a few years.”

But with any major career shift comes the need to reevaluate your household’s budget. Here is how some personal finance bloggers are rearranging their finances for all of life’s changes, both big and small:

The Secret to Getting Rid of Things by Selling Them [Mighty Bargain Hunter]
Need some extra cash? Some extra space? Or do you just want to clear the clutter so you can clear your mind? Regardless of what you’re selling, if you want it to go quickly, you’ve got to price it to sell: “Since some selling venues demand that you set a price, this might not always be an option. So, what price do you offer if you want to get rid of something?”

The Art of Doing Less [Watson Inc]
“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run,” Henry David Thoreau once said. Do the things in your life have the value or impact you intended them to have? If not, then you could be making do with less.

It’s Time for Drastic Measures [Newlyweds on a Budget]
“This past week, I paid more than $800 toward our credit card (expecting to pay off the remaining $500 with our next paycheck), and the very next week, we were back up to $1,300,” laments Erika. “It’s like I’m not even paying any money on it!” So what do you do when debt’s got you down? Get rid of it!

101 Ways to Earn Extra Money From Side Hustle [One Cent at a Time]
If your day job isn’t bringing in enough money, you do have other options – 101 of them, in fact. My favorite is number 23, part-time bartender. Belly on up, folks.

Maintaining Friends When Fun Has to Be Free [The Debt Princess]
How do you maintain a friendship with someone who is in a very different place financially than you, or has very different financial goals? “I have far fewer friends today than I did two years ago,” the Debt Princess tells us – but she’s a better person for it.

Save Money on TVs and Pick Up Chicks [Funancials]
The average American home has more TVs than people living in it. But what does getting a great deal on a new flat screen have to do with finding a girlfriend? You won’t believe the answer.

Top 10 Frugal Tips (Part One) [Everything Finance]
Melissa’s top frugal tip? Doing without: “Often we think we need something, only to find it gathering dust a few weeks later after the novelty has worn off,” she writes. Who hasn’t been there, done that, and wondered what we did with the receipt?

How to Negotiate a Raise From an Insider’s Point of View [My Broken Coin]
Want to boost your income without taking on a side job? Aloysa guides us through the difficult task of asking for a raise, and giving us a perspective we usually never see: our boss’s.

(photo credit: Bigstock)

  • Onecentatatime

    Thanks for including my blog post, great post picks.

  • Roshawn Watson

    Thank you for including me in your round up.

  • Joe

    Thanks for the mention! I can only hope education cost will stabilize in the next 18 years…