Money Smart mom » Guest Posts Financially Fit Parenting Mon, 24 Sep 2012 06:30:02 +0000 en hourly 1 5 Money Saving Tips Fri, 04 May 2012 15:56:24 +0000 Money Smart Mom Five Simple Tips to Saving Money At Home

Guest post by Jessi, a Canadian writer, dog lover and social media enthusiast from Canada. She spends her days encouraging homeowners to take repairs into their own hands as a Community Coordinator for home repair and appliance parts resource,

Saving money hasn’t always come easy to me; in fact it’s only recently that I’ve really started understanding why every dollar I make doesn’t need to be spent. When I finally geared down and decided to focus on savings, I started by making small changes around the house that would help me hang on to my money. Here are the ones I’ve found to have the most impact!

Turn down the heat
We have hot water baseboards heating in our home, powered by oil. Instead of maintaining the same temperature in the house the whole day, we purchased digital thermostats and put our heat on a schedule. The temperature is regulated so that it’s lower at night and while we are at work, and turns up slightly for the evenings! We also committed to keeping the temperature at a max of 70 degrees and wearing sweaters and blankets if we get cold.

Plan meals ahead
The grocery store is a two minute drive from our house and is on the way home from work, so one of us was stopping in every day to purchase whatever we needed for that days meal. Instead of making five mini-trips, we started planning our meals ahead of time and saved a lot of money in the process. Basing our meals off the sales that week allowed up to pick-up the most cost-effective food, and cut back our bill significantly. Who knew thinking ahead applied to grocery shopping too? (Everyone but me, apparently haha)

Enjoy date night … at home
Dining out is awesome, but you don’t have to spend all that money to enjoy and intimate evening with your partner. Instead of heading to a restaurant , my boyfriend and I moved date night home, each committing to cook for the other one night a week. If neither of us are feeling up to the challenge, we pick-up take-out – we’re still saving the cost of a tip and the markup on a bottle of wine.

Make your own wine

Speaking of wine, when we sat down and crunched the numbers we realized we were spending around $20/week on wine for us and friends. We decided to try making our own and have been so pleased with the end result! For $90, we were able to purchase a wine kit and everything we needed to get the process started – 3 months later we have 35 bottles that cost roughly $3 each, a saving of $14 each week.

I started working for an online home repair resource about a year ago and it opened my eyes to just how much money we were paying out for things we could do ourselves. We stopped calling repairmen and started taking matters into our own hands. Over the past year we’ve fixed our garage door, our washing machine and dishwasher, not to mention countless drywall and hardwood repairs caused by our chewing-obsessed dog. She’s lucky she’s cute!

While these few changes might not seem like much, they’ve really made a big difference on my finances as well as my whole household. I think our commitment to saving money actually strengthened the relationship between my partner and I as it was something we really worked towards together. Best of all, we were able to put some of our savings towards travel and have been on two short trips already this year!

Happy saving and thanks to Sarah for opening her blog up to me today.

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Healthy Tips for Kids Tue, 01 May 2012 23:44:45 +0000 Money Smart Mom Invest In Your Child’s Long-Term Health – Without Paying Dearly For It

Guest post by Amanda Green, a freelance writer who has written extensively on the subject of business and personal finance.

Most parents would probably agree that the health of their child is of utmost importance – that it is important enough to be worthwhile despite any and all costs. We will schedule doctor’s appointments, surgical procedures, and x-rays for our children even if we wouldn’t do the same for ourselves. We’ll spend money on their medications and sports teams without a second thought. We do all this because we want to and because it is our job.

But being willing to spend money towards our children’s health does not mean we need to be frivolous or wasteful in this regard. In fact, some of the most cost-efficient measures we can take are also in our children’s best medical interest. Minimizing the amount of fast food our kids eat comes to mind as an obvious example here.

In what other ways can we make our children healthier while also being health-conscious? Here are a few tips:

Provide outdoor exposure
People who live an active lifestyle are more likely to be healthy over the long run. You may also know that children are highly impressionable and can develop habits in their young age simply as a result of watching and observing. For these reasons, it is important to expose your children to outdoor physical activity when they are young; even if your son is not old enough to play soccer or go for a run, he can still come to the park and develop a more outdoorsy mentality in the process. This simple act can make him more active and more healthy.

As you were likely told by a doctor at some point during the birth process, breastfeeding your child is the preferable route to take when considering their growth and nutrition over the long term. While formula is an excellent option for those mothers who cannot or do not want to breastfeed, we all know breast is best. This is especially the case when doing a price comparison between breastfeeding (which is free) and formula (the costs of which quickly add up over time).

Put calcium first
Children these days are often overfed when it comes to fats and proteins – two food types that are generally more expensive and that can lead to unhealthy lifestyles if consumed in excess. While fat and protein is still essential for your child’s development, don’t forget another element that is highly beneficial yet generally low-priced: calcium. It doesn’t cost much to buy eggs and milk for your child. Moreover, as established by numerous studies over the years, it’s truly difficult for a child to get too much calcium when looking to maximize their future health and growth.

Start a healthy diet and exercise habits young
One of the biggest and costliest health concerns facing our health today is Type II Diabetes and other obesity related health conditions. While most parents may believe that their child could never reach obesity, nearly one third of all U.S. children are. The best way to prevent your child from becoming overweight in childhood, and later on in adulthood, is by starting them off on the right foot in terms of diet and exercise.

Encourage your children to get outdoors and get exercise everyday. Help them find a physical activity they enjoy so that they are further encouraged to get in an adequate amount of exercise. Teach them the importance of a balanced diet early on.  Avoid fast food meals and snacks high in sugar. Help them find fruits and veggies they like, and let them choose their own portion size so they are not overeating. Children who learn to manage their own plates are far less likely to become obese.

These are just a few tips for investing in your child’s long-term without making a financial sacrifice. Others investments include public cord blood banking donation and even vaccinations. While our children health always come first – even when money is concerned – and with the right planning and attitude you can realize the best of both these worlds. Just remember: it’s always best to start earlier. The earlier you invest in the heath of your children, the greater the financial and lifestyle dividends in the long run.

What do you think? Do you agree with this list? Are there any low-cost, health-savvy tips that you would like to add?

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Debt Denial Tue, 24 Apr 2012 04:18:37 +0000 Money Smart Mom Are you in credit card debt denial? How do you stack up to other Canadians?

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