The Beatles may have gotten it right when they sang, "I don't care too much for money, for money can't buy me love," but the fact remains that money is an essential part of our lives. The current economic downturn has impacted American families from all walks of life, and that includes tots. Parents want to protect their carefree children from the financial anxieties that keep them up at night, but even toddlers can pick up on stress within the home. Books can help with communication regarding family budgets or cutbacks that may be happening by presenting them in a clear and age-appropriate manner. Keep reading for a selection that will help guide parents through the confusing issues surrounding money and finances.
The recession may be taking a toll on the nation's birthrate, though one of today's most popular financial experts says it shouldn't be. A new BabyCenter.com study recently found that 2 out of 5 moms waited to start or expand their family until they felt financially stable, but the Today Show's Jean Chatzky says baby-dreaming couples don't need to wait until they think they can afford a baby to have one. By setting up the right savings accounts as soon as a couple learns they are pregnant, choosing proper investment vehicles, and keeping an eye on their retirement plans, couples can feel more comfortable their — and their families' — futures. We spoke with Jean Chatzky about where families' should prioritize and if there is an opportune time to expand their families. See what she had to say!
It's too hot to do anything besides online shop, so we've rounded up this week's best online deals for mamas and kids.
- Save 20 percent at Diapers.com Diapers.com is clearing out its Summer inventory with the XTRA20 promotion. It's still pretty hot out, so stocking up on Summer basics isn't exactly a waste. There's tons of great Carter's gear on sale — rompers, skirts, and dresses as low as $4, and a huge selection of Robeez shoes for between $11 and $16, less than half their regular price. To redeem, enter promotional code XTRA20 at checkout. (Offer expires July 25, 2011)
- Buy one get one free at OshKoshB'gosh The original kids brand is running a buy-one-get-one promotion of tons of its basics. Stock up on back-to-school essentials like leggings (two for $18) and long-sleeved graphic tees (two for $20).
- Save up to 40 percent at Puma.com Puma is having a semi-annual sale with footwear, clothing, and accessories up to 40 percent off. The brand has accessories starting under $5, clothing for $6, and footwear starting at $12. Shipping is free with orders of $85 or more. (Offer expires July 31, 2011)
- Save big at The Children's Place The Children's Place is having a huge sale with lots of stuff for kids, newborns, and babies. It has swim starting at $8, shorts for $5, and tees and tanks for $5. Shipping is free with orders of $75 or more. (Offer expires July 24, 2011)
- Create a free online baby book at TotsSites.com Privately share photos, movies, and more with friends and family, because not everyone on Facebook cares to see that first potty picture!
The going rate for an adult babysitter in my neighborhood is $25 an hour if you have two or three kids. Though there are online caregiver calculators to do the math for mom, some parents prefer to do some research at the playground or inquire among friends to figure out a competitive rate. If they are attempting to steal someone else's sitter, the stakes are higher. Other factors like driving children, doing light housework or tending to tots overnight may up the ante as well. How much do you shell out (per hour) for a babysitter? And, how often do you hire help?
Prepare for some potty emergencies. Parents are willing to try most anything to toilet train their children quickly. Since the economy is sagging, some mothers are even cutting costs by taking their tots straight from diapers to underwear. Disposable training pants like Huggies Pull-Ups and Pampers Easy-Ups can set a family back up to $100 per month.
According to The Nielsen Co., "Sales of disposable training pants declined 3.2 percent to $731.2 million for the 52 weeks ending June 13 and the number of training pants sold is down 10 percent." This is the first time in the 20 years since the diaper-like pants were introduced that sales have declined, leading many industry experts to blame the economy.
In these tough economic times, many families are struggling with putting healthy food on the table. A nutrient-rich, vegetable-filled salad with meat often costs significantly more than a fatty meal from the McDonald's dollar menu.
Parents trying to curb their food budget find that cheaper food prices translate to higher saturated fats and food coloring. In a price war, Kraft macaroni and cheese will almost always beat out the organic wheat pasta and marinara sauce. While many tots may rejoice in the presence of junk food, mommies might cringe with every lil bite they take.
Has your grocery list changed since the economy started to tumble?
Suze Orman may be the money guru of today, but sometimes I think she took a page from my parents' handbook on raising financially responsible children. Growing up, my folks paid us for hard work done around the house and allowed us to spend it how we wanted. My chores included cleaning my room, making my bed, helping with dinner, doing dishes, and other things that eased the burden on my mom and step-dad. As we grew older, my sister and I had to set up a budget for our monthly expenditures. Based on our needs and wants, our parents devised a monthly allowance for us. It taught us both that perhaps a Polo shirt wasn't as necessary as the cheaper version available at Target.
Tell mommy, do your kids have a budget?
When it comes to money, people lean right for all sorts of reasons. Some are idealists who fundamentally believe in less government and the free-market economy while others see all the proof they need in the success of capitalist countries. OK, general success. Even if today's economic woes tarnish the free market's image, most fiscal conservatives continue to believe in the invisible hand's dexterity.
According to "What Kind of Person Are You…If You Believe in Republican Economic Policy?" on PeopleJam, Republicans can learn a thing or two about themselves by examining economic beliefs. And because few things are more satisfying than having your personality analyzed by four quick questions, I made you a quiz. Come back and tell me if you think it's total nonsense or right on when you're done. To take it, read more
We aren't fans of Paul Krugman but his Nobel Prize in economics for "having shown the effects of economies of scale on trade patterns and on the location of economic activity" is too easy a pot shot for a fashionista that likes to talk supply chain efficiencies and large scale clothing orders. Thus with the help of H&M's supply chain we demonstrate just how easy Krugman's theories are to understand. The global diffusion of fashion's trade patterns depends on the demand of voracious fashion consumers buying up bulk orders of skinny jeans or other trendy items, the location of skilled workers, the relative impact of textile tariffs, and the cost of shipping. Fashion spans the globe from one style capital to another in an endless parade of trend manufacturing and production.
So next time someone tells you fashion isn't a serious subject go all global trade patterns on them and demonstrate your in depth knowledge of supply chain management and how it affects trade patterns. Just be sure to keep an eye on the tariff situation! That will get you every time.
The current economic roller coaster has many of us taking a second look at our account balances on a daily basis and thinking more carefully about the prices of the things we purchase. A recent trip to the grocery store made me realize that I often "splurge" on items that I don't necessarily need. With Halloween and the holidays right around the corner is the state of the economy affecting how you spend on your family?