DINK no more: Tips for transitioning from a ‘dual income, no kids household’ to ‘one income with kids’

9 07 2015

DINK no more Tips for transitioning from a dual income, no kids household’ to ‘one income with kids

Featured in AFCPEs The Standard July 2015

The Cost of Raising a Child

16 03 2012

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion release the Cost of Raising a Child calculator.

They go on to state:

“With USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child Calculator, you can estimate how much it will annually cost to raise a child. This may help you plan better for overall expenses including food, or to purchase adequate life insurance.

The amount of money you spend depends on how many children you have, the age of the children, your marital status, where you live, and your household income. The results are based on what families similar to your family spend in a year and include a breakdown by major budgetary components (see results page for these budgetary components and what they include).

If your yearly expenses are different from average, you can type in your actual expense for a specific budgetary component by just going to Calculator Results, typing in your actual expenses on the results table, and hitting the Recalculate button. You may especially want to do this for child care and education as these expenses vary greatly among families.

Please note that the calculator applies to children less than 18 years old. So, it does not include expenses on older children, including the cost of a college education. The expenses are updated annually. The most recent figures are for 2010.”

Source: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/calculatorintro.htm

While this calculator is only a ball-park estimate (and the figures are two years old), it can give expectant parents a rough estimate of how much money will be needed to raise their child(ren).

In Debt We Trust [documentary]

21 08 2011

The Great Recovery 2011

16 08 2011

Do Whatever it Takes

29 03 2011

Looking back at our first year of marriage, I wonder “where did our money go?” 

It was until my husband and I moved into a tiny apartment that we paid closer attention to our money.  Why?  Because we knew what the future held for us.  We wanted to purchase a house rather than pay a landlord rent.  After being sick and tired with living in such a state of monetary confusion, we had our first family “money” talk.  Yes, the dreaded money talk.

What did we speak about?  Future financial goals of having a nice chunk of savings by year-end and we wanted to eliminate excess spending while adding to our retirement accounts.

From then on, we did whatever it took to move ahead financially.  Nothing seemed too big of a challenge and with every small step, the picture of our future widened — our money grew!

Do Whatever it Takes:

  • Pay Yourself First.  Forget how much money is left after the bills are paid.  If you are serious about saving money, see what expenses you can cut out of your life.  With those expenses gone, you have more money to put away into a savings or retirement account.   
  • Make Savings Automatic.  In order to grow your savings money must be saved.  Saving money should be automatic.  Loose change should go into a change jar.  A portion of your paycheck should remain in savings. 
  • Live with Less.  The more you consume the more you want to consume.  Try living with minimal non-necessity shopping for one month.  You will come to discover that you really don’t need the items you are purchasing each month.  Financial security will take the place of tangible items!
  • Cook at Home.  Dining out can be very costly.  If you are dining out every week you can easily spend at least $100 per month.  Instead cook at home for a month or two.  You will find spending $100 per month will provide you and your family with more food than would eating out at a restaurant a few times per month.
  • Frozen Pizza.  Friday night’s pizza delivery sounds great especially after a long work week.  I remember spending close to $20 on a pie every Friday night.  That’s almost $80 per month on 4 pizza pies!  Instead I chose to buy frozen pizza at the grocery store for $2.50 or $10 per month versus $80.  The $70 difference went into an Emergency Fund!  Remember, do whatever it takes!
  • Envision your Future.  In order for change to happen you must know where you are going.  Envision your future.  Explore the lifestyle you want to have and then accomplish it!  For those that want to be homeowners, stick to a budget.  Eliminate unnecessary expenses!
  • Ignore Others.  Not everyone will understand your need for speed regarding fixing your finances.  What matters is staying on course and finishing your quest towards reaching financial freedom.  When others tease or make fun of your new savings strategies, use their comments to motivate you even further!
  • Stay Focused.  Life events can lead you off your path but remain focused.  Stay strong to your beliefs and soon enough victory will be yours! 
  • Change Your Behavior.  Whatever feelings you had towards money in the past should be changed.  If they were working for you, you wouldn’t be in the situation you are now.  Behavior is key to winning with money.  If you know money should go into an emergency fund, don’t spend it on a new lawnmower.  Change your behavior to include responsible financial decisions.

Here we are four years later.  What was once a “careless spending” lifestyle, changed into a “needless spending” lifestyle.  Spending less has caused us to have more – more financial security, money in retirement and money to purchase our first home.  Everyone can change their less than perfect financial past into a secure financial future!  Do whatever it takes!

Save Money Planning Your Wedding

27 07 2010

Before “Here Comes the Bride…,” you have to plan your wedding!  The first step should be to sit down with your spouse-to-be and discuss (1) your money situation and (2) the guest list.  Your answers will reveal the scale/size of the wedding afforded to you.  From there decide which corners to cut in order to save money by using smart shopping techniques and a little do-it-yourself work!  There’s nothing more special than working hard at planning your wedding!

Rolist Financial Group would like to share our wedding planning tips with you!  Here are just a few ways we saved money planning our $5,400 wedding:

  1. Print Invitations at Home.  What a savings vehicle!  We purchased two boxes of blank invitations at the craft store for $23 (total) and printed them on our home printer.  Not only was it cheap but it was also fun!  Seeing all 120 hand-printed invitations made us proud!  The quality of the invitation was quite impressive.  Another affordable option is visiting Vistaprint for those of you without a home printer.
  2. Have Guests RSVP via Telephone and/or Email.  Do the math, you mail 100 invitations along with the postage-paid RSVP cards = $88.  Eliminate that extra $44 that it would cost for your guests to RSVP via the mail.  Have them respond via the telephone or email!  Remember, every little bit helps.
  3. Improvise.  Since our guests responded via email and telephone, we used the blank RSVP cards that came with our boxed invitation kit as our Thank You cards.  Seeing as the cards were blank, we used this opportunity to hand-write our heart-felt thank you’s.  Plus, we didn’t have to purchase separate Thank You cards.
  4. All-In-One Caterer.  Choose a caterer that will provide full food service, including cleaning services.  This was important to us when choosing our caterer.  Our caterer not only provided food, serving, cleanup and coffee, she made our four-tiered cake for just under $100.  It was cheaper than any bakery we visited.
  5. Choose an Affordable Venue Site.  This area accounts for half of your budget.  For those that are on a tight budget, look into your local VFW, American Legion or Firehouse.
  6. Shop Sales.  This is pretty much self-explanatory.  It pays to hold off purchasing items until you find a great deal.  Take our ceramic wedding cake topper for example.  We found it on clearance at the craft store for a whopping $8.  The neighborhood bakeries sold cake toppers for around $20 and they weren’t up our alley.
  7. Separate Wants From Needs.  We are sure the ice sculpture sounds magnificent, but you really should separate your wants from your needs.  If you are planning an outdoor wedding, a need might be renting a “just-in-case-it-rains” tent.  If, by the end of your planning, you have extra cash at hand, we don’t see anything wrong with getting that ice sculpture!  Or, you could just keep that money in your savings  account for it to grow.
  8. Referrals.  You want to make certain you are getting your money’s worth for a specific service, so ask friends whom they would recommend for catering services, DJ, venue location, etc. 
  9. Make Your Own Floral Arrangements.  We hadn’t entertained the thought of paying a florist to put floral arrangements together since there was a farmer’s market in town that sold flowers!  With that said, we paid $20 for our lavender-colored flowers – enough for my bouquet and twenty vases!  Our vases were purchased from AC Moore, along with a few rolls of ribbon (total cost $19).
  10. Get the Warranty on Your Wedding Bands.  Our rings are very modest (each were under $120).  Rob’s is made of titanium (not only is it light-weight, it will never bend or tarnish) and my ring was purchased from the Zales Outlet Center.  We decided to pay the $30 warranty on my ring since it holds small diamonds.  Every six months I am entitled to a free cleaning and diamond inspection!  Have I mentioned the normal price of a cleaning is $30?
  11. Stay Organized.  Keeping record of things will allow the planning to run smoothly.  Hold a running list of things paid for and to be paid (we used a handy website called The Knot.  The worst thing that can happen is paying someone twice and not realizing it!  Or purchasing items you already have on hand.
  12. Wedding Favors.  We found great deals on wedding favors on Ebay.  At under $1 per favor, we chose heart-shaped cookie cutters that were individually wrapped in tiny silk bags, along with a tag that read “Cut out for Eachother“.  Our advice is to purchase the favors after you receive all RSVPs.  We purchased the favors beforehand, based on the number of invitees, and not on the actual attendees.  In the end, we were stuck with 33 extra favors.
  13. Bridal Gown.  Future brides please keep alterations, veil, shoes and accessories in mind when purchasing your gown.  These little things add up quickly!  My alterations cost half the price of my David’s Bridal $299 gown.  Just recently have I noticed that Payless sells bridal shoes.  If you shop during their BOGO (buy one, get one half off) event you will find a great deal on shoes and the second pair could be sneakers for your honeymoon!

In the end, a reception is nice but isn’t the actual marriage part the most important?  When you think this way it could limit a lot of wasted spending.

Fix-It Tip:  Do not pay for wedding items with your credit card.  Your first month of newlywed bliss will be interrupted with that pesky credit card bill.

Red White Blue Tip:  Always ask for a military discount on goods and services.

Red White Blue Tip:  Visit your installation’s MWR office.  They may have some of your party planning needs (chair/table rentals, etc.).

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