Balancing Family

Balancing family life takes patience, resourcefulness and many laughs. Learn some tips for managing the challenges of the average family.
  • Balancing Family

    7 Things to do with kids OTHER than shop!

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    When my kids were younger I used to take them to the mall just to have something to do.  After all, being at home all day with a very needy infant or fussy 1 and 3 year olds can drive even the best mom around a little stir crazy.  Unfortunately, in my attempt to be part of the "real world" I would spend money I did not have.  After all, I was at the mall and those sale signs are pretty big.  Fortunately I found other things to do with my kids other than shop. Here are some ideas to break those bad shopping habits.

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  • Balancing Family

    Some small ways to save every day

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    As a mother of three young kids I am always looking for small and big ways to save money.  In this blog I will share some favorites, and perhaps surprising ways, to save money during this holiday season and beyond.

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  • Balancing Family

    Money Mom Gives Thanks

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    Thanksgiving has always been one of my very favorite holidays.  No gifts to buy, time with family, awesome desserts, and football on TV.  And it is also a time for me to stop and reflect on the blessings in my life.  No wonder it is a favorite!   

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  • Balancing Family

    Need new clothes? Consider a clothing exchange!

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    The weather is cooler now and I love wearing my "new" short black trench coat from the Gap. Even better, I love the price tag.  Free!  How was it free?  I finally went to my first clothing exchange and I can't wait for the next one.

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  • Balancing Family

    Saving on Birthday Parties for Kids

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    Birthday parties for kids can cost a small fortune these days.  You don't need to break the bank to have a fun time celebrating a child's birthday. Here are some tested suggestions for keeping the price tag down but the level of fun high.

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  • Balancing Family

    8 Stress Busters for Busy Parents

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    Stress is a part of life.  Some of it is good, as it makes us perform better.  Nothing like a rush of adrenaline to make anyone more focused and alert.  But too much stress is problematic.  And being in debt certainly adds stress to life.  This blog will explore some strategies for coping with stress.

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  • Balancing Family

    Mind Over Matter: Will Power Counts for any Goal

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    Getting out of debt is like losing the baby weight: It takes will power and a plan!

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  • Balancing Family

    Helping Kids Start a Business

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    Thinking Outside the Box to Earn Some Cash. This blog will explore ways to help kids earn and manage their own money. 

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  • Balancing Family

    Saving Money Now, Fall is the Time To Think About the Holidays

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    In this blog, I will discuss some saving strategies that have worked for my family, which help with holiday shopping and getting through it debt free.

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  • Balancing Family

    Allowance for Kids: Life Lessons

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     Should kids have an allowance?  If so, then how much?  Should they have to earn it by doing chores, or should it be something they get automatically each week? I struggle with these questions myself.

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  • Balancing Family

    Cheap Halloween Treats

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    Halloween is my kids' second favorite holiday.  It does not get much better than dressing up and getting candy!  But like with most American events these days, it has gotten bigger and more expensive.  Costumes are expensive and can be poorly made.  This blog will explore some ideas, which will get your trick-or-treater dressed for less.

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  • Balancing Family

    Keeping the Focus on Meaning for Upcoming Holidays

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    It is only September and the holiday catalogues are already arriving in the mail.  It seems like each year the stores start the shopping season for major holidays earlier and earlier.  What is a parent to do?  Here are some ways to avoid the early rush and keep the focus on what you feel is important. 

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  • Balancing Family

    Budget Billing: Is it Right for You?

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    I hate opening my energy bill, especially after a very hot or very cold month.  Who knows what I will owe?  My energy company and most others offer a service called Budget Billing, which would allow me to pay the same payment each month based on current energy costs.  Sounds good, but is right for everyone?

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  • Balancing Family

    Lunch Box Planning: Cheap and Healthy Eats

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    One thing I dread about the start of school is making school lunches.  I get into ruts for what I make for my kids: peanut butter sandwiches, fruit, chocolate milk, dessert.  Snack in the outside pocket of their lunch box.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  I can understand why my son wants to buy lunch as much as possible.  This year I am going to try some new ideas and creations and try to entice my son away from buying the school lunches, which are loaded with calories and unhealthy fat. 

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  • Balancing Family

    How to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping for Kids Clothes

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    Back-to-school clothing shopping can be a daunting task.  And it can be a very expensive one, too.  Combine overcrowded stores, inflated prices, and whiny kids who want $60 jeans, and it is enough to make a mom fork over her credit card just to regain some sanity.  With a budget and some planning, you do not need to overspend, and perhaps you will even look forward to this time with your children. 

     

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  • Balancing Family

    Balancing After School Activities for Kids: Making Tough Choices

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    After school activities are a great way for kids to develop in ways not addressed in school. However, don't feel like you need so spend a ton of money making sure your child is busy every day after school.  Kids need time to unwind.  And all of those activities can cost a ton of money and time.  This blog will explore some things to think about as the school year approaches and after school activities start.

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  • Balancing Family

    Eating Locally Grown Food: Good for You, Good for your Community

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    Farmers markets are great places to find nutritious, ripe, and local produce.  They are also a great way to support your local farmers and reduce energy consumption.  This blog explores why eating locally grown foods, such as those found at area farmer markets, are good for you and your community.  And they help you save money, too!

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  • Balancing Family

    Making Memories Last by Attending Summer Cultural Arts

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    You don't have to spend a lot of money to make memories for your family.  The summer is a great time to check out the local arts scene, from museums and concerts, to amateur theater productions.  Many events are free or very inexpensive.  You and your kids will be glad you did!

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  • Balancing Family

    Kids Unplugged: Cheap and Fun Outdoor Activities

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    When the beginning of August starts, my kids start to squabble more, announce they are bored, and make me wonder, "When does school start?"  This is when parents need some new tricks up their sleeves.  Here are some ideas for unplugging the kids from electronics and getting outside for good, wholesome, cheap fun.

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  • Balancing Family

    The 3 Bs of Back to School Shopping: Budget, Backpacks, and Basics

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    While it seems like summer has barely started, back to school sales are right around the corner!  My kids have no interest in thinking about going back to school right now.  Groan!  But, these sales are a great way to stock up on school supplies for the year. With careful planning and some budget considerations, you can get through yet another spending "season" without breaking the bank. 

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  • Balancing Family

    Finding Support within Communities: You Never Know Until You Try

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    The CareOne Community is a great place to get support while you work on getting out of debt.  There are lots of great reasons to become a part of groups during your adult life.  You never know until you try!

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  • Balancing Family

    Traveling with Kids: How to Not Break the Bank

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     It seems that whenever I am traveling, money leaves my wallet faster than anyone can say, "Are we there yet?"  There are many more things to spend money on when traveling.  However, with careful planning, establishing some limits for kids, and carrying your own food, you can travel without going into debt. 

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  • Balancing Family

    Beating the Heat Cheap: Fun, cool, and "cheap" summer activities for kids

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    Some summers days are just plain hot!  Here are some ideas for things to do that are cool, fun, and cheap when you want to beat the summer heat.

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  • Balancing Family

    Organizing Paperwork: What to Keep, What to Toss, How to Pay Bills on Time

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     I used to be able to keep up with all of the household paperwork that seems to grow more and more each year (although with more things online I would think it should decrease); but three kids and a busy household have me staring at years of papers piled into boxes and files filled with receipts and documents. What to keep?  What to toss?  How do I get it organized?  I can't afford a personal organizer at $75 an hour (I wish) so I will share my tips of how I am getting my office organized.  And if things are organized, I save time and money.

     

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  • Balancing Family

    The Importance of Early Intervention

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    My youngest daughter Colleen was diagnosed with Down syndrome a few days after her birth.  After consulting with her doctors, the next thing I did was call the Early Intervention program in my state.  That is one of the best phone calls I made.  This blog will explore ways to find services for a young child who has a developmental delay.

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In addition to the blogs, be sure to check out the new CareOne Groups:

Starting Out

Are you finally out on your own and figuring out how to balance your finances? If so, this is the group for you. In Starting Out, you can talk about the challenges you are dealing with in a group of like-minded people.

Settling In

Do you feel like you are finally understanding what being a "grown-up" is all about and are settling into your adult life? If so, this is the group for you. In Settling In you can connect with others who are just like you.

Balancing It All

Struggling to balance all that an established lifestyle has to offer? The balancing it all group is for you. Discuss the challenges you face when your responsibilities at work, at home and with family and friends all compete for your attention.

The New Retirement

Are you currently retired or planning on retiring very soon? If so, this is the group for you. Times have changed and so has retirement. Learn how others are redefining retirement.