Guest Post - Saving Money on Days Out With Children

~ Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 8:28 PM ~

If you are stuck for things to do it can often be a great idea to check out the local attractions which are available to you, depending on the age of your child you have an array of opportunities awaiting such as museums, theme parks, exhibitions and aquariums. However the problem with this tends to be the ever increasing costs of everything involved in a day out from the entrance fee to the cost of the snacks and souvenirs.

When planning a day out check out the events schedule of the attraction, you may find many child friendly activities available which are free of charge and give you the opportunity to fill your day with even more fun experiences. A museum for instance may not seem suitable for the very young children but lots do run lots of child friendly activities such as arts and crafts afternoons so everyone can get involved.

Admission fees will probably be your main expense and getting discounts on the tickets is one of the most popular ways the thrifty look to save money. Booking in advance or printing off coupons can result in a discount of up to 20% and for the larger groups these discounts can soon add up.

Lots of attractions offer free admissions to young children so this might help sway your decision when choosing between two different attractions. In addition there are some attractions that offer completely free admission for everyone!

Lunch and snacks at visitor attractions can also often be very expensive, so why not plan in advance and take your own food, drink and snacks. Plan ahead and bake your own homemade cookies to take with you. Theme parks and zoos for instance have lots of picnic areas where you can sit down and eat your own food.

These are easy steps which can quickly add up to big potential savings that can be made.

Guest Post - Creative Ways Your Kids Can Make Money in College

~ Posted on Friday, January 18, 2013 at 2:16 AM ~

College costs are on the rise, making it more and more difficult for college students to make ends meet without going deeply into student loan debt.  As a parent, you may have set money aside in a college fund for your child only to find out that while you can pay an ample portion of their tuition, there may not be enough available to cover their room and board or living expenses. 
Luckily, there are jobs that your student can do while in college that don't require many hours and can net them some money for living expenses. 

Jobs Through the College

Work Study--If your child qualifies for a work study position, he should take it.  Most of these jobs require 10 or fewer hours per week, and your child may get real-life work experience which can help when he graduates and looks for a job.
Resident Assistant--Your child can get her room and board completely free if she agrees to be a resident assistant in the dorm.  (Some also get a small stipend for this job.)  Of course, your child will need to be good at negotiating and solving problems.  She also has to be available for the other dorm residents when conflicts arise.  Typically she will need to work 20 hours a week and have a G.P.A. of 2.5 or greater.

Sell Notes--Many community colleges allow a student in a class to take notes for a student with disabilities who may not be able to keep his own notes.  The student will typically earn $2 to $3 per page of notes and will need to write on special paper so he has notes for himself as well as a copy of the notes to give to the student with disabilities.  Check with the office for students with disabilities.


Jobs Outside the College

Medical Study Participant--There are many medical studies that are non-invasive such as sleep studies that pay very well.  For a week or two of sleeping in a hospital being observed, your student can earn $600 or more.
Audit a Liquor Store--Your child can join a company to audit a liquor store.  All he has to do is try to buy alcohol and see if he is carded and then write a report afterward.  For this, he can earn $20 to $30 per audit.  Students generally have to be under 25 years old for this job.

Babysitter--You might think your child's babysitting days are over when she graduates high school, but there is quite a market for college babysitters.  Your child can look in the local paper or use a site like to snag a babysitting gig.  In larger cities or more expensive college towns, these jobs can pay $10 to $16 per hour, and the hours are flexible.
Your child does not have to commit to a job working 20 hours or more at college.  He can keep his studies as his priority and find some unconventional jobs to help him earn some extra money without a large time commitment.

What are other ways you would suggest college students make money?

** Kyle Taylor blogs about weird ways to make money at The Penny Hoarder. Connect on Facebook or join the newsletter and get his “5 Wackiest Ways to Make Extra Money.

Guest Post - Choosing The Right Shoes For Your Kids

~ Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 2:24 PM ~

Children get through a great many pairs of shoes and trainers - jumping, climbing, running and general playing means that footwear for most active kids takes quite a pounding. The only way to keep a control of shoe spending is ensuring that you know how to select comfortable shoes for your kids every time, so here are a few handy tips to keep you shoe savvy...
What can their old shoes tell you?
Finding out why an old shoe is no longer suitable can be difficult; 'they hurt' is often the best explanation you can get for why a shoe has become uncomfortable, so it can be beneficial to examine the existing shoes to look for tell-tale signs. Children's feet can grow in odd and unpredictable ways, but signs of bulging on the shoe upper or stress at the seams where the upper meets the sole can give you an indication of where the problem may be. Bulging on the top indicates the shoe may be too shallow, stress at the sides suggests it is too narrow.
Get the measure
Having your children's feet measured is recommended on every shoe-shopping trip - again, children are typically not great at vocalising whether shoes fit correctly or not. And don't assume that because your son or daughter was once found to have wide or narrow feet that this will still be the case a year later.
Choose specialists
Choosing a children's shoe specialist means you get the best possible advice on what footwear is best for your child, reducing the chances of them experiencing discomfort soon after purchase. Not only that, children's shoe specialists also have plenty of experience dealing with kids - which can be a big help if your little one has a tendency to get impatient and difficult when out shopping!
Knowing what 'fit' means
If shopping with the kids is something you rarely have time for, and you want to take advantage of the great deals you can find online with retailers such as Debenhams, you'll need to know what to look for when your child tries those new shoes on for the first time.
It can be tempting to buy shoes that are too big for a child with growing feet, in the hope that they will last longer, but you should not buy anything more than one size too big. Any more than this and the extra space will cause tripping and can lead to foot problems. Besides, that extra bit of shoe is likely to be worn and misshapen before your child's foot grows into it. Heel cups should rest snugly on the back of the foot, but not grip it, and if your child has one foot larger than the other, be sure to buy something which accommodates the larger one properly.