The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

Saving Money

Family finance tips

At Gerber Life we know the value of a hard-earned dollar. And when you're raising a family, it becomes even more important to stretch that dollar as far as it can go to help you save money. Our family finance tips can help you make smart decisions for spending your money as well as help you make use of opportunities to save it. Whether it's clipping coupons before grocery shopping or throwing a do-it-yourself (DIY) children's birthday party, our family finance tips can help you think outside the box so that you can save money.

  1. 5 Tips for a Stress-Free Summer

    May 29, 2019

    More hours of daylight and warmer weather are just a couple of reasons why summer is the favorite season for many people. For parents, however, trying to keep young kids entertained and supervised all summer long can be stressful. Finding the right balance between keeping your kids busy and your bank account healthy can help reduce stress levels.

     

    Here are some tips for having a stress-free summer:

    1. Consider a nanny or day camps to save money

    According to the Center for American Progress, the estimated amount that families in the U.S. would spend for summer childcare in 2018 was 20 percent of their income.This amount may not come as a shock, but don’t worry – there are ways to save money on summer childcare.

    Hiring a nanny could be a more economical option than sending your kids to a daycare facility. To save even more money as well as time in searching for a childcare facility, consider sharing a nanny with neighboring families.

    Signing up your kids for summer day camps through their school or the community may cost even less than a childcare facility. Not only are camps a way to make new friends, they also can help to keep your kids physically active and continually learning.

    When day camp isn’t an option, look into non-profits, such as the YWCA, YMCA or local library. You and your kids will be supporting a cause while having fun and maybe saving some money.

     

    2. Keep a daily, flexible routine

    When your kids are home for the summer, it’s important to provide them with a daily routine and to keep it somewhat flexible.

    Make sure that the routine incorporates healthy habits, chores and learning. Try to leave an hour open here and there for something spontaneous, whether it’s an ice cream run or quiet time.

     

     

    3. Poll the family for ideas

    Take some pressure off of yourself. Ask your kids what they would like to do. Ask other family members. You may be surprised by their responses and ideas, which could be simpler than what you expected or may spark other ways to have fun.

    Some of these activities may cost money, but there are other ways to have fun without burning a hole in your pocket.

     

     

    4. Enjoy a ‘staycation’

    A Harris Poll survey in 2018 found that vacations cost families in the U.S. an average of $2,256, according to a blog on Nerdwallet.com.2

    Although going away – maybe far away – with the family can offer a break from the daily humdrum, there are more affordable ways to recharge and rejuvenate and still make lasting memories.

      • Invest in some fun backyard toys.
      • Visit a town fair or enjoy a picnic in a park, a local activity that can give everyone the opportunity to get out and stretch their legs.
      • Plan a family “staycation” around day or weekend trips to places where you’ve never ventured, such as a nearby aquarium, zoo, beach, theme park, observatory, museum, hiking trails or historical sites. Giving your family a mix of physical and mental activities will keep the staycation adventurous and different from day-to-day life.

    If your list of ideas gets long, prioritize the suggestions based on what will benefit the entire family. Then, be sure to schedule each outing on the family calendar. If they’re on the calendar, you’re more likely to do them.

     

    5. Be in the moment

    If you’re a working parent, simply trying to find enough time to enjoy activities with your kids can add another level of stress.

    One way to achieve quality time is to have the family disengage with social media. Try deleting your apps for the summer. Without those pop-up notifications, you can enjoy more moments with your family.

    Remember to reserve enjoyment time for yourself, too. Family time is important, but you, too, should recharge regularly, whether with a book or by going for a walk or shopping or starting a new hobby.

    ____________

    Sources:

    1 – Novoa, Cristina, “Families Can Expect to Pay 20 Percent of Income on Summer Child Care,” Center for American Progress, https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/news/2018/06/11/451700/families-can-expect-pay-20-percent-income-summer-child-care/

    2 – El Issa, Erin, “Family Vacations Can Mean Big Costs and Little Lies,” NerdWallet: Summer Spending Report 2018, https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/family-summer-travel-spending-report-2018/

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  2. 7 Things Millennial Parents Are Doing Right

    December 18, 2018

    No matter which generation we’re a part of, we want the best for our children and we’re willing to put in the work to make that happen. However, the United States is a very different place from what it was 20 or 30 years ago.

    Millennial parents have challenges, resources and opportunities that their parents never faced or envisioned, which has led to some very big differences in how millennials approach parenting.

     

    1. Starting families later

    new parents - woman checking pregnancy test

    The current median age for getting married is 30 years old, compared to 23 years in the 1970s.1 With more women pursuing careers and with prices and expenses increasing, family life seems to be put on hold.

     

    2. Better informed

    millennial parents - couple cooking

    With so much knowledge at our fingertips thanks to the internet, today’s parents are searching for how-to tips for parenting. Millennials are strategic thinkers, interested in what has worked for other parents and what hasn’t.  Google found that three out of four parents are open to parenting tips they find on YouTube.2

     

    3. Dads are stepping up

    millennial parenting - dad playing with child

    Nowadays, new fathers play a bigger role at home than did previous generations of dads. They strive to be “perfect” and are interested in learning everything they can about parenting.As super dads, they are more involved with tasks like baby-proofing, changing diapers, making important purchasing decisions and more.

     

    4. Health conscious

    millennials - woman running with dog

    Millennials tend to be more health conscious than previous generations.  They carry their health consciousness into their parenting style, aiming to serve as positive, healthy role models.

     

    5. Dialogue is a priority

    millennial dads - father talking with son

    Millennial parents look for ways to be more “present” and involved, and let their kids be part of the decision-making process. Breaking away from “helicopter parenting,” they give their kids choices. Instead of pushing them to strive for perfection, they keep it real by having candid conversations with their little ones.

     

    6. They don’t define themselves as only a mom or dad

    millennials - woman painting

    “Millennial parents can do it all,” the saying goes. They prioritize their kids while still doing other things that make them happy. 75% of millennials say they’ve “continued to pursue personal passions” since becoming parents.3

     

    7. Saving more for the future

    saving money - piggy bank

    Once kids come into the picture, it seems like saving for retirement is kicked into high gear. To put this in perspective, boomers are saving about 5% of their income for retirement. But the Millennial generation is saving twice as much, with a very financially responsible 10% of income going into retirement savings!4

    And, of course, any sound retirement plan includes life insurance, so that spouses and children are financially protected if the unexpected happens.

     

    Wrapping it up…

    Yes, the parenting world we live in today is very different from previous generations. And Millennials may not be doing things the same way their parents did. New challenges require new approaches, and millennial parents are rising to meet those challenges. They seem to be doing parenting right.

     

    1 – “Millennials Coming of Age,” Goldman Sachs, 2015,  https://www.goldmansachs.com/insights/archive/millennials/

    2 – “Marketing to Millennial Parents? Here’s How They’re Redefining Parenting for Their Generation,” Think with Google, March 2017,  https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/marketing-millennial-parents-youtube-insights/

    3 – “Millennial Dads Turn to Digital in Their Moments of Need” Think with Google, June 2015,  https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/millennial-dads-turn-to-digital-in-moments-of-need/

    4 – “Millennial Parents Outpace Gen X, Boomer Parents on Retirement Savings,” Nerdwallet survey conducted online by Harris Poll, Aug. 2017, https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/parents-retirement-study/

     

  3. How Much Does Life Insurance Cost?

    October 25, 2018

    Giving your family the security of life insurance protection is an important part of your financial planning. But how much does life insurance cost? Surprisingly, it can be quite affordable with options that fit every budget.

    Check out the image below to see how affordable life insurance actually is.

     

    Life insurance costs per month

  4. 5 Easy DIY Halloween Costumes and Decorations

    October 10, 2018

    Halloween is in HOW many days? Don’t worry, we have some last-minute costume and décor ideas that can make you look like a pro and that you can make with your child. If you’re putting things together in a hurry and on a budget, no problem. You could use materials from around the house to create a masterpiece.

    Here’s some costume inspiration for busy parents:

    1. The Mummy

    Use an old sheet or a roll of gauze bandages to give your child a “preserved” look. If using a white sheet, rip it into long strips. Wrap the strips or the gauze around your child in two sections – top and bottom – keeping the top separate from the bottom (you’ll thank us later for this tip). Dab smoky eye shadow around your child’s eyes and a little on the cheeks.

     

    DIY Halloween Costumes - child mummy costume

     

    2. The Superhero

    Start with leggings and a matching T shirt. You’ll also need some spare felt, safety pins or fabric glue, child-safe scissors and a solid-colored blanket or sheet. First, cut out a large letter –– from the felt, then attach it to the T shirt with safety pins or fabric glue. Cut other pieces of felt into strips and turn them into a belt, headband or eye mask. Add a solid-colored blanket or sheet and you’ve got a Superhero cape.

     

    Halloween Costumes - boy in DIY superhero costume

     

    3. The Emoji

    Got a yellow T shirt in a size that’s too big for your kiddo? Perfect! Next thing you’ll need is a printout of “emoji” facial expressions. Then, attach the selected emoji to the T shirt with glue or safety pins, or use a stick-on emoji. If you have several yellow T shirts, you could make more emoji T shirts and have the whole family go trick-or-treating as every mood.

     

    Halloween Decorations - cutting paper

     

    Don’t let your Halloween creativity stop with the costume. It’s also easy to give your house or apartment a face lift before the trick-or-treaters arrive. Here are some options:

     

    4. Wicked Welcome

    Turn your front door into a spooky or silly face that can catch the eyes of passersby. All you need is some white or colored paper, tape, child-safety scissors and imagination.

     

    Halloween front door decoration

     

    5. Eerie Entryway

    Transform your entryway into a critter cave. Begin by stretching cotton batting into long pieces, then positioning them in the entryway to create fake cobwebs. Sprinkle plastic or paper spiders throughout the cobwebs for a Halloween-style, spine-tingling effect. Finish the look by hanging cut-out paper bats from the ceiling.

     

    Halloween pumpkins on front porch

     

    A Word on Safety

    Halloween is a lot of fun for you and the children, but it’s important to play it safe.
    – Remember to keep your pathways cleared and well-lit for trick-or-treaters.
    – Make sure that your kids are visible when trick-or-treating at night by attaching reflective tape to their costumes.
    – Don’t forget to check the candy they bring home!

     

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  5. Family Vacations on a Budget

    July 31, 2017

    mother and son in backyardIsn’t it funny how the entire concept of summer vacation tends to change when you’re the one who has to plan – and pay – for it?

    School’s out, your kids want to do something fun, and so do you. If you believe the hype, it seems like the best opportunities cost too much money or involve travel—another luxury. Don’t worry, it’s easy to find tons of fantastic adventures that are affordable, and right in your own backyard.

    Here are five suggestions that can help you spend quality time with your kids this summer without breaking the bank.

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