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Credit scores have gotten more attention this week thanks to the news of a data breach at Equifax potentially impacting about 44% of the U.S. population. To rein in the damage from this incident, Equifax is offering a free notification service that is essentially a complimentary credit monitoring tool.
Readers, we’ve created an information-packed ebook on how to teach your children about money. It’s a guidebook for parents of kids at all ages.
Please click on the link below to download the ebook. After you’ve read it, please let us know what you think of it in the comments section beneath this post.
When you have a family to care for, saving money is of utmost importance. There have been a few times in the last few years when we needed an item or needed something replaced, and by simply taking a few minutes to ask about, or search out, discounts or replacements, we have literally saved upwards of thousands of dollars.
Both my husband and I wear glasses. I also wear contacts and over the last few years, my preferred method is to order both glasses and contacts online. We both have our eyes examined every 12-24 months with an optometrist, get a copy of our prescriptions and order our frames/lenses and contacts from the comfort of our home. Ordering our glasses online alone saves us a ton of money. I don’t think I have ever paid less than $150 for glasses and lenses at with an optician and the most I’ve paid online was maybe $50. I have paid as little as $9.95. It is also significantly cheaper to order my contacts online.
I recently needed to refill my contact prescription and though my contacts were still cheap, the site wanted to charge me an additional $13 in shipping and taxes. By spending a few minutes doing a quick Google search for a promo code, I was able to save $10 on shipping. I don’t know how many people would think to do this but when I order or book anything online it’s something that usually pays off spending the time to search or call.
Brand New Bed
During my first pregnancy, I noticed how increasingly uncomfortable our bed was becoming. I assumed it was the pregnancy but it wasn’t until I was home from the hospital and realized the mattress itself was actually warped. Since the bed was only five years old I decided to call the store we bought it from to see if they could offer any insight. As uncomfortable as the bed was, buying a new one on my maternity leave budget was not an option. I was happy to find out my phone call paid off. They would replace it no questions asked. I simply had to snap a few pictures for the warranty process and they cut us a cheque to buy a new bed the very next day. Not only did we get a brand new bed almost 50% off, our new bed was cheaper than our old one and we ended up with a little extra cash in hand. If you’re unsure it doesn’t hurt to ask.
One of our luxuries is paying for cable. We go back and forth about canceling it but in the end, we always end up keeping it. It’s something we all enjoy and especially with me going on another maternity leave, I wanted to keep it but that doesn’t mean I like paying full price for anything. I made another simple phone call and after talking to a few people was able to save over $50 per month off our bundle package (cable and internet). $600 per year is a significant savings!
My experience with most of my friends and family is that they’re all too quick to just deal with something before asking any questions. They rarely negotiate bills, replace before seeing if something can be fixed, and in general aren’t comfortable asking questions about money. I have experienced though, many times over that by simply asking a few questions you can save a sizeable amount of money.
How often do you question your bills or ask for discounts?
While you’re at it, here are a few posts from our friends:
We’ve all read blog posts mapping out our best chance for productivity, right? Ever read one and just think, “Not a chance”? As moms, juggling our kids, errands, hobbies, business, etc. turns our quest for productivity into a search for the Holy Grail. Therefore, we’re going to spend today looking at a realistic daily schedule for stay-at-home moms.
A Daily Schedule for Stay-at-Home Moms – Hot Mess Moms Welcome
The other day, I read a post by a successful online entrepreneur who is also a new father. John Meese structured his schedule around what he calls “The Perfect Day.” Here is a quick overview:
- 6:00 AM – Wake up, exercise, eat breakfast
- 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Work
- 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM – Lunch, rest, recharge
- 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Work
- 6:00 PM – End of Day – Family time
I really do think that would be the perfect day. I mean, a two-hour lunch break to just read a book? Or even nap?
The problem is, this beautiful schedule is simply unobtainable for stay-at-home moms. It’s not Meese’s fault; he didn’t write it for us. But too often, I think we see this as the ONLY option and throw in the towel when we can’t keep up. How can a stay-at-home mom physically get up at 6:00 AM and expect to get something done after waking up three times in the night to soothe a teething baby?
And approximately how many lunch breaks do you get, mama?
How about that “work until dinnertime” notion? Guess who’ll be right at your ankles every seven minutes asking for a snack if you’re not in the kitchen working on dinner?
Hear me out. Til my dying breath, I’ll tell the world that being a mom is the greatest gig in the world. But if I want to find a balance that actually fits my lifestyle, then I need to let go of a few expectations.
Here are a few examples.
Letting Go of Expectations
You can’t expect to function with the same schedule as a breadwinner. If you signed up to be the stay-at-home mom, then your priority lies with the munchkins. Do you still deserve time to yourself each day to recharge? ABSOLUTELY. You just need to find it in different ways. Sometimes, that means swapping childcare with another mom once a week. It might mean establishing quiet time every afternoon if the children don’t nap anymore so you can have an hour to yourself. You could even hire a sitter to watch the children one day a week if that’s what it takes to give you balance.
You can’t expect the schedule you implement today to still work in three weeks.
When I first became a freelance writer, I made a simple goal to write each morning at 6:30. That worked for approximately two weeks until my infant began teething through the night and my toddler suddenly wanted breakfast at 4:00 AM. I was a hot mess trying so hard to stick to my writing schedule. Changing my plans felt like failing, but you know what? It’s exactly what needed to happen. So, I extended myself some grace, slept when my kids slept and started swapping childcare with a friend to accomplish my writing tasks.
Now, let’s take a look at a slightly more realistic daily schedule for stay-at-home moms…
A Daily Schedule for Stay-at-Home Moms to Fit Your Lifestyle
Pre-Breakfast – Tend to yourself – Whether that means to sleep in, read, exercise, shower, or just sip coffee in silence.
Morning – Tend to your family – Spend this time intentionally caring for your little ones: i.e. Make breakfast, get the children dressed, make crafts, go on playdates, visit a library.
Lunch – If you’re planning time in the afternoon for your hobby or at-home business, then find creative and simple finger foods to make for lunch. An elaborate, three-course lunch will zap your afternoon energy reserves faster than a hailstorm. Use wraps to make PB&J roll-ups, for example. The less clean up, the better.
Afternoon – Naptime/Quiet time – Once the kids are down for naps or have a few activities to play quietly in their room, it’s time to clock in. If your kids are anything like mine, then they like to sneak out of their rooms and check if quiet time is done approximately 18 times, no matter how nicely (or firmly) you ask them to stop. If that wrecks your concentration like it does mine, then leave the heavy focus for child-free time. For example, I can email, design social media graphics, or outline during quiet time, but I can’t write a chapter in my book.
Evening – Family time – Maybe your brain is able to function once you’ve cooked dinner, fed the family, cleaned up, bathed the kids, read them stories, and said good night, but I’m absolutely FRIED after 8:30 PM. My best move is to hang out with my husband watching Netflix or read a book. If you can work on your hobbies and interests, then go for it.
By the way, if you’re looking for ways to make money from home, check out these 14 jobs that are worth a stay-at-home mom’s time!
This daily schedule for stay-at-home moms is obviously just one broad stroke of the paint brush. Your life and your interests will look differently once applied to this list. Therefore, let’s hear how you find the most balance in your week.
Share some of your best ideas for a daily schedule in the comments below!
The latest studies show that over $16 billion was stolen from consumers in 2016 thanks to identity theft. One way to monitor your personal information for signs of potential identity theft is to keep track of what’s on your credit report. A popular place for checking your report is FreeCreditReport.com, but is it secure and reliable? We’re going to find out in my FreeCreditReport.com review.
My FreeCreditReport.com Review – Is It Reliable?
What Does Freecreditreport.Com Offer?
If you read the name, Free Credit Report sounds obvious, right? Although many of the older reviews I found included complaints that the services offered by Free Credit weren’t really free, the company has changed things up and now offers some items with no monetary obligation.
Here is what Free Credit Report offers with their no-cost plan.
You can get your Experian credit score and credit report completely free of charge. The sign-up process with Free Credit Report is easy. First, fill in basic information such as your name and address.
After that, verify some personal credit or other information for security reasons. Questions may reference your mortgage lender or what your eye color says on your driver’s license.
When you’ve answered all questions correctly, you’ll find your credit score.
Since Experian owns Free Credit Report, you’ll only get your Experian FICO, and not your Equifax or TransUnion FICO scores.
Here are a few other things you’ll discover:
- Your current revolving debt balances
- How much available credit you’re currently using
- Your revolving credit limit
- Any recommended action steps like credit card balance transfers.
The site also shares how you compare to others in your area regarding your credit score and credit card balances. There are call-to-action boxes that offer Free Credit Report’s upgraded membership that will allow you to view all three credit reports (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) or sign up for advanced identity theft protection.
When you sign in to the site in any follow-up visits, the first landing page will be an offer to sign up for their upgraded plan. The plan says it is $4.99 for the first month, but after that, you will pay $19.99 per month for their upgraded plan.
Below is a “no” box that allows you to continue using their free plan, so there is no obligation to upgrade and you won’t be asked to enter a credit card number with the free plan.
How Does Free Credit Report Compare to Other Companies?
Other companies offer free credit reports too, but are they legit? Do they really give you your credit report for free? Here are some of the more well-known competitors of FreeCreditReport.com and what they offer.
Annual Credit Report is a government mandated site that allows consumers to pull credit reports from all three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – once a year at no cost.
However, you will have to pay an additional fee if you want to see your FICO score from any of the three bureaus.
Like Annual Credit Report, Credit Sesame offers you a picture of your financial situation for free. However, it is a compilation made from your credit reports and credit scores, and not your actual credit report or FICO score. Here is the statement from their website:
The annual free credit report that you get from the major credit bureaus is different from the free credit report card that Credit Sesame provides its users.
So while you will get a free picture of your creditworthiness from Credit Sesame, the reports and credit scores are different from what you’ll find on your actual Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit reports.
Credit Karma does give consumers free access to credit bureaus and their FICO scores as well, but only from TransUnion and Equifax. They’ll also send you a notice if anything important changes on your credit bureau.
Based on the information listed in their reports they will recommend products and services to you, but your membership to Credit Karma is totally free.
Free credit reporting companies are everywhere, it seems. Therefore, you should thoroughly research a company before signing up. Your goal is to avoid hidden fees and costs. FreeCreditReport.com is one company that delivers what it promises: your Experian credit report and credit score, free of charge.
How do you check your credit? Was this FreeCreditReport.com review helpful? Let us know in the comments!
You can also check out this great credit score tool online:
Are you looking to save some serious cash this year? There are many reasons you might want to save $2,000 over an eight month period of time. You may be planning a vacation. Or you might have an upcoming large expense such as a car repair.
How to Save $2,000 in Eight Months
In order to save this much cash, you’ll need to save an average of $250 per month. Here are some strategies to help you save $2000 in only two-thirds of a year.
Slash Your Expenses by Living with Only the Basics
Many people can save $250 a month by cutting unnecessary – and even necessary – expenses. Do you have a cable TV or gym subscription you can cancel, either temporarily or permanently?
Can you reduce your grocery or entertainment expenses? What about going on a restaurant ban for eight months? Make a list of every expense you have, and then circle the ones that aren’t an absolute necessity to live.
Another way to cut expenses is to work to negotiate hidden costs. Can you shop around to lower your insurance rates? Cut monthly banking fees by switching banks? Stop paying for memberships you no longer use such as magazine subscriptions?
See if you can raise some or all of the $250 a month you need to reach your savings goal by taking a serious and objective look at your expenses and seeing which ones you can live without for a few months.
Sell Things You No Longer Need or Want
Many people have a good-sized collection of things they no longer use laying around the house. Is it possible for you to sell unwanted clothing, gaming systems, sporting goods, recreational items or other things you don’t need, in order to raise money?
Is it possible for you to trade in your car for a less expensive model, giving you cash in hand or lowering your monthly auto payments?
By advertising your unwanted items on sites such as eBay or Craigslist, you may be able to raise several hundred dollars or even the entire $2,000 you need.
Earn Some Extra Income
If money is tight in your current situation, you might be able to work to find money to save by looking at ways to earn extra cash.
Is there a place near your home or work where you could pick up extra hours on nights and weekends, such as a restaurant or retail establishment?
Could you use your skills to make extra money? Some ideas for using your skills to make extra money could include:
- Selling your freelance services such as writing or graphic design on websites like Fiverr
- Babysitting or tutoring neighborhood children
- Mowing lawns or doing minor home repair tasks
- Offering your home or office cleaning skills for hire
Make a list of your skills and decide which of them you could easily and quickly put to use to make extra money, or find a part time job by looking at job websites or in local newspaper ads.
Saving $2,000 in eight months may seem like a daunting goal, but with a little creativity and sacrifice, you can find a way.
What’s the first step you need to take in order to begin saving $2,000 this week?
Parents have the greatest privilege in the universe. We have the opportunity to raise kids – to construct important values to teach children and witness the result. At the end of the day, they are individuals – separate from us – who have their own minds, hearts, hands, feet, wishes, and skills. Even so, seeing my kids become the people they were meant to be is a delight.
I love seeing my young daughter spin around in our living room as a ballerina. Then I see my son carefully line up his trains or the way he tends to his stuffed animals when one of them gets “hurt” and needs a bandage.
From a young age, our children show us so many beautiful values they explore. However, kids enter the world with a free will, which means that “Me First” mentality kicks in pretty early. It is our job as parents to start conversations about right living – about healthy values.
Here are a few topics for you to begin the conversation with your child:
9 Important Values to Teach Children
“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”
― Elizabeth Stone
Understanding that money comes from labor is a fundamental lesson that will stay with your child through adulthood. You can employ him or her to do chores around the house, bring up topics to discuss, or simply lead by example in your own field of work.
Kids are such natural givers. Somewhere along the way, we figure out it’s really fun to just keep what we have and use it on ourselves. Tapping into their young minds and encouraging things like gratitude, contentment, and giving can also stay with your child for life. It may mean letting her see you tip extra for the server or give to a charity or hand
This world is full of cruelty, especially on the internet. Our kids are among the first generation growing where this level of connection and advancement in technology is simply a way of life. Learning to offer a kind word or do something nice at a young age will help your children counteract the ever-rampant negativity out there today.
It’s so easy to take one’s family for granted. As children grow, it’s vital for parents to help them understand the value of keeping family first. There will be a thousand things that will try to take its place – especially when your children reach adulthood.
As kids age, they have more and more responsibility placed on their shoulders. Therefore, they have more opportunities to do things when others aren’t hovering over their shoulders. Whether they’re male or female, what they decide in those moments matters so much more than they realize.
For example, Ellen recently tested her audience members by placing hidden cameras at the free gift booth. Before the show, each member was told she could select one free item from the table. One woman was caught on camera taking multiple items and returning to the booth two more times for more! Ellen not only showed the tape to the millions of viewers of her show, but she then called out this audience member and made her sit on a stool in “Ellen Jail” right in front of everyone.
Sure it’s a light-hearted example, but the message runs deep. Check out Ellen’s reaction to the woman who robbed her booth here:
Capacity to Apologize
My kids’ favorite movie is “Moana.” They love the music and love racing around the house pretending to be the demigod Maui shouting “Chee-hoooo!”
One of my favorite parts of the film is actually toward the end when Maui comes face to face with someone he robbed. At first, he tries to laugh it off until he sees the hurt look in the other character’s eyes. I love what happens next. He looks her in the eye and says, “What I did was wrong. I have no excuse. I’m sorry.”
What a great example for kids to see the power of owning up to their actions. To be held responsible for those choices. It’s another life lesson that would likely stay with them for life.
Try Your Best
Could we please dissolve the old adage “Practice makes perfect”? Talk about setting unrealistic expectations for kids. Now hear me out – I’m not a big fan of participation ribbons or removing competition altogether. It’s important to learn how to win AND lose with dignity and respect; however, walking up to the plate with perfection as the goal isn’t going to fly.
Remind your kids to try their best, and then remind them again. And again. Just keep that flag flying!
So many 18-year-olds graduate with almost no money management skills. Then, they fill out paperwork for colleges and make the largest financial decision they’ve ever made which typically lands them in debt up to their eyebrows. Being equipped with the head knowledge and habits of handling money while they’re under your roof will make their entire adult life completely different.
Caring for the Environment
Your kids may not grow up wanting to major in environmental studies, but educating them about how to be less wasteful should start in the home. Think about your own habits, like not littering and sorting out recyclables. Your kids will see how you treat the world around you. Taking time to talk through those things or initiate something unique like planting a garden or using compost will help them learn skills to better protect their environment.
There are so many more values we could cover. In fact, it may seem overwhelming some days. Just remember these happen one day and one conversation at a time.
What’s on your list of important values to teach children? Is it on this list? Let us know in the comments below.
Ever click on a video with millions of views and wonder how much money that channel is making? Many people, like Justin Beiber, have even risen to celebrity status as a result of Youtube. Others haven’t walked the red carpet but are still raking in millions from their videos. Even kids. That’s why today we’re going to look at a great example: The Kan and Aki Youtube channel income report.
Kids & Youtube: The Kan and Aki Youtube channel income summary
Who are Kan and Aki?
Since social media has spread to every corner of the world, it means new celebrities are popping up all over the grid. Take Japan, for example. Two young sisters named Kan and Aki have starred in more than 730 videos since 2010. The Japanese children jump around, dance, sing along to lively music, and dress in fun costumes along with their other two siblings. Most notably, however, the two sit at a table and open toys to describe and review.
This has become one of the more popular ideas since tablets and phones enable children to watch more Youtube. For whatever reason, kids love watching people open new toys and showcase them one at a time. Like Christmas all year long – except they keep none of it. My own two kids lock their eyes on the screen when they see a video that unveils a new toy.
For Kan and Aki’s family, these popular videos have generated some serious cash. Let’s break down how that works on Youtube.
How to Make Money On Youtube
Your most precious commodity on Youtube is views. Not only is your message reaching more people, but you’re getting paid for it. According to Investopedia, once users sign up for AdSense on their account, they earn an average of $7.60 per 1,000 views as of 2013. For example, earning several hundred views for your review of LuLaRoe leggings might earn you $5 in ad revenue. Taylor Swift’s music video “Shake It Off” has over two billion views and has earned at least $17 million.
Other ways to monetize your Youtube channel are:
- Affiliate income
- Sponsored reviews
- Selling your own products
- Marketing your own services
Now, let’s take a closer look at Kan and Aki’s channel to find out how they’ve done financially. It will be impossible for me to calculate exactly what they’ve earned since I don’t know if companies have sponsored them to review their products (it’s likely). We’ll just speculate their ad revenue.
This Kan and Aki Youtube channel income report shows statistics as of July 2017:
- Subscribers: 1,665,621
- Uploaded Videos: 731
- Total Views: 3,813,037,956
Out of curiosity, I calculated how much money nearly four billion views would earn. According the average, that’s $28,978,800 in seven years.
Not bad for kids.
Or anyone, for that matter.
Want to see an example from the Kan and Aki Youtube channel? This video of Kan and Aki reviewing a cooking set for kids currently has been viewed more than 121 million times:
It’s interesting to take a look at families like this who have such a unique income stream, but most kids don’t earn back their cost of living. Therefore, we put together a list of 35 ways for parents to save money. Be sure to check that out before you go!
What are your thoughts on kids making money on Youtube? Would you ever let your children create videos someday? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Are you a stay-at-home mom? Make sure you bookmark or pin some of these resources for later!
- 10 Steps to a Successful Stay-at-Home Mom Budget
- How to Afford Your Dream of Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom
- 14 Online Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms (That Are Worth Your Time)
- 13 Ways for Stay-at-Home Moms to Save Money
- Loans for Stay-at-Home Moms – What Are YOUR Options?
- The SAHM Budget Test: How to Afford to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom