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Having a Baby? Join the Free Baby On Board Bootcamp

“Families with babies and families without babies are sorry for each other.” – Edgar Watson Howe … This is so true. Before I became a mother, I thought that it would be the hardest job in the world. And it is. But it’s also the best – as all you mommas out there already know. But when you’re pregnant for the first time, planning a pregnancy can be super scary – trying to prepare for all of the immense life changes that are headed your way! We all know that having babies is expensive – but I have an awesome tool that will let you rest easier, by helping you to take a look at how your baby will affect your finances. Keep reading to find out how much it really costs to raise a child, and how to figure out how to manage all of those expenses.

cost of a baby infographic

“A baby is born with a need to be loved – and never outgrows it.” – Frank A. Clark

One of my favorite sites,, has a great program called Baby on Board Bootcamp – and it’s totally free to join. Awesome, right? You’ll get tips on things like how to estimate what you’ll need for your new baby, how to reduce other spending to free up that cash,  the best way to save on kids clothing, whether it’s more expensive to raise a boy or a girl – and so much more. I’ve done a few of their free bootcamps before, and they are super helpful. {It’s hard to believe that they’re free, right?}

how to afford a baby

“A new baby is like the beginning of all things-wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.” – Eda J. Le Shan

One of my favorite parts of this free Baby on Board Bootcamp is the Maternity Leave Basics section. This can be SUCH a confusing part of planning for a baby, and many mommas-to-be don’t know enough about the laws, their rights, and what they’re entitled to. This section also goes over the pros and cons of being a stay at home mom versus working outside the home, and helps you determine which one will be right for your new family. Great resources.


How To Join the Free Baby on Board Bootcamp:

Sign up for a free account at LearnVest today. The next screen you’ll go to will have budgeting tools – you can use those to enter your info now {it’s awesome}, or click the button on the bottom right to skip it and come back later. Next you’ll see a big screen with paid subscriptions – You can just click the bottom right again, to continue without upgrading. Now you’ll get a cool screen showing you a bunch of the free tools that are available to you in LearnVest – click “take me to my dashboard” in the upper right of that pop up box. Now – see that big list of FREE bootcamps available to you on the right side of your screen? Yep – you get all of those free! Things like:

  • Get out of Debt – How to figure out what you owe, and how to pay it off fast.
  • Priceless Style – Look like a million bucks, without spending it!
  • Getting Hitched – How to merge both of your finances, and plan for wedding expenses.
  • Ace Your Taxes – What to save, what to toss, and how to prepare.

And tons more. You’ll also find the latest articles filled with financial info that’s actually fun to read. Things like 7 Reasons TV is Ruining Your Life, or Why I Became a Mom at 44. You’ll get a weekly email with tips on staying stylish on a frugal budget, the best way to save on fresh fruits and veggies, and how to totally ace a job interview. You will love this site – pinky promise.


Be sure to enter to win in their big end of summer giveaway too!

Are you using LearnVest Yet? Let me know what you think of it!


Moms & Money: Top 5 Free Tools to Make Finances Fabulous!

Moms and Money

Moms & Money

Moms are responsible for most of the household spending – from groceries, to school clothes, to new curtains, most of the family shopping is up to us. So why is that so many women don’t know much about financial tools and planning? Sure – we may be great at clipping coupons and sticking to a budget, but there are way too many women who don’t know enough about their personal finances, or have a plan for their future. After talking with some girl friends this weekend, I found that this is often because so many finance articles, books, and websites are written to target guys – making the info not relevant to us, or just plain boring. That led me to put together this list just for you ladies – I’ve rounded up some great tools and resources focused on moms and money that are all fun and simple to get started with.

My Top 5 Free Financial Tools for Moms

Whether you’re a busy stay-at-home mom, a mompreneur, a mom who commutes to the office each day, or even a single gal in need of some finance tips – I think you’ll find a few great tips here to help. And if you have some favorites that aren’t on this list, I’d love for you to share them in the comments, so everyone can benefit from your genius money tips too!

  1. Free Financial Bootcamp: Get a daily email for 10 days, with new daily to-do’s that will help you reach your financial goals. You’ll figure out where you’re overspending, create a budget you can actually stick to, and learn to dream big and plan for a fabulous future. This is one of my favorite sites, and is filled with info that makes finance fun and fashionable. I know you’ll love it too. Learn more and sign up here – Free Financial Bootcamp for Women.
  2. Free Book and Worksheets: Visit a totally fabulous site – Mainstream Mom – to get access to a huge resource of great $mart Mom Printables, from meal planning to paying off debt. And make sure to grab her free ebook too, 7 Simple Strategies to Take the Stress Out of Money Management. Between the website and the book, there is loads of amazingly helpful info here.
  3. TurboTax Free Tax Assistance: This is how I’ve done my taxes every year since I was 20 years old. It worked great for my simple returns then, and has worked just as great as I’ve gotten older, and had more complicated returns. This year, since it is my first year earning a business income from my blog and freelance work, I’ll have to get some help from a local accountant. But after that, I’m confident that I can go back to TurboTax – It’s such a great tool, and the perfect solution for people who want to do their taxes themselves.
  4. Free Workshop: This is only 30 minutes long, but it sounds like it’ll be packed full of great info! This webinar is a partnership between Daily Worth and Mint – both are a couple more awesome sites that I totally love. This event happens on a Thursday, March 8th, at 8pm EST. You can register here – Take Control of Your Finances– and learn how to better understand your money and make smarter choices every day. Daily Worth is a cool community of women who talk money advice – sign up for their daily updates for awesome info.
  5. Speaking of Mint… This is my FAVORITE tool for managing my money. It’s super simple {and free!} to get started, and very intuitive and easy to figure out. You can organize all of your spending – see all of your accounts in one place, set budgets, track your expenses, and more. This is a total must-have for busy moms, seriously.
  6. Mompreneur’s Challenge: Join the 30-day Mompreneur’s Challenge, and get a new challenge emailed to you each day. Business Among Moms describes it, “Our Challenge is a series of 30 tasks in the areas of marketing, budgeting, social networking, organization and networking that will allow you to re-focus, learn new things and move forward as a professional mompreneur!” I signed up today, and am excited to see how it goes. I’m always on a mission to learn new tips!


What do YOU think?

Do you have a favorite online tool that you use to track your spending, grow your business, or plan for the future? Do you have any great money tips for moms? I’d love for you to share in the comments! And if this post helped you out, make sure to give it a retweet, and share it with your own networks of busy moms too. I look forward to reading the tips that you guys have to share here – You have such great ideas!


Are Pre-Paid Credit Cards for Kids a Good Idea?

Pre-Paid Visa CardTo pre-pay, or not to pre-pay? That is a mom-of-teens question…

I’ve told you guys before that I don’t think enough kids are learning about money management. I remember taking a class in High School called “Single Living”; it taught skills like how to make a budget, how to balance a checkbook, rental agreements, etc. We once did a project where we made our imaginary budgets, and then made a grocery list that we thought would fit our budget – then took a field trip to the grocery store, to write down the actual prices of the foods on our list. 99% of the kids in class were completely shocked by the price of food – and had spent around triple what they thought they would. But, since I’d been helping my mom with grocery shopping for years, I was the only one who actually spent a little less than my budget – and then did a presentation on couponing too!

How I became a frugal momma…

My mom was really honest with us about money. We knew that the reason we couldn’t have everything we wanted was because we couldn’t afford it all. But while we struggled financially while I was growing up, it was never a negative thing – we just worked together as a family to figure out what was most important to each of us, and sacrificed other things to get them. Mom worked 2-3 jobs sometimes – which meant we did more housework, to help her out. We all learned budgeting basics at a pretty young age. But I am SO surprised to see how many people graduate high school with NO understanding of money what-so-ever.

Busy Mom Solution – A tool to help:

I’ve also talked to you before about what a great tool pre-paid credit cards can be. As a young adult, I used them to help me budget. And I really love them as an option to get teenagers used to using credit – once their out on their own, most kids sign up for a ton of cards, rack up a ton of debt, and have no idea exactly how it happened. BUT – giving them a pre-paid card, that you have a lot of control over, can teach them some budgeting basics earlier on. Plus, you take away the temptation to spend their money on drugs, alcohol, or other dangerous activities – you get to see a record of exactly where they’re spending!

Here are some great ways to use them:

  • School shopping: Load an agreed-upon amount into the card, and let your child to their own shopping. When they don’t have mommy or daddy to spend more, they quickly realize that they don’t need those designer jeans as much, when it means they only get 2 shirts for the year. And if they do splurge on the jeans anyway – they’ll soon learn why it was a mistake. Lessons that are important to learn. Working in retail I saw a HUGE difference in the way kids shop when they’re using moms money, or using their own limited clothing allowance.
  • Emergency Cash: So many kids might lose cash, or spend it if they’re holding it more than say – 5 minutes. But, they can carry a pre-paid card, and you’ll know that they always have some cash in an emergency situation – peace of mind is worth it.
  • Allowance: An easy way to give the kids their weekly allowance, without having to run to the bank for cash each week. Or – pay your babysitter each week by loading it onto a pre-paid card. Easy peasy solution.
  • The most important factor: I remember in school, parents would give their kids lunch money, or spending money, and some would use that for alcohol or drugs. When you’re using a pre-paid card like this to give them cash – you get to see exactly what they spend it on. Much safer.

Cool features:

  • Lock and Unlock Your Teen’s Card with a Simple Text.
  • Monitor Purchase Alerts in Real-Time on Your Mobile Phone – so you can quickly catch problems before they get out of control.
  • Family or Friends Can Reload Funds – which is great for holidays, birthdays, or graduations.
  • Plus – there is NO risk of overdrafts, and no credit risk for them. It’s a safe way to learn to use a card responsibly.
  • You can see where they spend it, to ensure they’re being safe.

What do you think?

Have you used pre-paid cards for your kids? Are you for, or against the idea? Are there other ways that you help to teach your kids money management? I’d love to hear your tips! If you’re interested in learning more about pre-paid cards – the one I use is the Bill My Parents card, from MasterCard. You can also use this now at Amazon – which can help the kids learn about safe online shopping too. The rates are totally reasonable, and I’ve used them for a long time with no problems. My boyfriends two other daughters are teenagers now, and budgeting, money, and allowance are topics we’ve been giving a lot of thought too – I’d love for you to share your thoughts, ideas, and tips in the comments….