Share a nanny, start a co-op, and weigh the costs and benefits of staying home, plus seven more ways to make child care more manageable.
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News.
If you have two children -- an infant and a 4-year-old -- in child care, chances are it's costing you more than your rent, says a report (.pdf file) from Child Care Aware of America.
Child care is actually more expensive than college on average in about two-thirds of the U.S. The report says:
In 2012, the average annual cost of full-time care for an infant in center-based care ranged from $4,863 in Mississippi to $16,430 in Massachusetts. For an infant in a family child care home, the average cost ranged from $3,930 in Mississippi to $11,046 in New York.
For a 4-year-old, the average annual cost of care in a child care center ranged from $4,312 in Mississippi to $12,355 in New York.
That's awful, right? How can parents save for college while they're also paying college-sized bills for preschoolers and after-school care?
Here are 10 ways to shrink your child care bills:
As hotels require more points for rewards, perks help determine which credit cards offer users the best value.
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Credit.com.
This year has been a great one for hotels, as they have finally emerged from a prolonged period of depressed bookings and high vacancies. Now that these properties are filling up, several major hotel chains have started requiring more points for award nights, effectively devaluing the rewards earned by guests as well as users of their co-branded credit cards.
That has presented a challenge for those who are looking for the best credit cards for hotel rewards. Travelers must sort through the award charts of the major brands and figure out how many points they can earn from staying at the hotels or using their rewards credit card. Then, credit card users need to look at perks such as a large sign-up bonus and elite status in the program. Finally, prospective cardholders who travel internationally will want to make sure the card has features such as an EMV smart chip and no foreign transaction fees.
That old Miracle Whip jar full of loose coins can get you through a minor shortfall, pay for a few luxuries or even fund a long-term dream. These tips will help.
This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News.
More and more I'm seeing nickels, dimes and even an occasional quarter in those "take a penny/leave a penny" dishes next to cash registers. That shouldn't surprise me -- I pick up dropped change all year long -- but it does. Apparently some people forget that dollars are made up of coins.
Maybe you're like me and regularly empty your wallet of loose change, depositing the specie into a piggy bank or an old mayonnaise jar on your dresser. (Try an empty mouthwash bottle -- smells much better when you eventually dump it out.)
Once the bottle is full, what to do with those minty-fresh coins? That depends on whom you ask.
If you're broke, the cash can get you through a minor emergency. If you're fairly solvent it might pay for a small luxury. And if you're forward-thinking, it can make your future a little brighter.
Here are 33 ways to make your loose change amount to something useful or meaningful.
Here's our price comparison and 5 more tips for saving money when you ship gifts.
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News.
If you've ever spent Dec. 23 standing in line to ship a last-minute Christmas gift, you know all about the crazy cost of sending packages by overnight mail. Sometimes the fees cost as much as the presents.
What you may not know is that there's a huge difference in fees for the same service among the big three shippers -- the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS.
Looking for a last-minute gift for the billionaire on your list? Prices for super-yachts are down lately, but they'll still cost you millions.
This post comes from Leslie Shaffer at partner site CNBC.
Luxury vessels take up eight of the top 10 slots, with the world's largest mega-yacht, the Azzam, ranking at the top of the list.
The 590-foot yacht was purchased in 2013 for a reported $627 million by the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan -- a price that would mean the vessel is worth around 3.5 percent of the Sheikh's net worth of around $17.9 billion, said Wealth-X, which researches the ultra-wealthy.
The $627 million price-tag for the Azzam, which is also the world's fastest yacht over 300 feet long with a top speed of 37 miles per hour, overtook the previous largest yacht, the $485 million Eclipse, Wealth-X said. Owned by Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich, the Eclipse was ranked number three on the list of most expensive luxury assets, coming in at around 4 percent of the total estimated net worth of Abramovich.
You thought you bagged a great deal on Black Friday, but now the price is even lower. You may be able to get some money back.
This post comes from Bev O'Shea at partner site Credit.com.
Let's say you shopped the Black Friday and Cyber Week sales, thinking prices were as low as they were going to go, and then they dropped. And now, instead of feeling brilliant for snagging a bargain, you wish you’d waited.
Unfortunately, I know exactly how you feel.
Some credit cards offer price protection (like Citi's Price Rewind), but you have to register before you discover the lower price. And, of course, you would have had to use the registered credit card to make your purchase. If you did, you’re in luck.
But if you didn’t, you still may not be stuck. Many merchants will make a price adjustment if they reduce the price within 14 days of your purchase. (Though you may have as few as seven days or more than 30, depending on store policy.) Some stores offer a longer window during the holidays; it’s worth checking. For example, Target and Wal-Mart will match prices from early November through Dec. 21 and Dec. 24, respectively. There are exclusions, to be sure, but the
price-match policies are generous.
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You may never get back the life you had before, but here are ways to improve your retirement prospects.
This post comes from Teresa Mears at partner site U.S. News & World Report.
Back in 2001, David Raether was a comedy writer for the TV sitcom "Roseanne," earning $300,000 a year. He and his wife and their eight children lived comfortably in a big house in an upscale suburb of Los Angeles.
That was before the recession, before Raether lost his career, his home and his marriage and found himself homeless for 18 months. Now 57, he shares a house with two 30-something graduate students in Berkeley, Calif., and ekes out a living as a freelance writer.
While his story is more dramatic than many, Raether's fall from a comfortable upper-middle-class life to unemployment and substantial loss of assets is common among Americans approaching retirement.
"I'm not the only one who's struggling," says Raether, who has heard from hundreds of people in response to his essay, "What It's Like to Fail," published last month by the website priceonomics.com.
Americans in their 50s and 60s, who expected to be at the peak of their careers before retirement, are finding themselves playing catch-up. While they may never get back the lives they had before, there are steps they can take to improve their retirement prospects.
If you've put off buying your tickets for a holiday season flight, it may still be possible to find airfare that's not exorbitant.
This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.
It's no secret that airfare during the holidays is sky high and continues to steadily climb as the years progress. The Wall Street Journal reported in late October that Christmas week fares were 7.3% higher than they were in 2012.
With such bloated rates, how in the world are you supposed to go home for the holidays without going broke? We all know that great deals can be found when booking ahead, but do you have any alternatives when you wait until the last minute?
Why, of course you do!
Here are five ways to find cheap last-minute holiday flights without breaking the bank:
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