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Money-Saving Tips for Families

When you are raising a family, you will already be familiar with the impact it has on your finances. Research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that each child of an average middle-income family has around $12,980 spent on them each year. When you see this figure in black and white, it’s easy to understand why families are feeling the squeeze. – it’s 40% up from ten years ago. Ouch.

If you regularly get to the end of the month and seeing an empty bank account, you will be keen to know how you can save money. However, and this is the frustrating part, most of the advice you will have come across requires a serious lifestyle overhaul; but it doesn’t have to be like that.

Read on to find out how you can save money without having to lose the family vacation or the small luxuries that you enjoy.

Make wise leisure decisions.

The proverb all ‘work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ is so relevant when you are raising a family and trying to save money. It’s exhausting and relentlessly hard work; you need to be able to switch off occasionally to avoid burnout.

You don’t have to sacrifice leisure activities, romantic dinners out, or me-time while you are saving money. You just need to be savvy about the choices you make. There are some great savings to be with a Groupon promo code for those special occasions.

Plan meals

You will have heard this a hundred times, but have you started doing it? Planning meals a week in advance not only means that you cut down on take-outs and fast foods, but you save money (and eat fewer calories!).

Be strategic with your meal planning. If you are cooking chicken on Monday, save the left-over carcass and any vegetables to make a soup for Tuesday. There is little to no waste, and you get two meals for the price of one.

Shop with intent

Shopping with intent means knowing precisely what you need to buy. Having planned your meals, you already know what purchases you need to make. Writing a shopping list stops any impulsive purchases being added to your cart.

It’s worth investing time to make sure that your shopping list has groceries for the week. Every time you go to a store to get a forgotten item, you risk overspending. That forgotten loaf can escalate!

If you can, try to shop without the children with you. Pester power is real, and another way that you can accidentally spend more money than you intend to. If childcare is an issue, consider shopping online for your groceries. Online shopping is a great way to keep control of your grocery budget.

Saving money while you are raising a family doesn’t have to make you (or them) feel deprived. Research and planning are essential for money-saving. Whether you are planning meals for the week, preparing a list of groceries to buy, or deciding where to go for a meal out, approach all the same and ask yourself, ‘how can I make money stretch further?’

3 Reasons to Allow Your Child to Play Team Sports

There are a number of reasons why some parents tend to shy away from allowing their child to play team sports. Some feel that the risk of injury is too great for young bodies, particularly when it comes to contact sports. Others might be afraid that too much involvement in athletic endeavors would detract from a child’s academic pursuits.

While every parent must decide what is best for their own child, there are many compelling reasons to permit them to participate in team sports. Here are three arguments in favor of allowing your child to play team sports.

1. They Learn Important Life Lessons

Teaching your child vital life lessons can be challenging at times. Not only do kids tend to tune out parents as they try to instruct them on how to best conduct themselves as they grow up, but it can be difficult to make life lessons relatable and understandable to children.

Sports, however, are an excellent mode by which children can learn things like perseverance, patience, and integrity. By being on a team, your child will learn how to work with others to achieve a common goal, even if they don’t see eye to eye with some other members of their team. Teammates have to learn to set aside their differences in order to give the team as a whole the greatest chance for success.

2. Sports Improve Physical Well-being

It is no secret that physical activity when a child is young leads to healthier habits throughout their adult life. There is arguably no better way to encourage your child to engage in physical activity than to allow them to play a team sport. Sports are incredibly engaging for kids, and they get the chance to develop friendships with teammates that will make playing sports even more fun for them.

Anything that you can do to encourage your child to be more active will only help them to develop those habits that will keep them healthy in the long run. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with giving your child a chance a couple times a week to burn off some extra energy.

3. They Can Potentially Pay for College

While the main goal of playing any sport should always be the enjoyment and fun that you get from it, another decent incentive is the possibility that one day your child might be able to fund their college degree with an athletic scholarship. There are a variety of scholarships offered to student athletes who demonstrate a high level of achievement at their sport of choice.

Allowing you child to start developing their passion and talent for a certain sport from a young age could potentially help them reach the necessary level to be deserving of an athletic scholarship later down the road. There are other requirements that need to be met to be eligible for an athletic scholarship, so feel free to check out for more information.

Is My Teen Acting Out?

teenage girl

Is Your Teen Acting Out?

Although it’s not a pleasant time, it’s perfectly normal for a teenager to act out to a certain extent. It’s part of establishing their identity and separating themselves from you as an individual. For example, it’s likely that your teenager will:

  • Get moody and spend more time in their room.
  • Choose to spend time with friends over their family.
  • Be quick to anger or tears.
  • Test a few boundaries such as being late for curfew or trying alcohol.
  • Stop sharing every aspect of their life with you
  • Say hurtful things like, ‘I hate you!’ or ‘You don’t understand me.’

However, there is a point when they have crossed the line, and you need to act to correct their inappropriate behaviors.

When Has Acting Out Gone Too Far?

There is some behavior which should not be ignored or tolerated such as:

  • Criminal activity such as stealing or dangerous driving.
  • Being physically or verbally abusive.
  • Damaging property.
  • Going missing for entire nights or even longer periods.
  • Coming home under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

How to Handle a Teen Who is Acting Out

Understand What’s Happening in Their Life

Your teenager may be acting aggressively and obnoxiously, but the reason behind their behavior may not be obvious. It’s possible that there are more serious problems in their life which you are unaware of such as bullying, depression or substance abuse issues.  Watch out for signs of depression or other mental health issues such as persistent low mood, sudden loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, extreme weight loss or gain, social isolation or a decline in school performance.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Talk and listen to your teenager as often as you can so they know they can share their feelings and worries with you. Be positive; show them love, that you respect them as an individual and encourage positive behavior. Avoid confrontation and judgment as this may discourage them from communicating and create distance between you.

Consider Professional Support

You may feel that you, your teen and possibly even the rest of the family will benefit from professional support from a center like which specializes in teen mental health and substance abuse disorders. Therapists are trained to manage difficult behavioral and emotional issues and, as they are not emotionally involved with the family, can provide some objective insight. Your teen may also feel more able to open up to someone outside of the family and friends about what is causing them to misbehave.

Establish Boundaries

You should work with your teen to set out the boundaries, i.e., what is acceptable behavior and what is not. This should be mutually agreed as should the penalties for crossing those boundaries. These rules will be most effective if your child understands the reasoning behind them and you need to ensure you always follow through with the penalties you’ve agreed upon. Get some great tips on setting boundaries with teenagers here.

Will Your Teen Grow Out of It?

While a lot of your teen’s negative behavior can be attributed changes they’re going through now, to simply dismiss them as a phase or something they will grow out of on their own is dangerous. If they are using aggressive or manipulative behavior to exert their independence and gain control, failing to challenge them will show them that what they’re doing is both successful and acceptable. Once they have a little bit of leeway, they will push the boundaries a bit more, and a bit more after that.

Eventually, your child will become an adult who acts out to get what they want and to solve problems. For the sake of their future relationships, employment, and mental health, your teen needs to learn how to compromise and adapt to new situations and to accept when things don’t go their way.