Family Budgeting For Summer: Saving Money On Summer Camp

 

This is a guest blog post from Tammira Lucas, The Business Doctor.

Although the official first day of summer is just behind us, it seems like it’s just getting started. If you are a mom, summer can be one of the most fun and most challenging seasons. Along with the beautiful weather comes a host of other decisions such as choosing a summer camp and finding activities for the family without BREAKING the bank! Read More

What is a 529 Plan & Is It Right For Your Family?

In 2010 less than 3 percent of families contributed to a 529 plan. A recent survey found that about 70 percent of Americans don’t know what a 529 plan is. With the growing costs of higher education, starting a 529 plan can help give you a head start when it comes to paying for your child’s college tuition and expenses.

What is a 529 plan?
According to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: “A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs. 529 plans, legally known as “qualified tuition plans,” are sponsored by states, state agencies, or educational institutions and are authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.

There are two types of 529 plans: pre-paid tuition plans and college savings plans. All fifty states and the District of Columbia sponsor at least one type of 529 plan. In addition, a group of private colleges and universities sponsor a pre-paid tuition plan.”

There is a wealth of information out there that can be overwhelming. So let’s cover the basics to get you started:

Who can open a 529 plan?
Any U.S. citizen or resident over the age of 18 can open up a 529 plan for the intended recipient, including for oneself. Accounts can be started for as little as $25 depending on individual state requirements. Anyone can donate to the plan and there is no age limit on when you can create a 529 plan for a beneficiary.

In general, people open accounts for their children or grandchildren. More than one 529 plan can be opened in the beneficiary’s name as long as it doesn’t exceed the state’s maximum contributions for the account which range from $200,000 to $400,000. Once the maximum amount to the plan is reached, deposits will no longer be accepted.

What are the tax benefits?
As stated on the IRS website, one of the major benefits for creating a 529 plan is that “earnings are not subject to federal tax and generally not subject to state tax when used for the qualified education expenses of the designated beneficiary, such as tuition, fees, books, as well as room and board. Contributions to a 529 plan, however, are not deductible.”

Am I only restricted to my state’s plan?
Most people assume they can only sign up for their plan in their home state but that isn’t necessarily true. You can review different states’ plans at Saving For College.

Have you opened up a 529 plan? Comment below if you have more questions about starting a plan.

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For more info on financial literacy for children you can follow Walter the Vault
Lending Money to Family And Friends: What Do You Do?

The title of this post most likely evoked two polar opposite emotional responses. Those responses are most likely based on a) whether or not you are the family member that is always loaning money or b) if you are the family member that is always asking for money.

Some of us have been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to transition from the requester to the requestee. Today I joined Black Enterprise for a fantastic lunchtime twitter chat about this much avoided financial topic. We had a great audience and dug in to this touchy topic.

If you were busy grinding it out at lunch, I understand and have you covered friend.

And Sound off! Let me know in the comments below how you handle money requests from your friends and family or what you struggle with when it comes to them and money.

Find the highlights from my conversation with Black Enterprise about lending money to family and friends below.

Teaching Children About Money

Children-moneyA few weeks ago I sat down with Yeesha Callahan of the TheRoot.com to discuss teaching children about money. Although I don’t have children myself the lessons (or lack of lessons) from parents are evident in many of the adults I work with.

Read More

Summer Serenity Series for Moms: Create an Inexpensive Girlfriend Get Together

We made it through another hectic school year and summer, my favorite season, is finally here. Now that the kids are out of school, I can finally breathe. As much as I’m an advocate for learning and education, nothing beats not having to check homework and help with science projects. I’m just sayin’.

As moms we are great at planning fun in the sun for the family, but what about us? Moms want to have fun, too!

So for the next few weeks I’m going to share ideas for you to find serenity and have some fun for less.

Hanging with girlfriends is a fun, inexpensive way to unwind.

girls-night-in-80

You can host the first get-together and everyone can take a turn hosting. This works well if you and your girls have children around the same age. The kids can come along and play with each other while the moms hang out.

Tips for creating the ultimate girlfriends get-together:

  1. Gather your favorite board games and pick one or two to play. Leave the rest as options – who knows what will happen as the day turns into night.
  2. Make it a potluck. Ask your girlfriends to bring a dish or a drink so the hostess doesn’t have to do it all. Everyone will appreciate this when it’s their turn to host.
  3. Transform your backyard into a tropical getaway with inexpensive decorations from the dollar store or Five and Below. Their selection has really improved and they have great deals. gI_74618_luau-party-ideas
  4. Instead of paying a DJ, create a playlist on your iPod and get the party started.
  5. Have special treats/prizes to reward the kids for good behavior (i.e. not bothering mommy while she’s at her party).
  6. If at all possible, ask your spouse or partner to take the kids for the day, or keep them occupied for a few hours.
  7. ENJOY YOURSELF!! Kick back and relax with your girls. If this isn’t something you do on a regular basis, force yourself to live in the moment. Don’t worry about anything else outside of laughing, eating and drinking your favorite summer drink. Take full advantage of this time to rejuvenate and recharge.

How will you make time to have fun this summer?

Looking for a good read? Check out my newest book, Motherhood & Dreams: You can have it all!

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Created by nationally recognized millennial money expert Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance is a leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love.
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