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Places to Travel with Kids: Top Spots to Have Fun with the Whole Family

places to travel with kidsDid you know that recent estimates say that a Disneyland vacation costs upwards of $200 per person per day!

With those kinds of expenses, a family vacation with kids seems out of reach.

But it doesn’t have to be!

Read on for our list of the best places to travel with kids!

Places to Travel with Kids in the United States

1. Yellowstone

Yellowstone is a national park that stretches across parts of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. Because of the active volcano underneath it, visitors can enjoy over 10,000 geysers, mud pots, and hot springs.

Not only is Yellowstone an amazing educational experience, but it has a lot of wildlife to enjoy as well.

There are over 200 species of animals living in Yellowstone like bison, wolves, mountain lions, bears, deer, antelope, moose, and more!

Since there’s a lot of driving involved, it’s a perfect opportunity to pack snacks, games, and some good music for a trip full of memories.

2. Pacific Northwest

Pack the kids in the car and head out for a breathtaking view along Highway 1 as you travel up the Oregon and Washington coastlines.

A few of our favorite activities along the way include:

  • Stopping at all the lighthouses along your route. If they’re open to the public and accessible, take a photo of the view from the top.
  • Stop in Tillamook, OR for a tour of the cheese factory. Sample some old favorites and some experimental flavors!
  • Walk out to Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, OR at low tide.
  • See the locks and fish ladder in Seattle during salmon season.
  • Visit Pike’s place for an authentic market experience.
  • Stroll through one of the pacific northwest’s 100s of botanical gardens.
  • Take a ferry to Victoria and back

3. Las Vegas

You read that right! We already know there’s plenty for mom and dad to do in Vegas, but did you know that it also features some amazing activities for kids too?

The pinball museum features enough machines to keep the kids occupied for days!

And the Ethel M. Chocolate’s factory is just a short drive away in Henderson. Kids can watch chocolate being made and then tour the neighboring cactus garden.

Need a little outdoor fun? Visit Red Rock Canyon to the west for a spectacular view of southern red rock and a few short hikes. Visitors can even see a waterfall during the late winter and early spring by walking the Children’s Discovery Trail in Lost Creek Canyon.

4. Spend Time at the Farm!

There are hundreds of farms to visit throughout the United States.

Let the kids enjoy a horseback ride, feed the animals, ride the tractor, etc.

If you’re traveling in the spring be sure to visit a flower farm to enjoy the blossoms in all their glory!

But remember, you can enjoy the flowers back at home to. After you’ve enjoyed a day visiting a flower farm, order some blooms to be delivered to your home the day after your return so you can extend the vacation even more!

You can read more on that here!

Best Places to Travel with Kids Internationally

1. Canada

Canada is an attractive option to those who want to travel internationally and on a budget.

But it’s also home to some amazing and family-friendly attractions.

Canada features some of the worlds best whale watching, especially for Orcas. Brittish Columbia has some of the highest sightings for killer whales during the months of April-October. You might also catch a glimpse of a gray whale or humpback.

If you’re traveling during the winter, you’re sure to catch a view of the northern lights or aurora borealis. Kids will never forget the nature’s fireworks they saw on your vacation up north.

2. Indonesia

Indonesia was listed as one of the safest countries to travel to in 2018. And if that’s not enough to persuade you to add it to the list, then read on!

Indonesia is home to world-class snorkeling, historic Buddhist landmarks, and beautiful naturally occurring sites.

  • The Ubud hot springs and waterfall near the Batur volcano
  • The ancient Mount Kawi ruins surrounded by functioning rice farms
  • The Borobudur Temple (the world’s largest Buddhist temple and a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Bali and it’s famous beaches and water activities

No matter what your interests, there’s something for every member of your family in Indonesia.

3. Norway

Norway is home to a series of world famous fjords or steep canyons that open up to the sea. Many families enjoy cruises through the unbelievable scenery.

Once you’ve finished taking the family through the unforgettable fjord regions, take a scenic train ride to Oslo where the whole family can enjoy a beautiful city with extensive bike trails, over 50 museums, and world-class hiking.

Our favorite kid-friendly museums in Oslo include:

  • Norwegian Museum of Science & Technology: this museum has over 100 interactive exhibits so it’s a perfect attraction for kids and the young at heart.
  • International Museum of Children’s Art: this quaint museum hosts a collection of children’s art from over 180 countries.
  • The Viking Ship Museum: this museum has the world’s best collection of preserved Viking ships and artifacts.
  • The Oslo Reptile Park: the name is deceiving because this is actually an indoor zoo that is home to over 100 different types of animals.

If you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to experience the 19 hours of daylight. Winter visitors must go skiing.

Remember This!

Now that you’ve got a start on your list of places to travel with kids, it’s time to pick one and plan the vacation you’ve been waiting for!

Now go make some memories!

Contact me to comment or suggest more thrifty travel tips!

Read Next: 5 Essential Tips for Safe Travels with Family

How to Have a Productive Conversation with Your Kids About Cigarette Smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Currently, smoking causes 6 million deaths per year. By 2030, that figure is set to rise to more than 8 million.

The best way to prevent smoking-related deaths is to deter children from picking up the habit in the first place.

But, that’s easier said than done. Whether it’s as a result of peer pressure, lack of smoking education or a desire to rebel, more and more teens are smoking every day. In fact, every day in the US, a total of 3,200 under-18s smoke their first cigarette.

So, how can parents intervene? Effective prevention starts with a conversation. That means encouraging an open dialogue without judgment or threats. Your child is much more likely to make the right choice when it comes to smoking if you allow them to find their own path.

Read on to find out how to talk to your child about smoking.

Start Early

It’s never too early to start talking to your children about smoking. You might not think it’s important when your child is only five or six. After all, they’re unlikely to start smoking on the kindergarten playground.

But, when your kid is young, they are more likely to look up to you as the authority on right and wrong. By starting the discussion early, you can make sure you and your child are on the right path long before smoking is even an issue.

Young children also tend to be more sensitive to signs of smoking such as yellow teeth and bad smells. Don’t go overboard, but be sure to make them aware that smoking is the cause of these problems. This strong association will then have more of a lasting impact when they’re old enough to decide for themselves.

Focus on What’s Important to Your Child

Children may not understand or care about the long-term health effects of smoking such as cancer and lung problems. Instead, try to focus on what they care about to explain why smoking is a bad choice:

Appearance

It’s easier to demonstrate the imminent effects of smoking to your child, especially ones they can physically see. Explain how yellow teeth, thinning hair, and wrinkles are all ways in which smoking can ruin your looks.

If they’re at that age where they’re starting to care more about their appearance, this could make them pay more attention to your concerns.

Money

Your child might respond well to a conversation about the financial impact of smoking. Talk about your family’s household budget with them and explain how much the average smoker spends each day, month and year.

Calculate the cost of smoking over 10 or 20 years with your child and discuss what they could buy with the same money. They’ll get a better idea of what an expensive habit smoking is. Not to mention, a lot less fun than computer games or any other hobbies they might want to spend their money on.

Sports

If your child likes sports, focus on the physical impact that smoking has on athletic performance. Explain that smoking could leave him or her unable to run as fast. Or it might mean that they have to stop playing because they’re out of breath.

Celebrity Role Models

It can often seem like most celebrities smoke. As a result, it’s not that easy to find non-smoking role models for your kids to look up to.

But, it can help to support your argument if your kid’s favorite celebrity doesn’t smoke or quit smoking. That celebrity’s reasons for quitting smoking might also help you explain more about addiction and why many people who smoke wish they had never started.

Strength of Character

If your child has a strong personality and knows their own mind, use that to your advantage. Explain about the hold that cigarettes can have on people and how many children start smoking due to peer pressure.

They might not necessarily want to do what you say all the time. But, they may end up deciding against cigarettes for themselves.

Talk About Addiction

You child might not understand why they see so many people smoking if it’s meant to be such a bad habit.

This is why it’s important to talk about addiction with your child. Explain how the nicotine in cigarettes is one of the most addictive substances in the world. They may not fully understand the concept of addition. But, by explaining how people struggle with quitting and find it hard to stop, it might help them grasp the concept of being addicted to something.

Older children can also benefit from learning about smoking cessation statistics and stop smoking aids. When they see how many smokers want to quit and how some people have to resort to hypnosis to stop, they will get a better idea of just how addictive smoking is.

Explain the Dangers of Alternatives

When we were children, our parents only had to explain the dangers of smoking cigarettes to us. Now, as parents ourselves, we have to also consider the dangers of alternatives such as electronic cigarettes, hookahs, and vape pens.

In fact, vaping is now an epidemic in high schools. There was a 900 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high school students between 2011 and 2015. Since e-cigarettes come in fun flavors, like jam monster or bubble gum, many youngsters think that they’re similar to candy.

Educate your child by explaining what goes into e-cigarettes, including a lot of harmful chemicals and toxic metals. And explain how these can cause breathing problems, tooth loss, and cancer. This will help you show that these alternatives are dangerous too.

Avoid Lecturing Your Child

Sweeping statements and strong negative opinions about smoking can sometimes encourage your kids to rebel against you.

Don’t forbid your child from smoking or say that all smokers are bad or stupid. Instead, ask them questions to gauge what they think about smoking. Avoid forcing your views down their throat and allow them to come to their own conclusions. Welcome questions and curiosity about smoking.

And, always be honest with them. If you’ve ever smoked or tried cigarettes, tell them about your experiences. Children are good at picking up on whether you’re being genuine or not, and your child will be more responsive if you tell them the truth.

By keeping the conversation free from judgment or threats, your child will be much more willing to discuss cigarettes with you. And, your child is also more likely to share with you when he or she is offered cigarettes.

Discuss How to Say No

When it comes to smoking, the one thing you can’t ignore is that your child is likely to be offered a cigarette at some point.

Deter this by talking to your child about how to say no without losing face in front of his or her friends. With an argument or reasoning ready at hand, your child is less likely to give in to peer pressure and say yes.

You might even try role-playing with your child. You can play the part of a fellow student, and your child has to practice different ways to refuse your offer of a cigarette. Encourage your child to come up with their own personal reasons for saying no. But, if they’re not sure, suggest that they could say they don’t like the taste, the smell, or the way they make him or her out of breath.

Set a Good Example

It has to be said, a lot of your advice and guidance will fall on deaf ears if you’re a smoker yourself.

Even if you say you want to quit or wish you didn’t smoke, your words won’t hold as much weight if your actions don’t match what you say. Children imitate what they see their parents do. Which is why parents who smoke are twice as likely to have children who smoke.

An obvious solution is to quit. The thought of encouraging your child to smoke with your own behavior could be just the catalyst you need.

And, in the meantime, don’t smoke around your children, and insist on a smoke-free home. With fewer people smoking around your child, he or she will be less likely to normalize it.

Watch for Signs of Smoking

With older children, it’s important to watch out for signs that they may have already started smoking. Keep an eye out for shortness of breath, smelly clothing, coughing, bad breath, and sudden overuse of perfumes and minty gum.

If you think your child has started smoking, ask them outright. But, don’t resort to throwing accusations around, and definitely don’t start yelling if the answer is yes.

Express your disappointment, then ask questions to establish whether they have just tried it a few times or are actually smoking as a habit.

It’s also important to find out why they’re smoking. It may be to fit in with a peer group, or it could be their way of reacting to a recent divorce or problems at home.

Avoid reacting with threats and ultimatums. Instead, talk through a plan to help your child avoid cigarettes in the future. And, explain what the consequences will be if they continue smoking.

Provide the Best Smoking Education for Your Child

By helping your child understand the dangers of smoking and giving them the tools to make decisions for themselves, you are providing the best kind of smoking education for your child.

Check out our other blog posts on family life for more advice and tips. And, feel free to get in touch with any questions or comments!

A Frugal Mom’s Guide to 15 Awesome and Affordable Gifts for Kids

‘Tis the season to spend all of your cash on gifts for your kids, right? But what if you want to economize while still indulging in the holiday spirit with little ones? Then, look no further than these creative and inexpensive gifts for kids.

Whether you’re looking for fun gifts for little boys or inexpensive gifts for girls, we’ve got you covered. Read on for fifteen frugal surprises that your children will love and so will your wallet.

1. Let’s Make Hot Dogs and Hamburgers!

Kids love pretending to cook. So, why not let them make their own hotdogs and hamburgers with all of the fixings? When it comes to gift ideas for children, they’ll love a wooden sandwich-making set for under $25.

Wooden toys represent the best choice for your little ones for many different reasons. When it comes to a fun sandwich making kit, look for a wide variety of ingredients including:

  • Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Hamburgers
  • Hotdogs
  • Hamburger buns
  • Hotdog buns

Because of their durable construction, wooden kits mark a great gift for kids three and up. So, let your kids practice their budding chef skills while learning how to use their hands to organize and manipulate objects–a perfect toy for your preschooler.

2. Ready to Bake Pizza?

Another great toy is the wooden pizza playset by Juguear, which comes in under $25. It lets your little ones bake their own pizzas with a variety of toppings. In fact, it comes with:

  • A pizza baking “stone”
  • Crust
  • Sauce
  • Bell pepper slices
  • Red onion slices
  • Mushroom slices
  • Pepperoni
  • A pizza cutter
  • A spatula to serve slices

Your children will spend hours crafting their own unique pizza combinations and pretending to bake them. Like the hamburger and hotdog set, the wooden construction makes for a durable toy suitable for kids ages three and up.

3. Handyman Time!

Kids will love Liberty Import’s realistic-looking mini toy drill set with three interchangeable drill bits. It comes in under $12 and will keep your kids entertained with its realistic drilling sounds and motion.

It requires 2 “AA” batteries, so keep this in mind when you purchase this gift. And because of small pieces, keep it away from children under three years of age.

4. Night Vision

What kid doesn’t want to strap a headlamp to their forehead and explore the world at night? A headlamp’s also a super handy gift for kids who camp, like to read in bed, feel afraid of the dark, or find themselves in a power outage.

When it comes to purchasing the perfect headlamp for your little one, look for an adjustable strap like TOTOBAY Direct’s Waterproof LED Headlamp. It requires three “AAA” batteries and comes in under $10.

5. Magnetic Letters

For under $20, you can purchase a gorgeous magnetic alphabet set that your little ones will love playing with on the refrigerator. Opt for a set with the letters in a brilliant rainbow of jewel colors as a lovely accent to your kitchen decor.

Look for a 57-piece set including both upper and lower cases so that your kids can master their alphabet and work on basic spelling. An ABC set offers a fun way for kids to work on their hand-eye coordination and ability to manipulate objects.

6. Magnify It

For less than $12, you can give the gift of scientific inquiry to your little ones with Backyard Safari’s Magnifying Glass. The magnifying glass lens measures three inches across and offers four times the magnification of the naked eye.

It comes with a no-slip grip and a hanging carabiner for ease of carrying, especially during hikes. Recommended for children six years and up, it provides an exciting introduction to the miniature world we often overlook.

7. Get Knotty

Knot-making represents an ancient art that has helped human beings survive for millennia. Now you can easily introduce your kids to this craft with Backyard Safari’s Survival Knots kit.

Coming in at under $20, it teaches kids how to make and use 12 different knots. These include:

  • Alpine Butterfly Loops
  • Dropper Loop Knots
  • Square Lashing

But the best part remains the fact it teaches kids how to use these knots in real-world survival situations. Recommended for kids six and up, it comes with paracords, plastic clips, reference cards, and more.

8. Launch Time

Toys+ makes some really fun variations on the parachute man toy. Our favorite? A four-pack of glow-in-the-dark parachuters in fluorescent colors.

The bright colors help you keep these parachuters in sight all day long. But it’s also fun and beautiful to give them a toss at night and watch them glow down to the ground.

They glow in different hues and prove 100 percent reusable. Their design avoids tangled strings, and they come in at under $15.

9. Slingshot Winexpensive kid gift ideasonder

Remember how much fun you and your friends had playing with slingshots as kids? But remember how many things you broke? Luckily, with Monkey Business’s Foam Strike Sling Shot, you get all of the fun of a slingshot without the destruction.

It blasts foam balls upwards of 60 feet and proves easy to reload. Because of the foam ball design, you no longer have to worry about broken windows or injured kids. But you still get all of the fun of slinging objects through the air for under $12.

10. Spirograph Fun

Kahootz Travel’s Spirograph Playset lets your kids enjoy the classic toy on the go. It offers endless design options and includes six spirograph precision wheels and two pens. What’s more, it comes with a 24-page sticky notepad.

Recommended for ages five and up, it’ll keep your little ones busy for hours, and its travel-worthy. So, get ready for quiet kids even on long road trips. Better still, it comes in at under $10.

11. Go Bead Crazy

What kid doesn’t like crafting with beads? Fortunately, Perler beads let your kids (ages six and up) create designs with large plastic beads and pegboards that can then be fused together using a hot iron in 10 seconds.

From cartoon characters to animals and more, your kids will love this easy-to-make craft that lets them get creative. A bucket of 6,000 beads comes in at under $10 making this a thrifty option, too.

12. We Can’t Forget the Play-Doh

Just think about how many hours of entertainment you got out of Play-Doh when you were little. For under $10, your kids can enjoy the same fun.

For example, the Play-Doh Basic Fun Factory Shape Making Machine comes with two colors of non-toxic Play-Doh, and a Play-Doh squeeze machine that lets you press the clay into a variety of fun shapes.

13. I Spy Books

I Spy books never get old. They also offer kids a fun way to learn how to read while practicing their observational skills.

Known for their rhythm, rhyme, and fun picture clues, I Spy books will captivate your kids. And at under $12 each, your wallet will thank you.

14. Find Your Story

Rory’s Story Cubes teach kids to let their imaginations run free for under $10. Each game represents a pocket-sized creative story generator, which reinforces children’s natural artistic abilities.

The game comes with nine one-inch cubes containing one of six different images on each side for a total of 54 images. When rolled, the images on the cubes combine in over 10 million different ways creating the basis for one-of-a-kind stories.

15. Puppet Theater Time

Aurora’s line of hand puppets prove well-made and beautifully detailed, and they come in at under $10 apiece. These hand puppets range from dinosaurs to wolves and horses and feature realistic styling and plush fabric.

They’re a great way to let kids explore their imaginations and get creative. They also feel cuddly and soft, offering a more expressive alternative to run-of-the-mill stuffed animals.

The Best Inexpensive Gifts for Kids

While the holiday season symbolizes family, togetherness, and tradition, consumerism definitely gets in the way. In fact, this time of year may make you want to curl up in a ball and stay home, far from the mad rush to the store.

Fortunately, inexpensive gifts for kids abound. Some of our favorites come in at under $25 or less. Yet, they offer kids the opportunity to build tactile skills while exploring their imaginations.

At Mommy Ramblings, we understand how important staying on budget can be. Yet, you still want to bring the magic of childhood to life for your little ones. Follow our blog for more nifty ways to economize while still enjoying your best life.

Cheap Gifts for Kids: 6 Creative Ideas That Are Outstandingly Affordable

cheap gifts for kidsUs mamas are always looking for the hottest deals to make our kids happy. We love to see their smiling faces when they open a gift they’ve been wanting. However, sometimes what they want can get a bit pricey.

That’s when we start to break a sweat. We’re here to tell you–don’t fret! We get that gift-giving can be expensive, but we’re here to fix that. Keep on reading to see a list of our top six cheap gifts for kids!

First on Our List of Cheap Gifts for Kids: Lanyards

This is a great gift for kids that want to deck out their home keys. With kids back in school, you want to make sure they’re excited about their items. But, we also want to ensure our kiddos are safe.

Deck out their lanyard with their name or favorite print design. Naming their lanyard will keep your child’s key in the right hands. Also, they’ll love carrying it around or connecting it to their backpack. You can check out the options here!

Dinosaurs

Little dinosaurs you’d find at your local store generally cost around a few dollars. If you’re looking for inexpensive gifts for kids, then this is your best bet! They’re great for bathtub play because they’re waterproof.

They’re not dangerous or harmful and make for a lot of fun.

Slime Time!

For any kids out there that love science, a slime kit would rock their world! You can buy pre-made slime for a couple dollars in the toy section of any department store. Don’t rule out slime kits.

The best part is, you won’t have to break your budget to get it. Slime kits also run below ten dollars.

Play-Doh Starter Pack

Kickstart any kid’s arts and crafts playtime with a play-doh start pack. These run for around five dollars. They come with different play-doh colors and different cookie cutter shapes.

Kids have loved play-doh for decades! That’s because you can never run out of fun activities to do with play-doh.

Dolls and Action Figures

Generic dolls and action figures also run for a couple dollars. These toys are great for the toddler that needs to keep their hand’s busy. And if your three-year-old flings it out the car window, you can find an exact replica within a few hours.

Rubik’s Cube

Do you have a kid genius on your hands? Then a Rubik’s Cube is the best gift idea for you. This awesome cube sets kids up for success. In fact, Rubik Cube’s can improve a child’s cognitive functions.

This is one of those toys that’ll help your child’s development! These cool little cubes range in size as well as price. You can spot one under ten dollars at most local stores.

Need More Trusty Frugal Ideas?

The are plenty of awesome cheap gifts for kids. This mama loves to bring you the best, most frugal ideas to make your family smile. Who said good times had to break your wallet?

Read up on our family life blogs to get more tips on how to save more to do more. Happy shopping!

Mom’s Money Guide: How to Begin Investing for Your Kids Futures

investing for kidsThe total cost for a 4-year degree will be more than $205,000 by the year 2030. That will be the year that kids born in 2012 turn 18 years old. If your kids are born later, expect a higher price tag.

The best investment for a child is one that starts as early as possible. Investing for kids now is how to build a fortune for your child’s future education.

Read on to learn all about the best investments for children and how you can get started.

529 Plans to Invest for Kids

All US states offer a 529 savings account. You can even enroll in 529 plans from other states. Make sure you look into the lifetime contribution limits on your plan, so you know how much you can put away.

Every year you are able to deposit funds up to the set annual limit without being dinged with a gift tax. For 2018, that limit is $14,000 for each child. However, if you and your spouse file a joint tax return, you can double that number per child.

If you have the money, you might want to make a large lump deposit now that is equal to 5 years’ worth of contributions. In other words, you could add $70,000 to your child’s 529 plan today if you wanted.

This is a good option if you have the cash and want your money to start growing as soon as possible. But that means that you won’t be able to add any other money until 5 years from now.

One of the best features of this type of investing for kids is that withdrawn money is not taxable if it is used for education. You can use the balance of your fund for any type of tuition including private school from kindergarten to grade 12. Check out these 5 tax refund tips to get the most out of your money.

The majority of 529 savings plans allow you to invest your contributions through mutual funds. You’ll be able to choose what you want to invest in this way. Yet, if you want to invest in other things besides mutual funds, you can do that as well with a 529 plan.

How to Open A 529 Savings Plan

The first (and hardest) part of getting a 529 plan is choosing one. There are over 100 plans available. This is the simplest way to stop delaying and get your plan up and running.

Choose between a savings or prepaid plan or get both.

Savings plans are similar to 401K plans. There is investing in stocks, bonds, as well as other securities.

Prepaid 529 plans are like pension plans. they grow at a guaranteed rate and are often limited to people who reside in that state.

You might decide to get both kinds of plans and divide your contributions between the 2 accounts.

Next, pick either the in-state or out-of-state plan. Often, it’s wiser to get the in-state savings plan if you have a state tax benefit. Use this state tax calculator to see how much your tax benefit is worth.

Finally, compare costs and investment options for the plan you are considering.

Don’t be overly concerned with past performance of a plan. Look for a plan with low costs. Websites like collegesavings.org can help you compare plans.

Don’t get hung up on trying to find the absolute best investment plan for your 529 savings plan. The most important thing is to open a plan and start saving right away. You can always switch to a different plan later on if you want to.

Now, let’s check out other investment plans for kids.

Retirement Accounts

It may feel strange to think about your child’s retirement when you’ve got a baby or toddler at home. Yet, the sooner you start saving for retirement, the better.

Besides, retirement accounts can be used to pay for college as well as other big life expenses. And no, you won’t have to pay taxes on your withdrawals as long as you take out your contributions and not earnings.

Let’s pretend that you have invested $2000 every year for the past 3 years. You can go ahead and take out $6000 without any penalties and without having to pay taxes.

As soon as your child begins working, he or she should have an individual retirement account. Let’s look at custodial individual retirement accounts, next.

Custodial Individual Retirement Account

Custodial IRA can be created in your child’s name. The funds in the account belong to the child but as the parent, you control the assets until the child is an adult.

The age when a child gains access to the account is either 18 or 21 depending on which state you live in. These accounts are often managed at a bank or brokerage.

There are 2 main custodial accounts that prominently used for saving for post-secondary education. They are the Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) and the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA).

Both of these accounts are irrevocable. Don’t deposit any money into either of these that you might need in case of an emergency.

You won’t be able to get it back. Instead, check out stock loan rates to learn about how to get access to funds when you need them.

Both of these do not have contribution limits. They are subject to Kiddie tax as the child includes this account as income on his or her tax returns each year.

UGMAs include securities such as stocks and bonds. On the other hand, UTMAs may include physical property like real estate and fine art.

Grandparents and others can add money to these accounts as gifts. Keep in mind that the most one person can gift a child per year is $14,000.

Note that when the child is not a minor, he or she does not have to use the funds in these custodial accounts for education.

Certificate of Deposit Ladder (CD)

Now that we’ve looked at 2 types of investments that are subject to market fluctuations, let’s examine an investment plan that has less risk.

A CD ladder means buying several certificates of deposit, all with varying maturity dates and interest rates. When one CD matures, you divert that money into a new CD. You keep doing this until you want to use the money you’ve saved.

Since it’s easy to estimate your earnings, you are able to plan for the future with a good amount of certainty.

This option is great for people who want to play it safe or want to avoid having all their eggs in one basket. You won’t earn huge returns with this method, yet it is a long-term savings plan that works.

How to Open a Certificate of Deposit

Opening a CD is similar to opening a bank account. First, you need to choose an insured financial institution. That way, if the bank or credit union fails, their insurance protects you up to the maximum that is legally allowed.

Then, you choose a type of CD. There are many kinds to choose from.

After that, select your term length. The longer the term, the higher the interest rate you’ll earn. It’s in your best interest to select CDs that mature well in the future.

You will also need to choose how you want to collect your interest payments. You can get it monthly or once a year.

It’s best if you don’t rely on this payment as part of your income. Make sure you build a personal monthly budget that works for you.

The wise thing to do is to reinvest the interest into the CD to earn even more interest. Once the CD reaches the end of the term, you’ll get the amount you deposited plus the interest your CD accumulated.

You will need your SSN and other forms of identification to open up a CD (same as you would need when applying for a bank account or credit card).

Also, choose how you want to deposit money into the CD account. You can choose to mail a check or transfer the funds online or by phone.

Teach Children Financial Literacy

One of the best ways you can invest in your child’s future is to teach them how to manage their money wisely.

With the majority of Americans in debt, teaching kids about smart spending and being financially savvy is vital for the future of the country.

There are lots of great resources to help you teach your kids financial literacy including lots of resources about money on MyMoney.Gov

Instead of giving kids what they want, give them an allowance and help them learn how to save up for what they want. Or help them start earning money by doing chores, dog sitting, raking yards and babysitting.

Even though as a parent you want to give your kids every advantage, it is important for them to learn how to take responsibility for their financial freedom in their youth for a bright future.

Final thoughts on Investing for Kids

Thanks for reading! We hope you found this article on investing for kids’ future helpful. Remember, the sooner you get started, the better.

Now, take a look at these 3 expert money saver tips you need in your life.

Weight Loss For Moms: How To Get Healthy Now That Your Kids Are In School

weight loss for moms

Do you always talk about losing that baby weight? You may have said you’ll do it once your baby sleeps through the night or once they’re potty trained. But before you know it, years have passed, and you haven’t made any real progress.

It’s no secret that raising children is a lot of work. When you have a couple young kids scampering around, you can barely find time to take a shower by yourself, let alone finding time to stick to a workout routine.

But now that all your kids have started school, you finally have a little extra time for self-care. Weight loss for moms isn’t always easy, but it’s possible with a little motivation and some helpful tips.

Do you want to know more? Keep reading to learn how you can get healthy now that your kids are in school.

Say Goodbye to Fast Food

How often do you order out? Fast food is a convenience that many of us rely on to pull through some long days. But, after a while, it really takes a toll on your health.

Even fast food chains that claim to have “healthy options” are typically not the best choice. Cooking at home gives you more control over what you and your family is eating and can save you money along the way. Now that your kids are in school, say goodbye to fast food and hello to nothing but healthy home-cooked meals.

Plan Your Meals

One reason weight loss for moms is so difficult is because there never seems to be enough time in the day to cook the best meals. You end up rummaging through the fridge and pantry and throw together whatever meal you can with what you find. This leads to a lot of pasta nights and meals that don’t have as many fresh vegetables.

Planning your meals is one of the best things you can do. Before you go grocery shopping, decide what your family will have for dinner every night that week. To save money and avoid food waste, try to find recipes that share ingredients.

You can take this a step further and create a cute DIY menu board. It’ll help you remember your dinner plans for the week and it’ll look great in the kitchen!

Prepare Healthy Snacks

Are you guilty of binging on chips or cookies? It can be so tempting to reach into the kids’ treats and snag a pack of Gushers for yourself.

But snacking doesn’t have to be bad. By preparing healthy snacks for you and your kids, you can remove more junk food from your house, curb your midday hunger, and satisfy your cravings while staying healthy!

If you tend to crave sugar, keep lots of fresh fruit in the house. It’s way healthier than cookies and candy, but the natural sugars will help curb your sweet tooth. If you tend to indulge in salty snacks, keep edamame and nuts around to give you that bit of salt while also being high in protein.

Go for Healthier Ingredients

Alright, so you have your list of healthy dinners and snacks. There’s one more thing you need to do before hitting the grocery store to help with losing weight.

Look at your list and decide which ingredients have healthier counterparts. Opt for whole grain bread, pasta, and flour or get ground turkey instead of ground beef. Many fitness moms choose to do this because it doesn’t take any extra time but offers a lot of great benefits.

If you want to take this to the next level, see what meals you can sneak extra veggies into. For example, you may add peppers and onions into meatballs or meatloaf. Your kids will be more likely to eat them since they’ll be finely chopped and hidden and your whole family will get a nice nutrition boost.

Exercise While You Clean

Are you a stay at home mom? There’s no denying that there’s still tons of work to get done even when the kids are in school. Between grocery shopping, cleaning, running errands, attending PTA meetings, and baking cookies for their school’s bake sale you may not have a lot of time left for exercising.

But who says you can’t exercise while doing something else? One of the best mom exercise ideas is to exercise while you clean.

Do lunges while you vacuum, do squats when you need to clean lower shelves and dance it out while dusting! Is it the intense workout you were planning? Not quite, but it’s a great way to get some exercise in on busy days.

Take a Fitness Class

Were you able to carve out some time to exercise in your schedule? That’s great! There are many ways you can take advantage of this time, but the best is to take a fitness class.

If you haven’t exercised in years, it can be daunting to hit the gym solo. You may not know what all the machines do, or you may feel intimidated by everyone around you who seems to be in great shape.

Taking a beginner fitness class is a good mom exercise since you’ll be surrounded by people who are on the same fitness level as you. You can meet new people (which is always refreshing when you’re a stay at home mom) that can motivate you to keep going. Plus, you’ll have fun while getting a great workout in.

The best part is that there are tons of classes to choose from. Yoga, Zumba, and Pilates are some popular options, so check out your local gym and see what’s available.

Weight Loss for Moms

If you’re struggling to get in shape, you may not know where to start. But weight loss for moms doesn’t have to be so challenging. Just follow our tips to get healthy while you’re kids are in school and get your pre-pregnancy body back.

Did you like what you read? Check out our blog for more great articles like this.

5 Places to Take Your Kids Snorkeling This Summer

kids snorkeling

Do you have young explorers at home who want nothing more than to swim with Nemo or say “hi” to a sea turtle? If you do, your next vacation is the perfect time to introduce them to snorkeling and scuba diving.

All around the world, resorts and dive shops have special programs for families and kids so they can lean their love for their water-breathing buddies and the deep blue sea.

If you or your children aren’t ready to learn to scuba yet, snorkeling would be a great alternative!

Here are 5 of the best places to take your kids snorkeling.

1. Cottrell Key, Florida

Cottrell Key is only five miles west of Key West and it’s filled to bursting with shallow reefs, coral formations, and sponges. If you’re looking to spot some parrotfish, stingrays, group and sea turtles, this is a great spot to take your kids.

2. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

If you’re interested in a resort setting where you don’t even have to leave in order to enjoy the fun, strap on your full face mask and head to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

This resort and the area surrounding it is full of ancient Mayan history and ruins. Guests at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort can dive into the unique location by snorkeling in a crystal clear cenote. These are naturally occurring underground springs. You’ll be surrounded by over 60 species of animals and 25 species of trees.

3. Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin

Snorkeling probably isn’t the first thing you think of when you think about Wisconsin, but Lake Michigan has some incredible spots to explore. Bailey’s Harbor is only 2 hours north of Green Bay and it offers a shipwreck snorkeling trip.

4. Kankakee, Illinois

Illinois is another strange place to consider snorkeling, but Haigh Quarry in Kankakee is a great place for divers and snorkelers alike. The quarry isn’t used anymore and for several years after its closure in the 1970s, it sat unused. Someone purchased the land in the late 70s and unplugged some of the pumps the mining company left behind.

In three years, the quarry was filled with spring-fed water and is now a great place to take kids snorkeling.

5. La Jolla, California

If your kids are determined to swim with sharks, this is the snorkeling spot for you. Here, snorkelers can see plenty of leopard sharks during their outing. There’s also no shortage of bottom feeders and rays alike.

How to Teach Kids Snorkeling

No matter where you take your kids snorkeling, you need to make sure they’re prepared. Five or six is the best age to start and the pool or a bathtub is the ideal training ground.

Breathing only through your mouth is a skill kids need to practice, so don’t put them anywhere they’re not familiar with right off the bat.

Start your child with the face mask before you ad the snorkel and make sure it fits well. Let them take it at their own pace and follow their lead, never push if they seem to want to stop.

When you try real life snorkeling in the sea, start off with a calm spot so as to not unnerve them.

Snorkel On!

Kids snorkeling is a great first step to get your little ones familiar with the water, it’s many life forms, and the possibility of scuba diving. There’s nothing quite as magical as interacting with your environment, especially as a child.

For more fun family ideas and tricks to save some extra cash for that snorkeling vacation, visit the rest of my blog today!