10 Things parents should never, ever pay for!

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Parents are going broke raising their kids

PHOENIX -- The “experts” at the USDA in their 2010 report “Expenditures on Children and Families” say that we should expect to spend about $261,000 to raise each child from birth through age seventeen ($14,500 per year). Do you think this is accurate? We don’t! In 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median annual household income fell to $49,777. Meaning that it could take more than five years and three months of your entire gross household income to get Junior through the formative years and ready for college.

Just calculate with us for a minute. If you’re an average family with 1.8 children (according to USDA figures, this alone should cost you $26,100 per year), living in an average city, spending an average amount on food ($200 per month per person x 12 months = $9,120 per year) with an average yearly household income ($50,000 per year—about $40,000 after taxes), you’d be left with $4,700 a year ($392 per month) to spend on cars, clothes, housing, debt, recreation, gifts, utilities, health care, cell phones, cable TV, medical bills, dental bills, and chewing gum. Something simply doesn’t add up!

If you’re going to survive financially and have any money left to retire on, you’re going to have to draw a line in the sand with what you’re willing to spend on your kids.

Many parents think that they have to provide their kids with the best things in life. But we’ve discovered that giving our kids the best things, often means that they will expect us to continue to do that . . . indefinitely. But teaching them to pay their own way, starting with smaller expenses from the youngest ages, will produce an abundance of benefits as they exercise their own mental and financial assets to resolve their wants and desires.

At the very least, parents ought to allow their children the privilege of sharing some of the cost of the things they want. But the truth is, the more our kids invest in their own financial decisions, the more they’ll value and care for what they buy. When parents pay for their kids wants and desires, they’re actually stealing valuable financial growth opportunities from them. While parents may bristle at some of our suggestions, here are 10 things they should never pay for!

  1. Designer apparel
  2. Video gaming systems
  3. Mall spending money
  4. Designer sunglasses
  5. Good grades
  6. Class rings
  7. Auto Insurance
  8. Car of their own
  9. Cell phones and cell service
  10. Cosmetic surgery (with rare exceptions)

Oh, and a couple more things parents simply should never pay for.

  • Tanning Salons
  • Hair Coloring

You’ll never regret allowing your kids to stand on their own two feet financially. It pays great dividends to them and protects your dividends for retirement.

It’s never too early, too late, or too hard to start teaching and learning financial responsibility.

Adapted from The MoneySmart Family System

America’s Cheapest Family: College Text Book Fact Sheet

The average college student (or his parents) will spend between $500 and $900 per semester for books. By doing a little sleuthing, we’ve found savings as great as 87 percent on books our kids have needed.

Here are loads of ways to save thousands of dollars on textbooks during your college career.

1) Buy Used from your College Bookstore and save about 25 percent

2) Buy used from another student who just took the class — save 50 percent or more

3) Buy used on the Web — we’ve saved up to 87 percent

a. CollegeBooksDirect.com can save you 25 to 40 percent

b. CheapestTextBooks.com – This site searches several other web sites for the best prices on the books you want.

c. eBay.com — we found savings as high as 87 percent

d. Half.com — another great place to save on text books

e. Amazon.com — great savings on new and used text books

f. Amazon.co.uk—Believe it or not, purchasing hard to find text books from Amazon’s site in the United Kingdom can save you some dough (even with the cost of international shipping included).

g. Rent your textbooks from Chegg.com or your college bookstore — save 30 to 40 percent

h. International Editions – Search for Global or International editions of textbooks. They are usually paperback and ship from another country, but arrive quickly and save 50 to 75 percent.

Visit AmericasCheapestFamily.com for our September 2012 $20 bonus with the purchase of any of our books.

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