My 11-year-old son has started thinking about college. Right now, he claims that he’ll either stay here, and wear the white and blue of the Utah State Aggies, or that he’ll head down south to SUU, in the town he was born — and where his father and I met.

If he decided to go through with those plans, it would be great. We’ve got a 529 plan going for him, and neither of those schools is expensive. Plus, since we’re connected with both of them, he’s eligible for legacy discounts.

The reality, though, is that he’s 11 years old, and still thinks his parents are kind of awesome. I suspect things will change in the next couple of years as he considers what he really wants to do, and he may decide that going to one of his parents’ alma maters isn’t the way to go.

With all these factors up in the air, how do you figure out what to save for college?

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The first time I walked into Babies”R”Us when pregnant with my first child, I felt overwhelmed almost to the point of hyperventilating. There were so many products out there — and it felt like every single purchase I made would determine my child’s fate.

Four years and another baby later, it’s clear to me now that baby gear manufacturers and retailers probably want you to be panicked. It’s much easier to sell unnecessary items to frightened and overwhelmed parents, since you’ll be happy to buy any product that will help you feel more in control.

But just like any other purchases, some baby gear is worth the investment, while some will clutter up the nursery until you have a yard sale a decade later.

Here are four baby products worth spending extra money on: [ continue reading... ]

The Hotels.com giveaway was so overwhelmingly successful the guys from CouponPal decided to do it all over again. This time they are giving away a Toshiba Chromebook, and we’ve partnered with them one more time to give you a chance to participate in the drawing!

The giveaway ends on April 27, 2014, so enter today and good luck!

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The difference between defining something as a need or a want can mean the difference between a blown budget or a healthy savings account.

These terms seem so simple and easy to understand, but all too often, we blur the lines. When you say you “need” something, it should mean that you literally can’t continue to function without it. Unless we’re talking about the need to eat, be clothed, stay healthy, and have a bed to sleep on, most of the “needs” in life actually fall under the category of “want.”

It’s funny how we reason with ourselves until we’re convinced that something we want is actually something we need. I need a new purse for summer. I need a manicure. I need new shoes.

In this case, our definition of need becomes anything we want desperately enough that our personal happiness will be hindered without it.

This is a cultural trait; we feel the need to measure up to those around us, to keep up with the current trends, to have the coolest car, the nicest house, or the most elaborate wedding. Although there’s nothing wrong with gratifying some of our wants as our circumstances and finances allow, it’s dangerous to categorize every new thing we want as a need. [ continue reading... ]

If you’re a fan of reality television, you’ve probably seen a show with contestants who live on a ranch working day after day to lose weight and get healthy. I’ve often thought to myself that I could easily lose weight and achieve an incredible level of fitness if I were given the opportunity to leave behind all the responsibilities of real life for a few months, and instead, concentrate every waking thought and action to my health.

The goal is for contestants to use their time on the ranch to develop healthy eating and exercise habits. The hope is that contestants will see how much better their lives can be with their new habits, so that they’ll find a way to integrate them into their daily lives once they return home.

How This Applies to Financial Habits

Though it’s the most common excuse for being out of shape, lack of time is also a reoccurring offender on the list of financial excuses.  People may blame time as the reason why they’re not reviewing their finances, creating a detailed budget, or dealing with other bad habits. Believe me, I understand. [ continue reading... ]

You’re constantly falling off the bandwagon when it comes to reaching your financial goals. They seem so big that you’ll never reach them, and you just can’t remain focused.

Sound familiar?

Over the past couple months, I haven’t been my usual highly-motivated self. Instead of working ahead and paying attention to my bottom line, I’ve been slacking. Recently, I realized why.

These last two months of chaos have lacked structured goals, so I’m essentially wandering aimlessly in the dark. The good news?  My two months of zero progress have reinforced my belief that setting financial goals is vital to success.

If you’re new to setting financial goals, here are three tips that will help: [ continue reading... ]