Would you like your Nanny Conference Fee to be Awarded?

>> Monday, February 28, 2011

I am so happy to announce that once again RegardingNannies is sponsoring a A Conference Scholarship to the 2011 INA Nanny Conference   Pop over there and get to writing your essay about  "Why you want to go to the INA conference and how you feel going will help you improve your skills as a professional nanny?"

A few years ago, I entered an essay scholarship for the INA conference from a group of nannies and I was so excited to be chosen!  Honestly the only thing stopping you is you!  Just take some time to write the essay of 400-500 words.  Make sure to spell check it!  

I hope to see you in Tampa and so does my Regarding Nannies Development team member Glenda! She shares why here: Meet Me In Tampa!


5 DVD rentals for $2! Awesome!

>> Saturday, February 19, 2011

How about some movies that will cost you 40 cents each to rent!  Over on Groupon they have 5 Blockbuster Express rentals for just $2!
Not sure if there is a Blockbuster Express near you?  Go here to find one!  Blockbuster Express Kiosk .
Enjoy your movie watching!


Credit Cards and How They Can Be Useful At Times

>> Friday, February 18, 2011

Once upon a time, I collected credit cards before I became a nanny.  I know silly but hey I had some of the "prettiest" credit cards on the block. I have whittled that list of cards down to four now.  I have been foolish with them at times, but I am in a healthy place with credit cards now.  It took a while but as a banker once told me-you have debt but credit companies don't like you because you pay on time. 

The ones I have now are an American Express Blue Cash and a Visa Fidelity Investments card.  Plus another MasterCard and American Express. These credit cards are paid off monthly.  The balances are not carried over monthly.   I think that if you have to have a credit card you might as well get as "much bang for your buck."

For the Fidelity Investments I receive $75 on my Fidelity Investments IRA  for every $5000 spent on the card. To me this is awesome payback for the times that the place I am using credit doesn't take American Express. I have my health insurance and some other reoccurring bills sent here so that I can reap the "rewards" for my IRA. This card is then paid off monthly. 

The American Express Blue Cash is awesome for all of my purchases that I make throughout the year. I get "cash back" on my June statement. To me it is like a summer bonus.  I get a Christmas Bonus from work in December, a tax refund in March or April and then in the summer the cash back. I get a "payout" of money three times a year. Which is nice. 
This brings me to today's Financial Friday. I read STL Mommy post's titled: Credit Card Rewards: How Does Your Card Measure Up?  If you are interested in getting a credit card that has some true financial benefits to you and your credit usage, then check out the post.  Making sure that you use the credit cards responsibly and do not go into credit card debt.  They should be paid off monthly. Kim shares five credit cards that have some great reward programs for using them.

Also STL Mommy is a great blog that shares some great money saving deals daily on various products and services.


Interested in 100 Ways to Save Money?

>> Wednesday, February 16, 2011

courtesy of www.24savvy.com

I ran across this wonderful blog post from 24/Savvy about 100 ways to save money.  Really? I had thought.  But I began reading and was completely falling in love with some of the ways they suggest.  They have put the list together in the following categories: Fashion, Beauty & Health, Travel, Dining Out & Entertainment,  Food, Home, Money & Banking, and Family & Charity.  Being a nanny I do try saving a lot of the times with my work purchases as well as my personal purchases.  This list really is helping in more saving for work and home.

I hope that some of the ways help you be savvy in your money saving.   These are 5 of my favorites from the list.  Don't forget to share on their post what your "ways to save" are.

  1. 73.    If you're drying a small laundry load, cut your dryer sheets in half for extra savings.
  2. 70.    If you typically only use half of a sticky note, cut the pad in two and you’ll get more bang for your Post-It buck.
  3. 63.    Set up a Skype account for all overseas calls and consider using it instead of keeping a landline.
  4. 49.    Join free loyalty programs at all the stores near you and keep an eye out for the best deals in the weekly advertising circulars.
  5. 41.    Skip the movies and get DVDs from the library or $1 kiosks like Redbox or Blockbuster.  Use Netflix only if you’re using up your paid quota.

100 Savvy Ways to Save Money

So you may be wondering who 24/Savvy is:
24/SAVVY is about living the smartest, most creative life possible with whatever we’ve got on hand.  It’s about doing fabulously more with what we have—even when it’s a little bit less than what we want. 24/Savvy is a new mindset; it's trading off, not down, it's turning the ordinary into something extraordinary, it's the art of living the good life for less, no matter what we’ve got in our bank account.


Missing W-2s This Tax Season?

>> Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Being a professional nanny for the past 15 years has been a wonderful career choice. I am happy to say that my jobs have all been "on the books" and I have always gotten my W-2 forms each January for taxes.  Unfortunately not all nannies are as lucky as I have been.   Breedlove & Associates have shared an article over at  Regarding Nannies on what to do if you don't get a W-2 form.   I hope this is helpful for you if you find yourself in this place.

What to Do if You Didn’t Get a W-2 from Your Employer


INA Conference: How Can I Afford to Go?

>> Friday, February 4, 2011

by Alice Shaffer

Many of you know that I love SmartyPig, and how I used them to save for the 2010 International Nanny Association Annual Conference. As a professional nanny saving money is important to me. SmartyPig is a free online savings tool that allows you to save for specific financial goals. I have used them primarily for the INA Conference.   I wanted to reintroduce you to them again and how setting up “goals” on Smartypig can “work” for you for this year’s conference. I am even going to be giving away $25 to someone’s SmartyPig goal that sets one up.  See end of the post for details.

The simple details for the Conference: 
26th Annual Conference
May 12 - 15, 2011
Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay - Tampa, Florida
Complete details to be released early March on the INA website.
Become a fan of theirs on Facebook and view the Events Page and The Notes page for details on workshops, hotel reservations and conference costs.

New this year:
·       Members who joined INA after June 1, 2010 and who have never attended an Annual Conference are eligible to take 50% off their conference registration.
·       Newborn Care Specialist track of workshops.

Now how does SmartyPig help you save money for the Conference? Very simply put by setting up unique goals for attending the conference. I have two goals set up right now that were started in May 2010, yes that is correct before last year’s conference.  

First thing up is figuring out how much money you need for the conference. There are many factors in figuring this “price tag”. This includes: conference fee, hotel costs and airfare.  You will have incidentals such as cab/shuttle fees, spending money and the few meals that you will need to pay for. You get a Thursday night cocktail reception, Friday Breakfast, Friday Lunch, Saturday Breakfast, Saturday Lunch and a Saturday evening closing reception with your conference fee.

Two of these are fixed expenses: Membership Fee ($35 for nannies) and the Early Bird Conference Fee ($295 has been the past fee for early bird rates for members, you have been able to get a 10% discount for going with a group, or first time attendee). There has also been an optional outing normally that is about $30 in the past. I get the reduced conference fee of 10% off due to being a member of ADCAN and having 5 or more members present at the conference. I save $300 for the conference fee/optional outing.

No matter what the "price tag" of a conference is for you to attend, you are investing in your education and future. Sometimes it seems like the "price tag" is more expensive than others or out of reach, but you must remember to invest in yourself. Determine what your "opportunity cost" is for education in the nanny field for yourself. Hopefully SmartyPig will give you the opportunity to attend the INA conference.

The hotel is at the lovely Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay  in Florida at $117 a night with 12% tax (max 4 people to a room) This brings one night to $131.04 ($117 + $14.04 tax) This rate is good for three days before the conference and three days after.
Here is the tally of the expenses I have for a returning Nanny Member: 
$35 Nanny Membership Fee (from December renewals-December 31, 2010) 
$ 265.50 for Early Bird Conference Fee (including 10% discount-$29.50) opens in March 2011

$40.00(estimated cost based on past)   optional Friday evening outing if one -payments accepted with registration
$262.08 for the Hotel stay (Wed-Sunday- with ONE roommate-$524.16 total) due 5/11/11
$300 for the airfare due 3/1/10
Total needed is: $868.30 not including Membership fee.

If you are a NEW member and NEVER attended a conference before here is your breakdown:
$35 Membership Fee (if new member) 
$ 147.50 for Early Bird Conference Fee (including 50% discount-$147.50)

$40.00(estimated cost based on past)   optional Friday evening outing if one -payments accepted with registration
$262.08 for the Hotel stay (Wed-Sunday- with ONE roommate-$524.16 total) due 5/11/11
$300 for the airfare due 3/1/10
Total needed is: $784.58 including Membership fee.

Note that agencies and staff all pay the same conference fee as long as they are members of INA. There is a non member conference fee.  They can also take advantage of the 50% off registration fee if they are new and never attended as well. So please encourage your agencies to come.

I am going to go into how to set up a SmartyPig account and get your goals set up.  After that I will show you my goals and how they are being met and how I will “cash” them out in the coming weeks.

Steps to Reaching SmartyPig Goals!

I have been a customer since 2009 and have ZERO trouble moving or getting my money. Their customer service is awesome.  They are FDIC insured for up to $250,000. You are allowed to set up as many goals as you need to

Let’s get started in setting up your SmartyPig goals.
In order to start at SmartyPig, you need the following:

·        State issued ID (or driver’s license)
·        Social Security Number
·        Current address (plus previous address if you’ve moved in the last two years)
·        Email address
·        Birth date
·        Phone number
·        Checking or savings account information to fund SmartyPig
·        Sign up for an account at SmartyPig

You need at least $25 to begin funding your account. Your maximum is $250,000.  Once you have everything set up, you enter your goals.  Then, you can fund your account with money from checking or savings.  Linking your bank accounts to SmartyPig is simple. You can connect multiple financial banking accounts. To begin though, all you need is a regular checking or savings account already set up somewhere else, and you are on your way to meeting your financial goals.


Your Savings Goal – The next step you are required to create an actual savings goal for your money. This is one reason SmartyPig is different from other financial savings accounts. This will help you visual and achieve your financial goals. This is what the beginning of a goal setting page looks like:

You need to include your goal dollar amount, due date, funding source (checking or savings account), and how often you will be putting money in your goal.  SmartyPig can suggest how much to have “drafted” to your goal based on the funding frequency you choose. See picture above for choices. You can adjust the amount taken out monthly by increasing your initial deposit or making your goal date much longer. To get an affordable withdrawal amount for the say the first two months, you can play around with the end goal date. You can change your goal end date/amount at anytime. You can stop your goal at anytime as well without penalty. You can also choose to just set up a goal and fund it with the initial $25 and do nothing more.  This might be helpful if you have the money already to meet a goal and want to use your goal to get a “best in class retail card” as noted below.
Reaching your goal:

You have everything set up now with your goals.  Now it is time for your automatic drafts to do their magic and make your goals grow. Are you interested in getting some “funding” from others?  Then there is the option for you to share your goals on your favorite social networking site, like Facebook.

I want my money!
You can stop at anytime and withdraw your funds by stopping your goals.  So how do you get your funds once your reach your goal? The chart below shows you the three basic ways to withdraw your funds once you’ve achieved your savings goals: ACH Transfer, Retail Gift cards or Debit Card.  I have done all three of them with last year’s goals and it is awesome!

Here is why I love Smartypig:
1.     Currently, SmartyPig offers 1.35 % APY, which is more than you will get at a lot of online and offline financial institutions,:
2.     The ability for friends and family to contribute to your goals. This is great for when your bosses want to give you a bonus or a relative wants to give you money for a holiday or birthday gift.
3.     The cash bonus you receive when you withdraw your savings to a retail card/best in class retailer.
The cash bonus allows you to get more from your goals when you take advantage of retail gift cards.  If you withdraw $600 to a retail gift card, you receive a bonus of up to 14%; you could end up with $60 extra.  That’s free money on your gift card!  Retailers include Macy’s, Amazon, Best Buy, Travelocity, iTunes and more.   Best yet HYATT pays a 5% bonus.  So my hotel goal of $300 will be worth $315 on a Hyatt Gift Card when I close it out.  That $15 could mean a free meal in the restaurant.  Just for choosing to put my goal money on the gift card. Make sure to check out the lists of retail cards available because airlines are included etc.
4.     The Smart Rewards Card: It is preloaded with money you fund to it.  The key here is that it gives you back up to 10% on your purchases at certain retailers for basically using your own money. The bonus 10% goes towards your goals! How cool is that. My card actually came in the mail today. I will be using it this weekend.  I have preloaded it with half of my “spending” money for the month.  I will use this card to make reaching my goals faster by getting money back on my daily purchases.  National Retailers will be coming in 2011.

Here are my current Goals for the 2011 Conference that I started in May 2010 and the amounts/dates that are taken out.  This is so you can see how it will accumulate once you get deposits made etc. 
2011 INA Conference Fee Goal

2011 INA Hotel Goals

Now for the details on how you can win $25 to your own personal SmartyPig Goal Account.

1.     Email me at thefinancialnanny (at) gmail (dot)com with Smartypig in the subject and give me your name and email address for a SmartyPig invite to be sent to you.
2.     Sign up for Smartypig through the invite that I send to you by February 25, 2011.
3.     Send me a link to your SmartyPig Goal to the email above so that I can verify that you did indeed sign up for SmartyPig.
4.     I will choose a random number via random.org for the winner. 
5.     I will announce by Monday February 27, 2011 the winner. Deposit to your account will be made that week once I get the information from you to make the deposit.



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I am not a certified financial planner. Any posts or pages written within this blog is the opinion of myself and not to be taken as financial advice. Any actions by an individual driven by information within this property do so at their own risk. Always consult a professional before making financial decisions.

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