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  • Recalled: Cribs and Mattresses

    If you think you have the following item(s), click through to the CPSC press release for more details:

    Baby’s Dream Recalls Cribs and Furniture Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard – Click through for additional photos:

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    IKEA Expands Recall of Crib Mattresses Due to Risk of Entrapment – Click through for additional photos:

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    Stay on top of recalls by signing up for recall notifications by email at the CPSC web site.

    Nursing Programs and Employment are on the Rise

    The following is a post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.

    In recent years, we have seen growth in the number of people entering nursing programs to receive their Registered Nurse license and Bachelor of Science in Nursing. A high level of replacement positions, the increasing needs of the baby boomer generation, and the Affordable Care Act are all factors in the sudden rise in the desirability of RN and RN to BSN programs.

    Positions Become Available as the Work Force Retires

    Over half of the nursing workforce is close to retirement age. And the average age of working nurses is 46, meaning that a great percentage of the remaining workforce is set to retire in the not-too-distant future. According to estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, replacement nursing positions will number in the hundreds of thousands, approximately 525,000, by 2022.

    When you factor in job growth along with replacement positions, the total number of open nursing positions would be nearly 1.05 million by 2022. At no other time have nursing positions been in such high demand.

    The Baby Boomer Generation Hits Retirement

    After WWII, the United States experienced a baby boom, which is a period of time with elevated birth rates. Being born between 1946 and 1964, many of these people have entered, or will soon enter, retirement age. As this large group of people age, their healthcare needs increase.

    As we age, health issues tend to increase, which prompts people to use more health services. The number of aging people in this country is growing, and they need increasingly more healthcare, which drives up the need for nursing professionals.

    Greater Demand due to Health Care Reform

    In 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act. It is arguably the greatest change to our healthcare system since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. This healthcare reform provided healthcare to millions of Americans who had previously been without insurance. In fact, approximately 20 million Americans have received coverage under the Act since May of 2014, and the rate of uninsured Americans has dropped 4.6%.

    The demand for healthcare is now extremely high and is straining the current workforce, which is another reason this sector will see exponential growth over the next several years.

    Easy Access to Education

    Since there is such a large shortage of Registered Nurses, many colleges now offer accelerated nursing programs online. Online course work, in combination with clinical experience, readies the next generation of Registered Nurses and BSN holders for the job market. Easy online access to education is viewed as a great benefit by many people who are looking to get into the nursing field. It is also beneficial to registered nurses who are going back to school to further their education by working toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

    For many professionals already in the nursing industry, furthering their education is also a lucrative investment. The medical field is always looking for highly qualified professionals with a high level of education, and they are willing to pay well for those qualified individuals.

    In sum, there is currently a high demand for RN and BSN positions due to an overall increase in demand due to a retiring workforce, the retirement of the baby boomers and healthcare reform. Education is more accessible than ever before and current wages for qualified individuals are certainly an incentive.

    Good-Bye Cable: Save Money with These Alternatives to Cable Subscriptions

    The following is a post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.

    Being a busy mom, I find that my family watches about an hour of television on the weekdays, and maybe 4 hours a day or less on the weekends. However, I found myself paying hundreds of dollars on my cable subscription services.

    As I’ve been trying to save money and build an emergency savings fund, I’ve ultimately been looking for ways to cut back. In looking at my monthly bills, I found that I was giving away a great deal of money for cable services – which we barely watched.

    Don’t get me wrong, we certainly enjoy our weekly shows and an occasional movie or two, but for the most part, it seemed like paying for cable was allowing money to slip down the drain. So, I decided to cut my cable services.

    But I knew we couldn’t go without watching television at all because watching the same DVDs over and over again would get tiring eventually. So I had to come up with some realistic, yet inexpensive alternatives. After talking to several friends and family members, I found that there were several free and affordable options to keeping up with current movies, shows, and news. Below are some of those options:

    Free Digital Television

    I wasn’t aware that I was able to get a lot of the local channels for free! Channels like FOX, ABC, and CBS could all be watched from my television set without me having to pay a cent. All I needed to invest in was the appropriate antenna for my television set which ran me about $15.

    Now, before you start having flashbacks to when you were children and had to keep the antenna just so to get clear reception, times have changed and so has the technology. The antenna works fairly well and gave a pretty clear view. I was able to catch up on some of my weekly shows and watch the news every morning without fail.

    The Internet

    Another alternative for watching some of the most current television shows, news, and movies was the internet. I was completely unaware of how many networks have websites that will showcase full episodes of television series that both I and my family enjoy.

    I was able to simply find a network I was interested in, search for the show, and begin watching it right from my computer or mobile device. I will say that sometimes the current shows took several days from their actual air date to show up online, but when something is this affordable, who’s going to complain?

    Streaming Set-Top Boxes

    There are various service providers that offer affordable methods for watching the latest shows, movies, and news directly on your television set. Set-top boxes are connected to your television and have a predetermined amount of networks for you to choose from. These shows will stream directly to your television. Most of the popular shows and movies are available for viewing instantly or the next day. Of course the cost of these set-top boxes and monthly subscription services can vary, but it isn’t a large investment and is certainly a lot cheaper than paying for cable services each month.

    Television/Movie Streaming Services

    Another affordable alternative to cable television is with a subscription to a television and/or moving streaming service provider. Such subscriptions give you access to television series and movies (old and new) to watch instantly. The great thing about these services is that you can utilize them anywhere you have an internet connection.

    Many of these subscription services can be viewed online, from your cell phone, and even through your gaming console. In fact, the other day, my children and I were able to watch Rainbow Brite online, which was one of my favorite cartoon characters growing up. It was great being able to share such an experience with them at our leisure. We even have a weekly family movie night and I allow the kids to take turns choosing which movie we’ll watch.

    HDMI Cable

    As I stated before, a lot of television shows, news broadcasts, sporting events, and more can be found online free of charge. So, if you really want to save additional money without having to pay for too many subscription services, you could always opt to invest in an HDMI cable. These cables make it possible for you to hook up your laptop, desktop, or mobile device directly to the television set. Often these cords can be found cheap online for a minimal investment (in fact, we got one for about $20).

    Each of these options provided our household with the means to stay in the loop with current events, shows, and movies, without having to pay the cost of cable services. Over the course of a three-month period, I was about to save approximately $300, which was put towards our emergency savings fund! Enter for a chance to win one of twenty $50 Macy’s gift cards

    This post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you for using them! All opinions are honest and my own. You can read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    Macy's HotTicket Giveaway

    Through February 25, you can enter for a chance to win one of twenty $50 Macy’s Gift Cards from The official rules are here. Good luck!

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    Your Family Finances: What’s Necessary vs. What’s Not

    The following is a post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.

    Raising a family is expensive. That’s why it’s important for you to be able to manage your finances. If you find that you’re living paycheck to paycheck, or you’re regularly dipping into your savings to cover the cost of things, you need to take a look at your finances.

    The first step is to take a hard look at what you’re spending money on. Track your expenses for one month. Once you see what you’ve spent money on, you’ll know where you need to cut back.

    Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking something is necessary when it’s actually not. There is a fine line between two, but that line is still distinguishable. Here are some clear rules for five categories families tend to spend the most money in:

    Saving Money on Food

    You can cut down on your grocery bills significantly by examining the way you grocery shop. Sometimes using coupons to shop isn’t enough. You may need to switch where you shop. There are many stores that offer brand name items for less than their competitors. Perhaps you can shop at one of those stores.

    Money magazine offers 29 other ways that you can save on groceries. One of their suggestions is to look for substitutes. Instead of buying the name brand product, see if the store brand is comparable. Often times, the store brand will have the exact same ingredients as the name brand item, but it will be far cheaper. Most of the time the taste is similar to their competitor’s product, so you shouldn’t hear any complaints from your family.

    Another suggestion is to eat before you shop. Studies have shown that people buy more food when they’re hungry. This is because they’re in an irrational state, so they are more likely to spend money on items that aren’t on their list.

    Save on Clothes

    Name brand clothes and shoes are not cheap. You can save money on both by shopping at thrift stores or outlets. Outlets usually take their overstock and sell them at discounted prices. Almost all name brands have an outlet, so if there is one near you, take advantage of it.

    You can find nice quality clothing and unique pieces for a steal at thrift stores. It is not unusual to find an expensive item for pennies on the dollar. You can also find your basics, like t-shirts, tights and socks, for cheap in thrift stores too.

    The most important rule, though, is don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. Not unless you absolutely need it. This may be a hard habit to break, but sticking to your needs can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

    Downsize If You Can

    How much are you spending on rent or a mortgage? Can you possibly move to a smaller place and still be comfortable?

    I know it’s a touchy subject for a lot of families. We want our children to grow up in big houses with nice yards that they can play in. But if we can’t afford those things, or they are becoming too difficult to pay for, it may be time to downsize.

    It may be completely out of the question for some, but if you can consider it, you should, especially if your family doesn’t need that much room in the first place. You can literally save thousands a year if you move into a smaller place.

    Of course, that shouldn’t be the only reason you move, and moving is a family decision. Discuss it first. Make sure it’s a viable option before you commit to it.

    Bundle Your Insurance

    Insurance is necessary for every family, but the type of insurance you have may need to be re-examined. If you have several different insurance providers, see if you can bundle your insurance. Most providers will give you discounts if you get multiple types of insurance from them.

    This applies to medical, dental and vision as much as home, renters and vehicle insurance. Even less-common packages like motorcycle insurance can easily be combined with car and house insurance to create discounts in the hundreds. It’s also easier to go through one provider for your insurance than it is to go through two or three.

    Following these guidelines should help you save a significant amount of money a month. Even if it’s only $50, that’s an extra $600 a year.

    Be sure to spend your saved money wisely. Remember, the goal is to manage your finances responsibly. Extra money shouldn’t be spent frivolously. You have to stick with your new financial habits in order to be successful.