Spendy Babies!

In reading a recent article (Million Dollar Babies, by Pamela Paul), I was struck–shocked, really–by this advice: “Most financial advisers urge parents to set aside a minimum of $1,000 per child a month” for college savings.

Have you all gotten back up in your chairs yet?

And yet, when I zipped over to the College Board’s handy tuition savings calculator, I was astounded to see that, in order to pay for basic in-state tuition at a state school for a kid starting college in 15 years, I should be saving over $400 a month right now. For #2, starting college in 17 years, I should be saving $400 a month. That’s $800 a month I should be saving right now for college.

I don’t know if I should be laughing or crying right now…

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Wherefore art thou, 2008?

It's April already! I can't believe it! Where is 2008 going? Well, that's a good question on a larger, deeper level, but what I really mean is, where is the time flying? Seriously. I have so many ideas for new posts, so many drafts waiting to be posted…and here it is, weeks without anything new. Sigh. If anyone is reading, my apologies! I'll try to get some of my posts out there over the next couple days.

New York, New York!

A recent family trip to New York city (thank you, work-sponsored conference!) leaves me with a few quick tips to share. At teh outset I was so nervous about taking the whole family–I was sure that no one would sleep, we’d be thrown out of restaurants for rowdy behavior, we’d all be exhausted the whole time…I could not have been more wrong. It was a dream trip in pretty much every way, although I think probably 90% of the success is due to where we stayed–never underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep for keeping everyone happy!

Where to Stay:
We stayed in the Beacon Hotel (Broadway & 75th, Upper West Side) for a little over $1,000 (including all room taxes & fees) for 3 nights in a one-bedroom suite. With two double beds in the bedroom and a pull-out sofa bed in the living room, plus a nice travel crib from the hotel (free!), we were able to fit my husband and I, our 3 year old, our 18 month old, and my parents, easily. We were in easy walking distance of several playgrounds, Central Park, the Natural History Museum, and other sights. The staff was helpful and nice, but the best part was tucking the kids into bed, leaving gramma and grampa in the living room, and mommy and daddy taking off to have coffee and dessert in a near-by coffee shop. Alone! An actual date! We did this twice, equaling more dates in one week than we’d had in the entire previous year. The room also had a kitchen with an apartment-sized stove (oven and range top), microwave, sink, and refrigerator. All this for $280-300 a night! (Different rates on different nights). I was amazed.

Across the street from the hotel was a large market, with the upstairs serving food all day. We had a reasonable breakfast there one day, and were able to pick up snacks, sugar, etc. when we needed something. Next door was a diner-type place; we had two breakfasts there and they were great with the kids.

Gear You Need:
We took two, cheapo umbrella strollers. With 4 and sometimes 5 adults, we figured we could more easily take turns pushing than want to mess around with a double stroller. Even our $10 consignment sale strollers held up fine over lots of walking on uneven terrain, except at the very end when one of the wheels came off (but we were traversing the cobblestones down around the bull statue at Wall Street, so I think that was pushing our luck!)

We borrowed a hotel crib and took our pack-n-play (we drove up and had enough room in our van for it) and although our 3 year old has a toddler bed at home, he slept just fine in the crib.

Happy travels!