GuyDidAsk Tip #34 Contribute to the Dependent care FSA

Maxing out your dependant care FSA can save major tax dollars.

If you utilize day care or babysitting services, you should consider using the pre-tax dependent care Flexible Spending Account. You can contribute any amount up to $5,000 for married couples and a maximum of $2,500 if you are a single parent. The Dependent care FSA allows a larger portion of your paycheck to pay for the care of your child under 13, as well as adult dependents if necessary. The child care provider must be “on the books” to utilize the FSA for payment and the funds must be used before the end of the year or they expire. When your child gets older, you can also use Dependent care for other eligible expenses such as summer day-camp. (As always, consult with your HR Rep or an advisor before making financial decisions).

Dad Tip #33 Download grocery/pharmacy and big box store apps for discounts –

Grocery store dairy section.

If you absolutely despise clipping physical coupons, remembering to bring them with you and using them before they expire, then this might be a wise strategy for you. The majority of major grocery store chains and pharmacies now have apps with keyword searchable coupons that you can add and apply automatically with one scan. You will often find multiple discounts on diapers, wipes, toiletries and other baby related items that add up to significant savings over time.

If you’re waiting in a check out line, instead of checking sports scores, texts or social media, use apps that will actually save you money.

Dad Tip #32 Clean bottles and sippy cups thoroughly

Baby milk bottle on beige background

Anything that your child drinks out of must be cleaned with soap, water, cleaning brush and bottle cleaner almost every time. This seems obvious, but many sippy cups have semi-hidden compartments that trap liquid and can start to grow mildew if left unscrubbed. As your child grows and uses sippy cups more frequently, use a thin straw cleaning brush to make sure the soap is properly washed out.

Dad Tip #31 – Make sure you refill the diaper bag with all of the necessary items.

A baby diaper bag
Rockstar dads fill diaper bags.

Diapers and wipes run out, toys and snacks get moved from place to place. It’s important to refill the diaper bag to ensure you have everything you need before you leave the house. Make sure to also include a backup outfit for baby in case of spills.

New Dad tip #30 – Google the phrase “diaper coupon code”

There a number of diaper rewards programs with a multitude of manufacturers that are fighting for new parent loyalty. While it feels like you have a million things to do, if you take a few minutes to Join Diaper Rewards coupon clubs you’ll get savings pretty quickly.

image of dollar bills
There are tons of coupon codes for new parents.
Don’t leave money on the table.

Dad Tip #29 – Use Alexa “Drop-in” or Google Home Broadcast to communicate with your partner

Image of a Google Mini
These devices can work like a Walkie Talkie

While a large number of people have mixed feelings about these smart speakers, I find that they can help play a critical role in the process of communication with your partner. Imagine this. You’re in the baby’s room playing with toys and the baby is smiling and laughing. All of a sudden, you discover a poopy diaper. As the baby is laying on the changing pad, with diaper open and poop bordering the edges of the diaper core, you find out you are down to your last wipe. You call your partner to bring you the spare wipes, but she may not be able to hear you in the other room. When you’re stuck in place or not able to freely move, you can use smart speakers like a walkie talkie throughout the house. It’s a great option when your hands are full of spit up, poop or other baby fluids and you may not want to text or make a call on your phone to reach out to someone.

Dad Tip #28 – Use silence as a consequence

Think about the background noise as you are speaking with your child.

Your children respond to music and sound just like we do. Saying “stop” or “no” is not as effective if you have the TV in the background, nursery rhymes playing off a device, or your child is holding a stuffed animal that talks or makes noise. When your child starts moving independently and you’re trying to shape behavior and teach lessons, try turning the TV or music off before you do. A stern voice in silence beats yelling in noise