Category Archives: People

How Much Do Singing Lessons Cost

If you want to improve your vocal talent, it may be time to get the help of singing lessons. Singing lessons have a primary goal of helping students in developing good tone, pitch, intonation, volume, posture, emphasis, voice quality, breath control, and relaxation. So taking some time in a week to let a professional guide you can be worth every penny and every sweat in the end. Take a look at how much do singing lessons cost today.

The Cost Of Singing Lessons

The typical cost of singing lessons is $20 to $35.

This price refers to a half-hour session that includes the following:

  • warm-up exercises
  • technical practice
  • singing your own song selections
  • professional feedback on your singing skill and style

Initially, the price will include a free consultation so the teacher can determine your singing range and potential. This will help the teacher know which class you must take and what techniques you must master to improve your vocal talent.

Factors Affecting The Cost Of Singing Lessons

Instructor. The experience and qualification of the instructor giving you singing lessons will greatly affect the cost of vocal lessons. Highly-professional instructors usually charge $100 to $200 or even more per hour of singing lessons.

Facility. The reputation of the music school you choose is also a major cost factor. Reputable and credible schools usually charge more as compared to relatively new schools in the music industry.

Class duration. The price quoted above refers to a half-hour singing lesson. Getting longer lessons will mean a higher cost. Expect to pay $30 the least for singing lessons that are an hour or more long.

Student. The vocal capacity of the student will determine what kind of lesson he must take. For instance, beginners are usually suggested to take half-hour lessons. Hence, they can expect to spend minimum charges for their lessons. On the other hand, more advanced students may be required to get lessons with longer hours. Therefore, they will be charged higher.

Frequency. Of course, the more sessions you attend in a week, the more you have to spend for your singing lessons. Some programs will require you three half-hour sessions in a week. If the price per half-hour is $30, you’ll likely spend $90 for the whole week.

Type of session. Singing lessons can be done in a regular class or in a private manner. The latter is usually the more expensive option. This is especially true if you require the instructor to go to your home instead of you going to the facility for the singing lessons.

Additional Costs

Some music instructors or schools do not offer a free initial consultation. If this is the case, expect to pay $10 to $40 extra for the consultation.

Music books and sheet music will be an extra cost when taking singing lessons. Expect to spend around $50 to $150 per year on these items.

Recitals and competitions usually charge fees starting from $2 but can go as high as $200 for more prestigious events.

Tips Before You Get A Singing Lesson

Set up your goals prior to enrolling to a singing lesson. Do you wish to sing like a pro or you simply want to improve your singing? Knowing your goals will help you find an appropriate singing class or lesson as well as instructor for you. Plus, having a goal in mind can help you gain success in every singing lesson you pay for.

Ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues on good music schools or music teachers offering singing lessons. You may also consider asking local music stores or the church choir director for recommendations.

Check the experience and qualifications of the instructor or the school of your choice. Skills and experiences are very important to ensure that their lessons will be effective in reaching out the goals of their students.

Only trust an instructor who can give you a decent and fair feedback about your voice and talent. Also, during the consultation, analyze whether or not the instructor is someone you are comfortable to work with. A very professional yet friendly instructor oftentimes offers the best results to students.

Compare rates of several instructors prior to making a decision. However, don’t focus too much on the price. Take note that the qualifications and experiences of the instructor must also count when making a choice. You can also consider asking the instructors to talk to some of their students to get their feedback about their lessons and their way of teaching.

Get singing lessons that you can attend to without trouble. Get a schedule that won’t bother your other activities such as school, work, or family activities. Plan your schedule ahead of time so you don’t end up missing your singing classes.

If you have trouble with your time, you can consider online singing lessons. Most of the lessons can be downloaded in the Internet or can be played in a CD or DVD. This kind of singing lesson gives flexibility to students as they can achieve their vocal goals anytime and anywhere they want.

Jessie Ware
Photo by Passetti

Questions To Ask A Singing Instructor

Did you know that the wrong choice of singing instructor can ruin your singing lesson goals no matter how expensive you pay for it? Hence, it is very important that you take time searching for the right instructor. Here are a few questions you can ask a singing teacher to see whether or not it is a good idea to choose his singing lessons:

  • What are your qualifications? Take note that this must refer to the singing and teaching qualifications of the instructor.
  • How do you conduct your singing lessons? It is important that you have a very good view of how he conducts the lessons so you can evaluate whether or not it will work for you. If he has a syllabus of his singing lessons, ask him to see it. Or, you can ask him to see one of his classes.
  • What is your field of specialization? Is singing really his specialization or is it just playing musical instruments. What kind of music does he do or teach best (jazz, blues, classical, etc.)?
  • Where do you conduct your lessons? See if the teacher has a proper studio for his classes. Take note that most of the time, a good studio makes all the difference.

How Much Do Helium Balloons Cost

Helium balloons are interesting in their very own way. Having gas inside that is lighter than the surrounding air, helium balloons have the amazing capacity to float on air. This fact and the natural charm of balloons make them popular decorations and additions in most parties such as birthdays, weddings, and other special events.

The Cost Of Helium Balloons

The cost of helium-filled balloons ranges from $0.50 to $13 per piece.

This estimate refers to ordering a piece of a helium-filled balloon from a party supply store. The balloon can be latex or Mylar (foil).

Factors Affecting The Cost Of Helium Balloons

Type. As mentioned above, helium-filled balloons can be latex or Mylar. The latter is basically the more expensive type with prices ranging from $1 to $13 per piece. On the other hand, latex balloons cost around $0.50 to $1 per piece only.

Size. The bigger the helium-balloon of your choice is, the more expensive it usually costs. For instance, normal-sized Mylar balloons cost $1 to $4 and oversized ones can cost anywhere from $7 to $13 and can even go as high as $15 per piece.

Shape. What makes Mylar balloons a better option at times is the fact that they come in various shapes. They can be shaped like a car, a cartoon character, or just about anything else. Shaped balloons like this usually start at $7 each.

Number of balloons. The number of helium balloons in one order can greatly affect prices. Most party supply stores give a discount for bulk orders. Some party supply stores even charge per dozen.

Store. The cost of helium-filled balloons varies per store as well. This can be true because of the quality of the balloons they use, their local competitions, and a lot of other factors.

Additional Costs

To keep arrangements tied together on the ground for decorating purposes, balloon weights are oftentimes necessary. These weights cost around $1 per piece at party stores.

The Cost Of DIY Helium Balloons

Instead of purchasing helium-filled balloons, it is possible for you to make your very own helium balloons. You simply have to rent or buy a helium tank and purchase latex or foil balloons. However, you must take note that this is only a practical approach when you need a lot of helium balloons at once or you intend to need a lot of helium balloons every now and then. Here are the costs involved in making your own helium-filled balloons:

  • A small disposable helium tank usually costs $30 to $70. This tank is enough to fill 50 latex balloons or 20 standard Mylar balloons. Shipping is usually extra but some stores can offer free shipping.
  • Buying a large helium tank will cost from $145 to $400 for 55 and 275 balloons respectively. Refilling helium tanks is usually $5 to $25 cheaper than renting the same kind and size of tank from a store. In line with the purchase, you have to get an inflator or regulator attachment that costs $20 to $225 extra.
  • Renting a helium tank to fill 100 to 500 latex balloons will cost you $35 to $200. The helium tank rental will come with an inflator or regulator for regulating the air and filling up the balloons.
  • For renting helium tanks, the store will usually require $50 to $200 deposit.
  • A replacement fee is expected to be collected if the valve is broken or if the cap is lost.
  • Standard unfilled latex balloons costs 7 to 30 cents per piece while printed or customized ones can cost from 50 cents to a dollar each. Unfilled Mylar balloons, on the other hand, range from $0.50 to $9 per piece.

Tips Before You Buy Helium Balloons

Check out different party supply stores and compare prices on helium-filled balloons. Check out the availability of colors, sizes, and shapes of balloons as well.

Know what kind and how many pieces of balloons you need for the occasion. This will help you get a better deal when shopping for helium balloons. Take note that ordering more balloons will likely land you a better discount.

When trying to rent or buy a helium tank, make sure you know how many balloons the tank can fill. Calculate where you can really save money.

Ask local party stores for local helium tank rental companies. They will for sure recommend a reliable company with good quality equipment. Most of the time, these local party stores rent tanks from the same provider they will be referring you to.

Keep in mind that helium can be a potential hazardous material. Hence, extreme care is necessary when handling a helium tank. Follow all safety regulations provided by the rental company especially when transporting and using the tank.

Photo by warrenski

How To Make Helium Balloons At Home

  1. Set up your helium tank first. Make sure it is upright and set on a flat surface. Check the tank as well for any leak or damage. If you notice any, immediately contact the rental store or manufacturer.
  2. Attach the balloon regulator to the helium tank.
  3. To start the balloon making process, get one deflated balloon and place its neck on the regulator. Make sure the tank’s valve is pointing away from you.
  4. Slowly turn the handle of the tank counterclockwise. This will open the tank and the balloon will start to inflate.
  5. Once the balloon is filled up to your desired size, pinch its neck and remove it from the regulator. Tie the end of the balloon to make sure the helium won’t escape. Don’t forget to close the valve, by the way, so you don’t waste any helium.
  6. Tie a ribbon or string around the neck of the balloon. You may want to tie the other end of the ribbon on a chair or any other object to prevent it from floating away. This is especially true if you are outdoors. On the other hand, if your ceiling is low, you can let every filled balloon float up to the ceiling and grab them later.
  7. Continue repeating steps 3 to 6 until you have enough balloon to use for the occasion.

How Much Does A Baby Cost

Having a baby is something that must be carefully planned. A little angel coming into your home is surely a joy, but what you must know is that having a baby can be very expensive. Take note that the cost of having a baby starts from pre-natal care up to raising him until he is 17. So before you decide to have a baby, get to know first the costs involved in having one.

Typical Cost Of A Baby

The typical cost of a baby is $15,000 to $26,000 for the first year.

This price includes the following:

  • Pre-natal care ($1,000 to $3,000). This includes ultrasound and other tests, prenatal vitamins, food, and the like.
  • Delivery ($5,000 to $12,000). The lower range is for normal delivery while the upper range is for caesarian delivery.
  • First year costs ($9,000 to $11,000). This includes diapers, formula, baby gear, clothing, healthcare, childcare, etc.)

How Much Does A Baby Cost Per Month

To give you an idea on how much you have to prepare for your baby every month, we have listed how much a baby cost per month. This, however, refers to the first-year costs only.

  • Formula. This is usually the biggest expense per month when you have a baby. This can range from $75 to $100 per month. If you breastfeed, you can expect not to pay anything for this category.
  • Diapers. A newborn baby may need eight to 15 diapers a day. For a whole month, this can cost $60 to $115.
  • Healthcare. A visit to the pediatrician is always necessary for a newborn baby. You can allot $25 to $50 per month in this category.
  • Miscellaneous. Other things you have to consider when dealing with a baby include baby lotion, oil, powder, vitamins, soap, and the like. Allot around $50 for these things per month. You may also need wipes ($15 per month) and baby detergent and dishwasher soap ($15 per month).

Check out this summary of monthly expenses for your baby:

Formula $75-$100
Diapers $60-$115
Healthcare $25-$50
Miscellaneous $80
TOTAL $240-$345 per month

Factors That Affect The Price Of A Baby

Insurance. Your health insurance coverage can greatly affect costs here, especially when speaking of pre-natal tests and delivery. You will likely pay half or less than half of the total cost of having a baby here. Say or example if you are covered by medical insurance, you will likely pay $2,000 worth of out-of-pocket costs for a normal delivery.

Delivery. The way you deliver your baby can basically affect prices here. A normal delivery can start from $5,000 to $8,000 while a caesarian delivery can already cost double.

First year expenses. The living expenses for your newborn have a lot to say with the cost of a baby. Your choices here can either make the cost of a baby higher or lower. For instance, your choice of diapers can have a big impact here. High quality diapers can cost double the amount of ordinary ones. The same is true for your choice of toys, clothes, gears, and the like. If you can get old clothes and not rely on new clothes for the baby all the time, the cost will definitely go lower.

Location. Your geographical location can also affect prices here. In areas where the cost of living is high, expect that baby costs will be high as well. This is as compared to living in rural areas where the price of baby items, healthcare, childcare, and other essentials are cheaper.

Additional Costs

Getting ready for the arrival of a baby can be a hard task, especially for first-time mothers. Hence, childbirth education may be necessary. This works to prepare the mother for the baby and educate her when it comes to delivery, breastfeeding, and childcare. Childbirth education may cost $50 to $200.

Maternity dress can also be an extra cost when having a baby. Though not usually high, this is something that you must prepare for still.

The living expenses of your baby after the first year are not included in the price of having a baby quoted above. You can expect to spend $100,000 to $250,000 for raising a child until he reaches the age of 17. This includes foods, healthcare, childcare, education, shelter, transportation, and the like but does not include college education yet.

Photo by World Bank Photo Collection

Tips Before You Decide To Have A Baby

Prepare your finances first. Take note that having a baby can cost a lot of money and the best way to conquer this problem is to be prepared with your finances. Start saving up and make sure you have enough money to cover all the expenses when having a baby. This will not only make your life smoother but also make your baby’s life better.

You may want to get rid of your excess debts so you can very well prepare for the coming of your little angel. A budget that is free from debts can help you start over with your baby.

Take note that baby costs differs from one person to another. So, you may want to know actual costs in your situation prior to having a baby. You may ask friends and family members who have recently had a baby and check out how much it is costing them from hospital bills to daily expenses.

Get a good healthcare coverage to prepare for your pregnancy and delivery. Know your current healthcare plan and see whether it is enough or not to cover baby costs. If it’s not, consider switching to a better insurance coverage plan.

Emotionally prepare yourself for having a baby. This must be true for both parents. A well-prepared couple can better take in the responsibility of being loving and caring parents for the baby.

Understand that having a baby is not a one-time thing. The cost extends for several years after he is born. Hence, make sure you are prepared mentally, financially, and emotionally for your child and the responsibility it entails through the coming years.

How Much Does It Cost To Throw A Sweet 16 Party

For a girl, turning 16 is a very important milestone that is worth celebrating. Most girls and their parents will dream of throwing a sweet 16 party to mark the coming of age of new responsibilities, more maturity, and coming closer to adulthood. Whether it is a simple gathering or a lavish sweet 16 party, celebrating this special occasion can mark the girl’s life forever.

The Cost Of A Sweet 16 Party

The usual cost of a sweet 16 party is $300 to $25,000.

The lower end of the spectrum refers to informal gatherings like sleepovers and karaoke nights. The higher end, on the other hand, refers to moderate parties such as a formal ball. The price includes foods, decorations, entertainment, party favors, dress, and other party essentials.

Factors Affecting The Cost Of Throwing A Sweet 16 Party

Type of party. What kind of sweet 16 party are you trying to host? The kind of party you prepare will basically determine party costs. For instance, a casual sleepover party can cost around $300 to $500 only. This price includes sandwiches, cake, breakfast for the next morning, games, and prizes that are good for 20 people. On the other hand, hosting a formal ball can cost $10,000 to $25,000 or even more. This price includes catering, invitations, dress, entertainment, party favors, and decorations good for 100 or more guests. There are even high-end sweet 16 birthday parties that can cost as much as $200,000 or even more.

Number of guests. Like all other parties, the more guests you have in attendance, the more expensive the overall expenses will be. When speaking of food alone, formal dinners usually cost $50 to $150 per guest. If you have 50 guests, you can expect to pay $2,500 to $7,500 on food alone. On the other hand, if you have 100 guests, you’ll spend $5,000 to $15,000 on catering alone. This is without mentioning yet that the more guests you have, the more invitations you need and the bigger the venue you need.

Food. The kind of food you intend to serve during the party will greatly affect the overall cost of the sweet 16 party. For instance, if you serve snacks, you’ll end up spending less to feed your guests as compared to serving lunch or dinner. Moreover, serving food buffet style will be cheaper as compared to a seat-in dinner.

Cake. The cake is oftentimes a centerpiece to any sweet 16 party. Indeed, a lot of hosts invest on a well-decorated cake for the party. The more layers and the more intricate the design of the cake is, the more expensive it goes.

Venue. The venue can be free of charge if you host the sweet 16 party at home. However, you may also spend hourly rentals on restaurants or bars for the party. There are even parties that are held on a yacht or a boat, which basically increases the total cost of throwing the party. The same is true for renting a movie theater, a resort, or a villa by the beach. Some sweet 16 parties are held in hotels and can be as extravagant as a lavish wedding reception.

Decorations. Depending on the theme of the sweet 16 party, you may spend as little as $20 to as much as $200 or even more for the decorations. Formal gatherings may require balloons, fresh flowers, centerpieces, and other decors, which can all add up to the cost of the party. Some informal parties may require minimal decorations such as a few balloons and a personalized banner only.

Entertainment. For more formal events, entertainment is usually essential. Some hire live bands while others go for a professional DJ. For uniquely-themed sweet 16 parties, entertainment costs may include hiring karaoke, video games, and the like.

Invitations. Sweet 16 party invitations can range from $1 to $3 per guest depending on the size and the design of the card. The number of cards you need can also affect pricing.

Additional Costs

Expect to spend extra for your gift for the birthday celebrant.

Postage of the invitations to guests will also be extra.

Hiring a party planner will also be an added expense in your part.

 Danielle's Sweet 16
Photo by joshbousel

Tips Before You Throw A Sweet 16 Party

Know how much your budget is for the sweet 16 party. It is important that you set your budget early on so you can plan the party better. Tell your daughter about this budget so both of you know your limitations when planning the party.

Talk with your daughter about the kind of party she wants. Since it is her birthday, you might as well get her insight about the party she feels like having. You can talk about party ideas and let her pick the one she wants. However, remind her of your budget so she does not end up picking something that your budget cannot afford.

Complete the guest list as easily as possible. This will guide you through closing deals with the caterer, the venue, and other details of the sweet 16 party.

Shop for a sweet 16 venue if you are not doing it at home. Look at different options and compare prices as well as the convenience being offered by the venue. Reserve the venue of your choice as early as possible so you can set up your invitations and save the date cards.

If the date of the party is at a busy time of the year, send save the date cards or emails to your guests to ensure that they’ll reserve the date for you.

Depending on the kind of party you are hosting, finalize your menu. If you are planning to cook the food yourself, write down your menu and create a budget. Then, set a date near the party to buy things for the menu. On the other hand, if you are hiring a caterer, shop around for different vendors. Schedule a taste test before finalizing the menu. Once you have chosen a caterer, make sure to get a written contract detailing the menu and a lot of other important information.

Shop around for other vendors such as photographers, entertainment, and the like. Get price quotes from different vendors and choose one not only based on price but as well as the inclusions in the package and the reputation of the vendor.

Set the itinerary of the party, especially if you have not hired a party planner. Know what time the food will be served and a lot of other details such as cutting the cake, starting the dance, and starting the games or entertainment.

Sweet 16 Party Ideas For Every Budget

Check out the following party ideas you can consider for a sweet 16 party starting from budget ideas to more luxurious ones:

Budget Party Ideas

  • Chocolate party. There really is nothing sweeter to help celebrate a sweet 16 party than chocolates. You can consider chocolate-themed foods, invitations, activities, and even activities. You can have a chocolate fountain, chocolate cake, and a lot of other sweet desserts.
  • Bonfire party. If you have a spacious backyard, a bonfire party is always a good sweet 16 treat. Your girl can invite her friends and you can treat them with hotdogs and s’mores.
  • Murder mystery party. You can find murder mystery party kits these days that you can use to provide great adventure and entertainment on a sweet 16 party. Kits are inexpensive and for sure, the teens will have fun solving crimes and dressing in character.

Moderate Party Ideas

  • Desert island party. Teens will for sure enjoy a party that is based on the popular survival game show. Prepare various challenges such as obstacle courses and relays. You can have a luau theme in line with this party idea.
  • Craft party. If your teen has an artistic flare, a craft party is a good choice. Activities like candle making and tie-dying will for sure be a source of fun and entertainment.
  • Hollywood party. If your teen loves movies, go for a Hollywood-inspired party. You may need to rent an LCD projector and play a movie of your teen’s choice. You can decorate the venue like a theater to give them the real movie theater ambiance. You can even ask guests to dress like their most favorite movie characters.
  • Extreme party. If your teen likes extreme sports, you may want to treat her and her friends to activities like bungee jumping, rock climbing, paintball, laser tag, hot air balloons, and horseback riding.

Luxury Party Ideas

  • Beach or campout party. Why not go to the beach or up the mountains for an overnight campout? You can invite your girl’s friends and their parents and take along games, campfire, food, and stories.
  • Pool party. If you have a pool at home, a pool party is a great idea, especially if you have an under-the-sea or luau theme. If you don’t have a pool at home, consider renting out an indoor or outdoor pool.
  • Amusement park. Bring the teens to an amusement or water park and allow them to enjoy lots of rides and foods.
  • Dance party. Book a bar for a private dance party. You may check out special rates for large parties.
  • Spa party. Invite your girl’s closest friends and take them to a spa and let them enjoy manicures, pedicures, massage, hairstyling, and makeup. Or, you can hire spa professionals to come to your home for an all-girl spa party.

How Much Does A Bar Mitzvah Cost

A bar mitzvah marks the person’s acceptance of the responsibility to observe Jewish commandments. This is done upon a Jew’s 12th (girls) or 13th (boys) birthday. When a Jew reaches this milestone, a bar mitzvah ceremony is done as part of the ritual of the congregation. However, keep in mind that a bar mitzvah can invite a lot of expenses in your part, especially for the reception after the ceremony. Learn how much you have to spend for a bar mitzvah.

The Cost Of A Bar Mitzvah

The typical cost of a bar mitzvah ranges from $2,500 to $30,000.

This price refers to the cost of holding a bar mitzvah reception after the ceremony. The estimate quoted above already includes catering, entertainment, venue, decorations, cakes, invitations, and photography. Check out a detailed list of cost estimates of the different expenses in relation to a bar mitzvah party:

  • Catering ($15 to $125 per guest)
  • Cake ($.35 to $4 per slice)
  • Venue rental ($250 to $2,500)
  • Entertainment ($200 to $2,000)
  • Invitations ($1 to $5 per guest)
  • Photographer ($500 to $3,000)

Factors Affecting The Cost Of A Bar Mitzvah

Number of guests. The number of people you invite for a bar mitzvah reception will greatly affect the total cost of the bar mitzvah. For food alone, the more guests you have, the more expensive catering costs will become. Say for instance you have invited 50 people for the reception. If catering costs $50 per guest, expect to spend $2,500 on catering alone. Take note that the number of guests will also affect the cost of venue, cake, and invitations.

Quality of food. The type of food you choose is also a major cost factor, especially on the cost of catering. A complete-course meal will definitely cost more as compared to simple chicken meals. Moreover, a lunch meal will be more expensive as compared to snacks. Depending on your choice of food you want to be served to your guests, you can spend little or a lot on food alone. Also, the cost of catering increases if you choose to serve alcohol to adults. Choosing tiered cakes or carefully decorated cakes will also increase the cost of your expenses on food.

Venue. Where will the bar mitzvah reception be held? Depending on your choice, the venue can be cheap or expensive. You can have it free if you plan to do it in your backyard. Plan to spend a little for renting a small restaurant for a couple of hours, but expect to spend more for renting a five-star hotel function room. Also, the size of the venue and the length of time you rent it will affect rental costs.

Type of reception. A formal bar mitzvah party will definitely cost more because the atmosphere of a formal-themed party affects most of your choices. For instance, formal parties call for five-course meals and good quality foods and drinks. This is without mentioning yet that it requires a high class venue and great entertainment.

Choice of entertainment. Will you be hiring a band or a DJ for entertainment? It usually is cheaper to hire a DJ as compared to hiring a live band during the reception party. The reputation and experiences of the band or DJ can greatly affect hourly rates. However, take note that simply renting equipment to play music will be cheaper as compared to hiring anyone for the entertainment.

Photographer. Your choice of photographer will determine how much photography costs will be. Professional ones will usually charge more for their hourly rates as compared to amateur ones. Also, different packages are offered at different prices. A usual package of four hours of professional shooting, a photo album, and digital images can be around $500 to $800 already.

Time of day/time of year. Most events are cheaper during off-season months like August and January. This is true because you can often get discounted rates for the venue rental, photography, entertainment, and even catering costs. Holding the bar mitzvah on a weekday will usually be cheaper as compared to holding it on a weekend. Moreover, a dinner reception will be typically more expensive as compared to lunch receptions.

Location. Your geographical location has a lot to say when speaking of the cost of a bar mitzvah. Areas with a high cost of living such as Manhattan and Los Angeles have higher bar mitzvah costs.

Additional Costs

It is a common tradition for the Jewish community to give the celebrated boy or girl a bar mitzvah gift. Getting a gift will cost you anywhere from $20 to $200 or even more. Most popular bar mitzvah gifts are jewelry, books, and accessories.

The family is expected to pay a bar mitzvah fee to the congregation. This covers the cost of the preparation of the student for the ceremony such as classes and workshops.

how much does a bar mitzvah cost
Photo by dremiel

Tips When Preparing For A Bar Mitzvah

Plan for the bar mitzvah party ahead of time. If you want to save on your expenses and find good value for your money, you must be planning the party long before it happens. Most of the time, a not well-planned party turns out to be a disaster and leaves the host with a lot of unexpected expenses in front of him.

Create a checklist when planning a bar mitzvah party to ensure you don’t forget anything.

Shop around for the different details of the bar mitzvah party. Check out and get price estimates from different catering services, reception venues, photographers, and the like. Checking the reputation and credibility of different services will help you choose the best services for the bar mitzvah party.

Consult your child about the kind of reception he or she wants. After all, it is his milestone to be celebrated.

Get a written contract for all the services that you are getting for the party. Make sure the contract has a detailed list of information regarding prices, time and date of the party, inclusions in the package, and the like.

Save Money On Your Bar Mitzvah Party

Some people spend too much for a bar mitzvah party. However, your child’s milestone will not be any less if you do it simply and cheaply. Here are some cost-cutting tips for your bar mitzvah reception party:

  • Plan your budget. How much are you willing to spend for the bar mitzvah party? Setting your budget in advance is essential to ensure that you don’t end up spending more than what you ought to spend. You can pick your priorities for the party and cross out things that won’t be that much necessary such as lavish invitations and cakes.
  • Cut the guest list. The shorter your guest list is, the more money you can save on the reception. Imagine, if you remove 10 people off your current guest list and you have food worth $50 per guest, you already will be saving $500 on your bill.
  • Don’t spend too much on invitations. Take note that you can do your invitations yourself for the bar mitzvah party. You simply have to print your designed invitations on your own printer. Going to a print shop and having an invitation printed will cost you up to $5 per guest. Doing the invitations yourself and adding a personal touch to it can mean $1 or less for each guest.
  • Choose the photography package real well. Do you really need a professional photographer for the bar mitzvah? If you have digital cameras, you can ask someone to be a photographer for a day for you. If you want a professional photographer, you must be careful when choosing a package. Skip the extra effects on the photo album as they tend to cost more. You may even skip the photo album and simply get digital copies of the images for you to print out later.
  • Go for cheaper decorations. Ask for cheaper flowers and other decors for the bar mitzvah reception. Some flowers will be a lot more expensive as compared to flowers that are in season. You may even want to choose silk flowers over fresh ones as they are cheaper.
  • Skip the fancy extras. Service upgrades will simply make the bar mitzvah party a lot more expensive in your part. Train yourself not to give into any kind of temptation like this. Hiring a videographer is usually an extra thing that is not that much important especially if you have hired a photographer already. Getting simple cakes will also save you a lot of money as compared to getting multi-tiered ones.
  • Plan the menu well. If you have a bar mitzvah reception dinner, go for three courses instead of serving five different courses. This will help cut down the cost of the food. Also, you may want to pick a snack or lunch reception over dinner as the menu will be a lot cheaper.
  • Order a smaller cake. The cake is usually a decoration in any reception. However, do you really have to spend too much for a well-decorated cake to serve everyone in attendance? Experts suggest ordering a small decorated cake that matches the theme of the party for display and have several sheet cakes in the kitchen to serve the guests.

How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Child

Even if adopting a child is a very selfless decision, adoption does not come cheap most of the time. Though some adoptions come free, other kinds of adoptions can cost thousands of dollars. So before you fully decide on adopting a child, find out the costs involved in adopting and see to it whether you can afford the process or not.

Typical Cost Of Adopting A Child

The cost of adoption depends on the type of adoption you are going for.

Foster care adoption costs $0 to $2,500.

Licensed private agency domestic adoptions cost $5,000 to $40,000+.

Independent domestic adoptions cost $8,000 to $40,000+.

Inter-country adoptions can start from $7,000 to $70,000.

Included In The Price Of Adopting A Child

All these prices include universal expenses for adopting a child such as legal expenses (court and lawyer) and home study expenses. There are adoption expenses, however, specific to each type of adoption such as the following:

  • Licensed private agency domestic adoptions include agency fees, birth parent counseling expenses, post-placement supervision, overhead and operating expenses, travel expenses, and processing of adoption requirements specific to the state.
  • Independent domestic adoptions include birthmother expenses.
  • Inter-country adoptions include agency fee, foster care, travel, escorting, medical care, and the like.

Factors That Affect The Price Of Adopting A Child

Age of the child. Adopting a baby usually costs more as compared to adopting an older child. Learn more on how much it costs to adopt a baby.

Condition of the child. A child with no medical history and no health problems can cost more to adopt. This is true because application fees are lower when the child becomes more difficult to place. Since children with health problems and emotional, mental, and social problems are more difficult to place, their adoption fees are usually lower.

Geographical location. If you are considering domestic adoption, the cost of adopting a child can vary depending on your state. Rules, requirements, and fees vary from state to state usually. The same is true when speaking of inter-country adoptions. Some countries may have higher fees when it comes to adopting children. This is without mentioning yet your travel expenses to the specific country of your choice. For instance, in India, adoption costs start from $13,000 to $16,000 plus travel expenses while in Russia, the cost is around $50,000 plus travel.

Agency. Adoption agencies can be licensed or unlicensed. Obviously, licensed agencies collect higher fees than their counterparts. Moreover, the adoption fees collected by agencies depend usually on what they will be doing for you. If you delegate everything to the agency including looking for expectant mothers for you, the price will go higher as compared to finding an expectant mother yourself.

Additional Costs

Inter-country adoptions may mean more extra fees for you including processing of visas, food and accommodation expenses, and the like.

If you need to find prospective parents from whom you can adopt a baby from, advertisements can be a lot of help. Advertising costs start from $500 to $5,000.

Once the adoption is over, you have to pay for the living expenses of your child including foods, toys, clothing, healthcare, and education. The cost to raise a child is usually $8,000 to $23,000 a year.

how much does it cost to adopt a child
Photo by b00ng

Tips Before You Decide To Adopt A Child

Be very sure of your decision of adopting a child. Children up for adoption need a loving home so you and your spouse must be ready with your responsibility of giving not only a home but as well as love, care, and support to your child. Also, be prepared not only emotionally and mentally when adopting a child. You must be financially ready when adopting a child because raising a child can mean serious money in the way.

Go for the type of adoption that will be most convenient for you. You may want to compare the costs as well as processing time. Take note that when you go for an inter-country adoption, the price may be very expensive but you have an assurance that you get to keep the child before you even bring him home. On the other hand, domestic adoptions may be cheaper but you have to wait six months after bringing home the child before the adoption can be finalized.

If you are adopting a child through an agency, make sure to choose a licensed and reputable agency. A good agency can help you smoothly process the adoption as well as price you reasonably for the adoption. The same is true for inter-country adoptions.

If you want to adopt internationally, decide first the country where you want to adopt a child from. Compare costs, requirements, and details from one country to another so you can find the best destination to get your child from.

How Much Do Dress Alterations Cost

Did you find the perfect dress for you, but it doesn’t fit you perfectly? Don’t worry, an alteration can be your best approach towards making the dress fit, looking good, and finally taking advantage of your favorite dress. Dress alterations can be cheap or expensive depending on the type of job you want for the dress. So whether you have a prom dress, a wedding dress, or a casual dress that needs to be altered, find out how much this will cost you.

Typical Cost Of Dress Alterations

The usual cost of dress alterations is $20 to $100.

This price includes the fee for the seamstress in checking out what alterations are needed and finally doing the alteration.

Factors That Affect The Price Of Dress Alterations

Type of dress. A wedding dress is usually more expensive to alter as compared to prom or casual dresses. This is true because bridal dresses are more complicated in nature as compared to other kinds of dresses. Hemming a simple dress can be priced around $15 but hemming a wedding dress can run from $80 to as much as $200 especially for a multi-layered dress.

Type of alteration. The kind of alteration also determines prices. Hemming is usually a lot pricier as compared to other kinds of alterations such as shortening the sleeves, raising the shoulders, adding zippers, adding buttons, and the like.

Seamstress. Your choice of seamstress can also affect prices. Professional seamstresses working for a specialized company can price alterations higher as compared to seamstresses who are working at home. The geographical location also affects dress alteration prices.

Additional Costs

Buttons, fabrics, and other additions when altering a dress can be an extra cost. Seamstresses will usually charge you for these additions.

You may need the dress to be steamed or pressed after the alteration, especially if it is a wedding dress. This may be an extra cost of $40 to $90.

how much do dress alterations cost
Photo by MikeWebkist

Tips Before You Alter A Dress

When you purchase the dress and you see the need for alteration, ask the store if they do alteration jobs. More often than not, alterations in the store where you purchased the dress from are a lot better because the store will do everything for you to make you happy with the purchase. And since they carry the dress, they have better knowledge of the dress as compared to other seamstresses. Plus, you’ll likely get good discounts here.

Submit your dress for alteration only to professional, efficient, and skilled seamstresses. You do not want the seamstress to ruin your precious dress instead of actually helping you look better wearing it.

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Divorce

Getting a divorce is not an easy decision. The emotional aspect of a divorce alone can really take over during the decision-making process. Add this up to the financial matters of a divorce, everyone can really have great difficulty over pushing through with such decision.

Before you decide on getting a divorce, understand that this endeavor is not cheap. It can go even higher than what you have initially calculated it for. Here, read on and find out all costs involved when getting a divorce.

Typical Cost Of A Divorce

The cost of a divorce is usually dependent on what kind of divorce is taking place.

A simple or uncontested divorce can cost from $1,000 to $10,000.

A contested divorce, on the other hand, can start from $8,000 to $100,000 or even higher.

Included In The Price Of A Divorce

For a simple divorce, the price includes legal fees and disbursements. An uncontested divorce is an undefended divorce where there is no corollary relief claimed such as property support, custody matters, and other related matters.

A contested divorce, on the other hand, includes professional fees for the lawyer and accountant, court proceedings, and the preparation of all divorce-related documents. Take a look at the six stages of a complete contested divorce proceeding and how much each stage will cost you. Lawyer fees are calculated at $275 per hour, which is the average rate of lawyers per hour. On the other hand, accountant fees are calculated at $250 per hour.




  • Preparation and filing of the petition for divorce or statement of claim/statement of defense
  • Lawyer (1-15 hours per pleading)
  • Accountant (1-3 hours per pleading)
$525 – $4,875
Financial Statements
  • Preparation of actual and budgeted costs of living
  • Documentation of weekly and monthly budgeted income (employment and investment income)
  • Listing of all assets and liabilities from the date of marriage until the date of marriage breakdown
  • Valuation of business
  • Accountant (1-25 hours)
  • Lawyer (1-5 hours)
$3,525 – $42,625
  • Preparation of documents/affidavits (lawyer: 3 to 20 hours)
  • Arguing motion in court (lawyer: 1-15 hours)
$1,100 – $11,625
  • Preparation for examination such as reviewing the other side’s financial statement and preparing a list of questions (lawyer: 1 to 25 hours)
  • Cross-examination (lawyer 1/2 to 8 hours)
  • Accountant (2 to 8 hours)
$912.50 – $11,075
Case Conference
  • Lawyer’s preparation
  • Settlement of the dispute
  • Court fees
$1,075 – $7,275
  • Preparation (lawyer: one to two days)
  • Assistance of the accountant in preparing financial details and discussing strategy (accountant: minimum of one day)
  • Court time (2 hours to 3 weeks)
$1,050 – $55,125
  • All fees (lawyer, accountant, court, documentation)
$8,187 – $132,600

Factors That Affect The Price Of A Divorce

Agreement. If you and your spouse agree on a lot of things about the divorce, the less you will be spending for the divorce. This is true because if you have agreed on issues like child custody, child support, and division of property, there will be less expenses to spend on attorneys, court fees, and a lot of other legal fees.

Type of divorce. There are certain ways you can get divorced such as collaborative, mediated, no-lawyer, and adversarial. Bringing your divorce into the courts can be the most expensive way to get a divorce. On the other hand, a no-lawyer divorce can give you a lot of savings in the end. The same is true for a mediation divorce. This involves resolving the disputes with a mediator or an impartial third party who will help the couple in working out the issues until they reach a good settlement.

Lawyer. The fee you pay for the lawyer when processing a divorce takes up a big percentage of the total cost of getting a divorce. Hence, the fees being collected by the attorney of your choice will greatly affect the cost of the divorce. Getting experienced and reputable attorney can mean higher fees as compared to amateur ones. Some situations may not need the help of a lawyer, which can mean fewer expenses for the divorce.

Affair. If you and your spouse have complex affairs such as a lot of properties to deal with, the cost of getting a divorce usually goes up. This is true because you have to hire not only a lawyer but a certified public accountant as well as financial planners, insurance brokers, business valuators, bankers, and the like. Hiring them to deal with your complex affairs can make the cost of your divorce go higher and higher. Also, if you have a huge conflict between the two of you, you may need to hire a therapist so you can deal with the divorce smoothly. On the other hand, if your marriage has simple affairs with no things to fight over, there usually is a higher chance for you to spend less on the divorce.

Custody of children. Couples who do not have children usually spend less on a divorce. This is true because fighting over the custody of children may mean more work for the lawyer, getting psychiatric evaluations, and calling in expert witnesses in the court. All of these things can greatly increase the cost of getting divorced.

Location. The cost of a divorce is varied from state to state. This is true in terms of the difference in the cost of court filing fees, attorney’s fees, and the like.

Additional Costs

Child support can be an extra cost of getting divorced. This can go on for several years until your children reach the right age. The cost of a child support depends on the settlement as well as the current age of your children. Spousal support can be an added expense as well.

The cost of producing documents that will be needed by your lawyer and other professionals can be an extra expense when getting a divorce. For people who are working, the amount of time they need to spend working on the divorce can mean a lot of money already.

If you need counseling, you will likely need to pay around $70 per hour for a counselor. The emotional burden of a divorce can really bring a person down; hence, counseling is usually recommended.

There are a lot of other additional expenses that will follow even after the divorce has been settled. This includes finding a new home, moving, utility and telephone deposits, child care, and even replacement of items that were given to the spouse after the properties were divided.

how much does a divorce cost
Photo by Ed Yourdon

Tips Before You Decide To Get Divorced

Understand that a divorce does not come cheap. Hence, before deciding to get a divorce, make sure that the money you will be spending for it will be worth it over time. Also, as early as possible, evaluate whether you can afford a divorce or not.

If you have children, take note that they will carry the burden of the divorce as well. As much as possible, explain to them what’s happening. They may need counseling as well so they can go through this phase in their lives smoothly.

Know the specific divorce laws in your state. will give you a lot of information on specific divorce laws per state.

If possible, open your communication lines with your spouse. Talk about the divorce and make the necessary agreements and settlements at peace. Doing so will help both of you save a lot of money in getting a divorce.

If you need a lawyer, make sure you get a reputable and experienced divorce lawyer. Your choice of lawyer will usually determine the kind of settlements you’ll have in the end and the amount of time the process will take. Aside from picking a lawyer who specializes in divorce, make sure you find someone who has a lot of experience in the same divorce situation as yours.

Work with your lawyer fully. If you make sure you attend to your lawyer’s needs and you try to help the lawyer as much as possible, his job will be easier and the shorter time he will need to finish his job. Cutting your lawyer’s time will help you save a lot of money in the end.

How Much Does It Cost To Raise A Child

Raising a child does not come cheap these days. Even though having a child has its own rewards, you have to be prepared when it comes to the high expenses in line with having one. After reading this article, you can expect to know how much it will cost you to raise a child from 0 to 17 years old.

Typical Cost Of Raising A Child

According to the 2010 USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion annual report on Expenditures on Children by Families, the annual cost of raising a child depends on the income of the family.

$8,480 to $9,630 per year for families with income less than $57,600

$11,880 to $13,830 per year for households with income from $57,600 to $99,730

$19,770 to $23,690 per year for households with income of more than $99,730

Included In The Price Of Raising A Child

The above-mentioned costs include the following:

  • Housing (31 percent of the total cost)
  • Child care/education (17 percent)
  • Food (16 percent)
  • Clothing (6 percent)
  • Healthcare (8 percent)
  • Transportation (14 percent)
  • Miscellaneous like personal care items, entertainment, and reading materials (8 percent)

Factors That Affect The Price Of Raising A Child

Age. The age of the child greatly affects the cost of raising him yearly. Often, as the child gets older, the cost gets higher. The general direction in the graph below shows that the cost of raising a child increases as a child becomes older.

the cost of raising a child by income level


Household Income. The income of the household also affects the cost of raising a child as reflected in the figure above. Families in the lowest income group spend 25 percent of their income on a child while those in the middle-income group spend 16 percent. On the other hand, the highest-income group spends 12 percent on a child yearly. However, the highest income families usually spend more than twice the amount of how much the families in the lowest income group spend yearly.

Geographical location. Where you live can also affect child-rearing costs. As per the USDA’s data, raising a child is most expensive in the urban Northeast region followed by urban West and urban Midwest. The cost is, however, lowest in urban South and rural areas. The difference in the child-rearing expenses based on geographical location can be explained by the high cost of living in some places, especially when speaking of housing, child care and education, and transportation.

Type of family. A husband-wife family usually spends more on rearing a child as compared to a single parent family. Though there is little difference, it can be noted that single parent families have lower household income as compared to husband-wife families.

Number of children. The total number of children in the household can also greatly affect the cost of raising a child. A one-child family usually spends more on a child as compared to a two-child family. Take a look at the housing expenses alone. Usually, households with two or more children have two or three children sharing the same room. Hence, the cost of housing yearly is divided among two or three children.

Annual inflation rate. The cost of raising a child usually is affected by the annual inflation rate, which is usually calculated as 2.60 percent. Hence, not only the cost of child-rearing expenses gets higher as the child gets older but also as the inflation rate goes higher. For a total of 17 years, the total cost of raising a child is $206,180 for low-income group, $286,860 for middle-income group, and $477,100 for high-income group.

Here is a calculation of the cost of raising a child that was born in 2010 following the expected inflation rates for the next 17 years.

how much does it cost to raise a child


Additional Costs

Prenatal expenses are an extra cost when raising a child because the calculated cost above starts once the child is born.

College education is also an additional expense, because the overall cost of raising a child is calculated up until the age of 17. However, parents usually spend serious money on a child’s college education. College education expenses include tuition, room and board, and the like.

Photo by josef_moffett

Tips Before You Decide To Raise A Child

You can calculate the cost of raising a child on a more personal level using this online calculator from USDA.

Save money prior to having a baby. This will help you at least ensure that you can support raising your child for the first few years. Good financial preparation is key towards a smooth experience of raising children.

Be mentally and physically prepared for having a child. Your finances are not the only things that matter here.

As your child grows, teach him good skills. Raising a responsible child can mean fewer expenses for you in the long run.

Spend wisely when raising a child. Your child does not need top-of-the-line goods all the time. You can experiment on cheaper clothes, diapers, and the like from time to time to save even a little money on the way.

Take advantage of government programs for children such as public education. Learn about the benefits your child can get per year.

Get an educational plan and health insurance for your child. Over the years, you can save more when you insure your child.

How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Baby

Giving a baby a home can be the noblest thing to do. If you are thinking of adopting a baby, make sure, however, that you undergo the legal process. But, take note that adoption will cost you money. In this article, you will find out the costs involved in adopting a baby.

Typical Cost Of Adopting A Baby

The cost of adopting a baby depends mainly on the type of adoption you are going for.

Domestic public agency adoptions cost around $0 to $2,500.

Domestic private agency adoptions range from $4,000 to $30,000.

Domestic independent adoptions cost $8,000 to $30,000.

Inter-country adoptions cost $7,000 to $40,000.

Included In The Price Of Adopting A Baby

The inclusions in the prices are the following:

Domestic Public Agency

Domestic Private Agency

Domestic Independent



-Attorney’s fees


-Application fee

-Birth parent counseling

-Adoptive parent home study and preparation

-Child’s expenses

-Post-placement supervision

-Overhead and operating expenses

-Sliding fee

-Birth expenses -Agency fee

Child foster care

-Travel and in-country stay of the parents while processing the adoption abroad

-Foreign court filing fees

-Document fees

-Escorting fees (if parents hire escorts instead of traveling to the country)

-Medical care and treatment of the child

Factors That Affect The Price Of Adopting A Baby

Type of adoption. Basically, the type of adoption you choose will determine the price of adopting a baby. International adoptions may be more expensive as compared to domestic adoptions simply because of the number of requirements and fees you have to pay not only to the State but as well as the agency, attorney, and the foreign country in international adoptions.

State or country. The laws and requirements of the state or country where the adoptive child will be coming from can greatly affect the price of adoption. This is true because countries differ in pricing adoption fees as well as states need different adoption requirements.

Travel. If the baby you are adopting comes from another state or country, travel expenses may affect the overall cost of the adoption process.

Condition of the baby. The baby’s health and mental conditions may affect the cost of adoption as well. Since babies with medical problems are harder to place, they usually cost less to adopt them.

Agency. Different adoption agencies price differently. Some agencies collect a sliding-scale fee while others don’t. Moreover, agencies usually price the adoption higher if they will be the one to look for expectant mothers for you as compared to those parents who have found an expectant mother themselves.

Breakdown Of Domestic Adoption Costs

Agency fees

  • Application fee ($100-$500)
  • Home study and preparation ($700-$2,500)
  • Post-placement supervision ($200-$1,500)
  • Psychiatric evaluation for each parent ($250-$400)
  • Physical examinations for each parent ($35-$150)

Attorney’s fees

  • Court representation ($2,500-$12,000)
  • Document preparation ($500-$2,000)

Advertising ($500-$2,000)

Birth parent expenses

  • Medical expenses ($0-$20,000)
  • Living expenses ($500-$12,000)
  • Legal representation ($500-$1,500)
  • Counseling ($500-$2,000)

Breakdown Of International Adoption Costs

Agency fees ($10,000 to $30,000)

U.S. Agency/Attorney fees (price estimates are similar to domestic adoption)

Foreign country fees

Travel expenses (transportation, meals, accommodations)

Foreign court filing fee

Document fees

Foster and medical care for the child

Foreign agency placement fee

Foreign attorney legal and placement fee

Translation and escort services by US agency representative in the foreign country

Required “donation” to orphanage or agency

Passport office fees

Adoption Cost Per Country

Bulgaria: $20,000 to $30,000 plus travel

China: $26,000 to $32,000 plus travel

India: $13,000 to $16,000 plus travel

Mexico: $15,000 to $25,000 plus travel

Philippines: $15,000 to $20,000 plus travel

Poland: $25,000 to $28,000 plus travel

Colombia: $22,000 to $26,000 plus travel

Russia: around $50,000 plus travel

Taiwan: $15,000 to $20,000 plus travel

Thailand: $11,000 to $20,000 plus travel

Additional Costs

Advertising can add up to the cost of adoption. This can range from $500 to $5,000 depending on what kind of advertisement you are getting. Advertisements are often necessary so that prospective parents can look for surrogates or expectant mothers.

For international adoptions, additional expenses may include the processing of the immigrant visa. An immigrant visa application fee costs around $260 with $60 issuance fee.

Of course, the adoption process is not the end of everything. Expenses will continue to show off as you raise the baby and attend to his or her daily needs such as foods, clothing, toys, education, and so much more.

lifestyles of spoiled little rascals.
Photo by ~C4Chaos

Tips Before You Decide To Adopt A Baby

Adopting a baby is a very serious decision and so you must be very sure about doing it before you begin the adoption process. Make sure that you and your spouse is ready for the adoption as well as the rest of the family.

Make sure that you are all set to adopt a baby and you are ready to face all the responsibilities of raising a child. Other couples go for older children because the extent of care they need is not that much as compared to what is needed by babies.

Decide what kind of adoption you should choose. Compare not only the costs of the types of adoption but also the convenience they can offer to you all throughout the process.

Learn about adoption rules specific to your states. Take note that state laws may restrict the allowable amount of expenses related to the adoption process.

Choose a good adoption agency that will help you all throughout the process. Choose an agency based on their reputation, their prices, and their payment schemes. Make sure the agency you are dealing with is licensed and affiliated with government agencies, religious groups, or health care services.

If you need help regarding the costs of adoptions, there are several ways you can get financial assistance. Most of the time, you can take advantage of subsidies, tax credits, loans, grants, and employer benefits to fund the adoption process.

If you are considering an international adoption, it is best to know which country to adopt a baby from. Creating A Family offers a comparison of adoption details, requirements, and fees from different countries including Bulgaria, China, Mexico, India, Guatemala, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Ukraine, and many more.