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This week: Saving on camping, tricks supermarkets use, creating a family financial roadmap, new student loan options and pet costs you didn't expect.

1. 6 Ways to Save on Your Next Camping Trip

[Credit.com] “If you love the great outdoors, then you may want to plan your next vacation at a nearby campsite. Camping can be a great way to get family and friends together for the summer. However, if you aren’t careful, it can be very costly. Here are some steps to help you save on your next camping trip.

I miss camping. I used to do it a lot. Maybe with these tips I can start again. They include planning ahead, bringing your own entertainment, buying in bulk and picking locations wisely, among other things. Check out the story for more.

2. Tricks Supermarkets Use to Get You to Spend More Money

[The Dollar Stretcher] “What is it that makes it so hard for us to stick to buying only what’s on our preplanned shopping list? Would you feel better if you knew it wasn’t all your fault? It’s not.”

We’ve done very similar stories before, but it’s always good to get a refresher. The tricks grocers use include pleasant smells, store layout, music, bright colors and lots more. Forewarned is forearmed. Give it read.

3. How to Create a Family Roadmap About Money, Without Conflict

[Credit Sesame] “Done right, the boardroom approach to managing family money can save frustration and heartache down the road. This approach takes the weight off the shoulders of a single person, and eliminates the stressful and often destructive panic that sets in when the family matriarch or patriarch falls ill or dies.”

This article describes a solid approach to use when discussing family finances, especially between aging parents and their adult children. It suggests having periodic meetings that include the safe sharing of documents relating to things like investment accounts, loans, utilities and insurance: information that will definitely come in handy some day.

4. A New Way to Figure Out How to Pay Less on Your Student Loans?

[Debt.com] “If you have federal student loans, you have more repayment options than you probably know about — and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to tell you all about them.”

Student loans are a huge problem in this country, which is why we donate so much cyber-ink to help people deal with it. This article is about a potentially new method the feds are considering to help those with loans learn about their options more easily. While it hasn’t happened yet — it’s still in the planning stages — it could help. See the post for details.

5. 5 Pet Costs You Don’t See Coming

[Wise Bread] “According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent more than $55 billion on their pets in 2013. But for many pet owners, that’s just the beginning. Here are a few unexpected expenses to budget for.”

We share our house with Lola, a lab mix, so we’re pretty familiar with doggie-related expenses. The ones alluded to in this article include: stuff you never thought you’d buy, like toys; damage from chewing pups; big vet bills; vacation costs; and time and energy. All true, and all worth it.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and reactions in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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