DAY 11: Fasting to help others is still fasting for you

So I mentioned that I skipped Day 10 on the 21-Day Financial Fast because I was still working on a budget from Chapter 7 and because Chapter 7.

I also skipped it because it was the chapter in Michelle Singletary’s book “The 21-Day Financial Fast” about Marrying Your Money. That meant it was for married couples or people who are about to get married.

That’s not me, and while I would marry for money, among other necessary things, I couldn’t take anything from this chapter and give it to anyone – because I also don’t interfere in the business of married couples.

But Chapter 11?

That was different.

Chapter 11 (How odd that it shares a name with a type of  bankruptcy, but I digress . . . ) is a chapter about leaving a legacy of good money sense.

And I was feeling guilt.

My daughter is 24, and while I’m sure I taught money lessons – and even wrote about teaching her money lessons, I also let her watch me spend sometimes indiscriminately, just because we wanted things.

She is proving now that she learned both lessons, but I think the wants sometimes outweigh the needs. So I’ve decided to share this chapter with her and other young women to help them learn what to teach their children.

“As parents, we know it’s imperative to teach our kids to say no to drugs and alcohol,” Michelle writes on Page 134. “But can you honestly say you’re doing your best to help them fend off consumerism and credit card pushers?”

How-to-Teach-Your-Kids-About-Money-Management_full_article_verticalI know I had some success when my daughter entered college and got as many credit card applications as there were professors on campus – and ignored them.

How do I know she ignored them? Because she asked me for things that, had she had a credit card, she would have just gotten them. I won’t detail any of those requests here. But let’s just say that one had to do with some really dumb cosmetic surgery.

I remember when she was little, and the best I way I could teach her lessons about money was through sacrifice. I didn’t believe in time-outs because, as a busy reporter, editor, then news executive, I didn’t want any of the precious time I had with her spent with her sitting in a corner. Continue Reading

A Perfect Fourth of July Celebration: Scrabble, Hot Links and Love

LAKEWOOD, Colo. _ If you ever need instructions on how to celebrate the 4th of July, there’s a couple just west of Denver  who could offer a few lessons.

I went with my sisterfriend April to the ultimate barbecue. Burgers, hot dogs, fruit salad and nachos were the appetizers! And tables were set up across the yard for Bid Whist, Dominoes, chess and, yes, I was in heaven, Scrabble.

But this wasn’t your usual Scrabble. These wonderful women of age played using Independence Day rules. You could look up your word in the dictionary BEFORE you placed it on the board. There was no time limit. If you wanted to stop and talk about each word before the next person’s turn, that was perfectly acceptable.

And when it was time to eat, the game wasn’t paused. It was over.

Oh, the eating. Our hosts, Clinton and Barbara, took to a microphone to announce the rules: Guests aged 55 and older had to go first.  I’ve never seen so many people announce their retirement dates, AARP card numbers and how many grandchildren they had to get to the front of the line.

But why not? The menu was: ribs, collards, potato salad, bean salad, tossed salad, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, hot links, corn bread and pasta.  (Oh, there also was catfish, but it was a third course!)

Other rules? Children were not allowed at the food table; parents had to make their plates. (I LOVE that rule) and anyone making a plate for a senior could enter the house first. One woman announced she was making a plate for her mother. Her mother said: “I can make my own plate!”

There was an entire separate table with 19 cakes, cupcakes and pies. And there were six coolers of every possible drink you could crave. Sangria flowed from a dispenser on the patio.

No gathering that large on a holiday could end without talk of politics, and there was plenty. But I’ll save that for my column.

This big moment was about meeting new people, watching children with painted faces play and enjoying hot sausages that make your eyes water and potato salad made the way it should be (with pickles, boiled eggs and a dozen spices). Continue Reading