Many of the bloggers I read have a sense of impending doom, as they wait to hear about the future of their employment. Given the economic situation, I sometimes feel that my frugal thoughts are awfully trivial. Here are a few of them.
Teenagers and Money: This is a topic that recurs. How does one teach teenagers about money? In truth, we teach them by our actions.
Example: my daughter's friend Sadie, whose parents lost their house two summers ago. They had been living in a small house in the country for 15 years. According to them, they got a notice saying they had to be out at the end of the month. So they left, and moved into a trailer on the farm of their employer. Only a few months later did I realize that these were probably the first people I knew (albeit tangentially) who had lost their house because of a sub-prime loan.
Sadie is a senior in high school. She works in a salon doing shampoos a few days a week. She takes home around $150 a week! Bossy me (an occupational hazard), I asked if she had a savings account. No. I asked if she saved any money. No. She explained that she had "expenses," which turned out to be pet food, meals out, and clothing (she has no car and lives with her parents). I launched into a lecture (an occupational hazard) about the importance of saving.
Next time I saw her, I repeated my questions (an occupational hazard). She said that while she still did not have a savings account, she keeps $80.00 in her room at all times for an emergency. This teen runs through $7000.00 plus a year! She's been working for two years and has $80.00.
Then I realized that her parents probably had out-earned Mr. DFS and me. We were in school till we were 30. We became teachers, not the most lucrative profession. These people did not go to college and began working at 18, buying a house then and starting a family.
Am I being too judgmental? Should I continue to ask questions and make suggestions?
Frugal This, Frugal That: Today, Mr. DFS and I, along with the rest of our department, had a free food opportunity, a catered lunch provided by a textbook publisher. We have 2 or 3 of these every couple of years. I'm not sure of the ethics here, but the food was delicious! We had seafood chowder and a waldorf salad (chicken, apples, and pecans), followed by king cake. If you're not from Louisiana, you probably don't know about this cake. It is cake topped in Mardi Gras colors--purple, green, and gold--and contains a tiny plastic baby. If you get the baby in your piece, you have to buy the next cake.
While I was eating, I was musing on the ethics of all this. Then I read about the perks gotten by various political figures recently. I suppose that they would scoff at my little lunch. Any thoughts, dear readers?
Frugal Dilemma: Our Frugal Daughter, though she does not supply posts as our Frugal Son does, is never far from our thoughts. She is up for two college scholarships. The competitions are on THE SAME WEEKEND and cannot be re-scheduled.
Choice 1: A big school in another state offers the chance to be one of 40 fellows, who are mentored and groomed by faculty. $1000 over whatever other scholarships you get. 50 students are invited to compete.
Choice 2: A private college offers FREE TUITION, ROOM and BOARD to 3 or 4 students. About 80 students are invited to compete. Frugal Daughter has already been given a scholarship almost equal to tuition.
School 1 offers an almost sure chance of a lesser benefit; school 2 offers an enormous benefit, but almost no chance.
At first she was drawn to the smaller school, mostly because of the wonderful recruiter. But now a good friend who goes there is saying the school is TOOOOO small and she wants to transfer. So Frugal Daughter is conflicted.
Aren't we lucky to have these trivial problems in these difficult times? Even so, dear readers, we welcome your counsel. Any thoughts on any of these?