This year I will be out of town for my alma mater’s first football game. I could have listed my tickets on eBay or craigslist, found the highest bidder and sold the tickets to them. I could have asked friends and family members if they wanted the tickets and then asked them to pay full price for them. Instead I offered $100 worth of tickets to a friend and asked for no money in return.
I may clip coupons and pinch my pennies on a regular basis, but every once in awhile I like to make certain that I give back at least a portion of the money I earn and save. This time around I decided I’d much rather have a friend in my seats then a stranger. Even if that stranger did pay me money to sit there.
This year I was happy to host a giveaway for my birthday. It felt really good to give to someone else on a day when I would typically just receive things. I’ve read a lot of stories lately about little kids who host charity events rather than receiving gifts on their birthdays and I love the notion of teaching young children that they are not alone in the world. I want my son to grow up counting his blessings and realizing that there are other children that don’t have as much as he does.
Over the years my husband and I have earned quite a bit of money and saved that money to buy not one but two homes and one piece of land. My son may very well grow up with three bedrooms in three different homes. I want him to understand that he is lucky, fortunate and blessed to grow up this way and that many other children are not afforded the same luxuries.
How do you teach a child that you aren’t better than someone else just because you have more money? How do you teach a child that money isn’t the goal? I want my son to recognize that money is a necessary aspect of life. If you can earn a good living and save for your goals you will lead an easier, less stressful life, but money is not the end goal. Friends and family enrich your life and nourish your soul. Sometimes sharing the money you have with those you love will bring you the most soul-fulfilling joy.
You could have all of the money in the world, but what good would it be if you had no one to share it with?
When my mom was growing up and honestly where I grew up, everyone got married young and had babies early. They are primarily the same race, they wanted the same things in life and they often grew up to be stay at home mothers.
While I may end up doing the exact same thing and make no judgment on the women that chose that life, I am lucky enough to be blessed with a wider range of female role models.
Some of the women in my life are married, some single, some divorced and some divorced and remarried. Some have children and others do not. Some stay home to raise their children and others spend full time in the workforce. While the majority of the women in my life are the same race there are quite a few who are not. They differ in religion and overall beliefs. I accept them for who they are and in turn they do the same for me.
The women in my life mean the world to me.
There is my mom, whose kindness, compassion and love knows no bounds. My grandmother, a harder nut to crack, who warms and opens her heart only as her age advances. My friends who know I don’t open up easily, but who can still sense exactly what I’m thinking and feeling and most importantly accept me for all of my oddities.
My extended family members and friends, particularly the ones who have suffered through extraordinary illnesses and continue to strive to make the best of their hopes and dreams.
My massage therapist who knows almost everything there is to know about me, (that’s what happens when you seek massage two times a week for years on end), and yet never judges my thoughts or actions. My acupuncturist who opened my chakras and compassionately waited while the tears fell from my eyes. My surgeon who holds one of the most powerful positions at one of the most recognized hospitals and yet still understood that a patient like me just needed a hand on her shoulder. The female readers of One Frugal Girl who open up their hearts and minds to me. And who can forget my former coworkers, who have become some of my strongest supporters over the years.
As I’ve shared the news with the people I love these past few days I’ve realized just how much all of these women mean to me. I can’t imagine living in a cookie cutter world of female stereotypes and I feel unbelievably blessed that I get to share my life with an incredible group of women who don’t fit the mold!
Do you have friends that spend much more than you do? Do they ask you to go out to fancy restaurants or travel to exotic locations? If so, do you find yourself caving in to their requests or do you find the gumption to say “thanks but no thanks.”
Because I blog about personal finance I think carefully about the way I spend money and try my best to avoid situations where others can influence my spending. But what about those situations you just can’t seem to control. What happens when you find yourself out celebrating a friend’s birthday party and suddenly get saddled with a very large bill?
I’m sure just about every woman out there has been faced with the mounting expenses of a bridal or baby shower that became more extravagant than you originally proposed. Other friends decide the guest list should be larger, the location more elegant, the food more refined. As one of the bridesmaids or best friends you are suddenly looking over a laundry list of items you’d rather not purchase.
What do you do when the bride wants you to purchase a dress outside of your budget, or spend money on a trip to the spa for facials and manicures you really can’t afford? How do you participate in the festivities without compromising your own financial goals?
I really don’t know the answer to this question though it has certainly plagued me from time to time. As a good friend you don’t want to make a big deal in front of the birthday girl, bride or mother-to-be. You want them to feel loved and supported and treated in the way they deserve, but at the same there is only so much money to spread around.
How do you let your friends know how much you love and appreciate them without feeling like you have to throw in the towel on all of your own budgetary concerns?
Have you ever fought the gang mentality and told others you simply cannot afford to spend money the way they can? Have you been able to stick to the rules you set for yourself and if so how did the other interested parties take your news? Were they kind and accommodating or angry and resentful?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one!
Last week a good friend of mine confessed a little spending secret over dinner. It seems she’s become obsessed with buying lotto tickets. When she leaves her office and heads out to lunch, she finds herself sneaking off to buy at least a ticket or two. The number she buys depends on the amount of cash left in her purse or pocket, but she estimates spending over $50 on tickets in the last couple of months.
She doesn’t really think she’ll win, but she’s excited by the idea of striking it rich and quitting her day job, excited enough that she’ll purchase up to $5 worth of tickets at a time. She lives in Maryland and commutes to D.C. and spends over an hour each way riding the MARC train and metro to work. Although she says the ride gives her the opportunity to read, nap and think, she’d much rather have those two hours back in her day. She says the lotto gives her an opportunity to dream BIG. To dream of a life without a job or at the very least a job without a two hour commute.
This got me thinking. How often do we purchase things to escape our lives or to dream of escaping them? Do you buy things that help you dream of a better life?
Let’s say you arrive late to a party at a restaurant. The party goers have been eating appetizers and drinking beer and cocktails. You arrive too late to eat any appetizers, but you could definitely order a drink or two if you were in the mood. You decide not to drink, because you drove into the city and you know you’ll be driving back home shortly.
The waitress comes around to take every one’s order. Seven of the eight party goers order dinner, including yourself. You and another guest order sushi, nothing big, and not very expensive. You’ve snacked before heading out to the restaurant and you just aren’t hungry enough to order a large and expensive meal. Despite the lack of appetite you manage to make a dent in your sushi and enjoy a very tasty meal with very good company.
Now the check arrives. You haven’t had anything to drink other than water and you’ve eaten a relatively inexpensive meal, but with the addition of the drinks and appetizers from the other party goers the bill is quite large. You fully expect everyone to split the cost of the birthday girl’s dinner and drinks, but what should you do about the overall bill?
Should you split the check among the remaining guests, not including the birthday girl? What about the party goer who never ordered dinner? Maybe he drank a beer or two or snacked on an appetizer, but should he really be expected to split the bill equally?
What about you, you arrived late and only ate a small dinner, should you be expected to pay for the food and drinks other people enjoyed? Would it bother you to split the check? Do you think you should only have to pay for the food and drinks you ordered? Remember, no one wants to make a big scene at a friend’s birthday party. You’ve had a great time visiting with friends, but now everyone is clearly uncomfortable with the situation, so what should you do?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. If you were in this situation what would you do?
* I don’t want to skew your thoughts, so I’ll let you know what I think of the situation and what I did after I read your comments.
This evening I drove into DC to meet my very first college roommate, who I met in the fall of my freshman year. In the real world we would never have been friends. She was a sorority socialite and I was… well… not, but the trials and tribulations of our first year of college brought us together. We only lived together for one year, but she was an incredible roommate, and I was sad when she left for the sorority house our sophomore year.
We lost touch shortly after she moved out and although I bumped into her from time to time on campus we never really kept in touch. After nearly ten years we decided to meet up tonight for dinner. It was great to see her again and to chat about old times and everything that’s happened in our lives since we last got together.
At my insistence we split the bill equally and I must admit that it was the best $18 I’ve spent in a very long while.
Somehow I’ve managed to waste the last hour diddling around on the Internet. It all started innocently enough when I came across a photograph that reminded me of my good friend Jenevieve from high school. After a few clicks on the grand ‘ole Internet I came across a series of blogs written by Jenevieve’s husband.
It just so happens that my old friend will be induced tomorrow for the birth of her first child. Congratulations Jenevieve!
The Internet is a miraculous and magical thing. To celebrate the good news I’m posting a photo of Jenevieve that I took in high school. After quitting her job at the local Shoney’s she dumped a bucket of salad dressing on her head and asked me to take pictures. Oh those were the days.
On Sunday my hubby and I took my grandmother out to lunch. We then drove her to Tweeter, helped her pick out a TV stand, lugged it home, and put it together for her. Many people never get to know their grandparents. I am lucky to still have her in my life.
On Monday my fabulous friend M.W. swung by for a late night dinner. M.W, my hubby and I sat around our little kitchen table eating grilled chicken and baked potatoes and talking about nothing in particular. M.W. is going through a very big transition in her life and I’m glad that she was able to come by for a little while.
On Tuesday evening I was glued to my computer. I missed a chunk of the day in doctor’s offices and I was desperately trying to catch up on work. My husband ventured downstairs and returned a few minutes later with a yummy Blue Mango smoothie.
On Wednesday a very sweet woman from the post office called to let me know she’d found a set of keys that I’d lost in the mail. She shipped them back to my house on Wednesday evening and I received them early Thursday afternoon.
On Thursday my father-in-law stopped by to help me construct a brick retaining wall around our azalea bed. We spent the entire time talking about LLCs, farms, property, and rental income.
Today I spent an hour on the phone yapping with my parents, which I always enjoy. Then I headed up the hill to spend the fourth of July with my in-laws. As the sky grew dark we headed off to campus and watched some amazing fourth of July fireworks together.
Being the good person that he is, my husband recently arranged the night’s festivities for a good friend’s bachelor party. The plan involved six groomsmen boarding a boat and sailing around Annapolis for a few hours. The boat books quickly, so my husband purchased tickets a few nights in advance. He charged the entire bill, ($222), on our credit card. He fully expected the other five party goers to pony up their share of the money. (Roughly $37 a person.)
On Saturday he headed to Annapolis with two other guys while a second car followed along with three others. My husband parked the car and walked over to the dock with time to spare, but the other bridal party members, including the groom, were no where to be found. My husband asked a crew member to wait just one more minute, but he was told the boat must go. Moments later the groom appeared, but the boat had already sailed away and with it went our $222.
Of course, none of the party goers offered to pay for their tickets. One guy told my husband he only had $4 in his wallet. He explained that his wife wrote a few checks that he was unaware of and that he was left with $8 in his checking account and $4 in his pocket. My husband figured it was fruitless to ask him for the $37.
Having missed the boat the men decided to buy some food and beer and head back to the groom’s house for a backyard BBQ. Clearly the guy with only $4 in his pocket was not planning on contributing to the event. When they went to the grocery and liquor stores he did not offer any money.
I’m not sure if my husband was more frustrated at losing $222, or at the guy who had no intentions of contributing to any of the festivities. When he got home he asked, “Did this guy think everyone else was going to pay for his activities?”
Needless to say my husband came home around 11 o’clock upset and angry over the entire event. I think I was as frustrated, if not more frustrated than he was. If I were in his position I certainly would have asked those guys for the money. $37 a person is a decent loss, but it’s nothing compared to $222 for one individual.
Before we went to bed I tried to console my husband. I reminded him that being a member of the bridal party always costs a significant amount of money. I once paid $260 for a bridal dress that was never worn. (The wedding was canceled after the made-to-order dresses were purchased.) I don’t know if this made him feel a whole lot better. He sighed and rolled over.
Last night my good friend, M, and I went out for dinner at an Italian restaurant in between my office and her home. M and I went to college together back in the mid 90s. When we first graduated we both made very little money. Those first few years were so tight that I knew exactly how much money I could spend at dinner. Whenever I went out I’d choose one of the most inexpensive items on the menu, add up the tax and tip in my head, and then order. Of course, sometimes we paid exactly what we owed and sometimes we split the bill equally. I hated those nights when we split the bill, because some of my friends would choose really expensive meals, and I just didn’t have a whole lot of pennies to spare.
Fast forward to last night. The bill arrived and M and I both passed our credit cards forward. When the waiter brought back the receipts M apologized for letting the waiter split the bill, because her dinner was more expensive than mine. I laughed because the difference was less than $3. We are both in very different financial circumstances than we were just after college. Thankfully we can now split the bill and no longer need to pay only our share.