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If the Shoe Fits

I sent my husband out this weekend on the simple task of getting new sneakers for my son.  Many hours and about 10 phone calls later, he came home with the most expensive pair of boys’ shoes we have ever purchased. 

My son has basically one pair of shoes. Except for his Crocks that haven’t seen much wear since last summer, the soccer cleats that got used ever so briefly last fall during the 8-week soccer season, and last year’s baseball cleats that he can now barely get his feet into.  So for all intents and purposes, he has just one pair of shoes.  He wears these shoes to school every day (rain or shine).  He wears them to church (when we go).  These blue and gray Nike sneakers are his all-purpose shoes.  They are his casual shoes, his dress-up shoes, his hiking shoes…you get the idea. 

I have decided that is just wrong.  I think the kid needs more …

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The New Black

It has been quite a week.  Take a dose of reality, stir in a little fear and panic, sprinkle a generous amount of stress on top and there you have it.  Sadly this time, I am not speaking about the nation’s economic woes, but rather my own personal ones.  And after the bitter pill left for us to swallow, we ended up with only one conclusion:  it’s time to downsize. 

For us, this means moving out of a house we love (L-O-V-E) and into a more affordable (i.e. smaller) place.  For us, this means spending a substantial amount LESS each month on rent.  This “savings” will help tremendously right now and it is the right decision to make.  It should have been made sooner perhaps, but that is neither here nor there.  All we can do is look forward. 

We were fortunate to sell our house in Southern California when we did (June of 2007 – right before real estate …

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A Must Read for 2009

Have you heard about what is happening in our economy lately?  Have you heard the recent predictions from the leading economic and financial experts?  Are you aware the mortgage and housing crisis is due to get worse?  Do you know the HUGE storm lurking on our horizon is with credit cards and it is already starting to hit?  Unemployment numbers are due to RISE for at least the next two years.  The downturn is predicted to continue through 2009 AND 2010.  No turn-around is anticipated anytime in the near future!  None of the many experts dispute any of this. 

2009 needs to be the year of living consciously.  I don't know your situation, but to think that you will not be affected in some way is foolish.  So what can you do?  Stay awake – aware – conscious.  Don't hide your head or live in denial that you will be untouched.  Be proactive.  Get as much as information as …

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In Need of a Little Good News

So it is official — we are in a recession.  As if we common folk were not able to read the signs over the past months ourselves, today the announcement from the National Bureau of Economic Research made it official.  And most economists predict this current downturn will be the most severe since the 1981-82 recession.  Sounds just like it looks outside my window today:  dark gray and gloomy. 

This news doesn’t depress me because it really doesn’t feel like “news.”  They say we have been in this recession since December of 2007.  Certainly the telltale signs have been making themselves known since that time.  What does depress me is another sign of the greedy and gluttony in America.  More specifically, I mean the man who was trampled to death at the Wal-Mart in New York on Black Friday. Even with the weekend to process it, this Zen Mama Wannabe still can’t get my head around what happened. 

We are …

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Money for Chores?

Do your kids do certain jobs around the house (ok – yes, I am talking about the “c” word – CHORES) without getting paid for them?  Do you feel there are some things your children should just contribute (another “c” word) to the family or the household without having a carrot of some sort waved in front of them? 

I am feeling it is time to set up SOME sort of allowance system.  I previously wrote about financial expert Suze Orman’s opinion on allowances.  Her way is a bit “out of the box” but very interesting – and certainly makes some sense. 

A lot of parents I know tie allowances into chores – you do your chores, you get your allowance each week.  But most money experts say DON’T DO IT.  As Jean Chatzky, financial editor of the Today show and daily radio host on Oprah & Friends, said when asked if you should tie the allowance to good …

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Where is the Parenting Manual for times like this?!

Ever been at a crowded department store on the weekend, heard a loud CRASH, and then realized it was YOUR child that broke the thing now in tiny pieces all over the floor? 

We were heading out of the Housewares Department after standing in a long line to buy a much-needed griddle when my son spots the tiny snow globe ornaments personalized with names on them.  Hundreds of names listed on this turnstile display (except his – still a little too unique, or his sister’s – still so popular it is always sold-out) but all of sudden he calls out, “Mom, Mom – I found it!”  It was his teacher’s first name and he said he wanted to get it for her as a gift. 

So sweet to be thinking of her – and not himself, so nice to want to get a little something for her out of the blue….what a nice “give.”  The whole ornament (snow globe and …

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Charging up for the Holidays


Christmas is coming — the goose is getting fat
Won’t you please put a penny in the old man’s hat?
If you haven’t got a penny…just charge it like you do
No room on your charge card?  God bless you.

 

Just a little wannabe humor for something really not so funny at all.  The holidays are quickly approaching and the majority of Americans do all their shopping using their credit cards.  So what is happening in the credit card sector right now is concerning, to put it mildly. The predictions are that this will be the next big thing to hit Main Street. Even consumers who pay their bills on time and currently have high credit scores are being affected! No one can afford not to take notice.

The New York Times is likening it to the mortgage crisis, saying, “Now comes the credit card crisis.”  There is more and more talk among financial experts that even …

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Kids and Money: How to Structure an Allowance

Do your kids get an allowance?  If so, how did you set it up and what – if anything – is it tied into?  Do you find it is working for you or are you still having to play ATM more often than not?  And do you feel like you are setting your children up for financial success in the future?

Undoubtedly, you have heard what this Zen Mama Wannabe has heard from the money experts in regards to giving children an allowance.  Most experts say it should NOT be tied into chores, that children should do jobs around the house because they are members of your family – not because you pay them to.  Because, as they point out, what happens when they decided it is not worth it to them?  That they would rather NOT feed the dog or take out the trash this week?  Oops – now you have got a bit of a problem.  Better for …

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Are Economic Woes a Family Matter?

Do your kids know about the economic woes of our country – and are they aware of how it affects you – or them – in the daily lives you lead?

What is happening in our economy right now is beyond belief.  The biggest bank failure in our nation’s history, warnings of an “economic catastrophe,” and the “worst economic downturn since the Great Depression” lead the daily headlines.  Everyone is predicting it will get worse before it gets better.  So how does all this affect you? 

This Zen Mama Wannabe wishes I could peek into people’s houses on the talked about Main Street and listen in on the kitchen table conversations.  Does this downturn just mean a dip in your 401K plan, but retirement is years away so no real worries, you will just ride it out?  Does that mean you probably won’t be taking that vacation to the Caribbean next year and will have to make due with local …

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Are You Feeling Rich or Feeling Poor?

Are you feeling rich today – or feeling poor?   That was the question my husband asked my mother as she tried to decide whether or not to replace her huge monster of a TV with a slim LCD one that can hang out of the way on the wall.  Her studio apartment at the retirement home is only so big, and her current 10-year-old television set looms out into the room like a big black eyesore.  She hates it and keeps contemplating getting one of these newfangled ones, but of course there is that one little thing holding her back:  the price tag. 

Ah yes, the price tag.  That tiny rectangle with SKU lines all over it that keeps us from snatching up all that we desire.  There is in all of us that invisible number, set at our comfort level, that tells us whether or not the item we want is coming home with us; deal or no …

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