Monday, December 13, 2010

Random Act of Kindness

My wife came home from her part time cashier job at a local grocery store this weekend with a great story to share. During her shift a woman in her mid 30's came to her register to check out, as she did an older woman, probably in her 70's stood in line behind her. The younger woman checked out and paid for her groceries. She stayed at the end of the check out as my wife rang up the older woman's order. As my wife announced the told, just under $25 dollars, the younger woman said I'd like to pay for your groceries. The older woman was stunned. She said but I don't even know you. My wife said to the older woman if she is willing, why not let her. The younger woman handed my wife the $25.00 and left. The older woman was still in shock. My wife handed the change to the older woman who was now crying. Repeating that she could not believe what had just taken place. Just like that a random act of kindness, bringing tear to the woman's eyes. The younger woman didn't even wait for a thank you.

My wife shared the story with me as soon as she came home. She also posted it on Facebook. We both enjoyed the many comments by friends, suggesting to pay it forward, and what a great Holiday idea this was. Truly shows you the power of giving, and even makes it that much more powerful when it's a complete stranger. The story instantly reminded me of the Dave Rasmey's "Great Giving Challenge." We will be doing some shopping this week and I hope to find the right opportunity to pay it forward myself.

Have you ever paid for something for a complete stranger? If so what was the reaction?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cleaning out the Closet

I was preparing my closet for some potential Christmas gifts last night, going through my clothes and getting rid of the stuff I no longer wear or just doesn't fit quite right. I have a bag full of stuff that I will donate. I was making room for some new clothes that I typically receive during Christmas. Practical gifts, because I have a job that requires business casual dress. As I went over the clothes in the closet I realized of the 15 or so dress shirts I own only 5 or 6 regularly get worn, the same goes for the 6 or 7 dress pants, only 3 or 4 get regularly worn. It really got me thinking about scaling back my overall wardrobe. I have read a few blog post about the topic. Scaling back on material things, making your life simpler, and in turn saving money.

I could certainly see the advantage of not having a closet full of clothes, it makes getting ready for work, school, etc that much easier. You don't need to look over 15 shirts by 7 pants combinations to come up with a match. If you make it 6 shirts by 3 pants, if really decreased your decision making time. Depending on where you buy your clothes that's some big saving as well. As Christmas day approaches I hope I get some nice new clothes, but this year they new ones will replace old ones keep my closet thin.

Have you scaled back material items in your life? If so has it make life easier? Has it helped you save money?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Week End Round Up

Have a great weekend everyone!

My Yakezie challenge continues to make progress. I am now under 600K. Good Stuff.

Here are some posts I enjoined this week:

Free From Broke - LIFE Has A Way Of Screwing Up Budgets

Budgets Are Sexy  - Tip # 478: Unload your $1 bills every night!

Fabulously Broke - Women who save are sexy

Frugal Dad - 2010 Holiday Tipping Guidelines

Getting Rich Slowly - The Dangers of Store Credit Cards

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Budgeting Tips

Set an overall Spending limit - Holiday budget should come from your current disposable income. If you use credit cards for convenience or to take advantage of rewards, make sure you track your spending so that you don’t go over budget. Cut back on things like eat out, entertainment during November and December to boost you Holiday spending fund.

Count every penny - There are a lot of holiday expenses people don’t think about like holiday cards, postage, gift wrap, decorations, food and drink for parties, shipping cost, etc. All of these items should be in the budget.
• Make sure your gift list is complete - The list should include everyone to whom you plan to give a gift — relatives and friends, teachers, mail carriers, co-workers etc.

• Set Limits – Agree upon spending limits with family and friends. If you bake or are could with crafts you make want to go that route to save additional money.

• Set expectations – If budget is tight, let it be known, so no one is disappointed.

• Don’t shop angry, drunk, etc. - Keep those feelings in check when shopping. Keep your list and budget with you always. Don’t overspend because other family members are. When tempted to overspend, remind yourself of what you owe.

• Shop Smart – Find the gifts on your list on sale and buy it. No impulse buying. If it’s not on your list don’t buy it.

Keep track of spending – keep a record of every purchase and use cash to pay for them. Don’t get caught without cash and fall into the credit card trap.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Realization

December is here. Only 24 days until Christmas. As I sat and watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with my 3 children last night I couldn’t help falling into the Holiday spirit. Decorations are popping up all overall my neighborhood. My wife has started to get our house in shape. I’m planning on tackling the outside this weekend. I tried to recall when I found out. When the big Christmas myth was spoiled for me. I can’t remember the exact moment, but I recall seeing some gifts in a bag purchased by my parents and later that Christmas receiving those same items from Santa. I don’t think I had that ah-ha moment, it was more of a slow process piecing little things together. Sometime when I was 10 or 11 years old I realized that Santa Claus wasn’t real. I wasn’t shocked. My 3 children ages 11,11, and 8 still believe. My wife and I plan on keeping the secret alive as long as we can. I have a feeling my oldest son and daughter have started to piece things together for themselves, but have yet to say anything.

When the time comes I have faith that they will keep the secret alive for their younger brother. I think that this would be one of those teachable moments to explain to them about savings and budgeting. Sure for them today Christmas is about getting gifts off their wish list, but as they get older it’s more about spending time with family, friends, and giving to others. Giving my children the understanding to save and plan to provide that Christmas experience each year is a valuable lesson.

When/how did you learn that Santa Claus was not real? If you have kids – have them made the realization yet?
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