Monday, March 31, 2008

Spreading the Frugaliness

N. Fru-ga-li-ness. The condition of being frugal.

Frugaliness is contagious and I'm spreading the word.

I started off with my niece. I planned a frugalicious day with my niece making recycled paper with my new/old free blender. My niece loved it because she could put her hands in ooky gooky paper goop and I loved it because it didn't cost any money! Here is the list of materials that we needed and how we acquired them:

- blender (Freecycle)
- paper (credit card offers from the mail)
- old window screen (neighbor had some that they didn't need)
- frame (used some old picture frames I had lying around)
- blotting cloth (opted to use newspaper instead)
- glue (had some lying around)
- bucket or tub (used the one that we use for mopping)
- flowers (picked from the backyard)

A little resourcefulness and creativity and we had a free Saturday afternoon activity. Unfortunately, the paper didn't turn out like we'd hoped, but I think with a little practice we can get better and it was a good lesson that you don't have to spend money to have fun.

When my niece came over, we gave her the check that she received in the mail from a class action settlement with Merrill Lynch. When she was a baby, my grandma had opened an investment account for her so she was eligible to receive a portion of the settlement. Since then the account has been closed, but man, was she ever excited about receiving her VERY FIRST check. She started brainstorming all the ways she could spend her $18.33. Then she asked, "Does this mean I can get a credit card now?"

I thought it was a good time to bring up the concept of saving and the importance of having a savings account. She is 8 after all and you can never get started too early. I told her she should open a bank account and start saving her money so that she'd have money for college. I told her that they would actually pay her to keep her money in the bank and that she could make her money grow even bigger if she kept it in long enough. She didn't seem too impressed by this but she did seem excited to have an account in her name.

It got me thinking though that we really should be talking more about money with her and that we need to get our act together and start saving for her college. If I was a good Auntie, I would've been doing this a long time ago! So I figured I better set up an account for her graduation gift and start depositing money every month so that she'll be better set for college.

She must really think I'm crazy. Driving around finding free blenders. Making her SAVE her money for college. Then when we were grocery shopping (at Fresh and Easy), I wouldn't let her buy any mangoes because they weren't on sale. I told her I only bought fruits and vegetables on sale! Haha. Why buy 2 mangoes for $4 when you can get 8 plums for only $1.50? I just hope that some of my frugaliness with rub off on her.

I also had the opportunity to pass on some frugaliness to my grandma. I got a $25 check for my student loans in the mail from my rewards card. I showed it to my grandma and she asked me how I got it. I told her that I earn points or cash back from my credit cards and she was a little perturbed because she didn't earn anything on her card. So we called her credit card company and got her set up with a card that'll earn her 1-3% cash back on her purchases. I wish I'd known sooner so she could've been earning money all along!

It just goes to show that talking about money could save you or your loved ones money and spread the frugaliness all around!

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2 comments:

change is a good thing said...

Sounds like a really fun day with your neice! I love stuff like that! ;)

And very cool for your Grandma that you got her set up on a better card! :)

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