To my dad, thanks for everything. I love you tons. And for all fathers out there everywhere, this song is for you:
There is nothing worse than having a holiday deadline coming up and not knowing what to get for it. That is the question this young woman has about Father’s Day:
I have a question that I hope you can help me out with. I noticed that yesterday a person wrote to ask about what gifts are appropriate to give. With Father’s Day just a few days away, I have no idea what to get my dad. Does anyone have a good idea of what a father wants from his daughter on Father’s Day?
Any fathers and others out there that would like to express their opinion on what fathers want for Father’s Day to help this young reader out?
This is a fun little game in which the members of a household role play a little to help them save money. In this game, the family or roommates will play the part of the board of directors for the home or apartment business. Right away this will prove useful as you vote for a chairman or chairwoman and a financial officer. The chairman will ‘host’ the meetings and the financial officer will draw up the budget.
It is very important to have a budget figured out so that you have a firm grasp on how much it costs to live in your home/apartment, and how much discretionary spending is available. In a family this budget would include all costs and income, where as in the case of roommates the budget would clearly define each person’s responsibility. Now that we have the host and the budget, we need to talk about the meeting.
The first meeting would declare the budget, and determine a few things that could be negotiated. Several suggestions besides just discretionary spending include food, entertainment and utilities. Food could be done with a basic monthly budget consisting of basic meals and packed lunches when needed. If a member of the ‘board’ wished to lobby for an increase to the budget, or a one-time charge, say for a birthday party, they could draw up the estimated cost or new budget and bring forward a motion to relax the budget.
For example, someone could say, “We have been getting by on $250 a month for food, but we have two birthdays next month and that is going to increase our costs. I propose a combined party with dinner, a cake, and snacks costing no more than $60.” The board members could vote and if agreed, the $60 could either be released to the party planner to buy the supplies or added to the spreadsheet to indicate that an extra $60 is going to go on the check card this month. If they can not come up with the $60, then perhaps they can approve a smaller amount, or discuss a few ways to cut the budget somewhere else for the month.
It could get very interesting if there are two teenagers trying to get approval to buy concert tickets, or Mom wants to go see a play, but Dad wants to go to a football game. Now you may be wondering just how utilities could be negotiated. Let me explain. In the middle of the summer when it starts to get hot, a team of board members, who share in their desire to turn on the air conditioning would have to locate a way to shave costs somewhere else in order to bring about a proposal to go up for a vote. “I propose that in lieu of going to the mall this month and also with the money that will be saved by mixing our own Gatorade for the baseball games instead of buying drinks at the snack bar, that we lower the thermostat from 78 degrees to 76 degrees for the month of July.” The meetings themselves would be fun and could help lower the overall entertainment budget.
The financial officer could also be responsible for (or nominate a committee to help) researching current interest rates and where to put the savings account. Obviously, if your savings is earning higher interest, you may be able to have a few dollars available for use on a project or excursion. This could also be very helpful in finding ways for everyone to share the burden of saving up the funds required for a summer vacation or a large purchase.
You could begin or end each meeting with a discussion of the current funds. Hearing a rundown of how much money is in an ING account called “SummerTrip” and a second named “PoolPasses,” as well as the current balances of Christmas clubs as well as the total remaining on last years loan before it is paid off could bring together the ‘board’.
What this all means is that the budget and money decisions are a group effort and everyone learns the financial importance of the things they want to do. It’s a way to get the entire family involved instead of a single person dictating and also will help everyone learn to budget better through discussion and negotiations. The family that figures out a budget together, lives happier together.
When it comes to the ritual of dating, it can mean a lot of money spent if you are not careful. It’s not always easy to break out of a pattern where a lot of money is spent on dates as this reader has found out:
I have been dating my girlfriend for a few months now and everything is going really well except for the costs of our dates. I know that I am mainly to blame for the situation. When we first started going out, I really wanted to impress her, so I spent quite a bit of money on our dates. Once this started, it became difficult to reduce the amount I was spending to better reflect my income level. The problem is that I can’t afford to take us out on expensive dates like I have been, but I’m afraid that if I suggest less expensive things to do she will think that I am going cheap on her.
I guess what I’m really looking for our dating ideas that are not expensive, but appear to be expensive. Do these even exist?
If something like this is not possible, what is the best way to approach her to tell her that I can’t afford to spend so much on our dates. Is there a correct way to talk about the subject so it doesn’t make me look like I’m cheap or I’m not willing to spend money on her? Things are going so well right now that I really don’t want to disturb or rock the boat in any way, but I know that this issue needs to be resolved before I go bankrupt.
Do you know of some inexpensive dates that you could recommend to this reader? If you were in a similar situation, how would you bring up the subject of the cost of the dates?
What would you do if you had children still in your home after they had graduated from college, but they weren’t helping out financially in any way? This is a question that one of the readers is facing and wondering what steps she should take to resolve the issue:
I hope that you can give me some advice on a problem that I have with my children. They are both adults with one being 24 and the other being 26 years old. After college, they moved back into our home where they have been ever since. Although I love having them with us and have no problem with them actually living here, I feel that them living with us has been quite detrimental to their financial well-being.
Neither of them has jobs or are they looking for jobs. Since all their basic needs are satisfied living here (they don’t even purchase their own food), they have no real incentive to go out and find a real job.
I want to be a supportive parent, but I also want them to learn that they have to be able to support themselves. I know that I need to sit down and have a talk with them, but I’m not sure how to broach the subject and what type of demands I should make of them. I’m looking for suggestions on how to let them know that it is not okay for them to live here without working and paying their fair share, but also letting them know that I’m more than willing to help them as they seek employment.
I’m also wondering whether I should place deadlines on them finding employment? I think that they should at the very least pay for their own food and help out with utilities and home maintenance costs. Are there other things that I am forgetting that also should be included? Any suggestions that you have would be most appreciated.
If you were in the same position, what are the rules that you would make for your children and what would be your financial expectations of them to remain living in your home?
I am a single mother with two small children and I have a major difficulty with my current budgeting. The problem is that I’m supposed to receive $1000 in child support each month from their father, but I can never count on this money arriving. While it does come most months, when exactly it will arrive is always a question and sometimes only a partial payment or no payment at all will come. Since I count on this money for my monthly budget, it is often thrown all out of whack due to the payment not arriving. Does anyone have suggestions on how I can make my budget less dependent on whether this money arrives or not? Are there steps that I can take to make sure that the money arrives on a certain day each month? It really becomes stressful one I have bills that I need to pay, but the money that should be in my bank account isn’t there.
If you found yourself in a similar situation, what steps would you take to help remedy the problem?