Too much money???

gina_in_flJuly 29, 2006

Ok, I'm probably not in the right forum for this, but there isn't anoter forum that suits the bill.

Does anyone have any problems spending money? I was brought up on dollar shoes that deformed my feet, saving pennies for everything, and a general lack of spending in my family.

Due to that lack of spending in the family, I've got a bunch of bucks that I can't leave to anyone. My only son died, and it's just me and the dog now. Relatives and such never even acknowledge gifts, so they aren't forthcoming anymore. I need to spend money on me!

How do I get over the Wal-Mart lifestyle?

I go on cruises, have several homes, too much $$ is the problem. I've e-mailed lots of charities, but if I don't get responses,,, DUH... do they deserve any $$?

I've given to several folks on the net, but only the ones I choose...they've never begged, so don't do that.

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If you really need to spend money on you, you'll have the motivation you need to overcome the "Wal-Mart lifestyle". It strikes me, though, that the Wal-Mart lifestyle is working for you, so why change it?

If you are willing to give away money, I would suggest narrowing down charities with which you would like to work and then contacting them personally, either in person or by calling and setting up some time to discuss your philanthropy. My experience with email is that 1) most companies do not handle it well at all; and 2) some organizations "discount" emailed requests because they're so easy to create and to, um, gloss over the truth. Not that it applies to you, but you get snagged by that negative experience. Meet in person and let them know you're serious about donating and see what happens. I have to think there are any number of local organizations or national aid groups who would be thrilled to have a benefactor.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 11:52PM
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First let me say how sorry I am for the loss of your son.
As a person who is about to celebrate her 33rd year of volunteering,( I don't have allot of money to give but I do have time ) I might be able to make some suggestions.
I don't know where in FL you are but I would check with some of the Children's Hospitals in your area. There are a couple of Children's Hospitals in Fl that have Starbright World it is a intra net computer net work for chronically and terminally ill children. It allows the kids to talk with other kids in Hospitals all over the world that share their illnesses among other programs it supports.
I have seen first hand what a wonderful program this is. An associate and I brought it to the Children's Hospital here. We heard about the program and when we went to the Children's Hospital to let them know how wonderful it was, they said they would love to have it for the kids and next thing we knew we were involved with the fundraising. You might be able to contribute to one near you and do it in your son's name.
Another idea would be to check to see if they have a "red wagon" program. They like to use the red wagons to take the kids for treatments and tests.
If there is a Ronald McDonald house you could donate to them also in your sons memory.
As a volunteer with our local adoption for retired race dogs for the last 13 years I have become aware of how many adoption programs there are that could use help with their fundrasing.
You could also set up scholarships at an inner city school again to honor your sons memory
The one thing I would suggest is talk to an attorney or financial planner to set up trusts now so you can see the wonderful good your money is doing.
Also make sure that the trusts are "iron clad" too many times I have seen families that only see dollar signs.

Gina the warm feeling you get from knowing that not only are you helping others but keeping the memory of your son alive. Is a feeling that you will cherish always.
Good luck to you

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 12:04AM
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If it were me that had a ton of money to give away I would choose to donate locally to the battered women's shelter, kids activity center and animal shelter. I would also get in contact with a developer and build a community outreach center. You could get rid of a lot of dough on a project like that.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 12:31PM
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We don't have children, and we have had similar discussions about what to do with our "estate" should we not require every penny of it. There are family members, but none have really distinguished themselves and we're more interested in leaving our estate to very dear friends or a charity.

It's different when you don't have kids. For you, having had one and lost him, it must be doubly difficult. I'm sorry you are faced with this, it's a worry I understand, on a certain level.

You should think carefully about how you want your legacy to be passed on. What issues/causes most inspire you? Public TV/radio? SPCA? Education?

Live your life fully and richly in the meantime. I respect your willingness to put your concerns before us. It takes guts and it shows a pragmatism that inspires me.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 5:52PM
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Look into Heifer International

Whether it is $10 or $100,000, a contribution to Heifer works to provide help to people while giving them a means to get on their feet. It also requires that they give back to the program (in the form of their firstborn female livestock animal).

We see it as a way to let our "extra" money make a true difference in people's lives, but for it to also go further than one time charity handouts (no matter how much needed) could ever do.

Heifer lets you do a lot of world changing and world improving whether you have lots of $$$ or just a few. We find that their way of providing charitable help matches well with our Walmart lifestyle and beliefs about the importance of being frugal.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 11:38AM
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I LOVE Heifer International. We donate to them on a regular basis. It's one of those charities that you can see how it makes a difference, how it really changes people's lives. Although they are a large organization (so can't be ultra personal), I have always found them to seem very appreciative of every penny we have been able to give them.

Gina, I'm sorry that you are having trouble finding those to acknowledge your generosity and gifts. I have many relatives that do not acknowledge gifts and it isn't much fun to do anything for them. Enjoy your money for yourself, even if it means giving much of it away to charity- if it makes you feel good then it must be right.

I'm sort of with you that I am not one to readily spend money on myself, but then again we aren't in a position to have an overabundance of cash so self-denial feels like the right thing to do, LOL. Good luck to you.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 12:24PM
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Many Canadians, especially farmers, donate to the Canadian Food Grains Bank. A couple of rural churches nearby have a member of the congregation donate an acre/few acres, that they plant together, then donate the grain to the Bank.

There's a charitable agency (something like "Gramer", I think) that operates like a bank that works in many Third World countries, as well as in our area, I believe, that gathers a group of people (usually women) in a locality, then makes a small loan to them, which is used by one person to set up a small business, with the others helping. Then the borrower pays back the loan and it is loaned out to someone else.

Their rate of default is very low, as there's a group that accepts responsibility for the loan.

It works much like the Heifer project that has been mentioned above.

Another agency which I believe does outsatanding work is Habitat for Humanity: they expect recipients of their aid to contribute toward the home that they receive.

It seems to me that a number of people with disabilities have a difficult time in this part of the world, earning enough to make ends meet ...

... and it becomes many times more difficult in various countries where there is a large population but few jobs.

In this area, contributions made to a number of relief and social welfare agencies are matched by a government sponsored aid program, in some areas by both the federal and provincial governments, so a dollar individual gift produces Two to Four Dollars of effective aid.

Also, if I sell some of my mutual funds or stocks and give the money to a number of charities, I develop a major tax deduction. However, if I donate the stock certificate, it used to be that I was taxed at half of the usual rate on the capital gain, but now there is discussion of making it fully tax-free, so you might check to see whether such opportunities may be available in your jurisdiction.

If you don't have a prejudice against supporting a Muslim agency, the Aga Khan Foundation has carried out a number of good self-help projects in many largely Muslim countries.

As one who worked for a while abroad as a Christian missionary/relief worker helping refugees get their lives back in some semblance or order after a terrible (Korean) war, I can testify that many church-related agencies provide excellent service, and usually at low overhead.

One such agency which does outstanding work is the Mennonite Central Committee.

One of the things that they do is ship handicrafts made mainly by women in Third World countries over here for sale in a number of "Ten Thousand Villages" stores that they run, mainly by volunteers, in our part of the world.

They are involved also with "Fair Trade" goods, e.g. coffee and cocoa, in commercial systems where in the regular system workers/small farmers get paid a pittance and the major international trading organizations make major profits.

You find it hard to get a reply from representations that you make to various charitable agencies?


Around here, many people say that once they make a donation, they get soliciting letters by the mailbox-full, from then on.

When my old uncle's wife died, I stayed with him for a while and he said that we should burn such letters, but I said that we should return them, saying on the face that the recipient was deceased. I did that with some, and contacted some by way of their website.

Of course, some charities are a bit sceptical of that action, as a ploy used by some folks who want to get them off of their backs!

Some years ago an old childless couple in my congregation who lived quite frugally (had never visited the capital city of our province, about 100 miles away) told me that they had never applied for a certain government pension in Canada.

I told them that it was available to everyone (with certain residency requirements) at age 65 (they were about 80) and that I thought that they should apply - if they didn't need the money, they could give it to some young local person who wanted to start farming but couldn't afford to, or I could tell them of a couple of dozen places where their contribution could be well used.

For some reason, they were unhappy with my suggestion - left our congregation, where they'd been involved for a number of years. Troubled, I sought to find the reason, but they were not outgoing people.

Good wishes as you search for worthy recipients of your largesse.

I sympathize with and offer strong support for your choice to live frugally and to share the savings with others: when you live for a time with people who have nothing, who must save for years to afford a bicycle, it gives one a different outlook on life that espoused by about 99.9% of North Amwericans.

A whole truckload of blessings to you for your generous spirit!!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 6:59PM
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Let me add condolences on the loss of your son. Curiously, my sister had the opposite response after losing her son in 9/11. Also wealthy, she just decided money wasn't worth thinking about any more, and then became able to spend quite freely. People are so different...

You have helpful, wise responses here re: finding worthy charitable causes. Especially if you can connect with a local need.

But you also seemed to be asking about another issue - feeling OK with splurging/indulging yourself when you were bred to conserve. I hear you on that count. I am at a point where there is "enough", likely more than enough, money, yet old habits die hard. I take more delight at finding something great at Goodwill than at a boutique. Just not quite comfortable with high end spending and lifestyle. I don't think I could be comfortable in my sister's lifestyle with the country clubs and first class travel, etc. Yet our net worths are comparable.

I've thought about this issue of conflict over self indulgence a lot. Some underlying dynamics may be:
-fear (that the money once spent might later be needed)
-guilt (over being a 'have' when so many 'have not')
-control (a budget is much more challenging and structuring than a blank check)
-affiliation (if you generally like ordinary people much better than wealthy people)
-ecologic anticonsumerism ('reduce, reuse, recycle' kind of collides with consumption),
-apprehension (change of any kind is challenging - the familiar is easier than the unknown),
-ambivalence (decisions with too many possibilities can equal paralysis) and lastly,
-self esteem (Oh, I shouldn't...= I don't deserve to...)

Might be worthwhile to use some of that money to engage a counslor and figure out what it is that has you stuck in your "Walmart lifestyle" and unable to fulfill that need to "spend money on me". Since it is exploration and not really treatment of a disorder, you'd likely have to pay out of pocket, but it might be worth it to solve the puzzle and free you.

This is not a 'problem' that generates much sympathy from most, but it can be very troubling and frustrating nontheless. I understand your struggle and wish you well in finding some clarity and freedom. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 11:56PM
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Heifer Proj. is great! What a treat to find so many like-minded people. "Invesment" is about putting up a sum of money and patiently waiting for it grow and then reinvesting the "growth" portion. What is more guaranteed than an investment in sustaining livestock that requires the female issue to be PASSED ALONG?

Truly, if there was ever a way to invest in "capital" this initiative is how to do it.

I'm not alone! :) !!!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 4:08PM
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Somewhat in the Heifer Project realm is Kiva, which loans money to qualified small-business owners in very poor parts of the world (Africa, Gaza, etc.). The money is life-changing, both for the business owner and for the community they anchor.

Disclaimer: I contribute to Kiva. Before I did, I searched for information and didn't find a single negative report about them. I'll vouch for their integrity.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kiva microloans

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 9:25AM
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I feel thankful for the (undeserved) blessing - and somewhat proud - that I was born a Canadian, in a very fortunate part of the world.

But it was an accident of birth that granted me that benefit. I could have been born in many other parts of the world, where there has been oppression, war, hunger, major illness, suffering and, often, early death.

I feel that I owe those people - fellow inhabitants of the earth - something.

Who knows - maybe one of the questions on my Final Exam, (or, as we called it in Public School, our "Entrance Exam" [to High School, in that case]) may be, "Ed, can you explain to me how mankind could arrange it that 80% of the population went to bed hungry daily ... while 10% or so fussed continually about being overweight, went on diets, paid money to agencies to facilitate such projects, suffered reduced health because of it, etc.?

While I don't make a big thing of it, I also rather feel that "my" money isn't just mine, but that I should consult God about the ways in which I use it. That's a principle, more often honoured in the breach than in the observance, I admit.

While I am thankful and proud to be a Canadian, I feel that I should also look upon myself as a citizen of the world, including being concerned as to building a better future for all of its people.

Our world has become a big canoe - if one end tips over and lands many people in trouble ... we'll all go into the drink.

Surely God must be weeping, considering the mess we're making of His precious world.

And we - his precious people - are doing it?

Have we no shame?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 3:42PM
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First I am so sorry you lost your only son. You are blessed with a giving nature. If you are happy living the lifestyle you presently are you are fortunate. I think above mentioned charities like Children, Heifer are wonderful and rewarding. Have you thought about finding out if there are children in your community with cancer or other illness with poor prognosis? You could do a "dream vacation come true" for less the fortunate families. Same for elderly that have never had the extra finances to travel. Have you thought ahead to where you would want to go should circumstances require assisted living? If so perhaps you could look into to what they could use, spas, more wheelchairs, whatever and donate. Ask at your local pharmacy if there are families with expensive prescriptions and no ins. Perhaps you could finance their meds.
Bless you for being concerned and now I suggest you go to a spa and treat yourself to the works. You are worth it.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 8:58PM
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A local person in a town in Michigan has set up a fund so that any child who spends most of his/her school years in the town's schools will be given a college scholarship that will pay the tuition for college! It is a bit like eandhl's "think local" strategy. Don't finance meds, though, until the person needing them tries to get a "scholarship" (they really are called that) from the drug company itself for free drugs. Most big companies now do this so that there will be less argument about their high prices to the rest of us.

The company I work for (a nonprofit) just came up with $300 for the electric bill for a family we serve. It is a pot of money that they keep for such purposes - that may be funded by people like you. You can try contacting local human services agencies and asking if they have such a fund and contribute to it.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 11:34PM
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Look, I don't know how much you have saved, but I question whether or not it's actually 'too much' money.

One moderate illness, or a few months in a rehab can put a serious dent in a substantial savings account.

If you're alone--then you have to assume that at some point in your life you may need to go to an assisted living facility. I priced them a few years back. Cheap ones run in the $60,000/year range. With better facilities costing well over $100,000/year. And considering that according to some insurance estimates, there's a good chance many of us will live into our 90's--well, do you really have enough saved for a 5-10-15 year stretch in a care facility? I've know people who live in them that long.

In your shoes, I'd count myself lucky to have enough to take care of myself well for the rest of my days. I'd research legitimate charities, and would leave any money leftover to them in my will, once I no longer need it.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 1:23PM
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I'm with azzalea. All the suggestions are great but that one makes the most pragmatic sense.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 9:24PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions on where to get rid of $$$. Azzalea, I could put both of us in Assisted Living and not miss a beat. I have worked with Habitat, donated to children's orgs, have about 8 teens on my local list that I've promised to fund college if they keep their noses straight and keep up their grades, browse the "starvation" army thrift stores regularly (some really neat purchases).

Celticmoon.. I like your list, but nothing on it 'hit home', except maybe the ecologic anticonsumerism. Just yesterday (Literally!) lady in back of me was getting her deck torn up to put in another room. Yes, I accepted her offer of the wood and built a table for my compound mitre saw that I'd been putting off, and have enough wood in my yard now for lots of future (unknown as of yet) projects if it ever quits raining here (4 days straight and counting now).

I read all about how people have gotten into so much debt by frivolous CC spending and think "how stupid", and on the other hand I have been described as 'throwing nickles around like they're manhole covers', and I need to change that.

Jeezz... I love the internet. It lets you pour out your heart and think about your inner self.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 10:21AM
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Gina in Fl. (and anyone else) Read your OP and am curious about something. Do you have any regrets for your "thrifty' upbringing? I ask because I, too, am very cost conscious. Shop for clothes at re-sale shops, visit three grocery stores (purchase from each what I need and is on sale), do not throw anything away unless it has served its use etc. Yet, I too am quite well off financially (home is paid for; college tuition is provided for when my kids reach college age in about 8 years), etc. Anyway, any regrets from your lifestyle and spending choices?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 1:23PM
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Regrets for the thrifty upbringing? That's a really tough question. Had I not been brought up frugally would I have what I have now? Probably not.

On the other hand, I'd know how to spend money. I've had the big houses & fancy cars in the past, but they don't interest me anymore. Common sense is prevailing now. I've got friends retiring to Florida. They're building a 6 bedroom, 5 bath house. Why? they have a total of 11 kids and grandkids, and they "might" visit over Christmas. DUH! The AC bill during the summer for all those rooms would buy each kid and grandkid their own room at a Disney hotel for 2 weeks over Christmas. That makes NO sense to me.

Mugnaini, you still have younger kids and I'm glad their tuition needs are all taken care of for the future. Do you think your frugality will be ingrained in them to the point that they'll save, save, save and perhaps end up in my predicament?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 5:21PM
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I think it's a good thing to always ask yourself BEFORE you make a purchase, "how much will I have left afterwards?". I think being thrifty and aware of money "going OUT" is very important.

Controlling expenses and living below one's means is the surest way to "get ahead" when the economic cycle is "against" you. Living that way is what allows you ride out the unpleasant vagaries of the economic cycle.

Old fashioned.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 6:16PM
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Man, I wish I had that problem....ha-ha.

Let me first say, sorry about the loss of your son.

If it were me, I would buy myself some nice things, things I had always wanted in the past but would not allow myself to buy. Better clothes, nicer vehicle, etc. Then I would look for ways to reach out to needy people...a single parent family with a mother struggling to make ends meet, small community children's programs, community outreach programs, childrens christmas programs, family christmas programs, small churches, etc. Then ofcourse I would send a big ole' wopping amount to the person that typed this post...he-he. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 7:57PM
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Gina, so sorry for your loss. I can't agree more with you on the wasting money part. I don't understand that part even if you have the money to waste. I think what you're doing with charities etc. is a much better way and also keep it accountable so you know it is really helping.

I have a real hard time with wasting money. I had a few rough years after getting a divorce and had to go in debt (I did use the low interest stuff though even when having to do that) some to weather through due to stuff breaking on the house I couldn't sell because the market tanked. I'm finally on the home stretch of pulling through that, paid off cc's and car note last year, and soon one of my student loans (the other is 2% interest and in a different country so I'll wait for the exchange rate to be better before paying it off, make more keeping the money here for now). I now have extra money left over every month. It isn't much, but I just can't make myself spend it (I did up 401K though). I upped my bi-weekly spending budget by $100, but rarely spend that extra. I did buy a new car (economical and practical) and paid cash for it (still kept my old one as cars are my hobby) I'm definetly not in your league money wise now, but I hope I can at least can live comfortable at an older age so you gave me hope that it is possible by being frugal and watching spending and investments.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 9:56PM
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Chelone: you are absolutely right about "living below one's means". I have done that all of my adult life. That is probably the best advice for anyone to get and adhere to. There wouldn't be so many 'credit card woes' if people would realize that it wasn't so long ago there were no credit cards, and if they wanted to buy something they either had to have the cash or go to the bank and take out a loan every time.

Lyfia: Divorce- I know how that can be. Between the time he left and the time of the final decree, I had the house. Wonderful old house, but leaky as all get out. The electric heat or AC ran $600 a month (we tried it while still together!) chose to install lots of ceiling fans and use the wood stove. I worked evenings, and would get home at 0130 to a stove that hadn't been stoked. Winter jacket still on till the house heated up again an hour or so later. (before I get flamed for not going to bed... who that works 9-5 ever goes to bed right away?).

Mortgage payments were taking more than one of my bi-weekly paychecks, utilities, car insurance, gas, food, etc. had to come out of what was left of the other. I found out that my laser printer being on whenever my computer came on cost about $4.00 a month (found that out after turning off everything else I could think of and using hurricane lamps or candles for light by night after work).

It was tough, but I made it. Local pizza place had loaded pizza on sale on Wednesday night for $4.99, I made it last all week, when I used to nosh on it at work and finish the whole thing in one nite. I ate so much home-made fried rice that I won't eat it to this day. I mixed rice with the dog's food (Part of Settlement Agreement was dogs stayed with the house -- we had four, and at that point I was responsible for their feed & care!)

All in all, my frugal up-bringing really paid off at that time. I got the shaft in the divorce, but I did get the house (which I put the big down on from previous house). Sold it to the ex (the biz MY family financed was on the property, so he wanted it) for a bit more than it was worth (just the dirt and house... judge said HE got the biz), and moved on. It wasn't that simple, but I got it done.

Gotta love the Internet... here I am putting out my life story and really "thinking"...

That was 12 years ago. I took the house sale money and paid off all debts, e-mailed everyone on who was in Florida asking if they'd ever move to their town again (very few people in florida are FROM florida) and hit the town where someone said he would.

Got my ducks in a row, bought a cheap house for cash, got an 'under the table' job to pay the utilities and just kept saving.

Got a bit of an inheritance, invested in Tax-Free Munis and here I am. However, even without the inheritance I'd still be set... it just let me quit working. Living below your means is the KEY!!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 12:26AM
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To all that suggested Heifer.. sorry, but some woman once called me that. Not interested. Don't wanna fund people in 3rd world through American "Charities" that take 90% profit while sending monies to people that think they're getting a fortune.

I'm leaning towards service dogs, but those are the ones that don't respond to emails, even though they have Internet sites... DUH.

I do contribute generously (relative term) to local charitible events, 'In need' orgs, and whomever I run across localy that I can help without looking like a money-pit thingee. Sometimes $20 is all it takes. Sometimes less... we got a "tricycle guy" that goes around sifting out butts from 'entry ashtrays'. He appears to be in his 50's, but with that life, might be in his 50's. I collect my butts (have a weird ashtray and usually only smoke 3/5 of cigb) flip him all my butts and sometimes a whole pack of smokes. Ok, he's not one of the Politically Correct to support, but as a smoker, I know what he wants. He never appears to be 'druggie'.. that I would NOT support in any circumstances.

At one point, back in NC, I went to a priest at a local church and asked him for his neediest. He gave me name, address, kids ages and such. I spent %400 and delivered the stuff. MamaSan was watching her soap operas. Had to nudge able-bodied guys off the porch to unload the groceries. They weren't thankful a bit because they had to work. HELLO??? You think I'm gonna try to make migrant's lives happy (might have even been illeglals, but at the time, I only wanted to do something for someone)

Yeah, you can criticize me for some bitterness, you can even email me for some needs. If I think you qualify, you might get a couple of bucks. hotmail addy has clamshell before it.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 2:26AM
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" Mugnaini, you still have younger kids and I'm glad their tuition needs are all taken care of for the future. Do you think your frugality will be ingrained in them to the point that they'll save, save, save and perhaps end up in my predicament?"

That is a "concern" both my 13 and 10 year old boys often second-guess their spending choices, questioning the value of items, etc. I think that it is important to be financially savvy, but also be careful not to enslave yourself to saving. Easier for me to say that, rather than doing it. I guess it all depends on how much you had to go without growing up...

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 9:52AM
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I too am sorry for your loss. I too was raised frugally but sometime in my adult life have become more of a spender. My brother is like you. He has never been married, drives a 15-year old car and is very careful with his money. He plans to leave $25K to each of he neices and nephews and leave the rest to Catholic Relief Services.

I guess you need to decide what is important to you. Is it health care, education, poverty, heart disease, cancer, fine art, music? Look at Bill Gates and Warren Buffet for inspiration. Or how about one of OPrah's causes. Hope you find a cause that meets your needs. Just do it and write your will accordingly so it doesn't go to waste.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 5:46PM
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The best gift I have ever seen/experienced is the water park in downtown Olympia. The water jets shoot up in the air according to some sort of pattern. It is always jammed with kids in summer and is just a pleasant spot to sit and eat a brown-bag lunch the rest of the year. Rich and poor, young and old, all enjoy it. It took the city a while to figure out how to operate in economically and safely, but once they did it became a huge amenity for the city and will for decades to come. If I had a lot of money to spend I would first pay off the mortgage on my church and then I would buy land either for open space or park development. That's a gift that keeps on giving.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 9:09PM
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Gina - I'm sorry about the loss of your son. That must have been really tough.

My dh and I are in somewhat of the same predicament in that we don't have anyone to leave our small, but growing estate. We are in our late thirties/early 40's, no kids. Would love to have them, but have been unable.

we are doing fine financially, for people our age. We have a small mortgage, no debt and some retirement savings. I just started working recently due to immigration process. Because of lack of experience in the US, I can only get temp jobs at a lower rate of pay, even though I have significant IT, HR and Finance experience from Canada.

The similarity is we will eventually have a nice nest egg, but we have no one to leave it to. I have an older sister and a niece, but my sister is very well off and niece is spoiled. She may grow out of her spoiled phase, I dunno.

That said, I have always wanted to donate to charities that help underprivileged animals. Our dogs are our kids and we adopted an unwanted 14 YO blind shitzu nearly two years ago when his family left the gate open and let him wander across a hiway. Did I mention the dog is BLIND? They didn't want him anymore. A wonderful woman found him and took him in, but she died a short time later. I found him posted on Freecycle and we took him in. He has been a wonderful part of our family for nearly two years and even though he's blind and deaf, he gets around just fine. Unfortunately, it's getting to the point we may have to put him down because he is arthritic and can't walk like he used to. We will do it with a heavy heart, but also knowing we gave him two additional years he wouldn't have had and that he had alot of love from us.

When Katrina hit, I wanted to adopt every single homeless animal, but of course I couldn't. We also couldn't donate to every organization, but there are many shelters right now that still have homeless animals left over from Katrina. They need lots of funds and donations to keep them afloat so these displaced animals aren't put down. Perhaps that is the type of charity you're looking for? Even if it's not Katrina shelters, there are countless shelters that need funds to feed animals and give them medical attention, especially no kill shelters.

We are doing our wills right now and in the event both of us go, a large sum of our estate will go to a reputable organization that saves animals, mostly dogs, from euthanasia - specifically no kill shelters. There are even places that house dogs for life, much like a retirement homes for dogs, where they live in the country and have dedicated personnel to keep them happy in their old age.

If one of us goes, the other will survive on the life insurance and rest of the estate. Once the survivor goes, then a significant donation will be cited for an animal rescue charity since we have no one else really to leave our funds. They are small now, but in the future after dh retires and with family inheritences, we should have a sizable estate.

I'm also one of those frugal ones. My friends call me the Bargain shopping Queen (BSQ for short). I may not be as frugal as you, but I don't pay full price for mostly everything. If I find a good deal, I will buy it. I did alot of couponing and it's AMAZING how much money you save, especially combining buy 1 get 1 frees. I did a huge grocery shop one day and the bill came to over $300 and with coupons it was less than $20. I was proud of myself for that one! lol

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 4:28AM
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    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 9:32PM
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It really cracks me up that no one has flamed you Gina. Your not exactly PC.

So how many emails have you received?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 10:35PM
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Sparksals.. I'm really into dog/animal stuff. Donated a chunk to Noah's wish last year. Also to other thingees, but cannot understand how "family" thinks that donating to them, with never even a thank you email, is better than donating to charity!!!! Hellooooooo??? Appreciation counts for something!! At least I get some emails from the charities. Spam is better than nothing.

My dog is deaf now.. know that because I went out one door, came in another.. she still had nose at first one.. Talked to her, yelled at her, had to touch her before she'd get nose out of door. She's still a "good"... love her to death.

There's a lot to be said for those that think that people should be thought above before animals,, but I've had rental units... Dogs are better.

Couponing: Just today drove down to store for BOGO Coffee.. bonus was Crystal Light I drink at 1/2 price. turned $96 into $48... they wouldn't take my Internet printed coupons, or would have been more!

jerrie: hit your caps lock key to turn it off.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 10:37PM
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Gina - you have a great sense of humour!

During my first marriage, I stopped giving gifts to ex's nephew and niece because we never got so much as a verbal thank you, let alone a written one.

Dogs are very resilient. OUr blind one has adapted to two different homes and when we go on vacation, he has no fear of exploring the hotel room. He uses the wall as a guide. He has a few bumps here and there, but he knows to tread softly.

I would do anything for my dogs. They are our kids. I know there are people who think paying alot of money for a surgery they need is prohibitive, but dh and I would do it without a second thought.

Just a few months ago, our neighbour lost his Husky. Well, the neighbour was so neglectful of the dog, he always escaped and came to our house. The guy was gone for days on end, left a kiddie pool of water that got filthy and would be gone for a week at a time. The poor dog was so lonely.

One day, he escaped and our front door was closed, so we didn't notice. We foudn the neighbour standing on the front drive later that night asking if we saw his dog. We hadn't. My dh got in the truck and started looking for him, to no avail. My dh and I put up signs looking for him. His owner did nothing .

We got a call a couple days later to say he was at the pound, but injured. Turns out he was hit by a car, had a broken leg and was unadoptable. This broke my heart. He was not even one year old and I KNEW he would make someone a wonderful pet. So, I waited the required three days, didn't tell the owner he was there (it's not as if he went to the pound to look for him!) and I adopted him. I took him to our vet who is a good surgeon and we paid for his leg to be fixed to the tune of 2K. It was tight for us, but I couldn't see this dog be put down when he had so much potential.

He recovered nicely from the surgery and I found him a wonderful home. I just saw him the other night as a friend of mine adopted him from me. He is happy as a lark and is very much loved.

The "previous" owner couldn't give a rat's bum about this dog. He abused him, the dog wouldn't go near him and he was itching to get out of his prison of a yard.

What's worse is we live in AZ and him going for days on end was dangerous for the dog. Water evaporates very quickly in the summer heat, he had a very thick coat. The dog could have died.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 1:21AM
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Kellyeng: No, I'm not Politically Correct and nobody can shame me into being so!

I've gotten zero emails thus far, and that's about normal for posting on this site. Must be a lot of honorable people here, and I appreciate that. If people want to flame me, bring it on. The closest I've gotten so far has been from the ALL CAPS up above.

Sparksals: I don't know about other good states but FL. Intangibles taxes rather than state taxes, and the limit just recently went up. I can compare NJ to FL... car insurance is lots lower, house insurance is lots higher. Tax rate is VERY much lower. MIL should grab onto one of the seven states she might want to move to (those without state income taxes) and fly out to get driver's license... that is usual requirement for "residency". Then she can take her time to find a place.

No sense of humor here! I just am old enough to tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may! :)

Still love the internet!! Can make friends no matter how ugly you may be!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 11:22PM
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gina - I was wondering how many emails you got too! LOL

We're going to have a chat with MIL to see what her plans are. She found a condo in MD htat she liked, but then didn't put an offer in. So, she's back to square one.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 10:35PM
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