As time goes flying by, it is getting harder to keep pace

As time goes flying by, it is getting harder to keep pace

By: Donna Ryder, Messenger Associate Editor

Time sure is flying by.
My husband, Jay, and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary Thursday. Saturday my twin, Lonna, and I will turn 37.
At church on Sunday, the elder asked how many years we’d been married and I couldn’t remember right off the bat. My age is another thing. I quickly offered the information and told them I don’t mind giving it, since I actually look younger than I am. But, I feel twice as old. I use the organizer on my cell phone to remember meetings and appointments. I can’t get up from my desk at the office and go to another room without forgetting what I got up for in the first place.
I never remember anniversaries and birthdays of loved ones until well after the fact. I probably couldn’t even tell you what I ate for lunch yesterday if you asked.
It seems only a short time ago that my oldest son, Jonathan, was born. He’ll turn 11 in July and he tells me almost daily that he’ll soon be a teenager. “Only two more years, Mom,” he’ll say. Then it reminds me that he’ll be able to drive in just five years and, since his father and I have promised him the truck, that will mean buying a new or “new to us” vehicle. Then there’s the realization that we will actually have to teach him how to drive in four years and shivers run down my spine at the thought of how much I’m dreading it.
Of course, then there are the thoughts of him dating. And, well, it’s just not something I want to think about. My husband says he can foresee the two boys — Jonathan and Matthew, who’s now 7 — falling for the same girl and the fist fights which will follow.
Until then, I’ll try to keep them young and busy.
This summer we’re planning a vacation to Pigeon Forge to visit Dollywood, the children will go to the Boys & Girls Club and participate in the Masquerade Theatre workshop. Both have been cast as Oompa Loompas in the upcoming production of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Jr.” They’ll also have Vacation Bible School and will be taking swimming lessons. Then, before you know it, it will be time for school to begin again.
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I recently received an e-mail about a new book which includes ways to teach your children that money doesn’t grow on trees. Honestly, if you teach this in your own lives — being thrifty with what you have, trying to find bargains on a daily basis — you don’t need a book.
This, I admit, I am fairly good at. I rarely buy new clothes and, if I do, they’re always on sale (except for school “dress code” clothing, which is hard to find on sale and can rarely be found in thrift stores). I fully take advantage of the Goodwill Store. I buy my groceries from Big Lots and Save-A-Lot — buying things I can’t find there at other chain stores or local grocery stores.
It’s getting hard for families to meet their budgets, especially with the ever-increasing cost of gasoline (which is always higher in Union City than in the surrounding areas for some really unexplainable reason) and higher food costs. (According to the USDA, since February 2007 eggs are up more than 25 percent, milk and other dairy products have jumped more than 13 percent and chicken and poultry increased more than 7 percent.)
Eric Tyson, author of “Let’s Get Real About Money! Profit From the Habits of the Best Personal Finance Managers” (FT Press, December 2007, ISBN-10: 0-1323416-1-1, ISBN-13: 978-0-1323416-1-5, $19.99), says if you’re feeling guilty because you can’t buy your child that video game system he desperately wants or send him to that trendy summer camp, don’t.
“Kids are surprisingly aware of what’s going on in the world. … And if they don’t know that times are a little bit tough and Mom and Dad are having to watch their spending, it’s time to tell them. Sheltering kids from financial realities does them no favors,” he said.
A few of the tips Tyson offers include:
• Realize children learn what they live.
“When you ring up a barge-load of credit card debt, take out exorbitant mortgages or car loans and fail to save anything, that’s what your kids come to see as normal,” he said.
• De-program them. He said children are constantly bombarded with information about what things cost. “What they aren’t bombarded with is knowledge on how to manage money effectively,” Tyson said, adding they should be taught that buying items using credit cards puts a lot of money directly into the credit card companies’ pockets.
• Start them saving and investing early. “It’s never too early to start saving, and the sooner you can instill the importance of saving money into your children the better,” he said.
• Reduce their exposure to ads. The primary path to reduced exposure to ads is to cut down on TV time.
• Find entertaining ways to teach good money habits — for example, age-appropriate books.
• Teach them how to shop wisely.
• Introduce the right and wrong ways to use credit and debit cards.
• Encourage older children to get a job.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at dryder@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.23.08

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