Recession Mama











By Katy

happy-anniversary-balloon-bouquet

Six months ago, this week, Heather, Carla and I launched this site.  We had no idea what it would become.  We just wanted a place where we could talk about our experiences in this unusual economy.  We each had very different economic realities, as I am sure our readers do also.  In fact, I think each of us draw in the kinds of readers who are most like us…and sometimes, we also get readers who can’t understand what we’re going through and let us know it!  Money is a hard subject to talk about.  It’s also a hard subject to write about.  Money is so personal.  It’s definitely been hard for us, and we’re the Recession Mamas!  I’ve gotten criticized for how much I’m planning to spend on my wedding, and I haven’t even spent the money.  I was just writing about what various locations might cost us.  But that’s why it’s important to keep sharing each other’s stories.

I actually embrace the criticisms.  I address them, of course, in future posts.  But I love hearing the good and the bad.  This is what this site is for!  We should help each other through a period of time in our lives and in our country’s history that most of us have never lived through before.  We don’t always have to write about our money issues.  I think it makes for a better site if we actually don’t.  I think we are just here to document what this strange, new economic world is like…for us and for our guest writers.

I love when readers write to me and tell me how much they relate to what we’re writing about.  I love when I hear that someone has even used a tip or two from this site.  But what I love most is when someone says simply, thanks, for putting it out there!  We are going to try and keep putting it out there for all of you…and for ourselves.  Thank you so much for reading these last six months!  I hope you’ll continue to read and contribute.  Also stay tuned!  We’ll be rolling out a new look soon!!!

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{September 22, 2009}   Cowboys Crazy

By Heather

Cowboys Star

I was fortunate enough to witness sports history this weekend. Well sports stadium history anyway. The Dallas Cowboys had their first home game in the new stadium. Yes, the stadium is BIG. And yes it is really amazing. But after looking at the old stadium anything looks good. Unfortunately, the Cowboys didn’t dazzle like the stadium. They lost to the Giants. (can anyone scream turnovers!)

Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, is a proud papa of this new stadium. So proud that video aired before the start of the game compared the stadium to the Taj Mahal, Parthenon and other historical monuments. That might be taking it a bit too far. But I’m going to give Mr. Jones the benefit of the doubt and take it as a joke. I was giggling anyway.

The jumbo tron is well…. JUMBO! It’s so big I was distracted during the game. At 159 x 72 ft. it’s large and in charge. You can’t take your eyes off of the thing. I darn near got motion sickness while watching the Cowboys Cheerleaders do their high kicks.

Photo by Star-Telegram

 

 

 

 

Photo by Star-Telegram

 

Bye the way… this Jumbo tron doesn’t do anyone any favors. You can see fuzz, nose hairs, zits, any little defect on someone. I saw Jerry Jones scratching (picking) his nose, and a player tugging on his jock strap. I even saw a hint of cellulite on one of the cheerleaders and she burns thousands of calories a day dancing and kicking. Couple a too big screen with HD TV and you have some “reality” television. I shudder to think what I would look like on that thing. Stay away fan cam! Stay far, far away.

So was the whole thing worth the cost of admission ($340 a ticket for our seats), knocking down an entire neighborhood, and paying ungodly sums of money for refreshments and t-shirts and other merchandise? NO! But I was happy to be there anyway. I was happy to be in a stadium that was all shiny and new. I actually felt a little proud.

Just for the record the $10 truffle mac-n-cheese wasn’t any better than microwavable Kraft. My nearly $20 margarita (that’s for 1 not a pitcher) made me break into a sweat and left red splotches on my neck and chest. But it did help lessen the sting of a humiliating Cowboys loss. Sort of.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I haven’t included pictures of me at the stadium. That’s easy to answer. I forgot my camera. Ooops. I tried to take a pic with my phone, but frankly it looks horrible.

Cowboys - Copy

 Here’s a better picture of the outside.

stadium

(It really does glow like this at night. It’s like walking into a space ship or “Heaven” as I heard someone describe it.)

 Hey Jerry… if  you’re reading this blog, feel free to reimburse me for the refreshments. Better yet… how ’bout you cover next year’s season tickets. Just send the loot to my house.

Until then, make sure you’re not caught on the jumbo tron scratching body parts and tell quarterback Tony Romo to stop throwing interceptions.

See ya at the Thanksgiving game!

Check out the Cowboys and their new stadium @ http://www.dallascowboys.com/



{August 30, 2009}   Don’t Wig Out In This Economy

Today’s guest post is from Jasmin Barnes of www.mywigstudio.com.  She is a woman who is determined to not let this economy get her down.  In fact, she started her own business with the idea that every woman deserves to look great…no matter what her circumstances are, whether they’re financial or physical.

Jasmin in a pink wig

Jasmin in a pink wig

By Jasmin Barnes

In this economy, you can’t afford to be unattractive, unproductive, unmotivated and unknown.  It is definitely not the time to sit in one corner, be a fly on the wall and be negative.  With all the bad news we hear from the papers, television and radio, it is not a surprise if you find yourself a little wigged out.

Jasmin & her sis in different wigs

Jasmin & her sis in different wigs

My story started one bad hair day.  I was feeling kind of bummed and just wanted to curl up in bed.  My husband asked me to go to a county fair with him. Hesitantly, I stood up, got dressed and went.  At the fair, I stumbled upon, of all things, this wig vendor.  So I stepped inside the booth and started to try on some pieces. The next thing you know, I bought my very first hairpiece!  I can still recall the feeling when I first put on that piece.  Not only I was amazed at the transformation, I was blown away by how convenient and cost effective it is to stay stylish and fashionable during a recession.  More importantly, it did put a smile on my face!  I wanted to share that fun and fresh feeling with others and introduce this new wave in accessorizing especially during these trying times.

Jasmin transforms her look

Jasmin transforms her look

A wig can transform your look in an instant!  As always, it is important not just to look good but to feel good about your self from within.   And in times like these, you can definitely still be beautiful, positive and be on top of your game.   As a woman, I know that how she feels inside reflects in everything else that she does.  Women these days are juggling different responsibilities from work and at home.  This can be very challenging and can make us easily forget ourselves.  I have 3 kids, a husband, a house, a career to take care of, and a business to run.    I don’t have time to spend fixing up my hair on a daily basis.  With a wig or a hairpiece, you can skip that daily ordeal of blow drying / styling your hair.  You no longer need to curl/ flat iron that often.  You won’t need to frequent the salon which saves you time and time is money.   Today, every second counts – every penny counts!  If you really think about it,  who has got time and money to go to the salon these days? A simple haircut, blow drying and styling (and don’t forget the tip) can leave your wallet dry.   You can use and re-use your hairpiece over and over again for parties, meetings, weddings, concerts!  Some of my clients even take theirs to a cruise!  I find these hair pieces as quick and cost-effective solutions to today’s very active demanding society and problematic economy.

One of Jasmin's wig parties

One of Jasmin's wig parties

My Wig Studio hosts wig parties every other month.    I would invite ladies to come to my studio and try on different styles, textures and colors.  Since I started the biz, I have had 3 successful events!  My customers are usually referrals from friends and family.  Since my products are very personal, I also provide private fittings and consultation at My Wig Studio or at the comforts of my client’s home.    During a recession, all businesses get affected one way or another, but what keeps me going are the emails and messages I get from my customers.  One email said “Thank you very much! You have no idea how you helped spiced up my relationship.” Another one said “I found my self esteem I lost a long time ago and I just love the way I look now.”  These positive reactions from ladies are very inspiring, something you can’t put a price tag on.

Wigs Galore!

Wigs Galore!

We cater to all sorts of people.  I would get calls from cancer patients under going chemo therapy, to entertainers, artists, photographers, and just plain fashionistas and everyday people like you and I who simply like to enhance and update their look.   A wig is no longer just for people with hair loss condition but it has now become part of our daily wardrobe.  However, we are proud to say that a portion of our sales goes to City of Hope’s Cancer Cure research program.  It is just like choosing that pair of shoes and that purse to match that outfit (or that mood for that matter) for the day!  What makes me excited everyday is the anticipation of meeting a new person and knowing her story.   Every lady has her own personality just like every wig has its own character.   When the two meet, I can see fireworks.  It is amazing to see how someone’s personality shines through whenever they put on a hairpiece!

We are all in this together.  Continue to shine, stand out, inspire and make a difference.  All we need is a little daily dose of creativity – so, don’t Wig out in this economy!



{August 28, 2009}   The Reinvention Continues…
–by Carla

As Heather embarks on her new, fabulash career as an interior designer and Katy gets ready to start working on her latest Hollywood hit TV show, I’m here in suburban Dallas, trying not to eff up dinner each night. And so, the reinvention of Carla the Career Radio News Anchor continues…

Yay, the stove's right behind me....mocking me...can you hear it?

Yay, the stove's right behind me....mocking me...can you hear it?

I have made a little headway in the kitchen, but not as much as I’d hoped by now. I mean, I was laid off 9 months ago. You’d think I’d have gotten the hang of being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) by now. But I was “baptized by fire” for this venture, so I try to cut myself a little slack every now and then. It’s not like I started out as a SAHM with my firstborn, then eased into baby #2. I woke up one day and was all of a sudden a SAHM of 2 baby boys…with zero experience.

This week, I did manage to cook a few dishes that didn’t end up crossed out on my “Can Cook This Again” list. I whipped up a chicken and rice casserole Sunday that was inspired by the one and only Campbell’s soup can. Yup, I got me some inspiration at the grocery store last week. I thought, “This looks pretty easy…even *I* can’t screw this one up”. And it was pretty ok. My next bit of inspiration came at the checkout line and one of those little books about “fun cooking for kids” or something. You know the ones…food that looks cute and fun and MAYbe, just maybe, your picky, doesn’t-want-to- ever-eat-anything-at-all, toddler will actually want to eat this stuff. So I then cooked up some chicken strips breaded in crushed corn chips and some other stuff. The breading didn’t even smell appealing to me, but whatever, if Toddler Boy eats it…then fine. I also made some Italian breading-coated chicken strips to go with the giant batch of pasta and sauce I’d made earlier (bc I’m up to HERE with chicken most days). If you’re following along (and I am not), that’s roughly 4 semi-successful meals in about 3 days. I also whipped up my always enjoyable Mexican Casserole which is a lot like what ya get at Chipotle…and even *I* can’t screw up that dish. I’ve made baby Dean several home-cooked meals in the Magic Bullet (bless you, PopPop and Granny for THAT Christmas gift)..and last night I cranked out perhaps the greatest banana bread I have ever cranked out. (For the record, baking does not freak me out like cooking does, for some weird reason)

Success!

…Not really. See, my palate is accustomed to a certain level of yum that my current culinary skills simply cannot deliver. That is a terrible feeling. Talk about champagne taste on a beer budget. It stinks when you’ve eaten at some of the tastiest places on earth, yet you are serving up stuff that a 3rd grader could cook.

It is nice, though, to cook things that my family will actually eat. My very favorite morning this week was when Donald ate my banana bread for breakfast and Dean had a few bites as well, along with his standard baby grub. My heart was huge with joy. Still is.

And lastly this week, in an attempt to save a little money …since I was accidentally poking the boys with my crazy, out of control nails…I hacked them off myself. A good old-fashioned “Recession Manicure”…

Wow, practical AND sexy

Wow, practical AND sexy

…and the tips of my fingers are STILL numb. TOO SHORT. Plus I sliced open the ring finger on my right hand the other day opening the knife drawer. In all, I had 1 bum thumb and 2 bum fingers on the same hand…all while trying to do all of this cooking …just this week. Not to mention the vacuuming, dusting, laundry, laundry, laundry, baby care (all of it), play dates, time-outs, and the who-knows-whats.

Most days I feel like all the other moms are doing a waaaay better job than me…and that I should be waaaay better in the kitchen that I am, that my house should be cleaner, that I should get out more often and host play dates more often and try to meet other moms more often and lose more of this baby weight …and so on, but I also know that I am doing the absolute best that I possibly can.

I also know that I am having the time of my life. A lot of people really don’t understand that, though. I mean, how can you be happy about having lost your nearly six figure income? Easy…

1624a

…I feel like pinching myself because I am living my dream. So what if my cooking stinks right now and money is tight. I’ll learn to cook. In fact, one of my awesome girlfriends …who is very awesome in the kitchen…is organizing cooking classes at her  home coming up soon. I can’t WAIT! (I’m sure I’m not alone on that one…)

…and yes, I do know that there are about 14 different fonts on here. My eyeballs are glazing over. I need a font czar.



By Katy

2009_07_fashionwalk

Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of extremely innovative ways in which people are making money in this recession.  To borrow from some writer at Vogue — (I am paraphrasing) — shopping has become, these days, not just a guilty pleasure…but just plain guilty.  Not so last week when some very innovative fashion peeps decided to host the first ever Fashion Walk!

Sorry this is so small!  It says "Designer Pop Up Stores."

Sorry this is so small! It says "Designer Pop Up Stores."

Hundreds of designers, some known, some not so known, showed their goods in “pop up stores.”  Downtown is seeing a renaissance, of sorts, but in this down economy, there are still plenty of empty storefronts.  For one night, last week, those empty storefronts and spaces were transformed into clothing stores that were open late into the night.  Fashionistas, or shall I say, Recessionistas, flocked into these spur-of-the-moment store openings to check out deals, innovative designs, meet designers, and shop…totally without any guilt!  How can you feel guilty about buying designer clothes at 70% off, and help new and struggling ones, at the same time?

Fiance and I caught on camera

Fiance and I caught on camera

The fiance and I were caught on camera for a website called Racked LA.  You can check out bigger photos on that site.  For their own protection, I guess, I can’t make these photos any larger.  We walked into a couple of different “storefronts.”  At one giant loft space, I got two C&C California shirts (one for $3 and one for $5) and two Rock & Republic silk chiffon shirt dresses for $25 each!  They were all made right here in the USA!  And they retailed for a lot more.  And even if I had not scored with such great finds, it would’ve been a totally fun and free night out!  Some of the clothes looked more like art and some of the “stores” looked more like installations.  DJ’s spinned at some locales, while others brought in live musicians.  Bringing clothes to the masses, instead of relying on a high end department store to sell your clothes, is, to me, a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit that has made America what it is today.  The recession is not going to rock us.  We are going to rock this recession.



{July 14, 2009}   Spendcation

By Heather:

Ok. So, you’re familiar with the term “staycation” where you stay at home. But have you heard of the “spendcation?” That’s what I’m on currently.

We’ve used airline miles and credit card reward points to pay for pretty much everything else on this vacation. But it’s still expensive to frolic in Vail, Co. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sucking in the rocky mountain air and sunshine. But we’re spending money faster than a lottery winner. It’s almost unavoidable.

Check this out: We have a beautiful condo with a kitchen, but there isn’t a reasonably priced supermarket in sight.  I went to the local market and bought a dozen eggs so I could make breakfast. They were nearly $4.

Later my husband and I enjoyed cocktails. He had a glass of wine and I had a vodka and soda (w/ lime thank ya). The tab was $25. Typical, but irritating.My son has been eating 5 dollar hot dogs (no bun, so it’s a 5 dollar wiener)

But I will say we’ve enjoyed many “free” activities such as a farmer’s market festival, free parks, and free live music. They also provide free bus transportation throughout the village. That’s been nice.

The first day we got here the kids enjoyed a free bouncy house and arts and crafts.

But then there was the $50 “dump” incident. This falls under the category of TMI, so if that’s not your thing then skip this next part.

**** You’ve been warned *****

My youngest has a fear of foreign potties and gets a little “backed up” when we take a trip. She was in such a state by the third day of the trip that we had to take action. There wasn’t a drug store in sight, so I ran to the concierge for help. They in turn sent some poor guy to the store to buy an arsenal of”make-you-go” weapons. The tab was $27. It had everything you could possibly need (miralax, apricots, prune juice, mineral oil and an enema.) I gave the poor guy a $5 dollar tip.

To make the story short… she was finally successful. It took a lot of screaming and yelling to get it to come out, but she finally delivered what looked like a small Nerf ball. YEAH! Except she clogged the toilet. I’m not sure whether to be horrified or impressed.

Anyhoo…. the poor guy, that had to get all of the “make-you-go” items, also had to fix the toilet. It took two plungers and nearly an hour to make the repair. The poor guy also had to stop plunging and drive my husband and me to dinner. I felt so bad I gave him a $20 dollar tip. Plus another $5 for driving us. Did I mention this is the same poor guy who carried our luggage to the room and parked the rental car? He has many talents.

So there you have it. A $57 dump. But it’s all in the spirit of “spendcation” right?

We’re off to ride rented bikes and later we’ll head to the gondola. That’s costing us too. But we’re having a good time.

Once we’re finished with all of the bike riding, t-shirt and stuffed animal buying we’ll stop for lunch.  But I think we’ll skip the pizza and candy this time. We need food that contains loads and loads of fiber!



{July 5, 2009}   God and Money

By Katy

In God We Trust

In God We Trust

God and Money. Doesn’t quite go together like a horse and carriage or love and marriage or a hot dog and a bun. Alright, that last one didn’t rhyme nor did it really have a reason for being there. I just wanted to think up a third.

Now, I have never been into religion, and I’m definitely not about to tell anyone what to believe. I’m just here to talk about my experiences with my own personal finance, and of course, that means, I will be sharing with you personal stories about my life. And this last week, I made a big life change.

I was baptized last Sunday. Although, it’s a big deal to me, I don’t expect it to be a big deal for anyone else. I know it’s something between God and me…and well, maybe 300 of my fellow All Saints Church-goers. But here’s where the personal finance issue comes in…along with getting my head soaked in water by the Rector, I also needed to commit to putting my hard-earned money into the offering basket every Sunday from now on. I received a form asking me to pledge how much I was willing to give to the church (and in so implying…God) for the rest of this year. So, what should I do?

I have already been giving 10% of my weekly net pay every Sunday I have attended church, but now, I need to put down on paper exactly how much I am willing to give and that makes me nervous. I don’t exactly make a regular paycheck. In fact, I just wrapped up a show and am looking for my next gig. So, how do I make this kind of commitment without knowing how much I will be bringing in? I haven’t filled out the pledge card yet. I want to sit down with the Fiance and figure out what our combined income and debt look like. But I also want to have faith. I want to think that if I made the commitment to pledge 10% of my weekly pay, that I will get back, even more, in abundance. Is that realistic? I’ve always prided myself on being realistic, and that is what has gotten me through all of my years of freelancing. But for the first time in my life, I am going to try and operate on faith. After all, God takes care of the birds and the wildflowers, right? They never go hungry, nor lose their splendor and beauty. What do you think? Am I acting like a fool and ignoring my head? Or do you think it’s right that I go with what my heart is telling me to do?



–By Carla

education_lg

I love to learn. I may not have been the best student in high school/the early years, but I really thrived in college and continue to be fascinated with new things, new ideas and new people. A few weeks ago, I told you that I had enlisted the help of the fabu moms in my fabu mom’s group, asking them how they budget and save (since I’m such an obvious idiot in that department). I loved what Erin wrote. She’s passionate about saving money, “I love to save money!”. See? I told you. She says when she became a stay-at-home mom after her (adorable!) daughter was born, she started to look for ways to cut back since they were going to start living off of just one income.

Erin says, “At first it was challenging, but before I knew it I was addicted! I would save my receipts so I could see how much money I had saved over a month’s time. I know, total dork, but it worked! I can’t believe how much money we were wasting!”

Erin is on-top of her family’s finances and she does so by using Quicken Online, which is free, to set up her budget. “It links to your accounts (banks, credit cards, loans etc) and categorizes each transaction, so you know where every penny is going, and tracks your income. You can set an over all budget, and budgets within each category. I know when I’m over spending in one area or where I’m saving the most.”

Ok, that part does seem a little daunting, especially for a girl who still has yet to master the computer, but I have managed to pay everything online thanks to repeated prodding from Heather a few years back (thanks, mama!!). I am officially adding that step to my financial “to-do” list just as soon as Baby Boy is weened. (TMI, right? Sorry)

shoppingcart

I honestly do enjoy bragging about saving money at the grocery store. (This, from the same woman who used to toss coupons in the trash) And just a couple of weeks ago,  you could have seen my gigantic smile from Mars when the checkout dude told me, “Ma’am (and please stop calling me that), you saved $27 today.” Twenty seven dollars? I saved that much just now? Oh how times have changed, but man that was huge for me.  

There was a major theme that kept coming up over and over when asking my fellow moms about tips on savings: Menu planning. Erin writes, “Couponing can be a little tricky and time consuming, but when I considered I cut my grocery bill by 60% it was worth it for me. I plan my weekly meals around the items I am getting discounts on, and we eat the same things we always have for a lot less money!”

Did I mention that I saved $27 at the store the other day? Ok, just wanted to make sure I got that out there. NOT the biggest deal in the world for most people, but hey, baby steps for this Recession Mama. Yes!



{June 9, 2009}   Look Out World Here I Come!

By: Heather

graduation

My niece graduated from high school last week! Now it’s time for her to take on the world.  Or more realistically, it’s time for her to say goodbye to old friends and move on to college.

She’s a smart young lady who’s fortunate to be going to a good school. But will that be enough to make her successful in life? That’s the big question.

She certainly has some advantages. She’s a smart cookie, who has a supportive family, so I have no doubt she’ll do well. But she’ll have to buckle down and work hard to stand out from the rest. 

I wish somebody would’ve slapped some common sense into me about the “real world” when I graduated from high school and college.

My mom tried to warn me. But I wasn’t listening.  I was so naive about what was going to happen next.

I had a “look out world here I come attitude” but was shocked to learn that the world didn’t really give two hoots about my arrival on the “grown up” scene.

Ouch.

I was even more devastated to learn that I wasn’t the only girl who wanted to be the next Diane Sawyer or Murphy Brown.

Murphybrown_1[1]

“Whaaat? But I’m unique right? I’ve got a “can-do” attitude.”

“Whatever honey. Now get in line behind the other chick who has a better resume, more experience and actually knows someone in the business.”

“Experience? Contacts? But I have a degree. Isn’t that enough?”

“Hardly.”

I was slightly delusional in thinking that employers would want to hire me immediately if I just sent them a resume. Not so.

graduate

 

“Wow! This is so much harder than I thought.”

I had just about given up when I finally met the cousin of a college friend. She worked at a radio station and knew about an entry level news job. She told me when I could find the operations manager roaming the halls.

I literally backed him into a corner and refused to move until he agreed to a specific time and date for an interview.  

He looked slightly afraid and finally agreed.

“I’ll work for cheap and take whatever hours you can give me.” I told him during the interview.

Now you’re talking honey!

That was basically my start in the world of news. Not quite the “big splash” I had anticipated.

It took years of working overnights, early mornings, working for free, working for little pay and working two and three jobs just to get the experience I needed.

I’m still no Diane Sawyer. Never will be. And Murphy Brown doesn’t actually exist. But I can honestly say I feel pretty good about what I have accomplished.

Would I do it all again? I’m not sure I would’ve taken the same path had I known how hard it was going to be. Maybe. But it’s really hard to say.

The world taught me a big lesson as a young adult. It takes more than a can-do attitude and a good work ethic to get ahead. Sure they help tremendously. But going to the right school, landing a good internship and networking are just as important.

caps

My best advice to my niece and other graduates: get prepared to fail and succeed. You’ll experience both.

A degree isn’t a ticket for stability and success. It’s a jumping off point to an even longer journey. You have to be prepared to suceed, fail and accept many challenges. Your character will be defined by how you handle them.

“Look out world here we come!” It’s a good mantra. 

But a more realistic one would read: “Hello world. I’m going to do the best that I can.”

42-16875340



By Katy

California coastline

California coastline

By now, you all know that I live in Southern California, and although my heart will always be in Texas (where I grew up) and my head is always in New York (where I went to school and learned to dream big)…California is now home (for almost 10 years now!). It’s an amazing place with incredible ocean views, miles of beaches, mountains, and of course, great weather. But there are two things I do not like about this enormous state — traffic and the annual fight over the budget. I am not going to even get into the traffic situation, since this site isn’t called why-the-heck-isn’t-there-better-public-transportation-in-los-angeles.com. But I am going to discuss the state budget. Now, indulge me. I am not delving into politics. The annual fight in California over the budget isn’t even a left-right issue anymore. Currently, we have the govern-ator, and he’s a so-called “Republican.” Prior to Arnold Schwarzenegger, we had Gray Davis, a so-called Democrat. And nothing has changed when it comes to the budget because it can’t be passed with a simple majority. Instead, there is a 2/3rds vote requirement in order to pass the budget. 2/3rds! When have you seen politicians agree on anything? Only two other states have a 2/3rds majority rule. No wonder there is a financial crisis every year around passing the state budget. Even when we were not in a recession, California legislators have had difficulties passing a budget.

That’s an MSNBC report and interview with California’s Lt. Governor John Garamendi. He is a Democrat, and we all know MSNBC leans a little left…just like the Fox leans a lot right. But you can get somewhat of an idea of what I’m talking about. I mean California is in BIG trouble. The state is near bankruptcy, and they’ve even suspended payment on some people’s tax returns! Now, if that was me, and I wasn’t getting paid back what I was owed…I’d be on the doorstep of my legislator and demanding that money! I’m also disappointed at what the Governor is talking about cutting — money for education, health care, and programs for people well below the poverty line. He’s also proposed shutting down 220 state parks. I know that parks seem frivolous…but for people who do not have much…parks are free entertainment! Parks are places where any child can play, regardless of their parents’ incomes. And do you know how much park rangers make? Maybe the legislators who are making these decisions should really lower their salaries to what park rangers make, and perhaps that could help alleviate some of our budget shortfalls.

But here’s the real reason why I’m writing all of this: I think the way some politicians (left, right, and center) are dealing with California’s state budget is exactly how most people have dealt with their household finances. So if I want change in the government, I need to change the way my own finances are being handled, right? We all know that most couples fight about money. How many times have you and a significant other started out balancing a checkbook and ended it with a fight? And how many times have you just given up or decided that just one person should handle the household finances? Well, that’s what’s happening all over, and nowhere is it more apparent than in California. I think it’s important for there to be a CEO, or CFO, in a household. Carla mentions this idea in a previous post. One person should be the one to be in charge of the ins and the outs of cash flow, balancing the checkbook, and even paying the bills. I guess the lawmaker equivalent would be a state comptroller. But I do think it’s important for everyone in the household to know what is going on…complete transparency…from parents to children…everyone should know about how major financial decisions are being made and how that affects each member of the household. This way, no one can say they didn’t know. It also would help everyone to work together on a common goal — whether that’s saving up for a house, car, or college education. It would also make me think twice before I bought something because my money is not just my money anymore. Instead, it now belongs to the entire family, and everyone is counting on that money for the roof over their heads, for the food on the table, and for the gas in the car that we drive in the traffic filled streets of Los Angeles.

Looks pretty here, but it's not pretty when you're sitting in traffic.

Looks pretty here, but it's not pretty when you're sitting in traffic.



et cetera