Banking for First Graders

30 May

I’ve never been good with money. I’m not sure what the root cause of it is but I sure can tell you the results. Saving for trips in the past has either seen me emptying out my 401K (don’t ever do that!) or borrowing from friends (even worse!).

This time around I’m lucky enough to have some money that Mom left me. I’m using as little of that as possible but that means saving up… for a year. Yeesh. Long term saving is something I’m less than skilled at. Let’s just say that I’m not looking forward to retirement as much as praying I die in my sleep with all my bills paid.

About four years ago I set up an internet savings account with ING Direct. I make weekly contributions to it and throw a bit more at it when I get ahead. Apparently I’m not often ahead because I had less in there than I had hoped. Granted I had bought a car and… you know, shoes.

It’s time to step it up, party people. I’ve started socking money away like they did in the gold old days, with paper mâché and a chemistry beaker. You see one year I dressed as a mad scientist for Halloween. When shopping at the beloved Axman’s Surplus in St Paul, I found a giant beaker. When its use as a prop had come and gone the Mister wanted to recycle it. But I said I needed it. I knew it would come in handy, eventually. So after using its well-honed skills of dust gathering I turned it into a piggy bank. Now I throw all my change in it and I can measure how many mLs I have saved.

Then comes the paper mâché. In elementary school we made things out of paper mâché. Everyone else turned their newspaper and paste creations into animals and spaceships. I was more creative. I made a football. Years later I started making just the egg shape without the brown crepe paper. I cut a whole in the top and voila! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! I had a piggy bank.

This technology still comes in handy today now that I no longer wear braces. I’ve been trying to use cash more lately so that I can save all the $1s for the trip. This is a new-ish habit but so far, so good. Maybe I’ll be able to cover one hotel while we are there. Or at least cover my chocolate expenditures. Crossing my fingers now, friends!

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