Better than Black Friday

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You are actually buying a turkey

“You mean no one gave you a turkey?”

A friend of my mother, who is a doctor, shopped at a local grocery store. This particular grocery store is located in a low income to lower middle class neighborhood (beginning to gentrify ).

A customer made the above remarks to the doctor. I guess this customer is used to receiving a free turkey from some group or organization each year.

Thinking about this customer’s remarks , I recall a statement of Dave Ramsey from his Financial Peace University series. Dave Ramsey stated he has been broke twicein his life. He has never poor. Being poor is a state of mind. The customer from The grocery store is an example of a poor person ‘s state of mind.

Yes, not everyone receives handouts. Yes, people earn money to buy their own food.

Why Healthy Choice?

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I enjoy several of Healthy Choice entrees as meals for lunch.

I recently purchased several entrees. To my dismay the packaging has been redesigned. Maybe there’s a benefit to the new Cafe Steamers containers. For me the issue is the awkward and bulky packaging. The former packaging was an ideal rectangle shape.

Goodbye Portabella Marsala Pasta. Will I find another frozen entree that tastes so good.

You are purchasing an age restricted item

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What? That’s what the computer blared as I attempted to purchase my items via self checkout at the grocery store yesterday. What age restricted item did I purchase? I looked at the screen. Lord have mercy, the cough syrup? The cough syrup! I had to wait for an employee to come and “approve ” my purchase. Meanwhile I explained to the customer behind me that the cough syrup is age restricted.

When I picked up the box yesterday I did not see the side of the box with the warning to parents. I have taken a photo of the warning.

When the employee arrived at the checkout, I explained what happened. She didn’t bother to ask for identification to confirm I was 18 years or older.

Crazy. What a paternalistic environment we live in. And this doesn’t bold well for the future . Imagine , in a couple of years, as you attempt to purchase a bag of potato chips, you will be warned: “consuming this item may lead to obesity.”

Preparing for another government shutdown

So you don’t have a three to six month emergency fund (as Dave Ramsey recommends) or an eight month emergency fund (as Suze Norman suggests)? So what should you do to prepare for a possible government shutdown on or about January 15, 2014? Simple, stop funding your retirement account.

During the 17 day government shutdown, federal government employees were in panic mode. How do I pay for child care? How do I pay my rent or mortgage? I recall reading an article in The Washington Post were a middle age couple withdrew from their retirement account (TSP) the equivalent of two months of mortgage payments. A very bad move.

Stop funding your retirement account NOW and set aside that money as your emergency fund (do not use those funds for any other purpose) . If we avoid a government shutdown in mid January and Congress actually does its job and passes a budget (not another continuing resolution meaning they kick the proverbial can down the road to deal with the budget another day) then resume your contributions to the TSP.

A work colleague of mine recalled me telling her years ago, it is smarter to suspend contributing to your retirement account for a short period of time than to borrow from your retirement account. This friend closely followed the news and believed a government shutdown was on the horizons. So several months before the 17 day shutdown in October, she ceased contributing to her retirement account and saved that money as her emergency fund. Smart move on her part. Although like many federal employees she was unhappy about the shutdown, she was NOT financially stressed!