Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Remember Christmas Clubs - Old School Savings

For an unemployed person, I am the worst at keeping my spending down but I am continually working on it. With Christmas coming up, I am sure I will do what millions of other Americans will do, use plastic. Keep your judgements and comments to yourself (because I know you are right.)

That said, while I was at the bank today, depositing my change. Yes, that's how I save money now. Saving my change by putting into a little coffee can, waiting until it's full and then putting it into a savings account. Ridicoulous, I know. But today, I put in close to $200 dollars in my savings account.

Trust me there is absolutely no logic to my madness. Shouldn't I be paying off debt rather than saving.

So as I was standing there, I saw the sign for 2010 Holiday Club. Holiday Clubs seems like such an outdated notion. But it reminded me of my Nana.

When I think about my Nana, I am confounded. Yes, she grew up in the depression, but she made every dollar count on a salary what would now be considered today below below poverty level.

But somehow, she, a domestic (a nice way of saying maid) and my grandfather (a rubber factory worker) owned their own house (in what was then a nice neighborhood when Akron, Ohio was a bustling city and now is pretty much a ghetto), never had a credit card and raised 4 kids, of which 3 out of 4 went to college and 2 out 3 went to grad school and law school (my dad).

And she had Christmas account. She deposited money into that account every payday so she could afford toys for her grandchildren, all seven of them. Can you imagine?

As the bank teller explained to me how it worked, I thought this notion is nuts. Who would open up a Christmas Club account rather than just use money out of your savings/checking account? It made no sense but as I was walking home I realized, that money is somehow a very compartmentalized way of thinking, right? We have a 401k for our retirement and a 529 account for college funds, money that you can't use except for one purpose and a specific time.

So tomorrow, I am going to open up an old-fashioned Christmas account and next year, the bank will cut me a check in November so I can use for Christmas gifts. It may be nuts, but every year I say I am not going to use plastic and every year I do.


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