Oct 14 2013
Whatever my kids do, be it school or extracurricular activities, they are either on financial aid, a merit scholarship, or work/study (i.e. they study while I work for the organizations in question).
We simply wouldn’t be able to afford Jewish Day School or after school classes any other way.
The rule of thumb, as I understand it, is that you’re not supposed to tell kids that they’re on financial aid. You don’t want them to feel different.
I want them to feel different. I want them to understand and appreciate that the privileges they have are thanks to some very generous people contributing more than their own fair share, so that my kids can enjoy the same advantages as theirs. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 10 2013
My daughter studied Hebrew for four years, giving up free time after school and many weekend slumber parties in pursuit of Jewish knowledge. After all that effort, she wanted a fabulous party to mark the occasion of finally being called to the bimah as a bat mitzvah.
And I wanted to give her one. She’d worked hard for it. But I didn’t have a savings account marked “bat mitzvah” set aside, nor did I have tens of thousands of dollars open on credit cards. I’m sure that many parents must save for this from the moment they get a positive pregnancy test, but I was a very young parent, a single one until she was in elementary school, and for most of her life I had been struggling to finish college and pay the bills. I wanted my daughter to have a Jewish education. But I couldn’t take out a mortgage to do it.
I was supposed to be excited about this milestone, but as it drew ever closer, all I felt was dread. It became a chore, an obligation, a source of massive anxiety, not a joy. I wanted nothing to do with the words “bat mitzvah” anymore. And that broke my heart. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 18 2013
We married young, had children young, and by the time I was 31, we had two children in yeshiva day school. My husband worked long, hard hours and I was a stay-at-home mom for 18 years, the right decision for our family.
We paid for private schools, including Ivy League colleges, for four children as well as a master’s and a doctoral degree. We managed to pay off the loans about two years ago and left our kids with no debt. I don’t know how we did it and I often consider that God was making regular deposits into our bank account.
We have started small 529Ks for each grandchild and I am the best customer of the day at Gap Kids when I do a big shopping trip twice a year for clothes for them. We try to be generous with our gifts.
So why am I feeling guilty spending money on just us, my husband and me? Why am I troubled spending money to travel with my husband when we never had the time or money to do it earlier in our lives? Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 28 2013
I am really starting to freak out. The logistics of having twins, a toddler, a house too small for all of us, and a home business to run is consuming me.
You see, we have no family around to help. The community here is wonderful, but they cannot possibly be here eight hours a day for several weeks as I heal from a probable C-section, attempt to nurse two newborns, and take care of my son who will be 2 1/2 years old. I won’t be able to lift much for six to eight weeks and I plan to strictly adhere to that. The possibility of popping stitches and hemorrhaging scares the shit out of me. It would be disastrous. My husband left to care for me (assuming I survive), two newborns, a toddler, and a business all to himself? He is indeed my Superman, but I don’t think even a superhero could juggle all of that! Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 27 2012
We’ve made some pretty lovely budget-friendly birthday parties in our day. For my older son’s 3rd birthday party we celebrated him reaching the “age of education” by decorating kippot and tzedakah boxes and doing Aleph Bet Yoga. For the baby’s 2nd birthday we did an all-out Elmo party that cost just $25.
But our schedules have been jam-packed these days, and poverty be damned, I was totally resigned to throwing money at the birthday party problem this year. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 17 2012
Throughout the month of October, in conjunction with the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York, we put a special focus on women, work and money here at Kveller. This meant talking about everything from savings plans to work-life balance (or as one of our readers pointed out, imbalance) to maternity leave and childcare. And what did we learn? Well, just as there’s no one way to be a woman, there’s certainly no one way for women to handle, think, and talk about money.
At the end of the month, we asked you (our awesome readers) to take a short survey and tell us about your work and financial lives. We were very interested to learn what you had to say, and better than just a bunch of pie charts and graphs, we were able to get a better picture of the women of Kveller and how they roll. We thought you might like to know, too, so here are five interesting facts from our survey results: Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 3 2012
All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.
- The Duchess of Cambridge is totally knocked up! And apparently has really bad morning sickness. We’re hoping she recovers quickly and we cannot wait to add her exploits to the Kid-Dish! (Remember how she might be Jewish?). (Washington Post).
- If we go over the fiscal cliff, guess who will be most adversely effected? Women and children living in poverty. Oy. (New York Times)
- Yahoo! CEO Marisa Mayer had her baby, didn’t take maternity leave, and is now saying her baby is “easy.” Some moms aren’t happy with that, but another asks why we can’t just accept that she’s an outlier. (Slate DoubleX)
- There’s a new prenatal test that can detect genetic issues, is way less invasive than an amnio, and can be done earlier in the pregnancy. The catch? The tests aren’t regulated by the FDA and are very expensive. (Washington Post)
Nov 19 2012
To My Darling Daughter,
I watch your eyes glow when the kids in preschool want to play with you. I see how it matters to you what they say and how they smile.
I watch your bottom lip tremble when someone hurts your feelings.
And I watch you on the playground–your face flushed, and your breath staggered as you chase the child that was mean to you. I know you, and I know you are blaming yourself for their bad behavior.
I know you are trying to get a second chance at friendships not worth having.
You are so much like me that it takes my breath away.
Please. Don’t be this way. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 15 2012
First day of school!
In August, I confessed to being cheap, and wondered if it was messing up my kids.
I followed that up in October with Five Easy Ways to Save Money for Your Family.
But, now comes the deepest darkest confession that an out and proud cheap person like me can make. I am going to talk about the things that I actually will–unashamedly–spend money on:
Item #1: Hebrew School/Jewish Day School Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 7 2012
Lulu and Burke, age 5, sold milk and cookies to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy. They raised money to give to Masbia Soup Kitchen in New York. We have an exclusive Q&A with these two generous (and adorable) kiddos.
Was Hurricane Sandy scary?
Yes, because it broke down everything. It was so windy and rainy. Guess what? Red Hook lost electricity, the traffic lights ran out and I was thinking about the houses. I felt cozy in my house. Read the rest of this entry →