Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thought for the New Year

Each year Jeff and I make a list of all the things we want to accomplish. A majority of them are things around the house - caulking, overseeding, add plants, etc. Rarely are they the standard "lose weight" type goals. But one is always there - define a budget for the year.

This upcoming year the budget will be the top of the list. And, really, is it any wonder? The economy is in the toilet and doesn't seem to slowing down as it heads for the sewers. Job markets are unstable, house values are declining, and retirements have been knocked flat. We as a society have gone too long thinking that more is better. And credit is like having free money.

maybe because things are so bad, I've been watching the Suze Orman show some lately. I really enjoy her frank comments and her no nonsense attitude. So, with the budget for next year in mind, I've decided to check out some of her books. I'd like us to not only have a budget but to become fiscally secure and strong. I don't want us to worry again about job losses or house values. It means things will be tight, I'm sure. And there will be lots of "no we can't buy that" in our house. But that's ok. Jeff and I will be better off and Grayson will learn that there are more important things than more "stuff". Wish us luck.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Big Brown envy

It's that time of year when children behave, kitchens are filled with sweet smells, and houses are decorated gaily. It's also the time of year that I experience envy. Specifically Big Brown envy. I'm talking about where you see the UPS and FedEx trucks driving through your neighborhood several times a day. They leave packages at all the houses it seems but yours. Yes, I want a package!

Why? Hmm, perhaps it's the anticipation of what the box holds. The unexpected surprise. Or perhaps it's just the sheer fun of opening a box, even when it's something you ordered yourself. Likely though it stems from my past career.

I worked in advertising before having Grayson. I was a Senior Media Planner and Buyer. And to the average Joe, that means nothing. In real people language - I'm the one who decided how the ad budget was spent. As you can imagine, sales reps want you on their side. They want to be "friends". They want the money! Visits from sales reps used to mean you would get some little trinket with their magazine/newspaper/website/tv channel logo on it. But at Christmas? Oh at Christmas the boxes would come. Not from everyone mind you. But enough would come that others in the ad agency would start making frequent trips to the media department in search of chocolates, cookies, and such. And food wasn't all you got. I have in my house a silver Tiffany picture frame (blessedly not engraved!). I received wine, turkeys (yes, as in more than one), gift certificates, and spa bath stuff.

The last few years I worked, the free goodies were less and less. Ad revenue was not as high and budgets were just not there for lots of holiday goodies to any but the biggest of spenders. My agency still received cookies and candies, just not in the same quantity. And I think all the years in advertising spoiled me at the holidays. I became accustomed to the boxes. I don't miss advertising. And I don't' truly miss the boxes. But it sure is cool when you get one! I hope you get at least one this year!