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A Punnet’s Worth (and Then Some)

By Kellie Purcill

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After significant accounting, historical research, graveyard excavation and gnawing introspection, I have come to a decision that has shoved my world off its axis, and is still rattling my bones.

I am worth $6.99.

This discovery was prompted (in all its complicated monstrosity) by a punnet of raspberries. A “punnet” is the packaging size of fresh raspberries here in Australia – a fragile, tiny plastic clamshell to carry your hairy rubies home… if you pay about $6 for the ransom privilege.   The punnet weighs about 125 grams (a quarter pound), so it’s not a whole lot of bang for your bucks, so the cost:benefit ratio has always been hugely ridiculous… until a couple of weeks ago.

Previously, every time I saw them I’d stop, look at their plumpness, (stealthily suck in the scent of them) and – weighing up a running tally of and scrolling logarithm of if/then/else/and/therefore, continue past to more sensible fare.  But that particular week, raspberries were on special, and their siren call was spectacular.  So I bought a punnet, babied it through the cartons of milk and bags of potatoes required for the feeding of giants, into the car then ate every single one before I got home 10 minutes later.

Home, where I had raspberry breath and guilt thick around my shoulders. What on earth was going on?  History, that’s what.

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Money Madness

By Jessie Christensen

“Mom, how much money is in your bank account?” This was the question my son chose to spring on me the other night during the chaos of cleaning up dinner. I hesitated a bit, partly because I wasn’t sure of the exact amount and partly because I wasn’t sure how much to share with my son. I did finally tell him an approximate amount of money, and then we talked a little bit about how it might sound like a large number, but that we had quite a few bills to pay and how much they were in relation to the amount of money currently in my bank account. After listening to me for a minute, he launched into a detailed explanation of his savings and expenditures of tokens in an online game that he has been playing lately, then ran off to take a shower.

As I finished cleaning the kitchen and thought more about our conversation, I realized that I haven’t talked to my kids much about money. I don’t know what their thoughts and attitudes are about it; other than a few random conversations about our budget and sporadic FHE lessons about tithing, the topic doesn’t come up much in our house. I do know, however, that even if we aren’t talking about, they are still forming attitudes and beliefs about money from the things they see and hear around them. A few years ago I read a book about budgeting that focused on the psychological issues surrounding money—the premise of the book was that no budgeting system will ever fix your money issues until you figure out and solve the particular money beliefs that are driving your behavior. Until I read that book, I thought I was doing pretty well when it came to money management, but I was able to discover some unpleasant truths about myself and the way I handle money (like being scared to talk to my children about it, for example).

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Pass Along Princess

Today’s guest post comes from Julia M.L. Whitehead, who has used writing as life’s therapy ever since she popped her first pimple and didn’t make cuts for the junior high cheer squad, when she joined Journalism instead! High school English from a poetry pusher helped sprout a hobby that still sees the occasional blossom. With college came a degree in Elementary Education and a love for children’s literature, which has broadened and deepened over ten years of raising four kids on weekly story time. Besides the local library, she enjoys light mountain biking, singing in the ward choir, and foot rubs from her husband. She thanks Segullah for the encouragement to keep her brain in writer’s mode.

The “glad game” was easy for Polyanna to play each time a missionary bin arrived. She’d rummage through the second hand items with Christmas like anticipation and always find something that suited her.

And so it has been with me, a pass along princess. I have specific memories of a certain family in the town where I was raised who would seasonally drop a sack full of seconds on the porch for my sisters and me to try. We’d separate by size and then model for my humble, grateful mother.

When the apron strings were snipped, I of course continued in these financially sensible wardrobing patterns. I remember the D.I. dress I wore for my first job interview and the worn- before windbreaker I donned for biking around during college.

Luckily I married into a family who believes in the consecration of cousins clothing. I know of many families who participate in bin passing practices similar to ours. From the moment our girls came along they have never been without a warm wardrobe.

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Rich Girl

By Melissa McQuarrie

277F3FF0-2D3B-463C-B29B-0E2EE4534E91As a BYU freshman living in the dorms, my daughter made up an excuse every time I invited her and her roommates over for Sunday dinner. When I finally pinned her down, she confessed that she was embarrassed. “I don’t want them to see where we live,” she said. It was the same when she recently started dating a boy she met at school. She put off bringing him home as long as possible, wanting to keep her upbringing a secret.

I get it. How we came to live in this house, in this neighborhood, is a story for another day, but suffice it to say that, like my daughter, I’ve felt my share of shame and guilt over where we live, worrying I’ll be relegated to a stereotype before people get to know me. And because I’ve felt defined by it, I’ve been ambivalent over our economic situation ever since I got married twenty years ago.

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Consumed by Entitlement

By Jennifer Whitcomb

Today’s  guest post comes from the endearing and committed, Jenny Whitcomb, a delightful Massachusetts-living mother of six, known for making sculptures out of her teenage son’s messy room and always infusing her mothering with humor and creativity. She enjoys life’s simple pleasures like grape laffy taffy and marathon soaks in the tub.

piggy_bankimageA week ago I attended a meeting where someone said, “We live in an age of entitlement.” That word, entitlement has since been reverberating in my head. It’s plinking around between my ears because the word itself has a bothersome connotation. In a world where instant gratification is an integral part of our routines, it’s hard to imagine that people would think about feeling entitled to live in a certain neighborhood, eat meals out, have a day at the spa, or wear specific brand labels. Please don’t misread.  I’m all for betterment.  It’s just that when working to make improvements turns into expecting upgrades, I get queasy, and wonder how our sense of stewardship has become distorted and provident living becomes a quaint idea of the past.  I asked my kids if they knew what entitlement meant. I got puzzled looks. One wants new jeans, another a sweatshirt.  The definitions they came up with were well-thought out— to give someone a title, among others— but none were correct. And even though my kids haven’t officially reached adulthood, the fact that they couldn’t put a finger on the meaning of a word that describes our day-to-day existence was troubling. Thus the question: If we live in an age where we feel we deserve so much, why don’t we recognize it?

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