Money-Smart Kids/A hurricane helps
Published 12:20 pm, Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I've always said that some of the best financial lessons occur right within your own household. And I'm sure the power outage left everyone in their home trying to stop the minutes from seeming like hours.
As our kids were starting to be at their wits' end, being captive in the house Sunday morning with only boring Mom and Dad to talk to, I asked my family for some help on this week's column by sharing some thoughts on how Hurricane Irene impacted our money situation.
In response, my family said we saved money by:
Not having to pay for electricity.
The same went for air conditioning. We didn't have that either.
Typically, Sunday we go out to lunch at a local restaurant and obviously we weren't comfortable leaving the house, so that was another $30 we didn't spend.
My son reminded me that the car needs gas to get to the restaurant and I've been complaining about how expensive that is. Good point, Spencer!
But as I started to think that the hurricane was good for my bank account, I quickly remembered how we had helped the economy the days leading up to the big event:
We stocked the house with enough bottled water to cover all the Staples fall sports teams.
While we were at it, all of those bags of ice weren't cheap either.
Our home now has a bunker filled with canned goods that I'm not sure we'd finish during our lifetime.
Oh yeah, the lawn guys are going to make a killing from me this week.
Well, all that food in the freezer went bad, so I guess we'll need to replace that, too.
I don't even want to know what the damage to the house will cost....what is my homeowner's deductible again?
As we joked about this at the table, we realized that it might have been a break-even economic trade to have Irene come visit us for the weekend. But at least she brought with her a house-warming gift -- the gift of conversation about money in our household in a way that was current and topical.
And what else were we going to do to fill up the time?
Tom Henske is a Westport resident and partner with Lenox Advisors, a wealth management firm with offices in New York and Stamford. His "Money-Smart Kids" appears every other Wednesday. He can be reached at: email@example.com.