Create a registry for money gifts
photo by foldsomething
DEAR SARA: Is there an online fund-type account for a baby shower? I am a single woman who is adopting, and I’ve been using Freecycle like crazy, so I have a lot of stuff such as a crib, changing table, bouncer, diaper genie, swing, highchair, tub, etc. I do plan to register for some stuff I need, but I’d like to create an account to help pay for the time I’m off work for family leave — sort of like a honeymoon account for a wedding, or something like that. My company doesn’t offer paid leave if you adopt. I’m trying to save up as much vacation time as I can, but after 2-1/2 years of infertility treatments and now with adoption social-worker visits, I don’t have a lot saved. After everything I’ve been through, I just want to be able to take the full three months off to be with my new daughter. Do you know of any of these types of accounts for baby showers? — Leslie, Illinois
DEAR LESLIE: Try www.rainfallofenvelopes.com. They allow you to set up a registry that requests, gives and receives money gifts online. They have an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau. The service features a tracking system and a guestbook, too.
DEAR SARA: When I was young, it seemed everyone had a stick of margarine in a container on the dining table. I haven’t seen this for a long time, but would like to keep it out of the refrigerator. I won’t have any tub margarine until Monday, and stick butter is so hard when it is refrigerated. Ever keep a stick of margarine on the table? — Surilda, e-mail
DEAR SURILDA: I refrigerate my margarine and butter. If you want your margarine to be easier to spread, I’d simply take a stick out an hour before you want to use it. Otherwise, if left out overnight on the table, it tends to lose its solid form, so there’s a decrease in quality. Country Crock makes “spreadable sticks,” which spread easily. Keeping margarine refrigerated will keep its quality longer. You should be able to enjoy refrigerated margarine for two months. As to whether it has to be refrigerated, I’m not entirely sure. Based on the ingredients, I’d say it’s unlikely to spoil in the time you would use it. The storage recommendation on the package says to refrigerate it, so that’s what I do.
DEAR SARA: How did your friends react to your frugal ways? I have always been frugal, and so have my friends. But this year, I am trying to cut back even more and become super-frugal. Some of my family and friends just don’t understand. They think I am just cheap, I guess. For example, I made homemade laundry detergent. My husband’s family thinks it’s crazy. My mom is supportive and wants to try it, too. I am curious about reactions you have gotten from people. In the end, I don’t let them deter me because I am committed to bettering my family’s situation. — Lea H., Virginia
DEAR LEA: My friends don’t have much reaction at all. It’s common knowledge now, but years ago, most people didn’t even know I was frugal. Sometimes I get teased and asked whether this or that thing I’m doing is frugal. But now most people like to tell me ways they’re frugal, so it’s become a topic of conversation and not something people think is strange. It’s a lot like vegans being asked whether they eat chicken. Some people don’t understand, so it’s easier for them to simply label it as crazy or strange. With this economy, most people aren’t laughing about it anymore. They want tips and to learn more. Your husband’s family should be happy that you are doing your part to best manage your money and to save. Imagine if you were an overspender.