Mrs. Rebecca Van der Meer, wife of GloboChem CEO Walter Van der Meer, is a stay-at-home mom. She and her husband are able to live on one income largely due to her financial management. In her weekly column, Mrs. Van der Meer talks with our readers about leading a happy life while living on a budget.
Dear Mrs. Van der Meer: My son is about to turn 16. He has been saving for a car for the last year. My husband and I have agreed to match his contribution toward the purchase. The trouble is, the older cars he is looking at don't have all the safety features the newer ones have. Should we give him more money to get a safer car? Please help!
Dear Confused Carrie: You are right, safety is the most important thing to think about. And you also have to realize the pressure from the other kids to have a new car. A child can be ostracized for driving a 2000 model or earlier. Some good, safe cars for as little as $50,000 are the 2002 Lexus Sc430, the 2002 Porsche Boxter S, and the 2002 BMW Z3. He should be more than happy with one of these, and you'll have peace of mind knowing he's in a safe, new car. Remember, your children are your most important asset. Show him how much you love him!
Dear Mrs. Van der Meer: My husband and I both work, and our 3 children are in day care. After paying the bills, we barely have enough left over to eat. If I quit my job to stay home with the kids, I'm afraid we'd be in even worse shape. Any advice?
Dear Tired Tammy: Cheer up! You have 3 beautiful children and a lot to be thankful for. Here are some helpful hints. Quit your job, and use the money you were spending on day care to hire a live-in nanny. This will give you time to take care of yourself. Try to do one small thing for Tammy every day. Whether it's a day at the spa, a new outfit, or some other special treat, a little pampering will boost your self esteem immeasurably. As far as eating is concerned, there are plenty of great ways to dine on a budget. Take advantage of charity dinners paid for by your husband's company. And don't forget, dining at your country club is often less expensive than a restaurant. Have confidence, Tammy. You can do it!
Dear Mrs. Van der Meer: I followed your advice last month and bought the car of my dreams. You're right, I feel great driving it! The problem is, I am having a hard time making the $4200/month payments with my income as a postal worker. What should I do?
Dear Lambourghini Larry: I am proud of you! You have made the first step toward having a truly fulfilling life. I'm sure you can figure out how to pay for that car if you just put your mind to it. If your checking account is low, you may want to transfer some money over from your savings, or a trust fund. Also look for any stocks or bonds you may have forgotten about. If you still have trouble, just put it on your credit card. Happy driving!