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Archive for October 8th, 2008

Birthday Games for the 21st Century

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
By raincoaster

Hey, it’s rough out there. As wise bloggers have noted, nobody can pretend that the good old days of innocence and cheap birthday parties are still with us; it’s a whole new world order. Tougher. Meaner. Scarier.


And birthday party activities are adapting. No longer the sweet, innocent romps of yore, they’ve become cutthroat arenas of parental rivalry and physical danger. Forget that old standard pin the tail on the donkey, unless you use dartguns, laser tag body armour, and a cowboy-maiming, possibly firebreathing donkey recently forcibly retired from the rodeo circuit.

But some touchstones of the Twentieth Century have adapted to our new times and survive, finding new adaptations and applications. Behold the best of these:

Bigfoot Attack Instructions

Stolen from Newscoma
It’s hard out there for a chimp. Don’t go unarmed.

Birthday party bigfoot defence device

Teens Get a Blank Check…

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
By Glinda


…but it’s a good thing.

One of the newest trends in banking (er, those that are still operating, anyway) is checking accounts especially for teens.  The parent is co-owner of the account, and I say it’s about time.

Young people have been able to easily obtain credit for the past decade or more, even when they don’t have a job.  I know, because I was one of them.  The rickety little card table set up on the college campus quad informed me that I needed no income to get thousands of dollars in credit.  I signed up without my parent’s knowledge, since I was an “adult,” and paid dearly for the tough economic lessons I learned through misuse of said card. 

So something like this checking account sounds fabulous.  It also offers a no-fee limited debit card with the parents setting the daily spending allowance, the use of online banking, as well as overdraft protection.  Wells Fargo currently offers this product, as do some other smaller banks and credit unions. It is expected to become more widespread as parents across the land breathe a sigh of relief.

Messing up your credit when you are young and most likely inexperienced with money is NOT a rite of passage into adulthood.  I’m tired of the ways that credit card companies manipulate and try to play “gotcha” with their most vulnerable customers in the form of high interest rates and confusing language.  Because the long term effects of a bad credit rating can take years to erase, and having mommy and daddy rescue your in-debt butt is not the way to impart fiscal responsibility. 

A checking account is clear cut. It is finite money without late charges and fees, and I wish they would have had them when I was younger. And (gasp!) it just might help them learn not to spend money they don’t even have. Something that perhaps certain adults could learn as well.

Although I do have a tip for those parents who have had to rescue their child from credit card hell. Make sure you have them pay you every penny back. Trust me, because I know from experience. After that initial roadbump, I never got into credit trouble again.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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