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Should I put my money under a mattress?

It seems as if every day you hear about another bankruptcy or government bailout. I want to think my money in the bank is safe because I have nowhere close to 100k, but then I read another article that tells me the amount of money in bank accounts is way over what the government has to back it. Or something like that. Eek!

The question I keep hearing over and over is, "Are you better off today than you were eight years ago?" For me, the answer is yes. Surprisingly enough, even with a kid (one kid!), I save more money than I did years ago. And if you are not talking about just money, I have a daughter I did not have before as well as five nieces and nephews. We are all relatively healthy. And, as John Steigerwald pointed out, the Steelers are doing better now than they were eight years ago, when Kent Graham was the QB. Remember him? Penn State is certainly starting off the year right, but I don't remember how they did in '00.

But of course (obviously) I worry about the economy. Are my and my husband's jobs secure? My 401k at this point might not even have enough left to buy a nice car. And then I wonder if those people who live paycheck to paycheck are smarter than I am. They don't have to worry about losing money; they don't have it to begin with. Those people certainly have more things than I do.

But I am just not a materialistic person. Brian and I are still discussing the 42" flat-screen TV, for the love of Pete. He keeps reminding me we don't spend much money, don't treat ourselves. I agree, but I just cannot justify buying a new TV when the ones we have work perfectly fine. But to watch a Steelers game in large, HD... Yes, I admit, sometimes I wish one of our TVs would just die already.

I am trying to teach Jordan to be responsible about money, but I am not sure what she is grasping. We donate things, and we make charitable contributions, and she seems to get it. But when she complains that she wants to open up her new toothpaste or a food item before the old is finished, and I tell her that some people don't have enough money for X, so we should not waste it, I think she has trouble with this.

I try to explain to her why she cannot buy something every time she goes to the store and that we try to buy things on sale and use coupons. That she is so into what she wears/looks like does not help. Just this past weekend, she wanted a backpack with a "roller." She needed one large enough to fit her school folder without bending it. But the only large, rolling one was High School Musical. I know nothing about this show/movie (Is the one where the one female star posed in risque pictures?); Jordan said she has seen commercials. But because she had a gift card from her birthday, we bought it. Note to my readers, if HSM sends any bad messages, know that I am not supporting it/them or the show. I even went to another store, where we did not have a gift card, to see if we could find something else large and with a roller. No dice.

All that notwithstanding, I don't think the sky is falling just yet. I just have to hope not.

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