The Secret to Investing as a Broke Mom of Four

After ponderous thought involving at least the amount of time between each threat to remove the twins’ door from its hinges, I have determined that the best way to improve our family’s finances, which are stretched as thin as the surface of a balloon (after inflation) to say the least, it to invest.

I played the Stock Market game several times in middle school, so not only do I understand the basics, I also know that my skills must have matured and grown over the years, much like other things in my life that should never be pondered while already in a mildly depressed and slightly stressed state of mind.  I figure it should be broken into several easy steps:

1.  Consider the amount of money I can reasonably afford to invest.

As a teacher on a fixed income married to a man who works several jobs to help our family of six stay afloat, I understand that money is tight.  I know the importance of keeping up with even small amounts of money and storing it in safe places.  With that said, I am pretty sure that between my wallet and the girl’s eight piggy/kitty/princess banks (How the heck did we end up with so many?) I can scrounge up at least $11.52.  If I wait until after pay day, I may be able to round that up to an even twenty bucks!

  1. Determine the desired net return.

I want to be realistic.  Given the fact that I have four children in need of college educations, I must invest well to ensure I maximize my return.  (Let’s face it, these princesses are on their own for their weddings, so I don’t have to worry about that figure.)  Given the cost of schooling now, compounded by the inflation that will occur before the tuition checks have to be cut, I estimate that I will need to turn my $11.52 into at least a million dollars.  I am sure that this is attainable if I only keep my eye on the prize.

  1. Understand the time frame in which I want to be able to cash in.

Considering that my oldest in in first grade, I need to be ready for her to seek higher learning in a little over a decade.  The twins will follow suit roughly four years after that.  (Do colleges and universities offer group discounts for having three children on their rosters at the same time?)  Perhaps we can pretend that Abby and Makayla are the same person and pay for two copies of their degree…

  1. Search for reliable products to invest in.

I would like for this to be a product I am familiar with and use regularly.  My choices are as follows-

  • Tissues- Never did I understand the speed at which a trail of snot could travel down a toddlers face until I had twins.  Tissues are not only a necessity but must be kept in multiple rooms and both vehicles at ALL times.  If we prefer to buy them in bulk, I am sure others do the same and thus the company must be stable
  • Hair detangler- Those who have seen the length to which my children’s hair grows will not question this one. Additionally, anyone who has heard them wail as I GENTLY attempt to tame their tresses will beg me to support this product to ensure its production is continued.  (Side note: They will die if my mother ever attacks their hair like she attacked mine.)
  • Toilet paper- In my house there are four female potty users, two of which are still in the training phases. Need I say more?
  1. Spend the money.

Once the decisions have been made, all that is left to do is place the order, though I am not sure how this will go down.  I cannot call in my shares as I cannot easily talk on the phone while my demure and shy girls run through the house screaming like possessed banshees from the underworld.  The computer is out of the question as I am unable to sit for more than two minutes at a time without becoming a living jungle gym, complete with cushioning and sound effects as two or more of them squash the air from my lungs and attempt to “he-yelp” me with every task.  Post is also not an option because it would require taking all of them to the mail box, which ultimately would lead one of them into the road in front of the onslaught of traffic (which will surely include three cars, an eighteen wheeler, and a tractor- we live in the country).

Now that the steps are outlines and the options are clear, beginning is sure to be a breeze.  Once I wrestle the piggy/kitty/princess banks from my children, decide on the proper toilet paper company (I’m not really brand specific as long as it comes in two-ply), and train the carrier pigeon that I have decided is the safest bet for transporting correspondence, all I have left to do is sit back and wait while my millions grow.

Twas the Night Before Finals

‘Twas the night before finals; I was stuck at my table.
not a student was studying, even though they were able.
My printer was buzzing, there’s no ink to spare,
for I’ve waited too long and am pulling my hair.

My exam must be edited, for typos abound,
and my kids have been threatened: If they make a sound…
This Mama is tired, there never is rest,
and the bed will be calling if I just finish this test.

The scantrons are placed on the desk in my room.
I’m daydreaming of students whose minds are in bloom.
The pencils are sharpened, and all is in place,
If now this one teacher could just finish this race.

At the end of each school year, I must admit,
I’m filled with the urge to throw hands up and quit.
Just a few days more patience and dealing with creatures.
I can do this, I won’t scream- For I am the teacher!

“Hello… Yeah, It’s been a While. Not much, How ‘Bout You” (AKA- I Need Your Help)

As a child in the ‘80s, I remember the above lyrics as background music to life in the town house I lived in for four years.  Mom liked the light stuff; Dad would have had something a little more Rock-n-Roll on the dinosaur sized stereo/record player.  I don’t remember who sang it, and I could look it up in a blink thanks to modern technology, but sometimes I like things to remain nostalgic.  (Bonus points, however, to anyone else who remembers hearing it on the radio.)  Needless to say, when I thought of a posting directed at an audience of those I may or may not have met, these lyrics sprang to mind and became the title for my inquiry.

As today would have it, extenuating circumstances have kept me away from work… think of it as teacher hookie.  I have an amazing idea in mind for my next post, but no time to write it as today (since I’m here anyhow) MUST be dedicated to grading.  (See above real life picture of what plagues me.)  After all, the seniors do need to know if they will graduate in two weeks or not.

In true teacher style, I have set a timer for myself… I must work for X-amount of time before I can get back to writing.  So here’s your assignment:

While I write this blog for myself (therapy) and my children (They may read it in the future… who knows?), I do really enjoy interacting with an audience.  Most of you are family and friends, and I do hope that you are enjoying a glimpse into my erratic brain!  Some of you, I am pleased to say, are people I have never met.  The fact that you are willing to read this must mean that I’m doing something well.  Hello to all!

Now the homework  I have so many ideas, and I need to know where to start.  (A blog I read yesterday aslo encouraged asking readers what they would like to see.)  Tell me what I should write about next.  Between my kids, my job, and strange memories from the past, hopefully there is something you would like to see me pontificate about.  If you don’t have a request, please do me the favor of “liking” anything you enjoy and providing tons of feedback.  Follow me if you would like.  I, like my students, thrive on positive reinforcement!  I also, someday, would like to turn blogging in to something bigger, so your constructive criticism is appreciated as well.  Feel free to leave all comments in the comment box.  Help me to be a better writer, and in return, I will try to give you all the worthless knowledge and humor I have to offer.

Thanks for the help… I will see you again soon.  You may now return to your regularly scheduled lives.

And then… The Stapler Became a Whale

Some days just don’t go the way you expect them to. That’s probably true of every profession, but when you deal with the hormones and attitudes of hundreds, teens no less, there never really is a norm. Add in a student who passed (just barely, but it still counts) a test needed for graduation while another failed by one question and you get two girls in the same hallway, one bouncing on the balls of her feet and squealing while the other stands, looking at you for guidance, with tears streaming down her face.

Oh, how did I become the one they look to for all the answers… I feel so…

Toss in my seniors, who are so ready to be done with school that even a cut and glue project reduces them to sniveling toddlers. Their conversations, not quiet in the least, are unbelievable and reduce me to a fit of laughter…

Remember, Fulcher, YOU are the teacher.

Breathe…

Regain your composure…

And then I see it. The stapler, a cheap piece of plastic that usually doesn’t even catch my eye, is a whale! Not metaphorically. Not symbolically. One of my mature, ready to graduate and take the world by storm, seniors has drawn an eye on either side and positioned it so that it cannot help but stare at me.

I am Jonah.

I have been swallowed completely and all that is left to do is remain calm and wait for graduation. Oh, how I do hope it comes soon!