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A $175 dollar bottle of beer

Personal Finance
Danielle Howard
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Danielle Howard
ALL |

I just returned from a sojourn to North Dakota. Every three years, my mother’s family (she is the youngest of 13) gather in the geographical center of North America to celebrate our German-Russian heritage. More than 200 people spanning four generations descended on the Eagles Lodge in Rugby for three days of festivities. We had a 5K run/walk; chicken bingo; family trivia; beer cooler rides (we are rednecks at heart); and several very large meals. About 12 years ago, we decided to change the way we paid for the event. On Saturday afternoon, we gathered for the “Family Auction.” No longer a drawn out garage sale, we have limited items to family heirlooms or homemade treats. This is a fun event to learn about and celebrate family.

I have a 90-year-young aunt (Aunty Kay) that was not able to make the trek this year. She is now the matriarch of the family and is godmother to at least a dozen of my 79 first cousins, including myself. She lives in Denver and until recently lived on her own. My sister is an aspiring brew master and decided to create a special brew in Kay’s basement to celebrate her 90th birthday last October. Kay would discreetly take visitors down to her basement where she would help stir the bubbly batch. She remembered the Depression era still in back of the barn and crushing grapes with her feet.

In Kay’s absence, my dad and my sister presented a six pack of her special labeled “Kay’s 90 Brew” at the auction. We were going to just sell the six pack, but my Dad came up with a better idea. He stood in front of the crowd and reminisced about Kay’s involvement in so many lives – a few tears were shed and laughter filled the room. Included with an individual bottle, we would take a picture of the lucky purchasers to be put on Kay’s wall. They would also receive a picture from her 90th party surrounded by her siblings. Let the bidding begin.



Uncle Richard is the auctioneer and he worked his magic. Playing cousin against cousin – pointing and touting – the price went from $50 up to $175 in a matter of minutes. Applause broke out as the six lucky recipients gathered for pictures and a toast to our Aunty Kay. With no disrespect to my sister, the beer wasn’t that great. It was about family, about Kay.

Between handmade quilts, homemade rhubarb wine and jam, cross-stitched pictures, vacation stays at family cabins and Aunty Kay’s beer, the auction brought in more than $9,000.



You work hard for your money – you should use it for things that matter to you. You will have more fun and feel better about your choices when there is clarity around values and intention with your decisions. We don’t want the media and our consumer driven culture to dictate how we should use our hard earned resources. Reconnecting with what is important is paramount now more than ever.

Your pocket book follows what you treasure. Take a look at what your credit card statement or your check/debit log says. Is there a disconnect? Is your money just heading out the door with no clear direction? What can you do to realign your spending/saving/giving choices with what you hold in high regard?

I look forward to 2015 when the clan will gather again. With our auction proceeds, we have a good nest egg to use toward the revelries of the Haman family event.

Danielle Howard is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner and Financial Life Planner. Her office is located at 23300 Two Rivers Road in Basalt. Visit her at http://www.howardfinancialresources.com or call 927-3909.

Danielle Howard is a Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner and Financial Life Planner®. Her office is located at 23300 Two Rivers Road in Basalt. Visit her at http://www.howardfinancialresources.com or call 927-3909. E-mail her at dhoward@howardfinancialresources.com.

Advisory services offered through Lighthouse Financial LLC, a registered investment advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research Inc., a broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and HFR are not affiliated.


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