Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sun, Horses & Free Beer


Living here means we get to see things in person that we would most likely only get to see on television.


The Budweiser Clydesdales are traveling the country and they have been in the Charleston area over the last few days. They were at Patriots Point yesterday but it was chucking it down with rain and thoroughly miserable. We stayed home and watched Marvel movies instead in preparation for watching Avengers: Age of Ultron next weekend.


Today was a glorious day. Blue skies. Sun shining. Temperatures
nearing 90F. So, we went out to Daniel Island to see the Clydesdales as they were doing a parade and delivering cases of Budweiser to businesses along the route. They were giving away free drinks (water, coke, diet coke, Budweiser, Bud Light) and kettle corn. I found out the kettle corn was free after K ran off towards the stand to find out how much it was and came back with a big bag of it saying "it is free!"


The horses were taken out of their air-conditioned trucks and
hitched up to the wagon. They were all very calm despite being surrounded by loads of people. I wanted to go and see them because I like the commercials that are on tv around Christmas and the Super Bowl.

All of the photos I have uploaded of the Clydesdales to Flickr, can be found here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Time for a Name Change?



No, I am not going to change my name. I am considering either changing the name of this here blog or, alternatively, creating a whole new blog. The primary reason for that is simply down to the fact that in just under 5 years we can start the process to become American citizens. This blog is about being a British Expat in the US and the "adventures" we get up to and how we adjust to living here being foreign. We are still foreign but will soon be citizens. We are at the start of becoming Americans. I think I would like to document the process. Don't get me wrong I will still be British. I will still be very proud to be British. (It is quite a process you have to go through to officially renounce your British citizenship). However, I love living here and I will be very proud the day I can also call myself an American. I have already had a letter from the President, did I tell you that already?  I would very much like to be able to vote for a President. All being well that will be in the 2020 Presidential election.




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Banking Makes Me Feel Old

That was banking, with a b.

When I was a kid I had my first ever bank account, a Young Saver account, with TSB. I could
withdraw my money any time I wanted to, as long as the branch was open. Actually, thinking about it, I don't think I ever actually closed that account. It probably had about 57p in it and has long since been shut down by the bank themselves.

Anyway, now that we have our green cards, yay, I feel it is time to close the kids savings accounts that they have in the UK. No point having money in a country that is theirs and they can't get to it. When I left the UK I put my mother in law in control of it so she could deposit money and receive their annual statements etc. So, I am going to ask her to close the accounts, note how much Z has an how much K has, and transfer the money over to the US. Today I decided to make inquiries at 2 banks here in Mount Pleasant to see what facilities they have for children's savings/money. As I had to go to my bank to deposit a check my dad sent K for her birthday I decided to start there. (My dad always sends a British cheque made out to me for both kids birthdays and Christmas)

So, Bank of America have Student Banking: Checking and Savings. That's right, your child can have their own debit card and checkbook! I actually asked the woman to clarify that a 10 year old and a 12 year old could have a debit card and check book. It turns out yes they can! She said obviously you could have the majority of their money in their savings accounts and say $50 in their checking accounts. That way they, and me, can monitor their spending and buy things with their own debit card. I will admit I thought kids that were not even teenagers yet would only get an ATM card. The minimum to open it is $25 and all I need to open it is their SSN and my drivers license. 

I then decided to try a Credit Union. South Carolina Federal Credit Union offer Kids Savings.  You
need a qualifying parent to open the account, you can only withdraw 3 times a month and you need to go into the branch, but you only need $5 to open it. A downside with the credit union is that they take weeks, usually around 6, to clear a foreign check. With BoA I can access money the next business day. As we get checks for birthdays and Christmas it would not go down well telling the kids they need to wait almost 2 months to access their gift. 

There are other credit unions in Mount Pleasant, and there are loads of other banks. For ease of opening either BoA and SC Federal would be the top 2 picks. I will check out the other banks and see what they offer. I know my kids are growing and they need to learn skills and how to manage their own money. They need to learn how to save and budget themselves. However, it still makes me feel bloody old! The mere thought of my 10 and almost 12 year olds with their own check book and debit card. I am now going to state the obvious, there is not a chance in hell I would let them write any checks as pre-teens!

If we are going to properly settle here in the US, we need to have all our stuff here and that includes the kids. We also plan to sell our house in the UK and buy somewhere here. That in itself will be a logistical nightmare, selling a house in the UK while living in the US. No, there won't be any problems at all doing that will there?! I think I need to go have a lie down.

14 year olds & Green Cards

Did you know that you need to get a new green card when you turn 14? Do you know the reason why? No really, I'd like to know why. ...