Family lore has it that my grandfather, a WASP of few words, gave my mom three pieces of advice when she went off to college:
- Hotels always have clean ladies’ rooms.
- A Brandy Alexander is an appropriate cocktail for a young lady.
- Every young lady should have some mad money.
Notwithstanding how odd these three bits of advice are, out of all that one could advise a 17-year old in 1950-something, Fred Bingham had a point there:
Every young lady should have some mad money.
Mad money? It’s that extra $50, $250 or whatever sum you think you might need to get you out of a bad place in a hurry.
I think the name came from the situation of getting mad on a date and needing to take your own taxi home (?), but it’s still a relevant concept today for Au Pairs.
Every Au Pair should be encouraged to save up $250 – $500 in cash, at the start of her year, no matter what.
This way, if she has a great opportunity or a great need, she can:
- Pay a doctor bill
- Go see the Killers at MSG
- Reimburse someone for a car accident
- Buy a plane ticket somewhere fun, or somewhere closer to home
In most cases, your Au Pair will never need the money for an emergency. Then, she’ll have it to splurge at Abercrombie’s the day before she departs.
Just as long as she doesn’t spend it all at Payless. All those shoes can be a #$*% to ship home.