On Thursday, those handbags were respective signs of power, as more than 400 women attended the area United Way’s first “Power of the Purse” luncheon at the Connecticut Convention Center.
“It’s not how much money is in it but if you use it wisely,” quipped a Louis Vuitton satchel toting Janice Barnes, a Middletown administrative assistant who attended the fundraiser benefiting the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council-sponsored Family Financial Center. The center, at Burr School in Hartford’s South End, is a pilot program offering financial education resources to adults. “If women, if everyone would just get smarter about what is necessary in life versus what is waste, I think there would be far fewer people crying poverty these days.”
“If there were four things I would try to impress on people it would be these,” said Rosato. “Set goals whether it be the house you want, the college you want your kids to attend or the amount of money you want in a retirement account,” she said. “Track your spending, write down what you spend each day. You will see what is waste and can instead put that money away,” she continued. “Make savings automatic, you won’t miss what you don’t see and finally, live within your means, despite what those around you are doing.”
And while the emphasis was on saving, not spending, the silent auction was beckoning those at the luncheon to indulge their wallets. The auction featured dozens of pricey purses from Coach and Mary Frances to Cole Haan and Pop Princess.
“I know I don’t really need this but it would be so nice to have,” lamented Jasmine Mercado, looking longingly at a hot pink Coach tote that was up to $160 on the bid sheet. “I feel like there is an angel on one of my shoulders saying ‘you don’t really need this’ and a devil on the other saying ‘go on, you deserve it!’” she explained laughing. “This is why I am at programs like this,” the Bloomfield secretary noted. “I need to realize it’s not the outside of the purse that’s important, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.”
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