Monday, June 27, 2016

Getting Free Stamps May Not Be Free

When cleaning out my mothers house, we found many piles of envelopes with stamps on them or just piles of stamps. 

At first, I thought that she put the stamps on herself and was just going to use the junk mail envelopes to mail things by crossing out the "to" address or covering it up.
After finding quite a few of these envelopes in different areas of her place, I realized that they were all from "charities" and that they were sent to her so she would donate to their charity if she didn't have to pay for postage. 

My mother was a hoarder towards the end of her life and I don't know if donating to charities is part of her hoarding tendency or if she was just charitable but I think she really had a big heart and loved to "help" things she believed in. 
I would LOVE to get a total of monies she donated to charity or what she thought were charities over her lifetime. She would get calls daily where people would visit with her and ask for donations and she felt like she needed to donate to them because they took time to visit with her. 

She wouldn't donate to her kids or grandchildren as often. She would pay for her way and sometimes offer to cover something but she always felt she was broke and many times it was due to her purchasing of items for her costume rental business but it wasn't until her later years when we got involved more in her finances that we realized how much money she was giving away. 

The envelopes we collected show many charities that she would donate to with check and I know several of my siblings have a handful of the stamps she pulled off the envelopes as we split up stuff when cleaning out her place.  

She complained of never having money for quite some time and was paying huge fees in overdrafts. When we finally got into her accounts, we realized she was giving away most of her social security income each month. The saddest part to me was many of the "charities" were around Native American groups and the name was just changed a little on each withdrawl and I think it was the same person calling her every few days asking for $10 -$30 each time and she would give them approval for a withdrawl. 

The other group she loved to contribute to was the Republican Party, the young republicans, Mitt Romney Campaign etc. She donated so much over time that she was invited to his inauguration when he was elected Governor of Massachusetts and I went in her place.   

If you have an elderly parent, you may want to monitor their junk mail and take out the "Please Donate" mail and put the "no solisitation" recording / block on their phone so that you don't end up in the situation that my mother did.

We finally had to change account numbers so they couldn't withdraw anymore as she had given them her access so they just drained her account each month leaving her with not much to live. 

The changing of the account didn't keep her from giving as she continued to write checks to charities that sent mailings but she also got more calls and even though we made her promise she wouldn't donate, she did. In fact, the month she died, while I was up at the cancer clinic getting her blood, I opened up some mail about her "monthly support donation" so that was interesting. 

Our family just wished she would have used that money to help out missionaries or our children's college funds etc. 

In the end, I did get a few dollars worth of unused stamps so it wasn't a total loss. Ha ha!     

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