TV ‘Cake Boss’ Buddy Valastro answers six money questions

Buddy Valastro, driving force behind the hit TLC series, now stars in two spinoff shows and recently penned a book of recipes and stories culled from his Italian-American upbringing.

The media attention has made the unassuming Carlo?s Bake Shop in Hoboken, NJ a tourist destination, with lines often spilling onto the sidewalk outside the shop.

It?s a dream come true for any small business owner.

Yet Valastro?s day-to-day financial habits remain largely unchanged. His focus remains his wife, Lisa, their four children and their extended family, many of whom work at the bakery.

Here?s what the 34-year-old baker shared in an email interview:


EARLY LESSON: Don?t spend more than you have. That?s the lesson his parents instilled in him early. ?They owned credit cards, but they rarely used them. I use mine, but I make sure I only charge what I know I can pay in full at the end of the month.?

FIRST JOB: When he was 11, Valastro?s now deceased father Buddy Sr. gave him $5 a day to work at the bakery. The excitement of that first ?paycheck? is still fresh in his memory.

He often saved the money to go to the movies. ?If I wanted something, I had to save for it.?

ALTERNATIVE CAREER: Valastro has been in the family business all his life. But if he weren?t a baker, Valastro says he?d put to use a skill that helped make him a successful small business owner: He?d be a lawyer because of his negotiating skills.

HOBBIES: Valastro likes to charter a boat to go fishing. It?s a hobby he developed before he became a television star.

?Even before the show, I?d been blessed with a successful business.?

CHEAP MEAL: His family?s Italian cooking is often featured on his new cooking show ?Kitchen Boss.? But the Valastros turn to the same go-to meal as any other family in a crunch. ?Everybody likes pizza! It?s a quick and easy clean-up meal.?

UNWINDING: Valastro likes to unwind with TV shows as much as the next person. Favorites include ?Californication,? ?Dexter? and ?Entourage.? The rest of his downtime is equally low key.

?Unwinding for me is shooting a game of pool, drinking a glass of wine, just sitting back and relaxing with my family and friends.?

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Tammerlin Drummond: In Haiti, it’s always about the foreign aid money

Usually, the rats abandon a sinking ship.

In Haiti, theyre jumping on.

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, aka Baby Doc slinked back into the embattled Caribbean country in January after 25 years in exile. As if Haiti didnt have nightmares enough following a massive earthquake in January 2010 that killed at least a quarter of a million people and a cholera epidemic.

Duvalier must have known as indeed is what occurred–that as soon as his toes touched Port-au-Prince soil, he would be charged with corruption.

This long-overdue filing is in connection with the hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid that Duvalier is alleged to have stolen during his brazenly rapacious 15-year reign. Money that he and his much-loathed wife, Michele, used to support a lifestyle that rivaled the excesses of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in the Philippines.

Duvalier also must have suspected that he would face charges of crimes against humanity for the innumerable atrocities committed under his authority by the Tonton Macoute. The denim wearing, machete wielding presidential militia, was created in 1959 by Duvaliers father Papa Doc Francois. They kidnapped, tortured and murdered thousands.

Duvalier claims he has returned to help rebuild the country in the aftermath of the quake. A more likely explanation is that he has burned through his money, the Swiss government has frozen what may be his last $6 million, and

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