28 July 2014

The Red Light Is On

Being Frugal

We have had a phrase in our marriage that works very well for us. When the "red light is on" that means there is no unnecessary spending.  Only the basics are expected like groceries and bills.  

God has always provided and always been so faithful to us but when you have kids back to back you see how expenses unexpectedly creep up on you.  Hospital visits, trips to the doctors office, clothes, and shoes for everybody all adds up.

I can't remember us using this phrase before kids, but I think when we had an unexpected septic issue in our townhouse we were extra careful with our spending.

Now, that we are in the home stretch to putting a down payment on our home, paying for movers, doing last minute odd jobs around the house to meet the demands of the new homeowners, we have had to tell the kids that "the red light is on". 

That means just last week when we stopped at the mall and had to buy shoes for Micah and stopped at the Disney Store to look around the big kids were upset that I wouldn't buy them anything.  Usually I give them a $5 or $10 budget in a store like that, I mean they are always so good, and it's one of their favorite stores, but this time (and the last few times) I've had to say no to things they have wanted. 

We love our public library...the teachers know us by name

 Julia wanted the new Elsa dress which was $50...I had to say no.  She wanted Elsa shoes for $12...I had to say no.  Mark always wants something by the superheroes and I have to say no.  Micah...well he just didn't want to leave the store because he was coloring at the table and listening to Disney songs.

I've been really careful this summer by only partaking in free events like:

1. Trips to our favorite local library
2. Trips to Liberty Science Center (our annual pass was paid for in January).
3. Spray parks
4. Vacation Bible School at our church was COMPLETELY free, and that included a T-shirt, crafts and snacks everyday.
5. Local Parks
6. Turtle Back Zoo (our annual pass ended this May)
7. Playing in the Back yard pool and eating ice pops
8. Making crafts/art time
9. Riding bikes/skateboarding

Things I have avoided:

1. Movie Theaters
2. The Mall
3. Amusement Parks

Fun Free Events We took Part In:

1. Free Rita's Ices in March
2. Free Slurpies at 7/11 on 7/11
3. Free Donut at Dunkin Donuts in June (with beverage)
4. St. Ambrose Carnival

Inexpensive Fun:

1. The beach ($14 for parking and admission...kids are free)
2. Read and Pick Program at the Farm in Princeton only $7 per big kid
3. Picking your own fruit at orchards (pay by the lb)

I have had to learn this summer in particular that Free can be awesome...it just takes a little more planning on my part, research on the computer for discounts and coupons, and an open mind that is able to think outside of the box.  I also had to avoid tempting places so that the kids didn't beg me constantly to buy them something.  And another great thing we started was the fact that they earn their own money for good behavior each week and by Friday or Saturday we take a trip to the Dollar Tree and they can pick out a few prizes with some of their own spending money.  It's amazing how much longer they will play with a toy that THEY had to earn and pay for!


Check out my Pinterest page with ideas on ways to be frugal but still have fun! click here


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