Friday, July 3, 2009

No Fireworks for us

Chris and I had a long discussion about what to do for the fourth of July. We have decided to stay home. Not because we want to mind you, but because we simply can not afford to waste gas for entertainment purposes. So unfortunately for us we will just have to rely on our outdoor pillows and blankets to keep us comfortable while trying to see some of the neighbors fireworks displays from our deck. Something that we haven't done in ages. We have also declared a movie marathon night.

I feel less that a stellar mom to Katie right now because she knows that we were planning on hitting the beach scene for an entire day and night. It may not be something that many folks would want to do but Katie was looking forward to it, and for that I feel terrible. I do not even have enough money to buy for sparklers for her and I really hope that maybe she will forget about our tradition but I know deep inside my heart that she won't. She won't complain, she won't get upset, she won't even pout, because she knows that something is different. We have tried to explain to her that because daddy is not working that the money we used to have is not there. Her solution to "helping out the family" is to have a lemonade stand when we have our yard sale a week from tomorrow. She is so determined to do her part in helping the family through this very traumatic and sobering time. I just wish we weren't in this situation.


Holly said...

It's a very difficult position to be in! My husband was unemployed for over 9 months before finally finding a job that he started this week. The kids have been OK with the major loss of income, but there have been times that it has really gotten to them as well. I know how you feel when you say you feel like a less than stellar parent right now. But you are also teaching your daughter that we don't waste money when we don't have it to spend. A lesson that will come in handy when she becomes an adult herself. Try not to beat yourself up too much Mindy! You're a good mom and you're doing the right thing!

Mindy said...

Holly - Thank you so much for sharing. I am thankful that we have what we need to survive. The challenging thing about this whole ordeal is coming up with creative ways to entertain ourselves. We were spoiled with going out to eat and a movie once in awhile, but that pretty much stops until something comes along to put us back on track. Congrats on your husband finding work. There may be hope for us yet.

Kat said...

Mindy, Katie may be disappointed even though she won't tell you, but you can still make this a fun night on the cheap, I promise!
As you well know, I'm broker than broke like all of the time, so my boys have always had to live with less, we've never gone to the fireworks unless my sister took us, we don't ever go out to eat unless my sister takes us or goes dutch with me, so yeah, we have learned how to live and be entertained on very little.

For the 4th, nope, you can't afford sparklers, so what!
Have a family home made pizza night, get some ready made pizza crusts or make it from scratch, get a couple jars of cheap sauce, some store brand shredded mozzarella, some fixins' that everyone likes on their own pizzas, and let each person make their own personal pan size pizza.

Or get some microwave popcorn and watch the fireworks on tv. The Boston Pops are on CBS, and the show from Washington DC is on ABC.
Shut off all the lights in the house, turn up the volume on the tv, and enjoy the amazing light show while munching on popcorn without the crowds and bugs.

If you have the food to cookout already, make burgers or dogs on the grill then watch the fireworks on tv later that evening, or watch other people in the neighborhood light off their fireworks.

What's really important, and what lesson Katie needs to get from this, is that money doesn't buy happiness, that money doesn't make the holiday, it's who you spend it with and the joy you had with those you spent it with.

Kat said...

And as Holly said, when Katie grows up, she will understand the value of a dollar, she won't waste money on frivolous things, she'll know to save for things like this because of the lessons you teach her right now.
Money can take you out to eat and to the movies, it can buy temporary happiness, but when it's gone, it's gone, and all you have left is yourself and those you love. If you and your loved ones can't be happy without doing something that costs money, then you were never truly happy people to begin with.

As for the whole going to the movies thing, sorry girl, that is way too freaking expensive, and so is cable, you should just learn to live without the movie theater forever and enjoy the money savings even when this is over.
Get a Netflix subscription and see those same new movies just a bit later than everyone else.
For $14.99 a month, you can get 2 movies at a time, unlimited for the month, so if you get 2 movies in the mail today, watch them BOTH tonight and mail them back tomorrow, they will mail you 2 new movies out the day after they get them, which is the very next day because they have a Netflix office in Tampa. Ha ha!It's seriously a 1 day turn-around!!

The teens and I do this, and we have maximized our Netflix value to get 16 movies every single month for the total price of just $14.99, making each movie cost only .93 cents each.
Value baby, all value! LoL!!

So shut off the expensive cable/internet/phone package, go buy a converter box for $50, get an antenna like I have for another $50, and watch free digital tv which is now up to 36 channels in our area including a TON of channels just for kids and 2 movie channels, (come over and check it out sometime if you want ok?) get the cheapest phone package that Verizon offers which is exactly $20 per month, get either their DSL for $39.95 per month, or their Fios internet for just $44.95 per month, and stop paying over $100 per month for the cable/internet/phone package that you currently have. Seriously, you're probably paying way too much and don't even realize it.

See, once you stop paying a monthly bill for the package deal because you're getting free digital tv, all you'll pay for is your phone and internet, which comes to way less than what you're paying right now, I guarantee it, and then you'll have more money freed up to pay for other things.

Other ideas for family entertainment, family game night. Monopoly, cards, UNO, all that stuff, pick a new game for the nights that you don't have a Netflix movie to watch (the 1 day turn-around night), go outside and play ball with each other, tag, hide n go seek, Katie is still young enough that things like this would not only make her happy, but create life long happy family memories.

And did I mention that once you shut off the expensive cable package, you'll have a lot more money freed up to pay for the other forms of entertainment you may want like Chris' monthly WoW account and the Netflix subscription, and not enough money to go out to eat, but enough money to order delivery pizza or chinese or whatever, about twice a month if you budget correctly.
Seriously girl, I have a ton of ways to save money and still keep the whole family entertained.

I know you're feeling really bad right now, this sucks, but you guys are strong, you WILL get through this, but you have to stick together and keep a positive attitude about being together.
Family is the most important thing right now.

Mindy said...

Kat - I will probably be calling you more often looking for more suggestions:) Thank you so much for putting things in perspective for me.... I was raised knowing the value of a dollar and how to stretch things but I wanted to be able to give my kids more. Money doesn't buy happiness that is true and yesterday for the first time while we watched our movie marathon and ate our hot dogs and hamburgers it didn't matter whether or not we went somewhere to watch the fireworks. We had a blast!

Kat said...

I am so glad to hear that you guys had a blast without going somewhere, see? It can be done! *smile*
Seriously, give me a call about ways to save money and still have fun plus still have those things that make people happy like the WoW account.
I pay for that every month, the Netflix, Sebastian's game account, and we order pizza or chinese twice a month. We still have a ton of fun without spending a lot of money.