Somebody in a Facebook group posted that to burn through $10,000 in a year, you only have to spend $27.40 per day.
It is so easy for me to spend $0.00 extra in a day. Go to work, eat my packed lunch, come home, take the kids to lessons or go swimming at the Y, come home. There might be gas and groceries involved, and I admit that some days, I buy a large coffee from McDonald’s for $1.06. A few times a month, I’ll get a Starbucks drink. We’re looking at maybe $50 a month in “extras.” I don’t buy myself clothing or jewelry or electronics, I have snacks in the car if I need them or I eat at home.
But damnit. It’s so, so easy to burn through $30 a day with kids.
Saturday: there was a fourth grade ice skating party, so even though it was a group event intended to keep it affordable, there went $2 for ice skating rental, and $3 to attend. And a cheerleading pool party, $6 a kid. And hungry girls at dance practice meant I bought $6 of popcorn and nuts at 7-11. A birthday party for Viv’s friend meant another $10-15 for a gift. There goes Saturday.
Sunday was better! If you don’t count the double-sided tape and photos I ordered to make Disney scrap books for the kids, no extras! Except that does count and that was $18.
Monday: $12 at Subway between school and piano lessons, I didn’t eat but the kids have to, and I didn’t have time between work and school pickup to make something. No you can’t get a drink. No we can’t go get ice cream. A $7 new piano book.
Tuesday: Hallelujah no extra spending. Please don’t ask me about the $297 I spent on meds for Sonya or the background cost of the gymnastics and tumbling classes the kids went to.
We have two birthday parties this weekend and one next weekend. Every time I turn around, the school needs $10 for this or $8 for that, and this is in a low income area. There’s an extra fee for an upcoming cheerleading competition of $90. Sonya’s socks are all too small, there goes another $6, even with Kohl’s cash and free shipping. Shoot I need to register for soccer. Two girls, so twice as expensive as one. I can save $20 per kid on horse camp for this summer if I pay it all upfront.
All of these things are “extras” – but they all matter to the kids. I know of parents who won’t let their kids go to birthday parties or extra school activities if they cost money, no extracurriculars. I’m not that parent. I decided when I had kids that I wanted them to have “experiences” instead of things – ice skating with friends and birthday parties and learning an appreciation for music and developing their self-confidence and understanding of the way their bodies work – these are all in line with our values.
But sheeeeeesh frugality is so much harder with kids.