A day of planned spending ahead

When the kids and I started on this journey in January, we started with a brutal budget for the month.  Believe it or not, for January, we had zero dollars for dining out, entertainment, clothing, gifts, haircuts or cosmetics.

How’d we do?  We did perfect.  We didn’t spend any money on food or drinks outside of the house.  Cripes, do you know how challenging that is? Not even a coffee at Tim Horton’s for $1.12.  If I went somewhere in the morning, I made my coffee at home and took it with me in my travel mug.  There were numerous times that I was either on a bus or in a room when I was the only person who had brought my coffee or water with me.  Everybody else had something from Tim’s or Starbucks.

Was it difficult to make my own and bring it with me?  No.  Not in the least.  It’s just having some discipline to actually do it.  This is one of those things that I’ve totally done out of habit or convenience. It doesn’t take very long to brew a couple cups of coffee, or put your water bottle under the tap and fill it up.

When my hair started hanging in my eyes, I handed my oldest the kitchen scissors, stood on the back porch and asked her to cut my bangs.  She did a great job.

Things got dicey when I was invited to a house warming party, and there was no cash in the “gifts” envelope. I hunted through my booze cupboard and found a bottle of wine that I put in a recycled gift bag and took along.  Phew!

Would the bank come and take my home if I went to the Liquor Store and picked up a bottle of wine to take? No. The thing is, we were doing so great, I didn’t want to have any strikes against the budget that I couldn’t creatively solve some other way. I really wanted a solid victory, and I got it – at least for January.

Imagine the excitement around here when I budgeted $30 for dining out and $29 for entertainment for February.  The girls and I discussed how we were going to spend this.

Today is the day we’ll blow the whole budget.  We’re all pretty pumped about it too!  We’re going out to Lick’s for dinner.  We love their burgers, and there’s one we can walk to in our neighbourhood. After, we’re going to glow-in-the-dark bowling.  It’s been a good long time since I’ve been bowling, and I’ve never done it in the dark.

We’ll come home and watch a movie that I’m picking up at the video rental this afternoon.

It’s been really rewarding doing this with the kids. Before, when I mumbled something about saving money or budgeting, one of them would say “we don’t really spend any money”.  Technically, that’s true, but if you’re a parent you know they do influence where money goes. Since last month, I have put the money we have for our variable expenses in envelopes, and keep them in the kitchen.  They visually see how much money there is, and they’ve both taken responsibility for ensuring we use it wisely.

We almost had a bit of a disappointment when we investigated how much it would cost to go bowling.  Between the lane fee and the snazzy bowling shoe rental it’ll actually be $33 and there’s $29 in the envelope. Remember the video rental too?We found a $3 coupon online for bowling, and the movie rental is under $4. All we have to do is come in a few under budget at the burger joint, and we’re golden!

The really cool outcome is that we’re all very excited about spending the evening together, and doing things that we’ve all had a part in planning. I wonder if we’d be as excited if we just went and did it like we have?


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