Expenses

My daughter attended a birthday party last night. The kids gathered at the birthday girl’s house where they had pizza and cake, They wore their Halloween costumes and after singing Happy Birthday, the family took all 12 kids and 8 adults to Disney’s California Adventure theme park, where they did some trick or treating (it’s all set up for Halloween) and then got to ride the rides until 11pm. Most of the kids spent the night afterward. My daughter doesn’t do sleepovers so she called us, exhausted, at 12:30 wanting to be picked up. Having gotten up at 6:45am for school, it was an awfully long day for her!

So, doing some quick mental math- $25 admission to California Adventure (a special rate for Trick or Treating) x 20 people = $500, plus the cost of pizza, cake, decorations (there were tons), breakfast on Saturday, and whatever else, all for a 9 year old’s birthday. That is way too freakin’ rich for my blood!!

In these difficult and scary financial times, with Wall Street having it’s biggest one week dump in history, I’m looking for ways to lower costs and cut corners. I’m walking around behind my family turning off lights, using fans instead of A/C, clipping coupons. We’re driving cars that are 5 and 6 years old (paid for!), taking our lunches to work and school, going out to eat far less. I’m paying cash instead of using credit. I’m certainly not going hog-wild on the birthday parties this year. And Christmas will be a scaled-back affair.

Are you doing anything differently to save money? Or, more accurately, to not spend so much? I’d love to hear your frugal ideas.

New Years Meme

I’ve been tagged by Kim at KWJ Writes for a New Year’s Meme. She has made some excellent resolutions about her writing and personal growth, which have inspired me to give some thought to how I want this next year to be. Here’s her meme.. play along if you’d like, and leave a link back to your site.

1 – Have you every really committed to a New Year’s Resolution, following through past the month of, say, March? What were the results?

2 – Have you ever made a resolution that turned out differently than what you had in mind when you made it? How was it different and was it better, or worse, than what you expected?

3 – Are you making resolutions this year? (You don’t have to say what they are if you don’t want!)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1. Believe it or not, I actually have stuck to a resolution beyond the month of March. I’m a planner and have a tendency to be methodical in my actions. A few years ago, I resolved to pay cash for Christmas. I started putting $20 in a box in my closet each week. This came after a rather expensive holiday season full of credit card abuse use. I followed through with it and 11 months later had almost $1000. in cash. Money in a box seems so simplistic, but I know I wouldn’t have put aside $20 in a bank account weekly. Dipping into a savings account to pay for Christmas seems wrong somehow, but using cash in the closet for it’s intended purpose feels ok (I’m so weird! Money is money no matter where it comes from!) I was able to have a credit card-free Christmas that year, and it felt great. I may have to resurrect that resolution for this year.
2. Last year I resolved to read more. Reading is a solitary pursuit, obviously, but I also resolved to be more social and spend more time with friends. I hadn’t planned to, but I ended up combining those 2 seemingly incompatible resolutions by gathering up some bookish people I know and starting a book club. It has been great fun. And then I discovered blogging.. I’m definitely reading more, but a lot of that reading is online, and visiting other blogs is social (kinda!)

3. I am making resolutions this year. I want to add more joy to my life. I want to be more fun. I want to spend more quality time with my friends and family. I want to go on dates with my husband. I also want to declutter certain areas of my home, be better about meal planning, and organize my photos. I intend to become a regular at the gym and, of course, lose 10 pounds (just like last year).

I’m going to tag: everyone!

Happy 2008!