Recently, I read an article in Good Housekeeping about a family who went without making any non-depletable or non-food purchases. The whole article was about how they found things around the house instead of instantly going to purchase something new. Instead of spending all their time in malls looking for something else to buy, they had quality family time.
As much as I think this is an admirable idea, it is more of a "good on paper" concept for our family. I do think that in this current economic crisis, it is wonderful to cut your spending. But it is something completely different to cut out everything, including holidays. For one, they had older kids who understood what they were trying to do and had the attention span to see it through. They also had a basement full of things that they bought in the past that could be used in a pinch. It seemed to me, that they were spending money just to spend it. They were also BIG electronic freaks and needed all the latest gadgets.
One of the main reasons this wouldn't work for us is that emergencies come up all the time. As much as I try to cut spending, my children are still growing quickly out of their clothes. They also can't get away with no school supplies. Not to mention, Christmas. How do you explain to a 4 year old that Santa has decided not to make any purchases this year. Even though our Christmas might be scaled back a bit, I'm not about to disappoint so I can save enough money to go to Hawaii.
I have thought about this article for about a week now, trying to come up with ways that this may work for us...it won't. There are way too many factors. Cutting spending is something I can do, but I cannot make a commitment to make my kids wear shoes that are too small so we don't spend money.
I did, however, come up with a challenge of my own. I vow to not spend one penny out of our budget on fast food for at least one year.
Never again, will I be a slave to the drive thru!
When I thought about it, I don't even like the food, I feel guilty when I feed it to the girls, it's expensive, and so not good for any of us.
With a little meal planning, we don't ever have to eat that slop again.
The Fam was all for the plan...until it was time to execute it.
Friday, Matt's mom picked up the girls for the weekend and here is the conversation between Matt and I.
Me: "I'm starting to get hungry, what should we have for dinner?"
Matt: "I can go pick something up."
Me: "Great! If you're going to the store, here's a list of some things we need."
Matt: "What? No, I'm not going to the store."
Me: "Then what were you picking up for dinner?"
Matt: "I don't know, something fast."
Me: "Surely, you are not talking about fast food on the first day of our challenge!???"
Matt: "Of course not! I was thinking more along the lines of Subway or KFC something like that."
Me: "What do you think those are?"
Matt: "Well, what is your definition of "fast food"?"
Me: "Any chain restaurant that you can get food in 10 minutes or less and you don't have to get out of the car to get it."
Matt: "Really???!!!! We might have to rethink this whole thing!"
Me: "You need a 12-step program, my friend."
On Sunday, Matt's mom called to tell me that she was leaving the house to drop the girls off. This is how that went.
Matt's Mom: "I will be leaving in about 10 minutes. The girls are just finishing up their lunch."
Matt's Mom: "When I asked what they wanted, Emerson said McDonald's but she wanted to eat it here, not at home."
Me: "Of course she did."
It seems that I am going to have to reprogram this family. Wish us luck!!!