I keep telling my kids, “You had better behave or I’ll sell you to the gypsies. The gypsies pay ten dollars for a good child, but they’ll pay fifty for a bad one.” Of course, I was only joking. I didn’t really believe that you could sell your kid to the gypsies. Well, not anymore.
But a couple of weeks ago, this little girl was on the news.
It turns out her mother really did sell her to the gypsies, and she got a few hundred dollars for her. Wow.
I told my kids about this, and they’ve been on their best behavior.
My kids know I’m just joking. Well, I think they do, anyway.
It is my job, as the parent, to teach my kid everything that I know about the world. This can be frustrating when every single American parent that I know treats their children as pets. They buy them what they ask for, they constantly aim to please.
And when Christmas comes and goes, my kids come home from school crying because they were the only ones who didn’t get the latest software on the market. I’m sure there’s kids who are living below the poverty line that get more expensive things for Christmas than my kids. Am I depriving them? Are my kids going to be traumatized and scarred for life? I doubt it, but I’ll keep you posted.
My oldest is fourteen. He cried and whined a lot when he was little and didn’t get what he wanted for Christmas. Now that he’s older and more mature. He doesn’t cry and whine when he doesn’t get what he wants.
He doesn’t feel like he’s entitled to be given things just because it’s a certain holiday. He happily smiles and says thank you when somebody gives him something and he knows that if he wants something, he can earn the money and buy it himself.
My little ones, well, they’re kids. Kids whine and complain about everything. If I were to spend a thousand dollars on them for Christmas, they would still have something to complain about.
From what I’ve noticed about kids is this-the more money you spend on them, the more unsatisfied they are. If you treat them like royalty, they will act like spoiled brats and they will never out grow it.
Don’t get me wrong. I think kids should have fun and be treated to special treats. Based on my observations, my kids have the most fun when I take them Garage sailing on a Saturday morning.
I don’t just hand my kids money. If they want money, they have to do something to help me out. I give them a quarter per chore, plus I give them a quarter for each homework assignment they finish. This works great because now they have their own money. They can buy whatever they want.
Before I left the house to go garage sailing, I made sure to pack water bottles (In reusable drinking bottles so I don’t have to spend money) and I baked some Snickerdoodles (cinnamon cookies), which I packed in a Ziploc bag that I have washed out and reused no less than sixteen times.
I didn’t even buy the Ziploc bags, they were just some I’ve rescued from the trash over the years from my non-frugal fellow humans who might have at least a hundred extra dollars left over in the bank if they stopped buying so many Ziploc bags.
I was garage sale shopping for Christmas gifts, and I found a telescope for $10. This was fabulous because one of my kids wanted a telescope for Christmas. If I bought it brand new and on sale it would have cost me $100.
While I was out I found a $5 skateboard. My teenager has been begging me for one for ages. Of course, he might end up breaking his leg and having to go to the hospital, but hey, that’s another story, and I might just tell it after my kid breaks his leg,( knock on wood, I hope I never have to tell it).
I found three shirts, two dresses, tights, and a tank top for myself. They’re stylish, black and in my size I paid- $4.50 and I look great in them.
This is my fifty cent dress.
I found my daughter the black skirt and black leggings that she needs to wear to a choir event —$2
My daughter found a denim skirt that she bought with her own money- $1 and she also bought these lovely bead curtains for her room -$2, her own money
My daughter bought a foot spa for $3 and turned her bedroom into a foot soaking retreat for her brothers.
The boy on the left bought his very own scooter for $5 and the guy at the garage sale threw in a free helmet. My other little boy, who hates chores and unsuccessfully demands to be paid a dollar per chore, had enough money to buy himself three Frisbees.
My kids had a blast. They love looking through garage sale stuff. And they came home and had the time of their life with their new stuff.
Some days we don’t find anything but junk and we go home empty handed. Other days its fabulous and we find all sorts of things. I pretty much know which neighborhoods always seem to have a garage sale. There are several of these neighborhoods within a fifteen minute radius of my house.
I leave the house at 8:00 on Friday and Saturday and I go to every single garage sale that I see. I only buy what I absolutely need and I try not to buy things that will clutter up my house.
I have found new, unopened packages of soaps and shampoos, eyeliners and mascaras. I find half used spray cleaners that are being sold for 25 cents. I find wrapping paper galore, bows, ribbons, half-used scenty candles for 25 cents. I’ve even bought unused packages of food at garage sales for a fraction of the price I would have paid at the store.
I find books, magazines, paint sets, buttons, glitter, you name it. I don’t even buy anything new unless I have spent a few months searching at garage sales first. Eventually, I know I’ll find whatever it is I need at a garage sale.
I look for anything that I might need for my kids to wear. Girls are easy to buy for. There’s front yards filled with brand new girls dresses from here to Timbuktu. At a garage sale, you can find a girl’s formal dress, brand new, for usually about $1 to $5.
Boys clothes are harder to find, which is horrible because I have twin boys who always have holes in the knees of their pants. I can find boys button up shirts, and they only cost $1. So I figure, maybe if they wear the nice shirt with the holey pants, it will give the illusion that perhaps, it’s fashion and they don’t really look like ragamuffins.
But if I can’t find any new pants soon, I can always find a needle and thread at a garage sale.
Some people spend all morning garage sailing and then they’re so tired they don’t have energy to make lunch, so they go out. But let me tell you, eating out is the fastest way to waste your money.
If you want something quick and filling, try some good ol’ PB&J. This is what they ate 60 years ago, back before there was a fast food restaurant on every corner, and also back when even poor people had money in their savings account.
I bought the loaf of bread at the bakery thrift store for 85 cents
The jelly was $2.29, The peanut butter was $2.50.
This ensemble costs $5.64. It makes 11 sandwiches. My whole family can eat this for lunch at home and be completely satisfied. If we were to stop at Sonic on the way home, there would be whining and crying, I’d have to buy the unhealthy sodas and spend thirty minutes trying to figure out what everyone wants and I’d end up spending at least $30. That’s five times more money than I’d have to spend if I stayed at home and ate sandwiches.
Is it really worth it? $30 for one meal? This might not sound like much money, but I can think of a lot of ways to stretch that thirty dollars.
I went to the bakery thrift store this morning and bought the following items for less than $10.
4 loaves of bread, 1 pack of 20 tortillas, 2 packs of hot dog buns, plus one free pack of English muffins. Great deal.
If all I had was $30 to spend, I’d have twenty left to spend. I know my prices and I know what goes on sale at the stores around me, so here is a quick list of all the things I can go to make meals out of this bread.
Hot dogs 2 @ $1.00 each
American Cheese singles 2 @ $1.00 each
1 dozen eggs $1.50
sliced turkey deli meat $2.50
peanut butter $2.50
The total for all of this so far is $11.50. I didn’t use a calculator, I didn’t do this in my head, I didn’t use an abacus and I’m not Chinese.
Here’s how I do my math
And so far, I’ve spent $21.00 and I can make 11 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, 6 turkey sandwiches, 6 egg and cheese muffins, 8 toasted cheese sandwiches, and 16 hot dogs.
I can make a couple of egg tacos with the tortillas and the rest of the eggs. Or I could make eggs and toast. I can buy a pound of meat -$4 and a pack of cheddar cheese -$3 and make some tacos.
(that’s assuming that I already have chicken broth powder and chili powder in the spice cabinet)
$30 could buy enough beans and rice to feed an entire family for two weeks. That is, if you are hard core frugal enough to last two weeks on eating nothing but beans and rice. Beans and rice are healthy and there’s loads of varieties, but that’s another story.
Anyway, my point is this. If you know how to stretch your money and make it last longer, you don’t have to make as much money to buy the things in life that make you happy.