Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Goodbye stuff. Hello fun.

A couple of years ago Jared took over paying the bills. Jared was frustrated because he didn't know where all of our money was going. I was frustrated  because Jared thought  that I was irresponsible with my spending. The solution for us was for me to shove everything at him and say, here, you try it. You pay the bills and you'll see it isn't me.

So Jared took the reigns. He paid (and continues to pay) the bills. He understands now. He no longer complains or wonders where the money is going. I no longer feel judged in my spending. 

It turns out that kids are just expensive. It was nobody's fault. That's just how it is. We assembled a budget that cut out what we didn't need and gave us more room for what we wanted: family time. Although sometimes it's easy to look at store displays and feel limited by our budget, it has actually been quite freeing to live this way. I know now that I don't need the brand name cereal or the new shoes or Egyptian cotton sheets to be happy.

Last night when I looked at our budgeting software, I felt proud of our shift in spending habits. I smiled as I read the individual line items, because it was money spent on things that actually did buy happiness. That money bought us time together. It bought us adventures. It bought Jared and I some alone time.  

If you could see our summer bank account statements, they would look just like this:

A ketchup-y smile at Oliver's first baseball game, aka an $8 hot dog.

Oliver's fascination with gemstone panning, aka a $10 bag of dirt.

Colin's freedom to explore, aka a $2 bottle of water at a local festival.

Oliver's dinosaur smile, aka a $3 admission fee.

Colin's butterfly garden excitement, aka a $3 admission fee.

Oliver's summer sports camp, aka a $60 fee.

Oliver's carnival games, aka $5 in tickets.
We did so much this year. We flew to Florida. We went to local festivals and fairs. We visited the Renaissance. We ate stuff on a stick. We rode roller coasters. We tubed down a river. We swam at the pool. We hiked. We grilled out. We watched baseball. We fed giraffes. We explored a cave.

Live music show.

Visiting a cave, a wish of Oliver's.

Playing in a sluice box.

Visiting the horses at the Minnesota State Fair.

Playing with an exhibit in the horse barn.

Climbing the giant play gym.

Wrestling in an indoor park.

Posing at the Minnesota Zoo.

Playing in the zoo's park.

Sliding all by himself at the zoo park.

Riding a giant bass.

Shushing the loud geese.

Feeding the rude goats.

Hanging out with family in the nosebleed section.

Wearing a nacho bucket as a hat while waiting for the train.
With all of these great memories, the brand-name cereal, the new shoes, and the Egyptian cotton sheets don't stand a chance.

Goodbye stuff. Hello fun.

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