Birthday Month was seen out by the boys second birthday. It was a bit of a wash-out to be honest as his sister had given herself a tummy bug by drinking swimming pool water, so was in quarantine from preschool. We were stuck inside and basically just watched TV all week. The boy’s birthday was a bit more frugal than his sisters as I’d managed a bit of forward planning and bought a couple of his presents second hand and in the January sales. That being said I went and spent a tenner on a stuffed dinosaur from Sainsbury’s simply because he found it in the toy isle and wouldn’t let it go. It was so funny watching him chase his sister with it up and down the isles (yes, I am that mother) that my will power completely crumbled. ‘He’ll love it forever!’ I thought. Now let’s watch as he never plays with it again because he is too busy with the plastic rubbish that came with a magazine…*
His second hand Facebook site present comes with its own cautionary tale by the way. The key word is scale. Ah perfect, I thought, a nice toy tractor just right for small hands. I’ll buy it for his birthday because I am super organised (it was November). Got a message back; would you like two more? Ok I thought, why not? Who doesn’t need three toy tractors? Mr B came back from collecting them with three of the biggest flipping tractors I have ever seen (that are actual toys rather than working farm machinery obvs…). SCALE. Very important. Ah well, at £3 each I suppose I’m just getting more for my money…?
Another fun thing about February is that the boy started Rugby Tots. For the uninitiated, it is a half hour session where two- and three-year-olds go mental in a sports hall with rugby balls, supposedly doing a series of exercises involving scoring trys, kicking and throwing. The two-year-old loves it, luckily, as we have signed him up to the eight week course and had to buy the uniform too. Not strictly a frugal thing really but then the four-year-old gets to do ballet and Mr. B. wanted to be involved as well (it’s at 8.30 on a Saturday morning…painful… we have since discovered that, like his mother, the boy child is definitely not a morning person). While the boys went to the inaugural Tots session a couple of weeks ago, the girls went swimming as the four-year-old was desperate to try out her new costume (yes, this was when she swallowed the pool water and poisoned herself). We were all back home before 10am and absolutely shattered. Have another seven weeks to go so bring on the coffee!
Spending money on things like Rugby Tots, swimming and ballet lessons is quite un-frugal, especially as kids classes tend to cost a bomb. There are obviously a lot cheaper things to do and giving two-year-olds rugby sessions isn’t really a necessity, he probably won’t remember going and didn’t ask for it in the first place. We signed him up because we wanted him to do it. But as we have found out in the eight months of living frugally, this is the area we don’t mind spending money on. Everyone will have different ways of living frugally, and to be successful at it in the long term, it has to work for you. I am happy buying and cooking with supermarket own brands, using the car less to save petrol and avoiding the shops to remove myself from the temptation of shopping. Mr B takes in lunches to work, lets me cut his hair and goes for runs rather than to the gym. However, the area of our life where we want to spend money is family. Giving the kids opportunities and doing things as a family is what is important us. Our ultimate goal is to have more freedom to spend time together and that is what we are saving towards, so it makes sense that the things we want to spend money on are family orientated. Take holidays for example, technically a frugal no-no. But this year we are going GLAMPING! Under the guise of ‘research’ I persuaded Mr B to allow me to book us a couple of nights in a bell tent. I am SO EXCITED!! I’m sure the kids would be too if they understood. I have been wanting to go camping for about
forever four years but have had to wait until the kids would enjoy it and not be annoying all the time. Well, this is The Year. I can’t wait anymore. Even if everyone else is miserable (impossible, camping is awesome) I will be loving it. And of course it is research, anyway.
The key thing is not to go overboard with whatever it is that you don’t want to cut back on. We don’t actively look for things to do on weekends that cost money just because we have given ourselves the green light to spend. Otherwise all the money you have worked hard to save in other areas of life just gets sucked into this new one. When something comes up that costs, we weigh up the benefits vs the expense. Rugby Tots is worth the cost in our opinion, because it will be good for the boy child to learn from it, Daddy gets to take him, and its good for the girl child to see that not everything has to involve her. Everything in moderation is my motto. Like I went for a moderate run this weekend and therefore can eat a moderate amount of cake during the week….Totally how it works.
*Update – He actually does love it! He calls it ‘grrr’ and shares his food with it and takes it to bed…*melts*