Make Memories, Not a Dent in the Bank

It is obvious that the Grasshoppers were not on the Financial Independence band wagon when we chose important dates such as birthdays, and anniversaries.

With November and December birthdays and a December wedding anniversary, we managed to make a costly season even more financially sapping. But that, I assure myself, is in the past.

No more extravagant dinners and expensive birthday presents for this set of bugs. Nope. This year we approach the holiday spending with the same caution and planning as the D-Day Invasion. I am convinced that we can triumph if we have a dollar limit on the cost of gifts (i.e. no more than a total of x dollars on Mrs. Grasshopper’s birthday, Christmas, and anniversary gifts combined, and the same for Mr. Grasshopper).  This may be more challenging in years to come, but we will also identify a similar limit for Baby Grasshopper’s gifts.
Financially savvy and budget conscious gifts are in the Grasshopper’s futures.

But, like all great mountain ranges, I must first conquer the foothills. In holiday-land at least, these foothills are Halloween and Thanksgiving before I have to summit Christmas (or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or other expensive holiday of your preference. I wonder if the folks who celebrate only Festivus might not be on to something). I plan to take you with me as I journey through the treacherous terrain, but will start with Halloween and the weekend ahead of us.

The Costume

Baby Grasshopper requires a costume. I saw an adorable pumpkin costume in Marshall’s last weekend for about $12. I have charged Mr. Grasshopper to fetch it with Baby G if I cannot come up with a no-dollar alternative before then. Here are a few no-dollar ideas for Halloween outfits.

  • I asked around to find friends with older children who might have hand-me-down costumes for a 3T. No word back from that yet unfortunately.
  • I scoured the internet to find DIY costume ideas, which can be managed by a mommy with no craft abilities, and a penchant for gluing herself to stuff.
  • As a low-dollar alternative, I looked on eBay but was shocked to find that the costumes there are still plenty expensive.

Baby G has been of no use in choosing a Halloween costume. She is 2 and a half, and insists she wants to be Apple Juice.

“Ah” I said, “that ought to be easy. You want to be box of apple juice with a straw?”

“No” said Baby G, looking at me like I was particularly thick even for a parent, “Apple Juice.”

She wants to be the liquid form of Apple Juice. *eye roll*

An Aside: Because this Blog follows my life in situ, I'm afraid that I  cannot yet tell you how this quest has turned out, but promise to keep  you updated as the Holidays progress.


The Decorations

Baby G is still a little too young to care about holiday decorations, but we live in a neighborhood where they literally bus kids in to trick and treat. I’d like to put up a bit of a show for them. The easiest thing to do might be to buy a couple of pumpkins (I hear Kroger is selling them two to the dollar) and line the walkway, or the porch. I could probably manage quite a lot of pumpkins for $10.

The Pumpkin Patch

We plan to take Baby G to the pumpkin patch this Saturday. We went last year and it was quite inexpensive ($12 per person plus tax for each adult) for a full evening of activities in addition to tramping through the pick-your-own-pumpkin patch.

All hail the Pumpkin Patch!
Hay Maze
Kid Wagon Train
Slide Mountain
The Candy

We plan to go trick or treating with Baby G this year and ought not to need tons of candy to distribute, but will likely leave a few bowls on our porch for the kids who swing by. Also, I’m pretty certain we will not go far (Baby G tends to meander, which takes a lot more parental energy to oversee than walking in a straight line), and we will likely be back on our porch within the hour. So, we are going to need some candy, and it’s amazing how expensive candy gets around these holidays. I noticed bags of “good” (kid accepted) candy at Aldi (my love for which I mentioned in my post I hope not to break the bank in stocking up.

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Mommies

I will try to keep an accounting of my Halloween expenses so I can give you good folks an update after the Holiday has done its worst. I imagine – maybe a little too optimistically – that as long as I am purposeful about what I spend, and avoid going overboard, I ought to be able to enjoy a happy holiday with the tot, and make some great memories along the way. I wish you the same!

Let me know what you and your family do to approach the holidays to maximize memories, and minimize the financial impact in the comments below.

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