Money vs. Memories

by GettingFreedom on March 9, 2011

{The following is a guest post from Mandy at Pennies and Blessings.  She addresses a topic that we’ve faced many times throughout our debt journey.  I’m very interested in hearing how you’ve handled these situations.}

Our family may be relatively new to the intentional frugal living community, but making life work on a limited budget is not new to us. It seems that my husband and I have had some form of financial struggle for the majority of our adult life together. There have been many times when I felt as though we were depriving our children somehow because our entire life was so dependent on the amount of money in the checking account.

“No, Honey, we can’t do that this week {this month… this year}, because we don’t have the money. I’m sorry.”

There have also been times when I knew we did have the money for something, but still said “no” for fear of needing the money in the near future for another bill or commitment. It’s a horrible feeling as a parent to see your children paying the price for your financial failures {or at least perceiving it that way}.

Now that we are attacking our debt head-on, and are starting to make some headway in changing our financial circumstances, I find myself still saying “no” because something is not in the budget – not that we don’t have it, it just was not budgeted in. Fear of violating our strict budget seems to rule our lives so much of the time. Knowing what it feels like to be consumed by debt causes us to go to the other extreme in the spectrum – cutting out any unnecessary spending at all.

Happy Valentine Cookies With Simone And Caralee
Image by AMERICANVIRUS via Flickr

I often wonder if there is a true balance to giving our children a pleasant childhood full of good memories without breaking the bank! I will say – frugality does often force creativity, and we have formed some priceless {pun intended} family traditions during our times of limited funds. Friday night is “Movie Night” for our family – if we can, we order pizza (or make it at home) and rent a movie. If money is too tight, then we watch a movie we already own and come up with another kid-friendly fun meal to eat, like PB&J’s, grilled cheese sandwiches, or ice cream and cereal. I am constantly online finding local events and attractions that are family friendly, as well as budget friendlyfree if possible. We also have the advantage of a military discount, so that tends to make things a bit more affordable for us as well. Even simple things like a picnic in the back yard or baking cookies together in the kitchen can bring about lasting memories for our children without sacrificing our budget or financial goals!

Do you ever find yourself in this same struggle – trying to balance being frugal and wise with your income, and still leaving room in the budget for fun stuff too? What ways do you make those special memories without blowing the budget?

Mandy is wife to her hero, mom to three blessings, and daughter to the King of Kings. She is also an avid writer, coffee-lover, and Jesus-worshiper. Mandy can be found regularly at both her personal blogs – Pennies and Blessings where she shares ways to save money, spend wisely, and live well; and at Brokenness into Beauty, a site focused on the beauty in the miraculous reconciliation her family has experienced.

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This post is part of Frugal Friday.

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