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Then vs. Now

October 28th, 2014 at 06:19 am



I used to be one of those people in a consumer mindset. When the kids were little and there fewer of them, I actually spent quite a bit to outfit them for Halloween. Mostly the Disney store. By the second Halloween with kids we had Winnie the Pooh and the Hunny Pot. And then a few years after that we had two different Tinker Bells and a Peter Pan (really a Robin Hood that I doubled as either/or). We've had cheerleaders in NFL uniforms with football players as there were more kids.


This year the response to Halloween costumes, "Hit the costume bin. I'm sure you'll manage to put together something that you like."


My boys occupy one room that we cleared out last Friday and streamlined. Removed furniture that they don't use. They are at the age where they like the XBOX and we have one TV in the house (aside from one in the parents' bedroom). We had the family party for the boys this weekend (they are Aug/Sept/Oct birthdays). They opted to pool their gift cards to buy a TV for their room, for the video games. DH took them to Target and brokered the transaction.


Never would have considered buying a clearance TV (a 39" flat screen Magnavox) with no box/stand/or remote. It was $180. DH would have moved on to something far more expensive.


DH asked the sales guy what was the best price they could do, given it didn't have box/stand/remote. Sales guy consulted Store Manager who discounted it by 30%. They purchased a universal remote and spent OOP (their gift cards) $$150. We ordered a wall mount for $25 on Amazon. And the coolest thing, the boys were impressed with Dad's negotiating skills.



I used to be far more concerned about entertaining. More complex recipes for foods that my kids really didn't like. Buying cake pans for whatever the party "theme" was - and the kids would have outfits and decorations that all "coordinated" (we did Blues Clues, Angelina Ballerina, Madeline, Bob the Builder, etc.) After Winnie the Pooh etc. I actually ordered party paper goods on line to carry the theme through. Totally crazy nuts I was.


I run to Sam's Club for Italian beef tubs because that's the boys' favorite. I also pick up a 24 count cupcake box. I also run to Aldi's to pick up ingredients for their favorite salads (pasta and taffy apple). And the Dollar Tree for sports themed paper goods. And I turn their sisters loose to decorate with what we have (reusable banners and streamers).



Throw out all useless receipts.


Take that survey online or make that 1.5 minute phone call. In the past month alone, I saved $4 at payless using a coupon, $6 on haircuts (coupon found on back of Jewel receipt), and $3 at Pet Smart on food for our bearded dragon. Very simple ways to save. And those 40% off coupons at Michaels help defray the cost of kids' school project items.

10 Responses to “Then vs. Now”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Awesome comparison of then and now...glad you are where you are!!

    You might consider making the cupcakes at home with a box mix and can of frosting for far less than you are likely paying for premade and decorated cupcakes.

  2. laura Says:

    That would have been Option 2, had it not been a two football game, two soccer game, one Irish dance competition, an alter-serving child at his first Wedding, and a Halloween Party in the 48 hours prior to our 2 PM Party on Sunday afternoon. Smile

  3. Miz Pat Says:

    Sounds like a much less stressful way of doing things.

    This is fun reading, but what I really want to know is about that bearded dragon? Is it hard to take care of? Do you have to feed it live thingies? I have always wanted a pet lizard but I have 5 dogs (duh, duh, duh!) and i worry about the dogs deviling it to death.

  4. laura Says:

    @ Miz Pat, the bearded dragon was my oldest son's birthday gift two years ago. He is fairly low maintenance and lives in a tank in our family room. It costs about $4 a week to feed him; he goes through 50 meal worms in a week, and we supplement the diet with lettuce and some fruit. He doesn't eat on Friday's when we give him a dozen large crickets. He usually eats about 75% with the remaining 25% within the next 2-3 days. We also have a box turtle and a frog, and they eat night crawlers or other worm.

    This is in addition to two dogs, one bird, and fish. Smile

  5. Miz Pat Says:

    Do you have to buy him crickets at the pet shop? Or do you harvest crickets?

    Does he like to be held?

    I had six dogs, but Molly passed away this year at age 13 1/2. They are all rescue dogs. We use baby gates to keep them out of the bedrooms (shoes, purses, personal mail and pens are delicious to rescue dogs).

    I've always had a thing for lizards, but I would want them to be happy. Sounds like yours is a happy guy.

  6. Bright Says:

    Great comparison! Congrats!

  7. creditcardfree Says:

    Completely understand when things are that busy that bought cupcakes trump homemade! Smile

  8. snafu Says:

    Kudos for clearing the boy's room of the stuff they no longer use or need. Do you re-purpose, sell, donate, or trash as appropriate?

    Since it's the boy's BD celebration I understand giving them the food they like, paper goods and using decor at hand. How wonderful they are wiling to 'pool' their gift cards for an expensive gift they can all enjoy [TV for games].

    I've never understood fussy and expensive themes. I am guilty of presuming that's how your parents celebrated your birthdays. I'm still bewildered by invitations to celebrate babies 1st or 2nd birthdays. Is it just a request another gift?

    When our DSs were young we were overtaken with school friends. The boys choose the food and it was agreed it would be eaten on the patio so that frisky, un co-ordinated little guys who dropped a paper plate of spaghetti or a ketchup coated burger wouldn't cause damage.

    If you have a deep freeze, cupcakes freeze beautifully and the frosting and sprinkles/chocolate shots etc. can be loaded at the last minute.

  9. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Doesn't it feel good to see the progress you've made? That is so cool how your boys pooled their money together.

  10. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    What made you change your mindset? It's an amazing transformation.

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