Some people like to tell me that I am “cheap.” Those are the people who have a lot more money than I do, usually born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Or they have what I like to call a “Sugar Daddy” or a “Sugar Mamma” in their lives. Because of that they can afford to travel around the world and eat all of their meals at restaurants every day of their lives. Me, I have always had to work for a living. And for the majority of the child-raising lives of my kids I had to work full-time, take college courses at night, and raise my kids on a shoestring. So I prefer to think of myself as “frugal.”
One trick that I learned about saving money back then was to not even bother fighting with their father for who would get the kids on a holiday, like Easter or Halloween. I’d go ahead and let them spend the night before at his house, and the day of the holiday, and even the next day too. I’d put off shopping for Easter candy, or Halloween candy until the day AFTER the holiday and then I’d go to the stores and buy a modest amount of holiday-themed goodies at the drastically reduced prices and when they would arrive home I would give them the small token gifts and they would be perfectly happy with what I had given them.
I became pretty skilled at providing cheap vacations as well. Those days were largely before the Internet was even invented, so I would use a travel agent to line up a time-share condo rental and cheap air-fare if the destination was too far to drive, or I’d arrange to drive to my parent’s house in the Washington DC area, stay with them (for free) and do a lot of the Smithsonian Museums, the National Zoo, and spend some great time with my parent’s at their beach house on the Northern Neck in Virginia. We’d go for boat rides, and picnic on the beach at Shark’s Tooth Island, and hunt for shark’s teeth. My siblings would show up and we’d use the family boat to go tubing and water-skiing. A day trip or two to King’s Dominion, or Luray Caverns might round out the vacation. Good times can be had without having to go deep into debt!