Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Frugal - A Four Letter Word?

My daughter was whining about how she wanted to go do something but everything was so expensive .If this was some hint that I lend (give) her money, she was barking up the wrong tree!

I sat there looking at her a moment and then asked, “Do you remember the stuff we did when you were a kid? I had little to no money, yet we always had some where to go, something to do. That’s what you do, cope.”

As a single parent attending night school and working at a pink collar seemingly dead-end job, money was tight. Yet, we never wanted for things to do. I was always able to come up with something that did not cost much, if anything at all.

There was the duck pond at the Cave Hill Cemetery. At the time, you could pick up a bag of bread for pennies (recently I visited a Day Old place and the bread was higher that at ALDI…what the hell is going on?!!) . Off we would go and have a great and inexpensive time. And we were not alone. Those were some of the best fed ducks in the city..if not in the world.

There was a dollar movie theater within a few miles of us. There were four screens and every week featured a family friendly movie. Because times were rough, we would sneak in our snacks and avoid the concession stand. I have this image in my minds eye of Bridget and one of her friends standing in front of the Snack Police clutching to their tiny brests small brown bags of penny candy looking guilty and caught red handed. “NOT ALLOWED!!” she bellowed, I pushed them in past her looming glare and just glared back.

Other times we would just go to one of the many city parks. The city is just filled with them! Wonderful parks packed with children area’s that offered many hours of muscle building, sweet child sweat producing exercise. Swing sets, monkey bars, teeter toter's, slides….and the chance for Bridget to meet other children.

The libraries were always a welcome haven with their children area’s, Children’s Hour and lots and lots of books. Bridget would spend lots of time shifting through books looking for her favorites and making me read them right then and there to her! I know Hop On Pop by heart, even to this day.

At various times through out the year the area Malls had some type of happening going on. Everything from the finalist of the science projects, to the mind blowing displays of train sets at Christmas. Now that I think about it, there was always something being highlighted! The kiosk’s had yet to take over all that open space!

We would take trips to the Pet Shops and she would look at all the puppies and kittens, the fish and the spiders in the glass tanks…yuck….she loved it.

We may have had little money to spend on entertainment, but entertainment was only an imagination away.

10 comments:

lisaram said...

I doubt that Bridget would be entertained by going to the pet store and looking at the puppies and kittens anymore, but there is still a lot of stuff that might appeal to her that is free or very cheap. WE remember how to do this stuff, because WE were brought up by the survivors of the Great Depression. Now we just have to figure out how to pass that knowledge on to our kids and grandkids.

Jeanne said...

You just have to think of something to do....Many craft stores put on demenstrations, once a month Home Depot has a great craft for kids...

The internet is a great place to start..

Lots of free stuff....I'm not sure about the great depression. My parents seemed to have money, but when I was a single parent, I found ways to do things...

Jeanne said...

You just have to think of something to do....Many craft stores put on demenstrations, once a month Home Depot has a great craft for kids...

The internet is a great place to start..

Lots of free stuff....I'm not sure about the great depression. My parents seemed to have money, but when I was a single parent, I found ways to do things...

Beth said...

My folks were also children of the Depression, so we didn't spend a lot of money on entertainment. But as you wrote, an imagination is a powerful thing, and I never felt deprived or bored. I think kids today are missing out on that, because I know it's served me well over the years. My motto is "boredom is not an option!"

Cynthia said...

Using your imagination is one of the best things about childhood and being the parent of a small child gives that to you again. It's not just frugal, it's fun.

Nelle said...

My son just loved the park and they had a tiny zoo there. I think children these days need entertaining. They have lost so much, especially imagination. I remember as a child putting on skits for adults. Young kids I know are glued to TV or videogames. Now if it were blogging I might be able to understand.:)

Real Live Lesbian said...

Ah...so very true! Some of the best times I've ever had included walking along the banks of the lake and skipping rocks.

Money doesn't buy fun.

pia said...

Yes we had that Depression drummed into our heads but it was a great thing because families were close and they knew no other way.
My father used to make my sister and I cry as we felt so deprived that we hadn't grown up during a depression. I hope we never have the opportunity to find out but I don't know....

It scares me that kids are so used to being amused and taken care of. You, Mary, seem to have done a great job with Bridget

The last time I saw my niece she said to me "I know I'm spoiled and will probably never live this well again so I'm enjoying every second"

I adore her so I was impressed

Great post

MeadowLark said...

Pia, you may get your chance to live in the VGD (very great depression) extremely soon. :(

We were farm kids and you know what THAT means - you'd better make yourself scarce when you had the chance, or they'd FIND something for you to do. And it wouldn't be fun!!! :)

Chris said...

I am thankful that Trevor loves doing free stuff as much as something that costs significant $$$. I scan the paper each week for free events such as festivals, book readings, and the like. Sometimes we won't even have a plan, just hop in the car and explore, stumbling across somewhere we didn't know about.