Spend less, save more

I have something of a Thanksgiving hangover. I haven’t been drinking; I was shopping. My mom, sister and I spend every Black Friday waiting in line, running from store to store, getting deals and taking names. I feel good about it because it’s fun girl bonding time (this year, my mom made t-shirts!) and I get Christmas shopping done – most of it before December 1. We have some stories, boy, do we have some stories, of crazy shoppers, like the woman who went flying over her cart head first, but we have also met some new friends along the way. Just ask and I’ll be happy to tell you about Alicia and Brad, who waited with us in Toys R Us and who, by the end of the night were calling us “family.”

I would never take my children Black Friday shopping (the kind you do in the middle of the night). We saw babies out in the cold with their mom and dad at midnight. Insane! My grandmother agreed to let the girls have a sleepover at her house, so we dropped my girls off. On the way, my youngest daughter was being silly. As you know, if you are my Facebook friend, Mia and Wendy wanted to learn some jokes, so, I started teaching them lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, because I’m not all that funny on my own. We were doing our whole “What is your name? What is your quest? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow” bit. Wendy wanted to play, too. So, I asked her, “What is your name?” She said, “Nendy!” (because she can’t pronounce her own name) “What is your quest?” She replied “I seek the holy shopping!” Laughter ensued.

Wait, did she say Holy Shopping? That one stings a little. What am I teaching them? Is it the excess that today produces this headache and bleary eye? Is it the crankiness that comes with too little sleep? How am I modeling priority-setting?

In other news, my mom gave Mia $20 yesterday and told her to spend a little on herself and then take me to lunch. We stopped by the mall so she could wait in a 40-person line to buy a $5 stuffed cat. Then she ordered her own lunch at the counter, ate it all, bought cookies for the two of us and still had money left to save. We chatted about it and I discovered that saving is important to her, because she wants to be able to decide later what to do with the money she gets; she has TIME to make a decision, she said. Unfortunately, I don’t think I taught her that. I have never been able to save much.

This is what my daughters are teaching me this Christmas. Spending isn’t Holy and saving money is about saving TIME. I’m about to go SPEND some TIME, SAVING money with Mia right now. We are putting up the Christmas decorations that we’ve been saving over the years. The more time I spend with her, the more I realize she’s a cool little person and I want to savor those memories, store them up so that I can appreciate them into the future – and that’s the true bargain I got this weekend, the special time I’ve spent with the kids. I may have saved $150 dollars at the stores, but spending time with my daughters is priceless.

What bargains did you find? How do you teach your children about saving? Any good tips?


4 responses to “Spend less, save more

  1. I’m terrible with money. I do give Andrew a dollar every Sunday though for the offering to help him learn that giving is important.
    Being a single dad I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like to, so when he’s with me I don’t make too much of a fuss about getting him

    didn’t do Black Friday, too much risk of a panic attack ensuing. I’m gonna check out cyber Monday though.

  2. im not sure why that last comment only printed half of what i typed…

  3. The “Nendy” comment got me.

  4. We don’t have that here in Canada. And every time I hear about it I feel lucky. Boxing Day is exactly that crazy though. Usually, for me, I’ve spent so much on Christmas gifts that I don’t bother to venture out on Boxing day. But sometimes I do, for the adrenaline rush or to get good deals on kids clothes.

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