Monday, February 21, 2011


Sometimes it's so hard to decide what to spend our hard-earned money on. Yesterday I decided I wasn't going to just sit around the house with the kids during the mid-winter break, so I asked my mom if she wanted to go to the science museum today. They have an awesome kid area that's huge and entirely hands-on.

It cost $24 to get in for me, my mom, and my two kids. Now I'm kicking myself for not just spending $50 and getting the full year membership, which would entitle us to get in anytime. Dur. Stupid.

I have trained myself to be so utterly careful about our finances that I sometimes don't allow for frivolity. Not that an explorations lab at the museum is exactly "frivolous" but it's also not a true necessity in life, so I tend to talk myself out of spending the cash.

Depending on who you are, or what your circumstances are, $50 may sound like a lot of money or a drop in the bucket. My problem is that right now I am sitting at my kitchen table and right next to me is my leaky kitchen window. The wood surrounding it is literally rotting, and when the snow melts or it rains hard, water actually drips into the house. It's in terrible shape after 40+ years and it is next on our list to be replaced (we've already done two exterior doors that were in similar shape). So whether you think fifty bucks is a lot or a little, it is still a chunk of that window repair and could go toward a project that really needs doing.

However, after spending the morning with my happy, busy children in a beautiful, enormous, high-ceilinged, bright and airy room filled with station after station of educational and fun toys, I've forced myself to re-evaluate my priorities. I could save the $50 and sit here in the boring house, trying to get my kids to play and stay away from the boob tube, or I could just spend it and take the short drive to the museum anytime we want, 7 days a week, rain or shine. I can be with other parents, my kids can interact with other children. We can have fun and feel engaged in community, which is sorely lacking for us.

It's a leaky window vs. our sanity - kind of a no-brainer, isn't it? The home repairs will wait. There is fun to be had right now.


Karen said...

I just read a blog post last week that drove me batty, in fact it was what finally tipped me to deleted it from my Google reader. She was talking about how great it was to get a monogrammed polo shirt for your child for only $39.95!!! What a special gift....

I appreciate your frugality, it's nice to feel encouraged and spurred on by other mothers who are having to make the same choices.

Jenn said...

You should see if the museum will let you apply you ticket price to a membership -I know the one here will do it within so many days. Glad you got out of the house!

HangerMom said...

I second Jenn's comment - I was going to say the same thing. Our Children's Museum will let you apply your ticket price to the membership within 7 days. Worth calling about.

I went through the same budgeting issue this year with our museum. I opted to skip the pass for the first time in three years because I expected that the new baby would keep me from going often. Now I'm not so sure I'm happy with that. Next year I think I'll plan it in to the budget.

Ruth said...

Great minds are thinking alike .... I was going to suggest that you call the museum and explain that you'd like to join after having such a wonderful time there yesterday. My guess is that they'll let you apply the $24 to a membership.

We belonged to our local children's museum, but I let the membership lapse the year WB was one ... her immune system had been so beaten down by all her illnesses that she got sick every time we went. She's stronger now, though, so it's probably worth a second thought. I understand your point about frugality and priorities (we have a 100 year old roof to replace, and a kid going to college in less than two years) ... but your sanity has value.

Mrs Lemon said...

The memories are absolutely worth $50 a year! Maybe that might be something to suggest as a yearly family Christmas present from grandparents?

Mrs Lemon said...

@Karen - LOL! I know of whom you speak, and I thought the same thing, $40 for a shirt? a KID'S SHIRT at that? nothxbai