Some say frugal is a bad word. Some also use the term cheap, tightwad, penny pincher, miser etc. You get the idea. I wasn’t always this way. When I was single I could buy and do as I pleased. I made more money than I knew what to do with.
Fast forward, four kids, a mortgage, bills etc. Money dries up pretty fast.
Not too long ago we stopped going out to the movies when they did away with the matinee. It just became too expensive to go to a move, and get snacks. My wife and I went a while back (several years actually) and at $9.75/ticket $8 lg popcorn, and $5 each for large drinks and we were out almost $40.
Today as a treat I wanted to take the kiddos out to a movie. No way we would ever set foot in the regular cinema. We went to the second run or the $1 movie. Tuesdays in our area are family specials, and not only are movies only $1 families of 3 or more get discounted, and there is a food discount for kids. They have been working hard and doing chores to help out, and it was a reward.
We get to the theater and the booth tells us that there is a delay due to a mechanical problem and they may be able to sell ticket if the projector gets working. OK, no big deal, I always get to the movies 30 min early to make sure I get snakes, and seated where I want way before the movie.
While we were waiting, I took out my smart phone and looked at the movies through Amazon Prime. We kicked cable to the curb a while ago. Will blog on that later. Funny thing, some of the movies that were at the second run were already on Amazon Prime. We could watch the same move for $3.99 in the comfort of our home. We can pause it if someone has to have a potty break, if the kids fall asleep we get the movie for 24-48 hours and they can watch it in the morning. Of if they choose watch it several times over. If we missed what someone said, we can rewind it. Two or three years ago my wife got me an air pop popcorn maker, and we buy the same salt and seasonings from the bulk restaurant store. We have left over candy from, name your holiday, Easter, valentine’s day, Halloween etc.
So sitting in the lobby of the movies looking at the snack board at a price of $5 per kids pack, $5 for tickets, and then a large popcorn for me $9 and a large drink $7.50 I ask the kids. How about we go home and have family movie night. We watch on big screen, you all can get bean bag chairs, and you can pick the candy or snack, then whatever flavor popcorn you want. All of them were in total favor of that. Here is the bonus, they found a FREE movie from Amazon prime they all wanted to watch.
What I originally thought of a treat going out and spending money for entertainment, it was more of a treat to have microwave smores, kettle corn air popped popcorn, a cold drink, and all the kids to enjoy a movie in their PJ’s on our own couch. A reward doesn’t have to be the money you spend, but the quality of the time you spend together.
If the wife ever lets me (I doubt that will EVER happen) I will have to post the video of all of us playing music videos on YouTube until late into the night. Kids heard “classics” they have never heard of, the adults acted like kids. Something that started off as showing the kids a song we used to listen to, became one of the best nights of our summer. If you can imagine the scene from Practical magic where the whole family was singing “Lime in the Coconut” that was all of us latterly, like 5 times over the night. From the oldest to the baby. We all took turns on selecting the next song. The 11 year old girls thought it was hilarious, and learned a few dance moves such as The Running man, The lawnmower, the sprinkler (although the boy thought you needed to use water in the mouth for accuracy), the worm and the list goes on. Yes we could go to an amusement park, we could go watch a movie but that was a great night and I will cherish it and it was FREE. We may have to have another one soon.
I guess in the end, how you value something really doesn’t need to have a price tag on it. Some things, the best things, are free. You just have to look for those moments.