Thursday, April 10, 2008

Frugal Fridays: Enough Already!

With kids running wildly through my house, I ordered, as if pretending to be a drill seargent, "Go outside and play!" Of course, their unanimous response was, "But there's nothing to do!"

So, I quickly surveyed their options: basketball, sandbox, trampoline, bicycles, baseball, volleyball, horseshoes, kickball, roller skates, skate boards, and on and on and on. Nothing to do??? What???

I then asked my husband, "How much stuff do our kids actually need?" Without skipping a beat, he replied, "As much as we can afford to give them." UGH! This was not his finest frugal moment.

Honestly though, how much is enough? With Playstations, PSPs, Nintendo DS, TVs in every bedroom (complete with DVD players and VCRs), more books than some children's libraries, movies, just about every board game Target sells, art supplies galore and more stuff than I have room to mention on this entire blog, when is enough ENOUGH?

Even though with lists this long and detailed, it gets to seem like bragging -- but it is simply to make a point. How much stuff do kids need to keep entertained? I mean we were happy to have a few cool-whip bowls to fill with mud in our "play house" when I was a kid. A house with no walls, no roof, and only contained by an outline of sticks that we found while picking up the yard. Tables were made from boxes or crates that were cast-offs.

So this year I have decided enough is enough! They have so much already that we simply do not need to add huge amounts to their overflowing amounts of stuff. We have agreed to pare down Christmas this year to 7 gifts each (including clothes) and one birthday gift each. Although it is still more than some receive, this is an area which I have never really practiced frugality. Christmas is that time of year when I usually go all out. So ENOUGH ALREADY!

Does your family still do the holidays with a bang, or do you keep things to a minimum? Do you over indulge your children or keep things simple? How did you decide enough is enough?

For more Frugal Fridays insights, scoot on over to Biblical Womanhood and see what Crystal and the rest of the gang has to say.


Smockity Frocks said...

Our 7 children get one gift from us at Christmas and for birthdays. I usually spend under $100 for the entire holiday season.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. It's hard not to want to give your kids everthing you can but in the end you have kids w/ constant cases of the gimmees and a cluttered home. In the end they will value your time w/ them more than enything else you can buy them. We are cutting down on the Birthday and Holiday gifts.

Niki said...

It's easy to go nuts on your kid at holidays! I think its tough for me and DH because we both grew up poor! We just want our son to have some nice things. We try to buy a few nice things for each holiday now..quality over quantity, ya know?

Of course his 3 sets of grandparents spoil him like crazy!


nessatxmom said...

Gina! I can't believe I happened upon your blog totally by accident! Anyway, I came from a family where I got one gift under the tree every year. DH seems to have come from the more overboard family. So, we tend to meet in the middle with our kids. I am trying to buy ahead this year, so we don't buy lots and spend lots at Christmas.

Dana said...

I recently decided that our girls had WAY too much stuff and I got rid of 75% of their toys. Now they aren't overwhelmed as much and actually play with the things they have.

I think that by them having fewer toys they're encouraged to use their imaginations in their play. They're getting pretty good at it too!

We do simple Christmas and birthdays. Last year they got one toy and one dress (that I made) for Christmas.

Grandparents are a whole other problem. One set respects our wishes, the other goes all out but gets JUNK! Things that break the first day or have a bizillion little parts that get scattered all over the house.


Michele said...

Oh this is an area that just drives me nuts! My boys have so much stuff and play with very little of it. I am getting rid of some of their toys simply because we have too much. We will be paring down our Christmas as well.

Anonymous said...

We let the grandparents spend way too much money and go overboard. For Christmas and birthdays we do 1 large present and a few tiny ones. My house is still overflowing with toys so I try and regularly go through and add to the garage sale pile.

Tracy-Jayne said...

My husband and I have also decided together that the spending during the festive season needs to be kept under strict control! We are putting away a very modest sum each month that, come November, will be the total we have to spend on tree, gifts, seasonal foods etc.

We have a little tradition with our 2 daughters that they get a gift for each year of life on their birthdays. So, next year when my eldest turns 12, she'll get 12 gifts. BUT - thats not to say I spend an awful lot on their birthdays (which happen to be 3 weeks apart). They get one main gift eg: a book or CD they really wanted, and the rest is made up with bargains I've come across. I keep my eyes open all year round for good buys, and stash those away. They usually include nice stationery, books and clothing bought at half-off and end of season sales and I find that this helps keep the modest clothing budget we have in control as well.