Monday, April 1, 2013

So What if I am Cheap

I was contemplating whether to blog about it but it's been on my mind... this saving money, financial responsibility, and also spending wisely route is an odd one. Controversial even.

Yesterday was Easter. I spent all of March looking at Easter baskets and little trinkets at the store. I almost bought a basket. Then it dawned on me that there was defiantly an old one upstairs. I have mine from when I was a kid (my mom always used the same baskets for us kids each year). Next came the fillings. I kept looking at little toys, picking things in my mind that would be perfect, and then deciding that he just didn't need any of them.

I ended up buying two greeting cards and getting a stuffed bunny for free (a birthday card for my hubby and a wedding card for a friend). It's the cutest bunny and my boy LOVES stuffies. Then I decided to get him that water bottle. He really likes mine and I thought he'd enjoy having his own little kid one. When I went upstairs to get the basket I found a few little hand-me-down books that a friend had given us. I forgot about them so they were new, sort of. They were quite perfect being very springy. There's a bunny, a bee, and a duck one. I also put a few empty plastic eggs in his basket.

I thought I'd done a very good job. I only spent $13 for the entire basket (on the water bottle) and he was really excited about his basket. He loves the bunny, the bottle, the books, and he's been playing with the empty eggs constantly. For a one year old anything new is so exciting.

WELL, we went to my sister in laws house for Easter dinner. She has a little boy who's 2 months younger than my son. He was playing with all these new toys, and they kept saying, "he got that in his Easter basket." Honestly, I think they spent $60 on his Easter basket (maybe not that much). At one point after all the, "he got that in his..." My husband says, "Abner just got a water bottle and some old books." I felt so very insulted. I had put TONS of thought into that "cheap" basket. And my son has really been enjoying everything in it.

Okay, my husband has since apologized for seemingly insulting me. Believe it or not he is starting to get it. He said he didn't mean to hurt my feelings and that I did a very good job with our boy's first basket. But to a normal person I'm a freak. I bought ONE thing for my son's first Easter basket. That could be bad parenting in some circles. (I know some people don't do baskets (that's NOT what it's about) but my mom always made Easter really neat for us and I want to pass down the tradition) I'm pretty secure now in my frugal decisions. My kid doesn't need a bunch of new expensive things. He's a VERY happy little boy. I don't need reassurance that I'm making the right decisions; trying to get out of debt instead of spending money on fancy things. But I sure do seem like a freak to "normal" folks and I certainly felt like one last night.


  1. You should be okay with it! We had no money to spend on it this year so we didn't. My kids are much older though so no prob. Yours is so young he won't remember anyway. As you pointed out, everything is new and exciting, you could have made a cute basket out of paper and crayons! My 2 adult kids favorite easter memory is from when there were around 9 and 10, and at the time I had no money, worked crazy hours and was a single mom I came up with the idea we ll cut out and colored paper eggs as that truly is al we had. We ended up with some crazy amount like 100 paper eggs and then I hid them on Easter morning. Best day of their life as they found out just how challenging it was to find paper eggs! LOL

    You did great, no reason to feel bad and I am sure he truly did not mean to hurt your feelings.

  2. There will always be someone who spend more or "does" more. Who cares? Your basket was perfect, you put a lot of thought into it and he loved it. Period.

  3. When I was a kid, we got a basket filled with candy and annoying plastic grass, no gifts. When did Easter turn into a gift giving holiday? You didn't spoil your kid with expensive toys he won't play with for very long, you got him thoughtful, yet inexpensive, things that he'll enjoy just the same!
    Honestly, if I had kids, we'd have fun egg dying, then have an egg hunt with a basket to put the eggs candy, no gifts, except the fun and quality time involved in those activities. Call me cheap if you want! :)

  4. I think a small amount of things is great. I've really realized that this year. Easter is such a special time that I don't want the girls to get so caught up in the stuff that the forget the best gift they were given.
    This year we did a scavenger hunt that led them to their gift, which was a devotional for Annabelle and Ariel and an Easter board book for Arianna. I think each year I will give them a new devotion book.

  5. I LOVE how thought out the basked was, and how almost as if by magic it came together - with the books and the basket you already had.
    I'm actually pretty sure it'll make a great story for Abe when he's grown up and maybe thinking of filling a basked for his kids :)

  6. I get your feeling. I see people who always complain about having no money

  7. You're not in any way cheap! You created something for your son that he loved! Good for you. You're a mom passing down a very nice tradition, as ever, u are inspiring :-) Ireland

  8. I think you have started you own tradition, what's more exciting a new basket or a basket that his mum had when she was growing up. Books to read and have that quality time as someone shares them with him. As for the plastic eggs, they can be bath toys, cooking toys, monster eyeballs, treasure keepers, hide and go seek objects. I think you gift will give more that you think and for a lot longer then new cheap things.

  9. Funny how people spend gobs of money buying things for babies. Consumerism gone wild and so totally not whst Easter is about.

  10. I think you did an awesome job.
    1. it was thoughtful
    2. it wasn't wasteful
    3. it was frugal
    4. you're not creating insane expectations for your son that you'll have to then live up to continually throughout his life which isn't teaching him how to honestly be thoughtful about resources
    5. there are a million other kids who got much less than that in the world, what you see and what you're comparing yourself to isn't something that is sustainable or honest about how the average human on earth lives (even if they don't celebrate Easter)
    But most importantly, religious holidays like this shouldn't be about the stuff, they should be about the teachings of that holiday - however way you celebrate or interpret it. I'm not actually religious (I grew up celebrating Christian holidays like most Americans) but I can't stand to see the commercialization of religions and their celebrations which are supposed to espouse humility and the "meek shall inherit the earth" kind of teachings. Honestly, a lot of people that go "bigger and better" miss out on the teachings of the holidays and aren't happy people in general.
    Having said all of this, I know it is easy to compare yourself with the "joneses" and feel awkward at times, we all do it. But the more I consciously reflect on what all this gives them (really takes away) spiritually and financially and peace-of-mind-wise, I end up feeling more sorry for them and more content in MY choices. The kid you mention was constantly playing with different toys, I know most kids would rather have a few cherished possessions and learn that way what having stuff is really about. Good luck on your journey - it is definitely not always easy!

  11. My six-month-old daughter got one stuffed doll for her first Christmas. Her two-year-old brother had so much that she could play with all his baby toys. She had a great time chewing on her doll and never knew the difference.

    Maybe your husband could make up for insulting you by saying how great you are at keeping your living costs down.

    I am cheap, too, as you know.