There were times, much simpler times, when we first got married and had no money. It was a blessing and a curse. We didn't have much, but we had each other which I suppose in some ways made things sweeter. We were able to have fun doing things that were free... we made the most of being poor newly weds. We learned not to take anything for granted. Whenever we had a few extra bucks to spend on something fun, it meant that much more.
I suppose it all started there for me. When we were first married and money was tight I learned to cut WAY back on spending. I wouldn't say I was a frivolous girl in the spending department, but I did indulge in the new shirt every now and then-- at ROSS..... on sale-- I could justify it at one time. Tyler was the saver. To this day I distinctly remember him flipping out (after we were married a month of two) because I went and got like 3 things off the dollar menu at Wendy's because I had forgotten my lunch that day. You wouldn't know he's the same guy these days (Mr. I don't want to pack a lunch because it's easier to walk over to McDonald's and get a burger or two).
I know there was a path I took from being the spender of our family to the saver....but sometimes I forget at what point I started on it.
These days it kills me to spend money on fast food or eating out. Sure it's quick food, that's relatively delicious, and you get to have someone else pick up your trash... but I hate the fact that during our fast food excursions as a family all I can think about is 'I could have made food better than this, from scratch, for less!' The second thought that always pops into my head is that our money spent on cheap, easy, greasy, food is only going to be pooped out. Seems like a waste of money... and then my brain starts calculating all the other things that I could do with that "wasted money". Like buy new hand towels for the bathrooms, or cookie sheets, or heaven knows we need new knives... etc etc.
The past few years Tyler has forced me into taking little anniversary getaways. I'm not joking, I seriously tried to talk him out of it... who have AM I? But I was doing the same thing, having a hard time justifying spending all that money on something that would be a one time thing. Something that we couldn't tangibly keep. Something we couldn't look at. Something we couldn't own. He pointed out that we had the money to do it, that I didn't have to worry so much. He told me that what was more important was being able to make memories together. Looking back... I was hesitant at first, but it was TOTALLY worth every penny. We hardly go on dates, they are a rarity with three children, and so there have been many times that I rely on those memories of doing things together to get me through a rough day. (I should note that this year I'm a little sad that we, as of yet, have no plans for a little getaway for the two of us.) BUT The memories are still there...
Which brings me to my point, Tyler was right... making memories is important. It's not about how much money we could have saved by making a meal at home from scratch (because let's be honest doing that is EXHAUSTING!--- uh and then you have the clean it all up) it's about being spontaneous with our children and letting them choose something fun to do. And of course I should appreciate that they are satisfied with cheap burgers and fries from dollar menus... that an 50 cent ice cream cone from Burger King is the highlight of a day... because there will come a time when they expect, or want a lot, LOT more. I whole-heartedly believe having home cooked meals at home is important, and vital to growing children; I believe it's important to sit around a dinner table and have conversations with your children, demonstrating how much you love them.
However, I have to remind myself that it's OKAY to let loose, drop 20 bucks on a pizza (which barely lasts one meal with these three little bottomless pits) and just enjoy making memories together.