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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: The Frugal-Free Edition

Every year I try to do at least one non-frugal day with my family. This year it was a day trip to the Columbus Zoo. We took my parents with us, and we met my brother and sister-in-law, making it quite a family outing! My brother had some free passes compliments of their friend (an IT guy for the zoo). We shared those, meaning that my immediate family only had to buy one adult and one child pass. We rented an oversized stroller for big kids, and off we went.

We did not pack a lunch. We did not take drinks. All we brought was a sippy cup and some sunscreen! My goal was to enjoy the day and not worry about lugging around bags of stuff from home. We bought our lunch at the zoo, and we got bottles of lemonade and water. We did have some Goldfish crackers in Emma's backpack, but only because I wasn't sure what types of snacks they would have at the zoo. There's nothing like an upset tummy to spoil the ride home!

I have to make myself do a frugal-free event like this from time to time. It's good for me! I spend a lot of time and energy bargain shopping and saving my family tons of money. But I have to stop and think about the reason behind this. What's my motivation? Just to say that I got the best deal? Nope. Because we couldn't survive financially if I didn't? Fortunately not the case. Then why?

My motivation to bargain shop is having extra money left over for the things that we WANT to do. Sure, it's fun to find a great deal, especially when you leave a store paying next to nothing for bags full of merchandise. I appreciate having a couple of cupboards full of shampoo and razors that are ready when we need them. But I also appreciate having some extra "blow money" to make a day at the zoo more fun. It's more fun to not have to pack coolers and bags full of food. It's more fun to walk freely around the park, not lugging baggage behind us. (We saw people carting their coolers around all day!) It's more fun to just enjoy each other and the day.

I do confess that my whole family benefited from my couponing. I had printed out a few copies of the latest Friday's buy-one-get-one-free coupon (HERE), and we used those for dinner after the zoo. Our wonderful waitress let us use three of them since we had three separate checks. I was totally willing to go somewhere else for dinner, but everyone else thought it was great that they would save half off their dinners. (I guess I'm spoiled and expect this!) It was nice to share that deal with my family. But that was it for my couponing that day.

I encourage you, if you're financially able, to spend a frugal-free day doing something fun. It's a great reward for the hard work that you do clipping coupons, watching sale ads, and reading this blog! I'm not telling you to go overboard, just to relax. Leave the coupon binder at home, and have a ball!

It works for me!

For more great ideas that work, stop by Works for Me Wednesday sponsored by We are That Family.