When you’re a college junior, living on campus, meals paid for, with some extra spending money, life is good. You tend to have different priorities than a married mother of two (or at least you should, lol). As I sat making my ever present to-do lists, I thought about how those lists two decades ago (good Lord, why did I have to say “decades”) stack up to my lists now.
PRIORITIES THEN VS. NOW
– Not picking an 8am class vs. Wishing for anything that starts as late as 8am
– Studying for a test vs. helping to finish homework
– Finding money for pizza vs Finding pizza’s low fat alternative
– Deciding when to buy my spring wardrobe vs recycling last year’s clothes at the back of the closet
– Eating whatever, whenever vs No late night munchies (too many calories)
– Extra funds for a road trip vs enough funds for the Children’s museum
– Trying to find something to do vs. wishing I had nothing to do
– Full social calendar (mine) vs. full social calendar (the kids)
Lol. Then vs. now ….
My husband and I threw my son an awesome birthday party. My son and his friends had a blast, it was relatively low maintenance, but here’s the best part … the location was free!
I thought I’d just share a few of the secrets I use to take full advantage of any deals and bargains I can find. Parents know how astronomical prices for kids’ parties can get. A kids’ “jumpy place” (as I officially call it) can run upwards of $300 for about 15 friends. No food. No drinks. No cake. Just jumping. Yikes.
So armed with this pricing knowledge and determined to spend nowhere near that much, I started a brainstorm session. Where can kids go to play that may not be considered a “party venue”? I was flooded with thoughts – and pursued many of them. A YMCA rec room? A church with a nice-sized gym facility? Maybe a craft store? I did come across some other cool, unique venues, but they were costly. And that’s not what you’re reading for. You wanna know how I got the free goods. I finally hit the jackpot when I called … Home Depot.
Now, I must issue a MAJOR DISCLAIMER – All Home Depots do not allow you to have a birthday party. And for some that do, there may be a cost. But more important than the location is my method. Here’s a few quick steps to having a party, or doing pretty much anything else with kids, for cheap.
1. Ask what they offer. I cannot believe how many people are afraid to just ask. I’ve always had the attitude that the worst they can tell me is no. And I’ve been told no plenty. But I’ve also scored free stuff.
2. Always be honest. Tell them exactly what you’re looking for and why. Trying to play up your cause or shading the truth just isn’t worth it. Honesty truly is the best policy.
3. When it comes to attending an event or getting coupons, I exhaust every option. I once wanted to take my boys to an expensive event. Well, with my hubby there were four of us. I called the group sales to find out if we could get group pricing for my family with four people. Turns out we could. You have not because you ask not.
4. Keep your eyes peeled for “free days”. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta has free admission on Target Tuesdays. Fulton County residents can get free admission to some museums on the first Saturday of the month.
My children have had exposure to some incredible events and opportunities. And I’ve been blessed to provide it … for a lot less than most ;).