It is Fiesta Time in San Antonio. This city wide, week long party is a defining San Antonio moment. There are parades, festivals, food, drink, silly “royalty,” memory making moments, more drink, more food…and a lot of money blown! I didn’t grow up in San Antonio (nearby, yes…but there’s a big difference b/w my hometown and SA) and, for whatever reason, I never found Fiesta all that appealing. There really are some people who could read that and gasp. I don’t know–maybe it is like someone from New Orleans saying they could do without Mardi Gras. Either way—not a huge event on my radar. There are only so many fajita tacos and beers a gal can have!
There ARE kid friendly events and we do usually make at least one of the 3 major parades, but as the kids get older even that is a take it or leave it event. So, it wasn’t a huge adjustment with the new spending plan this year to avoid Fiesta events…but all the planning by others did get me paying attention in a new way this year. Festivals/Carnivals can easily set us back over $200 when all 6 of us go! The last time we did this was for a Church Festival and yes that is a very good cause…but with our current financial situation, donations will need to be made in a different way! Side note: We continue to make regular donations in a smaller amount than in the past—short term until we make some progress on the debt and then we will build that back up. We are also giving more of our time which is so great for us and the kids).
The kids have never “bugged” us to go to these things—honestly, it was more force of habit. “It’s April–time for Fiesta” or “It’s February, time for the Rodeo.” And these events have now almost come and gone for 2012 and our kids aren’t inquiring…the Boy Scout did his service for the fundraiser of selling parade seats (set up and take down of chairs) and no one is begging to go to Fiesta. That’s nice to see and compute–it makes changing the habit very doable.
It has always been important to volunteer in some way for the community since I was very young. Community service hours were a requirement for high school graduation and I can say that through all phases of my life, I’ve volunteered my time in some way. I’ve struggled more as an adult finding a way to incorporate that in the kids’ lives. My son is very active with Boy Scouts so that teaches a lot about community service but I longed for a family “giving back” project. Recently, as part of my daughter’s religious classes we went on a little field trip to a ministry within our Church. It is called “Mobile Loaves and Fishes” and this group of highly dedicated people put together meals at lunch time and supper time, 7 days a week. They are made up of all volunteers. They make meals in their kitchen at the Church and then have a truck that they drive out to various locations to feed the hungry-refugees, the working poor, the elderly and the homeless.
My 7-year-old daughter was completely inspired at this little 10 minute tour. All she kept saying was how “neat” she thought the director’s “job” was b/c she got to feed people who were hungry. From that night on (about 2 weeks ago) this is all my daughter has talked about. So, I reached out to the director to find out where our services might be needed. As of April 6, we will begin volunteering on the “prep team” on the first Friday of each month.
In addition to teaching the kids about our own money matters, this will serve as a reminder of just how blessed we are to have what we do have and inspire us to live more grateful lives.
I’m pretty focused when it comes to finances. I have my debts, my monthly bills, my charitable giving, and my cash spending. It’s all fairly organized in my ‘perfect’ little world.
I didn’t care to think outside the box… until this morning.
I’ve been whining lately about my inability to run as a form of exercise. While out walking, a marathon group ran by and I was tempted to join. I watched as they gleefully jogged down the street, smiling and enjoying the beautiful sunshine day. Sigh. I trudged at my slow pace and frowned.
When doing my yoga routine, I am angered because, even though my stomach isn’t huge, it gets in the way of a really great bending stretch. My balance is also thrown off and my ‘Standing Trees’ look more like ‘Standing Trees in a Hurricane’.
Even though I’m overjoyed about the wonderful growing baby, I get frustrated when my body doesn’t move like it used to. The only thing keeping me sane is the fact that I’ll have a bouncing baby soon and my body (hopefully) will return to normal.
I was watching the news this morning and it featured a new sports center for the disabled. Only 1 out of 10 people with disabilities exercise since their bodies limit the amount they can do. Often, they don’t know how to work out with bodies that refuse to cooperate. This sports center works to train people how to exercise while working within their limits. The news anchor interviewed one of the employees who suffers from muscular dystrophy. His athletic body was slowly turning into one that didn’t work and he was helping others overcome their difficulties while dealing with his own.
My whining suddenly seems sooo… um.. wow. There isn’t a word mean enough to describe my whining.
The news station was taking donations to help buy some much needed equipment for the facility. No, I couldn’t pigeonhole this expense into my very strict spreadsheet of spending, but I guess I learned to be a little more fluid.
I may not be able to ‘give like no one else’, but I can still give.
Think outside the finance box.
My DebtLarge Graph
- Current: $31,490
- Paid: $66,611
- Original: $98,101
- Emergency Fund: $1000
- IRS Savings: $
- Broken Down:
CC #1: $0 ($64) CC #2: $0 ($240) CC #3: $0 ($650) CC #4: $0 ($785) CC #5: $0 ($1,500) CC #6: $0 ($1,886) CC #7: $0 ($1,984) CC #8: $0 ($2,135) CC #9: $0 ($7,145)
- CC #10: $12,570 ($14,561)
CC #11: $0 ($24,388) Credit Line #1: $0 ($182) Credit Line #2: $0 ($182) Auto #1: $0 ($16,579) Auto #2: $0 ($25,819)
- Cons. Loan: $18,920 ($20,000)
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