:::: MENU ::::

The Best $30 I’ve Spent in a Long Time


Against my better “debt reduction mode” judgement, I went on a special date with my son this past weekend. Of all places to go, we went to a local place that is similar to a Chuck-e-Cheese’s where you spend money to play games and win tickets. You redeem the tickets for some very cheap prizes.

This was something brand new to my son, and I haven’t been to a place like that since I was a teenager.

We played the games and even won a 760 ticket jackpot on one of the games. You should have seen the look on my son’s face as the tickets kept spewing from the machine. “When is it going to stop!!” he asked.

Then he won a jackpot on another game and won 199 tickets. He jumped up and down in excitement. Even mom caught herself clapping in excitement. That’s a side of me that doesn’t come out very often.

Yes, I could have used that $30 for debt reduction, but my guess is that I still would be in a funky mood if we didn’t go and have some fun. It helped to perk me right up. I would go as far as to say that I needed this experience with my son. So often I am working late and time with him is being lost. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt about that. I also get very tired of being focused on making money all of the time.

For me, spending $30 to have fun with my son and to forget about all of my worries for a few hours was worth every penny. We certainly can’t do it all of the time, but this one time was very helpful because I needed a recharge.

My funk is officially O-V-E-R!! Time to kick some debt booty!


  • Reply Maria |

    That’s great Tricia! Time spent with your son doing something like that is always worth it!
    That $30 has now become a “priceless” memory.

  • Reply Rick Vaughn |


    Look at it this way at least you didn’t charge the $30. Only kidding!

  • Reply Sherri |

    I think the $30 had a bigger impact on your life going where it went over going to debt. I’m glad you had a good time. Sometimes we have to remember to continue to *live* when we are on a journey (debt reduction, weight loss, for me–grad school, hehe). =D Your son will only be young for so long.

  • Reply arduous |

    Tricia, I think it’s great you went out and spent some time with your son and I hope you’re not feeling any guilt for spending the $30, because you HAVE been kicking some serious debt booty, and you deserved a break.

    Besides, $30 spent on an experience that you are going to remember and be able to look back on is always good. What I’ve been reminded of this past year is that experiences are often worth the money, but stuff is less often worth the money. So you know, if you were going to spend $30, at least it was on an experience you can remember and not on stuff that will eventually gather dust in a corner! 🙂

  • Reply James |

    Yeah, thats always a hard call. The thirty dollars is money that you won’t have to pay interest on, but on the other hand, sometimes its better to relax a little bit.

  • Reply Charlie Park |

    What a great story, and what great memories! Sometimes we all need a “debt payoff nap” to rest up and get going again. So glad you took that break!

  • Reply Dannalie |

    Way to go!
    As empty nesters my DH and I get bored so we go out with friends every Wednesday to a local restaurant that has a band. We call it Wasted Wednesday. We usually spend about $30 a week. But I budget for it and we always have a good time. so I agree with arduous, expereinces are worth it!

  • Reply Ian |

    The memories it will give your son are worth a whole lot more than the memories it would give the creditor. I would say it’s money well spent!

  • Reply Mar |

    That outing may have cost you $30, but it was actually PRICELESS! My daughter is 12 and she still remembers certain outings and picnics and other things that we attended when she was 6 or 7. I think it’s totally worth doing this once a quarter or so – maybe put $2 in a jar every week and when you have $25 or $30, it’s time for another trip!

  • Reply Rachel @ Master Your Card |

    I think that spending small amounts of money on little treats like this helps us to really appreciate the money. If we spent money like water, we would stop appreciating the things that we spent it on.

  • Reply justine |

    Yippee for being over your funk! I think it’s great that you were thoughtful in spending the $30, and it sounds well spent. However, I just want to point out generally that it’s not necessary to spend any money to get an equal amount of joy out of a child and good memories for the parent and child. (I’m not making this point in reference to you deciding to spend the $30, just in general.) I have built amazing memories with my children by taking them into nature (free) for a day and having them marvel at the animals, water, plants, etc. Free children’s museums have produced the same effect, as have neighborhood festivals and fairs. I think it’s mostly about the focused, quality time we spend with our kids – not the money spent.

  • Reply Caitlin @ C³ |

    I think that’s a fantastic use for $30!

    You and your son will both have nice memories of a good time sent with each other, and those will last a lot longer than any worries about current debt!

  • Reply Joe @ SimpleDebtFreeFinance |


    I whole heartedly believe that this is what money is for – memories and experiences, not more stuff. You’ve gotten far more return on that $30 than you would have gotten paying down any debt, regardless of the interest rate!

    Your son’s experience will continue to pay dividends through the years – especially when he has a child of his own.

  • Reply Susan |

    Tricia: You can always get out of debt, but you have only one son.
    Never economize on him. If he needs something buy it for him!
    We used to have a big Coke bottle bank and would fill it up with all our change. Once a year we emptied it out and used the proceeds towards our trip to Disneyland. Now, we have a box of quarters, dimes and nickels on the kitchen counter and when full it holds about $20. It is a practical way to save for fun times and it quickly fills up again. ( And, when we were really broke I would often tgive our kids a baggie filled with change. They just thought I was eccentric, but money is money.) 🙂

  • Reply Frugalista Files |

    I loved reading this post. I remember going go cart riding with my family. I LOVED that. I’m glad you have the experience, whatever the cost.

  • Reply Jen |

    That’s great! I can imagine years from now when your son is in college/on his first job he’ll be telling his friends about the awesome time he was out with his mom and he won a bazillion tickets! It’s a great memory – for BOTH of you! 😀

  • Reply Mrs. Micah |

    And that’s exactly what money’s for…being spent. Most of the time, you’re right to spend that money on paying down the debt. All kinds of good consequences for you in the future and makes you happy. But this time, sounds like the right decision.

  • Reply CanadianKate |

    My burning question… how did your son ‘spend’ his tickets? One big prize or several little ones?

  • Reply Tricia |

    My son got one “bigger” prize…a small gumball bank. The rest were small things – some pencils, a couple foam arrows, a few other small things (not sure what they are called) and the family favorite – a whoope cushion!

So, what do you think ?