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Birthday on a Budget


Princess turned 15 this past weekend. And we managed to have a party with no “extra” money spent! Proud mama moment here!

I used our weekly “allowance” to cover the costs of snacks and decorations…

I also purchased various personal hygiene items over the past couple of months with our regularly budget monies. And wrapped them as presents…razors, shaving gel, lotion, face mask, etc. By doing it a little at a time and purchasing items that I would typically purchase for her anyways, it didn’t come as a big shock and she had something to unwrap.

We invited her 3 ‘bestest’ friends over for the night…and instead of pizza, they chose to hit up McDonalds for dinner…$26.

Saturday we drove an hour to the closest mall, and they spent an hour wandering around and ‘shopping.’ They each had their own money for this portion of the ‘party.’

And then a final stop at my favorite park there, where you can purchase duck food for a quarter and feed the ducks. I think we spent $2-3 there.

Finally, that night, as is our family tradition…Princess and I went out to eat at the local Cracker Barrel, her choice, where she opened the gifts from family. We spent $24 there. (The twins are out of town for their school break or they would have been with us.)

We had a fantastic time. She was thrilled with her ‘party’ and her gifts. And all of it was done for less then our $200 weekly cash allowance that covers food, entertainment, etc. Lesson learned…one child is definitely cheaper than 4!

And in two days…I will have another driver in the house…YIKES! Permit here comes Princess!




The Next Phase for Sea Cadet


I have hinted at the fact that Sea Cadet’s next chapter is planned out (and will include health insurance!) As he finishes his Advanced EMT certification and tests for the national registry this July, he wasn’t quite ready to make the leap into more schooling or commit to a career somewhere.

He was presented with the opportunity to work for a county about an hour from us and they would pay for his Paramedics school. I thought that was the direction he was going to go, but they required a 5 year commitment and he wasn’t ready for that.

But I think we, and by we, I mean HE has made a fantastic choice for the next year of his life…He will be serving with FEMA Corps beginning August 6th! And I couldn’t be more proud.

Why FEMA Corps?

It is the perfect combination of professional development for my service oriented son (EMT and Volunteer Firefighter) and financially stabilizing opportunity. They will cover his living expenses and provide healthcare as well as a bi-weekly allowance.

After he serves he will be eligible for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award which will help him continue his education. His ultimate goal is to become a PA, but I believe he’s going to go a round about way to get there as he has so many other interests. And I fully support him trying everything!

We are planning now for this next phase of his life from the financial standpoint. He will not have any education debt, but we do have to deal with the latest medical emergency bills. And he will still have a phone bill and car insurance, so we are brainstorming on how to minimize all of this and save for it now since his income will be minimal.

Have you or did anyone you know serve with AmeriCorps or the Peace Corp? How was their experience? Any guiding words here?