Tuesday, April 12, 2011

can't afford it

My daughter was with a friend recently who bribed her to do something for pop tarts.

Apparently Corina really likes pop tarts, but I don't buy them.

She happened to be in the friend's car and the mom was driving and her friend was in the front seat.

The mother leaned over to her friend and said "They have 8 kids so they really can't afford things like that".

I actually thought it was really funny.

Pop tarts are what.....$1.98 for a small box?? That wouldn't set me back too much so I suppose I could handle it.

The problem is.....I don't spend my precious money on frivolous, sugar-filled silly treats. (and not just because they're completely unhealthy and do nothing at all for a girl's figure!!)

My children don't even ask for things like that because I tell them....."I choose not to afford that".

Don't get me wrong....my kids are not deprived at all! We have special occasions when we splurge and get all kinds of treats for a read-out-pig-out, or we get ice cream over the weekend.

I have $350 a month for groceries for a family of 10 AND I STICK WITH IT! I have to make my own bread, and make all my food from scratch.....but that's worth it to me to save money for other things.

At the beginning of our marriage my husband and I wrote a list of things that were the most important for our family.....gospel being first, education second, and music third. These would be the things that would occupy our precious time and resources. Things we would seek after and spend our money on. Sports never hit the list - I know they're important to other families, but they just aren't to us.

When my children turn 5 I start teaching them piano and a couple years later the 3 oldest girls each started a string instrument as well. Tanner has been much more difficult to teach and I let him quit the piano, but now that he's in Middle School he plays the trombone (just like his dad). Once our kids reach an advanced level we have put them in private lessons with master teachers.

Over the years the first 3 things have stayed solid, but we have also noticed that each of our children has special talents and we want to give them opportunities to increase their confidence and have something special just for them.....

*Akayla is in clogging
*Corina was in gymnastics for many years but eventually has chosen to focus only on schoolwork and music (she has a goal to end high school with a 4.0 at the top of her class and take every AP class available!)
*Tanner does basketball, baseball and track
*Adriana is in a singing/performing group called Tavaci
*Annalisa is in gymnastics
*Mariah is in clogging (she is Akayla's twin separated at birth!)
*Elli and Lea are too little....we'll have to see what their "thing" will be!

We knew we would have a large family, and we also knew that Dave was going to be a seminary teacher.

Somehow we knew there had to be a way to take care of those most important needs on a limited budget.

I teach about 30 music students for 2 reasons:
1) It's one of my missions in life (more for another day)
2) To make extra money so our paycheck will stretch

Most of the money I make from teaching pays for those extra things our kids are involved in....the clogging, gymnastics, etc. really costs very little.

It's the music lessons that are really expensive. When you send your child to a master teacher you're looking at $50 or more per lesson! But the way I look at it.....we're paying now for college because I promise you my kids will have music and scholastic scholarships!

What I'm really trying to say here is that we all choose how we're going to spend our money.

*Some people feel that traveling is really important and spend a lot of their money on big trips every year. *Some people spend a lot of their time involved in sports. *Some people choose entertainment - they go out to dinner a lot and see a lot of movies. *Some people feel that it's important for them to have a lot of convenience foods instead of cooking from scratch. *Some people have all the latest technology - fancy phones and really nice computers

Everyone's list is different and noone has the right or wrong way.

I would really like to take my kids to Disney World. That's a very frivolous want, but I'm saving a little every month and someday..........as long as it doesnt take away from our first 3 goals!

People may think I'm crazy or just poor when I don't buy pop tarts........

I guess you just have to sacrifice a little to have some of the finer things in life!

Unless you can afford all of it - and if you can.....I'm very jealous!!!

good things:

reading the Sermon on the Mount in scripture study today

hugs from my kids before they go to school

happy baby when she wakes up in the morning


Heidi said...

I never realized pop tarts were such a hot commodity for the school girls.... Rebecca tries to bring homemade things in her sack lunch to school that she thinks her friends would be willing to trade with her so she can have their pop tarts!
That's awesome that you only spend $350 a month. When I think about you it inspires me to pull out my wheat grinder a little more often :)

Bingham Family said...

I am with you on the baking from scratch... I'm just not as GOOD a cook as you are (yet). :) I think your goals are so good and I have no doubt that your children will continue to amaze us all. Your food buget is incredible for your family size. Sheesh, and I thought I was doind good with 300 for a family of six. Ang, you simply are an inspration in so many aspects of your life!!! Pst... if you're looking for a vacation you all could come visit us. Hee hee.

disillusioned said...

Although I agree with you---and my parents had even tighter budgets than what you talked about at times--I was taught a lesson by my mother many moons ago. She splurged once--and bought us each a candy bar. I don't remember the day. My father also splurged at times, and bought us a popcorn at the gas station. Like, my mom would save and buy us 1 box of sugar cereal (in an actual box--not in a bag which was cheaper) for Easter morning. It's like in the movie Pursuit of Happyness---when the dad "splurges" with the few pennies he had--to buy his son a candy bar--and let him be a kid for a few minutes. It's a beautiful lesson as well. Brought us some joy amidst the worries of budget and money we as children always had. Anyway--again--just my 2 cents (maybe you'll have to suggest to your daughter that she ask for pop tarts for her next birthday or something...)

Mary P.

Ang said...

Mary - we do splurge. I let me kids choose a candy bar for getting their Saturday chores done, or we get special treats for family night. Corina has never asked for pop tarts so I never even knew she liked them. And I wouldn't have a problem buying them for special occasions. She has her own money now so if it's really that important she can go ahead and get them but I think she knows it's not good for her and not worth the money!

Marley Family said...

We dont have as many people in our house as you do, but we have to strech our dollars too. Your whole post reminded me so much of my own life. There are many things we would like to buy but cant afford. It drives me crazy when people waste there money on silly things. Really I dont know how poeple do it. Lane is a good provider we dont go on trips or buy clothes or shoes or toys or anything fancy. Yet we just scrape by. By the way I couldent think of a worse breakfast then a nasty pop tart! Awesome post!

Erin said...

Great post Angela! I try hard to budget and do what is important to us too. I make my kids earn some things they really want too. I think you're an awesome mom!

Melissa said...

My favorite part of your post is the line "I choose not to afford it". Such a great example of no matter our circumstances everything is a choice. You continue to be amazing.

disillusioned said...


I'm sorry if my comments came off wrong. I guess I just "went" to a different place than others while reading your post.

See, my mom chooses to afford pop tarts--so she can eat them early in the morning while driving to see her mother who has alzheimer's the 1 time a month she can visit her mom. She can only visit once a month cause she's on permanent chemo for terminal breast cancer.

I've worked with dozens of families who have children with autism or other disabilities or "issues". They choose to afford pop tarts cause it's one of the things they can actually get their child to eat. It may not be perfectly "nutritious"--but the child will eat it.

I choose to afford cable--even though people could question that. I choose to afford it not cause I love everything that's on TV, but cause I live alone, and having TV on helps so I don't go nuts with the silence. I even choose to afford $5.00 extra dollars a month so I can get BYU TV. Not having to battle the Internet connection any more in order to watch cable is worth the extra $5.00.

I guess I just "went" to a different place. I went to the teacher who afforded granola bars every week, so one of her students who came hungry had something to eat in the morning. I "went" to the teenage girl I was who only had 3 pairs of actual pants until she was in college.

I know you're a great mom, with awesome kids--and I totally agree with what you said. I just "went" to a different place when reading your entry.

Anyway--again--didn't mean to sound judgmental or anything. I guess I've just seen that often people choose to afford things sometimes, although their choices may be more limited than we know. Or their choice may be for reasons we may not understand. I never thought of looking at someone eating a pop tart and ever thinking that they chose to eat it instead of something better. I only assumed they had their "reasons". Heck, I like pop tarts. I just "went" somewhere different while reading.

Mary P.

Ang said...

Mary - Hey, I totally understand what you're saying. No problem....I wasn't bothered by your comment. I just wanted to make sure I specificied that we definitely splurge on things. I do think it's important that kids don't feel deprived. It's hard raising kids on a tight budget! That's why I said it's a completely frivolous want to go to Disney World. It's probably a pipe dream, but.....maybe!!!

Meikjn said...

pop tarts are gross. I get called cheap sometimes, but it is worth it. and who started this parents pay for college garbage anyway?