Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Money and Fears

So in a couple weeks we are going to our annual family reunion out of state.  Since my early childhood I remember these reunions.  They were always magical trips growing up, and it was always something we looked forward to all year long.  At our reunions, there are camping, good fun and great family.  Activities include water games, cards, geocaching, candy cannon, fish pond, and other various fun activities for the kids.  It is an all weekend long event. 

Now that I am older, I must admit that the whole magic of the reunion has kind of washed off a bit.  {I mean, yes I love to see my distant family members, as the reunion is from my Great-Great Grandparents on down.  It is a pretty big thing.  Lots of people there.  Imagine a Mormon family from all those generations.  Get the picture? ;)  }  It can get kind of boring sitting there at times.  Not to mention it is an entire weekend. 

We typically go up for just one day instead of the whole weekend, but since my kids have never gone, I figured we should go the entire weekend so they can say they have been camping.  Not only that, but I am a bit burnt out right now.  I need a break. 

My dad usually drives and we just ride with him.  I would usually pitch in for gas or dinner or whatever we decided to do. However, this year he won't be going.  He has a new job and can't get time off work.  Not to mention it is pretty warm up there and he will want to enjoy his after-work hours to relax in the air conditioned house, as he works outside. 

That brings me to the thought of money.  I went to a rental car agency, I won't name names of companies, but it was outrageous!  They wanted about $400.00 including the rental and insurance.  We're talking just your typical midsize car, nothing fancy at all. To someone else, that might not sound too bad, but to me THAT IS A LOT!Not to mention, I would be paying for gas to fill up that car to make the trip. I don't know how  much gas that will take us to get there and back but I know it is about a 3 hour drive.  Not to mention I will need to drive to a few places up there on the mountain to take the kids to.  With gas at about $3.50 a gallon, which I am seeing they are slowly going down in price, but still that is a lot of money.

So I got to thinking about what I should do.  Should I just scratch out the whole trip?  Save the time and money and not bother?  Should I just try finding someone else going up and split the gas?  Decisions, decisions.

I will openly admit that I am most likely going to be losing my job this next month.  The person who had this position before me moved out of state.  I was informed by someone else here at the company that she is coming back because she didn't like where she moved, in addition to overhearing the boss say it himself.  I will admit that I started freaking out at first wondering what I was going to do.  In the end, I am just going to roll with the punches and let everything happen how they are going to happen.  As a single mom, my income is the only income in our home, as I have mentioned many times before.  There isn't anything I can do to change her coming back. 

However, I could stay home and save a bit of money toward our needs in the next few months by not going on the trip.  It would save a good chunk of change.  But I decided we should go. 

Honestly, life isn't about money.  Life is about the memories we make. Yes, I am extremely frugal in order to provide for my family as a single mom, but you never know when someone is going to pass away.  If any of you remember, my cousin passed away last year unexpectedly.  It saddens me to think how I don't really spend a whole lot of time with my extended family.  Growing up we were all so close.  Even though the reunion has distant relatives as well, I think we shouldn't miss out on the memories.  I know that my kids have so much fun going to these events, as I did when I was their ages.  So I decided it was time to get my mind spinning and working. 

Well, in order to go on the trip, I will have to drive up there.  My car isn't terribly old or anything, it has just been having some issues lately.  I took it into a shop and had them check it out and was informed we needed the transmission flushed.  I just had my oil changed as well.  That set me back about $150.00.  I don't know what gas will run me, but we will cross that when it comes.  I purchased new tires back in December due to my tires being quite old and extremely worn, so that shouldn't be an issue.  Let's just hope the car makes it there and back  ;)

I decided for food the evening we go up there, we can have canned Spaghetti-O's and canned peaches, as that is easy and won't be needed to heat up really.  We already have these items in the cupboard.  For drinks we will be using up the remaining water bottles and sodas from my daughter's birthday party recently.  Again, they are already on hand.  The reunion provides breakfast Saturday morning and dinner that day as well.  So I will need to come up with something for our lunch.  It isn't like we have a fire to heat anything up at the site.  I am thinking of bringing peanut butter, jelly and bread and some chips.  We already have the peanut butter and jelly at home.  Come to think of it, we also have unopened bags of chips remaining from my daughter's party as well.  So if I decide to do that, we will just need a loaf of bread, which I would pick up on the way up the mountain I think. 

I don't have a tent, so I will have to pick up one.  I don't know of anyone who is willing to loan their tent to me for the weekend.  I also would like to have one for future use.  I have been pricing things out at our local stores.  Right now they have tents on sale.  I found one at WalMart for a pretty good price.  It sleeps 6 people.  But it will have plenty of room for us.  It is about $60 plus tax.  Not what I was thinking I would need to spend right at this time in my life, but we will be using it in the future as well.  We already have some sleeping bags, so we won't have to worry about those. 

Although this really isn't a necessity, I love Golden Corral restaurant.  We don't have one here.  I don't eat out very often, but I want to eat at Golden Corral.  I have always loved that place.  It is sooooo yummy!  I know I could really save myself the time and money going there, but for me it would be great to go there. Do I dare take the kids and myself there and eat?  Spending all that money that I could use toward other areas in our lives?  Hmmmm.....  decisions, decisions. 

Have you ever eaten there?  The Golden Corral has great food.  If you haven't eaten there and you have one near you, I HIGHLY suggest eating there.  Their endless buffet is around $10.00.  Much cheaper than a lot of other places you could choose to eat.   Their yeast rolls seriously feel like they melt in your mouth.  Such delicious food!  :)  Can you tell I am really leaning toward just eating there anyways?

Back to the trip and reunion though- In addition to the expenses I mentioned above,  there is the reunion itself.  At the reunion we do have auctions, thrift store like store, raffle tickets and other items that helps provide for the means to hold the reunion for the upcoming year.  And those aren't always cheap.  The items at the auction can get pretty pricey.  I am not one to spend lavishly when I don't have the means obviously.  I just hope they can generate money off their items without me feeling guilted into buying items, because let's be upfront- if they don't make enough for the expenses, the reunions won't be held.

So now, I am left with decisions to make in my life.  I am trying not to let the fear of job loss ruin this trip for me.  I really want my kids to experience the fun and joy of camping and going on this trip.  What would you do if you were in my shoes?

1 comment:

  1. I would go!!! You are SO right about memories being more important than saving a few bucks! You definitely have your head on straight girl :) And I say enjoy your Golden Corral meal! You deserve to kick back a little and enjoy some things in life. Your kids will cherish these memories!!