The $20 Challenge — Day 1

The $20 Challenge — Day 1

If you don’t know what The $20 Challenge is, click here.

I’ll be back-logging a couple days here, because I actually started on Friday of last week. Which went well! We didn’t spend anything on Friday, so $20 rolled over to Saturday, which was lucky because there was a little hiccup.

Usually on Saturdays, I spend $60 at the farmer’s market and $20 at the coffee shop (for me, my two boys and my mom). On The $20 Challenge that would be four days’ worth of spending money, so I cut back to $40 at the market to start. That still made it difficult to catch up during the week, but it’s a hard tradition to let go of — I’ve been going to the market with my family every Saturday for 9 years. Next week I’m going to have to cut back to $20 unless we get some unexpected income.

The $20 at the coffee shop is also a standard part of our Saturday routine. (You could argue that the entire routine is a problem, but that feels really hard to admit straight out of the gate.) My hope this week will be to keep it to $10 at the coffee shop…or that it rains.

The hiccup came when I tried to take the kids to a local children’s museum. We drove more than 30 minutes, because I remembered hearing a friend say she’d taken her child there before, and I thought we had the kind of membership at our local museum that gets you into all of the other ones in the network for free — but it turns out we don’t. We drove all the way there and had to pay $28 for a one-room “museum” more suitable for crawlers and toddlers. I could have tried talking the kids into turning around and leaving, but it didn’t occur to me. So a couple lessons were learned:

  • THOROUGHLY research a new place for kids before you visit. It could have been three years ago when I heard about this place, which would have been more age appropriate at the time. They didn’t have many pictures on their website, but I could have checked it out on Yelp.
  • CALL AHEAD if there’s any question about entrance fees. Our local museum did not try to up-sell me what is apparently the Family Plus membership, which includes the entrance fees at other museums, so I just assumed they were all the same at the time.

So in total for two days, which should have only been $40, we spent $88, putting us at -$48 going into Day 3, Sunday — which I’ll cover tomorrow.

Questions for you: Have you ever had to (graciously) bow out of a family tradition because of your budget, or would you do anything to keep it alive? And, what do you do when you arrive somewhere and the costs are higher than you expected or you don’t feel you got what you paid for?

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