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Why I'm a Bad Mom - Cheap

I love it when I can entertain the kid and not spend a lot of money. I'm not a bargain shopper, but I love a good deal. Because of that, my kid goes to pretty much every civic festival in the region because they have free music and are a great way to spend some time outside. Unfortunately, there are not as many such festivals in our area in the summer because it is too freaking hot! Time to get creative.

Saturday I wanted out of the house, and he needed to burn some energy outside, so we headed to the beach. We are fortunate enough to live 30 minutes away from a few beaches on the gulf, but a lake or river would have been just as good for us. I packed my beach grotto ($20 from Aldi), a cooler of snacks (a couple juice pouches for him, some sparkling water for me, banana chips, and snack mix), and his beach toys (Dollar Tree assortment) and away we went. Pro tip: take a jug of water to rinse off with before you get back in the car to minimize sand. We walked and caught hermit crabs, then I laid down in the shade while he played in the sand. We spent a great morning there, and took wonderful naps that afternoon.

Sunday I wanted further away from the house, so we went on a mini road trip, this is where I got a little less cheap. I love memberships! When the little guy was born, I got a membership to our local zoo. It wasn't very expensive since it was just to cover my husband and me, but we more than got our money's worth out of it. Once the little guy was sitting up and paying attention to things around him, we were there about every other week. Sometimes it was for an hour, sometimes it was just for 15 minutes, it didn't matter because we just flashed our card and walked on in. About a year and a half ago our local children's museum reopened and I bought a membership there as well. It

is a great place to burn energy and play with different toys than what we have at home. We especially use it on weekends when the weather isn't conducive to playing outside. A year ago I made the best purchase ever in the membership collection, my son got a membership to the Texas Aquarium in Corpus Christi. This has been great in so many different ways. First, I got the membership in his name. The membership is for 3, but you only have to name one member. I had my son's name put on it, because that way either my husband or I can take him, but we could bring a friend along as the third. Second, this membership gets us half off admission to other zoos and aquariums all over the country, so far we have used it in Houston, Waco, and Knoxville.

It seems like a lot of money up front, but I get more than the dollar value out of these memberships because we go to the zee every other week, children's museum at least once a month, and we have already been to the aquarium twice this year, with plans for future visits. My price per visit number only includes one adult and one child, but often our family of three goes together and that makes the savings even more. Another suggestions is to ask friends and/or family members to contribute to experiences rather than stuff for holiday gifts. Lets face it, the kids often have enough toys as it is. I can guarantee my son remembers the animals he saw much better than what toys he was given for his birthday.

Here is the breakdown of how this is spending money smarter, not harder:

It seems like a lot of money up front, but I get more than the dollar value out of these memberships because we go to the zee every other week, children's museum at least once a month, and we have already been to the aquarium twice this year, with plans for future visits. My price per visit number only includes one adult and one child, but often our family of three goes together and that makes the savings even more. Another suggestions is to ask friends and/or family members to contribute to experiences rather than stuff for holiday gifts. Lets face it, the kids often have enough toys as it is. I can guarantee my son remembers the animals he saw much better than what toys he was given for his birthday.

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