When I look back on my childhood, some of the memories I cherish the most are the times my parents made an extra effort to make certain experiences special. It’s those kinds of memories that I want my kids to be able to look back on and smile.
I’m not talking about expensive trips to the beach, or a surprise day trip to an amusement park, although both of those sound fun too. I’m talking about the inexpensive things that occur in day-to-day life. Specifically, what I like to call Pizel Family Traditions.
These traditions are inexpensive outings and events we do each week that give us all a little something to look forward to, without blowing our budgets.
1. Doughnut Breakfast
During the school week we’re very hurried in the morning, but I try to whip up something substantial for breakfast. Sundays, however, is doughnut day.
Always the first one awake, I head to the nearest convenience store to pick up doughnuts for just a couple of bucks. When the kids get up, they come down stairs looking for the round of breakfast treats. I love watching their eyes light up as they try to decide whether they want the chocolate frosted one, or the one with sprinkles.
These delicious treats only cost a few dollars, but I look forward to seeing their bright eyes and morning faces instantly cheer up each Sunday morning.
2. Subway Saturday
To make up for our Sunday doughnut breakfast, I either go to the local health club for an extended workout, or do a longer run on a bike trail on Saturdays. Either way, on my way home I drive by Subway and pick up sandwiches.
My entire family loves Subway sandwiches, and having it for lunch is something we all look forward to each week. It’s simple, convenient, and costs less than $20 for the four of us. (We don’t buy the combos since we have chips and soda at home.)
My daughter has gotten so into the tradition that I commonly get a text message from her asking when I’ll be bringing delicious Subway home for lunch.
3. Post Dance Class Shake
My daughter and I love the vanilla shakes from our local Creamery. One day on our way to dance class we had an argument regarding when she should do her homework. I became a little angrier than I needed to, and while she was at class I went and got her a shake. I called it an “I’m sorry shake”.
Ever since that night, we make it a point to stop and get an ice cream treat on our way home from class.
Turn Small Gestures Into Memories
These are just some of the inexpensive traditions we currently have in our house. We’ve had others over the course of our kids’ lives that have come and gone.
Sometimes I forget about them, but I’ll be reminded of a time past when one of my kids will ask, “Dad, remember when……?” and one of my favorite accomplishments is knowing they’ll grow up making memories while saving money.
What inexpensive traditions does your family have? How are you making memories that will last a lifetime without spending a lot of money?