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When you can't afford an outing with friends?

Forum: 2011 Playroom


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  • 1 Post By Rachel
  • 1 Post By ~Rae~
  • 3 Post By Dixana
  • 2 Post By mom2more

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October 7th, 2012, 10:26 AM
joonzgurl's Avatar Proud mama of 2 girls
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Small Town, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 5,639
So. I have a friend and it's her little guys 1st birthday on Friday.

We (Avery and I, since DH is working) are invited to go to the Zoo for his birthday that day. The problem is, it's going to be really expensive.

The zoo is 1 hour drive away each way = $30 of fuel
Zoo admission for an adult = $21
Zoo parking = $5
Gift for child = $20-30ish

So like, that is $70-$80+.

It is really not in our entertainment/gift budget. We are a single income family and I am REALLY needing to tighten the purse strings.

I could take it out of our grocery budget, but then I run the risk of running out before the end of the month.

My friend kind of has a tendency to be grumpy and I am afraid to tell her I can't afford to go because she might get mad since she came to Avery's bday and bought her a gift. (but I wasn't asking her to drive to the city and pay for zoo admission and parking).

What would you do?

Proud mama to:

Avery Elizabeth (08/27/2011) & Dawsyn Brielle (10/29/2013)
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October 7th, 2012, 10:31 AM
Rachel's Avatar Just Rachel
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Location: Taneytown, MD
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I would try to go. Perhaps you can work something out to carpool with another family? I would cut the gift to perhaps $10-$15 instead, and try to find some zoo coupons, if possible.
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October 7th, 2012, 10:43 AM
joonzgurl's Avatar Proud mama of 2 girls
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Small Town, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 5,639
I never even thought of coupons!! I found one online for 15% off, not a ton but that will help.

Proud mama to:

Avery Elizabeth (08/27/2011) & Dawsyn Brielle (10/29/2013)
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October 7th, 2012, 11:16 AM
mccaroline's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: SW Ontario, Canada
Posts: 7,024
I've had this happen a few times since becoming a single income family. Sometimes we've been able to make it work and go, sometimes we just have to say to our friends that although we'd love to join them it isn't possible and we hope they have a great day. Unless it's a really close friend we generally don't tell them it's because of financial reasons, just that we are unable to make it to the event.

I hope you find something that works for you without streatching your budget to its limit.

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October 7th, 2012, 11:42 AM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 8,137
That's a toughie. We've been having tons of financial issues with DHs health stuff. So I know what you're saying. That is an expensive trip. We really don't spend more than $15 for a gift for friends' kids.

Does she live near where she could pick you and Avery up?

Sometimes when you don't have the money...you just don't.

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October 7th, 2012, 12:09 PM
irishblessing's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 15,605
That is a tough one. I would probably try to figure out a way to go, but if you can't afford it you just can't right? If I couldn't go I might mention that I was really sorry we couldn't make it but it's slightly out of our budget, then maybe still get her child a small gift and say something along the lines of still having a little something for him.

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October 7th, 2012, 12:35 PM
babi_lovin11's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I would try and go but I only spend about 10-15 bucks for a gift. Usually a outfit wal-mart has 2 peice sets for 10 bucks and 2-3 brooks from the dollar store they have great books actually!

I would ask her if you guys could get a ride with them and help with the gas or a ride with someone else.

But I know right now if I was in that situation (one income family as well) I could not afford to go at all, I don't have any money to spare for gas like that, I would send a gift and say im sorry and invite them over for lunch one day after the party.
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October 7th, 2012, 01:05 PM
~Rae~'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,531
If I couldn't afford to go, I would explain that to her & not go.
I would meet up with her the day before or after & bring the child a gift & spend time with her.
Parties should never be a hardship on anyone.

I had a cousin who decided on a destination wedding, & was upset because lots of people couldn't attend, including me. I was in college at the time & had no money.
I went to her bridal shower though, & even showed my support by seeing them off at the airport. She came around.
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October 7th, 2012, 01:16 PM
Dixana's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Middle of NOWHERE!
Posts: 4,352
Ive BTDT a few times since we've been down here. Most of our friends know the situation and I understand.
What I usually do is pick up a gift and either stop by their house to drop it off or arrange a playdate and give the gift to the child then.

It stinks but I've come to the conclusion that that is life sometimes. Thus far I haven't had anyone that didn't understand and honestly, if they didnt I would have to question what kind of friends they were anyway.

I do agree with the girls though, if you really want to go, can you carpool? Is there a group rate or anything like that for the zoo visit? And I never spend more than $20 for a birthday gift for a child under 10.

On a slightly related note, have you considered stockpiling gifts? I have a whole bag in the closet of puzzles, games, and small toys I've bought really cheap on clearance or with coupons or both. When a party comes up there's all sorts of things in there to pick from and I don't need to spend as much.
Who can pass up 50 cents for a puzzle and 2 board games for $7?

Thanks to the awesome Rachel for my siggy!

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October 7th, 2012, 03:29 PM
mom2more's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,692
I agree with others who said just tell her you can't make it and make plans to go to their house or them to come to yours on another day so you can give the child a gift.

If you can't afford it then don't feel bad about not going. Paying your bills and buying groceries is more important than a trip to the zoo. And if she is a friend she will understand. She may have come to Avery's party, but you didn't ask her to spend $70-80 to do so.
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October 7th, 2012, 04:32 PM
joonzgurl's Avatar Proud mama of 2 girls
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Small Town, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 5,639
I am so worried that she will think I am making excuses. I think I am going to try to see if I can go there on Wednesday or Thursday instead though and bring a gift rather than go to the zoo.

I just feel bad because she invited us for thanksgiving dinner, but we had a family thing to go to instead and she seemed kind of mad that we weren't going to come. I hope she doesn't get all cranky at me because I told her I could come. This was before I looked at our budget numbers so far this month. This kind of stuff stresses me out.

Proud mama to:

Avery Elizabeth (08/27/2011) & Dawsyn Brielle (10/29/2013)
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October 8th, 2012, 05:50 AM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8,598
I hope she understands.

I would just explain that the trip to the zoo isn't possible right now, but you'd love to have a play date. We don't spend more than 10-15 on a gift for kids. The trip does sound very expensive. For us, if we had done a trip like that, we would tell people up front no presents. The day together is gift enough.
Mom to M (6), K (4), and little rose (18 months)
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October 8th, 2012, 06:57 AM
MommytoaMiracle's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 10,571
Maybe you could tell her that you can make the zoo trip but can't afford a gift right now, if she's going to be that upset if you can't make it?

Or don't go to the zoo & just buy a gift...A true friend would totally understand if you just don't have it. It would be silly to put yourself in a financial bind to go to a birthday party.

I wouldn't stress over it...Do what you feel comfortable with, love. Your family comes first, parties second.
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October 9th, 2012, 10:23 AM
Happy Mommy
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Midwest
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I'd just bring a small gift. and go to enjoy the time. it's not about the gift any how (or shouldn't be)
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October 9th, 2012, 06:09 PM
Just_Marie's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 28,175
Pick your poison, a good friend shouldn't be mad at you either way. You can go, spend the $80 and risk running out of cash early this month, but with Halloween and Christmas coming up, is a one year old's bday party worth that stress? Or 2-call her tonight and say you cannot attend the zoo party but ask if you can drop off a small gift on Thursday. I say kudos to you for keeping such a tight budget, I really admire that esp if you're choosing to be a one income family-that is wicked awesome. Your priority is taking care of your family on both counts.

You're choosing between making wise financial decisions for your family, or attending a birthday party for a one year old where you're one of thirty invitations sent out and in reality nobody will likely notice if you two are there or not. Been to lots of bday parties in 39 years and thats the reality of it. Either choice is up to you, and if you're friend gets mad over turkey and the zoo, then she's not that close a friend.

Lucky mother to five!

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October 9th, 2012, 09:04 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 2,084
I'll be honest, it's kind of upsetting that she is asking her guests to spend so much money (that's a lot of money!!) and also expects you to bring gifts too. AND you're afraid of how she will react if you can't make it. Just my opinion but she seems kind of self centered to me. I say stick to your priorities and bring a gift over but skip the zoo. It isn't in your budget and she should understand that.

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