Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Frugal Files: Hooray for a Frugal Homecoming!!

Hey frugal folks!!

Thanks for joining me in The Frugal Files!! For many parents of pre-teens and teenagers, it’s Homecoming season!! You know what that means…football games, food, parades and partie are plentiful during this time!! It’s lots of fun for both the kids and their families!!

Just sending a word especially to the freshman parents, “Homecoming is not that big of a deal.” Let me explain. It’s a great time of fun for the students, especially when they are participating for the first time, but the focus should be on just that; everyone having fun. No need to tap out financial resources for one of Fall’s favorite traditions. It’s all about fun and it can be frugal!!

First, the football games. I’ve already addressed this topic in a previous blog: High School, Not High Priced. My best advice is joining the PTA and volunteering to work the concession stand. It’s usually in a spot where you can see the game, cheer for your team, and drink hot chocolate for free!! You “pay your way” by putting in the time. In most cases, your other children can do it too.

Organize your own tailgate parties with your kids’ friends or classmates and their families. If everyone is sharing the load of bringing snacks and blankets, it will be a great time for all involved. It’s a great way to get to know other parents that share many of the same burdens (and triumphs) as you do. There’s something very unique about the experience of having teenagers. As many children grow independent of their parents, this is a time to spend with them that all can enjoy. It’s family time, but also good, clean fun with their friends, which makes for awesome memories for their scrapbooks and yearbooks.

If you have a fall/winter sport athlete or band member, the other families who have these students become your extended family, especially during the active season. You’ll share the joy of attending the events, but also the fundraising aspect of it. I encourage you to work just as hard as your student does on those fundraisers. The time you spend helping them raise money, the less you’ll spend out of pocket for these activities. They help offset the costs of uniforms, instruments, tools and trips for the team.

Also, organize a weekly snack and dinner schedule and divide it among all team members. My daughter’s team did this and it works well because of all the weeks you might need to provide a snack or dinner before a game, your family will only be responsible for one, maybe two, but the schedule benefits ALL of the team members. It’s a win-win for all and a financial lifesaver!!

Now, the parties or dances. As a parent who has already experienced this, I promise…It’s not a big deal!! Homecoming is not nearly as important than say, Prom. Save your money for the big deals and use what you have for the small ones. From experience, my daughter’s homecoming dress was always a recycled wear; a dress she already had. I can’t really remember all the years (though I know I didn’t buy anything), but her sophomore year, she wore a dress she had from Jr. high. Her senior year, she wore a hostess dress from her Sweet Sixteen party. She had three outfits for that event and this one was the one she simply greeted her guests in. It was cute, comfortable and most importantly….already in her closet.

For your son’s, anything he’d wear to church is absolutely fine for Homecoming. A nice dress shirt with a tie and sweater vest and some slacks will do. If he likes suits, let him wear his favorite one, but renting one, should be out of the question. This time of year is more about fun than fancy, so save your dollars for the high school moments at will truly matter. If you do everything over the top for their freshman or sophomore years, what will they have to look forward to when they are seniors?

Lastly, there’s no need to spring for fancy dinners either. Have a home cooked meal and invite over your teen’s date to eat before they go. They will be satisfied and given the energy they need to boogie down at the dance. If they have a snack attack, they are covered because if they paid for tickets, then there’s going to be snacks and punch for them to eat while there. Side note: if you’re looking to chaperone, PTA is your answer there too. You can help provide and serve food or work the coat check (that was my job back then).

You see, there are so many ways to let your teen be a teen and have fun in a frugalicious way. As long as you’re focusing on the enjoyment of these events, they are not going to be concerned about how much it cost. Hope this helps all my Belles and families out there!! Have an awesome football season!!

Frugalicious Diva
Follow me on Twitter at @FrugaliciousDva

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