We faced our first huge budget challenge this past weekend…the away hockey tournament weekend. Many hockey parents embark on such a weekend with great intentions and a cooler full of healthy snacks and drinks. It is, however, nearly impossible to get through a whole weekend away without at least one trip to some restaurant, fast food outlet or beer store (it is a hockey weekend after all). We helped the budget by packing a picnic lunch and lots of water, and I was further relieved to discover that the hotel included a complimentary continental breakfast. We knew we would be sharing a family meal with my cousin’s family close by on Saturday evening but I was conscious of the fact that depriving my daughter of all team events would result in her social shame that would take years from which to recover. So one dinner and two lunches later, I managed to meander back onto the 401 on Sunday with $34 less in my wallet. This sum served us up 3 microscopic pieces of pizza at Chuckie Cheese with soft drinks, 2 combo meals at McDonald’s and a coffee from Timmies (can you believe I threw that cup away without Rolling up the Rim????). I was further vexed by Saturday afternoon as our apples, bananas and carrots were gone, having been shared with a few team mates. What could I say? Hands off my apples??!!
Fruits, vegetables and dairy now account for 40% of the weekly budget having eliminated chips, store-bought cookies and ice cream. Dinners for the second week of Lent were still fairly generous thanks in part to the recent freezer inventory we conducted. I’m finding the budget challenging enough, but to actually try to put some money aside for a future restaurant meal out or an unexpected food expense appears almost impossible. I figure any other trimming has to come from meats or breads & cereals so I guess it’s time to stock up on lentils and haul out the bread machine. I pictured us swaggering into March Break with a surplus but we are $12.44 in the hole following the indulgent weekend in Oshawa.