I scored free tickets to a Minions premiere for Laila&me.
The question: What about snacks?
I pledged to go on July spending freeze, which for me, meant grinding to a halt, to the best of my ability, spending cash on non-essentials.
That’s because I messed up June. I big time messed up June.
I went kind of coo coo after months of buckling down to afford (hahahahahaha barely) a nanny for Eli, my little buddy with CF.
In July, it was time to re-set.
And, oh yes, I regretted making this #julyfreeze pledge straight away.
Right- the movie – so I find a $5 bill amid the crushed cheerios in my minivan.
Found money doesn’t count, right? I took it to the shop ‘n save gas station down the way and picked out some Skittles and the like.
I had to put half of the candy back because I had pledged to use only $5.
This spending freeze sucks.
I go home and air pop popcorn, put it in a gallon bag and stash it in my purse, along with the Skittles and a bottle of water and a can of Diet Coke from our pantry.
Then I let Laila in on our plan.
“Tell no one,” I say. “Sneaky style.”
“OK Mommy. Yeah, OK.”
She loves a good scheme.
We get to the theater, park 1.548497 light years away and power walk inside.
I reach for the tickets. Tickets. The tickets. The tickets are not in my purse.
This is a premiere, meaning an outside company rents out the theater. You have to line up early and they over-book the theater on purpose. That way, all of the seats are filled. There’s not a guarantee, though, that everyone gets in.
What bollox for the little children whose parents are flakes.
I start to sweat. I crouch and rifle through crushed cheerios in my purse.
The popcorn! It’s been revealed with my rifling!
Laila uses her body to cover our contraband (I mean, I didn’t even have to prompt her. What a good little delinquent!) and tries to look casual.
She loves a good scheme.
We are running through the lobby, the mall, the parking lot.
To the minivan!
They are sitting on the console.
Tickets in hand, we dash back and get in the growing line.
We get in (!) and take our seats.
We are there sooo early we have to wait for like an hour.
I unzip my purse.
The woman next to me puts down her book and looks at us kinda funny.
“Popcorn, mommy. Mmmm,” says Laila.
Finally, the lights dim. The movie begins.
I crack open my Diet Coke.
That noise – Ktssssss. It rings through the theater, at least in my head.
A security guard comes out of nowhere and stands at the end of our aisle.
He is actually staring at me.
No, he is glaring at me. I can feel it through the darkness.
I slip the Diet Coke down by my hip. It spills. I adjust.
He’s still staring. I am sitting in a puddle of Diet Coke.
That glare. What the….
What are ya gonna do, tase me?
Facist I mutter.
“HAHAHAHA this movie’s so funny Laila!”
The security guard is still staring.
You gotta be kidding me.
He relents, but not before a gruff & loud “TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONES.”
But we got away with it, Laila and me. Oh yes, we were victorious.
Near-movie security confrontations aside, the July freeze went well over all.
My main strategy was to avoid all of the places I like to buy pretty things.
I also grew much more aware of my impulses. For a moment, I even tracked them on Twitter, like so:
— Juliana Keeping (@julianakeeping) July 23, 2015
— thisiseli (@hithisiseli) July 18, 2015
My impulses spanned coffees and gardening gloves to stuff like a last-minute trip to a Texas long-form journalist conference and a rescue puppy.
But, Mark, I want something new to loooooove.
I was ready to say %^&# it, fire up a credit card and head to Texas even though I was in the midst of a spending freeze I’d blathered on about in public.
Do we have time/space/cash for a sweet little puppy?
It was a good month to tell myself “No.”
It didn’t take long to realize that a full-on freeze would mean sacrificing my social calendar. Listen, it’s not that bustling as it is, so it’s not like I’m going to turn into a hermit and risk hurting my few great relationships with friends who have become the closest thing I have to family in Oklahoma.
It was a good month to tell myself “No.” As in “No, it’s not OK to show up at a soiree without a bottle of wine.”
Another initiative we have rebooted is using cash at the grocer and for weekly spending money.
I found that I have to take the cash into the store without my debit card or I will blatantly ignore my own budget.
The #julyfreeze was, overall, a great exercise. I’m glad I did it.
In wonderful news, we found much a less-expensive option for day care for Eli that is making our lives much less stressful and complicated, at least for now.
Here’s to a new school year, yet another chance to give it the ‘ol college try.
Did any of you do the July freeze? Have you gone on a spending freeze before? How did it go (or not go)? Leave a comment, send a note!
I like to write about cash money. I like to write at the intersection of money and emotion. Follow me top right via e-mail, on Twitter and Facebook as I figure it all out. In a world of Facebook braggarts and Insta perfection, I write about messing up.