Target Flu Shots….the key to free fun


I spent some time chatting with my eldest about our Spending Fast experiment and thought I’d share his thoughts. I love hearing the ideas, understandings and assumptions of kids and figure it will be interesting to hear his thoughts at the beginning and end of the month.  After our little “interview”, I’ll add a few things that have come up for me this week.

What is a spending fast?   
You only use money on stuff that you are SUPPOSED to spend money on.
What are some examples of how that will look in real life?
Like when I buy something, you will say, “You can’t buy that.”
These are some things I can’t buy: No LEGOs, no clothes, no furniture (even if some of ours breaks), haircuts
I CAN buy food, our house and our car  (sidenote: we rent our house and lease our car. Guessing he figures we can pay those normal, monthly bills)
What do you think will be hard?
Not buying stuff feels hard because I really like new toys. I am a little sad.
What will be cool? What will you learn?
I don’t know. Nothing.
What are some things we could do that are free or don’t require buying anything for?
  • Haircuts at the new place we got a coupon for and gum from there
  • Coloring and art
  • Play in the sand box
  • Play on the playground and at the park
  • Bike riding
  • Scootering
  • Friends’ birthday parties
  • Library
  • Flu Shot at Target  (my personal favorite!)


How are you going to respond if you see something you want to buy and can’t? LEGOS? Ice Cream? French Fries? In and Out?
Take a picture and ask for it for Christmas?
Instead of saying, “Mommy can we PLEASE go?????” and crying, I will say, “Ok, we’ll do it another time.
How much money do you think we will save this month?
$100? or $1000?? A month IS a very very very long time, you know.
What will be the hardest thing for each family member to give up, in your opinion?

  • Mom? Make up
  • Dad? Phones and buying jackets and nice clothes. Dad is a NICE dresser.
  • Drew? Books and In and Out French Fries (luckily we can just make them….I like yours better anyway)


If we save money this month, what do you think we should use the money for?



It has been an interesting six days so far.  I don’t see any drastic effects yet, but subtly, the fast is requiring creativity.  Last week I packed a disposable cup and tea bag on a trip to Peets.  Hot water was free and I pilfered some sugar and soy milk.


We have had multiple trips to the Library which isn’t out of the ordinary, but I did pick up a creative book called Obsessive Consumption by Kate Bingaman-Burt.  Here’s the wonderful book description from Amazon:

Our daily lives are filled with consumption—$1.50 for a cup of coffee, $5.95 for a magazine, $17.99 for headphones, $1.79 for cough drops, $36.00 for a haircut. Whether bought out of necessity or indulgence, purchased alone or in a group, everything we buy has its own story to tell. We buy art supplies while feeling inspired, CDs while shopping with friends, and a new pair of jeans to give us a lift when we are feeling blue. Yet, these powerfully emotional experiences can be fleeting—quickly erased by the pull of the next “must-have” acquisition. In Obsessive Consumption, Portland-based artist Kate Bingaman-Burt holds up a mirror to her own obsession with shopping and acquisition. Faced with a mounting pile of postgraduation credit card debt, Bingaman-Burt concocted a unique artistic response to this all-too-common dilemma. She picked up a pen and began drawing her monthly credit card statements, painstakingly recreating every last ledger line and decimal point, vowing to continue serving her artistic penance until her debt was repaid. As a relief from this project—turning the idea of “retail therapy” on its ear—Bingaman-Burt began drawing one of her purchases from each day, losing herself in the items, patterns, simple lines, and typography.


We also picked up the latest Caldecott winner, announced just last week, This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen, while at the Library.  It was a wonderful story with themes about stealing and truth-telling—it hit home for eldest who went through a phase of “borrowing” last year!  And rather than buying new workout DVDs, I borrowed a rear-kicker Jillian Michaels CD from a friend.  Sadly, having it in my possession doesn’t mean I have actually USED it!


And as is typically the case, I never leave home, if I can help it, without snacks for the kids.  There is NOTHING like being out on errands or in a busy, public place with a thirsty or hungry toddler or preschooler (or spouse!).  In desperation, I have ended up buying $4 bottles of water and $3 packages of M and M’s to appease them and it just isn’t healthy, good for the pocketbook or wise.  Snack-Trap’s unite!!!


For the Superbowl I juiced over 12 lemons for making fun beverages.  Sadly I was so distracted by the 49ers’ torture, and FORGOT to serve the drinks!  Oh, well, free lemons from my friend’s tree meant POTENTIAL yummy refreshment.


No doubt there will be more updates to come, including tomorrow where I am going out to lunch for a friend’s birthday.  Luckily it is at Boudin Bakery and I can bring one of my coupons!  (reminder….yes, remember I’m the “breadwinner” of our family?!?  post here).  Also looking forward to sharing about a new venture being a contributor for a new blog called Practicing Families.  My friend Mihee shared about it today and it officially launches on Monday.  More details on that soon!

5 thoughts on “Target Flu Shots….the key to free fun

  1. I recently read a book (from the library) called “Not Buying It, My Year without Shopping”, by Judith Levine. I found it a great read. She went a year without buying anything but “necessities”. It really made me question going shopping just for the “shopping experience”. I’ve been trying to be more content with what I have (which is a lot), especially clothes.

    1. Melissa,
      I loved that book! Ironically, I bought it back in 2007….rather than using the library, but it was that book that encouraged me to start USING the library. My next project is PURGING clothes!! 🙂

  2. So interested in your experiment Christine. How long is your fast lasting? I like the idea of including the kids. Along with a few of my friends, we have committed to not buying any new clothes for one year. I’m hoping it will teach me WHY I buy new things when I already have a closet full. It’s also got me thinking about other ways to simplify, but I’m trying to be in this process intentionally- so that the lessons learned will outlive my one year of a clothing freeze. Good luck to you; enjoy the journey! xoxo

    1. Just a month initially, Sarah. We’ll see if we can extend it. The last thing I want to do is overspend to compensate in March! I think the clothing idea is fantastic. Maybe we will tack that on.

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