Kids on the Cheap

My husband is in charge of the entertainment division in our home. That is not to say he doesn’t oversee a host of other administrative facets, but the one area where I’m relinquishing responsibility without the whine of “Are you REALLY doing it that way?” is leisure. Mostly because I don’t know what that is. #recoveringTypeA

And what Scott is MOST excellent at doing is tracking down all the free stuff there is to do. We live in NYC. We’re lucky. Just walking around doing errands makes you audience to a freake show. But it’s not always G-rated.

So this Sunday, when I brought up going to Legoland in Westchester, about a half-hour drive from us, he came up with a more frugal, and fun, option. The Children’s Literature exhibit at the NY Public Library. Not only could the kids read the same books they had at home, but in a much grander setting, but we got to learn about the evolution of children’s literature. Why, in the 1960s, there was this movement away from fairy tales and towards stories that depicted realism. Also, that Maurice Sendak couldn’t draw horses.

photo (46)

He went and asked Alice.

photo (45)

I am surprised they didn’t ask what the cords attached to the phones were.

Then it was off to Toys R Us, which I would generally balk at, but on a Sunday evening, it wasn’t bad and we allowed the kids to browse so they could get ideas for their holiday wishlists. We purchased nothing. But I think there will be Barbie guitars and a 3-foot Darth Vader under the menorah/tree this year.

When will they get Ken to look like he's not waiting to get punched?

When will they get Ken to look like he’s not waiting to get punched?

Did we eat in midtown? At 5:30? Like tourists? You betcha! Because at HB Burger, the mini burgers and calamari are a better deal for 2 children than the kids’ meals.

And dessert was allowed. Not free, but at only $1.75, they were each treated to the world’s smallest hot fudge sundae.

That hit the spot. And my shirt.

That hit the spot. And my shirt.

A full afternoon, enriched with literature, non-participatory consumerism and a cherry on top. Mostly free.

Though let me caution you that this was not an outing free of stress. There were the following incidents:
refusal to leave the library

demand to be carried

straightfaced lying to the waiter: “My mom lets me have soda so I’ll have one please.”

peeing all over a parent

How do you manage YOUR family’s entertainment budget?photo (43)


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2 responses to “Kids on the Cheap

  1. we try to avoid the kids menu when we can. sometimes it’s easy and cheap and frees us up to just order when we want. But more often it’s overpriced ($7 for macaroni with butter?) and food is often lower quality than the restaurant’s “real” food. I look for sides and appetizers my child might eat, which might not save $$ but often provides more interesting and nutrutious options than the kids menu. Or we order a few things to share among all of us and let her graze. I do love restaurants that put real food — kid-friendly versions of their adult food– on their kids menu.

    • Agreed Eileen! Sometimes kids’ meals make sense, like at chain restaurants where the adventure factor is low. But most of the time we approach meals out with the kids like tapas!

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