Katie Collins at Knox News reports that as gas and diesel prices increase, consumers say they’re rethinking what they buy, how they travel and where they go for vacations.
Instead of his family cancelling all of their plans, Gene Cobb of Rogersville found they can cut other types of spending while on vacation and still enjoy some time away.
“We planned a trip to Myrtle Beach and planned a budget, which we have never done before, because of the expenditure on fuel,” Cobb said. “We sat down and figured out not only what we need to spend on meals and entertainment everyday but also looked at cutting back on our room cost.”
Blogger David Oatney mentioned a few days ago that he and his wife would be skipping the season passes to Dollywood this year due to the toll gas prices are taking on their budget.
So will we.
We’ll make one trek to the amusement park because the hubby gets discounted tickets at work. And while the park has always been an inexpensive day-trip or something to do on a Saturday, given the increase in the cost of fuel, the trip isn’t as inexpensive as it once was.
So, we’re skipping it.
Of course, as a five-time season pass-holder and mother of two small children, who do not meet the “must be this tall to ride” requirement, I’m not too broken up about missing out on an action packed year of oh-so-thrilling Veggie Tales coasters and flying pig rides. And I honestly do not have loads of fun standing around holding someone’s shoes at the splash pad or sitting in a tree house in 100 degree weather while Ms. Diva plays with the same type of Legos we have at home.
Another major decision we’ve made is to skip the family cruise. Given the direction the economy has taken, it seems ridiculous to spend this amount of money on a vacation. I mean we’re fine right now – but eventually this “recession” is going to hit us – and hit us hard.
Since Nickelodeon just launched their own cruise ship, the kids aren’t happy about being land lubbers for the summer. There were complaints, tears and whining about the unfairness of it all.
I feel no sympathy for them whatsoever.
See, we could afford the Dollywood season passes and probably swing the cruise if we eliminated some extras. However, as we have gotten a bit more conscious about our spending habits – we’ve assessed how and why we do things and how this has influenced our children.
And the truth is, mentally, my children are “fat Americans.” They are plagued by a sense of entitlement, greed and privilege. They expect to be moving, having, doing, going, running from one activity or lesson to the next. They expect the big trip, the big gift, the big everything… It must be big… and I don’t know why I’m shocked by this. I did it. It’s my fault. But I am shocked nonetheless.
You know, growing up, my Momma and Daddy were poor as church mice. Back then, Dollywood was Silver Dollar City and we visited the park every other year – save one or two tight years. We never traveled abroad. Until I was in middle school, Maggie Valley was about the most exotic locale I’d visited.
In our house, there was no Disney Channel. There were cartoons on Saturday morning, and the rest of the time we watched whatever we picked up with a pair of rabbit ears. Eating at McDonalds was a special treat – and I understood where my food originated from – be it the ground, the pasture or the pen.
I was also perfectly capable of entertaining myself without video games, organized sports and season passes to an amusement park. Heaving huge sighs and mumbling about my boredom would have never occurred to me.
My husband grew up much the same way – worse I suppose since he swears he walked to school uphill both ways in shoes with worn out soles.
I think, in trying to provide for our children all of the opportunities and experiences we never had, we’ve gone overboard. Our children take things for granted to the point where Ms. Diva assumes everyone must have a passport by the time they start kindergarten. And she cannot wrap her mind around the fact that not every child in her class can afford the field trip… or school supplies for that matter.
You know, most children in this area will never step foot on an airplane or a cruise ship. They’ve never hung out in St. Maarten or played paper, rock scissors with the Jamaican taxi driver. They do not have jewelry bought in Mexico. I’ve always thought these experiences, particularly the travels, would benefit my children… but now I’m not so sure.
As a result, this summer, we’re doing things differently.
We’re not traveling. We’re eating out less. We’ve planted a small garden. We’re turning off lights and have reinstalled the clothesline (indoors.) Hey, I had to fight a chipmunk for my lingerie a few years back, and I’m not eager to repeat the whole sun-dried conserve-energy go to war with the wildlife over your panties experience.
We don’t buy everything As Seen on TV. We don’t buy much of anything unless we need it as we’re learning the difference between needs and wants, necessities and luxuries. We’re also figuring out how to entertain ourselves and find inexpensive or FREE things to do close to home.
We’re going fishing and spending time on the lake. We’ve hung out at the City Park and at Bay’s Mountain. This week we’re off to Laurel Run. And there’s always some type of event, program or entertainment happening locally.
We will still go on a vacation. However, the deal is – the kids have to help earn the vacation money. At this point, they’re determined to raise the megabucks necessary to set sail with Spongebob or Mickey and the gang. They’ve even invented some fantastical fundraising ideas.
They discussed selling produce from their garden. (Although I don’t think they will make $12,000 from four cantaloupes, a few cucumbers and a basket of cherry tomatoes – but it’s going to be fun watching them try.) They’ve also decided to host a yard sale, have a lemonade stand and charge double the taxes… or wait until a criminal robs a bank – and then rob the criminal. Since the criminal is a bad guy, according to the oldest, this doesn’t count as thievery but would be a “forseizure of evidence.”
(Have I mentioned that I’m almost certain one of my kids will grow up to become a politician?)
I think my children are learning more about the world this summer than they ever have trotting the globe. So, this dark economic cloud may actually have a small silver lining. It forced me to check myself and my parenting mistakes – just in time to give the kids a firsthand look at how hard you must work, how little you may make and how short a distance those earnings stretch…
yep, I think picking produce will help trim their American “mind-fat” in no time short.