Why I’m Not Throwing My Two-Year Old a Party

My little bundle of joy is turning two in June. That went fast! With the approach of her birthday, I have been getting asked quite a few times what the theme of her birthday party is. Of course, I said dogs because that is her favorite animal right now.

I spent many hours dreaming up an adorable dog party and even looked up amazing ideas on Pinterest. The things people come up with amaze me! There were toddler dog parties that dog biscuit shaped cookies, wiener dog shaped cup cakes, treats out of dog bowls, and headbands with felt dog ears on them. That may not sound cute to you, but trust me it was. I imagined doing all of this party prep and planning for my sweet little one, and then reality came crashing down.

Here’s the truth. She is going to be two. She would love it if she were surrounded by people and dog things, but she would also love it if we went to McDonalds and got an ice cream cone. Here is what I realized:

  1. Throwing a Party Can Be Pricey: Even when I threw a simple BBQ for her first birthday, I spent about $130 in just food and cheap activities to keep the kid cousins entertained. We are talking hot dogs and hamburgers here, not steaks or anything fancy, so I am not sure why I spent so much money. If I were to go through with the adorable dog themed party, I know I would spend over $200-300.
  2. Who Am I Really Throwing the Party For? It can be so easy to get swept up in the social media/Pinterest movement, wanting to post pictures of perfect parties and creative ideas. If I were to really celebrate Ellie’s second birthday how she would want, it would probably involve a trip to the aquarium, yummy ice cream, and a lot of playtime with mom and dad. The sad thing about these parties is that she will not remember them at this age, so basically I would be throwing this party for myself – which leads me to point three…
  3. Parties Can Be Time Consuming and Stressful: Thinking about the hours of perfecting the house before and after the party is a little overwhelming. I already have troubles trying to keep the house clean with a busy toddler, I don’t need a house full of guests to add more stress. Having nine kid cousins running through my home is also overwhelming. Some people love everything that comes along with throwing parties, but I have to accept that I am not one of them, even when Pinterest mocks me. I would rather spend the time loving my daughter.

So what is the point of all of this? I am not throwing my two year old a birthday party to save myself money, stress, and time. Parties are not a necessity in our children’s lives, but love is. I plan to make Ellie’s day a very special day, but you are not going to see it on Pinterest.

If you are the type of person that loves to throw these types of parties, then go for it. You have been blessed with that gift. For the rest of us moms, save your money and your anxiety and don’t worry that you didn’t throw your child the party of the year.

New Addition to the Beating Broke Family

Things have been a bit hectic around here over the last week or two. We had a baby!  Surprise.  I seriously realized after she was born that I hadn’t even mentioned the fact that we were expecting on here.  I guess when it’s the third child, the excitement level and having to tell the whole world aren’t as high.  :(  So, sorry about that.

We’re Pregnant!

Better late than never, right?  Never mind that it’s close to 11 months later.  Our little baby is now a little over a week old.  Insert cute picture of infant here:

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If there’s one thing that we’ve noticed with the third child is that it’s so much different than the first two.  With the first one, we did the typical new parent thing and bought every little gadget and gizmo that all the ads tell you that you need to have.  We had so many clothes, diapers, and formula that we could have opened up our own infant store.  With the second one, we already had a bunch of the gadgets and furniture, so it was cheaper.  Plus, we’d already done this once, and knew what we thought we needed.  We only bought the stuff that we thought we needed.

The third child is a totally different thing.  We’ve done this a couple times, but the last one was 5 years ago.  We’d thrown out most of the furniture, car seats, and most of the toys.  We’d also given away most of the other stuff we had.  But, instead of going out and immediately re-buying all that stuff again, we did it the cheap way.  Some friends of ours recently had a child, so we have borrowed a lot of the gadgets.  Car seats, swings, etc all are  from them.  Another friend of ours recently had a baby that had conveniently just grown out of her newborn clothes.  We had an instant closet full of clothes for our baby. There are some other things that we had to go out and buy, but our costs for new things has been pretty minimal.

Of course, there’s no level of borrowing or purchasing that will get us full nights sleep right now. :)

Thinking back, we were early to the baby-making game among our friends.  Borrowing stuff, and receiving hand-me-downs wasn’t really possible with the first two.  I’m glad it is possible here.  I highly encourage you to find as much stuff to borrow if you’ve got friends that have kids.  And it helps if you’ve got friends that have recently had babies too.  Especially when they’re ready to get rid of the boxes of clothes that they’ve gathered.

How do you help make baby cheaper?

 

 

Frugal Estate Planning

One of the joys of getting married and having kids is that you then must face your own demise.  The poet Donald Hall wrote about this in his poem, “My Son, My Executioner” stating, as a man and his wife look down on their newborn son, “We twenty two and twenty five/who seemed to live forever/observe enduring life in you/and start to die together.”

Cheery, thought, eh?

Estate Planning Isn’t for the Faint of Heart

Yet, if you have children, you must plan for their future should you die while they’re still young.  I know, no one wants to do this.  In fact, 4.5 years ago when I was pregnant with my last child, I sat down to do a will and trust kit that I got online.  I only got about three questions in, before, in my wild hormonal state, I broke down crying when I started facing the questions about when I would want the cord pulled.

It took me another four years to feel ready to have our will written.

I know.  Irresponsible.  Yet, it took me that long to accept that yes, I will die at some point, and yes, I need to plan for it now, while I’m still healthy and (relatively) young.

It Takes a Strong Wallet, Too

However, facing my own mortality was only part of the problem.  Once I was ready to have a will written, I had to face the fact that it was unbelievably expensive!

We live in the suburbs of a large city, so I don’t know if that’s the problem, but the first lawyer we contacted quoted us $2,500 to set up our will.  When I told him that we are living on a smallish income and paying down student loan debt, he generously agreed to put us on a payment plan without charging interest.  While I appreciate the generosity, we still couldn’t afford $2,500, even on a payment plan!

Next, I contacted a lawyer from my small hometown, but he still was expensive, quoting $1,200 to $1,500.  As Dave Ramsey would say, “It’s not in the budget.”

A Frugal Estate Planning Option

Frugal Estate PlanningIn the end, we made a compromise.  My husband and I both knew we needed a will in place, but we didn’t have the kind of money lawyers were asking for.  Instead, we turned to LegalZoom.

For less than $250 total, my husband and I each had our wills drawn up.  We each answered a few simple questions online, and each will took less than 30 minutes to create.  Then we paid and waited for the lawyers at LegalZoom to look over the document.

Less than a week later, the wills came through the mail and were in our hands.

When we don’t have so much debt and have a larger income, we plan to get a will and trust set up in person with a lawyer.  However, for now, on our budget, LegalZoom works perfectly.  We have a will in place should anything happen.

Have you used LegalZoom for a will?  Would you consider it?  Does $1,200 to $2,500 for a will created by a lawyer seem outrageous or normal to you?