Spending on the Simple Joys

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My wife and I both work, so we simply don’t have much time in the weeknights to relax because we are preparing dinner, lunch for the following day, cleaning a little here and here etc. on the weekend, we’ll sometimes go out for breakfast. One of my favorite places to go is iHOP! It has a huge breakfast menu and is reasonably priced and since my son knows they have Chocolate Chocolate Chip pancakes (yes two “chocolates” because the batter is made out of chocolate it too), he won’t stop bugging us until we go.


The total bill was in the low $20s for 2 eggs, 3 orders of pancakes (including their fall pumpkin flavor), hash browns, Orange Juice, grilled cheese and fries including tip. It made us all happy because there is something there for everyone and is not crazy expensive like some spots in the city with their fancy bagels and bread, and butter.


You’ll find that spending on others will make you happier than spending on yourself. My son was eating his pancake all by himself, and he almost never eats anything by himself and often forgets to chew food because he hates eating. He was happy.


Simple and Fun Activities

So the point of all this is to find simple things that will bring you, your family, your friend’s joy. Examples of these include:

  • Going to get ice cream/frozen yogurt – estimated cost for a family of four – less than $20.
  • Visiting a state park, which offers many activities like hiking, boating, swimming, camping, and sports like basketball and volleyball nets. Per Valdosta State University – State Parks, the average fee for national park ranges from the few dollars to $30 per car). I know for the ones I’ve visited in Maryland it was around $5 for the entrance fee. And more and more people are seeing the value in national parks. Triple A’s survey says that “79 percent of Americans say they are as likely (42 percent) or more likely (37 percent) to visit a national park in the next 12 months” (National Parks).
  • Going to a free local park when the weather is nice or on fall days. Some parks have free concerts and other free entertainment for families. They usually have calendars online where you can check out what’s happening.
  • Going to a farm to pick fresh fruit and see the animals – there is one about 15 minutes from our home that charges $5 entry fee and you pet the animals feed them with the food they provide, go on hayrides, and get various types of butter and jellies they sell at their shop, which would probably be double at a grocery store.
  • Watching an outdoor movie (my next door town offers free outdoor movies by the lake every Friday evening in the summer). We’ve been a couple of times with our blanket, lawn chairs and packed picnic food (estimated cost for a family of four – $10-$15). It was a great evening of awesome weather!


Family Night At Home

A family night at home can definitely be fun if you plan it out and be creative! My wife and I like to get our son involved in helping to make dinner. We’ll tell him the ingredients to grab from the fridge. Then we’ll sit him down on the counter to help put together salads or stir some pasta or rice on the stove.


We’ve also made him responsible for setting up the table each night with a fork wrapped in a napkin. Other activities include board games (we highly recommend Sequence or if you have younger kids then Sequence for kids), and old family movie.


What are some of the simple joys you feel good to spend on? Please share with us below.