Fun on a Budget

A single parent’s $50 “holiday for a week.”

  • Joanne’s daughters as children. Joanne McNeal

When my daughters were in elementary school, I had a week’s holiday from work, but our budget allowed us only $50 to spend. I thought hard. What could we do for that small amount? We couldn’t stay in hotels, or drive very far – that was too expensive.

After much discussion with the girls, I saw a rubber dingy on sale for about $45, and it came with oars and a hand pump. So I bought one, and every day we planned our trip, packed lunches, and then headed off in the car with our dogs to local lakes. We went to Elk Island Park, or Alberta Beach, where we blew up the dingy by hand and mouth. Then, we took turns either rowing on the lake in the dingy, or playing at the water’s edge at the beaches. We tried fishing, but couldn’t bear the thought of killing one, so we were actually glad we didn’t catch anything. We swam, played games in the sand, and walked through the woods, finding flowers and other interesting things. The dogs loved going to the lakes with us, and swimming to retrieve sticks. Sometimes we built a small fire and roasted marshmallows.

Of course it takes gas for the car to get there, but back then gas was cheap, and all week we used less than one tank of gas. Somehow we made our $50 last a week, and it was fun and simple. We were together -that was the best part. We planned our day together, and relaxed together, and talked and played games. I am so glad we had those simple times together. The girls and I will always remember it – it was FUN!

My daughters are now grown and are doing very well in their careers, and I am now a grandparent. But the girls often talk about their memories of these simple times. I am convinced that while almost everything costs some cash, it takes more caring, creativity, and planning than money to raise children on a small budget. Times together are priceless.

Joanne lives in McCauley.

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Neighbourhood Views

  • Cecily Mills Receives Public Interest Award – Boyle Street resident and Boyle McCauley News contributor Cicely Mills received the 2017 Public Interest Award at the Public Interest Alberta (PIA) AGM on June 19. From left: Larry Booi (PIA Board President), Joel French (PIA Executive Director), Cicely, and John Wodak (Chair of the Seniors’ Action Liaison Team - SALT). Cicely was nominated for the award by SALT. Each year the Public Interest Awards are awarded to individuals and/or organizations who are working to strengthen Alberta’s public sphere and public interest. Public Interest Alberta

  • Hallelujah Garage Sale – The Hallelujah Garage Sale on June 17 featured tables of goods for sale in front of many of the churches along Church Street, as well as in the McCauley Rink. The event was supported by McCauley Revitalization. Dan Glugosh

  • Pride Parade 2017 – The 2017 Pride Parade took place on June 10. This year’s Grand Marshalls were Edmonton’s two-spirit community. Paula E. Kirman  

  • Annual Homeless Memorial – Gary Moostoos places a flower at the Homeless Memorial sculpture during the Edmonton Homeless Memorial on June 2, organized by the Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness (ECOHH). ECOHH identified 106 deaths in 2016 due to homelessness, with a total of 599 deaths documented since the first memorial service 12 years ago. Paula E. Kirman

Around the Neighbourhood

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