As a mom I try to find the best ways to save money in any way I can. I think that saving money on products I buy for my kids is great so that I can have more money to spend on entertainment for them. When I go out to find deals and bargains, I try to do my homework before going out and conquering those sought after bargains. Well, one thing that we as parents like to treat our kids to, but hate spending a ton of money on is a amusement park. I always seem to have a budget set that I will try my hardest to stick with when we go to an amusement park. I learned a very important lesson about amusement parks this last Summer. When they set a day aside for "Family Day", that means that they are not only targeting family groups to come out but they also have even more vendors that are around every corner that target your kids. Before I had kids, I would not have seen anything wrong with inviting local vendors to set up for a special day like "Family Day", but now I know that those special events are a trap. You would think that since amusement parks are already targeted at families that the purpose for a "Family Day" would have no purpose, but what I learned is the allure to the event is the fact that you can save money by paying less to get in with a group or "Family". So naturally I thought that the whole "Family Day" was a perfect way for us to all go out and enjoy a day at the amusement park and have extra money for treats and such. Well, with a toddler and a 7 year old, when they see those balloon animal booths, the face painting stand, the design your own shirt and make your own stuffed animal just as you walk in the park, you either have to stop and check out everything or deal with very unhappy kids for the rest of the day. Sure you can say either you get over it or we are leaving, but at the prices you pay to get in, even at the discounted price you pay, you are not about to waste that money and leave because of whining. You want to enjoy the day and you want everyone else to enjoy it as well. So I decided to make a deal with the kids and tell them that if they are good we will get something on the way out, well that is easier said than done, especially when they see every other kid at the park with their faces painted, balloon animals and custom made stuffed animals. Every time a kid walks by with these things that my kids wanted, my kids faces get long, and that defeats the purpose of enjoying the day. So I give in and decide to take the kids to get their faces painted and get some balloon animals, thinking that they will enjoy these things and we can get through the rest of the day being happy. We get to the face painting booth and I see the sign, they want to charge $15 per kid, ouch, well I had already said they could get their faces painted so we do it. Then I think, a balloon should not cost a whole lot, right? Wrong, so wrong, $10 per balloon animal, double ouch. Since I had told the kids that we would get their faces painted and get balloon animals I followed through and paid those outrageous prices so I could make everyone happy. We start walking after getting everything, and my daughter sees a ride that she just has to get on. A log ride that ends in a big splash, of course. She goes on it and when she is done she comes to me crying because the paint from her face paint is running in her eyes and it burns. I had to wipe it away from her eyes, and when I looked at her I did not want to tell her that her face paint job is ruined. Why on earth would they set up a face painting booth at an amusement park that has water rides?!? Well, we went on to try and enjoy the rest of the day, at lunch time we got some food and sat at one of the picnic tables. By this time my son, the toddler, is tired and starts to get fussy, he decides to be ornery. His sisters balloon animal was on his stroller and he decided that he did not want it there anymore, so he goes over to it and pops it. My daughter starts crying then runs over to his balloon pet and pops his as well. My son starts crying and wipes his face, so now his face paint is now smudged as well. Great!?! So not only did I pay an obscene amount to get my kids faces painted and for two balloon pets, but we are only half way into the day and both of their faces are smudged, their balloon pets are both popped and I have spent way over budget!!! Lesson learned, if you go for "Family Day", even if it seems like you will save money, they only do that so that you will end up spending more money than you had planned on spending. With kids we learn to laugh at things that we want to cry about. I think one place that seems to get quite a bit a laughs in a home is the bathroom, why, because some pretty disgusting and embarrassing things can happen in there, especially when you have kids.
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