Friday, August 3, 2012

Free Fun or Finder's Keepers - Finance Friday

If you think for a second that fun cannot be created for zero or next to nothing (as long as you don't count the price of gas) watch this magic:

Recently, while using some complimentary tickets to a AAA Minor League baseball game we scored free tickets to a nearby amusement/water park.

I knew we were destined to win the drawing. The odds were totally in our favor. The stands were virtually empty so when I put my name in the the fish bowl I had a feeling we might win a t-shirt, can cozi or (fingers crossed) the tickets! When I heard my name over the loud speaker we were thrilled. Not surprised but happy nonetheless!

And because we were practically the only people at the game, each of my 5 kids were chosen to play games on the field between innings. For prizes! So when it's sibling vs sibling guess who's going to win?
So, we scored more tickets to the same park.
And more.
And more.

Seriously, we ended up with 10 tickets to Adventureland.

We picked a date on the calendar, let our kids invite friends, packed the van and pulled out early on a Sunday morning.

Yes, you read that right. Darling hubby and I took our twins, our two boys, their 3 friends and our teenage daughter and her friend (that's 9 kids) for a two and a half hour drive in our 15 passenger van for a day of free fun.

I stopped and took a picture at the entrance of our gang and wondered if people would think they were all mine. And then I imagined I was Mrs. Duggar.

I digress ....

our guests were told that we would give them a ticket, provide the gas money (even though one mom insisted on pitching in, thanks K!) & if they wanted food or souvenirs there were on their own. I, however being the current queen and mother of all things frugal, explained that I would pack a lunch for everyone but it was their choice if they ate with us or not.
They all choose to eat with us.

And eat.
And eat.

But I had enough and it was all good!

K's gas money provided the parking at the park
and a soda for the twins in the heat of the day but other than that we didn't spend one red penny.

It's kinda impressive that my Tribe can go to and have legitimate fun at the amusement park without spending a week's worth of wages.

I will admit my resolve grew weak as I walked past funnel cake stands.
Mmmmm, funnel cakes.
The smell of fried sweet dough.... The warm dusting of powdered sugar .....

Just then,
just as we had begun our trek towards the park's exit,
as the day was drawing to a close,
there skipping along on the ground
was a dollar bill.

I saw it. Just me.
I squealed "A dollar bill!! A dollar bill!!" and skipped to grab it hoping with all my might this would be a Finder's Keepers Losers Weepers situation (I hadn't had one of those since 4th grade! The prospect was thrilling!)
I got the bill.
I picked it up.
I unwrinkled it.
I looked ... it was a $20 dollar bill!!!!

I looked around to see if anyone was checking their pockets. Did someone drop this and was looking for it? No! It was like the Mojave desert all around me. If this moment were a movie the director would have inserted cricket chirping. I was standing alone. No one around. No one missing a $20 bill.

Sweet funnel cake! This money was mine!

On our way out of the park, you bet - that's right! I bought a funnel cake!
It cost a whole $4.50.
That means I went to Adventureland with 9 kids for an entire day and came out $16.50 ahead!!
(not counting the price of gas)

That's what I call free fun! This is another edition of my Finance Friday blog series. Once a week I document our Tribe's journey into statistical poverty and how we are overcoming, dealing and surviving these tight times. Thanks for reading!

In the off chance I didn't get to buy a funnel cake I do have a killer recipe I would have made later at home! Enjoy:  
Makes 6 lg cakes
1 c all purpose flour
2 t sugar
1 lg egg beaten
1 t baking powder
3/4 c milk
1/2 t salt
powdered sugar for topping
vegetable oil for frying

In bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salk. Gradually add milk & egg. Mix until well blended. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes. Heal 1/3" of oil in skillet. When oil is hot, pour batter into funnel. Drizzle thin stream of batter into hot oil, starting in center of skillet and circling until pan is filled or cake is desired size. Fry on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Drench in powdered sugar. Enjoy!

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