Friday, May 7, 2010

Frugal Friday: Nix the Souvenirs

How many parents are with me when I say, "I hate meaningless, overpriced, junk toy souvenirs."

Holy wow! Look at all of those hands go up!

I was a child once. I remember the time that I just HAD to bring home that little stuffed black bear from the Smokey Mountains. I just HAAAD needed a home. Of course, my dad bought it. My mom, on the other hand, preferred something more practical - like these little markers that all stuck together end to end. Guess what I used more? The markers. Guess what I loved more? The bear. Guess where they both ended up? In the next yard sale.

As a family, we do like to travel whenever possible. Whether it's a drive across the country or taking the train to Chicago, the three of us love spending time together and experiencing anything we can. Early on, I knew I didn't want my house full of overpriced little toys from each trip or vacation. To me, they are a waste of money. By the time you get home, the "toy memory" typically has already been broken, kicked under the van seat or has immediately been replaced by the DS or IPod. It's just not worth it.

Now, I'm not a scrooge by any means. I DO want my son to have memories of trips and find exciting treasures as we make our way around this world of ours. Here is our remedy.

Elongated Pennies.

For something so small, they really are a LOT of fun! Fifty one cents for a memory that lasts a lifetime? That's a good value. My son has been collecting them for quite a few years now. Penny Passport albums can be bought on Ebay for $4 to $7; each album holds 36 pennies. What's great about this collection? It takes up NO room at all! It doesn't lay all over the floor and it doesn't collect dust. There is even a website dedicated to elongated penny collecting - Searching by state, you will be sure to never miss a penny pressing machine again! Pictures of each press are also included - EXCEPT, it kind of ruins the "hunt" in my opinion. We enjoy being surprised at the different designs.

Most of all, when you get the albums out and look through them together, each penny brings you back to that special family trip.

"Oh! This was when we went to Pennsylvania!'

"Remember THAT ballpark?"

"The museum trip with grandma & grandpa was fun!"

A "frugal" collection we can continue for years? You bet!

More Frugal Friday at Life As Mom


Tanya said...

That's really something to be proud of! I just love this idea. :)

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

We do this too! But we don't have one of those nifty books. Actually I had no idea they made them for those pennies. I will have to look into that..thanks for sharing!


Stop by and visit me over at Free 2 Be Frugal sometime.

Shannon said...

That's a great idea!

Tricia said...

We do the exact same thing. The only different thing we do is I write the month and year on the back so we can remember which year.

The other thing we do is purchased Passport books from the National Parks. When we go to a new city we make sure we visit national monuments and get our books stamped. Also, the kids take part in the Junior Park Ranger Program. Which is free. They answer a workbook and at the end they earn a certificate and Ranger Pin/badge.

Christy said...

My kids love these pennies also. Never knew about the books for them.