Editor's note: Ace is blogging about being a dad trying to rebound from the coronaivrus pandemic at My Rebound by FOX 17. He desired for his son to feel both pride in and connection to his Filipino heritage, so he founded the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival in 2016. Also a banker, he recently resigned from his position – now staying full-time with his 6-year-old son. He and his wife, son and dog live in Plainfield Township.
As I look at the toys that we have bought Redd, I am reminded that I have contributed to this hoard. But as I explained to Redd, we will not be buying any toys for a while.
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Books, yes, but that will be it for the time being.
Jackie and I had to sit down and look at our spending early on in the pandemic. And I couldn’t help but mentally calculate the amount of money spent as I surveyed the toys.
Since Redd and I both had extra time, I decided to create a simple toy spreadsheet as an experiment. Redd and I simplified calculations by pricing things at $1, $5, $10 and $20. We began to tally. After 30 minutes of this work and clearly no end in sight, we stopped. Redd and I reached the conclusion easily that we’ve spent thousands throughout his six years of life.
The pandemic has revealed many skills that I didn't know I had. Cutting our own hair is one. I enjoy cutting Redd’s hair, but he quickly complains that I take forever. Those sweet lines take mastery. A few more years and I’ll have it. I used to cut my own hair when I was 19, but it was an easy short clipper cut then. Nowadays, after I finish my do, I usually wear a hat for a week to cover up the funky unevenness.
Another way we saved money was installing a bidet. This is attached to the lower portion of the toilet tank and spews out a stream of water. I enjoy the immaculate freshness of a bidet, but it does have its unpleasantness. Somehow, I need to figure out a way to tap into the hot water and mix the two together.
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Redd and I are also conducting cooking challenges. It’s part chef-style battle and part cleaning out the pantry. I am the only one competing, and Redd’s role is to find anything in the fridge that I will cook. Normally, I would say there is nothing in the fridge. But as it turns out, it's full of stuff just waiting for someone to realize it goes great with ketchup.
I was even able to save money installing the new battery in my car. However, somehow, the battery was housed in a way that I had to remove some inner parts that I have no business removing. To my delight, four hours in, and countless YouTube videos later, I did successfully replace my car battery.
One of my favorite things to do is to create a budget and a plan. I have to say, though, the twists and turns of the frugal homemaker is a new one for me. One bonus, I now have extra nuts and bolts from the car to add to my collection. With $146 in and a $30 core refund and minus installation charge, I’m not sure exactly how much I’ve saved, but I think it’s enough for a new hat.