Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cents and Sensibility, Day 9. The game of Life.

Ah, the game of Life.

It's such a money game.

Little bits of paper and metal come in, little bits of paper and metal are disbursed.

Life sounds so simple.

Would that the real game were as simple.

I spent some time doing the math today, moving my piece around my presently self-imposed game of Life that's come to be known as Cents and Sensibility.

As you may remember a few entries ago, before this project started, I spent approximately $600 a month at the grocery store.

At current prices, it takes about $45 to fill up my gas tank, and I did that, on average, two to three times a month. Sometimes more.

Then there's the money each month that's spent on what's considered value-added.

Let's say we go out to dinner once a week. There are clothes to buy. Birthdays to recognize. Movies to see. Kids to finance.

In an average month, before this project started, I'm estimating I spent $150-$200 a week on additional items for me and my kids. That average goes up once school starts. Some things you just can avoid: fees, supplies, clothes, haircuts, field trips....

Ah the game of Life.

And if your kid is the slightest bit interested in anything, parents like myself generally like to involve their children in classes, sports, pastimes.

Oh look! I just got the Go Back Three Spaces card!

Because those extras can be crushing.

A few months ago, my son Logan expressed an interest in taking ballet lessons. It turns out that he's extremely talented.

So he's going to dance class two days a week. He also takes private lessons twice a week. And next week starts intensives. In addition to the classes I mentioned, he'll be dancing from Monday through Thursday, from 10 am to 2 pm.

Ah! But look! I just got the go-ahead to move my piece ahead a few spaces!

Because Logan's instructor wants him there, despite what I can pay.

So I pay what I can, and Logan's getting amazing instruction. There are good people in the world who see talent; they recognize potential.

Sometimes I completely scratch my head at the serendipity of the past few months; the goodness I've witnessed. We're so lucky, not only because Logan decided he'd like to try ballet, but because his instructor sees past the bottom line.

But I digress.

The game of Life is freakishly complicated. If I were to add up what I've been typically spending each month once the bills are paid - if I just count groceries, gas and a smattering of extras, I total $1,312.50 (that's factoring in $600 on groceries, 2.5 tanks of gas at the current rate [112.50/month] and $600 on extra stuff, i.e., dinners out, movies, haircuts, clothes, school fees, etc.).

Every month.

That comes down to 328.13 a week that my family tends to spend, after bills are paid.

That's not including dance.

Some people might find my calculations extravagant. Other people are in a position to skip a turn.

But doing the math was sobering.

I really don't know how I've kept this boat floating, what with that leak I haven't really been paying much attention to...

This project has compelled me to pay a bit of attention to the bits of paper and metal I've been tossing around.

You can learn about life when you play the game of Life.


  1. Another reason why I don't like math!! - david

  2. I love it! I should play the game of life! I bet we have a fair amount of leaking too. Wow!

    I am so enjoying your daily posts. Thanks so much for sharing.


  3. Wow! Thanks for reading! Now I feel kind of guilty for taking a bloggy night off. I'll try to double it up tomorrow!