Keepin’ It Real - ” Now That’s Entertainment ”


Jennifer is a Albertan single Mom on a mission – to save enough in one year to make an extra payment on her mortgage. With four kids, a modest income and a second goal of creating a buffer fund, can she eek out $1500 to make that pre-payment and if so, will she actually apply it to the mortgage or will she take herself to an all-inclusive in Jamaica instead? Follow Jenn on her “adventures in savings” as she cuts coupons, corners and possibly her own hair to prove that making an extra mortgage payment every year can be done! New to this series? Start here !

The Week In Review

So, I’ve had to put the hammer down a few times this week with the tweenager. I can tell you that putting down said hammer in any fashion, with anyone, is not my best thing. I’m infinitly more talented at moving heaven and earth to avoid conflict but as the fellas are growing, so too have I had to grow – particularly in the backbone region.

I know this is hard on the little guy ( and when I say little, I mean taller than me, shorter than his six foot father) so I believe in balancing my “tyrannical” ( his words) behavior by taking him out somewhere special. I want to assure him that I am still interested in who he is and what he’s about, even while I’m grounding him ‘til he’s 37. As it turns out, he’s delighted at the idea of hanging out with is ‘ol Mom (sniff) which is so super great because it means I haven’t TOTALLY lost him to the fearsom “peer group”.

However, now all the kids want a special event with Mom and I was really hoping I would be able to shave a little off of the $50 Entertainment fund each month to aid in my savings crusade. Don’t get me wrong, as a family, we spend plenty of time doing no-cost activities like boardgame playing, star gazing, marshmellow roasting etc. and we play cards every Friday night. I do like to set aside a bit of cash, though, for outside-of-the-house entertainment but how to spread it around to everybody without breaking the bank?

This Week’s Challenge

Time to get creative. The little girls are much easier in this regard – an afternoon playing tag at the park or baking cookies tops up their Mamma-time quotient nicely and to make sure my six year old has a little extra time with me, I bought a latch-hook kit for us to work on a little bit each afternoon after school. Yah, I said latch-hook kit. Remember those?? Cheap as chips at the local thrift shop and hours of frustrating, tacky, 70’s fun for the both of us! Cost – $2.50.

The boys, however, are a little more challenging as they will no longer let me play Call of Duty with them. Something about me running in circles, shooting the air and planting bombs directly on them, I don’t know. Next to video games, their next favorite activity is to hit the movie theatre but this is usually a big ticket evening. Even if it’s just two of us, it’s $25 to get in and another $25 for goodies, blowing my entertainment budget out of the water and leaving no room for the “shaving” I had planned. I was going to throw myself a pity party, but instead, I went online to see what was on offer with coupons etc. and low and behold, General Mills is offering a cereal/Ciniplex movie ticket offer until May, 2012. Sweet bippy- I needed cereal anyway!

I took myself off to Safeway and purchased two boxes of the cereal offering free movie tickets, on sale nonetheless, for $3.36 each. That saves me $10.00 a person for admission and a total of $20 on the “ assure the thirteen year old I don’t dislike him just the phase he’s going through”, evening out. As the offer runs until May, I’ll stock up on cereal and use the various promos to do the same with my other kids over the next few months.

As a nod to my new goal to break old finanicial habits, I also rethink the movie treat scenario. My new logic goes like this – I’ll pay the crazy popcorn price because there’s something sacred and un-reproducable about movie popcorn making the exclusivity of this treat worth the money. However, a Coke is a Coke anywhere you have it but for some reason it’s $4 at the movies and $2 at the 7-11. I decide that I will order our pricy popcorn with 2 glasses of water instead and we’ll have a pop when we get home if we are feeing really deprived, saving myself $8.

The Tally

$20 saved on movie tickets
$8 on pop

$28 saved from this month’s entertainment budget).

I will re-assigning this small fortune to the Extra Mortgage Payment Fund and meet my $28 savings goal for Week Three – woot woot!

Total Amount Saved – $76

Here are links to some great deals on family fun in Edmonton to get the most out of your entertainment budget:

General Mills/ Cineplex Movie Offer

West Edmonton Mall Toddler Time

Toddler Time makes a great play-date! Children five years and under can have a blast at Galaxy Kids Playpark – or splash around at World Waterpark during Toddler Time!
Available Monday to Thursday, noon to 3 p.m., the program admission is only $10 per child – adult chaperones ( are per child) are free!

Gateway Entertainment – Toonie Tuesdays

After 6pm until closing at 9pm,
$2 a game bowling, $2 lazer tag (10 min), $2 Billiards, $2 Popcorn, $2 Pop

Gateway Entertainment Centre is a unique family sports complex with over 65,000 square feet of family fun and adventure. Whether your 5 or 105, you will enjoy the best in Ten Pin Bowling and a new state of the art Lazer Runner lazer tag arena.

Snow Valley – 5’O Clock Fridays
Bring a foodbank donation and pay only $5 between 5pm and 9pm

Have fun and see you next week!

PS – If you know of any other affordable family fun ideas, send them in – we’d love to share them!

As the company’s first employee, Jennifer has been a Licensed Mortgage Associate since 2004, but her current role is not focused on mortgages. She is the resident blog writer and…

Learn more about Jennifer Rochford