Thursday, September 18, 2008

HOSPITALITY VERSUS FRUGALITY?

My friend and her children came to town yesterday. She called on the way down and said that when she arrived she wanted to go to the store to pick up some foods for her children, since they are pretty picky eaters. I felt a little panicked...I was unsure if that was something I should pay for, or if I should just let her go to the store and get what she wanted. I had spent some time the day before, planning out meals, going to the store, etc. I really didn't want to go spend more money at the store, because of this challenge, yet, I didn't want to be inhospitable either.

We ended up going to the store together, along with our five boys. As my friend filled her cart with mac and cheese, cheetos, chicken fingers, juice, crackers, frozen waffles, pizza, etc. I nervously watched my children, waiting for them to start asking for those things too. We picked up some more fruit, as we were almost out, and my friend's children liked grapes, bananas, and apples too. I purchased some graham crackers for the boys, after saying "no" to about 15 other kinds of crackers. After biting into one today, I regret purchasing them. I should have just made more of these chocolate graham crackers, because they were much better, and I already had all the ingredients. Oh well.

My boys asked for cheese sticks and yogurt. I told them they could pick one. They picked yogurt, and I bought a block of cheddar to cut into sticks. I spent $21 at the store, on an unplanned and unnecessary trip. I felt really torn between being hospitable and being frugal (and not going over my $200 for the month). I know that most of the time it doesn't have to be one or the other. We regularly invite people into our home for a meal, or have something on hand for when friends drop by. I guess this was a little different because they were staying in our home for several days and didn't want to eat what I had planned to prepare. What would you have done in this situation? Should I have let the 30 days of nothing go, and purchased the food items they wanted to eat for the sake of hospitality? I still don't know if I did the right thing or not. And, with that $21 in extra food added to this month's total, next week is going to be veeeerrry slim. I am going to have to get really creative in the kitchen next week!

13 comments:

  1. Laurel,

    We're going camping soon, and have invited friends, so I spent a tad more too. We'll see how it goes.

    But sounds to me like your friend was prepared to buy food for her kids....you did fine.

    Mary

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  2. Because of Hannah's food allergies, whenever we go to stay with family or friends I always show up with food, and I am always ready to make a trip to the store for more. If she can eat what they have prepared or have on hand fine, but I never expect it, and I do not consider them inhospitable for not stocking their pantry just for Hannah. I would imagine your friend did not expect it either. I hope you have a nice time visiting with her!!

    PS - I think I am going to try those graham crackers. They can certainly be tweaked to suit my needs!

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  3. Ditto to Melissa's comment.

    Even before our allergy situation, I would never expect someone to stock their pantry for my picky one (yes, just one... ugh, it urks me... anyway...)

    I think you did fine. You were hospitable in accompanying her to the store and you really only bought "staples" minus the graham crackers since you could make them. Fruit, yogurt, and cheese were great picks to spend your money on.

    I think you balanced frugality and hospitality well! Have a great time with your friend and all those sweet boys! :)

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  4. I agree with everyone Laurel....you did fine. =) It's nice to see you didn't let your frugality ruin your hospitality. That's where frugality gets a bad rap sometimes.

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  5. angela9:18 AM

    I think you were fine. If I were your friend, and knew my kids were picky eaters, I wouldn't expect you to purchase the stuff that I have allowed them to be so picky about.

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  7. Out of curiosity, does your friend know about your 30 day challenge? That perhaps could have helped with the dilemma. Regardless, I think you struck a good balance. Remember, these are self-imposed challenges, not hard and fast rules.
    Becky

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  8. I think you did very well and were quite hospitable. I do think it's sad thought that your friend could not let her kids have the experience of trying some new foods rather than the same old (very salty and fatty) things they seem to be used to. On the other hand that might have made the visit less pleasant for everyone.

    The graham crackers sound great.

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  9. I feel your pain. And your guilt over the situation too. It's a weird quandry. I will agree with other comments that the mother was good to buy her high-need kids their own food though. I have been kind of disgusted over the high-maintenance kids that have demanded certain foods while a guest at my house. I would be embarrassed to have my kids be so picky that they can't fit in to some one else's meal plan. But, you did great. I think your friend will not have noticed anything different, and maybe later in their visit a conversation about your 30 days will come up!

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  10. Girl, you did awesome. Going to the store was HER choice. I don't think that you should have bought things that you wouldn't normally buy. When we are guests in other homes, my children know that they are expected to eat whatever is offered (at least try it!) with thankfulness to be even invited! You were hospitable by inviting them in, having a meal plan in place and preparations made...sounds like you were a great hostess!

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  11. I agree with Aimee, but at the same time (since you ended up buying the groceries for your friend) I think that God will provided for you the things you are going to need to make it the rest of the month. My husband and I just received nearly to the penny the amount needed to fix our car this month - a hefty repair ... more work than we though - we didn't think we would be able to get it fixed this month and God totally worked things out for us. I am convinced that God will totally work out what you need to make it the rest of the month on groceries, be it eating at another family's home, being taken out to eat by someone, or being given food or money.

    This is my first post on your blog. I like what you are writing about!

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  12. Linda Nichols3:12 AM

    I've been lurking, but I enjoy your blog. I actually read your post yesterday and thought about it several times today. I think you shouldn't beat yourself up over your spending at the grocery store. Look at how well you do overall. Believe me, you're doing an excellent job at budgeting. And I'm sure your friend didn't expect you to pay for her purchases. You had food provided for them. That's all that's required of a good host. So my main thought is, it's a grace walk. There's no condemnation. You've done well.
    Linda N.

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  13. I am with Aimee. And, I think you did the right thing!

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