Michael on September 11th, 2009
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I had one heck of a long weekend over the Labor Day holiday.

You: What did you do?

Being that the weekend represents the unofficial end of summer –

You: Why is that?

First, because school starts right afterward. Second, because it’s already getting cool here in New Hampshire.

You: Seriously?

Seriously. On a bike ride early yesterday morning I actually thought “I’d be a bit more comfortable with gloves on right now.”

The weather was gorgeous over the past weekend, and we were thrilled to stay around town.

Friday Night

Last Friday night I took my daughter for a walk after dinner and wound up across the street in the neighbor’s yard for a nice chat.  After my wife got the girls down to bed and I mowed the lawn, my wife and I just chilled in the house.

Total Friday Night Spending: $0


On Saturday morning my wife got up wicked early.

You: Wicked?

It’s New England for “very.”  Anyway, she got up with the sun to go on a run.  I fed the kids until she got back and then left to play “basketball” (from about 7:30 until 9.)

You: Why is basketball in quotes?

Basketball is a game played by basketball players. “Basketball” is the game I play.

After hoops, I met my wife and girls at the playground, which being across the street from the farmer’s market my family attended while I was playing basketball—

You: You mean “basketball.”

Point taken. Anyway, the playground was beaming with activity. Not surprisingly, we ran into several people we knew.

We got back to the house for lunch. Soon after, my brother arrived for a visit from Connecticut.  When my youngest daughter woke up from a nap, we all went to the beach.  There’s almost nothing better in the world than watching little kids play on the beach. Bonus: with my brother there, I was actually able to abdicate child-care responsibilities for about 10 minutes and go for a swim in the ocean.

You: Why only ten minutes?

It’s New Hampshire; the water’s cold!

You: Oh, right.  Probably wicked cold.

Nice use of the word “wicked.”  On the way back to the house from the beach, we decided to get some pizza from a local place we order from periodically. Great stuff!  After woofing down the pizza and getting the girls down, we all hung out talking and catching up.  A good time.

Recap of Saturday and Saturday night activities: Run (wife), basketball (self), playground, visit from family, beach, pizza dinner

Total Saturday/Saturday Night Spending: $28 (pizza)


After breakfast on Sunday, walked downtown.  Well, my brother, my wife, and I walked.  The baby was in the stroller and the 4-year old was on her bicycle.  On the way, my brother noticed that her tires seemed to be flat.  A quick squeeze verified there was almost no air in either of her tires.  So we redirected our walk over to the gas station to get air (my pump broke a while ago).  I was slightly outraged to learn that both of the two nearby gas stations charged $0.75 for air.

You: There was a charge for air?


You: And you paid for it?


You: How can you possibly give saving advice if you’re paying for air.


You: Stuck?

Kind of.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but what was I supposed to do?

You: Couldn’t blow air into these tires, I suppose?


You: Okay, you’re off the hook for now, but if this becomes a habit, we’re going to have to talk.

Fair enough.  Anyway, we went downtown to a park down by the river –

You: Isn’t that something Chris Farley said?

In fact, yes.  But I suspect this is a slightly nicer area.

You: Hope so.

Anyway, we hung out at this nice park for a bit and walked back home for lunch.

While the baby napped, the rest of us hung out in the backyard, enjoying the fresh air and pleasant company.  After my brother left and the baby awoke, we decided we’d go downtown to a restaurant where we could eat outside by the water.

You: Sounds nice.

It is. I love eating outside.  Since summer is ending, there are very few more left to do this. We had a great meal.  Then we went home, got the kids off to bed and relaxed, just my wife and I.

Recap of Sunday and Sunday Night Activities: Walk downtown, enjoy riverside park, hang out with family, enjoy outside air (not to mention swingset), delicious dinner by the water

Total Sunday/Sunday Nigh Spending: $7

You: How does all of that cost only $7? You went out to dinner!

Nothing else besides dinner on that list costs money.  As to dinner, I had some frequent dining points.

You: What the heck are those?

My town is so cool that many of the independent restaurants joined forces and created a loyalty program.  Over the four years I’ve been here, I’ve accumulated some points and decided to cash some of them in.  (By the way, the $7 was a nice tip, showing you that the restaurant wasn’t too expensive in the first place.)


Monday was more of the same.  We went on a hike we’d never done before with the girls, this one by the harbor.  Then we came home for lunch and the baby’s nap. Late afternoon was spent teaching the four year old how to shoot hoops (on a 5’ hoop) and how to hit a softball with a baseball bat.  She’s not bad at either!  My wife made a great dinner and we talked about how fun the weekend was,

Recap of Monday and Monday Night Activities: Hike, teaching my daughter two new sports, hanging out with my wife at night, delicious home-cooked meal

Total cost for Monday: $0.

Weekend Summary

It was never a specific objective to spend so little money this weekend. I will confess I did have a goal of wanting to stay close to home, as I had traveled recently.

When people wonder how it is that others can have a good time without spending a ton of money, I wonder how it is that they ever came to believe doing so would even be remotely difficult.

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Can you copy any of these ideas?  Add your own?  Who’s crazy – me or the people who can’t figure this out?

Before any new readers think I’m some uber frugal guy, here’s an article that includes five ways I am utterly fiscally irresponsible

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2 Comments to “How I Scored Big Labor Day Deals Without Shopping”

  1. Emily says:

    Love the call-response format – it worked especially well when you got to the part about paying for air. I laughed out loud. Nice post, sounds like you had a fabulous weekend!

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks, Emily. We really did!

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