The Cost of Free

I told you how doing a simple favor for my neighbor ended up with me spending a whole bunch of money.  I’m still confused by how love thy neighbor turned into buy my kids fish, but life is funny like that.  I just have to go with the flow until the flow ends up draining my bank account.  Then I have to set boundaries, because my kids would be terribly disappointed when there was nothing to eat in the house except for their pet fish, and they sure as heck wouldn’t want me frying up their little swimmer friends for dinner.

So after much arguing discussion between the children, two trips to the pet store (buying nothing), and hours of online price shopping, my kids informed us that they could only afford three fish and no heater.  They even scratched the very cool, bubbling sunken ship off their list.  Oh, the sacrifice!

You’re probably thinking I gave them a budget of twenty bucks, but no.  I’m a modern parent who knows the price of pets, even the ones who can’t fetch my slippers.  They had a combined budget of fifty dollars, twenty-five a piece.  Do you know how many articles of clearance clothing I can buy for fifty bucks?  I assure you I would have more shirts than the three fish could wear.

If you’ve ever thought about buying fish, let me encourage you in your decision.  Walk away from the fish.  Buy a Finding Nemo DVD and call it good.

The truth is I’m not sure we could keep fish alive anyhow.  I hate wasting money, but wasting money to watch your fishies float to the top of the tank in death is a bad way to spend a paycheck, so I summoned my inner persuasive parent and reminded them of their original dream.

All my daughter wanted was a lone Betta fish to swim in a glass bowl in her room.  She wanted to watch him as she fell asleep.  My son, he wanted a frog or a crab or a snake, but I told him I would shoot a snake, so he woke up from that dream.

Just because something is free doesn’t mean it won’t cost you more money than you want to spend.

I’m happy to say our third trip to the pet store was a charm.  My daughter is happy with Hot Shot, her pet Betta.

My son, well, we compromised.  He walked away with a long-tailed lizard who came with a fourteen day money back guarantee.  Thank God, because he isn’t looking too good and it’s only day two.

In the end, my kids got what they wanted and I got the change.  It’s nice when a dream comes true.

Tell me, what pets do your kids want?


9 thoughts on “The Cost of Free

  1. Pingback: Hello Monday, Hello Devil in my Front Door « the domestic fringe

  2. saleecash

    Funny you should post about the fish again this morning. On the way to pre-school HT asked me again, why he couldn’t have a fish for a pet.

    The short answer . . . because, mama says no.

  3. tckk

    I’m okay with the fish (however, I don’t want fish anymore), but forget the lizard. No way, no how, nada, never!!

  4. Amy Shaughnessy

    So funny! Oh man, no pets for us! Too much work. My son is 3 and scared of dogs (which I hate because I spent my childhood petrified of them), so I know he won’t ask for one. And we are all allergic to cats. I can see a fish happening one day. Maybe.


  5. Tori Nelson

    I think our lives just morphed into some terrible, unwanted pets fiasco. A new neighbor boy brought Thomas a Please Play With Me offering yesterday. A fish in a bag he’d won at the county fair. Thomas tried to walk the plastic bag across the floor like taking a leashed dog on a long stroll. Meanwhile I was trying to figure out a way to get the thing out of my house.

  6. The Illiterate Author

    This post made me laugh! I’ll never forget the “free” kitten I got as a kid, which we immediately had to go to Wal-Mart for and spend a pretty good chunk of change on outfitting it. My mom still occasionally rants about how much our “free” kitten cost. 🙂 Must be a mom thing.


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