Thursday, June 12, 2008


Last fall I made the mistake of saying, "Maybe next summer we should buy a Wii."

"Really?" Wendell wondered. Our PS2 had sat unused for almost a year because I'm so anti video games. (In fact, I'm not even sure that it is a PS2...I just know that it's a Play Station.)

"Sure," I said, "there are so many sports related ones that actually require movement. I mean when Anson came home from the next door neighbors one day, he was drenched in sweat. How cool is that to get a work out and play video games?"

"They're kind of pricey," Wendell pointed out.

"I know. That's why I said next summer...when commissions are good. We'll have to see, but it would be cool to have."

It is technically not even summer yet (June 21 is coming, though) and Wendell has asked me three times over at least as many months to get a Wii. I don't mean to seem hypocritical, but we're just not ready to lay out that kind of cash on a toy. (BTW, we never bought the PS, Wendell won it at a company party.)

First, costs have gone up notably since last fall. Food is taking a larger portion of our budget. Period. Gas costs more and we have more kids including 2 in diapers.

Second, the winter was harder than I thought. Winter is not a fantastic time to sell cars. Commissions are always down. But this was Wendell's first year as finance manager and so there was no precedent, I didn't know how far the commissions would fall. Frankly, they fell farther than I thought. We tightened our belts and strategically used savings to get us through. By the time commissions picked up again, we had only a couple hundred dollars separating us from using money we set aside for a summer vacation, just to get by.

Having been through this winter, I now have a better feel of what to expect next year, but I need a lot more in liquid savings to keep us at a more even keel through the year.

Third, I had no idea last fall that we would be spending in excess of $2500 on dental procedures this spring and summer. Wendell just had a root canal and crown that I still have $700 to pay off. However, I also need some periodontal work done that will cost around $900.

There are also other things I put off doing this winter and spring that now need desperately to be done. Our cat, for example should have got his shots in March. I'd love to have him completely declawed so he doesn't snag our clothes. My piano needs tuning and I need carpets cleaned in the basement rooms we're moving the older kids into.

All of this takes priority over a Wii, regardless of the deal. I just don't think we're going to get all of that taken care of and have money lying around for a Wii.

So, what do you think? Am I being a responsible grown up or a stingy crumdgeon?


dh said...

I think I need you to tutor me on all matters financial. You ARE very responsible and I wish I were more logical thataway. (I just dropped $208 unexpectedly to get my dogs out of the pound... then another $200 on materials to repair our fence, including staining, which our HOA is requiring my neighborhood to do by Sunday...)

That being said, here's something from one who lives on the opposite side of the spectrum. I try to think in terms of 'what will we remember a year from now'? How financially tight we were? As in all the bills we were paying on twelve months ago? Or, will we remember great times had by all? Playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band together as a family?

Naturally, I'm more irresponsible, so I say go with the Wii. I can't tell you how much fun I've had with my DH, my kids, my sibs, my InLaws playing the Wii. Great times and grea memories by all.

Maybe you could make up for the $$ by using coupons? I've drastically reduced our grocery bill by using coupons and planning menus based on the coupons and what I've gotten good deals on... just a thought. Keep us posted!!

Jennifer @ Fruit of My Hands said...

Hmmm...I don't think you can say, "maybe we should buy such and such a fantastic toy" to a man and not actually buy it. If I said "Maybe we should get a 4-wheeler" to my husband, I'm sure we would have one by the week's end. :)

We are feeling the pinch of the economy a bit, but we bought a Wii anyway. I feel like anything wholesome that encourages my kids (and their friends) to play at my house where I can supervise, rather than playing at someone else's home unsupervised is a good thing. So far, I haven't regretted the expense, and it's making it much easier to think of upcoming birthday presents that will actually be used for a long time, but that won't take up a lot of space.

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Well, I'm a fairly anti-video game person. All we have are gameboys. If I was going to get a video game, I would get a Wii and we probably will. At some point. While I wanted to do it for Father's Day, I can't justify putting it on the credit card, which is what I would have to do. It's simple, really. No money, no Wii!

Nancy said...

I was completely irresponsible last weekend and bought a Wii for our anniversary/Father's Day/all of Will's birthdays for the next 10 years. I've been "working out" with it everyday since. I cannot begin to tell you how sore my arms and shoulders have been. If you want to come try one out again and be sure if you want to be responsible, I'm all for a play date at my house!

Laurie said...

Ooooh, this one is a tough one for me. We don't have one and our PS2 got electified so it doesn't work either and I am NOT replacing it so now my kids spend all day at the neighbors house playing thier Wii. Ken just went down and bought a computer game and a control stick and now he rushes home each day to fly planes. It was way cheaper than a WIii but still takes all his time and ties up my computer. The boys are hooked on it as well. I just don't get the whole electronic thing. Maybe you could compromise with him. Good luck on this one.

Wonder Woman said...

I think you're being responsible. But things are different from my computer chairs than everyone else's. My two boys are 2 and 3. I'd like to keep them away from video games as long as possible. This is getting harder and harder since my husband's friend recently gave him an old xbox. He usually waits till the kids are in bed to pull it out. (This is happening as I type.)

I know that the Wii is really fun and a good workout and a great way to get kids off the couch and have friends over. Those are all definate perks. But there are lots of things more important than a video game. Like the things you mentioned. Maybe you can start a family fund and match it halfway.

But I think being responsible is good. I'm not usually the financially responsible one, but it's hard to beat someone who wears the same pair of Doc Marten's for 10 years because he "can't afford" new shoes. :o) And yes, they have holes in them. :o)

Tara Rickards said...

That is a tough one. If it isn't in the budget, it's not in the budget. BUT, if you have any wiggle room, I say to get it. We found one at Sam's Club last year and we love it. My husband is not a video game guy, but the Wii can be a really fun social thing. We have hooked ours up to a projector on the wall and had tournaments with our grown up friends. It was a blast and yes, my arms were sore after playing tennis! My kids love the bowling game. My youngest can beat anyone in the family! It has created some fun memories for my family and it doesn't have an age limit.

Alisa said...

I originally was about to say that there is no discussion you have it right.

I have read through the comments and I still agree with you-- the economy isn't so great and it isn't going to get better anytime soon. I am worried enough (after discussion with my neighbor reguarding this) that I have decided to take as much as I can of our excess and put it toward our year supply. Once I have that I will feel so much more secure. But this might be for another blog entry.

That being said we need to enjoy our lives and the Wii is no question a good purchase for a family. You know your circumstances if you can get it and still meet all the other financial demands then go for it!