I've discovered that Miss P's school is awesome in part because they make parents contribute so much. I'm all for helping out, but does it have to cost so much? They are ten-dollaring me to death. Ten dollars for a school t-shirt (which I was glad I caved on because EVERY OTHER KID IN SCHOOL (seriously, every single one) had one for the athletic day). Ten for a skate rental to teach them to skate in P.E. (well, at least I don't have to teach her). Ten for a donation for the class project to auction at the fall carnival. Field trip. Oh sorry, the last one was 9.75. Not to mention fundraisers (as if most of the rest of these didn't raise funds) and school pictures. Oh, and the student teacher needs a gift before she goes....
I am just not going to do it all. I CAN'T do it all, if we want to do frivolous things like--oh, eat and splurge on a packet of new socks every once in a while. We will volunteer our time and maybe some hamburger buns (or whatever) for the carnival. I might send five dollars for the student teacher. MAYBE. If I am feeling generous that day.
I saw parents spending $30 and up at the book fair. I spent around $9 and let Miss P spend her own money for the non-book items she wanted. I love books but we can go to the library and garage sales! Also, they sold a LOT of $2.99 pens. I wanted to say to the parents with armloads, "Haven't you people heard the economy is tanking? Hoard your money for the coming apocalypse!"
Anyway, this is not to criticize other parents for spending money at book fairs. I wish I had enough extra to buy books for the teachers' classroom libraries and to bid on the carnival projects. I hate having to tell Miss P that we only have enough money for X and Y, but not Z. (I try not to say, "We can't afford that." I say, "That's not in the budget. We need to use our money wisely, and we need it for something else.") As much as I wish I could buy whatever we want--let alone what the school asks for--I think learning how to say no to excessive spending is a lesson that will help her more in real life than anything the school can teach her.