Thursday, October 20, 2011

Frugal Entertaining: Block Party

We live in the Midwest, Madison, Wisconsin to be specific. My in-laws live in Tampa, Florida. To be concise, we live in two different worlds. Over the past year or two, my mother-in-law routinely said how our life resembled the show In the Middle. Since I don't watch TV, I didn't quite understand. We decided to look it up on the internet, and chuckled at the first episode; the Indiana family attends a block party -- how stereotypical. Then earlier this month, we attended a block party.

Feeling every bit the midwesterner, I took note of this frugal entertaining style. The host paid $50 for a permit and picked up the road barriers. She had needed 80% of her block neighbors to agree, and they signed the permission page. Everyone brought a dish to pass. She put out tables with kid activities (decorate your bike, play-doh, a homemade pinata). There was a grill, and good conversation. Simple and fun.

My two children at play

My contribution to the food table. Noodles, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and olive oil.

As we walked home we commented on how living a frugal life is easier in the Midwest. Unlike the coasts or Florida, we are relatively free of the pressure to "have simply the best" of everything. We have block parties instead of pool parties at the club. I'm certain people live frugally in more cosmopolitan areas, but I think it is a bit easier when you are surrounded by like-minded people.

Are you a reader living, or who has lived, in a big city? Are you able to be frugal? During my 3 years in Washington, D.C. my frugal ways evaporated. It only returned after I had moved back to Madison for law school, graduated with even more debt, and had an intense desire to pay it off. What about you?

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