Posted by: Jamie Stamm | February 16, 2008

Spending our tax rebate

Usually around this time of year, I’m daydreaming about what we can do with our tax refund. But with a new heat pump wiping out nearly all of what we’re getting back, I’ve instead turned my mind to the $1,800 rebate that should be heading our way this summer. I know the whole idea is that we’ll spend it to help stimulate the economy, but, like most working families I’m sure, our check will probably go toward existing bills.

And while I love entertaining thoughts of a nice weekend away with just my hubby, I know that if we did decide to spend the money, it would be on our kids. So I started thinking just how that might break down …

$1,800 could buy:

554 Happy Meals: As a family, we don’t eat a ton of fast food, but on Monday nights, Cera doesn’t finish gymnastics until 7 p.m., and we have a 45-minute drive home. So I swing through the McDonald’s drive-through and grab the kids each a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal (sadly, it’s probably their favorite meal each week). 554 Happy Meals would keep them fed on Monday nights for a little more than five years.

905 bags of Goldfish crackers or 602 boxes of fruit snacks: Aside from fresh fruit, these are our kids’ favorite snacks. Since we go through about a package of each per week, we wouldn’t have to buy more Goldfish for 17 years (hopefully the kids will have moved out by then) or fruit snacks for nearly 12 years.

150 packs of Pampers Easy-Ups: If you think diapers are expensive, welcome to the wonderful world of training pants. Our 2-year-old just made the switchover, not so much because he’s ready to potty train as because training pants are harder to take off (he’s developed a habit of removing his diaper himself). We go through a pack about every two weeks, so 150 packs would last us a little over five years. If he’s in training pants that long, we’ve got a serious problem.

9 weeks of day care: I know that doesn’t seem like much, but we are really blessed to have affordable day care here in Sanford. We have a friend in Chapel Hill who pays more for one child per week than we pay for both of ours.

480 gallons of store-brand milk (or 350 gallons of the “good stuff” – frankly I can’t taste the difference): While I think gas prices today are way out of line, I am even more appalled by the cost of milk. $3.75 a gallon is absurd, especially for a product that is essential for a growing child.

33 sessions of gymnastics: Here’s my biggest bargain. You could send your young child to gymnastics through Lee County Parks and Recreation for several years on $1,800, and it’s a wonderful program. Cera looks forward to her lessons every week, and she has really made a lot of progress throughout the years.



  1. The other night at the grocery store I looked at Billy and asked if there was a shortage of milk. What gives? Are the cows on strike?

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