We’re in the last 24 hours of posting your ideas for making ends meet. When you post, don’t forget to include your email address. It just makes it easier for me to contact you if you win the drawing!

Today’s hint comes from my friend Teresa. Teresa and I took our kids to lunch at McDonalds on Sunday afternoon. Our husbands–both pastors–left for a conference in Atlanta, GA right after church on Sunday so we decided to do lunch together. We fed the kids and let them play in the indoor playland. We sat there chatting away and didn’t even realize the time until it was 4pm! We’d been sitting there for three hours! Anyway, I digress.

When we went to purchase our food, Teresa fed all three of her kids (ages 2-7) on two McChicken sandwiches, one large fry, and water to drink! I think it came to about five dollars! She said that she has never done kids meals for her kids and her kids don’t know anything different. My boys each ordered a Mighty Kids meal and her two year old asked about the toy, but seemed very satisfied when Teresa said that his meal didn’t come with a toy.

I was inspired by her wisdom of not caving into culture and doing what most of us do—order the kid’s meal! She has created a “unique normal” for her family and they have become very accustomed to how things work at McDonald’s for their family.

So what can we learn from Teresa? First, start young. They won’t feel deprived if they don’t know it could be any other way. Second, think outside the box. Don’t go on autopilot and let the companies think for you…think for yourself!

And as an FYI—I’ll accept posts for the drawing through Thursday and then make the drawing on Friday. When I set the dates for the contest I didn’t realize I’d be in Chicago all day Thursday so I won’t have internet access to select and post a winner. You should see it posted on Friday afternoon!

Thanks for all the great ideas that have been posted thus far! You are a wise group of women and I’ve been so inspired!

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