It was my husband’s turn to ring in his 30s over the weekend, and so we decided to head out of town to celebrate. While it may seem a little counter intuitive to be spending money on a weekend away while participating in the Frugalwoods Uber Frugal Month and just after announcing our big 2018 financial goal, our focus is on making a sustainable lifestyle instead of just one really great month or two before blowing all that extra money in the subsequent months.
Like November’s No Spend Month, 2018 will still have plenty of fun thrown in throughout the year. If we can manage to save 52% of our income while exploring Hawai’i, we can certainly do so while staying within the state.
One Dave Ramsey quote that’s thrown around all the time is “Live like no one else now so later you can live like no one else.” In essence, cut things down to the bone until you reach whatever your final goal might be. Similarly, the FIRE (Financial Independence / Early Retirement) community often celebrates miserliness in order to reach a savings rate that’s just a little bit better.
We absolutely plan for the future and expect to be financially independent by our forties, but we also strongly believe in enjoying the every day (and every year) along the way. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and there are too many stories of lives cut short or altered before reaching that elusive final number.
And so we headed up to Orcas Island midday Friday to celebrate my husband’s birthday weekend. We ended up having 10 adults and 3 kids along over the course of the weekend and had an absolutely fabulous time. I’ve previously written about our love of the San Juan Islands, and this weekend was no exception.
We packed up and headed up to Anacortes to catch an afternoon ferry in order to get up to Orcas Island before the sun set completely. The night before, I prepped dinner so that all we would need to do is heat and serve when we got there.
In the past we likely would have picked up dinner on island, which would have cost significantly more. Instead we had a relaxing time exploring the property and allowing the kids some down time after a longish trip to get to the rental house.
With the large group, it was a no brainer to rent a house instead of go the hotel route. And as always, this allowed for a large cooking space and laundry, plus space for us to all hang out together (which was the whole purpose in taking a large group along in the first place). If you haven’t used AirBNB yet, use this link to get $40 off your first month’s stay. I don’t know that we’ll ever go back to staying in hotels.
Saturday morning, we had a nice leisurely breakfast at the house before heading out to explore for the day. Again, while we are spending more money than the absolute bare minimum, we will still choose ways to reduce our costs without reducing value, and making breakfast instead of always going out to a restaurant is one of these. With three toddlers running around, it was actually much more enjoyable than a sit down meal anyway. After breakfast, we headed to Eastsound, Orcas Island’s “downtown” and first poked our heads inside a bookstore. This is where I would usually buy a coffee (even though I’d already made one as part of breakfast) because it was habit any time we went out of town. This time, I passed right by the coffee counter and resisted ordering another drink. I saved $7-8 because my son would have then wanted a hot chocolate as well, plus the calories I didn’t need in the first place.
We then headed to my favorite place to explore wherever we go – the library. Somehow we had never visited this one before, so I was glad to finally go this trip. The library is somewhat hidden from view up a long flight of stairs, so we’ve walked by it any number of times without realizing it was there. We spent a good hour there between reading books, playing with toys, and running around the small park outside. While not my favorite library of all time – that award goes to Lopez Island – Eastsound has a very lovely one, and they actually have Saturday story time! Something I wish we had closer to home because I never get to go thanks to the 10AM or 11AM start times during the week when I work until 2PM or so.
I asked the librarian for the best park to visit, and she didn’t let us down. I wish I could remember the name of the park, but it’s located just outside of the downtown off Mount Baker Road. It’s really good sized, with an off leash dog park, skate park, ball fields, basketball court, and FENCED tot lot, which makes life a lot easier right now. We lucked out and it didn’t rain all day, so we got to spend a nice time running around before lunchtime.
We picked sandwiches up at the Orcas Food Co-Op and then headed over to Island Hoppin’ Brewery for a laid back afternoon. It was my husband’s birthday weekend after all, and it wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a brewery. We’re total beer snobs thanks to living in the Pacific Northwest and growing our own hops, and Island Hoppin’ Brewery is one of our all time favorites. We last visited over our 7th anniversary, and we were not disappointed this time around. After eating our lunch and tasting the beers on tap, we filled the growlers and took them back to the house (a lot cheaper and no one has to worry about driving), where we had dinner and then a bonfire in the front yard. January rains a lot, but we sure take advantage whenever we get a break in the weather.
Sunday brought another breakfast prepared at the house and a slow pack up before heading out to the ferry terminal. You can now make ferry reservations, which is a game changer to not have to wait for hours for a boat, though it doesn’t matter so much when you travel in the off season. Unlucky for us, the ferry had broken down, and we ended up having to wait a little longer to get a boat, but thanks to earlier preparation, we had plenty of food to snack on once we were on board and sailing home. We always joke about never wanting to leave the islands when we’re there, but a broken boat wasn’t exactly what we meant 😉 The weather wasn’t so great (okay, pouring rain), but the boys still have fun watching out the window while we rode along.
Monday now and we’re back to work, already dreaming of the next time we board a ferry and head out of town.