We’re now solidly into January and another month of tracking our spending to the penny. Thanks to the awesome long weekend we had to celebrate my husband‘s birthday and our monthly Costco trip yesterday, we are just over halfway as far as expected spending for the month, so we are going to have to be extra careful to stick to our big 2018 goal. Nowhere near impossible though, and like I’ve said before, we don’t believe our happiness now should take a backseat to our future happiness, and vice versa. 

The goal of tracking so carefully this year ultimately comes down to really drilling down to what is important to us and really makes us happy, and cutting out all the noise.

This view is what makes us happy.

1. I finally signed up for my local Buy Nothing group. If you haven’t heard about this before, it is basically a hyper local community group through Facebook that basically gives away items instead of trying to sell them through a garage sale or online portal or sending the item to Goodwill. Gives range from bicycles to unexpired food products to event tickets. Basically anything you might consider gifting to a friend is free game in the group. 

It’s a great way to create a sharing economy in your neighborhood and part of how to foster a real community. Previously I have been passed on items from by nothing groups from friends and neighbors, but I have never actively participated. I’m someone who generally tries to give away to friends or, when that doesn’t work, send everything on to the thrift store. I know this isn’t ideal as some of what is donated still ends up in the landfill, so I would like to start making the effort to offer things on By Nothing first, because then I know they are going to a wanted place.

2. I mentioned this previously, but we didn’t buy coffee out at a coffee shop while exploring this past weekend. Coffee and a pastry is my major weakness, so skipping that part of normal vacation mode was a really big deal, even if it wasn’t a ton of money in the grand scheme of things. 

Playing in a giant puddle in the park is way more fun than hanging at a coffee shop anyway, mom.

Now that I have been tracking so carefully for a couple months and have really gotten away from writing off $5 and $10 purchases, I am so much more mindful of where my money goes. So this was a little thing, but something I am very proud of because that was a difficult habit for me to break.

3. My dad went fishing again last weekend, and we ended up with one of the salmon he caught. I actually hate salmon, but my husband and son love it, so they had a very tasty dinner this week and have another half of the fish marinating and in the freezer for another dinner. Wild caught salmon sure isn’t cheap, and it is a very appreciated gift. We will return the favor this summer with produce from our garden.

4. I haven’t bought lunch during the week at all so far this year. With documenting this every Friday, I want to see just how long I can go without takeout lunch this year. 

It’s crazy to think about how much money I’ve spent in the past on just this one item. It is now so normal to just make sure that I have food to eat, and I make sure I have something to eat on any particular day. Very different than in the past when I would talk myself out of eating that food because something else I could buy just sounded better.

Typical work lunch – yogurt, oranges, PB&J sandwich

5. We had our monthly shopping trip to Costco yesterday and again kept it to under $250. This includes dog food, laundry detergent, and other incidentals as well as groceries. This is a huge savings for us because our typical bill used to be in the $400-$500 range every single time. 

Costco used to be one of those places where we regularly blew a couple hundred extra dollars for no good reason. Now we are actually saving money by shopping there. 

What are some of your frugal wins for this week? Are you doing the Frugalwoods challenge? How is it going? We are finally tackling it head on this time around and it has been a great experience. 

20 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 2)

    1. For us the membership is hands down worth it for just dog food and dog medication, but really ONLY now that we’ve gotten our impulse buys under control.

    1. I have a few friends who are really active in them and they’ve passed on some cool stuff to us as well. I’m definitely excited to get involved in ours.

  1. I used to buy my latte at the coffee shop fairly often and when I started being more mindful about my expenses, I realized how much it added up to! Now I treat myself once in a while, I save money and I find I appreciate the treat even more. And whenever it’s my birthday or Christmas, I usually ask for a gift card for that coffee shop:)
    Salmon is so good. Have you ever tried it with Maple Syrup? (I know so Canadian!)

    1. Yeah, I used to buy a coffee probably 3-5 days a week and it just became routine. Now that it’s maybe once a month, I get so much more value out of it.

      I’ll have to ask my Canadian roommate about the salmon maple syrup idea 😉

  2. Congrats on keeping your spending in check and happy birthday Mr. Tread Lightly Retire Early! I did go grocery shopping this week. Stuck to the list and was in and out in record time – I think having a crabby toddler along who may have lost it at a moments notice, made me hustle and not meander and buy anything extra! Somehow one of those lil balloons at the counter for 0.50 made it in my cart. Dammit. Lol. Well – it kept the peace until we got home!

    1. Ha – grocery shopping with a cranky toddler makes things so much more… interesting. Mine wants to buy all the things when he shops with us.

  3. Nice job cutting out some of the little things that add up over time. And you are 100% correct that it is easy to drop a lot of extra money on bargains that are completely unnecessary at Costco. We recently downgraded to a normal membership from an Executive membership at Costco, and I am doing my best to stick to our shopping list when I go there.

    1. Yeah, the membership is 100% worth it as long as we stick to our list, but it is sure easy to go overboard.

    1. That’s the crazy part – the last three times I’ve been totally surprised at how LITTLE the bill has been. Like, $50 to $100 less than I was expecting. Such a change.

  4. I especially love your wins of packing your lunches instead of buying, and not going to the coffee shop. Those are DEFINITELY two of my biggest weaknesses, and when I started getting intentional about packing food and making hot tea at home to take with me, I saved SO much money. It really adds up.

    1. They are still probably my biggest weaknesses even after a year of being mindful about it. Definitely not an easy habit to break.

  5. It makes a huge difference cutting out things like buying lunches out. Before we had baby no 3, we routinely went out for lunch every Sunday. We mostly stopped doing that for practical reasons as it would have been harder finding tables with space for 5 of us plus buggy, but we haven’t missed it at all really.

    1. With small kids it’s definitely easier to do take out / make food at home for sure. Though with just one, we still make it happen occasionally – but only special occasions now 🙂

  6. If you just tally up how much you spend on coffee every month, you’ll find it’s much easier to pass on each individual coffee when you think about that number 🙂

    “Coffee sounds good… hmm that’s right, $100 per month… nevermind!’

    1. For me it’s tallying up the number over a year that really gets me motivated – $100/month becomes $1200 over the course of a year. Yikes.

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