Happy Friday! Amazingly another week has gone by and we’ll be into February soon. Life is generally good, albeit busy, in large part because I have my afternoons to play with my son (and to get appointments and house chores done). By the time the weekend rolls around, we’re in pretty good shape with the day to day stuff so we can use the time to do fun family things. I really appreciate the work life balance my reduced hours afford way more than I would have ever guessed. 

1. The outlet our fridge plugs into went out during the week, but my husband was able to fix it in just a few minutes thanks to the fact that he had a new plug on hand in the garage. I may complain sometimes about the mass of tools and supplies he accumulates out there, but they definitely come in handy when something breaks. 

This happened at the end of a long, late work day, but I resisted asking if we should just order take out and dug through the freezer to cobble together a simple dinner instead. Win-win as we didn’t spend the money on delivery and we continued to empty out the freezer so we can defrost it soon (which is badly overdue).

Homemade naan!

2. I had a “one free coffee” card sitting in my wallet for the better part of a month but I’d never gotten around to using it. This was partially because I kept forgetting about it, but also partially because I knew how easily I could slide back into the habit of buying coffee all the time. 

Instead, when a coworker was having a really rough time this week (a family member in the hospital), I noticed that she had a drink from that same coffee shop. Immediately, I asked if she wanted the drink coupon I had, and she accepted right away. While it would have been a nice treat for me to have a free coffee, this was a much better use for it. 

3. We went to a ChooseFI meet up on Saturday at a brewery in Seattle, and my son noticed the corn hole games being played outside the whole time we were there. After that, he kept asking over and over again to get a beanbag game. So one afternoon this week, we made our own. We made bean bags out of old socks that no longer fit him and cut a big hole in a cardboard box. 

Mismatched, too small socks make great bean bags

He had so much fun creating the game, and it cost us absolutely nothing. Better yet, we found a good use for some old, worn socks. Again, I am aware of how much my perspective on things has changed. Or year ago, I probably would have been looking up premade kid games online and would have just ordered one off Amazon. Not the sustainable choice, and not the frugal one either. 

4.  I lucked out and got another free work lunch this week. If I could make black bean soup taste that good at home, we would probably eat it a lot. The problem with the idea of always being able to make better food at home is that we live in a fantastic area for great local food, and some of the restaurant meal options are just spectacular. I’ve gotten to be quite a good cook, but I’m still no professional. These occasional work lunches help satiate my want for the excellent meals, and I appreciate them a lot more than when I was buying them myself every week.

I’m not sure how bean soup can taste so darn good

5. My car was due for an oil change, so I dropped it off before work yesterday. The auto shop is just over a mile and a half from work, so I decided to walk instead of taking the bus. I ended up having to haul a whole bunch of stuff both ways, and the weather wasn’t the best, but I was stubborn and didn’t want to pay $2.75 each way for the bus. I had to hustle to get to work on time, so I got a bit of a workout in as well. 

Well the truly frugal way to go about getting an oil change is to do it myself, the place I go to charges only $28.11 after tax, and they do a thorough job of checking out the rest of the car at the same time. For the amount of time it takes to get to it myself with a toddler underfoot and the cost factor even doing it at home, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me to spend my time that way. 

We have limited time available right now, and it is a much better return to spend that time prepping meals for dinner and replacing electrical work inside our house then it is to get oil changes done ourselves. Do you think I made the right choice here? Or am I making excuses and in oil change something I should go back to doing myself in the future?

How did your week go? Tell me about some awesome frugal choices you made. 

29 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 4)

  1. I like this theme. hope you keep it going. As for me I don’t think I will be able to make to any of the meet ups. closest one is just a plane ride, or loooooooong swim away. Listen to the show whenever I can. Always find a least one of the five that I can easily apply/

    1. Where are you at? There has GOT to be a meet up closer than that! And if not, you should set one up 😉

      1. Ah. More difficult then. Maybe fly to Florida for FinCon in September?

      2. Do you have power back at least? I recently heard that a third of the island is still down 😕

      3. That’s what I’ve heard. A friend from high school is living down there and I hear occasional updates from him.

  2. What a frugal week, indeed! Good on you for helping out your coworker. I’m not sure I would have been so selfless, hahah.

    Let’s see, this week:

    1. I made my own dryer balls to cut down on our laundry dry time.

    2. I went without makeup this week!

    3. I had a hungry spot for chocolate earlier this week. Instead of going to buy ice cream, I made brownies from ingredients in my kitchen.

    4. I cooked homemade dinners this week (except once) even though I really didn’t want to.

    5. I have a few family members getting surgery over the next few weeks. I used lots of coupons to send nice flowers at discounted rates. 🙂

  3. You did the right thing about the oil change. If you do it wrong, messing up your car will cost way more than $28. Plus, they often check all your fluids. Preventive maintenance like getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist’s saves money and time for the future.

    1. Yep, they check over the whole car. Totally worth it. I can do an oil change plenty fine myself though 😊

  4. So sweet to pay it forward with your coffee coupon, I’m sure it was appreciated.
    My frugal wins this week included getting movies to watch for free from the library, making my own tea instead of ordering it in a cafe, and taking my lunch to work all week.

    1. I️ keep meaning to check out movies but haven’t yet. Just learned our library has digital downloads as well!

  5. The homemade cornhole is awesome, and way to be a fantastic person and make your coworker’s week better! I don’t know that I would’ve been that nice.

    Let’s see:

    1. On Military Dollar’s suggestion this week I bought curtains that should hopefully help block out a lot of cold air. Even if they don’t because my uninsulated walls turn out to be too much for them, they were only $4 per panel. And if they do work, hopefully they help me save on the heating bill!

    2. I spent the hour walking/taking public transit home late after chorus rehearsal on Tuesday instead of succumbing to the way faster/less bitterly cold lure of an Uber.

    3. My cousin wants to hang out this weekend and I asked her if we could make fancy brunch stuff at my place instead of going out somewhere.

    4. Got my first paycheck today with my newly increased 401(k) deduction. It’s gonna be a bit of an adjustment so I’ll have to be a bit more frugal haha!

    5. Oh yeah and also I started the ball rolling for salary/title change negotiations!

    1. #2 – plus you got extra exercise that way! But brrr. I think it’s easier to walk in the rain.

      And #4. I’m still in awe.

  6. Love the efficiency of the bean bags out of socks. You kept them out of the landfill for now, stopped an amazon truck from bringing a premaid toy from China, and exercised your creative mind as a family. Can you afford a new game, yes, but the efficiency and creativity and family time have tremendous value. When Ramit Sethi criticizes the frugal community, he misses this point.

    On the other hand, you paid for an oil change. There isn’t any creativity or family value to taking it on yourself. I’d argue that the auto shop knows better how to efficiently dispose of the old oil and keep the. Car running better. Great value in paying for this service.

    Good examples of the frugal spectrum in this post.

    1. Thank you – that’s the goal 🙂 And environment is usually the first place my mind goes, and then money second, so the bean bag game won on all fronts 🙂

  7. Ahhh – you are like the best coworker ever. It can turn someone’s day around when you acknowledge someone is having a rough day, and a small gesture even like a free coffee coupon can make their day!

    I discovered a new love for black beans as well – will have to try out your soup! I’ve been making chili all these years, and the fam never loved it, because I used kidney beans and such (which I loved). Did a black bean chicken chili – whoa, picky toddler even ate it! Yasssss. I should have wrote down the recipe but I mainly just dumped what I had in my cupboards…oh well! I remember most of it!

    As far as car maint & such – I’m pro leaving it to the professionals. Sometimes it works out better as if you have a real problem down the line, they’ve already been “seeing” your car and knows when it runs normally, can fix it, etc.

    1. I try and keep kindness in the forefront as much as I can. And it depends on the car repair/maintenance. Things like brakes and new headlights are simple and save a ton of money. There’s less savings in doing an oil change yourself.

    1. I’ve done it in the past, but as it only saves maybe $10, I’ve decided I have better use for my time (plus I drive few enough miles to only need a couple each year).

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