It’s been a long week. Wednesday was a 13 hour work day (including a 3.5 hour dinner), and the preparation leading up to the day meant that Monday and Tuesday were reasonably long as well. On the upside, I did get in my run to work on Wednesday, and it didn’t even rain on me. I doubt I’ll have quite as good of luck next week, but at least it won’t be dark since the days are getting so much longer.

1. One of my son’s presents for his birthday last month (thanks to our request for experiences instead of things) was a gift card to Cold Stone Creamery. Tuesday was sunny and in the high 50s, so we decided it was a perfect day for ice cream. Amazing how after a long winter, any sunny day over fifty degrees brings out the shorts and t shirts up here in the Pacific Northwest.

Since the gift card was a present, I decided to make it extra special and we went and had the ice cream BEFORE dinner. I’m not sure if there are many things more exciting to a kid than dessert before dinner, and our kiddo loved it. We then walked over to a nearby nursery to check out some plants and walk around before having real dinner. We didn’t buy anything for the garden, but it was fun to walk around the grounds on a sunny day.

Resisting buying alllll the plants

We did end up going out to eat at a teriyaki shop afterward, but the portions were huge and we had leftovers for two extra meals. Plus, we do just spend a little more on restaurants than your average frugal blogger because it’s something we value. We just make sure it’s more of a purposeful decision these days rather than because we didn’t plan anything for dinner / were too tired to cook.

2. I FINALLY mailed out some of my homegrown marigold seeds to the friend who sent me a scoby to make my own kombucha. I had way too many seeds to plant even after giving plenty as Christmas presents, and I like that I had something to give in exchange, even if it wasn’t expected. The good news is, the east coast is still under a ton of snow so I didn’t mail them too late to be planted this year.

No flowers sprouting here yet either

3. We had a work lunch bought for us on Tuesday, which was good timing because I would have ended up eating a couple of my emergency packets of Cream of Wheat in my office since I didn’t bring a lunch that day. Again, when life gets extra busy, I stop packing lunches, but at least I had plans not to eat out.

There were leftovers from that lunch sitting in the work fridge (and no one else was eating them), so I had that meal two more times this week. Free for me, and I made sure that the food wasn’t wasted. Now that I’ve been focused on reducing our food waste at home, I can’t stand to see it at work either.

4. I got an Ebates referral from someone this week! I have purposefully kept ads off this blog because I want to make sure I’m writing for content and not for income, but I do appreciate the occasionally small tip for all the hours I’ve put in on this thing. Plus, Ebates is just awesome in general. I’m all for getting paid a little bit extra for doing my regular shopping.

If you aren’t using Ebates yet, use this link to get $10 just for signing up (and I won’t say no to the referral fee 😉)

5. We got our annual REI dividend in the mail this week. We forgot to use it last year, so it’s actually two year’s worth in one.

You’ll notice it isn’t a huge amount, which I think is probably a good thing because it is way too easy to spend way too much on awesome outdoor equipment and supplies. The money we spent last year was also partially on a gift card as well, so we realized double savings that way.

Thanks to Mrs. Adventure Rich sharing their adventures with snowshoeing with their toddler, complete with some awesome photos and videos on Instagram, I’ve been thinking I want to get a pair for our son for next winter. We already own a pair for each of us adults, so once we buy a kid pair we’ll be good to go. Snowshoeing is our very favorite winter sport (it’s free besides the gas to get to the trails once you have the gear), but we haven’t been for the last three years since becoming parents.

Sledding on our hill, but no snowshoeing yet

We don’t have anything else we really need for camping/hiking, so we will probably go the kid snowshoe route. Plus then once we have them we will have a good reason to make sure a few trips happen this next winter.

How was your week? What do you do during hectic weeks to make sure you don’t fall off the frugal wagon?

48 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 12)

  1. I wanted to get snowshoes too. Still in the thinking about it phase…

    I don’t have emergency food at work. I should think of something. What I have is frozen lunch (I cook extra frequently) . On days I cant make lunch, I just pull out a box. It thaws by lunch time, and the office microwave takes care of the rest. I haven’t bought food because I had to, for at least two years now. And in the past four years, I have done it less than ten times.

    1. Wow. Those are some impressive stats, especially since you don’t keep an emergency stash at work. Maybe after 10 years it will be enough of a habit that I won’t forget my lunch probably once a week 😂

  2. It was me! I signed up for debates and have used it already and gotten money back ! Thanks for telling about It! I wouldn’t have known it even existed.

    1. Ah, well thanks for using the link! I don’t make big money off it since we don’t buy THAT much stuff, but any extra dollars are good in my book.

  3. Snowshoeing is awesome! Used to own a pair. Having outdoor winter activities you like makes it so much more pleasant.

    Yay for free lunches!

    1. We don’t get a ton of snow around here, but some of our hiking trails are inaccessible in the wintertime otherwise. And the same trails are so fun and different with snow on them 🙂

      Alllll the free lunches this week!

      1. It’s fun to explore the same trails in different seasons. And sometimes time of day! They can look so different. Also leads to different experiences sometimes.

      2. Especially since we’ve lived in the same area for the last 7 years, it’s really fun to feel like you’re exploring somewhere “new.” But then again, there are still so many trails within a couple hours that we haven’t explored yet at all.

  4. Hahaha even after winter it’s not properly t-shirt time until it’s at least 60 (and definitely not shorts weather until we’re nearing 80!) 😉

    There’s so much waste at work—and so much of people throwing away things that should be recycled—and it makes my blood boil every time. I’m glad you were able to reduce a bit of waste this week! Plus free meals are awesome haha.

    1. The northwest is a little funny about that – as soon as the sun comes out, we go a little crazy, even if it isn’t that warm yet. And you’ll see quite a few people in sweatshirts and shorts – it’s a look 😉

      I’m the kind of person who will pull recyclables out of the garbage, so I completely agree with you. Thankfully this area is pretty good about recycling. It was VERY different living in the south.

      1. Oh yeah I do that too. Go ahead and look at me weirdly, but that’s not going to stop me from pulling your water bottle (grrrrrrrrrr bottled water!!!!!) out of the trash and into the recycling bin!

      2. Bad enough to buy the water bottle in the first place – soooo much worse if it then ends up in the trash 😩

      3. Anything above 40 is usually shorts weather as winter comes to a close here in northern Indiana too. The schools finally started saying no shorts allowed between fall and spring break. It is still starting out around 32 in the mornings, but 2 weeks and the kids will all mainly be back in shorts.

      4. Crazy that the schools put in a rule like that! Around here there are a lot of kids (mostly boys) who wear shorts year round.

  5. Hooray, it’s Friday! I love your Frugal Five post. I think snowshoeing would be a lot of fun! Also, dessert before dinner is an awesome treat. I had an aunt who would often treat me to dessert before dinner, and I thought that was so cool when I was a kid!

    1. My mom would take us out to do that on occasion as a kid, and it stuck with me, so I knew I’d want to do that sort of thing with my own kid. And he sure did think it was awesome 🙂

  6. I vote for snowshoes, especially since you already have adult pairs and he’s now big enough to walk a fair bit!

    I’ve never used them, I’m hoping I get to try at the weekend!

    1. They are so much fun! I think that’s probably the route we’ll take. Maybe we can find an extra good deal too since it’s end of season 🙂

    1. It was actually pretty warm outside. And he runs warm like his daddy – it’s hard to get him to even wear a jacket most of the time.

  7. “Now that I’ve been focused on reducing our food waste at home, I can’t stand to see it at work either.”

    I know!!! It’s so hard to see when stuff just gets chucked out. But then again, I also cringe at how easily and willingly people turn to single use plastic cups, plates and utensils.

    I have been bad with packing lunches lately too. I typically keep oats, crackerbreads and recently… nuts and dark chocolate at work in my cupboard. I have to admit, I have been digging deeper in the nut bag recently instead of making myself a bowl of porridge. It’s more expensive, but still way cheaper than buying lunch in the cafeteria!

    1. I don’t know what it is about this month, but I have zero want to make an effort with packing a real lunch. Luckily today I have those tasty teriyaki leftovers, so I didn’t have to think about what to pack 🙂

      And it drives me totally nuts that people use paper plates and plastic utensils here in the office for meals at their desk when we have a perfectly good sink with soap to wash dishes.

      1. Ugh, yep, on Thursday I commented to a coworker about how I’ve always kept a plate, spoon, and fork at work. Didn’t he keep one? It feels so obvious…

      2. I’m the only one in my office who does, crazy enough. Not everyone even keeps a coffee mug.

  8. I also want ALLLLLLLLL the plants… and yeah, thing I miss most about working in a Dr office: SO MUCH FREE FOOD and leftovers for days. Wait wait, what is this REI dividend thing??

    1. Do you not have an REI membership? They give you 10% back on all purchases every year (even when you’re using a gift card!)

    1. Thank you! And I agree – as long as you don’t end up spending more money in order to get the rewards, of course 😉

  9. I love me those REI rebates! I also need to snag some cream of wheat for those “what am I going to eat” moments.

    This week:

    1. I drank some of my homemade kombucha. Mmm!

    2. Mr. Picky Pincher drank his homemade stout beer on draught. I sipped on a few glasses of my homemade blackberry wine.

    3. My family is visiting this weekend. It’s usually less fuss to eat out than to cook at home because of allergy issues. I went through my coupon book and came up with a list of restaurants we can eat at for a discount.

    4. Hubs planted our blueberry bush today. Hopefully we’ll get some berries one day! I’d love to use them to make wine too.

    5. I brought in more freelance work, so I’m thrilled to have a little extra spending cash on hand.

    1. Hooray for the blueberry plant! We actually have 8 of them so we get quite a few berries these days. Haven’t attempted to ferment them into anything yet, but maybe this year I need to!

  10. Is the 3.5 hour dinner the dinner where the idiot of the year called you a “gentleman”?
    I love going to the nursery to look at plants. There’s a really nice one near us that also has a bakery, winery, deli, and homegrown fruits/veggies. AND they just added a cider place (the alcoholic kind). It’s awesome, but in a rather high income area so it’s WAY expensive. I love going there but I have to make sure I don’t go too often because I can’t help spending way too much money when I’m there. Sigh.

    1. Yep it was 😉 And we have a number of nurseries like that around here, but they sure are fun to browse. None of them have cider/beer though!

  11. I am known for collecting all the still edible food on work fridge clean out day. I usually collect about 6-10 yogurts and eat them over the next week. They all make fun of me. Seriously so much food waste. I feel like my dad right now:) lol. I love the frugal 5 post.

    1. I seriously don’t understand making fun of someone for that. Even if you think it’s silly on the cost side, how can you think it’s bad to not waste food???

  12. I have yet to get an Ebates referral but love using it, congrats you! And wow, that’s actually a pretty sizable REI dividend, someone spent some pretty good dough at REI last year 🙂 I challenged myself last year to buy no new outdoor gear and succeeded, so I have no dividend this year. Although as a frugal person I often do not buy from REI anyway since they tend to be higher. But I love walking through their stores and practicing self control

    1. Not last year – 2016 😉 last year was only ~$110 (and we had a $75 gift card) and all of that was for Christmas gifts. We have so much outdoor gear we don’t really need anything else ourselves. But I do tend to buy smartwool socks for Christmas gifts.

  13. Sounds like you had just as busy of a week as me! At least you got your post out on time… 😉

    Even during these busy weeks I still always will bring my lunch in. I don’t keep backups at work otherwise I have no control and would just eat those as snacks when I’m hungry!

    One thing that really helps me is just making my lunch the night before. It’s almost a routine where after I clean up from dinner I’ll automatically put together my lunch before doing anything else. I’ve found it really helps and that way I’m not rushed in the morning!

    1. That’s the beauty of my Friday posts – they’re generally pretty quick and fun to write, so they’re easier to get out even during a busy week. And I’m all about packing my lunch the night before. If it waits til morning it generally doesn’t happen 🙂

  14. I had to open up your post in a new tab so I could just write my unsolicited thoughts as I went through!
    1) Ice cream weather is a solid 30 degrees warmer for me here in the Southeast! HAH!
    2) Have you written about making your own kombucha?! I am so interested in doing this, love to hear about your experimentation!
    3) During busy season we have multiple meals a week brought into the office. All leftovers are fair game and go quiiiick! Our only food waste seems to be when caterers bring an unusual amount of an item, like an entire tray the same size as the chicken of cheese.
    4) Agreed Ebates is awesome.
    5) At 27 I finally got my own REI membership, such an exciting mail day when mine came in! I think my parents will appreciate me not spending theirs this year.

    To answer your question: I also have a little stash of food at work (oatmeal and tuna- not consumed together) to attempt to curve falling off the frugal wagon. Luckily for us when I become crazy busy at work, a good number of our meals become covered by work.

    Love these Friday Posts of yours! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ice cream weather in the summer here is maybe 20 degrees warmer, but at the end of winter, anything over 40 degrees and sunny is fair game! I haven’t written about the kombucha yet, because I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out. I’ll be sure to make note when I try it (whether or not it turns out!)

  15. I always encourage experiences or consumables over stuff for my kids and myself. My husband and I just celebrated our anniversary and we went away for a long weekend. He did buy me a chocolate covered apple on our anniversary because I love them. The time spent with him is worth more to me then a piece of jewelry.

    1. I so agree with you there. We will pick travel and time with each other over stuff any day of the week. And happy anniversary!

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