This week was a pretty exciting one for me on a non financial note. About a month ago, I had been invited to apply to an unpaid public appointment position in my city, and I was selected as one of six to have an interview for the spot. To my complete shock, I got a phone call this week letting me know that I had been appointed to the group. While I’m generally working on saying no to anything additional to my life to make sure I’m not constantly busy, this was one of those things I just couldn’t say no to.

I’m looking forward to serving my community and continuing to make a difference in my local area. The time commitment is well worth the ability to be a part of how my city thrives in future years. Completely unrelated to my personal finances, but I’m thrilled with the opportunity and wanted to share with you all. And now on to this week’s Frugal Five.

1. Our neighbors are expecting their second child in just a few months, and I had offered them some of our son’s outgrown clothes, toys, and books, which they gladly accepted. It was great for us to be able to declutter a little more, and I always prefer to hand our things off to a specific person because then I know they will be used instead of ending up in the landfill. We’ve gotten hand me downs from other neighbors in the past, and I’m glad we can do our part to cycle things through our community. Having a connected neighborhood really is the best.

As I was gathering up the bag to walk down to their house, my son noticed one of his old toys sticking out of the bag, and immediately got upset that we were giving away his things. He’s three years old, which is a really hard age to want to share anything. My husband somehow convinced him to take it down to their house and play with it there with their daughter, who’s almost two, and then leave it there with her to play with.

Showing her how the latch board works

Amazingly, he agreed and marched right down to their house, where he explained the toy to her and then happily went home without it. I was so proud of him for passing his things along, and I hope that’s something that will grow with him as he gets older. It would have been easier just to smuggle the bag out while he wasn’t paying attention, but I think there is a lot of value in having him take part in the process. I think it also helped that he knows the family his things were going to and can understand who will now get to play with them.

2. My husband went out fishing with my father over the weekend and caught a salmon, which he and our son then had for dinner (I don’t like fish so I opted out). Fishing is a fun pastime for him, and something he doesn’t get to do very often because he’s always busy with work and family, so I was glad to see him take half a day. Even better when he comes home with a catch that can supplement our grocery budget a bit for the month.

3. The discount produce section wins again! This week we picked up a bag of bell peppers and a bunch of bananas. I’m going to be pretty disappointed the point I have to buy bell peppers at $2.99/ea (the price for organic at our local store usually – yikes). The bananas are priced separately from the rest of the produce as “baking bananas,” but they generally aren’t so brown that they aren’t good for regular consumption. That price puts them at 49¢/lb instead of 99¢/lb. I see the food prices in other areas and I can’t believe how expensive things are around here!

Sooooo many bananas

4. I downloaded SweatCoin thanks to this list of money makers from Olivia at Birds of a FIRE, which is an app that tracks and pays you for your step count. I just downloaded it on Monday and have just over 30 SweatCoins (50 gets a $1 Amazon gift card). Not a huge money maker, but like I’ve mentioned previously with Ebates, I’m all about earning a little extra money for something I’m already doing.

I’ve been tracking my steps for a while now, and I average around 11,000 – 12,000/day overall, but now that I can earn some extra money tracking, I’m finding myself trying to find a few extra steps in my day. Any extra incentive to put on a few more steps is a good one in my book.

I also ran to work again on Wednesday, which netted me close to 20,000 steps that day (and it just makes the rest of my day go better when I start with a good workout). I also got in a couple short 2 mile runs over the weekend, which made me feel even more ready for my long run. Consequently, I ran it a bit faster than normal at an average of a 10:12 mile pace. I’m hoping to improve that a bit further and drop below a 10 minute mile pace.

5. I prepped a crockpot meal earlier this week and stuck it in the fridge the night before so all I’d have to do was pull it out and plug it in the next morning. Unfortunately, I completely forgot the following morning and it sat in the fridge all day. But instead of picking up take out like we would have in the past, we made a quick meal of fancy ramen with a fried egg and fresh greens from the garden.

With fresh picked garlic and kale from the garden

Frugality takes time, but as I’m learning, things get easier and routine the longer we stick to it. We may never have a $200/month grocery budget but we also won’t have a $2,000/month food bill ever again either.

How was your week? I’d love to hear some of your frugal wins. It’s the small successes that add up to become the really big ones.

50 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 13)

  1. Congrats on the position! You seem very community minded. Feeling like you’re making a difference is so important!

    I’m impressed you got your son to opt in to giving after he already started to get upset. It’s not easy at that age.

    1. Thank you!! I’m still amazed that I’m the one who got selected (though I do have the background so it makes sense).

      I was soooo impressed with him. He won’t always accept it so well, but we’re working on it.

      1. All things in life are a work in progress! Teaching a little human being how to think critically and mastering dealing with emotions is complicated stuff!

        Is your appointment a term (like a year or three?)

  2. Never heard of SweatCoins but will try it for sure. Any additional incentive will help. I think this month I will be over 10,000 steps a day which is a big increase for me:) Great week on your front. Happy Easter Angela.

  3. YAYAYAYAY you mentioned it here so now I can publicly celebrate: I’m so happy you got the position!!!! Also, wow, proud of your son for sharing! That’s super impressive at that age.

    I’m super intrigued by that app. I got in 14k yesterday so too bad I didn’t have it downloaded haha.

  4. I’m so impressed you were recruited for the position – they very lucky to have you. I bet you’ll put your heart and soul into it, and really help the community.

    I love my bananas black and sweet, they are eating bananas not baking bananas. They only get relegated to backing bananas when there is no yellow left!

    And mega impressed you run to work, I’d love to do that but am miles too far. And the route sucks.

    1. Thank you! I’m very much looking forward to what I can do with it. And if you like bananas like that you would love the discount produce section at my local store!

      I do wish sometimes I was closer so I could do it more than once a week, but glad for what I do get!

  5. I am always encouraged by your attitude and accomplishments. My wife got all excited about the SweatCoin app. She is a walker and hiker and makes me hike with her everywhere. She uses a bottom of the line FitBit to keep track and wanted to switch to Sweatcoin. Unfortunately when she went to load it she learned that she needed an iWatch to use it? Do you know if that is the only way? Not so sure she is going to accept a watch that costs .a few hundred dollars?? Regardless – keep saving…

    1. No idea – I just loaded it onto my iPhone. So perhaps she can just download an app to her phone and use it that way?

  6. When you don’t pay for a product You are the product. I’d congratulate on the position and your sons budding philanthropy. But I’d ask you to consider that you have granted sweatcoin permission to track your movements. They know where you shop and when you are at the hospital. The information is valuable enough for them to
    pay you.

    I think of these offers this way. If I got an email offering to give me a dollar to tell them exactly where I was for the last day (5000 steps), would I do it? Even if I read the EULA on the email I don’t think I would.

    1. I figure that information is out there already (unless you turn off all GPS on your phone), so I may as well get small piece of the pie 😉

      1. First, let me say honestly that I adore pie. But more to the point, not necessarily. You can see which apps are getting location data on iPhone by going Settings… Privacy… location settings. Each app has info for whether and when it collects data. Still, I see your point and hope you get lots of good stuff.

      2. Mmmmm pie. Depends on the pie, to be honest. Not a big fan of fruit ones. Quite a few of mine have location on (my run tracker and transit locator apps, for two). I figure I’m not interesting enough to matter if software knows where I’m at 😉

      3. I’m sorry but I must strongly disagree here. Apple pie is probably the best of all pies

  7. What a good lesson for your son to learn about sharing! I’ll have to remember that when we inevitably try to give their toys away one day. We already have way too many. I had to put some downstairs so we can even walk around our house.

    1. It hasn’t always worked so well… but taking it himself and seeing where it was going specifically seemed to help a lot. And reminding him of all the fun “big boy” toys he has now.

  8. Ooh, I’m so trying out SweatCoin! I’ve finally been cleared to exercise again and have been tracking my steps with my BellaBeat already. I’m 1,000% jealous of your ugly produce section. I wish our grocery store would offer that! I’ve even seen some offer deals on cracked eggs.

    This week:

    1. We managed to make several homemade meals without resorting to takeout. We’re eating out tonight, but only as a planned treat.

    2. Hubs had today off of work, so he did all sorts of honey-do’s around the house. He changed our oil, cleaned the yard, folded laundry, and put away dishes. I could get used to having a house husband. 🙂

    3. Last week I made far too much cake, so I froze

    4. I’ve been focusing a lot on my freelance writing, which has brought in some nice extra income.

    5. Instead of buying a pricey Easter basket for our nephew, we reused a basket he left over from last year’s Easter. I filled it with homemade Rice Krispy treats that I dipped in decorative chocolate to kinda-sorta look like Easter eggs. Thankfully he’s 3 so he doesn’t care about presentation. 😉

    1. Anything that will be extra incentive for more steps! Plus a tiny bit of payment for it 🙂

      We still go out to dinner often enough, but now it’s purposeful and a treat instead of a just because it’s easy.

      As a mom of a 3 year old, I completely agree that they don’t care about presentation. He’ll see the treat and that’s all that matters lol.

  9. CONGRATS on the public appointment! A worthy thing to say yes! And a good excuse to say no in the future to other less meaningful things! Awesome parenting win by taking the hard way, but teaching a lesson! And yikes, produce is expensive near you! But you do live in a pretty cool area, to make it worth it.

    1. Thank you! It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up for sure. And yeah prices around here are pretty crazy, so I wanted to highlight it for those of you in LCOL areas to see just how expensive it is 😉

      1. But your prices probably start where our discount ones do 😉

  10. Congrats on the new position!

    That’s awesome that you are handed down your son’s outgrown clothing. We always appreciate hand-me-downs from friends and family, and we love to hand clothes down to others. It’s such a good feeling to know that the clothes and toys we loved is finding a second home.

    1. Thank you!! And hand me downs directly to people seem to be the best path to make sure they’re appreciated and worn.

    1. Thank you!! Totally not blog related, but I was excited enough that I just had to share 🙂

      1. Now is where I should probably tell you that I only drink decaf… 😜

    1. Haha yeah… I’m an odd Pacific Northwesterner for sure. My husband and kid definitely make up for what I don’t eat though 😉

  11. Congrats on the position and a great week! I’m not a fish eater either, but I’ve managed to incorporate Salmon into my life a bit over the past two years. Mango Salsa makes a huge difference. 🙂

    1. I’ve started eating a TINY bit of shrimp and the occasional breaded fish, but never ever salmon. Yuck.

  12. Nice frugal wins! I’ve been looking up good recipes for crock pot meals and start doing that more often. I feel like that will help give me more free time after work as I wouldn’t have to cook! If you have any good ones throw em my way!

    1. I have a couple favorite crockpot recipes. I’ll have to get them together and send them to you. The simpler the better 🙂

  13. Congratulations on the appointment. That is a pretty amazing and exciting accomplishment right there. I love your first point about giving away your old clothes to someone else that can use them. As you said, not only are you de-cluttering, but you are helping out another family and allowing them to save their hard earned dollars and spend it on something else. The story about your boy sharing the toys is priceless and it is a great value to install at a young age. You’re right, the easy thing would have been to take the toys when he was sleeping. But now, he had a chance to learn to share and it seemed to go over very well. Something to remember when we eventually have kids. This is my first comment/stopping by and I look forward to reading many more Frugal Fives!

    Bert

    1. Thank you!! It was a lot more work than whisking the stuff away overnight, but I’m hoping that some of it will stick as he grows up 🙂

  14. Way to go girl! What an awesome week. I’m so excited for you to help build the future of your community. I’m super jealous of how friendly and connected your neighborhood is too. Ours are all “hi nice to see you please don’t talk to me tho” haha That’s great the kiddo was so on board with sharing and teaching. It’s an important lesson, you guys are bringing up a pretty stellar human 🙂

    Does the SweatCoin thing track even if the app isn’t open? BC I don’t want to constantly kill my battery, but hey to earn a few bucks a month just for doing what I do… worth it. And if they track my GPS all they’ll know is that I basically don’t go anywhere but work, the grocery store, and my house lolz I’m a marketer’s nightmare.

    1. Yeah, our neighborhood is pretty freaking fantastic. And I guess Sweatcoin only tracks outside steps, and the app has to be on (though you can put it into batter saving mode). Not perfect, but I’m all for a couple extra bucks for no extra effort 😉

  15. This whole thing is awesome! Congrats on your public position, I hope to do that someday in some aspect. I can’t believe your food costs so much! Normal bananas here are $.52 and I’m ticked if a bell pepper is over $.70! Even when we were in Spokane the prices weren’t crazy. That would drive me nuts! I’m hoping our new HOA lets me put up some railing planters so I can grow some stuff on our balcony. All I know is when we save up some money to buy a house, it’s going to have a big fat garden! Congrats again, that’s great!

    1. Thank you!! And yes – the food costs around here are absolutely crazy. I think back to how little we spent living in South Carolina, and realize that isn’t a fair comparison because the prices are so different.

  16. Great that you’re taking a role with an active involvement with the city! I’ve always wanted to get involved with grassroots community efforts. Probably something to do after FIRE!

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