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.
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!
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.
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.