After a pretend spring where we had a few lovely sunny days in the 60s (and one amazing one that hit 70), we’re back into the rain and gloom for the foreseeable future. I’m usually pretty okay with the weather we get in the northwest, as it’s generally not ever too hot or too cold to do things outdoors, but this time of year I’m just over the damp and ready for spring. Alas, the rain will likely be sticking around for another two months yet.
Okay, now that I have that whining out of my system, on to this week’s Frugal Five. Sometimes I feel like I have to struggle to come up with this list, but this week I could have listed at least twice as many. Always feels like a successful week when that happens 🙂
1. My friend and I have a tradition of giving each other homemade gifts for Christmas, but this year instead of her creating something new, I asked her to just repair the unpaper towels she’d sewed for us a few years ago. They’d started to fray pretty badly and the terry cloth was separating from the pretty top fabric, so she took them home with her to clean them up.
While she would have been more than happy to make me new ones, the old ones still had plenty of life in them, and I see nothing wrong with “reused” gifts. Plus this way we’re continuing the life of the fabric instead of tossing them into the landfill when they still have years left of use in them. My friend’s in school full time right now along with full time work, so the Christmas present showed up months later, but that’s not a problem at all in my book. I’d much rather have the handmade gift later than a quick store bought “well I had to get you something” gift any day. Yes, we could do away with gift giving all together, but we like doing it, so I don’t expect that tradition to go away any time soon.
2. Easter was last weekend, and similar to our Christmas traditions, our holidays aren’t so much about stuff. Our son gets Easter baskets from both grandmothers and his great grandmother, so we don’t give him one at home. So far, he hasn’t noticed that he’s missing out on anything (though this may change as he gets older).
Easter morning saw a breakfast of chocolate chip banana pancakes and then off to church. After nap time, we headed over to my in laws for a big family dinner and the Easter egg hunt. Even though our son was only two last year, he remembers that Easter egg hunt! We put one or two chocolate chips per egg and he remembers it as the best thing ever. So this year, I knew the one thing I needed to do was fill some plastic eggs.
I kept the eggs from last year, so I just pulled them out of the cabinet to reuse them this year. Mixing it up though (and so he’d get less sugar), I filled them with whatever we had around the house: stickers, temporary tattoos, raisins, popcorn, a mandarin orange, and yes, even some chocolate chips. Again, it was his favorite part of Easter, and it didn’t cost us a thing.
3. Since Easter dinner was at our in laws, we didn’t do any food prep that day, but we did bring some fresh spring garlic from the garden as a garnish for the meal. We’re really lucky that both our moms like hosting for the holidays, so we don’t have to do more than just show up and sometimes bring a side dish. We do enjoy hosting parties, but the more laid back ones that aren’t connected to a holiday, for whatever reason, so we’ll leave the holidays to our mothers.
4. I finished planting onion starts over the weekend and got quite a bit of weeding done as well. It’s still early in the year, but the garden is starting to get going again beyond just the kale and spring garlic. The hops have started to push through the soil, but so had a TON of weeds around them, so I had to do quite a bit of work on that raised bed. I need to do some mulching, but I’m considering looking for someone who might be giving away some free wood chips, because I’m really focused on keeping the garden costs down this year. Growing your own food can be a big money saver, or it can be an expensive hobby, depending on how you go about it. Working on mine being a frugal one.
5. I didn’t buy lunch out again this week. My meals weren’t anything terribly exciting, just a mix of oatmeal, sandwiches, fruit, and leftovers, but work has been extra busy this past month, so I’m really just glad to have avoided the siren call of the take out lunch (plus at least we were fed at some of the long meetings).
Also, I ate some yogurt from someone else in the office because it was a couple days past the best by date and would have been thrown out otherwise. According to my research online, yogurt is supposedly good for 1-2 weeks past the expiration date, and it tasted fine (the bigger test, in my opinion), so I got to mix up part of my lunch and kept some food from ending up in the landfill. Win, win.
How do you feel about expiration dates? Do you pay attention to them to the letter, or are you more “adventurous” like me?