If you hadn’t seen her countdown in the comments over the last few posts, Budget Epicurean will be in town this weekend! Blog friends turned real life friends are the absolute best. She’s never been to this area before, and I’m looking forward to showing her around so she can see how awesome the Pacific Northwest is (thanks weather, for cooperating).

We will be wine tasting, hiking, cooking together, and enjoying the beautiful weather. Maybe I’ll never convince her that the Northwest is better than the Southeast, but I’ll certainly try.

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. Now that we’re into May, I’m officially 14 months into my clothing ban. While my goal was to simply make it one full year, I haven’t needed to buy anything new, so I’m going to continue this for as long as possible. I will need to buy some underwear this year, but now I’m thinking about waiting until I can get a gift card from credit card rewards and then use that to buy some. I’ll still be purchasing something new, but at least I won’t be spending any money in the process.

Why do I still have – and use – a credit card that gives me somewhat subpar rewards compared to the travel hacking I’ve started? It’s my oldest card (and oldest of anything on my credit report, as my student loans were in my father’s name), so I will keep that card open and used pretty much forever, though I don’t use it much at all these days. I figure in a few months though I’ll have enough saved up for a $50 gift card to Target or Macy’s, which will be plenty to replace my underwear stash (and hopefully mean that I’ll be able to otherwise extend my clothing ban into the foreseeable future).

2. We headed to Leavenworth last weekend for the first time since last September. It’s one of our favorite weekend destinations outside of the Olympic Peninsula, but we generally don’t drive over the pass in the winter due to less than awesome road conditions.

We had gotten a Christmas gift from a couple of family members of a hotel stay in Leavenworth for back in February, but we hadn’t been able to use it then due to work conflicts. We ended up staying at the KOA in one of their small cabins (just beds, no toilet or kitchen) because we brought our dogs and wanted a place for them to hang out when we went into town for part of the time. We don’t bring them to busy areas with us because our one dog gets anxious around crowds and they’d rather just hang out in the quiet.

Because we stayed at a considerably cheaper place than the original hotel room (central downtown versus one mile outside of town), the Christmas present money covered our lodging, gas, and a good portion of our food and drink for the trip. We don’t mind walking, so staying a little bit further away isn’t a big deal, plus the KOA campground has a great playground and river access as well as a nice off-leash dog area and a pool in the warmer months, so it works really well for our family. Other than the distance, it’s superior to most of the hotels downtown as far as amenities go.

3. We went to visit some friends on Tuesday before they moved away, and our son got to bring home a little guitar that they weren’t taking with them. While I’m generally working on decluttering our home and minimizing the toys in our house, the guitar is a worthwhile one in my opinion and other toys can leave instead. I like the idea of tracking the objects we declutter from our home so that there is a sense of how much you’ve actually gotten rid of, but I haven’t done that yet.

4. The weather has been pretty great most of this week and our son has had a ton of time to play outside with the neighbor kids. I’ve written before about how great the community on our street is, and it’s clear that benefit will just continue to grow as our son gets older. While he’s not quite old enough to run down the street by himself to go find his friend, it won’t be long before he’ll be able to do that in the security of our tight knit community on our dead end street.

While they’re young, his parents and ours (and a few other families) can trade off keeping eyes on the little ones so we can run out for a minute without packing them up to go. It’s times like that I really feel the strength of our community and know we don’t ever want to move.

5. We got our tax refund check! We’ve had to pay a couple thousand dollars each of the past few years, but thanks to larger charitable contributions and more savings to retirement accounts, we didn’t end up owing this year even though we made a little bit more money. While I’d like to get a little bit closer to zero, it was pretty awesome to deposit an extra $570 check into our account this month. I do need to revisit our withholding this year though to make sure we stay on track to be close to zero for our 2018 tax return. With the new tax code, I don’t want to accidentally way over pay throughout the year and end up with a large refund next year. A small one is really nice, but a large one is money I would rather control throughout the year.

What are some of your frugal successes this week? I love celebrating the little wins all the time, because those add up to be big things over time.

33 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 18)

  1. That looked like a beautiful view on your trip!

    Just curious, does it matter for credit wise keeping your oldest card intact? Looking at starting to travel back soon so want to make sure I know the ins and outs!

    1. Yep! It helps extend the average age of all your accounts which is better for your score. So I’ve got a card I opened in college that I only put one tiny monthly charge on just to keep the account open.

      1. Exactly! And we didn’t open credit cards until 21 so our average age of cards isn’t as good as some of our friends who got cards right at 18.

    2. It’s a beautiful little town and the views are stunning year round. And yes, length of credit matters when it comes to calculating your credit score.

  2. It’s awesome you’ve made new friends through blogging! Sounds like you have a fun weekend ahead.

    Leavenworth looks super nice from your pictures. I’d be tempted to spend most weekends there with that scenery!

    1. Blog friends are so much fun 🙂

      The scenery is so incredible. The awesome thing about the Pacific Northwest is there are so many fabulous nature spots within a couple hours’ drive.

      1. I’m pretty sure you mentioned something about ‘may not convince your blog friend to move’. With that scenery, can’t imagine it takes much convincing!

      2. Well, we do have quite a bit of gloom and rain in the fall/winter/spring, so it’s not great for someone who needs the sun. But I agree – hard to beat our natural areas.

    1. For good reason – hard to beat the views there. And yes, those two boys are adorable together.

  3. BE, don’t fall for her PNW propaganda! Also soooooooooo jealous of your weekend together and wish I could be there 😭 But glad I can meet you (and let’s be real, your kiddo) in a few weeks!

    Ooh, that river view is GORGEOUS.

    Hah nope, love my $1900 tax refund! But in your case I can totally see how you’d want more of that money throughout the year. Personal finance is personal, after all 😉

    1. Good thing the weather cooperated and it has be absolutely GORGEOUS here 😉

  4. washington state wine is just great. a lot of people don’t know that, but the syrah is especially world class. that’s a great picture of those kids, a keeper. i made it to my work treadmill 3 days this week, so there’s that. i want to type 4 or 5 times in the gym this time next week. accountability, eh? how did you do?

    1. Oh it is – why we spent the afternoon yesterday in Woodinville at the wineries (via bus, of course). Only 2 runs so far this week, but 20k+ steps yesterday and close to that today. Maybe a run tomorrow if I’m lucky.

  5. Loving this frugal five list! 🙂

    The part about finding a nice community that supports each other and watches out for each other’s kids is awesome.

    Does using your oldest card actually help keep it active and with good credit or is that a myth? Because a part of me was thinking that if a credit card’s benefits are really low compared to newer ones, there’s no need to use it anymore?

    Curious 🤔 lol


    1. Nope, not a myth! Credit longevity is a part of what makes up your score.

  6. That’s awesome that you are so tight with your neighbors. We have my parents living right next door. It’s so nice for my kids to be able to run back and forth between our two houses. Handy for when I need a sitter for a quick errand, too!

    P. S. How fun that you get to meet up with a blogging friend in real life!!!

    1. That is so awesome that your parents live next door!! Though if that were the case we would never see our son lol.

      And having her in town was AWESOME.

  7. Those pics are awesome, I looove the Olympic Peninsula! Humidity and mistiness aren’t so bad when they’re not packaged with 95 degree temps like we have here in the DC region. It’s so nice

    1. Yeah, there are few places I like better than the Olympic Peninsula 🙂

  8. Who doesn’t love a brand new pair on undies, for free?
    I’m low key excited for when you get that gift card haha!

    My frugal win for this week was finally perfecting my make-at-home Starbucks matcha latte! I failed at it terrible many times and finally being able to make one that was decent was super!

    Lovely post as always! You and your little family make me excited to have my own family one day <3

    1. Ha yeah though I’m a little annoyed that I will have to break my shopping ban at some point because that’s something you don’t get as a hand me down 😉

      And well done on the make at home latte! Alas my at home coffees are never QUITE as good as our local coffee shop, which makes it that much harder not to go very often.

  9. I love Leavenworth. We are currently planning a summer trip there for this summer. You got pretty close to zero with your taxes. Nice work. I’m having trouble and don’t really know where to start for next years taxes. With the decrease in tax rate mixed with the elimination of exemptions and doubling of the standard deduction, figuring out what I may owe next year very difficult.

    1. Have fun!! We go a couple times a year at least 🙂 And I hear you on not having a clue about 2018 taxes. I should probably work on that at some point seeing as it is already May…

  10. After my spending fast I found myself being so much more intentional with every purchase especially non-work attire. Today, I bought two new nightgowns and I felt practically gluttonous but the one I own (the others having disintegrated) is so thin I am worried it will soon have to go into the trash too. Don’t wait too long on the undies! BTW, I lived in Portland for 3 years. It was nice and I still have friends there but I think I am an east coast girl.

    1. Yeah, I’m definitely going to need to pull the trigger sooner than later. Funny how much my mindset has changed and how I now rebel against the idea of having to buy ANYTHING new. Portland is lovely, but I’m partial to Washington State 😉

  11. Awesome list as always! Way to stay cheap to get the rest of your trip paid for! I’m currently tagging along on a friend’s work trip, so its been basically free for me! And we’ve been exploring the remote far north in my state.

    1. Oh that’s awesome to get to tag along! Mini retirement perk for sure 🙂

  12. Your pictures from Leavenworth look like paintings, they are gorgeous!!!

    I love the sense of strong community on your street. I am friendly with a few of my neighbors, but I wouldn’t describe us as “tight knit” and I really would like to be. The shy introvert in me makes it difficult to go up to neighbors and start up small talk conversations, but I know that’s what needs to happen to change things. And that picture of your son with his friend is absolutely precious.

    1. The good news is there are a few of us extroverts on the street that goes a long way with connecting our community 🙂 And Leavenworth really does look like a painting! Part of why we love visiting so much.

  13. I have never been to the PNW and every time you post another picture from a camping trip I am simply *amazed*. One day I will have to get out there, but it may not be for a while…

    I feel like there surely is beautiful nature not too far from Philly that I need to explore, but it doesn’t seem the same as what you have!

    1. Not super close to Philly, but Young FIRE Knight posts a TON of awesome hikes within reasonable distance of DC. Closer to you, anyway?

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