I know I talk about community and friends and family quite a lot, but life is really about the people we share it with, and those connections are ultimately what matter most to me. Having your finances in order, a softer footprint on the planet, and lots of time to travel and explore don’t mean a lot without a true community, at least in my perspective.
Perhaps this is my relentless extrovert self talking, but I don’t think so. Most of human history we have lived in community groups much more closely knit than today, and I think that has value for a lot more than just simple physical survival. And with that, I’ll get back on track to talk about this week’s Frugal Five with my take on why so many of these are centered on experiences, not things.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Last weekend I spent Saturday afternoon and evening over at our neighbor’s house to watch their kids while they went to an important one time event. We’d been over on Thursday when I found out that the husband wouldn’t get to go support the wife at her event because there wasn’t anyone to watch their kids due to a last minute schedule change. So I stepped in to help and hung out with the kids so they could go.
It was their oldest daughter’s 12th birthday, and while they had celebrated earlier in the day, I wanted to do something extra special for her and we made homemade pizzas just like my son’s birthday back in February. It was a little hectic and crazy making pizzas with six kids 12 and under, but it was totally worth it as well. And trading help back and forth is just one part of what makes our neighborhood so special. It takes a village to raise kids, and we have our own little one here. (As I’m writing this, my son is hanging out across the street “helping” another neighbor with his yard.
2. We finished up a new community at work and had a celebration lunch at the property. The food is always excellent, and it curbs some of my cravings for take out lunches during the week. A few coworkers ended up not being able to attend, so not everything gotten eaten that day, which mean I got another free lunch thanks to leftovers. The salad was a tiny bit soggy, but with the best dressing I’ve ever tasted, I didn’t mind one bit. It’s one of those salads that you’d have to pay $10-$12 for, and it’s worth every penny (in the days of me buying lunch, that is).
One work bonus that isn’t often calculated in people’s savings rates / FI number is the free food provided, but it’s a serious boon in my opinion. Of course, this depends on the frequency and quality of what’s provided, but it’s one of my favorite perks outside of the actual job part.
3. After having that amazing dinner at the Korean restaurant in Portland last month, I’ve been thinking about that bimbap rice bowl. So when we were at the Asian grocery this past weekend, we picked up some thin sliced beef ribs and some marinade and made our own one night. Bulgogi beef, fried egg, kimchi, and spring garlic (from the garden) over some rice. It was AWESOME, cheap, and a meal that we will definitely repeat. I’m now dreaming of having a dinner party with this recipe, but all the moving parts would make it a little bit more work to scale up to a crowd, though not impossible.
4. Another night this week we went over to my parents’ house and had dinner with them. The dinner was simple, cobbled together with leftovers and easy to make foods, but it was the time with family that was the important park. We went for a walk beforehand and generally enjoyed the warm, sunny weather.
As much as we love living in the Pacific Northwest, the biggest anchor that keeps us here is our ability to see our families regularly, and that our son has such close relationships with his grandmothers, grandfathers, great grandmother, and myriad aunts and uncles.
5. I was at the library twice this week switching out bags of library books for our son. He asks us to read so many books to him that the variety of the library is needed and is such a better option than the cost (and space needs) that comes from owning that many books.
We had to return one of his recent favorites, No Kimchi For Me*, because there was a hold on it, but he was eventually okay with putting it in the bag to go back so other kids could get to read it. I’m always torn about buying copies of the books he loves best from the library, but there are quite a few of them, and we can always check them out again later. Plus, I believe there is value in him understanding that the library is about sharing resources so that everyone gets a turn.
Side note: I did get to run twice this week so far, plus I got in a weight lifting workout and some hikes through the woods. I’m hopeful that I’ll squeeze in another short one either today or over the weekend, but I’ve definitely upped my activity level the past few weeks.
Do you make time for regular exercise? If so, how do you make sure to get that time in every week?
*Amazon affiliate link.