This week went by in an absolute blur. We’ve had a ton to do around the house and I have a commission meeting this week as well, which makes for some long evenings. I don’t regret saying yes to the position, but it certainly makes some weeks a little bit crazy.

I haven’t had hardly any down time, so I’m going to keep the Frugal Five short this week. Short, but I’m still sticking to my regular posting schedule because I know that if I allow myself to skip a post or two I’ll lose this momentum of writing two times a week. This blog may be a hobby and not a business, but it’s a hobby I very much enjoy and want to keep it up, even if a particular week feels a bit overwhelming. With that, onto the Five.

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. Saturday was the first car free day we’d had in quite a while, and it was awesome. Before I had our son, I took the bus, ran, or biked to work at least a couple days a week, but since having him, it’s been hard to manage more than once a week. I definitely miss the days of being less tethered to my car, but that’s one downside of living in the neighborhood we do. We have awesome trails behind our house, amazing neighbors, and a grocery store and a few other shops a few blocks away, but anything more than that requires a trip off “The Hill,” which usually means getting in the car. With enough time and flexibility, we can walk or take the bus, but we usually don’t have the time for that.

Long, but pretty walk

Our son’s preschool that he attends two days a week isn’t right near my work, so that drop off/pick up adds maybe 6 miles to the round trip plus a more convoluted bus schedule. If he went to the preschool nearest to my work, the cost would be double (and we aren’t even at a cheap location – he’s at a great Montessori, it’s just a little ways outside of downtown). Though if he were there, it would be about a thousand times easier to leave my car at home on those days. All of which is a round about way to say that being car free on Saturday was absolutely fabulous, and I want to figure out a way to bring more of those days into my life, partially for the environmental and financial benefits of not driving, but also because I just hate driving. I can’t wait for the day I can give up driving altogether.

2. While I’m talking about the cost of childcare, I want to include something in my Frugal Five this week that’s a frugal win of a lifetime, not just this week. My mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law watch our son a combined three days a week, which is why we only pay for two days a preschool.

If we had been paying for full time childcare when I was looking at reducing my hours at work, I’m not sure I would have done it. While we have a quite a buffer now financially that would still make sense even with that increased cost, we were spending quite a bit more that first year of our son’s life and it would have felt pretty daunting to reduce my income, even though it’s worked out to be one of the very best things I’ve ever done.

Not only is this a MASSIVE cost savings, but it’s also irreplaceable in terms of the connection our son has with his grandmothers. And really, that is worth more than any dollar amount.

Park time with Nana

3. It’s rained a couple of times this past week, so we haven’t had to water the garden, saving both money and water on our utility bill. At the same time, we’ve been harvesting strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, garlic scapes, kale, and snow peas, so the garden has been a net positive financially this month, especially since most of our recent harvest has been of perennials that take very little maintenance at this point. If you’re new to starting a garden, know that down the line it gets a LOT more rewarding in terms of hours/financial input compared to output of produce.

4. My friend and I walked to happy hour on Monday night, and we made it to the restaurant with just twelve minutes to spare. We got going a little later than we probably should have, so we had to speed walk there, but it turned out to be a good workout along the way. We had a fabulous dinner paired with a drink for just $20 each, which is pretty awesome considering the quality of the restaurant we went to. I am such a huge fan of happy hours because you can get better food for less money than you would at a typical chain restaurant outside of happy hour.

5. I forgot my lunch yet again this week. You’d think by now it would be a habit, but no, my wonderful leftovers were left in the fridge at home (though I did finally eat them on Thursday – success!). But thanks to a stash of emergency food on hand – Moneyscrap does a great job of describing it here – I did have a can of soup to feed me for that day instead of going out to eat. I had already gone out to grab lunch one time this week (the second time in eight months), so I absolutely couldn’t allow myself to buy take out again.

Excellent leftovers – home grown snow peas and garlic scapes

While in the grand scheme of things, an extra lunch out won’t totally derail our savings goals, we have a tendency to way overspend on food and I know that it would be way too easy to let it slide overall. I have no problem spending a bit more money on food than is absolutely frugal, but it needs to be an intentional choice, not just because I forgot my lunch.

Running Update

It’s the final week of The Smart FI‘s June Challenge, and it’s going to be close whether or not I hit the lofty goal of 500,000 steps this month, but Saturday’s 32,000+ steps definitely helped. I may not have run over the weekend, but hiking up our hill definitely counted as exercise.

I did run on both Monday and Wednesday, though not to work. I finally feel like I’m getting into a real routine of regular exercise again that’s more than just one day a week and some walks besides, and it feels great. Wednesday was a 45 minute run and it wasn’t a big deal at all. I’d love to work back up to a half marathon again some day, but for now, I just don’t have the time to commit for regular long (8-10+ mile) runs. Regardless, I’m very happy with where I’m at and that running is no longer an afterthought where I feel guilty for taking the time over some other commitment.

How good are you at “self care” time? How do you make sure to work it into your weekly routine?

35 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 26)

  1. the 5 is here. i stop everything i’m doing when it comes in. nice job on the running routine. i just continue the dog runs which include walking and stopping and sniffing. he’s not too embarrassed when i do it, though. our berries are formed but not yet purple, but the currants are usually ready about now. i better check.

    1. That’s high praise indeed, thank you 🙂 Ooh what kind of currants do you have?

      1. they’re red but kinda seedy like the grapes. i make them into italian ice where the seeds are strained out. i like black better and they’re super easy to grow. you just cut a foot of new growth and pop the twig in the ground and they’ll grown in crappy spots like shady area that aren’t good for much else. the black ones are illegal to grow in some states due to a fungus that threatens pines.

      2. Hmmm didn’t realize they could grow in the shade – I’m going to have to look into that!

  2. We can’t raise anything here except herbs, the deer just eat everything including tomato plants before anything gets grown. But my wife did give it a game try for years. Now we just sit in the backyard and watch the deer eat the flowers and plants in our yard. Our dogs just lie on the lawn asleep, they have figured out they can’t catch a grown deer and they don’t like veggies so deer aren’t on their to do list any more. But keep up the running, we are in our sixties and still pound out 18 miles a week in addition to many hours of tennis and hiking.

    1. We RARELY see deer in our area, so thankfully we haven’t had to deal with that. My parents recently moved somewhere with quite a lot of deer though, so it will be interesting to see how their garden fares once they finally get to it.

  3. I ate my last emergency can of soup a few weeks ago and it’s really time to replenish my stash of emergency “help I have no leftovers to eat for lunch” options at home/work. Frozen pizza is great for dinner but not so much for lunch at work haha.

    I never go out anymore but yep, happy hour is the best for the rare occasions I do!

    1. I am reasonably good at least making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to take to work when I don’t have leftovers, but the emergency stash is great for days I don’t want to / forget to bring something.

  4. Way to go on the car free Saturday, you have been really making a great effort to keep your body moving and engaging the family while doing so. For your son’s pre-school is it possible to look into pull behind bike carriage? Could run double duty as a grocery hauler 🙂

    1. The problem with the preschool idea is that it involves two giant hills, plus one not so safe road. Though I have considered that with a bus part way to make it more feasible.

  5. The friend I have girl’s nights with and I also tend to watch the specials. One of our go to places has a dollar burger night, which lets us do our night out much more reasonably than a regular menu night. They also have half off appetizers til 7 that night, so that helps too.

    I really don’t miss the constant trying to have extra food stash at work and remembering leftovers or meal prepped items for lunches. Another perk of an employee dining room and ability to go check labels and find recipes to deal with sensativities that comes with working in a kitchen. You are an inspiration on keeping up the posting schedule. I slid on Tuesday, today’s will be out today.

    1. My Friday posts certainly help with sticking to a posting schedule – they are fun and usually pretty easy to write, since they are more or less a recap of my week 🙂

  6. I was lucky this week, I only had to remember to bring lunch twice! I was at a conference for the rest of the week with lunch provided:)
    $20 for food and a drink is really good and a nice little break.
    Thanks for the mention Angela:) Have a great week-end

    1. Those are the best kinds of weeks! I’m totally jealous of the people who have food covered at work every day.

  7. I forget my lunch all the time! Haha and I also have a propensity to overspend on food, so I feel your pain.

    Also, that 500k goal is awesome. Definitely been paying more attention to the self care time lately, trying to get myself to run or in the gym 3x a week. Best of luck on the steps!

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is constantly forgetting their lunch haha. You’d think it would be second nature by now, but no.

  8. Ah! That is so awesome that your parents help with childcare. All that extra bonding time is so special. My parents live in the house next door to us, and I love that my children get to run between our two houses whenever they want. As a result, they are really close with their grandparents.

    Good luck getting your 500,000 steps in!

    1. Awww that is so awesome that your parents live next door! My grandmother lived with us from the time I was 9 months old (and still lives with my parents now), and we have such a close relationship because we spent so much time together over the years. Really irreplaceable.

    1. I would LOVE to get 8-10 mile runs in, but I just don’t see it happening. Will definitely let you know if I do though!

      1. Let’s all train for a half sometime soon! 🙂 It is also too hot where I live to run 8-10 miles in the summer with any sort of comfort. Fall is the best running season here in my corner of the Midwest. I did get out for 5 miles yesterday and it was amazing.

      2. That would be awesome to all train together! Maybe I can figure out a way to stretch a couple of my runs a bit longer 🤔

      3. Let’s do it! Fall race! You’re already running 6 miles to work sometimes, right? That’s a solid base foundation to start from. Add in a couple 8-10 mile runs and we’re set.

      4. Yep, more or less every week. Actually squeezed in an hour run today! And I probably could run a half now, though it wouldn’t be easy haha.

    1. It’s totally lovely. But yes, the hill definitely gets in the way of easy non-motorized vehicle trips.

  9. Nice job being frugal while busy with life. We haven’t been frugal lately. Summer is a bit more spendy because there are so many things to do. 🙂 I’ll be more frugal once school starts.

    1. That’s why ultimately my savings goal is for all of 2018 – there’s natural fluctuations in our spending throughout the year, and it *should* all even out.

  10. I love the emergency food concept! I definitely keep peanut butter in my desk, and work has snacks that I can usually pair with that if I forget something. Sounds like you’re improving in the food spending department though…happy hours, garden harvests, etc.

    1. I actually just ran out of my jar of peanut butter this week, so it’s time to replace it! I’ve really been loving peanut butter & honeycrisp apples lately, especially because they don’t take any effort to pack 😉

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