Again I packed way too much into this week, both during the weekend and on the weekdays. Even during weeks where I don’t have a lot planned, we seem to have very few days where we are just hanging at home. For the most part, that’s the way I like to do life – purposefully busy – but then sometimes I have to remind myself to say no once and a while (saying no didn’t happen this week).

I get the question a lot about how I seem to do so much, and the answer is that I really don’t have much down time at all. I don’t watch television pretty much ever, which certainly helps, and my house and car are never spotless, even when we have friends over. Unless it’s a top priority, I generally settle for *good enough*, which is also why I’m working toward decluttering clothes and other household items so there’s just less of that busy work to do in the first place.

Even so, if you could find me another 5-10 hours in the week, I can think up plenty of ways to fill them (and most wouldn’t be filled with low key activities). After listening to the Afford Anything episode on time tracking, I’m really considering tracking my time for a full week. Has anyone done this? Curious how much more time I could “find” that could then perhaps go to squeezing in an extra workout or two each week.

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. As soon as my son got home on Tuesday afternoon, he headed straight down to our neighbors’ house to play with his friends. It turned out that they were having a birthday party for one of their sons and invited us to join them last minute for pizza, noodles, and cake. I got to try some sweet potato noodles for the first time, and they were so freaking good, especially with kimchi. I forgot to get the name of the brand, but they are definitely going on my list for our next trip to Uwajimaya (our local-ish Asian grocery).

Way better than it looks

There were about a dozen kids over, so I invited them all up to our house for a minute to pick blueberries, strawberries, and tomatoes to add to the dinner (plus grab a large cucumber from the farmers market I’d meant to eat). The pink blueberries were especially a hit because almost no one has seen them before and so they’re extra fun to pick and eat. A number of the kids had never dug potatoes before so I decided to have them help harvest some of those as well.

I could keep most of our garden harvest for ourselves by canning and preserving the quantity we can’t consume fresh, but I find so much joy in sharing with others that we don’t usually end up with too much left over. Don’t get me wrong, I do love having produce left over for winter that I’ve grown myself, but I won’t hold back sharing it fresh if there is someone to share it with. Plus, the taste of just picked is just so much better than any kind of preservation method.

2. I finally had a successful Lime Bike trip! My son and I got dropped off near preschool by my husband a bit early one morning and we shared a coffee shop breakfast before I sent him off for the day. Preschool is a little under three miles from work, so I need a good amount of time to walk or time the bus schedule right to get to work on time.

The night before I’d checked the Lime bike app and noted that there was a bike available nearby (NOT an e-bike after the fiasco a few weeks ago) and figured if it was still there in the morning I’d take it. It was, and it was SO much faster to get to work that way. I’m waffling about getting a bike again, or perhaps an e-bike, but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet since they are so expensive. In the interim, I’ve really enjoyed the couple times I’ve gotten to use a bike share. One can only hope they get popular enough they’re accessible to me more often than they are right now, because they’re very much hit or miss at the moment.

**If Lime Bike is in your neighborhood, and you haven’t signed yet but are considering it, here is a link to three free rides**
E-bike fail

3. After saying for a good month or more that I needed to have more work lunch options in my office, I loaded up on cans of soup and oatmeal. I still need to get back into the habit of bringing meals specifically for lunch. As long as it’s as hot as it’s been lately, we’ve been minimizing the amount of cooking we’re doing and don’t end up with a lot of leftovers from dinner.

My lunches as of late have maybe not been the most exciting, but as they cost perhaps $1-$3 and require no thought on my end, they’re working for now. Again, part of how I’m able to do so much within a given week is sometimes to let something slide, which this apparently has been fancy packed lunches for work.

A coworker did bring in zucchini blueberry muffins her sister had made one day, and they made a delightful addition to my lunch that afternoon. Note to self, time to get back to baking as soon as it starts cooling down.

I will never turn down home baked goods from coworkers

4. I earned another $5 Amazon gift card through my regular Bing searches. I know a lot of people much prefer Google for searches, but using Bing earns me about $5/month, so I’ll keep using them. It is funny though how even as we are saving a significant portion of our incomes, I still get so much satisfaction over transferring that $5 gift card to my Amazon account to use toward our next online purchase.

5. I had two more no spend days this week, which makes five so far for the month (and another day where I spent all of $3). I’d like to up this number for the second half of the month, but it seems like we’ve constantly had something to pay for whatever reason. This doesn’t mean we’re spending MORE necessarily, just that I haven’t done as good of a job as in the past bunching purchases.

However, the no spend days I have had really do give me pause when I consider making a non essential purchase on any given day. More than once I’ve not made a smaller purchase just because I want to see that $0 on my tracking sheet. These may not always add up to huge numbers, but it’s the mindfulness it creates that has made a significant impact to my spending.

Running Update

I managed to run three days back to back Monday – Wednesday this week and fit in a weight lifting workout on Tuesday as well. I seem to have gotten into a routine now where three days a week is a pretty reasonable number of runs logged, so now I’m scheming as to how I can fit in a fourth one with any regularity. This may mean getting up when my husband does at 5AM during the week to go for a short one before the kiddo wakes up, but I haven’t quite decided I want to give up that extra half hour or hour of sleep yet.

How do you manage your time? Are there certain things you absolutely make time for? If so, how do you do it?

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

  1. I’ve never actually tracked my time before but I’d be really interested to see how it turns out! The time spent commuting/at work could get depressing haha but maybe I need to do that in the future.

    Awesome job on the running!! The “should I wake up earlier and sacrifice some sleep” debate is one I have often 😂

    1. A little bit, but yes! Just sign in and use their search engine. Easy peasy and I get about $60/year doing it.

  2. I track time daily at my job down to 15 minutes – this is to bill clients but it does have upsides. It’ll definitely show you just how much productive work actually gets done, but it can kind of be a PITA. I’ve tried doing it for blog work/freelancing but since I have to do it every day already it gets old. Try it for a week and see how it goes!

    P.S. I have never seen a pink blueberry but that and the rest of the harvest sounds phenomenal!

    1. Every 15 minutes billing forever sounds like a serious PITA. Hopefully you usually work on one project for much larger blocks of time.

      I share pictures of the pink blueberries on Instagram if you’re curious!

  3. While maybe slightly off from the topic of how to manage time, I find that there are things I want to do but then simply forget about them! So I started using Remember The Milk app as a simple way to add things to my list and to schedule and reschedule them. There is always time to fit something in when it is on your radar!

    My wife is the master at tracking time – she’s done it forever and *somehow* tracks almost every minute of every day. I need to get her to write a blog post about it.

    I’ve yet to try Lime, but I subscribe to Citibike in New York City and use it quite a bit to skip the subway fare! Was in Houston last week and tried out their B-Cycle, which was cool and only cost $3.

    1. Make sure to tag me on Twitter if you get her to write that post! I’d be very interested in reading it.

  4. Time management is so hard for me. I find I’m most productive at a task when I’m doing it instead of something else I also need to be doing…ha. Trying to remember that having it all together all the time is pretty much impossible.

    Congrats on the running! I’m seeing your consistency rebuild over time! 🙂

    1. I do really well with strict deadlines, but then there are plenty of things that don’t have them and I get sidetracked then.

      And yes running more and more consistently has certainly been paying off.

  5. we’ve been lucky and mindful not to need time management at this point in our lives. it’s all been by design with an eye toward the future starting many years ago. we’re finishing up a week off where we haven’t really needed a watch or clock. i didn’t even realize it was friday until i was up for a couple of hours today and thought “this sure beats working.” i like the concept of “good enough.” i think it applies to a lot of areas of life. ok, amiga, back to vacation for me.

    1. “Good enough” is where I’ve been functioning for the most part, and I don’t think I’d ever want to regularly track time, I’m curious enough I think I may do if for that week.

  6. It’s great that you’re getting consistent! I’ve found banning activities for periods of time has worked better for me. But tracking is helpful if you’re not sure where you can cut back.

    Sounds like you’re busy with your regular life with the added flurry of warm weather season. I find I’m always busier than in winter. Which is when I hibernate to do hobbies and recover!

    1. We do a lot of traveling in the off season, but you’re right, for whatever reason the summer months are always jam packed full of things.

  7. I would be VERY afraid to track my time. Which means I should probably do it haha. And as busy as I always feel, at least I don’t have a kid (or partner), so I have no idea how you do it 🙈

    Hah I’m such a purchase bundling cheater for no spend challenges. It also doesn’t help that my regular style of grocery shopping is going most days to buy one or two things since I’m RIGHT THERE anyway whenever I work out. I haven’t done one of those in a while so I should probably do one again and see how/if things have changed in the last few months.

    1. I think having a kid forces you to be a bit better with your time, because I was so busy before but still somehow found time to have a kid haha. That being said, I see friends a LOT less than I used to.

  8. You are doing an amazing job. This week, I shopped two days out of the week. If I had done some better meal planning, I could have avoided it. So my goal for this week is to make a meal chart and stick to it. Thanks for always providing wonderful ideas and insights.

    1. I look back at last year and I can’t believe we went to the grocery store almost every single day. That doesn’t HAVE to be bad, but we certainly spend more the more days we go.

  9. We tried tracking our no spend days previously, but found it hard to stay committed to the effort. We also have debated on whether paying bills counts against a no spend day. Pretty much all of our bills are automated (direct debit or credit card), so we don’t really control when those expenses hit.

    My in-laws are living with us for while the house they bought down the street is being renovated. Mother in law cooks many nights, so I always have leftovers to take to work. I’m definitely very lucky! Even when she is not around, we try really hard to have enough left overs every night so that I have something to take to work.


    1. I’ve been tracking my expenses for over 2 years on a simple chart in Word. Like you, my bills are automated, so I put a box beside the daily chart with the electricity, gas, water etc added under the month the money gets taken out. I find that the chart works brilliantly for keeping my spending bunched up and intentional. For every week I spend on 3 days or less… I award myself a silver box. My aim is to have more than 50% of my weeks as silver ones in 2018..
      I blogged about it a while ago. Just scroll down until you get to the screenshot – it’ll make what I’m saying here a lot clearer. It’s morning here and I still haven’t had my first coffee.

      1. Oh very nice! I like that you’ve tracked week by week so you have a good sense of the full year. I may start doing that.

    2. I’ve found it a lot harder to have good leftovers to bring to work in the summer months when it’s hot and we don’t want to cook inside. I’m definitely looking forward to this fall and more soups and casseroles and the like.

  10. I think it’s fantastic that you decided to pull up some potatoes, just because some of the kids had never done that before! Learning about where our food comes from is empowering and important.

    I think it would look pretty ugly if I tracked my time. So much opportunity lost to downtime! Although we have been pretty hard at work this week. My favourite is to have downtime activities that are also productive. for example, right now, I am embroidering some housewarming kitchen towels for a friend. It is relaxing, but still progress towards that never-ending todo list!

    1. It’s seriously so rewarding to see their faces when they get to do something in the garden they’ve never known before 🙂

  11. Check out my post on the Eisenhower Box. It might help you simplify time management. I think it’d be a bit easier than tracking your time for an entire week. Yeesh, Paula!!

    1. I’ve learned to do a modified version of the Eisenhower Box at work, but I’m not so good about that at home. Regardless, I think there’s probably quite a bit of time I’m losing around the edges and for me, nothing replaces tracking, be it finances, weight, or (likely) time.

  12. After reading this, I am motivated to try tracking my weekly spending. I have always been good at being careful in general, but I’ve never tracked the small numbers. I think this is partly a reaction to the fact that I had bigger spending problems to fix when I was younger, and partially, I have always been fairly good with saving and spending. Usually buying big ticket items has been what got me in trouble.

    Now where I am at in my life, especially considering our recent lapse into getting take out too many times each week, I want to try and see if this will help me do better. I think if I see the small money more clearly, then it will annoy me. I tend to drop the habit that annoy me. Wish me luck!

    1. Good luck!! I’m interested to hear how it goes for you. I’ve always been quite good about the big purchases, but the little ones added up to way bigger numbers than I would have ever guessed.

  13. lol, wait how do you earn money with bing searches? I guess i am not so clear on that. But yeah $5 a month in consistent income sounds pretty sweet to me lol.

    Never heard about lime either. I will check them out. Thanks Angela!

    1. Just log into a Microsoft account on the Bing home page and use it for your searches 🙂

  14. Looks like you had a fun week all in.

    Those hire bikes look awesome – I’d love if there were some near me – sadly I’m not central enough to get them!

    1. I didn’t think we were central enough, but we’re starting to be! We shall see if they last in our area.

  15. I really need to start tracking my spending. Plans to pay off line of credit in 16 months. I often wonder when did that $5 go etc.

    Thanks for your awesome blessing weekly updates.

  16. I’ve been thinking (in a vague and off-hand way) about time tracking but honestly I don’t want to face how much time I spend on a screen!! I know that ignorance won’t help me fix it though, so maybe at some point. On the other hand, I think that tracking my food last year actually made me a much more disordered eater. That seems unlikely to happen with time, especially since tracking my money down to the penny has only benefitted me, but it makes me hesitant.

    When people track time is it down to the minute? Fifteen minutes? It sounds so hard especially since I get distracted so often.

    1. Yeah, I don’t know why tracking money is the easiest of all of those! But the same is true for me.

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