We took off for a four day long weekend to the Washington Coast for Labor Day, so I’ve had back to back four day work weeks and my schedule feels completely thrown off. Not in a bad or a good way, just that I had to keep reminding myself what day of the week it was and to make sure to get our son to the right childcare spot for the day (he rotated between preschool, my parents house, and my in laws house, so the day of the week matters quite a bit for which direction I head in the morning).

The off kilter week meant that the kiddo was EXTRA good at dragging his feet when we needed to get out the door in the mornings, but I can’t exactly blame him. He loves his family time and doesn’t quite understand why we both have to go to work every single week. I try to explain to him why our work is important and what we do, but it’s mostly over his head for now. Hopefully as he gets older, he will get why we do what we do, but for now I’ll just have to continue to push him to move a little bit faster in the mornings post holiday.

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. My in laws celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary over the weekend (perks of getting married young like we did). They celebrated by having a bunch of us over at their house for a backyard picnic. Of course, they are fabulous wannabe zero wasters as well, so while we ate out in their backyard, we did it with real cups, plates, silverware, and napkins. Not a single use party item to be found.

Like most family events, it was a low key and wonderful time spent with each other. My mother and grandmother were there as well, which goes to show that when we got married, our families really did combine. I realize that not everyone is so lucky to have such fabulous relationships with their in laws, and even fewer have their parents and in laws become friends. I love my husband, and I adore the fact that we are now just one big family.

We get gifted dried bay leaves from my MIL every Christmas. It’s the best.

Side note: the party was at my in laws first – and only – home, which they paid off before my brother in law was born over thirty years ago. Talk about frugal weirdos before frugal weirdo was a term. Unsurprisingly, we don’t get any flack from our family about our frugal life choices.

2. We ended up not leaving for our camping trip until Friday morning instead of Thursday afternoon, so we didn’t end up eating one of the dinners we had prepped for the trip. This ended up working perfectly though, because it meant we had a ready made meal for Tuesday night to start out the short work week. We love taking fancy ramen camping because it’s an easy one pot meal, but at home we added in a fried egg and some freshly picked Swiss chard. Simple, easy, cheap, and we used up a leftover meal that might have otherwise ended up in the yard waste.

We used to be pretty bad about leaving leftovers in the refrigerator for too long, but the combination of a shallow new fridge that doesn’t let food get pushed too far back and a focus on reducing costs and waste has gotten it so most of the time we do eat those leftovers. Though we still aren’t perfect, I admit.

More or less weekly ramen night

3. We had some long work training this week which went all day, so we had lunch provided for us. I had a really tasty smoked turkey sandwich with cranberry spread, but I couldn’t help but focusing on all the waste that the box lunch included. Everything was wrapped individually in plastic – including a single pickle. I’m all for a free work lunch, but I think next time I’m going to speak up and see if we can make a different choice. And if not, I may just bite the bullet and ask them not to order me one, even though I quite enjoy the lunches.

I have to admit, I’ve eaten these kinds of box lunches in the past and I’ve never really paid attention to the amount of waste they create. I’d noticed the plastic water bottle in the past because I’ve all but given up ever drinking of them for quite some time now, but the rest of it really slipped by me. Ever since tracking my trash for a week, I’ve been so much more conscious when it comes to waste, be it at work or home.

Not pictured: single toothpick, peppermint, and the tissue paper it was all wrapped in inside the box

4. My husband and I went on an impromptu date night on Wednesday and got to check out an Asian fusion restaurant we hadn’t been to before. The bar was full, but I asked about their happy hour anyway, and the server let us order off that menu in the main part of the restaurant. Not only did that cut down on the cost, but the variety on the happy hour menu was totally awesome. Even so, the dinner would have been quite pricey if not for an old gift card we’d recently fished out of storage. As it was, the meal was $35 including a good tip and a couple of drinks.

The only problem now is our son apparently heard about where we went and now he’s asking for us to take him with next time. The downside of a kid who eats a lot (and whose favorite memory of Maine is the lobster), is that a dinner for the three of us can get pretty pricey.

Braised tea smoked egg. So good.

5. I’ve been taking advantage of the last of the summer weather now that the air is clear of wildfire ash and am back to hanging our clothes in the backyard. The weather is looking to turn toward fall soon enough, and then it will be too cold and rainy for any outside clothes drying, likely until May.

I had a clothes drying rack when we lived in South Carolina, but we had a pretty large apartment with very little furniture so there was plenty of room for it, and the laundry room dryer at our apartment cost $3 a load. I haven’t had the same incentive to find a place to put a drying rack in our home now, especially with a toddler and two large dogs, but perhaps it’s time to look a little bit harder to find the space.

Running Update

Again, I didn’t run over the weekend because we were out camping, but I definitely racked up a step count regardless. Friday was the last day of August, and ever since The Smart FI roped me into his 500,000 step challenge in June, I’ve been determined to hit that number every month. I barely squeaked by thanks to a 27,000 step day on Friday (500,566 step total for August), and then I followed it up with a 40,000 step day on Saturday to kick off September.

We hiked the Ozette Triangle on the Washington Coast, which is listed at 9.4 miles, but we first had to hike from our campsite and then to where the trail marker begins (well past the ranger station), so the hike was more like 11 miles round trip. More impressive though is the fact that our 3.5 year old hiked a good 4 miles of the trip on his own two feet. It won’t be long now before I have to tell him to slow down because his mom can’t keep up.

Midpoint of the hike

I didn’t run on Monday because I was still sore from the hike on Saturday, and we were busy unpacking from the trip when we weren’t over at my in laws for the party. Tuesday was more normal with a couple mile run and a short weight workout, and I ran to work like normal on Wednesday. I feel so lucky to commute that way once a week; it is a million times better than sitting in traffic in my car. Still no bike yet for other days of the week, though.

How was your Labor Day weekend? Have any trouble remembering which day it was this week?

36 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 36)

  1. Growing up in a family of 6 my parents can definitely confirm that going out to eat is an expensive affair haha. When we did go out we never really went to any fancy places, but it didn’t really matter to me and my siblings. Because we didn’t go out often it was always fun and a great experience!

    1. Yep, I grew up in a family of 7 because my grandma moved Inc with my family when I was a baby 🙂 EVERYTHING is more expensive and complicated with big families haha.

  2. Hubby’s gparents celebrated their 70th anniversary last year…70!!!! They met in their 20s yes but omg it bogles the mind.

    I can’t wait until I’ll have a kid because it’ll be an excuse to order 3 full entrees for 3 of us (no kids meal stuff) which a child can’t finish but I get an excuse to eat their dishes. It’ll be more expensive but I get 2 entrees under the guise of feeding a child. Is it wrong to daydream stealing restaurant food from your kids or using them as an excuse to get two main courses? I don’t think so! XD

    1. Wow… 70!! That’s incredible. We married at 21, so maybe we’ll get to celebrate that one someday too 😉

      And don’t get your hopes up on sharing entrees for very long… our kid has eaten a full ear of corn and a half of a lobster in one sitting before, as an example.

  3. I have the same problem about slow mornings with my 3-year-old daughter. She does not understand why we still go to work every week, and she is a pro at delaying leaving the house. I’ve decided recently it is a sign of a good attachment, but that might just be to make myself feel better. And totally agree about boxed lunches–we have them at work as well a few times a month.

    1. Seriously though, how are they so good at it??? You’d think I’d have some control over speed as the adult… but nope.

  4. 40,000 steps on one day! The most I have done so far was close to 30,000 and I thought I rocked:(
    Pretty impressive on the anniversary and that they were way ahead of their time with paying off their house so early.
    I can relate to you about the cost of going out with kids. With my three grown kids now, it costs a fortune! But it still nice to go out once in a while so I tend to pick coffee shops over restaurants if they all want to go:)

    1. Yeah, my highest step count previously was somewhere in the 32k range. Trust me, I was sore after that one.

  5. that’s a magnificent bay laurel. i have to bring ours in for winter so i don’t think we can achieve that where we live. now i gotta learn to smoke an egg. i’ll let you know how it goes. this is our 5th day on the lake and i would call it a winning trip. i need long sleeves and shoes this morning and love that.

    1. Hmmmm. Now I need to talk my husband into smoking some eggs, because he’s the smoke master in our house.

  6. Haha your kiddo is a guy after my own heart, and it’s so rude of you to go on tasty restaurant adventures without him! 😉 Despite how mean he was to me yesterday by not saying good morning (😭😭😭), I still want to go hiking with him someday.

    Yep, I’ve had so much trouble lately remembering the day of the week. Next week’s full five days at work is going to be brutal!

    1. After the amount of food he consumed yesterday, it would have cost a LOT to bring him, even at happy hour. I’m afraid for his teenage years lol

  7. I love making date night frugal by timing it just right to hit happy hour, nice work. You and I are in the same boat for barely hitting the 500k step mark in August, but we made it. Although 500k steps was our June goal, I just can’t seem to let it go. I am trying to make it my new set point every month. I feel like it motivates me to get up and move.

    1. You would think by now 500k steps would be our new normal, but man it’s a tough goal. You’re right though, I totally can’t let it go now that I’ve done it once.

  8. What are you using to track steps, I just look at what the iPhone says in the health app. I did a big day on Monday and put down 41,000 steps but also summited a mountain in the process. I am extremely active and taking my avg steps per day and multiplying days in August it puts me at 240,000 steps so to hit 500,000 you need to be badass consistent. Thats a killer goal….

    That waste and plastic wrapping in that lunch is insane, so much waste is right !

    1. I have a Fitbit so it tracks it for me, and then I just have to add up the weeks at the end of the month. I found just using my iPhone really underestimated my step count, especially for long runs. Walks it was more accurate.

      1. My long runs are imported via Strava but is still based off my iPhone in my pack or running vest. Considering an apple watch possibly in the future but spending money is too hard lol “frugal mindset”

      2. My Fitbit was a gift from my dad or I still would just be using my phone 😉 now that I have one I love it though.

  9. Hadn’t heard of the 500,000 step challenge before. In prior years I was always in a training cycle for marathons that I would have easily obliterated that count with 40-50 miles I ran per week. Now…I can’t say the same. I’ve switched more to weight-lifting with light running twice a week to balance it out. But kudos to you on making it to the 500,000 step mark this month by taking advantage of multiple hikes.

    How long do you plan to participate in this 500,000 program? Is it that level for a year? Does it change with time?

    1. Ha yeah, I’m certain I did it no problem even training for a half marathon 😉 It was just for the month of June, but The Smart FI and I can’t help but keep it up. My Son’s Father has a 2018 step challenge but 5 million for the year.

      1. 5 million steps for the year is a million steps less than if you hit 500k every month 😉

  10. The little guy sounds more and more awwsome Angela. Love how he both doesn’t want to leave and wants to go out to eat!

    And congratulations to the in-laws, 40 years is might impressed. As well as paying off and staying in their home – fab role models.

    1. He’s totally awesome. And yeah, you’d be surprised at how many people have quietly made frugal life decisions for a long time now – the Internet just helps us get to know each other 😉

  11. I went out with some co-workers for a football draft and definitely happy hour is the best time to order some food and beer. Bought some fries, tacos and a pint of beer for close to $20 and would have paid more than $30 if order them outside of happy hour.
    Just recently I started to run again on a weekly basis and wanted to know which app do you track your running? They are so many that I don’t know which to choose.
    Congrats to your in-laws 40th anniversary!! That’s really impressive that they paid off their house so early!

    1. And happy hour frequently tends to have more options / smaller servings so you get to try more things! I use MapMyRun and have been happy enough with it. It’s been tracking my runs for 5-6+ years so it’s cool to look back every now and then.

  12. The pickle is in its own packaging too?! That is a new one to me. I found it hard to realize how Everything is wrapped in plastic when I started taking a mindful approach. I mean every food item’s package is full of plastic. On one level I am thankful for food safety, but on the other it’s way over used. I can only hope my little effort in reducing plastic will bond with many other people’s efforts to eventually result in big changes.

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