I am loving putting together my new Women’s Personal Finance Wednesdays series, but it’s going to take me a little while to get used to putting out content three days a week. Even though I’m reading the blog posts anyway, and the Wednesday writing isn’t all that long, it still means that I’m publishing 50% more times each week than I have for the last year.

Absolutely no regrets there, but it has me a little thrown off when it’s already time for me to write my Friday post the next day. I’m hoping that at some point I can get to where I am batch writing for the Wednesday and Friday posts so I can get back to writing just two days a week, but I’m not there yet. I realize that there is something to be said for writing (almost) every day to get into the flow of it, but I find that two days a week of blog writing is a much better work-life-blog balance for me.

I love blogging, and I love the writing part of blogging, but this is me putting it out there for accountability to keep that to just two or three days a week and not more. Like I’ve said in the past, blogging is a hobby for me and not a business, and my goal is to keep reminding myself of that and hold it there because even as a hobby it sure takes up a good chunk of time.

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. I took a work trip to Spokane at the end of last week for a conference that I was speaking at, and since my mother in law is retired and watches my son on Thursdays and Fridays already, they came with me and we made a mini vacation out of it. The conference was only Friday morning and a tour that afternoon, so we had Thursday afternoon and most of Friday to explore Spokane, and we took our time coming home all of Saturday.

Since it was a work trip though, lodging and gas were covered as work expenses, so we got to have a really great trip for almost free. Of course, we did have to try some fabulous food and we took a ride on the SkyRide over the river, but all of our out of pocket expenses ended up being less than it would have been just for gas and tent camping (and we stayed in an AirBnB *affiliate link).

We hadn’t spent any time in Spokane before, but now that we’ve been, I’m scheming about how we can bring my husband out for the next trip there. We tend to be a bit biased about our in state travel and usually go either to the Olympic Peninsula, the San Juan Islands, or the Leavenworth area, but I think it’s past time we did more exploring in the eastern half of the state.

SkyRide over Spokane Falls

2. The weather has gotten reliably colder lately (though we are still getting a few dry sunny days!) and our dinner recipes are reflecting the chill in the air. We’re back to eating more chilis and soups and crockpot type meals, which in their nature tend to be cheaper overall. Or at least that’s the case when you have a husband who eats a ton of food and doesn’t feel a meal is complete without meat protein. I know there are plenty of “summertime” crockpot meals, but we just don’t seem to make them.

I also used up the last of my homemade taco seasoning once again. We eat tacos at least a few times a month, and as I learned with a friend a few months back, the homemade Cajun seasoning I make is an excellent addition to hamburgers. I mix up a full mason jar every time I make the seasonings, and it really doesn’t take more than a few minutes. I can lower the salt, adjust any of the other spices to our taste, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than the seasoning packets you buy from the grocery store (plus much closer to zero waste). If you’ve never mixed up your own seasoning blends before, I highly recommend it.

3. We returned a few of the kiddo’s favorite library books after checking them out for the umpteenth time. He had a hard time letting them go again, but we had a good talk about how the books were headed back so other children could also read and love them, and that the library allows us to read so many more books than one family could possibly own.

Perhaps a bit advanced of a conversation for a three and a half year old, but we never try and skirt the truth with him (toys and books never just “disappear”). It may take more time now, but I’m hoping we are setting him up for the future. Plus, we did talk about how perhaps his very favorite books might come to him at Christmastime in his stocking, and he seemed satisfied with that for now at least.

4. My mother wasn’t able to watch him like normal on Wednesday, so I brought him to the office instead. He brought his toy forklift, which was great fun for a while (construction family), and then he got started on the shredder, which is probably his new favorite toy. A coworker brought up a big stack of paper to be shredded, and that kept him happy for longer than I would have expected.

Shredding is fun!

It was another coworker’s birthday and the wife of another coworker brought homemade cake to celebrate, so the kiddo also got to eat cake at 10:30 in the morning. I hate to break it to him that work isn’t all shredding paper and eating cake, but he’s now talking about when he gets to go to work with mama next.

Perhaps this experience will help a bit when I do have to leave in the evenings for work events, or maybe he will just want to come along. Either way, I am so grateful for a flexible work environment where I can bring him in with me when necessary (and a door to my office that closes once we’ve exhausted all other options and he wants to watch a show about diggers).

5. There was a natural gas explosion in northern British Columbia Thursday morning and it cut off the pipeline than provides most of the natural gas to this area. Trash pickup was halted here because the garbage trucks run on natural gas, and I’m finding another positive to our minimal trash creation; it isn’t a big deal if we skip a week or two of trash pick up.

Our utility provider is also asking people to lower their thermostats and reduce hot water use when connected to natural gas, and that they may even have to shut power off to some areas if things don’t get sorted quickly. Gas prices are expected to go up quite a bit. People are going to be paying more attention to their waste and energy use than they do in a typical week by quite a bit because they have to.

While I don’t wish regular acute problems like this explosion on anyone, I do wish that everyone had this same urgency to conserve all the time. It may not seem like climate change is as immediate problem as an explosion, but it is. (And for those of you who have been following along with this blog from day one, feeling that distress about the lack of effort regarding climate change is what spurred me to finally start this blog.) If you’re looking for some good tips to do better on your waste and energy use, here are a few good places to start: general sustainability and water reduction.

ETA: they have figured out the natural gas supply issue for now, but that doesn’t change my feelings in the slightest; climate change is real, and it’s urgent. 

Running Update

And back to a less intense topic than my feelings on climate change – my running and exercise update for the week. I ran Monday and Tuesday per usual, with a short lifting session on Monday as well. Work went on a bit long both days so both workouts were short, but they happened. Wednesday, however, due to the fact that I took the kiddo with me to work instead of running, I didn’t get a workout in at all.

I did, at least, hit my minimum step count for the day of 12,000. This month isn’t looking super impressive on the step count right now, but at least I’m hitting that minimum (but perhaps no 500,000 for the month again). **ETA that Thursday afternoon I did get a seven minute run to the park while holding hands at 3.5 year old speed. Maybe not fast yet, but it won’t be long until he joins me on my runs.

Have you experienced a forced reduction on waste or energy use recently? Is there a way you can hold on to that reduction once things go back to “normal”? The Earth, and your wallet, will thank you.

35 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 41)

    1. I can’t tell him that or he really will think that’s all that happens at work 😉 And yes, something I do very very rarely, but appreciate that the option is there.

  1. The gas line explosion will possibly weigh heavily on the Kinder Morgan pipeline fight that is going on which resulted in a Supreme Court order for it to go back to the review process. I am sure you have seen all the news as it impacts Washington greatly.

    Much like VanIsle, western Washington is stunning and I don’t blame you for not wanting to venture very far. With the Cascades, Baker and the Olympic Peninsula there isn’t much need for anything else 🙂

    1. I expect those kinds of fights to get a lot more common as time goes on. And yes, it’s hard to beat the western part of the PNW for beauty.

  2. Oh my, I wrote an entire post pricing out the cost of growing herbs/buying them in bulk and here I realize I’ve been paying $30 a pound for the store’s tiny taco mix. This is the last result on the first page when I tried to figure out how much taco mix vs fresh made both cost. Bad google!

    http://www.debtproofliving.com/Blog/tabid/437/EntryId/475/Would-You-Pay-28-64-a-Pound-for-Taco-Seasoning.aspx

    Clearly I need to fix this!

    1. Apparently I need to write up a post with my seasoning recipes with a cost comparison! Glad I finally clued you into this 🙂

      1. Hmmm well maybe I will get around to it one of these days! I tweak the recipes quite a bit too.

  3. Aw come on now, you can’t just mention your homemade taco seasoning without at least texting me the recipe! 😉

    Honestly, if work were all about eating cake and shredding papers, I’d be much more willing to show up every day 😂

  4. Soups and chilis are just so wonderful in the winter! And while I’m sorry for the reason behind everyone cutting back in your area, it’s great that they are. We use more water (and therefore more gas for the hot water heater) than I’d like because Tim’s fibro means more baths than the average person takes. It’s good for his painful back. That said, there are a few developments that mean our water usage should drop a bit in the next month or two. So I’m looking forward to that (even if natural gas is pretty affordable down here).

    1. Well, that’s not the sort of water use I feel should be controlled terribly. But there is SO much we can do on a regular basis that doesn’t even require a lifestyle shift.

  5. Cake and shredding paper sounds like an awesome work opportunity – that’s great that you work in such a flexible place and have an office which makes it possible.

    And yes, I’m also guilty of not exploring all the cool places locally and going to the same places or checking out more exotic places abroad instead.

    1. It’s hard when every place we visit we want to go back to in order to explore it further. Not enough time, too much world to see.

  6. Isn’t it crazy how just putting together a roundup post can take so much time?? Try to have fun with it when you can. 😉

    This week:

    1. Okay, I just need to scream this around the blogosphere because I’m having a hard time processing. In just a few hours I’ll finish my last day of working for someone else! Then I’m self-employed, baybeh! It’s all thanks to living frugally and paying down debts. 🙂

    2. I scrounged around the cabinet today for an un-fancy lunch of nut butter and a rice cake.

    3. I just made myself a homemade affogato with my years-old cappucino machine. This stuff costs $4 a pop at the coffee shop but costs me just cents.

    4. Hubs got a coupon for a free flurry at McDonald’s. I think I’ll use it to get a free treat sometime. 🙂

    5. Mr. Picky Pincher’s dad made us some very handy first aid kits to keep in our cars.

    1. Ahhhh self employment begins!!!!!!! I’m so excited for you!!!

      And I’m a sucker for affogatos. Now I’m wondering if there’s any way to do this at home with just a French press 🤔

  7. About 10 years ago the gas station that supplies Melbourne (about 3 million people back then) had a fire and natural gas was cut off to the city for about 2 weeks.
    I had a gas cooktop and gas hot water. People were without heating as well.
    Two week’s worth of cold showers in the middle of winter was NOT fun. People still remember it to this day.

    1. Wow. Two weeks in the middle of winter. Yeah I can see why it’s still remembered. Brrr.

  8. My son loves his library books and we always have to renew them. Luckily by the last renewal, he gets tired of it and moves on to another set of books then we go through the cycle again. At least it’s better than buying them and having buyer’s remorse once he gets tired of them.

    1. Yeah, there are a few that we’ve checked out multiple times and kept through all the renewals and he still loves them. Those will probably become Christmas gifts.

  9. Sounds like you had a fabulous trip, even if you did have to work a little! Your job has some nice perks. Maybe they’ll put your son on the payroll to oversee the shredder & he can start funding his retirement extra early, lol.

  10. 3yr olds make the best office assistants! I know how moms may feel like they are burdening their coworkers or being a disruption in a workplace, but honestly – it’s one of the best “refreshers” we get when kids come in. People act differently – usually more polite, and well, maybe a little goofy because a child is around and they are trying to make it a fun experience for them.

    I think there’s a change in culture, when it was viewed as unprofessional to bring a child in a workplace back in the day, whereas now people view it as an opportunity to be on their best performance…for a 3yr old…because they are our future. Your lil’ guy is going to have the mentality if I do a little work shredding, I can earn cake! ~ someday he’ll see the other motivating factors such as, “I get to retire before I’m 60!”

    I think I saw twitter poll – did you decide to do a climate change rant for your Monday’s post?! Looking forward to it when you do! Have a great week!

    1. Yeah, everyone was very welcoming to him, though I think that probably would change if it was a regular occurrence.

      And I have yet to actually start writing my post for tomorrow, so we shall see! Ha

  11. Posting 3 days a week is really hard. I started adding a third post in on some weeks, and even though they’re short or one of my satire posts, as you said it really seems like a ton more work. I don’t know how people post four or more times a week, muchless those crazies who post every day. It boggles my mind

    1. Yeah, every day is absolutely mind boggling. If it were my full time gig, MAYBE. But probably not even then.

  12. You’ve increased to posting 3 times a week?! Good for you! I’m trying to get back into posting once week.

    Your pictures make me want to visit those places! Work trips are the best when you discover a place you want to see more of. Instead of spending your money to discover it’s not for you.

    1. Ha yeah, I might be a *bit* crazy for upping the frequency, but I’m loving the Wednesday ones so much I definitely don’t regret it.

  13. You impress me with all that you accomplish working, staying so active with your running, writing your blog and taking care of kids. I do not know how you keep up with it all! I aspire to be like you someday but so far I’m just lucky to get half of that accomplished everyday. Haha! No seriously you inspire and encourage me to keep going!

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