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.
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.
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.
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.