Amazing that this is somehow the last of my Frugal Five posts of the year already. Even more incredible is that I’ve been writing them consistently since October 2017. Something that began initially as “filler” posts has turned into something I love to write.
My Monday posts tend to be more broad and personal finance / frugality related, but these Friday posts get to be more personal to our lives and a way to update you all on the day to day. Perhaps that means I’m more of a “lifestyle” writer than a personal finance one, but I’m perfectly fine with that. The first blogs I ever read were ones that had a lot of background stories about the people who wrote them, and I find that I like that my blog is more that way as well.
With that, a little bit about my Christmas. As always, we spent Christmas morning at home just the three of us, and the kiddo was absolutely ecstatic about his one “under the tree” present – a small wheeled luggage just for him. It does to show that we really do travel a lot that he’s so excited about it, but now he’ll have his very own to pack and wheel along for our Hawaii trip later this winter and our tenth anniversary trip to Iceland.
I had originally planned to get him a kid style suitcase (animal shaped), but ended up deciding on a simple, small regular suitcase that he won’t outgrow and is hopefully better made so it will last longer. Also, I have to come clean, while the rest of what he received from us was all technically “stocking stuffers,” they didn’t all fit in his stocking.
To be fair, he does have a smaller stocking than my husband and I do, or it would have all fit (I had a custom one made his first year), but I’ll need to decide if I need to shrink the gifts or get a bigger stocking in the future. Most of the gifts were Goodwill purchases, so not super expensive, but I want to continue our tradition that Christmas doesn’t have to be about stuff.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Last Sunday we decided to head out in the evening to a local Winter Wonderland event, where the kiddo got to ride on a carousel and then a small train (carts pulled by a tractor “train engine”). The carousel was pay by donation to benefit a local charity, and it was really disappointing to see how few people ahead of us paid the $4 per person.
We paid our way, and then another $4 per person to ride the train, but the ride was a good twenty minutes, so it felt more than fair for the price. The kiddo is train obsessed, so it was an obvious choice. After that, we walked around, listened to music, and then peaked in at Santa and the crazy long line that was waiting to see him.
We then walked the mile across town to have a sushi dinner (the cheapest conveyor belt sushi in the area, but still very tasty) and walked through the downtown park to check out the Christmas lights. Not a free evening, but well worth the cost for a fun evening. Definitely a possible tradition in the making.
2. Christmas Eve was the sunniest, nicest day of the month, so we spent a good amount of it outdoors. We took a long walk through the woods with the kid and the dogs and generally soaked up as much sunshine as possible, and then I went back out for an hour long trail run during nap time. It’s been a long, wet last six weeks or more, so a day outside on foot was very much appreciated, and it didn’t cost a penny.
3. The majority of our Christmas presents this year were homemade, so while they took quite a bit of time to put together, they didn’t cost a lot of money. The kiddo helped mix up a bunch of the spice mixes we gave our family, so he really appreciated being a part of the gift giving. The other bonus of the homemade gifts was that they were consumable and generally zero waste. I do enjoy giving gifts, but I really hate the idea of buying extra “stuff” just to come up with a gift for someone. This way, the food will all be eaten and gone before next year.
4. We spent Christmas evening at my parents house, and my siblings made most of the dinner there, but we did bring my favorite Brussels sprouts recipe because it was a specific ask from my mother. I’m not sure if this specifically counts as frugal since most people make homemade meals for holidays (I think?), but I’ll count it as part of an overall frugal, minimal-ish Christmas.
5. I may have exempt running shoes from my ongoing clothes buying ban since they are more of a health expense, but I still hadn’t gotten around to buying myself a pair. My parents bought me a new pair of ASICS for Christmas, which is the kind of shoe I’ve been running in forever, and I am so excited to run in a new pair of shoes soon. Of course, they got left in my husband’s truck, so I didn’t get a chance to break them in when I ran later this week.
It might not seem like a huge deal to get around to buying a pair of running shoes, but it’s probably pretty obvious by now that my life is generally pretty packed full. On purpose, but still full, so the time to even get online and shop around for the best shoe price is just something that hadn’t made it to the top of my list yet even though a new pair was well overdue. Talk about the perfect Christmas gift for me.
Since I’m regularly doing more than just running these days and have been updating all of my exercise here, I’ve changed the name of this section to be a general exercise update instead of just a running update.
The sunny day on Monday meant a long walk through the park and then an hour long trail run, which meant I hit 22,000 steps for the day. It had been a while since I’d run more than twenty or thirty minutes, and even longer since I’d done a hilly, uneven trail run, but I was pretty happy not to be sore the next day. Tuesday (Christmas Day) was a walk around the neighborhood to deliver Christmas cards, but I didn’t get any exercise beyond that (though I still did hit my minimum 12,000 step goal for the day).
Wednesday was a half hour walk with my father, again taking advantage of another dry weather spell, and then a twenty minute run. Lastly, I squeezed in another twenty minutes on the elliptical on Thursday. I also got in some decent stretching after both runs this week, and I’m feeling a bit of my flexibility start to come back. I’ve always been really flexible, but it’s obvious that I’m getting older and my body doesn’t snap back quite as quickly as it used to. It will be a while yet before I’m back to doing the splits.
How was your holiday? Do you celebrate frugally, or is it an expensive time of the year?