Well, we’re now a few days into the new year and I have to say I’m pretty impressed with myself since I’ve yet to write 2018 (though that will probably change now that I’ve jinxed myself here). I’ll take my success where I can since I have yet to create any kind of goals or New Years resolutions yet. I know that we came up slightly short on our big financial goal for 2018, but not by much.

I’ll definitely be writing about that more later though, because I feel like it is still mostly a success, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. Perhaps it will be a little time before I set up a new big goal since I still have to wrap up the last one, but I absolutely do want to wrap it up instead of just wiping the slate clean and starting with a new one. Even when we don’t quite hit the goals we set for ourselves, it’s important that we reflect and really feel what we did and didn’t do well.

Since this is the first Friday of 2019, my Frugal Five this week will be centered on our activities around the new year. It’s hard to believe I’ve now been writing these posts in three calendar years, since I started them back in October of 2017. It’s like I’m a real blogger or something. Pretty neat.

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. I squeezed in another trip to the gym on Saturday, which meant I got there three times in December. My gym membership costs just under $18 a month, so each trip cost me just under $6. Anything under $10/trip seems like a really good use of the membership, so getting it down below that was nice. I would have gone four times in December, but the gym closed earlier than I thought on Christmas Eve so I ended up going for a longer trail run instead – not a bad alternative.

My backyard trails are the best

2. We took the kiddo snowshoeing for the first time on Sunday after buying him his own set a little while ago. My husband and I already own our own pairs, so there was nothing to purchase for the trip. We hitched a ride with our neighbor so the trip itself cost us literally nothing, and even our neighbor just used gas and parking was free.

Though we did then eat at the cafeteria at the summit, so the whole day wasn’t free, but the snowshoeing itself was. For a winter sport, it’s about as cheap as you can get. Ski passes for the day, on the other hand, run close to $100. As much as I do enjoy skiing and snowboarding, I don’t enjoy it that much. ‘My husband doesn’t do either anyway, so snowshoeing is a great winter sport for us. That, and it’s pretty darn frugal.

My friend asked me the other day about my clothing ban in regards to what I would do if I needed specific gear for something I was planning, and this trip was a good example of what I do. We hadn’t been out since our son was born, and previously I’ve borrowed snow pants, but I didn’t plan ahead for this trip so simply wore yoga pants over top of Under Armor pants and then rain pants on top of that. On top, I wore a sweatshirt with a mid weight winter jacket and a hat along with a pair of gloves.

It perhaps wasn’t quite as streamlined as a nice pair of snow pants and a snow jacket, but as we don’t go out to the snow all that often, and only in reasonable conditions, I don’t really need much more than that. Someday I may get myself nicer gear, but maybe not. Everything I wore has multiple uses, which works well with my hope of someday having a real minimalist wardrobe.

SO much snow!

3. We hosted a New Year’s Eve party at our house this year. Another neighbor was initially supposed to host, but they ended up bowing out due to sickness (and so did another neighbor family), so the party ended up at our house instead. It wasn’t a large gathering by our standards, but we ended up with four dogs in the house – our two plus Felicity’s dog and our other neighbor’s dog – so a smaller group wasn’t a bad thing.

There were three kiddos under the age of five at the party, so we celebrated East Coast New Year at 9PM and then put them to bed soon after. The adults then stayed up until actual midnight when we did have a champagne toast and celebrated the new year. Especially since my hearing has gone, crowded, noisy places really aren’t as fun as a house party, where I can actually hear what everyone is saying.

(Confession time: I paid for Hulu live last month to watch a couple of football games and forgot to cancel it, so got charged again this month. It turned out not to be a bad thing though, because it meant we got to watch the ball drop live. Perhaps not the cheapest thing I’ve ever done, but still way cheaper than going out for the evening.)

Right before the countdown

4. The kiddo hasn’t been to preschool since before Christmas since the school was closed over winter break. Since we have family support three days a week and the actual holidays fell on what would normally be preschool days, my husband and I didn’t have to take off extra days in between.

Our work allows us to take a number of days around the holidays as “extra” vacation time, so we’re usually home at least part of the week in between Christmas and New Years, depending on the stage of construction we’re in for the current project. This year we both decided to work those days instead so we can bank the days for future travel. Between a week in Hawaii this winter and then the plan to take two weeks in Iceland and the end of this upcoming year for our tenth anniversary, we’re a bit short on vacation time for anything else.

We wanted to go visit some family later this spring though, so working those days has afforded us some extra time off to do exactly that. I do enjoy having quiet time at home during the holidays, but this seems like more than a fair trade to do all the traveling we want this year.

5. We had a couple of very brown bananas, so the kiddo and I made some banana bread. Normally I would make it from scratch, but we got given a box of banana bread mix from my parents that my younger brother had wanted before he went back to college and never got around to making it. I think I still prefer the stuff I make from scratch, but the banana bread was still quite tasty and I got the satisfaction of using up food that would otherwise not have been eaten.

Exercise Update

I ended up getting a decent amount of exercise this past week, but it definitely looked different from most weeks lately because of the holiday, and I only ran twice. I knew the week was going to be wonky, so I made sure to squeeze in twenty minutes on the elliptical before I left work on Friday. Saturday I got to the gym for a run and a short weightlifting workout and stretching – in the new shoes I got for Christmas!

Sunday was the snowshoe day, though I still ended the day with just over 14,000 steps because we were going at toddler speed. Still, it felt really good to get out in the snow and strap on my snowshoes for the first time in too many years. Wednesday was a 45 minute run but I still didn’t get a 20,000 step day that day (ended at just shy of 17,000). With the winter days as short as they are, I’m finding it very difficult to get the high step counts and I’m used to the rest of the year.

Some bloggers are doing a 10,000 steps/day challenge, but The Smart FI and I aren’t allowed to take part because our step average normally is too high and it wouldn’t be a fair challenge. If there’s anyone in this community who is interested in doing a high step count challenge, let me know, because a competition is a lot more fun with more than two people 🙂

32 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (New Year’s Edition)

  1. We went to a state park near Tahoe for Christmas day and I felt like snowshoes would have been wonderful to have. My wife and her brother and his girlfriend were much more adept at walking through the snow than me. Having grown up in the deep south with snow falling all of 2 times during my childhood, I didn’t know how to navigate well. Next time, I’ll be sure to see if I can borrow a pair of snowshoes.

    And congrats on making a series span 3 calendar years! That’s definitely a sign you’ve made it to the big leagues.

    1. Snowshoes make it SO much easier. Our neighbor grew up in Texas so our trip was the very first time he’d seen deep snow!

  2. Yum I love banana bread! Using brown bananas is the only way to get to FI right?? 😉

    I also stayed in for NYE which was soooo much less expensive than going out like I’ve done in the past. Quite honestly it was a lot more fun too!

    1. Hahahahaha. I’m all about those brown bananas 😉

      Our roommate had a date NYE and they watched the fireworks at the Space Needle. Fun I guess, but I was warm and toasty inside haha

  3. Great post, thank you and Happy New Year! Well done making do with multi-use items of clothing for your outing in the snow. I don’t like having gear that can only be used for one thing as it can languish in the cupboard for far too long. I own plenty of walking gear but I pretty much wear this sort of clothing all the time, so this is just clothes for me!

    1. Happy New Year to you as well! And yes, much prefer not to own single use clothing as much as I can help it 🙂

  4. East Coast New Year is my favorite thing!! Next year, we’re going to celebrate it because staying up 4 hours past my normal bed time just isn’t my cuppa joe. But friends are always fun. We just moved, so we hosted the new year’s party, and it kicks off our weekly game night with friends for the new year. :d

    1. Yeah, east coast New Years works well for me as well 😂😂 The only reason I “stayed up” until midnight our time is the hour long nap I had with the kiddo from like 10-11 lol.

      1. Hahaha wasn’t on purpose. Fell asleep while putting the kiddo to bed.

  5. Being from the west coast, I know what you mean about watching the east coast New Year’s Eve on TV. Whenever I’m sleeping in for the New Year, at least I could watch the ball drop at 9pm so I don’t have to stay up until midnight.
    For this past NYE, I was going over my December expenses(fun right!?..lol) and had the local NYE’s celebration on TV as background noise. But since I celebrated NYE a lot in the past, doing some work into the new year is fine by me.

    1. Ha, well that’s one way to celebrate the new year! We definitely spent a few quiet New Years after the kiddo was born, but it was fun this year since he was old enough to finally “get” it.

  6. My working out cost per visit has been NOT GOOD lately, so I’m definitely looking to turn that around this month. That’s probably going to appear in a goals post soon (so will the goal of…writing posts, oops). Agreed about staying in for NYE! I have zero desire to pay a ridiculous amount of money to go to a bar to celebrate with my closest thousand or so friends. Staying in is way more my style, plus it’s so much cheaper!

    I mean I already know how being in a steps competition with you goes so no thanks. Besides, you’re cheating by being way shorter than me 😉

    1. Yeah, it’s kind of nuts how much people pay for the “privilege” of what usually ends up being a sub par experience. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed myself plenty at a bar for an evening, but generally not on holidays because they get wayyyy too crowded and much less fun.

  7. i stayed home from a neighborhood new year’s party. mrs. me represented the smidlap clan well i’m sure. i just couldn’t do it as my limit was reached. i did stay up past midnight and watched reno911: miami.

    1. That’s the other thing about New Year’s Eve – it lands after weeks of a whole bunch of holiday parties 🙂

    1. So very true! And it’s so nice to be able to still go hiking in spots through the whole year even after it’s snowed.

  8. We had a family-centered Christmas this year, so that meant no restaurants or movie theaters for us. We had our annual gingerbread house competition with our extended family and used graham crackers instead of the kits to build them (saving us at least $50 because we built 10 houses all together!) My family also hosted a bbq and a game night on New Year’s Eve so we had fun with that as well:)
    **I love reading your weekly frugal updates! Thanks for not filling them with bad language, I find more and more personal finance/lifestyle blogs (and books) are going for shock value nowadays for some reason?? (My husband thinks I am acting like a cranky old lady when I complain about that…I am only 37!!!)

    1. That sounds like such a fun holiday tradition! My whole extended family got together the Saturday after Christmas for another low key get together and it was so lovely. I do love this season. Glad to hear you are enjoying this blog! 🙂

  9. I’ve always wanted to snowshoe. But it doesn’t snow too much here in North Carolina. One day, though. My Boston cousin is a big snowshoer. Thanks for the frugal five. It’s always a good read. Best of luck in 2019. Cheers.

    1. Though apparently you’ve gotten more snow in NC than we have had at home so far this year! (Spoiler: we haven’t had any yet) The good news is that it only takes an hour or so to get to LOTS of snow – the PNW really is the best 😉 Right back at you – 2019 should be a good one in that new home of yours!

  10. The funny thing with all my outdoor activities lately, if it costs money for me to get there I have been avoiding it. I’m getting way too frugal lol . I have been sticking to things that are within range of the EV 🙂
    I have yet to get out for my yearly snowshoe trip to the one mountain summit we typically do, I’ll get there yet and always look forward to it.

    1. What kind of range do you have on your EV? My hybrid doesn’t quite have even 100k miles on it yet so I expect I’ll have it for quite a while still, but I’m certain my next vehicle will be all electric. Or if I can hold of long enough, maybe no vehicle at all 😉

      1. Well, you probably could, but you’d have to stop a bunch 😉

  11. Nice! I too am striving to have a minimalist wardrobe…someday. Snowshoeing sounds like fun and cheaper than skiing! However, I’m determined to find cheaper ways to ski. Happy New Year!

    1. Other than working for the ski area, I can’t think of many ways to make skiing cheap! Unless you’re into cross country, but it certainly isn’t the same.

      1. There is a ski resort in NY that puts out coupons on Black Friday for buy 1 get one half off. That helps!!

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