I’ve been an astronomy junkie off and on ever since I was a little girl and my dad and I would sit out on the deck of my parents’ cabin in the mountains and pour over books to point out the constellations in the night sky. I remember knowing dozens of their names when I was young, but now I don’t know that I could name more than ten. And unfortunately, since I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest most of my life, most nighttime spectaculars occur above a cover of clouds.
Sunday night though, the sky cleared after sunset just in time for the Super Blood Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse to show its face completely unobscured by clouds, which felt like a small miracle in and of itself in Washington State in mid January. The full eclipse didn’t occur until a bit after 9PM and past the kiddo’s bedtime, but there was no question that we would let him stay up to experience it.
So starting a little after 8PM, we all piled out of our neighbor’s house after a dinner with them and looked up at the sky. My husband grabbed a high powered scope and another neighbor had his surveying equipment set up and we all took turns peering up at the changing moon while the younger kids took advantage and ran around the cul de sac in the dark. The moon slowly eclipsed and it was shocking how red it actually turned, and it was totally worth the extra late night to start off a work week. Now if only there was a way to clear the clouds any time something of importance was going on in the heavens.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Friday evening one of our neighbors was having a rough evening so I texted her and asked if she’d like me to bring her down a glass of champagne. She accepted, and I walked down the street, two glasses in hand. We’d already had dinner, so a bit later on my husband and kiddo joined me since he’d been asking to play with his friends all week and hadn’t been able to because he was home with a cold.
Totally impromptu, but we ended up hanging out down there until well past normal bedtime, and then we we ended up there for dinner the following night and another neighbor joined us later on. Perhaps more days in a row than we normally spend with neighbors, but not entirely unexpected with the neighborhood we live in.
We also had plans to go to a different neighbor’s house for dinner Sunday night for homemade Italian pizza, so our weekend ended up full of neighbors. In a way, it felt much like my on campus college experience except with families and our own homes. And of course, any time we don’t have to drive anywhere and share homemade meals together, we’re saving money and we’re saving resources, both in the trash reduced and the gas saved.
2. We seem to have finally gotten in the swing of things and do more or less all of our grocery shopping for the week over the weekend. I would describe what we do more now as “meal prep lite” because we rarely do any of the dinner preparation ahead of time in terms of chopping vegetables or browning meats, but we shop with particular meals (and the state of our pantry) in mind.
Since our grocery budget most often gets out of control by the unplanned purchases that end up in our carts when we head to the store on a whim mid week or when we order take out because a day caught up with us, having a semi set plan for the day really helps to rein in those costs. We also don’t set meals to a specific day, which gives us more flexibility on what we want to eat that evening even to the point of swapping side dishes depending on our mood.
3. Our son was invited to a birthday party over the weekend by one of his preschool friend’s, and since we didn’t know her or her family at all, I was less comfortable giving a more “alternative” gift than is typical for us (ie used clothes and toys or more experiential gifts like tickets to the zoo – or college fund money).
We did receive some grocery store gift cards for Christmas and our birthdays though, and we were able to use them at Fred Meyer instead, which is a more extensive store than just groceries, so we were able to pick up a birthday present from there plus a few home maintenance things for us, and the total bill we paid of out pocket ended up being just eight dollars.
4. Ally bank just announced that their interest rates went up again and they are now at 2.2%, up from 2% and then 1.9% when I originally opened bank accounts with them. I took way too long to finally switch to a high interest savings account, but I’m already realizing the money I’ve left on the table by sticking with the pitiful interest our regular bank gives us.
I haven’t actually transferred any money though and have just been adding new cash, but now I’m thinking about transferring all of our slush/emergency fund money over there except for a small buffer so that we can be earning that rate on all of it. The only downside is that it takes a couple days to transfer the money back, so I haven’t decided how much to leave in the more traditional bank account.
5. I boxed up a bunch of cloth diapers and sent them along to Wise Mind Money, who is expecting her first baby this summer. I way overdid it when it came to buying and accepting cloth diapers when my kiddo was a baby, and while we did get a lot of use out of them over the three years and change that he was in diapers, they are still in really good shape and have just been sitting in his room unused. I still have a ton left though, and am slowly passing them along. I realize that I could make some good money back on them, but like Penny says, earning money from decluttering really slows down the process, and I don’t need any more barriers in place while working on clearing out our home. Plus, I would rather just pass along the love to a friend whenever possible.
I also boxed up a few things to send to That Frugal Pharmacist‘s son, who is a year younger than mine, and I had my kiddo help fill the box, which is always an interesting experience. It’s definitely harder to have him involved in letting go of too-small clothes and shoes (and even harder when talking about toys and books), but I believe it’s really important to have him learn from a young age that we share and pass things along to others who will love them as much as we did – and just like how much he loves his new rain boots that were passed down to him from another friend.
Friday I didn’t get a chance to get on the work elliptical, but I did end up getting a 45 minute walk on the treadmill and then some stretching at my parents’ house when I arrived during the kiddo’s nap time. I hadn’t planned on a workout and didn’t have a change of clothes, so I walked on the treadmill instead of running, but I figure it was still a lot better than nothing. Sunday I went for a run and then did some lifting at the gym, again during nap time. Monday and Tuesday were twenty minute elliptical days at the work gym, and then I got out for a short run on Wednesday since we somehow again ended up with a clear, somewhat sunny afternoon.