So, it hasn’t actually snowed in a week and a half but there is still plenty of snow and ice left in our neighborhood. While most of the city is snow free except for a few piles that were pushed out of the way before everything else melted, our neighborhood still has quite a bit of snow left. Enough that I wasn’t actually able to drive my car all the way to the hill to my house until Tuesday afternoon and our yard is still completely white.
Between our elevation (up five hundred feet) and the fact that we are completely shaded by tall evergreen trees through the entire winter, our neighborhood has ice and snow stick around for weeks longer than the surrounding areas. Since we’ve still been dropping to below freezing most nights, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit of the snow last until March.
The good news is that we were in Hawaii when the first of the snow hit so I didn’t get a chance to jump the gun and do a bit of early planting in the garden, because they certainly would not have survived. Even so, I have a feeling that the daffodils that had sprouted in late January may not make it after being completely covered in snow for the past three weeks. And one of my hazelnut bushes has a crack in a main limb, which is a major disappointment since last year was the first time they produced enough to fill a snack bowl. Only time will tell how well they may come back, but I’m not terribly optimistic about some of the garden.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. The kiddo officially turned four the day we arrived home from Hawaii on a red eye, so we ended up celebrating him at a different time instead. Which meant he got two different free birthday desserts at restaurants in Hawaii and then we planned for an actual party with his friends after we got back. Of course, thanks to the massive snow storm we had to push the party to this past weekend when the snow was at least semi melted (or at least the main roads were clear).
While we could have just called the Hawaii trip his birthday, he is a lot like his mama in that he LOVES having people over for parties. Nothing fancy, but as long as he gets to be around a lot of people he’s happy.
In preparation for having about two dozen people over to celebrate at our small house, I planned to make homemade pizza and cupcakes like I had last year. Once we got closer to the day though, I started to consider cheating and buying at least part of the food instead. I mentioned this to our neighbors though, and they offered to come help me instead. She’s from Italy and makes some seriously good pizza, so I readily accepted and they came over Saturday night for dinner and to prep the dough and the cupcakes for the next day.
Sunday, the day of the party, my son and I actually left to head down to Seattle mid day to spend some time with some other personal finance bloggers since Financial Mechanic was in town. We got to spend a couple hours meeting her for the first time and getting some more time with A Purple Life, Millennial Boss, and Felicity from Fetching Financial Freedom (and then Oscoey later on at the birthday party).
While we were doing that, my husband was home cooking up toppings and making the pizza sauce from scratch per the recipe I left him. I really appreciated the help on something he wouldn’t generally choose to do on his own (he would buy the dang sauce), and then I got to enjoy my time with some lovely ladies (and Mr. Mechanic) without stressing about preparing for the party.
2. It turns out, if you can’t drive your car anywhere because there’s too much snow and ice and your little hybrid can’t handle it, you can’t spend money on gas. While I try and minimize the driving I do regularly, it was more than a bit ridiculous that the first time I drove up my street this month happened on Tuesday (the 19th).
But hey, it meant less driving and more carpooling, so it wasn’t all bad, but it wouldn’t work so well all the time. Glad we aren’t regularly trying to manage two careers, childcare, and subpar transportation with one vehicle, because it gets old quick.
3. I mailed a copy of one of my mother’s books to a friend I met back at Cents Positive a few months ago and she returned the favor and mailed a book to me that she’d read. I haven’t had a chance to open it yet, but it’s next on my list. I realize that the library is a fabulous place to check out books, and I often do, but there’s something special about reading a book that’s been recommended and passed on by a friend.
4. We hit our minimum spend on our Capital One Venture card, netting us the 75,000 reward point bonus. Unfortunately, that bonus has dropped back down to 50,000 points so I’m not sure it’s worth opening the other one now. At this point,
I’m debating between the Barclays Arrival Plus card (70,000 points) and the Chase Business Ink (80,000 points). Convince me. These points are earmarked in particular for our trip to Iceland at the end of the year, and since that’s a particularly expensive place to visit, I’m doing my best to collect all the points I can to get it to a more reasonable level.
Granted, this will be a trip for our tenth anniversary, so it’s more than fair to spend a bit more, but I’m so used to spending very little money on an individual trip and opting to travel more often. If I’m not careful though, we could easily blow as much money on that one trip as we spent on travel in all of 2018.
5. We got lunch at work again this week and then a snack at another meeting later on. Once I started tracking my spending closely, work lunches took on new meaning for me because it meant I got treated with a meal that I didn’t have to cook or prepare myself but also didn’t have to pay for it. I get my eating out “fix” while still getting to log a no spend day.
I had basically no time after work on Friday before I had to head home, so I hopped on the elliptical for all of five minutes. The same thing happened on Thursday with a ten minute workout, but between the two that’s an extra fifteen minutes of exercise I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
My husband had to go in to work for a little while on Saturday before a brunch we were attending together so the kiddo and I went in with him. Instead of wanting to play with the toys I brought with us, he wanted to go in the work gym, so I actually got to go on the elliptical for ten minutes and then we played around with jumping jacks, exercise balls, an ab roller, etc for long enough (about forty five minutes altogether) that I was actually a bit sore the next day.
Monday and Wednesday were each another half hour on the elliptical since I forgot my running clothes and shoes at home. Tuesday I walked to work the almost three miles from preschool because it was finally light early enough that I felt comfortable walking on the trail alone, but it ended up being completely covered in snow and ice so the walk was less fun than expected. Between the walk and the twenty minute elliptical workout after work that day, I ended up with my first 20,000 step day in a long while, which felt really good.
This week wasn’t exactly typical for the types of workouts I got in, and I didn’t run at all, but it felt good to be active every day of the week.
Do you have any frugal wins to share this week? I always love hearing about them! After all, it’s the little wins that add up to be big ones.