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.

The kale didn’t survive so well in the snow

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).

Beecher’s Cheese at Pike Place for lunch

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.

Someday our street will be completely free of snow…

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.

Exercise Update

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.

Much lower elevation than our house, so I was more than a bit surprised

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.

38 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2019 – Week 7)

  1. I especially love number three! Exchanging book recommendations with friends is one of my favorite things to do! And reading the same book as a loved one is a fantastic thing to bond over. My brother and I recently read each other’s favorite books and it was so much fun!

  2. I’d go for Chase Business Ink. That’s basically $800 cash money.
    Our son turned 8 while we were moving so we didn’t have a birthday party. We’ll have a birthday party for him during spring break. The weather will be nicer and the kids can go to the park nearby or go play in the backyard.
    No frugal wins lately. There are so many things to fix with 2 places. It’s nuts.

    1. $800 cash money, even better if you’re redeeming through the UR portal with a CSP or (even better-er) a CSR)!

    2. Yeah, that’s what everyone keeps telling me to do so I should probably listen 😉 It’s hard to believe he is EIGHT already.

  3. i’ve only missed one day of running on my work days this month and that was the day after the super bowl. it’s strange what consistency will do where the hard workout from 6 weeks ago is now my easy one. 3 miles in 20:36 and the last mile was in 6:35. that felt kinda tough and someone was asking me questions in the middle of it.

    our frugal win was making a bunch of food for a party just like you did. check our my spicy sweet mustard recipe.

    1. Definitely true with the ease of workouts. I’ve found I have to run at least two good times a week to make any progress. Once a week and more or less I can hold steady.

  4. I can’t comment on the Chase card as I have never had one, but I do have that Barclay card and I’ve loved it. Their customer service is excellent, and it is really easy to use the points.

    1. Will do! This one was pretty last minute but some are planned a bit farther in advance.

  5. I know the snow is probably a pain in the butt for you, but I’m over here all like “SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” It’s so pretty!!!! And omg, I love homemade pizzas. We used to make them every friday night (it was cheaper than buying pizza for six kids, and it meant my mom didn’t have to cook because I was in charge of topping them. She’s a certifiable genius!) I’ll have to break out my recipe soon and wow my husband with my all so amazing culinary skills. hahaha.

    1. It was sooooo pretty for a while, but now it’s just a straight nuisance haha. And yeah, homemade pizzas work well with a group!

  6. I’m like you when it comes to working out. The opportunity I get some free time, I first thing I think of doing is working out. Having a workout app has really pushed me to workout when I have that free time. It could 5 or 50 minutes but making the most that free time to workout is nice to do.

    1. Ha, it’s like we both have young children or something 😉 Working out often and whenever I wanted is the thing I think most about being childfree.

  7. Happy birthday to your little boy! I’ve been really bad about working out. Very inspiring that you can fit it into your day! It snowed again today up here, you must have gotten some snow too but it seemed to have melted quite quickly this time.

  8. Please look up a few suggestions on how to “heal” the broken branch on your hazelnut! It might be fixable if you correct it before the temperatures rise and the sap starts rising again…

  9. Meeting up with A Purple Life is def fun lol. Did you guys meet over food?!

    As for the Barclay Arrive Plus card, my gf and I have the card. We got it in 2017 to reach the $3000 spending threshold to get the 50,000 points (now it’s 70k right? legit lol).

    That and it didn’t charge any international spending/exchange fees. We got this card because we were going to be spending 4 months in Asia so those fees would have added up lol.

    However, now I’m looking toward cancelling the card because we’re working on FIRE with shorter international travels. So less international exchange fees. Not to mention the $89 a year fee for the card isn’t worth it if you only travel international once a year for a short time lol 😆

    Hope that helped?

    1. We had the Barclay Arrival + and downgraded it to the no fee version a while back to keep it on our credit (those older cards are gold for your score) without paying the AF. I need to look at their terms and see when I can get a bonus on a new one now!

      1. Waittttt, Kate thank you for that! Lol. If you downgrade to the no fee version, do they give you a new card or you keep your old one? And do the points and no international fees still work the same? (Then I assume the $89 fee a year is for the concierge service that we don’t need? Lol) and you mean if we have the no fee downgrade version, we can call and ask for a new one to get the 70k point bonus?!

    2. Yeah, it’s 70k right now so particularly tempting 😉 Haha and I like I have yet to meet up with Purple when there wasn’t at least some food involved.

  10. It was nice to see you although I am sorry I missed the meetup! We came back from our trip to a ton of snow left in our yard…we will never see the end of it!

    1. Glad you were able to make it for the party though! And next time is at my house so a bit easier to get to for you 😉

  11. Happy birthday to your son:)
    And congrats on the 20,000 steps. I have been trying to get back into walking regularly but the weather has not been cooperating. Friday I finally walked 14.000 steps but that won’t make much of a difference for the month average:(

    1. Thank you!! I definitely miss the regular 20k days. Right now just hitting my 12k goal every day has been tough.

  12. It was ski week here (we’re in the bay area), so we took the kids skiing. Never particularly frugal, but we tried in a few ways: bought passes online ahead of time (saves vs counter price), rented a place with a kitchen & cooked dinners, packed lunches, etc. I also used gift cards & coupons to stock up on easy snacks for the kids to bring with them. Active teen boys burn through a LOT Of calories!

    First time visitor to your blog, and also from the PNW. We moved from the Seattle area for a job in the bay area about 5.5 years ago.

    1. Yeah I don’t think there’s a way to make downhill skiing actually CHEAP, but you can definitely make it a lot cheaper the way you did it!

      Bet you never saw snow here like we had this winter 😉

  13. How cool that you were at Beecher’s- love that place! The mac and cheese is soooo good and we love watching the big vats of cheese being made. Happy belated birthday to the little man! And congrats on the 20k step day. That walk in the snow had to have counted for like double the steps, though, right?!

    1. Yeah he loooooved watching the cheese being made – so much that he was too distracted to even eat much of the mac and cheese! 😉

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