This week at work was insanely busy and full, as was the week before, but with the added bonus of multiple evening meetings. We worked two half weeks in a row thanks to the Hawaii trip and then another half week after that thanks to the inability to leave our house after the snow, though I was able to work some at home before the power went out and the cell phone tower went down.
That being said, not only have these past two weeks been insanely long, but they felt especially so thanks to the three preceding weeks. Typically, I have my evening volunteer board meeting every other week and then very few otherwise. Thanks to the snow and reshuffling of work meetings, I ended up with long, late evenings Tuesday and Thursday nights and an early start on Thursday. Plus I have an event to attend tonight as well.
They have all been very good things, but to say I’ve had a busy week would be an understatement. The extra work has absolutely been worth it though, and I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished through the process. I may be able to share more later, and if I can, I’ll be sure to share it all here. Work can be hard and draining sometimes, but then it can be completely energizing and exciting and worthwhile all at the same time. Just because it’s a passion and a commitment doesn’t mean it isn’t hard work.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. I mailed a book a little while ago to a friend that I met at Cents Positive back in November and reused an old envelope from a packet I’d received from my volunteer position. Not only do I not like spending money on shipping materials to begin with, but it makes me feel good to be able to reuse something a couple of times.
Imagine my surprise that when that same envelope showed up at my doorstep when I received a different book back in it. I knew the book was coming, but getting it back in that same envelope felt really awesome. Not only do I love exchanging books, but it’s even better when we can do it while reusing the same packaging materials. Fitting that it was a book about a no spend year.
2. Speaking of a no spend year, I’ve been at this no spend tracking thing for over a year now, and it is no less useful now than when I started out. While I’ve never committed to a true “no spend” year other than within the boundaries of my clothing ban, I find that by simply tracking my spending this closely – and especially noting the days I spend zero dollars – I’ve naturally reduced the amount of money I spend on “stuff.”
I asked on Twitter earlier this week what the last non-consumable purchase people made was, and the responses were fascinating. I had initially asked this question because I was pondering it on my walk into work and I realized I had a really hard time thinking back to what I actually had purchased over the past few months.
For me, the last non-consumable, tangible item I purchased for myself was a microphone for podcast interviews. Before that was a new case for my phone back in November (turns out I shouldn’t have bought it though because Lifeproof warranties their cases and they would have replaced it for free even though I’d beat it half to death in less than a year).
That said, a number of people responded with non tangible things like adventures and concerts and the like. Like them, I find it so much easier to spend on memories than things, but I do need to be careful even then because it can get to easy to justify spending that doesn’t come with a physical purchase. And really, if I don’t hardly buy anything, why is my house still filled with stuff??
3. I received my quarterly Ebates check in the mail ($41.24), and I immediately deposited the corresponding amount into savings. I had hear about this idea from Erin a while back but it took me a while to implement it myself. It’s so easy to feel good about yourself about saving/making more money, but unless you actually make moves to really save it, those dollars end up slipping out and getting spent on who knows what.
Now that I transfer unexpected funds immediately to savings, I’m actually saving it. Imagine that. The transfer did not go to my IRA though, as tempting as it was, because that is a goal separate from this “bonus” money and I should be able to fund it separately as well.
Ebates is one of those things that doesn’t make me a HUGE amount of money each year (I don’t do a ton of online shopping), but if I’m doing the shopping already, I may as well get the 1-5% cash back on each order that I can. Of course, this only works well if you aren’t tempted to buy more just to get a bigger “savings” check (I only go to Ebates when I already have a specific purchase in mind). If you aren’t using Ebates yet, use this link to get $10 just for signing up (affiliate link).
4. Even with the crazy evenings we had this week, we didn’t eat out or grab delivery thanks to our “meal prepping” over the weekend: buying the ingredients needed for simple meals throughout the week and then deciding what to cook depending on what we feel like. This means things like fancy ramen and “grown up” spaghettios. We knew the week was going to be extra busy, so we prepared with simple meals.
Even better, I made enough of the spaghettios that I had enough leftovers for two work lunches. We’ve come a long way from our way too high grocery bills of years past. I’ve considered writing this recipe into its own post (idea courtesy of my mother in law), but I think I’m passed the point of recipe posts at this point. I just have too many other things I want to write about.
5. Today (March 1st!) marks an official two years of my clothes buying ban. I have received a few key hand me downs and birthday/Christmas gifts, but it has now been two years since I have bought a single piece of clothing for myself. This includes shoes, jewelry, and accessories as well.
I absolutely don’t see how I can make it stretch to three years (my shoes just won’t make it that long), but I plan to put some boundaries in place before I buy anything. I don’t have any urgent need to replace any of my clothes or shoes yet, but that time will eventually come. I’ll share a full comprehensive post on my thoughts about year two soon, but I wanted to at least mark the official day here. I’ve also written about it four, twelve, and eighteen months in, plus the occasional Frugal Five, if you want to read about it up to this point (or just click on the “clothes” tag at the bottom of this post).
Friday and Monday were both elliptical days at the work gym at ten and twenty minutes a piece (and then another twenty minutes on Thursday). Tuesday my husband dropped our son and I off at preschool on his way to work and the two of us had our special early morning routine of doughnuts and coffee/hot chocolate. After that, I walked the almost three miles to work – and the snow was finally gone on the trail!
The kiddo had asked us both to pick us up that day, so I went for an hour long walk in the sunshine while I waited for my husband to get off work. I had planned to go work out, but I ended up having a lovely phone conversation with Budget Epicurean instead and got to enjoy the nice day. I did hop on the elliptical then for ten minutes after that, so I ended my day with just over 22,000 steps.
Wednesday I finally got to go for a run in what felt like far too long. I’ve really appreciated the elliptical for days that I wouldn’t otherwise have time to work out, but there’s no substitute for running for me. I know other people can get a “runner’s high” from other types of workouts, but it just doesn’t seem to work that way for me.
I slipped and fell on the ice a couple weeks ago and hurt my wrist and it is still hurting me, so I haven’t been able to lift weights at all. Attempting (and failing) to open a jar one night this week made me reconsider possibly making a doctor’s appointment. Here’s to hoping it feels better next week, but if not, it’s probably time.
How long do you wait to go to the doctor when you’re sick/hurt? Is it the cost or time or need to make an appointment that stops you?