After what has felt like an extremely long, extremely cold winter, things seem to finally be warming up a little and feeling like spring might just be around the corner after all. For those of you in the Midwest or the Northeast where it regularly snows and stays cold this late in the year, this may not feel like something particular special, but for the Pacific Northwest, it has not been normal.

Of course, we STILL have a bit of snow that has stubbornly not melted hanging out in our yard (though it’s mostly gone now) and the dirt is still frozen solid, but the season is definitely changing. So much so that we may get close to a seventy degree day on Monday. I’m trying not to put too much stock in the weather report just yet, but I’m more than ready.

Visiting Hawaii at the start of February certainly helped with this winter, but that warm sunshine feels like a distant memory six weeks later when we’ve had snow in our neighborhood for every one of those six weeks. Our neighbors across the street do have some flowers in bloom now though, and our daffodils should be close behind. Spring, I’m ready and (not so patiently) waiting.

Dead strawberry plants and a little bit of snow left.

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Friday’s Frugal Five

1. I had a rare No Spend weekend day on Sunday thanks in no part to me. This time, it was me who very much wanted to go out to eat and spend money after getting home from church, either for lunch or for dinner, but they both wanted to stick around the house for the day so I got outvoted.

While I tend to be the bigger stickler for not going out and spending money, sometimes the impetus does come from them, and later on I was only too happy to see another zero spend day on the calendar instead of what could have ended up being an extra fifty to hundred dollars spent unnecessarily. I’m just as susceptible to inflating our discretionary food budget back to old levels, and weekend meals at home are so important to keeping that dollar amount in check.

2. Speaking of our overall food budget, we’ve been working on eating down the food in our pantry and freezer yet again. We still have some of the beef left from our local cow purchase back in July, and it’s time to finish it up.

We also have other food that’s been in there for a while, and it’s always good to clear the freezer out and start again fresh come spring and summer when we start being able to eat out of the garden again. This goes for our older canned and preserved foods as well, so we’re trying to stick to what we have first before buying even more at the grocery store.

We are still grocery shopping to a degree – we’ve never attempted a full pantry challenge month – but a long term balance seems like a good idea. Perhaps come summer when we have plenty of fresh produce ripening in the garden we could do a full month.

This past week I was able to make homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese (leftover bread that my parents gave to us since they weren’t going to eat it), plus we fried up some ground beef to add in so my husband could feel like he was having a heartier meal. A pantry meal but in no way deprivation – it was delicious. We ate it twice.

Simple, but so good.

3. I picked up a few holds at the library (most excited about Rachel Held Evans’ newest book Inspired) as I continue to work on my goal to read thirty books this year. I’ve read five so far and am part way through three others, so this seems like I am on track so far.

I’m finding having one fiction reread on my Kindle app for on the go (confession: currently Breaking Dawn) and then one nonfiction hard copy book to read at home in the evenings is a good balance, though I got so excited about Inspired I put down my current read for the time being because I got hooked in the few pages I read on the walk back from the library.

I also paid my outstanding fees of $9.40 to the library this past week. Considering how many books I’ve checked out over the past couple years for both myself and the kiddo (my husband still prefers buying e-books), we’ve gotten well more value than that cost. Now if only I could always get the books back in time and not a day or two late. I end up renewing as many as I can last minute, but there are always a few that have a line of other people waiting to read and those end up with that 10¢ fee per book per day.

Working our way through the Magic Tree House series at bedtime

4. A friend of mine celebrated her birthday at a line dancing bar that we used to go to regularly pre kid and we took advantage of the late start (8pm) to squeeze in a date night for the two of use beforehand. Since my mother watches the kiddo for us (thanks again mom – you’re the best!), we don’t have to pay a babysitter, which automatically makes date night so much cheaper than it would be otherwise. I don’t know how people go on regular date nights without family support, because it would easily cost us an extra $60-$100 just for the babysitter.

As it was, we did take a Lyft (affiliate link – jeez I’m apparently full of them today – but always only what I would actually recommend to a close friend in real life) to and from their house so that we could fully enjoy ourselves and each have a couple of drinks, plus we didn’t have to think about or pay for parking (driving was twenty minutes and transit would have taken an hour and a half there and non existent on the way back due to the late hour).

I did order the Lyft both ways through Ebates, so we earned an extra 25¢ each way. Obviously this isn’t a wealth building amount, but all the little bits do add up to a decent sized check each quarter (usually $30-$60) that would otherwise not exist for the exact same purchases.

If you’ve never used Ebates before, I would definitely recommend it. When you go online to make a purchase, you just go through the Ebates portal, and if the purchase is on their list of rebate sites, then you get somewhere usually in the 2-5% cash back. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s worth it for things I would be buying anyway.
Of course, just like with anything else, I would not recommend Ebates if you know you’re likely to more spend money just to earn the “reward.” It’s only a tool to save money if it’s only used for your regular purchases. If Ebates is new to you, use this link to get $10 toward your first rebate check (referral link for me as well). It’s not going to make you big money, but every little bit adds up – as long as it actually goes to savings.
Pad se ew @ hands down my favorite Thai dish as of late. Just as good – if not better – with tofu.

5. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s still too cold to start any planting outdoors since the ground is mostly frozen, but I spent some time this week doing some much overdue garden clean up. In case it seems like I can “do it all,” let me assure you that I leave plenty of things undone that aren’t always obvious in this online space.

Just this week I finally cleaned up the dead plants out of the raised beds, to include flowers, tomatoes, peppers, and giant asparagus plants. I *should* have taken a picture of the “before,” but I didn’t think about it in time. Let me assure you, though, it was very much needed. I may do a lot – and I don’t sit down very often (even to write most of these blog posts), but something always has to get pushed to the side to get the rest done.

Exercise Update

Friday seems to now be a regular ten minute elliptical day. While I would love for this to be a longer workout, it’s ten minutes each week that I wasn’t making happen for the longest time. Saturday and Sunday we took advantage of the sunshine and relative (high forties) warmth and spent quite a bit of time walking around outside, both in downtown Edmonds along the water and through the wooded trails behind our house.

Monday was the line dancing night as well as a walk around the area after dinner and before dancing, which was a nice change from my typical exercise. I had forgotten how much I love those line dancing nights and I want to find a way to make it happen at least a few times a year.

Again Tuesday I didn’t have time for a workout because I had to take the kiddo to his four year old appointment for his annual checkup and vaccinations right after my work day ended. We ended up going to ice cream after that to balance out “the worst day ever” getting shots, so Tuesday was definitely a backwards day as far as my health and exercise went, but the kiddo got his vaccines, so I’ll count it as an overall win for the day.

Wednesday I ran outside in the sunshine in a t-shirt and yoga capris for the first time since running in Hawaii, and it felt glorious. I’ve run outside plenty in the rain and the cold, but it just isn’t the same as running in good weather.


Thursday the kiddo was kicking around his soccer ball and I decided to take advantage of a few minutes outside and jogged around the yard for ten minutes. Near the end, he decided to join me and we jogged down to the bottom of the hill and back together. As the weather gets better, I expect to squeeze in more of those kinds of workouts on random week nights.

What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods? Is spring headed your direction, or are you unlucky enough to be in the path of the bomb cyclone this week?

PS – I was a guest on the House of FI podcast this past week – check it out here 🙂


25 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2019 – Week 10)

  1. How awesome is it to get in a run without all the layers. I wore just a long sleeve and shorts this week, being able to leave the compression leggings in the closet. Man warm and sunny runs feel so good, bring on summer !

  2. Sounds like a great week overall! Glad the kiddo and husband were able to rein in your desire to eat out. It’s just so expensive with multiple people! I can give in to the occasional craving for under $10 most of the time, but back when it was me and Tim… We’d be lucky to get away for under $20. Even fast food would be $15-18.

    I just had eye surgery and a resultant nasty black eye (see picture on Twitter) which has kept me in the house the last few days out of embarrassment. So that’s been wonderfully frugal because I needed/been able to spend any money!

    1. Somehow I missed the black eye picture (but I read about it). It’s usually the two of them that want to go out more, so it was nice to have that flipped on its head haha.

  3. I’m so excited for you to be able to get back into your garden! Glad you were able to weed it out. My in laws dropped off a few planters for our apartment and I’m so excited. Here’s to hoping I won’t kill everything in my garden this year!

  4. Sounds like a good week overall:) I think I may try planting vegetables this year. I tried a few times in the past but never worked out the way I expected (meaning It was a fail for various reasons!).

    1. Good luck! I had a rough start to gardening as well but with a lot of reading and practice it’s gotten to be pretty second nature now 🙂

  5. Eating your way through freezer (or pantry) is harder than I’d thought. We ran through our tomatoes by end of December. So I guess I know what to grow more of this year! I have half the freezer back so eager for garden to start up soon.

    Sounds like you had a good week with bonus no spend day!

  6. I have read 5 books so far too this year. I don’t have a particular goal on how many books I want to read this year but I read when I have some free time and I always have it on my daily to do list. Hopefully I’ll get to 30 but anything over 15 is fine by me since we will be busy later this later with baby #2 due during the summer.

    1. I honestly have no idea how many I’ve read in past years so this will be an interesting experiment 🙂

  7. Okurrr…line dancing! I have never done that before and it sounds like fun. I should add that to my “To do before I meet my maker” list. I must say I do miss the transition of the seasons now that I live in FL. My favourite season is Fall, although Spring is beautiful with the flowers and trees beginning to bloom. I just hate when the snow melts and you find a bunch of dog poop from other dog owners. Ugh! Pas cool!

  8. i’ve read two books already this year, the last of the lisbeth salander dragon tattoo tomes. sweet baby just got me two more recommended by our friend who owns a used book store in buffalo. i don’t know if she bought them but i’ll probably just give them back to kristi when i’m done so she can sell them. our snow is gone at home but we drove across the state yesterday and it’s still here at the in-laws place, even though it was in the high 60’s yesterday. we had to use the a/c in the car near the end of the drive so that was nice.

  9. I’ve been terrible with my book reading the last couple of years! Too many good blog articles to distract me! I should try a challenge for myself, like you have. It might get me back to it. There’s nothing like reading a good, addictive non-fiction book!

    1. I hear you there! Reading a hard copy book instead of on my phone helps separate me from blogging for a bit though, which is definitely good too.

  10. We are lucky, spring is finally coming to the NY area. Yesterday was nearly 60. Today is 41, but yesterday was awesome. We have a lot of large trees in our yard, so my first spring duty was picking up the branches the winter knocked off the trees.

    I am glad you had some time to run. I did as well, my first day of running since I broke my foot nearly a year ago. My son, who is just shy of big number 5, actually joined me. I was just doing some jogging up and down our long driveway which is a out 120 feet long amd rises about 30 feet over that distance. Its a good hill work out that I hope to do most days now that I am healed.

    We get the cash back on the credit cards and the like as well. I took a suggestion from your post there that you prefer to save the cash back as opposed to putting it towards the bill as I usually do. Perhaps you did not imply that, but I think you did. It is an interesting idea, while cash is fungible, treating this cash as distinct and putting in a savings account towards some other end just sounds like a better idea, and a way to control spending a bit more.

    1. Yep, that’s exactly what I meant with the cash back! I actually got that idea from Reaching For FI (she has a separate savings account just for those sorts of things).

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