Growing up, the month of May used to look a lot like April: gray, wet, and dreary. If we were lucky, Memorial Day weekend might have decent enough weather for a barbecue outside. This year though, and the last few before that, have been unseasonably warm, and we’ve been seeing weather in the seventies and eighties and a lot of sunshine (and just about no rain).

Thanks to this warm weather, we spent a ton of time outside and in the garden this past week. As a Mother’s Day gift, my husband and son helped me build two more raised beds to expand my garden a bit more. No matter how much my garden grows though, I easily find ways to fill it and can always see how I could use even more room.

And then there’s the downside to all this warm weather. It’s only early May and we’ve already had lowland wildfires and they’re predicting yet again another bad summer for wildfires, which will mean smoky months around here again (and early snow melt). We are in a good place here in the Pacific Northwest in terms of climate change, but we are in no way immune to its affects.

New raised beds!

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. Another side effect of this dry, warm weather is that I’ve been able to hang dry our laundry outside for the past couple of weeks. Even on days when it doesn’t warm up past sixty degrees it has been dry enough that I can just leave them outside longer until they’re eventually dry.

We also turned off our furnace this week, perhaps for the season. It may still cool down enough later this And next month to need the heat on at night, but as long as it’s reasonably comfortable our furnace should be off until well into September now. Until it gets so hot we need to use the air conditioning, this time of year sees the lowest utility bills and energy use.

2. After thinking through and writing my post about my focus on no spend days, I considered allowing myself more lunches out on work days. I know this is a weakness of mine though, so I needed to have some parameters in place in order to never have to go back to weaning myself off of them in the future.

So for balance, I’ve decided to give myself a limit of one lunch out per week, which will likely total around forty or fifty dollars a month. At this point in my life, that kind of money isn’t going to make or break me financially in a month, and it makes me happy, so it seems well worth it, within moderation. Of course, it won’t do good things for our overall food expenses, but I’m coming to accept that is okay.

3. We had our neighbors who are moving soon over for dinner one night this week. We are going to miss them so much when they’re in another state and we can no longer have impromptu weeknight dinners with them. I do expect we will continue to travel with them like we have in the past, but we’ll just be doing it less frequently and starting from different locations.

We will be visiting once that baby makes its debut! 

That said, I passed him on my way up to my house earlier this week and asked if they just wanted to come up later that evening for dinner, and they did. We already had plans to cook a Costco freezer meal of Indian curry and some naan (store bought this time), so I simply added extra vegetables and cooked a larger pot of rice to make sure there was enough for the five of us.

They also had a salmon fillet that they brought over and we grilled that up as well. An eclectic meal perhaps, but there was plenty to go around and even enough for me to take leftovers to work for lunch the next day. Not a fancy evening, but a good one. Good neighbors are the very best thing about where we live.

4. We’ve gotten into a routine most weeks now where I’m able to leave my car at home one weekday. My husband drops the two of us off early at the coffee shop near my son’s preschool, where he and I grab a doughnut and then drink our hot chocolate and coffee and read a couple of the books there before I drop him off for the day.

From there, I walk the three miles to work along a pedestrian and cyclist only trail, now that the days are long enough and I’m not walking in the dark. In the afternoon I then either run back to preschool and my husband meets us or I drive with him there. While it may not be the days of getting to run all six miles to work, it’s definite improvement over needing to drive my car separately.

Flowers along my walk to work

5. The motor for the fan in our main bathroom burned out this week, which isn’t all that surprising because it was very old (and our roommate never remembers to turn it off after he showers and leaves the house – though I prefer that to him not turning it on in the first place).

Once realizing the motor was dead, my husband hopped right on Amazon and ordered a replacement motor. The day it arrived, he got right on it as soon as he got home and swapped out the motor and the fan works again (and much better than before). I so appreciate the degree to which my husband is capable and willing to fix small – and larger – things at our house, and that I don’t have to be involved in any of the emotional labor needed to make sure it gets done.

Beyond that, the entire fix cost us forty five dollars for the replacement motor and very little time. If we were to pay someone else to do the same job, we would have had to research companies, find one with availability, schedule the appointment and wait for them to arrive, and then pay what I’m guessing would be at least a couple hundred dollars to do the work.

Much like the reason why I have my mother cut my hair and my son’s hair and my husband cuts his own, the time and scheduling part of the endeavor is worth perhaps even more to me than the pure dollar savings.

Exercise Update

Friday was another one of those days where I had all of five minutes to hop on the elliptical before leaving work for the day. Saturday was a beautiful day though, and I ended up with just over 23,000 steps for the day thanks to walking around downtown Redmond in the morning and then gardening all afternoon as we built those raised beds. Monday I decided to skip the elliptical and go for a longer walk instead because the weather was just too nice to stay inside but I didn’t have any running gear with me.

Tuesday was this week’s day to leave my car at home so I walked to work after dropping my son at preschool and then went for a run in the afternoon. Thursday was a long walk out in the sunshine. Sunny, dry, not yet too hot weather makes it so easy to be outside.

Speaking of outside, I’m currently at 25 hours through the first nine days of the month. I’m going to have to step it up and be outside a lot again this weekend in order to hit that goal of 100 hours outside in May, but it seems completely reasonable at this point, especially with more good weather on the horizon.

How much time do you spend outside on a typical week (when the weather is good)?

26 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2019 – Week 18)

  1. I highly recommend a timer on your bathroom fan. There was one already installed when we moved into our last house and we’ll never go without again.

    1. Yeah, it’s on the “when we re wire the house someday” list, but maybe we should bump it up and just get it done sooner 🤔

      1. I second this. Very easy install, and I just crank the dial to 30 minutes and it’ll shut off after I leave the house in the morning!

      2. Yeah yeah yeah… adding it to the sooner rather than later list. You guys win 🙂

  2. Spring felt so short this year. It’s already hot. We skipped right into summer. Our son has a soccer game this weekend and it’s supposed to be 90 degrees out. That’s too hot to be running around.
    Our bathroom fan is super loud. $45 isn’t too bad. Maybe I’ll replace that soon.

    1. At least things are cooler this week. I think I might get whiplash with all this change.

  3. I drink my first cup of coffee outside every day, preferably pre-dawn. I run with the puppy for half an hour every day, too, and then garden for half an hour or so in the afternoon. We spend maybe an hour outside with the kids in the evening. So, maybe two hours per day? Not a ton, but given my work schedule and life in general, I’m okay with it.

    1. Two hours a day as the status quo is really good! Especially if you’re then outside more on your days off. Even with two hours period that’s what more than the average.

  4. Are you wearing a fit bit to track the entire day, I use my smartphone for all my runs and walks so I am not tracking all the distance I put down in a day. Would be interesting to see what a full day is for me, I’ve thought about a fitpbit but it doesn’t have the function that I want for my runs and nice integration into Strava. Leaning towards an Apple Watch possibly.

    As for the spring so far, I am worried with this hot weather and lack of rain. Snowpack levels here are sitting at 50% below normal and my friend from Seattle posted your areas on instagram yesterday showing you are 40-70% below normal. This will hit us hard in July when we no longer have run-off to fill our creeks, rivers and lakes. There is also a strange salal die off ride now and the douglas firs/red cedars in some of the region are getting a bit stressed with this continued new heat. Scary times…..

    1. Yep, the Fitbit is great because I can set down my phone more and still track my steps 🙂

      I hadn’t read about the salal die off, but looking back I really didn’t see much of it on our hike Saturday. The snowpack is definitely problematic. Seems crazy considering how much snow we did get in the lowlands as well.

      1. I definitely appreciated the rain yesterday for that reason!

  5. Our weather has been flip flopping all over the place! It was sunny when we went out this afternoon but everyone had their coats. Then it hailed furiously when we got in.
    Stopped for a bit and now it’s raining.

    Having a garden really makes me appreciate the rain so much more now!

    1. It rained here yesterday for the first time in a while, and I so hear you on appreciating it more when you have a garden!

  6. While owning a house can surely be a hassle with everything you need to account for, I’m actually looking forward to seeing what I’ll be able to learn from a handyman perspective. That’s awesome that your husband knows how to do those things and it surely saves you a bunch of money!

    1. Yeah, nothing like the need to fix things to get you practice 🙂

  7. I spend almost no time outside. Then again, I’m very pale and Arizona’s sun is very strong. So I really just leave the house to run errands or meet up with friends. There’s a park with a good walking trail right next to my house, but I prefer to work out at home, in the relative cool of indoors.

  8. We’re still wreathed in fog here so I really hope that if we get any real summer heat, the fog will help damp down fires (and keep us relatively comfortably cool).
    It’s usually hovering around 50-60 and then jolts up to 95 on our hot days. If we could just agree on a compromise of 73 degrees, that’d be perfect!

    I’m not nearly anywhere near your outside time but I’ve been glad of the time I do get!

    1. Ha yeah, 73 degrees (and sunny) is lovely. Though I still wouldn’t want that every day, or it would get boring.

  9. We are all about ditching that commute in favor of commutercise! My fiance has started biking to all his clients’ appointments and absolutely loves it. He gets in his daily workout, he doesn’t get caught in traffic, and we save loads of money on cost of gas and car depreciation. I’m trying to brainstorm ways I can hop on this bandwagon too, but unfortunately my offices are in highly congested areas 10+ miles away, with no bike lanes.

    Also- we thought that living in LA we’d be getting much more May sun, but so far it’s been an early June gloom. Enjoy that sun while you have it! You’re inspiring us to get outside rain or shine- it’s always so refreshing after.


    1. Commutercise! I love the term. I don’t enjoy biking as a pastime, but I absolutely appreciate it when it comes to a form of transportation.

      Ran in the rain yesterday:)

  10. Going out for lunch once a week is pretty good. You should treat yourself a few times a month so you can try out different places to eat and explore. Of course doing it in moderation is the best way to handle this. I try to go out once every week or other week, it can be lunch or just a dessert like ice cream.

    1. Yeah, there are so many good places within walking distance of my office as well. The temptation to do it more than once is pretty strong some weeks.

  11. we could use more outdoor time in our lives for sure. walking a dog surely helps and that’s usually an hour on the weekends but only 15-20 minutes after work. it’s been an unusually miserable winter and spring here and we’re looking forward to some sunshine. nice job on DIYing that fan. also, there’s nothing better than friends stopping by to eat/drink. it’s the reason i most love our comfortable house.

    1. Yeah well our winters are much easier to spend time outdoors since it doesn’t generally get THAT cold, just wet.

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