While my neighborhood gets together on a small scale quite regularly, we do a larger block party just once or twice a year. In previous years, another neighbor has hosted in front of their house, but she ended up being out of town this time so we hosted instead.

We live at the end of a cul de sac, so it’s a good spot to spill out into the road and a safe place for the kids to play. Another neighbor rolled his smoker over next to our driveway, and we grilled in the front yard. Over the course of the afternoon, we had maybe three or four dozen people up to hang out, eat, and get to know each other better.

Of the people who showed up, we knew a good handful of them well, knew some more by face and name, and quite a few others we had never met. Our “block party” covers about five streets and quite a few houses, so while we know most of the people closer to us, there are still plenty we have yet to really meet.

The first couple of years we lived in our house, we knew very few people at these events, but as the years have gone on, we’ve gotten to know many more and have much closer relationships than simply waving as we pass them on the street. If your neighborhood doesn’t do at least an annual block party, I would highly recommend it. It’s a great way to initially say hello and get to know your neighbors, and it can turn into so much more.

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times over the past few months, our dog has needed surgery to amputate two of her toes due to some growths under her nails. The first quote I received was for $4,000 – $5,300, which was more than a bit shocking.

We had to take her in for some other cardiology appointments in the meantime, which gave me time to think through the situation (and toss a little bit of money aside for the future surgery). I then made a few inquiries to other local places, and I received either a similar quote or the answer that they just don’t do surgeries beyond spay and neutering.

I then decided to reach out to places a bit further away from where we live and eventually landed on Renton Veterinary Hospital. They are housed in a small, older building, but have been around for 75 years. Best of all, they are just a “regular” veterinary that also does surgeries, so they don’t have the cost of the overhead of the big surgical centers. And they gave me a quote of $1,600.

A week post op, and our dog is doing even better than I could have hoped at this point. They did a fabulous job, and I really don’t feel like we skimped on care to save on cost. I did had to drive a ways on Friday for the surgery and back again on Monday (and once more next week) for bandage changes, but that is a small inconvenience for a savings of thousands of dollars.

If you’re anywhere in the Seattle area and have a pricey procedure needed for your pet, I would highly recommend them at this point. Dr. Singh is great, and I am so grateful they were able to take such good care of our dog (at a much more reasonable price).

Update: bandage change Thursday afternoon showed infection in her front paw so she’s back to the vet today to get it cleaned out.

I’m not quite sure this is how that works.

2. To make up for the extra cost and extra driving on Friday, Sunday was a no spend, car free day. We had a quiet morning at home and then packed up a lunch and went for a hike through the woods around our house.

We had some leftover hot dogs and cheese and other snacks from the block party over the weekend, so we took those for our picnic lunch. We would really like to take the kiddo on a backpacking trip soon, so we are using these trail days to practice for a longer trip.

3. I’ve made it to the gym five out of the last six weeks. I’m grandfathered in to an extremely cheap rate thanks to sticking with the same gym through two ownership changes, and I only pay $17.84/month. There are seasons where I don’t get there as often as I would like, but even once a week means I pay less than five dollars a trip.

I realize that I could save a little bit of money by ditching the membership and just running outside or working out at home (or at the small work gym), but I really love getting to an actual gym when I can manage it, so an annual cost of under $250 feels well worth it to me.

4. We are getting to the end of snap pea season, so I’m picking and eating as many of them as I can for now. In their place are now blueberries, and the very first of the tomatoes. I don’t often eat a meal entirely out of the garden, but I do supplement quite a few meals and we buy a whole lot less produce this time of year.

5. Right after I broke my pair of sunglasses and then my husband subsequently repaired them for me, I finally found one of my other pairs! They had gotten wedged in the very bottom of the seat back of my husband’s truck under a large map, and I just missed them the last few times I looked.

While I’m not certain if sunglasses really count as clothing or accessories in terms of my shopping ban, I’m finding that I am much more aware of buying any new physical item these days. Once you start paying close attention to the things you own and working toward living what you already have, it becomes much more apparent when you go to bring in something new.

Exercise Update

I spent the day down in Renton Friday while my dog was in surgery so I didn’t have to make the drive down twice in one day. I spent much of the day at the community center and some of it taking phone calls while walking down by the river. It was a free way to get my work done out of the office, and I got a bit of exercise in at the same time.

Sunday was that hike through the woods near our house. Monday was another long walk while on the phone, and then I was back running to the gym to go lift on Tuesday. Wednesday was a run on the treadmill while the kiddo napped.

If you garden, what are you harvesting this week?

32 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2019 – Week 29)

  1. i have sunglasses from the 90’s i still wear. our garden harvest is mostly herbs but i counted hundreds of blackberries that are getting close. i gotta go look at the red currants. they should be ready. it’s good your dog is getting better. we saw extended family last weekend and now they all want boxers. they have no idea what they’re getting into and how much work it took to get him this well behaved.

    1. I’m impressed you haven’t broken or lost them at this point! Blackberries are almost ripe here too, surprisingly enough.

  2. I hope your dog gets better soon. It’s expensive, but that’s part of being a pet owner.
    I just canceled my gym membership. We moved and I want to try working out at home.
    It’s not going well in the summer. I’m too lazy. Hopefully, I can pick it back up once school starts.
    Too many distractions in the summer. 🙂

    1. It’s definitely part of being a responsible pet owner. And there are also plenty of active things to do in the summer, even if they aren’t technically a work out.

  3. Gym memberships are totally worth the price especially if you are paying less than $20! I paid for a personal trainer for awhile, but ultimately decided he wasn’t doing much more for me than I could do on my own. Do you run at the gym, swim, lift weights? I like all of the options mine provides.

    1. If the weather is terrible, I’ll run at the gym, but I prefer to be outside. Usually I’m just there to lift weights and then stretch a bit.

    2. I used to go to kickboxing classes at mine as well, but that was pre kid 😉

    1. Better response from the vet today, but she still has another visit on Monday. The hard part is she has to walk on those paws so they can’t fully rest.

  4. Your dog is so cute. The basil in our garden is going bonkers. I have now made a giant batch of pesto and just plain pureed basil with olive oil and froze it just to keep up. The tomatoes seem done. We have some long skinny eggplant that I need to figure out what to do with and the jalepeno plant is producing well. Unfortunately this is all produce that the kiddo is not fond of so trying to figure out meals to use them up is a challenge.

    1. Yum. That all sounds so good. What produce will your kiddo eat? Mine loves the carrots because they’re fun to harvest, and then he’ll eat them that way 🙂

  5. We’re harvesting peaches and tomatoes right now. Because ripening times stagger, we keep some components on hand for a great variety of meals: chewy bread, goat cheese, brie, lettuce, shrimp and scallops, avocados.
    Our gym was running us $135 a month but we left it after they began pushing personal trainers on us for the things we enjoyed- yoga, Pilates, swimming, and more gym services. Yes, fresh heated towels are lovely but it was turning into a different place once it changed ownership. We then used personal trainers at $70-$110 a session. After awhile that too went away. We have converted a spare room into our yoga room and it’s quite lovely. We walk or swim with friends. The biggest advantage is not being upsold constantly.
    Happy summer!

    1. Ouch, $135 a month! It’s much easier to justify mine since it’s so cheat. And that garden sounds lovely – there’s nothing like a fresh peach.

  6. I love your cloth napkins – did you sew them yourself of order from Etsy/somewhere else? Right now we’ve been using flour sack towels cut into squares, but the edges are frayed and I don’t sew 🙂

    1. A friend of mine made them for me as presents two Christmases in a row 🙂

  7. As a kid I used to get so jealous of my friends who had awesome block parties! It seems like such a lovely way to enhance the neighborhood camaraderie.

    Your gym membership is one of the cheapest I have seen, and for that price TOTALLY WORTH IT. If you like to lift and play with different toys and gadgets in the gym, the cost to get those for your home would be exorbitant. Not to mention there’s something nice about being in the gym space. I always find it offers a shift in mentality that gets me more motivated compared to a home workout. As long as you’re enjoying it and actually using it, why not!

    I just tried snap peas for the first time this week. They looked enticing at the store and were on sale. My oh my they are delicious! So awesome you get to have them fresh from your garden!


    1. I completely agree with you on the mindset piece when it comes to the gym. I so prefer to be in a big space with other people working out around me. It’s motivating for sure.

      Try and get some snap peas fresh from a farmers market some time – they’re even better!

  8. Amazing the difference in cost between vets– good job. Hope your dog has a speedy recovery!

    1. Seriously!! And she seems to be doing decently well now. Fingers crossed we’re on the downward slide to health for her.

  9. Sorry to hear about your dog’s infection, but glad you caught it when you did! I think I know what you mean regarding the intentionality of bringing new objects into the house/life. The triple benefit (savings, minimizing clutter, and cutting down consumption) makes it good skill to build! Plus, it can build other skills/creativity (like fixing the sunglasses)!

    1. Minimizing clutter is something I am finding SO hard. So it’s easier just not to bring new things in at least.

  10. I love the picture of the snap peas — delicious! I live in NYC, and while some have gardens (rooftop or window sill), not many do. But I love to visit gardens and finally caught the NY Botanical Garden rose garden in full bloom last June. Also just came back from France and saw lavender and sunflowers in full bloom in Provence. Not as nutritious as snap peas, but maybe for the soul!

    1. I have been loving the lavender in bloom this year and think it’s going to need to be an addition to my garden in future years.

  11. It makes me SO HAPPY with an animal gets a loving, responsible home like yours that provides proper veterinary care. It’s heartbreaking how many people think pets can be abandoned when they become inconvenient or who don’t provide them with needed healthcare. Thank you for doing the right thing even when it’s expensive.

    1. Absolutely. Once an animal comes home with us, it’s forever, and they are taken care of right ♥️

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