The one upside of the weather changing and the rain showing back up already is that the danger of forest fires and low air quality goes way down. Which means we can have bonfires in the backyard again without worrying about the dry tinder around us.

Saturday night was another one of these evenings, where the weather was clear and dry but had been wet, which is just about perfect for a fire. We invited a number of friends over and spent the evening hanging out. My husband fire roasted broccoli and a bunch of pork and our friends brought drinks and snacks to share. There ended up being about a dozen of us that evening, which feels like a pretty perfect amount (eight adults and four children) to be able to have conversations with everyone but also feel like a party.

Fire roasted broccoli. It was so good.

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Friday’s Frugal Five

1. Sunday was a packed day in the best possible way. I headed out first thing to blog at a coffee shop for the second time ever. Then I swung by the house and grabbed the kiddo to go to church and had lunch there after the service as there is a pot luck meal a few times a month.

After that, we went for a walk (kiddo on his bike) through the park, grabbed lunch for my husband and second lunch for the kiddo from the grocery store, and then ate at the covered area at the park before heading home.

2. I then went back out just myself to spend some time with two friends, bringing one of them a couple of tools from yet another friend (who was over for the bonfire Saturday night). We ended up at a Panera because it was the best central option for where we were meeting. Turns out, they have good coffee and unlimited refills, so I’m thinking I might give that option a try for future blogging days when I have a chance to do so away from the house.

From there, I picked the kiddo back up and went to another friend’s house for dinner, who fed us some awesome chicken soup with vegetables that she’d been given by someone else because they were well on their way to being thrown out otherwise. She also had a box of clothes for me to look at from another friend, and I ended up going home with a nice fancier new work shirt as a result.

The sharing economy is a pretty fabulous thing. And as was clear this past weekend, it can extend past just the people you know personally and go through friends of friends. And then of course, The Buy Nothing Project extends that to unknown neighbors as well.

Chicken soup!

3. I shared on Instagram when it happened, but my car finally hit 100,000 miles. For a twelve year old car, that seems like a reasonable number of miles (though I’m always looking to drive less). While a 2008 Camry Hybrid isn’t a “new” car by any stretch, it still feels pretty new to me, considering I drove a 1996 Buick Century before that, and my husband’s truck is that same age.

At the point I do look into buying a new car – far in the future – it will be fully electric. I’ve considered the switch sooner, but I love that I’ve never had a car payment. At this point, I’d have to get one if I went to an electric vehicle versus paying for one in cash. And to be honest, I’m hopeful that public transit is good enough in the future in our area that perhaps I’ll never have to buy another car altogether. For now though, I have to take the kiddo to too many different disparate locations for childcare that no car isn’t an option quite yet.

4. I redeemed another $10 in Amazon gift cards through Bing rewards. It’s never a huge amount, but I do love getting free gift cards for doing online searching I would do otherwise. Clearly, my search traffic can be bought if you offer me even very tiny rewards (Jobspotter, on the other hand, pays out way more, but it’s not passive).

5. Now that our dog is slowly being weaned off of most of her medications, we go through pill pockets in a much smaller quantity each month. At the peak, she was getting ten pills twice a day (six different medications), and she’s now down to three twice a day. In not too much longer, it will be just one pill twice a day. Of course, the one left is the most expensive one at $105 a month, but it’s still much, much better.

That said, I had pill pockets on the Subscribe and Save option at Amazon because they give a discount for that, but now that we need just two pill pockets a day instead of six, the previous order quantity is way too much. Last minute, I cancelled this next month’s order because we still have a few bags left. While we will need more eventually, there’s no point to way overstock ahead of time, and it saves a bit of money now. (And yes, I’m aware that you can make a homemade version of these, but even I have a limit on time in my week and this is something I’ve just never gotten to).

Exercise Update

Friday the kiddo and I headed to the park after work to meet up with a friend he’d met the year before at another park – and then again on the bus home from Seattle a few months ago. After they played so well together multiple random times, his mom and I made sure to get them together to play, and we’ll do it again many times in the future I’m sure.

Saturday was a walk/run with the kiddo while he glided on his balance bike. Sunday was the hike through the woods after church.

I had a late afternoon meeting on Monday so I picked up the kiddo and then went back to work with him, where I got ten minutes on the elliptical while he played in the gym, plus some squats and stretching throughout the day. Tuesday was walking to and from the bus in the morning and then in the afternoon to pick up the kiddo. The closest bus stop to our house is three quarters of a mile away, so taking the bus automatically means more steps, which landed me at 20,000 steps total for the day.

Wednesday morning was a half an hour run before work, and then a walk along with the kiddo and his bike with my family in the afternoon, making for another 20,000 step count day. Each weekday, I’ve also gotten back into the habit of taking a ten minute walk around the block in the middle of my work day. It gets me a bit more exercise, plus the little bit of outside time away from the computer is really beneficial as well.

What is a frugal win you’ve had this week? I love to hear about them!

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

  1. Sounds like a fun weekend! We are anxious to get more bonfires in as it’s finally getting cooler outside. Fall weather is slow to arrive in KY.

    Good idea on the midday walk. I have been going running around lunchtime lately as I get some of my work done early and then can get a break from the screen. It’s fantastic having freedom to exercise whenever it’s nicest out. I think I work better afterwards as well!

    1. Fall definitely wasn’t slow to arrive around here this year. And I agree on the break really helping focus once you get back into the office.

  2. we just sold some brass sconces mrs. smidlap picked from the trash for 100 bucks on ebay. we saved the planet and got paid too! it killed me to replace our 2005 car with way less than 100k miles this summer. rust is a killer around here. maybe we’ll move to florida and live with a couple of mopeds down there. you sure walk a lot of steps. even on days i’m running i only get 13-14k and that’s with a dog walk added in. i think i’ll get 4/5 running days this week while i try to get back in the swing from eating everything in sight the past month.

    1. Sounds like a score! Getting paid to save the environment is the best 🙂 And my step goal each day is 12,000 so I rarely dip below that.

  3. Your neighborhood is so awesome. Our place is pretty quiet even with the shared backyard. People mostly stay inside their home. The fire pit looks good. I need to find a place for something like that in our backyard. Have a great weekend!

    1. Maybe it’s time to take the lead and see if you can get your neighbors more interested in hanging out! 😉

  4. Glad you can enjoy bonfires again! Can’t imagine summer/fall without them!

    I’ve been thinking about automobiles a lot myself lately. I have 2013 Honda CR-V and m’lady has a 2003 Honda Civic. Two cars and zero driveways…

    I’m thinking of selling the CR-V, compare craigslist/CarMax/carvana offers and pocket the cash. Drive the Civic into the tarmac until I have to call an Uber to get home – maybe this is sometime next Spring??? (or never b/c it’s a Honda).

    Then buy either:

    Toyota Prius (This may cause some domestic issues, as m’lady has flatly refused… aesthetics)
    Mazda 3 – I miss having a manual, but there’s tons of traffic so I would likely immediately regret
    Honda Fit – boring
    Mini cooper – less intelligent choice than the Mazda, but maybe more fun
    Suburu Outback/Forester – boring
    Last option – have $3k in my pocket and take whatever looks the most reliable with highest mpg


    1. How much do you need the cars? Could you get by as a single car household? Might be worth floating the idea if it’s possible.

      1. We only need one…
        I may have made some headway over the weekend, expounding upon the virtues of the Prius. I commute, so I fantasize about 40-50mpg. The CR-V is 25-30 tops.
        Think I need to test drive a Mazda 3 though, it’d be really fun on the weekends, while we still are w/o kids…

      2. The Mazda 3 is actually the only car I’ve actually had a preference for ever. Ha

  5. What a week! That chicken soup looks amazing and I love even more that you have such an awesome local sharing community situation. You know I aspire to something like that.

    Bing: I’m greatly enjoying earning the points still, it’s one of the few things I can do that’s under my control (to earn or not earn) versus the creative ventures that require a lot of upfront work with unpredictable results. I can redeem a $25 GC now but a a hoarder, I won’t feel ready to do that until I have enough for say, $35 or $40. Hehe.

    I am really hoping to move some of the stuff I’ve set aside for selling to earn a bit of money but also send them to good homes. Cross your fingers?

    1. Alas, that friend lives 15-20 minutes from me no traffic. But since things have gotten so expensive around here, she’s also the closest non- neighbor friend I have these days 😉

    1. Yeah yeah, we are into the mid 50s and 60s and mostly rain here already. And had less than a handful of 90+ degree days all summer.

    2. Same. I can’t imagine having a fire pit night right now. But it IS going to get cooler soon!

  6. Bonfire weather is the best kind of weather. We had a bonfire night with some friends last weekend (before all the rain moved in) — the meal? Chili. Not the conventional campfire choice but it was delightful!

    Will have to look into Bing rewards — $10 is $10, right? Like you, I don’t really care too much about them having my search history haha.

    My frugal win this week might sound silly but I managed to spend less than $100 at superstore today — and earned a few thousand PC Optimum points, too. Groceries can get ridiculously expensive here (especially if you want to eat, uh, vegetables); rarely do we leave with less than $100 but this week, we made it happen!

    Oh, and I also finished one of those big things of spinach from Costco, an accomplishment I’m pretty sure I have only ever achieved one other time in my adult life so there’s that!

    Glad to hear your dog is on the mend!

    1. We actually consider chili to be a staple camping food! So makes sense to me 🙂

      And that sub $100 shopping trip is awesome – so is using all that spinach!! Superhero status right there.

  7. I always enjoy your Friday emails! And the other days of the week, of course. My car is slowly inching towards the six figure mark and I’m waiting for something to go wrong. Hoping the keep my car until it makes sense for us to splurge it a bigger yet hopefully electric vehicle. With two kids we’re trying to hold out on the vehicle upgrade though I can definitely see the benefits of 3rd row seating.

    1. Eh, I feel like 100k is a pretty low number still (depending on the car, of course). Since I drive a Toyota I expect it to last a looooong time yet.

  8. My 2009 Toyota Camry is at 136,000 miles and I plan to drive it into the ground. I like how you have friends to share food and clothes with and the whole backyard gatherings are so awesome. I mostly let my kid hang out with the neighborhood kids and have met their parents but have not yet gone past this. I tend to be very private and warm slowly to people.

    1. 136k is barely middle aged for a Toyota 😉 And we’ve been in our neighborhood for more than seven years now, so it definitely didn’t happen overnight b

  9. The Camry Hybrid is a really good choice as it’s fuel efficient and it’ll last several years more. 🙂 Your electric car choice should save a lot of maintenance costs. We almost bought a newish car from a guy who has gone fully electric. He reckons he’ll save in the long run as he has solar panels.

    1. Yeah, I expect it will last a lot longer still 🙂 Unfortunately we live under the shade of some big trees so no solar on our house.

    2. We went 11 years as a one-car family with kids but bit the bullet and bought an EV in 2017. Pricier than we would have considered for an ICE, but we were willing to pay a premium for an EV since we run our cars into the ground. Haven’t regretted it yet.

      My frugal win was finding out that a shopping area that we go to occasionally has free EV charging. Now to work on resisting the sales there, lol.

      1. Love that car of yours! Definitely a price tag issue for me at this point, but I can absolutely see why you went that route. It’s great.

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