Last Friday morning, the kiddo decided he wanted to have a sleepover with his Grandma and Grandpa (the husband’s parents) – and he wanted to have it that night. Apparently they had been talking about the idea for a while, but he woke up that morning ready to go. I asked my mother in law, and she was all on board, so I sent him off with her after I left for work that morning. He’s spent the night with my parents a few times before, but this was his first time overnight at their house, though he’s over there every week during the day.

That meant that the husband and I had a last minute date night opportunity, on a Friday night, no less (thanks again, grandparents! We so appreciate it). I quickly set up a double date with a couple of our friends, and we headed off for the bus after getting home from work. We met them at a brewery in Seattle, went out to eat at a Korean BBQ restaurant, and then ended the night at a bar with a (terrible) live band. The evening wasn’t super frugal, but absolutely worth it as we don’t go out kid-free very often. When we do, we loosen up the purse strings a little and just enjoy our time out. Part of saving and tracking our money is to get to them spend on evenings like that one.

His “you’re forcing me to take a picture” face

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We didn’t head home until after 11PM, so we caught a Lyft on the way back. We try and take public transit whenever we can, which is typically possible for any weekend or date night adventures we have, but as we live in a more out of the way area, buses stop running before too late in the evening.

Lyft has completely changed the game for being able to get around late at night when we don’t want to drive, and Friday night was no exception. It means we can have a couple drinks and not worry about driving home, but it also means that we can bus for at least part of the way, which reduces the carbon impact of our adventure.

We’ve also switched to taking the Shared Lyft option whenever possible, which means we end up sharing the ride with an extra person or two who is traveling along the same route. Not only is this a bit cheaper, but it again reduces our environmental impact of the trip. Sustainability + money savings combined is my favorite thing, after all.

If you’ve never taken a Lyft before, here’s $5 off your first ride. You’ll notice I mention Lyft only and not Uber, and that is intentional. I will always support the company that treats both their drivers and riders with respect, and use their money for good (or at least not bad).

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. Felicity’s work had an anniversary celebration at an aerial arts place on Saturday, and she was able to invite friends, so we tagged along. We took the bus downtown and met up with her and her partner for brunch and then wandered over to an Orthodox Russian festival before the event started.

The event itself was a ton of fun, with face painting, balloon animals, a photo booth with tons of props, and a ton of food and drinks. And then, of course, an awesome acrobatic show at the end. Someone from her company gave a short speech at the end about how they were so happy to meet the people in their employees lives they care about. It’s clear that she is works for a pretty awesome place. Financial independence isn’t just about getting to the point of no longer needing to work, but also being able to pick the best fit for you.

Dinosaur arm (not face) paint & dino balloon animal

2. The kiddo fell asleep on the bus home after the long day in Seattle, and he was taking a late nap when my neighbor texted to see if we wanted to have a leftovers dinner with them that night. We had no plans, so I said yes and we headed over after he woke up.

We ran out to the grocery store for a couple of last minute adds, but dinner was a quick and easy meal. Life is better shared, and even better when you can share it with people nearby, and Saturday night was yet another example of that.

3. We hopped on the bus for the Thursday day in a row on Sunday after a long adventure day. We first walked the 3.5 miles down the hill to a local brewery and then took a bus over to the library and then to sushi for dinner. We get a 25% off coupon in the mail for that restaurant every month, so we only go when we have a discount. The kiddo ate six plates by himself though, so it still ended up being a pricier meal. We had a weekend full of local adventures, and it was wonderful.

Stopping to check out a ladybug on the walk down

4. My mom bought the kiddo a CD of children’s stories that we’ve been listening to in the car on repeat for the past month or so. He’s really been enjoying them, so I checked out a number of new ones from the library, including some Winnie The Pooh and Terry Pratchett children’s stories.

I absolutely adore the library, and not just for physical books. The best part right now is the ability to cycle through a bunch of different stories for the kiddo without cluttering up our home with more and more books, which has already happened to a degree. At this point, I would rather just re-check our books multiple times if he particularly loves them, and then send them back when he’s moved on to something else.

I’m usually reading multiple books myself as well, one electronically and one hard copy. Considering I’ve read forty books so far this year, I’ve definitely saved a good deal of money going to the library (and we’ve checked out way more than that many for the kiddo). Right now, my ebook read is Lord of Shadows and my hard copy read is The Story of Stuff.

5. We’re into October now, which means I’ve ticked off another month completed on my clothing ban. I’m now less than five months from a full three years, which feels completely doable. At this point, I’m have my eyes open for a new pair of work pants, but otherwise I have everything I need (and even they shouldn’t need to be replaced until sometime next year).

I conducted interviews for a volunteer board I’m on as well as attend a number of professional events lately, and I am more than capable of dressing up well. Just because I don’t buy clothes these days doesn’t mean I can’t look professional. Unless I’ve told someone about my clothing ban, they’d never know.

PS – I did a Facebook Live this week in the Women’s Personal Finance Facebook group, but if you aren’t there (or missed it), I talked to Chelsea Brennan of Smart Money Mamas. She is putting on a FREE virtual summit later this month (October 21-24) called Mamas Talk Money.

It is a five day event with over 40 speakers (Mrs. Frugalwoods, The Budgetnista, Emily Guy Birken, and Mrs. Rich and Regular to name a few), talking about Family Finance, Investing, Retirement, Teaching Kids About Money, etc.

Chelsea made the intentional decision to make the event free for everyone, live and for 48 hours after, which I feel is completely amazing for access to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the conference ticket – or have the time to travel to an event. Clearly I love paid, in person, events, but I’m very excited about this option as well.

There is also an All-Access Pass available now for $67 (or $87 at the event and for the two weeks following), which gets you lifetime access to all of the talks, as well as a whole host of other add ons. That price by itself is way less than I’d expect for the conference itself, and I’m pretty amazed at what the paid ticket gets you. Regardless though, I’m so looking forward to this event – and do glad this one is virtual, because I don’t have any more time to take for personal finance events right now with FinCon last month and Cents Positive, starting today! Hope to *see* you at the Mama’s Talk Money Summit! 🙂

Exercise Update

Friday was walking to and from buses and around Seattle for our date night. Saturday was back to Seattle (downtown this time) for Felicity’s work event. Sunday was the 4+ miles walking down our hill and then back home from the bus – and the kiddo did all the walking himself! I was very impressed. Another 20,000+ step day.

Monday was a short gym visit on the elliptical and then a run to the elementary school to pick up a few of our neighbor kids and walk them home. Tuesday wasn’t a full walk to work but from the bus, as it’s getting light too late (I won’t walk a somewhat empty trail by myself early in the morning when it’s dark). And then I managed to get a full half hour on the elliptical after work.

Wednesday was a 5k run with a friend before work – just 37F degrees, but at least it wasn’t raining. Thursday was another ten minutes on the elliptical at work. I also managed to get in some squats, burpees, and stretching in small snippets of time throughout the week.

What do date nights look like for you if you’re in a relationship? Do you splurge, or keep it frugal? If you’re single, do you treat yourself or when you go out with friends?

8 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2019 – Week 40)

  1. Date nights – So back when I was working, I feel like we splurged more and I was more inclined to try a new restaurant, even if the prices weren’t great. I also feel like we would go out a couple times a month. Post retirement me is much more intentional with out to dinner spending – we may get the idea to go to a nicer place but will check out the menu ahead of time and decide whether we think it’s worth it or not based on if we are excited about the choices. I think the reasoning is twofold – we have more quality time together with less stress about the to-do list looming over our heads, and I think we realized we are just as happy sharing a pizza, salad and couple of pints from the closest brewery and that now feels like just as much of a treat as the newest farm-to-table place with an uninspiring menu. 🙂 I’ve come to realize the past 2 1/2 years I had so many behaviors and habits which functioned to keep my stress levels and anxiety in check and I don’t feel the need to do those things anymore.

    1. All of that makes so much sense. So often the choice of restaurant comes from just not wanting to make one more hard decision that day.

  2. our very rare occasion after 15 years married always seems costly. being a wine snob has its price, after all and i hate paying those list prices. mostly it’s just a few times a year when we’re travelling.

    i used to stay a week or more at an aunt’s house when i was about 8. she lived a few towns over and let me sleep on the porch and i loved being there.

    1. I love that story about your aunt! I think it’s so important for kids to have solid relationships with adults who aren’t their parents / they don’t live with.

  3. Free/cheap date nights are usually our preference, partly because we’ve been disappointed with the quality of restaurant meals on more recent occasions. We try to be pickier about going out somewhere to spend money; it’s got to be worth it! We do mainly at-home date nights where we’ll cook something tasty and drink some cheap wine (we cannot tell the difference between the cheap or expensive wine anyway). Or we’ll go for a long hike or kayak trip when we are kid-free. I’m not going to lie, though; when we are earning more (eventually, we hope), we’ll splurge more on the cost of date nights to get dinners that are worth the extra money!

    1. That’s definitely the problem of being in a foodie area – there are too many good restaurants!

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