Last Friday was our “would have been” tenth wedding anniversary. My now-husband was active duty in the Marine Corps though, and when he let his command know that we were engaged – and had set a wedding date – they purposefully sent him on a detachment detail to Yuma, Arizona for three months, overlapping with that date. While it would be nice to think that they’d sent him there “just because,” it happened immediately after we had shared the news, and he spent three months sitting around doing very little, because they didn’t actually need him for the training (instead of the shorter trip to California that was undermanned and returned soon enough for us to keep that date).

While clearly we were able to be flexible and change the date, now we have what I think of as a second sorta-shoulda-been anniversary on October 25th, a few weeks before our actual anniversary. My husband doesn’t put much stock in dates anyway, but I enjoy them quite a bit, so it made me pretty happy that we were able to snag a sit down lunch together on Friday.

When we had the opportunity, I quickly said yes even though I’d already spent my eating out lunch budget for the work week. We’ll celebrate with a dinner out on the actual day (and will go to Iceland for two weeks later this winter to celebrate in style), by I still appreciated getting to note the day that should have been.

The good news for my husband is that after our actual anniversary night, Christmas, and our trip, he can stop hearing from me about how we’ve now hit the ten year anniversary of X. That is, until we hit the next decade mark and I can remind him of those dates all over again.

Our 3rd Christmas together (1st in our house)

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Friday’s Frugal Five

1. Friday night we ended up doing another throw-together dinner with our neighbors. Their second youngest asked if we could do dinner together when the kiddo and I were over in the afternoon, so we talked and decided we could eat together.

We defrosted some ground beef, grabbed a couple things from the grocery store, and otherwise threw together tacos from ingredients that we had at both our houses. I mixed up some more taco seasoning since we were out, and generally we didn’t spend much money on the meal.

2. I noticed a flyer in the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce office last week announcing Pumpkins In The Park downtown, and we spent our Saturday there with a friend and her kids. It was a really great afternoon of mostly free Halloween fun, and the weather was gorgeous, albeit cold.

We took the bus downtown that day and then stayed close to home on Sunday, venturing out only for a hike through the park and a trip to the grocery store. While we don’t always manage car free weekends, I sure appreciate them when they happen.

3. So this one is more of a Frugal Fail, but since I try and be transparent here, I figured I would share. My in law’s next door neighbors have a fabulous row of table grapes that grow along their fence line in between their two properties, and they share their grapes with them. This year, they had a great crop, and my mother in law passed on some bunches of grapes to us as well.

I decided I would attempt to make raisins out of the batch, as my mother in law has done in the past. She’s shared the homemade raisins with us before, and since I eat them regularly in my oatmeal at work, I figured it made good sense to try to make my own.

Well, I followed instructions online (sort of), but we kept forgetting them in the oven since they needed to cook so low and slow, and the grapes ended up melting, more or less, into congealed lumps on the bottom of the baking tray. I tried to pull them off, but they were brittle and overly dried out, and completely inedible. I’d still like to try this out again someday, but I think I’ll practice with storebought grapes first, because it was pretty sad to waste the homegrown ones. I guess I’m apt to fail sometimes though, and this was a situation where I failed spectacularly.

Total and utter failure

4. Today’s November 1st, which marks another month of my clothes buying ban. Two years, eight months and counting. I kept meaning to write a post at the two and a half year mark, but now that I’m a couple months past that, I think I’ll wait until I hit the official three year mark. I did at least celebrate the milestone on Instagram, if not a full post.

The more I read about the impact of the clothing industry, especially fast fashion, the more I’m determined to continue this ban as long as possible. I’m reading The Story of Stuff right now, and it’s made me hyper aware of the things I consume, and that extends well beyond clothes, though that’s the sector I’m doing the best at by far. And when I do start buying stuff again, I’m starting with Sarah’s guide on thrifting first.

We’re planning a local meet up and clothing swap through my Women’s Personal Finance Facebook group, so I’ll also be going through and clearing out the clothing I have but still don’t wear. And maybe I’ll even come home with a few more new to me items.

5. Speaking of decluttering, the three of us spent a couple days this week doing some serious purging of the toys, clothes, and books out of the kiddo’s room. We’ll be passing on some things to Uriah as well as a few others, and the rest will be donated.

Instead of shuffling things quietly out the door, we made sure to involve our kiddo 100%. He did such an awesome job that we did agree to let him pick out one toy from the store with the idea that fewer things means he will have more space to play with them. At least at this point in time, this seems to be working. We’ll see how it goes a few years from now.

PS I had another article published in Business Insider this month, this time reflecting on our dog’s recent surgery in comparison to her first medical emergency. It’s pretty cool to see my name as a published author.

PPS. We did have dinner and then trick or treat in a big group with our friends and neighbors for Halloween, but because of that, I finished this post prior to then and it didn’t make the recap (and, of course, the kiddo is on costume #2 – fire fighter – for Halloween #5).

Exercise Update

Saturday we did a bunch of walking between getting to and from the bus and around downtown for Pumpkins in the Park. Sunday was an hour long hike with the dogs, which was the longest one our dog’s been on since her surgery, and she was pretty wiped out the rest of the day. In the afternoon, I snuck out for a trip to the gym, and I lifted heavy enough to be sore through Tuesday, which was great. And then the kiddo and walked back to the park before the sun set, finishing my day over 20,000 steps.

Tuesday was a walk from the bus to work (I didn’t take the transfer to get more steps in) and then a walk in the afternoon. Wednesday was a very cold – thirty degree – 5k+ run with a friend before work. Accountability buddies are especially great when it’s cold and tempting to skip. Thursday I finished up a doctor’s appointment earlier than expected, so I snuck out for a fifteen minute run before I needed to get back to the kiddo, and then walked the neighborhood for trick or treating.

What’s the weather like for you this week? Has winter arrived yet?

24 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2019 – Week 43)

  1. I think involving your kiddo in decluttering is SO smart. I’ve always done that with my kids, both because it teaches them a skill and also because it feels more respectful of them and their belongings.

    Weather here: It was wet and super warm yesterday (it was 73 when we were trick or treating!!), but overnight a cold front moved in and now the air is dry and crisp and I LOVE IT. Last night felt too much like muggy Florida weather to me, although it was nice not to freeze while trick or treating.

    1. It takes a lot more work up front, but I feel it is 100% worth it.

      Trick or treating was definitely cold here, but anything not rain is to be appreciated here lol

  2. Congratulations on the Business Insider article. While we don’t have a pet, I too have an online high yield savings account for general purposes. A winter front has lowered temps in south Texas for a few days, but the forecast shows we will return to our normal 80’s soon. I won’t be sad.

    1. Thank you! And I’m finding having separate savings accounts has been super motivating.

  3. Lately, I’ve been wearing the same clothes 2-3 days in a row. If it doesn’t look dirty and doesn’t smell, why change? That’s slow fashion. 🙂 I don’t sweat so it works pretty well.

  4. I noticed the temp was 47 when I dropped the kiddo off for school – thankful she had a sweatshirt! Cold for us and made me unmotivated to bike early. 🙂 If I were meeting someone no doubt I would have shown up.

    We had a mostly frugal Halloween as she and I got most of her costume at Goodwill. I did agree to buy her some converse sneaks to complete her costume but she was wanting something besides running shoes to wear to school anyway so while it wasn’t super frugal, it didn’t feel like a waste of something she wouldn’t wear again. She was Violet Baudelaire from series of unfortunate events.

    And on the decluttering, after doing it a few times with us, she is now pretty good at doing the whole thing on her own on a regular basis. And thinks about if she wants to be responsible for whatever particular item she is bringing into her life. It’s pretty cool to see she is somewhat mindful though she still picks up rocks/fragments and sticks them in her desk drawer. 🙂 Cheers!

    1. I think picking out something new that’s for a costume but then also everyday wear makes a lot of sense!

  5. As always, super impressed with your step count.

    Your photo from the 1st Christmas in your house! I love it. You look basically the same now as then..

    On the raisins – would using a dehydrator by an option in future ? Though it does mean acquiring or borrowing an extra bit of equipment.

    1. Yeah, we had a dehydrator in the past but it was a big clunky one that required a ton of cleaning so we eventually got rid of it. Wonder if I know someone with one that I could borrow…

  6. Happy “would be” anniversary! Some things (like a bonus date) are totally worth going a little over budget. Also, I am now intrigued with the idea of making my own raisins. I’m going to try that!

  7. today was the 1st wintery day in western,ny. it came with downed tree limbs and a power outage at le smidlap chateau. i was at work but mrs. was home. that’s a shame about those grapes, but you tried. that’s better than “i can’t.”

  8. I can’t imagine being as active as you are in that level of cold! We got a slight chill here the past few days and Adam and I could barely muster getting out of bed from beneath our layers of covers. We’re so soft, haha. I’m bummed for you about the grapes, but I have a feeling you’re going to master it one of these days! Happy Halloween!

    1. Yeah, now I’m determined I need to be successful with it sometime! But definitely need to do things differently haha

  9. Happy almost-anniversary! Love is worth celebrating even if it’s not the “official” date!

    Sorry to hear about the grapes. Have you ever tried freezing them? We’ll buy a bunch just to freeze, even in winter.

  10. Congratulations on ten years! That’s a fantastic milestone.

    I hope you have a wonderful time in Iceland, too: what a way to celebrate ten years. Cheers, friend.

    1. Thank you! Hard to wrap my head around the fact it’s been so long already 😉

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