We landed back home from Austin early on Thanksgiving morning, so we had a good long weekend before heading back to work on Monday. As much as it might have been nice to stay in Texas a few extra days – and as painful as it was to say goodbye again to our friends – it really was nice to have a few days at home to catch up and relax before being back in the office after more than a week away.

I have to say, though, I was ready to be back to work once Monday rolled around. We have a lot of exciting stuff going on right now, and I’m so grateful to have a job that I enjoy and I am so passionate about. While not everyone is as lucky as I am in that department, I hope you will consider a different path if at all possible if you really are that unhappy.

The financial independence community is great, but there can sometimes be too much conversation about how all work is terrible and we’re all just slogging through. I want everyone to be in a solid financial situation, but after that, I want you to be happy next.

One more Austin photo

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. I didn’t purchase any “stuff” on Black Friday, just like last year. Instead, we headed over to my in laws house mid morning to go for a walk and have lunch with them. After that, the three of us and my mother in law headed to Wild Lights at the Woodland Park Zoo. While not a free activity, it’s one we really enjoy doing together, and it’s spent outdoors and with each other’s company.

While I personally don’t feel a need to do any sale shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday, I did write a bit on Instagram about why I feel pretty strongly against the knee jerk reactions that see a black and white response to the situation. I will never advocate for more “stuff” for stuff’s sake, but there are reasons to be out on Black Friday that aren’t bad ones. So above all, I try and be kind and withhold passing judgements on stories that are not my own.

Black Friday run through the woods

2. We had a Women’s Personal Finance meetup and clothing swap on Saturday at the Bellevue Library in one of their meeting rooms. I ended up with a new pair of dress pants, which I’ve been wanting, a casual t shirt, super comfy lounge pants for around the house, and two pairs of thick socks, which will be perfect for our upcoming trip to Iceland.

As of Sunday, I’ve hit another month of my clothes buying ban, which means I’m less than three months out from a full three years. Never would I have imagined that I could continue it for so long, but it’s been great.

We ended up with extra bags of clothing after the swap, so I was able to take the rest with me at the end of the day. There is a Women and Families homeless day center in the basement of my church (and soon to be a permanent shelter in the space behind), so I took the bags to them. They were able to take a couple of bags, but due to limited space, not everything, so the rest will go to the thrift store where the day center visitors get clothing vouchers for.

While it’s easiest to drop things off at Goodwill, I wanted to do something better, and it felt wonderful to know we could share with others. I asked the case worker there what they could use most, which is shoes, blankets, and other cold weather gear, so I think I will go back with more in the future.

3. We may have just gotten back from Austin Thursday morning, celebrated Thanksgiving, and spent Black Friday with our in laws, but the three of us really enjoy our people, so we had a dinner party on Saturday night.

We cooked up the last big roast from our annual quarter cow purchase from Lopez Island and served it with rice and canned corn. A friend brought over ingredients to make fresh guacamole, we had a partial bag of tortilla chips, and another friend brought over some beer. It was a great low key evening, and one where we spent a lot less money than going out together.

Low key old dog

4. A friend is in the process of moving, so the kiddo and I went over to help on Monday after I picked him up from preschool. We met up at their old place, packed both our cars, and drove over to her new house. After unloading, she went to pick up her son from daycare, and I took my kiddo and her kindergartener daughter to the grocery store to pick up dinner ingredients and a few other things.

We had dinner together and watched the second half of the Seahawks game while the kiddos played. Monday night hangouts sure start off the week right, and it feels good to be part of a friend’s village to support her when she needs it, as I know she does the same for me.

5. Today marks day five of my Plastic Free December challenge. Avoiding single use plastic in terms of disposable cups and containers and cutlery is one thing, but avoiding it in all new purchases is another thing all together. Plastic is SO pervasive in our world and so hard to avoid. I haven’t been perfect, but definitely better, and I’ve made purposeful choices to avoid plastic a number of times so far.

Grocery shopping with the kiddos on Monday was an extra challenge, and it spurred me to write this Twitter thread on the privilege of going plastic free/zero waste. I ended up losing followers over it, but I won’t not share my thoughts on these tough issues. It’s important, and we need to talk about it.

(Almost) plastic free shopping trip

I realize this official challenge is just for a week, but Chris over at Mindful Explorer made a good comment that a week isn’t really long enough to really notice the hard stuff, because you can use up what you already have on hand. I’m definitely noticing how pervasive plastic is in the things I use on a daily basis, and I think I’ll continue to focus through December to make some new habits for good.

I’ve been loving everyone who is sharing and tagging me and #PlasticFreeDecember this week on both Twitter and Instagram. Knowing I’m not tackling this big lift alone is really encouraging and helps me push the envelope. So thank you friends, for joining me in this and being a part of a change for better.

Exercise Update

I managed to fit in a run on Friday morning since there was no work. We then went for a walk at my in laws and then all over the zoo for Wild Lights in the evening. Saturday we ended up going for a walk around downtown Bellevue and then to a happy hour after the clothing swap to continue the meetup.

Sunday I took the dogs for a long walk through the woods, and then went for a run in the afternoon and to the gym. I was sore until Tuesday afternoon, so it was definitely a good workout. Monday was twenty minutes on the elliptical.

Tuesday I walked halfway to work after preschool drop off (busing halfway since it’s dark these mornings) and then got another twenty minutes on the elliptical after work. Wednesday was a half hour morning run with a friend and then a walk in the afternoon right before it got dark. I appreciate my short work days even more in the winter, I think, when there’s still some daylight left once I’m done for the day. Thursday was twenty minutes on the elliptical before another evening work meeting.

Have you ever done a clothing swap? Would you consider setting one up?

15 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2019 – Week 48)

  1. I had a friend mention to me that for some people that struggle with a low income that big discount shopping days are important for them to be able to afford some of the things they really do need. So as you said, we should see where people are at before we judge or say anything. So kudos to you for recognizing this and sharing your thoughts on social media about it.

    Keep up the great work on the plastic free challenge! We are getting some groceries today so I will have to see how the products we get are packaged and I will post up on twitter. (thanks for the mention)

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Thanks for being such a big champion for the environment! Love having friends that are just as passionate as I am.

  2. we did a turkey trot on thanksgiving and had a blast. regarding plastic i can’t remember the last time i needed something like a straw. i’m not 9. when i need a drink of water i just go to the tap and fill up a glass. you’re right about plastic being everywhere for today’s regular people. at thanksgiving someone brought over a half-bakes baguette that was 50% packaging. we got home from thanksgiving and needed break so i busted out flour/yeast/water and baked some that was just like sandwich bread. it was plastic-free. i really only did it due to terrible weather but the point is that it’s possible.

    i’m not sure men swap clothes much but years ago my best friend gave me a winter coat (like i was down and out) because he had gotten a new one and i hadn’t had a real winter parka in a long time. i wore that thing for 5-6 years. but i wouldn’t call it a swap as that would be un-dude.

    1. And why don’t men swap clothes? Seems like it would make a much sense. I’d have loved to do a turkey trot this year but with traveling we were in the wrong place for both.

  3. I don’t know why but these Friday posts put a smile on my face – it’s a like a little journal of the rhythm of your life and it sounds to me like you’ve struck a nice balance on work, family, socializing, exercising and travel. I’m sure it gets out of whack from time to time but as a whole, it seems quite peaceful and intentional.

    More of those impromptu neighborhood get togethers… I love it. Our neighborhood stuff tends to dial back pretty dramatically this time of year (us Southern Californians start to hibernate on short cold days) so you’ve got me thinking I need to spearhead something impromptu shortly! And the “throw together what you have kind” really are so nice and require basically no effort.

    It’s interesting how much nuance is lost on our opt in or opt out FI world. I feel grateful that I don’t have to have a clue about when anything is on sale (or not), nor do I have to spend my time getting to what is going to be an extra crowded store, with extra traffic and *extra* attitudes of the other shoppers. Those folks likely have to go back to work on Monday (or even on black Friday), and I bet, if given the choice, they wouldn’t want to spend their precious time off of work buying the needed items. Cheers, Angela! Have a great weekend.

    1. The throw together / low key get togethers are the ones that really seem to work best. And I do love having these journal type posts to look back and reminisce 🙂

  4. Like most things in life, there are usually gradations of color and very little is black and white. I’m glad you see it that way too. And I’m glad you chose to share your leftover swap items so wisely. I think those people will benefit more than Goodwill, so good job! Glad you had a nice holiday!

  5. We just went to Wildlights tonight. If you know someone with a sound credit union account, you can get $5 tickets at the branch.

  6. Losing followers over your lovely Instagram post makes no sense considering how thoughtful it was. We did a lot of shopping this year on that weekend, which is abnormal for us, because of the timing and the savings we needed to be able to get much of the things we have needed and couldn’t put off any longer. We have to work really hard to pinch our pennies, so we can save and invest and give the way we want to, and once in a while, Black Friday serves our purpose. I won’t fight with a crowd to push and shove but I will always shop strategically if it means we have more to give people who cannot afford even basic food and clothing.

    “a week isn’t really long enough to really notice the hard stuff, because you can use up what you already have on hand”: I thought about this but I felt differently. I felt like each day made me extra aware of the plastics we already had on hand and that we were encountering each day whether it was new or not. And I take extra notice of places that had compostables instead of plastics so we can frequent them more.

    1. A week was definitely enough to notice pretty intensely! But a month would be ever more so.

      And I actually gained followers on Instagram and lost them on Twitter. Interesting dynamic.

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