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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?