My mom had asked us a while back if we wanted to go to Stomp with her, and we’d said yes, and then promptly forgot about it. Late last week, she asked if we had a plan for lunch beforehand, and we scrambled to make time for it on Saturday. We had the time, but once again, we had a busy weekend ahead of us (full of all good things).

Had we not planned months ago, we likely would have passed on the event. I’m so glad we went though. It was fun for us adults (my mom, my grandmother, the husband, and me), but the most fun was watching the kiddo watch the show. He had a total blast, and I found myself wanting to plan to take him to even more live shows (especially musicals). They aren’t especially cheap, but his face is priceless. And I am a big believer in the importance and the support of the arts, so the tickets are well worth the cost. Thanks, Mom. You were completely right about this one.

His face!

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Friday’s Frugal Five

PS – it’s my birthday today! It was fun to go back and read the post I wrote when I turned thirty. I’ll quote again now as I did then, “Never regret growing older, for it is a privilege denied to many.”

1. Speaking of a packed weekend, we also had two kid birthday parties to attend over the weekend, one each evening. One was held at their house and one was held at a church meeting space. There was plenty of food, fun stuff to play with, tasty cake, and tons of kids. Just like all parties, the kiddo had a fabulous time. Like his Mama, he’s a super extrovert and loves spending time with people.

While he’s been to a couple of birthday parties at actual play areas or event spaces, most of the ones he’s attended so far have been low key, with few to no decorations and no cost other than the food. I love that our community tends to have similar expectations and that our kiddo is growing up to know that parties are about the people, not the cool, expensive place they’re held at.

2. We bought a living Christmas tree this year! We love going out and cutting our own at a Christmas tree farm out on the Olympic Peninsula, but this year we decided to do things a bit differently and get a small living tree instead.

This should have been an easier endeavor, but most living Christmas tree varieties flourish in full sun, or at most, partial shade. Since our backyard is fully shaded due to the towering evergreens in the park behind our back fence, we needed to find a variety that would do well in that environment (or one that was small enough for the front yard without growing too large and shading the garden). We found a couple varieties that would work, and the kiddo picked out his favorite, which he’s now named. It may not quite look like a traditional Christmas tree, but I love it, and I love the fact that it should grow in our yard for many years to come.

So proud of HIS tree

3. We finally went ahead and ordered a bed and frame for the kiddo’s room. I’m glad that I went to Twitter and asked for recommendations, because we ended up with this bed, which was half the price of the one we were looking at originally, and it appears to be at least as good in terms of quality and natural materials.

We have a family bed in the master bedroom at the moment, so the kiddo doesn’t sleep in his own room, but he will at some point. In the meantime, we now have a better option for friends and family to stay with us instead of yet again blowing up our air mattress in the family room. While many people don’t need a guest room, we definitely have enough people stay with us throughout the year that it would be useful for us. At the same time, I am glad we don’t have a bigger home.

I also went through Rakuten (formerly Ebates) before purchasing the bed on Amazon, and I got an extra 4% cash back as a result. I only go through that portal if I have something to buy, but when I do and there’s a bonus for that category, it is well worth it.

If you haven’t signed up for Rakuten (Ebates) yet, here is $10 to get started. As always, know yourself, and sign up for this kind of program if you will be disciplined to use it only when you are making a purchase anyway – not because of the online shopping coupons that encourage you to spend more.

The new bed!

4. Again, I’m back to return library books exactly on time or a day late. I get a little bit annoyed sometimes having to pay a few small late fees, but I also don’t mind sending more money to the library system. It also seems to be that libraries are doing away with late fees for some very good reasons, but ours hasn’t gone that way yet.

Considering how many books we check out over the course of a year, paying $5 – $10 in late fees in that time is more than fair. Still, I’d rather donate that money directly to the library than send it to them via late fees.

5. We’ve continued to do a good job stretching dinner leftovers into second and third meals. We had steak, potatoes, and broccoli for dinner one night and then I turned the leftovers into a steak and potato soup, along with some very sad looking green onions that I found at the bottom of the fridge. We may still spend a lot on food, but our total food waste has gone down over the years, which I care about even more than the smaller food cost.

Exercise Update

Friday was twenty minutes on the elliptical and then a slow meander to look at Christmas lights in the evening. Sunday was a twenty minute run outside on one of the last dry days we’ll have in a while.

Tuesday was a morning walk and then a muddy run outdoors in the afternoon and then to the gym and stretch. Wednesday was a morning walk meeting while there was a break in the rain and then a run in the afternoon (in the rain, of course).

What did birthday parties look like for you as a kid? What about now?

12 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2019 – Week 49)

  1. i always wanted a live evergreen christmas tree so mrs. smidlap (because she is nice and thoughtful) got me one for the front yard about 12 years ago. it looks just like yours and we have one in the back yard too. the front one is right where the dogs can pee on it so it didn’t grow very well but has finally gotten about 4′ tall after all these years. maybe this is the year i get some batter powered lights to put on it so the passing dogs can pee on our lights too.

    my good friend in new orleans is forced into many of these kid birthday events at those theme places and it hurts his sensibilities every time. it’s not about not having the money but more about the message, like you said.

  2. Happy birthday!
    The kids birthday parties here are all overblown. Most parents spend over $200 on it, for sure. Our son goes to a rich school. Our son’s birthday is in the winter so it’s hard to hold a party at our place. It’d be much easier if the weather was nicer. I could just send them all out to the backyard.
    We’re not doing anything for Christmas this year since we’re going down to my brother’s place in CA. Next year, we’ll put up our tree.

    1. We do parties here and our house isn’t much bigger than yours, so it’s pretty cramped. But free! So there’s that.

  3. I went to the school’s library and did my annual “Borrow books for the summer holidays” thing. I came away with 18 books to read over the break.
    Sometimes it’s good to be a teacher!
    (No late fees, either!)

  4. As a teenager I worked at a garden store and one of my jobs at Christmas time was bailing trees and tying them to the roofs of people’s cars. I used to love it, everything about it. The physical work, and especially the smell of the trees.

    Happy Birthday Angela!

    1. That does sound like a fun winter job as a teen. And thanks! It was a great birthday.

  5. We planted 2 small Christmas trees outside our house a couple of years back and being in the shade most of the time, they’re still quite small. Maybe I should have checked where they should be planted first, but never mind, I’ll add some fertilizer when I get the time.

    Sorry to hear about the fines. It’s not nice to have to pay.The libraries in my town have a 2-day grace period and we can also renew our books at least once.

    I love your food waste getting less. When I was growing up, my parents used to throw away tons of food. I tried my best to finish most of the food-an uphill task though and the price I paid was weight gain.

    1. Hooray they’re still alive! And plants tend to grow slower in the shade regardless.

  6. ahhh i love live shows! One day I want to be able to afford season tickets to a theater for my family. I think it’s so great to go and support the arts and to have kids grow up seeing those talents.

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