My birthday was last Friday (the 13th!) so I decided that I wanted to celebrate by renting a big house with a bunch of friends and just hang out for the weekend. It should be pretty clear by now that I am very extroverted, so my idea of a wonderful birthday weekend is one where I’m surrounded by friends and family the whole time.

I ended up finding a great house on Airbnb that slept up to twenty people, which meant that we had plenty of room for the twelve that made it up for the weekend (two didn’t stay overnight). The property also had a yurt (which we used) and a hot tub (which we didn’t) and was located on four wooded, private acres.

It was also powered by 100% renewable energy and had a ton of sustainability touches in mind (like a compost!), which renewed my desire to write up a post one of these days for Airbnb hosts. If every property was set up like this one, I’d be a happy girl. We will definitely be back another time, and hopefully with even a few more friends.

View from the back deck of the Bellingham house

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Friday’s Frugal Five

1. While up in Bellingham, we cooked breakfast and dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday at the house. We did pick up take out on Friday after leaving to head north later than planned and then did a quick Indian lunch buffet downtown on Saturday, but we kept our food costs really reasonable for the weekend.

While hotels can sometimes be the cheaper option for a few people, for a large group like we had this past weekend, Airbnb or VRBO/HomeAway really is the way to go. We had large hang out spaces, a great kitchen to cook in, and it was cheaper than even a basic hotel. The bedrooms are still (generally) separate spaces, for those who do want some introvert time – though be sure to check the details of whatever listing you’re considering.

If you haven’t stayed in an Airbnb before, I would highly recommend it. We love the flexibility it gives us while traveling as a family – full kitchen, laundry, and extra bathrooms, and it’s usually considerably cheaper than a hotel, especially when you travel as a group. If you’re new to Airbnb, here’s a link for $40 off your first stay.

2. I did, however… forget the kiddo’s suitcase at home, which had his and my clothing in it for the weekend. Luckily, he had a spare change of clothes in his backpack that was in the trunk of my car, but all I had for the weekend was the clothes on my back (and jackets for when we went outside, thankfully).

After getting upset initially about the forgotten suitcase – I had worked longer than planned on Friday and then rushed to get out of the door to beat the worst of the traffic north – I decided that I would make the best of it and it would be okay. I refused to allow that incident to be what broke my clothes buying ban before the three year mark, and I told my husband no when he offered to make the three hour round trip home because that didn’t seem environmentally right either.

And you know what? We managed. The kiddo and I washed clothes in the sink and hung them to dry in the bathroom. I might have been a bit sick of my one pair of clothes by the end of the weekend, but in the end, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. A little bit of temporary discomfort, but not unmanageable by any means. And my clothing ban lives another day.

Laundry in the bathroom sink

3. The kiddo doesn’t have preschool next week because of the holiday, so we baked and decorated some cookies for his preschool teachers. It meant for a later night during the week, but the kiddo was so proud to bring in a gift he’d been a part of.

We also picked up $10 Starbucks gift cards, meant for just his main teachers plus their support educators. We arrived early the morning we had them with us though and were greeted by a teacher from another classroom who he’s known as long as he’s been going to preschool. He insisted three times that he wanted to give one to her, so I relented and bought more that day. While I wasn’t planning to spend extra money beyond the cookies and the limited number of gift cards, I’m proud of his generous heart and want to encourage him to continue giving freely.

So many cookies!

4. My mother in law made the kiddo a new winter jacket, which he absolutely loves. I don’t have a wonderful one though (either no hood or not waterproof etc), so I was looking around for a good one to borrow for Iceland. I ultimately decided I’d just be bulky and cobble together what I already owned when my mother in law offered to make me a jacket as well – with leftover fabric she had at her house.

She also did make my wedding dress, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m always amazed by her skill as a seamstress. We are so lucky to have her. And now we have matching, warm winter jackets.

Staying warm and dry in his new jacket

5. I picked up the last of the kiddo’s stocking stuffers from Goodwill and spent all of sixteen dollars doing so. I’d bought him a few other small toys and candies, but I didn’t spend more than maybe thirty dollars on the whole thing.

Our Christmas traditions aren’t built around stuff, and while I know it will continue to get harder the older he gets, it’s important to me, not just for the cost but also the environmental impact. Thrift store shopping saves money, saves resources, and you can still find some pretty great stuff. We don’t do Santa, so that also helps keep the Christmas presents in check as well.

Exercise Update

Saturday was a walk around Bellingham until we got too rain drenched and hung out at the house for the rest of the day. Sunday was a trail run and then a walk with the kiddo while he hunted for Pokémon with PokémonGo, ending my day just shy of 17,000 steps.

Tuesday was a walk home from work in the last dry day we’ll likely see for a while (and I saved the $2.75 bus fare), making it well over a 20,000 step day. Wednesday was a half hour run to start the day, and then we had our work holiday party in the afternoon. The kiddo wanted to stay and play in the gym for a bit, so I got an extra ten minutes on the elliptical.

How much do you get outside during the winter? Does the weather make it very easy where you live?

16 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2019 – Week 50)

  1. Happy birthday! What an awesome way to celebrate, that’s so cool!

    I helped my folks set-up an Airbnb a couple of years ago, a converted barn. It’s been a great way for them to supplement their income in semi-retirement.

    The idea of a yurt or some kind of additional structure is so fascinating! What was the, eh-hem, toilet situation if I may ask? Shower no shower?

    1. Thank you! And the yurt was just another structure next to the normal house – so go inside for plumbing 😉

  2. it was 11 degrees yesterday morning here so outside activities are tough. i don’t want to drive in order to walk the dog on a good surface so we both get shafted on the winter exercise as his walks are much shorter, like 0.75 miles in the afternoons. the sidewalks are always icy from the thaw/refreeze cycle and the salt is rough on his paws so it’s not much fun for either of us.

    i will get into the gym today for a 5 day running week, which i haven’t had in months. it’s easy to lose that good momentum. cheers.

    1. Brrr. Why I don’t mind the rain here too much – it doesn’t stop most outside activities for months at a time.

  3. That sounds like a super fun birthday weekend, and I’m impressed that you continued your no new clothes streak despite not having any. I tend to give in a little too easily when I hit some friction when I’m trying to do a big thing like buying no new clothes. 🙂 Cheers to steadfastness!

  4. I am so impressed at your mother in laws dressmaking skills! She made you winter jackets, wow. (And your wedding dress, which is a mix of impressive and super sweet 😍)

    PS well done you on sticking to new clothes buying in spite of luggage mishap.

    1. She is amazing! I keep meaning to work on my mending skills one of these days, but it’s hard when she’s better than I’ll ever be!

    1. Agreed. That and laundry access for longer trips (except for this trip when I really could have used a washer and theirs was down. Ha)

  5. It’s very wet here in the UK at the moment although yesterday morning we had bright blue skies and I managed a walk into town. Considering it’s only one mile I always feel I should walk, but when it’s raining heavily I am lazy and take the car. Unfortunately there aren’t any buses so it’s either car or on foot.

  6. I’ve never stayed in an Airbnb place before. I must remember to use your link when I book a place to stay next year-not totally confirmed yet as I’m still chewing over the cost of the proposed trip. Don’t know how you do it, but sticking to your clothes buying ban without a change of clothes takes it to a whole new level!

    1. Make sure to use the link BEFORE you download the app or you won’t get the discount! I’ve had that happen to me when I used Lyft for the first time and it was a bummer to lose out on the first timer discount.

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