And with that, we are at the end of August. The weather has continued to stay mild, and the forecast is for more days of full sun and in the seventies. We *might* hit eighty degrees again this year, but we might not. Either way, I’m going to enjoy the sunshine while it lasts and keep hoping I’ll get more ripe tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash before the weather turns.
Kindergarten “officially” starts for us right after Labor Day weekend, so I’m starting to turn my attention toward making a real plan for the year. We are going to be doing a low key homeschool with him, but I want to have some structure for the year to help have something be good and regular for us. If you have great resources or tips, I’m all ears. We don’t want a strict intense structure, but we want some school time every day and some amount of continuity from week to week.
Also. I just realized that this is week 26 since my Frugal Five took at COVID turn. Half a year. Half a year.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. I spent the last weekend in Leavenworth for a friend I’m a bridesmaid for. Due to COVID and wanting to distance, but wanting to attend, meant that I drove myself and paid for a separate tent site beyond the cabin we had already booked. While perhaps this might have not been the most “frugal” choice, the point of being frugal with my money means I can spend more where it makes sense – like being able to still attend my friend’s party while keeping myself distanced as needed.
We also went tubing down the Wenatchee River, which was a wonderful, COVID-life friendly time. While it might not have been the same as when originally planned, it was still a good weekend, and a reminder that I want more Girls’ Weekends and nights in my life.
2. I clocked in at ten years at my work on Wednesday. I’ve had a number of different jobs since I began work there a decade ago, and our focus has shifted some, though the central tenant has always been around sustainability, and now affordability.
I am so lucky to have a career I am proud of and continue to want to work; not many people get to have such a great work life and I am thankful for that. I’m back to working 80% time, which I love, and that balance makes it even easier to say that I love my job. I have no intention of quitting work once I reach financial independence, but being wise financially has meant that I can work fewer hours for a smaller salary, and it means I can continue to love my job while also pursuing other hobbies in the rest of my time.
3. The first big tomatoes of the year were finally ripe enough to pick this week! They were Cherokee Tomatoes, my very favorite slicing tomatoes, and they were eaten as an appetizer before dinner with homegrown basil and balsamic vinegar and salt. Grocery store tomatoes don’t taste anything like the real thing, and I wait all summer for that first bite of the best tomatoes.
It’s such a shame that we have gotten so far away from our food that we accept watery, mealy tomatoes in January just because they’re accessible in winter, without understanding how much flavor we’re losing through the process, let alone the transportation and environmental costs that come along with those winter fruits. If you have room to grow anything in your yard or balcony or sunny window, it should be a tomato plant.
4. I had set a net worth goal at the beginning of the year to hit the next $100,000 milestone, acknowledging that I only had control over the savings side of things and not the market, and expecting that the market might have crashed before we saw that number. Instead, we hit that number a couple of months ago, and we’re already halfway to the next $100,000 milestone. I don’t think we’ll see it before things correct, but who really knows.
The stock market, and the real estate market, are so wild right now, and uncoupled from reality. The gains feel completely like Monopoly money, and it seems wrong for our net worth to be skyrocketing while so much of the country is suffering in a big way due to COVID and the related economic downturns.
5. I was able to lend a few hundred dollars to a friend to help with moving expenses. Along with increasing my donations each year, I’ve decided that I want to be the “family” or village help for those who don’t have family to fall back on. We are very fortunate to be in such a good place with our finances, and we have the ability to help others, so we should.
They have already received a check they were waiting on, and the money is on its way back to me. For very little on my end, I was able to make a difference for a family. With so much out of my control right now, I appreciate that some things still are within it.
I went for a run Saturday morning while in Leavenworth before we all started the day together. The weather was warm, but it felt great to begin my weekend with a run (listening to Hamilton to pump myself up, of course). I also ran by myself on Thursday because the kiddo didn’t feel like joining me. I’m glad to be running twice a week most of the time now, but I really want to step up my workouts now.
Do you have any plans for the end of summer? If you have kids, what does school look like this fall?