Four days until the 2020 Presidential Election. We have a new member of the SCOTUS. The United States has now hit new highs for COVID-19 infections, and tomorrow is Halloween, with too many people with party plans. 2020 is certainly planning to finish out with a bang.
We will be trick or treating on our street for Halloween, but we’ve had neighborhood discussions on safety with masks and distancing. With who knows what is to come next week and the next few months, having something for the kiddo to look forward to seems important. No family holidays this year, no big trips, continuing to be cautious and safe. 2021 isn’t looking better, but maybe things will be by the end of next year. I certainly hope so.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. In happier news, thanks to my dedicated time in the garden this summer, I have quite a bit still growing to be harvested now. I picked kale, turnip greens, carrots, Brussel sprouts greens, celery, Swiss chard, and broccoli greens to go in a rice casserole dinner along with delicata squash and garlic that had been harvested earlier in the year.
The onions were from the farmers market, bacon and chicken from Washington, the cheese from Oregon, and the breadcrumbs from homemade bread (from Washington wheat). The only nonlocal part of the meal was the rice itself and the olive oil. I’ve directed my cooking to as much local food as possible this year, and meals like this make my heart happy. Even more so when it makes enough for a second weeknight meal so we don’t have to cook.
2. I made a grocery store trip and the total came to just shy of $49 but had a $5 off $50 coupon, so I ended up spending less money by adding some tasty vegan peppermint creamer to my cart. While I don’t use coupons for local businesses these days, when I’m shopping at Kroger, I have no qualms with using them. Couponing to spend less money for more groceries will always make my day.
As That Frugal Pharmacist and I were chatting about the other day, it’s funny how much a $5 savings can make my day as our net worth continues to skyrocket this year. The five dollars on grocery feels so much more real than the “Monopoly money” that I track at Personal Capital. It is real, but I suppose it’s that focus on the little (and big) things that got us to where we’re at. But I doubt there is no net worth number where I won’t get excited by a $5 savings deal.
3. As the weather has turned a lot colder this past week or so, the kiddo and I have been wearing the matching coats my mother in law made us for our Iceland trip at the beginning of the year. While I didn’t initially love the look of the coat, the warmth, rain proofing, large hood, and the utility of the large lined pockets have won me over as my favorite winter jacket. She made the kiddo’s large enough that it still fits him this winter, and the quality is such that it will make a great hand me down at the point he finally outgrows it.
4. I picked up a large bag of roma tomatoes at the farmers market over the weekend and made thirteen cans of diced tomatoes to be added to the pantry. I’d made more previously with tomatoes out of our garden, and those, along with the seventeen jars of pizza sauce I have in the cabinet, should hopefully be enough to keep us in tomatoes until next season.
With COVID cases spiking throughout the United States (and really, throughout the world), having a well stocked pantry gives me quite a piece of mind. It’s also quite ecofrugal to can and store your own jars. If you haven’t stocked up, or if you’ve let your stockpile run low through this summer, I’d suggest looking over my list of items to have in your home in case you want to hunker down for a while.
5. Speaking of net worth, prior to the stock market volatility this week, we hit a new high number. It definitely feels like Monopoly money right now, but growing our cash reserves has felt particularly good. Ally might have cut their rates quite a bit (now just 0.6%), but I’ll take the lower return for the security of a larger cash cushion right now.
With that net worth high, I’m working to let myself not feel guilty for regular coffee shop and lunch take out purchases. To combat that feeling of scarcity, I specifically tipped an extra large amount (100%+) of my coffee purchase that day; if we’re doing so well financially, we can definitely afford to pass some of it on.
It’s been more than two years since I initially downloaded Personal Capital and started actually tracking our net worth. While savings rate is still more important to me because it’s what we can actually control, there is something to be said for having a sense of your overall net worth (though also important to know NOT to look during market volatility if it would make you tempted to pull your money out).
I was unconvinced for a long time that I even needed to track our net worth, but I’m so glad that I finally set up an account where I could track it all. I especially appreciate being able to look at the graphs for individual area, like investment accounts and cash savings.
We have a bunch of separate accounts, so it’s really nice to see them all in one place. I’m also working on growing our overall cash savings, and Personal Capital aggregates them all across four different banks, which makes things a lot simpler.
If you haven’t set up a way to track your net worth, I’d recommend Personal Capital for that purpose. If you use this link to sign up, you’ll also get a $20 Amazon gift card for doing so.
My exercise level has definitely increased this month, and I’m really enjoying that fact. Friday was stair walking and a longer walk while taking work calls. Saturday was an extra long “Poke-walk” (Pokemon walk) with my mother in law and time spent out in the garden. Sunday was a run with the kiddo and later on a long walk in the woods.
Monday was more stair walking and more than an hour of work phone call walking. Tuesday and Wednesday were more of the same, plus some jumping jacks and lunges. Thursday was another long Poke-walk, run with the kiddo, and then another walk with the dogs, closing in on another 20,000 step day.
How are you holding up ahead of the election and what looks to be a particularly long winter?