While I’ve lamented quite a bit on the blog this year about how hard 2020 has been, I’ve decided to close out the year with a positive recap instead. While the good doesn’t outweigh the bad by any stretch, I’m very grateful for the good that did exist this year.

I’ve kept a log each week through COVID to remember accurately how things went down – and not censoring the feelings of heartbreak and despondency – but it feels right to end the year with a final more upbeat post. I don’t expect 2021 to immediately be better, but I do have hope that by the end of this next year, things will be considerably better. Fingers crossed.

Friday’s Frugal Five

1. While it’s hard to believe now, we rang in 2020 in great spirits around a blazing bonfire in Reykjavik, Iceland near the start of our two week trip to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. (I should probably finish writing up the second half of the trip? Or maybe it’s too late now).

I am so thankful we were able to have our big adventure before COVID shut things down, for if we’d planned the trip just two months later, we wouldn’t have gone. After we returned home on January 8th, we didn’t leave Washington State again for the rest of the year. It was a heck of a trip though, and one we’ve enjoyed reminiscing on this year while staying close to home.

Reykholt, Iceland

2. Once COVID was clearly here in Kirkland – the first hotspot in the United States – I was immediately able to pull the kiddo from preschool and work from home with him. I am so grateful for the ability to work from home this past year, and that I was able to trust my gut and bring him home at the very beginning of March.

With that, the fact that the husband and I could both work shorter weeks to have full days to homeschool the kiddo, coupled with a full day cared for by the roommate and partial (masked) days by our families, I was able to still get my work done while also keeping him out of a childcare situation. So many women have been pushed out due to COVID, but I am not one of them.

3. One of the very best parts of 2020 has been my local restaurant support group, hands down. When I was feeling overwhelmed and helpless in March when COVID was first taking off, the group gave me hope that I could actually make a difference in a small way.

The community and spirit of giving in the group is the thing that has given me back some of my optimism that 2020 took away, and I will be forever grateful for that. I am so, so lucky to be part of such a wonderful community.

4. Living next to miles of green, tree lined trails has been a godsend for surviving 2020. Even when there is nowhere else to go, the trails are always there. We knew when we purchased our home almost a decade ago that the woods were an important part of the decision, but this past year has solidified just how important they are.

My front yard garden is another part of the outside time that’s breathed life into my soul. The preparedness aspect of growing my own food feels extra important right now, and there’s something very healing about digging your fingers into the dirt and pulling out sustenance. I wrote a poem about this gratitude recently, and it’s been published over on Ecofrugals.


5. And of course, I would be remiss not to mention the importance of my online community in this year of isolation. Some of my very closest friends these days – That Frugal Pharmacist, A Purple Life, Reaching For FI, Fiery Millennials – are other personal bloggers that I met first online. I’ve been lucky enough to know them all in person now, but as none of us live in the same area, that online connection has been my lifeline.

The same is true of my Women’s Personal Finance community and PF Twitter. While we may not all be in the same place physically, having that connection online has made such a difference to the level of loneliness I feel. I am so, so thankful for you all, my friends.

With that deep love of community, winning the Community Builder Plutus Award this year – on my wedding anniversary, no less – was a high point of 2020. Of all the awards out there, this is the one that I wanted most, and I am so proud to say that it was mine in 2020.

What are a few GOOD things that happened in 2020?

19 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (5 Good Things from 2020)

  1. I’m thankful for extra time with my kids in 2020. Typically I travel and commute long distances for work, which takes away time with my family. Working from home gave me a chance to bond with my son before our daughter was born in August. I’ve then been able to have my daughter home with me for 5 months. Compared to a traditional 6 week maternity leave period, I am extremely thankful for that once on a lifetime opportunity.

  2. I just finished building out a new spreadsheet tracker for my monthly expenses. I am very happy to report that my 2020 spending & monthly average was below 2019. That makes me happy because I spent considerably more in Q4 at local cafes, restaurants and exclusive grocery shopping at the local independent grocer. Keep inspiring everyone on the path to FI to realize that we can be generous while on our path to FI. Cheers to you and the family, Happy New Year.

  3. with regard to that iceland trip, i had an inking when i was closer to your age that when those opportunities came along and you have the means you should not wait. it might not be just circumstances like covid that change but for me tastes and wants changed as i got older. i’m not saying that is the case for everyone but we really feel like staying local to regional the past 10 years or so. here’s to ’21 treating you better.

    1. Yeah, I’ve heard that from others as well. Granted, Bob is 65 now and loves traveling with us all over still, so you never know 😉

  4. You should definitely post the last Iceland piece. We just finished up our New Zealand writing from a year ago, so it’s never too late! Iceland is on our list of places to go, and there was a lot of good information in your prior posts. Happy New Year to you and your family!

    1. Ha perfect!! Will hopefully get around to writing it in the next couple weeks.

  5. You know, for as crappy as 2020 was, I found it wasn’t all that horrible. A lot of good things happened to me and not everything was terrible. It’s nice to know you had good points too. Here’s to 2021 being much, much better, though!

  6. I really loved this post.

    re: the second half of your Iceland trip — would definitely read that if you ever did write it 🙂

    I’m totally with you re: trails being a godsend in 2020. We spent SO much time outside in the spring/summer/fall this year and loved every second of it.

    In terms of the good from 2020, one thing that comes to mind right away is how, in some ways, it resulted in connecting more with people. Obviously not in person, but I can honestly say I did things like call home more often or make a point to hop on video chats with friends regularly. All that said, hoping 2021 will be better!

    1. Apparently I do need to write it! Helps to know that others want to read it 😉

  7. We’ve been talking a lot about the silver linings of 2020 too. My husband was grounded from travel, we got to spend more time with the kids, we both got to stay employed, I discovered cardio kickboxing and tennis and started exercising again, and we managed to stay healthy. While I hope the whole “rampant virus killing people and destroying the economy” thing goes away in 2021, I do hope the simpler living part stays. Happy new year!

Leave a Reply