Somehow it is six days until Thanksgiving? Time has been so wonky since COVID began, but it feels like November especially disappeared in a blink.
The weather has continued to be strange here, and I think that’s part of it. We’re on our second week in a row of cold, sunny days, when normally it would be gray and soggy most of the time. The rain is expected to return again mid next week, but the days leading up to Thanksgiving usually aren’t so bright.
I have to say though, our new neighbors who just moved here from California back in August are sure lucking out for their first winter here.
(When will I stop referring to the Frugal Five in terms of COVID weeks? I’m not sure….. but we’re not there yet. The kiddo is still masking at school – and we are indoors – so it sure doesn’t feel “all back to normal” yet. And so, we’re still in these weird pandemic weeks and I will continue counting them)
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Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Since our thirteenth anniversary was on Sunday, we went up to Bellingham for an overnight trip. We’d originally planned on leaving the kiddo home with his grandparents, but since he still had the lingering end of a cold, he got to come with us. It meant the trip was a little different than planned, with a warm little body snuggled up between us in the king size bed, but it was still a good one.
Life has been so expensive lately (which I’m sure you are all feeling as well), so we debated not doing anything beyond perhaps a dinner for our anniversary this year. It was our 13th though, and we were married on the 13th, so I wanted to figure out a way for us to do something more than just dinner.
I checked my Marriott card, and I hadn’t used the one free night a year yet, so we ended up getting a King suite for $3. The annual fee for the card is $95, and the room itself would have been over $200, so I find that keeping the card and not downgrading it has been worth it for the one night a year alone. (I’d originally signed up for the card years ago when we took my grandmother to Hawaii and used the sign up bonus for two oceanfront rooms for a couple of nights to kick off the trip.)
If you’re interested in the card, you can sign up through my link here – if you stay in Marriotts/locations with Marriotts with any frequency, I’d recommend it.
2. The bike trailer I purchased to take the kiddo to school has now paid for itself – the number of miles I’ve replaced driving with biking, based on AAA numbers for vehicle mileage cost, has now surpassed the cost of the trailer itself.
I’d originally counted only the miles I’d biked with the trailer attached (then I’d still be a couple dozen miles short yet), but then I realized that I needed to count all miles I’d biked because I had the trailer – including the ones where the husband took the trailer home with the kiddo in his truck, and then I biked home, or to Seattle or elsewhere, because I wouldn’t have been able to bike without the trailer for the morning drop off at school.
3. I knew when I bought the trailer that the kiddo would outgrow it within a year, and that’s definitely going to be true – he’s on the big side for it already. So now I’m eyeing a second bike, one that has a second seat for a passenger. The King County Council is now looking at an ebike rebate program… If that goes through, I’m definitely buying the second bike.
The bikes I’m currently looking at would actually fit my husband too (impressive since there’s a full foot in height difference between us), so in theory, we could all ride as a family between the two e-bikes….
4. Regina and I held a Zoom with Michelle Jackson last week on recession prep, and it was a really good conversation. We’ve both been stressing quite a bit about the cost of everything as well as an impending recession, and Michelle did a good job pivoting my thoughts a bit.
Yes, things are bad, but I really like her reframe on a lot of things. Now back to the library to remind myself of all the cool free stuff they have available. We’ve uploaded the conversation to the WPF YouTube, and you can check it out here.
5. If you’re on Twitter any amount, you already know this, but in case you’re not and haven’t been following, things have been imploding there since Elon Musk took over and has fired the majority of staff. This may not feel like a big deal, it’s just a social media platform, but it’s bigger than maybe it should be. Twitter has been a key source of connectivity for folks – during severe weather events, local news, and everything in between.
It’s also where I first really connected with the personal finance community, including Regina. My life would be wildly different now if it wasn’t for those connections five years ago. My life is certainly better because Twitter was in it.
Now, seeing it crumble, feels worse than I thought it would. Yes, I have those friendships now and they exist beyond Twitter, but it really has been a special place for community, and it will be a real loss when it crumbles for good. Maybe it won’t, but it sure isn’t looking hopeful right now.
I’m back on my bike this week! Friday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and it feels so good. Thursday was thirty miles, and I ended up having to bring my charger to work, because between the hills and hauling the trailer, I would have drained the battery completely by the time I picked the kiddo up from school.
Otherwise, I didn’t run this past week, but hoping to get back to that in the next few days as well. I had a (confirmed benign) cyst removed from my neck two and a half weeks ago, and I wasn’t allowed to do any exercise for ten days afterward. Painful (the inability to exercise, but also the recovery, because of not being able to move my neck around much), and I’m so grateful to be back to my normal mobile self again this week.