Friday, May 20, 2022

Frugal Friday

It hasn't felt very frugal lately, but a few wins here & there.  

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a $20 reward at the grocery store, along with a $1 coupon to pick up a few things. Out of pocket was $15.78, for quite a few items (3 packages of sparkling water, taco shells, ice cream, 4 Gatorades, romaine lesson, salad, & breakfast sausage). I also earned another $5 back between Fetch & iBotta. 
  • On a second trip to the grocery store (you can tell I hadn't been home, and wasn't terribly efficient with my trips. Luckily, the store is 5 minutes from my house), used another $20 reward, & a $1 coupon to pick up some things. (Oat milk, two salads, chicken, protein bars, etc). My out of pocket was $6.46, and I earned $2 via Fetch, and $.25 via iBotta. 
  • I used flight credits for our summer family trip to Bend. M had a United credit from his cancelled holiday travel, which offset the majority of the cost. 
  • I used discounted airline gift cards for flights for the rest of us, saving a bit of additional money.
  • Nick needed an (almost) entirely new wardrobe: underwear, socks, shoes for tennis x2, shorts, tshirts & a hoodie. He's grown tremendously, and is pretty hard on his clothing. That wasn't cheap (to say the least), but I did shop for offers, used gift cards, and clicked through Rakuten where I could. 

Earning money

  • Earned $13 from Rakuten
  • Sold a jacket on eBay, and made $78. The eBay sales have been glacier like (I haven't spent time on this, so unsurprising). It was nice to have a win. 
  • Earned/redeemed a $5 Fetch reward

Avoiding spending

  • Other than optimizing airline flights, I can't think of anything!

Eating what we have

  • We ate all of the leftover lasagna for dinner (could have used one more slice, but the boys filled in with a few snacks after soccer).
  • I made a couple of salads, and topped them with dinner leftovers

For others

  • I'm volunteering as a judge for a UN girls in tech program, and enjoying the work so much. What a highlight of my day. 
That's it from our side. What wins have you had lately? 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 I flew in on Friday afternoon, and am still jet lagged. Hoping to be recovered by mid-week or so. As a result, the menu planning is, shall we say, low effort.

  • Friday - M heated frozen lasagna
  • Saturday - M grilled burgers (belated Mother's Day) + cupcakes
  • Sunday - tacos
  • Monday - I'm driving five kids to soccer, so we'll take the easy route & have leftover lasagna
  • Tuesday - burgers & salad
  • Wednesday - tacos
  • Thursday - enchiladas (freezer)
  • Friday - any leftovers, or wings 
What about you? What's on the menu this weekend?

Sunday, May 15, 2022

I'm back + all the jetlag

It's been a whirlwind over the last ten days or so. We flew to San Diego last Friday, and attended a wedding for one of M's family members. It was so much fun for the boys to get to meet lots of family members, participate in a traditional Persian wedding, & it was just a gorgeous event. We all had a great time. 

I flew from San Diego to Denver, then on to London. Normally I get a direct flight from SFO, but San Diego didn't have any options that fit my work policies. So, Sunday was quite a long travel day. I don't recommend it as a Mother's Day plan. :-) 

I don't sleep for any period of time on flights (even with business class/reclined seats), so no sleep at all on Sunday. I got to the hotel on Monday afternoon, ordered room service, binge watched Bridgerton (a month of Netflix was my Mother's Day request, knowing I'd use it when I traveled) went to the gym, and then slept for 12 hours. Lots of office time, team dinners, & it was so lovely to see the team again, after 2+ years. 

I flew back on Friday, and slept for maybe an hour, so another night without sleep. The lack of sleep definitely adds up in unhelpful ways. I managed to complete my Global Entry renewal interview as I came through customs at the airport, so at least that task has now been completed, and my next international trip return will go a bit faster. 

I did all of the mom errands yesterday (birthday party, soccer game, reffing game, helping Sam with job forms, etc) & today is taking Sam to his summer job training, Nick to a tennis match, and more tennis. I've managed to unpack, and do all of my laundry. But, I feel so far behind.

Next week will be a very long week, as I attempt to catch up on sleep & readjust myself to the right timezone, all whilst in the middle of my life. 

And now, for a limited time, a picture from the wedding, which was such a family highlight! <Photo now removed.>

What about you? What have you been up to this week? 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

May Goals

 May represents another very busy month for us. We are working to get re-adjusted to high school life, now that most COVID restrictions are lifted. The boys are *very* active, & it keeps us on our toes. One day soon, we will have drivers, but for now, we're in that spot of tons of activities, and all driving falling to us. 

It's also the month where I return to international work travel. Here goes!

Here are my goals for the month. 


  • Stick to our budget - 
  • Talk to our accountant about a DAF & adjustments for the year 
  • Come up with long term budget/FIRE Plan. I need to update this based on some comp adjustments our company announced. 
  • Progress towards $1500 side hustle goal, gift card goal, & Fetch/iBotta goals 


  • Plan one fun activity with the kids 
  • Support the kids with various planning items (driving practice, tutoring, ref jobs, summer job forms, etc)
  • Have two dates with M 
  • Lots of photos for M's family (at the wedding for his cousin this month) 
  • Finalize summer plans
  • Book all summer travel
  • Stay on track with my healthy eating routine 
  • Come up with international travel healthy plan. Also, avoid getting COVID in London, so I can re-enter the US as planned. 
  • Close rings daily -
  • Lose 4 lbs -
  • Meditate 5x 
  • Use return London trip to renew my global entry
  • Take advantage of office perks, making it feel like an appealing change in my routine
  • Do something social with friends - 
  • Volunteer commitment for girls in tech org
  • Continue working on post-work plan & options 
  • Some sort of personal writing (fiction or journaling)
What about you? Any wins to share? 

Friday, May 6, 2022

Frugal Friday

In between a crazy work schedule, I've been deep into summer planning mode, which is helping me feel more organized. But, it's definitely not been cheap, as I book 12+ weeks of activity this week. Nick is planning to take some formal tennis training, which is not inexpensive. But, Sam is now largely on the income generating side of the parenting equation. :-) 

Here are a few frugal things for the week:

Saving on things we buy:

  • Raise had an 3% off promo code, which included Amazon gift cards. I clicked through Rakuten first, then went to Raise & saved 4% (standard 1% + 3%) off of the purchase. I also will get a small amount back from my credit card & Rakuten. 
  • Canceled & rebooked my flight for Hawaii (my mom's 70th anniversary), to save $60. I'm surprised that flights have gone down for June, but I'll take it!
  • I priced out Uber for our trip this weekend, & it was significantly more than parking at the airport (3x as much). I booked in advance online for the parking, saving 10% more. 

Earning money:

  • I redeemed Fetch rewards for a $5 Amazon gift card

Avoiding spending:

  • I ordered a few dresses for the wedding we're going to, but ended up liking the one in my closet the best. 

Eating what we have:

  • M grilled up a huge batch of chicken this weekend, which we've enjoyed with rice. There was plenty to feed us most of the week, and we have some chicken leftover for the freezer.

For others:

  • Continued several mentoring relationships
That's it from my side. What about you? Any wins to share? 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

April Goals Recap

 April whizzed by, and it's time to check in on my progress against goals. I'd describe this as a month where I was mostly getting by. A few things did come together, but largely that's through good habits I already have in place. Anything beyond that mostly didn't happen. Here goes!


  • Stick to our budget - dining out was high (I took my mom out 2x as a thank you + early Mother's Day). Groceries were lower than expected, as we had our Costco rebate. 
  • Pay our taxes - done!
  • Talk to our accountant about a DAF & adjustments for the year - nope
  • Come up with long term budget/FIRE Plan - nope
  • Progress towards $1500 side hustle goal, gift card goal, & Fetch/iBotta goals - I sold a few things on eBay, redeemed a couple of gift cards, & earned $5 via Fetch. Tiny little wins, but progress. 


  • Plan one fun activity with the kids - we played tennis, I took the boys to dinner with my mom, we had an Easter egg hunt with my family, we went mini golfing, & the boys had lots of spring break fun with my parents. 
  • Support the kids with various planning items (permit, job applications, tutoring) - Yes! Permit acquired, job application was successful, & tutoring is on track. 
  • Have two dates with M - we managed one. M broke his ankle, so he's been reluctant to get out much. 
  • Call with M's family - no, although we've been sending lots of photos. One of the reason we are all heading to the family wedding this weekend is on behalf of my mother in law, who can't be there. 
  • Enjoy spring break/Easter with my parents - done, and it was great!
  • Finalize summer plans - not in April, but I have a positive May update. 
  • Stay on track with my healthy eating routine - I did well for the first half of the month, & with visitors & back to the office, & non-stop meals out, the wheels fell off the bus a bit. 
  • Close rings daily - Yes!
  • Lose 2 lbs - I maintained this month
  • Meditate 5x - nope. I think I meditated 2x. 
  • Adjust to return to office. Build new routines/habits that work with our schedule - I've worked out every day, including those days I'm in the office. We're still working on the boys getting up on their own those days. There have been some real scrambles!
  • Do something social with friends - went on a hike, & a walk
  • Invest time in my volunteering job - Yes, but not as much as I'd like. 
  • Continue working on post-work plan & options - I don't have much of an update here, but it's something I regularly think about.  
  • Journal 10x. - 1x. I just haven't been particularly motivated on this one. 
That's it from my side! What about you? How did you do with your April goals? Any wins to share?

Monday, May 2, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 We have quite a bit in the freezer, so this will likely be a bit of a use it up week. Here's what I'm thinking. 

  • Friday - gyozas & wings 
  • Saturday - chicken curry & rice
  • Sunday - grilled chicken & pasta salad
  • Monday - chicken enchiladas
  • Tuesday - spaghetti & meatballs
  • Wednesday - chicken curry
  • Thursday - chicken quesadillas
  • Friday - we are heading to San Diego for a wedding, so something at the airport
What about you? What's on the menu this week? 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Saturday Happenings

 I'm so grateful the work week is done! I had an offsite last week, & two offsites this week. Tons of in person time, and four evening commitments between the two weeks. I feel like I went from zero to 100, with working from home for two years, & then returning to the office full force. 

On the one night I didn't have an evening work commitment, I drove four kids to soccer & hung out in the parking lot until just after nine. After dropping everyone off, it was after 9:30. There were some *long* days last week!

It's more wild times ahead, as we fly out on Friday for a family wedding (M has very few family members in the US & this is one of his cousins). M & the boys fly back on Sunday, while I fly to London. On Mother's Day weekend. I'm not overly excited about it, particularly because there were no direct flights that met my price cap, so I have to go to Denver first. 

Here's what's on the to do list for today:

  • Figure out packing for London & San Diego. I need a bunch of COVID test kit related stuff, so need to remember to add that to the packing list. It will also be a weird packing list, as I need things like a formal dress & heels, which is not something I typically bring on a work trip. ;-) 
  • Decide on a dress for the wedding
  • Take Nick to a reffing game
  • Work out
  • Menu plan for this week, and helpfully arrange the freezer so M can figure out meal options when I'm in London
  • Sort the soccer carpool for next week
  • Take Sam on some practice drives
  • Yoga
  • Laundry
  • Costco
  • Grocery store
  • I think we're having chicken curry (freezer) & rice tonight for dinner, so I need to sort that out as well.
What about you? What's on your schedule for today?

Friday, April 29, 2022

Frugal Friday

I was too busy to spend money during the work week, but made up for it during the weekend, where I treated my mom to a dinner out & a wine tasting, as a thanks for all of her help in the past week or so.  

Saving on things we buy

  • My mom treated the boys to boba one night, and I had a $5 coupon that I applied to the order. I do not get the boba love, but the boys are huge fans. 

Earning money

  • Again with the driving of the kids to their jobs. 

Avoiding spending

  • Along with everything else, Uber has gotten very expensive, so I picked up M at the airport after a flight, and arranged my schedule to be able to drop my parents off for their respective flights. 

Eating what we have

  • Unfortunately, I had to eat out for most of the meals (I love a great dining out experience as much as anyone else, but too much, particularly for work, is not great for the waistline, and I'd much prefer to be at home.)
  • We made chicken enchiladas & guacamole on Sunday, which made quite a bit of leftovers & got put in the freezer for another time. 
  • I turned two small containers of leftovers (many dinners out) into a follow up dinner at home
  • M relied primarily on prepped meals from the freezer to feed the kids while I was busy

For others

  • Returned carts at the grocery store, set up a carpool, helped my parents with some tech issues, and helped out at a work event
What about you? Any wins to share? 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 Things are getting wild here, with lots of in person work time. Here's what's on the menu for the week.

  • Friday - pizza & salad
  • Saturday - taking my mom & the boys out to dinner
  • Sunday - chicken enchiladas 
  • Monday - spaghetti & meatballs, M cooking, as I'm at a team event
  • Tuesday - tacos, M in charge, as I'm at a team event
  • Wednesday - leftover enchiladas, M in charge, as I'm at (you guessed it), a team event
  • Thursday - leftover spaghetti
  • Friday - TBD
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Friday, April 22, 2022

Frugal Friday

 My parents are here this week, so there have been several meals out, & extra groceries & the like. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I adjusted my mom's flight (per her request) & saved $40 due to the flight change. 

Earning money

  • Sold a few small things on eBay. Not much, but junk out of the house & money in.
  • Drove the kids around to reffing games, where they earned money

Avoiding spending

  • We've eaten all dinners at home, despite some crazy schedules. 

Eating what we have

  • We definitely bought more groceries than usual, but I made chicken shawarma & chicken fajitas a couple of nights, M made kebabs & rice, & my parents cooked a few nights as well. 
  • The kids have eaten all of the Easter treats, as well as the chocolate covered fruit that I purchased as a dessert option. 
  • Froze a bunch of leftovers for future use. 

For others

  • Helped my parents save $750 on a flight, by using miles instead of paying out of pocket. 
  • Attended training to mentor girls in tech. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, April 18, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 My parents are in town, so meals look a bit different, with other folks prepping, and us serving six instead of the usual four. 

Here's what's on the menu for the week. 

  • Friday - we had chicken fajitas, with chips & guacamole
  • Saturday - I made chicken shawarma, which was delicious
  • Sunday - M made kebabs & rice, & we had cupcakes for dessert. 
  • Monday - chicken enchiladas
  • Tuesday - I'll be at a team dinner, but I think my dad is making lasagna
  • Wednesday - blackened chicken & pasta
  • Thursday - leftovers
  • Friday - TBD, but it will be just my mom, myself & the kids. We may do frozen pizza
What about you? What's on your menu for the week?

Friday, April 15, 2022

Frugal Friday

While I survived my first week in the office last week, I had to leave by noon on Tuesday, as my office mate had COVID, and office policies require me to test & then stay home for a week. Back to working from home for the rest of the week, but luckily, no COVID.  

Here are a few frugal highlights from the week.

Saving on things we buy

  • We ended up with two free cookies, when I treated Sam & a friend to a lunch out, between soccer & tennis
  • I used $25 in grocery store rewards to offset a stop. My out of pocket was $.11. If only every grocery store run was like that!

Earning money

  • Nothing for myself, but as always, driving around the kids to their jobs. Nick made a bunch of money reffing back to back games on Saturday, so that was a win. 

Avoiding spending

  • M & I opted for another date by the pool on Friday, heating up leftovers & catching up. It was more relaxing than going to a restaurant, and it was free.

Eating what we have

  • We managed to use up the last of the Hello Fresh freebie box
  • I bought hamburger buns, in order to entice the teens to eat burgers from the freezer. The addition of buns really sells it for them
  • We defrosted fesenjan (a Persian chicken, almond & pomegrante stew like dish) & had that over rice one night

For others:

  • One of Nick's friends unexpectedly needed a ride home on Saturday night, so I got out of bed & took him home.
  • I helped set up the soccer field for a game on Sunday
  • Cleaned up trash at the field while I was walking
  • Signed up to mentor teenage girls in tech
That's it from my side. What about you? Any wins to share?