Sunday, August 21, 2016

A short week ahead & progress

Well, not really, because weeks are always technically the same length, but I'm flying out on Thursday to Portland. From there, I'll be meeting my family & BFF for our adventure relay. Can't wait! It's most definitely always an adventure. Last year was insane wind & rain. This year, it's supposed to be 95. Yikes.

I'm spending today trying to get everything sorted for next week, including the nanny & carpool schedule, my work schedule, packing & some meal prep for the week ahead. Oh, & washing all of the sheets. Not my favorite task. ;-) So far today, I've picked up Sam from a sleepover, taken him + a carpooler to a soccer game. Watched/cheered at said game, scrambled everyone home for a quick lunch, and convinced M to handle game #2. I'm no fool!

After reading a great post by The Frugalwoods on their definition of frugality, I started to think about some of the changes I've made in our lives since I started this blog. And, whoa, have there been a lot. Although we are, by no stretch of the imagination, living a life of frugality, we are definitely more conscious spenders. Significantly more conscious.

I've changed the way I approach shopping for myself, the kids & our house. Hint, when you have to pack everything you own, it's a quick way to declutter & remind yourself that you don't NEED 1/2 of what you have. ;-)

Despite the boys doubling in size, age & metabolisms, I've kept our grocery budget pretty much the same. I've cut way, way back on eating out, and it's pretty much the exception, rather than the rule. Not counting when I travel, but M can only handle so much on those long trips.

I've stopped rewarding myself with "things". I do spend a signficant portion of our budget on traveling - to see family, and for our vacation house. And I'm comfortable with those tradeoffs.

I rarely spend on myself (haircuts, colors, pedicures, massages). And, I do miss the feel good of a massage for sure, but the rest? Don't really miss it.

We cut back on gifts, for ourselves & others. We choose to spend time together vs things, and don't miss it at all either.

I make almost all of our snacks. It's become our smallest grocery category. It's healthier, I like to bake, and it saves money!

Every time I purchase something, I ask myself if we need it, and I want to pack it in the next move. The answer is almost always no. ;-)

I stopped buying things just because they were on sale. Because, I eventually figured out that I needed a special shampoo (dry scalp due to the lupus) & I literally had 15 bottles of other shampoo lingering in the cupboard. Not to mention 30 bars of soap, which I will likely . . . you guessed it . .. have to move again. Keeping a spare of one thing in the cupboard? Totally fine. Overbuying because it's a "good deal"? No more.

We've saved, saved, saved. Seriously, the most ever. We've cut out on many previous activities, and while we've kept some, I am enjoying the relaxation on weekends. There is already soccer, homework, playdates & sleepovers. I find that to be exhausting & don't need more in my life.

I've been reading the early days of my blog, and I can't believe how much we've grown (financially, and in the case of the boys - literally) since 2011. So happy I have this journal to keep track of our progress.

What about you? What has been the biggest change since you've been blogging or reading frugal blogs? And. . . the kiddos are back. Time to tackle some stinky soccer laundry! 


  1. I LOVE The Frugalwoods blog. So many good tips, and they are an inspiration (as are you!).

    I've gone back through my own old blogs (they're no longer available online though), and I'm also amazed at the changes we made, and what we accomplished. It's a very good feeling, and I'm so proud of what we accomplished and where we are now.

    1. It's a great blog. Almost always very thought provoking. One day, when I'm a big girl & have more time to devote, I'd love to make my blog a little bit more like that, a little bit more "list making." But, for now, it works for me. :-)

      You should be impressed with yourself & proud of what you've accomplished. You set an extremely challenging goal, achieved it, and are able to live out your dreams as a result. Very few people complete all of those steps! You are very inspiring. :-) Have loved following your story along the way.

  2. It's good to look back at changes-it can seem like we are standing still until a good look back.

    1. So true. I always forget how much progress we've made (while also raising two kids) & it's really great to pause & try to keep it all in perspective.

  3. The return to cooking from scratch, vs relying on convenience foods, has benefits that have kept on giving. We have kept the same food budget for over five years now, we eat out far less often than we used to (and enjoy it a lot more when we do because it's special), always have interesting leftovers for lunch or nights when time is tight, and we just feel a lot healthier.

    We also stopped using a drycleaner and I now iron while watching TV - feels less time-wasting that watching TV while doing nothing.

    There are many things we do enjoy spending money on, but I think my biggest takeaway from the blogging world is to identify those things really don't deliver value and either eliminate them, or find less expensive ways to do them.

    PS - Your energy level is amazing!

    1. Totally agree with everything you've said. Like you, I feel healthier when I reduce the packaged food. It's better for me, cheaper, and it's a hobby that I enjoy when I cook & bake.

      I've actually given up TV altogether. Not for frugality reasons, but just because it was keeping me up at night. My time to spend with M and with myself (reading, etc) was so small, that I opted to give it up. Haven't really missed it. Plus, I do catch up when I travel. 13 hour flights are good for that! ;-) Love your idea to blend a "fun activity" with a chore.

      I love the way you put it, because it's also my biggest takeaway - figure out what your priorities are, spend on those, and find ways to cut or reduce the things that don't bring you joy, happiness, or don't improve your lives.

      PS - not always, but I do try. I structure my days so that I take advantage of the highest energy level (before 4 on weekends), get as much as I can before then, and then veg out after 4. Reading, having a glass of wine with M, etc. It works well!