UFM 8 & UFM 9, plus a realization

Actually, the realization comes first. I’m nine days into this little month-long frugal and blogging challenge and I’ve already missed posting two days. It’s possible that I’ve bit off more than I can reasonably chew! And as I would like the frugal changes and writing habit to stick, this means I need to sloooow down and get the most out of this process that I can.

This realization came around after Thursday when the Frugalwoods’ email had 4 steps of tracking your money, three of which I’d done before, but wasn’t up to date on, and one that I’d never tried but now highly recommend: calculating your savings rate. I was writing after work and running and dinner and dishes and probably some relaxing (real talk) but it was getting later and later, and I was getting grumpier. Staying up late to manage my finances and then write something about it was a lot to add on! And things that feel like a lot don’t stick.

As a perfectionist, it’s hard for me to back down once I’ve set myself up for a challenge, so I’m going to practice taking a small step back: I’m going to keep up with the frugal challenge, but I’m going to drop my blog posting down to every other day (the odd days in case you want to keep track). I’ll cover whatever was interesting in the previous two days of the challenge, and on my off days I hope to spend a little more time on other writing projects (as soon as I started back up with the blog, my other writing stopped and I don’t like that).

So, now that that’s out of the way, what’s been happening!

Yesterday was the wedding that I thought I might need to buy a dress for. Turns out, I had a perfectly suitable one in the my closet! I’ve actually worn this dress at other weddings before (there’s even a picture of me in the dress on our dresser) but I hadn’t even thought of it until a friend suggested it. I did feel a little under-dressed because I forgot my heels at home, but–guess what? No one cares! And my feed didn’t hurt at the end of the night, so that was a win.

My man and I drove back this morning, and I spent the day pretty casually. I read my book (Helter Skelter currently–really enjoying it), napped, and then we met up with some friends for an inexpensive happy hour. Two of our friends are departing on a months-long tour of the United States before moving abroad, so it was important to wish them a fond farewell. This is the couple that got me back into biking to work, which I’m very grateful for, and I hope to see them again someday. 3 grain salad

Then the evening was spent meal prepping. I used up some more amaranth, brown rice, and all my quinoa making a Mexican inspired 3-grain salad with black beans, frozen veggies, and cilantro. I meant to add a tomato and pepper, but forgot, so they’ll have to go in the curry later this week.

waffleSince I have a lot of flour to use up and I ran out of oatmeal on Friday, I also decided to make waffles for my breakfasts this week. My plan is to take a couple of waffles with me to work and eat them with some homemade jam, peanut butter and banana. Yum! Not the healthiest breakfast, but certainly one of the most decadent for its price. I also had one this evening for a small dinner. I got the very basic recipe from Spice Up the Curry, but subbed more regular flour for whole wheat since I didn’t have any.

What about the challenge you ask? Well yesterday’s challenge was to talk about money with your partner. I didn’t, but only because my man and I already talked about money and our goals recently. While we’re not always in perfect agreement, we respect each other’s desires and support them. And this move has been helpful in opening up our communication about money because it’s one of the bigger expenses we’ve had as a couple.

Today’s topic was the options that frugality provides. Having set aside money and saved has allowed me to leave jobs I haven’t liked, to handle stressful car repairs quickly, and yeah, travel when the opportunity has presented itself. Only the last one has really felt like an option, but it’s been a huge relief to know that the money for major expenses, and pleasures, is there. I always think I could be doing a better job of setting aside more: for the move, retirement, eventual car and laptop replacements, emergencies, etc. but at least so far I’ve been lucky to have always had enough. I hope that by strengthening my frugal muscles I can set aside for those things I know are coming so that when they happen I can focus on the joy, the adventure, maybe even the sorrow, instead of the cost.

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