Last Sunday night I was looking over our spending in Mint and noticed that we had spent $10 over the weekend. I did a double take. This is our cheapest weekend ever. Hell, this might be my cheapest weekend even including my pre-baby, pre-husband days. We didn’t plan to have a frugal weekend. We didn’t set out to try and spend less. It just happened (maybe this is what happens automatically once you set yourself on the path to FIRE? Maybe your subconscious takes over and shows you the way?). We did not plan this weekend, but what can we learn from it?
What we did this weekend
Mr. BITA worked on his work work and I worked on my blog. I also spent time on one of my favourite activities these days: reading other FIRE blogs. Oh and I initiated a rollover of our latest after-tax 401k contribution to our Roth IRA (mega backdoor for the win!).
On Saturday morning we had breakfast as a family (Mr. BITA cooked up eggs and bacon) and after that I took our daughter to the library. While we were at the library they announced that there was a ‘not so scary halloween magic show’ in the community room. Toddler BITA’s first magic show! So we ended up spending longer than planned at the library. Toddler BITA loved the show and learned how to say ‘abracadabra’ while she wiggles her fingers at things. Mr. BITA had lunch on the table when we got home. Toddler BITA and Mr. BITA enjoyed a post-lunch siesta. I worked on our Halloween costumes and binge watched some SVU.
In the evening we all went to one of those pumpkin patch bouncy castle places that pop up everywhere this season. It cost $10 to for 30 minutes of bouncing for Toddler BITA. She refused to be confined to the two under-3 (boring) bouncy castles and climbed all the way up the big ones and slid down yelling wheeeee. I bit my nails while she ascended the peaks and strutted around proud as a peacock afterwards. Once the shine was off the bouncy castles we spent time running around amongst the pumpkins and then headed home to dinner.
Post dinner-bath-bedtime, Mr. BITA worked on work work again. I continued to work on our Halloween costumes, and got them done. Mr. BITA tried his on and declared me an artistic genius on the spot. (I: No, he did not. Me: Shut up, you. I could tell he wanted to).
Mr. BITA took Toddler BITA to her Little Gym class. We spent the rest of the morning at home doing various chores around the house and Facetime-ing with grandparents. I had Toddler BITA try on her costume. It fit, she looked adorable and now she is all excited about Halloween. Lunch was another home cooked meal. Toddler BITA napped, Mr. BITA worked (again! He has a looming deadline) and I worked on my blog.
On Sunday evening we headed out to a park we had never been to before. A couple of our friends met us at the park and we got to catch up while Toddler BITA explored. The park was interesting. It is built to be accessible to children with disabilities and engineered to be inclusive. Toddler BITA had a lot of fun, and so did all of the adults accompanying her. I always enjoy the swings, but I especially loved playing the laser harp.
We had dinner at home, and opened a bottle of wine after Toddler BITA was tucked in bed.
What I learned
Ok, so we didn’t really spend only $10. Obviously, Toddler BITA’s Little Gym class has been paid for (we bought a season pass a while ago). Our groceries for all those home cooked meals were bought sometime in the past. The bottle of wine did not originate from vineyards in our backyard. But that is missing the point.
The point is that we discovered that we could have a perfectly happy, satisfying weekend and spend very little money to do so. Now, this may be obvious, and the frugal chorus has been saying so for years, but hearing it and actually believing it are two very different things. If you haven’t lived it, some part of you may always believe that a $10 (or thereabouts) weekend must necessarily involve sacrifice. My big realization on Sunday night was we had such a good time and didn’t even realize that we had spent next to nothing! We had new experiences with our daughter. We ate healthy meals. We played with our dog. We socialized with our friends. We worked on things we enjoy. We kept up with our chores. We had a full and fulfilling weekend and money was not involved.
I appreciated this no-spend oasis in the middle of a very expensive October. Will every weekend be as frugal? Nope. But I do feel inspired to reproduce this weekend. Knowing that it can be done and that I can do it, knowing that there is truth to the statement that we don’t need to spend money to lead a fun and fulfilling life, well, you know what they say: Veritas liberabit vos.