I do miss writing. I miss sharing deals. I often take pictures "for a blog post." I think about what I could write and all things frugal. Most weeks I have plenty of free time to write posts, I simply haven't. I would like to begin again, but I am not going to make any grandiose promises.
What have we been doing these past three years? Are we still living the "thankful and thrifty" life? I would like to think so, although life looks much different than it did, say, 5 years ago. My husband and I are still living in Hong Kong and working at International Christian School. Our three sons are all in college in the US (two in NY and one in PA) and our daughter married this past summer, so we added a delightful son-in-law to our family. They are living in Madison, WI.
Photo Credit: Lucas Botz Photography, Minneapolis
This past summer while we were home in Maine, we began construction of a small log cabin on our property in Lakeville. We are about half way done at this point:
Here she is all snow-decked at Christmas time.
We have been travelling...quite a bit, actually. This has been the focus of my frugality as of late. I had a dream of taking some trips in this our first year of empty nesting, and playing the credit card game has allowed us to do just that on a very reasonable budget. This school year we have traveled to:
Jeju Island, Korea for our son's Bible School graduation
Chiang Mai, Thailand
and Boston and Maine for Christmas.
Since our children are all on the other side of the sea now, it made sense for us to go back to the US for Christmas this year. We had lots of snow and made some fun memories. We also had three extra Asian students staying with us, so lots of meal prep was happening!
Our daily life here in Hong Kong is fairly routine. We get up, go to work, run errands on the weekends, throw in a little exercise here and there, and try to save money wherever we can. What has that looked like this week? Saturday, I cleaned the apartment and went to the post office and bank. I wrote out a menu and bought groceries for the week. Here is the menu:
Sunday: Clams and Pasta
Monday: Chili with meat
Tuesday: Sweet Fire Chicken/veggies/rice
Wednesday: dumplings/bok choi
Thursday: Thai Fish Salad/rice
Friday: out to eat
Saturday: homemade pizza
I don't always follow our menu exactly, but at least I have a plan and the ingredients to make everything. Breakfasts consist of coffee/tea/juice, and some combination of fruit, toast, oatmeal, granola, raisin bran, sausage, bacon or eggs in some form. Lunches are leftovers, salads or sandwiches. I spent the afternoon at our local Ronald McDonald House where I volunteer helping with birthday parties. Sunday, after church, I volunteered to take blood pressures at an event our school puts on for Hong Kong's many helpers (domestic maids). I read a free book on my Kindle.
Monday, I found a pair of shorts, a skirt and 2 shirts on the free/share table at our school. Tuesday, I began looking in depth at all the credit cards we currently have and am deciding which ones to keep and which ones no longer make sense. I applied for a local credit card here in Hong Kong. We've both been jogging for exercise. In the evenings, we read, watch movies or free TV, or go for a walk.
I have found that the personal finance blogs I enjoy the most are the ones written by ordinary folks like me who are consistently making thrift work for them, wherever they live, whatever their goals. Some posts apply to me, many do not, but the spirit and inspiration are the same irregardless.
So, here's to a thankful and thrifty 2017!