Hey everyone! This week flew by, mostly because it has felt like the weekend since Wednesday.

We decided to celebrate Thanksgiving early, as my mom is working pretty much every day next week. R took off Thursday and Friday, and we’ve been here since Wednesday night.

Before we go on, I have to apologize to you all. I just wrote up the entire post, went to save, and received an error from WordPress. My stomach sunk upon realizing the entire post was gone.

As I’m all about being transparent, I don’t really have the energy to completely re-write the post, so forgive me for running through things rather quickly. =( I absolutely hate when technology doesn’t cooperate!!

Not surprisingly, this week is focused on being grateful for family.

Being Grateful | Journey to Saving


Every Thursday, my mom and her neighbor play Bingo at a nearby restaurant. It doesn’t cost anything except a meal to play (and I think you only need to spend $5).

The jackpot is $350, so I figured I would tag along and play with them. R came, too, and the neighbor’s sister was visiting, so that made 5 of us!

I have never played Bingo for money before, and it’s been a really long time since I played at all. It was fun, even though none of us won! I kind of wish I was around here on Thursdays now.

My mom had won a $25 gift card the previous week, so we mostly ate for free, which was great.

By the way, my mom (being the primary money manager) has been keeping on top of her budget! I’m really proud of her. She should end up coming in with some money leftover this month, which she will be putting toward debt.

Low-Key Get-Togethers

We celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday with a small chicken dinner. We couldn’t find a turkey small enough for the 4 of us, and none of us really cared what we ate!

I had mentioned lasagna as part of the weekend celebration, and my mom agreed to make it. We ate that tonight, and it was delicious!

Small, low-key gatherings are always nice. Sometimes when you have too many people in the kitchen, things can get hectic. With just the 4 of us, it wasn’t necessary to go all out with the trimmings, and I kind of prefer it that way.

Yes, I know, I’m weird! I’ve never looked forward to Thanksgiving because of the food; I just looked forward to spending time with my family, and making plans for Christmas. Speaking of which …

Christmas Tree

My parents threw out our old Christmas tree when they moved, as it didn’t fit on the moving truck. I would have taken it, except that a 7.5′ tree wasn’t going to fit in our basement apartment!

Since they were visiting us in NY last year, they decided not to bother with one…so they needed one this year!

We went up to Target yesterday to see what their selection looked like. My parents had already been to a few stores and weren’t impressed with the choices.

Thankfully, we ended up finding one, and it was on sale for $51! Not too bad, especially considering they’ll probably be using it for all future Christmases.

I should probably mention (fun fact), I’m allergic to actual Christmas trees, so that’s why we go the fake route.

I don’t recall this at all, but my dad said the second they found out, he tossed the real Christmas tree we had over the deck of our old house. Apparently, I ended up in the hospital as I had such a severe reaction, and he wanted nothing to do with it after that.

Anyway, I’m grateful we found one, and that we can decorate together again. Last year wasn’t the same without a tree!

Craft Fair

Earlier today, 40 vendors came to my parents’ community for a craft fair. My mom and I were hoping to find a few frugal gifts for everyone back home.

We didn’t find a whole bunch (mostly because we had to keep in mind we had to ship items, and some were too delicate or bulky), but we found some really unique pieces of jewelry for 2 family members, so that takes care of them!

R and I also found a really neat looking cutting board, which my parents bought for us. How can a cutting board be neat?

Well, it’s made out of different types of wood, and it looks similar to this. R is really interested in wood being that he works with it at his job a lot. One of my dad’s favorite hobbies is also woodworking, so I’m slightly interested in it!

Suffice to say, it caught our eye, and it’s nice to be able to support someone instead of a store. Plus, our old cutting board broke a month ago!

While we were there, I observed that most of the people selling things were older. I was impressed with how they had turned their hobbies into a side hustle.

I even overheard one of them claiming you need some sort of activity in retirement to devote your time to. Rock on, senior citizens!

Overall, it was inspiring to see the ideas some people came up with. Not all of the items being sold were overly complicated to make, and some of them didn’t take much artistic talent at all, but people were clearly willing to pay.

Working from Home

Lastly, I am being grateful that I work from home, as these extended weekend trips wouldn’t be possible otherwise. It’s hard enough to coordinate days off with one person working, let alone two!

I am also grateful that R’s job is so flexible. He’s already taken the day after Christmas and the following Monday off, so we’ll be able to enjoy time with family then, too.

If you were reading this time last year, you might remember that R and I made the questionable/crazy decision to drive down here and visit. We spent 14 hours on the road going back home. I’m SO glad we’re a lot closer now!

Tune in next week for a special 52nd edition, complete with a lot of introspection, reminiscing, and lots of gratitude.

(And if you missed it, I featured a great guest post by XY Planning partner and owner of Bespoke Wealth Management LLC, Laurel Hardy. She gave some great advice on paying off student loans and saving. I am always grateful for guest posts!)

What are you being grateful for this week? What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving?



  1. Tre November 22, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    Sounds like a nice relaxing celebration. We usually stay home and have a lazy weekend on Thanksgiving.

    1. Erin M. November 22, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      It’s nice to take it easy after a holiday. You might as well take advantage of the days off and relax!

  2. kay ~ lifestylevoices.com November 22, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Well that was fun! Except for the part where you lost your post. Man, I hate that! I think you recovered nicely, though! :) Low key Thanksgiving for us. We’ll probably go see a movie and eat out, like usual. No fuss, no muss, no extended family drama. Not sure what the movie will be yet. We usually try to catch one that’s holiday themed. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Erin! It sounds like you have tons to be thankful for! :D

    1. Erin M. November 22, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      One of my best friends always watches a movie on any holiday. My fiancé actually went with him one year. It never occurred to me that was a thing, but again, I’m lucky and have a family that enjoys getting together! I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend as well!

  3. Done by Forty November 23, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    That image of your dad tossing the Christmas tree over the deck is really heartwarming…almost heartbreaking, too. I can see the tree getting hurled over the edge, only thinking about his daughter’s health. It’s a cool story.

    1. Erin M. November 23, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      When he said that I wasn’t surprised, my dad tends to be very protective (and extreme)…in a good way, not an overbearing way! That’s what I get for being an only child. =)

  4. Tonya@Budget and the Beach November 23, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    lol we are opposites when it comes to thanksgiving. I don’t care who I spend it with (in fact, this year I’m going solo) but I love the food, then I hate Christmas. :) OK fine, hate is such a strong word. Glad you are finding ways to spend so much time together though since that’s what you seem to enjoy most!

    1. Erin M. November 23, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      Apparently the same place that hosts Bingo is having a Thanksgiving buffet, and a lot of people around here are going if their families aren’t coming to visit. I’m not sure how expensive it is, but it could be fun if there’s something like that near you! At least you won’t have to worry about preparing food.

  5. Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver November 23, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Crossing my fingers this posts! :) I love low-key Thanksgiving – it’s easier to relax and enjoy each other’s company :) It’s nice you were able to celebrate it early and not have to worry about the hustle and bustle of driving here and there.

    Also, older people are adorable! My mom goes to craft fairs a lot, and she’s getting into making her own jewelry. She’d like to sell it along with some of her friends who also make jewelry. Rock on, older people, indeed! :)

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Even though it was pouring out when we drove back last night, there was next to no one on the road, so I’m really thankful we bypassed all the holiday traffic. That might come back to bite us for Christmas, though!

      That’s awesome! My aunt loves her beadwork, and she makes all sorts of things with it. We keep telling her she needs to open an Etsy store or something, especially since she’s retiring next year. Pinterest and blogging is the way to go for that! I’d love to learn more about the process of making jewelry.

  6. Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster November 23, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    I’ve never met someone who was allergic to a Christmas tree! We’ve always had a real tree growing up, but after a bad experience with gin during the college I can’t stomach the smell of a fresh Christmas tree. My aunt played bingo weekly when she lived in NH years ago. One time she won $20,000!

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 10:30 AM

      That sounds like it was an interesting experience? Haha. The smell can be really strong!

      Wow, $20,000 is definitely worth playing Bingo for an hour or more!

  7. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank November 24, 2014 at 6:28 AM

    $51 for a Christmas tree, that’s a good find Erin. What is your motif or any ideas for the design? Will you be posting a picture of your Christmas tree? I and my wife have decorated ours earlier so that our Thanksgiving pictures would look awesome!

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      That was a good idea, Jayson. Unfortunately, my parents weren’t up for early decorating, so I only put the tree together for them. I did manage to convince my mom to get a pre-lit tree with clear lights, as I think it looks a little classier. They have all sorts of bulbs, so no real theme to it!

  8. Holly@ClubThrifty November 24, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    I am grateful for my family, as always. I love Thanksgiving and can’t wait to get together with the extendeds!

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      “The extendeds”, that’s a cute phrase. I hope you have a lot of fun!

  9. How To Save Money November 24, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    Looks like a fun and loaded weekend! Happy thanksgiving to you! :)

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      Thanks, to you as well!

  10. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer November 24, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Wow- that’s crazy about the Christmas tree allergy!! Sounds like a super fun Thanksgiving celebration. We did my family’s celebration yesterday. It’s always such a blessing to share a meal with loved ones, isn’t it? Have an awesome week, Erin!

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      Truthfully, I think fake trees are a little easier to manage, so there at least wasn’t much disappointment about not going out and getting a real tree. Glad to know we weren’t the only ones celebrating a little earlier! It was really nice, though I do miss my family back home. I’m hoping to Skype with them on Thanksgiving!

  11. Brittany @ Fun on a Budget Blog November 24, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    BINGO is the best!! Really looking forward to that being my night out on the town :) It’s simple and you have a chance to win something but don’t need intense focus so there’s plenty of time to socialize too.

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 7:15 PM

      I’m so glad to see there’s someone younger that enjoys Bingo! :P It’s such a classic “older” people game, and I was really surprised when my fiance said he wanted to come with us. It’d be interesting to see if we could find a local place that offers it.

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      I hope you do as well! Writing posts in Word might not be a bad idea. I can usually recover my WordPress posts, so I have no idea what happened.

  12. Kassandra November 24, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    I don’t mind low key celebrations either. That’s what Thanksgiving will be for DH and I this year and we’re good with that. Speaking of Christmas trees, one year I begged my mom to buy me one when I was young. Our cat, Winnie decided to climb it every night and bring it crashing to the ground. Let’s just say I never wanted a real tree ever again after that…the amount of ornaments destroyed would have been a world record!

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      Cats do have quite the habit of destroying Christmas trees, at least from my experience. We’ve had one climb halfway up a tree, others tend to hide under it, and my younger cat was chewing away at the branches yesterday. There have also been broken ornaments. =( I’m always saying we can’t have nice things because my cats are crazy, haha.

  13. Shannon @ Financially Blonde November 24, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    I was grateful for a lunch with a business role model of mine. We have talked about getting lunch for months, and we finally did last Friday, and she did not disappoint. I love meeting inspiring women who are also great people in real life.

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 7:11 PM

      Same here, which was why FinCon was so awesome! But I’ll take Skype/Google Hangouts any day. =) It’s so great to chat with people that inspire you.

  14. Brian @DebtDiscipline November 24, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    Low key get togethers are sometimes the best. We host a holiday party usually between Christmas and New years and over the last few years it has grown. As the host I can spend time with all the guest or few stressed prepping for the party. My wife and I have agreed to scale a back the size this year to make it more enjoyable for everyone.

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      That’s awesome of you to host such a party! My fiance’s family did the same – they would have a Thanksgiving/Christmas party and invite at least 40 people. It was a little crazy!

  15. DC @ Young Adult Money November 24, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    I’m very grateful for a flexible job as well. I think it would be even better if I could work from home full-time (one day), but I can’t complain about my work situation. My favorite part of Halloween is taking a long weekend off from work and spend time with family.

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      Having a flexible work schedule (or the ability to work from home at times) is a great perk to have. Long weekends are the best! R already decided to take this Friday off, so he’s basically had two 3 day workweeks in a row.

  16. Liz November 24, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    My dad is a woodworker as well. He has really given me an appreciation for handmade furniture. I love craft fairs by the way! It is always nice to be able to support the talent within the community.

    1. Erin M. November 24, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      That’s so neat! I’d love to learn more about it, but unfortunately he has all the tools in the garage, and we don’t usually have enough time to make anything. If we ever get a house with a garage, I can see R making a workshop for himself!

  17. Mrs. Frugalwoods November 25, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    I’m with you on low-key get togethers–it’s just nice to have everyone together for quality time. We’re just going to relax and hang out with my in-laws this week at our house, which I’m really looking forward to.

    I’m all about the fake Christmas trees too. I love the real ones in theory, but in practice they’re messy, expensive, and they make Mr. FW sneeze (although he denies being allergic to them…).

    Enjoy your “engaged Thanksgiving” week! When we were engaged, Mr. FW and I called everything “engaged” (we’re huge nerds), so we had “engaged Christmas” “engaged grocery store trips” “engaged 4th of July”… you get the picture :)

    1. Erin M. November 25, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      That sounds nice! In a way, I’m really glad we’ll probably never have to host Thanksgiving…trying to prepare so much food would drive me crazy.

      I’ve never met anyone else allergic to Christmas trees! No one ever believes me when I tell them. I do like that fake trees require no maintenance. I’m not bothered there’s no “smell” to them!

      Haha, you guys are too cute! I’m still calling R boyfriend at times, but we should enjoy our first round of holidays being engaged.

  18. Alicia November 25, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    Gah, darn wordpress. I love it because it makes blogging so easy, but sometimes I hate it too!

    I was at my parents place this past weekend as well, but just for a catch-up rather than an early Thanksgiving. They always take my requests for dinners, which is nice. So we had salmon on Friday night, and then we went to a Thai restaurant to jointly celebrate my birthday and my Dads (they’re a week apart).

    I love BINGO. I swear I’m 90 years old. I used to go as a child with my grandmother and my mom. It was always fun to me :)

    1. Erin M. November 25, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      My mom always takes requests for dinner, too! I’m really excited I got to leave with leftovers, though they’re not quite as nice as salmon and Thai. ;)

      I vaguely remember going to Bingo at some point in my childhood, though it was interesting to see how it changed. No more chips, the numbers were called out but also appeared on TV screens, and the guy running it was just using a computer program.

  19. Lisa November 25, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    My friends and I had our little “friendsgiving” and we had chicken instead of turkey for the same reason! Haha!

    1. Erin M. November 26, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      Awesome, it’s much cheaper than getting a turkey! And less scary to cook. =)

    1. Erin M. November 26, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      I’m grateful you got a new job, too!


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