No spend September

After a great month that really felt like “summer” for the first time in many years (in part due to the excellent, un-Lorraine like weather) it’s now time to get serious as we head into Fall.

My obsession this summer has been budget/frugal blogs. We don’t have tons of debt, but we do have some projects in the works, and I love learning about techniques to save and spend that will help those projects along.

I decided to do a “no spend September” in order to detox a little from all the fun we had in August, and to jump start a big project that’s on the horizon (more details soon!!).

I semi-prepared, by buying a few things I’ll “need” this month (facewash! A girl’s gotta stay clean!), but I also already started a list of things that I want to buy in October. I’m sure I’ll be adding a lot more to that list as the days go by . . .

I told my husband I want to do this, and he doesn’t have to participate, but he’s not allowed to buy me something I tell him I want, since that would obviously be cheating. I have a tendency to buy Kindle books quite frequently, and I have plenty to reread this month. I haven’t really bought clothes since bébé was born, and I went through what I do have and donated a bunch during my time off, so now my closets seem empty . . . Even though I know I don’t really “need” anything, it’s hard to see my colleagues coming back from their lunch breaks with all sorts of cute things. I don’t wear tons of makeup, but I do like to try various facial masks/cleansers, so a Sephora-free month will definitely help keep my bank account happy.

We have a general food budget that I’m going to try to stick to a little better, and even trim if possible. I get lunch tickets from work but I really want to try and bring my lunch every day. It would mean 150 euros we could use for groceries and we could do something else with that money. I made a meal plan for the week, including breakfast and lunch, so that should help. Not going into town at lunch will also help me avoid the stores!

We’ve already been paying attention to our budget this year because of my husband’s part-time parental leave, but I figure trying just a little bit harder this month will get me into even better (no) spending habits that will help us save even more once he goes back full time in October. Wish me luck!

August adventures

While we had originally thought about going to the states this summer, we weren’t sure if we’d both be able to get off work at the same time. We knew the nanny was taking three weeks (though technically we could have decided the dates for her, since we’re her only employer, but we’re cool like that) and my mother-in-law was leaving for two of those same weeks, so I asked for those weeks months ago. My husband recently changed teams, and only found out about a month ago that he’d be able to take a week. With just a week together and less than a month to plan, a visit to the states wasn’t looking likely.

It turned out really well though, and we managed to get in two trips, including one without bébé! MIL took him overnight for the first time ever while we went to the north of Luxembourg. Other than a major bath time freak out, bébé did great and we are excited to be able to roam a little freer on the weekends now. We still woke up at 6 out of habit, but then we got to go back to sleep until 8! It was amazing!

View of Vianden
View of Vianden

Before leaving, people at work told me “bonnes vacances, repose toi bien!” (have a nice vacation, rest up!), and I was like, uhhh, parents don’t get real vacations. But the weekend in Luxembourg really felt like one, thanks to all the unscheduled time we had. When people say having a kid means no time for yourself, I think what they really mean is, deciding freely what to do with your time is over. A few hours here and there every week is always possible, but 36 hours all at once is something different. We went to a few different castles, saw a photo exhibit, took a nice long apéro without having to say or do anything other than sit there and drink and people watch. It was the break we needed to get ready for the rest of the week.

The chairlift up to Vianden Castle
The chairlift up to Vianden Castle
Vianden Castle
Vianden Castle

And the rest of the week was spent in Annecy, where my husband’s uncle lives. While he goes pretty frequently, I’ve only been twice back in 2009. In the winter to go skiing and in the spring to do the half marathon around the lake with a friend. We didn’t have much planned, just hanging out with family and walking around town. Though they all kept telling me I was going paragliding, since my husband loved it so much when he did it a few years ago.

Lac d'Annecy
Lac d’Annecy
View from the balcony
View from the balcony

Unfortunately, the weather turned stormy right before I was supposed to head up the hill. But that morning, we had done a tandem bungee jump with a rolling sled, so we still got our thrills in. My parents always told me I could do crazy stuff like that (parachuting, bungee jumping, etc.) once I had given them grandchildren, thinking I would of course not want to do anything dangerous once I had a baby. And while normally their tactic would have worked, the jump had so many cables involved, it was probably safer than a paddleboat on the lake.

The jump
The jump
The weather an hour before I was supposed to go paragliding
The weather an hour before I was supposed to go paragliding
The weather during when I should have been paragliding
The weather during when I should have been paragliding

Bébé stayed at home for our jump, since we didn’t want to give him any ideas! This was different from past trips with him, since we could leave him with family and go out on our own to explore.

We did lots of fun stuff with him too, like going to the outdoor pool with a view of the lake. We also visited a few different playgrounds, definitely not your typical travel hotspot! But it was nice to explore areas we wouldn’t normally see, and as he gets more mobile (his first few steps were taken in Annecy!) I can see how our travelling will adapt in the future, and I’m pretty cool with how it looks. If we want to take a trip that’s really relaxing, then it’s best to leave him with mamie. And if we want to explore a new city, we can definitely take him, but it will be on his schedule, not ours.

We’ve used up our travel budget for the moment, so no more travelling for awhile, but we’re looking forward to more of both family and parents-only vacations in the years to come!