How Do You Do New Years?


With 2016 drawing to a close, this time of year is traditionally a time of parties, drinking, fireworks, and feasting around the world.

While I do enjoy a good feast now and then, I don’t drink.  This means I usually don’t get invited to those kinds of parties anymore.  That’s OK, I don’t mind.  I’d rather be setting a good example for my kids instead of nursing a hangover on New Year’s Day.

Instead of with celebrating with excess, the Tako family likes to do New Years in a frugal way …. just like we do for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Anybody seeing a trend here?

 

Feasting

While our house usually enjoys a mix of Eastern and Western traditions, this year our feasting will be decidedly Western.  No Osechi (traditional Japanese New Year’s food) this year.

As per usual, we won’t be heading out to restaurants or bars to do our feasting.  That’s just a recipe for overspending.  Instead, we’ll be making food at home — Keeping our budget under control and practicing our awesome cooking skills.

I’m a big fan of cooking with the slow-cooker, and try to use it as often as possible.  New Years is no exception.

This year, Mrs. Tako and I will be making Slow-cooker Black-eyed Peas and Pork.  Except we don’t actually have any black-eyed peas….  

Yes, yes.  Hilarious, I know.  We eat a lot of beans, and always have several varieties on-hand…just not black-eyed peas.  Instead of buying them, we’ll just use what we have in the pantry.  Supposedly the black-eyed peas represent money as part of this traditional New Year’s food, and I can’t think of a better way to have money than by NOT spending it.

ham and beans
I can’t think of a better way to save money than by just using what you already have.  Here, you can see me prepping the slow-cooker with pork, beans, bacon, and onions.

The pork portion of the dish will be a mix of bacon and ham.  Pork supposedly represents “progress” in this traditional dish (don’t ask me why).  We already had bacon in the chest-freezer, and I saw this excellent deal on a ham earlier in the week.

Normally we are not big on red meat, but ham was on sale, and it seemed like fun change of pace  (variety is the spice of life after all).  So, we’ll use a little ham in this dish.

Our feast may not exactly follow all the traditional New Year’s recipes, but we’ll make efficient use of the resources already available to us.  In my mind, that kind of savings allows us to keep investing and growing our net worth….the kind of “progress” that really matters!

 

New Years food
The final product turned out pretty delicious. We added spinach and used finely diced green onions as a garnish.

Speaking of net worth — While the stock market has calmed down considerably this last week, we’re still sitting on some very nice gains for the year.  I’ll put out a new “Net Worth” post soon with all the details.

 

Parties

What would New Years be without parties?  Everybody loves a good party!

Generally we do our “family” celebrations during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  New Years tends to be the holiday we celebrate with friends.

As I mentioned earlier, we skip the drinking parties and opt for family friendly parties instead — This year we’ll be attending a New Year’s Day celebration with some of our local friends.  

In my opinion, the best kinds of parties are pot-luck parties.  This year’s party is Mexican themed at our friend’s house.  Maybe I’ll bring my slow cooker chicken tacos, or use that same chicken for nachos.

Shredded Chicken
Will I bring my slow cooker shredded chicken this year? But will it be in the form of Nachos or Tacos?

Typically, we eat, drink, and play board games at these parties.  Board games are a great form of social entertainment and they’re also extremely frugal.

If you purchase a board game off Amazon (using this affiliate link), you’ll pay less than a local game store and I’ll see a few pennies that help support this website.  It’s a win-win.  That adds up to exceptional value per hour of entertainment.

I hope to get in a few rounds of Machi Koro and maybe Arigcola before the party is over.

 

Fireworks

Fireworks are also common for New Year’s celebrations, and the Seattle area is no exception.  While I would never pay for fireworks (it’s a waste of wealth), the city usually launches fireworks from Seattle’s iconic Space Needle.

This year’s celebration is sponsored by T-mobile.  While I do use T-mobile for my cell phone service, I wish they’d save their customers money instead of spending it on fireworks.  (Take note T-mobile shareholders — that’s your money they’re lighting on fire.)

Mrs. Tako and I actually went to see this event many years ago when we were young and childless.  Back then, the crowds and traffic didn’t seem so bad, but now…

Now, the hour-long drive, traffic, paying for parking, bundling up for the cold temperatures, dealing with the big crowds, and finally driving back home sounds like … A Giant Pain In the Ass just for some pretty flashing lights.  

Yes, I suppose we could find a babysitter and still make it to events like this…but that would end-up costing us money.  Babysitters aren’t cheap!

Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky, but paying money to watch fireworks in freezing temperatures surrounded by the drunken hordes only to face horrendous traffic is just not worth it.

We’ll stay home, save some money, and watch the fireworks on TV instead.  Or maybe I’ll just curl-up with a good book.  I’m still working on Baylon’s Ashes (The sixth Expanse novel).

 

Looking Forward To 2017

The year 2016 was by far one of the most interesting years I’ve had in a long time.  I started this blog, and spent a lot of time with my kids.  I also built some really cool stuff with my own hands, and made a TON of home cooked meals.

The whole experience turned out to be extremely rewarding, much more-so than W-2 employment.  Sure, I don’t really make any money from these efforts, but I love doing it anyway.  Our dividends provide enough for a pretty good life.

Looking ahead to 2017, I’ve got a ton of projects planned.  Some will be woodworking projects, others will be new product experiments, and I might even start another website in 2017.

Meanwhile, I fully intend to keep posting all my usual fare — Delicious food recipes, building projects, investing articles, dividend and expense reports, and whatever else I feel like writing about!

This will be my last post for 2016, and I want to say “thank you” to all our wonderful readers around the world!  It was a fun 2016!  While I didn’t make my dividend income goals, there is a small positive — Ad revenues from this website actually covered all the hosting costs!  Huzzah, the blog paid for itself!

Happy New Year!  Stay safe, and enjoy your own New Year’s celebrations.

If you feel like sharing, tell me how you celebrate the New Year in the comments.  I’d love to hear how you do it!

Hope to see you again in 2017!

— Mr. Tako 

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[Image Credit: Flickr]


34 thoughts on “How Do You Do New Years?

  • December 31, 2016 at 1:50 AM
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    Happy new year to the Tako family! Playing board games is a great way to spend time together.

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  • December 31, 2016 at 5:50 AM
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    Happy New Year! We are also making Mexican Dishes staying home with our two year old daughter playing games and maybe watching some classic movies. Our neighbours are going crazy with fireworks so we enjoy a great display for free. Cant get better than that!

    Greetings from Germany!

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    • January 1, 2017 at 2:14 PM
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      Great plan Mrs. Heller! The neighbors around here like to shoot off fireworks too, but we didn’t bother watching the display.

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  • December 31, 2016 at 7:37 AM
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    I’m with you on the slow cooker 🙂 it turns cheap cuts of meat into amazing meals and you can just leave it there all day, coming back home at the end of the day to tantalizing smells that make your mouth water 🙂 yum!

    Happy New Year Mr Tako – we will be ringing it in at home, in front of the fire 🙂

    All the best for 2017!

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    • January 1, 2017 at 2:15 PM
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      Sounds like a perfect way to end the year. Happy New Year Mrs. Smelling Freedom!

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  • December 31, 2016 at 8:24 AM
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    Happy New Year! We like to keep things low key for New Year’s. We usually go to my in-law’s house, cook burgers, and watch fireworks from the front porch. My father in law is a fire fighter and somehow he acquired lots of fireworks, so I think we’ll light those too. We do drink, but I only drink from the super-economical Bota Box. But there’s nothin’ cheaper than not drinking. 🙂

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    • January 1, 2017 at 2:16 PM
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      🙂 Cheap drinks and free fireworks. That’s hard to beat!

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  • December 31, 2016 at 9:32 AM
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    Happy New Year! That sounds like a fun way to spend it. Get it?
    We don’t do much for New Years Eve but we host a New Year Day dinner for friends and their kids. It’s mostly potluck and we fry a turkey and do a dessert along with the adult beverages if anyone wants to partake.
    It’s pretty laid back and since we’re all parents of young kids no one is hung over or really tired from the night before lol.

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    • January 1, 2017 at 2:18 PM
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      Some mornings the kids make me *feel* like I’m hungover…I’m that tired after a night staying up with a sick or restless child. After that, laid back is about all I can handle!

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  • December 31, 2016 at 9:43 AM
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    Happy New Year’s to the Tako’s! I love following your blog because of the variety of topics you share! May 2017 bring you continued health, happiness and prosperity!

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    • January 1, 2017 at 2:18 PM
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      Thanks for following us Vicki! Happy New Year to you and yours!

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  • December 31, 2016 at 10:57 AM
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    Hey, I just had some bacon and black eyed peas for breakfast! Should make for a good New Year 🙂

    Happy New Year to you and the Tako family!

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  • December 31, 2016 at 11:04 AM
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    It looks like you have more fun than my family on New Years. We lay low, stay home, order pizza and play games. Your food looks really good. Have a great night.

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    • January 1, 2017 at 2:20 PM
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      Pizza and games sounds like a great time. We had a sick baby last night, so it wasn’t as relaxing as I wanted. Oh well!

      Happy New Year Investment Hunting!

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  • December 31, 2016 at 1:20 PM
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    Happy New Year! Back in the day we used to go out on the town and live it up. That always meant a groggy start to the new year though…. Now that we’re a little older, we either have a relaxing evening at home, or maybe spend it at a friends house with a low key party.

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  • December 31, 2016 at 2:09 PM
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    While, I do drink alcohol, I tend to not drink on New Year’s Eve. By this time of the year, I’m sick of the feasting also, and my husband and I like to stay in on New Year’s and watch Twilight Zone. I also like to think and ponder about what I will make my next year be like. I also like to start the new year with a fast or cleansing diet, so I like getting good rest on 12/31. 🙂

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    • January 1, 2017 at 2:21 PM
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      I’m with you, by the end of the holidays I’m sick of all the feasting. Mrs. Tako and I will probably make some super light Asian dishes to start off the new year.

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  • December 31, 2016 at 2:42 PM
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    I need to hang out with you guys – looks like some good times going on!! 🙂 We’re pretty low-key with our New Year’s celebrations. Just some family that comes over with their kids – eating, drinking, and having fun hanging out until the ball drops. Everyone crashes at our house so no concerns of any drinking and driving issues.

    Have a happy New Year and a great 2017!!

    — Jim

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    • January 1, 2017 at 2:23 PM
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      Thanks Jim. Happy New Year to you too! That’s really responsible to let your friends crash at your house. It started snowing here last night, I hope all the people going to parties didn’t get into car accidents!

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  • January 1, 2017 at 12:01 AM
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    Last night, I went to Brigade Road, the most famous place in our city. People were in streets @12. Music, Fireworks, Lights, Cheerings and Crowd! This is how it was celebrated. Had a great lunch in the afternoon. Will go outside for dinner. Wishing you a Fantastic new year 🙂

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  • January 2, 2017 at 8:13 AM
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    Happy New Year! You are getting old and cranky. I love fireworks! It helps that we can see the main show from our condo too. I’m not sure if I’d go out to face the traffic if we have to drive. 🙂 Portland doesn’t put on a show for New Year, though.

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  • January 2, 2017 at 10:54 AM
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    When I was a child in the 1970s and 80s, I recall NYE firework shows as being less staged. Now the events are sponsored, branded and upsold. As a result, alcohol plays a larger role since alcohol is a high margin product. Alcohol & NYE have always been associated but when I was a kid, it seemed as though adults went to a bar or private party to get drunk & act inappropriately. The fireworks show was usually put on by the city/county or some civic organization. I remember watching the fireworks while sitting on the roof of our parked car on the side of the road with my parents. There no musical acts or dance zones, no beverage sales, no entrance fee, no central area. The fireworks were shot off a barge in the middle of the lake so people ringed the lake or the parked their cars on the hills above the lake.

    Now it seems every city wants to have its own version of Times Square in New York on NYE. In the cities I have lived in, it seems to attract drunks whose primary intent is causing disruptions. I too have no desire to be in a crowd of drunks and wouldn’t take kids there.

    Do you consider ham red meat but not bacon?

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  • January 2, 2017 at 1:22 PM
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    Happy New Year! Man, that black-eyed peas and pork looks delicious! I love anything that is slow-cooked.

    Excited to see your upcoming dividend and expense report! The markets were also really good to us this year. But I’m not celebrating yet…we’ll see what happens after Jan 20 😛 *finger crossed that the world doesn’t blow up*

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  • January 2, 2017 at 1:27 PM
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    Happy New Year Mr. Tako and family!

    Our kids are 19, 15, 15 and 7. So for the past 9 years we have spent the NYE at home. Most years we celebrate at EST. Sending the kids to bed before midnight, then Hubs and I crash. We ususally have a celebratory drink of non-alcoholic apple cider(purchased on sale of course). Before that when I was a single mom with my oldest 2 in Hawaii our neighbors would do this ridiculous show of fireworks in our cul-de-sac. Like a couple hours worth of fireworks. I like you am not interested in blowing off that kind of money for one night.

    This year we got an invite to some friends that live in on the water with a perfect view of the Space Needle. Hubs and I decided to go for some social interaction and to see the show. We do not consume alcohol and neither do our friends so it was alot of fun. Love not starting the NY with a hangover.

    On NY day we decided to implement black eyed peas, kale soup for prosperity. We also just hung out with the kids watching movies and play games. Perfect frugal way to start the NY.

    Looking forward to you posts, love the food and variety you share.

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  • January 2, 2017 at 1:58 PM
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    Happy new year!

    I have been a regular reader of this blog almost since the start. Keep up the good work 🙂

    This New year i was yet again at work making an solid 133% extra on top of my ordinary pay. And at the same time i saw the city’s (Bergen, Norway) public fireworks and eat a nice meal complimentary of my job 🙂 4th year in a row i do this. Best way i know how to ring in the new year 🙂

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    • January 4, 2017 at 2:04 AM
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      Free food and 130% of regular pay? Huge win! 🙂

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      • January 4, 2017 at 6:04 AM
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        13% of? Just to clarify, i usually earn 30 $ pr hour, but on the holidays they bump up the pay to 69 $ pr hour. In addition comes the free meal and view of the fireworks 🙂

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  • January 3, 2017 at 10:06 PM
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    You sure know how to stir the taste buds of a foodie. Thank you for sharing these excellent ideas as I am going to whip up my own recipes very soon and start cooking again. To see that you have managed your finances so well and are able to reap from few portions of the profit is an inspiration to many. I have been a regular follower so you can guess that I had an excellent 2016 too.

    Reply

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