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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
[Image Credit: Flickr]