Thanksgiving Festivities

By on November 24, 2017

Hey, everybody! We hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving with family and friends! The COD crew is in Illinois for the holiday weekend, hanging out with lots of family. Junior and Mini COD are having a blast wearing out their cousins, while Mr. And Mrs. COD are enjoying conversations with relatives we haven’t seen in WAY too long. We even got into some nitty-gritty topics like the forbidden politics…and survived with positive relationships intact! 

No long post for today, just some photos of our fun times together!

Jr and Mini COD riding at Grandma’s

Allerton Park, walking through the gardens

This gem of a park is mere minutes from Mrs. COD’s childhood home.

Grandma COD and niece and nephew

Fu Dog Garden with Japanese-inspired sculptures

Mini COD with grandparents


Exploring the arboretum

Ahh… gorgeous nature!


By the way, we’re not big on Black Friday shopping in general, but with Mrs. COD’s new fair-trade business venture, we’re thinking more about shopping with a purpose. Trades of Hope is all about creating opportunities for women rather than charity. Sustainable employment empowers women in poverty to earn their own income and become self-reliant. I’m pretty proud to be a part of this organization and their purpose of strengthening women to support their families. For an example of what they’re accomplishing, check out the Trades of Hope blog and read Rosa’s story!  

If you happen to be looking for some cool fair trade gifts that serve a greater purpose than funding a big corporation, feel free to check out our current catalog, featuring a bunch of Black Friday items at 50% off. *Yes, we make a bit of money off the links, so you’ll also be helping to fund our holiday travel! 

One of the artisans we work with in Thailand

This company works with artisans in Thailand, Haiti, Peru, Bangladesh, and 12 other countries. Check out the jewelry, handbags, and other accessories here if you like. There will be new sales daily through this Monday. 

Happy day-after-Thanksgiving to you all! 


Frugality Report: November

By on November 27, 2016

As November wraps up, we bring you a little glance at our money-saving failures and successes for the month. 

Let’s begin with the Flops, the more spendy choices we’ve made this past month. It feels like we’ve been buying a lot; most are items we’ve been procrastinating over and finally bit the bullet.

Frugality Flops

  • Camera. We bought ourselves an early Christmas present! A big gift for Mr. COD and me (that’ll be the only one for us). It wasn’t even a Black Friday bargain. We had been wanting a new, more powerful camera for quite some time, so we sprung for a Nikon D5300. It’s not so fancy you need a photography degree to use it, but it definitely has more bells and whistles than our previous cameras. The photos I’ve captured already in the week since it arrived are about 7,000 times better than those we typically take with our camera phones (duh). My apologies: I haven’t figured out how to upload photos from it yet, so all pics in this post are still from my phone. The camera’s not exactly frugal, and not even a true need, so it falls under the Flop category. However, we both like photography and desire to learn how to take better pictures of our family and travel sights. We figure we will “save” what we would have spent on professional photos once or twice a year, and we’re way too lazy and disorganized to schedule photo shoots with someone else. Plus, we can consider any cash gifts we receive this Christmas as going toward the cost of the camera. 

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Frugal Friday and Black Friday

By on November 18, 2016

You knew I had to go there! Black Friday is just one week away, so I’m here to alert you to all the best deals and steals to kick off your holiday season…NOT! 

Okay, in all seriousness, I’m not going to sit here and tell you Black Friday is the devil, but it should be approached with caution. Don’t use it as an excuse to buy a ton of crap you don’t need or want. Just because an item is 70% off doesn’t mean it’s worth your money or your time. 

The only reason kids enjoy shopping… Target stickers!

A little backstory for you…I did not grow up doing Black Friday shopping. Of course, way back when I was a young’un, Black Friday actually took place only on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Now, it’s been creeping back earlier and earlier for several years, so some stores open on Thanksgiving Day instead of super-early on Friday. Plus, tons of retailers offer great online deals throughout the week and Cyber Monday.

When I was a teenager, I sometimes thought it might be kind of fun to go shopping that Friday, but we never went. My family was always at least a half-hour drive away from any major shopping centers or malls, which was a big deterrent. Getting up way before the crack of dawn was another obstacle. 

Anyway, it was not my family tradition to get up in the wee hours of the morning to shop for Black Friday deals. Instead, we typically go to a beautiful park a few miles from my parents’ home. It’s terrific for hiking together with the extended family. The kids roll down this huge hill while the adults watch and snap photos. We love the fresh air and scenery, and we work off some of that turkey and pumpkin pie.

For a lot of you, Black Friday shopping is your tradition. Maybe you and your family like to go out together and get all your Christmas shopping done in that one day. Perhaps you always meet your best friend at the mall to scour the stores for crazy discounts. I’m not here to discourage you from keeping that tradition alive. Traditions are awesome, and they draw us closer together. They provide us some continuity in increasingly uncertain times.

This week’s post is simply a reminder to be mindful of your spending. Whatever your specific financial goals are, don’t veer off course by going wild on Black Friday. As with any spending, planning in advance is crucial to upholding frugality. Here are a few tips for ensuring your Black Friday doesn’t ruin your Christmas, Hannukah, or New Year’s Eve. 

Reigning in Black Friday Spending:

  • Plan ahead. Check online for stores’ best deals beforehand, so you know what to expect. Lots of sales have already been publicized.
  • Distinguish between needs and wants. If you only have the funds for certain items, make your dollars count by prioritizing.
  • If you’re specifically shopping for holiday gifts, figure out for what and for whom you’ll be shopping. This can help you avoid buying three extras of items “just in case” you might need one for someone you forgot. It’s not really a bargain if you buy a bunch more than needed and just add to the junk in your closet.
  • Unless the experience of being physically in the stores that day is truly important for you, try to score your deals online. That way you avoid the scary bargain shoppers we’ve all heard about. You skip the interminable lines and rude behavior. In addition, you run less risk of impulse buying. 
  • Be safe out there! We all have common sense; let’s use it and not risk losing a limb just to get cheap electronics. 
  • On a slightly less frugal note, November 26th is this year’s Small Business Saturday. True, small businesses can’t usually offer as low of prices as major chains and Amazon. But if you value quality over quantity, and supporting smaller businesses rather than multi-millionaires is important to you, might I suggest patronizing the mom-and-pop stores in your area? Perhaps scoring the absolute lowest price on things isn’t always what matters. Shopping local when possible can go a long way toward helping your community.

Are you a Black Friday fan? What Thanksgiving traditions do you follow year after year?