Guiding Principles for Bjorndal Fun: How We Spend Our Time & Money

Mar 21, 2019

[posted by: Evan]    

As a part of getting to know us, we wanted to share what we do for fun and our guiding principles in making nearly any activity as fun as possible. Also, as a compliment to our beliefs about spending and saving money, it seems only right to share how we spend money when we want to live it up. Blog post in a sentence: Brownies and Ice Cream.

The first place to start when thinking about what we do for fun is to know that Hannah and I are both extroverts to varying degrees. So when I say we like long walks it’s not for reflective stillness, it’s so we can have an hour to discuss where our next vacation will be. Same goes that we love outdoor seating at restaurants not so Hannah can hit her Juul extra hard but so we can watch all the people going by! That said, the majority of fun centers around fun conversation (board games, losing to friends in cornhole, and jogging at a pace we can still talk), trying new things (cooking, new restaurants, exploring new towns and cities), and being outside (hiking, walks, going to the pool, and losing to Hannah at tennis).

I noticed when we were dating that Hannah would savor each sip before taking the next when she would order a Coke at a restaurant. She wanted to enjoy every taste of her sweet treat. That’s the epitome of how we approach having fun. All the activities done by other people could look incredibly different than how we do it. There are a handful of practical things we do that put this into effect:

Maximizing the Daylight: I especially have a hard time stopping in the middle of a task to go do something fun. But Hannah has convinced me over the years that while the sun is up, we should maximize our time outside. So I reluctantly oblige and drop my task til it’s dark out. The idea is that sometimes the most urgent thing is to go have fun and that work is usually more flexible. Ah, it still pains the type A part of me to write that.

Minimize the Hassle: in addition to being minimalists at home, we aspire to bring as few things as possible wherever we go. I’m so good at this that I went to Home Depot a record 4 times in 2018 without my wallet! (Go me! But actually that was an accident…keep reading). When we go away for the weekend we often share a bag. When we go for a walk, we bring keys, one phone, both our IDs, and a credit card. When we went to Europe, we brought 2 regular backpacks for 28 days of travel. The moral is that stuff is heavy, it might break, and you have to remember it. People love the beach not because they are in the sun and sand but because they don’t need their ipad out there. “There is nothing better than not being committed to remembering things” – Evan Bjorndal

Being Allergic to Lines but Waiting for a Table: It’s not that we hate waiting, it’s just that you almost feel like you’re missing out on more when you wait in line to see one special thing. So when we went to Paris in 2017, we did not wait 2hr to see the postage stamp sized Mona Lisa. Conversely, we will often wait 45 minutes for a table at a restaurant a friend has recommended to us. Why give up on that opportunity when we could have 45 more minutes to discuss hilariously awful names for our children we aren’t ready to have yet.

Hierarchy of the Budget: We also need to talk about how we do eventually spend money as a couple! The Bjorndal treasury matches up pretty closely with all the things we love most. It’s worth mentioning that we both consider where we live to be part of our fun spending. Ballston is an area where 10 dinner options are within 3 blocks and we can walk into DC in an afternoon. This choice fits what we love and is part of why I moved to Arlington right when I graduated college. Rolling down past all the boring budget categories like gas and insurance, we love to spend money eating out. In the spirit of maximizing the fun, we try to spend the right amount of money so we can enjoy being out as often as possible in a month. We’d much rather be out 8 times in a month for a $25 dinner than 4 times for a $50 dinner. We also love spending money after dinner on desserts. We are always sure to leave room for ice cream and one of our most frequent Christmas gift requests are Cold Stone gift cards #browniealacoldstone.

Let’s Stay Dahn-tahn (Pittsburgh Accent): If I can pull away from food for a moment, we also love spending money on relaxation and travel. We are thrilled not just to find some place new but we also are willing to spend a little extra to have more comfortable accommodations and to be in a more ideal location. Spending $50 extra to be in the center of a town we are visiting or be in a cozy-looking AirBNB is a likely splurge for Hannah and I. Travel is also a really natural thing to feel okay spending money on for us. It hits our priorities to see new things and be outside! Staycation is only an option if it means you don’t come home from your exotic vacation.

Deck the Halls with the Bjorndals: Finally, it’s the last on our list of ways we are happy to spend money and is the number one reason we went over our grocery budget! It’s hosting friends and family! We love hosting an annual Christmas or Thanksgiving party and being the ones to bring people together to celebrate. We also really enjoy having people over for dinner and sharing a favorite restaurant with people from out of town. Hosting and entertaining feels like part of who we were made to be and we really enjoy making a place where people feel welcome and at home.

Each person and couple is going to have different priorities when it come to optimizing fun or what categories of a budget to spend more on. If you can get on board with how we have fun, let us know! Comment or hit us up so we can walk around Clarendon eating gelato together!

  1. Kimmy Borza

    May 3rd, 2019 at 2:06 am

    Hitting the juul – lol! Great article, Evan! 🙂

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