More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About the Frugalwoods Family

The Frugalwoods fam

The Frugalwoods fam

We’re a couple of ex-urban, rookie homesteaders finding contentment on 66 acres in central Vermont along with our daughter and dog. Extreme frugality made this dream a reality; now we’re charting a life of purpose beyond the 9-5. And trying to figure out what to do with a massive crop of rhubarb…

If you want to dive right into our extreme frugality and early retirement content, may we recommend:

That Time We Bought A Homestead

The Joy That Comes When Less Is Enough

Why We Don’t Micromanage Our Money

The Privilege Of Pursuing Financial Independence

Well Hot Damn, Frugality Works! Our 2014 Savings Rate Revealed

What A Year Without Clothes Did For Me

How Insourcing Strengthened Our Marriage

Fighting Back Against The Baby Industrial Complex

And, you can sign-up for our email list to make sure you get all of our posts delivered hot and fresh to your inbox:


Who We Are

Our homestead in the woods

Our homestead in the woods

We’re Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwoods, 32-year-old frugal weirdos living on a 66-acre homestead in central Vermont with our daughter, Babywoods, and our rescued racing greyhound, the infamous Frugal Hound. Mostly you’ll hear from me (Mrs. Frugalwoods) here on the blog, although Mr. FW chimes in with the occasional post.

Frugalwoods began in April 2014 as a living documentation of our journey from conventional, 9-to-5 working professionals in ultra-urban Cambridge, MA to modern day homesteaders in rural Vermont. We moved to our homestead full-time in May 2016, so we’re still getting the hang of life out here on the farm. Our land is primarily forested, though we enjoy several cleared acres around our home and barn, which are populated with mature apple trees, plum trees, and extensive garden beds. Every day out here brings a new opportunity for us to learn, problem-solve, and innovate. The self-reliance and aptitude for constantly trying new things that homestead life mandates is precisely why we wanted to live here. Everyday is filled with unknowns and with adventure.

Howdy, we're the Frugalwoods!

Howdy, we’re the Frugalwoods!

We’re not full-time farmers, however–we work on our land as one of the many projects of our lives. We enjoy working in the dirt but we choose to engage in decidedly less dirt-focused jobs as well: Mr. Frugalwoods works from home as a software engineer and IT manager while I’m a freelance writer (yes, one who actually gets paid). The rhythm of our days is such that one hour we’re harvesting rhubarb, while the next we’re writing code (or articles), and the next we’re baking bread, or clearing brush in our woods. This balance between manual labor and exercise of the mind is what constitutes, for us, the perfect life.

Our lives are unconventional and of our own design. Frugality is what makes our lifestyle possible, but it’s also what brings us peace. We don’t stress out over impressing people with our stuff, or buying the latest and greatest gadget, or keeping up with any Joneses.

Our favorite hobby is hiking, closely followed by travel and eating delicious vittles prepared at home. Mr. FW is an avowed Renaissance man who dabbles in welding, woodworking, astronomy, ham radio, home repair, electronics, bicycling, reading science fiction, and cooking. He has a robust beard.

The real brains behind Frugalwoods

The real brains behind Frugalwoods

Coincidentally, I’m an avowed Renaissance woman of varied talents who adores yoga, home improvement, determined yet amateur use of the circular saw, frugal fashion, reading all of the things, learning to drive our tractor, singing, dancing, playing piano, writing, and creativity. I am very humorous and organized.

Frugal Hound, the official mascot of Frugalwoods, is a 6-year-old retired racing greyhound. As she has already achieved early retirement, her hobbies include: snoozing, sneezing on her parents, giving high-fives for treats, chasing squirrels in her dreams, carrying her toys from one room to another room, and tripping her parents while on walks. She also enjoys practicing yoga with me at home (practicing might be overstating it–she primarily gets in the way on the yoga mat).

Our History



Mr. Frugalwoods and I both went to college (where we met our freshman year), did relatively well, graduated in 2006 without any debt, and got good jobs. We avoided incurring debt from undergrad through a combination of attending an inexpensive state school, working while in college, scholarships, and help from our parents. While neither Mr. FW or I inherited any money (nor has a trust fund), we both come from solidly middle class families who were able to help us out with our undergrad tuition, which we’re deeply grateful for and which we consider a privilege (more about our thoughts on privilege here).

We proceeded to work hard and advance in our careers. We figured this was what our lives would be for the next 30-40 years. We got married in 2008, I completed my master’s degree in 2011 debt-free (I worked full-time at the university while I attended grad school full-time, which entitled me to free tuition), we bought our first home in 2012 (with money we saved entirely ourselves–no gifts from family or friends), and adopted our sweet Frugal Hound the same year. That’s where our normal, standard timeline stops.

In 2012 we both landed what we considered our dream jobs–professional positions as managers in offices at desks under artificial lights. We thought we’d made it. But a strange thing happened. Here we’d achieved everything we’d set out to and yet, we weren’t fulfilled. We found ourselves working for the weekend and counting down the hours to 5pm every single day. We were grouchy. Neither of us felt true passion for what we did on a daily basis.

Our pond in the fall

Our pond in the fall

We spend so much of our lives at work and we started questioning why we were doing it. In examining our peers, we realized they were working to survive–spending to the point of living paycheck to paycheck on white collar salaries. We couldn’t relate to that in the least. Neither of us is driven by a desire for professional notoriety, fame, a fancy-pants lifestyle, or wealth. That’s key to understand about us: we’re not out to get rich, rather, we ascribe to the judicious management of our financial resources.

We were working to earn money that we weren’t spending and coming home exhausted and stressed. And so, we made the decision to navigate our way out of the cycle of consumerism and materialism that our society seemed trapped by. We now live a simpler, more creative life closer to nature, where we work together towards our future and our shared goals.

Our Quarter-Life Crisis

Mr. FW and Frugal Hound on the trail

Mr. FW and Frugal Hound on the trail

Mr. FW and I had a shared quarter-life crisis in March 2014 at age 30. We realized that all of our creative energy and our best ideas were funneled into doing work for our employers—not into endeavors that we find personally rewarding. And we had a sneaking suspicion that, if we didn’t change something, we’d wake up in 40 years having simply worked in cubicles for the bulk of our lives. We felt trapped.

We began discussing what we’d do if we didn’t have to work traditional office jobs for a living and we simultaneously agreed we’d live a simpler life in the woods. We love hiking and spending time together in nature and so, moving ourselves from the city to a more rural setting is our ideal.

At first, we thought, ok, we’ll move to the woods when we retire at 65. But the more we talked, the more apparent it became that we wanted to make this move sooner—much, much sooner. Our desire to live in ways that we find personally meaningful was powerful.

This is made financially possible by the fact that we’ve always lived well below our means. In 2014, we’d been saving our money together for almost 8 years. We took a look at our finances and realized that if we embraced extreme frugality, we’d be able to make this dream a reality much sooner. To give you a sense of our definition of extreme frugality, in 2014, we saved 71% of our income (after 401K contributions).

And thus, our plan to retire early to a homestead on 40+ acres of wooded land in Vermont was officially launched. We purchased our homestead in 2016 and you can check out our Frugal Homestead Series for the details.

Why Homesteading?

Babywoods and me snowshoeing near our pond

Babywoods and me snowshoeing near our pond

A major component of our decision to go rural is that we’ve done the city thing. We’ve lived in the three big East Coast haunts: New York City, Washington, DC and Boston, MA. There’s a lot that we love about dense, urban environs, but it was time for a change. Also, city livin’ is expensive and didn’t provide the time or the space we craved to explore our myriad interests.

An additional factor spurring us on is that we don’t know how long we’ll be around–life is short and unexpected. We don’t want to work for the next 30 years and then finally move to the country in an effort to find solace. We decided to take this risk now so that we can build a meaningful life to enjoy. We want to wake up inspired to try new things and create a life of variety. We crave adventure and part of what we disliked so much about working in offices is the lack of diversity and discovery. We’re victims of wanderlust. We’re committed to creating a life of purpose and intention.

View from our porch

View from our porch

Please don’t misunderstand, we’re not aiming for a life where we sit on a beach all day and drink rum (although that is nice on occasion). We’re striving for a life where we work hard, but on projects that are rewarding and produce just enough revenue to support us. By adhering to a lifestyle of low expenses, we’re in a position to support ourselves through entirely nontraditional methods.

Due to our conservative fiscal approach, we don’t plan on going entirely sans income after quitting our 9-5’s–we pull down rental income from our Cambridge, MA home (where we used to live), we’ll grow our own veggies, perhaps build a few cabins to rent out on Airbnb, freelance writing and editing (Mrs. Frugalwoods), welding-for-hire (Mr. Frugalwoods), and whatever else comes our way. Plus, we don’t need much to live on and if we needed to, we’d be able to comfortably withdraw 4% from our investments to cover our expenses.

Our Marriage

Frugality has simultaneously brought us closer and decreased our stress

Frugality has simultaneously brought us closer and decreased our stress

A common thread through all of our writing is how much we rely on one another and the strength of our marriage. We feel incredibly fortunate that we found each other and that we share the same outlook on life. What’s especially interesting to us is that we’ve changed in unison and made this decision to live an unusual life together. I’m grateful for Mr. FW every single day.

I go into more detail about our relationship to each other and our finances in Behind the Scenes of a Happy Frugal Marriage. If you’re hoping to bring a reluctant partner around to your frugal way of thinking, you might enjoy this compendium of advice from dozens of Frugalwoods readers.

The Blog

Through Frugalwoods, we share our journey and daily life stories of intentional, joyful frugality. My writing is a narration of our successes, foibles, and lessons learned along this path to a wholly unconventional, whimsical, and purpose-filled life.

One of our goals in writing Frugalwoods is to build an online community of like-minded folks who value living life above spending money. We love the community that has grown here and we thank you all for sharing your personal stories with us and with each other. I’m so glad you’re joining us on this journey!

In sharing our story, I hope to prompt each of you to ask yourselves the questions that guided our transformation: what would you do if you didn’t need your paycheck? When are you happiest? And what’s stopping you from making that a reality?

Where You Could Start

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

If you’re new to the concepts of early retirement extreme and financial independence, or curious about how Mr. Frugalwoods and I approach it, start with How A Year Of Extreme Frugality Changed Us.

This is a pretty comprehensive overview of why we’re doing what we’re doing. If you’d like to know how we’re doing it, check out Why We Don’t Micromanage Our Money. I also break down our expenses every single month, which you can review in our Monthly Expense Reports.

Never saved a penny in your life? Have debt to pay down? Want to flex your frugal muscles? Take our Uber Frugal Month Challenge and check out How We Save 65% Annually (actually it’s 71% now). And if you’re seeking general personal finance advice, you might enjoy our Demystifying Personal Finance series.

For more on the ideology that grounds our approach, visit our Frugalwoods Philosophy section. All other content is listed in the categories at the right, which I add to as I address new topics. We’ve covered everything from what we eat for breakfast to how a mortgage works to stuff we’ve found in the trash.

Thank you for frugaling with us, we’re glad you’re here! We’d love to meet you–where are you on your financial journey? Drop us a note or leave a comment below anytime. You can also follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Get Fresh Frugalwoods Updates!

You may also like...

98 Responses

  1. Okay, I have a lot of (likely silly) comments.
    – I love dresses with pockets (and your arms look killer in that dress – I long for nicely toned arms, LOL)
    – Our cats sneeze on us frequently. Seriously, don’t they know to at least turn their heads if they won’t cover their muzzles?
    – I think I am starting to feel that general malaise and I’ve only been working for a little over a year. Yikes! I reached my goals as they were and now I hate the 9-5.
    – I think when I get a slightly larger raise over the next year or two, I am hoping to save 50% of my income. Not quite there yet, but I just finished grad school so I have some catchup to play. I doubt I’d ever catch up to your 65%, let alone your 82%!
    – I love Frugal Hound. She’s a superstar in the making.

    Thanks for the overview 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You are so sweet! And not silly at all!
      -Agreed, dresses w/pockets rock. This was an awesome bridesmaid selection that I’ve worn several times since that wedding.
      -You are far too kind about my arms ;). I do lots of yoga and I lift weights (we have a weight bench at home).
      -Frugal Hound is an EPIC sneezer and burper. It’s like she intentionally saves them up–she’ll run over to us and just sneeze right in our faces. All the time. Glad to hear we’re not the only pet parents with this problem.
      -Yep the malaise hit us SO BAD when we realized we’d achieved what we’d set out to do and were unhappy. It was a watershed moment and a total shift in our life plans. If you want to do it, you can and you should!
      -A 50% savings rate is amazing! You’ll be in great shape with that!
      -Frugal Hound thanks you, although she’s deeply embarrassed by all these photos of her snoozing (she does sleep with her eyes open sometimes).

      Thank you so much for stopping by! I always love your comments!

  2. Great article, guys! Awesome that you’ve found eachother and share the exact same outlook and views. Should make the Frugalwoods project a walk in the park.
    Keep it up!

    I enjoy reading about other people’s life and journey towards financial independence way too much… Might as wel call myself an FI voyeur. 🙂

    Have a great day,

    PS: although I’m not a big fan of dogs, the pictures are really funny and spice up the text beautifully!.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much, NMW! I too love reading about other people’s FI journeys–yours included! Maybe Frugal Hound will win you over with her ridiculous poses 🙂

  3. I have to agree with Alicia, dresses with pockets are awesome! And thank you for sharing your “about us” section now blog post with us. FB Hubby and I have decided that we are ready for the simple life, unfortunately, we have about 10 more years to go until my son is done with school at which point we will be ready for financial freedom. It’s funny, when I turned 30 I began my quest for finding meaning and purpose. I have been on the journey for 6 years now and it has been an amazing one. I think it is a healthy exercise to question what we are doing and why we are doing it. If you don’t like the answer, then that tells you you need change.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Agreed! It’s introspection, and being honest with ourselves, that prompted us to make this change. And, amen to dresses with pockets!
      Thank you for reading!

  4. Love it – I always love learning more about the people writing the blogs I’m reading but I rarely click over to the About Me section for some reason.

    Wow – way to go on nailing your savings rate. I feel like a slacker at 20-25%, but NYC is freaking expensive and production manager’s do not make a ton.

    Homesteading is awesome too. How terrific that you and your husband’s outlook on things changed at the same time and in the same way.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much! You’re no slacker at 20-25%–that’s awesome! Yes, very thankful that our viewpoints changed in unison! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. It’s always great to hear about others who have lots of hobbies/interests. I’m interested in a lot of different things as well, and it’s actually a big reason I’m motivated to live a more “sustainable” financial life. I want to free up my time so I can pursue all those interests and not be tied down to a job for the next 40 years.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Absolutely! I guess I didn’t mention that’s one of our reasons as well–we want to have the time and bandwidth to purpose our varied hobbies and interests. Glad to hear you’re doing the same! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Didn’t realize y’all were homesteaders in spirit. That’s the direction I’m heading too.

    Obviously there are some excellent blogs out there (NWEdible being my current fav), but a really great book if you haven’t heard of it is The Resilient Gardener. I like it because she focuses on growing/breeding core staple crops (potatoes, dry beans, squash, corn, and then having a laying flock of Ancona ducks). I’m currently reading the author’s much more detailed book about plant breeding.

    Would love to chat homesteading if you wanted to start an e-mail thread or PM on the MMM forums. Any parts of the country you’re targeting?

    Btw, I love the “read all of the things” in your description. That’s my wife and I too!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hey! That’s great to know! And thank you for the tips! Agreed on the fabulousness of NWEdible. We’re looking at rural southern Vermont–checks a lot of our boxes. We should definitely connect via email!

  7. Awwww…..nice to meet you guys! The dog pictures are certainly a nice touch!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks Holly! We’re glad to meet you too! Frugal Hound says thanks, although she adds that she’d appreciate less photos and more treats.

  8. Mr. 1500 says:

    “…building a few cabins to rent out on Airbnb”

    Hmmm, I’ve been to 39 states, but your neck of the woods (Northeast) has always eluded me. At the same time, I love building. Look us up if you need some help when the time comes? I’ll throw my framing nailer in the car and we’ll hit the road.

    The thing I’m struggling with now is that I don’t have a good plan together for after I bail from my 9-5. I write code for a living and enjoy mobile development, so writing apps is probably what I’ll focus on, at least initially. I’d really like to get a rental soon too. We’ll probably flip some houses as well.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You and the fam are welcome to come stay with us anytime! Especially if you bring a framing nailer :). We’re researching different building options for the cabins–yurts, tiny houses, etc. It’ll depend on the land we purchase and any existing structures. But, the goal is to have plenty of space for family, friends & Airbnb folks on the property.

      Mr. FW (also one who writes code) has considered doing freelance programming post-FIRE, but, I think he wants to explore totally different avenues of his brain and abilities (like building cabins!).

      I’d say you’ve got a good struggle to contend with there ;). Plus, hopefully you’ll have plenty of time to come build cabins/yurts/huts with us!

      • Mr. 1500 says:

        “But, the goal is to have plenty of space for family, friends & Airbnb folks on the property.”

        Wow, I love this idea and can’t wait to hear more about it. The framing nailer will be busy in short time putting up a fort for the children, but it looks forward to bigger projects in retirement.

        “Mr. FW (also one who writes code) has considered doing freelance programming post-FIRE, but, I think he wants to explore totally different avenues of his brain and abilities (like building cabins!).”

        I think it all comes down to “building.” When writing code, you’re building. Lego, building. Building a yurt or cabin is just another extension of this brain model.

        • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

          Oh yeah! Complete agree. Yesterday I was tearing out the wall of our built in shed (long story involving asbestos shingles, lead paint, and particle board that was never intended to be installed in moist environment) and it was _just like_ peeling back the layers of method abstraction to find a deeply hidden bug.

          The difference, of course, is that I got to smash things with a hammer while troubleshooting 🙂 Much more fun that finding a misplaced ‘

  9. debt debs says:

    Love getting to know you both better! I admire your ideals and I think it is awesome! I have a question for you about Frugal Hound. When you take her for hikes do you have to keep her leashed? From meeting with other greyhound rescue (retired greyhounds) parents, they say that they are so focused on ‘the bunny’ that if they saw one or a squirrel, they would take off. Will she come on recall if you are in the woods, okay?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks for reading! Good question on Frugal Hound–she is leashed 100% of the time unless we’re in a very contained, fenced area (like a friend’s backyard). As you mentioned, greyhounds are bred to bolt after small prey and with a max speed of 40 mph, they can go really far really fast. So, to be on the safe side, she’s always leashed :). When we do let her run in a fenced area, it’s almost frightening how fast she’s capable of running!

  10. It’s so nice to “meet” you. Great story! Also, Frugal Hound is adorable and so sweet. It’s so cool to read somebody’s story when they have a dream and goals SO SIMILAR to ours. Now I’m all enthusiastically excited, haha.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      It’s nice to meet you too–I really enjoy your blog as well! Thank you so much for stopping by! And, Frugal Hound thanks you for the compliments 🙂

  11. Our dog Brooklyn always sneezes on us, usually right in my face when I’m giving him kisses, gross! Eric and I both lived in Boston separately before we moved to NYC and met each other when I was in grad school. I love the Cambridge area, but can totally understand and appreciate wanting to get to a more rural area where you can do homesteading. I’m definitely a country girl at heart and the closest we get to agriculture here in the city is our CSA share 🙁

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Love your dog’s name–so cute! Why do they sneeze in our faces!? The world may never know. Before we got engaged, I lived in NYC while Mr. FW was here in Cambridge (I developed more than a passing familiarity with the Fung Wah bus route). A CSA is better than nothing! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  12. MsRichLife says:

    ahh…kindred spirits. We are on the final sprint to retirement too and plan to find/build ourselves a homestead. Unfortunately the price for land in the region we are looking is hideously expensive. I sometimes wonder if it would be worth moving back to the US for cheaper cost of living, but I don’t think DH would be up for it.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yay fellow future homesteader! Land prices vary in the area we’re exploring, but it’s relatively reasonable for what we want. Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. mysticaltyger says:

    I am not a pet person but that dog is very cute!

  14. Gretchen says:

    Love getting to know you guys! I’m not a big greyhound fan (big dog fan though) but he’s hilarious! Plus that’s really cool that you adopted him. Was it from a rescue, or did you just have the opportunity to adopt him privately?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you! Frugal Hound is actually a girl 🙂 and we got her from Greyhound Options, which is a rescue organization here in MA. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  15. Great story and I’m curious if homesteading is a really viable option for the rest of your lives. It might work for a few years, but change might occur. How far is a homestead from your current location? I know there’s farms 1 hour west from where I currently live in NJ.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Good question! We’re certainly open to the possibility that things might change in the future and we’ll want to do something different. We plan to keep other options open should we change our minds. We’re considering rural properties that are a 2hr drive from our current house, but haven’t purchased a place just yet 🙂

  16. sunbystar says:

    Hi! I have just discovered your web and I really love it, so inspirational!!.

    We have been living frugal and minimal since 2012 and it is the best thing that we have done. Less expending, more experiences, more money for an early as possible retirement.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us.
    Please let Frugal Hound know that I am a big fun of her.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh thanks! A focus on experiences over stuff really does make life more enjoyable!

      I told Frugal Hound of your nice comment, and she sneezed. We’ll take that as an “awww shucks, thanks!” 🙂

  17. Carla says:

    Hey you guys. I’ve been reading your posts for a while, and just read “How We Live Frugally in the City.” Have you ever thought about putting together a book? Like, a sort of reference book for frugal living in the city? Man, I sure could go for that. You guys have so many great tips. I’d love to have something like that to refer to while making my life here in Chicago more frugal.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hi Carla! Thank you so much for your kind words–I really appreciate it :)! A book is definitely something we’d consider doing in the future, thank you for your vote of confidence!

  18. Jlcollinsnh says:

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile now, and just finished reading your interview with ES…

    …all of which finally prompted me to do what I had been planning to do for awhile now…

    …and which I profess in my Manifesto on my own blog…

    …which says to keep a mental list of people you’d like to have a coffee with…

    …and invited them.

    Consider yourselves invited. 🙂

    On the off chance this appeals to you, and I hope it does, perhaps the next time you pass thru NH on your way to VT?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Why thank you! I’m deeply flattered that you read Frugalwoods and incredibly honored to be invited to coffee! We’d love to and will certainly get in touch the next time we’re trekking up to VT. And likewise, if you ever find yourself in the Boston area, we’d be delighted to have you over.

  19. I have read many of your posts, but this is the first time I’ve read your background story. Wonderful! I wish you very well in reaching your homesteading goal at just the right time. So interesting that you were “living the dream” and then realized it was the wrong dream. Good for you for not settling – I mean for the wrong life. You’ll settle on your homestead some day instead. Looking forward to hearing all about it!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much, Prudence! We’re really looking forward to the adventure and change in lifestyle that the homestead will bring about for us. Thank you for reading 🙂

  20. Jayadeep Purushothaman says:

    As someone who reached this conclusion a bit late in life, I wish I had realized it at you age ! I am keeping at it though. Great to see people with different perspectives than the oft beaten path! Wish you all the best!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much! I think reaching the realization at any age is a good thing—congrats to you. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  21. Miss Tulip says:

    We have the homestead but we both still work in the big cities and plan to reduce our hours within a few years. My partner Dave is new to our more self-sufficient lifestyle and, even though he knew it already, he didn’t quite fully prepare himself for how long things take when being self sufficient. For example, it took me 1.5 hours to cart the logs over to the wood store and stack them at the weekend. Then lighting the fire and tending to it takes time, just to keep warm and get hot water. It’s a lot of work. A lot different to switching on the central heating in normal homes. On top of that, my step dad cut the logs which again takes a lot of time despite having a timber forwarder and a Hakki Pilke log splitter. Then, on top of that, these logs will last us 4 days. Yep, just 4 days. So many hours go into just heating the house. My advice (please don’t take this as patronizing because that certainly isn’t my intention) is to consider the cost/benefit of doing everything yourself, because sometimes it saves time to pay someone else to do it which frees your time to spend on working to bring in much needed income. It’s hard to make such decisions and sometimes we feel like we are cheating, but cheating who? Sometime it just makes sense. There just isnt enough time to do everything
    Miss Tulip x
    PS. We will always cut our own logs and use them to heat our home 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Great to hear from someone who is already on the homestead :)! For us, we take great pleasure in doing things for ourselves and it’s largely why we want to leave our 9-5’s. We enjoy insourcing everything that we can and we fully expect the management of the homestead to take up most of our time, but, that’s really what we’re aiming for by quitting our jobs and moving on out there.

      That being said, it’ll be a total change for us and I’m sure we’ll experience quite a few growing pains :). We’ll probably look back on our past selves and laugh at all the plans we made before we knew what we were actually doing on a homestead :).

  22. So glad I came across your blog. Looks like there are a lot of great articles waiting for me to read!

  23. Kidney MD2B says:

    Greetings from a fellow Cambridgian!

    I came across Frugalwoods while searching for ways to be more frugal (have been on Mr. Money Mustache for awhile) so I could pay down my medical school debt quicker. I’ve been very impressed with how candid and open you guys are about your personal and financial lives on this blog.

    I’m a resident at a local hospital, and my fiancee and I feel like living in the Boston area makes trying to save money particularly difficult. Even after cutting expenses on dining out and entertainment, we notice that certain categories (esp. rent and groceries) take up a large proportion of our monthly expenses. As residents in Cambridge, how have you approached these? I’d be willing to discuss more through e-mail or private messaging if you wish.


    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hi Brian! I’m so glad you found us :)! It’s wonderful to have a fellow Cantabrigian here!

      I think rent is pretty much high everywhere in Cambridge. Our mortgage is certainly expensive, though we plan to rent out our home once we move to our homestead, so the high rents will work in our favor then.

      But groceries can definitely be done on the cheap! My friend, let me introduce you to Market Basket :). Have you been before? The closest store is in Somerville and their prices are dirt cheap. We buy mostly organic fruits & veggies and their selection is really quite good! We also have a Costco (it’s in Everett) membership, which has been a fabulous way for us to save.

      I have a few posts that specifically address some of our city hacks:
      Why We Don’t Meal Plan
      How We Live Frugally In The City
      Why Did We Buy Our House?

      If you’re interested in the details on what we spend every month, there are our Monthly Expenses Reports.

      And, please feel free to shoot me an email if you’d like–I’d be happy to chat more! Thanks again for saying hi 🙂

  24. Agus M says:

    Hey I have been lurking through your blog and is very interesting!!! I have never heard of frugality before and I came across you through reddit.

    How was your life in the time you got married and by your house?, I am that 2008-2012 gap, have you talked about it, were you renting and saving for your 20% Down Payment???

    Congrats for such a great life!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Glad you found us! Before we bought our house, we were renting and saving as much money as possible for our down payment. We found that through frugality, we were able to save enough for our down payment and then some. We also rented below our means–we could’ve lived in nicer apartments, but we chose lower rents in order to help us save more. I wish you all the very best in your journey!

  25. Darren X says:

    It seems to me your website could just have a single three word post on it: “don’t have children”. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I don’t have any children myself). The effect of that single decision far outweighs any other piece of advice outlined on this blog.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Well, we’re actually delighted to be pregnant with our first child right now (after a struggle with infertility) :). For us, building a frugal life is all about optimizing what matters to us–which for us includes kids and our dog, neither of which are particularly frugal. It’s all about eliminating the unnecessary expenses so that we can retire early and do what we love.

      And, as a sidenote, we plan to parent as frugally as possible a la the frugal parents who’ve gone before us in the FI space (MMM, 1500 Days to Freedom, Root Of Good, etc). If you’re interested in our philosophy on this front, you can check out my post: Fighting Back Against The Baby Industrial Complex.

  26. Renee says:

    Congratulations on your lifestyle. My husband and I are retiring next year at the age of 50. We already own our retirement home, bought last year for cash money. From day one of our go to work adult days we have put 50% of our gross salaries to retirement. We have also raised 4 children the last 2 graduate from college next year. We always have lived our 25 years of marriage within our financial means. No loans, no credit ( well one credit card paid always on time) and have managed to live comfortably. We didn’t sacrifice at all. My children have learned priorities which will be passed on to my grandchildren. If you plan as you live it is possible. Beautiful greyhound by the way.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      “If you plan as you live it is possible” Couldn’t agree more! It’s wonderful to hear from folks who have successfully done what we’re trying to do. Thank you for sharing your story!

  27. PRPROG says:

    Congratulations on living in a totally different way; the frugal way. Althougt I dont plan to retire from 9 to 5 jobs, my wife and I opt to live as conservative (frugal) as possible. This allow us to already paid our mortgage in full many years ago, no credit cards balance, good retirement funds (via savings – not as high saving rates as yours – but good). Our 2 kids are starting College (state, which is less expensive). Frugal living can also work even if you decide to stay in 9 to 5 jobs.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much! And, I completely agree with you on the benefits of frugality beyond early retirement. Frugality yields dividends no matter what your ultimate goal is. The peace and serenity extreme frugality brings to our lives is worth it alone! Huge congrats to you and your wife for enjoying a life of financial freedom!

  28. Sarah Noelle says:

    Hi! I’m so happy to have discovered your blog. Trying to live frugally is kind of a new thing for me, so I can use all the tips I can get. I will be back for sure.
    Sarah 🙂
    PS: By the way, we are probably sort-of-neighbors: I live in Cambridge as well (although not in the woods, so maybe not that close!).
    PPS: The ICA rocks.

    • Sarah Noelle says:

      Ah, after reading a few more posts I have now grasped the situation: you’re not in the woods yet, just really excited about it! That is awesome. Vermont is awesome.
      By the way, you may have convinced me to finally start shopping at Market Basket. It’s kind of out of my way, but it sounds like it really might be worth it to make the extra trip.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Yes! You got it :)! We’re still living in Cambridge, but are planning to retire to the woods in about 2 years when we’re 33. And, Market Basket is a frugally awesome place! Thanks for reading 🙂

  29. R says:

    Hey Mrs FW!

    Based on your guys’ monthly expense numbers, you are fortunate to make more than me–quite a bit more, actually. I don’t make nearly what you spent in September in take-home pay. I take home about $2300 a month, plus I max out my 401K (which work matches up to 6% at 50%), and signed up for the high-deductible health insurance. I’m debt free and have been living very frugally for about 8 years now (don’t eat out, don’t have cable or internet, pay less than $50 for phone, don’t have any pets, own a grand total of 4 pair of “out in public pants”, live 1 mile from work, etc.). However, with my take-home pay, and the fact that I give about 15% of my net income for charitable purposes, I’ve run out of ways to trim expenses so that I could save even 50%, let alone rock-star amounts like you do. Any tips for those of us trying to save on smaller budgets?

  30. Emily C says:

    I just started perusing your blog a few weeks ago — your writing/content is amazing! I got to you by searching for coffee cost-savings and was looking for information on Costco coffee options. After reading enough of you blog entries that I adored, I got around to reading this ‘about us’ page and realized that you are likely our neighbors 😀 We live really close to MIT in Cambridge, I knew I liked you guys! Both my husband and I work and now have a toddler – doing the working long hours and having a toddler turns out to be quite stressful and expensive. We love the urban childhood our son is getting, but want to slow down and enjoy life a little more with him. Although we’ve already been fairly frugal/money conscious we fell off the bandwagon when our son was born to try to buy back some time/energy to spend with him. It hasn’t been easy, so we decided to take a plunge into stay at home motherhood and are transitioning to living off one meager post-doc salary. So we aren’t trying to retire early at this point, but I can already tell that your blog is going to be an excellent resource for our new life in frugality – I look forward to seeing your journey to your homestead.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Howdy neighbor! I’m so glad you found us too! Sounds like you’re on an awesome journey to creating a better/happier life for you and your family–congrats to you for taking the plunge. Please say “hi” if you see us in the neighborhood 🙂

  31. Paula Craig says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog. I am 53 and planning to retire in the next 2-3 years. I can only wish I had known more about how to live frugally when I was your age, I could have retired a long time ago. What I find most interesting about frugality is how many different ways there are to do it. There’s homesteading, but also living in an intentional community, tiny house living, and living in a boat, van or RV. There are surprising relationships among these. For example, people who mostly live in a van sometimes use a particular intentional community as their home base. This allows them to have an official residence, as well as a place where they can spend a few months of the year and plant a garden, without costing much money. It’s also common for people who live in a van to settle on a homestead after a few years. The basic skills of frugal living are similar across modes. The most important is a willingness to question assumptions about what society says we should buy or do.

    I don’t recall seeing much about religion on your blog. Are the Frugalwoods perhaps atheists or agnostics, or did I miss something? You seem like the sort of people to consider all sides of such questions very carefully.

  32. Locke says:

    Mrs. FW, I’m very impressed with your writing! You are talented and funny. My wife and I have such a similar timeline to you and your husband for meeting, graduating, and purchasing a home. I am inspired by your frugal lifestyle, yet I am feeling like I’m out of the loop with my career. Based on some rough calculations, I think we make about 30% of your gross salaries. I’m working on a master’s, and I hope to get a little closer:)

  33. Laurel B says:

    Any concerns about internet security with Personal Capital? We have always been reluctant to connect to any online source that “links” our bank accounts. Can you comment on this subject?

  34. Vignesh Kannan says:

    This is so great. I am twenty five and I have just started my first baby steps towards frugal living. I reside in Mumbai, India’s most expensive city. To keep up with the expense, I had to move 30km away from office and the train journey takes me an hour and a half to reach office after a long struggle. I do not see all this struggle worthwhile to fill some large corporate’s coffers unless it offers me great value interns of learning or social status. Just last month, I cut down on my visit to pubs and clubs in order to save more money in hand. I am also opting to reduce my intake of meat cooked at restaurants and go more for food cooked at home by a maid in this new city to cut down on expenses. The last six months of my first job have left me with very little savings to speak of despite my considerably higher than average salary owing to my high education loan to pay for my MBA. I will share more as my journey progress, though frugality as a word might be frowned upon by others, I’d like to call it Lean Living and total cost management..

  35. Darlene Smith says:

    My name is Darlene and I have greatly enjoyed and am inspired by your blog! It took me 50 years to learn what you have in your wise 30 years! I also began a total money makeover in April 2014 and am in the process of paying off debt ($30,000 down, more to go) including my mortgage. I went bk to school at 33 and became a special education teacher after spending 18 years with the state of nj as a secretary. Unfortunately I found teaching to be incredibly stressful and not my dream job, so I left it in 2011. I took an early retirement and have been doing all kinds of odd jobs (my choice) in order to get out of debt and pay off my mortgage. By 55 I plan to be “payment free” and on the road to traveling and investing! Minimalism/Frugality is the next step in my journey now which is helping to propel me forward! Thanks so much for your example and inspiration Frugalwoods! You ROCK!!!

  36. giselle says:

    I don’t know i got here,but by reading your story ,i noticed that many of us feels like you felt, studying,then work all time,then stress out to get more and more stuffs we don’t even need or make us happpier ,we just survive with our diplomas in hand…
    just wanted to congratulates and tell that I’ve been thinking about doing the same than you ,for the last 4 years, but i feel that ,since we became parents seems to be more and more difficult to jump out off the matrix!.I must say that your blog is pretty encouraging,I might consider to “make the change” again …we need it!

    Many Regards

    Giselle from Buenos Aires,Argentina

  37. Maria says:

    All I can say is YES!!! I am so pumped up about finding your blog (a friend of mine told me about it after a conversation where I expressed some ideas about gaining a bit more financial freedom, many of which included frugality). This blog is going to be a great resource for me so THANK YOU! (And I live not far from where you moved from – just a few miles west in Natick, Mass.). Thanks again for the effort you put in to sharing your journey with all of us!

  38. looove your story. Where we are – We worked 4 yeras, took a year off for college travel, then 5ish more years then took 2 years off to stay at home parent (both of us). Now back to full time work with aim of FIRE in 10-12 years, then go travel the world and live from wherever we feel like next (around this time both our kids will be in college (if they choose to go). We do really well on the savings part now but the expenses are killing us – so you are an absolute inspiration. Just convinced husband to start cutting my hair lol and do a one month hard core savings challenge. He said yes! One step at time!

  39. Hannah says:

    Hi Frugalwoods! I love your blog. My best friend suggested it and we both love that you are new parents too. Your baby is such a sweetheart.

    Yours is the first financial/frugal blog I started reading. I decided I would like to read more frugal living blogs. I found that you are listed as one of the top blogs of 2016 ( Congrats!

    Are there any blogs that you read that you would suggest? Keep up the great writing and tips!

  1. July 16, 2014

    […] More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About The Frugal Woods Family – I’m getting more and more into the Frugal Woods blog. Learn more about the family behind the blog in this post! […]

  2. July 18, 2014

    […] FW and I had an awakening earlier this year about our future and decided to radically change the trajectory of our lives. We […]

  3. July 23, 2014

    […] gives us a shared understanding of how to translate the lessons of yoga to our frugal journey to financial independence. This clarity of mind enables us to make frugal decisions year after year without losing steam. […]

  4. September 9, 2014

    […] you checked out Frugalwoods yet? If not, you should. Mr. and Mrs. FW are relatively new on the scene and are already […]

  5. September 12, 2014

    […] About Us! […]

  6. September 12, 2014

    […] the classy frugal weirdos we are, Mr. Frugalwoods and I took the Frugalwoods-mobile on a trash hunt jaunt through the city. […]

  7. September 12, 2014

    […] Yes, yes, I’d get 5 outfits for that price, but still. When Mr. FW and I buckled up for our acceleration to financial independence earlier this year, I realized that I should put my clothes buying on hiatus. This is a […]

  8. September 12, 2014

    […] at the Frugalwoods home, we are celebrating the harbingers of fall that have beset our New England town. There is a marked […]

  9. September 12, 2014

    […] most of my writing is devoted to how Mr. Frugalwoods and I save money and what we want our money to do for us, I figured folks might like to know how we manage said money in the context of our marriage. […]

  10. September 12, 2014

    […] it before, but it bears repeating that being on the same page financially benefits every aspect of our lives and our marriage. We don’t have tension or arguments over how much to spend and I […]

  11. September 12, 2014

    […] was delighted to hear that my family and I aren’t the only frugal weirdos who consider other’s trash to be a source of treasure. Below are the illustrious trash […]

  12. September 12, 2014

    […] For us, a walk at the end of each day is much more than a smidgen of physical exercise, it’s an expression of our love of togetherness. It’s a time to clear our minds of the day’s troubles and recalibrate the frantic pace of the workday into the peaceful tone of our evening at home. These walks are only about 30 minutes long, but they’re just the right amount of time to decompress from our days spent apart working at jobs we plan to leave. […]

  13. September 12, 2014

    […] today’s woot, I want to share an excerpt from a poem that artistically encapsulates the counter-culture approach to life Mr. Frugalwoods and I employ. Mr. Frugalwoods describes the poet, Wendell Berry, as the poet […]

  14. September 13, 2014

    […] out on your frugal finance journey. Curious how we live day to day? For starters, we’re not total weirdos, I promise! Though we are kinda weird because the way in which we structure our lives is […]

  15. September 13, 2014

    […] had happened to us, say ON a hiking trail or right after we’d been hiking. But no, being the frugal weirdos we are, it took place at the grocery […]

  16. September 17, 2014

    […] being said, Mr. FW and I are 31 and 30, have no debt (other than our mortgage), plan to retire early in three years, and have a net worth that would make most think we’re either twice our ages or some kind of […]

  17. September 19, 2014

    […] in our frugal woods and this week, I’m delighted to regale you with 12 random facts about the Frugalwoods fam. These facts come to you, dear readers, courtesy of The Versatile Blogger award, which was lovingly […]

  18. September 26, 2014

    […] enjoyment of simplicity is a central tenet in our journey to financial independence. We both know what we need to make us happy, and it has nothing to do with spending money. We want […]

  19. September 27, 2014

    […] major factor in our ability to pursue financial independence and early retirement is the fact that Mr. Frugalwoods and I don’t care what you think. This […]

  20. October 8, 2014

    […] Mrs. Frugalwoods from […]

  21. October 29, 2014

    […] one half of the dynamic duo that runs Frugalwoods. In her words, the blog is about her “journey towards financial independence and a rural homestead, which she hopes to reach in three years at the ripe ol’ age of […]

  22. November 19, 2014

    […] dollar saved puts us that much closer to our goal of financial independence. And the real key to reaching this goal isn’t just counting every single dollar we spend […]

  23. November 26, 2014

    […] going around digging through trash piles). Plus, I have to hand it to my in-laws for rolling with our frugal city life when they’re […]

  24. December 4, 2014

    […] BEING FRUGAL, INVESTING, DIY LANDLORD AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT.  I may not be like 1500 Days, Frugalwoods, Big Guy Money, or Mr. Money Mustache, who have been known to get knee deep in a DIY project,  but […]

  25. December 12, 2014

    […] I know that decorating (for Christmas or any other purpose) isn’t for everyone, and I realize this all might seem like a waste of money, but, we love it. The spirit of peace, joy, and hope that comes with Christmas is inspiring, soothing, and to me, perfect. Mr. FW and I all about spending on what matters to us and creating a happy, cozy, fulfilling life while still saving towards our ultimate goal of financial independence in three years. […]

  26. December 23, 2014

    […] There’s no reason denying that. My goals aren’t as purposeful as the Frugalwoods, who moved to a rural homestead to enjoy the peace of the great outdoors, or as entrepreneurial as Jason from Dividend Mantra, who […]

  27. December 29, 2014

    […] As 2014 comes to a close, I want to share how grateful I am to all of you for reading along as Mr. FW and I navigate our journey to financial independence. Thank you for being here with […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get new posts via email. No spam, we hate it like greyhounds hate having their teeth brushed.