October 2014 Expenditures

I am thrilled to report that we made it through October without turning our heat on! And it was by the skin of Frugal Hound’s fangs too. Temperatures here in Cambridge, MA plummeted into the 30’s (Fahrenheit) on Halloween night and we thought we might not scrape by. But, we persevered and didn’t succumb until November 1st.

Even with the heat on though,Mr. Frugalwoods and I keep our home at 58 degrees (when we’re asleep or out of the house) and 62 degrees (when we’re awake and at home). Check out my 11 Frugal Hacks to Stay Warm and Save Money This Winter to see how we’re staying toasty on the cheap.

Mr. FW and Frugal Hound enjoying a late October stroll along the Charles River

Mr. FW and Frugal Hound enjoying a late October stroll along the Charles River

Groceries were remarkably low in October, to which I propose a frugal weirdo high-five! I know that November’s spending will be pretty substantial, as we’re delighted to be hosting Thanksgiving dinner, so, it was good to have a cheap October. Not quite as cheap as September, but, anytime our expenses–other than our mortgage–are under $1,000, we’re happy campers.

Frugal Hound snuggling down for the winter

Frugal Hound snuggling down for the winter

As regular readers know, the below spreadsheet reflects every single purchase Mr. FW and I made all month long. We track every dime we spend in order to keep ourselves on target with saving 65%-85% of our take-home pay (after maxing out our 401Ks). Curious how we keep costs so low? Check out How We Save 65% Annually and, if you’re up for some hardcore frugal adventuring, take my Uber Frugal Month Challenge.

If you want to know why some typical line items are absent from our budget, head over to our August Expenses, where I detail the deal on these missing items

And now, sit back, relax, and enjoy creeping through the Frugalwoods expense report:

Item/Vendor Amount Frugalwoods Musings
Mortgage & Escrow for Taxes & Insurance $2,741.01 Yep, it’s high. But, we live in a very high COL city (Cambridge, MA) and this house will be our cash-flowin’ rental after we decamp to our rural homestead.
Costco $185.15 This includes bulk foods (oats, beans, rice, spices, olive oil) and household supplies (toilet paper, dog food, laundry detergent, vitamins, shampoo, etc).
Groceries $134.84 Pleased as Frugal Hound with a treat! This is a record low for us. Mr. FW has been cooking even more from scratch and we’re on the rice-and-beans train for lunch every day. Woohoo!
Water Bill (For 3 Months) $128.76 Our water bill is paid every three months. I’m delighted with $42.92/month for water. We’ve worked hard to decrease our loads of laundry and take shorter showers. Hooray less water! Cheaper and better for the environment.
Home Improvement Supplies $119.13 Our DIY home improvement adventures continue.
1 Year PO Box Subscription $112.00 This is the PO Box for Frugalwoods! Thanks to this box, we now have a robust email subscription service. If you haven’t signed up for our emails yet, you can do so at the bottom of this post.
Elecrtric Bill $77.04 It’s electric!
Internet $66.95 Consistent and necessary.
Fuel for Frugalwoods-mobile $44.49 We didn’t drive much in October, so this is one fill-up for the ol’ minivan.
Heartworm Medication for Frugal Hound $40.17 Got to keep our girl healthy!
Gas Bill $24.15 You can tell we didn’t turn the heat on in the month of October!
Doctor Appointment co-pay $20.00 I went to the doctor. Good news: I am healthy!
Eye Doctor Appointment co-pay $20.00 I went to the eye doctor. Good news: my eyes are testing perfectly 1.5 years after my Lasik surgery!
Medications $19.91
Parking Meter $2.00 Parking meter for my visit to the Doctor’s office.
Photo Backup $0.89 Must preserve the millions of photos I take :)!
TOTAL SPENT: $3,736.49
LESS MORTGAGE: $995.48

What do you think of our expenses? How was your October? Tips, frugal hacks, and advice always welcome!

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107 Responses

  1. Whoooo! Awesome month. I finally broke down and turned the heat on this weekend too – we had a freeze warning. And now I think this week will be back up to the mid 70s…..gotta love this crazy fall weather.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! That is some bizarre weather–you could almost get away with turning your heat back off. What with your custom dachshund warmers and all 😉

  2. Mrs. Bug says:

    Quite impressive numbers! You could teach me a few things for sure. We spend the most money on food so looking at how we can cut back. Only one tank of gas for the entire month? That’s amazing! Do you live close to work or walk/bike most? We broke down and turned on the heat this weekend also, bummer!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much, I appreciate it! We are indeed fortunate to live in the middle of the city and so, Mr. FW bikes to work and we walk/bike/public transit most other places. I have a 10 min drive to work, so, we usually get by on one tank a month (two tanks if we travel to a distant trailhead for a hike).

  3. Strandedrocks says:

    Good morning,

    I have a question regarding the PO Box, you say because of it you now have an email subscription. I am not sure what that means. I am curious, maybe PO boxes work differently for the US?

    • Most email subscribtion services, due to the CAN-SPAM act, require you to provide a mailing address to subscribers. Since many people are uncomfortable with giving out their home address (and rightfully so), a P.O. Box is a way to comply with CAN-SPAM, while protecting privacy.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Like Mike said, we use it in our email footer as per US regulations. We try and be pretty open, but sending our home address out to hundred of folks on the internet seemed like a bit too open 🙂

  4. Mrs. PoP says:

    Well done! I have red beans and Mexican rice for lunch this week, too. So yummy! =)

  5. Wow that’s incredible that you didn’t turn on the heat. Ours is running right now and I’m happy to not be shivering as I type this haha. But anyway I haven’t added up our October financials yet but unless I’m missing something they should be fairly standard.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, our heat IS on now, so we too are not shivering :). Glad to hear your October was a standard one too!

  6. Liz says:

    It looks like you guys had a great month! We try to shop at Costco for mostly everything as well. We did make one “splurge” but I hesitate to use the word as it doesn’t really feel like one. We picked up electric toothbrushes at Costco this weekend with the hopes that these will improve our long-term dental health. So that was like $100. I don’t feel too guilty about the expense and hope it pays off.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s so funny you mention electric toothbrushes–we have them too! And, I’m actually writing a post about them right now! Haha, dental health is important 🙂

  7. Great job on your low expenses! And great job not turning the heat on either. We caved just a few days ago….=/

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you! I’m so happy we made it to November before turning on the heat. And, you made it a really long time too! Woo hoo!

  8. I’m so impressed with the heat situation, first of all – way to go! And your groceries (even if you include Costco), compared to mine are less! We’re spending about $500 (groceries, bulk, toiletries, etc) compared to your $320. Do you coupon? I always pack lunches and cook from scratch. Maybe we should eat less meat…

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much, Natalie! I actually don’t coupon because I find that coupons are usually for things we don’t need.

      To keep costs down, we don’t buy much packaged food and we cook just about everything from scratch (bread, soups, oatmeal, hummus, etc). So, most of what we buy are bulk, raw ingredients (flour, beans, oats, fresh fruits & vegetables) which tend to be cheaper. We also don’t really eat meat or dairy, which helps a lot. But, $500 is really good–you should be proud!!

  9. Wow! That is an awesome gas bill!! We have a gas stove and water, so ours will be a little higher, but I am excited to see our October number since we didn’t turn our heat on as well. We actually turned it on yesterday for the first time but that was because my nieces were coming over and I didn’t want them to freeze. Typically our home stays around 56-60 in the winter. My son and I are incredibly warm sleepers, hubby just throws on another blanket and since Spumoni is a Himalyan, he is built for this type of weather. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I was so impressed on Saturday that you hadn’t turned your heat on yet! It was a cold, nasty weekend here in the northeast. We were buried under blankets even with our scant heat on. Wow, 56-60 is intense! Making me sound like a sauna over here at 62 ;)!

  10. Kassandra says:

    We pay for cooking gas and that bill runs around $20 for 30 days and we only use 4-5 therms. The killer is that the majority of that amount is delivery fees and taxes! Congrats on another solid month in spending.

  11. Way to battle through the cold!! I tuned on my heat this week (gas) only to burn off that first time use horrible smell so I could open all the doors. I had a decent month as far as spending (but too much on food-so I’m super impressed by your number) but another bad month as far as income.

  12. Did not having any luck convincing Mr. FP to turn heat below 65, but I guess that’s not too bad.

    I went over SIX HUNDRED for four people worth of groceries! Really trying to get that down. This month: Homemade hummus, more homemade yogurt, and working on an equally convenient but cheaper alternative to Grape Nuts for Mr. FP. Also, scouring Budget Bytes for meal options around the dollar-per-serving range. Mr. FP is never satisfied with one serving and sometimes the toddlers aren’t, either!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      65 sounds pretty good to me! As does $600–you do have four mouths there :)! Hint on the homemade hummus: we actually don’t use any Tahini in ours (that stuff is just too dang expensive). So, our homemade hummus takes mostly like hummus and is a lot cheaper!

      • Do you substitute some other ingredient or is it just mashed chickpeas with garlic and oil and stuff? We used to get tahini fairly reasonably at Walmart but I fear it will be quite expensive at Sprouts (our new Walmart does not carry it).

        • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

          We don’t really substitute. I tried peanut butter once and it didn’t taste right. The internet lies about that one!

          Our “hummus” is chickpeas, garlic, fresh chili paste, dash of water, and extra virgin olive oil. The key is the food processor, which makes the consistency awesome.

  13. Lauren says:

    Oooh you had Lasik surgery?! Have you ever written about it on the blog? I’m always told that I would be a good candidate for it, but I think I’m too chicken- lasers in my eyes sounds pretty scary!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I haven’t written a post about my Lasik, but I’m starting to think I should :). It was the BEST health-related decision I’ve ever made. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I did it. They gave me valium before the surgery and my eyes were totally numb, so I couldn’t feel a thing. I highly, highly recommend it!

  14. Wow! Great month in the FW household. 🙂 I’ve been sticking to my budget (with my FT job income) fairly well, but I’ve been bad otherwise. I’ve been spending my PT job income and my freelance income on tihngs I shouldn’t – eating out, shopping, etc – when I should be putting most of it toward debt and savings. I’m hoping to do better about that in November.

  15. How do you eat rice and beans everyday without getting sick of it? Plus is that really as nutritious as it should be? Not trying to criticize, just wondering!

    Jay

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      The key to not getting sick of it is making it tasty! 🙂 I tweak my recipe almost every time, and after making every week for months… you start getting really good at it.

      Rice and beans is a classic healthy meal. High in complete protein (the rice and bean combo does that), low glycemic carbs, moderate amounts of good fat (olive oil), and whatever leftover veggies I need to get rid of.

      • Tarynkay says:

        I’ve found that since most people in the world live on rice and beans, there are plenty of variations to keep it interesting. And the internet is loaded with recipes from all over the world.

        If I tell you that we had kidney beans on Monday, lentils on tuesday, and black beans on Wednesday, maybe you are going to start feeling sorry for me. But if I say we had maharagwe, then mujadara, then frijoles negros, suddenly that sounds a lot less depressing, right?

        • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

          That’s a really great point. Embracing ethnic cooking is definitely good for the taste bud as well as the wallet! I need to get better about branching out beyond classic central american dishes. Learning some Indian classics is on my to-do list.

  16. Jenna says:

    What a great month!

    We live in an apartment building with 7 units so our heat is included in the rent. This means I don’t have to worry about keeping it low, but I also don’t have control of it! At least our rent is inexpensive.

  17. We made it till 02Nov just because we were away this weekend. I hope the cats used the blankets while we were gone! Our basement is exceptionally chilly because there’s no carpet or curtains down there. Definitely going to be a big savings once we get the carpet plopped in and put up some thick curtains.

    The scariest part was waiting for it to kick on since we just moved in in July… didn’t really get a chance to test it out other than the inspector doing his thing.

    That is a lot of dough for your house, but at least you plan on renting it out long term! We also think of that as an option and plan on paying our mortgage down quickly. We were able to throw almost an extra 3k towards principal this month! Stoked!

    Have you guys thought about paying it down quicker?

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      We’re locked into a really low 30 year mortgage (3.8%) so we’re not overly excited to pre-pay. Even less since our interest is deductible and in our tax bracket that’s a decent chunk of change.

      • Yeah, the deductions are nice and our rate is similar (4.25%), but this is the first debt we’ve had since student loans… I just imagine not having to shell out that money every month and get giddy. On top of that, the market’s been soaring now so it makes it seem an even better time to pour money into my mortgage. I can swing any extra dough into investments if the market tanks and stocks go on sale though!

        • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

          Fair point on the market valuation. The certainty of the ROI from mortgage payoff is a real benefit.

          If, and this is a big if, you are already maxing out your tax advantaged retirement options. For most folks, the tax savings doing a 401k maxout make every other option pale in comparison.

  18. Kara says:

    Impressive as always! 🙂 We had a relatively inexpensive October as well, although we did turn the heat on at the end of the month!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! And, way to go on waiting so long to turn on your heat! I think it’s a tad colder where you are 🙂

  19. thefrugalchick says:

    I’m super jealous of your fuel expense! $44.49 is impressive! I wish I could do that. Although I cut my fuel expense by almost half this month it’s still a lot with the husband driving all over for work and me picking up/dropping off kids everywhere (school, extra curricular activities).

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! We luck out in that we’re able to bike/walk/use public transit to get most places. Way to go on cutting your fuel expenses in half–that’s impressive!

  20. ND Chic says:

    You are very focused to keep your heat so low when you save so much. I would not want ours under 70. It’s worth the few extra bucks to not be cold for me and my kids would freeze. Do you eat rice and beans for every single lunch?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much! We stay pretty warm and toasty–just with clothes, blankets, and my magic rice tube (not actually magic, just rice in a tube that I heat up in the microwave…:) so cozy!). We eat a rice, beans, and mushroom combo that Mr. FW cooks for our work lunches M-F. It’s a super tasty dish that costs about .10 cents a serving. YUM!

  21. Chela says:

    I’m with Lauren in that I’m curious about the Lasik. I think I want it done, but every year when I go to the eye doctor, my prescription has changed and so I’m not a good candidate :-/

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh that’s too bad! Well, hopefully your prescription will even out soon! It was definitely a good decision and I’m very glad we spent the money for it. But, I do think you have to have a steady prescription for a few years prior.

  22. Tawcan says:

    Wow that’s a very impressive monthly spending you got there. I’d love to hear about your experience with Lasik. My prescription has not changed for years now and every time I go to get my eyes checked, the optometrist always recommends Lasik.

  23. Good job on the heat! I don’t have control over the heat right now, but after trick-or-treating with Daughter Person in almost freezing rain, I was glad my mom had turned it on! I too tend to go as long as possible without turning on either heat or A/C though.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Freezing rain trick-or-treating does not sound fun! You’re a good mom to brave the storm and soldier on!

  24. A month under $1000 is definitely a weirdo frugal high five moment!

    Congratulations again on making it to November without heat!

  25. Allison says:

    Great job!!! That was a very good month indeed!
    We had an ok month, but we plan on November being fairly cheap. We were excited because last week was the first time since March that we didn’t have to turn on our A/C. Its been down in the 80’s during the day, and 60’s at night, so it really feels like fall now, so we are hopefully going to have a substantially lower electric bill for November.

  26. Michelle says:

    The rest of your expenses totally balance out your mortgage! You guys keep things LOW. Good job. Now, I’m going to read your savings post.

  27. I was watching the Broncos/Patriots game yesterday and saw the snow they had to scrape of the field. I wondered if you had to turn on the heat. I sure would have! We caved a couple of weeks ago. Our grocery spending was great in October, but you still put us to shame.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Heat definitely became a necessity this weekend! And, you do have three mouths to feed whereas we just have the two of us (Frugal Hound not included 🙂 ).

  28. ThriftyD says:

    Standing ovation on that October, Mrs. Frugalwoods!

    Hey, how did your October go as far as our challenge at The Barefoot Budgeter to not spend on restaurants, carry-out, delivery, etc? Autumn spent $184, which was a success as it was under her budget of $200. Mine was $105, which is exceedingly better than my usual $200+. I gave in a few times but when I did, I thought of our challenge and bowed my head in shame lol.

    Did your grocery amount of $134 include restaurants or were you and Mr. Frugalwoods so committed and successful that you did not spend a single dime on restaurants? You two seem like a very well-oiled frugal master machine so I certainly wouldn’t doubt you achieving $0 in the restaurant expense category! :). As I said, I gave in a few times but really struggled with it each time.

    Again, awesome October and cheers to an even better November!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hi there! We actually did achieve $0 in restaurants/carry-out/delivery. Our grocery budget is just for grocery store stuff that Mr. FW cooked at home for us. It’s interesting–once we stopped eating out, we kinda just lost the taste for it (bad pun). We’re so accustomed to eating every meal at home now, that it doesn’t cross our minds as an option anymore. I do enjoy a good meal out every now and then, but, I’m thankful that Mr. FW is a really good cook!

      And, I think you did awesome at $105 vs. $200–that’s an incredible reduction! Way to go! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing 🙂

      • ThriftyD says:

        You two definitely set the bar high. You inspire many of us more than you think. I think one of your recent blog posts had a photo of your guest bedroom. There was just a simple bed, table, dresser and a couple decorations yet it still looked “cozy” and “full.” That picture inspired me to do some decluttering of my own at my apartment. I removed some unneeded furniture, took some things to Goodwill, and created more open space. It was refreshing and it honestly was a direct result from that photo. 🙂

        • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

          Awww, thank you!! That guest bed is somewhat minimal and cool… but we didn’t show the other unused bedroom!! 😉 Mrs. FW is a decorating and organizing maven. Before her, my apartments could best be described as “jumbled spartan”!

  29. Congratulations to us! I also have a job well done for the month of October. I have overpaid my credit card loan (20 percent) than what I expected. How good is that? My long term savings seem to be good also. Hope this continues until December. I am getting really excited, I’m almost there!

  30. Impressive expenditures! Your food bill is so low!
    I had a great debt payment month and an average month for expenditures. My husband had a crazy busy work month and we fell victim to “Let’s just grab something easy for dinner” too many times. Something to work on for November!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      I totally know where you are coming from, that’s something we’ve often struggled with in the past.

      One of the things that has made a difference in fighting those urges is to always have something easy pre-made (or nearly pre-made) in the fridge. This takes a little bit of prep on the weekends… but there are plenty of nights where I really don’t feel like spending more than 10 minutes pulling dinner together.

  31. it's me, "kay" says:

    Wow, if you guys spend that much and still save 65% of your annual incomes, I am impressed with your paychecks! I’m going to walk on back to coach now. 😛

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah, we’re very fortunate. 2 college degrees and living in a high paying (though high cost of living) area adds up.

      The one time I flew first class was when I volunteered to be bumped from an earlier flight. It’s amazing that people pay extra for that! Not nearly as cool as I had imagined.

  32. Mario says:

    I think your expenditures look great! Outside of the mortgage and other bills associated with the home, it’s incredible that you’ve managed to keep everything under $1000 — and it sounds like your explanation for what is going to happen with the home is pretty solid.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! The home was definitely an investment. Time will tell if it was a smart one, but so far appreciation and area rents are increasing faster than we projected. So it’s looking good.

  33. Alicia says:

    I`m so impressed you made it until November 1st without heat. You two keep the house quite chilly, even when you do have the heat on though, so I suppose it`s all relative 🙂 Great job with another kick-ass month!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Hah, yeah, it’s funny. At the beginning of the winter we’re all covering ourselves in blankets and fuzzy socks when it’s 60 degrees indoors.

      By spring, after the long, cold, snowbound winter… when it hits 60 outside I’ll break out the shorts!

      It’s all relative!

  34. Catherine says:

    I’m with you on turning the heat on! We’re in Halifax so having similar weather as you guys though maybe slightly warmer (fyi Boston is one of my Favorite cities in the world). We turned it on yesterday for thw first time and determined to keep costs low thia year!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Woohoo! Next time you are coming to our fair city please shoot us an email! It is a really nice place, we love living here.

      Thanks for the annual Christmas Tree!

  35. Zambian Lady says:

    Congratulations for not turning on the heat in October. I still have not yet turned mine on, not because I am frugal, but because I have started getting headaches from the heating. I will see how much longer I can go

    • it's me, "jay" says:

      You should think about having your furnace checked out. It it’s gas, have it checked for carbon monoxide, if it’s oil, have it checked for holes or cracks in the heat exchanger, or even a plugged chimney. Don’t take chances on your health. Signed, Jay (the HVAC guy)

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Definitely think about getting your heating system checked out! Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? I’m always super paranoid the first time I turn on the heat every year.

  36. Wow, that is a low grocery bill! Congrats on your low bill and beautiful photos – looks like you live in a beautiful place.Though – does your Costco bill include groceries? Do you lump them together?

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Costco does include some bulk foods. Oats, beans, rice, canned vegetables, that sort of thing. But it’s mostly household consumables (dishwasher detergent, laundry soap, paper towels, etc…) and dog food. Frugal hound has to eat 🙂 She gets the Costco brand grain-free salmon and sweet potato kibble. Fancy! But she is such a fancy girl…

  37. Mrs. FW,

    Great month. Other than the mortgage, you guys are spending very little money.

    We also ran without any type of HVAC for most of the month. It’s been mostly between 78 and 82 degrees down here for a while now, which requires no A/C. Love the lower electricity bills. As you say, better for the wallet and the environment.

    Keep up the great work!

    Best regards.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks for the kind words! Your temps sound wonderful! And any time we can do good for the planet while also doing good for the wallet is a great situation.

      We’ll make sure to take plenty of photos of the snow this winter so that you can remember what you’re missing out on 😉

  38. Nice work!! We turned our heat on awhile ago (not nearly as studly frugal as you guys, I’m afraid) but we are keeping it much lower than we did last year. At least we’ve got that going for us. 🙂

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      You also live in a much more frigid climate than we do! Plus you supplement with wood, right? Temp control is a little less precise when working with logs 🙂

  39. We turned on our heat in the wee hours of November 1 as well. 🙂 I guess the cold snap was all over the coast. We are not hardcore like you though so it was probably in the 40s or 50s here!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      It hit us hard! We really should have turned it on Halloween night, but we’re competitive so we let it go another day. Just seems right!

  40. Good job leaving the heat off during October. We (well, Mrs. RootofGood mostly) are wusses when it comes to heating and air. We turned on the heat toward the end of October when it dipped into the 30’s at night and didn’t get above 60 during the day. It was 62 inside the house (which to Mrs. RootofGood might as well be sub zero).

    As for your expenses, they look pretty damn good. Getting it all under $1,000 excluding the mortgage is magic.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks for the kind comments! Spending this low really makes us feel good about our eventual plans for retiring early. I’ve always found it too easy to put numbers on a spreadsheet… we wanted to see what we could actually cut down to.

      I expect we’ll actually spend somewhat more than this when we’re retired, but knowing what our lowest non-emergency level of spending is should help us plan for adjusting our safe withdrawal rate in terrible market years.

      Thats the idea, at least 🙂

      • We were just running through the “what if” scenarios last night (yes, that’s what we did on a Friday night for fun). We could even reduce our spending below today’s level if we have to. Mrs. Root of Good said “guess the sushi and champagne will have to go”. That and cutting vacations would go a long way if the markets turn really really ugly.

  41. I am impressed with the food expenditures. I thought my wife and I had grocery shopping down to an art (even with two boys) but we still get near $600 each month.

    My wife does nearly everything from scratch, and our kids are still young enough that they are not eating us out of house and home. How do you keep it so low? Impressive.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh I think you are doing great at $600/mo for four people. We’re just the two of us plus Frugal Hound. Number of mouths make a big difference!

      Our big food hack is spending the least amount possible for breakfast and lunch (oats / rice&beans respectively) and then having varied and extremely healthy dinners. For us, breakfast and lunch are really autopilot meals.

  42. Winter is coming! How much do you think your average heating bill is during winter?

    I think mine will be $100-$150, but it only gets down to 50 here in SF. Still chilly though!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Last winter the peak month was $250 for the gas bill. I bet we end up around there again this winter. We’re pretty well optimized at this point. All up to the weather!

  43. Great job, guys! Less than $1,000 for two people is stellar.

    I just read your tips on how to keep yourself warm and save money this winter and have decided to try and keep heating my place to a minimum. Acclimating will probably be the most effective, even though I absolutely do not like cold weather.

    Keep it up! You’re an inspiration to us all!
    NMW

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you so much, NMW! You’re too kind :). I hope our tips will help keep you warm–I’m not a fan of being cold either (and neither is Frugal Hound!).

  44. AE says:

    I live in AZ and the summer is a killer. Turned the AC off last month finally.

    Power over 3 months went from $201 to $184 to $50. Won’t touch the AC till May and will try to not use any heat except on chilly mornings.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Wow! It’s really the opposite of New England living! Neat that you can mostly make it without heat in the winter though. Burning fossil fuels to stay warm adds up fast. Wish we could go lower, but our 120 year old house just isn’t that warm.

  45. Elena says:

    Great job on the website and keeping your expenditures so low. I am curious if you include the principal for your mortgage as savings? Or do you keep it out of the 65% savings rate?

  46. Mr. Frugalwoods says:

    Hey Thanks!

    We don’t count principal repayment as part of our savings rate. Paying down principal is great… but it’s not something we could easily access if needed.

    It’s also something that is “required” and we’re mostly interested in savings that come via choices we’ve made. More of a measuring stick for how we’re doing financially… and somehow principal doesn’t seem to fit in that bucket.

    But you’re totally right, it is technically savings. And I do look at that number in our yearly financial review, mostly for curiosity’s sake.

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