Monthly Expense Reports – Frugalwoods Financial independence and simple living Thu, 24 May 2018 10:00:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Baby Tent And Other April 2018 Expenditures Wed, 09 May 2018 10:00:29 +0000 A Baby Tent And Other April 2018 Expenditures

Well, if you’ve ever wanted to feel good about your spending vis-a-vis my spending, then THIS is your month!!! April was absurdly expensive around here. ABSURD, I tell you. As I shared the other week, Mr. Frugalwoods and I finally broke down and bought a used truck in April, and since we paid cash for the full amount of the truck, that accounts for the vast majority of our spending. I have several posts detailing why paying cash in full (and buying used) is the most financially sound route to car ownership, so I won’t rehash all the details here. Suffice it to say that by taking this approach, we avoid incurring the interest rate and the massive depreciation that accompanies new vehicles (or used vehicles bought with financing). While it’s a lot of money to pay all at once, buying used and avoiding a car payment generally costs much less overall (which allows you to save more every month, which allows you to fund this type of purchase).

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Birth Certificates And Other March 2018 Expenditures Fri, 13 Apr 2018 10:00:39 +0000 Birth Certificates And Other March 2018 Expenditures

March makes very clear that we had a baby! Our co-payment for Littlewoods’ birth as well as a few doctor’s appointments and her birth certificates are all reflected in March’s spending. While we frugalize nearly every aspect of child-rearing–from sourcing all used clothing, furniture, and baby accoutrements to creating simple, inexpensive holiday celebrations–there are some immutable costs of having a baby (such as buying copies of their birth certificates!). I love that most of Littlewoods’ stuff–her crib, her clothes, my infant carrier, etc–is on at least its fourth child.

Friends and family handed things down to us before Babywoods was born (and I bought some things at garage sales and thrift stores) and it lives on for Littlewoods! I’m already lining up friends interested in taking these hand-me-downs from us after Littlewoods is done with them.

I foisted off gave away a bunch of maternity clothes this past weekend to a friend who is pregnant and am delighted to continue the cycle of sharing and passing along maternity and baby things.

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Driveway Gravel And Other February 2018 Expenditures Mon, 19 Mar 2018 10:00:07 +0000 Driveway Gravel And Other February 2018 Expenditures

All other events in February were truly dwarfed by the fact that our second daughter, Littlewoods, was born this month! I’m sure other things happened, but it feels like that was about it. Our spending certainly reflects her imminent arrival, most notably in the area of…


Whoa, Mrs. Frugalwoods, you’re probably thinking, what is with that line item for restaurants?!? All for a good cause, I assure you. My fabulous mother-in-law came to help us out for Littlewoods’ birth and before Littlewoods made her arrival, my mother-in-law offered to babysit Babywoods for us while we went out on dates! And so go out on dates we did! Mr. Frugalwoods and I went to a pre-natal appointment together, went to the grocery store, took care of errands and… went out to lunch multiple times! And to dinner once too!

Normally, we eat out one night a month, but seeing as we had a loving, free, in-home babysitter in the form of grandma, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to cram in a bunch of dates all in one week.

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Cider Keg Equipment And Other January 2018 Expenditures Fri, 02 Feb 2018 11:00:12 +0000 Cider Keg Equipment And Other January 2018 Expenditures

Remember a few months ago when Mr. Frugalwoods, Babywoods, our friends, and I harvested all of our apples, pressed them into cider, and popped the cider into glass carboys to ferment? Well, the time has arrived to keg this cider up! These past few months our relatively massive quantity of cider has been fermenting away down in our (now clutter-free) basement and we posit it’s just about time to begin imbibing.

This month we purchased the necessary equipment to bring to fruition this final step in the homemade cider process: a keg, C02, a regulator, and tubing. Look for a full rundown of this jolly wintertime homestead activity (which we haven’t actually done yet and might end in disaster… ) in an upcoming installment of This Month On The Homestead. If we end up with carbonated vinegar and not hard apple cider, we’ll just mark that down as another lesson learned here on the Frugalwoods homestead of “we have no idea what we’re doing out here.” Funny how long that list is getting…

Buy It All USED

You will not be surprised to hear that we purchased our cider keg used online, further illustrating my longstanding rant that just about everything in life can be bought on the used market for tremendously less than new stuff.

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Signed Bookplate Stamps And Other December 2017 Expenditures Fri, 05 Jan 2018 11:00:58 +0000 Signed Bookplate Stamps And Other December 2017 Expenditures

December was a rather regular month of spending for us, which might come as a surprise since Christmas happens in December after all. But here in Frugalwoods-land, Christmas and other such events are not an excuse to spend tons of money.

We prefer to celebrate in a simplified, non-consumer-focused style that emphasizes time spent together as a family–not money spent at a mall. I’ve detailed our frugal approach to the holidays (including birthdays and anniversaries) at great length in a number of posts over the years, so I’ll refer you to the following for the nitty gritty on how we mark special occasions and events with nary a dent to our budget:

  • Reader Suggestions Of Frugal, Fun, Inexpensive, and Festive Holiday Gifts
  • Our Festive, Frugal, and Merry Holiday Traditions
  • How To Give Frugal Gifts With Joy And Generosity

As you’ll see in the below list of expenses, there’s a line item for shipping Christmas gifts because we enjoy sending gifts to our parents and siblings.

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Tractor Pallet Forks And Other November 2017 Expenditures Mon, 04 Dec 2017 11:00:22 +0000 Tractor Pallet Forks And Other November 2017 Expenditures

November epitomized large unexpected expenses and semi-annual (or simply annual) expenses lining up and hitting us all at once. It was, as they say, one of those months. But we don’t sweat it because our overarching approach is to live frugally every month so that unexpected or infrequent expenses aren’t a burden. By not spending our money frivolously or out of alignment with our goals, we can always rest assured that pricier months aren’t a hardship. Lifelong frugality is, ultimately, a way to make your life easier and to ensure you never have to worry about money. So what’d we spend on this month?

Rural Life

I keep meaning to write an entire tome dedicated to this topic–and I will!–but, what I will say briefly is that the early years of living rurally (after living urban-ly) are extremely expensive. The start-up costs of getting our homestead outfitted and equipped continue to pile up, which fortunately, is exactly what we anticipated.

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Fire Extinguishers And Other October 2017 Expenditures Mon, 06 Nov 2017 11:00:12 +0000 Fire Extinguishers And Other October 2017 Expenditures

In October we went on what was our last airplane trip ever. For the rest of our lives. Ok I jest, but the mere thought of traveling with both a toddler and an infant sends me into near-paralytic spasms of stress. So I think it’s safe to say we won’t be traveling for awhile after Babywoods #2 makes her debut this February ;).

We’ve traveled quite a bit with Babywoods #1 and she’s an excellent little plane rider (loves the flight safety card and in-flight magazine far more than the games, books, and toys I judiciously cram into our carry-on backpack), but it’s still quite a process to coordinate, pack, plan, and then execute plane travel with a small person. That being said, we greatly enjoyed our October trip to North Carolina to visit Mr. Frugalwoods’ parents, sister, aunt, and uncle!

Then we REALLY enjoyed the part where we left Babywoods with her grandparents for a few days while Mr.

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A Wood Splitter And Other September 2017 Expenditures Wed, 04 Oct 2017 10:00:12 +0000 A Wood Splitter And Other September 2017 Expenditures

September 2017 just might go down in Frugalwoods history as our most expensive month. Ever. As fate would have it, a ton of one-time and annual expenses all lined up this month and tallied to an astronomical total. But you know what? It doesn’t matter and we didn’t sweat it. Not for a moment. Here’s why:

  • Mr. Frugalwoods and I are frugal every single day of the year. We don’t ever let up on our lifelong frugality, we don’t fall into our consumer culture’s ‘treat yourself’ trap, and we never, ever skate anywhere close to zero in our emergency fund. Thanks to our consistent frugality, ridiculously (and I do mean ridiculously) expensive months like this one don’t matter. They’re barely a blip on our otherwise supremely low spending trajectory. Consistent frugality grants you the freedom to spend a lot when you need to.

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A Cider Press And Other August 2017 Expenditures Fri, 01 Sep 2017 10:00:42 +0000 A Cider Press And Other August 2017 Expenditures

Howdy! If you feel like I was a bit absent during the month of August, well, you are correct: I was! Babywoods and I were gone for a whopping three weeks in August (and Mr. Frugalwoods for one), which as it turns out, is an incredibly long time to be away from one’s home(stead). But this travel was all for good reason, I assure you.

San Diego Anniversary Extravaganza

My parents celebrated their 50th (yes, 50th!!!) wedding anniversary this summer and in recognition of this momentous milestone, my sister, brother, and I–along with our respective spouses and kids–descended upon my parents’ San Diego-area home. We enjoyed a rollicking three-day celebration consisting of eight adults, four children, and three dogs. There was food, there were drinks, there was a cake, there were champagne toasts, we presented my parents with engraved wine glasses noting the date and their names (in case they forget who they are), and we hired a photographer to document the occasion.

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Shelves And Other July 2017 Expenditures Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:00:14 +0000 Shelves And Other July 2017 Expenditures

Our basement, as previously disclosed, is undergoing a vast improvement plan. Our Cambridge, MA home (the one that’s now a rental) has a delightful panoply of built-in shelves in its basement, which suited our needs just fine. Here in our Vermont home, however, the basement is a huge, empty, concrete-floored cavern.

A cavern I’m very thankful for and which I love, but a blank cavern nonetheless. Beholden to my commitment of waiting at least one year before spending money on renovations or improvements in a new home, we spent our first year with nary a shelf in our basement.

All of our items in storage–everything from Christmas decorations to preserved food to tools–hung out on the floor of the basement this past year. In case you’re wondering, this is not an efficient, organized, sane, or sanitary way to store things.

Especially not when you live on a homestead in the middle of nowhere and need to keep bulk quantities of food on hand.

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