Hey! Turns out June was a really great frugal month for us! I was a little scared to open the month’s spreadsheet because we had a few unexpected/abnormal expenditures, including the wretched dry cleaners, surprise Doctor’s appointments, and a lovely Father’s Day lunch. Plus, our darling Frugalwoods-mobile required her first pricey trip to the repair shop in the three years we’ve owned her.

Despite all that, we still spent $203.71 less than last month! Some of this savings is due to the fact that we didn’t turn the AC on for all of June. Now there’s a WOOT right there. 

Item/Vendor Amount Frugalwoods Musings
Mortgage and Escrow for taxes & insurance $2,419.22 Fine since this home is our future rental.
Car Repair & Parts $350.00 Ol’ Frugalwoods-mobile needed some help. Her first repair since we’ve owned her!
Groceries $148.35 VERY pleased with this!
Internet $66.95 Without it, you wouldn’t be reading this 🙂
Gas for Frugalwoods-mobile $52.9 Blerg. Not great, but not awful.
Electric Bill $52.21 Not too shabby!
Dry Cleaners $51.46 RANT
Restaurant $42.43 We took my dad and mom out to lunch for Father’s Day. A worthy expense.
Metro Cards (public transit) $40.00 We both topped up our Metro Cards. This should last us awhile.
Two Doctor’s Visits $35.00 Poor Mr. Frugalwoods has an impingement on his rotator cuff from yoga 🙁
Seltzer $31.85 We don’t drink soda or juice so I must have my seltzer! This is the cost of C02 canisters for our SodaSteam
Gas Bill $31.71 Pretty good!
Boxed Wine $15.59 YUM
Web Hosting $13.75 For this blog and others
Prescription medication $5.00 For Mr. Frugalwoods’ shoulder
Back-up photo storage $5.00 Happy to pay to preserve memories…awww
Parking meter at Dr’s office $2.75 I had to go to the eye doctor and I drove… I know, I know!
TOTAL SPENT: $3,364.17

What do you think? How do our expenses measure up against yours? Tips, frugal hacks, and advice most welcome!

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    1. Thank you! June was better than expected for sure! I imagine July will be higher since we’ve had to turn on the AC… but alas, such is life. You’re wise to budget for summer fun! Speaking of which, have a wonderful July 4th weekend!

  1. That’s a great month, especially considering the fact that the bulk of expenses is tied to the mortgage. Just curious, if you were to turn the house into a rental right now, how much do you think you could charge for rent?

    All the best!

    1. Comparable houses are renting from $4000 – $4500 / month. It helps to be within a mile of Harvard and MIT, there is always a new crop of biotech post-docs coming through! Our neighborhood was one of the last in the city to gentrify and is right next to the emerging cambridge biotech cluster.

      We’ve thought about renting it out now and renting something smaller and cheaper for us to live in… but rents have gone up so much that we’d have to get a real dump to pay appreciably less in rent every month that we’re paying in PITI.

      1. “Comparable houses are renting from $4000 – $4500 / month. It helps to be within a mile of Harvard and MIT, there is always a new crop of biotech post-docs coming through!”

        Whoah, that is nice rent. Better yet, MIT/Harvard folks probably aren’t going to pull rock star antics (no TVs out the window or fun with bodily fluids). I’d be getting that place rented ASAP!


        1. Yeah, it’s a really good setup.

          One of the big decisions in our financial trajectory will be deciding what’s more advantageous long term. Renting it out or selling and investing the tax free capital gain? Right now, renting looks like it would work out better. But currently the house is appreciating faster than rents are growing. Figuring out the point at which selling is better has led me to create a somewhat epic spreadsheet. Predicting the future is hard!

  2. On your about section you mentioned 82% is your savings post take home pay. Are you counting the mortgage/escrow as savings? I am trying to come up with our savings rate but I don’t know what to include/exclude. Does the ERE blog go into it?

    Also I haven’t bought internet in awhile (mostly borrow neighbors) is $67 what it cost now a days? Craziness

    Do you have a boxed wine recommendation? I usually just get TJ wines….mostly around 5-8 dollar ones.

    1. I think the issue of savings rate is a personal one. Some people count mortgage principal. We don’t, not out a philosophical split but more out of laziness. Our year end financial review includes what principal we built over the year… but other than that I don’t really look at it.

      So for us, our savings rate is: Monthly after-tax savings / Take-home pay. Depending on when certain expenses hit for us, that ranges in the 70% to 85% range monthly. Last year, when we weren’t paying as much attention the yearly rate was 65%. I’ll be really interested to see what we hit this year, maybe 80%!

      We actually don’t include our maxout contributions to our 401ks in this rate. A lot of people do, but we just figure the number is simpler to understand without it. Again, that’s something we look at once a year and otherwise is on autopilot.

      Now on to the really important stuff: Boxed Wine! We’ve tried a bunch of varieties due to our propensity for accidentally wasting 1/3 of an actual glass bottle of wine due to not drinking it fast enough to keep it from going bad. Our favorites are “Big House – Pinot Evil” and “Bota Box – Malbec”. Both are usually around $17, and contain the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine. For us the big thing is that the wine doesn’t go bad after opening. We’ll drink from the same box for 1.5 months with no real degradation in flavor. Now I’m sure if you were a wine connoisseur this wouldn’t work… but for us it’s great. It’s much tastier than 2 buck chuck!

      1. Whoa I didn’t know boxed wine had that no taste depreciation thing. Great for us because gf has one sip and is drunk…so usually I am left trying to down a bottle in 2-3 days before it goes bad. Ill check to see if I can get those brands near me.

        Btw congrats on timing the housing market well. In 2012 I knew things were great deals…especially where my family lives in Miami. I held back mostly because there was talk of cutting mortgage interest deduction and a push to defederalize fannie/freddie…both of which would have put further pricing pressures on housing…and both of which seem to have fallen off the political radar.

        As far as if you should keep it as a income property that comes down to if you need the taxable income or not. If you take say 200-300k and put it in a investment account you are probably going to only make 2% a year on it (although most of the companies in it will be making 10% but buying back shares or keeping the money on their balance sheet). 2% on 300k is 9k a year so if that in addition to your other investments doesn’t add up to say 30-40k a year I probably would keep the rental. That is unless your fine with selling shares during retirement. All of this is probably obvious to you.

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