July was not the greatest, though it was a month in which a number of periodic bills hit, including Frugalwoods-mobile‘s registration for the next two years, our quarterly (-ish as they seem to change the billing cycle with impunity) water bill, and pretty substantial home improvement materials. We also bore the brunt of the expenses for our snazzy new cost-saving seltzer system: a 20lb CO2 tank hooked up to our Sodastream (how-to post forthcoming, I promise!).


Additionally, we’ve needed to run the AC periodically–especially during the weekdays when Mr. FW and I are both at work and Frugal Hound is home alone. We can’t leave the windows open for safety reasons (our friend’s apartment was broken into through an open window) and we don’t want Frugal Hound to swelter. No frivolous spending (no entertainment, clothes, or meals out) this month, just the cost of doing business here at the ol’ Frugalwoods home.

Item/Vendor Amount Frugalwoods Musings
Mortgage & Escrow for Taxes & Insurance $2,741.01 Our taxes increased, which is not so cool, but pretty unavoidable.
Costco $298.08 Includes food staples, household goods, and dog food.
Groceries $195.16 On the expensive side this month! Dang.
Water & Sewer $179.24 Paid every 3 months.
Home Improvement Supplies $152.11 Supplies for our exterior window trim replacement, concrete repair, front door frame painting, and shed demolition.
CO2 hook-ups for the new Seltzer Tank $127.79 Mr. FW built a new cost-saving seltzer system using a 20lb tank of CO2 (how-to post forthcoming)!
Electric Bill $73.02 About $20 higher than last month due to running the AC sporadically this month.
Internet $66.95
Medical Appointments $65.00
Seltzer canisters $63.71 The last of our small canister purchases!
Frugalwoods-mobile Registration $60.00 Paid once every two years.
Gas for Frugalwoods-mobile $46.23 Pretty consistent month to month.
1 Box of Wine & 1 Case of Beer $32.58 Not too shabby.
Gas Bill $31.72
Digital photo storage $5.00
TOTAL SPENT: $4,137.60
LESS MORTGAGE: $1,396.59

 What do you think? How was your July? Tips, frugal hacks, and advice ALWAYS welcome!

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  1. Never open any window or door when you’re away! You never know when your house will be the next target. I guess higher bill for air conditioner is better than having your house broken into.

  2. That is a great basic budget. $1400 after mortgage! We leave the A/C on a bit as well because of the cats. It can get REALLY stuffy in the house with the windows shut up. We do keep a few of the upstairs windows open if we are gone, but it doesn’t do much because the outside it so hot, and the upstairs gets really warm.

    1. Hey thanks! I would feel absolutely terrible if she overheated or was uncomfortable during the day. Definitely more important that she’s safe. Oh our little critters!

    1. Agreed! Thrilled to finally be done with them–little money suckers! Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂

    1. Yeah, our tax rate didn’t change but our assessment went way up. I’ve put in a challenge so maybe I can get it reduced a little… but values have gone up dramatically around here so it was only a matter of time.

  3. I’m looking forward to the Sodastream CO2 hookup post. I was seriously considering doing this, but didn’t pull the trigger. We only get a new cannister every three months probably.

    1. Yeah, so far so good. We were going through 3 canisters every 30 days, so it really makes financial sense for us!

  4. First off I just have to say how much I love greyhounds and all the pics on your about me page crack me up. The pose in the funniest of ways. I love how they sleep on their backs like a dead cockroach too. Anyway, just saying hello since I just discovered your blog, and looking forward to reading more!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Delighted to have you! And, you’ve come to the right place for greyhound photos–Frugal Hound is one well-photographed animal. I agree, the upside down photos are the absolute best!

  5. Our July wasn’t bad but I want to improve the numbers a bit in August. I don’t blame you for running the AC in order for the dog to be ok at home!

    1. Can’t have a hot dog! I couldn’t resist. I was going to have to say it at some point :). Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Your electric bill is not too bad. Ours is about $180/month in the summer months. That’s gas and electric. But our water is only about $50 every 3 months. It’s interesting how these bills are different every where.

  7. We run our air conditioner pretty much the entire Summer because opening windows are the worst possible thing you can do for allergies. It’s actually a LOT cheaper than heat is in the Winter…but then again we live in Minnesota.

    1. Oh yes, right there with you, the summer electric is nothing compared to the winter heating bill… 🙂

  8. Ooh, that mention of the A/C brings back bad memories of a time when my parents’ unit broke during the summer, and my cats were actually panting. It was a weird sight (and I was pretty worried). They just stayed parked on the windowsill to get fresh air. So I don’t blame you for keeping it on! No one wants their house violated, either :/. Awesome job considering the few odd bills in there!

    1. Thanks! Frugal Hound is also a drama queen about the heat, so she excessively pants and grumbles if it’s even the least bit hot 🙂

  9. Very good job on your expenses! I guess one thing I noticed it that is appear you haven’t purchased gasoline since last May? That is crazy! Transportation is an area that can be difficult to improve depending where you live.

    1. Oh man, I wish! We get gas about once per month–it’s on the above list as “Gas for Frugalwoods-mobile: $46.23.” We’re very fortunate that we don’t have to drive much, so it’s usually under $50 per month.

      1. Ah I see now, I think just the frugal woods mobile thing being highlighted made me miss the gas part and assumed it was for a phone lol.

        1. OH I totally see what you mean! Yeah, Frugalwoods-mobile is what we call our sweet 1996 Honda Odyssey minivan 🙂

  10. Not a bad month at all. Not sure how the heat/humidity has been by you in New England this summer but it has been great here in Wisconsin near Lake Michigan. We’ve pretty much had a pleasantly cool, breezy summer all around. I can pretty much count the days on one hand that I’ve had to run the A/C. Granted, we don’t have a Frugal Hound at the house that commands tolerable temps while we’re out so I understand you’ll have to run yours more than us. Even so, $73 isn’t bad at all! Nicely done!

    1. Thanks! It’s been a fairly mild summer with occasional days of extreme heat. That’s awesome you’ve gotten away with so little AC usage!

  11. Our July was way over budget, so we’re planning on laying low in August. We traveled a bit, and some medical bills popped up, but I think if we trim it down, we’ll be okay. I’m looking forward to the post on the SodaStream! I want to cut out soda entirely, but I just don’t know if I can do it… so I’d love to save money if I could!

    1. We do love our SodaStream! We actually only carbonate water–we don’t use the syrups or flavors. It’s how we were able to quit soda for good. I just can’t seem to live a life without carbonation!!!

    1. We are lucky with our cheap boxed wine & beer from Costco! We don’t eat out except for rare special occasions. In June, we took my parents out to lunch for Father’s Day and in August, we’ll probably get take-out for Mr. FW’s 31st birthday. But other than that, no meals or drinks out–it really saves us a ton of money!

  12. First of all, I have to say hello as I’ve just discovered your blog (and love it!)

    I’m super impressed by your budget and spending. We’re pretty frugal ourselves, so I’m always interested in seeing how costs can be cut down even further for additional savings! I think we could cut back a bit in the discretionary spending category (for things like events and meals out), but we’ve really pared down to just the necessities everywhere else. With your budget, do you guys not pay for car insurance, cell phones, or garbage service?

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by–so very glad to have you here! Appreciate the kind words too!

      Good questions! We pay our car insurance every six months, so it doesn’t show up on our monthly expenses–it’s just a lump sum on two months out of every year. Our city (Cambridge, MA) doesn’t charge for garbage service, so we’re lucky there! And, we’re extremely fortunate that our employers pay for our cell phones. You’ve inspired me to include info next month on what we don’t pay monthly and why–thanks!

      1. Gotcha! Those are some excellent perks both of your area and jobs 🙂 You’ve definitely inspired me to revisit our own budget and examine our “fun” spending (money spent on stuff beyond bills). Your numbers are really impressive and it’s so exciting that you’re only a few years from your early retirement/homestead dreams!

        1. Thanks! Yeah, we’ve almost eliminated spending in the entertainment/eating out/fun category. Now that early retirement is much closer (hopefully just 3 yrs away), we’re happier to save as much as we possibly can!

  13. Oh, thank you for including your zero amounts and why next month! I had those exact same questions. your figures are impressive! We live in a commuter city and can’t wait to be able to walk/bike everywhere like you guys do. thank you so much for sharing. it’s inspiring.

    1. I’ll definitely include the zero amounts next month! I love it when folks tell me what I’ve missed–let me know if there are other categories you’re wondering about. We certainly feel very fortunate that we’re able to walk and bike as much as we do. Thank you so much for stopping by :)!

  14. Holy shit housing is expensive in Cambridge! I looked at some 1 bed efficiencies for $1,400 a month. Jeez!

    I live on 3 beautiful acres in a resort area. (lake of the Ozarks). Home is 3000sq ft. Don’t have a key to even lock it. Beautiful home. 230K appraisal. You really couldn’t pay me to live in a big city like you do. God bless you.

    1. Yeah, housing is definitely pricey here! We bought our current home as an investment. We’ll turn it into a rental property when we FIRE in 3 years and move to a rural homestead. Sounds like you have a great set-up there! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  15. I’m loving your blog and reading it from the beginning;) I don’t see a cell phone bill on this list?

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