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.
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.
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.
Where’s Your Money?
One of the easiest ways to optimize your money is to use a high-interest savings account. A high-interest savings account gives you money for nothing. With these accounts, interest works in YOUR favor (as opposed to the interest rates on debt, which work against you). Having money in a no (or low) interest savings account is a waste of resources–your money is just sitting there doing nothing. Don’t let your money be lazy! Make it work for you! And now, enjoy some explanatory math:
Let’s say you have $5,000 in a savings account that earns 0% interest. In a year’s time, your $5,000 will still be… $5,000.
Let’s say you instead put that $5,000 into an American Express Personal Savings account that–as of this writing–earns 1.70% in interest. In one year, your $5,000 will have increased to $5,085.67. That means you earned $85.67 just by having your money in a high-interest account.
And you didn’t have to do anything! I’m a big fan of earning money while doing nothing. I mean, is anybody not a fan of that? Apparently so, because anyone who uses a low (or no) interest savings account is NOT making money while doing nothing. Don’t be that person. Be the person who earns money while you sleep. Rack up the interest and prosper. More about high-interest savings accounts, as well as the ones I recommend, is here: The Best High Interest Rate Online Savings Accounts.
And now, sit back, relax, and enjoy creeping through the Frugalwoods expense report:
|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!|
|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 :)!|