As we round the corner towards Thanksgiving, I’m inspired to share a woot of gratitude for the many things Mr. Frugalwoods and I are thankful for. We’re thrilled to host my in-laws for Thanksgiving and as we prepare for their visit, I wanted to reflect on the appreciation I feel for the life Mr. FW and I have created.

Guest room is ready for guests!
Frugalwoods guest room is ready for guests!

Family: I am deeply grateful for the ol’ kinfolk. Our parents and siblings are supportive, interesting, loving people and we both have relatively drama-free families. It’s pretty much all about the love. I’m also super glad that I hit the in-laws jackpot. I shared before how well we get along, but I couldn’t imagine better parents (other than my own parents, of course).

Mr. FW here: I’m thankful for the good examples our parents set for us growing up and continue to set to this day. Many of the habits and instincts that serve Mrs. FW and I well are due to our parents being generally awesome people. Thank you, moms and dads!

Our Jobs: Mr. FW and I feel extremely fortunate to both have jobs that pay well and provide benefits. The stability we enjoy in our careers enables us to hit our substantial 65%-85% savings rate every month. And, our employer matching 401K plans will serve us well in retirement.

YouTube: Three words for ya: Home Improvement Videos. We’ve learned how to do more things from watching YouTube. It’s fabulous the stuff people upload–special shout out to the seemingly thousands of bearded guys who filmed very intense explanations of how to properly mud outside drywall corners. Ya’ll are the best. Hearts, Mr. FW.

Use your handy dandy carpenter's square to make a nice right angle.
Mr. FW uses his handy dandy speed square on window trim

It’s wild that we live in a world where the most comprehensive encyclopedia and video library are both available to us completely free of charge. I don’t understand why people pay for cable! I mean seriously folks. I would know nothing without Wikipedia and I would be able to do nothing without YouTube (ok, might be a slight exaggeration).

Frugal Hound: Where would we be without our little houndlet? Frugalwoods would certainly be less hilariously cute and our home would be minus a great deal of joy. She is an instant bringer of tail-wagging bliss. It’s hard to stay stressed or angry when you have a ridiculously sweet and loving animal who looks like this when she tries to sit:

Hi. I cannot sit properly.
Hi. I cannot sit properly.

Our home: A combination of luck and extensive research (not to mention herculean savings towards a pretty hefty downpayment) netted us our abode, which is a single-family home in a region that’s primarily populated by condos and apartments. The real value of this home is that we plan to turn it into a rental property after hitting financial independence and packing it all in for our rural homestead.

Our Goal: Speaking of that rural homestead, I am reminded daily of the pivotal role our overarching goal (of buying a homestead on 20+ acres of land in rural southern Vermont) plays in keeping us on the frugal straight and narrow. Mr. FW and I spoke in our podcast interview last week with Financially Blonde’s Martinis and Your Money about the paramount importance of having a concrete, shared goal to strive towards. I know I’m a broken record here, but seriously ya’ll, frugality is not difficult when you’re working towards a monumental shared goal! If you want something badly enough, you’ll become a frugal weirdo too. I promise.

Shared Frugal Nature: You know I love Mr. Frugalwoods, and think his beard is so cute, and I’m so thankful we have the same financial goals, et cetera et cetera and so forth. But, I cannot tell you often enough how important it is to get on the same financial page as your partner. I am beyond grateful for the shared outlook Mr. FW and I have with regards to our finances and our life in general (see above goal).

Mr. FW climbing towards Mt. Lafayette
Mr. FW climbing towards Mt. Lafayette

Hiking: Our favorite pursuit. Free, inspirational, physically challenging, and an opportunity to spend lots of time alone together in our favorite place: nature.

An Electric Blanket: After receiving some great advice in the comments of 11 Frugal Hacks to Stay Warm and Save Money This Winter, we bought ourselves an electric blanket (using a gift card, thank you very much). And let me just tell you: the thing is a lifesaver. We “pre-heat” the bed every night and hooooooo dog does it feel good!!

As Mr. 1500 pointed out in his post about indoor winter temperatures yesterday, the Frugalwoods thermostat is a cool 62 when we’re home during the day and 58 at night and when we’re not home. Not exactly balmy, but frugal as heck. Needless to say, slipping into a pre-heated bed is a mighty fine treat.

Sidenote: we bought a full-size electric blanket, even though we have a king-size bed, because the full-size was significantly cheaper and it covers the top of the bed perfectly. No need to heat the sides of your mattress! Frugality in all things, my friends… even when a gift card is involved.

Homemade guacamole by Mr. FW in progress
Homemade guacamole by Mr. FW in progress

My Personal Chef: I don’t know what I would do if Mr. FW wasn’t such an excellent and frugal-minded chef. Oh wait I do know… before we were engaged, I ate tuna and beans every night. It was gross, but cheap.

The man can cook anything from basically nothing and make it taste like something out of a restaurant. Come over for dinner sometime–you’ll see what I mean, it’s kind of unreal. I credit my mother-in-law, who is an even better cook than Mr. FW, for instilling in him more lessons than a French chef.

Coffee date at home!
Coffee date at home!

Coffee: What a delectable bean. This stuff is so tasty and we can make it at home and thus enjoy afternoon coffee dates every weekend. Most of our best ideas in life trace their origin either to a weekend coffee date or a mountaintop hike.

Frugalwoods: This blog is an amazing outlet for me and I am profoundly grateful for all the friends and connections I’ve made. I get to rant wax poetic ramble write about some of my most deeply held beliefs and feelings and you all so kindly read and comment and email me. The community we’ve become part of through this experience is astoundingly generous, thoughtful, funny, and smart. Thank you all!

Uh, dis is not funny humans
Uh, dis is not funny humans

Health: We are sincerely blessed with good health. Neither of us has serious medical issues and we don’t take any prescription medications on a regular basis. In addition to the incredible quality of life this affords us, we don’t pay a whole lot in medical bills. Just the occasional co-pay and medication when we’re sick. We eat healthfully (usually vegetarian and often vegan) and we do yoga, bike, hike, have standing desks at work, and walk as much as possible. I look forward to living an even more active life on our homestead.

Yoga: Thank you, inventors of yoga. It’s what my body craves and it keeps me sane, fit, and flexible (both physically and emotionally). Thank you also to my wonderful yoga studio, which allows me to take free classes in exchange for working a shift at the front desk (I just took on a second shift involving taking out the trash in order to get another free class every week. Woo hoo!). Thank you to my fantastic favorite yoga instructors, E and K, who bring meaningful intention to their yoga classes and push me to be better week after week.

I get free yoga! Namaste!
I get free yoga! Namaste!

Wealth: Thanks to our parents for giving us a solid financial education growing up and helping us out with our undergraduate tuition (I worked at my university in order to get a free Master’s degree), Mr. FW and I have never had any debt other than our mortgage. We are tremendously thankful for this. We’ve been able to accumulate wealth far beyond what most people with our salaries attain thanks to our debt-free start post-college, our high savings rate, and our commitment to advancing our careers these past 8 years. We’re lucky beyond belief, but it has also taken a good deal of sacrifice to get where we are. Remember, we don’t eat out, we don’t go to bars, we don’t go to concerts, we don’t buy new clothes, cars, or gadgets and we certainly don’t spend mindlessly.

Mr. & Mrs. FW gussied up
Mr. & Mrs. FW gussied up

Our Marriage: I marvel at the fact that we found each other and decided to stake out this life together. We’ve had epic bumps in our journey together, but Mr. Frugalwoods and I are in the best place we’ve ever been relationship-wise. Built on trust, communication, equality, and love, our partnership has flourished under frugality–we focus on each other and our goals, not on material goods or expensive distractions.

Mr. FW here: When Mrs. FW asked me what I’m thankful for, I immediately said our relationship. Six years into our marriage, we’ve been able to re-route the direction of our lives, identify what we really want, and make our marriage vastly stronger in the process. The best day of our marriage was not our wedding day–that was a fine starting point, but the best days are today, tomorrow, and every day in the future. As we deepen our commitment to each other, our lives prosper.


Ain’t nobody got time for a grumble up in here.

What are you thankful for?

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  1. Awww! That’s a great list, I love it! I haven’t room to list all my thankfuls here but “ditto” to most of yours. Alas, I have no strange sitting Greyhound, : ( I must be thankful for my Shepherd instead. : )

    We also got an electric bed warmer (ours is a mattress pad) just a few weeks ago and LOVE it. Now we didn’t have a gift card, but we did get it for $1 at an estate sale– that’s right, 1 cool dollar bill. Our frugal nature was pretty happy with that day and every cool bedtime since!

    And I’ll take you up on the dinner offer. I’ll see you tonight and I’ll bring whatever goodies I find in the dumpster on the way over. (I know you know that’s not being offensive and cheap– it’s fun to enjoy extra blessing together with like-minded people!)

    See you later! ; )

    1. $1 for a heated mattress pad! Now that is some awesome frugal action! I would LOVE it if you came over for dinner with your dumpster food. You find the best stuff!

  2. What a lovely list. 🙂 I love that you called FH a “houndlet”… that should be a word. Enjoy your (very late, American) Thanksgiving 😉 When I was listening to your podcast with Shannon I was so astounded how in sync you two were 🙂 It’s pretty awesome!

    1. She is indeed our little houndlet (one of her 10 million nicknames 🙂 ). Thanks for listening to the podcast! We had a lot of fun doing that with Shannon.

  3. What a great post. I’m totally with you on the heated blanket. They aren’t cheap but it does wonders when you are living on the frozen tundra in a house that just doesn’t have the greatest insulation.

    1. Thank you! We feel pretty lucky we found each other. And, it’s been interesting to see how wonderful our extreme frugality has been for our relationship. It has truly brought us closer.

  4. What a wonderful list!!!! And you are both right, out of everything, you are most fortunate to have found each other. Finding someone who is on the same wavelength as you in life is a rare but precious gift and you two have found it. 🙂

  5. Beautiful gratitude list! I think I would also have to write a post in order to list out what I am thankful and grateful for. I feel extremely blessed in my life and I deeply appreciate and love the people that I count as dear to me. I found DH later in life but he was the greatest find of all. Nothing beats being with someone, who together you can carve out an amazing life with.

    1. I loved your post about your marriage–you two seem so in sync and happy. It’s inspiring! We found some good guys 🙂

  6. Great post! Lots of great things to be thankful for. How did you escape being in a no-drama family? Jealous about that one! 🙂 And good call on the electric blanket. I was thinking of suggesting that but thought there is no way they would BUY anything. 🙂 Glad you had a gift card. I like it cool when I sleep, but hate jumping into a freezing bed!

    1. Oh the electric blanket is seriously my BFF right now. It’s amazing. Always there when I need it and always willing to warm my icy feet 🙂

  7. Boy am I with you on the cooking thing! Jay’s mom was (actually!) French and the things she taught that boy! WOOHOO! Unfortunately she passed away before I came along, but I’d like to thank Mrs. Jay’s Mother, because, like you Mrs. FW, my diet was extremely one-noted before he came along. 🙂 I love your list. It covers so much! Here’s my question, you can tell Frugal Hound is trying to sit gracefully, God bless her, but do you think she’s comfortable when she sits? If you’re not sure, could you ask her for me? Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hooray for partners who cook!!! I’d probably still be eating beans out of a can if it weren’t for Mr. FW…

      Good question on the sitting hound! She never sits for long periods of time, it’s more of a transition move for her from standing to lying down. So, I tend to think it’s uncomfortable and we never actually give her the command to sit. I love when I can snap a pic of her in that position though…so absurd :)!

  8. Aw, I love this 🙂 I am also extensively grateful for coffee, which I drink to celebrate, to get down to business, to wake up, to calm down, to… well, basically mark every waking minute of my day. Sad? Time for coffee! Happy? Time for coffee! Tired? Time for coffee! Excited? Time for coffee!!

    1. Yay coffee! It’s certainly the fuel behind Frugalwoods :). I can’t drink it in the late afternoons/evenings though–it’ll keep me up! I have to switch to hot cocoa or tea at night… mmmm, anything warm is good right now.

  9. Grateful for you guys and Frugalhound! And my own hounds, husband, family, and so much more. I used to live in Somerville (and Brighton before that, and during college at BU had boyfriend at MIT) so I see Cambridge in my head and fondly remember good times had there when I read about you. Your posts are always such a pleasure.

    1. Thank you so much! You’re too kind! I’m so glad Cambridge brings good memories for you. It’s a special place, in my opinion 🙂

    1. Why thank you! That’s very nice of you to say! We’ve had a good time decorating and renovating on the cheap 🙂

  10. Check out Mrs. Frugalwood’s guns! Yoga is doing well for you;0)

    There is so much to be thankful for. The first thing that comes to mind is the hubster’s drive to do well in his career and provide for his family so I can stay home with the kids. It is such a blessing, especially on days like today when the 12-year-old boy has a fever and needs a day at home.

    1. Haha, thank you! I also lift weights (we have a weight bench at home), but yoga is my primary work-out.

      That’s wonderful you’re able to stay home with your kids–I’m sure they appreciate it so much! (or at least, they will when they’re older 🙂 )

  11. What a great list!

    Required-by-law first answer: I am grateful for my two healthy children. Sounds corny, but no one is guaranteed any healthy babies at all, and I got TWO. And they’re great.

    COFFEE. Those two healthy children have taught me to value this exquisite liquid. Especially when drunk after lunch with a Sesame Street.DVD playing.

    Mr. FP, who always makes me see things in new ways.

    My new part-time job! It’s not easy to find real entry-level work and a boss willing to invest in training someone new. I did some volunteering but frankly, anyone could look at my resume and tell how I spent the last four years (procreating).

    My Whirley-Pop! It takes one of the cheapest foodstuffs in existence (plain dried popcorn) and, with a little coconut oil, salt, and butter, turns it into exquisite deliciousness. Ahhh. I’m going to go put my jammies on and pop some right now…

    1. You have a wonderful list too! We have an air popper popcorn maker and that thing is amazing! That dried popcorn is dirt cheap and what a great meal/snack it makes. We use olive oil and salt and boy is it good.

      I’m glad you mentioned your kiddos–you’re very right that healthy babies are no guarantee. So glad that yours are!

  12. Wow this is quite the list! While I have much to be thankful for, I will keep it simple and second you and say that I’m thankful for coffee! I still can’t believe I’ve only been a coffee drinker for about 4 years. Should have started sooner haha.

    1. Awww, thank you! I know I certainly am. Poor thing is pouting right now though because we gave her a pre-Thanksgiving bath on Saturday–not her fave activity 🙂

  13. Wow feeling the love this week, what a sweet and heartfelt blog. Its lovely to watch your life plan coming together, and gain some great tips along the way. The things I have learnt from Youtube: origami, how to hang wallpaper, up-cycling furniture, how to apply make up professionally, meditation techniques. The list is endless and keeps a curious, whimmy mind happily entertained…..for free. Have a great thanks giving you guys.

    1. YouTube really is an amazing resource! Not to mention free 🙂

      Thank you for your kind words–and, I’m so glad we’ve had some useful tips!

  14. I love reading all the gratitude posts that have been written in light of Thanksgiving! I feel all warm and fuzzy. I plan on doing a special edition of what I’m grateful for next week, and I had a double dose of gratitude posts this week, so I’ll leave them out of this. 😛 I agree with all of these in some way or another. I also think you and Mr. FW need to co-write some books, on finance and relationships (and maybe hiking). =)

    1. I’ll have to check out your double dose of gratitude :)! And, I’m flattered by your book suggestion–wow, thanks!!!

  15. How does the houndlet stay warm during the day while you’re away? I feel slightly guilty leaving my scantily-furred dog at home in a cold house.

  16. That’s good to know your reasons for being grateful. Thanksgiving is really about for this. This is really a quite a list. Me? I am thankful for the good health and blessings God has given us. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Cheers!

    1. There’s just nothing quite as cozy as a heated bed! The plastic window covers are a good idea too. Hope they keep you toasty!

  17. Wonderful list! I think it’s so cool that you get free yoga classes in exchange for working there once or twice a week! That’s such a more fun a creative idea than just paying for classes! Plus, yoga classes (or at least hot yoga) can be EXPENSIVE!

    1. Thanks! I love my yoga work exchange–it’s truly perfect. Classes are $17 each so it’s a huge savings for me!

  18. Wow! What a great list!

    I love the idea and I think I have to make a full list of my own (but not here because I’d unduly clog this FW post’s comments section!). I especially like the gratitude toward much of what is easily taken for granted. Well done.

    Thank you for the “warm fuzzes”. It was wonderful to read with my morning cup of coffee.

  19. I’m thankful for my husband, who — despite being around each other all day, every day for about 6.5 years — I haven’t killed yet. But he put up with me as an undermedicated bipolar II personality for about 3 years. That would’ve been beyond tough. He also provides emotional support. (Though, oof, I wish he could cook like Mr. FW!)

    I’m thankful for my mom who helped us out financially in many ways when we were in debt. What’s more, she supported me financially while I waited for a disability claim. During which, she drained a significant amount of her savings (while she wasn’t working either) getting me therapy when my depression was at the worst.

    Also, my awesome, awesome boss. He gave me a job I can actually do (working from home) and allowed me to get off disability. And he overpays me significantly, which allowed us to get a house, which allowed us to give my in-laws a place to live in a small guest house out back. We’ve also been able to build savings because of the pay and generous yearly bonuses. In short, he’s allowed us to move out of poverty. (Without the job, we’d be living on under $1,500 a month.)

    1. Those are wonderful things to be thankful for! The help, support, and love of family is absolutely the top of my list too 🙂

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