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.
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.
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:
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).
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.
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: 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!
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.
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.
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.