It’s been awhile since ere I wrote that word! Mr. Frugalwoods and I had so many things we were bursting to share with you at the beginning of the new year that the ol’ Weekly Woot & Grumble hasn’t been very weekly of late. Never ye mind, mateys, we’re here today with one of the most rambling of my rambly Woot & Grumbles!

Mmmm pancakes
Mmmm pancakes


Mr. FW made homemade blueberry pancakes last weekend and they were scrumptious! And thrifty as heck! Can’t beat made from scratch. Am I right, frugal peeps?

Mr. and Mrs. FW in the Sun

We’re headed out to balmy San Diego tomorrow to spend the week visiting with my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, my brother and sister-in-law, my nieces, nephew, and whatever the equivalent is of nieces and nephews who happen to be dogs.

As I mentioned last month, we make this trek to the west coast every January. Why January? Because it’s the absolute cheapest time to fly. None of these pricey Christmas week flights for us, we’d rather celebrate on the frugal weirdo schedule.

This is not photoshop. This is the actual view from my parents’ deck.

I’ve divulged many of our deepest, darkest frugal travel hacks in the past, so I’ll just give the quick-n-dirty rundown of ways we’re saving money on this trip:

  • First and foremost: those cheap flights! $216/person round-trip from Boston to San Diego. BAM.
  • No checked bags. That’s $100 saved right there for one checked bag per person round-trip.
  • We’ll bring our own food to the airport, thus avoiding the outrageously priced vittles vended in the terminal. I’d wager that’s $50 saved, if you take into account both legs of the journey.
  • Dearest Frugal Hound is staying for free at our fantastic greyhound friends’ house. Boarding her for the duration of our trip would cost a whopping $400 (the kennel near us, which we’ve never actually used, is $50/night), so we are deeply grateful to our friends!
  • For everyone keeping score, that’s $550 saved, without even accounting for the savings we reaped on the flights, which we calculated is $693.60 over a Christmas-week flights, thus bringing our total amount saved to: $1,243.60!

Advance planning is what really yields frugal travel. All of these elements require us to think ahead and prepare, but it’s a worthy trade-off for the money we’ll save. I prefer a smooth and organized sojourn myself, so the prep work of making our food, packing carefully, and booking flights strategically is all just part of the process for me.

Another view from their deck.

Next Week On Frugalwoods

Never fear, we won’t leave you in the lurch next week while we’re off gallivanting! I’m delighted to share that we’ll be hosting a marvelous guest post from Mr. 1500 of 1500 Days to Freedom and a very special Frugal Hound Sniffs from Kassandra of More Than Just Money. Be sure to check them out next week on Frugalwoods!

Relatedly, earlier this week, I shared our top 11 most extreme frugal weirdo activities in a post I wrote over at Debt.com. Go check it out and, big thanks to Debt.com for hosting Frugalwoods!

Let’s Get Social

Am I on the social medias?
Am I on the social medias?

I took the opportunity during my idyllic few days off over the holidays to mess up ramp up our social media exploits. Thus, I formally invite you to follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook, pin me (?) on Pinterest, and insta me (?) on Instagram.

Please tell me there aren’t any other outlets I need to create an account for… Frugal Hound is not living up to her duties as assigned as our social media manager.

The whole experience was a bonanza of Frugal Hound photos and me clomping my way through how to use all of these social, local, vegan, free range, mobile, gluten-free, new-fangled platforms, but you can now watch a video of Frugal Hound on Instagram. So, we can all rest assured that the world is a better place. And, truth be told, I am having a lot of fun posting even more photos! Though I’m definitely probably going to be banned from Instagram for spamming the world with greyhound photos.

Greetings, Canadians!

I want to take a moment in the midst of this especially incongruous Woot & Grumble to give a hearty shout out to all of our new Canadian readers (as well as the wonderful Canadian readers who’ve been with us from the beginning). This week, a plethora of folks hailing from that great country signed up for our Frugalwoods email list and we’re just thrilled–thank you!

I imagine this surge is due to the mention Frugalwoods received in The Globe and Mail earlier this week, but maybe it’s actually a product of the fact that Canadians have impeccable taste. Mr. FW is very enthusiatic about Canada as a whole and proclaimed this evening, “if i could be born in any country other than the US, it would be Canada!” I’ll add that to his to-do list for him…

Our Other Readers Are Awesome Too!

It’s not just Canadians who are fabulous, everyone who reads Frugalwoods is fabulous! How do I know this? Because you all have left some astoundingly helpful, insightful, and thoughtful comments over these past few weeks.

Randomly, here's another photo of Mr. FW's pancakes!
For no apparent reason, here’s another photo of Mr. FW’s pancakes!

We’ve been blown away by the response to my post about not buying clothes, our 2014 savings rate, and our future homestead budget. It’s incredibly rewarding to receive such astute (and hilarious) feedback and I appreciate that you take the time not only to read, but to share your thoughts as well. If you’ve never commented on a post before, I invite you to do so today!

The most humorous comment award of the week (this might become a new Woot & Grumble feature) goes to reader Tarynkay who, after very kindly giving me detailed advice on how to cut my own hair, listed the final step in the hair-cutting process as “If you hate it [the home haircut], drink a glass of wine and read something inspiring about feminism. Remember that it is winter so you can wear a lot of hats for awhile.” Sage wisdom, my friends.

Thank you for your emails too! I love getting emails from readers (especially when they contain cute pet photos, as I received this week) and I encourage you to get in touch (mrsfrugalwoods@gmail.com) anytime you have a question, suggestion, or just want to say hi (or send me cute pet photos…).


Frugal Hound shows off our sweet 18-yr-old ride
Frugal Hound shows off our sweet 19-yr-old ride

We’ve got a muffler down! The exhaust system fell off our dear old Frugalwoods-mobile (who recently turned 19-years-old). It was one of those moments when we took profound comfort in the fact that our mechanic is a mere few blocks from our house.

I sloowwwwwly inched Frugalwoods-mobile over there last week and, they were able to fit her out with a brand new exhaust system from the catalytic converter back (muffler, flex pipe, mounting brackets–the works) for a mere $380, which included a used–but good condition–catalytic converter. One of the bummers of our current city home is that we have no driveway and no garage and hence, nowhere to work on the car ourselves.

We know the FW-mobile won’t run forever, but we’d certainly like to eek out a few more good years if we can. This particular vintage of Honda Odyssey (the 1996) turns out to be the best year for the Odyssey. We see other ’96s on the road with more frequency that you might expect, given their advanced age. She’s now purring like Frugal Hound when you rub her ears, so I’d say crisis averted. The Frugalwoods-mobile lives on into 2015!

How you doin'?
How you doin’?

How old is your car? What are your tips for saving money while on vacay? Are you Canadian? Discuss.

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  1. Mmmm, pancakes… But why are they so tiny? Big pancakes FTW!

    Good save on the van. Our car is on the new side (2006) and we hope to keep it for quite a few years yet. (Aim 200K miles, and she just hit 100K.)

    1. They were tasty-n-tiny! I ate about 10 of them, so it’s probably a good thing they were on the small side…

      200K is a worthy goal! Frugalwoods-mobile is at around 202K right now and still chugging along (fingers crossed she lasts a few more years).

  2. Greetings from the UK.

    Nice car! I got myself a 13 year old motorbike. Superb for fuel. Not so much for taking the dog out.

    I always try to travel with hand luggage only.

    I spent 4 weeks surfing France one year. To save money… I slept in my old car. It was uncomfortable but cheap. And as as bonus no one bothers you because you look like a nutter.

    Love the blog

    Mr Z

    1. Surfing France and sleeping in a car sounds pretty good to me! Glad to know we have readers across the pond too :). Thanks so much for stopping by!

      1. *raises hand* Another Aussie greyhound-owning reader here! In fact, it was the Frugal Hound avatar on MMM that brought me here!

      2. *feels vindicated at mention of Aussie readers*


        Yay and Hi to other Aussie Christine, where are you? I am SA. x

  3. LOVE me some blueberry pancakes – they are the BEST!!!! SD looks SO beautiful. Deacon (from WKW) just went there on biz last week and sent me a photo of him with the ocean in the background – it looks absolutely gorgeous! Very impressed with your frugal travel hacks, especially the bringing your own food one. There’s nothing worse than paying three bucks for a candy bar at the airport that you could’ve gotten for 50 cents at Walmart. Have an awesome trip, my friends!

    1. It definitely pays to bring our own food to the airport! I always feel like we’re the only people who do it, but, I’m glad to hear we’re not. We are really looking forward to San Diego, I must confess :).

  4. Proud to be a Canadian over here, we do have great taste! (everything up here tastes like maple syrup, i’ts true!) The photo from your parents’ deck looks beautiful, I wish I had the same view from my igloo. I hope Frugal Hound has a nice vacation too, my dog sledding dogs are looking for the snow to melt so they can have some time off. Off to patch the canoe, eh!

  5. Tarynkay, you are wonderful: “drink a glass of wine and read something inspiring about feminism” is pretty much always the answer (no matter what the question is.)

    I drive a ’98 Honda Civic, which I bought from a college friend last summer when I moved out of NYC. It’s only got 103,000 miles on it and I paid cash, so even though I don’t like it that much (it’s a 2-door and doesn’t have enough cargo space for me) I hope to drive it for years to come 🙂 As it happens, last winter I did have to replace the catalytic converter (which rusted through) and the muffler (which was *about* to rust through and the mechanic and I decided to just go for it) — cost about $300 including parts and has been running really well ever since.

    1. I completely agree with you and Tarynkay–rarely is that a poor decision :).

      Civics are great cars too! I’ve really had excellent luck with Hondas and Toyotas over the years. Here’s hoping your Civic is long-lived too!

  6. Florida reader in the house!
    Those pancake pics made me hungry! And I have no doubt that any leftovers were frozen for a future meal or snack 🙂
    I travel on the cheap ALL the time – I never pay for bag check, have a collapsible water bottle so as to not pay for any overpriced bottled aqua (this also appeals to my inner tree hugger!) and I ALWAYS pack food for the plane ride and snacks for the trip itself – when hunger strikes I have granola or Clif bar at the ready in my bag! I’m well known among my friends for getting MORE than my monies worth at any hotel free continental breakfast – as I stash fruit & cereal in my backpack for later 🙂
    I do love your Frugal Hound pics, my Thrifty Kitty, Penny, would love to meet her 😉

    1. Hello Florida reader! We did indeed eat the leftover pancakes as a snack with our afternoon coffee the next day–how did you know ;)! You sound exactly like me and Mr. FW at a free continental breakfast! So glad to hear we’re not the only frugal weirdo travelers out there. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  7. A big “thanks, eh!” from another Canadian. We are a pretty good bunch. I’m not really that far from Vermont/Mass. and have spent a few vacations in Vermont. I agree with Emily – would love to have a view like what you posted from my igloo. Palm trees wouldn’t last long here, alas. I enjoyed reading this post with my morning cup of maple syrup. Handy to have a cousin that makes his own – costs me $10 for a 40oz. bottle instead of $20+ in the grocery store for a tiny can.

    On a more serious note, we drive a ’00 honda cr-v and it has 365,000km (had to go google the mileage conversion: 226,000) and it is still running well for the most part. We had to replace something – tie rods maybe…? – this fall, but that repair wasn’t too pricy. Fingers crossed that we can get a bit more time out of the old girl.

    I have no real tips/great cheap travel stories. I’m in a city that is not a major travel hub, so things inevitably cost more. Hence, our travel has been limited the past few years.

    Enjoy your break in San Diego!

    1. So glad to have another Canadian here on Frugalwoods :)! And, I’m jealous of your maple syrup connection–sounds divine! Hondas really are great vehicles aren’t they. Here’s hoping you can get a few more years out of yours too! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  8. I’m sorry to hear about your muffler 🙁 On the other hand those are some great travel hacks. I hear January is the best time to travel for less, but your tips make it all that much better!

    1. January is definitely a cheap time to travel! Everyone just traveled for Christmas, so it’s the perfect opportunity to pounce on decent fares 🙂

  9. I hope that you guys have safe travels out west and enjoy your family time!!! We love making homemade pancakes as well. We used to use Bisquick, but then found a recipe from scratch which is not only cheaper but more yummy. I love that you guys are getting lots of love! Your story is definitely a compelling one to follow.

  10. We have a 99 Accord! Not that many miles on it for a Honda (about 130), but Mr. FP HATES it. Sigh. So I did not buy new rims to put snow tires on, I just had the old ones taken off the rims and stashed (thinking that we will not have the car enough longer to make it pay off). Kinda jealous of your Odyssey! A minivan would be overkill for two kids and no dog, but I salivate over those doors every time I have to unload a preschooler from a car seat and I’m parked next to another car.

    Mr. FP and Grandma FP are both teachers, so we had to visit over Christmas or not at all. We saved a lot of (my mother’s) money by flying Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. And instead of shelling out for bizarrely expensive airport parking, we used RTD SkyRide, which involves taking a bus from a distant station with ample parking.

    1. Yay Hondas! We really do like the Odyssey. It’s way too much space for us, but then again, it has been incredibly handy for moving furniture, lumber, bikes, 3 greyhounds at a time, etc.

      Good call on avoiding airport parking! We never park there either. Fortunately we can take public transit, which is a pretty good deal.

  11. I’m purposely not showing those San Diego pics to Mrs. Frugal Rules…otherwise I’ll be planning another trip out there. 🙂 My in-laws live there and is probably my favorite city…not that I’d be biased at all or anything. 😉 That said, those pancakes look amazing… made from scratch ones are hands down the best. Have safe travels and say “Hi” to the Pacific for us!

    1. That’s great that your in-laws live in San Diego! It’s wonderful when family live somewhere awesome! The pancakes really were amazing, I can’t lie… Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

  12. That’s not too bad for a muffler and considering how old FW mobile is! We do have two cars which are both paid off, but we only met 6+ years ago and had our own cars. His (well our) is a 2005 Subaru Outback paid off before I even met him in 2008. I brought a 1998 gold Saturn sedan into the marriage (17 years old). Going on 190,000 miles and not one repair in the past 6 years (off to find some wood to knock on). I feel like I need to be doing some kind of maintenance??? I was looking up reviews and someone described it “as exciting as low-fat vanilla yogurt.” Yep, that about sums it up. I had been carless for 8 months prior to this purchase, putting myself through school, working nearly full time – life was already hard. A car just made things easier. I paid $2200 for this Saturn in 2008. I’ll keep it until it costs too much to keep alive. Then maybe we’ll try one car while we assess our needs.

    While we are not Canadian, we did get married in the Canadian Rockies on a road tripping weddingmoon! It was awesome! Neither of us had been to this area either. We hope to go back for our 5th to visit some spots we missed (like Lake O’Hara). I think we could live in the Canadian Rockies and surrounding mountains.

    Which brings me to trips! We love our vacations. I think we go on a “trip” every month roughly, sometimes a couple times a month. I say “trip” because sometimes it’s somewhere 2 hours away with a tent. That would suffice as a trip for some folks! Last summer we were gone EIGHT weekends in a row Jul-Aug – all doing fun trips. To keep things cheap, many of our fair weather trips involve camping and making dinner at camp, even if it’s reheating soup. Having this ability to camp wherever really gives us flexibility to stop whenever we feel like it so we’re not bound to a schedule (lots of free/cheap camp land in the west).

    Have a lovely time in San Diego!

    1. Sounds like you got a great deal on that Saturn! I hope it serves you well for many years to come. Do you like the Outback? We’ve been toying with the idea of a Subaru as the eventual Frugalwoods-mobile replacement.

      Love your camping vacays–they sound awesome! And, I would love to go to the Canadian Rockies someday.

      1. Subarus are great for going on sketchy dirt roads and for loading toys on top since it’s shorter. We once pulled a truck out of the snow with the Subaru! The cargo space is good and we have even slept in it. However, the back seats are not very comfy to sit in and lack decent leg room IMO. Not fun for guests. We actually road tripped in a friend’s mini van and I think it was more comfortable to sit in for long periods and fit more stuff honestly. The van wasn’t as good on sketchy dirt roads however or had the clearance. We did replace the head on ours before it crapped out, at a tune of $2500. Ouch. Otherwise it’s been good to us and has fit our needs so far. We may pull a very small camping trailer with it in the future.

        1. The head gasket problem with subarus does give me pause, but I’ve heard the 4 cylinders have a much higher rate of failure than the 6. So maybe we could sacrifice a bit of mpg for some additional reliability. It’s also true that a bunch of used subies on craigslist advertise that they’ve already had the head gasket done…. so that could be a good option too.

  13. Love the FW stories! Keep them coming. Can we also get the recipes for the food Mr. FW makes? I like making things from scratch and would like to hear about your recipes.

    Thanks so much 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Dee! We are indeed planning to start publishing Mr. FW’s recipes very soon. He doesn’t actually cook from recipes, so we’ve needed to have him call out the ingredients and the steps while he cooks and I write it all down :). So, hopefully we’ll have some coming your way soon!

  14. I’m from Newfoundland! I’ve been reading for a few months though. So not new. 🙂 I do have plans to travel to New England some time in the next couple years. My mom has a friend in New Hampshire and she said she’d pick us up in Boston if we flew there.

    I have a 2010 Kia Forte. I bought her new and she is my first car EVER. 🙂 She currently has approximately 25,500 miles on her and is still under warranty. After the winter we had last year I considered trading her in for something higher off the ground with heated seats and a remote starter but common sense prevailed. I’m currently underwater on her (and she’s so low on mileage) so it would have made absolutely no sense to trade her in. I’ve been working on being happier with her and I’m planning to keep her longer than I had originally planned. I actually made a great discovery this week about my car loan. I was going over the documents and my interest rate is only 0.9%. I always thought it was 1.9%.

    Have a wonderful trip. I wish I was going somewhere warm. I’m already sick of shoveling. 🙂

    1. You are one of the original Canadian readers, thank you for being here :)!! And hey, that is a great discovery about your car loan–always good to find things better than expected :).

    1. Hahah! True. Without thumbs indeed! I’m thinking she could just use her snout to nose things on the iPad, right?

  15. We live in San Diego! Hope you have a great trip. It was 70 here yesterday when I got home from work (which is warm for January), hope it’s nice while you are here. One time my muffler fell off a car, just before the catalytic converter, while I was on the highway (I-84 in NY just before Connecticut, driving to Boston/Brighton, where I lived at the time). I was on the side of the highway trying to pull it off so I could drive to a nearby Meineke and get it fix, but I couldn’t do it. A man stopped and did it for me, put the part in the trunk, and I made it to the Meineke. A couple of hours later, the muffler was fixed and I was back on the road. Then, still in Connecticut, I was side-swiped and knocked into a guardrail by a notorious drunk driving dentist in that particular area, and my car was totaled. It was a rough day. Funny now though!

    1. Hey San Diegan :)! 70 sounds good–I confess I’m really hoping it’ll be unseasonably warm while we’re there. It’s just such a nice little respite from our frigid temps.

      Oh my goodness–that’s so scary about your car! Glad you were OK. Drunk driving is beyond despicable.

  16. Have fun in San Diego. Did you grow up there? That’s one of my favorite places on earth. We had a cracked catalytic converter last year on our 2008 Nissan. I love people in small towns because they really try to help you out rather than screw you over in most cases. Our mechanic thought he “might” be able to weld it but no guarantees. I told him I had faith and to go ahead. It worked like a charm and the crisis was averted!

    1. I did grow up in San Diego–we moved to the midwest when I was 9. It’s a pretty fabulous place, I agree :)! Good deal on your catalytic converter–definitely a crises averted!

  17. Reminds me of the time in high school when the muffler dropped off my car on the way to work. Suddenly it sounded like I was dragging a bunch of tin cans behind me. Luckily, there were bungee cords in the trunk and I ingeniously tied the muffler to the underside of the car, although it would occasionally bounce and smack the road.

    Surely those savings estimates are a little optimistic. There must be pet sitters cheaper than $50/night. We’re traveling next weekend to Florida. Maeby is going to her $20/night home while we’re gone. Thanks to miles and points, our trip will be free, except for Uber to get to and from the hotel.

    1. Way to go on using all miles and points–that’s awesome! You’re probably right about cheaper pet sitters. I just googled for the closest dog boarding to us and $50/night was their lowest rate. Hope you have a great trip!

  18. Those blueberry pancakes look absolutely scrumptious…. I know what I’m making Saturday morning now!

    Nice save with the van, vehicle expenses always make me cringe. So much cheaper than having to buy an entire new ride though!

    1. I definitely recommend the homemade blueberry pancake situation :). We were so happy to just pay $380 to patch the ol’ mobile up. Anything to get a few more years out of her! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Thanks! Good luck too! Make sure to get multiple opinions, and ask if you can sub in used parts. That’s a common car to find in a junkyard, and that can dramatically lower your costs!

  19. Awesome update! I hope that before you rush out the door to visit family you have a little time to check out your basement. I remember you saying that you’re basement was a little scary cluttered and I made a mental note to remind you to check in with my blog on basement day so you can inspired. Well… that day’s here! Okay fine. You can wait until you get back from enjoying family and life first. Have a great time! : P

    And maybe you can have a family member help cut your hair then you can sit down with the wine together. It’s funner that way. : ) I should have done that when a friend cut my hair for me once and cried because she thought she ruined it. Heck, maybe if I’da put the wine in her first the cut would have even turned out better! (It was pretty pathetic, yes.) I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone though. I WOULD, however, recommend making the memories. Adventures with hair and scissors. Not just for two year olds and their younger siblings anymore. Good times, good times.

    1. Oh girl, I have not even started on the basement yet! Wall of shame ;)! Fortunately, it’s not outwardly cluttered, it’s just that the shelves are so not organized. And, we have tons of stuff we don’t need. So yeah, I need to do it!!! But, it’s definitely not going to happen before we leave tomorrow… sigh.

      I’ve been thinking I might con my sister or mom into cutting my hair while I’m out there. Probably before the wine starts though 😉

  20. We have an 07 Camry and an 08 Accord. Both are reliable, safe, and get great mileage. Our last Accord was finally put to rest when it had 224,000 miles on it! It was still running, but needed some costly repairs.

    1. 224k miles is nothing to sneeze at! Our venerable minivan may be 19 years old, but she only has a bit over 200k. So it’s been a relatively easy 19 years! May she live to see 25!

    1. Yeah, it’s nice to not wonder if we’ll pass emissions every year. I suppose we could have just cut out the cat and replaced it with straight pipe… but the used cat was super cheap so we might as well do it right.

  21. 2002 Ford Windstar minivan. Love it! It hauls large furniture in a safe and covered way. Our 19 year old Pontiac Transsport minivan had to be hauled away a few years ago. My how I loved her. She looked like a spaceship! A red one!

    Have fun in San Diego! Thanks for the Woot and Grumble! Entertaining as always! 😀

    1. Good ‘ole minivans! We even brought our (full sized) couch home from craigslist in the back of ours. The rear door even closed! Our neighbors looked at us like were were pulling the couch out of some illusionist clown car. It totally didn’t look like it should have fit, but it did!


  22. W00t! Can hardly wait for the guest post. The Frugalwoods always bring out the best in me and it was a blast to write.

    $380 seems like a great deal considering you had to get the catalytic converter too. I’ve heard of people paying $1000 for just the cat alone. Platinum ain’

    Lack of garage space is a drag. When you have your homestead, I hope you have (or build) a huge, heated (and very well insulated) barn for a killer workshop. You could build furniture, brew beer, carry out mad science experiments, drink beer (after you put down the power tools), work on art, brew/drink more beer (OK while or even before painting) and even perform the occasional car or tractor repair…

    1. Definitely part of the plan. Though I don’t know if I want to try and heat the whole barn… more likely just a section where I can wrench on stuff with wild abandon. I occasionally see surplus metal buildings on craigslist for pretty cheap. That might be a good option if the property we get doesn’t have an existing structure.

      1. Yeah, just get a little pellet stove that you can fire up when the mood strikes.

        PS: I’m going to put another vote in for the nano-brewery. And the banjo playing.

  23. I drive a ’95 dodge spirit. It is a full sized sedan. I bought it from my sister-in-law’s grandmother so it is literally a granny car! But I only paid $3000 for it and has never had any major work. It is a little bit crowded in the back seat since we recently had our third child. However I plan to drive it until it dies! I’m a big fan of any kind of berry in our homemade pancakes!

    1. Mid nineties cars represent! Our ranks may be dwindling, but I always give a wave of solidarity to any other 90s Odyssey drivers I see. We’re so cool…

  24. ka-na-ta! And since you’re American, I don’t imagine you know what I’m referring to and the magic of Heritage Minutes. Youtube those suckers ASAP, for some Canadian history lessons 🙂

    My car is a mere babe compared to your Odyssey, at 8 years old. It’s still going relatively strong. I’m aiming for 10 years, but if it’s still in good shape, well why not keep pushing it!

    1. Heading over to Youtube stat! Hey, 8 years is nothing to sneeze at! I’m laboring under the delusion that Frugalwoods-mobile will run forever, but I do fear her days are numbered…

  25. Canuck here with my budget travel tips. The best one was in Paris we rented an apartment. Two adults, two teens and one kid would need to use 2 hotel rooms. The rooms there are so small so we rented an apt. More room, washer and dryer and kitchen. We were able to shop in markets and grocery stores and save so much. Did this in Belgium too. Mind you it is hard to fly to Europe on a budget but it was the trip of a lifetime.

    1. Greetings Canuck :)! Renting an apartment is a fabulous frugal idea. We’re big fans of grocery shopping when traveling too–it’s just always cheaper than eating out for every meal. AirBnB has served that purpose for us well in our domestic travel. Love having a kitchen when traveling :). Thanks for sharing!

  26. Australia again – I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog and my husband reads often too. You’re such an inspiration. THANK YOU!

    1. Hello Australia! So glad to have you here :)! I really appreciate your kind words–thank you so much for reading 🙂

  27. Minnesota Reader In Da House! – My car is 2007 Chrysler Sebring – paid off of course! I take good mechanical care of her at 120K miles so far. Hope to get at least another 5 years of economic driving.! Keep on Keepin On Mr and Mrs F!!! Love reading your posts – and hope you have the merriest January Christmas with your loved ones!

    1. Howdy Minnesota! Way to go on having a paid off vehicle–I bet you can get a few more good years out of her :). Thank you so much for reading, glad to have you here!

  28. Thanks for those frugal travel tips! I too make the trek from Boston to the west coast at least once a year to see family, and it can get *pricey*. Unfortunately for me, both the boyfriend’s and my jobs don’t allow us to travel during non-peak times, so we’re always looking for other areas we can save. Cross country flights are not cheap in the summer, but flying without checked luggage (or on Jetblue or Southwest where you can check for free) makes a huge difference!

    1. You’re so right about the checked baggage–to be avoided if at all possible! It takes some creativity for us sometimes, but we’re usually able to manage it just fine. I confess I do love the free checked bags (and free snacks!) on JetBlue :).

  29. FWs,

    Nice move there on the travel. We’re saving similar money on our trip to Omaha to catch a glimpse of ol’ Buffett in person. Cheap flights (under $500 round-trip for both of us), no checked baggage, no airport food, and we’re not bringing our little pup along. A lot of cash saved. Unfortunately, we’re not visiting family, so we’ll have to book a hotel room. Maybe Buffett will let us crash on his couch?

    Our car isn’t as old as yours, but we were able to score a 2006 Corolla with ~20k miles for $5,400. Not too shabby. Although, I’d actually prefer to be car-free (and carefree) again. A lot less money and hassle. Cars suck.

    Have a great weekend!

    Best regards.

    1. You should totally crash at Buffett’s house! He’s a frugal guy, he’d understand ;). Corollas are good cars–I’ve had great luck with Toyotas over the years. Hope you have a great weekend too!

  30. Pancakes! My favourite food. Why so small though? 🙂

    Great job on the cheap travel! Yesterday I was looking for plane tickets to some European destinations and was really surprised to find that prices were lower than ever before because the big holiday rush is over. On top of that, oil prices have gone down so much that some companies have started offering rebates.

    Have a great weekend over there,

    1. The pancakes were definitely small but mighty :). That’s great that you’re finding cheap airfare over there too–makes such a difference for the prospects of travel!

  31. Thanks to an icy accident a year ago (which totaled my poor car), I’m driving my grandma’s old car, a 1993 Mercury Sable. They don’t make them like that anymore!! (Literally, they don’t make this wagon anymore…which I take to mean I drive a one-of-a-kind). Being in my mid-20’s, I wasn’t super excited to drive a 22 year old purple station wagon, but it’s paid off, has only 140,000 miles (less than 6,500 miles per year!), and is $20 a month to insure. The only downside is the fact that there is only a tape player and radio, but it has cruise, electric windows, and can carry a crazy amount of stuff. So I’ll be rockin’ the wagon for another couple years until I can save up enough to buy a new (to me) car with cash. And I think I win so far for the oldest car…

    1. That’s awesome! A 22-yr-old purple station wagon is 100% up my alley! My last car was a 1990 Toyota Camry station wagon and I loved the cargo space. I think you’re right–you’re winning oldest car!

  32. Congrats on the Globe and Mail mention! I must be living under a rock as I had no idea. I follow Carrick on Twitter and I’m Canadian too…oh my! I loved your Year without Buying Clothes post, so far I’m doing good in my challenge. Only 11 and a half more months to go…LMAO!
    I have a 2011 car and I’m planning on driving it for at least ten years. It will be paid off next year which I am uber happy about, I can’t stand car payments.

    1. Thank you so much! We were pretty excited and flattered :).

      Way to go on the clothes challenge–woohoo! I think the first month is the hardest. Once you get acclimated to the idea, it just becomes second nature. Good luck!

  33. Another funny and enjoyable Woot & Grumble! Your bill for your exhaust repair sounds very reasonable. Love those Odysseys! I guess they last because they are named after that ancient piece of Greek Literature! We actually have a vehicle older than yours–a 1988 GMC Sierra. Our oldest son is the only reason it keeps going. He’s quite the mechanic thanks to some good genetics and Youtube videos. Mr. FW looks like quite the pancake expert and there is nothing at all like fresh pancakes. Enjoy your family vacation!

    1. OH wow–1988! That’s downright vintage! I am impressed :). And, I think you’re our new winner for oldest car! Kudos to your son for keeping it running!

      The pancakes were pretty good, I must say 🙂

  34. I love homemade pancakes – frugal and delicious (plus you can flavor them up in so many ways). I’m stalking you on all the social medias now (minus Twitter – I’ve held out on that one). Have a wonderful trip!

    1. Agreed on homemade pancakes! They’re pretty ideal. I’m so excited you’re stalking me on social media–thank you! Now you can see me mess up on many different platforms ;).

  35. Good Morning from Canada, Eh! (yes, I do say “eh”, it’s been imbedded in my vocabulary and won’t come out). I recently tried making pancakes from scratch for BF and I, needless to say I won’t be doing that again any time soon. They were less than desirable. My car is a used 2008 Jeep Patriot named Jerry (or Jerald when he’s acting up).

  36. Yay San Diego! I love it there. We’ve been doing a not-as-frugal annual pilgrimage for Comic Con and long have I considered it my replacement for Christmas 🙂

    Re: at home haircuts – I only pay for one real haircut a year when I don’t have a handy hair school nearby or can’t afford the 2.5-3 hour commitment for a student session (how else would you get a good $10-12 cut and style??), so I’d taken to cutting my own bangs. Trims 1-3 were fine, trim #4 taught me bobby pins and a good sense of humor gets you through a fair amount of “oooooooops” moments. Also: stop cutting after the 1st oops, not the third. 😉

    PiC has Odyssey envy, we’re waiting for the latest models to get older before we look at adding one or replacing one of the current fleet.

    Hope you have a great time in CA!

    1. I’m very impressed with all of you who cut your own hair! I really need to give it a try! We really do like our Odyssey–I don’t know much about the newer models, but I imagine they’re great cars too. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      1. I must admit the at-home cuts work for me because they’re only trims and I don’t get out and about so much that I worry about how a botched trim looks. 🙂

        1. Haha, good plan! I think I’ll just be doing a trim too–I’ve gotten used to long hair at this point 🙂

  37. I recently found your blog and it is so refreshing! I recently moved to the Boston area from an area with a much lower cost of living (the Midwest). It’s great to see that others strive to save and do it so well even in an area notorious for its high cost of living! Thanks for all of the fun reading (and pictures of the cute pup!)

    1. Hi Kaley! So glad you found us! Welcome to Frugalwoods and to Boston :). It’s definitely possible to be frugal in the city and I actually find that it facilitates frugality much of the time. There are so many free events/activities in the area and, it’s such a bike-friendly place. Also, if you haven’t discovered Market Basket for groceries yet–run don’t walk to your nearest ;)! It’s so incredibly cheap. Let me know if you have any Boston-area questions!

  38. I thought you would enjoy Instagram since it’s a fabulous excuse to post more pics of Frugal Hound. 😉 Enjoy your trip to SD. The SoCal weather has been gorgeous lately.

    1. I really do like Instagram :)! The weather is gorgeous here–there’s nothing like blogging on the deck in January 🙂

    1. Hahah, yes! Thank you! Mr. FW and I have been telling each other that drinking wine and reading about feminism is the answer to all of our problems 🙂

  39. Hey Frugalwoods!

    Love this post! Any chance we could see more itemized/detailed list of grocery expenditures? Our grocery bills is running $450, and we still eat out a couple times a month, so I know we could be doing a lot better! We’ve been eating a lot of stews, beans lentils, rice, veggies, etc, but still can’t seem to make it work! Any help would be appreciated.

    Also, I have been trying to get our electricity bill down. We are still going over 1000 kWh a month and it’s driving me crazy! I’ve unplugged a lot of the TVs and electronics in the spare bedrooms and am working with Mrs. Bobcat on controlling the thermostat. I’ve set my sights on the water heater now and am curious what you guys have yours set at? There seems to be a fine line between too hot causing scalding/wasting energy and not hot enough not killing any bacteria.


    Max Bobcat

    1. Hi Max! All great questions! I actually have two posts coming up in the next week that both address some of our tactics for saving money around groceries. Not eating out definitely helps us keep our costs low and I have posts in our “Food” category that discuss what we eat for breakfast, tips for avoiding food waste, and general posts on frugalizing your groceries. I hope that these might be helpful!

      To your question on the water heater–we don’t actually have a temperature setting listed in degrees on our water heater, but we have it set at a low threshold. Best of luck to you and thanks for stopping by :)!

  40. 1997 Toyota Landcruiser bought outright when it was 2 years old. 329,000 miles and it’s still going! Brand loyal to Toyota, have had three and no problems. TheLandcruiser is starting to have issues just in the last two years – replaced the radiator, small oil leak, and the master cylinder went out but otherwise still in great working order. I struggle with whether to replace the vehicle as it does not get good gas mileage as newer SUV vehicles but I don’t drive it every day and I’m wondering if I should eek out a few more years. We got this when the kids (4!) were little and we needed to get them here and there and then later transport with their friends so it’s really too big for us now. I hate to spend the money on a new car though. New Landcruisers are 80K – not happening. 🙁

    I always make homemade pancakes!

    1. Sounds like an awesome vehicle! I love Toyotas. The only other car I’ve ever owned was a 1990 Toyota Camry station wagon, which ran for years and years. I hope your Landcruiser will tough it out for a few more years for you!

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