Babywoods: seriously not concerned about stuff that broke
Babywoods: seriously not concerned about stuff that broke

Just call us the Spendywoods this month. Yes indeed, we blew our $1,000/month spending goal way far away. Like $1,121.68 away. But you know what? It’s all good. We spend less in the months where we can so that we don’t sweat the expensive times. Because unexpected expenses are a routine part of life–much like moles, we all have them and though we might try to conceal them, we know they’re there. So rather than hide our warts, I have them proudly on display for you fine folks.

A Lot Broke

If I had a theme song for February, it would be “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” with a few slight modifications to: “Apparently Breaking Is Easy To Do (in our house this month).” A tad less catchy I’ll admit. Here’s the thing: a rather hefty percentage of things we own decided to break last month, which really kept life scintillating for us.

Also, don’t get too excited because I’m not going to divulge everything in this one post… you’d be sad if I did because instead… I’m going to do a whole series of posts on stuff that broke! Woohoo!

The One Thing We Didn’t Break

A sweat. Oh that’s right, I went there. And I know you’re glad I did. Why didn’t we break a sweat? Well, for one, it’s like zero degrees here. But more to the point, months like February are precisely why we’re frugal and why we save. When unanticipated expenses come our way, we don’t worry at all. It’s truly no big deal because we can cover just about any emergency in cash, in full. And that’s the beauty of having money in the bank! (of course it’s an internet bank, so technically it’s just a bunch of ones and zeros…. ).

Mr. Frugalwoods Now Knows How To Be A Plumber

Our jealous oven peeking out
Our jealous oven peeking out

Guess what Mr. Frugalwoods learned last month? How to be a plumber! Remember when it was super duper cold a few weeks back? Well, a few of our pipes do too. And several of them decided to go ahead and freeze and then burst (this regrettable pipe-life choice despite our warming efforts with heating pads, hair dryers, and sweet sweet music… hey, when in crises, sing to your pipes).

Well, they froze and burst all the same (in front of our very eyes!) and rather than pay a plumber an exorbitant fee to rush to our house on a Sunday night, Mr. FW insourced it by hitting up the old YouTube and then the old Home Depot. He then re-plumbed our kitchen by himself. Woot! I promise to devote more air time to this thrilling topic in a post coming your way soon. Spoiler alert: heat tape was installed! I know you’re on the edge of your seat now.

The Oven Was Jealous

Naturally, on the Sunday night that Mr. FW was teaching himself Plumbing 101, we reckoned it was a great time for an emergency frozen pizza. I went to turn on the oven and… crickets. Seeing the attention the pipes were getting, our previously stalwart oven decided to leap into the fray of broken objects. We’ve ordered some parts and are awaiting delivery; thus, the oven victory story is TBD… I’ll keep you posted. Fortunately, our burners still work so we were able to resort to our frozen meals stash. Always have a back-up, people!

So Was Frugalwoods-mobile

My beautiful closet doors I refinished myself (now broken)
My beautiful closet doors I refinished myself (now broken)

It pains me to even write these words as I was am deeply and emotionally attached to Frugalwoods-mobile. And so, I’ll say no more in this post. Don’t force me! I can’t even. A detailed explanation is forthcoming, I promise.

Other Things Broke Too

It has actually become somewhat bizarre around here as things seemingly shatter around us. So far, one of our mirrored closet doors (the ones I so lovingly refinished!) met an untimely demise and we are, again, awaiting delivery of a part ordered on Amazon. Additionally, some other stuff too, but I can’t even remember what at this point.

But It Was Still A Great Month!

We’ve been practicing laughing in the face of adversity, because in truth, it’s rather hilarious. These are all merely things and they are all fixed with money, which has no emotional bearing in our lives. All that matters is that we are healthy, together, and happy. Beyond that, I ask for nothing more. It actually was a lovely month: we went snowshoeing, Babywoods has started swiping at toys with her incredibly flailing limbs, and Frugal Hound continues to do her houndy thing (which primarily involves snoozing).

Personal Capital: It’s How We Organize Our Expen$e$

We had a good month anyway!
We had a good month anyway!

Mr. Frugalwoods and I use Personal Capital to aggregate and consolidate our transactions from across all of our accounts. We then drop them into a spreadsheet to provide our below analysis for you fine people.

Tracking expenses is, in my opinion, the best way to get a handle on your finances. You absolutely, positively cannot make informed decisions about your money if you don’t know how you’re spending it. Sounds harsh, but without a holistic picture of how much you spend every month, there’s no way to set savings, debt repayment, or investment goals. It’s a frugal must, folks. No excuses.

Personal Capital (which is free to use) is a great way for us to systematize our financial overviews since it links all of our accounts together and provides a comprehensive picture of our net worth. If you’re not tracking your expenses in an organized fashion, give Personal Capital a try. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how I use Personal Capital for my expense tracking.

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.

How To Read A Frugalwoods Expense Report

The below is an itemization of every single dollar we spent over the course of the month. I do this because it’s the most transparent articulation of how we allocate our resources and managed to save 71% of our take-home pay (not counting maxing out our 401Ks).

Want to know how we manage the rest of our monies? Look no further than Why We Don’t Micromanage Our Money. Why do we save so much and spend so little? It’s all in service of our goal to reach financial independence by age 33 and move to a homestead in the woods.

Interested in how we keep costs so low? Check out How We Save 65% Annually. If you’re up for some hardcore frugal adventuring, take my Uber Frugal Month Challenge, and, see how we did one year later in How A Year Of Extreme Frugality Changed Us.

We don’t budget and instead live on frugal autopilot. This technique saves us the time and hassle of building a budget (we’re some lazy frugal weirdos). The caveat here is that many people find budgeting incredibly helpful and I in no way malign the budgeting process. If you operate more successfully with a budget, then budget away my friends.

But Mrs. Frugalwoods, Don’t You Pay For X, Y, Or Even Z????

Wondering about common expenses that you don’t see listed below? Our August 2015 expense report has the answers you seek!

Alright you frugal money voyeurs, feast your eyes on every dollar (and there were a lot) we spent in February:

Item/Vendor Amount Frugalwoods Musings
Mortgage & Escrow for Taxes & Insurance $2,238.50 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.
Car insurance (six months worth) $386.86 Six months worth of car insurance for ye olde Frugalwoods-mobile.
Plumbing Parts $324.16 A situation necessitating its own post.
Groceries $291.05 A resounding success! We’ve had great luck with keeping our grocery bill low (our aim is always under $350/month) despite my increased appetite with breastfeeding.
Household $242.54 Super duper high this month–we stocked up on sundry supplies (which include such things as dog food, toothpaste, toilet paper, vitamins, and more). This total does not include any human food.
Utilities: 3 months worth of our water bill $187.20 The city of Cambridge levies our water bill every three months.
Utilities: Gas $156.30 A tad higher thanks to colder temps last month.
Repairs to Frugalwoods-mobile $110.00 Oh Frugalwoods-mobile. This is worthy of a post all its own, which I promise to deliver to you shortly…
Gasoline $93.64 Took quite a few roadtrips this month in order to snowshoe, hike, and generally enjoy the outdoors. I also find that I’ve been driving more with Babywoods–we like to go to free baby groups around town, which necessitate driving, but its totally worth it to me to learn from other new mamas!
Utilities: Electric $88.55 A standard electric bill.
Oven parts $86.48 Another situation truly necessitating its own post.
Internet $59.95 A necessity in these here frugal woods.
Beer and boxed wine $32.98 Another necessity for Mommywoods and Daddywoods 🙂
Pants $32.42 Mr. FW needed new pants (since he wore through the crotch of an already-mended pair of pants, which we will probably mend again, but it was becoming dangerous for him to go out in public… ). He picked this pair out on Amazon and is delighted with them. He reports they’re terrific to bike in.
Doctor’s visit co-pay $20.00 I had a postpartum follow-up appointment.
Medicine $9.55 Medicine from CVS.
TOTAL SPENT: $4,360.18  
LESS MORTGAGE: $2,121.68

How Was Your February?

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  1. One of the best purchased I made as a homeowner was a pair of $12 PVC pipe cutters, along with a few pvc pipe pieces. My basement had a broken pipe one night, and having those allowed me to fix it myself on the spot rather than pay the exhorbitant fee for a plumber in the middle of the night!

    It sounds like you had a busy month! Here’s to hoping March has fewer broken things for you!

    1. That’s an awesome purchase. And, you’re so smart to DIY it instead of paying a plumber! Love it.

  2. It’s crazy how everything seems to break at once sometimes. We had the same a few months ago. I’m sorry to hear Frugalwoods-mobile had trouble. My brother is still driving our former vehicle, which at 24 years old is 1 year older than him! My husband is still attached. $110 for a repair is great, though!

  3. Ahh…dang It’s terrible when one of *those* months happens.

    That’s actually a pretty impressive plumbing repair bill there. I’d like to hear more about this.

    Strangely, your budget still looks like a LCOL area to me. 🙂

    1. Thank you! It is! My grandmother (whose name is Babywoods’ middle name) made it for me as a baby 🙂

  4. Wow, looks like you guys got hit with a lot of life in the month of February. It happens, always great when you’ve got a plan to deal with such things. Babywoods is growing fast she adorable. We had a good month, busy but good.

  5. When it rains, it pours. But at least you guys had grace under pressure, unlike your pipes. Every equation balances. I’m sure next month will be better.

    I had a happy “duh” expense. this month. I accidentally paid my mortgage twice. I could undo it but I am not going to. I think the universe was telling me I need to dig deeper to try to pay it off.

    1. Just a word on this, if I may. Ensure that your mortgage company considers this ADDITIONAL PRINCIPAL, rather than just paying ahead. It will make a huge difference in the long run (unless, of course, you can’t pay next month’s bill!). I have had a long-running battle with my mortgage company over this, so my advice comes from bad experience!

        1. But in this case it sounds like you made the payment twice bu accident, so the second payment would have looked like a regular payment and not additional principal to the mortgage company. I could totally see them just saying that you made next month’s payment early rather than applying it to the principal balance unless you insist.

  6. Who is your car insurance carrier? I haven’t seen a premium that low in “I can’t remember when”.

    1. I think it’s due to Frugalwoods-mobile being so aged and fragile (being careful not to hurt FW-mobile’s feelings).

      Our annual car insurance (for a 13 yr old Jetta Volkswagen) is $1071. We’ll drive this car as long as it lets us.

    2. Seems super high to me for such an old car. I paid that much with S Farm for full coverage on my 10 year old Corolla. We dropped to liability only and pay even less now. However, we don’t live in a big city- our city has 26k people.

      1. We have Geico, FW-mobile is ancient, we have perfect driving records, and we live in a densely populated urban area, so I think all of those factors combined are how we arrive at our car insurance cost.

  7. We have well water, and so a lot of the times, our pipes won’t necessarily freeze, but the pump itself will. It’s really annoying! We’ve learned a few tricks along the way- namely, going out to the pumphouse with a space heater when we know it’s going to be super cold. Brr! Can’t wait for warm weather to come!

  8. Haha seems like an epidemic. The Hippies de Land Rover Family expended way out of projections as well.
    I was thinking that, there is an expense you didn’t mentioned in your “August 2015 expense report” which is Child care (babywoods wasn’t here yet). We have struggled with this expense which accounts for 1,100 Swiss francs something like 1,102 USD 😛 per month. That’s insane!
    How are you going a handle this once babywoods starts with child care?

  9. Ah the Frugal life is wrought with challenges. I’m very interested to hear the tale of the Frugalmobile. This is our most frugal area since my husband is a mechanic but we know how hard it is to find a good one.

  10. Yes, things do break down, but you have the right attitude–they are just things. You are all happy and healthy and that is what is important. I love the pictures of Babywoods. She is so adorable. Great job, Mr. Frugalwoods, fixing the plumbing yourself.

    1. Many thanks! I definitely like to remind myself that it’s all just stuff and that none of it truly matters.

  11. Why do you record your 6-month insurance bill as a single spike vs. a smaller amount monthly? We do the same as you (paying every 6 months) but I’ve broken that amount down into 6 monthly amounts to make tracking monthly expenses more accurately vs an actual cash flow recording.

    1. Since we pay it in one lump sum, we just record it as such. No huge strategy behind it, it’s just what’s easiest for our accounting.

  12. Our February was a bit of a spendy one too, but we don’t have the excuse of things breaking… We just spent too much… Probably on food. I haven’t don’t my monthly recap yet, but will post that on Thursday.
    It’s great that you are so easily able to cover these unexpected expenses. Oh, and babywoods is looking so big and adorable!!!

  13. I love your posts, but the pants always worry me . . . It takes a few seconds to remember that they are trousers, not underwear!

  14. Of course things always seem to fall apart all at the same time.

    February wasn’t the greatest for me, either… Still on the quest to figure out what’s wrong with my cat, so hefty vet bills. Also a $75 copay for the ER that was not expected (minor injury – nothing to worry about).

  15. It’s nice to see I’m not the only one with high expenses in February. 🙂 Roof repairs and tree trimming (necessitated by my HOA) caused me to incur $1275 of additional expense during the month. Yikes! Unfortunately I’m not handy with either of those things, so I had to pay someone to do both. I completely agree… This is definitely why it pays to be frugal in other months.

  16. We very almost saved 68.4% of my husband’s paycheck… and our monthly costs would have been even lower than Frugalwoods….

    Except my husband got an abscessed tooth just two days into February and his dental insurance is maxed out until February.

    So we saved “just” 41.4% of his paycheck.

    I have had plenty of moments this month where the lifestyle felt heavy and overwhelming… sometimes I had unrelenting boredom and was disgusted by routine… but to see our numbers at the end of the month, it is a deeply satisfying feeing that we can have a four figure dollar emergency and still come out pretty far ahead for the month.

    We are still on average, saving 50% for 2016 (okay, I realize it’s just the second month).

    My deep anxiety is out of my hands this week (literally, it’s in the hands of the guy we hired to do our taxes). I imagine in the next few days we’ll be told how much we owe the IRS, and owe we will since we haven’t paid taxes yet on my business and my husband’s consulting. But taxes are baffling to me… I’ve been blind sided before … either owing much more or much less than anticipated.

    You see, for just one day, Feb 29th, we technically had enough to pay off our mortgage with an extra $2000. Now today, of course, the fixed bills will be paid today (HOAs, mortgage, internet). What this tax guy says this week will determine how much longer we have this ultra-savings lifestyle…. will we owe just $2 or $6 (like I anticipate) or $20k?

    Anything under $15k and we’ll make our (arbitrarily set) deadline of being mortgage-free on July 5th.

    We’ll see! But yeah, February was pretty good to us.

    I’m sorry Frugalwoods had so much happen at once.. it’s as they say, “when it rains, it pours”.

  17. That is one seriously cute baby smiling on the crochet blanket. Love the outfit, too. And on Mr. Frugalwoods recommendation, I’ll checkout the pants for my son, who wears through pants at work like you wouldn’t believe (but I re-use the legs of his worn out jeans (sometimes only the backs of the legs) for various craft projects. More babywoods photos, please, for my ongoing frustration at not being a grandmother yet. If only my son would get frugal and get a good frugal woman too.

    1. I hope the pants work out for your son! So far, they are awesome for Mr. FW. It’s hard to find pants that really stand up to wear and tear, but these seem to fit the bill.

  18. 1) She is SO CUTE!!!
    2) I am with you on the mom groups- totally with it!
    3) My husband keeps buying me fancy treats to eat bc I am nursing- so we might not actually be saving money by breastfeeding instead of using formula. So that is sort of ridiculous, but also very sweet and loving of him

    1. 1) Thank you!!!
      2) I LOVE my moms groups and have been so happy to find so many that are free!
      3) Nice! I feel like I eat alllllllll the time these days…. glad I’m not the only one 🙂

  19. Adorable Babywoods. She looks like Mr. F in the first photo and like you in the second (the smiling one in the adorable colorful outfit).

  20. Ahhh! Some months are like that. It sounds like your trials and hard work are paying off (or will soon) with heaps of satisfaction from a job well done and a few lessons learned.
    We had one month when three toilets leaked through the ceiling, our heater died, and the car gave out. But, with YouTube, the Home Depot, a circuit board from Amazon (who doesn’t mind selling me parts that the local shops only sell to licensed contractors, hehe), and help from our neighborhood mechanic, all is well.
    Good luck!

  21. There must be something about February as, we too, have had multiple appliance issues and are waiting for an oven part as well! The hubs is quickly becoming an appliance repairman! He was successful with the dryer and freezer. I’m crossing my fingers for the stove but the dishwasher is a lost cause. Thank you for the reminder to keep it positive!

  22. Yikes! Run of bad luck! I’m afraid of plumbing, so super impressed. (There was an incident once. It cost us $200 to have all the wood under the sink replaced. I like to think I’ve learned since then…)

    In a weird coincidence, our oven is also broken. However, the bottom element works, which means it took me like an hour to figure out why dinner was cooking so slowly. I have ordered a new heating element from eBay (less than $30) and feel a blog post coming on. Happily, the new toaster oven is working, so at least we can bake tiny things. Fingers crossed for the repair!

    We FINALLY had a good month, with spending under $4K total (including mortgage and daycare) meaning we actually had some money left over! Woot! Which is good, because we owe $1500 on our taxes. Oops.

      1. I’m impressed with the toaster over baking! We’ve just been doing without the oven as ours is still broken… following many repair attempts by Mr. FW… But at least our stovetop works! Nicely done on the sub-$4K month–that’s awesome!

  23. Long time Landlord here and IMHO the plumbing fail is good practice for your future landlord endeavors. Like you, I recently had a plumbing leak in a pipe in a rental….not just any pipe but the main line that feeds both units and their water heaters. Worst case scenario as the pipe was in a wall behind a sheetrock wall covered with 4 inch tiles. Required demo, a temporary “bush fix” and then a permanent fix with a “shark bite appliance” from Home Depot Monday AM. Fortunately I was able to perform the repair by removing the leaking 2 inch area of pipe and installing the appliance with minimum of down time on water. Had to buy the Shark bite and a new larger pipe cutter for “close quarters”….$32….” soup to nuts” and I’ll repair the wall after everything dries out in a day or so. Wall repair material will come out of “inventory”. A word of advice …. “sharkbites” are an expensive repair appliance, but are reusable and are good to 200 pounds of pressure. They can be used with copper and CPVC….and IMHO worth every cent….Sounds like your plumbing repair was a “doozie”…and you saved a boatload of $ doing it yourselves….Plumbers in this neck of the woods charge $125 to just show up…

    1. Sounds like you did an epic fix–nice! Yeah, we had the exact same thought that this was good practice for our future as landlords :). Mr. FW decided to over-engineer the fix for that reason too in the hopes that it won’t happen when we have tenants in here… fingers crossed.

  24. We had a pricey January, and were on-track to have a much better February, but our geriatric cat “broke” late in the month. She mysteriously stopped eating – she had always been a porker, so this was particularly alarming – and we spent about $700 on bloodwork, testing, and x-rays. We still don’t have a diagnosis – and she’s still subsisting on cat treats and licking canned food – so she’s going in for an abdominal ultrasound tomorrow. We had to put our other geriatric cat to sleep in January, so it certainly feels like everything is “breaking” at once in our feline world!

    Glad to hear you still have a positive outlook after a spendy month!

  25. Some months are just like that, but you guys survived without too many hitches it sounds like. This month, however, should go in the record books. Not only did we somehow under-spend the FW, but we also under-spent you guys in gasoline! How the heck did that happen? =)

  26. It’s amazing when things start breaking up they all break up about the same time. Talk about Murphy’s Law! You guys still did great on the expenses front despite all the extra expenses.

  27. Our budget isn’t finalized til about the 12th, so I can’t say for sure. So far, it’s not too bad, but hopefully, I’m not jinxing it. The stuff in our house (usually expensive) likes to break a lot.

  28. My goodness, you have had one heck of a run this month! And RIP Frugal-mobile. We’re still mourning the loss of our Frugal-mobile.

    Great that they were all fixable by throwing some money at them, and that you all stayed warm, dry, and fed in the meantime 🙂

  29. I think we have all had months like that. Your attitude was great. I can generally laugh during months like that but the laughter is often accompanied by tears (and not sweet happy tears either – I am talking the kind that make your nose run and turn you into a sweaty mess). Aren’t savings a beautiful thing when the world throws you for a little loop?

  30. When you’re using Personal Capital to keep track of your expenses, how do you handle transactions that apply to multiple categories? Like if you go to Costco and buy both food and household goods?

    1. So I actually do two transactions at Costco–one for household goods and one for food, so that they’re completely separate. Fortunately our Costco has self check-out lanes!

  31. Ugh!! I hate to see this but I see it way more than you can imagine. I always tell clients that $1,000 “surprises” should not be considered surprises because the only surprise is what kind of surprise it is whether it’s home related, healthcare related, child related, car related, etc. I hate that everything blew up, but this month’s tale is great proof as to why you should always have a healthy emergency savings account.

  32. We had a very expensive February as well! I was feeling super bummed about it, but now I feel a bit better (mind you, ours was a lot more than yours). Will blog about it today and will likely use the line “we’re just like the Frugalwoods.”

  33. Glad Mr. FW was able to do the plumbing job via Youtube! If you ever need a one on one instructor my husband is a plumber and could talk you thru projects. Some months do seem to be more expensive than others. Our February electricity bill was better than December and we were able to get a $30 credit by off loading a broken refrigerator that my parents picked up from church. Can’t wait to hear your “broken” stories!

    1. Thank you so much for the offer of a plumbing tutorial–that is very kind of you!! And nicely done with the credit on the old fridge.

  34. Our monthly savings totaled 56% this month. I’m not complaining but I was really hoping for 60% : ) Hoping for the 60% this month.

  35. I am very sorry for all of your extra expenses last month! Your guys’ poor car… :< Overspending does happen even when you least expect it, but you can always learn from it and change it around during the next month! : )

    I just added up how much I spent this month and I went absolutely CRAZY on the misc. stuff! A little here and little there adds up quickly! Won't do that again next month… o _o;;; But the good news is my grocery bill was its lowest ever! The bad news is I didn't go to the gym enough and I'm still paying that bill every month. But I love my gym, so it's nice to have the option for when I can make it there often enough again. So, I don't mind the extra expense too much. But I managed to sock away $170 for a computer, so I'm closer to my goal now! I also had extra income this month, but I didn't do any crazy lifestyle inflation spending like I did last time when I had extra income! I had some left over to overflow into March! So w00t!

    But I got a lot of things I needed last month, so that is always good! I won't have that luxary again this month, so I halfed a lot of things in my budget for March. So far, so good!

    I hope things will go better for your family this month! ^^

    1. Great job on saving up for a computer–nicely done! And sounds like your budget is getting into great shape :). Woohoo!

      1. Thank you, Mrs. Frugalwoods! ^^ That’s so nice to hear from you! That means I’m doing a great job, I guess! 8D In total, I have $518.00 saved up for a computer! With my inheritance, I will double that amount and my mother is going to help me with the rest! That way, I will have enough for my iMac! Since I’m on SSDI, I can only save so much without going over the limit of $2000.00. I know you’re thinking, “Marissa, an iMac is too expensive. Why don’t you get a PC?” Well, I have a good reason for my decision! The reason I want an iMac is because they won’t be threatened by viruses like PC’s are. That is why I want to buy one and it will be an investment. The only problem is I won’t be buying one any time soon until I have a place to put it. And that’s a whole other story, lol. X_x;;;

        But I’m going back to the gym more often now and I hope to continue that! But I’m very happy you like my budget! I try my hardest each month and I started tracking my expenses again last month. I decided to give my iPad a good workout, lol. It always helps to track expenses! ^^

        I hope you guys have an amazing March! 8D

        1. We’re Mac people too. I’m with you, they’re worth it! I used my last Mac for over 7 years before it bit the dust 🙂

          1. Hooray for Macs! 8D

            Wow! Macs live for a long time! How did your Mac die? Did it just slow down and fade away? :C

  36. How did your pipes freeze? Another way I’ve heard to keep the pipes from freezing is to run the water slightly. It’s a waste of water, but it keeps the system warm if you’re worried about it happening again.

    We had a really good month, but it looked bad because we paid our home insurance for the year. AND we paid for a rental in Cape Cod over Memorial Day weekend, which we’re splitting with another couple. Looking forward to the warmer months.

    1. Yeah, sadly we did have the water running on a trickle, but they froze anyway :(. Post forthcoming with the gory details…

      Oooo Memorial Day! Yay!

  37. That is the world’s cutest baby kicking up her heels there on her lovely blanket. 🙂

    I feel for you with having the month of broken stuff. Our January was like that, with car repairs, plumbing repairs, and the dog and cat both had to have surgery. Thanks for the recommendation on the pants, as my Mister also needs some. He’ll be thrilled to discover they come in an insulated version too.

  38. Hello Mrs. Frugalwoods, thank you, as always, for the informative, entertaining, and inspiring post! I am sorry for the woes you experienced during February. And, I hope this comes out in the best possible way, it is also both enlightening and fortifying to read a post where things are not going as frugalicious as usual, and to hear about how you and Mr. F. respond and move forward (frugal-licious – you will know the book series that word suffix comes from when Babywoods is about 4 years old!). Here’s to a new month of meeting goals and Marching toward spring!

  39. My husband and I have a joke when everything seems to be going wrong. “Is it funny yet?” It’s true that when life piles on, the only thing you can do is laugh about it. We both always reach that point where so much crap has happened that we’re bowled over laughing over how much things suck. I guess I’m glad to see that you’re at that point too? Without in the least being happy that so many things broke for you, of course.

  40. Babywoods is gorgeous! Congratulations again. Yeah, everything we own is broken too. The latest victim was the snowblower – but at least we have shovels. I am not sure why everything decides to break at the same time. Keeps life interesting though.

  41. Babywoods is simply ADORBS!
    Would LOVE to see a shopping haul/cost breakdown on groceries & household…meal plan too. This is literally my most challenging category as I am feeding a 14 yr old athlete with the appetite of an 800lb man. We do zero to no frozen foods (which are so cheap and would lower the bill).

  42. I am familiar with the everything breaks month. For us it was January. We are not quite as cool as you are, though, as we just paid to have it replaced. Some day I will understand plumbing and such but for now we just breath a sigh of relief that the only consequence of such massive breakage is that we end up putting less into savings for the month!

  43. Yes, I remember a winter where the furnace, hot water tank and fridge (which was only a few years old!) all needed replacement within a few weeks. We kept waiting for something else to happen… Some months can be very expensive!

  44. Hi guys – I’m a grad student at MIT so I’m in your hood. I’m trying to give away a sodastream my ex gave me (purging all of those things) and know that you have one and like seltzer water, but would be thrilled to give it to you if you wanted an extra. It’s a relatively new sodastream source that I’ve used maybe twice. I don’t even like drinking carbonated things. Email me if you would like it.

  45. Always be prepared! And with an emergency fund in place, you guys are. We’re not there yet, but we’re working on it. I’m picking up an extra $135 this month just by working the polls for election day. Cha-ching!

    Cheers — Ann

  46. It’s frustrating how everything always seems to break at the same time! I’ve found that whenever I have one big unexpected expense, another one pops up shortly. My husband and I both had a lot of healthcare related expenses recently (due to our insurance companies refusing to cover things that we assumed would be covered). Hopefully things will stop breaking for you!

  47. General question for frugal DIYers in Massachusetts– Can a homeowner’s plumbing work (on their own property) be permitted/inspected? If not, is it still OK for a homeowner to do work (on their own property) without a permit?

    After watching a lot of Mike Holmes on HGTV, I would rather have a permit and inspection in case I want to sell the property someday…

  48. Fantastic. That is one monster mortgage, though. Just found this site today, and it looks like I’m late to the party. The beard on Mr. Frugalwoods is absolutely man-tastic. Ya’ll might like my take on both beards and money, though there’s more ridiculousness on my blog and less usefulness compared to yours.

  49. Months like this really is why everyone needs some emergency money in an account. If you didn’t have it, you’d have to pay it all on credit. Then you have to add interest charges to your future budgets which then throws off everything.

  50. Since my February was in Central America, it was pretty cheap. Only about $1000. One night we stayed in a hidden hotel in a restaurant for $4. Absolutely incredible how much farther your money goes while traveling rather than the first world. I think a lot of people could easily afford retirement if they departed to the woods, or the road, or to their own plot of land in the mountains. People just are terrified of being different.

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