Summertime homestead!
Summertime homestead!

Ahhh, summer on the homestead! June was an unusual month for us expense-wise as we continue to hammer out the transition from urban to rural. Sundry expenses keep popping up as we finalize our new residence along with an array of homestead start-up costs.

In a fit of productivity and gritty determination, we made a mega sojourn to the DMV (which is an hour away) with both cars, the entire contents of our filing cabinet, and our firstborn child. We figured this assortment of documentation should cover our bases–and lo, it did.

Both cars are now registered, titled, and licensed in the state of Vermont and Mr. FW and I proudly sport VT driver’s licenses. Inspections were required for both vehicles and, during the inspection, Snowdrop’s brake pads were found wanting. So add new brake pads to the roster this month!

Keeping with the transportation theme, we decided to register for TSA pre-check since we have several airplane treks in our future. At $85 per person (good for five years), we figure it’s a cheap price to pay for an easier security process with Babywoods in tow. Good news–we were approved! Our TSA “interview” took place in the adorable town of Burlington, VT–on what just so happened to be our 8th wedding anniversary–so we decided to make a day of it. We strolled around, poked through art galleries, and enjoyed lunch out followed by beer in a garden.

Mr. FW planting squash
Mr. FW planting squash

To facilitate our burgeoning homestead-related projects (detailed here), we bought quite a few supplies this month. The way we’re outfitting ourselves for rural life is by purchasing stuff as we need it. Rather than stock our barn with tools we might someday need, we buy things as they become pressing requirements.

Ever devotees of the used market, we scan our local Craigslist and visit flea markets, garage sales, and estate auctions in the area. When that approach fails to proffer the goods we seek, we buy new. This first year of homesteading will be an expensive one, primarily because prior to moving here, we didn’t own a single farm or garden implement–not even a humble rake! But that’s something we expected and planned for in our projections. I still need to write a more holistic post on the other homestead expenses we incurred in the early days of farm ownership and I will (as soon as I have time!). But for now, I’ve combined all homestead expenses below with our household expenses since they’re now one in the same.

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

A rainbow over our yard!
A rainbow over our yard!

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 the 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

A deer captured on our wildlife camera!
A deer captured on our wildlife camera!

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 quit our city life and decamp to the country.

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 (which happened last month!!).

For us, embracing frugality is a joyful, longterm lifestyle choice. We prefer a simple life to one filled with consumerism and we spend only on the things that matter most to us. Our approach isn’t one of miserly deprivation; to the contrary, we live a luxuriously frugal existence.

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.

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 we spent in June:

Item/Vendor Amount Frugalwoods Musings
 VT mortgage  $1,392.86
Groceries $463.94 Ugh, super high this month. I’ve been testing out the various grocery stores in our area and I’m sad to report that none are as cheap as my beloved Market Basket. But, I do have several options here (Hannaford’s, Price Chopper, and BJ’s) as well as our local farmer’s markets. I’ll continue to compare prices until I settle on a better grocery routine.
VT DMV $456.00 Taxes and registration for both cars plus our VT driver’s licenses. Glad to have that transition taken care of!
Homestead supplies $310.99 A smattering of supplies including: chainsaw bar oil, a splitting axe, chainsaw maintenance parts and tools, a peavy, diesel fuel anti-gel, a bolt to fix our lawnmower, and a wheelbarrow.
Household supply stock-up $292.78 Mr. FW was back in MA for business this month so he swung by Costco and stocked up on 3 months worth of staples, including: dog food, olive oil, rice, oats, as well as non-food household supplies. Since we don’t have a Costco near us in VT, this’ll be our last Costco run.
Car inspections (for both cars) and brake pads for the Prius $179.17
TSA Pre-check $170.00
Gasoline $124.55
Internet $74.00
Final MA Electric Utility bill $52.70
Lunch and beer out in Burlington $49.25 Yum! Perfect anniversary celebration.
Joining BJ’s Wholesale Club $40.00 I had a coupon to join BJ’s at $40 for 16 months so we decided to go for it. Their prices and selection are similar to Costco’s, if a tad more expensive. But, I think it’ll be a good option for us on the whole.
Membership in the Vermont Woodlands Association $40.00  This is the professional association for people who own forests in Vermont (hey that’s us!). They provide forest-related education and advocacy.
EZ-Pass purchase $38.90 We got an EZ-Pass (for interstate tolls) for the Prius.
Pants for Mr. FW $38.68 Mr. FW needed more of these pants (which are amazing work pants, by the way).
Hat for Mr. FW $35.96 Mr. FW was wearing my gardening hat all the time, so I insisted he purchase his own so that we could both wear our hats together (also he was getting my hat all sweaty and stinky… some things should not be shared).
Garden supplies $35.25 Garden plants and seeds, purchased from a local farm, to get our veg garden off to a good start.
Final MA Gas Utility bill $33.27
VT Electric Utility Bill $26.74
Ethanol-free gas $18.40 This gasoline is used in our various small farm engines, including: the lawnmower, the chainsaw, and the weedwacker.
Beer! $15.09 We found a local craft beer store! Hurray!
Prescription medication $12.61
Postage stamps $9.40 I like to mail letters to people.
TOTAL SPENT: $3,910.54
 LESS MORTGAGE:  $2,517.68

How was your June?

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  1. What? No pictures of frugalhound and baby? I’ve come to expect these LOL. Frugalwoods is my favorite website. Congrats on pursuing your dreams!

    1. Hahah, sorry to disappoint! I did put a photo of the girls on the Frugalwoods Facebook page yesterday though, so you can get your fix 😉

  2. What types of things are you growing in your garden? Looks like you have some asparagus “trees” in addition to the squash (what type? Crookneck is my favorite!). Some of my tomato plants died and so I had to go out and buy bigger (more expensive) plants than I normally would to replace them so I can actually get some fruits before the end of the season. I was pleasantly surprised when I found some big BOGO plants at our local nursery, though! Hurray for end-of-planting-season sales.

    1. So far we’ve planted: tomatoes, basil, pepper, arugula, spinach, mesclun mix, brussels sprouts, squash, more peppers, sage, rosemary, and oregano. And then we have chives, asparagus and rhubarb already growing. So fingers crossed that something actually bears fruit :)!!

  3. Aww, I miss Market Basket, too! And I love your wildlife cam! I’ve had some deer (including a baby!) in my yard lately. It’s pretty cool since we’re super close to downtown Nashville. June was an expensive month for me. I’ve purchased my flight for FinCon, new head shots, and a few other blog expenses. I hate to see my savings rate go down, but I feel good about investing in my career.

  4. You guys eat a lot of rice and beans. Have you considered bulk-buying them online? There are a lot of websites that offer them and shipping is free if you order a large enough amount. That might keep costs down and there is less to lug home which would probably be helpful with a babywoods in tow.. I order beans, tea, chia seeds and sesame seeds in bulk (for homemade tahini.)

    1. I second this. I buy most of my pantry staples from Amazon. They have better prices than my local stores, and it’s so easy.

  5. If you want to shop at Costco when you visit MA but don’t want to pay the membership dues since you won’t live nearby, have you considered asking friends or family to buy you a small gift card? That gets you in the door and you can pay for the rest with any Visa or cash.

    1. Do you know if they charge an extra % fee when buying with a gift card at costco (with no membership)? I’ve done this “trick” at sam’s club and they charge 5 or 10% extra if you have no membership (still worth it in many situations). I live 2 miles from a costco but rarely have a need to shop there since there are half a dozen equally good options just as close that don’t charge $50+ for the privilege of giving them money in exchange for goods.

  6. First year of any new home is always expensive. I have been doing a lot of chainsaw work and have stopped buying bar oil. I use old vegetable oil which is easier on the environment, a friend of mine also uses old motor oil.

  7. Moving is so gosh-darned expensive! No matter, I’m jealous of all of you growing ability. The loss of Market Basket is huge. There are lots of them in tax free New Hampshire. Might be worth the trip once a month.

  8. How are you getting Mr. FG’s pants for $38? It’s showing $60 from your link. Same with the hat for $35, which shows $44 from your link.

    1. Amazon’s prices fluctuate almost daily. Mr. FW set up price alerts on both his hat and pants and then purchased them when they dipped low.

      1. Hi Mrs. Frugalwoods ! I’ve been an avid reader for a little over a year and love your blog.

        Just wanted to know, how to set up a price alert on Amazon ? Many thanks in advance !

        1. We use camelcamelcamel to alert us of price drops on specific items. It will even give you the price history of your item, so you know if that is the lowest typical price over a span of time like a year or 18 months.

  9. Great pictures.

    Makes sense that you gave some start up cost after not even having a yard in Boston.

    I’m super curious to see what your spending levels out at.

    Ditto on babywoods pictures????

  10. Ooh, you’re in Hannaford region now. I do all my grocery shopping there. Avoid PC. They lure people in with cheap weekly sales, but everything else is overpriced and which makes the average trip a good deal more expensive than at Hannaford. I find the food selection at BJ’s not great. We usually get a free month offer once a year and I stock up a couple food items that come out cheaper than Hannaford, which aren’t many.

    1. Agreed! I heart Hannaford! In my opinion the produce is far superior to any other place around here, plus they really make an effort to buy from local farmers (or not even farmers–if your veggie garden produces a surplus in years to come, I’ve heard they purchase from backyard gardeners as well!). They also seem to have better organic and ethnic food sections than most regular grocery stores, which is nice because I don’t have to go to multiple stores.

  11. Happy Anniversary! Looks like you are really getting settled into the homestead. It may have been an expensive month, but it probably feels good to get a lot of things checked off your to-do list. We are just starting to harvest vegetables from our garden. We’ve enjoyed fresh lettuce, green peppers, and zucchini. I’m really looking forward to the tomatoes – still green, but getting riper every day 🙂

  12. My boyfriend has a free Costco membership through work, and we’ll be taking a trip there this week! I think, even if BJ’s is more expensive, it make a lot of sense o have a bulk membership while living the homesteading life!

  13. I had wondered if your grocery bill would increase when you moved to Vermont. We live in central Maine, and we don’t have easy access to either Costco—nearest one in New Hampshire—or Market Basket. I’ll be interested in seeing if you can get your grocery bill nearly as low as it was when you lived in Massachusetts. Good luck!

  14. Since I’m relatively new here could,you explain why you don’t use a no fee rewards credit card -or do you- for travel points? With the sign on bonus you could be getting free -or almost free flights. A friend went to Portland and back for $40 plus stayed with friends for 6 days and made a bit of money for a 1 day business conference. l it is vital, of course, to,use this card in place of a bank debit card and simply pay it weekly or whatever works vest to avoid interest.

  15. The phrase ‘one in the same’ should be ‘one and the same’. One thing is the same as another. When I searched ‘o.i.t.s.’ versus ‘o.a.t.s.’ I found the Grammarist blog argued ‘o.i.t.s.’ is an eggcorn- a mistaken phrase that is used in place of the correct one, and intended to have the same meaning as the correct phrase. (Eggcorn is an example of this, too. It is a mistaken replacement for acorn). ‘One in the same’ does make sense, but ‘one and the same’ is clearer.

    On a different note, do you guys have air conditioning? I was wondering if you even need it. A porch, the local vegetation, the copious amount of windows, the higher latitude and elevation of Vermont all suggest you could get by with minimal cooling.

  16. Yay! I’ve been waiting for this post. We recently bought a new home and moved from apartment-living to a three bedroom house with a yard, and I’ve been wondering how the Frugalwoods are tackling all their start-up home costs. We bought our first rake, too, along with other fun stuff like a weed whacker, extension cord and hammers as the need arose. We’ve been sourcing most of our new belongings from Craigslist and tag sales, but there are some things we couldn’t find and had to buy new. Next week on my blog I’ll talk about maintenance and repair costs from buying our new home (like radon remediation- yikes), which we couldn’t have anticipated yet needed to prepare for financially nonetheless.

  17. Not bad at all! Especially since a lot of those things are kind of one time costs, like TSA, vehicle registrations or inspections.

    Glad to hear homesteading is going well for you guys! Keep on living that dream.

  18. Nice! I finally spent less than you guys even after you subtract your mortgage. 🙂 Though I’m not stocking my homestead with goodies.

    Your note on the groceries is interesting. I’ve noticed the same thing – it costs more for groceries out in the country because there isn’t as much competition, and you’re often captive to the nearest 1 or 2 stores unless you’re willing to drive much farther into town or the 2nd town over. I guess the upside is you have enough acreage to do a “real” garden, and a well to provide cheap irrigation (I cringe when I see Mrs. Root of Good using our city water at $0.05-0.10 per minute to water the plants).

  19. Looks like a great farmstead month! This month does seem a little higher than usual, but you had a lot going on….and you bought some tools.

    Tools, if you buy good quality ones, should last nearly a lifetime. Except chainsaws…those suckers seem to always wear out.

  20. I’m sure all of the expenses will cease soon enough. 🙂 Mr. Picky Pincher and I are hoping to share last month’s expense report too, and this gives us a great place to start planning.

    Eek, your groceries are low compared to ours! We came in $200 under budget this month, but we still have a ways to go. Hopefully we can grow our own veggies soon enough to start saving more moolah.

    But every month is an adventure at the Picky Pincher house. I think June was our most frugal month to date since we got married!! Our food cost is now below $3 per meal, which sounded crazy just a year ago. We also are able to save 50-60% of our income now.

    We’re doing quite well. 🙂

  21. I watch Wranglerstar on YouTube for his homesteading tips and experience. Well, me and 300,000 followers. I think you might be doing yourself a favor to watch some of his videos too.There is no end to what you just might need. Waiting until you need some tools might make purchasing them more expensive, it might be better to know what you are likely to need and get at least some of them as you find them.

    1. We are huge Wranglerstar fans! I’m pretty sure Mr. FW has watched every single one of their videos 🙂

    1. We don’t use a lot of electricity–I think that’s pretty much it! We don’t have AC, so that’s a huge savings right there.

    2. Also, carriers charge more based on location. My brother, in NYC pays nearly the same in electric for his 600 square foot apartment as I do for my 1200 square foot house outside Philadelphia, and his place is fairly new while mine is over 70 years old and cooled with window units. Look at the cost per kWh, that makes a huge difference.

  22. I noticed that you got an EZ pass for the Prius–if you don’t already have one for the Subaru, you can add it to the same account as the Prius. If you haven’t stuck the EZ pass on the windshield, you can swap them between cars when needed without having to pay for a second EZ pass (a big waste of money in my opinion, especially because they charge your account $30 every time your EZ pass account drops down to $10, even though most tolls in our area are 70 cents per car…) I just did this with my fiance’s car, and this is no extra charge to add a second car to the account.

    Even if you’ve stuck the EZ pass on already, it comes off pretty easily. When going through just hold it up on your windshield. It’s just nice not to be tied to one car for the EZ pass!

  23. Instead of TSA pre, consider Global Entry, which includes TSA pre and costs just a bit more. It gets you quickly through customs. I just talked to somebody who spent 5 hours getting in at BOS after traveling in Italy. Better yet, consider Nexus. It’s the Canadian version of Global Entry but INCLUDES Global Entry and TSA Pre. Plus, you travel across the border and back more quickly with Nexus AND, if you fly out of Montreal to Europe or someplace it’s generally cheaper than, say, BOS. Only problem with Nexus: you’ve got to go to border stations to get the iris scan required by the Canadians. We made a morning of the trip (from Stowe) and thoroughly enjoyed the backroads drive to Champlain NY. There are many other locations but that was the closest one to us.

    Another thing .. you say you don’t buy anything when/until you need it. I would suggest that that’s not the most economical way to go. You’re young enough to completely amortize any “tool” expenses in your lifetime. I keep saying to myself — damn! I shoulda bought that tool when I was 25 instead of 70. Woulda saved me lots of time and aggravation. Another thing: buy things when they’re on sale, not when you absolutely need them and will pay top dollar. True .. sometimes you’ll have something it turns out you never needed in the first place but, trust me, having tools and supplies handy when you need them and not having to run to the store for an expensive item pays off in the long run.

  24. I’m “surprised” you pay that much for the Mr’s. Work pants & hat (although that is a good price for a good product). Will probably last forever. My hub buys his work pants @ Goodwill, thrift, & consignment shops.
    He found a work boot he loved by wolverine. He kept buying”extra” pairs so he would always have a spare. Suddenly, the company quit making his model of choice, & we can’t get them any more. Hint:. When buying shoes, buy 2 pair the same & alternative. Lasts way longer & better for you

  25. I am curious about the technology in the hat. I live in the Deep South where we have pretty serious bugs and my 9 year old gets eaten alive by mosquitos. Since hiding indoors is not a reasonable option for our family, bug repelling hats sound amazing. Do you have any idea how the technology works and if these products are considered safe for children to wear? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hmm, I do not know if it’s rated as safe for kids or not… Mr. FW likes it so far and he is often in deep woods cutting down trees, so it does seem to work pretty well!

      1. Thanks. We are due for an annual check up in August and I will ask my pediatrician then. My pediatrician is a lovely combination of extremely competent and cautious without being alarmist so she will give me a sensible answer or direct me to a reliable website to research the question!

  26. I know in the past you’ve had employer paid cell phones – what are you doing now that you are freelancing and being a stay at home mom? Have you just been managing without one for now?

    1. Good question! I’m in cell phone limbo right now for several reasons… 1) we don’t get cell reception here in the woods (we have a landline through our internet), and 2) my iPhone recently flat-out died… Hence, I’m not sure what I’m going to do for a cell phone in the future… we’re researching options and I may or may not get a new phone. Thank goodness I can do just about everything I need to through my computer, on our landline, or on Mr. FW’s phone…

  27. Love the blog and have been reading since the beginning! I am wondering what you do for a cell phone now… I know you had one paid by your employer, but is that no longer covered now that you are self-employed? I am currently using Republic Wireless and wondered what your thought process was on paid cell phones.

    Thanks for the writing – I love it all!

  28. I am also curious about your cell phone expense as it is no longer being paid for by your employer. I assume Mr. FW’s still gets his paid for as a work expense. I feel like we pay a lot for cells for us both…but we definitely need them. My daughter and I are so impressed as to how little you spend for baby expenses. We are trying to be frugal, but we don’t have access to hand me downs and our “Buy Nothing’ hasn’t had any baby clothes available. Estelle’s bows are even adorable…and it looks like her clothing budget is zero…impressive! Our jaws dropped when we saw that you got a Bug a Boo (sp?!) stroller for free! That was one amazing deal. Your blog continues to be very inspirational, thank you!

    1. See above for an answer on my cell phone situation ;). And, good luck with finding cheap baby stuff!! Goodwill, thrift shops, and friends/relatives with older kiddos are also wonderful sources for baby gear. And yes, Babywoods’ bows are hand-me-downs too 🙂

  29. The brake pad expense has me wondering, do the Frugalwoods do their own basic car repair? Living in the city with limited room I can understand paying a shop. Now that you have some more space, general car repair like brake pads seems like a frugal adventure that might be worth taking.

  30. Love all of your posts!! Your homestead posts are making me nostalgic for being called to dinner while watching little house on the prairie ????I do have one burning question. I thought that when you rented out your Cambridge home that it covered the Boston and Vermont mortgages?

    1. Yes, the Cambridge rental does indeed cover both the VT and MA mortgages (with some leftover), but I’ve included the VT mortgage here anyway since this is technically still an “expense” even though it’s covered by the rental income. I do not, however, include the MA mortgage since I consider it part of the rental business, as it were.

  31. Such a beautiful home! As someone who (despite living in the PA NW) isn’t much of a nature person (I enjoy it in theory ;)), I’m awed!

    Want to clarify with the mortgage line: that is being covered by the Cambridge house rent, correct?

  32. I love BJs. Because I’m in a family of three adults and one kid, and because we spend enough on the executive Costco membership to cover the cost of that membership (even easier now with Costco Visa) we also have a BJs membership, which you can usually get for cheap. BJs is a heck of a lot closer, has a lot more items (check out clothing there for outdoors too), and has better hours. Costco on the other hand is cheaper and much better for major purchases (I share account with other family members to increase % cash back to make it worthwhile). Also, the Costco in Delaware (about 30 minute drive) sells all the Kirkland booze which alone covers membership cost for the amount of cost savings on the Kirkland wine and liquor vs buying booze from an overpriced PA state store. ????

  33. I have just found your site and I can’t wait to go back and read more. My son is looking at the University of Vermont for college, so we will likely be taking a trip that way in the next few weeks. Your internet bill is higher than ours – about the only place I have seen that. We are also debating the TSA pre-check but have no little one as an excuse anymore! (But lots of fun travel ahead!)

  34. We kinda hemorrhaged $$ on car repairs. On the plus side, I got a notice in the mail that my car had passed roadside emissions! Getting a ’99 through emissions is no joke. Those were the three happiest words I’ve seen in a long time.

  35. I’m a bit obsessed with my grocery shopping as of late. Pricechopper will do some great deals sometimes. They had potatoes for $0.20 a lb back in April. The one near me keeps all of their discounted meats in one section of the cooler which makes deal searching easier. I have a BJ’s membership, it is by far the cheapest place to buy baby formula, as well as milk, eggs, soda, shampoo, and OTC medications. Diapers may be cheaper at BJs if you have coupons to use but I found that not many places beat Amazon.

    1. Good to know! So the BJ’s diapers in Babywoods’ size (2) are actually cheapest (cheaper than WalMart, Amazon, or Costco), so I’m hoping they work well for her! She’s been in Costco diapers since birth so I hope they’re not too different. I really wish Price Chopper was more true to its name, but they do seem to have good sales occasionally. I’m thinking I might start doing my weekly grocery shopping at BJ’s and see how it goes…

  36. I have two questions. First, can you recommend a brand of decent bed pillow? We’ve exhausted the options in stores anywhere near us and think we may have to resort to an online option. We are willing to spend more, if necessary, because the right pillow could help us avoid tossing and turning all night to try to get comfortable on terrible pillows. We have spent way too much money on many pillows that feel great in stores but simply don’t last long. We know we’ll still have to choose our preferred softness or firmness. But a general recommendation would be great.

    Second, I’m cyrious about your grocery breakdown . It looks like you have one category for groceries such as food and another where bulk purchases of rice and oats appear. Why is it broken down like this rather than counting the cost of rice,beans,and olive oil in the food category?

    Having noted that, we tend to do something similar because we have so many fixed budget plan items like electricity, gas, phone, etc. We know the cost of our meals so where we purchase our groceries, let alone tracking every item in the grocery category is less important to us than keeping track of total monthly expenses.,

  37. Happy anniversary! Burlington is such a pretty town, glad you took the time to enjoy your anniversary. Love the regular updates.

  38. I feel you on the price of groceries in Vermont! We’re looking to relocate there at some point in the next year or two, and I’m afraid we’ll never find a place as affordable as our beloved Park Slope Food Coop. In fact, we’re even considering if it’s possible to somehow maintain our membership from afar, so we can stock up when we come to town to visit family. We’ll see!

    I’d also be interested to hear how BJ’s compares to Costco, since right now we use our Costco membership pretty frequently.

  39. Your front yard grass looks so luscious!! Im jealous! 🙂 Im also impressed you only spent $15 on beer. haha j/k. I normally spend that in one day in beer if i go to a bar. I really need to stop doing that.

    Keep the great work, i love seeing budgets and frugal living, im working my way to frugality but its tough.

    1. Read the response from Mrs. Frugalwoods above to Traci. The Cambridge mortage is now part of the rental business, so a net zero, since the rental income covers the mortgage payment.

  40. Inspection are required by law and you have to pay for them? Yikes!

    It seems you are finding things more expensive in Vermont? To bad about the food being so high. That is my families budget with 4 boys and a ultra marathon hubby. But we have a 1/2 acre garden so that helps.
    The garden looks good. Nice that you already have asparagus since that takes 3 years before you can harvest . Maybe you can find some local farm auctions for tools. Every farmer yalway has tons of tools. My Grandpa had 18 hammers. 🙂

  41. I would imagine you’ll have homesteading expenses plateau after 3 years depending on how the weather treats you. My June was volatile, but ended with me on the right path, which is all you can ask for.

    I agree on not sharing hats that involve sweating. My girlfriend and I are both into hats, but have mainly non-overlapping styles. Thank goodness. Separate outfits are especially important in same-sex relationships.

  42. Thanks for the hat suggestion, I ordered one off of Amazon. I’ve been looking for a rimmed hat for a while, this was a good excuse to finally purchase one.

    Congrats on the homestead! Tool and equipment purchases should start to slow down after the first summer/winter seasons. Then you can get back to your “normal” spending habits.

    Keep the posts coming, I love reading new posts when they are published.

  43. If you have Amazon Prime, I have had awesome luck with Prime Pantry, which allows you to order non perishable items (and in some areas, perishable) and then pay a flat $6 fee to have the items delivered. They also allow you to use coupons. Since our local grocery store is over a mile away, and I don’t have a way to drive there, I found its much easier to get those items in the mail.

  44. Wonderful documentation! I just showed this to my wife and we’re enchanted by life on the homestead 🙂 I’m Brian Lund btw, this is our first time meeting you guys. Looking forward to reading more and connecting. Cheers!

  45. What will you feed frugal hound at BJs? I like Hannaford, but you are right, nothing compares to Market Basket.

    We flew in and out of Seattle this month. Logan was a little bit crowded, but the line moved quickly enough. We went through security in Seattle about the same time as my in laws who have pre check. *fingers crossed that this continues to improve*

    1. BJ’s has a salmon and sweet potato grain-free kibble, which is what Frugal Hound has been eating from Costco. I’m hoping it’ll taste similar!

  46. Oh, and as for food, is this going to change the way you meal plan (or don’t meal plan?). You can read the circulars each week online.

  47. I really enjoy your column and this is my first time commenting. Did you shop around for your EZ Pass? I got mine from Delaware and it was only a $15 one-time fee. You don’t have to reside in the state to get your pass from them. And their website is fantastically easy to use.

  48. TSA Pre-check frugal funfact – TSA Pre-check covers your entire party if you book together (so one pre-check $85 to cover them all). Global Entry covers only the person who books it and is very helpful for border crossing/international re-entry, but costs $100. I’ve had good luck with my “party” getting all TSA Pre-check when we book together under my Global Entry Known Traveler number. Finally, certain airports (BOSTON!!!) don’t use pre-check at every gate. Alaska Airlines and Sun Country use a small gate at Logan that does not have pre-check and pre-check is not always open (i.e. early morning flights). I travel a lot for work so it is definitely worth it but never count on it. Or you will need to sort your liquids at the TSA counter…

  49. Re: TSA pre-check…My husband was approved. He bought us tickets and I was automatically included. So if you travel together consistently, both adults don’t need to apply for pre-check.

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