We snowshoe hiked with the game sled all winter

As the snow receded from our land, allowing bare earth and grass to take its place, we quickly realized we’d need a new outdoor baby conveyance solution. All winter long, Mr. Frugalwoods and I snowshoe hiked by towing Babywoods behind us in this game sled, which sailed over pillows of snow, up mountains, and across frozen streams with ease. I tested the game sled out on mud and grass and that was a non-starter. Literally.

Backpacking A Baby

Last summer, we carried Babywoods on hikes in our hand-me-down Ergo, and despite the fact that she still fits in there, the toll is too heavy for my back. Next, we tested out a hand-me-down hiking pack, which Mr. FW likes to use but which hurts my lower back something fierce. After doing test hikes with both the Ergo and the hiking pack, I realized there’s no way I can go on long hikes with my child attached to me anymore–she’s just too heavy for my back.

Mr. FW snowshoe hiking with Babywoods in the backpack carrier

While it works for Mr. FW to carry her in the pack when we hike together, I take Babywoods out by myself for a pre-dinner hike every day while Mr. FW works on our land or cooks dinner. I also tried out the hand-me-down stroller we have, which operates well on flat, packed earth, but is no match for the brambly woods trails that bisect our property.

The Jogging Stroller Quest

I didn’t want to sacrifice my daily hikes and so the time had come: we needed a jogging stroller. And not just any jogging stroller. We needed enormous, durable wheels capable of summiting mountains, rolling over rocks, and fording shallow streams. My initial research revealed that these beasts are $900 brand new, which is a dollar amount my frugal nature cannot abide. And so, I turned to my old friend, my stalwart companion in my campaign to spend less than conventional wisdom says is possible: the used market.

I started by asking friends and neighbors if anyone had an old stroller we could buy or borrow. No dice. Next, Mr. FW presented the results of his Craigslist saved searches–in anticipation of this need, he’s been scanning Craigslist for about a year for a jogging stroller. In that time frame, there’ve been exactly two jogging strollers (with gigantic wheels) available in all of Vermont, neither of which returned his inquiry emails. Things were looking bleak. Next, I turned to my Buy Nothing Group as well as one of my local Facebook groups for swapping and selling baby stuff. No luck.

Miracle stroller

Finally, I posted to my town’s listserve and lo, someone responded with a hot tip: they’d seen jogging strollers for sale at a thrift shop for $5. I called the shop, confirmed they had such a stroller, and Mr. FW and I decided we’d better go investigate right away–as in, that day.

My Frugal Gem

As we pulled into the thrift store parking lot, I spied my dream stroller sitting out front. Resplendent with 20 inch wheels, there it sat. I leapt out of the car and rushed over to claim it (I forget that I no longer live in the city and there aren’t mobs of people everywhere… ). I happily paid the $5 sticker price and was awash in joy. This stroller is a true frugal gem.

The next day Mr. FW and I put the stroller through the Frugalwoods paces: we took it on the full circuit hike around our property, which includes diverse terrain, hills, rocks, logs, and brushy trails. It performed like a champ. I’ve used it every day since we bought it, Babywoods loves it, I love it, and I like to think the stroller loves us. Even better than the $5 price tag is the fact that this stroller’s got to be at least 10 years old and we’ve given it a new lease on life. A good reminder to never throw out stuff that someone else will be thrilled to pick up on the used marked.

Day Tripping

The wheels on this thing are HUGE!

Since the thrift store was a 40 minute drive from our house, we decided to make it an impromptu day trip in our ongoing quest to learn more about our new home state. After netting our fabulous stroller, we took Babywoods to lunch at a BBQ spot we’d heard was good and for which we had a coupon. Verdict: delicious and very kid-friendly, so we’ll be back.

Then, we strolled across the street to River Roost, a local brewery rumored to have innovative, superb beer. We tasted the beers on tap and can confirm, it’s stupendous. Deciding that we should do further research, we bought some beer to take home for additional experimentation…

Since we rarely eat out or buy treats for ourselves, the occasional day trip doesn’t constitute a dramatic hit to our budget. I prefer to save money on the quotidian things of life–for example, we don’t have cable–in order to easily afford the occasional spontaneous jaunt.

Other April Expenses Of Note

  • Wedding Trip! As you might recall from last month’s expense report, we flew to Florida for a family wedding in April. We had a fabulous time with Mr. FW’s family and incurred what I consider a reasonable level of expense. Our philosophy is to spend on what matters to us (in this case, time with family) and save money on the less important facets of life. For example, while we did pay for flights and a hotel, we didn’t buy any new clothes for this trip or go get our hair cut at a salon (home haircuts for the win!). There’s a way to apply the lessons of frugality to every aspect of life.
  • Date Night! Our fabulous neighbor has offered to watch Babywoods for one evening a month (free of charge!) to allow us to go out on a date. This is such an incredible gift and a true exemplification of the community-oriented spirit of our tiny town.
  • Mr. FW’s Glasses! As chronicled last week, Mr. Frugalwoods is the proud wearer of brand new prescription glasses and sunglasses from Eye Buy Direct.

Personal Capital: How We Organize Our Expen$e$

Babywoods and me at the wedding rehearsal

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.

Credits Cards: How We Buy Everything

Mr. Frugalwoods and I purchase everything we possibly can with credit cards for several reasons:

  1. It’s easier to track expenses. No guesswork over where that random $20 bill went; it all shows up in our monthly expense report from Personal Capital. This prompts me to spend less money because I KNOW I’m going to see every expense in detail at the end of each month.
  2. We get rewards. Who doesn’t like rewards? Credit card rewards are a simple way to get something for nothing. Through the cards we use, Mr. FW and I get cash back as well as hotel and airline points just for buying things we were going to buy anyway.
  3. We build our credit. Since Mr. FW and I don’t carry any debt other than our mortgages, having several credit cards open for many years (which are fully paid off every month) has greatly helped our credit scores.
Rugged terrain stroller!

If you’re interested in opening a credit card, I highly recommend using this site to search for a card that’ll best fit your needs. And if you’re interested in travel rewards cards specifically, check out this list curated by my friend Brad from Travel Miles 101. I respect Brad’s work in the travel rewards space and I trust his advice on which cards will reap the best benefits.

Huge caveat to credit card usage: you MUST pay your credit card bills in full every single month, with no exceptions. If you’re concerned about your ability to do this, or think that using credit cards might prompt you to spend more money, then credit cards are not for you–stick with using a debit card and/or cash. But if you have no problem paying that bill in full every month? I recommend you credit card away, my friend!

How To Read A Frugalwoods Expense Report

Want to know how we manage the rest of our money? Look no further than Our Low Cost, No Fuss, DIY Money Management System. We also own a rental property in MA, which I discuss here. Why do we save so much and spend so little? It’s all in service of our goal to reach financial independence and move to a homestead in the woods (which happened in May 2016).

Carrying a baby: not actually how we hike, but made for a cute photo

For us, embracing frugality is a joyful, longterm 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? Up for some hardcore frugal adventuring? Sign-up to take my Uber Frugal Month Challenge, which is the method Mr. FW and I employ to sculpt our frugal lifestyle. Over 12,200 people have already taken the Challenge–and saved thousands of dollars–and you can sign-up at any time. You’ll start with Day 1 so you won’t miss a frugal thing. P.S. It’s free! And if you’re interested in the other things I love, check out Frugalwoods Recommends.

A Note On Rural Life

Since we live on 66 acres in rural Vermont, our utilities are slightly different from traditional urban and suburban dwellings. We don’t pay for water, sewer, trash, or heating/cooling because we have a well, a septic system, our town doesn’t provide trash pick-up, we heat our home with wood we harvest ourselves from our land, and we don’t have air conditioning. For more on our rural lifestyle, check out my series This Month On The Homestead.

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

Cute pic, but my back is killing me

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

Plus, as I explained here, we pay bills in full the month we receive them–that’s why you won’t see monthly payments for things like car insurance or property taxes.

If you’re curious about how we handle charitable contributions, check out How We Make Meaningful And Tax Efficient Charitable Donations.

Alright you frugal money voyeurs, feast your eyes on every dollar we spent in April:

Item/Vendor Amount Frugalwoods Musings
Vermont Mortgage $1,392.86
Wedding-related expenses $693.03 Hotel, wedding gift, airport parking, food, etc for the family wedding we attended in Florida.
Groceries $487.59
Household supplies $154.93 All non-food household and farm supplies, including such thrilling things as toilet paper, laundry detergent, dog food, dental floss, and more.
Garden and farm equipment $110.84 Window screens, hoses, flagging tape, duct tape, rakes, fertilizer, etc.
Glasses for Mr. FW $79.35 Mr. FW is thrilled with his new prescription glasses and sunglasses from Eye Buy Direct. Check out our full review here.
Gasoline for cars $78.74 LOVE our fuel efficient Prius
Internet $74.00
Date night $42.22 Dinner out for Mr. and Mrs. FW
Lunch out $26.00 Lunch out for the whole family
Cell phone $19.99 Through BOOM mobile
Beer $16.00 Beer from River Roost, a new local brewery we visited that’s making delicious beer!
Glasses cases $11.92 Hard sided cases for Mr. FW’s new glasses
Prescription medication $10.83
Jogging stroller $5.00 The thrift store jogging stroller of wonder
TOTAL SPENT: $3,203.30  

How was your April?

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  1. WOW! That is a steal! Congrats on such a frugal find! My April was pretty great. I had the first month of rent checks come in and no mortgage payment. I got a taste of what no mortgage feels like and I can’t wait to pay it off to enjoy every penny of rent coming in!

  2. April has been a mixed month for us. We spent a long weekend in the Kruger National park, which, despite frugal accommodation (self catering), fuel efficient car and a free house sitter, was quite spendy. Definitely worth every cent, though! Now we’re back to school and normal routine, it’s extreme frugality for us, to ensure we finish this month in the green (our financial cycle is 15th to 15th).

  3. That’s an awesome find!!! My wife scours thrift stores and Craigslist as well for baby items. We have been able to find a ton of awesome free baby items such as double strollers (will come in handy later this year), Kelty backpacks, play houses, etc. Definitely one of the perks to living close to the city when people want to get rid of stuff and are too lazy to drop it off at good will 🙂

  4. You both look gorgeous in the wedding rehearsel picture! I’m glad to see there’s always a frugal option for whatever we need in life. Even when it comes to children.

  5. You never cease to amaze with finding something well below a used price, it’s almost unbelievable. Luckily, we were given all of our baby goods as gifts, and our jogging stroller has been an amazing beast for exercise and travel. We have used it for over 5 years between two kids and have at least another 3-4 years or more left to go with it. You’ll find you’ll love using it for a myriad of things. Great job finding such a steal! We love to buy used, sell used, and use other sites like Freecycle, too.

  6. I was so excited to see your new post. Your monthly expenditure report is one of my most favorites! I remember at one point you wanted to keep grocery expenses under $300. I see it was almost $500 for April. Have you decided to increase for food budget or is it just because of the food prices in Vermont?

    1. I’ve been curious about that also. I wondered if you are at a point where you are simply a bit more relaxed about it or if it is simply more expensive where you are. Either way, that’s still an awesome spending category with you guys!

  7. I love finding that thing that we really need and have been searching for a while at the right price! Such a win! I hope you get a lot of great use out of it. Our sweet baby is 15 months now, and I fear too heavy for me as well! The great thing about having 5 little kids, is there is always a pool of things being passed from one to the next. We still have our jogging stroller from our first child (now 9) and the double stroller from our 4 and 5 year olds. With number 5, there aren’t too many things that we need to buy. =)

  8. I had the same problem with our Ergo and never got a good fit with a frame backpack carrier. Certain baby carrier companies make toddler sized carriers (soft structured carriers), with larger a larger panel and heavier weight limit. It is truly amazing. No more back pain and the carrier can go where a stroller can’t. And it folds up really small for easy transport. Plus, if there is a local baby wearing group, it may be possible to try before you buy and even find someone selling a used model.

  9. Wow! I never had such a good used find. I think the best I’ve done is $75 for a Burley Piccolo (they are I think $360 new and you know Burley holds a lot of value).

  10. I have had to pay for COBRA insurance for my child, who has significant lifelong chronic medical needs, and is still in college at age 26. As I told him, it does not matter how long it takes you, as long as you are doing your best to work towards your goals. I am proud, that despite his medical condition, he is still here and still plugging along in college, despite a ten day hospitalization in the middle of mid terms. I say all of that to say that COBRA is expensive and has killed my budget, but it is better than not having insurance. I also have top notch insurance so it is worth every penny, and yes, I looked at the marketplace options and healthshare ministeries. So, medical insurance and copays have caused April to be an expensive month, but if I had not had insurance, I would have had a $100,000 hospital bill to contend with. I also ended up spending more on food and gas because I had to keep working (to keep the insurance) through his hospitalization, and running back and forth to the hospital increased my gas and food bill. Such is life. I deal with it.

    1. Does his school not have student insurance available? It’s usually expensive, but probably cheaper than cobra.

      1. Jessi, as someone with medical conditions most student health insurances have issues for many people with chronic issues. For example, the university I work at requires your primary care doc to be at the student health center (and the majority of those primary care docs are NP or PA). The schools I went to for undergrad and grad did not cover the treatments I needed.

        1. My primary care was at the heath center, but I never actually saw that doctor, as I had conditions that needed more complex management.

      2. The student plan does not seem to cover adequately a transplant, if he ever needs one, in addition to all of his other medical issues.

    2. Have you applied for a medical card for him? Even f he didn’t qualify under you he should qualify now. My sister has a chronic genetic disease and the medical card was her secondary until she was no longer covered under my parents insurance. Now it’s her primary bc her job doesn’t offer insurance. It’s covered her expensive medications and quarterly visits well. There are also Christian Ministry plans that might be less expensive then Cobra. Good luck. It’s really hard where your child’s health is concerned.

      1. Are you talking about Medicaid? Different states, unfortunately, seem to have different qualifications for Medicaid, depending on what the state has adopted of the federal government plan. The Christian Share ministries do not seem to be what he needs if he has to have a transplant down the road.

  11. Two thoughts: wow on the jogging stroller! But you didn’t negotiate? Haha.
    Ours actually came free. We are the fourth r in the neighborhood to have it handed down.

    Second: is the Cambridge mortgage paid off? Didn’t that use to be on these reports?

    1. Haha, it didn’t feel right to negotiate on a $5 pricetag–the thrift store supports a charity, so I didn’t want to lowball them ;). We decided not to pay off the Cambridge mortgage, but it is covered in full by the fact that the property is now a revenue-generating rental. We stopped including the Cambridge mortgage on these expense reports when we started renting it out last year. You can read more about how we manage our money here: Our Low Cost, No Fuss, DIY Money Management System and more about our rental property here: How We Turned Our City Home Into A Rental Property. Hope this helps answer the question :).

  12. Wow, bravo for scoring that nice stroller for $5! I’m set to inherit my sister-in-law’s jogging stroller, so I’m excited we shouldn’t incur too many baby-related costs. 🙂 Our April was a total butt-kicker. We overspent in nearly every category, which meant we couldn’t put as much on our student loans. Ugh! And I’m going through a job change, which means I won’t get a paycheck for another month, so we’ll have to batten down the hatches in May.

  13. That stroller is amazing!!!! And for $5?!?! I can’t believe it haha!! The thrift store strollers around here seem to sell for $40+ minimum, ugh. Granted, those are usually at specific baby/kid thrift stores which I feel like are slightly overpriced.

    You guys always blow me away with your low spending. I’m definitely a simple gal, but my spending would look horrendous compared to yours!! Kuddos, Frugalwoods!!!


  14. I can’t believe you got a jogging stroller for $5! Great find. I like to use VarageSale for buying/selling used goods. You have to use a Facebook profile to sign up and with “real names” it makes it less likely to encounter scammers.

  15. That is an absolute steal!! Well done. I look forward to the time I need to replace something so I can hunt me out some thrift store bargains.

    April was a good month for us. We started it off with a weekend trip to Niagara Falls that we used credit card points and gift cards to pay for – was a very cheap way to finally see the great Falls! And all other expenses were kept in check – apart from travel as we have a mammoth 4 month trip in the works. We’re enjoying the challenge of being as cost-effective as we can be though – cheap travel for the win!

  16. man. you hit the jackpot on that one. those things are monstrously expensive at $900, so i cannot imagine your luck…the thrifty gods were one your side! i was thinking for some reason you paid cash for your vermont home….is there a big advantage to having a mortgage there?

  17. You guys always manage to do such a great job being frugal (hence the joys of a new “used” stroller), while also managing to live “the good life” and treat yourselves on occasion. I love thrift store wins, they are the best feeling for frugal folks.

    My mom came to visit in April, so we treated ourselves to a few meals out, but I still managed to keep my monthly expenses under $1,000 since I have paid off my mortgage and have no other debt!

  18. We used what looks like the exact same stroller for years! My last daughter just outgrew it! We put it through a lot of serious hikes in the woods, it was awesome. We bought it used too, but I think we paid $50, yours is a steal!

    Thanks for sharing the monthly financials, always good motivation.

  19. I notice that you never seem to use the truth that you definitely need something to justify leaving your frugal life path for it. In practicing this same philosophy I’ve found the happiest moments are when I’ve persevered in waiting and watching and then…there it is! But one must be thick skinned about this…I once carried a large portable commode I knew my senior friend needed out of a Goodwill store while my family cringed laughing in the car. I like to think of it as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

  20. Out of curiosity, since your town doesn’t provide trash pick-up, what do you do with your trash/recycling?

    1. We take it once a week to our town’s transfer station where we sort our recyclables and hand over our bag of trash. We also compost in an effort to reduce our trash load.

      1. do people burn trash in your neck of the woods? my husband’s family lives in rural central PA (what some people pejoratively call Pennsyltucky) and they like you have to pay for trash pick up but they prefer to BURN their trash. There is a recycling center nearby that could take plastic, metal, and paper but they still burn everything. I can only imagine the toxins in the soil underneath the burn pile (especially because MIL only drinks water out of disposable bottles). My husband has unsuccessfully tried to get them to convert to recycling (at least the plastic) but to no avail. Also, to be fair, the in-laws are not the only ones burning their trash. I was just curious if you had people doing that out in your area too (and yes, I think it’s illegal but unless it’s during a drought, no one gets in trouble).

  21. We were gifted a BOB double stroller. It’s awesome, we love it.

    People comment on it all the time.

    I always want to tell everyone that it was a gift and that we would NEVER SPEND $600 ON A FREAKIN’ STROLLER!

    But I just say, “Yeah, we love it!”

    Our little secret. 😉

    1. We spent $600 on an awesome double stroller, brand new off of Ebay, and then resold it for $450 about 3 years later. Sure, we were out $150, but I think it was well worth and it and I was amazed by the interest when I put it up on Craigslist.

  22. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a good price for a used jogging stroller, in fact, I know I haven’t. Good job!
    April had some higher expenditures so that we went over budget, but I’m not complaining. We paid property taxes, which I’d been saving for, and our dog had some issues that required a vet visit. We bought a large order of grass-fed beef from a local farm, so that blew our grocery budget, and I broke down and bought some new-to-me clothes, as things are starting to wear out pretty fast now. My husband had surgery two hours from home, so that involved some expenses.
    We’ll get it back in line this month, I expect. I get a kick out of coming in under budget.

  23. Since you asked how we’re doing, here is the verdict…
    March Income going to savings: $7,530
    April Income going to savings: $2,880.00
    No consumer debt just a mortgage!

  24. our biggest out-of-control expense is groceries. I realized we somehow spent $600 on groceries last month, and that’s not including cash-only purchases at our local produce store. We did stock up on quite a bit last month, but I can go a little crazy on the frozen prepared foods, especially at warehouse stores. I have cut down on my BJ’s and Costco trips* and only go there once a month tops to buy foods/supplies that are well-priced (lately, BJ’s has been well-priced for yard equipment). For everything else, I’ve come to the conclusion that Aldi really is the best for our household, and it’s far easier for me to keep our spending in check at a small store with less of a selection of items.

    *I have both warehouse store credit cards so it more than covers membership cost–BJ’s is a great return for in-store purchases (3%) and with Costco’s, you could never shop at Costco and the membership is worth it because the cash-back on gas purchases (4%–we buy gas for ourselves and my mom) and dining out (3% — I mystery shop restaurants) on their credit card makes the $60 fee worthwhile.

    1. Agh, groceries are out of control for my family of 4 too. They have been hovering around $900 per month. This is partly because my husband does the grocery shopping and cares much more about convenience (closest shop) and speed (just grabs what he wants without comparing prices) than saving money. At some point, I am going to take over the shopping and see if I can do better, $900 is crazy!

    2. Groceries are one of those items, where it really depends on your health issues. I am fortunate that I can eat cheaper vegetables like carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and cheaper proteins like eggs, and a bean and rice combo. I do take a ham and jalapeno sandwich to lunch every day, made from Walmart big pack of ham, and that lasts a month. I am aware that sliced meat is not the best for you, but I figure since I eat all these vegetables, I will stick with the easy thing for lunch. I could go even cheaper if I would pack beans and rice for lunch, but, I really prefer hot food at night, and beans and rice are so easy to make a taco or burrito out of with a flour tortilla. I do eat a little cheese, sparingly, because it is so expensive. Of course, I do not have to get a husband on board the beans and rice train, so that makes things easier and cheaper….lol.

  25. The internet expense looks a bit high to me. How fast a speed do you get for over $70/month? I admit, it’s probably justified for your blog, but just a lot higher than the $20/month introductory rate I am getting from Comcast, which is 10 mbps. I understand rural WiFI is harder to get, though.

    Nice job on the low expenses. How long does Mr. Frugalwoods have left before he can be free?

  26. We had an awesome “off-road” stroller – DH loved it because it had shock absorbers! I hadn’t known such things existed, LOL.
    Didn’t buy it, it was a gift.

  27. When the universe provides exactly what you need, when you need it and at $5? You know you have some good karma out there working for you.

    We went to a nextdoor neighbourhood garage sale towards the end of April and spent $22. We scored an oven safe pan, two sleeping bags, 4 wine glasses (Mr. BITA breaks at least two every month. The wine glasses we use when it is just the two of us are plastic), 6 coffee mugs that Mr. BITA took in to work to encourage his team to stop using disposables, and a pair of pajamas for Toddler BITA. Toddler BITA even scored a stuffed dog for free (I think she toddled up to a grandma who couldn’t resist her. She totally milks her toddler-ey cuteness).

  28. What a great find on the stroller! My April was a bit spendy but I will be reigning it in this month. I made my budget and have new determination to really stick to it.

  29. Wow, now I feel like I really overpaid for my secondhand Bob stroller at $150. I thought I was being frugal at the time finding it on craigslist instead of new. Great deal!

  30. April was good! $3,416.64 toward our debt load – we’re on the tail end of paying off $37,000 in student loans. First step to financial independence! 🙂
    hoping to have the rest paid off by the end of summer. Under $9,000 left!
    you guys have inspired me to better our finances, and get outdoors more 🙂

  31. $5! That’s amazing! I found my kiddos got too heavy to carry around the same age as Babywoods. Husband and I are tall people and breed heffalumps, while I have friends who still baby wear at 2 or 3. My jogging stroller definitely saved my back 🙂

  32. I noticed that you don’t give any money to charity? I understand that you “volunteer” at your yoga place but that is in order to get free classes. What about gracious living and helping others? I like you frugal ideas just wish I could see some less “selfish” reasons for being frugal

    1. I feel as though I should stick up for the Frugalwoods family here – it’s rare that a post doesn’t mention community contributions because it’s such an important part of who they are (I know I don’t actually know you but I feel as though I do after 14 months reading the blog!!) Baked goodies for their church, their DAF, participating in community events – it seems to me as though they do an excellent job of giving back and (to me, at least!) are models of gracious living. As an aside, my husband and I have saved $60,000 that would have probably been $10,000 had I not discovered the blog. We are making monthly donations to an assortment of causes we are passionate about and have still managed to stay on budget. Hell, now we are starting a business and plan to donate a percent of the profits to student scholarships in my husband’s home country. Your frugal yet generous way of life is downright inspiring. I’m a big fan!!

      1. Thank you, Jen :)! I’m so excited to hear how much you’ve saved and all the wonderful things that will enable you to do!

  33. I’m divorced at 60 and living off half of my ex-husband’s pension. I downsized to a one-bedroom condo last August which I paid off in a month. I continue to be interested in living frugally here in Chicago. My two kids are grown but we did the cloth diaper, used clothes/equipment thing for years. I often find things or get them low-cost, if not free, in other ways. So glad I discovered you Frugalwoods!

  34. Amazing find with the stroller!! We also love searching thrift stores or consignment shops. Large items like a stroller are perfect to purchase there. Our families have bought items like bouncy chairs or pack ‘n plays to have at their house (Grandma and Grandpa need baby items too!) Makes it easy for us when we travel, we don’t have to bring the bulky items with us. We also almost always shop at the consignment store for clothes. Kids (and boys especially) grow out of them so fast or get holes in them.

  35. For people that love the outdoors a good stroller is a necessity. (I can’t believe I am leaving a comment about a stroller) but after I got stuck several km’s away from anything with my baby and dog due to mud and pine needles causing seized wheels I decided I would have to give in and get something more robust. I cast nets similar to Mrs. Frugalwoods and also had no luck until I got a Kijiji (think Craigslist) reply from a stranger with a tip that a local ToysRUs had a floor model BoB SUS stroller marked down to $150 CAD (which was about half the price as a new one). We used that stroller daily over snowbanks, through streams, on the beach and on many hiking trails with two kids over 5 years and resold the stroller exactly what we bought it for! Even if I had paid full price for it, it was such good quality, and held its value that it would have been a worthwhile investment for our family!

  36. A $5 stroller is incredible! So is lunch out for the family at $26. Here in the Bay area lunch out is easily $25 per person.

    I’ve always wondered how do you (or anyone on the blog) separate out your household items from your food items? Do you separate them at checkout or do you itemize everything on your receipt? I buy household items (paper products, etc.) at the grocery store/Costco so it’s just part of my grocery expenses.

    1. We had a coupon for lunch and we also always check menus online in advance and avoid super expensive spots. To answer your question, we go through the self check-out lanes in two separate transactions: one for groceries and one for household goods. Hope this helps :)!

  37. So I am a cynical regular reader, I’ve never commented. I’m not proud to admit I can be an envious skeptic. I have an 18-month-old. When I saw the photo I thought, “ha!!! they finally broke down! I bet they spent at least $200 on that thing”. I have to hand it to you, I truly do admire your perseverance in finding it as close to free as possible. Thank you for posting this – its highly motivating. I have to buy used too, but haven’t taken the leap to reaching out and asking for others cast offs. I thought we were doing great getting out Thule Urban Glide for $100 on craigslist. Posting about what item you’re looking for rather than doing the scouring yourself is an awesome tip. It makes me wonder if I could get a regular group hitting certain thrift stores and keeping eyes peeled (I do this with only my mom haha)

    I do have a question – were you able to find something suitable it on Craigslist, what is the most you would’ve paid? I set up craigslist alerts for models of things I’m looking for and have found luck being patient and waiting. How do you decide to keep looking or take the deal? For example, there’s a particular ikea sleeper sofa I want. It retails for $799, most posts are for $500, but there is the occasional $200. I’m waiting on the $200 good condition one. You make me feel like I should let it go and just settle for something else even cheaper (maybe not that model) hmmmmm

    1. Yeah, I’ve had good luck with putting the word out for things I’m in search of and I do the same for my friends. There were actually several jogging strollers for sale at that thrift store and I told my parents’ group about it and several of them went the next day to buy them! In general, I try to find used items for as deep a discount as possible. Scanning Craigslist for awhile to get a sense of the going price is a great way to gauge whether or not you’re getting a deal. For this stroller, there was one on Craigslist for $80 and my plan was to try and bargain down to $50.

  38. I am way impressed with your $5 jogging stroller! I have been observing those strollers for years–me with no kids and waaay prior to meeting my husband–as the strollers that can majorly kick the butt of any other stroller out there. I live in the city, and I cannot hold a candle to the terrain that you folks are using it on, but watching people struggle with traditional strollers to get over the gap to the train, get through awful broken sidewalks or watching just generally sucky wheels has made me want to get a jogging stroller if and when we have kids. Kudos on your network coming through with the thrift store FTW! Your persistence always inspires me.

  39. Nice stroller discovery! We received one almost identical to yours as a gift four years ago, and just sold it to someone today!

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