Our kitchen faucet joined the ranks of the no longer living. As you might recall, Mr. Frugalwoods put in a herculean effort back in October to keep this faucet among that which is operational in our home. His plumbing fix worked. Until it didn’t. The valve in the faucet broke again–yielding a mind numbing drip, drip, driiiiiiiiiippppp–and this time it was beyond repair. We found a delightful “swan neck” (actual name) faucet at Home Depot for $88 and we are converts. It does the thing where it can spray OR shoot water and it has an extender AND a soap dispenser. If this isn’t luxury, buy me a pickle (which, please don’t, because we have 75 jars of homemade pickles in our basement… ).

I really hope you appreciate this tableau I arranged for you featuring: sink, slippers, and port!

Since I bathe our children in the kitchen sink (for reasons of convenience and the fact that the sole bathtub in our home is not operational), this new faucet has been met with GREAT excitement by Kidwoods. She is of the opinion (likely shared by three-year-olds everywhere) that “sprinkle faucets” are God’s gift to toddlers in baths.

The wonder and awe EVERY DAY at the sprinkle bath (“it’s just like a shower, mama!!!”) is paralleled only by her wonderment at the fire in the woodstove that Mr. FW makes EVERY MORNING. We live in an amusement park over here.

I share Kidwoods’ enthusiasm for this faucet as it’s attractive, swan neck-y, and doesn’t drip. We plan to–at some point–redo our entire kitchen, so we held off on buying a new faucet since we’ll be replacing the entire sink one day. But, at $88, this felt like a tenable price for the interim. We like it so much, though, that we’ll have to see if we can use it with our (future, eventual, someday) new sink.

Bedroom Slippers

I got NEW bedroom slippers (that’s an affiliate link). In other words: wow, I live an exciting life and I know you’re dripping with envy. Dripping like a faucet. My old bedroom slippers were on the job for the last, oh, ten years or so and were shot. Donezo. Pieces of the sole kept falling off and there was a hole clear through. Clear on through. I like to wear and use things until they’re dead and these puppies were at doornail status.

Rear view of the woodshed in January

Since I work from home and since we don’t wear shoes inside our house, I put about 8,900 miles on my bedroom slippers every day. Up the stairs to get one child, down the stairs with that child, back up the stairs for the child’s sweater I forgot, back down the stairs, all around the house I go in slipper-clad feet.

I also like to stand up at the bar in our kitchen while I work on my computer (in fact that’s what I’m doing RIGHT NOW!!!!), equaling further pressure on my slippers. I needed something with support and coziness that would accommodate my long, narrow feet. I first went to FarmWay, our local has-everything-you-need store and tried on no less than 30 pairs of bedroom slippers.

I REALLY wanted to patronize a local business and I REALLY wanted to walk out with a new pair of slips (that’s slang for slippers, as all woke people know), but it wasn’t meant to be. Not a single pair fit my narrow feet. After this footwear flop, I turned to the internet and, specifically, to my mom’s group, the source of all good information in my life. Another mama with long, narrow feet recommended these slippers, so I bought them (that’s an affiliate link). And they are perfection. I was happy to pay $36.95 for something I wear all day every day. Plus they’re red, my shoe color of choice.


Bib in action. You can see why it is needed.

Littlewoods–who is living up to her name of being LITTLE–is a ferocious eater. Given this ferocity, she must be bibbed for all dining events. We had two bibs from Kidwoods’ days of bib-donning, but they both fell apart (likely from being subjected to the dishwasher 6,578 times). The internet recommended these bibs, which are working out excellently (that’s an affiliate link).

These bibs have an enormous pouch to catch all food remnants and Littlewoods can then dig her paw in the pouch to get all the tidbits she dropped! Perfect. These bibs are the first thing we’ve needed to buy new for Littlewoods. Apparently, bib lives don’t extend to two children. At least, not the way we use bibs. Which apparently is with ferocity.

An Ear Thermometer

As divulged in my recent All Things Infant post, we made the decision to buy this ear thermometer (that’s an affiliate link). I know (I know, I know, I know) that the rectal therms deliver a more accurate reading, and that is indeed the method we used for both of our kids when they were sub one-year-old However. I feel like I’ve done that enough in my life and I’m ready to move on. Also, undressing and poking an already-angry-because-they’re-sick child magnifies whatever problem we’re trying to address. I again polled the source of all wisdom and knowledge (my mom’s group) and they concurred that this thermometer is the best.

Glamour shed in action, which is to say: doing nothing and looking good while doing it

Luckily, the kids were struck by toddler plague this month and so we’ve had the opportunity to extensively test our new thermometer. Conclusion: it works great!

I like at least five things about it:

  1. It doesn’t go into anyone’s bum
  2. It registers the temperature in like 3 seconds (ideal for squirming babies)
  3. It can be used on a sleeping child (!!!!)
  4. It has removable cover-things so it can be used on all family members without fear of contamination
  5. It works on adults too!

Given our plague status this month, we regularly took temperatures in the round. Kidwoods decided that whoever was having their temperature taken should have their hand held, so we took turns holding one another’s hands while sticking this thing into our ears. Like I said, living in an amusement park over here.

Port and Gummies

When my in-laws came for Thanksgiving this year, they brought several bottles of port procured from Trader Joe’s (one of my favorite stores. In case you’re not familiar with TJ’s, it’s a grocery store. Again, my life is amazing and I have great taste). I’ve never been a port fan, so I dismissed the bottles without a glance. Then, I tried a sip. I was transformed. I was suddenly…. a person who loves port!!! It was jammy with notes of fig and wonderment. My senses opened, my mouth formed a curious shape resembling a heart. Then, of course, we had a sourcing issue seeing as we don’t have a Trader Joe’s close to our home.

I ate all the gummies before they could be photographed. So, enjoy this compilation of our top nine of 2018 from Instagram

Compounding my yearning for ye olde TJ’s is the fact that my awesome brother and his wife sent us what will go down in history as one of the best Christmastime packages. Ever. It was STUFFED with Trader Joe’s treats: candies, chocolates, pretzels galore! It was decadent, delightful, and divine. In that yuletide package were several bags of Scandinavian gummies, which I initially discounted in favor of the CHOCOLATE.

After I’d eaten all the chocolate, I turned my attention to these gummies. And a love affair began. I do not like things that are super sweet or fake, so I haven’t historically been a gummies consumer. Much like my port conversion, these were the gummies to rule them all. They didn’t taste of artificial dye. They tasted–I don’t know–like really good gummies! But alas, another sourcing issue.

Mr. FW went on a business trip to Boston in January and while there, unbeknownst to me, he made a run to TJ’s and stocked up on gummies and port. To show his enduring devotion: $53.89 worth of port and high-end gummies. Oh the love! The cashier gave him such a weird look (he didn’t buy anything else) that he finally blurted out, “it’s a surprise for my wife! She loves these!”

Credits Cards: How We Buy Everything

Kidwoods makes a break for it

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. By the way, it’s a dirty, dirty myth that carrying a balance on your credit card helps your credit score–IT DOES NOT. Paying your cards off IN FULL every month and keeping them open for many years, however, does help your score.

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! (these are affiliate links)

Personal Capital: How We Organize Our Expen$e$

January 2019 on the homestead

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 (these are affiliate links). 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

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 allocate our money like we do? 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).

Kidwoods loving the new “sprinkle” faucet

For us, embracing prudent financial management and 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 in which we maximize efficiency.

Why do I share our expenses? To help give you a sense of how we use our money in a goal-oriented manner. Your spending will differ from ours and there’s no “one right way” to spend and no “perfect” budget (perfection does not exist!). We’re not the most frugal people on earth (far from it) and we’re not spendthrifts either.

We fall somewhere in between and I hope that by being transparent about our spending, you might gain some insights into your own spending and be inspired to take proactive control of your money.

Interested in how we keep costs 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. You can sign-up at any time and it’s free!

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 and expenses 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 take it to a transfer station once a week in bags that we purchase from our town), we heat our home with wood we harvest ourselves from our land, and we don’t have central air conditioning (we use window units during the hottest parts of the summer). We also have solar panels, which account for our low electricity bill.

For more on our rural lifestyle, check out my series This Month On The Homestead as well as City vs. Country: Which Is Cheaper? The Ultimate Cost Of Living Showdown.

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

Wondering about other common expenses that you don’t see listed below?

If you’re wondering about anything else, feel free to ask me in the comments section!

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

Item Amount Notes
Vermont mortgage $1,392.86
Home insurance (annual) $762.00 Annual home insurance for our primary residence (in Vermont)
Groceries $530.74
Preschool $460.92 Kidwoods goes to preschool four mornings a week, which we and she love! More on our preschool decision here.
Car insurance (six months’ worth) $278.20 Six months of car insurance through Geico for our 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Toyota Tundra. This is so low because we shopped around, we are both accident and ticket-free, we live in a rural area, we don’t commute to work, AND we don’t carry comprehensive insurance because we could easily replace both of our cars (in full with cash) if we needed to. However, we carry the maximum in liability coverage because we feel that with healthcare costs as they are, the risk of a large liability claim is one we don’t want to self-insure against. More here.
Router and Wireless Access Point $240.98 Our router died this month and we bought this one to replace it as well as this Wireless Access Point (these are affiliate links).
Kitchen faucet, new valves and fittings, plus a soap dispenser $162.53 Kitchen faucet (we got this one) along with new valves and fittings, plus a soap dispenser.
Household supplies $103.11 Thrilling items such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, medications, dental floss, baby supplies, etc.
Date night!!!! $77.44 Mr. FW and I went on our customary once-a-month date night (our adopted grandma neighbor comes over to babysit after we put the kids to bed!!! WE LOVE HER).
Internet $74.00 Big fans of our fiber internet!!!!
Port and Gummies from Trader Joe’s $53.89 Swoon. Mr. FW knows the way to my heart.
Gasoline for cars $43.54
Ear thermometer $39.99 An affiliate link
Bedroom slippers for Mrs. FW $36.95 An affiliate link
Tractor Diesel $35.00
Truck Headlights $26.53 One of the headlights burned out on our truck and Mr. FW replaced it himself with these bulbs. An affiliate link.
Cell phone through BOOM Mobile $19.99 BOOM is an MVNO cell provider, which is why it’s so cheap. If you’re not using an MVNO (such as BOOM, Ting, Mint, Republic Wireless), do some research as it’s likely you’ll be able to decrease your cell phone bill by A LOT.
Utilities: Electric $19.60 We have solar (which I detail here) and this is our monthly base price for remaining grid tied.
Silicone baby bibs $16.97 Let it go down in history: this is the first thing we’ve needed to buy for Littlewoods since her birth one year ago!! The bibs we bought for Kidwoods finally gave up the ghost and ripped in half. Boo. So we bought two new silicone bibs (affiliate link), which I like even better than the old ones! I find that silicone is the only reasonable bib to use for mealtimes. Cloth bibs just get saturated with food and do very little to keep a baby clean.
Extra phone handset $15.85 We–GASP–have a landline (through VOIP.ms) because we don’t get reliable cell reception at our homestead. We finally bought another handset so that we have one upstairs and one downstairs. It’s the little things. An affiliate link.
Security Bits $9.99 Sometimes the snow rips the fiber connection point off the side of our house. When that happens, the box needs to be opened to have the power reconnected to it. This process requires a strange security bit, which we purchased. An affiliate link.
TOTAL: $4,401.08
Minus Mortgage: $3,008.22

How was your January?

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  1. Slippers just don’t provide enough support or traction for me so I just thoroughly washed my last discarded pair of running shoes and designated those for “inside only” use. Just knot the laces on each end where they don’t pull through and they outperform any slippers I’ve ever had, and they are free!

      1. Haflinger Grizzlies offer lots of support, in the summer I wear Birkenstocks. Neither are cheap, but both will last a long time.

    1. My husband and I both have rubber soled clogs – with arch support – from LL Bean and love them. They stand up well to abuse.

  2. I feel like we project others’ projections of us onto people. Don’t worry about the wine purchase! TJs has such good wine deals that people buy a ton there!

    I have narrow feet too. Will look into the slippers!

    Where do you guys go on your date night?

    1. We usually go to either Worthy Burger in South Royalton or Cornerstone Pub in Barre. Both are delicious, locally owned, and have excellent local beer lists :). Such a treat for us!

      1. If you go to Worthy in SoRo, consider giving the Crossroads next door a try. Beer list is just as extensive, although typically no Hill Farmstead and the food is awesome (and way cheaper than Worthy)

  3. Hi guys, Sorry for the unrelated question, but I was wondering if you could also go into some more detail about the process you used for purchasing your MA investment property , or maybe even sharing the template spreadsheet you used to track this data when scouring for a great deal, and visiting all of those open houses! I know you had very specific criteria, but I’m also curious what specific formula you used to crunch the numbers (cap rate, market cycles, comps, annual projected ROI, etc). I’m very interested in real estate as another source of investment. Would you mind sharing more specifics? Thanks so much! So happy to read about all of your successes and loved the book! -Matt

  4. What an amazing post full with a multitude of information. Love the idea of the $88 faucet feeling like a luxury. Looking around our own house and relshing in the “luxuries” we take for granted on a daily basis always helps reiterate that we are very lucky and do not need anything else because we have more then ENOUGH 🙂

    1. Great point! I always feel this way after a backpacking trip. One I always find myself saying – if we had to pump and filter our water manually every day we would all be more careful with it. 🙂

  5. Ooh! I have slipper envy. Mine gave up the ghost a few months ago and I haven’t found a pair that I liked enough yet to actually buy. I splurged and bought my husband slippers from L.L. Bean, which are very nice but also pricey, for Christmas. He will probably wear them every night for several years so I’m totally ok with the price, but I can’t justify the money for myself even though I’d likely wear mine more. Funny how that works!

    I am a gummy enthusiast and can verify that the TJ’s gummies are among the very best. When I need to eat my feelings, I run to Sally the Civic and drive at the tippy top of the speed limit to buy a few packs. I’ve never tried the Port, but that was quite the endorsement so I’m adding it to my list for the next time I stop by. Yum!

    1. My husband’s LL Bean slippers just gave up the ghost after 20+ years! Those leather ones with the fleece have been great – pricy yes, but when you cost it out over time, definitely cheaper than cheap slippers and he wore them year round. I think LL Bean stuff is great.

  6. The faucet gremlin must have had us next on its list! Our master bathroom sink faucet went the way of the buffalo just this week. Since we too our planning a complete remodel at some point in the hazy future, we didn’t want to break the bank for a premium model so are thus considering modestly-priced replacements as stand-in options.

    And since I too am a constantly-recovering-perfectionist, we happen to have a grand total of EIGHT faucet options stacked in our bathroom currently as we attempt to decipher whether we prefer chrome or brushed nickel, small-arc or mid-arc, etc. Having options is great . . . until it’s not! #firstworldproblems

    Those silicone bibs with the built-in tray are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Oftentimes “seconds” for our young ‘uns consists of not another trip to the kitchen with plate in hand, but a deep dive into what treasures the bib captured from round one. Those bibs, coupled with a clear rubber boot tray floor mat Mrs. FFP picked up from Wal-Mart, has saved our dining room carpet more times than I can count!

  7. We also have a “no shoes in the house” rule. However, slippers do not have enough support for me. I have a pair of “fur”-lined Crocs that I wear in the Fall and Winter and unlined ones for the Spring and Summer. To any Crocs-haters out there – there are many styles other than the Clogs that some people object to – have a look at their website. I also splurged at Christmas and bought myself a pair of wool Allbirds just to wear in the house. If they are good enough for Ina Garten, they are good enough for me!

    1. Where did you get fur lined Crocs?! Since they went out of fashion, I’m having trouble finding ANY crocs under about $40 in Northern Michigan. I nearly fainted when I saw the price; I think they were $5 when I bought them ten years ago.

      1. I bought mine recently on sale for $25 (free shipping) directly from the Crocs website. They are a seasonal item it seems though ….

    2. Allbirds are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned, without question. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them and cannot recommend them enough.

  8. Re: bibs…true confession. When we were relatively young parents (24 years old) we shared a house with fellow students (we were uber frugal before it was a thing…. and yes, we actually found people who were willing to live with a family!). When we would share meals, the guys (most roomies were guys) would try to shoot “baskets” into the curved lip of the bib with napkins. My son loved it! He’s now an almost 40 yr old professor, so we don’t think it did too much damage! Every time I see those bibs I get nostalgic. 🙂

  9. Trader Joe’s chocolates = YUM! I LOVE their dark chocolate and almond bars! I also love their chocolatey Katie cat cookies (I may have added my name to it). Great gift indeed!

  10. Our kitchen sink died right after we bought our house 3 years ago and flooded the kitchen floor. At first we thought the pipe was broken. Turns out the previous owner just installed a low quality kitchen faucet. We ended up spending $400 in a new faucet and labor to get it fixed!

  11. We had to replace our kitchen faucet a few months before we started our kitchen remodel. While choosing items for the kitchen remodel, the contractor asked why I hadn’t picked out a faucet. I said we were putting the original back in. He was like really, you did this beautiful new kitchen and your reusing an old faucet. I said yes, it was only months old and our well water was eating through our faucet’s, etc. and we knew that we were going to be getting city water in about a year or so. I wasn’t going to buy a new one now, and then buy a new one again in a year. Even now when we see him, he says we are the only people he’s done a kitchen for that didn’t buy all new stuff.

    1. Beware! I had this style of faucet a few years ago. They tend to develop leaks at the inside flexible base fitting where it telescopes out..this allowed water to leak down the pipe into my basement without notice until the water stain appeared on the ceiling in basement. I loved the convenience but monitor carefully 🙂

  12. Having the new slippers in the window sill was a great “hook” to get me to read the rest of the post. When I saw the photo, I was of course thinking: “Why in the world are her slippers on the window sill.” My slippers of many years bit the dust a month or so ago and I have been wearing flipflops in my no-shoes-inside house. Not the best solution here in snowy, icy and cold New Hampshire. Only the pink slippers are left in my size on your affiliate link, but I am buying them. THANK YOU!

  13. It looks like you had a busy January! Love your new faucet! Our January was ok-but we went to Disney so I’m repeating my UFM challenge this month instead! I’m actually in the middle of reading my new copy of Meet the Frugalwoods-it’s great! Enjoy the port I’ve been meaning to try it for the first time after watching how it’s made on a Portugal travel show!

  14. You have the most beautiful children!!! Thanks for sharing their photos. They bring back memories of my, also beautiful, babies, (4 of them) when they were little ones. They all were one year apart, and I truly loved having my little “herd”. Now all grown up, withsuccessful lives and I now have 8 beautiful Grandchildren! But, they’re all grown up too!! So, seeing your lovely, sweet, and happy babies, makes reminds me of my years with mine. AND, we were a super frugal family too! Sheer necessity! When our kidlets were grown, they told us that they never knew we were money strapped!! Those were the days when people cooked and homemakers were admired.

  15. *except candy corn, right?
    ” I do not like things that are super sweet or fake, so I haven’t historically been a gummies consumer. Much like my port conversion, these were the gummies to rule them all. They didn’t taste of artificial dye. “

  16. My son just got a new sink and he bought the same faucet you did for a second time. Kept the old one in case he ever needs or someone in the family does.

    I have wore that style of slippers for years. I wear one during the cold weather with socks ,put it in the closet and wear a second pair without socks during warm weather, flip back and forth with the seasons, last 2 pairs lasted over 3 yrs IN house and another 2 yrs OUTSIDE the house. Yeah I am my father’s child LOL.

    We don’t have Trader’s Joes any where around or I might be tempted to wiggle the budget to buy gummies and port.

  17. I’m going to check out dropping comprehensive on our vehicles. We are in the same position where we could replace them if needed, and if I can save several hundred dollars are year on insurance by doing this, all the better! On a side note, January was our first shot at uber frugal month. I’m really proud of how we did and although we loosened the reins once the month was over, we gained a lot of take-aways that will stay with us going forward!

  18. Do you guys have any Aldi’s or Lidl’s near you? I actually prefer the cheap wine at Aldi to the cheap wine at TJ’s and I can actually drink that straight without using it for cooking or making sangria. Lidl is pretty great too, but they’re more southern based. Also, I can’t really speak about either recently because we live in a state (PA) where separate checkouts must be used for beer/wine purchases so no TJ’s, Aldi’s, or Lidl’s will sell booze because they can’t justify having a separate area staffed for alcohol sales (I have to drive 2 hours south to DC to find an Aldi or TJ’s with wine). Liquor laws in many states in the northeast are often more strict than in the bible belt south!

    Hey do you know if that Ubiquity gateway would work for other fiber optic carriers like Fios? We’re thinking of switching to fiber optic as my husband needs the upload speeds for his remote work and cable has terrible upload speeds. Also, your link to the wireless access point is not working. Curious what brand you got.

    1. Sadly, we do not have an Aldi’s or Lidl near us :(. Mr. FW says that it would work with Fios (anything that outputs a WAN connection through an ethernet cable because it’s not an ONT) but that it’s a sophisticated commercial piece of networking gear that’s significantly more complex to set up and manage than a standard home router/AP.

  19. Hahaha yesss old slippers! Was totally in the same boat at the start of this winter! My husband was tired of my old slippers that I continued to repair with hot glue. I conceded when my sole too had a hole through it. I relented and got a new pair this winter and do appreciate the wholeness of the new ones. I’ve found it hard to find slippers when not in “slipper season” because I did try at the end of winter last year. Didn’t know there was a slipper season!

  20. wearing shoes in MY HOUSE is one of my great acts of parental rebellion, a decades-old triumph over my mom’s insistence that I could wear shoes in the house when I got my own house. It took me years to realize that this kind of control is a perk of being a mortgagee. Now I dictate what others can do in MY HOUSE.

  21. Is it bad that I have those same slippers in black and I wear them to work regularly? Lol. Also, the link for the wireless access point isn’t working.

  22. Our nearest TJs is an hour away in Orlando so I stock up on our faves whenever I’m in town. I’ve bought 20+ boxes of the frozen chocolate croissants at once, and the cashiers always look at me with puzzlement lol. I’m sure they see people stocking up on their random favorites all day long though 🙂 The chocolate croissants make my life complete. If you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend them!

  23. House-only shoes are the best-you can keep your floors nice (we have beautiful wooden floors and and some kind of linoleum or vinyl in our kitchen, and by adopting no-shoes soon after we bought, have kept them pretty nice (I drop things a lot, so there are some dings) 20 years later. I see a lot of love for LL Bean, which I get (it’s nice), but I balk at their prices,, and have found that Lands End stuff is as nice or nicer and usually somewhat cheaper. Until recently, we had a Sears Outlet in our city which had crazy deals on random Lands End clothes, and even the regular Sears store (also gone) had amazing clearance prices on beautifully made, classic clothing/shoes. Without these, I find amazing deals (walls full of $5 and $7 pieces) at the Talbots Outlet near me, and have done well at Ocean State Job Lots too. I’m hard to fit and so picky about fabric, make, fit, and styles, so I work hard to find non-disposable fashion I like.

  24. Oh my dear, your sink. Nevermind the faucet, you are a saint for having to use a sink like that. Our kitchen is small, we have little counter space, yet the most vexing issue for me on a day to day basis, particularly with the kid paraphernalia that is washed by hand everyday, is the small, shallow sink. I applaud you for only updating your faucet — as for me? I have earmarked a sink as our next upgrade because I enjoy cooking and can’t manage with a teeny sink and two little ones!

  25. My late mother-in-law made everyone take off their shoes at the door — she died 34 years ago, and to this day, my husband still will not take off his shoes in the house, after being forced to do so until he moved out of her house.

    Houseshoes don’t work for me — I have a bone spur in my heel and too much time in a houseshoe has me limping along. But those are cute houseshoes!

    You never had port before? But it’s so goooooood! Of course, now you know that!

    Congrats on the new faucet. It’s much like my daughter’s new faucet, which she and her husband installed on a sixty-five year old sink. They aren’t replacing that sink until they can replace the mid-century modern patterned Formica and its metal edging. To say that their new-to-them house needs some updating is an understatement.

  26. I too am a port fan. I received a five litre oak barrel with a lil’ tap on it as a birthday present, and it’s amazing. You put one bottle of good port in to kick it off, then forevermore you top it up with chateau de cardboard – and the barrel “ages” it all together. And lots cheaper than buying bottles all the time. Boxy FTW!

  27. Does your husband’s 2010 truck have less than 100,000 miles on it? I have a 2010 Prius & the headlights (low beams) went out about 72,000–I paid to have them replaced, and then received a recall letter for the headlights/low beams & after submitting the paperwork & receipts, I was reimbursed–maybe you can get reimbursed too! 🙂

  28. ITS EXPENSE REPORT DAY!!! I don’t know why but I’ve noticed the last couple of months how excited I am to read the expenses posts. Probably because they are my favorite posts. I enjoy reading the notes on the side. I want to start creating my own but don’t know where to start or how to create one.

  29. We have to make a stop at Trader Joes when we visit family in Albany, NY. There is one on Wolf Road near the mall and it is always busy. We ask family members to give us gift cards for there. We usually buy two to three bags there. January was recover from Christmas and look at the seed catalog and decide spring planting, and what we are starting in peat packs. Hubby bought a monster of a used wood burning stove for $100, needed to get it out of the cellar was the catch as several people looked but couldn’t get it out, hubby called my nephew, a Marine and a couple buddies and got it out. It is going in the greenhouse he is building this summer for next year, and he will use it for cooking down maple sap for syrup next year. Chickens are still laying and we are selling over 15 dozen a week, and we eat about 1/2 dozen a day, yet it more than covers feed costs. The dirty job of the weekly cleaning out the coop provides excellent organic fertilizer for our garden and orchard as well. A Win-Win-Win. All fruit trees and berry bushes have been pruned, soil PH level was tested on a warm day and dolomite lime was spread around the fruit trees. Berry bushes received sulphur and all the fruit trees and bushes received some magnesium sulphate mixed in with the shredded leaves to get a good start for spring. We have a faucet in the main and second bathroom that each need to be replaced. Part of the 2019 plans hubby is doing.

  30. Love the Moc’s. Got my first pair of Minnetonka’s on vacation in the upper Peninsula of MI when I was about 10 years old. Have been wearing them since. They are the best! Love the red. Great color. And as always, love the post.

  31. I too need a new kitchen faucet so thank you very much for the recommendation. I went to Home Depot and it was so overwhelming that I just decided to ignore the broken faucet but that can’t go on forever.

  32. There is a Trader Joe’s in South Burlington, and an Aldi in Rutland. We too live in Central Vermont, and whenever we go up to Burlington a stop at Costco and sometimes TJ’s is required. Actually, I like the Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier a lot better than TJ’s.

  33. I had a major op a almost 7.5 years ago and as part of the recovery process, I needed to take my temperature regularly as a way to check for infections. We bought a digital ear thermometer that had the covers. When one of my sisters had the same op (inherited condition) a number of years later, we were able to lend it to her for her post-op recovery.

  34. I love everyone’s slipper stories. There is nothing like a well broken in pair of slipper with some mileage left in them that will make a frugal person break out the glue gun, make that repair to coax another season out of them. I too like to use ‘some things’ until there is absolutely nothing left to revive, beyond repairable. I have a high arch and can not find a slipper to provide proper support for my arch. Besides support for the arch, I need a firm sole to provide support for my whole foot, from toe to heal. I also do not like my feet too warm. I like air circulating around my feet. In 2008 I came across a slip-on sandal at WalMart by Earth Spirit. These are my slippers. They are partly suede and man made material. I love them for inside the house. I bought a second pair about a week later, not knowing if I was ever going to be able to find them again. They were less than $20. I put the second pair away for when my first pair wore out. Around 2012 the insole finally wore out so I glued in insoles I took out of a new pair of running shoes. In 2015 I repeated my 2012 repair. I also decided it was time to break out the reserved pair. I saved my old ones for running outside, like to the mailbox, shop, etc. Spring of 2018 my husband needed my help putting the holding tanks back up under our travel trailer. I put on my old, twice repaired, now outside sandals and headed out. I squirmed my way under the trailer on my back having to push my way under with my feet on the gravel. I was under there for over an hour wiggling around telling myself I wished I had worn something other than those old sandals. When I crawled out and started walking back to the house I realized something was wrong with my sandals. I kick the biggest culprit off, looked at it and realized the sole was missing, most of it anyway. (The other sandal sole was barely hanging on). I looked around. It wasn’t under the trailer. Then I spotted my lab playing with it in the yard. My husband looked at me, my sandal and then the dog and asked me if I wanted the glue gun or the duck tape. I told him I thought the garbage can would be the best solution. A couple of month later I found these sandals at my Wal-Mart and bought 3 pairs.

  35. I still have my indestructable baby bibs in my kitchen drawer just waiting for a grandbaby. My kids are 11-18. Those bibs have been there for 8 years and will probably wait another 8 years, at least. They were so great I couldn’t get rid of them!

  36. Not sure if I missed this, but WHICH port from TJ’s are you getting!? 🙂

    I’m fortunate to live about a mile and a half from a TJs…but I also have all the expenses of living in a densely populated area, like you used to have in Boston.

    As I look around the country for where I want to live next… I seem to be focusing on interesting smaller cities that are within two hours of a Southwest airport and that have a TJs… so not the most frugal locations…

    1. We totally considered trying to move near a Trader Joe’s too!! Just wasn’t in the cards ;). I forgot to include the name of the port–whoops! It’s “Evenus Port Dessert Wine.” Cheers!

  37. Can’t say I have ever seen an octagonal kitchen sink before! I know you will enjoy finding a new (to you) one in the future. Love your blog; thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  38. ah, taking off one’s shoes. My Mom’s rule also. I was so well “trained” that I took my shoes off at my friends houses too. It always earned me a brownie point with my friends moms!

    I have a pair of Sorel slippers. Not frugal but I’m in year two and still going strong.

  39. We only wear slippers around our home as well. I used to have a few pairs of socks that I only wear at home but it started to have holes in them and learned that slippers only worn at home is best to keep the carpet and hardwood flooring as clean as you can get.
    Gummies at TJs!! As a constant TJs shopper myself I have never tried the Scandinavian gummies over there. Now I’m interested in buying a pack now!!

  40. The port had me soooo intrigued, I went right after work (only ~ a mile down the street in Sarasota) and Guessed !
    Happy day..I picked the right one!

    Thank You,
    a loyal Frugal follower

  41. I am also a huge fan of the free Personal Capital site have all our accounts aggregated there and uploaded. Do you have an opinion on the reliability of its “Retirement Planner” function? It explains that it utilizes the Monte Carlo method for running its probabilities. I’m hoping it is an acceptable reference as I find it incredibly helpful and empowering. Thanks

  42. I think you should be more transparent about the fact that Personal Capital is paying you to advertise for them. I didn’t think anything of it and gladly joined the app at your recommendation, but then I saw many other personal finance bloggers promoting the app as well, looked into it more, and realized they were all getting paid. While I don’t doubt that you personally use the app, you would not be pushing it so much if you weren’t making money. Personal Capital has the ulterior goal of gathering users’ financial data and selling them services rather than just helping them with their financial goals, and also you have the ulterior goal of making money. I have since deleted the app because I don’t want a company tracking my money and use my own spreadsheet. I implore you to be more transparent because the impact of these companies is unknown, and it really wasn’t obvious to me that your plug for Personal Capital was an ad before I began seeing it everywhere.

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