August 2019

Every August, the tax gender neutral person cometh. We paid our annual property tax bill in full last month, which accounts for $8,634.29 of our August spending. This covers our 66 acre property, including the house and barn. And I have to say, while it’s a lot of money, it’s money I’m happy to spend because property taxes fund crucial public services such as schools. Vermont has high taxes, a fact many folks pointed out when Mr. Frugalwoods and I decided to make it our permanent home. But we moved here with full knowledge of this fact and also full knowledge of how Vermont utilizes these taxes. We’re thrilled to be in a fabulous public school district and a vibrant little town in a great little state that funds things that are priorities for me and my family.

Our homestead in the woods

I don’t mind paying taxes so that I (and my neighbors) can reap the benefits of a good school system that offers–for example–free preschool for all children ages three and older (which is where Kidwoods is right now!!!). I don’t mind paying taxes so that I (and my neighbors) can enjoy well-maintained roads and pristine Vermont landscapes. It’s all part of being in a community and so it’s a check I gladly write every year.

Last year, a number of readers asked why I choose to pay big bills (such as our property taxes) in full, as opposed to spreading payments out (in the case of our property tax, there’s an option to pay half now and half in the spring). You all asked: why not keep that other half invested and earning interest? Honestly, it’s easier for me to pay it all at once. Additionally, I wouldn’t invest that dollar amount because I don’t invest anything I know I’m going to need in the near future. Since the nature of the stock market is to rise and fall, I keep enough cash liquid (in a savings account) to cover payments such as our property tax. Plus, I figure its easier for my town to receive the full amount all at once and deploy the money to municipal services that need it.

Groceries, Oh My Groceries

Big eater, this one

August finished out our summer guest season with a fabulous finale: my sister and her three kids came to stay for a week and a half. And we had SO. MUCH. FUN. The girls loved hanging out with their cousins and my sister and I stayed up way too late for way too many nights having conversations that were way too wonderful. I’m so thankful they came all the way from California to visit and I’m now in total awe of anyone who has: a) five children; b) tweens and/or teens.

My oldest nephew and niece are firmly in the tween category and–holy cow–can they eat. I thought my girls ate a lot, but these two blew us away. People with lots of kids and/or teens, I honestly do not know how you keep enough food in your house. We were feeding them to good effect as they turned around and helped split wood, stack wood, pick berries, collect apples, and…. watch the little ones! I really hope we can make this an annual tradition as I’d love for the cousins to build close relationships. Next year I will buy more food. Promise.

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. I 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 debt other than our mortgages, having several credit cards open for many years (that are fully paid off every month) has helped our credit scores. By the way, it’s a 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 does help your score.

For more on our credit card strategy, check out The Frugalwoods Guide to a Simple, Yet Rewarding, Credit Card Experience.

Dirt kid loves summertime dirt

If you want a simple cash back credit card, I think the Fidelity Rewards Visa (which is the card that I have) and the Chase Freedom Unlimited are good options. Both of these cards have no annual fee and offer cash back on purchases.

While I like the Fidelity card, it does require you to have a Fidelity account. If you’re not already banking with Fidelity, the Chase Freedom Unlimited might be a better choice since it doesn’t require a specific bank account. Plus, it has no annual fee and offers a great cash back percentage. Another thing I like about the Chase card is that they’re currently offering double cash back. You receive 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000. After that, the card delivers an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Pretty good deal, I’d say!

The best way to find a credit card that’ll work for you is to search for it yourself. Fortunately, there’s a website,, with a search function that aggregates information about tons of different credit cards.

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.

If you have no problem paying that bill in full every month? I recommend you credit card away, my friend! (note: these credit card links are affiliate links)

Cash Back Earned This Month: $33.28

The silver lining to all this spending is our cash back credit card. We earn 2% cash back on every purchase made with our Fidelity Rewards Visa and this month, we spent $1,663.98 on that card, which netted us $33.28. Not a lot of money, perhaps, but it’s money we earned for buying stuff we were going to buy anyway!

This is why I love credit card rewards–they’re the simplest way to earn something for nothing. I will note that if we instead had the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, we could’ve earned 3% cash back, which would be $49.92.

Personal Capital: How We Organize Our Expen$e$

Mr. FW + Kidwoods

Mr. Frugalwoods and I use Personal Capital to 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 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, you might consider trying Personal Capital (note: these Personal Capital links 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? Check out Our Low Cost, No Fuss, DIY Money Management System. We also own a rental property in Cambridge, 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).

Barn + our apples coming ripe!

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 give you a sense of how we spend our money in a values-based 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.

If you’re wondering where to start with managing your money, or if you’d like to save more money every month, you might consider taking my free, 31-day Uber Frugal Month Challenge. If you’re interested in the other things I love, check out Frugalwoods Recommends.

A Note On Rural Life

Garden baby: barely taller than the okra plant

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 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 common expenses you don’t see listed below?

  • 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 tax. These expenses show up as the full annual amount in the month we pay them.
  • We don’t have any debt (other than our mortgages) and we paid cash for our cars.
  • Our health insurance is paid for by Mr. FW’s employer (who he works for from home).
  • Here’s how we make charitable contributions: How We Donate To Charities Like Billionaires and also How We Make Meaningful And Tax Efficient Charitable Donations.

If you’re wondering about anything else, feel free to ask me in the comments section! P.S. my new clothes will appear in next month’s expense report.

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

Item Amount Notes
Property Tax $8,634.29 The total annual amount for our 66 acre Vermont property, which includes our house and barn
VT Mortgage $1,392.86
Groceries $963.70 Higher on account of hosting. We had five kids under one roof and they put it away!
Household Supplies $200.46 Thrilling stuff. Floss, laundry detergent, medications, toilet paper… need I go on?
Beer, wine, liquor $176.57 We got a 20% coupon from the liquor store and decided to stock up in order to take full advantage. A lot of this will be used for: taking to parties, as gifts, for hosting, and on the holidays! Cheers.
Doctor visit co-pays $125.00
Date night!! $83.03 Our customary kid-free dinner out per month, courtesy of our fabulous adopted grandma neighbor who stays with the girls after we put them to bed.
Internet $74.00 Love our fiber internet!
Gasoline for cars $59.91
Gifts $49.69
Bulk spice order $46.82 We stocked up on bulk spices from Penzey’s, which works out to be cheaper than buying them from the grocery store or BJ’s
Service for two cell phones $29.48 This is so cheap because we use an MVNO called Ting (affiliate link). MVNOs resell wireless service at discounted rates (but it’s the same service). They’re basically the TJ Maxx of cell phone service.

If you’re not using an MVNO, check out this post to see if you can make the switch. The savings are tremendous.

Post office $25.80 Mailing packages and buying stamps
Registration for Vermont Woodlands Event $20.00

Mr. FW is going on a tour and discussion of the VT tree farm of the year to bring back tips and ideas for our “not the tree farm of the year” farm.

Local beef $18.21 We buy beef from our neighbor. It’s local, grass-fed, organic, free range, and SO DELICIOUS.
Utilities: Electricity $17.54 We have solar (which I detail here) and this is our monthly base price for remaining grid tied.
Total: $11,917.36
Minus property tax bill: $3,283.07

How was your August?

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  1. I love buying from Penzey’s in bulk too! I also frequent Great American Spice Company as their prices are sometimes better for similar quality stuffs.

  2. I have the same mindset as you do re: property taxes. We too have good schools which are funded by property taxes. There is work underfoot to make the schools less reliant on property taxes but it won’t happen overnight. We too looked at the state of the school system before we purchased our home. And the good schools saved us money when the kids went to college. Both kids entered college with a year’s college credit under their belts as well as qualifying for scholarships.
    Public services cost money and like anything else in life, is going to increase in cost at some point in time. If you don’t think your tax dollars are being spent wisely, get involved.

    1. I totally agree with every word of this comment! And I’m so sick and tired of old geezers saying things like “I don’t have any kids in school, so why should I pay such high taxes?” Because everyone benefits — the whole society benefits — when kids are well educated, that’s why! Not to mention the fire department, road system, etc. etc. which benefits everyone — and you sure do need them if there’s an emergency! It might be someone else’s emergency today, but your day will come. (And I’m 76 years old, so I can speak of old geezers with impunity.)

      1. I second these thoughts, as a newbie geezer!
        Also, if I’m shopping, my sales tax might as well go to my town, or my county, I think, to help support police, fire, library, schools, roads, and all the other stuff, don’t you think, if it’s something I can buy around here? Or should I save a dollar buying online?

      2. My in-laws were both able to work/study there way through a D1 school because of taxes. That does not happen nowadays. Like you said, we all benefit. Plus…I just LOVE our public library. I am happy to pay taxes for that.

  3. I wish more people realized the connection between higher taxes and good schools and other services. I live in MN, which also has high taxes and I gladly pay them. I call taxes my “dues”. They provide a wonderful way of life.

    1. For what it’s worth, there’s not necessarily a connection between high taxes and good services. Flint Michigan had one of the highest tax rates in the state. High taxes can be used to fund wonderful public goods, but they’re also required for towns that have had decreases in population. The fixed infrastructure, roads, sewage pipes etc. still need to be upkept but there’s less people to spread the cost to.

  4. I have a 16-year-old boy and let me tell you. I almost need a part time job just to keep up with the groceries. He usually has two dinners a night–he eats with us and then before bed he’s ready for a second meal. That’s on top of afterschool snacks, lunch, breakfast, et al.

    I finally bit the bullet and figured out an MVNO for my area and switched. I was never using all my data with AT&T and it was making me crazy because I was paying $45 a month. With the MVNO, if I’m mindful to not go over my plan, my bill should be $23 a month. That’s for unlimited talk and text and 2 gigs of data–which if I’m careful, should be fine because I’m on wifi a significant portion of every day.

    1. When my son came home from his first year at college, my grocery bill went up by about $500 a month. We actually benefit during the school year when we are paying for him to have the all you can eat meal plan at school!

  5. Can people put utility payments on credit cards? I.e. does that help earn cash? (I assume one can’t ‘charge’ a mortgage payment, but want to confirm.)
    Also, your family is so cute. why don’t you get a puppy? Pictures would be even more adorable and every farm needs a dog.

    1. Leslie, this may depend on the company but neither my utility company nor my mortgage company allows bills to be paid by credit card. Nor does my city services – water/sewer/garbage.

    2. It depends on the utility company. Some of ours could be paid with a credit card instead of bank transfer, but the companies charge a 2-3% “convenience fee,” which negates any of the rewards we would earn. I have heard of people using sites like Plastiq to pay for things with a credit card that typically wouldn’t accept it, but those are usually larger purchases (cars, college tuition, etc) targeted at getting sign-up bonuses and not every day expenditures. That’s the only way to balance out the service fee.

    3. Check with your utility. My electric company used to charge a $4.95 fee to pay by card, so I would prepay for the whole year. If I’d canceled service I would have received a refund for the balance. Then two years ago they stopped charging a fee, so I just put it on auto bill on my credit card. My other utilities are fee free as long as it’s on auto pay. It never hurts to ask.

  6. $8600 for 66 acres seems like a bargain compared to the $9,700 I pay in South Burlington for 0.25 acres! Vermont property taxes (and taxes in general) are brutal, especially considering the $10k SALT cap. Even with how overtaxed we are, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world.

    1. We pay almost $4k for .25 acre in Weston, VT. If it was a primary residence it would be a lot less, but it’s our vacation home. We love it there so totally worth it!

  7. I wanted to chime in on the credit cards for utility payments. Our town charges a surcharge to pay taxes , excise, water with a credit card (3%). We have to use a check for our mortgage. The electric company charges the same 3% surcharge. I do use a credit card for our cell phone bill (AT and T, I know, ha ha), Comcast bill, house insurance (annually pay in full), and car insurance (annually pay in full). We have an Old Navy credit card (Visa) and we get tons of free or nearly free clothes. We pay that in full each month as well.

  8. I pay my insurance on my primary residence in full and it was $803 for the year, so that made my overall expenses for September be high. I pay the insurance on what was my mom’s house (my son lives there) in monthly payments of $60 a month automatic withdrawal. I also pay my car insurance monthly and it, likewise, is withdrawn by automatic draft out of my account. So, I do a combo on the insurance and I pay my taxes in October on all properties.

  9. My property taxes for a single family home in Chicago went up dramatically. I pay over $12,000. I believe in finding schools, etc., but in Chicago property taxes have become a cash cow. I’m struggling to keep up.

    1. I’m in a suburb of Chicago and a single family home prop taxes here start at about $12k as well on a very small property and I’ve seen them as high as $40k on some of the multi-million dollar homes. When we look to buy a house possibly next year (currently renting) we’ll be leaving this suburb.

    2. This is also an issue in New Orleans – they’ve just reassessed and properties have doubled in their value on the books. Insurance is also extremely high (not flood for the properties I’ve had, but the other main insurance). Because there’s such a gap between rich and poor, it amplifies the problem for people who have inherited or otherwise been able to pull together funds to buy. And while I’m always happy to pay taxes in the way described in this post, in New Orleans it’s a big question of “where does the money go?” Public services are generally atrocious, and then we learn of huge bonuses paid to the public leadership when we can’t even drive on streets or go without a boil water advisory for three months. It makes folks resentful about taxes, to say the least.

  10. Have you ever considered averaging the property tax expense over 12 months for monthly spending reporting purposes? We also pay our property tax in a lump sum each year, but I include 1/12th of that when I look at our monthly spending breakdown. In this case, you could say that your August total was $3,283.07 + $719.05 = $4,002.12.

  11. I remember when my oldest nieces came to stay with us, and I remarked to my sister–“I thought I would have all this time to do stuff since they came to help watch the kids, but instead I just felt like I was making food and cleaning up food literally all day.” She just laughed and laughed…and said that that was basically her life. Tween/teen eating is no joke! I still have no idea how my mother-in-law managed to raise five boys, especially as all of them can STILL put it down now, even as grown men 🙂

  12. So, I was going to say WOW those property taxes are steep! But $8,000 is almost exactly what my friends are paying for their kids to go to preschool in California, so at least when your kids are young it all evens out. And talk about teenagers going through some food!! We have a 14 year old boy and 17 year old girl in the house. My stepson we can mostly manage because the only foods he likes anyway are relatively cheap carb dishes like pastas and pizzas. My stepdaughter is actually the more challenging for the grocery bill! She is very particular about eating all natural, gluten-free, organic, responsibly sourced foods from only certain stores, and the costs of eating that way in LA really add up. Not that we aren’t for eating healthfully and responsibly, but sometimes you just want your kid to enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with glee!

    1. Well I think the 17 year old is old enough to start contributing some monies to the food bill. I am all for healthy eating but not the detriment of the household budget. And if she can’t pay in hard dollars, soft dollars will work (chores around the house).

  13. I belive it was NYT columnist that said…instead of saying taxes, say services …what services do you want cut…here in Dallas everyone bitches about taxes, but our roads feel like a Panzer division went over them….libraries are in serious need of upgrades…I could go on and on…personally I dont think your taxes are that high…I pay just shy of $4000.00 a year for an 1800 square foot home on a suburban lot…I must say our paramedics are awesome…..but we dont pay an income tax which I feel is a huge problem, a state as large as Texas needs a consistent stream of funds.

    1. Well, that’s assuming they aren’t going towards unfavorable debt servicing terms or pension mismanagement, which, where I’m from, is where most of your tax bill goes.

  14. I just want to throw in a second recommendation for Ting. I’ve used them for years. Customer service is great, as is the coverage. And last month I traveled a lot for work and used 29 GB of data, most of it streaming video presentations, and it was all covered on the $45 unlimited plan. They don’t slow you down if you use a lot like I’ve heard some companies do. I was surprised—and pleased.

  15. Question about tracking expenses. I just started doing it, and I’m wondering if I should include the $80.00 that I spent to replenish my subway card. It comes from a special account that is set up through my employer pre-tax. Whatever money is there can ONLY be used for transportation, which is a non optional expense for me, considering I need it to go to work. Any opinions?

  16. I agree with you about being willing to pay higher taxes for greater benefits. Unfortunately, where we live in MD, schools are awful, and everyone just wants less taxes….which is why the United States has the equivilent of third world healthcare. We could do FIRE if it weren’t for the healthcare. aspect. Anyway, you get what you pay for…..VT sounds like a little slice of heaven!

  17. For prices better than Penzey’s and great quality, try I’ve been using them for over 10 years. I order bulk bags of spices with family and we share. They do sell smaller quantities as well. Usually if you order a certain dollar amount, shipping is free.

  18. I would easily be willing to pay for higher taxes. Being in the 49th state for highest teacher salary, and having a wife as a former charter school teacher leads me to be a bit biased. But it is nice to pay less than $1,500 annually for property taxes. Yay, for living in the 49th most fertile state too. Any guesses?

  19. Regarding your solar panels, did you install when you bought the homestead or was it already equipped? Our electricity bills are 5-6x as high May-September due to AC. Naturally I couldn’t help but notice your little $17 electric bill and am envious. I apologize if you have a post on this subject I missed.

  20. I did pretty good on electric bills this month – my total energy bill was $63 for the July/August period (starts in the middle of the month for some reason). That amount is only because my energy company charges a base rate of about $40 for electricity and gas before you use anything – I only used 242 kWh in this period. Primarily I did it through a combination of my AC being broken, a cooler than usual summer, opening and closing my windows and blinds at the right time, and adapting to warmer temperatures. It inspired the post “The Air Conditioning apology I owe Mr. Money Mustache.”

  21. I have two teenage boys-believe me you will never really “get” how much a teen boy can eat until you live with them! One is in college now and there is a notable decrease in our home food spending. When both were eating at home, the normal amount of rice I would make as part of a meal for the three of us was 2.5 cups of uncooked rice! Now I can get away with one cup per meal since only one is home. Each of my sons can easily consume and entire large pizza on their own. We go through one regular size box of cereal each and every day (Aldi’s has best price for cereal – even better than Costco). One of mine often he eats a couple large bowls of cereal while I am making him a weekend breakfast of 3-4 eggs with 3 pieces of toast, 3- 4 strips of bacon and a smoothie. Thank goodness for large bags of Costco precooked bacon! He also drinks 16 oz of milk with his meals, and can eat an ENTIRE 32 oz container of plain yogurt as a SNACK! (I started making my own yogurt).

  22. I live in New Jersey and we also have high property taxes but we also have so many more public services than other states. So I think it works out!

  23. Glad y’all had a GREAT visit! Could you share some of your meals during that time? Did y’all stick to usual oatmeal(breakfast), rice and beans(lunch), popcorn (snacks)? I know that kids can eat you out of house and home, just wondered if they ate all of your frozen pizzas too!

  24. I am from Indiana. We have approximately $10,000 a year from 3 three-bedroom ranch houses in town and 120 acres in the country with no house. Our state has over 3 billion dollars surplus in its “rainy day” fund.

  25. I do chuckle sometimes when on some sites (not this one!) frugal types with small kids who are also light eaters scold readers who spend more on food. The half-sandwich for lunch days are long past us, who have teens swimming/running/working/doing marching band for hours after school.
    When I read those sorts of posts I often think , “oh, just wait…” 🙂

    1. My son just hit 10, is a basketball player, he trains before and after school. He takes two pb and j sandwiches, a thermos of soup and two cut up apples, that is just lunch…lol

  26. Hey there Mrs. Frugalwoods, my name is Tibor and I´m coming over from Germany to Montreal in the beginning of October. Since we are planning on making a road trip with my 2 year old son from Montreal to new york I was wondering whether you have a couple tips for vermont. (National park, cabins/accomondation to stay (airbnb), fun things for children. thank you so much! And of course: great article! 😉

  27. Wow, those taxes! Here in rural north Florida where I live, the median gross income in my town is about $26,000, according to the last census. No one here is paying $8,000 or more in property taxes, I feel sure, except a few (four) larger businesses. That’s why the county bends over backward to keep the businesses here. Our own property tax, for a small house on 1.2 acres of land, is about $820 a year, since we get a homestead exemption.

    Ah, feeding children. We had two girls and our grocery bill dropped a good bit when they left home, but my sister had two boys — each over six feet tall by age 16 — and her grocery bill while they were teens was downright scary to me. But your kids and the cousins got to spend time together and bond, and that’s what matters, not the grocery bill. I’m sure they will all look forward to seeing each other again soon.

    I suppose you are starting to look at winter preparation now. We are still in the 90’s every day, so it makes me almost envious that your summer is disappearing. I can’t wait for your lovely pictures of fall on the farm!

  28. Really enjoyed reading your book! Do you have a spreadsheet that you used to track prospective homes (prices, average, community, distance from the hospital, etc.)?

  29. I don’t think your taxes are too bad considering the size of your house and the amount of land that you have. I live in Bartlett IL- a NW Chicago suburb. I have a 2 story townhouse that is 1700 sq ft. With townhouses you are taxed on the footprint of land that the townhouse sits on which is obviously less than 1700 sq ft and I pay $6700 with a senior discount. Given the amenities that you have, I think your taxes are pretty fair.

  30. That is alot of Property taxes and if the government used the $$$ reasonably that is one thing but the government WASTE is nuts they need the Mrs.Frugal way of life also there is the state income tax further adding to the overall cost of living and again waste of taxpayers $$$ then there is the federal waste

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