A Snow Plow And Other January 2020 Expenditures

Due to our excessive snow situation here in Vermont, we are a family in need of multiple methods of clearing snow. Due to our quarter-mile long dirt driveway, we need both a snowblower and a snow plow. Due to the excessive expense of a new plow, we’ve been plow-less since moving here. But we are plow-less no more, thanks to a saved Craigslist search.

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Saved Craigslist Searches: Your Friend in Shopping Used

Excessive snow on a portion of our excessively long driveway

Do you ever need to buy things? Do you like to buy things used and get a good deal? Do you not enjoy scanning Craigslist every three minutes when you need something? Then a saved Craigslist search is for you!

When we moved here in 2016, we realized pretty quickly there was a pretty long list of farm-esque things we were going to need in order to live out our dream of becoming the world’s worst homesteaders. Four years later, we have cleared hiking/snowshoeing trails, a fruit orchard planted, vegetable gardens tended, maple trees tapped for syrup, a woodshed built, three years’ worth of firewood stacked, mowed fields, and a well-maintained driveway to show for it. Not bad! New farm-type-things are super duper expensive. Used farm-type-things are a great alternative; however, very few Vermont farmers ever sell their stuff.

People around here are of the buy, keep, repair, and keep some more mentality. Given that, it’s taking us quite some time to build out our farm-type-stuff entourage. To help us in our procurement quests, Mr. Frugalwoods set up a number of saved Cragislist searches.

So far, we’ve successfully purchased the following from saved Craigslist searches:

  • Logging winch (attaches to tractor): purchased in July 2018 in excellent used condition for $1,900. Brand is a Norse 350 and it retails new for $2,600. Wondering what a logging winch is? Here you go.
  • Sawstop table saw: purchased in April 2018 in good used condition for $1,200. Retails new for $1,800+.
  • Snow plow (attaches to tractor): purchased in January 2020 in excellent used condition for $430. It’s a 7-foot, quick-attach, trip-edge plow with manual angle. If purchased new, these plows run anywhere from $1,800-$2,500.

The common thread between these purchases is that they’re fairly expensive, specialized items. I usually don’t find it worthwhile to bother with Craigslist for smaller, less expensive things (such as kids’ clothing), but I think the return on investment is well worth it for bigger ticket items. For the cheaper stuff of life, I prefer garage sales, thrift stores, and hand-me-downs (more about how I buy almost everything used here).

Why A Snow Plow?

Mr. FW unloading the new-to-us snow plow from the back of the truck

Attentive readers know that we already own a snow blower attachment for our tractor, which is the primary method Mr. FW uses to keep our driveway clear in the winter.

However, the snowblower doesn’t like thick slushy snow because the snow gets jammed up inside the snowblower. For those types of storms–known in our house as “peanut butter snow”–the plow will be employed to scrape the slush up and the snowblower will be spared a mangling.

It is also convenient that the snow blower attaches to the rear of the tractor, while the snow plow attaches to the front.

Our Date Night is: Luxurious Frugality, Spending on Priorities, and a Scheduled Treat

My husband and I go out to dinner together exactly once every month. Our fabulous adopted grandma neighbor comes to stay at our house after we put our kids to bed, and we head out for an evening at a restaurant.

Glamour Shed: the most luxurious of sheds

This monthly date night is an example of our luxurious frugality. We don’t need to spend this money, but we want to. We love good food and this night out lets us explore and enjoy our local restaurant scene.

This monthly date night is an example of spending on our priorities. Our marriage–and time alone together–is a vital aspect of our lives. Spending money to strengthen and sustain our relationship is in alignment with our values.

This monthly date night is an example of scheduling our treats–and keeping those treats somewhat rare. Since it only happens once a month, it’s rare enough to be exciting and exotic! If we ate out every night of the week, it’d lose the magic. Since it happens predictably every month, we look forward to it and we don’t feel deprived eating at home all the other nights of the month–we know we have our scheduled treat to look forward to.

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. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how I use Personal Capital for my expense tracking.
  2. We get 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 stuff 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) helps 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 my credit card strategy, check out The Frugalwoods Guide to a Simple, Yet Rewarding, Credit Card Experience. I also wrote this guide on how to find the best credit card for you.

A snowy January on the homestead

If you want a simple cash back credit card, here are a few good options that don’t have annual fees:

  1. The Capital One Quicksilver. This one’s good because it offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There are no categories to keep track of, you just get a straightforward 1.5% cash back on everything you buy. Nice, easy, and fee-free! What this means is that if you spend, for example, $1,000 on this card in a month, you’ll get $15 back.
  2. The Chase Freedom Unlimited is also excellent and also offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases–with no categories or restrictions–which makes it super simple to use.
  3. The Fidelity Rewards Visa (which is the card that I have) offers 2% cash back on all purchases, with no categories or restrictions, but the downside is that it requires you to have a Fidelity account. If you’re already banking with Fidelity, then I think it’s a great deal, but if you’re not (and you don’t want to open a Fidelity account), I’d go with either the Capital One Quicksilver or the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

If you’re more interested in travel rewards, a lot of people love the Chase Sapphire Preferred as well as the Capital One Venture cards.

The best way to find a credit card that’ll work for you is to search for it yourself. Fortunately, there’s a website, CardRatings.com, 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 a debit card or cash. But if you have no problem paying that bill in full every month? I recommend you credit card away, my friend! (note: the credit card links are affiliate links).

Cash Back Earned This Month: $46.93

My snow angels

The silver lining to our 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 $2,346.52 on that card, which netted us $46.93.

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 cash back credit card rewards–they’re the simplest way to earn something for nothing.

Personal Capital: How We Organize Our Expen$e$

Mr. Frugalwoods and I use a free, online service called Personal Capital to keep track of our money.

Tracking expenses is one of the best–and easiest–ways 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. If you’d like to know more about how Personal Capital works, check out my full review.

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.

Yes, We Only Paid $29.40 for Cell Phone Service (for two phones)

Our cell phone service line item is not a typ0 (although that certainly is). We really and truly only pay $29.40 for both of our phones (that’s $14.70 per person for those of you into division). How is such trickery possible?!? We use the MVNO Ting (affiliate link). What’s an MVNO? Glad you asked because I was going to tell you anyway. It’s a cell phone service re-seller.

MVNOs are basically the TJ Maxx of the cell phone service world–it’s the same service, just A LOT cheaper. If you’re not already using an MVNO, switching to one is an easy, slam-dunk, do-it-right-now way to save money every single month of every single year forever and ever amen. More here: My Frugal Cell Phone Service Trick: How I Pay $10.65 A Month*

*and yes, the monthly dollar amount we pay fluctuates slightly because it’s calibrated on what we use. Imagine that! We only pay for what we use! Will wonders ever cease.

Where’s Your Money?

Walking back up after sledding down

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 sleeping. Rack up the interest and prosper. More about high-interest savings accounts, as well as the ones I recommend, here: The Best High Interest Rate Online Savings Accounts.

Expense Report FAQs

  • Want to know how we manage the rest of our money? Check out How We Manage Our Money: Behind The Scenes of The Frugalwoods Family Accounts. We also own a rental property in Cambridge, MA, which I discuss here.
  • 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.
  • Are we the most frugal frugal people on earth? Absolutely not. My hope is that by being transparent about our spending, you might gain insights into your own spending and be inspired to take proactive control of your money.
  • Wondering where to start with managing your money? Take my free, 31-day Uber Frugal Month Challenge. If you’re interested in other things I love, check out Frugalwoods Recommends.

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

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

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

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

Item Amount Notes
VT Mortgage $1,392.86
Groceries and household supplies $815.95
Part-time Daycare $720 For Littlewoods so that my husband and I can work (which makes us happier, more balanced parents).

Kidwoods goes to free preschool at our public elementary school.

Home insurance (annual) $706 The annual cost of insurance for our Vermont home and property
Plow for the front of our tractor (purchased used off Craigslist) $430 A 7-foot, quick-attach, trip-edge plow with manual angle. If purchased new, these plows run anywhere from $1,800-$2,500, so we were thrilled to find this one used for such a great price!
Car repairs for Prius $411.11 Repairs on our 2010 Toyota Prius: left rear wheel bearing, ABS sensor, and exhaust rattle
Car insurance (six months for two vehicles) $250.20 Six months of car insurance (through Geico) for our 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Toyota Tundra.

This is 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.

Gas for cars $219.17 We had to drive the truck more than usual while the Prius was in the shop and our gas bill shows it!
Household, farm, garden and miscellaneous supplies $146.21
Doctor’s appointments $130.00 Sick kids. Sooooooo many sick kids…
Date night!!! $94.57 Given the above line item, I think you can see why our monthly date night was more expensive than normal ;).
Tree House Brewing Co. $79.89 Beer purchased from Treehouse Brewing Co (highly recommend it if you’re in the area!)
Internet $74.00
Diesel for tractor $52.95
CO2 tank refill $34.25 For our hacked Sodastream system, delivering fresh seltzer to our kitchen daily. This 20lb tank will last us about six months.
Headlamp $30.20 I needed a new headlamp, useful for walking around outside in the dark (affiliate link).
Cell phone service (two phones) $29.40 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). MVNOs are 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.

Ladies’ night out! $18.35 Ladies night out with a few of my girlfriends. A lovely chance to chat and bond with no kids in attendance.
Gin $10.99 For our weekend gin-and-tonics!
Prescription medication $8.79 For the kids, both of whom were sick 🙁
Total: $5,654.89
Minus mortgage: $4,262.03

How was your January?

User Generated Content Disclosure: reader comments and responses are not provided or commissioned by Frugalwoods or its advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by advertisers. It is not the advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: Frugalwoods partners with CardRatings for coverage of credit card products. Frugalwoods and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers at no extra cost to you.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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51 Responses

  1. Congratulations on your excellent find! I’m now wondering if my local classified (like Craigslist) has a saved search feature…definitely worth looking into! Thanks for the idea 🙂

    I’m also laughing at the “peanut butter snow”—I think we only have two names for snow here (packing snow and corn snow), but maybe I’ll have to add peanut butter snow in too, since I know exactly which kind of snow you’re talking about.

    The only reason we haven’t had a million sicknesses going through our house (like normal) is because I just had a preemie newborn in December and have been deathly afraid of leaving the house, ha ha. Even still, we did end up getting sick—which I’m sure we picked up at the doctor’s office! (It was kind of inevitable because try as we might, we just COULD NOT convince our kids that touching everything and then putting their hands in their mouth was really not a good idea…)

  2. Jim Wang says:

    I don’t know if I’m more envious of the woodshed or the loads of split wood you have seasoning IN the woodshed. 🙂

  3. Jan says:

    What an informative post! Thank you for all the work you put into your blog. Just a note …we switched to Citibank double cash credit card from Capital One, (paid off every month), because it gives us 2% cash back! We get 1% at the time of purchase then another 1% when the bill is paid. We’ve been very happy with this card for many years. Thank you for your blog!

    • Stephanie says:

      I just switched to this credit card too! I re-read the post on credit card rewards and used google for anything new, and this was the best I could find (since I don’t bank with Fidelity).

      Thanks for all the great advice!!!

  4. Three years ago I started to take our finances in hand by paying off all debt. Several things happened, my husband lost his job and took months to find another one, in response I started working more, but we did not add to our debt. Happily last year we payed off all debt except for a car loan and my student loan and we are well on our way to paying that off. We should be student loan free by June.
    January was expensive, though. Our driveway needed to be replaced, which was a necessity as the yahoos who poured it originally only did 1.5 inches of cement, and we bought tickets to London, which is in celebration of my anticipated graduate school graduation. for which I paid my last tuition payment in January. School has been a long slog, let me tell you. But the most exciting thing is that by buying our tickets to London, early though it was, allowed my husband to have an aha moment about finances. I’m the frugal one, the ant if you would, and he is definitely the grasshopper of the I want it therefore I can spend my money to buy it variety. Oof. He has ceased most of his eating out purchases and is now more cognizant of where our money goes. I keep three lists for purchases: debit card, credit card, and cash and use the lists to keep my own spending in line.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Congratulations! What a fabulous list of accomplishments!

    • RG says:

      Congratulations! Also you probably know this already but London has lots of frugal destinations. Some train providers have a deal for 2-for-1 tickets on the big attractions, so if you get a train from the airport you can take advantage of that. If you want to see everything there are tourist cards but a lot of really cool stuff is totally free – all the museums are free, gorgeous parks, great architecture when walking on foot, check out lastminute.com for West End shows. And while you can drop many dimes on food there are a ton of frugal options including food markets and cheaper eateries.

  5. Shannon says:

    I hope you write about the part time childcare for Littlewoods at some point. I’m always interested in where people find it and what it costs in VT.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah, I don’t know that I have a whole post of info to share really… I think that good childcare is always expensive and always tough to find. Right now, she’s just going two days per week, which works well. I’d love to add a third day, but they don’t have any openings for her. Still trying to figure out what (if anything) we’ll do over the summer. If you’re local to me in VT and want local recommendations, send me an email (mrs@frugalwoods.com) and I’m happy to share what I’ve found.

  6. Rachel S says:

    What happened to your monthly massage co op? I thought that was such a great idea. I also appreciate how you and the Mr. spend on priorities and skip out on just mindless spending. For a while I tried to be so frugal that I didn’t spend a penny on anything, now my husband and I try to really think of it as spending money on things we really enjoy ( like date night) and skipping out on mindless coffees, clothes etc. etc. I always enjoy your posts.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Monthly Massage Co-op was on hiatus for January (due to scheduling challenges), but it’s back for February! YAY!

  7. Julie says:

    I’m making my Market Basket list, and I bet you miss them! What a great CL find.

  8. Julie says:

    Also, I’m a mom of an infant. My friend who has a baby the same and I had been talking that we needed a fancy dinner out because our husbands were both going on work dinners. We left the babies with them and went out. Worth every penny. I had a glass of wine for the first time since my baby’s birth.

  9. Katie says:

    Surprised you got out of TreeHouse for only $80 – just waiting in the line makes me want to buy more when we finally get to the front! Hope you checked out BT Smokehouse while you were in the area – its delicious and BYOB.

  10. Jessie says:

    Do you have a mortgage on your Cambridge rental property? Or have you paid it off?

  11. KN says:

    Our January was decent. Spent more on groceries than I’d like to see, but that seems to be par for the course. It’s not catastrophic though, by any means. At least this way, we are buying groceries to have date night at home, since getting out of the house isn’t realistic at this point in time.

    February spending….will be interesting. I am paying for a sleep consultant for our infant who is really struggling to sleep whatsoever, I can’t take it any longer. And I am paying for virtual visits with a psychologist to cope with the absolute rage I have due to the situation in the sentence prior :).

  12. Douglas says:

    I want to know what gin you’re buying for $10.99? Trader Joe’s has a decent one for around that price, but that’s a good deal for weekend G&Ts-our favorite too.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Barr Hill Gin, which is locally made in Montpelier, Vermont! It’s absolutely wonderful. I’m not sure how widely they distribute, but if you can get it, it’s fabulous. I was formerly a Hendrick’s Gin devotee, but I really love this local option. I also think we might’ve had a coupon from the liquor store, because I don’t think it’s normally that cheap…

  13. MP says:

    I’m jealous, here in Switzerland it’s the opposite…no snow and way-too-warm temperatures for Jan-Feb… so enjoy snow for us! 🙂

  14. K says:

    Our January was good for the first half, but restaurant expenses were elevated for the second half. We had an expensive dinner out with friends, my birthday dinner celebration was expensive (we were going to cook together, then my work got out of hand so we went out instead), we had lunch with new neighbors, and due to my work stress, I wanted margaritas out twice in 3 evenings. 😉 It was good to look at the numbers and discuss how we could avoid some of this. We didn’t have to do such a hoity-toity place for our friend dinner nor my birthday, or we could have had dinners in for those. We could have had our lunch friends over, but the purpose was to try a new Pho place, so… My work stress… I now work remotely and want to figure out how I can have food available that doesn’t require much effort for when we’re solving issues (I’m in IT). There are often chunks of time I don’t have to be looking at my monitors. My desk is near the kitchen, so why don’t I just get up and make something, do dishes, clean up… take care of some of that while on the calls? Typically I’m trying to catch up on emails and other things the issues have kept me from, but I could work in some food as well so I don’t get to a point where now I’m famished by dinner-time. Working remotely has some great perks for sure, but it’s true what they say that you often spend even MORE time working than if you go an office because you’re just always “at work”. The January increase in restaurants sparked some great conversations and helped me identify some things I’d like to change and stick to!

  15. K says:

    Oh, and we also determined we’re on track to retire early in 6 years and not 10 as originally planned. It’s funny how 10 years seems quite off in the distance, yet a few years earlier seems pretty close and exciting. I’m ready to retire from the corporate world TODAY, but that also prompted me starting the path of determining if I want to stick with what I’m doing today or look for something else to complete my final working years. I may or may not retire in 6 years, but I want to be in the place to do so if I wish. That means paying off the mortgage (works out to minimum of 5k/mo for extra principal + monthly payment and so far we’ve been socking quite a bit more than 5k/month into it. Yay!). We have no other debt, so that’s good. It’s a VERY exciting time so it was an extra bummer to see our restaurant tab didn’t align with our updated retirement goals!

  16. Jmay says:

    At the end of December, I had foot surgery, so most of January was spent at home with my foot up, doing needlework for future craft shows and not spending money. I had filled my freezer and I am still eating many of the foods I squirrelled away. I have also been listening to books to keep focused on saving money and decluttering my home. I just heard a great line from The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker. “By becoming a minimalist, it has freed up resources for better things.” I think this is my new slogan. My foot is almost healed, which will allow me to do more decluttering so I can have a great big yard sale in the spring. It is amazing how much stuff I have and no longer need. By selling items I no longer, I will one step closer to paying off my mortgage, so I can retire earlier.

  17. Kim says:

    Do you mind saying who you have home owners insurance with? That seems like a great rate.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      We’re with Vermont Mutual

    • Jmay says:

      Just a little insurance switching advice. I changed mine in August to get better coverage. I reached out to an independent insurance agent that reviewed my current policy and made good recommendations for new coverage. She shopped around after I answered a few questions. One was related to my dog who is a black lab pit bull mix. Some companies will not insure pit bulls. We found great coverage at a great rate. When the home inspection was completed, the company required that I do improvements to continue with the coverage including replacing siding that was damaged. I ended up doing the whole house not just the area that was damaged. It was long overdue but was an expensive lesson. Also, the county code had changed and I had to add a railing for steps leading to my back patio.

  18. Jana says:

    How is your house insurance so inexpensive? I own the smallest house almost possible and the lot it is on. I pay 1160 per year for it! Is your deductible high? Very interested who you use!

  19. That’s an amazing deal – I pay $500 per season for a plowing contract, so to purchase a plow for $430 is a no brainer….if I had a tractor or pickup but I don’t think my little Subaru would take well to a plow, and I have no intention of parting with her!

    Good job!

  20. pauline says:

    I bought my latest car in September from Craig’s list – 2008 Subaru Outback and got a great deal on it. I’ve gotten rid of all kind of things junking up the yard – just put a “Curb Alert” in the free section of Craig’s list and people come and get the stuff! It’s fantastic!

  21. Katie Camel says:

    Looking at last month’s car expenses makes me glad I don’t have a car! I’ve been considering buying one lately, but seeing those numbers forces me to reconsider the necessity of one. Fortunately, I tend to get around quite well without one, but it would make certain parts of life a bit more convenient.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah, the car-related expenses are sort of endless, even when you frugalize it! Sometimes I miss our car-less city days 🙂

  22. Jen says:

    Do you use an app for your saved Craigslist searches? I found one I like, but it only allows you to receive notifications for 3 of them at a time. Looking for one that allows more, but has the same well integrated functionality. Facebook Marketplace is huge here and I sell most of my items that way, but the saved searches are gone and overall it’s gone downhill with a plethora of ads for new items made to look like listings when you do a search. 🙁

  23. Suzette says:

    I’ve been using my Discovercard a lot – 5% back on groceries, at CVS and Walgreens, through March. Another strategy I use – I have a Southwest credit card – use that for big purchases to get points – just cashed in my points for a round trip flight to Arizona; had to buy 2,000 points – trip cost me $77.00. Woo hoo. It’s the credit card game – I pay my credit cards off in full every month (been doing that since 1994).

  24. Christa says:

    TREEHOUSE!!!! Worth every penny! Isn’t it looking beautiful there??

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Mr. FW went on his own and I confess I’m quite jealous!!! He and I went to Treehouse back in the day (before they were big) and they were brewing in their garage. It was good then and I can see why they’ve become so famous!! Thankfully, he brought a lot of cans home.

  25. Mary says:

    This is off topic, but will you get another dog once the kids get older? I used to love your Frugal Hound pictures and stories. I have two rescues and can’t imagine being dogless, but then I don’t have two wee kids running around keeping me busy. How about any Homestead kind of animals? Is there such a thing as a Frugal Chicken?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Ahh yes, probably so :). We find ourselves so busy with kids and our land that it’s hard to imagine adding in the labor of animals, so the tentative plan is to get them when our kids are old enough to take on a lot of the chores related to them. Chickens and a dog are definitely at the top of the list 🙂

  26. Cindy says:

    Oh gosh I hear you about sick kids-they were all finally well in January but oct/nov was bad! Now our little one has a cold again and it’s just going to run through the family like it always does!
    Would love to hang out with you sometime and drink a gin and tonic and watch the snow falling! We haven’t had much snow here, kind of miss it! Anyway January was nice but not perfectly UFM because we went to Florida for a week and went to Disney! Doing our UFM in February instead and going strong. Eating down the pantry this month, and watching what we spend! Planning our summer trips and saving up for them:)!

  27. RG says:

    We just bought a house (urban/suburban) and I’m even more curious about sourcing secondhand house maintenance equipment. If any international readers have tips I’d love to hear them! (We’re based in the UK)

    And what about things like carpets, paint and flooring? Can you frugalize that or is it just a case of whatever your local store options are?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      This is such a great question! In the US there are some options, but I confess I don’t know about the UK (readers–please chime in!). In the US, there are salvage stores that are basically thrift shops for large home items (such as windows, doors, sinks), sometimes people sell remnants from projects on Craigslist, and there are often “scratch and dent” products (such a refrigerators, ovens, etc) available at big box stores for discounted prices.

  28. Bernadette Britt says:

    Hi I have just read the latest post. I live in in Norfolk in United Kingdom with my wonderful husband and my Westie called Bobby. It is a beautiful rural area of the country. Our village is on the Norfolk Broads. I love to read about the snow and your life style which is very different for most of us in our tiny country ! Here in Norfolk we have had a mild and gloomy winter with just the odd smattering of frost but no snow . Land is very expensive here and so other than a small garden I have an allotment. This is a joy and I have learned over three years how to grow vegetables, how to be a friend of the slug ( good for compost heap) and that good enviro fleece or insect netting is the best way to discourage beasties and pigeons. I have also learned that even if the pigeons eat all the purple broccoli its best to let nature take its course and treat it like a haircut as it all grew back during the autumn ! I used to be very extravagant but over the years I have saved despite this. Both my husband and I retired at 60 and 62 respectively. We had good pensions as I was a nurse and my husband a college deputy head of department. In Britain we are so fortunate to have are no health care costs due to the wonderful NHS which can make the decision to retire before 65 not too difficult ( for us).
    Since retiring I can enjoy lovely holidays and am learning the piano and Italian. With my allotment we eat lots of organic veg with just the odd slug pellet thrown in! I also now shop at Aldi and not Sainsburys and have cut down on the clothes. We buy and sell on Gum tree or the freecycle sites that are available locally. Charity shops are great for small items as well as the local paper or local shop windows for large furniture item . I hope this helps ! Good luck with the snow plough !

  29. $720/m for part-time daycare seems on the high end, although I know it’s worth every penny to save your sanity & help them make first friends. Our daughter’s nursery school was closer to $300/m for a four mornings a week.

  30. Wallies says:

    What about expenses related to your rental property?

  31. Deb says:

    So did you use your credit card(s) to pay for the Craigslist plow? Just curious. Thanks for sharing.

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