Binoculars And Other June 2020 Expenditures

I can feel the pandemic vibes coming through in last month’s spending. Notable is the line item “Beer, marshmallows, graham crackers, and Cheetos.” I regret nothing.

The Truck

June on the homestead

This month’s “more expensive than our mortgage” award goes to our 2010 Toyota Tundra truck. A dubious honor, to be sure.

The truck needed a lot of mechanic-related intervention, including: new rotors, calipers, a state inspection, an oil change and an ABS diagnosis. Cool. The upside is that the truck is now rolling along just fine and we got to support our local mechanic (who, of course, is my friend’s sister’s father-in-law), so it’s all in the family.

Every time we have to pay for a car repair, I like to point out that–pretty much no matter what we spend on repairs–we’ll never come CLOSE to how much we would’ve spent had we bought a new car. Check out all my maths in these posts:

Swimsuit and Swimsuit

Kidwoods in swimsuit, poking a branch at the porch roof, as one does. My laundry in the background: do I have a uniform or what?!

I, oh frugal queen of the used market, bought two BRAND NEW swimsuits for my kids–this one for Kidwoods and this one for Littlewoods (affiliate links). They’re not really swimsuits, but I don’t know what to call them–tiny wetsuits? They’re made of swimsuit material and have long pants and long sleeves and zip up the front.

They’re rated UPF 50 and they’re lightweight and breathable. Since our kids are forever in and out and in and out of their little splash pool and our creek and our pond, I could not keep up with the swimsuits on and off and off and on again. The issue here is the sun.

I don’t care if they run nekked, but I cannot deal with body-wide sunburn and also, I just can’t with the full-body, hourly sunscreen application on two wild weasels. I think I’ll spend less money by buying these suits than I would on bottles of sunscreen. So far, the girls love their suits! I now need one in my size…

Daubers

Truly, this is what they’re called. Mr. FW originally sought them out for use in herbicide application on weeds around our yard, but as he perused the internet, realized these have the potential to serve as toddler art instruments (weapons?). And they do! Just look at this link so I don’t have to write 86 words trying to describe them (affiliate link). Outcome: I put (washable) paint into the daubers and let the kids go wild with making dots on paper. For what it’s worth, they’ve done quite a few collaborative works of art with these because dot-creation equalizes the artistic skill between them. So far, highly recommend for pandemic fun (and, of course, herbicide application–obviously not in the same dauber!).

Credits Cards: How We Buy Everything

Mr. Frugalwoods and I purchase everything we possibly can with credit cards because:

  1. It’s easier to track expenses. No guesswork over where a 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 listed at the end of each month. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how I use Personal Capital for my expense tracking (and other stuff too).
  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 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.

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

1. The TD Cash Visa® Credit Card:

  • This card gives you 3% cash back on dining, 2% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
  • Plus, if you spend $500 within 90 days of opening an account, you’ll get $150 back.
  • And, there’s no annual fee!

Butterfly on our lilac bush

2. The Citi® Double Cash Card:

  • Gives you a total of 2% cash back (1% at the time of purchase and 1% when you pay your credit card bill).
  • This is a really good cash back percentage and it means that if you spent, for example, $2,000 on this card in a month, you’d get $40 back, just for using the card! Not bad.
  • I also like this card because there are no categories for purchases–anything you buy with the card is eligible for the 2% cash back, which makes is super simple to use.

3. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi:

  • If you already have a Costco membership, this card is a pretty good deal.
  • You get 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter.
  • You also get 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases and 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com.
  • And finally, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • This is a lot of categories to keep track of, but, those are some really high cash back percentages, so might be worth it if you’re a Costco member (side note: this makes me miss our Costco!!!!).
  • There’s no annual fee if you’re a Costco member.

If you’re more interested in travel rewards, a lot of people love the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

The best way to find a credit card that’ll work for you is to search for it yourself; I have a guide to help you do just that: The Best Credit Cards (and Credit Card Rewards)!

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 using credit cards might prompt you to spend more, then 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: $31.99

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 $1,599.88 on that card, which netted us $31.99.

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$e$

Creek exploration with Kidwoods

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 write-up.

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 CapitalHere’s a more detailed explanation of how I use Personal Capital (note: these Personal Capital links are affiliate links). 

Yes, We Only Paid $22.48 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 paid $22.48 for both of our phones (that’s $11.24 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, but A LOT cheaper. If you’re not already using an MVNO, switching to one is easy, slam-dunk, do-it-right-away 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*

*the amount we pay fluctuates every month 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?

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. 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????

Mr. FW and the girls roasting marshmallows at our fire pit

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 June:

Item Amount Notes
Truck repairs $1,750.93 New rotors, calipers, an oil change, state inspection, and ABS diagnosis for our 2010 Toyota Tundra.
VT Mortgage $1,392.86
Groceries and household supplies $833.73 A combo of food and household supplies (the toilet paper and hand soaps of the world). Mr FW’s been going to the store once every six weeks or so, which means our grocery spending is way off (low one month; high the next).

This is the PERFECT illustration of why it’s important to track your spending every month of the year–things fluctuate, people.

Gifts for extended family $166.82 In normal times, I only send gifts to our families at Christmastime. But this is not normal times and I decided everyone could use a boost, so I sent birthday (x2), mother’s day, and father’s day gifts to my parents and in-laws. I had fun picking stuff out, they had fun drinking it. I say “drinking it” because it was wine. It was allllll wine.
Gasoline for cars $124.43 Our family pandemic-inspired drives to nowhere have a way of boosting our gas bill…. but the girls seem to love getting lost on dirt roads with us, so there ya go.
Binoculars and Kitchen Scale $93.72 Binoculars (the better to see you with, my dear) and a kitchen food scale (the better to weigh you with, my dear). affiliate links
Trauma Medic Kits $86.60 To assuage my ongoing paranoia about all the heavy equipment and machinery Mr. FW (very safely) uses on the homestead, he purchased these trauma medical kits, which we could use in the event of a serious accident (affiliate link).
Prius Registration $76.00 Annual state registration for our 2010 Toyota Prius
Internet $72.00 Love our fiber internet!
River Roost Brewery $71.49 Beer. Life is too short to drink bad beer.
Swimsuits $44.28 Swimsuit for Kidwoods and Swimsuit for Littlewoods (affiliate links).
Beer, marshmallows, graham crackers, and Cheetos $41.85 It’s a pandemic, what can I say?
CO2 for Seltzer (lasts about six months) $34.25 For our hacked Sodastream. Find all the details here.
Local Eggs $32.00 We buy two dozen eggs from our neighbor-with-chickens every week at $4/dozen.
Cell phone service for two phones $22.48 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).

MVNOs are basically the TJ Maxx of cell phone service. If you’re not using an MVNOcheck out this post to see if you can make the switch. The savings are tremendous.

Utilities: Electricity $19.63 We have solar (which I detail here); this is our monthly base price for remaining grid tied.
Daubers $14.78 Daubers for herbicide application and toddler art appreciation (affiliate link).
Total: $4,877.85
Less Mortgage: $3,484.99

How was your June?

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70 Responses

  1. Sara De Lancey says:

    How did Mr FW use them on weeds? I know that the Big Box Stores have an item that you can use on weeds where you just touch a part of the weed and not surrounding plants……is this the same idea?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      The idea with the daubers is that you cut the weed off at ground level and then apply the herbicide to the stump. We’re only going to use this on the very pernicious and invasive stuff, like bamboo and the blackberries that threaten to take over our house.

      • Tara says:

        we have an issue with a very invasive honeysuckle plant… is this what you’d recommend to kill it with? yes they smell nice but they are super invasive and destroy property so I live to kill them all. what herbicide do you use? or does it change with each plant?

  2. Beth says:

    Daubers are often used for playing bingo. The swimsuit/wetsuit thing is called a skin for us Scuba Divers! Love reading how the pandemic is affecting your spending and sanity!! LOL.

  3. Margy says:

    People of all ages wear what we call ‘rashies’ in Australia for sun protection when we swim. The name comes from the vests surfers would wear so as not to get rashes on their chests from lying on their surfboards. Zip up tops that go over your swim suit are also available. We ‘slip, slop, slap’ – Slip on a shirt, Slop on the 50+ sunscreen, Slap on a hat. Keep up the good work for your family’s skin.

  4. My kitchen scale may just be the most life-changing piece of baking equipment I’ve ever bought—I now only pull out measuring cups if I only have to! Life changing, I tell ya!

    Yeah, I feel you on the pandemic-craziness spending line…mine seems to come out in Diet Dr. Pepper, books on homemaking and housekeeping (since we’re never leaving here again), and cutesy organizational bins (because we’re never leaving here, and all of a sudden I’ve realized that “here” is, uh, not that organized.)

    • Frugal Portland Gal says:

      Ditto on the kitchen scale! That along with reading the book Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish vastly improved the quality of my bread! I make the Pain de Campagne every week! The best! I had to tweak my technique a little bit compared to his Uber fastidious technique. I cannot handle throwing away most of my sourdough starter each time!

      • Jess says:

        Oh! Of it is a lot of discard you can use it in other recipes. Look up “sourdough discard recipes” – I use mine in crackers, pancake and cake recipes!

      • Laura Milne says:

        You can use it to make yeasted flapjacks/english style crumpets 🙂 I’ve still not got back to my pre-lockdown sourdough that was put on pause because of general lack of bread flour.

      • Paul says:

        So, this is a post and a question. I haven’t felt I had much to kick in re frugality in the past other than a rave for Budget Bytes. But something in this post prompted a thought. Years ago I read an article about buying stuff in bulk as long as you have storage and what you are buying is stable. I love quality soap, what can I say. So literally every third or fourth year I buy a case of Sappo Hill Soap. Discovered it at Whole Foods and they either stopped carrying it or it got wildly expensive by the each. Outstanding fragrant soap, shelf stable, wonderful. Highly recommend if you’ve got the storage space.

      • Paul says:

        So this is a disconnected question from my post on soap…and has nothing to do with Soap. I love Sour dough bread. I am a really good cook and dumb baker. My wife is an awesome baker but doesn’t do bread. I’ve done a credible 7 seed whole wheat bread …. in a machine. Is there somewhere to turn for sour dough for dummies? I’m an avid reader but need some easy, not complicated, clearly written guidance. Thanks. I love this blog and this online community.
        Paul

        • Frugal Portland Gal says:

          I used to make New York Times No Knead bread, and there is a sourdough version on the internet, HOWEVER, the instructions are not the greatest, and it took me a long time to get to the point that it was easy. I highly recommend the book by Ken Forkish, Flour Water Salt Yeast—he is Uber fastidious and gives very specific thorough instructions. You can probably borrow it at your library. I weigh my ingredients and make very consistent beautiful bread! You will be amazed. I also bought a proofing basket—-worth every penny. I use my 5 quart cast iron dutch oven. Even if you have to buy all of these, it will be worth it!!

          • Paul says:

            Thanks, a proofing bucket! Who knew. I have already, per your previous post, placed my request for the Forkish book.
            Yup, have consistently found NYT recipes appealing and not often worth the expense and trouble. Too often a one use ingredient or a way complicated and time consuming process. Again, thanks. Will definitely try that Pain you mentioned. Now… off to find out what a proofing bucket is.

          • Paul says:

            Err, that would be Proofing Basket.

        • Lyna says:

          I suggest King Arthur Flour’s site for all things baked, for sourdough see their “Sourdough Baking: The complete guide” If you want more, they Will answer your questions, just email, chat or call. Their flours are excellent also.
          https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/guides/sourdough

          • Lynne says:

            I second the King Arthur’s web site. And you don’t need a proofing basket. We were gifted some sourdough at the beginning of the pandemic and it’s been way easier to handle than we thought and a lot of fun to play around. Sourdough waffles = yum!

          • Paul says:

            Lynne and Lyna, thanks so much. I love sourdough but have been intimidated by it. I will definitely check out the King Arthur site. My wife is a big fan of their flour. I never thought they’d venture into online support for sourdough baking. Awesome. Thanks

          • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

            Another vote for King Arthur’s website! Their blog tutorials are how I’ve learned to make pie crust and other delectables from scratch because they include photos of what the dough is supposed to look like at every step of the process.

  5. Erin K. says:

    I love that you mentioned your uniform in the photo. Last year I found a shirt and pair of shorts I liked at Kohls. Got the shirt in about 6 different patterns, shorts in 5 different colors and BAM- my summer wardrobe. So easy and I look decent in rare occasion that I am in public.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      YES! I’m all about the uniform. I own the same dress in the same color and I’m not sad about it.

  6. Catherine says:

    Love your spending posts! I’m sure your family were so touched to get surprise gifts. We all need a treat every now and then during lockdown. I think you need to check your soda stream out – you bought CO2 in April and Jan too (I have this crazy good memory for utter nonsense that doesnt help me in real life!!)

  7. Blair says:

    I learn so much from these posts about how to prepare for rural life and what expenses to expect. Thanks!

    Just a note on the AmEx personal savings accounts. In light of the pandemic and accompanying stock market fluctuations, they’re now only paying 1% in interest (not 1.7%), according to their site- https://www.americanexpress.com/personalsavings/home.html

    Would be nice if anyone was still paying that much!

  8. KaLynn says:

    Yes, to the baby wet suit. My daughter is a chubby 9 month old that I tried to wrestle into 2T (?*#%!?) bathing suits, oh the tears that ensued. I also discovered the wet suit on Amazon and it’s a total game changer!!!!

    Always drink good beer.

  9. Karen says:

    FYI. American Express Personal Savings is now at 1%. Just an update

    • Frugal Portland Gal says:

      I noticed that too! I had recently researched savings account rates since Wells Fargo rates are abysmal! I got excited for a moment — 1.7%!!! Wow!! I went to the American Express website to check— waah, waaaaah — 1.0%
      I like to use Bankrate.com to research current rates across many institutions. We are thinking about using Ally Bank. Anyone out there have other suggestions? We live in Oregon.

      • Bugabusu says:

        The rate has dropped due to the current economic situation. You will most likely find that it is roughly 1% on all of these types of saving accounts.

      • Anonymous says:

        I checked today. Citi had 1.1% and was one of the highest. I observed how they kept going down from the 1.7%. My questions is do these (variable) rates go up or are we locked into the percentage that is there when we start the account? I was told that these (variable) rates can go down from where we start, but not sure if they could go up as well.

  10. Cara says:

    My kids lived in that kind of swimwear too, and it’s worth every penny. Maybe a game of chicken at some points wondering if the SPF protection or the material was going to wear out before they outgrew a suit (but my kids are on the small side).

  11. Ann Lee S says:

    I applaud your choice of the swimsuits vs sunscreen. I’m not a fan of putting chemicals on our skin (or our childrens) and look to the “hot” countries to learn how to dress …. as an adult, long sleeved white loose shirts or dresses are much cooler than shorts and tshirts and protect the skin.
    Your choice solves a myriad of problems for busy children in sunny weather. *****

  12. Carolyn says:

    I just went to you post on how to hack the soda stream. The link to the adapter kits on e-bay is broken. Do you have a better link?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Ugh, unfortunately I don’t. The one we bought is no longer available. I found a substitute for awhile, but I think they’re out of business too. I will look and see if I can find another one.

  13. Diane says:

    Kitchen scale is so much faster and more accurate especially when baking large batches and weighing flour.

  14. MB says:

    When my kids were little they loved their full body swimsuits- they called them their “dolphin trainer suits” and we were all sad when they outgrew them! I wish they made them in adult sizes- my kids are tall. The ones we bought were from coolibar and the uv protection supposedly lasts for the life of the fabric. We passed these on to my nieces when my kids outgrew them. Never got any burns through the suit. So much easier to only have to reapply sunscreen to hands and feet and faces. My husband is an Aussie so our kids always wear rashguards and hats! Definitely worth the investment for health as well as parental sanity!!

  15. Joseph says:

    Congrats on the binoculars! Have you used them on Comet Neowise yet? Be sure to check out the moon and jupiter’s moons as well.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, that would mean we’d have to stay up past 9pm…. although I kind of wish we had… on the other hand, I’m still tired, so maybe not

  16. Rae says:

    Thank you for the Personal Capital tip. I’ve been using it for a few years and it helped me increase my savings by a lot!

  17. Jess says:

    I work on an elementary school and teachers use daubers for all kinds of learning to read activities. Might be something to try if you are homeschooling in the fall

    • Molly says:

      Yeah, I was going to say there are lots of free printable activities to use with daubers.

      (But not doing any school is fine, too! Your kids are young, and the entire nation will be behind on schooling next year.)

  18. Caroline Bowman says:

    Great swimwear! Where I’m from, skin cancer is a huge thing and of course sun burn is cumulative. My dermatologist goes on and on about how even just a few decent burns in childhood can mean skin cancer later AND in places where it’s actually not tropical, where it’s a few months of heat, followed by cold weather, where skin is jerked from no-sun to lots-of-sun is worse.

    Strongly suggest getting a second suit for the girls, you are literally investing in their future health. No less than two people I know were dead well before 40 because of skin cancer. It’s a bit like smoking; it’s perfectly fine when you’re young, but the trouble comes later, and in the case of skin cancer, if it’s caught late, as it often is, it can be terminal. Sorry for the scary lecturing rant! My kids are very fair and we live in Cape Town, so I’m the ”SPF50 fanatic wear a beekeeper outfit” person in the family.

    Do remember that after a while – though your girls will outgrow them most likely before this happens – the SPF50 is greatly reduced as the material perishes gradually. Of course they can still be used as swimwear, but don’t hand-me-down Kidwoods to Littlewoods and think the protection will still be good.

    I’ll stop the lecture now and go and do something useful.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you!! I too am a skin-protection nut, which is why we all wear long pants, long sleeves and hats outside every day of the year ;). Great point on the SPF 50 degrading over time–I hadn’t thought of that!

      • Caroline Bowman says:

        When they have beautiful skin in their 40’s, they will thank you! One of my dear friends from university has the kind of fair skin that is beautiful, BUT gets horrifically burnt almost immediately and always has. Not even in 80’s South Africa, where everyone was tanned all the time, did she ever, under any circumstances, go out without a hat and lots and lots of (very expensive, imported at the time) sunblock in stratospheric factors.

        How we laughed. ”Must be sad not to be able to tan and have brown legs”… fast forward and it’s actually mortifying being photographed with her because her face, chest area, shoulders, hands, all those places that get marked and damaged really quickly… are perfect and blemish-free. Not a sun spot, just smooth, unlined skin, DAMN HER AND HER LONG GAME! So vanity is definitely a thing with this too… long run… think long run!

  19. Kirsty says:

    Where do you store your rubbish between trips to drop off the bags? Do the bags ever burst and get gunge on each other? Do you transport it in a trailer?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      We store it in a barrel in our barn (with a tight lid) and then it goes to the dump in the bed of the truck. So far, no issues, probably partly because we don’t throw out any food scraps (everything gets composted or taken to the town food scrap recycling spot). We also have a great recycling program, so thankfully our actual “trash” is fairly limited.

  20. PG Grant says:

    Wine gifts, awesome! So curious where you’re finding good deals on wine!? Pandemic has been a good forcing function to open neglected bottles and finding some wine went bad. : ( Definitely a time to be enjoying a bottle of wine now and then.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I spent a loooong time trying to find a site with reasonable prices (not $100 a bottle!!!!) and ended up with wine.com and have–so far–been pleased with their prices and service. The gift recipients report the bottles arrived unbroken and tasted great!

  21. Barb says:

    Went to the post on high savings rates and where the list should be, it says nothing found. Link to trauma pack also not working. Thx!!!

  22. Katie Camel says:

    As a nurse who regularly cares for melanoma patients, I’m all about those full-body swimsuits! We recently lost a good family friend who didn’t take his melanoma seriously. Sadly, he was just about to retire when he learned the melanoma had metastasized to his brain, bones, and lungs. It’s deadly. So, yeah, those swimsuits are a great way to prevent melanoma while simultaneously preserving your sanity! Enjoy that beer!

  23. Chris@TTL says:

    Impressive you all managed to kill the caliper(s) on a Toyota!

    How many miles on that thing? Calipers don’t tend to fail to the point of replacement! Ha, hopefully very well used 🙂

    Those medkits look pretty neat, and it probably makes sense to have something fairly heavy-duty ready when you’re around serious hardware and in a rural place!

  24. Soggy suzzi. says:

    How are things going with your rental – are the schools closed in Cambridge? I note that you are still deducting your Vermont mortgage so I assume it is still being covered by the excess Cambridge rent. Hope this isn’t a serious issue for you My big excitement in the last 6 weeks was going o the Dentist. Some things you can’t avoid. This too will eventually pass – we all have to just deal with this day to day. Even considering how long this could last is depressing – I just think of what “exciting” I’m going to figure out to do tomorrow. The day after will take are of itself later. It works -sort of – and most of the time To all, be safe!

  25. Tara says:

    I’m with you on the swim cover-ups. We had been doing ok with long-sleeved swim shirts, wide-brim hats (with neck string), and plain trunks, but I like the idea of a full cover-up suit instead. After having a NICU baby and being told to avoid chemical sunscreen until 6 months, we started getting the mineral-only (and reef-friendly) sunscreen but it is super pricey, so having a swimsuit cover-up is cheaper in the long run. Plus my son has touch/sensitivity issues, so he’s not a fan of applying sunscreen in general–this would help us greatly in that regard.

    Have you had luck finding light clothing that is SPF for kids? His swim shirt for instance is too hot to wear outside, but I’d love to hear of recommendations for kids wear for going outside that don’t create a steam bath.

  26. Paul says:

    Child psychologist here, I get tactile sensitivity. Don’t know if they make kids sizes but the all natural fiber Coolibar rash guards are tag free and dramatically comfortable. Check and see if they present options.

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Mrs. FW! I noticed that you don’t recommend the Amazon rewards card anymore. I one chooses not to use said card, one should keep it open right? Is it detrimental to close the card? Thank you!

  28. Stacie says:

    Our weird pandemic spending has including family size packages of Cheese It’s and Oreos. What can I say?? I guess it’s comfort food.

  29. Kara says:

    Pandemic spending has skewed things here too. I’m mailing more to my daughter who is in quarantine a long way away. Definitely money well spent! I stocked up on toilet paper in case CA shuts down again. I’m planting my second round of summer veggies. Got rid of some things on my Buy Nothing group, and sold 4 things on FB marketplace this week-all porch pick up and $ left in the mailbox. I haven’t had a problem with that system yet.
    I need to get more fabric for my etsy shop before the potential shut-down. I mainly use repurposed fabric, but occasionally need some new bits to fill in some gaps. I’m working on 2 Happy Birthday banner special orders. They make an awesome gift that becomes a family heirloom. Decorations that can be used for every family member, for all the years together? Yes please!

  30. JD says:

    Have you considered a clothesline if you don’t have one? You could put a retractable one on your porch so it wouldn’t be in the way all the time. I use my umbrella clothesline a LOT, especially when the weather is hot and I don’t want to heat up the house with the dryer. I also don’t like paying for that dryer to run — they are expensive appliances to run. Since I live in a rainy area, I have to use it sometimes, but I prefer to line dry. Besides, line drying is entertaining for the kids — my little-at-the-time daughter was utterly delighted to watch me catching the tiny green lizard that rode in with her freshly dried sheets. And of course, running between damp clothes on a hot day, when the evaporation helps cool the air, is a lot of fun.

    Do you have any problem with getting wine shipped? I tried to send liquor to a friend once, but the shipper said it was not allowed in my friend’s area.

  31. LongTime Frugal says:

    You’ll know you did your job when your slightly over age 30 children reapply sunscreen every 1-2 hours when you’re at a baseball game. I’m here to tell you that your vigilance, hard work, and walking the walk is not a wasted effort.

  32. mimi sussex says:

    The truck brakes, calipers, oil change are very easy to do once you acquire the tools. The parts are very inexpensive and you can install the highest quality parts too. Lots of YouTubes.

  33. Lara says:

    Hey! I was thinking today I haven’t heard much about the big picture finance stuff for you all lately. Not to seem nosey, but wondering if you still own the MA property as a rental? Is Mr. FW still working? I know it’s sensitive to share so much info, but I always got a lot out of the early years of your posts seeing the income and outcome.

    My career changed drastically in the last two years, and we are still trying to figure out the balance between time / income / where to live / expenses. Maybe I’ll have to submit a case study request! 🙂 Thanks for all you do.

  34. Jenzer says:

    I love love love my HydroChic swimwear. They sell long-sleeved swim tops and long swim yoga pants in adult women’s sizes, if you’re interested.
    https://hydrochic.com/

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