Littlewoods’ 3rd Birthday and Other February 2021 Expenses

Evidently February is a short and boring month. We didn’t buy anything interesting or story-worthy or unusual. So instead of talking about what we DID buy, I’ll talk about what we didn’t buy.

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. Here’s a boring (but important) explanation of how Frugalwoods makes money. The credit card links in this post are affiliate links.

Littlewoods’ Birthday

Littlewoods, so named as the littlest Frugalwood, turned three in February! And what you won’t find on my expense report are birthday presents and decorations and a cake. Before you decry that we forgot to fete our poor little niblet, let me tell you how we celebrated her birthday for free! What I do isn’t revolutionary, I didn’t invent it, and a lot of you already do this. But it is frugal and this is Frugalwoods after all.

The Cake!

  • The cake I baked!

    Is homemade. Baking a cake from scratch takes about two minutes longer than baking one from a box mix. Yes, it takes longer than buying one from the store, but it tastes so good and it’s so cheap.

  • Our tradition is that you get to choose the type of dessert you’d like for your birthday and then I make it (the fine print is that it has to be something I know how to make… ).
  • I am a huge fan of the King Arthur Baking Company recipes and for this birthday, Littlewoods selected a “choca-cake,” which I interpreted as this recipe: Moist Chocolate Cake. Delicious! Plus, I love me a 9×13 cake since I can just pop the lid on my 9×13 bake-n-store* and keep it in the refrigerator (affiliate link).
  • P.S. yes, I realize the icing flowers look like unicorn poops, but hey, I did my best, ok?!

*not my actual bake-n-store because mine is so old they don’t make it anymore, but this one looks identical.

The Presents!

  • Were all from yard sales! Also the town dump’s free table. My kids always get second-hand toys. And they love them. My process is to stock up at summer yard sales on toys, books, puzzles, clothes, shoes and games that I think my kids will enjoy. I then store them in the basement in a box surprisingly labeled, “gifts for the kids.” I mete these gifts out for their birthdays, Christmas and any other occasion that befits a “new” toy. What my kids don’t end up using, I pass along to my friends for their kids.
  • THRILLED with her free trash find stroller. And yes, the stroller is big, but also, she is a teensy tiny peanut (wearing 18 month clothes here… )

    As an extra-special addition this year, I found a barely used American Girl doll stroller at the free table of our town dump last month. The person who runs the dump saw me coming and said, “I bet you’re going to want this stroller for your girls!” And he was right.

  • When I find new, tags-on gifts at yard sales, I put them in a different box labeled, “gifts for other kids.” These new, tags-on items become gifts for kid birthday parties we attend (not that we’ve been doing that during the pandemic).
  • The key with this approach is to give yourself time. You (usually) can’t find what you need on the used market the day or the week you need it; you have to plan ahead.
  • That’s why you’ll find me scouring garage sales with my friends in mid-July, on the hunt for Christmas gifts and Easter baskets and winter snow pants. Organizing everything in labeled boxes in my basement keeps this pursuit from becoming a cluster of clutter.
  • And when I find I’ve bought stuff we don’t need or can’t use? I pass it right along via my box labeled–you guessed it–“give away.” Since I spend so little money on this used stuff, I don’t feel the need to sell it to recoup the costs, I just give it away.
  • If you want to get started with an all-used approach for your kids (and life in general), I have a few posts with specific guidance:

The Wrapping Paper!

  • Party time, excellent!

    Is re-used gift bags! I save all gift bags (and tissue paper) and keep them folded in a box labeled–wait for it–“wrapping supplies.”

  • The advantage of this approach is three-fold:
    1. It’s free.
    2. It’s fast. It takes 2 minutes to pop the gifts into bags.
    3. It’s environmentally friendly because I keep reusing the same bags! I realized that one of the bags I keep reusing is from our wedding, which was…. nearly 13 years ago.
  • For Christmas, I did wrap up all of their gifts in Christmas wrapping paper I found for free by the side of the road, but I’m not sure I’ll ever do that again. It took FOREVER to wrap everything and then I realized not all of the paper was recyclable. Double fail on my part!!

Littlewoods on her first birthday!! still using those same hats…

The Decorations!

  • Are re-used! We’ve been using the same birthday hats for at least 8 or 9 years now.
  • I have it in mind to sew one of those lovely, fabric, reusable “happy birthday” banners that I keep seeing. So maybe I’ll do that for the next birthday. Or better yet, maybe I’ll find one at a yard sale…

The Party!

  • Was on Zoom! Being a pandemic, and also sub-zero winter outside, we opted for a small Zoom party with our family. This lasted about three minutes until the birthday girl was donezo.
  • For added fun, I took the leftover cake to our homeschool pod the next day where we lit the candles and sang happy birthday.

Personal Capital: How We Organize Our Expen$e$

I use a free, online service called Personal Capital to keep track of our money: our spending, our net worth, our investments, our retirement–everything!

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 or how much you have. 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 me 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). 

Credits Cards: How We Buy Everything

Littlewoods in her natural habitat: the woods

My husband 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. .
  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 we don’t carry debt other than our mortgage, having several credit cards open for many years helps our credit scores. 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 Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card:

  • 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, 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.
  • Plus, if you spend $500 in the first three months of having this card, you’ll get $200.

Outside every day

2) The Chase Freedom Unlimited:

  • Also offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases–with no categories or restrictions–which makes it super simple to use.
  • You can earn up to 5% cash back in specific categories as well, which makes it really attractive to folks who track their spending carefully.
  • This card also offers you $200 if you spend $500 in the first three months of having it.

3) 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.

If you’re 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: $22.75

Glamour Shed!

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 $1,137.38 on that card, which netted us $22.75.

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.

Yes, We Only Paid $24.87 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 $24.87 for both of our phones (that’s $12.44 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 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 an easy, slam-dunk, do-it-right-away 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*

*the amount we pay fluctuates every month because it’s calibrated to what we use. Imagine that! We only pay for what we use! Will wonders ever cease.

Expense Report FAQs

  • These goofs were delighted with the giant sunglasses I got from a yard sale for Littlewoods’ bday

    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.

  • Don’t you have a rental property? Yes! We own a rental property (formerly known as our first house) 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.
  • Why don’t you buy everything locally? We do our best to support our local community and buy as much of our food as possible directly from our farmer neighbors. Our town doesn’t have any stores, so we rely on online ordering and big box stores for necessities. The closest stores are 45 minutes away and Mr. FW goes once a month to stock up on what we can’t get from our neighbors or online.

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 February:

Item Amount Notes
VT Mortgage $1,392.86
Groceries $703.36
Craft beer $100.03 So much lovely beer for our beer tasting hobby
Gasoline for cars $96.80
Utilities: Internet $72.00
Local meat $71.06 Pork butt + beef from our farmer neighbor
Liquor and wine $57.66
C02 for Seltzer $34.25 A C02 refill tank (20lbs) for our hacked Sodastream system.
Doctor visit co-pay $25.00
Cell phone service for two phones $24.87 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 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 $24.35 We have solar (which I detail here); this is our monthly base price for remaining grid tied
Local flour $10.50 From our neighbor the flour miller
TOTAL: $2,612.74

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.

How was your February?

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40 Responses

  1. Caroline Bowman says:

    Happy Birthday to your very blonde not-so-littlest littlewoods! It looks like she had a splendid day and was thoroughly spoiled.

    One question – obviously ignore this if needs be – what is her name? I know kidwoods is Estelle, which is a beautiful name, but what does Littlewoods answer to other than ”STOP THAT NOW, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” (kidding! Sort of!).

    • Frugal Portland Gal says:

      I think that her real name is a secret. Clue: it looks like “Littlewoods” was photoshopped onto the birthday cake! Liz was smart enough (of course) to take a photo before she put the real name on the cake!!! Love it! I would not want my kids’ names all over the internet either. They are so adorable that I just want to cry!!!

    • chloe says:

      I know it’s private and I wouldn’t share my girls name on the internet, but I’ve also wondered this. Haha I think it starts with an A as alive seen a pic on the blog with a cup labeled A. 🙂

  2. Wilma says:

    Here’s a trick I did for birthday (and other holiday) bunting: I have a piece of string with two loops at the ends that I drape over the fillials of my large front window, and I have paper triangles that I made that I hang over that are holiday themed. they store flat in envelops, appropriately labelled. They’re doubled sided (in the sense that I taped two triangles together so they could hang over the string) so everyone can see them from the road, too. The kids know that they come out for birthdays and other holidays, and love the familiarity. I love that they store flat, and go up in under a minute. I bought the 12 x 12 craft paper, which is inexpensive, and have used them for over 10 years. Oh, and happy birthday, Littlewoods!

  3. Don’t sweat that the Christmas paper was non-recyclable. You reduced by not buying, reused something you found, and as you found it in the trash, it just ended back where it was in the first place. Even from an environmental perspective that has to count as a win, right?
    And happy birthday to Littlewoods!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Happy birthday to Littlewoods! Now that she is 3, will she get to be in the family pic in the About Us section? (I say this as the parent who NEVER got around to getting any formal family pics that included our youngest, now 19.)

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hahaha, yep. I’ll do it some day. It’s one of those tech things that’s annoyingly WAY more complicated than it should be and…. super hard to size a photo down to the correct dimensions. WAY more annoying to do than it should be (in my non-tech person opinion 😉 ).

  5. Alysa says:

    Do you cook with an electric range? We recently purchased a home in Upstate NY and we have a propane range. Just wondering about that at your homestead.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      We also have propane and we like cooking with gas. Not a huge fan of the propane though, so we’re considering/exploring/thinking about maybe perhaps some day transferring over to an induction range.

  6. SusanM says:

    Happy birthday to Littlewoods! Thanks for the credit card rewards discussion. I use the Fidelity rewards card, and since I have an IRA account with Fidelity, I have them transfer the rewards to the IRA account so they are part of my annual IRA contribution / tax deduction for a win-win.

  7. Cindy says:

    I died laughing at “Unicorn poops.” I once made a jousting cake (chocolate cake with action figures stuck into the icing) for my stepson and thought chocolate chips would make for a fun decoration. One of my stepson’s friends saw it and yelled, “Hahahaha! It’s covered in horse poop!” So I feel you on this.

    I died laughing again at “Littlewoods is 3.” For my 40th birthday, my husband ordered a cake. It was supposed to say, “Happy 40th Birthday, Cindy,” but due to a miscommunication, it said, “Cindy is 40.” Before I came into the room, I heard several people say, “Oh my gosh, that can’t be right. She’s going to freak.” But when I saw this giant chocolate cake with sparse pink lettering, I said, “Now that is a simple sentence.” We all laughed and it’s become a family tradition that all of our cakes now say “Name is Age.”

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hahaha, I love it! I did “Littlewoods is 3” because that’s the extent of my piping abilities ;). And yep, definitely some horse poop

  8. KNatGU says:

    Age 8 was when my oldest has started to notice the difference between new and used. Although she is still a little pliable, I can just tell she prefers not used/hand-me down. For instance, she may own 10 books in a series but her favorite is the new one from Grandma. I would like to see one of your round-up posts from the facebook community on ways to talk about this to kids. She has had to start to navigate her way in the world of peers and my current strategy is just not to make a big deal about it either way.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Ahh yes! A great topic! I actually did a Reader Suggestions on it a few years ago, but you’re right, it’s time for another! Here’s the post: Reader Suggestions: How To Save Money While Raising Teenagers And Teach Them Financial Lessons In The Process.

    • Holly says:

      I agree – my son is 8 now and whereas before he NEVER noticed if shoes were used, lunchboxes or jackets had other kids names etc he now notices EVERYTHING. His christmas bike (which came from goodwill) had a very very small ding on the side … I didnt even notice until he exclaimed “this must have fallen from Santa’s sleigh”! That phrase alone is priceless.

      • LongTime Frugal says:

        May Littlewoods be like my youngest – LOVED hand me downs and always wanted to keep broken things for “memories” (like our dead answering machine). Personally I think it is genetic. Both my kids wore clothing my Mom kept from my (very) young years. I have pictures of me and my daughters wearing a couple of the same outfits. And since they truly don’t make things like they used to, those same articles of clothing (and a Halloween outfit) are in the cedar chest – ready for another generation to wear.

  9. Lorene says:

    Since no one else has done it, I will let you know there ARE Gen X readers in your audience that got the “Wayne’s World” reference. Also, we have a Dollar Tree Happy Birthday banner that was used in February for at least the fifth time.

  10. Lucy W says:

    Unsolicited advice, but what we do for “wrapping paper” is collect fabric scraps from local fabric stores, seamstresses, and friends doing crafts, and have amassed a collection of *gorgeous* fabrics and ribbons that we reuse throughout the year for wrapping gifts. They are eco-friendly, free or cheap, and can be reused again and again and again!

    • Clancy says:

      I love this idea! Thank you!

    • Dawn Harris says:

      This is similar to what I do. We put gifts in pillowcases (odd ones we have been given or thrifted over the years. The fact that they are not the ones we use on the bed regularly seems to make it more special) and tie them with ribbons we have been given and use over and over.

  11. One of God's says:

    Just so people can be aware, I’ll share my experience with Ting based on your recommendation. I had to get my own carrier because when my kids moved, they had to change from T-Mobile which had long served us well. My preliminary research seemed to show that I could be served by T-Mobile towers at my house and by AT&T towers at their house. “Great,” I thought. I was told by Ting to purchase a starter pack at Best Buy. The starter pack contained two SIM cards with directions to start with the one on top. It was to connect me to Verizon, but I didn’t know that. Verizon doesn’t effectively cover my area. The unused SIM card would have connected me to T-Mobile which would have been good. Ting representative told me they couldn’t disconnect me from Verizon and allow me to go with T-Mobile! I was left with no connection to the outside world over a really bad weather weekend. Now I’m happily back with T-Mobile at a bit more than I would have paid Ting.

  12. Dianne says:

    Love the pictures and big sunglasses, adorable! Looks like everyone (where’s Mama?) had a great time at Littlewoods’ B-day party!

  13. Sarah says:

    Gift-wrapping tip: after a holiday is over, I go to the fabric store and buy holiday-themed fabric remnants and sale pieces (well, I do this when not in a worldwide pandemic). Then I sew the simplest of bags –just zip around three sides and hem the top, then turn right-side out. Make a variety of sizes and tie with ribbon. Eco-friendly, cheap, infinitely reusable, and when you give one away outside the family you just tell them to reuse and pass it on. Saves paper, is pretty, and is so cheap.

  14. Anne says:

    For fabric birthday banners, check out the “no sew” options – I made one with iron-on adhesive between the layers of fabric and cut out the letters from sticky fabric. I really liked how using adhesive kept it from fraying without having to hem everything, and that you had more control over the shape of the letters than with sewing them on. Love the idea of the bake and store pans – I will definitely get some

  15. Laura says:

    Happy b-day to Littlewoods! They’re growing up so fast…
    We aren’t the thriftiest when it comes to gifts and wrapping, but when my son was in elementary school, we took advantage of his summer birthday to have parties for several years outdoors in a nearby park. It had a water fountain for really hot weather (and oddly every year we had a party there, it was unseasonably cold so no one used the fountain) and several swing/play sets. The first year everyone was shocked when we announced there were no party games and no schedule other than freeform play until cake time (we held the party 2-4pm so we only provided cake, ice cream, and milk) – then the kids had a blast figuring out for themselves what they wanted to do while the grown-ups talked. I figured, correctly that the kids had so much of their lives micromanaged that letting them play freeform was a gift. Best year was when they took the Matchbox cars that went into their goody bags and “raced” them down the slide, chuckling maniacally when the cars crashed into each other and the imaginary drivers went flying to their doom. That year the party was supposed to end at 4pm but went till 7pm because it was such a fine day and everyone had such a good time.

  16. Kara says:

    Such sweet celebrations! I always got as much as I could used, and my kids (young adults now) have not expressed any resentment. And now I see them buying used for themselves. So cool!
    We have fabric banners at our house, and they are much loved. If you don’t have time to sew one, and don’t mind supporting a craftsperson, I sell handmade fabric banners in both brights and neutrals.
    etsy.com/listing/828237205

  17. kentuckylady717 says:

    Happy Birthday to Miss Littlewoods, she is so cute, her cake is lovely, most homemade cakes are good, but to me nothing beats a Duncan Hines….sometimes .98 at the store on sale….to me it is worth it….I’m not a baker either so don’t use a lot of flour….I used to make homemade cakes, but too much trouble, I go for easy now…..
    Nothing wrong with gifting new items to kids for their birthday…..but I was never that lucky….so what age will they be when you start buying them a gift…..you know they will be wanting all the tech stuff they see the other kids have….but you are teaching them to spend wisely and that’s wonderful…
    I did think your internet was a bit high tho, I think mine is $74.00 plus $10.00 for a landline….but I still think that is too much…right now AT&T has Internet & Cable for $49.00 for 12 most. I need to call on this, must be some kind of catch….I was paying over $150.00 mo. with Spectrum….but had cable stopped and haven’t really missed it that much…. but if I can get them both for this price I may do that….

    I think all this internet, cable & cell ph. stuff is just too expensive….should be a better way….and they do show this thing you can buy and get FREE cable they say, but not so sure I trust that tho…..says you need to live closer to the TV Towers….than I do, so doubt it would work for me….

    PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EMAIL ADDRESS, OTHER WILL BE CLOSED…..Thanks

  18. Cara says:

    If the girls got something they liked, and so did Daddy, why would they see a difference? I remember way back in the 90s borrowing the Tightwad Gazette from the library, and reading Amy Dacyczyn’s advice (if I remember rightly) to allocate your budget for children’s clothes as if they were disposable. By which she meant, spend as little as possible, as you don’t get many uses out of them before they’re outgrown. I think the same goes for toys, though maybe I’d add the suggestion that you should check if a toy has had a safety recall. And I’d be wary about attaching a more abstract value (like social status, product desirability- certainly not as a measure of affection) to items according to where they were sourced. Who does that serve? It’s the thought that counts.

    • Sarah says:

      I loved her books. I was a young broke mom when I found her books back then. Crazy to think it’s been 25ish years since they were written

  19. Cindy says:

    I love your blog and so happy it helps us rein in our spending! We did the UFM in January-but February saw us spend a bit more than I’m comfortable with. We decided not to do a spring break trip and so we just felt like spending that $ on other things we’d usually not buy. So we have a new vacuum, treadmill, Apple Watch, and I got my hair done a bit differently(hence more expensively) than usual. I have to remind myself(and hubby) that we should buy used, but he forgot big time this month! I will add that we saved his entire yearly bonus-even with the spending spree. So we’re good! I’ll try harder this month I promise!!!

  20. MN says:

    I always read but never comment, but I feel compelled to give a big HURRAH to you and yours for a low-key birthday. I have a 6.5-year old and I have had it up to here (I am holding my hand above my head) with elaborate birthday parties. I have made the mistake (like the one time I was stuck in the kitchen making overly-fancy food and missed EVERYTHING), and we have attended many birthday parties that were so over the top and totally unenjoyable (I’m thinking of a 4-year old’s birthday that was scheduled to last FOUR HOURS. We attended for about 30 mins), or birthdays that indirectly suggest that you make a purchase to attend (hello, “princess birthday parties” where costumes “are encouraged”) in addition to bringing a gift. These are miserable experiences for the adults and the kids just end up hyper and over-stimulated. But, it’s really, really, really, really hard to swim against the current and do something simple, kid-oriented, not from Pinterest, and not for the sake of perfect Instagram shots. So again, hurrah to you for doing what is right for your family. It gives the rest of us inspiration and courage.

  21. Glenna says:

    I love this! I never understood why parents wanted to drop $100’s on a toddler’s birthday party.

  22. Wow, that’s basically a no-spend month for you–impressive 🙂 Our February ended up being crazy expensive because we’ve got it into our heads that we’re starting a flower farm this year, which has been a dream of mine for a long time. Go big or go home!

    Also, definitely keep preaching the merits of a no-spend birthday party so that I won’t feel like the only parent ever who doesn’t throw lavish parties for my kids 🙂

  23. Shey says:

    What is your garage sale budget? I am a huge shopper of garage sales myself, and I stash away cash for the purpose. Just wondering if you have a secret budget–I do. Sometimes I randomly get a rebate, or refund that didn’t go to the CC, that’s where my cash comes from. I don’t count it with my bank accounts–it’s the garage-sale-fund.

  24. NZ Sarah says:

    We keep birthday cards and return them to our extended family just before the next birthday for reuse. They are so expensive and it is really nice to see a series of greetings built up year after year. My friends think I am too cheap but we love this tradition.

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