Cattle Panels And Other April 2021 Expenses

April was prep month. Prep for the garden, prep for the chickens, prep for the summer, prep for the bulk food orders.

The Chicken Coop!

The chicken coop in progress!

Mr. FW began construction on the chicken coop for our twelve chicks, which arrived last week (peep peep!). We also rounded out our chick supplies with a 50lb bag of starter/grower feed and a metal trash can for food storage to prevent rodentia incursion.

Also got a bag of pine shavings for their bedding. Mercifully, we were able to borrow all other chick-related supplies.

The Garden!

We’re going to try out cattle panels this year for our vine-inclined plants (tomatoes and sugar snap peas). In the past, we’ve run lines of string and manually tied each plant to give it the vertical boost it needs. But cattle panels will do the work for us! Well, kinda. They’re basically large, flat, rectangular panels of bent wire. Ok, that was not a very good description…  they’re, uh, molded wire? Listen, they are mostly open, so the plants can vine up them. I’ll just take a picture once we put them in the garden.

They’re not cheap, but, we can use them every year and they’ll save a lot of time. I’m thinking of the hours I spent last spring laboriously tying up each plant…. TBD, but seems like this’ll be easier. We do no-till mound gardening anyway, so having permanent garden fixtures should work well with our methodology.

I also got another batch of plant starting trays because I started so many this year that I ran out! These are the under-trays that hold the pants and I love them because you can bottom water seedlings and it helps keep them nice and warm atop their heating pads.

The Bulk Foods!

The chicks enjoying their food and pine shavings

We’ve long been buyers of bulk foods and we sourced a new source last month: our local co-op food market. Ok, “local” is stretching it since it’s 45 minutes away, but….

We were able to have them special order two 50lb bags of flour and a 25 lb bag of oats for a great price! Those expenses actually hit in May, but we did join the co-op in April, hence the one-time $50 co-op joining fee.

Mr. FW also put in a bulk spice order from Penzey’s–yum!

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

Baby chick glamour shot

We buy everything we 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 have any 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:

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

Kidwoods: oh great lover of the chickens

1) Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers a hierarchy of cash back percentages:

  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases
  • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months of card membership (up to $150 back)
  • Earn $100 back if you spend $2,000 within the first 6 months of card membership

2) Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card:

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Earn $200 if you spend $500 or more in purchases within the first three months of card membership

3) Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card:

  • 3% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • 2% at grocery stores
  • 1% on all other purchases
  • Cash back won’t expire for the life of the account; no limit to how much you can earn
  • Get $200 if you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening

Littlewoods: still moderately unsure about the chickens

4) Chase Freedom Unlimited:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase
  • 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores
  • 1.5% on all other purchases
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back, rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Earn $200 if you spend $500 in your first 3 months from account opening

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, 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: $43.31

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 $2,165.50 on that card, which netted us $43.31.

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.

To see how this adds up over the course of a year, check out this post: The Easiest $486 I’ve Ever Made: How To Use Cash Back Credit Cards To Your Advantage.

Where’s Your Money?

Oh hello

Another easy way to optimize your money is to use a high-interest savings account. 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 0.40% in interest. In one year, your $5,000 will have increased to $5,020. That means you earned $20 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.

Yes, We Only Paid $29.88 for Cell Phone Service (for two phones)

CHICKEN

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 $14.94 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 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

  • 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 (also known as our first home) 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 April:

Item Amount Notes
VT Mortgage $1,392.86
Groceries $654.94 All the food for all the family
Gas for cars $289.59 This is so expensive in part because Mr. FW had to drive five hours round-trip in order to get his first COVID vaccine shot. WORTH IT
Chicken coop building materials $270.17
Cattle panels for garden and other miscellaneous farm and garden supplies $224.93 Six panels (plus a bunch of other farm stuff). Told you they’re expensive! But just think of me not winding string around 1,000 plants this summer.
Household supplies $188.56 Toilet paper, toothpaste, vitamins, laundry detergent, dish washer detergent… the exciting items of life.
Chick supplies and home improvement materials $115.15 Chick food, pine shavings, metal trash can, diesel can (for tractor), and misc home improvement/coop building materials
Bulk spice order $89.67 From Penzey’s
DMV $76.00 1 year registration for our truck
Utilities: Internet $72.00
Beer $64.96 For our craft beer tasting hobby
Plant starting trays $58.29 Pack of 10 super strength plant starting trays (affiliate link).

We have some flimsy, cheap trays, which I’m recycling because they leak, they bend and they are worthless. Very much worth the expense to get the trays that last!

Co-op Joining Fee $50.00 One-time payment to join the food co-op so we can order bulk food.
VOIP phone connector $42.39 We needed a new VOIP thing for our home phone (affiliate link).
Cell Phone service for two phones $29.88 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 $24.14 We have solar (which I detail here); this is our monthly base price for remaining grid tied
Liquor and wine $19.22
Eye cream for me $17.57 Ok so I recently decided to do a major skincare research deep dive and then I bought some stuff. I’m going to write a whole post on it, but until that time… here’s the eye cream I bought (affiliate link).
Face cream for me $16.95 …and the face cream I bought. DON’T JUDGE ME, I’m aging before my very eyes… although, I’m pretty sure there’s no other way to age (affiliate link).
Tape refills $14.41 My children are tape hounds. They LOVE to tape things together, to themselves, to the walls… I set them loose with tape dispensers and they are THRILLED.

Hence, I’m always needing more tape refills…  (affiliate link).

100 washable markers $12.31 100 perfectly washable and lovely markers for the many tape-related craft projects engineered by my children (affiliate link).
Prescription medications $10.00 Co-pays for prescriptions from online pharmacy. PSA: if you haven’t switched to an online pharmacy delivery service, DO IT. So swift and easy.
Book for me $8.44 I heard this author, Eve Rodsky, interviewed on one of my favorite podcasts, Terrible Thanks for Asking, and was impressed enough to buy her book, Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live) (affiliate link).
Total: $3,742.43
Minus Mortgage: $2,349.57

How was April for you?

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48 Responses

  1. Liz says:

    Ah! I just read ‘Fair Play’! It sounds like your family already have a good grasp of what is a necessary task and who should take full responsibility for it already. Im sure you’ll get something out of it though. I’m still working out what my ‘unicorn time’ should be…

  2. Lucy says:

    We are on the same wavelength – I’ve gotten really into skincare myself! (35 and I think the second baby stole the youth from my face). You should check out The Ordinary retinol – $7/bottle and good strength. Also don’t forget the sunscreen- protect your investment!!

    I can’t wait to see the chicken coop developments. That’s on my list when the youngest is closer to 3. Thank you for sharing!

    • Nora says:

      Both of those products have retinol so don’t overdo it. I prefer differin retinol since it’s very affordable but it can be drying so those two products are a nice mix of moisturizer and retinol. And yes sunscreen daily for everyone!! I like Stylevana Biore Face Milk- it’s under $20 and imported directly vs Amazon which resells and can be dubious for skincare.

    • Rebecca says:

      Yes! Came here to say – The Ordinary. I use several of their products and find them just as good or better than the really expensive stuff I have used.

  3. Sara M BRESETTE says:

    As far as the aging, don’t forget about sunscreen! Any skincare you do is wasted if you aren’t wearing sunscreen every. single. day. Also, you look happy, which is what matters most 🙂

  4. Shea says:

    My husband and I found old bent out of shape and holey cattle panels in our garden and they work just fine for $0. (We found a few of them washed out in ditches). You’re going to love them compared to the hassle and weakness of twine.
    A tip I want to share that is a huge time (and plastic) saver is Johnny’s Seeds soil blocker. Damn that thing will save you so much hassle when it comes to starting seeds.
    Congrats on the chicks!

  5. Holly says:

    You may want to rethink the eye and face cream The face cream is rated an 8 out of 10 (the worst) on EWG Skin Deep. The eye cream is not quite as bad.

    https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/search/?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search=RoC+Retinol+Correxion+Retinol+Night+Cream+

  6. We have been using cattle panels for the last few years in our gardening. I hope this isn’t a disappointment, but in my experience you still have to tie the plants to the panels. Tomatoes have a funny way of not choosing to vine in the way you would like. But they are great, easy to clean and maintain, and a whole lot less work.

  7. Colleen says:

    Have you looked into Azure Standard for bulk food purchases? Supposed to be all organic. Sadly we don’t have them up in Canada, but I have seen a lot of homestead channels in the states that use them and love it. They have a place on the site where you can put in your zip code to see the closest pick up location to you. http://www.azurestandard.com

    • Jennifer says:

      Yes, we love Azure! A great idea to suggest it. We get a lot of our gluten-free flours there, as well as yeast and oats.

  8. Shannon says:

    FYI, you can buy the trays direct from the Bootstrap Farmer website for a bit cheaper, especially if you’re willing to go all in and just get the 30 pack: https://www.bootstrapfarmer.com/collections/seed-starting-equipment/products/extra-strength-seedling-propagation-tray?variant=12166980239450

    We just did the exact same thing for the same reasons (all our cheap plastic trays kept breaking and bending, and I was sick of putting other trays under them to make them last a bit longer). These are wonderful. We do soil blocking so we have quite a bit of weight in them and I can carry them in and out of the house for hardening off without a problem. We even inadvertently tested it with a 30 pound toddler when one of my daughters decided to stand on a tray I had upside down and it didn’t break. Not something I’d necessarily recommend but it was good to see.

    Side note: do either of your daughters help with seed starting? I tried with my two-year old twins this year, and they liked mixing the seed starting mix together and “helping” use the soil blocker, but actually placing the seeds in the blocks was. . . less successful. I’m just trying to figure out if I didn’t have enough patience or if they’re maybe just too young.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      My 3-year-old helped with mixing up the soil and putting it in the pots and my 5-year-old was great at planting the actual seeds. But I’m pretty sure neither of them were helpful when they were two :)!

  9. Candace says:

    Fair Play is an excellent book, and you found it for a good price! We homeschool so I often buy books by going to directtextbook.com. it searches lots of different online bookstores and gives me a low-price summary. Saves me so much time and money! It’s useful for any type of book, not just textbooks.

  10. Claire says:

    If you have acne, you might be able to get Rx tretinoin from your doctor. I pay $0 for it.

    • Allison in Ky. says:

      YES! It is the best. It’s not covered by my insurance, but I pay for it using HSA funds.

      • Amy says:

        Another little known thing is “vouchers” from the pharma companies (helps them compete with generics. This one is for the brand Retin-A Micro (has to be the micro version. Great thing is the micro delivery reduces the main side effect of dryness. This one is $25 for a supply (technically it’s a 1 month supply but you use little and one bottle lasts me 3 months) for anyone that has non-government insurance (Medicaid or Medicare). Free to sign up and get a voucher. Just print or screenshot the “card” after signing up. Works for refills too. Only certain pharmacies use these. I know CVS and Walgreens take them. Bonus, many companies offer these vouchers. Just search the BRAND name of a prescription drug you take and voucher. Note- this is not GoodRx (although good savings there too) so you may have to scroll past the top couple of search results for the company that manufactures the drug. Amazing results with the Retin-A micro. Less fine lines & much improved skin discoloration. I unfortunately have started getting small sun spots now that I’m in my mid 40s despite always wearing sunscreen

  11. Laura Semmens says:

    Please consider motion sensor lights if you live with a lot of predators around you. We have one in either side of our coop. We have a secure coop but still we’re seeing evidence of digging at the base of the walls and this has virtually stopped. There is no worst sound that screeching chickens getting slaughtered if something does get in.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Good to know–thank you for the tip!

      • Nancy says:

        No judgment for moisturizing products! My parents lived in Vermont when I was your age and my skin would dry out on a 10-day visit (Vermont is gorgeous but it’s dry). Find the right products for you and use them guilt-free. Your future skin will thank you.

  12. Joshua Brucksch says:

    Those Bootstrap farmer trays and other supplies have held up really well for my wife and I! 😀

  13. Joseph Dvorak says:

    What do you use to store the bulk items? (Flour, sugar, etc.) We like to buy in bulk but are concerned of attracting ants or other pests. Also how do you organize overflow on bulk items? Thanks for your help!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      We store our bulk food in these containers, which yes, are listed as pet food storage, but they do the same thing and are cheaper than “human food” storage containers ;). We keep them on the floor of our pantry or in the basement. We have a food scoop to scoop stuff out into glass jars on our countertop. Hope this helps!

    • Lindsey says:

      If you live near a Firehouse Subs, they sell their food safe 5 gallon pickle containers for $3 each and the money goes toward their non-profit. You have to wash them and let them air out for the pickle smell to dissipate but they are good quality. You can buy the gamma lids for them at Lowes or Home Depot.

  14. Donna says:

    BEAUTY PRODUCTS: These webistes have already done the research for you. I use them all the time to compare beauth products. I love, love, love the BHA gel from Paul’s Choice.

    http://www.beautypedia.com & paulaschoice.com

  15. Pawpaw says:

    La Roche-Posay sunscreen is my favorite sunscreen for my face and neck. I wish I had started using sun protection on my skin earlier. I am over 60 and have plenty of wrinkles to prove that I have been outside over the years. Last year I listened to a webinar with a couple of dermatologists who agreed that the neck needs as much protection from the sun as the face.

    I noticed that sometimes weeding and harvesting leads to intense eye and skin irritation. For example, the hair on bean leaves makes my skin itchy and painful. Bittersweet vining nightshade irritates my skin like poison ivy. Recently after removing spurge euphorbia, without thinking, I touched my eyes. I had teary and swollen eyelids for a couple of days. I read online that euphorbia plant juice eye exposure is dangerous and can result in blindness. Overall, I realize that I have to take better care of my whole body while engaging in outdoor activities.

    The comment about finding a cattle panel for free in a ditch is troubling. Many farms in New England use cattle panels for perimeter fencing along roads. Perhaps a fallen tree or violet storm led to the bent and old cattle panel ending up in the ditch. Maybe the farmer is now wondering why that cattle panel disappeared. At my own farm, in the past I have had metal farm gates and fencing alongside of the road brazenly removed by thieves. I am guessing that someone made some money at the scrap metal dealer. Now we have a junk metal pile that we allow people to recycle and reuse. We only ask that we grant permission before anything is taken away.

    • Shea says:

      That comment was from me. I live on “Rush Creek Road” because our creek floods and washes out cattle fences pretty regularly. The pieces we salvaged out of piles of debris were too mangled to be good fencing anymore, but still sturdy enough to hold tomatoes.

  16. Kate says:

    I have to say, I’m loving the chicken glamour shots!! Now for a irrelevant question.

    Liz, is it absolutely necessary to break out your spending for non-food household items? Now that the kids are grown, the BJ’s/Costco run for paper goods, dishwasher detergent, &c., doesn’t seem to save us that much money. We’ve been doing well by watching the sales at the supermarkets.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I think it totally depends on your preference! Some folks do, some folks don’t. Definitely not a “necessity”–I do recommend it when folks are just getting started with expense tracking because it can be pretty illuminating. But it sounds like you’ve already got a great system going. I’m all for efficiency and streamlining, so you do you!

  17. Frugal Portland Gal says:

    Eye cream— I look forward to that post!! I have been using an expensive eye cream for years, but recently I discovered a frugal hack. I tried using coconut oil at bedtime around my eyes! It does not irritate at all. If I use it every night, I don’t need to use the eye cream after my shower in the morning. So exciting!

  18. MrBojangles says:

    Hey, I can’t deny it, I’m jealous! 😆

    It is too late for me, as I’ve been slogging to work every day for the last 30 years, but is there any chance you could write a column on the best approaches to maximizing both income and the ability to work from home? Maybe also incorporate the experiences of others who have done the same thing?

    With my newly minted degree, way back in 1991, the ultimate goal was to create a large income stream while rarely leaving my hobby farm. End result is that, at least in my experience, I was unable to accomplish this goal, and live in a subdivision, commute to work every day, and my income is only average.

    But advice for others much younger than I.

    And some advice from me. That Bachelors Degree is nowhere near as valuable as you think it might be.

  19. JD says:

    Baby chicks are so cute, and grown chickens can be friendly. We had one that used to perch on the car next to my husband as he worked under the hood, just watching him work.

    I agree with the motion sensor lights if possible, and I still say you need a big dog of a guardian breed, such as a Maremma, which is a more pet-oriented version of the shepherding dogs, but still big enough and guard dog enough to deter predators. One of the local farmers from whom I buy has three of them, and they help keep bears out of her livestock, which includes pigs, horses, chickens, geese, guinea fowl and turkeys. She also has a couple of Pyranees, but said they are not as people-friendly, although perfectly safe around people. They prefer to hang out in the fields and stay with the livestock. Both types can take cold weather.

  20. Mandy says:

    Should you end up with extra cow panels there is a really cool video on YouTube of a man making a chicken coop out of them in a hoop fashion ( think the top of a pioneer wagon). We have bought the stuff and intend on giving it a try this weekend!

  21. Ruth says:

    Could you please say where you got the cattle panels? I need to fix my garden fence which has been completely rearranged by bears over the years. A sturdier fence (and electricity!) is what I’m hoping to try next. Thanks! And the chicks (and your girls) are utterly adorable.

  22. Sandra, Italy says:

    Chicks, chicks, chicks! 😍

  23. Katie says:

    I recently listened to Fair Play and found it revolutionary and really really useful. My hubs and I are working on better understanding how to “hold our cards.” Also, I’d like to recommend The Ordinary company for face products. Recently started using a glycolic acid solution from them and I have never had such clear skin, basically since before I went through puberty!! I appreciate what you mean about learning how to skin care. Looking forward to that post.

  24. MS Barb says:

    How does Vermont determine when you have to buy new registration/tags for a vehicle? It’s based on owner’s b-day in my state of OHIO; years ago, in a different state, it was based on when I purchased the vehicle… Just wondering why you didn’t have to pay for your Prius this month… OH…my state started “punishing” owners of Hybrids & Electric cars two year ago by adding $100 “fee” to our license plate fees…

  25. Sandra & the 2 Spaniels says:

    You get no judgement from me on creams. I saw a Dermotologist on YouTube give her opinion on what creams to use. I’ve followed her advice. My skin is smoother, not dry, & more youthful. I found a great day cream & night cream from a company called Earth Skin-from Walmart of all places. World very well: each about $9 & no animal testing! As you say: LUXURIOUS LY FRUGAL!!

  26. B says:

    Oh my goodness, I love being frugal but broke my own frugal rules when I spent $100 on skin balm and some powder. Gah, well I am 35 and the two kids are gorgeous, but ageing me rapidly! Every time I look in the mirror I see a grey hair or a new line! haha And yes I should accept it gracefully, but my goodness it’s hard to recognise the mum from the newborn photos to now.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh my goodness, YES. I can’t believe how different I look from the pre-kid days…. and that was only five years ago for me! HAH!

  27. FannyFay says:

    I invested in cattle panels for my spews this year too – I planted my seedlings about ten days ago and they just weren’t latching no matter how often I tucked them around the wire. A little googling revealed peas do not like to twine on metal. Squashes will, but not peas! Yesterday I attached twine to the vertical parts of the panel by simply tying a length to the top and bottom of the panel above each plant, and by this morning they were fully latched. Maybe mine were just ornery but if yours have trouble, maybe this will help!

  28. Neil J Rankin says:

    Congratulations on living life on your terms!

    I’m interested in reading any posts/articles on buying vacant land. How did you find your current property? Thank you.

  29. Es says:

    If you’re interested in green cleaning delivered to you, we’ve had pretty good success with most of Blueland’s products (with the exception of dishwashing detergent – we went with Dropps for that). Everything’s sent directly to you, and it’s all recyclable/compostable packing. The storage tins and spray bottles aren’t necessary (my mom just buys the refills), but they are pretty 🙂

  30. Lauren says:

    Here to second Paula’s Choice as the best balance of effective and affordable skincare, been using her products for about 20 years now and have kept adult acne, rosacea and wrinkles in check, and no one guesses I’m over 40! 😉

    20% off sales are common and you can order sample sizes of most everything to try before buying larger, and they do returns if anything doesn’t work well for you.

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