The Ballet and Other May 2021 Expenses

May 2021 was the month of the fully vaccinated! Mr. FW and I both got our second shots of the Moderna vaccine, waited the requisite two weeks and then were FULLY VAXXED! The feeling of freedom, the feeling of normalcy creeping back in, the gratitude to the amazing scientists who made mRNA technology possible, is almost overwhelming. My first action as a fully vaccinated individual was to take Kidwoods out on a mommy daughter date!

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.

Ballet Vermont: 10 out of 10, Would Attend Again

Outdoor brunching!

I surprised Kidwoods, now aged five, with a road trip to see Ballet Vermont in one of their legendary Farm to Ballet outdoor performances, Bees and Friends. I HIGHLY recommend this if you too have a ballet-loving child. There were a ton of little kids in the audience and no one minded the occasional child-related noise (in Kidwoods’ case, it was her very loud commenting on how beautiful the dancing was).

I’m not sure we’re quite ready for an indoor performance (or able to sit without making noise or moving for several hours), so outdoor ballet was perfect for us. Plus, the tickets were very reasonable at $25 for adults and $10 for kids ages 5 and up (under 5’s are free). I was thrilled to again be able to support the arts in Vermont. And, potential highlight of the entire outing: I bought Kidwoods an ice cream cone to eat during the performance.

I also took her out to brunch beforehand at one of our favorite local restaurants, Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier. They have a gorgeous outdoor seating deck and we both spent a good portion of our outing staring at people. My apologies to all people at whom we stared. And many thanks to Frugalwoods reader Catherine who spotted us and said hello! Such a joy to meet her and her adorable family. Apologies to this month’s budget as well as June’s budget… I predict quite a few brunches this summer. I regret nothing.

My second act as a fully vaccinated individual was to go out for…

Tapas with my Friends!

In continuation of my own personal Restaurant Week, my girlfriends and I went out for tapas at another gorgeous outdoor dining patio. I am really loving outdoor dining and hope it sticks around post-pandemic! After 14 months of absolutely no dining out and no take-out (we live too far away, nowhere delivers to us), I am ready to roll! I’m also delighted to be able to support local restaurants again.

My third act as a fully vaccinated individual was to….

Stock Up for Visitors!!!!

I stocked up on food, beer, wine and alcohol in preparation for our summer of guests!!! My in-laws, my sister and her kids, my sister-in-law, possibly my brother, my parents, some friends…. lots of folks are coming to the homestead this summer.

The Chicken Coop

Hello. We are the teenagers.

Our biggest non-food expenses were materials for the chicken coop, which Mr. FW is building. It’s progressing beautifully and just in time as our chickens are no longer fluffy babies! They’ve entered the hawk-ward phase of chicken growth: the teenage stage.

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

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, 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 and her ballet ice cream cone

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

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: $52.54

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 $2,626.84 on that card, which netted us $52.54.

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?

Daisy the chicken

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 $29.73 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 $29.73 for both of our phones (that’s $14.86 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: How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill with an MVNO: I Pay $12 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

  • Mildred and Astrid perching on the side of their pen…

    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 May:

Item Amount Notes
Groceries $1,001.44 It’s hard to say what happened here… uh, whoops?
Chicken Coop Materials $518.67
Beer, wine and alcohol $278.47 Stocking up in anticipation of our many summer visitors
Bulk food order from our local co-op $164.33 White whole wheat flour, whole grain oats and all purpose flour
Gas for cars $161.06
Household supplies $133.46 Thrilling items such as laundry detergent, kid craft supplies, toothpaste, bandaids, vitamins and more.
Food storage bins $74.16 We use pet food storage bins for our bulk flour and oats. Way cheaper than “human” food storage bins, but effective and food safe (affiliate link).
The internet $72
Tapas $71.95 Tapas with my girlfriends!
Replacement summer tire for Prius $68.48 One of the Prius’s summer tires was punctured with something pointy and rude. This is its replacement.
Dinner fundraiser $50 Our friend’s kid’s school did a take-out dinner fundraiser, which we were happy to support (and eat!).
Lunch out with my best five-year-old $47.68 Mommy-daughter date brunch
Tickets for the Ballet Vermont performance $40.40
C02 refill for our hacked Sodastream $38.69
THE CHICKENS! $36.24 Our twelve adorable–and totally ungrateful–baby chicks, which we brought home in early May.
EZPass Refill $30 For interstate tolls
Mobile phone service (for two phones) $29.73 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.

Curry pastes $25.62 A variety of curry pastes not available at our local market (affiliate link).
Utilities: Electric $23.27 We have solar (which I detail here); this is our monthly base price for remaining grid tied.
Dish soap dispenser $20.59 Our in-sink soap dispenser broke, so we’re hoping this replacement will be more long-lived (affiliate link).
Carburetor $19.07 Carburetor to fix lawn mower (affiliate link)
 Coffee filters $18.76 Coffee filters for our fancy, at home, pour-over coffee (affiliate link).
Hand Cream $13.98 Despite it being summer, my extremely dry hands started acting up again. This is the only hand cream that works for me (affiliate link).
Snacks $12.97 Snacks during the ballet performance!
TOTAL: $2,951.02

How was May for you?

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

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

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65 Responses

  1. Yay for becoming fully vaccinated! We hit that milestone a month ago and immediately scheduled a game night with some friends and hit up our favorite restaurants for some outdoor dining. Unfortunately the Arizona summer heat has arrived (110+ degrees), so our pent up dining out spending will probably drop off until Fall, since we’re also still not comfortable dining indoors with strangers.

    Congrats on paying off your mortgage also. Without it, your expenses are still impressively low… even with all the food and alcohol (and super cute chickees… I want to some!). Thanks for continuing to share your expenses and homestead lifestyle 🙂

    • Blair says:

      I don’t think they paid off their mortgage. In other posts she’s mentioned that it’s a 30-year mortgage they don’t intend to pay off early. I think it’s just left out this month.

      • Blair says:

        Never mind! I kept reading and I guess they changed their minds?

        • No worries. I had to read that part twice because I hadn’t expected that move. Will look forward to the inevitable future post discussing the decision 🙂

          • Dianne says:

            She did state under “But Mrs. Frugalwoods, Don’t You Pay For X, Y, Or Even Z???
            Wondering about common expenses you don’t see listed below?

            We don’t have a mortgage because we paid it off (I’ll write a full post on that soon!). ”

            It could be their rental home in MA. We soon will find out!

  2. Elle says:

    Pet food storage containers?! GENIUS!

  3. Jason Simon says:

    I happened to look back at a 2020 expenses report, and noticed that your Ting bill is lower now than before (by $2/month). Did you change the serice?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I don’t think we changed service, it’s just that the bill fluctuates month to month based on our usage.

  4. KaLynn says:

    Minus the chickens these are like all of my favorite things: brunch, ballet, and buying craft beer! Looking forward to when my daughter is a little older and I can do things like this with her 🙂 Congrats on being fully vaccinated!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you!!! The brunch-and-ballet was definitely a longterm dream of mine, like since before she was born! It was so wonderful to watch her be a little person out in the world. Age five was perfect for this outing!

  5. WHAT THE WHAT?! YOU PAID OFF YOUR MORTGAGE?!! That’s amazing 🙂 I was wondering why it wasn’t showing up in the financial report, but then I had to back-comb the intro a little more carefully, lol. Super excited to read that post since paying off our mortgage ASAP is something we’re currently working on!

    Also, pet food storage bins as food storage…intriguing. I had never, ever considered doing that, but now you’ve got me thinking! I’m guessing the lids are fairly easy to remove for these ones? I mean, they are obviously more pricey than just a typical 5-gallon bucket for food storage purposes (at least as far as I’ve been able to compare), but easy lid removal might make it totally worth it! Is that the main reason you decided to go this route? Or maybe because they’re less bulky in general? I’d love to know your thought process!

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t find the mention of paying off the mortgage. This is something I would really like to know about. Personally, to pay off (almost) my mortgage is very tempting to me.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Yes! I will write all about it soon 🙂

        • Caroline Joanna Mary Bowman says:

          A few years ago we had the opportunity to pay off our mortgage in full. It wasn’t a very large mortgage and the repayment rates were low, so I did realise that financially we didn’t need to etcetera, but MAN OH MAN the freeing feeling of that moderate-but-noticeable monthly amount simply… not being there anymore was and still is, wonderful!

      • shannon says:

        Hahaha yes I got to that one line and felt …. whoa she buried the lede! Congratulations!! Very excited to hear more when you’re up for the full post!

    • Anonymous says:

      Found it. 🙂

    • Kay says:

      Yes! I’m also excited for the paying off of the mortgage and can’t wait to read about it. Congratulations to the Frugalwoods family on that achievement! We paid ours off 2+ years ago after receiving an inheritance, and while we could have made more money investing that windfall, it gave my family a HUGE peace of mind going into the pandemic.

    • Eve says:

      I’m curious about the bins also–we use buckets and the food-safe ones are only ~$4-5.

  6. Ruth says:

    Curious if you’d consider the Amazon cash back card?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yes! We actually have that card and we use it only for Amazon purchases–it’s a good deal!

    • Lorri says:

      Hi Ruth, I have that card and use it to pay for EVERYTHING…bills, utilities, shopping etc. I get so much Amazon cash back that I never have to use cash for birthdays or Christmas.

  7. Just want to share about dry skin and these amazing products from Hemp 360 out of New Branfels Texas. I’ve used them for years now and my skin is super soft and I some of the sun damage on my face has actually repaired itself! I learned a fabulous tip some years back about slathering lotion from head to toe fresh out of the shower before drying off. Majik trick!!! For hands and feet specifically, I like to glob on all the lotion I can and go to bed with hands/feet in clean cotton gloves or socks. Your hands will thank you in the morning. Appreciate all of your writings and info!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    One idea – we just bought a reusable coffee filter and it’s great! You just dump out the grinds, rinse, and reuse and then no more running out + less garbage.

  9. Roxanne says:

    I always enjoy reading your posts! I wonder if you have any ideas for those just starting out? My son is a very recent college graduate, working in retail while he job hunts for the “big boy job”. I can talk and talk about budgeting with him but I don’t think he really gets it. Any additional words of wisdom (or previous posts) for those who are just starting out and prefer not to listen to their mother?

  10. Richard Quinn says:

    You write “ 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.

    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.”

    I must ask, why?

    Why doesn’t it make more sense to set savings, debt payments and investment goals first? What’s left determines your spending limit. If that amount is insufficient THEN conduct a detailed analysis to determine what expenses must be adjusted.

  11. Caitlin says:

    I’m so intrigued on paying off the house since it has seemed that’s not your typical recommendation. I eagerly await the deets with my snacks!!! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

  12. Jennifer L says:

    Hawk-ward teenage chicks. 🤣

  13. Ashley says:

    KidWoods is beautiful! I would buy that girl an ice cream cone any day. Whoa! You paid off your mortgage? Vermont or Boston? Congratulations! I would love to hear more about this as I remember you being in the 30 year mortgage camp. It is very personal, but I would love to see your decision making and how you pivoted from the “yesterday’s dollars” view that we had emailed about in the past.

  14. Alysta says:

    Does anyone else have any concerns about uploading so much financial data to a site like Personal Capital? I have several credit cards and 3 different small business expenses to track, so this service would be wonderful but have concerns given all the continual hacking/data breaches, etc. given it looks like this data is uploaded automatically each month. Thoughts?

    • Mary says:

      Yes, I’m also very concerned about this issue as hacking has grown at an unbelievable rate during covid. I know several businesses who had identity theft/fraud issues after using a well known online free accounting software program (not Personal Capital). The fraud included fake applications in their companies’ names for govt covid relief benefits payments. What a tax nightmare this will be for them! For now, I’m keeping track of everything using old fashioned spreadsheets and diligently trying to recognize and avoid all phishing, vishing, smishing, malware and other fraud attempts. Yes, these are all different kinds of ways fraudsters try to steal your personal and business related info. When in doubt, keep a second copy on a memory stick so you have a backup if you’re the victim of a fraud.

  15. Brittany says:

    I’m pretty sure that what happened with groceries is just that… groceries have gotten crazy expensive. I probably need to reevaluate my spending based on what prices have been most affected by inflation, but darn it, I don’t want to quit buying fresh fruit!

    https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/get-ready-higher-grocery-bills-rest-year-n1263897

  16. Emily says:

    Thanks for this, Ms. FW. I’d love to know if/when you guys stopped purchasing life insurance. Is that a step that most folks take once they’re FI? It is a significant line item for us each month (although I have shopped around).

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      We don’t have life insurance and, while I can’t speak for all FI folks, I think many of us who are FI don’t have life insurance because we’re essentially self-insured.

      • R Quinn says:

        So, can that be interpreted to mean that any income you and your husband generate from his job and your blog, book, etc. is actually superfluous? You could live the life you want forever strictly using the income that is generated by your current investments?

      • Allison in Ky. says:

        Yes, but if you are young and have young children, I think term life insurance is a must. If you’re healthy you and your husband can likely get very, very cheap policies. Personally, I don’t think I could sleep at night if I had young kids and no life insurance! I understand self-insuring when you are older, but for a young family I consider life insurance to be absolutely essential.

        • Caroline Bowman says:

          I’m not US-based, but if there is the financial wherewithal and the arrangements and agreements to be able to pay for and underwrite one’s dependents without insurance per se, then that works fine. A lot of employers offer it as part of a package, my husband has it and it even pays out a modest amount if I die while he’s employed there, but as long as there is the ready availability of enough money to support one’s dependents in the event of one’s death, be it through insurance or simple investments / savings, it doesn’t really matter. Insurance can be, shall we say, restrictive and they have a history of being quite ”oh but that kind of death / accident / disability is one we don’t actually cover, but thanks for the 25 years of premiums!”.

      • Allison in Ky. says:

        I know your health insurance is paid through your husband’s employer…I’m surprised they don’t at least offer even a basic free term life insurance policy. My employer automatically gives me a free $50,000 policy and then I have the option to purchase more (up to six times my annual salary) on top of that.

  17. Andrea says:

    So happy for you! It certainly is FREEDOM to be vaccinated. My husband and I had outdoor lunch at a restaurant by the water (they don’t call Rhode Island the Ocean State for nothing). We felt like we were on Vacation! Yet nothing was more exciting than being reunited with our five little grandchildren. Thank you for your wonderful posts during Covid. Helped so much getting through those long, lonely days. Your girls are precious.

  18. Elaina says:

    Another note about dry hands…Not that you asked.

    I lived in very dry Colorado most of my life. I supplemented Vit E capsules and EFA’s all year round. It helped a lot. I still had to use lotion all the time but nothing heavy. That being said, I’m what you might call “indoorsy”. LOL Most outside workers I knew used the capsules but also needed a petroleum based product to help during winter (when the average humidity is 13%).

    I got the capsules at BJ’s/Costco and they were great.
    Just a thought; take it or leave it!

    Congratulations on paying off your house!

  19. Luann says:

    I’m anxious to hear about your decision to pay off your mortgage ! Very exciting. I was over the moon the month we made our last payment. It feels so very good !!!

  20. PJ says:

    Just wanted to say you cannot possibly have enough pictures of your adorable chickens. And (on an unrelated note) I’ve been using that curry paste for years and it’s awesome!

  21. Carolyn C Carlson says:

    Congratulations on the mortgage! Eagerly awaiting your post about this, since I am curious to read how it compares to my husband’s and my own plan. That accomplishment calls for some kind of celebration–perhaps digging into the stockpile of wine/beer/liquor you purchased this month in anticipation of out-of-town guests?!!

  22. Your comment on groceries reminds me of of our grocery spending. We’re pretty frugal and generally mindful of our spending for everything else but groceries are the one area that we just buy whatever we want and don’t think twice. It’s easy to buy more than you intend to, especially if you shop when hungry (which I may or may not have done earlier today…)

    P.S. Don’t tell Twitter you paid off your mortgage. Apparently that is the hot debate topic of this week.

  23. Ekaterina says:

    Wow—congrats on paying off your mortgage!! I am very interested to see why you have changed your mind about this, and eagerly await your post about it 🙂

  24. Jen says:

    Great minds think alike! I was browsing Amazon this morning and what was I looking at? The exact same hand cream! Like you it’s the only one that works for me. I hadn’t checked out yet so I removed the one I added to my cart and added yours instead. More than happy to oblige your affiliate link. Love your blog.

  25. Just me says:

    Congrats on paying off your house. We just paid ours off last week. We’re so excited!!!

  26. West Hall says:

    how ib the name of God could you pay off your mortgage! Neither of you work full time! Maybe you sold your house in Ma? But that makes no sence with all the expenses you have to pay off VT, mortgage. As that was a tax credit

    • Anonymous says:

      Can use savings to pay off a mortgage.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also, it is not true that mortgage helps with tax credits. Yes, it is deductible, but in my case itemized deductions (even with the mortgage) was lower than the standard. So having a mortgage did nothing to reduce my taxes. One case contrary to the popular belief that everyone benefits from having a mortgage. No one size fits all.

    • Allison in Ky. says:

      Actually I think Mr. Frugalwoods works full-time (remotely)???

  27. Allison in Ky. says:

    Congrats on paying off your mortgage! This is a current obsession of mine. I love watching that principal drop each month. My mortgage is my only debt, and I am very much looking forward to the day I can truly say, “I’M DEBT FREE!”

  28. AreWeFIYet says:

    We live rurally too and it’s always fascinating to see how the rural-life expenses can add up. I think people often have the misconception that living rurally automatically equates to living simply or cheaply… but I find that we often have huge expenses that my friends that live closer to town wouldn’t even consider (private road maintenance, water softener for well, expensive satellite internet, the list goes on…).

  29. Adrianna says:

    Chickens are so cool. I’m thinking about getting some some day!

  30. Michelle says:

    We paid off our mortgage in 2019 and it was such a great feeling. Congrats to the Frugalwoods!

  31. Tara says:

    Hi, with the crazy heat many are experiencing, I am curious if you all ever contemplated or are still thinking of adding a geothermal system to your house? I assume you don’t have vents in your house currently, but those aren’t difficult to add after the fact (my mom just got vented central air installed and she has baseboard heat). I know geothermal is also an expense on its own but I have been reading about am curious if this ever came up for your house since you have the land and space too.

  32. Megan says:

    Congratulations on paying off your mortgage! My husband and I have discussed paying ours off early but my student loans are first priority as the interest rate is higher. I’m sure it’s a great feeling of relief to have it paid off.

    I love the idea of pet food containers for bulk storage…tbh that never crossed my mind but it absolutely makes sense when you look at how pricey some of these human food storage containers are. I don’t buy much in bulk since it’s just two of us and we don’t have a lot of storage space (we’re in a ranch with no basement), but if I ever do I’ll keep this in mind. I do use glass containers that once held instant coffee from Aldi for some of my pantry staples like lentils and rice.

    I see someone else recommended the reusable coffee filters. I absolutely love mine and have been using it for several years now.

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