July 2021

Spendy chickens

Well, this is it. This is the month I transform from Frugalwoods to Spendywoods. The post-pandemic celebration of being alive continued in July and WOW can you tell from our expense report. I’m embarrassed to publish our expenses on spendy months because I feel like I’m supposed to always show up with the lowest expenses, the best frugal tips and an espousal of the joys of never spending money. But that’d be disingenuous.

While I have an overriding philosophy of frugality and minimalism, I’m not an ascetic. I’m a real person. A real person who had a lot of fun last month. My husband and I went on a kid-free vacation to Cambridge, MA where we dined and walked and dined and strolled and then got a coffee. Many thanks to my incredible in-laws for watching the girls while we were gone!

Also, yes, YIKES, I know it’s September and I’m just now posting July’s Expenses…

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.

Why You Gotta Track Your $$$$ Every Month

Littlewoods + chicken little

This month’s expense report is the perfect illustration of why it’s important to track your expenses every single month and year. Looking at a single month’s expenses in isolation would be like going to the doctor for your annual exam and having them only look at your left arm. It’s incomplete and doesn’t represent the whole picture.

It’s easy to get super excited when you have low spending in certain categories on certain months, but it’s imperative to see how that trend line works out over time.

  • For example, this month, we only spent $381.28 on groceries, which if viewed in isolation would lead you to think:
    1. These people are frugal geniuses and must know a ton of tricks
    2. These people eat very little food and survive on air

But this is not a representative grocery budget because… we were on vacation this month! And we ate out A TON.

While $381 on groceries for a family of four SOUNDS like frugal maven status, you can’t view that figure in isolation.

Rather, you have to look at what you spend on groceries every month over the course of the year. And then do some super boring math (add up 12 months worth of grocery bills and divide by 12). There’s your actual average expenditure in the grocery category.

Frugality Is Not Deferred Spending

I discuss this concept a lot in my Uber Frugal Month program and it bears repeating. One of the major take-aways from the Uber Frugal Month is that frugality isn’t deferred spending; it’s a wholesale transformation of how we interact with our money. It’s not a question of depriving yourself for a month and then boomeranging back to overspending the next. It’s a question of changing your outlook on spending and being realistic about what you need–and want–to spend over the course of a year.

Works In The Other Direction Too

On the other end of the equation from our artificially low grocery bill is our astronomical restaurant line item: an eye-watering and previously unfathomable $925.78.

I could’ve omitted this and saved myself the shame and embarrassment, but that would miss the point of sharing my actual expenses with you all. The point is to highlight what we actually spend and what we spend it on.

My neighbor’s baby lamb!!! Littlewoods was unsure

Before you faint from reading this number, I did a bit of boring math. Since we didn’t eat out a single time throughout the pandemic, one way to look at this $925.78 is to amortize it over the previous fourteen months of restaurant-free life. We didn’t eat out from March 2020 to May 2021. Then in May, June and July 2021, we spent the following:

$664 spent in May and June combined

+ $925.78 spent in July =

$1,589.78 total, divided by 14 months = $113.55 per month

Viewed through this lens, $113.55 per month is about what we were spending on dining out pre-pandemic. Taken in isolation, $1,589.78 spent on restaurants over the course of three months sounds ludicrous. But contextualized, it makes a lot more sense.

The key going forward is to not spend $900 on dining out every month. If we started doing that, we’d get ourselves into some trouble. But a few months of excessive spending in one category isn’t going to impact our overall finances. Again, it’s all about the long-term trends and habits that you establish with your spending.

Craft Beer Paradise

And now, all my fellow craft beer nerds, you can shed tears of jealously over the fact that Mr. Frugalwoods and I visited ALL of these breweries last month:

  • Aeronaut in Cambridge, MA (highly recommend)
  • A tasting flight at Schilling in Littleton, NH, outside on their glorious patio overlooking the river

    Cambridge Brewing Company (a classic, but there’s nothing revolutionary about their beer)

  • Lamplighter in Cambridge, MA (highly recommend; they have some super unique sours)
  • Tree House (oh yes, THE Tree House) in Charlton, MA (pretty sure you know my recommendation on this one)

Other breweries we visited this summer:

  • Harpoon (kinda meh beer, what you’d expect, but they have a nice tap room and lots of outdoor seating, so it works with kids) in Windsor, VT
  • Silo Distillery (Vermont sourced and crafted liquors–highly recommend!) in Windsor, VT
  • Schilling Brewery in Littleton, NH (highly recommend; very good food too)
  • Bent Hill in Braintree, VT (highly recommend; they recently started serving an all-vegetarian menu and it was delicious!)
  • Brocklebank in Chelsea, VT (highly recommend; tiny tap room and no food, but a great little brewery)

The Tractor

Oh! I almost forgot we had a gargantuan homestead expense in July: tractor repair. This is one of those things that makes rural life more expensive than urban life. We have so many…. machines and engines and tools to maintain, all of which facilitate our life out here in the woods. They’re necessary, but they’re not cheap.

The Tractor! Doing important summer work: planting our new fruit orchard

Our tractor, a Kubota L4400, needed the following repairs, which could only be done at the dealer’s:

  • The input shaft seal blew out, necessitating splitting the engine from the transmission to replace it.
  • While the tractor was split, we had them replace all of the other seals and bearings exposed, since the parts aren’t that expensive and the labor is negligible once the tractor is split open.

Historically, Mr. Frugalwoods did all tractor maintence and repair himself, but this project was beyond his skills and also he doesn’t have any of the right tools. Since it had to be worked on at the dealer’s, it also had to be transported there on our neighbor’s flatbed, which was another expense.

Personal Capital: How We Organize Our Expen$e$

Kidwoods helping me remove this old trellis post in the garden

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. Chickens in their coop (materials bought with a credit card!)

    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:

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
My little daisy

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: $125.14

Kidwoods relishing the first lettuce harvest

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 $6,257.19 (!!!!!!!) on that card, which netted us $125.14

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?

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 $37.87 for Cell Phone Service (for two phones)

Lettuce harvester #2

Our cell phone service line item is not a typ0 (although that certainly is). We really and truly only paid $37.87 for both of our phones (that’s $18.94 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: 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

  • 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 July:

Item Amount Notes
Tractor Repair $3,393.30 Details above!
Restaurants $925.78 Details above!
Tractor Transport $450.00 Details above!
Breweries $391.03 Details above!
Groceries $381.28 Details above!
Clothing $299.98 We stopped at Duluth Trading Company on our way to Cambridge for our vacation. It’s our favorite Mr. FW clothing source so he stocked up on outdoor work pants and shirts.

And I got a dress–I’d never checked out their women’s clothes before and I’m glad I did!

Car Insurance (covers six months) $225.40 Six months of car insurance through Geico for our 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Toyota Tundra.

This is fairly cheap because we shopped around, we are both accident and ticket-free, we live in a rural area and we don’t commute to work.

Most importantly, it’s cheap because we don’t carry comprehensive insurance because we could replace both of our cars (in full with cash) if we needed to.

However, we carry the maximum in liability coverage because we feel that with healthcare costs as they are, the risk of a large liability claim is one we don’t want to self-insure against. More here.

Total Wine & More $166.12 On our way back from Cambridge we stopped at the renowned Total Wine & More to stock up on wine for our cellar as well as for my in-laws. I’d heard of their cheap prices but had to see for myself. Turns out, they have very cheap wine. And more.
Swim Lessons (two sessions worth) $150.00 Kidwoods started swim lessons this summer! She enjoyed the first session so much that we signed her up for a second session. She’s already asking when they’ll start again next summer.
Hotel parking $135.00 To park our car while on our kid-free vacation in Cambridge
Gas for cars $129.02 Higher on account of our drive to Cambridge
Internet $72.00
Household supplies $58.16 Thrilling items including soap, shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent, sunscreen, dental floss, etc
Gifts $56.00 Gifts for family, purchased while on our vacation
Doctor visit $40.00 Some kid had to go to the doctor for some reason. Apparently they’re fine now because I can’t even remember why we went.
Fuel Club Dues $40.00 I joined a Fuel Club last year in order to get bulk discount prices on our oil and propane deliveries. I wrote a longer explanation in this post.
Cell phone service for two phones $37.87 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.

Tractor Supply $35.97 Chicken feed
Utilities: Electricity $22.68
Kid workbooks (4) $17.98 Four workbooks for Kidwoods.

I found a writing workbook at a garage sale for Kidwoods and she liked it so much that after she finished it, I got her more workbooks of the same brand for phonics , math , spelling and writing , and beginning reading (affiliate links).

Public Transportation $14.40 For the T, while in Cambridge
Sling TV one-month subscription $10.60 We got a one-month subscription to Sling so that we could watch the summer Olympics.
Pharmacy $10.00 Prescription refill from our online pharmacy
Total: $7,062.57

How was your July?

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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  1. Our past month was a monster expense month too. We got a special assessment from the city because they paved our alley (against our wishes and my neighbor’s wishes!). While it’s nice knowing we can cover the expenses, I also feel embarrassed to post this month’s spending report in a few days.

  2. I spend about $500 at restaurants in August; family was in town and I enjoyed taking them out, as well as going out on some special dates with my husband. Added to my groceries, it made for a really expensive month, but it was definitely an outlier of a month.

  3. I think you forgot to put the amount you spent on the hotel; you included the expense for hotel parking. Congratulations on enjoying your vacation, eating out and visiting brewers. You are a great example of how frugality allows you to enjoy these things…just not every single day, week or month. It’s all about priorities.

      1. Yes! Sam is correct–we pre-paid for the hotel in June and it’s listed on that month’s expense report.

  4. I…could not figure out how to watch the Olympics. If you liked your experience with Sling, any chance you would share before the Winter Olympics coming up? Thanks!

    1. We used peacock tv to watch the olympics this summer. It was free with our internet (and no TV) subscription from xfinity/comcast and generally worked well. I think there were a few other internet providers that also had a deal going with them for a free premium subscription. Might be worth checking out.

    2. Do you live in an urban or suburban area? If so, you should be able to pick up NBC via an OTA (over the air) digital antenna. That’s how we watched the Olympics. Plus, it’s free.

    3. I thought Sling worked well. We used an NBC app on our TV, which allowed us to select by sport and watch clips from various events. The clips were the perfect way to expose our kids to tons of different sports without spending hours watching TV.

  5. I do not think that is bad considering you went on vacation. Mater of fact, I think that was a pretty cheap vacation, or at least very reasonable for two people. Also, home/farm maintenance is expensive so that is to be expected.

  6. You keep saying this “ 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 wish you would explain why you feel this way.

    Of course one can set saving and investment goals and everything else without tracking spending. Presumable everyone knows what their net income is each month after taxes. First they should set savings both long-term and for emergency (like tractor repair) and make it automatic. What is left is all there is to spend, assuming of course one does not live on credit cards and pay interest. Why does it matter what you spend money on because what you have to spend is automatically limited?

    It seems to me the only time one needs to take a close look at how money is spent is if the net income is less than being spent and you need to find out what to cut, but even then I suspect most people already know the unnecessary spending they are doing.

    1. I don’t agree that most people know the unnecessary spending they are doing. A non-profit I volunteer for had a financial literacy class and as part of that a homework assignment was to track spending for a month. I would say more than 75% of the folks came back shell-shocked about how much they were wasting, primarily on food and especially services like door dash. For some of the younger couples, more than 50% of their food spending was on delivery services—some people did it five out of seven days on average. Other people, all women, were staggered by what they spent on clothing.

      1. I suspect they actually did know what they were doing, but just ignored it. As I said, if at the end of the month after saving first you don’t have the money to pay bills without using credit cards, then you need to look closely at what needs to be cut.

    2. Two thoughts…

      1. Not tracking spending works when you want to save a fixed amount. You can spend the difference between net income and the amount you save. But many people want to maximize savings, which requires taking a look at spending. Also, your financial independence number is based on spending, the less you spend, the lower the number you need to consider yourself FI.

      2. I agree with Lindsey that most people don’t know the unnecessary spending they do. They know in the moment that ordering door dash is unnecessary. But that one door dash delivery is not a huge expense and unless you are tracking spending, it’s hard to realize how all these expenses add up. For my family, tracking expenses helps us catch where expenses start to creep. For example, our Amazon spend was slowly going up which we wouldn’t have noticed if we weren’t tracking it and now we are more mindful about our purchases and the monthly spend is going back down. Also, with stuff like clothes, I keep myself in check by having a yearly budget. I don’t necessarily stick to the budget exactly, but tracking my spend helps me be mindful and maybe buy one item instead of two or whatever.

  7. I’m loving the “pub crawl” notes, have passed them on to very appreciative adult children. The photos continue to be great. Goats in your future?

  8. I transformed into Soendywoods about ten minutes after Covid lockdowns hit, so you are doing way better than me, at least!

  9. Loved seeing the realistic look into vacation when one has been diligent about saving. I can’t wait for a vacation. Wondering what other frugal blog posts you have in mind coming up…would love to see more about day to day frugal life as a family, ways you might be saving around the house, etc. Love your writing and looking forward to more!

  10. I’m here for Spendywoods month; I think it has a nice ring to it 😀
    I am going to save all of your craft brewery recs. I’m living vicariously through your brewery tour because I’m 6 months pregnant and not drinking right now.

  11. Our summer’s been spendy too, though a lot of it I don’t count as household expenses because it’s gone into my new flower farming business. We also just got 4 new tires on our car, which was feeling like a huge amount until I saw your tractor repair line. (Eye watering, indeed! It makes me think that I’ll just pay someone else to till our flower farm for us rather than take on the cost of buying, owning, and operating a tractor ourselves.)

    Thanks for sharing the REAL numbers with us! It’s nice to know that even the Frugalwoods are only human 🙂

    (And really, considering you were on vacation…your numbers actually still looked pretty reasonable to me!)

  12. We have noticed that our date fund has been more exuberant the past couple of months as well. We can actually go out and get a proper dinner with adult beverages–thanks COVID vaccine! We did learn that if we do a date lunch while the kiddos are in school, it is much cheaper because it wouldn’t be “responsible” to have more than one margarita or glass of wine, right? 😅

  13. The Tractor Transport fee of $450 seems ridiculous. How far did you have to transport it?

    Also, I get it that restaurants, for some, can be enjoyable experiences. But, my experience is that everything is overpriced, especially the alcohol, and then a 20% tip on top of it, the food is rarely as good as at home, you have no idea how your food was prepared, often there is loud and obnoxious music, or even worse, loud and obnoxious fellow diners. Avoiding restaurants is less stressful personally, and also on the wallet. There are crafty ways to eat cheaply, even when on vacation.

    1. That whole tractor expense seems ridiculous- we have bought multiple big farm tractors in entirety for less than $3500. I might have just bought a used one and sold the broken one as a fixer upper and still come out ahead.

    2. If the food is as good as at home, you’re going to the wrong restaurants or you’re an amazing chef – most of us are good but not professionals! (And I like some hustle and bustle on occasion.)

      1. We use restaurants for foods we don’t know how to prepare at home or would have to spend a lot to get the basic spices. I love Indian food but it is strictly restaurant fare for us.

  14. Spendywoods – The propane contract came in at $2.44 per gallon. Not sure what you pay out East. Propane is our main heating source in the canyon, and we’ll use 800 gallons in the contract. We also burn firewood from our property to supplement heating costs.

  15. Imagine being a newby to frugality coming here to check out the frugal expenses! Of course, you explained it quite well that this is not normal, and a quick look at other months would prove it. But I just chuckled when I saw it was a month of Spendywoods this time.

    We had a spendy month last month, but it was on dental bills. Some major work needed doing on a family member, and more is to come, even with a history of normal routine dental visits and proper care. Dental insurance pays laughably little, and dental services get more expensive every time we need them. We could be spending up to $17,000 before this is over, so other frugal folk, take note.

    The chickens look quite happy and their house is so cute. I still say you should get a large dog or two. Bears like chicken.

  16. I just had to comment on this one.
    “And I got a dress–I’d never checked out their women’s clothes before and I’m glad I did!”
    Yup, my wife gets a fair amount of her clothing from Duluth Trading Company and has been really happy with the clothing. 🙂

  17. A well deserved vacation after these many months of shelter! We have Sling and love it. Much cheaper than cable and you can change packages as much as you want as your needs change. So when basketball starts, we will add the package that has the ACC network but for now we got rid of it! We combine this with an antennae in our attic for local stations.

  18. I always read with pleasure each issue of Frugalwoods. It is of value to families with children. Teaches them the culture of gardening, and growing plants and trees, and farming, in a very basic manner. This is a great service to the humanity.

  19. I have just one thing to say….ok, maybe two…more chicken pics and more glamour shed! I’ll be over on IG for the fun! Thanks so much for keeping it real!

  20. Considering the spike in COVID-19 and the new “Mu” variant which at this point they’re saying is more resistant to the vaccine but not worried about (yet) in the US, your vacation “splurge” was well timed. All money is to be spent, just a matter of when. You have plenty of cushion in your financial life to have enjoyed a sans-children vacation. Mental health and self-care is important too.
    Now if you start making a habit of it, you’ll lose your frugal “cred”.

    1. Good question! That’s one of those project ideas we toss around periodically. Hasn’t risen to the top of the list quite yet, but might happen someday!

  21. I’m just here to say yay for Schilling! I write a few of the local blogs for businesses in the Littleton/Lincoln area. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping by for a sweet treat at Crumb Bar. Kaylee is a genius when it comes to sugary treats and the breakfast sandwiches are to die for!

  22. My expenses went up as COVID cases went down and we started to venture out again. My MVNO bill doubled because I wasn’t on WIFI anymore. Spendywoods has a nice ring to it, and while I appreciate the validation, can we make a pact not to make it a habit? EEEEkkk. 💸 💸 💸

  23. A very expensive month for us as well. And I think I spent just as much at Duluth Trading Co.! I’ve been hearing good things about their underwear, and so far they’re worth the extra I’d usually pay.

  24. You do you Frugalwoods! We had the same experience in August with lots of travel, food we didn’t cook ourselves and LIVE MUSIC! Hallelujah! To me the point of frugality is being able to splurge sometimes without missing a beat on our financial goals or feeling guilty. You’re right that if we lived like this all the time we’d be in trouble but we don’t! I enjoyed every minute.

  25. So happy you got to go away this Summer! You deserve it. Every penny well spent. We spent, drum roll please, $2000 to attend a wedding in Michigan for my friend’s Son’s wedding. After a horrific year and major health issues for my husband we splurged first class Providence to Detroit. (Short flight, husband had foot surgery and with free checked bags, drinks on plane totally worth it. ) 4 hotel nights, beautiful Rehearsal dinner, gorgeous wedding and 2 days in Frankenmuth! This Bavarian themed flower lined town is gorgeous. Famous all you can eat Chicken Dinners, covered bridge, and home to Bronners the largest Christmas store (I can highly suggest their nighttime Christmas display in August, no crowds and wore shorts). I bought beautiful hand personalized ornaments for all 5 of our little grandchildren. We had a Blast. My friend and I met years ago when our Sons joined the Army. We have cheered them on jumping from Airplanes, repelling from Helicopters and doing what it takes to Serve our Country. We have cried together through deployments, activations and long separations from their families. Now we have danced and celebrated at both of their weddings. I am forever grateful.

  26. Honestly $3000 per month (not counting the unfair one-off tractor repair) is still pretty frugal!

    I can’t wait for the mortgage payoff post – pretty please?

    Your chickens are making me jealous, they’re so cute.

  27. I’m looking forward to your post about paying your mortgage off. We carry a mortgage on a second property. Interest rates are so low that paying it off doesn’t make sense. But I also hate debt and it is our only debt. You’ve talked about not paying your mortgage off for similar reasons, so I’m interested to hear what made you change your mind.

  28. Glad we are not the only Spendywoods this month (and honestly the past few since things opened up!). I definitely think it is good to have balance and worth it to go out and do things after hibernating for so long. I am looking forward to a more reigned in Fall and Winter though.

  29. Hello Frugalwoods! We’re new to your blog. Can you tell us about taxes in Vermont or if you’ve mentioned this somewhere in a post?

  30. Have you considered making your own beer at home? You have plenty of land to grow your own hops and I bet you could source your grain local. You would have a whole group of new followers once you started reporting back to us home brewers on your progress. Plus you would save alot of money!!

  31. Your car insurance is also cheap because you have older vehicles. Newer cars have more “smart parts” and electronics, and therefore cost more money to fix.

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