Author: Mr. Frugalwoods

43

How to Replace Exterior Window Trim

Welp, we had some rot. Specifically, the trim around one of our exterior windows was rotting away. How can you tell if window trim is rotting away? It feels like a sponge when you poke it. Wood is not supposed to resemble a sponge. Since winter is coming (don’t laugh, we have embarrassingly short summers!), Mrs. Frugalwoods and I are trying to knock out a few needed projects on the exterior of the ol’ Frugalwoods home and...

51

Help Us Choose The Next Frugalwoods-mobile!

Mrs. Frugalwoods and I own one car: a cosmetically-challenged 1996 Honda Odyssey minivan. The Frugalwoods-mobile doesn’t have a name (other than somehow being a she?) but she does have 201,000 miles! Despite her advanced age and mileage, she gets us where we need to go with a modicum of trouble. In the 3 years we’ve owned her, we’ve only spent $350 on maintenance… and that was mostly for consumables like oil, filters, gaskets, and brakes. And then there’s...

37

How We Saved $2,120 by Buying a Mattress Online

“People buy shoes online even though you can’t try them on… a mattress is no different, right?” Faced with buying a new mattress two years ago, I uttered these words to Mrs. Frugalwoods and then embarked on a frugal slumber experiment. My goal was to see if my wife and I could buy a mattress online, save tons of money, and still get a great night’s sleep. Let’s start at the beginning. Mrs. Frugalwoods is what we...

14

7 Ways to Become A DIY Hero

Is your toilet making an ominous gurgling sound? Front door lock getting harder and harder to turn? Perhaps your doghouse lost a shingle or your light-switch no longer switches. The normal (non-FIRE) busy professional will confidently tell themselves, “Self, you’re important and have a full-time job!  It’s not worth your time to try and fix that. Plus, you’re a klutz and what if you make it worse?” Not worth your time. That’s a funny phrase. You’ll see people do...

14

What does it take to get a mortgage these days?

Several people in my office are thinking about buying a home and since I’m known as the resident real estate nerd, they’ve started asking me what they should do to prepare. I always start with finances–in my experience, that’s where people are most likely to get tripped up. Borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars is complicated — and it should be! It’s not for everyone. It’s essential for potential home buyers to understand their finances and how...

13

7 Reasons Condos Can Be a Bad Investment

Condos can look enticing. In hot real estate markets, they may appear more affordable than traditional homes. But there’s a lot not to like about condos. If you’re considering purchasing a condo, here are a seven things to look out for: Condo Fees: Any condo is going to have a fee. Usually this is referred to as a Home Owners Association (HOA) fee on the MLS listing. Make sure to factor this fee into your monthly payment calculations....

49

Why Did We Buy Our House?

Buying a house is falling out of fashion in the Financial Independence and Early Retirement community. Not “Green Polyester Leisure Suit” out of fashion, more “Cherry Cabinets and Ornamental Backsplash” out of fashion. The oft-cited, and extensively researched, post on the matter is the awesome and amazing JCollinsNH’s “Rent v. Owning Your Home, opportunity cost and running some numbers.” If you haven’t read it, you should. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I weighed in with my own “Should...

11

Is buying better than renting?

One of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make is whether to buy or rent your home. This decision can feel more important than mere numbers and ratios. After all, most realtors will quickly whisper in your ear “it’s not a house, it’s a home!” Once you’re settled in a career and have some money in the bank, the idea of renting quickly becomes less appealing. Moving every few years is a pain, landlords raise rent, and you’ve always wanted...

23

Is an Emergency Fund necessary?

We’ve all heard the personal finance truism: Keep three to six months of living expenses in the bank just in case. But do folks pursuing Financial Independence and Early Retirement (FIRE) really need an emergency fund? Originally the emergency fund was conceived in response to the all too common cycle of debt and poverty. People who scrape by, living paycheck to paycheck, can be utterly devastated by an unexpected one time expense. But we’re not...

3

I don’t hate my job

Can I be interested in Financial Independence and Early Retirement and also like my job? If you do enough reading in the FI and ERE blogosphere you’ll quickly notice an understandably common thread: folks working for the “man”; wanting to escape the yoke of oppression that is their every work day. I feel extremely fortunate that I’m not in that position. I do (what I feel to be) important, engaging work with people I respect and...