November 2021 was the Month of Vehicles and Carving
I’m assured our automobiles are in a covert coven requiring them to interrupt down in synchronization. Far be it for one automotive to have a difficulty and the opposite automotive to be fantastic. Nope. We should have parity in all issues and we, the automobiles, stay unsympathetic to your transportation wants.
In probably the most spectacular break-down I’ve ever skilled, the Prius started emitting an ear-splitting, interminable beep as I used to be pulling into the varsity car parking zone to choose the youngsters up one afternoon. There have been no dashboard lights and nil indication of the place this unremitting beep stemmed from. The automotive itself was screaming, “HELP HELP HELP!” from the bowels of its existence.
In case anybody else owns a Toyota Prius and has this occur to them, this was the automotive informing me that the brakes had been utterly shot. Fortunately, I made it safely to high school and parked earlier than the entire brake fluid flowed out. And I do imply the entire brake fluid. A novel expertise for me, having by no means earlier than had a automotive berate me so personally, so deliberately, so loudly. And so, the Prius was towed to the mechanic’s and its brakes had been mounted.
Feeling uncared for, the truck determined to throw a rock onto its windshield in a determined, and I need to say profitable, bid for our consideration. We ignored the crack for every week. Two weeks. Three weeks. A month. The truck escalated issues by branching the crack out throughout the complete windshield. Okay, truck, you bought your want: a model new, $315 windshield.
Vehicles, are you each glad now? Happy that we’ve paid sufficient consideration to you? Sure? Good. Keep in mind that good leisurely tow and your shiny new glass the following time you will have the urge to pop off.
Public transit and walkability are the issues I miss most about residing within the metropolis. The truth that we should personal two automobiles in an effort to survive out right here is the most important, and actually the one, draw back. I liked my car-free strolling, biking, subway-riding metropolis days and consider them fondly as I’m driving down a mud highway in a automotive that’s screaming at me. However, on steadiness, it’s well worth the trade-off for our nature-encased life.
We had the privilege of internet hosting Thanksgiving this 12 months and it was a JOY to be across the desk with my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law and her new girlfriend (who we acquired to fulfill in-person for the primary time)! Such a heat change from final 12 months’s pandemic vacation. We’re deeply grateful that each one of us are vaccinated and had been in a position to have a good time collectively.
We went as native as potential with our components, together with an 18lb turkey, potatoes, and cranberries from a farm down the highway, sage from our backyard, cider pressed from our apples and eggs from our very personal chickens!
Kidwoods turned SIX in November and we celebrated with a household celebration the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The advantage of a vacation(ish) birthdate is that she normally will get to have a celebration with not less than a few of our prolonged household! Amongst her birthday presents was the princess snow globe I discovered at a thrift retailer final month. She has it on her bedside desk and advised us it was the very best current ever. $3 very effectively spent.
Thrift Retailer Success
My thrift retailer success streak continued this month and I discovered:
- A winter ski coat for Mr. FW for our upcoming ski
- A pair of snow bibs for me
- A bunch of garments for the youngsters
- A bunch of books for the youngsters
- HOLIDAY-THEMED espresso mugs (a particular want)
- Another winter gear I uncared for to jot down down and now can’t bear in mind…. gloves, possibly?
- Two attire for me (I do know, I do know! I must restrain myself… )
- Another stuff… oh geez, I actually ought to’ve written it down proper after I purchased it…
Littlewoods Lunch Date
In November, Littlewoods had a break day preschool on a day the place Kidwoods did have faculty. So, I took her out for a really particular and fancy lunch date: I purchased sandwiches, chips and cans of seltzer from a normal retailer and we ate them within the automotive collectively.
Since she’s not sufficiently old to be vaccinated, I’m not eager on her consuming inside a restaurant. No drawback as you’ll suppose I’d taken her to the Ritz Carlton for prime tea. She was ELATED and couldn’t cease speaking about it.
A very good reminder to me of how particular one-on-one time is for every of my youngsters—and the way low-cost it may be! Sandwiches eaten collectively within the automotive = main win.
Private Capital: How We Set up Our Expen$e$
I take advantage of a free on-line service known as Private Capital to maintain observe of our cash: our spending, our internet price, our investments, our retirement–the whole lot.
Monitoring bills is without doubt one of the finest–and best–methods to get a deal with in your funds. You completely, positively can not make knowledgeable selections about your cash in case you don’t know the way you’re spending it or how a lot you will have. In case you’d prefer to know extra about how Private Capital works, try my full write-up.
With no holistic image of how a lot you spend each month, there’s no solution to set financial savings, debt reimbursement, or funding targets. It’s a should, people. Private Capital (which is free to make use of) is a good way for me to systematize our monetary overviews because it hyperlinks all of our accounts collectively and supplies a complete image of our internet price.
In case you’re not monitoring your bills in an organized style, you would possibly take into account attempting Private Capital. Right here’s a extra detailed rationalization of how I take advantage of Private Capital (be aware: these Private Capital hyperlinks are affiliate hyperlinks).
Credit Playing cards: How We Purchase Every little thing
We purchase the whole lot we will with bank cards as a result of:
It’s simpler to trace bills. No guesswork over the place a random $20 invoice went; all of it exhibits up in our month-to-month expense report from Private Capital. I additionally suppose I spend much less cash as a result of I KNOW I’m going to see each expense listed on the finish of every month.
- We get rewards. Bank card rewards are a easy solution to get one thing for nothing. By way of the playing cards we use, we get money again in addition to resort and airline factors only for shopping for stuff we had been going to purchase anyway.
- We construct our credit score. Since we don’t have any debt, having a number of bank cards open for a few years helps our credit score scores. It’s a unclean fable that carrying a steadiness in your bank card helps your credit score rating–IT DOES NOT. Paying your playing cards off IN FULL each month and preserving them open for a few years does assist your rating.
For extra on my bank card technique, try:
In order for you a easy money again bank card, listed here are some good choices that don’t have annual charges:
1) Blue Money On a regular basis® Card from American Specific provides a hierarchy of money again percentages:
- 3% Money Again at U.S. supermarkets (on as much as $6,000 per 12 months in purchases, then 1%)
- 2% Money Again at U.S. gasoline stations and at choose U.S. shops
- 1% Money Again on different purchases
- Earn a $200 assertion credit score in case you spend $2,000 inside the first 6 months of card membership
- Limitless 1.5% money again on all purchases
- Earn $200 in case you spend $500 or extra in purchases inside the first three months of card membership
- 3% money again on eating, entertainment, well-liked streaming providers and grocery shops.
- 1% money again on all different purchases.
- Plus, earn 8% money again on tickets at Vivid Seats by way of January 2023.
- Get $200 in case you spend $500 on purchases inside the first three months from account opening.
- 5% money again on grocery retailer purchases (not together with Goal or Walmart) on as much as $12,000 spent within the first 12 months.
- 5% money again on Chase journey bought by way of Final Rewards.
- 3% money again on eating and drugstores.
- 1.5% money again on all different purchases.
- No minimal to redeem for money again, rewards don’t expire so long as your account is open.
- Earn $200 in case you spend $500 in your first 3 months from account opening.
In case you’re taken with journey rewards, lots of people love the Chase Sapphire Most popular. You may earn 60,000 bonus factors after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, which is $750 whenever you redeem by way of Chase Final Rewards.
One of the best ways to discover a bank card that’ll give you the results you want is to seek for it your self; I’ve a information that can assist you do exactly that: The Greatest Credit score Playing cards (and Credit score Card Rewards)!
Enormous caveat to bank card utilization: you MUST pay your bank card payments in full each single month, with no exceptions. In case you’re involved about your capability to do that, or suppose utilizing bank cards would possibly immediate you to spend extra, stick to a debit card or money. However when you have no drawback paying that invoice in full each month? I like to recommend you bank card away, my pal! (be aware: the bank card hyperlinks are affiliate hyperlinks).
Money Again Earned This Month: $71.31
The silver lining to our spending is our money again bank card. We earn 2% money again on each buy made with our Constancy Rewards Visa and this month, we spent $3,565.59 on that card, which netted us $71.31.
Not some huge cash maybe, however it’s cash we earned for purchasing stuff we had been going to purchase anyway! For this reason I like money again bank card rewards–they’re the only solution to earn one thing for nothing.
To see how this provides up over the course of a 12 months, try this publish: The Best $486 I’ve Ever Made: How To Use Money Again Credit score Playing cards To Your Benefit.
The place’s Your Cash?
One other simple solution to optimize your cash is to make use of a high-interest financial savings account. With these accounts, curiosity works in your favor versus the rates of interest on debt, which work towards you. Having cash in a no or low curiosity financial savings account is a waste of assets–your cash is simply sitting there doing nothing. Don’t let your cash be lazy! Make it give you the results you want! And now, get pleasure from some explanatory math:
Let’s say you will have $5,000 in a financial savings account that earns 0% curiosity. In a 12 months’s time, your $5,000 will nonetheless be… $5,000.
Let’s say you as an alternative put that $5,000 into an American Specific Private Financial savings account that–as of this writing–earns 0.40% in curiosity. In a single 12 months, your $5,000 may have elevated to $5,020. Meaning you earned $20 simply by having your cash in a high-interest account.
And also you didn’t must do something! I’m a giant fan of incomes cash whereas doing nothing. I imply, is anyone not a fan of that? Apparently so, as a result of anybody who makes use of a low or no curiosity financial savings account is NOT being profitable whereas doing nothing. Don’t be that individual.
Be the one that earns cash whereas sleeping. Extra about high-interest financial savings accounts, in addition to those I like to recommend, right here: The Greatest Excessive Curiosity Fee On-line Financial savings Accounts.
Sure, We Solely Paid $28.28 for Cell Cellphone Service (for 2 telephones)
Our cellular phone service line merchandise isn’t a typ0 (though that actually is). We actually and actually solely paid $28.28 for each of our telephones (that’s $14.14 per individual for these of you into division). How is such trickery potential?!? We use the MVNO Ting (affiliate hyperlink).
What’s an MVNO? Glad you requested as a result of I used to be going to inform you anyway: It’s a cellular phone service re-seller.
MVNOs are the TJ Maxx of the cellular phone service world–it’s the identical service, however A LOT cheaper. In case you’re not utilizing an MVNO, switching to at least one is a straightforward, slam-dunk, do-it-right-away manner to save cash each single month of each single 12 months endlessly and ever amen. Extra right here: The right way to Save Cash on Your Cell Cellphone Invoice with an MVNO: I Pay $12 a Month*
*the quantity we pay fluctuates each month as a result of it’s calibrated to what we use. Think about that! We solely pay for what we use! Will wonders ever stop.
Expense Report FAQs
- Wish to know the way we handle the remainder of our cash? Try How We Handle Our Cash: Behind The Scenes of The Frugalwoods Household Accounts
- Don’t you will have a rental property? Sure! We personal a rental property (also referred to as our first house) in Cambridge, MA, which I focus on right here.
- Why do I share our bills? To provide you a way of how we spend our cash in a values-based method. Your spending will differ from ours and there’s no “one proper manner” to spend and no “good” price range.
- Are we probably the most frugal frugal individuals on earth? Completely not! My hope is that by being clear about our spending, you would possibly acquire insights into your personal spending and be impressed to take proactive management of your cash.
- Questioning the place to start out with managing your cash? Take my free, 31-day Uber Frugal Month Problem. In case you’re taken with different issues I like, try Frugalwoods Recommends.
- Why don’t you purchase the whole lot domestically? We do our greatest to assist our local people and purchase as a lot of our meals as potential straight from our farmer neighbors. Our city doesn’t have any shops, so we depend on on-line ordering and massive field shops for requirements. The closest shops are 45 minutes away and Mr. FW goes as soon as a month to replenish on what we will’t get from our neighbors or on-line.
However Mrs. Frugalwoods, Don’t You Pay For X, Y, Or Even Z???
Questioning about frequent bills you don’t see listed beneath?
- We don’t have a mortgage as a result of we paid it off (particulars right here).
We pay payments in full the month we obtain them. That’s why you received’t see month-to-month funds for issues like automotive insurance coverage or property tax. These bills present up as the total annual (or bi-annual, and many others) quantity within the month we pay them.
- We don’t have any debt and we paid money for our automobiles.
- Our medical health insurance is paid for by Mr. FW’s former employer (as famous on this publish, this expires on the finish of 2021. I’ll write a publish about our ACA protection analysis quickly!)
- Right here’s how we make charitable contributions: How We Donate To Charities Like Billionaires and in addition How We Make Significant And Tax Environment friendly Charitable Donations.
- Right here’s an outline of how we save for our youngsters’ greater schooling: How We Use 529 Plans To Save For Faculty
- We dwell on 66 acres in rural Vermont, so our utilities and family bills are totally different from conventional city and suburban houses:
- We don’t pay for water, sewer, trash, or heating/cooling as a result of we now have a effectively, a septic system, our city doesn’t present trash pick-up (we take it to a switch station as soon as every week in baggage we buy from our city), we warmth our house with wooden we harvest ourselves from our land, and we don’t have central air-con (we use window models in the course of the hottest components of the summer time).
- There are, in fact, prices related to sustaining these methods (similar to having our septic system pumped and inspected) and people bills present up within the months we pay them.
- We now have photo voltaic panels, which account for our low electrical energy invoice.
- For extra on our rural life-style, try my collection This Month On The Homestead in addition to Metropolis vs. Nation: Which Is Cheaper? The Final Value Of Dwelling Showdown
In case you’re questioning about anything, be at liberty to ask within the feedback part!
Alright you frugal cash voyeurs, feast your eyes on each greenback we spent in November:
|Prius repairs / towing||$854.98||See above for particulars.|
|Groceries||$752.47||Thanksgiving feast objects + common meals for the month.|
|Preschool Tuition||$740.00||For Littlewoods|
|Family provides||$495.56||All of the thrilling tidbits of life: laundry detergent, bathroom paper, dishwasher detergent, craft provides for the youngsters, nutritional vitamins, tissues, medicines, and many others|
|Beer, wine and alcohol for Thanksgiving internet hosting||$413.67|
|Windshield for Truck||$315.00||Blerg. I hope it appreciates it.|
|Gasoline for automobiles||$221.08|
|Eating places||$195.63||For husband + spouse lunch dates whereas the youngsters are in school!|
|Tractor Provide||$87.07||Hen feed, one thing else for the chickens, another farm stuff… I actually can’t bear in mind|
|The Thanksgiving Turkey||$79.00||An 18.5 lb free-range turkey raised on a farm proper down the highway.|
|Christmas playing cards||$74.18||I continued my custom of ordering Christmas postcards, the most affordable possibility as a result of:
1) No want to purchase envelopes
2) Postcard stamps are cheaper than common stamps
3) The postcards themselves price lower than common playing cards
|Three chickens||$66.40||Three complete frozen, free-range chickens from a farm down the highway.|
|New hydraulic hose for wooden splitter||$64.71||Issues break on a regular basis out right here on the homestead. Breaking all over, continuous.|
|Stamps||$60.00||For mailing out our Christmas playing cards!|
|Outside digicam||$38.14||One other out of doors digicam to observe snowfall and wildlife (affiliate hyperlink).|
|Woodstove merchandise||$35.00||New diverter plate for the woodstove|
|Utilities: Electrical energy||$28.57||We now have photo voltaic (which I element right here); that is our month-to-month base value for remaining grid tied.|
|Mobile phone service for 2 telephones||$28.28||That is so low-cost as a result of we use an MVNO known as Ting (affiliate hyperlink).MVNOs resell wi-fi service at discounted charges (however it’s the identical service).
MVNOs are the TJ Maxx of cellular phone service.
In case you’re not utilizing an MVNO, try this publish to see if you can also make the change. The financial savings are large.
|Lunch date with Littlewoods||$17.98||The very Fancy and Particular sandwiches, chips and seltzer eaten-in-the-car eating occasion of the 12 months.|
|Native cranberries and potatoes||$17.50||For the Thanksgiving feast!|
|Espresso date with my husband!||$13.40|
|Yeast||$8.79||1lb of yeast, to be used in our do-it-yourself sandwich bread (affiliate hyperlink).|
|Parking meter in ye olde Large Metropolis||$3.35|
How was your November?
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