The turkey freak sniffs out the bird
The turkey freak sniffs out the bird

November was a rather aberrational, yet fabulous, month here at Frugalwoods HQ as we had the delightful pleasure of hosting Mr. FW’s family for Thanksgiving. Rest assured, the resident certified turkey freak Frugal Hound noshed on a few juicy tidbits of bird along with a splash of gravy on her kibble.

As I shared in A Very DIY Thanksgiving, we enjoyed flexing our DIY muscles and doing our own prep work for the holiday, which meant we only spent $177.50 on all the food and drinks for the week. Additionally, Mr. FW dry-walled and painted a wall that was missing in our kitchen (it’s a long story, which we’ll go into in a future post, but basically we had no wall) and replaced our shower mixer valve spindle assembly, which elected to break right before our guests arrived. These home improvement materials represent a bump in our expenses to the tune of $258.69.

Check out that sweet wall!
The wall in question is pictured here in the foreground of our oddly proportioned kitchen

Another unusual expense this month was our frugantic* getaway to Vermont to hike and homestead-hunt with our realtor. We stayed at a charming farmhouse via Airbnb (thank you to Justin at Root of Good for the $25-off coupon) and kept our costs on the frugal side by cooking all of our own food and not paying for any entertainment. Hence, the only expenses incurred were the Airbnb rental itself and gas for ol’ Frugalwoods-mobile.

*frugal + romantic

Our Airbnb hosts were excited by our homestead plans and graciously took us on a 4-hour timber assay, during which they taught us how to calculate timber value on a property. One of our hosts is a forester and his breadth of knowledge was incredible. He patiently showed us how to measure tree trunks, the number of logs each tree will yield, and take bore samples to evaluate the quality of the wood. It’s likely we’ll buy a property somewhat near their farm, so we’re looking forward to staying in touch and hopefully repaying their kindness in the future.

The farm we stayed at (thank you to our amazing Airbnb hosts!)
The farm we stayed at (thank you to our amazing Airbnb hosts!)

All of these extracurriculars pushed our expenditures up quite a bit for the month, but, we’re all about conscious, meaningful spending around here, so we don’t regret a single thing. The whole point of our frugal, simple, good lifestyle is to spend when it matters and on experiences that bring true value and enrichment to our lives. Quality time with family and investments in our marriage and future homestead are prime examples.

One of the properties we looked at with our realtor
One of the properties we looked at with our realtor

We also started our Christmas gift purchasing in November, but, we were able to procure everything through Amazon for free by redeeming some of our cash back rewards card points. Yet another reason why we’re advocates for responsible and judicious use of credit cards.

My plate on Thanksgiving. Epic yums.
My plate on Thanksgiving. Epic yums.

As regular readers know, we itemize every single dollar we spend in our monthly reports to give you a sense of how we allocate our resources and manage to save 65%-85% of our take-home pay (after maxing out our 401Ks).

Interested in learning how we keep costs so low? Check out How We Save 65% Annually and, if you’re up for some hardcore frugal adventuring, take my Uber Frugal Month Challenge. If you’re curious about some of the common expenses that are missing from the below, our August Expense report has the answers (or feel free to ask in the comments).

Where’s Your Money?

One of the easiest ways to optimize your money is to use a high-interest savings account. A high-interest savings account gives you money for nothing. 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 1.70% in interest. In one year, your $5,000 will have increased to $5,085.67. That means you earned $85.67 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 you sleep. Rack up the interest and prosper. More about high-interest savings accounts, as well as the ones I recommend, is here: The Best High Interest Rate Online Savings Accounts.

Pull up a chair (or standing desk), find a festive beverage, and enjoy a good long snoop through the Frugalwoods November purchases:

Item/Vendor Amount Frugalwoods Musings
Mortgage & Escrow for Taxes & Insurance $2,741.01 Yep, it’s high. But, we live in a very high COL city (Cambridge, MA) and this house will be our cash-flowin’ rental after we decamp to our rural homestead.
Airbnb Stay $333.00 Two nights at the farm, which included a few delicious and artesian foodstuffs.
Home Improvement $258.69 This is mud, tape, drywall, grout, and shower valve parts for Mr. FW’s two major projects this month: drywalling and painting our kitchen wall and replacing the shower valve spindle assembly.
Costco $194.00 Household supplies (toilet paper, dog food, laundry detergent, vitamins, shampoo, etc) and bulk foods (oats, beans, rice, spices, olive oil).
Thanksgiving Groceries $177.89 Our Thanksgiving feast and foods for hosting Mr. FW’s family. Includes all wine, beer, and coffee. And it was scrumptious!
Frugalwoods Email System (for one year) $147.60 If you haven’t signed up for our fresh & hot new email system, Frugal Hound invites you to do so at the bottom of this post!
Groceries $140.52 Regular groceries for Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwoods.
Gasoline $75.44 Slightly higher this month given our trek up to Vermont.
Internet $66.95 Inspired by Budgets Are Sexy’s Challenge Everything! challenge, Mr. FW called the company this month to see if they’d lower it.But alas, since we don’t have cable or a phone line, they had no deal to offer us. It was a very circular conversation as they couldn’t grasp why we didn’t want to purchase cable…
Electric Bill $62.58 It’s electric!
Boot Repair $60.00 As I shared in 10 Shockingly Expensive Things We Own, I had my Frye leather boots re-soled and I’m very pleased with the result. They now sport a rubberized gripping sole and heel, which is much sturdier than the previous smooth leather (lovely, but not practical).
Fine Homebuilding magazine renewal (affiliate link) $37.95 One of two print publications we subscribe to (the other is The Atlantic). Fine Homebuilding is written for professionals in the construction trade and every issue contains a wealth of specific time-saving strategies and epic tips, tricks, and how-to’s. And before you ask, no it is not available for free online. Yes, we could go to the library to read it, but it’s one of Mr. FW’s few luxuries to receive it delivered straight to our home. So there. Plus, the tips we’ve used from Fine Homebuilding have saved us untold sums of money in our myriad home improvement projects.
Gas Bill $26.69 Since this is the payment for October, you can tell we didn’t turn our heat on until November 1. I expect this’ll be much higher next month!
Prescription Medication $15.00 Co-pay for one prescription medication.
EZ Pass Highway Toll Tag $11.50 Our EZ Pass toll tag periodically tops up our account. This total represents tolls we’ve paid over the past several months.
Electric Blanket & A Soap Dispenser $4.10 We used a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy an electric blanket and a new soap dispenser for the kitchen sink.This is the difference we paid after using the gift card. We signed up for their mobile list in advance in order to get 20% off!
Gift Card To A Restaurant $3.66 We had a gift card to a local sushi joint and we got take out (which is cheaper than sit-down).This is the difference we paid after using the gift card.
Parking Meter $1.50 Cost of parking at my dentist appointment. Good news: no cavaties for either of us!
7-Eleven Seltzer $1.24 A rare splurge for two bottles of seltzer from 7-Eleven while on our Vermont roadtrip.
Blog Back-up $0.91 You want Frugalwoods to be backed-up right? Well, we do.
TOTAL SPENT: $4,360.23
LESS MORTGAGE: $1,619.22

What do you think of our expenses? How was your November? Tips, frugal hacks, and advice always welcome!

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  1. We had really similar home improvement agendas this month between me redoing the drywall in the corner of our garage and Mr PoP fixing the leaky valve on our renters’ shower faucet. =)

    Our spending was pretty good this month with big budget items in travel for family/friends and gifts (wedding and birthdays mostly).

    1. That’s pretty funny–our homes must be in sync with their various needs :). Your spending looked great for November!

    1. It’s actually only an 11 lb turkey, the photo perspective does make it look big though!

      I dry brined the bird for 3 days, and then put a herb butter in between the skin and meat before roasting. Roasted it until the breast and thigh meat was 165 degrees. I also stuffed the cavity with onion, celery, lemon, rosemary and thyme.

    2. Whoops! Missed the second part of your question! We were there a couple of weeks ago. We haven’t written it up yet, but we’re working on it. It’s a busy time of year!

  2. Wow, nice work! I wish most of our expenditures were so low. Of course, your mortgage is more than all of our expenses (including mortgage) combined, but I understand the whole dynamic there. Glad you all (including Sweet Frugal Hound) had such a nice Thanksgiving! 😀

    1. Thanks! Hah–yes, our mortgage is gigantic, but the house was actually an amazingly cheap deal for our area and rental prices keep going up, which’ll be divine when we’re renting it out. We did indeed have a lovely Thanksgiving, thank you 🙂

  3. I’m going to be honest – I’m not that into blogger’s posting everything they spend in a month or their income updates, so I didn’t read all the detail. But it’s impressive how little you spent on your “frugantic” trip to Vermont. I haven’t used airbnb but have heard good things.

    1. Airbnb is pretty awesome. It’s typically cheaper than a hotel and, there’s the potential for connecting with amazing hosts who know the area well (as happened with us in Vermont). It really was a wonderful trip… we didn’t want to leave!

  4. The blog email system – I hope that’s at least an annual cost? Otherwise that sounds quite pricey!

    The cost for the AirBnB, once you factor in what you learned, probably saved you money! Very cool.

    1. Good catch, thank you! Yes, the email system is indeed for the year and I’ve updated it above. We have the same feeling about our Airbnb stay–our hosts were so gracious and taught us volumes about forestry and homesteading! Really made us excited for the future.

      1. One thing I’ve found when talking with farmers/homesteaders is that nearly all of them are more than happy to share knowledge and details. There’s none of the sense of secrecy/proprietary knowledge that’s the norm in the business world.

    1. Definitely needed! The absence of a wall and working shower would’ve made for a less than optimal Thanksgiving :). Vermont was so, so, so beautiful. I want to be there now!

  5. Nice work guys – quick question: when you take off your mortgage, isn’t that your capital contribution or your capital plus interest?

    At first, I thought your expenses were pretty substantial, but looking that you have included business (Frugalwoods) expenses and this mortgage payment, it looks pretty…frugal! 🙂

    That turkey looks amazing, by the way!

    1. That mortgage lineitem is the full PITI (Payment, Interest, Tax, Insurance). We have a fixed rate 30 year mortgage, so the principal paid is pretty small 3 years in 🙂

      1. Right – why is that you have a line to remove this from your expenses then? Isn’t only the capital part that isn’t an “expense”?

        I’m only asking because in our launch of our 2015 savings challenge this morning, we only include the capital repayment (principal repayment) as “savings”, and the others as expenses. This seems like the right way to do it from an accounting perspective, but I just want to make sure that I’m not misunderstanding how US mortgages work by doing this.

        Any advice – and obviously your involvement in the challenge 😉 – would be most welcome!

        1. We choose the (expenses-PITI) number to focus on because we plan to retire to a paid-off homestead. While the “TI” will still apply, the “PI” won’t be a factor in our everyday budgeting.

          So this number is “what we would have spent on the farm”-ish per month, which we use for projecting out our revenue needs in early retirement. The PITI of our current house will continue to exist, just as a separate section of our finances since it will be a profit generating rental.

          That make sense? Sorry, I totally didn’t understand your question the first time! 🙂

  6. Glad that Frugal Hound was able to partake in Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂 Your AirBnB stay seem to have paid dividends beyond a place of rest! Your hosts were really kind to spend a few hours helping you to become more familiar with your future terrain.

    1. She was one happy hound with that turkey! She and Mr. FW kept peering through the oven door to watch it cook. For some reason, turkey is her absolute favorite food–too bad for her that we only have it once a year!

      Agreed about Airbnb, it ended up being a really worthwhile experience–both for fun and future plans.

  7. We had a similar issue with trying to lower the cost of our internet only subscription last week. the associate over the phone could not understand that we didn’t want cable and almost ended up upgrading our service without us realizing!

    1. Yes! Glad we’re not the only ones. They just could not comprehend our lack of cable, which is odd because it doesn’t seem that unusual to me. But what do I know, I’m a frugal weirdo 😉

      1. We had the same problem recently, a salesperson wanted to offer us internet access that cost more and that was slower than what we have with our current provider. They just couldn’t grasp why the cable service thrown in for free wouldn’t change our minds…

  8. I think the homestead picture looks a little like your banner picture. Someone posted above how they are not into blog posts where bloggers post every expense, I do like reading yours because I know every expense is thought out and not an impulse (maybe not the seltzers) but I like to see what you guys value. You did help me finally bite the bullet and subscribe to a Canadian finance magazine that I have been thinking about for months. It’s only $26 for the year and my library does not have it so I told myself if the super FRUGALwoods do it then so can I. I seem to have gotten myself in to the rut where I over think EVERY purchase even the owns that are a no brainer.

    1. Oh those photos do kinda look the same, don’t they! I guess we like woods around here :). Glad you enjoy our expenses–it’s definitely a lot of detail. I think that carefully considering every purchase is a good thing, but there’s certainly a balance with not over-thinking it too much. I’m always more comfortable with expenses that’ll yield a long-term benefit (like your magazine) and much more wary of short-term things like a lunch out.

  9. If house hunting for homesteads with your realtor doesn’t super motivate you for your early retirement, then I don’t know what would! That’s awesome and inspiring.

    1. For reals! We are super duper motivated. It helps to see your goal/dream in living color (and dollar signs 🙂 )–nothing quite like it to motivate frugality.

    1. We love that stream too–it’s still in the running at the moment. Can’t wait to see what we pick either ;)!

  10. The place you stayed in Vermont looks amazing!! I will have to get the contact details from you. I am glad to hear that you had a successful Thanksgiving and despite the extras for November, you still did a great job. Plus, I REALLY love the phrase frugantic! I am totally stealing it, but I will give you credit. 🙂

    1. It was seriously amazing! I’ll email you the exact details, ping me if I forget. Glad you like frugantic–I was pretty pleased with myself on that one 🙂

  11. I’m very intrigued by AirBnB. I’m hoping I can convince Mr. Maroon to give it a shot for our next trip. You obviously had a great experience. Would you ever consider renting out your space?

    1. I definitely recommend using Airbnb! Good question. We actually have the “should we Airbnb our guest rooms” conversation about every week :). We’re really on the fence about it because the renters would be in our house with us (there’s no separate entrance) and we’re not in the mood for what would equate to roommates at this point. It’s definitely on our radar and we certainly plan to rent out cabins on our eventual homestead via Airbnb, but those will be entirely separate from our home.

  12. We have a lot of similar themes this month. The internet company does not seem to understand that we don’t have a TV, and we wouldn’t even know where to buy a land line telephone and therefore do not wish to pay for those subscriptions (however, we did lower our bill, so if you want to try again follow Ramit Sethi’s advice on negotiations). We are also all about the frugal DIY!

    The DIY attitude yielded some surprising financial dividends for us this month. I accidentally dipped my hair in paint this month (obtained free from the recycle center), and rather than rushing to a salon to fix it (I couldn’t anyways, it was 11PM), I decided to cut my own hair, and it actually looks great! I won’t pay for another haircut until long layers goes out of style. (Unfortunately, I haven’t had the same luck with my husband’s hair, so he loaded up on a great clips card, and said I have 10 more tries until I have to admit defeat for male haircuts forever).

    Finally, I hope my gas bill is as high as yours next month. The previous occupants of our house were in arrears on their gas, so it got shut off (its actually still off now). We kept thinking that there was something wrong with the hot water heater (as we had hot water a few days before we moved in). Not so much. We just needed to get the company to turn the heat back on. I used to want to be a minimalist, but living without hot water, doing dishes by hand, and trying to bathe a toddler with water heated on the stove has changed my tune. Creature comforts please!

    1. Oh my goodness–no hot water sounds awful! I agree with you, there are limits to frugality. Thanks for the tip on the internet bill, maybe we’ll try again.

      Love your story about your free-paint-hair, that’s such a perfect illustration! What kind of haircut does your husband have? I cut Mr. FW’s hair, but he (mercifully) just has a buzz cut, which is super easy. I wrote this post awhile back on how I cut his if you’re interested.

      1. Oh how I wish he would go for the buzz cut. He’s a 3 on top, and 1 on the sides/back. It’s the blending that kills me. YouTube makes it look so easy, but I just haven’t gotten it…yet. His sister plans to give me a guided demonstration over Christmas.

        1. Oooo… that sounds complex! I’m really thankful for Mr. FW’s easy cut. A guided demo sounds super helpful!

  13. Awesome job! Just curious – do you count your “savings” in your “spending”? I know as a budgeter, I do. But, I don’t see any of that up there – mostly just curious how much in dollar amounts you save monthly (even though I see the percentage up top). Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 🙂

    1. Thanks! We don’t actually count our savings in a “spending” category. I know a lot of folks do, and I’m all for doing what works for ya, but we just operate from a “we’re not going to spend anything” mindset and then make exceptions 🙂 Here’s our writeup of how we as frugal people manage our finances and handle budgeting (or the lack thereof, as it were).

  14. Frugantic = frugal + romantic huh? I figured it was Frugal + Gigantic until I saw the explanation. I’ll have to take Mrs. RoG on a frugantic walk through the woods in our neighborhood park now that I have a new term for it! 🙂

    Glad you guys enjoyed the Airbnb stay. That place looks wonderful! And you guys got a great contact in the area so the trip looks to be very successful.

    That picture of the stream running through the woods looks incredible. It would be almost enough to make me move out of the city and into the country somewhere. Almost. 🙂

    1. Frugal + gigantic sounds pretty hilarious. Frugal Hound might qualify for that description… she’s a moderately gigantic dog and she’s pretty frugal. You should definitely tell Mrs. RoG how frugantic you are with all your loving & economizing ways :).

      Airbnb did not disappoint–it was truly a wonderful weekend. Our hosts were just so awesome and we learned a ton. That stream is quite tempting to us as well. And the best part is that it’s the only sound you can hear–no traffic, no people, just the running water. Pure bliss.

      1. When I’m in the backyard, all the traffic going by sounds like waves crashing on a beach. I don’t have any similar comparison for the sirens or the occasional middle of the night helicopters. Although the helicopters are good at letting us know either a pedestrian got hit/killed or there was a shooting (last night it was the latter a few miles away). Ahhhh city living. At least we can walk to a few continent’s worth of restaurants and groceries in 5-10 minutes. And then there’s our lake. Or “lake” some might say. 🙂

        1. Well that saturday in Vermont was the first day of rifle deer season. So it did somewhat sound like a small warzone right as the sun came up. 🙂

    1. Thanks! Good luck with the kitchen remodeling–it’s a great way to increase your home’s value. In case it’s useful to you, we painted our cabinets white by ourselves and I wrote this post about the process. Congrats on the net worth bump!

  15. Sounds like a good month overall! I love the frugantic term…I just may have to borrow it and use it for Mrs. Frugal Rules and I. 🙂 Vermont is one of the few states I’ve not been to yet and hoping to solve that next year when we take a trip to the Northeast…all on points of course. 🙂

    1. Please do borrow frugantic–you can impress Mrs. Frugal Rules with your awesome combo of love & money-saving prowess :)! Vermont is a beautiful state, hopefully you’ll be able to visit. And, points are definitely the way to go!

  16. You guys may also want to look into the following publications – Mother Earth News and Countryside living & small stock journal.
    Both great for when it’s time to homestead. You can buy like 40 years worth of mother earth news on a CD for 20 bucks or something, and they usually have both at the library.

    1. Thanks Jeff! I sometimes read Mother Earth News online. I should look them up in the library sometime… I don’t think they put all their stuff online.

  17. Have you ever thought of getting a tent and good sleeping bags so you don’t have to pay for lodging when going to VT for your hunting trips?

    1. We love camping, but not as much when it’s below freezing 🙂 We generally make a day trip of our Vermont prospecting adventures… but this time we were due for a vacation as well and decided to combine purposes. And I will say that the knowledge we gained from our hosts on the general area and forestry in particular was worth the price of the apartment.

  18. Happy Thanksgiving to the FWs! Looks like you guys had a great time with lots of food. 🙂 I think your AirBnB rental should be chalked up as an investment cost that will pay you back in the future rather than simply a vacation expense. I say you’ll get a mighty fine return in the end.

    1. I like how you think–an investment in the future sounds much better than a vacation :)! And, it really did yield a lot of helpful info on our future homestead.

  19. Beautiful pictures from your Vermont trip! I love the word “frugantic”, I’ll have to start using it now. Sounds like a good plan to be neighbors with your hosts. =) I bet my fiance would love Fine Homebuilding…he already has plans on what we’re going to do whenever we buy a house, and his job has plenty of construction catalogs around. Maybe he’s read it!

    1. Thanks! Please do use frugantic :). Mr. FW practically drools over Fine Homebuilding, so I bet R would totally love it.

  20. I didn’t ask this in my original comment, but I guess I’m curious what price 20-30 acres goes for. If you don’t want to share here, please e-mail me. I know all real-estate is local, but we’d ideally love to have around the same amount of land…somewhere. Really haven’t travelled enough to determine where in the States, though we love the 4 seasons enough it’d surely be above the Mason-Dixon line.

    1. Yeah, 4 real seasons are important for us too.

      In southern VT we’ve looked at 30 acre tracts of mostly forested, slightly sloping land for ~$3,000/acre. This really varies though depending on access, angle of slope, quality of timber, and thousands of other variables (as we’re eagerly learning).

    1. Sounds like it! I learned more about trees that day than I’ve ever known. It’s a fascinating thing to calculate timber value and it made me see the woods in a whole new light.

  21. Sounds like you had a lovely month and I think your larger expenses are absolutely justified. I recently had my Frye boots resoled, as well. I actually own two pairs of the same boot (in different colors) and hope to keep them for many years. I’m jealous of your trip to Vermont. I actually considered spending a couple of days up there after Christmas, but I’m starting a new job in January and decided I’d better spend a few days getting organized back in Nashville.

    1. Frye boots really are the best. They’re just so well-made and comfortable! Vermont was quite divine–highly recommend it when you next have the chance 🙂

  22. Vermont looks gorgeous, love the Fall colors. It sounds like it was a great trip and you made a great connection to boot! The turkey looks delicious. This year I got a break from the kitchen and we spent a week in Mexico with friends. It was a nice break and money well spent. And thank goodness Mr. Frugalwoods is handy. I hate it when things break right before guests arrive!

    1. Oooo a week in Mexico sounds fabulous! We went there for our honeymoon and loved it. Our turkey was indeed quite delicious thanks to Mr. FW’s careful prep and brining. YUM!

    1. It was seriously amazing. We learned so much and are deeply grateful to our hosts! I look at trees with newfound respect now 🙂

    1. It went really well! The hosts were extremely kind and generous enough to take us on this lengthy timber assay during which we learned a ton about timber values. It was an awesome experience!

  23. Are you planning on homesteading some time? Looks like you had a great time in Vermont. Everybody needs a small splurge from time-to-time, so the 7-up is a good ‘luxury’ I think 🙂

    1. Yes, indeed. We plan to retire early to a homestead in the woods in about 3 years when we’re 33. Our trip to Vermont was one of our many scouting trips to look at properties and learn more about the area. It’s an exciting prospect for us :)!

  24. Your grocery spending is crazy low! Wow – great job. Our family of 4 is spending about $200+ per person per month. The pictures are beautiful. The homestead plan sounds great and I can’t wait to see how it works out (I bet you guys can’t either!).

    1. Thanks! We’ve been pretty pleased with our grocery bills of late–not eating meat or much dairy has really helped keep them low. We can’t wait to see how the homestead plays out either :)!

  25. I haven’t had a spare minute to total ours up yet–having an outside-the-home job is keeping me hopping! I know ours was a little high, though, because I made some investments in biking–new helmet, wool socks, merino wool base layer top, and also a new helmet for Big Brothers, whose less-than-two-year-old helmet mysteriously delaminated. I did work hard on lowering the grocery bill and started making hummus again! (Mr. FP still likes to pick up Sabra sometimes, but two preschoolers eat a lot of it. When I make it, I feel like I don’t have to stand over them telling them not to take too much-I can just let them dip away.)

    Our Internet actually comes with free basic cable. It was the best deal available. Mr. FP sometimes turns on a sporting event–giving up much live-on-TV sports was, for him, a significant sacrifice.

    1. Glad the new job is going well! Sounds like you made valuable bike-related purchases. There’s nothing quite so great as merino wool socks and base layers–vital! I’m with you on the power of homemade hummus, so much cheaper and we know exactly what’s in it. I seriously love hummus–I’d dip just about anything in it :).

    1. Thanks! Our groceries actually clocked in right at about $400 this month (higher than normal given Thanksgiving and hosting family). At least half of our Costco purchases are household items (like toilet paper) and the other half is foodstuffs. I should really separate out our Costco receipt next month!

  26. Good job on the frugal month, less than 2 grand not including the mortgage. Now that’s frugal-badassity. Looking forward to see what your homesteading will look like, in the future. Will you buy land with a house on it or will you build?

    1. Why thank you! We’re so excited to be planning for our homestead now–it feels awesome to see the dream moving closer to reality. The type of land/house we’ll buy is still up in the air as there are about a million factors to consider with rural land :)… as we’re learning. We’re leaning towards land with at least some type of dwelling on it, but TBD if it’ll be a proper family home or something we’d then build a house next to.

  27. It’s amazing you all spend so little and actually record it all right down to the seltzers. I love your new word, ‘frugantic’. November started on a great note for us and then ended with Black Friday;0) You know what … I’ve decided to just not stress over it!

    1. Thank you! It’s actually fairly easy for us to keep track because we buy almost everything with credit cards (for the rewards points) and then just export a full list of all our purchases from Mint. Wish I could say it’s more impressive, but, that’s about it :). Glad you like frugantic!

  28. Ok, so totally not the point of the post, but I LOVE your kitchen! If we redo our’s we want to do something in the same color scheme, and with that same backsplash!! LOVE IT!!!

    1. Thanks! We can’t claim to be the geniuses who thought of the green glass subway tile, but the previous owners made a great choice. I do think our project to paint the cabinets white really made the whole thing pop though! Black counters, green backsplash, white cabinets. Good contrast!

  29. So impressed that you added such small items as the parking fee of $1.50! Those little expenses do not even register on my radar. You’re inspiring me to get more detailed. I love your cheerful tone as you write about your frugal lifestyle. So counter-cultural. What would the ad people do with it?

    1. Hahaha! I made fun of Mrs. FW as we were putting this together for that very lineitem! But hey, technology makes it trivial to track… so we might as well tell the world about it! 🙂

    1. Thanks! We’re pretty happy with how the kitchen is coming together. Funny how fixing a giant hole in the wall makes it look more polished!

      Shoot us an email if you want the details on the place we stayed at. Nice folks, beautiful location.

    1. Thanks! Every time we’re up that way it redoubles our resolve to lock down and put this plan into action. It’s so fun!

  30. Great job again, guys!

    I had to laugh hard when the picture of the forest showed up with “realtor” underneath. Normally you would expect a house or land to build on, but the trees and small river caught me off guard. 🙂

    Glad to hear you had a lovely Thanksgiving.


    1. Hah, yeah. Buying acres of land is a whole different ballgame from buying a normal house… but you still have to have a realtor.

  31. I love the pictures of Vermont! Is Vermont the only State you are considering homesteading? Glad you had a nice, frugal thanksgiving (even though you had a couple household fixes). Frugal hound sniffing the turkey is so cute!

    1. Thanks! We weren’t kidding, Frugal Hound really is a Certified Turkey Freak.

      Southern Vermont is where we’re concentrating our search for now, but western MA also fits the bill. Rural New England, but still decently close to amenities and urban centers with tourists who might enjoy staying at kitchy airbnb property 🙂

  32. I almost used AirBnB in Vermont this month too, but wound up finding a slightly cheaper deal through regular hotels in the area. It’s really lovely there.

    1. It’s a beautiful state! Not such a great economy (though people make it work) but the natural beauty is absolutely astounding.

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