September on the homestead

We’re getting older. Or at least, Mr. Frugalwoods is getting older (I’m forever, uh, 30 right? 32? 33? Let’s stop there). My previously 20/20-visioned mountain man/computer engineer capitulated to needing corrective lenses (more commonly known as glasses) about three years ago.

Then this summer, he started having daily headaches and I, being a model of not overreacting, knew he had a brain tumor. Mr. FW–being a more rational individual (but it COULD be a brain tumor)–looked at the calendar and realized that what with having two kids and moving to our homestead and managing to bathe daily*, he’d forgotten to get an eye exam for several years.

*track record is not 100% on this one

Still suspecting a brain tumor, I made him an appointment and in he went only to learn that his prescription had changed. Indeed, his eyes are just a tad worse. The likely culprit for headaches, the ophthalmologist surmised. I realized I was derelict in my eye exams as well and made an appointment post haste, which confirmed that my 20/20 vision is holding up five years after my LASIK surgery.

Mr. FW sporting his new glasses

Armed with a fresh prescription, Mr. FW does what we do in every situation requiring that we purchase something: he took to the internet. Even if we don’t end up buying whatever it is from the internet, we like to first research and compare prices so we’re making our purchases with eyes wide open (so to speak).

Fortunately, this was a quick search for him because several years ago, we discovered the miracle that is buying your glasses online. I know folks are suspicious of this approach, but we’ve now done it several times and been most pleased. The site we use is Eye Buy Direct (that’s an affiliate link) and we prefer their services for several reasons:

  1. It’s not the dirt cheapest site. I once ordered the dirt cheapest glasses I could find on the internet (back before I got LASIK surgery) and they were awful.
  2. It’s not the most expensive site. There are some pricey, fancy-pantsy sites out there vending pricey, fancy-pantsy glasses. No thanks.
  3. They let you upload a photo of your head to virtually “try on” glasses.
  4. They have a 14 day return policy allowing you to return or exchange your glasses within two weeks after receiving them.
  5. They also have a 365 day product guarantee that allows a one-time replacement of a pair of glasses, “if there are clear defects in material and workmanship.”
Mr. FW’s Eye Buy Direct glasses

I wrote a full review of our experience with Eye Buy Direct a few years back and, all of it still holds true with our most recent purchase. Even better, Mr. FW was able to simply re-order the glasses and sunglasses he ordered last time, just with his new prescription. I think it took him all of five minutes.

His grand total was $62.16 for:

  1. One pair of prescription eyeglass frames + lenses with scratch and glare resistance (with an oleophobic coating)
  2. One pair of prescription sunglass frames + lenses with scratch and glare resistance (with an oleophobic coating)
  3. Shipping

Pretty good deal, I’d say!

A Truck Bed Cover

Truck bed cover: keeping leaves out since September 2018

Another noteworthy/interesting expense this month was a cover for the bed of our pick-up truck. We were rocking it coverless all summer, but since we don’t have a garage, neither of us wanted to sign-up to shovel out the truck bed every time it snows this winter. And it snows every other day, so ya know. Bonus is that it’s keeping all of the fall leaves out too!

Credits Cards: How We Buy Everything


Mr. Frugalwoods and I purchase everything we possibly can with credit cards for several reasons:

  1. It’s easier to track expenses. No guesswork over where that random $20 bill went; it all shows up in our monthly expense report from Personal Capital. This prompts me to spend less money because I KNOW I’m going to see every expense in detail at the end of each month.
  2. We get rewards. Who doesn’t like 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 things we were going to buy anyway.
  3. We build our credit. Since Mr. FW and I don’t carry any debt other than our mortgages, having several credit cards open for many years (which are fully paid off every month) has greatly helped our credit scores. By the way, it’s a dirty, 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, however, does help your score.
September leaves

If you’re interested in opening a credit card, I highly recommend using this site to search for a card that’ll best fit your needs. And if you’re interested in travel rewards cards specifically, check out this list curated by my friend Brad from Travel Miles 101. I respect Brad’s work in the travel rewards space and I trust his advice on which cards will reap the best benefits.

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 that using credit cards might prompt you to spend more money, then credit cards are not for you–stick with using a debit card and/or cash. But if you have no problem paying that bill in full every month? I recommend you credit card away, my friend! (these are affiliate links)

Personal Capital: How We Organize Our Expen$e$



Mr. Frugalwoods and I use Personal Capital to aggregate and consolidate our transactions from across all of our accounts. We then drop them into a spreadsheet to provide the below analysis for you fine people.


I present to you: defiant with a stick

Tracking expenses is, in my opinion, the best way 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. Sounds harsh, but 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 frugal must, folks. No excuses.

Personal Capital (which is free to use) is a great way for us 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, give Personal Capital a try (these are affiliate links). Here’s a more detailed explanation of how I use Personal Capital for my expense tracking.

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.

How To Read A Frugalwoods Expense Report

Want to know how we manage the rest of our money? Look no further than Our Low Cost, No Fuss, DIY Money Management System. We also own a rental property in MA, which I discuss here. Why do we allocate our money like we do? It’s all in service of our goal to reach financial independence and move to a homestead in the woods (which happened in May 2016).

For us, embracing prudent financial management and frugality is a joyful, longterm choice. We prefer a simple life to one filled with consumerism and we spend only on the things that matter most to us. Our approach isn’t one of miserly deprivation; to the contrary, we live a luxuriously frugal existence in which we maximize efficiency.

Why do I share our expenses? To help give you a sense of how we use our money in a goals-oriented manner. Your spending will differ from ours and there’s no “one right way” to spend and no “perfect” budget (perfection does not exist!). We’re not the most frugal people on earth (far from it) and we’re not spendthrifts either. We fall somewhere in between and I hope that by being transparent about our spending, you might gain some insights into your own spending and be inspired to take proactive control of your money.

Interested in how we keep costs low? Up for some hardcore frugal adventuring? Sign-up to take my Uber Frugal Month Challenge, which is the method Mr. FW and I employ to sculpt our frugal lifestyle. You can sign-up at any time and you’ll start with Day 1 so you won’t miss a frugal thing. P.S. It’s free! And if you’re interested in the other things I love, check out Frugalwoods Recommends.

A Note On Rural Life


Toddler exiting the frame

Since we live on 66 acres in rural Vermont, our utilities and expenses are slightly different from traditional urban and suburban dwellings.

We don’t pay for water, sewer, trash, or heating/cooling because we have a well, a septic system, our town doesn’t provide trash pick-up, we heat our home with wood we harvest ourselves from our land, and we don’t have central air conditioning (we use window units during the hottest parts of the summer).

We also have solar panels, which account for our low electricity bill.

For more on our rural lifestyle, check out my series This Month On The Homestead as well as City vs. Country: Which Is Cheaper? The Ultimate Cost Of Living Showdown.

But Mrs. Frugalwoods, Don’t You Pay For X, Y, Or Even Z????

Wondering about common expenses that you don’t see listed below? Our August 2015 expense report has the answers you seek! Plus, as I explained here, we pay bills in full the month we receive them–that’s why you won’t see monthly payments for things like car insurance or property tax. Our health insurance is paid for by Mr. FW’s employer (who he works for from home).

If you’re curious about how we handle charitable contributions, check out How We Donate To Charities Like Billionaires and also How We Make Meaningful And Tax Efficient Charitable Donations.

Alright you frugal money voyeurs, feast your eyes on every dollar we spent in September:

Item Amount Notes
VT Mortgage $1,392.86
Groceries $495.78
Preschool $448.35 Babywoods goes to preschool four mornings a week and loves it! You can read more about our preschool decision here.
Truck bed cover $249.99 We got this Tonneau bed cover for our truck, but we bought it on Ebay because it was cheaper there (affiliate link).
Home improvement supplies $178.56 Final woodshed materials: Mr. FW needed shorter screws for the metal roofing, some additional 1x4x10 purlins, and more 5/4×8 PT decking for in between the bays.
Restaurants $152.97 Several divine date nights for me and Mr. FW! My parents were visiting and offered to babysit for us and we took them up on it.
Doctor visit co-pays $140.00 Eye doctor appointments for both of us + other misc. co-pays.
Household Supplies $139.66 Thrilling non-food items, such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, vitamins, baby items, medications, and mouse traps (for the Prius! These freak of nature mice want to live inside our car SO BAD).
Propane (delivered by Suburban Propane) $120.00 I shared the details on our propane usage–and the wisdom of switching providers in order to net the lowest price per gallon–in this post right here.
Gasoline for cars $82.85 Higher than normal due to Mr. FW driving to Boston and back for work.
Internet $74.00 Love our fiber internet!
Eye glasses (two pairs) $62.16 From Eye Buy Direct (affiliate link)
Cell phone through BOOM Mobile $19.99
Utilities: Electricity $17.24 We have solar so this is the base price to keep us grid tied.
Vital wheat gluten (affiliate link) $14.89 For use in baking my homemade bread (in my found-by-the-side-of-the-road bread machine). Here’s the recipe I use.
TOTAL: $3,589.30
Minus Mortgage: $2,196.44

How was your September?

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  1. The truck bed covers are the best. It makes a big difference when you know anything you shove in will always be dry. Makes furniture transport significantly easier, especially in Florida with all our afternoon rain. 🙂

  2. I desperately wanted to be able to order glasses online. Tried both eye buy and zenni and no luck – the eye buy glasses gave me terrible headaches. Plus, eye buy never refunded my money for the return. I can’t wear the zenni glasses for reading or computer work without headaches either. This ended up being a situation where because of my odd vision prescription buying from the physical store was necessary.

  3. Wow, that’s pretty cheap or glasses! They look great btw. I’ve always gotten warby Parker because they let you try on 5 and mail them to you and my vision insurance covers them fully every year. I also lose my case and cloth wipe and squish my glasses at least once a year and just stop by their brick and mortar to get it fixed for free. If I were better at keeping all my stuff super clean and intact I’d use your recommendations instead! Just scared no eye lens place will fix my glasses otherwise haha.

  4. Buying glasses online has been a wonderful experience for me…& I have a complicated and heavy prescription. I’ve only ordered from Zenni Optical online…but I’ve gone from paying $500-$800.00 in-store to paying about $125 online. If you have an easier prescription, you can easily order some very nice glasses for about $80.00 or less 🙂
    Love your posts – I hope you have a great weekend!

      1. Good to hear that your online experience was good. I’ve been leery, I’m almost a -9 and need my glasses carefully fitted to me to get the correction properly centered. Not to mention I now wear bifocals.

  5. The kids are growing so quickly:)
    I will have to look into the purchase of glasses on line, it’s so expensive in the store. But I am not sure about the virtually try on part, is it pretty accurate?
    My September was not so good on the expense side, some big expenses. One was for track & field for my 17 year old son $820!!!
    Cheers. Caroline

    1. Mr. FW was happy with the virtual try-on and we also measured his old glasses to see what width and height were best for his face. Plus, since they offer a 14-day return/exchange policy, we felt confident making the purchase.

  6. I will look into those eyeglasses! How about a post on the Cambridge rental? How it’s going, pluses and minuses, how often you go there etc..

    1. Good question! I should do an update post on the rental! In short, it’s going really well and we’re very happy with our decision to rent it out. We have a property manager (details are in this post), which we are THRILLED about. Definitely something we keep a close eye on, but so far we’re pleased all around.

  7. We started using Eye Buy Direct after you recommended them a couple of years ago. Junior ThreeYear has gone through five pairs of glasses, so boy are we glad to have found the site! I just got him pairs 3, 4, and 5 and paid a grand total of about $55 including shipping. Yay. I remember when my parents paid around $250/pair for my eyeglasses. So glad you got to go on several dates this month!! Mr. ThreeYear and I are overdue for a date night!!

  8. Been reading for a while and always enjoy the expense report posts, but have just noticed that you don’t include health care in these. Wondring if you are still covered by employers or if you are using ACA- and either way, and what your monthly costs are for family insurance?

    1. Hi Monica–I have a note about our health insurance in the post under the “But Mrs. Frugalwoods, Don’t You Pay For X, Y, Or Even Z????” paragraph. Mr. FW’s employer (who he works for from home) generously covers our health insurance.

  9. If I had a simple eyeglasses prescription I might consider buying glasses online. However, my prescription is tricky and I get very good service from my chosen optical office. To each his own.

  10. Honda makes a tape that is infused with capsacin – the mice HATE it. One chew and they’re done. The wire coatings in your prius (and many other vehicles including our F150) are made of soybeans and are very attractive to rodents. Thus the need to wrap the wires with tape. We had $1200 wire damage on a 6-week old truck! Since wrapping no problems. Love your book and your site.

    1. How do you get to all of it to wrap it? Or are there particular spots that are most attractive? We have neighbors who had a Subaru that had thousands of dollars worth of mice damage. I’m anxious not to join hat club.

    1. I’d say it’s fine. We use it because it’s the cheapest provider that gets some cell reception out here in our rural location. If we were in the city (and had more cell coverage), I would look into other options just to compare. I think Ting offers an even less expensive monthly plan. You can research “MVNO providers” for your area and see what’s cheapest and has the best coverage. Good luck :)!

  11. I wonder if Mr. Frugalwoods wouldn’t be happy to have prescription SAFETY glasses, for wood cutting and other outside work. Safety almost always saves money in the long run.

    1. He actually uses a full-cover integrated safety helmet with ear protection and a face shield. He is vigilant about safety and has full chainsaw safety gear including chaps, boots, gloves, and the integrated helmet. So important to be safe!

  12. I love buying eyeglasses online. I can’t imagine going back to a storefront. I started buying online when our vision insurance was cancelled about ten years ago. I use glasses shop and I’ve been really happy with the glasses and the customer service.
    Plus, I always get a ton of compliments on my frames!
    I have a pretty strong RX and I think my last pair, with a coupon code and sale, was $22 shipped.

    Also, for mice in cars–I think it might be something about Toyotas. I had some mice wreck a good bit of the wiring in my Corolla two winters ago. I buy a really strong sachet from the hardware store that I keep in the car–it’s a blend of peppermint and cedar oil.

  13. Get the book Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day. Makes bread with Unbleached all purpose flour. So easy, so cheap. Really good. We make the master recipe, the buttermilk bread, and a few others. Easy as a bread machine.

  14. I am curious if you will do a savings rate update since you have moved to the homestead. I know you are still in start up mode for homestead supplies but are you saving at the same rate? When does start up time end?

  15. Hey! Glad the Solar is still working out and we would love to come visit soon and I could give you guys some of my sourdough starter that I have been keeping alive for more then 4 years. Simple to feed and use and healthier then using Vital Wheat Gluten!

    1. Ooo thank you! We’d love to have you come visit :). Shoot me an email and we’ll arrange! (

  16. I echo Avid Reader and would love to hear an update on the Cambridge rental! I became a landlord this spring (the word is so regal – I’m a lord of land!) and have referred to your posts about your rental frequently. So far so good with my quiet tenants who pay on time! Would love to know if you (or your property manager) have done an inspection of your rental property since your tenants moved. I should do that but feel a smidge awkward about it.

  17. To get rid of mice and other wildlife that causes damage, go to:

    I buy the Bobcat Pee Shots to use in my rural storage unit. There is a product available for every creature, the smell is detectable to them, not to humans and it is a life saver if you don’t want mice chewing on your car’s wires or things you have in storage.

  18. I’ve been told that my eyes are “crooked,” meaning one is a little higher than the other. I have never been able to make my glasses fit properly and depend on an optician to help me out. Because of that, I’ve never tried online glasses.

  19. If that’s one near you, you can also check out America’s Best. They offer an exam and two pairs of glasses for like $70, which is really good, imho.

  20. I had pretty good luck with Made in USA even. I have several pairs, including prescription sunglasses.

    Alas this year I moved on to progressives. They are much harder to “fit”, and the $99 ones I bought from them just never worked. This year I used my insurance to buy $85 ones from Costco, and they are the best. Will continue with Costco (probably every 2 years now, sigh.) At my prior eye doctor, they were going to be $600 with insurance.

  21. Great post! I wonder how you handle your non-compostable trash. Do you burn it? And how do you store it in the meantime? (Maybe a silly city-dweller question! 😉

    1. Good question–not silly at all :)! Our town has a trash and recycling drop-off every Saturday,so we take our trash and recycling there every week. We buy special trash bags from our town for $2 a bag and we bought 100 bags back in January (check them out in this expense report). We use one bag per week, so that’ll last us awhile 🙂

  22. Re: getting older. Just want to leave you with my very favorite quote:

    “Do not regret getting older. It is a privilege denied to many.”

    I’d love my eyesight/metabolism I had as a kid, but I’ll certainly take getting older instead 😉 Even my hearing, I guess. Sigh.

  23. My mom used to get field mice in her kitchen cabinets during the winter sometimes, so since she had to wash everything in the cabinets anyway, she’d bring in the barn cat and let it walk all around in the cabinets sniffing for mice. The mice would stay out for a long time after smelling the cat’s presence. Obviously this doesn’t work if someone’s allergic to cats.
    I’ve been wearing glasses since I was in third grade. I went to contacts in 8th grade and have worn them since. I don’t like to wear glasses; there’s no peripheral vision and they fog up. My goal is to get my vision corrected by surgery one day. Another reason I don’t like glasses is I always thought they were way overpriced. I’m glad to see they can be bought so much more reasonably now.

    1. JD, I was blind, blind, blind as the proverbial bat. Always had to sit in the front row in school, even with Coke bottle glasses. When I got contacts I wept—I had no idea that the green on trees was individual leaves. Anyway, in my 20s I started an essential medication that gave me cataracts by 30. I had surgery on both eyes, one long range and the other near range. I now have 20/10 vision with no glasses. Every time my husband orders his glasses from Googles4U he sighs with envy. I will never have to wear bifocals. SO, perhaps you will be lucky enough to get cataracts soon!

  24. A few years ago at the ripe old age of 29, I had to get progressive lenses (the fancier version of bifocals). Because of that, I can’t really order them easily online but I’ve found that Costco offers reasonably priced pairs. Last year, I paid around $350-400 for an eye exam, a year of contacts, and specialty glasses with no insurance. Not bad!

  25. Ahh I wished I had read about the glass website earlier. Mr. FAF got his from Costco for $85 I think. He got to choose his design and such, but still. I will ask him to take a look at your suggested store in the future. Glasses are expensive!

      1. Try some peppermint oil. A barn cat might not be a bad idea. Mice, gophers, voles, chipmunks are detriments to the homestead. Of course a well fed cat is a much better hunter. Read up on caring for an outside cat re: shelter and water source.

  26. I live all the way over here in New Zealand (do come to visit!) and the day we discovered buying glasses online was one of our biggest ‘ah-ha’ moments as we both wear them. We use who deliver for free which is important given where we are. Amazing service and quality and I now tell anyone who will listen! Thanks for blogging on this, so many glasses wearers are not aware they exist or are sceptical of the quality. Don’t be! So pleased to cut that expense out of our lives. Love your images, your farm is looking beautiful at this time of year.

  27. Luckily, I only need reading glasses from Dollar Tree….lol. I love looking at your expenses, because, although you live in a totally different area of the country from me, I like to see how folks in different parts of the country do things such as make maple sugar! I basically spent only like I usually do for this month. I suspect I will have to go to the dentist next month, and that will be an expenditure since my insurance will cover only half the visit…sigh.

  28. Ooh I need to remember that eyeglasses link for my hubs! His prescription changed and hoo-ee, it was pricey replacing his glasses.

    September was great on the ol’ urban homestead. 🙂 I think it rained for … it feels like the ENTIRE month. Because of that, we had a few weeks of what we called “second Spring.” Now we’re getting some chilly fall weather, which is awesome. 🙂

    It’s been a little crazy in October around here. I started working for myself and started a business, and hubs took his professional licensure exam. Hopefully things will calm down a bit!

  29. Pretty good! My husband and I just recently started living off of his salary and saving mine. It was a year-long adjustment to get us here, but here we are and we are really excited! We’re still struggling with things like dining out, but our cash flow is slowly improving. We don’t worry about finding money for things anymore. We plan stuff out. We talk to our mechanic about upcoming maintenance. We buy our clothes (quality) at the thrift store. We talk about everything we buy before we buy it. We are working to use up what we have before we buy more. We are even giving our kid an allowance now and working with him on spend, save, donate. So life is good and continuing to get better.

  30. I had my first eye appointment since I was in high school and fortunately I still has great vision. The doctor did give me prescription but it was to slightly sharpen my vision especially when I drive at night and said it was optional to get it because my vision is fine. Trying to hold off buy glasses as long as I can. I’m approaching my 40s so hopefully I won’t need them for another 5-10 years or longer.

  31. As a fellow parent of young babies, I would love to know your approach to consumables like diapers and wipes. For 3 years now, I’ve been trying to find the best deals but find all the choices overwhelming. 🙂

    1. Great question! I should really do a whole post on this, but here’s my quick answer:
      -Cheapest diapers are: Costco store brand (which is Kirkland); BJ’s store brand (which is Berkeley Jensen); and Wal-Mart store brand (which is Parents’ Choice). When we had a Costco near us, we used those exclusively. Then, when we moved and had a BJ’s, we used the BJ’s diapers for a month or so and weren’t happy with them–I found that they leaked (however, my friend who has a boy swears they’re the best, so it might be a boy/girl issue). Now we use Parents’ Choice for Littlewoods (Babywoods is mercifully potty trained, but we used Parents’ Choice for her prior to that). I’ve been really happy with them and they are cheap, cheap, cheap. From the last time I price checked, all three options were the same price per diaper and were the cheapest options available.
      -Wipes: Basically the same three options as above. We use the BJ’s store brand wipes as they’re scent-free and for sensitive skin and also super duper cheap. Prior to that, we used the Costco store brand wipes. I once used the Wal-mart wipes and they were just fine too. We use the BJ’s wipes now because they periodically have coupons for them, which make them the cheapest.
      -Other stuff (diaper rash cream, baby wash, lotion, etc): we get the generic Wal-Mart store brand of all of these items or the Wal-Mart knock-off of Aveno, Johnson & Johnson, Cetaphil, etc. They have lots of generic versions and the prices are excellent.

      Good luck and let me know if you have any questions :)! I’ve clearly spent a lot of time price comparing all of this… hah!

      1. I don’t have children so can’t talk from direct experience, but wouldn’t washable nappies/diapers be cheaper in the long run, especially if used for subsequent children?

  32. I used EYE GLASSES DIRECT this summer for the first time. I really liked the virtual try on app. My glasses came and were VERY BLURRY for my eyes. I called. Sentvmy glasses back and new glasses were sent to me free of charge that were perfect. Customer service was very helpful.

    1. Good memory! Our original bread machine was indeed a hand-me-down, but it was on its last legs (the thing had to be at least 30+ years old) and so luckily, I found a newer one on the side of the road in a free pile! Hooray!

  33. What kind of Prius do you drive again? I’m a little freaked out by the mice! I haven’t had that issue… yet…

    1. Ugh, I really try not to think about it that much… we have two traps in there and that at least seems to catch them quickly so they’re not hanging out in there for long periods of time…

  34. hard to believe someone throwing out a Zogurushi bread machine!! your photo shows 3 loaves, are you using the machine to just mix, and baking in oven, or ???? thanks, ann lee, also proud owner of a Zogurushi bread machine.

  35. Searched your site – which bread machine do you own? You obviously love and USE it. There are so many (too many!!) to chose from! Thanks –

    1. Hi Rachel! I use a Zojirushi bread machine, which is AWESOME, but I found it for free by the side of the road. Prior to this wonderful find, I used an ancient hand-me-down bread machine that was at least 30+ years old (but it worked fine!). So, I can’t say I’d recommend paying the full price for a Zojirushi (as they are $$$$$). Rather, I’d check out garage sales and thrift stores since people always seem to be getting rid of their bread machines. Good luck and happy baking :)!

      1. Oh boy – you did hit the frugal jackpot there! I must have missed that somewhere, good for you! Thanks, am already scanning roadsides etc.

  36. Great looking glasses. I did the same and used Glasses USA and they were fabulous. Same deal…upload your face …try on…take a picture of your prescription and voila! They even emailed back and forth to ask a few questions.
    I ended up spending around the same price point!
    Thanks for sharing this!

  37. I love Eye Buy Direct too…online eyeglass purchasing has really improved over the years with the size options, frame variety, the detailed descrpitions, and the return policies.. I just got a pair for $35!

  38. I noticed the Vital Wheat Gluten line in your expenses for September and I’m wondering if you’ve tried the recipe you use for bread without it? I switched to your bread recipe after I tried it and preferred it to my own — I didn’t have any VW gluten and so made my initial loaf without it and it turned out great so I’ve never made it with it.
    Maybe you could save the $14.89 OR maybe you have tried it without the gluten and it’s better with it and I should pony up the $ and start making my bread with it!!

    1. I initially made the recipe without the vital wheat gluten (because we didn’t have any) and every loaf I made was super duper dense. Adding the VWG makes it lighter and less dense, which we prefer. But, you certainly can make it without–it’s an optional thing and I think it depends on how you like your bread. Glad you’re enjoying the recipe–I think King Arthur has the best baking recipes hands down!

      1. Thank you — I think I’ll try and find a small amount in bulk so I can compare the versions. I appreciate you taking the time to reply to my comment.

  39. Hi, I like the idea of using Personal Capital to track expenses, but my spouse is very concerned about the security of our financial information, passwords, cloud storage, etc. Was that much of a concern for you? If so, how did you get past it? Thanks!

  40. For rodent problems- hear me out on this- you need a cat. Our neighbors wondered why our property was the only garden not being ravaged by voles and I pointed out that we have a cat who patrols regularly while they have a dog. When we started having mice problems at our business we tried traps unsuccessfully. We aren’t comfortable using poison (as I’m a blankity blank hippie as my dad would say) because we didn’t want to poison the birds of prey who eat the mice, the building, the environment etc. Picked up another cat from the humane society to be the resident “office cat” and it worked like a charm pretty much instantly. I don’t even think he was killing them, it seemed that just the smell and presence of the cat started keeping them away. That said, outdoor pet cats are such effective predators (and not being necessarily a natural part of the ecosystem) that they can be devastating to the local birds, etc. So I’d recommend an indoor/ garage cat for that reason.

  41. If you ever find an answer to the mouse/Prius issue please let us know. I keep finding droppings everywhere in mine! We had it detailed, they took out one nest, we have tried dryer sheets, hot pepper spray, peppermint sachets and still they return. They especially love to poop on our carseat. Barf. I am ordering something called the mouseblocker pro in desperation.

    1. Sadly we haven’t found a permanent solution either. We keep two traps in the car at all times–one in the footwell of the front passenger seat and one in the footwell of the backseat. I’m now militant about cleaning out kid snacks, etc so that it’s really obvious if there’s a mouse afoot. We had a good stretch of not catching any mice and then yesterday morning… one mouse in the front seat trap. Grrrrr. Let me know if the mouseblocker pro works!

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