Sunday, May 28, 2023

Canine’s Christmas Stocking And Different November 2022 Bills


November is at all times a month of celebrations in our household! We hosted Thanksgiving for what we predict is the tenth yr–though there have been a number of years off for Covid–and Kidwoods turned seven!

My do-it-yourself Thanksgiving pies

Our bills are at all times greater in November on account of those festivities and I don’t thoughts in any respect. Being able to spend on issues that matter deeply to me is why I’m frugal. It’s why I observe my spending. It’s why I interrogate my priorities and the way my spending displays them.

It’s an illustration of values-based spending:

Save on stuff that doesn’t matter–or which you could get used for a less expensive worth–to allow your self the liberty to spend on the issues that matter most.

Earlier this month I wrote about how I’ve saved hundreds of {dollars} on my youngsters’ wardrobes by sourcing all of their clothes second-hand. The rationale I do it’s because I can. As a result of I can outfit them in completely good clothes for a FRACTION of the value. Then, when it comes time to have a good time and host household, I’ve the monetary leeway to spend extra on groceries and wine and birthday events. My strategy isn’t about depriving myself or reducing again in each single class, it’s about being strategic with how and the place I spend my cash.

A Christmas Stocking for A Canine

Our stockings!

One in all my traditions is to embellish for Christmas the week earlier than Thanksgiving. Don’t come after me! I LOVE CHRISTMAS decorations and I gained’t cease!!! I do that, partially, in order that we are able to get the sensation of celebrating two holidays with my husband’s household since we don’t spend Christmas with them.

As I used to be placing up our decor–all of which I re-use yr to yr–I spotted one thing was lacking. When our oldest was born, my mother-in-law purchased GORGEOUS monogrammed Christmas stockings for us from Land’s Finish. When Littlewoods was born, she purchased her a stocking as properly.

That is how I discovered myself on the Land’s Finish web site trying to find the right stocking to monogram for…. the canine. I do know, I do know, she will’t even learn, however I wished one! So I purchased it. Whereas on there, I availed myself of a screaming deal on winter base layers for the ladies and, uh, ya know… additionally purchased a gown for myself. What can I say? It’s Christmas-y plaid!!!!!! I’ve a factor for Christmas-y plaid, as all vacation photographs of my kids amply exhibit. 

Kidwoods’ SEVENTH Birthday!

Kidwoods requested a celebration to which she may invite her complete class together with a good variety of youngsters in different lessons as properly. Wanting over her visitor listing, which she wrote herself and included such luminaries as her instructor and the principal, we realized it might be folly to attempt to have all these of us at our home.

The birthday lady + sisters

And so, we had her social gathering at our city middle, which has an important playground! Excellent. For a mere $50 we have been capable of lease out the city middle, host a celebration and are available house to a clear, non-destroyed house. WORTH IT.

We served sandwiches, chips, fruit & veggies, cans of seltzer, juice containers, cupcakes and cookies, which–mixed with internet hosting Thanksgiving–is why our grocery funds was about $200 greater than regular.

Whereas most of her birthday presents have been bought second-hand at yard gross sales and thrift shops, we did purchase one reward new: Qwirkle!! Our pals launched us to this board recreation throughout our seashore trip with them earlier this fall and it’s pleasant! It’s kinda like Scrabble, however with colours and shapes, which suggests the entire household can play.

We’ve been a bit restricted in whole-family video games since Littlewoods can’t learn but, however Qwirkle is ideal (affiliate hyperlinks)! It’s truly enjoyable for adults to play, there’s some severe technique concerned, AND a four-year-old can completely do it. Extremely suggest!!

Family provides have been additionally up this month on account of buying some celebration paraphernalia together with, however not restricted to, a unicorn piñata, which I’ve taped again collectively for reuse subsequent yr.

The ultimate birthday-related expense was $5 for a Daniel Tiger stuffy that Kidwoods purchased for her sister to have on her birthday. I used to be so touched by this gesture of kindness that I ended up paying for Daniel and never having Kidwoods pay me again. Littlewoods was thrilled and shocked that she bought to open a gift too! I’ll positively be doing that once more.

Christmas Playing cards

This yr’s Christmas postcard

I continued my custom of ordering enterprise postcards for our household Christmas playing cards as they’re SO MUCH cheaper.

I like postcards as a result of:

  • Their smaller measurement means they’re inexpensive
  • If you choose “enterprise” postcards, they’re a fraction of the value of normal “vacation” postcards
  • You’ll be able to nonetheless do full-color on each side of the cardboard
  • Postcard stamps are cheaper than common stamps
  • They arrive with the return deal with already printed
  • You don’t have to purchase envelopes

I’ve been utilizing this hack for the final 8 years and it’s nonetheless going robust! I ordered from my previous standby, VistaPrint, and spent $52–together with transport–on 150 full-color postcards. I truly bought myself in gear this yr to order on Black Friday, which meant I used to be capable of make the most of a sale they have been working. I’ve bought to recollect to order on that day yearly!

Be part of a UFM Mastermind Group

My new gown and the ladies of their new ski base layers. Plus my ornamental Christmas trumpet…

There’s a BRAND NEW solution to take part in my January Uber Frugal Month (UFM) Problem: be part of a Mastermind Group!!!! These teams are your likelihood to satisfy (on video) with me and another frugal of us as soon as every week for five weeks beginning in January! Learn extra right here; sign-up to affix right here.

Signal-up For The UFM to Win…. A PRIZE!

I’m giving freely three prizes to 3 of us who sign-up for the FREE January Uber Frugal Month:

Prize #1: A one-on-one primary monetary session with me, AKA a personal reader case examine ($1,500 worth!).

Prize #2: A spot in a UFM Mastermind Group ($300 worth!).

Prize #3: A photograph of my canine with a nametag on her head together with your identify written on it by my seven-year-old. You suppose I’m kidding? This child LOVES placing nametags on this canine’s head (priceless worth!).

To enter, sign-up for the Uber Frugal Month within the field beneath. I’ll select three winners by way of random quantity generator on Monday, December nineteenth. When you’ve already signed up for the January 2023 UFM, you’re already entered within the drawing!

Can I Discuss To You?

Sure! In September I launched Personal Reader Case Research, that are a possibility for people to rent me for a full monetary session. I additionally now provide hourlong video calls. You’ll be able to:

  1. Rent me for a personal monetary session right here.
  2. Schedule an hourlong name with me right here.

To be taught extra about personal one-on-one consultations, test this out.

I Love the Free Cash Monitoring Instruments from Private Capital!

I exploit a free on-line service known as Private Capital to prepare our cash. It tracks our spending, web price, investments, retirement, every little thing.

Our halls are DECKED!

Realizing the place your cash’s at is among the best methods to get a deal with in your funds. You can not make knowledgeable choices about your cash when you don’t understand how you’re spending it or how a lot you might have. When you’d prefer to know extra about how Private Capital works, try my full write-up.

With no holistic image of your funds, there’s no solution to set financial savings, debt reimbursement or funding objectives. It’s a should, of us. Private Capital (which is free) is a good way for me to systematize our monetary overviews because it hyperlinks all of our accounts collectively and gives a complete image of our web price.

When you don’t have a strong concept of the place your cash’s at–or the way you’re spending it–think about making an attempt Private Capital (word: the Private Capital hyperlinks are affiliate hyperlinks). 

Credit Playing cards: How We Purchase Every little thing

We purchase every little thing we are able to with bank cards as a result of:

  1. 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 spend much less cash as a result of I KNOW I’m going to see each expense listed on the finish of the month.

  2. We get rewards. Bank card rewards are a easy solution to get one thing for nothing. By the playing cards we use, we get money again in addition to lodge and airline factors for getting stuff we have been going to purchase anyway.
  3. 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 grimy fable that carrying a stability in your bank card helps your credit score rating–IT DOES NOT. Paying your playing cards off IN FULL each month and conserving them open for a few years does assist your rating.

For extra on my bank card technique, try:

Money Again Playing cards to Take into account

When you’re now cash-back curious, there are a variety of playing cards in the marketplace providing fairly good money again percentages. Listed here are a number of I feel are a very good deal:

Portrait of a canine the day earlier than Thanksgiving

1) Blue Money Most popular® Card from American Categorical:

  • 6% money again at U.S. supermarkets on as much as $6,000 per yr in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% money again on choose U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% money again at U.S. fuel stations and on transit (together with taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and extra).
  • 1% money again on different purchases.
  • Earn a $250 assertion credit score after you spend $3,000 in purchases in your new Card inside the first 6 months
  • $0 intro annual payment for the primary yr, then $95. Charges and costs particulars right here.
  • Phrases apply

2) Blue Money On a regular basis® Card from American Categorical:

  • 3% money again at U.S. supermarkets (on as much as $6,000 per yr in purchases, then 1%).
  • 3% Money Again at U.S. fuel stations, on as much as $6,000 per yr, then 1%.
  • 1% money again on different purchases.
  • Earn as much as $250 – Right here’s How: Earn as much as $150 again once you store with PayPal. Earn 20% again as an announcement credit score on purchases once you use your new Card to take a look at with PayPal at retailers within the first 6 months of Card Membership, as much as $150 again. Plus, earn $100 again as an announcement credit score after you spend $2,000 in purchases in your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • No annual payment. Charges and costs particulars right here.
  • Phrases apply.

3) Capital One Quicksilver Money Rewards Credit score Card:

  • 1.5% money again on each buy, day by day.
  • $200 money bonus after you spend $500 on purchases inside 3 months from account opening.
  • No annual payment.

Completely happy holidays from us! Our household pic, taken impromptu by a pal at a celebration

4) Capital One SavorOne Money Rewards Credit score Card:

  • Limitless 3% money again on eating, leisure, common streaming providers and at grocery shops (excluding superstores like Walmart and Goal).
  • 1% again on all different purchases.
  • 8% money again on tickets at Vivid Seats by means of January 2023.
  • $200 money bonus after you spend $500 on purchases inside the first 3 months from account opening.
  • No annual payment.

5) Chase Freedom Limitless®:

  • Earn an additional 1.5% on every little thing you purchase (on as much as $20,000 spent within the first yr), which is price as much as $300 money again:
    • 6.5% on journey bought by means of Chase Final Rewards
    • 4.5% on eating and drugstores
    • 3% on all different purchases.
  • After your first yr (or $20,000 spent), you earn:
    • 5% money again on Chase journey bought by means of Chase Final Rewards
    • 3% money again on drugstore purchases and eating at eating places, together with takeout and eligible supply service
    • Limitless 1.5% money again on all different purchases.
  • No annual payment.

Littlewoods: THRILLED that she bought to open a present too

6) Chase Freedom Flex℠:

  • 5% money again on as much as $1,500 in mixed purchases in bonus classes every quarter you activate.
  • New 5% classes every quarter.
  • 5% money again on journey bought by means of Chase Final Rewards
  • 3% money again on drugstore purchases and eating at eating places, together with takeout and eligible supply service
  • Limitless 1% money again on all different purchases.
  • $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • No annual payment.

When you’re focused on journey rewards, individuals love the Chase Sapphire Most popular Card®. You’ll be able to earn 60,000 bonus factors after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, which is $750 once you redeem by means of Chase Final Rewards.

Enormous caveat to bank card utilization: you MUST pay your bank card payments in full each single month, with no exceptions. When you’re involved about your capacity to do that, or suppose utilizing bank cards would possibly immediate you to spend extra, persist with a debit card or money. However in case you have no downside paying that invoice in full each month? I like to recommend you bank card away, my pal! (word: the bank card hyperlinks are affiliate hyperlinks).

Money Again Earned This Month: $55.60

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 $2,780.18 on that card, which netted us $55.60.

Not some huge cash, but it surely’s cash we earned for getting stuff we have been going to purchase anyway! For this reason I really like money again bank card rewards–they’re the best solution to earn one thing for nothing.

To see how this provides up over the course of a yr, try How I Made $712.59 With My Money Again Credit score Card.

The place’s Your Cash?

One other straightforward solution to optimize your cash is with 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.

The birthday lady requested we put on our matching clothes for her social gathering

Having cash in a no or low curiosity financial savings account is a waste of assets–your cash is sitting there doing nothing. Don’t let your cash be lazy! Make it give you the results you want! And now, take pleasure in some explanatory math:

Let’s say you might have $5,000 in a financial savings account that earns 0% curiosity. In a yr’s time, your $5,000 will nonetheless be… $5,000.

Let’s say you as an alternative put that $5,000 into an American Categorical Private Financial savings account, which–as of this writing–earns 3% in curiosity (affiliate hyperlink). In a single yr, your $5,000 may have elevated to $5,150. Which means you earned $150 simply by having your cash in a high-interest account.

And also you didn’t must do something! I’m an enormous fan of incomes cash whereas doing nothing. 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 making a living whereas doing nothing. Don’t be that individual. Be the one that earns cash whereas sleeping.

Sure, We Solely Paid $28.24 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 $28.24 for each of our telephones (that’s $14.12 per individual for these of you into division). How is such trickery potential?!? We use an MVNO!

What’s an MVNO?

Final yr’s Christmas postcard

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–the identical service, A LOT cheaper. When you’re not utilizing an MVNO, switching to at least one is a simple, slam-dunk, do-it-right-away manner to economize each single month of each single yr perpetually and ever amen.

Listed here are a two MVNOs to think about:

For extra, I’ve a full chart of suppliers and their costs right here: How you can 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 on what we use. Think about that! We solely pay for what we use! Will wonders ever stop. These MVNO hyperlinks are affiliate hyperlinks.

Expense Report FAQs

Wish to understand how we handle the remainder of our cash? Try How We Handle Our Cash: Behind The Scenes of The Frugalwoods Household Accounts

  • 2018 Christmas Postcard

    Don’t you might have a rental property? Sure! We personal a rental property (also called our first house) in Cambridge, MA, which I focus on right here and extra just lately, right here too.

  • Why do I share our bills? To present 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” funds.
  • 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 achieve 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.
  • When you’re focused on different issues I really like, try Frugalwoods Recommends.
  • Why don’t you purchase every little thing domestically? We do our greatest to assist our area people and purchase as a lot of our meals as potential instantly 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 we go a number of occasions a month to top off on what we are able to’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)

  • 2014 PRE-CHILDREN postcard

    We pay payments in full the month we obtain them. That’s why you gained’t see month-to-month funds for issues like automotive insurance coverage or property tax. These bills present up as the complete annual (or bi-annual, and so forth) quantity within the month we pay them.

  • Right here’s what we do for medical insurance.
  • We don’t have any money owed and we paid money for our vehicles.
  • 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 children’ greater training: How We Use 529 Plans To Save For Faculty
  • We dwell on 66 acres in rural Vermont, so our utilities and family bills are completely different from conventional city and suburban properties:
    • We don’t pay for water, sewer, trash, or heating/cooling as a result of we now have a properly, a septic system, our city doesn’t present trash pick-up (we take it to a switch station as soon as every week in luggage 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 items throughout the hottest components of the summer season).
    • There are, in fact, prices related to sustaining these techniques (comparable to having our septic system pumped and inspected) and people bills present up within the months we pay them.
    • We’ve got photo voltaic panels, which account for our low electrical energy invoice.
    • For extra on our rural way of life, try my sequence This Month On The Homestead in addition to Metropolis vs. Nation: Which Is Cheaper? The Final Price Of Dwelling Showdown

When you’re questioning about anything, be happy to ask within the feedback part!

Alright you frugal cash voyeurs, feast your eyes on each greenback we spent in November:

Merchandise Quantity Notes
Groceries $810.64 Roughly $200 greater than regular on account of:

  • Internet hosting Thanksgiving
  • Kidwoods’ Birthday Celebration

Cash very properly spent!

Truck repairs $740.76 Ugh automotive repairs. The truck wanted entrance struts, an oil change and its annual state inspection. Very grateful for our native mechanic who expenses lots lower than a dealership!
Studded Snow Tires for the Outback $687.01 We purchased 4 225/65/R17 Nokian Nordman 5 studded snow tires for the Subaru Outback. Cautious readers will recall that we purchased used snow tires and rims over the summer season. However, our intention was at all times to make use of the used rims and purchase new snow tires. Can’t put a worth on security and safety throughout ice and snow season. Or, I suppose you may and it’s $687.01…
Beer, wine and alcohol $299.24 A lot greater than regular on account of internet hosting Thanksgiving.
Fuel for vehicles $269.85
Canine and Hen Meals $181.67
Eating places $159.25 Dates with my husband!
Canine Coaching $150.00 We took Gigi to a canine coach for a number of periods, which have been nice!
Chickens $142.00 6 complete, frozen, free-range chickens from our farmer neighbors
The Canine Stocking + human clothes $127.87 It’s potential I had a bit an excessive amount of enjoyable on the Land’s Finish web site… I REGRET NOTHING
Preschool $120.00 For Littlewoods
Family provides $104.66 Increased than regular on account of shopping for some provides for the celebration
Bulk meals order $98.18 50lbs white complete wheat flour and 25lbs of natural oats, ordered by means of our native co-op’s bulk meals ordering
The Thanksgiving Turkey (+ some maple syrup) $81.00 Free vary, contemporary turkey raised by our farmer neighbors. It was DELICIOUS.
Web $72.00
Medical health insurance $52.43
Christmas playing cards + transport $52.00 150 full-color postcards from VistaPrint
City Middle Rental $50.00 For Kidwoods’ seventh celebration
The Vermont Almanac $37.10 A standby in our home yearly
Sensible plugs and sensible lights $35.73 I’m obsessive about these sensible plugs as they imply I can activate ALL of our Christmas lights with ONE button! I’m in heaven.

Additionally bought these sensible mild strips to exchange our getting old fairy lights, that are burning out after seven years of steady use (affiliate hyperlinks).

What can I say, I really like heat and comfortable lighting!!

Utilities: Electrical energy $31.52
Cellphone service for 2 telephones $28.24 Thanks, low cost MVNO!
Qwirkle recreation $26.49 Extremely suggest Qwirkle for all-ages household enjoyable (affiliate hyperlink).
Non-stick skillet $26.45 I make scrambled eggs for myself for lunch on a regular basis and so I bought this little nonstick skillet for my very own private egg utilization (affiliate hyperlink).
Physician go to co-pay $20.00
Spotify subscription $13.77
Canine License $13.00 Canine is now formally registered with the city
Daniel Tiger Stuffy $5.00 Awwww
TOTAL: $4,435.86

How was your November?

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