Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Walkie Talkies And Different December 2022 Bills

The canine booty wearer in query

Ahhh decadent December! Crammed with meals, wine, life-sized penguin stuffies and canine booties. December at all times guarantees to be a high-spend month, however that doesn’t should spell disaster. If you happen to plan for costly months, when you calculate what you spend on one thing like Christmas and save up over the course of a yr, you possibly can conclude a month like December with satisfaction versus remorse. The objective in all of this–all of this cash consciousness and smart monetary administration–isn’t to NEVER spend cash.

The objective (in my view, anyway) is to spend cash:

  1. In alignment along with your values and on what issues most to you
  2. In a deliberate, proactive approach versus an impulsive, reactive approach
  3. To reinforce happiness, to not create stress
  4. Solely on issues you possibly can truly afford

The way you articulate these 4 pillars of spending is as much as you, and for me? Final month it was on meals, wine and penguin stuffies. = My BFF for Christmas Presents

This yr I as soon as once more turned to to ship bottles of wine to our prolonged household (dad and mom and siblings). I’m a fan of consumable presents that don’t add litter and are one thing I do know the recipient will take pleasure in. For the 2 non-wine drinkers in our household, I despatched present playing cards to their favourite native eating places. One other consumable that can get used!

Cheers to my wine membership!

I like as a result of:

  1. The wine prices the identical because it does in a retailer. I’ve price-checked the bottles and doesn’t mark them up.
  2. The choice is immense. They’ve acquired each type of wine (additionally liquor and port) conceivable!
  3. It’s so fast and simple. I’ve saved my member of the family’s addresses AND their most well-liked kinds of wine on the positioning so I’ve a simple reference level every year. It takes me quarter-hour to order Christmas presents for my complete household!
  4. FREE SHIPPING. I saved the most effective for final. I pay $59 per yr to be a “Wine Stewardship Member,” which qualifies me at no cost transport on all of my purchases. Free transport! Essential since bottles of wine are heavy and costly to ship. This works out for me since I ship not less than 5 circumstances of wine a yr and every case would price ~$20 to ship.

All in all, is the reply to my gifting prayers and these are affiliate hyperlinks.

Christmas Presents: for Lecturers and the Angel Tree

On the astute recommendation a number of years in the past from Frugalwoods readers who’re lecturers, we give money to our youngsters’ lecturers each December. I write a pleasant observe and stick some money within the card. Once more, I need to give folks one thing they will use. And everybody can use money!

For the Angel Tree at church, we purchase regardless of the little one has requested.

My Personal Kids Get Used Christmas Presents

Checking to see if the reindeer visited–they depart carrot shavings exterior our home!

My husband and I don’t alternate presents with one another–a selection we made nearly a decade in the past. We as a substitute put cash in direction of experiences we take pleasure in, akin to: kid-free getaways, meals out at eating places, visits to breweries and our ski passes! We each choose experiences over stuff, so this works completely for us.

Our children obtain hand-me-down and storage sale finds! I scour thrift shops and yard gross sales all yr lengthy to gather issues I do know they’ll love. In our home, Santa retailers used.

For extra on how I handle actually cheap gifting for my children, take a look at:

…However I’m Not A Hardliner About It

Whereas 95% of my children’ presents come from yard gross sales/hand-me-downs, I’m not a zealot. I feel it’s all about steadiness. I don’t consider my kids want a whole lot of {dollars} value of toys for each birthday and Christmas, however I additionally consider it’s pretty for them to obtain a number of presents they’ve particularly requested. As our youngsters grow old (they’re at present 7 and nearly 5), they naturally have particular pursuits and particular present requests for Santa. We determined this yr that Santa would fulfill two of every little one’s particular present requests. The ladies wrote letters to Santa again in November and my fantastic mother wrote them again as Santa (facet observe: that is AMAZING for youths who can learn–I believed Kidwoods was going to move out from pleasure when she learn her letter from Santa).

On Christmas morning, Santa delivered 4 presents to every little one, two used and two new, though the youngsters have no idea the distinction–I started the custom of eradicating all packaging and tags from new presents years in the past in order that all the things appears to be like the identical once they unwrap it.

Right here’s What We Bought New:

  1. Presents!

    Snow globes: each ladies requested snow globes and so Santa Dada purchased two at Walmart (affiliate hyperlink).

  2. One huge penguin: for unknown causes, Kidwoods wished a “life-sized penguin stuffy” and Walmart delivered (affiliate hyperlink).. When she opened it, she introduced, “All my penguin goals got here true!!!!” so I assume that was a superb name on our half. Massive penguin now will get paraded round the home nonstop, a lot to the chagrin of the canine who I feel would possibly suppose it’s actual…
  3. Walkie Talkies: these are FABULOUS as a result of they pressure the ladies to play collaboratively (affiliate hyperlink). They’re fairly good about taking part in collectively as it’s, however these convey their cooperation to the following degree. In any case, it’s not very enjoyable to one-sided Walkie (as evidenced by the truth that Kidwoods bails each time Littlewoods reverts to respiration loudly into her Walkie… ). I actually attempt to hold a straight face as a guardian.
  4. Nail polish from Piggy Paint: The ladies are obsessive about me portray their nails, however I had misgivings about all of the chemical substances in my grownup nail polish (affiliate hyperlink). Enter: PiggyPaint. These things is non-toxic and water-based and has NO odor. Critically. It’s additionally very straightforward to use. Given these attributes, we let the ladies paint their very own nails with it. You’ve already precisely predicted the outcomes of this exercise: nail polish spilled on the ground, nail polish spilled on the desk, nail polish on clothes, nail polish on the canine, and the worst manicures you’ve ever seen. However it doesn’t matter! The stuff is so simply eliminated, it’s mainly like wiping up crayon marks. The draw back is that it doesn’t final lengthy on nails AT ALL, however the children don’t care–they simply repaint their nails the following day.

Canine Climbing Booties

Gigi within the snow, wishing for booties

Gigi, for her half, acquired a number of toys for Christmas in addition to a stocking filled with tennis balls. She was elated. She additionally acquired these hound climbing booties, about which she is demonstrably much less elated. As temperatures dropped and snow cowl ensued, Gigi started having bother on our hikes with ice getting caught between her little toe-sies. We tried making use of Musher’s Secret (a wax that’s supposed to maintain the paws ice-free), however it didn’t work. Subsequent, we tried the booties we’d used for Gracie (Frugal Hound 1.0), however these weren’t sturdy sufficient and saved falling off. Since Gigi hikes twice a day (as soon as with me and as soon as with Mr. FW), we wanted a approach to hold her snug and so, we ordered sled canine booties. After all, as quickly as they arrived it warmed up and we haven’t wanted to make use of them but. However, they match her securely and seem very sturdy.

Electrical Kettle

A number of years in the past we purchased an inexpensive, knock-off electrical kettle, which we use day by day to make our espresso, oatmeal and tea. Final month it broke. Mr. FW took it aside to see if he might repair it and found that on the primary electrical leads inside the bottom, subsequent to the heating component, the insulation had began cracking and flaking off the wires. This can be a enormous security and fireplace hazard! Clearly one of many methods they reduce prices on this knock-off kettle was by cheaping out on the warmth insulation wires. Scary! In gentle of this discovery, we determined to spend extra and get this Cuisinart kettle as a alternative (affiliate hyperlink).

We haven’t opened up the brand new kettle to examine on the wire insulation, however our hope is {that a} model identify has a long term stake in not burning down folks’s houses. We hope there are higher long-term security decisions being made on this kettle…. as a result of YIKES.

Can I Discuss To You?

Our winter hotter surprise: the wooden range

Sure! In September I launched Non-public Reader Case Research, that are a chance for folk to rent me for a one-on-one monetary session. I additionally now provide hourlong video calls. You’ll be able to:

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

To be taught extra about one-on-one consultations with me, examine 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 value, investments, retirement, all the things.

Figuring out the place your cash’s at is likely one of the best methods to get a deal with in your funds. You can not make knowledgeable selections about your cash when you don’t understand how you’re spending it or how a lot you might have. If you happen to’d wish to know extra about how Private Capital works, take a look at my full write-up.

With no holistic image of your funds, there’s no approach to set financial savings, debt reimbursement or funding targets. 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 supplies a complete image of our web value.

If you happen to don’t have a stable thought of the place your cash’s at–or the way you’re spending it–take into account making an attempt Private Capital (observe: the Private Capital hyperlinks are affiliate hyperlinks). 

Credit Playing cards: How We Purchase Every part

We purchase all the things we will with bank cards as a result of:

  1. Dawn as seen on a morning hike

    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 approach to get one thing for nothing. By way of the playing cards we use, we get money again in addition to lodge and airline factors for getting stuff we had 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 unclean fable that carrying a steadiness in your bank card helps your credit score rating–IT DOES NOT. Paying your playing cards off IN FULL each month and holding them open for a few years does assist your rating.

For extra on my bank card technique, take a look at:

Money Again Playing cards to Think about

If you happen to’re now cash-back curious, there are a selection of playing cards available on the market providing fairly good money again percentages. Listed below are a number of I feel are a superb deal:

1) Blue Money Most well-liked® Card from American Specific:

  • 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 price for the primary yr, then $95. Charges and charges particulars right here.
  • Phrases apply

Kidwoods at our church’s Christmas Eve service

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

  • 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 if you store with PayPal. Earn 20% again as an announcement credit score on purchases if 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 price. Charges and charges particulars right here.
  • Phrases apply.

3) Capital One Quicksilver Money Rewards Credit score Card:

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

4) Capital One SavorOne Money Rewards Credit score Card:

  • Limitless 3% money again on eating, leisure, well-liked streaming companies 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 price.

5) Chase Freedom Limitless®:

  • Earn an additional 1.5% on all the things you purchase (on as much as $20,000 spent within the first yr), which is value 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 price.

Littlewoods’ snow creation

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 price.

If you happen to’re thinking about journey rewards, folks love the Chase Sapphire Most well-liked 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 if you redeem by means of Chase Final Rewards.

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

Money Again Earned This Month: $62.18

The silver lining to our spending is our money again bank card. We earn 2% money again on each buy made with our Constancy Rewards Visa and, this month, we spent $3,109.04 on that card, which netted us $62.18.

Not some huge cash, however it’s cash we earned for getting stuff we had been going to purchase anyway! This is the reason I really like money again bank card rewards–they’re the only approach to earn one thing for nothing.

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

The place’s Your Cash?

Child in a tree

One other straightforward approach 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 in opposition to you.

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 be just right for you! 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 a substitute put that $5,000 into an American Specific Private Financial savings account, which–as of this writing–earns 3.3% in curiosity (affiliate hyperlink). In a single yr, your $5,000 could have elevated to $5,165. Meaning you earned $165 simply by having your cash in a high-interest account.

And also you didn’t should 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 creating wealth whereas doing nothing. Don’t be that individual. Be the one that earns cash whereas sleeping.

Sure, We Solely Paid $28.24 for Cell Telephone Service (for 2 telephones)

Dawn view from our again porch

Our cellphone service line merchandise will not be 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?

Glad you requested as a result of I used to be going to let you know anyway: It’s a cellphone service re-seller.

MVNOs are the TJ Maxx of the cellphone service world–the identical service, A LOT cheaper. If you happen to’re not utilizing an MVNO, switching to at least one is a simple, slam-dunk, do-it-right-away approach to economize each single month of each single yr eternally and ever amen.

Listed below are a number of MVNOs to think about:

For extra, I’ve a full chart of suppliers and their costs right here: Easy methods to Save Cash on Your Cell Telephone 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

  • Need to understand how we handle the remainder of our cash? Take a look at How We Handle Our Cash: Behind The Scenes of The Frugalwoods Household Accounts
  • Christmas tree by means of the window!

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

  • Why do I share our bills? To offer 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 approach” to spend and no “excellent” funds.
  • Are we essentially the most frugal frugal folks 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.
  • If you happen to’re thinking about different issues I really like, take a look at Frugalwoods Recommends.
  • Why don’t you purchase all the things regionally? We do our greatest to help our area people and purchase as a lot of our meals as potential straight from our farmer neighbors. Our city doesn’t have any shops, so we depend on on-line ordering and large field shops for requirements. The closest shops are 45 minutes away and we go a number of occasions a month to fill up on what we will’t get from our neighbors or on-line.

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

Questioning about frequent bills you don’t see listed under?

  • We don’t have a mortgage as a result of we paid it off (particulars right here)

  • Used presents ‘neath this Christmas tree

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

  • Right here’s what we do for medical health insurance.
  • We don’t have any money owed and we paid money for our automobiles.
  • 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 summary of how we save for our youngsters’ increased schooling: How We Use 529 Plans To Save For Faculty
  • We dwell on 66 acres in rural Vermont, so our utilities and family bills are totally different from conventional city and suburban houses:
    • We don’t pay for water, sewer, trash, or heating/cooling as a result of we have now a nicely, a septic system, our city doesn’t present trash pick-up (we take it to a switch station as soon as per 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, after all, prices related to sustaining these methods (akin to having our septic system pumped and inspected) and people bills present up within the months we pay them.
    • We’ve photo voltaic panels, which account for our low electrical energy invoice.
    • For extra on our rural way of life, take a look at my sequence This Month On The Homestead in addition to Metropolis vs. Nation: Which Is Cheaper? The Final Price Of Dwelling Showdown

If you happen to’re questioning about the rest, be happy to ask within the feedback part!

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

Merchandise Quantity Notes
Groceries $939.03 Christmas feast meals!!! Together with one bag of Christmas Cheetos for ME.
Truck repairs; Subaru tires $840.45 The truck wanted new struts and a tie rod finish whereas the Subaru wanted to have its new snow tires mounted and balanced (now that they’re mounted on their rims, Mr. FW will change them himself every season).
Gasoline for automobiles $386.20
Christmas Presents: prolonged household, lecturers, angel tree little one and our youngsters $383.55 See full particulars above. Temporary rundown (affiliate hyperlinks):

Wine from

Snow globes from Walmart

 Life-sized penguin stuffy

Nail polish from Piggy Paint

Money for lecturers

Angel Tree present

Preschool $260.00 For Littlewoods
Vet go to + prescription drugs $243.60 For doggo
Eating places $205.29
Rooster meals, bigger rooster feeder, pet food, canine treats, canine toys for Christmas $201.27 All from Tractor Provide
Family provides $172.54
Spherical-trip flight to NYC $153.08 I’m going to NYC subsequent month for a marriage (I’m going to be my pal’s +1 as we depart our husbands and youngsters at house. We’re fairly enthusiastic about this.)
Beer, wine, alcohol $151.86 For Christmas spirits!
Sheets: one set of king sized $150.70 1 set of king-sized sheets from LL Bean.

We’ve at all times gotten tremendous low cost sheets previously and–unsurprisingly–all of them rip and disintegrate inside a yr. Our hope is that by spending A LOT extra, these’ll last more than a yr.

Electrical Kettle $99.64 Electrical Kettle (affiliate hyperlink). Related story because the sheets–we’ve at all times gotten knock-off kettles previously they usually’ve damaged. Hoping that by spending extra, this’ll last more.
Oil change & check-up for Subaru $78.54 We’re being very diligent about doing all of the dealer-recommended check-ups on the Subaru.
Diesel & ethanol-free fuel for farm gear $77.02 10 gals diesel, 5 gals ethanol-free fuel
Web $72.00
Medical insurance $52.43
Thrift retailer $45.00 A ski coat for me, an insulated flannel shirt for Mr. FW and a few toys for the youngsters.
US Postal Service $44.00 Stamps for our Christmas postcards
Canine booties! $37.40 Canine booties
Walkie Talkies and rechargeable batteries $36.76 Walkie Talkies and rechargeable batteries (affiliate hyperlinks). The last word in sibling cooperative play.
Canine kongs $35.93 2 XL canine Kongs for Gigi. She loves them! (affiliate hyperlink)
Lifetime provide of shear bolts for tractor snowblower $34.51
Utilities: Electrical energy $30.98 We’ve photo voltaic (which I element right here); that is our month-to-month base worth for remaining grid tied.
Ski program for Kidwoods $28.99
Cellular phone service for 2 telephones $28.24 Thanks, low cost MVNO!
Tailgate deal with $22.25 The tailgate deal with on our truck broke, so Mr. FW goes to switch it with this new one (affiliate hyperlink).
Torx bit socket set $17.09 Torx Bit Socket Set for all of your torx bit socketing wants (affiliate hyperlink).
Spotify $13.77 Music!!
Ski straps $13.77 Ski Straps to carry our skis collectively (affiliate hyperlink).
TOTAL: $4,855.89

How was your ultimate month of 2022?

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