Saturday, December 2, 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 expect is the tenth 12 months–though there have been just a few years off for Covid–and Kidwoods turned seven!

My selfmade Thanksgiving pies

Our bills are at all times larger 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 that you could get used for a less expensive value–to allow your self the liberty to spend on the issues that matter most.

Earlier this month I wrote about how I’ve saved 1000’s 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 fun 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!

Considered one of my traditions is to embellish for Christmas the week earlier than Thanksgiving. Don’t come after me! I LOVE CHRISTMAS decorations and I received’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 12 months to 12 months–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 effectively.

That is how I discovered myself on the Land’s Finish web site looking for the right stocking to monogram for…. the canine. I do know, I do know, she will be able to’t even learn, however I needed 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 reveal. 

Kidwoods’ SEVENTH Birthday!

Kidwoods requested a celebration to which she may invite her whole class together with a good variety of youngsters in different courses as effectively. Wanting over her visitor record, which she wrote herself and included such luminaries as her instructor and the principal, we realized it could be folly to try to have all these people at our home.

The birthday woman + sisters

And so, we had her celebration at our city heart, which has an ideal playground! Excellent. For a mere $50 we had been in a position to hire out the city heart, host a celebration and are available residence to a clear, non-destroyed residence. WORTH IT.

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

Whereas most of her birthday presents had been bought second-hand at yard gross sales and thrift shops, we did purchase one present new: Qwirkle!! Our mates launched us to this board sport throughout our seashore trip with them earlier this fall and it’s pleasant! It’s kinda like Scrabble, however with colours and shapes, which implies 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 critical technique concerned, AND a four-year-old can completely do it. Extremely suggest!!

Family provides had 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 12 months.

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 obtained to open a gift too! I’ll undoubtedly be doing that once more.

Christmas Playing cards

This 12 months’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 dimension means they’re inexpensive
  • If you choose “enterprise” postcards, they’re a fraction of the value of standard “vacation” postcards
  • You possibly can 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 obtained myself in gear this 12 months to order on Black Friday, which meant I used to be in a position to reap the benefits of a sale they had been working. I’ve obtained 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 strategy to take part in my January Uber Frugal Month (UFM) Problem: be part of a Mastermind Group!!!! These teams are your likelihood to fulfill (on video) with me and another frugal people as soon as every week for five weeks beginning in January! Learn extra right here; sign-up to hitch right here.

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

I’m gifting away three prizes to 3 people who sign-up for the FREE January Uber Frugal Month:

Prize #1: A one-on-one primary monetary session with me, AKA a non-public 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 title 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. If you happen to’ve already signed up for the January 2023 UFM, you’re already entered within the drawing!

Can I Speak To You?

Sure! In September I launched Personal Reader Case Research, that are a chance for people to rent me for a full monetary session. I additionally now provide hourlong video calls. You possibly can:

  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 take advantage of a free on-line service known as Private Capital to prepare our cash. It tracks our spending, web price, investments, retirement, the whole lot.

Our halls are DECKED!

Understanding the place your cash’s at is among the best methods to get a deal with in your funds. You can not make knowledgeable selections about your cash should you don’t know the way you’re spending it or how a lot you’ve got. If you happen to’d wish to know extra about how Private Capital works, take a look at my full write-up.

With out a holistic image of your funds, there’s no strategy to set financial savings, debt compensation or funding objectives. It’s a should, people. 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 price.

If you happen to don’t have a stable concept of the place your cash’s at–or the way you’re spending it–contemplate making an attempt Private Capital (be aware: the Private Capital hyperlinks are affiliate hyperlinks). 

Credit Playing cards: How We Purchase Every part

We purchase the whole lot 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 reveals 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 strategy 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 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 preserving 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 Contemplate

If you happen to’re now cash-back curious, there are a variety of playing cards in the marketplace providing fairly good money again percentages. Listed here are just a few I believe are a great deal:

Portrait of a canine the day earlier than Thanksgiving

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

  • 6% money again at U.S. supermarkets on as much as $6,000 per 12 months in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% money again on choose U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% money again at U.S. gasoline 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 charge for the primary 12 months, then $95. Charges and charges particulars right here.
  • Phrases apply

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 12 months in purchases, then 1%).
  • 3% Money Again at U.S. gasoline stations, on as much as $6,000 per 12 months, 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 a press release 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 a press release credit score after you spend $2,000 in purchases in your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • No annual charge. 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 charge.

Completely satisfied holidays from us! Our household pic, taken impromptu by a good friend at a celebration

4) Capital One SavorOne Money Rewards Credit score Card:

  • Limitless 3% money again on eating, leisure, fashionable 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 January 2023.
  • $200 money bonus after you spend $500 on purchases inside the first 3 months from account opening.
  • No annual charge.

5) Chase Freedom Limitless®:

  • Earn an additional 1.5% on the whole lot you purchase (on as much as $20,000 spent within the first 12 months), which is price as much as $300 money again:
    • 6.5% on journey bought by Chase Final Rewards
    • 4.5% on eating and drugstores
    • 3% on all different purchases.
  • After your first 12 months (or $20,000 spent), you earn:
    • 5% money again on Chase journey bought by 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 charge.

Littlewoods: THRILLED that she obtained 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 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 charge.

If you happen to’re all in favour of journey rewards, individuals love the Chase Sapphire Most popular Card®. You possibly can 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 Chase Final Rewards.

Big 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 you probably have no downside paying that invoice in full each month? I like to recommend you bank card away, my good friend! (be aware: 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 had been going to purchase anyway! Because of this I really like money again bank card rewards–they’re the best strategy to earn one thing for nothing.

To see how this provides up over the course of a 12 months, take a look at How I Made $712.59 With My Money Again Credit score Card.

The place’s Your Cash?

One other simple strategy 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 woman requested we put on our matching clothes for her celebration

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

Let’s say you’ve got $5,000 in a financial savings account that earns 0% curiosity. In a 12 months’s time, your $5,000 will nonetheless be… $5,000.

Let’s say you as an alternative put that $5,000 into an American Specific Private Financial savings account, which–as of this writing–earns 3% in curiosity (affiliate hyperlink). In a single 12 months, your $5,000 could 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 should do something! I’m a giant 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 being profitable whereas doing nothing. Don’t be that particular person. Be the one who earns cash whereas sleeping.

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

Our cellular phone service line merchandise will not be a typ0 (though that definitely is). We actually and actually solely paid $28.24 for each of our telephones (that’s $14.12 per particular person for these of you into division). How is such trickery potential?!? We use an MVNO!

What’s an MVNO?

Final 12 months’s Christmas postcard

Glad you requested as a result of I used to be going to let you know 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. If you happen to’re not utilizing an MVNO, switching to at least one is a simple, slam-dunk, do-it-right-away manner to save cash each single month of each single 12 months perpetually and ever amen.

Listed here are a two MVNOs to contemplate:

For extra, I’ve a full chart of suppliers and their costs right here: Find out how to Save Cash on Your Cell Cellphone Invoice with an MVNO: I Pay $12 a Month*

*the quantity we pay fluctuates each month as a result of it’s calibrated 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 know the way we handle the remainder of our cash? Take a look at How We Handle Our Cash: Behind The Scenes of The Frugalwoods Household Accounts

  • 2018 Christmas Postcard

    Don’t you’ve got a rental property? Sure! We personal a rental property (also referred to as our first residence) in Cambridge, MA, which I focus on right here and extra just lately, right here too.

  • Why do I share our bills? To provide you a way of how we spend our cash in a values-based method. Your spending will differ from ours and there’s no “one proper manner” to spend and no “excellent” finances.
  • Are we essentially 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 individual 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 all in favour of different issues I really like, take a look at Frugalwoods Recommends.
  • Why don’t you purchase the whole lot domestically? We do our greatest to help our local people and purchase as a lot of our meals as potential immediately 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 just a few occasions a month to replenish 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 widespread 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 received’t see month-to-month funds for issues like automotive insurance coverage or property tax. These bills present up as the total annual (or bi-annual, and so forth) 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 vehicles.
  • Right here’s how we make charitable contributions: How We Donate To Charities Like Billionaires and likewise How We Make Significant And Tax Environment friendly Charitable Donations.
  • Right here’s an outline of how we save for our children’ larger training: How We Use 529 Plans To Save For School
  • We stay on 66 acres in rural Vermont, so our utilities and family bills are completely 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 effectively, a septic system, our city doesn’t present trash pick-up (we take it to a switch station as soon as every week in baggage we buy from our city), we warmth our residence with wooden we harvest ourselves from our land, and we don’t have central air-con (we use window models through the hottest components of the summer season).
    • There are, in fact, prices related to sustaining these programs (akin 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 life-style, take a look at my collection This Month On The Homestead in addition to Metropolis vs. Nation: Which Is Cheaper? The Final Value Of Dwelling Showdown

If you happen to’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 as a result of:

  • Internet hosting Thanksgiving
  • Kidwoods’ Birthday Celebration

Cash very effectively 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 costs loads 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 value 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 larger 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 just a few classes, which had 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 Larger 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 our native co-op’s bulk meals ordering
The Thanksgiving Turkey (+ some maple syrup) $81.00 Free vary, recent turkey raised by our farmer neighbors. It was DELICIOUS.
Web $72.00
Medical 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 obtained these sensible gentle strips to exchange our growing older 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 sport $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 obtained 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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