Saturday, December 9, 2023

Walkie Talkies And Different December 2022 Bills

The canine booty wearer in query

Ahhh decadent December! Full of meals, wine, life-sized penguin stuffies and canine booties. December all the time guarantees to be a high-spend month, however that doesn’t need to spell disaster. Should you plan for costly months, in the event you calculate what you spend on one thing like Christmas and save up over the course of a yr, you may conclude a month like December with satisfaction versus remorse. The purpose in all of this–all of this cash consciousness and sensible monetary administration–isn’t to NEVER spend cash.

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

  1. In alignment together with your values and on what issues most to you
  2. In a deliberate, proactive manner versus an impulsive, reactive manner
  3. To boost happiness, to not create stress
  4. Solely on issues you may 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 Items

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 items that don’t add muddle 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 received each sort of wine (additionally liquor and port) conceivable!
  3. It’s so fast and straightforward. I’ve saved my member of the family’s addresses AND their most well-liked sorts of wine on the positioning so I’ve a simple reference level every year. It takes me quarter-hour to order Christmas items for my whole household!
  4. FREE SHIPPING. I saved the perfect for final. I pay $59 per yr to be a “Wine Stewardship Member,” which qualifies me without spending a dime delivery on all of my purchases. Free delivery! Essential since bottles of wine are heavy and costly to ship. This works out for me since I ship at the least 5 instances of wine a yr and every case would value ~$20 to ship.

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

Christmas Items: for Lecturers and the Angel Tree

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

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

My Personal Kids Get Used Christmas Items

Checking to see if the reindeer visited–they go away carrot shavings outdoors our home!

My husband and I don’t change items 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, resembling: kid-free getaways, meals out at eating places, visits to breweries and our ski passes! We each favor 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 youngsters, take a look at:

…However I’m Not A Hardliner About It

Whereas 95% of my youngsters’ items come from yard gross sales/hand-me-downs, I’m not a zealot. I believe it’s all about steadiness. I don’t consider my youngsters want tons of of {dollars} price of toys for each birthday and Christmas, however I additionally consider it’s pretty for them to obtain a couple of items they’ve particularly requested. As our children become 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 youngster’s particular present requests. The women wrote letters to Santa again in November and my great mother wrote them again as Santa (facet word: that is AMAZING for youths who can learn–I assumed Kidwoods was going to cross out from pleasure when she learn her letter from Santa).

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

Right here’s What We Bought New:

  1. Items!

    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 needed a “life-sized penguin stuffy” and Walmart delivered (affiliate hyperlink).. When she opened it, she introduced, “All my penguin desires got here true!!!!” so I assume that was a superb name on our half. Large penguin now will get paraded round the home nonstop, a lot to the chagrin of the canine who I believe would possibly assume it’s actual…
  3. Walkie Talkies: these are FABULOUS as a result of they drive the ladies to play collaboratively (affiliate hyperlink). They’re fairly good about taking part in collectively as it’s, however these deliver their cooperation to the subsequent degree. In spite of everything, it’s not very enjoyable to one-sided Walkie (as evidenced by the truth that Kidwoods bails each time Littlewoods reverts to respiratory loudly into her Walkie… ). I actually attempt to hold a straight face as a mum or dad.
  4. Nail polish from Piggy Paint: The women are obsessive about me portray their nails, however I had misgivings about all of the chemical compounds in my grownup nail polish (affiliate hyperlink). Enter: PiggyPaint. These items is non-toxic and water-based and has NO odor. Significantly. It’s additionally very simple 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 youngsters don’t care–they simply repaint their nails the subsequent day.

Canine Mountain climbing Booties

Gigi within the snow, wishing for booties

Gigi, for her half, obtained a number of toys for Christmas in addition to a stocking filled with tennis balls. She was elated. She additionally obtained these hound mountaineering 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 would have liked a strategy to hold her snug and so, we ordered sled canine booties. In fact, 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 affordable, knock-off electrical kettle, which we use every day to make our espresso, oatmeal and tea. Final month it broke. Mr. FW took it aside to see if he may repair it and found that on the principle electrical leads inside the bottom, subsequent to the heating factor, the insulation had began cracking and flaking off the wires. This can be a large security and fireplace hazard! Clearly one of many methods they lower 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 substitute (affiliate hyperlink).

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

Can I Speak To You?

Our winter hotter marvel: the wooden range

Sure! In September I launched Personal 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 study 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 referred to as Private Capital to arrange our cash. It tracks our spending, internet price, investments, retirement, every thing.

Understanding the place your cash’s at is without doubt one of the best methods to get a deal with in your funds. You can’t make knowledgeable selections about your cash in the event you don’t know the way you’re spending it or how a lot you may have. Should you’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 reimbursement or funding targets. It’s a should, of us. Private Capital (which is free) is an effective way for me to systematize our monetary overviews because it hyperlinks all of our accounts collectively and offers a complete image of our internet price.

Should you don’t have a strong concept of the place your cash’s at–or the way you’re spending it–contemplate attempting Private Capital (word: the Private Capital hyperlinks are affiliate hyperlinks). 

Credit Playing cards: How We Purchase Every little thing

We purchase every thing we are able to 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 strategy to get one thing for nothing. Via 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 delusion 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 retaining 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 Take into account

Should you’re now cash-back curious, there are a selection of playing cards in the marketplace providing fairly good money again percentages. Listed below are a couple of I believe are a superb deal:

1) Blue Money Most well-liked® 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. 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 payment for the primary yr, then $95. Charges and costs particulars right here.
  • Phrases apply

Kidwoods at our church’s Christmas Eve service

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. gasoline 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 a press release 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 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 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, daily.
  • $200 money bonus after you spend $500 on purchases inside 3 months from account opening.
  • No annual payment.

4) Capital One SavorOne Money Rewards Credit score Card:

  • Limitless 3% money again on eating, leisure, widespread 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 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’ 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 payment.

Should you’re interested by journey rewards, individuals 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 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. Should you’re involved about your capacity to do that, or assume 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: $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! That is why I like money again bank card rewards–they’re the only strategy 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 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.

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 may 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 Categorical 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. Which means you earned $165 simply by having your cash in a high-interest account.

And also you didn’t need to 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 making a living whereas doing nothing. Don’t be that particular person. 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 mobile phone service line merchandise shouldn’t 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 particular person 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 mobile phone service re-seller.

MVNOs are the TJ Maxx of the mobile phone service world–the identical service, A LOT cheaper. Should 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 ceaselessly and ever amen.

Listed below are a couple of MVNOs to think about:

For extra, I’ve a full chart of suppliers and their costs right here: Learn how 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

  • Wish to know the way we handle the remainder of our cash? Try How We Handle Our Cash: Behind The Scenes of The Frugalwoods Household Accounts
  • Christmas tree by means of the window!

    Don’t you may have a rental property? Sure! We personal a rental property (often known as our first residence) in Cambridge, MA, which I talk about right here and extra not too long ago, 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 “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 individual spending and be impressed to take proactive management of your cash.
  • Questioning the place to begin with managing your cash? Take my free, 31-day Uber Frugal Month Problem.
  • Should you’re interested by different issues I like, take a look at Frugalwoods Recommends.
  • Why don’t you purchase every thing domestically? We do our greatest to assist our area 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 a couple 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 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)

  • Used items ‘neath this Christmas tree

    We pay payments in full the month we obtain them. That’s why you gained’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 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 in addition 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 Faculty
  • We dwell 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 now have 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 luggage 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 items throughout the hottest elements of the summer season).
    • There are, in fact, prices related to sustaining these techniques (resembling having our septic system pumped and inspected) and people bills present up within the months we pay them.
    • We have now photo voltaic panels, which account for our low electrical energy invoice.
    • For extra on our rural way of life, take a look at my collection This Month On The Homestead in addition to Metropolis vs. Nation: Which Is Cheaper? The Final Value Of Residing Showdown

Should 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 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 vehicles $386.20
Christmas Items: prolonged household, academics, angel tree youngster and our children $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 academics

Angel Tree present

Preschool $260.00 For Littlewoods
Vet go to + prescription drugs $243.60 For doggo
Eating places $205.29
Rooster meals, bigger hen 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 go away our husbands and youngsters at residence. 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 all the time gotten tremendous low-cost sheets up to now and–unsurprisingly–all of them rip and crumble 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 all the time gotten knock-off kettles up to now and so they’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 gasoline for farm tools $77.02 10 gals diesel, 5 gals ethanol-free gasoline
Web $72.00
Medical health 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 children.
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 have now 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
Mobile 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 interchange 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 remaining month of 2022?

By no means Miss A Story

Signal as much as get new Frugalwoods tales in your e mail inbox.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles