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We’re off to Nebraska in this month’s Reader Case Study to help Payton and Riley out with their deliberations over whether or not to buy a laundromat and a campground!

Case Studies are financial and life dilemmas that a reader of Frugalwoods sends to me requesting that Frugalwoods nation weigh in. Then, Frugalwoods nation (that’s you!), reads through their situation and provides advice, encouragement, insight, and feedback in the comments section. For an example, check out last month’s case study.

I provide updates from our Case Study subjects at the bottom of each Case Study several months after a Case is featured. You all have requested an easier way to track Case Study updates and I have heard your pleas :)! Here’s list of all the Case Studies that currently have an update provided at the end of the post (and a hint that if you’re a past Case Study participant who hasn’t sent me your update yet, send it on over–your fans want to hear from you!):

  • Reader Case Study: Earn More, Spend Less, Or Both?

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Get ready and get set because the Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge kicks off today, Sunday, July 1, 2018!!! If you haven’t signed up yet, fear not, there’s still plenty of time to join us! Simply sign-up in the box below before 11:59PM EST tonight and you’ll be on track with the group. Note that you can take the UFM Challenge at any time, but we’re taking it together this month as an awesome, powerful, frugal group like we did back in January. So don’t delay!

We’re going to have fireworks in our wallets! In a good way, people. We’re going to be saving money like nobody’s business (well, like our business, actually) and we’re going to embark on a transformative journey to analyze the mechanics and the mindset behind our spending. The Uber Frugal Month is intended to guide you through the process of saving as much money as you possibly can, but more importantly, it’s a re-set for the consumer mindset that many of us get caught up in.

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What does it cost you to work? I never once (not one single time) considered what I was paying to maintain my job until I read the OG financial independence book, Your Money Or Your Life, which has an entire section devoted to outlining the ways in which many of us pay to work. Hold on a minute, Mrs. Frugalwoods: don’t I get paid to work and not the other way around? Well, yes, you do (hopefully) get paid to work, but have you ever considered just how many of your monthly expenditures are in service of your job? Your Money Or Your Life details all of the things we spend on for our jobs that we wouldn’t spend on if we didn’t have our jobs, including:

  • Transportation (bus/subway pass, bicycle maintenance, car costs, gasoline, and–most crucially–our time)
  • Clothing, shoes, and accessories
  • Haircuts, manicures, and beauty products
  • Dry cleaning
  • Professional memberships/associations
  • Lunches out at work
  • Dinners/cocktails after work with colleagues

In addition to all this stuff directly related to being at work, there’s a slew of costs associated with having less time and thus needing to pay people to do things for you while you work, such as:

  • Childcare
  • House cleaning
  • Dog walking
  • Meal preparation (take-out, restaurants, convenience foods)
  • Laundry service
  • This list could go on for quite some time….

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Get ready, get set, and get excited because the much anticipated, the much adored, the much money-saving Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge is BACK!!! Back again! Oh it’s back, tell a friend. Sign-up to join me–and thousands of other Frugalwoods readers–for this free 31-day total revamp of your finances!

The Uber Frugal Month Challenge (UFM) is designed to help you save as much money as you possibly can in a single month and–more importantly–prompts you to ponder the bigger questions surrounding your finances. Such as what you want to do with your life, what your goals are, and how much you’re spending every month. Sound like fun? It totally is!!! And it’s especially fun in the month of July because we’ll be taking the Challenge all together as one big happy frugal group. There’s nothing quite like budgeting with friends! Sign-up by midnight on July 1st in order to join us!

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IT’S A DOG CIRCUS! I could not possibly be more excited about this month’s Case Study if I tried. We are headed under the big top to chat with Jana and Dextre, a married couple who run their very own circus along with their adorable rescue dogs!!!! Jana is a longtime Frugalwoods reader and she very sweetly mailed me a Christmas card last year featuring a photo of her family circus and I was in love! When she approached me to serve as a Case Study I about rolled off my exercise ball (which is what I sit on to read email, in case you were wondering) with excitement. The opportunity to help a circus out with their finances is just about the coolest thing ever, I hope you’ll agree. And this is not just any circus–it’s a rescue dog circus!!!

Case Studies are financial and life dilemmas that a reader of Frugalwoods sends to me requesting that Frugalwoods nation weigh in.

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May 2018

I’m thrilled to report that it did NOT snow during the month of May. It’s the little victories we live for around here. Spring’s tendrils took hold, tentative at first given the frozen earth they were supplanting. Slowly, crocuses poked up through still-snowy ground.

Next, daffodils made a slightly more confident approach and finally, yellow and orange globe flowers busted out with wild abandon. And then lilacs! Oh the lilacs! As snow lost its grip, grass staked a claim and green became the new white.

By the end of the month, our view from the porch was of so much jungle green you’d think winter never existed, save the fact that our snowshoes still sat in the front hall, silent beacons marking time until they’d again be employed daily. There was barely a week between snow clearing and grass cutting, so short was our interlude between seasons this year.

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We bought blueberry bushes! And cherry and currant and Saskatoon and honeyberry bushes! Lots and lots of perennial berry bushes found a home on our homestead this month, as you’ll see in the below expense report. Garden fencing, fertilizer, the notorious flame weeder, and soil test kits rounded out our garden-palooza of spending. I’m going to give the full rundown on how all of these berry beasts were planted in my next installment of This Month On The Homestead, so consider this your sneak peek at our new berry-land. The flame weeder does exactly what its name would imply: it weeds your garden with the power of FIRE! Don’t worry, I’ll write extensively about this thing once we actually use it (which’ll likely happen in early June). It’s not often I can work “flame” into one of my titles, so you understand I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

The Holy Grail Of Frugality: A PRESSURE COOKER

You people have been after me, for oh about four years now, to buy a freaking pressure cooker.

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Next month, Mr. Frugalwoods and I celebrate TEN years of wedded bliss! Our marriage is, in many ways, the backbone of our frugality and journey to financial independence. Over the years, I’ve written about the role that our partnership plays in our financial decisions and the importance of being on the same financial page with your partner. But today, I want to discuss the lighter, fluffier side of getting married: the wedding registry!

Apparently a lot of you are getting married soon (congrats!) because I’ve received quite a few questions about the sometimes-dreaded, sometimes-loved topic of wedding registries. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the endless lists of things you’re supposed to include on a wedding registry (champagne flutes AND martini glasses? Really?). And that little point-and-register scanner thingy in the Crate & Barrel doesn’t help matters.

It’s the worst intersection of impulse buying and, if you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a bunch-o-junk you do not need.

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April 2018

Remember how I said last month that the snow was receding? Well, it must’ve overheard my hubris and felt the need to prove me wrong. April was, uh, pretty snowy. Although our winters are indeed long up here in Vermont, this winter took it to the extreme and overstayed its welcome.

The snow would melt, tempting us with a glimpse of bare earth, only to jealously cover the nascent grass with a colorless slate. Back and forth we went all April long, with snow exacting its final revenge with one last (admittedly lovely) snowfall on April 30th. Seriously, snow? You just couldn’t let April go.

If you’re just tuning in, this is a recurring series in which I document each month of our lives out here on our 66-acre Vermont homestead. After leaving urban Cambridge, MA in May 2016 to chart this wholly different life, we’re experiencing a constant learning curve of exploration (and plenty of stupid novice moments).

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We’re headed to Arkansas in this month’s Reader Case Study for a discussion with Emily and John, a young couple with a two-year-old and two dogs. Unfortunately, it’s a cancer diagnosis that prompted Emily to request a Case Study, but I’m optimistic that the Frugalwoods community can offer this young couple support, advice, and insight.

Case Studies are financial and life dilemmas that a reader of Frugalwoods sends to me requesting that Frugalwoods nation weigh in. Then, Frugalwoods nation (that’s you!), reads through their situation and provides advice, encouragement, insight, and feedback in the comments section. For an example, check out last month’s case study.

I provide updates from our Case Study subjects at the bottom of each Case Study several months after a Case is featured. You all have requested an easier way to track Case Study updates and I have heard your pleas :)!

Read Full Article

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