February was a boring month from the attitude of the outdated expense report. Not a lot was bought apart from the bizarre, which was a kindness to our financial savings account. Nobody’s bills are the identical month to month, and I relish a comparatively low-cost month. I see it as a chance to sock extra into financial savings for the inevitable costly month you simply know looms on the horizon. As I’m fond of claiming:
Nobody ever regrets saving cash.
So when you’ve got that uncommon low-cost month? Take into account it a boon to your financial savings account, not an invite to overspend the subsequent month.
We skied a ton in February, which was a superb utilization of the season passes and gear we’d already paid for. We snowshoed by means of the woods rather a lot–one other nice use of beforehand bought gear. We ice skated at our free neighborhood rink utilizing skates from the thrift retailer. We cooked good meals at dwelling. We frolicked with our buddies a bunch and celebrated Littlewoods’ fourth birthday in true frugal type with a home made chocolate cake and items bought final summer time from storage gross sales and the thrift retailer. A pleasant wintry month!
Come Hear Me Discuss on April eighth!
I’m thrilled to let you already know I’ll be talking on a panel on Friday, April eighth on the on-line Mamas Discuss Cash: The Legacy You Go away convention. I’m honored to be on this panel with:
- Sandy Smith, the famend founding father of the Elevate Group and YesIAmCheap.com (finest web site identify ever). Sandy shaped the Elevate Group to, “increase consciousness and shine better mild on the monetary points that individuals of colour face. The 400+ members of the Elevate Group group are monetary professionals, lecturers, writers, bloggers, and educators of colour who’re dedicated to enhancing the monetary lives of individuals of colour.”
- Jamila Souffrant, the founding father of the extremely profitable JourneytoLaunch.com. I used to be truly on Jamila’s Journey to Launch podcast again in 2018 and met her in particular person once we had been each pregnant with our little ladies (who are actually FOUR!).
If you happen to’re fascinated by attending this three-day on-line convention, it can save you $5 off the $49 ticket worth by utilizing the coupon code FRUGALWOODS. Go right here to get your ticket and register to attend. I hope to see you there!
I Love the Free Expense Tracker from Private Capital
I exploit a free on-line service known as Private Capital to maintain observe of our cash: our spending, our web price, our investments, our retirement–all the pieces.
Monitoring bills is likely one of the finest–and best–methods to get a deal with in your funds. You completely, positively can not make knowledgeable choices about your cash should you don’t understand how you’re spending it or how a lot you may have. If you happen to’d prefer to know extra about how Private Capital works, try my full write-up.
With out a holistic image of how a lot you spend each month, there’s no technique to set financial savings, debt compensation, or funding objectives. It’s a should, of us. Private Capital (which is free to make use of) is a good way for me to systematize our monetary overviews because it hyperlinks all of our accounts collectively and offers a complete image of our web price.
If you happen to’re not monitoring your bills in an organized style, you would possibly think about making an attempt Private Capital. Right here’s a extra detailed rationalization of how I exploit Private Capital (observe: the Private Capital hyperlinks are affiliate hyperlinks).
Credit Playing cards: How We Purchase Every part
We purchase all the pieces we are able to with bank cards as a result of:
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 assume I spend much less cash as a result of I KNOW I’m going to see each expense listed on the finish of every month.
- We get rewards. Bank card rewards are a easy technique 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 only for shopping for stuff we had been going to purchase anyway.
- 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 delusion 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 maintaining them open for a few years does assist your rating.
For extra on my bank card technique, try:
If you need a easy money again bank card, listed below are some good choices that don’t have annual charges:
1) Blue Money On a regular basis® Card from American Specific presents a hierarchy of money again percentages:
- 3% Money Again at U.S. supermarkets (on as much as $6,000 per yr in purchases, then 1%)
- 2% Money Again at U.S. fuel stations and choose U.S. malls
- 1% Money Again on different purchases
- Earn a $200 assertion credit score should you spend $2,000 throughout the first 6 months of card membership
2) Capital One Quicksilver Money Rewards Credit score Card presents a flat money again share:
- Limitless 1.5% money again on all purchases
- Earn $200 should you spend $500 or extra in purchases throughout the first three months of card membership
- 3% money again on eating, leisure, in style streaming companies and grocery shops.
- 1% money again on all different purchases.
- Plus, earn 8% money again on tickets at Vivid Seats by means of January 2023.
- Get $200 should you spend $500 on purchases throughout the first three months from account opening.
- Earn 6.5% money again on journey bought by means of Chase Final Rewards®
- 4.5% money again on drugstore purchases and eating at eating places, together with takeout and eligible supply service
- 3% on all different purchases (on as much as $20,000 spent within the first yr)
- Earn an extra 1.5% money again on all the pieces you purchase (on as much as $20,000 spent within the first yr) – price as much as $300 money again!
- After your first yr or $20,000 spent, get pleasure from 5% money again on Chase journey bought by means of Final Rewards®, 3% money again on drugstore purchases and eating at eating places, together with takeout and eligible supply service, and limitless 1.5% money again on all different purchases
If you happen to’re fascinated by journey rewards, folks love the Chase Sapphire Most well-liked. 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 while you redeem by means of Chase Final Rewards.
One of the simplest ways to discover a bank card that’ll be just right for you is to seek for it your self; I’ve a information that will help you just do that: The Finest Credit score Playing cards (and Credit score Card Rewards)!
Enormous 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 means to do that, or assume utilizing bank cards would possibly immediate you to spend extra, follow a debit card or money. However when you’ve got 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: $38.39
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 $1,919.57 on that card, which netted us $38.39.
Not some huge cash, but it surely’s cash we earned for purchasing stuff we had been going to purchase anyway! That is why I really like money again bank card rewards–they’re the best technique to earn one thing for nothing.
To see how this provides up over the course of a yr, try this submit: The Best $486 I’ve Ever Made: How To Use Money Again Credit score Playing cards To Your Benefit.
The place’s Your Cash?
One other straightforward technique to optimize your cash is to make use of 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 simply sitting there doing nothing. Don’t let your cash be lazy! Make it be just right for you! And now, get pleasure from 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 an alternative put that $5,000 into an American Specific Private Financial savings account, which–as of this writing–earns 0.50% in curiosity. In a single yr, your $5,000 can have elevated to $5,025. Which means you earned $25 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. I imply, 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 earning profits whereas doing nothing. Don’t be that particular person.
Be the one that earns cash whereas sleeping. Extra about high-interest financial savings accounts, in addition to those I like to recommend, right here: The Finest Excessive Curiosity Charge On-line Financial savings Accounts.
Sure, We Solely Paid $28.09 for Cell Telephone Service (for 2 telephones)
Our mobile phone service line merchandise shouldn’t be a typ0 (though that definitely is). We actually and actually solely paid $28.09 for each of our telephones (that’s $14.05 per particular person for these of you into division). How is such trickery doable?!? 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–it’s the identical service, A LOT cheaper. If you happen to’re not utilizing an MVNO, switching to 1 is a straightforward, slam-dunk, do-it-right-away manner to save cash each single month of each single yr ceaselessly and ever amen.
Listed here are a number of nice MVNOs to contemplate:
For extra, I’ve a full chart of suppliers and their costs right here: 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 to what we use. Think about that! We solely pay for what we use! Will wonders ever stop.
Notice: these MVNO hyperlinks are affiliate hyperlinks.
Expense Report FAQs
However Mrs. Frugalwoods, Don’t You Pay For X, Y, Or Even Z???
Questioning about widespread bills you don’t see listed under?
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 February:
|Fuel for automobiles||$328.68||Yikes, fuel costs!!! Additionally, yikes, driving to ski rather a lot!!!!|
|Bulk oats and flour (50lbs of every)||$172.54||
|Maple sugaring provides||$160.75||New faucets, tubing and filters to switch what we’ve used up in previous years of creating maple syrup from our maple timber.|
|Family provides, toiletries, child stuff, the miscellany of life||$151.34||Primarily from WalMart as a result of they provide free delivery (affiliate hyperlink).
These are the thrilling issues of life: rest room paper, craft provides for the youngsters, laundry detergent, toothpaste, tooth picks, tooth floss, tooth legit to give up, and so forth.
|Beer, wine and alcohol||$139.69||The finer issues of life.|
Well being Insurance coverage Premium
By way of the Vermont ACA
|Utilities: Electrical energy||$30.19||We’ve photo voltaic (which I element right here); that is our month-to-month base worth for remaining grid tied.|
|Eye physician co-pay||$30.00|
|Cellphone service for 2 telephones||$28.09||That is so low-cost as a result of we use an MVNO. MVNOs resell wi-fi service at discounted charges (but it surely’s the identical service!!!).
If you happen to’re not utilizing an MVNO, try this submit to see if you may make the swap. The financial savings are great.
|Ski lodge snack||$5.95||A muffin deal with for Kidwoods and me throughout a day of snowboarding.|
|Olympics TV||$5.29||We paid for a one-month subscription so we might watch the winter olympics with the youngsters.|
How was your February?
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