How A Couple Of ‘Frugal Weirdos’ Are Saving 71% Of Their Income So They Can Retire At Age 33

Mr. FW and I had a shared quarter-life crisis in March 2014 at age 30. And we had a sneaking suspicion that, if we didn’t change something, we’d wake up in 40 years still in those same cubicles. Mr. Frugalwoods and I both went to college at the University of Kansas (where we met our freshman year), did relatively well, graduated in 2006 without any debt, and got good jobs.

She wanted to see what we eat and buy and so, I tried my best to write down everything we eat and where we buy it. As you will note, I do not have the cheapest, most bare bones food budget. Rather, I try to hit the intersection of frugal, healthy and delicious. I can’t put a price on my health–or my husband’s or children’s health–so I do indeed spend more on foods we view as healthy. Groceries and menu planning are the most commonly discussed topics amongst Frugalwoods readers.

They put $60,000 down (or 13%) on the $466,000 house. As you can tell from the pseudonym they’ve chosen for themselves, the Frugalwoods have fully embraced the frugal lifestyle. They portray themselves as total hippies and “frugal weirdos.” Upon graduation, they climbed the ranks in their respective careers and started making good money.

It was clear that these people were serious about producing a quality blog. Expenses will change a bit on the homestead. They anticipate paying for Obamacare, since they won’t get health insurance through their employer anymore. They also know starting a family will increase their expenses but by being stay-at-home parents, they hope to save on certain costs, like childcare. If you’re this young Boston couple, you decide to save more than two thirds of your income so you can retire to a homestead in the woods of Vermont before your 35th birthdays.

I am uninterested in spending a lot of time on meal planning and cooking; thus, I’m very content with a simple rotation. I walk around with an idea in my mind about what we eat and how much we spend on it, but I wanted to interrogate that assumption. Did I actually know what we spent last year?

The absolute worst part of it is that we didn’t have a chance to eat all of that hard-won preservation before some of it went bad. An additional factor spurring us on is that we don’t know how long we’ll be around–life is short and unexpected. We decided to take this risk now so that we can build a meaningful life to enjoy. Join me as I take you on an incredible journey through the defining moments and decisions that have shaped my life and led me to embrace a life of financial freedom and purpose. Take, for example, how we bake our own bread in our yard sale bread machine. Will I ever go back to buying expensive whole wheat organic bread from the store?

Embracing Financial Freedom and Crafting a Purposeful Life

Still early in our gardening experiments, Nate started from seed, planted, weeded, watered and harvested 80 kale and chard plants. Learn about the pivotal choices we made to break free from the cycle of consumerism and materialism, leading us towards a homesteading lifestyle in a rural setting. My philosophy is that managing your money wisely enables you to pursue unusual aspirations and opens up a world of options for how to live your life. I’m also the writer behind Frugalwoods and the book, Meet the Frugalwoods.

  • As a result of following this approach, our kids are adventurous, eager eaters.
  • “Both of us are very serious planners. We don’t go into anything without considering how it’s going to work in reality,” says Mr. Frugalwoods.
  • We spend so much of our lives at work and we started questioning why we were doing it.
  • Still under the delusion that I was perhaps actually Laura Ingalls Wilder reincarnated, I was determined to preserve and save EVERY LAST STALK of kale and chard we grew.

One of the driving forces behind the birth of Frugalwoods was our desire to leave the city and buy a homestead in the woods. That happened in May 2016 and let me tell you, we had A LOT of preconceived notions about what it would be like to live rurally, some of which turned out to be true and some of which… not so much. It’s easy to gloss over the specifics when you’re dreaming about moving to the country. It becomes very much about the specifics when you lose power and water for a week in the dead of winter thanks to an ice storm. It’s those specifics–those powerful details–that have shaped our lives out here.


“On the other side, we’ve optimized expenses.” This is when they realized they’d achieved exactly frugalwoods what they’d set out to. They had made it, in other words, but weren’t fulfilled.

Kinda Frugal

The study of personal finances, especially someone else’s, is an acquired taste. “The book is a memoir,” Elizabeth said by telephone. “I think when you write a memoir, all you can really represent is your own experience.” When you’re living the DIY lifestyle, “the Internet is a wonderful thing,” says Mr. Frugalwood.

But, unlike several independent local cafés, Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t offer free samples. If you stop for coffee at the right places, you could wind up saving money by snagging a muffin sample or brownie bite. But TV was free when I started watching, and “The Mod Squad” was on. Plus, I would’ve missed Kansas (the Frugalwoods’ alma mater) beat Duke in OT to advance to last weekend’s NCAA men’s basketball Final Four. According to the book, I’d be up $91,000 if I didn’t watch TV.

We figured this was what our lives would be for the next years. That’s where our normal, standard timeline stops. We moved to our homestead full-time in May 2016, so we’re still getting the hang of life out here on the farm. It’s taken years and I’m still working to divorce myself from the self-imposed pressure to be a perfect homesteader. But I’m now a lot more realistic about how I want to spend my time during the summer months. I want to take the kids to the local lake with friends, I want to go hear live music at our neighbors’ farm, I want to hike and play.

How To Save Money On Groceries in 8 Easy-Peasy Steps

The Frugalwoods soon had enough money saved to escape their “frenzied” city grind. They bought a four-bedroom house in Vermont and began a leisurely new life on 66 acres of woods, streams, and apple trees. I’m a financial consultant who helps people figure out their money. I believe that managing your money opens up a world of options for how to live your life. By taking control of our money, my husband and I were able to pursue our dream of moving to a homestead in rural Vermont.

What might be a wise, frugal decision today might not work later. Sometimes she changes her mind about her own spending, and she’s open with Frugalwoods readers about the reasons. A major factor in our decision to quit the city (and our office jobs) was our desire to be work-from-home parents. We are fortunate beyond belief to spend every day together as a family (I mean, some days it’s not so great, but on the whole we love it. Except for that whole potty training thing… ). I started Frugalwoods in April 2014–before we moved to the country and before we had children–so the arc of my writing has changed over time, as have my thoughts and opinions.

Reader Case Study: Plasterer and Social Worker in Manitoba Plan for a Baby

She’s now putting her English degree to work as a professional writer while being a stay at home mother to three tiny humans, a garden, and many plastic Paw Patrol pups. Lydia’s frugal blogs have been running, in some form, for almost ten years! She was the money-saving expert for Parent’s Magazine for a few years, but is once again independent and sharing all things homemaking, money saving, and parenting. She’s probably best known for her thrifty recipes and her series on how she spends $200/month on groceries for her family of six. Then there’s plenty of people coming to me because they have a bigger financial goal. Maybe they want to achieve financial independence.

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