A Free Weekend Getaway!

After very busy summer and even busier fall, last weekend Mr. SFF and I finally had an entire weekend to ourselves!  And what did we decided to do?  Get away from it all, disconnected out in the woods and it was wonderful!!

Mr. SFF’s extended family (his mother’s cousin) own a small little camp out in the woods.  He encourages family members to come out and use it as he lives out of state and can’t come up all that often but it often sits empty.  Apparently no one has used the camp for the past two years.  The camp itself is nothing special, just a small main room with double bunk beds, a small kitchen and small bath with another set of bunk beds but it has everything you might need for a relaxing weekend.  The thing that does make the camp special is the fact the Mr. SFF’s great-grandmother was actually born on the property (the original cabin burned years ago).  So there is history and the property is beautiful. Continue reading “A Free Weekend Getaway!”


Monthly Food Update – #9

Another month gone by in our journey and our food expenses look pretty much the same.  We went out three times which is more than I would like but two were special occasions and once was after helping my sister for a few hours and we were famished for lunch.

One dinner out was to celebrate our anniversary (happy 8 years Mr. SFF!).  My lovely mother in law sent us a check for $200 to celebrate this special occasion so that is exactly what we did.  We went out to a nicer restaurant and spent $133.48 for dinner, drinks and dessert (including tax and tip).  This was certainly a nice treat and something we would not have done if it were not for my mother in laws generosity.   Continue reading “Monthly Food Update – #9”


When Boredom Leads to Unhappiness

I have been a little absent from my blog over the past couple of months, posting very little of interest.  I am attributing this to my lack of down time at work and also being busier outside of work.  There are some changes coming up at work (more to come on this soon) and I have been busier which means less time daydreaming about what my life could be like without work.  It’s kinda funny that my husband and tell right away if I was busy at work or bored out of my mind as it has a direct correlation to my mood.  Busy most of the day and I am generally happy.  But if have time to twiddle my thumbs (ie: browse the web) I am usually less happy by the time I get home.

At the beginning of the year, especially right after our vacation, I was in a pretty big funk and the boredom at work really didn’t help.  At that time I crunched the numbers and if we worked really hard and the market cooperated (the big unknown there) I figured out it could be possible to reach FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) in 3 years.  We would certainly have to be extra careful but with some planning we could make it work. Continue reading “When Boredom Leads to Unhappiness”

Monthly Food Update #8

Wow, I have been so busy and preoccupied with life that I am way behind on my post.  There is nothing really notable about this past month’s food budget other than going out socially a few times so our dining out costs were slightly higher but our general food costs were in control and within our normal range.

One thing we have started doing a couple of months ago was making our own pizzas instead of ordering out.  I am not talking all the way from scratch as that is too much work but at least putting our own together.  No matter which route we go with this it is not cheap as I am gluten free but I have found it is slightly less expensive if we make our own and we have decided we actually prefer our homemade ones.  There happens to a company, Against The Grain, that makes AMAZING gluten free items.  When we are in the mood for a pizza night I usually buy the three cheese pizza (in the freezer section) and then we put on our own toppings.  Our recent favorite is adding chorizo, red peppers, and some kale or Swiss chard from our garden.  Amazingly yummy and making my mouth water as I type this.  Last time I made one I itemized out the costs just to see how much it was saving us. Continue reading “Monthly Food Update #8”

2016-05-16 20.05.45-2

Getting Your $hit Together

Have you ever looked around you and seen how messy the lives of people around you are?  There are many types of messes that I could refer to but I am specifically talking about money and general finance messes.  How years of poor money management, spending willy-nilly on every little thing you “need”, or completely ignoring the fact that in order to retire you need actual money to live can really create a huge mess for family down the road.  I have been seeing a lot of this around me recently and it makes me even more thankful that we have our own $hit together.

We haven’t done everything right, but we do have a goal and a plan and we are at the very least thinking about these things. Continue reading “Getting Your $hit Together”

2016-08-07 12.51.26

Hello Mr. Tax Man!

Normally receiving a letter from the tax man, either the feds or the state, is not a good thing.  Did we file our taxes incorrectly?  Do we owe them money?  The list of questions as I opened that envelope were endless.  But as I read the letter from the state tax man it had great news: our property taxes were going down!  Woot, woot!  I know, I almost couldn’t contain my excitement!

Our little state has a homestead exemption where they offer tax relief for households making lower incomes.  When Mr. SFF was fully employed we didn’t qualify but part of the way through 2014 he was laid off and started working for himself making less money (but still plenty for our frugal household).  2015 was the first full year of his self-employment and so our total adjusted gross income was much less so low and behold, we now qualify!  We file the form every year and I usually don’t even think twice about it so when I received the letter from the state department of taxes I was pleasantly surprised.  We are certainly going to enjoy the $1,244 tax savings this year and likely just put this money towards our goals.

But with this came the bigger revelation, our income will be even lower when we reach FIRE and are only working part-time meaning this credit should be even larger.  This is huge news! Continue reading “Hello Mr. Tax Man!”

2016-07-25 19.25.33

Monthly Food Update – #7

I will admit that I have been slacking on my food logs recently, hence the delay in this post.  This past month as a little out of the norm.  We had a super relaxing vacation but then spent the following week changing over two apartments.  As a result I fell behind on logging receipts until there was a huge pile and often forgot to take photos of our meals.  Alas, that is life.

Costs this month are not quite as accurate as usual as we spent a week on vacation in Rhode Island.  We share a house with my mother in law, an uncle and all of our meals are generally cooked so thankfully dining out costs end up being fairly low.   Usually I am the one in charge of tallying the share of costs at the end of the week but since we left a day early this year my mother in law was the one in charge.  She never asked us to give her any additional money so the grocery store runs we made likely covered the cost of all of our food for the week.  For the purposes of this blog post I am just going to assume we spent an even $100 for the two of us for the entire week and broke it out between breakfast, lunch and dinner costs.  This could be off but is probably close enough.

Per the suggestion of one reader I added another page to my site with some of our favorite recipes.  These may not be the most cost effective recipes but they are some of our favorites in regular rotation.  I will try to add more as the seasons change and as different types of meals get added to our regular schedule.  When possible I might also try to add the average cost of those meals but I haven’t gotten there yet. Continue reading “Monthly Food Update – #7”

2016-07-31 20.25.04

Apartment Changeover Madness

We went from spending a blissful relaxing week on vacation at the beach in Rhode Island with family right into a regular workweek and two apartment changeovers.  Last week was brutal.  Talk about killing the vacation relaxation vibe in an instant!

The tenants in our owner occ duplex actually moved out while we were still out of town.  We were not worried about being there when they moved as they were very responsible and had kept the apartment in such great shape.  A quick walk through when we got home late Sunday afternoon verified this.  This particular unit is in really good condition as we did some some maintenance last year between tenants but did need a coat of paint in a couple of the rooms to help freshen things up.  We have owned the building for almost 5 years now and we haven’t painted the walls since we purchased it so it was over due.  I had meant to get paint before heading on vacation but life got in the way so after work on Monday the first task was to buy a gallon of paint to match.  Once we had the paint in hand we got to work. Continue reading “Apartment Changeover Madness”

2016-07-15 07.38.17

Guest Room Dresser Project

Our guest room is small and is kind of a Hodgepodge of a room.  It serves as our guest room, storage for all of my crafts and other random stuff like suitcases, my periodic exercise room, and also our linen closet.  One of the huge downsides of owning a home built in the late 1800’s is that there is little to no storage so this room kind of does/holds it all.

Since the room is multi-use we decided a bed was a complete waste of space since it was only used as a guest room a couple of weeks per year and left no usable floor space.  We had a futon in there for a couple of years but it was dreadfully uncomfortable.  So last year we build a Murphy bed and purchased a nice memory foam mattress for our guests. Continue reading “Guest Room Dresser Project”

2016-06-29 20.31.44

Mid-Year Savings Update

The SFF household has been busy so this post is slightly delayed but we finally had a chance to sit down and review our total income/expense numbers for the first half of the year.  I have been anxiously awaiting this info as we keep our individual income and expense money separate so I was a little in the dark as to how we were doing as a couple.  But I am happy to report that we have increased our savings rate from last year!

In 2015 we saved 28% of our joint net income.  This was a little lower than I had wanted but we have both made an effort to decrease our spending even more and Mr. SFF has been transferring money to our joint accounts more consistently resulting in a higher savings rate.  Based on my calculations we have saved approximately 46% of our net income so far this year.  Woohoo!  I am pretty psyched about this as it is a drastic increase from last year and we both still have buffers of extra money in our individual accounts which is not included in this number. Continue reading “Mid-Year Savings Update”