The Frugalwoods

by L

Some of us have recently read about the Frugalwoods’ move to Vermont from Cambridge, MA. What do you think about the move and the ‘lifestyle’ of extreme frugality? In addition, any thoughts on Mrs. Frugalwoods’s decision to WAH as a writer?

That Time We Bought A Homestead

Why (and how) I Became a Work-At-Home Mom

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168 thoughts on “The Frugalwoods

  1. I think they are in for a shock with the change to country living as well as being new parents.

  2. I’ve only recently started reading her blog based on the recommendations from here, but I like them. My main question, and perhaps if I read the back posts this would be answered, is what makes them so special? Prosperous and frugal, sure, but basically it seems like a young professional couple moved from the city to the country where she could be a SAHM and he, as a software engineer, could work mostly from home.

    I guess they’re just more extreme about their savings and DIY habits? I can appreciate that.

  3. I sent that to Dh when it came out and he was jealous. I think it’s amazing that they saved that much, poor car buying choices notwithstanding.

    I don’t particularly like her writing style – it’s too flowery with big words thrown in just because, but it sounds like they don’t need her income so I guess if she earns any money from writing it’s probably gravy.

  4. She seems like MMM in that what she really wants is to be self employed.

    Have they mentioned how they plan to plow their driveway?

  5. I don’t follow these types of blogs–I find them annoying, but I can’t put my finger on why. I feel grumpy and cynical when I read about the Frugalwoods.

  6. Rhett – IIRC they bought a tractor with a plow.

    Houston – I agree! Something about her rubs me totally the wrong way, but I’m not sure quite what it is.

  7. L – me too. I only read their blog occasionally because I just eye roll through most of it. And it’s not the extreme frugality, I think it’s the holier than thou attitude I sense in most of her writing.

  8. DH has health issues and something about these blogs that irks me is that they seem to take their good health for granted

  9. I feel grumpy and cynical when I read about the Frugalwoods.

    It’s this, isn’t it: We felt eerily out of touch with the things we’re most passionate about–hiking, nature, writing, self-sufficiency, and the ability to tinker,

  10. Over the years quite a few people I know have made similar lifestyle choices but they haven’t blogged about it. Maybe they should have and generated more income. I don’t see anything special, I guess. I didn’t want to stay home and was used to the idea that different people would be looking after my kids (my mother worked full time), so leaving them didn’t upset me. It was tough going in the early years and I want to thank MBT for mentioning flexible working arrangements. Really helped me go on.

  11. Eh, I don’t mind them — they seem like MMM without the attitude, like normal people who just decided to jump off the treadmill and found a way to make it happen. I don’t particularly jibe with everything they say — anyone who can write non-ironically about her “passion” seems very, well, young to me — but they seem pretty straight up and normal, which is refreshing.

    It does remind me of Rhett’s observation that the people who really succeed at certain things are those for whom it comes naturally and is enjoyable. She has written before about how frugality is her hobby, how she takes pleasure in finding ways *not* to spend money. For me, OTOH, the kind of exceptionally low self-imposed budgets they and MMM et. al follow triggers feelings of constraint and oppression and rebellion — it reminds me too much of my childhood. Like her, I’d be good at it; unlike her, I wouldn’t *enjoy* it.

  12. “they seem to take their good health for granted”

    They don’t:

    We’re healthy. Mr. FW and I are healthy and darn happy about it. Neither of us has a chronic illness, nor do we take prescription medications on a regular basis. This yields rewards in two ways: it costs less to be healthy and, our health enables us to work hard both at our jobs and at home by insourcing just about everything.

    We’re able to do our own home improvements, cook our own meals, shovel our own snow, clean our own home, bathe our own Frugal Hound, and more–all of which saves us money. I don’t take doing these things for granted because plenty of people struggle to complete the rudimentary tasks that comprise an independent life.

    http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

  13. Not to go al Rhett here, but so many of these extremely frugal people look so hard at the expense part of the equation and not the income part of the equation. And there’s a great big chunk of traditional gender roles thrown in too.

    Over at MMM, there are two active discussions on the forum about children. One is whether or not you should buy baby spoons to feed your infant. There are 20 some replies discussing if it is appropriate to spend a $1.79 on six plastic spoons. Another thread is from a mother who has a flexible job where she can work two days a week, only during the academic year. She is trying to decide whether she can stay home instead. There are almost no mentions of the financial implications of not working. There’s a whole lot of “follow your heart” and “babies need their mommies.”

    In the real world, there are lots of valid arguments that some people are better off staying home – but in the world of extreme frugality, finances seems to not play into this as much as you might think. Which makes me think that many of the frugal people are not into saving money as much as they are into returning to a simpler and more idyllic time.

  14. There is a college degree in the home country called Home Ecomonics. So, if you know you want to stay home, it teaches all the skills needed to do everything yourself and save money. Some girls I knew took this degree.

  15. I think she’ll be in for more of a surprise when Babywoods gets a bit older. At the current, potted plant, stage, you can do a lot of other things while they are sleeping or content just hanging out. That really changes when they get mobile. I am not a follower, but I didn’t notice any concerns about schools/kid activities or health care. Maybe they will be the home school type, but that leaves less time for work in those toddler through early elementary years. Health care is not just for them but for Babywoods.

  16. Hahahahaha: http://www.frugalwoods.com/2016/05/16/why-i-havent-purchased-any-clothes-in-2-5-years-and-counting/

    I like pretty things and I like being fashionable. I would never be able to do this – strike that, I would be able to, but would HATE EVERY SECOND.

    Ada – interesting. My impression of the MMM forums was that it was about 75% engineers and also 75% male – is that still the case? I know the financial implications of working (both now and also independence/hedging against divorce) are a large part of why I work and have never taken a break.

  17. I have another post in mod (re no clothes buying) and wanted to add – used nursing bras? Blerg!

  18. The Frugalwood DH is still working full time, right? What’s with all the concerns about health care? He’s still bringing in a steady professional income, as I understand it.

    Jason at Root of Good, the one in Raleigh with three kids who, along with his DW, retired in mid-30s with $1.5M, just wrote about how they’re paying only $125 per month for health coverage under ACA.

  19. More power to her. If probably shoot myself a la The Shining the first hard winter in their idyllic Vermont paradise. I almost went nuts winter 2015 cooped up with Baby Rhode.

    By that time Babywoods will be very mobile and her WAH schedule will be when she’s sleeping or otherwise occupied with Mr. F.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Babywoods goes to daycare PT next year.

    I’ve often wondered about the income side of the equation. Everyone talks about saving money but they aren’t making money. But she is making some money – I guess.

  20. On MMM, I’m all for the FI of FIRE (financially independent retire early?) not so much on RE, not in my 30’s

    I like going to the office!

  21. Having worked 50 hours/week with the first baby and stayed home with the next two, I get it. But there is no way that what she is currently doing will remain sustainable unless Babywoods is a very mellow kid.

    Otherwise entitled: “If You Let Your Toddler Play Alone While You Take a Conference Call, Make Sure You Know the Poison Control Number.” (BTDT)

  22. I get the sense that Mr. FW had the higher salary and the rent from their Cambridge house pays for both houses so they’ll still probably be saving 70% of their income at the homestead.

  23. “I like going to the office!”

    Lately, I have soured on it. DW and I talked about it last week, and I said 10 more years of an office, tops. I won’t fully retire then, but I want to do something where I’m out and about in the world.

  24. I did try the used clothing stores in a fit of frugality but my size is such that there are very limited choices and I never wore the items more than twice – they looked wrong. So the whole experience cost me instead of saving me money. As for kid’s clothes, we got tons used from our neighbors. I found the Target near us stocked very nice young kid clothes reasonably priced. The one time I put a hairband on baby DD, she took it right off and didn’t care that she didn’t look cute (of course now, it’s the opposite !).

  25. Are these folks #blessed because the wife is SAH/WAH or because she has the choice to do so? Is my choice to work FT and ability to provide for my family not #blessed?

    Not sure I get what is “blessed”. Someone please explain.

  26. My issue with health care is not the monetary side, but the physical access. When my child need to go to the ER, I would not have wanted to drive 35 minutes to get to the nearest hospital. Her comment was everything big city was 35 minutes away, so I am making an assumption.

    No comments in what I read about how much interaction they have with others. Being out on 60 acres is more isolating, even with internet than they may realize.

  27. My wardrobe is about 50% used and 50% new (excluding shoes, undergarments, etc.).

    ATM: The word “blessed” has been cheapened by the FB crowd, IMO. I am blessed because I realize how lucky I am to be living my life. I have a loving and healthy family and live in a country that is not torn apart by poverty, corruption, or war. Blessed = gratitude and is applicable to everyone equally. Even us working moms.

  28. Being out on 60 acres is more isolating, even with internet than they may realize.

    And they will all be home together 24/7. If it works then great. But, I wonder if they won’t start to get on each others nerves with all that togetherness and isolation.

    The other thing about these people is their bliss holds no appeal to me at all. Ohhh, I’m MMM I’ll retire to boring suburbia and peddle my bike/trailer around town like the local weirdo.

    Now these folks?

    http://logofdelviento.blogspot.com/

    That I can understand.

  29. They’re living my all time favorite literary line (which I’ll probably bungle) – I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately.

    What I admire about these folks (having never read them before today, and today I only quickly skimmed) is the deliberateness of their lives. I think that’s important, no matter what lifestyle you’re pursuing – authenticity, deliberateness, thoughtfulness – I admire that in a lot of people.

    I don’t admire preachiness, and my way is better than your way, your way is immoral, etc. etc. but that’s not the sense I got in my quick skim today.

  30. “The other thing about these people is their bliss holds no appeal to me at all.”

    Me too. I don’t do cold, let alone snow.

  31. “Not sure I get what is “blessed”. Someone please explain.”

    Depends on who says it. I think for the evangelical, it is a way of thanking God, of making yourself conscious and aware of God’s grace in your life. It’s the Twitter version of the guys who pray in the endzone after scoring a TD — recognizing that their triumph belongs to God, not to them, and saying thank you.

    For many others who are not as outwardly religious, it is a variant of the Oprah “gratitude” thing, i.e., don’t take your good fortune for granted, be conscious of it and appreciate it. When employed by the UMC, it can also be a shorthand disclaimer to preempt claims of privilege, first-world problems, etc. (i.e., I recognize I do not have the *right* to stay home with my kid, I am *blessed* to have this privilege).

    And cynically, it can be a way to claim the moral high ground and pat yourself on the back for following the “right” path (God loves me and blessed me with this opportunity, and because my morals and values are correct, I took the opportunity to do what God so clearly wants me to do). Thus implicitly putting down all those poor, deluded sinners who chose differently (i.e., poorly).

  32. I am always surprised at how cynical I am. I immediately go to LfB’s third explanation and have to remind myself of the alternatives. I wonder if this is due to my profession, where I live, my cumulative life experience or if its just an innate tendency. Just musing out loud.

  33. I am always surprised at how cynical I am. I immediately go to LfB’s third explanation and have to remind myself of the alternatives. I wonder if this is due to my profession, where I live, my cumulative life experience or if its just an innate tendency. Just musing out loud.

    I don’t think we have similar profession or life experience, but I have the same reaction to #blessed.

  34. I feel the same anothertwinmom!
    And RMS-YES!! that is one blog I would read-and could contribute to!

  35. I have the same reaction to #blessed as well. I am amazed at the number of people I know who truly believe God has singled them out for greatness/healing/etc. This is why we don’t go to church.

  36. ” I know the financial implications of working (both now and also independence/hedging against divorce) are a large part of why I work and have never taken a break.”

    I’ve said it here before– a working spouse is excellent insurance against unemployment, death, and disability.

  37. So much cynicism. Have the FWs complained much about anything on their blog? Just wondering. I’ve never read their blog before today.

    I agree that #blessed seems overused, but I’m wondering if one reason those who are cynical about the use of that expression may be that you don’t typically spend much time with the type of people who seem to be genuine and non-judgmental about it.

    You all have seen the Chewbaca mom. She says her viral video experience has brought her “blessing upon blessing.”’

  38. CoC- even I smiled at the Chewbaca mom. And she is now blessed with a lot of Kohls stuff.:)

  39. “The word “blessed” has been cheapened by the FB crowd, IMO. I am blessed because I realize how lucky I am to be living my life. I have a loving and healthy family and live in a country that is not torn apart by poverty, corruption, or war. Blessed = gratitude and is applicable to everyone equally. Even us working moms.”

    I totally agree. To me on social media (especially Instagram), it is used as a humble brag and status marker vs. actually feeling gratitude or religious fervor. But maybe I am just cynical. At this point, it is so overused, it is a joke. Yes, you are #blessed to be drinking a latte.

    I don’t really care too much about the Frugalwoods. I don’t find them as entertaining as MMM for whatever reason. Maybe it’s her writing style. Maybe it’s the tone. I gotta imagine that they are making a decent chunk of change from the blog given how much exposure that they have, so I would imagine her “freelance writing” career is plenty lucrative anyway. I did roll my eyes at her being so emotional about NOT leaving her child with a nanny/daycare.

  40. ^ She did get a lot of free gifts, but I don’t think that’s what she meant. :)

  41. @ATM: To be completely honest, I wrote #3 first. :-) Then I called myself on the carpet for being unfair and cynical.

  42. LOL Rocky!

    I hate the #blessed stuff. I have a hard time with people who don’t complain. By all accounts, I have a pretty cushy life. But, man, sometimes things are annoying and I want to kill my spouse and give away my kids. I can’t relate to people who don’t sometimes feel that way (or people who pretend not to feel that way). In my bitchy mind, they are either simple-minded or liars. I much prefer the moms who show up at my house and when offered a glass of wine, say, “oh god, yes. My 3 year old has been a total shit today.”

  43. Rocky: Love it! Don’t let not having a blog stop you. I’m curious as to what you’ll come up with…

  44. @ATM: To be completely honest, I wrote #3 first. :-) Then I called myself on the carpet for being unfair and cynical.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha!! So awesome you admitted that and that you recognized your cynicism to begin with. =)

  45. “I totally agree. To me on social media (especially Instagram), it is used as a humble brag and status marker”

    yep, THIS

  46. I think it awesome you have so many choices of how to live in this world, including however it is the Frugal Woods make ends meet.

  47. I’m surprised at the cynicism in general. While it’s a recognized fact that this group is rather conventional in how life should play out, I assumed that this was based on the idea of ensuring financial security for childrearing, college expenses, and retirement. By just about any objective measure, the FW’s have those covered (and if something falls short, she could easily add to the income), yet we still see a lot of cynicism. I can’t help but think that it really is just a form of resentment to people who are choosing a [slightly] different path that prioritizes their own values.

  48. In my view, I see #blessed as the marker of the humblebrag. Someone wants to trumpet about their child’s med school acceptance, their fabulous vacation and whatever else, but know that might come off poorly. But if you throw a #blessed on there, it’s not really bragging anymore, now it’s just being grateful.

    So maybe I’m a little cynical, too? We use the term sarcastically a lot at home, particularly when the kids need money or are generally high maintenance, but not in public.

    I am another who doesn’t find that life to be appealing. I would very much enjoy running life on my own clock rather than when work requests my presence, but I like being able to outsource tasks like cleaning bathrooms and doing yard work in Houston summers.

  49. Eh. They prioritize it. And then they praise how awesome it is and make a living selling it as an aspirational goal. That’s fine for them, but I think it does a disservice to other people who fall in love with the *idea* of what they’re doing but don’t share the same passions. 60 acres in the snow would be my idea of torture, but if they love it, good for them. Truly. I join the cynicism. Most of the people I know who are adding #blessed to every little thing they share with the world are doing so very publicly for one reason or another. I started a meditation habit last summer and have been spending a lot of time on gratitude, but I don’t need to humblebrag about everything awesome about my life daily on social media. I think the high gloss gets exhausting sometimes.

  50. @Milo – I’m much more cynical about the use of #blessed than I am about the Frugalwoods themselves. I agree totally with MBT – “But if you throw a #blessed on there, it’s not really bragging anymore, now it’s just being grateful.”

    Part of the reason that I like reading these types of financial blogs is that I find it inspirational that people are able to make these things work, whether or not I would chose to live exactly like them or not. I think that the Frugalwoods are doing just fine. I don’t know why I don’t find them as engaging as some of the other, similar bloggers.

  51. I know lots of these people, enough that I can tell you the person next to me in Sunday School, who really needs to butcher her named, organic hog and sell the meat, can’t find a buyer. You can’t survive on a 60 acre farm unless you have the marketing savvy/connections to make it a tourist attraction, and that has become competitive even here. The retired military officers in our small group have tried to help the hog farmer and her farm just isn’t sustainable, despite her years of feeding, watering, caring for and growing food for her animals.

    In most of the country, if you have one professional spouse, the second spouse doesn’t come out ahead by working after taxes and childcare. Working class families with two working parents usually alternate shifts and/or rely on grandparents for childcare. The grandparents are young enough to keep up with the whippersnappers. The female techs/supervisors I work with have mostly been grandmas by 50, they have good jobs for which they took on no student loans, and they provide significant childcare for grandchildren. My Facebook feed tells me that my college friends are hitting their 20 year anniversaries, and 90%+ of them are still married, meaning the risk of divorce is low for the religious, college-educated people who are willing to conform to the norm, at least according to my anecdata.

    The other point about childcare is that only ~10% of childcare is classified as “high quality.” The people on this blog disproportionately can afford high quality childcare. The reality of childcare is usually worse than the reality of a SAHP, especially a highly educated one like Mrs. Frugalwood. (Baby WCE has been frequently sick due to group childcare and I’m lucky to have an understanding manager.) Childcare only covers standard hours- Mr. WCE is the only engineer with his expertise right now with a working wife, I think, and there are no female engineers with his expertise. The fact that he can cook and take care of the kids is considered somewhat remarkable by some acquaintances, whose wives handle all that.

    I haven’t read the Frugalwoods blog, because their lifestyle seems familiar and uninteresting.

    I think of #blessed# as “satisfied with what I have”, no matter the status of the person who says it. It is good to learn, in whatsoever state you are, therein to be content.

  52. Guess I am cynical too. I have read frugal woods and follow MMM and take bits and pieces of it. I aim to save 50% of our salaries but we also have focused on increasing our income without moving expenses too much. I bring my lunch to work, buy very little new and try to buy less overall, ride my bike more (because it makes me happy!) and basically be as frugal as my parents. Secretly we are planning to take a year off and sail with kids and homeschool as our last opportunity to spend a ton of quality time with the kids before they are true teenagers. We will sell a bunch of stuff, rent out the house and hopefully take a leave of absence but will quit both jobs if we need to. It’s just a year and we feel like our companies would take as back or we could find other jobs easily. May not make as much but we will just reduce our saving goals. We aren’t #blessed. We are damn lucky that the stuff we are good at pay well. We are lucky to have generous parents that gave to the college fund and will probably leave us some money. At no point in time could we ever make it work for me to be a stay at home mom full time (well we could if we moved to the Vermont woods but then I would be crazy and DH couldn’t find employment). We will burn through a little savings for our sabbatical but won’t be destitute.

  53. I may have missed it, but did the Frugalwoods say “blessed” anywhere, or are we attacking a strawman?

  54. Milo, I don’t think it’s resentment so much as just a giant eye roll at people who present a carefully curated version of life. I am speaking in generalities because I don’t follow the FWs. But I think we all know sometimes things just go completely off the rails. I have no problem with people keeping that private, I just don’t like the pretense that it is always sunshine and rainbows. Crappy days make for much more entertaining stories.

  55. I believe the conversation ventured from the FW to the #blessed. I don’t think anyone is assuming they are one and the same. (I’m not a regular reader, so I have zero idea, one way or another, if they’ve used #blessed.)

  56. Milo – I think it’s separate. However, people probably thought of it because their blog paints such a rosy picture of their life and she is so infernally optimistic all the time.

    Maybe we should come up with our own Totebag hashtag? RMS already nailed it, but #sarcasticcynic might also do. :) Some of us might also qualify for #eastcoastliberal or #godlessinfidel. ;) #notanoptimist

  57. I can’t help but think that it really is just a form of resentment to people who are choosing a [slightly] different path that prioritizes their own values.

    I don’t think it’s that, it’s just an eye roll at those who are way too into something. I lump MMM and the FW together with the crossfitters, the Jesus freaks, the yoga obsessives, the anti gluten zealots, the Phish fans, etc.

  58. A few weeks ago, RMS posted a link to an article that profiled four men. One was making seven figures a year, another mid-six figures, one was making about $70k, and the other was barely scraping by. When I read about the two high-earning guys (who also had significant, and growing, net worths), I remember thinking that they seemed like the anti-MMM; they loved working, they had no desire to retire, and they seemed to like not only the security that money provided, but the lifestyle and things that money could buy. I think what bugs me about frugality bloggers is that I get the sense some (many?) of them feel it is inherently superior to become financially successful via extreme frugality vs. via high earnings. I don’t agree with that.

    ITA with Ivy and MBT re. #blessed. It’s so often used to try to make a brag socially acceptable. I cringe every time I see it.

    On a completely unrelated note, today is Bob Dylan’s 75th birthday. One of the Boston college radio stations is playing Dylan songs all day. A few of them are sung by Bob himself, but most are covers by other artists from every genre. I’m loving every minute of it. I think Dylan might be the greatest American songwriter ever.

  59. I think the frugal bloggers (who all seem to have at least one spouse that is in IT) just don’t like their jobs and their legions of followers are the same. So early retirement is just a way for them to do something different without the constraints of earning a paycheck. I don’t mind MMM at all and find him entertaining. I tend to also like the ones like Financial Samurai where the goal is $200K in passive income vs. living on $25K per year.

  60. Milo – I haven’t read the FW blog or links. I was just commenting on some else’s #blessed reference. I agree with A Parent how amazing it is how many different lifestyles and choices there are that people make work for them. I’m not talking going off the grid, but about the people I see every day in NYC.

    For the ‘holier than thou’ types yes, they get an eyeroll from me.

  61. on #blessed, the people I see posting this on fb all the time are definitely bragging

  62. I’ve been thinking about the social acceptability of complaining/saying negative things in different parts of the country. I’m reminded of the negative Olive Garden review in the Grand Forks newspaper someone linked to a few days ago.

    You could tell it was negative because the reviewer didn’t say much about the food. :)

  63. I’m surprised at all of the cynicism. I think of blessed as the first way LfB described it and have rarely seen it used as a humble brag. My friends and I are mostly Christians who would find it inappropriate/offensive to use blessed as others have noted seeing it used.

  64. I think to me frugality is more about having FU money at all times if I just can’t take it one more day. That brings me comfort.

  65. Milo – I have read the conversation today as 2 separate topics – the FWs and the people who use #blessed on facebook.

  66. I tend to appreciate FW and MMM because they are good reminders that you don’t need all the stuff to be happy — and they both seem to have pretty similar expenses. It’s an anodyne to my periodic irrational “I’ll end up poor and eating cat food” phases.

    I don’t think our response to FW them has been cynicism or schadenfreude; they’re likable, no one is wishing them ill or assuming they’re doomed to failure and misery. It’s more like an amused condescension, presuming we know better than they do, because they just seem so *young* and can’t possibly know what they don’t know. But, you know, young couples have been blithely ignoring their elders’ advice (and patronizing attitudes) for millennia now — I think that’s sort of their job. So I am pretty confident that this particular pair will figure it out one way or another; they seem highly adaptable, determined, and resourceful.

    @ATM: I think the #blessed thing can be a “bubble” kind of marker. In our world, there’s a pretty high degree of cynicism, irony is an art form, and the humblebrag is king. But when I’ve lived in other areas, I had many friends who were very genuine about their faith, who believed it was their Christian duty to spread the gospel, and who didn’t have an ironic bone in their body. It was just a very different ethos (CoC nailed it with the Chewbacca lady reference — I had never seen that, btw, so thanks!).

    Of course, I did choose to move back here, largely because I am with My People, so which camp I fit in is pretty obvious. :-) And I think the cynical perception of #Blessed in the way we see it used here routinely is largely right on. But my old friends are the reason I called myself out, because they’re exactly the kind of people who would say it straight up and mean it.

  67. Literally today there is a post from an acquaintance on facebook of her family’s vacation in Bahamas picture with #blessed next to it.

    Based solely on my quick skim of 2 of their posts, I admire the Frugalwoods. They wanted a certain lifestyle, it feels good to them, so they made the changes in their life to get there. I hope they have great success, truly. As the baby grows it might make it harder to write/freelance, but it also might make it easier to come up with blog fodder so she might grow her career that way.

  68. LfB – Like I said earlier – I am a bit surprised at how cynical I am/have become. I’ve always been somewhat sarcastic and had a dry sense of humor, but also grew up with and now know many people who are genuinely kind and thoughtful, who are not sarcastic at all, and are very sincere in their beliefs (religious or otherwise). I do try to call myself out on being cynical and consider other points of view.

  69. I admire the Frugalwoods people too and their house in Vermont is adorable. I think my aversion to the blog has more to do with LfB’s description than anything else (I’m probably being condescending).

  70. ” her family’s vacation in Bahamas picture with #blessed next to it.”

    That’s annoying. Thinking about what’s OK to talk about, and what is bragging, I end up not posting much of anything on FB because we have friends in a lot of different circumstances, and what’s pedestrian on here would be decadent to many. [I’ve often thought of WCE’s Law of Percentile Distribution]. Along those lines, I would say that most others I know with financial means in the same neighborhood as ours are the same way, so, for example, when some neighbors went on a family vacation to Italy for two weeks, I knew about it, but I don’t think they posted much of anything on FB.

    One flagrant exception that proves the rule I can think of is from this guy I was on the boat with, and his wife, both of whom I always kind of despised. He’s still on active duty, which is awesome, but there are a couple factors at play here. One is that his wife’s parents, I strongly suspect, have a certain level of means and they must be providing some sort of allowance, based on where she grew up and their spending level. The second is that he originally joined as an enlisted sailor before going to college and getting a commission (when I knew them). Put all this together, and I imagine they probably feel exempt from bragging because, after all, they’re military (and prior enlisted at that), and many military people are happy to assume victim status and be their own grievance group. So anyway, they’ll go to Disney World and when it should suffice to simply post a family picture in front of the castle, they’ll make sure to post their view of the fireworks from their suite, which is simply another way of saying “we’re dropping at least $9k on this vacation.”

  71. I have one FB friends who attaches #blessed to her MLM posts. I really have to figure out how to hide her. For a while, I just thought that she was bored being a stay at home parent with two little kids and was posting exercise shots.

  72. Cordelia – to the right of her name, there should be a little carrot that opens a drop-down menu. There are different options, but I often go with something like “see fewer posts like this” if I don’t want to completely hide someone.

  73. Milo- have a friend with similar situation but not military. He is a firefighter and she quit her (I suspect) higher paying accounting job to stay home with the 4 kids who all play club soccer. One in private school. Vacations are a week long at the beach at a high end resort or on property at Disney for a week (with matching custom Disney-inspired embroidered outfits) when they aren’t hanging out on their boat. She quit at least ten years ago so couldn’t have saved up that much. I hope for their sake there isn’t a mountain of debt behind this pictures and its all due to generous family giving instead.

  74. So anyway, they’ll go to Disney World and when it should suffice to simply post a family picture in front of the castle, they’ll make sure to post their view of the fireworks from their suite, which is simply another way of saying “we’re dropping at least $9k on this vacation.”

    I want to see more of that and fewer lame inspirational posts. If you’re going to Italy or the Galapagos or a Disney cruise I was to read about the whole thing.

  75. lol Rhett! FB can be tricky because many of us mainly post when we do something “special”, which can certainly come off as braggy. But I also prefer to have access to all the pictures of friends and family.

  76. I could see a firefighter having the same mentality that it can’t be bragging–I’m a firefighter.

    “I hope for their sake there isn’t a mountain of debt behind this pictures ”

    That’s what I wondered, too, when he was a mere ensign with a SAHW and one kid and they bought a brand new Odyssey Touring. Yeah, it’s just a minivan, and yeah, his salary was guaranteed to go up quite a bit in the next few years, but still. It’s a $40k car and he was making maybe $50k at the time.

    There were other things, too, but I’m really going to out myself :)

    That’s not the reason I disliked them, though. Tying it in to this post, I disliked them more for the fact that he kind of had a superior attitude and seemed to take a disapproving view of any good-natured cynicism. There was one night onboard, surfaced down off the Bahamas, beautiful weather outside, awesome sunset, and I was teaching him a little about being surfaced OOD, and I just had this feeling of “Man, I do not like this guy.”

  77. I’m reminded of a frugal friend whose husband’s business was declining. He ran an estate sale (partly for practice/possible business expansion and partly as a favor for a friend) while she helped over the long weekend. I watched their son on Friday, since he fits in with my crew age-wise.

    She would consider them “blessed” to run the estate sale. I consider myself “blessed” to not run an estate sale. Win-win!

  78. Tee hee. Just checked this person’s FB feed just to make sure I am not imagining things and today’s hashtag for the bragging post about her awesome kid doing competitive cheer is #alwaysbehumbleandkind

  79. I see the most #blessed posts attached to R&F marketing posts. For some reason FB hasn’t yet gotten the hint about hiding those even though I keep trying!

  80. I think I have a pretty good life too, and am grateful for that, but I’ve never felt the need to exhaustively document it in blog posts or FB posts. And in fact, I’ve noticed something of an inverse correlation there — the people I know or believe to be most likely to have a happy and full family or personal life are often the least active on FB, whereas I see some glowing posts about wonderful loving spouse and family from people who are suddenly divorced and marrying someone new the next year, or who I know to have a less than happy marriage. So anyway, that probably gives me the same jaundiced view others have mentioned toward the Frugalwoods (whose blog I haven’t even been reading) or those blogging wanna-be Victorians in WA. Whereas I don’t feel that way about people living in non-typical ways in general.

  81. When is it ok to post about your kid’s accomplishments on facebook? How do you balance celebrating one kid’s accomplishments in relation to the others? Do you even think about it? What about when one kid grabs an achievement that another tried for and didn’t get?

  82. “Not sure I get what is “blessed”. Someone please explain.”

    A lot of fire hydrants get “blessed” regularly.

  83. “It’s an anodyne to my periodic irrational “I’ll end up poor and eating cat food” phases.”

    But don’t eat dog food. Just ask Serena Williams.

  84. “When is it ok to post about your kid’s accomplishments on facebook?”

    Not sure about FB, but feel free to post here. In other circumstances it might be bragging, but here it’s sharing.

    One thing I really like about this forum is that I can discuss things about which I would be circumspect discussing IRL.

  85. Cordelia, “When is it ok to post about your kid’s accomplishments on facebook?”

    In my circle, the proper answer is “never”. The colleagues I have with accomplished children (Ivy League, PhD, etc) avoid talking about it like the plague.

  86. I respect that people have decided to “choose” a lifestyle rather than just flow along with whatever comes their way. However, many who do so also choose to try to convert everyone they know to join them. I am happy to learn something about their choice and how it is going with their family, but I dislike being put in the position that I must be “wrong” or “crazy” if I pick any other lifestyle than theirs.

  87. Interesting. Around here, posting about the kids seems to be ok. Lots of people put up stuff about sports awards, winning Miss County at the fair, going to sections/regions/state in whatever sport or contest, Eagle Scout, etc. Anytime a kid makes it into the local paper, the article gets reposted.

    And of course, this month there have been prom pictures galore.

    One thing I did notice is that only one person posted where their kid was going to college.

  88. “whereas I see some glowing posts about wonderful loving spouse and family from people who are suddenly divorced and marrying someone new the next year, or who I know to have a less than happy marriage.”

    This is my BIL/SIL. They are in a real rough patch, not sure if they’re going to work it out, and my BIL is posting happy pictures of his family on FB (which he never really did before this). DH and I have been trying to figure out what he’s trying to accomplish.

  89. I think it’s a combination of the number and level of kid achievements that can make it to feel awkward to post. Everyone gets a certain number of brags a year, and no one can brag constantly without being annoying. Like, if you’re posting one kid achievement a year, then even if it’s winning the state science fair or something people are going to be happy and supportive for you. Whereas if you’re posting every week, they’ll be eye-rolling and either snickering at you if the achievements are pretty mundane stuff, or feeling resentful if the achievements are genuinely impressive. But the number of brags per unit of time you can get away with is probably greater for less impressive / less intellectual stuff.

    We may also tend to overestimate how much other people care about or even understand the significance of some Totebag achievements. Like, do our high school friends and our former neighbors and even the parents of our kids’ friends really think that “So proud of DS for getting a 5 on the Calculus B/C AP exam” outshines “So proud of DS for getting a home run in today’s game”? Or know the significance of a “National Merit Scholarship” and how it is different from getting a $500 “Merit Scholarship” awarded by the local chamber of commerce for exemplary community service by a high school student?

  90. I don’t mind kid bragging on Facebook. I love seeing people’s pics of trips, graduations, proms, etc. I did see a lot of pre-K “graduation” pictures last week with a lot of “so proud of my kid” comments, but most of those were first kids so I’m being tolerant.

  91. Finally took a look at the first of the linked Frugalwood posts. They seem like the kind of people who in the pre-internet era would have sent out a family newsletter instead of a one-page Christmas card letter. I didn’t finish reading it.

  92. Speaking of FB brags, I wondered for the longest time why people would post photos of the dinner they just made. Finally I had the epiphany — those people don’t usually cook! So it’s a form of celebration / brag post.

  93. Mr WCE posted a picture of DS1 with his winning Pinewood Derby car. We would have posted a picture whether DS1 won or not, for the distant relatives who like our kid posts.

    I like to post the funny things my kids do. I recently posted about Twin1’s discovery that you can clean fur (lint) out of the dryer.

  94. HM – I agree with what you say at the end of your 347 post. Plenty of people have no understanding of the differences of the type you mention.

  95. “Like, do our high school friends and our former neighbors and even the parents of our kids’ friends really think that “So proud of DS for getting a 5 on the Calculus B/C AP exam” outshines “So proud of DS for getting a home run in today’s game”? Or know the significance of a “National Merit Scholarship” and how it is different from getting a $500 “Merit Scholarship” awarded by the local chamber of commerce for exemplary community service by a high school student?”

    College Confidential seems to be an appropriate place to post this sort of stuff.

  96. My kids’ latest accomplishment is capturing the bullfrog in the nearby pond. Worked hard on it for a couple days. That and we survived the year without failing out of school. That’s all I have other than they are hilarious and seem pretty happy and still love each other most of the time.

  97. There is only one person in my FB feed who regularly uses #blessed, and always for posts about his young kids.

    Normally I wouldn’t bat an eyebrow, but this guy (a neighbor) left the kids here after the divorce to go marry the new wife across the country, and doesn’t call regularly or visit more than twice a year.

    So instead he posts his ex wife’s pictures of their kids’ games and slaps #blessed on the end.

    I’m always tempted to comment, “yup, they’re enjoying another #blessed day without you!”

  98. I am very circumspect about my kids’ accomplishments, other than to grandparents and my sister. We are proud of them and celebrate as appropriate, but we are private people. My co-workers don’t know my kids’ names, their ages, or even that I have 2 boys.

  99. Re: the FWs and MMM, I applaud anyone who decides the kind of life they want to live and then goes out and finds a way to make it happen. I have some experience with extreme frugality because I have someone in my family who happens to be the cheapest person alive. This is total armchair psychiatry, but I honestly think it is a form of mental illness for him and maybe some of these extreme frugality bloggers, sort of the opposite of hoarding. My relative literally never buys anything that is not a necessity. He uses everything until it practically disintegrates, including clothing and furniture. He struggles with things like buying Christmas or birthday presents for his family because he feels that it is a waste of money. This is someone who had a great career and a very comfortable income their entire adult life. It can be very difficult for the children of someone like this when they are growing up. I don’t know if my relative gets enjoyment out of not spending as Mrs. FW says, but that statement made me think she might have a problem as well.

  100. GFM,

    Interesting theory, it’s almost like a form of fiscal anorexia. In one of her posts she mentioned being a recovering perfectionist and perfectionism and anorexia often go hand in hand.

  101. Rhett, I saw in the clothes post L linked that one of the outfits she was showing off in the photos involved a gray tunic she’d pulled from the trash. I have no problem with buying used clothes, but dumpster-diving for clothes? All in service of being able to say that you don’t buy any new clothes? That seems like it’s moved beyond thrifty into the “you may want to talk to someone about this” realm.

  102. One of Mr WCE’s engineer colleagues used to dumpster dive for food (he may still do it) and it’s not incredibly uncommon in the Pacific Northwest. To me, it’s kind of like hearing that another of his colleague’s girlfriends (grad student in animal pathology) decided to eat their pet rabbit-or-guinea pig after deciding it didn’t actually have the disease she thought it might have. She’s from an Asian culture where people eat things I don’t eat.

  103. MMM has high entertainment value, but I don’t find him particularly likable. He enjoys having acolytes. The FWs seem sweet and harmless. They had a clear plan and hit a real estate grand slam in the same game that they hit for the cycle. I never considered them particularly sanctimonious, just a little boring, until she added in I can’t bear to be parted from babywoods, and I think she can be forgiven for that. I know plenty of people who “retire” to homesteads. The FWs will either enjoy the rural lifestyle or they won’t. It is mostly a question of whether they will feel a need for physical friendships or they are content en famille with electronic friends.

    Both MMM and the FWs have adequate financial resources, and as all of the frugal bloggers stress, they have acquired the habit of spending very little and doing for themselves. I don’t find financial anorexia any more or less alarming than financial gluttony, as long as people at either extreme don’t do harm to their children.

  104. I’m deeply grateful that thanks to the conclusion of grad school, Mr. FW’s incredibly healthy cooking, yoga, and hiking, I lost 23 pounds

    And I think she’s writing these things without a hint of irony. It’s like performance art.

  105. I agree with HM on the brag quotient. It’s probably some kind of total number per year, depending on how big the accomplishment. I do post more braggy things about DS and then limit the audience to just family & close friends if I’m feeling uncomfortable about who might be interested in a video of my kid playing in a recital or seeing his science fair project.

    I don’t really mind too many kid posts, although it starts to get awkward the older the kids get – when does it become their own choice how/when to share on social media?

    I happen to love the first day of school and last day of school picture posts. I also love kid birthday posts. They are always SO excited to be older, and I think it is the cutest. I love seeing all the kids growing up.

  106. I join in agreeing that HM described the appropriate brag quotient. Rarely do I think that friends are bragging too much, but sometimes I think they overshare. SAT scores??? No, just no.

    I don’t think I’m usually resentful, but after my H’s retired colleague shared that he’s getting $18k net monthly from his NYC real estate investments and a friend insinuated something similar, I’m feeling a little bit of jealousy! Why oh why didn’t I invest? Oh, maybe because I ended up underwater on my first real estate investment and became gun-shy about that sector.

  107. ITA with Meme’s summary.

    I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately, but I can’t muster the same sort of cynicism for kooks. I was watching an episode of Tiny House something or other last night and found myself really admiring the guy’s craftsmanship, and generally his willingness to tackle a new project that I would find very intimidating.

    Rhett – my Pilates instructor is branching into teaching yoga, and I attended my first class last Thursday. I was expecting an easy time of some good stretching and relaxing, but while I feel it’s less of a workout than Pilates, it also seemed harder and more stressful. I also had a difficult time not laughing when, in the middle of different positions, she talked about things like “rediscovering my intention.”

    Namaste.

    I really like her, but she also seems to do some sort of MLM or direct sales for beauty products and even children’s products that are all-natural and safe and free of toxins or some shit. I just ignore that stuff on FB, but today she posted something with a link to a study by Environmental Working Group (the quacks who think all sunscreen is poison). She never pushes any products in person, however, either to me or DW.

  108. “We may also tend to overestimate how much other people care about or even understand the significance of some Totebag achievements.”

    I think something similar is at play when we critique the Frugal Bloggers. We misunderstand that when they’re in preaching mode, we’re not the target audience. So they’re ultimately just talking about the benefits of financial security, and ultimately independence, and we’re saying “Well, I don’t want to live out in the sticks, or carry major appliances on my bike.”

    At the same time, I also think the bloggers are often relying on attacking a strawman to make their points, the infamous dual-income couple with two leased luxury SUVs and a McMansion “in debt up their eyeballs.”

    Sometimes I think there are far fewer of these people than the MMM adherents like to imagine; then again, there are the statistics that suggest otherwise.

    So there’s some give and take.

  109. A whole lot of yoga instructors do the MLM stuff, as far as I can tell. I think it’s because teaching yoga doesn’t pay very well.

  110. The #blessed may be over exposed but I sometimes start my day with “Have a Blessed Day” said by one of my coffee shop ladies. I feel no cynicism at all because these ladies are all smiles and it is part of their culture and custom.
    None of my friends post day to day accomplishments of their kids but they do post milestones like graduations, events like prom pictures etc. It is nice to see these and I am sometimes taken aback that my friends have older kids whereas mine are still chugging along.
    By nature I am an optimist and a whole cookie type person. Without that I wouldn’t have stood in line for a U.S. visa. I had everything to gain and nothing to lose.

  111. So they’re ultimately just talking about the benefits of financial security.

    Oh no, frugality is an end unto itself. Think of MMM and his blog windfall.

  112. “frugality is an end unto itself” – Most definitely!!! Otherwise, why the dumpster tunics?

  113. It doesn’t have to cost a small fortune to look stylish! All this outfit cost me was my dignity! #dumpstertunics

  114. It doesn’t have to cost a small fortune to look stylish!
    Ha ! Anna Wintour would roll her eyes at this.

  115. Aren’t they close enough to college to still have plenty of swag T-shirts? After my spit-uppy twins arrived, I wore multiple corporate T-shirts each day.

    L, you will be proud to know that I gave my most recent ill-fitting men’s polo acquisition to Mr WCE. They still don’t order shirts with employer logos in women’s sizes.

  116. “I think the #blessed thing can be a “bubble” kind of marker. In our world, there’s a pretty high degree of cynicism, irony is an art form, and the humblebrag is king. But when I’ve lived in other areas, I had many friends who were very genuine about their faith, who believed it was their Christian duty to spread the gospel, and who didn’t have an ironic bone in their body. It was just a very different ethos”

    LFB- perfectly said.

  117. I had never really looked at the FW blog before, and I found it really interesting and yes, a bit inspiring. I guess I’m not as cynical as many of you. Not their exact lifestyle- I would never live in a cold, rural area for instance. But taking the initiative to avoid being pulled into the typical corporate path (or typical SAHM track, for that matter) and to deliberately build the lives they want. I need to be better about that myself, rather than just wallowing in the fact that my previous career didn’t pan out the way I hoped. Unlike the FW though, I’d like to figure out how to build an income stream rather than cutting expenses. Ideally working for myself, or at least not a traditional employer. And not selling MLM junk.

  118. Rio+1

    I read the FW blog for the first time today. I had time when I was waiting for a meeting to browse some older posts too. I meet so many people that just complain about their circumstances, and the FW seem to be doing the opposite with their lives. They set goals, and they are really trying to live the life that they want.

  119. I think I was being a little flip earlier. I have read FW and MMM multiple times. I don’t think I am going to try to live that way but I admire their lofty goals and intentional living. People should question conventional living and who they are and what is important to them and take action accordingly. I also read the mansions section in the Wall Street Journal. Neat houses. I am too lazy to work hard enough to afford the Hamptons beachfront either. But hey if that’s your goal, go for it.

  120. Have you people never been to the South? Of course “blessed” is a way to “humbly” announce your superiority and how f’ed everyone else is in comparison to the bounty God has given you. AND it is also a way of saying you are really pissed off, ready to explode,but like a good little godly person you are going to calm yourself down with that trite little word. And of course you do it for all to see! What would be the point of being godly if no one knew? It’s just as full of back-stabbery and unkindness as any other Southern phrase.

    I’m cynical about Ada’s assumption that these people don’t eat real food, that they levitate and walk through walls or something. What do you mean by contrasting “real world” with these people? If the farm is losing money but at a slower rate than he and the rental properties bring it in, the balance is still positive, and they have a vacation to rural life every day.

    And Lark, you do know that your hero there at Walden Pond went home to mama for a hot meal every day, don’t you?

  121. All the griping here about these folk being holier than thou and thinking they’re better than everyone else–have you seen this blog’s tag line? Cheeky, yes, but a whole saltmine full of truth in it as well. You’re not into crossfit or yoga or gluten freedom, but damn are you into your 401Ks. At least the crossfitter already enjoys life enough not to wonder what they’ll do once they stop going off to make money at a job they may dislike every day, and probably has no issues with their 1000sf ranch.

  122. Rio, make sure you consider a self employment 401(k) if you work for yourself. You can contribute your earnings up to the ~$18k limit and childcare/preschool expenses can be paid for out of your husband’s childcare reimbursement account.

  123. What’s interesting to me is that the discussion (in the MMM forums, for example) about women’s choices is rarely about money. Which is unexpected in a universe focused on maximizing savings, income, etc. Which implies that the conversation is really about something else.

    From little_brown_dog, edited for length: (any relation to anyone we know?)
    The idea of outsourcing the majority of my childcare responsibilities during the work week so I could work to make the company more money was not something I felt comfortable doing. I guess I decided I would rather rock one thing (being a mom) than drive myself crazy trying to do everything…I wanted to be my best self for my family, and for me, that meant bucking the trend and making my family my sole profession/vocation. Being “just” a mom, a wife, etc works for me…At one time I thought I would “need” to be employed too, but then I really had a change of heart and my perspective really shifted once I spent significant time around the women I thought I wanted to be. I realized their lives weren’t perfect, and many were actually extremely stressed. I decided to take a different path to see if that was a better fit for me.

    I don’t doubt the sincerity, but it surprises me that this is the overwhelming refrain in the early retirement community.

  124. I don’t doubt the sincerity, but it surprises me that this is the overwhelming refrain in the early retirement community.

    I’m not that surprised as their goal doesn’t seem to be retirement so much as it is to live a self directed life. Women, who crave living a self directed life, have the socially acceptable option of being a SAHM*.

    * Personally, being a SAHM doesn’t seem all that self directed but I can see how someone might perceive it that way.

  125. What bothers me about this blog Is the insistence that “I am special, and have chosen a different path than all the boring ordinary people.” When I was a senior woman working in a male dominated field, my peers all thought they were so special and different from the “ordinary SAHMs,” When I was an expat living overseas, my peers thought we were so special and different from “ordinary mono culture Americans”. When I retired early and started boating, the sailing community thinks their so special and different than the “chained to their desks 9-5ers,” and my marathoner/yogi friends think they’re so special and different than the “ordinary fat people”
    Everyone’s definition of the norm they are rebelling against is a straw man.

  126. I think being a SAHM is incredibly self-directed. It is one part that I don’t much like about being one. I do better with a schedule and external requirements/commitments.

  127. All the griping here about these folk being holier than thou and thinking they’re better than everyone else–have you seen this blog’s tag line?

    Yeah, but our way of being holier than thou is better than their way.

  128. ” You’re not into crossfit or yoga or gluten freedom, but damn are you into your 401Ks”

    I see a good hashtag idea. When I post 200 pictures of my $9,000 Bahamas vacation, I’ll include #blessour401k.

    ” Personally, being a SAHM doesn’t seem all that self directed ”

    How so? Because you’re tied to the kids’ schedules. Of course that’s not the case if you have your two nannies to help you out. #blessour401k

  129. “I’m always tempted to comment, “yup, they’re enjoying another #blessed day without you!””

    @Sky: #wellblessyourheart

    “Yeah, but our way of being holier than thou is better than their way.”

    [snort]. Rocky ftw!

  130. SAHMs – my MIL was overjoyed when she learnt that one of her DILs had given up her job to stay home. Her expectation was that the house would run on a proper schedule with home cooked meals, be clean and sparkling and be very well run. Well, that’s not my SIL at all. Hardly any home cooked meals and a house cleaner. Lots of time spent getting together with friends and family, some working out, kids activities. So, there are two different views or some people might do a blend of both.

  131. I only read a bit of FW but it was odd to see so many links to retail sites in a post about not buying stuff. Kind of like Real Simple (which is my favorite magazine) — declutter and simplify your life by buying these cool things. Who knew there were hundreds of rave reviews on Amazon for underwear?

  132. do you see on FW she said if friends/family are giving any thing away they say yes, and if they can’t use it they sell it on craigs list

    1. I wouldn’t sell something I got for free, I would pass it along to someone else for free/give to goodwill
    2. they must have a pile of crap waiting to be sold

  133. Even if you are the kind of SAHM who does all of the cooking (I am!) and cleaning (I am not!), it is all self-directed. I can make a complicated or easy dinner, at my choice. I can do that at noon or 5 pm. Or if I really want, I can order some take-out. I can schedule the kids’ dental appts on Tues or Thurs, depending on what works. I can hydrogen peroxide the sink and toilets at 10 am or 7 pm or not at all! The choices are endless! It is very different from having a call scheduled at 10 am with 12 other people dialing-in and having a deal close on May 27, come hell or high water and whether your husband is out of town and 2 of your kids are sick. I don’t mind working for the man at all, but SAHM-dom is much less scheduled.

  134. “I wouldn’t sell something I got for free, I would pass it along to someone else for free/give to goodwill”

    I have a hiking backpack carrier that my brother gave me that I need to sell on Craigslist. I also have a Double Bob jogger to sell that’s taking up way too much space in the garage. And I should probably just sell the Yakima single jogger while I’m at it, also passed down from my brother.

    We donate a ton of stuff to Goodwill, but the decision there is about convenience tradeoff vs. what I could get selling it. I see no reason to consider acquisition cost.

  135. @Kate — I agree with your assessment. Which is part of why I WOH — I am just not a self-directed person at all; I sink into sloth and lethargy until I am forced out of it. The one summer I got a grant to write a research paper was THE most miserable summer, even though it seemed like fun and freedom (i.e., I spent most of it lounging around the pool). My primary motivation is fear of failure, which means nothing works better to get me going than an imminent deadline. :-) So I actually find “I have calls at 10 and 1 and 2 and 3:30” very helpful, because it structures my day (i.e., tells me exactly what windows I have in which I need to get my other work done). IOW, the busier I am, the more I get done on a work-per-unit-of-time basis.

    So on a daily basis, I want to go MMM/FWs to “escape the stress” (right now, EOY schoolwork/tests/projects/concerts + revamped sports schedules from all of the rainouts + necessary prep for summer stuff are freaking killing me), but I know I would just “self-direct” myself to the couch with some bon-bons.

  136. Kate – my MIL’s day was and is very structured. So, everyday she woke up at a given time, prepared lunches, got her kids ready for school. After that she prepared the meal, cleaned the house. She designated days for grocery shopping, doing laundry, other chores. So her schedule though self imposed was as fixed as if she had an outside job.

  137. Louise, I remember my grandmother being that way. She was very organized and very structured. When she left the house on her errand days, she was always in a dress and low heels. I think I would have to do the same thing.

    My favorite thing re:being scheduled is my retired parents. I’ll call them to ask about something they’re considering, like visiting us, or scheduling a surgery or something, and the typical answer is “oh, we’re going to talk about it on Tuesday. I’ll let you know after that”. It makes me laugh every time.

  138. . I can do that at noon or 5 pm. Or if I really want, I can order some take-out.

    But either way you have to do it. I would contrast that living in a hotel with a nanny or having a household staff. You would never have to do anything. The cooking, cleaning, laundry, child care, everything would be done senselessly behind the scenes. You want to go to barre or the spa you just go. You entire day is yours to do as you please. Short of that, having a big list of things of things to do seems the same whether it’s a list of work things or a list of home things.

  139. I think Mafalda nailed it.

    I also think this is why shows like Dirty Jobs, Ice Road Truckers, Swamp People (is that the title?) and the like are so popular. You can see a glimpse of how someone else lives, and either appreciate their skill/choice or judge it against your own.

  140. The reason so many frugal bloggers have a primary parent at home is that they are DIYers. How can you justify hiring someone to watch your child when you make a religion out of not hiring anyone to do for you or make for you if you can possibly do it yourself. Also, Mr Frugalwoods is not retiring. He has a corporate job and works from home. I think that if the FWs want to make the farm work for them and not just be a 60 acre piece of nature they will need to partner with someone. If you dumpster dive for clothes instead of making them yourself, and you rely on your husband’s cooking, you are not a throwback rural wife. At least one member of the couple in my refugee from the corporate world acquaintances who plan to center their home based economic activity on the property has experience in animal husbandry, high end craft skills such as dyeing and weaving, and usually the other has a stream of earned or unearned income.

  141. Mafalda- spot on.

    Milo, I saw that. I really don’t know how this is going to end up. I think by election time the Republican Party as represented by Trump and his supporters will be unrecognizable as the same party from 2012. Maybe this political cycle is where my cynicism is coming from.

  142. I kind of thought Trump was doing all of this as a favor to the Clintons and would drop out at some point for Clinton to compete against a weaker republican candidate. I can’t believe so many people are supportive of him. I hate politics and the process this year just makes me sad and a little scared for this country.

  143. ” the discussion (in the MMM forums, for example) about women’s choices is rarely about money. Which is unexpected in a universe focused on maximizing savings, income, etc.”
    The world is bigger than Ada’s world.

  144. “I know I would just “self-direct” myself to the couch with some bon-bons.”

    Reminiscent of Peg Bundy.

  145. @Anon — she’s talking about the MMM universe. Where, yeah, I would expect discussion of women’s choices to address money — a lot.

  146. I disagree that that universe is *about* money. It’s about making a living without having to be so tied to the usual practices of getting money and spending it. Money shows up a lot, because it interferes with that life, but it really isn’t the object the way it is for people here.

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