August Financial Update with Net Worth

August Financial UpdateHello September!

Welcome to my Financial Update for August!

How is it September already???

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a little excited for fall.  I love pumpkins, the changing leaves, the cooler air. I could go on and on. I’m also going to miss summer. I love the long days, the beach weather, gardens, and much, much more.  I guess I love every season, except winter.  Winter in Minnesota is brutal.

August went by way to fast.  I feel like I blinked and here we are in September.

I think I’m still adjusting to a day-shift schedule.  It’s still pretty new to me.  I have a lot of extra time, but I feel like it’s just wasted.  Where does it go?  I might have to start keeping track.

What the heck did I do in August?

Let’s see…

In early August my niece turned 8!  My two sisters and I went in together and bought her a couple horse back riding lessons from a nearby stable. She hasn’t used them, yet.  I told her mom to take lots of pictures.  I hope it goes well!

Mr. Frugal Turtle and I went out to eat once.  I honestly didn’t even remember this dinner until I looked back at my expenses for August.  I guess I should have just cooked at home that night instead of spending the money since it wasn’t very memorable!

Later in the month my sisters and I enjoyed a day hanging out together.  On the way to my one sister’s house, my other sister and I stopped at Subway to pick up lunch.  bye-bye $20!  When did Subway get so expensive? I ordered a foot long, my sister ordered a foot long with a meal, and I also paid for a portion of my other sister’s meal.  Looking back at the receipt later on, I was surprised at how much prices have increased since I’d been there last.  It’s probably been way over a year since I’ve been there.  Honestly, I don’t miss it.  Their food quality has gone done a ton over the years. Continue reading “August Financial Update with Net Worth”

July Financial Update

July Net WorthSummer is Almost Over

Where is the summer going?  It’s really depressing to be writing this financial update.  Summer is quickly becoming just a memory.  🙁

It’s hard to believe that fall is right around the corner.  As much as I look forward to pumpkins and Halloween and turning leaves, I love summer more.  I love the long days and the thunderstorms and the delicious fresh garden vegetables.

Cheap Grocery Bills!

I’m really lucky because my mother loves to garden.  She has a huge garden and grows all sorts of vegetables.  So many in fact, that she gives me a huge, overflowing reusable grocery bag full every time I go visit her.  Our grocery bills are ridiculously small this time of year!  I spent around $12 at the grocery store over the weekend to replenish our bananas, cheese stock, and orange juice.  We are set for the week!

My Love for Camping

Anyways, I guess I should be telling you about last month.  Unfortunately it was pretty uneventful.  We came back from our camping trip in the first week of July.  I honestly can’t recommend camping enough.  I enjoy everything about it.  It’s cheap.  The parks are beautiful and filled with hiking trails.  Cooking over the campfire is awesome!  I’m convinced anything that is cooked over fire is the best thing ever.  Plus, nature.  Lightening bugs mesmerize me, crazy raccoons make me laugh, and deer make me stand as still as I possibly can so I don’t scare them away.  In my opinion, camping is the most relaxing vacation out there.

I have one warning about camping.  Wear bug spray!  I had a deer tick scare after we were back home.  Mr. Frugal Turtle noticed a very dark red mark on my shoulder and we both got worried.  I went to the doctor the next morning to get checked out.  He assured us it wasn’t a deer tick.  While I was relieved, I was kinda annoyed that I wasted $30 on a co-pay for what was literally a one minute visit by the doctor.  Lesson learned.

Free Events

I was lucky last month.  The events that I went to were free!  On the 4th of July Mr. Frugal Turtle and I went to the local free fireworks show.  While we didn’t spend any money there, he did treat me to a very rare fast food meal beforehand.  While I was eating, I was reminded why I enjoy cooking at home more than going out!  If I remember right, that was our only meal “out”.  No restaurants for us last month!

A couple of weeks later I had a family reunion at a local park.  Everyone was asked to bring a dish for potluck.  I treated everyone to Spinach and Artichoke Dip with choice of Hawaiian bread, pita chips, or tortilla chips.  There was hardly any left by the end!  It was great to see everyone.  I have a huge extended family with 5o cousins on my dad’s side. That doesn’t include all their spouses and kids.  It’s crazy!

Ok!  Are you ready for my financial update for July??

July Net Worth

I ended July with a net worth of $91,190.06!  This includes my retirement accounts and savings account.  I’m inching closer and closer to my goal of $100k by New Year’s Eve! Actually, the way things are looking I will surpass that goal by a generous amount.  I’m so excited!  I’ve always read that the first $100k is the hardest.  Boy, is that ever right!  Three years ago I paid off my last debt.  At that time I had around $25k in savings/retirement accounts.   A year later I moved in with Mr. Frugal Turtle and cut my rent in half and did away with other unnecessary expenses.  It was then that I really started to throw huge amounts of money towards retirement.  I’m just really happy that this plan is actually working and in ten more years I will (hopefully) be FIRE’d! Continue reading “July Financial Update”

Three Great Benefits of Camping

3 Benefits of CampingThe Good

I love camping!  I feel calm and relaxed in the woods.  All the day-to-day problems just sort of melt away as soon as I get to the campsite.    I stop thinking about work.  I stop worrying about the items that I should have packed for the trip (since it’s pointless at that point).  Most importantly, that little bit of anxiety that I always seem to have for no reason goes away.  I am at peace.

The Bad

Sure there are things that can go wrong when you’re camping.  It has rained on almost every camping trip I’ve been on.  I’ve taken the wrong trail while hiking and ended up hiking several miles more than I was planning on (in the rain).  I’ve had countless huge mosquito bites, spider bites, wood tick and deer tick bites.  Even with everything that goes wrong, at the end of every camping trip I’m left feeling sad and lost.  I feel at home in the woods.

The …Great?

When I’m camping there’s usually no cell service.  On the drive back home after our recent camping trip we had missed calls and texts from Mr. Frugal Turtle’s family.  There was mixed communication and they got really worried when they couldn’t get a hold of us!  Oops.  On the plus side, we had no idea what was going on in the real world.  That’s not always a bad thing.  I recently went a week without the internet and I think it changed me for the better!

#1 Benefit of Camping


When I go camping I get a great workout every day.  Whoever I go camping with, we usually spend our days hiking or biking around the park.  On one camping trip with my sister we hiked for over twenty miles.  We got up really early and had a big, filling breakfast.  After breakfast we filled our backpack with water and snacks and left our campsite.  11 hours later we finally got back to our campsite.  It didn’t even feel like a workout!  We took enough breaks and just took in the beautiful scenery on our hike.  Although I usually stick to hiking I have done some biking while on the camping trips as well.  In fact the day after the epic 11 hour hike we went biking to give our legs a little break.  It was so much fun. Continue reading “Three Great Benefits of Camping”

June Financial Update

June Financial UpdateHello July!

Another beautiful summer so far!  Minnesota has had excellent weather recently.  I love soaking in the sun!

We got a lot of sun recently.  You see, Mr. Frugal Turtle and I just got back from a relaxing camping trip last week.  It was wonderful.  We pretty much had our campground to ourselves.  Most of the campsites were empty the whole time we were there.  The crowded campground was the one that was closer to the showers and flushing toilets.  We liked where we were.  It was only a five-minute hike to those showers anyways.

There were fireflies!  Lots of fireflies!  The blinking lights of the fireflies mesmerized me every night while I sat by the campfire.  It was really relaxing.  If only I would have known they were going to be there!  I would have brought a jar so I could try to catch one.  However, one night we had a private light show while we were in the tent.  One of the fireflies kept lighting up directly on top of our tent!  It must have been trapped between the rain fly and tent.  It was really cool!  And kinda funny.  Eventually it found an escape and flew off into the night.  Gotta love those bioluminescent insects!

Iphone?  Yes, Please

Earlier in the month, before we enjoyed our time camping and hiking, our router for the internet stopped working.  That was the week I decided I was done with my current phone.  It was time for a new one!  So, I bought an iPhone.  Yes, I caved and got a nice phone for myself.  However, it’s not the newest $700 model, or whatever the newest iPhone costs.    Virgin Mobile had a sale on the iPhone 5S.  I debated myself for months over whether or not I needed a new phone.  After all, mine could still text and receive calls.  What more could I possibly want, right?  Well, I guess I finally had enough when I had no access to the internet for a week.  I wanted a phone with Mobile Hotspot.  My iPhone 5S was $213.74 with tax.  Plus, I’ll be getting a $50 credit to my account in a couple of months.  I couldn’t pass up that deal.  I’m really happy with it so far!

Time for a New Kitten?

What I wasn’t really happy with was when our cat got ear mites.  :(.  Earlier in the month, we “tried out” a new kitten in our home.  We have an 8-year-old cat that we thought might like a playmate.  Mr. Frugal Turtle’s friend just so happened to have a kitten that he said we could have if we wanted.  If it didn’t work out he would take the kitten back and keep her.  We kept her for three weeks and it was painfully obvious to both of us that she wasn’t a good fit.

I know kittens play rough, but this one was really aggressive and would not give our adult cat a break.  After we had the kitten for a couple of weeks we noticed our cat would bend his ears forward like they were bothering him.  We just figured the kitten had scratched them or irritated them.  After the kitten had gone back to her owner we could tell that something was really wrong with our cats ears.  We looked for scratches or marks; anything that would hint at what was bothering him.  Then it hit us.  He might have ear mites.  After calling every veterinarian office in the area trying to get in on a Saturday and being told they were full, we finally found one that was open on a Sunday.  Bright and early the next morning I loaded him in the pet carrier and off we went.

It’s been three weeks since the vet visit and I hope I can finally say with confidence that the ear mites are all gone.  The vet showed me one of the ear mites she found in his ears under the microscope.  Creepy, crawly, disgusting!  I felt so bad for our kitty cat.  I’m just happy he’s doing better now.

Another Big Expense

It was an expensive month!  On top of the new phone and the unexpected visit to the veterinarian, I also had car insurance due.  Ack!  I always pay the full bill every six months. Bye-bye $309.  What an evil necessity.

Alright.  Enough chit-chat.  On to the numbers! Continue reading “June Financial Update”

What A Week Without the Internet Taught Me

Week without internetOne Long Week

I recently spent almost a week without access to the internet at home.

Almost two weeks ago a storm came through our area, and there was a lightning strike frighteningly close to our house.  While we didn’t lose power, our router was destroyed. What was once a perfectly fine router wouldn’t even turn on.  Since the lightning struck late on a Sunday night, Mr. Frugal Turtle decided to wait until the next morning to get a new router.  That night, however, I spent a couple of hours playing games on the computer to help pass the time before I went to bed.  I got pretty good at Spider Solitaire!

When I woke up the next morning I walked into the kitchen to find Mr. Frugal Turtle very frustrated.  After work he had gone to Wal-Mart to buy a router.  Unknowingly to Mr. Frugal Turtle our internet service provider only works with certain routers.  When it came time to try to connect the router, it wouldn’t work with the router he bought.  When he called our service provider to find out how much one would be, he was told it would cost around $115.  Ever looking to save money where possible, Mr. Frugal Turtle was determined to find one cheaper.  He did some research on his phone and was able to order a compatible router the next morning for about $50.  Score!

Now we just had to wait for the router to get delivered.

While I do have a smart phone, it’s only smart-ish at this point.  It’s an older phone that doesn’t support apps any more.  I can’t even get Facebook on it anymore!  I pretty much use it only for texting and calling.  Mr. Frugal Turtle has a Galaxy S6 with Mobile Hotspot, so the one night that he had off when we were without internet I did use his Mobile Hotspot to catch up on Facebook and e-mails before I used up too much of his data.

The days where we had no internet I soaked up the awesome new book The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins.  You can read my review here.

The router finally showed up in the mail that Friday and by Saturday morning we were up and running with internet again.  Yay!

The Low Information Diet

We lost internet the day after the mass shooting in Orlando.  I’m almost glad that we lost internet when we did.  Since cable and satellite television do not exist in our household either, I was starved of all media  If we had internet then, I would have been reading news article after news article on the shooting.  I would have been more saddened and shocked than I already was.  Instead, I experienced a weird feeling.  It almost seemed like I was less depressed.  I wasn’t aware of all the horrible things that were happening in the world.  I don’t consider myself depressed and I still don’t.  I think it was calmness that I felt.  Maybe sad news articles fill me with more anxiety than I thought.

The Guardian published an article in 2013 titled News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier. This is a paragraph from that article:

News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side-effects include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitisation.


I think I may try the Low Information Diet that Mr. Money Mustache suggests.

I think I need a break from hearing about mass shootings, ISIS, politics, and every other heartbreaking, and maddening story that the media throws at us.  I attempted this before, but failed.  I never deleted the MSN and CNN and local newspaper bookmark from my computer.  Every time I logged on, it was just so easy to click and see the news of the day.

I think I’ll start out small, maybe two weeks, and see if I actually do feel calmer and more relaxed when I avoid the news.  If I do, I may consider turning the Low Information Diet into a permanent thing.

Would you ever avoid the news?  Do you feel more anxious or depressed when you read the news?