Frugal Turtle

One woman's slow journey to Financial Independence

July 23, 2016
by Frugal Turtle
4 Comments

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

Exercise!

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 →

July 12, 2016
by Frugal Turtle
14 Comments

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 21, 2016
by Frugal Turtle
12 Comments

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.

Whoa.

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? 

 

 

 

June 20, 2016
by Frugal Turtle
0 comments

Book Review: The Simple Path to Wealth

SPW cover finalThe Simple Path to Wealth

I was so excited when I found out that JL Collins, author of the awesome and witty blog jlcollinsnh.com, was writing a book!  I’ve been reading (and rereading) his blog for years. I’m thrilled that I now have all of that information (and more!) in a single book titled The Simple Path to Wealth.  While I was reading the book, I realized that I am definitely on my own path to wealth.  It took me some time to get there, but I am finally on an accelerated path to financial independence.  I have JL Collins to thank for showing me how.

In the first few pages of the book JL Collins has a list of guidelines that I would consider rereading every few months.  Probably my favorite guideline, and one that is extremely important to remember is:

“Money can buy many things, but nothing more valuable than your freedom.”

These guidelines are something that I would consider printing out and posting on my fridge!

F-You Money

JL Collins is all about having F-You Money!  If that means eating rice and beans, then so be it.  The Monk and the Minister parable in the beginning of the book is one of my favorites.  I think of it often when I’m thinking about how much I want to retire.  I would rather live on little than cater to the king.

This book is for anyone seeking financial independence.  It actually gives very clear instructions on how to do this.  The hard part for most people is to actually follow these instructions!  One of the instructions for anyone seeking financial independence is to save 50% of their income.  This is something that I can see many people struggling with, but honestly, it really helps speed things along!  My own net worth has been skyrocketing ever since I’ve been able to sock away 50% (or more) of my income. Continue Reading →

June 6, 2016
by Frugal Turtle
2 Comments

May Financial Update

May Financial UpdateHello June!

I am super stoked for this summer.  It’s the first summer in a long time that I’ll get to enjoy the beautiful evenings every night.  I’m slowly adjusting back to a day shift schedule and let me tell you, it feels amazing!  I just feel better and happier in general.  Seeing the sun really agrees with me!

May was a great month for me financially.  I officially maxed out my IRA for 2016 and my net worth went above $80k.  I have a goal to reach $100k by the end of the year, and if things keep going the way they are lately, I should surpass $100k!  However, I know not to get too excited.  Things can change so fast in the stock market.

I’ve also been looking forward to June because Mr. Frugal Turtle and I have an exciting camping trip planned at the end of the month.  We are headed to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park to check out some caves, and go hiking, and just relax in general.  Plus, we have a trip planned to a winery on our way back from camping.  Hopefully we can come back home with some delicious wine!  I booked a site at the State Park for three nights for a total of $77.  Not too shabby!  Plus our annual State Park entrance pass is still good from when we went camping last year so that’ll save us $25.

My expenses for May were a little less than normal for the year, to date.  I don’t really know how that happened, because I spent some $$$ on my Mom for Mother’s Day. I also went out for a movie date one weekend and the next weekend I took Mr. Frugal Turtle out to eat at our favorite restaurant.  I got my oil changed and also had to pay Bluehost for a hosting fee. Oh, and I also saved a few bucks by getting discounted gift certificates to the grocery store.  It just seems like my expenses should’ve ended up being higher than they ended up being.  Not that I’m complaining!

When Mr. Frugal Turtle and I went out for our movie date (Captain America: Civil War), we went on a Tuesday, and it just so happened that all movie tickets on Tuesdays are $5 each.  Plus, if you have the theater’s loyalty card, they give you a small popcorn for each ticket purchased.  Score!  I’d actually been waiting for a Tuesday night when we both had off from work and there was a movie we wanted to see.  Everything finally aligned, and we enjoyed a frugal movie at the theater!

May Net Worth

On May 31st, 2016 my Net Worth stood at $84,377.63.  I’m getting more and more excited to hit $100k!  Earlier this year I didn’t think that was going to be a possibility, but now it’s looking like I’ll definitely hit that goal.  

May Savings

In the month of May I managed to save/invest $3,611.60.  I had a crazy week at work last month where I ended up working over 70 hours.  Because of that, I had a very nice paycheck and was able to fully fund my IRA for the year.  If only every month was like that… Continue Reading →