Essential Camping Gear for That Amazing Camping Trip

Do you feel it?  It’s in the air.  That time of year.  Days of hiking, biking trails, swimming in a lake.  Also bug bites, ticks, sunburns and sleepless nights in a strange environment.  I love it and crave it every year.  IT’S CAMPING TIME!!!

I’ve been camping every year since my early twenties and it’s one of my favorite things ever.  There’s seriously nothing more relaxing.  Last year on our camping trip we got to witness hundreds of lightning bugs doing their thing while we just sat mesmerized at all the lights twinkling around us.  It. Was. Awesome!

If you’ve never been camping and aren’t sure if it’s something you want to do, I wrote a post detailing what I think are some great benefits of camping.  It is the best frugal vacation!

We normally go camping towards the end of summer or beginning of fall.  It’s less crowded, there are less bugs, and it’s a lot cooler while we’re out hiking.  However, I’ve been camping during the middle of the summer and it’s just as fun!

Mr. Frugal Turtle was a Boy Scout when he was younger.  His ideal camping trip is to head out with extremely limited camping gear and “rough it.”  Me, not so much.  I prefer having showers and toilets nearby.

I’ve compiled a list of all the camping gear we take with us on camping trips.


We’ve had this tent for several years now and it works great!  It’s a four person tent, but it’s perfect for two people.  Plus, it’s reasonably priced!  Camping gear can be expensive!
Continue reading “Essential Camping Gear for That Amazing Camping Trip”

If You Want to Retire Early, Start Doing These 12 Things Right Now

If you can implement some or all of the items on this list your journey to early retirement will be short and sweet. The hardest part is actually starting.“The thing to do is to make so much money that you don’t have to work after the age of twenty-seven. In case this is impracticable, stop work at the earliest possible moment, even if it is at a quarter past eleven on the morning of the day when you find you do have enough money.”-Robert Benchley

Dreaming of Early Retirement

While I won’t retire by the time I’m 27(I’m 36), I’m hoping to retire before I’m 45.  I’m getting more and more antsy at work.  I pretty much daydream about early retirement whenever there’s downtime.

Even though I’m not retired yet, the following list are things that I have done or currently do to help me reach early retirement as fast as possible.  If you follow this list, or do only some of the items on the list, it should help you reach early retirement as well!

Max Out Your 401k and IRA if Possible

Look, I know it’s really hard to save that much money.  Start small!  It was only 4 years ago that I was putting in 3% every paycheck.  3% was the amount I needed to contribute to get the match.  I wanted to pay down my debts before I really started investing.

Once I was debt free I slowly started contributing more and more until I was comfortable contributing the max amount.  I’m pretty sure I changed my contribution amount like four times in one year!

Pay Off Debt

Some people suggest paying off all debt before investing anything.  When I was in debt, I saved enough to get the 401k match and then focused on paying off my debts.  Making sure that my emergency fund was fully funded when I was paying off my debt was also a high priority for me.

I kept a fully funded emergency fund because I had been laid off before at a time when I wasn’t in a secure financial situation and IT SUCKED! Thanks to parental help, I made it through, but it’s a situation that I never wanted to be in again. Continue reading “If You Want to Retire Early, Start Doing These 12 Things Right Now”

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

I love camping! Check out this post on what I think are a few great benefits of camping for your health and wallet. Includes some meal ideas while camping.The 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!

If you’re new to camping and need some ideas about what gear to bring, I wrote up a detailed post with many of the items we use when we go camping.  You can find it here!

#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”