Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 14, 2016 · 65 comments

Buy nothing group request

  1. I used my local Buy Nothing Group to request a new cushion for one of my outdoor chairs. (Thrifted of course!) It took a day, but someone finally offered up one that looks like it should work perfectly. I’m having a graduation party for my younger son next month, and I’m using the date as a deadline to slick up the house and backyard a bit. Of course, my goal is to spend no money on the improvements.
  2. I listed a thrift store painting through Craigslist that’s been gathering dust in the house. I’d originally bought it for my older son to use in a project, but he was completely disinterested, so out it goes!
  3. I proposed two new Clark Howard articles, which were both approved. My plan is to write up one tonight and the other one tomorrow.
  4. I cleaned one of my mother’s guest cottages and brought home a half a bottle of nice red wine. I’ll use it to create a yummy red wine reduction for steak. My husband’s birthday is Monday, so I’ll prepare a nice meal at home for him.
  5. I walked to the library to pick up holds, I gathered e-mails at my son’s soccer game so I can send out free eVite invitations for his party, I heated leftover rice instead of cooking fresh, I put a number of unnecessary stuff at the corner for rehoming, I listed three different things in the Buy Nothing Group, I returned the lice comb I borrowed during December’s lousy crisis, I cooked up a batch of Chicken Adobo using deeply discounted organic Grocery Outlet drumsticks, I confirmed that I’d done everything necessary for my sons’ FAFSA forms and I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Update: I picked up the free outdoor cushion and am very happy with the transaction. On an entirely different note, I saw a bumper sticker today that read “Consume less, share more.” 

Outdoor cushion

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Mand01 May 14, 2016 at 7:57 pm

1. After reducing our grocery budget over the past two months from $300 AUD a fortnight to $250 AUD, with this fortnight being the first that we have landed on $250 (two years ago our budget was $380, so I have been steadily decreasing the budget in order to increase savings), we were feeling the pinch. I think this is probably as tight as we can go, although I thought that the first time we landed on $300. We only had $30 left in the budget to last a week, so my husband and I set a really strict list. We ended up about 3 bucks over. $250 equates to $4.46 per person per day for our family – just over the SNAP budget in the US, I believe.
2. The kids were whining because we had no cream to go with our pancakes this morning, and couldn’t I just go buy some (IKR, it’s a tough life), but as I told them, we are saving to pay off the house early AND to go to Europe next year. This was the first they knew of that, and they were so excited that they immediately clammed up. I whipped up some sweet ricotta, as that is what I had in the fridge, and pancakes were enjoyed by all. Spoiled little monkeys. We also had my sister and her kids over, and the best part was when my little nephew came running up to say ‘Fanks for da pancakes Arntee Mand!’
3. My husband and I are cooking up a storm this afternoon so we can have a freezer full of dinners for next week.
4. Last night was our ‘date night’, which means the kids have to scram and we spend some quality time together. I made a quiche using some roasted vegetables I had put in the freezer, and we watched a DVD from the library (The Wolverine, very romantic).
5. My sister brought over a spare Xbox and Guitar Hero that they no longer needed. As the Xbox doubles as a DVD player, we were able to hook up our other DVD player in our gym (we have a very big house), so now I can watch something other than bad breakfast television while on the treadmill. The kids can have fun playing Guitar Hero, which we would never fork out for.

Also, I’m reading a book called Frugavore. It’s Australian, but you all might be interested in it. Basically a guide to frugal shopping, cooking and eating.


IsabelI May 16, 2016 at 2:55 am

Am in process of getting that book! I get a sample and then buy! Enjoy reading books like that!


pattilou May 14, 2016 at 8:08 pm

I have been sticking close to home lately so I’ve been saving gas and getting some home improvement projects done.
1. I borrowed a ladder from work and cleaned out my gutter. I was actually relieved to find that it was clogged because I thought that the gutter was damaged and needed to be replaced.
2. I snaked out my bathroom drains with a plastic snake that I bought years ago for about $2.00. It has paid for itself many times over.
3. I painted my front door and my mailbox with paint that I already had.
4. I finished making a Christmas gift. Woo hoo, one down several more to go!
5. I did eat out twice but was treated both times. A friend took me to lunch as a belated birthday gift and another friend treated us to dinner to celebrate paying off her mortgage. Other than that I have been really good about eating at home.
P.S. Just looked down and realized I have a hole in my sock that wasn’t there when I put them on. I am going to have to try my hand at darning. I love these socks!


Krystal May 14, 2016 at 9:02 pm

1) Received 3 free Papa Murphy’s pizzas in 2 weeks due to Sounders home shutouts. Lots of pizza!
2) Attended a volunteer thank you brunch where I could bring one guest, and I brought my husband, even though its his workplace 🙂 The food was great!!
3) Asked a friend if she had 5 $1 for my 1 $5 so I could take the bus as my transfer had expired, but she gave me a free bus ticket instead she wasn’t planning on using.
4) We finally splurged and bought a new couch we fell in love with months ago. We of course paid cash, and waited months, patiently, for it to go in sale. Not frugal, but our patience in waiting for a good sale saved us hundreds, rather than purchasing the day we decided on it.
5) Upgraded our big old box TV to a flat screen HD for free as my dad and stepmom no longer needed one of theirs. Our living room is looking sharp!!


Katy May 14, 2016 at 9:20 pm

Sounders wins get free pizzas? Your team is our arch enemy, but I’ll allow it this one time in the name of frugality. 😉


Krystal May 15, 2016 at 8:49 am

Indeed 😉 They also give free haircuts at Great Clips if they score 3 or more goals. But our season is going only sightly better than the Timbers, so no haircuts yet!


A S Odum May 14, 2016 at 9:19 pm

I took 5 bags of clothing to Goodwill and bought the $49 Lands End polo dress I had been stalking in the catalog for $4.99 – with tags still on it!!


Katy May 14, 2016 at 9:30 pm



Vickie May 15, 2016 at 11:52 am

Wow, nice score!!


A. Marie May 15, 2016 at 12:24 pm

I like the phrase “stalking in the catalog” (I’ve done that myself from time to time). Good deal!!

My thrift adventure Saturday: I went to my local thrift superstore in town because I wanted to avoid the crowds at the other thrift chain’s 50% off everything sale–only to find that the superstore was also having a 50% off sale! The crowd wasn’t as bad as usual because a lot of folks were off at the other chain, and I got some nice deals (the best one was a like-new Vera Bradley hipster bag in my BFF’s favorite colors).


Bettypants May 15, 2016 at 2:43 am

1. Bought two bottles of perfume (new in the boxes) for $5 each from a local FB board, and sold on ebay for $21 and $25.
2. Found several Noosa yogurts on clearance at Kroger and bought 9 tubs. I left the pumpkin, which I don’t love, but was delighted to be able to try pineapple and mango for the first time.
3. Weeding out the yard and found a decent sized burning bush offshoot growing next to the large one. We have four and don’t need more, so I dug it up and posted it for sale on a local FB site.
4. Also found several tubs of fresh mozzarella on clearance at Kroger for $1.29 each. Made two batches of pizza dough and we have been enjoying pizza and calzones.
5. Took my son to the library yesterday and we each filled up a bag of books. I think people who regularly use the public library as children are more likely to seek them out as adults. It’s routine for them.


Vickie May 15, 2016 at 11:56 am

You are right about the Library!
I took my daughter as a child all the time. She’s made a habit of taking my grandkids at least once a week. She makes it a treat, as in “do your chores and we get to go to the Library”. I always told her a Library card is like a passport, you can travel all you want and not spend a dime. She never forgot that.


Bettypants May 15, 2016 at 1:15 pm

We grew up in a really small town. My mom used to take us to the library on a regular basis. I remember very clearly on one visit, the old lady librarian trying to stop me from checking out a big stack of books, saying I was taking too many. I told her “My mom said I can check out as many as I want.” Now that I’m an adult – what the hell was that lady thinking?? What an awful librarian.


Diane C May 15, 2016 at 3:46 pm

When I was a kid, the library had a limit of about seven books. Now, I’m happy to see that my local library seems to have no limit on kids books, hooray! I asked and was told that as long as the level of outstanding fines is below $5.00 (gah!), there’s no limit. Sweet!

And oh, yes my library card is a “Passport to the World”!


Jane F May 16, 2016 at 4:58 pm

I’ve “discovered” libraries as an adult. My parents happily bought me books (they could afford it) and never went to the library.

I feel like I’ve discovered this amazing new thing called “the public library” – part of the new sharing economy, y’know! 😉

Still remember the thrill of checking out my first stack of trashy books ($8 per book and 6 hour to read per book) ALL FREE!

PaperCraneFarm May 15, 2016 at 3:04 am

1. Pulled lots of leftovers from the freezer -corn, rice, garden tomatoes, spinach and added mushrooms from fridge. Dumped into crockpot and my toddler helped to add spices, ok a lot of spices! With some fish, it became spicy fishy taco-like rice bowls! Got at least three lunches worth of leftovers too.

2. Neighbor had the house re-sided and I noticed some plywood next to the dumpster. Asked and we can have it. We’ll put some of it on the chicken run so the weight of the snow doesn’t collapse it.

3. Traveling to visit family. Staying in a hotel with breakfast included. Grabbed leftovers from family get together that was our dinner last night in the hotel.

4. Sorted through hand-me-down kids clothing and pulled some for ours, some for nieces/nephews, and the rest I’m going to pass on. Saves money and declutters!

5. Bought eye glasses online and for $20 found a pair that fits well. The new prescription is making me dizzy so I’m slowly adding how much I wear them each day.

Personal commitment: I still haven’t resolved the issues with the new drip irrigation system I took two vacation days to install in April. I’m beyond frustrated but vow to try again this week. It is holding us back from putting in seeds and seedlings so we need to fix it soon or abort mission. Hey, it is my birthday this week – maybe my husband will call the drip irrigation company and argue with them in lieu of a present?


Michele May 15, 2016 at 3:22 am

1. Finally under my grocery budget this month (so far). Going to meal plan today to help keep it that way.
2. Had a frugal night with friends last eve. Rented a movie and had awesome manicotti meal. We reciprocate, so didn’t feel bad eating all their food.
3. Made dishwasher tabs that will last me a month or so. So far, have noticed no difference in dish cleanliness, etc.
4. My husband and sons are fishing in the Gulf today (not frugal), but will have loads of fish when they return. Will make a salad and rice to go with whatever they catch. I packed snacks and lunch for them and we used a free ice source to fill their multiple coolers.
5. Prepping veggies today to pack lunches all week. If It’s easy at 5:15am, I will do it!


PaperCraneFarm May 16, 2016 at 4:43 pm

You made dishwasher tablets? That’s so neat. What recipe did you use?


Beth May 15, 2016 at 4:20 am

1. Went to the library with my daughter, checked out books and two recent movies. I asked what the charge was for the movies and the librarian said she does not charge library volunteers, how sweet.

2. 43 degrees out at daughters soccer game with big splasy puddles. Did I mention it hailed while the girls were playing? Instead of splurging on Starbucks went home and ate beef barley soup from the freezer and hot corn muffins and made brownies later that night.

3. Eating from food we have in the house and only buying fresh fruit and vegetables.

4. Shopping in my closet today to find an outfit for our schools graduation next week, wish me luck! Praying something still fits, have not worn a suit in three years!

5. Doing cat sits this weekend and daughter is loving it! So cute she was pulling out all their toys from a toy drawer and they sat by her enthralled playing with the toys and waiting to see what she would pull out next!


LisaC May 15, 2016 at 4:22 am

Here are my frugal five for my job:
1. Got 2 grants for a garden we are creating for children.
2. Called local businesses to donate hoses and sprinklers, got them!
3. Put out a plea to loan us some rakes to put in the sod: got them!
4. Employees are bringing plants from their garden to help start the garden.
5. Getting donations from a local coffee shop for our volunteers.

All of this is saving taxpayer money, yay!


PaperCraneFarm May 15, 2016 at 4:08 pm

My husband has gotten seed donations from Baker Creek and berry plants from Nourse for his school’s garden. Have you reached out to companies for seeds or plants?


Mariana May 15, 2016 at 4:41 am

1. I boringly cooked all the meals at home (as usual)
2. Found a board game on top of a recycling bin (yet another one)
3. I managed to handle my BFF’s bday on a $40 budget as compared to $120 or so last year.
4. Except one cup out each we made all coffee at home
5. I am under the weather this weekend so staying in bed (and no spending any money!)


Jennifer May 15, 2016 at 4:59 am

1. Camping at a local campground for my 2 daughters birthdays which is much cheaper than Chuckie Cheese.
2. Made grilled hamburgers out of reduced ground beef that I brought from the freezer at home. Delicious!
3. Played a water balloon,hot potato type,game with a neat little plastic “potato” that when you put a water balloon inside and set a timer it soaks whoever is holding it. I got that last year in a clearance bin for $1 and put it up in the closet. With all the fun we had it was worth way more than $1.
It comes with the water balloons and you only use a few so this should last for many fun games throughout the summer.
4. I filled up my mayonnaise bottle in the squeezable container with a some from a bulk jar of mayonnaise I got on clearance that was close to expiration.
5. I baked a cake for the camping trip for snacks using an idea from a frugal website I stumbled upon. She keeps her butter wrappers to put in the bottom of the cake pan to use like waxed paper. I tried it and it worked perfectly! I will not be throwing these away any longer. She learned the trick from her 100 year old aunt so it’s a keeper for me.


LisaC May 15, 2016 at 6:43 am

My mom always saved butter wrappers for cakes.


IsabelI May 16, 2016 at 2:53 am

My Mum too! Gives me pleasure to see it mentioned!


Ani Mia May 17, 2016 at 5:00 am

My Mom too. I remember the butter place in the fridge being stuffed with them. Just started doing it again myself after I noticed one of my sisters doing it. Sometimes you forget the best stuff:)


Bettypants May 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm

I think you’d get a lot more people camping if they had to choose between that and visiting Chuck E Cheese.


Jennifer May 16, 2016 at 11:35 am

I’m sure you are correct!


Ruby May 15, 2016 at 7:01 am

1. Probably my fave frugal thing this month has been turning the melted wax from the tiny Yankee Candles DS gave me for Mother’s Day back into a candle, using cotton twine as a new wick and a recycled glass honey jar as a container.
2. Saved $4 today on my haircut with a coupon. The stylist cut my hair so danged short that I won’t need another haircut until about September, so I guess that’s a savings too.
3. Used $8 worth of coupons last week for pet food, which works out to a free bag of dog food.
4. Rather than buying protein bars, I just take a boiled egg to work as a protein-packed mid-morning snack. Eggs are 99 cents a dozen right now.
5. As a consolation after the “just call me sir” shortness of my hair, I went by the humane society thrift shop and bought a baggie of fish-shaped buttons for a quarter. They will liven up a plain sweater that doesn’t get worn much because it’s plain.


A. Marie May 15, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Ruby, while you’re recycling candles, I’m recycling soap: I’m in the process of turning about 3 years’ worth of soap scraps into bars (or, more accurately, rounds), using a soap mold I bought years ago from the old Miles Kimball catalog. I’m taking this next week off for a much-needed “staycation,” and this is one of several frugal projects I’m unwinding with.


Vickie May 15, 2016 at 9:27 am

Love the chair. I have one that’s round and missing the seat, so I’ve used it to hold a potted plant outside.

1) I boxed up stuff and took it over to my daughter’s for her yard sale on Thursday & Friday. I encouraged her to declutter and sell everything she doesn’t use and especially the stuff that gets in her way. She made a decent amount of money for two days of sales.
2) I listed a twin size mattress for her on Craigslist. She sold it last night.
3) My daughter’s neighbor gave her a full-size mattress and box spring they didn’t like. Hubby brought her a frame from his furniture store. So I put it together and we set the bed up, then we proceeded to rearrange the girls room and my daughter thinned their toys out again, so we could organized them. It looked great when we were done.
4) We attended my oldest granddaughter’s last Soccer game yesterday, then went to Braums where her Coach bought all the players lunch and gave them medals and certificates, with a free ice cream coupon. She was so excited she used the coupon before we left.
5) I’m fixing chili today in the crockpot. I need to finish adding the ingredients, so I best get off here and get busy.


LisaC May 15, 2016 at 11:24 am

I have always been afraid of selling mattresses, someone once told me its against the law? Maybe I’m wrong all this time, and I should consider it.


Vickie May 15, 2016 at 12:02 pm

LisaC – maybe it depends on where you live. As far as I know, in our state, it’s not illegal. It can be risky though, if you don’t check used furniture for bed bugs – especially mattresses.
However, I found out a few years ago from one of my husband’s employees that bed bugs can exist in carpet and electrical outlets. She apparently moved into an apartment that was infested and had no idea until she and her son ended up with what she thought was a rash. She had to get rid of all her furniture and move. I felt so sorry for her.


Hobart Chic May 16, 2016 at 8:46 am

I’ve had a quick look online, and in the US & Australia, the state laws generally are concerned that retailers/ sellers represent their product accurately and that the product is sanitary if sold used. Some states may make the sale of used mattresses illegal.

Here’s some helpful info (US):

For Australians:


PaperCraneFarm May 16, 2016 at 4:48 pm

If you can’t or don’t want to sell your mattress, recycle it! There are now nonprofits and companies that collect and recycle mattresses. The one local to me is


Marilyn May 15, 2016 at 10:20 am

1. I have been saving padded envelopes for re-use. Last week, I used one to send my daughter her birthday gift.
2. Last week, my husband’s favorite yogurt was on sale for 33-cents each. That is a good price, but it was made even better when combined with a coupon (50-cents off 5 yogurts), so that I was able to buy him 5 for 23-cents each. I love combining discounts to make a good deal into a great deal.
3. My job requires occasional overnight travel. Normally, I pay for the hotel and then, I am reimbursed by my employer. I have several hotel rewards cards and a couple of times I have saved up enough rewards points to use on a nice little vacation. Now, one hotel chain is changing the program so that my rewards points will expire in July. They are offering various gifts instead, but I have no interest in the gifts. They are also offering gift certificates and I could get a $50 Macy’s certificate which I could use. I hadn’t planned on buying any new clothes this summer, but if they are going to be free, I could always use a new pair of jeans.
4. Mother’s Day gifts this year were all food items. Some nice gourmet teas from my daughter and candy from my son. My husband prepared a wonderful dinner for the two of us. It was my idea of a terrific day.
5. I was thinking I would have to water the plants in my yard this weekend, but the weather turned cool and rainy this just in time to save me from doing that chore and keep my water bill under control for another little while. Thank you, Mother Nature.


Ella May 15, 2016 at 10:27 am

1) Made chicken soup last night with stock we made from chicken bones, veggies on their way out, and a couple cans of chicken we found at the back of the cupboard. It was delicious and we have about a gallon leftover that we vacuum sealed in mason jars.
2) We rented a tiller yesterday and tilled and re-seeded the front lawn ourselves instead of paying landscapers.
3) Hit up an estate sale yesterday to stock my etsy store. Prices were great and today I’m working on cleaning everything up for photos.
4) Going to dinner at a friend’s house; we’re bringing chicken and mashed potatoes and she’s doing the veggies/dessert/wine. We have potatoes that need to be used up, and we’ll pick up a 4.99 Costco rotisserie chicken on the way.
5) Listed several unwanted items on ebay yesterday.
6) Started using Swagbucks again and had enough for a gift card already and stocked up on some household items.


janine May 15, 2016 at 11:25 am

Not a frugal week, but some wins –
1. Son bought expensive cuts of steak for Mother’s day. Although it was work to charcoal broil steaks and cook rest of meal, it was delicious and cost less than going out to eat.
2. Friend gifted me with about a month’s worth of gourmet tea. She sells it as a side gig and receives more samples than she can use.
3. Found our dog brush left mistakenly outside last fall – washed and sterilized it thus saving the purchase of a new brush for our shedding canine!
4. Frugal fail – went to store to purchase staples and came home with cookies, chips and dips which my family gobbled up over the weekend.
5. Savings rate has not merited the purchase of a Lear Jet, but husband bought low mileage new-to-us- car. We will need to fly out to Denver to pick up and drive home. Plan to stop briefly to visit relatives. Cost of car plus transportation costs roughly equals price we would have paid here.


Jen@FrugalSteppingStones May 15, 2016 at 12:11 pm

My mother gave us some food, including a loaf of bread and half gallon of milk. I sold a few things on Ebay (probably going to designate that money towards my 2016 Roth), and got a random CVS survey offer and earned $5 ECBS from that.


tonya May 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm

1) Hubby knocked down our falling over front yard fence. We like how it looks. We may leave it fenceless.

2) Eating leftovers like crazy. I grew lax about it and we threw away too much food the last few weeks.

3) Really sticking to our cash grocery budget this month.

4) Shredding old financial documents while watching Netflix. My hubby coined a new term for this activity, “shredflix”.

5) Went for a walk with a neighborhood friend. We ended at my house for a glass of wine on the front porch. Cheaper than going out!


Bee May 15, 2016 at 3:09 pm

1) My CSA bag came on Thursday. I can tell summer is around the corner, because the bag was so heavy with produce that I could barely carry it. Thus, we are eating mostly vegatable-based meals. This week’s challenge is a kohlrabi that is so large it won’t fit in the refrigerator crisper, and it is as heavy as a medicine ball. Ideas are welcomed.

2) I took a little side job on Friday. I brought water and a snack. What’s more, I carpooled! All profit for the vacation fund.

3) My husband and I finally finished cleaning out his mother’s house. I brought home a box of things that I knew could use – a pair of kitchen scissors, foil, toilet paper, dish soap,trash bags, tape, paper towels and so forth. I also brought home the desire to rid my home of any excess. It is truly amazing how much one person can accumulate over a lifetime and how long it takes to get rid of it all.

4) My adult son takes a medication that does not have generic equivalents. It is horribly expensive. It has doubled in price in the last two years, and I help him pay for it each month. I contacted the pharmaceutical company on his behalf and helped him file the paperwork for financial assistance. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

5) My husband needed new hiking boots and socks. I caught a huge error at the cash registered that save us $$$$$$. I am glad that I spoke up.


Hobart Chic May 16, 2016 at 8:52 am

I love kohlrabi, I just use it like I would a red cabbage. Coleslaw, stir fry and with a mince and vegetable dinner dish.

The Kitchn have some good ideas:


Nancy P May 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm

My few frugal things:
Said no to going out to dinner.
Shopped sales and marked down produce made 2 qts of chicken/ tomatillo soup, prepped salads for the week,
made lunches for the week, made salsa, cooked black beans for dinner
Said No to expensive summer camp for DS
Plan to Volunteer as nurse at a different summer camp, will bring entire family to vacation at reduced cost.
Sent my grandaughter a family heirloom for hs graduation. She loved it.


Lindsey May 15, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Did the usual frugal stuff this week, of washing plastic bags out, turning off the oven a few minutes before a casserole type meal is done so that it can finish cooking with residual heat, cutting open a toothpaste tube so I got three more days of use from it before throwing it out and so on. But then I blew it all. I found out I am going to have to have surgery—my 10th (yup, ten) in three years for a chronic medical condition. A week hospital stay, which is worse than the surgery. Last time I caught c.diff and it took repeated drugs to get rid of it. Anyway, I coped in the worst way possible. After crying my eyes out, I went out and paid for a pedicure and manicure, bought an expensive pair of shoes I did not need, and forced my husband to go out to an expensive restaurant with me. And the next morning I went to McDonalds for breakfast, which I never do but I wanted a sausage egg mcmuffin and I was going to have it and kill anyone who stood in my way. It took me two days to get a handle on myself and during that time I managed to undo a good part of our budget for the month. It is a good thing I did not spot a Lear Jet on sale!


PaperCraneFarm May 16, 2016 at 1:54 am

I hope you feel better soon and that this surgery puts you on a path to recovery!


Bee May 16, 2016 at 3:43 am

I hope all goes well for you, and you are back on your feet soon.


janine May 16, 2016 at 8:17 am

I’ve done similar stuff to help with stress. Don’t beat yourself up – it’s not the end of the world. We wish you the best for a healthy recovery.


Sheila May 16, 2016 at 8:51 am

You’re only human! So it took a couple days of pampering yourself to get through it – maybe that’s just what you needed. If I’ve learned anything about myself lately, it’s that we need to strike a balance. Now you’re done and able to get back on track, so good for you. Take good care of yourself


Hobart Chic May 16, 2016 at 8:59 am

Just the threat of major surgery did nothing good for my mental health. I did the opposite and did not leave the house for any fun, until the threat had passed. I think your approach, given all the circumstances, really is a much better, if more expensive, way to cope.


Hobart Chic May 16, 2016 at 9:08 am

1. Drank two cups of drip filter coffee. Minus the filter because I forgot to place it in the machine. Cheap coffee. Good for my mental health. I find it harder to be gloomy with coffee in my system.
2. Did the odd errand while the coffee was brewing.
3. Went for a short stroll in the sunshine this morning to ensure I kept cabin fever at bay, and stretched my legs.
4. Managed some gentle weights later in the day. Good for body and soul when I did.
5. Four cups of chamomile tea. Not to be consumed with asprin and similar drugs. I find it helps keep aches and pains at bay, and most nights helps me sleep (not tonight).


Sarah m May 15, 2016 at 6:37 pm

1. Went to a potluck Friday and brought a large flatbread topped with caramelized onions and cumin. The whole thing was devoured and ingredients were only a dollar
2. Had a 24 hr shift at the hospital, packed all my meals (except i bought a milkshake on the way out)
3. Gave my mom an extra blackberry bush and she gave me a dozen coreopsus plants that had self seeded in her yard.
4. Planted my tomato, pepper, sage, basil, and milkweed seedlings, as well as squash seeds.
5. Was going to buy a kayak paddle, but my boyfriend is lending me his extra for the season, and I can try to buy one used in the fall when rental shops sell used gear.
6. Mixed up bread dough, and picked and froze Tupperware for weekday lunches.
7. Packed a lunch all days but one last week (oops) and didn’t buy a Lear jet.

Ive been hit hard with some big expenses this month- the bill for my super expensive medication for my autoimmune disease, then a licensing exam, then car repairs. It’s frustrating to be working hard at being frugal but still seeing a massive credit card bill, even knowing that I can pay it off, and that it would be a lot worse if I weren’t otherwise trying to budget smart. Here’s hoping next month goes better.


LisaC May 16, 2016 at 1:36 am

I can’t help but notice how many of us have medical bills cutting into our budget.


Bee May 16, 2016 at 4:00 am

I have found that the cost of health insurance as well as out-of-pocket expenses has grown exponentially over the last 5 years. For the uninsured, it is even worse. In our state, the government refused to expand Medicaid so many of the working poor are still uninsured and are often refused services of gouged. Sadly, those in the lower income brackets cannot pay for both insurance premium and care.


Marion May 16, 2016 at 6:21 am

I often say, I have insurance but by the time I pay the premium I can’t afford to use it.


Diane May 16, 2016 at 3:15 am

I was at Target browsing in the book section and wrote down titles of novels I want to read. Then went immediately to my central library and picked them all up for free!

Libraries, the greatest free resource of all!


shelia May 16, 2016 at 4:51 am

1. I had purchase a Costco membership on Living Social. It had a gift card and several coupons for free items we use regularly so it was a really good deal.
2. My husband and I had a date night Friday. We ate at Chick-Fil-A using our calendar cards. This month’s freebie was a large entree salad. Really good and the young man at the cash register gave me two salad dressing packets since I couldn’t decide which I wanted. I’m trying the one on a kale salad we had a church yesterday that I want to make.
3. After dinner, we went to the Costco directly behind the restaurant and activated our memberships. By upgrading we were assured the extra amount would be repaid to us at the end of the year which could be used for a second year. We received another $20 in gift cards in addition.
4. We did a thorough evaluation of prices at the store and were pleased to see there were items that would be cheaper for us to buy there. I shop so carefully, warehouse stores aren’t usually a bargain.
5. We were able to purchase a vitamin my husband takes for his eyes at a reduced price. He has the beginning of macular degeneration so this is a very necessary supplement that will impede the progress. And we got two extremely lean beef roasts that we will cut into steaks-a great treat for the summer!


Emily May 16, 2016 at 6:25 am

I’m on vacation in key west so it’s really hard to stay frugal! My parents generously have paid almost all the expenses of the trip (I’m still young and starting out) but temptation is everywhere!
1. Had to visit the er the night before we left, had a spell of vertigo (thought I was dying) luckily I was with it enough to decline tests that were not necessary. I will look over this bill thoroughly before paying. It will go towards my deductible which just started over. **to add to everyone’s medical bill comments, it’s crazy, and the fact that I have to spend 10% of my income before I can deduct any on taxes is also nuts*
2. Made sure to triple check packing list to avoid having to buy things while on vacation.
3. Unplugged everything before we left, vacation means we atleast avoid water and electric costs for a week.
4. Researched a Salvation Army close by that my boyfriend and I are going to check out later.
5. Approved 6 more people for the buy nothing group in my area (I’m the admin) , it has been slow to start, but as soon as I’m back from vacation I’m going to figure out some ways to spread the word!


Mand01 May 16, 2016 at 10:50 pm

I have to say that I am very grateful to live in a country with universal health. I do choose to pay for private health insurance, but I know that if for some reason I had to give it up, I’d still be well cared for. I’m always shocked to hear that people can be bankrupted by health care in the US.


Emily May 17, 2016 at 10:05 am

It’s certainly frustrating. I’m trying to pay off debt from school and it just feels like I can’t get ahead!


Monica May 16, 2016 at 6:53 am

1. Making a concerted effort these past few weeks to buy no breakfast or lunch, but bring from home. The $ I save, which is significant, will go toward a monthly yoga class with my favorite instructor, or a cheap diner dinner with my friends.
2. Located the Goodwill near my new office — plan to make donations from clothes I no longer wear, and my daughter has grown out of. They have a great used book selection too! Got a big bag full of new to me fiction for a few bucks.
3. Got a big flat of annuals grown from seed from my FIL, along with tomatoes, pepper and cucumber plants for the garden
4. Looking at how green and lush our lawn is this spring, do to all my husband’s hard work, and not that of an expensive lawn service
5. Went out to dinner with friends on Sat, a rare treat. Leftovers served as lunch the next day.


amanda May 16, 2016 at 8:46 am

1. Our community had it’s annual Firehouse sale this past weekend. I usually volunteer all 3 days, but work and kid classes kept me busy except for Saturday. I had volunteered the breakfast shift, but due to lack of volunteers worked the afternoon as well and roped my 3 kids into working too. We all were rewarded with a huge breakfast and very late lunches, so no dinner needed for us! I didn’t shop too much at the sale, found 3 games that the kids will enjoy (trying to limit tv watching) and they found some clothes, only spent $5!

2. I noticed some substance oozing out of my chest freezer drain, so I unloaded the whole thing (luckily I found a neat tip on putting it all in the washing machine to keep it frozen….yay for top loaders without agitators) and defrosted the freezer. I found the culprit: a leaking bag of berry juice, so that went away, but I also found fixin’s for dinner, homemade pizza, and some frozen bananas to make into muffins for dessert. Now the freezer is clean, frost-free, and organized, and I have dinners lined up for the next week.

3. Spent yesterday’s drizzly afternoon planting seeds in the garden. Put in another 4 rows of corn and more squash plants.

4. Brought lunch and my tea in a quart canning mason jar today. I refresh my tea with hot water throughout the day.

5. Kids have late classes again this week, so I’ll be hiking the hills trying to get in shape for summer clothes. Last week I failed and had to grab fast food between classes, hoping to fix it this week with crockpot meals.

6. My strawberries are producing like mad, so I turned one day’s picking into sorbet. It’s a special treat and the kids love it.


Sheila May 16, 2016 at 9:04 am

1. I cleaned out my refrigerator and discovered many leftovers I’ve been eating for lunch.
2. We had my niece and her boyfriend over for several days and while I splurged (at Trader Joe’s so not much of a splurge) on some yummy cheeses, we ate them for several days and still have more left over.
3. We rented a sailboat (after researching and finding the best price). While out, the motor didn’t work and a piece of scary looking part almost flew off the boat. My husband nicely explained what happened and that took the cost down substantially.
4. We did not go to the zoo which has become crazy expensive. It used to be $19 and now is around $50 per person. We even looked into a membership but it would still be $$.
5. We had family over for brunch. Instead of shopping for specialty food or even making something extra, I shopped our fridge and served a salad we’d had on hand, hard boiled some eggs, and the only splurge we had was buying fresh bagels (but we used a coupon!). The best part? Several people said what a lovely spread we put out and I was so proud of treating our family while still saving money.
6. I bought a fancy tea kettle at Goodwill that I knew was just a fraction of the price of a new one. Was planning on replacing our old one with it, but DH doesn’t like it so I’m considering selling it on eBay, which I’ve never done.
7. Going thrifting today to hopefully find a nice dress for an upcoming wedding. Don’t want to spend much $ on something I won’t wear too much.


K D May 16, 2016 at 9:55 am

1. We ate in all weekend, using up what we have. I have eaten out lunch with friends a few times in the past week. At one place I ordered soup and used a gift card to “pay” and at the other I just ordered a cup of chili ($2.50 + tax).

2. A friend was having a rough time last week. On Friday I checked with her to see how she was doing and ask if I could take her to lunch. She’d eaten an early lunch but welcomed company. I ate something at home then went to her house for a visit. She served Lipton tea, so it was frugal for her as well.

3. I walked up to the grocery store for the Saving Star freebie (after rebate): a roll of Rolos. I also stopped at the Asian market across the street, where blue berries were $1.99/pint and strawberries were $1.49/#.

5. I continue to drive my 13 year old Honda. It’s not beautiful but it’s paid for and it runs well.


Susie's Daughter May 16, 2016 at 4:49 pm

1. We woke up to SNOW on the ground this morning in Northern VT so I decided it was a good day for lentil soup in the crockpot. If it’s going to act like winter, I will cook like winter. Luckily the soup will last a lot longer than the snow.

2. Dear spouse and I went to a cocktail/engagement party on Saturday night and enjoyed a delish spread and lovely drinks with the couple and mutual friends at their home while my parents babysat. I brought a card I had from Trader Joe’s (.99) and a potted cutting of one of our houseplants. Many thanks to this blog for that idea!

3. Cleaned out one of the “junk drawers” this week – using Katy’s partial hog idea – and found a winning lottery scratch ticket ($2. woohoo!) and 4 postage stamps. Also an elastic ribbon which fit perfectly around pot of gifted plant in #2.

4. Invited to a BBQ with bonfire on Sunday night and brought side dish and dessert made out of the pantry. Dessert was a recipe for chocolate chip blondies using canola oil! (We were out of butter and I was not going shopping.)

5. Dear Spouse has offered to set up a spreadsheet to track our grocery usage and costs for the most used/eaten things in our household. After getting over my aversion to spreadsheets, I realized what a nice offer this is. I figure it will take several months to concretely figure out what we are buying the most often and what a reasonable price should be. Anyone have any experience or suggestions on tracking?
I have been tracking our grocery spending for 5 months, but just totals, not by item. We hope this will help plan our trips to Trader Joe’s and Costco with more accuracy – both are 90 miles each way from our house so we are only going when we have other reasons to be in the “big city” (lol). Rural life has MANY pluses for me, but access to big stores is not one of them. I still miss Target. Sigh… But I couldn’t garden or hear the birds or hang out with family in DC. Well worth the trade any day!


Mand01 May 16, 2016 at 7:42 pm

We went to the library every weekend when I was a child (every Saturday morning). I grew up in a football town, so while everyone was at the footy, our family was at the library. I didn’t appreciate the gift of this until as an adult I told someone I work with that is what we did. They were incredulous. I realised my parents had done something wonderful for us. Now we do it for our kids.


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