Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 6, 2017 · 76 comments

  1. I hosted a going away supper for my sister, niece and extended family last night. I served a hodgepodge of leftovers, which kept the budget nice and low. It was a casual affair, but a mostly tidy home and attractively plated food (even leftovers) elevates any event. My sister and niece then spent the night to simplify ferrying them to the airport at 4:30 in the freaking A.M. Love them, will miss them, but that’s too damned early! Yawn . . . .

  2. My sister and I walked to the grocery store for a few items last night and came home with a pretty glazed flowerpot that someone had put out for free. It actually has the remnants of plant in it, so I’ll water it to see what happens.

  3. I was unsure of how make my garbage picked Westnova style (?) lucite table work, as the unusual top isn’t flat. (This is what it looked like before.) Anyway, I added a gold tray that I already owned to the top, which transformed it into the perfect end table for a corner of my living room. Note the “Happiness is found in little things” needlepoint pillow that I usurped from my mother. Theft from parents is very frugal. Sorry, mom.

  4. My sister brought over all her leftover and uneaten food from the guest cottage where she spent her Portland vacation. From ice cream to frozen Trader Joe’s meals, tortillas to veggies, my fridge is now fit to burst! Hello, free food. Goodbye, food waste.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

BJS July 6, 2017 at 1:12 pm

1. My teenage daughter’s best friend and her mom gave my daughter a pair of boots that her friend had outgrown. They’re gorgeous boots and my daughter looks really cute in them (not that I’m biased or anything) and is completely enamored with them. But she’s frustrated because it’s too hot out to wear them for a while. But as my husband and I often say to our kids, “as problems go, that’s not a bad one to have.”

2. Our kind next-door neighbor helped my husband move two heavy pieces of furniture that we might have otherwise had to pay someone to help with. The next evening we took over a big bunch of kabobs that my husband had cooked on the grill, as a thank-you. Good neighbors are such a blessing. I hope he and his family never move away.

3. I have two items in my pantry that have been hanging around for a long time with no plans for me to use them – two cans of green beans and half a bag of cinnamon baking chips. I looked up recipes to use up both things. For the green beans I’m going to make a green bean casserole with bacon, and for the cinnamon chips I’m going to make a variation of snickerdoodles called cinnadoodles (never heard of them but I’m going to give them a try!).

4. My family spent a few hours going through the toys in the basement. Some of them were many years old and my kids hadn’t played with them in ages. We filled a big bag for donation. One of these days we’ll have a family “go through the give-away stuff” day. That’s when we dump everything out on the living room floor, put like things together, and list them all on the TurboTax donation form. And I like to use the charities that pick up the bags from the curb.

5. Frugal stuff on the 4th of July – swam and got free exercise at my sister-in-law’s pool, got a container of baked bean salad from my niece to take home, got a container of coleslaw from my sister-in-law to take home (she was given a large head of cabbage from someone at church who had too much in their garden, and she made coleslaw for all the family members to take home), and watched fireworks.


Starling July 7, 2017 at 10:56 am

I use the cinnamon chips in a plain muffin recipe, and they turn out delicious?


Janne July 6, 2017 at 2:26 pm

The Westnofa-ish table turned out pretty cool! Here’s a photo (from Pinterest) of what it may have looked like:


Gail Armitage July 6, 2017 at 2:37 pm

This is my second semester teaching 1st grade. (I graduated in Dec 16 and started teaching Jan 17). Been spending the summer trying to get together things (lamps, rugs, books, games, organizational stuff and coming up with a theme) for my room. My sister’s boyfriend was downsizing in a major way – I scored two huge carpets for my classroom! They are clean, no pet hair, just need vacuuming. I was so excited – it saved me $50-$100! I wanted to work a theme around my rug but could not afford one but now that I have one I am ready to launch my theme – Math in Nature. (I teach math/science only).


John July 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

I really want to hear your mom’s side of the story on that one-star review of her guest cottage… every other review is four or five stars!


Su Mama July 6, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Oh John, you really do NOT want to hear our side of that story!


Jennifer July 6, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Not sure about the review in question but I remember a previous post of Katy’s where all the dishes were put up unwashed, yuck!!! Who does that? Can’t imagine everything you have had to clean up, fix, etc.


John July 7, 2017 at 6:55 am

I can only imagine what a PITA they were…


SueB July 7, 2017 at 1:29 am

I’m always more intrigued by the people that give a glowing wordy review but knock a point off.

So did the 4/5 people have something that made it not quite perfect but forgot or didn’t want to mention it.

Or are they the sort of people (like my grumpy old Dad was) who on principle never gave something 10/10 because perfection is impossible (in their minds).


Jennifer July 7, 2017 at 7:59 am

Ugh, I actually do that because a teacher once told me when I was kid that nothing should get a perfect review, which is actually just her opinion. However, I think times have changed because I always look for
5 stars. I think the general meaning of 5 stars has changed. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.


Stephanie July 6, 2017 at 4:19 pm

1. While volunteering at the excellent used bookstore in my public library, I decided to buy 100 children’s books for my new grand-daughter, a goal I have been pursuing for some months and have now reached. I bought the vast majority of them at half price sales, so they cost between 50 cents and one dollar for the most part. I love libraries, and I believe in non-consumerism, but children should also have their own books.
2. I’ve been making a lot of homemade baby food for our visiting grand-son. (He already has a lot of books.)
3. I upcycled a very crummy Target under bed storage thing-ee (never should have bought it in the first place) into a toy box. I used paint from Freecycle and polyurethane from tag sales. It looks good.
4. We’ve finally automated all our bills. While this makes me nervous, I keep a close watch on our finances.
5. We are setting up an education trust for our grandchildren, who are still babies. In our state, you can do this with a small amount initially, which can grow TAX FREE so they can use it for college (not just in our state). You can also direct family/friends who want to give your child a gift to put it instead into their education fund. If the child doesn’t go to college, the money is still there, but taxes are due on the capital gains.


rebecca July 6, 2017 at 5:14 pm

What lovely gifts for your grandchildren! Books and money towards education-the gifts that keep on giving!


rebecca July 6, 2017 at 5:20 pm

1. Meal planned and went grocery shopping.
2. Watching my friends’ dog for a couple of nights. She is so sweet and good practice as I am thinking about getting a rescue dog at some point.
3. I had 3 clients at my private practice today! I also collected a no show fee from one of them who didn’t show two times but I am only charging her for one.
4. Reading library books
5. It has been so beautiful here the last few days I have had the windows open. The breeze is gorgeous and the crickets are fabulous.


Emily July 6, 2017 at 6:07 pm

Jealous that you can go without the AC! Its so hot in NC. Even if we set the thermostat to 78, our AC is running all day. Joys of having a top floor apartment.


rebecca July 6, 2017 at 6:43 pm

I owned a condo on the top floor (6th floor) and it was great in the winter for that reason, electric heat, but definitely had to use air conditioner in the summer more than I do know in my house.


Emily July 8, 2017 at 11:26 am

We haven’t been here for a winter yet, but I hope our situation is similar!

Emily July 6, 2017 at 6:05 pm

1. Headed to a used book store today with my boyfriend. I looked up the books I wanted at multiple libraries in the area, but didn’t have them. I got 2 books for a great price, and used my boyfriends student discount for 10% off.

2. Learned today that bfs campus has a movie theater on campus, and its free! Also free popcorn. Can’t wait to check it out!

3. Continuing to live on rice with an egg. Pretty sure I have a stomach ulcer so blandness is key.

Frugal fail

4. Had friends in town for the 4th. It was a disaster. I spent too much money on food and items preparing for 2 of them to decide to not even stay at our apartment. Lesson learned!

5. That’s all I got!


K D July 7, 2017 at 4:27 am

If you have a stomach ulcer you probably need antibiotics. They’re usually caused by H. pylori bacteria. I hope you are able to get this checked by a medical professional.


Jennifer July 7, 2017 at 7:53 am

So true, I had this myself. I lost a lot of weight because I just couldn’t eat much yet felt bad if my stomach was empty. I felt nauseous, had early fullness, and of course stomach pain. I finally went to the doctor and they put me on the specific combination of antibiotics that are required for H. Pylori. It’s a simple blood test to be checked for it and usually you can find out in the office that very day. The antibiotics are not expensive, you just have to take two different ones with a stomach med. I was afraid to go to the doctor because I felt so bad that I thought is was something much worse. Please, just go get checked out. If it is H.pylori, you won’t believe how much better you will feel when it’s better.


Laura July 8, 2017 at 11:26 am

I had it too – years of discomfort sorted by a few days of special anti-biotics! And I had a breath test for it, not even a blood test 🙂


Emily July 8, 2017 at 11:29 am

Thank you! I have been, and I do not (nor have I ever) had the bacteria. I have sever acid reflux and sometimes stress and other things create a perfect storm. Luckily I can get it under control with meds and a strict diet pretty quickly if I catch it early!


Jennifer July 6, 2017 at 7:10 pm

I love that little table! I have come to love quirky little things that add to the decor of my home. Great find and it looks like the tray is meant to be there!

1. Took my kids to the splash pad with my Kroger free Friday download of gummy candy in tow. A kid slipped and fell on the concrete so I offered up some of my gummy candy to help him stop crying and he took the whole bag! Good thing it was free, however, my own kids were pissed at me for giving it up.
2. I painted some more of the trim in my living room. Trim is so tedious and boring to paint. I have made a commitment to get the whole inside of my home painted this summer. I know I will have to pace myself as I have a bad back from my nursing career. This is frugal because I am doing it myself. Truthfully, I just want to whine about it. My feet, and all other parts of my body, hurt daily when I get done. Ceilings are 12 feet tall so lots of climbing the ladder and standing on tip toes.
3. I am making a list of all the things that have to be done before the kids start back to school August 3rd. I went through the closets to help avoid buying things they really don’t need. Basically, they need shorts to go with shirts they already have, socks, and undergarments. Thankfully, I got backpacks on clearance at Kroger last year for $2.50! I put them up in the closet in a garbage bag with a big label so I wouldn’t forget about them and they wouldn’t get dusty.
4. Staying off social media helps me to not regret doing home improvements this summer instead of going to the beach. So many of my friends/family are vacationing and posting pictures. What I don’t see can’t hurt me, lol. Truly I am happy for anyone that gets to go on vacation but painting my house feels comparable to prison.
5. Staying home has helped me in so many ways. To list a few ….I’m not paying a babysitter, we are eating out of the freezer, I’m not using gas because my car is sitting still more, I’m not buying groceries, my kids and I are taking less showers, we are wearing the same clothes one to two days more before washing, we are using less power and water due to the previous mentions,and I haven’t worn makeup in days or fixed my hair. I guess I sound like a hot mess but I’m quite the contrary. I’m pretty content, actually.


WilliamB July 7, 2017 at 5:25 am

Have you considered a Jansport backpack for your kids? Mine has lasted at least 30 years of constant use and many loads of heavy books, and it literally has never needed any fixing. None at all. They’re not particularly expensive for new backpacks, either – around $40. You can get on their mailing list and wait for sales.

The advantage is that once you buy it, your kids will never need another backpack again.


Jennifer July 7, 2017 at 7:45 am

Actually, I have but they enjoy having a different one every year and, so far, they usually last for the school year or longer. I usually sell them at yard sales when we get through or we use them for camping, beach, or overnight stays. When my kids get older and have to haul around heavy books, I may consider jansport. They are young so right now it’s just basically lightweight stuff in there. If I can keep paying $2.50 for a backpack and it last the whole year, and we can keep using it afterwards or I can get my money back by selling it, I will for now. Thanks for this suggestion!


Lorra July 7, 2017 at 8:47 am

Man had a rollaboard bag. then handle would not go IN or OUT with out much struggle and drama. Cost $35 to ship back to Jansport, but they no longer HAVE rollerbags!!!. The did give us $200 credit and we got 2 new smaller bags. Oh well.


Liz B. July 7, 2017 at 5:52 pm

My son is the same way (he’s 7) – he wants a new backpack every school year with a different super hero or animated character on it. Unfortunately, he seems to wear his backpacks out before the school year is up (he’s pretty hard on them) – I wish I had found your $2.50 deal! I’m hoping when hw gets older, we can buy a Jansport that will last. One of my sisters also recommends the backpacks at Land’s End, and told me they typically go on sale right before school starts (August, maybe?).


cathy July 7, 2017 at 8:19 pm

Liz B., I used to love Lands’ End backpacks for my kids, but the last one we purchased–two or maybe three years ago–was not nearly as well-made as they had been. The fabric was thinner, the zippers weren’t metal (and ended up breaking off), and the zippers themselves were attached with flimsy bungie-type loops. I know LE has a great return policy, but it was easier for me to fashion some alternative pulls. But I won’t by LE backpacks any more. I’ve noticed that the quality of some of their other products has gone downhill as well, which is too bad. This year I’m looking for a Jansport backpack since they’ve gotten such good reviews here.

Liz B. July 8, 2017 at 7:37 am

Cathy, I was wondering about that…..I agree, seems the quality of some of LE’s items has gone down hill. I bought one of their no-iron shirts years ago, and it was perfect – truly did not need ironing. It finally fell apart (after many years and a zillion wearings), so I bought a new one – not nearly as well made, and does sometimes need ironing. I also have a dress I was given as a gift last year for my birthday that faded with the first wash (I followed the washing instructions). Yeah, I could have returned them, but didn’t. I still wear both items.

Emily July 9, 2017 at 5:32 am

I’m relatively sure that jansport back packs have a lifetime warranty, so if a strap breaks or there is a hole, you can send it in for repairs!

Lindsey July 6, 2017 at 7:17 pm

1. Boy, politeness works: personal size watermelons were on sale for two for $5. They were all out when I got there and the woman before me was actually screaming at the poor produce guy. I waited until she walked off and asked if they were eligible for a rain check and said I was sorry he had been treated so badly. He said that instead of a raincheck I should take two regular sized watermelons for $5!! We are eating one and dehydrating the flesh of the other—I love doing that as it ends up like candy and feeds my sweet tooth in a healthier way. (Plus the two of us would not make it through 2 melons before the second one started to get soft. Stuff that gets to Alaska is already usually beyond its best days…)
2. Found an old dress in the back of my closet that I swear my grandmother wore in the 1950s. Flowers, flowing from the waist down, light cotton. I put it on and it feels wonderful, really perfect for hot weather. And the floaty skirt is pretty long so it covers most of this brace I both love because it lets me walk but also curse because it is so ungainly. I need to go shopping in the back of my closet more often!
3. A close friend had a birthday and she loves mac and cheese; I think she eats it for every meal. For a gift I gave her mac and cheese, a gallon a week for a month, each one will be different. Like halibut (we get it free from a fishing friend) flavor, hot chili flavor (chilies from my greenhouse), leek (from the garden) flavor and something else for the fourth week. Inexpensive for me, since the cheese and pasta were all purchased on sale prices at some time or another, and she was really thrilled. I think she will eat each one every day of the week, until the next installment. Plus I will make enough for us each time (but not a gallon’s worth!) so will cut down on meal prep those days.
4. Traded 10 pounds of patty pan squash from my garden for 3 dozen eggs. What was I thinking, setting out 16 patty pan squash plants?
5. Picked a dime off the ground, which I can’t do on my bad days. Thankful for the money and for a day where I am not in a wheelchair and can bend over without falling over.

Frugal fail: it hit 85 degrees here, too hot for Fairbanks where no one has air conditioning. Was out on errands and bought a dollar iced tea at McDonalds on my way to a meeting. Meeting over and still needed to run the errands, so bought yet another one after the meeting. Only $2 total but I was kicking myself for not bringing drinks with me. In my defense, I thought I would expire from the heat.


Alison July 6, 2017 at 9:54 pm

So jealous that you get free halibut. I love it, but it costs a fortune here.


Bettypants July 7, 2017 at 10:14 am

I asked about a raincheck at Walmart a couple months ago and the worker (quite young) had never heard the term. Apparently they are no longer offering rainchecks.


Ellie July 7, 2017 at 2:13 pm

lol for your #3.. I’m quite sure my DH would love mac and cheese every day -I think I’ll do that for his next birthday – it’s his 86th, so its not going to do much damage to his cholesterol, etc. and its hard to come up with something exciting every Year. Yes, he will think mac and cheese daily is exciting. Thanks for the idea!!


Jennifer July 6, 2017 at 7:49 pm

It’ s so hot here, too. The humidity makes it stifling. I remember when my husband and I took a trip to California for our honeymoon, we were so shocked to learn that not all hotels have air conditioning and some homes don’t have it either. I gues we are a little spoiled by the air conditioning but I’m pretty sure I would die without it where I live.


Bee July 7, 2017 at 3:39 am

I know that I would die without air conditioning. The weather in parts of the Southeast is generally miserable in the summertime. High temperatures and high humidity limits outdoor activities to morning hours and late afternoon. However, this year after two mild winters, the mosquitos are really bad during these times. So while the rest of the USA enjoys the long, lazy days of summer, I am counting the days until they are over.


Bettypants July 7, 2017 at 10:17 am

I just bought a house without A/C. We rarely ran it in our old house, so it wasn’t on my must have list. Our downstairs stays cool with the drapes pulled shut, and I bought a window unit for the upstairs. We used it last night for the first time, but ended turning it off before bedtime. I would guess we won’t run it much, but I’m glad to have it.


Kim in Maryland July 6, 2017 at 10:31 pm

1. Found chicken breasts that were on sale, marked an additional 50% off so really cheap boneless chicken. Threw 2 packs into the slow cooker for a few hours.
2. Made chicken enchiladas, chicken taco meat and shredded chicken from the 2 packs. The enchiladas were tonight’s dinner and the shredded chicken will become lemon orzo chicken soup tomorrow after I pick up lemons. Yummy!
3. Got a sample of Salon Pas in the mail. Will put in DS#2’s travel bag for his university Ultimate tournaments.
4. Cut some hydrangeas for the house. Some blue from mine and purple from my neighbors. We swap so we can have both colors!
5. Listing a few things on FB yard sale group tomorrow. I find Fridays are a good day to list as people look at the page to hunt for Saturday’s actual yard sales and people have time to do porch pickup.
Project Use it Up- Made apple fritters from a box of apple fritter mix we got in a Christmas gift box from DH’s aunt& uncle. They were good, used up an apple that was looking sad and my college aged sons made them disappear!


Mary July 7, 2017 at 3:01 am

1. I picked a second big bowl of blueberries from our bush that I planted several years ago. I love blueberries!
2. I have been cooking from the pantry a lot this week. Today I made a wonderful mushroom gravy and served it over mashed Yukon Gold potatoes. I also made muffins with items that had been in my crisper a long time… zucchini, apple and carrot.
3. I composted our kitchen scraps and watered our veg garden with water from our rain barrel.
4. For our upcoming community garage sale, I gathered up more items to sell.
5. I invited a few friends to a free festival on Saturday at a local park. Free music and time outdoors with our favorite people making memories.


Marilyn July 7, 2017 at 10:46 am

Yum..blueberries. And they’re good for you too (loaded with anti-oxidants).


Liz B. July 7, 2017 at 5:55 pm

I love blueberries….planting some bushes is on my garden wish list. I saw some at Home Depot that were half off – that was a month or so ago – frugal fail! I didn’t snap them up.:-(


Bettypants July 7, 2017 at 4:10 am

1. Now that we live in town, I can list stuff on FB boards and set it on my porch for people to pick up, instead of meeting them. Since that is so easy, I have been buying more items at garage sales to resell. Sold a picture yesterday and baskets being picked up today, $15 profit.
2. Watched a youtube video on fixing the leak in my tub/shower. My dad gave me a pipe wrench, bought a tub spout from Home Depot, and replaced it myself.
3. Stopped at a yard sale yesterday that looked a wee bit junky from the road, but was very good. Bought an Oxo angled measuring cup for a quarter, a pot/pan lid organizer for a quarter, and a panini press with removable plates for $5.
4. One pair of the $10 Lularoe leggings I bought a couple days ago sold on ebay for $45.
5. Someone listed a really nice china cabinet for $40. I was the first to comment and picked it up immediately. I will use it to display my Jadeite, and shuffle around a few cabinets/bookshelves for a better fit.


Mand01 July 7, 2017 at 4:30 am

My FFT are boring as hell really. Also quite a few fails this week but nobody’s perfect…

1. Tidied the freezer and worked out we didn’t need to buy much this week.
2. Made burgers for dinner using what we had in the fridge and freezer.
3. Reading books and magazines from the library.
4. Returned a modem for a refund and am having our broken modem replaced under warranty. $220 back in the bank.
5. I’m on a social media diet for a week. Saving lots of time not on Facebook. If I can manage a week (it’s been five days) I’ll try for a month.
Fails: ate out twice, spent money on some things we needed/wanted for a while but it was still $100 in the blink of an eye.


Cindy in the South I July 7, 2017 at 4:35 am

1. My electric bill last month, in the very deep South, was $53. That is sort of unheard of in this heavily humid, air conditioned region o the U.S. I bought a box fan for under $15 last week at DG. I hope to reduce (or at least keep it below $60) my electric bill for July and August. It was well in the 90’s yesterday. I used the box fan. We shall see if this helps to keep my electric bill low.
2. I wore my thrifted $4.00 grey skirt suit today to work, with my thrifted $6.00 shoes, and my thrifted $3.00 purse. I felt like a rock star…lol.
3. I continue to use my $20 flip phone with a prepaid, cheap card. No, I cannot do what I used to do when I had a smart phone, but really, I work such long hours that is all I need.
4. I am paying my $53.26 water bill (my electric and my water were almost the same amount this month) on time to avoid a $5.00 late fee. Late fees screw up frugality attempts.
5. I cut my own hair again. One of the things I like about cutting my own hair is that I can do it immediately when I need to, in the privacy of my bathroom, at midnight.


Cindy in the South I July 7, 2017 at 4:58 am

By the way, I have a window unit air conditioner for back up.


Jennifer July 7, 2017 at 5:15 pm

I am in the South, too. I used to take cool showers and leave my hair wet to use less air conditioning but I am too insulated by fat to do that anymore, lol. Bring on the A/C and I will try to save money somewhere else. I would love that $53 dollar electric bill, though!


K D July 7, 2017 at 4:39 am

1. We went to a free outdoor concert the other night. There was a plastic coat hanger by where we parked. It was still there when the concert was over. Rather than leaving it to get run over/broken I took it home, washed it in the dishwasher and will use it.

2. I went to SAM’S Club to buy salad. They also had avocados for $1/each (in a multi-pack) and gluten free flour for $.91 for a 5# bag.

3. The grocery store had a coupon in the newspaper to save $10 on a $50 order. I added extra deals in my cart yesterday to be able to use the coupon.

4. My daughter and a friend were unexpectedly here for dinner the other night. I had leftover makings for burrito bowls that I put out. Everyone was happy, as they made their meal the way they wanted it.

5. We will be guests of a local hiking club this weekend. We want to try a few of their hikes before joining.


Mrs. Picky Pincher July 7, 2017 at 4:50 am

Woohoo! I love the use of leftovers and free food! Waste not. 🙂

This week:

1. I broke our Ninja blender a while back and we just ordered a Vitamix. This isn’t necessarily non-consumer, since we bought it new, but we did make sure to order a high-quality replacement so we wouldn’t have to buy again. We’re keeping the Ninja to blend up our compost tea (the Ninja works; it just has an irreparable huge crack in it), so it’s not a waste.

2. We’re trying out a lot of new recipes, which means we’ll be far less tempted to grab food to go, which is always a win. 🙂 As an extra win, these recipes are a bit healthier than what we typically eat!

3. We harvested more tomatoes from our garden, which I plan to process and turn into puree.

4. I have a loooot of frozen peaches that I plan to turn into homemade ice cream this weekend.

5. I’m using an old work notebook to write down what I’m thankful for every morning. I find it’s helpful to remember all the great things I already have.


Mary W July 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

I love my Vitamix. Mine is an older one, mid-70s, all stainless steel and has a spigot that is kind of a mixed blessing. Great for smoothies, but food gets stuck in it, such as wheat berries when I’m grinding fresh flour. I can’t complain though, since I bought it at a garage sale for $13 and change about 10 years ago. I literally gave the seller the last penny in my purse, lol. If yours works as well as mine, you’ll never need to buy another in your lifetime. 🙂


Katy July 7, 2017 at 5:31 am

1. I have a solar lamp and solar fan/lamp sitting outside getting free energy from the sun in case electricity goes out.
2. We had various things for supper last night, I just had to buy some bread to go with it.
3. We will be moving into our rental house this weekend. Because we will be renting it already furnish and because we try to keep our possessions limited to what we use, it will be just a couple of loads in our car, no moving van necessary.
4. I’m super excited about this new house, there’s several edible things in the yard: mango tree, zaban tree, Neverdie tree (the leaves make a good sauce), basil, and what people call spinach, but it’s not like the spinach I know, but they put it in peanut sauce served over rice.
5. We didn’t eat out this week, and drove very little spending almost nothing in gas.


Katy July 7, 2017 at 9:31 am

Wow, where do you live that has a mango tree?


Katy July 7, 2017 at 11:57 am

West Africa


A. Marie July 7, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Thanks, West Africa Katy, for the glimpse of your various edible plantings. (Zaban tree? Neverdie tree? I have much to learn, as I do from all of our international commenters!)


WilliamB July 7, 2017 at 5:50 am

There have been a lot of FFT lately (here and at FG) so I’m really scraping the barrel.

– Mostly eating what I have in the house, which means buying produce but little else.

– Returning some summer items I thought I’d need, but instead found adequate substitutes I already own. If the already-owned substitutes get trashed, *then* I will get replacements.

– At today’s going away party for a co-worker, I will buy one soda rather than drinking. Drinking tap water seems like abusing the restaurant’s hospitality.

– Will take advantage of an hotel loyalty program gas deal, which involves driving a little out of my way to save $.30/gal on gas.

– The fancy artwork I received as a gift, needs to be displayed in a prominent place to show it off properly. The best place is blocked by a light switch. I researched to determine that moving the switch is easy to do. Yay for not paying an electrician. (I am not going to move it myself, my electrically-experienced roommate will. The research was to determine that he *could* do it, a significant factor in my placement considerations.)


Roberta July 7, 2017 at 6:40 am

1. We’re going to the beach today, to escape the heat. We’re bringing food, despite my husband’s tempting offer to go out instead.
2. I did not make a menu last week, but we got through without having to make an emergency grocery run or go out to eat. Last night was the last night of the week (I’m supposed to go shopping today but I’m playing hooky) and we threw together burgers, green beans and corn on the cob. Not bad!
3. My daughter went to play at a friend’s house, in her pool, instead of going to the Y. It was frugal for her friend, but still frugal. I generally enjoy entertaining at home rather than going out anyway, because it’s more relaxed.
4. My husband and I will be going to a friend’s house house for dinner and games. I am bringing the last of the blueberry vodka I made, and homemade lemonade concentrate, as a hostess gift. The lemons are from our tree, so frugal.
5. I dropped a bunch of stuff that wasn’t selling on ebay at a local rummage sale. I got more than I paid already, and I’d really like the space in my home back. Not frugal, but it may be for someone else.

Katy, I’m surprised that as a L&D nurse that any hours are too early for you. That’s just one of the reasons I couldn’t do what you do!


Katy July 7, 2017 at 9:16 am

I start work at 7 A.M. But getting up at 3:45 after going to bed at 1 A.M. is too early even for night owl me!


susanna d July 7, 2017 at 6:55 am

1. Despite the seemingly endless rain in June (accompanied by a seemingly endless string of cloudy days) the basil plants are going absolutely crazy. I picked enough to make a huge batch of pesto. We enjoyed two meals of pasta with pesto, plus I froze a large amount in old ice cube trays for future use. That was a week ago, and the basil patch looks like I never touched it – it’s grown back in, and then some. Lots and lots of pesto in the future. I have absolutely no complaints about that.
2. Cilantro is also growing faster than weeds. I’ve made several batches of salsa, and we have cilantro lime rice as a side dish at least once a week.
3. Traded bunches of the above mentioned basil and cilantro with a neighbor for a few things I don’t grow. We’ve done this for several years and it’s worked out very well.
4. After the wet, cold month of June, we’ve actually had some sun in July – and some relatively warm and very humid days. We removed the old dinosaur of a central air conditioner unit several years ago and chose not to replace it. There are normally very few days where a/c is necessary up here. And on those rare hot and humid days – the walkout lower level is always at least 10 degrees cooler. We just move downstairs for the duration of the heat – there’s a kitchenette, bathroom, couple of futons – and it opens up into the screen room. And since few of the houses around here do have air conditioning (and it’s usually a window unit if they do), not replacing the central doesn’t hurt our resale potential.
5. Nearly missed an epic frugal fail – the GFCI outlet that the freezer is plugged into tripped, which shut down the freezer. Luckily I caught it before things thawed. I’ll be checking the outlet a lot more often for that dreaded red light. It’s never happened before but with the numerous power outages and power surges from the wild stormy summer it hasn’t been a normal year up here.


Liz B. July 7, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Nice catch with the freezer. I lost almost an entire upright freezer last year, when the door popped open – and stayed that way for at least two days unnoticed. Ugh, what a mess – and such a waste!
I envy your basil. Mine always kind of straggles along, and I never get much to use in cooking. Any magic you can share?


Mand01 July 7, 2017 at 9:30 pm

We had that happen three times in six months a few years ago. I estimate we lost about $1000 of food all up. First time it was a babysitter, after that both times it was my husband. Boy did I lose my banana the third time! Three times constitutes a habit.
My dummyspit obviously garnered results because it hasn’t happened since.


susanna d July 8, 2017 at 6:30 am

Liz B., I’m completely baffled by the way the basil took off this year with such a lack of sunshine. I used to live in a warmer climate zone and had a garden with full sun/southern exposure – yet my basil plants this year are beating the heck out of how those grew. In both areas, I found basil grew better in big tubs/planters than in the ground, probably because of the not-great soil. Heavy clay soil where we used to live; sand/gravel soil up here. So I guess growing basil in planters is about the only “magic”, but it still doesn’t explain the basil population explosion in the cloudy and wettest summer on record. Weird.


susanna d July 8, 2017 at 6:38 am

I’m really happy that I caught the freezer issue before anything was lost. While I’ve never had a full on freezer disaster, a number of years ago we had a 2 year old refrigerator die while we were on vacation. During a heat wave. And apparently at the very beginning of the vacation. The small we came home to is something that I hope to never smell again. The smell might have even been worse except that we had a lot of the meat in sealed Food Saver bags. Which was a weird sight to see, since those bags inflated and looked like clear balloons with meat in the centers. Everything was a total loss, and that was a large and very full refrigerator.


Mary W July 9, 2017 at 8:25 am

Oh, that gives me a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, just thinking about it. I had the same thing happen years ago. It stunk so badly. The kind of thing you never forget! I was very fortunate a week or so ago to find my freshly defrosted upright freezer slightly cracked open. I had to defrost it again, but didn’t lose any food. Good catch this time. I have a flashlight plugged into the GFI outlet in my kitchen. It comes on automatically if the power goes out. Added bonus is that it comes on if the GFI circuit is tripped. Maybe that would help you?

Liz B. July 8, 2017 at 7:44 am

Maybe I need to try growing my basil in planters….we tend to have heavy, clay soil here. I need to add in more compost (first we need to get our rototiller fixed- hubs got rid of my hand tiller thingie a long time ago). Thanks for the tip. Enjoy the abundance!!


Vickey July 22, 2017 at 7:26 am

Basil loves good drainage. You can stick a spading fork into the soil vertically and twist it back and forth to turn compost into the top few inches. That’s relatively easy to do in even heavy soil.

Lorra July 7, 2017 at 7:17 am

The man (aka my husband) loves to garbage pick. He has ( I will admit) found some great things. Full set of gym weights, ladder, rolling plant cart which is now my cats’ bunk bed. When walking in our neighborhood he discovered a bunch of large pots by the trash. He came back with the car to collect them and shared with our neighbor. One he just tossed behind the garage. TWO years later we discovered this plant in full bloom! It now has a spot where we can enjoy its flowers.

Recently I got the man and a kid to spend THREE days cleaning our garage. We put several items on the curb… kid’s old skate boards and two rails he had custom made. Gone in a blink! Then I sold through our neighborhood website a large milk can and a tiered step for aerobics. Yes I could have gotten more but what I did get was TWO ITEMS GONE! And… space for the car inside again! 🙂

THEN… I took all my aluminum cans and a huge box of wires (from the garage detox) to recycling. Made $21.20 and bought a puzzle at the resale shop for 75 cents (of course Wed senior discount)

Love to hear what you are doing. Makes me feel proud to be doing MY part!


Vickey July 22, 2017 at 7:29 am

Heh. “Garage detox”. Love it! This so describes what DH needs to do here. Also basement detox, workshop detox, and desk detox. Gack.


tonya July 7, 2017 at 7:46 am

1) I took breakfast and lunch to work yesterday.
2) I went to my neighborhood book club last night. All it cost me was a bottle of wine (we alternate months to bring wine). What a lovely group and great conversation!
3) Picked up my daughter at the airport. Could have paid money for the faster toll road, but chose to sit in some traffic. It was lovely to chat with her about her trip and the time in traffic flew by.
4) Still aggressively meal planning and using up leftovers.
5) Frugal Fail-Safe despite my daily flossing I have pretty bad gum recession, genetics, gotta love them. I need surgery today. Seems like I spend lots of money at the dentist the last few years. The good news is that I have insurance that covers a large portion, and keeping my teeth is priceless! But I still hate paying hundreds of dollars…..


Amanda July 7, 2017 at 10:10 am

1. I got a bill for our daughter’s last checkup that was higher than it should have been. I called insurance and then the doctors office to confirm that it had been coded incorrectly before it was submitted to insurance. It was, and they are fixing the error, which would have cost me over $200 if I hadn’t caught it.

2. I also in the process discovered that my university, through which we buy our health insurance, has a dedicated health insurance person who works for the insurance company but is located on campus and exists to answer my questions. I realized this person will be worth her weight in gold when she said, “You have three children? Health insurance claims must be like a part time job for you.” Some one who understands. And can fix my insurance hassles.

3. My husband and I were talking last night about the possibility of paying our mortgage off when our oldest graduates from high school. (He’s in the second grade now.) We’ve been saving consistently for college since we started having kids, but the extra cash each month would be a nice cushion if we need a little more. I think we can do it, but it will take focus for the next ten years. We even already have an investment account for this purpose, but home repairs have whittled it down over the years.

4. I realized yesterday that our household debt seems to finally be on the way down. When my husband and I married I had no debt and he had school loans and car debt. We lived on my salary and put 100% of his toward the debt until it was gone, about 18 months later. We lived debt free for years before we bought a house. Then along came kids and me going back to school in the midst of my husband growing our business. We took out a loan to buy our first family car because we wanted to preserve our savings during that hectic time in our lives. Well things are starting to level back out, we’re considering just paying off the rest of the car loan, and we’ve made a solid dent in the mortgage. We’re hoping we look back on this time in our lives as that time “when all the things happened.” Hopefully we’re on a permanent debt decline.

5. Just finished cleaning the house for our airbnb guests who will stay the weekend while we are at our second home. Our “second home” is a crappy, fifty year old doublewide that is on my parent’s property. They have let us squat for years as it gives them unlimited access to their beloved grandchildren, and it keeps the house up. If we paid off our mortgage we could start saving for the second home I’ve always dreamed of–an old farmhouse close to our current second home that I could renovate. Dreaming of financial goals and how to accomplish them is a great frugal pastime. 🙂


ouvickie July 7, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Love that chair and table combo, very pretty!

1) Today I wore one of my thrifted tops I bought last weekend. It’s SO comfortable and pretty. Wearing it made me happy.
2) I had a coupon for a free pair of panties from VS, so I went over to the mall yesterday and picked a pair out. Nothing better than new, free underwear!
3) Today was our bi-weekly Team breakfast. My co-worker aptly named it “Breakfast for the Grunts”, when he sent out the invite. He paid for mine to pay me back for his portion of the cost on flowers we sent for a deceased coworker back in June. So I ate a yummy breakfast out at no cost today.
4) Today was, also, my monthly lunch date with one of my co-worker friends. She insisted on paying for mine. She knew I’d just lost another friend last week and one of our dogs over the weekend and instead of sending me flowers, she got me a really nice card and bought my wonderful lunch. She’s so thoughtful. Good friends are priceless!
5) As was dropping off items at the recycle center yesterday I found the nicest bucket with a handle and lid. It’s a bucket that kitty litter came in, but it only needs a good wash and the label removed, to make it an excellent storage bucket!


Rachel July 7, 2017 at 12:26 pm

1. Yesterday I didn’t have a chance to make lunch before leaving for work, so I bought a burrito bowl at a food cart for $6. It was SO FREAKIN BIG that I split it into 2 portions and had the second half for lunch today — $3 meals! As an added bonus, the container was made entirely of paper so I can compost it rather than sending to recycling or a landfill.

2. Today I’m wearing a Gap sweater I bought second-hand that was brand new with tags!

3. I’m excited for some down-time tonight, organizing paperwork and decluttering. Maybe even listening to a podcast, or watching an episode of The Crown.

4. Yesterday I had my front brakes replaced, which was not at all frugal, but maintaining my reliable car (which is paid for and should last a long time) makes me feel happy. I like taking care of what I have and use regularly.

5. Still feeling sore from an amazing 9-mile hike I did in the Wallowa Mountains on the 4th of July with good friends. Hiking = Free exercise + free entertainment + free natural beauty!


tia July 7, 2017 at 12:47 pm

1. I’d never been to your instagram and found the picture of the spices from Dollar Tree. Don’t remember ever going to Dollar Tree and wow, I like it. 24 ounces of dried beans for a dollar, really cute reading glasses for 1 dollar, a 7 ounce bar of Shugar Soapworks 1 dollar. I needed batteries for a remote control 1 dollar, a sun hat for mowing, dollar! I went a little wild.
2.Everything else is same old same old, eating from freezer and pantry, drinking water, watching free tv and movies, wearing thrifted clothes and shoes, great Cherokee Purple tomatoes from the vine.
3. I’m thinking about moving to a much smaller house. I’m willing to offer the grown kids living in the basement a place on a bunkbed somewhere under a roof. hehehe ya wanna ride wit me suck it up and fly frugal.


KJD509 July 7, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Few frugals this week:

1) keeping a cool head during a lot of chaos at work. I am easily caught up in drama, which leads to all sorts of unnecessary spending: an extra glass of wine at night, purchased coffee during the day after late-night worry sessions, etc. Maybe it’s age? Or maybe I’m just worn out? But I just don’t care this time around, and the grocery and sleep budgets are right on track.
2) Kids and I have a lovely invite to spend the day at a lake tomorrow. Will take coleslaw made from on-sale cabbage and a slab pie made from raspberries and rhubarb picked from the garden. Only cost will be gas.
3) Littlest got a spot at our family’s very favorite summer camp – it filled up very early this year, so we were not optimistic, but we got the call today and she leaves Sunday for the week. It’s not cheap, but I’d rather pay for experiences than things, and as long as we find the right box of hand-me-downs in the basement, we should already have everything she needs.
4) Roped all 4 at-home kids into 30 minutes of clean up alongside me two nights ago. That’s the equivalent of 2-1/2 hours of cleaning for the cost of 4 bowls of ice cream from the freezer.. Holy smokes do I feel better when things are a little tidier!
5) No tawdry gold-plated anything, and no new-to-me car even though we really, really need to find one soon.


MommaL July 9, 2017 at 3:51 am

Good job on #1! Not always easy, but it pays off to have a cool head and refuse to get sucked into the gossip/drama.


janine July 7, 2017 at 7:39 pm

1, Found 1c on a rack with free magazines. This is the first change I have found in quite a while!
2. Cooked dinner tonight instead of taking husband’s offer of dining out. My efforts weren’t very original but it was healthy and tasted OK.
3. Spent some time processing fresh green beans for the freezer – will appreciate my efforts later.
4. Husband needs eye surgery which means we won’t be travelling much this month. This means a good amount of savings. (A silver lining in every cloud.)
5. Keeping up with thrifty habits – drinking iced tea instead of soda, eating (mostly) at home, and while cleaning out corners and closets, finding useful summer clothes and useful items I had forgotten about. Continuing to donate and sell books I no longer need in my collection.


VanessaKC July 7, 2017 at 8:00 pm

1. The downfall of working for a family business is waiting your turn. We’re in the peak of aircooled VW season at the shop, which means my $200 Passat Wagon patiently waits for all the Herbies and Hippie Busses to pass. Found (hopefully) all of the parts we need during this wait. I’ll use store brand synthetic oil, but for hard performing parts, it’s best to go OEM. Saves in the long run, and there are nice deals to be had online for the knowledgeable hunter.
2. Our grocery budget has been about $30 a week (for 3) and it’s working. Lean times but nobody’s hungry or lacking proper nutrients. The small garden has helped a lot.
3. Primary reasons for lean times are son’s 5th Birthday and a frugal fam vacation. Son chose a favorite locally owned pizza joint for his party. So much cheaper than mersh garbage (like Chuck E) and really good pizza! We were so stoked because this choice enabled us to give him a big party for peanuts. Man, I hope there are leftovers.
4. Booked an affordable cabin for our vacation. 2 hours away, full kitchen. I’ve been meal planning hardcore. Going to pre-cook many things to simplify stuff. We do plan to have one meal out at a local joint. We’ll be between the towns of Tightwad and Racket, MO. I hope you smile reading that as I do every time I think about it.
5. The best public pool in KC is only a buck per on weekends. Found a free pool to hit up occasionally on weekdays. Free pool kind of blows in comparison, but it’s free and gets us by until the $1 weekends at the incredible pools.


deanna ar July 10, 2017 at 3:37 pm

This is my first comment on your blog, but I’ve been following for awhile.

1. My neighbor gave me cucumbers from their garden and I made a quart of pickles…soooo good.
2. Hubby’s iPhone was not ringing, so he took it to a local man who had a sign at his home for phone repairs. He installed a new ringer for $20, and we didn’t have to go to the Apple Store which is a couple of hours away.
3. I had a doctor’s appointment in our nearest city and we used a birthday gift card for lunch at Outback. Delicious!
4. We went to a thrift shop while we were in the city, and I found 3 pairs of capris, 2 shirts, a sweater and a sweater vest.
5. At Outback we got a free dessert because the next day was my birthday. We had a Chocolate Thunder (their only gluten free dessert), and it was AWESOME!!
6. We went out to dinner on my birthday with friends at a local Italian restaurant, and they treated us. Yumm.
FAIL: we bought cucumbers because we wanted to make more pickles. Long story short, our bottle of peppercorns broke and we weren’t sure we didn’t have glass shards in the pickles, so I had to throw them all away (2 quarts and 2 pints).
I’ve really enjoyed following your blog. Thank you.


Carol July 10, 2017 at 9:35 pm

1. I was craving orange juice tonight, but a)I didn’t want to spend the money, b) I’ve been lamenting plastic waste and its effect on the environment and c) I didn’t feel like leaving the house. So I took an apricot, fresh lemon juice, water and brown sugar, oh, also a little fresh mint, and threw them in the blender. It came out nicely–kind of tasted like a virgin mojito. Fresh fruit hits the spot.

2. One of our nail clippers broke, but we have two. Unfortunately the one that broke had an attachment that was great for cleaning under your fingernails and toenails. So I thought at first I needed to buy another clipper, then I realized a toothpick would do the job. Have had the same box of toothpicks for 15 years, and I don’t think I’ll run out soon.

3. Waited my turn for the “quarter dryer” today instead of using a regular dryer for $1.50. There’s a dryer in my building that works with only a quarter, and most of the time I’m going at odd times, so I get it right away, but the laundry room was really in demand today, so I had to wait.

4. Didn’t leave the apartment today, so saved on gas. Used the pool for free aerobics, and did apartment-sized strength training exercises that I found on the Internet. I don’t really have the budget for a gym membership, but I seem to do fine.

5. Evaluated my fridge and pantry to see how I could stretch the groceries. I realized that I had plenty of food, and I can probably survive until we leave for vacation on Friday.


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