Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 24, 2018 · 82 comments

  1. My husband and I have gotten ourselves in the habit of cooking up a huge amount of kidney beans in the crock pot which we then use as the base for multiple different meals. (Mostly it’s beans and rice with various added goodies such a scallions, avocado, chicken, tomatoes and salsa.) It’s filling, tasty and pretty much the cheapest damned meal known to mankind womynkind.

  2. I finally sold a couple of items from my pathetic eBay account. (Some Cuisinart parts and a glass light fitting) Although neither sale was brag worthy, I live by the mantra that “every little thing counts.” I also sold a Thule bike rack piece, a cute metal bike basket and some classic art lithographs that I’d picked up at the pay by pound Goodwill Outlet awhile back. None of these sales will singly fund the purchase of a gold plated toilet, but together they put $82 into my emergency fund which had recently been serving no purpose other than to gather dust.

  3. My husband and I went to see the movie The Shape of Water, which set us back a whopping $2 apiece as we chose our local theater’s 2-for-1 night. The movie was visually stunning and enjoyably bizarre. Plus, we now have something to joke about the rest of our lives! The popcorn smelled amazing, so I popped up a batch as soon as we came home.

  4. I took my own lunch to work, I signed up for another month of work shifts, (making sure to leave a week open to attend a certain person’s June college graduation!) I sorted through my linen cupboard and got rid of a pile of old towels and sheets which I then dispersed through my Buy Nothing group, I turned off my furnace, I dropped off a bag of ill fitting shirts at Goodwill and I picked up a free packet of lettuce seeds, gum and potato chips through Kroger’s Friday Freebie program.

  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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{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruby April 24, 2018 at 11:10 am

1. Did some serious adulting by having a conference call with a financial advisor as retirement looms in less than a decade. Good thing we have been frugal a long time or it would be grim.
2. Found a quarter in the washer, which went straight into the parking meter and Aldi cart cup in the car.
3. Bought thrifted pajamas. They are adorable and cost about 1/3 of buying new.
4. Had an event at work with leftover lemons and limes. I gave them to the deli owner next door because he is unfailingly kind to our staff. Good will is worth everything.
5. Used a coupon that knocked $4.34 off a box of generic Zantac today, but forgot the $4 off anything coupons for the grocery store.
Bonus: Cannot find a handbag I like and decided tomorrow to delve into the extensive collection of scrap fabric in our closet and make something that suits me.

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Ruby April 25, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Update: I got that little handbag made today and am so tickled with it. It used up almost every inch of the remnant fabric it was made from, and the button closure uses a button from an old coat. Recycling for the win!

Bonus: The Mister was feeling puny and needed ginger ale and crackers. I sent him to Food Lion with a fistful of cash-off coupons for $3.50, $1.00, and $1.35 and my customer card, so his purchase should be free or close to it.

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Bee April 25, 2018 at 3:34 pm

Well done, Ruby. Did you quilt it? Is it a shoulder bag or cross body? Did you use a pattern I am curious, because I have TONS of fabric.

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Ruby April 25, 2018 at 4:12 pm

I would describe it as a satchel. I found the dimensions for a tote bag on the internet, but cut it down in size because I did not have enough fabric to make the original. The handles are a little shorter too.

The exterior fabric is a blue and palecrean paisley upholstery fabric, and I lined it and made the handles out of a white poplin printed with tumbling blocks in navy. It was not quilted because the upholstery fabric gives it a nice body.

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Ruby April 25, 2018 at 4:13 pm

That should be “pale cream.”

Jennifer April 25, 2018 at 10:29 pm

Found quarter to the Aldi cup!! Awesome. Thanks for the laugh!

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Ruby April 26, 2018 at 6:35 am

We frugal folk know how to have a good time! 😀

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Cindy in the South I April 24, 2018 at 11:22 am

1. I cooked up 49 cents a lb chicken thighs for this week’s evening meals. I made mulberry cobbler with free mulberries and free pancake batter (my daughter had gifted me)…hey…it worked! I also made frozen figgy pops with free figs, sugar, and a little milk.
2. I walked at the local flooded river. It was beautiful and no, I did not get too close.
3. I took a nap.
4. I listened to the public broadcasting radio.
5. I sat in my backyard, reading a book, and listening to the mocking bird.

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Jennifer@thefrugaldribble April 24, 2018 at 11:34 am

Figgy pops and mulberry cobbler sound delish!

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Cindy in the South I April 24, 2018 at 11:50 am

They are Jennifer!!

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Colleen April 24, 2018 at 11:28 am

I have been so excited for a new post because I have 5 decent frugal things finally!

1) My husband and I were invited to a movie by my BIL & his gf. They told us to pick the theatre so I chose the one that we had 2 free passes for (a Christmas gift) and also coupons for popcorn and pop (soda to the rest of you) from coke rewards. I gave them a drink coupon (we also used one) and we all split a large popcorn – I had brought cups in my purse so we could all scoop our own portion out of the big bucket.

2) Was looking through my linen closet and realized I had several men’s body sprays that had came in gift sets that I buy after Christmas for half off. My husband will not use these. I put them on FB Marketplace and sold them for $10.

3) Went to the gym this morning before work and showered there. It takes a lot of prep to do so but I figure each 10 minute shower usually costs me around $1.50 so if I can do this at least once a week I can cancel out most of the cost of my gym membership!

4) Bought a bunch of produce at Kroger yesterday. Used a $2 off $10 of produce coupon. Also had a $0.40 off zucchini coupon, $0.25 off cucumber ibotta, $0.45 off salad mix coupon, and a $1 off 2 lbs of Opal apples digital coupon. Also found 2 boxes of cereal on Manager’s Special for $0.89 each and used a $0.80 off two boxes coupon, making them $0.49 each!

5) Was walking my dog yesterday evening and noticed that someone was throwing out a perfectly good pot for planting. I literally have never planted anything but this inspired me! I grabbed the pot, brought it home, and I have a yellow pepper in the fridge. I assume I can just plant those seeds in some dirt and it will grow? We will see!

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Roberta April 25, 2018 at 6:03 am

Good luck on the pepper! I would like to get some lettuce started, but I am not much of a gardener. I do know that green, yellow and red peppers are the same plant. You can pick your peppers, or you can let them continue to ripen into other colors.

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Mand01 April 25, 2018 at 1:29 pm

Yellow and red are not usually the same plant. Green ripens to other colours but depends on the variety whether it will be yellow or red.

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Monica April 27, 2018 at 8:25 am

The other great thing about showering at the gym as it cuts down on your laundry at home, and the frequency with which you have to scrub your own shower!

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Jennifer@thefrugaldribble April 24, 2018 at 11:30 am

We try to eat popcorn before we go, so hopefully the theater lure of buttery intoxication isn’t as strong.
1. I ate leftover chicken for breakfast. Not what I wanted but was ready to eat so I’m good.
2. I have had a stomach issue for about a week so I’m not eating and losing a bit of weight. Win-win?
3. My kids are watching some yardsale movies at home for cheap entertainment.
4. Continuing to frugally blog for accountability
5. Bringing lunch to work, chicken again, not what I wanted but since I’m not eating a lot it doesn’t matter, lol.
Oh, and we had to ditch the swear jar. It was causing us to swear even more!

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Cindy in the South I April 24, 2018 at 11:52 am

Lol. The swear jar would be full the first day with me!

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Jennifer@thefrugaldribble April 24, 2018 at 11:57 am

Since my kids decided to add mild swears such as “Oh my God” to it, I started cursing even more. I cursed after ever time I cursed because I cursed, lol.

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susanna d April 24, 2018 at 1:13 pm

“I cursed after every time I cursed because I cursed” – I totally get this! I made the mistake of telling my grandson he should start a curse jar because his father curses SO much (wonder who he got that from?) Grandson has decided that words like stupid, crap (okay maybe I can agree with that), silly, and even big (huh?) are bad words. And he expected me to contribute my quarter when I mentioned walking on “Big Lake Loop.” I’m thankful we live on a lake other than Big Lake or I’d go broke.

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Terri April 24, 2018 at 11:47 am

Movie theater popcorn is far inferior to freshly popped homemade popcorn! I like to brown butter and drizzle that on top of our popcorn, it’s delightful!

1.) I am continuing to plug through Spring cleaning, on top of the regular cleaning that my kids and cat create. Believe it or not, we used to woman come clean our home on a regular basis.
2.) It’s World Book Week and Amazon is giving away 9 Kindle books and Audible is giving away 3 audio books. I downloaded all of them for a “rainy day.”
3.) I went to The Dollar Tree and brought coupons from the weekly fliers that come in the mail. I got free mascara, free false eyelashes (for fun), and free body wash. I also got two packs of caramels for $0.50 a pack.
4.) I went to The Grocery Outlet and got some deals. I used my Chinook Book coupon and saved even more money.
5.) The biggest win of the week is that my husband talked me down from buying a new Roomba vacuum by suggesting that we replace its battery for a mere $30. It turns out that this trick worked and saved us about $300, since I was starting to freak out over the constant crumbs all over our floors.

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Linda @ A La Carte April 24, 2018 at 3:34 pm

I didn’t know that Dollar Tree took coupons. WOW!!

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Terri April 25, 2018 at 6:22 am

Yes, they do! There are some websites out there that do coupon matchups for them too.

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Bee April 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm

1) I dropped off some outdated electronic equipment at Staples today and as a reward, I received a $10 coupon. In honor of Earth Day, the company accepts this type of equipment for recycling during this week.

2). I paid my medical bills from February and March using my Health Savings Account. I am so glad that my husband and I have taken advantage of this option. Not only did it reduce my worries when I was sick; it also allowed me to pay in pretax dollars reducing the actual outlay.

3) I have signed up for a free, 2-hour class on the new tax laws at our local library. I hope this will help with tax planning in the coming year and into the future. I have some idea of the impact that the new laws will have on me personally, because I read portions of the original bill. (I am a total nerd! ) However, there were many changes along the way, and my memory is a bit muddy.

4) I spent $7 at an estate sale this past weekend and purchased a wonderful ladle, two packages of six Irish linen napkins, a vintage broach, a nice candle, two antique Christmas ornaments, a book (resale), a vintage hankie embroidered with daisies, a box of mirrored tiles and two packages of colorful tissue paper.

5) I took some side work last week. I sold two items on eBay to an exceptionally nice buyer. This afternoon I gathered up a bag of things to go to Goodwill. I attended a cover dish supper and made a lovely salad from things in the refrigerator. I really want to go out to breakfast after my blood work this morning, but I came home instead.

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MW April 24, 2018 at 12:25 pm

1. I’ve been monitoring my neighbor’s dumpster as she prepares to move- I scored a pop-up sun shade and various bits and pieces that I’ve been meaning to find. I controlled myself and didn’t pick up anything extra.
2. Still menu planning, grocery list making, and making all meals at home.
3. For work- still wearing thrifted clothes, taking food, making coffee, and taking the bus.
4. Refreshed my wardrobe and my son’s wardrobes for summer with a quick(ish) trip to two thrift store. Yep, I rock thrift-store panties (new panties, damaged package).
5. Submitting health care receipts for reimbursement from my pre-tax savings account, same with daycare receipts. I hate filing the paper work, but I do enjoy getting checks in the mail.

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Sarah D April 24, 2018 at 12:40 pm

1. We spent the weekend landscaping our yard – we saved many hundreds of dollars by doing it ourselves, rather than paying a landscaper to plant trees, flowers, and bushes or shoveling mulch and gravel.

2. All that yard work led to the discovery that my lilac bush had sprouted several babies — so I transplanted them to new spots, where I hope they’ll thrive. I love free plants!

3. I also saved on the yardwork by using my homemade compost in the holes we dug for the trees. Some of those store-bought compost bags are mighty expensive, but our compost bin makes dark, rich soil out of our food scraps. And since what I planted were fruit trees (two cherry and an apricot), I hope to keep the cycle going by making more compost when we have scraps from home-grown fruit!

4. I’ve been wanting to move away from plastic water bottles – even the “BPA-free” ones have nasty chemicals. But I’ve been frightened by the price of glass and stainless ones–so I was delighted when my husband picked up several new metal ones that were leftover swag from a conference one of his colleagues put on. They have a logo that means nothing to me (not my conference!) but that’s easily covered by a sticker–one of several free stickers I picked up last time I was at REI, showing mountains, kayaks, and other outdoor-sy things I enjoy looking at.

5. Also spent this weekend doing a lot of cleaning and tidying of drawers and cabinets, which feels great and so freeing–threw away tons of trash and nearly 1,000 twist tabs from produce bags (why was I saving those?). My junk drawer in the kitchen is so tidy and usable! Now it’s really less a “junk” drawer and more of a “pens, envelopes, and stamps” drawer.

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Vickey April 28, 2018 at 3:44 pm

I pick up secondhand stainless steel water bottles dirt cheap at thrift shops. We’re slowly swapping out the plastic bottles in the freezer for the stainless.
Avoid the ones with the gold-colored lining, an indicator of BPA coating.

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Sarah D April 29, 2018 at 3:04 pm

Thanks for the tip, Vickey, I didn’t know that! I think these ones don’t have the gold lining, but I’m very glad to know to keep an eye out for this!

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Marybeth April 24, 2018 at 12:48 pm

1. I finally planted my peas in the garden. I also planted tomatoes, lettuce and peppers in my mini greenhouse.
2. My youngest daughter and I went to a college fair. Narrowed down her colleges. We now only have to look at 8. We also had a meeting with her Guidance Councilor to talk about college plans. She said YD should receive scholarship money for her SAT scores and grades. Lots of planning to get the most for our money.
3. Son brought home lots of goodies from work that would have gone in the garbage. Gave out a bunch to friends and family.
4. Had a work breakfast I had to attend. Got paid for it 2 1/2 extra hours. Brought home extra bagels and cream cheese.
5. Been doing yard work ourselves. It takes time but saves a lot of money. Also free exercise and free vitamin D.

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amanda April 24, 2018 at 12:55 pm

1) My husband and I had our monthly date lunch today. We’ve never done a regular date night, but about a year ago realized that we could do a date lunch and enjoy each other’s company without paying a babysitter (because the kids are at school) and on the price of lunch instead of dinner. It has been so much fun and much cheaper than date night.

2) We also looked at commercial space because we are outgrowing our current office. We’re applying the rules we learned when buying our house. Look for an ugly space with good bones. Look for the questionable edge of the emerging neighborhood. We might have found a deal!

3) We’re making concrete plans to pay off our mortgage in the next three years.

4) I menu planned and Aldi shopped yesterday.

5) I’ve been practicing French on Duolingo, which is perfectly free.

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Rosanne April 24, 2018 at 1:23 pm

I love date lunches! Usually there is no wait, and we enjoy a big meal and then I do something simple for dinner like a salad with grilled chicken, or a sandwich and soup. Going out on weekends takes too long. Going out on weeknights is stressful because there is less time for homework and baths.

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susanna d April 24, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Five Frugal Things, tag-along vacation edition:

1. My husband had continuing ed training at a casino hotel in a vacation area we’re very familiar with. While both my husband and I doubt that he’s ever going to want to go back to work part time in retirement, we both feel that keeping his certs up is a good idea. Just. In. Case. Of course, I tagged along with him for the trip, as another friend was tagging along with her husband. Gorgeous hotel rooms, no additional cost.
2. Brought along dried fruit and nuts to have for breakfast, rather than buy some overpriced breakfast at the hotel. Made the supreme sacrifice of drinking the free hotel room coffee rather than spending several dollars each morning for coffee shop coffee.
3. Since the weather was not good, my friend and I spent most of our time at the hotel, swimming, using the hot tubs and sauna, exploring – and not gambling.
4. While we all went out to a nearby restaurant one night (we know where the cheap but good places are), another night was snowing like crazy and we all decided to stay put. Which meant dinner choices were the buffet ($10 per person) or the pricey steakhouse (easily $50 per person since everything was extra). We opted for the buffet, which turned out to be pretty great as far as buffets go.
5. Found a penny in the elevator, and a quarter on the casino floor. This brings my found money total for the year up to $66.66.
6. Our husbands brought home a few bags of snacks from the training – one of the presenters encouraged people to take the extras. Road food!
7. Used a $1 off gasoline coupon for the trip down, and stopped at Costco for gas (and a few things we needed) on the way home.

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Mand01 April 24, 2018 at 1:41 pm

It’s school holidays here and I’m having a week off to spend with my kids. I’m spoiling them and shaking the old mothballs out of the purse. But I am saving some money.
1. I bought a big sack of potatoes for $6. Using this to make many meals and sides.
2. Picked ten kilograms of pumpkin from the garden. I put them in the cellar for storage. There’s more still growing out there.
3. Even though I’ve been spoiling the kids it’s all been budgeted fun.
4. We cooked up a box of tomatoes into passata and it’s now in the freezer.
5. Tomorrow our activity is thrift shopping.

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KJD509 April 24, 2018 at 1:49 pm

1) Beloved ancient cat has moved to the university town where two of my kids attend college. I didn’t ask how they’re working out his living arrangements without paying pet deposits. We needed him out of the house in order to show it, and sending him with middle daughter when she came home to visit means no boarding, plus gives me a week or so to sniff out all the places he, um, christened as he got older and more forgetful. They’re sending lots of pictures and he looks very happy.
2) Had exciting and expensive dinner plans one night this weekend because there were extra kids home. We opted for a quick drive-through and a movie instead. I’m not a fan of seeing movies in the theater so that’s a rare family event. It was fun, and cheaper than the restaurant we’d been contemplating.
3) Hubs and littlest drove a medium sized moving truck to our soon-to-be-new town on Monday – off-brand saved us more than $100 and gave us an extra day.
4) Eldest son complained mightily but met his dad at the storage unit to unload said truck. Feeding him all those years was so worth it. What took us collectively 2-1/2 days to load, he unloaded in barely an hour, which meant hubs was able to return the truck a half day early, for a small rebate.
5) No Lear jet, no gold-plated apartment, no overpriced real estate at all (yet).

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Roberta April 25, 2018 at 6:10 am

If you have difficulty finding a spot your cat left, use a blacklight to target the spot. Cat urine glows under blacklight!

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Jennifer@thefrugaldribble April 25, 2018 at 10:21 am

That is good to know!

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Patti April 24, 2018 at 1:51 pm

1) We went camping for the first time in our new camper this past weekend as a shakedown trip. We found out there are some things we really need – such as more wood to level it with. We were going out to buy some but when we asked the gate attendant for directions, he had some he let us borrow.
2) Because my husband is now 65, we get a discount in fees. We are also considering purchasing a park passport which will save us even more – IF we use it. We are waiting to make sure it will pay off.
3) We planned our meals which included using up leftovers from home. We did splurge on steaks but they were on sale this week. We grilled two but split one between us and saved the other for a later meal. We also bought a basket of fresh strawberries – the first of our local season. YUM.
4) We did not go far to camp = we are blessed with a wonderful network of State Parks and many are very close to our home. With gas prices up this week, it was nice to only drive an hour away. I perused the website and found many programs and events planned for the spring and summer that are very economical, fun, and educational. This past weekend, we took long walks and watched spectacular sunsets across the lake. Free fun.
5) We resisted paper plates, napkins, and plasticware as we have dishes that we wash. A person told us this was easy for us since there are only 2 in our family – but I have always done this even with lots of guests. We also recycled everything we could. It only added a few minutes of “work” to an otherwise very laid back weekend.

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Lisa W. April 24, 2018 at 2:34 pm

“Why would you ever intentionally spill beans? They’re one of nature’s most densely packed protein sources and they remain unsullied by flavor.” — Captain Holt on Brooklyn 99

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Lisa W. April 24, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Katy, this is one of the funniest TV shows ever and binging it is the 100% best reason to get your free Hulu trial if you can’t handle “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

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Mand01 April 24, 2018 at 6:47 pm

Funniest show on tv for sure.

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Katy April 28, 2018 at 7:36 pm

That character is so funny!

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Mrs. Picky Pincher April 24, 2018 at 3:07 pm

I’m jealous of that Friday freebie program! I need to keep my ear to the ground to find more deals.

This week:

1. For tonight’s dinner I used basil and cilantro from our garden.

2. My mother in law stopped by yesterday and brought us two big packs of tamales. Yum! We’ll nibble on one pack this week and freeze the rest.

3. I sipped on homemade kombucha today.

4. I’m about to return DVDs and books to the library, and plan to check out more!

5. I just made meal plans for all of May, including snacks. Hopefully this will help us keep our grocery budget low.

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Juhli April 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm

1. Gave dog Benadryl and washed her foot with baking soda paste after she was stung by a bee rather than going to emergency vet. Stayed home to watch her carefully just in case she needed a vet.
2. Saving veggie peelings, etc. to make broth for soup.
3. Hubby cleaned our sink drain trap rather than calling a plumber.
4. I altered a blouse I wasn’t wearing because it didn’t fit well.
5. Drove to the coast and walked on the boardwalk which is always rejuvenating and free entertainment too.

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Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early April 24, 2018 at 3:54 pm

The biggest thing I see about selling things on eBay/Craigslist/etc versus just giving them away instead is that I (hope) the items are more likely to be wanted and thus used, and so kept out of the landfill.

Hopefully frugal: my husband is worki on my treadmill because it died yesterday. It was free to begin with, but I’d love to get more miles out of it still.

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Danielle April 24, 2018 at 4:29 pm

Patio Edition

Our deck/patio is visible from every room in our house except a bedroom. The patio furniture cushions that I had were starting to fall apart and I was seriously looking at $3000 to replace the couch and chairs set and table and chairs dining set. It was really hard to think of spending that money because we really rarely SIT out there (too hot/cold) we just LOOK out there. Instead….

1. The dining table and six chair set is going on 15 years old and the frame is still holding strong. Good quality metal and glass have held up well against our 100 degree summers. The cushions finally all gave up at once and all split and became unusable. Costco had new chair seat pads for $24 for a pair of two. They’re an inch or two smaller around than I would have liked, but they look really nice and the fit is close enough. I gave up on finding the right size back cushions and instead I had enough outdoor decorative pillows to use one as the back for each chair. Viola! For less than $75 I saved $1-2K by not purchasing a new dining set.

2. The couch and chair set is only about 6 years old and I’ve already recovered the cushions once and swore I would never do it again. My sewing machine is on the fritz too, so that wasn’t really possible. I found a No-Sew DIY Slipcover Cushion tutorial on YouTube and decided to give it a try. For the cost of one canvas drop cloth from Home Depot ($35) and one pack of iron-on tape from Michael’s, with coupon $1.40, and three hours of my time, I now have a brand new looking set!! I just need to get some weather proofing spray to protect this new, lighter color. Yay! Saved $1-2K on a new, large outdoor sectional.

3. We did use this area for seating for a recent party, I checked all of my decorative pots that I had moved off the deck and out of the way at the end of last season. One had a nice set of chives growing in it and another had some purple pansy type flowers that reseeded themselves. I gave the outside of these pots a little scrub and put them on plant stands on the deck and they added the perfect spring feel for a warm spring day – no expensive trip to Home Depot needed!

4. All of the back and seat cushions that had to be thrown away would not fit in the trash bin all at once and I didn’t want to make a special trip to the dumps just for this. I’ve been adding them to our trash bin one or two each week as we’ve had space. Finally all gone!

5. Here in Northern California, our spring is very yellow. POLLEN EVERYWHERE as the Oak trees and everything else bloom like crazy. So my last frugal thing is that I took all of these beautiful new cushions and pillows and packed them up until the pollen is a little less and the next rain storm passes through. I just want to admire my handiwork, but a little self control now will save me money in the long run. 🙂

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Christine April 24, 2018 at 5:23 pm

Spring has sprung!
1. Have finally made peace with the woodchuck in the backyard who decimated my vegetable garden two years ago. Saw him scurrying across my yard and realize he’s just trying to survive and he will make good and free entertainment this coming summer. He’s actually kinda cute.
2. Picked up a free book on tape at the library’s giveaway shelf. Will make for a nice rainy day activity while reclining with a cup of tea.
2. Wrote a handwritten letter to my childhood friend. We still love letter writing and correspond frequently.
4.Will but dried navy beans and molasses this week in preparation for my church’s potluck brunch this coming Sunday. Just a recipe from an old Better Homes cookbook but people seem to go crazy for those Boston Baked Beans. Easy and frugal.
5. Picked up a check for $ 29.75 from the consignment store. I made a little money, the organization for mentally challenged adults made a little money and stuff I don’t need reused. Win, win, win.

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Christine April 24, 2018 at 5:24 pm

I will “buy” the dried navy beans, not “but” them.

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Linda Gertig April 25, 2018 at 5:51 am

1 .Cooked a batch of barley in slow cooker(mine is too cheap to be a Crock Pot) so it is ready to add to meals all week.
2. Made frugal healthy meals. As the Italians say,” Pay the grocer or pay the doctor.”
3. Got in my steps every day this week. I hope it helps to extend my healthy years and keeps me out of the nursing home for a good long while. My husband is of an age where he could retire and is beginning to notice that he is not as young as he was and he takes better care of himself when I set a good example.

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Christine April 25, 2018 at 3:42 pm

I love that Italian saying! Never heard that one before. It makes a lot of sense.

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Vickey April 29, 2018 at 6:17 am

Yesss! This is exactly what I tell myself as I comparison shop relentlessly for the lowest prices on produce for my nutrient-dense diet.

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Roberta April 25, 2018 at 6:33 am

1. I made a crock pot of black beans. My niece and her boyfriend came over for dinner last night, and we had taco salad and played board games. We had an awesome time, and we got to get to know family (and possibly new family). I used up some questionable avocados to make guac. Dessert was lemon meringue pie, with lemon juice a friend gave me and eggs from my chickens.
2. The cheap bread I had been getting from Grocery Outlet changed its recipe, and now contains things I shouldn’t eat. So I’ve gone back to making bread weekly. I don’t make enough to replace the cheap bread, but I can extend the lifespan of the expensive bread (at least until I can find a source for cheap bread again!).
3. My kids both have been cleaning out their rooms. I sent a game home with my niece, and a lot of the stuff they’re getting rid of will go to the shop. I’ve already priced a good bit of it! The rest will go to local charity shops.
4. I found a cute dress in the bins last week. I couldn’t try it on, but I took a chance on it. It turned out to fit perfectly, and I have another summer dress! (I’m not a fan of shorts, so dresses are my summer go-to.) It’s so lightweight, and I didn’t go over the minimum purchase price, so I figure it was free to add to the box.
5. People In My House have neglected to add dishwasher detergent to the shopping list. Rather than add a trip to the grocery (and affiliated, impulse purchases), People will be handwashing until Thursday.

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Bee April 25, 2018 at 12:40 pm

I also wear dresses or skirts in the summer. It gets so hot and humid in Florida and dresses are a cooler option. It has been a beautiful spring, but I am dreading the heat already.

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Christine April 25, 2018 at 3:45 pm

I agree with you Bee. A friend suggested wearing dresses or skirts in the summer because they’re a cooler option and I’ve been following her lead the last couple of years.

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Jenelle April 25, 2018 at 6:35 am

1. A co-worker brought in three boxes of mac-n-cheese that her teenager will not eat. (it’s the wrong shape)….heck, my kids will eat it!! Free food is always good.
2. My insurance company suddenly switched my primary care physician on me. Which also means I have to go to the new dr. to get my prescriptions changed. Thankfully, my pharmacy had an “unused” 30 month supply script of one medicine that they could use until I can get into my new dr. Oh, the joys of healthcare!
3. My son won a ticket to a local baseball game at school and I was not going to pay for the other three tickets for the family to go as well. I asked the school if any left over tickets were available and low and behold there were!! What’s even better is that a good friend’s husband is the ticket manager for this baseball team and swapped out the “general admission” seating to a “waitress service seating” for us!! Major upgrade and all for free! We only purchased popcorn and drinks.
4. Before the baseball game we ate lunch at a restaurant I had a gift card for. Again, not somewhere we normally go, but it was nice to have a meal out!
5. Participated in a trunk sale over the weekend at our church. Sold a bunch of kids stuff that I wanted out of my house and made $120!

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K D April 25, 2018 at 7:55 am

1. I made a big batch of Lentils with Potatoes soup. The potatoes needed to be used up, I used carrots and Old Bay instead of celery, and a cheap-o yellow onion instead of scallions. It is delicious. I sent some home with a friend (using a glass jar that it doesn’t matter if I ever get it back) and she said she enjoyed it.

2. My husband and I went away for our anniversary this weekend. We chose a destination we could drive to in a few hours. I pre-paid for our hotel room, to get a lower rate. The room included a small kitchen so we ate out for lunch but brought breakfast food (and grabbed fruit from the hotel breakfast) and bought food for dinner at the grocery store in walking distance from the hotel. We checked out a wonderful state park/forest during the day and walked around the historic district in the evening. A wonderful and cheap getaway. The next step will be to apply for a Marriott branded credit card, they are offering lots of points and no annual fee the first year for a minimum spend.

3. I’m still driving my 15-1/2 year old Honda. I’m starting to investigate what to replace it with someday but right now there is no need. It is running well.

4. I stopped at the grocery store to buy a few things. Guacamole rang up at a different price than the shelf price. I stopped at customer service to return it but they gave me the first container for free and refunded the overcharge on the second container.

5. I received compliments yesterday on a hand-me-up sweater I wore and today on a hand-me-up shirt I wore.

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Bee April 26, 2018 at 2:47 am

My husband is a “Honda Man” and has always driven quite a bit. He has never traded a Honda that has had less than 150,000 miles on it. The last one had 225,000 and the current one is at 185,000. He would say to trade your Honda for a Honda. 🙂

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nancy from mass April 25, 2018 at 8:00 am

Its the “Mom” edition:
1. Picked some of the flowers from my moms’ arrangements and they are sitting on my table in one of her old milk vases (the white milk glass kind of vase. i’m not sure what else to call it). they are still beautiful.
2. Asked for donations to Hospice instead of flowers for the wake and there are quite a few people who donated already and are going to donate!
3. Wearing the only article of clothing I kept from my mom. I bought her a pretty blouse around Christmas (I liked it too), so i grabbed that from her closet when we cleaned out her room. The rest of her clothes we donated to the nursing home for others. We also left the ’90th’ birthday banner there for them to use for other residents.
4. DS got a ‘good to go’ checkup from the oral surgeon. Since he could have spicy foods again, I asked what he wanted for supper. He really wanted Qdoba tacos instead of homemade, so i obliged. It made him very happy!
5. Received 2 beautiful plant arrangements for my mom’s wake. We will split them up among the 4 of us to remember her by.
6. Finally got around to putting down weed block fabric in my back yard between my Rose of Sharon Bushes and the shed. I will use River Rock and Slate stone left over from ripping out old walkways and put those around on the weedblock. I am getting an umbrella type clothesline this summer to put there as well. (having vinyl siding put on my house and don’t want the pulley clothesline reattached to the back wall on the new vinyl. I can’t live without a clothesline so i have been researching my options and will choose one i can close when not in use.)

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Mary W April 25, 2018 at 1:15 pm

I’m playing catch up on NCA today. Just wanted to add my condolences on the loss of your mom. Wishing you comfort and peace.

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Susie's Daughter April 25, 2018 at 1:25 pm

Nancy – thank you for your ‘Mom” edition. I have been thinking of you so often over these days.

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Nancy from mass April 25, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Thank you Mary. In fact, THANK YOU to all the NCA’s for your well wishes and condolences.

🙂

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Christine April 25, 2018 at 3:51 pm

Nancy, I live in Mass too and bought my wooden umbrella style clothes reel from a local company, Swalec Clothelines. I hope they’re still in business. This one has lasted 16 years so far with only one repainting last summer and restrung twice.

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Nancy from mass April 25, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Thank you for the reco. I will look them up.

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Bethany April 25, 2018 at 8:19 am

Have a promising back and forth with a CEO about a job possibility that would still allow me to stay at home. It wasn’t advertised but I saw the work, knew I could do it, and reached out.

Went to Costco this week. Fueled up. Been trying to limit ourselves to once a month shopping there.

Walked to the grocery store this week for some candies for our science experiment. Finally after 2.5 years of living here, I found a way to walk there safely.

Borrowing lab coats for VBS this summer. Hosting in our house for our church. Our church doesn’t have facilities so we rent a building for Sunday and make do.

Our Charter school is giving us $1000 more for funding next year. Trying to find someone willing to go through the vender process to teach Spanish. A number of us are interested in having our children learn a second language.

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LB April 25, 2018 at 8:53 am

1. Had a work meeting 40 minutes away. Normally I’ll eat the gas cost in order to have the comfort of taking my own car and having my phone charger, phone hookup, etc. but thought better of it and took the work pool car.

2. Brought my lil reusable mug to the coffee shop where this meeting was being held and went inside to order some coffee and realized I didn’t have my wallet. The guy behind the counter smiled and said “oops! It’s already poured” and I got a nice free coffee. You bet that he’s getting an excellent tip next time I go there!

3. I held to my word and returned a dress that didn’t fit. The $26 I’m getting back is going straight back into my savings account. I’ll find something else to wear!

4. Created a big old spreadsheet to try and organize big expenses for the next 3 months. Budget is tight to do everything I want to do but I think I can swing it. Now, to update the thing regularly!

5. I did not buy any fun flirty dresses that will be unraveled in 3 washes in hopes of finding one nice one that’ll last me a bit longer. But with so many fun floral prints around, it can’t hurt to window shop….right?

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Jenzer April 25, 2018 at 9:14 am

1 – Thought I might need new bras since the bands on my current ones were getting too loose to stay in place reliably. Then I remembered a tip I’d read about letting bras “rest” a day between wearings, to allow the elastic to shrink back on itself. I started each bra on a schedule of wear > rest > wear > wash. Now the bands are much more snug and less likely to skootch upwards.

2 – I promised my daughter a month of Netflix as part of her birthday present. We only turn on Netflix a few times a year, because we have plenty of other entertainment options available to us. When I re-activated my account, Netflix asked if I’d like to do a free trial for a month. Why, yes, please!

3 – Yesterday’s work lunch I dubbed “hot mess on toast”: leftover dinner side-dish vegetables mixed with cheese and the last dab of some cream of mushroom soup, heated and served over toasted stale bread slices. Delicious, filling, and it cleaned out the fridge.

4 – Resisted multiple impulse purchases this week: diet Cokes from the gas station, fudge bars from the Dairy Queen in town, new Nook books (I made interlibrary loan requests instead). The “treat myself” snacks like DQ and diet Cokes can be the sneakiest little money leaks for me. I read an article recently that said those small expenditures (coffee was used as an example) don’t seem like much money on a daily basis, but if the total amount was presented to us as an annual bill, we’d probably balk at the expense. Four dollars five days a week for treats? No big deal. A once-a-year invoice for $1,000.00? WHOA. And yet those two expenses represent the same amount of cash outflow over twelve months.

5 – Did the quotidian frugal things that are ingrained habits these days: reheated the previous day’s coffee before making a fresh batch. Turned off the heated dry option on the dishwasher before running it. Wore my jeans multiple days in a row before laundering. Kept up with the dishes so that kitchen mess didn’t tempt us to eat out. Etc.

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Mary W April 25, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Thanks for the bra tip – I didn’t know that elastic needed a chance to reset. I have about 4 bras I alternate, but I do sometimes wear the same one two days in a row if I haven’t done anything to make me sweaty or dirty.

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Lindsey April 25, 2018 at 3:59 pm

Another thanks for the bra tip. I had never heard that but will be trying it starting today. What interesting things I have learned on this blog.

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Mary W April 25, 2018 at 1:10 pm

I haven’t posted a FFT for a while – there might be more than five, lol:

1. At exercise class last week, there were 2 huge boxes of fabric that were going to be thrown in the trash. NO WAY! I brought them home, found a few pieces I want to turn into throw pillow covers and a few more suitable for quilting projects. I will offer the rest to several people who either quilt or sew for charity, and I’m pretty sure none of if will end up in a landfill.
2. Shopped the bins (pay by the pound Goodwill) last week as part of my bff’s birthday day out (bought her lunch and gas for her car to make the trip – cheaper than driving my pickup truck). Found a pair of dining room chairs I was considering keeping for my own use, but my kitties think they are new scratching posts, so I will be steam cleaning them and posting them on fb classifieds. I also found riding and hiking boots for my dd, and riding boots for myself, as well as a white blouse I needed for functions at one of the clubs I belong to, a couple flat sheets, and a few other goodies. Best of all, I put back most of what I originally had in my cart – that is a biggie for me, lol! I was reminded of the poster who said she took the items on a tour of Goodwill before lovingly returning them to the shelf. ;O)
3. By doing lunch instead of dinner, we saved at least $20 on the bill. And the Chinese food leftovers fed me for 5 more meals! That brings the price per meal to less than $2 each. We gassed up at the nearby Costco, and I picked up a couple items there that I can’t buy at a comparable price at home, including ibuprofen, leather gloves and a high capacity flash drive. I did succumb to the 3 pack of pound cakes, though….so.yummy.good.
4. Found a copy of my dad’s obituary which listed his service in the Pacific Theatre in WWII and membership in the VFW. I’ve been trying to establish his service record so I can join the VFW Auxiliary in my area, but his service records were destroyed in a warehouse fire in the 1970s and the VFW doesn’t keep membership records back far enough to be helpful. I was looking at having to spend $25 on a copy of his final muster pay record, so I was happy that they accepted his obituary as proof.
5. I’m selling eggs again, as my hens are in overdrive. At $3 a dozen for free-range organic eggs, I’m probably under-priced, but as long as it covers my feed costs, I’m happy. I buy my feed in bulk from an organic, locally sourced provider at $80 for 500 lbs, much cheaper than buying by the bag, and they eat lots of bugs and grass running around outside. So much more flavor than store eggs, and fresher, too. I’ll also be taking deviled eggs to every potluck function I attend for the foreseeable future, lol!
6. One of the gals from my exercise class says her tractor will be available the end of this week to till up my garden spot. Hurray for friends with tractors!
7. I went to an introductory meeting for a ladies homesteading group (focusing on teaching and sharing the arts of canning and other food preservation methods, gardening, sewing, quilting, knitting, and frugal/simple living). Agreed to serve on the board that decided what will be taught when and who will teach it. I mentioned that I was going to a free line dancing class after the meeting at the local Grange, and 3 of the gals at the meeting showed up for line dancing – and one even brought her hubby! The line dancing was fun, even with two left feet.
8. Continue to wash my clothes by hand and hang out to dry while I wrap my brain around coughing up the money for a new washer. I don’t want computers and bells and whistles, just a basic, large capacity machine with knobs and dials. The fancier the machine, the more expensive the repairs. I do love hanging clothes outside to dry – nothing smells as good as line-dried sheets.

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Christine April 25, 2018 at 4:00 pm

I’m glad they accepted your Dad’s obituary as proof he served. My Dad was in the Pacific Theater in WWII also and his records were destroyed in that fire as well. I have toyed around with joining the auxiliary too, so good to know they will use the obituary as proof of service. I loved your post too, in that it reminded me of my Dad. Miss that guy!

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Mary W April 25, 2018 at 4:26 pm

Aw, thank you! I miss my dad every day, too.

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Lindsey April 25, 2018 at 4:05 pm

Mary W.: About two years ago my washer died and I needed to get a new one right away. I went to Home Depot and asked the appliance manager if they had a floor model or a style that was no longer going to be sold, for a cheaper price than usual. He said they had a washer that some child had scored up with a key after getting bored watching his mother shop and was I willing to take a brand new machine with scratches all over it. I ended up getting a very fancy machine for $200. I got a bottle of appliance paint and fixed the scratches, for a cost of under $10. So, you might try asking if there are damaged or floor models the store might sell you. Doesn’t hurt to ask.

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Mary W April 25, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Thanks – I’ve checked at Lowe’s, but haven’t found anything yet. I found a basic model for $449 at a Sears Outlet store in Portland, new, with just knobs and dials, but am swallowing hard at having to spend that much right now when property taxes are due. I’ll check Home Depot next time I’m in town. 🙂

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Lee April 25, 2018 at 8:57 pm

I’m a big fan of the Sears outlet. I’ve bought all my appliances there for around half price. There’s a website you can search to see what’s available nearby.

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Mary W April 27, 2018 at 10:37 am

Thanks, Lee, I’ll check it out. I’ve had good luck with Sears appliances in the past, but they used to service them, and we don’t have a Sears locally to do that anymore. 🙁

Jennifer April 25, 2018 at 5:51 pm

1) Vegetarian dinner tonight – and used up leftover broccoli in our veggie quesadillas
2) Made a PT appointment for my dd and opted to wait an extra 2 days so that the person we wanted was in our town versus 30 minutes away.
3) Fought Verizon about really high charges when we changed our phones around and got a $60 credit on our bill. I HATE dealing with cell phone crap, but our bill should not have doubled because we added 1 line!
4) Clicking around on Swagbucks while I watch the news. Will cash in my swagbucks for a Starbucks gift card to pay for my dh’s and I weekly dates.
5) Holding out for a lower price on a needed plane ticket. Watching rates and looking at several different airports.

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Lee April 25, 2018 at 6:38 pm

1. I found a nice dish towel on the sidewalk when I was out walking. I ran it through the wash twice, and now it’s hanging in my kitchen!
2. I found a “free” box with party favors inside. I kept a birthday streamer I’ll hang for a family birthday party next week.
3. I walked to my kid’s high school to do volunteer work. This was a free workout, plus I saved $4 on parking!
4. We had a stir fry of odds and ends from our vegetable crisper. Less food waste!
5. I found an interesting book at a Little free library. Hours of free entertainment!

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Pattilou April 25, 2018 at 7:03 pm

1. I was given a free theatre ticket to a local play
2. I parked on the street when I went to the theatre instead of paying to park in a lot.
3. I had to go to an event and needed some alterations on my dress. A friend fixed it in exchange for my homemade muffins
4. It has been a crazy time at work but I still managed to not eat out at all
5. I found 44 cents in one day.

Frugal fail: I ended up turning the heat back on these last few days because it has been cold and rainy here and my house was just too cold.

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Diane C April 25, 2018 at 8:31 pm

So tired after a super-long day.

1. Found black beans for 99 cents less 10% at Grocery Outlet on Senior Day, woot! Only bought 4 pounds, just it was enough to refill my (recycled Redenbacker popcorn from Costco) container.
2. Shopped two GOs yesterday. Both times “saved” more than double what I spent.
3. Shopped at two Go’s because I was hosting a community breakfast meeting for 40. Spent $40.
4. Because I hosted the meeting, the extra food is mine, for the win!
5. Took the leftover coffee to a 93 y.o. friend’s house. She grew up in Alaska and wastes nothing. I don’t drink coffee, and she doesn’t mind reheating leftover coffee for the no-waste win. 5a. Another volunteer took the spent grounds home to her garden.

Pissing me off: DH planted two red rose trees recently. I noticed today it was loaded with buds and had two blooms. By the time I got home, the deer had had a lovely feast. Grrr.

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Jennifer@thefrugaldribble April 27, 2018 at 4:02 am

Awe! I know what you mean, everything we plant her gets devoured by something. It’s so disappointing.

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Vickey April 29, 2018 at 10:30 am

We’ve found Liquid Fence, a version of which you can make yourself, to be well worth the cost in food plants saved from deer and groundhogs. Humans can’t smell it once it dries. (Thankfully!)

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ouvickie April 26, 2018 at 1:03 pm

1) I’ve been trying to attend some of the Staff Week events. Lots of nice swag and free food.
2) We did away with cable, but we still like to watch our NBA team, so I downloaded the free app to my Amazon Fire Stick, from my Amazon account. The only problem is, some games are blacked out. So I found out Hulu offers the games. Tonight I’ll sign up for Hulu from my Amazon account. Hubby was thrilled that we can now watch movies and shows we didn’t even have access to on cable.
3) I found free poster of our Heisman winning OU quarterback at one event, so I’m taking that to my neighbor tonight. We usually have a nice visit, snack on pistachios and drink a beer. It’s good to have great neighbors.
4) We rec’d free lunch from a Vendor this week, so I had a yummy sub sandwich earlier in the week. Tomorrow is a free picnic lunch and drawings at the Staff Week closing celebration.
5) No gold plated apartment, yacht or lear jet purchased this week.

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Lisa M. April 26, 2018 at 6:38 pm

Triple 5FF: Spring Has Finally Sprung Edition

1. Provided a $5 off $20 purchase coupon for DD and boyfriend’s recent restaurant date.
2. Provided gas station rewards card to DD for 11 cents off/gallon when she was nearly out of gas. I settled for routine 4 cents off/gallon the next day.
3. When our schedule necessitated fast food takeout, I used a coupon and store promotion to reduce the overall expenditure.
4. Provided airport ride for DH as opposed to expensive shuttle or taxi service.
5. On my way to work, stopped at local spice store to redeem offer for rain check for complimentary $35 worth of spices.
6. Completed and mailed DD’s contact manufacturer $60 rebate for purchasing 12 month supply of lenses.
7. Batched 5 local errands.
8. Enjoyed previously mentioned complimentary dinner at retirement seminar and packaged remaining half of meal to enjoy at home as leftovers.
9. Purchased 2 cards at card shop for 13 cents by utilizing BIGI coupon and 2 rewards certificates.
10. DD received both federal and state tax refund checks and avoided tax prep fee as I completed her basic returns.
11. Packed my lunches all week. Packing DD’s lunch for no-cost school field trip to visit 3 colleges.
12. DD & I have been eating leftovers all week for dinner.
13. Turned off heat but have turned it back on as needed.
14. Returned DD’s library book before due date to avoid late fee.
15. Talking to DH internationally at no cost using free app on DD’s phone.
Bonus 16. Received an overpayment check (long insurance story) and promptly mailed check to HSA to return funds to account.

*Next generation NCA? DD brought home food from her fast food job. Not unusual but then I heard her tell her friend that someone had ordered but neglected to bring their credit card and since the food could not be resold, she offered to take it home. To make it even better, she shared the food with her friend.

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Stephanie V April 27, 2018 at 10:41 am

1. I posted last time about getting an email after having a car repair done, offering me 10% off the repairs that I had already done. After pursuing it for a few days, I received a refund of $188. I felt good about that win.
2. We went to a free dinner at Ruth Chris steakhouse. We had to sit through a 45 minute presentation about retirement prep. It was delicious and there was no obligation or pressure.
3. I’ve stuck with my meal planning, which has meant we are staying on budget with groceries and aren’t eating out.
4. Found a shiny penny on the ground.
5. Didn’t buy anything gold-plated.

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Laur April 28, 2018 at 1:38 am

Moving house edition

1. Picked up all my packing boxes for free from work (already assembled) and the store (not assembled) and borrowed mum’s Packing tape gun.
2. I’ve sold off lots of the kids outgrown clothes, toys they no longer play with and some household items we don’t use on Facebook Marketplace.
3. We have been eating down the freezer for 3 weeks in prep for our move. I plan to sell our very large fridge and downsize. I’ve been keeping an eye out for a new fridge on Facebook Marketplace. I should make $100 by downsizing.
4. I decided not to do the vacate clean myself as I will be moving for 2 days and unpacking at our new house. I found a great deal a local company had going for a full house clean with free carpet steam cleaning (valued at $120).
5. I have some wonderful friends who have offered to help me move furniture and boxes to the new house and I will be borrowing a trailer.

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