Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 13, 2018 · 56 comments

  1. I drove to Costco to pick up a few things, including a tank of gasoline. My husband had let our minivan gas drain down to a dangerous level, and I gotta say that I was a bit nervous driving across town on an almost empty tank. I could have filled up at a gas station near the house, but since Costco’s gasoline is consistently priced 40¢-per-gallon less than regular stations, I saved $7.60 with this gamble. I did go into the store for coffee beans and frozen blueberries, but you know that I snagged enough food samples to count as lunch.

  2. My son is home from school for the summer, and I have a tendency to spoil him rotten with restaurant meals and treats galore. (MY BABY!!) The two of us were readying for an afternoon out and about, so I made sure to fill our bellies with food from home before we headed out into the world. Sure, I bought him a $1.25 donut from the locally owned Helen Bernhard Bakery, but that was a much lower expenditure than an entire meal for two.

  3. My husband, younger son and I will be driving down for our oldest’s college graduation this week. We’ll be splurging on nice restaurant meals and a decent motel, but that’s only because we scrimp in the unimportant areas so that money is available for the stuff that does matter. And without the burden of student loans, our graduate will hopefully be set up for a sound financial future.

  4. I bought a semi-formal dress at Goodwill to wear to graduation, (as well as a memorial tribute to a family friend) my son painted an old pair of shoes for a new look, I sold a thrifted Bilibo baby toy through Craigslist, I’m in the beginning stages of planning a garage sale, I worked two days this week and foraged for food on a day that I didn’t bring a lunch and I enjoyed free food, booze and soccer tickets thanks to the Safeway Hometown Heroes award that my husband received. (Plus a $100 Safeway gift card!)

  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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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracy June 13, 2018 at 12:40 pm

1. I am wearing a thrifted dress and jacket to work today. As I do many days.
2. I used the $5 off 5 items deal at Freddy’s to stock up on some items at great prices (microwave popcorn for .99/box instead of 2.49/box, granola for $1.99/package instead of 3.99, etc.). I continue to shop sales, clip coupons and buy seasonally. I use my Freddy’s reward points to get great discounts on gas. I picked strawberries from my yard today for a breakfast treat.
3. I have been packing my breakfasts and lunches to work most days. I have been eating at home. I am having a father’s day/graduation party Sunday and will be using pork tenderloins bought BOGO, bought a big watermelon bought on sale and will order a tasty and reasonably priced cake at Costco.
4. My youngest daughter just graduated from 8th grade. For her gift, I will be giving her money toward high school clothes (she wore a uniform grades k-8). I hope this will be practical and will also help her learn to manage money (she loves to thrift with me!).
5. I advocated for myself to receive a raise and have upped my retirement savings to the max. I will receive a nice chunk as the raise is retroactive and will use that to pay off the last bit of the credit card bill that is hanging around from my hospital stay in February. Our only other debt is our mortgage (we owe less than 1/3 of what our home is worth and have a very good interest rate so not worried about that).

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Christine J. June 13, 2018 at 1:06 pm

1. I am making my husband a Fathers Day card. His gift will be some caramels from my friend’s independent book store.
2. First free concert in the park of the season coming up next week. Jazz band, DH’s favorite genre.
3. Gathering things for the consignment store. Payday is the 15th of the month.
4. Reading James Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty borrowed from the library. Very enjoyable and informative.
5. Canceled the newspaper months ago and listening to NPR for news and info.

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Ruby June 13, 2018 at 1:41 pm

1. Head to toe thrifted outfit today.
2. Packed a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast because I overslept. Enjoyed with coffee from home on the way to work. Packed my lunch and snacks from home every day. New job has no place to eat nearby that I can afford.
3. Had a guest Sunday. Made a cherry pie from stuff in the pantry and a pitcher of iced tea, so as not to have to pay for expensive dessert and drinks out.
4. Caught an excellent sale on cat litter and bought 56 pounds of it.
5. Listened to a free CD gleaned from the giveaway pile at one of my orevious jobs.

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Juhli June 13, 2018 at 2:04 pm

I know all about spending money on my “babies” – 47 and 35 at this time lol.
Here is some of what we have done.
1. Turning leftover frozen pork roast into a made up version of chile verde over rice including some from the freezer. Also defrosted some corn tortillas. We’ll see how it tastes with watermelon as the side.
2. Washed out plastic freezer bags after preparing #1 for dinner.
3. Still living with one car. 14 months so far and we are managing. It does mean that I went to the grocery store early this am so DH could have the car all day to be with his 92 yo Dad at the hospital while tests are run.
4. We have both been sick so that has reduced going out. Fine now though.
5. Combed out the dog (poodle) in an effort to shorten her grooming on Friday as we are charged based on time required. Still have a bit to do tomorrow but she will only put up with so much at a time.

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Pattilou June 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm

1. I was given a free symphony ticket. I was thrilled because Yo Yo Ma was performing and I have never seen him live before. I paid for parking as a thank you.
2. I was given a ticket to the local botanical garden. I also paid for parking as a thank you for this too.
3. I caulked a large terra cotta flower pot instead of buying a new one.
4. I borrowed some tools from work to sand my decks and clean my gutters. A friend helped me paint my deck railings in exchange for dinner. I am trying to do as much as I can without hiring someone. It’s exhausting and I’m achy but I just pop some aspirin and get back out there!
5. I have been eating left overs and food given to me by a co-worker who was going out of town.

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Bee June 14, 2018 at 3:25 am

Yo Yo Ma! That is wonderful. What a nice night!

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Pattilou June 15, 2018 at 6:28 pm

It was amazing. His obvious joy and respect for his fellow musicians was wonderful to watch. He had also spent part of that day playing with some young musicians in the area and I saw some video of that. He seems like an extraordinary person.

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nancy from mass June 14, 2018 at 4:24 am

what wonderful outings! Totally worth paying for parking! 🙂

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Pattilou June 15, 2018 at 6:29 pm

Yes indeed! I am blessed with generous friends.

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Jennifer@thefrugaldribble June 13, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Congrats to your hubs!
1. I made hotdogs this evening at work so we wouldn’t be tempted to eat out since we have a busy night planned. I don’t really like hotdogs very much but it filled the space.
2. I gave myself a mini pedicure with Dollar Store emery boards and nail polish. I smeared a little petroleum jelly on my legs and heels because I was out of everything I normally use. That little sheen it gives detracts from spider veins and other imperfections…or it makes me think it does, anyway.
3. I’m keeping my brother’s dog while he is being hospitalized. The dog bit me yesterday. He is not the most friendly dog on a good day. The trauma of being taken out of his home has caused him anxiety and aggression. Oh well, we are doing the best we can for now. My daughter gave me some dog food from a dog she recently got rid of so, luckily, it’s not costing anything to care for him.
4. We filled up our swimming pool for the 6th year. It’s one of the largest ones that has a blow up ring around the top. I’m sure it’s way past it’s life expectancy but as long as it will continue to hold water, we are going to continue to enjoy using it. It no longer has a printed design on the bottom because of the age/chemicals but no one here cares.
5. My son-in-law lost his job so I am paying him a little to do yard work. My back is in bad shape and he costs a lot less than anyone else would so it’s a win-win for all.

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marieann June 13, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Katy, congratulations on getting your son through University without any debt. It is one of the best gifts you have given him.
Best of luck to him in his future endeavours

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Lisa M. June 13, 2018 at 2:46 pm

5FF: Trying to be Brief to Post More Frequently Edition

1. Recently (hopefully) resolved ongoing payroll issue with reimbursement for CE expense at non-profit job. Was reimbursed X2, then deducted X2, leaving me at 0 reimbursement after 4 paychecks. Recently reimbursed for the 3rd time, so hoping that it will not be deducted the next paycheck.

2. Juggling 2 part-time jobs and recently have done work for both employers in 1 day which is a little challenging.

3. Received a free card (5th one this spring) and another card using a 50% off coupon at card store. Now using free blank cards in place of ones I would normally purchase such as Father’s Day and birthdays.

4. Received 3-12 pack cartons of my favorite diet pop/soda at no cost. A long story but suffice to say that I typically buy pop/soda only at holidays when deeply discounted in sufficient quantity to last until the next holiday discount.

5. Did a frugal take out short cut: Used B1G1 coupon for double burgers with cheese and brought home and supplemented them with a large, healthy salad I made. Less expensive and significantly healthier than pairing with the typical french fries and we still got our burger fix.

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Bethany June 13, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Planning a surprise party for my husband’s 40th. It will be at my house. Said no to expensive disposable plates my friend wanted to order. Got our favorite snack foods, so we’ll enjoy the leftovers.

Sold a cleaning mitt that I wasn’t using. Also sold the same gal some teaching charts that I never ended up using.

Got a few more odds and ends listed on Varagesale.

Stopped at a garage sale this weekend. The sale was about to close and they offered each of our kids to pick out an item of choice. One picked up the soundtrack to Mary Poppins in mint condition, one got a rocket that needs new batteries, and one got a calculator. For $2 I bought a Topsy Turvy, misc gift bags in good condition, and Quiddler. My daughter and I had played Quiddler before and I knew I wanted it, and it was neat to find it for such a bargain.

I talked my husband out of spending every last bit of our savings on a Doughboy above ground pool ($10,000!). I found a great one through Costco and lined up the installation myself and saved us $6,000. Obviously still a significant spend, but we will get years of entertainment, exercise, and bonding time out of it. I honestly can’t wait.

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Darcy June 13, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Congrats on your son’s graduation! I feel like your battle cry for all these years has been funding their college so brava! One down, one to go!!!

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Susie's Daughter June 13, 2018 at 3:55 pm

Here here! I hope the graduation celebration is wonderful.

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Susie's Daughter June 13, 2018 at 3:53 pm

I feel like there are more fails than successes to report lately. Dear Wife’s truck failed state inspection and will cost $1k to fix. (This after we just finished paying it off a couple of months ago.) I missed a deadline for the skiing season pass for Dear Wife and DS and paid an extra $120 for my error. And I got charged a $5 late fee on a bill that was originally $5. Ugh. So we keep on keeping on in other ways…

1) DS is loving his involvement in our local, free community theater program for kids. Extra bonus is that it is 5 minutes from our house.

2) The summer season for our rental unit has started and I am cleaning it with a friend of ours who needs a side hustle. The two of us can whip it back into shape in 2.5hrs most of the time and enjoy each other’s company while cleaning.

3) Free groceries abound! Two lovely renters from last week left a ton of groceries including: half gallon of milk, full bottle of fancy milk based vanilla creamer, 2lbs of strawberries, 6 eggs, herbs, and an unopened bag of Caesar salad. I also got gifted a bag of sub rolls from luncheon function at church last weekend and two sets of neighbors brought us eggs from their chickens – three dozen total.

4) Incorporating the gifted groceries into many meals gratefully. We are thrilled to have friends moving to our area and they are staying with us while they set up their new house. So we are feeding two more grownups than usual and I am getting creative with what is in the house. Lots of egg dishes… 🙂

5) Garden is sprouting! Harvesting chives and a few basil leaves and encouraging everything else to grow.

Thanks to Katy and the whole community for helping to keep me on track these days.

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kathleen June 13, 2018 at 6:17 pm

1. Working two days this week. Bonus: no commute involved for a change.
2. Drove my husband to an all-morning dr. appt. yesterday. Came home and hung up clothes and put on chore clothes. The ones hung up will be just fine for work tomorrow.
3. Made cards from supplies on hand, and will pop them in the mail tomorrow.
4. Picked up season 3 of Outlander from library, and look forward to binge watching during the upcoming solitary weekend at home.
5. Been so busy lately, I’ve barely kept up with making freezer meals for hubs to take to work, but this week I managed to get a little ahead of need and building a little stockpile which I like to keep on hand.

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Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early June 13, 2018 at 6:19 pm

My husband’s truck takes diesel so he almost always go to Costco as it’s hands down the cheapest gas, like you said. I don’t usually worry as much with my car since it’s a hybrid and I don’t put a ton of miles on it anyway.

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Jenzer June 13, 2018 at 6:26 pm

1 – Gave our boxwood shrubs a light pruning, and brought some of the cuttings indoors to arrange in a vase. I got the idea from the Prudent Homemaker’s blog. The full vase looks great on our kitchen table.
2 – Washed the inside of my van’s windows with vinegar and water, using crumpled-up sections of the free weekly newspaper as rags.
3 – Been on a streak of reading NCA-related library books lately. Last month I finished -Hippie Food- and -In Cheap We Trust-. Right now I’m reading -A Year Without “Made in China”-.
4 – Decided not to replace our toaster oven after its glass door shattered a few months ago. I went into our camper trailer and pulled out the hand-me-down toaster we use on camping trips. It’s met our kitchen needs just fine, with a much smaller footprint than the toaster oven. I’m loving the freed-up counter space.
5 – Made a phone call and organized paperwork related to an insurance claim. Making sure to get our money’s worth out of our premiums.

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Marissa June 13, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Hi Katy,
I’ve followed your blog for a while now and really enjoy it. I’ve been most impressed and inspired by your ability to pay CASH for TWO college tuitions. Reading this post about your son’s graduation I can’t help but feel excited and proud for you. Congratulations (to you and your son)! One down, one to go. You’re great parents for starting him out debt-free. I aspire to do the same for my son. Thank you for all you share!

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Mand01 June 13, 2018 at 9:46 pm

1. Reading a book about decorating on the cheap. Our house is a 70s Brady Bunch palace and it needs a certain decorating style. Got some great ideas.
2. I went op (thrift) shopping yesterday and got a designer label dress, a belt, two vases and a vintage tablecloth for $15.
3. Reading and doing some crafts while on holidays.
4. Hemmed three pairs of pants myself. I’m not a confident sewer (I hate it actually) but I did an ok job and I’m sure no one will notice that I didn’t pay a tailor.
5. Have been catching up with friends and family while on leave before starting new job. Lovely to see so many wonderful people and spend some quality time. Some dinners out but other times just a coffee at home and a chat.

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VanessaKC June 13, 2018 at 10:01 pm

Stressful as it is to coast on fumes, it’s actu good for your car every now and then. Though doing so consistently is hard on the fuel pump, constantly topping off existing gas can be equally funky. When the gas gets old, it gums up injectors. It is important to run it out from time to time, to make sure one’s fuel is fresh. Your fella did y’all a favor, accidentally. Proper maintenance is as frugal as it gets!

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Vickey June 16, 2018 at 9:37 am

Good to know, Vanessa, thanks!

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Bee June 14, 2018 at 3:19 am

Congratulations on getting your son through college with no debt! This is an accomplishment that provides inspiration to many. I hope your son’s future is full of happiness.
Here are my frugal five:
1) I just finished reading Cait Flanders new book, A Year of Less. I found it inspiring in many ways and has me thinking about living with less. So I have been decluttering and assessing my own consumption patterns. In keeping with this, I cleaned out the coat closet in the hall. I found some things to donate, things to gift and 3 items to sell. In the back of closet, I found three shoe boxes that had cancel checks dating from 1994 to 1999 –3000 of them in numerical order. I must have moved them to this house in 1999, put them in the closet, and forgotten about them. As I shreaded them for recycling, I looked through them. We wrote checks for almost everything then. It was interesting to see how we spent our money 25 years ago.

2) Although eBay has been a bit slow lately, I listed several new items. I have quite a bit to list, so I am hoping to do several everyday this week.

3) Since we have been on budget lockdown, my husband and I have been enjoying activities that require little or no cash outlay — days at the beach, running at the YMCA, reading library books, visiting with friends and watching Netflix and PBS.

4) We finally received our new refrigerator yesterday. The one that was delivered last week had 4 baseball-sized dents in it. Despite living for three weeks without a frig, we continued to manage to eat simple meals at home to keep food cost down. There was absolutely no waste,but it did require a trip to the grocery store every. single. day.

5) Of course, I have been doing all the usual things. I have been wearing thrifted clothes, buying secondhand when appropriate, drinking water, brewing my own coffee, keeping track of my spending, batching errands, using my price book and doing my own cleaning.

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Mrs. Picky Pincher June 14, 2018 at 3:50 am

Yay for the Hometown Heroes Award! That’s a nice boost. 🙂 Congrats on having a debt-free college graduate!! That’s no small feat. 🙂

This week:

1. I’ve just been having a rough time staying focused and on top of things lately. Even though life was rough and I wanted takeout, I still cooked at home. Go me!

2. I’m washing clothes right now with homemade laundry soap. I only to laundry in the mornings or evenings so it won’t heat up the house as much, and I always wash with cold water.

3. I had a moment of weakness and ordered grocery delivery (gasp!). I’ve been so busy I don’t have time to spend at the store. The upside is that the delivery fee and personal shopper fee was waived with a coupon, so it was as if I had gone to the store myself, cost-wise.

4. Instead of spending oodles of money on a Father’s Day present he won’t like, I’m baking my dad homemade sweet treats that I know he’ll love.

5. Instead of flying to see my dad this weekend, I’m bravely embarking on the cheaper 8-hour drive.

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K D June 14, 2018 at 3:58 am

1. We continue to eat at home. I have been buying melons and pineapples on sale and get many cups of fruit for a few dollars (cantaloupe for under $2 and water melon for under $4). Much cheaper than other fruits and safer than pre-cut fruit, as I wash it with soap and water.

2. Late last summer we bought perennials on clearance. They have come back in full force. For very little money we have great flowers, including milkweed.

3. We walked to the grocery store on the weekend and my husband found $2 blowing around the parking lot. I also found a few coins (pennies and a nickel) in various locations. On July 1st I’ll count how much change I’ve found this year.

4. I was able to help a volunteer coordinator by covering for her when she was too sick to go to work. I met some nice people and re-connected with some others. It was a day that I had free time so I enjoyed getting out of the house.

5. My husband wanted a nice glass bowl for putting treats out at work. We stopped at the Planet Aid store and he found one that was half price. I picked up a couple of toddler hoodies for a charity project.

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Crosby June 14, 2018 at 4:29 am

I took part in a psych study at the university that I work at. I got paid $50 for a 2 hour interview and got another $73 for completing a weeks worth of surveys.
I’m running swagbucks videos in the background while working and I also just installed Sweatcoin on my phone. I’d like to be able to earn enough on these platforms to pay for Christmas presents totally with gift cards.
I made a lentil potato curry from ingredients we had on hand. It will be enough for dinner for the rest of the week.
I’m digging through my own card stash for a birthday card and a father’s day card this week.
I’ve started crocheting a blanket that will use up all of those random skeins and balls of yarn that aren’t enough for a full project.
Frugal fail – I stayed home sick on Tuesday and unfortunately forgot to move my car and got a parking ticket. Boo!!!

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nancy from mass June 14, 2018 at 5:29 am

Congrats to your son!
I finally have a FFT that doesn’t involve someone being diagnosed with something or a funeral!

1. Signed up for a campus tour for a college my son is very interested in on Monday morning. Knew we would need a hotel room the night before (no way we would have made it on time since the school is over 2 hours away). Since we were heading out that direction on Sunday, I scheduled an info session/college tour for another school an hour or so away. Amazing school! It’s now one of his top ten schools to apply to. (2 school tours down, many more to go).
2. Signed up for 2 more school tours for schools in NH and VT. They are 1 ½ hours away from each other and are a few days after the 4th. we are making it a ‘mini-vacation’ and staying overnight in hotels each night prior to each tour. I love that area so it’s easy to make the excuse to stay overnight. Found pretty good deals on each hotel.
3. Kept a bunch of cedar shakes and square nails from my house demo to make bird houses with. Plan on starting that process this week.
4. Eating from the fridge/freezer/cupboards this week. I seem to have a lot of food in my fridge for some reason….
5. Making coffee at home, drinking lots of water and sitting in my bench swing with my cat. (she has been an indoor cat for 11 years now and never wanted to go out. my DS brought her out one time last month and she’s been DRIVING US CRAZY to keep going out. I carry her to my bench swing – which has a large screen canopy over it and she thinks she can’t get out. she sits on the swing with me or eats some grass and watches the birds. She doesn’t realize all she has to do is stick her head under the screen and she can get out…hopefully she continues to not realize that!)

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Gina in KY June 14, 2018 at 5:38 am

Congrats to your family all around: Awards, college graduation…you all have a lot to celebrate! 🙂

1. Finished Year of Less (too!) and, while I was inspired and continue my Great Purge started a couple of years ago, I guess I was lost on some of her chapters as it seemed she bent the rules some here and there. Maybe I am being overly-critical. This stuff is hard! Funny, I also found a box of check carbons (not as old as 25 years, but old enough to shred for sure). I agree it is like a time capsule looking at what I bought back then.

2. Eating at home and using what I have before another purchase. I cleaned out my linen closet (where I also store extra beauty products) and I am set on soap for years. I organized like items together so I can see and find them easy.

3. Used up a cabbage that has been languishing in the fridge for weeks. Those things have such great shelf life, but are not something I ever crave. I will eat everything around it before I finally cave. However, I used the cabbage and an onion and some leftover veggie sausage in a sauté mixed with a jar of Vietnamese sweet and sour sauce (pantry item) and it was delicious!

4. Reading the next library book (all of my holds came in at once so speed reading over here). It is called Generation of Sociopaths. This came in right when I saw a news article about SS running out by 2034. This is the eve of my own retirement years and I am no surprised. I think I already accepted that possibility some years ago when the job opportunities they promised me in my early 20s never panned out (no one could afford to retire above me or they did not backfill positions as people left/employers hired cheaper help under my age group). This is why frugal living is really a way of life for some of us. I am one of the lucky few that will have a little retirement pension (public servant for most of my adult life), but it will probably not be enough to sustain me in 2034. Anyway, I am off on a tangent. I hope the book is not scary.

5. Paid a huge amount on a debt. It will be gone soon and I will be on to the next one. I am snowballing it in my own way (I go by interest instead of amounts) and, see above, it is imperative I find myself out of the hole in the next few years. I am making progress.

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Bee June 14, 2018 at 8:58 am

It is very funny that we read the same book AND found old checks. Miles apart but on the same wave length.

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Gina in KY June 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Ha! So true!

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ouvickie June 14, 2018 at 5:57 am

Congrats to your son and all of you on his graduation!!

1) We had leftover rolls from my family reunion, last weekend, so I’ve been using those to make sliders for my evening dinner.
2) I bought Clove Oil at the Health Food Store yesterday, to add to my black salve mixture. I plan to use it on my old farm dog this weekend. He has a cyst on top of his head and the black salve mixture should heal it up. The large bottle of Clove Oil was cheaper than buying the smaller one and it should last me for several years.
3) I picked up an audiobook I had on hold at the Library, yesterday, and checked out a few more, plus a book. I love shopping with my favorite card!!
4) Drinking the delicious free coffee at work and eating a caramel rice cake w/PB for breakfast. Add a banana and that will fill me up until lunch. Cheap breakfast food.
5) I could not find a mailing tube at the Dollar Tree for mailing an OU Women’s Softball poster to my Aunt. She told me to hang onto the poster, that she was coming down to spend some time with us soon. Fun with my Aunt and no mailing cost – that’s a win-win!

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Roberta June 14, 2018 at 7:24 am

Question for all of you who have kids in college: How important is it to actually tour colleges before your kid goes? My daughter has identified several colleges she would like to attend — on the other side of the country. Can we just apply, and choose according to expense? Can we just use the website and other research and go from there? There are no schools that offer her field of interest out here, of course.

FFT:
1. Yesterday was my day of errands, but I got most everything accomplished. My daughter had both orthodontist and physical therapy appointments, so she got to go too. I got inexpensive running shoes for my daughter who has taken up running instead of ballet, but running shoes can be much cheaper and last longer than pointe shoes. We skipped eating out, but I bought her a couple bananas to allow us to get home without eating out. I even skipped buying myself caffeine because the line was too long.
2. My unsuspecting husband helped me pick up a free armoire from Craigslist, and we also came home with a large mirror and a bunch of succulent cuttings to root. I will sell the (painted) armoire and mirror at the shop.
3. We booked an Air B&B outside Portland for really affordable! I had been putting off getting a Motel 6, which is our usual accommodation while we’re traveling though. We’ll pay less, pay it to a person not a corporation, and we’ll stay somewhere much nicer.
4. Eating down the pantry in preparation for our trip. We’ll be taking a cooler with us, with prepped food for the trip.
5. Returning library books on time to avoid fines. This requires I leave the house earlier than I’d like this morning to return things before the library opens today, but I’ll let my son drive, so that will be good. (Overdue videos are worth the gas.)

A lot of the things I do every day are frugal, but not interesting to write about. Katy, you do a great job keeping it interesting!

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Bee June 14, 2018 at 9:41 am

I don’t currently have children in college, but I have put three through school and grad school. In fact, this is the first fall dice 2004 that I haven’t had a child in college . Yippee!
It is definitely more difficult when kids are looking at schools far from home. If you are able, I believe that it is helpful for a student to visit a school before attending. There are many things that a college website just can’t convey –and some things the school may not want to convey. Every school just has a different vibe. However, with a few nearby exceptions, we actually waited to visit schools until after my children were accepted to them.
The college selection process is highly competitive, and even the most qualified student may be rejected from his or her school of choice. Unfortunately, high grades, class rank, high test scores, participation in community and school activities, volunteerism, and completion of a challenging high school curriculum does not guarantee acceptance to the most competitive schools. So rather than spending money on trips to distant colleges; we discussed schools, did some research, attended college night and narrowed down the list. Once they applied, we waited for the letters to come and planned our visits accordingly.
I know this is a little different take, but ultimately it worked best for us.

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nancy from mass June 14, 2018 at 10:34 am

Re: colleges….my son is looking at colleges and i asked him to try and keep it to the eastern side of the country. One college that is a good fit (on paper) is Vanderbilt. I told him that if he applies and is accepted, THEN, we will go down to tour the school. the rest of his colleges are within 2-6 hours of here and we are scheduling tours for colleges that are near each other (sunday in CT, monday was in western MA and next month it’s NH and VT). He has been doing virtual tours for others.
also, some schools will do overnight for students planning on applying. Most will do an overnight if they have been accepted. (Wesleyan in CT is one that will do an overnight even if you haven’t been accepted yet). if the school is fairly close to you, most campuses will allow a prospective student to sit in on a class and get a feel for the professor/students. you just have to fill out a form ahead of time. my son is planning on doing that for a couple of schools in Boston.
Good Luck! it’s a stressful thing to go through!

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Roberta Price June 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Thanks for the suggestion to apply and see what happens next. She is looking at schools about as far away as she can go and stay in the country — it just happened that way! But waiting until she knows if she even has a shot will narrow down the possibilities.

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nancy from mass June 15, 2018 at 3:26 am

One more thing….some colleges will look and see if the student has shown any interest in the college prior to applying. for the furthest colleges, have her request the booklet from them or some even have tele-admition counselors who she can email and ask questions about the campus – while stating she can’t currently visit due to location.

Some colleges are ‘interest blind’ and will accept you if you fit their student body even if you haven’t gone for a campus tour.

I know for my DS, once he chose certain colleges he was interested in on the Common App, some booklets started coming in the mail. I think, in a way, that will show as ‘interested’.

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Roberta June 15, 2018 at 6:57 am

Thanks Nancy. I cannot believe applying for college is this hard! They have to demonstrate interest by visiting the school *before* they are accepted? It feels like a game, and I don’t know all the rules.

I’m glad to have people here to help me out!

nancy from mass June 15, 2018 at 9:45 am

Some schools want potential needs to show an interest…i think it depends on how small the school is. they don’t want to accept someone from the other side of the country that could possibly decline and leave out someone from their own area. That’s what i’ve heard/read anyway. (for example one school he’s looking into is ‘needs blind’ meaning they have generous grants and they stated that you don’t have to show an interest in the school in order to be accepted and have access to the grants. or they may state “going on a tour or info session does not mean you have a better chance of being accepted and is not factored in when going through the admission process.”)
Have you checked out Niche.com or collegebound.com? there is quite a bit on information on both sites.

Jenelle Henry June 18, 2018 at 11:38 am

Please, please, please go visit any college that she is seriously considering. I work at a college and there is nothing worse than watching someone who has never stepped foot on our campus, come to college and realize that the culture is not for them and then they regret their decision and either leave the first week or are miserable their entire semester before they transfer. I work right outside the registrar’s office and tend to find the students crying!

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Angel June 20, 2018 at 8:15 am

I, too, work at a university and echo what Janelle said. Go and visit and get a feel for the campus. At our school, it is totally acceptable for a student to wait until they are accepted to tour, but please take our tour!

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tonya June 14, 2018 at 12:05 pm

FFT, Day off edition:

1) Met my sister for a hike this morning. A free and great start to the day.
2) Came home and made green Chile Mac and cheese for my son and I for lunch. We watched an episode of Friends on Netflix together while we ate.
3) Used a $10 off $75 sprouts coupon to stock up on grocery Staples include $1.99/bag coffee, manager markdown chicken, and .77/lb peaches.
4) Planning another homemade dinner, our 4rh of 4 this week. This is a bigger deal than it sounds since I worked 3- 10s on M, T and W.
5) All the other usual stuff- wearing thrifted clothes, reading library books and driving as little as possible.

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Lauren June 14, 2018 at 2:13 pm

1. Listed a large amount of things on a new selling app- Depop. It helped clean out my closet as I realized if I was more excited about possibly selling it, I didn’t need to own it anymore.
2. Made a large batch of beans and quinoa to stretch a pack of chicken breasts for dinner preps for the whole week.
3. Made my own flavored big batch of oatmeal with sultanas and dried apples purchased in bulk. The premade oatmeal flavor I liked used individual packages and I hated all the waste. I can control the sugar now as well. I also reused the scoop that came with the previous tin.
4. Listed several nicely sized jars on the local freecyle. A bulk supplier has asked if they could be dropped off at the local Zero waste festival which is a win win because now I know about that!
5. Spent a few minutes packing the car with reusable water bottles, coffee cups, and reusable shopping bags so we have less chance of forgetting on our way out the door!

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rose June 14, 2018 at 7:57 pm

Congratulations on one son graduated … debt free and on a timely schedule!!!! Fingers crossed he is also in possession of an appropriate job offer!! Will he return home for any period before moving into his own space? Know job locations can make or prevent this cost saving action.
Thank you also for all your posts and encouragement for responsible financial decisions and behaviors. I appreciate you so very much…….

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Mary Beth Danielson June 15, 2018 at 9:55 am

This week I posted an interview with a woman I know who was widowed before she and her husband had planned to retire. I’m interested in and respectful of how people build their lives when income becomes tough. http://www.marybethdanielson.com/content/one-must-have-sunshine-living-life-forward

Meantime, here’s how this week went: A few months ago we watched our grandbaby while our kids took a mini-vacation. The following week those kids sent us a gift certificate to a French restaurant in a nearby town. We saved it for our wedding anniversary – which was this week! After we got home; as we were changing out of our fancy clothes (all thrifted, of course) friends texted that they were at a local bar where live Irish music was happening. So we walked downtown and our friends bought us anniversary beers. Usually we forget our anniversary altogether, so this was pretty amazing.

Added and reviewed our expenditures of May. I now have 18 months of monthly figures in an excel chart. I looked at what we originally budgeted to spend per month, then figured out what we were REALLY spending and adjusted the numbers. We are retired, living on SSI and our savings. There isn’t going to be a lot more income from here on out so we need to know what we have and how far it will go. Figured out we are spending more on groceries and less on entertainment than we had budgeted; those two cancel each other out. Also (argh) we need to add a line item solely for dentist stuff. Our budgetary Achilles heels are in our mouths. We have promised to remind each other to chew more carefully when eating stuff that can crack old fillings and crowns.

Made tasty soup last week with dry beans and many vegetables, most on the brink of refrigerator/freezer extinction. It’s provided many dinners and lunches this week , including the night my husband used a slotted soup to serve it on tacos!

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Momma L June 16, 2018 at 5:43 am

Frugal Fun Father’s Day:
1. Invited DH’s son, asked him to help his dad with spreading pine straw instead of buying a gift.
2. Eating out of the freezer tomorrow, I bought marked down steaks a while back to save for a Father’s Day treat!
3. Rooting rosemary and gardinias from a friend’s clippings this weekend. They smell wonderful, DH loves nice smells.
4. Went out last night to comfort a friend who is sad after his cat died. Split a bar menu item with DH.
5. A neighbor with a boat offered a boat ride to the restaurant. Added fun, and no D & D. Brought drinks on the boat, saved on the bar tab when we got there. We felt rich and spoiled coming home under the stars, gliding on the smooth water.

By the way, I am LOVING this community on FB now, most are kind and positive, and many of you are calling out and shutting down the mean comments lately. Positive peer pressure is wonderful.

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Alexandra @ Ihearttightwads.com June 16, 2018 at 8:45 am

1. Taught GD how to make a quick vinaigrette. She is hooked! For her birthday, getting her all the ingredients, a special bowl and whisk. Found $1 bowl at yard sale. Looking for used whisk. I have a few weeks.
2. Planned a combined birthday party for 3 family members. We all want crab legs so watched for them to go on sale. They are in the freezer! MASSIVELY cheaper than going out.
3. Found 3 pyrex plastic lids for my leftover storage containers. Those lids split and crack way to often. Flabbergasted to find 3 of them at an estate sale. No charge! Nice.
4. Teaching future daughter in law about frugal cooking. She is an excited pupil who just graduated from nursing school. Here are some thoughts for all graduates http://ihearttightwads.com/top-skills-for-graduates-of-different-ages/
5. Day off so cleaning out fridge and freezer and working on food inventory.
6. Not sure if this is a FFT: Trying to eat low carb as now we are in our 50s, weight gain seems to be our new hobby….upping spending on groceries a bit as carbs are typically cheaper. Lower weight should help with all health issues so should be a money saver. We’ll see…

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Kathy Hairston June 16, 2018 at 10:55 am

1. Getting a FREE blow out style today. I will tip the stylist. Wedding this p.m. I bought the greeting card at thrift store.
2. Used $5 kohl’s reward to purchase a dress marked down so made the purchase $10. Wearing dress to the wedding
3. Worked my PT gig this week. $$ going to the fund my fun fund.
4. Returned items to Marshalls and got some new kitchen towels. I finally retired 6 towels as they were “well worn”.
5. I ate 75% of my meals over the last week from pantry/frig/freezer. I was craving a treat last night. Went to the grocery store and bought 2 14oz. cartons of Haagen Daas ice cream on sale/coupon $4.76. Still have enough for a treat tomorrow

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Mary in Maryland June 16, 2018 at 3:09 pm

1) Building soup that includes kale, collard, and cilantro stems. Have shortened the time in the instant pot because we want a little more texture.
2) Washed nine windows on Thursday and seven today. Feeling much better about the house. So glad we bought the tilt able windows.
3) Husband had the car today so I couldn’t go to the produce market. Neighbors stopped their car to chat while I was walking the dog. They were going to the market! Field trip! Nice chance to visit going and coming. I only bought for the next two days meals, because…
4) Another neighbor and I have signed up for Hungry Harvest. They deliver a box of veg and fruit every week. We’re sharing a big box to get more variety and free delivery. I’ve aged out of lugging groceries, and himself gets bored watching me fondle the produce at the store.
5) No shopping. I moved a carload of stuff to the thrift store for a friend who’s moving to a senior apartment. We joke that this transition calls for the opposite of a shower–perhaps we should call it “draining the bathtub”

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Alexandra @IHeartTightwads.com June 17, 2018 at 11:48 am

“Draining the bathtub”! Love! Stealing!!

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Rhonda June 16, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Is there a book “Swagbucks for Dummies” 🙂 ? I attempted it a couple of years ago and was totally confused! I often read how people have earned a gift card here and there, and I would like to be able to do that as well. Every little bit helps now that I’m retired!

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Jennifer June 16, 2018 at 6:57 pm

FFT – Vacation Edition – just got back tonight and am vegging on the couch after a 14 hour drive.

1. We packed in 90% of our food only stopping at the store for 2 small trips, mostly for produce. Much cheaper to buy things at home on sale than be at the mercy of Outer Banks prices.
2. We split the dinners with family – each family taking a night. I choose hot dogs, baked beans and veggie trays. Nothing elaborate – cheap and simple.
3. We packed lunches for the car ride home and only had to stop for dinner.
4. I came home with all the items remaining in the fridge as I was the only one that had brought a cooler. Condiments galore! Plus, all remaining beer and wine.
5. We opted mostly for free things. Twice we did something unique to the area and searched around finding options half the cost of the places recommended by the house owners. I can’t sea kayak in Ohio, and it was an adventure well worth the $20 a person for a 3 hour guided tour.
6.I paid someone to housesit for us while we were gone. This was cheaper than boarding the dog and having someone come in to take care of the rabbit. And both animals are happier.
7. All meals were eaten at the beach house.

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Rosanne June 17, 2018 at 8:09 am

I know some of you ladies like the British mysteries. I just saw the first episode of Agatha Raisin last night. Thought provoking? No. Suspenseful? No. A whodunnit full of twists and turns? No. But it is a lighthearted show that I thoroughly enjoyed wasting a couple hours on.

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Bee June 17, 2018 at 9:36 am

I love British Mysteries! Thank you for the recommendation.

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Lindsey June 17, 2018 at 11:45 am

If you like Brit mysteries, you really should consider checking out Acorn TV. YOu can try it free for a month and it has almost all the great British mysteries, hard core and cozy style. While you are at it, watch a few episodes of Murdoch Mysteries—not the movie but the 11 season series starring a guy named Yannick something or other. They are set in Canada in the early 1900s and are superb. Entertaining, funny and not gory. And the way they do the computerized mock-ups of Toronto back then are amazing.

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Lauren Bailey June 18, 2018 at 7:38 am

1. Didn’t use my debit or credit card all weekend! Managed to pay for all groceries, bar tabs, and ice cream outings with cash from selling my old kitchen table last week.

2. Moved in with the BF (yay!) and am taking stock of our kitchen things. Got a great feeling giving away my old pots and pans set (he’s got nicer ones) that were in good condition to a friend who is in her PhD and loves to cook.

3. Date night last night consisted of a movie on free passes and ice cream. Total cost for the night: $8. I’ll take it!

4. I’m in a wedding this weekend and want to look my best. I’m skipping the fancy primping and doing it at home: spa night Wednesday! Face mask, pedicure, and hair mask all at home with materials I already have.

5. BF had to turn in his leased car, and was nervous about getting to work on rainy days on his motorcycle. I have a free bus pass through work and a bike, so I decided to give him my car keys on days it looks like rain and I’ll take the bus. So far, so good, plus more cash in pocket from not paying for rideshares and good karma for keeping a car off the road!

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