Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 30, 2018 · 108 comments

  1. I discovered that I somehow had a $10 gift card credit on my Starbucks app, and have been slowly dipping into it to treat my son to Frappuccinos. We even bring our own cups in an attempt to decrease the amount of garbage created from this rare indulgence.

  2. I prepared a batch of kidney beans in my slow cooker for a Mexi-bowl type of dinner. It was 99° F in Portland yesterday, so I plugged it in on our front porch in an attempt to avoid heating up the kitchen. (I make sure to place the slow cooker in an area where no one will trip over it and burn themselves.) However, my mother called me up and offered to take us out to dinner, so I deferred this plan as a restaurant meal sounded immensely preferable. We’ll enjoy our Mexi-bowls tonight, and you know I’ll be plugging the rice cooker into the porch outlet as well!

    Air conditioned restaurant > sad porch beans!

    Thanks, mom!

  3. I made myself some popcorn using a plain brown paper bag in the microwave, which has been my frugal hack for a number of years. However, I got greedy and reused the bag, which then CAUGHT ON FIRE IN A RATHER DRAMATIC FASHION!

    So, yeah . . . I’m done with this frugal hack.

    However, my son and I were perusing local Goodwills and I came across a new-in-box air popper, which now lives in my kitchen awaiting my commands. Because there’s nothing frugal about saving a few cents while having to replace a burned down house!

  4. I gave away a radio and lent out our staple gun through our buy nothing group, I’m enjoying a thriving flowerpot of red potatoes that I planted from accidentally sprouted spuds, (especially since they’re starting to flower!) I used my Fred Meyer (Kroger) points to inexpensively fill up our gas tank, I’m sprucing up a cute midcentury thrifted end table to ready it for resale and I picked up two abandoned hair elastics to wash and use for my own ponytails.

  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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{ 108 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruby July 30, 2018 at 11:34 am

We have had an air popper forever, a gift from my late mother-in-law about 32 years ago. I find that tucking a flour sack towel around the bowl and up over the popcorn exiting part keeps from spraying the whole kitchen with popped corn. The dogs find that part exciting. 😀

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Bettypants July 30, 2018 at 1:39 pm

Our dogs CAMP OUT in the kitchen as soon as I turn on the air popper. I fear the introduction of a towel tent would break their little hearts.

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Ruby July 31, 2018 at 9:31 am

A few strays hit the counter top, despite the towel tent, and the dogs get those. Our oldest cat also loves popcorn, but I think it’s just the squeaky-crispy texture on his teeth. He’ll chew and play with a couple of pieces until they get damp, and then he’s done with it.

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MW July 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Oh no! I’ve been re-using paper bags in the microwave at work and (thus far) not having any problems until they rip. Now I’m going to be paranoid about it. . .

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JC August 2, 2018 at 9:25 am

I have also had a bag catch on fire in the microwave while popping. It was the butter and paper but I stopped doing it after that. I now have a popcorn popper bowl that goes in the microwave instead. Yeah, it’s single purpose but I liked it and I don’t have that fear I’ll burn down the house.

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Vickey August 3, 2018 at 9:28 am

We pop ours first, then pour it into a bowl to spritz with flaxseed oil (or butter, if you must). That way the bag doesn’t soak up flammable oils or fats.

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Cindy in the South July 30, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Yikes on the fire! So glad you are ok! 1. I read magazines from the lil free library on the walking trail. 2. I tried not to spend too much at the grocery store. This time of year, I tend to eat tomato sandwiches because I am too lazy and hot to cook. 3. I did not go to the thrift store, even though I wanted to…that saved cash for my pocket. 4. I did use a $5 off $25 at DG for cat food, dog food, and a couple of items I needed. 5. I walked on the free walking trails. I just did my same ole boring routine but it is the repetitive stuff that saves me the most money.

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Marilyn July 30, 2018 at 3:10 pm

I love tomato sandwiches — with a little mayo. I thought I was the only person who enjoyed these.

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Lindsey July 30, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Another tomato sandwich lover here. IT is the only time of the year I make homemade mayo…

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Teri July 30, 2018 at 6:36 pm

Add me to the tomato sandwich list–with mayo that I don’t eat otherwise!

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ellen July 31, 2018 at 3:39 am

That’s what’s for lunch today!

nancy from mass July 31, 2018 at 5:10 am

Sometimes, I CRAVE tomato/mayo sandwiches (with a little salt n pepa). now i’m going to want that instead of my leftovers. I’ll eat my leftovers, but i’ll pine for a tomato mayo sandwich!

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cathy August 1, 2018 at 9:41 am

A community garden organization in my town hosts an annual Tomato Sandwich Party in September. It’s a free event for anyone who wants to attend (no need to have a plot in one of their gardens). They usually get loaves and loaves of bread donated by Great Harvest Bakery, and make the sandwiches with a variety of tomatoes and pesto made from basil grown in the gardens. Yummy!

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Marion August 3, 2018 at 3:37 am

Oh man!

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KJD509 July 31, 2018 at 7:16 am

Mmmmm, tomato sandwiches. We had those last night instead of take-out – way too hot to cook. My littlest reminded me that a tomato sandwich is always her after-school snack on the first day of school, and perhaps the only thing she likes about having moved is that tomatoes are ripe earlier here. Yum, I might have one for breakfast, too.

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tonyatawana July 31, 2018 at 7:30 am

Add me to the tomato sandwich list….

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Ruby July 31, 2018 at 9:32 am

Me too. Nothing is as wonderful as a tomato sandwich with a slice of good cheese and a sprinkle of garlic salt and pepper on the tomato. That’s some good eating!

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A. Marie July 30, 2018 at 12:07 pm

FFT, More Fails Than Wins Edition:

(1) In case anyone was wondering about my latest long silence, I’ve been diagnosed with probable Lyme disease. During those berry-picking sessions in our back 40, I neglected to tuck in my T-shirt tail (as I don’t like to do this)–and guess what: Big bull’s eye rash on my abdomen on July 9 (although I never actually saw a tick). Was trying to hold out for previously scheduled GP appointment on July 19, but realized by July 13 that I couldn’t delay any longer, so I went to urgent care. The urgent care doc practically spun his wheels ordering a blood test and a course of strong antibiotics. The blood test came back so-so (I tested positive on some things, but not enough for a general positive diagnosis), but I understand that this is usual in the first few weeks. No other symptoms, thank goodness. Will repeat blood test about 8/19.

(2) When I did see my GP at the regularly scheduled appointment, I got busted for hypertension as well. (Abnormally high BP both at urgent care and in the GP’s office.) I must say I did not appreciate the mild scolding I got from the GP re: the Lyme and hypertension, or the additional unhelpful comments when I mentioned the various stresses I’m under with DH and work. (Briefly, she managed to make me feel that this was all my fault for how I’m reacting to things. Am considering changing GPs. Input will be appreciated.)

(3) Frugal fails re: small appliances: The vacuum cleaner and the combo microwave/toaster have both expired this month. (The microwave/toaster was not helped by DH’s trying to use the toaster controls to reheat coffee in the microwave. I’m guessing that other people’s similar problems were the reason why no one seems to make microwave/toaster combos any more.) I managed to find a good deal on the vacuum on Amazon, but the microwave died after the local appliance store we prefer to use (to try to keep it in business) had closed for the night, so that resulted in an emergency trip to Lowe’s. Fortunately, I don’t feel we got reamed too badly on the purchase.

(4) Oh, and I found our hitherto perfectly box-trained cat taking a pee in the basement in the area where we store bags of cat litter (well, at least it was a “logical” choice). After cleanup plus a few scattered profanities, quick trip to vet to rule out medical causes. Thank goodness it seems to be a simple UTI and not something worse (diabetes, etc.).

(5) OK, enough of all that. Tomatoes are starting to come in, the okra crop may be the best ever, and I’ve actually managed to time lettuce plantings to give us a continuous supply of lettuce. “When the world wearies and ceases to satisfy, there’s always the garden.”

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Juhli July 30, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Sorry for your run of bad luck. RE the GP – If you have been happy with that Dr in the past then maybe they were having a stressed out day and being testy. If not thrilled with them on other occasions then I’d change if you can.

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Bee July 30, 2018 at 1:29 pm

I am glad you caught the Lyme disease early and hope the initial course of antibiotics takes care of things. I will be sending positive thoughts your way. You have been through quite a bit in the last year or so. Hang in there!

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Christine July 30, 2018 at 4:12 pm

A. Marie…not only am I glad the Lyme Disease was caught the hypertension as well. A family member was recently diagnosed with kidney failure due to untreated hypertension so I am definitely more aware of the importance of treating it promptly. Kidney issues are not what you need right now!

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janine July 30, 2018 at 5:07 pm

Get another GP if you are having trouble with communication issues! Good that you decided to take action on the Lyme disease. Considering all – you seem to be handling everything quite well!

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Susie's Daughter July 31, 2018 at 4:29 am

A. Marie – I am sorry to hear about the multiple pains – literal and otherwise. On the topic of GP’s, I have been very satisfied over the last 15 years with Nurse Practitioners (APRN is the official title). I find that they generally have more time for patients and , in my experience, are better listeners than most my previous MD’s. (Some of this I think is related to the way in which MD’s are trained, but that is another topic…)

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tracy July 31, 2018 at 4:52 am

A. Marie,

I vote for a change in doctor. You do not need a doctor who “blames” you when you have medical problems! Just want to echo others’ comments to hang in there — you have been dealing with A LOT. I find when I am stressed it really helps me to work on “mindfulness” — coming back to the present moment and realizing I only have to deal with what is in front of me RIGHT NOW. Best to you.

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nancy from mass July 31, 2018 at 5:24 am

A. Marie: sorry to hear about the lyme and HP. For the Dr, does she typically listen to you when you go? does she realize, really realize, the stress you are under? is she also your DH GP? Have you been with her long? If you don’t feel comfortable with her and she never listens, i would definitely change. If you typically have a good relationship, i would give it one more chance. but only one.

My DH and I had the same GP and specialist. a few weeks before DH passed, i finally talked him into going into his specialist (he was really bad). when she saw him, she yelled at me for not bringing him in sooner. we actually scolded back and forth (as “i am not his ** mommy and could not drag his a** here” – although i said that with some profanity thrown in for good measure). She called me a few days later and apologized. she said seeing how bad my DH was, she was very concerned that he was not being taken care of well. She thought about it further and realized that he was an adult and, although i can stress to him and nag him, he was ultimately responsible for his own well-being.
us having the same dr’s made a difference because when i see them, they had an idea of the stress i was under and could see if it was affecting my baseline.
good luck with whatever you decide.

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KJD509 July 31, 2018 at 7:00 am

Another vote to find a different GP (totally understand that’s not as simple as it sounds). And I’d make it clear why. Stress is an actual threat to health, not a test of character, and a doc who doesn’t treat it that way isn’t doing you any good at all. (I’m feeling pretty huffy on your behalf, A Marie, and I hope you’re able to get the care and empathy you need.)

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Norma July 31, 2018 at 3:10 pm

I believe a doctor’s role is to encourage you – not scold you. I would definitely change doctors – in fact, I have.

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Gina in KY July 31, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Those darn ticks! If I recall you’re in upstate NY? When I was there fir work in April and May, the field workers were coming in covered. I’m so sorry you are going through this experience.

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Liz B. August 1, 2018 at 11:26 am

A. Marie, I’m so sorry for all you’re dealing with. I changed PCPs when I realized I was just a name and a number to him….not really his fault, as the medical system that bought the group practice he is part of expects each doc to see 80-90 patients a day. (Sadly, it’s the same medical system I work for).
I agree with nancy from mass -if this is a one-time thing, okay. If it contnues, I’d consider switching. I’m much happier with my new PCP.

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A. Marie August 1, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Thanks a million to all those who expressed concern and provided such thoughtful input. I’ve decided that at the next appointment I’ve got scheduled with the GP (on 8/22, as further follow-up on the Lyme and the BP), I will try as calmly and non-confrontationally as I can to make it clear that I did not feel “heard” at the 7/19 visit. (This doctor has been my GP for about 10 years now, but this is the first time a serious health issue has come up. It is probably also relevant that she is from a different culture and that her first language is not English. We may simply not be seeing or expressing things the same way. But I will try to take those facts into consideration before I do anything I can’t undo.)

And to answer Nancy from Mass’s question, DH and I have different GPs (I won’t bore you all with the details there). I didn’t really get to know DH’s GP until the last couple of years, when DH has needed me to accompany him to appointments. Unfortunately, this GP is on the point of retirement, so switching to him isn’t an option.

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LB July 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

1. Another week of bringing lunch incoming! On the menu: tequila lime baked chicken legs, cilantro rice, and sriracha glazed peaches. Eating cheap doesn’t mean eating poorly!

2. Got a free toaster oven from some friends who upgraded.

3. Got a free Microwave from someone who got 2 in their wedding registry. Significant upgrade from our camper-microwave that I’ve been toting around for years.

4. Instead of lounging around a restaurant, made snacks and had friends over last night.

5. Re-homed our old TV to a friend who’s old one kicked the bucket. They took the entertainment stand too, significantly freeing us up to redecorate the living room!

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Jill A July 30, 2018 at 12:28 pm

1. I gave my dog a bath using the expandable hose I picked up a few years ago at a yard sale. I hook it up to my laundry room sink so she can get a warm bath.
2. My daughter rented a honey extractor and we extracted five frames of delicious honey. Most will be going to a friend to use at her wedding for favors. A wedding gift from my daughter.
3. We will salvage the cappings wax from the honey frames and use it to make lip balm.
4. I washed both cars and vacuumed them at home saving at least $20.
5. I had dinner out with friends but invited them over beforehand for mojitos made with homegrown mint.

Frugal fail – I put the dogs invisible fence collar on top of the car while we washed her. I forgot about it and ran to the store. I found it but it had been run over and ruined. So that’s $316 down the drain. I am sad.

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Danielle July 31, 2018 at 7:33 am

Bummer about the collar!

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Liz B. August 1, 2018 at 11:30 am

Check ebay – I have a friend who bought invisible fence dog collars there for her 2 daogs.

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Liz B. August 1, 2018 at 11:31 am

dogs, not daogs (sigh)

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Patricia Koernig July 30, 2018 at 1:01 pm

A. Marie, I hope this is the extent of your symptoms of Lyme Disease, and you are soon feeling a 100%! As for your GP, unless you have a long relationship, and this was an off day on her part (to be forgiven) considering switching might be a good option. Its important to feel comfortable with our Drs, and to feel we are being listened to. Scoldings don’t work, at least not for me. Hope you have a great week!

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MommaL July 30, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Katie, I did the same thing when reusing a bag, I stopped too. I had to replace my microwave and lost my dignity when I yelled fire fire fire until my husband got up and did something. My daughter gave me a silicone collapsable popcorn microwave bowl and it is awesome. She got it from a relative that was getting rid of all of the things she had bought from fundraisers.

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Mand01 July 30, 2018 at 1:15 pm

This will now have to be the year of living extra frugally, as we need to pay for building work on our house. We have the cash saved up but it will take a chunk out and I will need to replace it stat.
1. Taking homemade soup to work for lunch.
2. Wearing my work supplied uniforms. These are not compulsory but I figure if they want to pay for my clothes, I’ll wear them as they are quite nice and it saves wear and tear on my clothes.
3. Cooked a roast on Sunday that has also covered us for dinner and lunches for the following two days.
4. Made stock in my crockpot.
5. Blended two bits of leaf tea together that weren’t quite enough for a full cup to make a cup.

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Bethany M July 30, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Ok, I’m STILL painting our living room. I have 3 kids romping around, so it’s not the easiest way to save money, but still, doesn’t take skills that I don’t have, just my patience.

Salvaged my herbs. I almost lost them by not watering just one day. The SoCal sun is brutal.

Going to a free exercise class hosted by our medical clinic. Should be interesting.

Made some spaghetti sauce this week. With my home grown (salvaged) herbs, it comes to 40 cents a batch.

Frugal fail, I added two sausage links to my eggs last night saving the other two for another meal (When really, I wanted all 4) Accidently left the other two on the counter overnight. 🙁 I don’t risk warm pork!

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Bee July 30, 2018 at 1:35 pm

My sympathies. I have been painting too. I do just a room at a time otherwise my shoulder hurts. But it looks so much better once it’s done.

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Juhli July 30, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Glad the popcorn fire wasn’t a disaster!
1. I won a free raffle at my Trader Joe’s and got a collapsible insulated picnic basket filled with goodies just for filling out a raffle ticket. We will use about half and pass on the others.
2. My dog too often has diarrhea as a consequence of Addison’s disease and/or her habit of eating things she finds on walks. The new vet said to just use a small amount of an Immodium tablet rather than prescribing an animal med and it works. Keeping her from getting dehydrated is frugal.
3. I’ve been looking for a pair of comfy sandals with no luck and simply decided to wait until one of my 2 current pairs wears out as I can switch shoes every other day with 2 pairs. Trying going barefoot inside too.
4. We have a free pool available in my HOA but I haven’t been using it to swim laps because I needed help getting my swimming technique updated. Paid a bit for 2 weeks of private lessons at the city aquatic center. The first one saw great strides made. I am hopeful for free swimming exercise in the near future.
5. Didn’t buy a second car, a plane ticket to Paris or anything else on my big ticket dream list.

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Lindsey July 30, 2018 at 2:00 pm

First, a public service announcement, which I am going to repeat on the other blog I read: If you have a larger breed dog that is healthy, please consider telling your vet that you would be willing to have your dog give blood in an emergency. We have two giant breed dogs and each has given blood once, the last time this past weekend when someone brought in a dog who had been run over and he had lost a lot of blood. It was the middle of the night but our vet called and we were able to get there within 15 minutes. There is no pay for this (although my dog did get a few treats from the vet and more from the tech and lots of petting) but it helped save another dog’s life. Not all vets or animal hospitals do this, although I understand that in large cities there are actually registries of dogs available to give blood. End of public service announcement.

No spectacular ways of saving money this week, just the usual eating leftovers, reusing plastic bags, not wasting water as I wait for it to heat up by filling gallon jugs with the cold water coming out of the tap and then using those gallons of water on my potted plants, batching errands, using envelopes for scratch paper…some weeks are pretty boring. We have spent almost nothing on groceries, since the garden is in full harvesting mode now. When I tire of salads, and I do after three weeks of them for one or two meals a day, I remind myself that we often have our first frost the last week of August so I had better enjoy fresh home grown produce while I can. (I do chop up lettuce and use it in soups or smoothies, too, not just salads.)

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Isitaneedorawant July 30, 2018 at 2:47 pm

Hear,hear on blood donor dogs.
Through our vet and the vet tech course at our community college our beloved 13.5 Labrador retriever was a donor.
She donated from about 2-10 years old. They end donations here at age 10.Minimum weight requirement is 50 pounds. Good health and no vaccinations just prior to donation. She gave quarterly.
When she was about 2 years old she went for surgery to the large veteraniarian school 10 hours away. They told me they needed to give her blood. I mentioned she was a donor dog and thought it was free for them. Not entirely sure but her operation was actually reasonably priced.
Thanks for spreading the information, in our area they honour the donor dogs for length and amount donated and have regulator parties for them:)

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Liz B. August 1, 2018 at 11:41 am

I have a friend who is a vet tech – the practice where she works has some blood donor cats they keep on premises (these cats are quite pampered, appropriately so), and they keep a list of dog blood donors to call as needed. I will check with our local vet about this – our dog isn’t 2 yet, but he’s healthy as a horse.

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Bettypants July 30, 2018 at 2:08 pm

1. I stumbled across a cute but low quality laminate vanity by-the-road-free in my neighborhood on Friday. Picked it up and sold it on FB for $15 on Sunday.

2. Went through a sub sale on Saturday. Found a vintage train case for $1.50, brand new Oreck iron for $5, Harajuku tote bag for $0.50 – all for resale. Around here, the good stuff is mostly gone on Thursdays, and I found it tiresome looking through the leftovers.

3. Listed a few new items on ebay and relisted my duds. The Moda quilt squares (from a yard sale for $3) that I had relisted a handful of times sold for $30.

4. Cleaned out the garage and put some plywood out at the road for free or garbage. Listed some lamp shades on Freecycle, and walked a couple books down to the nearest Little Free Library.

5. I have had a lot of no shows from the FB boards as of late. I think maybe it’s time to take an extended break as I feel mostly frustrated by the process rather than enjoying making the profits. I had someone take the covered plastic bin that I keep on my porch to place items in, rather than just taking her item out.

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Gina in KY July 31, 2018 at 4:26 pm

Ooh, thanks for mentioning the Mods squares! I found a pack during my big purge and will hold them back in the sell pile.

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Gina in KY July 31, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Moda and that’s terrible about the bin

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Liz B. August 1, 2018 at 11:45 am

I’ve had a lot of no shows lately…..including someone asking me to meet her at Walmart, because she works there….then didn’t bother to contact me that she’been called in early – until I contacted her from the parking lot. Sheesh!

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Marilyn July 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm

1. A friend had a yard sale and let me put a few things in the mix. She sold 4 of my items for $24. Nice.
2. Trying to limit use of AC by using 2 fans. Works pretty well until temp hits 95 degrees-plus.
3. Working nearly full-time now. This keeps me from shopping.
4. Used another FM coupon for a spend-$40-get-$10-off deal. Used it for groceries only, so it was a savings on items we would normally buy.
5. Reading everyone’s FFT for ideas and inspiration.

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K D July 30, 2018 at 3:48 pm

I use a glass casserole dish, with a lid, to pop popcorn in the microwave. I put a little oil in the bottom, add the popcorn and zap it.

FFT:
1. I waited for the traffic to pass before picking up a quarter (found change) and a washer (scrap metal) in the road. I was on my way to the grocery store to buy bananas, and also pick up free ketchup (load to card offer) and yogurt (free with doubled coupons). I used a yard sale purchased back pack to bring the few groceries home.

2. Tonight I cooked extra potatoes, vegetables, and veggie burgers. Leftovers in the fridge are like gold in our house.

3. I walked over to the library, when I was near it, to pick up books on hold. Between e-books and print books I’m always overloaded with wonderful things to read. The other day I finished Educated, a worthwhile read.

4. I have a lead on an AARP Driver Safety course that will enable us to save on our auto insurance, once we take it. I called and left a message that we want to sign up for the class. It is a one day, four hour class.

5. We signed up for a Marriott branded credit card. It has an annual fee but the bonus points make it worth paying the fee for the first year. We’ll be able to stay at a nice hotel when we attend a family reunion in a few weeks (no one seems to be able to host us) with some of the bonus points we earned. There are enough additional points for future stays. We’ll cancel the card after the first year.

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Christine July 30, 2018 at 4:28 pm

I recently read Educated too. I found it profoundly brutal but ultimately uplifting as Tara found her own place in this world. Definitely a good read.

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Teri July 30, 2018 at 6:49 pm

My sons attended Cambridge the same time Tara did and found her to be a genuinely great person, despite her early challenges.

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K D July 31, 2018 at 3:48 am

How interesting and wonderful that your son knew Tara.

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Mrs. Picky Pincher July 30, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Ahh, that’s so scary with the popcorn! I’ve never heard of that hack before, but I guess I won’t try it. 😉 I do love making popcorn on the stovetop; it’s much lighter.

This week:

1. I’m traveling for work this week, which means I’m eating on the company dime. Woohoo! I treated myself to a Starbucks sandwich for dinner. 🙂

2. I’m proud to tip highly anyway, but I made sure to give the max tip to my two fantastic Lyft drivers today since it was expensable.

3. Hubs and I brainstormed some meals he can cook at home while I’m away (I’m the chef of the house). I was so happy to hear he grilled himself tilapia for dinner. 🙂

4. I visited my family last weekend. My sister sent me home with two dozen cartons of eggs from her farm, as well as jams, salsa, and pickles. Yum! (We gave her some homemade wine and mead in exchange)

5. We didn’t go grocery shopping for this week, so hubs is eating down the pantry and freezer this week.

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Christine July 30, 2018 at 4:03 pm

1. I found a get well card in my stash for a friend recovering from surgery. Also making her a pot of Boston Baked Beans and Hotdogs which I will deliver to her on Wednesday. Less expensive than flowers and more needed and appreciated.
2. Picking raspberries from my yard. Free and healthy snacks.
3. I don’t have blueberries though, and I have been craving a pie. Friends and I went blueberry picking at a farm where no pesticides are used. $2 a pound for them.
4. I’m planning a can and bottle drive to be held in my driveway to benefit the Relay for Life Team I am on. My neighbors are incredibly generous with their empties.
5. I’m appreciating more and more the frugality my parents and grandmother showed me as I was growing up. My present frugal lifestyle does not feel like a hardship to me. Thanks Ma, Dad & Grandma!

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Ava July 30, 2018 at 4:10 pm

1. Went to visit grandkids and husband paid for half the hotel stay with points.
2. Weeded the flower bed. So far, I have been able to stick to my resolve to keep up with it and not let it get overgrown again. Have kept most of the reduced at-death’s-door plants alive this summer.
3. Found a penny.
4. Went to a yard sale and bought a pasta machine for $5. I have envied a relative’s wonderful spaghetti and wondered what ever became of her machine when she passed away. I was not willing to shell out $ for a new machine without knowing if I would enjoy using it. I can handle $5.
5. Saw the Mr. Rogers movie with Movie Pass. Excellent! I am not sure what is going to become of that company but it has been good for us so far. We got $1 drinks with refillable cups given to us by a friend.
6. The usual of: eating out too much, BUT using all leftovers, reading library books, wearing thrifted clothes, checking thrift stores first, mending, keeping up with donations for tax purposes, composting, gardening. Most of our entertainments are very inexpensive.

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Liz B. August 1, 2018 at 11:50 am

I *loved* the Mr. Rogers movie. He was such an interesting man.

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Sarah. July 30, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Dear Katy,

I always enjoy reading your posts and consider you the current day “Amy Dacyczyn” (100% compliment, I have her book beside my bed, which I got for free from the library).

How do you wash the elastic bands?

Thanks for sharing your creativity with us.

Besos Sarah.

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Marybeth July 30, 2018 at 5:04 pm

I put a little oil in the bottom of a pan to coat it and then pour in a layer of kernels. Cook on medium heat and 5 minutes later I have popcorn.

1. My sister had us over to for dinner with a friend’s son that was visiting. She ordered way to much Chinese food. She was going out of town the next day so she sent us home with the leftovers. She also sent us home with fruits, veggies and her dog.
2. Ate above leftovers the next day. My son took some to work so he didn’t have to buy lunch.
3. Haven’t watered my garden all week thanks to Mother Nature. We are supposed to get more rain tonight so iIstill don’t have too.
4. Sold 2 items on eBay and have 1 with bids.
5. Got asked to come into work today as someone called out sick. Hadn’t prepped dinner yet so I pulled bacon out of the freezer. We had BLTs with fruit for a quick dinner when I got home.

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janine July 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm

Have had bad luck recently with microwaves so my sympathies go out to you.
On vacation so lots of expenditures but some savings too.
1. Found a huge overstock store on our explorations this morning in an out of the way place. Bought washcloths – 8 for 1.49 and a couple of cute dishtowels for $1.09. DH found a couple of balls and a nice dog bone for our dog – fun to look around with minimal cost.
3. DH went to a free talk about the history of resort this evening put on by the owner – modernized by started over 100 years ago!
4. Trying to minimize food costs. Had burgers at Culvers tonight.
5. No unnecessary major purchases.

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MamaMinou July 30, 2018 at 8:41 pm

1) Got a new clothes drying rack (upside down umbrella type) in the yard!

2) Ate neighbor ‘s gifted figs. Mmmm, figs…

3) Using the « sunk cost fallacy «  to encourage exercise. A month long yoga gift pass means LOTS of yoga. $4/class if averaged

4) Big batch of home cooked chickpeas have lots of uses. With salads, rice, zucchini…

5) Using up all those little mini dental flosses from the dentist.

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MamaMinou July 30, 2018 at 8:42 pm

Thank heavens your house and family are safe, Katy!

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Crosby July 31, 2018 at 5:10 am

1. Went on a free date to see an outdoor movie. The university I work at shows a movie 3 times a week in the summer. I brought my own popcorn and beverage.

2. I went to a happy hour with some coworkers last night. But I budgeted for the drinks (and the happy hour specials were a better deal than I planned for) and I turned down dinner when a few people suggested continuing the evening. I ate leftovers at home.

3. Took one for the team this morning and ate leftover split pea soup for breakfast. It isn’t my favorite, but it needs to be eaten.

4. Brought my lunch from home.

5. Planning on going to Aldi on my lunch as the Aldi near my office has a better selection (they have chia seeds) than the Aldi that is on my way home.

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Jennifer July 31, 2018 at 5:18 am

It has been a not so frugal few days with needing to take the dog to the vet (infection from a puncture wound after playing in our backyard) and a college visit trip 9 hours away. But small things matter too so here we go:

1) packed lunch and snacks for our drive to the college visit
2) went to a free Harry Potter festival. Great people watching. We did buy a paint your own gig. My girls had just created a HP nook in their room and painting their own HP themed canvas together was a great completion of the project.
3) My dd wanted to build something so I suggested a reading nook – something she had mentioned several times over the years. So in an effort to teach life skills we took her to the store and taught her how to pick out wood, get it cut, sand it, pre-drill holes, screw the wood together, paint it, etc. She built the whole thing. Next up – taking her to get the parts and pieces to make a cushion and pillows and teaching her how to do that. Yes, this all cost money, but she will have skills that will benefit her for the rest of her life.
4) Still picking berries and cherry tomatoes from the yard/garden.
5) Filed up with gas at Costco and did not go in to make any purchases.

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ouvickie July 31, 2018 at 6:01 am

1) I just finished another audiobook by Francine Rivers. I have 3 more ready to go and I’ll drop this one off at the Library today, so I won’t have any fines to pay.
2) I found a really cute girls cotton print Summer dress on Sunday evening, while my granddaughters played at the Splash Pad. It was wet and laying in a heap at the back of a bench. I looked around at the other kids playing in the area and never saw anyone that size, who could have left it there. Since it was in perfect shape and only needed to be laundered, I through it in the car when we left and handed it over to my daughter when I dropped the girls off. She was thrilled. It will fit my oldest granddaughter and, apparently, it’s a well known fashion brand. Score!
3) The Credit Union called and told me I’m eligible for one of their new Debit Rewards cards. I told them, as long as there are no fees or special rules attached, I would gladly accept it. I’ll have to check into what the rewards go toward.
4) The Blood Donor Center keeps calling for me to come in and donate. They’re offering free Science Museum passes, which I will give to my daughter for the grandkids.
5) I found out my daughter’s Netflix app is still on the Firestick she gave back to me. Happily, she can share her account with friends and family, so now I can watch movies on Netflix, too, without paying anything extra. Yahoo!
I watched, “Hello, My Name is Doris” with Sally Fields last night. Great movie, it had me laughing and feeling encouraged to keep decluttering.

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Gina in KY July 31, 2018 at 4:50 pm

I love Doris! I think that movie started my purging adventures too.

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Joanie August 1, 2018 at 6:15 am

Ouvickie..The little girl who left her dress behind will certainly have a teachable moment when she and her mom or dad go back to get it!

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nancy from mass July 31, 2018 at 6:37 am

Burnt popcorn and paper in the micro is a horrible smell that is difficult to get rid of! (my mother torched 2 micros within 5 months putting a bag of popcorn in for – who knows how long – and setting her micro on fire…resulting in her senior living building being evacuated each time.)

1. Took a drive to Yale on Saturday afternoon to check out the campus. Parked on the street and fed the meter. Realized I was putting a Canadian dime in and when it dropped into the coin return, I found $1.85 in coins! I used part of them later to feed another meter. Yes, I checked every meter as we walked around the town. No other coins found.
2. Walked to the library last night for my bi-weekly knitting group but no one else showed (happens sometimes). So I walked back home, got into my painting clothes and started painting…
3. Painted my back entry Saturday night/Sunday. Painted the majority of my kitchen last night. I only have the fridge wall left then all the trim. (4 doors and baseboard. Yes, 4 doors in my kitchen…the back entry, my ironing board cabinet, the back hall swinging door and the doorway into my dining room). Plus 2 windows. Not looking forward to painting the ceiling though (I hate painting ceilings).
4. After I finish my kitchen, it’s on to my dining room then my bedroom. Most of these rooms haven’t been painted since 2002 or 2005 (depending on the room) and really needed it. my back entry is the same color, the kitchen is one shade off but the DR and BR are different colors so I chose a thicker, one coat coverage paint. I was going to hire my painter to do all of this, but would rather spend that money checking out colleges for DS.
5. Purchased all paints and needed supplies with a lowes GC I chose from an award I won at work. No money spent on making my house beautiful again! I’m decluttering too!
Since I am driving DS car while my IL have my car (theirs is being repaired and they NEED a car to get around to dr appts after chemo/radiation), I noticed how horrible his wipers were – seriously, how could he not tell me how bad they were! Stopped at WM on my way home from work and bought 2 new wipers and some upholstery cleaner since he dropped a soda on his passenger seat months ago. We also cleaned the windshield inside. So. Much. Better. Now.

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Jennifer July 31, 2018 at 8:33 am

Windshield wipers seem to be one of those things that you just get used to how they work and you deal with it. They likely went bad gradually and he didn’t realize how bad they were. Happened to us recently with 2 cars. A new driver noticed immediately what had been thought to be fine. You are very nice to replace them!

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Nancy from mass July 31, 2018 at 2:14 pm

Them i told him I had replaced them, he said, “oh yeah. They were horrible”

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Cara July 31, 2018 at 6:53 am

1. Found 4 great quality black tank-tops in a free pile. This is the bread-and-butter of my wardrobe so I’m way more excited about this than I should be! 🙂

2. Instead of buying a lavender plant, a neighbor gave me cuttings to root at home. It won’t get big this year, but should come back in the spring if I’m careful.

3. My community garden neighbors gave me a lot of jalapenos and celery. I sauteed celery leaves, which brought out a slightly minty taste. I balanced that out with basil and served it with salmon! It was delicious and made me realize how much food America wastes before it even gets to the store.

4. I brought my own coffee and french press to work. It will be cheaper and much better!

5. I finally found a working migraine medication. While it’s $$$, I already notice a difference. I’m excited to get my life back!

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Mia July 31, 2018 at 5:50 pm

What is the name of the migraine medicine? Thanks.

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Cara August 1, 2018 at 10:38 am

Hi Mia,

It is Cannabidiol (also called CBD), a non-psychoactive chemical from marijuana. I live in Massachusetts so I was able to get a medical marijuana card. I use a 1:1 CBD and THC blend tincture before bed. I can’t drive for several hours after I take it, because of the THC, but I get migraines much less often. I have another blend to take during a migraine, but haven’t needed it yet.

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Liz B. August 2, 2018 at 9:59 am

Would it be worth checking GoodRx.com to see if the prescription is cheaper somewhere else? I always check there. You never know.

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Cara August 3, 2018 at 6:56 am

Hi Liz,

That’s a good idea for other prescriptions. For this one, I have to get it form a medical dispensary, but luckily I don’t need to much. Thanks!

KJD509 July 31, 2018 at 6:53 am

FFT – who am I kidding, there’s nothing frugal going on right now. Here are my attempts:
1) As we loaded out of the old house, kept a Free pile going on a busy corner at the edge of our lot. Our old city doesn’t have a strong free-pile culture, but eventually things started disappearing. By our last weekend in the house, we noticed that not only were neighbors dropping things in the free pile (which we found hilarious), but there were other piles popping up nearby. Plus the hauling company who came in the day after we left said all that was left on the corner was a broken hamster cage (they still needed to haul some ancient appliances from inside the house), so our cost and contribution to the landfill were both minimized.
2) Decided it was cheaper to hire somebody to load trucks than kill off my hubs by having him do it all. Yes, I can lift and carry, but in general our pattern is I stage and organize and he packs the truck. I don’t know why I thought it would be prohibitively expensive, but it was much less money than back or shoulder surgery would have been, they did a fabulous job, and hubs, who is an educator, enjoyed talking to the three college football players doing this as
a summer job about what they’re going to do with their lives when they get tired of heavy lifting on hot days.
3) Buyer of our house backed out at literally the very last minute – the papers were printed and ready to sign – so we are living cheaply in the tiny condo we intended to rent out for additional income as we sort out next steps. It’s quiet and has a lovely view, but crowded. Our giant dog is especially confused by his suddenly limited territory. Ah, well, it would be worse – and A LOT more expensive – in a hotel.
4) Dealing with some mental health issues up and down the family tree all of a sudden and all at the same time. So grateful for good health insurance and for the Affordable Care Act, which mandates that mental and physical health be treated equivalently. Family members who need to miss work are able to use sick leave for appointments, and care takes only a co-pay. There are flat not enough providers to go around, but at least the financial side of the equation is manageable.
5) I’ve picked up a couple of writing gigs on the side. As grateful as I am for this community of frugal-minded folks, I’m also really glad right now that there are people out there willing to pay a lot of money to have things done for them . . . since they’re paying some of it to me.

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Cindy in the South July 31, 2018 at 11:39 am

I am sorry to hear that the buyer backed out at the last minute, but maybe a better deal will happen. House hunting (and selling) is so stressful!

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Bee July 31, 2018 at 1:56 pm

I am glad to see your post. You were missed.

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Mand01 July 31, 2018 at 8:12 pm

The cost of caring for mental health conditions is very high. Australia has subsidised health care but mental health is a big gap. We are spending a fortune on psychologists and psychiatrists for our young people. We are fortunate that we can cover the cost.

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Vickey August 4, 2018 at 10:16 am

KJD, glad to see your post. I’ve been wondering how you were faring. Sorry to hear about the challenges – hope the house sells, and the family members recover/thrive, very soon.

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A. Marie August 5, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Wow, KJD, it sounds as if you’re going through a particularly rough stretch. Here’s to you in your troubles, from me in mine.

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tonyatawana July 31, 2018 at 7:26 am

1. My wife and I have a ton of landscaping that needs to be done and we decided to divide it– she gets to follow her vision for the back yard and I have a vision for the front yard . The problems with the front yard are it flood when it rains and there are two huge oak trees that keep it shady. Sooooo I am not going to pursue planting grass as some grew last year (I think who ever lived here last just would scalp the yard with the mower, leaving dirt and I think if I just wait, it will recover. However there are some lovely old Azalea bushes that my wife loves beside the house. I decided to do beds around them but with white rocks with red brick border. Then, instead of planting plants, I will just find containers and plant hostas and succulents that can be taken into the garage. Hostas aren’t cheap but I found 100 assorted seeds for $10 and that’s good. The rocks won’t be cheap initially BUT I think it’s justified as it won’t require water, will improve the value of the home, and will not need replacing since rocks don’t rot like mulch does. This will be done over the course of years so it also won’t be something that I spend a huge amount on all at once.

2. Eating at home. Eating plants. Three people gave me tomatoes last week! God bless them!

3. Paying bills on time to avoid late fees.

4. Drinking water instead of soda.

5. Headed to the library today to see if I can find some good books to read.

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ouvickie July 31, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Thank you for the landscaping ideas!!
I have a bed I need to clean out in my back yard and I’ve been trying to decide what to put in there. I think now is a perfect time, because the garden centers are putting everything on sale, too.

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Gina July 31, 2018 at 9:06 am

I’m going to try and give it a shot. My frugal intentions are always there, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.
1. Saved $23 using coupons for free food at two different establishments with no $ out of pocket!
2. My girls wanted to do crafts & needed a bunch of paintbrushes. Got some at craft store I had a gift card for (i had won a $50 one), so free paintbrushes and supplies!
3. awesome co-worker brought me fresh blueberries that she picked for me. Usually i go with her but had a prior engagement. I will make her some goodies for her kindness.
4. Helped my sister unpack in her new house. She had a dressing bottle that she no longer wanted, but I did. That’s the only thing I came home with.
5. Recently went to 5 different functions where we were served dinners and didn’t have to bring any food, so savings on our grocery bill. Those functions we’ve done volunteering for all of them.

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Linda @ A La Carte July 31, 2018 at 10:38 am

A FREE ad on FB netted me a shelf I had been wanting but didn’t want to pay for. While picking it up the homeowner showed me a pile of items all free. I took a wonderful framed Train poster for my Grandson and two vintage bowls for myself/resell. She was happy things were leaving her home and I was happy that all was free.
Ate bean soup my Mom made for two days and saved $$
Made a pasta salad that lasted me several days with no more cooking in the hot weather.
Received a free book in a giveaway from a favorite author

I love reading all the frugal things everyone does!

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,Gina in KY July 31, 2018 at 4:39 pm

1. Brought two more boxes of books t o book store and received $30.
2. Been finding pennies like crazy.
3. Son and I saw Avengers at themselves run theatre on $2 day.
4. Paid another large sum on debt.
5solar drying, library books (bonus son and I attended free Harry Potterpalooza at out great library), eating at home, being creative with taco shells and leftovers…

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Gina in KY July 31, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Excuse typos…limping along with an old tablet tonight.

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rebecca j robbins August 1, 2018 at 6:23 am

Not a frugal week at all…
I needed to buy a new car after finding out mine wouldn’t pass inspection and would cost $3400.00 to fix and at the mileage it had on it was worried about throwing good $ after bad. So……..I did a bit of research and found a 2016 model with only 4500 miles on it and bought it. I feel proud of finding such a great car for the price I paid and the mileage. I suose that is what emergency funds are for.
1. A friend wants to go out for a bite after work on Saturday. I suggested my house. She agreed.
2. Made a blueberry bread with blueberries frozen last summer. Everyone at work loved it.
3. My mother offered me some leftovers the other day. I happily took them.
4. The usual-library, lunch and coffee from home, reusing plastic bags ect
5. A friend shared her farm share with me.

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Liz B. August 1, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Katy, so thankful you didn’t set your house on fire!. I almost set my stovetop on fire by allowing a paper towel to get too close to a hot burner….lesson learned.

My fft, Long Awaited Vacation Edition:
1) DH booked our accommodations months ago, and paid it off in advance. He shopped around for the best deal beforehand, and ended up booking at the same condo resort as last year….this condo is less expensive, ut we all like it better than last years’.
2) Drove to our destination instead of flying, saving at least $700 (including having my car checked out by our trusted mechanic before the trip).
3) Packed all of our snacks and drinks, and have eaten most of our meals at our condo.
Went out to dinner Sunday (our arrival day, and DH’s birthday) and going out to dinner tonight (local Mexican restaurant).
4) Bought generic Visa gift cards in advance (over the past 6 months) when Kroger offered 4X gas points on gift card purchases – using these gift cards for grocery runs and dinners out.
5) Resort offers all the entertainment we need – beach, pool, movie night. Took a peek in a local thrift shop, but didn’t buy anything.
Bonus #6: got employee discount AND additional 10% discount at dog “resort” kennel for paying upfront. We don’t have family, neighbors or friends who can take care of him, and this place passed DH’s inspection and high standards.
Frugal fail: I got a major sunburn at the pool yesterday, despite multiple slatherings of suncreen. Bought the Kroger brand of aloe gel after-sun stuff to help.
Love reading everyone’s frugal ideas! Have a good week!

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Elizabeth August 1, 2018 at 12:27 pm

1. Received two free sandwiches at a local barbecue place as a thank you for donating blood
2. Accumulated $16 in credit card reward points this past month
3. We have been eating random meals that require little to no cooking while my husband is away on business, which helps to keep the house cool and uses up odds and ends
4. Found clearanced blind bags for $.90 each to use for my son’s weekly treat/bribe that he gets if he completes his daily homeschool assignments with minimal fuss
5. Made kool-aid popsicles to keep the kids happy…so cheap

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cathy August 1, 2018 at 2:02 pm

1. Just got back from cross-country trip to visit my 92-year-old MIL. We had a companion fare for one ticket, miles for two others, and only had to pay full price for one. While there, we were able to stay with my husband’s sister & BIL and borrow a car. We bought groceries and ate meals at the house. Mostly enjoyed the AC, pool, visiting with family, and reading (I took a library book with me and had a few library ebooks loaded on my kindle). On the way back, our flight was delayed a few hours so Delta gave us each bonus miles (which we’ll be able to use on a future trip).
2. Frugal (in the karmic sense): Had to go back out to the airport to pick up my aunt, and loaned her my husband’s car (since he’s still visiting his mom) so she wouldn’t have to rent a car. She thanked me with some tasty treats available only from a bakery inside our airport.
3. My mom showed up this morning with two practically-new outdoor seat cushions. She said they were just sitting in her garage, and she doesn’t even still have the chairs. Now my hard porch chairs are comfy.
4. Using rain barrel water to deep soak my trees. We live in a super arid state, so “free” water is a blessing.
5. Enjoying tomatoes, strawberries, and herbs from the garden!

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Suesan August 1, 2018 at 6:28 pm

I like to make my own gift tags and had been buying blank stock from amazon to then craft away. I do like doing this craft but realized I could use cardboard from stationary boxes from work that we toss away. I then use the big paper cutter at work and make my own now (also employing a whole punch). So totally free!

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BethC. August 1, 2018 at 6:52 pm

Frugal finds on a recent vacation to Portland and environs:

1. We discovered that the light rail has half price “honored citizen” rates for seniors, which we put to good use.
2. Found a gem in the Oregon Culinary Institute-a 4 course dinner for $22, with wonderful caring service from the students. It is a culinary school and has great food.
3. Visited the lovely International Test Rose Garden for free.
4. Wandered around the Saturday Farmer’s Market at PSU and tried a number of free samples-ended up having breakfast at Pine State Biscuits-yum!
5. I had signed up for a 2 week free trial of Ancestry.com several years ago. Knew little about my maternal grandfather’s family because his mom died in childbirth. Was able to trace my ancestry back to 1850’s Ireland. Through Ancestry, connected with a cousin who now lives in Oregon and got to meet up with him in Portland-very cool!
6. Wandered around Powell’s Books downtown (a lifelong dream od mine). Succumbed to purchasing, but at least all books were used.
7. I think I stumbled across Katy’s Portland neighborhood-had a nice main street area with a Goodwill, a New Seasons Market, a cool looking older movie theatre and a cute Mexican restaurant with a side porch. Was not wandering in search of Katy at all-was looking to pop into 2 other Powell’s locations-but some of the items above have been referenced in the blog.-so maybe.
8. Stayed at a timeshare for a few days out by Mt. Hood. Took the wonderful free tour of Timberline Lodge and went on 2 easy but amazingly gorgeous hikes-had to pay $5 for parking, but it was so worth it!

Five frugal things since returning home:
1. Discovered that our local LL Bean store has free hikes once a month at our local nature center and went on a 3 mile hike.
2. Have harvested prodigious quantities of summer squash and have made about 10 loaves of white chocolate chip squash bread-delicious!
3. I keep printing $1 off coupons for CVS Gold Emblem beverages-their flavored wares have been on sake for 88 cents, so I keep getting bottles for free!
4. Have friends coming down from New England for a visit and all meals served will consist of produce from our garden and other items on hand.
5. Finally downloaded Hoopla after seeing suggestions here and have loved being able to listen to audio books for free on my 75 minute commute to work.

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Tracy August 2, 2018 at 3:48 am

Hi Beth,

As a native Portlander I can attest that you hit some of my very favorite spots! You’ve also reminded me that I want to try the dinner at Portland Culinary Institute — thank you!

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Katy August 2, 2018 at 6:42 am

That does sound like my neighborhood!

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tracy August 2, 2018 at 3:57 am

FFT — maybe? Spending has been profligate the last few weeks but trying to get back on track. Had a wonderful vacation in Chicago/Iowa — some frugal some not. But back on the frugal wagon now!
1. In Chicago — did lots of free/low cost things — walking everywhere, visited free museum, drank coffee at “home” (Airbnb), visited parks/churches. Also spent money– meals out, Chicago Art Museum, Architectural River Tour (very worth it). In Iowa, spent much less, was hosted by family, no hotel costs and no restaurant meals.
2. Taking bus to/from work every day this week. Taking breakfast & lunch too.
3. Been stockpiling good coffee because there have been excellent sales this summer.
4. Trying to limit grocery purchases to filling in produce, otherwise using what’s on hand. Have to try and kill off the last bit of the travel credit card balance next paycheck.
5. Didn’t buy gifts for kids from this trip, didn’t see anything in particular and didn’t want to buy crap at the airport. They didn’t even notice. (NOTE “kids” range in age from 14 to 27)

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Bee August 2, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Did your architectural tour include the home and office of Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park? This is something that is on my personal bucket list.

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tracy August 3, 2018 at 3:43 am

No it was downtown Chicago — mostly skyscrapers but very interesting. I do love Frank Lloyd Wright as well and thought about trying to get to see his home but we only had two days in Chicago and didn’t make it.

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Kathleen Westbrook August 2, 2018 at 6:34 am

Been trying to be extra frugal this summer, as we’re laying low—so why not make it even better for the budget….
1) I’m back working at the neighborhood farm market and the owner is paying me very well (for a retail clerk job). Still, he’s very generous w/ us employees and every day I work, I’m taking home some of the ‘junky’ produce to make dinner for the 2 of us. We’re having fresh corn almost daily, cucumbers, yellow squash (one of hubby’s favorite foods) and new potatoes. Yesterday, after I sorted potatoes, I brought home about 5 lb—I’m going to make a couple of our favorite things, then I’ll add these to my own and start canning them. It’s bringing in income and keeping me busy enough that I’m not going out and ‘running the roads’ as my husband’s uncle used to say…. he died last month at 90. He was the patriarch and they’re all kinda-floundering while trying to learn this new normal.
2) Did my 1x/month errand day in the city—a 30 min. drive from our rural home. I always start w/ recycling and my tiny SUV (hubby, who is in auto engineering, says they call it a CUV—a cute utility vehicle; BFF calls it my clown car) is stuffed-packed-jammed when I leave the house. My garage gets about 50% emptier. Then there’s random errands, deliveries, the bank, thrift store shopping since it’s 1/2 off day, Aldi, fabric and hardware stores where I’ve had a list going for a couple of weeks. It’s a whole day–8:15am – 6:10pm, but it’s also one-&-done for the month. I usually plan any medical appointments in this, or rather plan it all around the medical stuff, so I really do go there 1x/month. I usually treat myself at the end to a car wash (w/ a coupon) so when I come back w/ a more-or-less empty car, it’s clean, too.
3) had my annual garage sale around working. I made…wait for it… $45 in 3 separate 1/2 days. I keep doing this each year because I like having a garage sale, it helps me really organize where all this junque goes rather than just sending it to the landfill, and gives me a final chance to sell stuff on a local FB page that didn’t sell the first time I listed it at some other random time throughout the year. I made about 2x as much on individual sales—and got more stuff outta here. That’s really the payoff: getting a little extra cash while having a little less junque to schlep somewhere.
4) completely organized the cellar—determined what I can sell in the way of pickles and jams at the farm market and also, what more I will need to can this year. I’m really trying not to make too much… It too is a waste of food, time, supplies and electricity to can 100 jars of tomatoes when we really only need 50 for just the 2 of us. It is also prompting the grown kids to determine what they really do use and appreciate—so the extra doesn’t become a burden for them, thus decreasing their appreciation.
5) got invited to a bridal shower for one of the 2 weddings in the family this year. Went through my stash of perfect-condition holiday items that I’ve picked up over time at garage sales and 1/2 thrift store days to make a theme-gift. I’m sure I spent less than $15 –total– on a couple of decorations for every holiday for the year for this new bride, who has never had a home of her own… and that includes the new tote I bought to put it all in.

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Alison August 2, 2018 at 6:45 am

1. My tiny apple tree has been dropping tons of apples, so I have been making apple sauce and apple crumble and giving them away like crazy.
2. My daughter continues to shop from my closet for work clothes. It cracks me up that she is wearing a sundress I bought 20 years ago (that has remained in my closet because I was hoping to be able to fit into it again, LOL).
3. After procrastinating, I have joined the local YMCA. I can walk there, and they have great fitness and yoga classes. Also a friend is a member, and we go together. It’s easier to get up and go when you are accountable to someone else.
4. I’ll have out of town guests for brunch this week, instead of going out to eat like we usually do.
5. Selling items for my parents, as they are trying to declutter. Not frugal for me, but I enjoying helping them out.

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Linda g August 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

I noticed that lambs quarters is starting to come up in the yard. In the yard, it is a weed. In the kitchen, washed and cooked its delicious. I haven’t noticed purslaine yet this year but its good, too.

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Mary Beth Danielson August 2, 2018 at 8:58 am

My husband and I lived in in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village when we were first married. The beautiful (and cheap, this was long before the neighborhood gentrified) apartment had radiator heat but there was no radiator in the bathroom so it was freezing fall-winter-spring. Every morning the first one up put the hot-air popcorn popper in the bathroom (without that plastic piece that holds the popcorn in). Only took 4-5 minutes to warm the room. So now you know; those hot-air poppers can stand in as mini-heaters. Though if your mother comes to visit, she will wonder why the popcorn popper is in the bathroom.

My husband was charged $500 because back in January (this year) he went to a clinic to meet a new doctor. Except when he got there that day the kindly old gentleman said he was retiring, didn’t do ANYTHING medical, just introduced my husband to the younger guy who would become my husband’s doctor. Then they made an appointment for my husband to have his first check up six weeks later. THEN bills started coming – we were supposed to pay $200 of the $500 charge for that first appt where nothing happened. Husband was polite but he persisted (hah) through eight phone calls and many emails to various people who did nothing except send us to a collection agency. Husband wrote one more letter to the CEO of the whole medical network. She wrote back that they were removing the charge.

I’ve made gazpacho three times in the past two weeks. I don’t garden and I’m usually doing something else on Farmer’s Market morning. So I used grocery store tomatoes – once a mere can of tomatoes (the horror). Add a little siracha – tastes summery and wonderful.

I invited some friends to impromptu lunch. I made blueberry & chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes. Boy were they a hit! I drop the berries and chips in from the top, I don’t put them in the batter.

When politicians who infuriate me come on TV I narrow my eyes, look at them deeply, and mumble “Voodoo voodoo, make your voice go away.” I do this for my own inexpensive mental health. And then I give money to candidates I respect.

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Emily N. August 3, 2018 at 4:10 pm

“Because there’s nothing frugal about saving a few cents while having to replace a burned down house!”

This is why I broke down and bought a fancy electric kettle at the end of last year. I was content to heat up water on the stovetop, but after my absent-minded husband burned through (literally) a stove kettle and two pots, I decided it was cheaper/safer to get something with an automatic shut off.

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JC August 5, 2018 at 5:08 pm

1. neighbor gave us free cucumbers so I got ingredients to make salads with them to use them up
2. eating all meals at home, making my own cold brew coffee
3. carrying water bottle with me (saves on drinks out)
4. new (or new-to-me) clothing moratorium until everything I have that needs to be sewn by me, tailored, dyed or mended is done and all my give-away bags are sorted
5. started a “what’s in the freezer” list for the front of our freezer so we’re more likely to use what’s in there (it’s a tiny freezer and a jumbled, cascading mess) vs order takeout — and planned what to eat from the freezer when we get home from vacation so we don’t get takeout that night (we will be tired and hungry)

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Heather August 5, 2018 at 7:25 pm

Did you know you could use a brown paper lunch sack to pop popcorn and use it over and over? Tis true! Add popcorn and pop for 2ish minutes!!

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Katy August 7, 2018 at 11:48 am

Or not . . .

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Joanie August 6, 2018 at 4:28 am

I’m sure going to heed Katy’s microwave fire warning in this blog and never use the same bag again for popping corn.

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JJ August 7, 2018 at 6:38 am

Trying our best to keep up with daily life during steamy summer weather. More takeout meals over the last two weeks than I’d like, but that’s really the only frugal fail. But some good stuff too:

– Keeping up with canning/preserving summer produce from our garden and our CSA share. The CSA share is a big expense up front, but the weekly produce from a local farm is a great value.
– Rescued an oregano plant that my Mom was ready to drop in the compost. It’s a healthy plant that turned out to be a variety that she’s not crazy about, but that I like. A few marigolds in the container were a bonus.
– Air conditioning has been limited to our bedroom for overnights. Fans and a decent cross-breeze work for most of the daytime.
– Helped my SIL with some “specialty” recycling; textiles were dropped at our local elementary school’s collection bin, and assorted electronics are being wiped before being dropped at Staples and Best Buy for recycling.
– Spent a morning doing some batch cooking for a friend having dental surgery. Her procedure was postponed due to a scheduling mix-up, so we spent a few hours decluttering (an ongoing project), and was gifted a lovely tablecloth and set of napkins.

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