Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 3, 2018 · 69 comments

  1. My son and I wanted to watch a movie, and even though we have a Netflix membership (plus access to Hulu and Amazon Prime) we still went and rented a $4 movie. How is this frugal? Because we live close to the store Movie Madness, which not only stocks thousands upon thousands (upon thousands) of movies, but also houses the owner’s personal collection of movie costumes and props from movies ranging from ET to Alien. So for a mere $4 we were able to enjoy a museum level experience as well as a movie rental!

    This business was recently on the brink of failure, and was brought back to life through a successful crowdfunding campaign that ensured that this unique establishment will continue to serve our local community.

  2. I put together a goodie box for my nephew who just started college. I wanted to make it as spectacular as possible since I’d somehow flaked out on giving him a graduation gift, so I crammed a medium-rate USPS box with sweet and savory treats from Ikea and The Grocery Outlet. I then folded a handful of cash into a vintage silver box from the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet. (I have just one nephew and one niece, so I can afford to splash out when it comes time to gift giving.)

    None of these gifts conflict with my decision to not buy anything new, as consumables and cash pair well with a non-consumer lifestyle. He has zero use for plastic trinkets or low quality manufactured items, and what 18 year old on earth wouldn’t welcome a box full of cash and snacks?!

  3. I’ve been very good about cooking low cost meals from scratch, even though it’s immensely tempting to enjoy the many restaurants and food carts that Portland has to offer. Warm weather and the both kids at home invite a vacation mindset, but in the end I’ll be happy that I kept the food budget under control. Especially since my son’s apartment lease just kicked into gear and the next college tuition payment is due on October 1st.

    However, home cooking doesn’t have to boring, as evidenced by a recent fondue night that featured my homemade one-hour bread and the Tillamook cheese, beer, sausage and broccoli already in the refrigerator. The neighbors lent us their electric fondue pot and there were no complaints!

  4. My son and I watched a library DVD of Micmacs, I’m readying to send the same stuff I thrifted last year back to my son’s apartment, (no need to buy new stuff each year) I brought leftovers as work lunches, I drank the free so-so coffee at work, I ate a spotty brown banana, I used an ancient gift certificate to pick up a couple of cool 50¢ magazines at the Title Wave used library bookstore, I turned in my adult summer reading program card to the library, I got another free haircut from the Supercuts training center and I wore clothing multiple times between washings.

  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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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Midwest Beth September 3, 2018 at 1:52 pm

1. Went a lot over budget last month doubling it on eating out and on clothes purchases as we had a long illness and then death in the family so both categories WAY over budget – tried to stay frugal as well as eat healthy but sometimes you can’t prepare meals or need funeral clothes immediatley – you purchase what you need to and not worry about it.
2. Took a few hours to spend with my daughter away from the hosptial; asked her what she wanted to do and she said go to Goodwill as we were out of town and don’t have one near us, I was pleasantly surprised. Both of us enjoyed the break away – she found a few “vintage” items for school and I found some neat pictures and pillows for our sun porch. The break did us good and we were renewed to go back.
3. Thought about going out to eat today as its Labor Day but instead we stayed in and ate 10 cent each corn on the cob, hotdogs that were 99 cents a pack and baked beans also on sale. Loved our frugal meal. For dessert we will eat strawberry short cake made out of the free strawberries I got from Meijer – love store coupons! Meijer had buy three items get one free for haircair products – didn’t ring up right went to the service desk and I got my credit for over $5.oo. I always review my receipt before leaving the store – rarely fails that something wasen’t rung up correctly.
4. completed two pet sit client jobs this past week and over the long holiday weekend bringing in extra cash. I had Friday off as an unpaid day from my fulltime job but chose to attend a paid inservice at my part-time job which was actually fun and they had a wonderful catered luncheon for us all.
5. Frugal Fails – Went to the Thompson Twins/B-52’s/Culture Club Concert and totally treated ourselves to food and concert t-shirts – loved it! I had bought the tickets through Groupon which saved a ton and we sat on the lawn, not Pavillion seats. Additionally last weekend went to a Renisance Festival – ticktets were $24 for adults – I brought four cans of food for the food drive and got one ticket free so we got in for the price of one. Treated ourselves to food and drink – split most things so we could try more – the cost wasen’t bad at all. Great experiences for my daughter and me – little “staycation” day things since vacation wasen’t in the picture and fun memories.

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Katy September 3, 2018 at 2:44 pm

Your frugal fails sound like so much fun!

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Madeline Kasian September 3, 2018 at 2:15 pm

1. I found a credit certificate for a local used bookstore from the year 2011 for $16 and they HONORED IT.. my husband and I bought some books and I got some usually expensive craft magazines with a lot of instructions in them for projects, so they are good for ever.. a little splurge and a surprise.Bookman’s did not blink when I handed them a credit from 7 years ago!!!! One of the books is a camping cookbook and we have picked up this frugal hobby once again.

2. (See #1 ) We snagged a campsite in the very popular Sedona campground for 2 weeknights (We’re retired!) and using my American the Beautiful lifetime pass it is costing us $22 for 2 nights sleeping under the stars and swimming in Oak Creek!!!!! We have been using airbnbs for our trips to Sedona, and sometimes will still do that but we’re wanting to get UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL to nature and also save some $$.

3. Made pitchers of frugal fresh brewed iced tea all week vs. pricey seltzer-y waters my friends seem to love. Luckily I don’t like fizzy beverages.

4. Entertainment this week: Card games at neighbor’s house, a bi monthly gathering. Art/craft meetup at a group I belong to, $5 donation. There is a “free” bin of recycles craft supplies which I donate to and also take from so I would call this “free..” New TV series starting on amazon and netflix this week to enjoy at home. I am also making some handmade gifts for reunion with 2 girlfriends I will be seeing soon,using craft items I already have. Library date with husband.

5. Menu planned: All week, lunches and dinners at home.Using up freezer and pantry items.

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tonya Jenkins September 3, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Bookman’s is awesome!! Miss them now that we no longer live in Arizona.

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Lisa M. September 3, 2018 at 2:48 pm

I love the expression on your son’s face pointing towards the very creepy looking mask. What a good looking young guy and a hilarious photo!

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WilliamB September 3, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Only one, but it’s not trivial:
I spend almost nothing on the annual block party and yet I provide crucial support.

1. I “organize” it. This consists of sending one email that essentially says “Yup, we’re still having it. Y’all know the details but here they are anyway.” Sometimes I’ll send a follow-up, sharing what foods people have already committed to bring. Twenty minutes tops, but very important. Although … one year the “organizer” didn’t send out the email and people showed up anyway.

2. I provide disposable plates, cups, napkins, flatware. Usually other folk bring some anyway so I stash it away for the next year. I have to buy only once every few years. Additionally, I save the disposables that make their way into the house (with take-out orders, for example).

3. I provide tables, tableclothes, etc. None of which I’ve paid for. The folding tables I already owned; the tablecloths and stuff are from past events that, like the disposables, I save for the next occasion.

4. The neighbor who is moving away in a few months is giving me most of her party supplies.

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VanessaKC September 3, 2018 at 4:21 pm

I love that your community rallied to keep that business alive. Nothing of the sort remains in my area. There is an old video shop in my previous hood, but it’s only afloat because of adult films. The good old vid shops here are long gone.

Usual frugal stuff here overall. One thing I’m proud of is that I was able to set up a free vintage VW show at the longest surviving record store in town. Supports 2 local businesses with minimal investment. Nothing goes better with old vdubs than records and incense.

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cathy September 4, 2018 at 7:07 pm

sandalwood or patchouli??

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Stephanie September 3, 2018 at 4:27 pm

1. My mother has been coming up to watch my daughter while I go to physical therapy, so instead of eating out when she’s here, I’ve been making lunch for us. She’s been so appreciative, and it’s nice to show off my cooking skills. 🙂

2. I finished knitting a Christmas present for my husband out of yarn that’s been sitting around my house for eleventeen zillion years.

3. I’m starting another knitted Christmas present made from scraps of yarn that I used for other Christmas presents years ago.

4. My daughter and I enjoyed some time at a library in a neighboring town. It’s gorgeous there, and they had books from my Goodreads list. We combined our trip there with grocery shopping at a store not too far from the library.

5. My son and I went to the student-directed play at his high school. Tickets were only three dollars each, and it was a great show. His school has an amazing fine arts department and I always enjoy supporting them.

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Carolyn S September 4, 2018 at 8:15 am

“eleventeen zillion years” – that pretty much describes my time frame for getting projects done these days. Made me laugh, thanks!

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Linda September 7, 2018 at 7:45 am

I am figuring out that no matter how much I thought that yarn was “a good buy” or on a “really good sale”, if it starts to disintegrate while its in stash it wasn’t a “good deal” for me. Who knew that yarn would do that? But it does after a few decades in storage!

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naiveorbrave September 3, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Five Frugal Things – long-term-travel-edition part 3

1. Still saving on hotel costs (and caring for my mental well-being. Tend to feel lonely and depressed in hotel rooms) – took a 50 hours train from Yantai, Shangdong to Kunming, Yunnan. Coming from a rather small country it’s amazing to be on a train so long without leaving the country. Was a slow train though and yes I had a sleeper, hard sleeper as that is cheaper and the nicer experience. To pass the time I downloaded audio books and books to read through my library app. I kept practicing my Chinese Language skills – but mainly using my audio then with talking to people as it’s still so little that I know. My classes will start tomorrow!
The two nights before I camped at the city beach in Weihai, charged my phone at a friendly shop keepers place. The shop was on the beach as well and of course I bought my iced tea there.

2. Took loads of noodles and tea with me on the train ride to have using the endless hot water supply. The pure water tasted awful so I stretched the electrolytes I still had to last me for the trip.

3. Met my warmshowers host at a metro station close to her place. Took the metro there and walked to her place. I so enjoyed the walk after sitting for like forever. Chatted with my host and her room mate over some home-brewed tea. The apartment is nice and I never enjoyed having a shower so much!

4. Feasting on veggies and fruits since they were so expensive in Korea – and if you buy seasonal they are so unbelievable cheap in China!

5. I will buy some fruits and veggies to cook at my hosts place. My motivation here is less the frugality as my cravings for veggies and eggs and being able to determine in detail what goes into my food.
We might go out to dinner today or tomorrow as there is a nice vegetarian restaurant around the corner. It’s buffet-style and all-you-can-eat costs less than $4 per person. Looking forward to that as well.

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tracy September 4, 2018 at 5:02 am

Am loving reading about your adventures!

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naiveorbrave September 3, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Five Frugal Things – long-term-travel-edition part 3

1. Still saving on hotel costs (and caring for my mental well-being. Tend to feel lonely and depressed in hotel rooms) – took a 50 hours train from Yantai, Shangdong to Kunming, Yunnan. Coming from a rather small country it’s amazing to be on a train so long without leaving the country. Was a slow train though and yes I had a sleeper, hard sleeper as that is cheaper and the nicer experience. To pass the time I downloaded audio books and books to read through my library app. I kept practicing my Chinese Language skills – but mainly using my audio then with talking to people as it’s still so little that I know. My classes will start tomorrow!
The two nights before I camped at the city beach in Weihai, charged my phone at a friendly shop keepers place. The shop was on the beach as well and of course I bought my iced tea there.

2. Took loads of noodles and tea with me on the train ride to have using the endless hot water supply. The pure water tasted awful so I stretched the electrolytes I still had to last me for the trip.

3. Met my warmshowers host at a metro station close to her place. Took the metro there and walked to her place. I so enjoyed the walk after sitting for like forever. Chatted with my host and her room mate over some home-brewed tea. The apartment is nice and I never enjoyed having a shower so much!

4. Feasting on veggies and fruits since they were so expensive in Korea – and if you buy seasonal they are so unbelievable cheap in China!

5. I will buy some fruits and veggies to cook at my hosts place. My motivation here is less the frugality as my cravings for veggies and eggs and being able to determine in detail what goes into my food.
We might go out to dinner today or tomorrow as there is a nice vegetarian restaurant around the corner. It’s buffet-style and all-you-can-eat costs less than $4 per person. Looking forward to that as well.

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KJD509 September 3, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Frugal five, holiday weekend edition:

1) Parked for free at my mom’s downtown condo and walked to the cool Labor Day art show way across downtown. Really enjoyed the art, probably more than if we’d been looking to buy something because in that case I’d have been appalled at the prices. As it was, I didn’t care.
2) For the price of just a little more gas, drove the long way home that evening to stop by a park where a couple of friends from college were performing for free. In theory I’d love to support them by paying to see them play. In fact, I’m very glad to hold on to my pennies just now.
3) Drove a ways to an inexpensive local swimming hole on the same exit as one of those astonishingly priced water parks that costs too much and forbids outside food. Smugly enjoyed our delicious homemade picnic and really fun day even more after driving past the crammed parking lot at the other place.
4) Ate leftovers and played board games for day three of the holiday weekend. No reason we have to spend anything to celebrate. (Although hubs did splurge on some locally brewed beer. Still cheaper than going out.)
5) Middle daughter grabbed some boxes she had been storing in her grandmother’s closet. She shops at thrift stores and purges things ruthlessly every season, so made a pile of items she was tired of , some of which Littlest happily scooped up. We’re considering that “back to school shopping” and calling it good.

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Mand01 September 3, 2018 at 5:06 pm

My life has been a near constant state of outgoings lately. But I’ll do my best.
1. My husband asked for things he needed for Fathers Day. As we would have purchased these for him anyway, it was a frugal gift.
2. I got 50% off three of the items for his gift.
3. He requested a roast dinner for Fathers Day so I made roast pork and vegetables and asked my youngest to make a dessert. All cooked at home using mostly what we had.
4. I attended a fancy party for an ex-colleague who is very wealthy. I wore a ten dollar thrifted dress. I pulled it off. The look, not the dress.
5. I’m not getting anymore renovations done on my house for at least a year.

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Crosby September 4, 2018 at 9:57 am

“I wore a ten dollar thrifted dress. I pulled it off. The look, not the dress.” Hehehehehe thanks for the giggle!

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Jen September 3, 2018 at 5:07 pm

1. Got together with a friend and held a garage sale to get rid of some random items cluttering up my garage and I made $207!
2. Shopped a garage sale the following day and found an Annie Glass Ribbon Cake plate that retails for $325, bought it for $5. Will use a few times then list online for a huge profit.
3. Pocketed $20 walking a neighbor’s dog 4 times last week. Not a huge income but the dog is sweet and easy and walks well with my dog.
4. Dieting so eating less and saving $$ on wine habit by cutting wayyyy back.
5. Completing Living Will and Trust this evening. Have been putting it off for years and am so relieved to have it done. I read that Aretha Franklin died “Intestate”, which means she didn’t have a will. That motivated me to finally do it.
Bought the software from Nolo online for less than $50 since things are straight-forward in our household.

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Bee September 4, 2018 at 4:02 am

What a great find on the cake plate! I love Annie Glass. It is beautiful.

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Roberta September 3, 2018 at 5:15 pm

1. We are in the process of raising a Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy. He is adorable, and loud, and wet, and not allowed to visit around much because he hasn’t finished his shots. He has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow for shots, and they are all free through the organization. So far, with our new puppy, we have had to buy toys and food and that’s it! All the puppy, little of the expense. Bonus: my daughter and I now remember how hard it is to have a baby.
2. Went out today with my husband for a date. We went to the zoo, where we have membership, and enjoyed watching the birds and the monkeys. We went out for lunch, shared a burger, and came home to help the kids with homework.
3. We were reminded that there is free tutoring at the community college where my son is taking classes. Free tutoring to help a kid learn math toward his degree: well worth the gas!
4. Making dinner tonight out of lettuce that was too close to the back of the fridge, old cucumbers and chickpea flour. Yummy falafel, at home.
5. Made a birthday card for a friend’s last-minute birthday invitation, last night. Thank you Pinterest!

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Marybeth September 3, 2018 at 5:34 pm

1. Hubby fixed our washing machine in about 2 hours. Laundry was then hung outside to dry.
2. Picked a bunch of cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and pole beans from the garden as well as lots of herbs.
3. Dried the above herbs. Made sauce with the tomatoes and canned 5 quarts and 3 pints. Made a batch of horseradish pickles with the above cucumbers. Made hot sauce with the tabasco and jalapeno peppers. Pole beans that were extra were blanched and frozen for later use. No garden veggies are going to waste in this house.
4. Used a $10 off rewards from Staples for my youngest daughter’s back to school supplies. I spent $2 cash and we are good on supplies. Using most items that we already have.
5. Hubby’s truck was making a noise and he fixed it himself. he also did an oil change while he was at it.

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Mia September 5, 2018 at 4:46 pm

I would love your recipe for horseradish pickles. Thank you.

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Marybeth September 6, 2018 at 12:12 pm

3 pounds cucumbers, sliced how you like them
5 1/3 cups vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons dry mustard
3/4 cup horseradish
garlic is optional. I used 8 cloves.

Mix everything except garlic and cucumbers. Do not put in metal! Use plastic or ceramic bucket. Add garlic and cucumbers. Put 2 grape leaves to keep crispy. Cover with a small saucer to keep everything submerged. Do not refrigerate. Test at 1 week intervals. Enjoy and refrigerate when you like them.
This is my first time making them so hoping they come out good.

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Jennifer September 3, 2018 at 5:46 pm

1. I washed just a few items and layed them in front of the fan that we were already using in the kitchen while cooking instead of drying such a small load.
2. Cleaned up my trusty old fall decor to put outside soon. I found some fall looking ribbon at a yardsale in a free pile last year. I will make new bows to add to the wreaths to spruce them up a bit. I don’t decorate for every holiday but since Fall is my favorite time of year, I put out stuff that will work until Christmas.
3. I found a whole bag of socks a yardsale for $1 for my young girls. They are close enough in size to share the bounty.
4. We went camping this weekend and all was frugal even down to them accepting my husband’s military discount with no proof….until….the darn ice cream truck drove by. The music, the cute polka dotted truck, the summer heat, all the kids running toward said truck….there was no way I could say no. Frugal fail- $14+worth of ice cream. It wasn’t the best ice cream either, but we were all so hot that no one cared. I have to admit I did enjoy the cold treat and the nostalgia. My husband kept muttering the whole time how we could have bought a whole box of ice cream for a few bucks, lol.
5. Leftover camping food all day today-no waste!

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Terri W September 4, 2018 at 5:12 am

Those kids will one day say, “remember that time we went camping and got ice cream treats from the cute polka dotted ice cream truck?” That memory will be well worth the price!

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Jennifer September 4, 2018 at 5:44 am

So true! It will be started off with..remember when we talked our cheap ass mom into treats from the cute polka dotted ice cream truck, lol

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Patricia Koernig September 4, 2018 at 12:53 pm

Thank you for the laugh!

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tonya Jenkins September 3, 2018 at 5:58 pm

1) Went to an amusement park with my extended family over the long weekend. They had a free pass and I took transit there (free transit pass through my employer).
2) Frugal grocery shopping today, as usual. I’m glad I took a few minutes to load some electronic coupons on to my store loyalty card. It always saves some money.
3) Yardwork and chores today on our day off.
4) Watching a movie on Netflix and eating leftovers tonight.
5) I work on call this weekend and we get paid if we have to go in. A really nice benefit of my job.

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Ava September 3, 2018 at 7:14 pm

1. Found a great little metal restaurant -style shelf that was just what we needed to expand our pet supply storage area. Goodwill-$6.
2. Collaborating with friend/craft partner to do some joint projects for the craft shows this year. The goal is to use up supplies we have had for a long time. One thing we are incorporating is a roll of burlap that another friend saved from a dumpster because he thought we could use it.
3. Looking forward to hauling away all my church yard sale donations in a couple of days. There is a great tower of boxes taking up space and I will be glad to see it all go. Very frugal for the church, as they were short on donations last year. Recorded it all for tax deductions.
4. Went to an estate sale and my smart husband spotted some books he thought he could resell. He was going to offer $4 per volume but they really wanted to be rid of the books and gave him a price of .25 each. He already has a bid of $50 on the first one.
5. Enjoying free Roku and library movies and making full use of the library’s great service of transporting requested books to the branch of my choice for pick up. I read reviews in the library’s free paper, make a note of the books that sound interesting, and request holds on them. In a few days, they are delivered to my branch.

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kathleen September 3, 2018 at 8:02 pm

1. Had supper at daughter’s yesterday, and she mentioned her dishwasher didn’t seem to be working properly. Her father removed the filter (pretty icky) and cleaned it. We don’t know yet if that was the problem, but it was worth a shot to possibly save a repair bill.
2. Stayed home and relaxed for the holiday.
3. I cooked in quantity today. After supper hubs packed 4 single servings to freeze for work lunches, and after that there were still 4 baked chicken breasts left over to use for other meals this week.
4. This is the third of five weeks that I am working 3 days a week. This week and the past two have been out of town. Next week and the week after will be just right up the road. Looking forward to no commute!
5. Checked out two ebooks from library. Delivered wirelessly, so no gas used. If I haven’t finished by the due date, I can turn off wireless to my Kindle. They will still get returned from my Amazon account, but because my Kindle can’t communicate with the mother ship, I can keep reading…at least if I don’t forget and turn wireless back on…and no fine incurred.

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Jennifer September 4, 2018 at 3:17 am

1) Volunteered/Worked the MLB game – it was a 90 degree day and I spent the game pouring beers. So I caved to my craving on the way home and bought beer for my dh and I ( a rare splurge) – BUT I used my tip money from the game, so nothing out of our budget for this splurge. Plus, earned $75 for my dd’s gymnastics tuition.
2) Took my dd shopping as she wanted to spend her birthday money at Kohls. She used my $10 off $25 coupon to buy a dress. I used a $5 reward to get a new work shirt for $4.27.
3) Sent my dh to the grocery store with a strict list based on weekly sales. He stuck to the list.
4) Went hiking and for a picnic lunch on Labor Day, came home to ice cream bought on sale. Then went to my sister’s house for a fish fry – she only wanted me to bring a cucumber as she had everything else.
5) Gave the dog a bath at home, packed lunches for work and school, did not increase our cell data plan when we hit our limit, stretching a lb of ground sausage to cover 2 meals (pizza toppings and spaghetti sauce for 5 people plus leftovers), homemade muffins for breakfasts.

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K D September 4, 2018 at 4:05 am

1. It’s been hot and humid so going outdoor places has not been appealing. I did lend a portable air conditioner to a friend to use while they wait for their central A/C to be replaced in a few weeks. We don’t need it in the next few weeks.

2. My husband wanted to watch an old TV series. The complete series was available on DVD at the library. I continue to read e-books borrowed from the library.

3. I’m wearing old clothes, hand-me-up clothes, etc. Like Katy, I often wear something more than once before washing it. Then I wait for full loads before running the washing machine. I washed my yoga mat with towels the other day.

4. We had my daughter and her fiance over for a cookout yesterday. Little extra food was purchased. We kept it simple, as it’s more about the getting together. Now that my daughter is on her own she is happy to accept food items I don’t pay much for.

5. We stopped at a thrift store on Saturday and I bought a large bag of yarn for $10.50. It was almost all yarn I’ll use (for charity knitting) and the few small skeins I don’t want I’ll give away.

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Nancy from Mass September 4, 2018 at 4:36 am

1. Found .17 in the past week!
2. Donated blood on Labor Day and received a metal water bottle. (but donated blood reclined instead of laying down and got really dizzy afterwards. will have to lay down again from now on. filled a pint bag in 4 minutes! I do have a great vein 🙂 )
3. pulled out all of my batik fabric and hand dyed fabric and have been cutting multiple quilts out. a dresden plate, a scrappy rectangle/square quilt and 2 sizes of postage stamp quilt blocks. yes. i have enough fabric for queen size quilts for them. I have already cut a boatload of 2 1/2″ squares from other fabric. Some of the fabric i had was inherited by my mom. she also apparently bought a lot of fabric over the years. Last month i made a queen size quilt from fabric i had and 4 yards of white/white fabric from my mother.
4. took one for the team and made toast this morning from some dinner rolls we had (that were originally frozen) before they turned moldy. anything tastes great when you spread nutella on it…mmmmm
5. took a ride on friday for DS birthday to a NH town with a college he is interested in going to. hung out there, had an appetizer lunch (french onion soup for me, boneless buff wings for him), DS got a free poster from a box outside of a store, took back roads south and found an amazing lake i had never been to. ended up at the in laws and i treated us for ice cream to celebrate his birthday and my MIL good news about her cancerous nodes disappearing/shrinking.

mothering fail: DS was supposed to take his SAT’s 2 weeks ago. we had driven home very late from a party in ME the night before and DS had the worst panic attack ever when we were getting up that morning.. I was horrible to him. Partially in disappointment that after all that work, he wasn’t going and partially due to exhaustion. not my finest moment in motherhood. i have apologized and we’ve talked about it and my son is okay and not mad at me. but man, i am so embarrassed. on top of that, if i had forced him to go he would have to retake the test because they apparently used last years test – which had been leaked with all the answers. the SAT folks are planning on having all retake that test. We have rescheduled DS test date and will make sure we DONT GO ANYWHERE THE NIGHT BEFORE. Lesson learned.

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tracy September 4, 2018 at 5:08 am

Nancy,

We ALL have parenting fails and I am sure your son greatly appreciates the love and care you took in making amends for your freak out! (That’s my term for when I completely lose my @#!*& with my kids!). Don’t be hard too hard on yourself.

Tracy

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nancy from mass September 4, 2018 at 5:33 am

Thank you Tracy. I did completely lose my @#$&% with my son. we both had about 4 hours of sleep, so i know that didn’t help. it was also his first panic attack in about a year and he was sobbing into a bath towel. it was horrible. If i wasn’t so tired, i would’ve recognized it for exhaustion and realized that there’s always another time to take the test. all that matters is he wants to take it, go to a good school and plan for his future. a 5 week delay in the test is not going to change that. still, everytime i think about it, i get a pit in my stomach for how i mishandled it.

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Patricia Koernig September 4, 2018 at 1:02 pm

I understand so much. Forgiving our parenting/caregiving fails (A. Marie) will be the best way to move forward. An ocasional 5:00 p.m Margarita also helps! Grace to us all, ladies.
Patricia

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A. Marie September 4, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Nancy: Where you have parenting fails, I have dementia caregiver fails. I seem to say or do the wrong thing about 2-3X/week. But I’m working on not beating myself up for these. I hope you can forgive yourself for this one eventually. All the best to you and your DS.

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Crosby September 4, 2018 at 9:59 am

Nancy from Mass! I have the same issue when I donate blood. I’ve found that, contrary to their instructions, I don’t squeeze the ball! It makes it so my blood flows a bit slower (think 8 or 10 min instead of 4) and so I don’t get lightheaded. I also ask if I can sip the juice while I donate instead of after.

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Nancy from Mass September 4, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I’ll keep that in mind for the next time! Anything rather than going thru that again.

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Crosby September 4, 2018 at 5:13 pm

Nancy, let me know if it works. I have a donation appointment tomorrow and intend to get through it without getting dizzy! Recline position, no squeezing, juice while donating, and staying in the reclined position for 10 minutes after I’m done. I joke with the phlebotomist that I’m a high-maintenance donor!

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Mary in VA September 5, 2018 at 11:47 am

Crosby, I’m even more high-maintenance. I have to do all the above, PLUS not look at the bag that’s collecting the blood (just thinking about it makes me queasy) PLUS have an ice bag behind my neck to prevent me from feeling faint.

Mand01 September 5, 2018 at 2:58 am

As a parent of two highly anxious kiddos, I say cut yourself some slack. It can be very challenging to be calm and positive all the time when helping them through their anxiety and panic. Don’t forget that you are a person too, and your response came from a place of love and wanting him to do well after working so hard. It’s very hard watching anxiety stop your young person from doing something they want to do or are very capable of doing.
Now to follow my own advice…

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Bee September 4, 2018 at 5:02 am

My kids used to love the Saturday night trip to the video store. It was a big event – almost as big as a night at the movies. We would run into our friends and neighbors. I am glad you saved your local store. Although Internet commerce is time saving and often more efficient, something is lost when a brick and mortar store closes.
1) My husband has taken a week off from work. We are staying home and conquering some DIY projects. We will go to the beach and the gym. He will play golf with a friend who is retired. We may even splurge for dinner out one night. All in all, I think it will be a nice staycation.

2) We took my SIL who was in town for a visit to breakfast yesterday at a famous local spot. I used a $6 coupon from a coupon book my son had given me. He is a season ticket holder for a local professional team and receives a booklet with each season ticket subscription. He always shares one with me. 🙂

3) My son also brought over a large Yesterday Today and Tomorrow bush that he saved for me when re-landscaping his lawn. We planted it in the perfect spot in the backyard. It would have cost quite a bit to buy at the nursery.

4) I worked a side job this week and earned a little money. I sold two items on eBay and rejected a low-ball offer on an item. I am also continuing preparations for the semi-annual vintage flea market that I participate in every spring and fall.
The flea market allows me to sell slightly imperfect collectible items, things that have been on eBay for a while and those to costly to ship. I get fair prices for things and it only cost $20 to participate.

5) All the usual stuff — eating primarily at home, drinking water, and brewing my own coffee. I am cleaning my own house and cars. I am making sure that I eat right and get enough exercise, so I can stay strong, healthy, and enjoy this frugal life.

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tracy September 4, 2018 at 5:09 am

Enjoy your staycation Bee, sounds lovely!

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nancy from mass September 4, 2018 at 5:28 am

Bee, i just looked up the today/tomorrow bush….what a beautiful bush! i’ll have to keep my eyes open to see if i can glean a cutting from anyone in my area….

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Bee September 6, 2018 at 5:21 am

They are beautiful. Interestingly, they have pups quite frequently. Maybe I can figure out how to get one to you when mine does.

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tracy September 4, 2018 at 5:22 am

It’s been a lovely 3 day weekend at our house, both in terms of weather and in terms of having 3 days at home. So often we try and get away for the long weekends, which is fun of course, but it was just great to have time to get things done around the house. Reorganized closet, sorted out and came up with 3 big bags for Goodwill, moved summer clothes into storage and fall/winter clothes into closet, got laundry caught up, did a little yard work. And the weather was perfect — cooler “fall” mornings and evenings with lovely warm afternoons.
1. Low spend weekend. Friday eve DD #2 and I went to my Mom’s and watched an old movie set in Rome (The Bicycle Thieves from 1948) that she’d picked up at the library. She treated us to pizza dinner in. Yum! Fun and free for us. Thanks Mom!
2. Saturday went to grocery store and got lots of groceries for just under $100. Saved $36 using coupons and buy 5 get $5 off promotion. This will do us for the week for 4 adults and near adults (hubby, me, 27 year old daughter and 14 year old daughter). I’m weird and like grocery shopping so — fun but not free!
3. Son and his GF came over Saturday night and we had a great dinner out on our patio and then all 6 of us watched Mama Mia on Netflix. Fun and free!
4. Went to library Thursday and picked up 5 books. On # 2 now. Fun and free!
5. Went for runs Sat, Sun and Mon mornings. Beautiful out. 2 x with a dear friend and 1 x with hubby, two on trails and 1 through scenic NW Portland. Fun and free!
6. I have been walking by a loaded pear tree in my neighborhood and the pears are just falling off into the parking strip. It is outside the neighbor’s hedge and they are obviously not harvesting, so I took a bag and picked up a dozen pears that had fallen on the ground. Going to make a pear tarte tatin.

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LB September 4, 2018 at 6:53 am

FFT, vacation time:

1. Spent LDW in the Adirondacks, nature’s obstacle course. Free hiking and swimming, plus the obvious free exercise of frantically scrambling up and down wet rocks.

2. Food total per person for the weekend was $46, including beer and dessert. Not exactly cheap, but way lower than trying to eat out every meal for 3 days.

3. Came home and BF had friends over, including a friend who had come back from Cape Cod with a bag of 100 oysters. At $1 apiece and someone shucking them fresh at my own kitchen table, it was decadence at a discount.

4. Leftovers for lunch today! Including hummus someone left at our house, cucumbers from the farm we had rented a house on, and leftover veggie burgers.

5. Having fancy date night tonight at a pricey place–but had gotten a very generous gift card for my birthday that was burning a hole in my pocket. Always happy to support local businesses on someone else’s dime 😉

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Jill A September 4, 2018 at 10:05 am

1. I spent the weekend with my youngest daughter. She has her first apartment and is learning to cook. We made a delicious stir fry one night and we made a pot of chili that we portioned into freezer containers (purchased new from a Garage Sale) and she took that and some leftovers back to school with her.
2. My brother came over and taught me how to use a chain saw. I’m cleaning up some overgrown brushy stuff in my backyard instead of hiring it done.
3. My gas pipe in my laundry room needed shortening. Long story. I had a plumber come. He works on the side. Much cheaper than hiring a plumber from a plumbing company.
4. I sold another textbook on ebay for my daughter. It’s only a few dollars but money in, crap out. The girl who bought it lives in the same town so I delivered it to her this morning while I was out having coffee with a friend. It was only a few miles out of the way.
5. I’m selling my extra vehicle to save money on the car insurance. I have it listed on facebook and craigslist. I washed it and cleaned the inside myself. Here’s hoping I get rid of it soon.

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Cindy in the South September 4, 2018 at 10:34 am

1. I made baked beans, coleslaw, and potato salad. I also made quiche like dish with leftover tomato pie.
2. I walked an hour with a neighbor.
3. I took a nap after that walk.
4. I exercised with weights for free at my ex-husband’s private gym. It is frugal to get along with an ex……lol.
5. I listened to the radio, played the piano for church Sunday service, which keeps me in shape, piano playing wise, and just sorta chilled and listened to the crickets at night in my back yard. Since we are only forecast to get a couple of inches of rain from the hurricane, it should be a pleasant night, with rain hitting my metal roof…ah, the simple pleasures…..

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ouvickie September 4, 2018 at 10:42 am

1) Saturday I watched the OU football game with my neighbor and his family. A yummy, free lunch since he’d invited me to have hamburgers & brats with them.
2) Sunday I spent the day at a family reunion. I picked up rolls for the dinner, which is a wonderful smorgasbord of meat, veggies, desserts, drinks and breads. Food, fun and family – it was wonderful!
3) Monday I stayed home, cleaned did laundry and fixed a meal of grilled salmon and veggies. The salmon and cauliflower-rice & carrots came in a boxed package I bought at Aldi for less than $10. Simple, easy and cheaper than a meal out.
4) I’m back at work today – so it was PB on a caramel rice cake for breakfast and a frozen entree and granola bar for lunch.
5) I’m really enjoying the audiobook “Every Day Grace” by Marianne Williamson. It certainly makes for a calming commute.

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Lindsey September 4, 2018 at 10:48 am

1. Garden is harvested and processed, just ahead of first frost. Tons of canned goods on the shelves and more in the freezer. I keep track and it would have cost me about $1600 to buy these fruits and vegetables at the market. When I subtract the costs associated with my garden, I made a $1200 profit for three and a half months of work—like a small side gig!
2. Found $10 on the sidewalk.
3. Even weirder, while walking the dog I found a brand new hammer lying in the middle of the woods near our house. Husband was thrilled.
4. Won $100 in a local contest for a logo design.
5. Took a load of stuff to Goodwill and another to a non-profit used bookstore that supports literacy programs.

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KJD509 September 4, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Lindsey, wow! That’s quite a garden profit!

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LR September 4, 2018 at 12:06 pm

FFT (first post!)

1) As always, carried my reusable water bottle everywhere. This is normal for me and I’m privileged to live somewhere I can refill from just about any tap; I noticed it more as a frugal thing as I watched some out-of-towners continuously visit convenience stores for bottled water and other beverages over the weekend. Maybe they don’t know our water is good.

2) Finally got my NY Public Library card! Anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in NY State can get this card, which gives you access to the huge archives of the NY City Public Library system. It’s free! I’m already on my second audiobook.

3) Frugal fail: Bought a caterpillar field guide for $30 because I am a huge nerd and wanted to support my local bookstore rather than buying a used copy on Amazon. The upshot is that I’ve already used it a bunch and ID’d lots of little friends who have increased in number and variety since I started increasing the number of native plants on our property.

4) Have been saving seeds from native plants around the area (keeping my garden snips and some small jars with me wherever I go) to reduce the cost of my native planting undertaking.

5) Have vastly reduced our eating-out habits (partly due to shifted work schedules but hey), made coffee at home, and gotten better about eating leftovers for lunch even though sometimes I hate them. Cucumber sandwiches today with cukes from our garden and free bread from BF’s work. Yum!

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A. Marie September 4, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Welcome, LR!

And I can relate to several of your FFT: Rather expensive field guides to creatures are one of my weaknesses; I just rescued about a dozen milkweed pods off a neighbor’s brush pile to plant milkweed for monarch butterflies (so that the adults going through my garden right now like a strong wind will have baby food for any eggs they lay); and thanks for the tip about the NYPL card!

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Mand01 September 5, 2018 at 3:09 am

I think it’s true that tourists or visitors will not know about the water. In my previous job I traveled a lot. I visited a lot of remote Australian towns. In many of them the town water was not great and I would always buy water. But one town I stayed in for a few days, I went shopping with a local. I went to buy water and she let me know that the whole town was fed straight from the Great Artesian Basin. It was the purest water I have ever tasted. I looked forward to visiting just so I could drink that water.

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Karen B September 4, 2018 at 12:26 pm

1) free date: music in the park

2) went to the movies twice at the discount theater, tickets and treats are less than half the price of the theater with brand new movies and the seats are a more comfortable fit for me

3) walked through the fantastic flower garden at a local park–free

4) We had a road trip for a wedding. We saved money on snacks and beverages by me buying them ahead of time instead of at convenience stores–about half price.

5) I love thrift stores, prefer them over shopping new, but am not an easy to fit size and my wardrobe had gotten rather dilapidated looking as I waited to find things secondhand. I found an end of end of season clearance sale on well-made clothes that fit me well and will last. 2 dresses (for the rehearsal dinner and wedding above, but of a style I can wear on a regular basis) were 1/2 off and I got several shirts for 2/3 off.

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Bethany September 4, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Attending a free weight loss class with the medical network my dr is a part of. Comes with a free snack, since they found out most people are intentionally not eating before their weigh in. Lost 8 lbs so far!

Sold two bundles of books. They were to the same buyer so I was able to save her a bit of shipping cost and a better profit for me as well.

Making meatloaf and green beans for dinner. This was not my favorite meal growing up, but my kids love it.

Finished my painting project, or almost. Need to touch up the trim, and a smudge I put on the bathroom door, but it’s livable now without a ladder in the house.

Avoided buying a new chair mat for my computer, because I remembered I had one in schoolroom that wasn’t being used any longer.

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Bee September 6, 2018 at 5:19 am

Congratulations on the weight loss as well as finishing the painting!

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Vickey September 9, 2018 at 6:48 am

Yay, Bethany! I hope you feel really good about your weight loss. Keep goin’, girl!

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Alexandra @ I HeartTightwads.com September 5, 2018 at 2:51 am

1. Stayed home for the 3 day weekend. RARELY get 3 days in a row off. Glorious!
2. DH got 4 days off so he was fired up to do some projects around the house. He is continuing to scrape the popcorn ceilings, room by room. GAWD we hate old popcorn ceilings. What a hateful job.
3. Learning way more than we ever wanted about crown molding for the ceilings. We do have a mitre saw that we store for my Mom. That helps but…we are reminded why people pay professionals! We are slogging through.
4. While he tackled it, I worked on food management for the week. Cooked up chicken leg/thighs in the crock pot with salt. That’s it. Comes out SO tasty. Shredded for different dishes this week. Also divided 5 lbs of hamburger. 4 patties -1/3lb each, and then 3 1 lb blocks. Took the remainder and cooked it up with taco seasonings. Quick quesadillas are always a hit!
5.Pondered “Nomadland” book by Jessica Bruder. I talk about it on my blog. These retirees who are living on very little after “following all the rules” in the US is eye opening and also sobering. My main take on it is live beneath your means as you don’t know what is down the road. Your thoughts on it are welcome here http://ihearttightwads.com/resource-alert-nomadland/

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Susie's Daughter September 5, 2018 at 11:36 am

1) Went yard sale perusing with friends on Friday and scored a pair of jeans for DS – last thing he needed for back to school. I also bought DS a fleece blanket, Perry the Platypus pillow, long sleeve striped thermal shirt and bathing suit for next year. $11.50 well spent.

2) Using shredded zucchini in traditional zucchini bread and double chocolate cupcakes. Cupcakes are “treat of the week” for school lunch (and grown up lunch :)).

3) We had a lovely Labor Day cookout at the nearby state beach. All supplies (except chips) already on hand. Perfect swimming weather, not crowded, lunch in the shade – it was a great time. Used the last of my summer punch card to cover admission.

4) I think I FINALLY figured out how to request an e-statement for one of our accounts saving us the $5 per month paper statement fee. Really should not have been that difficult, but it was.

5) Here is our big one – we paid off the renewable energy loan we opened to finance our wood pellet boiler/furnace! Woohoo! I am thinking I will divert the ‘loan payment’ into a new car fund since we have between 12-18 months before that will need to happen.

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Diane Black September 6, 2018 at 11:04 am

Cheers to video stores still standing! We have 2 independent video stores here in Austin. Such a rarity these days!

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nancy from mass September 6, 2018 at 11:16 am

Katy, what a great community of people you have! we all high five each other when we’ve done well, pick each other up when we struggle and help each other out when advice is needed. I think we are a great group of Frugalistas! 🙂

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Patricia Koernig September 6, 2018 at 1:11 pm

We are!!!

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Mary Beth Danielson September 6, 2018 at 12:07 pm

Maybe Katy should host a list of all her readers who have written about “Nomadlands: Surviving America in the 21st Century” (Jessica Bruder) Cuz I just wrote and posted my take on the book at my site: https://marybethdanielson.com/content/nomadland-how-people-live-well-enough-when-there-no-way-live-well
I think all of us who are frugal types need to keep on being frugal, but I also think we need to be aware that the cheaper we figure out how to live – the more of the profit of our work is going into the pockets of the super-rich. We should agitate and vote accordingly.

1. Of course, I read this book via an eBook loan from my library.

2. We hired an awesome painter to paint our house. His estimate was thousands less than the competition; he has done two coats by brush on our 100-year old clapboard house with lots of nooks and crannies. Started June 1 and says he will be done tomorrow THREE months!). Nice guy who did our job in and around other jobs. We saved $ by not needing it done fast.

3. Replaced the really old porch door light with an on-sale $5 light from Ace. Husband pulled the photo cell out of it so that it doesn’t shine all night (we live in the city, no need to bug the neighbors). He saved the photo-gizmo in case we want it in the future.

4. We are reattaching the brass house numbers.

5. Had company over the wknd – have eaten nothing but leftovers since.

Had a fascinating conversation after church on Sunday with a 22-year old woman, just graduated from college, living with her mom till a job kicks in. (Anyone want to hire a bright, fledgling lobbyist for women’s causes?) She says the minimalist websites usually bug her because they seem to be people who are already fairly well-off, who are looking at style and not at economics. And that she is going to look at more websites about Frugality because she wants to know how to live on less. I recommended NCA! (and mine, of course)

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Lisa M. September 6, 2018 at 5:02 pm

5 FF: Back-to-School Edition
Since I compiled 25 frugal efforts on the last post, I will have to dig deep on this entry.

1. Harvesting sage from DD’s plant. Enjoyed huge home-grown tomatoes courtesy of employer.

2. During recent road trip to visit family, got caught up on mending: a pair of shorts, a shirt in my garage sale inventory and 3 pet toys.

3. Used $5 coupon for DD’s back-to-school supplies. Minimal concern about this expense as a percentage of school-required supplies are tax-deductible on state taxes. Staying caught up with copies of receipts of supplies and various back-to-school fees for tax purposes.

4. Negotiated carpooling arrangement for DD with neighbor girl attending same school. Generous contract will help with DD’s gas expenses and winter parking permit close to school.

5. Increased hours this week back to normal part-time at for-profit job which will boost paycheck.

Follow-Up Bonus 6. Sold piece of furniture that did not sell in garage sale for requested price on Craigslist. So happy to have it removed from garage ahead of late fall reorganization to accommodate winter parking for 2 vehicles.

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Gina September 7, 2018 at 8:46 am

Most of mine involve freebies given to me……
1. Co-worker gifted me 2 free zucchinis and 3 cucumbers and 2 butternut squash from her garden
2. A friend of ours gifted us a ticket for a baseball game as we were one short of all of us getting in for free. How nice of him!
3. We sell eggs to our neighbor (she insists on paying for them) and she gave us 2- 4 quarts of apples from her tree
4. We went to a picnic Labor day & took our own drinks in a cooler. Emptied the cooler & took all extra ice & put it in grocery bag in freezer for next time when we need to keep drinks cold. I figured it was safe to do since we don’t eat the ice, just keep our drinks cold. I got 3 grocery bags almost full.
5. My boss won four tickets to baseball game & offered them to us & we used this past Labor Day weekend for a free thing to do with our girls (who love baseball).
6. Passed along hand-me-downs to co-workers after my girls had picked thru them.
7. The girls wanted ice cream; looked thru my coupon stash & saved $6.10 on our order!
I don’t feel bad about accepting freebies as there are plenty of times I donate & share items.

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Crosby September 5, 2018 at 12:54 pm

Ooooo I like the ice behind your head idea!!!! I definitely don’t look. Thanks for adding to my arsenal!

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