Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 13, 2019 · 82 comments

  1. I sold a few things through eBay including a fancy Kermit The Frog stuffed animal that I picked up at the Goodwill Outlet (they sell by the pound, so lightweight items are crazy bargains!) as well as a pair of like-new plastic Birkenstocks.

    The Kermit had been sitting on eBay for at least six months, which made it a satisfying sale. It’s exciting when things sell immediately after being listed, but it’s more common for my inventory to sell months after languishing on eBay. It validates that it’s a perfectly fine strategy to practice the art of patience and wait for the perfect buyer to come along. Essentially — list it and forget it.

  2. I unzipped the covers from three matching outdoor throw pillows that I snagged from one of last week’s garage sale freebie pile and indulged them a overnight soak in my trusty Dollar Tree oxy-cleaner. They’re now bright and clean and cheering up the front porch.

    I then laid the demoted sun faded pillows on the corner for the taking. They quickly vanished so I can only assume they’ve set out on a new adventure.

  3. I had an annoyingly long commute to and from a scheduled doctor’s appointment yesterday, but kept my sanity by listening to free podcasts including How To Money, Before Breakfast and Scavenger Life.

    On the surface these three podcasts may not seem to have anything in common, but together they dovetail to hit my current main interests which are personal finance, reselling thrifted/found items and intentionality. So instead of finding myself frazzled from the drive, I ended up focused and ready to hit the day running.

  4. My son took his last spring term final, which means he’ll be home within the next few days. No, let me reiterate that . . . he and his overwhelming amount of stuff will be coming home within the next few days. An entire bedroom/kitchen/bathroom’s worth of stuff. Oy vey!

    I ventured into his fully outfitted bedroom last night and made a plan to sell a pretty but superfluous Bombay Company desk, as he’ll be heading home with his preferred desk. This won’t fix the too much stuff issue, but my 21-year-old son is extremely organized and can do his own decluttering.

    We save money by signing 10-month leases on his apartment as he comes home for summers. So, yeah . . . schlepping his stuff to and from his college apartment is a less than ideal.

    Extreme frugality can be a pain in tuchus, and this is a prime example of how making sacrifices in the here and now supports big picture financial goals.

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

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Edie June 13, 2019 at 11:43 am

Not cheap, but not wasteful things:

1) In this hot, hot weather I stuck to water instead of colas and Sprite, as is my wont during this type of weather. Bonus: the lack of excess refined sugar and sweating cleared out some bothersome acne.

2) Am doing price comparisons for redoing my kitchen. Not cheap, but mindfulness and intentional use in how a kitchen is used is so key- not following the HGTV school of kitchens for show. As I embrace how I work in a kitchen the prices have gone down!

3) Am using Kanopy to watch nice movies; am getting rid of some subscription services for this. I read more in the summer and out more, so don’t need to pay for subscription services.

4) Transit to work!

5) Working in my garden and using my garden herbs in cooking!

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Danielle C June 19, 2019 at 7:50 am

I totally agree on the intentional kitchen. After years of thinking about it, we remodeled our kitchen to fit our lifestyle 6 years ago and we love it every day. We didn’t chase fads and went with what we loved (and what hides stains and is easy to clean).

Knowing how you live is more valuable than any style magazine! 🙂

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Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early June 13, 2019 at 11:57 am

My brother is in college in California and the area he’s in generally only does year long leases. More expensive, but at least my parents don’t have to worry about him bringing stuff home over the summer

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Bethany June 13, 2019 at 2:47 pm

I stayed in the dorms in college. I bought a used barrel and they let us store stuff for $5 over the summer.

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Jennifer June 13, 2019 at 12:04 pm

1. I removed then spray painted the rest of my screen doors to freshen them up. $1 per can for a nice like-new look.
2. Enjoying a day at the park to celebrate June birthdays and Father’s Day. The kids can play at the splash pad and we will have simple hot dogs and homemade cake.
3. Got my daughter a free strawberry milkshake at Sonic using the app. It was for my birthday but I don’t drink milkshakes very often so I was glad to pass it on to her.
4. I downloaded 3 Kroger freebies that were so awesome. Private selection ice cream, BBQ sauce, and kettle chips. I don’t think these are available anymore but it’s worth a look. I chose brown butter-maple-bourbon ice cream. Doesn’t that sound decadent?
5. I used a gift bag and tissue paper from that same stash I got gifted to me from my friends deceased mom. No telling how much money that stash has saved me by now.

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Midwest Beth June 13, 2019 at 12:17 pm

1. Trash picked a nice metal plant stand with ivy decorations and a wicker side/end table. Thinking will power wash and spray paint white with paint I already have.
2. Neighbor had a tree company pruning big tree limbs off a large tree in their yard. I went over and asked them if they would have time to cut the tree limbs hanging on top of my garage roof, the worker said he would send his boss over to my house to talk to me. I was prepared for him to quote me a price of $50-100 to have it done. They ended up just doing it for free, what sweet guys! Took them over several bottles of cold water I keep stashed in the fridge for road trips, company, etc. He was very appreciative and said they had forgot their cooler that day and the guys would appreciate the cold water.
3. Very excited my electric bill was down several points compared to last year. This is remarkable because I have been home all day/night now since April 1st as I am not working right now. Upside to having cold/rainy weather air conditioning doesn’t need to run!
4. Found away to earn significantly more Swagbucks by saving coupons as pdf’s and not running them off, earned 100 points several days in a row!
5. Another cold day with weather report saying low of 40’s tonight. Going to make chili and cornbread to warm house/ us up. I truly don’t mind cold rainy days, love to putter around the house. 🙂
6. Biggest savings – my cpap machine needed a new power cord, cuts out at night sometimes if it gets jiggled stopping my air supply. Medical supply company couldn’t get a replacement as they aren’t made anymore. A new machine would have cost me around $60-80 a month my share under my former employers insurance. My new state insurance which started June 1st covered my new machine. So appreciative which is a total understatement! Can’t believe all the new technology updates with the new machine either.

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Isitaneedorawant June 13, 2019 at 2:27 pm

I saw a CPAP machine about a month ago at a church rummage sale.

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Liz B. from Lebanon (Ohio) June 15, 2019 at 5:23 am

I wonder if they had any takers? Years ago, my brother in law needed a new one, but his insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of a new one unless he had a repeat sleep study (eye roll emoji here) – which he didn’t need. So, my sister and he bought a new one, and found someone local who taught them how to adjust the settings to his requirememts. Saved them tons of $$.

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Isitaneedorawant June 15, 2019 at 6:09 pm

Actually I was right in front of her in the line to pay.
I had seen her opening this fancy, schmancy suitcase.
I wondered what was in it. When I saw her at the cash table I asked her what it was and she said a CPAP machine she was buying for her husbands snoring. He had been tested. We all congratulated her on this find. I love this church rummage sale . I used to live in the area and like to return. They have it spring and fall and I always find some amazing item. I would have bought the CPAP for my husband if I’d seen it first. As it was I was so interested in the CPAP and conversation ,I completely forgot the awesome steamer that my daughter would have loved. ( Argh, palm to the forehead).

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Liz B. in Lebanon (Ohio) June 15, 2019 at 5:18 am

Midwest Beth, yay you for getting a new CPAP machine! I’ve had one for the past 1.5 years, so it has a lot of the latest tech-y bells and whistles. It’s awesome, and it’s made such a big difference in how I feel.

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Midwest Beth June 17, 2019 at 1:35 pm

Yes, such a difference right? If I ever nap/fall asleep on the couch without it I get the worst headache and throat is sore.

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Nalani June 13, 2019 at 12:34 pm

My FFT:

1. Going to pick up a generic prescription today ($1.97) and will be able to fill up a stamp card that will give me a $50 gift card to the grocery store. A $50 gift card for less than $10 out of pocket.
2. Reading tons of books from the library on my Kindle. Free entertainment.
3. Took advantage of a free training opportunity last week that allowed me to get 4 continuing education credits for free. Free CLEs are hard to come by. As an added bonus, they provided an excellent lunch (and an excellent training).
4. Went to Costco on Monday night so no buying any meals out this week. A coworker’s mom who was a professional baker before retirement made our office a chocolate cake so I have been enjoying that for breakfast all week.
5. Friend gifted me tickets to a show that she is unable to attend. Will find street parking and walk to avoid outrageous parking fees and the traffic of getting out of the parking lot after the show. Will eat a snack before the show to avoid overpriced terrible food and alcohol.

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Mand01 June 13, 2019 at 12:40 pm

1. Canceled some expensive services that we will no longer need now that I’m working from home.
2. Upgraded my website that has been sitting fallow for over a year and my blog, and registered my business name. While these all cost money I have done it before the end of our Australian financial year so I can claim them as business expenses for this year.
3. Started separating out a lot of my business clothing for resale. I’ve never done this before (reselling) because I’ve never had the time. I have a lot of high end brands and suits that I think I can make some money from.
4. Went to the library with my husband and borrowed a gorgeous book on heirloom veggies. I already try to grow some of our veggies (pumpkins!!) but my goal is to grow almost everything and to be self sufficient in veggies and eggs.
5. I didn’t commute two hours to work and sit all day at a desk. I did walk 13,000 steps, make calls to my network about possible work for myself, and took care of my two autistic kids.

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cathy June 13, 2019 at 9:35 pm

Mand,
I’m always so impressed with how you work with your kids’ needs. I hope you find the work-at-home situation suits your needs as well.
Can I ask the name of book about heirloom veggies? I found a beautiful one at the library last fall called The Compleat Squash by Amy Goodman. Made me want to grow one of everything!

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Mand01 June 13, 2019 at 9:58 pm

It is called “From the Earth” by Peter Gilmore. He’s a famous Australia chef, who is also a keen gardener.
The Compleat Squash is a much wanted book in my wish list – to buy it here in Australia would cost over $200 as it has to be imported. I do have her heirloom tomato book, which was “only” about $80. I splurged on that one, but I could not justify, try as I might (and I have tried!) $200. Her books are really gorgeous if you love heirloom veggies as I do. That was one of the reasons I was so happy to find the Peter Gilmore book – I thought it might be a nice substitute for The Compleat Squash.
Thank you for your kind words – I try my best, like all parents.

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Cathy R June 14, 2019 at 1:59 am

Have you ever thought about eBay? There’s an USA charity selling the complete squash (but I don’t know anything about import rules so perhaps that’s what make it so expensive?)

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Mand01 June 14, 2019 at 2:08 am

I think it’s a combination of the fact that it’s not in print here, and the high shipping costs because of the size of the book. I’m sure one day I’ll find it!

Lindsey June 14, 2019 at 9:50 am

The Compleat Squash is my favorite vegetable porn. It has induced me to try all sorts of squash I would never have planted before reading that book. I hope you can find your own copy.

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Joy Hargett June 14, 2019 at 4:08 pm

Mando1 – we are cancelling some services as well, things we should have cancelled some time ago. It’s a good feeling to see that extra money. Thanks for all you do for your kids.

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Jenzer June 13, 2019 at 1:14 pm

The Before Breakfast podcast is part of my weekday morning routine now. Laura Vanderkam’s advice is so down to earth and practical.

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ouvickie June 13, 2019 at 1:14 pm

Love that pillow fabric!!
1) Made enough in meals over the past 5 days to eat dinner and have leftovers for lunch.
2) I got hungry this afternoon and wanted something sweet, so I ate a caramel rice cake w/PB – which I keep here at work for breakfast meals.
3) I filled my car with fuel Wednesday morning – I think it was 2.45 per gallon. I love that prices are falling, since my commute is a lot longer these days.
4) I managed to find the items I needed at Dollar Tree yesterday – Hip & Joint Treats for $1 a bag is a great price for my small dogs.
5) I love the Orthaheel mules I bought at the Thrift shop last Fall for less than $5. They are so comfortable and durable leather.

I wonder if the tariff’s on China will cause more people to buy things second-hand? I hope so. There’s so much good stuff out there for less than new and it would certainly cut down on even more waste!!

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Tonya June 13, 2019 at 2:18 pm

1) Sharing cars this summer with my college student daughter. Frugal because I commute to work on the train, and also because on my days off I’m forced to stay at home.
2) Walked for exercise in my neighborhood, and ran into a friend. We had a nice few minutes of catching up.
3) Loaded coupons to my grocery store loyalty card and kept my shopping budget by focusing on my carefully planned list.
4) Cleaned today I stead of spendy pursuits.
5) All the other usual suspects- thrifted clothes, library books, grocery markdowns and the like.

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Bethany June 13, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Mixed up a batch of baked beans for the kids for lunch.

Been letting the hubby maintain the pool, but hadn’t seen him check the levels. Decided to check for myself, saved us a ton, because the chemicals weren’t even registering. Algae can be costly to get rid of. Shocked the pool and dumped every bit of baking soda we had in there and got the levels right.

Putting my homemade check off charts to use this summer with math fact drill and practice. We will conquer this!!!

Did our first Costco run since surgery. Since it had been so long, it was an expensive one, and we each ate a slice of cheese in the car and hauled our tuchuses (I like your vocabulary, Katy) home for lunch, however that slice of cheese was the sum total of my lunch.

Stopped in at WinCo for carrots to make a cake for birthday celebration Saturday. My soon-to-be four year old was born on my husband’s birthday. I told him when he was born that not too many people get a gift right from God on their birthday.

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Karen Johnson June 13, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Glad you kept those pretty pillows for yourself! I love them! And they look nice with your house color…

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Katy June 13, 2019 at 3:28 pm

Thank you, I like them as well!

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Christine June 13, 2019 at 3:36 pm

1. Made a banana bread from overripe bananas(again). It’s my grandmother’s old recipe. Next to the recipe in the church cookbook she wrote “I use this one” since there are several recipes for banana bread in the book. Good call Grandma!
2. Haven’t had to use the AC except one very stifling night thanks in part to our over bed ceiling fan.
3. Using store coupons, flyer coupons and sales I I took my grocery bill from $38 down to $22.
4. Enjoying the library, free local newspapers and thrifted books for my reading material.
5. No crazy spending…only necessary items except one trip to the ice cream stand with a grandchild. Hey, it IS summer, after all…

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Sandy June 13, 2019 at 5:20 pm

I pared down my modest accessories collection to just a few items and made $48 on ebay and $116 from a high end consignment store. Packed lunch 4 days this week but used a Starbucks gift card for a coffee cake splurge. And we researched how to get rid of pricey satellite TV and make do with a few cables and Roku. Thanks for the inspiration!

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Ava June 13, 2019 at 6:15 pm

1. Took literally a car load of stuff to Goodwill and will record the donation for tax deductions. Have a smaller group of things put aside for the church yard sale in the fall. Clothes and books don’t seem to do well there, so all those went to GW.
2. Shopped Goodwill for some needed household items and found most things I was looking for. Resisted looking at clothes while I was there. One item I got was a queen size fitted sheet in a perfect color to go with a striped top sheet we already had. The fitted sheet that originally went with the top sheet is full of tears. It will be made into rags.
3. Completely reorganized kitchen countertop and drawers, and have much more room than before. I actually have a work space again. The only money spent on the project so far is $2 for a paper towel holder.
4. Used coupons to get 2 large bottles of laundry detergent for less than $5.
5. Mended a nightgown that really should be cut up for rags, but it is my favorite.
6. Eating out less and husband and I both eating less in general, in an attempt to lose weight.

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Katy June 13, 2019 at 7:12 pm

1. Instead of hitting the drive through I went to the store and bought nacho makings (plus I had beans in the slow cooker) and my daughter made us some super nachos.
2. We’re wrapping up our DIY fixer upper house for now, there will be more projects in the future. I painted the front door and frame. We used some leftover rust spray and spray paint and painted the mailbox.
3. I put some water in the shower gel to make sure I wasn’t wasting any.
4. My husband organized a whole bunch in our storage/work room. He reused a bunch of boxes we had around.
5. I have another $3 giftcard coming my way from swagbucks.

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kathleen June 13, 2019 at 7:50 pm

1. Filled up the car while near my favorite gas station today…$2.06 per gallon…that’s why it’s my favorite station…at LEAST 20¢ cheaper than stations closer to home.
2. Even though we are empty nesters, I still cook in large quantities. My husband works out of town a lot, and after dinner we immediately make individual portions for the freezer for him to take for work meals. This week we added 12 individual meal servings to the freezer, plus an entire loaf of banana bread, sliced and individually packaged.
3. I’m doing a reading challenge this year, but it’s hard to stay on track with it and still keep up with things that need doing. The other day I came across a set of wireless headphones that I had purchased for my husband awhile back, but he didn’t care for. I paired them to my phone, and I’ve been listening to a lot of library audio books that match my challenge criteria while I’m getting work done. Getting good return on my investment in headphones, utilizing free books from the library, and getting work done. Yea!
4. Writing this with my high-energy pup sleeping on my feet. I hired granddaughter to come run the agility course with him today. Totally worth it to get some creative time to myself today and contribute to the granddaughter’s savings goal….and the worn out dog…totally, TOTALLY worth it. 🙂
5. This week I had enough tomatoes off the vine I was gifted to make two tomato pies (savory, not sweet), one for us and one to share.

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Karen B June 13, 2019 at 8:08 pm

1) Picked my son up 2 books on hold for him at the library. 1 actually came in yesterday, but I could tell the other would arrive today, so I postponed picking either up until they were both in and saved time and fuel. I also ran grocery errands near there at the same time.

2) Pets aren’t inexpensive, but we love our pets and they bring us a lot of joy and happiness. We lost a dog last month, I donated his remaining meds to the shelter we use (they were the wrong dosage or not needed for our other dog) and empty pill bottles (they reuse them for pets who go home with meds, our remaining dog had been spayed the day before we picked her up and came home with pain pills in a reused bottle), and while there met the SWEETEST cat. We were not planning to adopt a cat at that time and were waiting to see how our remaining dog would cope as an only, but after 3 weeks dog is coping well and our cat announced she needs a kitty friend. We met and discussed her as a family, agreed she would be a good match and brought her home 2 days ago. Introductions are going pretty well. By adopting from a shelter, she came already spayed and with necessary vaccinations. We also had a choice of 2 local vet offices that offer a free initial visit/check for pets adopted from that shelter. Because she’d been in the care of the shelter for months (she’d had an injury that required her to be in foster care a while) we also got her at half price (we picked on personality, not knowing this). She’s a delightful little gem!

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Kathy June 13, 2019 at 8:52 pm

WTG with adopting another family member

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Nalani June 14, 2019 at 1:21 pm

Congrats on your new kitty.

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Joy Hargett June 14, 2019 at 4:05 pm

When we adopting a dog a few years ago, I was at PetSmart and mentioned to the cashier that I had adopted a rescue from the local cocker spaniel group. She immediately gave me a huge amount of coupons for a “new puppy.” I told her our dog was not a puppy, but full-grown, but she said it didn’t matter. Somethings I didn’t need, but some of the coupons came in handy. So sorry you lost your dog last month, it’s the worst feeling for a pet owner.

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kathy June 13, 2019 at 8:27 pm

1. Worked my PT on call admin gig. Boss is in Africa, however told me to fill my car up on him..$60
2. Wrote numerous donation letters and several grants for the Assistance League and another non profit.
3. Ate from the pantry/refrig again.
4. Drug the overstuffed trash cans from recent dejunking to the street.
5. Reading books already on my kindle.

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cathy June 13, 2019 at 9:55 pm

1. Sold a couple of large filing cabinets I’d posted on Nextdoor. Priced to sell quickly and had interest from three different people.
2. I HATE clothes shopping, but many of my clothes are seriously worn out. Gave myself a pep talk and went to Savers a few days ago. Found a lightly-used pair of capris and a long sleeved shirt for under $10. Have already worn both several times.
3. Finally signed up for my own (free) Pandora account and have been listening to a lot of music–usually through my phone, in the car.
4. Reading library books. Just finished Kitchens of the Great Midwest (I highly recommend it) and Urban Jungle: Living and Styling With Plants. Will stop by the library tomorrow to pick up two holds, both on edible landscaping.
5. It’s finally warm enough to run the sprinklers (programmed to run for ~18 minutes in the wee hours of the morning, but not every day), but not hot enough yet to turn on the AC. It hit 80 in the house today (the temp at which we program it to come on), but I just kept windows open to take advantage of the breeze. Fortunately we live in one of the most arid states in the country, so humidity is not an issue.

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Ava June 14, 2019 at 6:11 am

Loved Kitchens of the Great Midwest! Still using the peanut butter bars recipe from that book.

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Jill A June 14, 2019 at 12:02 am

My daughter also has a ten month lease on her college apartment. I’m so thankful they have that option. It’s a great money saver.

1. It’s the middle of June and I still haven’t turned on my air conditioning. I’ve used fans at night to sleep and during the day as needed.
2. I took my daughters to a wonderful book store that has a large used book selection. They sold a large number of books for credit and purchased a few used ones.
3. The book store was a ways away but since I drove my hybrid it wasn’t too costly. We stopped at a gourmet food store that has a lot of dutch food and stocked up on currant bread. I filled up with a few gallons of gas at the Costco but I checked the gas buddy app and it was cheaper at my Costco so I’ll finish filling up when I’m that way next time.
4. We ate lunch before hitting the road to avoid eating out. We took bottles of water with us also.
5. I put my raincoat on and went out in the rain to scrub some of the grime off my cars. Free car wash.

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WilliamB June 14, 2019 at 2:33 am

Katy – I’m working on selling some items, which is a big step for me since I find the process a very unpleasant use of my time. Which leads me to a couple of questions:

1) When you list something on eBay, is it always for a fixed price?

2) Where do you research to determine an appropriate price?

Thanks!

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Katy June 14, 2019 at 9:29 am

I occasionally do an auction, but 98% of the time, it’s a fixed price. There may only be one person who is wanting your item, so make sure to price it properly. I check “completed listings” on eBay to get a sense of how much to charge.

http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/how-to-use-ebay-to-create-extra-cash-in-your-life/

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WilliamB June 14, 2019 at 11:45 am

Thanks for the info. Do you know what the equivalent is for Craigslist?

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Mary in Maryland June 16, 2019 at 11:40 am

You can’t see completed sales on Craigslist, but you can see how long an item has been listed. I always assume that the ones that have been listed a long time are over-priced. Also, if you watch for a while, you can see what prices move quickly.

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Cindy in South June 14, 2019 at 7:39 am

This continues to be an expensive year for me. Part of the reason is that, in my laser focus to pay off my house and debt, which was accomplished, I neglected my health and my teeth….especially my teeth. That was dumb. I am not incurring any more debt, but I am sure not adding any more to my savings either. Anyhoo, I continued to bring my lunch, walk to avoid gym fees, cut and dye my own hair, under the laundry mat once a week ($2), drive my Toyota Yaris, keep the air off as much as I can comfortably do in the deep South, and just sludge and trudge along.

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Joy Hargett June 14, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Cindy – Congrats on paying off your house and cars. It’s a great feeling, we are in the same situation. So nice not to worry about that ! Hang in there, you are doing great…It’s a huge step to pay off a house.

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Liz B. from Lebanon (Ohio) June 15, 2019 at 6:03 am

Congrats on paying off your house and your debt….and so much sympathy about dental stuff. I skipped going to the dentist for two years (that was 8 years ago), and am still dealing with dental issues. Yeah, I get it – super dumb on my part, especially since I have dental insurance through my employer. I am now religious about dental check ups, flossing, using my fancy-pants rechargeable toothbrush, etc etc.

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Cindy in South June 14, 2019 at 7:41 am

“use” the laundry mat, not “under” the laundry mat….geez . To make it perfectly clear, I am cash flowing my medical and my teeth.

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Ruby June 14, 2019 at 11:08 am

I have to admit that the mental picture of you cutting and dyeing your hair under the laundry mat was very funny!

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Roberta June 14, 2019 at 7:42 am

1. Going to the county fair today. We got $1 tickets through our credit union.
2. Packed lunches for use to eat there: hard boiled eggs, hummus, carrot sticks,, grape tomatoes, green beans (for the hummus), broccoli in vinaigrette, bruscetta. We’ll supplement with a few fair items, but we won’t have to eat an entire meal there. Better for us both financially and physically.
3. We received a large box of grape tomatoes yesterday. Not quite 20 pounds but in the neighborhood. I am drying some right, now and will dry more while we are gone (if the first ones turn out. Others will be eaten out of hand, turned into bruscetta, added to salads and pasta sauce,,,
4. Went out on a “date” with my son yesterday. It was his Christmas present to me. We split a burrito and a bowl of soup at my favorite Mexican restaurant, then went to the zoo with our annual passes. We had great conversation, about not-school stuff, which is really nice after the finals push.
5. In addition to the tomatoes, we received a bunch of free bread yesterday as well (as well as out weekly spoiled-veg contribution to the chickens). There were a number of fancy rolls that I was going to throw out to the chickens, because there were white flour (I prefer whole wheat most of the time), but then I realized that they would make great hamburger buns! They have been split and frozen, waiting for our next burger craving.

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K D June 14, 2019 at 11:06 am

1. My husband has the day off so we went for a walk in a local historical area. There are some shops but we didn’t even step into any of them. If was a beautiful day to be outside.

2. I continue to use up stuff in the freezer and pantry, buying mostly produce at the grocery store. By cutting up melons and pineapples I get a lot of fruit for little outlay.

3. I’ve been cleaning out file folders, working to get retirement account information in good shape (no, you do not need quarterly reports from years ago). Since we will be planning retirement in the next few/several years it makes sense to be on top of it.

4. I made a pot of Red lentil & Vegetables soup. I eat that for lunch when there are no leftovers that should be eaten.

5. I continue to give stuff away on Freecycle. Someone picked up wood hangers today. I’m really trying to keep stuff out of the landfill.

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NORMA June 14, 2019 at 12:32 pm

1. Got a refund check today from CVS for $.01. Yes, you read that right. One penny. Hey, if they want to send it to me, I will deposit me. Won’t cost me anything.
2. Went to an auction. Bought a beautiful preserved wedding dress for $5 which I will donate to my neighbors who makes Angel Gowns. Brought our own water and snack.
3. Got $48 worth of groceries for $27 at Kroger using the Friday only deals and sale items.
4. Had our windows open all day yesterday which is unheard of this time of year in SC but because of all the rain it was quite cool and got the “stink” out of the house.
5. Picked up 7 books at the library which should keep me busy for awhile.

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Gayle June 14, 2019 at 8:18 pm

Our SC weather has been great this week!

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Marilyn June 14, 2019 at 2:27 pm

1. Got coupon for free package of cream cheese at FM. Yum…cream cheese and tomato sandwiches.
2. Used fan rather than AC during recent 2-day heat wave. Worked pretty well.
3. Watching: season5 of “Brokenwood”. DH and I both enjoy this series which the library has on DVD.
4. Reading: “The Library Book” which I borrowed from the library, of course.
5. Frugal fail: need new bathroom flooring due to slow leak which we only just discovered. Sigh…

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Joy Hargett June 14, 2019 at 3:59 pm

Decided to focus on some travel non-consumerism this week, as we recently travelled. There are ways to save money and here are a few of the things we did.
1. Before travelling, used up a lot of food in fridge and freezer and put several things into the freezer for later use, thus saving at least 1 grocery store visit. Turned off air conditioner completely before we left since we would be gone a couple of days. There was a bit of break in the heat, so it wasn’t unbearable in the house when we returned.
2. Parked the car at a paid lot near the airport, but had points, so that cost was $0. Also, they give out free cold-water bottles when you return from your flight, so we got 2 of them.
3. Flew on Southwest Airlines on points/companion pass and total price for 2 people was about $20. Also, decided not to purchase the Early Bird option, which gives passengers the option of boarding the plane first (Southwest has open seating and my husband hates the middle seat). Generally, I buy the pass for my husband and he saves me a seat, however, I decided to take the chance with this trip. To get your boarding assignment, you must check in right at 24 hours before departure and we were able to do that on both legs of the trip and got decent seats together. This saved about $40.
4. Used 2 free drink coupons on our flight. They come with plastic cups, which were not used, but I brought them home and will use them for other things.
5. For a couple of reasons, we decided to rent a car for the trip. I was able to rent it and then saw a price reduction of about $50 over the few weeks prior to our trip, so saved money that way. We did not drive the car much, so we had the option of paying $16 flat fee for gas when we returned it or filled up the car. So, we filled it up and it only cost about $3.00, so we save $13 on a charge we would have definitely encountered.
6. While we had definite plans on our trip, we had some downtime and took in a Smithsonian gallery (admission free) and a park, which we near the hotel, so we could walk and not pay for more parking and enjoy the view of the park and river.
7. Stayed at a hotel that offered free breakfast. On one of the nights they had a free happy hour with BBQ sandwiches, beans, potato salad, beer and wine. As our hotel room had a microwave, I also brought along a bag of popcorn for a snack.
8. And, one non-travel item. Scored more veggies at our Master Gardener facility today. Today, was a huge garlic (probably elephant) and several cucumbers. Planning to save one of the garlic garlic cloves for planting in the fall. Two weeks ago, received several cucumbers and a huge cucuzza squash (about 30 inches long which made 5-7 cups of diced squash for a casserole.

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Thomas June 15, 2019 at 8:08 am

Regarding your number three. There has been a lot of criticism over this practice. It is hardly fair for you to buy ONE early seating option, and then when you have your husband save you a seat, you are actually using TWO early seating options. When a number of people do this it just pushes back the line on people who spent their money on the early seating options.

Please give this some thought.

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Joy Hargett June 16, 2019 at 10:49 am

Thanks for the thought…However, is it any different than saving seats at other venues – I have seen people save seats at graduations, football games, the beach, musical shows (like on cruises), etc? Some people will get there early and save a whole row and force others right behind them to make another choice. On another note, we have never been asked if we are saving a seat, as we generally sit at the back of the plane and many people only go back there if they have to.

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Cynthia June 16, 2019 at 2:33 pm

I don’t have a real opinion on saving/not saving seats, but I am so appreciative that this possible disagreement was so cordial and respectful on both sides. I love this site.

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Kristina in CA June 17, 2019 at 1:18 pm

In my opinion, this is extremely different. Each of the examples you listed are (in my experience) first come first serve only. I’ve never attended a graduation that allowed me to pay a premium for early entrance and save seats and I’ve never been to a beach/park that allowed me to pay a premium for entry outside of the normal hours (usually sunrise to sunset here in California) to save a table/bbq/fire pit etc. Even in instances like this, there’s still a socially acceptable limit. Grabbing an extra table at the best spot in the park for gran and gramps because they don’t do well in the heat? Totally acceptable. Sending uncle Ron to grab the first 6 rows at a graduation so your whole extended family can sit together without being bothered to arrive more than 10 minutes before the ceremony? Totally not acceptable. If the priority boarding fee was intended to allow someone to save seats for their flight companions it would be charged per order, not per ticket. I’m sorry, but not only are you essentially stealing from Southwest, this is the adult equivalent of “cutting in line”. I’m genuinely shocked at the number of people that will cheap out on something and use someone else’s bad behavior to justify it.

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Me June 14, 2019 at 8:05 pm

I attended college out of state and preferred to come home for summers. Didn’t want to deal with the potential subletting glitches.

I would move my small amount of stuff into self storage shared with another friend who preferred to go home. Sharing a larger locker and paying half was cheaper than renting an individual smaller locker. We would pay upfront for the summer, done and done.

It was cheaper than renting for two months or paying to move it back home (cross country u haul rentals were so. expensive.) Also, cheaper that throwing everything away and rebuying next year *shudder*

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Jennifer June 15, 2019 at 3:20 am

1) When I was digging through the freezer to find meat for dinner I found a package of pumpkin puree from last fall. We now have pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for breakfast.
2) Dd that is heading to college is a big reader. There is no library there that has fiction books. We cleaned out our book shelves and she is going to take several boxes to 1/2 Priced Books. Hopefully with the money she gets she will find a stack of books to take with her to college.
3) Sold an American Girl outfit on my local sale page for $10. All cash from sales like this are going in an envelope to help cover books for college.
4) Heading to our new Meijer to take advantage of Grand Opening sales and use the $5 off $25 purchase coupon they sent. I also have $5 in rewards from last time I went there. I have to grocery shop anyway, why not get great deals at the same time?
5) Dd is pet sitting this weekend. This means for the next month or so she won’t be bugging me for spending money. I do make her do chores for the money, but I am tired of handing over cash. Of all my kids she has the most active social life and she is the youngest! Too young to get a real job though, so we are stuck for at least another year.

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Momma L June 15, 2019 at 5:21 am

1. Work picnic: free lunch. We were encouraged to take home leftovers, so I packed a few hot dogs in an empty bun bag and got some potato salad, packed in a cup. DH was delighted, he loves this kind of food.
2. Eating lots of home grown lettuce. A little too much arugula, DH doesn’t care for its sharpness. Looking up recipes to use it up. Maybe flavor winter soups?
3. Staff were encouraged to clean out staff fridge before summer, one teacher offered me a big jar of dill pickles. Yes, always yes, to free food.
4. Visiting DS and family for Father’s Day. Menu: local shrimp from my freezer, baked potatoes, home grown salad. No cards this year, just hugs in person.
5. I was tempted to use a 0% interest for 12 month credit card offer to pay down part of student loan. I was going to pay it off in a year so I thought it would save me $. I got out my calculator and to my surprise, it would cost me less in the long run to just increase my payments to the loan rather than take out the new credit card and pay that off before the interest started. Taking time to figure out things that are that long term and abstract to me will pay off.

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Vickey June 16, 2019 at 10:56 am

2.: Sauté the arugula lightly with other pot (v. salad) greens, to soften and dilute the flavor. Might be a way to gradually get him used to the taste, too.

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Jennifer June 16, 2019 at 1:21 pm

You could blend into smoothies. I blend spinach into a puree’ then freeze in muffin tins. This way I can add chunks to sauces and soups so my kids won’t notice. I just keep the muffin sized pucks in a gallon freezer bag.

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Cynthia June 15, 2019 at 5:58 am

Keep Calm and Carry On was my motto this week. This week’s frugal wins all come down to: “It’s not as bad as it could have been.” I’ll settle for that this time.

1. My fridge died on Monday, but by talking to the repair guy and trying some work-arounds I was able to get it running temporarily, confirmed that it was not the compressor but a cheaper repair, and that it should keep working until the guy gets here next week. At first I thought I might need a new fridge and/or compressor, (my fridge is 14 years old and they no longer make them to last) then I thought I might need to pay extra for an emergency service, but I’m going to get by with a standard repair call and much smaller bill TBD. Also, my dear neighbor loaned me a small dorm fridge to keep things cool until I was able to get the big one running again.
2. My brakes were scraping and growling, but my mechanic discovered that the problem was rust, which he was able to scrape off, and that my actual brakes are fine. An $86 dollar repair, after AAA discount.
3. I discovered a leak in the gauge of my baseboard heater before the carpet was totally ruined (though I have some drying and mold removal to take care of.) I was able to peel the carpet back, put a dish under the leak and begin drying out the floor and carpet so I didn’t need an emergency call. The repairman came yesterday and discovered that the problem is with the boiler, which is overdue for service. Frugal fail in that I should have had it serviced on time. Frugal win that I caught it before it got worse and hopefully this should fix the problem.
4. A bear overturned my compost bin and spread half-digested compost all over the yard. No silver lining got me out of the yucky pickup, but when a bear visits you’re always fortunate to get off with nothing more than a mess.
5. Frugal fail: faced with the four situations above all hitting from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning, I emptied my refrigerator contents into two coolers and went out for breakfast on Monday morning. What’s more, I chose the high end, and very expensive, hotel in town, ordered a full breakfast along with a mimosa, and spent $45, including tip. But I picked up my spirits and regrouped to Keep Calm and Carry On. Then I used part of a gift card I’d received as a retirement gift to have a massage at the equally high end spa in town, OOP cost $10 for tip (it was a $40 massage, not the full deal.)

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Lisa M. June 15, 2019 at 9:20 am

Sorry Cynthia, the entry below was intended as a response to your post.

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Katy June 15, 2019 at 10:38 am

We all have weeks like this, and sometimes you just need to throw money at a problem and get on with your life.

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Cynthia June 15, 2019 at 11:03 am

Liza and Katy–I agree!

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Lisa M. June 15, 2019 at 8:10 am

Cynthia, I’m trying to reframe my frugal “fails” into frugal ineffectiveness. Hey, you needed that high end breakfast with drink & a massage to maintain your sanity after a series of calamities.

I found myself in a situation paying $40+ for a lunch with DD where if it had been just me, I would’ve picked up a local deal from fast food in between appointments. She wanted to go to a healthy, organic restaurant & it was a lovely time enjoying good food on an outside patio on a beautiful summer day. Our time together has been shrinking fast d/t her school, job & social life & of course, she is moving out to go to college later this summer. My frugal self was screaming, “NO!” but rationality prevailed & I reframed it to a bigger picture.

Bottom line: Life is sometimes hard & definitely short, so everyday frugality habits help us survive those hard times & provide us with opportunities to spend on what is important, either to endure stress of multiple breakdowns/calamities or the loss of a child growing up & moving away. Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back for surviving these situations without beating ourselves up on the $ we spent.

And yes, we eventually shared that fast food deal (including a vegie burger). 🙂

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Alathea Cook June 15, 2019 at 2:53 pm

Just wondering why your Instagram link isn’t working anymore?

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Katy June 15, 2019 at 6:29 pm

I had altered my user name on Instagram which changed the link. I’ve since fixed it to:

https://www.instagram.com/TheNonConsumerAdvocate/

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AuntiAli June 15, 2019 at 5:05 pm

Jennifer in regards to college textbooks check out renting them from the college book store, Amazon or Chegg. My kids did that and it worked out fine. Books without the huge cost. I think I mentioned before that one of my burners on my gas stove went right before Memorial Day. It would be $200 to get a new burner and I thought it over and decided to do that rather than buy a stove over the holiday weekend on sale. My stove is 14 yrs old and repair guy says they don’t make them sturdy like that anymore.

1. This week was not very frugal with doctor appointments. Went to therapy, dermatologist to keep up my skin check ups as my brother died from melanoma, had blood work done and got the stove fixed.
2. Broke open my new electric toothbrush that I bought at the dentist and sent in for the $20 rebate and I got a small size of mouthwash, dental floss, toothpaste meant for gums as well as 3 brush heads and a coupon for more brush heads. By registering my toothbrush on line I will get a $7 off brush head coupon by mail.
3. Found a free silly postcard that my dd sent to hubs for Father’s Day. He got it today.
4. Emptied the trash in the bathroom and my bedroom and relined them with plastic grocery bags. NJ is threatening to get rid of plastic grocery bags which while I can understand why, it would be hard for the local food pantry to bag up groceries without them.
5. Keeping on track with the electrical use.
6. Think I mentioned this before but I got my $600+ refund for the tax on the beach condo we are renting

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Joyce June 17, 2019 at 4:34 am

For. The food pantry, look at sewing Closed. The bottoms of old T shirts, removing sleeves . Makes a sturdy bag.

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Roberta June 17, 2019 at 7:10 am

We got rid of single-use plastic bags in California, and the food pantry has come up with a couple of solutions: people bring in their own bags, people donate cheap bags, they reuse small cardboard boxes (think Trader Joe’s wine boxes) and leftover single-use bags that are still running around.

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tracy June 16, 2019 at 5:53 am

I traveled to Minnesota for a conference Thursday-Saturday. Work paid but I still try to be frugal as I work for a public entity and I want to be a good steward of public funds! Anyway here’s my recent travel related stuff.
1. I had a family member take me to and pick me up from the airport here, saving on taxi, uber or airport parking (all choices expensive).
2. I read borrowed or library books on flights to/from.
3. I carried on so no luggage fees.
4. I took free airport shuttle to/from hotel so no taxi or uber costs on that end either.
5. Several meals were provided at conference but Friday dinner was not. Unfortunately conference and hotel were out near Mall of America, not downtown Minneapolis, so dining choices were limited. Hotel restaurant or room service was very expensive, but there was an IKEA in walking distance so I walked over there and had a moderately priced dinner in the cafeteria. My flight did not leave until 1:30 the next day and I did not want to buy an expensive hotel breakfast so I bought a muffin at IKEA for 1.29 and took that back with me. That, and the free hotel room coffee, was my breakfast the next morning. I did spend $1o on a gyros sandwich for lunch at the airport but it was tasty and filling.

Note: The whole Mall of America thing was bizarre. We (the conference attendees) had dinner at a restaurant there the first night so I walked around beforehand. It is HUGE with amusement park type rides in the middle (all indoors). Our hotel and many others had free shuttles to/from and it was obvious people took vacations just to come to the mall… So strange. Other than being huge and having rides in the middle it was just… a shopping mall.

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Lisa M. June 16, 2019 at 2:38 pm

Tracy, I enjoyed reading your analysis of MoA (as we Minnesotans call it). I actually live 10 minutes away & literally never go there. I will admit that we have enjoyed several attractions as DD grew up ranging from the amusement park, to Rain Forest Café, to the former American Girl Shop & restaurant, etc. It does offer a wide variety of shops for consumers & is a major employer for young adults in the area. But in general, I agree with you. The fact that it is a vacation destination for many families is a mystery. On the other hand, we enjoy the nearby Ikea with its economical wares & cafeteria.

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tracy June 17, 2019 at 4:53 am

Hi Lisa,

I have a 15 year old daughter who loves our local shopping mall and I am sure if we lived 10 minutes away from MoA we would hit the types of attractions you mention from time to time. Interestingly, the local person who attended the conference said same thing you did, she couldn’t remember last time she had been there. I did do a walk in the nearby national wildlife refuge and it was lovely.

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Christine June 17, 2019 at 5:37 am

DH and I spent some time in Minneapolis last summer and although we were curious about the mall we never made it there. I guess we didn’t miss much. On the other hand, we did make it over to the large and well stocked Salvation Army Store where I found a blaze orange hunting vest for $1. I don’t hunt but wear it in the woods on our hikes during hunting season.

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Mary in Maryland June 17, 2019 at 8:46 am

While visiting a friend in Minneapolis, she asked what I wanted to do on Saturday. When I asked about swimming, she gave me a big kiss. I was flummoxed as to why until her husband said she was just grateful that I didn’t want to visit MoA.

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ouvickie June 17, 2019 at 12:11 pm

tracy – several years ago I went to Minnesota for a training course. My male co-worker asked if I wanted to visit the mall. I told him, “No, but I want to go to Cabela’s” (we didn’t have one in Oklahoma back then).
He was shocked. I guess he thought all women like to shop at Malls. I couldn’t think of anything worse – loathe shopping for the sake of shopping and it was the middle of Winter. I did buy my hubby and grandson, both, fur-lined winter caps at Cabela’s. I had a blast going in there! LOL!!!

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tracy June 20, 2019 at 7:25 pm

That would be me only with Goodwill instead of Cabela’s!

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julie June 16, 2019 at 2:01 pm

1-despite the cool rainy weather I am still line drying as much as possible.
2-garden is starting to produce, so far lots (I mean lots) of cilantro and basil.
3-saved a cart that was blowing in the wind and was rewarded with .25 cents
4-used reward points for most of the groceries purchases this week.
5-current self is very happy with past self because we just paid the 1st tuition payment for the older child and I feel confident that our 18 years of saving for him will mean he graduates with no debt. He plans to live at home in the 1st year and has saved the money he needs to buy a car as the school is not easy on transit. We will contribute as well, this is my fiscally responsible child so I have no worries about extravagance.

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Connie C June 17, 2019 at 6:05 am

1) We made a payment to principal on our mortgage this week.

2) I found $0.03 this week.

3) Saved $2.50 on a needed item at CVS with a store emailed coupon.

4) Redeemed my Ibotta savings for a gift card. Date night restaurant with Hubs in the future!

5) Cooked a nice home-made meal for Hubs for Father’s Day. Ds20 was grill master.

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Jenelle June 17, 2019 at 7:01 am

1. I am challenging myself to a no-spend (maybe a low spend week). We have plans this weekend that include a charity chinese auction that benefits Wounded Warriors. This is one charity that I give to every year and I am using my no-spend/low spend week to be able to donate this weekend.
2. We used our annual passes/drink pass to go to a local amusement park this weekend. I love watching our kids (and my hubby) on the rides. I love to see the smiles on their faces! (while we drink from our refillable cup!)
3. Found a few brand new toys at a yard sale on Saturday. I promptly put them away for my kids for Christmas. (the did purchase two other toys that will be listed on Ebay around the holidays)
4. No fancy breakfast or dinner for Father’s Day in our house. Hubby is the cook and our house and would just rather cook the food himself instead of going our OR eating anything I can make. Save money by having some reduced steaks that were in our freezer.
5. Our garden is starting to give its bounty. Salads will be with every meal for the next few weeks!!

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