Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 29, 2017 · 100 comments

  1. My younger son has oral surgery today, which means that his pre-op consultation was yesterday. I’m still upset from when my older son went through the same thing a year-and-a-half ago. Not because he had any medical complications, but because our insurance refused to pay for the panoramic X-ray, which left us holding the bag for an extra $535. (They’ll only pay for this level of X-ray every two years.) I preemptively called up my son’s dentist and had them email any recent X-rays to the oral surgeon, including a panoramic one from last spring. The assistant tried to steer my son towards the X-ray room, but I asked her to wait until the surgeon had a chance to review the recent one. The oral surgeon was perfectly happy with the one-year-old X-ray, and I saved $535. BAM!
  2. The surgeon gave us a prescription for multiple medications, including pain meds and anti-nausea pills. However, we still have these leftover from when this son had surgery last summer. More money saved!
  3. My husband belongs to the Next Door group for our neighborhood and saw that some people were getting rid of a mostly decent propane grill. The two of us walked to their house and eagerly dragged it home. It had some surface rust, but it cleaned up in a jiffy. We’ll probably have to replace a few minor rusted out pieces, but it’s a Kenmore, so that should be no problem. The best part is that it has a intact waterproof cover, so we should be able to protect it from here on out.
  4. I signed up for the next four week schedule of hospital shifts. Even though it meant running half my errands, hovering over the computer until exactly 5 P.M., and then heading out to run the second half of my errands. This makes it possible to get enough work, rather than having to scramble for shifts.
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold plated Квартира в небе.

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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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

Pauline March 29, 2017 at 12:37 pm

I got my car recovery insurance thing reduced by 30%. I rang and sweetly asked if they could check that the policy was ‘still right for my needs, only I have seen you offering this policy for less’. He found that I no longer needed European cover. If i do need it later in the year, I will add it then, when I only get charged till the end of the policy life, instead of the whole 12 months. Win!

Found a better mobile phone deal than I have at the moment. So I have dropped from £15.50 with provider A (cheapest they would offer was £12.60 and if I go on holiday it’s either £3/£5 a day to use, depending where I am) to £9 for an extra 2GB data and no extra charges for using abroad. Another Win.

Started to make a new cover for the outdoor guinea pig run, as the old one is in shreds. Not finished yet. Fabric from stash and the clips salvaged from the old cover.

DOnated big bag of fabric offcuts to friend for her craft projects and 2 biiiig bags to a lady who does am-dram stuff.

Shopped at Costco with a friend. Took one car. Bought almost exclusively the stuff on my list. Then found that their petrol station was now open, so filled up, even though I had still got 2/3 of a tank. 7p/l cheaper there.


Zoey March 29, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Ha ha to number 5!
Love Nextdoor.
Husband has had months of medical (unfortunately bridging from 2016 into 2017 so two deductibles to be met, no choice in the matter), have to ‘mamma bear’ over bills, insurance, necessary procedures, calendar/timing – it all has to be orchestrated! Glad when it will be done.
Hope son is doing well.


Betty Winslow March 29, 2017 at 12:49 pm

1. Running an open house book sale at home today while we’re on spring break. Didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, but still have a couple of people who haven’t come by yet and are going to. Still, I’ve made $90 so far, for books that were free to me! And the one guy who’s bringing his son by, is bringing me some homemade bahklava!!
2. Made dinner in the crockpot this morning, with sale gr. beef and an assortment of canned beans and tomato products (all from the last big Kroger sale) and a couple of packets of spices. Cheap, smells wonderful, and if hubby comes home while I’m working the sale, he can just go ahead and feed himself.
3. Used up some cheese spread and crackers to make welcome home snacks for husband yesterday. Made a little room in the frig and he was blessed.
4. Will be working on making bracelets this evening after the sale, using beads given to me by friends, for a local foster care agency princess for a day event in May. Did it last year with SIL and the girls were thrilled to get a bracelet to keep.
5. I seldom wear nail polish any more, so will be decluttering my collection and giving it to the agency for the manicure portion of the party. I’ll keep couple for my toes, but I’ll never use up all I’ve got and the girls will love it!


Susie's Daughter March 30, 2017 at 3:43 am

Betty – #’s 4+5 are making my heart happy. Thank you for sharing these lovely programs and ideas!


Mrs. Picky Pincher March 29, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Ugh, medical bills are so annoying.

Here’s how I’m saving money this week:

1. I bake when I’m stressed out and we had lots of goodies around the house (tough week at work). I gave them to relatives and to coworkers so they wouldn’t go to waste. Or my waist. 😉

2. We focused on produce-heavy dinner recipes this week to decrease our cost per meal.

3. I made more homemade laundry soap. I also plan to make dishwasher soap once we finish our store bought pacs.

4. I started exercising again on my elliptical at home–no gym membership required.

5. I used an old plastic bottle as a toy for my cat.


Denise March 30, 2017 at 11:27 am

No. 1: sheer genius.

As was Katy’s Russian interject.


Katy March 30, 2017 at 12:44 pm

I don’t know how that Russian got in there. I wrote it out normally. 😉


susanna d March 29, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Sending wishes for a speedy recovery to your son. And great money save on the X-ray. That’s a huge saving!

1. Was getting low on certain spices and placed my Penzey’s order online. Received 4 free jars of spices with my $20 order – minced garlic, Tuscan seasoning, and 2 jars of pie spice. I don’t bake pies, but found I love pie spice on oatmeal. Yes, I could buy cheaper spices, but I choose to support Penzey’s for a number of reasons – in addition to the fact their spices are amazing.
2. Picked up my free jar of Tostitos salsa. We normally make our own salsa, but free is cheaper than I can make homemade salsa, even with growing most of the vegetables myself.
3. Found a gorgeous light packed away in the garage attic – after 5 years of owning this place, we’re still finding hidden treasures. This looked brand new. Cleaned it up, and it has a new home in the smaller, formerly light-challenged guest bedroom. It looks awesome!
4. Even though I love to cook, I’m taking a vacation from it for the next few days. There are enough leftovers from this week for today and tomorrow, and a freezer-dive came up with things to cobble together dinners through Sunday. Now, what to do with the extra time I’ll have…hmm…
5. Went through the pantry and found I have all the ingredients to bake cookies with the grandchildren when they visit. While I may love to cook, I normally hate to bake – unless it’s with the grandchildren. Then it’s fun!


Andrea March 30, 2017 at 5:47 am

I’ve never heard of Penzy’s before. I checked their website, but don’t see any particular reason to order from them – can you tell me what your reasons are? I’m curious to know if there’s a great company out there I should be supporting.


Vickey April 1, 2017 at 11:16 am

Yes, please! I have this same question.


kathleen March 29, 2017 at 1:20 pm

RE: #1…you are the BOMB…and by bomb I mean the nuclear power of a frugal mother! 🙂

RE: #5…I wonder how many times Google translate gets used for this? LOL

Now mine:
1. Picked up a day of work filling in for a spring allergy sufferer turned major sinus infection.

2. Just did the seasonal switch from flannel sheets and down comforter to cotton sheets and light coverlet. All are many years old, in perfect condition, and I’m still perfectly happy using them.

3. My phone was not accepting any chargers last weekend. I cleaned the charge port with a soft toothbrush and compressed air. It still didn’t want to take any charger accept the car charger. ? I uploaded all photos to the cloud and copied all contacts just in case. I continued trying to find a charger that will work, and it seems that it will work when USB end of chargers are plugged into the USB ports of the surge protector rather than using the removable electrical plug between charger and surge protector. Weird, but workable to get a little more life out of phone and shop for the most frugal choice.

4. Still working through library books.

5. Staying home doing chores today instead of going out and spending money.


Katy March 29, 2017 at 1:31 pm

You must be in a different climate from Portland. We’re still full-on flannel bedding.


kathleen March 29, 2017 at 1:44 pm

TX 🙂


yvette from down under March 29, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Weather has changed to autumn and its now warm sunny days and cool nights here. I have noticed a few of the bird s are different in my garden, silver eyes, fan tails and finches.The trees are turning red, gold and orange, such a beautiful time of year. 5 frugal things:
1. Figs are in abundance now, made fig and ginger jam, dried some and cooked some to use in a delicious slice with chocolate topping
2. Bought a fresh Chook marked to half price and roasted it last night with couscous and spicy citrus stuffing. Used up all random veges in fridge.this will feed me for another 4 meals. Carcus for soup.
3. Bought meat products marked 60% off at supermarket to fill the freezer, including turkey breasts and salmon steaks.
4. Food processor died so got a good one at thrift store for $10… bargain
5. Preparing for blackouts here , so purchased cheap solar garden lights that can be brought inside at night to use for lighting, trialled one over night, it’s still bright this morning. All I need to do is stand them in a bucket outside during daytime to recharge the solar battery then bring them in at night, much safer and better than candles, 6 in the box so plenty for around the house at night!!!
Did not buy a Ferrari and don’t need a mansion to be happy!!


Tracy March 29, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Okay curious — what is a “chook”?


Ave March 29, 2017 at 6:15 pm

A chook is a chicken.


yvette from down under March 30, 2017 at 3:20 am

Sorry that’s Aussie slang for chicken. I forget that sometimes I need my comments translated!! We sometimes call people ‘silly old chooks’ in an affectionate way ….


Mand01 March 30, 2017 at 4:04 am

In my family someone who was always hungry was a “chook bucket’!


A. Marie March 30, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Always grateful for the lessons in “conversational Aussie” from Mand and Yvette!

Tracy March 31, 2017 at 8:16 am

Me too – thank you!


Vickey April 2, 2017 at 8:19 am

Crook I knew, but what’s “slice”, please? Pie? Cake?


Melissa in Oz April 6, 2017 at 5:54 pm

A slice is what you call bars in America – like lemon bars etc. We call them slices – you slice them up rather than roll or cut out like cookies/biscuits


Marybeth March 29, 2017 at 1:28 pm

-Mended 3 pairs of pants, a shirt and a coat.
-My husband left work very late the other night and brought home 4 bagels and 3 rolls that the cleaning crew were going to through in the trash.
-Called our car insurance and got our bill reduced by $185 for the year.
-Our neighbors dog passed and they offered us all of the dog treats that they had.
-Sold 2 more things on eBay and mailed them out in boxes that I reused from work.
-Made chicken noodle soup with leftovers and finished off 2 boxes of pasta that had very little left.


Bee March 29, 2017 at 1:32 pm

What a smart move on the X-rays! Oral surgery can be expensive and painful. I hope your son recovers quickly.
I am trying to get my frugal groove back. I have not been home for the best part of the last two weeks and I am a bit discombobulated. So this week, I am trying to get things back to normal with my FFT.

1) I went through the giant stack of mail that was awaiting me and put 2/3 of it in the recycling bin. I have 3 or 4 things in need of my attention, but I am procrastinating –mostly. I had an EOB from our health insurer denying a claim filed on my youngest child’s behalf . This was hogwash, so I handled it immediately. It was denied because she was over 19 years of age and could not be covered under our policy. I called and explained that the law had changed a long time ago. A child can and will remain on a parent’s policy until the age of 26. It will be reprocessed, but this kind of thing angers me.

2) I have relisted some items on eBay and have added some new listings. I did sell one item last week, but I need to build up my savings a bit.

3) I have been doing laundry and hanging up as much as I can to dry. There is a no-clothesline rule where I live and no basement. I have also washed (rather than dry-cleaned) and stored many wool items over the last few days. Temperatures are in the 80s this week in Florida, so the need for winter clothes has passed.

4) I have doing the leftover cha-cha — making afternoon iced coffee from the morning brew; trying to use up all the potato salad from our Sunday afternoon cookout (the dog loves it); and baking a large batch of granola to use up a small amounts of hemp seed, dried dates, pistachios and coconut. Now if I can just figure out what to do with the last of the stinky goat cheese. Has anyone ever used it in quiche?

5) I have been listening to podcasts and audio books from the library while working around the house — always free entertainment. However, My CD player has eaten one of the discs that I was listening to. This is a problem, but I’ll worry about this tomorrow.


MW March 29, 2017 at 1:38 pm

“Left over cha-cha”- I love it! We just finished our own round of that. That potato soup lasted about one day too long. The chicken was easier to re-purpose.


Madeline March 29, 2017 at 1:57 pm

I will put just about any cheese I have into a quiche.Try it!!


Madeline March 29, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Bee, when I worke din my husband’s chiro office,processing insurance claims,I had to go to lots of seminars. A “retired”claims adjustor told us they were trained to take 10 % of ALL CLAIMS on their desk EACH DAY and put them into the “ROUND FILE (TRASH.) Some doctors offices never get around to resubmitting unpaid claims. So the ins. company saves a lot of money.

OUR office reprocessed EVERYTHING.AND got paid on most. Individuals need to do the same thing and call call and call. A PAIN and should not be necessary. But our health care system is under control of very greedy insurance companies and believe me, your HEALTH is their LAST concern!!!!!


Bee March 29, 2017 at 4:13 pm

You are 100% correct. I always, always go back to the insurance company. Two years ago, I had a funny situation. I had a procedure done and pre-approval was given by the insurance company as required. When it came time for my carrier to pay my health care providers, they paid for everything, but the anesthesia. Fortunately, the doctor appealed on my behalf and was paid. Imagine surgery without anesthesia! Really?


Mia March 29, 2017 at 5:47 pm

I had that happen. I had a C-section and they refused to pay the anesthesia. Can you imagine? LOL.


Marcia March 29, 2017 at 7:31 pm

I find certain doctors or other providers have inefficient offices—so after a while I know which bills I have to watch carefully and which are usually right. The eye doctor and the x-ray place that does my annual sonogram for circulation in my legs are ALWAYS sending me bills before billing the second of my two insurances. And sometimes the insurance sends of EOBs that say “Bill previously submitted” even though they didn’t PAY the bill for some reason. I have to jump all over the providers to “rebill” and then they get paid. It’s practically a part time job, but the pay is quite good! My daughter worked in medical offices and has done billing, and believe me, she checks hers most carefully also. They are both disabled, and even $10 or $20 makes a difference to their budget!

Odette March 30, 2017 at 5:02 am

Years ago, I worked for a life insurance company who would look for any tiny detail to deny a claim. It made me sick to think about the grieving family having their premiums returned instead of getting a life insurance payout. I didn’t work there long.


A. Marie March 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Awesome job on your FFT, Katy, especially 1-2. I occasionally suspect that our dentist is using us as a way of making payments on his Volvo SUV, so I’m always alert to save money there. Meanwhile, here’s my FFT:

(1) The dentist does give a small discount for paying by check instead of credit card on major work, so we’re going to use that option for DH’s new crown tomorrow.

(2) I cooked the last of our half-hams from our annual half-pig over the weekend, so I’m making split pea soup with some of the leftovers now.

(3) I’ve found 40 cents in change in the last two days from melted snowdrifts. Keep trying, folks in the 716 and 315 area codes!

(4) I’ve also made successful contacts with our local city council member and city departments in the last two days re: various things that need doing on our street and in adjacent areas. Better local quality of life = extremely thrifty.

(5) Finally, it was pleasant enough outside today for DH to split some large logs that have been taking up room in the garage all winter. Loud cheers!

(5) And, Barbara, I see there’s another FFL book sale coming up on Saturday. Hope to see you there!


A. Marie March 29, 2017 at 1:48 pm

So, OK, Barbara, you should have been (6). Please try to overlook the fact that I don’t count so well at the end of a long day. 🙂


Barbara r a March 30, 2017 at 4:42 am

Hi A.Marie!!!
Hehe…..I’ve been spending so much time stocking books that I am constantly humming the Alphabet Song under my breath….even the pups are beginning to look at me with alarm!

I’m one of the floaters on the sale and I’m looking forward to meeting you! We’ve reworked the bio/memoir and history sections for this sale and we are restocked very well with fiction too!


Barbara March 30, 2017 at 4:43 am

See?!?! I can’t even spell my own name correctly at this stage!


A. Marie March 30, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Well, if I can count and you can spell by Saturday, let’s hope to meet. DH and I are usually in the line waiting to get in the door at 10 am.

Shannon March 30, 2017 at 4:33 am

I found a $20 bill in a chunk of ice in a melting snowbank 2 weeks ago! I though it was a dollar and went over to investigate. I was probably plowed into that bank months ago. I took it home and laid it on my drying rack, brushed off the grime when it was dry and promptly gave it to my son’s piano teacher. 🙂 One week of piano courtesy of the bank of snow. 🙂 Pun intended. I thought of you when I found it!


Katy March 30, 2017 at 9:33 am

I love that!!!!


A. Marie March 30, 2017 at 3:36 pm

The First National Bank of Snow! Member FDIC (Fumbling Down in the Icy Crust)??


Madeline March 29, 2017 at 1:56 pm

AMAZING isn’t it that a Panoramic dental X ray in Mexico runs around $50. That’s FIFTY not FIVE HUNDRED!! Our health care system is in deep need of repair. My 5 frugals:

1. Played Mexican Train with girlfriends at one of their resort-like clubhouses attached to her apartment building.Free KEURIG gourmet coffee and we all pack our own snacks.

2. Scheduled our June dental trips in Algodones ,YES,MEXICO!! We’re saving so much money with just a 3 hour drive, yes, we have to stay overnight at the casino hotel for $69 but this expenditure is hundreds, sometimes, like last year, THOUSANDS less than local dentists. There is a sponsored bus that leaves our area daily for $40 round trip.. in case you just need a check up and cleaning, and don’t need a 2 day visit.

3. Made a huge pot of ten bean soup, having it for supper before we head to play at our local theater.I get a 4 pack of tickets at a discount,yearly.

4. Kayaked on local lake for our “date day, ” with equipment we already own (purchased a few years back on craigslist for retirement fun.) Packed vegetarian sandwiches and had picnic under the trees by the sparkling lake!

5. Reading pile of books from library.Libraries knock my socks off with freebies..books,DVD’s, movies, lectures, free culture passes to local venues. you name it! LOVE MY LIBRARY!!!!


Annye March 30, 2017 at 2:40 pm

If you don’t mind and have time, Madeline, could you please expand on how you learned about dental treatment in Mexico? For instance, how do you know the bus’ schedule and how did you select your doctor? I’m sure we’ll need dental procedure at some point, and even the “best” insurance policies don’t seem to cover much more than what we’d pay in premiums.

Thank you in advance for any insight you can offer!


Teresa March 29, 2017 at 2:22 pm

1. Today my neighbor and I extended our “free exercise” walk to 4 miles and were back home by 9am — we are both 60 (which is not that old) but it felt pretty good. I’m anxious to see if my cholesterol count is down when I go for a checkup on Friday. 2. Grocery Outlet had a good brand of unsalted butter on sale for 97c a pound because it had reached the “use by” date. I bought 11 lbs and froze it, a savings of $30 3. I am about to wash my 20 year old car. I will save $12 and feel better about driving it. 4. Got my income tax done and will see a refund that will go toward new glasses, a mortgage payment and replacing a patio umbrella and shade sail that were destroyed in a recent storm. I emailed CoolaRoo to see if the shade sail can be covered by warranty. It’s 10 years old but I have to try! 5. In a weak moment I paid for a month of HBO 🙁 but I’ll make the best of it and have promised myself not to do it again… At least I didn’t buy anything gold plated! 😉


K D March 29, 2017 at 2:25 pm

1. I have been spending a bit of money to save money. Last week I bought a package of hair clips (~$2) instead of scheduling a hair cut appt.

2. I bought Dr. Scholl’s inserts for shoes instead of buying new shoes. I had $5 off coupons so they were about $3 each, out of pocket. They say you lose subcutaneous fat on your feet after age 50. I will attest to that.

3. A friend reminded me that knitting baby/toddler sweaters with leftover yarn (multi-colored) is a great way to make a nice looking sweater while using what you have. I will look later to see what I can come up with.

4. I am listening to “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things” on CDs, borrowed from the library. The author is Amy Dickinson, of the Ask Amy column. I love the library.

5. I have two friends that have birthdays next week and I will see them around their birthday dates. I think I will bring cupcakes to a gathering on Monday and a carrot cake to a friends lunch the next day. I will be putting the KitchenAid mixer to work.


Roberta March 30, 2017 at 6:05 am

#2 I did the same thing for my husband last week! He loves his new shoe inserts, and I think his shoes will last through the school year this way. (He usually tries to get a pair to last one school year, then they get downgraded to yardwork shoes.0


Denise March 30, 2017 at 12:14 pm

No.2: I am 51. Soles of my feet must be the only bit of me that’s losing fat. It appears to be creeping up my legs to live on my thighs. Knew it wasn’t eating cake that was making me chubby…


Katy March 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm

That realization calls for more cake!


KJD509 March 29, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Bwahahah love that #5, Katy.

1) Climbing laboriously back up on the frugal wagon after about 10 days of less careful spending. Right after I checked up on you all on Sunday, I downloaded recent transactions to Quicken, saw negative numbers in the register, castigated myself and the hubs, moaned and groaned and generally raised a ruckus. Not my finest performance. But within about an hour it had fogged through to me that, hello, we’re on top of our $! We’re not overdrawn, and in fact, because we have a tuition payment to make today, we should have quite a cushion in there. So, the next day after apologizing all around, I checked again. Yep. Quicken had double-downloaded expenses and totally missed downloading income. I don’t know why this happens, but it seems to every 18 months or so. So – frugal in that we aren’t overdrawn, and apologies, like bad temper, though miserable are cheap. Sheesh.
2) Super busy at work, but I’ve been able to direct the rest of the family to make frugal, leftover-using, low-cooking-intensity meals. So far so good.
3) Leftovers for lunch.
4) On the topic of dentists: yet another visit today. Still double-covered, so still not paying anything for regular appointments. I pay $8/month for my dental insurance – yes, there is a LOT wrong with our medical insurance system, but that can’t be beat.
5) I was reminded today how lucky I am (and how frugal it is!) when my company’s IT department called to say, “We got a notice that your antivirus software isn’t reporting.” I carried my laptop to the geniuses on the floor below me, they fixed it while I got a cup of (lousy but free) coffee, they handed it back clean and dust free as well as working. Seriously, this alone makes it worth shlepping into work every morning.

Wishing you all a frugal week free of teeth-gnashing –


Ann March 29, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Aha! The danger of downloads.


April March 29, 2017 at 2:39 pm

1-3. My birthday was a few days ago, so I’ve been cashing in on all the birthday freebies you get by signing up for the companies emails. These are the one’s I’ve cashed in on in the last week. This is technically more than 5, but it’s all sorta the same thing yet big, so I’m going to count it as 3.

5 freebies from Sephora on my latest order (they always offer you 3, but I also got another for my bday, and another freebie simply for using a code I found on their website because I did a little digging.)
1 freebie from Ulta.

Free cheesy breads from both Pizza Hut and Papa Johns for bday.
Free burger at Red Robin.
$5 coupon for Menchies Frozen Yogurt.

Free drink (signup thank you) and free food item (bday) from Starbucks.
2 free pastries from Panera, for signup and bday.
Free breakfast bagel at Einsteins Bros Bagel with purchase of any drink, gotta say, this Blackberry Lemonade is AMAZING.

$8 off my bday dinner with my bff at TGI Fridays because of my accumulated points, and their gift of 50 pts for bday. (Bonus, they do NOT sing to you.)

It’s not the most frugal thing to go driving all around to chase a free anything, but I live in a city, and I grouped them together and hit them up while I was out doing other errands. I still have a fair number on my list, but if I don’t get to them before the coupon expires, oh well, I didn’t really need that Arby’s milkshake or Waffle House waffle. But if I’m in the neighborhood, yes I think I will have that IHOP Rootie Tootie Fresh and Fruity pancake stack!

4. I just got back from washing my car. The one I go to offers free vacuum facilities. I was there for quite a long time getting EVERYthing clean. I picked the cheapest wash, thinking to save myself $2 by skipping their rainbow unicorn foam, but it didn’t really get all the bird poop off, so they let me go through again. Still not clean. Then I started scrubbing at my car with a rag I kept with the spare tire, and once I thought it was clean again, they let me go through a third time, again without paying. After that, I vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed. Found a quarter! I bought my car new in 2009, and it’s starting to show it’s age, but by doing these yearly deep cleans, I feel like I can help it last longer. Now that I’m home again, I’m going to go back out there with some paper towels and a bottle of Windex for the insides of the windows.

5. I also use my library heavily! Mine let’s me request books and movies online, and they ship them from whichever library in the city has the material I want, and let’s me know when it’s time to come and pick them up. In and out, super fast. This week I have Scully on DVD, NOW 60, and the second two books in the Kushiel’s Dart series. Last week was 4 books on learning to knit.


Jennifer March 29, 2017 at 3:03 pm

1. I am loving my Luna cup(similar to Diva, or so I am told) and wishing I had got it sooner. After having 3 kids my vagina practically laughs at tampons! No, but seriously, I have had leaks with tampons and the Luna never leaks and costs me nothing.
2. I spent some time grooming my feet to get them flip flop ready. I have never had a pedicure, so I have nothing to compare to, but I think they look pretty good.
3. I pressed the easy button tonight and made my family corn dogs. A huge box of frozen corn dogs was gifted to me from a friend and we have been eating healthy all week so I don’t feel too guilty.
4. I started my family on probiotics for some stomach issues and I really think it’s helping. They are expensive but much less than a doctor visit. We eat probiotic foods too but this way I know we are getting enough.
5. I ate asparagus for breakfast that was leftover from last night. No matter how hard I try to only fix what I know we will eat, there is always a little bit left so I make it my breakfast.


Katy March 30, 2017 at 9:35 am

“My vagina practically laughs at tampons!” <----- I love this so much!


Vickey April 2, 2017 at 8:32 am

Me too! But perhaps we should post a trigger warning for males at the top of every page.


Vickey April 2, 2017 at 8:33 am

Sorry, the wink emoji didn’t make it through on that last bit.


Amy K. March 29, 2017 at 4:32 pm

I don’t feel as if I’ve been incredibly frugal lately. Husband’s spring bonus came through and so I’ve been scheduling necessary repairs around the house. Can I count that we’re repairing our fence and deck instead, and three windows that are stuck, instead of replacing?


sheila March 29, 2017 at 5:14 pm

1. I planned my meals for the week, which I never do, but wanted to start being ever more frugal. After doing a Trader Joe’s run, I bought what I thought were enough ingredients to make a Shepard’s pie, but when I checked the recipe, I realized I forgot the Irish cheese that goes on the top. Not going back to the store, so I’m substituting a blend of cheeses I had on hand.
2. Son is home from spring break and I was scratching my head to think of what to make for him, since the school he’s at has amazing food. But I figured comfort food made by mama is best, so coffee cake today, baked french toast tomorrow, ravioli another night.
3. I’ve been working hard in the garden, trying to find all the pesky snails that keep eating my succulents. I’m having 2 parties next week – book group and Bunco – so I’m hard at work getting ready.
4. I made my menu for both parties and started buying ingredients yesterday. I find it’s easier on the pocketbook to buy food a bit in advance. While I often get take out for Bunco, I decided on a couple nice soups instead, which are a huge frugal win.
5. Didn’t leave the house today 🙂


Vickey April 2, 2017 at 8:36 am

We put out small shallow plastic dishes of beer, sunk into ground level. They crawl in and drown. We figure they die happy?


Mand01 March 29, 2017 at 5:17 pm

1. Wintery weather has hit and we are rugged up. Of course I have lovely thrifted winter coats to keep me warm. Including boots I have had for five years that were given to me new by a colleague because they didn’t fit her properly.
2. I have two free movie tickets expiring tomorrow so I’m going to see Hidden Figures tonight with my friend
3 I’ve been saving extra cash and change for our holiday next month. I have almost $500 to spend on family fun and eating out. I have just been putting aside any cash not spent at the end of the week. Our flights and accommodation already booked and paid for. In cash, natch.
4. Have avoided buying coffee so far this week.
5. Dinner last night was homemade pesto from my fresh basil.


Roberta March 30, 2017 at 6:12 am

I hope you enjoy Hidden Figures. My family loved the story, and the vintage decor of the sets was bonus joy.


Mand01 March 31, 2017 at 1:30 am

It was a lovely movie in many ways but Shocking, to see how people were treated (not that Australian history is any better, mind – our history of race relations is also sadly shameful).
I’m going to look for the book.


Lindsey March 29, 2017 at 5:18 pm

1. Did four mystery shops this week. Earned only $40 but husband and I got to see Beauty and the Beast 3D (plus free treats), got a year’s supply of multi-vitamins for each of us, got a free lube and oil change, and a bag of seed starting soil. I detest the Beauty message that inside every creep is a good man just waiting for a good woman to release him. As my father used to tell his daughters, “Jerk on the outside means jerk on the inside.” But the scenery was magical and who can resist a movie with dancing cutlery?
2. Looked through the sale section of meats at our grocery store and scored two roasts for 1/3 the usual price. They were on their sell-by date but one is in the crock pot now and the other in the freezer. They are each enough for four meals for the two of us.
3. This weekend in the freezer cleanout I unearthed a quarter pound of hamburger and two bags with bits of cheese in them. Didn’t seem like enough for a meal but I used a wilting carrot and a huge potato and all together they yielded enough cheeseburger soup to feed us for two dinners. Not as cheesy as sometimes but perfectly adequate and healthier that way.
4. Wanted to buy cookies at the grocery store but made it home without them. Instead made flourless peanut butter cookies that satisfied the sweet tooth.
5. Traded yarn I will not use (that I got for free!) for three dozen eggs from a neighbor down the street.


Katy March 29, 2017 at 7:14 pm

Thank you for pointing that out. I HATE Disney princess culture!


Robin March 30, 2017 at 12:01 pm

I love Disney’s new movie Moana. It has a very different type of message than a lot of the Disney princess films.


Mand01 March 30, 2017 at 4:20 am

That’s my view of that story as well- how to train young girls to accept domestic violence. Brrrr.


Denise March 30, 2017 at 12:23 pm

I saw a great comment about the film: the ultimate display of Stockholm Syndrome. Brilliant. So disappointed that Emma Watson did it…thought she was sounder than that.


Tracy March 29, 2017 at 5:26 pm

I loved Hidden Figures, hope you enjoyMand01!

1. Took bus to/from work yesterday and today.
2. Took food to work for breakfast yesterday and today, and lunch yesterday, (had lunch out with friend today though…)
3. Ate leftovers for dinner.
4. Going to beach for weekend, will pack food to take with and save money (much cheaper to buy groceries in Portland than at coast)
5. Reading book I got from library electronically on my Kindle.


Mand01 March 30, 2017 at 4:21 am

Thank you, I did enjoy it, it was lovely


Teri March 29, 2017 at 5:33 pm

1. Decided to try the Goodwill Outlet one more time. For a $7.50 “investment” I resold the items at Platos and made $25. Wish all my investments would do that well…
2. Found myself a couple items which will help extend my work wardrobe through spring.
3. Husband is out of town so I am eating only what we have on hand, and mostly fruits and veggies. Too much work to fix a meal for only 1 person.
4. Updating a few rooms by using spray paint and trading things around like bedding and rugs. Its nice to change things up without spending $$.
5. Continuing the closet clean out. Talked a neighbor into having another yard sale, so I hope to get a little cash for my efforts.


Pattilou March 29, 2017 at 5:39 pm

1. I am going on vacation with friends this summer and I am exchanging dog sitting services with them to cover my portion of the rental fee of the beach house. I will watch their dogs next week and will only have to pay for food and gas for the car for the vacation. This works out great for all of us.
2. My friends invited me to dinner tonight to talk over the details of the dog watching/vacation deal.
3. I rented a movie from Redbox using a code.
4.Borrowed 2 other movies from a friend
5. I found $50.00 and it was not claimed by anyone. I decided to treat our hard working staff to pizza. They deserve it.


Cindy in the South March 29, 2017 at 5:59 pm

1. Kid still in hospital. I am still running the roads between work and hospital, an hour and a half one way. But, the job pays the insurance so it is a win in my book. 2. I am burning the candle at both ends and exhausted, which means, other than gas and bags of popcorn, I am not spending any money. 3,4,5….I do not know….I just hope he gets out before I run outta clean underwear and have to go buy some….lol.


kathleen March 29, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Prayers for both of you, Cindy.


Bee March 30, 2017 at 2:51 am

I am so sorry. Wishing for you better days ahead.


Susie's Daughter March 30, 2017 at 7:00 am

Sending thoughts for healing and strength.


janine March 29, 2017 at 7:12 pm

Our best to you Cindy. Good you can find a silver lining in your lifestyle at this stressful time!


Isabelle March 30, 2017 at 4:53 am

Hmm… not much on the frugal front these last couple of days…

* Got fresh prunes on clearance rack for 0,55$/pound (instead of 2-3$/pound) and the are perfectly good
* Resisting the urge to sign-up at the gym’s pool (because they have a jaccuzi that I really enjoy) and using the city pool instead. Saving : 525$!
* Went to see a movie on cheap night, saving 6$. It was pretty good (Life)
* I realized last week that when I give my daughter the liquid Tylenol, the dose she takes is the same amount of Acetaminophen as a regular pill (325 mg). The Tylenol for kids is about 8$ for 10 doses. The 24 pill bottle costs 2$ when on sale! So I’ve talked to a doctor to make sure it’s ok to use regular pills for my daughter instead of the liquid and she said no problem. So I take one pill and cut it in 4, and she swallows it with juice without any trouble. Another positive about this is that in the pills they don’t put all the crap that they put in the liquid (sugar, dye, etc). Win-win!
* Used PC points for free groceries

Have a great frugal day!


Kristen March 30, 2017 at 5:16 am

I hope he recovers well! Joshua had his wisdom teeth taken out this past summer, but luckily we didn’t have any x-ray issues. Phew.


Katy March 30, 2017 at 9:17 am

So far he seems to be doing well.


Vickie March 30, 2017 at 6:22 am

1) Last evening was our monthly Women in Tech meeting. Free food and fun and a great social event. The one meeting I actually look forward to each month. I had a blast!
2) The Almay eyeliner I’ve used for the past two years finally emptied out completely. I’d been wetting the tip and shaking it to keep it going, but it’s done. My 20 year old Rachel Perry blush finally gave out too, a few weeks back. I’m not above scraping the barrel to get every last bit. The only makeup I replace on a regular basis is mascara – those usually last 3-6 months. I found a YT video for making my own, so I’m going to give it a try.
3) I filled up the car for this morning for $2.19 a gallon. Apparently fuel is on it’s way back down again. Yay!
4) Once we get our taxes back I can stash $1K in the emergency fund and use the rest to get a haircut, get the dog’s shots, get the car aligned and possibly replace the tires – if needed. Whatever is left, after that, will go into savings.
5) I’ve been trying to coax hubby to sell his pick-up, his Harley and the livestock trailers we no longer use. He finally sold the p/u and one of the trailers last week. Now he can apply that money to his major surgery/hospital bill from October. Hopefully he’ll sell the other trailer and the Harley and get it all paid off and have some left to put in savings.
And even better, when they’re all gone, no unused vehicles sitting in the yard making it look like a used vehicle lot!


Karen March 31, 2017 at 7:55 am

Re: your number 5. Could you please talk to mine?


Roberta March 30, 2017 at 6:27 am

Not feeling very frugal — just the same ol’ same ol’. I live frugally most of the time, but I’m not feeling it right now.
1. Made cornbread to go with dinner, using up a bunch of old milk. Family didn’t notice the milk was old, but they did appreciate cornbread!
2. Listed a few more items on ebay. One has a bid already, so it will sell. I SO want other people to pay for the rest of my decluttering!
3. Caught my sour cream just before it went bad, and made pierogi for Easter dinner, and last night’s dinner. My grandmother taught me to make them with sour cream in the dough. They were wonderful for dinner last night, and the rest are frozen for Easter.
4. Renewed library books online to avoid fines.
5. My big puppy likes to play more than my little older dog. We retrofit a baby gate with a hole in it, so my little dog can escape into my daughter’s room but the puppy is kept out. Household harmony for no financial outlay!


Susie's Daughter March 30, 2017 at 6:53 am

1) Must be the season for dental work! I had the first half of a crown done last week and thanks to my lovely dentist’s advance notice on this procedure and our planning, I wrote a check for it at the appointment. Previously this would have gone on a credit card so writing that big check made me inordinately happy!

2) On the insurance vein, I actually had a small credit at the dentist because we discovered in Jan that DS’s dental care at our family dentist is covered 100% so far by our family health insurance policy – even xrays. I was within the time frame to have his Dec visit reprocessed with our insurance, hence the credit. Here’s to reading the fine print and have the insurance company number near the phone.

3) I calculated our average daily interest the other night on our mortgage, just to know what it was. Then I went ahead and calculated for the car loan, home equity and energy efficiency loan (for our wood pellet boiler/furnace) for “fun”. This was REALLY instructive for me as I had been ‘snowballing’ the car loan, but will refocus my efforts on the energy loan that has 8x the interest of the car loan accruing daily.

4) Cooking at home, eating leftovers for lunch, packing DS’s lunch for school, buying only produce and milk this week. Loved Bee’s reference to the leftover Cha Cha…

5) My dad and I traveled to Seattle last weekend for my aunt’s memorial service. I noticed my aunt’s influence on all of us over these few days. Our West Coast family did all the prep themselves for the informal reception after, using many of my aunt’s recipes. We were not going for frugal per say, but as it reflected her life, it was in many ways. We used in season flowers, vases from her storeroom, food from Costco, pictures accumulated over her life time. Meaningful and lovely.

6) Bonus – many of us have talked about the generosity and blessing of good friends. We had dear friends come to stay with Dear Wife (recovering from ankle break and non weight bearing) and DS so that I could go with my dad to the service across the country. They cooked, did laundry, chauffeured, assisted my mom and loved on all here so I could go there. Where would we be without good friends?


cleopatra March 30, 2017 at 6:55 am

I have read your blog for years, Katy…..and the content has value. But I don’t agree with you sharing your political views on a blog you have monetized. It seems dishonest and seemly. Not that I necessarily disagree, you understand, but it does seem inappropriate.
Best wishes in future,


Katy March 30, 2017 at 9:17 am

I am a citizen and will continue to exercise my freedom of free speech. I wish more people would.


KJD509 March 30, 2017 at 9:29 am

As we’ve learned, not talking about politics to be seemly leads directly to the situation we’re in today. I’d say that keeping political leanings private is dishonest. Bravo, Katy, and keep it up.


Mand01 March 30, 2017 at 12:29 pm

I don’t understand what is dishonest about it.


Lindsey March 30, 2017 at 10:14 am

My favorite thing is watching Congress people’s constituent meetings where you hear people chanting, “This is what democracy looks like!” Indeed.


tricia March 31, 2017 at 7:10 pm

Great comment – wondering though why it doesn’t apply to others? I’ve seen censorship here, such as controversial (to you) comments disappearing (or a comment is moved to a tamer post, completely out of context)? But I’ve seen on other blogs too, esp with people who disagree (even amicably).


Ann Y. March 30, 2017 at 7:04 am

Oh, Katy – your gas grill story made me smile! Many years ago my dear uncle bought us a Kenmore gas grill…I used it for years. Kept replacing the burners, painting the wooden trays on each side ( sometimes I think the paint was holding it together), bought black grill paint to cover the spots when it got rusty. Really…used it for well over 20 years. Finally we decided to get a new one – at a family owned store near here, with free set up, delivery and a cover – and we could charge it on new cards we got which gave us 100 dollars credit if we spent so much so my husband and I had them split the bill and we got a VERY good grill for the cost of an inexpensive one – but there was still a little life left in the old one. A repairman who was here when the new one came asked about the old one…needed one for his hunting cabin, put it in the back of his service truck and it was recycled! But, still miss that old grill and the smile on my Uncle Joe’s face ( he was a frugal guy, but generous to family) when he came for a cook out and saw we were STILL using the grill !
This week’s frugal things –
Shopped for “retirement ” jeans for my husband at a nearby outlet…asked for the over 55 discount of 10% off the already sale prices.
Used my birthday discount card at a store I like…got a much needed tee shirt to replace one that was made into rags…and the sales assistant recognized me as her former teacher and gave me the extra educator discount, so a 39 dollar shirt cost me about 5 dollars!
Used another birthday coupon to get a free lip balm.
And…continued to use my “frugal Keurig” – a pour over gadget – and use the grounds twice each time!
Love your blog – thanks for all the great ideas !


Denise March 30, 2017 at 12:39 pm


Love your story about your grill – although your description of how many bits you replaced made me think of a very famous scene from an English comedy series. The show was called “Only Fools and Horses” and the scene is called Trigger’s Broom. Trigger is a road sweeper and not the sharpest tool in the box…


Ann Y. March 31, 2017 at 11:57 am

Oh, that is great – thank you for sharing !


Vickey April 2, 2017 at 12:58 pm

XD That was great, Denise, thanks! Reminds me of the year I bought a replacement bowl for my food processor, only to have the motor go shortly afterward. So of course we got a efurbished base off ebay. I’ve had “that” food processor for nearly 25 years…. 😉


Carolyn S March 30, 2017 at 7:39 am

I love reading all the comments on these posts. Such great inspiration! And I got a good chuckle out of your #5 Katy. Thanks!

1. Out furnace stopped working sometime Monday night. While it’s cold here, it wasn’t snowing so I wasn’t worried about the pipes freezing. Instead of paying extra for emergency 24 hour service, we just bundled up extra warm and toughed it out until the repair guy could come on Wednesday. While he was here fixing the furnace, I also had him do the regular cleaning and service on it, since it was past time for that. He knocked $20 off the cleaning charge since he was already there for the repair work.
2. Over the weekend we cooked a turkey (from the freezer, bought on sale around Thanksgiving last year). The leftovers are providing lunches for us all week. And yesterday I made stock from the carcass and picked another 3 Cups of turkey off the bones. The turkey bits will go back into the freezer to make enchiladas with later on.
3. Called a tree trimming company that’s had trucks in my neighborhood a lot lately and got on the list for free wood chips left from trimming. I’ve got my fingers crossed that they call me. My garden paths are in dire need of re-mulching, and free wood chips sound much better than buying a bunch of bagged mulch.
4. Am super excited to find out that my library has energy usage meters (similar to the Kill-A-Watt tool, I think) available for checkout. I got one and am looking forward to finding out where my energy costs are going! And I just love that I can get the tool from the library for free. Love, love, love my library!
5. Tonight’s dinner plan is leftover buffet. I try to do this once a week or so to make sure we’re eating out leftovers and not wasting any food. So far it’s working pretty well, and I’m getting more creative with was I can put together from all the odds and ends.


janine March 30, 2017 at 9:33 am

1. Water shut off abruptly this morning. Didn’t get the notice but department official said no H2O until late this afternoon. I live right off a main thoroughfare so they may have thought we were in the next section. Amazing how much we miss our conveniences when they are suddenly stopped!
Perhaps we will save a small amount on our bill through reduced usage?
2. Put together a stew from last night’s dinner and vegetable scraps. Sometimes these unusual combinations turn out well in the crockpot.
3. Bought a bunch of dollar books (overstock) which I will use for small gifts. The original prices were marked at $14.
4. Stocking up on solar lights from the dollar store – heeding the advice of some posters here about possible blackouts plus free lighting around the house.
5. We often drive with our dog to a nature center several hours away in the next state. Have stayed home for several weeks – noticed that my credit card bill for gas plus incidentals was definitely lower than usual.


Tami March 30, 2017 at 9:41 am

1. Books, audio-books, movies, television series- always free at our library. Currently reading “small great things” by Jodi Pichoult and watching “Dexter season 3”.

2. We have an appointment after work, so I pulled out some frozen left-over chili from the freezer, cooked up some macaroni to add to it to make it a fuller meal, and have left over hamburger buns I’ll make quick garlic bread out of. Dinner is nearly ready which always helps me avoid the urge to go out when we are out of the house later.

3. This might be a bit personal, but it’s true. We are attending marriage counseling tonight. We have been going weekly. Getting married later in life is no joke and we are both pretty set in our ways. $25 copay to save our relationship is non-consumer in my book.

4. Walking around the block for fresh air and a more relaxed mind on my lunch break. Free exercise, too.

5. Still using the free-through-work flip phone as my primary phone. Sometimes I miss taking fun pictures with my former smart phone, but not often.


Susie's Daughter March 30, 2017 at 10:08 am

Tami – Amen to number #3! I think of frugality as another manifestation of living honestly and authentically in the world, as in “here is what we need, what we want, what we already have”. Your authenticity is inspiring and brave.


Tami March 30, 2017 at 10:35 am

Thank you. I really appreciate your comment.


Denise March 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm


No. 3: a great investment in yourself and your beloved.


Vickey April 2, 2017 at 4:36 pm

What they said.


Jane March 30, 2017 at 2:25 pm

1. Ate at home all week, batch cooked & used up all leftovers.
2. Shopped at Aldi with a shopping list that I stuck to
3. Borrowed books from library
4. Walked and ran for exercise
5. Bulking up meals with veg, beans & lentils..


Amanda March 31, 2017 at 9:23 am

1. Last weekend the circus was in town for the last time ever. I wasn’t even aware of that fact until our neighbor brought us over tickets for our family. (Our neighbor is a business and gets comped tickets to stuff like that.) We ate dinner at home and avoided souvenirs. We did have to pay $10 to park. But $10 for a family of five to see the Greatest Show on Earth is not too shabby. It was amazing. My husband and I loved it even more than the kids. Contortionists in suspended globes! Lion taming! Basketball on unicycles! And everything happened on ice! Amazing.

2. My husband and I took Tuesday morning off to refresh our wardrobes. Our favorite Goodwill is the new one in the way-too-expensive end of town. We scored some great finds with almost pocket change. We belly-ached about how people can possible like living in high-priced cheap housing made to look expensive and spend so much money on all the junk there is to buy in this end of town. We then treated ourselves to a rare lunch out of sandwiches at a little shop. What a nice morning.

3. I am spending the second half of the week at a conference in Denver. I booked an airbnb that was half the price of the conference hotel rooms. It is a little bit of a walk, but Denver is a lovely city through which to walk, and it is so nice to be able to avoid hotels. No maid coming in every day moving my stuff. No person in the next room blaring the tv. No overloads of perfumes. No calculated anonymity that makes me feel lonely. Just a home away from home for a decent price.

4. The last time I was in Denver was about 10 years ago, and I remember having to take a $50 cab ride downtown. This time I took the $9 train to Union Station and then a free uber to my airbnb. Yes, I know I am jumping on the uber train just as it is no longer cool because the ceo is a jerk. But my first ride was free! I’ve used it one other time this week, and both drivers were super nice guys. Why punish them because their boss is an ahole. I might try lyft on the way back to Union Station because they seem to still be hip, and I’ve actually noticed that some drivers have both signs in their windows.

5. We’ve had many meals provided during this conference. But for those that are not, I’m taking advantage of the rare alone time that parents of small children appreciate so acutely. My airbnb doesn’t have a full kitchen, but it does have a fridge, microwave, and plates and flatware. So I picked up a couple of microwave meals for $4 each at the nicest Walgreens I’ve ever seen in my life. It is heaven to eat a quiet lunch and read frugality blogs. 🙂


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