Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 11, 2017 · 142 comments

  1. I worked two days at the hospital this week and even though the hospital was giving away cloth surgical caps for Nurses Week, I chose not to take one. Part of having a uncluttered home is knowing I’m not obligated to take stuff just because it’s free. Especially since these pointless caps can’t even be worn into surgery without an additional disposable cover.
  2. My mother is taking me out for lunch this afternoon as a belated thank you for a favor that I did for her last week. I watched the movie Today’s Special on Netflix last night and am thinking that Indian food should be today’s culinary theme. (By the way I liked the movie, but was annoyed with the poorly written girlfriend character, whose only role in the movie was to be attracted to the main character. This is a huge pet peeve for me when male writers craft interesting male characters, but don’t bother for the female ones. Step it up, dudes!)
  3. I finally strung up my backyard clothesline and was able to line dry a huge fleece blanket, and I even remembered to take it down last night after seeing that today’s Portland forecast called for rain!
  4. I batched errands on Tuesday, which included dropping a few things at Goodwill and returning library books. I didn’t go into Goodwill to shop, and I made sure to fully fill out my donation receipt.
  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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{ 142 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol May 11, 2017 at 11:08 am

Katy, do you know about the Bechdel test for movies? She says that she’ll only see a movie if a. it has more than 1 female character, who b. talk to each other, c. about something other than men.

1. Have been using the library a lot lately, and also staying on top of my returns, to avoid fees. I love the hold system, where I can get just about anything.
2. We returned our Redbox movie on time, an impressive feat for us.
3. Have been eating things out of the fridge in danger of going bad, rather than making something from the cabinets.


Lindsey May 11, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Then Bechdel would not see Lion, an excellent movie without two women who talk to each other, and Kroc. That standard seems as asinine as men who won’t see movies that feature female leads.


WilliamB May 12, 2017 at 4:09 am

Bechtel’s point is how few movies meet the Bechtel test, and yet how many would if it were about men instead of women. Also, how few movies have female characters who are as developed as the male characters, or who exist only to further the males’ agendas, or who have no agency, or who are defined only by their relationships to males, or that star women who are over 40 or so (especially compared to how many movies star men who are that age), or …


Lindsey May 12, 2017 at 9:51 am

I understand the concept of the Bechtel test, but using it as your guide for what movies to watch still seems pointless to me.


WilliamB May 12, 2017 at 1:06 pm

There’s a difference between “pointless to me” and “assinine.”

Rosanne May 12, 2017 at 5:45 pm

I agree with you Lindsey. There are many wonderful movies that would not pass the Bechdel test. I give it a thumbs down.

Katy May 12, 2017 at 5:05 pm

I’ve heard of it, but didn’t know it had a name.


Carol May 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Oh, I love many movies that don’t pass, such as Lord of the Rings. But it’s a great test to use every time you see a movie–it shows you just how few movies have developed female characters with true agency.


Lesley May 11, 2017 at 11:11 am

Katy, kudos on not going into GW to shop. I still struggle with buying too many things there just because they are “such a deal.”

1–Making Mother’s Day and graduation cards out of gently used ones.
2–Watering houseplants with free rain water from about 24 hours of straight rain here in the Midwest.
3–Picked up a nice chunk of change from selling clothes/jewelry/perfume at a local consignment place.
4–Eating a home, drinking home-brewed coffee, and reading library books.
5–How about a FAIL: paid waaaaaay too much to have my Doodle groomed yesterday. Someone please tell me how to keep my Doodle’s fleece from turning into matted dreds without taking him to the groomer!


SueB May 11, 2017 at 11:35 am

Does he need a coat stripper? These tools are for dogs that don’t shed and basically strips out their coarse undercoats.


Lesley May 11, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Sue, I believe the strippers are for coarse-haired dogs and not doodles. Thanks though!


Marilyn May 11, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Lesley, I have a hard time passing up a good deal or a freebie too. There were a number of weeks when I picked up the free-Friday-download items from Fred Meyer’s (Kroger’s) even when I knew they would just sit in our cupboard uneaten. However, this Saturday there will be a collection of food items for the local food bank, so I will be able to clean out the cupboard and will not have to waste any of that food. So for once, my addiction to free things turns out okay.


Roberta May 12, 2017 at 5:40 am

We have a poodle cross (schnoodle — schnauzer and poodle. We made it up) and we have to take him to the groomer a couple of times a year. We also have a dog clipper, and my husband clips him a couple other times a year, to reduce the cost.

I understand the nature of poodles is to not shed like normal dogs…which is the problem.


Kym Hopkins May 12, 2017 at 9:23 am

Oh, not shedding is a wonderful problem to have!! I have 2 bichons who do not shed and its glorious–but there is always a downside/which of course is the groomer fee.


Diane May 12, 2017 at 11:35 am

I had a poodle mix plus 2 thick coated mutts and eventually invested in a GOOD set of clippers. (not the $39 kind) I was able to give nice short clips in spring and midsummer, which paid for the clippers in less than a year. My local barber sharpens blades for $15 rather than buy a new set all the time. The key is, don’t skimp on the quality of the clippers. In time, I was able to trim Mr. Poodle in a clip that highlighted his personality, with bushy eyebrows and a mustache (rather than the foo-foo cuts groomers do) and my big dogs happily came running when I turned the clippers on because it meant they would be cool and comfortable. Wins all around.


Bee May 11, 2017 at 12:03 pm

I also have stopped taking unwanted freebies and goody bags. I rarely use even practical items such as pens and notepads. Unless I know that I will use it, I just say, “No!”
1) When I was walking the dog on Tuesday, I found a wonderful little wrought iron table on the curb. I brought it home. My visiting daughter fell in love with it and took it home. She is in the process of painting it and will put it on the front porch!

2) My visiting daughter (same one mentioned above) has a formal (black tie) wedding to attend at the end of the month. We went to a high end department store to shop for a dress. Although I was shocked at the prices, she found two lovely–but expensive–dresses.However, I suggested that she look at the consignment store near our home before making a final decision. She found a beautiful floor-length,silk gown there which cost a small fraction of the department store dresses. Best of all, she looked stunning in it. She wants to look her best since she has to face an old boyfriend for the first time with his fiancée. One day she will understand that she dodged a bullet with that guy.

3) My mortgage company is offering a 1/4 discount off of rates when you set up automatic payments. I did this yesterday and it will save quite a bit over the life of the loan.

4) I have made a shopping list. There are three items that I will be buying in large quantities this week, because they are deeply discounted : beef, dog food, and Knorr rice and noodle sides. The Knorr sides are for my backpacking, AT -hiking son. Since these are lightweight, high in calories, and tasty; they are a staple in his care packages. Although quantities are not limited, I do not want to wipe out my store’s stock, so I have enlisted friends in different parts of town to buy some for me. 🙂 This saves roughly $1 a day in food costs.

5) I almost have finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Many of you recommended this book and shared your thoughts with me when I mentioned it in my last post. It is a lovely book – heartbreaking in parts, but also laugh-out-loud funny at times. My next book is waiting for me at the library.


Lauren May 11, 2017 at 1:01 pm

I had to go to one of “those” weddings last summer. TWO exes present, one was the groom. A good dress definitely helped!!! Tell your daughter she’s not the only one out there and to have a great time no matter what!


Susie's Daughter May 12, 2017 at 4:59 am

Lauren – I had a similar situation in my late 20’s. A short line at the open bar didn’t hurt either…


Annye May 11, 2017 at 4:47 pm

“One day she will understand that she dodged a bullet with that guy.”

Love this comment, Bee! Let’s all raise a glass to the Ones We Dodged!


Susie's Daughter May 12, 2017 at 4:58 am

Bee – This is so wise!
I don’t know if my 24 year old self would have listened then, but I know it to be true now…


Bee May 12, 2017 at 9:14 am

A broken heart is a difficult thing no matter what age you are, but sometimes in the long run we are better off for it. As a parent, it is so hard for me to see my child hurt. It brings out the momma lioness in me.


A. Marie May 14, 2017 at 10:54 am

I too “dodged a bullet” in my youth. It hurt like hell at the time, but moving to another part of the country and eventually finding Mr. Right finally enabled me to get over it.

And a somber warning to you young things out there: As you’re getting ready to take the vows, pay attention to the “in sickness and in health” and “till death do you part” phrases. If you’re not prepared to say that you’ll see the other party through anything that might happen (including cognitive decline, cancer, and various other possibilities that I know NCA commenters are dealing with in their significant others), run like hell the other way.


2horseygirls May 15, 2017 at 8:06 am

A couple of glasses raised high over here!! Saturday was our 13th anniversary, and we are both extremely grateful every single day that we found each other 🙂


Lindsey May 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm

I took a British ship from NYC to England. The onboard book club read that book. Without exception, every American (including me and my husband) loved the potato peel society book and every Brit hated it. Too romanticized, not accurate as to how cut-throat people behaved on that island during the Nazi occupation, not harrowing enough descriptions of life during that time. I still loved it.


Bee May 12, 2017 at 5:02 pm

It is interesting how cultural perspectives can differ. The harrowing experiences and personal sacrifices of the British during WWII had an enormous impact on the way they will see the world for many generations to come. However, I am not sure a darker, more graphic account of these moments were really necessary to this story. Although the descriptions of slave labor, concentration camps, the London bombings, and starvation were not detailed, my mind filled in the blanks. I don’t think this book was meant to be a historical account, but a celebration of friendship, literature and the strength of the human spirit.


Jenny May 12, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Lindsey, I would love to know more about your trip. What line, what ship, timing, cost, etc. Would you do it again vs. flying?


Lindsey May 13, 2017 at 3:47 pm

For years I had a job where I flew twice a week, often on harrowing flights in near blizzard conditions to Alaskan village runways that had moose wandering on them or the lights had gone out or they were so bumpy you’d swear the wings were going to fall off. One day flying back into Fairbanks over the Brooks Range, we hit an air pocket and turbulence and dropped about eight thousand feet. People were screaming, stuff was getting thrown about…when I got off the flight I told my husband that was it, I was never going to fly again. And for 20 years I have not. When we go to Europe, we drive from Fairbanks to Haines, Alaska, (which takes you through parts of Canada) and take the Alaska Marine Highway ferry to Bellingham, Washington. Then we drive to NYC and take the Cunard line to England. From there we can rent a car or take trains…whatever, but no flying. Since we both can work remotely, the time factor is not an issue. The trip from NYC to England takes 7 to 10 days, depending on whether you want a trip that stops at a few islands. The cost can vary widely from $800 per person for a windowless cabin to over $200,0o0 for a penthouse suite (I have never seen what that looks like, except in pictures. Butler comes with it…apparently that is how famous entertainers go.) The price also varies by season. When we go, we like to spend Christmas in London, but the Atlantic crossing can be rough so fewer people take it and prices are lower. I have not taken any cruise line except Cunard, since very few children are on those crossings. And if there are kids, there are nannies and programs for various age levels to keep them occupied. I also like the speakers they offer. It is very different from a Carnival cruise, for example, where the family and fun have more emphasis. As I read this, it sounds much more elegant than we are. I am a first generation child of immigrants and my father was in a profession where he went back and forth to Europe a lot and I was the oldest child so he would often take me along. Between spending so much time there and having relatives there, going overseas was just part of life. My husband and I were married there and lived there for several years of our marriage, so there was that, too. All of which is to say, the crossing does not have to be fancy-schmancy, although if you want to eat in the dining hall that requires formal dress for dinner you can but you can eat at the various buffets in totally casual clothing. And while not having a window can make the room seem small, we spend our time in activities so are not in the room that often. If you look at 7 days of a pretty fancy hotel, all meals, plus what it would cost to fly from NYC to England, then $800 per person really is not an out of line price. No cell phones ringing, the rocking of the water, being able to read sitting next to a lounge window looking out onto the ocean…I hope I have answered your questions, Jenny.


Edie May 17, 2017 at 11:37 am

This is a really a relatable story! Part of frugality is time and how to use it, and I love how you simply don’t want to race through your time with your spouse, but want to enjoy it.

Denise May 13, 2017 at 12:17 am

I’m English, I’ve read it, I loved it! It was a huge hit here. Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands, off the coast of France, which are Crown Dependencies- not part of the UK, but linked to us. Jersey is the bigger island, and it suffered awful horrors, too, which the UK didn’t. The Channel Islands were invaded by the Nazis (as the book explains) – I have visited the underground tunnel complex which the Russian slave labour POWs built- now a museum. I had had no idea how awful it was, and I’ve been a history buff all my life (well, since I was 8!). But a lovely book, and not a gloss over the truth.


Nancy from mass May 15, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Bee, let your son know that they are still getting snow in the Whites. They got a few inches yesterday.


Bee May 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm

That’s amazing so late in May. He is in Virginia now. When I dropped him off, the ranger emphasized that he should NOT get rid of your long underwear even if it is hot out. This must be why. :-). Hopefully he listened.


BJS May 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm

1. Accidentally poured too much dishwasher powder into the dispenser. For a minute I was tempted to just brush it off into the rest of the dishwasher, but I dutifully scooped it out with a small spoon and attempted to get it back in the box by pouring it into that little metal thingy on the side. That opening is just a little too small to pour it back in easily!

2. I had put a casserole in the freezer several months ago when I made a double batch. I took it out the other day and it was perfect for dinner. I was glad I had labeled it with the date, how long it needed to be cooked, and what size casserole dish it would fit in.

3. After being married all these years, my husband mentioned that he loves shortbread cookies. What?? How did I never know that? I got a box at the store but they were pricey, at least to me. So I looked up a recipe for them, and it only calls for four ingredients (all of which I keep on hand). I’ll be making them a lot, hopefully, to make up for lost time.

4. Had my 6-month dental cleaning and checkup, and made an appointment for my next one in November. As people here sometimes say, healthy = frugal!

5. I stood at my stove shaking a spaghetti sauce jar into a pan for a good two or three minutes, to get the last drops of it out. (I was there anyway, stirring the spaghetti with my other hand, but still.) Who else could I admit that to except you all? 🙂


Bee May 11, 2017 at 12:50 pm

In reference to #5, I will pour out everything that I can from the glass jar. There is always sauce or syrup or jelly stuck to the sides. So I put the lid back on tightly, then allow it to sit upside down on the counter for a while. The extra bit will all end up by the mouth of the jar. Without turning it back over, I open the lid and it falls into the pot or bowl below. I really can’t believe that I have a process for this, and I will actually admit to it. 🙂


Shannon May 12, 2017 at 4:48 am

Me too Bee! 🙂


lee May 13, 2017 at 3:32 am

I bought a mini spatula from Pampered Chef a few years back that is perfect for this sort of thing! The best thing is that it’s so skinny, it can fit in just about any jar or container. We eat a lot of peanut butter here, and it helps get every last smear of PB.


Jennifer May 11, 2017 at 1:29 pm

6. I add a little water to the sauce left in the jar to sorta “rinse” the rest of it off the sides of the jar then dump that in the pan or use a rubber that the right word!??? I’m having brain infarction, I guess. Can’t remember words for basic things anymore!


sharon May 11, 2017 at 2:43 pm

For spaghetti sauce stuck to the side of the jar, I have been know to add a little red wine or beef broth to rinse the last little bit out of the jar. It adds a great flavor too!


Marcia May 11, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Great idea–I’ve been adding water to rinse the jar but I like your suggestion better.


tammy brackett May 13, 2017 at 6:42 am

I just want to say that I love you people…..last night I got the last little bit of sauce from a jar of spaghetti sauce, cleaned the jar and it’s now a part of my plan to rid myself of plastic storage containers! WIN WIN WIN!

Janelle May 15, 2017 at 8:25 am

For jelly jars, my mom always used to make “jelly-milk” growing up, where after we used up all the jelly, she poured some milk in and shook it up to make flavored milk.

I’m doing it for my kids now, and my husband thinks it is SO WEIRD!


Betty Winslow May 11, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Isn’t it amazing to learn things about your spouse after many yrs together?? We’re still doing it and we’ve been together 46 yrs this July!


Jennifer May 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Yes! My husband told me a tidbit from his childhood the other day. He told me that his parents couldn’t afford to buy or send lunch to school so they just went without and played during that time instead. It was eye opening for me. I realized they were poor but I didn’t think of them as being poor to the point of being hungry. It explained a lot to me regarding how he handles things now as an adult.


A. Marie May 11, 2017 at 3:02 pm

I’m making a point of having “Do you remember…” conversations with DH these days, to shore up what recollections of our pasts we both still have. (His memory was never good, but it’s worse now.) The occasional new thing is still emerging. Can’t match Betty’s 46, but we’ve been together 39 years now and married for 37.5.


Lindsey May 11, 2017 at 5:37 pm

We’d been married 20 years before I found out my husband took accordion lessons for his entire teen life! And I love accordion music!!


Denise May 13, 2017 at 12:23 am


I read an old joke about accordions in the newspaper a few months ago (they are NOT a popular instrument over here):

“My father parked his car, but left his accordion visible on the back seat. When he came back, his car had been broken into.
There were two accordions on the backseat.”


Lindsey May 13, 2017 at 3:49 pm

That’s a great one!


Jen May 11, 2017 at 12:53 pm

* Had a recipe that called for canned tomato sauce that I forgot to buy. Subbed in canned pasta sauce (which I had on hand, and had gotten for free!) and you couldn’t even tell a difference.

* Got much needed blackout curtains for my son’s room at Goodwill. Even better was that I was mystery shopping the store, so my payment plus reimbursement more than covered the cost of them. Free curtains!

* Went by a community yard sale that was already over (the sign didn’t have an end time), but there were several free piles by the side of the road. Got three brand new looking pairs of jeans for my daughter. They won’t fit her for another year or two, but I have a box of clothes in bigger sizes already set aside for her, so these were added to that.

* Had some bananas go brown, which meant banana muffins were in order! Yummy and cheap!

* My son received quite a bit of cash gifts for his birthday, but since he is 1 and doesn’t really need anything, they all went into his college fund. He will thank me in about 18 years.


Tracy May 11, 2017 at 1:00 pm

1. Took bus to work today even though it’s raining.
2. Made my coffee at home.
3. Ate lunch at my desk today.
4. Am deferring hair appointment for an extra week (getting desperate though!)
5. Put a hold on the book my book group will be reading rather than just buying instantly on Kindle which I would have done in the past…


Teri May 11, 2017 at 1:08 pm

1. Got free breakfast and lunch at the hospital because I was a “caretaker” for my mother. Saved time and $$.
2. Forgot to mention when I picked up my free items st FM last week they were out of the size of popcorn listed. Cashier adjusted price if the next size up to $0.
3. Bought my tomatoes plants at Rite Ait using “plenty points “.
4. Free brunch today at school for “teachers week”.
5. Goodwill outlet yielded several needed items for just pennies. And I got rid of some things as well!


Jennifer May 11, 2017 at 1:22 pm

I wish I could become as dedicated to not using my dryer. It doesn’t rain here near as much as it does in Portland so I don’t have much excuse. I’m such a slacker!

1. I have started my ‘2 weeks before vacation’foot grooming. It takes that long to get rid of the yucky skin and residual winter ugliness. I have never had a professional pedicure but my friend had one. She said that she could see the technician gagging while as she dug stuff out from under her toes. Gonna save my money, and dignity, and do that job myself.
2. I found a quarter on the ground. Not 100% sure that I didn’t drop it there myself, though.
3. I bought 3 canned drinks from a machine and was given one extra. I did not feel bad at all about taking this extra drink because this same machine has taken my money before so I am getting what was owed to me.
4. I am planning a birthday/Mother’s Day get together this weekend. I hope the weather is good so we can have a picnic at the park with cupcakes and sandwiches. Much less than eating at a restaurant. I don’t want to have it at my home because I have barely been home this week and the house is a mess.
5. My daughter got a coupon for a free kid’s meal at Captain D’s for her birthday. We will use that tonight to fit in perfectly with our week of birthday surprises on the cheap.


Pattilou May 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Though you all might enjoy this – I was in the grocery store the other day and was walking out behind these two college aged guys. I overheard the one explaining to the other that when you check out the machine will spit out coupons, often for things you already buy. The other guy seemed shocked and amazed by this and was very excited when his friend handed him the coupons that came out for him. It made me laugh.

My five frugal things:
1. I have to work the annual gala for the organization I work for. I planned on wearing a dress I already had because it was perfect for the 50’s theme of the event. Unfortunately, I have put on a little weight and was unable to get the dress zipped. There was no extra material to take it out so I was forced to look for a dress. I have never tried Amazon for clothing before and was surprised to find a lot of dresses at really low prices. I ordered 5 of them and promptly returned the 3 that didn’t work. I chose one dress that will work for the gala and that I can wear after and I also kept another dress that fit me perfectly and I can wear to an event that I have to go to this summer. Although I did spend money it was only about 45.00 and that included the two dresses and a petticoat (for the 50’s theme).
I also chose a dress that goes with shoes I already have.
2. I have borrowed gloves and will make earrings for myself with supplies I already have for the above mentioned gala. I also will do my own hair. Many of my co workers are chipping in to have someone come to the event center to do their hair.
3. Somehow I pressed the wrong button and signed up for a free Amazon prime membership. I made sure to go into the account and press the option to delete it right after the trial membership is over. Now I won’t end up getting charged because I forgot to cancel.
4. I listed an item on Craigslist for the first time. No responses yet but now I know how easy it is to do.
5. Have brought all of my meals to work during this busy time. I am glad I took the time to prep ahead of time.


Tracy May 12, 2017 at 4:17 am

I can commiserate – I have been standing in front of my closet singing a little song recently: “I can’t wear that ‘cuz I’m too fat…” Need to shed the few pounds I’ve gained this winter!


Chris May 11, 2017 at 3:00 pm

1. Our ceiling fan looks “dirty” and I realized that the paint is worn away on the edges so we will take the blades down and give them a quick spray of white paint.
2. 3 days off before 4 days of mega hours – going to catch up on things around the house, reading and resting. Gonna have a bunch of $$ before we leave on vacation!
3. My husband’s birthday is Saturday and what do you give a man who has so much – salty snacks and some micro brews…..
4. Going to take on a part time job (in addition to my current part time job) within the next few weeks. Not exactly “retirement” (which officially began 3 years ago) but I like to keep busy.
5. Hoping that Mother’s Day consists of cards/phone calls cause Mama needs nothing!!!!!!!


Ellie May 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm

lol on #3. My husband of 63 years also has a birthday Saturday – but he gets chocolate bars with his micro brews!


A. Marie May 11, 2017 at 3:25 pm

(1) DH had an appointment with his GP today (routine clearance for his upcoming cataract surgeries). Unfortunately, the GP’s office is on the other side of town, and there’s going to be construction all summer on the freeway we usually take to get there. So we started out extra early and mapped out a 100% surface-road route. Turns out this only takes 10-15 minutes longer than the freeway route. Useful info = ultimately frugal.

(2) While we were in the neighborhood anyway, we stopped at DH’s audiologist’s office and picked up extra batteries and domes for his hearing aids. Errands bunched.

(3) I confess to having stopped at one of the best stores in our local Thrifty Shopper chain on the way home (hey, I only get to this store about twice a year). Found a copy of a lovely book I used to own (Emilie Tolley and Chris Mead’s “Herbs”) that I always regretted getting rid of. This may be an A. Marie response to Marie Kondo’s decluttering philosophy: If you made the mistake of decluttering something you really did love, don’t hesitate to buy a replacement if you can find it. (On the cheap, of course.) Alternative viewpoints are welcome.

(4) Warm enough today to open all the car windows on the drive to the West Side and back, and warm enough after our return to bring all the herb/veggie seedlings outside for an overdue first lesson in outdoor living. They’ll be making a gradual transition to my small plastic-covered “greenhouse” over the next few days.

(5) Finally, in case it rains too hard during graduation weekend at our by-now-infamous private university, DH’s old buddy from when they used to co-own numerous rental properties has offered us a walk-through with picking privileges at one of the properties Buddy still owns. Seems the departing tenants left, ahem, rather a lot of stuff. Hee hee!


Annye May 11, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Okay, I have to ask:

Is the nurse on that card about to beat the attitude out of a patient with her bouquet? Either way, where did you find such a neato-keeno card? (It looks 50s-ish to me, anyway.)


Marilyn May 11, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Annye, I was wondering the same thing. What is a going on with Happy Nurse?


Katy May 12, 2017 at 1:03 pm

I bought a rubber banded set of vintage cards at the Goodwill Outlet last week, which included this one. I’m not one for the “nurses as saviors and heroes” narrative. Condescending.


Annye May 13, 2017 at 8:44 am

Not to contradict you, Katy, but I think nurses CAN be heroes in the right situation — as can we all.

Most days, though, I consider the vast majority of nurses to be hard-working men and women in a mostly thankless, yet very-much-needed vocation… and I show them the same respect and gratitude I do anyone who strives to help me. Better?


Katy May 13, 2017 at 10:22 am

You do know that I’m an RN, right? The problem I have is that like doctors, we’re trained professionals. Yet the gender divide puts us on a idealistic pedestal that minimizes the research based practice that RNs practice on a daily basis. (Of course there are so many female doctors, especially in OBGYN.) If I do something during my shift that puts me in a “hero” category it’s because I’m doing what I was trained to do.

Sorry if I’m not explaining this well, it’s just that there’s a lot of condescending stuff during nurses week that gets under my skin.


Annye May 14, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Happy Mother’s Day, Katy!

I’m aware you’re an RN — and I deeply apologize if I sounded condescending! I didn’t mean to imply a nurse (or police officer or firefighter) should be considered heroic for doing his or her job, even if saves someone’s life; I meant every one of us could be heroic for putting ourselves in danger to help someone else — which an RN might do as part of his or her job or might do as a private citizen.

I stand by my belief we should show respect and gratitude to anyone who uses their skills to help us or to make our lives easier, though, whether they’re nurses or teachers or tow-truck drivers or insert-your-job-here.

My turn to apologize if I’m not myself explaining well!

Melissa in Oz May 18, 2017 at 10:25 pm

I know I’m late to this but just wanted to chip in my two cents, I work in a cardiothoracic surgical dept here in Sydney, Australia and whilst I agree that nurses and doctors are not heroes, they are freaking awesome!! So many go above and beyond in their daily duties that they definitely deserve the superhero tag – just saying!

Sandy May 11, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Recently, we had a huge amount of rain, some found its way into the basement. Since we have much of our household goods stored in the basement, we spent lots of time drying it out and examining everything touching the floor. Mostly cardboard boxes, of course! Lost quite a few boxes, but, most contents were fine. Only exception was a box of my sewing books. So, every dry, sunny, breezy day has been put to use to dry the books. Most of the books are still legible! The pages and covers are a bit warped, but the pages are still usable! And, the books will take up a bit more space on the shelf, but, I still have them! I love to sew, almost as much as I love chocolate, so this is a huge win for me!
About once a month, we go to a local frozen custard stand for a small sundae each. As we were enjoying our treat, my husband asked if we couldn’t just buy the custard and toppings and make our own at home! Of, course we could! And, we’d be using reusable dishes and spoons!
A dear friend is coming to visit next month. We have very simple, inexpensive outings and meals planned! So looking forward to seeing our friend, who lives the NCA lifestyle, too. This is the friend who got me using cloth napkins over 20 years ago!


Mand01 May 11, 2017 at 5:39 pm

I’m with you. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean I need it!
Not sure if I have five things…let’s see:
1. I made stock using vegetable scraps and a roast bone.
2. My husband and I went on a date, using a coupon and saved $25. Not frugal exactly but two courses and drinks for $42 AUD is pretty good. Plus, date!! We hardly ever get those!
3. Free coffee this morning using points. Of course I had to buy other coffees to get those points. But I don’t do that much anymore so it has taken me a long time to ‘earn’ this flat white.
4. Tonight is Buffy night with our 12 year old daughter, watching DVDs we have owned for eons. It’s time she learned important pop culture herstory. We are raising her right.
5. Tomorrow, Operation Backyard continues. We are getting free pavers from my SIL. Score.


Lynda May 12, 2017 at 3:33 am

Number 4) Oh yes. I visited a comics convention 2 weeks ago and was so pleased to see lots of girls under 12 in great outfits – Spider Man for example. And a Joker dad with his baby, named Robin, dressed as Batman’s sidekick … So bloomin’ cute.


WilliamB May 12, 2017 at 4:14 am

Excellent choice. Is Firefly next?


Annye May 13, 2017 at 8:48 am

Oh, how we miss Firefly. Only one season and one movie — yet we still quote it all the time. C’mon, Joss; use some of the Marvel money to bring back Firefly!


Mand01 May 15, 2017 at 2:23 am

I think Firefly might be a little old for her just yet.


Roberta May 12, 2017 at 5:50 am

My (just turning 12 today) daughter is enjoying Firefly. However, some of the Anara scenes are a little uncomfortable.


Vickey May 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Don’t forget the old Star Trek series with the female captain! Although that pseudo-Gibson Girl hairstyle was – uh, out of this world, I guess. (Seriously, who has time to captain a ship AND wear an elaborate upswept do?)


Jenny May 12, 2017 at 4:38 pm

When my hair was longer, I wore a style sort of like this, basically a bun, but my hair was a little poufy, so people called it “Gibson Girl”. It actually took less than 1 minute to do, stayed OK all day, and I only cut my hair once a year or so, so it was SUPER easy and super- frugal!


Vickey May 13, 2017 at 9:19 am

Vickey May 13, 2017 at 9:21 am

(Sorry, that “smiley with sunglasses” didn’t show up.)

Katy May 12, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Lucky girl to get to watch Buffy. I’ve been in severe withdrawal since they she left Netflix!


Lindsey May 11, 2017 at 5:48 pm

1. Heard an ad for the McDonalds grilled chicken sandwich with guac and pico on it. The car tried to head in that direction but I kept a tight hold on the steering wheel and went home and made my own version!
2. The final day of the Monopoly game on Safeway someone gave me a bunch of game pieces. I grudgingly went through them and the very last ticket, just as I was whining to my husband that this was a waste of time, I won a $200 cash prize! Plus, I had been keeping track of the free food we’ve gotten for my boring job of opening and matching pieces during Frontline, and when I totaled it up today (with some other freebies I got last night), it was over $70! Worth my time.
3. Sold three books on Amazon. I was ready to donate them since they seemed pretty ordinary history books, but they were snapped up by one person the day I listed them. $22 after mailing costs.
4. Made bell pepper and tomato soup from scratch. Not a real winner, but we ate it for one dinner and a lunch. Fresh baked bread makes anything edible, I have found.
5. Used the library extensively this month, even though I was tempted to just buy some of the new releases I wanted. A few years ago, I spent over $3,000 on books on Amazon. I must have been out of my mind. Last year it was $33 for two books I bought myself with birthday money given to me.


Kathleen in Kansas May 11, 2017 at 6:28 pm

Lindsey, how difficult is it to sell on Amazon? I love Paperback swap, but finances have gone from difficult to scary, so I’d like to get a bit of money back. Thanks!


Jenny May 11, 2017 at 8:37 pm

I, too, would like to hear more about selling books/old records on Amazon. Better than EBay or Etsy?


Lindsey May 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm

I have never sold on Etsy and EBay and I came to a parting of the ways years ago when someone stole my identity on their site and charged literally thousands of dollars of merchandise and EBay was not at all helpful in dealing with the situation. In fact, they refused to let me shut down my account! I have never visited their site since then because for me customer service is an important consideration.

Kathleen in Kansas, Kim seems more active on Amazon selling than I am. I used to use it a lot more when I starting culling my library but that task is almost completed so I have a lot fewer books to sell. Now I use it after university semesters, when I find almost brand new textbooks in piles by the dorm dumpsters and so I gather them up and sell them. I have found Amazon really easy to work with—mostly I just have to remind myself to do a weekly check to see if the price I am asking is the lowest one or has someone else lowered their price below my original one. If that happens and I am eager for a sale, I lower my price again…and so it goes until the books sells. Go onto their site and you’ll find it pretty easy to figure out how to sign up. The only time I have felt annoyed was with extremely heavy books (which many history books are) that cost a lot more to send than the buyer paid for postage. But it evens out in the long run…Hoe this helps.


Kim in MD May 12, 2017 at 7:09 am

I’m not Lindsey but have been selling on Amazon for 5 years. I’d be happy to answer any questions. I sell media- books, cds, dvds, also craft supplies, patterns, toys and games. Listing is easy as you are listing on AZ pages and you aren’t creating listing page like Ebay. I buy my shipping through AZ. I use AZ seller app to svan UPC to see if it’s worth listing. Please realize that many books aren’t worth selling when you take into account the AZ fees. You pay no fees until item sells. Anyway, I’ve got to go pack 2 orders and go to work! Happy to answer any questions you might have!


Mand01 May 11, 2017 at 7:50 pm

I used to have a pretty hefty Amazon habit as well. I have books on my shelf I still haven’t read.
Now when I’m tempted, like you I head to the library. I can almost always find it. Or, I remind myself of the unread books on my shelf – I figure I can either read those or I think about how I thought they were so necessary, and bought them and still didn’t read them! So I just wait. Total spent at Amazon over past three years: about ten bucks.


WilliamB May 12, 2017 at 4:39 am

My book-buying strategy is to get the book from the library first. If I think I’m going to read it, then I buy the book. The exception is for authors I’m very familiar with – such as Lois McMaster Bujold or John Scalzi – because I know I’ll like what they write.


janine May 12, 2017 at 6:48 am

RE: Book habit – The dollar store in our area has many hard cover books that didn’t quite make the best seller lists – I buy them and don’t feel badly about donating them to GW if I don’t get around to reading them or they prove to be something I’m really not interested in.
#3 – the 1920s and ’30s are a favorite period in history – probably because I heard my parents talk about it so much. Had a couple of obscure books about this period and gave them to a friend taking a college course on this era. Professor was very impressed when she referenced them in her paper and gave her an ‘A’. She enthusiastically thanked me for giving them to her. Sometimes history books have value!


BJS May 12, 2017 at 10:07 am

That’s a neat story, Janine!


kathleen May 11, 2017 at 6:26 pm

1. Had several stay-home, no-spend days this week.

2. Made a donation drop off at Goodwill. Did not even go inside as I am focusing on removing things from the house right now and not bringing anything in.

3. This may sound kinda creepy to some…it would have to me when I was a newbie here. This week I warmed up leftovers and cooked meat and vegetables that in the past would have been deemed (by me) as too old; none of which made us ill. 🙂 Proof that I am learning frugal habits from this blog and its commenters.

4. Scheduled 3 days of work for later this month.

5. Made a birthday card from supplies on hand and mailed it with a handwritten letter. Made 2 plates from tonight’s leftovers for the freezer for hubs to take to work. I’m reading a library ebook on my Kindle, and I also checked another library ebook out for hubs and put it on his Kindle. Both Kindles were bought last year as rebuilds for very reasonable price, and they work perfectly.


KJD509 May 11, 2017 at 6:38 pm

1. Drinking free crappy coffee at work, even on the looooooooong days.
2. Stacking dirty dishes while hubs fixes the kitchen plumbing. This is frugal because we’re not a) eating out or b) paying a plumber. But repair attempts a, b, and c have been unsuccessful, so we may have to pay the plumber after all.
3. Cooked a weird combination of back of the fridge veggies with a couple of healthy but not very good chicken / dried tomato sausages for dinner. Melted some cheese on top and it was actually pretty darn good.
4. Took leftovers for lunch all week.
5. For an early morning meeting where we were expected to buy breakfast, I spent 35 cents on a hard-boiled egg at the cafeteria, mixed it up with mustard and mayo from the free packets at the deli counter, scooped it up with crackers leftover from a previous work lunch, and called it good.


janine May 12, 2017 at 6:57 am

Loved your #5 – improvisation at it’s best.


Alison May 11, 2017 at 6:49 pm

1. Wednesday was staff appreciation day at my school, so we were treated to lunch by our PAC. It was delicious and beautifully presented.
2. Dinner last night was at a restaurant and we were treated by my sister. She often stays with us when she is in town, and this is her thanks to us. Not frugal for her tho’.
3. Tonight’s dinner was an assortment of odds and ends from the fridge for me, while DH made butter chicken for himself and DD. I had quinoa, assorted roast veggies, the last of the feta cheese, and left over Brussel sprouts. It was good, and cleaned out the fridge.
4. Went to a plant sale held by a distant family member and got lovely perennials, and herbs for half the price I would pay at the garden centre.
5. Have turned off the furnace, and although it’s cool again, have not turned it back on!


CarolineRSA May 11, 2017 at 10:47 pm

1. My lovely domestic helper sold some of my son’s old winter clothes. We split the takings, of course. Also, we got a better price by keeping them in the cupboard until autumn.
2. Need new cushion covers for my lounge, mine are actually tearing. Found some stunning fabric in a thrift shop for R150 (new covers are R90ea). Will easily cut at least 4.
3. I forgot to pack a snack for my son yesterday, for the drive to OT in another town. Stopped at the market and bought him a banana instead of pricey junkfood.
4. Baked a loaf of bread last night, using a simpler and thus more frugal recipe than normal.
5. Eating from the freezer and pantry, shopping the specials, packing lunch, and driving REALLY slowly.


CarolineRSA May 11, 2017 at 11:36 pm

Actually it was R50 for the fabric. Curse you, spellcheck!


rebecca May 12, 2017 at 4:18 am

1. Finished watching 13 Reasons last night. Interesting and, as a therapist, suggest it brings up conversations about feelings, depression and suicide.
2. Roasted a chicken the other day and many meals have come from it.
3. Air drying some of my laundry.
4. Made a walking date with a friend instead of going out.
5. Gave that friend a jar of arrabiata sauce to that friend as I’m not a love of it.


rebecca May 12, 2017 at 4:20 am

ugh!!! #5 should say Gave that friend a jar of arriabiate sauce as I’m not a lover of it.


Cindy in the South I May 12, 2017 at 4:50 am

1. The air is out in the courthouse, which is upstairs, and this is the deep South. I am wearing my $3.00 Salvation army purchased after Christmas, short sleeved Le Suit. It is a perfect fit, in great shape, and the short sleeves are very welcome today.
2. I did my own nails again, which is always a time and money saver.
3. I keep a large packet of ham, mayo, and bread in the work fridge, for lunch. It does not bother me to eat the same thing for lunch every day this month. It saves time and money.
4. I am still working on the cut up toothpaste tube…week two. I think tomorrow will probably be the last time I use it.
5. I am driving about two hours tomorrow to see several of my elderly relatives and my cousins. I do not know how much longer we will have these older relatives, and it is always a joy to see them. Yes, I am spending gas, but I am making memories. I always consider relative visits a mini vacation.
Frugal Fail big time: We have a going away lunch for a very dear friend at work. The person organizing it did not order near enough food. I ended up spending $50 for a rush order for extra food, because no one else had any money, it is too close to the end of our pay period. I am not really upset, because this person has helped me out in many ways over the years, and has become more than a work friend, she is a personal friend now.


Denise May 13, 2017 at 12:42 am


Aren’t your other colleagues chipping in a share towards the $50 you spent? Very bad style of them, if they aren’t. But well done for rescuing the event!


Cindy in the South I May 15, 2017 at 5:35 am

No, but one colleague made a huge sheet cake and since my cooking skills are…uhm…limited, I gave her a pass….lol The others have not, and well, they just will not because that is how they are…lol…


Cindy in the South I May 12, 2017 at 4:53 am

We “had” not “have”…sigh…my proofreading skills are on the blink.


Mrs. Picky Pincher May 12, 2017 at 4:58 am

Great job! This week:

1. I got 7 free meals and two free alcoholic beverages during a business trip.

2. I took the hotel freebies like shampoo, coffee, and tea.

3. I’m taking a French baking class tomorrow. It costs $60 but I paid for it with my freelancing money instead of our “normal” money

4. I’m cooking freezer meals this weekend with leftover ends and bits in our pantry.

5. I plan on really tamping down my spending on groceries for next week.


WilliamB May 12, 2017 at 5:22 am

1. Continued to have smorgesborg dinners to eat leftover bits and pieces.

2. Welcome but unexpected guests tonight. Dinner is sandwich spread, for which I need buy only bread (with coupon) and watermelon (on sale), as I already have: ham (Xmas leftovers), sliced turkey (on sale), mayo & mustard (from sources such as business-trip room service, and packets included with purchases), spinach, onions, grated cheese (on sale).

3. Although aggravated from traffic and very tired from a poor night’s sleep, I made burgers for dinner instead of buying greasy comfort fast food.


Roberta May 12, 2017 at 6:00 am

Today my daughter turns 12. My baby!
1. She does not want much for her birthday. I bought her the new Rick Riordan book, some coupons to get out of chores, and that’s it. I feel like it’s not enough, but I hope the day will be special with things other than gifts.
2. I am bringing cupcakes to school for her, made out of ingredients I have on hand. I am trying to use up some coconut flour, so I am making gluten free chocolate cupcakes so her favorite teacher can have them too.
3. Still trying to use up leftovers around here. It’s feast or famine, and this week is feast!
4. My daughter has been listening longingly to the Sherri’s Berries ads on Pandora. For her piano recital tomorrow I am making chocolate dipped strawberries, instead of succumbing to the siren song of storebought.
5. Sold a bunch of hand-crocheted doilies on ebay. My grandmother made them, but neither my mother nor I will ever use them, so I am passing them along to someone who will appreciate them. Shipping using upcycled materials.


Rebecca in MD May 12, 2017 at 7:30 am

Happy Nurses Week, Katy!

My five frugal things:
1. Re-potted 34 perennials and herbs that I grew from seed that are not quite ready for transplanting to the garden.
2. Planted 7 tomato plants that I started from seed.
3. Picked up some discounted ground beef (was close to sell by date) and made homemade sloppy Joe with that and ingredients I had on hand. We had it for dinner for two nights.
4. Continue to enjoy my local library by checking out audiobooks for my long commute to work.
5. Did not buy any new work clothes for the winter or spring seasons.


Gina in KY May 12, 2017 at 9:03 am

Yes, I second (or 3rd, 4th, etc.) the rant on developing better female character roles in some films!

1. I visited a friend with an amazing green thumb. She sent me home with two bags of kale which I froze for soups.
2. I settled my court issue with the ex husband and am back on track budget wise (grrr…)
3. Used the free Redbox code this past week. The movie was so-so.
4. I began building a dollhouse kit that was given to me and I have had stored for a million years. I also checked out a number of library books on furnishing dollhouses in a frugal, handmade manner as well as a number of inspiring blogs. I am clumsy at the construction, but it is turning out cute! My goal is to learn to build one from cheap materials.
5. Planted tomatoes, cabbage, herbs, squash and peppers around the yard and in pots. We lost our neighborhood community garden this year and I decided to just garden at home. Maybe next year I will return to the arduous task of organizing the community to start a new one.


Vickie May 12, 2017 at 9:58 am

1) I went over to pick up some Citronella oil at the health food store yesterday and they had food samples out, so I partook of those. They had a mark down rack with Wild Lettuce oil on there for $5 – that’s good for pain and a good price. I plan to make my own Citronella spray. That bottle was big enough to last a long time.
2) I dropped off a Library book and need to drop off an audiobook today. I had to pay 20 cents in fines, but I’m trying to save myself from paying more, so I drop off stuff when I’m done, if I’m out and about during lunch. I just finished High Plains Tango – great story. Shopping with my favorite card!
3) I need to get new glasses and tried to have Eyemart put new lenses in a pair of frames I already have, but they said they only do that for frames you buy at their store. I found a place on line that sells lenses and frames very inexpensively. The pair I like is $45 at . I can use my HSA card to order them, so it comes out of that savings instead of my checking account.
4) I need new sneakers, but don’t want to pay good money for brand new ones, so I checked GW yesterday. Nothing I liked in my size, so $0 spent. I’ll keep looking. The students graduate from the University today, which means they will unload everything they don’t want to move this weekend. I’ll probably be able to score a good used pair next week. Fingers crossed.
5) I’m going to gather up some rocks, moss, trinkets and an old flower pot and make a Fairy Garden with my granddaughters this weekend. They are coming to spend the weekend with us and I want to do something fun that doesn’t cost money.
Frugal Fails: I ate lunch out twice this week and picked up Pizza on the way home last night. It’s been a stressful week and I haven’t felt like cooking. Buh!


Denise May 13, 2017 at 12:47 am

What an absolutely brilliant description of your library card! I am going to plagiarise that:

“Shopping with my favourite card.”


Vickie May 15, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Please do!
I love being able to get on our Library’s website and put books on hold for pick up, it’s like shopping for one on Amazon – only free! 🙂


Ruby May 12, 2017 at 11:03 am

1. Everything I have on today from earrings to shoes and handbag (except underclothing) is thrifted/secondhand. And cute! I tend to be more adventurous with style when buying pre-loved things because a mistake costs only pennies.
2. The Mister and I marked our 31st wedding anniversary on Wednesday. I made him a card, so no cost there.
3. Done all the usual: thrifted outfits, packing my lunch and drinks from home, hanging clothes on the drying rack all this week.
4. Took the Mister along with me to the Family Dollar to buy cat litter, since he has no trouble lifting 28 pound on-sale boxes into the cart and car trunk. Sometimes being frugal takes more muscle than I have alone. 🙂
5. Snagged three pretty-good free e-books this week using BookBub.


K D May 12, 2017 at 11:19 am

1. My child will graduate college in a couple of weeks and has a job lined up. She has mostly supported herself these past four years but we have paid for her cell phone bill, vehicle expenses (not gas but insurance and maintenance), and medical (insurance and other expenses). We need to have a conversation about a shift in these expenses and about the importance of becoming a saver. She has done very well with “adulting” and this will be one of the final steps.

2. I made mug cakes. We didn’t love the result but they will not go to waste. I’ll try another recipe next time. I love the portion control element of mug cakes.

3. I have not shopped anywhere except one grocery store this week.

4. We were hoping a contractor we used for a couple projects would replace our front door and remove our deck. We have not had much luck getting traction on the projects (he seems to be very busy with other work). My husband has dismantled most of the deck and we’ll deal with removal soon. We will save $$$ and my husband is getting exercise.

5. I am still using my 25+ year old trash barrel, Pyrex storage containers, Chicago Cutlery knives, etc.


Vickey May 12, 2017 at 2:52 pm

#5: me, too! I have bought a couple of replacement lids for the PYREX storage dishes, but they help make full use of planned-overs, and cut down on time the fridge door is open hunting for items, so I consider them a worthwhile investment. Love those older Chicago Cutlery knives, too – the wooden handles don’t slip when wet like the plastic ones do.


kathleen May 12, 2017 at 7:00 pm

KD…I haven’t liked any mug cake recipes I’ve tried, but if you like bread pudding, the mug bread pudding is really good.
Mug Bread Pudding:
melt 1 to 2 Tbsp butter in mug
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp milk or yogurt
2 Tbsp applesauce or other fruit
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 egg beaten
dash of cinnamon
Whisk with a fork, then add 1 to 2 pieces of torn bread into a mug pushing down with fork to submerge in butter/egg mixture. Cook in microwave for 1 minutes; if still liquid-y cook for additional 30 seconds, repeat if necessary. Cool for a few minutes before serving.


Denise May 13, 2017 at 12:51 am

Good grief, that recipe!

It’s missing the last instruction:

“Call 999 (911 in the US) and ask for an emergency coronary ambulance.”

Bet it tastes like heaven!


Jennifer May 13, 2017 at 9:27 am

Maybe it’s supposed to be tsp not Tbsp? It does sounds yummy!


kathleen May 14, 2017 at 8:29 pm

No, this is the recipe as I found it. Personally I decrease the butter and sugar, but I copied and pasted the recipe as I found it printed. I also omit the applesauce when I don’t have any and substitute a little extra milk instead. Also, put a dishcloth or paper towel under it while in the microwave. It rises high above the rim of the cup as it cooks, and then shrinks back down.

Vickie May 15, 2017 at 1:29 pm

#5 – We’ve been married 33 years and are still using our pyrex dishes. Those things are awesome. I had to chuckle about the trash barrel, too. The one I have in my kitchen is probably about the same age as yours. I tend to be a creature of habit and if I like something, it’s with me until if falls apart and even longer, if I can figure out a way to repair it. LOL!


Kim in MD May 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm

1. Went to the Quaker sale on Saturday. Got some books I’ll sell on Amazon, mini fridge for DS#2, 2 pairs of like new Clarks shoes for me, pair of like new Sperrys for me, Brooks Brothers shirt for DS#1, cashmere sweater, bath rug, heavy bundt pan, 5 gallon thermos jug, 2 pairs Old Navy khakis for DH, poncho and several other items. Also 2 large pieces of the best cheesecake! Donated $42 that are passed on to 3 charitable organizations, both local and international. It’s held twice a year and I’ve been going for years.
2. Left Sunday to move DS#2 out of his campus apartment. Drove dear friends SUV since we have 2 small sedans. It’s a vehicle they seldom use so are happy for it to get driven. We’re happy to not have to rent a larger vehicle.
3. Had an end of year party for DS’s friends. Called it the “Wam Bam Clean out the Freezer and Pantry Party!” Served pulled pork, pulled chicken, pasta and homemade sauce all pulled from freezer. Made brownies and 2 pans of Rice Krispie treats. Spent $11 at Aldis for rolls, 3 boxes of Texas toast, brownie mix and 38¢ eggs. Made sweet tea and frozen lemonade. Served over 20 and made priceless memories!
4. Bought some bins using egift cards I earned through Mobisave. I also bought Tazo tea marked down to $1 and redeemed $1 Ibotta rebate for it. Free tea and bins to pack DS’s college apartment.
5. Stayed 2 nights with friends in Knoxville so only had 1 night in hotel.


Denise May 13, 2017 at 1:35 am

I’ve been getting home from work at 11pm for the last three weeks.

Frugal wins:

1. At that time of night, it’s tea and toast for dinner. Nutritionally and spiritually appalling, but looking on the bright side: it’s frugal!

2. I visited a charity shop and spotted a glass carafe. I have wanted one for ages, primarily for tap water, to go in the fridge, but nice enough to put wine into when friends come over. As I got closer, I realised that it’s a Chemex coffee maker thingy, with wood and leather collar intact. £3.99. Sells on for £38!

These are not items which are at all well known in England. I saw one last year on Apartment Therapy in someone’s (US) home and thought it was beautiful.

It is now in the fridge, with water in it, and I splashed out on the Chemex paper coffee cone filters, so that I can make real coffee for visitors, instead of instant granule coffee. So I got a 3-in-1 instead of a 2-in-1! Very happy. (Although those filters cost! £7 for 100 filters!)

3. As a result of number 1, I haven’t gone food shopping for two weeks. At the weekend, I have been shopping my freezer, partly out of good sense, partly being too tired to be able to face the weekend warrior shoppers. Who knew (well, probably all of you did) that frozen roast potatoes from my last Sunday roast would taste so good when microwaved and quickly crisped up in a frying pan with butter.

4. My sister and her husband came up on May Day, and we worked together for hours in my weed-infested, bramble-covered garden. Brambles were thigh high. But…

5. Under them, we discovered what must have been a well-tended veggie garden area, because London is sited on a massive clay plain: clay dries to concrete solidity in the summer with surface cracking etc. and is like thick glutinous errr clay (!) in winter. But this area has rich, crumbly loam texture. I wanted a vegetable garden, looks like I’ll get one more easily than anticipated! One slightly worrying thing: we dug up the shell casing for a World War II bomb.

Hope there’s nothing unexploded down there! If you never hear from me again, but the British readers hear about “woman killed in East London by exploding cabbage”, you’ll know it didn’t end well. Let the folks on here know…

Frugal fails just keep rolling in:

1. Due to the long working hours, I have been buying lunch everyday. I am so sick of blah food. Will be even sicker when I tally up my receipts.

2. I have completely fallen off the vegetarian waggon. An ethical fail as well as a cost one. Very disappointed in myself.

3. The scope of works necessary on my new flat has escalated. I had hoped to salvage my cast iron bath in one bathroom, but realised that it has actually cracked (who, I mean, WHO manages to crack an iron bath??). Quotes for repair and re-enamelling are about £850 to £900. New bath: £350 for a nice one.

4. I am having to take out a mortgage to pay for all this. It has been painless getting it all organised with my bank, which is offering a fee-free five year fixed rate (which is a long fix, in the U.K. market), for 1.94%. I went for a 20 year term, although I intend to throw money at it, but I want the flexibility of only being committed to a lower monthly payment on a “just in case” basis.

Tickety-boo till they popped up and said they will only give me a 13 year term, to take me up to age 65. Apparently my final-salary guaranteed pension, backed by my FTSE Top 20 employer, with a letter from the Pension Fund stating that it shall not close to current members, isn’t enough “certainty”. I insisted on speaking to the senior underwriter, and I pointed out that, on that basis,, they can’t loan to anyone, given that no one can guarantee that they won’t be made redundant or get sacked for some reason. As per usual- makes no difference. Turns out they aren’t different to other lenders. The laughable thing is that, with the Pension Fund’s letter in my hand, the only “guaranteed” income I WILL have is my pension. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. So I have to pay an extra third every month, and lose that flexibility.

Gosh, my posts are standalone little rays of sunshine these days, aren’t they? Thanks for “listening”!


rebecca May 13, 2017 at 2:47 am

1. So frustrating about the mortgage. It makes no sense. Great score on the chemex coffee pot! London is so great! History everywhere even your back yard…… 🙂


BJS May 13, 2017 at 5:39 am

Denise, your posts are delightful and always make me laugh. As at least one person on here has said (I’m sorry that I can’t remember who), I think you should have your own blog!


Denise May 13, 2017 at 11:13 am

Rebecca -that’s the attitude I need to “cultivate” (sorry, couldn’t resist): it’s history in my back garden. Not so much “love among the roses” (I wish…for the roses, that is: all you lovely women keep hold of the good ‘uns), as bombs among the broccoli!

And BJS: what a lovely, kind comment to make. I am genuinely touched and cheered by your thoughtfulness. I suspect that a blog given over to “My daily whine” might annoy even me!

Thanks again to you both.
Denise xx


Ruby May 13, 2017 at 11:27 am

Denise, do you suppose the shell that hit in the garden was powerful enough to damage the bathtub? I can’t imagine anything else that could damage a cast iron bathtub!

Sorry all is so expensive and worrisome with your new home, and I hope you’ll get to the “look back and laugh” stage very soon.


kathleen May 14, 2017 at 9:10 pm

Innocent looking old munitions can often be very unstable. You should always call an expert. Google ‘unexploded WWII bomb disposal’ and you should find what agency handles this for your area. And if you choose to do nothing and just leave it there (which would doubtless upset your neighbors if they find out) make sure that your house insurance will cover ‘damages’ if the thing decides to blow.


Cindy in the South I May 15, 2017 at 5:59 am

Mortgage lenders (across the pond) cannot discriminate based on age, and a good lawyer would have EEOC all over that, or maybe a class action… However, I know it is not the same in other countries. That really sucks, and makes me mad, because it sounds like you have more job security security than 90 percent of the people on the planet. Wow. So sorry….on the bright side, when you finish with your house, it sounds like it will be fabulous! Love your humor!


Vickie May 15, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Denise – you had me rolling on the “exploding cabbage” statement. I hope there’s nothing lethal down there. You may find some real treasures, your flat sounds like a storybook setting. I’m sorry you’be had so many costly issues though, that is frustrating.
If you like to read gardening based novels, there’s a Waverley Family series written by Sarah Addison Allen and Susan Ericksen that’s very entertaining.
I need stories that perk me up and relieve me from reality, sometimes.
And don’t feel alone on the eating out bit. When I get stressed I don’t like to cook, so I tend to eat lunch out more often than I should. :-/


Vickie May 15, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Sorry, I should check my spelling before hitting submit!


Denise May 13, 2017 at 2:08 am

Oh – and a request for a recommendation, please.

I did post this on one of the earlier comments threads a week or so ago, but I can’t find it. Apologies if you responded to that request.

I want to buy an American skillet, and I’d be most grateful for any recommendations any of you could make. I’ve been looking in charity shops with no luck, and I don’t know whether to trust brands I’ve never heard of, such as Victor, which sell for less than £20 on eBay and amazon.

I looked at Le Creuset, as I have two of their cast iron casseroles. I got them on massive discount sales so their usual £150+ prices were in the region of £65 (shop closure). But:

(a). no deals around and I am not paying £120+ for a skillet! Unless you tell me that I have to…

(b). The interiors are enamel coated, which I’ve been told isn’t helpful for a skillet (it’s ace on the casseroles, though, for avoiding food sticking when cooking for long periods on a low heat).

(c). They are sooo heavy. 5lbs. Is that usual for a 9 inch wide skillet??

Also – I shall mainly be cooking for myself with it, so I’m working on the basis that 9″/23cm is a good size. Any watchouts on size (other than the size to weight correlation)?

Many thanks in advance, as always.


Roberta May 13, 2017 at 7:47 am

I use a cheap Lodge cast iron skillet. It weighs the very earth, but it will outlast me — and the kids as well! If you treat it well it does not stick, and if it starts to stick you can season it again with cooking oil and be back in business!


Cindy in the South I May 15, 2017 at 6:01 am

I use Lodge Cast Iron skillets also.


kathleen May 14, 2017 at 9:15 pm

I don’t recommend Le Creuset for a skillet. You often want to heat a skillet to high temps for searing etc, and I once had a Le Creuset which overheated and ruined the interior enamel…it crackled and flaked. I had to throw it out as I never felt safe using it again.


Lindsey May 15, 2017 at 4:02 pm

If that ever happens again, try calling their customer service. I had one of their products go bad and they replaced it with no questions asked.


kathleen May 16, 2017 at 7:15 pm

Wow, that is really good to know! Thanks!


Lindsay May 13, 2017 at 5:04 am

1. I ate breakfast for free at work on Friday for Teacher Appreciation Week.
2. We are closing on our new house (we are first-time homeowners!) on Monday. We are putting 20% down to avoid paying PMI.
3. In the past, when moving from apartment to apartment, we paid for movers. This is a luxury that has always felt “worth it” to us. This time, though, we waited too long to book movers, so we will be doing the job ourselves, thus saving a big chunk of change!
4. In preparation for moving, we are selling some furniture that we will no longer need, namely a kitchen island and two bar stools. We bought these items used a year ago, and we will be able to sell them for the same amount or more than we originally paid.
5. We ate inexpensive meals at home all week, even though I was stressed and busy and would have loved to have gotten takeout.
6. We’re continuing to enjoy free or cheap entertainment, like Netflix shows, podcasts, and library books. I just started Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places, we’re watching Shameless, and I’m dabbling in My Favorite Murder.


Bee May 14, 2017 at 4:14 am

Congratulations on your new home! It’s wonderful that you have no PMI. Well done.


Cindy in the South I May 15, 2017 at 6:02 am

Congrats on your house!


Laurie May 13, 2017 at 10:19 am

1. I cooked from scratch all week, as usual.
2. I ate leftovers, so no food waste.
3. I sorted through the items in one of our basement storage rooms. At least 1/2 or more were designated as “sell”.
4. I did a quick sweep of the rest of the basement for more items to sell.
5. I participated in the 2 day neighborhood yard sale. Making $ and decluttering rocks!


cathy May 13, 2017 at 3:58 pm

1. My husband and I got to spend the morning together going to a local neighborhood yard sale. Around 60 houses participated and we stopped at most. Best scores were a large box full of white and blue Dansk dishes for $5 and a decorative Talavera pottery dish from someone’s free pile. One person also dug up and gave me a clump of lambs’ ears that’s a different variety than others in my yard.
2. We buy our salt in a large pouch and then refill shaker from that. When I went to the store, it rang up $1 more than the price on the shelf. The cashier went to confirm the price and, because it took him awhile, he gave me the bag for free. Saved $7.
3. This week’s stack of library books includes mainly gardening/edible landscaping books, but also mysteries by two of my favorite authors and an interesting book by Cokie Roberts called Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. This is the second time I’ve had it out and hope to finish it before all my renewals are up.
4. Finally saw Dr. Strange. Husband had a rent one/get one free Redbox code. He and the kids watched a Star Wars movie for the second rental.
5. Planted two big clumps of centaurea (perennial bachelors buttons) given to me by my neighbor. I’m always looking for more, and she always thinks she has too many 🙂 .


Isabelle May 13, 2017 at 6:56 pm

* After tallying all our food expenses for the last year (including groceries, date night meals, family restaurants meals and personal restaurants) I came to the conclusion that all that spending on food is freaking ridiculous!!! I mean, we spend about 25% of our disposal income on food!! 25%!!! Is this even possible?!? I often am the one suggesting we go out to eat, and I am the one doing groceries most of the time, so I’m mostly at fault here…. And I am totally addicted to junk food so… Anyways, I have decided to ban ALL food purchase outside of groceries for myself, and to eat out only if someone else brings it up (and not all the time). So no more suggestions from my part. Very curious to see how much money this will save us, and how my body will react (weight loss?)
* We were able to put a chunk of extra money (5000$) on the mortgage today. Our house is now 60% paid and I am aiming at having it paid in full by 2025. Eating out less should help with this goal!
* Taking a lot of walks outside lately, using my old MP3 player to keep me entertained
* Decided against a non-essential surgery that would have costed me around 20 000$, so I count that as major savings!
* Had to put down my sick cat a couple of weeks ago. I was able to sell the cat’s accessories for 45$.


Lisa P. May 13, 2017 at 10:57 pm

So sorry about your kitty! lisa


Adriana @MoneyJourney May 14, 2017 at 12:27 am

We went out for dinner last night and spent more than we usually do, so that made a hole in our budget! However… it’s been weeks since we’ve last went out for a meal, so I really shouldn’t complain 🙂

Other than that, I managed to use a couple of coupons while doing the weekly grocery shopping. Hurray for saving a few bucks 😛

We also managed to plan some meals with stuff from the pantry, another win for our budget!


Rosanne May 14, 2017 at 6:38 am

1. Soaked my utterly disgusting car mats in Biz overnight in the bathtub (Biz is like Oxi-Clean, but in my opinion a bit better). They came out looking almost brand new. I get weirdly satisfied with seeing the pitch black water that ran off.
2. Hubby found an LL Bean backpack. It was embroidered with a monogram, which I took off by using my cuticle scissors and tweezers. Came out looking perfect. It looks like it was never used.
3. Told my son I wanted a hundred hugs for Mother’s Day. please- no roses or overpriced boxed chocolates! (Will take some Hershey kisses of course) Am up to about 40 hugs and it is only 10:30
4. No frugal menu for Mother’s day today- Sushi for dinner. My favorite. But I will get take out instead of going to a restaurant. I find going out on holidays disappointing- long waits, bad service, bad food, and I feel rushed. Plus it ends up costing 2 to 3 times more.
5. Listed a couple more things on ebay.


Lisa P. May 15, 2017 at 6:50 am

Wow, that is so neat about the L L Bean bookbag. Thanks for sharing that.


Michele May 14, 2017 at 8:06 am

Mother’s Day 5 Frugal:
1. Usually get my Mom and sister a $25 gift card for Mother’s Day. Today I got them each a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers.
2. I went to Goodwill and bought vases to put the flowers in.
3. Got Mom and my sister each a Snickers bar with a coupon.
4. Everyone coming to our house at 4 for party. Everyone bringing something for the meal.
5. My husband and I are making cards for our Moms after looking at the $5.29 ones in Publix.


MW May 15, 2017 at 10:23 am

1- Managed to control the Mother’s Day budget with pointing my husband to a box of cake mix that we already had, making a picture frame with the boys, and getting creative with gifts for Nana.
2- The guys are going to an event on Saturday- they got free tickets, I’m going to broach the subject of packing snacks etc to minimize the spending.
3- Managed to have to a constructive conversation with my husband regarding the budget for Memorial Day and bring him around to accepting that making last-minute hotel reservations at the coast wasn’t the most budget-friendly idea for a family on one income.
4- Snipped beautiful irises from the yard to take to the cemetery to honor my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother.
5- Got some vegetable plants for free from family. I had offered to pay- the garden sale had prices that couldn’t be beat. If all goes well, it will provide the bulk of our vegetable diet for the summer.


Katy May 16, 2017 at 3:02 am

1. There was a multiple family garage sale, I put out stuff to give away free. Maybe that wasn’t frugal on my part, but frugal for the others, and makes it easier to get rid of.
2. I let my kids buy 2 books each at the garage sale, and I got them a bouncy ball and bracelet that were in a free box.
3. I made taco meat and we ate it over rice with veggies, cheese and lemon for lunch and supper, which was good because I had lots of rice leftover from another meal.
4. Some friends watched our kids for our anniversary so we could go out and tonight we’re watching their kids.
5. My husband wanted to change up our roof rack and is working on doing it himself today.


Ruby May 16, 2017 at 5:41 am

1. Rather than to fight the crowds and spend going out for Mother’s Day, I made easy-peasy pulled pork with BBQ sauce in the crock pot. Cost was $4.99 for a Boston butt pork roast that fed us for three meals. We don’t eat much meat anymore, so this was a real treat.
2. Snagged some free e-books and spent a lovely evening reading one while curled up with the dogs on the sofa.
3. Our cats have just about destroyed the cheaply made but free to us cat tree we got with a gift card 18 months ago. The Mister bought a small amount of lumber and is building them one that should outlast the kitties. DIY skills are frugal!
4. Used a 25 percent off anything coupon at the drug store to replace a hair dryer. With a choice of two models that were identical except for color (the red one was $5 more), I went with the less expensive blue one.
5. Have a flourishing crop in our container herb garden, thanks to all the lovely rain, and am planning meals around the bounty of basil, oregano, and sage.


Mand01 May 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm

It’s not really a test – it was originally from a comic strip. She was just making a point that was and is still valid about the representation of women in film.
FWIW, Buffy passes the test 🙂


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