Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 21, 2017 · 86 comments

  1. I’m going to a co-worker’s retirement party tonight and will bring a bottle of nice wine leftover from my husband’s work party, as well as a platter of pumpkin bread. The pumpkin bread (which is similar to the Starbucks version) was made using pantry ingredients plus some frozen puree leftover from 2016’s leftover Halloween pumpkins.

  2. I sold two items on eBay, neither of which I paid for. One was an adorable vintage set of travel shot glasses from a garage sale “free” table, and the other was a grubby soccer jersey that a buyer mailed back to me in a dishonest attempt to get a refund on the pristine one that I sold to him. (A common eBay scam.) Not only did eBay side with me, as each jersey is individually numbered, but I soaked that bad boy in Oxyclean and listed it for sale last night. It sold immediately. Katy – 1, scammer 0!

  3. I’ve been taking it easy the last couple of days, so there have been evenings of Star Trek Voyager on Netflix, afternoon naps and then spurts of eBay listings. There may or may not (definitely may!) have been takeout meals from various Mexican food carts. I could live off that stuff and never get sick of it! ¡Delicioso! I’m not sure how takeout can be considered frugal, except that it’s still cheaper than a restaurant meal!

  4. I reused packing materials for all my eBay mailings, I’ll be gassing up our minivan at cheapest-in-town Costco to ready it for my husband’s drive to Canada and I got to use my newly purchased vintage sifter for the pumpkin bread. (All hail my new glam rock band titled “Thrifted Sifter!”)

  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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{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie July 21, 2017 at 1:03 pm

(1) Interesting old sifter! I’ve got a pretty good “kitchenalia fetish” myself (term borrowed from Clarissa Dickson Wright of the late lamented Two Fat Ladies), and I appreciate this sort of thing. I bought a sifter with a rotating wooden wheelie thing (pardon my vague description) three years ago at an antiques fair, and this has saved my arthritic hands a ton of work in grinding dry herbs for gifts.

(2) Mr. Bestest Neighbor is. alas, sporting an enormous black eye and a sore knee as a result of falling down his garden steps yesterday. (He’s 80 years old and still doesn’t get it that he shouldn’t be charging down steps with five different things in his hands.) DH and I are about to take him my first jar of homemade refrigerator dill pickles as an aid to his recovery.

(3) Garden update: The first baby cantaloupe and the first two ripening cherry tomatoes have been spotted, and I’m about to pull the last of the spring snow peas to make room for a fall planting of cucumbers. Gotta keep those pickles coming in.

(4) Planning an outing with DH tomorrow to one of our favorite library book sales (in a wealthy western suburb where the pickings are always good), plus a not-often-visited thrift shop nearby and our favorite organic food restaurant where we know the gardener-chefs. (We have a gift certificate to the restaurant, but we’d have gone there even without it. These folks are the real deal.)

(5) I did not alienate any coworkers into resigning, threaten sedition and treason, or otherwise disturb the peace today. Wish a few other folks would do the same.


Kim in Maryland July 21, 2017 at 4:47 pm

#5 Agreed!


Jill July 21, 2017 at 1:08 pm

1. We are having friends over for dinner on Sunday and I’m using chicken from my freezer and some leftover broccoli slaw from my sis-in-law. My friends and my sister-in-law are both uber frugal and appreciate this.
2. My husband’s sister came into town and my sister and brother -in-law hosted us – hence the broccoli slaw. I provided doughnuts for breakfast that I used a coupon for.
3. My daughter was jumped and mugged on the subway. She’s fine but needed stitches. She was very worried about the ER bill and the nice lady at the hospital gave her info for a Victims of Violent Crimes fund to pay some of the bill. Also a good samaritan mailed her drivers license, school and work ID’s back to her. Luckily she was ok! And she’s of the generation that pays for everything on her phone so she wasn’t carrying cash. A friend loaned her an old phone until she can purchase a new one. (I know that sounds blase but it wasn’t at the time – it was very, very upsetting especially since she lives far from me. But it was in June and we’ve all had time to digest and process it. She is required to go to counseling once a week for her job so that has helped her also)
4. I’ve been traveling a bunch this summer – a funeral and a wedding plus a girls trip with my sister and mom – but now that I’m home I’ve been reading my library books, eating at home and watching Netflix.
5. It’s been quite the heat wave here and my plants are suffering. But my husband installed an irrigation system that uses water from the lake we live on so I don’t have to pay high water bills.


Ellie July 21, 2017 at 1:27 pm

So sorry about #3 – it’s a personal violation that lasts awhile. Glad she’s getting some counseling.


BJS July 21, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Jill, I agree with Ellie … how awful that that happened. Prayers for your daughter.


Jill July 21, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Thank you – I know it’s not a normal item for Five Frugal Things. I was just trying to express my appreciation for the staff member at the hospital for helping alleviate my daughter’s worry about the bill – and she was very worried along with many other emotions. I will definitely be contributing to this fund – and am grateful for all those who have before me.


CarolineRSA July 21, 2017 at 11:00 pm

I’m sending you and your daughter a South African hug. We can empathise, knowing better than anyone should have to, the effects of violent crime on families.


Pattilou July 23, 2017 at 10:58 am

Jill, I am so glad that your daughter is ok. I am glad that the fund exists for those who need it but also so sad that it has to exist at all.


Carol July 21, 2017 at 1:22 pm

1. I had my husband give me a haircut yesterday for the first time. He was understandably nervous, but I just told him to cut in a straight line all around. I’m not too picky, and it looks fine. It doesn’t have the nice layering I get at the salon, but you can’t beat the price.

2. In another attempt to avoid plastic packaging, I’m going to make my own whole wheat tortillas from an Internet recipe. I’ll use already owned pantry ingredients, so it will cost me zero new dollars.

3. Wanted to get a soda at the soda machine at our apartment building. Brought a bunch of loose change, but the machine started eating the coins. I could have gone to get a dollar bill from my purse, but I decided to skip it and instead had a hard root beer that was already in our fridge. It was later in the day, so I was already done with all my chores.


Carolyn July 26, 2017 at 7:46 am

Congratulations on taking the leap of faith or should I say seat? My husband has been cutting mine for me since we first started dating. He always does a great job, as I ask, he doesn’t get scissor happy on me and cut it too short like the salon stylists always did. I recommend you find a few youtube videos and watch them with your husband to improve his skills, be sure he has all the proper tools, good shears, hair clips and a cape to make it easier to do the job properly and get great results. My husband sets up the stool with his tools, places a glass of wine for me, capes me and trims my locks every 6-8 weeks for me. It not only saves me hundreds a year, I enjoy the one on one bonding time with my hubby and it feels like a massage when he runs the comb through my hair down my back. So relaxing, I could fall asleep. I highly recommend every lady have her husband/boyfriend cut her hair for her. I am sure his akills will improve over time as well. I get compliments on my hair and my best friend and my mother both liked his work and now he cuts their hair as well. I joke with him that he should do it as a side business. Of course, being I spend zero dollars at the salon, I have been told it is a terrible idea by a couple friends that work in a salon. I will take take the savings, convenience, great haircut every time and enjoy the bonding time with my husband cutting my hair for me.


Cindy in the South I July 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm

1. I ate a tomato sandwich for lunch, and the tomato was purchased from a roadside farmer, and the bread was a gift to me. I also ate gifted cottage cheese for lunch…I love that stuff and the fact that it was free is even better.
2. I wore a gray thrifted $3.00 skirt suit for court today, and I looked just as professional as the other lawyers. I seriously doubt their threads cost three bucks…lol.
3. I painted my own fingernails, very carefully, with $2.00 polish from DG.
4. I will be eating random food finds for supper from the back of the fridge.
5. I wore a pair of earrings to court that I have had for years, and I did not pay more than $5.00 for them then. Keeping stuff, using it over and over again is frugal. Bonus points: the earrings looked professional with my thrifted suit.


Bee July 21, 2017 at 3:15 pm

A fresh-from-the-farm, vine-ripened tomato is one of the best things about summer.


Cindy in the South I July 24, 2017 at 4:42 am



Bethc July 23, 2017 at 6:55 am

Love seeing another frugal lawyer here! I do regulatory and transactional work, so I am not in court that much. But I love wearing the occasional thrifted item (or something so old that it is back in style) in the office and getting compliments.


Cindy in the South I July 24, 2017 at 4:45 am

I am an assistant district attorney, who lives in a very rural, poor area, so we are not paid very much…lol. The bonus to that is that housing, land taxes, etc., are overall very low.


Bethc July 29, 2017 at 6:09 am

I used to be a Federal government agency attorney before I left for private practice. Biggest frugal fail of my life: cashing in my Federal retirement years back to buy a new car (hang head in shame).


yvette from down under July 21, 2017 at 1:34 pm

I have been having a no spend month to get on top of bills whilst off work. I have been using up everything in the freezer, pantry and garden to make meals. It’s surprising how inventive you can be out of necessity!! So far I have only spent $20 for the month to buy eggs., vege, fruit and toilet rolls. We have been eating different recipes of soup, stretching meat by adding lots of vege and rice/pasta , cooking everything from scratch. Raiding he pantry to make biscuits, muffins, cakes etc using up all the old cleaning products in the laundry and personal care items. I had heaps of little bottles of shampoo from travels in hotels. I have avoided the shops and catalogues so not tempted to buy anything. Think I can make it thru the last
week with what I have on hand. I have paid off one credit card and made the other manageable, have lost a few kilos by walking and saving petrol. A good learning curve for a crisis situation .. medical bills are something I need to budget for in the future, also a bigger emergency fund for time off work .


Nancy from mass July 22, 2017 at 4:02 pm

I love cake. I would love to have a few around the house!! 🙂


nancy from mass July 24, 2017 at 4:24 am

sorry, that comment was for Mrs Penny Pincher (below)


nancy from mass July 24, 2017 at 4:24 am

sorry, that comment was for Mrs PickyPincher (below)


ouvickie July 24, 2017 at 7:18 am

I love those little hotel bottles of shampoo & conditioner. I use them instead of shaving cream for my legs. Works like a charm, you don’t have to use much – no cuts on my legs!


Mrs. Picky Pincher July 21, 2017 at 1:37 pm

I’m lovin’ the Thrifted Sifter!

This week:

1. I baked mini pies using homemade pie dough crust instead of storebought.

2. I based most of next week’s meals on ingredients that were already in our pantry to save moolah on groceries.

3. Mr. Picky Pincher is brewing some beer today instead of buying it at the store.

4. I scored a really well-paying, regular freelance gig and I’ve started to see the money coming in already. It’s only $150/mo but it’s been really nice. 🙂

5. I bought springform pans from Ross for $10 and used them to bake a few cakes to have around the house. I also got a $12 thrifted cake stand.


Jenn Dundas July 21, 2017 at 1:53 pm

I dont have 5 to share, but I got an over the toilet shelf for free from a family member. I was psyched because it looks great, and my new apartment has zero for linen storage, so now my towels are in my bathroom. WIN. Downfall is the lowest shelf and the lid of the toilet didn’t cooperate, so the toilet couldn’t open with the shelf above it. I found some re-usable K-cups and put one under each leg to lift it. Shelf is fine. Toilet lid is fine. Extra cash spent: $0. Stopped k-cuppin’ after I bought a percolator for coffee.


BJS July 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm

1. Compared my kids’ school supply lists against the supplies they brought home when school ended in June. I’m able to cross a few things off before I start shopping – pencil pouches, scissors, thumb drive, computer mouse, etc.

2. Had five big bags of donations picked up by a charity. The donations will take $339 off my taxes at the end of this year, and the organization that picked them up is doing research on a disease that a family member of mine has.

3. Bought two pairs of reading glasses at the dollar store. One pair of mine had broken and I decided to get an extra pair to keep in my nightstand.

4. My daughter and I went to Goodwill. She found a cute gray shirt that she can wear the rest of the summer, and also to school once it starts, for $2. And I found a penny on the floor there. So thankful there’s a Goodwill so close to me now!

5. Had a fun lunch with two sweet friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and used a restaurant gift card that someone had given me for Christmas.


Chris July 21, 2017 at 2:26 pm

1. Spotted boneless pork roasts for .99/lb – bought 4 (all in the 1.5lb range). We are having family in town in August and I’m stockpiling food for keeping costs low.
2. Went with my husband to the newly opened Aldi’s where he was jonesing for a giant jar of cashews but he decided that mixed nuts had enough plenty of cashews ($12 vs $4).
3. Free cycled a fabulous vintage rocker that has paint peeling like crazy from it – I love the color and when I repaint I will try to match the same color – but only if I can get it super cheap/free. I actually should check the basement because I may already have what I need!
4. Not frugal but I hate to distribute the invitations to our neighborhood National Night Out event (for no reason but that it is “one more thing to do”) and the little girls from across the street (and their mom) asked if they could do it for me – I forgot how little kids love to be “helpers”!
5. Trying to decide if sending things to Thred Up for re-sale is more profitable than the local consignment store – any one have any experience?


Diane C July 23, 2017 at 10:27 am

Kristen over at The Frugal Girl is a Three Up fan and has posted about it several times.


Cindy in the South I July 24, 2017 at 4:50 am

I sometimes, when I have a craving for cashews, buy the $1.00 bag from Dollar General.


Jennifer July 24, 2017 at 4:59 am

Yes, the halves and peices bag. A frequent breakfast of mine, lol.


Chris July 24, 2017 at 5:01 am

Thanks! I will be looking there for advice.


CS July 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm

1. Just taking a break from cleaning my kitchen cupboard. A great feeling! Now it will easy to find things, so I won’t buy what I don’t need!
2. My garden is growing, so we have lettuce, tomatoes, and strawberries. Today, I noticed that our raspberries are beginning to ripen. We live in northern British Columbia, so our growing season is short!
3. I am reading books that I bought at our library’s used book sale. When done, I will pass on for someone else to read or donate back to the library. Gotta support our local library!
4. With our recent warm weather, I was able to hang laundry outside. No dryer use.
5. I am sorting old clothing and footwear into 3 piles: donate, take to consignment store, or sell ourselves on local Varage.
I hope your husband has a great trip to Canada!


Alison July 21, 2017 at 2:45 pm

1. Called Trupanion after I received notice that our dog’s medical insurance was going up to $73.00 per month from $58. We upped the deductible to $400 from $300, and the premium went down to $52. We talked about cancelling it, but DH said if we do that, she’d probably get sick or injured.
2. Finally completed my online application for my pension which should start in September. It won’t be much, but will cover our medical insurance.
3. Made banana muffins from some of the MANY frozen bananas in my freezer. I don’t want to be that old lady who dies with a freezer full of ripe bananas! Gave them to a family member who has had neurosurgery, and will be going for more next month. Only had to buy chocolate chips.
4. Thinking about selling my standup freezer. We don’t eat much in the way of meat or frozen foods, so it’s usually almost empty. I could use the space in my garage for other things, and wouldn’t be wasting the electricity. I’ll think a bit more about it.
5. Didn’t shop for a new purse after mine got puked in by the dog! It came up beautifully when I washed it, and I’m using it once again, and no one is the wiser. Except for you.


Nancy from mass July 22, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Hmmmm. I may also be that woman who has a freezer full of bananas. I make bread, muffins and even vegan ice cream with them, but I can’t keep up


Nancy from mass July 22, 2017 at 4:06 pm

I mean, who dies with a freezer full!


Bee July 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm

The ‘Thrifted Sifter’ comment made me laugh out loud. Intelligent word play!
I feel like most of my FFT are the same old thing —
1) Eating simple meals, drinking water, making home-brewed coffee, avoiding restaurants and using up leftovers.

2) I sold an item on eBay. I really need to spend some time listing other items on this site and on Facebook. We may soon make a major life change. I don’t want to have the excess stuff!

3) DH and I have been working on a large home repair as well as finishing up the bathroom redo. Doing it ourselves saves money. DH is meticulous, but it seems to take twice as long. To stay sane, I remind myself that it will be done well.

4) At the grocery store, I have been taking advantage of Summer’s bounty. There are so many wonderful fruits and veggies this time of years. I buy whatever is on sale to supplement my farm share. It is also coffee week. The coffee I love is 1/2 price once a quarter. I have bought 12lbs. It saves a bundle in the long run — approximately $240 annually.

5) Twice a year, January and July, I make a list of things to look into that may save us money. I actually have this on my annual calendar. It contains many of the usual items car insurance, Internet service, cell phones, etc. I also look into cashing in my credit card points and loyalty points. I am working on that now. It takes a little while, but it is often worth my time.


Susie's Daughter July 22, 2017 at 9:40 am

Bee – #5 – Thank you for this nudge. I was just thinking this morning that I have not looked at our satellite TV bill since January (too rural for cable) since it is on auto pay and it is due for an examination. And I haven’t looked at credit cards points in a long time either…


Lia July 21, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Hi, Katie –

Would you please share how you handled the fake disgruntled Ebay customer? I would like to have this information for any future ‘situations.’

Many thanks! Lia

#ROCKOn,Thrifted Sifter!


Ava July 21, 2017 at 4:03 pm

1. Found .22 in pennies at the car wash. That’s the most coins I ever found at one time.
2. Made biscuits for the freezer. Cut them out and freeze unbaked on a cookie sheet. Then remove to a bag and bake as many as you want whenever you want.
3. Took 3 boxes to Goodwill and documented for taxes. It was mostly my husband’s clothes. I still have to go through mine .
4. Some watermelon got frozen by accident. I made it into sorbet. My husband said it was “interesting”. I thought it was delicious. More for me.
5. Frugal for others: My son and daughter in law left their dogs with us while they went on vacation and saved boarding fees. So, counting the “worst puppy ever” we had 3 dogs for a week. Surprisingly, the puppy was better behaved in every way while they were here. She went right into her crate at bedtime, was quiet all night, went in the yard without need of a human escort, only barked when there was something to bark at. The granddogs went home today and she is back to her old anxious self. We may have to get professional training, which will not be frugal.


ouvickie July 24, 2017 at 7:36 am

#5 – Maybe your pup has litter separation anxiety. I have a chihuahua that had issues. My brother was there during the day, when we first got her, but after he moved out she started having problems. I decided she needed a buddy, so I found another, older chihuahua and adopted her. It worked like a charm. She was apparently depressed because we both work and she was home by herself all day.


Vickey July 30, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Makes sense. They are pack animals by nature.


Roberta July 21, 2017 at 4:09 pm

1. Found a dime when I went to pick my daughter up from dance class.
2. Filled up at the slightly-further-away Costco instead of getting gas at the closer, 20 cent a gallon more expensive place. Costco was on the way to dance class.
3. On my way out to dinner and a play with my in-laws. The play tickets are free, so the entire evening is not too expensive.
4. Made an egg and tomato sandwich for breakfast and a haloumi-lettuce and tomato sandwich for lunch (veggie BLT). I bought the bread on clearance for 77cents, and it’s the good stuff!
5. Thinking about opening a children’s clothing resale shop with my mother and sister. The owner may be abandoning the merchandise and furnishings, and the landlord is willing to let us have them in that case.


Kathleen in Kansas July 21, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Holy Cow! I have that same bowl. My grandmother bought one at the dime store when I was a young teenager. I always use it for cookies, because she and I made cookies together with it.


Teri July 21, 2017 at 6:42 pm

1. Found several plants discounted to $1 at Home Depot to finally finish out my pots. It took me longer this year but I should be able to enjoy the pots through Sept.
2. Shopping thrift stores, but sticking to my list. I can over spend just as regular retail stores.
3.Eating from freezer now no children are around. I buy only milk and fresh fruit and veggies.
4.Continuing to clean out closets in anticipation of a fall yard sale. Some items I take to Platos closet and get immediate cash.
5. Batching errands today while stopping in at the bank for my free cookie.


Teri July 21, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Could you do a post on which site to use for surveys? I’ve read some aren’t worth doing but I seem to remember you mentioning one you did.

Thank you


Kim in MD July 21, 2017 at 7:14 pm

1. Sold 4 items on Amazon so far this week. Nothing big but every little bit adds up.
2. Mended a few things. The straps on one of my vintage aprons, button on DH’s pants and a few tiny holes in DS#2’s jersey bottom sheet. Not quite sure how he got holes in his sheets but these are his college sheets so who knows.
3. Found packages of 93% lean ground beef makes down to $2.39/lb. regularly $5.69/lb. There were 5 packs, each about 1.5 lbs. Bought 4 and left one for someone else to find a deal.
4. Yesterday I picked up my freebie Caribou iced coffee at Giant. Also got 2 Oreo candy bars free with coupons. After ringing it up they somehow owed me 8¢, which they gave me! Today I submitted it for Ibotta rebate and got $1.25! Tasted really good in yesterday’s 98° heat.
5. Went to free DIY workshop at Home Depot last night. No one else came. We made an end table/night stand from a wooden crate. When it was done, the manager said I could have the one we built. DS#2 is taking it to his off campus house for his room.


auntiali July 21, 2017 at 7:26 pm

1. Turned the AC up to a warmer temperature while I was out today.
2. Got a book and a DVD at the library. My weekend entertainment.
3. Batched errands yesterday.
4. Stayed home for 3 days this week – 4 if you count Sunday.
5. One thing that won’t be frugal is the grocery bill as our daughter is coming home on Monday.
6. I have a lovely antique twisted sifter that was my mom’s. If my mom was still alive she would have been 93 this year.


Mand01 July 21, 2017 at 11:33 pm

I love having kitchen items that belonged to women in my family. They make me feel connected to them even though they have passed away- every time I use them I feel like there is an unbroken link between us.


Bee July 22, 2017 at 3:19 am

So true! I have my mother’s bean pot. When using this pot, she made beanie weanies for me as a child and later for my children when they stayed with her. Every time I make baked beans, I think of her. Truth be told – I think of her every hour of every day.


Liz B. July 22, 2017 at 10:33 am

I have several of my mom’s kitchen items (she’s still with us, but downsized significantly 5 years ago). I love using them, both related to feeling that connection with her and my childhood when she used them – and because the quality is so good!
It kills me to think of all the stuff she had hauled away by a “1-800-got-junk” truck when she moved. I had a toddler at the time, and couldn’t get over to her house in time. The midcentury cookie jar shaped like a cowboy pig….the now-vintage forged aluminum pieces….sigh.


ouvickie July 24, 2017 at 7:42 am

#6 – I feel the same way about the stuff I have in our home. Several things that belonged to my grandmother and Mom and DH’s grandmother. I use them all the time, they make me happy!


Tracy July 21, 2017 at 7:53 pm

1. Eating lots of vegetarian meals because produce is so wonderful right now (swooning over some peaches I bought at Costco)
2. Too busy at work and too tired after to do much of anything else so keeping the entertainment budget down. Watching great French detective show on Netflix.
3. Was good about taking breakfast/lunch to work this week. Splurged today and bought bakery cookies for the office to appreciate my staff — but bought the day old ones which I think are just as good at 75% off
4. Wore thrifted blouse and necklace to work today and felt well put together.
5. Stopped at grocery store and then made dinner for six of us after work even though very tired, so much cheaper (and healthier) than take out!


CarolineRSA July 21, 2017 at 11:12 pm

1. Took my mom to the optometrist for an eye test and glasses (I take care of my mom’s medical costs), the co-pay was almost as much as the medical aid claim, but the lovely man said they would include a pair of prescription single vision dark glasses FREE.
2. Watched a gifted copy of ‘Trolls’ for family movie night, instead of hiring a disc.
3. Hired 2 discs of ‘Elementary’ for weekend viewing, instead of buying the series (yes, I really used to do that…)
4. Booked a short trip to the Kruger park for next month, frugal because we choose to camp, and use our Wildcard for conservation fees.
5. Cooking mushroom soup, using mushrooms bought at half price, and home made chicken stock.
Frugal fail: bought dinner from pizza hut as a ‘treat’, because 6yo wanted to try the chocolate pizza. I could have made all of it at home, tastier, for less!


Mand01 July 21, 2017 at 11:30 pm

We are being decidedly decadent today and spending a weekend at a five star hotel to celebrate twenty years of marriage. But, when we were married all those years ago we were young and extremely broke and couldn’t afford a hotel on our wedding night, so this is our way of making up for it.
Our FFT:
1. Worked from home two days and did not drive anywhere.
2. We all ate out of the freezer last night to try to use up the collection of dinners and leftovers we have socked away in there. It’s getting very full, so we have cleared it out a bit. We will do the same when we get home tomorrow night.
3. I booked the hotel through Trivago and got a suite for a great price. My husband says it works out to about $10 for every year of marriage 😀
4. We are going to a fancy restaurant for dinner but I have a discount card for 25% off – still not super frugal but it will be so lovely.
5. Lunch out today was at the same market stall we have been frequenting since we were dating and we ordered the exact same thing we’ve always ordered for pretty much the same low price. Bargain. Then we went to the library and the bookstore, where I used a voucher I was given for Mother’s Day. We bought tea and chocolate and that was about it. It was a lovely quiet NCA day.


ouvickie July 24, 2017 at 7:46 am

Congrats on 20 years!!
It’s important to celebrate. In my opinion those life milestones and vacations are why I work so hard. 🙂


Mand01 July 24, 2017 at 5:50 pm

Thank you- we had a fabulous time and worth every cent!


Jill A July 22, 2017 at 3:16 am

1. I sold some items on a facebook yard sale site. One women arranged to pick them up but wasn’t sure what time, and asked me to sell them for less. She never got back to me. I sold them to the next person in line and she paid full price. So a win overall.
2. I read a book that’s been on my Amazon wishlist. I found it for free on my library’s ebook site.
3. Picked up some pool chemicals at meijer and used a $10 coupon making one bucket free. I also picked up two free food items – breakfast cookies and a bottle of apple juice.
4. I thrifted a beautiful vintage porcelain dresser tray. I have it sitting on my bedside table. I plan to enjoy it for a while and then sell it on ebay.
5. I started doing surveys for a new site. They gave me 600 points for Southwest Airlines for completing my first survey and so far I’m almost halfway to being able to buy another 1000 points.


Sherry July 22, 2017 at 10:37 am

Jill A, what site did you do the survey for, if you do not mind me asking?


Bettypants July 22, 2017 at 4:45 am

I’m so impressed you kept and sold the scammer’s jersey! I hope he/she saw it listed on ebay.

1. Since we picked up the round coffee table, I had to say goodbye to the vintage school desk we had been using. I listed it on FB sites where it sold right away. I also sold a stack of toddler board books that I had bought at a yard sale. Four different people previously said they would pick up the books and never showed up. Ugh.

2. My office treated us to a pizza lunch.

3. Sold the Waterford Crystal toasting flutes on ebay that I had found at a garage sale. I also relisted a few of my loser listings.

4. My neighbor a couple doors down set out an outdoor Christmas decoration that went unsold at their garage sale. I picked it up and will list it on the FB boards closer to Christmas. I think their sale was unsuccessful because they didn’t put up signs and didn’t price any of their items. I very much dislike sales without visible prices. Those people are always lounging in chairs, chatting with a friend and announce “We didn’t have time to price.” Uh, okay, I’ll be in my car driving away.

5. Stopped at Walmart’s garden dept looking for a specific perennial. They didn’t have it, but had a lot of perennials on clearance at very cheap prices. I refrained from buying any, as I have limited space in my beds and have a list of plants I really want. Even though a $4 rhododendron is a very good deal, I don’t love them.


Diane C July 23, 2017 at 10:42 am

Ha! That last sentence in #4 made me laugh out loud!

Earlier this month, I did an Estate Sale for some friends who are moving into assisted living because she has ALZ. We were trying for a Friday start, but just couldn’t get enough priced, so decided to hold off until Saturday. Turns out that day was their 28th Annual Neighborhood Garage Sale Day and the traffic was unbelievable! We weren’t on the official list (‘cuz, didn’t know about it, not my neighborhood), but we had great signs, which always makes a difference. Made $2500 and got rid of so much (priced) stuff!


Diane C July 23, 2017 at 11:05 am

ETA – The $2500 went to my friends, which helped defray their moving costs. I got paid mostly in supplies. My friends were longtime community volunteers and I was given a lot of their community supplies (coffee urn, serving ware, etc.) to use for future community events. That’s a lot of community, lol! We have a big event coming in September, so the timing is excellent.


Bettypants July 23, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Wow, $2,500, good for you and your friends! A successful yard sale is something to be proud of.

I don’t mind when people are behind and still pricing, but nearly always they are just sitting around. My friend and I always joke that we are going to incessantly hold up item after item and ask “How much is this? What about this? How much is this?” just to see what happens.


Cindy in the South I July 24, 2017 at 8:20 am

I will not buy if something is not priced, and that includes houses. Years ago someone missed out on selling their house to me because the price was not listed. I want to know if something is in my price range, and if not, I will pass and not go back whether it is a dress or a house…lol.


MommaL July 22, 2017 at 4:51 am

Frugal Bday weekend:
1. Invited SIL to stay for the weekend. Nice weather, we plan to relax in the pool most of the time.
2. Hung decorations I already owned: bday banner in the dining area, bday flag outside, bday bear on the front porch chair, bday candles and napkins. All bought a while ago either at the dollar tree or yard sales.
3. Put the menu together over the phone, she brought some items to share.
4. Playing music to swim to on Pandora. I love how we can tailor the music to our guests’ tastes instead of forcing them to listen to our old CDs.
5. 1/2 of our gifts to her are regifted but they are more her taste than mine.


#letsusepropergrammar July 22, 2017 at 5:15 am

FYI, as used in the original post, “leftover” should be two words, “left over”. The one-word version is a noun.


Jennifer July 23, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Wth? You actually took the time to write this comment? Maybe Katy just hurriedly forgot to put a space there. This isn’t a class in grammar. Ok, rant over and I will move along now.


Karen July 22, 2017 at 5:20 am

Just wanted to thank you for your blog! Its very down to earth, and inspiring. I’ll be visiting Portland soon and am definitely checking out the Goodwill you recommended in the past!


tracy July 22, 2017 at 6:07 am

1. Took lunch and breakfast to work all week, and took bus to/from 3 days (other days had to drive because had something right before or after work)
2. Made dinner for six of us last night even though very tired from work.
3. Eating many vegetarian meals to take advantage of the fantastic seasonal produce right now.
4. Wore several thrifted outfits this week.
5. Took bakery cookies as a treat for my staff on Friday, frugal because I got them 75 % off (day old) and I can’t tell the difference.
Work is crazy busy and stressful right now (will be working all weekend too) so entertainment has been non-existent this week, keeping costs down! Watching The Witnesses (French detective show on Netflix) and walking the dog is about it!


susanna d July 22, 2017 at 6:27 am

1. The basil plants have regrown everything I cut a few weeks back – and then some – due in part to the hot and sunny weather. I made another double batch of pesto cubes for the freezer. I think this upcoming winter I may actually get my wish of having homemade pesto that lasts the entire season. I always think I will – and I always pig out to the point that I don’t. Still, I’ve never had this much basil, and the season is still young (and the plants are still going strong).
2. We’ve had nine whole days without rain (going into the month 12 inches above normal precipitation for the first half of the year, we were plenty wet enough to handle a dry stretch). For the first time this year, I’ve actually had to water the plants each day this week. Rain barrels to the rescue – overflowing rain barrels at that. Most are pretty well drained now, but we’re supposed to get rain today so they should at least partly fill back up.
3. If the rain misses us once again, I’ll just go back to hauling 5 gallon buckets of water up from the lake and call it a strength training workout. Free water, free workout, win-win. I don’t want to use tap water for the plants due to the water softener/salts.
4. Homemade products were getting low, so I made up batches of coconut oil/lavender lotion; spray on/leave in conditioner (a little bit of conditioner and a lot of water in a small spray bottle); and my all-purpose cleaner. I love making my own products – they work great, they’re economical, and I can pronounce every ingredient in each product.
5. Zero food waste for the past week. It’s a victory, since I’m embarrassed to admit how much forgotten food hit the compost or trash during the first two weeks of this month.


JC July 22, 2017 at 6:43 am

1. Brought coffee & lunches to work all week
2. Ate dinner at home all week and made the recipes I had committed to so the ingredients didn’t go to waste
3. Finally submitted my insurance claims, which had been piling up, and paid some medical bills
4. Reading library books this week
5. Realized some of my misc expenses were actually work expenses so I submitted an expense report for them. Usually I’d just absorb them but I’m trying to be more careful these days.


Susie's Daughter July 22, 2017 at 9:31 am

I’ve been reading along regularly, though not posting, since our big vacation last month. Honestly, it has taken a while to really get back into the frugal swing of things.

1) Using pantry items to make a quinoa and black bean salad for a memorial/pot luck this afternoon. Fresh snipped chives from the garden on top.

2) We went for a “forest bath” – which is apparently the new term for talking a walk in the woods – this morning with our neighbor and her twin daughters, close companions of DS. So lovely and the company was excellent.

3) Picked up .30 in cans on the walk (on the road) back from the neighbors. I save this found money for special treats. Used some of 2016 found money for ice cream at the ice cream stand in our little village earlier this summer and some to pay for admission to our lovely state beach this week.

4) Dear Wife and I continue to obsessively watch ‘A Place To Call Home’, series from Acorn TV about an Australian nurse post WWII. We are on Season 3, borrowed, as were the first two, from our library. Someone else must be watching at about our same pace since we had to wait several weeks for the Season 3 DVD’s. Nothing like Katy’s waitlist for Hidden Figures though!

5) I had two late fees this month for the first time in ages. One, a credit card payment made one day late, is worth a polite phone when I will ask for a refund of the penalty. The other is $20 down the drain. So I will clean my desk off more thoroughly this week and get better organized before August bills are due.


Bee July 23, 2017 at 4:10 am

It is hard to get back in the frugal swing of things. I’m glad you are posting again. I have added ‘A Place to Call Home’ to my library list. I need something new to watch. I hope you can get the price down on the satellite television.


Lindsey July 24, 2017 at 10:06 am

YOu might like the Dr. Blake series. Set in Australia in the 50s, he works for the police department and solves crimes. Streams on Netflix.


Susie's Daughter July 25, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Thanks for the suggestion, Lindsey! I will look for Dr. Blake next time I am not searching kid’s shows on Netflix. 🙂
I am hoping to get the family on board with PBS (digital antennae) and Netflix only. It’s the ability to see live sporting events that is the real issue holding us back .


Liz B. July 22, 2017 at 11:09 am

Had a few frugal fails, and a few wins, as usual…biggest frugal fail: went to our county fair last evening with my son. Paid $8 for parking (!), and $20 for ride tickets. DS wanted to go to an attraction called the Monkey Maze (a mirrored maze thing) that cost $2/person. No, they don’t take ride tickets. DS then mentioned he felt sick, and wanted to go home. The Monkey Maze guy was kind enough to refund our $4 (we had just started entering the maze when DS felt sick). We’re going back to the fair tonight, so will use up the ride tix.
1) Prepared dinner for family last Sunday at my mother in law’s house, who kindly let us use her washing machine (since ours was kaput). Used up pre-marinated pork tenderloin, frozen green beans, and made hashbrown casserole, all survivors of our chest freezer meltdown. Made an apple pie with freezer meltdown survivor pie crust and apples that had seen better days. Brother in law brought salad and homemade key lime pie (he made it with a crushed pretzel crust, and meringue topping. Deelish). Great meal, and great company.
2) Used up fancy-pants brioche sandwich buns by eating them for breakfast. Toasted with some butter and jam? Yessssss. Took one for the team on this one. Lol!
3) Bought some seriously marked down perennials at Lowe’s, including a lavender plant (my favorite) and a Stella D’Oro daylily. Spent $3 for 4 plants.
4)A dear friend at work had harvested a huge amount of apples from the tree in her backyard. She and another friend peeled, cored, and sliced the apples, then cooked them down with some sugar and cinnamon in a crock pot. She offered the apple mixture to anyone who wanted it, so I enthusiastically accepted. Made an apple crisp (using ingredients on hand) to share with apple donor and other co workers, which was much enjoyed.
5) Ordered two freebies from Shutterfly – a spiral notepad with a photo of a handsome actor on it (a funny gift for a friend), and an 8×10 photo, suitable for framing, of the hubs and son from when we vacationed a month ago. Did have to pay for shipping, but still a deal.

Have a great week!


deanna ar July 22, 2017 at 2:34 pm

1. Went to my cousin’s 50th birthday celebration last night. Her dad (my uncle) treated us to a Mexican meal…delish! …and fun!

2. Hubby ordered 2 belts for the tractor mower. They were on sale plus a 12% discount

3. Hubby ordered hobby supplies in quantity and saved $$.

4. Hubby ordered new sneakers on sale for approximately 1/2 price. The ones he replaced were literally falling off his feet.

5. I have begun cooking and packaging after-surgery freezer meals for August.

I love posting here because it helps me to remember the frugal things we do as a norm.


Lindsey July 22, 2017 at 2:58 pm

1. This week we had dinner guests three times, which has never happened before. I was feeling compelled to go buy salad fixings because we had eaten all the mature lettuce, when I grabbed ahold of myself and realized that there was no reason I could not make other salads from the garden. One night we served pea and cucumber salad with dill dressing made from homemade yogurt. Another night it was hot bacon dressing on spinach salad. The third night it was peas, carrots, cauliflower and kohlrabi salad with cubes of cheddar. The rest of the meals were out of our freezer, so no money spent to entertain three nights.
2. Continued to collect stuff for a garage sale in two weeks. At one point the husband sais, “Stop looking at that vase. I like it and it is not going to the garage sale!”
3. Finished harvesting the last of our rhubarb. 30 pounds! Made cobblers for us and the neighbor (again. I’d rather have peach cobbler but we can’t grow peaches and the rhubarb comes back year after year despite complete neglect) and turned the rest into rhubarb sauce and froze it for future yogurt toppings.
4. Took more books to the used book store run by a literacy non-profit. Remembered to get the tax write-off slip.
5. Picked a huge bouquet of dahlias from the garden to take to a friend in the hospital, rather than buying flowers.

Frugal fail: Was reaching up to put three rolls of toilet paper into the cabinet over the toilet when the dog came up behind me and nudged my rear (he is a Dane and can easily reach said rear). I got startled and dropped two of the rolls into the toilet. I was tempted to dry it out and use it anyway but visions of bacteria drove the idea out of my head.


cathy July 22, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Love your yard sale comment! My husband would probably agree with yours. I am on a major mission to declutter, so nothing is safe, but I always ask before I add something to the yard sale pile(s). I can usually get him to agree, but sometimes he’s more attached to an item than I am.


Alison July 23, 2017 at 6:54 am

I love rhubard, and only get it occasionally. I once made banana rhubard crumble and it was fantastic. The sweetness of the bananas worked well with the tart rhubard.


Mia July 23, 2017 at 8:18 am

The toilet paper and the Dane made me laugh out loud. I have a part german shepard, part pit bull and he always jumps up behind me and hits my rear. I’ve dropped many things but not toilet paper….yet. LOL


Alexandra July 22, 2017 at 4:10 pm

1. Grandkids wanted to earn money so planned weekend chores for them. Eldest (10 year old) removed everything from kitchen cabinets, wiped down, returned dishesd. Dirty cabinets! She earned $11 for 90 min of work. 8 yr old cleaned 2 baths including floors. Also vacuum and helped with other bits and bobs. 80 min work $10. 6 year old emptied drawers in kitchen, vacuumed crumbs, wiped drawers, returned contents. Also refilled cleaning supplies. Helped with a few bits and bobs 75 min of very supervised work $8. We got some solid cleaning done while helping DIL with daycare. Our goal is to teach kids to “save, spend, give” while enjoying their company. They VERY proud of work and money earned. They BEG for chores!
2. After chores, went to a.c.moore as kids dying to spend. Granddaughter bought plain t-shirt on sale as neighbor teaching her to tie dye. Boys bought fidget spinner. Hit dollar store.biys bought goggles for pool.
3. Used aunt’s apt complex pool. Kids had grand time.

4. Invited aunt with pool for dinner. Made zucchini noodles spaghetti with her spiralizer. Wondering if I should buy one. She gave it to us!
5. Took grandkids with me grocery shopping. Used price book and calculator. Stuck to list and got some excellent deals. 10 year old mastering unit pricing. Saved $76 on our bill. Proud.


Sandra July 23, 2017 at 3:05 am

1. We went to a Hawaiian Cultural Festival and Luau last night. We filled in for someone who was unable to come so the event was free for us. What a treat. Great food, music, and dance.

2. Have finished canning apricots from our tree. Still a few left that I will freeze for apricot sauce or filling for pies and cobbler.

3. The tomatoes are coming on strong now. We are eating them fresh in salads and sandwiches, so good when they are fresh off the vine.

4. The zucchini are plentiful, too. We eat them raw in salads and also love them steamed or in a stir fry.

5. Next up are the plums. They are ready to start canning. We’ll also eat them fresh and I’ll by dehydrating a lot of them.


Bethc July 23, 2017 at 7:35 am

1. We have a plethora of cucumbers. It was a hot day, so I sliced them and put them in a reusable water bottle with water and ice. Refreshing!
2. Make frozen key lime pie. Forgot that we were out of graham cracker crumbs, so I made my own out of graham crackers that we had on hand.
3 . Stayed in and watched a DVD from the library with DH.
4. Used blueberries which DH picked at a pick your own place to make a blueberry muffin cake from the Cake Mix Doctor cookbook. I froze it and one of the key lime pies for a BBQ that we are hosting in a couple of weeks.
5. Forget to pack a drink for lunch and was craving a diet soda. Put $1 into the soda machine at work and it keep falling through. Whacked the side of the machine with my hand and enough coins fell out to make my soda free. They must have jammed up the works.

Unfrugal but fun-took both our adult kids out to a fixed price farm to fork dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate them both getting brand new full time jobs in their chosen fields. Very happy for both


KJD509 July 23, 2017 at 9:49 am

1) We bit the bullet and bought a car. I ran the numbers on what we’re earning in interest on an old, ignored savings account (virtually nothing) vs what we’re paying per month on average with all the repairs on our near-death old cars, and it just didn’t make sense. Found a used Subaru formerly owned by a little old lady (for realz!) who drove it far fewer miles than average and paid cash for it. Whew, such a relief to know we will have at least one working car!
2) Oldest daughter has been chafing at our budget. It’s no different from when she lived at home, but she’s been overseas where a) food is much less expensive and b) she wasn’t able to get some favorite items so came home craving certain meals, which, as it turns out, are particularly costly. She was deeply involved in the car budget questions, as it will eventually become hers, and is suddenly on board with the grocery budget. Frugal in the long run, thank goodness.
3) Used a term from these comments and told the kids their scratchy, line-dried towels were “free exfoliation.” Nobody complained. Twelve years of summer dryer use for towels erased in one tw0-word phrase!
4) Using herbs from the garden in nearly every dinner. Frugal and delicious!
5) Really loving watching the butterflies and bees visiting our “butterfly garden.” My now-11-year old and I planned and planted it when she was in preschool, and it’s been giving us pleasure with no additional cost ever since.


Helen Ee July 23, 2017 at 4:48 pm

1. Spent 2days of quality time with Mom while she recovered from a heart procedure. I had time off from work to use and the time spent these days with her are ever more precious now.
2. Figured out she was going to need a new antenna with a bigger recieve radius, since she is out in a far suburb, so I will be on the lookout for that.
3. Prepped some beans in the pressure cooker to freeze, and made bean salad for a potluck later that day.
4. Grilled a London Broil which was on sale this week, for dinner. Will repurpose the leftovers tomorrow.
5. Soaked a stale heel of bread on the meat juices of said London broil, which was a welcome and free treat to Sir Pooch.


janine July 23, 2017 at 5:35 pm

1. Husband decided not to take adventure vacation next week thus saving plane, train and bus fares. He is staying home and we will be vacationing around our area.
2. Transition National Gathering is at Macalester College in St. Paul next week with programs starting on Thursday. They are offering single tickets to meetings and seminars for bargain prices. Visit their web site if any one is interested. Good skilling up meetings with presenters from all over the country!
3. Bought lots of groceries which should provide at home meals for us in the coming week. Didn’t expect DH to be here but luckily we have plenty of food on hand.
3. Our new dog has completed his heartworm treatment. Cost was substantially less than quoted. Regular vet was out of town and substitute only charged us for medication this week. He has one more visit next month to test if the procedure was successful. Still expensive and stressful!
4. Skipped monthly luncheons with friends and used $$ to buy treats for adult children.
5. Bought a lot of light summer reading on sale for $1 each. Also, a beautiful copy of Virginia Woolf’s collected works which I will add to my Xmas gift box which has been sadly depleted . Books are my not so secret indulgence but I am donating them to Goodwill or the library sale when I finish.


Liz B. July 24, 2017 at 6:39 am

One of my sisters is a Macalester alum – I wonder if she knows about those programs and seminars? I’ll ask her. Thanks!
Also, I know your pain anout heartworm treatment for dogs….we are hoping to adopt a puppy in the near future, and hubs has already purchased the heartworm preventative from our vet. I didn’t even ask him hiw much it cost, but I know it’s expensive. On the other hand, it’s important to be respnsible pet parents, so yay you for taking good care of your pupster!


ouvickie July 24, 2017 at 6:55 am

LOL! Love the band name!

1) I stayed home all weekend and ate from the fridge. I still have 1/2 tank of gas left from last week and no fuel spent. Which is good, because tomorrow I’m heading east for a memorial service. Thankfully I can work from home in the morning and head out from there, saving fuel.
2) I’ll be running errands at lunch, but there aren’t many and I’m waiting until I get paid next week to buy any staples and such for the house. I took stock yesterday to see if we needed anything and it looks like everything can wait until payday.
3) It rained last night – like 2-3″ in about an hour, so it filled up the animal water dishes outside. That saves a bit of electricity, since our water well is electric. It cooled the temps down too, so hopefully the AC won’t come on as much for the next few days. It’s been over a 100 degrees for about a week now. Any relief is appreciated.
4) I’ve decided to take hubby out to dinner on his birthday in August and to a movie, if he wants to go. We’ll both get a treat of a meal out and no stuff to clutter up the house.
5) Hubby brought home a pretty copper colored container at Christmas filled with goodies, that a Vendor gave him. I realized as I was cleaning off our LR coffee table yesterday, it makes an excellent catch-all for the few things that often get scattered on that table. Free organization container!


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