Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 24, 2017 · 106 comments

Edit: It seems that some readers took offensive in my having used the descriptor of “plus size” to describe this hospital gown. To me, that is not an insult as I myself am such. I did not hold the gown out to mock the larger community at large, but only to show the gown. I have written over seventy-bajillion blog posts over the past 9-1/2 years and would hope that my readers would show some faith in me. I will not respond to individual comments on this subject.

  1. I fought the urge to get Mexican cart takeout and assembled my own burrito bar for dinner. I set the crock pot on the front porch to avoid heating up the kitchen for the pinto beans, and then pulled together various toppings from the contents of the fridge and pantry. I took one for the team and ate up a tomato that was on its last legs as well as a half avocado that on the sad side of the bell curve. You may think my addiction to Mexican food carts is a joke, but it isn’t as there are three (maybe four) within walking distance from my house! The struggle is real!

  2. I hung out with my mother after dropping my older son at work yesterday. For the two of us, that meant scoping out the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet. (My son’s work, my mom’s house and “the bins” are all in the same neighborhood!) I bought a number of items to sell, as well as a few things to keep. (One huge canning jar, socks for my son, an adorable cowboy vest for our dress-up bin, a vintage Fiestaware bowl, a hair band, a couple bandanas and a cute vintage canning lid.) I did not buy the above hospital gown, although I couldn’t resist snapping a photo, as it’s the same as the ones we use at my hospital!

  3. I sold two life vests that I picked up from a garage sale freebie pile, I sold a handmade wooden duck that had been lying dormant in my eBay sales, (and I assumed had been a mistake to have bought in the first place) and then finally received payment on a baseball mitt that sold last week. I arranged for a free USPS pickup from the house to avoid a post office trip.

  4. It’s been kind of hot lately, which becomes very noticeable on the second floor of my uninsulated 103-year-old house. However, I’ve been running window fans instead of using the air conditioner as it’s not that bad. Cool clean sheets with an empty duvet cover go a long way.

  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.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 106 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris July 24, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Great finds at Goodwill! Years ago I bought a very large (3x at least) cotton shirt. It has been very useful for many messy jobs, such as a paint smock, gardening smock, and it’s what I wear when giving my hair a “touch up!” It saves my “good” clothes!


A. Marie July 24, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Re: the photo of Katy in pigtails in that green print hospital gown: Was anyone else reminded of Julie Andrews ripping the green print curtains off her bedroom wall to make play clothes for the von Trapp kids in The Sound of Music?? Perhaps I’m just showing my age… (I was 10 when the movie came out in 1965.)


Kayleigh July 24, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Yes, yes, yes!! That was my exact same thought.


susanna d July 25, 2017 at 5:48 am

Okay, THAT’S why I kept thinking “Why does this picture look familiar?”


Carol July 26, 2017 at 11:04 am

the material looks a lot like what they used in the movie!


karen July 24, 2017 at 1:57 pm

I want to thank the person who wrote about the meat/chicken being marked down at Target. I work a merchandise job there every week so I am already there. Anyway it has been wonderful. The chicken is no artificial ingredients or hormones and the cost is GREAT after mark downs. This is only chicken/meat I have bought in a year.


nancy July 25, 2017 at 1:14 pm

I missed the original comment. When is it marked down?


Julie July 26, 2017 at 9:15 am

The Target that I shop at there is no certain day of the week . It goes by the use by date printed in the package. So it is hit or miss for me. The Meat Manger took a new job and now it seems like there isn’t as many mark downs.
(Man I miss that guy !!–and he make suggestions of different products and how to prep them) He got me hooked on Archer Farms Chicken wrapped in bacon with jalapeno cream cheese—YUMMY)
Hope you find lots at your Target.
Also, I have picked up fresh fruit that was marked down


Kim in MD July 25, 2017 at 1:25 pm

It may have been me as I know I have posted about meat markdowns at Target. I love when there’s also a $5/$20 digital coupon to add to the savings. Unfortunately my past few Target visits have not resulted in any meat markdowns. I’m also in Targets for merchandising jobs almost every week. Have a job tomorrow so my fingers are crossed for some markdown chicken!


Randi August 3, 2017 at 7:17 am

I shop the marked down organic chicken at Target all the time. I got a package of organic boneless skinkless breasts for $ 2 and change after a 5.00 mark down coupon on the package.


Alison July 24, 2017 at 2:04 pm

1. DH is doing more plumbing in our rental suite, this time replacing the kitchen faucet that was leaking. Gotta love a handy man!
2. Sold a pair of sandals I had posted online, for $20. My closet clean out is going well.
3. Made a pot of delicious curried cauliflower soup with a giant cauliflower that was only $3. Last year they were up to $7-8 each in our local stores! Needless to say we didn’t eat much of them last year. For the soup I used spices in my cupboard that were really quite old, but they tasted fine, and no one got sick.
4. Have been putting various items on the curb for anyone to pick up. DH is always amazed at what people take. This week it was 3 empty burlap coffee bags that had had soil in them. Probably someone will use them in their garden.
5. Went to Michael’s to look for a frame for my daughter’s degree certificate. The university would have framed it for $1oo+ dollars, I got a lovely frame for $30 and used a 50% off coupon. Yes, I could have looked for a used frame, but wanted something really nice, as her graduating from university is pretty special, in my mind.


Bettypants July 25, 2017 at 3:51 am

I love seeing what people will pick up from the side of the road. Every time I put something out, my husband would say “Nobody will want that.” He was always wrong.


Alison July 25, 2017 at 7:02 am

It’s true Betty! His first thought when getting rid of something is still always recycling or the garbage. We were taking metal to the recycling centre, and he asked if we should take this curtain rod that we had replaced. It was perfectly good, just too short for the new drapes. It’ll either go to the thrift store, or on the curb. I’m working at changing his mindset!


KJD509 July 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm

1) Used up a large collection of frozen overripe bananas in a double batch of double chocolate banana bread. It was awesome.
2) When we ran out of sandwich bread and the ravening hordes of kids were hungry, second son (with a lot of encouragement) made a couple of loaves, following a recipe I sent him from work. It was awesomely delicious and made fabulous BLTs for dinner that night.
3) Since I had to turn the oven on anyway yesterday, made a double batch of pretzel bites. We ate some and I froze the rest for snacks later.
4) Littlest’s name was not on the math camp roster this morning when hubs went to drop her off. There’s a much-greater-than-zero chance that I would have lost my patience, but he calmly insisted she was registered and eventually they found the error so she could join her group. Whew.
5) No vulgar gold-plated anything – again!


Bee July 25, 2017 at 3:27 am

The line ‘ravenous hordes of kids’ made me smile. My three ate so much as teenagers that just keeping them fed was an accomplishment. I miss those crazy dinners with them. Kudos to you for getting the gang fed quickly and economically after a long day at work.


Jennifer July 26, 2017 at 6:16 pm

1. Oh yum, I have never thought to use my bananas for chocolate banana bread. Of course that would be a decadent match. Thanks for the idea!


Patti July 24, 2017 at 2:51 pm

1) I used two ripe bananas for banana bread and was smart enough to cut it up into slices and freeze them so we only take out a couple at a time. Otherwise, I would eat the whole loaf by myself.
2) I ate a banana sandwich with one “past prime banana” and it didn’t kill me.
3) We have tons of tomatoes coming in so I tonight I am cooking two casseroles (zucchini, squash, tomatoes, onions layered with Italian dressing mix, topped with Parmesan). One to eat, one to freeze. We have also eaten fresh tomatoes for two weeks as slices and on sandwiches and frozen bags of them.
4)I finally used the rest of a gift card that was given to me a year ago. It was for a gas station and had $.37 left on it. On a trip last week, I went inside and got a snack. I wasn’t throwing away that extra few cents!
5) Because I will be going on a trip again this week, I have already stocked up on snacks and drinks to avoid any stopping along the way. I do want to stop at an outlet mall up the road and put some old shoes into the bin at the Nike store for recycling. I save them until I know I am going by that store.


susanna d July 25, 2017 at 6:21 am

Your #4 just reminded me that I have a Target gift card with $1 and change on it that’s been hanging out in the junk drawer for a long time because there are no Target stores anywhere near here. But there ARE Target stores in an area we visit at least once every other month. I’m putting that card in my wallet – the balance should cover a pack of gum for my husband. I’m going to follow your example of not wasting those extra cents on a gift card. Thanks for the reminder!


Jennifer July 26, 2017 at 6:20 pm

2. Supposedly, overripe bananas have more antioxidants so you may be better for it.


Vickey August 1, 2017 at 9:24 am

Sweet! 😉


Melissa July 24, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Where in the world do you see fat shaming? ? Katy is modeling the hospital gown from the facility where she works. Was the word fat even used? And if you mean the other comment regarding 3X as “very large” well, frankly it is. That’s life. No one was shaming anyone here, not at all what the people in this community are about.


Karen B. July 24, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Sometimes a smile is just a smile and a hospital gown is just a gown. No malice was shown and I’m sure none intended.


Kathy M July 24, 2017 at 4:03 pm

I agree. I felt it was fat shaming and was disappointed that she would post it.


kathleen July 24, 2017 at 6:44 pm

I saw the photo and thought, that would probably not cover my hiney. Felt no shame at all.


Mand01 July 25, 2017 at 1:41 am

I guess it could be seen as mocking. I’ve been very fat (and I do use the word fat, as Lindy West does) and now I’m not – after twenty years of being fat. So I know how it feels. I don’t personally take offence to this – I didn’t even notice actually- but that doesn’t mean no-one wouldn’t (obviously). Just because some people are not offended doesn’t mean it’s not offensive.
But can I say that just because you have a feeling (of offence or outrage) doesn’t mean that it necessarily has to be acknowledged by others. That’s why we all have the right to free speech and the right to be offended by that speech in equal measure. I’m offended daily by many things but no one actually has an obligation to take note of or identify with my outrage.


Roberta July 25, 2017 at 6:19 am

I love your last line “no one actually has an obligation to take note of or identify with my outrage.” Well said!


Trish July 28, 2017 at 2:13 pm

wow, what a wise soul you are!!! I love what you have written. With such a large group it is really tough to NOT step on toes, it would seem, and I have been taken to task once or twice, when I was not at all intending to offend – I would never deliberately cause an argument. My mom always said to own ‘your own feelings’, and that no one can make you feel a certain way, you choose how to feel. That has gotten me thru a lot of situations that would otherwise make me cry – I tend to be embarrassingly sensitive at times.


Mand01 July 24, 2017 at 4:09 pm

1. I attended a work conference with full catering.
2. I brought my reusable coffee cup, which turned out to be a good move as the event supplied takeaway cups. Unfortunately the coffee was undrinkable. And I’m not being snobby. It was burnt and foul. Finally in desperation I cracked and bought one. I got a discount for using my own cup.
3. On my way home I stopped in at the fruit and veg market and got bargain fruit as my husband had texted to tell me the fruit at the supermarket was $6 a kilogram. I got fruit for $2 a kilogram.
4. We had dinner at my parents.
5. We spent $200 less than we budgeted for our anniversary weekend.


A. Marie July 25, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Belated happy anniversary to you and your DH, Mand, and I’m glad the weekend not only was great but came in under budget!


Beth July 24, 2017 at 4:47 pm

1. Bag of dog training treats – cut each small treat in half getting double the treats.
2. Used zucchini going bad sautéed for Dinner and in chocolate coconut zucchini bread.
3. Shut off the air- yeah!
4. Reused paper towels from cooking potatoes and corn in the microwave to clean the bathroom.
5. Used ice from left over drinks to water plants, used coffee grounds on raspberry plants to add acid to the soil.
6. Divided up trail mix in reuseable containers for lunches.
7. Made Augusts budget and still tweaking. Doing Swagbucks.


Lindsey July 24, 2017 at 5:53 pm

This is none of my business, but raspberry plants do not like/require acidic soil. I quote from an article in a San Francisco paper: “Raspberry plants prefer soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Acidic soils should be amended with lime to raise the pH level, based on the results of a soil analysis.”


Mand01 July 24, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Yes it’s blueberries that require an acidic soil


cathy July 24, 2017 at 8:10 pm

It really depends where you live. Where I am, the soil is so alkaline, it’s typically 7.5-8 and higher. I absolutely add acidic soil amendments for most edibles.


Maureen July 24, 2017 at 9:01 pm

There’s an OSU study that has shown coffee grounds are actually ph neutral, adds nitrogen, improves tilth and may repel slugs. We use them on our potatoes. We don’t do any controlled studies, but we get nice potatoes.


MommaL July 26, 2017 at 6:46 am

re: 4: Have you tried cooking corn on the cob in the microwave in their husks? Its amazing, and no mess.


Ava July 24, 2017 at 4:51 pm

1. I put stale crackers in the oven and rebaked them to make them crispy again.
2. I used some other crackers that we didn’t like by crushing them, mixing with butter and using them as a topping for macaroni and cheese.
3. I went with 2 friends to tour an assisted living facility. They are both in medical fields and were doing research for their patients. I was just tagging along. We got a free lunch and a $25 gift card each for taking the tour. It was actually very interesting and thought provoking.
4. I went yard sale-ing with the same friends. I bought a beautiful vintage cross stitched table cloth for $2.00. I knew it had a small hole but thought I could mend it. When I got home, I realized it had another, much bigger hole. I was able to repair it. It is not a perfect repair but it will still be beautiful on my imperfect table under my imperfect food.
5. Some time ago I bought a .99 skirt at Goodwill because I liked the fabric so much. I didn’t take the time to try it on there. Of course, it turned out to be too small. But my daughter liked the fabric as much as I did. I was able to add elastic to the waist. It should fit her now.


BJS July 24, 2017 at 5:03 pm

1. Bought a pretty birthday card for 47 cents for my dear little great-niece.

2. Had another energy savings day from my electric company. I saved almost $50 … about the same as last week’s. I don’t mind not using my appliances during those hours, but the hard part for me is turning down the air conditioner. I get cranky when I’m hot! I just have to make more of an effort to be nice to everyone in my family. Saving that much money helps. And I know it’s for a finite amount of time.

3. Last Friday I made a huge batch of potato salad and a huge batch of baked bean salad. I also had a lot of fruit on hand, which I cut up for fruit salad for several meals (I like fruit salad better when I put it together right before I eat it). This was all in an effort to stave off the urge to eat out, which is my frugal weakness, hands down. And weekends seem to be worse. We ended up eating in all weekend.

4. Had my kids write thank-you notes to their great-aunt and great-uncle who had them over at their house for a fun weekend recently. The notes just went in the mail. For the cost of a stamp and a couple of inexpensive note cards, I think it’ll mean a great deal to my husband’s aunt and uncle.

5. Was asked to work a day in August and happily said yes. I don’t usually work much in the summertime so it’ll be a treat to be there and also earn a few dollars.


rebecca July 24, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Thank you notes are so lovely! I bet they will will appreciate them.


kathleen July 24, 2017 at 6:56 pm

Thank you notes are a mark of good parenting. 🙂

I received one recently from my grandson. I laughed. I cried. It was the whole enchilada.


Mand01 July 24, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Well I don’t know about good parenting but I do insist that my kids do it. One lady cried when she received notes from my kids. They do make the recipient feel appreciated, and I believe help my daughter, who has autism, understand social skills of appreciation and gratitude better.


oregbear July 25, 2017 at 8:41 am

I was taught that “a gift isn’t fully received until the thank-you note is written and mailed.”
In our current techno-world, I still believe that a hand-written and snail-mailed note shows more effort and sincerity than a quickly sent email.
Call me old fashioned!


nancy from mass July 25, 2017 at 5:23 am

I love writing notes to people – even just to say hi. I have an Aunt/Uncle that i write to and i can’t seem to get it to less than 4 pages.

I had my son write thank you’s for his graduation gifts. His card to his grandparents said “Enjoy your dusting and craftsmanship”. I laughed my butt off! (my MIL is always cleaning and my FIL was in the process of building a wooden ship replica of the ship he was on in the Navy). They loved it just as much.


Roberta July 25, 2017 at 5:52 am

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but how do you teach your kids to write thank you notes? I *hated* writing them as a kid, and I never felt good at it until I was an adult — and I received notes, which I used as models for my own notes. (I remember writing a thank you note to my grandmother, as a child, and listing everything I received for Christmas. I thought she’d be interested. My mother had me write a new note.)

I do make my kids write thank you notes, but I still feel uncertain about the way I instruct them.


Amy K. July 25, 2017 at 6:04 am

Dear ____,

I received the lovely/generous/wonderful _____ you sent for my (occasion.) It was incredibly thoughtful of you to pick it out/think of me. I have been in need of____/have wanted ____, have a wonderful use for _____/will thoroughly enjoy _____/looking forward to treating myself with ______.

Gratefully yours,

I’ve given my kids this sort of thing as a guide so they can choose how they want to express their thanks.


Maureen July 26, 2017 at 11:50 am

Love this, Thanks!!


nancy from mass July 25, 2017 at 7:26 am

I always tell him that it doesn’t need to be an essay or a dissertation of how much he enjoyed the gift. just that he was thankful and that the gift would be enjoyed. sometimes his notes (which he HATES to write) are just 3 sentences. The one he wrote his grandparents was 4 – which included the dusting and craftsmanship line!
I don’t think there is a right or wrong way, just that they are expressing their gratefulness.


BJS July 25, 2017 at 7:41 am

Hi Roberta, I’m not sure if your question was directed at me or not, but I’ll go ahead and answer it anyway! I think when they were younger a long note was overwhelming for them, so I just asked them to make it a few lines. I do always want them to be somewhat specific, though. So instead of saying, “thank you for the trip to the museum,” I’d encourage them to say something like, “I’ve never gone to a museum like that, and I especially enjoyed those train displays.” Also when they were younger I’d have them write a draft first, but they don’t need to do that anymore. And like with everything, I tell them to think about the other person’s feelings. (A side note … I often tell them that people won’t remember their – my child’s –
academic or athletic accomplishments, but they will always remember how they made them feel.) This is all just what I’ve done, though!


cathy July 25, 2017 at 10:42 am

I’ll also add that if the gift was money or a gift card, I’ll have my kids include something about how they spent or plan to spend it. Anything to make the note a bit more personal.


WilliamB July 25, 2017 at 10:50 am

The minimum is three lines:
1. Thank you for the thing (be specific about what the thing is, or say “generous gift” for money).
2. Something more about it: why you like it, what you’re going to do with it, that you’re looking forward to using it; something like that.
3. Thank you again for the gift/coming to my party/thinking of me.

There are frills and fillips, and rules of thumb for the more intricate courtesies, but kids get a pass on those things so no need for them to worry about those.

In my house, the rule was you couldn’t open the next gift till you wrote the thank you for this one.


Roberta July 25, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Thanks to everyone for their guides. We have a birthday coming up, and after that Christmas of course. Your generous help will help my kids greatly!


Joy July 28, 2017 at 4:33 am

I am LOVING that this conversation happened! It warms my heart to know that some parents are still teaching their children kindness, being thankful, and simple gratitude. BJS, I love what you said about emphasizing the remembering of how one makes another feel. I am about to begin my 20th year of teaching, and I went through training years ago to be a mentor to new teachers. I was surprised that the emphasis was the “basics” of teaching – that’s what the university taught in their teaching program. Because of this, I always have the newbies to spend some time thinking about their favorite, most memorable teachers along the way through their educational paths. 100% of the time, they realize the memorable ones are just that because of how they made them feel as opposed to what they actually learned.

Sorry for the length of the comment…it just renews my faith in humans to know parents still care about teaching morals and values. <3


BJS July 28, 2017 at 11:51 am

Aww, Joy, what a lovely comment. I didn’t mean to sound preachy, and I also didn’t mean to make it sound like I don’t expect my kids to do their very best with schoolwork, athletics, music lessons, etc. I just want to teach them that thinking about others is so very important in life. I bet your teaching students just love you!

rebecca July 24, 2017 at 6:07 pm

1. I have been really happy with my air conditioner use this summer. I put it on when I get home from work for a couple of hours to cool the house down and then turn it off before I go to bed.
2. Made some crockpot cauliflower soup from a head that was in the fridge and added a parmesan rind for flavor.
3. I had family over for dinner last night. I made zucchini fritters from a big zucchini I had gotten from when I picked up friends’ farm share. So easy to make and I had all the ingredients on hand. I grilled shrimp from the freezer and used a homemade salad dressing as the marinade. It wasn’t that good as salad dressing but I didn’t want to throw it out. It was a very good marinade!
4. Lined dried clothes inside.
5. Bought coffee on sale and stocked up.


Pattilou July 24, 2017 at 7:08 pm

1. Made my first eBay sale, sold something on Craigslist, and sold some stuff to a thrift store.
2. I was able to get a $125.00 discount on a new prescription I started by going to the drug company’s website and downloading a prescription discount card. I was able to get the discount immediately as opposed to paying upfront and submitting forms to the drug company, which I need to do with my other prescription.
3. We’ve been enjoying fresh herbs from the garden and are waiting for the many tomatoes to ripen.
4. I have been painting and re-caulking my mother’s bathroom. It is a really small space so I only had to buy a quart of paint for the ceiling and I was able to do the trim with one of those small tester containers of paint.
5. Finally got to the farmer’s market and am enjoying fresh fruit and sweet corn.


Denise July 25, 2017 at 12:56 am

1. I have revised the specifications for the refurbishment of my flat here in London. I’m buying a cheaper kitchen and appliances (turns out that I can live without a warming drawer appliance- because I’m 51 and still breathing, without a warming drawer in sight!). Specified a new kitchen but am seeing the kitchen guy at the discount supplier today to have him redo the design just to replace the fronts and reuse the cabinets. I will save £4k on a £9k budget. I’m also choosing a “good enough” location for the repositioning of my boiler as it saves time and money.

2. I spent the weekend with my brother and his fiancé. They have an allotment which is producing fruit, vegetables and flowers faster than they can consume them. Returned home with a haul of salads, tomatoes, baby potatoes and Courgette & Lemon Cake, made by my brother, who is an ace baker. I am eating down the freezer before I move out in ten days’ time, and with that haul of free fresh goodies, I don’t need to shop for groceries at all this week. To quote an enthusiastic post I read somewhere: “Woot, woot!”. (I do hope that that isn’t something offensive: I still remember a female American colleague talking about “patting her daughter’s fanny” as the daughter walked past my colleague. Brought us to a standstill: in England, “fanny” means vagina. New level of mother-daughter intimacy??)

3. With the exception of some fencing which I’m having professionally-installed, I am doing most of the work in my weed-filled, bramble-overgrown garden myself. I am waiting to spray the brambles for another week, so that I can harvest the blackberries first. Then they die. Well, that’s my evil plan, but like most Hollywood franchises, the baddy will be resurgent, no doubt.

4. I was ordering files and dividers from Amazon and a box popped up telling me that if I was a student with an educational establishment’s email address, then I could have Prime for free for six months. I’m studying part-time, I have just such an email address and I’ve now got Prime free. Have diarised to cancel it a few days before it expires. Due to the refurbishment, I’ll be able to get loads of BIG stuff delivered for free. And another “Woot! Woot!” from the cheap seats.

5. Not frugal, just a general thank you to Katie for this site, and to all of you for the inspiration you provide. I am nowhere near most of your achievements in living a simpler and better life, but I am learning, trying and making changes. None of that would be happening if I didn’t have this forum and (through this forum) to enthuse and inspire me.



Mand01 July 25, 2017 at 1:31 am

Lol Denise that is what it means here too


A. Marie July 25, 2017 at 2:21 pm

In the US, Denise, “fanny” = “buttocks.” Still a bit odd for mother-daughter stuff, IMHO, but much less so than with the UK/Commonwealth definition of the word!

And I think that “woot, woot” is a fairly harmless exclamation of pleasure in general or pleasure at finding or making money in particular. (Just double-checked online, but commentary is welcome.)


Liz B. July 25, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Not an expert ny any means, but I agree about the “woot, woot!”. Or, WooHoo!, used similarly.


Jennifer July 26, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Wow, I say fanny all the time in reference to “butt”. I’m gonna work on that…scary what messages I might have sent over the last 40 years!


Mand01 July 26, 2017 at 7:17 pm

Imagine how it sounds to us when we hear one of your banks is called Fanny Mae


Denise July 28, 2017 at 11:09 am


I laughed at your post – in 2007, as the crisis began to unfold, I loved hearing all the stuffed shirts having to say “Fanny Mae” in meetings.

Vickey August 3, 2017 at 8:36 am

Denise, I’m so glad to hear of your encouraging news! I hope the work proceeds smoothly, with the absolute minimum possible of unexpected obstacles and costs. Keep us posted! {{{}}}


Jill A July 25, 2017 at 3:12 am

1. We have been eating up leftovers from the fridge and other odds and ends in the freezer. Last night I made a delicious chicken noodle soup using a leftover rotisserie chicken.
2. We have been eating beans and cucumber from my planters. Shared a cucumber with my mother.
3. Someone abandoned almost a whole flat of pepper plants in the parking lot at daughters work. Weird, but she brought them home and we will plant what we can and try to find homes for the rest.
4. Took my youngest daughter to Barnes & Noble last night to get some books with a gift card. My husband would normally take her but was too tired. He always buys the membership every year even though I tell him we don’t buy enough to make it worth while. Membership is expired and guess who didn’t renew.
5. Saved a pair of pajama shorts my daughter put in the goodwill pile because they had stains. Stains came out without too much trouble.
6. Did most of the laundry over the weekend when electricity is cheapest and doing the rest before 7 am when rates are also low. Hanging the laundry to dry.
7. Skipped the movie theater over the weekend and got a redbox instead. We all watched it together in our very cool basement that my husband is finishing.
8. My mother is coming this morning to dye my hair for me. My usual store didn’t have my color. Went to Walmart and found it almost two dollars cheaper.


Bettypants July 25, 2017 at 3:45 am

1. Someone at work gave me an overripe banana yesterday, which I used to make brown butter banana craisin muffins, a Cooking Light recipe I had wanted to try. It also used up the rest of the plain yogurt.

2. I posted a few pictures and wall hangings on the FB boards. We moved to a smaller house and I kept a lot, not knowing what would work. Sold two large framed pictures.

3. Finally, finally sold the Pottery Barn barstools I had listed on CL. I waited until we moved to post them because I thought they would get snapped up immediately. Uh, nope.

4. A friend gave me a full gallon of Benjamin Moore paint. I thought it might work for our hallway/stairway, but found it was a tiny bit too pale and bright. I mixed in a quart and partial gallon of other leftovers and ended up with a beautiful color. I had been worried that a gallon wouldn’t be enough, but after my mixing, I had 1.5 gallons, which should be plenty.

5. Spotted an affordable area rug I liked very much on CL, but decided it was probably too large for the family room. One full week later, it occurred to me the size was right for the larger bedroom that also needs a rug. Duh. Luckily it is still available and we are going to look it over tomorrow night.


Liz B. July 25, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Ooo, those muffins sound good!! And nice use of that paint….isn’t Benjamin Moore paint fairly expensive? I have several house painting projects I’ve been putting off….


Amy K. July 25, 2017 at 4:09 am

Took my kids to the local thrift store on half-price day. My younger daughter really wanted a red satin gown for Halloween and we found a perfect one for $6.00. They also found a bunch of skirts they love and enjoy the wardrobe refresh they just got.


Bee July 25, 2017 at 4:10 am

It has been hot and rainy for days– a typical Southern summer. Only six more weeks left! Although I am hot and irritable often, I am still managing to be frugal.
1) My farm share has had a variety of peppers in it this month — more than I could ever eat. I roasted a large batch of jalapeño peppers this week and froze them to be used in fall. I will be more likely to make chilli or other football food then.While I had the oven on, I also roasted a large batch of beets for salad and made a batch of stuffed peppers for dinner.

2) I have been decluttering. I have a collection of odds and ends to take to the thrift store. I also spent some time yesterday listing items on eBay. Lastly, I sent an email to a local gallery to see if they wanted to buy some special prints by a well-loved regional artist. I acquire a huge lot of these and do not have room for them all.

3) I had an errand in the same part of town as DH, so I hitched a ride to save gas. It also gives us a chance to talk with one another.

4) My AT-hiking son had another equipment failure. However, the company- Black Diamond- replaced his head lamp without a hassle. It arrived at the house yesterday and will be sent in the next resupply package. He hit mile marker 1200.

5) I stopped at the dollar store this week to buy several cards. The card selection at the one near my house is huge and the price, 2 for $1, is amazing. I then mailed these cards using stamps that I found last summer when cleaning out the in laws home. Some had been around awhile. I can’t remember when it was only $0.29 to mail a letter.

Have a frugal and happy week!


Cindy in the South I July 25, 2017 at 5:02 am



nancy from mass July 25, 2017 at 5:27 am

Black Diamond is great for their customer service! Glad to hear he’s still on his walk 🙂


Laura July 25, 2017 at 11:06 am

Hot and rainy … I am jealous! It’s cold and very very dry here. I love how we all get to experience each others’ seasons 🙂


Denise July 28, 2017 at 11:13 am


Where do you live?


Bethc July 29, 2017 at 6:21 am

My friend’s 2 kids hiked the entire trail several years ago. They made a movie about their experience called “Beauty Beneath the Dirt.” It is available on Amazon. Your son might enjoy seeing it after he finishes his time on the AT.


tia July 29, 2017 at 10:57 pm

Wow! 1200 is amazing! I’m a lazy AT walker. I drive to the prettiest areas of the trail and hike a few days and go home. I won’t ever finish but it’s fun. I like the T-shirts that say “I Walked the Width of the Appalachian Trail”.


tracy July 25, 2017 at 4:20 am

1. Had a houseful this past weekend, with a couple young adult kids and significant others here plus my 13 year old and husband. Resisted urge to take everyone out Friday night and instead made a good pasta dish and a lovely salad.
2. Had to work all day Saturday so instead of BBQing as originally planned I got takeout chicken and potatoes. Not frugal ($58 to feed 10 of us as a few more came over) but yummy and WAY more frugal than taking everyone to a restaurant and really nice to hang in our backyard and enjoy the FREE table that seats 10 that my son and I hauled home and which he fixed up (okay I’ll stop talking about my free table but I LOVE it and am so happy I waited when I was looking at tables that cost $500-1000). And I already had the chairs!
3. Resisted urge to get take out Sunday eve and instead made everyone omelets — cheap, yummy, healthy and used up some of the many eggs I bought on sale recently.
4. Ate a bowl of cereal for dinner last night — too tired for anything else as the work marathon continues.
5. Stopped into Goodwill on Saturday, had fun looking but resisted urge to buy anything. My closets are stuffed and I know my current shopping urges are a response to work stress and a desire to change the way I feel.


Mrs. Picky Pincher July 25, 2017 at 5:20 am

This week:

1. I took a four-hour baking class and learned how to cook classic British pastries. It did cost $60, but I had a great time and got a lot of questions answered by a professional pastry chef. Worth it!

2. I used up some cherries that were past their prime by turning them into mini handheld cherry pies.

3. Mr. Picky Pincher and his dad re-bricked the back side of our house in preparation for installing our DIY outdoor kitchen. We’ve had Tyvec on the back of our house for over a year, so it’s a good change!

4. Our truck broke down and we used free roadside assistance through our insurance to tow the truck. It was a silver lining, but at least we didn’t have to pay for a tow service!

5. I used some old apples and turned them into a chutney, which I spread on some homemade thyme-cheddar scones.


Denise July 28, 2017 at 11:18 am

Fess up: you’ve mentioned pastry (yum), cherry pies (how many can one small-handed woman hold…?) and scones. What else did you learn on your course?

Cherry pie is my all-time favourite pie. I just sighed involuntarily at the memory.


nancy from mass July 25, 2017 at 5:51 am

1. A friend from work gave me a giant zucchini so I spent sunday making batches of zucchini bread, regular size muffins, large muffins and a cake pan of zucchini bread. Gave muffins to my neighbor, my best friend, 18 muffins to work with one bread (the other is in the freezer). I saved the cake shape to cut up and bring to a church group tonight. My son swore he didn’t like zucchini bread, but when i got up this morning, part of it was gone…. 😉
2. Gave some Duluth Trading shirts to my best friend that are now too large for me since I’ve lost weight again. (Glad i could pass them along)
3. Re-arranged my bedroom. My son took his fathers bureau, since it was larger than his. His bureau will go in the basement to house some of my mothers stuff I can’t get rid of yet. (she randomly asks for her things. She has dementia and when she remembers something special, i like to bring it to her).
4. Had 5 ceiling lights replaced with LED lights. I bought them as multi packs from Lowes and my electrician replaced them last week SO. MUCH. BRIGHTER. should save a little on the electric. Will have him replace the ‘can’ lights in my kitchen next. When i have those lights on, they throw off a lot of heat. My electrician is awesome and pretty cheap (have used him for 19 years, give his name out all the time and he’s just a nice guy). I also had 2 outlets replaced – one in the kitchen and one in DS room. they now have 2 USB connections in each outlet so we don’t have to worry about where that USB ‘cube’ is. Well, i always knew where mine was…DS is another story….
5. Brought home a 1/2 gallon of OJ from work that no one was drinking (leftover from a meeting). I have some frozen cranberries in the freezer so it looks like another marathon baking session. Good thing eggs are .49 at my Aldis’!


susanna d July 25, 2017 at 6:13 am

1. The stretch of dry weather we’ve been having has allowed me to hang laundry outside every time I did the wash this month. Yesterday while I was hanging laundry, a doe and her fawn watched very curiously – and even came closer to have a better look. A lot of the deer are ridiculously tame up here, so it’s not all that unusual to see them up close. Still, this little nature experience is not something I would have experienced had I been inside using the dryer. I love hanging laundry outside for many reasons, and yesterday added to the list.
2. Made salsa rice as a side the other day. Frugal in that “salsa rice” is made by my freezing excess liquid drained from pico de gallo and other homemade salsas – plus the liquid I get from rinsing every salsa jar with a bit of water. I keep a jar in the freezer labeled “salsa rinsings” and when it’s full enough it gets thawed and I cook rice in the liquid. It’s never the same but it’s always delicious – and costs nothing to add all that flavor to the rice.
3. A few months ago we ripped up the very last of the remaining carpet (basement stairs, and talk about disgusting…). We sanded and stained the step part with stain we already had, but wanted to paint the risers and trim a contrasting color. Went to the home improvement store and each of us chose a paper “paint sample”. I noticed my husband had picked a dark red/redwood looking sample. I’d never thought of that shade of red as a riser color, but it made me realize that we have some paint in a very similar shade left over from painting doors last year. No need to spend any additional money for paint.
4. My husband also found a recipe he wanted to try for sausage, potato and green beans cooked on the grill in foil packets (we cook outside as much as we can in warm weather). We didn’t have the kind of sausage the recipe called for but I did have bratwurst that I’d precooked – and that had all split open during the cooking process (something that never happened before). Figuring they’d be dry, I’d tossed them in the freezer until I came up with a use for them. Use found. Recipe also called for cajun seasoning (which we don’t like and don’t keep) so I figured if I changed the sausage, I could sure change the seasoning. Made up a seasoning we like from ingredients we have (basically just salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder). I don’t know the the original recipe would have been, but we loved this and it’s a total keeper. And I’ll make it again in the future to use up the rest of the exploded bratwurst.
5. Found 37 cents on ground over the past week. The found money jar is looking much healthier this year.


Roberta July 25, 2017 at 6:17 am

I think your braids look cute, Katy!
1. Started cleaning out the barn/shed (no actual animals involved). We found a bunch of things to post on ebay AND I ACTUALLY POSTED THEM yesterday. (Too often I put off posting things because it’s time consuming. Then the “too be sold” things sit around in a pile, and nothing actually moves out of my house.)
2. Posted a couple things to Criagslist: a giant, heavy antique calculator that isn’t selling on ebay (shipping?), and a couple other things I don’t want to ship.
3. Made dinner out of bits and bobs. My family appreciated it!
4. Not frugal for me, but my son diagnosed and repaired my sister-in-law’s computer. It was running slow and buggy, and he found a virus. She thought it was just too old, and she’d have to buy a new one. I’m so proud of him for fixing it at his age! It was also a great learning experience for him.
5. Invited a friend over to dinner Thursday night. She’ll bring pizza fixings, I’ll provide everything else. The kids will get to play, we’ll get to talk, no restaurant pressure.


Ruby July 25, 2017 at 6:30 am

Had a mix of frugal and unfrugal at my house this week:
1. Bought two cute, lightweight summer blouses suitable for office attire at the nice Goodwill across town on Friday for $3.99 each. Used Goodwill points to knock 30 cents off the total.
2. Used a store coupon to save $1 on a box of strawberries.
3. Packed up leftovers in freezer containers to make future work lunches for myself.
4. Bought one of those cellophane packages of kosher bean soup mix for $1.59 and added the last of some fresh spinach to it while cooking. It made four very generous servings of soup for me. Can’t beat an entree for under 40 cents!
5. The unfrugal, but oh, how we’re loving it: The Mister bought a robot vac after doing a lot of research to find one that works really well, especially with pet hair. (We have two large cats and three small dogs.) The bot vacuums as quickly as we could doing it ourselves and the cats enjoy watching it.


Lisa July 25, 2017 at 8:06 am

what kind of robot vacuum did you buy? I have been thinking of one as I have 2 cats and 2 dogs and a constant accumulation of pet hair on the floor. Do you have wood flooring or carpet? thanks!


Ruby July 25, 2017 at 8:25 am

Botvac Connected by Neato. We have laminate and tile floors and it’s doing a great job. It comes with a cleaning brush to install specifically for carpet, which we haven’t needed.


Lindsey July 25, 2017 at 11:34 am

Tip learned from the school of experience: Don’t decide to run an errand while the vacuum is working, leaving an old dog at home. Dog pooped, machine ran into/through it and spread poop all over. Not the machine’s fault, mine. The poor dog never poops indoors but had the runs, unbeknownst to me…


Ruby July 25, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Our puppy pees if she gets too excited, so we’ll probably never be able to leave the house with the bot vac running. She is house trained except for that one little quirk.

Liz B. July 25, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Good to know. We were given a Roomba from my mother in law (she replaced some parts, and it works but won’t dock in its charger. She bought a new one, and hubby has to fix the one she gave us). We have two cats who occasionally throw up…and we’re probably getting a puppy some time soon.

Bee July 26, 2017 at 11:21 am

Oh my! I would not have seen that coming either. Life is full of surprises and learning experiences. Dogs and children definitely make things less predictable.

Krystal July 25, 2017 at 8:05 am

1. Similar to your great Mexican street food desires, a new shawarma/falaffel place opened in our neighborhood and I HAVEN’T BEEN YET. My dining out budget has been used up for July. It’s all I have been craving since I had amazing shawarma last summer in Serbia, and since I’m not able to travel across the globe this year, I will wait until August for the food nostalgia.
2. We sold a juicer we bought new a couple years ago and didn’t use enough. Ugh. We have had it listed on Craiglist for MONTHS which was insult to injury staring at it on my kitchen counter. However, I sold it for $40 which was better than caving and donating it. That cash went to our grocery fund for the month, which I thought I had screwed up on our budget in the first place and said “I’ll never stick to $75 for the rest of the month” on yesterday’s grocery shopping trip that ended up $71 so I might even be able to put that extra $40 into our vacation fund, but it’s nice to have the buffer!
3. I picked up 5 extra trade hours at the yoga studio, as my “free class” stash was getting low and I was dangerously close to paying–with trade, I haven’t paid for a class in nearly a year!
4. Spent my free time on my last work trip at the Smithsonian, talking myself on walking tours (Tidal Basin, Jefferson Memorial, FDR memorial) and spending time with friends I see very rarely. All free!
5. Applied for 2 new secret shops, hoping I get them for some extra funds/free meals!


Kim in MD July 25, 2017 at 9:25 am

1. Sold 2 Louisa May Alcott books on Amazon that I listed last week. They’re beautiful hardback editions that are part of a set from 1961 that appeared to be unread. Sold Eight Cousins and Under the Lilacs for $14.88 and $17.88. Bought them for 25¢ each. College fund!
2. Making concerted effort to read more. I have lots of books sitting in my To Read pile. In past week, I finished Girl on the Train, Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars and The Ha-Ha. Enjoyed each of them. Two were bought at church sales and one free from a swap. All on their way now to used bookstore for credit.
3. Made sure to cook all the markdown ground beef I got last week. Burgers, bbq, double batch of pasta meat sauce, 3 batches of ginger meatballs and cooked last pack with onions to make pastitsio. Cheap meat isn’t frugal if it goes bad.
4. Picked up 2 really nice folding cafe chairs for DS#2’s off campus house from fellow freecycler.
5. Used another $25 ecoupon at Harris Teeter that I got for filling a Rx. Got 4 dozen eggs, 12 canned vegs, 5 packs of shredded cheese, 2 big packs of tp, 4 peanut butter and chunk of good bleu cheese. They were out of the freeze pop freebie so they subbed fruit bars. Even better but I realized when I got home they charged me for them. My OOP was $9 with the fruit bars. Going right by there tomorrow so will get refund on bars. Less than $7 for all I bought.


A. Marie July 26, 2017 at 2:50 pm

I’ve never read Under the Lilacs, but I’m not sure I could have parted with Eight Cousins myself. I was PO’d for years after reading it that Uncle Alec wasn’t my uncle.


Kim in MD July 26, 2017 at 7:19 pm

A. Marie, I have to admit I’ve never read any Alcott. I was a voracious reader as a child but I don’t remember even reading Little Women. Maybe since I’m the oldest of 4 sisters and no brothers I felt like I was living it! This set was missing Little Women but the other 5 in the set were really beautiful books with a lovely illustration in the front. I did think about keeping them but tuition is looming for DS#2!


BJS July 26, 2017 at 8:54 pm

A. Marie, I don’t know a single thing about that book but your comment made me laugh out loud, just as previous comments of yours have!


Jennifer July 26, 2017 at 5:49 am

I am from the south. In my area some people refer to fat, plus-size, etc. in a joking manner and everyone just sorta looks over it, as they do a lot of other issues. My husband just saw his friend that he hasn’t seen in awhile and the first said he said to him was, “You sure have got fat”, which is then followed by everybody laughing. I am not skinny myself but I don’t mind humorous banter about it. I just feel that everyone has to be so careful about what they say to protect the feelings of others these days. I know some of you will disagree but aren’t we just becoming too sensitive? I’m not trying to offend Hector by saying he is sensitive because I can relate to weight woes, and it does bother me, but it is reality. I think we have all become sensitive as a culture. Anyway, just my two cents.


Diane C July 26, 2017 at 6:02 am

People who are extra tall or have large frames often appreciate plus-size gowns as hospital-issued togs are notoriously skimpy. Typically there’s never a plus-sized gown to be found when one is needed. Katie’s glee at finding a roomy gown that looked very familiar at The Bins, of all places, is completely understandable. If you insist that this constitutes “fat shaming”, then you must also include “tall shaming”, “broad-shouldered shaming” and “modest about showing one’s heinie shaming” as well. Your comments reveal far more about you, Hector, than about Katy. I’m sorry you felt the need to excoriate her.


ouvickie July 26, 2017 at 8:08 am

You mean, you’re not going to make a vintage house dress out of that cute hospital gown?! LOL!

1) Yesterday I attended a memorial out of town and decided I would save fuel and money if I looped back through the town in between there and home to pick up a few things at the store.
2) I use Persil laundry powder, which is less than $8 for an 11 lb bag. Since there are only two of us and I only use about a 1/4 cup or less per load, one bag lasts us several months. I had to restock yesterday and was pleasantly surprised the cost hadn’t increased since the last time I bought it – which I think was sometime last Fall 2016.
3) One of our co-workers got married last week in Vegas and told me this morning he doesn’t think they are going to have a reception here, due to costs (poor guy’s car engine blew out last month). I suggested that we all get together at a local Brewery on a Friday afternoon, so we can congratulate them and his new wife can meet his work Team. I’m going to bring a cake and everyone can buy their own drinks and food. The Team decided to pitch in $5 each and getting them an Amazon gift certificate, so they can buy what they want. They didn’t do the wedding registry thing, since they don’t really “need” household items (combined households). Everyone was on board with that idea – food, fun and a few beers together is usually an easy sell with our Team!
4) This evening is our monthly OKWIT event – so free food, fun and wine with the ladies in the city for a few hours.
5) I didn’t buy anything gold plated or otherwise ostentatious this week, either.


Carol July 26, 2017 at 10:58 am

1. I needed new slippers, but instead of buying them, I decided to crochet them from some yarn I already had on hand.

2. Also crochet–my cousin just had a baby, and instead of throwing down $25-$50 for a present, I made her an adorable baby aviator hat from materials I had on hand.

3. My computer has been having trouble charging for awhile now. Instead of buying a new charger, I took it in to a computer shop to see what was wrong. The charging area was cracked on the inside, and they were able to fix it for $90. More expensive than a new charger, but a new charger wouldn’t have worked anyway. I walked to the repair shop, avoiding the parking garage fee downtown, and while I waited, I checked out a new library location I’ve never been to.

4. The book I checked out was Not Buying It, a freelance writer’s reflections on not buying anything beyond necessities for a whole year. It is super entertaining…and easier to read about than do!


VanessaKC July 26, 2017 at 7:44 pm

If you so dislike the physical state that you are in, do something about it. To suggest a writer of their own space owes you an apology for their own words is ridiculous. Love yourself or change yourself. out of place here, dude. Move along.


Mand01 July 26, 2017 at 8:46 pm

Whoah! That’s a fat shaming comment right there!
If it was so simple to just do something about it, then there wouldn’t be a billion dollar weight loss industry.
Not to mention that he doesn’t mention anything about being unhappy with his weight.


Jennifer July 27, 2017 at 4:56 am

I don’t know about you all but I can’t wait for Katy’s next post because I ready to leave this topic behind. I’m ready to get back to the frugal, lol.


Amy July 27, 2017 at 10:44 am

I Don’t know Katy personally, but I don’t think of her as the type to “fat shame” people intentionally. I also think the point has been made, and we’ll all be more conscious of our speech/writing. I AM fat! 🙂 I know I probably say and do things that offend other people without doing it consciously or with malice.


Jennifer July 27, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Not trying to be rude, Hector, but aren’t you being a little judgey? It really seems like you are just deliberately picking at this point. I’m not defending Katy I’m just calling as I see it.


Deb July 27, 2017 at 3:10 am

1. Going in day 5 of cooking at home and not eating out. I am pushing myself hard to do this.
2.Put together a taco salad for dinner last night because I had all of the ingredients already.
3. Someone buys my dh expensive face cream for men every year and he doesn’t use them. I decided to start using them myself – so far so good! I don’t think there is anything about the word “men” on the label that means women can’t use them and it’s a huge cost savings for me.
4. I am working on getting an ink stain out of my favorite white blouse that I have had for YEARS. Otherwise it is perfectly good and I can’t part with it.
5. Bought a black skort that was 25% off and found out I had a $25 reward to use so that skort cost me $13. I will use it forever.


Sandra July 27, 2017 at 10:46 am

I worked in a Dr’s office for years and we found that rubbing alcohol would remove ink stains. Have you tried that?


Deb July 27, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I did! I also tried nail polish remover, baking soda paste, stain remover… any other ideas?


Mand01 July 27, 2017 at 3:42 pm

For ink I believe you have to soak the stain in milk.
But it may have set after trying so many other things.


Julie Hayes July 27, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Hairspray removes ink from fabric. Ideally the one in the spray pump not the aerosol kind. I have successfully used it on silk.


Mand01 July 29, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Haha – Brits and Aussies have very similar humour


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: