Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 8, 2017 · 99 comments

  1. I was running on fumes in my Prius, so I drove across town for some of that cheap Costco gasoline action. I somehow convinced my 19-year-old son to accompany me on this adventure, probably assisted by a promise to feed him. His reward was an enormous $1.99 slice of Costco’s everything pizza and a bonus trip to nearby Ikea where the two of us enjoyed steaming mugs of their free coffee. I’m obsessive about combining errands while driving, so I’d tucked a big bag of CFL light bulbs and spent batteries into the car to drop into the recycling bins at Ikea. I would’ve been more than happy to include a stop into the close by Goodwill Outlet, but that idea was nixed by my bin-adverse son.

  2. I vacuumed up my curbside wool rug to remove the 7.2 pounds of dog hair that likely deterred other garbage pickers. I then measured it, photographed it and promptly listed it on Craigslist. My reward was $80, which will go towards looming fall tuition payments and apartment deposits for my two university students. I also sold three small wool rugs and a Pottery Barn kilim pillow that I’d picked up at the Goodwill Outlet. People found items they were looking for, I saved items from going to the landfill and I even made a few bucks for my efforts. Win-win-win!

  3. I drove past a house that had recently been hyper-remodeled to sell, and noticed that there was a large roll of what looked to be brand new wall-to-wall carpet out for free. I stopped by later with my husband and confirmed that yes, both the carpet and under carpet were indeed new. We surmised that the remodeling company had installed carpet, which the new owners then promptly ripped out. You can guess what happened next. Yup, it’s now up on Craigslist ready for a new owner.

  4. I mailed out two eBay packages utilizing my dwindling stash of used manilla envelopes, I set out my recycling and yard debris bins which is a service I share with my next-door neighbors, (saving us both $89 per year) I found three pennies on the ground, I hung multiple loads of laundry on my clothesline, I put together a few new eBay listings and I turned off everybody’s window air conditioner units that had been running almost constantly since last week’s 105° temperatures. I fear our next electric bill.

  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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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy Hairston August 8, 2017 at 7:15 am

1. Sold $40 item on eBay which in turned paid for the 4lbs of deer antlers I bought for chew toys for my dog.
2. I’m mailing a packet of postcards from previous travels to a poster from the NCA site who is doing a travel themed birthday party
3. After using up every otc med in the house and not feeling better, I finally went to doctor and got an rx for cipro.
4. Pulling together a donation for pick up on Thursday
5. Listing several items on eBay


Anne August 8, 2017 at 7:25 am

Has anyone ever noticed that Katy’s 5 frugal things are more like 25 frugal things? Well here’s my 5
1. I quit using the a/c in my prius as an experiment and started getting 6 miles more per gallon than what it was getting. Unfortunately i started this during a heat wave and walked around with a sweaty back and a red face for awhile, but 6 miles per gallon more is a lot!
2. Used my solar cooker on a particularly hot day to make a rice and lentil casserole that i portioned out and froze for my lunches.
3. Have been line drying everything except for my husband’s socks which were a special request by him. I guess they sag a little when line dried.
4. Catching shower water in a bucket to water the garden. There’s no drought this year but we were all so good at conserving in past years that they jacked up our water rates.
5. Made muffins from the master muffin recipe in the Complete Tightwad Gazette. I had a leftover sweet potato that had to be used up and threw it all together hoping it would be edible. Amy D. has yet to let me down, they’re delicious!


WilliamB August 8, 2017 at 9:38 am

I’ve considered not using my car’s AC … but not when I’m wearing work clothes. The increase in dry cleaning bills for sweaty suits far outweighs the savings in gas.


Edie August 8, 2017 at 10:32 am


You have a solar cooker! I need to make one for next summer, as well as a dehydrator. I know people who have worked with people in rural Ghana to built solar panels & solar cookers.


Melissa August 8, 2017 at 11:07 am

Leftover sweet potato in the universal muffin recipe eh? I’ll have to try that! I often have leftover roast veggies…. I wonder if I could add a little water and whiz them in the blender for muffins….


Bee August 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm

I used to use Amy D’s universal muffin recipe frequently when my children were little. They absolutely loved the jelly-filled muffins. Unfortunately, I have developed food allergies and cannot eat these any longer. :-(. However, I still use the basic recipe for her granola. Quick and Easy!


Marcia August 8, 2017 at 12:22 pm

I HATE those price increases after you’ve frugally lowered your bill. Our electric rates are in danger of going up by quite a bit, and it’s going to be pretty hard for us to save any more than we already do!! I’ve cut back on cleaning the self-cleaning oven to once in a blue moon already. I really do cook a lot and the oven is a mess, but I’m the only one looking at it.


Vickey August 22, 2017 at 7:08 am

As a fellow New Yorker, I agree! That nuke-bailout-based statewide rate increase has me steamed! We’ve joined a class action lawsuit against it, since we’ve been paying the premium for renewable energy for over a decade. Grr!


Beth August 8, 2017 at 7:59 am

1. I ate the terrible dinner I made last night (it was truly awful). I even portioned out some for today’s lunch. I’m kicking myself, though, because I threw the rest away. I should have at least tried to use it up in chili or something.
2. Am now at a point where the bulk of my clothes are used. And when I need something, I add it to my list of things to look for at the thrift store.
3. I used coupons and took advantage of sales prices to score cheaper-than-usual organic chicken.
4. Have eaten at home so far this week (it’s only Tuesday, I know, but my plan is to continue this trend for the next week).
5. Drinking free coffee and water at work. I’ve resisted the urge to stop at Starbucks every morning this week.
6. Started “no-spend August” a week late (was out of town last week and couldn’t avoid spending completely). It’s been 2 days, and I’ve had to buy groceries, but other than that, I’ve bought nothing.


Susie's Daughter August 9, 2017 at 4:28 am

#1) Beth – Kudos to you for eating your dinner, though I have to say my curiosity is piqued about what it could have been. 🙂


Beth August 11, 2017 at 8:35 am

I made “eggs in purgatory.” I’ve made it before and it was delicious. But this time, I tweaked a few things…I added chopped spinach to the sauce and added ground turkey. The sauce was too tomatoey, the spinach was too prominent, and I’m pretty sure the turkey was freezer burnt 🙁

Hubby had to eat something else. He literally could not stomach eating it. LOL.


Sandra August 9, 2017 at 2:01 pm

I have bought thrift for years and receive lots of compliments on my outfits. On the other hand, I see thrift store prices climbing in my area and it is always a good idea to check clearance racks, too. Sometimes things are even cheaper than thrift.


Liz B. August 9, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Sandra, I’ve noticed rising thrift store prices in my area, too…particularly my local Goodwill. $5.99 for a woman’s skirt? Hmmmm. I was there today, and they had Vera Bradley handbags for $25.99. Maybe they were new? Not sure, but no thanks.


Mand01 August 9, 2017 at 6:52 pm

I think it’s important to consider the brand and quality. I do spend sometimes up to $25 on thrifted clothing but I am extremely picky. I only buy labels that I know always look great and hold both value and style. When I go thrifting I look for just those labels and I look for specific colours- usually blacks and jewel tones (brown, green, red, purple, navy, turquoise) so that everything I own mixes and matches. If something is remotely pilled, torn or grubby I don’t buy it, even if it’s the lining. If it meets that criteria then I’m happy spending more even if it a secondhand item, because to buy the brands I love new would cost hundreds of dollars and I won’t do that – and why would I when someone has already done it for me?
I always receive compliments on my wardrobe that has really cost me very little but it does look really expensive, haha.


Carolyn August 9, 2017 at 8:20 pm

Yeah, unfortunately I notice that a lot at Goodwills. That is a frequent gripe for me. All their stuff is donated, yet they are still charging more for these items than the clearance racks at stores that actually did pay for the items they sell. However, I do hear that generally with stuff doesn’t sell in regular Goodwill stores, they send them to the outlets, then what doesn’t sell there, they compress into big blocks and sell them to developing countries for cheap, whereas a local non-Goodwill thrift store just threw their unsold stuff in the dumpster, then complained when I tried to save that perfectly good stuff from the landfill.


Karen B. August 11, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Unless they are in terrible shape, $25.99 is a fantastic price to pay for a Vera Bradley handbag!


Liz B. August 11, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Karen B, they seemed to be in very good condition – I didn’t look that closely. I guess I was just surprised when I picked up one of the smaller bags that I thought looked nice – it was in sort of muted colors in a linear pattern – and saw it was $25.99. I have no clue what Vera Bradley items sell for at full retail, so, my bad. (It was also something I didn’t need, so I’m better off not buying it, lol!).

Beth August 11, 2017 at 8:40 am

I’ve noticed this trend too…I hardly every buy full-priced items at thrift stores. Unless it’s something hard to find, I only buy when the tags are 50% off. And I also shop quite a bit at the GW Outlet.

For me, it’s not about the price. I’m at a place in life where I could afford new clothes if I wanted them, but I choose to buy used. So just because I could find something cheaper new doesn’t mean I’m going to buy it new.

That being said, the GW stores in my area have recently switched to pricing by the type of item versus the quality of each individual item (all shirts are 4.99, all skirts are 5,99, all dresses are 9.99, etc…). For cheaper brands, that’s not a deal. But for well-made, more expensive brands, that’s a huge steal!


Liz B. August 11, 2017 at 6:32 pm

Yes. Same at my GW stores. $5.99 for a well-made, better name brand skirt, for example, I’ll happily pay if it’s something that works for me. But the same price for something of so-so quality – that doesn’t make sense to me.


Bethanne August 8, 2017 at 8:08 am

1. No air conditioning for over a week, woo who!
2. Picked up Free Bath and Body air freshener refill new fall scent, will gift to someone.
3. Daughter is seeing a movie and asked to go to Dollar Store to get candy to bring said “lots cheaper,” she is learning to stretch her dollars.;-)
4. August 6th got our free A & W float with purchase and redeemed free cone coupon to make 2nd root beer a float too as there was two of us 😉
5. Found a Parking spot with enough time left on the meter at the library to run in and pick up the books on hold.
6. Grouped errands with daughters ortho appointment combining trips.
7. Used Swagbucks Walmart gift card to purchase allergy meds and other needed items.
8. Cleaned out garage with DD help promptly filling the new large recycling bin recently delivered by the city with recyclable plastic pots, cardboard, paper etc. Getting ready to host big blow out garage sale!
9. Daily doing Swagbucks, just booked a new client for cat sitting and was called for a job interview for part time job at the library .


Carolyn S August 8, 2017 at 8:19 am

1. Instead of going out for birthday dinner this weekend, my family all came over to my house and cooked dinner there. And we got to keep all the leftovers, so my husband and I are set for lunches for the week. Plus, you know, leftover birthday cake. Yum!
2. Bought my sons school supplies for kindergarten using a target gift card left from a Christmas. The list was very specific, and this is his first year in school, so I couldn’t find anything from the list in my existing office supply collection at home. But at least no money out of pocket.
3. Going to stop by the thrift store on the way home from work to try and find some shorts and pants for kiddo. He’s growing like a weed and will need the clothes for school (pajamas in the classroom probably not ok).
4. Am baking zucchini cupcakes for my son’s last day at preschool using all ingredients I have on hand, including shredded zucchini from the garden!
5. Put my trash out last night in front of our neighbors house. We share trash service with them, saving us about $250 per year! We only ever put out 1 or 2 bags of trash, and they’ve refused to let us pay for part of the service. So we just regularly gift them some of my home canned goodies instead. Love having such great neighbors!


Bobbi August 8, 2017 at 8:23 am

1. Coffee and oatmeal breakfast at home. There was a time when I got both these at Starbucks, thinking it was more convenient. Not only does it save money making them at home, it’s actually much more convenient than stopping on my way to work. Duh!
2. I have a big stack of cardboard boxes from my Buy Nothing facebook group to use for packing. I am moving next month.
3. A friend gave me a leftover roll of packing tape after her recent office move —
she wasn’t stealing office supplies, she is self-employed!
4. Exercised at home with free YouTube videos and hand weights.
5. I had too many zucchini in my fridge — it’s that time of year. Yesterday I made a big batch of what I initially called “vegetable sauce” but my teenage daughter referred to as “stewed summer squash” which sounds even better, so I’m going with that! It was good on pasta last night, and I can put it in enchiladas, omelettes, or over rice this week. I froze a couple mason jars of it, too.


Edie August 8, 2017 at 10:34 am

Re: coffee & oatmeal: So much more affordable and if you do things in advance, way more convenient.


Bee August 8, 2017 at 12:15 pm

I made zucchini fajitas this week using peppers and onions. I seasoned them with garlic, chipotle and fresh lime juice. I served with cheese, sour cream, and avacado. They were really good. This time of year my farm box overflows with both squash and peppers, so I have to get creative.


WaThriftFamily August 9, 2017 at 9:12 am

That sounds delicious. I will have to try that!


Debra O August 9, 2017 at 6:37 am

Bobbi, you sound a lot like me!


Alexandra August 8, 2017 at 8:37 am

1. Cleaned out the fridge for lunch today. Got ingredients leftover from an event that I took home. Pretzel roll cheese toast with aged Gouda (22.99 a lb! delicious but only if in the leftover/free pile for me).
2. 2 nights ago made a “peasant pasta”. Saute bread crumbs in olive oil. Add minced garlic and 1 anchovy (I was afraid but couldn’t taste at all just more depth). Tossed with cooked pasta, then added grated romano and chopped parsley from garden. Good!
3. Last night added leftover pasta to leftover roasted green bean, potato wedge, and garbanzo bean roast. Good! sort of a side dish to leftover pork and some chicken thighs.
4. Final version, put all of #3 in pot. Added peas and chicken stock and some roasted cauliflower. Boil, simmer, puree with immersion blender. pretty good soup! Leftovers officially gone now. Well, THOSE leftovers….
5. Aunt asked for help cleaning a very full home office that had become a catch all for everything. Spent 2 hours and got it cleaned, organized and a big load for goodwill. I also got some freebies. In exchange she did some mending for me. Love to trade!


Angela August 8, 2017 at 8:45 am

And we thought we had it bad up here in Seattle in the high 90s! I bumped our ac units up to 74 degrees and only run them during the day. At bedtime they get shut off and fans turned on, which gets our house down to 70 or so by morning. Definitely afraid for that electric bill – at least all our laundry dries quickly outside!


Pattilou August 8, 2017 at 9:31 am

1. Went on my first vacation in a couple of years. In exchange for some dog sitting I did for them in the spring, friends invited me to stay with them at the beach. I helped pay for gas and groceries, treated them to dinner and to admission to a botanical garden.
2. The tickets to the botanical garden were good for 6 days. We passed them on to a friend who lives in the beach town so she could take her young daughter.
3. We packed lunches, drinks and snacks for the long car ride to and from the beach. We also refilled our own water bottles to take with us to the beach and sight seeing.
4. Aside from the above mentioned dinner, we only ate out One more time which was a lunch.
5. The house we stayed in had a washer and dryer so we laundered all of our beach towels and blankets before heading home.
6. I borrowed a beach canopy from my niece to take on the trip. That was a godsend!


Shelia August 8, 2017 at 9:32 am

1. Temperatures have been below average so the sliding glass door has been open as soon as we get up and with the ceiling fans, it has been ridiculously comfortable. Not dreading this month’s electric bill.
2. Garden is coming in and I froze green beans this weekend and made a couple jars of pickles.
3. Bought a Costco chicken after a doctor’s appt. last week and tonight will be the fifth meal from it. With tomatoes from the garden and free corn on the cob from the harvest table at church, we’re eating cheaply and well this week.
4. Costco was a stock up trip especially for my husband’s eye vitamins which were on sale. Expensive but wise in the long run.
5. Using already owned supplies, I made tiny mushrooms and a clothesline for my fairy gardens. So cute and so much fun!


Lindsey August 8, 2017 at 10:45 am

1. Found 16 cents in a parking lot.
2. Traded 28 cukes from the greenhouse for 3 dozen eggs. I obviously planted too many cucumber plants in the greenhouse this year. There are still dozens left on the vine, waiting to be pickled this weekend.
3. Went raspberry picking in my own backyard. Harvested enough to make 12 jars of jam, some of which will be part of Christmas baskets I give to some people.
4. Had odds and ends in the fridge and freezer so last night made a fry-up, using two slices of bacon, half of a chicken breast that had been lingering in the freezer, a patty pan squash, about a cup of fresh garden peas, and a few baby potatoes I’d harvested that morning. Really tasty!
5. Did some mending so have a few new shirts to wear—they have been in the pile for so long they seem new to me!


A. Marie August 8, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Lindsey, you probably had the better deal with your 3 dozen eggs for 28 cukes. I had about 20 more cukes last week than DH and I could possibly use even in refrigerator dills, so I put out the word on our street’s email list that we had a “cucumber emergency” and that cukes would be “available for adoption to good homes” after 4 pm that day. They were all gone by 6 pm. I continue to hope and trust that neighborhood goodwill is a Frugal Thing.


KJD509 August 8, 2017 at 10:50 am

1) Borrowed my daughter’s car for a 1000-mile round-trip weekend, saving hundreds in gas costs over driving my gas-guzzler.
2) Came home from that long weekend to discover a shocking amount of uneaten and spoiled food in the fridge and on the counters. Really thought I had taught the adult children better than that. Pulled together a delicious brunch and dinner from what was left, and will do the same for tonight’s dinner. We won’t be grocery shopping this week on principle.
3) Stayed with family instead of in hotels, which offered hours and hours of free and delightful socializing, including with a young cousin who is talking since we last saw him. Toddlers are adorable!
4) Packed snacks and drinks for the trip but didn’t actually eat them all, and didn’t stop for additional snacks or drinks. There’s a silver lining of sorts to the dehydration that accompanies our shockingly hot weather and the smoke in the air: fewer pit stops, so much cheaper travel.
5) Middle daughter was super well organized so was able to register for classes at her orientation while other kids were still flipping through the catalog with panicky eyes – potentially saving thousands of dollars over the long term. And after browsing through the bookstore she decided to sign up for her activity card in advance – we’d have spent that $ in September anyway, but by doing it now she got a free t-shirt.

Frugal air-conditioner fail: even though it’s cool enough at night to turn off the ac and open the windows, the smoke in the air prevents it. So the ac runs day after day . . . dreading the bill.


BJS August 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm

3. I agree … I love all ages of kids, but there’s something extra special about the sweet toddler stage.


Edie August 8, 2017 at 10:51 am

Happy Tuesday!

1) Am doing a low spend August- despite all the music festivals and such going on. Part of this is bringing lunch to work and eating dinner at home. This week, I made arugula/basil pesto from cupboard and neighbor given ingredients, and am eating that with rice pasta & sparkling water. YUM, guys!
2) Staying home in the cool and watching P&P (2005) version.
3) Swimming all week after work at the gym.
4) Am quitting an online subscription for fitness classes. I though I would get up early and do classes. I am NOT doing that- I am doing yoga stretching more, so no need for the subscription.
5) Despite temptations , I have not bought an y new perfume or cosmetics- I am working through my stash!


Sandra August 9, 2017 at 5:22 pm

I inherited several bottles of cologne and perfume from my mother-in-law and I, too, am working through the stash rather than buying new. Actually, most of it is new and definitely new to me. It’s kind of fun trying different fragrances every day.


CarolineRSA August 10, 2017 at 8:42 am

Me too! Last year I completed a one year clothing ban; this year I decided on a cosmetics/make-up ban. My sister came to visit from the U.K. and brought me lovely luxury gifts, so I think I’ll manage much longer than a year…


Teresa August 8, 2017 at 11:06 am

1. On Sunday, from the pantry, I made enough hummus to last all week, made potato salad and coleslaw, prepped teriyaki chicken and prepped burgers.

2. Monday we ate the burgers and used a couple of buns from my 99-cent markdown bread, which coincidentally my daughter has also been eating as toast!

3. Carrots, crackers and home-made hummus for lunch today!

4. A few months ago I used a free code from Shutterfly to make a photo puzzle for my friend’s daughter (I’m her pseudo-auntie). I used pics from her infancy to the present (she’s 10). She was thrilled to get it and will take it on her vacation when she visits her “Buschka” (grandma) in Latvia next week. It felt so good to make her happy.

5. That’s all I got! Maybe I’ll get the eBay thing going in the next few days…


BJS August 8, 2017 at 4:07 pm

1. You did a lot in one day! On the subject of homemade hummus, someone who commented a while back (Sarah Z., maybe? I’m sorry I don’t remember, to be able to give you the credit) talked about making hummus, and inspired me to give it a try. I just bought the ingredients and plan to make it soon. It took me a while to find the tahini in the grocery store but I finally got it!


Dori August 8, 2017 at 11:37 am

So your IKEA will accept used up alkaline batteries for recycling? I’ve never tried taking any recycling there before.


Heather August 10, 2017 at 3:14 pm

My Target does too!


nancy from mass August 8, 2017 at 11:46 am

1. Volunteered for the Pan Mass Challenge Sunday. (it’s to raise funds for cancer research,etc). worked the 6am to noon shift. Met some amazing people. brought home leftover plums and cantaloupe and found 4 shiny pennies.
2. made my second batch of yogurt in the past week. i forgot how good real, homemade yogurt is! i like to drain it to make more of a ‘french style’ yogurt not quite as thick or tangy as greek. it’s sitting in wide mouth quart jars in my cooler right now fermenting away….
3. have been sitting and enjoying my bird feeders lately. i pulled out a backyard bird book to help me identify the few i can’t figure out what they are.
4. not sure if this is frugal or not, but i’m bloated and crampy and can’t stop eating. so, nothing is going to waste in my house as i feed my face. (this happens about once a year…i just can’t fill my stomach)
5. made some fried rice with stuff from the fridge; basmati rice, summer squash, mushrooms, onion, garlic and peas. mmmmm. i saved some for tomorrows lunch. i could have eaten it all (see #4)


Carol August 8, 2017 at 12:13 pm

1. Almost bought enchilada sauce at the store, then remembered I had a recipe a friend gave me, plus all the ingredients I needed. It only took about 5 minutes of labor.

2. Managed to come in $10 under budget at the grocery store AND get the economy size of sugar, by really studying the unit prices and sticking to the list. (I always stick to the list. Many years of being a low-income single taught me this.)

3. Learned to brush the cats’ teeth from a Youtube video. They still will need the inevitable cleaning, but this will hopefully make their gums more comfortable in the mean time.


Minimalist45 August 8, 2017 at 12:29 pm

I have an unnatural attachment to vacuuming. It’s a hobby for me, lol


Marcia August 8, 2017 at 1:02 pm

My husband was reading a flyer for dealers coming and buying all kinds of old stuff, like jewelry, coins, etc. He had just been going through some drawers of old stuff last week. So he pulled out a few items, and I pulled out a few (dental gold I’d been meaning to sell back for months and a couple worn pieces of jewelry.) None of it was fabulous stuff–he still has the nice pocket watches that were his father’s–just got rid of some stuff we didn’t know the history of anyhow.
1. We got $120 from what we sold.
2. We have one old watch which is valuable. The dealer said he would have to research it and call us later and told us how to do so ourselves also. Husband has been working on that this afternoon on line. Led me to believe it’s worth at least $500–and it still works!! From the 1930’s probably–not sure, possibly 20’s.
3. Yoga class cancelled today as teacher was sick. I cooked black beans from dried (soaked overnight) and then used half for black bean and corn salad, which will be served for dinner with scoops (Tostidos) and yellow rice. Meatless meal and one we love.
4. The rest of the black beans I cooked are resting in the fridge and I hope to use them to make black bean burgers from The Prudent Homemaker’s recipe later on in the week. Everyone who has tried them seems to like them–it’s about my turn.
5. Ate all but one meal at home last week, which is great considering how little I felt like cooking! The one meal out was at an inexpensive place we go to occasionally and who was eating there the same night, but my sister and two of her daughters! Got to catch up with her for a few minutes, too.


Bee August 8, 2017 at 1:27 pm

1) We have had a challenge everything month at our house inspired by blogger
J. Money. I have mentioned that I had shopped my daughter’s out-of-state auto insurance, but I didn’t stop there. I shopped all policies. Total savings is now at $2450 annually. Crazy, huh?

2) I bought a sympathy card and clothespins at the dollar store today. That was all I needed. I resisted all the shiney new school/office supplies.

3) I sold two more items on EBay and listed two more. I worked a little side job yesterday and made some extra money.

4) I am making chicken stock in the pressure cooker. I had too mAny chicken carcasses in the freezer.

5) My neighbor put a brand new beach chair out with the trash today.Although I didn’t need one, I picked it up as the truck was coming. No need for it to go to the landfill. I will find it a new home.


BJS August 8, 2017 at 3:23 pm

1. Wowsy-wow-wow! So impressed!


Ava August 8, 2017 at 1:56 pm

1. Very little frugality here, as we just had to make an unplanned trip to check on husband’s out of state house we are trying to sell. We met with the contractor to address a problem that needs fixing. I was pleased that he had a relatively thrifty solution. This house is such a burden. We have reduced the price two times already. It will sell eventually but the waiting is hard. On the trip, we ate lunch out but ate free breakfast and dinner at the hotel and we made the trip as short as possible.
2. Tried to convince my Northern born husband that beans and cornbread is a meal in itself. It still seems odd to him.
3. Put some stale cereal in the oven to recrisp. I do this all the time with cereal, crackers and pretzels that don’t get eaten fast enough. It is just like fresh afterward.
4. Talked my husband into buying the $7 mop instead of the $16 mop.
5. Scheduled a horrible medical procedure that I have put off. We have met our deductible so this is the time to do it. That will not make it more pleasant, but paying more for it definitely would make it more UN-pleasant.


A. Marie August 8, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Ava: Enjoyed your #2 in particular. I’m an expatriate Southerner married to a D**n Yankee (my mother always claimed that she thought those two words were one word till she was 12 years old)–and after 39 years, DH finally gets it about (1) beans and cornbread as a meal and (2) “no @#$%!! sugar in the cornbread!” (Our Upstate NY BBQ restaurants all serve cornbread loaded with so much sugar it tastes like Alpha-Bits. I can’t even look at it.)

And good luck on that medical procedure in #5.


Roberta August 8, 2017 at 5:03 pm

My cornbread recipe is 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and some other stuff, but my Memphis-born father swears that cornbread should have no wheat flour and no sugar. Could you please post your recipe for proper cornbread? His birthday is coming up.


Ava August 8, 2017 at 6:56 pm

I am from about 130 miles east of Memphis and this is the way we make cornbread:
Melt about 2 tbls bacon grease in an iron skillet. Combine 1 c corn meal (must be white meal and must be self rising) with 1/2 flour. I use about a teaspoon of sugar in mine because it browns better in my oven with a little sugar. The cornbread does not taste sweet with such a small amount. Add in the melted bacon grease and enough buttermilk to make a pourable batter. Bake at 400 degrees until golden. (You can use melted butter or vegetable oil instead of the bacon grease. )


A. Marie August 9, 2017 at 9:10 am

Roberta: The cornbread recipe I use is a variation on the one in the book Cross Creek Cookery, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (best known for The Yearling). Googling either the book title or “Cross Creek cornbread” should get results.

Unfortunately, the Rawlings recipe also calls for 1 cup cornmeal and 1 cup flour–so it’s not going to meet your father’s specs. (I’ve experimented with self-rising cornmeal, but haven’t been satisfied with what I’ve produced.) However, this tip from one of the late Lee Bailey’s cookbooks may help: Make the cornbread in two greased cast-iron skillets, and spread the batter out thinly in each. This produces two thin cornbreads that are mostly crust–and isn’t the crust what we all enjoy most?


Liz B. August 9, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Yes! The crust is the best part! I make cornbread in a square glass pan, and the corner pieces are my favorite.

Roberta August 9, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Thank you both for your help! I’ll try it out on him, and see if he likes it better. I know he’s remembering his grandmother’s cornbread, and that was a long time ago. Having a genuine southern recipe will definitely give me more confidence! I’ll try the thin cornbread technique as well, and see it that’s better.

Lisa August 9, 2017 at 4:06 pm

That is so funny about the cornbread. My husband hates sugar in it too! I don’t care, but he certainly does! Thanks for the smiles! Lisa


Liz B. August 9, 2017 at 5:30 pm

#5 – Ava, you are so smart to get this taken care of since your deductible is met – I hope it goes well, and once it’s over with, you won’t have to think about it.
I put off getting a test my doc recommended – our deductible had been met already when she ordered it last year, but I dragged my feet….now we’re in a new financial year, starting over on meeting our deductible and I still need the test done. Big frugal fail. Live and learn. Sigh.


Jennifer August 10, 2017 at 9:28 am

My husband thinks all meals have to have a meat and bread on the side. If there is something starchy in the meal, such as potatoes, I don’t serve bread. I also feel that beans are equal to meat. I like meat and bread but I had to change my ways due to my ever growing cornbread ass.


Denise August 10, 2017 at 9:55 am

How hot an oven do you use, and how long does the cereal need to crisp up? Do you spread it thinly on a baking tray, or just jumble it all up?

Thanks for the tips.



Ava August 10, 2017 at 5:26 pm

I spread it on a cookie sheet, put it in a cold oven & turn it to 350. By the time the oven gets hot, it is about done. I turn the oven off & let the cereal cool down in the oven. The cereal will still seem to be stale as long as it is hot but when it cools it will be crispy again. Just watch it so it doesn’t burn.


Bettypants August 8, 2017 at 2:26 pm

1. My neighbor had a fantastic garage sale on Friday. I bought some to keep and some to sell, including a Jadeite plate for a quarter, two antique trunks for $5 and $8, and a bag of old marbles for $5. They had a “make offer” sign on an old oak bookshelf. I went back the next morning and they said the bookshelf went with the solid oak desk next to it, both of which had come out of the old post office. They were asking $10 for the set, and I couldn’t pass that up.

2. Sold a lot of upholstery trim on ebay, which I had picked up for free from a garage sale. Got three new listings up on ebay.

3. I had bought a stained glass lamp at a yard sale for $5 a couple weeks ago. I straightened out the harp and added a finial, then sold it on the FB board for $25. Also sold a messenger bag for $20 that I had gotten from a church rummage sale for $1, and a wall clock that didn’t fit in our new house.

4. The hydrangeas I planted in the front of the house were struggling. I think the space gets too much sun, and transplanted all four. I should have moved them earlier, hopefully they can still recover.

5. Kohls sent me a $10 gift card, which I used to order wool blend socks, paying $1.47.


Bee August 9, 2017 at 3:47 am

What a sale! I am sure your hydrangeas will recover. I moved some of mine this year. They were not thriving. In fact, they were sticks. Now they are healthy but small. I hope to see some growth new year.


Bettypants August 9, 2017 at 12:42 pm

That is encouraging to hear. I felt like the world’s worst gardener when I saw the shape mine were in. Plus, they are the only plants I paid money for, so I would prefer they not die.


Jennifer August 10, 2017 at 9:30 am

I am considering moving mine also before they die out. I think the big trees nearby are starving them.


Nancy August 8, 2017 at 4:54 pm

Picking our first peaches from our organic tree, will be canning and freezing! Getting ready to harvest greens to blanch and free. Nancy


Roberta August 8, 2017 at 5:28 pm

1. I spent a few hours at the bins. I bought 5 pillowcases of children’s clothes for $14. (Well, probably four pillowcases of kids clothes, plus some cloth napkins, a tablecloth, a wool sweater for my husband, a pair of black corduroys for my daughter.) Kid’s clothes will go to my mom’s shop, which opens Saturday!
2. Made dinner out of leftovers. I’m too hot and tired to cook now. In the future I’ll have to make dinner in advance, but I hadn’t planned anything because I thought we were going to a baseball game.
3. Did not turn on the AC today due to a champion effort from my husband.
4. Yesterday I went sailing with my husband. We took a picnic for lunch beforehand, and came home to dinner afterwards. We had a grand outing, with no dining out.
5. Both yesterday and today we brought our old Coleman thermos full of iced tea, instead of drinking soda or buying drinks out.


karen August 8, 2017 at 6:43 pm

My niece had 200,00 bees in her attic of the new to her house they bought. Had a bee keeper come out of remove the hive which was approximately 8 feet long by 6 inches wide. This removal cost her a pretty penny but she was able to keep all the honey some of which she shared with me. Had it in my oatmeal with my raspberries this morning–so good.

At the grocery store u scan there were some coupons just laying there from a previous customer. I picked up the coupons and one was for $1. I went right back into the store and used that coupon on some marked down meat since it was the last day of super double coupons, so that coupon was worth $2.


Susie's Daughter August 9, 2017 at 4:30 am

Karen – WOW about the bees!


Bettypants August 9, 2017 at 12:43 pm

She must have known the bees were there when she bought the house, right? I can’t imagine a giant bee colony would escape the inspection.


karen August 9, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Yes, I think they did but they did not think it was that extensive.


Krystal August 8, 2017 at 6:53 pm

1. Extended the life of my sheets by shaking them out and putting them on the line for some freshening. Not sure how well it worked with this terrible air quality (now at unhealthy levels), but in normal circumstances it keeps the sheets from needing to be washed every week!
2. Placed one pair of ill-fitting Lululemon tights, and 2 soccer jerseys and a mixed bag of Mac accessories on eBay.
3. Shared some Burning Man goods for a friend who is new to the burn this year. We no longer go, but have some great items that we won’t use in the next month that she can borrow.
4. Saved laundry for today as it was $2 a wash on Tuesdays, instead of $3.
5. For our date last week, we went to Starbucks during BOGO hours and read together. $5 date!


Kathleen August 8, 2017 at 7:00 pm

1. got the reject tomatoes from the produce market down the block—and made stewed tomatoes. I canned all I’ll need for the winter. The I made tomato soup and got as much as I want, which is more than I expected.
2. picked our own corn from the neighbor—they’re big farmers who offer it free for the picking to friends. We’re lucky to be included in that. Canned enough corn for the winter, and am making corn relish for us and them (the farmer and his wife are now in their eighties, and they appreciate getting some since she doesn’t make it—he esp. likes it: I got the recipe when we first moved here from his mother)
3. Actually picked all the golden plums from our one tree this year—made plum preserves, plum jam, will try my hand at one batch of plum sauce for roasting. This was after I picked through them and sold the best down at that same produce market—sold 7 boxes filled w/ 8 plums for $4 each.
4. Arranged with the owner to let me sell a few canned jams & pickles there. Have already made $100 and there’s still a few weeks left.
5. We’ve been getting various rejects a couple of times/week for the past few and I’ve been using what we get for our dinner 2 – 3x/week. So we’ve been eating very good fresh food—that is just not all that pretty to be sold.


nancy from mass August 9, 2017 at 3:52 am

my neighbors down the street started making plum wine when they had way too many plums to eat/jam. it was so good!


Mrs Stookey August 8, 2017 at 8:33 pm

My frugal 5
1) Borrowed friends crockpot to make greek chicken legs given to me free from another friend
2) picked up 18 cents today while out with a friend- she says I ALWAYS find change lol we both laughed but it’s true I do
3) the found change went straight into my change jar that hubby and I have for our handicapped accessible van fund (we need 10 percent down to get it)
4) I am freezing all leftovers on the 3rd day of them being in the fridge if they have not made it into our daily lunch rotations
5) Our apartment complex just had it’s annual garage sale and for helping set up I got a free brand new cat carrier that I needed and for helping box up after the sale I got to pick thru and take away as much as I wanted so I got some clothes and a few Christmas presents for my MIL and my Mom and some friends.


Isitaneedorawant August 8, 2017 at 10:36 pm

(1) Made a fruit compote from cranberries and lemon and lime slices in water served at a shower I hosted.
(2) Brides mother gave me left over unopened bottle of sparkling wine, simple syrup she had made from strawberries and ginger to mix with drinks, flowers from her garden used to decorate, frozen strawberries.
Froze all left over dainties. Future me will thank present me as potlucks and events come up:)
(3) Brides mother had brought vegetables from her garden as a thank-you for hosting. Gave most to daughter living on her own who had hosted with me.
(4) Frequently use vintage linens between serving plates. Now using those polyester napkins I have, that never absorbed right. Also great at covering things I dont want to get dusty.
(5) I always give brides a clean, pressed vintage handkerchief from thrift store, as part of the gift. For this couple ,who are moving, I purchased a unique print of our city that was being sold with 100% profits for an awesome cause!


tracy August 9, 2017 at 4:13 am

1. Repainted small patio table and small metal freestanding firepit with spray paint, both look brand new!
2. Spending time planning for big trip my mom and I are taking in three weeks to identify low cost food/restaurant and activity options (or at least lower cost — Stockholm and Reykjavik are both very expensive)
3. Getting in mood for said trip by reading library mysteries set in Stockholm and watching an amazing “Nordic noir” show — Trapped — on Amazon Prime set in Iceland.
4. Keep turning down the AC my husband keeps turning up (!)
5. Found a great pair of J. Crew jeans for 13 yo DD at Goodwill for a fraction of retail cost.


BethC. August 12, 2017 at 5:53 am

Make sure you hit the hot dog stands in Reykjavik ! Also, it is a fun town to wander in (for free).


Mand01 August 9, 2017 at 4:32 am

I can’t believe that someone threw out brand new carpet like that. That’s really terrible. At least you were able to rescue it.

1. Worked from home today, as usual saving merry bushels of cash in gas and my time in commuting hours.
2. Found a stunning blazer at the thrift shop – $300 value at least- for $25. Yes I bought it because it was Cue (Australian label), new, and just my size and the best thrifting find of my life . Bazinga!
3. Stir fry tonight using almost entirely homegrown vegetables.
4. Did our budget tonight and managed to squeeze another extra mortgage payment out of it.
5. My husband got a raise.


Susie's Daughter August 9, 2017 at 8:41 am

Mand – What a fabulous group of FFT’s!


Susie's Daughter August 9, 2017 at 4:49 am

1) Garden is producing more each day. Kale, basil, green beans (delicious with browned butter and almonds), and broccoli. I was also gifted zucchini from my mom since we are completely out of last year’s in the freezer. Remarkable considering how much zucchini I froze last year! Also my aunt gave us 2 quarts of blueberries this week. Most of those went in the freezer for winter. Yum.

2) Best frugal food save of the week was turning old olive bread into DELICIOUS croutons in the oven with a little olive oil and onion salt.

3) Wearing a new to me shirt from the $1 rack at our thrift store. Exactly the color I was looking for and hard to beat the price. Also bought a sweater for my mom and a dressy shirt for work on the rack.

4) Spent a great afternoon at the public beach with DS and my lovely visiting Goddaughter and her family for 1/10 of the cost of the indoor water park nearby. Easy to say ‘yes’ to treating ice cream at the little beach store when the entry fee is so reasonable. I am trying to find all the ways to say ‘yes’ lately since I hear myself saying no so often.

5) Batched errands yesterday when I got my haircut in our nearby small “city” – haircut, visit to thrift store where I bought two books for $2 total, picked up a $16. check at consignment while dropping off fall items, returned library books, and bought a few art supplies for Christmas gifts on sale at Staples.

Bonus #6 ) Our town library continues to rock! Summer reading party with puppet show this week, DS picked up the long desired Despicable Me dvd on hold for him yesterday, and I am frequenting our ‘new book’ section. Just finished The Second Mrs Hockaday (civil war novel written in letters) and loved it.


Mrs. Picky Pincher August 9, 2017 at 5:52 am

Great job saving moolah!

This week:

1. I packed my own snacks for family/work travel. I didn’t have to buy squat for my travel food. 🙂

2. I signed up to earn hotel points for my work travel. I’m kicking myself for not doing this sooner!

3. My stepmom crocheted me some beautiful oven mitts.

4. My sister gave us her homemade jams, pickles, and farm eggs.

5. My company paid for my meals for the last few days for work travel. That also means I should get a little bump in my next paycheck for mileage reimbursements. Awww yeah.


Katy August 9, 2017 at 6:34 am

That is a beautiful rug! I love it!

1. My daughter had a sore throat, so I made her some lemon, honey, and mint tea using mint from the garden.
2. I used spinach from the garden in a peanut sauce.
3. To save time and propane, I cooked up 2 kilos of meat at once that will serve a few meals.
4. I’m trying to do better about saving electricity by: turning off lights and fans not in use, closing my computer when not in use, unplugging my phone charger (it has a little light on it that stays on as long as it’s plugged in), and putting things in the fridge all at once to avoid opening it so much. I’m also thinking I’ll starting freezing half a bottle of water then filling it the rest of the way and leaving it out on the counter, to avoid my kids always opening the fridge to get the very coldest water.
5. We just changed our stove’s propane tank and I’ll wrote it on the calendar, I want to see how long I can make it last. I will try to keep lids on pots, use the solar cooker occasionally to heat shower water, possibly use my pressure cooker, and put lunch leftovers that we’ll eat for supper in the insulated dish I have so I don’t have to re-heat it that night.


Leslie W August 9, 2017 at 8:31 am

1. Thanks to feedback from the NCA FB group, I made spaghetti sauce from the overabundance of ugly tomatoes my garden had produced.
2. Picked up three suitable for work blouses from my favorite local thrift store.
3. We pay our credit cards off every month, so this month we are trying putting all grocery purchases on one card and accumulating the points. My app for that card, is much more user friendly than my regular banking app, so we are hoping that it will help me to keep better track “on the go” of grocery spending, as I’ve outspent the budgeted amounts the past several months.
4. My daughter was in need of a couple of items – car charger, something for loose change and pony tail holders. I scrounged up these items from around our house so she doesn’t have to purchase them.
5. Pulled the dead/dying cucumber plants that had produced beautifully all summer and am now trying to decide what late season veggie to plant.


Teri August 9, 2017 at 11:53 am

1. Returned swimsuit to Target to extend the return time and when I repurchased it it was $5 cheaper!
2. Filled my canner with the first of my bean crop. It took 3 pickings–I hope I can get 3 more canners full. Neighbor dropped off a bag for me since she knew my goal, that will help!
3. Finding lots of pennies lately. I’m already over last year’s total of found money.
4. Bought very on clearance clothing from Ross and some items from Goodwill Outlet to make $40 at Platos this week.
5. Smoke in the air is killing me so I stay inside and get some mending done–this usually doesn’t happen until winter.


Mrs Stookey August 9, 2017 at 12:03 pm

I have a few more to add 🙂
– I found 22 cents today
– we are eating downthe fridge and pantry in the coming days and have been since Saturday
– My mom was over today she took the magazines that were given to me free to take home with her
– reusing dishes instead of dirtying another (example my lunch was grapes with cheese cubes in a small glass bowl, later this bowl will be used during supper for apple slices and p.b)
-Have not had the a/c on for almost a week here in eastern Missouri (30 minutes outside St. Louis City) our nights have been in the 60’s and our days in the low 80’s or mid 70’s in August!!


VanessaKC August 9, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Same here regarding the AC in Kansas City. It gets awfully stuffy from the humidity from late afternoon on, but we’re hanging in! Good luck ✌️


ouvickie August 9, 2017 at 1:28 pm

That’s a pretty rug. Looks like a native print. Good job!
1) I saved $10 on a meal out at BJ’s Brewhouse on Sunday. I love the rewards and coupon program I get with their mobile app.
2) I made a huge pot of beef stew and we’ve been eating on that this week.
3) I got lunch free today at work, since we had a Tech Webinar for the Team that lasted for 4 hours. There’s some leftover in the fridge, so free lunch tomorrow too!
4) I broke my ceramic breakfast bowl I use here at work, but had another one stashed in my china hutch at home and I finally remembered to bring that in this morning.
5) I just finished listening to Grapes of Wrath on audiobook from the Library. It made me even more thankful for the very comfortable life I have. I had no idea how bad things were for people that moved west during the Depression from the dust bowl states. That book should be required reading for High School kids. I’m sure some parents would object, due to the raw language used in the story, but the lesson learned about economics and hardship is worth the read or listening.


Cindy in the South I August 10, 2017 at 4:22 am

We read Grapes of Wrath in high school. It is an amazing story of hardship and survival.


Carolyn August 9, 2017 at 8:38 pm

1. I used ceiling fans instead of air conditioner (saw that as a popular answer, realized I was doing that too. hehe)
2. Ended up NOT buying a car. Walked to the grocery store instead.
3. Started using boiled tap water instead of bottled (but I plan to buy a filter to improve the quality of the water I’m drinking).
4. Bought rice, beans, and pasta from the bulk bins and also checked the prices of the non-bulk to confirm that yes, it is cheaper per unit price than the cheapest non-bulk versions.
5. I don’t know if using the clotheslines counts for me, since I don’t even have a dryer, lol, but I didn’t buy a Lear jet…


MommaL August 10, 2017 at 7:24 am

I feel like lately I have spent money to save money in the long run. Having relatives visit prompted most of this spending/saving:

1. Our FROG has always been too hot or to0 cold, so we don’t use it unless its nice weather. That was wasted space we are paying for. It became more important when the # of visiting relatives increased! Considered buying a ductless heat/cooling unit: quote to buy and install was $6 grand, yikes. Instead, got ductwork rerouted with a remote thermostat to use only when needed. Comfortable space for guests now, used it already, and its an energy efficient way to cool (and later heat) that space.

2. Split the grocery cost with visitors, but splurged on the last day and bought very nice steaks, nice cheese, good veggies and cooked them ourselves on the last day instead of going out to eat.

3. Used our handy visitors to help DH repair things throughout the house. Kept them busy, saved on the cost of hiring someone, but spent $$ at the local hardware store to get everything they needed for the repair.

4. Spend more than usual on beverages at home, but didn’t go out even once during their visit.

5. Got a HELOC from a bank I trust that offered paying all closing costs. Transferred another loan to that. Less interest, tax deductible. I have to be very disciplined about when to use that.


Sandra August 10, 2017 at 8:33 pm

MommaL, what is a FROG? How about an HELOC? Perhaps I know these acronyms, by some other name?


MommaL August 11, 2017 at 2:31 am

FROG = finished room over the garage. 🙂 I’ve moved a lot, so I tend to use the acronyms in the real estate listings, sorry!
HELOC is home equity line of credit. I had always been afraid to use these in the past, but with discipline, it can save $, especially if the bank offers to pay closing costs! Our rule is to only use it for home improvement related items that will increase or maintain the value of the home. The other loan we transferred over was for an emergency repair for our home.


Adriana @MoneyJourney August 10, 2017 at 11:05 am

This week I’ve cooked a lot of meals with ingredients from the pantry! I’m proud 😀 haha!

I’d tell myself “don’t forget to defrost this-and-that in the morning”, but I always did. 3 days in a row! Must be the heatwave’s fault.. We had to eat though, so I’ve managed to be a very frugal cook this week 🙂


Vickey August 10, 2017 at 12:54 pm

1.) Cooked up black beans, then sweet potatoes, then steel cut oats in the sun ovens (over 2 days).
2) Sold a kitchen campbox from no-longer-used camping gear on CL for $20.
3) DH asked a neighbor if he could have the handle from two mowers the neighbor was going to scrap. He was offered (and took) both, is mowing the lawn with our newly-handled mower now. The spare is hanging in the garage.
4) We’re harvesting cukes, zukes & yellow squash, 4 kinds of tomatoes, tomatilloes, ground cherries, anaheim peppers, basil, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, kale, and I forget what else. Oh – beans! *Lots* of romano green beans. So much green beans.
5) I’m basing menu planning around the garden bounty and around sunny day forecasts so I can maximize use of the sun ovens. The kitchen and house are staying much cooler this summer – I’ve only had to turn on the AC in the “refuge” room twice so far. The larger (plastic-free!) sun oven was an investment, but it’s paying off handsomely. And it forces me to get up from my work-at-home desk and Go. Out. Side.
6) Made arrangements to walk regularly with a friend who’s in residential memory care (close enough for me to walk to). We’ll see how it goes, but for now we both get exercise, socialization, and fresh air, with all the mental and physical benefits that come from with those. I’m also practicing being loving but detached, since I’m pained by her alcohol-induced dementia.
Thanks – as always – Katy, for your generosity and good humor bringing us all together here.


MommaL August 11, 2017 at 11:59 am

re: your #6. You’re a good friend to do that. <3


Vickey August 23, 2017 at 10:55 am

Aww, thanks! It’s good for me, too, so not purely altruistic. And it’s one way I can participate in her communal care. Several others carried the load when she lived further away.


Heather August 10, 2017 at 3:16 pm

That rug!! Swoon!! You can also take heavily soiled rugs to the car wash! Hang them and spray them!! Smart!!


Theresa August 13, 2017 at 5:32 am

Great profit on the rug. Crazy what people throw away.


Laura August 13, 2017 at 6:04 am

I lost 45 lbs. last year so I can now wear all my old but good condition clothing. Sold my fat clothes!


Vickey August 23, 2017 at 10:57 am

Yayyy, you!! Being a healthier weight is also thriftier into long run. 😉 (Now to get there myself!)


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