Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 31, 2018 · 70 comments

  1. My sister and her kids are in town for their spring break, which overlaps a couple of days with my kids’ spring break. This means we’re a large group of people which can get expensive pretty quickly. However, our mother was generous and treated everyone to lunch yesterday, so I offered to host everyone for last night’s dinner. At first I drew a blank for the meal, but then I realized that the black beans which had been simmering in the crock pot all day could transform into the basis for a “burrito bar” meal. (This was an especially good idea since we have a couple of vegetarians in the family.) I was tempted to run to the grocery store to fill in some holes, but instead I made do with the groceries I already had on hand.

    I cooked up a mess of carmelized onions and then sautéed three-for-a-dollar red peppers I’d previously grabbed from a clearance bin. I grated cheese, chopped lettuce, sliced avocado, threw rice into the rice cooker, assembled tortillas from the fridge and freezer and gathered various salsas and hot sauces from the fridge. In the end we fed eleven people quite nicely and there were no complaints from the guests or my wallet.

  2. We made our final double payment for our kids’ university tuition. Our oldest graduates at the end of spring term, (although there are two classes to be taken this summer through Portland Community College.) Our youngest is finishing his sophomore year, so we’ll have two more years of tuition and living expenses for him, but after the two years of both kids in college at the same time, this should be a financial breeze! It’s been a lean few years coupled with maximizing all income opportunities, and I look forward to seeing fatter bank accounts, as well as starting back up on paying extra towards our mortgage.

  3. I loaded everyone into the minivan for a Goodwill trip and bought nothing more than a package of underwear for myself. I do have underwear as an exception on my buy-nothing-new list, but thrift stores often have new underwear whose only flaw is that they’re in messed up packaging or are missing a pair. And since this four-pack was $3.99 instead of the $19.99 they’d normally cost, this was a no brainer. Buying from thrift shops not only stems the tide of insane over manufacture of consumer goods, but it keeps my family on budget.

    “Debt free living in thrift store underwear” might have to become the new tagline for The Non-Consumer Advocate!

  4. I turned down the brightness on my cell phone, my husband and I finished watching the first season of Star Trek: Discovery using a 30-day free trial of CBS All Access, (so good I might need to rewatch the series to catch the nuance I missed the first time around!) I renewed all my library books, I signed up for another month of hospital shifts, I’m arranging the sale of a groovy macrame wall hanging that I picked up at Goodwill, I had water at lunch even though my mom was paying, I cut flowers from the garden to cheer up the home, I filled out a short application for an hour long panel that would pay $125 and I brought home a pretty chair that a neighbor had put out for free.

  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    

“Debt free living in thrift store underwear.”

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

Madeline Kasian March 31, 2018 at 9:01 am

One of your boys is GRADUATING already! Whew,time flies!!


Ruby March 31, 2018 at 10:04 am

Awesome frugal cleverness with the burrito bar, and congrats on your son’s graduation!

I finally got a toe in the door with being on research panels and have the first one next week. It will pay $75.

Did all the usual frugal stuff. Lately the Mister and I have been discussing retiring, and now every purchase gets weighed against the thought of “would you rather have that or retire early?” Early wins out every time.


Jennifer@thefrugaldribble March 31, 2018 at 10:18 am

A burrito bar sounds delicious! I have purchased brand new in the package underwear at yardsales. Sometimes people receive them as a gift or just buy the wrong size.
1. I am having family over for an unexpected meal so I have a large package of chicken breasts I am cutting down into smaller peices so everyone gets a peice and having hotdogs to fill in any gaps.
2. I also doctored up some cans of pork and beans to go alongside.
3. We are spending time with family today. Free fun!
4. My kids and I are going to take a peek at the full moon tonight for more free fun.
5. The weather is really nice and mild today so we are staying outdoors and getting lots of free exercise

Not much but the best I got for now.


tia March 31, 2018 at 10:43 am

1. Talked to family and not one of them wants to do frugal themselves. They would rather just do without. I guess minimalism is as good a form of saving money as any. For my part now I have to let go and not try to fix what they don’t see as broken.
2. I had some discount chicken breasts and onions so poached them with spices, drained, and chopped and made over 50 flautas and froze them. I think I could make flautas out of anything and they would taste amazing.
3. Made chicken noodle soup out of the poached chicken liquid and a can of chicken plus noodles and vegatables.
4. Oh and instead of paper towels or bread to drain fried food just put the food on wire rack in a baking sheet. When done take out the wire rack, dump in cut vegatables and seasoning and mix with the oil and roast the vegatables in the oven.

Do you make your own tortillas Katy?
I need to learn how to at least fold a burrito.


Bee March 31, 2018 at 10:52 am

I love the new tag line, “Debt-free living in thrift store underwear.” It’s simply fabulous!
1) Our family has decided to forego our usual– and expensive — holiday celebration this year. Instead we are planning on attending our community’s sunrise service followed by a champagne breakfast at home. There is nothing more beautiful than celebrating Easter morning with toes in the sand and the sun rising out of the sea.

2) Tomorrow’s breakfast menu consists primarily of things that we have on hand with the exception of the champagne which my eldest will bring. I even dug the remainder of the Christmas ham out of the freezer for ham salad.

3)I purchased a wonderful cookbook from Good Housekeeping dated 1927 at an estate sale. There is a segment on how to have a dinner party without hiring a waitress. I found this amusing. However, there are some great recipes using unprocessed ingredients. I think it will be placed permanently on my shelf.

4) I have downloaded two books from Overdrive to listen to while I cook and set the table.

5) I bought two bunches of $1.49 daffodils from Trader Joes for tomorrow’s table. I am wearing thrifted $5 Nike sandals. My son picked up a load of mulch for us in his truck to avoid delivery fees. We had a simple dinner at home Friday evening instead of eating out and finished the large batch of Cuban-style black beans. I am drinking Bigelow’s peppermint tea which I purchased on sale BOGO.

Happy Easter, Passover, and spring!


Sandra March 31, 2018 at 11:09 am

Kudos to you Katy for the great chair find you posted on Intagram. Will you keep it? I know I would. It’s a great looking chair. Speaking of chairs, another Cha-ching sale with the two white chairs last week. You just find the best stuff, what an eye you have for style.


kathleen March 31, 2018 at 12:57 pm

1. I worked M-T (Friday a non-paid holiday). Three more weeks to go of this temp job. Paycheck will be nice, but the brain and body are already tired! (I usually fill in 2 to 3 days as needed, but this time someone had surgery and needed recovery time.)
2. Packed my lunch to take to work each day.
3. Laundering my limited work wardrobe and re-wearing them next week.
4. Daughter gave me a dozen and a half eggs from her chickens. I’ll use them to make deviled eggs for Easter supper at her house tomorrow. 🙂
5. Though we had some storms this week, the weekend is sunny and mild. Our electric bill arrived this week, and it was the lowest since last year at this time. I love no heat, no A/C days.


Mary Beth Danielson March 31, 2018 at 1:20 pm

1. Our kids aren’t coming for Easter dinner until next week, so we invited our best friends (and her mom) to our house after church tomorrow. Since he is a minister, this is good for them, too. There’s enough going on in any minister’s life Easter weekend.
He had been planning on cooking a leg of lamb that he bought from a congregant. Do you know how much a humanely raised sheep-meat costs? Anyways, they brought over the meat this morning and my husband is happily prepping it (it’s in a rub in our fridge now) today and braising it tomorrow – in lamb broth made from the lamb bones from our Christmas dinner.
2. While I was baking today, I made a bunch of herby breadsticks for appetizers tomorrow.
4. I am the liturgist/worship assistant/emcee/circus barker tomorrow. I will look a little more polished than usual in my toniest Goodwill outfit.
5. My friend Franc has lived better than most on less than $15,000/year for decades. I wrote about him in my blog, in case you want to see how he has pulled this off.
6. Like many of you, I too live with the heartbreak of highly functional decades-old Formica. Maybe one of these days I will write about all the ways I like my 1979 kitchen.


Kathy Hairston March 31, 2018 at 1:56 pm

My Formica kitchen is from a remodel in 1999. Still can’t afford fancy granite. I have had them apoxied over the years.


Stephanie Bunker March 31, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Thank you for sharing the story about Franc from your blog. I really enjoyed it!!!


Jennifer@thefrugaldribble March 31, 2018 at 6:23 pm

I also enjoyed reading about Franc


karen March 31, 2018 at 8:21 pm

Thanks for posting your story about Franc. I really enjoyed it.


Kathy Hairston March 31, 2018 at 1:38 pm

1. Passed on big Easter to do at club. Grilling at home and we invited a friend who lost his wife a couple of years ago.
2. Redeemed coupons for free travel sized body lotion from bath and body works and 1 oz essential oil from aveda.
3. Watched kids at church hunt for eggs. Delivered baby gift to friend for her new little girl. All items were NWT from thrift store packaged in a recycled large brown paper bag and pink rose tissue paper. I brought a small LEGO gift for big brother I bought on clearance for $2.
4. Ate breakfast and lunch at home=protein shakes.
5. Did not find a golden egg in my backyard


Ney March 31, 2018 at 1:43 pm

I really want to know, are there any real health concerns with buying used underwear?

I too would buy new underwear secondhand but have wondered this.


Jennifer@thefrugaldribble March 31, 2018 at 6:31 pm

I wouldn’t ever do it because it grosses me out, but new in the package, I think is fine. Honestly, anything that can be disinfected is probably just fine. Hospitals reuse towels, sheets, and gowns that have been in some very nasty places and covered in bodily fluids. They are sanitized and used again on the next patient.


Marcia April 1, 2018 at 7:17 pm

Wouldn’t have a problem with these. I love full slips and have bought many of those at Goodwill over the years. Good quality for little money.


Mand01 March 31, 2018 at 2:05 pm

1. Our freezer is so full we actually can’t fit anything else in it, so our grocery bill yesterday was low. We will be eating it down over the next few weeks. Actually we have no choice!
2. Made a pumpkin and sweet potato soup using a ham we got on a super sale, and pumpkin from the garden.
3. We went to an Easter country fair. We got fresh and dried fruit for a bargain price, and pickles that we buy there every year. We admittedly spent a fair bit on eating there but it is our annual family tradition and my kids adore it.
3. I had overripe bananas that needed using and didn’t want to make banana bread again. I found a recipe for chocolate banana brownies. They were a big hit. Frugal fail: I also wanted to make a lemon bread. Found a recipe and it was a total dud.
4. Catching up on GoT on DVD from the library. Date night last night was a cheese platter left over from last week’s wedding, pumpkin soup, and GoT.
5. My husband made me a coffee and we watched our teens hunt for eggs. Low cost entertainment. Happy Easter!


Susie's Daughter March 31, 2018 at 6:09 pm

Mand – My favorite lemon bread recipe is from King Arthur Flour and I think is on their website.


Mand01 March 31, 2018 at 10:45 pm

Thank you, I’ll look for it!


Roberta March 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm

1. Using up the last of the free veggies from last weeks church dinner tonight; fried cabbage and veggie sausages from Grocery Outlet, along with the last of the mashed potatoes I made with the leftover potatoes. Plus, I’ll have room to put the pies for Easter dinner.
2. Finally sold two things I’ve had on ebay for a long time, and I’m using old feed bags to ship them.
3. Made lemon pies for dessert tomorrow. Family is bringing contributions to dinner, so no one has to do everything. Staying home and cleaning as a family, for family time together. Oh, well, the house will be clean down to the baseboards and no money spent.
4. I got most of my library books returned before they went overdue. One of my children has one squirreled away, so that one will be returned before the library opens, and that child will pay the late fee. Everything else, including two videos (with large fine rates) got returned this morning.
5. I am limping along without my computer, in hopes that my dad’s friend will be able to fix it for free. The latest Microsoft update killed my OS, and I can’t log in at all. Limping along will be much better, financially, than bringing it to Best Buy!


Jennifer@thefrugaldribble March 31, 2018 at 6:36 pm

4. Our library will let you call and recheck them out over the phone, does yours?


Alexandra @ April 2, 2018 at 3:08 am

Our library allows you to re-check them out online. A lifesaver!


Roberta April 2, 2018 at 7:40 am

I can renew them online or over the phone. Our library has and *amazing* program, where the last Friday of the month you can turn in anything that is past due for the month without a fine. That way, when I lose track (which I totally do!) I don’t get a fine. Unless a child has taken a book into her room and tucked it into the crack by her bed, so I don’t find it. Which is totally against the rule. Which is why we have rules.


tonya March 31, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Congrats, Katy, on the upcoming graduation. Getting your kids through college with no debt is an amazing gift.

I am hosting tomorrow and we are making frittata. Cheap and feeds a crowd.

I used coupons on my groceries. Saved about $7.

I filled up my car with discount gas. Saved $.60/gallon.


Sandy B O'Neill March 31, 2018 at 3:30 pm

A couple of decades ago I was in your shoes. Our two daughters were in college together for three years. If something wasn’t essential, it didn’t get bought. I did without a car for two of those years and my husband commuted on a motorcycle. But, we managed and our girls graduated without a debt to pay: our last great gift to them.


Lindsey March 31, 2018 at 4:22 pm

1. We don’t do burritos because I detest beans in any form, but your post reminded me of tacos so we are doing a taco bar for dinner tonight. I make the shells from scratch and we have a variety of fillings in freezer and fridge. Thanks for the idea.
2. Decided we wanted the peace of doing Easter just for the two of us. And we are making the husband’s favorite: meat loaf and my favorite Caesar salad. Only had to buy the romaine as I had the rest of the fixings. Frugal and relaxing.
3. I use a face cream that has sun screen built in, as I am bad at applying sun screen. It is a bit pricy, although I can get it on sale once or twice a year so stock up. It is in a hard dispenser that I cannot pry or cut open to get the last bits. Has metal so cannot be microwaved…I decided to try setting it in a cup with hot water, as I step into the shower. It worked! It was runnier than usual but I got four more days of cream out of it.
4. Started cabbage, Brussels sprout and cauliflower seeds this morning, so they will be ready to set out in mid-May. Very frugal as we eat home grown produce all summer and I also make sauerkraut that we eat all winter long.
5. Helped a friend clean out her grandmother’s house. She died a few weeks ago and the house needs to be cleared out for selling. Friend gave me some pyrex pans and a manila envelope full of stamps that were pretty old judging from the denominations. I told her she should use them but she insisted I take them as payment for showing up and because she would be too impatient to glue, for example, several thirteen cent stamps plus a few one-centers on an envelope. Free stamps? You bet I’ll take them and happily lick enough small denominations to equal the correct postage!

Frugal fail but I don’t care department. I admit it: I love McDonalds fish sandwiches and I curse Tina Fey for mentioning in an interview that they make double ones. So, on Good Friday I bought one for my lunch. It was yummy and probably more so because I only let myself do this on my birthday, Good Friday and after I visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning.


Marilyn March 31, 2018 at 5:22 pm

I completely understand the need to reward yourself after going to the dentist. A fish sandwich is not really an extravagant reward.


Marilyn March 31, 2018 at 5:06 pm

1. Filed taxes a little ahead of time. No late fees for us.
2. A large dog jumped on my car (long story!) and left scratches. Bougot a repair compound and did some buffing myself. It looks much better.
.3. Went to doctor for annual physical hoping that preventive care will save me money in the long run.
4. All the usual — walking for exercise, reading books from the library and staying out of the shops.


Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early March 31, 2018 at 6:08 pm

Taco and chili bars are some of my favorite ways to feed a big group. My other go to is slow cooker red beans and rice – I can feed a group of 20 for ~$10-$15 and the meal is AWESOME.


Bethany March 31, 2018 at 9:33 pm

1. Hate my couch. Would love to replace, but we have a saving goal. So, I drug out towels, a bowl of hot water with vinegar and dish soap. Scrubbed and toweled it off. Set the ceiling fan on, and in a few hours it looked so much better.

2. Got our moldy seat replaced in our van…stow-n-go, water spilled, we didn’t know, ugh…But it was a salvaged seat and needed cleaned up. We worked on it together. Even our 2 year old wanted in on the scrubbing. Got the whole van cleaned up. Found that duck tape cleans up the hair that the vacuum never gets up.

3. Turned our plastic Halloween buckets into Easter buckets with a little acrylic paints. Kids will take them to an Easter egg hunt we were invited to.

4. Some cool lady on Varagesale listed dragon fruit cacti for $5 each. They are big. She said they might fruit this year in the fall. Cool plants, pretty and yummy fruit!

5. Picked up a classroom chapter book lot. Several of each novel. This is excellent for me. I homeschool and have 2 on the same reading level. This will allow us to each have a copy of the book so I don’t have to read upside down. I’ve kind of mastered reading upside down, but a whole novel might give me a headache. I plan to list the extras on Ebay. Once I do that, I think I’ll have these readers for free or better than free.


Mand01 March 31, 2018 at 10:44 pm

Good call on the couch. Our couch came with the house and is a hideous 90s pastel print. I have some other savings goals and our niece and nephew love to build forts with it. I might do as you suggest to spruce it up a bit.


Alexandra @ April 2, 2018 at 3:15 am

We have been “sprucing” up our couch of 12 years for its whole life. Been talking about replacing it for 5 years.
Our cushions are removable so the left side gets turned over and moved to the right side several times per year. This really helps with wear and tear and keeps the foam from settling. Also vacuuming the cushions including along the seams. Then lots of spot cleaning. It looks better than it should, we are hard on furniture!


Roberta April 2, 2018 at 7:45 am

I hate my couch, too. But I love my dog, and my family allows the dog to get on the sofa. (I could be the mean ol’ mom who is the one who refuses to let the dog be happy, but I’m the mean ol’ mom often enough.) I figure we’ll get a new sofa when the dog dies or moves out (with my son).


FrannyandDanny April 1, 2018 at 1:31 am

Picked apples on the side of the road, blogged, brought home leftovers from my mum’s place, ate other leftovers from our own cooking and acquired new clothes from a bag my 21 yo daughter was giving away.


susanna d April 1, 2018 at 5:27 am

1. My son gave me two books he was finished with – one about thru hiking the Appalachian Trail (Southbound, by the Barefoot Sisters), the other by a woman who hiked the Continental Divide Trail. I loved both books, and can’t wait to start hiking local trails around here again. Unfortunately, the weather has other ideas (7 inches of snow yesterday on top of the thick layer of ice that was still covering the trails to begin with).
2. I loved the Barefoot Sisters book so much I really wanted to order their next book, about hiking northbound on the AT. It’s rare that I want to own a book instead of try to find it in the limited library options here, but I want that one. I’m making myself wait until I have enough swagbucks to cash out for a $25 Amazon gift card so the money that’s in my wallet right now remains in my wallet.
3. Husband and I both needed new running shoes and I needed new trail runners as well (running shoes being one of the things I won’t buy used). By combining a Kohl’s 30% off, two online promo codes and free shipping, the cost was reduced by half. Plus we “earned” $20 in Kohl’s Cash which we’ll use for a much needed kitchen item.
4. Got a coupon in the mail for a free Tombstone pizza – still one of our favorite frozen pizzas despite my thinking they were better when they were a locally owned company. Had a free pizza-and-a-movie date night (movies downloaded from a free pay-channel weekend).
5. Bought all the Easter dinner items at Aldi (including 95 cents per pound spiral ham). Probably spent half of what I would have at the “regular” grocery stores for the same things.


Jennifer@thefrugaldribble April 2, 2018 at 3:53 am

Thanks for the book suggestion. I love reading about AT hikes. I am a hiker only on the inside.


rebecca April 1, 2018 at 5:41 am

1. Signed up for ibotta
2. Made a chocolate cake for the holiday with all ingredients I had on hand except the eggs
3. Took turkey and fruit home from said holiday dinner
4. I bought a new coffee maker. I did have a keurig and decided I don’t want to spend the money on k-cups and pollute with them any more. I used a 20% off coupon at bed, bath and beyond.
5. I was able to take a few walks this week between clients or on campus. It felt so good!


cynthia huntington April 1, 2018 at 7:53 am

My brother is replacing my kitchen ceiling after a slow, undetected leak from upstairs filled it with water and antifreeze a couple weeks ago. (I am paying him of course: it’s a big hard messy nasty job!) Since my kitchen sits right in the middle of the house the disruption is total and traffic patterns are absurd. This in on top of having everything from the kitchen scattered all over the house. (There being no one place with room for it all.) I have opted to stay here and try to be of some help, even if all I can offer is moral support and coffee fetching most of the time. Stuck on standby mode, I’ve been doing some serious uncluttering, mostly in the basement.

At this point, my long term uncluttering has gone on long enough that I’m hitting the hard stuff. I’m getting closer to Swedish Death Cleaning; parting with things I like but don’t use, once hoped to use but need to admit I won’t, or things I used to like and use but I’m too old (I’m looking at you, short dresses). What I’m parting with now are possibilities and memories and it’s harder than I thought, but here is what I’m learning. When I pull out the lace tablecloth with matching napkins that has been packed away for, I’m not kidding you, thirteen years, there is a pang. I was going to be the person who used this. It’s so lovely. But the moment it’s gone I start to feel better. That item packed away was a constant reminder of an unlived life. (We all have many unlived lives alongside our real ones don’t we?)

I hope the person who finds these items in the donation pile will be able to use and enjoy them. I’d hate to pass on a legacy of storing things away for someday. I’m closer to 70 than 60 now, and some things are over. Holding on to those things will only get in the way of what is still here and whatever is coming. This is my litany, and I have to say it over and over. Now to one more box: oh my, it’s those ugly drapes I kept because I spent too much for them eight years ago when I still shopped retail. Letting some things go feels good!


patricia April 1, 2018 at 10:15 am

“reminder of an unlived life.” Powerful words.
<3 to you.


A. Marie April 1, 2018 at 10:27 am

Thanks, Cynthia, for the thoughtful and beautifully written comment. “What I’m parting with now are possibilities and memories and it’s harder than I thought”: I can relate to that right now on multiple levels. My sole purchase on a flying visit to our SA superstore yesterday (I have to grab my thrifting opportunities when I can get them these days) was a book by Judith Viorst called Necessary Losses.


Bee April 1, 2018 at 12:34 pm

After my recent illness, I have been making every attempt to get my home and affairs in order. Although I have every reason to believe, I will live another 50+ years, my illness was serious enough to scare me. Thus, I have begun a major declutter. I do not want to leave my children with a mess.

Like you Cynthia, I struggle to part from certain items — the ones that remind me of the life that I used to have. The life that I lived before my children were grown…before I left the business world…before my life changed as it has. Your comments have given me the courage to say good-bye to some of these things. Thank you. Moving forward sometimes means letting go of the past.


patricia April 1, 2018 at 1:43 pm

It nourishes my soul to see my own “humaness” in these post. “The life that I live” is such a part of my reality, as I find my way as a widow. Thank you all for giving me a community to share with.


Ruby April 1, 2018 at 1:22 pm

That is such a beautiful, thoughtful meditation on life and letting go of stuff.


Christine April 1, 2018 at 6:46 pm

Your words are beautiful and powerful. I’m encouraged by them to proceed further with the Swedish Death Cleaning at which I have been chipping away. I have cleaned out my mother’s house when she moved in with us which also contained my step father’s things and my grandmother’s things (she lived with my mother for thirteen years before her death) and also my father’s house when he went to assisted living. If I can spare my kids and step kids some of the decisions that had to be made about discarding or donating or keeping, I will happily do that. Thanks.


Gina in KY April 1, 2018 at 11:58 pm

Wow, I’ll just echo many of the others here on how encouraging your post is. I’m going through a declutter that has to happen for different reasons, but those words about an unlived life speak right to my heart. Good luck with your own translation and thank you for sharing.


karen April 1, 2018 at 8:35 am

Like you, I too have been decluttering long enough that I am hitting the hard stuff. Your entry was exactly what I needed right now. Thank you!


karen April 1, 2018 at 8:36 am

Meant to be a reply to Cynthia


cynthia huntington April 1, 2018 at 12:05 pm

thank you Karen. Sometimes at the end of the day it feels like I have just sacked Troy!


Liz B. April 6, 2018 at 6:43 am

Cynthia, your beautiful comment struck me right between the eyes, in a good way. I have so many unlived lives – the person who wants to entertain, but does not do so, being the most prominent one. Time to get rid of those serving platters and odd Christmas dishes that I never use….thank you!


Jennifer April 1, 2018 at 9:00 am

Jealous of your ending tuition payments. With my 1st of 4 kids only a sophomore, I have a long ways to go!

1) Having Easter dinner at my sisters and taking brown rice. Kids and adults all wore clothes they already had – no new Easter outfits for us.
2) Was able to get B1G1 free phones at VErizon when the kids wanted to upgrade their phones. They paid cash.
3) Went to the indoor farmers market yesterday and supported our local farmers and bought honey and maple syrup in bulk to save money.
4) We are rescuing a dog and I was able to find a baby gate used for $10. It is a heavy duty walk through one too! Just need 1 more and a crate and we will be set.
5) Had to buy a “square” in a NCAA pool for gymnastics boosters. I already won $65! I don’t normally gamble, but have already doubled my money.


A. Marie April 1, 2018 at 11:14 am

Congrats to Katy on the graduating son, the family burrito bar, and the thrifted underwear! (I too buy u-trou new in the package at thrifts, on the rare occasions when they show up in our sizes. Unfortunately, I’m more likely to find a unicorn than I am to find a new bra in the size I need, so I order those from Amazon.)

Now, FFT, Getting By with a Little Help from the Universe Edition:

(1) In addition to an excellent bottlepick this morning, I found a dollar bill and scooped up all the flattened, bent, and broken oak snowplow guideposts from the driveway at a local business. Nobody’s going to want to reuse those anyhow, and they make fine fuel for the wood-burner.

(2) I needed a quiet activity this afternoon, so I creatively mended a hole in a beloved shirt of DH’s. (LL Bean chamois cloth shirts in men’s L Tall don’t grow on trees at our local thrifts, and I was lucky to find this one some years ago.) Since darning it would still look like a darn, I went through my box of salvaged patches and sewed a Cub Scout “Den 1” patch over the hole (the shirt is pretty close to Cub Scout blue). DH is delighted.

(3) The stool on which DH sits while he’s tending the wood-burner broke the other day with him on it (he narrowly escaped injury). I recalled the plastic “bucket seat” I use with a 5-gallon bucket when I’m working in the garden, and I also recalled that wood-burner season and gardening season don’t have a lot of overlap–so I popped the bucket seat onto a clean, attractive 5-gallon bucket (we’ve got heaps) and had DH try it out. Much better and safer. Plus which, he can store kindling in the bucket.

(4) I’ve been struggling for a few days with trying to get a new faucet aerator onto our kitchen faucet (DH was not up to this, and I never was in the first place). One of DH’s guy friends stopped by for an Easter afternoon visit and got it done in 15 minutes. Fortunately, he’s happy to take his pay in cherry tomatoes later this year!

(5) Finally, our widowed next-door neighbor is coming over this evening for Easter dinner (two Coleman organic chickens I got Reduced for Quick Sale at Price Chopper, plus on-sale sweet potatoes from Wegmans and salad greens I picked up inexpensively yesterday at the Regional Market). She cat-sits for us, DH does odd jobs for her, and it’s another of those cases where we no longer bother to keep tabs on who owes who what because we’re family by now. As I have mentioned previously, we are hugely lucky in our neighbors and friends.


Louise April 1, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Thank Goodness. What a lovely post. A.Marie.


Alexandra @ April 2, 2018 at 3:21 am

I love the Cub Scout patch!


Mary in Maryland April 1, 2018 at 2:48 pm

1) decluttering–I let go of my el-hi report cards because this is my 50th year out of high school. I also let go of my baby book–no one has asked about my pediatric milestones in several decades.
2) accepted five boxes of fabric for my quilt guild’s yard sale from a woman at church. She suggested we pick it up on our way home today. I spent time behind the car doing triage–guild yard sale, thrift shop, or the Mennonite quilters. Only brought a little in, and found a perfect gift for a friend who likes butterflies.
3) Made a great casserole from an orphan cup of rice, two cups of too-spicy chili, and a failed experiment in making my own tortilla chips from scratch. Chips would have been great for re-tiling the backsplash. They were chewy but edible after half and hour of baking under the chili. Colpliments from DH, but maybe just a testament to his political skills.
4) finished off the last of the ten grain cereal a friend gave me in October. My husband took this on for the team about ten times. I disliked the texture so much I was willing to cook two things for breakfast.
5) a neighbor who’s out of town called yesterday panicked that their dog (who had stayed home) had gotten out and was on the lam. I alerted the hood and scoured the park and the area around the school where they pick up the kids with no luck. (And at 67 with spinal stenosis I am not who I would pick for this mission.) Home–defeated–I went upstairs to tidy up my sewing room…and noticed what might have been a tire behind their shed in the back yard. It was the dog–hiding from the guys who’re laying the foundation for their addition. The dog walked home with me (treats, treats) and waited for the dog walker.


Jennifer@thefrugaldribble April 2, 2018 at 3:59 am

Great way to turn around those tortilla chips!


Wanda Harding April 1, 2018 at 4:20 pm

OMG!! LOVE IT!… great news… that people are really that real… as for me… what have I done lately to be ‘frugal”… well, I ALWAYS buy second had.. well, except underwear…I generally do not find them at the second hand store new in the pack.. but I get that…. I guess.. the thing I can say is … instead of trying to get a job selling a bunch of totally , unnecessary and environmentally destructive products… I am trying to become a Celebrant… my new career… I can not seem to bring myself to gear up .. and fake … enthusiasm for something that is a frivolous piece of crap… just to make a pay check…


Tracy April 1, 2018 at 6:32 pm

Loved posts re decluttering and unloved lives. I am occasionally tempted to not only hang on to but even to purchase items for an unloved (fantasy) life — for example, a sparkly cocktail dress… And I don’t go to cocktail parties and in fact haven’t had a cocktail in 12 years. But a small part of me wants to think I live a cocktail-party filled life! Most of me, the real me, is very happy with the life I have. To wit:

1. Wore a lovely thrifted linen dress in spring colors to Easter Mass and family brunch. With thrifted sandals. And a gifted necklace.
2. DD wore a lovely blue lace dress bought for $3 at Goodwill.
3. Used items on hand plus a couple things purchased at Goodwill for Easter dinner decor and kids’ Easter bags.
4. Used meat from freezer and sale pasta and asparagus for a lovely, low cost Easter dinner.
5. Had all 5 of my kids here for dinner — free and priceless!


Tracy April 1, 2018 at 6:33 pm

Oops “unloved” not “unloved” life…


Tracy April 1, 2018 at 6:33 pm

Darn spell correct “unlived”


cynthia huntington April 1, 2018 at 7:23 pm

“unloved” has a lot of resonance too!


Christine April 1, 2018 at 6:59 pm

1. DH installed a new faucet and soap dispenser onto our kitchen sink since the one that came with the house 16 years ago had started to leak like a sieve and I was worried the wall behind the sink would get moldy. I didn’t know I was married to a plumber but it seems my frugal choices have had an effect on him and he wants to save money whenever possible. One happy wife here.
2. We went to a friend’s house for Easter dinner. She asked me to bring a pot of what she called “your famous Boston Baked Beans”. It cost me under $5 to make a double batch.
3. Brought the two Easter Lilies I had placed on the altar at church in memory of my son Nick and my grandmother to my friend as hostess gifts for her and her mother who lives winters with her. They both knew my son and Grandma so I felt good about giving the lilies to them.
4. DH and I pieced together Easter outfits from what we already have. No strange look from anyone!
5. Hung clothes outside on my old umbrella clothesline. Spring finally arrived.


KJD509 April 1, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Like Tracy, really appreciate all of the shared thinking about unlived lives. Wishing I’d decluttered a little more carefully as we were packing, but this liminal space between houses and lives makes it very, very difficult to guess what we might need next. Am internally committing to unpacking carefully with lots of decluttering at the other end, wherever and whenever that may be.*

1) Bought a small ham and some on-sale asparagus for Easter brunch. First time ever I’ve selected a small one instead of the largest in the store, as there are only three of us here. That alone was an astonishing savings!
2) Hubs and littlest are the other two here with me this week. We worked hard in the yard all day yesterday and I really wanted to go out for pizza. They didn’t. I grouchily cooked dinner from the freezer and pantry. It was delicious and cheap and was the tipping point to clear one more shelf in the freezer.
3) Wore clothes we owned to church this morning. Littlest didn’t have shoes that fit, but she could wear a pair of my low heels and feel all grown up.
4) We hard-boiled eggs but didn’t dye them because she’s in middle school and too cool for that. Hid them while she was changing out of church clothes along with a few leftover gift chocolates out of the pantry – in the front yard, of course, so she had to hunt publicly. She found them all in spite of rolling her eyes so hard she could barely see straight.
5) No Lear jets, no offers on million dollar houses.

*Who am I kidding. . . we’re moving boxes that are still sealed from three houses ago, just sayin.


Gina in KY April 2, 2018 at 12:26 am

Cynthia’s comment about unlived lives really resonates with my current situation. I feel like my life has been on hold for years and I’ve held on to tangible reminders of not only happy memories and fantasies, but also a lot of heartbreak and broken dreams. My decluttering project has been taking years (done in batches between the bustling part of life),but I’m determined to focus through it.

1. April is going to be a serious no spend/but nothing new month for me. So far, so good….
2. Making red beans in pressure cooker today and adding to rice.
3. Project Eat Down Pantry/Freezer is still in full force.
4. Concentrating on the huge clothing declutte this week (spring break and my boys are home and hopefully will help. I definitely would have preferred a beach this week, but again all these ghosts of unlived lives are haunting me).
5. Found a couple of items to resell and will list them this week as well.


Gina in KY April 2, 2018 at 12:27 am

PS Congrats on the last double payment!


Alexandra @ April 2, 2018 at 3:30 am

Those “ghosts of unlived lives” can do a whammy on us, can’t they? Keep up the good work.
I find if I focus on what is happening now and count my blessings, I’m not as sad.
I also let myself grieve for that unlived life for a while. Then I got on with it. I din’t want to wake up from THIS life and realize I’d squandered it.
My thoughts are with you.


Elizabeth April 2, 2018 at 4:24 am

1. We were in decluttering mode this week and I finally talked my husband into selling his beer making supplies(which he has not used in over 7 years) so hopefully that will bring in some much needed money for April bills.
2. I found some great deals at the thrift store on spring clothes. A pretty dress for my daughter for under $5 and two almost new button down shirts for my son for $2 a piece.
3. While cleaning out closets this week, I also found some toys I had stored for later, so my son has been enjoying those all week.
4. I snatched up a waffle maker from my mother’s giveaway pile, as well as, an electric skillet and a small griddle.
5. I had a low spend week this past week, so I put the money I did not spend into the bank to save for upcoming April bills.


ouvickie April 2, 2018 at 7:29 am

1) I picked up my granddaughters Friday evening for a weekend at our house. My daughter had bought them Easter baskets with toys in them, which kept them well entertained.
2) Saturday we spend the afternoon in the park. Since payday was the day before, it was time to hit the Dollar Tree to stock up on a few things. They found two Easter egg dying kits, so I indulged them at $1 each. Then we went to Aldi for groceries, where I spent $39 to stock up on various items needed.
3) Our Community Church had a free Easter Egg/Candy Hunt Saturday evening. I took them over and each of them ended up with a basket of candy and an evening of fun for FREE.
4) We went to Easter services at the Community Church Sunday morning. It’s less than a mile from my house so it was an easy trip and I made new friends in our little township.
5) I took the girls home, then went back home to fix dinner for hubby and myself. There was enough leftovers for two of my lunches this week. We spent the evening watching the new version of Jesus Christ Superstar on TV.
It was a good weekend.


Emily April 2, 2018 at 10:00 am

Been a while since I have posted!

Happy to report I PAID OFF MY STUDENT LOANS, then went through a quick few weeks of splurging after years of sacrificing, that probably none of you lovely frugal people would have supported. Back to work setting goals for my future, and saving for a house :).

1. I purposefully pushed off grocery shopping until today so I could get the extra cash back on my chase freedom card. I like using credit cards to get points (don’t worry, I pay them off weekly).

2. My bf and I went to the National White Water Center yesterday. We got season passes, and a parking pass as Christmas gifts this year, so when we go all activities are already paid for. Yesterday we only hiked, but we didn’t have to pay to park and it was a beautiful eater morning in NC!

3. About cleaned out my emergency fund with a 1,500 dollar ER visit and a 320 ultra sound. Definitely was a punch in the stomach, but I’m grateful I had that set aside (even when paying of debt), so that I was able to pay for it in cash. Now to re-vamp the emergency fund. I also now have health savings account and better insurance, so next time that should help as well.

4. Saved seeds from some bell peppers to attempt and re-grow. I purchases some herb seeds (dill, cilantro, parsley) that I hope will be successful. Because we live in an apartment, the only seeds I will purchase at this time are herbs. I’ve tried and failed too many times with other produce in apartment living.

5. I broke out water cooler. Ugh. I am going to do some investigative work to see if I can fix it, but not looking good. Our tap water failed safety codes (I’m not sure how this is possible), but we have stuck to purified water ever since. Until I figure out how to fix our cooler, or plan for one next month, my boyfriend has been filling up gallon jugs and water bottles on his campus from the purified water fountains. He says people give him funny looks sometimes but I don’t feel bad because 1. Higher education is expensive, 2. I want him to graduate debt free, and 3. I loathe plastic water bottles.


Bee April 2, 2018 at 10:33 am

Congratulations on freeing yourself from student debt!!!! Well done


Jessica April 4, 2018 at 11:45 am

My big one is that I found an enormous bin of (mostly children’s) DVDs left out at our town dump. There’s a bench between the dumpsters where people leave things. I took the whole bin and sorted it through it before bringing it into the house, and freecycled all the ones I didn’t want, immediately. We still have a DVD player, and a lot of these were disney movies that are hard to get through streaming services.


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