Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 27, 2018 · 72 comments

  1. I spent yesterday showering my mother with experience gifts, as I’d promised her a “Day of Adventures” (please hear this as a booming, yet echo-y voice, with pauses between the words) as her Christmas present. (Okay, perhaps “showering” is too strong a word, but let a cheap gal have her fantasies.) I’m still on budget lockdown, but I’d just sold a $7.99 bag of Brio train tracks for $35 in less than 24 hours, so I was feeling flush with cash.

    Here’s what we did:

    – We enjoyed homemade soup at my house. (free)

    – We spent an hour or so browsing the Goodwill Outlet over by the Portland airport. I treated her to four new looking Pier One seat cushions for her rental cottage, three books, a cribbage set, a thimble and maybe something else. I maybe spent $15? It’s hard to tell since I was also buying things for myself, and it’s not like the items were individually priced.

    – We gobbled salmon plates at Ikea, where I learned that our location had finally installed a schmancy latté machine, which is a freaking game changer as their coffee is free with an Ikea Family card! I may start doing all my writing at Ikea, as well as any socializing and maybe even work them into my morning/late afternoon/early evening routine! ($11)

    – Our last adventure of the day was to see the movie The Greatest Showman at my favorite second run movie theater. Very fun movie, although I had to almost physically tamp down any critical thinking skills to accept the plot, casting and hairstyles. ($7)

    – Total cost for the day was $33. Not too shabby.

  2. I lent our push mower to someone in my Buy Nothing Group. I also noticed that the Moss vs. Grass battle had finally been won by Team Moss. This is actually okay by me, as green is green.

  3. I got my hair trimmed at the free place that does the continuing education for Supercuts. Although I did tip $5, it was still a way more frugal purchase than anywhere else. I normally succumb to a hair cut every year-and-a-half or so as I’m too cheap for words I hate the expense, so it’s nice to get a subtle trim instead of letting it get so intensely straggly.

  4. I stopped my mother from buying board games and stuffed animals for her rental cottage as I knew I could rummage up some extras for her. I gave her two stuffed animals, (a bear and an alligator) as well as three board games. (Clue, Battleship and Scrabble) I also located an extra set of playing cards to go with her new cribbage board.

  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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{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Bethany April 27, 2018 at 2:34 pm

We came home today after PE for lunch even though I wanted Jack-in-the-Box! Probably saved $20.

Got the supplies for painting my daughters’ room. Have plans to tackle that tomorrow. Mentioned it to my neighbor and she said she loves painting and asked if she could join me. Score!!!

Have a crock of beans going, and going to get a crock of carrots going after the beans are done. I’d like to add cooked pureed carrots to our smoothies this summer.

Got some sage and oregano going. Going to try to keep them going more than one season. We are in a warm climate so I might be able to prevent the frost from killing them in the winter if I’m smart about it. My mint came back this year!!!

Doing better and brining our water with us instead of using bottled water.


Sandra April 28, 2018 at 10:31 am

Sage and oregano should both winter over unless you have a real killing frost. I know mine do and we have plenty of freezing winter weather.


Liz B. April 29, 2018 at 11:02 am

I have Greek oregano all over my garden – it comes back every year, and spreads if you let it. (I do, because I dry it for use all year round, and usually gift some to family and friends – both the plants and the dried oregano).


Bethany April 30, 2018 at 7:13 am

Yea! This is exciting news! Thank you for sharing!


Katy in Africa April 27, 2018 at 2:37 pm

1. Laundry rinse water and cooking water went on plants.
2. Our family activity was a restaurant at home. I served leftovers, but made it fancier with sodas and cookies. We set the table nice and all got dressed up. Definitely cheaper than a real restaurant, I just spent a few extra bucks on the drinks and dessert.
3. Used cocoa powder as dry shampoo, works with my hair color.
4. Ordered a tea I love with a 10% discount plus earned rewards points I can use on my next order.
5. I wanted to send a bday card, but didn’t have any in my card box, so I looked up simple flower designs on Pinterest and made a card drawing a very simple dandelion… Repeat very simple, I am the least artistic person ever, but I think it’ll work.


Christine April 28, 2018 at 5:32 pm

I found a package of card stock while decluttering. Now you’ve inspired me to try to make my own cards. Will try one for the next birthday which is my granddaughter next month.


Jane F April 27, 2018 at 2:41 pm

Your pixelated reusable mug is playing tricks on my eyes! It feels like the image hasn’t fully loaded.

I love that you reused/ decluttered by passing those things on to your mom.

My frugal thing is applying to a job this evening. This is hard for me – my brain doesn’t work well in resume/cover lettering mode. Wish me luck nonconsumers! The is position is to help municipalities reduce waste.


Bee April 28, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Wishing you good luck on your job hunt.


Vickey April 29, 2018 at 10:47 am

Hope you get it! Sounds like the perfect job for a dedicated NCA


Liz B. April 29, 2018 at 11:04 am

Good luck getting that job, Jane! Sounds like a good one.


Jennifer@thefrugaldribble April 30, 2018 at 4:25 am

That mug had my eyes playing tricks on me, too.


Lindsey April 27, 2018 at 2:53 pm

1. Worker at the place where I volunteer did not want to go to the trouble of bringing home a lovely vase of roses that she got for Administrative Professionals Day. I was happy to take it home!
2. Made a cake for a potluck and came home with no cake but four brie and fancy ham sandwiches. Dinner for the two of us last night and tonight! Love brie but am too cheap to buy it.
3. Did not want to do a mystery shop but they called and offered me $30 so I put on my big girl panties and did it. only took me 20 minutes, I am just a baby.
4. Made pea soup, which husband loves and I don’t so I ate peanut butter sandwiches. Needed to use up the peas.
5. Traded some yarn I was never going to use because of the color for two bars of fancy French triple-milled soap.


Marybeth April 27, 2018 at 3:18 pm

1. Met friends at Panera for breakfast. Used my son’s discount and a GC I got for Christmas so I spent $0. Brought my reusable cup so didn’t use a disposable one.
2. Already worked 2 extra shifts this week because Avengers came out. I was so tired after the day I did a double but I survived. Will probably get called in Sunday since my manager asked me if I was busy this weekend and I said only on Saturday. More money into the college fund.
3. Was super tired after working a double at work and didn’t want to cook. Had a GC to a restaurant so Hubby picked dinner up for us. Cost $0.
4. Brought lunch, snacks and reusable cup to work. Did munch on the free popcorn.
5. Rented Thor and other DVD’s from the library to get me ready to watch Avengers


tonya April 27, 2018 at 3:23 pm

1) Used a coupon to go get breakfast with a friend today.
2) making dinner out of food from the freezer.
3) Finished shredding old paperwork. Feels very organized in our office now.
4) Staying home and driving less. Today I walked to my dentist appointment.
5) enjoying working 3 10 hour shifts per week. I’m tired after work but love driving in fewer days and having an extra day at home.


Roberta April 27, 2018 at 4:21 pm

I would love to know which theatre you visit, Katy. We’ll be going through Portland this summer, and I’d love to treat the family. I agree with The Greatest Showman and critical thinking.

1. Took my son to get his drivers permit today. Only took four hours, with an appointment! He was starving half-way through, so I bought him a bean and cheese burrito. I realized I was not hungry, just ordering through habit, so I didn’t eat then. He drank water from his reusable water bottle. (He passed! so we don’t have to do this again!)
2. Using a $100 groupon for his behind-the-wheel training.
3. Making pasta for dinner, and watching a movie from the library. I’d love to order out pizza after today, but I am being strong and not. I’m drinking a not-my-favorite cider, because it’s only $3 a sixpack, which is way better than the $9 a sixpack cider that is my favorite. Grocery Outlet!
4. Returned my library books at fine-free Friday, even though I had to go inside and confirm that everything was returned. Neil Gaiman’s Norse Gods (very good) was not returned, nor was it renewable, so I returned it after I picked my daughter up from school.
5. Hung out laundry after I got home from the DMV. I’m pretty sure we still have enough daylight for my clothes to dry. I will put them away another day!


Marybeth April 28, 2018 at 6:23 am

Congrats to your son.


Liz B. April 29, 2018 at 11:09 am

I have the audiobook version of Norse Gods in my Audible library, but haven’t listened yet….glad to see your opinion. I love Neil Gaiman’s storytelling style.


Roberta April 30, 2018 at 5:43 am

Liz, I just found out that Neil Gaiman wrote the script for the (BBC) Good Omens that will be coming out in 2019, with David Tennant as Crowley. I’m really curious!


Lisa April 27, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Yeah for the IKEA latte machine. I’d be there every day! I also miss IKEA in Germany…1 euro glasses of delicious Prosecco.


Teresa Young April 27, 2018 at 4:44 pm

1- Sold 2 dolls on FB Marketplace – cash for the vacation fund!

2- Menu planned & stuck to my grocery list

3- Walked to the library to pick up items on hold. Forgot my library card. Walked home to get it. Drove back to the library, because.

4- Husband borrowed a European adapter plug instead of buying one for an upcoming business trip to London

5- Planning a frugal day with a friend while husband is away – a walk, weather permitting, and a visit to a local used book store.


K D April 27, 2018 at 4:46 pm

1. I stopped at Safeway for my free carton of orange juice. I also picked up a gift card. I found $.60 in the Coin Star.

2. Staples emailed a $5 Rewards. I stopped an used it towards a items on clearance.

3. No lunches out this week. Those I might normally dine with had busy schedules.

4. I worked in the yard for fresh air and exercise. Yard waste is picked up every other week this time of year. Our property tax bill includes a charge for trash, recycling, and yard waste pick up.

5. We gave away a chipper that we were not going to use. It was only at the curb for a few minutes. Our neighborhood will have it’s annual yard sale next weekend. I’ll spend some time this next week finding items to put out.


Bethany April 27, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Good for you on the $5 rewards. I’ve gotten a lot of those in the last year. I seem to be on a dry spell, but it should start back up during the back-to-school season.


Mand01 April 27, 2018 at 5:01 pm

It’s been a frugal/not frugal week here as I’ve been off for school holidays and I’ve committed to spoiling my children. But I didn’t overspend and we had a lovely week together.
1. I made a big batch of pumpkin soup for a sick friend. Cost to me: about $1, as I grew the pumpkins and made the chicken stock.
2. I made blueberry muffins and chocolate chip cookies entirely from ingredients on hand.
3. I made another big batch of chicken stock.
4. Planted more brassica and Asian greens seeds for winter vegetables.
5. Went thrift shopping and bought a new pair of leather heels for work , still with tags, for $15


Catherine April 27, 2018 at 5:31 pm

Yay for the ikea family thing. I’ve always take advantage of that.

This month is my birthday so I’ve been taking advantage of the loyalty programs in my area.

1. Free 32 oz fancy drink at Coffee Bean with any amount of shots/ whip cream/ most expensive milk they had. Think it was coconut milk or soy.

2. Same thing at any other coffee house (peets) in the afternoon.

3. Almost free small ice cream at Bruster’s. $3 off on a $3.75 cup.

4. Earlier that day cashed in my free bday meal at ikea.

5. Lots of bathroom trips from all that coffee throughout the day.


Rosanne April 28, 2018 at 3:10 am

Don’t forget the ikea coupon when you sign up for emails! $15 off any purchase- even if it is only $15.01. That is a great birthday freebie.


Liz B. April 29, 2018 at 11:13 am

Nice job on the birthday freebies! I looooove Peets bagged coffee from the grocery store, but I only buy it when it’s heavily discounted (recently scored some for $5.99 a bag, plus had a coupon….):-)


Emily L April 27, 2018 at 6:35 pm

1. Exhumed some frozen sweet potato puree from the freezer. I partially thawed it then divided it into ice cube sized pieces to use in the overnight oats I take to work. I usually use canned pumpkin for my oats and am happy to have found a use for this puree. I originally intended to make a sweet potato pie from the puree, but it was a white flesh sweet potato which made green puree. Would it have been a green pie? Now we’ll never know. It tastes pretty good in the oats, though.
2. Took my lunch to work all week. I always do this as hospital cafeteria food isn’t a temptation.
3. Wore thrifted scrubs to my RN job at the hospital.
4. Cleaned up a yard sale gas grill I bought last fall and started using it. It’s a Holland, and I bought it for $20. It works splendidly and grilling saves me pots, pans, and kitchen cleanup after meals.
5. I’ve been reading library books for free entertainment (right now I’m reading Eve Schaub’s “A Year Of No Sugar” and it’s fantastic) and basically just not buying stuff. Passive frugality for the win!


kathleen April 27, 2018 at 7:57 pm

1. Just finished a five-week job with commute. Way beyond my normal routine. Next week I don’t have one thing on my calendar…I may not leave the house…heck, I may not leave my bedroom!
2. Checked my library ebook site for a book that was recommended to me today. Not only did they have it, there was no wait list! A reason to stay in bed next week! 🙂
3. Out of the last five weeks, I think I only went out for lunch twice. Stayed in and read or wrote letters instead while eating packed lunches. Proud of myself, as this is massive progress.
4. I was out of brow powder, and decided to look at Dollar Tree while I was there. Found a matte eye shadow in 4 pack with two of the colors being a gray and a charcoal. I just put a little water on my brow/liner brush and used a combination of the two colors to brush in my brows. Worked fine, and only a buck.
5. My husband wants to go out for a late lunch tomorrow. I’ve been dying for hot & sour soup since I’ve had a cough and sore throat the past three days. I have a gift card for a home cooking place though, so I think I will see what their soup of the day is tomorrow. Hubs would actually prefer that place over Chinese restaurant, so would be fine with a change of plan.


Sandra April 28, 2018 at 11:05 am

I use Dollar Tree powdered eye shadow for eye liner, too. In fact, I use many cosmetic products from Dollar Tree and am satisfied with the results and love the BIG savings.


rebecca April 27, 2018 at 7:58 pm

1. I took some bagels, pineapple and juice home from a meeting. It was all just going to get thrown out.
2. Had a coffee there as well.
3. Found some branches for the fire pit.
4. Resisted takeout tonight after a long week and made what I had in the fridge.
5. Brought my lawn furniture out and the rain washed the shed dust off it.


Ruby April 27, 2018 at 8:04 pm

1. Wearing thrifted summer pajamas. So cute! So inexpensive!
2. Got a professionally made picture frame and mat at Salvation Army to frame a print. Cost was $9 and a small amount of shed blood when I cut myself washing the glass.
3. Used the new handbag sewn out of remnants and love it.
4. Found a dime and quarter under the floor mat of my car. Clearly some big spender has been borrowing my car!
5. Bought coffee and mixed nuts at half price at the clearance store. Yummy!


Lee April 27, 2018 at 8:46 pm

I experienced sticker shock when I was shopping for a new set of sheets, so I patched the old ones. I’ve decided this is cool in a non-consumer wabi sabi sort of way.


Shannon April 28, 2018 at 4:16 am

Glad to see you posting again!

Re: moss – if the moss is on pavement, cheap table salt spread thinly will kill it. It worked wonders for the seam in our driveway. 19 cent can of salt vs. poison for the same effect, keeping our ridiculously overpaid HOA happy = priceless so I’m happy to share the tip.


Christine April 28, 2018 at 5:48 pm

I use table salt to kill weeds growing up through cracks in the pavement in the driveway. I agree it’s better for the environment than the poisons that are expensive anyway.


susanna d April 28, 2018 at 5:02 am

1. Saw that a local realtor is having a seminar next month for prospective home sellers. Since there’s a 90% chance we’ll be putting our home on the market next spring, I signed us up. Lots of speakers, hopefully lots of info, and the seminar is free. Since this will be our first time selling in what is largely a vacation home market, I’d like to gather as much info as I can before we actually list.
2. Last week’s vacation showed that I could lose a few pounds or twenty. I felt like a sausage stuffing myself into my swimsuit. Since I feel losing weight should not cost me extra for special “diet” foods, etc. I’m on a lose weight frugally mission. First and foremost – eating less food will save money. Period.
3. Wanted to make black bean burgers but didn’t have any eggs in the house – well, except hard boiled ones which wouldn’t work. Rather than waste gasoline going to the store (we live in an area with a walkability score of ZERO) I put together a tomato/chickpea curry stew. Subbed in a few ingredients there, and it turned out even better than usual. And gave me enough healthy lunches until I made my regularly scheduled trip to the stores.
4. Exercise is free, free, free. While the trails in the woods unfortunately are still snow/ice covered, the road are clear and go right past the forests and several lakes. Plenty of opportunities for beautiful walks until the woods finally clear out.
5. Continuing to break down the giant snowbanks in the yard is providing a great, free upper body workout to balance all the extra walking.


Jennifer April 28, 2018 at 6:34 am

1) Used a reward at Starbucks on my weekly date with dh. Got a Venti Mocha, yum!
2) Thawing black beans to go with rice and salsa for an easy taco dinner my dh can put together tonight. I will be working.
3) Going to pack up my ds at college and help him clean tomorrow. He is there until Thursday, but we can only go help on the weekend. He is about out of food, so I am scrounging around the house for easy things I can take him to patch through until he comes home.
4) Cashed in my CC points to cover a hotel room we needed when we were on a college tour.
5) Was able to transition the new dog to the food my old dog ate. We had 2.5 large bags left when the old dog passed, so this is a win for sure. We love our new dog, but sure miss the old one.
6) Dh fixed our dryer himself. $90 part to replace the heating element.


Bettypants April 28, 2018 at 6:47 am

1. Bought a bunch of stuff at my favorite church rummage sale yesterday, including two small cast iron pans for $1 each, which turned out to be Griswold and should be easy to sell. I went back this morning for the 1/2 off sale. Remembered I needed a wooden spoon and found a Pampered Chef bamboo spoon for a dime.

2. I’m back to listing a few items every day on the FB boards. I spent less than $15 total at the rummage sale, and have three of those items being picked up today, for a total of $19.

3. My Shark vacuum hose ripped, which I was very not pleased about. It was right at the top, so I took the handle apart, cut and reattached the hose, so it works again. I love the vacuum, but I don’t think the hose should fall apart after 4 years.

4. Invited my friend over for dinner. We walked to 2 Little Free Libraries in town, where we each found a book we wanted. I will walk back this weekend and add to their boxes.

5. On the way to the rummage sale, I found a beautiful blue pottery lamp with shade someone had put out for free. My son’s room is blue and green, and I have been looking for a bedside lamp. Really can’t believe how perfectly that worked out for me.


A. Marie April 28, 2018 at 10:54 am

Griswold cast iron at $1 each for the win!! I haven’t seen decent cast iron at any of my usual sources around here in some years, so I’m glad I built up a collection of “doomerware” back in the day. (I call it that because I anticipate using it to cook over a campfire outside after civilization collapses. Only half-kidding.)


Bee April 28, 2018 at 12:05 pm

It sounds like you had a wonderful rummage! Only $1 for Griswold cast iron — amazing!


Bettypants April 29, 2018 at 2:19 pm

Thanks ladies! There is always a line to get into this rummage sale when it opens. I was happy with my decision to start in the kitchen area.


janine April 28, 2018 at 6:47 am

Frugal travel edition. Some wins and some losses.
1. Picked up hybrid car in Denver. Good price; excellent gas mileage.
2. Got one night’s stay for $28 using points. Hotel provided breakfast and also grabbed oranges and apples to snack on.
3. Restaurant meals fair to mediocre. Tried to be as frugal as possible with menu items – drank mostly water although a few stops for McDonald cokes along the way. Stopped for runzas – a Nebraska specialty stuffed sandwich.
4. Kept to budget in gift purchases. Hats and t-shirts which our kids will wear.
5. Plan to do a recap on the trip. We travel just infrequently enough to forget the tricks of the trade the next time we venture forth. Forgot water bottles; first stop should have been grocery sore for cheap snacks. We flew out so couldn’t pack much, but drove home which would have allowed us to add food.


janine April 30, 2018 at 5:29 am

RE#5 – should have been grocery STORE! Hate those typos and poor spell checking skills.


Danielle April 28, 2018 at 7:09 am

1. Scheduled a recent doctor appointment as an annual physical, which had no copay. Insisted on non-fasting blood tests as I can not get to the lab early enough and doctor agreed that wasn’t really necessary anyway. Took care of forms for work and a bunch of other requests all at once.

2. Ate salad even though it was raining

3. Made 10 greeting cards for upcoming events. They’re very simple water color on blank white cards but they’ll work for all the upcoming anniversaries and graduations. It was also very relaxing to do some crafting!

4. Once I got home, I saw on my receipt from Winco that I was overcharged on my very first bulk item purchase there. (Walnuts cost more than the oats I was buying! Cashier typed 2514 instead of 2154 – a $15 overcharge!) I know I can’t get back to that store for at least a week, so I called and spoke to a manager. She gave me the names to mention when I come in for a refund.

5. Met a friend to window shop for couches after doctor appointment. I knew the timing would be sketchy and she’s spendy, so I brought a sandwich and texted her such. She texted me back that I’m “such a mom” but we had fun and didn’t waste time eating out!


MommaL April 28, 2018 at 9:59 am

Danielle, I love your #2! The other day I had planned chili for dinner, and a friend said, but its nice outside. I just looked at her, hadn’t thought about the weather, just knew I’d thawed chili that day from my freezer.
My ff:
1. Grocery shopped, saved $ using competitor’s coupons, bought loss leaders, used Ibotta (still learning that app), and secret shopped at the same time.
2. Made salad using lettuce from my garden. And they are volunteers from last year, so exciting!
3. Found a couple of tops and ankle pants at GW. Used cash from a recent yard sale to pay.
4. My sheets were torn beyond repair, I did research to find some good ones that should last. I have a cali king bed, and they are so hard to find second hand, so I bought sheets to last.
5. DH is injured, so I did his yardwork this week. Frugal because I really wanted to hire a teenager to do it.
Frugal fail: DH admitted he had used bleach on the sheets, and they ripped soon after. At least it tore on his side, so he swears he will not do that again. And it was concentrated bleach, poured right on……


Linda Gertig April 29, 2018 at 9:59 am

I have a California King bed, too. Where did you find your sheets?


MommaL April 29, 2018 at 12:25 pm

I researched for two weeks, looking at weaves, materials, etc and I’m pretty picky about sheets. My sleep is uber important to my health, and my skin is really sensitive. SO….I spent a lot of money (in my opinion) but I have heard these sheets will last a really long time. I got them from Brooklinen. I plan to use them for years and years. I’d better, for what they cost.
Last time, I got some very good sheets (about 15 years ago) on Overstock. Sometimes they have great brands there for a lot less.
I feel like it was a bit of a frugal fail, but not if it 1. helps us to sleep, and 2. last for a decade, like the last ones. (I feel like I’m apologizing for the cost…we are all about saving money and not buying new!)


Bee April 28, 2018 at 10:45 am

I love the way your family celebrates birthdays!
Here are five of the frugal things that I did this week:
1) My gardenia bushes are in bloom. I cut 1/2 dozen blossoms and floated them in a crystal bowl that once belonged to my mother. They are sitting on the table in the entry way and make me smile every time I pass.

2) I love clothes. This creates are moral dilemma for me. The plethora of environmental and humanitarian costs associated with the fashion industry makes me un easy. Thus, I buy almost everything used. This week I purchased a pair of beautiful, classic Cole Hahn boots at the Goodwill. They looked as though they had never been worn. Buying off season can save money — even in thrift stores. I frayed the.bottom of a pair of $3.50 secondhand jeans. They look cute. Trendy, no waste, and next year they will be made into shorts.

3) I have made great use of the library this week. I used the overdrive app to download a book to listen to while I did my spring cleaning. Gosh I do hate to do housework, and this makes the tasks so much more enjoyable. I also checked out a book and the most recent issue of my favorite magazine. I had discontinued my subscription to save money and to reduce clutter. I will see how this works for me.

4) We rented The Darkest Hour at the Redbox location and received a code for a free rental. Two movies for $1.87 really can’t be beat.. We have no plans this evening, so we will ride our bikes to return it.Then perhaps we will choose something else.

5) This afternoon I am making banana bread from some overripe fruit. I am also prepping the fruit and veggies in my farm basket. We went to a state park beach earlier today and used our annual pass. We did not stop for lunch on the way home. It has been a nice peaceful Saturday.

Happy weekend everyone!


Tracy April 30, 2018 at 6:08 am

Bee I share both your love of clothes and the moral dilemma this presents given the human and environmental costs associated with the fashion industry. Score on the Cole Haan boots! I also try and buy mostly used and when I do buy new I try and avoid ‘trendy’ and stick with pieces I will wear for a long time. But I am not perfect at this…


Bee April 30, 2018 at 11:59 am

Thank you for sharing this. As I try to become more mindful of how and where I spend my money, I have to do battle with myself from time to time. Clothing is my vice, but I suppose that we all have an Achilles Heel.


A. Marie April 28, 2018 at 11:29 am

FFT, Spring at Last Edition:

(1) To the Regional Market with DH this morning. It was the last Saturday for the market’s winter configuration; spring will be springing there next week. Meanwhile, we stocked up on the usual winter goodies and said goodbye to a couple of vendors who don’t work the spring/summer market.

(2) I had a plan to hit the first charity chicken BBQ of the season at a fire department in the northern part of the county, so I planned a route north from the Regional Market that would take in a Wegmans (primarily for bottle return purposes; $10 in bottle slips off our groceries) and two thrift stores. The best finds from the thrifts were two new-in-packaging real bayberry pillar candles from a now-defunct local candle factory. Those babies will get used next Xmas!

(3) We were a bit disappointed in the BBQ, since it is now takeout only (we used to enjoy chowing down in the fire hall amidst the fire trucks) and since it wasn’t as good as it used to be (unevenly seasoned chicken, and no salt in the salt potatoes!). However, we probably scored some environmental points by bringing it home and eating it with our own plates and silverware, as opposed to disposables.

(4) The rain that was predicted for 11 am held off for a few blessed hours, so I was able to get out and plant lettuce, carrots, radishes, and beets in my four big barrel planters. For gardeners over 50, barrel planters are the only way to fly for root crops (no bending over to thin, weed, or harvest, and far fewer deformed roots). I also used seed I’ve saved in my freezer, some of it from the great seed dumpster dive I did at the local Dollar General two years ago.

(5) And now I’m sitting in my recliner watching a gentle, steady rain fall on the newly planted barrels. Ahhhh. For a gardener, this is as good as it gets.


Christine April 30, 2018 at 3:04 pm

A.Marie, Could you elaborate on the barrel gardens? I have a woodchuck problem and would love to do more gardening on my deck. He wants to eat anything grown at ground level. Last year I planted tomatoes and peppers in pots which did well on the deck. Squash and cucumbers didn’t want to produce in pots. I’m guessing their roots get too big for the pots. Any ideas are welcome. Thank you.


A. Marie April 30, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Glad to, Christine. They’re really just four large barrels or barrel-type planters: one half-barrel that once was used to brew whiskey, one slightly smaller barrel that once held feta cheese (this one was a trashpick from the Mediterranean store near our Regional Market), one *huge* ceramic planter that was a gift, and one copper-plated tub that was once part of a 1920s washing machine made right here in My Upstate NY City (this one was found in the cellar of one of DH’s rental properties back in the day). I’ve never tried growing anything big like squash in them, but for the crops I’ve mentioned, they’re great.

And, boy, do I hope these turn out to be woodchuck-proof, because a woodchuck (or, more likely, a family of them) is currently building a condo in my back 40. My first effort this season to encourage them to leave was a frugal failure: I read an item in Mother Earth News recommending dropping old tennis balls soaked in undiluted ammonia down the burrows (the idea being that the fumes would hasten their departure). So I did this–tennis balls courtesy of the family for which DH and I do dog-walking–and I still have the woodchuck, plus now piles of tennis balls at all the burrow entrances. Score: Woody 1, A. Marie 0!


Ava April 28, 2018 at 2:34 pm

Too much eating out lately and travel for grandson’s birthday that included hotel and treating kids and grandkids to meals .
1. Did a restock the pantry shopping trip to Aldi and used a tv provider rewards Visa card to pay. Have enough left on the card for another trip.
2. Saved .60 a gal. on gas with grocery points.
3. Watching a library movie in episodes and eating homemade popcorn with it.
4. Went to a yard sale and spent $2 on a present a friend will love. Also got a cool flower pot for .25.
5. Stopped at a GW on our trip and looking in the book section, heard my husband gasp. He grabbed a book off the shelf and said “This is a $40 book.” We added it to his first edition collection for $3. It may end up on ebay.
6. Shortened and hemmed husband’s shorts myself.
7. My friends and I trade magazines back and forth so they get read several times. Took the ones I was finished with to my daughter, along with extra plastic bins I didn’t need, took two boxes of donations to Goodwill, took two bags of craft supplies to the scrap-made art people. Husband is working on his closet to come up with another box of donations.


Tracy April 28, 2018 at 4:37 pm

FFT, NYC edition:
Hubs and I are in NYC for a long weekend trip to celebrate both of our birthdays. Travel is not frugal but we value it highly and try to maximize value. Here are a few ways we did this trip (we leave early tomorrow am).
1. Used miles to buy plane tickets and flew on a red-eye to maximize time here and minimize hotel nights.
2. Got a great deal on a 5 star mid-town hotel, half off usual rate. Added $0 extras to bill (no mini-bar, no room service etc)
3. Got young adult kids to drive us to airport (they’ll pick us up on our return as well) and have taken public transit or walked everywhere here, including to/from JFK – $0 spent on cabs.
4. Splurged on discount tickets to a Broadway show and museum entrance fees to Frick Museum. Otherwise have done free things (we were gifted tickets to the Met). Lots of time walking the City, exploring various neighborhoods and parks (including Central Park of course). Spent a morning on Roosevelt Island, great views of Manhattan from tram.
5. Have eaten out but only two meals a day at moderate neighborhood places. Great food, not cheap but much cheaper than 5 star dining! No alcohol helps keeps things reasonable as well.


Linda Gertig April 29, 2018 at 10:04 am

I think we are beingmost frugal when we spend our money on the things WE value the most.


FrannyandDanny April 28, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Blogging as usual, but I have lost my mojo a bit recently. Opened up a teacherspayteachers account to make a little bit of extra cash, stayed in and watched a movie, eaten leftovers and cooked with some found green tomatoes.


Christine April 28, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Nice you had such a fun and frugal day with your Mom. Experiences are the best.
1. Got $38 worth of groceries for $15 and change using coupons, sales and BOGOs and a BOGT(2) deals at a local grocery store.
2. I have my navy beans bubbling away in preparation for the pot luck brunch at church tomorrow. I double the recipe which produces a massive amount of Boston Baked Beans, all for under $4.
3.Also have a Swedish Almond Cake baking in the oven for a fund raiser for the local animal shelter tomorrow. Busy day tomorrow but should be fun.
4. DH discovered half a bag of manure fertilizer in the shed. This was right after we went shopping for it and the place had sold out so we went home empty handed or should I say sh__less. Sorry, I had to say that!
5. Received a check for $20 for taking a Neilsen ratings survey. 5 minutes. This was the second part of my payment of $30 for taking it.


Lisa M. April 28, 2018 at 9:01 pm

5FF: Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel Edition

(Literally posted 16 items 2 days ago, so this will be a challenge.)

1. Had to have DD’s headlight changed on her vehicle but while I was at dealer enjoyed complimentary coffee, bottled water, warm cookies and will gift car wash to DH who has a very dirty black vehicle.
2. Found 4 aluminum cans while walking the dog and 3 aluminum cans in work parking lot, translating to 7 cents d/t recycling them annually.
3. Batched DD’s dance class with my weekend work, so a shared commute for us.
4. Enjoyed complimentary beverages and basic stocked kitchen at weekend job. Eliminates eating out/take out.
5. Forced myself to re-start exercise regime – walking the dog and using recumbent stationary bike in basement, no ongoing gym expense.


Linda Gertig April 29, 2018 at 10:13 am

Summer temps are starting here. I have to have A/C for heath reasons but have chosen to use the smallest window A/C that will do the job rather than whole house air. It has to be put in at the beginning of the season and taken out and stored in the fall rather than sitting in the back yard all year. It is mounted on the shady side of the house so it works more efficiently even though that is by the front door.


KJD509 April 29, 2018 at 11:24 am

FFT, at the end of my rope edition:

1) Cooked and ate most meals this week, and took a box of pantry staples to someone on my Buy Nothing group who had more month than money. I normally feel best when the pantry is full enough to keep the whole family alive for a month (we’ve gone as long as 10 days stuck at home for a weather emergency, so it’s not imaginary prep), but having nearly empty shelves and freezer is making me hopeful the move is coming soon.
2) Ran out of coffee beans. Had a weak pot Friday morning using about half the usual ration, drank reheated leftover yesterday, then walked the dog with a pocketful of change to a grocery store that was having a sale. Filled a sack with only the amount of beans I’ll need to get me through until I go out of town this week for less than a fancy drink at a coffee place.
3) So OVER the family-living-apart phase, having missed teacher conferences and a birthday this week. I’ve given up on being in the right frame of mind to sort and pack, so I’m just throwing things in boxes while weeping about the overwhelmingness of it all. Cheaper than drink.
4) In a moment of overwhelm and weakness, scheduled housekeepers for next week. But now that they’re coming, I’m finding the fortitude to do a lot of the work myself (while weeping) this weekend, and they only stay as long as they need, so it will be cheaper than it might be otherwise and is likely to save what’s left of my sanity.
5) One bright spot in the packing: came across some unused and undated gift certificates from Hubs’s many years in the classroom. So for our upcoming weekend visiting a son and his new fiancee, we’ll be able to serve a honeybaked ham and as many pounds of Sees candies as I can stomach ordering from the rental house kitchen.


A. Marie April 29, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Sympathy to you in what sounds like a rough time, KJD. Me, I’d probably have been hitting the drink by now. Hang in there.


KJD509 April 29, 2018 at 1:13 pm

A. Marie, knowing you’re facing a rough spot yourself makes your sympathy all the more precious. Thank you!


Bee April 29, 2018 at 4:21 pm

Hang in there! Moving is overwhelming especially when you are doing a great deal of it yourself. You have such a generous heart to think of others during this time. It was very kind of you to share your pantry with someone else. Sending hugs your way.


Sarah D April 29, 2018 at 3:01 pm

1. Made a new batch of homemade deodorant (1/3 c. each baking soda and cornstarch, 2 Tbs. each coconut oil and vitamin e or jojoba oil – stir into a paste about the consistency of cake batter and pour into reused face cream jar with a screw-on lid-it’ll harden up once the coconut oil solidifies; yes, you must apply it by hand, but it’s not hard or gross). This cost pennies to make, will last my whole family at least a month, and is seriously the ONLY natural deodorant that actually works.

2. Felt like making cookies, and found tiny bits of butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and pecans so I made “cowboy cookies” – used up bits of things I already had and needed to clear out of the pantry anyway! Plus I reused sheets of parchment paper and then washed them for another reuse. (I lost my silpat long ago and can’t stomach the cost to replace it).

3. Gave my husband a haircut. Honestly, no one can tell that he doesn’t pay for haircuts (though I’m not particularly gifted at this art – I’ve just learned to do a decent enough job over the years).

4. My husband and my father were working in the garage (building a little free library) and came across our number stencils. We all needed new curb house numbers painted, but no one had black spray paint for the background contrast. Instead of buying any, my mom located turquoise spray paint that matches her front door and provides plenty of contrast with the white numbers. I love making due with what we already own.

5. My husband is making dinner, and after the kid goes to bed we’ll watch a dvd borrowed from the public library.


Christine April 30, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for the homemade deodorant recipe. I will try it next time I run out. And I give my husband home haircuts too. Nobody can ever tell the difference, as far as I know. I mean, a buzz cut is a buzz cut.


Sarah D April 30, 2018 at 5:45 pm

Christine, one word of further advice on the deodorant: if you find that this batch makes you itch a bit (or if you have sensitive skin), you can dial up the percentage of cornstarch and down the percentage of baking soda–as long as you still have 2/3 cup total of dry ingredients.

Next hair cut up is my daughter – she’s 8 so it’s not like I have a high-schooler’s self-image at stake, but that one will be harder since she’s a curly girl!


Suzanne April 29, 2018 at 7:38 pm

1. IQ trimmed my daughter’s bangs myself.
2. Watched my neighbor’s chickens for a couple days and got 7 free eggs as payment
3. Carpooled with a different neighbor to church
4. Took the kids to the library for cheap thrills
5. Also took the kids to the neighborhood park


Suzanne April 29, 2018 at 7:38 pm

1. I trimmed my daughter’s bangs myself.
2. Watched my neighbor’s chickens for a couple days and got 7 free eggs as payment
3. Carpooled with a different neighbor to church
4. Took the kids to the library for cheap thrills
5. Also took the kids to the neighborhood park


Jenelle April 30, 2018 at 5:37 am

1. Our town offers free t-ball for kids! No need to pay enrollment fees or the need to buy equipment. So glad that my cute little town does this, it allows my little guy to participate in otherwise costly activities.
2. Re-used all of our garden stakes and chicken wire to create a fence for our garden. We found some seeds from last year at our local Mennonite farmers market for 5 for $1!! Let’s hope they are still OK.
3. Our Goodwill held a 50% off day on Sunday and I took full advantage of the sale. I was able to source some items for Ebay as well as buy myself a few cute things. It’s been a long while since I got myself anything, so I found about three summer tops that are work appropriate.
4. Though this is not 100% frugal it is a step towards making a bit more money from Ebay. Tomorrow (May 1st) Ebay will offer a “starter store” option for those who would like to list more than 50 items a month but no more than 150. This will only cost me $5 per month. As I see it, this is beneficially in allowing me to list more items but also will allow me to put my store on “vacation”. When selling regularly through Ebay, there is no way to “pause” your listings.
5. Had a pair of Keen sandals taking up space in my closet just waiting for the day when my orginal pair of Keen’s kick the bucket. Well, I decided to just list them on Ebay. In 10 minutes they sold for my entire asking price!!! I was thrilled.


Colleen April 30, 2018 at 11:30 am

1) This weekend I went to a brunch event that I had gotten free tickets for with my sister. I parked a little further to get free parking. All day she kept having to check an app and reload her parking meter but I didn’t have to worry about any of that.

2) Now that my semester has ended, I sold 2 textbooks back through Chegg. I always used to sell them on but that no longer exists. Although I didn’t get as much as I would’ve, Chegg was easy because it just involved printing the label and shipping.

3) I got the Hepatitis A vaccine. I made sure that it would be free through my insurance. There have been a ton of outbreaks at restaurants near me lately (Michigan) so avoiding getting sick is a good, frugal thing.

4) I was looking forward to my first Zayon chicken delivery in June but then they changed the pick up date on me to a day that would not work with my schedule. I had been eating down the freezer in order to make room for it and also had avoided buying any chicken since we were about to be eating it nonstop. Luckily Kroger had a sale on Tyson chicken breasts for $1.88/lb so I bought 5 packs and we grilled a few last night.

5) Went to Walmart on my lunch break to exchange our empty propane tank for a full one. Used a $2 gift card that I earned through Shopkick and will also be mailing a $3 rebate form.


Becky at Becky's Place April 30, 2018 at 1:16 pm

We have a Franke machine where I work on weekends, too. You get it for free – what a steal! They’re normally just under $3 (except Mondays when they’re $1) each.


Carolyn May 2, 2018 at 3:56 am

1. Lawn care? We mow only, no fertilizer or pesticides and we like dandelions, great for our bees. And hubby wants to put in clover which is even less maintenance and more environmentally friendly than grass. Its still green.
2. Got started raising chickens with 2 dozen birds, feed costs up front but will be getting fresh eggs daily and have a few friends interested in buying eggs, so will see a small cash flow but they will be fresh organic eggs, not store bought guess what they were treated with variety.
3. Getting my garden planted so fresh vegetables from the garden taste better and beat grocery store prices. When I am picking 6 quarts of blueberries every other day and they are $8 a quart in the store, I smile and enjoy the great taste even more.
4. Getting my hair trimmed this weekend. Every other month I take a seat on the stool, hubby capes me, combs out, sections, pins up and meticulously trims my tresses. I get a glass of red wine to sip during the process. I enjoy the pampering and hubby always does a great job with my FREE haircuts. My hair doesn’t grow evenly and I am very picky about my ends being kept neatly trimmed. I notice other women that let theirs go too long between trims and it is obvious. My weirdness I guess.
5. Hubby sharpened the kitchen knives and did my mom’s too! They cut better then when they were new. He needs to do the mower blades next week as the grass is starting to grow and will need to be mowed.


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