Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 18, 2018 · 61 comments

  1. I was going to get together with some former co-workers, but sadly those plans fell through. Instead of letting the day go to waste, I spent a couple of hours puttering around the house and then texted my friend Lise asking if she had any errands to run. Luckily we both needed to go to the credit union, so we ended up taking an hour long walk together. For free. Being on a tight budget doesn’t bar you from enjoying a social life.

  2. My husband and I celebrated his birthday by spending our money on experiences instead of stuff. Lunch at a restaurant he’d been wanting to try, then a walk through a beautiful Portland neighborhood and topped off with kielbasa and beers in a nearby bar. Neither of us need any more stuff, and dedicating the day to making memories instead of buying things fit the bill perfectly.

  3. The drain in our bathtub had been sluggish, so I taped off the overflow valve and then plunged the drain until the blockage was dislodged. This may sound like a small frugal victory, but being able to maintain our house without hiring outside help has saved us countless thousands of dollars over the past 21 years.

  4. I sold an American Girl doll and a pair of Danskos through Facebook Marketplace, (both thrifted from Goodwill) my husband scored free Timbers soccer tickets through his employer and I took apart my vacuum cleaner and scrubbed all the grubby stuff out of the paper filter instead of replacing it.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life May 18, 2018 at 10:49 pm

We stocked up on food staples and split a 100-pack of corn tortillas with friends so we’ll be able to make MANY GF meals at home easily.

We arranged to stay with friends for our vacation, spending on much anticipated gifts, food and experiences to share with them instead of lodgings, both saving us money and making the holiday extra special and memorable. We’ll return the favor of hosting them later this year or next.

I’m only watching the stock market to record earnings and ignoring all the ups and downs in between – I avoid stress and panic selling, while sticking to my long term strategy to buy and hold.


Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life May 18, 2018 at 10:50 pm

Also while I ogled lovely work clothes at MMLefleur I remembered that at this point in my career, I don’t need anything nice and fancy. I can keep up my no-buying clothes streak a little longer. At least until my Target tees finally sprout holes too big to ignore.


Mand01 May 19, 2018 at 4:37 am

1. Watched the Royal Wedding at a potluck dinner party. Good company and free entertainment.
2. Traveled for work. Spent less than half of my per diem by taking meal replacement shakes with me for dinner and only buying lunch. The shakes are fine for a couple of nights.
3. Found $20 in my cupboard. Didn’t know it was there! Score.
4. Got avocados for $1.29 each today. We love them but I usually only buy two a week due to the cost. I bought four.
5. I’ve almost hit my goal weight. Only half a kilo to go – spent no extra money, just counted calories on my Fitbit app.


Liz B. May 19, 2018 at 4:44 am

Great photo of the two of you, Katy! Happy birthday to your hubby. Sounds like a great way to spend the day together.

My fft, Taking One For The Team Edition:
1) Took my mom out for Indian the Saturday before Mothers Day. She’s 84, and doesn’t need (or want) anything, and none of her friends will try Indian food (which she loves), so it was perfect. Had leftovers for two more meals. Mom didn’t want the leftover naan or rice, so we ate it with our other leftovers.
2) Mom brought over chocolate covered strawberries (9 of them! they were huge!) that one of my sisters had sent her. Mom looooves them, but is watching her weight, so didn’t want to gain weight. Yum!! Happy to prevent food waste, this was an easy one to take for the team.
3) Took leftover pizza to work for lunch all this week. My son’s school had a fund raiser with a local pizza parlor, and hubby ordered way too much. Good for the school, plus lunches all week.
4) Made blueberry muffins for my son’s before/after-school program teachers using ingredients I had on hand. Some of the muffins didn’t look so hot, so hubby and I made the ultimate sacrifice and took some for the team. Leftover homemade muffins? yes, please.
5) Brought homemade salad dressings to work for a potluck soup and salad lunch we gave for a co-worker who took a different position in the organization. Used up leftover dressings in salads at home (trying to counteract the effects of chocolate covered strawberries, pizza, and muffins, lol!).
Did all my usual things….made my own coffee, used coupons, didn’t buy anything gold plated or vulgar. Have a good week, everyone!


susanna d May 19, 2018 at 5:29 am

1. Found another $1.20 in a coin return at a Coinstar last week. It’s crazy, the money I’ve found left behind in those machines this year. I did see someone start to walk away from a different one and I could see coins left in the return. I pointed it out to her, and seemed pretty happy that I did – there were quite a few coins returned.
2. We’ve been cleaning and decluttering the basement and I found several cans of spray paint (I think I’ve already established that I love spray paint). One partial can was “hammered aluminum” or something like it, and I was confused by why I bought it until I remembered one of the bathroom wastebaskets. A very scratched up metal wastebasket. A little quality time spent with the wastebasket and the spray paint, and the wastebasket looks brand new.
3. We were going to throw out some very dingy, formerly white plastic shelves, but since we had leftover bright blue and bright green spray paint from last year’s (and this year’s) painting of the plastic Adirondack chairs, I tried spraying some of the shelves and using sections of them to make matching tables for the painted chairs. Turned out great.
4. We’ll be taking advantage of the incredibly dry spring weather to build a second shed this upcoming week. We have several yard items (tiller, lawn mower) that we never had room for in the garage or other shed. It’ll look a lot better (they’ve been living under tarps for a few years), the tools will be better protected, and as always, doing things ourselves saves money.
5. Got an email from the utility company offering more free energy saving products. Free LED bulbs, power strips or other energy saving goodies. Just like last time, we’ll take advantage of the offer. Because who doesn’t like free stuff that’s actually useful AND saves you money?


Marybeth May 19, 2018 at 8:34 am

I just got 2 free LED lightbulbs for going paperless from my electric company.


Lulutoo May 19, 2018 at 9:46 am

I agree about Coinstar. I’ve found ‘leftover’ money several times.


MommaL May 19, 2018 at 11:23 am

Me too! I’ve also found car wash tokens and foreign coins. 😀


susanna d May 20, 2018 at 5:17 am

MommaL, I’ve found a few foreign coins too. No tokens, but I did find one of those round, button-type batteries in among a bunch of coins once.


Marcia May 20, 2018 at 5:26 pm

My husband wears two hearing aids–he keeps his spare batteries inside his wallet but I can see people keeping them with their change and then losing them. They are very tiny! His hearing aids are so tiny I have to ask him if he’s wearing them unless i am 2 inches from his ears.

MommaL May 19, 2018 at 5:34 am

Katy I love the cute couples pics you’ve been posting! Staying happily married is definitely frugal. 🙂
My five:
1. Lettuce is growing like crazy with all of the rain, making salads from this every day for lunch.
2. Cabbage is also growing well, cutting off the outer leaves for stir frying.
3. Wanted to buy a beautiful chair in my favorite color that a friend was selling. DH reminded me that we have plenty to sit on in our home, that even a deal costs $, so I turned it down.
4. Cutting flowers from our yard to bring to work friends. Used empty spice jars, which are really cute.
5. Found another friend to exchange coupons with, we meet on Sundays and cut and trade together. Takes just a few minutes, and I get some friendship time.


Tracy May 19, 2018 at 6:11 am

Yay a new FFT! I have been trying to be seriously frugal last week or so as I still have $1,000 to go on paying off hospital bill from February (after insurance my portion was $3,000).
1. Went to beach last weekend with Mom and daughter. Free accommodations (thanks for owning a beach house Mom!) and all food brought from home and eaten in except for some bakery treats on Mother’s Day. Also ate vegetarian as DD is vegetarian. No one missed meat.
2. Painted own toenails when I was due for a pedicure. Sounds silly but I always have this done and had never thought of doing it myself. Saved $30 and came out fine!
3. Took bus to/from work several times this past week saving $12.50/day parking. Also packed lunches.
4. Have been doing much better on grocery budget — shopped yesterday and got 5 bags of groceries (including laundry soap, dish soap and bleach) for $56 by buying what was on sale, using digital coupons, buying “woo hoo” yellow sticker items where available, getting my free Friday item (Kroger) and using my rebate.
5. Took my Mom out to a wonderful dance performance Wednesday evening as her Mother’s Day gift using previously purchased 2 for 1 tickets. Ate “happy hour” dinner beforehand — $14 for both of us (excluding her two glasses of wine, which she insisted on paying for).
6. Oldest DD and her BF came home for Mother’s Day dinner (they live 1.5 hours away). Gave me a lovely rhododendron which they planted for me, a super cozy home-made fleece blanket (great for watching tv) and a Goodwill gift card! Was able to find two beautiful clothing items (soft wool bell sleeved Banana Republic sweater plus gorgeous sleeveless flowy silk blouse) for $12 with money left over for another shopping trip!


Bee May 19, 2018 at 12:22 pm

I am sorry about the large hospital bill, I also have a rather large one from an emergency room visit in March. I am glad that you are well now.


Tracy May 19, 2018 at 6:56 pm

Thank you Bee I hope you are fully recovered.


K D May 19, 2018 at 6:19 am

1. All meals have been at home or packed from home this week. The freezer, refrigerator and pantry shelves are looking a bit more bare.

2. Stopped at SAM’S Club to buy bananas and spinach. Discovered that Band-Aids were clearance priced (It looks like they are changing the look of the merchandise). I bought a couple of boxes, 170 Band-Aids for $4.91/box.

3. I bought a new to me car. I consulted Consumer Reports for good used car buys and bought something we could afford with the funds we had on hand. It’s not fancy but I’m happy with it (all the options on new cars overwhelm me).

4. Evening entertainment is a streamed TV show/movie (free via a network website or Netflix) and charity knitting. Someone gave me yarn to use the other day, for seafarer hats.

5. My husband really needed new dress belts for work. Men’s Wearhouse had a one day sale. Combined with a rewards certificate they were practically free (they were made in Italy and are hopefully of good quality).


Ava May 19, 2018 at 6:21 am

I haven’t commented in a while and we have been on the eating- out wagon again. I will see what I can come up with.
1. Had a pedicure at the beauty academy. Cheap and professional. I only get them in warm weather when my toes are exposed.
2. Insurance denied coverage for a dental procedure I had. I did not expect to change the outcome but I filed a grievance and asked the provider to write a letter explaining why he took the steps he did. They changed their decision and we got a check in the mail.
3. I planted my romaine stalk ends in the garden and they are growing new leaves. I also reworked some of my garden boxes, replacing them with kiddie pools. Money was spent, but I consider it an investment in the future. The pool I had last year worked great. I have tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, beans and peppers growing.
4. Took in another of my husband’s t shirts to better fit me.
5. We have been missing our little black kitten who passed away last year. We went to animal control just to look and there was a 4 month old black kitten eager to come home with us. I did not expect any discount on a kitten since more people want kittens than older cats, but we received a senior discount. Our fee was only $20 and he is already neutered, micro chipped and has his first shots. He is absolutely delightful.
6. This is not frugal for us, but an example of how we try not to take advantage of the system, hoping there will be a trickle down effect that helps somebody else. My husband was in a car accident a few days ago. The other person was at fault. I suspect our car is totaled. We are waiting to hear if insurance will think so. We turned down the offer of a rental car because we don’t have jobs to go to and we have my car for transportation. One friend couldn’t see why we didn’t ask for a rental because “it wouldn’t cost you anything.” Same friend said “you need to get a lawyer right away” for maximum benefit. We have been bombarded with “ambulance chasers” to the point that I stopped answering the phone. My husband has a bruise from the seat belt and scrapes from the airbag but otherwise seems ok. He does not feel that he needs compensation for injuries. We just want the car repaired or replaced. We don’t see the accident as an opportunity for profit.


Christine May 19, 2018 at 9:15 am

Hooray and kudos for your honesty dealing with the insurance company. I believe it does have a trickle down effect for all of us and our insurance costs. Plus it makes for a good night’s sleep!
And have fun with your new kitten! You indeed got a deal on him. At the shelter where I volunteer, kittens under one year old cost $175. And they are not microchipped. But best of all, he has a home. Solid colored cats are notoriously hard for shelters to adopt out. I guess the patterns on the other kitties are more appealing. Sad face here. But happy face for your kitten!


Bethany May 19, 2018 at 10:22 am

Enjoy your new kitty! $20 for neutered and microchipped sounds like a bargain!!!


Ava May 19, 2018 at 12:45 pm

We certainly got our money’s worth in entertainment already!


Marcia May 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

Good for you for not taking advantage. When my granddaughter was only 2 or 3, her mother took her to one of those indoor playgrounds, and was not aware the slide was as high as it turned out to be. She was such a little girl that she bounced from side to side down the slide–a long one–and broke 4 knuckles. She was dismayed by the person on duty’s lack of concern, but once they reported the incident, the company sent a BOX of gifts for the kid during her recovery. Her poor hand was in a cast for some time, up to the elbow, but DD had no intentions of suing. The slide was SIGNED in the future–it was actually three stories high and children that small should not have been on it. But there was no signage BEFORE hand!


Mand01 May 21, 2018 at 1:26 am

I have severe allergies. About 15 years ago I had a reaction to some crackers that had no warning label on the ingredients. After I returned from hospital I called the company to inform them of my reaction. They were extremely defensive and insisted that it wasn’t possible their product could have caused the reaction. I told them I had no intention of suing (honestly, I didn’t) – I just needed them to know their product contained an allergen. Anyway two weeks later I received two more packets of crackers!!
About six months later the packs all included a warning label.
I never sued but I never bought their crackers again!


Jennifer@thefrugaldribble May 19, 2018 at 6:41 am

1. Preparing for a upcoming trip. We are taking most of the food with us since we will be in a condo.
2. I cooked some seasoned ground beef for tacos. I wrapped it well and put it in the freezer. This meat chunk will serve as more ice in the cooler to keep food cool on the way. We always have a taco night.
3. My mom is doing the same thing with pulled pork for her cooler
4. I’m debating on switching to insurance that is less expensive with no deductible. I must be losing something to not have to pay that big deductible. I’m gonna research it a bit more.
5. Kids are out of school so no more packing lunches for awhile!


Jennifer May 19, 2018 at 7:27 am

Decided to try a “no-spend” weekday week. I went 5 days without spending any money and it was so freeing!

1) Ordered my herbal supplements online at $3 a bottle versus $7 a bottle at the store.
2) Had lunch for free at work yesterday. Wasn’t the greatest, but saved my own food for another meal.
3) Came home from work with 2 leftover bagels from a weekly meal prep course we do for the students.
4) Sorted through the leftover food my ds brought back from college and am either donating or eating it.
5) It was my turn to buy the scouts camp-out food. I got to bring home the leftovers which included a lot of lunchmeat – something we rarely buy but the kids love.
6) Someone new to our gymnastics place wanted to set up a carpool with me. But my oldest just drives my girls back and forth each time and I never have to go. Negotiated $4 a day in pay for my dd to drive her dd. $20 a week gas money for a broke teen is huge!
7) Ate vegetarian for dinner twice this week.


Carol May 19, 2018 at 7:27 am

Get an under $5 “Zip it” plastic, tooth edged drain snake from the hardware and run it down the tub/sink drains every month as a preventative measure. Saves an expensive call to the plumber and you will be amazed at what you pull up-usually a ton of long hair.


Marybeth May 19, 2018 at 8:26 am

1.College is ending by us. I have always heard about people that go to campuses when everyone is moving out. So I convinced Hubby to come with me. We didn’t go into any dumpsters, just took stuff next to the full ones. We ended up getting 8 mini fridges all in great shape, a shop vac, a small vacuum, a bike frame, a glass jar and a lot of wires/chargers.
2. My son washed all of the fridges for me while I was at work. They all work. I will be listing them this weekend on Craigslist. Hoping to get back to the school as final move out is Sunday.
3. Went to the dentist. It is covered under my insurance. Got a free toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.
4. Had lots of leftovers in the fridge so that is what we had for dinner.
5. Got asked to work an extra shift so I did. Brought hardboiled eggs and an apple for lunch.


Bethany May 19, 2018 at 10:24 am

Wowzers! Amazing finds with those fridges and other assorted things.


Bettypants May 19, 2018 at 8:32 am

1. A decluttering friend gave me 2 full gallons of paint. I am using the color I like to paint our hallway, and sold the other gallon on a FB sale board for $7. Replaced the naked bulb in the hallway with a nice fixture I had bought on clearance. Since I had my paint clothes on, I touched up a few scuffed spots in another area.

2. Yard sales on Thurs yielded some good stuff to resell. A pair of like new Danskos XP clogs, a large Coach wristlet, and a DVD/VHS combo player, each for $5. Bought some shelves for $2.50 that I will paint to resell, a Le Creuset pie plate for $2, and a vintage Pyrex bowl for a quarter.

3. Bought a stack of vintage Nancy Drew books at the library sale two weeks ago for $3, which I sold on ebay for $20. Also sold a stack of Dr. Seuss books on a FB board for $12.

4. The ebay seller who reported the item he bought from me as “not as described” did not follow through, and the case was closed in my favor. What a pain in the arse, as I had to call ebay twice to get it closed. Buyers don’t look at photos or read descriptions and it is the seller’s problem.

5. My coworker gave me some spider plant babies, which I am rooting in water. My office ordered lunch for us yesterday, and we went for a nice 30 minute walk in town afterwards.


Mary in VA May 24, 2018 at 7:21 am

Re: #2, I’m so glad the weather is getting warmer and summer is almost here. Yard sale season will be in full swing! Looking forward to buying items to resell. One of these days I’ll find that priceless treasure that allows me to retire–but until then I love the hunt. 🙂


Christine May 19, 2018 at 8:57 am

1. Received a $10 off anything coupon in the mail for a new store in the area. Used it and bought an 18 pound bag of cat food for $2.22. With two cats it should last a couple of months.
2. Helped a friend pick out furniture for a newly inherited beach house on Cape Cod. She drove us to there in her car and bought me a delicious seafood lunch for helping her. Great day with a lovely friend.
3. Going to DD’s house tonight for a birthday party for my granddaughter. She asked me to bring a side dish so I was thinking of all kinds of fancy schmancy dishes to take over there. Finally came to my frugal senses and decided to bring something using ingredients I have here. Macaroni and cheese it is!
4. Anybody have a good recipe for rhubarb bread? I had one years ago and lost it. I want a tried and true recipe…not something I can pull off the internet. Thanks in advance. I have an over abundance of rhubarb in my yard and would like to use it.
5. The usual…cooking at home, reading library books, walking trails for exercise.


Crosby May 19, 2018 at 10:06 am

1. Last night I was tempted to grab my partner and head out for dinner and drinks somewhere with a patio since the weather was so nice. Instead we stayed home, I put on some music, opened a bottle of wine, and danced around the kitchen as I cooked a frittata with ingredients we had on hand. After dinner, we went for a long walk with the dog.
2. Free exercise – went for my longest run this morning. I started running this winter and I have my first 5k race in June. Found a penny on the stairs in our apartment when I came home.
3. Had banana bread for breakfast that my partner made to save a few bananas that were going to go bad.
4. Ate leftovers for lunch.
5. We’re attending a wedding tonight and instead of spending money on a gift, my partner is a photographer and he offered to shoot their wedding free of charge as our wedding gift. I will also use a card that I already have on hand.


Bethany May 19, 2018 at 10:09 am

Drove down to the Cabrillo National Monument with the kids. It was such a lovely day for gazing at the San Diego Bay! Free and super great activity for the kids with the ipads and apps they loaned us for plant identification. We brought a friend. That motivated the kids to be pleasant. We all packed a lunch and didn’t even go out for ice cream. Loved it.

DH is out of town. I usually use that time to reach out to my single friends, had two of them over last night. Both are a couple decades older than I. They have so much in common, both are lonely, and both are fabulous people. Hoping they can establish a friendship, and one could really use some wholesome influences in her life. Both showed interest in coming back tonight to watch the Royal Wedding tonight off my DVR and enjoying the second half of the dessert.

One of my friends that I had over last night offered to give me a haircut. I had mentioned I needed a trim, and offered to help me out. I also told them of asking my husband, fiancé at the time to cut mine, but when he manhandled it in one big clump and started bringing the scissors to it, I panicked and told him no. She cuts her own hair and does such a nice job and I cut the other lady’s hair when she needs it. It goes full circle…almost. LOL! Saving us some MOOLA!

Did my Costco run yesterday. Batch errand it with a kid’s consignment sale held at a church in that town. Only got 3 things. Spent $7, and wasn’t sorry I had gone, but it would have been a bust if that’s the only thing I had gone to that town for. Also stopped by the lovely orange groves for my 25 lb bag of oranges. I like to sell these bags on eBay when my family has eaten through 4 or 5 of them. They are oddly popular items to sell.

Helped the kids clear out their toy room. Decided we didn’t need a toy box and a basket for toys. Listed the large basket on Varagesale. Already have one nibble. Hoping she stops by today to get it.


Bettypants May 20, 2018 at 3:19 am

HA HA, your husband’s hair cutting approach! I’m sure the ol’ clutch & clump would have resulted in a lovely style for you.


Bethany May 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm

LOL, right!?!!


cathy May 19, 2018 at 10:44 am

1. Had to replace the alternator in our 2001 Subaru even though we’d replaced it ~4 yrs ago. The (very honest) shop where we take our cars discovered that the manufacturer had changed the warranty from 2-year to lifetime and was able to get us the lifetime warranty retroactively. So we only paid for the labor. Before getting the car to the shop, we had it jumpstarted one day, then towed the next. Both expenses reimbursed by our insurance.
2. Husband has the knack for listing and selling misc items. Sold a trailer rack we’ve had well over 10 years on a local classifieds website, as well as a lot of musical equipment (speakers, amps, microphones).
3. Went to a cousin’s bar mitzvah. HS-aged son has grown A LOT since the last time he had to get dressed up, but is still very thin. Opened his closet and found the suit coat he wore before must have been large then and fit perfectly now. He’d outgrown the slacks, but the slacks that were too big then were exactly the right size. Dress shirt still fit. Shoes too. So for the cost of looking through his closet, we found everything needed. Almost everything I wore all weekend was thrifted.
4. Plants, plants, plants! Was given several heirloom tomato seedlings, and an heirloom pepper plant and heirloom eggplant seedling for helping out with a plant sale. It’s just about warm enough to put them in the ground. Neighbor gave me two huge buckets of centaurea (a perennial bachelor’s buttons) that I love but re-seed a little too freely for her. Another friend gave me Star of Bethlehem and Grape Hyacinth bulbs (that spread too much for her!).
5. The usual: eating more from the freezer and pantry, wearing thrifted clothes, reading library books with plenty of inspiration: several on gardening and cooking (including 2 by Lidia Bastianich–love her show on PBS).


Dusty May 20, 2018 at 10:53 am

If u ever get to NYC be sure to check out her restaurant Eately….two locations….yummy


cathy May 21, 2018 at 6:48 am

Thanks for the recommendation!


Christine May 19, 2018 at 10:52 am

Katy, Happy Belated Birthday wishes to you husband. Sounds like you had a fun day together.


Jenzer May 19, 2018 at 12:14 pm

1 – I rescued several languishing foodstuffs from my kitchen cupboards. Herbal tea bags went to my office so I could enjoy them as afternoon pick-me-ups. Super-buttery microwave popcorn (passed on by a family member and normally too rich for my taste) we tossed together with a batch of plain air-popped corn, to eat while watching a movie. Raisins and dry-roasted peanuts I mixed with chocolate chips and set out in a jar on the kitchen island — BOOM, snacked away by multiple family members.

2 – My mom noticed our local library has several books by one of her favorite authors, titles her own library doesn’t carry. She hadn’t heard of inter-library loan services, so I offered to log in to her own library account and request the books through ILL for her (Mom has many talents, but she’s not tech-savvy). They called her when the books were ready for pick-up.

3 – We stopped by an estate sale on this morning’s errand run. I found a few items from my thrift-store want list: an electric roaster, a larger plastic Rubbermaid pitcher, a garden hoe and shovel. The Rubbermaid pitcher came in a $1 box lot that also included a beautiful, aqua-blue vintage Tupperware pitcher in great condition. Ebay says these have sold for $17 to $25. With iced tea and lemonade season upon us, I’m hoping for a quick flip in an online sale.

4 – Our garage is loooooooooong overdue for a clean-out. I made up my mind to fix what I can, one item at a time. This week I found a home for DD’s outgrown bicycle, tossed some trash, and took a box of burned-out CFL light bulbs and spent batteries to our county’s household clean-up day.

4 – DD finishes eighth grade next month, with three high-school credits already on her record. DH, DD, and I are researching graduation requirements and virtual-school offerings, because DD’s goal is to graduate high school in three years rather than four. The shortened timeline has nudged me to get savvy on the current state of college financial aid NOW.


Danielle May 23, 2018 at 5:49 am

Your #4 is pretty cool! I graduated a year early myself, so I think that is gr at. My daughter isn’t interested in graduating early but is taking as many career prep and college classes as she can while in high school (2 per semester) and the school pays for it. That’s kind of like financial aid! 😉


Bee May 19, 2018 at 12:14 pm

I missed everyone. I am so glad that FFT is back.
1) I have been cleaning out and reorganizing our home office. My husband and I must share this space, so it can be difficult to keep things organized. There is always, so much paper! Luckily, I found a very nice cross-cut shredder at an estate sale for $15 on Thursday. I have been shreading a little bit every day. Things are shaping up nicely.

2) Trying to get organizational ideas for the above mentioned office, I walked through the new IKEA that recently opened nearby.While there, I joined the store’s loyality program and enjoyed a free cappuccino. ( Thank you NCA for the heads up).

3) My husband travels frequently for work, so he belongs to many different hotel and airline loyality programs. We have saved up his points and will be going to California for a week. Total cost for airfare from Florida to California, hotel rooms and rental car comes to $63 10. That is an affordable vacation!

4) I went to the grocery store last week to buy a few things and stock up on several BOGO specials – coffee, dishwasher detergent, toilet paper. However, these items were not in stock. I went to the service desk and requested multiple rain checks which were kindly given. I will use them next time that I am at the store.

5) Lots of other little things – cooking simple meals at home, enjoying library books and my book club, selling on eBay, wearing a lovely thrift-store wardrobe, and brewing my own coffee. Today, I also awoke bright and early to watch the Royal Wedding. I was invited to a breakfast party that stared at 5am, but I decided that I might have trouble being sociable at that hour. Instead I curled up on my sofa with a kitty on my lap and freshly brewed coffee in hand. I enjoyed the morning just the same!


Mia May 19, 2018 at 7:51 pm

What part of California. I live in San Bernardino.


Bee May 20, 2018 at 3:14 am

We are going to Dana Point and then out to Catalina. Then we are heading back down to San Diego to visit family. It is already hot and humid here, so I am looking forward to cool coastal weather.


Mia May 20, 2018 at 8:06 am

My husband works at the San Diego naval base. He drives about 210 miles round trip every day. Our weather has been weird. 90’s one day, then 65 for a few, then back up to 90’s. We’re having rain today, I love the cooler weather. Any time I don’t have to turn on the A/C is a win,


Katy May 21, 2018 at 11:08 am

You’re welcome. I hope you enjoy many free Ikea coffee drinks!


Michele May 19, 2018 at 12:47 pm

1. Made some not from a mix brownies and frosted them all with ingredients I had on hand. I did buy a Reeses cup $ 1.00 pack to chop up for the top. I estimate 1/4 of the cost of a bought cake.
2. Made another batch of laundry soap today.
3. Stayed within my Mother’s Day gift card amount at TJ Maxx and got some new kitchen towels( for some reason this excites me) a toilet brush ( this does not excite me), and a candle.
4. Bought 2 skirts and 4 tops at a thrift shop for 6.36 for vacation.
T. Ate Costco hotdog 1.50 deal for our exciting Costco date last eve.


Katy May 21, 2018 at 11:07 am

The $1.50 Costco hotdog really is the cheapest dinner date on earth! My younger son and I stopped at Costco for gasoline yesterday and then treated ourselves to the same meal as we were on the road driving him back to college. Healthy tip . . . I always get the plain soda water instead of soda. Just look for the button hidden among all the regular sodas.


A. Marie May 19, 2018 at 1:20 pm

FFT, Royal Wedding Edition:

(1) DH and I watched the wedding with our 83-year-old British neighbour down the street on her wide-screen TV. DH and I got rid of our TV three years ago, but we’ll make exceptions in cases like this. It’s always more fun to watch things like this with a knowledgeable other person–and our friend is certainly knowledgeable, having gotten together with two school chums in Kent to send a wedding gift to the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947.

(2) I baked blueberry muffins (one of the few things I can bake reliably) and took them down for the wedding viewing. Our neighbour in turn supplied us with coffee sent by a friend of hers in Trinidad that was strong enough to keep us going for the rest of the day.

(3) We then drove to the May meeting of the Literary Society, where we all had a good time exchanging views on the wedding in addition to literary views. (Fun crossover fact: In the course of his naval career, one of Jane Austen’s sailor brothers met the previous Duke of Sussex–a younger son of King George III. Charles Austen found the Duke “fat, jolly, and affable,” and devoted to the woman he wasn’t allowed to marry officially because she was a commoner. My, how times have changed.)

(4) In other good news, the Project from Hell is finally out of here, and I took Wednesday through Friday off for some well-deserved fun (in addition to some unavoidable “adulting”). In particular, I was able to hit the local SA superstore on “four-tag 50% off” Wednesday, and walked out with three loaded bags–the biggest haul I’ve had from a thrift in years! (Donations from the two local colleges have obviously been rolling in as the school year ends.)

(5) I’m also slowly but surely getting the gardens planted. Although I doubt that DH will be up to the cognitive challenge of putting up our critter-deterrent motion-activated sprinklers this year, I’m trying to compensate for this by planting “smarter.” The critters may well outsmart me in the long run, but I’m having fun trying.


Melinda stookey May 19, 2018 at 2:41 pm

5 fft
1- been taking my reusable tumbler and reusable straw with me on all by errands
2- take the bus for errands or walk (bus is only 50 cents one way so round trip cost 1.00)
3- been using my crockpot more since it’s getting warmer, record temps of 90* degrees last few days
4- using up leftovers for new meals or lunches
5- since it’s staying light out longer we are playing the light game (how long can we go before hubby or I turn on the lamp)


janine May 20, 2018 at 12:30 pm

1. Also got up early to watch the royal wedding – free entertainment with only the dog for company who commented that we were not keeping to schedule. Beautiful setting and appreciated the sermon – fire and love!
2.Indulging in my vice – mystery novels culled from a thrift store pack.
3. DH and I took a lovely drive along the St. Croix River valley this afternoon and stopped off for lunch. Waitress gave us a senior discount.
4. Cleaning out bedroom getting ready for summer – need nothing except possibly a pair of jeans.
5. Garden in thanks to DH. Looking forward to homegrown tomatoes and a few other goodies.


Teresa May 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm

1. Just returned from grocery shopping where I redeemed coupons from the Monopoly game for about $50 worth of groceries, and I still have more coupons (thanks to my friend from the Bay Area who sent me her monopoly coupons.) Also used my $3 on $10 coupon from Grocery Outlet, my favorite store.

2. Though I was very tired, I thoroughly washed the floors yesterday, along with some other ccleaning, chores/repairs and washing a few loads of laundry. I’m getting older and really wishing I had a maid… but for now the maid is still me.

3. May have written this last week, but I got a free bike a few weeks ago! I’m thrilled! I did have to buy a helmet — can’t risk biking without it in this big city — but Amazon helped with that purchase and no driving around searching for a helmet makes it even better. Now I want a Kayak… “want”… don’t “need”. OK, I know that it’s non-consumer but being single and getting older I really need to start doing something other than clean and work. Costco has one for $349. Should I buy it??????? Ideas anyone? Rentals are $15 an hour, so that would not be cost effective. I live in a beach city with a nice bay. It would be wonderful for the summer.

4. I’m about to list some unworn, vintage “MukLuk” slippers on ebay — my brother found them in the retirement community where he lives, still wrapped in a plastic shoe bag. I really need to spend more time listing things on ebay.

5. Will take a quick nap after writing this (it’s strange, but at 60 a daytime nap is almost necessary on days that I am not at work…weird, huh?) After that I’ll be refreshed and will do some freelance work here at home…

Have a good week everyone!


Tracy May 20, 2018 at 1:56 pm

Hi Teresa — at 58 I’m right behind you so I know what you mean! Re kayak, I’m frugal so I can spend on the things that matter to me so if this is one of those things for you go for it! Two thoughts — you might check Craigslist to see if you could do any better used. And, have you kayaked much before? If so I’m sure you already know if it is something you will love. If not, might be worth the $15 rental to see if you really like it!

Staying fit and active is priceless! Good luck.


Teresa May 20, 2018 at 2:14 pm

Thank you… I’m still on the fence about it. I’ve kayaked and was a boater (when married and we had one!) For many years I had my own small sailboats too… A couple years ago I took a kayak wetlands tour and loved it… I have always been in the water one way or another. It’s very calming for me. The past 20 years I have mostly been a single mom, not doing much for myself and now I’m thinking that I really should live life a little more (because the end of this round seems much closer since I edged over 60.) I also have to figure out if I can lift the darn thing to transport it. We have the ocean nearby but I have not seen many used kayaks. Maybe people keep them? Or perhaps they don’t have a long life-cycle. I’ll check out kayak durability while I’m looking at storage, transpo, etc. The Costco kayak is sit-in which I much prefer to the more common sit-on type. We’ll see what happens… I’m really stingy with money. By the time I decide it might be :iff sale” and then my decision will have been made for me. lol. Thanks again for your input!


Roberta May 21, 2018 at 6:01 am

Could you post a “wanted” ad on Facebook marketplace or something like that? My dad had a kayak in his garage for about five years past when he used it, but it just lingered there because he didn’t want the bother of getting rid of it. You might find the people like that if you initiated the contact.


Teresa May 24, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Yes, I can but after thinking about it for a bit longer I’m going to hold off on it. Having a kayak requires time to use it –which is probably part of my kayak fantasy! Right now I’m getting some extra work and all my time is spent working. Who knows what will happen when it dries up? I should be more realistic. But it’s a good idea. We got a dog kennel that way — I simply put a note up on the NextDoor website explaining that we found a dog and someone offered a brand new kennel that had been folded up in their garage. People are pretty generous! Thanks for reminding me. (I should have called your dad sooner!! lol)

Danielle May 23, 2018 at 5:57 am

We find renting more affordable than having to haul the kayak every time we want to go out, as well as finding a place to store it.


Diane C May 20, 2018 at 10:40 pm

Five frugal things, house flip edition:
(I’m not sure I can come up with five, but we’ll see…)

1. We just bought a house to flip. First job was removing the aged redwood deck. On Day 1, I scratched my shin because I was wearing denim capris. None of my jeans are loose enough to be comfortable, so on Day 2, I went shopping in DH’s side of the closet. Found 2 pair of “Lucky” jeans that he no longer wears. They are sturdy and comfortably baggy. A pair and a spare, for the win. Alas, DH no longer wears them because they’re too big on him, boo-hoo!

2. Pounded the nails out of the best boards and offered them on Next Door. They are going to become planter boxes, garden boxes, and more for at least three families.

3. Packed snacks and lunch stuff both days, so no eating out.

4. Made dinner when we finally dragged ourselves home, too.

5. Our realtor held a garage sale at the house today to get rid of the things the previous owner didn’t want. I studiously avoided it. At the end, she said I could take anything that was left. I scored a set of 8 white Corelle mugs and two Vera Bradley messenger bags. I can use the mugs and I’ll gift the bags. I’ll probably fill them with nearly new, nearly free books from the library book sale.

And we have five, yippee!


Katy May 21, 2018 at 11:02 am

Wow, you have a real go-getter of a realtor!


Roberta May 21, 2018 at 6:25 am

1. I gave my son a haircut. My husband said my son’s hair looked like my mother-in-law’s — which is not a good look for a teenage boy. My husband wanted to take him to the barber shop, but if the boy doesn’t care enough about his appearance to ask for a haircut before he looks like his grandmother, he’ll be ok with a home cut. I think he looks good.
2. Went up to my mom’s for a combination Mother’s Day-birthday celebration. I made gifts for my mom and my niece, and they both seemed very happy. My niece turned 7, and I painted an old wooden jewelry box for her, and put coins in the jewelry spots — she was thrilled. (She was supposed to get her ears pierced, but freaked out and refused to do it! So now I don’t know what she’ll use the box for, but she still was happy. The box was $3 at Goodwill, and the paint I had leftover.) My daughter was very happy with her gifts in turn — a Rick Riordan book, and registration for camp. No clutter.
3. I painted two free drawers into shelves for the shop. It’s my first foray into upcycling furniture, and I’m very happy with how they turned out. My sister was down near my house, and she picked up the shelves and all the garage sale-ing for the shop, so I didn’t need to bring the truck to my mom’s. Instead, we took the Prius and saved gas.
4. My husband and I were offered free theatre tickets Saturday night, with his family. The show was fun, the company was great, but dinner itself was disappointing…again. Next time we go out with them, if I don’t know the restaurant I will eat before hand and make do with an appetizer or drink to be social!
5. Friday after state testing the kids’ school had a barbecue and fun events for the kids. we all got free lunch, and enjoyed watching the kids run around, and talking with the teachers and parents. No one wanted the leftovers, so we took leftover burger fixings and potato salad home for the chickens, and leftover cooked burgers for the dogs (we’re vegetarian). At least they didn’t go to the landfill, and it’s less pet food we need to buy. I had an interesting conversation with a parent who works in Health and Human Services statistics, and she said 2017 was the lowest year on record for birth rate. Lowest recorded year, period. I was glad you got enough hours last year, Katy! But it seems like we chose a bad year to start selling children’s resale.


Katy May 21, 2018 at 11:00 am

Luckily, Portland’s population grows as many people want to move here. Those people then have their babies.


rebecca May 21, 2018 at 8:57 am

1. Found a penny
2. A class I thought wasn’t going to run due to enrollment is running. I am thrilled about the $ just tired and could use a break from teaching-#blessingandacurse lol
3. The usual-coffee from home, pulling stuff from the freezer, library books
4. Collecting errant rocks to help refill my garden. I do this instead of mulch
5. I bought some herbs and tomato plants at an organic farm that was having a plant sale. I love supporting them and hopefully I won’t kill the plants!


Colleen May 21, 2018 at 10:41 am

1) Took a trip to the west side of Michigan (about 2.5 hours away) with my sister this weekend. We wanted to go to a museum so I checked their website before we went and realized they give a $1 AAA discount so I made sure to bring my AAA card. Also got a student discount at a garden that we took my grandma to.

2) I downloaded an app called Sweatcoin that is supposed to pay you for the steps you take. So far I have about 50 sweatcoin and will need 3,650 in order to get a $50 Amazon gift card. Obviously I have a long way to go but eventually I will get paid for the walks I’d be taking anyway!

3) Went to brunch on Sunday for my husband’s aunt’s 50th birthday. My father-in-law treated us, which was unexpected and really appreciated.

4) We are staying local for the upcoming long weekend. I am very happy about this because we will save money and stress. We will take our boat out locally and make sure it is running smoothly.

5) Getting my first Dinnerly box delivered tomorrow. I waited for a promo and will get 3 meals with 2 servings each for $18.99 total. I am sure I could get meals for cheaper at the grocery store after coupons but these meal kits help me discover new recipes and get better at cooking!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: