Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 9, 2018 · 97 comments

  1. My son and I spent one night at my father and step mother’s Mt. Hood cabin over the weekend. We don’t have the cashola for official vacations this summer, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the free resources that are available to us. (Even though we finally have just one in college at this point, I do need to make sure that we have enough money in the bank for Fall’s tuition payment, as well as our regular expenses which currently include rent on two apartments and my husband’s medical bills.)

    We’ll also be driving up to Seattle this weekend to visit with an old college buddy and enjoy a nice mini vacation. She lives in a lovely home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and I look forward to hanging out with her and scoping out the area.

    These short trips dovetail into my work schedule, although my husband is too sadly too busy with his full-time schedule and volunteer commitments to accompany us. However, he’s taking vacation time in late August, so we’ll figure out some low/no cost vacation-y activities then.

  2. I’ll be helping my mother clean her guest cottage this afternoon as her tenants just left and new people arrive tomorrow. I’m not doing this as often as I have in years past, as this house rents for a minimum of 30 days, and she sold the one that was commercially zoned and thus could be rented for a few days at a time.

  3. I’m arranging to sell a small stack of Fiestaware plates that my mother had brought by for last week’s garage sale. A few sold on the day, but I didn’t want to donate them as I knew I could get decent money through a private sale. The buyer seems super enthused to come by, but I’ll count these chickens after they hatch.

  4. I work tomorrow and Wednesday and will prepare food to bring, I took my son to see the movie Isle of Dogs at a cheap second run theater, I’m using my backyard clothesline to air dry my laundry, I nabbed a perfectly small box from the neighbor’s recycling for my eBay sales, I planted new lettuce seeds as we’d eaten through the last crop, I’m reading a library copy of This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are and my son and I washed our car by hand rather than take it through a car wash.

  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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{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

Tammy Taylor July 9, 2018 at 2:39 pm

I love Fiesta ware!

My frugal 5:

1) Sending out homemade soap from ebay sales, will be repurposing a small chocolates box from Valentine’s Day to ship.

2) We’re playing ‘clean out the fridge’ for supper tonight, which will get some delicious pulled-pork BBQ out of the fridge and several hamburger buns out of the freezer. Plus it’s delicious!

3) It’s my birthday month, so Dairy Queen sent me a BOGO Blizzard frozen treat coupon, which we lapped up with delight when we were driving right past a DQ during a recent errand.

4) The hubs dropped his iPhone, but researched online and ordered the $25 part which came in today. 15 minutes and voila – a fully-functioning iPhone!

5) Plastic-Free July has me shunning treats such as coffees and such when we’re out running errands. Good for my budget, good for the environment!



Christine July 9, 2018 at 2:49 pm

FFT Summertime Version:
1. I’m using the collected water from the cellar’s dehumidifier to feed my potted plants and flower gardens.
2. My neighbor graciously gifted me a bucketful of large marigolds with roots. She said she had too many. Indeed her yard is full of beautiful marigolds. They will go in a large pot on the deck.
3. Swimming for free exercise wherever I can. This includes the little community beach one street over or at a generous friend’s house on a lake. It has been too hot and buggy for my usual walking routine.
4. DH and I just returned from our friends’ house where we enjoyed burgers on the grill, salads and a yummy chocolate-marshmallow-graham cracker dessert. As I’ve said before, I much prefer going to a friend’s home or having friends over to our house than spending on restaurant meals for entertainment.
5.Collected my check from the consignment shop. Small, but enough to purchase staples to get us through with what we have to eat here in our cabinets and refrigerator.


Linda g July 9, 2018 at 3:27 pm

I pour the dehumidifier water into the washer. We have a lot because our basement would be damp even if I did not hang clothes to dry there. It is soft water so I can get by using a smaller amount of detergent.


JJ July 10, 2018 at 4:42 am

Our joke about the dehumidifer is that it’s “free water from the air”! We’re not under drought warnings so far this year, but it’s still our habit to use the water for shrubs and flowers beds.


Denise July 10, 2018 at 4:59 am

What brands of dehumidifiers do you use and would you buy them again? What are the “watch-outs” in terms of useful feature? I’ve got a well-ventilated cellar but the groundwater level can be a bit high, so I’m thinking of looking for a dehumidifier. Sadly, charity shops in England aren’t allowed to sell electrical items, so I’ll be buying new…


Christine July 10, 2018 at 7:33 am

Denise, my dehumidifier is a Zenith brand. I have had it now for about 10 years and have never had a problem with it. It is very efficient and has the energy star label on it. I live close to a boggy pond and my cellar is very damp in the summer. I need only to use it for that season.


Vickey July 10, 2018 at 9:31 am

Any word on what the monthly energy costs are for running a dehumidifier? We had one years ago, it cost us $60 in the first month. We took it back, haven’t dared try another since.


Melissa Tibbals-Gribbin July 9, 2018 at 3:11 pm

You probably know that the largest Goodwill in the US, and second largest in the world is not far from Capitol Hill.


Vickey July 10, 2018 at 8:48 am

Wait, the largest Goodwill in the world isn’t in the U.S.?? We need to up our game! 😉


Mary W July 11, 2018 at 10:38 am

Where is the largest Goodwill, then?


Bee July 9, 2018 at 3:21 pm

[* Shield plugin marked this comment as “trash”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (comment token failure) *]
1) I seem to be running out of personal care items all at once, so I am making sure that I use every little bit of these items before replacing them. I cut the end of toothpaste. The soap is a little tiny sliver. I added water to the bottle of lotion. I am using a cotton swab to get the last of my foundation. Use it up!

2) I used my Overdrive account to find an audiobook to listen to while I did household chores. I listened to “How to be a Bargain Junkie” written by the actress Annie Korzen. She is definitely a frugalista and had some good ideas. It certainly made my chores more bearable. I hate to clean house, but I love my house to be clean.

3) I had managed to start 4 books and had not finished them. This is unusual for me. This week I have focused on reading them all, so I can pass them on to friends at my book club meeting next week. All of these were purchased at the Friends of the Library sale. 2 down and 2 to go!

4) I stopped in at the Goodwill when running errands this week. I bought an clothing item that was on my wish list. That was all. Clothing is my Achilles heel, so I have made a list of items that I want or need. I only look for these. It has curbed the amount of money I spend when thrifting and makes my trips more mindful.. Sadly, I can easily spend all afternoon thrifting.

5) My son who has been living with me has moved across country. The bad news is I miss him. The good news is my grocery bill was $13.50 this week. Boy, he could eat!

Have a thrifty week everyone!


Kathy Hairston July 9, 2018 at 3:56 pm

1. Donated bottles of wine that I won’t drink to two fundraisers.
2. Ordered dog food from (less expensive than buying retail)
3. Had my short hair cut shorter so I just use gel and no blow drying necessary.
4. Took pictures of several items to sell on eBay or FB
5. Mailed coupons to a low income senior


Judi Pavlovszky July 10, 2018 at 6:30 pm

I’ve had long hair for most of my life and I never blow dry it. It dries on its own. I think drying it is a waste of time.


Mrs. Picky Pincher July 9, 2018 at 4:05 pm

Way to go on a cheap little getaway! Sometimes those are just what you need, no fancy budget required. 🙂

This week:

1. I wore my fave thrifted clothing. 🙂 My go-to outfit these days is yoga pants with flip flops and a nice top–all of which are secondhand from ThredUp. 🙂

2. I took a croissant class over the weekend. It’s a luxury, but I’ve always wanted to learn how to make croissants properly. I’ll be able to make fancier foods at home, so we very well might save money in the long run. 😉

3. Tonight I’m making vol au vents with leftover puff pastry in the fridge. It sounds fancy, but it’s just puff pastry baked in a little cup that you fill.

4. I baked two tarts from scratch, using figs grown in our backyard for the topping. Yum!

5. Hubs trimmed our ivy and regrew the trimmings in water. Hopefully this means we’ll get enough ivy to have a plant in every room. For no extra cash.


Denise July 10, 2018 at 5:03 am

Crikey: you’re t be congratulated if you have the stamina to make croissants for breakfast! The one and only time I tried (they were amazing), the recipe required me to get up twice during the night o deal with the dough. Never again!


kathleen July 9, 2018 at 4:40 pm

1. Working five days this week.
2. Tonight we ate the third supper from a pork shoulder: 1) street tacos, 2) burrito bowls, 3) pulled pork sandwiches. And amongst the suppers there were plenty of sandwiches made from it as well.
3. I found a gift card to a nice movie theater that has been hanging around the house for years. I checked online, and it still holds its full value, so I put it in my wallet so we will have it handy for use.
4. Awhile back I emptied an under-used armoire. After a new paint job and letting it thoroughly cure, I am repurposing it. I can’t help but believe it feels much happier now that it’s had a makeover and is getting more attention and being useful again.
5. The office I’m in this week is about a half block from the least expensive gasoline in the extended area; it makes the commute just a tinier bit less painful.


Mand01 July 9, 2018 at 4:43 pm

1. My freezer clean out yielded multiple tubs of pumpkin soup made over to summer when we grew lots of pumpkins. My husband and I are pumpkin soup every day over the weekend for lunch or dinner. We still have more to eat through but we don’t mind. I also found more baked goods (bagels, muffins, waffles) than I knew it was possible to have, and I’ve put a ban on purchasing anything from a bakery until we eat it all. We planned meals from the freezer and only needed to buy meat for one meal.
2. Thanks to the freezer and pantry clean out we saved one fifth of our grocery bill.
3. I did my budget for the month and found extra to throw on the mortgage.
4. I was going to go to a market with my sister but she canceled. I thought about going anyway but realised I’d probably just buy stuff I didn’t need. I stayed home and read a book (library, natch).
5. Thanks to shorter commute at my new job, my petrol costs seem to be lower over the past month even though petrol prices are much higher.


Lindsey July 9, 2018 at 5:06 pm

I hear you on the pumpkin soup, although for me it was literally dozens of bags of two cups each of pumpkin puree! And now I have new pumpkins forming in this year’s garden, on more vines than I had planted last year. I am making a note in my gardening calendar to reduce the amount of pumpkin I plant next year. There is only so much soup, and so many loaves of pumpkin bread and pie two adults can consume over even a long Alaskan winter.


Tracy July 10, 2018 at 4:01 am

Also delicious in Thai curry!


Vickey July 10, 2018 at 9:35 am

Lindsey – pumpkin leather? Makes a mailable gift. 😉


Midwest Beth July 10, 2018 at 9:36 am

Make pumpkin pancakes for variety – the best! Have you tried the easy pumpkin muffins? You use a spice cake mix and one can pumpkin, mix and bake – I’m sure you could use fresh puree’d pumpkin as well – so easy and yummy! We like to bake the mini muffins and always have them for Thanksgiving.


janine July 10, 2018 at 1:06 pm

The best meal we had in Paris was at the Louvre cafeteria on Halloween several years ago. It was their pumpkin soup. Wish I had the recipe!


Marybeth July 10, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Do you have dogs? Pumpkin is very good for dogs fur. I always mix some in with my dogs food. She loves it.


Julie July 10, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Pumpkin is delicious on oatmeal with some pumpkin pie spice. My favourite way to use up pumpkin.


K D July 9, 2018 at 5:09 pm

1. We’ve been enjoying home grown tomatoes. I’ve been cutting up watermelon and cantaloupes for cheap fresh fruit.

2. Many of my clothes are hand-me-ups, some are hand-me-downs, and the rest are clothes I picked up cheaply years ago.

3. I have ebooks borrowed from the library for when I have time for reading. I also have a book on CD going in my vehicle.

4. We’ve been watching Sherlock on Netflix in the evening.

5. Same old, same old.


Midwest Beth July 10, 2018 at 9:38 am

Love Sherlock, can’t believe they have not produced more shows yet. 🙁


cathy July 10, 2018 at 5:27 pm

was just commiserating with son today about this. I said (being snarky) that Benedict Cumberbatch needs to stop doing all those other cut-rate roles–Dr. Strange, Smaug the dragon (The Hobbit movies), etc. Not to mention how many roles Martin Freeman is in. Still… I’d really like another season of Sherlock. So quirky and fun.


Mand01 July 11, 2018 at 4:39 pm

I love Dr Strange. I love Sherlock too but can’t we have some Cumberbatch in everything?


tonya parham July 12, 2018 at 5:14 pm

Sadly, from interviews Cumberbatch and Freeman have given, it’s not likely to happen.

But they are so good, you can watch them over and over and over!


Madeline Kasian July 9, 2018 at 5:33 pm

1. Planning every meal for the week and sticking to it! Using up freezer and pantry items.Goal is to spend around half usual grocery budget as I use up food I’ve been stockpiling.So far so good for last 2 weeks.

2. FREE PLAYDATE: 3 girlfriends came over for our 2x a month card game of Hand and Foot. We played that and Mexican Train from 10-2 in my nice comfy HOUSE, cheap iced tea and a pot luck lunch -we all made something to share. SO MUCH MORE FUN than a fast and iccky restaurant meal. I also play free PANDORA channel. while we play–we listened to Lady Sings the Blues type music.

3. Husband maintains our pool himself,tests the water and balances chemicals,vacuums it as needed.No pool person fees monthly.We GET IN THE POOL at least twice a day this time of year: mostly FREE fun!! (Arizona: NEED relief!!!!)

4. Came up with new FREE date idea: Once a week on Mondays, we sit down to watch a TED talk and discuss it after. Take turns picking the Talk.

5. Got my first half off ticket on light rail last week (Senior..) to go visit the refurbished Phoenix Library downtown with our son. Library was AWESOME, and FREE!

I am amazed at HOW MANY FREE THINGS THERE ARE TO DO in this world when you slow down and take a look!!!!!


Bee July 10, 2018 at 4:21 am

I love Ted Talks! These are great to listen to on road trips also. It passes the time and encourages conversation.


Crosby July 10, 2018 at 5:12 am

Madeline, I LOVE your Ted Talk date idea!! That is genius!!


Denise July 10, 2018 at 5:17 am


I salute you and al the readers who live in hot climates and don’t use or barely use air conditioning.

We’ve been having a heatwave in England (30 degrees C, about 86 degrees F) and it’s been killing me. Offices and cars have air con, very few homes do. Haven’t slept for weeks. Humidity was awful too.

Came on holiday to Cyprus- even hotter, but there’s a sea breeze and air con in my bedroom. Not kidding- in the first forty eight hours, I slept for 36 of them. I feel like a new woman!

Kudos toll ofyou who expect those temperatures and higher for even standing upright!


Denise July 10, 2018 at 5:18 am

Or even “…to all of you…”


Cindy in the South July 10, 2018 at 6:03 am

We had 105 heat indexes in the deep U.S. South last week. I did turn on the air conditioner…lol


Nancy from mass July 10, 2018 at 10:18 am

When we were in AS in May, I found out that Wednesday nights are free at the art museum. Google’s “Free museums” and you’ll find more


Nancy from mass July 10, 2018 at 10:22 am

AZ. Stupid spell check …


Betty Winslow July 9, 2018 at 6:06 pm

1. Our local Hobby Lobby closed, so when my husband offered to take me to the one near the Lowe’s he was going to out of town, I inventoried my supplies and made a list. I make, repair, and sell jewelry, so it’s also a money maker.
2. Been entertaining ourselves lately by binge watching series we never saw before, through our Amazon Prime acct.
3. Been super hot lately, so have been taking a large insulated cup of iced tea with me everywhere.
4. Started back to the gym, after months off after stroke, and checked out a book on Playaway to keep me motivated. I will use rechargeable batteries and earbuds I got for free at a conference.
5. Was able to donate to two causes I support: some jewelry I made and a stack of brand-new YA books to a raffle and some unicorn popcorn cones to a bake sale.


Lindsey July 9, 2018 at 6:40 pm

If you like history and mysteries, the series Murdoch Mysteries is wonderful. Set in Toronto in about 1900. They did three movies, but they are awful, it is the series (just finished season 11) that is terrific.


Denise July 10, 2018 at 5:20 am

How about “Ripper Street” as well? Really enjoyed that.


Vickey July 11, 2018 at 7:45 am

Thanks for the recommendation, Denise. I looked this up on Prime last night and unfortuantely, here in the US at least, they want an additional fee for it. 🙁


Vickey July 11, 2018 at 7:46 am

*unfortunately*. Sheesh.

Christine July 10, 2018 at 7:45 am

Nice to hear you’re back at the gym Betty! Best wishes for continued progress in your recovery.


Bethany July 9, 2018 at 6:27 pm

Taking a free nutritional and weight loss class through our medical clinic. It’s a nice break in the evening to have hubby take the kids.

Having my neighbor over for a movie night tomorrow. Cheap entertainment.

Had 2 zero mile and no spend days in a row.

It’s just baby and me for a couple weeks. We’re enjoying cheap meals like oatmeal for dinner.

Keeping my swimsuit on after our afternoon swim and putting a skirt on over it. A damp swimsuit and ceiling fans keep you COOL even with the temps soar.


VanessaKC July 9, 2018 at 10:55 pm

I’ll try to cut to the chase, as long posts leave me unable to actually post. Main thing is that my almost 6yo, who loves rock ‘n roll, chose a concert over a big birthday party. Going to see his fave, JoanJett, tomorrow night. Made him a cool black hearts shirt for free. Much cheaper than an “event” party, plus I love rock ‘n roll as well.


Barb Barry July 10, 2018 at 12:49 am

When I heard that a friend was traveling to Ireland in September , I volunteered to house sit for two weeks! A lovely home in my old hometown , perfect free vacation…


Momma L July 10, 2018 at 3:27 am

1. Eating down the freezer…why do I have 5 London broils? Getting creative with steak salad, vowing to buy more beans and chicken.
2. Family in town, eating at home, using my discount card to treat them to ice cream out now and then.
3. Playing on the beach in the evenings, hunting ghost crabs with flashlights, taking photos, making sandcastles, listening to freePandora, all free and fun.
4. Enlisting the help of my visiting family to get some minor repairs done. I feed them well after they do the work, and it gets done a whole lot faster when done together. Very grateful for the help, DH’s health isn’t too good these days.
5. Made a scavenger hunt for the kids, they had fun following the clues to the final prize. 🙂 Home made games are the best!


ouvickie July 13, 2018 at 10:56 am

Oh you are the best, Momma L!
Those games and outings sound fun. I used to get cut the monthly activities section out of our State’s travel magazine and find the free stuff to do that was close to us.
My daughter remembered that when she grew up and now she finds all the free and frugal deals around town to keep her kids entertained on weekends and during the Summer.
You just have to be creative!! 🙂


Elizabeth July 10, 2018 at 4:05 am

1. Received a surprise tax return from the US Government…apparently even I can make mistakes…thankfully it was in my favor.
2. Used rubbing alcohol to remove ink stains from my son’s pants
3. Stocked up on Doritos and butter while they were on sale
4. Found a free math site that I will use to catch my son up on his math skills
5. Enjoyed a bucketful of banana peppers and cucumbers from my father’s garden


Tracy July 10, 2018 at 4:11 am

1. Using my pbs passport app to watch great pbs programming on demand for free. Currently season 5 of Endeavor (prequel to Inspector Morse).
2. Aiming for no restaurant meals this week (except one pre-planned lunch with a retired colleague).
3. Taking bus to/from work today using transit pass of which my employer defrays cost.
4. Eating more meatless meals.
5. Frugal Fail: been on a little bit of a clothes shopping spree. Not frugal but I’m owning up to keep myself accountable! All items heavily discounted but not really needed (and not in really in conformance with my aspiring non-consumer values…)


Bee July 10, 2018 at 4:29 am

I too have been watching Endeavor. This is one of my all-time favorites. However, I cannot believe that this young man grew into Inspector Morse. But that is just a technicality.


Marybeth July 10, 2018 at 4:30 am

1. My kids are in Italy with my sister so I don’t have to feed them for 2 weeks. Water and electricity will also be down because they use both of those when they are home. Talking with them lots. They are sending me some amazing photos.
2. My garden is doing great. We are getting tons of lettuce, peas, and herbs. I have even gotten some peppers already. We have been eating lots of salads. I gave some lettuce to a friend too. I already reseeded my lettuce and baby plants are growing. Hoping to not have any gaps on lettuce this summer.
3. Invited our neighbors over for a fire pit with s’mores and wine. We had everything on hand. They surprised us and brought 2 pints of ice cream over. I couldn’t be rude and not eat it.
4. EBay sales are doing great lately. I seem to be selling stuff everyday. Maybe some of it is under priced but I want to get rid of it. I use used boxes and envelopes to mail everything out. The tape and ink are purchased with credits from returning used ink cartridges.
5. Cooking most of our meals, eating leftovers and being happy with what we have!


Christine July 10, 2018 at 7:50 am

Your #3…absolutely no rudeness allowed! You just had to eat that ice cream no matter what! LOL


Bee July 10, 2018 at 4:33 am

1) I seem to be running out of personal care items all at once, so I am making sure that I use every little bit of these items before replacing them. I cut the end of toothpaste. The soap is a little tiny sliver. I added water to the bottle of lotion. I am using a cotton swab to get the last of my foundation. Use it up!

2) I used my Overdrive account to find an audiobook to listen to while I did household chores. I listened to “How to be a Bargain Junkie” written by the actress Annie Korzen. She is definitely a frugalista and had some good ideas. It certainly made my chores more bearable. I hate to clean house, but I love my house to be clean.

3) I had managed to start 4 books and had not finished them. This is unusual for me. This week I have focused on reading them all, so I can pass them on to friends at my book club meeting next week. All of these were purchased at the Friends of the Library sale. 2 down and 2 to go!

4) I stopped in at the Goodwill when running errands this week. I bought an clothing item that was on my wish list. That was all. Clothing is my Achilles heel, so I have made a list of items that I want or need. I only look for these. It has curbed the amount of money I spend when thrifting and makes my trips more mindful and focused .. Sadly, I can easily spend all afternoon thrifting.

5) My son who has been living with me has moved across country. The bad news is I miss him. The good news is my grocery bill was $13.50 this week. Boy, he could eat!

Have a thrifty week everyone!


ouvickie July 13, 2018 at 9:15 am

Oh, we have a lot in common. I love books and I love thrifting, but I don’t need anymore of either, right now!
Thanks for the book title, I’ll have to check the Library for that one.

#5 – I had to laugh at your last line. I love when my grandson visits, but I have to prepare the grandkids when they come out. They are all growing and they go through the food/snacks pretty fast! LOL!


Crosby July 10, 2018 at 4:58 am

1. Found 2 pennies on the ground in the past few days. Found change in scarce in my world.
2. Made 2 batches of peanut butter (one sweetened with honey for humans, one with nothing added for the dog).
3. Renewed some craigslist postings. I’ve renewed them once already so whatever doesn’t sell this round I’ll either list on Ebay (Puma cleats, Fiestaware teacups, Jamberry supplies) or donate (kitchen stools).
4. Batch cooked chicken sausage that had been in my freezer for a few months that had been a gift from my mom. I roasted it with root veggies from our CSA and cooked up some rice.
5. It’s the 10th and neither myself nor my partner have eaten out once this month! This is huge for us. I usually crave a lunch out with friends or dinner out with him, and he usually forgets to pack his lunch or dinner at least once. We mindfully talked about going out for a lunch date at our favorite Indian place if we make it half way through the month without purchasing a single meal/snack out. 5 days left!


C July 10, 2018 at 5:31 am

1. I found a fantastic free pile full of business casual clothes, two dresses, a skirt with pockets, some shirts. bright red wool skirt, denim skirt, cashmere sweaters, tank tops, shirts, and tights.

2. I thought my trunk cable was broken, but I went over a speed bump too fast (oops), it fell back into place, so now I can go to the body shop instead of the dealer.

3. My friend gave me a desktop computer that was gradually upgraded. All I had to do was add the hard drive, but I couldn’t figure it out. The local computer repair only charged me $30 because it just needed a new cable. Now I have a desktop I can upgrade for years!

4. I’m going on a trip, but didn’t want to spend $40 for a new mini rolling suitcase. I found a rolling backpack from Goodwill for $5, deodorized and washed it, and I’ll have it for a long time!

5. Rescued some books from a free pile before a rainstorm. The food pantry is always taking book donations.


Bee July 10, 2018 at 7:38 am

What a fabulous free pile!


A. Marie July 10, 2018 at 11:34 am

Whoa, can you tell us more about that free pile, C? Inquiring and envious minds want to know!


C July 11, 2018 at 11:32 am

Yep! It posted as a new comment.


Cindy in the South July 10, 2018 at 6:12 am

1. I am reading free books for the lil library that is set up in the laundry mat. 2. I went to thrift store and purchased a buck dress that is black and I can wear with anything…and it is in perfect shape. 3. I think I mentioned on the last post getting a t shirt I have been wanting for years, at the thrift store for 99 cents. I wore said t shirt and I was very happy. 4. I am still swimming at all the Army Core of Engineers’ parks, state parks, and national parks. The admission prices range from $1 to $4. I would buy a pass but I jump around so much between the sites that I don’t think I would use it enough. 5. I took a nap…my favorite.


Cindy in the South July 10, 2018 at 8:21 am

I meant to say
“I purchased a dress for a buck”….sigh


Rosanne July 11, 2018 at 3:49 am

Oh, good, I thought the antlers might be a bit uncomfortable.


Cindy in the South July 11, 2018 at 5:20 am

Lol…too funny!


Mary W July 11, 2018 at 10:55 am

Oh, snap! Good one – thanks for the giggle. I was trying to figure out what a buck dress was….


ouvickie July 10, 2018 at 6:43 am

1) After reading & researching investment funds in my retirement portfolio, I moved money around to maximize the dividends. I’m glad I did, because I’ve gained over $1K in the past few weeks. It helps to pay attention to your funds. I’d moved my money out of the “target” funds the company was touting, a few years back and then found out a few months ago those weren’t a good investment, because they weren’t managed well. I’m too close to retirement to lose money.
2) We’ve been fortunate enough to receive good rains this Summer. It has kept the highs down in the 90s, instead of up in the hundreds. Praising the Creator for free water!
3) I went for a physical last week and had my Doctor schedule all the needed health tests. I found out I’d lost 14 pounds. I think part of that has to do with the light breakfast I’ve been eating the last 3 months. I can buy a jar of PB and get a few bags of caramel rice cakes for less than $10 and that keeps me going for an entire month. I pair that with the free coffee, provided by work, and that’s pretty frugal and apparently pretty healthy, too.
4) Our horse ended up with what is called “Rain Rot”, which is a skin condition that caused sores on his side and down on one of his legs – I came back from a few days vacation to that awfulness.
I knew Clove Oil would not only stop it from spreading, but ease the pain since it’s a natural pain reliever. It worked great and no Vet bills!
5) I have another 4 weeks of PT on my shoulder, however, it won’t cost me either, since I’ve met my yearly out-of-pocket expense.


janine July 12, 2018 at 7:08 am

Re #1 – Congratulations on your wisdom with regard to your investments. Good to be savy in this area when it yields $1,000!


ouvickie July 13, 2018 at 11:10 am

Thanks, janine!
I originally switched over to a Fidelity growth fund in early 2017, which helped grow my funds phenomenally over the past 1 1/2. Then I read one of Dave Ramsey’s books and listened to a Tony Robbins audiobook. I added and S & P Index fund after listening to Tony’s book and it added the additional $1K last month. It really is about diversification to keep everything balanced.
I’m so excited. If it stays like this my retirement funds will be in great shape in 2021 and hopefully I can retire!!! 🙂


L.B. July 10, 2018 at 7:11 am

1. Had BF’s entire family over for dinner and drinks on Saturday evening–his sister just had a baby, so is more comfortable at someone’s house than a restaurant. Fine by me–fed a huge group dinner and drinks for under $100 (with this group, that easily would have been the bar tab!)

2. Coasting on leftovers from the shindig this week–up today is black bean salad with a now-ripe avocado on top and an entire pint of strawberries.

3. Maintaining my goal of taking the bus to work when feasible at least once a week–cuts down on gas use and strain on my car, plus the walking makes me feel like I’m getting all the workout steps I want!

4. Continuing the trend of having people with babies over to our place instead of forcing them into a restaurant: our favorite dumpling place shut down, so we are hosting dumpling night at our place tomorrow instead. Everyone brings a filling, I’ll make a side, and we’ll burn through the leftover beer from BF’s family. Win for everyone!

5. Staying strong on using the free gym nearby and an app for fitness instead of buying a gym membership. 2 weeks into a strength training program, 2 weeks to go! I’ve only lost a pound, but it’s only been 2 weeks (also, like, cookies exist) so I’m feeling pretty good.


rebecca July 11, 2018 at 11:59 am

dumpling night sounds fabulous!


Tiff July 10, 2018 at 7:19 am

I was able to take my kids out for a treat for less than 5.00 by using the McDonalds App and a receipt survey. We rarely eat out so it was a nice treat for them
For my son’s birthday, one of his gifts was a box of snacks as he is a lanky pre teen boy who devours everything in sight. It costs me less than $10 to make because I scored a bunch of name brand snacks at the .99 store
Our bathroom sink was stinking so hubby and I were able to take it apart and clean the mucky filter. Much cheaper than calling a plumber!
Have been buying one 5$ rotisserie chicken a week from Sam’s Club and it feeds me lunch for three days as salads, etc. The rest I usually chop up for soup or a pot pie for the family for dinner.
Been selling unneeded textbooks to a textbook buying company and misc. household items on Ebay which has been going well
My daughter will only need the consumables for back to school supplies. The letter says original packaging but I had 5 loose new glues ticks and scissors that are just fine so those are going in a sandwich bag and in the box.
Went through all my punch cards (I always seem to loose them and then find them again) and it seems I have 3 free coffee drinks so yay!
My mom gave me a gift card for a blowout but the place has a habit of calling and canceling the appointment an hour before. Decided I didn’t want to give them my patronage but needed shampoo. Use the gift card for the shampoo which should last me for 6 months or so!


Ruby July 10, 2018 at 7:31 am

1. Scavenged in the freezer and cupboard for the ingredients for a delicious pasta dish to take to work for lunches. Used up the last of several things that way.
2. Wearing (aside from under things) an entire thrifted outfit today: slacks, shirt and shoes. Carrying my lunch in a free cooler bag and my purse is one I made from fabric remnants.
3. Coffee at the new job is awful. This saves me 50 cents a cup. I drink the free cold water.
4. Gave all three of our dogs a shampoo and trim Sunday. Heaven only knows how much we save on grooming costs.
5. Our middle dog has terrible food allergies and has to eat a lot of fish. The cost of her canned fish-based food recently went up to $32, even on Chewy. We use it as a kibble topper to get her to eat. I gave it some thought and mixed up a tall can of salmon – crumbly bones, skin and all — with some infant’s rice cereal and some water, then froze it in small portions. When one is used up, we put the next in the fridge to defrost. She loves it. The savings is over $20 a month.


Deb in SD July 12, 2018 at 8:31 am

Ruby- Dollar Tree also has canned mackerel. Certainly is very fishy.


Ruby July 13, 2018 at 9:04 am

Thank you. I’ll check that out. If it’s not a Chinese product, I’ll try her on it.


Jennifer July 10, 2018 at 8:57 am

1. I got my hair cut about 4 inches and now it takes 1 pump of shampoo rather than 2. Plus, it is much faster to dry.
2. 2 of my kids worked at a food pantry last weekend and they had extra bread leftover. They brought home 7 bags of various bread items – now mostly in our freezer.
3. Starting to put together a few boxes of food for my ds to take to college with him in the fall. Items bought at very low prices over a few weeks, rather than the day we move him into the apartment.
4. Washed the van at home and bathed the dog at home yesterday. Our new dog is half the size of our old dog and has super short fur. Everything about him is cheaper and easier.
5. Watching old Alaska reality TV shows at night for free entertainment. Someday maybe I will actually get to Alaska.


Midwest Beth July 10, 2018 at 9:29 am

1. Shut air off for a few days and used the window fans to cool – had to turn back on last night though. 🙁 Using ceailing fans when in the rooms so air can be turned up more and of course keeping bedroom doors closed during the day.
2. Going to see Weezer this week and The Beach Boys next week through Groupon purchases. Love Groupon because you don’t get all the fees etc., Ticketmaster sticks on for concerts. These are our mini vacations/experiences I planned for the summer – have two more for August and one in September. 🙂
3. Just signed up for the Barnes and Noble Book Club night for August 8th – requested the book “Clock Dance” through the library – the price with discount was over $16 – it appears two books are available right now through other libraries for loan. 🙂 When I go I will definitely buy a beverage etc., so I won’t totally be free loading. The stack of books to read is growing but right now I am still addicted to Maisie Dobbs mysteries on hoopla and finding myself listening to those as its so easy!
4. Watching movies/reading books through the library – just received a Wrinkle in Time. Also wrapping up musicals we wanted to view – Les Miserables, Chicago and Evita are up next. I also have Joseph and The Technicolor Coat performed by Donny Osmond but doubt I will be able to get my 15 year old to view.
5. We are watching the second season of Anne with an E on Netflix – most of the plot line does not follow the books – wonder what Lucy would say? Would be an interesting conversation. Exercising using videos on Amazon Prime, have Swagbucks running all day on videos, digital couponing and watching the grocery ads for cheap fruit and veg prices.


Liz B. July 10, 2018 at 5:37 pm

I didn’t realize there are fitness videos on Amazon Prime! Do you have any you particularly like?


Midwest Beth July 10, 2018 at 8:53 pm

I am doing Sit And Be Fit -trying not to injure myself – there are a variety with different ranges of workouts. I started at the beginning and worked my way through. You would be surprised at the work out you can get. If you are lucky many PBS stations still broadcast it, my local station does not anymore. 🙁 I also requested through the library once I got through the ones on Amazon.


Amanda July 10, 2018 at 11:13 am

1) The kids and I stopped by the Goodwill and found a Pottery Barn kids full size sheet set for $7! I had a discount coupon from donating that brought it down to $5.60. It will replace one of our old sets, which will either be demoted to the weekend house or donated.

2) While we were in the suburbs at the Goodwill we went to the free and fancy suburban playground and splash park.

3) Leftovers and grilled cheeses for lunch.

4) Yesterday since I was also home with the kids I washed three loads of clothes and linens and dried them on the line, made bread in the bread machine I bought on Craigslist, made a cobbler with cherries left over from a salad I made for a picnic on Sunday, and managed to get a couple of hours of work done while my youngest was asleep.

5) I’m feeling very blah today, so I am foregoing our usual trip to the library in an effort to sit quietly and drink a cup of tea. It’s much cheaper than what I want to do—hire and nanny and leave tonight for a month in Italy. 😉


A. Marie July 10, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Sympathies on #5, Amanda. I was just thinking as I looked over the pictures of Prince Louis’s christening yesterday that the Duchess of Cambridge can afford to look that radiant with three kids under 5: She’s got staff! (But despite that snark, I genuinely admired the photos.)


Mand01 July 11, 2018 at 1:38 pm

I’ll come too. It’s bloody cold here and a month away from teenagers in the sunshine of Italy sounds perfect.


A. Marie July 10, 2018 at 11:56 am

FFT, Mason Jar Edition:

(1) One thing this hot, dry summer has been good for is making sun tea. I’m using one of my half-gallon wide-mouth Ball jars for this. (I even bought it a special top with a pour spout at Wegmans for 6.99, but that’s probably already paid for itself in what I’m saving by not buying soda. Take that, Pepsico!)

(2) Now that my cucumbers are really starting to come in, I’m making refrigerator dill pickles as usual (the recipe is from Andrea Chesman’s book The Pickled Pantry, which I recommend). Narrow-neck quart Ball jars or cleaned-out 26-ounce spaghetti sauce jars for this job.

(3) DH, the next-door neighbor, and I picked 2.5 quarts of the black raspberries we’ve been letting go wild in our back 40s. I made 2.5 pints of freezer jam from the pickings (plus plenty of fresh berries for DH’s breakfast yogurt and a rare indulgence in Breyer’s vanilla ice cream). Two pint Ball jars and one half-pint jar for this job.

(4) I’m also in the process of converting all our drinking glasses to canning jars as the conventional glasses break. Half-pints for wine glasses, pints for regular tumblers. Channeling Carl Perkins on “Blue Suede Shoes”: “Drink my liquor from an old fruit jar…”

(5) Finally, I managed to crack my beloved Anchor Hocking 1-cup measuring pitcher beyond repair this morning. But, fortunately, canning jars have measuring marks on the sides. Another crisis averted as I measured vinegar and salt for the refrigerator pickles!


Jennifer July 11, 2018 at 6:21 am

We have been overrun with black raspberries that I let grow wild as well. I made 2 batches of jam (7 1/2 pint jars) and have a full gallon bag in the freezer to pull out in winter for oatmeal. Plus we eat as much as we want every day. Love them!


Liz B. July 10, 2018 at 5:49 pm

After a particularly spendy June, things seem to be getting back to somewhat normal….

1) Found a big handful of leftover change in the Coinstar machine, including an indian 2 rupee coin and a Canadian quarter.
2) Packing breakfast, lunch and snacks to bring to work with me, and making coffee at home.
3) Took advantage of Kroger’s deal on frozen chicken breasts, and Heinz ketchup. DH and DS use ketchup on practically everything.
4) Walking the dog for exercise, and I carry a bag to pick up trash along the way. Found a damp, dirty wash cloth in the street; took it home and washed it – one more cleaning rag to the pile. I also recycle the plastic bottles and papers I pick up.
5) Inventoried fridge, freezer and pantry to keep track of items to be used up.

Keep on frugalin’ on!


Judi Pavlovszky July 10, 2018 at 6:39 pm

1. still planting more garden. Hand digging the beds and using seed left over from previous years.
2. pulled armfuls of weeds to feed to my daughters chickens. They love them. Plus clover for the bunny.
3. filled up my clothesline with three loads of laundry to dry in the sunshine.
4. used my recycled water to water my hanging baskets and potted plants
5. filled empty potting soil bags turned inside out (they are black inside) to “cook” some invasive weeds and roots in the sun before dumping them into my composter.


Jill A July 11, 2018 at 3:39 am

1. I had a successful garage sale and sold most of my stuff. The rest will go to my friends sale.
2. I’ve sold several items on facebook and ebay.
3. I went to the Pay by the Pound Goodwill with my daughters. I found several nice items for my girls and a beautiful dress that I took to the formal wear consignment shop.
4. My family took a nice long weekend trip with my mom and friends. We shared the cost of an airbnb. We ate several meals in. Shared the expense of a wine tour and spent a free day playing in the lake and drinking wine we bought on our tour and eating cheese and crackers we brought with us.
5. I’m continuing to shop garage sales for items to stock my daughters apartment this fall.


janine July 11, 2018 at 6:01 am

Hopefully getting back on track after a spendy June.
1. Eating out too much due to the very hot weather, but consistently packing dh lunches each and everyday even if it is only pb&j plus fruit.
2. No AC despite 100 degree F temps.
3. Using up the last of the rhubarb in a fruit crisp.
4. Re-reading books, plus continuing to clear out my library – another case of books to the used book store this week!
5. No major purchases except a microwave – cautionary tale – lost the sales slip to the one I bought about six months ago! Upgraded to a better brand and made sure to save my receipt. Very bad luck with off brands. Purchased son a $10 microwave at a garage sale five years ago and still going strong.


C July 11, 2018 at 11:31 am

A. Marie, yes!

I live in a free-pile hotspot. My New England town is home to an old, wealthy college, with 4 other colleges in neighboring towns. My street is mostly 20-somethings, such as myself, who rent, or more affluent homeowners, who enjoy an eco-friendly lifestyle and would rather put stuff on the curb than in the trash. It’s also lucky because there are few bedbugs or roaches in my area, but I still clean everything.

Sometimes, I walk around after yard sales and see what I can find!

In that pile, I also found a book called Food For Thought, about large-scale agriculture and its socio/economic/environmental impact. I also found a J-crew skirt, with a lining made of ramie. It’s a soft and breathable fabric I haven’t heard of before, made nettle stalks. Also it has pockets!

Best ever free pile finds in my area:
-a glittery bronze skull halloween decoration
– a long, fur-collared leather coat with embossed roses (I do not buy fur or leather new)
-My awesome girlfriend found a skirt for me. It’s patterned with grey cats. I have a grey cat!
-an over-toilet cabinet that I traded for some beer from friends.
-a navy-blue wool peacoat
-new perfume
-a knit hat shaped like a goat’s head
-a beautiful and slightly goth peacoat I gave to my girlfriend
-children’s books to donate to the food pantry
-an oven mit shaped like a cow with a creepy smile
– a chromebook from a college free pile,right after my computer broke and I couldn’t afford another one

Worst ever free pile sightings (content warning: adult toys, and no, I didn’t touch them!)

– dozens of (used) adult toys hidden under a promising-looking pile of books…luckily I dug through it with a stick. Then I ran home and showered!
– a large box full of neti-pots???
– a faded, 10ft. tall fabric palm tree
-I put a bike in a free pile with a note on it saying it’s basically a death trap, for art projects only. Someone took it and brought it back 2 days later.
-an open jar of pasta sauce 🙁

The list could go on!


A. Marie July 11, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Thank you, C, for the detailed response! I enjoyed your post immensely (although, like you, I wouldn’t touch the adult toys with a 10-foot pole!).

I live near a large private university in Upstate NY famous for its basketball team and its frat boys who think that making fun of minorities and the disabled is funny (see recent national news stories). As you can imagine, the rewards of dedicated trashpicking in the university area in May were great. But, sadly, I’ve had to give it up in recent years for various reasons (mainly age and debility).


Christine July 12, 2018 at 3:35 pm

My granddaughter left two loads of laundry at my house after a short stay here. Her great aunt works at college in a nearby city and gets to go through the items left there by the students at the end of the school year. Granddaughter told me about all the clothes the great aunt obtained for her by going through these items but I didn’t realize the quantity of them until I washed her clothes and noticed many of them had the college logo on them.
My nephew works maintenance at a high school and recently told me the same story…the kids leave behind a lot of stuff. In fact he obtains his expensive brand name sneakers every year using this method…up to four pairs a year!


ouvickie July 13, 2018 at 6:51 am

I love your free pile scores and thanks for the laugh over the “worst-ever free pile”, that was hilarious!!


Melinda Stookey July 12, 2018 at 12:20 am

my fff
1. Found 35 cents yesterday while grocery shopping
2. used a coupon to get mayo for free
3. used the bus and walking to go grocery shopping with my husband, me with my walker and him in his powerchair
4. ate at Sam’s club, lunch for two people for only 4.88 and the pizza was so dang tasty 🙂
5. We brought with us our travel tumblers with our reusable straws


MochaMom July 12, 2018 at 9:52 am

1) Made Hot Dog Mash w/ old growing potatoes, a package of hot dogs, and an onion.

2) Started washing clothes in cold water. It was hard for me to do!

3) Began couponing again. I saved $70 off my grocery bill.

4) Dumped the contents of my freezer-soup-leftovers container into the crock pot. It was a chicken, rice, corn chowder type meal.

5) Just spent two hours in Home Goods w/ a friend and bought NOTHING!


MochaMom July 12, 2018 at 9:52 am

1) Made Hot Dog Mash w/ old growing potatoes, a package of hot dogs, and an onion.

2) Started washing clothes in cold water. It was hard for me to do!

3) Began couponing again. I saved $70 off my grocery bill.

4) Dumped the contents of my freezer-soup-leftovers container into the crock pot. It was a chicken, rice, corn chowder type meal.

5) Just spent two hours in Home Goods w/ a friend and bought NOTHING!


tonya July 16, 2018 at 4:54 pm

1) Drove my daughter to her freshman orientation. She is going to school in a neighboring state. We drove our Prius, for better gas mileage. I think we will save about $75 on gas with the Prius.
2) Used credit card points for free hotel nights. We pay it off monthly in full, so we like the rewards card.
3) Hotel has breakfast.
4) Watching TV and reading blogs tonight in the hotel room. We don’t have AC at home, so this is very luxurious!
5) Looking forward to hearing more tomorrow during the parents’ session.


Jessica July 17, 2018 at 8:37 am

1) have been struggling to have enough time/organization to bring food for lunch at work this summer, and it was a goal to brown bag this week. Made it fool-proof by cooking & organizing this weekend, and had delicious chicken salad yesterday, tofu w/vegetables today, and more tofu on tap for tomorrow… I also made and froze a ton of veggie-packed quesadillas to take later this summer.

2) I have ordered groceries online for the past two weeks, which forces me to shop more thoughtfully. I was very happy with how this worked for me as a tool to lower my grocery bill, though the prices are definitely higher, outright. This is one of those YMMV situations.

3) I contributed the max to my 401K for the year, by frontloading my paycheck deductions, to allow more time for interest to accrue.

4)I am going on vacation next week to a friend’s home, which she is not currently using, because she is away, herself.

5) I picked up an alarm clock on the street, which I may sell or donate. It was atop a pile left ahead of heavy trash day.


Avery August 31, 2018 at 8:36 pm

1.) Dropped my sorority- sold all my t shirts and am saving a lot of money! (Also it just wasn’t for me.)
2.) Sold 2 old school books for reasonable prices.
3.) My account at the resale shop is passively earning income.
4.) bought some shoes from Poshmark that I actually need and are great quality and comfortable
5.) I didn’t buy a lear jet


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