Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 7, 2018 · 85 comments

  1. My son and I stopped into Goodwill to take photos for my Instagram account and I ended up scoring a Macbook Pro charging cord for a cool $9.99! Mind you, it wasn’t for my outdated 2009 laptop whose chargers are easy to source, but for my husband’s one which is on the newer side. And since these sell new for $79.99, I’m feeling pretty good about this purchase.

  2. My husband and I had planned on spending a couple of days at the Oregon coast to celebrate our 25th anniversary, that is until we priced motels. Holy inflation Batman, prices have skyrocketed since we last booked a motel! Instead we planned a “daycation” and enjoyed all the beach had to offer without spending hundreds of dollars for the privilege of housing without so much as a glimpse of the beach. Because of the savings, we were able to enjoy guilt free restaurant meals. Although one was a budget friendly Mexican food cart.

  3. I sold a political science textbook through eBay that I’d pulled from an post-garage sale free box. It took just a couple of minutes to put the listing together (books are really easy to list) and I profited a cool $20 with minimal effort. (Minus eBay fees) Of course I sent it out using second hand packaging materials.

    I think this makes four textbooks that I’ve now sold from this particular free box.

  4. I did a big grocery shopping trip at Winco, (which is the cheapest grocery store in town) I returned library books right before they were due, I picked up another ponytail elastic off the ground, today’s shorts and T-shirt are both from free piles and I texted with my best friend Jennifer who’s vacationing in Ecuador. Because yes, I’m old enough that this technology still seems miraculous, and it seems not that long ago that foreign long distance was prohibitively expensive and texting didn’t even exist.

  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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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Edie August 7, 2018 at 12:36 pm

1) Also did a day cation at Cannon Beach the other week- I took a bus, did a hike and enjoyed fish & chips (but of course!)

2) Bought lunches this week- all fresh salads from the garden, with roast chicken.

3) Dinners will also be from the weedy garden, and homemade ice cream made with fruit as sweetener!

4) Redid cable/internet to save money!

5) Made my own iced tea for these hot, hot summer nights!


A. Marie August 7, 2018 at 2:10 pm

I like your #4, Edie. NY State has just threatened to kick our internet provider out for various good reasons, and I just got an offer of internet service for about a third less than the current provider charges, so I’m going to have to move on that one.

And I’m just commenting on other folks’ FFTs this time around. Can’t get it together to do an entire FFT myself.


Edie August 7, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Hey there!

Good on you and GOOD on NYS. The sheer unnecessary greed of some providers is just stunning- especially when you think about how the technology was developed and how it was subsidized with tax money- OUR tax money.


Ave August 8, 2018 at 11:15 am

Glad to know that I am not the only one harvesting from a weedy garden. Though I am not sure that the mystery squashes are a frugal win or fail. They are not the tastiest variety but we are eating them and the chickens are enjoying the rinds and seeds.


Edie August 8, 2018 at 12:31 pm

My weedy garden is pumping out peppers, beans, squash, eggplant and tomatoes, interesting wild native cooking herbs and loads of basil, parsley, fennel, oregano, marjoram, mint, and angelica. So dinner is usually a green sauce made with one or more of the herbs, olive oil and salt, then tofu or egg and the veggies. Really satisfying!


Cindy in the South August 7, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Katy: I the same way about texting! It is a miracle!. Love the pics of you and your family at the beach! I am with you, I will drive to the Gulf Coast, spend the day, and then drive back home! The hotels are outrageous!
1. I read books from my fee lil library in the local laundrymat.
2. I wore a $1 thrift store black dress to a funeral.
3. I am still eating tomato sandwiches.
4. My power bill for the month in my all electric house in the deeply humid ( 108 heat index) South is still under $50 a month.
5. I took a nap…my fav…lol


Cindy in the South August 7, 2018 at 12:42 pm

“free” not “fee”…..


Mati August 13, 2018 at 7:23 pm

How are you saving so much on electric?

And I love tomato sandwiches too!


Mand01 August 7, 2018 at 12:50 pm

1. Finally got into my garden after weeks and weeks of wet weather. Planted strawberries and raspberry canes I got for a great price.
2. My neighbor has agreed to pay for half the back fence. Even though that is the expected thing, I was girding myself to pay for it all. That saves me almost $2500.
3. My husband got a raise and is now doing overtime as well.
4. We are getting building work done. By doing the painting ourselves after we are saving $3500. We don’t mind painting and we already have all the equipment and leftover paint from the last painting job.

Frugal fail – ran a red light and I’m waiting for the fine to come in. Ugh!


A. Marie August 7, 2018 at 2:14 pm

I feel your pain on the fail, Mand. I ran a stop sign in a school zone back in April. Ouch.


Mand01 August 8, 2018 at 1:17 am

Yep. I’m expecting $500. What a dummy.


Liz B. August 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Ugh, I know your pain. Got a speeding ticket a little over a year ago….so annoyed with myself, even after all this time.


Jill A August 7, 2018 at 12:50 pm

1. I’m still keeping an eye open for used items for both daughters college apartments. I found a nice Calphalon Accucore stainless skillet with a lid for $3 (sells on Amazon for $240) and Simply Calphalon stainless sauce pan for $2. I also found a new non-stick rolling pin and a new Pampered Chef peanut butter measuring cup for 75 cents each at an estate sale.
2. Moved a few things into my youngest daughters apartment. It’s a ten month lease but school doesn’t start til the end of the month. We met one roommate and found out what things she could contribute so they don’t all bring the same things.
3. After visiting her apartment I bought her a small table for her bedside we decided she would need. It was $5 at Goodwill with coupon. She washed it up and applied some Old English Scratch Cover and she’s very happy with it.
4. We also found some silverware and a small dish for her to use as a coaster on her new table at another thrift store.
5. We went to a dog friendly beach at a state park an hour away. My friend drove and also purchased a park pass for the next year for her car. I bought ice cream as a thank you and also packed us all lunch to bring along. Very inexpensive day.


A. Marie August 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Nice scores on the Calphalon, Jill. I’m a fan myself.

And in other cookware news, I’m negotiating the sale of some of my excess cast iron (aka “doomerware”) with Ms. Bestest Neighbor. She’s on the board of a local outdoor art park that sometimes does campfire events, and thinks she can interest the organization in buying some of my larger/odder items. I don’t have the energy for a garage sale and don’t do eBay or craigslist, so this seems like the best solution.


Roberta August 8, 2018 at 3:59 pm

I wish I was nearby, to take your cast iron off your hands! I’m beginning to collect cast iron at garage sales for my kids when they go off to college.


A. Marie August 9, 2018 at 8:56 am

I wish you’d been here for the cast iron, too, Roberta. But Ms. BN and I worked out a good deal with the art park: I donated the items for a nice fat tax deduction. Everybody’s happy.


Jill A. August 7, 2018 at 12:56 pm

6. I also helped a friend with her garage sale. I put some clothes and other odds and ends leftover from my garage sale in it and made $35. As Katy says “Money in, crap out.”


Jill A August 7, 2018 at 1:08 pm

6. I forgot I also put some garage sale leftovers in a friends sale. I made $35. Money in, Crap out!! Yay!!


Christine August 7, 2018 at 1:32 pm

1. Dh’s walks take him past a golf course which spans both sides of the road. Lately he has been picking up the stray golf balls that find their way into the road. Count is up to 30 so far. He won’t need to buy golf balls for a long time since he golfs once or twice a year. If he gets many more I will consign them.
2. Our car is out of the shop and although we are close to $800 in parts and labor at least it’s not irreparable. We didn’t bother renting a car while it was in the shop, opting instead to stay home. We’re retired so it’s not a huge deal.
3.Vacation coming up soon. Stepson is giving us a ride to and from the airport so our only cost will be gas money and the low priced airline tickets. He will also stay at our house to care for our cats while we are gone.
4.Reading library books in front of my old fan to keep cool.
5. Friend at church suggested organizing a group and take turns hosting supper once a month. Count me in!


Lindsey August 7, 2018 at 1:44 pm

1. Purchased only milk this week, as we are eating out of the garden every single day.
2. Traded six spaghetti squash for six dozen eggs.
3. Gave this same neighbor a 33 gallon bag of greens and weed greens for her chickens, to keep them out of landfill, and she gave me another dozen eggs.
4. Traded two gallons of shelled peas for two salmon, with another neighbor. I really do live in a great neighborhood. One time a neighbor saw me go off to the hospital in an ambulance and by the time I had returned a day later, she’d weeded my garden and watered it. People tend to live in this block for a long time, as in decades. We are newbies at 8 years.
5. Made four loaves of bread so we are set for fresh and frozen bread for all those tomato sandwiches that we seem to eat daily for lunch right now.
6. Canned pickles and more pickles and relish and more relish. Have enough for one jar a month of each until next July, and some for gifts. Today I am tackling setting up sauerkraut. Some days I am in the kitchen until midnight with harvesting and canning foods but I try to think of it as a part-time job that, over the course of the year, saves us literally thousands. Plus I get a little thrill in December when I open something that reminds me of summer.


A. Marie August 7, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Lindsey, your neighborhood sounds like mine, only with more produce and eggs! It rocks!


Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early August 7, 2018 at 2:50 pm

Score on that computer charging cord!! I’ve never thought to look for that sort of thing at the thrift store, but now maybe I should.


Kathy August 7, 2018 at 3:12 pm

1. Attended a birthday bash for 3 guys turning 70. Free beer and wine, barbque and a Beatles tribute band.
2. Worked my admin gig=$100 which I helped buy back to school clothing for great nephew.
3. Attended a baby shower at local restaurant so lunch was Free
4. Donated back to school supplies mostly bought from thrift store to church’s back to school giveaway.
5. Brewed ice tea, my favorite summer drink


Juhli August 7, 2018 at 4:04 pm

My best frugal activity was remembering that I could schedule a ride home from swimming for $1.50 with the city’s Dial-a-Ride instead of using Lyftt for $11. As a first time user I have to say it was lovely and I didn’t have to miss my swimming lesson while Hubby took his Dad to the Dr.
I took my older son out to lunch so we could have a just the 2 of us conversation and we split a meal.
I had won a picnic basket of goodies from a Trader Joe’s raffle. We took the items we will use and I took the rest to the same son and DIL-to-be. Their tastes and needs are so different from ours that they were very happy with all of it.
Otherwise just the usuals.


LizB August 9, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Oh, wow – I remember they had Dial-A-Eide when I was a kid, living in So California (40-mumble mumble years ago). I never used it, but my oldest sister did. What a great idea!


janine August 7, 2018 at 5:39 pm

1.Concocted casserole and crockpot bean soup from scratch this morning. This should last us through a couple of days worth of meals.
2. Stopped in at Sams Club and picked up my “free” chicken and used up my gift card. Gifted orange juice and milk to son who drove me out there. Ended up spending 55c.
3. Despite the hot humid weather, continuing to not use AC , packing lunches for husband and cleaning out my extensive library.
4. Took another case of books to half price books for a small sum in return. Clutter out!
5. No major purchases or obscene extravagance.


Stephanie August 7, 2018 at 6:21 pm

1. I cleaned out and organized my laundry room, which was in desperate need of it. In doing so, I found several samples of laundry detergent, and my son’s old art box. My daughter will never need crayons or colored pencils again, possibly in her entire life!

2. I’m in the process of cleaning out my basement, which mostly contains my husband’s old junk. I’ve discovered several of his still-full deodorants, toothpaste, batteries still in the package (several of these), enough notebooks that I won’t need to do any back to school shopping for my son, and a plethora of other materials. It’s both awesome and horrifying.

3. Our tomato plants are exploding with tomatoes. Super delicious!

4. My mom very generously gave me some wonderful birthday gifts, including money, clothing, a restaurant gift card, and my late grandmother’s old charm bracelet. The bracelet is full of memories and I can’t wait to wear it (when I’m not digging through ten year old boxes in the basement).

5. I’m teaching my daughter to be thankful for what she has and not always want NEW this and MORE that. It’s a process, one that I hope will pay off mightily, both for us and for her.


naiveorbrave August 7, 2018 at 11:30 pm

This is my longerm-travel-edition as I am currently on a 5-month-solo-bicycle-language-learning-trip in China and Korea.

1. Staying with friends and like-minded travelers where I get to share quality time, stories, food, accomodation, tipps and different views on life as well as practical tipps and advice. I am so happy for networks like couchsurfing. Hosting when I am not traveling myself helps cope with my yen to see new places.
2. Camping when I can’t stay with someone. I would camp more but it’s more then 30°C at night so these nights are rather rough at the moment.
3. Learning Chinese via mp3 lessons and apps, trying my skills with people I meet on the road (hardly any one around speaks English, so there is no easy-way-out). And some friends taught me some great sentences and expressions already. Making sure I get the pronunciation right, or at least, almost right. I will take individual lessons next month but want to get as far ahead as possible.
4. I have to limit what I take with me. Really thinking about what to bring with me and what not to avoid overweight fees at the airport. Since my packed bike was already 20kg of me free baggage allowance. And therefore I have to be very careful when considering souvenirs. One month in, didn’t buy any yet.
5. Not staying at a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky but actually at a cheap hotel that had gold-plated wallpaper.


Bee August 8, 2018 at 2:50 am

What an adventure! I hope you will share more.


Ellie August 8, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Me, too!!


Naiveorbrave August 8, 2018 at 2:26 pm

Oh yes! It’s a great adventure and I am very happy I have the opportunity to Do this!


Lulutoo August 8, 2018 at 6:55 am

Please keep us posted. Do you have a blog?


Neela August 8, 2018 at 2:28 pm

@lulutoo wow, thanks for asking. I do. It’s. you can find me on Instagram as naiveorbrave


Katy August 8, 2018 at 10:03 am

What a grand adventure! I traveled a lot when I young and hope to travel more once I get the kids through college.


Neela August 8, 2018 at 2:31 pm

Oh yes it is. I am sure you will since you are trying to make the best of your time already! Living a rather frugal life made this possible for me.


Linda g August 8, 2018 at 3:22 am

It is HOT here. I have been making dinner when I first get up because it is cooler then. Also that reduces the chance that I will give in to temptation to ask hubby to “just pick something up, on your way home.” This is cheaper in the short term but also cheaper in the long term.
Got rid of cable for TV. We check out videos from the library, stream on the computer and have a little antenna on the wall so we get local news and vintage shows.
We share our farm share with our sons’ households and they share stuff with us.


tracy August 8, 2018 at 3:40 am

1. Been taking bus to/from work EVERY DAY for last week and a half, a new record! Saves $12.50/day parking every time!
2. FINALLY free of my latest shopping clothes shopping “binge.” When I am not shopping I can go a long time but every now and then I get into buying mode and seriously once I start it’s hard to stop… Thank goodness I like the thrill of bargain hunting as much as the shopping so the financial damage is manageable but the real issue is that “over shopping” doesn’t align with my aspiring non-consumer values. Returned a couple of things, will use the rest (almost all work clothes).
3. No restaurant meals for last week or so, except yesterday when I had a long scheduled lunch date with a friend I hadn’t seen for ages. We met at our usual thai place and I ordered salad rolls for $4.50 and drank water. Tipped extra for being so cheap but still got out of there for $7
4. Super excited to be heading to coast for 3 nights with my Mom, 4 young adult kids and a couple of significant others (thanks Mom for having a house at the Oregon coast!). Taking food from here (mostly vegetarian since 3 of the kids are veggie) to save money on food costs. Shopped sales at Freddy’s yesterday and got lots of fruit, eggs, brownie mix, plus ingredients for veggie fajitas with rice, beans. Also hit Grocery Outlet and got a bunch of fancy cheeses for cheap.
5. Trying hard to minimize food waste. My husband opened a can of tuna and decided he wouldn’t eat it because he found a tiny bone (he’s finicky) — he was going to toss it but I made a sandwich I took for lunch earlier this week and then made a half sandwich for dinner last night to use up the last bit.


K D August 8, 2018 at 3:54 am

1. I pulled our free annual credit reports. Every four months I pull one of mine and one of my husbands, rotating through the three credit bureaus.

2. I have been drinking the cheaper, and have a lot of, herbal tea, instead of the Vitamin Water I love.

3. I did a completed a short survey from our retirement funds company and received a $10 gift certificate.

4. We went to New England for a family reunion. We packed food for all but one meal a day. We stayed as inexpensively as possible.

5. It was an energy saving day with our utility provider yesterday. I did all I could to minimize our electricity use. Hopefully it will turn out to be a win/win.


Midwest Beth August 8, 2018 at 6:13 am

1. My Dad has been in the hospital for over 2 weeks with a brain bleed after falling down the stairs and hitting his head, have been going to see him bringing my own water in a cooler and also found the free coffee and water locations at the hospital.
2. Bought snacks 2 for a dollar at Rite Aid and candy bars at Kroger instead of paying full price at hospital and even shared.
3. When leaving to travel up to my parents home to visit him and spend a few days turned hot water heater down to low mode each time.
4. Took daughter to the movies on Tuesday to see Momma Mia II, took advantage of $5 movie And free popcorn with refill at M JR. Spurged and we split a large Icee. If you have not seen it yet bring tissue.
5. Daughter went glamping a few days with a friend and her family-happy for her and saved money on food etc.,for me.
6. Have made 6 trips up to see my Dad, gas not cheap but time with him and family priceless.


tracy August 8, 2018 at 6:19 am

Beth I am sorry about your father and hope he makes a full recovery. Sounds like a very difficult situation — I am sure your support means a ton.


Christine August 8, 2018 at 9:25 am

Best wishes being sent your Dad’s way for a full and speedy recovery. Never easy to see a loved one having to deal with a serious illness. I’m sure having your frequent visits are a real boost to him. Take care.


Midwest Beth August 8, 2018 at 10:19 pm

Thank you all for your support. We transferred my father to a nursing home with hospice services. Today was the best day he has had in two weeks with tubes gone he is able to talk, much more comfortable and was able to say he loved me seemed to be at peace and enjoyed the time he spent with my mom, brother and me.His feet were tapping to the polka music my brother played for him and enjoyed the Yellowstone special on TV and was able to converse about it, one of his favorite places he loved and took our family there to see; feeling blessed to have this time with him.


Bee August 9, 2018 at 4:38 am

Sending you peace, love and strength during this difficult time.


A. Marie August 9, 2018 at 9:01 am

Adding my good thoughts to everyone else’s for you and your whole family in this difficult time, Beth. Hospice services around the world do wonderful work, and it sounds as if your father’s are making a rough time easier for everyone. Peace.


Katy August 8, 2018 at 9:59 am

Your poor father! Hugs and strength from my family to yours.


Cindy in the South August 8, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Hope he gets well soon!


Kathryn August 8, 2018 at 6:38 am

I did a daycation recently too! The hubs and I wanted to take our dog to the beach for the first time and finding a last minute dog-friendly place to stay was very difficult! So we drove up and back in the same day and avoided all the stress of trying to leave her/socialize her with other dogs/prevent her from barking due to a strange place, as well as saved at least $100.


CD August 8, 2018 at 8:24 am

July was a very expensive month (moving, security deposits + then some unexpected fees), so this month I’m trying to get back to the usual. I’ve been needing an office chair for a long time now, and had made due with a friend’s folding chair, but no longer had it in the new apartment. Yesterday before work I saw a wooden chair by the curb that looked great, but wasn’t able to get it – it was still there after, and I lugged it all the way home (the first time I’ve taken anything from the curb!). As I was cleaning it I discovered it’s an Ethan Allen chair, which just made my night. It could use some sanding and refinishing, but it’s as good as new!


Gina August 8, 2018 at 8:44 am

1. Wanted to renew my Sam’s Club membership. I knew there was a coupon out there for a free gift card upon renewal, but i didn’t have one, so i asked around for one & a friend gave me one, thus reducing the cost on membership $15.
2. Friends of us gifted us with a window unit air conditioner. Yay!
3. Had an empty dog food bag that I repurposed as a garbage bag, thus saving a bag for another time.
4. Girls wanted ice cream. Hubby & i took them to the store instead where we got 3 half gallons for $10 & 2 boxes of cones. I think we got at least 20+ cones from this purchase of $13 versus going out for ice cream one time. Girls were surprised how far this treat stretched out.
5. a coworker gifted me 5 zucchinis from her garden.


LB August 8, 2018 at 9:01 am

1. Went home for the weekend. Stayed with my sister and only meal out was a treat from my parents. Total cost with gas and incidentals was $36. Not bad considering the amount of cake I ate!

2. On my way home took my tired butt to the grocery store to avoid eating out this week. While it’s not glamorous, I did manage to plan well enough to make quick lunches and avoid the ending machine thus far.

3. Got invisalign last week which, while expensive in itself, looks like it’s going to save me some cash: the hassle of getting them in and out seems to rarely be worth the beer or snack I’d be having!

4. Walked home from work yesterday to enjoy the brief break in the heat (2 miles) and avoid going to the gym. Took the bus to work this morning. While my commute is short, any reduction in my gas bill is welcome.

5. Booked a trip with a friend for October to visit our old roommate in Phoenix. Successfully booked a red-eye and used a voucher from a delayed flight from earlier this year to pay about $100 less than I was planning on.


Alison August 8, 2018 at 11:50 am

1. Scored three Starbucks 35th anniversary mugs from a free pile. They are really nice.
2. Sold a cat carrier for $15 for my parents. The buyer lived a half hour away, but I just happened to be going in her direction for a family dinner, so I delivered it. She was very happy.
3. Small apple tree continues to produce, dropping the apples. More applesauce and apple/cranberry crumble in our future.
4. Didn’t get on a ferry as planned, and make a day trip to the big city to have lunch with an out of town cousin, as timing didn’t work for him. Sad to have missed him, but saved money.
5. Didn’t book the cat for $2000 radioactive iodine injection for his thyroid problem. Will do the gel applied to his inner ear to treat it for now.


Christine August 9, 2018 at 5:58 am

The shelter where I work uses the gel. Very easy to apply and well tolerated.


Sheila August 8, 2018 at 3:09 pm

1. Baked potatoes late last night for tonight’s dinner when it was much cooler. Despite the fact that my black lab helped himself to one we have enough for dinner and then some.
2. The heat turned my bananas very ripe so I was forced to make banana bread ;-} I usually cut them up and put them in the freezer to use in smoothies but more often than not they look so bad that I throw them out.
3. I bought some new clothes for a wedding and brunch last month. I changed my mind because even though they were on sale, they really weren’t my style. So back they went.
4. I went to the library to do research on good paint for our kitchen cabinets. Loved leading through old issues of Consumers Reports, finding some cookbooks, and especially basking in the air conditioning.
5. My husband and I went out for lunch and split an appetizer and entree, spending just $12. The server mentioned that this was not much food for 2 people but we could barely finish it. Even better, the meal was paid for by a gift card my husband received for some volunteer work!


MB August 8, 2018 at 4:26 pm

Hi. If you pick up loose change in a store, do you keep it ? Is it yours? Struggle for me ? I want to keep it. Thanks for your message.
Not a weirdo. Just a 53 year old from Fort Smith, AR.


Bethany August 8, 2018 at 4:54 pm

Yes, totally finders keepers unless you see the person lose it. There’s no identification on change.


A. Marie August 9, 2018 at 9:12 am

MB, your question reminds me of a time about 20 years ago (long before my NCA days) when DH and I were vacationing on St. John, USVI, with his sister and her husband. We were snorkeling in Trunk Bay when SIL spotted a $50 bill on the bottom, about 20 feet down. She’d been afraid to “free-dive” before then, but she sure learned in a hurry. And once she’d retrieved the Grant, we all wondered what to do with it. But we soon concluded that any effort to go up and down the beach asking, “Did you lose a $50 bill?” would result in a 100% response rate of “yes.” So we kept it and invested it in the local economy instead (two Caribbean lobsters at our favorite restaurant!).


Bethany M August 8, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Been staying home. Air quality is quite bad with the Holy Fire about 15 miles from us. Saving on gas.

Experimented with a box of mac and cheese, hamburger and salsa. Called it Mexican mac-n-cheese. Family loved it.

Still painting….a labor of love at this point….week 3.

Husband is so hard working. The only time he spends on himself is literally meals, hygiene, and sleep. He fixed the blinds I broke during my painting endeavor. I was feeling so bad about it. He also fixed some pipes under our sink that totally came apart for no apparent reason. Anyway, he saved us so dough for sure!

He also had to do some out of town work the past month, like a lot of it. He’s salary, and although he’s on the corporate level, his pay doesn’t reflect it for our location in the world. He asked to be compensated extra for his travel days, since he was traveling Sunday, working M-F, and traveling Saturdays this month. He had a healthy extra check this month that mostly paid for our homeschool curriculum for the year.


Lindsey August 8, 2018 at 6:04 pm

Thank you so much for the idea about Mexican mac and cheese. I have jars of salsa that I canned last summer that we need to use up, and last fall’s mooseburger in the freezer—I was trying to think of a new way to use both so tomorrow night it is Mexican mac and cheese!!


Bethany August 8, 2018 at 6:13 pm

Fun, enjoy!


A. Marie August 9, 2018 at 9:03 am

Lindsey: Maybe since you’re using mooseburger, you could call it “Moose-i-can Mac and Cheese”?


Lindsey August 9, 2018 at 10:57 am

Groan, A. Marie.


Elizabeth August 9, 2018 at 3:21 am

1. I have been having awesome luck at finding new books to read at the library, which of course makes me feel very happy and content for zero dollars
2. Took the kids out to McDonald’s with forgotten Christmas gift cards
3. Still scavenging around the house for unique meals to put together because my husband is traveling and the ones left behind are not picky:)
4. I am currently in a no spend week which is helping my monthly budget to stay in check
5. I earned a movie ticket and a free sandwich by simply giving blood, which makes me feel good on many different levels


Marybeth August 9, 2018 at 3:53 am

1. I sold 2 stools for $70 on Craigslist.
2. My garden is keeping us well supplied with veggies.
3. I shopped sales, used coupons and rainchecks and did Ibotta for the rest of my groceries.
4. My youngest daughter was given a bag of clothes from a friend. She now has new to her clothes for school.
5. I was in a small accident that was deemed the other driver’s fault. I received a check less then a week from the accident. The car is still driveable. My car is a 2006 and not worth making the repairs on. I can live with the dent. We put the money in the bank in our car fund. I am hoping to get a new to us car in the next year or two.


Mrs. Picky Pincher August 9, 2018 at 5:07 am

Great score on that charging cable! I can’t believe it’s in working order! Ahh yes, daycations. I know them well. 🙂 We’re tackling the last of our student loans and have really buckled down. Even though I’d love to go on a proper summer vacation, keeping our goals in check is more important. But you bet that I’m traveling to Alaska next year when the debt is gone!!

This week:

1. We bought Jason’s Deli for dinner using a discounted gift card. The best part? We always get the large to-go salads. We’re able to load up on pounds of food, as long as it fits in the containers. Hubs and I turn it into a lively competition to see who can get the most weight. I won this time. 🙂

2. I’m washing laundry with homemade soap.

3. I took a shower and used a bar of soap I hoarded from a business trip hotel stay.

4. Instead of going out for a pedicure, I did my own nails at home. You can’t even tell the difference. 😉

5. I ate homemade croissants this morning for breakfast. I just haven’t felt like cooking, but having frozen staples on hand helps me avoid takeout costs.


Kathy August 9, 2018 at 11:57 am

Craving something I got 2 small cartons of Hagen Daas ice cream 2/$7 less $1 coupon.
With the heat and fires I’ve been literally laying low..watching t.v., doing some housework, gathering stuff for donation.
Eating out of pantry and refrigerator


ouvickie August 9, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Love the beach pic!
1) It has cooled down to the upper 80s and lower 90s here, with lots of rain yesterday, so the AC isn’t coming on in the house in the morning or much in the evenings.
2) I’ve been listening to the fabulous stories on audiobook, after using my fave shopping card at the Library for regular books and audiobooks to entertain myself.
3) I decided to put off getting my hair cut until next month. I wanted to grow it out anyway, so all I need next month is a trim.
4) I’d been thinking about buy a small HDTV for my bedroom, mostly to hook up the DVD player I got with my Amazon GC. My co-workers suggested I just hook it up to a computer monitor. I actually have one I haven’t been using, so I’ll see if I can get it all hooked up to use this weekend.
5) No lear jet, yacht or gold-plated anything bought this month.


Cheapskatie August 9, 2018 at 1:59 pm

If nobody’s going to suggest airbnb as a great alternative to expensive hotels…let me! I know it’s not available everywhere in the world, but I have stayed in really inexpensive and pretty nifty places that way.


MariAnn Knowlton August 9, 2018 at 2:24 pm

1. Had a pair of shoes resoled for half the price of a new pair.
2. Ate sweet corn from our own garden & tomatoes from our neighbor’s garden.
3. Bought a new pair of pants (labels still on) for $5.00 from Goodwill for my job.
4. Restocked my kitchen sundries into canning jars.
5. Talked myself out of buying a book on Amazon & checked it out from the
library instead.


Jennifer August 9, 2018 at 5:49 pm

1) Went to the Amish produce auction and bought tomatoes, cucumbers and blackberries in bulk. Been canning all week.
2) Paid a bill online to avoid a stamp.
3) Filling up the cars with gas at Costco – $0.20 cheaper than other places.
4) My son got his wisdom teeth out – I stocked up on ice cream last week in preparation while it was on a good sale.
5) My kids have been carpooling to and from various things to help offset gas prices. And when my 13 year old wanted to go out to dinner with friends we made her pay for it herself. And she got a ride.


Katy August 9, 2018 at 7:22 pm

Just got back from a 2 night trip to Niagara Falls, so here’s mine, Niagara style:
1. We stayed in our tent at a very nice Koa, instead of a hotel, just over $100 for both nights combined for 2of us.
2. We bought a 48 hour bus pass. The bus picked us up right in front of the Koa and dropped us off at the falls. We didn’t have to pay parking. Then we walked a lot, from Canada to the USA and back. Bus pass $8 each, $16 total.
3. We paid for very little of the tourist things, just upside down house (about $12 each) and $1.25 each for the observation deck and elevator down to bottom of falls.
4. We resisted food close to the falls. We were so hungry, but $13 a person? We waited until we left the area and filled up on food at a fast food joint.
5. My biggest tip, if you go, enjoy the falls!! Pay a little to walk across the bridge and see both sides, it’s fun to see different views. Go at night too for the colorful lights and fireworks (check schedule).  It’s beautiful even if you can’t afford to see it from a boat or helicopter, or dinning from a tower.


Christine August 10, 2018 at 6:29 am

Thanks for all the info about Niagara Falls and how to make it a frugal vacation. I live about 8 hours away so can easily drive there in a day. I went once as a kid and loved it and I’ve thought about going back many times. You gave me just the push I needed!


Randi Macdonald August 10, 2018 at 11:59 am

Have you ever tried Airbnb? Or priceline or Hotwire?


Gina in KY August 10, 2018 at 5:44 pm

. My son and I have been hiking Free park trails around our city. We even went on an adventure to find a haunted cave (hiked about three hours and never found it).
2. Read Nomadland borrowed from the library (highly recommend). Also reread Big Tiny and started The Whale (I also cried buckets over the Salish sea orca and her dead calf)
3. Eating at home Also, doing well on less food waste.
4. Made another big payment on the debt. It hurts between paychecks, but being free of this debt (created in part to pay for sad times). I have future goals.
5. Still purging (sold more books) and will be back on it full force when my kid goes back to school this next week.


Alison August 11, 2018 at 12:06 am

It’s been a low key week:
1. ate dinner at home every night. Daughter made 2 dinners.
2. got stuff out of the house and to my Goodwill store
3. stocked up on my post it notes. Small packages were .99 at my local grocery store and I’ve got six so that should last me a year.
4. got a book out of the library and the receipt said I saved $37 for using my local library. Like I would spend $37 on a book! Love my library
5. got the final piece of my new paid in cash furniture. Let the one delivery guy take my old ottoman on wheels home with him.


Christine August 12, 2018 at 8:51 am

My library’s receipts print out the price of the book to show the patron how much is saved by borrowing instead of buying. Whenever I read the receipts I feel like breaking into a happy dance.


Laura August 11, 2018 at 6:27 am

Winco isn’t cheap overall. A shopper has to know what items cost, or they can negate what they save on truly less expensive items, with items that are overpriced.


Carol Maskus August 12, 2018 at 8:34 am

1. Needed a new belt, then I realized I could probably add a new hole myself. Quick Internet article, and bam, good as new.
2. Skirt was getting a bit stretched out in the waist, and again thought I needed a new one. Quick safety pin fix and good as new.
3. Dress had a hole in it, but it was very small. Again was going to get rid of it, then found quick Youtube tutorial and fixed it. It’s a pattern, so you don’t notice it.
4. Finally, my sunhat was too big. Got inspired by a Youtube tutorial on how to fix it, then adapted the materials to what I had on hand. I’ll have to try it in the wind, but it should be better than it was.
5. All these clothing fixes are because I’ve been studying capsule wardrobes. Most people talk about getting rid of clothes and buying new ones, but I’ve found a couple people talking about working with what you have. I like the latter better.


Christine August 12, 2018 at 8:49 am

Thanks for all your ideas regarding the upkeep of a wardrobe. I like to work with what I have and look at it as a challenge. It’s a fun kind of challenge. We’ll be vacationing for 10 days soon and DH and I are toying with the idea of bringing five outfits each. 10 changes of undies and socks of course. We’re trying to whittle it down. Any ideas?


Carol August 12, 2018 at 2:44 pm

Thanks, Christine. Whenever I travel I only bring about two bottoms and concentrate on the tops, which get dirtier faster. We went for ten days to visit our relatives, and I brought a long black skirt, some olive shorts, and a bunch of shirts. And two pairs of shoes, one for walking, and one for going out. My going out pair was a low wedge sandal, so it could double as a pair for kicking around downtown during the day. I also always only bring one or two matching sets of jewelry, a necklace and earrings. As for coats, because it’s summer, I only bring a cardigan sweater or a pashmina. Good luck!


Christine August 13, 2018 at 7:52 am

Thank you for the travel tips! The more tops than bottoms approach sounds like it will work for us too.


Norma August 13, 2018 at 12:20 pm

If I’m staying in a hotel or on a cruise I make sure I bring hangers (just in case they have those ones that won’t come off the closet pole) and wash out things during my stay.

Cynthia August 12, 2018 at 10:31 am

I’m not sure if these are five things, or more, or really all one thing. Every frugal effort connects to every other one in my experience.

I’ve had some nice sales on eBay and Amazon this past week. It’s especially fun to rescue something that was headed for the dumpster because the person getting rid of it didn’t realize it would have value to someone else. This week that included a vintage radio marked down to a dollar at a yard sale, and a couple of books out of a free pile. The owner said: “Nobody wants a radio anymore,” and this was Bakelite, cream colored, pure MCM, in fine working order, and I sold it for $40.

Trading/repurposing: I found a nice speaker for an iPod which I knew my neighbor could use, so I passed it on to her. (I don’t have an iPod.) She came back with a skirt she’d been given but couldn’t wear, which fits me perfectly!

I have some friends who think they don’t like used items, but when I find something for them that is just what they want and haven’t been able to find anywhere else, they may rethink the idea. I feel like a missionary to the heathen captives of retail and advertising. (I have the zeal of a recent convert!)

Another neighbor asked me to come over and help her sort through her basement stash and help her figure out what to sell and what to get rid of. First off: a brand new rug shampooer, including tags and manuals—that goes right on to Craigslist. She doesn’t have a carpet anywhere in her house, due to allergies! I can’t wait to see what’s in all her boxes. In the same vein, I’m helping my ex-husband clear out his apartment in preparation for moving in with his new partner. (We’re still friends, obviously.) I admitted to him that one ulterior motive is to make sure he doesn’t get rid of some of his family heirlooms I’d like to keep for our son. I’m also happy to make sure that some of his furniture and kitchen items that are still usable but maybe not pretty enough to sell, make it to the Salvation Army or the ReCover Store for someone in need.

Eating down the fridge and trying to make it to the freezer and pantry, but it’s August and produce keeps appearing on my doorstep. They say here in Vermont the only time people lock their doors is August because neighbors will sneak in and leave zucchini in your kitchen. I am doing my best with the abundance coming my way. I don’t have a garden this year, and I swear I have more vegetables than ever¬—everyone is looking for someone to take their gardens’ overflow. I use what I can, preserve what is left, and try to remind folks that the food pantry would be glad for some veggies too! (I guess I am getting to be an awful nag.)

I need to get rid of my television news habit (anxiety producing and addictive) but I haven’t yet bit the bullet to cancel the satellite service. I know it will save me money and worry once I do it. Meanwhile, my dog, who is getting old and has anxiety problems, has chewed up my rubber doormat—twice! The first time I replaced it, but this time I got out the super glue and put it back together. It has a sort of stained glass pattern, with arches and curliques, so I basically pieced the entire thing together out of thin air. It may not hold, but if he’s going to chew it up anyway, no sense getting a new one.

I am preparing to spring for several thousand dollars (ouch!) to insulate my basement, and seal a dirt crawl space under the living room. Basically, my cellar is a sieve, letting the heat get out and the mice get in. It may take a while to recoup the savings from this project but it’s also ecologically frugal to use less propane and stove wood in the coming winter. And mice—yech!


Christine August 12, 2018 at 6:26 pm

I loved reading your words. I hope you write more for this blog. I’m also wondering if a newspaper would consider you writing a column of frugal thoughts and ideas for them. Nice way with putting words and ideas together.


Cynthia August 13, 2018 at 6:42 am

That is so lovely Christine–thank you!


Elizabeth August 16, 2018 at 7:59 am

1. Received a $2 Catalina at Kroger for buying $10 worth of Kroger brand items…will definitely do this deal again!
2. Used my husband’s leftover per diem money from a business trip to add to my daughter’s college fund
3. Reusing books we bought years ago to inspire my son’s love of reading
4. Using Rocket languages for free, thanks to our library membership
5. Found a $2 shirt for my daughter and a $3 study guide that covers all of the Chronicles of Narnia books (very excited about that find!)


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