Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 17, 2018 · 55 comments

  1. My husband had ankle surgery and I was able to thrift a new looking shower chair for him. (Plus we still have the Goodwill crutches leftover from his hip surgery.) Then when he got fitted for his “air boot,” I got the tech to give us the sturdy plastic bag packaging, as I could tell it was the perfect size and shape to put around his leg for showering! (It’s already shaped like a lower leg!) The medical bills are starting to invade the mailbox, but you know I’ll do everything within my power to maintain control of expenses.

    I know that many churches keep a stash of medical equipment available for loan, but we’re not church goers. However, this would be worth pursuing for those who do attend.

  2. My son and I were driving home from Costco last night and passed by what looked like a quality child’s wooden chair next to someone’s garbage. We took this as an opportunity to enjoy the evening air and walk through the neighborhood. Indeed the chair looked to be in excellent condition, so I encouraged my son to list it on Facebook Marketplace to earn a few extra bucks. (He’s going back to college this week and didn’t earn much money this summer.) I looked up the chair, which sells for $80, so I figure he should be able to get around $20 for it. People, this is free money!

  3. I’ve been watching YouTube videos of guys who practice urban extreme frugal hacking, specifically Living Bobby, Simon Wilson and London Hacks. Although their twenty-something dude lives differ greatly from my own established female existence, there’s still information to glean and food for thought. These three YouTubers live in New York City, Manchester and London, and since I’ve lived both in London and NYC, there’s a certain familiarity. But even if I hadn’t, there are still hacks to fit into my own routine.

    What have I incorporated for far? Downloading restaurant chain apps that give you a freebie just for signing up. Yesterday my son and I drove through Krispy Kreme and enjoyed a free pumpkin spice donut, and I have a free Dairy Queen Flurry just waiting for me!

    A lot of the hacks cross my ethical boundaries, (especial those from Simon Wilson, who’s a fan of sneaking into luxury hotels to enjoy their buffet breakfasts) but I still find it fascinating.

    I recommend watching the five short videos from Living Bobby on Turning $1 into $1000 in Five Days.

  4. My father’s neighbor has a fruitful apple tree, yet isn’t eating the apples, so my dad has been making pies and enjoying the bounty. (The neighbor told my father to take as many as he wanted.) My son and I stopped by the other day, and he asked me if I wanted any free apples. Umm . . . yes, please! I took enough to assemble a couple of apple crisps, and then stopped by again for more. Many of them require some creative carving to avoid the buggy/bruised bits, but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. And then while my son and I were walking last night I helped myself to handful of miniature yet delicious plums that littered a neighbor’s sidewalk!

    Although my discovery of free fruit was random, you can go to to locate your area’s free fruit that’s ripe for the gleaning.

  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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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Edie September 17, 2018 at 10:40 am

5 Frugal things:

1) Got a new tenant for my home! This really helps with paying the costs of owning a home AND a great way to have companionship as well!

2) Redid ,my internet/cable offer. Oy vey!

3) Doing cheap days at movie theaters! I am a cinephile, and I enjoy the cheap days (Monday/Tuesday) at Living Room Theatre here in Portland, where it is $6 to see movie, instead of $10. Even if I order a drink, I still in come in under budget! I also buy ticket packs at Costco for further savings to go to the movies!

4) Did Brunch and dinner at my house with friends and new tenant. Here in Portland you can easily spend $10-30 going out for Brunch and the same for dinner. Brunch was homemade waffles, grilled black forest style ham and blueberry compote with New Orleans style coffee. Dinner was Chicken satay, basmati rice and steamed broccoli with sesame oil and lemon. Another dinner was homemade udon soup with homemade broth and plenty of veggies. Bonus: I have 2 quarts of rich chicken stock to use this week, or freeze.

5) Packed fixing for lunch this week and will also be carrying my (rather excellent) coffee to work as well. Did meal prep, which helps keep me from the siren song of the vending machine.


Jill A September 17, 2018 at 10:49 am

1. I had a friend over for dinner. I made an inexpensive stir fry and served a delicious $5 bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s. It was a fun night and I enjoyed her company more than if we’d gone out for dinner.
2. I found a couple more items at garage sales for my daughter’s apartments. I also found a water bath canner for future projects. I only spent $3.
3. I needed some robbing screens for my daughters hives. A friend made them using a piece of scrap wood we had in the garage and some inexpensive hardware cloth that I picked up at the hardware store. We will repay them with honey.
4. My daughter and I gave our dog a bath in our bathtub saving my $8 off the cost of the fancy bathing facilities at the dog park we belong to.
5. We had dinner at my Mom’s house to celebrate birthdays. I made a carrot cake which was an inexpensive addition to the meal.


K D September 17, 2018 at 10:53 am

I know of at least one church in my area that is happy to give/loan surplus medical equipment to anyone in the community that has a use/need for it.

1. We ate lunch at a restaurant that is not our favorite because we had a gift card that covered all but $4 of the total.

2. I was able to buy pints of sorbettos for less than $.75 pint combining a sale, coupons, and Catalina deal (save $3.50 on your next store purchase when you buy 4).

3. My daughter moved to her first apartment in the spring. She has never been this broke before. She has learned to say yes to offered items (food and otherwise) as well as to borrow (tools, thermometers, needle and thread, etc.).

4. Recently our library switched DVD rentals from 1 one to 7 days (for recent releases). While the selection on the shelf is much skimpier it’s easy to request what you want and then have time to watch it and return without making an extra trip. I’m also enjoying books, e-books, and audio books borrowed from the library.

5. We had a whole weekend without rain, or high heat and humidity. We took walks, I worked in the yard, we sat outside. What a nice change. Today the remnants of Florence came to town, but i thankfully will not be more than what we’ve had umpteen times this summer.


Lindsey September 17, 2018 at 11:49 am

1. Took care of a friend’s dog and greenhouse (it has already frosted here many times, so a heated greenhouse is the only place things are still growing). She told me to harvest whatever I wanted, so over the three weeks I gathered and canned 16 quarts of pickles, 6 pints of sweet relish, 6 pints of dill relish, and 22 quarts of spaghetti sauce. I already had tons of stuff from my own garden, so this year’s gifts and potluck dishes will be canned items. The husband helped with all the picking and processing, so the job was not as overwhelming as it could have been.
2. Made a dozen birthday cards with supplies I already had. It is the only craft thing I do.
3. Took a load to Salvation Army and collected my tax receipt. Years ago, I was given six blankets that I have never used because we like down quilts. I finally forced myself to give them up and hope that someone who needs warmth can get them for a good price at Salvation Army.
4. I found a new mystery series I love and our library has all 18 volumes, so I have been working my way through them. I love the library.
5. We like to keep a puzzle on a table, doing a piece now and then. I met someone who likes historical puzzles, too, and we now trade puzzles. The last person to do the puzzle donates it to the non-profit used bookstore that supports literacy.


Su Mama September 17, 2018 at 3:51 pm

Please, please share with us the name of the newly-discovered mystery series!


Lisa M. September 17, 2018 at 12:00 pm

5FF: Where is Fall? Edition

We enjoyed a few days of fall-like temps but now it’s a return to mid-summer. NO!!

1. With the unofficial end of summer, my work hours have returned to normal part-time. I enjoyed the extra time off but it is nice to see beefed-up pay checks. I worked 21 hours at for-profit job and 7 hours at non-profit job last week.

2. One benefit of warmer weather is that it aligned perfectly with my annual defrosting of the deep freezer during the first few weeks of school. Although technically frost-free, it does accumulate some ice build-up throughout the year. Frugality-wise, reducing the ice should lower electricity costs and contribute to its useful lifespan making it easier for the machinery to keep items solidly frozen.

3. The hot weather caused me to adjust meal planning to non-heat producing meals. I was gifted a 4# (yes, you read that right) can of albacore tuna some time ago & let it sit while trying to figure out how to use it. This summer I researched & found that tuna can be frozen, so finally opened that can after locating a tuna salad recipe using 1# of tuna & froze the other 3# in 1# packages. I made a 2nd round of tuna salad last week, leaving the other 2# frozen that will be used in casseroles this winter.

4. Batched errands & groceries on my day off – dropped bill & form at pediatrician’s office, dropped bill in mail at PO, went to local grocery for loss leaders, then to Aldi (50% of purchases) & discount mega store (50% of purchases).

5. Working on filing multiple claims for vision services for DH & DD who use out-of-network eye care providers. Never thought about doing this until a kind receptionist at DD’s eye office suggested it & it was again suggested at another vision office where we purchased DD’s glasses. Yea for helpful service providers! The fact that my provider happens to be in-network justifies the annual premium for family vision coverage but any additional reimbursement would be icing on the top. It will also be a way to determine if subsequent filing is worthwhile or not.

To Katy: A couple of years ago, DH managed to rupture both knee tendons. We think one tendon rupture caused a fall which resulted in the other tendon snapping at the same time. A truly horrific nightmare with a very long-term recovery. A bright spot: Our inner city Goodwill runs a free equipment loan program. We were able to borrow a wheelchair, shower bench and a toilet-friendly commode (in lieu of placing toilet rails) from Goodwill. My neighbor had a raised toilet seat that we borrowed, my DD had crutches from previous figure skating injuries & we later were gifted a cane from the same Goodwill. Bright spots were hard to come by during those days but it might be worth checking to see if your urban Goodwill has an equipment loan program. We were able to return the equipment at our local suburban Goodwill. It was an absolute godsend for us & we will be forever grateful.


Liz B. September 20, 2018 at 5:38 pm

I’m confused….if your DD and DH’s eye care providers are out of network, how would filing subsequent claims garner reimbursement? Just curious to know if that works!


Momma L September 17, 2018 at 12:13 pm

1. Went online and found a free coupon for Guacamole, signed up.
2. Listed 3 small items and one antique on ebay, all passed down to me with a lot of other things.
3. Used what I had to make an appetizer: cheese I’d frozen, cream cheese and sour cream brought home from work, sausage I’d stored in the freezer after a sale, jalapenos I grew, chips I’d already bought on sale.
3. Took the appetizer to a friends potluck party, but for whatever reason, she didn’t put it out, so I brought it home, put it in the freezer. Saving it for guests. Trying hard not to be insulted that mine was the only dish she didn’t put out, hoping its because there were duplicates and she knew I’m usually easy going. Still over thought it too much as to why she said not to put it out “just yet” and never did. Our friendship isn’t worth me getting insulted over that though.
4. Saved some thank you notes gifted to me, sending them to those who helped when DH had his surgery.
5. Using bags of cheap frozen peas for DH as ice packs, they were the cheapest peas I could find. Will keep them in the freezer as long as the bag doesn’t break, and labeled them “ice pack”. The ones they send home from the hospital leak a lot.


Jenelle September 17, 2018 at 12:19 pm

1. Utilized our seasonal pass to the local amusement park (probably for the last time before it closes) and was able to take advantage of the $1 food specials that they had. For our family of four, we were able to only spend $8 on park food! We were also able to visit the park’s trick or treat and score some snacks for the kiddos.
2. Another freebie from our amusement park visit was to bring home 2 pumpkins for the kids to paint the next day. Free decorations and at least an hour of entertainment the next morning.
3. My son’s baseball game was about 2 hours on Sunday and we remembered to pack water and snacks!
4. Though this is an investment, I found an amazing deal on an Instant Pot on QVC this past Sunday…I’ve been waiting for the time to be right to buy one. So I jumped. I hope this will help with meals in our house.
5. With this new purchase, I looked into borrowing a cookbook from our library.


Bee September 17, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Although the calendar says it is September, the weather in Florida is hot, hot, hot. I am longing for slightly cooler weather.

1) I participated as a vendor in our town’s semi-annual Vintage Flea Market on Saturday. It is a lot of work, but it is both fun and profitable. I have been involved with this event since its inception. Because of Saturday’s high temperatures (99 degrees), I decided to cut the day short. Fortunately, I still was able to reach my sales goal. But best of all, I did not buy one new thing … Nada..
Nothing. I am so proud!

2) While preparing for the flea market, I listen to several books that I downloaded on the library’s Overdrive app. I tried to download hoopla also, but I have been unable to update my iPad. The app requires 10.0 or better to run. I have an appointment at the Genius Bar to see what the problem is.

3) I think all of my FFTs have something to do with food. I sliced up 5 pounds of apples that were a little too soft and cooked them in the crockpot on low for 3 hours with a cinnamon and a smidgen of brown sugar. They were absolutely wonderful on my oatmeal and for dessert. I turned bits and bobs into a delicious fried rice which provided my husband and me with lunch and dinner for 2 days. Importantly, I haven’t eaten out at all during the month of September — 17 days!

4) My sweet, old dog has chronic ear infections caused by allergies. The vet suggested that I put him on Zyrtec. The vet was also kind enough to tell me that the generic of this medication is available at Costco at a considerable savings. Unfortunately, I am not a member, but I have a good friend who is. She is picking some up for me during her regular shopping this week. Good friends are a blessing.

5) As always, I continue to do all the usually things. I drink primarily water, run 4-5 times a week indoors at the YMCA (the heat this summer has been relentless),brew my own coffee, wearing thrifted close, and enjoying inexpensive entertainment.


Jill A September 18, 2018 at 3:51 am

Bee, I’m wondering how much of the Zyrtec you can give your dog. I might do the same. Thanks.


Bee September 18, 2018 at 4:17 am

I have a really big dog, so he takes 10mg or 1 tablet. However, I would check with your vet to get the correct dosage.


tracy September 18, 2018 at 5:08 am

Bea wish I could have attended your vintage flea market, it sounds wonderful!


Stephanie September 17, 2018 at 12:55 pm

1. Finished a gift I was knitting for my husband, out of yarn that I used to knit Christmas gifts years ago. It’s SO FLIPPIN’ COOL. I can hardly wait until Christmas to give it to him, he’s going to love it!!!

2. I started knitting my daughter a Christmas gift from yarn I already have on hand.

3. I contacted a yarn company (there’s a theme here…) about a skein of yarn that had some issues. They were amazing about it, and not only did they send me replacement yarn (which was pretty awesome, because I did get the first skein to work; it just caused me a lot of extra pain-in-the-butt work), they sent me a second skein of another kind. I’m pretty excited about this!

4. I made more tomato sauce and dehydrated cherry tomatoes from our garden (which are DELICIOUS and I could seriously eat the entire jar in one sitting).

5. I used up leftover to make a TON of burritos for my son’s lunches. He loves them, we’re not overwhelmed with leftovers, lunch packing is easier for me, everyone wins!


Christine September 17, 2018 at 1:51 pm

Sometimes Senior Centers have a supply of crutches, walkers, etc.
1. I repurposed an autumn leaf wreath into a centerpiece, flat on my table with a colorful teapot in the center.
2. The baby toe on my left foot poked through my mesh and nylon trail runners, less than a year old. I’m looking for an applique to sew over it. Til then, my toe is getting some air.
3. Gathered up and marked 15 items for the consignment store and brought them in.
4. Enjoying watching nature’s brush paint New England red, orange and gold. Done from my deck with a cup of tea in hand.
5. Our town’s new library opened. With the state kicking in 75%, it was a no brainer. My taxes went up slightly, but this increase is canceled out by my heavy borrowing habit. I love to read!


Suzanne Hulme September 17, 2018 at 1:52 pm

1. I brought homemade breakfasts and lunches to work everyday.
2. I borrowed a Sawmill from a friend instead of using a chainsaw to get rid of some branches, etc.
3. I wore two beautiful outfits a friend who was downsizing (both closet and size wise!) gave to me.
4. I have some trees that did not look good, but I pruned them and made them look “sculptural.” I had seen a neighbor a couple of blocks away do this. She trimmed all the lower branches that were deer-chewed, and now the arborvitae look lovely.
5. I called customer support to figure out some computer issues and saved myself from buying new cables, which I discovered I did not need!


Mary in Maryland September 17, 2018 at 2:20 pm

1. Tomatoes! I bought 5 half bushels of seconds (huge, oddly shaped, or tiny spots of rotten) for $16 the half bushel. 150 pounds for $80!
2. I’ve canned 55 quarts of tomatoes and still have one box left.
3. Since I can never get myself to make salsa from my canned tomatoes, I’m using that last box to make salsa. 16 pints so far.
4. Maybe tomato sauce from the rest. Would be good for lasagna. Too bad the tomatoes in complicated recipes all call for pint jars, and lasagna recipes call for quarts of sauce.
5. Impulsively bought 7 dozen of the reusable canning lids last fall (clearly inebriated on tomato fumes). Not good luck with them sealing yet, but am doing experiments with the pints.
6. Sale on metal lids when I went to pick up a few on Tuesday. Bought enough for the next three years. What better place to park my pension funds.
7. Invited four friends to dinner before a play on Friday. Enchiladas and coleslaw. It’s so much easier to have conversation at home than in restaurants. Guests also seemed grateful not to have huge portions.


Christine September 17, 2018 at 3:25 pm

I think your guests were grateful not to have a huge restaurant check too! I’m in agreement with you about conversation being easier at home than in a restaurant. Plus when I go out to eat, I feel like I should leave after I eat for other diners or for the wait staff who perhaps want to clean the table. At home or at someone’s house, there’s none of that.


Bethany September 17, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Clipped some coupons this week for my grocery visit. Saved $7. It was stuff we normally buy.

Used a Staples Reward $5 coupon to pick up some pencils and erasers.

Got my son in for a physical on the insurance’s dime. The office offered me a flu shot too. Even though I have my physical coming up, I figure go ahead and get the shot done and protect myself for another 2 weeks.

Batched Costco and Staples with that dr visit, and made it back home for lunch instead of eating out.

Printed off a few coupons for beans. I usually cook up my own, but a few cans are nice to have around when you forgot to thaw something for dinner.


Bethany September 17, 2018 at 2:45 pm

P.S. Looked up fallenfruit in my area and only found… “Henbit deadnettle” LOL! (Oh, Wikipedia!!!)


Christine September 18, 2018 at 6:59 am

Too funny! Definitely does not sound appetizing!


Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early September 17, 2018 at 3:06 pm

I LOVE Not from that site, but my parents just got a whole boxful of apples from a neighbor, and I’ve been sharing our ridiculous blueberry harvest this whole summer. Nothing better than sharing locally grown food between neighbors.


Mand01 September 17, 2018 at 3:40 pm

1. We’ve been entertaining a lot lately. We’ve been choosing frugal ways of doing this, like burrito bars and homemade birthday cake. It’s been successful.
2. Our garden is producing a lot of vegetables like broccoli, peas and spinach.
3. I calculated that I’ve managed to get through to September almost without breaking my pledge not to buy new clothes. I’ve fallen off the wagon three times this year – I bought a new winter coat, one dress and a secondhand winter coat. That’s it in nine months. I love buying clothes (mostly used) so this is a minor miracle. There might have been a pair of jeans in there as well….
4. I’ve lost three kilograms, so that all my existing clothes will continue to fit.
5. I’ve changed my work hours so I start earlier and finish earlier. This means I’m home to cook dinner and we are not eating out or takeaway anymore. It was driving me crazy. Also my commute is much faster as I’m not driving in peak hours so my petrol use is lower.


priskill September 17, 2018 at 3:57 pm

1. Trying not to buy too much food and wasting much less.

2. Eating down the freezer and pantry — lots of vintage food items being used up.

3. Using my individual Brita filter bottle at school — fill up on nasty tasting tap and chill — voila! delicious free water.

4. Classroom filled with hand-me-downs and found items and stuff from my own daughter’s kid-hood — so many generous donations. So — am not spending too much on classroom this year.

5. Bought very few clothes for start of school year — 2 pair of badly needed pants. No new shoes, etc. And it’s fine!

6. And no one donated a gold plated Lear jet. Just a massive Lakeshore circle time rug 🙂


Amanda September 17, 2018 at 4:52 pm

1) Our fridge compressor died this weekend and it will cost almost as much to get a new compressor as a new fridge. We opted for the compressor anyway because the idea of tossing an entire fridge for a part the size of a head of lettuce sounds so wasteful to me. And the fridge has otherwise run great for ten years, so we should be good for a while. And each new fridge seems to only last less time than the last one.

2) Luckily our fridge died right before I went grocery shopping. We’ll lose a couple of things, but not nearly as much if we had just filled it up. For lunch I decided it was a excellent opportunity (excuse) to get my favorite suchi. I even remembered the 25% off coupon I get for being a PBS member.

3) Resisted takeout for supper. Instead we made pasta from the pantry and filled a cooler with ice. My husband picked up a couple of essentials that should be fine in the cooler until the repairman fixes the fridge tomorrow.

4) Filled in a couple of things for the kids’ fall waredrobe from ThredUP. I am sending back a pair of pants for store credit that didn’t fit.

5) I shopped a bit online for a backpack to replace the one that was inexplicably lost over the summer. But our oldest has been using my backpack, and seems to be fine with it. We’re just going to make due for now. I haven’t given up hope that the backpack will turn up. And I am on leave this semester, so I don’t absolutely need the bag myself.


naiveorbrave September 17, 2018 at 5:08 pm

FFT – Long-term-travel edition

My FFT are so different to home. I am eating out a lot and had massages twice. Main frugal thing here? I (accidentaly) picked an inexpensive city to stay. I’ve been to the market to buy food to cook as well which I enjoyed but I realize I am busy doing other things as well.

1. I found a taichi group where I could join. They are practicing in front of an empty building close to my place. It’s a nice and helpful group. Every time some people get extra help so they get the moves right. Of course I am one of them. It’s pretty specific where you need to have your hand where and in what position and never forget to bend your knees. Of course – it’s all in Chinese. So in addition to learning a new thing I learn it in a language I barely understand.

2. Talking about Chinese – I am going to class every day, doing my homework and practice my vocabulary. Sometimes I have this awesome moments where I understand people or can express myself in situation I couldn’t do before. But then it’s back to not understanding anything at all…

3. Met a girl on the bus last week. She loves to do music and lives in a building with a nice roof-top terrace. We met with some other people a couple of times to jam a bit. It’s a fun and relaxing way to spent time together.

4. Got a 30-day pass for the climing gym so I would go there, practice my skills and hopefully meet people. Been twice, going again today to meet another climbing Chinese student.

5. My roommate asked me if I want to join her on a hike. We went up a hill that we can see from the hall way window. We literally started the hike at our doorstep, had cold noodles at a stall of an impressive market, hiked up the hill through beautiful forest, looked back onto our house. It was quiet, pieceful, no people, no noise and all of a sudden we came by a Buddhist temple (run by nuns!) where we listened in into their prayers. It was so relaxing to just sit there and let yourself drown in the chanting. We could have eaten there as well but unfortunately where full from the market-meal. And we walked all the way back to our place! The city I am staying has about 6 to 7 million people. I am so fascinated that we could so easily escape it!

Writing about the hike, I realize how I am neglecting my blog!

[WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.


rebecca j robbins September 17, 2018 at 5:21 pm

1. Using up what is in the fridge
2. I have a new client this week
3. Was offered 2 classes to teach next semester and I said yes
4. Split the cost of parking at the beach yesterday
5. the usual-library, coffee from home ect


naiveorbrave September 17, 2018 at 5:23 pm

FFT – Long-term-travel edition

My FFT are so different to home. I am eating out a lot and had massages twice. Main frugal thing here? I (accidentaly) picked an inexpensive city to stay. I’ve been to the market to buy food to cook as well which I enjoyed but I realize I am busy doing other things as well.

1. Enjoying the place where I stay and doing sports outdoors:

I found a taichi group where I could join. They are practicing in front of an empty building close to my place. It’s a nice and helpful group. Every time some people get extra help so they get the moves right. Of course I am one of them. It’s pretty specific where you need to have your hand where and in what position and never forget to bend your knees. Of course – it’s all in Chinese. So in addition to learning a new thing I learn it in a language I barely understand.

My roommate asked me if I want to join her on a hike. We went up a hill that we can see from the hall way window. We literally started the hike at our doorstep, had cold noodles at a stall of an impressive market, hiked up the hill through beautiful forest, looked back onto our house. It was quiet, pieceful, no people, no noise and all of a sudden we came by a Buddhist temple (run by nuns!) where we listened in into their prayers. It was so relaxing to just sit there and let yourself drown in the chanting. We could have eaten there as well but unfortunately where full from the market-meal. And we walked all the way back to our place! The city I am staying has about 6 to 7 million people. I am so fascinated that we could so easily escape it!

Went to the mountains to climb twice so far. (Got a 30-day pass for the climing gym so I would go there, practice my skills and hopefully meet people. Been twice, going again today to meet another climbing Chinese student. It’s just a bit depressing it’s in a basement….)

2. Talking about Chinese – I am going to class every day, doing my homework and practice my vocabulary. Sometimes I have this awesome moments where I understand people or can express myself in situation I couldn’t do before. But then it’s back to not understanding anything at all…

3. Met a girl on the bus last week. She loves to do music and lives in a building with a nice roof-top terrace. We met with some other people a couple of times to jam a bit. It’s a fun and relaxing way to spent time together.

4. Eating loads of fresh fruit that are in season here. So nice to eat so healthy! Some I know from home when they get importet. Others, I’ve never seen before.

5. Since I was cycling before my number of clothes was EXTREMLY limited – which would have been a pain in the buttocks while I am staying here for six weeks. Lucky me there was a clothes-exchange-party where everyone could bring unwanted clothes and pick new-to-them-clothes. Now I have a couple ox extra shirts, jumpers and a new-to-me pair of pants and a spare backpack for my climbing gear.
When I leave, this things will stay with my host as she keeps hosting cyclists. I so love this idea that there will be more cyclists wearing these clothes, maybe taking some with them or leaving more things behind.
Buying clothes in China can be extremly cheap but I think all you other non-consumer understand why I tried to avoid buying them just to use for a short time? 🙂

Writing about the hike, I realize how I am neglecting my blog!

Writing about the hike, I realize how I am neglecting my blog!


Katy September 17, 2018 at 5:26 pm

My son spent over a week in the ICU…to say that was not very frugal is an understatement. But he’s ALIVE and now working with different therapists to regain his strength and energy.
1. When leaving the hospital the nurse told us to take whatever was out, as it would be discarded. We took wipes, toothpaste, a cleaner, pill cutter, the stethoscope (she said we could), and probably a few other things I can’t remember. He also was given a pillowcase and fleece blanket by groups that make them for kids in the hospital.
2. We are enjoying a lot of nice meals people have made for us. The ones I didn’t think we’d eat up before they went bad, I froze.
3. I washed and reused one of the “disposable” aluminum pans that a meal came in. This is particularly handy as we’re living in a temporary place with very few dishes.
4. Frugal tip from my mom. She came out to help while my son was so sick and ended up changing her return tickets, because he was still doing so bad. When the airline found out it was because of family emergency, they waived the ticket changing fee.
5. Can’t think of a 5th at the moment…


janine September 17, 2018 at 5:55 pm

Health Care costs can be out of sight but you have the right attitude that what is important is that he is alive! Best wishes to him for a full recovery.


Katy September 18, 2018 at 10:47 am

Thank you!


Naiveorbrave September 17, 2018 at 5:55 pm

All the best for you and your son!


Lisa M. September 18, 2018 at 4:14 am

What a terrifying experience you’ve just went through! Hopefully your son’s health will only continue to improve from this point.


Bee September 18, 2018 at 4:35 am

I wish you peace, love and strength during this difficult time.


tracy September 18, 2018 at 9:19 am

Sending prayers for your son’s full recovery, it must have been terrifying to have him so ill…


Cindy in the South September 18, 2018 at 10:25 am

So glad he is doing better.


Alison September 17, 2018 at 6:12 pm

1. Instead of buying a new mailbox to go with the beautiful new front doors we got, DH painted the old one to match, with paint we already had. I’m amazed at how well an old white plastic mailbox turned out painted black.
2. My picked-from-the- curb free bedside table that I painted with leftover door paint looks fabulous! I’ll use it in my spare bedroom.
3. Lovely neighbour just brought me about 20lbs of pears. He doesn’t like them, so gives them all away. I’ll make pear sauce and pear crumble.
4. Arranged to have my gas furnace serviced next week to prepare for winter. The gas company offers a $50 credit on your gas bill if you do this before September 30.
5. Broke down and went bra shopping. Ugh. The sale was for “buy 2, get 1 free”.But I don’t need 3, so I paid full price for 1. I’m losing weight, so it made no sense to buy three bras that soon will not fit me (if all goes well).


Ava September 17, 2018 at 6:52 pm

1. Milk was about to expire so I made sugar free chocolate pudding for my dieting husband . He said it turned out great -“like a real dessert”.
2. Went to a weird yard sale where items for sale were snack foods, toiletries, teas, coffee. Got 6 months supply of husband’s favorite tooth paste for $2.00.
3. Was having trouble with the robot vac. He kept showing a message that his brush was stuck and then he would stop. (Yes, I do think of him as an intelligent life form.) I took the brush out several times and couldn’t find any problem, so I googled the issue. I learned how to do some more disassembly and found the wad of hair that was causing the problem. Now he is sweeping with enthusiasm again.
4. Used up 2 gift cards that had some money remaining on them in 2 different grocery shopping trips. They had been in my wallet for a while and I kept forgetting about them. One was a rebate from pet supplies and one was for changing tv service. Saved about $25 altogether.
5. Sold 2 Christmas craft items already. Meeting with my craft partner once a week for encouragement and to work on joint projects. We will split the profits and the booth fees.


Elizabeth September 18, 2018 at 3:45 am

1. Received our Book-It Reading Program coupons in the mail…my son is looking forward to pizza:)
2. Got a great deal on cereal at Kroger and we will also receive five new books thru a Kellogg’s reading program thanks to the purchase
3. Used Kroger e-coupons to lower my grocery bill by $10
4. Took snacks and lunches to the park and on errands this week
5. Loaded up on library books to get us thru the week


Marybeth September 18, 2018 at 4:44 am

1. Drove past a large pile of garbage. Stopped to take a look. Left with a cast iron pan that needs some work.
2. Bought a bushel of corn at a farm for $21. Had 53 ears in it. Made 20 2 cup baggies for the freezer, 1 quart of corn stock for corn and potato soup, 10 small jars of corn cob jelly and we have eaten it twice for dinner already. I still have 16 ears that I need to blanch and freeze. All husks and cobs went into my compost bin.
3. Made salsa, pickled peppers, pickles, relish and sauce this weekend. I also dried herbs and made sun dried tomatoes in the oven.
4. The garden is still giving me lots of veggies.
5. Hubby and my youngest daughter were invited to a Jets game from a vendor. It was in a suite so food and drinks were included. 2 cheerleaders stopped by for photos. They had a great time even though the Jets lost.


Mrs. Picky Pincher September 18, 2018 at 5:04 am

I love the idea of watching people who practice extreme frugality! I think you can get a lot of great ideas from them. Not many people can/want to be that extreme, but finding a few smart strategies here and there are worth the effort. 🙂

This week:

1. We looked over benefits for our new health insurance. If everything works out, we can get insurance to pay for a gym membership, which would be awesome.

2. I did my nails at home and they look like they came from the salon.

3. I did a load of laundry using my homemade soap.

4. We cooked at home last night. Our dinners didn’t turn out quite right, but we ate them anyway to prevent food waste and save a little money.

5. I fixed my Roomba and the cat’s robotic litterbox last night. It’s nice to have everything running smoothly again!


Katy September 18, 2018 at 10:43 am

So true, it’s not often that I add a new trick to my arsenal so it’s always exciting when it happens.


tracy September 18, 2018 at 5:21 am

1. I too have been taking advantage of unwanted fruit falling from trees — figs and pears in my neighborhood.

2. Shopped from list 100% this past week, only one trip to grocery store, paid much less than usual. Bought 5 bottles of laundry detergent for .99 each (Kroger loss leader Friday and Saturday).

3. Been eating bits and bobs of the rest of the family’s leftovers in fridge to have no food waste — 3 spoonfuls of leftover tuna salad here, last little bit of cheese there. Am getting satisfaction of not seeing those little bits go in garbage/compost.

4. Youngest son is in his last year of college (an extra year, only needs to attend half time to finish his electrical engineering degree) and is working at a warehouse 3 nights a week (12 hours shifts). I am paying his (in-state) tuition but he is paying all of his rent and other living expenses. Since I had thought he would be done by now, it really helps that the tuition is lower (due to part time) and he has stepped up to support himself otherwise.

5. Took large rag rug from my bedroom to laundromat to wash in extra large washer after dog peed on it. Much cheaper than having it cleaned and it worked fine (although it was heavy!).


Madeline September 18, 2018 at 5:21 am

1.On a girlfriend reunion (not necessarily frugal)— but saving money over our 5 days of fun: Staying in the home of the gal who lives here in Ohio. We are taking turns cooking dinner for the 5 of us instead of out every night. I made pan of awesome Enchiladas Suiza. Homage guacamole, sliced tomatoes. We’ve enjoyed homemade pizza and lasagna too.

2. Spent NO money on “souvenirs” or really, anything while on this trip.It’s about EXPERIENCES.

3. Spent a whole day of FREE crafting in our friend’s art studio. Bringing home 3 small works of collage art. Laughter and memories= free, priceless.

4. Bought some bananas to eat breakfast at airport on way home today. $15 breakfast NOT my cup a tea.

5. Planning a very frugal October/Nov/December at home, Many free art and music events this time of year.Church pot lucks, card games, and frugal happy hours on the patio as our weather gets nicer (Arizona..)

Life is good.


Jennifer September 18, 2018 at 5:30 am

Chick-fil-A is giving a free 8 peice chicken nuggets for getting the app


Jennifer September 18, 2018 at 5:48 am

1. Got my kids two very nice ride-on electric scooters to put up for Christmas for FREE using points accrued from my credit card.
2. Downloaded the Chick filA app to get a free 8 peice chicken nuggets. Not gonna feed my whole family but will be great to pick up and split between my two girls for an after school snack paired with some icy cold water.
3. I didn’t want to go to the grocery store yesterday so I dove down to the bottom of my freezer and chiseled a pack of bone-in chicken thighs from the bottom. I made homemade chicken and dumplings with some homemade brownies. This was not very healthy and also carb laden, but it got us through.
4. I have been walking for exercise at least once per hour. I have found I can tolerate short bursts of exercise much better than walking for an hour once each day. No gym membership required.
5. My daughter is participating in a wax museum at her school. She is going to be Mary Ann Mobley. She is very excited about this and so am I. She has learning disabilities and she feels this will be her chance to shine. Her self esteem is low because so many in her class excel in reading and math while she skims by. She is doing all the research and props herself. I purchased her “ball gown” ,crown, and long white gloves from Amazon. Luckily, I had points saved up so I didn’t have to pay much. Also, she will be a 1959 beauty queen for Halloween so the costume does double duty. We might even make her a zombie beauty queen just for fun.


Kristin September 18, 2018 at 6:22 am

1. My nephew and I have been taking advantage of an 8 week free trial at our local Y offered in conjunction with our doctor’s office. This inspired me to investigate whether our health insurance will reimburse for gym memberships – and they will, for at least part, so once our trial is done we are going to join. This will give us the option of going to any Y facility in our area, which will include pools, which the one where we’re doing the trial doesn’t have.

2.Using the library as usual….

3. Took a free barre class near my office.

4. Didn’t buy any fresh vegetables this week, and vowed to eat the carrots that are getting sprouty instead.

5. After a terrible week of eating out too much last week, I have a meal plan for this week which takes into consideration our very busy schedule.

Bonus: looking forward to going to the annual Book Sale at our local library this Sunday!


ouvickie September 18, 2018 at 6:25 am

1) Hubby found a Netflix series he likes – which is completely free for us, since the subscription belongs to my daughter and she can share with the family.
2) I made homemade chili over the weekend, so we’ll use the leftovers tonight for chili dogs.
3) I picked up my RX yesterday from Walgreens and, apparently, some meds don’t cost anything if they are on the generic list for my insurance.
4) My new-to-me 2014 Nissan Rogue gets the same gas mileage as my compact Toyota did. I’m averaging 33 mpg. I’m impressed – more room and easier to drive on our country roads with good gas mileage.
5) Fortunately we are experiencing nice Fall weather, which is definitely going to reduce my electric for this month.


Roberta September 18, 2018 at 8:14 am

1. I received over 60 pounds of bananas yesterday. I was able to rehome about 10 pounds, but I still have a LOT of bananas on the counter in my kitchen. Some will be frozen as monkey tails, some will be frozen for banana bread. Some became banana pancakes this morning. I do not know what I will do with some, but I will not let them be wasted! Unfortunately, I do not care for bananas myself, so I will need to be creative.
2. I also received a lot of free bread. I was able to rehome most of it, but I did put several bags of rolls in the freezer, and a loaf of bread that will become French toast at some point in the future.
3. I took a friend’s mother-in-law to the doctor yesterday, and she is paying me for my time. My friend is able to be two places at once, I’m making a little money to pay off my auto loan.
4. Our puppy group payed to take everyone in our group to see Pick of the Litter, about a litter of Guide Dog puppies from birth to final placement. I cried in the first few minutes, but in a good way.
5. We managed to make an entire day out of our movie. First we took our daughter out bowling ($5 for shoe rentals, two games and a beverage each), then lunch at one of my favorite places with a Groupon, then the movie. We did pick up some fudge to thank my son for staying home and puppy-sitting (and doing homework and programming for fun. The first time in a while he’d had time to relax, so everyone was happy).


CIndy in the South September 18, 2018 at 10:16 am

My frugal fail edition: (1) I tripped at work, and hit my head. After a 60 mile (one way) trip to the hospital, I have a fractured toe, and head injury. I look like a raccoon with two purple eyes. This is not frugal because I will have to pay for the copays, but on the bright side, I am thankful to have good insurance. (2) I had to use medical leave at work. I do not like using up my leave, but I guess that is why I have it. (3) I bought “junk” food, a/k/a pizzas, because I do not feel like cooking. (4) I cannot harvest the persimmons because of this situations….oh well. (5) My yard is a mess, and I have decided to be like Elsa, and “Let it Go”…….


Cindy in the South September 18, 2018 at 11:22 am

I should add that state employees, in this state, are covered under a different system of workmen’s comp, and I elected not to file, since it happened in a county building, in a county that is broke, and about to lay off janitors because insurance rates have gone up and the county says they do not have the money to pay them. I am probably stupid for doing that, but, again, I decided to be like Elsa, and “Let it Go”


Mand01 September 18, 2018 at 7:19 pm

Why doesn’t your workplace cover these costs?


Mand01 September 18, 2018 at 7:20 pm

Sorry I replied before I saw your comment


Rosy Relyea September 18, 2018 at 10:45 pm

Great to know the experience from ICU to the hospital bed. Nice comments with a helpful article.


Amy September 19, 2018 at 7:18 am

Thanks for the links for urban frugal hacking. I agree Simon is sketchy with his ways, I adore watching London Hacks. Really makes you think outside the box with spending and food waste.


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