Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 17, 2019 · 86 comments

  1. I sold a push reel lawn mower through Craigslist, as well as a set of educational flash cards, a signed Edward Gorey book and another Starbucks travel mug on eBay. (I thrifted three brand-new travel mugs last month.) I also sold a couple of vintage houseware items to a local shop. The lawnmower took months to sell, but I wasn’t worried, as few Oregonians are in the market for a lawn mower in the middle of winter.

  2. My husband brought home a large bag of nice clean bubble wrap from work, which makes me very happy as it otherwise goes into the garbage. I can’t take it all as I only mail out 2-5 sales per week, but I can play a small role to keep plastics out of the landfill.

  3. I turned off the furnace and opened the windows as Portland is enjoying a rare warm and sunny weekend. I hung some laundry on the clothesline and spent a hour or so relaxing on the front porch with a library copy of the book Maid. So well written!

  4. I researched discounts for a dinner I’m being treated to by my mother, (10% AARP discount!) I packed leftovers for work lunches, I listed a couple of thrifted cast iron skillets on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, I returned library materials on time and I washed my sheets and immediately put them back on the bed as we don’t own many sets of sheets. Much cheaper this way.

  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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{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah March 17, 2019 at 6:11 pm

I loved our push reel mower for our very small, moss-filled lawn in Seattle. I bought it off Craigslist from a man who refurbed and sold them on. I live in the midwest now and our thick bluegrass and larger lawn mean I support our local economy by hiring an industrious young person to mow each week. I miss the frugal lawn care, but I don’t miss the moss…


Katy March 17, 2019 at 7:28 pm

1. We went to church camp and saved $40 by bringing our own linens, its $10 to use theirs and we’re 4 people. I also got to take home some leftover food, bananas, tomatoes, lettuce, eggs, bread, buns, pickles, mustard and ketchup.
2. To skip eating out when not home for lunch today, I packed sandwich makings, coffee, carrot sticks and banana muffins (made with above mentioned bananas and eggs). We took it to a park and ate and the kids got to play.
3. I went shopping at Walmart today and got 3 items marked clearance, saltines which was on my list and 2 loaves of bread for 50 cents each.
4. We went to Goodwill and bought a button up shirt, bowl and chair.
5. I’m working on earning swagbucks to help pay for a nice baby gift for my niece/nephew.


Yvette from down under March 17, 2019 at 8:01 pm

Down under in southern Australia its Autumn and very warm. The parrots are looking for anything to eat including my tomatoes!! We are praying for rain as there has been very little since early December . Still, I enjoy the longer days and now cooler nights. The Kangaroos have migrated from the bush into the town and are feasting on the sports ground and everyone’s lawns. Car repair shops are making a fortune from the frequent roo/car collisions.
1. Picked a bag of cumquats and preserved 5 jars in sugar syrup and brandy.
2. Making peach -Melba jam from free cling stone peaches and raspberries
3. The FROG jam I made and gave away was a real hit and will enter some into my local agricultural show this year
4. An abundance of tomatoes and windfall apples made 10 jars of chutney as well as spaghetti sauce
5. I have taken advantage of the warm weather and washed all bed linen, throws, doonas and dog blankets ready for winter, everything was line dried.
6. All my plant cuttings are in pots ready to plant out when rooted and weather turns to rain. The vege garden is soon to receive a good dose of manure ready for winter crops and instead of spring cleaning I am autumn decluttering


KJD509 March 18, 2019 at 10:07 am

Wow, Yvette, I’ve been thrilled to see wild bunnies hopping around my new neighborhood at dusk. Kangaroos? Eating lawns? That’s pretty exciting.


Liz B. March 19, 2019 at 2:40 pm

Yvette, what is FROG jam? And a doona? Just curious, I’ve never heard of either of these!


Jenzer March 20, 2019 at 3:09 pm

Where I live (the upper Midwest), FROG jam = fig, raspberry, orange, ginger. If it’s Hoppin’ FROG jam, it has hot peppers in it, too.


Bethany March 17, 2019 at 10:03 pm

My washing machine burst a few weeks ago, and ruined our mattress protector in the process. I put off buying a new one which was a mistake with a three year old. TMI, but we Washed the mattress pad on our trampoline and all is well again. It was tempting to throw it away at 10 years old, but it’s all good.

African peanut soup. So cheap…even vegan.

Meatless meals coming up while husband is out of town.

Hamburger buns and cornbread were brought home from work. Ironically we were having hamburgers, so I put our buns back in the freezer, made a breakfast bread pudding and croutons with the rest.

Organized my desk drawers and used my London and Wales Starbucks espresso mugs for organizers. I never quite knew what to do with them since my MIL gave them to me after their trip.


Jennifer March 18, 2019 at 4:03 am

1. We spent the last few days of spring break taking “nature walks” around our neighborhood. We live on a lake so there is plenty to see. This is free entertainment my kids enjoy and it doesn’t involve a screen.
2. I was gifted a 50 pound bag of potatoes from a friend last month. I made a huge bowl of potato salad for us to eat on for a few days and took a bowl church pot luck. Unfortunately, there were 4 other bowls of potato salad so we brought most of it home…Oh well.
3. I made my husband’s birthday cake. It was made to look just like a Pearl brand snare drum( he is a drummer). I am making a few cakes to sell now so this was good practice. It only cost about $10 to make. I would probably sell it for $50. It was very detailed and took a good bit of time. People pay big for extravagant cakes. A lady I know pays $300 for her daughter’s birthday cake!
4. I am back to drinking water only. I have a diet Mt. Dew addiction that I am constantly trying to kick. I feel so much better whenever I drink water. Looks like this would be a no brainer but I still struggle. I swear they put something in that stuff that is a drug.
5. Enjoying my Netflix subscription that I share with others. I just watched one that I forgot the name of but it was a documentary of a guy walking/running on the Appalachian Trail to break the record speed. I love documentaries!


Bee March 18, 2019 at 4:25 am

I will have to look for that documentary. Did he accomplish the record unsupported or did he have a support team in place?


Jennifer March 18, 2019 at 10:59 am

He had a very devoted support team in place.


Jennifer March 18, 2019 at 11:07 am

Karl Meltzer:Made to be Broken is the name of the documentary. Also, A walk in the Woods was a really good movie about two men hiking the trail later in life if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s not on NetFlix I don’t think but may be in the Red box. I’m obsessed with hiking /climbing stories. I have a bad back so I have to live vicariously through others, lol.


Christine March 18, 2019 at 9:07 am

Thanks for the heads up about the Netflix documentary. My husband is attempting the Appalachian Trail in April and I’m sure he would love to watch this documentary (although he’s 64 and somehow I don’t see speed in the equation). I, like Bee, love documentaries so this will be nice.


Jennifer March 18, 2019 at 11:12 am

I hope your husband has been able to watch a Walk in the Woods. Please keep us updated on his progress. I love following these adventures on here and I know others do too. I know you are excited for him!


Lindsey March 18, 2019 at 11:40 am

I agree with you, they must put some drug in pop. My kryptonite is Diet Coke. I allow myself to buy them when I am doing a mystery shop where I must buy and am reimbursed for making a small purchase. It is the only way to control myself from drinking two cans a day…


Jennifer March 18, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Ugh, I know too well. My husband is addicted to Diet Coke. He keeps them in the house at all times. Luckily, I don’t like them as well so it’s easier to turn down. I just read yet another study on how the diet drinks are also destroying our gut bacteria to go along with all the other bad stuff. Looks like this would be enough for me to stop forever. #Insert face slapping emoji here.


Liz B. March 19, 2019 at 2:50 pm

My hubby is addicted to diet Mt. Dew, too. One time, we went to visit good friends for a week’s vacation. They proudly showed hubby that they’d bought a 12-pack of diet Mt. Dew (cans) for his use. We exchanged looks, and he told them that would last, maybe, 2 days. They were horrified. Hubs has tried weaning himself off of it – he knows it’s terrible for his reflux disease, and generally not healthful – but he just. can’t. do. it.


Jennifer March 19, 2019 at 3:06 pm

I know, when I tell people how much Diet Coke my husband drinks, they are also horrified. People react as if it is poison…they could be right.

Bee March 18, 2019 at 4:19 am

1) In an effort to reduce my grocery bill by 20% this year, I have started a “Tightwad Gazette” inspired price book. Well actually, it is a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets may be my favorite frugal tool. I kept a price book when my children lived at home, and I feed us well on little. I fell out of the habit or tracking everything, but we have some financial goals. Time to question everything. In the meantime, I used traditional and digital coupons along with in-store specials to save approximately 50% on my groceries. We had nearly cleared the pantry and the freezer so it was time to stock up! I also used a store coupon to purchase a $50 gift card for gas for only $40.

2) I signed up for a 6-hour free retirement planning seminar at a nearby state university. This is offered by the adult Continuing Education Department. I hope that it will help me to maximize social security benefits and savings so that we can make the most of our retirement. However, we are 12-years our from traditional retirement age, so a lot could by then!

3) I spent a little time sewing on buttons and mending several pieces of clothing while watching the British show Antique Road Trip on YouTube. I always learn something. But best of all, my clothing is as good as new!

4) I sold 5 items on eBay over the weekend. Yippee! I declined a low-ball offer on an item, and I dealt with a rather difficult buyer. I also continue to prepare for the vintage flea market at the end of the month. I am ironing old linens, washing glass, painting furniture,and making cute price tags. I am also going through my personal collections to see if there is anything that no longer “sparks joy.”

5) I am doing all the usual things — cooking meals at home from scratch, drinking primarily filtered water, brewing my own coffee, wearing thrifted clothing, reading library books,and streaming free or nearly free TV.


A. Marie March 18, 2019 at 11:11 am

Bee, you’re very wise to be planning your retirement well in advance of when you actually plan to take it. DH and I did most of the right things, but there are still a thing or two I wish we had now done differently (especially now that I’m looking at the probability of having to retire at 65 instead of later to take care of DH).

And if you don’t already have long-term care insurance, seriously consider getting it. Buying LTCI while DH and I were still relatively young and healthy may have been the smartest move we’ve made, given our present realities.


Bee March 19, 2019 at 3:38 am

Thank you, A. Marie. So often “seminars” are tied to whatever product the presenter happens to be selling. Since it is offered by the university, I hope that I will receive unbiased information regarding retirement and to help me make good decisions in the future.
I agree that making plans for long-term care is an important part of the process. This is difficult to do when I am healthy. However, I must plan for the worst and expect the best.
Wishing you love, peace and strength as you care for DH.


Liz B. March 19, 2019 at 4:27 pm

A. Marie, I’m wondering if the hubby and I should do this, or if we’re already too late? We’re in our mid-50’s. I should probably make some phone calls. Thanks for the keen advice, and hugs to you.


A. Marie March 20, 2019 at 9:34 am

Liz, I wish I had a better answer to give you–but I think you’ll have to run the numbers for you and your DH and see what happens. My DH and I got ours 10 years ago, when he was 59 and I was 53, and we had only one pre-existing condition between us (his treatment for depression). At present, of course, we would never qualify–and I know that prices on LTCI have also gone up horrendously in the years between then and now. All I can say for sure is that I’m glad we did it then.


Bethany March 19, 2019 at 8:32 am

I love spreadsheets too!!! I’m also big on clipboards too!!!


Diane March 18, 2019 at 4:42 am

I am so far down the list for Maid at my library, but it deepens the anticipation!

Have you read Nomadland? It is an expose on older Amazon migrant workers. Riveting and eye opening! I think you would like it.


Tracy Reeve March 18, 2019 at 8:16 am

I really enjoyed Nomadland.


Christine March 18, 2019 at 9:11 am

I loved Nomadland too. Opened up a world to me I never knew existed. I’m about halfway down the list to borrow Maid from the library. So looking forward to reading it.


Mary Beth Danielson March 18, 2019 at 9:50 am

I wrote a review of Nomadland last year. I still think of it often. Particularly today, I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Unsheltered” … really powerful fiction about frugality as a survival skill for our planet now.


Patricia Koernig March 18, 2019 at 10:39 am

Enjoyed Unsheltered, too. Resonates with what we are living through today, in more ways than one.


Jennifer March 18, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Thank you all for the book recommendations!


cathy March 20, 2019 at 1:17 pm

No spoilers! My library hold for Unsheltered came up, but I’ve just barely started it.


tracy March 18, 2019 at 4:44 am

To keep myself accountable, I will first report that I had a particularly not frugal Friday, but it was very worth it. I have always been a skier (well for over 45 years) but don’t go often anymore. Decided I wanted to get one ski day in this year (didn’t go at all last year) and went Friday with my oldest friend. Expensive — last time I moved I got rid of my (very old) skis, boots and poles so had to rent, and lift tickets are always spendy. It was $110 for everything for all day and we had a BLAST! Gorgeous, gorgeous day on Mt. Hood, NO lift lines so got lots of runs and best of all a whole day with my dear friend.

Now, let’s see if I can come up with 5 FFT

1. Rest of weekend WAS frugal — stocked up on groceries buying sale items, woo hoo stickered items and reduced produce and bread (in fact I’m so stocked up that I’m going to try and do mini shops for next few weeks and eat from freezer/pantry), didn’t eat out, didn’t go out anywhere that cost money. Got some great library books, ate at home, went for a run, went for a walk, went to yoga (already paid for in health club membership), went to a 12 step meeting, watched Netflix, cleaned own house, did own laundry, ironed own clothes and generally enjoyed the beautiful weather.

2. Went to my Mom’s Friday night for family get together and brought very good guacamole made from reduced price avocados that were VERY ripe. Guac was delicious (it’s best when made from really ripe avocados) and my out of pocket cost was $2

3. My daughter and her fiancé were in town Saturday and came over for dinner, which made 7 of us. I was tempted to get pizzas but instead made a big stir fry and rice and a batch of brownies plus more guac and chips. Yummy and very cheap ($15 for whole dinner)

4. Paid off my whole credit card balance so no interest. I generally do this but this month had a higher than expected balance — am going to tighten the belt on spending generally and “pay as I go” when I put something on credit card.

5. Am meeting a friend after work today for a walk instead of happy hour or coffee. Will get to visit, enjoy the beautiful spring weather, get a little exercise and it will be free!


Linda March 23, 2019 at 2:06 pm

re item 1. I think true frugality is spending as little as possible for things that are not very important to us so we have more to spend on what is important to us. For example i save money by NEVER getting on ski and you save money so you can get on skis.


K D March 18, 2019 at 4:53 am

1. All meals have been at home/packed for the past couple weeks. Since I have a colonoscopy later this week I guess we’ll save even more on food in the upcoming days.

2. We have been able to avoid withdrawing cash (spending money) from our bank account the past several months as we’ve been cashing savings bonds that have fully matured.

3. The weather has been spring like (finally). Three days last week a friend and I took walks (one day running into/walking with a mutual friend we had not seen for a while) or hikes. I’ve been picking up the yard as well, lots of branches and pine cones after a crazy winter. I have had the thermostat turned way down during the day.

4. I used Staples rewards before they expired to buy needed household disposables.

5. I returned items to Home Depot and also scored a gift card at the grocery store for Home Depot that earned me $10 off groceries.


Pattilou March 18, 2019 at 9:39 am

KD, good luck with your colonoscopy, from a frequent flyer. I shove a Popsicle in my mouth after each swig of the lovely prep and a straw makes it so much easier.


Mary in VA March 19, 2019 at 7:32 am

Pattilou, great idea about the popsicle between swigs. I’ll remember that for my colonoscopy this fall. Gotta get them every 3 years because of family history. I’ve used a straw, and that helps, too. Oh, just thinking about that stuff makes me a little queasy.


Christine March 19, 2019 at 7:33 am

I’ve got one coming up in June. Thanks for the tips regarding the popsicles and the straw.


Stephanie March 18, 2019 at 5:01 am

I miss our old push reel lawnmower! It wouldn’t fit when we moved, so we left it with a neighbor. Hopefully they’re getting use out of it.

1. Cooking, always cooking. I made a whole lot of great meals out of stuff I had around the house. Speaking of which, I need to figure out what’s for dinner tonight…

2. The library! I have a lovely stack of books, we watched a movie we got from the library this weekend, I’m going to my library’s book discussion group this week. It’s such a fabulous resource.

3. Outside is free. It was still cold the other day, but when your 16 year old son asks if you want to go for a walk, you go. We had a great time and got some exercise together. We were also able to spend some time outside playing with my daughter, which was nice.

4. It’s not so deathly cold where we’re at, so we’ve been able to turn the heat down (I rarely turn it up, but I was just so bitterly cold this year, and all the extra layers in the world weren’t keeping me warm). Warmer weather is coming, so I’m happy.

5. I don’t think I actually bought anything other than groceries this week. I did attend a play at the high school, but tickets were only $3 each, which is a fabulous bargain for an evening of great entertainment. 🙂


Cindy in the South March 18, 2019 at 5:08 am

1: I used the wall electric heater /air conditioner combo to dry my hair. 2. I let my clothes air dry. 3. I made mulberry milkshakes with
the free frozen mulberries in my fridge. 4. I wore thrifted clothes. 5. I stayed home as much as possible. If I am not in stores,I am not going to spend.


LB March 18, 2019 at 6:07 am

1. Got home late from skiing last night and all I wanted was chicken wings. Instead I slowly (and with the grumpiest face) roasted some broccoli and chicken and heated up some leftover rice from Indian food last weekend. Filling, flavorful, and fresh outta the freezer 😉

2. Second job cut us at 9:15 pm instead of 11 pm Saturday night because it was a slow evening. While the extra free time is great, I was looking forward to the larger paycheck. I did avoid the siren call of pre-St. Paddy’s Day festivities by getting a 6-pack of Guinness at the store and kicking up on the couch. That $15 would have bought us 2 beers out, and it never ends there, does it?

3. Getting creative with lunches this week. Hoping to make it as far as possible without having to go grocery shopping. Looking at a few days of PB&J’s, which I consider a treat!

4. In my constant fight to not buy coffee out, I’m down a few points-this morning I forgot to brew it at home and I’ve run out of instant coffee at work. I’m drinking tea. I hate tea. Sigh.

5. Opting to attend my nephew’s school play instead of my company’s annual gala. Gala costs $25 plus cash bar; nephew’s play is $10 and my folks already sprang for the hotel room. Investing in family is priceless.


Jill A March 18, 2019 at 6:54 am

I also only have one set of sheets per bed. I hate folding sheets. I wash them and put them right back on. It saves me time, hassle and money.

1. I emptied and unplugged my chest freezer. I don’t think I need it anymore. I will wait a bit to be sure but if not I’ll sell it. This will save on electric, free up space and put a few dollars in my pocket.
2. I figured out the brand of dog food I received for free to review. Once I’ve used it up I will use a coupon for $15 off from Chewy to get a bag. My dog loves this food and she usually isn’t interested in her kibble.
3. I sold another small item on Ebay. It’s only a few dollars but it gets it out of my house. I reused a bubble envelope that had been sent to me. I printed my own postage and will put it in the mailbox to save myself a trip to the post office.
4. I looked up all my husbands old textbooks on and decided that the few pennies they would give me weren’t worthwhile. I listed a few on ebay and I will take a load of books to the bookstore that buys back books to see if they will take any.
5. I’m heading to the library this afternoon to return my daughters book so I can avoid a fine and since it’s out of my way I will use the inexpensive DIY car wash that is close by which will save me several dollars.


Connie C. March 18, 2019 at 7:19 am

Good morning!

1) I was inventorying our closet of personal items and found an unopened face wash that my son no longer uses. Returned it to Walmart and got some cash back.

2) Continued to fight with a hotel I stayed at for work in JANUARY that charged my personal credit card instead of my work won. Victory finally! They refunded my personal credit card after many calls and emails by the travel agent we have to use for work travel.

3) Hubs bought chains for the chain saw on Friday. He noticed yesterday that he was overcharged. I returned to the store during the course of other errands and they refunded my $4.32!

4) Still working on SwagBucks to earn points for gift cards.

5) Read one library book and picked up another one!


Jenelle March 18, 2019 at 7:43 am

1. Visited a bakery outlet for the first time since moving here 15 years ago! (yes, sad) and was very surprised to find bread and my kid’s favorite treat for $.75 cents! I bough about $10 worth and filled the freezer. This will be somewhere we need to go much more often.

2. Meeting a Facebook marketplace seller over my lunch break to buy a boy scout belt. While my son is still a cub scout, I’m going to hope that this will work for his cub scout belt loops. I purchased a cub scout belt (second hand) but just can’t find it. Grrrr (I’m sure the minute I get this one the other one will appear) Even if I do find the cub scout belt, this one will be needed in a few years.

3. My little guy was pretty upset that his pinewood derby car didn’t win a trophy yesterday and I know that baking cookies would cheer him up. I remembered that we had a roll of cookie dough (bought on clearance) in the freezer. Quick and easy way to cheer him up!

4. While Amazon Subscribe and Save isn’t the most ideal situation for every need we have (toilet paper, etc.) it is nice to save gas money and time from driving to the store for these necessities. Our monthly box came over the weekend so we are restocked for a month or so. Plus I don’t have to carry around large boxes of cat litter…it comes right to my door.

5. It’s amazing what people will spend on clothes. I listed a Lilly Pulitzer shirt on Ebay and someone bought it for $32. I wouldn’t spend that on a new shirt…let alone a used one.


Christine March 18, 2019 at 8:59 am

1. I’ve been gathering items from around my house with the intent to: a. donate them to my church’s yard sale in May. b. have a yard sale myself with friends who have shown an interest. c. list some of them on FB Marketplace. or d. a combination of the above. In any case, they are going somewhere other than here or a landfill(for now).
2. With the snow melting, things are emerging and I don’t mean crocuses(although hopefully they will be popping up soon). While out walking in my neighborhood, I found 7 deposit cans which had previously been buried under the snow.
3. DH and I went to see “Green Book” for free at the library. They also served movie theater quality popcorn for free. Great movie.
4. Tonight we are returning to the library for another free program, Celtic music and Irish history talk.
5. Received a refund check in the mail for $16.00 for overpayment to my doctor.


Mary in VA March 19, 2019 at 7:36 am

I love church yard sales. I’m already scouring the websites of local churches to see what’s coming up. So far, I’ve found a white elephant sale and a yard sale in spring. Can’t wait!


Christine March 20, 2019 at 7:25 am

I love them too Mary! Another reason to look forward to Spring in New England for me.


naiveorbrave March 18, 2019 at 10:21 am


1. finally started wrapping up my five-months-asia trip and “what it did to me” and posted the blog post about it. the first one.

2. traveled with a friend for 10 days to morocco. instead of doing a desert trip, I got sick and went into hospital, where I got an impressive amount of antibiotics and only paid half of what the desert trip would have costs… and a moroccon hospital for sure is an adventure…

3. took long walks at the beach, brought sunscreen from home (I come from the country of cheap toiletries) and fought of men who were trying to sell stuff to us. didn’t buy anything new for the trip (but never realized that could be a thing for people to do actually) and since I live in a city with good public transportation and an airport I took the subway to and from there.

4. skipped most of the souvenir shopping as I wasn’t feeling well on our last day. But good enough to sit in a Café, people watch and read while my friend was shopping.

5. Can’t think of a number 5 at the moment…


Pattilou March 18, 2019 at 10:21 am

1. When I purchased my now 12 year old car I started to take it to the dealer, mainly because they had a waiting room and my other mechanic did not. Now that the car is needing more repairs, I decided to check in with the old mechanic to check the price on a repair. The dealer wants close to $700.00 and the other mechanic wants $300.00. Back to the old mechanic I go. I will find a way to deal with getting back and forth since it isn’t in my neighborhood and is two bus rides away.
2. I baked a cake for a co-worker instead of buying one. Saved a lot of money plus it was much tastier and she really appreciated the gesture.
3. I got a deal from Snapfish and was able to make a photo book for my Mom for her birthday for the price of shipping. She will love it.
4. I also started to make Christmas gifts for my family. I started a craft that incorporates old maps of my home town. I think my family will really enjoy it.
5. We had a work potluck on Saturday which fed us all both Saturday and Sunday. My contribution was a little more expensive to make than I would usually have spent but I only do it a couple of time of year and the staff loves it. They work hard and deserve it!


Heidi Louise March 18, 2019 at 10:51 am

I love maps! I hope your project turns out well.


KJD509 March 18, 2019 at 10:28 am

1) Lots of walking this weekend in the gorgeous weather. Local farmers market had its opening weekend in a new location so we walked the mile and a half each way. Only one non-local farm had fresh food – everything else was crafts or the like. If it stays like this it will save a lot of $, but I’m hoping there will be actual produce soon.

2) Using the heck out of my library right now.

3) Hubs and daughters went to see a new movie, but at a non-chain theater, saving $3/ticket. I just can’t take the overwhelming sound and flashing lights in movie theaters any more, so I stayed home (saving at least an additional $9). Once upon a time I’d have gone along for the togetherness and been miserable during and sleepless afterwards, but keeping it frugal makes it a win for sanity as well.

4) Still haven’t found my garden supplies and seeds in storage, but broke down finally and bought half-price seeds at Winco. Lettuce, arugula, and peas were half the price of a single no-longer-recyclable tub of greens, so a win even though we won’t be eating them for a while.

5) Borrowed sympathy cards from my mom – well, actually, I guess I won’t be returning them so it’s not strictly “borrowing.” Still haven’t found the box of stationery and I hate to buy more because we have so much . . . somewhere . . . But notes of sympathy can’t wait, and I have an unfortunate number of them to write right now.

6) Oh, one more! I’m a dreadful photographer but I love to take pictures. And when one person is clicking away, often no one else does. So I have the only pictures (and they’re terrible!) of a friend’s significant event. Middle daughter, who’s a very skilled photographer, sat down with me last week during her college break and, after a lot of pointed and unfortunately accurate commentary about my skills, helped choose, crop, and touch up the best of the worst. Printed them at Walgreens for $4 total, then found the perfect multi-picture frame at the Humane Society’s resale store for $0.75. Wrapped it in bubble wrap leftover from the move. Now to get it in the mail . . . only 4 months late.


Liz B. March 19, 2019 at 4:31 pm

Your #6 made me smile….I, too, love taking pictures, but have no real talent for it. I’m also terribly guilty of sending gifts very late….fortunately, friends and family are understanding, and seem delighted to get a gift no matter what


A. Marie March 18, 2019 at 11:43 am

FFT, Living Off the (No Fat of the) Land Edition:

(1) Here’s one for Lindsey and the other wild meat fans among you. (Vegetarians and vegans can skip this one.) Very briefly, a couple down the street had an unfortunate incident last week: One of our all-too-numerous wild Eastern whitetail deer impaled itself on their wrought iron fence while trying to jump over it. Fortunately, they had the skills to deal with processing it for meat–but they appealed to me first (as Neighborhood Watch chair and local deer committee member) for advice. I recommended contacting the NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, just to make sure that they were in the clear legally (which they turned out to be). They brought over a pound of absolutely beautiful venison stew meat as a thank-you. So I made a venison stew with dark beer (Internet recipe) yesterday. I may actually have overcooked the meat, since it wasn’t nearly as tough as I was expecting it to be–but the stew was very satisfying anyway, on multiple levels. (As a cook, as a neighbor, and as an enormously frustrated vegetable gardener.)

(2) Used the last of my 2018 shallots, some of my 2018 garlic, and my own sage, thyme, and bay leaves in the stew.

(3) And, of course, venison is lean–and my GP is making ominous noises about my needing to get my lipids levels down. So I’ve started drinking my coffee black. This saves money on half and half (which is what we’ve been using, since fat-free half and half is mostly chemicals, and since I’d rather drink it black than put skim milk in it). Further measures will be taken as necessary, but this seemed like the most painless way to start.

(4) As the snow melts here, the usual treasures are being revealed. I’ve picked up $2 in NYS deposit containers in the past two days, and I found a $5 bill on the street this noon (covered in mud, of course, but I rinsed it carefully). Woot woot!

(5) A Goodwill Outlet has recently opened in the next city over, where we hold our local chapter’s Jane Austen Society meetings. I stopped in Saturday before the March meeting to have a look. It’s not like Katy’s and others’ buy-by-the-pound Outlets; everything in the store is just 50% list price. But I wasn’t at all sorry to find an Eastern Mountain Sports hooded parka for $5. This will do nicely as a bottlepicking coat, since I’ve decided that the LL Bean I recently found is a little too new to get grubby!


Connie C. March 18, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Hey fellow NY’er! Central upstate NY here!


Crosby March 18, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Western New York here!!


Connie C. March 19, 2019 at 6:34 am



Marion March 19, 2019 at 9:05 am

Adirondacks here


Crosby March 19, 2019 at 3:20 pm

One of my favorites places on this earth!

Connie C. March 21, 2019 at 5:00 am

Marion, fantastic part of the state!

A. Marie March 19, 2019 at 9:21 am

Cheers to all of us “real Upstaters.” (My Jane Austen Society BFF is a Manhattanite born and bred, and although I love her dearly, she does tend to think of anything north of the Bronx as Upstate. I think she considers her annual visits here Country Life 101.)

DH and I live in the city that’s home to the large private university primarily known for its basketball team. This is wasted on us, as I may have married the only man in North America who’s less interested in sports than I am.


Crosby March 19, 2019 at 3:16 pm

Haha I hear you there! I went to college in Buffalo (and now live here) and had a ton of classmates from NYC/Long Island who all thought ofnupstate in the same way. And you’re the second person I’ve talked to in a few months that’s mentioned living in your city and not being a sports fan!


Liz B. March 19, 2019 at 4:37 pm

As a former Long Island (Lawn Guyland) resident….everything north of the Bronx *IS* upstate, right?? (ducks and covers)


Crosby March 19, 2019 at 5:34 pm

Hahaha as long as you know to duck and cover!!

Connie C. March 21, 2019 at 5:01 am

According to my raised-in-Brooklyn sil, you are correct!!!

Connie C. March 21, 2019 at 5:02 am

A. Marie, as in the basketball team playing tonight?


Roberta March 18, 2019 at 1:11 pm

1. I contacted Kong company about the toy my puppy destroyed in less than a month. They are sending me a larger one, free!
2. I will be shredding all paper for chicken bedding. This way it won’t become methane in the landfill, and I won’t need to buy bedding.
3. Garage sale season has started up here! I got a carload of toys, including Legos and a mini air hockey table, for the shop. We are testing the air hockey table before it goes in 😉
4. Spring cleaning has started here. People in my house have encountered move-it-or-lose-it. They are doing chores to get their things back. I am happy. Ebay things that just haven’t been moving are going to the church rummage sale to make room for other things.
5. I’m using up a lot of pantry staples that are more winter food than summer food. Having barley and white bean salad for dinner tomorrow night, to use both up. Cooking from scratch. Tonight is soda bread, welsh rarebit and fried cabbage as we went to my mom’s last night and did not get out traditional St. Patrick’s dinner (there really isn’t a good vegetarian substitution for corned beef).


Jennifer March 18, 2019 at 2:22 pm

5. We had sauerkraut and vegan polish sausages. Not exactly the same but kinda.


Momma L March 18, 2019 at 2:52 pm

1. Thawed out a turkey I bought for dirt cheap during the holidays. Baked it on a cold day to heat up the house. Sliced up some for dinner, made gravy with the drippings, diced up all of the dark and some of the white and froze for a future casserole, now boiling the bones for soup. DH was thrilled.
2. Went to a St Patty’s day parade, made baked beans, came home with desserts, leftover beans, burgers, hot dogs, and a friend who met me there gifted me several adorable tunics.
3. Got a call from a sick friend, went to see her and she regifted me a tray of imported pastas and sauces.
4. Bought several items off of the produce rewrap shelves, I froze some for soup and made salads with the rest!
5. Used competitor’s coupons found in a local flyer at our local Harris Teeter. It pays to study the coupon policy for each store.


Connie C. March 19, 2019 at 6:33 am

Momma L, what is produce rewrap?


Momma L March 19, 2019 at 2:40 pm

Connie C, my local grocery store has a metal rack of shelves where they put produce that is near the sell-by date or has “imperfections” on them and they are typically bundled and sold for about a dollar. This time, I got four heads of lettuce for $1.00, a bunch of cut up carrots and celery bundled for $1.00 and some sliced up mushrooms for $1.00. Those prices are really great for my area. My favorite find there was a spaghetti squash and some artichokes.


Connie C. March 20, 2019 at 5:51 am

Thank you for sharing! We have the same but for bakery items.


Ruby March 18, 2019 at 3:48 pm

1. Also went to the bakery outlet store and came home with 4 loaves of bread, 4 sleeves of bagels, English muffins and some cookies at screaming deal prices.
2. Although it meant an extra stop on a day when the Mister and I were both exhausted, we saved money by shopping for toilet paper, cat litter, dishwasher detergent and cold medication at the dollar store. Also hit Dollar Tree for deodorant, razors, bar soap, and some canned goods for the food shelf at the church where I work.
3. Did not have quite enough bottled barbecue sauce for last week’s crock pot pulled pork, so got creative with catsup, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and a little brown sugar. It worked fine.
4. Mended a shirt for the Mister. The reverse side of some worn denim salvaged from unwearable old jeans made a nice patch for the little hole in the sleeve.
5. Strung up inside and outside clotheslines for a friend whose landlord will not replace the defective dryer that came with the house. Cost was nothing, as we already had the hooks and rope in our garage.


janine March 18, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Have also noticed Aldi price creep particularly in the snack and cracker section. They are also remodeling and expanding their stores in this area.


Tonya Parham March 18, 2019 at 3:58 pm

1. The missus was sick this weekend so we stayed home and I cooked all our meals. Pretty cheap and fast grub. Soup, sandwiches, homemade pizza, and spaghetti.

2. Watched Quantum of Solace and Skyfall from the library. (I love the Bond movies as I used to watch them with my father but the missus only likes the Daniel Craig ones– so we watched those and when she goes to Greece to teach for three weeks this summer, I will watch the others on Netflix.)

3. Went to Aldi to pick up a few things and noticed the fig bars are now $1.65. They were .95 about a year ago. Anyone else noticed price creep there? Chickpeas (which I can and do make from dried but like having a couple cans for emergencies) have gone from .55 a can to .69 a can. They haven’t been open here long (maybe 4 years) and they did a major remodel last year and are now offering delivery. I’m just wondering if anyone has noticed price creep at their store. I did get the fig bars as they make a good after dinner dessert– $1.65 for a week’s worth of desserts is not bad at all– but that does seem like a drastic increase in a short time.

4. Wearing the same clothes several times without washing, reusing my bath towel, using baking soda for my toothpaste, and keeping the heat in the 60-63 range.

5. I accept a part time grading job for the end of the semester.Last time, it was a few thousand dollars and if I get as much this time, I will be saving money and paying the rest on debt.


Tee March 19, 2019 at 2:56 am

I, too, have noticed the Aldi “price creep” on several favorite items within the last year or so.


Connie C. March 19, 2019 at 6:31 am

I have noticed a bit of price creep at Aldi too. However, a few things I buy regularly have dropped in price. Weird!


Ava March 18, 2019 at 4:59 pm

1. Hemmed a pair of shorts for husband and repaired a reusable tote bag.
2. Entered all the deductions for taxes and husband filed the form.
3. Picked up a few things from Aldi’s.
4. Picked up two movies from the library.
5. Friend gave me a bag of various lotions she needed to rehome. I checked them all, picked out the ones I liked and replaced them with some I had that I wanted to rehome. I have found someone who wants them all.


SL March 18, 2019 at 5:02 pm

Good start for the week.

1. Ocean state had honey on sale with insider club card for 2.99. I used 10.00 crazy gift card from Christmas. Total cost 0 and still 4.00 on card.
2. Returned dvd to library. No late fees for me.
3. Stopped at GW… nothing said buy me.. so left with my 5.00 off card till next time.
4. Ace hardware sent a 5.00 off coupon. Bought AA batteries. Total out of pocket 1.85.
5. Used SYW money to purchase 8 pk of Scott paper towels for 0 cost.

All were close together so parked the car and got my steps in. A little brisk but good.


Christine March 20, 2019 at 7:31 am

I love Ocean State’s crazy deals. I bought three pairs of reading glasses a couple of months ago which fell under one of their crazy deals. DH and I just used the gift card for $8.97 the other day to purchase crackers, another pair of readers for him, a suet cake and cinnamon. We had to pay .01 for all that!


Crosby March 18, 2019 at 5:46 pm

1. My mom and I exchange services, she mends for me and I crochet her useful items (most often dishcloths). I’m currently wearing a pair of tights she darned for me!
2. We had a bad weekend and spent a lot on take out Saturday. On Sunday we almost got it again for dinner but we found some willpower and made all our meals at home instead.
3. Dropped my car at my local mechanic for my state inspection and then walked home. I had them check the battery because the chain tire store I was at a few weeks ago to have my tires fixed had told me I “absolutely needed a new battery right away”. I don’t, I’ll most likely need one before next winter. The tire place also tired to scare me into having them do my inspection by saying telling me it was overdue. It wasn’t, I have until the end of March. So lots of money saved by going to my local place.
4. Saved money on our weekly grocery trip by using a gift card that my old coworkers had given me when I got a new job.
5. Batch cooked dinner for 3 days using mostly what I had on hand.


Teresa March 18, 2019 at 6:46 pm

Needed a break so I ate lunch at Starbucks (I never shop there) but remembered I had a Starbucks card from Xmas so I was able to get a nice sandwich and water for $2.50. The sandwich was great but overpriced. It was more about taking a break than about the food… I am just so tired… I haven’t been doing any other tricky saving but will get back on it soon. Starting to understand why people just sometimes say “but it’s easier just to buy it.” Anyway, grateful for this site as I get new ideas here all the time and next week will be better.


Naiveorbrave March 18, 2019 at 10:18 pm

I realized that lately for me as well – the ‘but it’s easier to just buy it’. Now I’ve been experiencing with cooking less from scratch and using some more convenience products. Works pretty good to balance costs and energy (plus I hardly enjoy eating out as convenient as there are no nice options available at my way to and from work and none at work).


Alexandra Evans March 19, 2019 at 3:51 am

1. I too have noticed Aldi’s price creep although yesterday they had eggs for $.66 per dozen. Stock up!
2. Preparing to leave for week long business trip. Taking my own container of laundry detergent to do a load mid-week. $2 for a few tablespoons of detergent is cray.
3. I too Enjoyed reading Nomadland and Uunsheltered from the library. I just picked up “Heartland:a memoir of working hard and being broke in the richest country on earth”. I’ve heard good things about it.
4. Kicking myself for not checking doctors bill against insurance claim info on web. I found they over charged me $40. Have to wonder how many times this is happened and I just didn’t notice. At least saving the $40 this time!
5. Let go of Netflix for a while and signed up for HBO in anticipation of Game of thrones.


Christine March 19, 2019 at 7:52 am

I loved Heartland and could not put it down. You’re the second one to recommend Unsheltered so I’m going to request it from the library. Thanks.


Katy March 19, 2019 at 12:10 pm

Thanks for the heads up on “Heartland,” I put it on hold at the library. I love Barbara Kingsolver!


Andrea March 19, 2019 at 8:02 am

1) Electric provider is adding a time of day cost, so honey set up timers on the heavy energy using appliances to shut off during that time period (5pm to 8pm).
2) We are researching and learning to use ends of and seeds from veggies for planting rather than buying seeds or starter plants. Have beets, garlic, green onion, and celery growing so far.
3) Purchased a Groupon for a cosmetology school facial using some of my money made from taking surveys. Out of pocket cash of $18. This is a reward to me for meeting a goal I had set.
4) Developed a spreadsheet to list time sensitive discounts, sales, coupons, etc. so the chance to combine errands to save money won’t be missed. Ex: Took dog to the river. Strip mall on the way home includes the pet store for the free dog food coupon, the UPS store to return an Amazon order, and the grocery store for a few not to be passed up on sale items.
5) Earned another $3 from Pinecone Research for completing a survey.


Cindy March 19, 2019 at 10:34 am

Almost Spring, frugal gardening:
1. Starting annuals inside instead of buying seedlings.
2. Re-using plastic pots.
3. Using saved paper coffee cups from husband’s caffeine habit when I run out of plastic pots.
4. Making pots from newspaper when even the coffee cups run out.
5. Using older seeds (oldest was over 10 years old) and my own saved seeds.
Now come on, Spring!


Liz March 20, 2019 at 4:31 am

I have been doing a lot of planned (and unplanned) home improvements over the past week and have fo7nd ways to save money on all of them!
1. Repurposed a China cabinet by splitting it into two parts. The bottom part turned into a beverage/coffee station for my dining room and the top part became a storage unit in my living room. The only things I needed to buy were the feet for the storage unit and a small board to cover its top. Luckily I had screws, nails, and the stain already.
2. I moved a small bookcase (that I already owned) into my bathroom to use for storage after one to many things fell in the commode from our over the toilet rack. We have no closet or underneath the sink storage thanks to our pedestal sink! I also moved a painting from my bedroom into the bathroom to jazz it up a bit.
3. My father replaced my entire kitchen faucet for me after I spent 7 hrs trying/failing to replace the faucet’s cartridge. Apparently the simpler repair would never have worked because all the sinks parts were severely corroded.
4. Got new tennis shoes, yoga pants, and a shirt at Academy Sports for $6 after I combined a coupon with a great sale and a gift card I received for my birthday.
5. I signed a two year contract with a local gym in order to get a couples rate of $30 a month for me and my daughter. We bought a cheap deal at the Black Friday sale in order to try it out first and we ended up loving be able to use the classes/pool/equipment at our whim.


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