Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 18, 2019 · 74 comments

  1. I sold a number of things including a Toy Story finger puppet, a vintage suitcase key, an All-Clad kitchen timer, two Thorns soccer tickets and nothing else. It would easy to worry about stagnant sales, but I know that people are on vacation this time of year, and remember from years past that it’s simply a slow time for eBay. A natural ebb in the rhythm of commerce.

    However, I’m always stocking my inventory, and this week picked up four more free women’s soccer tickets by gassing up my minivan, and then thrifted a few more items which I immediately listed on eBay.

    My husband came home with one of those corporate, “Congratulations on blah-blah years of service, please pick out a gift” catalogs. I asked him if there was anything he wanted, which prompted a hearty “No!” I went into research mode to find which item held the best (and easiest) resale value. I ordered a 10-piece set of Calphalon pots and pans, which sells for around $135 on eBay. (They’re $199 new.) I’ll try to sell them locally first to save the buyer the cost of shipping.

    We appear to be in a season of left field expenses, (Medical! Dental! Leftover Spring Term Stuff!) and although our son’s next tuition payment isn’t due until October, his college savings account is pitifully low. Gotta build it back up!

    Creative frugality is great, but it needs to be balanced by creative income generation!

  2. I brought home an ironing board that a neighbor had put out for free. Although I already own a board, mine has a disintegrating cover that annoying drops flakes onto the floor. This one appeared brand new, so it was a definite upgrade. I’ll list my old one through my local Buy Nothing Group with an honest description of condition. I also gave away a rug, some seeds and a calligraphy set through the group.

  3. I tore through a library copy of The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. I recently read a New York Times article by Ben Dolnick about the benefit of binge reading, which shifted my approach to reading. It’s hard to reach that point of full immersion into a book when reading for a few minutes here and a few minutes there. Characters get mixed up and important plot points are muddied. Instead I’ve been prioritizing big chunks of time to reading, which is a dramatic game changer.

    “If you do push on through one chapter break, and then on through the chapter break after that, something amazing happens. Subplots that would once have been murky to the point of incomprehensibility (what was the deal with that dead sea captain again?) step into the light. Little jokes and echoes, separated by dozens or even hundreds of pages, come rustling out of the text forest.”

    All for the price of a library card!

  4. I stopped at an estate sale and picked up a $3 plastic bin of craft paint, (which I gifted to a friend who teaches art) I scooped three quarters from under my credit union’s coin counting machine, I accepted an offer to join my mother and step father for dinner at a barbecue restaurant, my husband and I prepared all other meals at home, I started a new library book, I returned something to Goodwill and I enjoyed raspberries from my garden.

  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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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa M. June 18, 2019 at 11:08 am

5+FF: Return to Lovely Springtime but Looking Hard for Frugalities

1. Signed up for free movie ticket offer for DD with purchase of required soft drinks that were a loss leader during Memorial Day sales. Still waiting for verification, so much for advertised 48-hour wait time…

2. Called insurance to verify coverage on looming colonoscopy before scheduling, as that bad boy is on the horizon after 10 years. Great example of how time literally flies when it comes to taking care of unpleasant health procedures…

3. Took DD out to fast food restaurant that offers veggie burgers & I used survey for free regular burger with purchase of small side & small drink.

4. Ordered 12-month supply of contacts for DD & will get free shipping & &40 rebate.

5. Found a quarter in a cart in the corral at Aldi. Amazing that someone would literally walk away from their own quarter. Also found 6 cents in change in my neighborhood.

6. Searched for new in-network eye care provider. Have a plan in place to transfer to local office with state-of-the-art technology after poor patient care at office that has received my business for 23 years that honestly needs to close.

7. On a beautiful spring-like Father’s Day, had lunch on the patio at DD’s restaurant employer & enjoyed lunch specials & her employee discount.

Frugal Ineffectiveness: Attempted several returns with 0 success, all were gifted items to DD. First was bookstore that we learned was going out of business nationwide, 2nd was large department chain that apparently began limiting returns to 30 days (maybe also going out of business in near future?) & the 3rd was a gift/card store whose scan showed “unable to sell” code & we suspect branded items were purchased on a secondary market. Subsequent disposal plan includes taking DN (dear neighbor) up on her offer to buy bookstore items as they are things that she loves, selling NWT apparel in garage sale, & using new branded items to re-gift as they are lovely but not in the store’s current merchandise.


Marilyn June 18, 2019 at 4:52 pm

Yes, time does fly between unpleasant health procedures. I go to the dentist every 6 months but it always seems like maybe 2 weeks between dental visits.


Cathy June 18, 2019 at 11:14 am

1. Found over $3.00 in change so far this week.
2. Eating down the fridge and freezer, much to my kids’ chagrin. You know, because there’s “No Food!” in our house. So far, no one has starved to death. Fingers crossed we make it.
3. Sold a few items on eBay that have been sitting around the house. Using recycled shipping materials.
4. Planning a bike ride date with my husband; we’re taking Friday off of work. Playing hooky can be very romantic!
5. Got $35 in Amazon gift cards for a couple of surveys.


MW June 18, 2019 at 11:35 am

– Packed a lunch and took the bus to the Pride Parade for Father’s Day.
– Made Father’s Day dinner at home, including an impromptu batch of deviled eggs using some eggs that needed to be used soon.
– Hit up the Goodwill Outlet for a flexible cooler, jeans for the boys, a shirt for me and pants for my husband for less than $13.
– Sold plasma for some play money for a work trip I’m taking. We just don’t have the budget to absorb it. I won’t be making a habit of selling plasma, but for right now it feels like the right call.
– For said work trip, booked an Air BNB for an extra night to do some sight seeing. Compared to a hotel- a bargain.


lisa June 18, 2019 at 11:43 am

I did the plasma giving two summers ago when a feral/stray cat gifted me with four kittens. Who knew cat formula was so expensive but after getting them fixed and adopted I just look but don’t go in. Its nice to know it is there for the unexpected.


Jill A June 18, 2019 at 11:41 am

1. I’ve begun making vacation plans for next summer. We will be staying a week at a timeshare my mother traded for
The cost will be the equivalent of one nights lodging on our vacation last month. I plan to make the next vacation as frugal as possible.
2. I made an appointment to have my tires rotated. I’d like to make them last as long as I can.
3. Gas prices took a big jump so I stopped and filled up at Costco where prices were still low. I’m driving my hybrid so even more savings.
4. I sold a couple more things on Ebay and picked up a couple more things to sell at garage sales.
5. I still haven’t turned on my air conditioning. I’ve done my laundry and hung it to dry. Working on my swagbucks every day.


Christine June 18, 2019 at 12:10 pm

1.I’m looking around my downstairs and realizing that, aside from appliances, we own very little that we have not inherited or picked up at yard sales. The two exceptions are my stove which my father gave us as a house warming gift 17 years ago and my kitchen table which my mother gave us in that same time period, when we purchased our home.
2. The hanging planters I made with recycled pots, gifted spider plant babies and a few annuals bought with CC points are thriving and should look as good as nursery hanging plants soon.
3. I’ve been invited to a lake front home of a friend for the 4th of July and it’s only 20 minutes away. I told her I would make something for the cookout which will probably be a pot of Boston Baked Beans nd a dessert. Low cost holiday.
4. Will be wearing an old but still nice dress to son’s girlfriend’s graduation next week. Same dress to celebration party that night.
5. All meals cooked at home with the convenience of a frozen $3.99 pizza for tonight thrown in.


Bee June 19, 2019 at 3:58 am

Like you, nearly everything I own was inherited or purchased secondhand. There are some exceptions, but only a handful. Yard sales, estate sales, auctions and thrift stores have yielded a bounty of beautiful things over the years. I love items with a history and a patina. You just can’t purchase that at Home Goods. Inherited items are extra special too. In a world that is always changing, it is grounding to sit at my dining table and know that it has been hosting my family for 5 generations.


Jennifer June 18, 2019 at 12:16 pm

1. I redecorated a bit. I took some old pictures out of the frames and added some current pictures of my family that were printed off with free Walgreens promo codes. I put some of my old greenery in some new-to-me garage sale find galavanized hanging wall planters. Then I put some of my kids art work in some ornate garage sale find frames. I have been holding onto these until I could find just one more which finally happened this weekend for $1.
2. My friend,that I went yardsaling with, took me to a smaller old subdivision that is about to bulldozed down to make way for something new. I found some nice Jacob’s ladder plants beside the porch of one of the houses so we dug them up and I planted them in my yard. I hate to see those houses get demolished..insert sad emoji here.
3. I made a grocery list so I can order with Walmart’s grocery pickup which is offering $10 off a $50 order. This is a free service for me as the first three orders are free and I have only placed two.
4. I received a $20 rebate in the mail from Lowe’s that I had sent in for paint. This is the first of three I should receive.
5. I took my kids to the little free library because I got frustrated with my local library. They say that I owe $18 in late charges and I know that I returned my movies/books on time but anyway…moving on. I read a book from there that was about the Depression that I didn’t realize was a local family. Fun to read a book by someone I actually know.


Christine June 19, 2019 at 1:14 pm

See if you can speak to the library director about the late fee. I had a similar incident that involved a Rosetta Stone item that I definitely knew I had returned. It never got recorded as having been returned and was subsequently lost? stolen? misplaced? I spoke to the director and she erased the charge.


Isitaneedorawant June 19, 2019 at 2:32 pm

Sometimes they can look and see (electronically)that the item has been placed back on the shelf.
I have also on occasion gone back and found the items shelved and brought it to the desk. This is after I ask them to check and see if it appears somehow in the system.


Kathy June 18, 2019 at 12:16 pm

1. Friends treated me to dinner on Saturday pm while hubby was out of town.
2. Discouraged with slow FB, eBay, etc sales. I’ll take clothes to local consignment store although I’m not optimistic
3. I returned NWT items sans receipts to target, dsw
and kohl’s. Got store credit which I’ve used to get what I need.
4. Finishing up audio book
5. Used Katy’s method to frankenbox a return


Jennifer June 18, 2019 at 12:29 pm

1. Decided to hit Goodwill and see what I could find for dd for college and possibly to resell. Found a pan and utensils – there is a kitchen on the floor but you have to bring your own stuff. Also found a NIB springform Pampered Chef set. And a large infant/toddler activity box. All for $10. Hoping to sell the toy for $15 which covers all my costs.
2. Cooking every other day and eating leftovers the off days. With just 3 of us at home for most of this month it has worked very well and I feel like it is more frugal.
3. Free entertainment for the week by volunteering at Scout Camp. Great conversations with the other parents. Today I got to go motor boating with my ds and play a real life version of Battleship. I got soaked, but it was fun! Covering the the adult supervision for the week means FREE scout camp for ds. Savings of over $200.
4. Picked a bowl of peas from my garden. Seed packet was left over from last year, so no cost this year. I am thinking I will get nothing else from the garden this year. Plants have been in for over a month. have not grown an inch (lack of sun and WAY too much rain)
5. Homemade muffins for breakfast. Scratch baking powder biscuits for dinner.


Lindsey June 18, 2019 at 2:14 pm

1. Needed to bring something to a potluck so I googled for a recipe containing ingredients I had in my house. Made cheesy halibut dip that ended up being a big hit. As we were leaving, the hostess gave me the leftover cole slaw, so ate that for three days afterwards.
2. Halibut out, halibut in. Our fishing neighbor came home from halibut fishing with his full limit and gave us 20 pounds of it; he is single and says he will not eat it all and that really it is the fishing and not the eating he enjoys. When the tomatoes are ripe, I will return the favor.
3. I was going to be out of town when a friend was having a garage sale. She offered to sell any items I might have in order to be able to label her sale a “Two Families Sale,” so we agreed that I would drop them off and she could have 50% of whatever sold. She also got to bring the leftovers to Salvation Army and take the tax receipt. I made $97! I loathe garage sales, especially the hanging around part and having people offer me 75 cents for an item marked (and deserving of) $5, like a still in the box yogurt maker I’d been gifted but never used.
4. We usually buy 2% milk. Whole milk was on sale this week, so I bought that and after we used a quarter of it, I added water to the remaining gallon. No one even noticed and it saved a few pennies and calories.
5. Library, how do I love thee this week? Let me count the ways: borrowed books, borrowed a DVD, exchanged one puzzle for another one at their puzzle exchange corner, and borrowed a tool from their tool lending program.


tracy June 19, 2019 at 4:34 am

Halibut envy! I LOVE halibut but it is SO expensive to buy here.


Mand01 June 18, 2019 at 2:20 pm

1. I have two clients for my new freelance business and have a meeting this week with a potential third.
2. I’ve sorted a bunch of corporate clothes for resale. When I have a spare moment I will start photographing them for listing. I reread Katy’s post on selling on eBay.
3. I’ve been cooking every meal from scratch and best of all, I’ve been able to get healthy foods into my teen, who has not been eating healthily when I’ve not been at home. I let the kids know that no more convenience or snack foods will be entering the house.
4. I’ve still got a full tank of petrol since I’ve not been commuting two hours a day to work.
5. I juiced about twenty limes and lemons that were on their way out and thawed some homegrown passion fruit pulp and made lemon and lime butter, and passion fruit butter. Some will be a gift for my mother and some will be for us.


Patricia Koernig June 19, 2019 at 1:41 am

Rooting for you, Mand! 2 clients! Wootwoot!


Mand01 June 19, 2019 at 2:22 am

Thank you – not a bad start. Hopefully it keeps up!


Alexandra June 19, 2019 at 3:58 am

Well done on freelancing! Keep us posted how it is going.


Midwest Beth June 18, 2019 at 2:37 pm

Looking forward to reading the binge reading article, the points you shared certainly make sense! I think the same points apply to binging TV series with several seasons.

1. Friday was daughters last day of exams/school. She/we started the summer out great – I drove her around/batched errands for the following – she was offered and accepted a job as a bagger at a grocery store, we went to Tropical Smoothies with flip flops on and received free smoothies, went to Planet Fitness and signed her up for the free teen membership this summer.
2. Neighbors tree company was back finishing work on their trees and be still my heart – trimmed the limbs hanging over my driveway from their tree! No more me struggling to trim branches with my tree trimmer and it was no charge 🙂
3. Took daughter to see the X-Men movie for MJR’s $5 Tuesday show – got our free popcorn and free popcorn refill. Brought our own candy and bottled water.
4. Running CCleaner on my computer before I shut my computer down for the evening or first thing in the morning. Its the best, free and keeps my computer running faster/smoother. Years ago IT guys at an old job highly recommended it and have been sold on it ever since. Also run the Kindle version.
5. Stretching our favorite expensive Earl Gray tea by using one plain cheap tea bag with one Earl Gray tea bag in the tea pot, Collected several gallons of rain water, doing my daily Swagbucks, worked on the garden getting my seedlings out, adding coffee grounds to soil and recycling the coffee filter, wearing an apron when cooking/doing dishes/eating (basically in the house)- saves on getting clothes dirty and stained, saved $1.98 by paying cash for gas instead of charging , took the time to complete a $5.00 rebate, called Verizon about a $45 charge on my bill that shouldn’t be there and got it removed, updated my EveryDollar budget, will probably go over in a couple line items but I am aware at least and can make an informed decision on whether it’s necessary to do so or not.


Juhli June 18, 2019 at 2:49 pm

I’m going to join in the I love my library chorus! The downside is that they have a cafe with the best coffee in town and a donut or cookie might sneak in beside it while I sit and read. Anyway …
1. We celebrated Father’s Day at home with a son and DIL with the salad trio my husband requested. Homemade chicken salad, coleslaw and fruit salad. Son and DIL made him donuts as a gift which delighted him.
2. Exercising at home with walks and DVD I already own.
3. I am 1/6 of the way through a no clothes shopping challenge!
4. Frugal and expensive at the same time. Our frig water filter has been stuck in place for 2 years but we will be selling our house within the next year. Finally got repairman out to see if it could be fixed and it can. Ordered the parts and gave him a deposit. Much less than a new frig and these houses are expected to be sold with appliances.
5. As usual, eat all leftovers so almost zero food waste, library books a lot, etc.


Mand01 June 18, 2019 at 3:16 pm

Is it common for houses in America to be sold with appliances like fridges? Does that also include washing machines?
Here, houses are sold usually with dishwashers (and stoves/ovens) but that is about all. People move their fridges, washers, etc.


Juhli June 18, 2019 at 3:28 pm

You can do it either way in the US. Our home is in a 55 & over community and the appliances are usually sold with the home. This frig also fits in a custom built spot in the kitchen. I’m not sure what we will do about the washer and dryer as we had to buy them for this house, but sold our prior ones with the previous house.


Jennifer June 18, 2019 at 5:36 pm

Most houses in my area of the US(South)are sold with all appliances except washer and dryer. My daughter just rented a house and will have to provide her own washer/dryer. Whenever I was house hunting to buy, this was almost always the case. My house came with stove, fridge, dishwasher, and trash compacter.


Lindsey June 19, 2019 at 1:41 pm

When we lived in Germany for an extended time, we bought a house. When we moved in, I thought someone had broken in and stolen all the appliances—coming from the US it never occurred to me that people took their stoves and fridges with them when they sold a house and moved.


Mand01 June 19, 2019 at 4:48 pm

Moving a stove seems somewhat redundant and inefficient! I actually can see how leaving a fridge also makes sense. Moving the bloody fridge every time you move is such a huge rigmarole. And for what? I guess that some fridges may not be fit for purpose (if you have a large family and the fridge in the house is small) but over a lifetime of moving I’d say you would come out even.


nancy a. urbanas June 18, 2019 at 3:12 pm

“Bookmarks are for quitters!” best t-shirt slogan I ever saw.


Lola June 18, 2019 at 3:57 pm

1. In the garden, I have for years, repurposed old pantyhose to secure plants and keep them in their cages (indeterminate tomatoes, for example). After the plant is “done” for the season, will rewash pantyhose with other clothes, if still in good shape for next season, although I still have a lot to use.
2. Scored 2 Mister Clean Magic erasers and a noodle soup mix from my Mom who did want them. In fact, over the years, have gotten many things from her including pantyhose and that’s why I have so many. When we both wore pantyhose, she always kept a full supply because she never wanted to run out. I rarely had to buy any. Of course, now I buy her things as well but no more pantyhose.
3. Over the past few weeks, I have made marinara sauce or cooked up tomatoes, since I picked nearly 300 from the garden. I don’t can, but they can be put into the freezer and later used in soups, etc. Have given many also. I only purchased 2 tomato plants, but ended up with others from a friend and several from a research Master Garden program, for a total of 15 tomato plants.
4. Found a penny on the sidewalk, heads up, so it’s good luck. Someone else posted something about picking up pennies, I pick up all the change I can find. I used to find a lot in our breakroom at work…someone just didn’t like pennies.
5. Okay, this is a crazy one. We live in a subdivision and sometimes when the neighbor waters their lawn, there is a low spot in our yard that accumulates the excess. This also happens when it rains and we will eventually need to add a drain or dirt to fix the problem. It’s not a huge amount of water, and eventually will sink in. I was able to scoop up about 4-5 gallons of water today and use for my potted plants. Eventually, we need to put dirt in the low spot or add a drain, but this is a good way to “salvage water” during a hot summer day.
6. I got some turkey soup out of the freezer and although tasty, a bit on runny side. It had some veggies in it and I almost added more, but instead remembered a tip from my Mom. She said to put some chili into a vegetable soup, to add bulk and flavor. You can use canned or homemade, whatever is on hand and in the freezer. Much better consistency and better taste. Rhe Drummond has a similar recipe on her website, called 7 Can Soup. I’ve made that before and it’s quite good.


Lindsey June 19, 2019 at 1:44 pm

Marissa from Food in Jars website has a recipe for skillet spicy tomatoes jam that freezes well and is THE BOMB if you like spicy food. I eat it on everything. I do can and last year made several dozen jars and they were gone by Christmas.


Bee June 18, 2019 at 3:58 pm

1) I also have noticed the slow down in eBay sales. I have only sold one item in the last two weeks. However, I spent the afternoon listing additional items. I can’t sell them if they aren’t listed!

2) None of our children were home for Father’s Day which made my dear hubby a little sad. So I took a page from Katy’s playbook and designed a day of adventures for him. We spent the morning at the beach swimming and looking for sharks’ teeth. I made reservations at his favorite restaurant which serves primarily two Southern favorites — Bar-b-que and Bourbon. He spent the early evening watching the U.S. Open (golf). Then we headed back to the beach to watch the full moon rise. In between, all the kids called to talk with him. With the exception of bar-b-que and bourbon, it didn’t cost a thing and he was happy enjoying his favorite things.

3) I agree that the library adds so much to the frugal life. It is awesome! I picked up The Lost Girls of Paris yesterday. I have been on the waiting list for a long time. I have several other items on the list. I definitely enjoy binge reading, but I do not always have the time to do it.

4) I downloaded the television app, Tubi. This app is absolutely free and offers some interesting programs. I had heard about the award winning Scottish comedy , The Book Club, and it is available only through Tubi. However, I have watched two episodes of The Book Club, but I am not sure that I will continue watching. It’s not my type of humor.

5) I am doing all my usual things — cooking most of my meals at home, brewing my own coffee, and drinking primarily water. ( No bourbon for me.) I bring my own towel and refillable water bottle to the gym. I continue to buy most things secondhand. Also, practicing preventative maintenance on my house, my car and myself.


J June 18, 2019 at 4:45 pm

Preventative maintenance is really great for everything, especially yourself. My husband fixes a lot of things, and recently our fridge went out. Now, it’s over 15 years old and we always think it could be any time. However, after research and about $100 of parts, he fixed it. It really only cost that and his time, which he has. It won’t last forever, but it did save a big expense until he returns to work later this year.


Bethany June 18, 2019 at 4:22 pm

I got a bunch of beans soaking and will cook them tonight. My girls will be thrilled to have bean and cheese burritos for lunch. Will purée and put up a bunch in the freezer.

Had a friend and her grandson over for lunch. Gave me motivation to elbow grease cleaning through the house. Feels good!

Cleaned the vacuum filter to extend the life of the machine. Which also reminds me to have my husband change the furniture filters.

Called Home Depot and got a $135 refund for install and haul away of our dishwasher. The plumber had to come fix something first. Almost forgot about it, but it came to mind that I hadn’t seen the credit appear on our credit card.

Also called Our garbage service to work out a problem they created and they agreed to haul away the dishwasher for free.


Joy June 18, 2019 at 4:41 pm

1. Cancelled the newspaper – since we are retired, we thought it might be good to try the paper again, as some of our friends receive it. Problem is, we are busy and usually don’t take the time to read it. Saving about $40 per month. I did recycle all of the paper, but felt it’s just a waste of money and resources. If we truly miss it, we may look at the online subscription service to see if that costs less and still serves the same purpose. Of course, today, hubby was looking for old newspaper (still had a little).
2. Finally got a chance to looked at some of our bills and we able to reduce another $100 a month on services we weren’t using. So with the newspaper savings, we are saving about $140 a month.
3. Several slices of bread were wrapped up in brown BBQ paper from a recent purchase and when I went to use them, found them dried out. Put into the microwave for about 15 seconds to soften and then made grilled cheese sandwiches. Could not tell the bread had been dried out. It was either that or the compost pile.
4. If you store bread in the freezer, and it’s not the right consistency for use, think of bread pudding or other recipes that called for day old bread.
5. Finally convinced hubby to clean out his side of the closet which has drawers for shorts, tee-shirts, etc. He did a very good job and got rid of a lot of stuff that needed to go (he works on cars, so tee-shirts are a mess and some full of holes). Anyway, I promised him some new ones. I was at Goodwill and picked up a really good one for him in the right size and color for $1.99. Also found some books and a larger coffee cup (after I broke one), for less than $5.00 total. A few months back I found a really nice Hawaiian shirt for him at Goodwill for $5, that I had seen at Kohl’s for about $50.


Marilyn June 18, 2019 at 4:59 pm

Katy, thx for that NYT article about binge reading. I think he makes a good point. Now all I have to do is find a book to get immersed in.


Tracy June 18, 2019 at 6:10 pm

1. My 28 year old DD and I walked in Pride Parade — so festive, fun, and free. It was DD’s first Pride and I was a very proud mama of my beautiful LGBTQ + (well technically ‘L’ but we were embracing the whole rainbow) daughter!
2. Took two desserts and an appetizer platter for 11 to Father’s Day at the in-laws. Also a beautiful bouquet of flowers from farmer’s market using a vase I already had as a hostess gift. Not cheap but way cheaper than going out to eat or hosting the whole shebang or buying dessert at bakery and flowers at florist!
3. Wore thrifted clothes to work.
4. Successfully avoiding shopping (even grocery or thrift shopping) for entertainment.
5. Staying local for vacations this summer (best season to be in Oregon) and taking advantage of family vacation homes.
6. Also reading library books, agree re losing oneself in a book for extended periods but often hard for me to do with current schedule but since I was traveling for work last weekend I had time to read not one but two novels including Where the Crawdads Sing which I loved!


Kathy June 18, 2019 at 7:20 pm

I loved it when I travelled and house sat. I once read 12 books over 14 days


Connie C June 19, 2019 at 4:51 am

Kathy, that is my idea of heaven!


Bee June 19, 2019 at 4:09 am

Where the Crawdads Sing is just a wonderful book! My favorite so far this year!


Christine June 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm

I love to read while on vacation and have found I can really immerse myself in a book when I don’t have the usual household issues in the back of my mind. Thanks Bee, for the tip about Where the Crawdads Sing.


Christine June 21, 2019 at 3:15 pm

Thanks to you too Tracy!


Tonya Parham June 18, 2019 at 7:32 pm

1. Did my own yardwork yesterday. Cleaned my own house today.

2. Found all kinds of Michael Connelly books on the free table at work. they came home with me!

3. Am reading this evening and enjoying NPR and the cats. Made our dinner at home.

4. Scheduled an oil change for the missus’ car. It’s free for the first 2 years– it was a new car but she’s always wanted a Subaru and since she’s the primary earner and my car is 10 years old– well, I talked them into throwing in the oil changes. AND, it did make our insurance go down….

5. Used some coupons at Kroger and broke up the purchases so that it would print more out to use on the same sale item.


Elizabeth June 19, 2019 at 3:11 am

1. Earned $41 in credit card reward points this month.
2. Gifted a friend a Pothos plant I grew from cuttings. I think the Pothos plant has to be the easiest plant in the world to grow (as long as you do not overwater it that is)
3. Borrowed two textbooks from our homeschool co-op’s library for this fall instead of buying them.
4. Have been getting a lot of vegetables and eggs from my dad’s farm weekly for free (I offer to pay, but he loves spoiling us)
5. I have been hand washing our dishes instead of using the dishwasher and noticed that my monthly electric bill has been $30-$40 less this summer (I do not know if that is the reason for the lower bill but I plan on continuing doing this anyway)


Joy June 19, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Twenty years ago when my dad died, we received a pothos ivy. I’ve grown them for years, but decided to see how long I could keep it alive. I repotted it and also kept some in water (the roots will do well in just plain water). I still have one of the offsprings, now in a pot. I should repot or put again in water, as it is a lovely plant. And, a good way to remember my dad.


Elizabeth June 20, 2019 at 2:26 pm

That is a great way to remember your dad. They regrow from cuttings really easily and you can gift them too. I love them:)


Jill June 19, 2019 at 3:19 am

1. Just came home from a dream trip to Ireland with friends – one who planned the whole thing as a “prize” for beating cancer- and that wasn’t frugal. But we did get incredibly great airfares, ate only two meals per day (skipped lunch), stayed at places with kitchens so we cooked our breakfast, split the cost of lodging and rental car and chose only a few entry fees for spots and enjoyed nature instead.
2. We combined our trip to the airport with a work trip so our gas was paid for. (we don’t have an airport close to where we live)
3. Am able to host former neighbors at my house this weekend who need to return for a funeral. I’m not saving money but am able to help someone else save money.
4. Brought back a few “souvenirs” from my trip for Christmas gifts. I mainly go to the grocery store and get some different from home food items. I always buy myself some homemade soap from the country I’m in so I can conjure up memories of the trip when I’m home.
5. Am hosting family visitors for the next 3 weeks at my house. I will be cooking up a storm and hopefully “eating down the pantry”


Jenelle June 19, 2019 at 4:18 am

1. My no spend week has now turned into a low spend week because of a prescription that I needed to pick up before the end of the week. Not too much.

2. Work had a lunch yesterday for those of us who are working summer orientation ( I work at a college) and they announced that every day we work orientation, they will give us lunch. I love free lunches!

3. I cleaned out our pantry over the weekend and organized. It feels so nice to be able to see everything and is already making it easier to eat what we have. Even my 4 year old daughter said it looked nice.

4. Continuing an earlier conversation about looking around and seeing what was thrifted versus new and I continue to amaze myself with all that we have acquired second hand. Clothes, shoes, toys, etc.

5. My low spend week has allowed me to pay my in-laws for the pre-payment that they made on our upcoming camping trip. I originally told them I had to wait until payday, but this week has been good.


Mrs. Picky Pincher June 19, 2019 at 4:28 am

Sorry to hear about the left field expenses. Those really, really suck, even when you have a savings account for those occasions. I remember there was a month last year where we had to repair the fridge, A/C, and tear down a damaged tree after a hurricane. Argh!

Anyway, smooth sailing is coming soon, I’m sure of it. 🙂

This week:

1. Hubs and his dad are demolishing our old kitchen counters. We could pay to have it done, but that’s an expense we just don’t need. 🙂

2. I’ve been practicing my sewing with thrift store fabric. This week I made a DIY cape for Halloween using a $3 tablecloth.

3. I bought some very nice, stretchy shorts at the thrift store for just $3. My summer wardrobe was lacking shorts, so this was the perfect find.

4. I’m staying at an Airbnb later this week. I adjusted my stay so I would only pay for the nights I truly need it. I shaved $85 bucks off my bill this way. I also used my Honey Chrome extension while booking to rack up cashback.

5. I baked honey cakes yesterday to use up a little bit of honey I had in the pantry. I cut them into slices and froze them for later snacking.


Connie C June 19, 2019 at 4:56 am

1) Returning an item that has been recalled. No cost to me as I used a box Ds20 had received in the mail, as well as the associated packing peanuts. The company is paying for the return shipping. Once it’s received by them they will send us a gift card for compensation.

2) No A/C yet this spring at home.

3) Ordered prescriptions in advance of needing them so I could use the 90 day mail order option which is cheaper.

4) Attempted to teach my sister how to post on FB selling groups. She wants to sell her living room furniture.

5) Received two books this week that I requested through inter-library loan.


janine June 19, 2019 at 5:00 am

Mitigating some non frugal expenditures:
-Book Club met at restaurant for lunch. Read selection from a borrowed library book and ordered water plus an inexpensive lunch
– Concerned about dog’s health. Tried to avoid the up-selling of veterinary staff, but the bill was still $150. He recovered quickly, and probably didn’t need to seek professional attention.
-Attended a memorial service on Father’s day so was unable to have a home BBQ as planned. Took family out for dinner, but again tried to contain costs by drinking only water.
As so many posters noted, we are eating from freezer and pantry – love Mexican food for it;s frugal qualities as well as being delicious!


C June 19, 2019 at 5:19 am

1. Signed my son up for a ‘youth enrichment camp’ this summer at the college I teach at. While inquiring about any discounts in the business office I asked out of curiosity what kind of discount I’ll get on their tuition (we’re still 10 years away from that) and I found out my kids can go to my school FOR FREE! and I’ve got 4 kids so that’s some serious savings.
2. I also teach online at a large online university and in researching the faculty perks I found out that once I teach 15 courses I can take graduate classes for free- so in October I’ll be getting started on my second master’s degree.
3. Needed a DVD for a summer course I’m teaching and rather than buy a copy I requested it from the county library. I’ve fallen out of the library habit so I’m trying to get back into it.
4. Found a starbucks gift certificate a student gave me for xmas and treated myself to a fancy drink. It was pretty awesome- but it kind of takes the fun out of it now that they post the calorie amounts on the board 🙁
5. Stocked up on summer reading books for my kids at the library. It makes me so happy to see them curled up on the couch reading.


Roberta June 19, 2019 at 7:21 am

Congrats on the tuition! That will be a load off your mind!


Heidi Louise June 19, 2019 at 10:26 am

Yes, congratulations on the tuition waivers! A huge mental relief there!
As time gets closer, like when they are high school sophomores, look at the details of the program. Can they start college classes in high school? Does it include summer school? Study abroad? Not housing or fees? Do they have to fill out the FAFSA and apply for scholarships anyway? Presumably includes spouse?
And most importantly, do you also have a tuition exchange program with other schools as well sending them to your own? If so, and your child wants to go elsewhere, you might need to get your child’s preference in early, because in such consortium agreements, schools limit the number of students they will take from other schools.


Cynthia June 19, 2019 at 2:02 pm

Heidi Louise, that is SUCH good advice. So important to stay on top of this incredible opportunity, get all the details, and follow through!


Heidi Louise June 24, 2019 at 9:39 am

I forgot one more thing: Check if this is a taxable benefit. Still a benefit, but not quite free.


Monica June 19, 2019 at 7:39 am

All of Kate Morton’s novels are thoroughly engrossing and almost impossible to put down until finished! I once ignored my entire family for a few days during a vacation until I had finished one of her books!


Roberta June 19, 2019 at 7:44 am

1. I sold two read-and-listen books from the ’80’s on ebay. It’s not much, but it’s more than I bought them for, and now they’re out of the house.
2. Using up surplus food from the food bank. I dried a bunch of grape tomatoes, and made a bunch into tapenade for the family. Used rolls as hamburger buns. Dried and froze loquats off our tree. Getting a lot of beautiful eggs from the chickens with the food we do not eat ourselves. Preventing food waste and saving money!
3. Saved almost $40 on tickets to the highland games this weekend, using Groupon, a sale and my Groupon bucks. I went through Swagbucks, so I’ll be getting credit there. We’ll bring a picnic lunch, watch the dog trials and caber tossing. I might make shortbread to prevent my family from succumbing to the temptation there.
4. Weather is still cool and wonderful, so I made banana bread out of the freezer bananas (and made room for frozen loquats). This is breakfast for the week. When the heat gets here, I only bake on mornings when we will not be home to suffer the rest of the day.
5. The rest is just the usual: hanging out laundry, doing yard work ourselves, cooking at home (mostly), keeping the AC off, etc, etc.


Cynthia June 19, 2019 at 12:10 pm

1. I sold two books on Amazon this week. Should make about $20 after fees and mailing.
2. Persevering: the part needed to fix my fridge has been discontinued, but I am searching online for a used one. No luck yet, but I’ve got the thing running for now, buying time.
3. I delivered four bags of books to my library for their summer book sale. I guess it’s a tax deduction, but the big things are supporting the library and clearing my shelves. In the same vein I donated a dog bed and large crate to a young couple who are adopting a rescue. This is more non-consumer than it is frugal, but that’s important to me too. Giving things a home (or keeping an old fridge out of the landfill a little longer.)
4. Ordered a month’s worth of cat food for savings of $24. I plan to pour that $24 savings into another bulk buy next month, and so on. Trent Hamm just had a good post on this (snowballing frugality) over at
5. Big fail. I LOST $200. Took cash from the ATM and lost it. I’ve been over every move I made in my mind and can’t trace it. But in my heart, I think it’s going to show up.


Isitaneedorawant June 19, 2019 at 2:25 pm

Ahh Cynthia, the elusive loss of the especially important items that I specifically place in a “ safe” spot. Argh. You are my twin. Just took two days going over and over my hidey holes looking for a special set of fair trade earrings I had purchased for one daughters approaching birthday. I relaxed, maybe the part of replacing them kicked the memory of where I hid them into my memory. I hope that for you:)
Speaking of fridges. We recently replaced a fridge at our cottage( which is more like a hard sided tent). I estimated it’s age as between 75-80 years old. We only plugged it in when we were at the cottage and unplugged it every time we left. The latch on the door broke about 20 years ago and we wedged a water tank against it when we opened and closed the door.
Our yearly hydro bills were negligible with this very old fridge.
I was happy with this arrangement. I used to tell my kids that 90% of the world did not have ready access to refrigeration.We had a small freezer we kept frozen food and ice in when we were away. The freezer died and my husband suggested we replace the fridge also. I agreed as we plan on tearing down and rebuilding .
I don’t suggest my solution for year round every day use. We have had this fridge working for us for the last 53 years


Cynthia June 19, 2019 at 3:58 pm

My brother teases me whenever I lose something, saying: “Oh no, you didn’t put it in a ‘safe place’ again did you?”

Your fridge survival must be some kind of record!


Cathy R June 20, 2019 at 11:25 pm

once when I was very stressed I took money out of an atm but forgot to pick it up – and realised three hours later. The machine had peeped in the usual way but I hadn’t heard it. The bank said it was quite common and as long as no one else had collected it they’d refund it – and they did. I now try to be more in the moment. Fingers crossed your money turns up!


Heidi Louise June 19, 2019 at 1:29 pm

So sorry to hear about the cash lost! Is there anywhere you could call to see if it was found? (very slight chance). I can imagine not taking the cash out of the machine and leaving it there, beeping, for whoever came after me.


Cynthia June 19, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Thanks! I feel it must be somewhere in the house and will appear when I relax and remember what I did with it!


Julie June 19, 2019 at 6:19 pm

I once lost a 200.00 gift card in the house and when I stopped worrying about it I found it, so I wish you the same luck.


Elda June 19, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Today I didn’t buy anything….


Kim A. June 19, 2019 at 3:53 pm

I’ve read all of Kate Morton’s novels except her latest. Have you read The Secret Keeper? That one has a fabulous twist and I did not see it coming.


Katy June 20, 2019 at 3:25 pm

This was my first book of hers. I’ll have to put that one on hold at the library.


Amanda June 20, 2019 at 8:21 am

1) Yesterday I spent $5 on like new pillows from Goodwill to spruce up my porch chair turned office chair. I added the little pads to the bottom of the legs to protect our wood floors from a pack a friend gave us a while ago. I am planning to paint the chair with paint we have on hand and will eventually get around to it.

2) Got back home later than I wanted yesterday, but my husband and I were still able to pull together a healthy, delicious, cheap dinner from the fridge for ourselves and the kids.

3) I have been working through options with our contractor for a gate for our porch. After a lot of research and shoe leather I have found an option in our budget that will last for the next hundred years of our house’s history.

4) The baby is currently wearing a gifted onsie and hand-me-down cloth diapers. He is sleeping under the same blankets I was given a decade ago when our oldest was born and in the crib I bought for $10 from a friend of a friend. Of course, his smiles are priceless.

5) I made lunch for me and the older boys using up leftovers from the fridge, had the boys do summer enrichment activities that were given to us by their schools, did my physical therapy that is covered by insurance, and I’m about to make homemade lemon squares to use up a bunch of lemons and because I am breastfeeding and eating all the foods.


Liz B. in Lebanon (Ohio) June 20, 2019 at 4:57 pm

I never thought about picking a “work anniversary” gift with an eye towards resale value. I have much to learn!
1. The knob that turns on my dishwasher broke off. It’s about 11 years old, and isn’t the best to start with…..handy hubby was able to order the part online, and install it in no time flat.
2) Finished clearing the weeds out of my garden, and planted my veggie plants in between rain storms – which is quite an accomplishment, considering the non stop rain we’ve had so far this month. Hoping for lots of tomatoes, cukes, and zucchini. Used my Root Slayer, which is the best garden shovel ever (received it as a birthday gift from my mom).
3) Took one for the team, and used up the heavy cream in my coffee. I meant to make scones, but time got away from me, and I didn’t want the cream to spoil. I hate food waste (insert grinning emoji).
4) Ate the individual size chicken pot pie from the freezer that was a freebie from Kroger. It tasted good, but wasn’t very filling…and is way out of line with my weight reduction diet. I won’t be buying them again.
5) Have been reading thrifted books, wearing thrifted clothes, packing lunch for work every day, the usual.
Bonus #6. Planning free and low cost activities for our family staycation in July. Will stay part of the time with friends at their cottage on Lake Erie. Will pack snacks, lunch, drinks and water. Meals will be cooked at the cottage, though we usually take our friends out for breakfast when we leave as a thank you.


gina June 21, 2019 at 4:47 am

I live in Erie, but a little south of I-90. Lake Erie is beautiful & if you’re near Presque Isle peninsula, I encourage you to check it out. Stunning & beautiful!


Cynthia June 21, 2019 at 10:48 am

Gina, I was born in Meadville and lived there until I was 14. I remember Presque Isle! It was wonderful, then there was a problem with contamination from the St. Lawrence and the beaches were covered with dead fish. They got that cleaned up and it was beautiful again. An early (60’s) environmental win.


Liz B. from Lebanon (Ohio) June 23, 2019 at 10:11 am

Cynthia, didn’t Lake Erie catch on fire in the past? due to some other ecological disaster?


Liz B. from Lebanon (Ohio) June 23, 2019 at 10:10 am

Gina, Lake Erie is my happy place. We visit these friends every year (they are our best friends, and our son considers their two kids to be his “brother and sister”). Our friend’s cottage is on Catawba Island, not far from Port Clinton. I’d love to see Presque Isle, and other areas surrounding Lake Erie, some day! Unfortunately, we’ll only be there three days this time.


Tonya June 21, 2019 at 2:29 pm

1) I volunteered at an event and was given leftover food which we ate for dinner last night.
2) I used grocery store coupons loaded to my loyalty card for things I would have bought anyway. I also scanned my receipt (as I usually do) and found two cashier errors that overcharged me by $17. Customer service refunded the money to my card.
3) I am still sharing a car this summer with my teen and am riding the train to work. I have read so many library books on my Kindle during the commute. Am currently re-reading the whole Harry Potter series.
4) Really reviewing the budget and trying hard to stick with it.
5) Wearing a capsule wardrobe this summer and enjoying the minimal laundry.


Cindy in the South June 22, 2019 at 5:08 pm

Yeah, I am right there with ya on left field dental expenses and my never ending dental saga this year. Plus, I received word my uncle was going to die any minute so I rushed down there ( I learned with my son’s illness to always keep a bag packed) and didn’t have prior reservations. Uncle pulled through and I used Motel 6. In my book that was a win/win!


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