Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 3, 2019 · 75 comments

I’m finally back in Portland after an immensely satisfying two-week stay in New York City. My son and I lodged with my sister, so these trips essentially boil down to the cost of airfare plus a few extras. I sold five eBay items while we away, but otherwise earned no money. Oftentimes I’ll indulge in paid writing gigs to offset the cost of travel, but instead I chose to put my focus on spending quality time with friends and family.

Here’s how I kept the budget under control:

  1. I didn’t look at my vacation as one long shopping trip or feel the need to buy souvenirs or gifts to bring home. I had ample opportunity to buy stuff as I accompanied my sister and 15-year-old niece on excursions to buy classroom supplies and school clothes, as well as countless forays into Muji and Uniqlo stores while others shopped. I have enough stuff, as do all my loved ones.

  2. I kept an eye out for dropped coins throughout my stay and ended up with $2.21, bolstered by a one-dollar bill that had blown into a shrub. I enjoy the thrill of finding money, which I add up at the end of the year as part of my Found Change Challenge.

  3. I took advantage of free and inexpensive opportunities which included a afternoon at the American Museum of Natural History. My sister is finishing a graduate program through the museum, so she’s able to get us into all the exhibits, (including the paid extras) for free.

  4. I packed food to eat on travel days both to and from New York, I veered more toward cheap slices of pizza than pricey sit-down meals, I discovered that the seafood restaurant across the street from my sister’s apartment had a happy hour featuring $5 mojitos, I chipped in for groceries and I was content to spend many days accompanying my sister on her career related errands.

    Of course I also picked up the tab here and there, and I tried to find that fine line between generosity and financial responsibility. Did I find it? Yes. No. Who knows?

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or stay at a vulgar Scottish golf course.

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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{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

Marci September 3, 2019 at 11:21 am

Your posts always brighten my day. Thank you!


Bethany M September 3, 2019 at 11:23 am

My friend with a PhD has been a little bored since her nest emptied. She came over today to help my oldest two with writing. Huge help to me. I worked with my youngest with his numbers.

Went to the Safari Park yesterday with our passes. We packed lunch, drinks, and snacks. Lions were roaring. It was neat!

Getting a compost going with just soil, banana peels and a little bit of coffee grounds. Going to plant winter potatoes in it. Our climate should allow for it.

Making vegetarian Mexican pizza with some salsa that needed used up. Sounds like a yummy cheap lunch.

Charter school provided us with a free beginning of the year assessment. I sat and watched, but didn’t help a bit. Not perfect, but I think we’re doing great. Eager to see the results.


Jenelle September 3, 2019 at 11:42 am

Camping, frugal edition.

1. Camped at my brother’s property on a lake. Free!
2. Offered my brother some money for gas for his boat but he declined. We spent a beautiful, fun day on the lake. Free!
3. Contributed baked goods and made chicken wings for all 2x while at camp, while others covered the other meals.
4. Visited the local goodwill on 50% off day and purchased some vintage My Little Ponies to sell on Ebay. The non-vintage ones will be staying in our home with my 5 year old! (she was so happy to have a bag full of ponies!)
5. Today on my way to work I passed a free pile of puzzles and board games. I will give the puzzles to my FIL who them passes them to my mother. The board games will either be for our house or be sold on Ebay.


Lisa M. September 3, 2019 at 11:47 am

5FF: Back-To-School Edition for a Novice College Student Parent

1. Absolutely nothing frugal about starting to finance a college education for DD. One bright spot: Discovered that she will receive Freshman Grant of $1300 to be split between 2 semesters. Small in the scheme of overall cost but still helpful.

2. DD is taking French in college this semester & I happened to recall seeing a French-English dictionary in her room from when she took HS French. She agreed that it would be useful which slightly softened the blow of a shocking price of the required textbook (new as no used copies left & no rentals available.)

3. Used Ikea birthday & regular rewards for a free meatball entrée (LOVE the salmon balls), piece of cake (highly recommend DAIM cake), coffee for 3 & $15 off a below desk storage unit for DD. Again, not inexpensive but trying to reduce costs as much as possible.

4. While combining frugality centered errands, last stop was local grocery to take advantage of Labor Day loss leaders on pop, sweet corn, pasta & packaged coleslaw vegies.

5. Continuing to use DN’s (dear neighbor’s) expertise for ongoing pricing in preparation for fall garage sale. DH using extra time to go through his clothing, so will assess interest in men’s clothing for the 1st time. Past sales have only had youth & maternity pieces for sale making the foray into men’s items an interesting marketing experience.


Jennifer September 3, 2019 at 5:18 pm

I have a new college freshman as well (along with a college senior). She is taking French 101 and the “textbook” that was really a stack of 3-hole punched paper was $188! Ouch! Could only be bought through the book store. Luckily it is the textbook for french 102 as well when she is taking next semester.


Lisa M. September 6, 2019 at 7:03 am

Jennifer, consider yourself lucky. My DD’s French textbook was $218 & not a clue if it can be used for a subsequent class. 🙁 However, I will count myself lucky to have only 1 college student as opposed to your 2. 🙂


Lisa M. September 6, 2019 at 9:03 pm

Your comment caused me to ask DD about utilization of the textbook next semester & sure enough, she can also use it for the next class. Thanks Jennifer, as I would not have thought to ask otherwise. A little bit of relief!


Nancy smith September 7, 2019 at 1:59 pm

Check out CHEGG. Also amazon has people selling used books. I’ve bought and sold a ton on both sites.


Lisa M. September 7, 2019 at 7:35 pm

Thanks for the ideas, Nancy. DD was admitted to the university very late & went through registration literally just over a week before classes started, so there was very little time to plan ahead for textbooks. Now that she will be registering in advance for classes like other students, there should be sufficient time to explore other options like the ones you mentioned. Thank you!


Lisa September 3, 2019 at 11:54 am

Frugal five hurricane prep

1. Filled mason jars and containers with water as not to buy bottles.
2. Started ice cubes and putting them in saved bread bags for the fridge if the power goes out.
3. Set up back bed room to house a couple of dogs for family members that live in evacuation zones. I live in a brick house on a hill and never had a problem.
4. Tested butane burner that’s kept in the closet and own two manual can openers.
5. Made sure all electronics charged including a couple of those battery sticks??? That I received as part of a promotion with the company names still on.
6. Made sure we have good books, real cards, and a puzzle to keep us busy


Patricia Koernig September 4, 2019 at 1:38 am

Lisa, stay safe.
I am in South FLorida. Grateful we were spared. Thinking of our brethren in the Bahamas.


Momma L September 4, 2019 at 4:46 am

We are storm prepping too.
1. Charged (like Lisa), battery backup sticks that we had also received as promotional items.
2. Covering the grill, noticed some holes in the cover, taping them up.
3. I have a jar of twist ties, using them to hold the rubbermaid shed closed, staking my tomatoes tight to the cage (trying to be hopeful they survive maybe).
4. Boiling all of our eggs today, so we can eat them in case we lose power.
5. Bought some bags of ice to fill the freezer.
Considered buying a generator…why do I only think of that during hurricane season? Didn’t buy one this time. They are selling out quickly around here.


Kathy September 3, 2019 at 12:05 pm

1. Frugal labor day weekend. Ate at home, watched college football, NHRA drag racing (older son drove a car, younger one works for a professional team), netflix and amazon prime.
2. Sold at item on Mercari. Sold an item on FB Marketplace and sold some Disneyland posters for a friend on FB Marketplace (25% commission for me).
3. Gathering items for a garage sale on Saturday. Got to fund my fun (upcoming trip to Rochester, MN)
4. Worked at the Assistance League Thrift Store yesterday marking and merchandising items.
5. Reading book from library


Denise Rouleau-Eres September 3, 2019 at 1:23 pm

1. Waiting on town approval for our solar installation!
2. Washed lots of laundry. In cold water with white vinegar and small amounts of laundry detergent. I line and rod dried as much as possible.
3. Instead of eating out this weekend, we picked up food @ the grocery store and one fast food restaurant. Only meal out was Friday. It yielded a second meal of the leftovers.
4. My daughter bought clothing on line. Each item was in a separate plastic bag. None of the bags were reusable. I cut the non-plastic labels off and recycled the bags @ Target (no purchases for me. I was just accompanying my daughter who needed paper).
5. Didn’t buy anything expensive like a Lear jet. I did, however, purchase two bras for $16.99 @ Costco. I already have two and like them. This will be my encouragement to wear bras more frequently!


Mary in Maryland September 3, 2019 at 2:07 pm

1. Remember the seven tables I pulled from the trash last Wednesday? I’ve sold six of them plus a desk I rescued from the trash last spring. Figuring out how to take pics with the Mister’s smart phone makes Craigslist so much easier.
2. I’m Craigslisting furniture that’s lovely and was comfortable/sentimentally valuable when I was in my 30s. Now I need a crane to get out of the mid-century modern chair that I loved…and its matching ottoman. I also listed the sewing rocker from Grandma. She was 5’2”. I’m much taller, and when I sit in it my knees are right under my chin. It’s been on the far side of the guest room bed since 1985. Someone’s coming tomorrow who says she has cash.
3. I’m polite even to the folks who ask “Is this item still available?” and “Would you take half what you’re asking?” A couple of them have come through with full price offers.
4. I cleaned out the fridge at church. I freecycled lots of condiments, enriched my compost heap, and we’ve had jam on our cereal all week (best before 3. 30. 2014)
5. I gave the mister a haircut. We need a new clipper as the on/off switch of the one we bought in 93 doesn’t work. It’s been “on” for about three years. I stop it by unplugging it. But I’m watching freecycle.
6. Nothing tawdry for us, except maybe trash picking.


Kathy September 3, 2019 at 2:57 pm

You might have success with Facebook market place, offer up and letgo


Jen September 3, 2019 at 7:58 pm

I love that you sold all of those tables that you picked from the free pile. Nice find!!


Bee September 3, 2019 at 2:14 pm

We spent the last 5 days watching Hurricane Dorian, and it has been difficult to think about much else. My day has revolved around the National Hurricane Center updates. As soon as we thought that we were out of the woods, government officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for our community. However, we have had great news today. By Thursday, the storm should pass.
When given this set of circumstances, life stands still, but I still managed to do some normal things.
1. I sold two items on eBay and tried to shipped them out last week ahead of the storm. I had a slow month in August selling only 7 items overall. I did list 43 items, however. I am getting prepared for the fourth quarter when things should pick-up.
2. Despite the looming storm, there was an estate sale in my neighborhood last weekend. I attended on Saturday, the last day of the 3-day sale. I had a very small budget, so I only bought two items for resale. A beautiful pair of Larry Mahan vintage cowboy boots and an imperial porcelain figure of a springer spaniel — spending $10. Hopefully, this will yield $70-$90 in profit. Keeping my fingers crossed.
3. A few weeks ago, I found hand-turned wood bowl that needed to be conditioned. I went to Home Depot and found the food grade conditioning oil. It was $15 a bottle. After looking at the ingredients, I realized that it was just mineral oil. I remembered that this was sold at the local pharmacy. So I went to the corner Walgreens instead. A bottle of mineral which was twice the size of the bottle at the hardware store was only $2. It was funny to see exactly the same thing marketed as two distinctly different items – a laxative or a wood conditioner, hmm. Is mineral oil like baking soda? I wonder how many uses it has.
4. I brought a box of items that I no longer needed to Goodwill at the end of last week and dropped off some clothing items that I did not think were sellable at the recycling center. I also have made note of the drop off point for Hurricane relief supplies. It does not look as though I will need everything that I have. I am so grateful, but I find the situation in the Bahamas heart wrenching
5. My great niece celebrated her 5th birthday yesterday. I bought her a handmade mermaid doll from a local artist. Since we both love to swim in the ocean, we pretend that we are mermaids. This was not really frugal, but it was definitely a non consumer’s gift — not from a big box store!

I hope everyone has a great week. For all of you in the path of the storm, please be safe. Sending prayers and good thoughts your way.


Jill A September 3, 2019 at 2:40 pm

1. My youngest daughter and I spent the weekend in Chicago with a friend and her daughter. Friend drove and we stayed at her daughters apartment. I treated everyone to dinner as a Thank you.
2. The dogs accompanied us so no dog sitter to pay. We visited a free dog beach and a dog park as well as taking a few nice walks and a farmer’s market.
3. We visited IKEA and I spent very little. We had a swedish meatball lunch and a free coffee.
4. I sold a Midcentury Bedside table i bought at a garage sale a few weeks ago for a profit on Craigslist.


Gina in KY September 3, 2019 at 3:11 pm

I haven’t posted in forever. Life hasn’t been the most frugal thanks to a battle with breast cancer, but could be worse. Full mastectomy in June and caught early enough I will not need chemo or radiation. Not even part of my 5, just a PSA, please get your mammograms!

Here’s what I have currently:
1. I have all my co-pays caught up and paid before my next surgery in 3 weeks.
2. Been having no spend days (and striving for a no spend month soon).
3. Cleared out a bunch of crap I have been hanging on to for far too long. I found out a vintage Schwinn bike I had planned to let go for $30 or so is selling online for upwards of $200. So, planning to list it this weekend on Facebook Marketplace. I also have a western saddle to list.
4. Finally moving on the projects needed to put my extra house up for sale. This is what I mean by holding onto to things too long.
5. I have been following a whole foods plant based diet for about a year (I already was a vegetarian so basically just cleaned out junk food from my diet). I have lost 28 lbs and am just 13 lbs from my goal weight. I have cancer because I am BRCA2 mutation positive, but if I can help myself to never have to go through something like this again, I will do what I can. I actually found following MacDougall to be the most frugal way to do WFPB. I use what I buy. 5b. I am still taking dance classes at the neighborhood health center for $7 a month. I also walk and hike free in the beautiful parks of my city and state.

I missed reading your posts and plan to hang around again. 🙂


Kathy September 3, 2019 at 3:15 pm

Hang tough. You’re an inspiration and a role model for many of us. I have my annual tortilla making aka mammogram scheduled for 10/1


A. Marie September 3, 2019 at 3:37 pm

Gina, I’m sending good vibes and best wishes your way. And, Kathy, I love the “tortilla making” mammogram comparison. (Mine are less like tortillas and more like personal size pizzas!) I’ll be making pizzas on 9/27 this year.


Kathy September 3, 2019 at 5:31 pm

Oh I might have to borrow the personal pizza quote


Bee September 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Sending you positive thoughts of love, peace and healing


Shevaun September 3, 2019 at 4:58 pm

Love and love and love and love and love.

You are strong and brave.

You have been weighed and measured, and you have not been found wanting.

Bravo. Bravo.


tracy September 3, 2019 at 6:12 pm

Gina sending warmest wishes your way, so happy you’re on the other side of this ordeal and that your BC was caught early. 3 of my closest friends have had breast cancer, all are doing well 5, 6 and 12 years out…


Patricia Koernig September 4, 2019 at 1:45 am

Go Gina Go!!! Sending you love.
Much grace


Gina in KY September 4, 2019 at 3:32 am

Oh, wow, thank you all so much for the support! I adore you all!
AND, I love the tortilla Personal Pan Pizza analogies. They are spot on! LOL


Jennifer September 4, 2019 at 5:18 am

I am pouring pancake batter in October.


Jennifer September 4, 2019 at 5:19 am

Sending positive thoughts and love your way!


Cindy in South September 4, 2019 at 10:02 am

So glad you are doing well.


Liz B. from Lebanon (Ohio) September 4, 2019 at 1:58 pm

Gina, so glad you are on the other side of your ordeal. Healing hugs coming your way! My mom is 30+ years out from her breast cancer diagnosis, and doing fantastic at 86!


Teresa September 4, 2019 at 3:33 am

Gina – Positive vibes coming your way – thank you for sharing & inspiring.


Sarah September 4, 2019 at 5:49 am

Sending lots of positive thoughts your way!!!


NORMA September 4, 2019 at 10:33 am

Glad you are doing well. I was diagnosed with BC October 24, 2018. Lumpectomy and 33 rounds of radiation. Because of my faithfulness in having my mammogram every year it was caught early. I encourage all women whenever I can to have their mammogram. It is worth the little bit of painful squishing to save my life!!!


Vickey September 4, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Gina, I’m so glad you’re back! And that you have a strong, clear plan for thriving. Welcome to a WFPB diet, too. Hopefully you’re realizing other benefits, too, in addition to upping your odds of beating cancer. As McDougall and the other WFPB docs & gurus remind us, for all of our top chronic diseases, DNA loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.


karen September 5, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Hey Gina so glad you caught your breast cancer early. I am a 2x breast cancer survivor. I do eat of WFPB diet but I wanted to tell you to check out taking a curcumin supplement.


A. Marie September 3, 2019 at 3:33 pm

FFT, Aid and Comfort Edition:

(1) Sending good vibes and hope to all our commenters along the southern East Coast as Hurricane Dorian moves toward the US. And the minute I find out what the best ways to help the Bahamas are, I’m sending some aid in those directions. Who’s with me?

(2) Two pieces of bad family news over the weekend. First, my only brother has just had a diagnosis of a new, small colorectal cancer (he had one like this four years ago). At least I’m calling it a colorectal cancer; when I described it this way in my “aid and comfort” email to DB, he replied, “You can call it colorectal if you want to, but it’s right on my ***. I’d rather call a spade what it is.” Obviously, he’s down but not yet out. (And, obviously, a weird sense of humor runs in the family.) You rock, Big Bro!

(3) And I had a heartbreaking message from the wife of DH’s only surviving brother: My BIL (who’s only 63) is starting to show symptoms of cognitive decline that are way too close to DH’s early symptoms for comfort. In my reply to my SIL, I tried to unite empathy and honesty–and I think the effort was appreciated by these family members I don’t see often (not only the SIL, but her medical-student younger daughter, to whom she forwarded my email). Strengthened family ties = priceless.

(4) In more cheerful news, DH and I have taken delivery of our 2019 1/4 cow and 1/2 pig. Smaller but leaner animals than last year, which is totally OK by us and the friends to whom we’re selling the surplus at our cost. And the friend who raises the animals brought over a bunch of lovely beets from his farm as well.

(5) Finally, a new neighbor up the street just dumped a boatload of big, flat pieces of cardboard on his curb. DH and I have just brought home about half of these to use in “lasagna gardening”-type weed control efforts this fall. Thanks to the succession of rain, heat, drought, and then more rain we’ve had here this summer, DH and I couldn’t pull all the weeds in our garden beds if we worked from now till Halloween.


Shevaun September 3, 2019 at 5:01 pm

I’m sorry about your BIL. But awesome for you and your SIL for joining forces of knowledge and compassion.


tracy September 3, 2019 at 6:14 pm

A Marie I am sure your honest empathy means the world to your SIL. It is so helpful to have someone to share experiences, particularly difficult experiences. Love, kindness, empathy are always appropriate.


Gina in KY September 4, 2019 at 3:34 am

Hugs for your brother. Wishing him a well through his treatments and recovery. <3


Cindy in South September 6, 2019 at 10:30 am

Hugs to you and your extended family.


Economically Proud September 3, 2019 at 4:56 pm

1. Living room TV died last week, so we rearranged other tvs in house. Cashed in some Swagbucks to go towards the cost of a new one. I will try to see how long we can resist the temptation to buy another one though
2. watered pepper and basil plants with bucket that was in the shower
3. No AC for the past 2 weeks!
4. Went shopping at grocery store yesterday morning, bought: 3 ears corn, 4 yummy peaches, 4 bananas, 1 Almond Breeze yogurt, a 5.5 lb. whole chicken and spent $6.06
5. Only drove once in the past 8 days and that was to the store yesterday. A total round trip of 8 miles


Lindsey September 3, 2019 at 5:02 pm

1. Found bottled water for $1.25 a case and bought four cases. We live in an earthquake zone so we keep a closet where we rotate out a month’s supply of bottled water and dried or canned foods that don’t need to be heated to taste okay. (Although if you are hungry enough, you don’t worry about palatability I would guess).
2. This morning bought a case of tuna on sale for earthquake closet.
3. Have to fix a broken door and part of the greenhouse before the snow hits so priced the supplies at Home Depot and went to Safeway and got gift cards for the amount. They allow up to $2.00 off a gallon of gas with points so we filled our vehicle and our spare gas cans (also set aside and rotated out for earthquake generator use) for 77 cents a gallon. (You get up to 25 gallons worth.) 77 cents a gallon made me want to put on a 1950s poodle skirt and go dancing. (I think that was the 50s, I wasn’t quite around yet)
4. Canned 28 jars of tomatoes and 15 jars of pickles from the garden. Half of those went to earthquake rotation.
5. This morning went to Walgreens and got medical supplies for the earthquake kit, all on sale.
Am now prepared for any upcoming disasters. We do this every fall because there have been times in the winter when the electricity has gone out for extended periods and we have used the generator and food supplies. However, I have to say that watching those folks lining up for hurricane supplies pushed me to do it all at once instead of dragging it out for weeks.


Shevaun September 3, 2019 at 5:24 pm

FFT and Two Frugal Fails

1. Ate up leftovers. Usually, this is not a big deal because we are all leftover-lovers. But no one likes microwaved fish. I ate up salmon with tomato-bacon-onion topping, mixed with rice. Actually yum, but the fish texture was weird.
2. Got medicine for feminine problems super-cheap. Poison ivy got into my blood stream via small scratches and cuts, then traveled around my body. I have poison ivy in my ears, inside my belly button, on every surface including, um, yes, that one. Got intervenous and oral steroids (which suppress immune response), and therefore got several secondary infections. …. AAAAHHH. Thank you RN mom with linen-closet-basket full of old antibiotics and antifungals. (and yes, I called my dr first, but they don’t take sick appts bc this area is so severely understaffed, so all “sick” calls go to urgent or ER care).
3. DD and DS’s kids’ garden has produced tomatoes! This is surprising due to our absolute lack of care of stewardship. Chopping them up and tossing them into every complementary dish we’re cooking this week.
4. Learned how to can. Thanks, dad. Frankly, I’m not sure if it’s worth it financially (time + materials + gardening vs. vicious bargain shopping), but I learned a valuable skill and would like to try canning the saucy part of part pasta / rice/ starch dinners.
5. DS is learning to go potty !!! And DD is staying dry at night!! We’ve swapped out her night diapers for mattress protection pads on top of her sheets (she’s been able to use the same one pad for four nights running) . Next step is a pad sandwiched under her sheet above her mattress, then finally going mattress-commando.

Frugal Fail: Made two dinners from magazine recipes that were disasters. I cooked them properly, but the flavors were disasters. I knew this ahead of time because I just don’t like certain ingredients, but I was trying to widen my and my family’s palate. Verdict: Don’t. Wasted food (Eff), Wasted Meat (Effing Eff), and Wasted Food that is not Compostable (Effing Effer Eff).


Lindsey September 3, 2019 at 6:41 pm

I can a lot and if you are canning from your own garden, it is cheaper. However, the other advantage is that you can make stuff not readily available, such as scorching hot tomato jam and amaretto peach jam. I also make some special items for Christmas gifts, which people seem to enjoy and it really reduces my gift costs. I only give jams or pickled things, since I personally won’t eat pressured canned items that can carry botulism if not properly canned—such as salmon or beef items. Anyway, it is a nice life skill to have, even if not cheaper.


Vickey September 4, 2019 at 4:46 pm

Shevaun, I’m so sorry about your poison ivy! I didn’t even know it could do that! Glad you got some help – hopefully you’ll soon get relief, too.


Trish in Colorado September 6, 2019 at 3:48 pm

Shevaun – your Effs made me laugh! Yes, it sux to waste food, but you are doing a great job on all the rest!


Jennifer September 3, 2019 at 5:34 pm

So glad you had fun in NYC – great to be able to spend such a nice long time with your sister.

1. Doing a minimalist challenge for September. Getting rid of a number of things based on the day of the month. So Sunday I got rid of a garage sale Keurig I bought for my ds several years ago when he was leaving for college – it was never used. For the 2nd and 3rd I found 5 clothing items to ditch. Less stuff is good.
2. I am out of ground beef and almost out of ground sausage – 2 staples that I can stretch a pound into 2-3 meals. I made a Mexican dip in the crock pot yesterday which normally takes 1 lb of ground beef. I opted to go meatless and it was almost as good and no one really complained – just commented. I figure I save $4 minimum on not buying beef.
3. Weeded our own flower beds, mowed our own grass and picked up our own dog poop. Things many people pay other people to do. Like my neighbor who paid my teenage ds $50 to spread 5 yards of dirt/mulch rather than do it himself.
4. So my volunteer plants that are coming up in my comport pile are producing cucumbers and cherry tomatoes – and my REAL garden is producing a whole lot of nothing. All my pea plants were eaten by a rabbit. But I will take whatever free produce I can get – compost pile or not.
5. Haven’t had the AC on since July. Dh and I used a movie GC from Christmas to actually go see a movie in the theaters (Blinded by the Light – it was excellent!). Worked the local MLB game and picked up my tips from the previous homestand – $48 towards our plane tickets to London for Spring Break. Dh’s 50th birthday is going to be experiences not things.


tracy September 3, 2019 at 6:10 pm

1. Had a great Labor Day weekend at Oregon coast with my four kids (all in their twenties), 2 significant others, mother, and my brother’s family. And six (thankfully small) dogs. Frugal because I brought tons of groceries from home, made a yummy and huge enchilada casserole using some leftover pork carnitas and homemade black beans and sale enchilada sauce, plus a vegan version of same thing with corn, roasted green peppers and vegan cheese. Also made a vegan thai curry another night over rice (benefit of both meals also gluten free for my brother) and my mom sprang for pizza one night for everyone. Especially generous since its also her house! Not much money spent.
2. Also frugal activities — beach walks, games, watching my shows on Netflix/Amazon prime, reading… Did spring for yoga with my fave teacher one day.
3. Not nonconsumer but frugal — ordered two brand new J Crew swimsuits on sale for 9.99 each but half off sale prices, free shipping and I had a $5 off coupon. So total cost of two suits including shipping = $5 (or $2.50 each!). Now set for January trip to Hawaii! And I am happy to buy almost all apparel at thrift store but used swimwear is a little eeewwww.
4. Was really hungry after work, briefly considered picking something up but instead made a quick and yummy dinner of pasta carbonara, Italian sausages and tasty grapes (all ingredients bought on sale).
5. Wore very nice dress to work today, purchased for $8 at Goodwill a couple years ago. I wear it to work several times each summer.


Roberta Price September 3, 2019 at 7:59 pm

1. Went up to work the shop today; I brought up all the Halloween clothes and costumes. Mom bought lunch!
2. Did a whole lot of nothing this weekend, which is cheap. I took a nap Sunday, and played a new game with the family. Monday the kids had a new friend over to play games, so I watched documentaries on Netflix and chaperoned.
3. Resisted sending my husband to the store for milk. I will go grocery shopping tomorrow, and avoid the extra trip.
4. Only turned the AC on for about 4 hours this weekend. It’s over 90, and humid, so the air doesn’t cool off well at night. The AC takes some of the humidity out of the air, but doesn’t cool it off well. Hopefully we’ll be able to pay cash for AC for next summer.
5. A lot of the usual: made dinner at home (baked potatoes with chili, left over from the party Saturday. The rest got frozen for later.), hung out laundry, drove the Prius to the further location (and the gas guzzler to the closer location), etc.


AuntiAli September 3, 2019 at 9:40 pm

Nothing like a cheap piece of NYC pizza! Unless it’s from New Jersey.
1. Filled out paperwork to hopefully get $12 back from a class action suit.
2. Speaking of pizza, no take out pizza in over a week now. I’m personally sick of pizza.
3. Went to the foot doctor and had him check out where my blood blister was on my big toe and had him trim my nails. Diabetic footcare is important and I’ve met my deductible so it’s free.
4. Talked to ds for our weekly chat on Whatsup phone app. He lives in Singapore and the app is a free way to keep in touch. It’s like facetime so we can see each other, too.
5. Hubby cooked up our Hello Fresh meals that I got with a Groupon. I wasn’t impressed and will probably not buy any more.


LB September 4, 2019 at 1:05 pm

1. Road tripped to Chicago on Labor Day weekend instead of booking flights. BF has an electric vehicle and had a promotion for green charging so our travel cost was just tolls.

2. Packed snacks for the road including our caffeine crutches so no need to buy anything at rest stops. Plus, my mom insisted on springing for them so my cost was zero. Very kind!

3. Stayed with a friend in a Chicago with a guest room. Wonderful to see her and her apartment was gorgeous! Only lodging cost was a hotel on the way home in Cleveland i split up the drive.

4. Managed to do mostly free activities, including a jazz festival in millennium park. Most expense was food which I never mind springing for.

5. Feeling fat from sitting in the car and all, so opted for a free trial at a gym. Was very honest with the membership guy about my ability to commit and he was willing to give me a 2 week free trial. So excited to get moving and see if this is something I want to add to my budget.


Hawaii Planner September 4, 2019 at 2:34 pm

Long time reader, first time poster:

1) Tracked down $6 of missing grocery store loyalty rewards
2) Filed an appeal with the post office over a missing eBay sale. (They credited me back 1/3 of the value.)
3) Picked up free coffee on the Friday freebie
4) Brought two hostess gifts of food to share for parties we were invited to. Made both gifts out of things we had on hand
5) Sold 3 things on eBay


Lisa September 4, 2019 at 10:46 pm

“I tried to find that fine line between generosity and financial responsibility.” I love that. That struggle is real. What a beautiful way to put it.


Connie C September 5, 2019 at 6:08 am



Teresa September 4, 2019 at 10:54 pm

Kudos for not staying at that vulgar Scottish golf course. I stand with you on that!


Jessica September 8, 2019 at 3:59 am

Please don’t blame the golf course it’s beautiful it’s the owner that’s vulgar…..Jessica.


Mand01 September 5, 2019 at 12:48 pm

1 Found a very cheap supermarket with cheap meat and produce and stocked up.
2 Timed our purchase of petrol for the lowest cost days and filled both cars. Should do us for the two weeks.
3 Invoiced my clients and am expecting some big payments.
4 Am introducing more meat free nights. Made a delicious cauliflower steak and pasta dish that was a big winner and used only what I already had.
5 Continue to bake from scratch, brew our kombucha, cook at home, grow a garden, make coffee at home etc. the usual frugal stuff.


amanda September 5, 2019 at 12:58 pm

1) I called to correct a mistake made by our health insurance company. While I was thinking about it I checked our new new health insurance policy for our coverage for things like pediatric dentistry and vision care to plan for next year.
2) Twice this week we have filled the crock pot and then used the smart plug to turn it on in the middle of the day. It was so nice yesterday to walk into the smell of meatloaf ready to eat.
3) Did a budget check in last night with my husband. The next year is our last year with “double daycare,” so we have to budget carefully.
4) I ended up buying chips to go with, but I did bring my lunch today.
5) Packed up the freshly washed cloth diapers and frozen breast milk for the baby to go to daycare. This is our fourth we have cloth diapered and breastfed. I love it when health, frugality, and environmental responsibility come together.


Disappointed Debbie September 5, 2019 at 1:00 pm

I did one thing today, not frugal per se, but it decluttered my life: I left the NCA facebook group.

The Nonconsumer facebook group has become a den of MAGA hats and climate change deniers. I have sat and watched longtime contributors being ganged up upon by these hateful people, who are obviously there not because they share or even care about the values of NCA, but because they have found an unmanaged group where they can put forth their propaganda and attack those on the side of environmentalism. In this way, the NCA group has become a hotbed of the very thing this blog used to be against. I used to feel this blog and the group provided a lot of good in the world, but since returning to social media I have found that the group is a toxic place that only undermines the values of NCA. There’s enough hate in the world, why allow the group to continue when it now is in opposition to the values espoused on the blog?


Katy September 7, 2019 at 8:40 am

I count on group members to report these commenters so I can ban them, which I do — left and right.


Momma L September 8, 2019 at 5:25 am

I noticed its taken a turn towards negativity and judgement lately too. If it helps you Katy, I’ll report it when I see it. I wasn’t sure if that was helpful for you or not. I see judgement on both sides.
We are all on this journey together, and in different places. Not all of us are going to be non consumers at the same level, we should celebrate each other’s baby steps towards reducing waste and learn from each other. There’s no perfect answer. If vegans and meat eaters, tp users and cloth users, snackers and whole food eaters, dumpster divers and declutterers can’t get along, then what hope is there for the world?


A. Marie September 8, 2019 at 9:38 am

Very well said, Momma L. Long live Katy, this blog, and its peaceful diversity among long-time and new commenters.


Patricia Koernig September 8, 2019 at 3:12 pm


Mand01 September 7, 2019 at 2:17 pm

I left it some time ago too. I found it was becoming very nasty. I only read and comment here.


janne September 5, 2019 at 1:19 pm

We are “Up North” on vacation this week in a wonderful scenic state park so not many opportunities for frugal living.
1. While visiting a friend last week in another town I scoped out the local grocery store and found natural casing hot dogs for $6 off per pound plus other meat bargains.
2. DH and I spent this morning exploring the countryside and ended up in a small town restaurant which was a weird combination of coffee shop and Chinese Restaurant. Shared a surprisingly delicious entree.
3. Purchased sale house plants for 79c which will fit perfectly into my planter.
4. Planning a frugal September so I won’t go over budget due to additional expenses this week. Going to cook on the ‘pantry principal’.
5. Next weekend is a health care conference sponsored by the Nurses Association which is free and educational. They advocate ‘Health Care for All’ and hopefully will have some ideas on how to achieve this goal.


Bee September 7, 2019 at 11:31 am

A coffee shop/Chinese restaurant is certainly an odd combination. I don’t This I have ever seen those two items sold together. Traveling is always interesting!


Lisa September 7, 2019 at 11:59 am

1. Brown bagged my lunches every day this week!
2. Sold books I no longer want/need at local bookstore. Then, I did not buy books with the credit I got; Instead I will use the credit as a gift.
3. Borrowed books from the library.
4. Rescued a perfectly usable desk mat from trash at work. The sides are real wood, not pressboard, and the main part of it is thick translucent plastic. If it doesn’t fit my desk, it might become part of a cold-frame I want to build.
5. Found the Reduced/Extra savings racks at the grocery store and got 4 organic red bell peppers for $2! We used two, and I’m going to dice up the other two for the freezer (for pizza, stirfry, etc.).


Bee September 7, 2019 at 2:08 pm

Although I do not spend a great deal of time on Facebook – it’s just not my favorite social media platform – I love this blog and its contributors. It has helped me to live a gentler, simpler and more mindful life. It has also broaden my perspective. Your readers comes from all walks of life. They come from different parts of the world, have different lifestyles, and have different challenges. I think it’s lovely that you have given all of us a voice and a place to share.


ouvickie September 7, 2019 at 2:21 pm

I agree with Bee, thanks for a place to share with everyone and gain wonderful ideas!


Economically Proud September 8, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Wonderful comment. That is exactly why I enjoy reading everyone’s weekly posts.


Christine September 9, 2019 at 2:06 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with you Bee. I have found the people who write on this blog to be overwhelmingly kind and thoughtful in their comments and extremely generous with their sharing of frugal and environmentally friendly ideas.


ouvickie September 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Nice haul on the change, Katy and your vacation sounds fun. Glad you had a good time!
1) I earned enough points giving blood over the past few years to actually get a new, below the hip, all weather coat for free. It’s a good brand too, so I’m excited to get it just in time for the Autumn rains.
2) I used vinegar and an enzyme spray to clean my dining room carpet today, with my free carpet cleaner. I love the feeling of knowing I’m not spending much money to get my carpet clean – I think I bought the spray at the Dollar Tree and a gallon of Vinegar is about $2 – not bad since they last through 4-5 cleanings. One day I hope I can rip all that carpet up and put down linoleum.
3) We had smoked chicken with BBQ sauce for dinner the other night, so I’m using the leftovers to make Baja Chicken Tacos this evening.
4) I’m spending this weekend at home, other than a quick trip to the grocers for a few things and Church tomorrow, I won’t spend much on gas and my tank is full. Hopefully that will last most of next week back and forth to work.
5) I’ve been having some health issues and found out Tumeric is helpful in fighting physical inflammation. I had a bottle, so I started taking it again 1x per day and hopefully this will help me. I’m determined to figure out natural ways to feel better, so I don’t have to spend a fortune on medical bills.

Frugal Fail: Two coworkers invited me to go out to lunch with them on Thursday at Taj – the East Indian restaurant that serves and awesome lunch buffet. I spent a little over $11, but it was so good!


Susan September 10, 2019 at 6:17 am

1. Invited to friends house last minute for dinner. Brought chicken, which I was already planning on having for dinner, plus green beans from garden. No extra grocery trip for fancy hostess gift.
2. Sold a few items on eBay= crap outta here
3. Frugal for parents- helped them clean out basement in preparation for listing their house
4. Made Chimichurri chicken from leftover parsley and eating food from the garden, even though we’re sick of green beans and zucchini
5. Made 10 dozen zucchini muffins for the freezer during the winter
6. Dug up hosta and day Lillies from my yard and transplanted them at a few rental properties to spruce up the yards, instead of buying new plants
Fail- bought too much coffee out during a busy week, eat least bought from local coffee shop instead of chains


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