Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 13, 2019 · 73 comments

  1. My eBay and Facebook Marketplace listings found their groove this week and I sold a bunch of things! My favorite of which was the sale of my thrifted Patagonia roller suitcase, which as much as I loved it was designed for someone shorter than I. I also sold a 90-year-old cast iron skillet and a random assortment of eBay items including a clown clock, five bank zipper pouches, a Speedo nylon zip sack, a pair of Carhartt pants, a cribbage board and a vase.

    I sold so much stuff that I ran out of bubble wrap and had to disassemble a stack of Amazon branded insulated envelopes to pad my wares. (I get these free from a neighbor.) My packages might look like craft projects, but they do the trick and except for packing tape never include single-use shipping supplies.

  2. We celebrated my daughter’s 24th birthday with a Birthday Day of Adventures that featured breakfast at a local restaurant with hibachi-style imbedded grills on each table. Their schtick is that you get to create your own pancakes with individualized add-ins and toppings. We also visited my daughter’s girlfriend at her gourmet cheese workplace, hit up a fun barcade, and then watched the original 1935 Bride of Frankenstein on the big screen. Lastly we picked up a gluten-free pizza to enjoy at home.

    This switch to experiences instead of stuff has brought so much joy into my family’s culture through the years. We really do look forward to this time together on one another’s birthdays.

  3. My mother and I just spent four days in Houston, Texas to attend a NASA event honoring my uncle for his sixty years of service. (I didn’t have to employ any self control for NASA branded tchotchkes, as we never hit a gift shop because the event was held in the actual robotics lab!) I was able to wrangle a one-on-one tour from the “Space Exploration Vehicle Chief Engineer” that was a million giant steps beyond fascinating. I took an embarrassing number of photos, as well as videos for my sister’s high school earth science students. My brain is still buzzing.

    Is it too late for me to train to become a NASA engineer? I think I missed my calling.

    We also spent an afternoon with extended family exploring Galveston and the Bolivar peninsula. We took a free ferry between the two areas and got out of our cars to enjoy the sights of swooping pelicans and unexpected sprays of gulf water. But the true highlight was discovering a group of dolphins while driving next to an inlet.

  4. I packed snacks and a library book for the flights, my only souvenirs were consumables, (pecan pie) and a flannel western-style Goodwill shirt for my husband, I mended a plastic laundry basket using zip-ties, I rearranged the furniture in my living room for a buy-nothing fresh look, I brought my scuffed up thrifted suitcase and I didn’t freak out when a seagull pooped on my shoe as I know it’s just a thing that can be washed.

  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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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Marci October 13, 2019 at 11:01 am

I would have come and met you! I
Live in NW Houston. There are some unbelievable thrift stores where you were visiting ! Maybe next time.


Katy October 13, 2019 at 11:15 am

I have a lot of family in Houston, so I didn’t have any unscheduled time. However, we did hit the Clear Lake Goodwill.


Jill A October 13, 2019 at 11:11 am

Bank zipper bags…now that’s something I wouldn’t have thought to sell on Ebay. Sounds like you had a great trip.


Lindsey October 13, 2019 at 11:44 am

1. Did $170 worth of mystery shops, plus I had to buy a small item at each convenience store. The only thing that came in under the reimbursable amount was 20 oz bottles of pop, so I ended up with seven bottles of pop. We rarely buy that anymore, so this is a nice treat that I can stretch out if I drink only one a week.
2. A friend was taking a bag of clothes to Good Will. I asked if I could go through the bag first. I ended up with two shirts for the husband.
3. Gave a whale bone carving to a non-profit looking for donations for an auction. I have had it for years and years but it is time for it to move on. I got a handsome tax receipt and they made over $500 for it.
4. I was setting aside Halloween decorations to take to Good Will and a visiting friend asked if she could take them to decorate her classroom. I gladly passed them on. A week later she brought over a lasagna in thanks. Not necessary, but yum.
5. Dog ate up all his toys, so I dug up some pieces of canvas from a previous project and made him a bunch of stuffed squares and oblongs. He doesn’t care that they are not stuffed animals, he just wants to tear them up. The cheapest stuffed dog toys cost $10 bucks here, so I saved $60 dollars by making six geometric shapes stuffed with rags.


Marie Roush October 13, 2019 at 8:02 pm

I go to garage and rummage sales, and buy .25 stuffed toys for my Aussie that will destroy them.


Lisa M. October 13, 2019 at 11:45 am

5+FF: Ho Hum Edition

1. Listed higher priced item that did not sell in garage sale on Craigslist. Easy to post but the photo uploading required enlisting DH for tech support. The 45-day listing period will end a couple days before Thanksgiving which is perfect, as we endure wicked winters in the upper Midwest during which no one wants to deal with buying & pick up.

2. Used gifted pound of hamburger for inaugural hamburger prep on new grill. Planned to make Taco Burgers which were delicious but didn’t remember they used Taco Sauce. Not only finished DD’s Taco Sauce packets that were out, went into stash in fridge. A nugget of wisdom: 12 packets of Taco Bell taco sauce = ¼ cup.

3. After auto insurance requested odometer reading on DD’s car, promptly submitted info only to receive letter stating that since info not submitted, mileage discount would be removed increasing premium. Uh no, hello auto insurance, get your act together. Called both 1-800 # & local agent to correct error. It seems these days, not getting ripped off by some type of insurance is an ongoing challenge as they seek to increase profit margins at customers’ expense. Just being real…

4. Brought home 50% of free gourmet restaurant meal to repurpose. Enjoyed half of salmon & risotto, extra piece of crusty homemade bread with butter & half of individual cheesecake with berry topping to include with subsequent meals at home. And yes, we used up each morsel down to the last drop.

5. Received invitation #4 of season for a free gourmet meal for DH & I at an upscale restaurant in a nearby suburb. This is our 2nd time being invited by the same company at the same restaurant, so we know what to expect – fantastic steak dinner. Again a restaurant we never patronize due to “fine dining” prices. What can I say? It’s simply amazing to be in an age group that is targeted so intensely with the enticement of free, wonderful food.

6. After nearly 2 years of employment, got a hands-on benefit by working for an auto glass shop. My DH’s vehicle’s window was not moving level. My technician boss diagnosed the problem & the fix required only a replacement of a missing screw. I’ll be remembering him & my primary boss on upcoming Boss’ Day.


Stephanie October 13, 2019 at 12:28 pm

I shopped my house to make four new pics to hang. All were super cute. Zero dollars spent.
2. Took my lunch every day.
3. Did not buy any fancy coffees.
4. Used a thirty percent off code to get discount on four clearance items bought for gifts.
5. I DO NOT THINK YOU LOOK OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE A 24 year old daughter!!!


Katy October 13, 2019 at 1:13 pm

That’s sweet, but I’m 51 years old.


Mand01 October 13, 2019 at 1:08 pm

1. After a week away in which we have been a bit laissez faire with the old budget, we are now on track. We had a respite weekend for one of our kids. Usually we would take the other out for dinner. Instead we packed a delicious picnic and took it down the beach, and went for a walk.
2. I picked a huge basket of fresh veggies from my garden. We made a vegetable curry for last night’s dinner and tonight we are making a spring vegetable pasta dish.
3. I nabbed asparagus bunches for $1 each. I’m growing it but it’s the first year so I can’t expect any until next year.
4. I spent most of the weekend in the garden getting ready for spring planting. Gardening is my (mostly) free, healthy hobby – so long as I don’t spend too much on plants. This time of year I’m so busy weeding that I don’t have time to spend money.
5. I’m reading library books, making my own coffee, baking snacks, cooking at home, etc.


Ava October 13, 2019 at 1:17 pm

It has been so long since I commented, I am not sure I can remember what I was going to write.
1. Cut up a fitted sheet for rags. I had already mended a large tear but when it developed 5 or 6 more tears, it was not worth saving.
2. Saved .35 a gal on gas.
3. Got a higher than usual water bill so asked our plumber to check for leaks. He found a leak at the meter on the city’s part of the pipes and called in the needed repair. When I called to make sure they would do the repair, it was already fixed and we had been credited $30.
4. Attended a showing of short films with free tickets provided by friends.
5. Continuing to work on projects for upcoming craft shows. Almost all supplies come from thrift stores and yard sales.
6. Fed dogs some undesirable leftovers which they appreciated.
7. Took 2 carloads of stuff plus a recliner to the church yard sale and only brought home 2 bags of purchases. While I was helping set up, I asked other workers to speak harshly to me if they saw me buying anything except Christmas items. (The Christmas items get used on craft show projects.)


WilliamB October 13, 2019 at 1:32 pm

1. I did not buy this house, even though my friend who sent it to me was correct that I would absolutely ADORE it. I don’t know why he was looking in Washington, DC but I want everything this house has: wood everywhere, bookcases everywhere, lots of places to read, good light and reading light, enough storage space, room for many friends to visit. All I need is about $50,000/month.

Hey, it’s less than a Lear jet!


Bee October 13, 2019 at 1:52 pm

Sometimes it’s what we don’t do that saves the most money! Washington D.C. can be soooooo expensive


WilliamB October 13, 2019 at 4:34 pm

Yeah, I don’t want to move to there, either.


Jen in CA October 13, 2019 at 9:05 pm

Loved touring that house. The breakfast nook! The fireplace in the Master! The pool! But imagine the upkeep…..too much work. 🙂


WilliamB October 14, 2019 at 11:24 am

That’s why the $50k/month – that amount includes salary (plus housing) for a live-in couple to clean and maintain.


Mary inMaryland October 16, 2019 at 8:40 am

I live in DC. Our house is not as opulent as William’s dream house, but we only paid about 5% of what it would have cost.


Bee October 13, 2019 at 1:48 pm

What an exciting trip to Houston, Katy! Robotics was and is a cutting edge field. I too am a bit of s space geek. I was born on the Space Coast of Florida and spent the first 10 years of my life there. I saw every Apollo shot, and my mother worked for one of the aerospace engineering contractors before I was born. It was an awesome time. It is amazing what can be done when we work together.
Here are my 5 for the week:
1. Yesterday was the semi-annual vintage sale that I participate in every spring and fall. Although it was a long day, it was profitable and fun. I crawled into bed last night about 830, and slept like a baby. Today, I sorted and organized my remaining items. Some will be listed on eBay, some donated, and some stored for the next sale. I only keep the items that I can sell on eBay, or items that didn’t sell but really should have. There are always a few items that make me ask, “Why is this still here?
I traded with a few of my fellow sellers who wanted something I had for something that I felt I could use or sell elsewhere. Trading is always fun!
I also sold 5 items on eBay this week, so things are picking up.
2. While I sorted, packed and photograph, I listened to a book that I downloaded from the library app, Hoopla. I also talked with my sister putting my phone on speaker so my hands were free to sort through items. These things make mindless work so much more enjoyable.
3. Well, I am not sure this is truly thrifty but may be of interest. I ordered a Rescue Box of scarves from ThredUP. I have seen resellers do this on YouTube, and I had a small credit that would cover the cost. Since I actually sell quite a few scarves on eBay, I thought I would give it a try. I will make just make money back, but most will go straight to Goodwill except the scarf with a hole in it. That scarf is in the bag of recycling. I was a little disappointed. Back to the Bins!
4. My son left the Pacific Crest Trail in the Northern Cascades approximately 200 miles from the Canadian Border. He felt that trail conditions were getting to dangerous to finish. I was able to get him an inexpensive flight home on Southwest (1/3 of the cost of other airlines) and used some Hilton loyalty points for him stay near the airport in Seattle.
5. I have done all the usual things – cooked most of my meals at home, brewed my own coffee, drank filtered tap water, batched errands, wore thrifted cloths, read library books and streamed TV. I took my old dog to the beach on Friday afternoon. He can only walk about a mile. During this walked, I picked up two bags of trash – primarily single use plastic. Grrrrr…..
Have a great week everyone!


Christine October 13, 2019 at 2:21 pm

Thanks for the update about your son hiking the PCT. Good to hear he decided to leave when the going got too dangerous. My DH had to leave the AT also due to swelling in his knees and ankles. He has decided to section hike it and won’t be returning until Spring. There’s snow in them thar hills. Best of luck to your son and I’m glad to hear he put common sense in front of a possible tragedy.


A. Marie October 13, 2019 at 1:56 pm

Well, Katy, I commend you for not freaking out over seagull poop on your shoe. (“Birdy, birdy, in the sky…”) And the rest of your FFT sound fabulous. Congratulations to your uncle on his amazing record of NASA service.

Now, FFT, Friends and Neighbors Edition:

(1) DH and I just had a 40-minute photo shoot around the house and grounds for our upcoming 40th wedding anniversary, courtesy of one of DH’s best guy friends. This was DH’s partner in multiple real estate ventures back in the day. He’s also just retired from his photojournalism professorship at the journalism school of our Large Private University, and is happy to be doing things like this in his retirement. The only fee he requested was a carton of my homegrown cherry tomatoes, which I was more than happy to provide. (The cherry tomatoes are still trickling in, although I anticipate our first killing frost any day now.)

(2) A neighbor just stopped by with two plastic bags of small cucumbers and a request for a jar of refrigerator pickles from same. (More than enough cucumbers for both of us.) She’s a teacher’s aide in our city school district. Wegmans donates produce, and the kids don’t eat it (a story that’s all too familiar to many commenters who volunteer at food banks and so forth, I’m afraid). I’ve told her to consider me whenever she has produce from this source that she doesn’t want.

(3) And, fortunately, I’ve got some late dill coming up in the gardens, so I can do these pickles.

(4) Another of DH’s guy friends will be coming over this week to do some repair work on our damaged back fence, bartering his labor for some of the tools DH will not be using again.

(5) Finally, Dr. and Ms. Bestest Neighbor will be coming home soon from a train trip through the Canadian Rockies. They’ll have stories to tell when we go out to dinner for our 40th and their 32nd wedding anniversaries. (They actually had the moxie to get married on Halloween; we did the deed a day earlier, on the 30th. And I think we can be excused for eating out on these auspicious occasions.)


Christine October 13, 2019 at 2:25 pm

Your #3…I just tried putting dried dill in my homemade corn chowder due to lack of Marjoram. It tastes fabulous! Fresh dill would probably only be better.


Lindsey October 13, 2019 at 3:41 pm

Our food bank has a volunteer who used to work on a cruise ship, in the kitchen, carving fruits and vegetables into flowers and such. I happened to be by there one time when this lady was turning down radishes that someone had donated, telling the guy that she just didn’t think they were worth bothering with. Suddenly he pulls a knife from his back pocket and carves the radish into a rose and offers it to her to eat. She declined but the little kid with her was mesmerized and gobbled it down. Then he did something similar with a carrot, which the kid also ate. Next thing you know, the child is begging the mother to take carrots and radishes because she thinks they taste good…it was so cool to see. After that he was encouraged to do repeat performances whenever he spotted kids who did not seem interested in fresh produce. We were all sorry to see him move on a few years later. But there is an even better ending—one of the kids he inspired found books on carving produce and his summer job became working in the kitchen of a hotel, carving produce for meals and fancy centerpieces. All from a guy who took a minute with a kid and a radish.


Robin October 13, 2019 at 5:32 pm

Oh, I love this so much. Kind people making the world a better place, one radish at a time.


Ava October 13, 2019 at 6:56 pm

What a great story!


A. Marie October 14, 2019 at 10:33 am

Great story, Lindsey. I’m starting to wish our city school district would put a few veg-carving geniuses on staff. They’d be better value for money than a lot of the administrators we’ve got now.


Bee October 14, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Happy Anniversary!!! I hope you have a wonderful celebration with the Bestest Neighbors. Make memories.


Mary in Maryland October 16, 2019 at 8:44 am

We got married on November 1. It was next to impossible to find a restaurant to take guests for the groom’s dinner on the 31st.


Christine October 13, 2019 at 2:31 pm

Katy, I hope your husband doesn’t get too jealous of that robot. You two look pretty cozy in that picture.
1. Cleaned out my flower gardens today, scattering seeds about as I chopped. I took the big faces of the sunflowers and propped them up along the deck railings where the birds will hopefully see them. No pooping on shoes please.
2. I’m decorating with fall items and garlands I’ve had for years with the exception of a large pumpkin which has a future as a Halloween Jack-O-Lantern.
3. Reading Nothing to Envy and feeling pretty luck I was born where I was, when I was.
4. Made a huge pot of Chili which should last us awhile. DH had it on hotdogs last night. I like to serve the last of it over elbow mac. Plain with sour cream or cheese works great too.
5. No major purchases, thankfully.


Katy October 13, 2019 at 10:53 pm

Yes, however my husband allows me to take on as many robot boyfriends as I have time for.


Lynda October 14, 2019 at 3:01 am

A literal LOL! from me… luckily I’d finished my coffee!


Jill A October 13, 2019 at 3:07 pm

1. I received my initial discount on my car insurance by installing their app on our phones.
2. One pillowcase is ripping. I found a set in the linen closet that I’d salvaged from a past sheet set.
3. I transferred my dogs flea a d tick medication to Costco saving me $34 every 6 months.
4. I met my goal of buying $500 worth of free gift cards for Christmas with Swagbucks and Erewards points.
5. I had a group of seven of us over for dinner last night. I made wet burritos using homemade refried beans and other inexpensive ingredients. It was a good night and I got to show my appreciation for the people I care about the most.


Marie-Josée October 13, 2019 at 3:39 pm

Sounds like you had a wonderful time in Houston! Lots of travelling adventures this year.


janine October 13, 2019 at 4:31 pm

1. Messed up a beautiful card that I intended to send as a thank you note. Took myself off to a favorite thrift store – found two cards, a couple of cheap paperbacks, and a wool- cashmere blend jacket I had been looking for. The best part was they were offering 30% off – Total bill was just over $12!
2. Putting together a no-spend weekly plan for next week – a chicken for roasting as well as the last salmon filet in the freezer.
3. Gas at C0stco
4. Day tripped to our favorite WI cheese factory which has remodeled and raised their prices. However buying consumable is sometimes excusable! They also have a lunch counter and we split a $5 pizza. A reasonable price for a day in the country.
5. Received a late birthday present of a pint of raw honey – YUM!


Pattilou October 13, 2019 at 7:43 pm

1. I found $1.76 in change in the last two days.
2. I sold an item on EBay that has been listed for almost a year. I will pack it up with recycled packaging and get it in the mail tomorrow.
3. I got free tickets to see a play. I love free entertainment.
4. I bought bathing suits and shorts at 70% off for my nieces for Christmas gifts.
5. Worked some over time. Looking forward to the extra income.


Penny October 13, 2019 at 8:58 pm

I love hearing about your family’s birthday day of adventures! Some of my favourite content 🙂


Katy October 13, 2019 at 11:00 pm

Thank you, they’re so much fun to plan!


Bethany M October 13, 2019 at 9:45 pm

Ray Comfort was in town. We went to go listen. Kids enjoyed a nice program at the church. Left feeling inspired.

Gas is going up $4.17 here. Eek! Need to brainstorm some ideas for saving gas. My husband is taking my mom to the airport tomorrow and that will actually save a good bit, since the airport is just a few miles from his work.

With mom headed back home we can get back to our frugal meals. She isn’t much of one for beans. Struggling so financially right now, i could really feel this extra expense. Thankfully, Dad bulked out our freezer on his last visit, so I had some resources to draw from.

Kind of struggling with some depression and anxiety. To be expected with the weight loss surgery. Thankfully my 100% covered yearly checkup is coming up. We’ve been taking full advantage of our benefits package lately. Checkups, flu shots, dentists, orthodontist, and eye dr, and new sunglasses and lenses.

Got a huge bag of xl clothes from a friend who does house cleaning. Her clients often have stuff for donating. I have benefited greatly from my friend’s cleaning jobs. Fun to need xl and not 3x anymore. Neighbor is moving. She too cleans houses. She gave me a huge lot of gift wrap and bows. Convenient timing too since my last haul from a good garage sale find was really diminishing.


tracy October 14, 2019 at 5:21 am

Hang in there Bethany, depression is so tough. Take care of yourself.


Lisa M. October 14, 2019 at 6:22 am

Echoing Tracy’s comment. Can’t begin to imagine the multitude of adjustments following weight loss surgery. You are making great progress. You go girl!


Patricia Koernig October 14, 2019 at 9:43 am

Sending you love, Bethany!


Christine October 15, 2019 at 11:57 am

Your bravery and spunk is so inspiring. Just to make that move forward in choosing to have life changing surgery speaks multitudes about you. Hang in there and remember that depression and anxiety are a temporary state.


K D October 14, 2019 at 4:36 am

1. Our grass is dead (we’re in a drought after record rainfall last year) so our lawn guy is done for the year. Usually there is a need for service for several more weeks. Having a lawn guy frees us up to enjoy nice weather together on the weekend.

2. I put out the many years old Halloween/autumn decorations. I like using the same stuff from year to year.

3. I made a big pot of chili and a couple pans of cornbread. There was enough for a few meals, some to share with a friend that lives alone and doesn’t cook much, and cornbread for the freezer stash of baked goods.

4. I am thinking about the upcoming holidays and working on a plan. I have a few ideas. There will be no purchases of items that will not get a lot of use.

5. I’m reading The Water Dancer ebook, borrowed from the library. I’m not sure it is the best book ever but I think there are many more things I can learn about life during the time of slavery if I finish it.


Michelle H. October 14, 2019 at 5:15 am

Sounds like a great trip! I am missing Galveston this year – we usually spend this 3 day weekend on the beach in Galveston, ride the Bolivar Ferry back and forth for fun, watch the dolphins and feed the seagulls from the back of the ferry. Had to pay off a foundation repair for one of our rental properties, so we had to skip the beach this year.

October is a frugal beach vacation – off-season so the condos are cheaper, not crowded, weather is usually warm but not too humid, and the water is as nice as it gets for Galveston. (went in June once, never again) The condo we rent is right on the actual beach not the seawall, has free continental breakfast, full kitchen, a bin full of beach toys and chairs to borrow, along with beach wagons to haul it all. We pack all our food, and only pay for the condo and gas to drive there.


tracy October 14, 2019 at 5:20 am

I need to reset my switch from “consumer” back to “nonconsumer” but let’s see what I can come up with…
1. Bought a great pair of jeans shorts at Goodwill.
2. Consciously eating up food that’s getting older, continuing to work on lowering food waste.
3. Hubs and I cleaned own house this weekend.
4. Kept yesterday’s weekly grocery shop to $85 for family of 4. Want to eat down freezer, so not buying meat until I do. Find myself eating vegetarian 3 or more days a week without really trying.
5. Want to cut back on Christmas this year (it’s my fault that it gets ridiculous at our house, I just love a lot of gifts under tree) so going to be intentional about cutting back. Need to inventory what I’ve bought over last few months (not that much) and set a limit per kid. They support cutting back. Will report back here to keep myself accountable!


Michelle H. October 14, 2019 at 5:27 am

I was so excited to talk about Galveston, I totally forgot my Frugal 5. Doh.

1. Yesterday took the kids to “Gaming Unplugged” at our local library. Spent 2.5 hours playing chess and various board games with my youngest 2 , while older son played Magic the Gathering with one of the librarians (who is really into the game and helping him learn).

2. Kids still had free scoop coupons from summer reading program, so took took them out for frozen custard after.

3. Then checked out a park in town that we had never been to, took a mile walk along a creek exploring the park and played at both playgrounds.

4. No one was very hungry after the custard, so we ate popcorn for dinner while watching a movie on Netflix.

5. Headed to 6 Flags today. Season passes (with free parking) valid through December 31 2020 are on sale right now for less than the price of a single discount admission, so we’re going to splurge on entertainment for the next year. Youngest is finally tall enough to ride most things, and after she rode the water slides at Great Wolf Lodge in August she has been asking to try a roller coaster, so I think she’s ready! I will pack a cooler to keep in the car and break for lunch, or else eat at the car before going home.


Gina October 14, 2019 at 7:46 am

my recent 5FF…..
1. My cousin passed away last fall & my aunt called me up the other day asking my husband to come over and go thru hunting and fishing clothing before she donated it all. Hubby and I went to visit and look thru clothing. Hubby got new with tags Carhartt bibs and a jacket both worth almost $200, a few sweatshirts and some camo hunting clothing. Hubby was thrilled. Plus she gifted the girls and I with a basket she won at a Chinese auction that she really didn’t want. Girls and I pulled out a few things we wanted & I listed the rest for sale. Will use proceeds towards Christmas shopping.
2. Coworker ordered treats for her dog & company accidentally shipped her a whole case of them, so she shared them with me and another co-worker who have dogs.
3. A resident in our township gifted a few of us at work with bouquets of flowers because he said we always treat him well. Was a nice surprise!
4. My parents gifted us money on our recent 21 year anniversary that we used towards a special dinner to celebrate.
5. Recently we went to Moe’s and were charged extra for buffalo sauce my husband wanted on his chicken plus there service was super slow. I went online to enter complaint and they gifted us a $10 reward for our inconvenience.
6. Our dog food we normally buy was $10 less a bag this week, so i purchased a bag since we need it this week anyway.


Joy October 14, 2019 at 8:08 am

While I don’t go to Taco Bell often, our local store seems to mess up orders frequently. I got a $20 gift certificate after I complained. It was nice to see the responsiveness of the company.


gina October 14, 2019 at 10:29 am

#5 is supposed to read charged extra for buffalo sauce my husband wanted on his chicken, But didn’t get….


Joy October 14, 2019 at 8:06 am

Nasa and the Texas Gulf Coast are really great places to visit. We see dolphins and pelicans there all the time. Beach water is not all that blue, but it’s close and affordable. Glad you enjoyed it, Katy !
1. Found a Hanes medium sized white tee-shirt near a paper recycler at one of the local schools. Although a bit dirty, I think it will wash clean and I can wear it around the house, or if not, use for rags. Either way, rescued this item.
2. The above reminds me of a child’s coat I rescued some years ago. I saw an item in the street and I happened to stop right by, as I was waiting for a red light. It was a pink child’s coat, in really good shape, although dirty from the road. I took it home, washed it (and turned out beautifully) and then donated to Goodwill. As we didn’t have anyone in our immediate clan it would be useful for, I felt good about this NCA activity and donating it.
3. Picking satsuma oranges, which are ripe and juicing. While the skins are mostly green, this variety ripens early in the fall and must be picked before turning completely yellow – orange. We still have a possum eating them (I saw this cute little guy or gal last night on the fence), so must remove them now.
4. Put together healthy snack packs for upcoming events. So easy and good for you !


Katy October 14, 2019 at 10:13 am

This trip was short, so I want to return for a longer visit with my husband.


KJD509 October 14, 2019 at 8:59 am

FFT – a few savings amongst the endless spending:

1) Hubs and Littlest and I took a “fun family adventure” to get flu shots after her soccer game on Saturday. It’s a pain to get to our clinic, there was a huge line because we were there the first day shots were available, and my daughter occasionally has unpleasant allergic reactions to shots, so we have to sit an extra 30 minutes afterwards for observation before they let us go home. Hot, boring, painful, but much better than flu – and free.

2) We’d planned to go out for dinner after the clinic, but instead made a quick grocery stop and picked up groceries for the week, including a few treats, for much less than even appetizers would have been out.

3) Volunteered as a field trip chaperone with my daughter’s class and got to see one of my favorite plays for free.

4) When our middle son had gigantic, expensive car issues, we were looking at large costs to keep him functioning – he needs a car for both work and school. But we realized that my commute on public transportation means we really are only using one car 95% of the time, so we’re passing the older of our two to him (in return for moving heavy objects for us) and buying ourselves some time to find less expensive repair options.

5) Cleaned my own house, planned meals and actually cooked them, getting free exercise along our riverfront path, keeping in touch with the distant older kids via free apps, and consciously appreciating the glorious fall weather to help avoid despair – narrowly, but still avoiding it – over additional huge expenses looming just now.


Jess in NC October 14, 2019 at 10:34 am

1) Used the Shop and Earn function on the app for my grocery store to earn back money while making my usual purchases. $5 back this already!

2) My wedding anniversary is tomorrow and we’ve planned a weekend of adventures rather than exchange gifts.

3) Batched all of my errands on Saturday to save on gas and time. I made to pick up more than just my book on hold at the library so that I wouldn’t need to come back before the end of the lending period.

4) Cancelled Netflix for the month. The spouse and I are watching things on other platforms and I’m not one to pay for a subscription I’m not using.

5) We’ve started the conversation with the spouse’s family about Christmas presents. We would prefer not to give/receive gifts for the adults this year. On top of the expense, it’s a pain to buy things for people we only see every other year and don’t know that well anymore. Thankfully, the spouse is taking lead on this because when I bring it up, I sound like a miserly jerk.


Cindy in the South October 14, 2019 at 10:56 am

I have a pinched nerve and UTI at the same time per doctor. So, I ended up spending $50 co pay for doctor and $18 at pharmacy. I will try to look at bright side. I am not having to crawl on floor like yesterday, I can actually walk with cane and drive. That means, 1. No ambulance ride which is expensive nor did I have to ask any of my sons to drive down here, which is also expensive. 2. I actually walked with cane into Walmart and got my prepaid phone card while waiting on scripts to be filled , 3. I got gas at Walmart, which was $2.27 gal. 4. I am home and ready to take meds and nap and 5. It is holiday so I didn’t have to use my sick leave.


Bee October 14, 2019 at 4:02 pm

Feel better, Cindy! That’s a terrible combination of ailments to deal with. Hugs!


Cindy in the South October 15, 2019 at 1:45 am

Thanks Bee! I have 200 cases on docket today so headed to work with a cane to help me walk. I talk about work a lot because that seems to be all I do and well, I like to eat and have electricity …lol.


A. Marie October 16, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Argh, Cindy, what a combination of ailments and work! Feel better soon!


Cindy in the South October 16, 2019 at 3:05 pm

Thanks A. Marie!!!


Roberta October 14, 2019 at 2:46 pm

1. Got a substitute teaching job for today. While I was in the office, I picked up another job for four days in November!
2. Came home and made enchiladas for dinner. Made an extra pan for the freezer, for the future. I wore an apron, so if I get a job tomorrow I can wear the same top without enchilada stains.
3. Made enchilada sauce from scratch, including homemade veggie broth. Made extra sauce so we can have huevos rancheros with leftover sauce and beans this week.
4. I drove the Prius to school, so I can use it to take my daughter to school tonight. My husband is still at school, and will not be home until after she needs to go to school. He usually takes the Prius, but whoever drives the furthest gets the most fuel efficient car.
5. Instead of going out for pizza Saturday night, my husband made pasta for us. So yummy, cheap and *I* didn’t have to cook it!
Bonus: started using CoinOut for cash back on purchases. I even used a found receipt, so I’m hoping this will be a long-term benefit. I will cash in when I have $100 to put toward the house payment.


Katy October 14, 2019 at 6:53 pm

I think this might be the first time someone has mentioned an apron as as frugal thing, but of course it is!

Thanks for the reminded to pull mine out of the pantry.


Mary in Maryland October 16, 2019 at 8:57 am

I also find it frugal to put on my nightgown before I brush my teeth. Hard to get those smears of toothpaste out of a shirt.


John October 14, 2019 at 4:45 pm

Sixty years of service is incredible!! There is definitely reason to celebrate such a milestone… glad you had fun.


ouvickie October 15, 2019 at 5:42 am

Pretty cool trip, Katy – I love NASA history!

1) I was able to rehome two vehicle seat organizers (new never used) by giving them as gifts at two different baby showers.
2) I was so thrilled to get my free raincoat/insulated jacket, received from rewards for giving blood the past few years. Sadly, it doesn’t fit well, it’s a bit tight through the shoulders. I will likely gift it to a family member at Christmas.
3) I have rewards points that should get me one or two free Amazon gift cards, which will become Christmas gifts.
4) Fortunately for us, the weather has been warm enough this month, we’ve only used the heater a few times at night when the temps in the house fell below 60. That will save propane fuel.
5) I took the day off work for a dental appointment and to get my free flu shot at the University Health Clinic today. I’m hoping to get some other errands run while I’m in town today. I cooked over the weekend, so we’ve eaten leftovers the past few days.


Jessica October 15, 2019 at 5:57 am

1) I set aside a few things that are unwearable or torn beyond repair to bring to textile recycling at H&M (which will give me a coupon)
2) I found 3 scarves to pass on to a friend who is recovering from surgery and needs them to cover a scar.
3) I drank the free coffee from work
4) I have cereal and yogurt to bring to the office this week.
5) I found a bunch of books in a free pile , and have scanned them. I will sell the ones that have a real value and am giving away the others, because my time is also valuable, and pursuing sale of the others is not worthwhile.


LB October 15, 2019 at 7:14 am

FFT-Vermont Edition and Things I Did Not Buy:

1. Spent the weekend in Vermont to purchase some big items for ski season. Stayed in hostels both nights to save cash for the big purchases, plus got to stay in the downtown areas of Burlington and Ludlow. To get a hotel at a comparable price ($100/month for me and a friend) would have been challenging and in the middle of nowhere.

2. I did not buy any maple candy, even though it is MY FAVORITE because I knew I’d have to lug it on the bus home.

3. I did not buy a $600 ski jacket that fit perfectly and comes highly recommended, because $600 for anything makes my stomach (and bank account) hurt.

4. We did not go zip-lining at the low price of $60 per person (whattt???)

5. We did not spend money to explore the towns we were in or stop in any souvenir shops–definitely an improvement for me.


LB October 15, 2019 at 7:25 am

Pff. $100/month. I meant $100 per night!


Emily October 15, 2019 at 7:36 am

1. Our 1600 mile move is complete! We we’re able to save a lot of money in the process by picking up free boxes and supplies, moving most things ourselves, and selling a lot of items before the move (all of which were originally thrifted , so mostly broke even!

2. Some items needed replaced after the move. Was lucky to stumble on a house with a huge pile of free items in their yard. Grabbed a printer (ours was sacrificed in the move), a lamp, wok, and a few small planters. All items on our wants/needs list!

3. Have been thrifting to replace other items as well as bulk up our cold weather wardrobes. Moving to CO from NC has been quite the climate shock! I’ve managed to find some great Patagonia and other name brand hats/scarves/boots for great prices.

4. Have been doing extensive research on how to save money on groceries here. No aldi in CO yet (which is killing me) , but with strict meal planning and shopping around, I think I can keep our grocery budget (around) 80 a week for 2 of us, give or take depending on stock up needs.

5. I’ve been enjoying cooking in our new kitchen. We have a gas range now and a lot of natural light, much different from our last apartment. Until I start a job, my main job is keeping expenses low , but also making sure we are eating healthily. Budget bytes is one of my favorite sites to find cheap healthy meals. Made a huge pot of vegan lentil stew and roasted veggie baked ziti. Both dishes satisfy even my carnivore boyfriend. Highly recommend this site !

Ps-if anyone knows of a discount grocery store/market in the Denver area I’d love to hear it!


Bee October 16, 2019 at 3:21 am

Budget Bytes is wonderful! I have made the Weeknight Enchiladas frequently. They are delicious and super inexpensive. Glad your move went well.


Julie October 16, 2019 at 7:23 pm

I highly recommend the Dragon Noodles and the oven fajitas. Both are in regular menu rotation in our house.


Trish October 18, 2019 at 3:15 pm

Welcome to Colorado! Agreed and sad there is no Aldi yet. But I shop loss leaders at King Sooper and do pretty well. We are a vegan-ish/pescetarian family. It’s crock pot veggie chili and soup season! Hope you enjoy it here! Check out the Colorado Gems card if you ski or snowboard. You get bogo to about 11 resorts 3x each!


Mary Beth Danielson October 15, 2019 at 12:22 pm

So often when I read the comments here (and I read them all, though I don’t join in too often – I’m shy…) I notice the frequent connections between thrifty frugal strategy adopters – and science-types, people who seem to read above their grade level; general humans of Elevated Distinctions… NASA sort of makes me swoon.
We were getting puddles under our fridge. My husband (who should have worked for NASA but … different times) fixed a clog in the freezer’s drain.
While he did that I inventoried what we have. Now we know how many broths, beans, and veggies we have prepped and frozen over the past year – so we don’t prep more of what we didn’t eat yet!
Went to the free Geology Museum of UW, in Madison. We asked a lot of the kinds of questions bright 4th graders ask – how did this get here and what kind of fossils are those? We also asked about global climate crisis; is geology even is a relevant science and he said an emphatic yes. That the earth can adapt to any temperature change and any amount of water or ice BUT geology reveals that it takes thousands and tens of thousands of years to handle the shifts we are going through in 20-30 years. So no, we can’t just sit back and let it roll over us. Not if we believe in the world’s children.
Came home and hung a clotheslines in our basement. There’s just two of us; I can hang our laundry instead of using the electric dryer for 4-5 loads per week.
I also list at my website some of our strategies from traveling 15 days in Canada – incl how to use our phones without getting socked with roaming costs
Before we traveled, we researched how to avoid currency exchange fees. We opened a new credit card and my husband also put Apple Pay on his phone. With those two solutions, we didn’t pay the 2-3% exchange fee other than once at a bank because we foresaw needing cash.
Making our own coffee, on the road.
More at my website;
PS: I always wear aprons. I have three Fair Trade aprons that are decades old. Each one cast about $20 and I generally wear them over about $4 of thrifted clothes. Aprons give you something to hang onto when the news makes you crazy.


Lisa M. October 15, 2019 at 1:35 pm

Sorry, comment below intended as a reply to your PS, Mary Beth!


Katy October 16, 2019 at 9:46 am

My apron is a sturdy expensive one that I got from a garage sale for a quarter maybe 17 years ago. It’s unisex, so my husband and I will both grab it.


Vickey October 20, 2019 at 11:40 am

>>Aprons give you something to hang onto when the news makes you crazy.<< This alone could make them very, very cost-effective these days!


Lisa M. October 15, 2019 at 1:33 pm

I was going to comment on the apron issue with the first reference above but your comment supported mine, how perfect! The low cost alternative to aprons (which is my solution) is to wear old clothes at home when doing messy domestic work. I did however, repurpose an apron that was a dance costume of DD’s when she spent years in a community ed. dance program. (Hot Chocolate tap dance # from A Polar Express). I loved the dance program because of its simple & low cost costuming for recitals. This was a simple apron from Michael’s with a decal of a steaming cup of hot chocolate ironed onto the bib. I wore the apron while volunteering for DD’s school district skate team’s overnight winter retreat for a number of years as parents prepared an evening meal & a breakfast for the entire team & coaches. Definitely a messy situation where I did not want to wear old clothes, so it worked perfectly.


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