Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 2, 2020 · 87 comments

  1. I sold just a few things over the past week, but since it was mostly higher dollar items, I’m stoked with the results. This included a Green Day concert T-shirt that I pulled out of a Goodwill Outlet bin, a Playmobile set, a new pair of Solmate socks and the antique doll chair that I reupholstered back in September.

    Bizarrely, the most expensive item that sold was the Green Day T-shirt, which brought in a whopping $100!

  2. My daughter and I took my mother out for a Birthday Day of Adventures. My son is still in college, (not to mention never ending surprise bills) so our budget is tighter than an Edwardian corset. (You’re welcome for this extremely timely reference!)

    • I treated my mother to lunch at Mod Pizza, chosen because A) It’s across the street from a terrific Goodwill, and B) I’d earned a free Mod Salad from buying one in January. My mother and daughter chose pizza, and I got the salad, (duh!) and we split them both.

    • We then shopped at Goodwill, although none of us found anything that called our names.

    • I then drove us over to Ikea for their free tea and coffee. I’d packed my own tin of freshly baked gluten-free cookies which we enjoyed with our hot caffeinated beverages.

    • Next up was a drive to the top of Rocky Butte which sits atop an extinct volcanic cinder cone and provides 360° vistas of Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood, the Columbia river and downtown Portland. It was an unseasonably bright clear day, so the view was spectacular. This free park was built as part of the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) project in the 1930s and resembles a cool medieval castle.
    • Our last stop was to the Goodwill on Powell Blvd., where I picked up a vintage pharmacy-style floor lamp. My plan was to resell it, but I decided that I like it better than the fussy antique one that’s been in my living room since Edwardian times.

    This “Day of Adventures” was not my best effort, (especially since my mother’s birthday was in October!) but we all had fun, munched some tasty food and enjoyed one another’s company. A day of experiences beats a shelf of unwanted gifts any day of the week!

    Experiences > Stuff 

  3. I finished listening to the audiobook of Lisa See’s The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane through the free Libby app, I picked up a Lucky Day copy of Delia Owens’ Where The Crawdads Sing which I’ll start on this evening, we watched a library Blu-ray of Star Trek: Generations, I picked up two loaves of Orowheat rye bread at the Dollar Tree store, (they normally sells for $4.29 apiece) I accepted a friend’s roll of thin styrofoam packaging to reuse for eBay sales, I narrowly avoided buying a much needed ream of paper, as my daughter unearthed one while cleaning her room and I picked up two 99¢ half-gallons of sale milk from Fred Meyer.

  4. I replaced the belt on my 1999 vacuum cleaner. Whenever I replace a belt I wonder how many people assume that their vacuum cleaner simply isn’t working well, and use that as an excuse a buy a brand new one. It takes just a few minutes to do and makes the vacuum work exponentially better.

    Have you ever replaced an entire vacuum cleaner, (or know someone who did) when all it needed was a $3 belt?

  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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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer March 2, 2020 at 6:37 pm

Gorgeous picture, sounds like a great day to me!

1. Spent some time in the kitchen this weekend. I roasted a whole chicken and then made a ton of broth from the bones. The next day I made a triple batch of meatballs and froze 2/3 of them.
2. Filed my Federal and State taxes. Shockingly we are getting a little bit of a refund. I will have to pay Local taxes out of that, but we will put the rest into savings to replace our car. Paid Turbotax for the Federal taxes, then filed for free with my state. A little extra work, but saved $40 over just having Turbotax file state too.
3. Used some of the leftover chicken and a block of pepper jack cheese that has been languishing in the fridge for a while and made quesadillas for dinner.
4. Washing machine sounded funny yesterday and today after a load I could smell a burning smell and it had sounded unusually loud at the end again. So dh will again replace the belt to keep the washer going hopefully a few more years. I love that he can repair things like this.
5. Opted not to go out of town for the HS State Gymnastics meet. My dd does not compete due to injury, but is the team manager. I have gone to every meet. But this would have meant missing work, a 2 hour drive, a hotel stay, meals out, etc. I bit the bullet and opted out. I was the only parent that did not go, but I likely saved between $200-$300. I stayed home and cooked and did taxes instead lol.


SLK March 3, 2020 at 5:48 pm

Our circa 90s washer did the same. Sweet hubby spend 25 hours taking it apart and fixing. 3 loads later, its smoking and stopped working. Sadly, I think we are in need of an actual replacement. Thankfully, our friends have offered us a friends/fam discount with a major appliance maker. Not the plan, but thankful we have the funds to replace it with cash.


Jennifer March 5, 2020 at 3:40 am

Well, dh tried to fix it. Washer is shot, smoking no matter what we do, and I will not have a fire hazard in the house. Dryer has been on the fritz for a year or so as well. We are replacing both. Ugh!


Roberta March 5, 2020 at 7:28 am

I know they’re not cheap, but check out the Speed Queen washer. They are the ones that laundromats use. They come with a 7 year warranty(!) and expected lifespan is 25 years.


Lisa M. March 2, 2020 at 7:00 pm

5+FF: Late Winter Blahs/Early Spring Hope

1. Survived 7/16 days of full-time work. Managing 5 straight 9-hour days is challenging at my age. Will be nice to see those hefty paychecks though! Makes me appreciate working a part-time schedule the majority of the time. Working on online CE during down time.

2. Coordinated Friday night grocery shopping with dinner for DH & I at fast food place next to Aldi. Used coupons ($9.56) as always, took left-over home & drank water. Allow some leniency to survive when working 45 hours/week.

3. Received my 1st jury summons. After a long, responsibility-laden period at work, am looking forward to a change of scenery. I anticipated being out of a paycheck for 2 weeks but there is a daily stipend & mileage reimbursement, so that helps ease the financial pain.

4. DH & I sat down with DD & suffered through her FAFSA application for a 2nd year. Although the student & family are out of the loop for feedback compared to when I applied many years ago, it was lovely to have >$1,200 shaved off her 1st year tuition through a freshman scholarship. Hoping for more positive outcomes for her sophomore year.

5. Recent +s in the food category: After Crockpot Lasagna last week, returned to beans with White Chili this weekend. From the freezer used loaf of gifted sourdough bread from last summer & an extra loaf of regular bread, so able to eliminate weekly purchase.

6. Lots of misc. little things: Picked up free card ($2.99) at card shop’s Free Card Friday, found a cart with a quarter at Aldi, mistakenly received an 8-pc of my favorite fast food sinful appetizer instead of the 5 piece with a coupon that I paid for ($2.70), used a gas station reward coupon to buy a muffin for a quarter ($1.49) & did some price comparisons for staples at Aldi & big box. Aldi more economical on 1 item, big box on the other d/t larger quantity size. It pays to do the math!


Heidi Louise March 3, 2020 at 8:12 am

Lisa M: Jury duty might also provide meals; they are in my state.


Lisa M. March 3, 2020 at 2:03 pm

Heidi Louise – Meals would be wonderful. I’m pessimistic as information stated that a fridge, microwave & plastic utensils are provided. But hey, as NCAs, we’re used to toting food & beverages as needed!


Lindsey March 2, 2020 at 7:02 pm

1. Three folks in my family have had shingles so I bit the bullet and got the first of the two shots. Insurance paid and the grocery store gave me a 10% off a grocery shopping trip. I didn’t spend all of last month’s food budget so since it was March 1, I combined the two months and did a stock up shop of things like flour, sugar, yeast, oatmeal and so on. Found some chicken breasts on high mark down as it was the sell-by date. Also had some other coupons for basics, like mushrooms and milk. The total after all the coupons was $101, which was more than 60% off the original prices. And I still have money for milk and fruit for the rest of March.
2. Today did five mystery gas shops, making 15 gallons of gas that will be free once they reimburse me for the required purchase, plus 12.50 per shop.
3. Cut husband’s hair; it grows so quickly that I feel like I am cutting it twice a month.
4. Husband cut my hair. He does a much better job than I do on his.
5. Was rummaging in the freezer for vegetables when I ran across a bag of mixed chicken and turkey bones. It is bubbling away now for a nice rich soup tomorrow.

I am sick of winter. It was 20 below this morning and all I wanted to do was eat carbs. No, I wanted to over eat carbs!


Jen E. March 2, 2020 at 8:50 pm

Hey Lindsey, Those Mystery Gas Shops! Is that the one where you buy $5 of gas and then have to reveal yourself and put on a neon vest and take photos? I keep seeing that one for where I live in CA but I am scared to do a Reveal shop. You did 5! How was it?


Lindsey March 3, 2020 at 1:38 pm

There are a variety of gas shops, some revealed and some not. There is also a combination one where you start out mystery and then you identify yourself to do the audit part. It depends on the gas brand what they want. I don’t mind reveal shops but they often take more time because they involve things like looking for specific products and their placement. I have never had anyone get upset with reveal shops. In fact, I have had people say they had never had an audit before and it gave them a chance to figure out what the gas company wants to emphasize. Plus, you are not allowed to show them the results, so if you had to give them a terrible score, they would not know that until much later. Why not try one and figure out if they are worth it to you? There is nothing to lose.


MB in MN March 2, 2020 at 7:07 pm

1. Made my own buttermilk to save money and eliminate carton packaging. Mix one tablespoon of either vinegar or lemon juice for each cup of milk and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

2. Cut open the toothpaste tube to get out every last bit.

3. Redeemed loyalty points from purchases made at our local co-op. Received more than $12 for something I didn’t even have to sign up for!

4. Purchased cards with images that are appropriate for any purpose – sympathy, birthday, etc. The blank space inside allows for personalizing.

5. We’re planning to build a small structure in our backyard for my husband’s home office. We’ll be using many items that our contractor friend has had in storage (e.g., windows ordered for other jobs that couldn’t be returned, surplus shingles, etc.). Will be checking our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for other building materials.


Mand01 March 2, 2020 at 7:10 pm

The 90s is big now, hence the Green Day shirt making big dollars. It makes me feel old.
1 I pickled our homegrown jalapeños along with sale priced carrots, and they are now in the fridge maturing, along with a big jar of home fermented carrots. Yum.
2 We have almost entirely eaten from homegrown garden veggies this week, including onions. It’s been a delicious and inventive effort.
3 I’m making a recipe book for my friends. I gave them one of my recipes about fifteen years ago and it’s been so well loved they can no longer read the recipes. I’m hoping to have it ready in time for one of their birthdays.
4 My father in law caught fish and gave us a meal’s worth of fresh whiting. We ate it with homegrown vegetables for an entirely free dinner.
5 I spent several hours in the garden getting ready for autumn planting. Hoping to grow a bumper crop of cabbages this year for sauerkraut and kimchi.


janine March 3, 2020 at 6:35 am

#4 reminds me of my dad who regularly supplied us with fresh water fish plus his homegrown vegetables! Yummy and free!


Kathy March 2, 2020 at 7:10 pm

1. Just returned from 5 day trip to Philadelphia. My airfare and 2 nights hotel was paid as part of my judging assignment
2. My friend from Minnesota joined me so the other nights were split 50/50
3. Enjoyed many of the free historical sites. However we did pay for a walking tour $25 for each with our senior discount
4. My friend treated me to seeing Hello Dolly on stage and dinner for my birthday earlier in February
5. Working 2/3 of my part time gigs this week


Jill A March 3, 2020 at 2:56 am

1. My two youngest daughters are on spring break this week. One daughter will be working extra hours but we will still all enjoy a staycation. This will include: renting the redbox movie “The Joker”, taking advantage of $5 Tuesday’s at AMC tonight to see the movie “Birds Of Prey” and renting the movie “Parasite” from Amazon for 99 cents.
2. My daughter gave me a free loaf of artisan sour dough bread that they were going to throw away at work.
3. I combined errands while out and purchased cheap Costco gas and used the cheap DIY car wash saving several dollars. Car washes are a necessity in the rust belt.
4. I sold another item on Ebay. I reused packing materials and a box that were given to me. I also paid an extra ten cents to send the item Priority so the post office would pick it up at my house saving an extra trip. Also I believe the post office pays their workers extra for this pick up.
5. I finally read a book loaned to me by a friend ” The Glass Castle”. I’ve had it for many months and I finished it in a day. I’m reading free library books on my kindle and also downloading my free Amazon Prime First Reads book.


Lisa M. March 3, 2020 at 4:49 pm

Jill – The bread I received at a church sale last summer was also artisan sourdough. It was close dated, so I popped it into the deep freeze but even after 6 months frozen, it was delicious when thawed. Even so, I would have trouble paying full price – $3.99 (unless for a special occasion).


Jill A March 4, 2020 at 8:27 am

We had the bread from lunch and also with dinner and oh was it ever good. It didn’t hurt that it was free. Maybe free tastes better.. The company my daughter works for is closed on the weekends so they give the leftover bread loaves away on Friday either to employees or the mission. It’s freshly made there at the facility and is so good.


Jill A March 4, 2020 at 8:36 am

I forgot to add that I also read “Where the Crawdad’s Sing” . I borrowed it from the library on my kindle. It’s one of my favorite books. I also like the book “Educated”.


VanessaKC March 5, 2020 at 4:14 pm

You are so right about car washes in the rust belt!


Pattilou March 3, 2020 at 9:00 am

1. a friend gave me a brand new sweater and pair of pants that a friend had given her. They didn’t fit either of them so now they are mine.
2. Spent an entire day cooking and freezing half. Now I have enough dinners in the freezer to cover meals for the crazy two weeks I have coming up.
3. I did not cave and get a fish fry dinner. I ate what I packed. Since I recently lost 30 pounds, this was not only a good financial decision but good for the waistline.
4. Since I’m working so much lately, I have not been doing much else so I’m only spending on groceries. I did get to have dinner with friends and I I made brownies As my contribution to the meal with ingredients I already had.
5. Reading library books and books I already own instead of buying any new books.


Wendy March 3, 2020 at 9:39 am

Thanks to you and Kristin (The Frugal Girl), when my stove stopped working, I investigated deeper (rather than assuming it had just died from old age) and determined the heating element had a problem – $20 from Amazon and we were good as new!


Wendy March 3, 2020 at 9:40 am

It was the heating element in my oven (it’s a stove-oven combo).


K D March 3, 2020 at 10:00 am

1. I bought TurboTax and used it to complete our taxes. Like Jennifer, I refuse to pay them to file state taxes. I simply printed the state return and mailed it. It may take a few extra days to process (and required $.75 in postage) but it felt like the way to go, to me. Also, my daughter and her fiance will use the same copy of TurboTax to complete their returns (you’re allowed to use the software 5 times).

2. I ordered hearing aids at COSTCO. They claim they’re top of the line and much cheaper than at an audiology place. Since they allow 180 days for returns I feel comfortable taking the plunge.

3. I took my vehicle for an oil change. I enjoyed the free fruit and wifi. They also washed my car, filled the tires with air and filled the wiper fluid reservoir, gratis.

4. I treated a friend, that is always broke, to lunch. He’s proud but I was able to redeem a reward for my meal so he let me buy his lunch.

5. I met with some friends for charity knitting and crocheting last night. I’m working on a chemo cap and my friends are working on prayer shawls. It was good to catch up with them.


AuntiAli March 11, 2020 at 1:34 am

KD be aware you may need to go back to Costco a couple of times to get the hearing aids up to your needs. Beauty of digital hearing aids. My husband got his at Costco and had to go back a couple of times. He bought the lowest priced set. When he first got them he mentioned that he didn’t know how squeaky our original hardwood floors were ha ha!


Rachel March 3, 2020 at 10:11 am

OMG, my mom was *THIS CLOSE* to buying a new vacuum at Fred Meyer the other day because a plastic piece on her current vacuum broke. She was seriously about to spend $60 on a low-quality vacuum, when the one she has is much nicer and will probably run forever. I urged her to hold off on the purchase, and then I ordered that replacement part for $8.95.


Jenelle March 3, 2020 at 10:15 am

1. My father in law and I replaced our range hood Saturday morning with their old range hood. Our fan no longer worked and they got a new one. While its not pretty and its outdated, the fan works AND it matches my outdated kitchen! Free other than the 6 hours it took us to install it. (nothing ever works well for us)
2. My kids were invited to a birthday party at chuck e cheese Saturday night. Free dinner for all of us!
3. Sunday after church we delivered girl scout cookies to local police departments. One of them is across the street from Cabela’s. We spent a good hour wandering around looking at all the animals. Free because we bought nothing.
4. We also stopped at the local Russel Stover candy store. They have an amazing outlet section in the back. For $15 I got each of the kids a heart shaped valentine filled with chocolate and a bear, some loose chocolate hearts and a pound of their “mistakes”. One of the heart shaped valentines alone cost $15 and this candy will last us awhile.
5. Found an online computer coding activity for my Daisy scouts to complete (for free). The classes that is offered through our council is $20 a girl plus an adult fee! Score!!


LB March 3, 2020 at 10:30 am

1. Resisted the siren song of taco takeout by taking leftover burrito filling, combining it with canned tomato sauce, chili beans and eating with tortilla chips. Let’s call it…pantry chili.

2. Putting together some new outfits with clothes I already own. Between that and actually ~using~ my clothing steamer to beat some nasty wrinkled blouses into submission, my spring wardrobe is looking spiffy!

3. Drinking a LOT of water at work and using snacks to hold me over until I can eat at home. It’s been semi-successful.

4. Looking at a lot of big expenses this month so trying to cut corners where I can. Next up? Weekend splurges. I’ve cut a lot of weekday expenses (coffees out! trips to Target!) but have a harder time regulating on the weekends.

5. Using up every last bit of shower products before throwing the bottles out. BF thinks I’m insane for having three bottles of body wash on the rack but hey, there’s still stuff in there!!!


Mary in VA March 12, 2020 at 3:48 am

LB, I do the same thing with any container that can be cut or opened in any way (toothpaste, shampoo, moisturizer, etc.). Sometimes there’s a good week’s worth of product still in there!


A. Marie March 3, 2020 at 12:15 pm

FFT, A Giant Leap and a Few Small Savings Edition:

(1) First, folks, I’ve made my big move: I’ve given notice to my employers that I will be retiring altogether when I turn 65 in August. (Very appropriate to do this during Leap Day week, I think–although I could wish that the stock market hadn’t immediately taken a giant leap downward.) DH’s continuing decline is the main reason, of course. But I’m also looking forward to doing at least a few things I haven’t been able to do while working–mostly a lot more recreational reading! And as a loyal citizen of the NCA Nation, I’m actually looking forward to going full black-belt frugal.

(2) Now, on to the more ordinary stuff. DH busted out of the only remaining belt he had that sort of fit (he has put on some weight this winter–too much nibbling between meals and not enough exercise), so we stopped into the men’s clothing store in the same plaza where our Ollie’s and Petco are located. (As others of you who are married to large men know, good belts are hard to find secondhand.) Found a belt just like his old one, turned pale at the price–and then noticed a bit of wear around the holes (had obviously been tried on by another large man). Pointed this out to the salesman and got a 20% discount. It never hurts to ask.

(3) Used the last of the remaining tomato sauce from a spaghetti dinner to make a beef stew, instead of opening a can of tomato paste. The stew was actually improved by the herbs in the sauce.

(4) Have been finding some good bargains on women’s clothing hung by mistake in the men’s section of my Salvation Army superstore. It doesn’t sell to men until the tag color goes 50% off, when I snap it up. Tee tee!

(5) The SA has also lowered the prices for books to 99 cents for hardcovers and 49 cents for paperbacks, regardless of size. So I just picked up the Geoffrey Ward/Ken Burns Baseball book ($60 retail) for 99 cents. This ought to keep me occupied till the AAA minor league season opens here.


ellie March 3, 2020 at 3:19 pm

Congratulations, A. Marie! I love retirement and hope you will,, too!


Audry March 3, 2020 at 3:44 pm

I hear you! I retired in 2008 and watched the market tank! Thankfully, I have a pension and my husband was still working. We survived!


Jill A March 4, 2020 at 8:29 am

Congratulations!! I hope you enjoy your retirement and the extra time with your husband and for yourself. You deserve it.


susanna d March 5, 2020 at 9:29 am

Congratulations on your decision to retire, A. Marie. I retired 7 years ago and am very happy I made the decision to retire somewhat early. Looking forward to going black belt frugal is a very good attitude to have. I think you’ll do very well!


Mary in VA March 12, 2020 at 3:47 am

Regarding your #4, I love it when clothing is hung in the wrong location at thrift stores, which is why I always check a few sizes above and below mine (and this is a good reminder to check the men’s section, too!).


Linda in Mass March 3, 2020 at 1:23 pm

I have gotten at least 3 vacuums from my mother. Each time she asked me if I needed a new vacuum, I would pick it up and she would say it would need a new belt. To which, I replied, “Please tell me you did not buy a new vacuum because the belt broke!” Her response…”Yup!” I don’t know where I came from.


Michelle H March 3, 2020 at 1:25 pm

Would love to hear your review of Where the Crawdads Sing. I constantly see people recommending it, and think I must be the only person who didn’t like it.


Mary in Maryland March 3, 2020 at 4:21 pm

No, I didn’t like it either. Enough so that I only read the first three chapters.


Bee March 4, 2020 at 4:41 am

Curious to why you didn’t like the book?
My cousin had a problem with the ending. Others found the beginning a too painful. However, Where the Crawdads Sing may be my favorite book of the year. It is so beautifully written, but I especially relate to the main character’s love of the coastal marsh. In North Florida where I live, this type of ecosystem is prevalent and is constantly being threaten by development. I also remember the people who lived in these areas before they were developed. A time and place that has been forgotten by most.


Mary in Maryland March 4, 2020 at 11:34 am

Could be that I spent a lot of time working with Child Protective Services. I find a novel that starts with child abuse/neglect riles my stomach–probably a form of PTSD.


Bee March 5, 2020 at 3:29 am

The beginning of the book was painful to read. I would imagine this would be more so given your experiences. Thank you sharing and for doing the difficult work you did.


Lisa M. March 6, 2020 at 10:15 pm

CPS workers have one of the most challenging positions imaginable. My respect for them is immense after a practicum that spanned an academic year & observing firsthand their extremely important work. It is a nearly 100% thankless job & incredibly difficult. Thank you for your service protecting the youngest & most vulnerable members of society.


Heidi Louise March 3, 2020 at 1:48 pm

1. Three yard sales to plan donations for– Crap out! A local organization fund raiser for Alzheimer’s research next week will get my good stuff that makes only small change, like quarter items. As I get older, I find setting up a sale for myself more and more exhausting. Sale season doesn’t really start here until the end of April spring weather, so they should get lots of people who need a yard-sale fix. In April is the parochial school fund raiser fill-a-bag sale, which will get more from me.
And in May on city-wide sale day, before free clean-up week, I can have my own sale of bigger stuff, with a generous almost-junk pile of free things I would be embarrassed to donate but I am pretty sure someone will take. And if I have my own sale, I won’t be shopping at everyone else’s. We saved huge amounts on clothing and toys for my son that way when he was growing up, but we don’t find much for us as adults, though I still look.
2. Shopped the clearance produce, dairy, and misc. rack at the grocery store this afternoon, and found a few things. Timing of when they stock those seems to be pretty random, so it is often worth walking to the far end of the store. I also visited the local low-price grocery store and the slightly-more-acceptable of the dollar stores over the weekend. I need to re-expand my shopping plans to make better use of them.
3. Dropped off some magazines from my Dad at the public library in the exchange box; found one to take in return.
4. Realized my husband could have his own online account with our health insurance, meaning he can have his own “Health Rewards” program with that company as well the one I have, for watching videos, reading brochures, etc. for points. Takes little time and has good cash-out value.
5. We’ve lived in our house for 20 years now, so I should know how not to be overly optimistic when thinking about new plants for the garden, unless I really want to do the work of improving the soil. This could save me money, if I don’t allow impulse plant purchases. Or not many.


Ava March 3, 2020 at 1:50 pm

The first two items are not because we did something clever, but are due to others’ mistakes. They still benefited us.
1. Husband and I went out to lunch and he never received his beverage until after he finished eating, in spite of both of us asking for it. The server removed the total charge for his lunch.
2. When I had bronchitis a few wks ago I went to a quick clinic. I questioned the $90 copay but I was too sick at the time to make much fuss. I recently received a check for $60 in the mail due to being overcharged.
3. Frugal for others: Our town was hit with a tornado last night. Our house was spared but there is much devastation in surrounding areas. Many people do not have power. We are providing showers, phone charging and food for any friends who want to come.
That’s all for now.


ouvickie March 4, 2020 at 1:00 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about all the devastation around the Nashville area. It’s heartbreaking.
It’s happened so many times in Oklahoma, that Spring storm season becomes stressful.
Prayers of comfort and strength for you and your community.


Ava March 4, 2020 at 5:57 pm

Thank you. We will recover but it will be a long process.


Christine March 3, 2020 at 2:33 pm

1. We received one tee shirt to wear to work with the company’s logo on it. We were told we had to purchase subsequent ones ourselves. No thank you. I wash my shirt out every night in cold water with a tiny bit of detergent on the gentle cycle (to keep it looking new) and hang it up to dry. If I’m washing a load of darks I toss it in with them.
2. I voted in the primary today which may be frugal in the long run if my candidate gets the nomination.
3. DH and I are in agreement we will not go out to eat or order take out in the month of March except for taking our granddaughter out for her birthday which falls within the month.
4. I noticed our electric bill went down by about $40 since last month. The days are getting longer and the Christmas lights are down.
5. I found another .35 on the floor at work, I found .10 on the cellar floor at home while sweeping it, I’m reading library books…just finished Meet the Frugalwoods…loved it and am planning to attend two free programs at the library next week.


Julie March 3, 2020 at 2:43 pm

1-Had an easy Facebook sale when someone posted an ISO and I had the item just taking up space. $15.00 in my pocket and zero work on my part.
2-We finally decided to close a chequing account that served no purpose other than to allow for a physical bank. They increased the amount that was required to not pay the monthly fee and I decided I was better off earning interest on the money in my online account.
3-I remembered to use my 4 cents off a litre when I purchased gas, it was not a station I frequent but the stars aligned today and the result was saving $2.00 on my purchase.
4-I have refocussed my efforts to take advantage of rebate apps and coupons. I will only use them for products we need but its nice to see the savings.
5-I received my Rakutan cheque and easily took advantage of the option to deposit by a photo image, its nice to not have to add an extra errand on my to do list.


Cindy in the South March 3, 2020 at 4:33 pm

1. I ate a strange combo of fresh cooked pumpkin blended with milk, spices, and tomato soup simmered with leftover radish greens, French bread topped with cream cheese and anchovies, and watermelon rind pickles for dessert. It was all very cheap and oddly satisfying. 2. I am on the hunt for a cheap, downsized retirement condo/house in college town where the majority of my children live. I will rent it out until retirement, which could be tomorrow or in 10 years… who knows? I figure when I croak, the kids can rent it out or sell it.3. I am reading all the retirement/ investment etc blogs and books I can because I want to make good decisions.4. I brought my lunch to work.5. As always my fav, I took a nap this weekend.


Lee March 3, 2020 at 5:41 pm

1. My perfectly good Dyson cost <$3 at a goodwill outlet and the only thing wrong with it was some thread that had gotten wrapped around the beater bar.

2. My nearest Fred Meyer has severely limited the number of bottles you can return, so I’m finding more thrown around outside, so I’m picking them up and will send them to the bottle exchange.

3. I found a $5 bill this week!

4. I’ve been running most errands on foot. (Saves gas! Fitness without an expensive gym membership! I think twice about impulse buys because I have to carry them home!)

5. I’m resisting the urge to stock up on needless Coronavirus tinfoil hats and assorted supplies.


ouvickie March 4, 2020 at 12:27 pm

Good job, Lee!!!
Having to carry items home would definitely deter me from needless purchases!
Your #5 has me laughing!!


Lauren March 3, 2020 at 9:32 pm

1. I had my first shift at my new job today. This extra income will mean more savings. I arranged my shifts so that I only have to pay for child care for 3 hours a fortnight.
2. I posted an eBay sale whilst I was in that part of town.
3. I helped my parents move over the weekend and ate all meals at their new house.
4. My daughters birthday sleepover is this week (wish me luck it’s our first birthday sleepover) and the snacks she has asked for are all on half price sale this week. We are ordering pizza with a free delivery voucher from Uber Eats. I’ll make up a double batch of homemade pancakes for breakfast.
5. We are moving in 2 months so we are eating down the freezer again. Hot dogs, bacon, spaghetti bolognese, pasta bake, cupcakes and tomato soup have been eaten so far. There’s a lot to go and this will help to lower the grocery bill.


Bethany March 3, 2020 at 10:24 pm

Got my garage sale wall mount installed for our tv. Pays to live adjacent to the retirement community. $2 seriously!!!

Listed my $40 couch from a recent estate sale. It’s vintage delicious and lovely, but I want a reclining couch. I’d love to make a decent flip on it, but ill keep it, if it doesn’t trill somebody to pieces.

My four year old is beginning to read. It makes staying home and homeschooling so rewarding. He read 2 Bob’s books this week!!! Giving away his alphabet flashcards. He’s graduated from them. Lol!!!

Got a free pound of Starbucks coffee at church Sunday. Yea!!! Love our little recycle/freebie section!!!

Made homemade egg noodles and a big batch of chicken noodle soup with them. Took 3 quarts to a post-partum friend and had some for ourselves.


Peg March 4, 2020 at 4:03 am

I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing. It’s a great book!


Jennifer March 4, 2020 at 5:34 am

Katy I have recently been using a new-to-me brand of GF flour that I love and wanted to mention. It’s called Cup4cup. I found it 70% off at a local store so I only paid $2 per bag for it. It’s a bit pricey on Amazon ($13) but if you have something special to make for your daughter that is GF, it is really close to real flour. I make cakes as a side gig and no one could tell the difference when I used this flour. Sometimes I make GF cupcakes for a kid birthday and nothing is worse than cupcakes that don’t tastes normal. Anyway, thought I would share.


Bee March 4, 2020 at 1:17 pm

That is the GF flour that most of the chef’s use. $2 a bag is an absolute bargain!


Jennifer March 6, 2020 at 6:57 pm

I know!!! Such a great find!


rebecca March 4, 2020 at 7:02 am

1. I made a quiche from bits and bobs in the fridge. Delicious, if I say so myself.
2. Passing on some spices I don’t use. They are just sitting there and a friend could use them.
3. Pushing myself to see more clients. I am exhausted but need the money. I am a social worker and sometimes it’s too much. 2 clients in the past few weeks have had a 20 something child die from a heroin overdose……
4. I use fetch rewards and am getting up there in points. Looking forward to a reward!
5. Dreaming of a trip to europe…….Planning is free……


Julie March 4, 2020 at 4:24 pm

No word of wisdom, only of thanks. The work you do is amazing and so needed, know that you are appreciated by your clients even in their darkest moments.


rebecca March 5, 2020 at 4:48 am

Thanks Julie. I appreciate your kind words.


Patricia Koernig March 5, 2020 at 1:47 am

Sending you love, Rebecca.


rebecca s March 5, 2020 at 4:48 am

Thanks Patricia


Lisa M. March 6, 2020 at 9:57 pm

Happy Social Work month colleague! I am celebrating your work in the trenches trying to heal some of the devastation caused by the illicit drug abuse epidemic. Please know that you are doing extremely important work despite the toll it extracts. We take for granted the impact that social workers make in the lives of clients & families. I was reminded of this several times when I least expected it & those moments made a lasting, indelible impression. I am hoping that you will receive reminders of the critical nature of your work to sustain you, so that you can continue to persevere & make a difference.


ouvickie March 4, 2020 at 9:16 am

WOW, great score on that t-shirt sale, Katy!!

1) I’ve been eating the free entrees my daughter provided, while moving, for my work lunches.
2) My super gorilla glued mules are holding together, until I can find another pair of comfy black mules. I have a black pair and brown pair, which are my office shoes and match my outfits with either my black or khaki slacks. I love those mules, but they likely won’t hold up during the Summer heat, so I need to start looking at the different Thrift stores for another pair. Those cost me less than $5.
3) I’m currently listening to Family & Other Catastrophes by Alexandra Borowitz on Overdrive. It’s hilarious, however, if you’re offended by colorful language it might not be one you’d like. I like Jennifer Chiaverini’s novels, so, Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival is next to download.
4) I picked up some avocados at the grocers for 58 cents each. I ate a banana and an avocado for dinner last evening. Sometimes I can’t handle a full meal and avocados are easy on the digestive system and yummy!
5) I bought some Mucinex for my granddaughter at CVS, after her doctor’s appointment yesterday. It’s not cheap, but it certainly works. Thankfully I have an HSA account and can reimburse myself for that cost. I think all I have to do is upload the receipt for the reimbursement. Another reason I prefer the HSA over an FSA.


Roberta March 5, 2020 at 8:24 am

My husband uses generic Mucinex (guafenisin/dextromethorpin) routinely, instead of the name-brand stuff. The generic works just as well for him.


ouvickie March 5, 2020 at 11:36 am

I agree, it is cheaper and I found out today I should have gotten the tablet version instead. Apparently my granddaughter doesn’t like the taste of the liquid and quit taking it after a 3 doses.
I’ll keep it at my house. I’ll take any form of medication when I don’t feel well.


Juhli March 4, 2020 at 1:24 pm

Happy March everyone.
1. My husband installed new weatherstripping on our front door eliminating a large gap and hopefully reducing HVAC cost.
2. I recently learned that you can redeem SW Airlines points for gift cards. I have $100 of Amazon cards headed my way now.
3. While stocking up in case the coronavirus requires us to stay home I found some great sales on things we always keep in our pantry – saved $42.38 (26%) off total shop.
4. I put together my spring capsule wardrobe and I don’t need to purchase anything.
5. Continued all the little day to day frugal actions that add up over the months and years.


Melissa March 4, 2020 at 8:53 pm

1. Have been bringing my lunch to work everyday – so much cheaper!
2. I’ve stopped drinking diet coke/coke zero. It’s something of a miracle but I haven’t had any since 14th January!
3. We are eating down the freezer so I can stock up on winter suitable foods.
4. I went for an exercise test requested by my thoracic physician – free thanks to our excellent healthcare system.
5. Need to have yet another CT scan organised by my cardiologist – again free thankfully. I have had 3 cardiac MRIs, 7 CTPAs and 11 cardiac echos and I’ve had no fees to pay. I am extremely thankful to all the wonderful doctors who look after me so well.


Jennifer March 5, 2020 at 4:02 am

Good job on dropping soda! Such an expensive and bad for you habit – yet so hard to break. Way to go!


Lindsay B March 5, 2020 at 2:11 am

1. When getting a coffee recently, discovered that there’s a “sit-in” charge. While I understand that the charge helps cover staff time to clean the café and wash dishes, it seems like there should instead be a charge for using the disposable coffee cups and to-go bags. Anyway. I used my reuseable mug and a napkin, and took my treats “to-go” (with their small discounts) and found a nearby bench to sit on while I enjoyed them. Will try to remember to bring a cloth napkin for the future.

2. Read on a different frugal blog about searching for unclaimed money in the states you’ve lived in. While I’ve previously searched without any luck, this time I came up with something in my name <$10, so we will see. I guess there are some scam sites out there, but if you search for the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators you will find the legitimate one with links to all 50 states. Be sure to check past states you’ve lived in, maiden names, etc.

3. Cut open a tube of toothpaste to use every bit.

4. Continuing to enjoy kitchen towels that are at least 15 years old but still in good shape.

5. Used up last of veggie scrap broth to make a delicious soup with gifted moose.


Roberta March 5, 2020 at 8:38 am

1. Spent two hours on the phone with our travel agent, and the cruise line lowered our price by $1500 per room! I don’t usually make that kind of hourly wage. My parents, my sister’s family and my family will all benefit from this. (They lowered the cost, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask for the same benefit.)
2. I have picked up enough days for this month to exceed my monthly income goal — and I have over a week still available to fill. I will likely work Friday as well (sick teachers are least likely to show up on Fridays.) Checked our bank balance last night, and we can see a definite benefit to the days I’ve been subbing! (I sincerely hope that we will have enough to replace our antiquated AC system. Especially since I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a hotter-than-usual summer.)
3. Eating down the pantry, but also succumbing to good deals to stock up again. I found organic, single plantation loose leaf tea at Grocery Outlet yesterday, for only $1.99 a tin. I bought six tins, and I will be going back to buy the rest today (since we have tasted it). The labels are stickers, so when we finish the tea the tins will be clean, and usable for gifting or other uses.
4. Menu planning, hanging laundry outside, combining errands, returning things I don’t actually need ($20 for the wrong kind of smoke detector) — all the boring things.
5. Making dinner at home, even when eating out would be easier. Swim meet season has begun, so I have to plan something easy to bring with us, so we don’t go out for burritos…


MEM March 5, 2020 at 11:42 am

1. I trash-picked a faux fiddle-leaf fig tree. Its not a high-end version but it was free and clean – I turned its least attractive side to the wall.
2. I just made red sauce from tomatoes I froze whole during last summer’s bumper crop and added scraps of red, orange and yellow bell peppers that had turned limp.
3. I have been bringing PB&J on oatmeal bread for breakfast at work and scrounging lunch left over from various events at work. Yesterday it was turkey and brie with mustard on a ciabatta roll.
4. I have been mildly obsessed with the silk flower arrangements that are sitting in acrylic “water”. I carry them around HomeGoods or Marshall’s and then put them back, knowing I could make something similar. Rather than buy and mess around with acrylic, I found a large square vase at home that looks like a giant ice cube. I filled it with red silk tulips from my stash and because of the way light refracts off the vase, it looks like the flowers are sitting in water!
5. I sold a pair of Crocs on Poshmark.


Thriftiest March 5, 2020 at 2:10 pm

I thought you were in Japan for a moment, silly me!


Susan March 6, 2020 at 4:08 am

Sold some stuff laying around in eBay and FB
-Stuck to meal plan and prepping food in advance. We have company visiting so cooked a ham from the freezer, enough for days of leftovers. Normally, I would have spent a few hundred dollars on fancy snacks and meals out. Also used sour milk and frozen zucchini from last summer to make a cake.
-Our tax bill is going to be much larger than anticipated. Continuing in budget lockdown mode and trying to add hours at work
-Had to get some expensive repairs done on my car. Used a free loaner from dealership, enjoyed coffee and donuts while I was waiting
-Borrowing books from friends, had friends over for dinner instead of going out, and meeting up at a park with the kids on nice days
-DH and I try to have a weekly date night/business meeting. It has helped our real estate business grow very quickly. Due to schedule issues, crabby kids and illness, we have missed the last several weeks. After a particularly long few days, decided we needed an hour to ourselves. We split a dinner out and got project planning back on track.
-Planning on potty training when we return from vacation, before baby is due, so we don’t have 2 kids in diapers at the same time. Wish me luck!


ouvickie March 6, 2020 at 7:36 am

Continued this week…
-Used a bag of frozen egg, sausage, potatoes & cheese burritos – that my grandson didn’t care for as breakfast meals – put them in a baking dish, smothered them in Stagg’s Silverado canned chili, added Mexi-mix shreded cheese and diced onions on top, then baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. It made a delicious burrito casserole that my husband and grandson loved, which covered at least 3-4 meals for them both.
-Ate a free apple fritter provided by a co-worker this morning for breakfast. YUM!
-Taking the afternoon off to get some things done at home and enjoy the warm, Spring-like weather.


Tonya parham March 6, 2020 at 8:41 am

1. Haven’t done groceries yet this month, just using what I have in the house. (Today is the 6th so that’s pretty good!)

2. The missus is going to Cuba with students this next week and I will be on Spring break. She’s getting a free vacation of sorts and I will have a stay-cation in that I can watch anything I want, eat whatever I like, and generally can just have a meditative retreat at home. (But I sure will miss her and hate she has to travel right now!)

3. I got a book interlibrary loan rather than buy it.

4. While I am home this next week, I will be cleaning the house thoroughly and doing yard work. Always frugal to do your own work and not source it out!

5. I gave up soda but I’m still in love with sparkling water. I stocked up on La Croix when there was a great sale this past week so I don’t feel so bad about having bubbly water.


Amanda March 6, 2020 at 9:57 am

1) We budget-planned, meal-planned, and grocery shopped this weekend. We planned three meals using the same tray of chicken breasts, which is pushing it for six people. We had roasted chicken one night, chicken patties on buns the next night, and then chicken soup with the leftovers.

2) I walked a friend through setting up an IRA. It’s not really frugal for me, I guess. But I like to spread the love.

3) I changed plans on Tuesday to attend a funeral several hours away. I took my lunch to eat on the way. I put gas in the car, but otherwise made no stops for food or drinks.

4) I got an in person interview for a post-doctoral fellowship. If I can swing it, it will double my current pre-doctoral fellowship. So I am prepping like crazy.

5) My husband has been working like crazy. As a business owner his hustle directly results in cash.


Kathleen Westbrook March 6, 2020 at 8:35 pm

Now that I’ve returned from visiting a friend in warmer clime, I’m getting the house back to more frugal ways:
1. All home cooking this week, including using mostly home canned items ….including some re-fashioning leftovers into something similar for a later date, i.e. vegetarian pasta & sauce for lent became vegetarian layered pasta (a lasagna of sorts) into the freezer for another Lenten Friday.
2. Taking the grandchildren to the local library for a free program featuring sled dogs on Saturday morning. Then letting Grampy babysit while I go to a free gardening presentation on native/local flowers.
3. Took in another 20 items to the resale clothing shop. I won’t be doing it much longer, as I am finally catching up on the stuff I’ve had cluttering the closets for far too long and I really am getting better about buying fewer clothes—and all the kids are out of the house and can deal w/ their own excess. And posted more items on the local FB sale page.
4.Checked the grocery ads before I even got back into town. Rasp- & Black- berries for $1/pkg. Made a batch of jam each to sell at the market—may still make one more batch of Raspberry—I can sell as much as I can/want to make. And buy a couple of extras to spoil those grandbabies with. Also used a couple of expiring grocery coupons thus delaying the need to return to the grocery for anything other than milk ’til almost the end of the month.
5. Got the recycling outta here—now I can start getting ready for an April garage sale.


Ruby March 7, 2020 at 6:53 pm

1. Used a store coupon to get a free bottle of apple juice.
2. Managed to catch a one-day sale at a grocery store we usually can’t afford to shop at and scored a box of ice cream bars for $1.25 and a carton of organic almond milk for $2.19.
3. Wore my almost entirely thrifted/secondhand interview outfit to yet another job interview and have my fingers crossed hard about this one. The blazer, blouse, shoes, handbag and hose are thrifted. The lapel pin was my mother’s 50 years ago. Skirt was new about 10 years ago but is holding up well.
4. Have been aiming for as close to zero food waste as possible. The sliced leftover banana bread from the freezer was excellent toasted for breakfast this week.
5. Rather than buy our dog canned food while she was recovering from dental work, we (with the vet’s blessing) fed her scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes for a couple of meals. She loves both and thought it was a huge treat.
6. Did a lot of mending and put several pieces of clothing that initially looked to be lost causes back into rotation. I had to figure out a couple of new techniques, but it worked.
7. Have been limiting my thrifting to sale days as much as possible. Scored an adorable apple green IKEA canister for $1.50 at the Salvation Army on Wacky Wednesday. We have a long-term house guest who uses artificial sweetener and I prefer it be secured in a tight canister since it’s poisonous to dogs, rather than him leaving the cardboard box on the kitchen table.


Becky March 8, 2020 at 10:18 am

Be careful I’m not sure potatoes are good for the puppy. At least according to my vet but as with everything, opinions vary.


Ruby March 8, 2020 at 2:37 pm

I think since it was just two meals and just a few tablespoons of potatoes, the vet was okay with it. We don’t give them to her often.

I have heard the news about potatoes and possible peas being the culprit in making dogs sick with heart problems, so we switched them to a dog food without those ingredients,


Em March 8, 2020 at 6:17 pm

1. Boyfriend and I headed to the mall today. I picked up my birthday freebies at ulta , Sephora, Bare minerals and Godiva. I also returned Christmas gifts to Nordtrom in the amount of 146 dollars! Hello spring shopping.

2. My dogs birthday is tomorrow. Instead of heading to a dog bakery to buy an overpriced bday treat for him, I am making him a few cupcakes from a dog friendly recipe I found last year. Yes, I am a crazy dog mom, but he brings me so much joy and love, I can’t help but celebrate his life!

3. After rona virus scares, family that is coming in to town this week has changed travel plans, putting a lot more people here for longer and overlapping. Instead of staying in hotels, we are make shifting areas with couch, air mattress, and setting up all the bathrooms with goods. I am thankful I have some goodwill outlet towel and sheet finds! I did use a gift card to buy a few new pillows.

4. I finally finished two valences for our kitchen , made from beautiful linen I found at the goodwill outlets, and 2 rods I have had forever. I also had a brand new sewing machine that I got as a birthday gift that sat in a box for 2 years. Ugh, shame on me. Took me forever to remember how to thread and sew a straight line, but I’m so excited to have re-activated this (very much developing) skill. I have so much left over fabric I’m not sure what to do with it!

5. We hung a gallery wall with frames we have had, and pictures I already had printed, plus one for 1.99 at GW. Pictures weren’t the correct size, so I used on hand scrapbook paper to fill in the space. House is officially ready for lots of guests!


Dicey March 14, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Dear Katy,
I miss your voice of reason, especially now. I hope you and your loved ones are well.
A Long Time Fan


Heidi Louise March 14, 2020 at 4:19 pm

Ditto. I wondered if she had been called back to health care work.
I hope all is well.


Lisa M. March 15, 2020 at 8:17 am

Ditto ditto.

Where, oh where, has Katy gone?

We miss you!


Jill A March 15, 2020 at 8:23 am

I’m just checking in also. I hope everything is okay.


Shona July 10, 2020 at 3:13 pm

I found my vacuum on a neighbor’s curb for free. There was no suction so I unscrewed the hose, pushed the broom handle through VERY hard and a huge wad of dog hair came out the other end. Works amazing! Here’s the funny part, I was on my way buy a vacuum at Goodwill or maybe even Big Lots.


Katy July 11, 2020 at 7:26 am



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