Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 23, 2020 · 56 comments

  1. My eBay sales kicked into gear over the past few days, and I’ve made a couple of juicy sales including:

    • A bolt of unbearably cute cowgirl-style fabric that I picked up at the Tillamook, Oregon Goodwill.

    • A George Mpata painting that I bought at the Goodwill on S.E. Powell’s Blvd. This was sold through eBay’s Global Shipping Program and appears to be on its way to Italy.

    • A new old stock 1970 latch-hook kit. I purchased this either at the Salem or Albany, Oregon Goodwill in early March on a day that I drove down to Eugene to take my son out for dinner. Ahh . . . that was a fun day.

    • A piece of cute Ikea fabric from the Goodwill on S.E. 52nd Avenue, off of Woodstock Blvd.

    • An antique floor lamp that I sold through Facebook Marketplace. Although I liked the lamp, (and had it in my living room for twenty-plus years) I replaced it with a $12.99 Goodwill lamp that was more streamlined/less fussy.

  2. I grabbed my mending pile and spent an hour or so winnowing it down to just a few odd socks. I usually enjoy mending my family’s clothes, but it felt more like drudgery than a enjoyable chore, which I attribute to the self-quarantine.

    Before quarantine: Mending = a rationalization to watch an hour or two of luxuriously stupid TV.
    Mid-quarantine: Stupid TV is no longer a luxury.

    Luckily an enjoyably darned sock is just as functional as a sock darned with resentful boredom.

  3. My husband switched our phone service over to a less expensive carrier. Still too much money, but any savings is good savings.

  4. I lent three Star Wars Lego books to a neighbor’s twin sons, we let our next door neighbors use our internet for the couple days when theirs was down, I continue to play the windows open/furnace off game on warm days, I’m showering every other day, my husband signed up for a free week of Apple TV+, (which prompted five straight hours of us watching The Morning Show!) I’m cooking entirely from scratch and I went nooooowheeeeerrrrreeee!

  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.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

Disclosure: This blog post includes affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy April 23, 2020 at 1:05 pm

1. Sold a couple of things on a variety of sites so I’m $27 richer
2. Cleaned underneath bathroom sinks as hubby has a habit of announcing we’re out of something cause he doesn’t really check.
3. The above project plus cleaning shelves in garage indicates we are well stocked on personal care, cleaning, laundry products plus a good stock of TP, tissue and paper towels. This effort netted me .21 in found coins
4. Cooking from pantry and freezer.
5. Tying various haircare products to do something with my short hair that is now 8 weeks post haircut


Economically Proud April 23, 2020 at 1:19 pm

1. Haven’t been anywhere except to our local school to pick up food- Son qualifies as a low income child for 3 meals and snacks a day
2. Cut open a lotion bottle to use every last bit (a lot was in there)
3. Eating odd combos of food from the school so none gets wasted
4. Trying to keep lights off except for a few hours in the evening
5. No internet shopping or food pickups at restaurants- we hardly ever do these things anyway


Katy in Africa April 23, 2020 at 1:49 pm

1. Being more careful with my phone data.
2. Cooked beans in the pressure cooker to save on gas.
3. Made French toast to use bread that was getting hard.
4. Reading frugal blogs…this is an area I choose to use my data.
5. Reusing gray water.


Mary Beth Danielson April 23, 2020 at 1:51 pm

1. Early in March I spent a weekend putting 30 things (mostly things I thrifted over the years and no longer want) on eBay and they’ve been selling in dribs and drabs. Very few have turned much of a profit, though all sold for more than I paid. Anyways, when I looked at my statement I sold $250 in six weeks!
2. We had plans to leave on a big car trip in April. There’s a whole bunch of money that won’t be spent.
3. A friend is an arborist and his jobs are way down. He came over after a bigger job and cut down half a tree’s worth of scrappy shade, steeply discounted, we paid him cash. Now we have ALL THIS WOOD. I ordered a fire pit and am looking forward to sitting by the garage with a fire and IPA’s. (If you can’t take the vacation you want, take the vacation you can get.)
4. No TP to be had. I hate to feel pressure about something as stupid as TP. So. A discount pack of 18 washcloths works just fine for #1 and our use of TP has reduced a lot. Using a kitty litter bucket (with the snap-down lid) I launder the washcloths twice per week and I swear, nothing smells. Might be harder to do this with kids around – but take advantage of whatever situation one is in?
5. Sourdough starter is a slower process than yeast but it works and the bread is fantastic. So then we couldn’t find bread flour. (higher protein than all-purpose) Found it at a farmers’ co-op in North Dakota – ordered 50 pounds and it is now all packed in smaller bags and is rotating through our under-fridge freezer to the bottom shelf of the fridge. Even with the shipping cost it was less than premium bread flour at the grocery store. Back when one could get it.
6. This is not exactly frugal though it has made the biggest difference. Instead of getting up and taking a shower to begin my day (as I have done all my adult life), we now get up, put on outside clothes and I go for a walk and my partner goes for a bike ride. We are outside 1-2-3 hours. You’d think this would eat hours up but in fact, we have way more energy and way less stress. Obviously, we are retired and live in a not crowded city, but what a difference this has made.


Kathy April 23, 2020 at 2:15 pm

1. Hubby and I have switched up from AM to PM showers as we are now more active in the day than we were before


Cynthia April 23, 2020 at 4:03 pm

Re: TP shortage. I ordered a “portable bidet” from Amazon (it’s actually just a squeeze bottle like they give you after childbirth…) and if I use that for #1 and just dry off with a cloth there’s even less to launder.


Vickey April 25, 2020 at 10:17 am

We installed a handheld sprayer bidet. It hasn’t entirely obviated the need for T.P. (and I do wish it was warmer water!) but it has allowed us to cut back on paper used for solid waste.


Yvette from down under April 23, 2020 at 2:05 pm

WEll things are different down under, the Autumn leaves are falling the days are sunny and nights crisp, a lovely season
1 planted my winter vege early before the shops were raided of seeds and seedlings. Already eating new greens and other pop ups of silverbeet and parsley and thinning of kale.
2 given 20 large quinces which have slow poached until Ruby red and made quince paste from the peels and cores. Too much for me and the freezer so giving lots away
3 soup weather so made minestrone and vegetables and lentil soups
4 the car has not been out for weeks so no petrol but the fuel prices have gone down anyway as we’re all in the same boat. Walking dog 3 times a day, she dreads the word “walkies ” now
5 lots of reading and gardening and activity, can’t believe how busy lockdown makes me, not enough hours in the day!!
Very optimistic about the future, hopefully we all realise different priorities In life and simplify. Creative geniuses will emerge and community connects more. I will certainly appreciate being able to go back to Church and entertain and just have a coffee with friends !!


Suzanne April 24, 2020 at 7:10 am

Yvette, your gardening skills sound wonderful. I am working on mine.

Like you, I have not been driving anywhere, but I do take my car for a short spin every week or so. Especially if your car is old, but even if it is not, it is good for a car to be driven, so the cylinders and gaskets don’t dry out. I learned this the hard way one year!

take care.


Mary in Maryland April 24, 2020 at 7:32 am

Oops. We were good about taking the car out for a spin the first few weeks, but haven’t fire it up in a couple now.


Jill A April 23, 2020 at 2:23 pm

1. I streamed my friend’s father’s funeral on facebook as only 10 people were allowed to be there and donated to the local bird sanctuary in his memory also online.
2. I sold one item on Ebay and shipped it via USPS . I used free boxes and packing material and had the post office pick up from my home.
3. I purchased groceries for me and my Mom saving her a trip and possible exposure to the dreaded virus.
4. I am also cooking from scratch. I made a coconut curry chicken with some leftover coconut milk and I added to leftover chickpeas since I only had one chicken breast thawed. I also made doggie ice cream for the dog with some yogurt and frozen blueberries. She deserves a treat too.
5. I picked up my daughter’s prescription from Costco using a GoodRX coupon that makes it cheaper than with insurance. I also bought some gas which was much cheaper at Costco $1.35 a gallon.


Jill A April 23, 2020 at 2:29 pm

I meant to add that I picked both my mother and I up a spiral sliced ham that was discounted to 89 cents a pound so for $11 we’ll have plenty of meat for meals. We’ll make some ham sandwiches,soups as well as a many dinners.


Christine April 23, 2020 at 2:31 pm

1. While out hiking in the state forest with DH, he showed me a hooded sweatshirt he had found on the trail the previous week. He had hung it up by the hood over what remained of a small trunk of a tree that had presumably snapped in a windstorm. I assumed it would be smelly and moldy from being out in the rain. After passing it by, I went back and grabbed it noting it was a very thick Lands End brand and it was my size. Brought it home, gave it a good washing and then hung it out in the breeze. It came out perfect and appears to be quite new.
2. I found a dollar on the floor at work. Nobody claimed it so into the found change cup it went.
3. I’m happy to say I haven’t filled my gas tank since April 5th and I still have 1/4 of a tank in there. Work and home and the very occasional grocery store trip is why.
4. We were able to put half of our stimulus checks into savings and are using the other half for projects around our house and yard.
5. Reading through books I have here at home.


A. Marie April 24, 2020 at 8:25 am

As a “When you come to a fork in the road, take it” type, I admire your #1, Christine. My best find of this type was years ago, when I found a seersucker bathrobe NWT (men’s, but it fit me then) in the middle of the main street nearest us. I wore that “sucker” for years!


Christine April 25, 2020 at 6:18 am

When opportunities present themselves, they must be taken!


MB in MN April 23, 2020 at 3:06 pm

1. Had to upgrade my Tracfone cell phone so I kept both the new phone and its service plan small, simple and frugal.

2. Took advantage of the buy 12, get 1 free dog food program offered by my local retailer. They keep track of purchases and automatically give the 13th bag for free.

3. What we’re saving in gas, meals out and other entertainment, we are spending on groceries, running the dishwasher, supporting others (my friend has an independent bookstore so I’m buying all of my books, puzzles and gifts from her via curbside pickup to help her stay afloat), and giving $$$ to our local food shelf.

4. Free entertainment: We live in a rural area near several lakes. We are incredibly lucky to hear loons, sandhill cranes, and geese and to see bald eagles hanging out on a nearby tree and soaring over our property. Thrilling! There’s also a flock of wild turkeys that are fun to watch. The guys puff themselves up looking for a date and the girls ignore them (I imagine they’re saying “show me a commitment and then maybe…”).

5. Not frugal: Watching the pandemic unfold and being at home so much has made me want to make our home extra cozy. When I was at Target for essentials, my cart made its way over to area rugs. Being able to buy something beautiful is such a welcome thing after encountering empty grocery shelves and masked people.


susanna d April 24, 2020 at 5:23 pm

Re: #4 – I know what you mean! The loons are back (I’m in northern Wisconsin) and once again I realize how much I missed their haunting calls over the winter. Eagles are everywhere, and your turkey comment – well, that reminded me of the time a few years ago when a young turkey (apparently with a raging case of “jake fever”) attacked my (red) car as I was stopped at a stop sign. It took a few minutes before he gave up and let me pass. Free entertainment for sure!


Alexandra April 23, 2020 at 3:21 pm

1. Along with lots of other folks, I’m cooking lots from scratch. I am gratefully employed, working from home, so plenty of time to monitor this and that between conference calls, etc. We have turned over stock in our freezer and pantry for sure! Budget is about $100 up for the month but we can’t shop the sales like we used to.
2. I am enjoying the quiet in my neighborhood with such a reduction in cars and airplanes. I’m more in touch with the weather as I hear the wind and rain start and finish. Not necessarily frugal but nice regardless. Lots of walks in my quiet neighborhood.
3. I work in the grocery business, marketing dept. One of my jobs is a social media shift, monitoring comments. People are mean y’all! Wow. I feel I lose a little bit of my soul most shifts. We work hard to de-escalate fury and rage directed at us for numerous reasons. I’m glad I quit drinking 3 years ago (frugal and healthy!) or I would be hitting the bottle daily. . Note: If you see on social media someone being mean to a business and you know they are being ridiculous, stand up for them. The employees can’t. I make a point of standing up for retail cashiers when I’m out as they are often the recipients of this nasty behavior. They are powerless.
4. We are continuing to do free work outs every single day on YouTube. We like, Gina B for good music, Leslie Sansone for walking videos and for the more challenging ones, Body Project.
5. We are using the free version of Zoom video conferences and keeping in touch with both sides of family and college friends. This week we are trying trivia on our zoom call!
6. Been working with my mom and my aunt on grocery runs. We let the others know if we are going somewhere (Costco, Target, etc) so only one goes and gets in and out fast. Team work! (:


Bee April 24, 2020 at 6:53 am

I am also enjoying the peace and the decrease in traffic. I live in a part of Florida that has grown exponentially in the last 35-40 years. When I was a child, there were approximately 500 full time residents; and there was no mail delivery. You had to stop at the post office to pick it up. Today, it is a town of 60,000. However, now whenI walk, I see more bikers, runners, and walkers than cars. Best of all, I can hear the birds again.


tracy April 26, 2020 at 6:09 am

Congrats on 3 years of no drinking! I celebrated 14 years of sobriety yesterday and it is the healthiest and most frugal gift ever!!!!!!!!


Lisa M. April 27, 2020 at 5:24 am

Alexandra & Tracy – Your long-term sobriety records are nothing short of amazing. Nearly impossible to top in regards to health & frugality. You both deserve a NCA salute. Incredibly fantastic is an understatement!


MB in MN April 27, 2020 at 6:57 am

I second Lisa M’s sentiments!


Lisa M. April 23, 2020 at 3:27 pm

5+FF: Opportunity Edition

1. Full of gratitude that DH is working from home, I have been paid for staying at home & DD applied for unemployment insurance. In comparison to many people, we are incredibly fortunate. Our long-term frugal lifestyle has situated us with no debt while our focus is maintaining that status while getting DD through college.

2. Even though Aldi is my all-around favorite economy grocer, I did well at big box last week: 50% off – 1 pkg. of Easter candy, 75% off – Easter napkins & matching decoration, 34% – Cinnabon Pound Cake.

3. Received a free 3-pack of gratitude cards offered by card manufacturer.

4. For DD’s upcoming birthday, will prepare a dish to include shrimp per her request & will bake a cake using the same pans I bought 17 years ago when she was turning 2. (Received her 1st birthday cake free from a local grocer that has long since closed.) Overall cost of meal much reduced compared to take out, as plan to use a bag of pre-cooked shrimp that is languishing in the deep freezer.

5. Found a penny while walking little dog & a quarter outside of the coffee shop that DD patronized during a recent visit. No fear here, just washed my hands when I got home.

6. Discovered #6 free CE at the end of a marketing email. Well on my way to completing requirements for current licensing period with goal of minimizing costs.

7. Followed up & called re: a CE seminar that was pre-paid but in-person conference was rescheduled as a webinar. Told that certificate would be received within 5 business days but it had been 9 days. Was promptly emailed a certificate from Customer Service.

8. Not necessarily frugal but adding to feelings of productivity – completed a sentimental project that had been percolating in my mind for some time & started a project to sift through & recycle accumulated papers of various types. Free therapy!


Joanne April 24, 2020 at 9:26 am

Hi Lisa M
I love your #4 about baking your daughters birthday cake in the same tin for the past 16 years, I do the same.
When my eldest DS was approaching his first birthday his great fascination was trains, a freight trains passed the end of our garden 4 times a day so I purchased a train cake tin. When my youngest son was born I decided straight away to buy a car cake tin and they can choose each year what colour/theme their cake can be but they always have a train and car cake. I’ve made dinosaur, Harry Potter, Lego, American Football plus many more themed cakes. Eldest is 18, youngest is 16 and I’ve told them both I shall continue to make said cakes forever and then leave the cake tins to them in my will!! Eldest has plans to move to the US for College next year – we are in the U.K.- so I’ll have to be creative when it comes to baking his birthday cake from afar!


Nancy April 25, 2020 at 5:53 am

Joanne, I have a drop, kick, ship anywhere cake recipe that I’ve mailed successfully. It’s delicious and you can probably find the recipe online.


Lisa M. April 25, 2020 at 10:05 am

Joanne – You totally rock the creative birthday cake award. My pans are routine but heavy duty ones for a 2-layer cake, yet we have adorned the top in a myriad of ways. I am super impressed by folks who are so clever & creative. I fall in the dull yet dependable category.

Next year you can use Nancy’s recipe below for a train or car cake to ship to your oldest. We have an amazing college system in the US but he will always appreciate your special cake made with so much love.


Lisa M. April 25, 2020 at 10:06 am

Whoops, in this case, Nancy’s recipe “above”. 🙂


Nancy from mass April 23, 2020 at 4:05 pm

1. Hitting the end of my 7th week working at home. I’m loving it. In talking with coworkers, we don’t think we’re gonna be going back to work in the office until probably September or October.
2. I’ve only used about a third of a tank of gas since I’ve been home.
3. Spent five hours cleaning and rearranging my living room. I also conditioned my couch and chair (leather). Makes the room look so much bigger.
4. Had to buy a new sewing machine as the board went in mine. Used my stimulus check and ordered it from a local quilting shop and had them ship it directly to me rather than buying it off of Amazon.
5. Still knitting, cross stitching, quilting and playing with my kittens.


Bee April 24, 2020 at 6:55 am

I have been moving things around too. It feels good to beautify my surroundings.


Ruby April 23, 2020 at 7:33 pm

1. Our switch in cell phone carriers is saving us $59 a month, which makes it worth the considerable amount of trouble my husband went through to make it work.
2. Today I had a liquid soap container, a body wash container and a lemon dish liquid bottle all turned upside down in the kitchen so as to glean the last drops of soap and detergent for handwashing in the kitchen.
3. We made pancakes and scrambled eggs for supper to cheer up our young adult son, who is feeling a bit depressed and missing regular life. A fun and favorite family meal did a lit to lift all our spirits.
4. “Shopped at home” and replaced my sewing chair cushion and a laptop stand with better things we had stashed around the house.
5. Cleaned out and organized my closet for spring and summer. Unless I get a job requiring very professional dress (going into the 7th month of job hunting), I won’t need to replace any clothes. Most of them are thrifted, but they still look great.


Katy April 23, 2020 at 8:31 pm

It’s so hard for young adults who are finally living life independently. A huge step backwards.


sharon April 26, 2020 at 4:37 am

It’s so hard for my young adult to have to move in with us after graduating last year and living independently with her partner and two cats. But we’re all making it work.


K D April 24, 2020 at 3:25 am

1. I haven’t had a haircut for over three months. With short hair it is a bit of a challenge but I’m saving money.

2. Meals at home. I get a few things from Sam’s Club once a week, using their “we’ll shop for you service”. We are definitely using up things we would not have otherwise.

3. Our anniversary trip was cancelled. We had a nice lunch at home then hiked in a local wooded park, along the river bank. We still spent a nice day together and this location was new to us, novelty is sometimes nice.

4. I have slowly been sewing washable/re-usable masks. I don’t have a fabric stash but I have used an old tee-shirt, a tea towel, and an oxford shirt I had cut up previously.

5. I met with my Monday night stitching group via Zoom. It’s good to “see” everybody as I think most of us are starting to feel this is dragging on. Day by day…


Bee April 24, 2020 at 4:32 am

I wanted to thank all of you who offered such kind words last week after my beloved pup past away. It was so appreciated and warmed my heart.

As we enter the 6th week of social distancing, I am starting to get a little stir crazy! I received my nickname because I am a busy bee, but I am beginning to have trouble finding things to do. On the other hand, it is easy to be frugal. Here are my FFTs:

1. Surprisingly, I am continuing to sell things online. Since eBay is offering 200 free listings a month between now and July, I have worked my way through my death pile, and I am listing all sorts of things from around the house. Yesterday I sold some collectible glass mushrooms and a Mexican silver bolo tie. Clearing the clutter, staying busy, and making a little money are good things.
2. While gardening, I decided to do something about the Rosemary Bush in my herb garden. It was growing out of control. It was approximately 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide. I trimmed it and was also able to dig up two offshoots. I gave one plant to my son. I used the other plant as part of a housewarming gift. I put it in a nice pot and add a pretty ribbon that I had on hand. No shopping required.
3. I have been cleaning and decluttering all the hot spots in the house – the kitchen junk drawer, the pantry, the coat closet and under sinks. I have shredded bags and bags of older documents. I have cleaned out my closet and tackled the home office. I have six bags to donate when I finally can and as stated above listed some items on eBay. Next week, I will tackle the kitchen.
4. I purchase organic produce from a Florida farm cooperative for many years. It is delivered fresh every other week. They also will deliver honey, eggs, grass fed beef and pasture raised pork. With current covid crisis, my friends and neighbors have been asking for information regarding the cooperative and have since placed orders. I have received a $5 credit for each new referral customer. This was a complete surprise. With or without the bonus, I am happy to see this wonderful company grow.
5. I have been doing all the usual things which are now the new normal for non-frugal people — eating at home, cooking from scratch, using up odds and ends in my freezer, and brewing my own coffee. I am walking daily to get in my 10,000 steps and was finally able to walk to the beach. I am not wearing makeup and am wearing thrifted clothes. I continue to use the library’s digital services. I discovered RB Digital and checked out several of my favorite magazines. I also signed up to have subsequent issues automatically delivered to me. I really, really miss the library.

Sending everyone wishes of good health and hang in there!


tracy April 26, 2020 at 6:11 am

Bee, I missed the last post so just wanted to weigh in now and say I am so sorry about the loss of your beloved dog. I was just saying to my husband last night that I so wished my little 7 year old dog could live as long as I do (of course we never know, maybe he’ll outlive me, but I hope not!)


Bee April 26, 2020 at 1:33 pm

Thank you, Tracy. I do miss the old guy terribly. I too believe our best friends should live as long as we do. Wishing you — and your pup— longevity and good health.


Susan April 24, 2020 at 6:06 am

My 5:
1. I haven’t bough a coffee outside the house in a month.
2. Re-wearing clothes more before washing since mostly just in the house.
3. Got refunds on my kids room & board from college. Cheaper to feed them at home, but the constant cooking is wearisome.
4. No haircut/color in far too long. Ponytail chic?
5. Rare gas tank refills since we are generally homebound.


Bee April 24, 2020 at 7:16 am

I sympathize. The constant cooking is wearisome. Dinner has always been a big event in our household. It is even more so now that we are staying at home. We also have breakfast and lunch together since my husband and son are always here! However, I do love the company just not the extra work.


Gina April 24, 2020 at 6:27 am

My frugal five…..
1. We needed masks to wear in public during governor mandate and sewing isn’t something I do, so i asked my friends who do sew and one of our friends made 4 for us at no charge. I treated her to a gallon size bag of homemade caramel corn in exchange for her kindness. She really liked that!
2. My sister in law made a huge pan of lasagna (14 layers) that her family couldn’t eat all of it. She dropped off a few pieces for my family along with salad and bread.
3. My other sister-in-law passed along a bag of hand me downs for my daughter (who is her size) along with a new fish tank assemble/filter. They no longer have fish & we do. It was new in the box. We also gave them a bag of caramel corn in exchange.
4. My daughter was cleaning and decided she had some shower gels she no longer wanted. I took them and am now using them. Otherwise I think she was just going to throw them out. No way! That’s 4 i don’t have to buy.
5. A community member dropped off 25 bagged lunches from Jersey Mike subs to our firehouse and we got to have free lunch that day!


Beth Ann April 27, 2020 at 8:07 pm

Dear Gina,
Your home made caramel corn sounds yummy. I always pop my popcorn on the stove the old fashioned way. How do you make your caramel corn at home?
Beth Ann


Kate in Buffalo April 24, 2020 at 6:29 am

1. Eating out of my pantry and freezer.
2. My neighbor had to leave unexpectedly and go to NYC to be with an ill family member (not COVID) and she had just had a HUGE delivery of groceries. As I was driving her to the train station, she asked me to key into her apartment and grab any food that might go bad. Between her groceries, and my freezer and pantry, I shouldn’t have to go shopping for a while. I want to do something nice for her for when she returns – maybe a grocery gift card, or I’ll clean her kitchen.
3. Cut open my toothpaste tube and got 4 more days out of it. Now I’m using baking soda, per my dental hygienist’s recommendation.
4. I have 2 weeks off between jobs (such a weird time for a job transition and I feel so incredibly grateful) and normally I’d use this time to travel. No travel = saved money, as well as lots of time to read and crochet.
5. I’ll have a 2 month period of being uninsured due to my job transition. I opted to sign up for COBRA to continue the coverage I had through my previous job and pay out of pocket. The stimulus check will cover almost the entire cost, so I won’t have to use savings.


A. Marie April 24, 2020 at 8:09 am

FFT, Quarantine Cuisine Edition #1:

“For the duration” (as my parents used to say when they were reminiscing about WWII), I’m going to run an occasional FFT where the FTs are all things I’m putting into a single dish or meal. Today’s FFT is an improvisational stew I’m making, very loosely based on a white bean chili recipe I found online:

(1) A pound of ground pork (labeled as breakfast sausage, but it’s so lean I can’t saute onions or fry eggs in the residue!) from last year’s 1/2 pig.

(2) A cup of dried white beans from a 2# bag I was just given by the friend’s mom with whom I’ve been swapping food lately. The beans have soaked overnight, and I’ll give them a precook before putting the other stuff in. (Remember that I don’t own a slow cooker.)

(3) Some homemade tomato sauce from a neighbor down the street who got a great deal on canned tomatoes a while back and has time on her hands.

(4) A can of Niblets corn, considerably past its best-by date.

(5) Flavorings: Homegrown garlic and herbs; a few spices from the Indian food store; and very cheap onions from last week’s Farmers’ Market at our Regional Market. (Farmers’ markets are still considered “essential” in NY State, and social distancing/masking are being practiced on all sides.)

Wish me luck!


Christine April 26, 2020 at 8:26 am

Sounds delish! Also very healthy, packed with loads of veggies and protein.


Lisa M. April 27, 2020 at 5:18 am

A. Marie – Please give us an update on your next posting about the success of your “Quarantine Cuisine Edition #1” improvisational stew.


Jann in Maine April 24, 2020 at 9:31 am

Covid Edition Maine Style”
Cooking daily which is a given here–my DH is an “easy keeper” in horse terms and likes everything I make. And we eat lots of ethnic recipes and mostly vegetarian so it works out well.
Hanging laundry on my line outside and doing laundry only on days I can hang out…
Bicycle tires inflated and we are now ready to go out together and ride. My bike is from a yardsale and his I got when I helped a friend do her estate sale.
Seedlings growing and ready when the weather improves. Snow predicted for this weekend.
Still slogging through my library books and enjoying each book. Two more books to go then will switch to magazines and that will keep me busy for some time.
Trying daily to reach out to 1 or more person in my life that is been my goal to stay connected and tell people what they mean to me.
Applying to be a contact tracker as a nurse guess we are in demand in this venue as well
Continuing to sell on ebay and have had a nice push in marketplace sales using covid guidelines. Feels like a drug deal but it seems to work.


Roberta April 24, 2020 at 10:46 am

1. I’ve been spending more time on Pinterest. I found a really yummy yellow split pea patties recipe to use up the 1.5 pounds of peas I have left. The weather has turned here in Southern California, and we will not welcome soup for a long time.
2. I was gifted many pounds of pears, and we have discovered we like pear chutney. As soon as we eat down the leftovers in the fridge, we will be having chutney and cheese for lunch.
3. My kids each cook dinner one night a week. (Hooray for me!) My daughter made curry, using up a lot of cabbage in the fridge. My son forgot to give me a shopping list, so he was forced to use things we had on hand. He came up with a really yummy lentil-nut loaf, and hopefully a learning experience on planning ahead.
4. Filed for unemployment. I did receive my notice of anticipated return for next school year.
5. Doing a lot of home maintenance. Cutting down branches, picking up branches, making shelves for herbs in the kitchen out of scrap wood, etc, etc.


Tia April 24, 2020 at 12:58 pm

2 frugal things
I don’t eat out
I don’t go anywhere

Unfrugal things with kinda frugal add ons

Had to replace phone it totally cracked and died in the mountains/but it came with 2 different free show apps for a year

Had to order warm weather clothes, down and wool were just not working anymore/flip flops I bought at beach very glad to have

Bears have taken over the Appalachian Trail due to absence of humans

1 more frugal thing

Trying to convince bro & others not to open stores Monday by sending important science and medical information … free.

Please do not follow wh medical advice about uv light and disinfectants


Christine April 26, 2020 at 8:32 am

So cool to hear the bears have taken over the AT due to the absence of people. I will pass this news along to my DH as a small pick-me-up. He was planning on continuing section hiking the AT this Spring, Summer and Fall but has to stay put for now due to it’s closure. He’ll be happy to hear at least someone is using it!


susanna d April 24, 2020 at 5:16 pm

Just one frugal thing today, but it’s huge (at least to me and my husband):

We got 20 gallons of gasoline for 2 cents per gallon. Pump perks bonus days (5 cents off per gallon of gas for every $10 spent over the course of two months really freaking added up) plus very little driving gave us gasoline for 2 cents per gallon out of pocket. Yes, 40 cents for 20 gallons of gasoline (the limit that the perks could be used on at one time). Back when I started driving 40-something years ago, gasoline was 44 cents per gallon. Never dreamed we’d get gasoline for 2 cents per gallon.

Oh, and we have enough perks left to do this at least one more time before they expire at the end of next month. I can’t come close to this score with any of my other frugal things, so I’ll hold on to them until next time.


Thriftiest April 24, 2020 at 7:55 pm

We are home pretty much all the time, except when my chap has to work. So we are spending nothing, but i have turned our hand to a YouTube channel or two. I began my meditation one The Chakra Woman and my chap and I began documenting our off-grid lifestyle at Off-grid Ferals. We find it at least a bit of a way to feel creative in these odd times.


Jenzer April 25, 2020 at 10:05 am

1 – Cleaning is one of my coping mechanisms when I’m feeling sadness or grief, so several areas of our house have gotten a deep scouring over the last six weeks. Scrubbing crevices with a toothbrush might not make me feel better in the moment, but 1) it keeps me from spiraling down into feeling worse, 2) it costs nothing but elbow grease and supplies I already have on hand, and 3) it gives me a little lift for days afterwards, every time I see the cleaned-up surface. The kitchen fridge got the full treatment last weekend, and it STILL perks me up every time I open its doors.

2 – We had three packages of beef liver left over in our chest freezer from our last quarter-steer purchase eighteen months ago. Usually I give the liver to family members, but this time around they didn’t like the taste of it. I thawed out all the packages, chopped the raw liver up in my food processor (however disgusting you think that would look, you’re exactly right), cooked it all in a skillet, and re-froze it. The cooked liver will be used to disguise heartworm medicine for the one dog in our house who turns her nose up at the chewable tablets.

3 – I turned crystallized lemon and lime juices from my pantry into homemade lemonade and limeade. I’d bought the powders a while back, to see if we’d like them reconstituted as a substitute for fresh lemon juice and lime juice in cooking. We didn’t. So that’s one more languishing pantry item off the shelf.

4 – I did a not-horrible job of trimming my own bangs this morning, using advice I’d gotten from a former hairstylist years ago (thank you, Susan!).

5 – I’m halfway through reading Mark Twain’s memoir Roughing It, which I downloaded to my Nook for free from Project Gutenberg.


ouvickie April 25, 2020 at 5:51 pm

Love that cowgirl fabric!!

1) Working remote since March 13th, so I’m saving a LOT of money on fuel, since my daily commute was 100 miles round trip. Plus, fuel is currently 0.99 – 1.29 per gallon in our area.
2) I paid off my Perkins Student Loan! Now I can take that money and pay off another debt.
3) We’ve been drinking iced tea, so I’m saving money not buying soda pop for my grandkids, while they and my daughter are living here. I used to buy gingerale for them when they visited, but that’s a treat now.
4) We’ve been cooking all our meals from scratch, here at home. I think we’ve eaten take out twice in the past two months.
5) We’ve taken a few long drives – one around the Wildllife refuge and this past week we drove down to the Chickasaw National Park, watched the Bison grazing and relaxed next to the lake for awhile. It was a much needed break from the home front and it was easy to social distance. There aren’t many people out during the week, in these areas.
We have masks and wear them when we have to shop for food and supplies.


Susan April 26, 2020 at 3:19 am

-Continuing to cook and bake a lot. It is getting tiresome. Got takeout using an old gift card one night, and another night I couldn’t get our grill working and ordered emergency pizza.
-Transplanted rhubarb from a vacant lot next to our rental house and dug out a bunch of day lilies I will plant at another rental house. Free landscaping! Since we have several tenants not paying rent and evictions are on hold for a while, we are trying to save everywhere we can.
-Hardening off plants a little early, hoping not to freeze everything. With a baby due in the next few weeks, I’m trying to get as much of the garden in now. So thankful for the work I did last year, I have asparagus, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all coming to life. I took out some landscaping stone and planted more asparagus, and dug up more ground cover for strawberries.
-Helping my moms business with social media posts and FB live events, since she her storefront is closed. Also found her a substantial amount of unclaimed money through our states website. She bought my DS new underwear for potty training and picked up my prenatal vitamins.
– Items I bought at the hardware store rang up $10 more than the tag, I mentioned this to the cashier, she checked the tag and gave me that price, saving $30
-I was given several bags of baby clothes from a friend. There is so much stuff, I will pass along some items to other friends. Sold a few more items on Marketplace and bought 1 item. Porch pickups. It does feel a bit like a drug deal lol.


LB April 27, 2020 at 8:48 am

1. A friend’s bridal shower has been moved to zoom, so I spent a few hours drawing a personalized greeting card to mail to her. Spending some time doing something thoughtful for someone else made me feel better, and I’m excited to mail it.

2. Resisted the call of online shopping yet again–my brain went to an odd place of “what if this is the best price I can get these sundresses for?” as if I needed two sundresses from Old Navy at 25% off more than warehouse workers needed to stay safe and healthy. Not sure what the right answer to these weird questions is, but I did my part to avoid unsafe working conditions for unnecessary reasons. Plus, where am I going to wear a sundress to–the trash can?

3. I cooked up some fancy food this weekend to keep my mind busy. BF loves takeout from a place in his hometown so we cobbled together a mockup at home. Not a perfect ratio (baking fries is never the same as deep frying them, is it?) but got close enough to scratch the itch.

4. Acquired more crafting and music supplies from my parents to keep busy. Looking forward to revisiting some old cello music from High School that could use a dust-off, as well as more practice at calligraphy.

5. Bulk coffee never sounded so good as when we are both drinking a cup in the morning at home every day! Our favorite coffee roaster is shipping 5 pound bags at a time. Excited to support them at a discounted rate–and reduce constantly buying the little bags!


Liz April 28, 2020 at 12:51 pm

*After making sure that an older edition textbook would be okay for my daughter’s astronomy class next semester, I found one for just $10 on Amazon. Compared to $120 for the brand new edition!
*We also borrowed a math curriculum from our homeschool co-op instead of buying one and saved $60. My high school junior decided that she would rather get a jump on next year’s math class while we are stuck at home due to our state’s stay at home orders.
*I ran into the dollar tree and grabbed a lot of things we had needed and a few that we didn’t! My favorite things were a set of ceramic frogs and gnomes that added some fun to my plant collection.
*I took four cuttings from a Pothos plant I bought at Lowe’s for $12 and then divided out six smaller plants from the same pot. Apparently whoever potted this plant just crammed six newly rooted plants into one giant pot, so that made it easy for me. Ten plants for $12 is a good deal.


Lindsay B April 29, 2020 at 11:01 am

1. Mended a shirt for DH, and also one of mine. Darned two smartwool socks as well—first time darning anything and it was strangely satisfying.

2. Stumbled into a part-time online job in my field. It will also be nice to have a small paycheck.

3. This may be TMI, but I’m absolutely loving the cloth menstrual pads I purchased from an Etsy maker almost a year ago. They are so much more comfortable than the disposable ones, and they come out nicely in the wash. I have a cup too, but the pads work much better for me.

4. Slowly using up odds and ends: an ancient hand cream, a free face cream. Opening containers to get every last drop.

*Frugal fail: thawed too many frozen veggies at once and some went sour, and had similar with a tomato salad, so had to compost them. I hate wasting food, so this makes me more aware of what’s in the fridge to better plan ahead.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: