Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 7, 2020 · 65 comments

Life putters along here at casa Wolk-Stanley. My husband continues his full-time work as a paramedic, ironically less than normal. (911 call volume is drastically lower in Oregon due to fewer car accidents and people’s understandable reluctance to venture into an emergency room.) I’m running the household and selling a few things here and there, although it’s mostly stale merchandise due to the inability to hit up my favorite thrift stores. (I know it’s trite when compared to the big picture, but I sure do miss my Goodwill!)

Mine is a simple life that would normally be considered enviable, but the daily onslaught of deeply upsetting news does not invite a restful mindset. These are confusing times, and there’s no instructions manual on how to handle the emotional repercussions of quarantining.

My husband’s lessened paychecks shine a light on how it’s more important than ever to practice non-consumerism. Extreme frugality and waste avoidance were already in our wheelhouse, and these skills are more important than ever.

So “Five Frugal Things?” You betcha!

  1. My eBay sales dribble in, although they’re mostly my daughter’s old Shonen Jump magazines from when she subscribed from 2003-2012. I also sold:

    • A Fiestaware mini disc pitcher.

    • A “Dundie” award for “Whitest Sneakers.”

    • A Ralph Lauren teddy bear.

    • A pair of Oakley sunglass replacement lenses.

  2. I’m focusing on financial tasks to put money back into our bank account. For example:

    • I’d registered for a fall 2020 financial conference, so I sent an email asking for a refund. Not going to attend, even if they somehow figure out how to safely organize it.

    “Money, please!” <– Mona-Lisa Saperstein voice from Parks and Recreation.

    • We paid $50 to replace our son’s lost electronic key fob awhile back, and then found the lost one when we packed up his apartment. I spoke to the property manager who agreed to refund our money if we mailed it back. You know I immediately popped that bad boy into the mailbox!

    • Dealt with our daughter’s non-refunded apartment deposit from 2018. It involved some tricky detective work, but in the end we got her entire deposit back.

    • I called Comcast to see why our cable/internet bill had increased. I spent almost an hour talking with a customer service which was not a great use of my time. (Please note that the call was this lengthy due to his upselling tactics and him being deliberately unclear.) I think I finally have my sports obsessed husband convinced to cancel cable, which we’ll do after he can fix our roof antenna this weekend. Until then, we got $10-per-month knocked off our bill as well as speedier internet.

    • I continue my attempt to sublet my son’s college apartment. I check in a couple times per week with the management office and communicate with potential tenants through Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist ads. It might be a bust in the end, but it won’t be because I dropped the ball. Argh, I hate wasting money!

  3. I’ve gathered all my kids’ random video game component pieces in the living room. We now just need to test everything to see what works and what can be sold “for parts.” Either way, this falls under the category of “crap out of the house, money in,” and is long past due.

  4. Our meals have been prime examples of both “use it up” and “make it do.” A potato salad used up two bottles of mustard, a jar of olives, the scrapings from a jar of mayonnaise and three strips of bacon; and then Pad Thai made use of an almost empty jar of peanut butter and the last of a bag of broccoli. Other meals such as Mexi-bowls and omelettes lend themselves well to this loose recipe mindset. Now is not the time for dropping by the grocery store for last minute ingredients.

  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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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Shevaun May 7, 2020 at 2:54 pm

1. Every recipe has been modified to cut meat by half and substitute in beans for the other half.
2. I am learning to make dried beans. Yes, this is a learning process because I always seem to make them too mushy and I prefer canned beans. But… ya’know. Like, the pandemic and stuff.
3. I’ve increased how much milk we buy at one time. We have small children who consume a lot of milk, and it’s usually milk–not other foods–that send us to the grocery store. So, upping milk inventory = decreasing exposure events and increasing using up pantry odds and ends.
4. Edited family cookbook to “pause” recipes that are either meat-heavy or that are yummy on cooking night but not as leftovers. At this time, we cannot afford to not eat leftovers, and I’m getting grumpy being the only one eating the microwaved fish on day 3.
5. We have a gravel driveway and lots of land, but we have no pavement on our property. So we’ve been making dates with friends… who are AWAY doing their grocery shopping or whatever… to chalk color their driveways. It’s like being together while being apart. Sort of.


Tonya May 7, 2020 at 4:08 pm

Like so many others, I found out today that I’m getting a furlough. My tight budget is about to get tighter! Grateful for my job, though.

1) Planning more bean-based meals.
2) Reviewing digital and paper coupons for foods that I am going to buy.
3) Glad warmer weather is here and my electric (heat) bill should go down in the summer months.
4) Doing all the normal stuff like reading digital library books, working out at home, and driving less.

I can’t think of a fifth today but I’m grateful for frugal habits. It makes right times a little less stressful.


kathleen May 7, 2020 at 4:13 pm

Shevaun, I LOVE that idea! So much that I just called my daughter (who has a gravel driveway) and asked her to bring the children while I’m at work to ‘surprise’ me with chalk drawings. We only live a mile from each other, but have been social distancing since her dad and I are in the higher risk group. We have a huge, smooth expanse of concrete driveway (seriously, my dream of grandchildren on riding toys was a selling point of this house), so I think they could have fun leaving us messages and drawings, and get a break from being stuck in their own house and routine.


Shevaun May 8, 2020 at 4:22 am

Hugs and kisses to the grandkids. xoxoxo

At least the words “hugs and kisses” are safe.


Momma L May 7, 2020 at 3:50 pm

1. Mother’s Day. Instead of flowers and candy delivered, I made my mom a homemade card and some peanut butter cookies, shipped it to her. She’s in a retirement home in another state. (My DD wrote me a poem and sent it electronically. She’s also in another state)
2. DH wanted a scoop to easily serve cat food. Normally I’d have gone to GW, but I cut off the bottom of a plastic wipes tube and made a scoop. He loves it.
3. Growing kale, spinach, lots of herbs
4. Instead of topping soups with sour cream and cheese, serving it just the way it is, saving the dairy products for other dishes.
5. When I do shop, I’m going on senior day. I’m not quite old enough, but they give me the discount because DH is quite qualified and I told them I’d rather he not shop these days, he’s in the high risk group.


A. Marie May 7, 2020 at 3:54 pm

FFT, New Adventures Edition:

(1) I “second that emotion” re: Shevaun’s efforts to reduce meat consumption, for multiple reasons. In addition to the facts that meat is harder to find at supermarkets, more expensive, and possibly subject to COVID infection from now on thanks to certain executive branch actions (ahem), our friends who have been raising animals for beef and pork for years are no longer going to do pork, and I’m not sure about the beef either. (Like us, they’re not getting any younger.) So I’ve been experimenting with some unfamiliar vegetarian or less-meat options. Nothing worthy yet of a Quarantine Cuisine #2 post, but nothing we had to throw out or compost, either. And as soon as I can figure out how not to have the cast iron skillet pizza go soggy in the middle, I may be onto something. Stay tuned.

(2) I don’t think I’ve mentioned that our good neighbors down the street for whom we used to do dog-walking back in the pre-COVID era guided us a couple of weekends ago on an expedition for free, beautifully composted horse manure for our gardens. (Their daughter has just become the barn manager at the horse farm where she stables her steed.) Lovely day, beautiful farm, no need for social distancing (hey, everybody leaves you alone when you’re shoveling horsepucky!), and great fun for DH in particular. Win win win.

(3) As Central NY begins to move (slowly) toward reopening some less people-intensive businesses and activities, our county has just reopened its compost sites. The Bestest Neighbors and I are planning a trip to one of these in the near future, since they weren’t in on the horsepucky trip, and there is no such thing as too much compost/manure as far as I’m concerned.

(4) The BNs and we continue to exchange meals, either at their place where their long dining room table enables us to practice social distancing, or at our place where I provide takeout. The social connection is as important as the food, if not more so.

(5) And when DH needed a visit to his orthopedist last week (he had been complaining of pain in the knee he had scoped over 20 years ago), we not only got in and out of this normally hectic practice in 40 minutes with a cortisone shot into the bargain (what Katy says about people avoiding even non-COVID medical care right now is true), but we gave both the doc and the intake nurse their surprise of the day when they realized that our McGyvered face masks matched DH’s disposable exam shorts. That’s because I made the masks out of a previous pair of exam shorts (my orthopedist is DH’s orthopedist younger brother). Leave ’em laughing, that’s us!


Susan May 7, 2020 at 5:33 pm

If you are game for spending a little time on your dough, the recipe for pan pizza on the king Arthur flour baking site is spectacular!!!!


A. Marie May 8, 2020 at 10:08 am

Thanks for the tip, Susan. I admit I was using my bread machine’s recipe for pizza dough (I got them “arthritis in the hands” blues). But I also think I overdid it somewhat on the sauce. I’ll try using the same recipe with less sauce next time and see if that works. If not, it’s on to King Arthur.


Debbie May 8, 2020 at 3:13 pm

A. Marie:

I don’t know what type of sauce you use, but a recipe I found online mentioned that thinner sauce will make the crust soggy. This recipe used tomato paste as well as tomatoes, and emphasized to use the paste to thicken the sauce.

Seems we are all trying to learn new skills during these trying times.


Donna Wilson May 8, 2020 at 11:04 am

Horsepucky just became my new favorite word! Kinda sounds like a cuss word with the right emphasis 😉


A. Marie May 8, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Credit for “horsepucky” goes to the late, great Molly Ivins. (Boy, could we use her now.) It was a favorite description of hers for political double-talk.


A. Marie May 8, 2020 at 2:45 pm

Oh, yes, and Col. Potter on M*A*S*H used to say it too. (Potter was a former cavalry officer and a horse lover, as I recall.) RIP Harry Morgan.


Heidi Louise May 8, 2020 at 3:17 pm

“If you ain’t where you are, you’re no place.” Colonel S. T. Potter.

betta from daVille May 8, 2020 at 12:41 pm

We’ve used the recipe for cast-iron skillet pizza from and it totally works!
1) Set broiler to high and rack as close as possible.
2) heat cast iron pan on the stovetop (high heat) – add a bit of flour and cook off (empty out extra flour). Add pizza dough and toppings (only about 2-4 tablespoons of sauce) drizzle with olive oil.
3) Put under broiler until brown and crispy on top (we like ours to have a nice char)
4) put back on stovetop on high heat for another 4 minutes or so checking doneness on bottom.

It has been the closest to come to Neopolitan-style pizza from our favorite pizza joint.


Ava May 7, 2020 at 4:27 pm

Not much to report here, as we are still staying home. Some businesses are starting to open on a limited basis, but we feel we need to continue to stay in and see what develops.
1. Using some undesirable ( and probably expired) salad dressing as a vegetable marinade before grilling.
2. Using some ancient frozen cherries for cobbler and eating even more ancient dried apples for a snack. They take a lot of chewing but taste fine.
3. Started my kiddie pool gardens again this year. Used seeds I had stored in the freezer to avoid going to a store. I got free tomato plants from my son who got them from the high school near him. When school closed, they gave away all the plants from their horticulture program.
4. Helping husband clean out and organized the shed. He has done a great job so far. Put a couple of items out on the road and one has been picked up already. Going through my fabric stash to share with others and to make masks.
Can’t think of anything else at the moment.


Lisa M. May 7, 2020 at 4:43 pm

5FF: May Day Edition

1. Started the month out with a bang celebrating DD’s 19th birthday. Made (Baby Bella) Mushroom & (Fresh) Spinach Linguine with Shrimp & a triple chocolate cake, eaten on gifted china at our patio table. Not restaurant quality but a decent effort from the home front & allowing me justification for take-out on Mother’s Day from DD’s restaurant employer to support their business.

2. Our expenses remain ridiculously low including grocery expenses, as I generally stopped patronizing our local grocer 2 years ago. I only shop at Aldi, big box & a few select items at our gas station (like .39/# bananas). Have been unable to detect any significant increase in prices at these stores, just somewhat fewer options. With 0% waste & planning for #2 take-out since the beginning of the siege, our food expense is exceptionally low. Even our utilities are markedly decreased compared to one year ago, helped in large part by an early spring & DD moving to an apartment for college d/t her proclivity for daily showers. Our April gas expense was $2.56 when I topped off my gas & DH bought none. Do not shop online @ all.

3. Big box bakery clearance rack is a consistent opportunity for discounted prices: 34% off on French Bread & Blueberry Loaf Cake.

4. Continuing to whip up comfort foods since we’re stuck at home, @ least we’re eating well. Recent efforts: Meatloaf & Scalloped Corn, Tika Masala with Chicken over Naan Bread.

5. Have found 5 pennies recently: Three on the street, one in the Aldi parking lot & one in the parking lot of our townhome complex. Hey, that’s a nickel!


MB in MN May 7, 2020 at 5:00 pm

1. Starting to line garden paths with free rocks that my husband has picked from the Christmas tree farm fields where he works.

2. Bought seeds, herbs and vegetables early before they were picked over. The only drawback is having to bring the plants in every single night due to lower than normal temps – will even be below freezing over the next several nights!

3. Rather than buying any new perennials, I’ll be dividing existing flowers to fill in empty spots in the garden.

4. Taking regular walks with my sister or a friend while practicing social distancing. Bringing our own lunch for some additional social time. I’ve gotten so used to walking or sitting so far apart from others that I wonder whether being in closer proximity in the future will feel like an invasion of personal space!

5. Have noticed that I’m starting to emotionally snack in response to the ongoing onslaught of terrible news, so I’m making sure that I have healthy, frugal snacks at the ready.


Ruby May 7, 2020 at 5:08 pm

1. Earned a $10 gift card through Fetch Rewards (I was expecting to make $3 but hit the points jackpot buying diapers and wipes for a friend who can’t leave the house). That $10 went toward replacing my broken hairbrush. I had been getting by with just a comb for weeks.
2. Did more zero dollar decorating by moving an old trunk from our son’s room to the living room, where it’s providing attractive storage instead of gathering dust, and turning reclaimed fabric into a window valance. Also used up the last of two balls of cotton yarn crocheting coasters for the den end table.
3. Did a huge amount of mending at one go when I realized everything in the mending pile needed the same color thread. So I wound up a full bobbin on the sewing machine and got it done.
4. Our old leather sofa’s dark brown color is fading in the spots where everyone likes to sit. On a day when everyone was out of the house, I gave it a spa treatment with color renewing polish we had on hand and a good buffing.
5. Bought a nearly vintage Revereware small skillet and lid off eBay because our only small skillet is constantly in use making eggs, grilled sandwiches, French toast, etc. This was my first not completely essential purchase in several months, if you don’t count the hairbrush.


Midwest Beth May 7, 2020 at 6:00 pm

1. I used $29 in rewards money towards purchasing a prescription for my dog. By taking a few minutes to join the program, I then took photo’s of and submitted two previous prescription receipts and saved $29, I call it a win 🙂
2. Received 2 half gallons of milk, oranges, bag of chicken legs, birthday cake flavored graham crackers (so good!), bananas, bag of sweet potato fry wedges, package of cherry potatoes, celery packs, and breakfast items – a blessing that helps so much.
3. Just received my daughters EBT card (food stamps) in the mail. She received free breakfast/lunch at school so our state issued cards to students enrolled in the program, will be such a blessing as unfortunately her dad has not paid child support so will help the budget go further.
4. For entertainment this week my daughter and I chalked our front side walk and it has lasted all week, makes me smile to see it. For a study break we went outside and blew bubbles – so fun watching our cock-a-poo try to catch them! Also sprung for a $1 kite at the Dollar Tree, will be taking it out this weekend for its inaugural flight. I like kite flying more than my daughter but it gets us out of the house with a fairy easy activity.
5. Just finished listening to Unorthodox and now listening to a cozy Irish mystery – by Carlene O’Connor called “Murder in an Irish Village” and finishing up The Marsh King’s Daughter. Love, love, love my library!
6. As always doing Swagbucks to earn a little extra. Its going a little slower than usual trying to rack up the bucks but I still enjoy the Swag IQ games, getting the quick points through the swag button and searches. The $50 in Lowes gift cards I earned previously will be helpful tomorrow to purchase a new raised garden bed, dirt, and mulch for a second raised garden bed for fresh vegetables and fruit – definitely worth my time.


Marybeth May 7, 2020 at 6:02 pm

1. Canceled my daughter’s bridal shower that was in a few weeks. They gave me a full refund because of the virus.
2. Didn’t have Mother’s Day cards but did have thank you cards. Made them Thank you for being the best mom. Got them all mailed out.
3. Hubby made a stir fry. Used up some dry carrots, the last of the broccoli, a few brussel sprouts. Used only half of the chicken we normally do. Cut it up small to make it look like there was more. Made extra rice so no one went hungry.
4. Best friend’s became grandparents. Brought over a bottle of champagne. Celebrated and social distanced. Would have taken them out to dinner to celebrate if situation was different. Gave them a homemade card too.
5. Sent my Dad some veggie starts that I started from seed through my sister. Also sent Mother’s Day gifts. All gifts were homemade.


Tia May 7, 2020 at 6:10 pm

1. Making my own masks I wear to the mailbox.
2. Found paint in closet so repainted wall after I removed giant tv and cutesy signs hanging there.
3. Hand sewing camisoles and slips out of found fabric and repurposed clothes.
4. Ordering food from Moe’s catering is cheaper and freezes well plus they gave me a 10.00 coupon.
5. I’m getting use to being shut in and learning how to buy necessities online. I think stores have lost me for good. Besides, humans are LOUSY social distancers!


leanne coward May 7, 2020 at 11:29 pm

1 Cooking from scratch and using up all leftovers.

2 It’s getting colder now so picking herbs and letting them dry in front of the fire of an evening.

3 Cutting up old cardigans and sewing squares to make a cosy blanket and hot water bottle covers.

4 Sewing the buttons of the cardigans onto bits of cardboard so the sets stay in place and can be recycled onto something else.

5 Doing surveys to earn a few more dollars takes a while but i love getting those gift cards.


Jill A May 8, 2020 at 3:01 am

I feel like I’m bleeding money lately but I’ll try to come up with something.

1. I sold another piece of my old fridge on Ebay. I shipped it in a free box with free shipping material. It was only a small amount of money but that wasn’t the point anyway. One less thing for the landfill.
2. I purchased dog food online from a pet store and picked up in store. They delivered it to my car so no temptation to buy anything else and I used a 20% off coupon. This helps my local economy versus buying on Chewy.
3. I’m doing my laundry and hanging it to dry. My daughter and I combined our laundry so we are doing very full loads using cold water.
4. I’m staying home, cooking from scratch, shopping at Aldi mostly. My daughters did buy some fast food while they were out of town picking up a package of bees. Our bees died unfortunately from varroa mites. We purchased a special Saskatraz bee which are supposed to be more tolerant of the mites. We plan to use more aggressive prevention and treatment for the mites. Live and learn.
5. I don’t employ a valet to retrieve my drinks and lunch so no exposure to the Corona.


A. Marie May 8, 2020 at 10:11 am

LOL on the #5, Jill. If karma is a real thing…


Economically Proud May 8, 2020 at 3:52 am

1. Heat and AC off. Minimal usage of lights. If I could get folks to use less water we would be set with using less utilities
2. Eating lots of carrots: carrot muffins, carrots in soup, fresh carrots, carrot slaw, carrot side dishes. We have been given an abundance of carrots every week and I try to figure out ways to use them all.
3. Made sweet potato chili, roasted sweet potatoes, and fried sweet potatoes- which we also have an abundance of
4. College age daughter received stimulus money from her college. She received a little extra since she is also a Pell Grant recipient. That was nice since she has had trouble finding a summer job this year do to the current situation
5. Doing all the usual practices such as laundry hung outside weekly, making things from scratch, homeschooling, working out at home since the YMCA is closed


K D May 8, 2020 at 4:19 am

Katy, I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s reduced work hours/pay checks.

1. I have been using cards from my stash for birthdays, Mother’s Day, sympathy, and graduation. They’re cards I wouldn’t have wanted to use otherwise.

2. I’m getting groceries once a week. I use the concierge service at Sam’s Club. That would normally not be my first choice but I don’t have to go in the store and they seem to be relatively well stocked. Not frugal, but I tip the person that does my shopping. I know it is not a great job in the best of times.

3. For something to do after dinner we took a short walk to look at the work a friend had done on the exterior of her house. As a bonus she was outside so we had a physically distant visit.

4. I was not organized enough to get cards to the neighborhood mailbox by 9:00 am so I walked to the post office so they’d go out that day. It’s about three miles round trip. Bonus, it was raining so there were not many people out (I was quite wet despite the umbrella but the fresh air and exercise felt good) and A friend was pulling out of the USPS parking lot so we had a brief distant visit before someone honked to tell her to move her car.

5. I have continued to have a few items picked up from Freecycle listings. Not frugal for me but good for the recipients and the landfill.


Bee May 8, 2020 at 5:08 am

I hope everyone is doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. Katy, my family cut the cable cord nearly 3 years ago. When doing so, we bought a digital antenna to watch local channels. The cost of the antenna was about $30. My husband is able to watch local sports and I actually get two PBS stations. We share Netflix and Prime with our kids. Our cable went from $150 a month to free. It’s awesome! So now on to my FFTs –
1. I know this is not new, but I continue to sell things on eBay. I have been listing and selling on average an item a day. During the stay-at-home order, I have dug into every closet and hiding place to find inventory. (Where did I get all this stuff?) I have listed many things that do not bring a lot of money —under $10 — which is different for me. I have listed and sold novels, cookbooks, comic books, game pieces, sewing supplies, artwork, and fabric samples. These things may only net a few dollars, but it is keeping me busy. I too miss Goodwill and estate sales, but at least I’m happily unloading the excess.
2. My husband needed new athletic (running) shoes (This is one of the things we buy new). Since brick and mortar stores were closed, he started to order from the online site of the company he usually patronizes. I thought the shoes seemed extremely expensive, so I did a quick search. I found the same shoes for $30 less. I also searched and found a coupon code that saved an additional $10 and free 2-day shipping. Total savings $50, and I didn’t leave the couch.
3. My sister lives in the same neighborhood. She sent me a text message asking for some rosemary from my herb garden. I brought it to her, and she gave me a cabbage from her farm bag that she wasn’t going to use. We will use it to cook one of my favorite easy meals tonight, egg roll in a bowl.
4. One of the biggest challenges that I have had during this period is keeping food costs down while going to the grocery store less — and contending with shortages. Like many of you, I have stretched the budget and time between shopping trips by using less meat and more rice, potatoes, pasta, bread and beans. This has resulted in my husband and I both gaining 5 pounds over the last couple of months. He says the scale is broken, but I know better. (My clothes feel tight.) It is the result of more carbs in our diets. They are cheaper, readily available, store well and are so comforting. However, we cannot continue on this trajectory. Social distancing is easing, but I’m concerned about the shortages that may come. I need to figure this out.
5. Of course, I have been doing many of the usual things that are now normal to others. I cook nearly every meal from scratch, brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily filtered water, reading, riding my bike, walking and gardening. Because of the dramatic reduction in traffic, it has been wonderful to walk and ride during this time. I will miss that when life returns to “normal.”

Wishing all of you good health and peace during this time.


LB May 8, 2020 at 6:35 am

1. I got stressed because I was running out of multiple bathroom items at a time. I’m trying -so hard- to not use Amazon, so I’ve been resisting putting in orders for things piecemeal and finally had reached a critical mass of items that merited an order. After balking at the total, I went digging under the sink and found more of two of my six items. Stress must have made my brain forget I stocked up before we got locked down. Use it up!

2. What really inspired the Amazon order was a new dish drying rack: ours has been collecting mold and been dripping onto a dish drying mat below it (also moldy now). I said enough already (we can’t drain the thing into our sink because of our kitchen setup) and we found a double decker one that will save space and was within budget. In the meantime, I pulled the rack organizer out of the old one and put it on some towels for the constant onslaught of dishes. Honestly? We like the setup a lot and it’s still saving space, so we might just return the new one if it’s not as convenient. If we do keep the new one, I’m going to use the small rack from the old one to help our cutting boards stay upright in the cabinet.

3. Found a pack of greeting cards from years ago (8? maybe?) and said enough already! So I wrote up a series of cards to friends in other cities to give them a little surprise in the mail. It felt good to get something out of the house and do something for my friends.

4. Picking at odds and ends in the fridge to avoid another grocery run. BF’s bread baking habit has picked up which makes for some great toast in the morning and has kept us out of the store.

5. I can’t remember if I mentioned this last time or not but I’m so excited I’ll mention it again–a neighbor has started collecting compost for a local garden, so we are able to compost again!!! Our trash output has gone down SO much and it’s such a relief to have this service.

6. We have discovered our apartment building’s roof, giving us a great backdrop of Manhattan to facetime our friends and some fresh air without masks on. A little space to relax–so we grabbed our deck chairs from our storage unit and are making the most of it.


Rhonda May 8, 2020 at 6:48 am

I so appreciate that you still do these, Katie. And I have found the same thing as is noted in many of the previous comments, that having already had the non-consumer mindset has been a real asset in this time of uncertainty. It doesn’t completely shield us from hardship, but it makes being extra careful so much less onerous! And reading of other peoples’ efforts makes me feel more part of a community in a good way, rather than just deprived.


Jenelle May 8, 2020 at 10:28 am

1. Working our way through our freezers. Today I found a roll of cookie dough and encouraged the kids to press their Easter M&M’s in the dough. Kinda burnt them but we won’t let them go to waste. They are good dunkers.
2. Dug out my straightening iron and took the time to straighten my hair. I really needed a new hairdo. I then cut about four inches off! Love my new look. $0 spent
3. Our van needed inspection. We knew there was work to be done but not near as much as we thought. Another bonus is that they are driving it back to our house so I don’t need to leave!
4. Asking around town for chuck/puppy pads…my son has been wetting the bed! Hopefully I can scrounge up enough until this passes.
5. I also needed to come up with a plan for our camper beds. Friends gave us a mattress pad protector which i laid down first. I then used an old sleeping back as the next layer and then I added another newer sleeping bag. I hope this works. I”ll probably add a chuck pad to that mix!


Ruby May 8, 2020 at 1:15 pm

If the cookies are just burned on the bottom, you can run a grater over the bottoms to get the char off and they should taste fine.


Heidi Louise May 9, 2020 at 8:52 am

You can also rub two burned cookie bottoms together and the char will fall off.


Tonya parham May 8, 2020 at 10:46 am

1. Continuing the grapevine war. It’s a lot of work but I’ve increased my muscle mass, lost a little weight, and am considerably stronger for it. (Also, it feels good to do for myself what would cost at least a thousand bucks to have someone else do.

2.I bought a yonanas machine– it was a moment of weakness and I had wanted one for YEARS. I got it and it’s pretty awful. Returning it.

3. I went ahead and paid off my two smaller credit cards, leaving just one. I feel a bit better now.

4. Went to see the missus’ sister and brother yesterday. Stayed a safe distance and borrowed a garden tool. Also on the way there, picked up some seedlings (4 plants for $2) for the new garden. Lowe’s wants $3.5 for one plant! I realize starting from seed is cheaper but it’s hard to start seeds indoors with these cats!

5. Turned in my final grades today– nothing frugal about it but I am happy to be done. I love teaching but I’m ready to put my head down and focus on cooking at home, tending the garden.


Jenzer May 8, 2020 at 11:16 am

Like Katy, we’ve been looking around for money owed to us, uncashed credits we can use, etc. It reminds me of digging around in the sofa cushions for coins: the money’s already OURS, but we have to get it *in our hands* to use it!

1 – I ordered a new Lands’ End hoodie for DS to replace his current one that is literally shredding in multiple places (he wears his hoodie every single day, all day, so the shredding is due to wear and tear, not poor quality). I used a 40% off promo code. While chatting with my mom a few minutes later, she said she had a Land’s End promo code for 40% off plus free shipping, no minimum purchase required. I called Lands’ End right away, and because I called within an hour of placing my order, the rep was able to cancel it. Then I placed a new order online with the new promo code and saved another $8 on top of the 40% savings.

2 – I replaced several worn-out items in my own wardrobe with a handful of secondhand purchases from ThredUp.

3 – I split a Sam’s Club package of loratadine (generic Claritin) tablets with a family member. Said family member had bought Claritin at their local pharmacy for almost $1 per tablet. The Sam’s Club price worked out to $.03/tablet.

4 – The quarter of beef we ordered this past winter will be ready for pick-up at the end of May. We’ve been eating down our chest freezer contents in anticipation. I plan to defrost and clean the freezer this weekend — always an easier chore to do when it’s near-empty rather than near-full.

5 – Last weekend DH, DD, DS, and I gutted and rebuilt our wooden garden shed. At 20+ years of age it was rotted in several places and chewed by critters in others. DD spent this past week painting the doors and new siding, and this coming weekend we’ll put on the new shingles. It was a LOT of work, but it saved us several hundred dollars over the cost of a new shed — plus it got us all outdoors in beautiful weather and constructively occupied us during this time of extreme, worrisome weirdness.


betta from daVille May 8, 2020 at 1:12 pm

I teach college 3.5 hours from my primary residence and have a small apt. there at which I stay during the week. In mid-March, we switched to online teaching. We just found out that the summer session will continue online. This will result in quite a bit of savings over the course of 24 weeks (or 5.5 months)
1) weekly gas of $50 dropped to 0 = $1200
2) weekly tolls of $10 dropped to 0 = $240
3) put internet service on “vacation mode” $38 monthly to 0 = $190
4) savings on electric $20 a month = $110
5) frugal fail: there is a really good chance that we will be asked to cut our salaries to help offset the financial loss the college is experiencing…


Christina@BargainBlog May 8, 2020 at 1:43 pm

Yay, five frugal things!!!

1. Trying to make sense of our Internet company. They said we could get 3x faster Internet for the same price, but suddenly want to charge a modem rental fee.
On a modem we already have, and I don’t believe we’ve ever had to pay a fee on. Ugh. Am trying to work it out, but it is undeniably annoying.

2. Yummy dark chocolate almonds from a big bag! A better deal than smaller bags, and that’s what I keep telling myself to justify my regular snacking on them. Heehee

3. To relax, I love a nice bubble bath. But, I don’t have any bubble bath and it sure isn’t a necessity. A squirt of my Ivory lavender body wash does the trick really well. (I’m quite impressed with how bubbly it gets.)

4. Enjoying watching Escape to the Country on YouTube. We can’t travel right now, but that show gives lots of locations to dream of in the countryside in England. And the shows are free to watch! (Also search ETTC – sometimes the show is listed that way instead of using all of the proper words.)

5. Enjoying easy breakfasts of gluten free toast made from bread outlet bread. A friend recently made the trek across town and loaded up for herself, me, and another friend. Only $1.25 a loaf for bread that would cost about $7.00 in a regular supermarket!!

Thanks Katy. I’m probably repeating myself, but boy are the Five Frugal Things a comfort right now. I love reading everyone else’s too.


Jen in CA May 15, 2020 at 2:12 pm

I love reading everyone’s FFT. Comforting and from the olden days, I guess. But I wanted to say that my provider was charging $10 a month for their modem, too! So I wanted to tell you 2 things: one is you can turn it in to them and get a more modern one, since you are renting it monthly. The other is that Clark Howard recommends a good one from Costco, called, I think, the NightHawk or something like that. It is around $160 but will pay for itself over time. I procrastinated making the purchase so paid way more than that over a couple of years of that monthly fee. Frugal Fail!


Christine May 8, 2020 at 1:48 pm

1. I found a penny on the floor at work last week and a quarter this week. Into the found change cup they went.
2. My cousin mailed me an old church cookbook she had grown tired of and while thumbing through it noticed there is a lot of basic recipes that call for ingredients on hand. My kind of cookbook. I dislike having to pick up specialized ingredients just to try a recipe.
3. DH and I are looking forward to our weekly game of Corona Trivial Pursuit. On Saturday afternoons, we crack a couple of Corona beers(with lime slices) and play a rollicking game of Trivial Pursuit. Lots of laughs and hey, we’re not driving anywhere.
4. I saved $35 on a rebate for flea and tick preventative for my 3 cats.
5. I was happy that DH figured out what was wrong with the overhead light/fan in our bedroom. The light wouldn’t go on…turned out he had hit the pull chain with a blanket while making the bed.


Roberta May 8, 2020 at 3:45 pm

1. Not frugal for me, but I just got home from helping a refugee figure out why she’s not receiving Unemployment. She speaks French fluently, but the state does not have a department for that. Within three days I hope to have this cleared up for her. I also brought her eggs from my chickens and oranges from my tree.
2. I received my Unemployment decision. It is more than I anticipated! I hope to spend some of the extra on local purchases. I really want to support some of our local restaurants! We went to the farmer’s market, and got berries, tomatoes and hummus there. I spent more than I would have at the grocery, but I feel better about it and it was much more tasty.
3. I made a Mother’s Day gift for my mom out of surplus fabric. I made her a roll to hold her knitting needles (instead of having them loose in her knitting bag).
4. Currently using my new Vornado fan to cool off the house. I spent paypal money, which I get from ebay sales, so I consider it free. It is replacing my daughter’s old window fan, which lost a blade and shredded in the middle of the night. It was a rude wake up!
5. Saving money on gas, and doing a lot of the usual. Already vegetarian, picking up leftovers for the chickens at the foodbank, line drying laundry, cooking at home (except for farmer’s market hummus!)


KJD509 May 8, 2020 at 9:41 pm

Five frugal things, (non) celebration edition:

1) Middle daughter graduates from college tomorrow. Six weeks ago, before we ordered a cap and gown, the ceremony was postponed until fall, but 10 days ago it moved online. Our large family is spread out in isolation, with the graduate having been hunkered down writing final papers at a condo on the coast. So we will drive a couple of hours to cheer her from a distance and pass out safely wrapped burritos and popsicles for a “party” to the various siblings and cousins who drive by. So much cheaper than hotel rooms, outfits for half a dozen awards ceremonies, a restaurant meal, all the trappings of graduation for her older siblings. . . But not gonna lie, the frugality doesn’t really make up for the truncation. She has worked unbelievably hard, graduating in 2-1/2 years with no debt, with a job offer in her field (maybe, if the organization survives to reopen), and we’re throwing popsicles in car windows to recognize her. Sigh.

2) Hubs and I are both able to work from home, he with full pay, me reduced. It would be fine except the hammer of furlough hangs over both of us constantly.

3) We extended a lease for some tenants: frugal for us, a relief for them, an easy win.

4) It’s a busy birthday season – 3 in two weeks, plus a new baby cousin in the middle of it. And Mother’s Day! Mostly celebrating by sending memes. Sigh.

It’s a bit of a slog these days, but this community of commenters (and Katy!) is a bright spot. Thanks for that, everybody!


Heidi Louise May 9, 2020 at 12:14 pm

Congratulations to your daughter!
Yes, it is hard. I hope she accepts many heartfelt congratulations, which she well deserves, and best wishes to her on her job opening up.


tracy May 9, 2020 at 4:47 am

1. Haven’t been as frugal as I should have been with stay at home. I pre-paid for a week in Hawaii for Hubs and I in November for our two milestone birthdays last month, he splurged on an expensive piece of art for my bday and we had a few home repairs so need to get all paid off without touching savings.
2. No more takeout — I always think it is going to be better than it is. Taking my Mom mother’s day lunch tomorrow to eat outside on her porch. Will figure out from things on hand.
3. Online AA meetings = priceless. And frugal.
4. Ditto runs with friends, leaving soon, beautiful morning.
5. Missing my yoga classes, need to try online.
6. In a bit of a funk — need to practice gratitude for beauty of nature, being healthy, having a comfortable home to stay home in, being able to telework… so much to be grateful for. Feeling a little restless, irritable and discontent but this too shall pass.


MB in MN May 9, 2020 at 10:42 am

Tracy, re your #6 about being in a bit of a funk: Me too. I am living a privileged pandemic yet I feel all of the things you mentioned (except the ability to telework since I retired seven months ago). My support and empathy for others is on overdrive yet I can’t really imagine what it would be like to lose everything or not have enough.


tracy May 10, 2020 at 5:08 am

Thanks MB good to know I am not alone. Looking forward to celebrating my Mom and mother in law today with homemade lunch/flowers/desserts/cards dropped off. I know from experience that when I am feeling sorry for myself it’s time to do something for someone else and voila I will feel better! And I am very, very fortunate.


Dee May 9, 2020 at 5:32 am

Good to hear from everyone & really look forward to hearing everyone’s progress in “frugalness” This is what I’ve done this week:
1. Still eating down the pantry & freezer. I have a pot of Maine grown beans baking in the oven with Maine maple syrup & some leftover bacon from this week. I’ll wrap up tonight’s supper with a pan of homemade cornbread and Mom’s homemade blueberry jam.

2. Received another dozen eggs from a co-worker who didn’t want payment for them but I gave her 3 pkgs of yeast I had on hand as a thank you.

3. I’m really liking Walgreens lately. Though I haven’t shopped much in the past few months to enjoy their always 20% discount I was “grandfathered” (or is it “grandmothered”) into when they took over RiteAid in our small town I went yesterday & found a brand name hand sanitizer—limit one at $2.29 for a 12 oz. bottle! I found a few other necessities and when applying my discount I left satisfied I got some great deals. I have a co-worker that is really upset that she hasn’t found any hand sanitizer so I’m going to go back today to pick up a bottle for her, tie a pretty ribbon on it and leave it on her desk as a “Monday morning surprise”!

3. My DH & I received the stimulus money–direct deposit. It will sit there for a bit as a cushion in case something comes up. Fortunately we have a pretty decent savings account but I so don’t want to have to use it as I’m the only one still working. I still pay myself first each payday into that savings account & try to forget it exists. There’s some peace of mind in that.

4. Started my container garden last weekend. Peas, lettuce & kale have sprouted but due to the lovely cold weather & snow we’re having this morning in MA I brought the containers into the house to keep warm. What craziness is this?

5. Made a quiche from leftovers in the fridge & took that to work most days this week. I round out each packed lunch with whatever else I can find in the fridge that we need to use up. I like to have a piece of fruit or bell pepper wedges to go along with it. DH is not fussy about meals at all & he also will make his lunches from whatever he finds too. I also continue to make & take my own home brewed coffee & filled water bottle to work.

MA is still under quarantine until 5/18 unless our governor extends it. DH & I have decided we will continue our own quarantine of sorts anyway for most of the Summer as we believe there will be a resurgence & being my DH’s health is somewhat compromised we do not want to take any chances. We’ll take walks & drives in the countryside, enjoy grilling on our deck, working in the yard and enjoying each other’s company as usual. Take care everyone & through all of this try to look for some beauty in something everyday!


Christine May 10, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Your #1…sounds scrumptious! I have never made beans with maple syrup, only molasses and brown sugar. The maple syrup sounds like such an interesting addition. I finally found a recipe for a Rhubarb pie I like in a Maple Syrup cookbook I purchased years ago that uses maple syrup. Changed the flavor entirely, for the better.


Dee May 10, 2020 at 12:57 pm

Hi Christine—yes, I’ve made baked beans both ways either with molasses or maple syrup but this batch certainly was scrumptious! I also did add about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar as well! Gotta love rhubarb pie too! When I was younger my mother made a rhubarb compote of sorts that we used to have with fried pork chops….yum!!


Economically Proud May 9, 2020 at 5:53 am

1. Getting creative with using an abundance of carrots and sweet potatoes: muffins, chili, carrot slaw, soups, side dishes, fresh carrots with dressing- carrots are at pretty much every meal
2. Daughter received CARES act funds for college, she received some extra being a Pell Grant recipient. Will help her since she is having trouble finding summer employment this year
3. No food from outside our home for almost 3 months. While we hardly ever eat out or have take out we do have a tendency to get donuts or a lunch out for birthdays or anniversaries.
4. Laundry hung out to dry each time it is done
5. No heat or AC on. Lights used only in the evening. Turning hot water heater down during the day, and back up in the late afternoon for evening showers and dishes


sea May 9, 2020 at 6:48 am

I wish I could say I’ve been more frugal, but . . . Went to Costco for the first time in a month, spent over $400. But I have a lot of mouths to feed! We’re very fortunate financially, although my husband just got a 20% pay cut (even though he’s a “first responder” in contact with Covid patients — seems to me he should be getting a bonus, not a pay cut). However, I feel very fortunate, compared to so many people who are suffering. We have a roof, food, savings in the bank and we’re healthy!!!

1. We’ve been trying to spruce up the house a little bit, so will be doing some painting ourselves
2. Ordered some brand new lampshades from ebay that we desperately needed; they were about 50% cheaper than anywhere else, and arrived in 2 days!
3. I’ve ordered a few small items in the past from a couple of “luxury” discount sites. One sent me a surprise $30 credit, so I was able to order a pair of (used but great condition) designer sunglasses for $3 + tax & shipping (ridiculous shipping cost, but still). They arrived in 2 days and are something really useful (not the designer part, but the sunglass part!) Another site sent me a $20 credit + free shipping, and I was able to get a $35 bottle of hand lotion (insane!!!) for just the tax fee (it was already discounted). I love this lotion, and use just a little squeeze in the evening. The last bottle is from 6 months ago, when I got the same promotion from the same site, and is still 1/2 full, so I guess now I have about a 2 year supply! I have a bad habit of shopping to cheer myself up or when I get bored, but I least it was on a real budget here!
4. Have a horrible brown thumb with plants, but filled up an old pot with soil and sprinkled in some flower seeds someone sent me. They’re sprouting!
5. Doing the same things as usual: cooking at home, trying to use up leftovers, obviously not going out for entertainment, etc. I’m taking the stay at home order super seriously — I don’t want to get sick, nor do I want to inadvertently get anyone else sick!!!


Amanda May 9, 2020 at 11:15 am

I have been wondering if the work of paramedics was down due to fewer folks being on the road. I’ve read lots about the issues of small town hospitals out of work, but I have been surprised not to see news articles about the fall in car accidents. I guess there is so much other deeply sad news on which to report.

1) My husband and I have decided to keep the kids out of daycare until the fall. In Virginia things seem set to start opening up soon even though our curve has not even plateaued, must less started to inch downward. My own work as an academic is very flexible over the summer, so we are just going to save the money and stay home. Hopefully by the fall there will be better-advised, more evidence-based plans to reopen schools.

2) However I am still working away on my research. I have applied to a position that would require me to finish my dissertation over the summer. I am finding hours here and there to chip away at it until I know for sure what I need to do. My “chipping away” could result in doubling my income next year.

3) Our youngest had a high lead reading at his last checkup. We will spend whatever is necessary to abate the lead in our 100 year old house. (He eats a lot of backyard dirt now that we are home all day?) But I am also working on applying for a grant that will pay for it.

4) We considered sending flowers or fruit to our moms on Mother’s Day since we can’t be with either of them. But the price is just exorbitant in my opinion. So instead we had the kids make flowers and write them notes. I would prefer it to $75 that will die in a week, so I hope they will too.

5) I tend to meet friends for coffee every once in a while to stay in touch. In the times of COVID I am continuing to check in with friends by FaceTime. It is just as good for my mental health and even cheaper than a cup of tea in a coffee shop. When all this is over I will have proven that I never actually do need to leave my house. 🙂 🙂 🙂


Susie's Daughter May 9, 2020 at 12:04 pm

I am so deeply cheered and comforted by the presence of this blog, by you, Katy, and by all the people to whom I feel so gratefully connected. Thank you for this gift!

1) My bff since birth moved home to our area of VT 10 days in advance of the NYC lockdown. Frugal for her – staying in our empty rental unit next door. Frugal for me – greatly improved mental health as I’m not worrying about her in alone in her Brooklyn apartment and better physical health since we are walking together almost every day. Since we are beyond strict quarantine time for her, we can now walk on the same side of the road.

2) Lots of creative meals once my “pandemic brain” started to function more effectively (that would be about week 5 of lock down). Used up a variety of unusual things including an old bag of orange essence prunes pureed and baked into an excellent chocolate cake, a package of dried mushrooms re-hydrated and added to meatloaf and two frozen pouches of nasty flavored “kid” yogurt which were just fine in a smoothie.

3) Doing laundry and hanging clothes out on sunny days. I figure I am saving money on the dryer only to spend it on running the dishwasher twice as often as “before”. (“Before” being anything prior to March 12th in my book…)

4) We are managing “remote learning” about as well as anyone, which is to say there is lots of assignment related frustration for kid and parents, internet is over capacity and DS is missing his friends a great deal.

5) DW and I are both still employed and working from home. When she is not traveling overseas for work, DW usually works from home, so not a big change for her. I am usually out of the house for half of my work, but not so now.
DW had a 15% pay cut this month, which will be restored next month, and I continued to be paid for my half time job as before. I have not yet figured out how to meet the needs of a full time crisis in a half time position, but I will take comp time at some point. Like maybe 2022…

Keep it up, Good People! Those of us who lean toward, or perhaps lean into, frugality have good humor and wisdom to offer the world in these days especially.


Katy May 11, 2020 at 1:32 pm

Thank you, that’s very sweet of you to say. It touches my heart.


kathy May 9, 2020 at 4:57 pm

1. Good news is we got a small federal tax return and stimulus checks.
2. Bad news we have home repairs we’ve been putting off: New gates, new shower doors, dry rot to outside trim. As soon as the COVID restrictions are lifted we will be getting estimates. Neither hubby or I do home repairs. Nor at 71 and 67 do we need to be standing on an 8 ft ladder.
3. I had to discontinue all of my charitable deductions. However, as I sell things (the last two weeks have been good). I set aside $$ to donate to charities.
4. Grocery prices continue to rise. So I gave up my flavored coffee creamer and am opting just for 1/2 n 1/2 with stevia.
5. Went to local park and enjoyed the walking paths, lake w/ducks and fresh air.


Julia May 10, 2020 at 6:35 am

1. Was gifted a bag of sweet potatoes. Baked them all and made a huge pot of mashed sweet potatoes. Froze them in containers to use at different meals. No waste.
2. Made beef vegetable soup with bits of this and that from the freezer and veggie scraps from thE fridge. Really no meat in it, beef broth and barley, lentils and a bit of leftover beans and rice. It’s rather yummy. Froze some for later.
3. Was gifted several bags of dried beans which I put in the freezer for later use.
4. Guinea pigs are eating the weeds I pull from the garden. Healthy for them and reduces their veggie food costs to $0. They also eat veggie scraps in addition to pellets and hay.
5. Sales of our pet rabbits have picked up. We do no contact sales, mostly to folks who have bought rabbits from us before. It’s hard to stop at one! The money goes back into taking care of the bunnies. We are currently saving for more hutches. The bunnies like to help with weeding the garden too! Lots of yummy weeds for everybody!


Jennifer May 10, 2020 at 5:08 pm

We moved my oldest home from college. He has 1 class to take over the summer and then will graduate. Maybe this was frugal? Temporarily at least – he has no job and the man can eat!

1. Packed a lunch for the 3 of us so we wouldn’t be tempted to eat out. And it would have been fast food only so…
2. Came home with an assortment of random cleaning supplies, medicines, and food items.
3. His roommate was of the mindset to just throw everything away and rebuy later – baffles me! We kept everything of my ds’s for when he gets his own apartment. Plus we brought home all the paper items in the apartment (ziploc bags, tinfoil, etc), a large dorm fridge, shower rod and curtain rod, etc.
4. When cleaning the apartment I found a large amount of loose change that no one cared about so I picked it all up and kept it. Again – they were going to throw it away?!?
5. When we were all done, ds took us through the Starbucks drive through with his employee discount and we got 3 venti frappuccino’s for $5. We then strolled around the college campus taking pictures and hiked in the local arboretum.
6. We ate granola bars on the way home to tide us over until we were able to eat a late dinner of frozen pizza that my dd had made for those that were home.


Emily May 10, 2020 at 7:09 pm

1. Gave my fiancé a haircut today.It looks pretty rough, but he doesn’t care, lol. Even though things are opening in CO, we are not anxious to be in contact with others.
2. Working on our porch garden! So far sprouts for tomatoes, parsley , cilantro, basil and dill. I’m honestly elated, I have such a black thumb. Planted in my collection of paper egg cartons I’ve been collecting all weekend. I made mini green houses with my cupcake carrier and clear shoe boxes. Using free planters off FB marketplace.
3. Our favorite takeout place is so closed so we truly have barely eaten out. We are cooking more “special meals”, along with our grocery budget being doubled , but still saving a bit with food expenses.
4. Saving a ton in gas for both of us . I have put 10 miles on my car in two months which is great because My car is high mileage!
5. Regrowing green onions, lettuce, basil and mint.


Texasilver May 10, 2020 at 7:14 pm

1. Got several free Thank You meals @ McDonalds for health care workers. (Actually I train health care workers. Micky D honored my badge.)
2. Took my Toyota in for recall repair. They washed my dirty car afterwards & sprayed the inside with a sanitizing spray. No charge for any of this.
3. I filled out a on line claim for defective air bags (which is why I had to go to dealership). Not sure if I will get any settlement $ but I am hopeful.
4. My stimulus $ arrived via direct deposit. It is going into savings.
5. Made frugal meals from the dregs in the freezer (chicken quarters over rice, banana cake from frozen blackened bananas, baked some fish I found in bottom of freezer [one of husband’s friends caught them).


Tammie May 11, 2020 at 2:34 pm

1.) Made homemade salsa from my cupboard. Can of Tomatoes/chilis, can of corn, 1/2 can of black beans, Cilantro from herb garden.
2.) See above, herb garden, makes all those cans from the cupboard better. I’m an apartment dweller, so the garden is in pots on an old metal shelving unit my sister gave me. I painted it with a can of rust proof spray paint from another project.
3.) Soaking chickpeas and blackbeans to use in multiple dishes (protein substitute, meat has become out of my price range).
4.) Coupons & Deals from CVS, turned into $33 of merchandise for $11. Could have been less but I splurged on potato chips.
5.) No AC or heat since the beginning of March. Keeping the windows open when it’s cool, closing them and the blinds when it’s too hot or humid. Lucky to be in SC where we have had a nice cool spring.


Lindsay B May 12, 2020 at 1:57 am

1. Using up some hair products that I don’t love while I’m at home 99.9% of the time.
2. Successfully foraged nettles and tried them in scrambled eggs. Free food = frugal, especially when trying to stay out of the store as long as possible.
3. Polished my stainless sink, stove top, and a few pots with baking soda and a drop of dish soap.
4. Saw this idea on Katy’s blog a long time ago, but trying to reduce the amount of product I use. So far, don’t notice a difference with 1/2 a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and 2/3 usual amount of laundry detergent.
5. My husband mended a pair of work jeans with a patch from previously worn out jeans. It doesn’t look great, but mostly we’re just trying to not let him advertise his underthings.


Julia May 12, 2020 at 4:58 am

A neighbor gifted me three bags of dead nettle. Our guinea pigs love them I haven’t tried eating myself yet but I’m drying much of them to use to make a first aid salve.


Lindsay B May 12, 2020 at 1:11 pm

Julia, if you end up wanting to try eating any of yours, I sauteed mine in some olive oil with garlic and onion and they got nice and crispy, kind of like a kale chip. Super yummy… but that might have been the garlic. 😉


Jann in Maine May 12, 2020 at 2:41 am

1. Continuing to sell on ebay and marketplace where sales have been remarkably strong.
2. Have of course been cooking nightly and living out in the “sticks” is not conducive to getting any take out even if we wanted to.
3. My new small freezer arrived and I literally did the happy dance coming up from the basement. I figure it gives me another added layer of security. Our almost 40 year old freezer crapped out 2 years ago. Ordered it over the phone,negotiated for free delivery,and had socially-distanced delivery.
4. Cashed in my credit card points for gift cards which I use for birthday gifts throughout the year. Sort of part of my “gift cupboard” which I also have.
5.Watching the weather and using it to plan our laundry days. We have a nice line that we use to its advantage.
Stay safe and sane all. Thank you for being a wonderful community of information and support!


Jann in Maine May 12, 2020 at 2:41 am

1. Continuing to sell on ebay and marketplace where sales have been remarkably strong.
2. Have of course been cooking nightly and living out in the “sticks” is not conducive to getting any take out even if we wanted to.
3. My new small freezer arrived and I literally did the happy dance coming up from the basement. I figure it gives me another added layer of security. Our almost 40 year old freezer crapped out 2 years ago. Ordered it over the phone,negotiated for free delivery,and had socially-distanced delivery.
4. Cashed in my credit card points for gift cards which I use for birthday gifts throughout the year. Sort of part of my “gift cupboard” which I also have.
5.Watching the weather and using it to plan our laundry days. We have a nice line that we use to its advantage.
Stay safe and sane all. Thank you for being a wonderful community of information and support!


Jessica May 12, 2020 at 9:31 am

Katy, this post really inspired me.
I am thinking through the weird financial loose ends I may have like that. Here’s my plan JUST FOR TODAY to try to work a few things out:
1. Calling Verizon about a weird cellphone bill thing.
2. I am looking at flexible spending accounts and making sure I have done everything possible to try to make sure I am on track to tap them out early in the year
3. Need to cancel a Drop Box premium account, but need to remove the files from it first, ugh.
4. Looking through credit card bills to see if there are any weird things I have signed up for by accident and am now being billed for.


ouvickie May 12, 2020 at 12:59 pm

1) Since I’m still working from home, I’ve saved a lot in fuel costs. The price of 100% gasoline is around $1.40-1.50 per gallon in our area and I’ve only filled the tank about 3 times in the past few months. Since my car gets good mileage, it’s not costing me much when we venture out.
2) My daughter is buying most of the groceries, since they are staying with us. I’ve made a few trips to Aldi, which is cheaper, but it’s further away so I make certain I’m running all my errands on the days we go into town.
3) I had to replace my old microwave, so I decided on a Toshiba Microwave/Convection combination. This should help me save money in propane and electricity, since I can use the convection to bake instead of turning on the oven and heating up the house. I researched the cost to get the best one and found the one I wanted for $200 including taxes and was able to get curbside pickup at Home Depot. My old microwave was at least 30 years old. I certainly got my money’s worth out of it, especially since it cost me zero dollars and was given to us.
4) I’ve been cleaning and decluttering as much as possible. Goodwill is finally open again, so we dropped a box of donations off last week.
5) Instead of spending money on things, we’ve been taking short drives or day trips, while social distancing, so we can all keep our sanity and get a change of scenery.


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