Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 26, 2020 · 136 comments

Hoo boy, it’s getting harder and harder to write these posts. Although I’m certainly practicing the extremist of extreme non-consumerism, it’s super boring stuff like “prepared all meals from scratch, most of which were bean based” and “used almost no gasoline.”

Far from gripping material.

SO BORING! Boring to write and boring to read.

  1. I sold a few things here and there, not impressive “found it on the side of the road and then sold it for $1000,” level of narrative, but still respectable. Especially since a number of my sales were items just sitting around my house. While others may see “clutter,” I see “inventory.”

    Here’s what sold:

    • My experiment to piece out a Ticket To Ride game and sell the component parts individually has been a success. So far I’ve sold the wooden player pieces, the game board, plus two categories of player cards. $50 from a single game with many more bits and bobs still to sell. (eBay)
    • A Fiestaware mini disc pitcher that had been collecting dust in my built-in buffet. Not something that I used or appreciated, so I’m happy to send it off to a new home. (eBay)
    • A vintage ceramic rooster that I picked up at Goodwill right before the quarantine. (eBay)
    • Two Ikea new-in-box slipcovers that had been stored in my spare bedroom closet since I thrifted them over year ago. I’d been sitting on them for ages, and had assumed they’d never sell, but was wrong. Just had to close all the brick and mortar Ikeas to make it happen. (Facebook Marketplace)
    • A new-in-package curtain panel. (Ebay)
    • A handmade craftsman-style bookshelf that I’d thrifted, and would have been happy to keep had it not sold. (Facebook Marketplace)
    • A macrame wall hanging. (Facebook Marketplace)
    • A dozen or so of my daughter’s Shonen Jump magazines. (eBay)

  2. My most important non-consumer news is that we finally found someone to take over on our son’s apartment lease down in Eugene, Oregon! Covid-19 turned the lives of university students upside down, which emptied out my son’s large apartment complex. All in the middle of countless 12-month leases.

    Getting to this point took attention to a thousand details related to readying the apartment, communication with the property management office, attending to apartment details and emailing back and forth with a multiple prospective tenants. We ended up paying rent on our son’s empty apartment for the months of April and May, and are now spared from paying for the months of June, July and August. (When the lease ends.) The new tenant even paid us for the last week of May, so we even got a bit back.

    The task of finding a new tenant has been an almost daily task since early April, and I feel an Atlas-level weight off my shoulders. And the $2400 that we just saved? Not too shabby!

  3. Although my husband and I cancelled cable TV, we still have Comcast internet. They sent us a free streaming converter box, which has a nice intuitive interface. I would’ve been content to continue using the frustrating first generation Apple TV that someone gave us a few years ago. But it’s nice to not swear under my breath every time I awkwardly scroll through streaming options.

  4. My husband and son both celebrated birthdays last week. Our normal birthday routine is to stage a Birthday Day of Adventures that relies on the ability to hop from location to location, and would be the current definition of an Infection Adventure Day™. Instead, I arranged for nice treats that put neither in danger. I’ll write up a blog post in a few days with more details.

  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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{ 136 comments… read them below or add one }

LB May 26, 2020 at 11:38 am

Hope everyone had a restful memorial day weekend…at home.

1. I’ve been lurking on all the resale sites (poshmark, ebay, etc) for a specific brand of bike pannier bag that looks like a proper work purse. I finally found the brand I wanted at 1/3 of the retail price on Poshmark! It’s not the exact bag I wanted but it’s really nice and potentially a better solution than the one I had been looking at.

2. The library book barrage continues–loving all of these books coming off hold when I have time to read them. Although I believe Katy was the one who recommended The Clockmaker’s Daughter–try as I might, I just could not get through it. Fortunately there was another library book to take its place and I returned it early for the next reader.

3. While I have relaxed a bit on my grocery store budget, it’s in the name of trying new things–and avoiding takeout. Frozen vegan buffalo wings, my favorite cookies from Wegmans, and a case of beer all came home yesterday. However, I am relishing the feeling of a full fridge after living most of my adult life with just enough in it to get through the week.

4. We finally caved to buying new adjustable weights offline after using bags of books for a long time. We now have to fill them all with sand, which gives me something to do while watching TV (I can’t sit still!). While this is a super tedious task, I’m grateful that we were able to get them so cheap compared to a regular set and that they will be a really helpful resource in staying healthy while stuck in a one-bedroom apartment.

5. We stayed home this weekend to avoid any risk of spreading COVID outside of our region. Staying away from an Infection Adventure Day (thanks for that term, Katy!) we opted to spend the money we would have paid for a trip out of town to donate to a neighbor who is collecting compost as the city’s facilities are shut down, bought coffee at a local shop, a pizza at another, and put our feet up in our apartment.


LB May 26, 2020 at 1:19 pm

Omg! I didn’t realize I got first! I never get the first comment! Woohoo!


MB in MN May 26, 2020 at 11:45 am

1. Nothing frugal about food spending (or dishwasher usage). I am not even looking at what my weekly shopping trips cost (I wait until month-end to total it all up). Last month’s total for just two vegetarians was $700! (Averting my eyes from the weekly amounts reminds me of something my mom said when she was near the end of her Alzheimer’s journey. Me: “Mom, why do you keep your eyes shut?” Mom: “So I don’t have to see what’s happening to me.” Tears me up every time I think of it, but it’s a good line, especially from someone who had lost nearly all cognitive ability.)

2. Wonder if I’ll ever look at elastic the same way again. I was recycling old journals and saw that they had built-in elastic bands around them. You bet I cut those off so that I could use them for masks.

3. A friend gave me a zip-up tunic hoodie that she didn’t care for. She has fabulous taste, and I love wearing it.

4. Now that I’m retired, I’m so thankful that I’m able to pay more attention to what’s around me. And now that I’m mostly sequestered, I am especially attuned to the sounds of the birds, the composition of the clouds, the smell of nature, and all of the rebirth on trees and plants. I even find myself happily immersed in weeding with not a swear word to be heard.. well, maybe a few small ones, but nothing like before when even the plants blushed.

5. To give the stove, dishwasher and us a break from seemingly non-stop cooking, we got takeout pizza and wine from our local winery. Could tell I’ve been cooped up as I was so eager to talk to complete strangers while waiting for my order. (My husband would say this is no different from pre-pandemic times!)


susanna d May 26, 2020 at 1:16 pm

MB, Your mom’s comment in #1 brought tears to my eyes. My mom battled Alzheimers too, and it sounds like something she would have felt in her all too rare lucid moments toward the end.

I also love, identify and agree with your #4. While I’ve always loved nature and outdoors, I find I appreciate it even more now.


Christine May 26, 2020 at 5:06 pm

I love your line about making the plants blush! Too funny!


Christina@BargainBlog May 26, 2020 at 8:28 pm

MB – your first comment struck me. For years I kept every receipt, and tallied things up every week according to category. I think it was in February that I stopped doing that.

I was spending more online and offline to stock up – not knowing at that time would become tricky to get. And I knew if I saw the numbers rack up, I’d be upset with that level of spending.

For this time, I just accept that we’re paying more on food and necessities. When some semblance of normalcy returns, then I’ll go back to my careful spending tracking.


tracy May 27, 2020 at 4:43 am

I so relate to your number 4! And I also loved number 1…


Marilyn May 27, 2020 at 12:51 pm

I too was struck by your mother’s comment. So poignant.


Alexandra May 27, 2020 at 2:31 pm

Snort! “…but nothing like before when even the plants blushed.”
I have such a sailor-mouth….LOL


Virginia Allain May 26, 2020 at 11:50 am

1) Haven’t eaten out a single time in the last 2 months.
2) Cut off the sprouting part of several sweet potatoes and planted them in grow bags on our patio. Looking forward to free sweet potatoes later on.
3) Saved some carrot tops which are now sitting in water (later to go into soil). You can harvest the green leafy part to put in stirfrying or so they tell me.
4) Saved my paper towel roll center, cut it into 3rds to make seed starting containers.
5) Converted a Congratulations card into a Get Well card so I wouldn’t have to go to the store.


Kathy May 26, 2020 at 11:53 am

I’m with Katy that it’s harder to find new frugal ways
1. Found a Madison Reed home hair color kit I forgot about. BTW un opened they have a 3 year life span. Colored my hair which I’ve dubbed as COVID copper.
2. Retired my well worn flip flops for everyday wear as I found an almost new pair of Dansko sandals in my closet
3. Dug out the seldom used shark vacuum and steam mop to clean the kitchen, bathroom, family room and entry way. My other mop need new mop head which I’m not buying
4. Sold a couple of items on line. Yippee $31
5. Clipped some succulents to send to my sister


jann in Maine May 26, 2020 at 12:01 pm

Our rhubarb is almost ready to pick and our neighbor does not use his so I called to see if I could pick his–yes indeed and brought over some seedlings of a perennial flax as a thank you.
Cooking of course-we have not been out for take out or even ice cream. When you live 10 miles out of town you think twice and say –ah nope.
Garden is going in with mostly plants DH grew from seeds and they did great. I did buy some roasting peppers seedlings after hearing a lady on a podcast who has the blog and cookbook Muy Bueno. She makes sauces for the freezer and just grabs and creates so I am going to do that this year.
Library opens 6/1 for curbside. To say that I am excited is an understatement!
Have been to several Little Free Libraries and gotten stuff to read but basically meh.
Called a local place that sells kayaks and asked them to save me the wrapping their kayaks come in…very heavy duty and great for shipping my china items on ebay. Ebay has been busy for me. Gratedul.
Walking daily it.
Grateful for every day,,,,


Jenzer May 27, 2020 at 3:25 pm

My Little Free Library finds have been very “meh,” too.


Lisa M. May 26, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Double+ 5FF: Hope in Sight?

1. Funny frugal story: Purchased a plastic measuring set (NWT) from Goodwill when DD was young to use as bath toys to help develop pre-math skills. As she prepared to start college & move to an apartment, I began to collect various household items for her. I located a couple of cups in a sack of old bath toys & confiscated one she had used in her room. Moving items around in the kitchen recently, I finally discovered the missing 1/3 cup. While it would have been a minimal cost to purchase her a new set, it was a frugal challenge to convert “toys” back to their original utilitarian function. Success!

2. Recently made-from-scratch kitchen creations: Tuna Chicken Bake, Lasagna Roll-Ups, Victoriana Chicken Salad, Couscous Confetti, Crested Butte Grilled Chicken. Also baked brownies when I had the oven going for lasagna. With extra time @ home d/t the siege, the proportion of time intensive food prep has increased.

3. While shopping weekly at big box, Aldi & gas station (with non-medical PPE in place), I am noticing continuing reduced availability of brands/sizes/varieties & only slight increases in prices. We are not big meat eaters & I shop for 2 but occasionally pick up items for DD.

Good deals from shopping 2 weeks ago: From big box bakery rack Kaiser rolls for chicken salad (55% off) & from gas station rewards program BIGI burritos for lunch (56% off). This past week’s savings: Free Tabouli mix (manufacturer’s coupon – $2.49), from big box bakery clearance rack mini non-frosted cinnamon rolls (34% off) & sesame French bread (34% off), Kellogg’s Family Rewards coupon off Windex refill (13% off) & gas station rewards program electronic coupon for muffin (83% off).

4. Used vehicle dealership oil change coupon (27% off) & enjoyed complimentary caffe mocha & pure water during my visit. Total savings for #3 & #4 = $18.62 with minimal effort. Also researched most economic option for DD’s oil change & will use online coupon.

5. Very grateful to have my card supply during limited availability to purchase. Found acceptable (not great) card @ big box for Mother’s Day, so instead utilized home supply of free cards for DF’s (friend’s) birthday card. Also used free stamp & free stickers so OOP cost: 0.

6. DD bravely gave DH an extreme haircut in the garage– using trimmers she shaved his head completely, thus eliminating an emergency barber appointment post-siege.

7. Continuing to rack up free CEUs via webinars for professional licensure on a regular basis. Need to tally list to come up with a strategy for final completion to avoid excessive accumulation.

8. Received a small rebate check. Bonus as it was an item that I purchased that contained a surprise rebate inside the packaging.

9. After adding direct deposit information, received our stimulus funds. Earmarked federal & state tax refunds, along with stimulus funds & future property tax refund to cover cost of DD’s fall tuition. Will preserve 529 educational funds for subsequent semesters.

10. Learned on Nextdoor that our community’s fine dining restaurant would be permanently closing. I received a gc from their establishment from my employer for my last birthday. Did not use on anniversary as planned d/t illness, so decided to use before they closed. Unbelievably for our calm little ‘burb, a group of angry customers converged on the restaurant demanding cash back from gcs, so they closed immediately. Their website then posted instructions on the process for refunding gcs, so submitted timely request with all required information & documentation. (Lesson reinforced: retain gift receipts until gc redeemed & copies of documentation until rebates received.) Saved $ by ordering instead from another local family owned restaurant with great food @ > moderate prices with amount covering 100% including food, tax & tip. In this case, will not spend any gc refund that I may receive.

11. Memorial Day frugalities: Mended winter glove & sewed a button back on DH’s shorts. Seems like the law of repeating repairs is in operation here. Also salvaged buttons from one of DH’s shirts that ripped.

12. As if the weather knew that the beginning of summer had started, we are experiencing very warm temps & humidity. Just like every year about this time, my oven will rarely be used (only if forecast highs are in 70s) & I have switched over to my collection of warm weather recipes. Since DH finally put together the grill last summer that sat in the garage in its box for 5 years, we have launched serious grilling efforts as well. Also monitoring bread items (especially day-old items) more closely to get to freezer if not consumed quickly.

13. Received unclaimed property letter from a life insurance company. Following up to ascertain details & determine eligibility for funds.


Alexandra May 27, 2020 at 2:33 pm

I’m looking up all your recipes noted in #2! (:


Lisa M. May 27, 2020 at 8:36 pm

Alexandra – That is so funny to me, as one recipe came from Mr. Food (is anyone besides me old enough to remember him?) & the rest were all from dear old Mom. I had never pondered how similar or dissimilar existing recipes out there are to ones I have primarily been given. “Food” for thought!


Alexandra May 28, 2020 at 5:03 am

Lisa, I was interested to see Tuna Chicken bake was essentially tuna casserole with chicken added? curious about adding both…comments?
The “Victoriana Chicken salad” came up also as “Coronation chicken salad” with mango chutney and curry powder. The NYTimes version had a sauce made with those and red wine too. Do you do all that? It sounds amazing.
The Crested butte chicken salad search did a lot of recipes from a town called Crested Butte. Not clear what that recipe was.
Love to hear more about what Dear Old Mom had to say on these. (:


Lisa M. May 28, 2020 at 6:02 am

Very impressed with your research results. 🙂

Yes, Tuna Chicken Bake is the ultimate frugal recipe & an indicator that I do indeed, come by my frugality naturally. This was a recipe that was made frequently by my Mom just out of high school while living with several friends during a time of limited resources. The cream of chicken soup & lemon juice essentially hide the fact that the primary protein is < expensive tuna & not more costly chicken.

The Victoriana Chicken Salad does contain mango chutney & curry powder but not red wine, although that sounds like a fabulous addition. Mom frequented an annual fundraiser sale & luncheon, so was able to test taste recipes that were often printed in the local newspaper. This recipe was a favorite.

Not clear about the history of Crested Butte but it is a simple & versatile marinade that can be used with any variety of chicken for grilling. Trying to expand my grilling prowess, so anticipate using this recipe frequently for summer grilling.

Thanks for your interest.

A. Marie May 26, 2020 at 12:23 pm

This is a copy of a comment I just put up over at The Frugal Girl, where I have been commenting more often of late:

FFT, Frugal Fails for Long-Term Frugal Wins (I Hope) Edition:

(1) DH’s beloved 2010 Honda Element gave me clear messages that it needed attention (two slowly leaking front tires, one dramatically flat rear tire, and a “buh buh buh” noise from the back that turned out to be a signal of major brake problems). Some $2200 later, I’ve fixed all these problems plus a few others. Given my druthers, I’d trade both this and our 2013 Toyota Prius in on a nice late-model Toyota RAV, now that I am the only driver–but DH, in his rapidly advancing Alzheimer’s, remains unreasonably attached to the Element. And the AAA man who came on Sunday to put the spare on so that I could get the Element down to the shop on Monday rhapsodized at length on its continuing resale value. So, in the interest of not adding to DH’s numerous dementia-fueled anxieties, I will continue to invest in the Element until DH needs institutional care (which, at the rate he’s going, may be sooner rather than later).

(2) And thanks to long-term frugal habits, I will not have to incur credit card debt to take care of the Element’s bill.

(3) The partial relaxation of lockdown here in Central NY (consult a NY State map for the state’s various regions) means that I have been able to get my housecleaning service over here for the first time in 2.5 months. Those of you who are younger, stronger, not taking care of a spouse with Alzheimer’s, and don’t hate doing your own housework, please don’t judge. I regard this too as an important investment in mental health (my own, in this case).

(4) I continue to shove the seedlings I have reared at home into the ground at every opportunity, now that we’ve gone from winter to summer here in one swell foop. Two more tomatoes (I’ve already planted four), my 12 mini basils, my 12 kales, and my 12 Gem marigolds are still waiting.

(5) And a problem may be turning into opportunity for a young neighbor: One of our three tool sheds has developed roof problems, and squirrels are nesting in there. But our neighbors who own Bailey dog (the darling Australian shepherd we used to walk for them pre-COVID) have a daughter who is working her way into management at a local horse farm, and she may be interested in dismantling the shed and taking it for use on the farm. If so, more power to her!


MB in MN May 26, 2020 at 12:43 pm

A. Marie, I’m sorry for your husband’s decline. Alzheimer’s is dreadful. Re your #3, no judgment here. Self-care is so important, and I’m glad you’re taking advantage of whatever help you can find.


Kara May 26, 2020 at 2:30 pm

A. Marie
You are being so wise in getting house cleaning now that you can. It is money absolutely well spent. Your health and sanity are priceless!


Lindsey May 26, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Thinking of you, A. Marie. Good for you for employing a housekeeper to keep your sanity and physical health.


Christine May 26, 2020 at 5:18 pm

A. Marie, I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s decline. I believe one of the best things you can do for yourself is to get a housecleaning service. I wanted to get a housekeeper my whole life. Like you, housekeeping has never been on my list of favorite things. No judgement here.


Christine May 26, 2020 at 5:19 pm

Summer hit here yesterday in one swell foop too!


Alexandra May 27, 2020 at 2:46 pm

A. Marie, when we lived with my mother-in-law during her final illness, I insisted on a maid service weekly. It made absolutely all the difference in the world. She was more relaxed and we were too.
During a tough emotional time, just having the dang house clean is such a wonderful gift. You deserve it. (:


Bee May 26, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Sometimes being frugal is boring, but millionaires are made by saving pennies at a time. Katy, I love hearing from you even if you feel like it’s mundane. I don’t have too many thrifty friends, so I get my frugality fix here.
Life is slowly returning to normal in Northern Florida.The prices are inching upward at the grocery store and stock remains low for many items. Yet, life moves on. Here are my FFT from the first few weeks of Recovery —
1. I went to the Goodwill Store several times – 3 to be exact, I wore a mask which is required. I brought in hand sanitizer and wipes. The store was not a gold mine. Much to my disappointment. However, I did buy a few things which I left in the back of the car for 24 hours. There is plenty of natural sanitizing UV light here.
2. My son bought mulch in bulk for his yard. He had quite a bit left when he was done with his quarantine project. He offered it to his dad and me. We bagged it and brought it home. It has allowed us to finish our yard beautification project without spending any more money. (Boy, gardening materials can be so expensive!) We also borrowed his pressure washer to clean the driveway. In turn, we are taking care of his dog for a few days.
3. We have enjoyed several trips to our state parks. There aren’t any entrance fees at this time, so the parks are quite crowded. However, people were mindful and considerate. Unfortunately, the beautiful spring weather has suddenly disappeared, and it’s getting hotter here…too hot really. But summertime in Florida is never cool. In fact, it often miserable.
4. When I was sorting through my books a few weeks ago, I re-discovered my copy of The Tightwad Gazette. I have been re-reading it. Some of the articles are absolutely timeless. I remember the first time that I read this book. Amy Dacyczyn’s advice was so eye-opening for me. Now 30 years later, I automatically do many of the things that she suggests and some have even become mainstream. (Vegetarianism) Of course, there are a few things that no longer apply, because the world has changed so much. For example, “How to save money on long distance phone calls” or “Buying inexpensive checks” are no longer a concern. At the time, however, I devoured these articles. They were life-changing— like discovering the NCA.
5. I bought a copy of Turbo Tax and have started our family’s taxes. This software is much, much cheaper than an accountant and easy to use. I have completed my son’s taxes and showed him how to fill out a FASFA. (He will be going back to school in the fall- I hope).

I have been doing all the usual things – cooking from scratch, trying to eliminate food waste, drinking primarily filtered tap water, brewing my own coffee, selling items on eBay, supporting small local business when possible and walking daily. I accepted a previously owned dress from my sister. I checked out my book club’s selection and a movie at the library for the Memorial Day Weekend utilizing the no-contact pick up process. (I love my library! ) I also have been doing some arm chair traveling with the Facebook Group, A View from My Window.

Wishing you all good health and peace.
Happy Birthday to your husband and son, Katy.


laura May 26, 2020 at 6:10 pm

I’m with you Bee, happy to hear from Katy even if it appears mundane!
I think the ability to stick with routine tasks that help maintain financial freedom are the most impressive and it’s a nice reminder and internet friend frugal solidarity that can help keep me at it too!


Cindy in the South May 26, 2020 at 1:18 pm

1. Dried red beans and rice one day, then converted that into tacos, then converted the remaining beans into beans and weenies using that homemade sauce you see on line with jelly and bbq sauce. I used my mulberry jam and it worked fine. This is literally the only thing I have since I had one relative to die and we had to have a Covid style Zoom funeral, I have another very ill, very close relative I am deeply worried about, and one of my son’s friends accidentally OD’d and died. That was another awful funeral. I can’t even remember if I have mentioned this earlier. It has been a month of epic expense, trials, and tribulations. So as far as frugality, beans is all I got.


A. Marie May 26, 2020 at 1:29 pm

Sometimes, Cindy, beans is all we got. I’m so sorry for your various bereavements; the young friend who OD’d is a particularly sad one. I think we all have each other’s backs here.


Bee May 26, 2020 at 1:58 pm

I’m sorry that all this had happened. I hadn’t seen a post and was concerned. Thinking of you and sending wishes of love and peace.


MB in MN May 26, 2020 at 2:11 pm

Cindy, I’m sending you a huge teary hug. So very sorry for all of the tragic pain you are experiencing.


Lisa M. May 26, 2020 at 2:21 pm

Keeping your sanity would be a reasonable goal after all the tragedy you have endured over the past month. Coherent thinking must be challenging, never mind frugality. Extending my deepest condolences for your heartbreaking losses.


lulutoo May 26, 2020 at 2:37 pm

Cindy, I am so sorry for all your losses. Hugs to you.


Nancy from mass May 26, 2020 at 3:08 pm

Oh Cindy, I’m so sorry that you’ve had such a tough time with everything. I truly hope the remaining year is better for you.


Lindsey May 26, 2020 at 3:52 pm

I’m sorry to hear about how tough things have been for you. In your shoes, I would not even have beans.


Christine May 26, 2020 at 5:22 pm

Oh Cindy, I’m so sorry about this line of sad events that have marched into your life lately. I hope things improve rapidly for you and your relative who is ill. Hugs to you.


Cindy in the Soutg May 26, 2020 at 6:12 pm

Thanks y’all. My kids are devastated about their friend.. So am I.


Katy May 26, 2020 at 7:39 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about your losses. May their memories be a blessing.


Lindsey May 27, 2020 at 12:27 pm

I am going to steal your phrase “May their memories be a blessing.” I never know what to say besides I’m sorry, and this is the perfect sentence to add. Thanks.


Katy May 27, 2020 at 1:46 pm

Please do. It’s a Jewish saying for expressing condolences.


tracy May 27, 2020 at 4:46 am

Thinking of you Cindy.


Christina @ Bargainblog May 27, 2020 at 12:11 pm

Hi Cindy…I’m new around here, but wanted to add my sincere condolences too. You’ve had one of those months that leaves a person feeling like they can barely stand. Wish I could give you a hug in person… but am sending you plenty of virtual ones instead. Please take care.


Alexandra May 27, 2020 at 2:50 pm

Such sad news, especially about the youngster. That kind of worry, sadness, and tragedy can really wear one down. Please take care of yourself. Know that you are being thought of with much love.


Momma L May 26, 2020 at 1:20 pm

1. Took a loved Tshirt from a local charity event for Autism and made a no sew bag for the beach.
2. Used the sleeves from that bright yellow Tshirt and made a couple of hairbands for exercising and washing my face. Used one today to tie up my hair in a messy bun.
3. Found 2 bags of overripe bananas in the grocery store for 35 cents a bag. Peeled and froze them for bread.
4. Used the cute handled bag the bananas came in to take my lunch to work all week.
5. A dear friend’s birthday was this week. One got an unused candle of mine, some home grown kale, and a bottle of champagne I still had in my fridge from New Year’s Eve.


susanna d May 26, 2020 at 1:35 pm

It does seem harder and harder to come up with five frugal things lately, let alone interesting ones. So here’s a few of the boring:

1. It took two attempts, but I was finally able to mend the stitching in one of my soft soled moccasins. I pretty much live in those things, and the stitching on one had started to unravel. I tried carpet thread, but didn’t like the results. My husband offered some heavy duty string, which did the trick. And a quick coloring with a Sharpie pen turned the white string into black, which matched the other stitching. Is it perfect? Nah. But it should give me a lot more wear before I need to replace them.
2. I cut my husband’s hair again. We’re using his beard trimmer since it’s been a struggle to find good hair clippers these days. This is attempt #3 and the best one yet. $75 saved so far.
3. Once again, due to an incredible pump perks bonus period and lower gas prices, we got 20 gallons of gasoline for 38 cents out of pocket when we cashed in the perks points. This is the second time we’ve gotten gasoline for less than two cents per gallon, and due to the bonus period expiring, it’ll be the last. But of my gosh, talk about a cheap thrill.
4. Turned two containers of liquid hand soap upside down after the pumps had stopped pumping, and ended up with 2 ounces of additional liquid soap to use.
5. Since we have no idea when we’ll be travelling again (but suspect it’ll be a long time) I went through the toiletries bags that go on trips with us. I removed all the meds – OTC and prescription – so they’ll get used before they expire. I thought I was getting low on allergy meds but apparently had filled a container in the travel bag. Found a few other treasures, too. The savings weren’t earth shattering, but I’ll take ’em.


Lindsey May 26, 2020 at 3:55 pm

Your gas comment made me laugh—last time we bought gas, it was so cheap I wanted to take a picture to send to someone, anyone, so they could celebrate with me. The older I get, the easier it is to get cheap thrills out of things.


Patti May 26, 2020 at 1:44 pm

1. We have managed to go through our spring without turning on the air conditioner yet. It has been quite humid since we have had over 10 inches of rain in the past week so we may have to do it just to keep from growing mold but this is a first for us (we live in South Carolina)! Trying to see if we can make it until June or until we can’t stand it anymore!
2. I am cooking more from scratch as others noted – twice I have cooked baked beans from dried beans I had frozen. Husband thinks they are better than store bought and they are incredibly easy to do in my 43 year old pressure cooker!
3. I was able to get my hair cut professionally this past week. I am letting it go gray so that will save a lot over the next year. I did give her a large tip since it was a difficult time for her during the shutdown of hairdressers. That brought tears but that is one of the reasons I want to be frugal – to be generous with others when I can.
4. I am sewing a new piece of clothing from a fabric I have had in my stash over 20 years. It was super cheap because of damage on the selvage so I bought a lot of it then. Sometimes our frugal journey blesses us years down the road.
5. We continue to entertain ourselves with movies, tv, reading books we have bought at yard sales and thrift stores, gardening (picked our first veggies today), and making clothing from yarn and fabric in my stash.


Rachel May 27, 2020 at 6:00 am

Would you mind sharing your baked beans recipe? My grandmother’s Boston baked beans recipe is too molasses-y for my family’s taste (not mine, but everyone else’s).


Lisa M. May 27, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Rachel – I have a couple of different Baked Beans recipes that I am willing to share. One has 4 T. of molasses using dry navy beans & cooks in the crockpot. The other does not have molasses using canned pork & beans & cooks in the oven. Both are dear old Mom’s recipes – a cook extraordinaire. I have made each & they are equally delicious, yet different. Lmk if you’d like either one.


Rachel May 27, 2020 at 5:31 pm

Hi, Lisa M. I’d love the dry bean/crock pot recipe! Thank you for your offer.


Lisa M. May 27, 2020 at 8:19 pm

Happy to offer this recipe for you to try, Rachel. If you do try it, I’d be interested to know how you like it. You could always adjust if too molasses-y & just use less than the recipe calls for.

The recipe appears formulated to use for a noon meal but I have always modified it & used it for an evening meal by starting prep in the morning versus evening. Here it is in its original format:

Overnight Baked Beans

4 C. dry navy beans 1/2# bacon or ham, cut in chunks
2 t. dry mustard 1 medium onion, diced
4 T. molasses 1 C. brown sugar
2 1/2 t. salt 1/4 C. catsup
1/2 t. pepper
8 C. water
Mix all together and place in crockpot. Do in evening. Do not precook or soak beans. Start pot on high and cook 2 hours. Turn low and cook overnight. Check in morning and add liquid if necessary.

Lisa M. May 27, 2020 at 8:28 pm

Sorry, the ingredients ran together when I posted. In case it is easier to read, I will re-post with ingredients in single file.

Overnight Baked Beans

4 C. dry navy beans
2 t. dry mustard
4 T. molasses
2 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
8 C. water
1/2# bacon or ham, cut in chunks
1 medium onion, diced
1 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. catsup
Mix all together and place in crockpot. Do in evening. Do not precook or soak beans. Start pot on high and cook 2 hours. Turn low and cook overnight. Check in morning and add liquid if necessary.

Rachel May 30, 2020 at 2:29 pm

I hope you come back to the comments section to see this.

I made the beans, and they were perfect! Your mom’s recipe will become my new go-to (sorry, Grandma). If you don’t mind sharing, what’s your mom’s first name? I like to give proper attribution. 🙂

Thank you very much for sharing with me!

Lisa M. May 30, 2020 at 5:23 pm

Rachel – Yes, of course I came back as NCA is my favorite blog!

I am so happy you tried & liked the baked beans. They work particularly well for summer d/t cooking in the crockpot, not the oven.

I know my Mom would be very proud if you would like to call these “Mareta’s Baked Beans”. Pronounced Ma-rita. She was passionate about all things homemaking related & was truly an exceptional cook.

Lisa M. June 1, 2020 at 11:37 am

Joanie – Happy to. You could likely find a crockpot at @ reasonable cost @ Goodwill or similar thrift store. After I inadvertently broke my crock, I picked up a used crockpot @ GW (with a removable crock for ease in cleaning) for a few dollars which has served me faithfully for many years.

The oven recipe has a full version amount & 1/2 amount. The full amount would make a huge quantity; I believe I have typically made the 1/2 version.

Barbequed Beans (Full Version)

3 – 2o oz. cans pork & beans
1 – 14 oz. ketchup
1/3 C. Worcestershire sauce
1# dark brown sugar
2 medium or 1 large chopped onion
1 green pepper, diced
1/2# raw bacon & cut fine

Mix & refrigerate 24 hours. Leave out for casserole dish to warm slightly. Bake @ 325 degrees for 3 hours. Serves 12-15.

Barbequed Beans (1/2 Version)

2 – 16 oz. cans pork & beans
1 C. ketchup
3 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2# or 2 1/3 C. dark brown sugar
1 medium chopped onion
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/4# raw bacon & cut fine

Mix & refrigerate 24 hours. Leave out casserole dish to warm slightly. Bake @ 325 degrees for 2 hours. Serves 6-7.

Joanie June 1, 2020 at 7:17 am

Lisa–Your mom’s baked beans recipe sounds great, but I don’t have a crockpot. If you see this could you please also post her oven version with pork and beans? Thank you!


Lisa M. June 1, 2020 at 11:38 am

My bad, Joanie. Recipe posted above.

Joanie June 1, 2020 at 1:06 pm

Lisa–So glad you saw my request and posted the recipe. That does sound like an exceptionally good combination of ingredients and I’ll make it this coming weekend. Thank you! Also appreciate the tip about getting a used crockpot as I am not certain I’d actually use it much. By the way, I think your mother’s name is beautiful.


Lisa M. June 3, 2020 at 6:04 am

Joanie – Please lmk how you like the “BBQ Beans” if you get a chance. This recipe is delectable & a little heavier than the other recipe.

Our GW always has crockpots but after initially inheriting my grandma’s with an affixed crock, I’ve been intentional on seeking out removable ones since. So much easier to clean.

And thank you, I have always liked my Mom’s name & appreciated my grandparents’ originality.

Katy in Africa May 26, 2020 at 1:45 pm

We had a birthday last week too! My daughter turned 12.
1. Spent $0 on wrapping materials. I had leftover paper from Christmas and reusable giftbags.
2. Our main gift to her was a bike, we bought used.
3. I made her choice of meal, which was grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and homemade fries. With vanilla cake and peanut butter icing for dessert.
4. We reused our birthday banner we use every bday. I also had some noise makers from last year I gave as party favors.
5. A cheap, but meaningful thing I’ve started doing for the kid’s birthdays is writing 12 ( or however old they are turning) things I like about them.


Alison May 27, 2020 at 11:41 am

Mashed potatoes AND fries in the same meal? My kind of birthday dinner!


Christine May 28, 2020 at 1:33 pm

My husband uses the mashed potatoes as dip for the fries. A little too “potatoey” for me…


Vickey May 31, 2020 at 10:18 am

I *love* your no. 5!!


Kara May 26, 2020 at 2:27 pm

I’m so happy to see a new post. Thank you, Katy!
I just completed getting $25 dollars refunded to my visa as Home Depot will price match an item sold elsewhere for less. Because the order was done online, I only had to phone, and not actually go into the store.
I tied up my tomato plants with t-shirt yarn. A great use for those ugly freebie t-shirts!
A very wonderful side-benefit of this time at home: my mother and sister have cleaned out their fabric stashes and have gifted me with their excess. This was fabric that was never going to be used at their houses. I have been using it to sew items for my etsy shop, most of which are items that replace single-use items. A win for me, my mother and sister, and less to the landfill!
Krispy Kreme is offering free donuts June 1-5. Hope that puts a smile on someone’s face!


Alexandra May 27, 2020 at 2:51 pm

Thanks for the heads up about the donuts! I’ll tell the grandkids. (:


Marybeth Cipriani May 26, 2020 at 2:29 pm

Nothing life shattering but I will take what I can get right now.
1. Hubby sold one of his bikes. He hasn’t ridden it in a few years. He listed it and it was gone in an hour. Crap out cash in.
2. I planted my garden. I grow all of my own plants from seeds. Planted extra this year so I will have plenty to share and can.
3. Hubby and my son built me a new front garden. Came out beautiful. Had to buy some supplies but didn’t pay for labor. Planting lots of home grown herbs in it.
4. Had our best friends over for a social distanced campfire. We laughed a lot which we all needed. Drank wine that I was gifted at Christmas.
5. The elderly man that I help told me to throw away his rye bread because it was going stale. I made them into croutons. I ate at his home 2 days because I cook for him and I eat with him.
6. Wrapped a baby gift in an Easter bag. It had baby chicks all over it. Made a homemade card. Gave the gift to the grandparents that came over for #4.


Juhli May 26, 2020 at 2:31 pm

My list sounds like so many others. Went very few places, spent more on groceries and less on going out meals, less gas for car, etc. Did do a few different things:
1. Borrowed some medical equipment for an upcoming surgery. My community has 2 medical equipment lending closets.
2. Turned old capris into shorts and a pair of jogger PJ pants that never fit right into wide leg capri PJ pants. Much better in both cases.
3. Reading borrowed books either real ones from a Little Free Library or Kindle ones from the library.
4. Signed up for free New York Times access through library digital resources. Am exploring the movies they provide free streaming access to also.
5. FaceTimed or Zoomed with family instead of not allowed travel.


Nancy from mass May 26, 2020 at 3:17 pm

Well, my frugal 5 is going to sound pretty much the same as everyone else.
1. 3 months at home now. Gone 500 miles, been saving a lot on gas, my inspection sticker was due last month but it’s been extended for three more months and I haven’t needed an oil change since January.
2. Rearranged two closets, my bedroom, and the living room.
3. I was hanging up the laundry but saw inchworms yesterday. So I’ll be using my dryer until they are gone. . Plus the pollen has been terrible and DS has been sneezing up a storm). (For some reason, it changed that last section to “Susan at the store“. Oh, apple spellcheck)
4. Finished 2 Quil, halfway through so in the third. Bound a fourth and prepped a fifth to go to the pro quilters . Also been knitting up a storm and finished my paint by number
5. Didn’t buy a gold plated apartment, take medicine that would kill me, or ask if I should take insulin for no apparent reason. I have been wearing my mask and gloves when I do leave the house because I care about others.


Nancy from mass May 26, 2020 at 3:18 pm

Well, my frugal 5 is going to sound pretty much the same as everyone else.
1. 3 months at home now. Gone 500 miles, been saving a lot on gas, my inspection sticker was due last month but it’s been extended for three more months and I haven’t needed an oil change since January.
2. Rearranged two closets, my bedroom, and the living room.
3. I was hanging up the laundry but saw inchworms yesterday. So I’ll be using my dryer until they are gone. . Plus the pollen has been terrible and DS has been sneezing up a storm). (For some reason, it changed that last section to “Susan at the store“. Oh, apple spellcheck)
4. Finished 2 Quilts, halfway through so in the third. Bound a fourth and prepped a fifth to go to the pro quilters . Also been knitting up a storm and finished my paint by number
5. Didn’t buy a gold plated apartment, take medicine that would kill me, or ask if I should take insulin for no apparent reason. I have been wearing my mask and gloves when I do leave the house because I care about others.


Nancy from mass May 26, 2020 at 3:19 pm

Sorry for the duplicates


Lisa May 26, 2020 at 4:03 pm

1) I’ve been using some of the extra time to do some fiscal cleanup. I filled out paperwork for unclaimed money, cancelled my Ipsy subscription that I use when traveling, coraled my youngest into the family Spotify account, etc. Each one is spectacularly unimpressive but all needed to be done.
2) I’m working on masks for the family as we’re in this for the long haul. The elastic I ordered in March is due to deliver next week, finally. The fabricnim using includes placemats that were my grandmother’s and a pillow sham I’ve had since before I had my (20+ yo) children.
3) Shopping infrequently makes managing foodstuffs more challenging, at least for me. When a Costco sized container of grape tomatoes started to look sad, I made it into tomato jam, and luckily had all the other necessary ingredients on hand. Yummy with hamburgers!
4) The local Buy Nothing group remains particularly active and I’ve shared a bunch of my stuff, making more room in the house. I scored XL canning jars for my pantry this week.
5) YouTube has been very helpful for various household projects including cultivating herbs, pruning various trees and shrubs, refinishing a cutting board and other minor household projects.


Alexandra May 27, 2020 at 2:53 pm

I frequently announce: “God Love Youtube!” The wealth of knowledge shared on that platform is absolutely mind boggling. What a great resource we all have access to.


Christine May 26, 2020 at 5:01 pm

1. I bought a box of powdered dishwasher detergent a couple of months ago in an attempt to reduce my use of plastic. It worked ok at first, then I noticed the dishes were not getting all that clean. I went back to the gel detergent in plastic bottles but instead of throwing out the powdered detergent, I use it about fourth or fifth time I run the dishwasher. I’ve noticed no difference in the cleanliness of the dishes when I skip a few times in between using the gel detergent to use the powdered.
2. I found two pennies on the floor at work.
3. I found a deer tick attached to my wrist the day after planting flowers at the cemetery for Memorial Day. I contacted my doctor who prescribed an antibiotic…out of pocket cost of the med was $1.56. Blessed with great insurance. The frugal part is also that I may have saved myself future medical costs by taking the antibiotic right away. Fingers crossed.
4. Had a quiet Memorial Day. Ate at home’ Read a lot’
5. No big expenses but have been building my emergency account just in case.


Bee May 27, 2020 at 4:03 am

If you add 1/2 cup of vinegar to your dishwasher, it may help to get rid of the residue from the dishwasher soap and give you cleaner dishes. The powder is also great to use if you have a “stuck on mess” in a baking dish. Soak over night and the mess comes right off.


Christine May 28, 2020 at 1:40 pm

Thanks for the tips Bee. I never thought of soaking messy pans in the dishwasher detergent. Will try this. One thing…do I add the vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher or in one of the detergent compartments? My dishwasher has two…one for detergent and one for finishing agent. Thanks.


Bee May 29, 2020 at 12:44 pm

I just add it to the bottom of the dishwasher. It would probably work either way.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl May 26, 2020 at 5:27 pm

Just popping in to say Katy, take pictures of your bean soup, share a bean soup recipe, etc., and don’t worry about it being exciting. We’re all frugal here…bean soup IS exciting! 😉

We are easily pleased.


Katy May 26, 2020 at 7:32 pm

It’s not even soup, mostly like a “burrito bowl” kind of situation.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl May 28, 2020 at 1:33 pm

Burrito bowls work too. You just try and bore us. I don’t think it’s possible! 🙂


Katy May 29, 2020 at 12:20 pm

Challenge accepted!


Julie May 26, 2020 at 6:22 pm

Sometimes it may seem mundane and boring, but it’s still nice to hear from everyone and see how people are doing with our current situation. I still get excited to see a new 5 Frugal Things.
1- a friends daughter did a closest purge and I was blessed with 7 beautiful new items of clothing. She likes the same colours and styles as I do so this was a huge win.
2-We have had great luck with local Facebook groups and I have been able give away stuff we no longer need and receive stuff we do. Borrowed a wheelbarrow on the weekend to build a new garden bed as ours had a flat tire.
3-We need a new fence and the new neighbour happily agreed to share the cost.
4-Friends have shared extra seedlings so this years garden is bigger than usual. Soon we will have garden fresh lettuce.
5-I enjoy the occasional ice coffee and for the 1st brewed my own, it’s not that hard and seems like quite the treat.
Sometimes it may seem mundane and boring, but it’s still nice to hear from everyone and see how people are doing with our current situation.
1- a friends daughter did a closest purge and I was blessed with 7 beautiful new items of clothing. She likes the same colours and styles as I do so this was a huge win.
2-We have had great luck with local Facebook groups and I have been able give away stuff we no longer need and receive stuff we do. Borrowed a wheelbarrow on the weekend to build a new garden bed as ours had a flat tire.
3-We need a new fence and the new neighbour happily agreed to share the cost.
4-Friends have shared extra seedlings so this years garden is bigger than usual. Soon we will have garden fresh lettuce.
5-I enjoy the occasional ice coffee and for the 1st brewed my own, it’s not that hard and seems like quite the treat.


Jenzer May 26, 2020 at 6:41 pm

1 – After twenty years of living only 10 miles away, I *finally* made a visit to a Nature Conservancy preserve in our area that’s known for its spring wildflowers. WOW. Rolling open terrain, deep forest with tall trees, wildflowers I’d never seen before — it lived up to its reputation. I won’t wait twenty years for my next visit.

2 – DS cleaned out an aging pile of Halloween candy in our pantry. I salvaged the Jolly Rancher candies that had gotten gummy and stuck to their wrappers. If I soak them in cold water for a bit, the wrappers peel right off and they’re perfectly edible.

3 – Found out that our health savings account funds can now be used for menstrual products and over-the-counter medications. Glad I saved the receipts from some recent purchases of same.

4 – YouTube suggested several bossa nova / light jazz “café” channels I might like. YouTube was right. Having a bit of smooth background music playing while I work helps to dial back my increased stress levels a bit. No Spotify subscription required.

5 – Took inventory of my aspirational seed purchases from the last several years: three packets of cosmos, two of lettuce, two of ornamental gourds, one of kohlrabi, plus a handful of others. With so many cancellations of this summer’s events, I think I might actually have time to get these in the ground this year, AND keep them alive.


Lisa M. May 26, 2020 at 8:58 pm

Jenzer – Your #2. I am 100% sure that I have Jolly Rancher candies buried in the bottom of the candy bowl that are stuck to their wrappers. Now I’ll know how to remedy this problem. Thank you!


cathy May 27, 2020 at 3:58 pm

When I took inventory of my seed packets in March, I discovered I was an aspirational purchaser as well—especially cool season crops. I’ve been pushing myself to plant as many of the seeds as possible. Only had to buy a handful of plant starts. Should be a bumper harvest year.


Vickey June 1, 2020 at 5:56 am

Love your #4! I’ve been listening to the same things for a couple of years now, since a jazz musician friend pointed me in that direction. “See” you over there! 😉

Reply May 26, 2020 at 8:17 pm

Katy – I don’t find your post boring whatsoever! Life right now just feels so wonky, it is hard to come up with unique frugal things…but I’m going to try!!

1. Writing a journal is a frugal habit, and it’s fascinating when I look back and read about when this virus started to affect us all here in North America. I’m still boggled by how quickly and dramatically life changed.

2. I have done zero clothes shopping! I’m never a big shopper anyway, but now it’s nonexistent. (I do miss an occasional snoop in a thrift shop.)

3. We’re trying to eat less meat. One of my favourite things to make is a simple red lentil and veggie curry. So good and filling served on brown rice.

4. Trying to make a good, frugal choice when it comes to getting a new cell phone. I’m researching how we can get the best deal, and yet also get good service. I tend to be impatient when it comes to technology, so I’m trying to be more patient about this.

5. I’ve been keeping a few items in my Amazon shopping cart, waiting until the price drops before I place an order. My best deal this week was Kraft balsamic dressing for only $1 each. (I think they sometimes match local sale prices. I know Amazon is ugh for some people, but it has helped us to get necessities at this time.)


Texasilver May 26, 2020 at 9:00 pm

1. Reading free digitized books on Open Library.
2. Watching free Pluto TV on my Vizio smart TV.
3. Got a free fountain drink using my 7 eleven app.
4. Took my sewing machine to be repaired. Once it returns I plan to make some dog/cat beds for the Humane Society. I have some stained comforters to cut up & use for the beds. Heaven knows I have plenty of time to sew.
5. Found a rubber car mat on the curb while out walking. Will wash it up & put in the back floorboard of my 25 year old Toyota.


Lindsay B May 27, 2020 at 12:34 am

I agree, it’s definitely harder to come up with “new” ways to be frugal right now.
1. Mended yet another shirt for DH.
2. Had previously used some white rice in a heating pack which changed the texture of the rice, making it fall apart when cooked. Instead of throwing it away, have been using small amounts in soup where the fact that it falls apart helps add some bulk.
3. Finished yet another hair product that wasn’t my favorite. COVID hair= don’t care.
4. Continuing to pick nettles. Delicious when sautéed until crispy in olive oil with onions, then added to a bean bowl.
5. We’re slowly working on our taxes, both for the US and for the Scandinavian country we live in. Should receive some money back from both.


Roberta May 27, 2020 at 1:21 pm

I’ve never tried that with nettles! I will hunt them down and try that this year (if there are any left.) Thanks for the tip!


Linda Farquharson May 27, 2020 at 7:50 pm

I don’t think it’s harder at all to be frugal just now. It’s good to see less of the “spend to save” mentality, and to discover our true resourcefulness in difficult times!
Linda in NZ


Bee May 27, 2020 at 4:28 am

I find your #10 particularly sad. So many small and independently owned businesses are starting to disappear as the result of quarantine. I know of 6 in my area. I continue to support the small business when ever possible. I encourage others to do this too. These individuals and organizations support your kids’ sports league, your schools and other charitable groups. Jeff Bezos or Walmart do not care about your community or efforts to raise money for your soup kitchen. However, your local co-op or restaurant often give back to the community. If you are able, please help them now. Amazon, Walmart and McDonalds will survive without your small purchase.


Bee May 27, 2020 at 4:31 am

Sorry — this is meant to Lisa M’s comments regarding local restaurant’s closing.


Lisa M. May 27, 2020 at 6:28 am

Bee, your are 100% correct. The upscale restaurant provided food during our town’s annual summer art festival & had been providing meals to older adults & lunches to children during the quarantine. Now more than ever, is a time to support local businesses who are struggling. We haven’t ordered takeout often but it is an easy effort to target local family-owned businesses when we do.


Heidi Louise May 27, 2020 at 9:44 am

And– Local news media is getting hit even more than they were with the increase of online news. Fewer stories to cover, especially with fewer sporting events. Fewer businesses buying advertising. Keep them in your plans if they are important to you.


Christine May 28, 2020 at 1:46 pm

Right on point Bee.


tracy May 27, 2020 at 4:55 am

I have had several large expenses (daughter needs to make up some credits — summer school = $720, plumbing repair =$450, car repair = $1500) so am not feeling particularly frugal. Also I have to confess to some online shopping the last couple of weeks, but I’m done with that cycle (it’s a recurring struggle but one that I am improving on over time, I am not naturally frugal but I’m working on it!). But I am also doing frugal things, and committed to paying off the aforementioned items over next two months without reducing savings rate.

Now for a few frugal things:

1. Gave myself a manicure yesterday. Will trim own bangs today.
2. Cooking at home. No takeout since pizza last Thursday.
3. Filled up my tank for $20 (had $1 0ff per gallon with Kroger rewards points).
4. Bought three fairly large lavender plants for $9 ($3 each). Originally they were $8 each but marked down because looking a little peaked. Will plant today. Over the last few years I have been slowly adding to the landscape spending little money.
5. Haven’t paid for parking ($17.50 a day!) downtown in 2.5 months!


Michele Davidson May 27, 2020 at 5:58 am

I don’t find your posts boring. I find it comforting that someone else is doing the same (boring) things!

1. Boiling a turkey carcass my MIL gave me. Will use broth and the bits of meat in many upcoming meals.
2. Made banana bread and froze 3 other bananas for future banana something.
3. Continued my 57 day streak of walking 50 munutes a day.
4. Got our stimulus check and will sock it away.
5. Starting a dedicated account for our 3 month emergency fund. 1600 dollars hidden in the laundry room feels unsafe.


Gina May 27, 2020 at 6:10 am

I love these posts! I don’t always post as much as I should as I don’t think I can come up with 5…..

1. We got a new water meter at our house (free of charge) and along with it a hefty discount!!
2. My in-laws treated us to a new driveway at our camp (even though I had all the $ set aside for it)… father-in-law wanted it to be easy to just pull his camper in and not sink in the mud. He told us to take our $ and invest it in something else at camp. We let them use our camp any time free of charge….we pay all the taxes and electric bills.
3. Our daughter totaled her car in an accident and we were car shopping. We were a repeat customer at the dealership where we purchased a car for her; they gave us an additional $500 discount.
4. Daughter #1 was getting rid of some brand new cushioned flip flops; they fit me so I got a new pair for this summer!
5. I thought I wanted a temporary greenhouse, but it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be….so I listed it on FB marketplace & it sold within a few hours of listing it.
6. Picking up tomato plants from an older couple in our township who gifted me some last year as well. Was nice that they thought of me again. 🙂
7. Finally got a $50 referral check in mail from car dealership (same one above) that we referred friends to when they purchased their vehicle.


Jill A May 27, 2020 at 7:41 am

I also have nothing exciting to report…

1. I sold another item on Ebay and shipped it using recycled and reused packing materials and box. USPS picked up from my home saving me a trip. Most items I’m selling are crap and I will have to find some other items to list. Looking forward to thrifting and garage sales.
2. We had a social distancing dinner at my Mother’s house. It was a potluck and my daughters and I provided scratch rolls, brownies and mac-n-cheese. It was an inexpensive and entertaining, relaxing evening spent outside in the beautiful weather. It was so nice to spend time with family.
3. My daughters and I have been digging up dead and ugly bushes. Some will not be replaced but instead I’ll just enjoy the empty weed free mulched space. This would ordinarily be my husbands job but since he’s passed away I’ve added it to my list of things I’m on my own for.
4. I fixed a favorite pair of slippers with a sour cream lid and duct tape. The soles are cracking and crumbling so I was walking on big holes which was not comfortable. It won’t last forever but hopefully until I can find a good deal on new ones.
5. My daughter and I extracted the honey from her dead hives. It produced 2.5 gallons of honey which we can sell and give away as gifts as well as personal use.


Carolyn May 27, 2020 at 8:07 am

Our big frugal project was getting the garden planted. Tomatoes, green beans, peppers, cucumbers m squash and we will be staggering the planting of corn. Strawberries will be ripe soon and blueberries in July.
Cooking all our meals at home is not a big change for us, We always did, maybe went out on e every couple weeks. Now that it is summer, the area will be getting crowded with vacationers. Glad to see my friends back in business, the virus thing was so overhyped, that people were acting like it was the end of the world.
Barbershops and salons are not open in our area yet, but my husband continued to give my teen boys their haircuts every three weeks as usual, they are very picky about their hair and even though they weren’t in school, they were not looking shaggy. I got mine trimmed a couple weeks ago and two of my friends stopped by to visit and we hung out on the deck, had hamburgers and wine coolers and enjoyed the afternoon. My one friend usually has my husband cut her hair and she asked me if he could cut her hair, I said I am fine with that, so we got a stool out of the deck, and hubby got his tools and gave her a trim. My other friend mentioned that she needed her hair cut too, but she has short hair and wondered if he could do short hair. He told her that he gives the boys their haircuts, and her pixie wasn’t much longer than my older son’s hair, and her bangs were driving her crazy plus she didn’t like the mullet look she was getting in the back. Being her hair was short, hubby suggested that he could use the clippers if she was ok with it. She said that would be great as that is what her stylist always used. So hubby gave her a haircut and she liked the results. She asked if she could get her hair cut again before July 4th, and he said ok.
We are not planning on going anywhere this year, except day trips to the lake.
Lawn mowing season is here again, so the farm work continues, and hubby has a lot of wood to split.


betta from daVille May 28, 2020 at 9:19 am

I’m not sure if 100,000 people dying (and counting) is overhyped! Imagine what the numbers would have been if we didn’t do social distancing. Several states have also skewed the numbers low, so even 100,000 is fewer than actually died from CV-19.


jamsouth May 28, 2020 at 1:19 pm

I agree, in my area of CT the numbers were very high. My friends and family that work in the hospitals say it’s still rough and like nothing they’ve ever had to deal with before. It’s not overhyped here!


Annette May 30, 2020 at 12:42 pm

Amen, Betta. You are spot-on.


Christine May 28, 2020 at 1:53 pm

Glad you and your loved ones are staying healthy for now. My daughter who is a nurse in a hard hit long term care facility may not agree with your description of Covid 19 being hyped. They have lost so many there.


Bee May 28, 2020 at 2:14 pm

The Covid experience varies greatly depending on where you live. Although Florida has had 40000+, I live in the northeastern part of the state which has been impacted very little. Our county of nearly 900 square miles with a population of 260,000 people has had 243 cases. My zip code has had 37 cases with 1 new case reported since April 26th. Florida’s mortality rate is also around 3-4%.
This is a much different scenario than the Northeast U.S. which accounts for more than 1/2 the cases in the country and a mortality rate hovering around 10%. There are many theories about the reasons for the disparity. I hope for all of us epidemiologists can determine why.


Nancy from mass May 31, 2020 at 9:22 am

Boston’s death rate has been hovering around 6% (#of deaths / # of positive tests). Don’t understand how people don’t think it’s a big deal.


Gina M May 27, 2020 at 8:42 am

I appreciate your posts Katy!
1. Did my family’s taxes myself, using the return we filed last year using TurboTax as a guide. This was painful but glad to have not spent any money.
2. Sewed a hole in my favorite black cardigan and repaired my daughter’s stuffed animal too.
3. Downloaded a free plant-identifying app on my phone and learning about all the plants in my yard/neighboorhood. Something I always wanted to do.
4. Haven’t bought anything besides food, gas and water balloons for the kids since the start of quarantine, when we bought a freestanding basketball hoop to keep my 13-year-old (and the rest of us) active. Couldn’t find one on craigslist, ended up buying from Walmart.
5. Transplanted my homegrown tomato plants into the garden this weekend. My husband now has time to help me with the garden and I think it’s going to be a good one this year.


Hawaii Planner May 27, 2020 at 10:24 am

My lists look a lot like others. Here’s what’s been happening:
1) Drying majority of our clothes on our indoor line dryer. The hot weather is getting them dried quickly! Also trying to avoid using the A/C for more than an hour/day on the days when it’s in the 90s.
2) Sold several high value items on eBay ($100, & $65, respectively), which is quite different from my normal stream of $10 or less items.
3) Packaged all eBay sales in repurposed packaging, which I learned right here! Can’t believe i embarrassingly never thought of it before.
4) Saved a bunch of work on a large project, by doing the majority of it myself. We will have help with the more complicated pieces.
5) Writing off gift cards for a restaurant that closed (not local), and trying to use all of the ones we currently have. So sad, and not frugal. I did inventory all of my gift cards, so I could see what we had, and prioritize using them.

Our grocery bill continues to be crazy high, but the rest of life is pretty frugal.


Katy May 27, 2020 at 1:47 pm

Hooray for bigger eBay sales!


Roberta May 27, 2020 at 1:37 pm

I like hearing about other people doing the same ol’, and I still learn things — like crispy frying nettles for bean bowls!

I have been spending a lot of money lately. My stove is on it’s last leg, my refrigerator is making a funny noise, and the ice in the freezer isn’t as frozen in the middle as it should be.

1. Making broth out of all the veg bits in the freezer. I am emptying out the freezer and hoping that a thorough defrosting will reclaim it. Everything has to fit in the deep freeze, so I’m having to get creative to make two freezers fit into one.
2. Sold a kerosene heater I posted to Craigslist months ago! It’s been on since the first week of quarantine. Makes up for the tea cup I sold on ebay; somehow it was marked free shipping, and it cost more to ship than the buyer sent. I made sure nothing else is free shipping.
3. I gave Groupons wrapped with toilet rolls as gifts to a niece and nephew. Helps support my favorite Mexican restaurant!
4. Buying my new range online, through Ratukan for the rebate. We stopped by in person to check it out before I bought.
5. Found a new mechanic! Mine retired, and the person he sold the business to overcharged a lot. (He charged $100 for installation of a cabin filter. My 14 year old did it herself in less than 10 minutes based on a week’s extracurricular at school months earlier. Charging a whole hour’s labor for that was not ok.) The new guy is very affordable — and I have been able to put off service because I’m driving so little!


Alexandra May 27, 2020 at 3:07 pm

I too appreciate hearing the “boring” and “mundane”. I am in the midst of it with all of you and your comments help me a lot. I always learn something here, so thank you Katy.
1. DH sold an old router on Craisglist today. Love to have the money for something gathering dust.
2. We are continuing to do YouTube exercise videos daily. I added weight training to 2 days per week and am so proud I’ve hit 6 weeks consistently. The other days I do cardio videos. I’m in better shape than I was at the beginning of the pandemic!
3. Enjoying youtube videos of instant pot recipes. I’m officially in love with my instant pot. It was a slow growing relationship, but we are officially hitting it off now. It is an amazing tool.
4. Every few weeks I stop all shopping and insist we eat down what we have bought. In the beginning, I treated this like our annual hurricanes and stocked up. Now, I don’t worry as much about our food system and feel we need to eat down our stock. Very grateful DH is on board and we make it a game to see how long we can go without grocery shopping.
5. Took a day trip today to visit another town’s botanical gardens. So lovely. We brought ham sandwiches and cut up veggies and some iced tea for our lunch. We splurged on small bags of potato chips from the gift shop. I know they were glad for that purchase and also our entrance fee. Very slow there. We are committed to supporting those businesses and organizations we want to last.


Ruby May 27, 2020 at 3:34 pm

Still rocking my home haircut, the Pandemic Pixie. Also gave my husband another haircut. We may never go to the hair salon again. In spending zero dollars decorating, I took a thin piece of plywood, wrapped it in fabric, and used two huge binder clips to fasten it to the top of an absurdly small side table, making it into a side table of useful size. Also cut down some small cardboard boxes to make drawer organizers. Mended a pair of work trousers, which I will have need of as I at last found a job, which starts July 1. (It’s been a long eight months getting by on one income). Also used some fabric bought for a dollar at a yard sale a few summers ago to make more cloth masks.

Goodwill has reopened here, but I just dropped off a bag at the loading dock. It will be a while before I feel comfortable in a store again.


Bee May 27, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Congratulations on your new job. So happy for you.


Ruby May 27, 2020 at 5:18 pm

Thank you. I had applied months ago for this one and was shocked when they finally called for a Zoom interview.


Lisa M. May 27, 2020 at 8:51 pm

I am adding a big pat on the back as well, Ruby. Thankfully I have only exceeded your job search once – 11 months. It was incredibly demoralizing & so difficult to stay hopeful. From one who has been there, I couldn’t be happier for you!


Ruby May 28, 2020 at 3:29 am

Thank you. I did enjoy the time to get a lot of things done around the house, but will be so glad to have income again and not worry about every expense.


Terry May 30, 2020 at 4:59 am

I am so disappointed in our Goodwill in Northwest Illinois. They are receiving tons of donations and reopened on Friday May 29. Most of the ladies blouses are@8.99 ! There are no sales until further notice. People were donating but few were shopping. Good luck Goodwill in moving all those donations at these outrageous prices!


Ruby May 30, 2020 at 1:14 pm

Good heavens, for that price you can hit Ross or T.J. Max and buy new! I could use a couple more cotton blouses for work because July on campus will be very hot, but not at those prices.


MB in MN May 27, 2020 at 4:58 pm

Kudos on the new job! What a relief that must be. And getting it during a pandemic is doubly awesome. Doing the Snoopy Happy Dance for you!


Ruby May 27, 2020 at 5:19 pm

Thank you. I am dancing along with you!


Jennifer May 27, 2020 at 6:36 pm

I am struggling to come up with frugal things as well, but I will try.

1. Dh called our internet provider (finally!) and got our bill reduced by $15 – it had gone up $10 in January.

2. Got a couple of free magazine subscriptions online – we normally just borrow from the library but that has been closed for months now with no opening in site.

3. For everyone’s sanity we moved my almost college graduate to the basement rather than sharing a bunk bed with his brother. he was supposed to stay at school this summer, but ended up coming home. We have a guest in his former room. Anyway, I ordered a foam mattress off Amazon for $233. I don’t think that is bad at all and no one had to come into my home to deliver it.

4. our water softener system was NOT working. Had the company out after dh tried to figure it out on his own. Learned about a filter that needs to be cleaned sometimes – all for $45. We do need a larger unit but that is not urgent at at $1300, definitely not in our immediate future.

5. Forced myself to cook various things from scratch this week to help fill up all the teens in the house saving money on prepackaged food that they would like to have.

6. Making a very specific list for my Costco run tomorrow. I’m trying SO HARD to limit how often I shop. But now that there are 7 of us here it is much harder. Hoping that a good list will help.


tia May 28, 2020 at 6:37 am

Same ol same ol frugal frugal frugal

One unfrugal thing bought bus ticket for child gone covid crazy to rescue them from empty shut down streets of Las Vegas with Russian flesh traders after them

Gave haircuts in park at picnic table everybody wearing masks and distancing

I know the news reports a lot of medical crazy happening but I think there is a lot of unreported personal crazy going on out there

What will these time be called?

Looney under the covid moon?

Carona Pandemona?

I went nowhere and all I got was this mask made from tshirts?


Vickey June 2, 2020 at 7:46 am

Tia, your proposed catchphrases made me chuckle in recognition. I know a few who are cracking under the pressure. Being available for emotional support takes much more time these days than I had anticipated. But hey, that human connection is what we’re here for. Imho.


twf May 28, 2020 at 7:36 am

1. Like Katy, I barely used any gas…
2. Friend sent me a zillion “free” coupons from the Vons/Pavilions Monopoly game. I’ve been at the store every three days stocking up on bagels, sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, bottled drinks (something I would rarely purchase) and everything else offered. If I can’t use it, I share with neighbors.
3. Still cooking everything from scratch
4. Needed a root canal but this time I have dental insurance. $$550 copay sure beats the $2K+ that I paid a few years ago (sadly, that one has to be done again.)
5. Really, really getting tired of working and want to retire but I will need to work until 70 years old. Can I say…if you are still young and have opportunity to get work that will give you some type of retirement greater than SS — stick it out, especially if you are single. It is not easy to work at this age (and for some reason employers pay less to older people and are less inclined to hire them!) Take all the benefits that you can and do not feel bad about using them. You’ll be glad you did so when you are my age.


betta from daVille May 28, 2020 at 9:43 am

Even if we are doing the mundane, I really enjoy reading these as so many others also said….
1) Drove the 2 hours to visit my parents for my mom’s birthday. I hadn’t seen them yet in 2019 as I was supposed to see them the week that everything shut down. We brought lunch and ate outside. I made muffuletta sandwiches, with homemade bread ( muffuletta sandwich recipe), and apple crisp from apples that NEEDED to be used! I think that all in, it was less than $10 to feed 4 of use.
2) My mom has been “death cleaning” for a couple of years, and she doesn’t want anything (and we can’t now go on an adventure). She did need yeast, so I split the pound that I had bought, and I gave her a case of free canned cat food for her two feral cats that she feeds. Chewy had sent the wrong flavor and our spoiled cats are quite particular.
3) Left parent’s house with 2 free plants (that we dug up from their yard) and rhubarb. Giving plants is my dad’s love language, I think.
4) Received a not-insignificant refund from the escrow account from the mortgage company. We’ll apply it directly to the principal.
5) My tiny stimulus check (I know I am incredibly fortunate to have a good salary) came in the form of a debit card. Hopefully, it will cover the next shopping trip that will cover 3 more weeks of cooking from home.


Julia May 29, 2020 at 6:47 am

OMG my mom has been “death cleaning” and “death giving away” for years. My brother is my only sibling and we never fight over anything. We keep telling her we will handle it all when the time come. But my mom never wants to be a burden so she wants it all taken care of now. She is super sweet and the kindest mom ever.


Tonya parham May 28, 2020 at 11:59 am

1. Didn’t get any groceries this week, focusing instead on using up things we have in the house.

2. Made a curried lentil stew and roti after watching a youtube video. The Missus was thrilled! (So was I as it was VERY good!)

3. A friend asked if I wanted some canna, a rose of sharon, and some mint from her thinning out of plants. She left them on the porch yesterday.

4. Reading God Save Texas by Laurence Wright as he wrote Going Clear and I thought it was fascinating. I lived in Texas briefly and while I hated it (I was a kid, my parents were divorcing and I missed my grandparents) I have a deep fondness for Texans. Also as a Tennessean, I feel a connection to the state…so, yeah….lost my point there!

5. Watching youtube for meal ideas. I’m not entirely vegan (cheese still happens sometimes) but even watching ominivore meal ideas inspires me. We haven’t ordered pizza or take out in at least 2 weeks.


Tonya parham May 28, 2020 at 12:02 pm


I also went to a local strawberry farm and got 16 quarts of berries (most of them to freeze) for smoothies in the winter. Sure, I can buy frozen strawberries but I like buying local and they are SO GOOD!


Dee from MA May 28, 2020 at 4:54 pm

Yep, same thing here too! Seems boring & mundane but please know everyone’s posts do encourage us to continue on & forge ahead Katy! Here in MA things are slowly opening, but even so we continue to see a full ER census in our hospital. Our governor is attempting to work both ends of the spectrum of helping business get back to business albeit slowly while at the same time heavily cautioning the public about remaining aware there’s a very good chance of this coming back on us. Based on what I see on a daily basis that’s almost a given. Some folks just aren’t paying attention. That being said I still attempt in living my “normal frugal life”. Though my frugal five may echo some of the previous contributors it only makes me realize just how in-tune we are with each other which is so refreshing! Always seems I’m at the “end” of the list of contributors, but that’s how my week goes! This is what I’ve accomplished this week!
1. Ready to harvest the first planting of lettuce this weekend & will also plant some more to continue not having to buy any. Peas & kale are also doing well.
2. A local organization held an outdoor plant sale last weekend. I wandered among the hanging plants & was discouraged by the $35.00 price tag for a hanging pot of petunias so left with nothing except money still in my wallet!
3. Checked the oil in my car—just in case. Frugal to avoid problems “down the road”. But it’s what we all do…some mundane, seemingly boring stuff to allow some of the good, fun stuff seem like a “score”!
4. I went to Walgreens to pick up a prescription & received additional 20% discount & another coupon for next purchase. I get so excited about these small “helpers”!
5. Continue to take homebrewed coffee, filled water bottle, lunch & snacks to work for my 10 hour shift at hospital. My theory is spending any money in the café at work is one less dollar per hour I take home.

That’s all I can offer this week. But I’m so encouraged by all of you & Katy for your dedication to all of us. Please take care & continue if you can to find some beauty in the world—it’s still out there!


Loretta May 28, 2020 at 5:50 pm

No income coming in from my husband’s job as he is self emplyed. We’re not eligible for any financial aid.
1) As normal, we have cooked every meal from scratch but somehow spent less on groceries this month for a family of 4 adults than ever ($750AUD) including food for 2 dogs and 6 chooks.
2) I am doing daily free Yoga with Adriene on Youtube and may not go back to my weekly yoga classes.
3)Am attempting to make pj pants for myself and my daughter from vintage sheets using an old pair as a pattern.
4) Raking all the autumn leaves – there are multiple barrowfuls – to use as mulch in the garden beds. It is my favourite autumnal job.
5) Reading unread books from my own shelves and finding some gems there.


Roberta June 1, 2020 at 6:25 am

Are you ok, Katy?


Susan June 1, 2020 at 10:37 am

-We welcomed a new baby, born at home. We had already planned this pre pandemic. The recovery has been so much easier than my forced, unnecessary c section. Bonus, much less expensive than hospital birth. Spending time lounging at home a lot.
-Was able to have my garden area prepared right before going into labor, thanks to help from family. Also planted beets and snow peas. Post baby I’ve planted seeds for squash, lettuce, herbs, and cucumbers. Bought tomato and pepper plants from the farmers market.
-Returned some baby gifts for items we actually need. Thankful we were given a lot of hand me down clothes and reused a lot of items from my DS. I’m an avid runner and bought a used expensive brand double jogging stroller of FB and ordered a few parts, saving hundreds off buying it new.
-My parents have also been death cleaning so I’ve been listing more crap on eBay and FB.
– Still unable to get haircuts, have our cleaning lady, or go out to dinner. We are getting takeout 1-2x per week from locally owned businesses.


Lisa M. June 1, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Wow, congratulations on the birth of your baby! Is there any greater achievement? I think not. Also wonderful that you & baby successfully maneuvered a home birth. Alas, my risk status wouldn’t allow it but I think home birth is spectacular if safe & what an improvement over a C-section! Susan, you rock!


MB in MN June 1, 2020 at 4:23 pm

Susan, congratulations on your new bundle of love! Wishing you every happiness!


Amanda June 1, 2020 at 12:08 pm

Congratulations on the new baby, Susan! I loved my homebirths too; they were a great option with being low risk and having well-trained midwives. You’re so right, the home recovery is one of the BEST parts. It’s bliss being in your own space and having the privacy and comfort you need for all of the wonderful indignities of those first newborn days. 🙂 So glad it went great for you and kudos for a VBAC.

All the best and blessings!


AuntiAli June 5, 2020 at 10:15 pm

I’m sure I’ve been on here since the start of the pandemic. I live in NJ and my state was hit hard with the virus. Hubs has been working from home, I’ve always been home and daughter goes to work at her job at a liquor store as that’s “essential”. Hubs does the grocery shopping with his homemade (frugal) mask and Nike (washable) gloves.

We finally got our stimulus debit card. I am very thankful that I didn’t need the money. I will send some out to charities like my local food closet and the Salvation Army. Also got a $5 rebate from our homeowner’s insurance and I took collision off of our two cars.

Sis got into making cloth masks so she sent a bunch to me and my family. I think I’ll be wearing a mask for another year just to be safe.

Started adding more bills to my bank’s bill pay after re-reading an Amy D. newsletter that mentioned neighbors putting their utility bills in one envelope to save on postage. Certainly a 21st century d’oh for me, lol.

Son is living in Singapore and has been on stay at home orders since March also. The government set about doing phased re-openings beginning June 1st. I’ve been happy for our free What’s Up app to video chat.

Our central AC had to be repaired so we did that and got a year contract for repairs. It’s 18 years old and we should probably replace it next summer or the summer after.

I’m so happy that New York City had zero deaths on Thursday, 6/4. It was one heck of a scary scene there for a few months. I live about 30 miles west of the city.


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