Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 21, 2020 · 113 comments

  1. I donned mask and gloves to pop into my local Goodwill and picked up a couple of items that at first glance appear boring.

    • A $3.50 golf bag.

    • A 99¢ Star Trek Discovery mug.

    • A $4.99 Settlers of Catan board game.

    • A $1.99 plastic milk crate.

    The golf bag was bought with an idea for resale, as were the mug and board game, (which then quickly sold on eBay.) But the milk crate? It’ll replace the one under my kitchen sink that spontaneous combusted.

    I’m pumped to have an excuse to organize the cupboard under the kitchen sink, which somehow devolved into a bottomless pit of filthy cleaning products.

    I joke about curating a blog called “The Inoffensive Decorator,” that solely publishes boring household makeovers to “beautify and elevate your home without attracting a second glance.” This project will be featured over on that blog. I expect it to go viral.

  2. My husband and I completed our taxes using Turbo Tax, and we’ll be receiving both state and federal refunds. For pretty much the exact amount of our son’s summer tuition payment. Easy in, easy out. Sigh . . . .

  3. I noticed that someone in my local Buy Nothing Group was offering a sealed box of gluten-free chocolate macaroons. I offered to take them off her hands and then immediately got a text from my friend Lise asking if I was in the mood for a walk.


    The two of us, (three, if you count her dog “Daisy”) then walked the half mile or so to pick up the cookies. A delicious treat for my family, which we quickly demolished. Lise didn’t want any.

  4. My raspberries are bearing fruit, my husband switched from pricey deli meat sandwiches to Mexi-bowls for his work lunches, I hosted my mother and step father for a socially distant backyard event, (which featured zero food or beverages as we kept our masks in place) my son’s summer university tuition was discounted for diminished on-campus services, my next door neighbor gave me an extra head of lettuce from her C.S.A. box and I gifted a large box of miscellaneous Japanese items to a neighbor whose kindergartener is enrolled in a Japanese language immersion program.

  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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{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy June 21, 2020 at 11:55 am

1. Met BFF since jr high and her sister for lunch last week. BFF treated me to lunch as it was a BOGO
2. BFF sister loaded up my SUV with items to sell for her. I get 50%. So far I’ve sold $130. Yippee $65 for me
3. We spent the weekend visiting son and daughter in law. Son’s 43 birthday and of course fathers Day. We were treated to free dinner by
son’s boss
4. Returned clothing I bought pre covid to TJMaxx
5. Friend gave a meal from one of his meal delivery as he over bought


Ruby June 21, 2020 at 12:08 pm

1. Painted some of my husband’s woodshop projects with paint from our extensive collection of leftovers. Also repaired a chip in the 1952 sink in our laundry room and repaired grout and paint in our bathroom, which tends to show its age due to being in daily use for 68 years. All done with supplies on hand.
2. Used some apples and potatoes that needed to be cooked in the most recent batch of homemade hypoallergenic dog food, so they weren’t wasted.
3. Mended a pair of denim capris I’ve been wearing for eight years and altered the neckline if a blouse to make it more modest for work. Also mended a tiny hole in the front of my favorite summer shirt.
4. Canceled an Amazon order after thinking about it for 30 minutes.
5. Also mended the troublesome modern slate tile floor in our kitchen, which we hate but came with the house as a result of some misguided renovation by a house flipper, with some grout, stain and spray sealer from our stash of paint and fix-its.


Jill A June 21, 2020 at 12:12 pm

1. My daughter and I both celebrated birthdays last week. My other daughter made us both cakes as a gift which was perfect. Mine was lemon ricotta and my daughter’s was a mocha cake with ermine frosting. Both were delicious.
2. I clipped the dogs nails and gave her a bath at home with a hose hooked up to my laundry room faucet for warm water. I also vacuumed out my car at home. Small savings but it adds up.
3. We celebrated birthdays again last night with a friend. She brought chipotle chicken to grill and I had tortillas etc. for chicken tacos. I made a fruit salad with fruit that was on it’s last legs in my fridge and some delicious strawberries that are growing in my backyard.
4. I’m reading library books on my kindle and I watched a couple episodes of Watchmen which HBO is streaming for free this weekend. I’ve decided it’s not for me though.
5. My mini van was out of storage for a few days in order to get new license plate tabs. I took advantage and took my Mom, sister and daughter for a social distance ride to a cute little beach town. She brought snacks and we bought ice cream while we were there. The next day just daughters and I and our dogs went to a dog beach and spent a few hours enjoy beautiful Lake Michigan.


A. Marie June 21, 2020 at 12:33 pm

FFT, Ordinary Things Edition:

I know I’ve been a bit heavy-handed here lately with the major life changes, and believe me, those continue. (DH’s dementia has taken a sharp turn for the worse in the last 10 days, and I’ll be phoning his geriatricians in the morning to try to get his existing 7/28 appointment moved up.) But in the meantime:

(1) My elderly friend who has been so generous with extras from the food giveaways she participates in stopped by with more: sweet potatoes, onions, a 2# bag of split peas and another of brown rice, a carton of generic “Cheerios”–and this oddball: a large container of pre-sliced white potatoes from a local restaurant. I immediately got out a can of cream of mushroom soup (pushing its sell-by date) and a bit of cheese, and made a potato casserole. Yum yum.

(2) As my part of the barter on (1), I resuscitated and repotted a geranium the friend had bought cheaply because the container was broken. I have the know-how and numerous spare pots, and I was happy to do it.

(3) Had a friendly debate with Ms. Bestest Neighbor about the ethics of (1). I maintained that (a) the friend qualifies for the food giveaways on several counts, and (b) the friend also has an eye out for things that no one else is taking, like the pre-sliced potatoes. Comments on this issue are encouraged.

(4) The Bestest Neighbors, who know I’m quietly going cray-cray over here with DH, continue to have us over for dinner about once a week. Bless them, as always.

(5) And the Bambi wars here continue, as the mama does and their new fawns are starting to come out of hiding and get hungry. No complete casualties in my garden yet, but my pole beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and sunflowers have all been tasted. I’m deploying the deodorant soap remedy I used last year, plus bulk spices (cayenne pepper, garam masala, etc.) from wherever they’re cheap. And I haven’t been hit as hard as the BNs, who lost all of their ripening strawberries and all but two of the Meyer lemons off their potted tree to the Bamboids last night. I think Ms. BN is thinking Bambiburgers.


Heidi Louise June 21, 2020 at 12:43 pm

I don’t recall which blog I read it on: Bambis can be frustrated by a fence line of fine fishing line or dental floss, stretched up at both their ankle and their chest height. They can’t see it in dark or twilight and get frightened.
Sounds too simple, but how great if it works!
I hope you can get the medical advice you need. Wishing you well.


Mary in Maryland June 21, 2020 at 1:02 pm

I have no trouble with your getting stuff from the food bank second hand. There is a distribution at my community college, and I am often encouraged to help out with the spaghetti squash and the lentil soup mix. I’m careful not to be at the head of the line. When I ask for food on freecycle, I always suggest that I be their last choice as we are not food insecure.


A. Marie June 21, 2020 at 1:14 pm

Thanks, Heidi Louise. I have a reel of trashpicked fishing line somewhere among my accumulations in the basement, and will try that tip this week.


JJ June 21, 2020 at 1:31 pm

Fishing line definitely works! We have used it successfully after dealing with repeated bambi invasions. You’ll have to walk your yard and check the lines every few days, because it will snap when they run into it and get spooked.


KJD509 June 21, 2020 at 1:50 pm

A Marie, I hope you can set your mind at ease about the food giveaways. There’s endless balancing involved in bulk food distribution – for example, had your friend not taken the potatoes, they would continue to take space and other donations might have been turned away. Plus those were highly perishable – participants without quick trips home might have been nervous to take them.

Also, by eating the off-brand Os, you’re leaving similar cereal on the shelves at grocery stores, where it’s buyable with WIC (our local WinCo has put signs up during this pandemic encouraging shoppers who aren’t using WIC to buy non-qualifying products because supply chain disruptions were leaving some shoppers unable to find any items they could buy).

Our youngest has attended schools from K-8 grades with regular food distribution. We were more than surprised the first time she came home with a bag full of fruits and veggies! I talked to the counselor, who was a neighbor and friend, who assured me it was fine – it’s much easier for the kids who need the food to take it if everybody gets a bag – this is true of community distribution too, where strict or complicated screening is more likely to discourage those most in need. Later got acquainted with the executive director of a group of food banks – the goal, at least there, was to distribute as rapidly as possible so the next delivery could be accepted.

So unless your friend is literally snatching items out of the hands of others (seems a little hard to believe such a person would be your friend!), you and she are doing absolutely the right thing. Still uncertain? Throw a few bucks in the direction of the organization distributing the food. They’ll be able to buy food at cost, or to receive free food as long as they can pay to transport, store, and distribute it, so cash is more valuable to them.


KJD509 June 21, 2020 at 1:51 pm

Gah, this is supposed to be in response to A Marie –


Heidi Louise June 21, 2020 at 2:17 pm

KJD – your comment is in the right place. I agreed with you in general before I read your post, and you brought up some twists on the food distribution challenge I hadn’t considered before. Thank you.


Bee June 22, 2020 at 4:03 am

I have volunteered at a local food pantry for sometime. Although we encouraged our clients to take fruits and veggies, things like potatoes, onions, and hard squash were often left behind. These were many reasons for this. Many had limited cooking skills and equipment. Some had very little storage space and no refrigeration. Others had little time. A mother working two jobs would much rather receive instant mashed potatoes than fresh potatoes; canned beans instead of dried; minute rice rather than brown rice; boxed cereal rather than a canister of oats.

Also, there is often a glut of fresh veggies during harvest season. We will end up with 200 pounds of green peppers, 10 cases of cabbage or a case of dill. Trying to get those distributed before they go bad can be a challenge especially since few have Food preservation skills.

The pantry that I work at actually has a dietician that works with clients and offers cooking classes. Even then, it is difficult to move certain foods. So in short, you should not feel bad, A. Marie. You are keeping things from the landfill.


Bee June 22, 2020 at 4:05 am

Please forgive all the typos. I have been typing while drinking my first cup of coffee. I’m obviously not awake yet. 🙂


Teresa June 22, 2020 at 7:05 am

Years ago when my son was in elementary school he was in the income based “free lunch” program. One day he told me he was embarrassed to use the program because the kids who got a free lunch were always asked to come to the front of the room to get their lunch ticket. Even though he was only in first or second grade, he still felt bad about it. Consequently, we never used that program again. That was before computers (so you see how long ago it was.) Now the schools have a different program where no one knows who is getting a free lunch. I am glad the kids don’t have to endure that type of situation anymore.


Ruby June 21, 2020 at 2:55 pm

A. Marie, my mom had early onset Alzheimer’s and I saw during her time in residential care that a mild infection such as a UTI or mild dehydration could drastically exacerbate Alzheimer’s symptoms, as could anything that caused an increase in her longstanding depression. So I hope there is an easy physical explanation for your beloved husband’s recent downturn. (((Hugs)))


Julia June 22, 2020 at 8:53 am

No problem with accepting redistributed free food. I’ve been in all sides of this: receiving it when DH lost his job, helping to run a free food donation site, and currently getting overages from a friend who qualifies for free food. Often folks receive way more fresh produce than they can use before it goes bad. Also there are super large quantities of stuff, like the already prepared potatoes from the restaurant that are hard to use up, and we often got large Quantities of items most folks don’t know what to do with like wheat berries. And sometimes you get the same oddball item week after week. How many cans of cranberry sauce can I be family use? The goal is fir food not to be wasted and people not to go hungry. The only thing most food banks state is that you cant SELL any of the food. Perfectly OK to share:)


Marybeth June 22, 2020 at 9:28 am

I just received a block of no name american cheese and a cabbage from an elderly friend that receives free food. He has no idea what to do with the cabbage and hates the cheese. I will make coleslaw with the cabbage and give him some in return. When my garden is going I give him veggies that he likes and sauce from my tomatoes. He gives the sugar cereal that he gets to his niece since he is diabetic. He has to take everything offered or he won’t get a box of food next time. He always finds people to take what he won’t eat.


MB in MN June 22, 2020 at 9:50 am

A. Marie, re #3: Your ethics are rock-solid in my book. Re #1: I will continue to hold you close to my heart as you navigate your husband’s dementia.


Christine June 22, 2020 at 5:46 pm

Human hair from your hairbrush around the perimeters of your garden can also send Bambi running. Of course, depending on the size of your garden you may not have enough to distribute.
I’m sorry for your DH’s downturn and I hope it’s temporary. My father had Alzheimers Disease and along the way I noticed things that could exacerbate it. UTIs are notorious. Also a fall, even without a break. Emotional upsets. My mom’s cousin told me her husband’s dementia nosedived when he had a heart attack. So glad you are getting him into to see his physician since some of these things can go undetected.


Marie June 24, 2020 at 3:04 pm

We are not food insecure either. But during this pandemic our small town food bank has been begging people to come get produce, as they have a glut.
So every other Saturday, I go, and get things. It’s normally potatoes, carrots, onions, and some fruit. It cuts down on my food bill, and they have trouble getting people to show up. So, at least we are keeping it out of the landfill.


A. Marie June 25, 2020 at 8:28 am

Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful (in both senses of the word) comments. A couple of updates/responses: (a) I’ve gotten DH’s appointment with the geriatrician moved up to Thursday 7/1. (b) I’m already a regular donor to our local food bank (it’s one of my “big three” charities for holiday giving) and will certainly keep on donating to them. (c) No more major Bambi damage to the gardens (she doesn’t seem to like her vegetables “hot”). But I’ll try to find that reel of fishing line this afternoon.


A. Marie June 25, 2020 at 8:29 am

Make that Thursday 7/2. I’m approaching the end of a long spell of editing work, much interrupted by DH.


Mary June 25, 2020 at 11:05 am

Please have your dh checked for a UTI. We don’t know why, but a bladder infection in the elderly, especially when dementia is already present, really throws them for a loop, cognitively. They get really confused, can hallucinate and can be so insistent in that state that they can be a danger to themselves and others. A few days into antibiotic therapy and they mentally clear up, at least to their baseline. Just to be clear, make sure they complete the antibiotics and are rechecked to make sure they no longer have any bacteria in their urine.


Vickey June 26, 2020 at 3:47 pm

A. Marie, I don’t think you’ve been heavy handed, and while I am very sorry for your and DH’s troubles, I appreciate hearing the context, the background against which each of us struggles to do our best. And the sense of community that sharing our joys and sorrows with one another engenders.

Re your no.5: this vegan is in solidarity with Ms. BN. I tell folks we’re going to start a “vegans for venison” hunters’ support group.

Thanks to everyone who commented about food bank and food sharing ethics. You’ve opened my eyes to thing I hadn’t considered.


Vickey June 26, 2020 at 3:49 pm

*things*. Sheesh.


Economically Proud June 21, 2020 at 12:45 pm

1. Went on camping trip with hubby to celebrate our anniversary.
2. Brought all food/beverages from home and hiked for entertainment daily
3. Turned AC and Hot water heater off while away (5 days)
4. Have not reinstated our YMCA membership yet, I love to go several times a week, but I do not want to pay when so many of their services are restricted or not available at this time. We will re-evaluate this as needed
5. Hubby received a surprise hazard pay bonus from his generous employer. Have not touched it and not sure what we will do with this mini windfall


Midwest Beth June 21, 2020 at 1:24 pm

1. Instead of buying a nice bucket to grow potatoes in I reused a Tidy Cat liter plastic container for the purpose. So much fun adding a little bit of dirt a day to cover the plant – can’t wait to see the results. Started with a potato that had sprouted.

2. Picked kale and basil from my garden to add to a large salad I had made. Also instead of spending money on annuals I spent a dollar at the Dollar Tree on four packets of flower seeds (Cosmos, Sweet William, Snap Dragon, Zinnias) for empty pots on my deck – can’t wait to see how they do! I will transplant some of the seedling to my yard.

3. Made use of a free trial of Audible for the audio version of a book my book club is reading. I find now that I am older I prefer the audio version and can listen when I am at work or doing household chores – makes the time fly by faster and I am reading/listening to many more books now!

4. Receiving food from work such as milk, bananas, individual pizzas, salad fixings and it is really helping my budget cutting down my trips to the store to minimal.

5. Visited my mom bringing her a meal of crack chicken and rice. I had not seen her since February and we practiced safe social distancing. She gave me a 25 pound bag of dog food for our dog – she bought the large kibble and not the small kibble for her tiny dog. Its a special dog food of fish and sweet potatoes and costs over $50 in the pet store so it is very much appreciated. Also was able to stop the Omeprazole my dog was taking eliminating that cost/purchase.


Christine June 22, 2020 at 5:52 pm

Those Tidy Cat litter containers are tough as nail and a nice big size. We use one which adorns our front porch every winter to hold rock salt for the steps and driveway. We’ve had it for many years. This I know because I’ve been using a different brand for about 8 years now.


A. Marie June 25, 2020 at 12:46 pm

Midwest Beth and Christine: Every time I look at the motley array of containers I’m using for vegetables, I’m glad I don’t live next door to Martha Stewart. The lineup includes: an oak feta barrel I salvaged from behind the local Mediterranean Market one fine Saturday; an enormous ceramic pot we got in a barter a long time ago; an old Easy Washer copper tub (made right here in Upstate NY); two plastic pots in which we purchased young trees about 10 years ago; and two concrete urns given to us two years ago by a departing neighbor. But the older I get, the more enthusiastic I get about container gardening.


Christine June 25, 2020 at 4:58 pm

Sounds like a very interesting variety of containers A. Marie! I love how you make use of them all. I got enthusiastic about container gardening on my deck after a woodchuck got enthusiastic about eating his way through the vegetable garden in my yard. I don’t think he has mastered steps…yet!


Mary in Maryland June 21, 2020 at 1:29 pm

1. So many gifts lately—a gate leg cutting table for my quilting habit, four jars of jam, an elderly Kindle, and five sewing machines.
2. I have rehomed three of the sewing machines to students I know from the refugee center. Not cheap in that I had the machines tuned and repaired first, but I like to maximize use of the resources that drift into my life. The sewing machine guy tells me he has a special frequent flyer rate just for me. My husband claims that if I ever leave him, it’ll probably be for a sewing machine repairman. One of the machines I was given is better than the one I have—but I know I’ll never, ever use the embroidery features. So I’m wrestling with my sense of stewardship about giving or selling it to someone who will use more of it.
3. Great trash-picking lately. Huge glass jars with lids and a couple of Anchor Hocking two gallon glass canisters.
4. The young neighbor who does my grocery shopping is overwhelmed with her garden and CSA share. We are now rich in second hand greens. And . . . I tried a recipe for all the dandelions I pulled while weeding. They were not young and tender, but a soak in salt water left them quite delicious in a sauté/steam with carrot and onion. I had chopped them very fine and served them on pasta with white beans. The mister didn’t notice/mention that it was a new variation for that recipe.
5. We are still pretty locked down here, but freecycle has reopened. I’ve moved on a dog crate, Jamaican spice mixes, cans of paint, and several random oddments. Most surprising pickup–someone was grateful for the plastic add-ons for the hair clipper that died.
6. I used up the last of my tequila (stopped drinking in Oct 2018) and Margarita mix making a six pack of frozen Margaritas (in the 6 oz jelly jars that will come back) for a housewarming gift for friends who moved.
7. I was sorely tempted to get a steam canner to replace my water bath canning. After an hour of internet research I realized I could save more time (and electricity) by going to pressure canning rather than water bath. And I already have a pressure canner.


Jenzer June 21, 2020 at 1:48 pm

I hear you on the husband + pricey deli meat situation. Fortunately, my DH likes thrifty pulled pork as much as he likes spendy deli roast beef, so I alternate between the two.

My 5FF:

1 – Salvaged a rusted, busted-up wheelbarrow from a junk pile and turned it into a planter for my mint plants.

2 – Planted seeds for sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos, from a “plant your own bouquet” gift I received for my birthday.

3 – With stores here still disallowing reusable shopping bags, I opt for brown paper ones rather than plastic. I shred some bags for my compost pile and use others for weed barriers and mulch.

4 – Our shed re-build project generated a big purchase receipt from Menards during their 11% rebate period. I remembered to send in my rebate form just before the deadline.

5 – We eat a lot of watermelon in the summer. The melon storage container starts collecting juice after a few days of holding cut-up melon cubes. I pour splashes of the juice into my ice water, with a wedge of lime if I have some. The pink and green color combination and fruity-but-not-sugary taste is a nice break from plain water.


Jenzer June 22, 2020 at 6:45 am

Follow up to #1: when I checked on my mint plants yesterday, I discovered three volunteer tomato plants had sprouted up next to them. I’d mixed semi-finished compost into potting soil when I prepped the wheelbarrow for planting; the tomato seeds must have come along for the ride. Later today I’ll find a new home for the tomatoes elsewhere in the yard. Bonus food!


Marie June 24, 2020 at 3:09 pm

I’m intrigued, what is a watermelon storage container?


Jenzer June 25, 2020 at 5:19 pm

Whatever Rubbermaid / Tupperware / lidded plastic storage box I have on hand that’s big enough to hold all the watermelon I’ve cubed.

I read a tip once about storing cut-up watermelon in a salad spinner, so that the extra liquid drains out of the spinner basket and collects in the outer “shell” of the spinner. Haven’t tried it myself, but I think that would work well.


Mary June 25, 2020 at 11:09 am

I love the idea of putting your mints in the wheelbarrow. Mint is so invasive! On the other hand, when it escapes the border beds and invadesthe lawn, it sure smells good when it’s mowed!


Jenzer June 25, 2020 at 5:21 pm

A friend of ours had garlic plants escape into his lawn. He says mowing makes him hungry!


MEM June 21, 2020 at 3:27 pm

1. At age 60 my hair is 80% silver and white and therefore, so are my eyebrows. I tinted them using a kit I had purchased several years ago. They look a little dark at the moment but better than white. DD24 shaped them for me.
2. I have three rescued chiweenie mixes who live on the sofa. Although the dogs don’t smell “doggy” the sofa did. I spent a good part of my day off (currently WFH) and removed the stuffing from the extra large couch cushions. I washed and dried the cushion covers and put everything back together. My arms and shoulders are killing me!
3. I baked brownies for Father’s Day dessert using what I had on hand.
4. I sewed some of the dogs’ cloth toys using dental floss that I was gifted but don’t like to use personally.
5. On Saturday I did NOT go to the Farmers’ Market down the street from my house. I’m waiting until later in the Summer when I know the tomatoes and peaches will be local.


MEM June 22, 2020 at 3:36 am

Adding to my FFT – for several months now I have been making half-caff cold brew overnight in my French press. A 26 oz. plastic canister of Maxwell House half-caff goes a long way.


janne June 21, 2020 at 3:53 pm

1. Just spent 2nd $20 gift cert from chain grocery which was forced to suspend curbside pickup. Due to looting occasioned by the murder of George Floyd here in MN.
2. Neighbor borrowed and broke our wheelbarrow, then fixed it up and is now in better SHAPE than before.
3. Frugal Plans which I force myself to reveal so I will carry them out: pick our rhubarb and eat, freeze and make jam out of this abundant crop.
4. Rainy Sunday yielded a cleaner car – will vacuum it out at a do-it-yourself place next week.
5. $50 gc for for fathers day from DH favorite fast food joint – (Culvers)
will provide weeks of burgers and malts.


Christine June 22, 2020 at 5:59 pm

Oh my…did you have to mention Culvers?! I’m hungry… Last one I visited was in Rapid City, South Dakota two years ago. I’m not a fast food burger fan but I take exception to their butter burgers. What a great gift for your DH.Wish we had them here in the NE.


ellen June 23, 2020 at 6:45 am

Yumm Culvers!!! like you, the first and last time, was almost 2 yrs ago in Rapid city, SD. Wish we had them here in the tri state!!!!


Cathy June 21, 2020 at 3:56 pm

Thanks for sharing! I always enjoy your Goodwill shopping posts and 5 Frugal things especially.


Stephanie Mazzon June 21, 2020 at 4:39 pm

Me too!!!!


Mary June 25, 2020 at 11:13 am

Me, three, lol. Please post as often as you can, even if it’s just the “boring stuff”. You always make it interesting, and between your new posts and all the comments, it really reinforces my frugality.


Vickey June 26, 2020 at 4:08 pm

Me four! I miss your posts p, Katy, and all the interesting and varied comments.


Stephanie Mazzon June 21, 2020 at 4:34 pm

Frugal Five:

1. Made a g/f apple crisp with soft spot free apples from neighbor. They were not fit for eAting raw. Past their prime. GreAt for crisp.
2. Made an herb drying apparatus with a large outdated frame from neighbor’s junk pile and twine from garage.
3. Did not buy beef this week because prices are sky high.
4. Continue to pick up random perennials from the local BUY NOTHING group.
5. Used up leftover mashed potatoes to make potato pancakes with supper tonight. Yum


Heidi Louise June 21, 2020 at 4:55 pm

1. Keep reminding myself it is wasteful to buy and spread grass seed and not keep it watered. (I have flashbacks to my childhood when we were not allowed to Play With The Hose). We have a few bare patches that I’m working on, or else I will give up and start again in the spring when it rains more.
2. Found grocery 99 cent clearance of bleu-bacon-chicken salad bagged kits, and enjoyed them greatly, with my own croutons, because salads need croutons. Got three servings, for what originally was priced at a horrifying $5.99, and still have the chicken for another use.
3. We are pretty predictable in our meals and snacks, so I can watch for sales and stock up. 4th of July junk food is coming up.
4. Working to use AC only when crucial, yet use and enjoy it to be more comfortable. (Another childhood flashback; we had no AC). Keeping basement dehumidifier running to take more moisture out of the air and use the water on plants.
5. Went into the library for the first time since early March! Very quiet in there, with masks, social distancing, and limited number of people allowed. Found the new Mary Russell, by Laurie King. I detest Sherlock Holmes, yet find that series fascinating.


Economically Proud June 22, 2020 at 4:45 am

What a delicious bargain on the salad. Sounds yummy on a hot day when you don’t want to cook but still eat something tasty.


Julie June 21, 2020 at 6:16 pm

1- baked brownies for for Father’s Day dinner. I can’t believe I used to make these from a box. Family agrees homemade is far superior.
2-celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary using a gift card bought on sale months ago. It was nice to dine on a patio as restrictions lift for us.
3-celebrated the in-laws 65th anniversary (we share an anniversary) also with gift cards bought on sale, but actually seeing them for the 1st time since Covid was priceless. Masks were worn for hugs.
4-WFH for both of us is a huge savings. So coffee and lunches are all at home now.
5-I have a recent new found loved of iced coffee and had never tried to make my own but now that I don’t leave the house I decided to give it a try. So far so good.


Kara June 21, 2020 at 6:31 pm

My husband and I ate a large zucchini between us for dinner. A neighbor gave us some kale, zucchini, radishes and parsley. I ate blackberries from the garden after dinner. I love the free food this time of year!
We took a picnic to the lake for Father’s Day.
I finished a special order for my Etsy shop and started on another. I am SO thankful for orders coming in!
We received a needed desk from my Buy Nothing group. I offered a ceiling light fixture on the same group.
I was finally able to do some returns. I like money coming back in!


Auntiali June 26, 2020 at 11:38 pm

Hi Kara! I received my four “new” napkins and love them. Hubby rolled his eyes but these napkins brighten up my older ones. Thank you.


tia June 21, 2020 at 7:57 pm

I went non frugal consumer crazy
4 times I went through Sonic drive thru and got a chocolate shake
3 times I visited same drive thru for a strawberry sunday
Twice I got BBQ nacho take out
Once I had a Wendy’s baconator put on my GF bread
Twice drive thru rib dinner with potato salad and horseradish slaw
I bought a big pack of three cheese GF ravioli
I bought an Emma dvd
I went into a store and bought two new dresses(60% discount but still!)
While in that same store I bought a Jelly Belly medley of 20 flavors.
I bought my cat a new scratching post
I’m not sure what happened but I hope it ends soon.
Sinking like a stone not floating like a cloud
Oh and bacon…I bought much bacon.


Bee June 22, 2020 at 4:28 am

I think this is what an economist means by pent up demand.


MB in MN June 22, 2020 at 9:42 am

Tia, I love your wit and honesty. And Bee, I love your response.


Jen in CA June 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm

1. Sold a few randoms that have been listed forever on eBay and Mercari, and LetGo. Old electronics are hot items now. Gave a big old bed frame away on Craigslist and dealt with 100 texts back and forth, explaining how to put it together. Was glad I didn’t have to put it together again after painting daughter’s room. Really evaluating things in this house during this time, and happy to be getting rid of things we don’t like or need.
2. Neighbor gave me some rhubarb. Made a Crumble with some frozen strawberries and ingredients on hand. Yum!
3. Cooking at home. Feel like I am spending a lot on food, since I rarely shop and buy quantity for my 5. But I think we are saving by eating at home most of the time.
4. Free Pile! I usually have a garage sale this time of year but who knows when that will happen. Have been putting a lot of things out there and the walkers are having fun with the “new” things they are finding. Inspired some neighbors to do the same.
5. Social Distancing, walking the dog, catching up on projects around the house, enjoying having Teens home instead of out and about. Picking up a couple of house/dog walking gigs since people are taking summer road trips out of town (not us, but my kids and I will take people’s money to take care of their animals and plants while they are gone).


Lindsey June 23, 2020 at 5:22 pm

I initially read this as you trying to sell condoms…


K D June 22, 2020 at 5:22 am

1. I contacted somebody that had hauled a bunch of stuff for us in the past. This time he quoted an outrageous price to haul away big piles of brush. I cleared the first, of three, by cutting and placing in paper yard waste bags. The county will pick them up today. Our property tax includes a charge for trash, recycling, and yard waste pick-up. I will attack the other piles as well. Great savings and also a great feeling in chopping stuff up while frustrated by Staying Home.

2. I realized that by rearranging a few things I could turn my office (extra bedroom) into a place to practice yoga and Pilates. Bonus, there is a ceiling fan so I can keep the house warmer.

3. I have a pile of stuff to list on Freecycle. I like to keep stuff out of the landfills.

4. Starting today you can pick up items on Hold at the library. It is parking lot delivery, as the building is not yet open.

5. We needed some cash and we had savings bonds that were no longer collecting interest. We cashed those and should be good to go for a while. Our spending is way down due to Staying Home. The state has reopened some but we are not ready to do too much yet.


Vickey June 27, 2020 at 6:19 am

If your yard is no-spray, you could probably offer those filled bags on Craigslist, Freecycle, Buy Nothing groups, etc. With so many people expanding their gardens this year, free non-toxic raw materials for the compost pile are welcome. I say this as someone who approached an acquaintance *asking* for her yard waste bags and was delighted to get 4 so far.


Bee June 22, 2020 at 5:37 am

It is wonderful that you have been able to have a visit with your parents, Katy. The Quarantine has been difficult for many. I can’t say that I have been particularly frugal over the last couple of weeks, but I always seem to have five things. Here they are —
1. I went to a garage sale and an estate sale the second weekend in June. I bought a few things to list on eBay and a beautiful oil painting for myself. ( A painting by a California artist of Big Sur.) I finished listing the items this past weekend. eBay has slowed considerably. Summer sales are always slow, but it seems super slow. I am concerned about the lasting economic impact of the Covid and other unrest.
2. I have been looking for a dog after my sweet old pup died. I started looking last week. I find it hard emotionally because there are so many in need of a home. I did apply to adopt one this weekend. However, after I finished the 7-page adoption application, I saw that it was not in a nearby county. Therefore, I would not receive priority placement. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll keep looking.
3. I have been eating down the freezer ahead of Hurricane season. Three years ago, I lost a freezer full of food. There isn’t much left in there! There certainly aren’t many bargains at the grocery store to refill it.
4. I finally was able to pick up the library book the Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I waited six months and I was 438th on the list. Patience.
5. All the usual things — drinking primarily filtered water, cooking from scratch, eating at home, enjoying the outdoors, watching streamed TV, and enjoying the simple life.


janine June 22, 2020 at 5:33 pm

Good Luck on the doggie adoption. We got what we believe to be a beautiful Harrier Hound (described as a Beagle on steroids) from a shelter in another county. Rescue dogs are great!


Christine June 22, 2020 at 6:08 pm

Bless you for applying to adopt a shelter dog. A friend and I just had this discussion today. We both love Setters…me, Irish…her, English or Irish…but both of us agreed if we ever get another dog it would be a shelter pup. There’s just so many in need. Best of luck and I wholeheartedly hope it works out for you.


Lindsey June 23, 2020 at 5:26 pm

Wow to the 7 page adoption application. Here you go in, point to the dog you want, pay your $300 fee and you and the dog are free to go.


Roberta June 22, 2020 at 7:06 am

1. We’re taking advantage of opening up to get out and about. We’ve been less cooped up than a lot of people, but my family is having a hard time, and getting out to the zoo to walk around was definitely helpful. Not frugal: we decided to eat lunch there, to support them. Unfortunately, the area that used to have tasty vegetarian food was closed, so I ended up eating a cabbage salad with no protein for *way* more than I would have been happy to spend. So we’re back to packing picnics for our next outing. The zoo extended out membership for the months they were closed, which I did not expect because they still had expenses while they were closed.
2.Got a bag of dog food for half off. The store was out of our variety, but I saw it in the back and asked. Because it was torn they took a few dollars off; I added a coupon for half the regular price!
3. Finally returning running shoes I bought online. Will get $200 back (I bought a lot of pairs, to get the right fit.)
4. A friend is moving, so I am collecting boxes for her. I brought back newspaper from my mom’s house for wrapping.
5. My friend is in a tough situation, trying to get on her feet. Another woman (who I don’t know well) found a bed for her and her daughter at Walmart for $150 — I found the same bed on craigslist for $50. I will be picking up the craigslist bed and avoiding contributing to increasing demand, keeping the bed out of the landfill, and keeping money away from Walmart.
On the food bank question, we bring home food most weeks after we work at our local food bank. We’re there the last day of the week, and it will likely spoil (or go past the expiry) before they reopen. There’s no way to exactly know how many people will come by for benefits, so if someone doesn’t take it, into the landfill it goes. (We also take a lot of squishy items for the chickens, so more food out of the landfill.)


MB in MN June 22, 2020 at 7:31 am

I’m afraid I have been more of a frugal imposter. Exhibit A, etc.:

– Emergency vet visit for 14-year-old beagle’s urinary tract infection. She’s worth the 80-mile round trip, five-hour wait, and $400 charge. (This isn’t her first UTI, but they ALWAYS present themselves after her regular vet is closed.)

– Got a haircut for the first time since February. I was starting to look like one of those troll dolls from my childhood minus the neon hair color! I go to a struggling small-town salon so I gave the owner a tip that equaled all the haircuts that I didn’t get over the past several months. (I got this idea from my niece who cleans houses. Almost all of her clients continued to pay her for services they didn’t use.)

– Had a meal inside a lovely local restaurant with my husband for the first time in months. Real dishes, utensils and glasses. Delicious food. I nearly wept with gratitude and howled with delight so I tipped accordingly.

– Bought the clematis plant I wanted for the garden that just happened to be 1/3 off.

– I skipped dinner one night because I still felt full from lunch. Does that count as a frugal win? I hope so, otherwise I have no business commenting on this fabulous blog at this particular time!


Marybeth June 22, 2020 at 10:58 am

MB from MN Happy to see another MB. Ask your vet if you dog can tack a cranberry pill. My 14 year old girl was having constant UTIs. We started her on cranberry pills and she hasn’t had one in almost a year. Her accidents have also gone down a lot too. Good luck.


MB in MN June 22, 2020 at 1:59 pm

Marybeth, thank you for that tip!


Katy June 23, 2020 at 11:48 am

Thank you so much for sharing your generosity, you’re in inspiration!


Carolyn June 23, 2020 at 12:14 pm

We have been salon and barbershop free at our home for many years, first because I was tired of paying for bad haircuts, second because Hubby does a far better job and third because it easily saves me over $1500 a year. During the time the hair places were closed, we got our haircuts at our regular schedule, no change. I did have a couple friends that asked me if they could stop by for haircuts and I put them off until memorial day weekend when they visited to grill out on the deck, we were done playing along with the media scare tactics. Well the conversation came up about hair and my best friend usually has hubby cut her long hair, so it was no big deal that she asked if she could get her hair trimmed. My other friend mentioned that she needed a haircut as she hadn’t had one in months, her bangs were hanging in her eyes and the mullet thing on her neck was bugging her, she likes her hair cut short. Well hubby said ok, caped her and then got out the clippers and gave her a short on the sides and back, a couple inches longer on top haircut as she asked. She was happy with the results, better than What her stylist that charges her $40 does. Well she posted selfies on Facebook and she got compliments and comments, even one from her stylist, who Said she liked the haircut, but commented that she was surprised that she would even think of letting someone else cut her hair and that she was jealous that she had cheated on her. My husband did it as a favor, he did not take a penny, and has no intention of stealing her from her salon. It’s not like her salon was open for business, the shearing was to tide her over until it did open. We didn’t discuss it, but I felt that her stylist was being rude. I guess she would have been happier seeing her with a quarantine haircut disaster that she could have poked fun at. I didn’t comment, I didn’t want to stir up drama, but it reminds me there were additional things about the salon that I am glad I am missing aside from the costs.


Christine June 24, 2020 at 2:08 pm

I believe the citizens of Texas, Florida and other states where Covid19 is on the rise aren’t done with the media scare tactics. Or perhaps there were some who were done early with the media scare tactics and we are looking sadly at the results.


Vickey June 27, 2020 at 6:27 am

Thank you!!


Mary June 25, 2020 at 11:26 am

Also, ask your vet for an extra prescription of antibiotics so that next time it happens you can avoid the trip after hours and the extra cost. Since you know the symptoms and what to give for it, you should be able to get the med to have on hand. Also, if it’s a common antibiotic, you can buy them without a prescription through vet supply companies…they are marketed as fish antibiotics, but the can be used on other species, even homosapiens, wink, wink. They come from the same drug companies that make antibiotics for humans, just a different label on the bottle. I’ve used Jeffers and Valley Vet Supply to purchase them and always have a variety of antibiotics on hand for my pets.


Mary June 25, 2020 at 11:28 am

Sorry…that was supposed to be a reply to MB in MN


MB in MN June 25, 2020 at 11:46 am

Mary, thank you for those ideas!


Heidi Louise June 22, 2020 at 9:03 am

MB: Re: Skipping dinner because you still felt full– I think that is a good frugal use of your resources!
I grew up in MN and my closet childhood friend’s mother’s initials were MB. She is no longer living. I think of her with affection sometimes when I see your posts. Thank you for that coincidental connection!


MB in MN June 22, 2020 at 9:43 am

Heidi Louise, thanks for sharing that!


BethC. June 22, 2020 at 9:11 am

I don’t comment here often. I love the comments so much that I wait a week or so to read Katie’s latest post. Waiting rewards me with more comments to read during a morning cup of tea.
My frugal things (forgive my exceeding 5):
1. I semi-retired from the practice of law on 3/1. We had all kinds of plans to travel-then Covid-19 struck. Our local parks and beaches were one of the first things to re-open. I decided that I would get outdoors and travel locally by visiting each of our county parks. Most have been new to me-each has unique features. I have really been enjoying my weekly (masked) park excursions. They really have soothed my soul. One of the parks has a mile-long loop that is perfect for walking our dog.
2. We just finished our second week of CSA pickups, and I am proud to say that we have used up all of the bounty. We’ve enjoyed some new recipes, including collards with spring onions and bacon, as well as roasted icicle radishes. For the latter, drizzle with a little olive oil and fresh rosemary-bake and add a squeeze of juice from an orange after taking them out of the oven. We also have a deck full of planters with our own crop-hope I can keep the no waste them going all summer.
3. Since I am “semi” retired, I have had weeks that are busy with work and weeks that are not as busy. Lots of Covid-19 related issues. Trying to keep up with professional reading, which is free but takes time. While I am normally a physical book reader, I have enjoyed reading books via the Libby and Hoopla apps. Thank you library!
4. I ran to the library right before it shut down in March and grabbed 14 movies that were on our list of movies to see. We’ve gotten to watch 13 of them. Our library will open for curbside pick up this week, so now we can reserve more!
5. The Peleton app had a free 90 day trial earlier in the pandemic. I belong to a gym and started doing indoor cycling classes there about a year and a half ago. I was happy to discover that I could do a modified version of the Peleton indoor cycling classes on my aging stationary bike. I have also taken some Peleton meditation classes via the app and started doing weight training last week. After a career with long days, a long commute, and a lot of sitting on my a**, I am enjoying the exercise. I also have a bit of a crush on the indoor cycling instructor Ben Alldis from the UK. After the free trial, classes are $12.99 per month-much cheaper than a gym membership. I believe that they may still be offering a 30 day trial.
6. I have been having a little fun doing surveys using apps on my phone. So far, I have used Survey Monkey, Surveys on the Go, Google Opinions, IQ, OnePulse, Persy, and Eureka. I also started doing online surveys for Prolific. Most of these don’t take a lot of time, and some are pretty interesting. They all pay out in cash except for Survey Monkey, which pays out in Amazon gift cards. It all adds up!
7. Being home has made me realize that we have gone overboard on stockpiling in the past. We are now 12 weeks into the pandemic and have barely had to purchase any meat. A dent has been made, though. I also had a bunch of beauty/hair care free samples that I have been using up. It is helping us declutter a bit. We also discovered that our local Goodwill dropoff site is open for donations, so I took some over there yesterday.
8. I had been saving a few restaurant gift cards for when I semi-retired and would have more time to eat out. Instead, we have been using them for takeout weekly. My pre-pandemic plan was to spend semi-retired Tuesdays doing the AMC $5 movie deal and then going out for a gift card covered or local ethnic restaurant meal. The best laid plans…..
9. I also have a huge stockpile of books. I am a long time member of Paperback Swap and have been reading books on hand and either swapping them or putting them in our library donation pile. I have noticed an uptick in the number of Paperback Swap books that I have received since the beginning of the pandemic.
10. While not frugal per se, we decided to use whatever stimulus check monies we received to make a donation to a local charity that feeds the homeless.


Marybeth June 22, 2020 at 9:44 am

Free/ cheap food edition
1. A friend gets a free food box and gave us a 2 pound block of american cheese and a cabbage.
2 Watched my sister’s dog for 3 weeks. She went to help a friend on her farm since her husband had surgery. She brought us 3 dozen chicken eggs, 1 dozen duck eggs, a jar of honey and a butchered chicken.
3. My garden is doing nicely. I have been picking sugar peas, lettuce, kale, strawberries, chives, mint, parsley, rosemary and sage.
4. My in laws came over Saturday for Father’s day dinner. We stayed outside and sat at different tables. We did a BBQ. We made chicken thighs that I got marked down to 89 cents a pound, baked potatoes, and a big salad with lettuce from my garden. They brought Hubby a bottle of homemade wine. I sent them home with 3 packs of Italian sausage that I got marked down to $1.49 a pound. There were lots of yellow stickers in the meat department this week. They marked down the meat when it gets close to the sell by date. My freezer is full again.
5. My girlfriend dropped off some homemade fudge that she made. I gave her another large bag of kale.


rebecca June 22, 2020 at 11:32 am

Not a lot of frugality happening here with vet bills but here goes-
1. I purchased some dog biscuits on sale and saved $2.
2. Physical distanced visiting costs nothing
3. I made dinner for a friend of mine who is a police officer and working very long hours. I was able to use somethings I hade one hand.
4. Bought a bunch of needed things at CVS and used a bunch of coupons.
5. I am horrified how people are not heeding science and epidemiologists advice, warnings and expertise. I continue to wear masks, follow their advice and stay home as much as possible and do what I can to stay healthy and keep my loved ones healthy as well.


janine June 22, 2020 at 5:44 pm

Underline your #5! Waiting hopefully for better testing, tracking and a vaccine for everyone.


Jill A June 24, 2020 at 2:27 am

It’s scary to me also how relaxed people have become.


Christine June 22, 2020 at 5:29 pm

1. I worked the local elections last week. A twelve hour day but the extra paycheck will be nice when it arrives.
2. The heat has hit the Northeast in a shimmering, simmering wave. We close our shades against the sun depending on its position on the house and use an old but powerful fan when we are desperate. We only have A/C in the bedroom and save it for bedtime so we can get some sleep. I can’t sleep in the heat.
3. I grocery shopped for an 87 year old friend today and was rewarded with lunch on her deck using social distancing and a long, luxurious swim in the lake fronting her property.
4. I’m working a jigsaw puzzle for entertainment. I purchased it at my friend’s indie bookstore to help keep her lovely and culturally and otherwise important-to-this-town small business afloat during this pandemic.
5. Stayed home from rallies with Covid19 still raging.


Jennifer June 22, 2020 at 6:21 pm

1. Exchanged a pair of jeans I had purchased at deep discount during quarantine for dd as she needed another pair for work. They were 4 inches too long. But I was able to exchange them this week at no extra cost even though they are no longer on sale.

2. Dh and I spent some time in the yard cleaning up the areas where volunteer berries are growing. We then put up fishing line around the best patch to keep the deer out. He also scrubbed the south side of our house to get the mold and moss off. Neither of these tasks cost us anything but time.

3. Garden is producing peas right now, still not much else which is disappointing since I really expected to be getting radishes and lettuce by now.

4. We have been hiking and biking every day – free entertainment and keeps us in shape.

5. Oldest ds headed back to his college town for a few days to visit friends and we are not plowing through the food at an insane pace temporarily. I have been trying VERY hard to use up all the veggies I have been getting in our CSA. So far so good, but the massive amount of swiss chard is currently challenging me. Ideas anyone?


Roberta June 23, 2020 at 6:04 am

I saute a bunch of chard to wilt it, then include it in fritatta. Make sure you save the stems! I’ve read that in Europe they eat the stems and throw out the leafy part. I like to save the stems, chopped up, in the freezer, to add to soups in the winter. (They’re really mild, even after simmering for a while, unlike cabbage.)


Economically Proud June 23, 2020 at 10:44 am

I planted some swiss chard years ago in our garden and it has been the gift that keeps giving every fall, winter, and spring (our summers are too hot for it though). I use it in soups and in stir-frys of all sorts. Use in place of spinach, greens, or kale in many recipes.


Lindsey June 23, 2020 at 5:35 pm

If you like pesto, you can sub in about kale for about half the basil called for, without a taste difference. Healthy and extends the basil I have, which is very expensive here.


susanna d June 26, 2020 at 12:14 pm

Lindsey, thank you for the kale reminder. It was very timely for me – I picked basil today to make pesto and came up short. Luckily, the kale has been growing like mad so I just grabbed a few leaves, chopped them up and added them in. Tastes wonderful!


susanna d June 26, 2020 at 12:12 pm

I saute chard in a little olive oil with some chopped garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt to taste. Unlike just about all the other vegetables in my garden, the chard still seems to be in its infancy. I’m impatiently waiting for it to get big enough to pick.


Vickey June 27, 2020 at 6:56 am

We do something similar, but add vinegar or citrus juice in place of the salt.


betta from daVille June 27, 2020 at 10:41 am

This spanakopita recipe is SUPER easy because you don’t have to precook the greens and is SUPER flexible. I throw in whatever greens: swiss chard, arugula, carrot tops, etc. I also use Israeli couscous for the starch.


cathy June 22, 2020 at 9:45 pm

1. Half our back fence blew down in a windstorm. When husband and I dismantled it, we realized all the parts were intact. He was able to reinforce it with metal strapping and bolts (to the retaining wall). Borrowed the appropriate drill from friend with a concrete business. Only expense was strapping, bolts, and drill bits.
2. Thinning out tons of volunteer drought-tolerant perennials and giving away in my Buy Nothing group. One recipient brought me a dozen eggs from her chickens.
3. Harvesting herbs, peas, and strawberries from garden. Waiting for summer crops to ripen. Succession planting with seeds on hand—pole beans, cucumbers, radishes, pumpkins, morning glories, cosmos, marigolds, basil. Had to put up bird netting. Fortunately, I had some, and was able to create a glide system with random wood pieces and clay pots I found in the garage.
4. A friend gave us 2 metal “motel” chairs and side table he wasn’t using. We thanked him with some local craft beer.
5. Still maximizing my library. They started curbside pickup for holds, so I was able to get several books (mostly gardening). More satisfying , I was able to download several recommended books about racism to read on kindle (White Fragility, How to be an Anti-Racist, Between the World and Me, and Me and White Supremacy). Looking forward to continuing my education.
6. Almost forgot: I finally cracked the code on baking GF artisan bread. My teenage son, with multiple food allergies, said he missed bread most of all. We finally nailed the recipe on ~the fourth loaf. Needless to say, he ate all the “failures” as well!


Bee June 23, 2020 at 8:38 am

If you have a recipe for your GF bread, do you mind sharing. I found our that I had a wheat allergy latter in life. Good bread is one of the things that I miss.


cathy June 23, 2020 at 10:51 am

I started to write it out, but it was a bit long. I’m going to try to message you with the recipe.


Kathleen in Kansas June 23, 2020 at 11:28 am

Cathy, I too would be interested in that recipe. Thank you!


cathy June 23, 2020 at 4:39 pm

I couldn’t figure out a way to message the recipe, so here goes!
A few things to keep in mind: 1) Be sure to use a blend of GF flours. Ours is equal parts white rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca flour (starch), and potato STARCH. If the GF flour you use has xanthan gum (or another gum) in it, then don’t add the potato FLOUR; 2) Due to our family’s allergies, the flour blend we use is about as nutritional as all-purpose flour. Feel free to substitute flour types. My guess is that it will be fine if you don’t change quantity, but you might need to adjust subsequent loaves; 3) This method is based on artisan bread baking that uses a dutch oven and steam (to help the crust form). I don’t have a dutch oven, so I use a lidded casserole with a 7″ diameter base. To create the steam put an inch or so of water in a METAL pan (I use my roasting pan) and place on bottom rack of oven. Do not use glass or Pyrex. Ask me how I know.
3 1/4 cups gluten free flour
1 2/3 Tablespoons (= 5 teaspoons) potato FLOUR (not the same as potato starch)
2 teaspoons salt
1 2/3 cups wrist-temp water
2 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (if you have packets, you’ll have to measure; if you use a full packet, bread will taste too yeasty)
Put water in a large bowl (I use an 8-cup Pyrex mixing cup). Stir in honey ’til dissolved. Stir in yeast. Let sit until yeast activates (~5 min).
Mix flour blend, potato FLOUR, and salt together.
After yeast has activated and there’s a creamy layer on top of the water, gently add the flour (about a quarter at a time). Mix with a fork. As you continue to mix, it’ll get easier to eliminate the lumps.
You’ll end up with something that is doughy, but not firm.
Place an oversize piece of parchment in a medium bowl (I use my Pyrex) and do your best to smooth it around the edges. You want the parchment to stick up above the top of the bowl. Scoop the dough onto the parchment. If necessary, use wet fingers to smooth the top of the dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for an hour.
When the dough has risen for 45 minutes, turn oven on to 425. Place the metal pan with the water on the bottom rack of your oven. Place the empty dutch oven/lidded casserole on the middle rack. After it’s preheated, carefully take the dutch oven/casserole out of the oven and remove the lid. Lift the dough out of the bowl, using the parchment “handles” and quickly set it in the dutch oven. (At this point, I have to trim the parchment down to the edge of the casserole.) Use a wet serrated knife to cut a 1/2″ deep slash in the top of the dough. (You can see patterns online.)
Cover the dutch oven/casserole, return to middle rack, and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid, bake another 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
If you can stand it, let it cool completely before you slice it (it will be less sticky). If you can’t stand it, wait at least 10 minutes, slice, then slather with butter. Or jam. Or eat it plain.
Final note: GF dough is always going to be wetter than wheat dough. That’s why the parchment is key. But the parchment will probably give your bread some odd pleats along the side. If this recipe doesn’t work for you, google gluten-free artisan bread. There are tons of recipes, just none with the same grain limitations our family needs.

cathy June 23, 2020 at 4:41 pm

p.s. Katy, sorry to run a “comment” that’s so long. I couldn’t figure out another way, and I’m not on facebook anymore.

Bee June 24, 2020 at 4:17 am

Thank you, Cathy. That was very kind of you. I know that took sometime to write up. I will try it. Wishing you the best!!!!!

@Bethc. June 23, 2020 at 9:24 am

Cathy-I have asked for 2 of the books you mentioned via a library Libby request, and am working my way though the exercises in Me and White Supremacy via Hoopla.


cathy June 23, 2020 at 10:33 am

@Bethc, it will be interesting for me to get to those exercises. I have a feeling these books will provide a lot of food for thought and, hopefully, other ways I can take action against racism.


LB June 23, 2020 at 9:39 am

1. The pantry continues to give, and we continue to receive. Spending this week eating down the freezer in particular, and supplementing with canned goods from the pantry.

2. My company gave everyone the day off yesterday after we all worked over time for a few weeks to thank us. Besides working for an excellent place, I also took the day to go hiking. Free day out of town and got to avoid weekend crowds and the pandemic stress they bring.

3. Continuing other free exercise resources, including long bike rides and walks. We did find an online class resource I really like and we can split the $9 a class fee, which makes it nice and cheap.

4. Living in a rental I’m always hesitant to do any home improvements, but after excruciating attention to how quickly our bathroom gets dirty/dusty again I decided it was time to vacuum the fan out. After taking a few layers of dust off, it is not only less dusty but much quieter!

5. And finally–my big win! Someone in our building must have been moving out and left a bunch of stuff out front. We scored two things: a nightstand that matches the other one we have and can replace the small bookcase I’d been using, and a sodastream + 3 canisters! The nightstand was definitely well used but since it’s black I colored in the scratches with a sharpie and moved on. I was able to buy two sodastream bottles with an Amazon gift card so I now have a much nicer nightstand and a limitless (for now) source of seltzer at no cost to myself. While the nightstand matches the other one they do not match anything else in the bedroom (being black particleboard while everything else is light natural wood) but it will stretch the amount of time until I find furniture I like that’s affordable.


Katy June 23, 2020 at 11:37 am

I love my SodaStream! I bought it from Goodwill and exchange canisters at the Fred Meyer (Kroger) that’s walking distance from our house.


Anne June 24, 2020 at 7:47 am

LB, your post reminds me of a hilarious story my sister just told me. She lives in Europe where it’s quite common to leave a lot of things on the sidewalk that are free. One day she passed a huge pile of goods, but no sign on them. She waited an hour for the owner to pass by because she could not identify which apartment it came from. Finally, she decided it was a “free” pile and she took an armful. The next day the rest of the pile was gone and she came to the conclusion that it belonged to people who were moving. ????? Anyway, she felt so guilty she went home and brought back all the stuff she had taken and placed it back on the sidewalk. To this day she doesn’t know which conclusion was correct.


LB June 25, 2020 at 11:55 am

Katie–it’s fantastic! I’ve found seltzer to be a boredom buster for afternoon meetings (just a little fancier than water!) and I’m glad to stop lugging 12-packs home from the store on our block when I shop.

Anne–that is hilarious. She did wait an hour, but I can only imagine what was going on in her mind!


Texasilver June 23, 2020 at 9:02 pm

1. Got 12 small cartons of milk (8 oz each) free on craigslist. They were a combo of chocolate & plain variety.
2. Have run the a/c very little as we have actually had a mild spring/summer so far in my part of Texas. Usually it is blistering hot by now.
3. Found 2 pairs of Nike athletic shoes in my size on my daily walk. They are damp from recent rain but I stuffed them w/ rags & they are drying out. (I walked 126 miles last month & my current shoes are wearing down.) Since I have been in lockdown I made a goal to walk more per day.
4. Made pulled bbq chicken in the crockpot using chicken quarters I bought for .49/ lb. I remove the skin & visible fat before I cook them. I estimate I get the meat for .98/ lb after I remove skin, fat, & bones.
5. Treated myself to a large iced coffee. @ McDonalds using my app for .99 plus tax.


Bethany M June 23, 2020 at 9:41 pm

MHosted a garage sale and pocketed $60.

Sold an old toy bin that we picked up for free when we lived in WA, another $10.

Been picking up free summer school lunches for the kids, but the sour Granny Smiths were piling up uneaten. Canned 3 quarts of apple pie filling. Cooked, puréed, portioned and froze a pile of baby carrots from said lunches. Kids prefer their carrots in a mango, banana, pineapple smoothie where they can’t detect them.

Set to sell a stack of magazines I also ended up with for free, and not really using, another $5

Started a Facebook group in my town for a seed exchange. I’ve put up some pumpkin seeds and someone already posted about sunflower seeds. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need 30 zucchini plants. One a year is mucho sufficient for my family of 5. Lol, might as well share the viable seed love!


Jenzer June 24, 2020 at 1:50 pm

Bethany, 100 Days of Real Food has a recipe for a cucumber salad with sliced Granny Smith apples in it. Sounds like an odd pairing, but it works!


Momma L June 24, 2020 at 2:16 am

Father’s Day weekend brought 2 relatives. First time having visitors since the closing of everything.
1. Adult DS is into weight lifting, and eats a lot of protein. Stocked up on cheap eggs, boiled a couple dozen, and he was happy.
2. Both visitors BYOB. Its pretty standard in our family and friend group to BYOB now. Gone are the days when we were expected to accommodate everyone’s taste, and that is a relief. My younger self wanted to please too much.
3. Leftover bloody mary mix left behind: I poured it into a container and froze it, thinking it would make a good chili or soup ingredient in the future. Anyone done this before?
4. Not frugal for me, but funny. My SIL brought a gift, tag still attached, that we had given her a year ago. She forgot that it was us who gave it to her. 🙂
5. Watched Netflix, played charades, listened to free Pandora together. Was so nice to see family again, even for just a couple of days.


Jann in Maine June 24, 2020 at 11:42 am

I always get excited when the new Five Frugal Things comes out. Call me a groupie am OK with that!
Daughter bought DH a shovel for Father’s Day but the item was lost when the train derailed (yeah I know!) so they refunded her and she had another sent. The original shovel showed up yesterday with a big dent in the box. It was refunded so DD said “Sell it on Marketplace or give it to a friend”.
Went hiking on the quiet side of Acadia State Park. We got our lifetime passes before they went up and paid $22 each. A great deal.
Have mastered some nice new ethnic dishes which we are enjoying and enjoying the leftovers of.
Saw a nice table at the Restore and asked for a discount which they gave me. Nice rotating book table. Not the real one but a very nice reproduction for $20.
Reading library books, walking, eating decent food which we enjoy, making my own coffee and trying to stay out of the fray.
Enjoying reading everyone’s successes and while I might not comment on them I do wish there was a “like” button to show my support!


Hawaii Planner June 24, 2020 at 2:05 pm

1) Meals made at home, trying to be creative about leftovers & reduce waste. I brought basil & mint from our garden, and used them both
2) We’re at our vacation house, so really enjoying the (safe) change of scenery, without needing to pay for a hotel room
3) I’ve sold two items on a local Facebook swap, and have a bunch of other items listed
4) Picked up groceries at the closest “large” town, vs buying here at the tourist shop. It’s very pricey and also hard to socially distance, given the small size. They do require masks
5) WFH from the vacation house, so I don’t have to use vacation days


Mary June 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm

1. I finally finished digging all the weeds and turning the soil in my garden yesterday. I’m late planting quite a bit of it, but should still be able to get a good harvest before frost hits this fall. Free exercise, nearly free food!
2. My bff receives free food from the Farm to Foodbank program, and she brought me a box, too. Among the goodies? 4 5# bags of potatoes, 3# of white onions, 6 huge red onions, 2 center-cut ham steaks, a package of swiss cheese, and a gallon of milk. There were also peeled hb eggs, but I have my own chickens, so she kept the eggs. I sent her home with several dozen fresh, free-range eggs from my hens, a big catnip plant, several tomato plants (I planted way too many seeds) and some Lady’s mantle from my garden. We had a lovely, socially distant visit.
3. I stopped by my bff’s house on my way from picking up horse hay and had another socially distant visit…she sent me home with starts of vinca major, sedum “Autumn Joy”, seeds from a double white Columbine and a white lychnis, as well as other starts from her garden.
4. I traded fresh eggs and 3 beers that 2 different people had left in my fridge for 3 bales of hay with another good friend, and then bought 5 more bales for $4 each…a bargain for good horse hay. We toured their gardens and she gifted me a beautiful deep red rhodie, 3 daylilies (she hybridized them – I’m so in awe!), and more cuttings and starts from their perennials. She and her hubby are bought wonderful gardeners, and I so enjoyed visiting with them, picking up some new tips and tricks to use in my owngardens. She and I even tried our hand at badminton, which I haven’t played in years. Picture two old ladies whiffing at the birdie more often than we hit it, and you get the general picture, lol. It was so much fun! We stayed outside, socially distanced, and I used a Lysol wipe when we finished. It was good to see a friend face to face…I’m a good hermit, but occasionally, it’s good to be with people, carefully.
5. I have not attended an indoor, maskless and massless rally for an orange-skinned, combed-over liar and racist.


Mary June 25, 2020 at 12:20 pm

Both wonderful gardeners, not bought. I don’t think you’re allowed to buy a gardener…services OF a gardener, ok.


AuntiAli June 27, 2020 at 12:18 am

My state is slowly opening up and even though there are things you can do now – with a mask – I prefer staying home. I did go to the lab for a blood drawer. They allowed one person at a time in and you had to have a mask.
Frugal fail – forgot to give hubby the stimulus debit card 3 times when he went grocery shopping. When I knew we were getting stimulus money I donated to my local food closet, fire department and Salvation Army.
Finally using Netflix. We had it free for a year with our new cable service but I never used it. Now that we are paying I’m using it.
Still cooking from home and have begged dh not to buy any more chicken. He has gotten into getting once a week pizza take out but I’m not happy about it. I really don’t like the pizza anymore. I live in NJ and we know how to make pizza but it’s just so blah for me now.
Got the water bill and it was higher than usual with all the hand washing we are doing.
5 frugal things?
keeping the Livingroom curtains closed to keep the boiling hot sun out.
turn the AC down around supper time and then turn it up for comfortable sleeping at night
finally using my free bill pay at my bank to pay utilities and credit card bills. Saving money on stamps!
I’m wearing my loungers all day/night so the laundry can be done in about 2 loads
Have let hubby store the stimulus debit card in his wallet so I don’t forget to give it to him again.


Vickey June 28, 2020 at 9:12 am

Please and thanks to Katy for continuing to host and post! This blog continues to inspire and comfort, now more so than ever.

1. Picked up 4 bags of no-spray yard waste from an acquaintance to feed our voracious compost bins. Traded her for volunteer tomatillo seedlings. Shared other extra seedlings with newish neighbors who are getting into gardening.

2.DH is making corner brackets for a new box fan out of scrap wood, so we can add accordion “wings” (re-used from the old fan) to the sides, for better airflow control. We added these years ago to the other fans we use to exhaust hot air out the upstairs windows, and they make a big difference. We have just one room that is air-conditioned, and on hot days having that”Respite Room” allows us to avoid overheating without a whole house AC.

3. Replaced the ineffective drawstring in my gardening pants with elastic I had on hand. Nice not to have to clutch at my britches when I stand up!

4. Harvested many pounds of lettuce, chard, collards, radishes, asparagus, garlic scapes, purslane, and a couple of strawberries the chipmunks missed. The sugar snap peas and raspberries are coming on now, too. DH is upping his succession planting game to extend our harvests.

5. Split bulk-ordered items with buying club members, saving as much as 50% over retail.

6. On cooler days I put bulk-purchased pre-soaked beans in the Instant Pot about noon, bring it to pressure for a few minutes, then unplug the IP, cover it with a couple of thick towels, and let them cook in the residual heat. Saves a bit of electricity that way, and there are no animal products in the mix to foster spoiling.

Frugal fail – so busy with work that I forgot to put the soaking black-eyed peas in the fridge and they fermented in the heat sitting out on the counter. So I speed-soaked garbanzo beans in the Instant Pot and cooked those up instead.


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