Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 27, 2020 · 111 comments

  1. A friend of mine posted on Facebook about how she and her husband had recently drawn up a will. She showed a photo of an notebook with organized estate planning information and my FOMO (“fear of missing out”) kicked into gear.

    • My first thought was “I wish I had the money on hand to hire an estate attorney.”
    • My second thought was “Wow, cool notebook!”
    • My third thought was “I bet you can buy a similar notebook without the expense of an attorney.”

    I went into research mode and found a well rated version on Amazon. It was $50, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to actual legal fees. I put it into my cart to let the purchase simmer. It then occurred to me that I might be able to find it on eBay. Although eBay didn’t provide the exact book, I was able to “Save” the search, which means that I’ll get a notification when an eBay seller lists one.

    At 51, I’m at an age where many of my friends are dealing with the death of their parents, and never once have I heard that it was an easy task. Clearing out houses, conflict with family members and then tracking down bank, insurance and investment information sounds like an absolute freaking nightmare. Especially while grieving. I absolutely don’t want to hand this nightmare down to my kids.

    Hopefully some random eBay seller will list one in the near future. I have deep ethical issues with supporting Jeff Bezos and his Amazonian empire, and do all I can to source from alternate retailers whenever possible.

  2. I’ve been sucked into watching multiple seasons of the TV show Alone from The History Channel. This isn’t a show that I would naturally be drawn towards. Survivalists competing to see who can last the longest out in the wilderness? Not a natural fit for an indoorsy Jewish woman.

    Only the sixth season was available on Netflix. Set in the Canadian arctic, this season has a decent mix of contestants, many of whom are women who speak about “permaculture.” This assuaged my fear that the show would be aimed towards those whose survivalism come from a place of racism, antisemitism and a culture of conspiracy theories.

    As a child I loved Island of the Blue Dolphins,  My Side of The Mountain, and Julie of The Wolves, rereading all three throughout the years. The idea of having to survive alone in the wild is an intriguing concept, and I can see why this TV show has been renewed for multiple seasons. I’m very much an indoor cat, and the two (three?) times I’ve gone camping have been unpleasant experiences. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t cuddle up on the couch and watch others immerse themselves in what nature has to offer.

    For those interested in the show — The sixth season is available on Netflix, the third through fifth seasons are on Hulu and the first and second seasons are available through the History channel app/website. The seventh season is currently airing.

  3. I stopped into Goodwill again, walking out with a $1.99 collectible Veuve Clicquot tin, a $4.99 Michael Graves for Target alarm clock and a $14.99 pair of Dansko clogs. I’m still skittish about unnecessary shopping, but with my N-95 mask and gloves I feel much more secure in my safety.

  4. My father celebrated his 85th birthday the other day. He doesn’t like a fuss, but I was able to convince him to let us come over to mark the occasion. My son and I stopped into the Murray’s Cheese kiosk in Fred Meyer and let the cheese monger recommend a selection of treats. (Needless to say I brought a reusable gift bag from home.) I mostly give consumables to family members, which skirts around my “buy nothing new” self guideline. No one complains about receiving delicious food!

    Together the three of us walked over to his favorite locally owned bookstore, (Broadway Books) where the owners wished him a hearty “happy birthday!” (I’d already stopped by to let them know it was his birthday.) We then sat apart in the backyard and chatted until our bladders called an end to the afternoon.

  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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Disclosure: This blog post includes affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you. The Amazon link is not an affiliate link. 

{ 111 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie June 27, 2020 at 2:50 pm

The notebook indeed looks like a very cool organizing device. (I could use one of those myself, to let whoever has to clean up after me know where and how to find things.) And I know that in many states, DIY wills and “advance directives” (health care proxies and living wills) are OK.

I would add only a mild caution that for some things, getting paperwork on file with an attorney is essential. I refer especially to “durable power of attorney” (usually abbreviated POA), which is what enables me to act on DH’s behalf in legal and financial matters. We procrastinated a bit in getting our wills and POA paperwork on file, and only just got it done in time–because about a month after we did it, DH became unable to produce a recognizable signature. It’s not pleasant for any of us to think that we may have to act for our partners or parents in this way–but take it from me, it can and may happen.

And happy late 85th birthday to your father, Katy.


Jen in CA June 27, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Katy! You probably have a big binder and can make one of those right now, for free. The hardest part of doing that planning is getting started. Why not just start one today and then you could always transfer everything later. Seems like just another one of those things that are bright and shiny and we think we need it but we can just gather it on our own. Not sure about the Attorney part but even a handwritten will with your and your husband is better than nothing. It isn’t a One and Done deal, you can always upgrade but at least you will have something if you start now. I just looked up the details on the binder and the tabs are Emergency Plans, Personal Health Record, Property Information, Financial, Final Wishes, Transitions (end of life topics), Closure, and Document inventory. I have mine in a file and I am going to switch to a binder today, and at least get it started. Thanks for the idea. At first I wanted the binder, too, but alas, I am too cheap.


Jenny June 27, 2020 at 6:57 pm

My Mom had made her own, for free, which was a wonderful help in her last days and then being her executor (spell-check suggests “executionist”, but NO!) That inspired me and my husband to do something similar, so started the process (I second the motion to get a reasonable, trustworthy, frugal attorney involved) So we were off to a great start when my 64 year-old husband suffered from glioblastoma and died in six weeks, not being really cognizant or able to write for the last weeks. Our hospital and then hospice provided all of the possibly missing stuff, again for free. So I’m using that, for free, in my free binder!


Marion June 28, 2020 at 12:31 pm

As you gather up info/paperwork, get a locking, fire resistant file box to store the info. It does no good if it can’t be accessed when it’s needed.


Jenny June 28, 2020 at 11:49 pm

Excellent point about the fire-proof box! And make sure the right people know where the key is! My lawyer also has copies of many things, and my executor does, too.


Midwest Beth June 27, 2020 at 3:08 pm

1. I have been devouring the Tony Robbins (COVID) Comeback Challenge via Facebook. Its a free seven day program – very intense – the first day was over three hours! I am catching up as I was at work when the two first days were live – so far I am loving it and it definitely is impacting my life helping me look at what is not working, why and how to change it. Years ago listening to Tony Robbins tapes helped me visualize, map out and reach goals I wanted to attain. The Comeback Challenge looks at the psychological things holding me back and not just career focused which I love.
2. Turned the air off for several days – yeah!
3. Collected rain water in several containers for my garden. When needed only watering the garden not the lawn – thank goodness it has now rained two days in a row as the grass was turning to straw!
4. Put out to the curb a working large tube TV with a sign stating it stilled worked and a broken microwave – each was taken – yeah! I was surprised about the microwave – I thought someone might take the rotating glass plate out of it, glad someone thinks they can make it work.
5. Washing the slip covers on our two second hand couches and replacing with more summery blue and white checked sheets that were to large for my bed – will be much cooler for the summer. Using up old candles out on the porch at night, using up spray Bath and Body perfumes (lemon scent) as a bathroom air freshener, used a free American Heart Association cute paper tablet to take notes for my book club book on the book “We Must Be Brave” – the book was borrowed through the library, doing Swagbucks and I have almost earned $25 Paypal cash – if you would like to check it out go to


Stephanie Mazzon June 27, 2020 at 3:20 pm

Thank you the info on the binder. You, my virtual friend, are a GOOD EGG!

Frugal fun:
1. All of my zinnias AND nasturtiums are blooming. Seed packets were bought last fall on clearance for 29 cents a pack.
2. Covid grocery shopping still not frugal. One store. Get it ALL. GO HOME. but cooking and eating in is frugal.
3. Husband fixed electric hair clippers with YouTube tutorial.
4. Shopped at ALDI, not MEIJER.
5. Still driving one owner 2006 Honda Accord. Starting to research new to me cars. Getting to the very end of the car life. I LOVE MY OLDIE GOLDIE!


Christina@BargainBlog July 1, 2020 at 8:45 am

Stephanie, I feel like we could be bosom buddies (to quote Anne of Green Gables.) We still do most of our shopping at just one location too, and the peace of mind it gives us (it’s VERY quiet there) is worth the extra few dollars spent. AND, like you, we save a ton of money by eating at home.

And our OLDIE GOLDIE is a 2003 Toyota Corolla! Our economic situation has changed a bit lately (and not for the good), so we’re going to try to make her last even a wee bit longer. We’ve owned that car that entire time – saving countless dollars over all these years.


Brooke June 27, 2020 at 3:21 pm

There is a time and a place for using an attorney for a will. We have young kids for whom we needed a trust and guardianship set up. The attorney was extreamely helpful and helped us consider scenarios we has not considered. Before kids, we did our will with an online program.

A binder with banking info, email passwords, etc is extreamely helpful not matter the scenario. You could probably find a printable version on Etsy.


Lisa M. June 27, 2020 at 3:42 pm

Double 5+FF: In Absentia Heartbreak Edition

1. Picked up a complimentary pair of contacts for DD (d/t an extensive wait to get her an eye appt.) & while in the neighboring ‘burb, found a different store of the pet supply chain that I typically patronize. Able to use $2.50 perks points discount, along with a $12 pre-paid cash card rebate from heartworm preventative that was set to expire in July. Sadly, will be gifting most of my purchase (below).

2. Contacted auto insurance co. to ensure that discount had been applied to upcoming policy renewal & learned that it had been applied without my prompt (not Covid-19 related). Kudos to them!

3. Many phone calls with new health & dental insurance cos. to verify coverage & network status d/t non user-friendly provider search tool. Level of challenge to the point where customer service gave incomplete info & after additional searching on my part, required additional pc to verify info I found on my own. Veracity of insurance co. highly questionable. Millions in annual profit/year but inadequate network tool & customer service reps. provided to customers?

4. Received unclaimed property check from former health ins. policy for credit on a claim from 6 years ago.

5. Scheduled 4 appointments on the same day in metro 20 miles from home to increase efficiency of time & gas mileage. 2 minimally past due health preventive appointments, 1 on-schedule health preventive appointment & a desperately needed haircut. Took lunch, snacks & beverages to avoid OOP expenses. Scheduled next 2 appointments on same day @ end of year.

6. Received 2 necessary credits @ big box – overcharge from improperly marked discount bakery item & dairy item with 9-29 best by date already full of mold.

7. Picked up a free Father’s Day card & a free birthday card for my sister @ card store for 21 cents each, both on Free Card Friday. Used 2 congratulations/good luck cards for graduations from my stash of free cards.

8. Recent kitchen efforts: Aegean Salad, Indian Egg Salad, Overnight Baked Beans, Chicken-Rice-Black Bean Salad, Crested Butte Grilled Chicken Breasts, Mediterranean Couscous Salad, Frito Pie, Victoriana Chicken Salad, Surprise Slaw.

9. Needing plumbing & minor carpentry projects. Able to use a saved coupon without expiration date for majority of service call charge. Moving ahead with additional work to lessen items needing to be addressed when we eventually sell, as well as stimulating economy @ the same time: New toilet with new shut-off valve, new kitchen faucet, replumbing soft water to kitchen sink, new plywood with linoleum cover for base of kitchen sink cabinet, new RO system & refurbishing water softener.

10. Had a low-cost rendezvous with DD – used free entrée offering through reward program @ one restaurant & B1G1 coupon @ another new restaurant & supplied our own beverages, feeding 3 people take-out meal @ home for $8. Later used a perk for a free beverage @ local coffee shop during extra family time (see below).

11. Read a book from DD that she had borrowed from a friend & had read. It was youth-oriented but a delightful book. Returned it to DD to return to friend.

12. Had interior dryer vent cleaning when co. here to perform exterior dryer vent cleaning for complex. Bonus as it also forces me to clean & reorganize the side of the dryer. Always difficult to comprehend why we are typically the only unit or one in a handful of units that take advantage of this reasonable offer. One large building contains 10 townhomes. A fire in one unit could impact 10 units.

13. Visited local grocer to refill gallons of pure water while RO out of commission (containers saved from when DD oversaw a major fish tank transfer) & they were conveniently “out” of on-sale product. Promptly secured rain check. Recent savings @ big box bakery clearance rack: 34% discount on French bread & 34% discount on Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins.

14. Found 7 pennies in street while walking & 1 penny in gas station parking lot. Poor lowly loathed pennies. Used 21 of those accumulated beauties to pay tax on free card.

* Totally Non-Frugal Life Event – Precious little dog adopted from Humane Society many years ago experienced rapid decompensation & shut down of body systems requiring euthanasia to prevent further suffering. Able to spend some quality time & arranged an in-home procedure where she passed in her bed surrounded by her family. Would have spent any amount of $ to get her healthy but as her natural life had come to an end, we instead focused on giving her relief from pain & peace as she departed the physical world. We are forever rich due to the immeasurable joy she provided to our family (& particularly me) for the last 10.5 years.

15. When little dog’s demise became evident, DD & I intentionally completed a clay dog paw ornament that was purchased in 2011 after Christmas @ 50% off. It embarrassingly sat untouched in the box on the kitchen counter for 9 years. We discarded the 2011 plastic year decoration & turned the Happy Holidays ribbon over to use the solid color to hang the ornament. Vet also provided complimentary clay deep paw impression just after dog’s passing to ensure no discomfort.

16. Slowly started painful washing & minor repair of bedding & reallocation of dog supplies, taking much thought & care along the way for repurposing/redistribution. Sweet canine is my soul dog of which one can be found in a lifetime, so incredibly grateful to have had her in my life. Multi-animal products given to DD for her cat: teeth cleaning gel & breath freshener additive for water. Items given to neighbor for her end-of-life canine: OTC acid reducer leftovers & vet instructions, along with Frosty Paws frozen treat. More redistribution to come, as little dog would have approved of sharing her spoils from a life well-lived.


Lisa M. June 27, 2020 at 3:50 pm

Coincidentally, we are also watching “Alone” on Netflix & yes, it is definitely compelling. Also a good distraction from real life grief.


Danielle June 28, 2020 at 7:17 am

So sorry about your pup. 🙁


Christine June 28, 2020 at 8:18 am

I’m so sorry to hear about your soul dog. From your words I can see the place she held in your life. I wish you peace and healing.


Bee June 28, 2020 at 10:44 am

I am sorry to hear that your pup has passed away. Sending wishes of healing and love.


Lisa M. June 28, 2020 at 1:57 pm

Thank you NCA community for your caring thoughts. My situation has been made more complex by the passing of my Mom today. I’m not going to lie, having both my Mom & dog actively dying @ the same time was & is torturous. Knowing that they are both @ peace & pain free comforts me though. The timing coincides perfectly with Katy’s suggestions about end-of-life planning. No one is spared facing the end, so if we can help our survivors in advance, it is our moral obligation to do so.


A. Marie June 28, 2020 at 3:11 pm

Lisa: Wow, what a double blow. I am so sorry for both your losses. Know that your NCA friends are with you.


Debbie from Delaware June 28, 2020 at 5:30 pm

So very sorry for your losses. May your memories bring you comfort.


MB in MN June 28, 2020 at 5:48 pm

Oh, Lisa M. There are no words. I’m so sorry for your significant losses.


susanna d June 28, 2020 at 5:49 pm

Lisa M., I am so sorry for your losses!


sheila July 1, 2020 at 6:20 pm

My heart goes out to you, Lisa. Not one but two devastating losses. Take good care of yourself xoxo


Vickey July 2, 2020 at 5:18 am

Oh, Lisa! What a thing to be going through, especially under current circumstances. I hope you continue to get all the love and support needed to help you through this double difficulty.


Beth Ann July 3, 2020 at 3:24 pm

Dear Lisa,
I am sorry to hear of your losses. This is truly a hard time, and you got a double blow. Do some self care. Thinking of you.
Beth Ann


rebecca June 28, 2020 at 4:57 pm

My sincerest condolences. I am so sorry for both of your losses.


BethC. June 28, 2020 at 6:22 pm

So sorry about both of your losses-your pup story made me cry, and then learning about your Mom made me want to send out a big virtual hug.


Lindsey June 28, 2020 at 6:35 pm

So sorry to hear about your double sorrow. I cannot imagine how tough that is…


janine June 29, 2020 at 10:18 am

Sorry about your losses. Glad you can find comfort that they are now free of pain.


Lisa M. June 29, 2020 at 6:51 pm

I can’t adequately express my gratitude for all the heartfelt comments from the NCA group -Danielle, Christine, Bee, A. Marie, Debbie from Delaware, MB in MN, susanna d, rebecca, BethC., Lindsey, janine & Dee from MA. Your support has meant so much to me & I am extremely grateful for this wonderful community that Katy has created. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Katy June 29, 2020 at 10:48 pm

Virtual hug from Oregon.


Pattilou June 30, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Lisa M, I am so very sorry for your losses.


Lisa M. June 30, 2020 at 7:54 pm

Thank you Katy & Pattilou. I am so appreciative of being part of the NCA group, as the sentiments expressed have helped me cope. The support means a great deal to me as I struggle during this time of loss. The individuals in this community are simply the best.


Cindy in South July 1, 2020 at 7:25 am

I am so sorry for your loss.


Christina@BargainBlog July 1, 2020 at 8:47 am

I am so sorry for your terribly sad loss. Sending you a massive virtual hug.


Lisa M. July 1, 2020 at 7:55 pm

Today was especially challenging as we received & opened little dog’s cremains. I am grateful for your words Cindy & Christina on this day of great heartbreak & despair.


Lisa M. July 4, 2020 at 3:17 pm

I see I missed several NCA posters – thank you sheila, Vickey & Beth Ann for your kind wishes. I know it is going to be a long recovery process but am trying to focus on all the contributions that my wonderful Mom & my nearly perfect dog added to my life.


Juhli June 27, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Now that is my kind of birthday celebration – sounds lovely and you got to spend time together which is the best gift.

I want to give you a no conflict, very organized dealing with everything after parents deaths story. My parents had revocable trusts with my brother and I as co-trustees after the first one died and successor trustees before that. We were on their checking account and they had all the power of attorney, health care power of attorney, wills, etc that were needed. We did not squabble at all when clearing out and selling their house. It can be done with prep and lots of openness.


Heidi Louise June 28, 2020 at 9:53 am

My parents, now just father, set up a revocable trust so assets will not have to go through probate, meaning less time and not a public process. His stocks are classified as TOD, or Transfer on Death, to his children.
Although his estate isn’t large enough for estate taxes, he wanted to set everything up so there would not be any possibility of them.


Bee June 28, 2020 at 10:57 am

I was on the other side with my husband’s parents. Nothing was in order. A trust is one final gift that you give your children.


Marianne June 28, 2020 at 1:31 pm

We also did a trust and it was worth every cent. We shopped around for one because prices varied widely. We also did POA, end of life directives and added our oldest to our checking account. The kids will literally own our assets when we are gone. No court involved. Compared to my mom who had a will, did not have anyone on her checking account nor a beneficiary on the account. Took a year and a number of court visits to get it closed. It was a pain in the hiney going thru probate. I won’t do that to my kids.


Jenny June 27, 2020 at 3:57 pm

An early retirement blog I read recently posted about a free legacy binder available via a website that may be similar to the binder you are looking at. I think this is it (I have no affiliation):


kathleen June 27, 2020 at 4:11 pm

Katy, I will look for Alone, and I recommend the book Two Old Women by Velma Wallace (based on Athabascan legend of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine.) I too loved Island of the Blue Dolphin as a child, and loved Two Old Women as a (cough cough) mature woman. 🙂


kathleen June 27, 2020 at 4:14 pm

Sorry, book is by Velma WALLIS. Sorry for the misspelling.


Kathy June 27, 2020 at 4:55 pm

1. Selling for a friends sister. $142 via Facebook, offer up and other sites. Sent $900 worth of silver flatware to for purchase
2. Went thru card stash and sent out sympathy card and some positive notes to friends
3. Used a reward for free pizza
4. Friend gave me peaches from her tree
5. Brewing ice tea


Mand01 June 27, 2020 at 5:14 pm

I haven’t commented for a while. I have been working a lot for the past eight weeks and The rest of the time has been spent organising supports for my eldest child with autism, and honestly I have not had time to focus on anything else.
I wanted to make a comment about the estate plan. I have a law degree and I would not be doing my own estate plan.
We just went through the process with a lawyer. It was not cheap upfront for us (it cost more for us because we had to make additional arrangements for two kids with disability – trusts etc). But for two simple wills, in Australian dollars, it cost about $750 each (not including the additional costs of trusts, powers of attorney and advanced care directives).
I appreciate that not everyone has that kind of money upfront, especially at the moment. But having witnessed what happens when people die intestate, it is absolutely worth investing the time and money to put affairs in order properly. We lost a family member suddenly six and a half years ago – he did not leave a will. His affairs are only just being put in order now, which has caused enormous headaches for all concerned. Wills are being contested now at a higher rate than ever before, largely because they are not being drafted properly.
I am all for being frugal when it comes to groceries or clothes or other things that don’t affect your legal rights. Please reconsider how you can best protect the assets you have worked your entire life for, and how you can make sure they are distributed how you want them to be when you pass away.


JennyS June 27, 2020 at 7:14 pm

Good to see you back, and agree with what you say about how messed up things can be if everything’s not done exactly right legally, for estate planning, real estate transactions, corporate stuff for small business, etc. I don’t like spending the money that way, but it’s kind of u avoidable. Penny-wise, pound-foolish, I guess.


A. Marie June 28, 2020 at 9:21 am

Hi, Mand. Glad to hear from you again, and glad to hear (even though the process is stressful) what you’ve been doing and why. Kudos, from my tough place to yours.


Katy June 28, 2020 at 11:36 am

I’m sure that I’ll work with an attorney at some point. With one kid still in college every spare penny already has a purpose.


Lisa July 9, 2020 at 2:11 pm

Check and see if you have any benefits for wills through your husbands work. Through my employers employee assistance program and through my union I have access to some both free and discounted legal services, including assistance with wills.


Jennifer June 27, 2020 at 6:09 pm

Katy, I just listed some things on ebay and am shocked at the fees. After I accepted an offer and saw the final fee total it was not worth it. How do other people deal with all those fees? Are we just stuck?

1. Bought strawberries for cheap at Costco and made a batch of jam (10 cups) and froze 2 quarts of sliced strawberries for smoothies. First canning of the seaon, yay!
2.Received a set of 3 cards free in the mail.
3. Dd received $1500 from the Cares Act from her college. We put it straight back into her college account to pay for next year.
4. We needed a table saw because we want to make our own hardwood floors. We found one on the local facebook page for just $75.
5. Medical update – dd #1 had tonsil surgery. It is rough going at 19 years old. So.Much.Pain! dd #2 was scheduled for back surgery in April – it got canceled obviously. Was rescheduled for July. We spent 2 days at the hospital doing various tests and imaging and she does not need surgery now as her back has healed. Not having this surgery saves a lot of money. And of course is much better for my dd.


Katy June 28, 2020 at 11:32 am

I factor in the fees, (15% – 20%-ish) when considering what to sell. I try not to sell anything that doesn’t make me at least $20. I’ve sold a number of things lately that were simply using up space in the house. I consider those to be 100% profit, with the addition of it decluttering the house.


Jenzer June 27, 2020 at 6:13 pm

1 – Dropped off a dozen-plus empty prescription bottles at our vet’s office. The staff re-uses human scrip bottles when they prescribe very small amounts of pet meds.

2 – Remembered to return a ThredUp order within the 14-day window to get store credit.

3 – Used a coupon code from the local grocery chain to get a free 24-pack of bottled water with a $25 purchase.

4 – DH bought a new-to-us, lightly-used propane grill from a Facebook Marketplace seller. He paid about a third of the retail price.

5 – Deposit bottle and can returns have re-opened at some stores here in Michigan. The kids and I will take several bagsful back tomorrow.


Lisa M. June 28, 2020 at 9:26 am

Jenzer – Your #1. I never considered that vet practices may repurpose medication bottles. I always saved little dog’s empty bottles as a handy reference to what she was prescribed & when. When I go to the vet office to pick up her cremains, I will take the bottles along & inquire. Thank you for the idea!


Marilyn June 27, 2020 at 8:01 pm

Katy, I had to smile at your comment about being an indoor cat. I long ago told my outdoorsy family that I love the great outdoors during the day followed by the great indoors at night. Also, I too try to avoid Amazon as they seem to have taken over everything.

1. Still working at home. No commuting expenses. About the only exercise my car gets is driving me to the grocery store 3 or 4 times per month.
2. Reading Scott Turow’s latest book , a Libby download from the library.
3. Reconnected with an old friend from college. We lost touch a number of years ago and its been wonderful to e-mail and talk with her again.


Christine July 1, 2020 at 3:00 pm

I’m with you on the outdoorsy daytime, indoorsy nighttime thing. I love to hike, swim, read outdoors, etc. during the day. At night I want a real bed! I would probably be a camping girl if not for that one little thing…


cathy July 1, 2020 at 10:32 pm

We used to tent camp and, for years, used an old cotton futon instead of an air mattress. We borrowed an idea from friends, and created a bed with sheets and blankets, and would unzip our sleeping bags to become comforters. Eventually we switched to a tall air mattress, but my hips didn’t like it. So I told my husband my next “tent” was going to have wheels under it. Ended up with a van with a full bed. I couldn’t believe how much better I slept. I also love the great outdoors when it’s not sniffing the sides of my tent in the middle of the night thinking I’d make a good snack…


Karen June 27, 2020 at 9:57 pm

Save the $50 for good legal advice and have a look at the printable Family Emergency Binder post on Andrea Dekker’s blog, of April this year. It took me much longer to assemble the information than I expected it would, at a time when there was no emergency. I cannot describe how glad I am now, that I did that then.


HeatherS June 28, 2020 at 4:07 pm

I am currently working on the binder and printables from Andrea Dekker’s blog also. It is taking some time, but I am happy to be getting everything together so that it will be easier for someone later!


Jayne June 29, 2020 at 8:08 am

Thanks for that tip, Karen! Her template looks like a great way to compile and organize important info. I’ll definitely be tackling that soon.


tracy June 28, 2020 at 5:53 am

1. Bought some perennials (lavender) marked down to half off and planted.
2. Gave myself a mani-pedi (pre-COVID I always had this done)
3. Rented a U-Haul van and moved son from college (finally graduated!) to new apartment with friend. By having daughter also drive stuff in her station wagon we managed with smallest size. Much, much cheaper than movers.
4. Dishwasher we have is getting old, and basket that silverware goes in has developed a lot of broken spots in the bottom so silverware falls through. Hubs wanted to get a new DW but I found a replacement basket online for $29 which will hopefully enable us to get a few more years out of this DW.
5. Returning a pair of impulse buy jeans I ordered.


Jill June 28, 2020 at 6:06 am

1. My husband has handled all of our retirement planning – he likes to do it and he’s good at it. But after our kids graduated college we paid a financial planner flat fee through our bank to make sure he was handling it well. It was money well spent and now he is set to retire in 2 years. (The fee actually included 3 meetings with a team of 5 who went over all our financials)
2. My husband also loves house projects. Our back deck was in atrocious shape. He demolished it with the exception of the supportive posts, ordered new lumber through our local lumber store which had free delivery, and has rebuilt a very nice new deck. It’s not fully complete but is already so much better.
3. We’ve had 3 cancelled trips this year – we were going on so many as my husband, once reaching the retirement decision, needed to use more vacation days than normal so he didn’t leave any in the bank upon retirement. So I’ve been working on socially distant trips and have come up with one to take in October. We will be saving a bunch of money this way – taking food in our cooler, using a lockbox to enter our accomodations and enjoying the outdoors. Of course, it’s merely a plan. We will have to wait and see how things are going.
4. I’m still reading my library books (my library has opened by appointment for pick up and drop off) – currently it’s Beantown Girls – watching Netflix and Acorn – currently Somebody Feed Phil and Foyle’s War – and enjoying my back porch.
5. I’ve cleaned out just about every room and closet in my house – only 2 to go. I’ve set aside several items to take to my consignment shop when they reopen and I’ve listed, and sold, so many on Ebay.


kathy June 28, 2020 at 9:43 am

We’ve had a financially planner for over 30 years. He’s done a great job.
We invested the $$ a few years ago to set up a living trust, etc. My parents did this and it made life after their deaths so much easier.


Heidi Louise June 28, 2020 at 4:02 pm

We have available free consultations with our retirement plan, our fraternal investment organization, and our credit union, and have used the first two, and attended presentations by the third. It is a no-cost way to get some ideas of what is available. Our car-home insurance agent also had some interesting insights into life insurance.


Jane June 28, 2020 at 6:56 am

Hi Katy, I’m in Nevada, we drew up a trust with an attorney.
I don’t remember the cost, in this state if it’s just a will
It goes to probate, takes a while and sucks the $$ away from
Your beneficiaries. So a trust pos all the legals. I have had to assist at
Cleaning out my in laws house, nightmare! And cleaning out my moms place when she passed. I vowed to enjoy life but not leave a cluttered mess for my kids! Also learned a lot from my mom, her financials were in complete order, it did
Take us a while to close things, but it was all easy.
So, we’re neat and uncluttered, have a trust, I got a notebook where I listed
Everything needed, accounts, passwords, and a few items I would like to go to certain people. Copies of notes with family.
Peace of mind for me and my family was worth paying for!!


Dee from MA June 28, 2020 at 1:57 pm

Lisa M—-I’m so sorry to hear you lost a dear pet, certainly a member of your family will be so missed. It is an agonizing decision to “let go” but takes courage to end the suffering & bring peace.
Katy, I’m so glad you were able to spend time with your Dad. Time spent with elder parents is so precious.
We are having thunderstorms this afternoon in MA & bringing much needed rain. No dragging the hose around the gardens today! Did my best to remain on the frugal track this week & eating out of the fridge every day. My no spending resolve tested this week by the arrival of the new King Arthur catalog in the mail. Though I can always check out their website there’s something about leafing through the actual catalog while sipping a cup of coffee! It sparks my baking creativity! To keep up with maintenance of my car I did check the oil today & gave it a much needed vacuuming. I anticipate being able to take all my lunches to work with whatever’s in the fridge and drink water while there. That’s about all I have for now. Hope everyone remains safe & well. Keep looking for the beauty in the world, it’s still out there!


Lindsey June 28, 2020 at 6:39 pm

I hate the King A. catalog because it makes me lust for almost every ingredient and gadget in there! One of my best gifts ever was the gift card someone get me for them. At that point they didn’t have regular gift cards, so it was typed on a piece of paper but worked fine. I spent hours choosing and then un-choosing things and then choosing other things with what felt like play money.


Bee June 28, 2020 at 2:34 pm

I have arranged my estate information in a notebook also. However, I have yet to think about my final arrangements. Perhaps now is the time. I also have an emergency evacuation notebook. Living in Florida near the beach, I have had leave my home more than once. My notebook contains personal records – birth and marriage certificates; passports, homeowners and auto policies; emergency contact info, shot records for the animals and household inventories to go with photos. Life can be complex.
Last weeks Five Frugal Things include:
1. My daughter is visiting. She is quite the baker. We have watched the Great British Baking Show together. She also adjusted my mother’s carrot cake recipe to be gluten free. It was wonderful to have a piece of cake. When you are wheat-free, this is a rarity.
2. As you probably know, Covid is on the rebound in Florida. This, combined with horrible air quality courtesy of the giant Sahara Dust Cloud that made its way across the Atlantic, has driven me indoors. Today, the dust cleared, and we took a family swim at the beach — Free, refreshing and much needed. Awaiting the locusts now.
3. I continue to look for a dog to adopt. I find it a very emotional process. I did put an application in for a dog, but there were many who wanted the same dog. The agency gave priority to people who live in the central part of the state. I live in the north. I have inquired about 3 other pups, but have not heard back. I guess this is frugal because I haven’t spent any money . 🙁
4. I have been using every bit of soap, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, and make up. I am cutting ends off tubes, turning bottles upside down, and using q-tips to get every drop. It saves trips to the store, but I think this may be making my hubby a little nuts. He hates to run out of things.
5. I continue all the usual things – brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily water, cooking from scratch and eating at home. I am seriously sick of my own cooking. Tonight, however, I’m heading to my sister’s house where we will have popcorn and wine for dinner while watching a movie. Anything to break the monotony of 2020.


Lisa M. June 28, 2020 at 3:57 pm

Bee – Your #3. I want to give you props for willingness to put your heart on the line to adopt a canine companion. I am so impressed that you are open to another forever friend after losing your sweet pup. You are courageous & strong.


Bee June 29, 2020 at 10:29 am

My heart goes out to you, Lisa. You have had two significant losses in a short period of time. Give your heart time to heal. Eventually you may want another pet in your life.
My dog that passed away in April was thrust upon me right after my “soul dog” died. He had been found by my son roaming the streets of Savannah and was in rough shape. I didn’t want another dog, but I took care of him. He taught me about gratitude. Every single day he woke up just happy to be here and showed it. I often wonder who rescued whom?
I send you wishes of love, strength and healing..


Lisa M. June 29, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Bee, you are a hero in my book. You stepped up to save a stray after losing your soul dog. That would take amazing strength. And you were rewarded accordingly. Incredible chain of events.

I so appreciate your supportive comments. I can’t say I would never have another pet but I was raised with outside animals. It took a huge adjustment to adapting to an inside pet.

Given the amount of animals searching for a good home, odds are in your favor that your next dog will come into your loving arms sooner rather than later. Thank you for your kind heart. I’ll be reading & waiting & hoping.


Cindy in South July 1, 2020 at 10:58 am

Bee: I do not know how close you are to Selma, Al but I know that there is a nonprofit that sometimes transports long distances. It is a very high kill shelter. YOu can probably have your pic of a dog. You can also contact the vets at Selma Animal Hospital. I got my dog there 9 9yrs ago.


Bee July 2, 2020 at 3:46 am

Thank you for this suggestion. I currently have an application in on another rescue. This one requires a recommendation from our vet. I’ll be speaking to him today and ask him if he knows the best way to go about getting a dog from a shelter in another state. If the current adoption does not work out, I’ll expand my search. I’m already searching within 100 miles of home and I have an old kitty. I need to make sure that my new pup is not aggressive towards cats.


Ruby June 28, 2020 at 2:58 pm

1. Gave two of the family members haircuts at home.
2. Bathed and groomed all three of our delightful rescue dogs at home. Being a canine beautician has saved untold sums through 34 years of owning long-haired dogs.
3. Made a big batch of egg salad to go with lovely ripe tomatoes and cucumbers from the produce stand for easy, cool meals.
4. Snagged a couple of free e-books using BookBub.
5. Went through our collection of music CDs and made myself a memory stick of cool things I had not listened to in a long time to enjoy on my upcoming work commutes.
6. Not a frugal fail, but I did buy some shoes new on clearance with free shipping and a $5 off coupon. I wear a size 6.5 wide – got feet like wee hooves – and any time the stars align and a brand of shoe I can wear goes on clearance in my size, I jump for it. 😀


Vickey July 1, 2020 at 2:10 pm

Ruby, your foot description made me laugh. I wear a size *10*, and sometimes need a wide. My grandmother, who also had long (but not so wide) feet, said we were women of “great under-standing”. 😉


rebecca June 28, 2020 at 4:53 pm

1. I turned the air conditioner off today. I love having a breeze.
2. I gave a bunch of office furniture away. Not frugal for me but definitely for all the people who got it. All of it had been given to me at one point and it feels great to pass it on and not in landfill.
3. I am watching old shows like Gunsmoke and the Big Valley lately. I sed to lve the Big Valley as a kid and I am remembering why. I have never seen Gunsmoke before but really enjoying it.
4. Listening to rain and thunder right now. I love it!
5. The usual-my own coffee, cooking at home (I did just get takeout and it made me sick, so back to my own), and little $ on gas spent.


Heidi Louise June 28, 2020 at 5:26 pm

Twenty years of Gunsmoke is a lot to catch up on!
My husband currently finds comfort in the old Perry Mason program. (We don’t have HBO to watch the new gritty prequel, but that’s ok).


Lindsey June 28, 2020 at 6:48 pm

I don’t want gritty right now so not having HBO ourselves, it is no great loss. If you have Prime, there is a VERY old serial from Britain, called Family at War, that they just acquired. We saw it when we lived there and it was a sort of comforting thing to watch in the evenings. (Not the war part, obviously, but how people interacted and sacrificed.) We are planning to watch it again starting this evening. And if you do watch it, keep an eye out for how often the boom mike plunges down into view!


Kara June 28, 2020 at 7:03 pm

Life takes such a lot of planning! I feel for you, Katy, with your college tuition load!
I helped a friend with her compost and got homegrown turnips, raspberries and rhubarb in return.
I did not walk to Lucky to get butter, which I’m out of. I will go to Costco tomorrow instead.
I ordered 2 books that I wanted, on Ebay. I usually use the library, but ours is still closed.
I visited 2 lavender gardens near my house, I chose the ones with free entry. It is just past peak here, but it was still beautiful. And in the shade there was a coolish breeze.
I worked for 2 days on the nasty job of scraping tile glue off of hardwood floor (we removed 1970’s tile in entryway). It’s not finished yet. Hard job.
I posted a picture on pinterest of my king size quilt, made entirely from scraps. No fabric purchased. It’s my summer quilt, and each day I look at it and see a thousand memories!


Patricia Koernig June 29, 2020 at 12:47 am

Beautiful quilt, Kara!


Kathy Sell June 29, 2020 at 4:53 am

Your quilt is the essence of summer: cool water, bright skies, sunshine and wonderfully colored flowers. Really nice!!


Joyce June 29, 2020 at 5:15 am

Lovely quilt! I agree about memories hidden in the patches.


Bee June 29, 2020 at 10:34 am

It’s a lovely quilt!!!! You are very talented.


Julie June 29, 2020 at 6:28 pm

Your quilt is lovely. It reminds me of my quilt made by my great aunt from my grandma clothes. 30 years later and I was the only one of the grandkids smart enough to save mine. Every year it comes out to hang in the the hammock so it really is our summer quilt.


Nancy from mass June 30, 2020 at 1:28 pm

Very lovely quilt. Isn’t it funny how you can look at fabrics and know what other quilts you used them for. I just made a sewing machine cover from extra blocks I had made for other quilts. I know exactly where all of the blocks came from.


Lindsay B June 29, 2020 at 3:53 am

1. Used a $17 frequent-shopper rebate at a local grocery store.

2. Received a surprise $5 rebate at a local pharmacy.

3. After my favorite ceramic nonstick skillet finally kicked the bucket, hesitantly used our (rarely used) stainless steel skillet for our daily scrambled eggs and discovered it works well enough. No need to go buy anything, saving money, time, and resources.

4. Mended a shirt for DH, and reinforced a loose button on my comforter cover.

5. Cut DH’s hair at home- we were doing this pre-COVID, but it’s still satisfying.


Whitney June 29, 2020 at 4:38 am

I don’t know if this is true where you live, but here there is a free basic will (and a few other documents) free from the state. For me, it’s Virginia. Our library provides free log ins and forms through NOLO. That might be an option, for the short term, at least.

Also, google “[insert location] + legal aid.” It’s not just for court cases – here, anyone can get up to 30 minutes of free advice or direction.


Roberta June 29, 2020 at 7:28 am

NOLO Press was (at least 20 years ago, when I got my degree in Library Science) a very highly regarded resource for DIY legal resources. If nothing else, use their resources to compile your estate planning, and pay less for an attorney to review it.


MB in MN June 29, 2020 at 5:30 am

FFT mini edition:

1. Planning for the inevitable and making our own vital info binder are the best things we’ve ever done for our loved ones. Our personal representative has instructions that begin with “If you are reading this, we have become incompetent, incapacitated, or dead.” We’ve documented everything right down to where we hide our house key! We also completed health care directives, powers of attorney, and wills. To avoid probate and ensure our assets go to the right people, we assigned contingent beneficiaries to investment accounts, filed payment-on-death forms for our bank accounts, and set up a transfer-on-death deed for our house.

2. While not frugal, I did spend $79 to save my 38-year marriage. This was the fee for having the furniture company assemble two outdoor couches upon delivery. When I saw the DIY instructions, it became very apparent that it would be money well spent. Complex DIY assembly projects – which typically involve missing parts and my husband’s refusal to read instructions – tend to go south very quickly in our usually happy household!


Jenzer June 29, 2020 at 6:32 am

MB, there’s actually a book titled “A Housekeeper is Cheaper Than a Divorce.” Some spends are well worth it!


Nancy from mass June 29, 2020 at 8:15 am

Not sure if I misunderstood you or not, but if you don’t already have a will, you should. If a spouse passes away, it’s not a guarantee that everything will go to the surviving spouse. I’m fortunate that both our names were on everything when my husband died. Or I would’ve had to open probate to prove that everything belonged to me. When I created the will after his death, I was scolded by the lawyers for not having a will in the first place. If I remember correctly, the cost was roughly $150 to prepare.


Heidi Louise June 29, 2020 at 10:43 am

Having both names on all accounts, car titles, etc., is crucial. You shouldn’t have to work to get your joint assets, as you said. If you keep your accounts all separate and don’t have both people as owners, or have proper beneficiaries, it means a surviving spouse might not get what was only in the other person’s name without a lot of work. And while grieving is not a good time to work this out.
Most unfortunately, I know that this is a point of terror to people who have broken away from abusive relationships. I feel for those who have had their assets stolen by a spouse and are not sure they can trust another person ever again.


janine June 29, 2020 at 10:28 am

1. Just received a call from someone whose mother is not expected to live. She asked about a will and I checked with my family attorney who informed me that in our state , not necessary if there are No Assets.
2. Not using air conditioner again this summer. We use more than our share of gas heat during the winter months in our drafty older home.
3. Chopped up a large amount of rhubarb for the freezer and goodies next winter.
4. Continuing to shelter in place which has a side benefit of reduced expenditures on gas and entertainment. Still spending $$ on political campaigns, Hope for some changes in the fall.
5. Praying for better times ahead and a vaccination that will work for all of us!


Nancy from mass June 29, 2020 at 3:16 pm

It’s hard to be extra frugal, but here goes…

1. Only left my house twice in the past week. Went to a grocery store in town and drove to my acupuncture appt.
2. Pulled out some sunflower granny squares I had been crocheting for a blanket. Have been adding the next row on each of the blocks. Also, I’ve been knitting my sons sweater.
3. Finished re-organizing my final closet in my house. It was my linen closet and it was the largest and messiest. Realized I had three sets of sheets for each of us, so I donated all but one set of reg and one set of flannel. We only use bath seats but I had 15 almost brand new bath towels. I kept four and donated the rest. There’s so much room in that closet now, that I can keep my boxes of quilt blocks already cut on the shelves in there.
4. Layered one of the quilts I made for my grandniece and will start machine quilting that
5. Decided to delete my Facebook account on July 4. I’m tired of the extremely racist comments that friends and family members post. It makes me sick because most of these people did not act like that in person. It raises my blood pressure every time I go in there. I’m going to cull my contact with as many of those people as I can. Less stress = happier life.


Bee June 30, 2020 at 3:25 pm

I also have given up on most social media. I scroll through quickly and check in with a few family members, However, I find that Facebook is filled with negativity — especially lately.


Christine July 1, 2020 at 3:13 pm

I frequently consider leaving FB for that exact same reason. However, I do love to see posts from cousins who live far away and I although my grandkids live close by, I love to see pictures of them their parents post. I found a happy medium. I block anyone who has a hint of racism in their posts. I don’t need to see it and feel upset by it.


Nancy from mass July 2, 2020 at 2:03 pm

I tried snoozing them and unfollowing them but I find I just don’t enjoy being on the site now. So, one less thing I need to go into.


Gina June 30, 2020 at 5:50 am

I don’t comment often and wish I could come up with 5 frugal things more often, but I guess I will share what I currently have thought of….
1. At my work, they house a food pantry for our community. Sometimes the workers will give us extra food that is perishable and can’t wait til the next distribution. I was gifted bagels, breads, naan, and a bag of dove chocolates!!
2. People in my neighborhood set out some good stuff…..Recently I got a throw blanket, 6 green spotlights (will use at Christmastime), and a huge decorative basket. laundry hamper, vase. Also, 2 rolls of adding machine tape that I brought in to work as a co-worker uses those
3. Used dog food bag and chicken feed bag as garbage bags in our garage
4. My husband was digging a few tree roots in our back yard and accidentally pulled up our cable wire and split it. My brother-in-law works for our cable company, so he came out on his day off and fixed it within 2 minutes. The cable company would’ve charged us $50. We gave him a drink and thanked him. We recently gave him a bunch of compost for his garden. Nice to be able to barter.
5. Redeemed coupons for 2 combo meals for Taco Bell for lunch (my mother-in-law gifted them to us). Saved $18.32 on lunch.


Teresa June 30, 2020 at 7:51 am

5 frugal things

1. Making a pot of beans (beans free with coupon) using bacon bits and other veggies that I had on hand.
2. Making a salad using cucumbers that I got free from the garden at work.
3. Working at home, saving gas
4. Getting ready to plant my $1 tomato plants. Hope it’s not too late
5. Taking a stay-cation starting July 3rd (sadly the beaches have been closed due to the pandemic, but better safe than sorry.)
Bonus: Will declutter and clean out my garage over the stay-at-home holiday. Firework displays and gatherings have also been banned. Good for my dog, a little boring for me but we will get through it. Happy 4th fellow Frugalistas!


Rochelle June 30, 2020 at 9:45 am

Last year my husband I got our will, POA and other necessary legal documents drawn up at no out-of-pocket costs through our group life insurer, MetLife. There were only a handful of attorneys in our metro areas that they covered in full. It is an obscure benefit that isn’t widely known, but I thought I would mention it in case others have a policy through them or wanted to check to see if their group life insurance plan would also cover it.


Jill A June 30, 2020 at 9:55 am

It’s been a not very frugal summer so far. My new furnace, air conditioner, pool filter and chlorinator are installed. I guess that’s four things that shouldn’t break any time soon I hope.

1. I took my daughter to Culver’s for dinner since I was so exhausted. I know it wasn’t frugal but they let me use three coupons saving myself $6. My daughter was happy because she was craving fast food.
2. I’m cleaning my own pool and mowing my own yard even though I’d rather have someone else do it.
3. My daughter won a $20 Amazon gift card from Farmer’s Insurance for using their driving app.
4. I’ve been reading a lot of library books on my kindle, watching Netflix and mostly staying home. We took a day trip to a small beach town. We wandered the shops but only bought some treats for the dog. We also ate lunch outside at a restaurant. Again not frugal but cheaper than the vacation we had to cancel.
5. I sold an item on Facebook.


Vickey July 1, 2020 at 2:28 pm

Sounds to me like your day trip was a spending on experiences not stuff. Pretty non-consumer, imho.


deb June 30, 2020 at 10:12 am

Here are a couple of options for a legacy/ICE binder. Perhaps one of these would meet your needs.

Neither of these links are affiliate. 🙂 I have bought the one from Smart Money Mamas and it is still sitting on my to-do list. 🙁



Laura in Sydney June 30, 2020 at 1:52 pm

1. I deleted my Twitter account – it was a huge time suck and I have better things to do. Plus I feel much much calmer.
2. I bought a fireproof box for MY “In case I die” folder, thumb drives etc. I’m in Australia and I followed the Barefoot Investor’s guide for what was needed. Can I endorse getting a good, fair will together? It saves a lot of heartache as I know.
3. It’s winter here and cold for us so curtains get closed early and rugs (comforters?) are out on every couch. I knitted house slippers from carpet wool bought by friend for me in a NZ op shop. Carpet wool lasts lots longer!
4. Repurposing some golden velvet curtains from my mother’s house. The material was top quality in 1971 and it’s good for another 50 years in my estimation. Plus I get the golden memories too.
5. My Lilly Pilly trees are covered in their bright cerise fruits – I think I can pick enough to make a couple of jars of jelly. Many people don’t even know they are edible which makes me wonder what I’m missing out on. I must do a bush food course/walk when they start up again.


Cindy in South July 1, 2020 at 5:51 am

1. Made pinto bean hummus (without tahini) and then turned around and used it in a taco with spinach, shredded cheese, tomatoes and sour cream.
2. Made Baba Ganouche (spelling????) without tahini. added a little sour cream to make it creamier.
3. Was in a hurry one morning and slapped bbq beans and onion on toast for lunch. Ok. it worked.
4. Made a crustless tomato pie with just tomatoes, shredded cheese, little onion, little mayo and spices. It worked.
5. Made a no bake lime pie (they were not key limes) from limes I was gifted. I had graham crackers and made the crust. The filling consisted of sweetened condense milk, cream cheese substitution, neufastal (spelling again) cheese, and the juice of the limes. Stuck it in fridge for a couple of hours and it was good. Cannot spell and brain is fried, more than usual….lol, this week. Hope y’all have a safe and happy 4th.


MB in MN July 1, 2020 at 6:05 am

In this case, spelling is overrated. I enjoyed your comments. Your meals were inventive! Happy 4th.


Cindy in South July 1, 2020 at 7:34 am

Katy: Some attorneys do not charge too much for a will, Healthcare directive, POA, etc. It really depends on your state laws, size of your estate, etc. I had to spend thousands in legal fees, hiring experts in estate work, and untold hours/days/months/two years of stress trying to unravel the mess, because my uncle did a terrible do it yourself job of estate planning. I recommend calling your state bar association. They also sometimes put on free sessions and have law students, under the supervision of attorneys, help with will/estate prep. At least they do here.


MB in MN July 1, 2020 at 11:15 am

Oh no! When I reread my earlier comment, I was horrified that it may have come across as opposite of what I meant. My intent was that I preferred your spellings! I, too, am spelling-challenged and brain-fried. We’re here for each other!


Cindy in South July 2, 2020 at 7:46 am

You are fine….lol! I understood what you meant. My spelling and grammar are well, challenged…… Most folks think lawyers can spell……not me. My undergraduate was in Accounting. That is my story, and I am sticking to it…


Christina@BargainBlog July 1, 2020 at 8:28 am

What an interesting post, Katy. Talking finances with parents is never easy…my Dad is younger than yours, but he’s trying to keep me up to date on what I need to know. (He takes care of that for both my parents, as my Mom isn’t too well.)

I’m finding it hard to find five frugal things, but I’m going to dig down deep and try!!

1. Using our lovely George Foreman grill given to us as a gift for our anniversary. We’re those rare people who actually don’t own a ‘real’ grill, so this has been a lot of fun for us. It feels like eating out, but of course, we’re not. 😉

2. Having naps. Ha! I’m a big napper, and I figure it’s a cheap form of entertainment. And, a way to care for myself and my health at the same time.

3. I’m still not comfortable going to the library, so I did spend a bit of money to buy books at BookOutlet. I got some insane deals, and even managed to buy some inexpensive kids’ books that we just dropped off to my best friend’s little guy this morning. The sheer joy on his face as he opened the package really made my day.

4. Ice water – Lame, maybe. But, when we start adding ice to our drinks at home – whether it be just plain water OR iced tea or coffee – it starts to feel like summer! And any drink whipped up at home costs a mere fraction of what it would if you ordered it out.

5. Walking – We live in a fairly densely populated area, so we still felt a wee bit anxious even going for walks. (Even to get out of our apartment means sometimes encountering people. And from all that we’ve recently heard, it is indoor interactions that seem more dangerous.) But, we decided that we needed to get over it so we could benefit from the fresh air and exercise. This morning we got up good and early, brought a bag of necessities with us (hand sanitizer just in case, reusable masks in case we needed them) and went out. I’ve missed walking so much!!!! I feel a million times better, and of course – it cost nary a penny. 🙂


Lorraine Irby July 2, 2020 at 7:52 am

Hello from Texas! I wanted to tell you about our “Death Book”. Yes, everyone hates that name, but it works. For years my stuff was everywhere. I pulled out an old binder and some drop in page covers and started filling it with stuff that might be needed if one of us died – our wills, our marriage license, life insurance and so on. I print out a copy of my bank statement, investment account statement and utilities and bills once a year so if I die, my executor at least has a start about where to look for my stuff. I have since added our passports, birth certificates and other items so now I just have one place to find everything and to tell my husband to look when he needs something.


Susan July 2, 2020 at 10:20 am

-Continuing to de clutter and sell on EBay and marketplace. I also found an outdoor toy box on Marketplace to keep the kids toys and beachgear in one spot instead of all over the yard. Also planned on getting a swing set for sons birthday right before the pandemic and now everything has been sold out. Found one on marketplace and they guy delivered and set it up.
-Enjoying free Panera iced coffees. I’ve been avoiding coffee shops after getting an espresso maker for my birthday. Forcing myself to cook at home and shop at Aldi. I splurged on steaks and salmon, which makes cooking at home a little more exciting. Making egg salad almost every week for sandwiches and throw it into my green salad for lunch.
– Made a birthday cake for my employee and treated her to lunch at a local restaurant, experiences instead of stuff.
-Traveled for a family members birthday. Gifted cash. Rented a hotel room and had to buy some food on the way home, as things took much longer than expected and we got hangry. Not frugal but worth celebrating with him.
-Splurged on a flat of local strawberries. I plan on making jam but we are gorging ourselves on them, may not have any left. I’ve been picking a few snap peas and box Choi from our garden, anxiously awaiting the first tomato. I’m hoping to pick cherries at a local farm and mulberries at a rental property this weekend.
-Exhanged some unneeded baby clothes for diapers. We were given sooo many clothes along with hand me downs that we are drowning in stuff. My kids don’t do well in the summer in cloth diapers. Working on night time potty training my son.
-I love getting pedicures but haven’t been able to get an appointment. Continued painting my own toes, not quite happy but it saves money.

I like many others have experienced good and bad estate plans. My grandparents both passed in the last few years with decent estates. My moms parents had things set up well and everything just transferred equally to the siblings. My dads parents had things set up incorrectly and it went to probate, drug out for years, siblings fought and in the end the lawyers got most of the money. Maybe DIY at this point and just pay a lawyer to look over things.


Christine July 3, 2020 at 3:59 pm

1. I cut DH’s hair with my buzzer. He loves it short, winter and summer.
2. I shaved the mats off my long haired cats back and hips (using a different buzzer but same company…Wahl…good products.) These two buzzers have paid for themselves many times over through the years on barbers and pet groomers. Plus Jesse the long haired cat is such a sweetie, he makes it very easy to shave him.
3. Going to a friend’s house on the lake for July 4th. She asked me to bring a pot of my homemade Boston Baked Beans which I am cooking overnight, or the crock pot is cooking them while I sleep.
4. Staying home so I’m filling my gas tank once a month quite cheaply too, due to the present gas prices.

5. This keeps skipping thus the space. DH won’t be returning to gym so we will save on the fees. He is hiking the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire this weekend instead and will focus on outdoor activity instead of the gym.


Christine July 3, 2020 at 4:02 pm

Outdoors only at my friend’s house for the 4th. If it rains I’ll stay home. I don’t want to go into her home as she is 87. If I go I’ll stay til my bladder screams “GO!”


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