Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 7, 2020 · 107 comments

    1. My husband and I moved our son down to the college town where he’ll finish up the two quarters he needs to complete his bachelor’s degree. True, his classes are likely to be online this term, but they absolutely weren’t when it was time to arrange housing. This apartment came unfurnished, but we were able to score the previously mentioned free couch and end table from different neighbors. Luckily, everything (including his bedroom stuff) miraculously slotted into our minivan and Prius, so there was no need to rent a pricey moving truck.

      Our son has three roommates, so they can pick up any slack, especially since he provided the majority of the kitchen and bathroom supplies.

    2. My husband and I decided to buy a new mattress and boxspring set, which is a suuuuper annoying purchasing process. We looked on the internet, but didn’t trust a word we read from online review sites, as they’re notorious for overtly false reviews. Instead we looked at Costco, and then finally at a locally owned store that has a trustworthy reputation for quality products and low pressure sales. We ended up buying a queen set that’s scheduled to be delivered at the end of the month, which gives us time to consider repainting our bedroom, which I’ve decided isn’t so much “terra cotta” as it is “hot dog.”

      This was a far from frugal purchase, but it felt good to support a local business, and I look forward to many peaceful nights of sleep. We pinch pennies on the stuff that doesn’t matter which makes the money available for the things that do.

      For those wondering why we’re not considering a used mattress, this is one of my Compact exceptions, especially since I’ve learned about recent bedbug cases in the Portland area.

    3. I found a crumpled piece of paper at the grocery store which turned out to be a voucher for a free drive-through car wash, which may be one of my favorite finds ever as A) Its value was $8, and B) I hate washing the minivan by hand as it requires a ladder to reach the roof. My husband was skeptical, but it was accepted without a hitch and we now possess a clean and shiny car!

      This may be unrelated, but I think that drive-through car washes are super duper fun, and I always joke about how the attendants are “mermen” and the internal bits are “kracken” and “giant squid.” I’ve never been to Disneyland, but I’m guessing it’s pretty much the same experience. Why yes, I may be the world’s cheapest date.

    4. I made broth from a leftover Costco roasted chicken, (which I then transmogrified into a tasty and satisfying Mexican chicken soup) I borrowed my step mother’s pressure washer to spruce up our backyard patio/retaining wall, as well as anything else I could think of, (outdoor rug, wicker laundry basket, concrete steps, etc.) I gave away a set of silkscreens and a squeegee through my local Buy Nothing Group, I made an appointment and picked up a physical library book from my personally curated “Quality Distraction” reading list, I listened to a couple of audiobooks through the library’s free Libby app and I curb picked a lovely brass desk lamp for my son, whose old lamp had broken.

    5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a traitorous, dishonest and 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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{ 107 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy in the South September 7, 2020 at 1:43 pm

1. I had my entire small house foundation reinforced with wooden beams and adjustable house jacks. It was $2300 and I consider that reasonable. I live where it is wet and dry. The soil shifts. 2. I made mulberry bread and muffins with my free mulberries. 3. I planted collards, turnip greens, and mustard greens in Miracle Grow in the one sunny spot in my yard, which happens to be my front yard. Yay for no HOA! 4. I walked at the river park. 5. I took a nap.

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Cindy in the South September 7, 2020 at 1:50 pm

6. Made potato salad with potatoes that needed to be used. I used hot pickled okra that need to be used in the place of pickles. 7. Got reasonably cheap gas for $1.78 at Walmart. 8. I cut my own hair. 9. I skipped the dye job because I don’t care.

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Alexandra September 7, 2020 at 2:07 pm

I LOVE pickled okra. It never occurred to me to add it to potato salad. I bet it was good!

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Cindy in the South September 7, 2020 at 3:02 pm

It is very good in potato salad!

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Christine September 7, 2020 at 4:38 pm

Cindy, I must tell you, I am from New England and never lived elsewhere. My husband is from the South. While visiting his relatives, we went to a church event where the church members all made the food, a huge pot luck. What a spread! Anyway, I went down the line filling my plate with a little of this, a little of that but then came to a large dish of something I just did not recognize. I asked one of the women who were serving what it was…and she looked it me like I had two heads! It was okra, fried, she very sweetly told me. My introduction to okra…and it was very tasty!

Bee September 8, 2020 at 5:11 am

I was raised in the South, but I have never developed a taste for okra. It is the only veggie that I will not eat except in gumbo. I have fried it, roasted it, stewed it, pickled it and grilled it. I think it is a textural thing. It feels furry to me. It comes in my farm box from time to time. I fret over how not to waste it.

Cindy in South September 9, 2020 at 5:27 am

Christine: I love okra any way it is prepared. My son in law is from Utah and I fed him pickled Okra. He was not a fan….lol.

cathy September 9, 2020 at 12:14 pm

Cindy,
I’m in Utah and had never had okra until meeting my husband, who grew up in various parts of the South. It is kind of an acquired taste, but I keep thinking about trying to grow it because the flowers are so pretty!

GinaK September 7, 2020 at 2:45 pm

I have a LARGE mulberry bush (so I’m told) it’s super big and produces lots of berries although the birds eat a large amount of them. I’ve never eaten mulberries – and a little afraid to try them as I wondered if these were edible berries. Are they like a blackberry? Muffins sound like a great option.

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Roberta September 8, 2020 at 7:12 am

Mulberries are unlike other berries. They have a flavor almost reminiscent of currants, with no noticeable seeds. Definitely try a couple — if you pull them gently and they come off, they’re ripe. Or lay a sheet under the tree and eat what you catch. We have a small tree, and we also pillage a large tree at the park when mulberry season arrives.

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Cindy in South September 9, 2020 at 5:25 am

I love mulberries fresh. I have a huge tree. They do taste more like currents to me, like Roberta said. My tiny above my fridge freezer is crowded with free mulberries and free figs from my momma’s tree (she is dead but I still call it my momma’s tree).

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Mary in Maryland September 10, 2020 at 7:11 am

I’ve found the flavor varies from bush to bush. Some are fairly insipid.

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Kathy September 7, 2020 at 1:44 pm

1. The prepping to list the house continues. Our realtor is providing aka paying for carpet cleaning, clean crew, inside touch up, crew to
move furniture to garage and staging
2. The selling, regifting, donating and ditching is happening without hubby’s help. He had foot surgery 10 days ago
3. I sent a bag of clothes to Buffalo exchange. After taking them to
local consignment store. They bought a few things for $36
4. After much discussion we decided to take our over 50 year bedroom set when we move. They don’t make them like they used to unless we want to spend $$$$
5. We’ve kept our thermostat at 80 to avoid power outages

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Katy in Africa September 7, 2020 at 1:45 pm

You have such a knack for writing things in a hilarious way! I love it.
Also, about a year or two ago we bought a mattress, but were leary of used ones as well. We bought one from a discount mattress store. Cheaper, but still new.

1. Made some cookies and froze them in a used Pringles can. I fit about 15 in there which I’m saving for our next long drive.
2. Made pizza for supper with cheese and olives friends gave me when they moved. And pepperoni another friend gave me.
3. Our puppy is happily helping us with our leftovers…and I’m happily not spending extra bucks on dog food.
4. Reading a borrowed “Little House in the Big Woods” to the kids.
5. Have gone a long time without dying my grays…thankful head wraps are worn here!

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Ecoteri September 8, 2020 at 8:45 am

OH, Katy I love the Pringles can cookie idea! I don’t usually HAVE Pringles cans, but I currently do, and will save them once empty for this. Brilliant!

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Lindsey September 8, 2020 at 10:22 am

Genius idea for reusing Pringles cans! We don’t buy them often but when we do it always pains me to throw away those nifty cans. Now I know what to do with them. Thanks for the idea.

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Lisa M. September 7, 2020 at 1:46 pm

5+FF: These Times They Are A Changin’

Literally 4 of the 10 townhomes on our little street have big changes happening with residents moving in & moving out. Owners, renters, a college student, you name it!

1. Call me a frugal nerd but I LOVE analyzing ways to save $. Recent examples: comparison shopping for parsley (institutional size for the win), finding big box brands @ Aldi, & using clearance bakery rack @ big box.

2. Realized had not received a birthday promo from chain Italian restaurant that was received last year. Contacted Customer Service who subsequently sent promo – a mega size $18 dessert. DH & I had difficulty finishing last year, so plan to enlist DD’s help this year as it is a 3-person size.

3. Enjoyed a socially distanced bonfire with 3 neighbors – 1st one I have attended in ~ 10 years, as worked on many Saturday evenings during that time.

4. DH & I provided sweat equity moving DD home. An experience that gets increasingly unpleasant the older we get, especially notable as we passed a young man with a professional uniform, truck & dolly who was effortlessly loading another apartment in the throes of moving out.

5. Trying to catch up on in-home cooking since garage sales are done for season with inventory packed away & DD moved home. Now just moving items from garage to her room, washing assorted bedding, etc. Recent creations: Deli Potato Salad, Surprise Slaw, 3 Bean-Cheese-Zucchini Salad, Pasta with Eggplant & Mozzarella, Sam’s Zucchini Appetizers, Cornbread Salad, & Crested Butte Grilled Chicken Thighs. Also gifted some divine steaks by neighbor who has since moved & was waiting for a junk removal truck to haul away his decrepit grill. And as they were defrosted, grilled them the same evening we received them.

6. Adjusting to DD’s cat in our lives. Even with added expenses of food & litter, we are enjoying the big baby & found a fun offer on litter box – a cat charm bracelet! Ordered bracelet with attached charm after purchasing 2 boxes of litter & there are 5 charms remaining. No doubt will have all 6 charms eventually as litter consumption a

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

(Cont.) appears to be in our future. 🙂

Please excuse the cut-off copy posting above…

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Alexandra September 7, 2020 at 2:17 pm

1. Attended a family wedding this weekend. Plenty of social distancing in church but only a few of us wearing masks. At least reception was outside. Lovely weather.
2. Used hotel and rental car points from job travel for: 5 nights of hotel rooms (3 diff rooms), a rental car for 3 days. Since we don’t own a car (I have a company car,) we don’t have car insurance. Biggest expense was the insurance on the rental. Still a lot cheaper than owning a car!
3. Signed up for gas station points for every time I fill up company car. Used points ($4) to fill (some) rental car’s gas tank.
4. Instead of buying a shredder for dealing with important documents, we add to the bottom of the compost pile. They simply disappear.
5. Second time this month we are without water. Water line breakage. Not buying water. We have to turn it on for a few minutes a few times a day (sprays the yard). We fill all available containers and flush toilets then. Learning to cook AND clean without running water is truly a skill.

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Marie September 7, 2020 at 7:19 pm

Yes, water. Last year, our well went out. Took 5 days for the repair. Would turn it on long enough to fill things, then off. Makes you appreciate running water.

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Economically Proud September 7, 2020 at 2:37 pm

1. Labor Day BBQ- had hot dogs, homemade potato salad & mac n cheese, pickles, corn on cob, watermelon. Spent only about 5-6$ to feed 4. Corn & melon, plus the cheese were all gifted. My mother-in-law brought beer, soda, and a cake. Fun times
2. All meals from home. Nothing carry out or restaurant since February
3. Sold many items on Facebook marketplace in the past 2 weeks. None of it is stuff we will miss and we have made a little extra cash to keep on going
4. Enjoying cooler temps so the ac is off and the windows are open again. I love the fresh air
5. busy with homeschooling and loving every minute of it (okay, there are times when our child is moody and the typical teen), I love reviewing and learning along with my high schooler. Our best class is Dave Ramesey’s Financial Planning for high schoolers.

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Christine September 7, 2020 at 4:46 pm

What a valuable class the Dave Ramsey Financial Planning for high schoolers is for teens. Wish there was something like that when I was in school. I probably wouldn’t have made some of the stupid financial decisions I made. Alas, I did not discover Dave Ramsey until I was in my 50s…

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Mand01 September 7, 2020 at 2:41 pm

1. Made a big pot of chicken stock from a chicken I had de-boned, and veggie peelings I have been storing in the freezer.
2. Our veggie patch is producing gorgeous spring veggies right now. I made a big batch of kale pesto for the freezer, and picked a huge Romanesco broccoli, which fed us over two meals.
3. I made a batch of granola.
4. Our chickens have been producing several eggs a day, so no buying eggs. Although setting up the chickens was pretty pricey, so not sure it is exactly frugal.
5. The weather is warming up, which means washing is hung outside with no dryer use.

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Lindsey September 8, 2020 at 10:30 am

One year I priced out what we spent on our hens and it was most definitely not more frugal than buying eggs. However, it was a good hobby and entertainment for the kids, we knew the chickens lived good lives, and they became our first line of composting—we’d feed organic remains to the chickens and then compost their poopy straw. One of the ways they did save us money and thought was as gifts. For people who don’t own chickens, a dozen or two of eggs brought as a hostess gift or given as a birthday gift really pleases people beyond all reason (and you know you are not cluttering up their house with something they may not even want). We stopped having hens for a few years and people would ask me why I didn’t give them eggs as a gift! And the gift is all the better if you have hens who lay the chocolate brown or blue and green eggs; people act like you personally arranged for the colors.

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MEM September 7, 2020 at 3:31 pm

1. Went to the beach today. Here in MA, during covid you need reservations to go to the beach – at least the beach we like. I purchased a membership and parking sticker back in July for $140. Without it, parking is $35 per carload of up to 6 people on weekdays and a whopping $45 on weekends. I want to more than break-even, which I already have. Hope to go a few more times before it gets too cold – we don’t mind sitting on the beach in a sweatshirt and jeans. Today, as always, I packed a cooler with sandwiches, water, yogurt and applesauce.
2. Sold a Keurig for $25 on FB marketplace – it was a hand-me down and I only used “My K-Cup” with my own coffee.
3. Ate leftovers for dinner.
4. Made half-caff cold-brew coffee with my French Press.
5. Beaker for the French Press cracked so I replaced the beaker with one from Amazon (sorry) for $9. No yardsales at all this year due to covid or else I would have checked there for a gently used French Press. Thrift stores want at least $10 for a used French Press.
6. Listed some new shoes on Poshmark. Missed the return window.
7. Returned some headbands to Amazon. Slid right off my head – useless.

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Economically Proud September 9, 2020 at 8:30 am

Wow. $35-45 for a day at a public beach seems very excessive. We have traveled to most of the states visiting beaches at oceans, the gulf, and many lakes and have never seen rates like that. If you are a resident of the state they should offer you a steep discount on those rates. Many of the beaches we go to are either free, or they charge a small fee for the carload or per person. Outdoor recreation should be fun and affordable to all IMO.

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tia September 7, 2020 at 4:23 pm

1. Finally cut my overgrown covid hair short. I made a template and cut my hair that same length all over. styling a pixie.
2. Made brown rice tortilla pizzas with olive oil on the bottom so it’s super crispy. The ranch, chicken, olive is my favorite. Gluten free.
3. Gave in and didn’t paint the floors, bought at holiday sale floating planks that we are installing ourselves. It looks really nice if I ever sell.
4. Found a movie channel on my antenna TV that is showing a lot of good old movies. Looking forward to Judy Garland night.
5. Didn’t buy a white baby grand piano to play out all my covid crazy. Saved a lot of money but still cra-cra.

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Lisa September 7, 2020 at 4:28 pm

1) Picked up a part time job (a mere 4 hours/week) at a place I used to work. While it’s mostly to just get out of the house and see other people, a bit of extra cash isn’t unwelcome, either.
2) I’ve been stashing money from selling odds and ends, so when I saw a friend selling a gorgeous rug, I got a guilt-free living room upgrade. Spending 24/7 in this house since March is definitely getting to me, and this definitely brightens up the living room.
3) My old living room rug has found a new home in the basement. We’re using some of the COVID time to work towards completing an Airbnb in the basement. Of course everything in it has been purchased secondhand.
4) My local Buy Nothing group has been busy since the shut down, and I’ve given away a bunch of stuff.
5) The thrifts are inundated with stuff, and aggressively discounting — I’ve picked up a bunch of clearance items NWT, and will list on Poshmark/EBay.

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Christine September 7, 2020 at 4:31 pm

1. I’ve found 3 pennies on the street in the last week. I also emptied my childhood piggy bank which yielded $1.54, mostly coins from the 1970s. This all went into the found change mug.
2. I mended a shirt.
3. Using store coupons, manufacturers coupons, bonus points and sales I brought a $142.00 grocery bill down to $93.00.
4. I’m reading library books: Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker and Too Much and Never Enough by Mary Trump, both good reads. I just finished Miracle Country by Kendra Atleework, a memoir of sorts with insight into California’s water crisis. Waiting on the kitchen table to be read is White Fragility by Robin Diangelo. Trying to educate myself on racism in America.
5. I went again to The Salvation Army Store insearch of cast iron cookware but I’m starting to think it must sell as soon as it hits the shelves or else people are hanging onto theirs. On a bright note, I did score a very sturdy, long handled stainless steel spoon for deep pots for $2.
5. Happy meteorological fall, all!

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Jann in Maine September 7, 2020 at 4:40 pm

I feel like so much is “on hold” and it all feels like wash and repeat every day.
I continue to cook daily–still not even take out yet but we did go out for ice cream. Actually have a new place in town that the servings are so large that we don’t eat dinner if we have a afternoon ice cream. (No not daily!)
Continuing to yardsale as it’s outside, I wear a a mask, and can move away from someone too close.
Sales on line have been steady and while I have sourced new stuff I have so much here to sell that I never have to leave the house.
The garden is producing and I am making sauces and today a eggplant camponata type dish.. Sauces in the freezer with more to come and then I will start processing my roasting peppers.
Don’t look forward to being inside more and winter as they are long and very hard here in Maine. But I do walk daily despite the weather and snow. I suit up and off I go.
Our thrifts have lots of stuff but they are not putting it out due to a lack of volunteers to help. They require masks.
Am just about ready in case we have another shut down of sorts.
Will get my flu shot in early to mid Oct and then hopefully do my best to stay well and out of trouble.
Been sharing produce with neighbors and friends. Today got apples and will do apple pie filling and apple sauce for the freezer. Brought her some eggplants and a book.

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Mary September 8, 2020 at 11:44 am

I’d get that flu shot now, rather than wait until October. That’s the advice of several of my doctor and pharmacist acquaintances. Got mine a couple weeks ago.

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Midwest Beth September 7, 2020 at 5:12 pm

1. Got my tires rotated for free at Discount Tire.
2. Got gas and used my Meijer MPerks code saving 10 cents a gallon. Before grocery shopping went through my paper coupons, the stores electronic coupons and store circular saving $19.95.
3. Batched my errands together saving on gas.
4. Using the free Achievement app which awards points for walking, completing surveys and reading articles. This app has made me more aware of the steps I take and has helped me increase them each day. Additionally you can earn a gift card reward. Also signed up for the Denise Austin free walking program which starts September 6th.
5. Made chili using homegrown tomatoes, added peppers that were about to go bad.
6. Opened windows even though our allergies are bad, saving on utilities as much as I can as it will be getting cold soon and we don’t need the air conditioning other than to filter out the pollen.
7. Used laundry rinse water and dehumidifier water to water garden and container pots.
8. Frugal fail-got laid off but thankful I am a saver and have been following a budget for years. I know unemployment can take forever to receive so especially thankful I didn’t spend my tax money and had banked it. I plan on going for food bags at our school to stretch our food budget and looking at planting a fall garden- thinking lettuce – other ideas? Live in Detroit area of Michigan.

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MB in MN September 7, 2020 at 6:22 pm

Midwest Beth, I am sorry to hear of your layoff. Good to see how you plan to cushion the blow. I’ll be thinking of you in the time ahead.

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Shona September 8, 2020 at 2:12 am

I’ve bought 2 sets of tires from Discount Tire and fully utilize their free services. They recently plugged a slow leak for free.

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Susie's Daughter September 10, 2020 at 10:10 am

Beth – I am so sorry to hear about the layoff and I am so glad that you are planning to use the food resources available at school. There may be other distributions happening in your area as well due to some Federal funds that are being made available to move food from farmers to folks that could use it. We have a statewide data base with this info in VT, but Detroit may have it’s own city area one. Another produce option may be gleaning? There is a nationwide gleaning info clearing house nationalgleaningproject.org.

Fall gardening! I might try radishes also and there is probably time for Kale, depending on when the first serious bout of cold weather happens for your neck of the woods. Ours will grow steadily until it snows in earnest. I swear kale will probably survive the apocalypse…

Thinking of you and all the folks in similar situations.

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Ruby September 7, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Beth, I am sorry to hear about you being laid off. You planned ahead well, so it’s not a failure. Best of luck with everything.

My frugal five:
1. Cut everyone’s hair, including mine, thus saving us $42 plus tips.
2. Used store coupons and a manufacturer’s coupon to save $23 on groceries and bath soap. Our grocery total was more like a pre-COVID trip.
3. I had to work on Labor Day, but my husband took me out for lunch, our first restaurant meal since mid-March. A very filling meal at the deli down the block was $20 for the two of us. We did not need to eat supper after that lunch.
4. Decided to return to making homemade hypoallergenic food for our dog with many allergies after a new vet recommended a kibble that is $100 a bag. We did spend $20 on a larger rice cooker on sale to make bulk cooking the food go faster.
5. Been driving carefully and did not need gas this weekend.
6. Doing all the usual: brown bagging lunch to work, wearing thrifted outfits, zero foolish spending.

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MB in MN September 7, 2020 at 6:18 pm

1. Shredded a gifted baseball bat-sized zucchini and froze for future zucchini bread and zucchini pancakes.
2. Created a chicken wire cage to protect the salad greens that had been feeding the rabbits and squirrels rather than us.
3. Noticed on credit card statement that hotel had charged us twice for a one-night stay and worked with them to get a prompt refund.
4. Health insurance to the rescue, again. Removal of a basal cell carcinoma from my nose resulted in having my face cut from lip to eye in order to close the resulting hole. Holy crapola. As my niece said, “2020 just keeps on giving!” I don’t know of anyone who is having a great year; we’re all trying our best with the hand we’ve been dealt.
5. Received quart of roasted tomato sauce from husband’s co-worker. Yum!

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Christine September 8, 2020 at 1:48 pm

I’m sorry to hear you had basal cell carcinoma and that the removal procedure entailed more than you anticipated. On the positive side, it sounds as if your doctor is both thorough and conscientious at getting the removal job done. Best wishes for your recovery.

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MB in MN September 10, 2020 at 7:18 am

Christine, thanks so much. I appreciate your kind thoughts.

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Kara September 7, 2020 at 7:39 pm

We have had a terrible heat wave these last 3 days. 108 and no air conditioning. I am moving slowly. Today no one wanted dinner, we all just snacked and I made smoothies for the 3 of us. Way too hot to cook.

I sold an extra fan the day before the heat wave came. I had tons of people wanting that! I also sold unused, unopened cat flea treatment-we gave our cat to my parents when we moved and they have taken over the cat expenses.

My mother paid me for cutting her hair. I would have done it for free, but she insisted and I know that makes her happy.

I finished 4 special orders this week, and got them all mailed out. I am now busy sewing for my shop again. A very kind woman sent me 3 boxes of fabric. I was humbled and grateful.

I received 2 polo shirts from my Buy Nothing group. My husband wears them to work (teacher) every warm day.

We are eating tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce, arugula and collards from the garden. I rigged up some shade for some of them these last 3 days. Tomorrow will be cooler!

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Mand01 September 7, 2020 at 8:01 pm

What a good idea – smoothies for dinner in hot weather. I will store that idea in the old memory banks for when our hot weather hits.

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Bee September 9, 2020 at 4:25 am

Kara, I’m thinking of you and all the readers in California who are dealing with the extreme heat and the wildfires. It breaks my heart to see the destruction. California is such a beautiful and diverse state. One that I have spent quite a bit of time in. Sending you a virtual hug across the miles.

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Bee September 11, 2020 at 4:06 am

And those in Oregon and Washington.

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Shona September 8, 2020 at 2:06 am

1. I’ve downsized the contents of my purse to 4 items and thus downsized my purse. Pre-COVID I consigned all my larger Coach purses (all bought second hand) and just bought a very small one on eBay.

2. Found a penny next to a losing scratch off ticket. Found what I thought was a dollar bill folded in half. Turned out it was ripped in half and missing a corner, no longer legal tender.

3. Changed the cabin filter in my car after watching a 2 min 4 second video on YouTube. Honda charges $60 for this service.

4. Calculated that it costs me 18¢ a day for my morning coffee.

5. Lots of thunder storms down south and utilized my 3 drying racks to avoid using the drier.

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Mary Walker September 8, 2020 at 11:53 am

I think you might be able to take that dollar bill to the bank if you have more than half the original bill. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that as long as you have more than half, they’ll trade it for an intact bill, and the torn one goes back to the Treasury for disposal.

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vly September 8, 2020 at 2:35 pm

Shona,
Isn’t YouTube a great instructional tool?
Your #3–my husband did the same thing a couple years ago. He learned how to change the filter on YouTube, I ordered the filter online (I think it was $8) and he saved us about $50.
He also learned how to put a new pilot light in an oven. That saved us getting a new oven.

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Shona September 8, 2020 at 2:57 pm

Vly, my husband and I have identical cars (he bought his first & loved it. My 19 year old car was becoming a money pit & I bought the same as him) we got filters for $7 each and 5 minutes later, I guess $106 saved in total?! I’ve done basic plumbing and changed out a light switch thanks to YouTube, although I also know my limits.

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vly September 8, 2020 at 5:14 pm

I’m just so impressed! I am not handy, and so I say yay for you! My hubby changed the cabin filter on our Subaru, but our other car is a Nissan. He told me “If I want to change the Nissan filter, gonna have to watch another YouTube.” We don’t even know where the cabin filter is on the Nissan.
We used to have almost-matching cars, too. We both had Chevy Prizms. They weren’t the same year, but they were even the same color. They both finally conked out after a long life.

Nicola September 8, 2020 at 6:58 pm

I learned how to safely strap lumber to my roof rack from youtube this week. Love it.

Shona September 8, 2020 at 2:49 pm

It’s probably 45% intact, so I’m not able to trade it in. I might just give it to my bank anyway and let them discard of it.

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Mary Walker September 10, 2020 at 8:59 am

Bummer. Sounds like a great plan to drop it at the bank for proper disposal, anyway.

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Isabelle September 8, 2020 at 3:58 am

* Trying to use all the food in the house instead of over-stocking (freezers especially)

* Got given 2 loafs of bread

* Using public library and free piles for books consumption

* Using produce from our garden, eighter fresh, frozen or canned to preserve

* Back to school for the kids: made a inventory of what we already have before buying supplies, passed on the shirts uniforms of the oldest to the youngest and bought only what was needed to the oldest, got “new” pairs of pants at Goodwill and cheap leggings at Walmart (since my girls live in leggings!)

Major Frugal Fail: I just e-transfer 92$ to a family member for 4 chickens she raised and processed. Chickens weighing at about 5 pounds each…. 92$!!!!!!! I’m so angry! Husband said :” Yes! We will take 4!” before even knowing the actual price of the chickens, so we were committed! But that’s not all…. He also committed to buying 2 turkeys and a half pig, which we don’t have the prices for yet. Probably ridiculously overpriced, like the chickens….! First and last time, you better believe me!

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Shona September 8, 2020 at 8:43 am

My husband spent Labor Day helping our friends process chickens on their family farm. What you paid is the going rate for farm raised, not industrial chicken. They processed 25 chickens and the work that went into the end result, and that doesn’t even include the raising and the cost of the non-GMO feed. I know it seems like a lot of money, but you are giving money to support a family member’s farm and I’ll bet you’ll taste the difference in the quality of the meat.

If it is an economic hardship, or you just don’t want to pay for more meat, I’m sure they would understand if you politely explained that you want to cancel the order for the turkey and pork.

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A. Marie September 8, 2020 at 9:55 am

sabelle, are you in Canada by any chance? I just did the Canadian-to-US-dollar conversion on $92, and $92 CD works out to about $70 USD. $70 divided by 20 pounds (for the four chickens) = $3.50/lb., which would be a very competitive price for free-range chickens here in Upstate NY. (And even at $92 USD, it’s $4.60/lb., which is still competitive. I’ve seen free-range chickens selling for more.)

Forgive me if I sound as if I’m trying to talk you out of your feelings. I had the same reaction myself the first time I bought free-range chickens from an acquaintance. I’m only hoping to help you feel a little better, if I can.

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A. Marie September 8, 2020 at 9:56 am

And forgive me for misspelling your name as well! I was copying my reply in a hurry when this website’s timer cut me off, and I accidentally removed the “I.”

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Isabelle D'Ambremont September 10, 2020 at 4:39 am

You are both right. It comes to 4-5$/pound, which is the going rate for farm raise here in Canada. I did my research after writing this. So they are not trying to take advantage of us, which is what I felt…. But I’m still in shock! I buy a whole chicken for 6-8$ at the grocery store when on sale, so I was not expecting this! I did cancel the turkeys, but we will bite the bullet and take the half pork, this time. Now hubby knows better than commiting before getting prices.

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Isabelle September 10, 2020 at 4:41 am

Katy, if you are seeing this (my prior answer) can you please edit to take out my surname? Thanks

Jill A September 8, 2020 at 4:02 am

1. My daughter. her boyfriend and their puppy moved in last weekend. More frugal for them than me. They want to save money for a house. They will help pay for their groceries but I’m expecting utilities to go up. I’m okay with that because one of the reasons I’m frugal is so I can help my children get ahead. Their puppy is entertaining my dog and I’m enjoying having them here. They will be helping me with some of the projects around the house so it’s a win for everyone.
2. My daughter and I did a free yoga class on Youtube. We’ll continue to do this as it’s a 28 day series. We’re also going for walks with friends for exercise. We both are going to try to lose some weight.
3. I went to garage sales and found some items to sell on Ebay and I also found a pair of rain boots. I’ve been on the look out for some for a while. They were like new Kamik black rain boots and I was planning just to wear them around the yard but their nice enough to wear out also.
4. I’ve sold several items on Ebay. I’m re-using boxes and packing materials. None of the sales are big but I like re-homing items and it’s still money in and crap out.
5. We found that we had a $50 gift card was added to our Amazon account. I’m not sure how it got there. I think my daughter won it through the Farmer’s Signal app. She was able to use it to pay for a textbook.

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Jill A September 8, 2020 at 4:05 am

I forgot to add that we’ve been watching some great shows on Netflix and Hulu. If you have Hulu and haven’t watched “The biggest little Farm” documentary it is amazing.

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Juhli September 8, 2020 at 4:31 am

I saw that documentary in the movie theater when it came out pre Covid. Marvelous.

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Monica September 8, 2020 at 8:14 am

Loved that Movie! It may have been the last one I saw at the beloved local indy movie theatre, which has since, unfortunately, closed down (forever) due to the pandemic. I have fond memories of every great film I saw in that little movie theatre!

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Shona September 8, 2020 at 3:02 pm

My parents live in the vicinity of the farm featured in the doc and they sell at the local farmers market. When I visit my mom will use it as an excuse to buy delicious produce from them. The doc made me cry from both sadness and delight!

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Bee September 8, 2020 at 4:55 am

I am also a big promoter of shopping local businesses. Seventy- five percent of what I buy is pre-loved; however, when buying new I try to support local stores, artists and entrepreneurs. I also buy from my local organic market and farmer. It is not always the absolute cheapest option, but it is an investment in my community. On to my FFT:
1. It’s been a slow week as far as reselling goes. I was able to sell a box full of 20 Talenti containers. This just tickles me! It is great to make a little money and recycle too. I also received 5 large boxes of packing materials from a neighbor who just moved in. It has taken a little time to organize it, but it will save quite a bit of money. Cheaper for me and better for the environment.
2. I realized that the novel that my book club is currently reading would not be available from the library in time for our next virtual meeting. I was just too far down the waiting list. I did a quick search on eBay and found that a copy was available through Goodwill books for $4.87 including shipping — a real bargain. I received it quickly, and the book is in great shape.
3. My husband needed some casual clothing. He has lost a little weight lately and his t-shirts and shorts are worn out after months of working from home. We went to his favorite clothing store which sadly was having a going out of business sale, but he didn’t have any luck. We then headed to my favorite local thrift store. He found 3 shirts and 2 pairs of shorts for $20. It has taken me years, but I finally converted him to thrifting.
4. I have recently “subscribed” to my favorite magazines through the library. They are delivered through RB digital and I can read them on my phone, iPad or computer. They even send me an email to tell me the newest issue is available. There are still times that I miss my paper version, but I’m adapting.
5. I have been doing all the usual things – cooking from scratch, drinking primarily filtered water, brewing my own coffee, walking for exercise, watching streamed TV, keeping an eye on my budget, and trying not to waste food.
Wishing everyone peace, good health and frugality.

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LB September 8, 2020 at 6:28 am

There seems to just be frugal fails everywhere I look–but I’m feeling confident anyway since my budget can accommodate them without searching for a credit card! I present to you, the Five Frugal Labor Day Fail List:

1. Yesterday I met a friend for a hike near the ocean and parked in the lot she instructed me to (“don’t park closer to the beach; that’s residents only”). The town changed the rules for LDW that any parking near the beach is residents only. $75 parking ticket.

2. Walked past a New York and Company store closing sale. Figured it was worth a poke around, since everything was 60-80% off. Found a ton of very nice clothes that I really liked and some new earrings and tights (for whenever we leave the house again). While I like everything I got, this endeavour still cost $87. But you know what? I’m wearing one of my new shirts right now and I feel like a million bucks, so I’m choosing not to dwell on it!

3. My gym has reopened and immediately charged everyone their monthly rate. Calls are unanswered to cancel, as are emails, to cancel as I am not interested in working out inside. You cannot reserve time at the gym and it is first come first serve to get in under the capacity requirement (and a 20 minute train ride away) so I am choosing to just eat this month’s membership fee to use their streaming service and will try to fight this fight next month.

4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has reopened at 25% capacity as well, and I was so excited to leisurely stroll through mostly-empty galleries. What a disaster. We scored timed entry reservations but no one was checking them, no social distancing enforcement in the entry or throughout the museum, and certainly more than 25% capacity. Our donation was only $10 each but still an absolute waste of money and unnecessary stress/risk.

5. Despite a full fridge of produce, a freezer packed with frozen food, and a pantry stocked with our favorites, we split a torta from the taco truck up the street for dinner last night. My consolation is that I will never make al pastor taste that good, which makes the purchase worth it.

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Jann in Maine September 8, 2020 at 6:31 am

Regarding the parking ticket–I would call the parking enforcement office in the town (non-emergency police dept phone number) and explain what happened. They MIGHT waive the ticket. Worth a shot.
And sometimes one has to spend money. And if the clothes keep you happy then go for it! We save money to enjoy it in other areas.,,,

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LB September 9, 2020 at 7:13 am

Good reminder to call! I will try to appeal it. Beach towns are notoriously un-generous with their appeals but never hurts to ask.

I am wearing the other new top today that I bought this weekend and feel like a million bucks. You’re right! It’s worth other savings to spend money on things we enjoy. 🙂

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Bettypants September 8, 2020 at 7:01 am

1. Our elderly dog had a bladder infection that caused him to be incontinent. I made belly bands out of flannel and velcro that I had on hand and used store brand disposable pads inside. He’s now one week on his antibiotics and no longer needs the bands.  

2. Went for a walk yesterday and found a big hosta with a free sign a couple blocks over, which I lugged home. 

3. Sold a pair of Hunter boots on Marketplace for $60, as well as a Loft cardigan for $5, Cat & Jack toddler boots for $5, and an enamelware planter for $8. My cost for it all was $11.50 from yard sales.  

4. I have an oversized window in our kitchen that directly faces the neighbor. A shade made the kitchen too dark. Tried cafe curtains on the lower half, but it felt too exposed at night. Finally found a Hunter Douglas honeycomb blind on Marketplace for $15. Fits perfectly and the sunlight filters through.  

5. Got 2 more listings up on ebay. Someone on here wrote the most you list, the more your listings are promoted. I gave it a try, and found I have been getting more views and sales. Thank you for the solid tip!

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Ruby September 8, 2020 at 12:35 pm

I did that same thing for our old corgi when he became incontinent at the end of his life. He was also often cold and he wore a green toddler’s t-shirt with his green plaid flannel belly band. He was always a very dignified little dog and people never laughed at him in his little outfit.

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vly September 8, 2020 at 8:14 am

1. This is the one I’m most excited about. Just shopped at Aldi, and found 2 16′ take and bake pizzas with $5 off stickers on them, making them $2.49 each. This will be a frugal lunch for my husband and I today, and the leftovers will also provide lunch for our son tomorrow, when we have him over for a visit (he lives in a group home, 9 blocks from our house). These are extra-large pizzas.

2. Cut my husband’s hair at home yesterday. I’m grateful he doesn’t have a lot of hair to cut, because I’m not super-talented.

3. Grateful our library is open again and I can take out “real” books. I don’t enjoy reading books on a device.

4. Staying home a lot is frugal. My husband is on a staycation from work right now, and just enjoying relaxing.

5. Using up my supply of notecards means not needing to buy new ones.

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ecoteri September 8, 2020 at 9:26 am

Such great things you all are doing!
1. I installed the pedometer++ app (free) on my phone about 3 months ago. For three weeks all I did was find out my baseline (pathetic). 53 days ago, I started walking far too early in the morning with my girlfriend (she still works, so we have to be FINISHED the walk at 7:30… counting backwards, I need to get up at 5:30 to do first morning chores and get to her place by 6:30.) We walk for an hour. It might appear to be a frugal fail, but we both invested in Fitbits and they have been instrumental in our meeting the 10,000 steps a day goal. She was fit enough, after a month, to go on a really epic hike with her family – something she wouldn’t have managed without our discipline. She has lost 15 pounds (!!!). I have lost 6. (!!) and we both feel so much fitter, with more endurance, our clothes fit better, and our moods are seriously improved. I walk my own dog after I get home so, by 8:30 each morning I have got my 10,000 steps in, the rest are gravy.
2. I hit one year of sobriety on Sept 4. It has been a tough slog, and so worth it for my physical and mental health, to say nothing of my liver. I still hurt all over, but the fibromyalgia isn’t being hammered though over drinking. As you can imagine, it has been pretty good for my budget, too! I did go to treatment, but figure that it will pay for itself due to not buying alcohol, and I will live long enough to amortize it!.
3. My girlfriend is an interior designer by training. She came over after our weekend walk and I asked for some of her time to help me figure out how to re-organize my living room. I wanted to make it more practical, and there were some things that weren’t working at all. She started out with a measuring tape and paper, but suddenly we were moving furniture (and sweeping up spider webs). 3 hours later, our (fit and healthy ) bodies had moved EVERYTHING around. She got a chair that I didn’t want/need, my own chair got moved to a completely new location, I found a rug that I had rescued from my office when we closed it down and the colour fits in with a chair and a painting that I love. I brought in some beloved family pieces that had been tucked into corners in other rooms – they all match each other, and tie everything together. Currently my KITCHEN is a disaster, because there are 8 or 10 boxes in there of things to sort, but the living room is so open and welcoming. so wonderful to have a friend with skills and willingness to help out with ideas and physical moving. I feel really inspired to continue with this project in other rooms.
4. Tomato harvest has begun, I got a lot picked earlier and they were ripe, so I started to skin them yesterday. More to finish today and then I will chop and mix up with onions and peppers from my garden, pressure can up a bunch of chopped tomatoes and veggies for winter sauces.
5. Apples are happening, picked up some that were cheap and made up applesauce, got that canned in pint jars which is the perfect size for my kids. picked up inexpensive pears and prune plums, they are in boxes in the living room (oops, messes up my tidy living room) ripening. will can and dehydrate those when they are ripe.
6. picked the last of the kale (pretty sad and will need serious washing to get the aphids off) and the tiny soft cabbages and a bit of broccoli, then had the boys I hire pull them all out. They tilled my entire field except where I have a bit of corn and some squash, and I will be able to get my garlic in early, for once. Feeling really good about how good the property looks, and again, not spending money on alcohol means I have spare money to pay the young men to do the heavy yardwork.
7. Making more meals for myself, which is hard when I am alone. Use the budget bytes website for some great ideas – made her cauliflower taco bowl yesterday while I was working on tomatoes and apples, and that will be something I can eat off of rather than snacking on less healthy items. My walking buddy and I are encouraging each other to eat better, and it works!
8. Not a frugal win, but SO worth it – bought the book “Tiny Habits”. It is changing my life! Highly recommend it, but even to start you can go to the tinyhabits.com website and sign up for the free 5 day course. I am learning how to take any big change I want to make, and break it down into tiny steps that I WILL do. So exciting for me, and it is so kind for my heart as I am learning….

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Lisa M. September 8, 2020 at 11:16 am

Ecoteri – your #2: It’s hard to think of anything more life-changing, & yes, even life-giving than breaking a toxic chemical addiction. This is such a monumental accomplishment, far & away more important than simply the financial savings. Kudos for your strength on your journey to wellness.

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MB in MN September 8, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Ecoteri, wowser on all of your accomplishments, especially achieving sobriety and weight loss, especially during a pandemic. Your positive attitude is contagious!

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AuntiAli September 8, 2020 at 2:03 pm

Congrats on your year of sobriety! Not easy but you made it.

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Jill A September 8, 2020 at 2:23 pm

Congratulations on your sobriety. That’s amazing.

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Patricia Koernig September 9, 2020 at 1:01 am

You rock, Ecoteri!
Patricia/Fl

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Heidi Louise September 9, 2020 at 2:11 pm

Ecoteri – How wonderful for your first year anniversary! Thank you for sharing that news so we can cheer you on!

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Gina September 8, 2020 at 9:57 am

1. I was gifted some zucchini and yellow squash from my brother-in-law that we’ve been enjoying with our meals.
2. Picked beans one last time before I pulled the plants from my garden & I was able to freeze 3 bags of beans and 2 bags of tomatoes from the garden.
3. My work hosted a picnic and we were able to take home leftover food and condiments from the event.
4. Our shed was falling apart, so we looked for a few weekends for sheds. We found one the size we wanted (without it having to be built) and because we bought one off the lot, they gave us a $500 discount.
5. We had to rent a dumpster for the demolition waste from our old rotten shed. I used our garbage carrier and we personally know them and they knocked off $65 from the rental price & they came out the day I needed them to. Everything was timed out with this new shed according to the delivery date.
6. While cleaning out our old shed, I listed a few items, netting me $130 (almost enough to pay for the stone I had to purchase to put down as a pad for our new shed. Hubby was impressed!

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A. Marie September 8, 2020 at 10:17 am

FFT, Fabulous Frugal 65th Birthday Edition (a bit late):

As noted previously, I turned 65 at the end of August, so I am now an official Old Fart. I shall proudly brandish my Medicare and SS cards, demand every senior discount there is, and yell at kids to get off my lawn. (Well, OK, maybe just the first two.) Now, the FFTFF65BE:

(1) Thank heavens, DH and I have never made a big thing out of exchanging birthday gifts, as he he had trouble remembering dates even BA (Before Alzheimer’s). But the Bestest Neighbors kindly signed his name to a card for me.

(2) The BNs also got us Dinosaur BBQ takeout for a birthday brunch. And, by prior arrangement, Ms. BN (who owns a sewing machine and knows how to use it, which I do not) hemmed a pair of capris into shorts for me and made essential repairs to our beloved candlewick bedspread. (I bought the spread for $3 at a garage sale 7 or 8 years ago. It would cost $250+ to buy a comparable one new at LL Bean or the VT Country Store.)

(3) Our lovely next-door neighbor brought over the by now traditional tin of her famous brownies. (I created some confusion last year by describing these as “Lutheran killer brownies,” so I’ll keep it simpler this year.)

(4) An old friend in Chicagoland went totally extravagant and bought me a lovely set of lightweight compact binoculars. One of my retirement plans is to do more birdwatching on days when DH’s home care aides are here, so this is a great treat.

(5) And one of my Literary Society friends got me a gift card to Jane Austen Books (an excellent mother-and-two-daughters team who sell mostly online). I got a book about one branch of JA’s collateral relations that is proving to be a treasure trove of family gossip. (Unfortunately, most of the really hot stuff happened after JA herself had already crossed into Literary Valhalla.)

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Lisa M. September 8, 2020 at 11:01 am

Happy, happy momentous birthday A. Marie!

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LB September 9, 2020 at 7:10 am

Happy happy birthday, A.Marie!!!

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Marie-Josée September 10, 2020 at 2:53 am

Happy birthday, A.Marie. I love reading your posts and and am rooting for slow progression of hubby’s AD.

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MB in MN September 10, 2020 at 8:12 am

A. Marie, I’m so glad you were born! I always look forward to your posts.

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Cindy in South September 10, 2020 at 10:10 am

Happy birth A. Marie!

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Cindy in South September 10, 2020 at 10:10 am

I mean birthday!…..lol

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Christine September 10, 2020 at 3:13 pm

Happy Belated Birthday A. Marie! Best wishes for a good year ahead.

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Susie's Daughter September 11, 2020 at 7:11 pm

As a self described “church geek” I, for one, say go with the “Lutheran Killer Brownies” moniker. Many happy returns of the day, A. Marie!

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Christine September 12, 2020 at 4:12 pm

As a Lutheran, I say: Go for the Killer Brownies.

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tracy September 13, 2020 at 5:10 am

Happy happy birthday A. Marie!

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AuntiAli September 8, 2020 at 2:21 pm

Hey everyone! Hope we are all just getting through 2020.

First off, a frugal fail. Dh made roast chicken last night and he threw away the carcass before I could save it to make broth or base for chicken soup.

1. Going to get my free flu shot tonight. Daughter and I have a difference of opinion as to when to get your flu shot. I think early is best and she thinks later is. She is a type 1 diabetic who works out in the public behind a pexiglass shield but still…covid makes me scared – very scared.

2. Called to get one of my prescriptions covered for another year. What a pain in the patootie. Just the run around with the insurance and doctor. Geez…

3. Hubs went to Costco today to get his Snapple supply replenished and he got us Costco brand dry eye drops. We both have terrible dry eyes but using drops before bedtime helps us alot.

4. Hubs went grocery shopping last week and spent a fortune. But we have enough food for meals for this week and into next week. Wish there were better sales but I’m am glad there is food to be bought. He counted up the toilet paper and we have 106 or something rolls in the basement. And paper towels. He got the cold meds today too.

5. I bought myself a new purse through the rebate website Rakuten. It’s a Coach from their outlet store. I wish I could find a good deal at a thrift store but it hasn’t happened and I’m not going into any stores. Hopefully this purse will last for years. My last purse was from Target and has lasted me 5 years.

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Shona September 8, 2020 at 3:14 pm

Lighting has struck twice for me and Coach purses at thrift stores, but eBay has been my go-to for years. I gravitate towards older, classic styles that are absolutely built to last! and have never paid over $40 with shipping. I think I have just bought my forever Coach purse. I hope you enjoy yours!

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Lisa M. September 8, 2020 at 7:45 pm

AuntAli – your #1: Current thinking is that is advantageous for those @ high-risk to receive influenza vaccinations early – for seniors or those with chronic illness, as it takes 2 weeks for full immunity to develop. That way immunity is well established before influenza is widespread. Your daughter could contact her health care provider to receive a recommendation on the optimal timing of her vaccination. Working in public could potentially increase your daughter’s exposure to influenza & her diabetes could affect her immune response with the potential for complications should she contract the flu virus.

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Lee September 8, 2020 at 4:16 pm

Haha. That’s why we made our college student sign up for the dorm this year. You’re more likely to get out of a dorm contract than an apartment lease. Luckily, she’s a sophomore, so dorm living is slightly more palatable.

You’re correct. Disneyland is exactly like a car wash, but with longer lines.

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Lee September 8, 2020 at 4:20 pm

Oh! And my big frugal activity has been canning, and canning and more canning! Our garden did really well this year, and I’ve been doing this long enough that I have plenty of supplies already. I’ve heard that there are few canning supplies left in the stores!

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Katy September 9, 2020 at 8:59 am

There were colored lights throughout the process, which I also consider to be a bit of a Vegas experience!

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C September 11, 2020 at 9:23 am

🙂
This makes me laugh. When my kids were real young we used to joke that since we had never gone to disney world the kids were super thrilled by busses, elevators, escalators, subways and moving walkways. It’s all about perspective.

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Katy September 11, 2020 at 12:19 pm

I feel the same way! Portland has Oaks’ Park, which is a wonderful (but small) amusement park not far from our house. My little kids would whine about waiting five minutes to ride the rides, which made me decide to never take them to Disneyland.

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Iforonwy September 14, 2020 at 10:21 am

My late mother loved for DH to let her tag along through the car wash!
I can hear her laughter and giggles still! She always used to say”We ain’t got no money but sure do have fun!”

Roberta September 9, 2020 at 8:35 am

1. Our credit union caught a fraudulent transaction on Saturday, but I wasn’t sure the text message was real (or was it a phishing attempt). Yesterday, after the holiday in the US, I double check — yes, it was a real text from the credit union. Over $1000 in false transactions! We will not owe these, and I have a shiny new credit card number.
2. I finally got in contact with someone at Unemployment. I was not eligible for UI for the summer months, because I am a substitute teacher and there is never work during the summer. However, the system is set up so I can only certify for weeks starting in June — and I do not want to have to pay it back later. Finally found someone who can fix the problem. She will send me paper certification forms, and we will do it the old fashioned way. Fortunately, I can afford the wait time!
3. Our family is now out of quarantine (hooray!), and we spent almost no money while we were home. My son, who wasn’t sick, spent $15 on a computer game from his birthday money and that is all. Neighbors brought us food, and they did not bring any of the “off-list” items I often come home with. We ate leftovers and prevented food waste when we were hungry enough to eat. Not a great way to save money or lose weight.
4. When I finally went out Monday, I picked up some half-off school supplies. They’ll go into storage for the future. Likewise, Good Soap for 40 cents a bar! This is why I spend more money when I go myself.
5. Kept air conditioning off as much as possible. It was 117 a couple of days, and we used it those days! But it’s back to reasonable again, and we’re just closing up the house in the cool of the morning to keep cool.

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Susie's Daughter September 10, 2020 at 10:39 am

Hi all – It looks to me like the last time I posted anything was May. Thank you to Katy and to the faithful who have posted in the meantime! I read and am comforted, cheered and inspired by you all. I wish I could tell you all the number of times I think with gratitude of something that one of you has written…

1) I have now cut Dear Wife’s hair twice! Our stylist from the Big City where we use to live has talked me through it on FaceTime on both occasions. We pay her directly at a fraction of the salon cost, get a chance to visit with her, and DW has shorter hair to her liking. A win all around.

2) Because of the low virus numbers in our area, DS is going to school in person (at least this week!). Since we hadn’t worried much about clothes in the last 6 months, I was delighted that we were able to “shop” the next size up bins stored in the bottom of his closet for school clothes. His wardrobe is in good shape.

3) I am still getting a thrill (at least some days) out of food concoctions. I made a “graham cracker” crust with three partial packages of leftover-from-s’mores grahams, the end of a bag of cinnamon cereal and 8 pulverized saltines. Nobody noticed and I had an unreasonably large sense of satisfaction from it.

4) I don’t know that we have been especially frugal during this summer, but we have been especially mindful of where we are spending our money. Local businesses, local farms and local food purveyors and furniture for the backyard have been the focus, including a fire pit and chairs. We are trying to extend the outside season as long as possible here.

5) I bought a large supply of funny and unusual postcards to send to people, along with postcard stamps. I used to do this years ago when you could get free promo postcards in restaurants and bars etc. Maybe some of you remember this time period? I can’t concentrate long enough for a letter, but a wacky postcard seems to cheer people when they get it. I know it cheers me when I write it.

Please stay well everyone!

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MB in MN September 10, 2020 at 5:20 pm

Susie’s Daughter: Welcome back! Re #3: Ingenious crust ingredients! Re #5: I remember those days!

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Katy September 11, 2020 at 12:26 pm

I love your #3! Necessity really is the mother of invention.

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jann in Maine September 12, 2020 at 2:25 am

For all those impacted or family or loved ones by these horrible and terrifying fires stay safe and sending good vibes from Maine!

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Bobbi September 12, 2020 at 9:30 am

1. Katy I couldn’t agree more with your statement, “We pinch pennies on the stuff that doesn’t matter which makes the money available for the things that do.” Pre-Covid, my husband and I prioritized traveling over buying things. Now that traveling is on long-term hold, we spent a big chunk of change getting our back deck repaired, refurbished, and up to code. Now we can “vacation” in our backyard.

2. I made soy yogurt in my Instant Pot. Soy yogurt is a lot more expensive than soy milk so this is a thrifty and easy food “upgrade”.

3. I supplemented some inexpensive grocery store flowers with greenery from my backyard to leave a flower arrangement on a friend’s porch. She’s a nurse and pretty stressed out working in a hospital with Covid patients.

4. I have saved a lot of money on haircuts by just not getting any since the pandemic started. I’ve started braiding it instead.

5. My insurance/affiliated hospital is offering free drive-through flu shots so my husband and I are going to get them this weekend.

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Tracy September 13, 2020 at 5:18 pm

I love this, as well as the “terra cotta/hot dog” paint color: “This may be unrelated, but I think that drive-through car washes are super duper fun, and I always joke about how the attendants are “mermen” and the internal bits are “kracken” and “giant squid.” I’ve never been to Disneyland, but I’m guessing it’s pretty much the same experience. Why yes, I may be the world’s cheapest date.”

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Kara September 14, 2020 at 8:46 am

We got a coupon in our monthly val-pak envelope for 10 free car washes! My husband and I both took our cars. I’m 47 and it’s the first time I’ve driven through a car wash! And I’ve only been through once before this in my life, that time as a passenger. It was semi-fun, semi-alarming.

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vly September 14, 2020 at 11:19 am

Kara, That’s a great deal, getting a free car wash coupon! We’ve never gotten a free car wash coupon in the Val-Pak. I always open them with hope, because they say “Your envelope may have $100”. So far, nope, no $100 check. (In small print, “1 out of 50,000 envelopes has a $100 check.” Guess the odds aren’t too good.

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Katy September 14, 2020 at 1:56 pm

You mother sounds like a kindred spirit!

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