Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 28, 2020 · 119 comments

  1. I sold a few things, my favorite of which was a bike that had been collecting dust in my basement since we’d schlepped our son home from college in March. It was my favorite sale, not because of any profit for me, but because it was a nebulous item, as it belonged to my son’s old roommate who’d moved back to Texas in December. He didn’t want the bike sent to him, but it didn’t feel right for us to simply sell it. Instead, my son’s roommate told him to sell it and for the two of them to split the proceeds.

    However, my husband had pieced the bike apart in order to jam it into our overfilled minivan. He finally reassembled the bike, which allowed me to research, test, photograph and then list it. Three days on Facebook Marketplace and my son and his friend both have an extra hundred bucks in pocket, and mama has one less inanimate object in her basement.

    But really, my favorite part of this transaction is that it took a dusty unused item and put it into the hands of someone who both wanted and needed it. As a reseller, I feel that I play an important role in getting specific secondhand goods to buyers, which is vital in a world where the overproduction of consumer goods is destroying our planet.

  2. I used secondhand supplies to mail out all my eBay sales, and for one particular item used a padded mailer that had originally been received by my sister, who then used it to mail something to me. I also picked up a huge bag of bubble wrap from a local business, plus received a smaller bag from my next door neighbor. I thanked her up, down and sideways, telling her that “free bubble wrap is my love language.”

    Without people who give these shipping supplies a second life, all this stuff would go into dumpsters and landfills.

  3. I listened to a couple different audiobooks through the free Libby app that I pay for with my county taxes. I motored through Rosamund Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers, (an old favorite) and then started and stopped listening to a few that weren’t my style until landing on Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews.

    I really don’t have the attention span to read physical books lately, but am easily able to handle audiobooks, which keep me company while I putter around the house, cook and clean, run errands, lay in a fetal position sucking my thumb or work on a puzzle.

  4. My friend gave me enough apples from her backyard tree to make two delicious apple crisps, (Thanks, Lise!) I gave away a tool table, a bag of glue sticks, a dozen or so fancy rice pouches, (again from my son’s roommate) and a box of books through my neighborhood’s Buy Nothing group, I used my step mother’s power washer to blast away the anaerobic stank and maggots that had inhabited our yard debris can, (gag!) and I picked up a frustrating 1000-piece Gustav Klimt puzzle at Goodwill that I’m now assembling to confirm that it’s complete before I sell it.

    It goes without saying that I basically went nowhere and did nothing and ate my own boring cooking, especially during the week and a half when Portland, Oregon was choking on smoke from area forest fires.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a traitorous, secretly debt ridden or 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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{ 119 comments… read them below or add one }

Shevaun September 28, 2020 at 11:41 am

Four Frugal Questions for my Frugal Friends

I pretty much always post the same FFT: thrifted clothes, library books, craft and school supplies repurposed from recycling… so I have FFQs instead:
1. I routinely cook-double-freeze-one our dinners, leaving the carb out of the frozen half. Could I can sauces in the same way? I know there’s chemistry involved. ?? Like, could I can turkey alfredo meatballs, then later, just cook up the pasta and warm up the sauce?
2. Does anyone have realistic storage ideas for little toys that go in sets? Like, DD and DS have blocks, legos, duplos, this robot-building-kit…. etc. The pieces are not interchangeable, and all our toy bins are just big mushes of mixed up plastic goo. Obviously bins are the answer, but I’d like DD and DS to also be in charge of cleaning up their own stuff.
3. Any homeschoolers out there? What do you spend a year on supplies? We follow a Waldorf/Charlotte Mason style, so we spend very little on curriculum supplies. Most of our budget goes to (second-hand) books and art/construction/cooking supplies. We probably spent $200 this year on supplies for two kids (cooking supplies go into the food budget). Am I way off base?
4. Anyone have a link to a free sewing pattern for face masks, adult and kid? And does anyone know how often cloth-washable masks must be discarded? Like, after how many washes does the fabric not filter as well anymore?


Lindsey September 28, 2020 at 12:33 pm

I am a long time canner and have never killed anyone with my foods. You can water bath can some sauces, but you’d have to make sure the acid is the correct level and never with meat or other grease items. You can pressure can sauces but you need special equipment. Your best bet is to get the Ball canning book and follow their recipes in terms of ingredients and which kind of canning and how long to process. Pickles and jams/jellies/syrups are not risky to can but once you start canning other items you have to be pretty careful.


Mary in Maryland September 29, 2020 at 9:40 am

easiest, most comfortable, best-fitting mask around.


Roberta September 28, 2020 at 2:57 pm

I spent very little on homeschooling supplies, before the kids hit middle school and started at a local charter. I think $200 a year is fair, but I also had resources from their charter (we used Right Start Math, for what it’s worth. Everything else was pretty much whatever appealed to us from the library.)
I have read that if you can blow out a candle while you’re wearing your mask it’s no go. Maybe use that for homeschool science?


MES September 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm

I’ve been using this face mask pattern (which I discovered months ago via

The pattern printed at 100% scale fits a largish man, 95% fits a medium-large man, 90% fits most women, 88% fits a petite woman, etc. I use quilting cotton for the outer layer and thin cotton t-shirt material for the inner layer.

I’ve made a few changes to the instructions – here are most of them: After cutting the fabric, I zigzag stitch the edges of the quilting cotton to keep it from fraying. Wherever the instructions say 1/4″ I usually do 3/8″. Be sure to use small stitches when sewing the curved seam. I don’t clip the curved seams – I iron them open and then stitch them in place. For the nose piece I use 6.5 inches of floral wire, with the wire coiled at each end; I zigzag over the wire (on the quilting cotton side) and then hand stitch the coiled ends. I use 18 – 22 inches of 1/8 inch elastic per mask along with cord locks so the fit can be adjusted.


Economically Proud September 28, 2020 at 4:15 pm

I have been homeschooling a high school/middle school student for a couple of years. We look for inexpensive supplies and curriculum on ebay and used textbook sites. Very few of our supplies are bought new. I even curb shopped binders a couple of years ago to create portfolios for each subject. Once in a while I buy something new if I can not find it used. I know I have not spent more than $200 a year for all subjects including a biology dissection kit we used (that was new). This year our big expense was Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance course which was also purchased used. You can spend very little if you get creative.


Sheila September 29, 2020 at 11:58 am

Hi Shevaun, in terms of organizing the Legos etc. I did the same thing you do, which was frustrating. After watching The Home Edit show, I wish I had done a better job of organizing when my guys were little. The Home Edit suggests organizing by color which would work if you only had one kind of building toy. What I’ve seen that might work are these toy bags you dump all your Legos in that not only contain all the pieces but turn into a mat the kiddos can play on. Here’s one that might work:


sharon September 29, 2020 at 1:56 pm

The mask that I’ve found that works best for the wide variety of sizes in our family (90 pound very petite female to XXL male) is from Japanese Sewing Books, the 3D mask. I bought 1 yard of patterned fabric per person in the family, that way everyone has their own fabric. You know that pattern always yours. I lined them with plain solid quilting cotton.
This mask stands slightly away from your mouth while being a good seal around the edges.
I wash our masks anytime that we’ve been around other people. I use a mesh bag and throw them in the laundry whenever I do a warm or hot load.


Ruby September 28, 2020 at 11:55 am

1. Redyed two pairs of faded but otherwise fine black work slacks this weekend with a bottle of Rit dye bought several years ago. New work slacks would cost $31 a pair. Wore a pair today with a thrift shop black plaid blouse bought eight years ago and my fave thrift shop black cardigan, bought 12 years ago.
2. Made delicious work lunches of leftovers from the freezer added to some cooked rice. Everything is better with barbecue sauce and butter.
3. Rather than buying cold cereal, I am on my second week of making baked oatmeal with fruit and portioning it up for a week of workday breakfasts. $2.98 for three weeks of organic oatmeal versus $4 for cereal? Sold!
4. After the success of “use up the cake mix” brownies, I made pumpkin bread that used up a languishing box of yellow cake mix. It is delicious and not as heavy as the totally homemade version.
5. Despite being tired after a long week at work, I hand scrubbed stubborn stains out of a bunch of pieces of clothing to rescue them. No need to replace those things now. Feels naphtha soap and elbow grease for the win!


A. Marie September 28, 2020 at 11:58 am

FFT, I Pay Taxes (Unlike Someone I Could Name) Edition:

(1) In the interests of keeping my borderline hypertension under control (and thus avoiding future large medical bills), I am allowing myself only limited contact with news and social media right now. However, the latest big revelation has made me boil for multiple reasons. Accordingly…

(2) I dropped DH’s and my NY State absentee ballots off at our county Board of Elections office today, since I’m not taking any chances about having our votes get there. (Although anyone in NYS can vote absentee this year because of COVID, DH now gets an absentee ballot because of “permanent disability.” I showed him the ballot, filled it in as per his instructions, had him sign with an “X” since he can no longer manage a signature, and signed as his witness. Am glad I was able to get him through the process at least one more time–and this may be the time of all times.)

(3) Now, on to happier topics. I was able to hit a few garage sales this weekend (without DH on Friday and with him on Saturday), and did very nicely indeed on books, soaps, and other smalls both for ourselves and for holiday gifts. Besides, we had glorious weather here, and it was a delight to be out in approaching-peak autumn foliage.

(4) The Saturday ramble with DH ended up at our favorite local apple orchard, where I invested in a full peck of apples for ourselves and various apple-related products, again for holiday giving. I also sanely and sinfully sank $5 into three of this orchard’s famous apple fritters, which DH and I consumed blissfully at one of the picnic tables, attended by the orchard owners’ lovely chocolate Labradors. We heeded the “Don’t feed the dogs” signs, although it was a struggle.

(5) On Sunday, we stumbled into an impromptu veggie stand recently started by a peace-and-justice fan in the ‘hood who has begun an effort (based on gleaning and donations) to make fresh produce available to those who might not get it otherwise. Since yesterday’s business seemed light to nonexistent, I did my bit to support the enterprise by buying a box of slightly bruised tomatoes, which I will probably put into a minestrone tomorrow.


Christine September 28, 2020 at 2:58 pm

A big Hip Hip Hooray for you and your DH for doing your parts to make this sad four year era sink into the archives.
DH, sweet 12 year old grandson and I went to an apple orchard today too and purchased apples for snacking and baking. This orchard is known for their own apple cider donuts, hot out of the deep fryer. Alas, they had run out of needed ingredients so were not frying donuts today. I envy you and DH enjoying your apple fritters!


kathy September 28, 2020 at 12:41 pm

1. Received an offer for our home $5000 over asking price. Unfortunately termite damage will figuratively and literally eat that $$ up.
2. Continuing to sell even the smallest $$ items: $2, $5, etc. Several things hubby told me to just donate or trash.
3. Visited consignment store and sold $34 of clothing that I didn’t need or fit
4. Our agent paid for the carpets and the house deep cleaned before listing. What a nice treat
5. Usual mundane things: making ice tea, hanging items up to dry.


Lisa M. September 28, 2020 at 12:42 pm

5+FF: Glorious Fall

1. Used opportunity for free monthly card to send (well, drop off technically), sympathy card to neighbors 2 doors down who were forced to euthanize their dog @ end-of-life. We are still reeling from our same experience 2 months before their loss.

2. Purchased cat litter ahead, as easier to upload 1 receipt versus 2 for next free charm: fancy black cat. Previous bracelet with brand name cat charm arrived in 1 week, as opposed to 4 weeks. Nice quality, heavy bracelet that DD is enjoying. And yes, her cat is totally black.

3. DD received her contact rebate in the form of a prepaid cash card. More significantly, we received property tax refund.

4. Recent kitchen creations: Creamy One-Pot Pasta, Mediterranean Couscous Salad & Crockpot Lasagna.

5. Enjoying DD’s plants that I shelter inside during the winter. One rewarded us by growing 3 huge bright yellow flowers late summer (who needs fall mums?) & the other looks like a huge, expensive green patio plant but is only a poinsettia gifted by one of DD’s ex-boyfriends which is now large enough to be considered a bush. The 3rd plant is an annual bulb that blooms spectacularly in the summer & by simply cutting off the foliage & storing in the garage each winter, starts growing by itself come spring. This is my type of patio flora: ingredients are natural light/water @ 0 cost.

6. Took DD’s car in with hopes of body repairs but the high price for an older vehicle added up to a totaled car. Bright spot is that buy-out from insurance co. reflected mechanical soundness, regular maintenance & top-of-the-line tires.

7. Grocery day savings $3.51: Found a quarter in the shopping cart @ Aldi, saved $1.27 from 2 items off of clearance bakery rack @ big box, & saved $1.99 with free loaf of 8-grain bread via rewards program @ gas station. Yippee!

8. Enjoyed bi- annual get-together with friend frugally: Appetizers @ DD’s restaurant patio with employee family discount, followed by complimentary b-day mega-dessert @ Italian chain with purchase of beverages.


Midwest Beth September 28, 2020 at 12:44 pm

1. Looked up upcoming books for my book club through my library apps and put books on hold so I wouldn’t have to purchase them. Went and picked up/checked out a personal hotspot we can use while traveling and are out and about as my daughter and I share 2 G which sometimes doesn’t stretch.
2. Got my daughter a scholarship through her school to take the SAT – she needs it if we want to qualify for more scholarship money. Bad news is I could only sign her up for a testing site over an hour away way out in the country – population less than 2000. Brought drinks, snacks, books, cell phone charger and hung out in the parking lot. Used the school track to walk a mile and thankfully the school had outdoor portajohns which were surprisingly clean as a McDonalds wasn’t available for miles. Oh the things we do for our kids, lol. Proud I skipped driving over to the nearby Apple orchard and stuck to my packed snacks and water.
3. Made a triple batch of homemade tomato soup using up 12 cups of homegrown Roma and cherry tomatoes, froze a couple of containers for quick meals when we need it.
4. Tonight’s menu is spaghetti and meatballs using free meatballs I got from work and re-packaged and froze for future meals. Also serving roasted homegrown zucchini.
5. Went back to the Flylady to help me get my house cleaned and organized while I am laid off- so far so good and helps me from getting overwhelmed. My motto this month is “Progress over Perfection.” The negative is when I watched her live daily afternoon videos she was getting very political. Just want to get my house cleaned not my brain brain washed.
6. Did Kroger survey to earn gas discount, doing Swagbucks daily and walking more to earn points on my Achievement app, looking for pet sitting/dog walking jobs/side gigs but hesitant because of COVID-19.


Jenzer September 28, 2020 at 6:04 pm

Midwest Beth, I am doing the same thing with my daughter this coming Saturday (for the SAT), and again later in the month (for the ACT): driving almost an hour each way and figuring out how to entertain myself while she’s taking her tests. Fortunately, both towns have long walking trails nearby that should keep me occupied most of the time. I hope I have your luck in finding a clean place to pee, because you bet I’m taking a thermos of coffee along!

Curious to know where you went to take the SAT — do I recall correctly that you’re a fellow Michigander?


Bee September 29, 2020 at 3:38 am

For those of you with daughters who are seniors in high school. Please look at the Website for PEO International. This group’s purpose is to support women of all ages in their educational pursuits. They will put in touch with a local PEO Chapter. ( There is also money available for older women who are returning to school).


Bee September 29, 2020 at 3:41 am

Please forgive all the posting errors. I’m still working on my first cup of coffee.


Jenzer September 30, 2020 at 6:56 am

Thank you, Bee — I will look into PEO!


K D September 28, 2020 at 12:51 pm

1. All meals were from home this past week. On Friday I met a couple friends and they had takeout but I didn’t want any of the menu items so I packed my own lunch. It was fine since we ate outside on one friend’s porch. It was good to see friends I had not seen for quite a while.

2. Lots of fun entertainment on Saturday: An eye exam (covered by insurance), getting a burned out brake light replaced at the Honda dealership (for the price of the bulb), and getting a flu vaccine at the pharmacy on the way home. We also stopped at our daughter’s house to help with some work in their backyard.

3. I made a big pot of lentil & potatoes soup for lunches, using ingredients on hand, including baby carrots that were getting a bit questionable to eat uncooked.

4. I had a dental check-up/cleaning. The owner of the practice has changed and I was told that the new owner does accept our dental insurance. If true that should save us some money.

5. We’ve been enjoying movies on DVD borrowed from the library. They have extended their curb side pick up hours so the wait for materials to be brought out seems to be shorter. I also have a few ebooks on my tablet, borrowed from the library.


Katy September 28, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Interesting about the library line. Portland’s libraries require an appointment to pick up all holds.


Lindsey September 28, 2020 at 2:20 pm

Our library has a bus that is parked in their parking lot. They send you an email that your requested books are in the bus and can be picked up between 11 and 5. You drive up and when someone is at the window you wait until they walk off before you go to the window of the bus for your pickup. Everyone is masked and you stand as far back as you can—they put the books on the wide ledge of the window and move back and you move forward and take them. It took them about a month to come up with this system and it works perfectly. Not sure what will happen when it is 20, 30 or 40 below zero but for now it is wonderful


Marie September 29, 2020 at 6:31 am

That’s a wonderful way to set up the library.
Our small town library has just reopened. You have to make an appointment online, as they can only have 5 people inside at a time.
Making my appointment for next week, so excited.


MB in MN September 28, 2020 at 1:38 pm

1. Good thing screaming and weeping are free activities since I’m doing plenty of both.

2. A friend gave us a box of veggies from his garden, another friend gave us a loaf of homemade zucchini bread, and yet another invited us to pick as many peppers and tomatoes as possible from her garden. We are rich in friends and food!

3. Brought home every scrap left uneaten at restaurant: half of a sandwich (just as delish the next day), pickles and red onion (for my husband), salad dressing (enough for another salad), and a mixture of dessert dipping sauces (yummy added to vanilla yogurt). Plus the long sandwich toothpick, which I use to test baked goods for doneness. And the napkin, which I use to line my countertop compost bucket.

4. Went to vintage occasional sale and scored something I needed (a floor lamp) and a couple things that I didn’t need but am delighted to have for our home.

5. Car wouldn’t start while out running errands. Luckily it was just the battery that needed replacing. While waiting for help, my mind started to race thinking of the potential tow charge, high repair costs, or whether my car was on its last legs. Sheesh, waaayyy too much advance, unnecessary and unhelpful thinking.


Mary in Maryland September 28, 2020 at 1:52 pm

1. I notice most of mine are food-related, probably because we don’t buy much else. Hang laundy out and eat at home always.
2. Found a weed whacker with a “Works” sign in someone’s trash. It works, and our neighbor uses it as do we.
3. Mended my fall sweater and the winter bed quilt.
4. Used some of my canned tomatoes to make enchilada sauce.
5. Got scrap lumber and some metal shelving from a neighbor’s trash to make a third shelf for my canned tomatoes.
6. Using America’s largest collection of used shoelaces to make ties for masks.
7. Turned on the oven to make ratatouille, so I roasted three eggplants for baba ganouj and sweet potato for enchiladas at the same time.
8. Got a 50% off coupon for Hungry Harvest—one of those outfits that rehomes ugly produce. Their prices are comparable to the grocery store. I’m getting a box on Wednesday, and it feels like my birthday.
9. Election edition—I hand printed 475 postcards to get out the vote in states where voter suppression is a big deal. My hands were tired, but I used my remaining anxiety to wash 21 windows.
10. Big fail—got a huge mastercard bill, because whenever someone trying to take back the Senate asks for money, I send them some. That’s what it’s for.


Katie in Buffalo September 28, 2020 at 2:39 pm

Re your #10 – rage donating has become a new hobby of mine!

Also, 475 postcards?? I’m so impressed. My hand cramps up after 5


Denise September 29, 2020 at 1:30 am

I love the largest shoelace collection, Mary. Do you sort by colour or just live on edge and take what comes?

I’m (a) in London; and (b) on a news blackout, so I clearly need to find out what President Turnip-Head has done now. But what do you mean by “voter suppression” ? I’m familiar with the (odd to a Brit) US system but not heard of this before.


Annette September 30, 2020 at 11:55 am

Yay, another fellow post card writer out there! I have a crew of five working under me but we may not have reached 500 yet. Gotta keep trying.


janine September 30, 2020 at 2:57 pm

Fellow rage donater here too although I have never heard that term before! Also I have bee donating to local candidates who could use a few extra $$.
It is way too easy to donate thru Act Blu!


Mary in Mryland September 28, 2020 at 1:58 pm

11. Got our free flu shots.
12. Free concert in the front yard as the band of the guy across the street practiced in his driveway.
13. Gifted a bushel of apples. Have dried about half of them in a borrowed dehydrator.


Teresa September 28, 2020 at 2:32 pm

Thank you for reminding me to get the flu shot!! 🙂


Texasilver September 28, 2020 at 3:16 pm

My condo in FL is paid for but there is an HOA. I think of the HOA as rent too.
1. Made a crock pot of chicken & rice soup from odds & ends from the freezer.
2. Got a free iced coffee from DD on Dallas Cowboys game day.
3. A friend gave me 6 large bags of clothes. I found pants & capris that fit. The rest will go to the clothes closet at church. Gave said friend 2 new nightshirts that were too small for me. Sears went out of business so they can’t be returned.
4. Got a free pizza w/ loyalty points.
5. Mended a hole in a pillowcase.


Mary in Maryland September 28, 2020 at 1:59 pm

14 I applied for Social Security. I waited until 70 to max out my payment.


Vickey October 1, 2020 at 6:27 am

Girrrrl, you on a roll!


Teresa September 28, 2020 at 2:27 pm

Katy, you are a SUPERWOMAN! I can’t believe that you get so much done!

1. The best I can say is I got the blinds up (yes I had to buy them and it was a major purchase but at least I used the old hardware) and I also mopped the floors. Things have been pretty dusty lately from the forest fires here in California. The fires were not close by, but they were so big and powerful that we had quite a few days of gray clouds hanging over the whole SoCal area. It wasn’t fog — it was ash. 🙁 A close friend lost everything in the Paradise fire a few years ago, and then relocated to Oregon. Luckily he and his family escaped the fires this time, but so many did not. My heart goes out to all the people affected by these trying times. It’s really difficult.

2. Resisted the urge to pick up dinner (eating out is not really in my budget anyway, but I’m always tempted.) Instead I had a free eggplant dinner with veggies harvested from the garden at my work and everything else picked from my own pantry. No shopping.

3. I boiled some eggs for quick breakfasts/meals.

4. Shared the gift of individually packaged cookies that someone had shipped to me as a thank you. This served two purposes — it allowed me to do something nice for others and kept me from eating them. They came in a cute fabric basket that I will keep until I find a better use for it.

5. I have a bit of a guilt complex over buying these days but I justify it by reminding myself that I am getting everything in order for retirement in the next few years. I am also refinancing to lower my house payment. I already know that my home will never be paid off, so I decided to think of my mortgage as rent, lower the payment and stay here a bit longer. It makes sense to finally be able to use and enjoy my home instead of using it as a stopping off place between my job and cleaning it up. (I just realized that life itself might be a temporary stopping off place on my way to wherever… ) In any case, I don’t necessarily want to stop working altogether, I just want to just stop working where I am now.

To buying; I am careful. But there are things I really need…an air conditioner for one, and I need to replace a few appliances, one of which is dead and unrepairable. The things that are still working can wait until they have lived a full life, but I am aware that these will go sometime in the near future and I need to be prepared to replace them. Nothing is normal in this house, size wise, so it’s not always easy to replace appliances. Looking for things that fit is a job in itself. These few big purchases will probably be my last before I move to a retirement community in 10 or 12 years. I’m hoping to begin supplementing my income by writing and/or doing resale the way Katy does, if I am able. I just can’t believe how quickly life is passing. Where did the last 10, 20, 30, 63 years go?… Enjoy yourself, life is short


Lindsey September 28, 2020 at 2:28 pm

1. Husband seems to need a haircut every time I turn around so did that this week.
2. Traded eggs from my chickens for moose roast.
3. Filled the compost sections with garden garbage, like leftover plants or leaves. But first I removed about 10 pounds of finished compost and spread it around my berry bushes.
4. I collect egg shells in a bowl and when it is full I grind them up and mix them into the chickens’ food. It makes their shells harder. Some people actually buy ground shells instead of just making their own!
5. I had a shirt, now too small, with Halloween designs all over it. Husband used it to make masks so now I have a bunch of seasonal masks for free.


Cindy in the South September 29, 2020 at 6:54 am

I would love to taste moose roast. It sounds fantastic!


Christine September 28, 2020 at 3:24 pm

1. The hook part of the hook and eye in the back of my only black bra broke. Instead of replacing it I sewed the back of the bra shut so I pull it on over my head like a sports bra, Works.
2. I accidentally sprayed bleach on my only work shirt, also black, so I used an old trick I heard about…maybe on this blog…of using a black Sharpie to “color” the white spots on the cloth. Again, works.
3.We went to a local orchard to purchase apples and fresh produce. In back of the church across the street is a free labrynth to walk. 12 year old grandson and I walked it…he beat me although I told him speed is not the point…and then we proceeded to a historic “cottage” (more like a mansion) in the same area to walk among the beautiful flower gardens.
4. Made an appointment for free Shingles shots for DH and myself.
5. Ran out of tea so am drinking water and coffee until I can get to the store for my monthly shopping excursion.


Roberta September 28, 2020 at 3:33 pm

1. Did not buy new work clothes. I’m going back to subbing tomorrow, but since I will only see the kids one day a week I can get by with only four work outfits and regular washing. Had to talk myself down from a trip to the thrift shop, but I will reward myself when my clothes are too big.
2. Attended a Zoom training session and was paid for training! Every day I work decreases how long until I pay off the mortgage. Ten days of working are one fewer month of mortgage!
3. Got my money back from the bank after getting my credit card stolen — but I didn’t know my card was stolen, since it was stolen from the mailbox! Had to file a police report and pay for credit protection from now onward, but I did get $1000 back, which is good!
4. Sold a Lego instruction booklet on ebay for $1.50. It’s really not much, but I happy to get something I would recycle into the hands of someone who wants it. (instead of it ending up in a landfill.) I also listed the second tamper from my Vitamix (due to reasons I have two canisters but only need one tamper).
5. Made pasta sauce out of cherry tomatoes I was given this summer and blended up, to make a sort of diced tomatoes. Made chickpeas and refried beans in the crockpot (different days) and vegetable broth out of scraps. Enjoying the bunnies in the yard instead of mowing a proper lawn. Appreciating my sister-in-law’s old sewing machine instead of having to buy a new one after mine broke — Singer doesn’t maintain all their replacement parts for old machines.


Bettypants September 28, 2020 at 3:46 pm

1. I attended an all items free yard sale. Even though I arrived at the posted start date of 8 am, there were already people there and it was a grab-a-thon. I left with a 5×7 Pier One wool rug, a plastic Sterilite three drawer rolling unit, 3 storage bins, a sequined pillow, Starbucks mug, stack of books, 2 games, a puzzle, beveled glass suncatcher, french press, candle, and non-stick pan. Some to keep, some to sell.

2. Sold a small garbage can for $4, a perfume set for $10, and 2 cast iron pans for $45. 

3. A Lularoe lady posted a clearance sale near me. I spent $36 total for 2 pair of leggings and a shirt for myself, 3 dresses and a cardigan to resell. 

4. Found a roadside farm stand with nothing but squash, $2 each. Picked a big daddy, which was over 5 pounds. Our dogs think roasted squash is a treat, those suckers.

5. Someone has posted four 16.9 oz sealed bottles of Kiehl’s body wash for $10, which I jumped on. Regular price is $28 for one. When I was leaving her sub, I noticed a free book box and picked out 9 Amelia Bedelia chapter books.         


Bee September 29, 2020 at 3:56 am

It sounds like you are living in yard sale heaven. What a great free haul!


Jenny September 30, 2020 at 12:47 pm

What is a chapter book?


Patricia Koernig October 1, 2020 at 12:19 am

A chapter book is a name used here in the United States to refer to a book that contains chapters as opposed to a a picture book for children.


Jane September 28, 2020 at 4:13 pm

Everyone here has given me some good ideas to further consume less!
All of this did not happen this week, but it has occurred since the start of quarantine in March:
1. Figured out how to use my mother’s 1950 rotary sewing machine and
2. Made my first project: masks for my family, from cloth I had picked up a long time ago at Goodwill.
3. Responded to an ad on Craigslist offering free home decor fabric, and received three giant boxes with hundreds of pieces of nice fabric for me to practice my new- found sewing skills. I’ve made a purse, a couple of tea wallets for friends and pillow covers.
4. Received another sewing machine from my mother in law, who had bought it in about 1970. Decided to sell the rotary sewing machine, but no takers yet.
5. Learned to cut my husband’s hair with electric clippers and a one inch guard.
6. Have been cooking pretty much 3 meals a day 7 days a week, except for a very few times (maybe 4 times since March?) of getting take out. My husband is diabetic and it’s hard to find healthy takeout anyway, so our health and our wallets benefit.
7. Using grocery pickup (no fee) helps me to avoid throwing food in my cart without thinking through how we will use it.
8. Picked so many blackberries from bushes around the fields at the high school in my neighborhood!


Jennifer September 28, 2020 at 5:59 pm

I always reuse packaging materials, I can’t believe people buy new!

1. Biggest win for us is that we did not eat out at all the past week. I’m so glad we seem to have gotten or lazy summer outdoor dining under control. And with the weather turning we just won’t go because I won’t sit inside.

2. Still getting tomatoes, basil and green beans from the garden. it was slow to start producing, but paying off now. Also used our remaining credit at the CSA to get eggs and 3 packages of meat.

3. Dd just brought home a bag of bagels for free from her job. Breakfast for all!

4. Doing free yoga videos at home and lots of PT from previous appointments to help with my back which is not in a good place right now. I know what to do, but am not always great about doing it myself. This week I have been better though and my back is improving as a result.

5. We are in that great place where we need no AC or heat. Electric bill was down $25 (though still higher than I would like). College grad (official in August) has started paying our gas bill as his contribution to living here. Grabbed my free Verizon reward of a $5 Starbucks giftcard. Filled up the tank at Costco when I was there getting groceries.


Jenzer September 28, 2020 at 6:52 pm

My apple mint, chocolate mint, and lemon balm plants grew well this summer. I have jars of dried leaves from all three plants stashed in the basement, to make herbal teas during the winter months.

We had a light frost last week. I threw old bedsheets over my cherry tomato plants the evening before, which kept them from shriveling up in the cold.

Our school district got funding to provide free lunches to all families through the end of December. That should save us around $300.

The weather has been perfect for spending time outside. I’ve knocked several trails off my local hiking bucket list since the beginning of September, with more hikes planned in the coming weeks. Trying to squeeze in as much hiking as I can before firearm hunting season for deer starts in mid-November.

I thought about getting Hulu for a month or two to watch the old sitcom Dharma and Greg. So far I’ve been able to find most episodes of season one for free on YouTube.


Lindsey September 28, 2020 at 8:32 pm

I love chocolate mint and keep a small pot of it on our porch shelf all summer. When I leave the house, I frequently break off some just to smell it in my pocket and on my hands for the next few hours.


Marie-Josée September 29, 2020 at 2:20 am

I’m glad the air quality has improved in Portland. The smoke reached Quebec and the sun had such an eerie Blade Runner glow here as well. We moved this summer and my life feels like a spend-o-thon. On a positive note, both my children moved as well and there was a great shuffle of things. My children’s homes are filled with our old furniture (we moved from a three story house to a housing coop, to a condo and to our current home) and I happy that our things got re-homed and are being used. Visiting them is also a trip down memory lane. I look forward to being more settled in in the coming weeks and to restart our journey of focusing on saving in view of our retirement 5 and 10 years down the road. We both will be reducing our hours from a five day work week to a four day work week next year. Our biggest expense is food (organic and gluten free) and I don’t have many options to reduce thos costs. I am not renewing my business casual wardrobe as I am working from home and just rotate my tops for Zoom meetings (there aren’t many). My city will be in lockdown for 28 days commencing October 1, so we will be staying at home and not seeing our family at all. Our librairies will be closed, so I will be rushing to visit it before the closure. Thanks for letting us know what you are reading/listening to. I read the Shell Seakers a long time ago and will revisit it as well.


Kristina October 4, 2020 at 7:49 pm

Just discovered that my bread machine makes gluten free bread. Might be a good way to save the cost of commercial gluten free?


Bee September 29, 2020 at 3:20 am

The Shell Seekers is one of my all time favorites. The main character, Penelope, reminds me of my mother. I am also a total Anglophile, so I think that I will read it again soon.
* I love that you sold the bike for your son’s roommate. It is true. There is something very satisfying about finding new home for things. I love it when I receive a note from someone who really loves the item that they purchased from me. I re-homed a few items this past week on eBay — a piece of Catalina pottery, a silver hand mirror, a blue and white Wedgwood plate, and a Starbucks travel cup. I finally added a few new listings today. I have not been focused on reselling the last two weeks, but the little extra money that I made came in handy.
* I have finally adopted a dog. I know that dog ownership isn’t a super frugal choice, but our house doesn’t seem like a home without a dog. We were able to find our pup through a rescue organization. There was a fee involved — about 1/10 of the cost of a pure bred from a breeder. Our pup is spayed, has all her shots, has a year’s worth of heartworm medication, is microchipped and has a brand new leash and collar. Best of all, she is well-trained and loving. IMO, she is an absolute bargain! I already love her! However, my sweet little calico kitty isn’t nearly as fond of her — yet.
* The dog food brand that the new pup eats was on sale this week, and there were coupons available making the larger bags 1/2 price. I bought a 6-8 week supply (I think) which will save about $80.
* I purchased a NIB Braun immersion blender at an estate sale this weekend for $8 – Yippee! I have needed one for quite a while, and it’s just in time for soup season. I plan to roast a pumpkin today as well as a butternut squash. Pumpkin soup is on of my favorite fall treats.
* Of course, I have done all the usual things. I am reading my book club selection which I checked out at the library. I am cooking from scratch as always, brewing my own coffee, and drinking primarily water.
Wishing everyone health, peace and frugality.


Lisa M. September 29, 2020 at 5:35 am

Bee – Congratulations on your successful canine adoption! I am so happy that you found your next forever friend. Hope your cat grows fond of your new dog & that they are able to spend many harmonious years together with you! 🙂


Bee September 29, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Thank you!!! She is an absolute treasure. I do hope my kitty will come out of hiding. I adopted a dog that had been around cats and did not chase or harm them. That was one of the reasons it took me so long to find a new pup.


Lisa M. September 29, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Hopefully kitty is simply adjusting in a transition phase for a period of time. Definitely sounds like dog is non-threatening which is a huge + for their relationship potential. So thoughtful of you to consider kitty’s needs. Please keep us posted on their progress.


Christine September 30, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Congratulations on the adoption of your new pup. She sounds like a treasure. Wishing you and your family (including sweet calico kitty) many happy years with her.


janine September 30, 2020 at 3:11 pm

We adopted a rescue dog a couple of years ago and it was not a friendship made in heaven with regard to our aging cat. However, the cat rules the roost and they now sleep together at night. Colby Hound still regrets that kittie isn’t interested in being chased around the house.


Bee October 3, 2020 at 5:43 am

That is encouraging. Calico Kitty has finally come out from underneath the bed. Progress!


Jill A September 29, 2020 at 3:54 am

Frugal satisfaction edition:

1. I’ve had a little luck with garage sales and estate sales. I found some free bolts of fabric with 8 & 9 yards on them at a neighborhood garage sale. I’ve listed them on Ebay. I also found a case of wine at a garage sale for $10. It was leftovers from a wedding and was from a local winery. It was definitely a step up from my usual Winking Owl from Aldi. I looked it up online and I saved $144. I think I’ll give some away as gifts. It’s delicious. Frugal satisfaction.
2. I’ve sold several items on Ebay and reusued packaging and scrounged in my recycle bin for packaging material. Again I’ve sold more parts from my refrigerator which gives me frugal satisfaction. I also like putting items into the hands of people who need it as well as saving something from a landfill.
3. I made a delicious lasagne using a homemade ricotta that my daughter made . This lasted for two meals. Then my daughter made pizzas with the whey for dinner one night. My son in law made an awesome chicken sandwich for dinner another night. It was better than any I’d ever eaten. I had treated us to a similar dinner the weekend before from a trendy little restaurant on the lake and it was $72. It makes me wonder why we even eat out. My youngest made a great chicken curry. We’re trying to meal plan and share in the cooking chores. It’s been a lot of work feeding and $$$ everyone since my daughter and her boyfriend moved home. I’ve never had a son so it’s amazing how much that boy can eat. Delicious frugal satisfaction.
4. I ordered new grill grates for my old grill. My husband rebuilt in the past with new parts. It’s disintegrating but I think I can get a few more years out of it. Frugal satisfaction. I love saving another thing from the landfill.
5. My free plants that I transplanted this summer are blooming and beautiful and make me so happy every time I see them. I’m happy that I decided to plant the volunteer plants that came of the dead ones that I pulled out. They look so pretty and the bees love them. This gives me so much frugal satisfaction.


Jill A September 29, 2020 at 3:57 am

#3 A lot of work and $$$ feeding everyone. I really ought to proof read before I post. I’m always in hurry before it kicks me out.


Jill A September 29, 2020 at 4:22 am

6. I forgot. Daughter helped me wash my windows. We’ve done the main floor so far. It’s hard to wash my windows. The mechanism to tilt them down requires a lot of thumb strength. I used a little ammonia and my homemade glass cleaner. My friend pays $800 to get her windows washed. Similar size house.


Jenelle September 29, 2020 at 5:00 am

1. After being blessed by many people with donations of clothing that I sorted through and found items to sell on Ebay, I found out that one of the local boy scout troops is looking for clothing donations! I have about 10 garbage bags of clothing sitting in my garage that I can take to them this Friday. Another benefit of making this trip to donate is that my kids have been begging to go to the playground that is in this town. They have some of the older slides and teeter totters that you just don’t find anymore and my kids love them. Someone even donated a sailboat that they repurposed into a jungle gym that sits in this park. It should be a nice Friday evening.
2. Encouraging my kids to eat lunch at school everyday. Right now in PA school lunches are free. Why not save a few dollars and have them “buy”?
3. At work, I’ve been scanning the recycling bins for paper that I can reuse at home. Anything that can be used for Ebay labels is taken home.
4. Keeping ourselves busy with the kids activities. Scouts for both, baseball and twirling. We keep all of the kids activities within a 5 mile radius of our home. This cuts down on driving and the amount of time going to and from. While we do pay registration fees for these…I budget those fees out of each paycheck. We like to stay busy!
5. I am glad to be in this community of like minded frugal people. While some are here because they are “forced” to be frugal (like myself) and others are here for the non-consumerism ways…I find that you all are 100% caring and kind. I’m not ashamed to talk about my financial situations here. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers as we move through another “season” of financial hardships. Thanks.


Alexandra September 29, 2020 at 5:14 pm

Jenelle, we are glad you are here! Yes, this is a very caring and kind place. I’ve learned tons from folks and so enjoy having a place with like minded folks. Seasons of hardship happen and having some support while we do the hard things we must, makes all the difference.
Let us know how you are doing and what you are learning.


Christine September 30, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Jenelle, you may be entering another season of hardship but from your description of activities you do with your kids, I have a strong feeling your kids don’t feel deprived in any way. Good job Mom! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and wish you the very best of everything.


Lisa M. October 1, 2020 at 6:52 am

Jenelle – Never any reason to feel shame on this site. I’d guess that nearly all posters have been through seasons of financial hardship. We’re celebrating you making those $s stretch & looking out for additional strategies. Awesome efforts!


MW September 29, 2020 at 5:36 am

1) I found flannel at Goodwill (a bolt of Christmas-themed flannel and a sheet) and I’ve been making Christmas gifts for various people in my life. I also made a cute little summer dress from a discounted mystery item at Goodwill that had lots of great fabric.
2) I found some half price sheets at Goodwill and I’ve been making myself some much needed shirts and a night gown. Sewing is generally not a cost saving hobby, but with thrifted fabric and patterns it suddenly becomes doable. Needless to say, I’m doing all of this on a hand-me-down 1984 sewing machine that meets my needs perfectly.
3) Staying home during the forest fires got me to scrounge out of the cabinets and freezer more than usual to avoid going out. Less food waste= more money in my pocket.
4) I thought I had broken my bike gears. I walked it down to the bike shop- they were able to fish a bit of bungee cord out of my back wheel and I’m good to go for zero cost. I’ll be bringing another needed bike repair their way as a thank you.
5) Neighbors and friends have been giving their unwanted bottles and cans to my older son to help fund a future Boy Scout camp. I tell you, there’s gold in them thar cans!


MW September 29, 2020 at 5:39 am

And a #6 that I forgot! When we picked up free school lunches/ breakfasts for the kids, we were also able to get a bag of free produce. With the end of my garden green beans it was a very welcome gift to pad out this week’s menu!


Cindy in the South September 29, 2020 at 5:56 am

1. I made my standard “greens” soup, both the expensive way and the cheap way. Expensive way: Large can of Glory Greens (Turnip, collards, or mixed), can of red beans (most folks use black eyed peas or pintos but I like red beans), can of rotel tomatoes, package of Knorr spinach dip and soup mix, chicken broth, lots of garlic, Tony Chacheles sp? New Orleans style spices, seat salt, and serve with diced onions, dollop of Sour cream or plain yogurt and lots of apple cider vinegar pepper sauce etc. The cheap way: cooked dried red beans in chicken bullion broth, small can of cheap greens, cajun spices, can of tomato paste, lots of garlic, typical cajun spices, etc. The second way is more of a bean soup with greens. Both are delicious. I also have fresh greens growing in my front yard and I clip them every day for a salad with dressing. I love greens….lol. 2. I cannot remember if I mentioned I had a free wellness check at work through my insurance. 3. I walked in my neighborhood, 4 and 5. I don’t know, this is all I can think of, maybe later I will add.


Cindy in the South September 29, 2020 at 6:59 am

6. My electric bill was $50. It will go up significantly in the winter because , even though I live where it is warm, I am a complete shivering heap of blankets about anything remotely cold/cool…..sigh


Cindy in the South September 29, 2020 at 5:58 am

4. Brought lunch to work. I flavored tuna with apple cider vinegar instead of mayo.


Cindy in the South September 29, 2020 at 6:00 am

5. Bought son a wool blanket in case the power goes out. We do have relatively mild winters here but it can still get chilly.


tonya tawana September 29, 2020 at 7:40 am

1. Am eating at home. Making my own seitan and using TVP instead of flavored meat replacements– saving on packaging and also saving money too. I’ve had a bit too much in terms of processed food the last week but there’s been NO take out or restaurant food in weeks. A huge savings for us.

2. Am composting food scraps and freezing kale stems for smoothies.

3. Watching Blacklist on Netflix which a friend and I split. It’s about the only thing I watch lately as I just seem to have no interest in TV. I also don’t seem to want to read. I ‘ve also been listening to a lot of 70’s music– Steely Dan and Eagles. I was born in 72 and I suppose this music makes the world feel a bit safer for me even though no one in my family listened to rock music (it was always country in our house!).

4. I’m working this semester and keeping some savings in the bank while trying to pay off my credit card debit. I know I won’t get it this semester but I could, if things hold, do it next semester. I likely won’t get my side hustle of grading this year– but since that put my tax bill at more than the president* I guess that’s okay. I’ll forego the money and enjoy the time listening to Aja or Hotel California again. I guess this is good since I certainly FEEL like the end of the world is approaching with this upcoming election.

5. Going camping at a state park overnight tomorrow– haven’t been this year and I’m hoping it’s okay. Since it is during the week, I doubt many people will be there. I haven’t been away overnight since….January.

6. Cooler temps mean no air conditioning which is great.


LB September 29, 2020 at 8:47 am

Katy, I feel you on no attention span and spending time in the fetal position. I hope the wildfires have cleared a bit–in my industry they have created a literal fire under people to get off fossil fuels ASAP.

1. Dug out a number of drawers that hold keepsakes but nothing of value. My free box for the curb overfloweth–the time and energy to list gently used wallets from Target is hardly worth the (theoretical) payoff. Better it goes to someone in the neighborhood–as well as the pair of rain boots I got off a free pile that never fit right, a number of cute scarves that haven’t seen the sun in years, and our “spare” set of wine glasses…originally thrifted anyway.

2. My mom got us a cutesy NYC themed set of throw pillows that…honestly? We absolutely hate. Her joke was “they’re for the cats!” but even the cats don’t really care for them. They’re just slipcovers, though, and the inside is a very nice poly fill, so I found a vendor on Etsy that makes all-cotton covers in the color that I want. Not cheap to order new covers, but I’m grateful these can have a second life after having these pillows in our living room for over a year–and not having to buy new pillows.

3. NYC’s case rates are in the alarming range again, which means any interest in dining out or anything outside of our apartment evaporated. I stared at my couch and thought of the number of meals I ate on it already this year…and went out and rented a steam cleaner. For $50 and the trauma of seeing the dirty water’s color, I am prepared to park my butt on it and ride things out again.

4. Phone and text banking is free, y’all. Find a candidate you like and put in the work for them. Electing representatives you feel good about is frugal as hell, and a lot cheaper than immigration fees to Canada.

5. Today is national coffee day (or whatever), so Dunkin is giving a free medium coffee with any purchase. DF (dear fiance! I got engaged last week! so he gets an upgrade from BF on here too <3) adores their cold brew, so I took a walk this morning to get him a treat and get an iced coffee the way I like mine too for just the cost of his drink.


Lisa M. September 29, 2020 at 9:24 am

LB – #5 Part 1 – Big congrats on the engagement! I’ve been watching a program on Netflix called “Frugal Weddings” filmed in Australia while exercising & it has been very entertaining!

#5 Part 2 – My local gas station has a free gourmet coffee & a breakfast biscuit today for National Coffee Day. I was out running errands & needed gas, so picked up a biscuit before they ran out as customers can only use 1 coupon @ a time. While there I perused the specialty coffee menu. Needless to say, stopping back by for a “Hazelnut Dream” later today! 🙂


Jill A September 30, 2020 at 7:38 am



Christine September 30, 2020 at 12:43 pm

Congratulations on your engagement! Best wishes for a happy future!


Vickey October 2, 2020 at 6:28 am

Congratulations to you both!!


Mary in Maryland September 29, 2020 at 9:46 am

The laces are from shoes I’ve worn out. Shoe laces used to wear out, but not any more, probably made of eternal plastic derivative.
Voter suppression–taking people who are registered off the rolls because they haven’t voted in a couple elections, or you dislike the spelling of their name, or basically you just feel like there are too many voters in a blue area. Saw a good movie about it. Title was (I think) Suppressed.


tia September 29, 2020 at 10:36 am

Houseguest came down with something and when he went back to work they sent him home for 10 days but wouldn’t tell him anything and he couldn’t get tested as they said he wasn’t sick enough. Now Ive had it a few days and thought runny nose wasn’t symptom of covid. It is. So it’s probably the big bad c19. It’s really a cheap disease as they have no idea how to treat it and if you go to the hospital and die no one comes with you to stick with the bill and just don’t claim the body so free disposal. Lol! I thought I would lay a few more floor tiles but didn’t have the energy. All I want is soup and it is amazing how you can make soup out of most anything and I have.
So all of you “safe” vacationers, campers, restaurant eaters, etcetera….you are sooo wrong and making people sick and I dislike you and blame you. : ) Raspberries!!!


Katy September 29, 2020 at 12:16 pm

Shit, I’m so sorry! I would still encourage you to try and get tested either way. My husband just got tested due to contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case and was able to get the results in 30 minutes. (It was negative)

I’m still sitting at home for you and everyone else though.


MB in MN September 29, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Tia, I hope you regain full health STAT.


Lisa M. September 29, 2020 at 1:20 pm

Tia – Great idea to be tested so you won’t be in limbo. Please keep us updated on how you are doing.


Bee September 30, 2020 at 4:35 am

I hope you feel better soon and also encourage you to get tested. I suggest contacting your local health department. They should be help you especially if you believe that you have been exposed. The Health Department in my county offers free testing.


Jill A September 30, 2020 at 7:39 am

Feel better. I hope if you so have it then it’s a mild case and you’ll hopefully have some immunity. Fingers crossed.


Christine September 30, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Oh no tia! So sorry to hear about this. I can and do stay home as much as possible except for work and grocery/pharmacy shopping. I wish you darned house guest had too. Sad face inserted here.


Christine September 30, 2020 at 12:47 pm

YOUR darned house guest…


Vickey October 2, 2020 at 8:46 am

Tia, I’m so sorry! Wishing you plenty of nourishing, comforting soup and timely tests. ((Virtual hugs))


tia October 2, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Timely tests is right! CDC says:
the statistically estimated likelihood of recovering replication-competent virus approaches zero by 10 days or more than three days after recovery.
I drove 100 miles today and got tested but I no longer have a fever so test may not show if I had covid. That’s why they don’t test so many people. If you think you have covid you probably do.


Isa September 29, 2020 at 10:58 am

* THE MORTGAGE IS PAID OFF!!!!!!!! After 11.5 years of putting every extra cents on it, it’s done! Go Frugal Ways!!

* Got a whole bunch of books for the kids at multiple thrifts stores, all prices between 0.25 and 1$, just in case the public library closes down again, we will be ready.

* Cutting DH hair for the last 13 years. Also cutting the kids hair and mine as needed (a.k.a almost never, we all have long hair).

* Waited 1.5 year for a medical test instead of paying 1200$ for it in the private sector. It was long, but I finally had it done, so it was worth it. The results were negative, yay!

* did I mention that we paid off the mortgage?!? 🙂


KT in PA September 29, 2020 at 11:22 am

YAY for paying off the mortgage!!!! Freedom!!


Cindy in the South September 29, 2020 at 11:40 am

Congrats on paying off the mortgage!


susanna d September 29, 2020 at 11:45 am

Congratulations on paying off your mortgage! How wonderful – and impressive!


Katy September 29, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Wow, I’m so impressed!!!!! Congratulations!!!!


Bee September 29, 2020 at 12:44 pm

Woot, woot! That’s awesome!!!!!


MB in MN September 29, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Isa, kudos on paying off the mortgage!


Lisa M. September 29, 2020 at 1:26 pm

Isa – Wonderful news! Looking back, having our mortgage paid kept us out of purgatory so many rough times. I don’t want to even think about where we would be right now if we hadn’t done that years ago. All your efforts were so worth the security you are experiencing right now.


Isa September 29, 2020 at 3:56 pm



Jill A September 30, 2020 at 7:40 am



Christine September 30, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Congratulations on getting rid of the yoke of debt known commonly as a mortgage. Nice!


Shona September 30, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Congratulations!!!! We paid ours off a month ago and September was the first no mortgage month. Oh the $ I was able to transfer into my mutual fund. I also increased my 401k contribution. It’s a great feeling. Welcome to no longer co-owning your house with the bank!!!!


Kara September 29, 2020 at 8:14 pm

I’m evacuated because of the CA wildfires. I packed my car and drove south to my parents when the evacuation warning came for our zone (city divided into zones for evacuation purposes). I had my car full of 27 years of family photos, clothes, and papers. I decided while I drove that I would take this time to scan all the photos, and then put them into photo-safe boxes. They will take up a lot less room this way, and be easier if we have to evacuate again. I have lots of plans to re-organize my house when I get home so that items I would take in another evacuation are all together. I’m actually enjoying the photo sorting project. Our house is still safe.
I took cuttings of my collard trees the day before the fire, and only had time to put them in a glass of water before I left. They should be fine too.
Safeway app had free ice cream this week so my husband went and got that. He stayed with friends in a non-evacuation zone. He is also tasked with picking up some items from my Buy Nothing group.
I sold a set of cloth napkins today. They will go out late, the buyer doesn’t mind. I brought a special order project with me, I hope to finish that tomorrow. It’s really nice to focus on something other than the fire!
My mother and I were gifted a home-grown melon by one of her neighbors while we were out for a walk this morning.


Bee September 30, 2020 at 4:46 am

I’m so sorry, Kara. The devastation from the fires is heartbreaking. I’m glad that both you and your home are safe. I have evacuated on many occasions because of hurricanes. It is very stressful. I am sending positive energy your way.


MB in MN September 30, 2020 at 6:22 am

I second everything that Bee said (except I’ve never had to evacuate and can’t imagine how scary and stressful that would be).


Lisa M. September 30, 2020 at 6:59 am

Kara – Believe many of us NCA posters are thinking of you. Hope you & your family are able to return safely to undamaged property very soon. Please keep us updated.


Jill A September 30, 2020 at 7:40 am

Stay safe. Fingers crossed that your home stays intact and your friends and family are safe.


susanna d September 30, 2020 at 10:22 am

I’m so sorry, Kara. I hope everyone and everything remains safe and that you can return home soon!


Kara September 30, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Thank you all for your kind thoughts! So far the house is safe. The fire is 48,000 acres and 2% contained. Sadly we have red flag warnings-high winds, high temps and low humidity-for Thursday and Friday. With a fire this big, and right up against the city, everyone is scared. My husband stayed in the house and hosed it off several times Monday, since ash and embers were raining down. He will do the same the next 2 days. His car is loaded and he can leave in an instant. I’m guessing the evacuations will roll in again quickly tomorrow, like they did on Sunday night. That night the emergency alerts on my phone came so fast that one had hardly finished before the next one came. I have never been in such a situation before and it was a tremendous relief to drive out of it.


Marie September 30, 2020 at 5:02 pm

Wishing the best for you, and your home.


Kara October 1, 2020 at 5:12 pm

Thank you!

Kristina October 4, 2020 at 8:01 pm

My sister and her family lost their home in Paradise in 2018. They had a rough year but found another home elsewhere and it has been spared so far. It is very stressful but people do survive. I think her sense of humor was helpful, and joy in escaping–she is a great reader and dived into books for relief. Best wishes to you.


Joyce September 30, 2020 at 7:55 am

My Frugal six
1. Made a pair of pants for my yr old GD from sleeves out of Grandpa’s old work shirt.
2 made an gathering apron for 5 yr old grandson from same shirt
3.Used the last of the fresh zucchini last Night
4 Cut DH ‘s hair
5. Cut my hair
6. Used the last pkg of frozen pumpkin from 2019


Chrystin September 30, 2020 at 10:00 am

1) Found a persimmon tree on the property at my temp job. Have been getting about five a day off the ground. I can see lots more on the tree and understand that the fruit ripen into December (even here in Ohio). Excited!

2) Went to our local salvage grocery last night. Got $63 worth of food that will last me ages and would have cost $150 at a “regular” grocery store. Put all the snacks in my trunk so I don’t have to buy anything from the overpriced cafeteria or vending (that charges tax?!) also here at the temp job.

3) Attended a trunk/boot “sale” held by the local Time Bank on Saturday. Got rid of many unnecessary clothes (not my size) and acquired a few things, including seeds, strawberry plants, craft books, a Xmas present for a friend, and a hooded sweater that I needed for walking in the woods during my lunch today. No money was exchanged, only time credits.

4) Have been putting the basil I grew this year (first time) in everything! So delicious.

5) A friend is staying with me because she suddenly left her SO for good reasons. I was given a gift card for a local restaurant when I left my last temp job and this has fed the two of us several times this past week.


Christine October 1, 2020 at 5:03 pm

Re #2: Tax laws vary state to state but I know here in Mass. we pay taxes on “prepared” food. So that not only includes restaurant food but food bought in the grocery store prepared by their employees. A loaf of bread, a pound of cold cuts and cheese, no tax. Sandwiches put together by employees and then sold to consumers, taxed.


susanna d September 30, 2020 at 10:55 am

Five frugal things, Covid-hair edition:
1. I’ve been cutting my husband’s hair since March. I started out using his beard trimmer, then we were finally able to find an actual hair clipper (those things were scarce). The hair clipper cost very close to what he was paying for one haircut. Since my husband used to get his hair cut every three weeks (!), this has turned out to be a huge money saver. As time goes on, it’ll continue to save more – and more – since I finally have gotten this haircutting thing down to an art form. Well, almost an art form. Okay, at least I don’t buzz stripes into his hair anymore.
2. After 8 months without a haircut myself, I finally gathered up my courage, bought a hair cutting scissors, and did the “unicorn ponytail” thing to cut some layers. At my last professional haircut, I agreed to go all one length. I hated the style on me, but actually it was a good thing. Because when I finally got around to cutting in layers, there weren’t any existing ones for me to destroy.
3. Two weeks after my first haircut attempt, I realized I really wanted my hair shorter. Today I made the initial cut, then my husband took over and followed my start, cutting three inches off the bottom. I was rewarded by hearing him say “Hey, I’m really getting the hang of this” halfway through. There are far worse things I could’ve heard. It looks really good, and I like it better than my last haircut.
4. When the “safer at home” order began, I decided to stop coloring my hair. I was doing it myself so it wasn’t a huge saving, but it does save the cost of a box of dye every 6 or 8 weeks.
5. I’m embracing the strangeness that is my new multi-color hair. Dark brown and gray on the top (natural), with the dyed part having bleached out to auburn on the bottom, and strange gold streaks that have appeared throughout. Someone here shared the term “calico hair” a few months ago. I am rocking – and loving – calico beyond what I thought I would!


Shona September 30, 2020 at 6:41 pm

1. Last day of September marks the last day of a no buy month my friend and I often do (support!) when we feel like a little too much $ is going out. Necessities only.

2. Found 35¢ and 2 hair ties running grocery errands

3. Accidentally frugal, I bought a bag of mung beans at a local Korean grocery and the bag I picked up without noticing was marked 1/2 price because it was cut with a box cutter while opening the box and they taped up the small hole. Fine by me.

4. Unintentionally frugal, working from home this week and not driving anywhere because of secondary COVID contact. My husband and I both got tested and he’s negative (he was the one with primary contact). My results come back tomorrow but I’m no longer concerned given his results. We both work in healthcare and this is my second go around getting tested. (I know I sound casual about this, but prior to getting his results we were both on edge)

5. The brand if cat food I buy was 1/2 off (hum… a theme here) at Kroger so I bought a 10# bag. She’s set for the rest of the year at least.


Hawaii Planner October 1, 2020 at 6:39 am

I’m so sorry for those impacted by the wildfires. Also in CA, and faced an evacuation a few weeks ago. Sending you all good thoughts & my personal commitment to continue to care about, support & invest as needed to address climate change.

1) Used a Starbucks reward for a free sandwich before it expired. Fed a hungry teenager a wrap, sliced fruit & veggies from the meal. Takeout is a rare treat, so everyone was pleased.
2) Sold stuff on eBay & Facebook. Honestly, I had no idea you could reuse packaging until I read about it here. I’m so happy that I started reusing packaging about a year ago (now many packages actually have messaging that they can be reused)
3) Used up lots of garden produce, & shared with neighbors
4) Cleaned our solar panels, after the last round of fires, which increased our production by ~27%
5) Signed up for Fetch, to get credit from uploading grocery receipts. It won’t make me rich, but I’ve earned a $3 reward for 5 minutes of work.


Vickey October 3, 2020 at 6:56 am

Hawaii Planner, your personal commitment to helping change happen rocks! I’m of the practical “what can we do to improve the situation so suffering is avoided?” bent myself. 🙂


Kristina October 4, 2020 at 8:17 pm

So glad to reconnect with you all after an unintentional absence. We should all be honest about our finances and counterpoint certain orange headed people who play with their obligations. We are unexpectedly OK financially because so many planned trips were cancelled, but I think there are lots of good reasons to be frugal, especially to have more to share. Here’s my frugal week:
1) Cooked dinner for a family going through cancer treatments, debilitating mental illness, hip replacement surgery while dealing with three small children and layoffs. Used green peppers from a friend’s garden to make stuffed peppers, and added corn bread, salad, and a chocolate cake. It felt so good to do something for someone else, even if I did cook all day.
2) Cleaned 5 lbs. of jalapeño peppers to prepare to freeze them tomorrow, from the same friend’s garden.
3) Mended summer clothes that might make it through another summer.
4) Sewed a new pair of jeans for DH, and cut out another pair. Sewing can be frugal when you already have the fabric, and I have the experience and skill to improve on readymades for fit and workmanship.
5) Like many of you, cooked every single meal this week. My DH has diabetes and he is looking good. He used to buy fast food lunches but the ones close to his work are closed. His health and our budget are winning.
6) Admired but did not buy a vintage sewing machine on Ebay. I was sorely tempted but good sense won. Wish they wouldn’t keep sending reminders.


Christine October 5, 2020 at 10:18 am

Your #1…not only did you help out the family going through the tough times, you made me feel good just knowing someone did such a kind thing for someone else. Thanks for the lifted spirits!


MB in MN October 5, 2020 at 11:49 am

Agreed. That family is lucky to have you. Their burdens are too many to even imagine.


Lauren October 5, 2020 at 1:18 am

1. I used up leftover potato salad to go with tonight’s dinner.
2. I sold my laptop (pending pick up) on FB marketplace. This is by far my favourite selling site.
3. I discovered I can get more out of my coffee sachets by buying extra strong sachets and only using half each time.
4. I’m slowly buying Christmas presents. Im shopping online and add my items to the basket and then fill in the details up to my email address. Usually the website will email a 10% off code within a couple of days. Easy savings.
5. Enjoying the perfect weather and not having heating or cooling going. It did rain today and get a little cooler but free water for the plants.


Susan October 12, 2020 at 6:35 pm

1. Free haircut from daughter who just got her cosmetology license.
2. Practice intermittent fasting (IF) saves on a meal or two 🙂
3. Realized that my hubby and I can share audiobooks and he has some good ones, score.
4. Garden is still putting out tomatoes here in Western NC
5. Our new flock of chickens is starting to free range which saves on feed. <3


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