Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 8, 2020 · 107 comments

  1. My daughter turned twenty five and invited five friends over for a socially distanced celebration in the backyard. I offered to help and put a tremendous amount of thought into how to create a lovely event where Covid-19 safety wouldn’t be sacrificed in the name of fun.

    I went back and forth on how to achieve this bizarro world goal and finally landed on everyone having their own individually packaged appetizers and entrées. I 100% didn’t want a situation where multiple guests were reaching their hands into the same bowl, so my daughter and I stopped at Dollar Tree and grabbed bags of crunchy snacks, which I then separated into individual portions. (Oh . . .  did I mention that everything had to be gluten free, and preferably also vegan? Sigh . . . ) Luckily we came across Munch Rights brand “puffs,” which checked both boxes. (Okay, this is a straight up lie, as the “cheddar” version isn’t vegan, so I substituted tortilla chips for the single vegan guest.) We also bought a couple packages of those weird sweetened rice krispie cylinders, which proved to be both vegan and gluten free. I then bagged everybody’s snacks into small paper bags.

    I hand rolled massive amounts of sushi, which got packaged into individual to-go boxes from the deli section of our nearby grocery store. Sushi may sound like an expensive choice, (and it certainly would have been had I bought it from a restaurant) but it’s actually crazy cheap when you make it from scratch.

    I chose to bake gluten-free cupcakes instead of a single cake, (The Pillsbury “Funfetti” mix is both A) inexpensive and B) not disgusting) as these too would be distinct items and therefor safer than a single shared cake.

    I know this all sounds bizarre, but it was a massive hit. Everyone thought it was super fun to be handed their own individual food packs upon arrival, which was kind of cute.

    I admit that the bathroom was an issue, as there’s no way to host people without one. However, I kept the exhaust fan running throughout the party, required masks, switched out the hand towel a couple times and sanitized touched surfaces (flush handle, doorknobs, faucet and handles) throughout the evening.

    I don’t want to come across as bragging, (another lie as I’m totally bragging) but I stepped outside at one point and accidentally interrupted a conversation about how I’m “the cool mom.”

  2. I carried an end table to the corner and stuck a “FREE” sign on it. That sucker was gone in under five minutes.

  3. I was going a bit stir crazy one evening, so I grabbed my favorite mask and drove down to the main Goodwill store. The store was eerily empty, as were the shelves which had a decidedly “picked over” look to them. Didn’t matter though, as I figured that I could still wander around and shoot photos for my Instagram feed. I stepped into the kitchenware aisle and spied a darling vintage enamel teapot that looked suspiciously like a CathrineHolm specimen, although with an unfamiliar pattern. Priced at just $4.99 it was worth the gamble. I brought it home and discovered it to be the rare “Saturn” pattern and worth $200.

    Not too shabby for a supposedly picked over thrift shop.

  4. I’ve been binge watching YouTube videos from Laura and Selena over at The Recycled Life, which satisfies the need to give my brain a break from the upsetting daily news cycle, my college friend Maura and I walked around Fort Vancouver together while catching up on one another’s lives, (even hitting the free aviation museum since it was basically empty) I gave away the last of some silkscreening equipment through my Buy Nothing group, I accidentally made an overly enormous pot of red lentil soup, but somehow served it enough times to avoid any food waste and I decided that I’m going to follow CDC recommendations and not hand out candy to trick or treaters this Halloween.

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

Lisa M. October 8, 2020 at 3:39 pm

5+FF: Good Fall Vibes

1. 50/50 effort: Negotiated with car dealership to repair noisy rear brakes (drums & shoes) & ensure full tank of gas during recent purchase of used vehicle for DD (+). Immediately made appt. @ closer location for resolution of an open safety recall & was told there was an additional open emissions campaign. After expending substantial amounts of both time & fuel, learned that both the recall & campaign had recently been remedied without adequate documentation (-). In polite language, < than a + impression of the dealer's processes.

2. Recent kitchen creations: Broccoli Salad, Crested Butte Grilled Chicken Breasts – sliced thin for grilling impaired DH, Bacon & Brown Sugar Brussels Sprouts, Thick Spaghetti.

3. Recent freebies: Breakfast biscuit, coffee, gum & B1G1 frappe from gas station rewards program.

4. Received 4# of Italian spaghetti, 2# of Italian penne pasta, 1 gallon of oil & an institutional size of pineapple tidbits from DH’s friend who is closing many stores for a casual Italian restaurant chain. We will put the surplus to good use but sad to know the nature of the excess.

5. Used infrequent B1G1 coupon from take & bake pizza place & redeemed a survey for free cookie dough. Last effort no small feat as last purchase was 6 months ago. Total savings: &19.49 which exemplifies excessive prices IMHO & explains infrequent patronage. Immediately completed current survey for future use.

6. Made appt. for DH’s cat for annual exam/vaccination & printed out coupon for 1st time visit discount as he is a new resident in our ‘burb.

7. Also made appt. for DD's annual overdue physical, along with flu shot.


Lisa M. October 9, 2020 at 11:46 am

Um #6, that would be DD’s young shelter cat not DH’s. He cont. to provide endless entertainment, so well worth the cost of cat food, litter & the appalling contents of my vacuum cannister (Turkish Angora long-hair). 🙁

Want to chime in with other posters about the top-notch creativity & effort that went into planning your DD’s b-day celebration, Katy. Impressive!


Kathy October 8, 2020 at 3:39 pm

1. The decluttering for the move continues. Slowly selling, donating, regifting and donating
2. Up cycling packing materials for sales
3. Found bra extenders to extend getting new bras
4. Brought gifted champagne and orange juice to brunch my daughter in law’s mom hosted
5. As we only have one car received a refund on insurance premium


Katy October 8, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Bra extenders are such a money saver for those of us whose weight fluctuates!


Kathy October 8, 2020 at 4:20 pm

For sure


Madeline October 8, 2020 at 3:42 pm

I also “accidentally” made a HUGE pot of Polish Borscht. I had a craving! It got “cooler” here in Arizona, under 100 degrees!! And so I had to have a “Fall” soup.. lol! So I brought half down to my beloved friend and neighbor two doors down. She and her daughter (shared household) were sooo appreciative and it made me feel all warm and snuggly inside! Paying it forward.. and just living up on my friends.We are not getting together in person To shop, have happy hours, or play cards…so. .. I miss them.. knowing we’re sharing a soup is…. nice. Weather in Az. Is getting nice so we may try a socially distanced happy hour outdoors soon..


MB in MN October 8, 2020 at 4:11 pm

Katy – you ARE a cool mom. Your daughter’s birthday party sounds fabulous, not bizarre in the least. And what a find on that teapot!

Here’s my frugal five:

1. Received unexpected property tax refund.

2. Wiped out frugal gains from probably the last decade by donating to candidates that encourage civility, unity, honesty, empathy, selflessness, humility, kindness, respect, equality, generosity, integrity, and just plain decency.

3. Bartered with friend – gave her a plant stand and she gave me pumpkins and gourds. We each think we got the better deal!

4. While in the checkout line, I watched as the cashier rang things up and noticed a $10(!) pricing error on one item. Store changed their computer system pronto.

5. Listening to e-audiobooks from the library on my laptop while I cook, bake and clean. This community knows libraries are amazing. I’ve loved them ever since I was a little girl – oh, the memories – starting with story hour on the floor, then having my very own library card and checking out oodles of books (and loving the sound of their crinkly covers), accessing the so-cool card catalog as a high-schooler (and using the opportunity to drive by my non-existent boyfriend’s house on the way to the library and back), having a quiet refuge in college, finding audiobooks for my commute to a big girl job, and now volunteering at the library in my retirement. (Well, that was an enjoyable – and free – trip down memory lane!)


Bethc October 10, 2020 at 6:48 pm

MB-love your love letter to the library! My experience was similar growing up, although I took out so many books that I wracked up $25 in fines in my younger days. I also snuck out with a “marriage manual” once and never returned it. I was impatient about getting the full scoop about the birds and bees. Found it in Mom’s dresser 50 years later as we were moving her to assisted living. Hope she and Dad found the book useful. 🙂


Nancy A October 22, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Way to go on #2! Thank you for caring.


Kara October 8, 2020 at 4:31 pm

Great job on the food. As someone with a ton of food allergies, doing the food takes a lot more thought/work.

1. Our cuisinart kettle is not working. As it was new a year ago, I called their customer service, and a new one is on it’s way!
2. My husband cut my hair (short bob on curly hair). I do a few touch ups after he’s done. It works pretty well. We started this during Covid, and at a savings of $50 per hair cut (considered CHEAP in my area), I think we will continue.
3. I made chick pea curry in the instapot last night, using a good deal of swiss chard from the garden.
4. In the one year we have lived in our new town, I have become known as someone who takes extra fabric. Since my business is sewing with repurposed fabric, and am always thrilled to be offered fabric. A friend brought a bag over yesterday, plus we enjoyed an outdoor, distanced visit.
5. I finished a Give Thanks banner for my shop
And then I put my own banner up. It reminds me to look for the good. I leave it up until December 1, when my Christmas banner goes up.


Carolyn October 9, 2020 at 7:08 am

Good luck with the home haircuts, they are definitely a great money saver. My husband has been cutting my hair for me since we first met. He does a great job every time and he gives my two teen boys their haircuts every three weeks. I figure we save over a grand a year. Hubby has done hundreds of haircuts, so the investment of getting the right tools and supplies to do the haircuts properly has paid off many times over. So when the shops were closed, we continued to get haircuts on our regular schedule. Kudos to your husband for cutting your hair, a lot of husbands would not do it for their wives, and honestly most women would not trust their guy to take the shears to their hair. If you can get him to trust you to cut his hair, your savings will double.


Kara October 9, 2020 at 3:26 pm

He cuts his own! He went bald quite young and wet shaves it every 3 days


Judi October 27, 2020 at 1:15 pm

If you’d share the recipe for the curry, I’ll do the happy dance. TIA!!!


Christine October 8, 2020 at 4:41 pm

1. I borrowed four books from the library and noted on the receipt that I saved $97.99 by borrowing them instead of purchasing them.
2. I made Rice Crispy squares for the grandkids by using the cereal from a large box of Rice Crispies that I got for .99 using a store sale plus a store coupon plus a manufacturers coupon and store brand marshmallows and store brand butter. They were quite thrilled.
3. It was a bit chilly in the morning inside our home last week and I was thinking to myself ‘I wonder how long we can go without turning the heat on’, came downstairs and DH echoed my thoughts out loud. We’ve been together so long we think alike and/or we both enjoy making frugality fun with these goals.
4. I painted some smooth, flat rocks I’ve been picking up on walks this past summer. Fall scenes and little anecdotes from The Old Farmers Almanac. I will hide them in plain sight on the trails I hike for others’ enjoyment. I especially hope kids will find them. The only cost is the paint which goes a long way on these smallish rocks.
5. Hanging out all clothes, no heat yet(!) and successfully fought the urge for a coffee while out doing errands after work.


C October 9, 2020 at 5:17 am

My kids get SO EXCITED when we find painted rocks on our hikes! Thank you for doing things like that- you have no idea how much joy it brings them.


Christine October 9, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Thank you for this C! I’m very happy to read that your kids enjoy finding them. Although I love painting them, my greatest satisfaction comes from the joy they bring to others, most especially children. Happy hiking!


Jill A October 10, 2020 at 3:34 am

I love your painted rock idea.. that’s a great way to keep kids interested when hiking.


Christine October 10, 2020 at 1:27 pm

Thank you Jill. On the occasions when my grandkids come with me, it really does add some extra excitement to the hikes. There are quite a few people in my area who paint and hide rocks so on the trails nearby we often find them.


Ava October 8, 2020 at 5:24 pm

1. Saved .10 a gallon on a tank of gas.
2. Contacted the company about cinnamon pita chips that seemed to have no cinnamon at all. Received coupons for 2 free bags plus money off two others.
3. Contacted Amazon about an order that was missing 1 box of sweetener out of the 4 ordered. They say they will refund the entire purchase price of the order.
4. Paid our handyman to repair our dryer. It ended up costing about $100 for the part, plus his very reasonable fee. It took FOREVER to get the right part, but when all was done, the dryer is working and the repair was much cheaper than buying a new dryer or paying for a regular appliance repair person.
5. Made 16 delicious sweet potato muffins with 2 sweet potatoes given me by a friend. Gave her 4 muffins as a thank you.


Mand01 October 8, 2020 at 6:08 pm

1. Very busy with work and accepting all of it – freelancers take it as it comes, especially now.
2. Travelled for business. Client paid flights and accommodation. I took instant oatmeal and meal replacement shakes and managed to getaway with minimal eating out for the week. I had to do some for business reasons. The pandemic isn’t active here (no cases for almost 200 days).
3. I have three pumpkins left from last year. We sacrificed one and we have been eating pumpkin everything all week. Planted more pumpkins over the weekend!
4. Reading a big fat library book and watching Netflix for entertainment. Even though we have no COVID19 cases I don’t want to sit in a crowded theatre yet.
5. My weakness is plants. Was browsing yesterday while waiting for an appointment and stopped myself spending money on more houseplants. Reminded myself that my house is green enough and that if I buy another pot I’ll just want another and another. NCA moment.


Marilyn October 8, 2020 at 6:22 pm

1. I admit I had never heard of Cathedrineholm, but I liked Katy’s teakettle, so I looked for other pieces online and found lots of bright, colorful cookware. I’m going to keep an eye out for it now.
2. Lately, I have been very focused on using all of the food that we buy and not letting anything go to waste. This week, I cleaned out the odds and ends in the vegetable bin (1 potato, 1 onion, 1 celery, 2 carrots, 1 green pepper) by slicing up all the veggies, tossing with a little olive and roasting in the oven. Really, truly: roast veggies are delicious and I say this as a person who is not a great vegetable lover.
3. No haircuts for me since March. I figure this has saved me about $120 so far this year. I would prefer to wear my hair shorter, but it looks okay tucked behind my ears.
4. Still walking for exercise, using the library’s curbside pickup service to get books and videos and mostly working at home.


cathy October 8, 2020 at 10:40 pm

Katy, I think your daughter’s party sounds awesome! As the mother of two food allergic kids, we’ve had a lot of parties with homemade individual-sized pizzas and cupcakes. And that was before Covid.
1. The biggest thing: we sold our 2001 Subaru Outback. It had reached the point where all the repairs would be too expensive, so even though we loved the car, we sold it. Took less than a week. And for a car we’d gotten 20 years out of, we still made more money than I expected we could. Plus a little bit of savings for removing the car from our insurance.
2. We had a huge windstorm a few weeks ago–hurricane-force winds. A clump of pussywillow trees was damaged, but also had been dying out. After getting a couple of bids to have the trees removed (approximately $2,000), we decided to do it ourselves. It took a bit of time to cut the trees down safely; we’ve taken down two of three main trunks. Gave away some firewood through the Buy Nothing group, and the city picked up the rest of the branches and logs as part of the windstorm cleanup. A LOT of trees were damaged or completely uprooted.
3. Still harvesting from the garden – tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, potatoes, plums, melons, and herbs. Pumpkins are almost ready.
4. Reading so much. I’ve always been a bookworm, but the distraction from daily news is so necessary. Pile of library books (picked up curbside) and e-books, plus finally getting through a few I’ve purchased or been given from my to-be-read shelf.
5. Fabulous fall weather. No AC or heat needed!


Lindsay B October 9, 2020 at 2:03 am

1. Mended a shirt and some underwear for DH.
2. Darned two wool socks for myself, since the weather is turning cooler and I always have cold feet.
3. Had a nice weekend at a cabin with friends. Reorganized the pantry for this friend while she was hunting, and set out some outdated-but-still-good food to use while we were there. We were able to use 1 can of chopped tomatoes, 1 can of coconut milk, three packets of Tom Yum paste, and also save potatoes and veggies from being tossed due to neglect. I love reducing food waste.
4. Cut open a skin care product tube to get the last bits out. Decided it didn’t seem to make any difference for my skin, so I will not be replacing it.
5. Went through my travel toiletries and have combined some together and pulled others out to be used… and actually prioritized using them. Combining frugality plus decluttering= happiness.
6. DH and I finally made applesauce last night from free found apples–about three times the usual amount I’ve done on my own, so it was really nice to have his help.


Vickey October 10, 2020 at 7:32 am

>>Combining frugality plus decluttering= happiness.<< That’s so true for me, too!


K D October 9, 2020 at 3:52 am

1.I had four very ripe bananas which resulted in the making of two loaves of pumpkin banana bread and four dozen blueberry muffins (I just added a ripe banana and a large spoonful of extra pumpkin puree to each double batch). There are now lots of gluten free baked goods in the freezer for breakfasts/snacks.

2. Our neighborhood sponsored a community yard sale on Saturday. We didn’t have a lot of stuff but had some we wanted to get rid of. I put it all out for free which allowed me to get on with the day and walk around and look at other sales. With no money in my pocket there was very little temptation to buy anything. Everyone was masked so it was fun to be out and about. Almost everything I put out was taken.

3. I found $.04 yesterday, in four separate places. I have been using found change to pay for my groceries, to try to get the coins back in circulation. So far this year I have found just over $4 worth of coins, not much compared to previous years.

4. Because of Covid precautions most of my socializing has been walks and outdoor visits with friends. No lunches out, as in days of yore.

5. A friend had given orchard apples that were not good eating. I made an apple crisp with them. There are enough for another crisp or two.


Jenelle October 9, 2020 at 4:50 am

1. though I ‘ve been tempted to buy my lunch for work this week, I’ve packed all five days. The lunches might not be 100% appealing, but I’ll make do. I’ve also been packing my own coffee for work.
2. I’ve decided to make a game out of “tightening the boot strings” on our budget. The past few months have been difficult for us financially, so I feel like making it a competition to stretch my money out over two weeks will help me not feel so bad about it. I had a really high anxiety day last week but decided to figure out how to change my attitude towards our situation. I get a “high” off of figuring out how to be frugal. (again, really just a brain game, but it works)
3. I’m having a double play date with a brother/sister duo that are the same ages as my kids tonight. They will be moving soon and I want my kids to have some time with them before they do move. I’m thinking of spaghetti for dinner. Low cost and hopefully something they will eat. The kids can play outside and keep each other entertained!
4. I finally took the time to investigate if it is cheaper to have the kids on my health insurance or hubby’s. Though I have a very strict HMO, I think its worth moving them over to my plan. The savings are immense between basic policy cost and deductibles. My plan has zero deductible!
5. Thankful for the extra income from Ebay. I don’t care how much I sell each day, I’m just thankful for that extra bit of money.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers about our situation.


Alexandra Evans October 9, 2020 at 6:50 am

I feel for y’all. We have been in similar situations financially and those “brain games” work! Keep it up. Focus on your successes. See what IS working and take time and brain power to see it and savor it.
The more I read about the brain, the more I understand that the brain loves this approach.
You will get through this.
I honestly look back at 2008 fondly in many ways as a reunion. A lot WAS good and we focused on it.
Making dealing with finances a game that has small but regular wins: “dinner for 3 adults only $2!”, “75%of bills paid and on time!” Helps.
Keep us updated and we’ll be there with you


Heidi Louise October 9, 2020 at 1:02 pm

Indeed! You are not alone, and counting your progress makes it real.


Christine October 9, 2020 at 12:59 pm

Many of us on this website have been right where you are now. Believe me, there are still some very tight months. The great thing about this page is that there are no criticisms and no one looking down their nose at anybody else. As a collective group we can always count on each other for frugal tips, ideas, recipes and caring support. I have learned so much from you all! Keep on keepin’ on Jenelle.


Jill A October 9, 2020 at 4:51 am

1. I’ve made a few Ebay sales including some fabric that I pulled out of a free pile a couple weeks ago.

2. Instead of going for a walk on a rainy morning my friend and I went to some estate sales. She found some power tools her husband was looking for and I bought a few items to sell on Ebay. It was an enjoyable inexpensive morning.

3. My daughter received a box of local produce provided by her college which we’ve been using for dinners. Included squash, potatoes, green onions, parsley,
celery, carrots and kale.

4. My son-in-law is visiting and is staying with me since my home has internet and his parents did not. He needed it for work. It’s been a busy week but we still managed to cook all meals at home even though I was pretty exhausted. My daughter made a delicious buffalo chicken pizza which is one my son-in-laws favorite foods. We’ve had an enjoyable time visiting with him.

5. I had a plumber fix one of the bathroom faucets. He works on the side from his regular job and only charged me $40. This faucet is one of two and they are 22 years old. I was worried I’d have to replace both since I would be unable to find the same one but he was able to buy the part that needed replacing so I am very thankful.


Katie from Buffalo October 9, 2020 at 6:00 am

1. Went to my friend’s for dinner (we’re in each other’s covid pod) and was asked to bring dessert. Made apple crisp and whipped cream from ingredients on hand. Didn’t have brown sugar, so I made some with brown sugar and molasses.

2. My same friend batch cooks her meals for the week and cooked too much, so I was sent home with 1 serving each of chili, pumpkin sausage soup, and paprikash. 3 nights of dinner!

3. Sold a desk lamp on FB, only $5 but crap out, money in!

4. I wanted to watch “You’ve Got Mail” but it wasn’t streaming for free anywhere. Posted in my Buy Nothing group to see if I could borrow it from someone and a friend had a DVD she said I could keep!

5. I’m meeting a friend in the neighborhood for a socially distant walk on our lunch break today. We’re both still working from home.


Bee October 9, 2020 at 6:32 am

Your daughter’s birthday party sounds wonderful! It sounds as though you found a work around for every challenge. I am trying to think of safe, creative ways to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. You have some great ideas. I am so tired of Zoom meet-ups. BTW, Catherine Holm is one favorites. What a find!!!!! Here are my FFT:
1. eBay has been really slow this week. The fourth quarter of the year is usually quite busy. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that sales improve. I did head to the thrift stores on Monday hoping to find something new to offer. Goodwill had little worth looking at twice and everything was overpriced. I left empty handed which has become the norm at the the local GW. I then went to a small shop run by a local charity and find some beautiful amber depression glass. Perfect for Thanksgiving! I’m not sure I want to sell it. Hoarding is not profitable…..
2. My new pup is settling in and calico kitty has come out from under the bed. The pup needs to exercise a bit … a lot really. We walked 35 miles last week. It is good for me and FREE. The Pandemic has made me lazy. The gym closed and Florida’s summer heat is challenging. Because of the high humidity, it never cools down. It was easy to let exercise slide.
3. Although the pup came from a rescue group who had addressed any health issues, I brought her to my vet last week with her files to make sure all was well. He has been my vet for 25 years and did not charge me for the visit.
We also brought her to the pet store for a much-needed bath. The store has well-designed, raised bathing stations which a pet owner may use for $10 (6th bath is free). Although this is not a cheap as bathing the pup at home, it is much cheaper than having the vet or groomer bath her. As we have aged, we have found it difficult to bathe a dog in a bath tub.
4. I spent a great deal of time in the kitchen this past week. I cleaned out and organized my pantry. My son spent the Corona months with us. I love him dearly, but he has never understood the concept, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” I organized the freezer, made several batches of chicken stock, and baked muffins. I wiped down the refrigerator and built my menu around what was on hand. It has taken a while to adjust my grocery shopping after my son moved. I had some food waste which upsets me. I visualize money going into the garbage can whenever I throw food away.
5. I have been doing all the usual things – brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily filtered water, utilizing the library, eating at home, streaming television and wearing my thrifted wardrobe.


AuntiAli October 11, 2020 at 5:10 pm

My son’s apartment complex in Austin TX was newly built when he moved in. One of the amenities was a dog washing station in the garage. How very different from the garden apartments that I lived in.


Michele Davidson October 9, 2020 at 6:57 am

1. Packed lunch, breakfast, and snacks every day this week.
2. Asked for and received lower internet price because it is Sloooooooow. $20 a month cheaper.
3. Got refund for paid up garbage bill, as I cancelled service. Our area does not make recycling easy and I trudge all the way to dump each week anyway to drop recycling- might as well bring our garbage, too. 14$ cheaper a month.
4. Husband making sushi tonight, instead of the usual takeout.
5. Have been doing zero dollar budgeting for 3.5 months and I love it.


tonyatawana October 9, 2020 at 8:09 am

I’m not sure I have five things. In fact, I’ve probably been spending too much of late. I’m overwhelmed, as most folks are right now. and just trying to stay sane.

1. We have eaten at home pretty much all our meals and they have, by an large part, have been unprocessed meals. Since we are vegan, that’s pretty much beans and grains. I haven’t wanted much in the way of veggies, honestly. I assume that’s the change in weather.

2. I’ve been getting up walking. Our gym membership ended before Covid but even before the pandemic, we never went. I may not be losing weight but at least I am exercising and it’s free.

3. I cleaned my kitchen yesterday which felt like a big struggle. (As does most things this week.) A clean kitchen is more likely to be used and it keeps me from having to get a maid. (LOL– yeah, right!)

4. Watching budget meal videos on YouTube and making homemade bread, refried beans, and granola.

5. Went camping overnight last week for one night. We just wanted to get out of the house. It was a nice trip and only cost $15. We took our own food we already had. Now– that being said, I bought some honey (I know, not vegan!) and coffee mugs and stickers at the state park office but I feel like that money supports those parks and I find some happiness in drinking from the mug and putting the honey (I know– not vegan, but I am a work in progress!) on homemade bread!


Roberta October 10, 2020 at 6:51 am

Hang in there. Keeping your mental health under control is important. If a little bit of honey is what it takes to make you feel better, it’s worth it. I’m really glad you got out into nature for a while!


MB in MN October 10, 2020 at 8:13 am

tonyatawana: I think perfection is overrated and at odds with well-being. Your honey consumption is a reasonable choice. As an example, I am vegetarian and long ago I stopped ensuring that every bit of cheese I eat be rennet-free. I’m fine with that and still consider myself a vegetarian. Being vegan is even harder so being gentle with yourself is key. Your camping excursion sounds delightful!


Ruby October 9, 2020 at 8:47 am

I am so sad that our local Salvation Army store, which shut down with the start of COVID-19, is not reopening. There will be a one-day clearance sale on Saturday, but I won’t be going as the store will be packed. We got so much wonderful stuff there the past eight years.

For five frugal things: Continued the use-it-ups, turning some leftover frozen chicken picked off a roast bird into a chicken casserole for my work lunches, some soon-to-be-too-old frozen strawberries and a slightly bruised nectarine into the fruit component of baked oatmeal for breakfasts, and I took a church key can opener to an old can of Bar Keeper’s Friend and opened up the top so as to scrape out the hardened scouring powder. Got about a quarter cup of powder. The last of some frozen grated cheese and the last of an opened package of colby jack were combined to make a batch of cheesy-herb muffins for dinner one night. The leftover muffins accompanied the chicken casserole for my lunches.

Used a monthly Ace Hardware customer coupon to buy some more Bar Keeper’s Friend for only 8 cents out of pocket. Bonus: Brought home three discarded bananas and four discarded apples from work to be enjoyed by my family.


rebecca October 9, 2020 at 9:50 am

1. I froze my pool membership for a few months as money this summer was really tight and am trying to pay off bills. My pup and I are enjoying more walks outside in the beautiful autumn weather we are having in MA.
2. Took a few more clients, because the need is there and……
3. I bought 3lbs of organic bananas for .79. Using them to give my dog her pills and will freeze the rest.
4. Have been gifted some towels which I happily took. I feel that when expensive household items like this are being given away, I should take them so I don’t have to spend $ later, they keep and if someone needs them, I can pass them on. (I may sound like a hoarder but honestly, I’m not!) 🙂 I brought the not so good ones over to the local animal shelter as they always have a need for them.
5. My CSA has been chocker block full of kale. I have a TON of kale in my freezer. I made some minestrone with this weekend and have had it for lunch all week.


rebecca October 9, 2020 at 9:52 am

Your party sounds so lovely and thoughtful!


Texasilver October 9, 2020 at 10:29 am

1. Got a free iced coffee on Oct 4 at DD on Dallas Cowboy game day.
2. Hubby repaired fridge which was not cooling. We need a new one but they are very expensive.
3. Cleaned out fridge prior to repair. Used stale flour tortillas, limp celary, onion, frozen chx & bone broth to make chx & dumplings.
4. Made split pea soup using more wilted veggies & dried peas. I hope soup is good as I don’t like English peas taste. Hoping dried peas are better.
5. Used a BOGO for quarter pounder at McDonalds on way home from picking up hubby from hospital. He was weary of hospital food.


Bettypants October 10, 2020 at 10:16 am

That McDonalds app has some pretty good deals. Mine has free medium fries every Friday (Fryday) with any purchase of at least $1. A McChicken or a hamburger with a fry is a nice treat for me, for not much more than $1.


AuntiAli October 11, 2020 at 5:16 pm

I just got a new dishwasher and I had a two week wait to get it installed. It was a six week wait for a repair man but they had a cancellation and I got one sooner. I’m reading on the web that fridges are back ordered due to the disruption of supply change with Covid. I’ve seen ads for $1K fridges and wonder who buys those? Well, my sister for one. She’s not frugal at all.


Cindy in the South October 9, 2020 at 10:51 am

At my best friend’s Visitation as I am writing this. Her funeral is in an hour. I am trying to avoid Covid by coming early, paying my respects, and leaving. She would understand. Staying well is frugal in these crazy time. Great job on Your daughter’s party Katy! My mind is scattered so only other frugal thing is that I have eaten out of my food supply, beans, greens, rice, and potatoes, etc. It has been a sad, stressful week. Cancer sucks. Covid makes it suckier.!


A. Marie October 9, 2020 at 1:03 pm

Cindy, I’m so sorry about your friend. Having to make decisions like this when you’re already grieving sucks, indeed.


Christine Joiner October 9, 2020 at 1:09 pm

I’m so sorry to read that you lost your best friend. My condolences to you.


Patricia Koernig October 9, 2020 at 1:18 pm

You are right, Cindy.!Cancer REALLY SUCKS, and COVID makes it SUCKIER. I am sending you love, as you grieve the loss of your dear friend.


Lindsey October 9, 2020 at 2:16 pm

How horrible about your friend. I’m sorry.


janine October 9, 2020 at 4:10 pm

Condolences on the loss of your friend.
Loved your comment that “Staying well is frugal in these stressful times.”


Cindy in the South October 9, 2020 at 4:18 pm

Thanks y’all. Forgot to say that my power bill is under $35 for the month, my house taxes for the year were under $250 (small house), my water and garbage bill was under $59, so it has been a frugal month.


Katy October 9, 2020 at 11:11 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. May her memory be a blessing.


Jill A October 10, 2020 at 3:31 am

I’m so sorry about your friend. Cancer does suck.


MB in MN October 10, 2020 at 6:18 am

Suckier indeed. I am very sorry that your best friend is no longer here. Wishing you peace and comfort in all the days ahead.


Vickey October 10, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Cindy, I’m so very sorry for your loss.


Bee October 11, 2020 at 4:00 am

Sending my love and prayers…


Cindy in the South October 11, 2020 at 4:39 pm

Thank y’all. She found out about four weeks prior she had pancreatic cancer. Went in hospital and never came out. We are all in shock. Six wks ago she was laughing at her granddaughter and posting pics. .She had not been retired that long. We just never know.


Beth Ann October 13, 2020 at 1:03 pm

I know you will cherish the memories you have of her. Take care and very sorry for the loss of your friend.


Economically Proud October 9, 2020 at 10:56 am

Early Fall/Late Summer vacation edition
1. Acquired a weekly rental of a yacht moored at a marina on a Florida Island. It was a great bargain at less than $600 for a week for 2 bedroom private boat for the 3 of us
2. Drove straight threw with a couple hour nap break at a rest area since our son refuses to stay at a highway motel (he thinks they are gross and noisy, and during the current health situation I am ok with skipping them too). That saved us some $ and time, but we did buy a soda, a coffee, some Jolly ranchers, & mini donuts at travel plazas. We packed sandwiches, bagels, snacks and water bottles too.
3. We have gone to 2 different free public beaches in the area that were fun in the sun and not crowded at all. Florida has so many wonderful quiet and free beaches to visit with warm water and soft sand this time of the year. We swam and boogie boarded
4. Played mini golf for our extra entertainment one evening. Our son wanted to go to the big surf/beach shop for entertainment the same evening, but we said we would do that another night and get some ice cream or milk shakes too
5. Went to the local Walmart and stocked up up breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack items for the week. Our only food out will be ice cream one night, and some carry out pizza. Usually we like to go to a waterfront restaurant and have some of the great fish they have here, but not during the current situation. We have been happy grilling here at the marina and eating aboard this private boat.
6. On the way back we will be staying with our DD and her BF to visit and avoid the highway motel situation


A. Marie October 9, 2020 at 11:17 am

FFT, Hanging In There By My Thumbs Edition:

(1) Went this morning for the annual review of our situation with our financial advisor. Although we are certainly not Rockefellers, and a lot will depend on what happens (a) with DH in the next few years and (b) with the stock market [insert your favorite worries here], we should be able to get by for a while without tapping any of our retirement accounts. Fingers crossed.

(2) The FA asked me how I was doing personally, and I replied, “Hanging in there by my thumbs.” Hence the title of this comment. But that phrase would describe a lot of us right now, and solidarity forever to you all.

(3) A 15-minute line squall on Wednesday afternoon took out two of the trees belonging to our next-door neighbor to the north, and about a third of the wreckage landed in our yard. I had our yard guy bring a chainsaw on Thursday to cut up the big stuff DH and I couldn’t deal with ourselves (frugal fail). But (a) we do have the $$ to cover emergencies like this, and (b) I had the yard guy cut the usable pieces into chunks that will eventually fit into our wood-burning fireplace insert (frugal wins).

(4) Am about to get started on selling some of DH’s long-unused tools and equipment. A young HVAC tech who was here doing our annual furnace check has expressed interest in buying some of DH’s HVAC testing equipment (DH was a home energy performance evaluator back in the day), and a friend down the street wants to step into the garage and look at some of DH’s other tools. DH is now beyond the point of giving informed consent, and I’d be personally delighted to get some of this stuff out of here, for any amount of cash. It’s just been sitting around like dinosaur bones.

(5) And I finally got around to making the clean-out-the-fridge minestrone I’d been postponing for a couple of days. Enough to share with all the favorite neighbors.


Patricia Koernig October 9, 2020 at 1:24 pm

Sending you love and encouragement, A. Marie. Hanging with you “by my thumbs” also. We will get through this.


cathy October 10, 2020 at 10:06 pm

A. Marie, your strength and grace as you’ve dealt with your DH’s situation is impressive. Sending you a virtual hug. You’ve definitely got the support of this NCA community.


Jo October 11, 2020 at 2:19 pm

A. Marie, you are a gift! Your spirit is well-rooted, and I hope you feel loved. This group are certainly your Fan Girls.


Cindy in the South October 11, 2020 at 4:51 pm

Much love and admiration to you A. Marie!


Hawaii Planner October 9, 2020 at 1:57 pm

Sounds like a lovely party for your daughter! Glad you could find something that worked & made everyone feel comfortable & safe.

1) Used up a produce box I forgot to cancel. Roasted a bunch of veggies.
2) Sold a couple of things on eBay. Slow sales, but junk out, money in.
3) I’ve been giving things away on our local Buy Nothing group, and when posting some towels, I saw that another person was giving away mailing envelopes. I was thrilled & picked them up. I now have extra small padded envelopes, for future eBay sales. I’ve already used one.
4) I’ve been using up creamer that I got for free & don’t like. It’s almost gone, & I’m grateful for that. 🙂
5) Used an Uber Eats offer to get a (close to) free dinner for the kids a few nights back. They were so happy to have takeout pizza again.

Not frugal, but made lots & lots of donations to support candidates who align to my values, and dropped off both my ballot & my husband’s ballot at the drop box at our local (closed) library. Vote like our democracy depends on it!


Anne October 15, 2020 at 7:40 am

I know this is just plain nosy, but I’ve been wondering about your screen name for the longest time. Are you/have you been saving up for a trip to Hawaii? It’s one of my favorite places on earth.


Jennifer October 9, 2020 at 3:42 pm

1 – My ds turned 18 on Wednesday and wanted to go out to eat – yet wanted hotdogs. I found a Retro Hot Dog Stand close by and us and his girlfriend ate for $45 (6 people). I thought was really good for a birthday dinner out AND a friend of my dh’s owns the stand which I had not known when I found the place. Today we voted and he voted for the first time. Feels good.
2 – Still getting produce from the garden – green beans and cherry tomatoes for the win this year.
3 – Dd got her license so we don’t have to drive her around anymore. her and ds will share the kid car and cover gas.
4 – Cross country meet was today ending at 6. I planned ahead for once and had a very fast and easy meal to make when we got home. Saved ordering pizza out.
5 – We have tons of veggies from the CSA and I have told my dh that we are in produce eating mode this weekend. All meals will revolve around our produce on hand. Any ideas for cabbage? We have a massive green cabbage and a smaller purple cabbage. Only 1 person likes coleslaw. Help!


Marie October 9, 2020 at 5:33 pm

We like fried cabbage. I also put onions, thinly sliced carrots, and anything else out of the crisper drawer to make it hearty.


Roberta October 10, 2020 at 10:10 am

We like fried cabbage with onions sauteed in butter until they’re really soft and sweet, then cabbage and a sliced up apple. We use better, but my mom uses bacon (and no apple).


Nancy in eastern Washington October 9, 2020 at 6:21 pm

We make a version of chow mein that used cabbage carrots onions a d celery. Very good and lots of veggies


Bee October 10, 2020 at 3:22 am

Egg roll in a bowl is my favorite way to use up cabbage. There are several recipes online. Another NCA reader suggested it a couple of years ago, and I look forward to getting cabbage now in my CSA.


MB in MN October 10, 2020 at 6:15 am

Our favorite ways to use cabbage are: 1) chop and add to green salads, 2) cabbage rolls, 3) sweet-and-sour cabbage, and 4) reuben sandwiches –


Christine October 10, 2020 at 1:42 pm

I make Lazy Kalupkes with too much cabbage. Chop up the cabbage or slice it like “steaks”, put a little chicken stock in the bottom of a lasagna pan, then start layering. Cabbage first, then a layer of raw hamburger and rice mixed together with whatever spices you choose (I use salt, pepper and a little garlic powder), then cabbage again…keep layering like a lasagna. Bake covered at 375 degrees for 1 hour. So good!


cathy October 10, 2020 at 10:11 pm

I’m not crazy about mayo-based coleslaw so I make a tricolored slaw with thinly sliced/shredded green cabbage, purple cabbage, a couple grated carrots, diced purple onion and a dressing made from olive oil, lime juice, a minced clove of garlic, chopped fresh cilantro, salt and pepper. It’s super fresh!
You can also “hide” green cabbage in Colcannon, an Irish mashed potato and cabbage dish.


Hadilly October 11, 2020 at 7:02 pm

Smitten Kitchen has an amazing recipe for chicken and schmaltzy cabbage. I use my enormous lasagna dish and cut 2-3 inch thick slices of cabbage. I also roast jacket potatoes to go along with her. My daughter loves the cabbage the next morning with an over easy egg. It’s a favorite family dinner with great leftovers. I also like SK’s date, feta and cabbage salad.


Nancy from mass October 10, 2020 at 6:30 am

Your daughter is lucky to have a cool mom that will plan such a wonderful party. 🙂

1. Finished my sons knitted sweater so I’ve gotten back to crocheting an Afghan with sunflower granny squares.
2. I’ve been taking advantage of lost leader sales and have gotten pasta for $.37, sparkling water for the same price, butter for $1.10 and a few other things really cheap.
3. Bought some chicken thighs half-price, roasted them made a great meal and then, my son agreed to trying chicken pie. He loved it. So I have something else I can add to his “will eat“ list. (He has a lot of food allergies so anytime I can add a meal to the list is great since he is wary of trying new things)
4. Have been getting quotes on having a tree cut down that is actually on my neighbors property but right on the property line. (We are splitting the cost). So far, the quotes have been coming in much lower than I was expecting. So although it’s not frugal, it’s a hell of a lot more frugal than if this tree falls on my house. It is leaning way over my house and I watch it every time we have heavy winds.
5. Finished another quilt for a grand niece. I am making quilts for each “grand“ from my mothers fabric and mine. So far, I’ve only had to buy batting and backing fabric (and the backing fabric is 108 wide so I buy enough for two quilts at a time.). I still have enough fabric I think, left to make five more quilts. Yes, I have a lot of fabric. I’m doing all of my own quilting. Nothing fancy, but the quilts are turning out nice.


Bettypants October 10, 2020 at 7:46 am

1. Found a very cheaply priced moving sale. For $4, I left with 2 large Yankee Candles, vintage Pyrex bowl, Pampered Chef garlic press, picture frame, 2 Christmas tree decorations, and a vintage Scrabble game. Sold the frame, press, and game for $32, and am enjoying the candles. Bought two food dehydrators for $5 each at a second sale and sold one on Marketplace the same day for $30. The other one has no takers yet.

2. Stitch Fix was offering $100 credit to try their service. It isn’t something I would pay for, but loving the super soft cardigan I got for free, and have enough credit left to get a second item.

3. Took in a small pile of clothes, jewelry and a travel case and spread it out on the table at work with a free sign. I was so pleased that everything was taken.

4. A friend of mine offered me a big bag of bulbs for a flower I’d never seen before, the Naked Lady Lily. I will split them between myself and two friends.

5. Found a smaller, easier recipe for cinnamon rolls and made them two weekends in a row. I also made a new lentil soup and took a container over to a friend, as it made a big batch.


Heidi Louise October 10, 2020 at 8:41 am

Yard sales are the best place to buy expensive candles, as so many people don’t burn them. Glad to hear you are using yours!
I’ve never seen Naked Lady Lilies for sale, just have some from a friend, and called them Periscope Lilies until I read the book from the “Darling Dahlias” series with that in the title. Be prepared for lots of spring greenery, which eventually dies off, and then flowers appearing at an unexpected time in summer.


Bettypants October 10, 2020 at 10:12 am

I always keep my eye out for Yankee or Partylite at sales, or anything that looks fancy. I’m glad other people don’t like them!

I looked up the lilies online and it seemed like they aren’t common in my cold state. The friend who gave them to me said they have a ton, so hopefully I’ll have luck too.


Deb October 21, 2020 at 5:25 am

Make sure you mark future StitchFix deliveries as On Demand or they’ll send you items every month and charge your credit card. I learned that the hard way .


Momma L October 10, 2020 at 8:05 am

1. DH wanted to get takeout tonight, I pulled some quick and easy battered fish from the freezer and roasted potatoes instead. I love to cook from scratch, but buy some easy food for nights when I’m bone tired.
2. DH thought his tv was broken and said we needed to shop for a new one. I showed him how to reset the video and audio. Technology isn’t easy for him.
3. Made soup from the leftover veggies I’ve been storing in the freezer. Added broth, seasonings, a little beef and some barley. So good.
4. Stress eating at work has not been healthy. I took some baby carrots and munched on them whenever I needed to CHEW on something . So far its worked.
5. Decided with my SIL that we will not exchange purchased gifts this year. Instead, I’m selling her purse collection on Ebay for her. She’s happy to have the space in her closet back.


betta from daVille October 10, 2020 at 12:07 pm

1) Live in a 2-family with a tiny back yard in a very dense community, which means we do not have a permanent clothesline. I dragged out the dryer rack and have picked up the duvet cover and sheets that have fallen over 3 times. But, it is SUCH a nice day out that I am determined to not use the dryer.
2) Partner went to store to pick up a cabbage. He did self checkout. The darn store ONLY has savoy cabbage, not green cabbage, listed in the produce options at the checkout. It was a loose cabbage, so no sticker. HE PAID THE SAVOY PRICE! I took one look at the reciept and told him that there is no way that I’m paying $1.59 per pound for a cabbage. I made him take it back to the store (it is only 1 mile away) and get the $3.00 back.
3) Making one more batch of tomato sauce from the cherry tomatoes. Neither of us particularly like raw cherry tomatoes and we now have a year’s worth of oven-dried tomatoes in the freezer. Finding a good recipe to make sauce from them has been a highlight of the early fall harvest.
4) Parents are coming to stay with me in my work apartment in the Hudson Valley. 28 of 29 historic sites are closed due to Covid. I was able to find 5 things to do (with mininal walking/elderly parents) for a total cost of $4 pp for entrance fees.
5) Making dilly beans out of garden green beans to bring to a socially-distanced dinner with friends, which will only cost < $1.00 vs the $12.99 (!!!) that they wanted in a store up in the Catskills.
PS: That is a CUTE teapot.


betta from daVille October 10, 2020 at 12:50 pm

6) scored an extra sheet-set from my local Buy Nothing group.
7) sold 6 books that I had gotten for free. Gave that money to my sister who was raising money for charity.
8) called IRS and waited for an hour. I was supposed to get refund of $400+, but only got a check for $4.90. Apparently, they sent 2 checks, but I never received the big one.
9) Working hard to have no food waste, making coffee at home, meal planning around the freezer and the circular, and bringing my 2 meals to work apartment in NY as the food is SO much more expensive than in MA.
10) Played the Amazon Prime game by buying fish from WH (on sale) and getting $10 Prime day credit, and buying $10 of popcorn from Amish Country store (small business on Amazon) and getting another $10 Prime Day Credit, and cashing in Swagbucks and Fetch for Amazon. We know what we are purchasing during Amazon Prime days, and will not be tempted to spend over the amount that we have credited in our account, which is $31.00 of free stuff (kitchen scale and toilet paper).


Katy in Africa October 10, 2020 at 2:05 pm

1. I made squash fritters with part of a squash a friend gave us.
2. I used 2 cereal boxes for lid holders. One for my Tupperware lids and one for the lids to various containers that I save (oatmeal,p.b., etc…)
3. I was organizing my pantry and wanted to put up some labels. Then I remembered that I had some gift “to and from” stickers, so I used those as label stickers.
4. I pressure cooked some beans from the garden, then put them in the freezer.
5. My son picked me 2 beautiful big red flowers. They’re now gracing my table in a reused jelly jar.


Susan October 10, 2020 at 2:06 pm

We bought a group of several houses that housed hoarders for generations. The amount of stuff is overwhelming. Some stuff is nice and expensive, some crap and some completely ruined by the living conditions. It is so sad to have to throw out so many dump trucks full of garbage but much of it is unusable due to mold, roof leaks, lack of heat, etc. I’m trying to list stuff for sale. I’m keeping tools, toys for kids to play with while I’m there, bikes for friends etc. Giving other friends furniture to refurnish. Have others taking metal to scrap. But, mostly just disappointed in the waste and mindset behind the people who were living there.
-Mostly making coffee at home, even when all I want to do is drown my sorrows in PSLs.
-Due to obvious increased workload, meal prepping breakfast, lunch and dinner. No pizza the entire week. No food waste. Used grocery pickup to save time and finally got all items ordered. Family was on the verge of getting sick so I found some frozen bone broth and served it up.
-Supported a local farm stand for produce. Enjoying the last of the summer veggies as night temps are dropping and a frost will be coming soon. Working on some garden cleanup and making compost for next year.
-Setup appointment to have wood fireplace insert installed. This increases the heat in the house from fires and allows us to have a backup heat source.
-My parents buy takeout 1 night a week when we help them with their businesses, so we tried a new local BBQ restaurant.
-We are having some major delays in mail so I’ll be paying water bills and taxes in person. I got hit with several hundred dollars in late fees due, as it took 2 weeks for mail to go 6 blocks without any recourse.
-Bought a new winter coat and snow boots for my son on FB and will list last years jackets he has outgrown.


C October 10, 2020 at 4:15 pm

I understand your desparation with the wastefulness and disoder of a hoarder’s home. My father is a borderine hoarder (not extreme, but I am not looking forward to “death cleaning” one day). It is a mental illness- without a doubt. Just like any other mental illness it can be hard to imagine from the outside (why can’t a depressed person just be happy? why can’t an alcoholic just stop drinking?).
A few years ago I read a really amazing memoir from the daughter of a hoarder:
“Coming Clean” by Kimberly Rae Miller
and she really does a beautiful job of highlighting the human behind the massive wall of stuff. I’d definately recommend the read.
Good luck!


Ava October 11, 2020 at 8:53 am

Susan, I think you are doing a service to the world by cleaning out those houses and rehoming/re4cycling what you can. So many people would just bulldoze the whole thing.


Christine October 11, 2020 at 1:58 pm

I’m sorry and disheartened by your description of the delayed mail in your area. Since someone in charge started complaining about mail in ballots and then inserted an experienced and perhaps underhanded person as Postmaster General, this seems to have become the norm in some states. As a retired postal worker speaking this is reprehensible and meant to cause worry about the USPS’s efficiency.


Christine October 11, 2020 at 1:59 pm

Third line…meant to say INEXPERIENCED…


Marie October 11, 2020 at 3:44 pm

It is sad, that anyone would question our postal service.
In Oregon, we are not having any issues, at least I’m not.
Ordered something from a small business in Pennsylvania, paid for the cheapest shipping, and it was here in 3 days.


Bee October 12, 2020 at 3:59 am

I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I am sure that most Postal Workers are contentious and take their jobs seriously. However, I have had on going problems with the postal service — long before the current administration was in office. We have had gift cards stolen from birthday cards, and I have gone a week without mail delivery as have my neighbors. Recently, a large care package for my son measuring 12” x 12” x 12” was sent via Priority Mail with tracking and simply disappeared. I spoke with the local supervisor who shrugged and asked, “What do you want me to do about it?”. It cost $53 to send that box excluding what was in it. I filed a help request online, but I’m not holding my breath.

Needless to say, I will be voting in person. If you can lose a box that size, you can lose a ballot.


Christine October 12, 2020 at 5:25 am

Unfortunately packages and mail go missing on occasion. At my somewhat small office we would sometimes get a complaint that a package was missing from someone’s doorstep/porch. These are packages that were scanned as delivered. As we have all seen on video, there are thieves who make a practice out of stealing packages and envelopes from people’s property. And there have been the rare postal workers who stupidly puts their pension and Thrift Savings USPS contributions at risk for stealing gift cards. As for the non delivery for one week…I’m guessing there must have been a good reason(.weather event?). In any case, if it happens again for even a couple of days, immediately talk to the Postmaster in your town and find out why. If you get no satisfaction, go to the District Manager.


Christine October 13, 2020 at 1:24 pm

Sad to hear that many have fallen victim to the fear of missing mail in ballots perpetrated by the person in the WH. While the postal system has never been perfect, in all other election seasons that I can recall mail in voting has never been an issue.

Vickey October 12, 2020 at 6:06 am

I’m among those mourning the deterioration of confidence in and service by our formerly world-class postal system. I’ve had very good service in the small burg I live in, but it has worsened over the last few years – including not picking up outgoing mail in fine weather days.
We’ll be dropping off our completed absentee ballots at our polling place the first day of early voting here in NYS. Seems our best strategy for balancing vote safety with COVID concerns.


Vickey October 12, 2020 at 6:07 am

*on* fine weather days. Sheesh.

breadandglitter LC October 12, 2020 at 11:22 am

Bee, I have a similar relationship and experiences with my local USPS (all prior to I’ve signed up to get mail scans every day to partially help keep track of seeing where things get lost and you can do this on their website. As for the rest, like I said, I feel the same way, so you have company.


A. Marie October 12, 2020 at 10:56 am

A few thoughts on Susan’s comments:

(1) Good for you for your efforts re: the hoarder houses. I hope you will keep us posted on this situation in future comments.

(2) Our U.S. mail situation on our street is the same as for several others commenting here: We’ve been having problems long before the current national situation arose. Nothing seems to have been actually stolen, but two or three important pieces of mail haven’t made it. For this reason, I hand-delivered our NY State absentee ballots to our county Board of Elections two weeks ago, as noted earlier.


Shona October 11, 2020 at 7:37 am

1) COVID results came back negative but my company won’t let me return to the office without results in hand. I got tested through the health department and they only mail results. 6 days later I called to verify they mailed my results (yep) to the correct address (yep). Now 9 days later, still no letter. I continue to work from home which means not driving to work every day. I could get used to this.

2) Purchased an item and inside was a $1 off coupon. The following week, back at the same grocery store, I presented the coupon and my receipt and was handed a $1 bill. Thank you.

3) Removed a dangerous AF deck and borrowed the tools from our neighbor who works in construction. He also gave us some handy tips.

4) Very good friends provided a truck and scroll saw to remove the pile of lumber and haul to the dump (old rotten wood- no takers).

5) .28 found. .08 was a situation like you described in a very old blog post. Someone walked on without picking up the change and since I’m writing about it here, you know I was the one who bent down to pick up the coins.


Christine October 11, 2020 at 2:02 pm

Your #1…see my reply to Susan. It applies to your situation too although maybe in your case it’s not such a bad thing in that you are still able to work from home!


Jenzer October 11, 2020 at 11:58 am

Accompanied my daughter on the hour-long drive to her SAT test location last Saturday. While she sat for the test, I walked a beautiful rail trail, took lots of fall foliage pictures, and wandered around the historic downtown district (all free).

While I did spend some money at local businesses, my spends were all for consumables (bread and sweets from the bakery, fruit / veg / preserves from the farmers’ market), or items on my needs list (dishcloths at the local hardware store). I walked out of the thrift store without buying anything, and didn’t even go into the used bookstore. Gas was $.10/gallon cheaper than home, so I filled my tank.

I used Midwest Beth’s tip about looking for port-a-potties near the school athletic fields, and found two. The downtown district also had one available near a construction site.

Daughter and I celebrated with lunch at a local restaurant afterwards. We split an entrée and tipped generously.

While she could have driven herself to the test site, I tagged along mainly to have an excuse for a day trip away from home. With so many travel plans cancelled this year, it was good to get out and explore for a few hours. The gorgeous weather helped. We wash-rinse-repeat in two weeks, when she takes the ACT in a different city.


AuntiAli October 11, 2020 at 5:45 pm

I’m hanging on by a thread due to all the sickness and destruction in our country. I cry for people who lost their homes in the western wildfires and those who lost their homes after getting hit twice by hurricanes. Then there is the election year craziness. I must go on a news fast. Both dh, dd and I voted. Ds voted from Singapore. NJ did only mail in ballots. Dh mailed his and dd and I dropped ours off at the ballot box.
Anything frugal?:
1.Tried to make chicken noodle soup. Well, I was directing dh. It was pretty much a bust, dang.
2.Saw a recipe to make grilled cheese in the dang air fryer that my sister in law gave us for Christmas. Maybe I’ll use it for that.
3. Semi frugal – told hubs to let his sister know we are not going to her place for Thanksgiving and I’m not having Christmas at my house. His sister and her kids are living in the world like there is no Covid. Sorry, both hubs, me and dd can NOT get it.
4. Got new dishwasher and fortunately dh was able to put in the new outlet for it. Saved cost of electrician.
5. Hubs got take out pizza this week but I’ve got to step up my game this week to not getting any takeout!
6. Daughter paid off her student loans this week thanks to the 0% interest due to the Corona Virus stimulus bill. We paid for little over half while she paid the rest. She went into Americorp and earned $6k towards her loans that way. So I can say Trump did ONE thing right.


Lindsey October 11, 2020 at 8:12 pm

I must be the only person on the planet who hated the air fryer someone gave us…the best thing I could say about it is that I sold it for $45!


Vickey October 12, 2020 at 9:46 am

Aunt Ali, I feel ya on the COVID / climate / coup stress. Here’s hoping we’re soon restored to a modicum of national sanity.


LB October 12, 2020 at 10:08 am

1. Got the fridge down to almost empty before leaving for a weekend at my (future) SIL + BIL’s. We got sent home with massive amounts of leftovers as well as a free blue apron box, meaning we can likely skate by another week without a grocery run.

2. Sold a wallet on Poshmark for a mere $5–happy to go through the process anyway since it was a cute item and I’m glad someone who wanted it got it instead of it languishing in my dresser any longer.

3. Ok here’s the big one: my neighborhood has a brand new buy nothing group! God, I’m so happy. The community alone is worth it, and the stuff people are posting is all really nice. I went through my bedroom and was able to post a few pairs of shoes and other items that all went real fast. It’s the best feeling knowing something is going directly to a person that wants it, instead of to a thrift store where it’s a gamble.

4. Picked up my winter gear from our storage space this past weekend. Taking a discerning eye to it (what will I wear this year? What will sit for another season?) especially after packing up all my summer clothes and realizing a lot of it never got to see the light of day. COVID obviously made all my work clothes unnecessary and a lot of my wedding-guest attire, but I’m realizing that by next summer I will be another year separated from these items and will likely not be enamored with them anymore. Better to put up a big list on Poshmark of items at the beginning of the winter season when folks will want them than have the same regrets in April.

5. Scheming for winter activities to get out of the apartment but still stay safe. Our COVID pod is forming and it is -such- a relief to have friends and family we can trust. A few ideas that are coming together: a rural airbnb stay with friends in the neighborhood, some late fall hikes once the fairweather folks have been spooked out, and some long haul road trips complete with car camping to avoid exposure. Stay safe, gang!

Many thanks to those who wished me well on my engagement on the last 5FF, it meant a lot! <3


LB October 12, 2020 at 10:31 am

A few more that came to mind!

6. Used the washer/dryer at my future in-laws’ house to clean all our bedding to put on for winter. What a relief to not have to pay to have a massive comforter go through laundry at a laundromat!

7. I received some vintage ski long underwear someone wasn’t using anymore. While it isn’t the newest high-tech stuff I imagine it will do nicely for our jaunts outdoors this winter, whether it’s skiing or just another layer for outdoor dining!

8. Scheming for the holidays, in particular making our own Christmas cards/cards to give gifts in. My watercolor/drawing skills may not be professional, but they’re good enough to decorate cards to give with gifts.

9. Continuing to phone bank and text bank as my schedule allows. It’s helping me stay sane and keep calm as the election looms.

10. We’re finally in the glorious time of year between AC and heat and I am determined to keep the heat off until November. I know it’s too cold when the cats get really cuddly 🙂 they’re still aloof, so we will hold out.

11. Made soup beans with dry beans this past week and they were a huge hit. They were equally delicious on their own as they were in quesadillas and tacos. Glad to have my crockpot getting some use again and finding a good replacement for their canned counterparts!


Roberta October 13, 2020 at 12:27 pm

1. I’ve been working on hats and scarves/cowls for my niece and nephews who just moved from southern California to snow country. They will be in town for Thanksgiving, so I will gift them their Christmas presents then, before the snow comes and save on shipping. I have two hats done, one scarf almost done, and wool yarn on the way from ebay.
2. Sold a Pyrex refrigerator glass on ebay for more than I spend on two of them. Packaged in recycled packaging.
3. Spent the day yesterday rehabilitating shoes for my mom’s shop — rubbing dirt off the tops of sandals, trimming stray threads. If they’re too worn on the bottom they don’t get a second life, but we’re keeping shoes out of the landfill a little longer.
4. Our truck was living on borrowed time for about three years. It needed a part that my mechanic has been unable to source. And now the truck won’t start — but it makes a clicking noise WHEN THE KEY IS REMOVED. The same day this happened, we finally convinced my dad that the car he wanted to get rid of (my husband’s dream car, btw) would not work for us — we don’t need more cars than drivers! So, in short, we now have a reliable second car that also happens to by my husband’s dream car. And the truck is posted to Craigslist for someone’s project (or parts).
5. I found out that Zappos will recycle shoes through Soles for Souls *with a prepaid shipping label*! I am excited that I do not have to store them any longer, and I do not have to drive out to the shopping center that has the Nike recycling bin.


Julie Hamann October 21, 2020 at 9:20 am

Roberta, thank you for the Zappos tip! I have sandals that are almost at the end of life that I will now send to Zappos instead of throwing them in the trash.


tonya tawana November 3, 2020 at 10:31 am

1. Staying home 99% of the time. I’ve had the same tank of gas since March….of course, now my battery on my car is dead but I’m not terribly concerned about it as I don’t have to go to work this semester or next.

2. Went out in the yard and mended my fence on the side yard. Looks so much better since I cleaned out that brush and vine.

3. Had a bonfire last night just to get rid of old grapevine and twigs in the yard.

4. I stopped throwing food trash in the garage and am instead composting them in the garden.

5. Am drinking water, making beans from scratch, taking care of myself. I also am wearing a mask as I feel like getting out and contracting Covid would not be frugal!

Everyone stay safe and take care of one another!

And remember, no matter what happens in this election– we need to remember the words of Mother Jones, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living!”


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