Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 7, 2021 · 68 comments

  1. The “check engine” light on my Prius had been going off intermittently, so I made an appointment and brought it to my neighborhood mechanic. I’d already stopped by a nearby auto supply store to take advantage of their “free check engine light” service and got the message of “something something catalytic converter.” Although the mechanic was able to access the record of the alert, she didn’t find anything wrong with the catalytic converter. (Remember when it was stolen last summer? Ugh!)

    I also asked her to take a look at the battery, which died on me a couple of weeks ago. She found that the battery was low, but it charged up without issue. The car was also two quarts short on oil, which she topped up.

    Grand total? $11.98 for the oil. I was expecting to pay at least a couple hundred dollars for everything, so this was great news. I love my mechanic!

  2. Although I did pick up a few items at Goodwill, (a kid’s Trek bike, some Ikea fabric, a TV wall mount) I’m mainly focusing my reselling efforts on cross listing what I already have. This means posting my Facebook Marketplace stuff over on Craigslist and NextDoor, and then some of my eBay stuff on Facebook Marketplace. It’s a finicky job and not particularly fun, but it does increase the number of eyes on my merchandise.

  3. I received an email from my son’s university that his “online billing statement is now available.” My first thought was “fuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!!” as said son graduated from college, and I thought my days of receiving these bills were in the past! But I clicked the link and discovered that this billing statement was actually notifying me of an $818.44 overpayment. A couple of emails later and that sweet sweet money is now sitting pretty in my savings account.

  4. My son and I drove through McDonald’s for a free McFlurry, my husband brought more free bubble wrap home from work, with the exception of $1 tacos on Tuesdays I’ve cooked all meals from scratch, I’m rooting some cuttings from my father’s Maranta Leuconeura, (prayer plant) I washed and detailed my filthy (yet functional) car in the driveway, and my husband is visiting family, so I signed him up for a $14 AARP (American Association of Retired People) membership so he can get a 12-15% discount on the motel bill.

    By the way, you only need to be 50 years old or married to someone over fifty to qualify for an AARP membership.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Edie May 7, 2021 at 11:50 am


1) Bought a new kitchen suite at IKEA- it’s what I swore I would do when purchasing the home almost 5 years ago. It’s time.
2) Bought vouchers for my certification test taking. OUCH.
3) redid my powder and made the mistake of paying someone to do it. OUCH.

1) Am focused on eating EVERYTHING in the freezer and cupboards before taking out the old kitchen cabinets.
2) Still am biking EVERYWHERE I go for errands. Who needs Peleton?
3) Replanted my veggie and herb garden with seeds from two year previous!
4) Discontinued a couple of subscriptions.
5) Paid off my credit cards in full so I can focus on paying down the kitchen for the next two years.


Jill A May 7, 2021 at 11:59 am

1. My daughter graduated from college. No more tuition payments for her also. Woo hoo!!!
2. I’ve had significant savings ordering some needed items online. My dogs food changed packaging so her food was $13 cheaper than normal. I ordered some tennis balls that were cheaper from Chewy than in the grocery store and treats to get the free shipping. I ordered an off brand of invisible fence batteries for a savings of $45 and water filters for my fridge that were on special for $20 for 3 vs. $50 from GE.
3. I picked up some needed sunscreen on sale and received an Ibotta discount. I also bought some clearanced Clean Cult dishwashing liquid which is normally outrageously priced but is not packaged in plastic. I paid $2 each for 4 bottles and got an Ibotta discount of $3.
4. My daughter is visiting so we’ve been thrifting and going to estate sales and garage sales for fun. I’ve found several items to sell on Ebay and have been diligently listing them. I also found a couple items that were on my needs/wish list – a new to me digital meat thermometer and a lumbar pillow for the car.
5. I used the tap to pay option for bonus reward points on my credit card, purchased orange chicken and tempura cauliflower at Trader Joe’s instead of ordering chinese for dinner, I’ve read two more library books on my kindle, combined errands, enjoyed an evening of snacks and games with my kids and some friends and we spent a day at the Tulip Festival after which my daughter’s boyfriend kindly bought us all dinner.


Jill A May 7, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Also, Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms, Aunts, Grandma’s etc.


Bee May 7, 2021 at 4:03 pm

Happy Mother’s Day to you!!! I hope you have a wonderful day.


susanna d May 8, 2021 at 5:33 pm

Happy Mother’s Day!


Lisa M. May 7, 2021 at 12:17 pm

5+FF: April Clouds/May Sunshine

1. Weather has warmed to the point of being able to turn off heat & we are a long way from needing AC.

2. All of my 3-member nuclear family unit have received 2 no-cost Covid vaccinations. Looking forward to eventual trip to see my DF (also fully vaccinated) whom we have not seen for 1.5 years.

3. Batched grocery purchases 3 days & misc. errands another 2 days. Cumulative wins inc. 6 items from clearance bakery rack & 4 marked down take & bake pizzas from big box; hard-fought refund on previous seasonal clearance item from big box that rang up full price; sale item & electronic coupon @ gas station; 2 free monthly cards & $6 in perks from card store; perk from gourmet coffee shop. Total savings: $24.83.

4. Received $6 rebate check from DH’s recent stainless steel trash can purchase.

5. Helped DD move to an apt. when friends had an opening become available. Significant savings accrued from her living @ home for 8 months. Rented a van for large items @ a very reasonable cost. Avoiding eating out by baking easy cinnamon rolls for breakfast & using one of the pizzas from #2 for lunch. 2 pizzas given to DD for quick meals during busy end of semester period.

6. Recent kitchen creations: Pasta, Eggplant & Mozzarella Cheese; Corn Chowder; Sam’s Zucchini Appetizers; Artichoke Cheese ‘n Rice Romanov; Reese’s Pieces Surprise Cupcakes (kit bought @ 75% off) for DD’s 20th b-day. The cupcakes were a hit with DD’s college friends’ cohort.

7. Have capitalized on food establishments offering BOGOs recently. Used a BOGO coupon ($4.99) for fast food drive through for solo dinner; another BOGO perk reward ($8.60) for takeout for DH & myself; & BOGO perk entrée ($15.00) for DD’s b-day dinner at sit down restaurant. Combined savings $28.59.

Completed survey from #1 for future BOGO offer; used anticipated leftover from #2 by ordering 25 cent extra burrito to use for lunch @ home & completed activity for 2nd BOGO offer given to DD; & sent leftovers from #3 home with DD.

8. In the spirit of non-consuming, have been regularly utilizing the garden area checkout @ big box since it reopened d/t minimal lines & close parking. After watching other consumers spending significant sums on various related garden items, > than happy to see that DD’s Asiatic Lily perennial bulb had again sprouted in its container in the garage so moved it to the patio. Also plan to move 2 hardy houseplants outside soon.

8. Maximizing usage by continuing to watch installments of various Netflix shows on the daily for entertainment. Recent series watched: “The Five”; “The One” (didn’t notice the repetition until recently); and “Bloodline”.


priskill May 7, 2021 at 12:45 pm

Bloodline is great!


Lisa M. May 7, 2021 at 12:57 pm

Yes, “Bloodline” kept us engaged & anxious for the next episode!


Lisa M. May 7, 2021 at 1:15 pm

Apologize for the inability to count to #9. 🙁


Kristen | The Frugal Girl May 7, 2021 at 12:24 pm

I need to tell Lisey that you have a female mechanic. They are a definite minority.

Yay about the college overpayment!

And duly noted about the AARP membership because Mr. FG turned 50 this year. Time to take advantage of the deals.


Heidi Louise May 7, 2021 at 6:24 pm

I would just about bet money that AARP will find him, without him contacting them. And you, as the youthful spouse, may get your own mailing.
Though if you are in AAA or have other memberships, you might already be covered for motel discounts. I suspect they don’t “stack” them, but may be wrong.


Ed May 7, 2021 at 12:38 pm

Ooh, who is your mechanic? I live in your general area, and many places are not so reasonable in their pricing.


Katy May 7, 2021 at 12:42 pm

We go to Hawthorne Auto Clinic.


priskill May 7, 2021 at 12:41 pm

It’s like getting a raise when kids graduate from college! 😉


Katy May 7, 2021 at 12:45 pm

I know! Our savings account is finally starting to build up again — Almost exponentially!


priskill May 7, 2021 at 12:45 pm

Yay!!!! 🙂


Hawaii Planner May 7, 2021 at 12:55 pm

1)Our big one is that we are selling our vacation house on the Oregon coast. That’s a tremendous money saver. We love the area, but don’t get there often enough (we moved to California) & the current market is insanely hot.
2) Used a flight credit (given to me by a neighbor) to fly to Portland to sort out things at our vacation house.
3) Working to match items we don’t need from the house with others who may want/need them. We will sell the house “turn key”, so it’s not a huge amount of stuff, but I want to avoid anything going into the garbage. So far, we’ve had great luck with the local Buy Nothing, giving away things to friends who have expressed interest, selling & donating a few other things.
4) Came home after being out of town all weekend, and used up meal prepped freezer meals for an easy menu plan.
5) Requested a refund from an insurance company, who was required by state law to send us a notice about money owed. I almost recycled the letter without opening it, thinking it was marketing/spam. Instead, filled out the form & got it mailed back for the $180+ refund.


K D May 7, 2021 at 1:45 pm

1. I just finished cooking a pot of bean soup in the Instant Pot. I used dried beans, kale I was gifted (I froze it and it breaks up easily when frozen in a bag), vegetables on hand, and a can of tomato soup that I wanted to use up.

2. I am fully vaccinated as of three days ago. I have not added spendy activities. I still walk with friends, met with my charity knitting group, cooked at home, etc.

3. It rained on Wednesday and today so I didn’t have to spend time or money watering trees and shrubs we planted. It looks like I may be off the hook for several days, given the forecast.

4. It was a week of maintenance. I had the oil in my car changed, did state emissions testing, and had annual service done on the A/C.

5. I continue to wear the same clothes, use the same kitchen items, etc., etc., etc.


Kathy May 7, 2021 at 2:09 pm

1. Signed up for a free 5k training program
2. Bought walking shoes with a gift card from Christmas
3. Online sales poking along. This has helped me replace items wearing out.
4. Signed up for rewards which snagged a free breakfast
5. Pulled out a gift and card from my stash to send to niece for h.s. graduation


Bee May 7, 2021 at 3:59 pm

Congratulations on having your son graduate. It is wonderful to be on the other side.

I have been in need of a wardrobe refresher. For some time, I have been searching for nice every day clothing from secondhand sources, but I could not find anything that appealed to me. I happened upon an estate sale two weeks ago where I bought 2 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of pants, 1 dress and 9 blouses. The cost was just $30.

My gardenia bushes were heavy with blooms. I was cutting the flowers and bringing them indoors. I floated them in crystal bowls throughout the house. They smelled divine, and they looked lovely. Sadly, it been miserably hot in Florida (mid to high 90s) so they are now almost gone.

Several years ago, I purchased a small, amateur painting of the cliffs in Pacific Palisades at auction for $5. It was an odd size and had a hideous frame in avocado green and gray. I took off the old frame and painted it a more neutral color, but it still unfortunately did nothing for the artwork. Although I loved the painting, I never hung it up, because it never looked right. I finally found the perfect carved frame last week at an estate sale. ( I love estate sales.) It made this pretty little painting come alive. Now I have a piece of art that reminds me of the beautiful California Coast. I just have to find the perfect place for it.

I found a needlepoint kit on the free table at my women’s club meeting. I have always wanted to learn to needlepoint so I brought it home with me. I watched a couple of YouTube videos and have gotten started. The first row of stitches wasn’t pretty, but I’m improving. I have also realized that it was most likely on the table because it was a difficult design. There are 11 colors!

I too have had car issues. My battery died last week and rather than replacing it at the closest auto store. I called the dealership where it was purchased, and it was still under warranty as expected. My husband removed it, exchanged it in the parts, and installed it. It was a little bit of a hassle, but it saved around $100.

Of course, I have done all the usual things too.
Happy Mother’s Day to all. Wishing you health, peace and frugality


priskill May 8, 2021 at 2:39 pm

Wow — what a great haul of clothing! Love the pacific coastline and I also have an amateur painting of coastline I bought at Goodwill for $8.75 years ago.
I figured it wasn’t likely that I would ever live at the beach but I enjoy looking at the picture. Nice that you were able to frame it and can enjoy it!


Marie-Josée May 7, 2021 at 4:42 pm

Yeah for the college refund! Again, so impressed that your daughter and son are college debt free.

I continue to monitor our expenses, as both hubby and I want to ease into reduced work schedules, and I continue to be shocked by our monthly food, restaurant and supplement tally.

Happy Mother’s Day non-consumer friends!


MB in MN May 7, 2021 at 5:28 pm

I was recently out and about when the “check engine” light came on. Ugh. Husband was out of town so I called the dealership and they suggested that I go to a local auto store to have them do a free check. Free, really? Yup, and it was fun to see how they used the diagnostic gizmo. I would have gladly paid something just for the peace of mind in learning that I didn’t have an immediate issue with my car.

For those of you who also follow The Frugal Girl blog, you may notice I’m plagiarizing myself by posting some of the same recent FFTs:

1. Needed (okay, wanted) two outdoor side tables. For one, we bought a concrete stepping stone to place on an existing metal table base. For the other, we used a scrap piece of quartz and placed it over an existing wooden end table, adding much needed inches all around. Extra bonus is that the quartz protects the wood table from the elements.

2. Rescued some large, sturdy outdoor signs from my husband’s work that were headed to the landfill and used them for some garage shelving.

3. We went to our first in-person cultural activity in more than a year – the local high school’s theater production. Great fun for little cost. COVID protocols were followed and attendees behaved themselves.

4. Cancelled my gym membership (which I used primarily for Zumba classes) and replaced it with videos via Roku or the library. This saves money, gas and time as I used to drive 20 miles round trip to class. Downside is this doesn’t help my goal of getting my social stamina back to pre-COVID levels.

5. Brought fabric scraps to a local sewing group that uses them to stuff dog beds for animal shelters and veterinarian clinics.


Lori May 8, 2021 at 4:57 am

Love reading these! Just wanted to say that I’m under 50 (39y/o) and have an AARP membership, so maybe you don’t have to wait? And I don’t have a 50+ y/o spouse either


Julia May 12, 2021 at 3:41 am

You do not have to be a certain age to become an AARP member. My Brother joined in his thirties!


susanna d May 8, 2021 at 6:47 am

Wow, what a happy surprise that online billing statement turned out to be, Katy!

1. I got a tiny hole in the toe of one of my favorite running shoes. While they’ve been too blown to actually run in for awhile now, I absolutely love the color (kind of an electric coral with neon yellow accents). They’ve become my go-to shoes for everyday. They’re discontinued, so even if I wanted to spend the money for a new pair (which I don’t) new is not an option. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I got out the hot glue gun and gave the shoe a drop or two.

2. The hot glue did the trick in repairing the hole, but the repair was a totally different color and really obvious. I went through the sets of paints and markers I keep for my granddaughter to use when she visits. And darned if I didn’t find a little pot of the exact shade of coral paint. I mean, what are the odds? I painted over the glue and the repair is just about invisible. I realize someday these shoes will become beyond repair, but that day isn’t today!

3. We use lots of fresh lime juice, and the price of limes has skyrocketed. We had high hopes that limes would go on sale around Cinco de Mayo, but the best price we could find was 3/$2. Which was better than the other store ($1.29 each). Luckily, a check of my favorite part of the produce section – the markdown shelves – revealed not one but two 99 cent bags of limes. Each bag held nine limes. 11 cents per lime was better than we dreamed of finding. The limes were very juicy. Yes, the peels were kind of dinged up, but I have more than enough zest in the freezer from prior limes so I didn’t care if they weren’t pretty.

4. Did a super duper much needed deep clean of the refrigerator yesterday, in preparation of family staying with us. I rescued several items that were attempting to hide out. The refrigerator is now beautifully organized, sparkly clean, and I can see just about everything at a glance. Simple things like this do make me strangely happy.

5. Now that my husband and I are two weeks past our second Covid shot, we’re considered fully vaccinated and can do a few more things. You know, fun stuff like eye exams and more regular dental cleanings. But those are very much needed things. Taking care of ourselves is very frugal. We’re starting out slow here in the “venturing out” department.


Mary Walker May 8, 2021 at 9:24 am

Susanna d, you are, as always, an inspiration! It’s because of you that I pulled out the spray paint for the lawn chairs and planters, lol, and I love the save on your shoes. I got such a kick out of the “that day is not today” comment. Two thumbs up!


Whitney May 8, 2021 at 4:55 pm

You might check on poshmark or ebay to find replacements of the shoes you love when they’re too far gone. I find them best for specific items I love!


susanna d May 8, 2021 at 6:23 pm

Whitney, thanks for the suggestions. When the shoe first ripped, I looked online to see if I could find a replacement pair. I figured since they were discontinued, they might be a lot cheaper than what I originally paid. WRONG. I did find them at one place (not either of the two you mentioned) for exactly TWICE the price I paid for them when they were a brand new model. I may love those shoes but I don’t love them enough to pay double the original cost! I hope my repair holds a good long time, but it’s nice to have places to look if I need to in the future.


rebecca May 8, 2021 at 7:18 am

1. My sister gave me a gift card to store she returned clothing too as their clothes aren’t right for her. I ordered a bathing suit and pants at 50% off.
2. I had neighbors come over for drinks last Saturday. So much fun chatting and laughing. I served nuts (bought on sale and had in the pantry) homemade iced tea, white wine, hummus, and crudite that I had in the fridge and bought a $2.99 brie at aldi and $1.99 on sale crackers. Entertaining does not have to be expensive. Yummy, healthyish snacks are important but it really is the company that counts. We are going to make it a monthly thing. Next time at their house. Good neighbors are priceless.
3. Friends are coming over for dinner tonight to celebrate the end of the semester. One is bringing beer, the other ice cream to go with dessert. Again making it from a lot of ingredients I already have and the chicken breast was purchased on sale too. A dinner party for under $20.
4. I donated 2 bags of clothes and got a receipt for taxes
5. Am going to take a few things to a consignment shop to see if they can sell them for me.


Christine May 8, 2021 at 7:46 am

1. My cat started to turn his nose up at the brand name canned food he liked in the past. I tried one of the taller and cheaper cans of store brand cat food and was happy to see he loves it (for now).
2. I’ve noticed I’m using less conditioner in my hair after shampooing since I let the artificial highlights grow out. Apparently the dye was really drying my hair out. I have had highlights for so many years I thought it was normal. It’s a double savings for me: no more buying the highlighting kits and less conditioner usage.
3. I took advantage of a Home Depot’s credit card offer of saving 10% off purchases up to $2,000 during my birthday month. We need all new entry doors (3) plus storm doors to go with them so we made the purchase. The total came to $1,987 and I will pay this as soon as the bill arrives.
4. I’ve found two pennies in parking lots since last week. I really do believe we are edging closer to a cashless society. There seems to be less money on the streets and I walk a good amount. Oh well, into my found change cup they went.
5. After being fully vaccinated, I feel I can get back out into the world a little more and have volunteered to work one Saturday a month at my church’s thrift shop. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and also seeing what new treasures the thrift shop holds. I worked the local elections in my town for which I will receive a paycheck in a couple of weeks. I have a day (5 hours) lined up with my former boss to work next week. I took some chocolates and a Dollar Store card over to someone who has been like a second mother to me and was happy to have delicious homemade Sloppy Joes she cooked up for us for dinner. I ordered Beverly Cleary’s two memoirs from the interlibrary loan system and am almost finished with the second one. She was born and grew up in the years between my grandmother’s birth (1905) and my mother’s birth (1928). Not only is her life story interesting, I’m enjoying reading about the social and economic conditions in which she came of age. It’s giving me a better glimpse into things my Grandma and Mom may have experienced.

Katy, terrific surprise with that found $800+!


Bee May 8, 2021 at 12:04 pm

Doesn’t it feel wonderful to be back in the world? I am having a difficult time keeping a schedule though. I’m out of practice. I feel like if I have one thing on my calendar every few days that I have sooooo much to do. It’s strange.


Christine May 10, 2021 at 7:16 am

Yes, it feels absolutely wonderful to be back in the world. I went to an outdoor Mothers Day celebration at DS and his significant other’s house yesterday. They hosted a gathering of about 25 people. The weather was nice so we sat outside but the food was indoors so we were in and out all day. At the end of the day I noticed I hadn’t worried about catching Covid all day. Such a light feeling. And yes to finding it difficult to “keep up” with my schedule! I have a haircut tomorrow, I’m working 5 hours on Wednesday and I’m having the car serviced on Thursday and I’m wondering how I am going to fit it all in, ha ha! Happy problems!


Roberta May 8, 2021 at 6:48 pm

My mom’s cat has always been a little finicky, and he’s always had a problem with vomiting on stuff, until she started giving him canned mackerel instead of cat food. Much cheaper, and the vomiting has finally diminished.


Christine May 10, 2021 at 7:18 am

Good to know for the future when the inevitable day arrives and he decides he doesn’t like the tall cans anymore!


Mary Walker May 8, 2021 at 9:53 am

1. Got a call from my pulmonologist with the results of my cardiac echo. She is referring me to OHSU, to the cardiology team there for a right side cardiac catheterization. That is enough to send a chill down my spine! I mean, like, I’m gonna have to tackle Portland traffic, lol. Continuing to be so thankful for the ACA for keeping me from going broke paying for this.
2. I’m continuing to get my exercise at home. With a garden to put in and over 30 trees down after wind and snow events this winter, I have plenty to keep me busy and moving. Why drive to a gym to pay for exercise? So far, I’ve lost about 16 pounds, which is good for my health. After Covid lockdown ( but not Covid, thankfully) and the pulmonary emboli, I really packed on the pounds, so I’m grateful to see the scale showing a loss…and it’s nice to have clothes starting to fit again.
3. I’m also continuing to plant the newly spray painted planter boxes. The weather has turned cool and showery, so it’s great transplanting weather, even if it’s not as comfortable for me. The weather turned before I got the last coat on a few of them, so those will need to wait for warmer weather (not to mention drier) to finish up.
4. I love to work fill-in puzzles, logic problems and the like, but can’t justify paying newsstand prices for them. I can get crosswords and sudoku books at Dollar Tree, but they don’t carry the others. offers value packs of back issues at roughly $1/issue, depending on the size of the pack. I ran out of fill-in books yesterday, so I ordered myself a 40 pack for 34.95 today. That should keep me going for quite a while. Working puzzles in the evenings also helps keep me from snacking, so the books pay for themselves in lower grocery bills!
5. This one is actually a frugal fail. When I drove my daughter to Oregon to buy her horse, I threw our free canopy on the truck and took along a load of OR refund bottles. The website said the bottle return machines were open again, but when I checked stores that had machines, they were not taking bottles back yet. I brought them all back home, stuffed them back in their shed and will try again – maybe next year.


Bee May 8, 2021 at 12:09 pm

I am also a big fan of Dollar Tree Sudoku puzzle books.$1 of fun lasts me months and months.


Mary Walker May 9, 2021 at 9:40 pm

I go through them a lot faster than that in the winter when it’s raining and cold outside. Not as much during good weather on days I’m feeling well. I buy jigsaw puzzles at Dollar Tree, too, but stay away from the Puzzle Bug brand…the pieces don’t lock together nicely. The Cardinal brand 500 piece puzzles are my favorite. The pieces are very small, so I can work a 500 piece puzzle on a piece of foam posterboard on my lap. Since I have cats, working a big puzzle on the table is like catnip to them…they won’t leave it alone! With the smaller size, I can put another piece of posterboard over the puzzle, clip it together with clothespins, and still have a puzzle when I come back to it!


MB in MN May 10, 2021 at 5:31 am

Love the posterboard solution!


Mary Walker May 11, 2021 at 2:49 am

Thanks! I do, too…but there are 4 cats here who beg to differ, lol!

susanna d May 8, 2021 at 6:14 pm

Re: #5, I’ve heard of a worse bottle return frugal fail. This was in a different state, because we don’t have bottle deposits here in Wisconsin. Anyway, a friend of a friend saved up all his bottles for I don’t remember how long, but he had a lot of them. He finally took them all in, figuring to get a nice chunk of change all at once rather than small returns here and there. Unfortunately for him, he got a speeding ticket on the drive home. Things definitely did not go according to his original plan.


Mary Walker May 9, 2021 at 9:32 pm

Oh, no! At least all I had was a truck load of bottles to bring back home (and a horse, mustn’t forget the horse, lol). Towing a trailer loaded with 1200 lbs of nervous horse sure kept me from speeding, that’s for darn sure!


Christine May 10, 2021 at 7:25 am

Mary, best of luck with the cardiac catheterization. I hope you will be feeling much improved health after the procedure.


Mary Walker May 11, 2021 at 2:40 am

Thank you, Christine. I’m hopeful that they can figure out what is happening and fix it. This procedure will determine whether I have pulmonary hypertension from the persistent blood clots in my lungs. I had pulmonary emboli in September of 2020, and the clots STILL aren’t totally gone.


Melissa June 6, 2021 at 4:07 pm

Hi Mary, I know what you mean re the pulmonary emboli – I had 80% of my lungs filled with clots in November 2018 and I still have clots in one lung! I’ve managed to avoid a cardiac cath (thankfully) but pulmonary hypertension is always something they look for in my monitoring too. Hope you are ok and they figure things out for you.


Mary Walker May 11, 2021 at 2:48 am

I had to update #4. I ordered the puzzle books on the 8th, and the very next day, I had an email from, with a Mother’s Day coupon code worth 15% off any order (MOM15, good through 11 May, if anyone is interested in ordering). There didn’t seem to be any way to retroactively apply the code to my order, so I cancelled my order and reordered the same thing using the code. It only took a few minutes to save $4.34, bringing the price down to .77/issue.


t May 8, 2021 at 10:00 am

1-5 Keeping all utilities, groceries, gas, entertainment, phone and other expenses low as I can go. pinchin those pennies till they squeal
I’m wondering cheapest way to clean kitchen countertops? Merry maids says dish soap and water and micro fiber cloth.
How about mirrors and glass, bathtubs, showers, and toilets? Since CDC says you don’t have to blow torch everything with sanitizers anymore I’m working out new routines. I’m looking for cheap and easy.


Shona May 8, 2021 at 1:55 pm

Vinegar and baking soda! Vinegar for mirrors & glass. Mixing the 2 for showers & toilets. And for drains- 1/4 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup vinegar and while reliving elementary school science, boil a pot of water to wash it all down the drain.


MB in MN May 8, 2021 at 4:08 pm

I, too, am a big fan of vinegar and baking soda for everything. To get rid of the stubborn toilet bowl ring, I use a pumice stone. Works great!


On1e of God's May 10, 2021 at 6:56 pm

Another fan of vinegar and baking soda here. But for glass and mirrors, just water. It requires an initial investment for lint-free microfiber cloths. I’d give you my source, but it seems to no longer be available. I just dampen a cloth, wipe down the window or mirror and wait. All clean, no streaking. I’ve been told just to never put them in the dryer.


Shona May 12, 2021 at 5:38 pm

Thank you for the water only tip. I have some microfiber cloths (didn’t know about the no drier part) and will try.


Karen Dawson May 8, 2021 at 10:11 am

I missed a sale at Staples for good quality sanitizing wipes, 50 for $0.99. It’s the best price I’ve ever seen here. I kept an eye out and the sale is back, so I bought some for a trip I’m taking. I’m flying to see our first grandchild!!

I used the organic, pasture raised half and half that I received from my Buy Nothing group, gifted on the day of it’s “best before” date. I froze half and baked chocolate chip muffins with the other half-also using up eggs a few days past their “best before” date. A pretty good result from food that otherwise would have spoiled.

I pulled the mustard greens that were growing. The seeds were free, so I thought I’d give them a go, but the 2 of us just can’t eat that quantity of mustard greens. And though the seeds were free, the water they need is not free. I am being ruthless about growing only the vegetables that we can eat, and the quantities we can eat. We are in a drought and water prices have gone up.

Planted zinnias that I raised from free seeds. They are next to things that already get water, so they won’t require any extra.

Ordered from Vitacost with coupon for 15% off and free shipping on any amount. So nice to just order the one thing I needed, rather than figuring out what other things I need, just to make the minimum amount for free shipping.

Accepted a free shirt that I will use for a pajama top.
Gifted a salvia, a bag, a tomato or unknown variety and some spare cardstock to people in my Buy Nothing group. Saves me energy (to not maintain/organize extra possessions) and saves me space as well. And the stuff gets used. Yay!


Shona May 8, 2021 at 2:14 pm

1) 4 days in the woods with no cell service very much by choice in a National Forrest for $60. 38.8 mpg in the Fit and we shopped from our pantry and fridge for meals with a few items bought at the grocery outlet to fill in the gaps.

2) On the drive home we had a slightly pricy, but very fun day paid for with the change we toss into a jar at the end of the day and take to the credit union to turn into paper $ when full. We set this $ aside for “play” money.

3) I’ve stayed out of thrift stores but very purposefully went to the Merrell outlet for a very specific shoe I’ve been eyeing for a couple years. They had a pair in my size on the sale wall. Brought to the register and was surprised to find they were an additional $15 less than marked.

4) Not frugal, but I spent part of a day delivering bags of giveaways to specific people and places to lighten the load. 2 bags to the arts and crafts thrift store and one to a friend I met up with in the teacher’s parking lot at the school where she teaches during her free period. 5 bags and 3 more stops to go.

5) More change found in parking lots, my long walks, and even on a rural gravel road we walked in the National Forrest to get to the perfect fishing spot.


SeaSlothJen May 8, 2021 at 4:10 pm

1. Drove someone to SFO = $100. (Picked up job from NextDoor request)
2. Made cookies out of cereal my kids weren’t eating. I substituted oats in the recipe with cereal and some stale granola, along with a few choc chips. Cookies disappeared. Total winner and I love using up misc items in the pantry.
3. Helped someone with moving and she thanked me with a $100 gift cert to a sushi restaurant. Planning to use it on Mother’s Day.
4. Neighbor is getting ready for kitchen remodel and she put a free table out of items she didn’t want. I scored a few good eBay items, including a Le Crueset pan I sold for $53. Also sold a few other random eBay items that had been listed for awhile as well as a $5 Coleman stove sold for $40, sold with a Craigslist porch pickup.
5. Washed dog, washed and vacuumed my car, cleaned the house, did yard work, painted my own nails. Love saving money with DIY.


Julie May 9, 2021 at 11:16 am

I finally found the tightwad gazette. All three books in hardcover and it has really cool notes and comments from the previous owner. I am so excited.
Still in a fairly strict lockdown so that’s forced frugality.
1- older son is making dinner, he cooks far better than most restaurants and we are always disappointed with take out.
2- sorted the garage and found soil for the plants that I was about to buy.
3-found a can of spray paint to brighten up some very old patio tables. They look great.
4- posted a lot of stuff to give away and while not frugal for me it saved stuff from the landfill and some kid is overjoyed with DS lacrosse stuff.
5-was gifted some more perennials from the neighbourhood and I have been sure to pay it forward.


Christine May 10, 2021 at 7:35 am

I hope you enjoy and learn from the Tightwad Gazette. Amy D. really did her homework on the frugal subjects she writes about. The Tightwad Gazette launched me on my frugal life which I have maintained for most of my adult life. It didn’t hurt that I had frugal parents and a frugal grandmother, too. Enjoy!


Ruby May 9, 2021 at 12:55 pm

1. I work at a university and last week was move-out week. I dumpster dived for some throw pillows and a shower curtain. Put them in the wash and they came out great. The throw pillows are on the prevoisly salvaged loveseat and chair in my work office. The shower curtain was donated to Goodwill.
2. We have a very old Venetian blind that needs a new cord and could not get the right diameter in the right color, so I dyed the replacement cord to match.
3. Also re-dyed my black work trousers, which are holding up great, for the third time.
4. Bought all my summer clothes and shoes thrifted/secondhand. Altered several clothing items to fit better.
5. Trimmed my own hair again.
Bonus 6th: All the usual – brown bagging my lunches, drinking water or iced tea from home, buying gas with a gift card to save 3 cents per gallon, rocking the cute thrifted outfits.


Jennifer May 9, 2021 at 2:06 pm

1- Received a check from our old electric company in CO for $10. Deposited into college account.
2- Reserved the pavilion at the park down the street for free. We are having a small celebration with family for graduations, anniversaries and birthdays. All of us are vaccinated.
3- Shopped at Wal-mart and took advantage of the ibotta deals on what we would use and was a decent price. I did put plenty of items back that were priced way too high. I’m not paying more at Wal-mart to get $0.25 back on ibotta, you know?
4- Dh and I working our side gigs like crazy and piling up money in 2 accounts – new to us car and college. We have already set aside money to replace our water softener system we just need to schedule it. I love this time of year – it is busy, but it means lots of extra money.
5- doing all the usual money saving hacks like packing lunches, eating at home, cooking from scratch, using the diva cup, cloth napkins, etc.


Norma Burke May 9, 2021 at 5:47 pm

1. Neighbor gave us 3 tomato plants. Planted them in pots and soil we already had. Same neighbor gave us tomato cages. No cost to us and yummy fresh tomatoes this summer.
2. Stayed home for Mother’s Day instead of going out to eat. Better meal than eating out and much cheaper.
3. Treated my husband to a nice steak dinner out earlier in the week with gift cards we already had.
4. Purchased a cheap ham after Easter. Fixed it this week. Have enough for many more meals. Will freeze and use the bone for lima bean soup when my sons come home for Memorial Day.
5. Making tea for my husband much cheaper than buying already made up, drinking mostly water myself, eating down the freezer and pantry and trying to limit food waste to a minimum.


Betta from daVille May 9, 2021 at 6:44 pm

1. Had dinner as part of a “fire on the farm” series (really farm-to-table) at a local farm rather than at a restaurant for half of the price, and I think it was twice the fun.
2. In-laws are downsizing and so they gifted several bottles of liquor to us. For the foreseeable future, I’ll be making desserts that call for coffee liquor.
3. Same in-laws gifted us 5 lbs of coffee that is too strong for them. It IS strong, but, for free, we will make it work.
4. Booked hotel room for $14 after using rewards credit
5. Lent my work apartment to a friend who gifted me several artisan chocolate bars as a thanks.


Susie's Daughter May 10, 2021 at 12:14 pm

1) Rolling Dear Wife’s underperforming previous 401ks into much better performing IRA. This has taken me the better part of two days, but (using Amy D’s hourly wage/return on investment calculation in Tightwad Gazette) still WAY WORTHWHILE.

2) Sunny and breezy today so I hung out two loads of laundry. Other than the smell of laundry dried outside, my favorite part is that it gets folded when it comes off the line. That never happens with the dryer…

3) We hosted my parents for Mother’s Day and DW cooked an amazing meal, including a scallop appetizer and salmon as the main course. Better than we could have gotten anywhere nearby and less expensive by a whole lot.

4) Enrolling DS in summer camp activities through school – STEM, art, field trips, breakfast and lunch – for no cost through COVID grant funding. Grateful that he will have something fun to do!!

5) Had my second COVID shot on Saturday. It packed a wallop, but I am continuing to believe that I will be one of the folks whose long COVID is further resolved by the vaccine. Grateful to all the MANY MANY folks who are making vaccination possible.


Tonya May 10, 2021 at 5:43 pm

I’m grateful for this little community.

Here are my five:
1) weeded my garden and got it ready for planting (in Colorado you can’t really plant until after Mother’s Day, we have snow forecast for tomorrow!)
2) I continue to shop the clearance section and stock up on necessities at reduced prices. My college kids will be home this summer and grocery bills get a bit high, so I’m being proactive.
3) worked from home today, saved money on gas, plus I feel so calm after no commute.
4) We are eating at home, with an occasional discount meal from a place that has coupons or deals.
5) I’m tracking my budget in a free app, and really enjoying meeting my savings and spending goals.


Katy May 10, 2021 at 8:18 pm

Ahh . . . love Amy Dacyczyn!


LongTime Frugal May 10, 2021 at 7:06 pm

Sounds like your mechanic deserves some homemade cookies and/or a gift card to a local establishment. Good mechanics are worth their weight in gold.


Katy May 10, 2021 at 8:17 pm

I agree, I really should do something nice for them.


LB May 13, 2021 at 8:42 am

Congratulations on that overpayment email! Extra savings feels great.

1. Just got home from vacation. Rental car company wanted to upgrade us to a bigger car as a complimentary service and we declined, citing our desire for better gas mileage. Couldn’t have known how fortuitous that decision would be getting back to the airport yesterday and seeing every gas station closed down.

2. Starting a new workout program for free on youtube after seeing excellent results from the same coach last month. Bonus will be my summer clothes fitting better and not wanting to buy new ones!

3. We are only home for two days before turning around for a weekend away again (being vaccinated and isolated from family otherwise, plus good mask wearing, has made trips feel enjoyable again!) so I am avoiding the grocery store and throwing together meals from the freezer and pantry.

4. Cold weather on vacation kept us from blowing cash on excursions such as kayaking or hang gliding lessons. Would have loved to try out some new stuff (and support a local economy) but my bank account breathed a sigh of relief when I walked back in the door.

5. Staying the course through the insane rental market that is NYC in our affordable, well located apartment. While I pine for an in-unit washer and dryer, a patio, or even a dishwasher, living in an affordable place that allows me to save for emergencies is the right move.


k May 13, 2021 at 10:55 am

Katy, I’ve enjoyed watching you pay cash for your kid’s educations with the help of your side hustles. Your daughter must have had a ton of AP credits, she seemed to graduate very fast and what a blessing it is to have lower cost credits! I’m interested to know what your next goal will be, having educated your kids–pay off your house?


Katy May 18, 2021 at 10:39 am

No, she didn’t have any AP credits. She graduated in 3-1/2 years by taking extra classes within her major. My son graduated in 4-1/2 years because he switched majors a couple times and took multiple classes outside his major.


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