Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 12, 2021 · 71 comments

Guitar Hero guitar

  1. I was able to replace the 12-volt battery in our Prius for just $65 as it was still under warranty with Les Schwab. (A local chain) We paid $238 for it in January of 2019, so I’m choosing to see this as a “frugal win.”

    Are you noticing that we’ve been attending to multiple issues on our vehicles? Yeah, me too. Being an adult is nothing but fun and games.

  2. The Little Free Library in front of the house had developed an impressive echo, so I asked the fine folks on my Buy Nothing Group if anyone had extra books to share. People responded within minutes and our library is now full with books for one and all.

    The downside of having worked so hard to declutter the house is that I no longer have extra books to cull. No regrets though, worth it.

  3. I dropped my iPhone 6 into the toilet last week, and despite resuscitative efforts from the fine folks at the “I, Chihuahua” repair shop down the boulevard, the poor thing was completely fried. My sister even mailed me her recently upgraded phone, but her’s turned out to be too messed up to repair as well.

    So I broke down and spent $280 on a “new” phone, specifically a used iPhone 8, purchased from a local shop with excellent Yelp reviews. There were people in my life who didn’t understand why I wasn’t taking this as an opportunity to acquire a shiny new phone, as money isn’t an issue. However, I firmly believe that the endless cycle of upgrading phones and other electronics is an environmental and humanitarian nightmare that I want no part of.

  4. I filled my minivan at a Fred Meyer gas station and saved 80¢/gallon by using my rewards card, I sold a number of items through both eBay and Facebook Marketplace, (like this $60 hoodie, this $30 fabric, this $60 Guitar Hero controller, this $40 Scrabble game, these $30 mugs and this $40 winter coat) I bought a $3.99 pot of basil from Trader Joe’s, which I then transplanted into a large outdoor planter, (this will then grow big enough to provide enough basil to get us through the summer) I mended the ever-ripping belt loops on two pairs of my husband’s work pants, I checked out four books from my local library that were bundled as “artsy fiction,” (you can’t browse the library yet, but they do have categorized bundles in the windows) and I dragged home an outdoor planter and a wooden trellis from neighborhood “free piles.”

  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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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa M. June 12, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Double 5+FF: Morphing into Summer

1. Contacted by previous employer about re-starting part-time hours. A big deal, as my last regular hours were nearly 15 months ago.

2. Still managing with our 26-year-old central AC. Due to our conservative usage (set @ 78 degrees), it is the only functioning original unit of 10 on our street.

3. Recent kitchen creations: Ranch Turkey Wraps; Crested Butte grilled chicken tenders & later thin-sliced chicken breasts; Broccoli Salad; Taco Salad (used 14 Taco Bell sauce packets); during a brief cool spell, Zucchini Lasagna (on sale 95 cents/#); another item using on-sale zucchini, 3 Bean-Cheese-Zucchini Salad; Mediterranean Couscous Salad (used left over chicken broth from 2 cans of chicken); Deli Potato Salad; Mediterranean Tuna Salad; & Aegean Salad.

4. Scored higher savings than usual during week #1 shopping trip: Hit local grocer for 2 holiday loss leaders; Found 2 clearance items, 2 clearance bakery rack items, & clearance take & bake pizza @ big box; Utilized $5 manufacturer coupon @ big box; Took advantage of a sale @ gas station. Total savings: $24.64. Week #2 found a perfect sized shadowbox @ 50% off @ the craft store to display my DF’s track medals for a Father’s Day gift; Found 1 clearance item & I clearance bakery rack item @ big box; Used 1 electronic coupon & my gas savings card @ gas station. Total savings: $13.78. Week #3 was reduced & focused expenditures due to upcoming family visit. Found item on big box clearance rack & won free item through gas station promotion. Total savings: $3.73. Grand total for 3 weeks: $42.15.

5. Scored a nice bra for helping friend price garage sale items for 4 hours. She is adding items of hers & her sister-in-law to our sale, a good thing as my inventory is sparse.

6. Used a free card from my stash to send to an acquaintance who recently suffered a stroke.

7. Picked up a cool, vintage oil lamp offered free on Nextdoor while running errands with DD.

8. Combined trip to our county’s eco-site to safely dispose of items @ no cost: Kerosene from #7 lamp, batteries, holiday lights & a broken coffee maker, with a trip to local commercial recycler to cash in on several years of accumulated aluminum cans (20# = $10).

9. DH headed out to have 3 wiper blades replaced prior to road trip. Quickly found & printed a discount coupon from website & saved $10.

10. Not being a coffee drinker herself, a DF (friend) offered & delivered a free iced coffee on a scorching hot day that she had won in a gas station giveaway.

11. Submitted & approved for 2 – $5 rebates from Kellogg’s Family Rewards. Purchase of a Cheez It product & $5 combo of lunch meat/cheese/bread. 2 rebates available per participant & able to combine in 1 receipt. After submitting online, machine only generated 1 rebate. Required pc to Customer Service to receive approval for 2nd rebate. Artificial intelligence not = to real brain power.

12. Continue enjoying Amazon for entertainment, deep into the many seasons of “The Americans”.


Heidi Louise June 13, 2021 at 8:55 am

I’m with you on #2. Our central AC is over 20 years old and still working well to keep the house reasonably cool. We don’t set it at deep-freeze and also use ceiling and floor fans to take some of the pressure off it.
Unfortunately, due to tree removals by us and by our neighbors, our roof is less shaded than it used to be. I can feel it in the affected rooms, that they don’t cool down as quickly as they used to.


Lisa M. June 18, 2021 at 12:21 pm

We’re sweltering in record breaking heat in the central mid-west this week while visiting family. However, we’re in a guest cottage of a senior living complex & have enjoyed the lower AC setting, while also giving our home AC a much needed reprieve.


Ruby June 12, 2021 at 1:28 pm

I am amazed at the selling power of those Guitar Hero instruments. You are the niche market genius!

1. Used five store coupons to bring our most recent weekly food shopping total down to $88, the least it has been in ages. We are still avoiding crowds by shopping at one store once a week.
2. Used up some pork from the freezer and some aging acorn squash and fruit to create a week of delicious lunches for myself (brown bagging it) and my working from home husband.
3. Altered the neck of a thrifted blouse to make it more suitable for office wear. I have had to do this to most of my shirts and blouses this summer.
4. My panties bought three years ago are wearing out in a way that can’t be mended. I did some searching and found a great deal on Poshmark on Jockey brand (new without tags) for less than half the price of retail even after shipping.
5. Am crocheting a wildly colored net shopping bag to use up some balls of cotton thread too small for other projects. It’s fun and is not costing a thing.


Kathy June 12, 2021 at 2:00 pm

1. Stretched time between haircuts which saved $45
2. Sold several items via Facebook and other sites
3. Made 2 quiches and froze one for another time
4. Cut out daily glass of wine to just weekend
5. Mailed my monthly free hallmark card to a couple battling cancer


naiveorbrave June 12, 2021 at 11:49 pm

@Kathy Your number 4 is great! Not only money-saving but also health-wise.


Juhli June 12, 2021 at 2:45 pm

Love Little Free Libraries and I maintain one for my women’s club.
Found someone had put a pack of greeting cards in said LFL so I picked out some I could use and added to my stash.
I saved everything I used while recovering from foot surgery last summer and will use it for recovering from the same surgery on my other foot this summer. Have come up with free so.unions to many of the things that could have been easier last time and will implement those.
We had a very low cost date. Mr Frosty swirl cones, a walk, and a free visit to a local artist studio gallery. It was great to get out.
Collected another $30 in incentive cash from my supplemental insurance, used it to lower cost of e pensive prescription, and.then got an email saying they are giving $50:for proof of COVID vaccination. Will provide it.
Looked at my grocery receipt to make sure all discounts provided and saw they are now giving coupons for cash off on next shopping. Put that where I won’t forget it.


Mary in Maryland June 12, 2021 at 3:33 pm

Five Frugal
1. I’ve always wanted to try making soap. A neighbor sold me all her supplies for $20. Including a digital scale that we’ve been using for everything.
2. Having learned that a different canner would let me process seven quarts at once rather than five, I began to lust for the upgrade. I found a vintage canner that meets my requirements for $20 on Facebook Marketplace. Just before I found it, I had bid $12 for one on Ebay–luckily someone else bid $12.50. I test drove the new (to me) canner and the old gasket still holds.
3. I sold my old canner for $70.
4. At a funeral last week I saw a flyer in the back of the church for a flea market that featured free paper shredding. OBs have to keep prenatal and delivery records for an indecently long time, and I had about 500 under the bed. I sorted out the ones I could dispose of over the weekend, broke down the charts, disposed of paper clips, and tore the metal clasps off the folders. Today we got everything shredded. Older Mary will be very grateful that this task is now 87% done. I should be able to handle the rest with the home shredder. The remainder are arranged by year and back under the bed.
5. We’re drinking water, eating at home mainly from our CSA share. The CSA folk tell us what we’ll be getting six days ahead of time, so it’s easy to tell what we’ll need to fill out the menu.


Ava June 12, 2021 at 3:42 pm

We have been pretty spendy since becoming fully vaccinated. I guess we are making up for lost time. Too much eating out, because we can!
1. I mentioned in my last comment that we got rid of cable. No regrets at all, especially since we bought a $15 antenna that works great to bring in the few things I wanted to see on network tv. That’s a one time purchase to replace a monthly fee.
2. In other tv matters, we moved a nonworking tv from one end of the house to the other. (It was nonworking because of poor reception in its former location.) We purchased a Roku for it, hooked it to a dvd player we already had, put it on a table we already had, moved around plants and decor. Now we have a great relaxing new spot for tv viewing. The only money spent was for the Roku. Cancelling cable should save close to $100 a month.
3. Have been picking and pitting sour cherries from our tree and freezing them for future pies and cobblers. We have more than a gallon in the freezer now.
4. Had several sales on Etsy. Everything sold was either something I already had or something that was bought for less than $1.00.
5. Bought like new Lee shorts for 2.50 at Goodwill.
6. Frugal for others: we took care of son’s family’s dogs for eight days while they were on vacation. Both dogs have medical issues and would have been expensive to board anywhere. It was a good lesson in appreciation for us too. We are now so so glad that we do not have four dogs on a permanent basis and our two seem really easy.


Shona June 12, 2021 at 3:42 pm

1-4) Due to a strange series of events I have given 30 days notice after 21 years with this company. I’ve needed to leave for a long time and my body told me loud and clear that the time is NOW! Our frugal lifestyle enabled us to become debt free as of last August. We live on little money (although I’m still going over the budget in order to trim a bit more) and have good insurance through my husband’s work. I am very fortunate, but being frugal and managing our money well also played a huge part.

5) Found several coins on the ground.


Marie June 12, 2021 at 6:45 pm

After 18 years with the same company, I left . Thought I’d be unhappy, but it was a healthy thing to do. Hoping you will find peace, and a better job!


Bee June 14, 2021 at 3:26 am

Wishing you happiness, and good fortune as you navigate this new phase of your life. Ten years ago, I left structured work behind after a leadership change in my company left me working for the “boss from hell.” I cut our budget and planned for less money coming in. It was the smartest and healthiest thing that I have ever done. There is life after work!


Jill A June 15, 2021 at 3:22 am

Wishing you the best. I agree with Marie and Bee…I also left my nursing job 22 years ago with the birth of my last child and it was a great decision and I’ve never regretted it.. Life is short.


Shona June 15, 2021 at 1:04 pm

Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing your stories.


Audry June 15, 2021 at 4:43 pm

I retired at 55 to take care of my mom. I found a way to cut back our budget, and I’ve never regretted it. Eventually, I had to move my mom to assisted living, but I never considered returning to corporate work.


Joanne in the U.K. June 16, 2021 at 3:48 am

Hello everyone
Some of you might remember me mentioning on here about my search for work after a couple of jobs haven’t worked out for me, toxic culture and workplace bullying.
Well I’m a strange turn of events I’m pleased to report I’m now self employed! I work for a friend at her small farm 2 days a week for regular money. I’m basically a farm hand – chickens, goats, horses, giant rabbits (!), dog grooming and the cattery.
I’m overweight, unfit and 55 so it’s hard work but I’m now going home tired but fulfilled. Cleaning out chicken %$*# and handling enormous rabbits is very new for me as a previously suited and booted education administrator and a townie to boot, but I’m loving it.
The rest of the time I’m selling on eBay which is slowly increasing day by day. I’m frugalising where I can without DH and DS noticing which is even more fun.


Lindsey June 16, 2021 at 10:16 am

Good for you!


Shona June 16, 2021 at 1:37 pm

It sounds like a wonderful way to make money. Bunnies and chickens, goats, horses, they are definitely not going to create a toxic work environment. I would also bet this work will contribute to better health. Thank you for this great update.


Jill A June 17, 2021 at 3:51 am

That sounds like an amazing job. Congratulations!!


MB in MN June 17, 2021 at 2:53 pm

Joanne: Congratulations on the new gig!


Bee June 18, 2021 at 1:41 am

That sounds wonderful!!!! So glad you are happy.


Joanne in the U.K. June 20, 2021 at 7:34 am

Thank you all for your good wishes!
I forgot to add that I get free eggs too – lots of egg based dishes in my future

Christine June 16, 2021 at 3:16 pm

I retired at 53 to care for my ailing mother who moved in with us. DH still worked and picked up my benefits. Using the lessons I learned over my adult years plus using the skills I picked up through reading The Tightwad Gazette we were able to live a good life. My mom also helped with household expenses. She passed away in 2016 after living with us for 3.5 years, time I wouldn’t trade away for anything.


Jill A June 17, 2021 at 3:53 am

Reading The Tightwad Gazette was what really started me on my frugal journey and encouraged me to quit my job. It can be done…


Lindsey June 12, 2021 at 4:45 pm

1. Did a mystery shop for an eye glass company, which paid for new lenses and frames, plus paid me for doing the shop.
2. Held the dreaded garage sale and made $220 plus had a great time socializing with the two women who do this with me each summer.
3. Spent zero this week except for gas. We had tons in the fridge so it was no hardship.
4. A child in the neighborhood was having a sale of her stuffed animals. Her mother was sitting out there with her and confirmed that the girl wanted to buy a new doll and was selling off old stuffed animals for 50 cents each to be able to afford the doll. My dog needed some new objects to disembowel so I bought 10 of them. I paid her a dollar for each one, so she was happy to make more than she asked for, and I was happy to get cheap dog toys.
5. Traded the neighbor three dozen chicken eggs for a pound of Jimmy Dean sausage, our favorite. Apparently during her pregnancy she has developed a dislike for the brand and didn’t want to keep it in the freezer for six months to see if the taste for it comes back after her body goes back to normal. We were backloaded on eggs again, so I was happy to make the trade.


Anne June 13, 2021 at 4:58 pm

I love no. 4.


susanna d June 13, 2021 at 5:11 pm

I love #4, too! Lindsey, you made a little girl very happy – I bet you just made her day!


Christine June 13, 2021 at 5:31 pm

The best moment of my day was reading your #4.


Jill A June 15, 2021 at 3:24 am

Your #4 has also made my day.


MB in MN June 12, 2021 at 6:24 pm

1. Involuntarily saved money on air conditioning when the unit up and died during a hot spell. Relied on ceiling fans to see us through.
2. Got creative in the kitchen so as not to use the stove and oven.
3. Noticed a healthy balance of reward points on our credit card so I cashed them in.
4. The grass around my parents’ headstone was overgrown so I dug out two inches all around. Brought the clumps home to dump them and realized that we had a bare spot in our yard that needed grass. My parents would be proud!
5. Picked chives, snipped into little pieces, and dried for future use.


janine June 14, 2021 at 5:34 am

Mornings and evenings seem to be getting cooler or are we just adjusting our bodies to somewhat unusual warm weather here in MN?


MB in MN June 14, 2021 at 10:53 am

Janine: It has been so lovely opening up the house between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. to cool things off the past couple days. Let’s hope it continues!


Mand01 June 12, 2021 at 7:24 pm

1. The winter garden is producing delicious broccoli, silverbeet (chard) and now starting to head cauliflower and cabbages. Very glad I planted a lot extra this season.
2. Our chickens are still laying, even at the start of Winter. They’ve already moulted. I was expecting them to be off the lay by now.
3. Our streaming service sent us a free box with inbuilt chromecast and remote, which now connects to all the streaming services easily (free and paid). Value was $99. Works really well.
4. My husband made homemade shortcrust and puff pastry last night to make beef pies for dinner (in Australia we love savoury pies). There’s enough pastry left for me to make a peach pie with the remaining peaches from my friend’s peach tree, frozen from the Summer. Looking forward to having that tonight – free peaches, almost free pastry, minimal effort.
5. Today is cold but clear. My plans are to go outside and continue trimming down the herbs ahead of the really cold weather, then working (I’m a freelancer), then making a peach pie. What a perfectly quiet and frugal afternoon.


Jill A June 13, 2021 at 8:16 am

1. My daughter continues to bring home enough free food that many of our meals are free or almost free. We made a gallon of yogurt in the insta-pot with a free gallon of milk and we made “dog ice cream” with some of it and smoothies as well as just adding fruit to eat it for breakfast. Today is my youngest daughter’s birthday . We’ll be doing a cook out at my Mom’s .. My daughter the cook/baker has made a beautiful Mocha cake. It’s better than any bakery or store bought cake I’ve ever had and very frugal too.
2. Meijer gave away coupons for $10 just for showing your vaccination card. We each got one. I also was able to use a 10% off birthday coupon at Best Buy to buy a new printer when my old one died.
3. I vacuumed, washed and detailed my car myself…of course since it’s used to cart around dogs it’s already filthy but it was clean for a couple days and cost me nothing but water, soap, a little electricity and a few hot sweaty hours of my life.
4. I’ve been going to estate sales, garage sales and thrifting and found many items to sell on Ebay. I’ve sold 8 items just this weekend alone. I’ve also found a few things we needed including a 50 cent pair of shorts for my daughter and a new bathroom cabinet for $5 for my half bath that just needs to be repainted.
5. While my daughter and I were out at the sales we hunted down a few Little Free Libraries using an app on her phone. We traded a few books which made her day. I’ve been reading library books on my kindle including “The Vanishing Half” and right now I’m reading “This Tender Land”. We also went to the library where my daughter checked out a couple physical books.

Not my frugal thing but just putting it out there in case some one else is in the same situation…My daughter’s phone wasn’t charging so she took it to a repair place to have them replace the charging port ($100). They took it in the back room to check it out and pulled a bunch of lint out of the port. They said that this is often the culprit when phones won’t charge. They suggested using a toothpick next time to pull the lint out. They didn’t charge her.


Tonya June 13, 2021 at 9:59 am

Yes to the phone “upgrade”. Did you see the two-story Mt Rushmore style sculpture of the G7 leaders crafted entirely out of electronic waste? So much waste. Good for you for not buying a brand new phone when a newer one will do.


Katy June 13, 2021 at 5:32 pm

I heard about it on NPR.


Bee June 16, 2021 at 3:14 am

I’m so glad to hear that eBay is going so well for you. Where I live, I find that estate sales are the best source for high quality merchandise at low prices. Happy hunting!


Jill A June 17, 2021 at 4:02 am

Bee, I’ve never been an Estate Sale shopper until the last year or so…I definitely prefer it to Garage Sales now. I used to sell a lot of toys when I did Ebay when my children were small but now I’ve moved on to more vintage items. I also go to thrift stores too because I sell more household goods also. I’ve had no luck with clothing unfortunately. I’m always interested in seeing what Katy and my daughter sell. They seem to have the clothing sales dialed in. I live in a conservative area with many really financially challenged people so they wear their clothing for a long time and don’t donate or sell the good stuff cheap. They do keep their household items forever though so when they donate or have an Estate Sale or sometimes even Garage Sales it can be a lot of good vintage stuff.


Heidi June 13, 2021 at 1:20 pm

Do you leave your basil outside? A few years ago I was “cursed” at Trader Joe’s. I would buy a new basil plant every 4-6 months and did nothing and had basil the entire time. The day I was “cursed” this old lady told not to buy basil at Trader Joe’s as it would just die immediately. Since this comment basil plants come to my house to immediately die.


Katy June 13, 2021 at 5:31 pm

I do leave my basil outdoors and have always enjoyed good luck with them.


Patricia Koernig June 14, 2021 at 12:15 am

You can take cuttings of your basil plant, and put them in water. Roots will begin to appear after several days. Replant in good soil. You wont have to buy any basil if you consistently do this.


Christine June 13, 2021 at 3:01 pm

1. I divided a Yarrow plant from the back garden to fill in a spot in the front garden that was lacking something. I had actually thought about going to Home Depot to purchase a plant to do exactly that but the big old Yarrow was very giving. The split off part is thriving.
2. I found a penny and a dime.
3. My neighbor gifted me two little tomato plants last month which are in pots on the deck (Woodchuck problem at ground level) and they now have tiny pea sized tomatoes growing on them.
4. I worked at my church’s thrift shop on Saturday and found seven very gently used paperbacks with Amish themed romance and suspense for a friend who adores Amish related books. At .25 a piece it was a bargain.
5. The lot next to mine has been cleared of trees to make way for a new house. The people who bought the lot seem like they will make good neighbors. The frugal part for me was that several of the large oak limbs hung over my house, shed and driveway. They shed acorns and leaves into my roof gutters and everywhere. I was considering having the branches lopped off that overhung my property but now I won’t have to pay to have it done.
Reading library books and our town’s free newspapers, sitting on the deck whenever I can, enjoying homemade iced tea, walking with friends on nearby trails and swimming with DH in the lake. Summer feels like it’s here.


Danielle C June 13, 2021 at 3:09 pm

Nice gas rewards!

1. I called for service before our three-year warranty expired on a refrigerator. Long story short, they declared it unfixable and gave us a store credit for the entire original amount of the purchase. Now is not a great time to purchase a replacement appliance so we are going to ride out the inconvenience of the broken part for as long as we can.

2. I changed the use of five solid color T-shirts that I was saving for layering. Because I rarely wear them like that, they didn’t get a lot of use. Now that they are sleeping T-shirts they get used every day.

3. My daughter’s shower head broke off the wall. Even though it is 10 years old, it was still under warranty. Instead of receiving a similar part with a weak plastic spot, we use the 70% discount that Delta gave us to purchase an all metal showerhead and handle combination that will last much longer. This is a win for saving all of my original receipts. 😉

4. I had made a calendar entry to check the expiration dates on the food in our emergency kit. I am updating some of the older items with new things and rotating the older canned goods into our meals this week.

5. As my teenagers have jobs and internships this year, we are staying home while many of our friends are traveling. They have picked up some pretty lucrative housesitting gigs!


Bettypants June 13, 2021 at 4:16 pm

1. Facebook Marketplace offered 20 free shipping labels if I posted items with shipping. I used 19 of the free labels before the promotion ended. That put me over the $599 selling limit, which required I verify my account. I did that, but still don’t have shipping back, which is super frustrating. If you don’t offer shipping, your listings don’t get seen.

2. I have been going to yard sales every week with a like minded friend. Found a nice insulated hunting jacket for my dad, a $3 duvet cover with shams for my teen, a $1 purse for myself, and lots of stuff to resell.

3. A thoughtful friend gifted me a $20 Amazon gift card as a thank you.

4. Someone posted free irises on Marketplace, so I scooted over and picked up a big bunch of two colors I didn’t already have. Irises are my favorite perennial.

5. I attended a work event on Saturday and brought home some leftover snacks and beverages. I have a teenager who is always super excited for any foods that are outside of our usual fare.


Cindy in the South June 13, 2021 at 5:09 pm

1. My middle son is a painter and he painted my new to me weekend/retirement/ will be older son’s house when I croak, at the “family “ discount. 2. The house is only 720 sq ft in a college town, with him walking distance to hospital, Target, Home Depot, and Aldi. It also has a tiny basement . Less space equals less clutter less insurance, and it cost less than other parts of town. It is still too expensive though. 3. I have been slowly moving and my moving helpers are my sons. Again, family discount…..4. Does moving count as exercise? I hurt all over. 5. As if one move in the family is not enough, my youngest is moving to another town. Again, family discounts apply.


susanna d June 13, 2021 at 5:45 pm

1. We spent the past couple of weeks refinishing our long neglected deck. Between not going anywhere we didn’t have to last year due to COVID and 40 days and 40 nights of rain the summer before (at least it seemed like that), the deck was overdue for some love and attention. Sure, there were a few expenses – renting a sander, sandpaper, stain. But it was a good workout, and way cheaper than paying a professional to refinish the deck.
2. We somehow managed to buy the stain for the deck the one week there was a $10 per gallon rebate. Since we needed 5 gallons of stain, the $50 rebate will make for a good mail day when it arrives. Did I mention we have an enormous wrap around deck (that I love almost all the time except for the should-be-annual week of deck maintenance).
3. I gave my husband another haircut. With all the restrictions removed and our being fully vaccinated, I asked him if he wanted to go back to paying someone a little more, um, talented than me to cut his hair. His reply was a resounding NO, followed by “Why would I pay someone to cut my hair? You do a really good job.”
He’s a keeper.
4. The weather was in the mid-90’s for most of last week – beyond unusual for northern Wisconsin. We kept the house as cool as possible by keeping the thermal curtains close, running ceiling fans, and setting up the giant industrial fan at the base of the basement stairs – keeping the door open so the at-least-10-degrees-cooler basement air could get sucked up to the main level for our comfort and enjoyment.
5. I’m making sure to do my grocery shopping on Thursdays thru Sundays this month, to take advantage of the double mileage points on those days. The monthly mailer had some really good coupons this month, including a free jar of Hellman’s mayonnaise. I never know what the month’s freebie(s) will be, but I love that they’re always something we use.


Amanda June 13, 2021 at 6:01 pm

1. Organized a big free educational materials swap at church this weekend. It was a joy for folks to share what they didn’t need with others who could use it, and seeing families walk out with armloads of books and supplies was a joy. I even found some goodies to help with the next school year!

2. Enjoyed some free birthday treats from local restaurants (yay, ice cream!)

3. Was on a laser-focused hunt for some second-hand summer shoes when I stumbled upon a store with a cache of cute new ones in my size for 50 cents to $5 a pair! They’re more fall weight, but with used shoes going for $5-15 dollars in my area, I was tickled!

4. My sons got to enjoy an amazing art and drama day camp this week, sponsored by our local art league. Total price for all 3 was $25 – they got a big lunch every day, t-shirts, a week of instruction in the arts and a much-needed fun break after a loooong year! For 3 fellas ages 8-16 to all enjoy themselves and want to go back, I call it a smashing success.

5. Just gave all my daughter’s outgrown clothes to a friend and another has a tub of ones in my daughter’s next sizes ready to pass along – grateful for friends that think of us!


Isa June 14, 2021 at 4:43 am

* wpWe try not to incure debts whenever possible, so in this spirit we will be paying right away for roof and window repairs, 3500$. No credit card interests
* I always price match, look for sales and check my receipt for mistake (and then claim free products) when grocery shopping. And I put everything on a card that gives me points back for free groceries
* Reading like crazy, always from borrowed library books
* Looking for free activities to do with the family this summer, like free outdoor shows, public pool, beach, pic nics, etc.
* Turning down Honda everytime they contact me to see if I want to exchange my 2018 Civic for the newer model. At a high price, I’m sure (They are sooooo annoying). I keep telling them NO. This would be such a waste of money!!!! I run my cars to the ground!


Danielle June 14, 2021 at 6:18 am

Is a, it might be worth hearing them out about the Honda. I’ve heard about some pretty amazing trades right now. Used cars are selling high and new cars are not, so dealers are getting creative. Could be a good investment in the long run. I’d be curious to hear the details.


christine June 14, 2021 at 8:16 am

I often get letters from my Jeep dealership with those trade in “offers” too. Very annoying. If it was something I was considering I would be at the dealership now. They do give the post office business though, so that’s a positive thing.


janine June 14, 2021 at 6:25 am

1. Storing all kinds of stuff for son as he suffers through a remodeling of his condo. Water damage from the unit above. Taking much longer than expected so no more hotels . He will be staying with us. Household insurance thankfully takes care of most of the costs. Upside: new carpet and tile!
2. Mornings and evenings cooling off. Not installing AC except for one window unit.
3. With waning of covid-19 virus, expenses are climbing – trying to budget better and eat in-seasons foods. Large watermelons on sale this week!
4. Iced tea is my go-to drink. Produce store had limes on deep discount so also indulging in limeades. (Recipe: Squeezed lime, sugar, and club soda.)
5. Are others experiencing an increase in (fraudulent) telemarketing calls? My only temptation is to cancel phone service which obviously in not practical. My amazon account is fine, the police in my city are well-paid, and none of my warranties are about to expire etc. No grandchild is in trouble in a foreign country and needs $$ for bail either. Frugal warning to just hang up. Annoying because they have begun to us local area codes to get your attention.


MB in MN June 14, 2021 at 10:59 am

Janine: Yes to #5. I no longer answer. If it’s legit, they’ll leave a message.


Vickey June 19, 2021 at 1:13 pm

A friend introduced me to the setting on my (secondhand iPhone SE Classic) phone that sends calls from unrecognized numbers straight to voicemail. I don’t even hear the rings. This strategy appears to have eventually led to in a drop in the number of spam calls – maybe my number is in their “don’t bother” database?


Kristen June 14, 2021 at 10:54 am

Boo to not being able to browse at the library! Our county finally lets you do that and it’s such a nice taste of normalcy.


LB June 14, 2021 at 11:05 am

1. Biggest FF of the year: I got into two grad schools! One is a private school which would run a bill close to a mortgage, the other is a public school where between in-state tuition and a scholarship for year one, I will be able to pay for the whole thing out of pocket. This combined with a potential job change to a company that offers tuition reimbursement means I will be studying for the next two years with no added debt.

2. Second biggest FF of the year: I am on track to be credit card debt free by my 30th birthday in August. I have one payment left and I will be done with that horrible phase of my life. I do have a personal loan that I must keep making payments on, but being able to say I owe nothing to a credit company feels absolutely amazing.

3. I have two friends with daughters each turning 3 this month. Found some cute gifts for them (sidewalk chalk and books) at Marshall’s for half price. Excited to give them some things they will use up this summer and enjoy.

4. I did avoid the siren song of the clearance dresses at Marshall’s, knowing I need to shop my closet this summer. The one thing I need is shorts, but with the dressing rooms closed I wasn’t about to find out if a pair fit standing in the aisle.

5. Put together a “day of activities” Katy style for my mom’s 70th yesterday. Her big gift was a video off Cameo from a tiktok creator she adores. She was so excited-definitely more thrilled than if we had bought her another thing for the house. It was super gratifying spending time together enjoying the sunshine.


Jill A June 15, 2021 at 3:28 am

Congratulations on your Grad School win and also paying off your credit cards…those are huge.


LB June 15, 2021 at 7:16 am

Thank you Jill!!


Lindsey June 15, 2021 at 1:39 pm

Congrats on grad school!!


Vickey June 19, 2021 at 1:15 pm

Congratulations on all those wins!


Lindsay B June 14, 2021 at 6:07 pm

1. Found a dime in the Coinstar machine, a nickel on the ground, and a quarter at Aldi, so total 40 cents! No one used paper money or coins in the Scandinavian country we lived in previously, so finding change feels exciting. Small wins, ha.
2. Successfully revived super wilted lettuce by leaving overnight in a bowl of water in the fridge. It was a gift from family so this was particularly satisfying.
3. Seem to have successfully seasoned and revived DH’s grandmother’s cast iron pan. Took some repeated seasoning up front, but I think it’s getting there.
4. DH broke his gooseneck lamp, but I was able to source another from Goodwill for $3.
5. Found we have a small mulberry tree in our new backyard, and picked a small handful for breakfast tomorrow. Will start taking a container on walks and looking for more. I love foraged food!


Theresa P. June 15, 2021 at 3:18 am

What do people do when their free Cloud storage for their phone gets full?
I haven’t backed up my iPhone in two years because it galls me to pay for storage that I seem to have no control over. I have never been able to figure out how to access and clean out my iCloud storage (I don’t own a Mac). The only thing I would choose to keep there would be contact information and photos. I’m afraid of something like what happened to Katy so need to figure out how to get into the Cloud to declutter and create space again there. Any suggestions or links would be much appreciated frugal advice!


Christine June 17, 2021 at 12:32 pm

Wish I could help you Theresa but it’s things like that I wonder about too! Unless somebody told me or taught me how to declutter it safely, I guess I would probably take it to the tech place in my town where prices are reasonable. Best of luck.


MB in MN June 17, 2021 at 3:04 pm

Theresa P: I don’t have an iPhone and had never heard of iCloud so I was curious. I googled “icloud storage on phone” and saw several links that may be helpful for you. Some are provided by Apple and some are other tech sites. It looks like there are some easy solutions without having to fork over any money. Good luck!


A June 20, 2021 at 7:30 am

Instead of backing up your phone to icloud, you can (if you have a windows or mac computer) back it up to your computer instead for free. To do that, you would have to install the free itunes software for your computer and login with your apple id. I have a windows computer, and I back up my phone to it instead of paying for icloud storage (I bought an external hard drive so it doesn’t take up too much memory on my old computer, but if your computer is new, it might have enough memory). It also helps to periodically delete any photos and videos from your phone that you don’t want to keep forever–they are usually what takes up the most space, I’ve found, and sometimes it is just me taking a picture of something to remember later that day without having to write it down, not heirloom quality photography 🙂


rebecca June 15, 2021 at 7:17 am

1. No takeout for 2 weeks
2. Saved $20 at cvs using their coupons
3. I apologized to my grad students for a huge mistake on my syllabus and rectified the situation. Feeling foolish and admitting it is free…….
4. Had friends over for a bbq and pulled hot dogs and chicken out of freezer, made brownies and a pasta salad with ingredients I had on hand and my guests brought salad, rolls and chips ect (and their fabulous selves). So much fun
5. I watered my neighbor’s yard while they were away. They were so thoughtful and bought me a thank you gift. Good neighbors are priceless!


Avery June 17, 2021 at 11:26 am

1.) First time using Buy Nothing group, and I’m obsessed !’
Got rid of old used mattress when moving, trinkets , and shampoo bottles. Such a great feeling to know that these items will be used and loved!
2.) I’m moving to Boston, but will be living in the suburbs which is exponentially cheaper !
3.) home cooking – a recipe called for Italian seasoning, which I didn’t have. Instead of buying that at the store, I used herbs and spices already in my pantry to make it.
4.) Using lots of library resources – study rooms to get out of the house , books , audio books- it’s fantastic ! Reusing plastic bags for ice packs. Trying out sample arm cream for my psoriasis. Using gym pool with broken foot at a reduced fee.
5.) I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or buy a ticket to Europe.


Betta from daVille June 21, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Somervillian person here: Market Basket has the best selection/prices around — some things cheaper than Aldi, others a bit more, but a much greater selection.
We also have a VERY active Buy Nothing group in my town.


Christine June 21, 2021 at 4:56 pm

I agree with your description of Market Basket. Lowest prices around my section of Massachusetts (south central Worcester county) by far. Dollars really stretch there. I wish I had an Aldi close by too but can’t justify the gas money just to shop there. I do shop at Aldi when I am already in the area of one.


auntiali June 18, 2021 at 4:28 pm

Summer is here. We had our first heat spell with three days of 90 degree days. Love my AC but not the electricity cost.

Hubby has gone back to work 4 days a week which is nice. I get to be alone 3 days and as my daughter is off on Wednesdays.

Thanks for the tip about cleaning out the charging port on your phone, I need to do that.

I’m proud to say I’ve had my Honda CRV for 11 years now. I don’t go out very much, maybe once a week just to keep the fluids flowing. Daughter is driving hubby’s Nisson as hubby got a company car with a credit card for gas.


Jann in Maine June 20, 2021 at 1:38 pm

Happy Father’s Day to any Fathers lurking!
Father’s Day meal here–lamb chops (under $8), fresh corn 17 cents apiece, and from our garden steamed pea pods. Dessert is rhubarb crisp also from our garden. Husband got breakfast in bed of hot coffee and a $1.50 donut I picked up yesterday that is his fav.
Yardsaling has been really good–hit a church fair and got 1 Le Cruset and 2 Staub enamel covered casseroles for $10 each. Daughter will have first dibs on them.
Other good stuff as well. Exciting.
Still hanging laundry out,making homemade coffee and meals. The usual.
It’s not the cooking that I get tired of it’s the thinking of things to make. I am sure others also have that issue.
Reading library books, walking, gardening and enjoying the beauty that Maine has to offer. Doesn’t get much better than that!!


Roberta June 22, 2021 at 6:36 am

1. Sold the cello I got my husband for Christmas, for almost what I spent. It turns out, an injury to his finger from high school makes stringed instruments almost impossible to play. Afterwards, we found a set of strings and we were able to return them without a receipt for a fraction of the cost, but at least they are back to being used (instead of being thrown away). We would have given them to the person who bought the cello if we had found them in time, so I consider that a win!
2. The kids each made a pie for my husband and my dad for Father’s Day, using stuff we had on hand. Lemon meringue and butterscotch cream.
3. Sold some Pendleton wool fabric that has been sitting on my shelf since dirt was new.
That’s all I can think of, except for boring ordinary stuff: hanging out laundry, picking up scraps for the chickens from the food bank, eating at home, etc. And I haven’t even been eating at home that often! We’ve been enjoying summer and visiting local family.


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