Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 22, 2021 · 88 comments



  1. I finally got my free wood chip delivery through Get Chip Drop, which pairs arborists with cheap-ass local gardeners. I’d signed up a few weeks earlier and even prepped the backyard for the project as I knew I’d have to start shoveling the mulch as soon as it was delivered. Luckily I had two day’s notice, which allowed me to move the car out of the driveway and ensure that all garden implements were at the ready.

    Wheelbarrow with a properly inflated tire? Check!

    As you can see in the above photos, the supposed “grass” portion of my backyard had devolved into hardened clay soil that served no purpose other than to ensure that dirt and mud was efficiently tracked into the kitchen.

    In the end I’d estimate that I lugged fifty wheelbarrow loads of mulch from our driveway to the backyard. Hard physical work, but worth every sore muscle.

    And the cherry on top of this project is a $28 string of outdoor Edison lights purchased used from an eBay seller. Because Jeff Bezos doesn’t need any more money and over-manufacture of consumer goods is killing our planet.

  2. My husband and I took a day trip up to Washington to visit the Ridgefield National Wildlife Sanctuary which was a 45-ish minute drive from the house. (It would have been quicker, but traffic was an issue.) We’d never been before, and were quite pleased with the experience even though the hiking trails were closed due to Covid.

    The sanctuary takes you on a driving loop, which we hadn’t anticipated, but since it wasn’t an issue to stop the car and peer through our binoculars at the various wildlife that populate the area. (Nutria! Fawns! Coyotes! Turtles! Otters! Birds! Birds! Birds!) We ended up driving the loop twice, and even downloaded their podcast for the second go round.

    They also have an offsite Native American reproduction “plankhouse” as part of the nature preserve, and although it too was closed, it was still worth the extra step to find.

    Not too shabby for a $3 car fee.

  3. I recently watched a mind blowing HGTV YouTube video about the actor, chalk artist, historical reinactor and calligrapher Rajiv Surendra. And then I watched it again. Twice. And then I called my sister and ordered her to watch it as I needed to debrief with someone who’d also seen it.

    For those who may not know him, Rajiv Surendra is a Canadian actor with Sri Lankin Tamil roots who’s best known for playing the rapping mathlete “Kevin G” from the movie “Mean Girls.” But he’s also a gifted artist, musician, knitter, potter and enthusiastic researcher into artisan made goods from the past.

    Then I ordered a $12.99 used copy of Surendra’s memoir titled The Elephants in My Backyard from Powell’s bookstore. (His story of how he immersed himself in the book “Life of Pi” in a vain attempt to win the movie role.) I’d tried to order the book from eBay, but there weren’t any copies available, so of course I listed my one when I was done reading it . . . and it sold for $50 as you can pretty much name your price if you’re the only seller.

    It’s hard to describe the magic of this video. Go watch it. Twice!

  4. I spent an afternoon prepping multiple meals for the fridge and freezer, (this included cooking up a leftover Costco roasted chicken for both soup and two pans of enchiladas, marinating chicken for an Asian stir fry, prepping broccoli, cutting up cantaloupe and baking some extra chicken thighs) we ran out of toothpaste, but survived on dentist samples until I could get to The Dollar Tree as toothpaste was suspiciously expensive at the grocery store, I finished listening to The Paris Library and immediately began The Last Bookshop in London through the free Libby app, I found 44¢ in change over the course of two days, I mended my son’s pants, I cobbled together a hanging jar for propagating plants and I’ve been having my son save his morning coffee grounds so I can later brew myself a cup of weak iced coffee.

  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 earns a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy July 22, 2021 at 5:36 pm

1. Have 2 meals in the freezer from leftovers this week
2. Started a part time job today (I’ve been looking for 8 months). It’s 5 minutes from the house. I packed my lunch.
3. Pulled sympathy cards from my stash.
4. Pared my wardrobe again. Donated a box and took several things to consignment.
5. Took my car in for free oil change and tire rotation


MB in MN July 23, 2021 at 1:55 pm

Kathy: Congrats on the new job!


Shona July 23, 2021 at 5:12 pm

Yes indeed! Congratulations on the new job!


Mary in Maryland July 22, 2021 at 5:37 pm

1. Someone found an instant pot bottom in her trash room. I got it via Buy Nothing—it works and it works with the pieces of mine that died.
2. Looking at the Covid numbers prompted me to replenish enough to avoid stores this fall and maybe winter. A friend with a Costco membership got me 90 rolls of TP and 4 cases of microwave popcorn. Have also procured things with more nutritional value.
3. Not wasting anything in my CSA share. Lots of dishes with mixed greens thrown in—even cilantro when it’s past its prime. I tuck parsley and cilantro stems into my bag of greens and throw them into greens dishes (chopped).
4. Doing most cooking in the crock pot in the basement so as not to increase the A/C bill.
5. Found someone in the Time Bank who’s willing to list and tend the listing on EBay for a pair of earrings that were too expensive (what was I thinking?) and need to move on. Was happy to find on eBay that they are selling for twice what I paid in 1990. Worn thrice.
6. A sad frugal event. Our elderly dog crossed the bridge on Saturday. He was 15 and on a few expensive meds. He had been losing strength and control of his hindquarters—needed to be carried up and down steps for the past three months. We miss him terribly, but are committed to experiencing what it’s like to live dogless before making long term decisions. Methinks that we two humans may have enough to manage health-wise betwixt us.
7. Spent a day helping clean out the house of a deceased friend. I was assigned the areas where others believed everything should just be thrown away. The bathroom and linen closet were full of toiletries—perfect went to the homeless program, imperfect went to a family who needs them, and the dregs came home—because I am totally the kind of person who will pull hair off a used soap and declare it clean.
8. Was also put in charge of food. Six boxes to a food insecure neighbor, and four questionable boxes home. I’ve tossed some buggy pasta. Pro tip—the pasta in cellophane bags held up the best. That in cardboard boxes smelled very musty, which I can take care of by setting it in the sun for a few hours. But it was also more prone to bugs. Grandma told me about the extension agent showing her homemakers’ group how to kill bugs by baking cereals during WWI, and I often do, but there was way too much of this. I am crediting this food waste to my dead friend rather than myself.


Lisa M. July 22, 2021 at 7:54 pm

Mary – I am so sorry to read of the loss of your dog. Our dog was similarly aged & her health failed dramatically in a short amount of time. Its been over a year since she left us & we’ve adjusted to being dogless. The pain remains, just slowly a little less intense.


Katy July 22, 2021 at 9:51 pm

So sorry about your dear dog — big virtual hug from me to you.


Jill A July 23, 2021 at 2:14 am

I’m so sorry about your dog and your friend.


Linda Gertig July 23, 2021 at 5:23 am

You might want to look into getting a pop-corn popper for your microwave. We got a glass one that I have used almost every day for over a year that I have been real pleased with. I do not use the lid to melt the butter. I got the giant bottle of Orville Reddinbacher popcorn at Costco and it lasts us quite awhile.


MB in MN July 23, 2021 at 1:56 pm

Mary in Maryland: I’m so sorry about your dog.


Christine July 23, 2021 at 5:57 pm

My condolences on the loss of your dog and your friend. Take care.


Jennifer July 24, 2021 at 10:49 am

I’m so sorry about your dog and your friend. Good for you for salvaging what you could and donating it. Your friend would have been proud.


Bee July 26, 2021 at 4:08 am

I’m sorry to hear of your loss of your beloved dog. Sending my condolences over the virtual miles.


Mindy&Charles August 2, 2021 at 5:55 pm

We went dogless for awhile, but then saw Katie @ the animal shelter, looking sad and scared. Have had her now for around two or three years. She was in need of a friend, would look so sad and concerned whenever we went anywhere, So watched and found Buddy, listed as a long haired chi — nope, he’s nearing 25 pounds and appears to be a Corgi. They get along well, love running out into the yard and chasing the squirrels, romping together and are so entertaining to have. Katie needs her shots, checking around to see where we can get them. The rabies must be administered by a vet, and or local feed& seed has the other shots, which I can give. Total cost under $20. We add a little bit of table food to their bagged food, and it works well. In home hugs, kisses and hilarity,


Mary in Maryland July 22, 2021 at 5:40 pm

Re: 8. I take the pasta out of the box and set it in the sun. Nothing helps the boxes.


Marie-Josée July 22, 2021 at 5:50 pm

Thanks for the video recommendation! I love reading about your full, rich life. What a score on that book sale!

I am continuing to monitor our expenses after having tallied them for a few months and almost dropping dead. Food is our biggest expense. We don’t waste any, or eat processed or convenience foods (we are healthy and can shop, chop and cook ourselves), it’s just a matter of buying fresh, gluten-free, dairy-free and expensive food here in Canada. I have downloaded an app and am monitoring weekly specials on organic meat and other expensive staples. We are saving agressively for retirement and I am really motivated to be more savvy.

I am enjoying spending time with my adult children and two grand-children now that we are fully vaccinated and have hosted two celebrations/dinners so far. I am grateful for my quiet, simple life.


Donna July 22, 2021 at 6:08 pm

Loved the video. If Rajiv Surendra ever decides he doesn’t want his home anymore, I’d be glad to take it off his hands. That kitchen sink, the chalked walls, the bead board, crown molding, and glass in the cabinets. Makes my heart sing! What an amazing man of many gifts and talents!


Katy July 22, 2021 at 9:48 pm

His absolute joy in the meaning of his belongings is contagious.


Lia July 23, 2021 at 6:15 pm

Yes- Thank you for this delightful recommendation, Katie! His joie de vivre is so damn inspiring!! I am definitely finding/following him on social media. What an inspirational human!


Flora July 22, 2021 at 7:13 pm

I was so happy to see a five frugal things post. Late last year and early this year I started at the beginning and read all your posts.
1. We live on a farm and I called local farm supply stores to price twine for round bales. Southern States, our local co-op was $12 less than Tractor Supply. On a local site on Facebook, Southern States had a $10 off a $50 purchase coupon. My husband needed 4 bales. She rang up 2 which was over 50, then rang up the other 2 with 10 off it too. So for about 5 minutes on the phone I saved $12 a piece for 4 bales which is $48, plus $20 on the 2 coupons. That waa $68 saved.
2. I did a Nielsen survey and made $6 cash.
3. At Walgreens I bought a medicine with my Flexible Spending Account card. I got a coupon for a $7 reward for a $25 purchase. They had vitamins BOGO, so my husband got 8 bottles for the price of 4 and I got my reward.


Katy July 22, 2021 at 9:44 pm

Wow, that’s a lot of blog posts since I started blogging in 2008!


Lindsey July 22, 2021 at 7:15 pm

1. We are drowning in garden produce so are buying almost nothing at the grocery store and are canning/freezing/dehydrating and trading with neighbors for moose meat.
2. Did a bunch of gas mystery shops, so the tank is full and I will be getting reimbursed for buying it and also for doing the shops.
3. Did a franchise mystery shop and was paid plus got a free lunch.
4. Sold a book that has been lingering around the house for years. Only made $10 but that is money in my pocket and clutter gone.
5. My dog donated blood to an injured dog. The pay is in dog biscuits, although we would do it for free! The vet keeps a list of folks with dogs large enough to donate blood; we did it with our last giant breed dogs and now the pound hound, who at 80 pounds is half the size of big boys were.
6. Our rhubarb, which we ignore all summer long, has taken over one side of the house. We put out a notice that someone could dig up all but two plants and take them home for free. A woman and her kids did and then a few days later came back with a rhubarb pie in thanks. Who does not like a free pie?
Meanwhile, I chopped up the rest of the rhubarb and froze it for winter use. It is one of the few things that reliably comes back after an Alaskan winter.


Katy July 22, 2021 at 9:43 pm

RE: Your #4 — Crap out of the house, money in!


kim July 23, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Lindsey- May I ask which company you do your secret shops through?


Lindsey July 24, 2021 at 7:27 pm

Kim, I work through five different mystery shop companies. Where you live somewhat determines what shops operates in your areas. The absolute best list of secret shop companies is in this article. YOu have to scroll down to find it as the article covers all sorts of gig economy opportunities, but it is there—under secret shops, not mystery shops. I hope this is what you are looking for.


kim hansen July 25, 2021 at 6:14 am

Thanks!! I will check it out!!


Christine July 23, 2021 at 5:55 pm

I love your #5…and the method of payment is so cute! I never had a dog in need of a blood transfusion so I’m sorry to say the thought of a dog blood donation never crossed my mind. Kudos to you and your pup for helping others.


Lisa M. July 22, 2021 at 7:35 pm

Double 5+FF: Sludging through Summer

1. Received 1st invite to retirement/financial seminar with free meals for DH & I @ upscale restaurant in adjoining suburb. Has been ~ 1.5 years since one of these programs was offered.

2. By using a free daily bagel through MyPanera rewards account for all 17 days, my family enjoyed $25.50 worth of carb deliciousness with no additional purchase.

3. Recent electric bill was average, in part due to spending a week out-of-state visiting family in June. Able to enjoy AC setting much cooler @ vacation rental than what we typically use @ home.

Received a gift from Mother Nature 1st full week of July in the form of numerous days in the 60s-70s. Baked & froze cornbread in advance to use in a summer salad while the oven was going for dinner.

4. Have been working diligently to use our new insurance benefits – both DH & I have had dental care; DH, DD & I have received vision care; I had my annual mammogram & have an upcoming appointment for an immunization & lab.

Remedied error of no insurance applied to DD’s contacts while still @ office which reduced our cost by 57%, not a small chunk of change d/t discounted evaluation & generous allowance for 1 year of contacts. Monitoring claims online.

5. Have repurposed some of my DM’s items inc. hand vac for cleaning stairs, as well as several items of clothing for both myself & DD.

6. Recent kitchen creations: Crested Butte grilled chicken breasts; Deli Potato Salad; Zesty Greek Couscous Salad; 3 Bean-Cheese-Zucchini Salad; Frito Pie; Chopstick Chicken Salad.

7. Shopping Day wins: Combined item from big box discount bakery rack, big box clearance shelf, manufacturer coupon & gas station electronic coupon to save $2.80.

8. Searched for least expensive means to get rid of broken recliner as unable to dismantle to put in trash, so contacted multiple local options for quotes to locate the most reasonable disposal cost & transported using DH’s SUV versus having item picked up.

9. Worked 2 days full-time for vacation coverage.

10. Met with a college roommate I last saw 31 years ago who was in town for dinner & ordered an appetizer to control cost & calories. Used left-over appetizer for lunch @ work.

11. Enjoyed free slice of pie ($4.29) carry-out, split with DH as take-out through MyPerkins with no additional purchase.

12. Continue enjoying Netflix for entertainment. Currently enjoying series “Atypical”.


Casey July 22, 2021 at 8:40 pm

Hi Katy,

You might enjoy a day trip to Forest Grove and the Fernhill Wetlands. Not as extensive, but lovely to walk around and the birds are amazing. It’s lovely in early spring and fall when the birds are migrating … quite the show! There’s also a Goodwill.


Katy July 22, 2021 at 9:40 pm

That sounds great, thanks for the tip!


Jill A July 23, 2021 at 3:24 am

1. I’ve replenished my wardrobe at Goodwill and other thrift stores in town. I’ve gained weight and most of my clothes don’t fit. I was going to buy some of my favorite t-shirts from the Gap but instead I found several for less than the cost of one. I also purchased a few dresses for vacation and a dress for my FIL’s funeral.
2. My ebay sales are doing really well and I’ve picked up more free boxes and packing materials from friends. It’s a win for all. They get rid of clutter and items get reused at least one more time and I save the cost of buying it.
3. I picked up prescriptions for my daughter at Costco which is the least expensive option and while there I purchased their gas – also the least expensive option. It’s a busy week with the funeral and my oldest daughter is in town so I picked up their chicken salad and some croissants for dinner and a salad for lunches. It’s more expensive than making it myself but cheaper than take out or eating out.
4. Dinner last night was free ribs and salads my daughter brought home from work as well as some leftover grilled chicken that needs to be eaten. We also made delicious mojitos with mint that grows on my property. Blackberries are starting to ripen and we’ve been enjoying snacking on them straight off the canes. We definitely need to get out and start picking this weekend.
5. I continue to drive my old car at least until the cost of used cars comes down. I was planning to buy a new to me used car this year but with the crazy costs due to the chip shortage I’ve decided to wait it out.


Lisa M. July 23, 2021 at 5:09 am

Jill – Condolences on the loss of your FIL. Frugality in the throes of grief is true commitment!


Jill A July 23, 2021 at 3:29 am

Also, your backyard looks amazing!! Great idea with the free wood chips. Do you have termite issues in the west like we do here?


Shelagh July 23, 2021 at 3:43 am

Thank you for sharing this video, Katy – I love Rajiv’s focus on having only that which he loves and buying items that are built to last. Also super fun that as I grew up in the Toronto area, I made almost annual field trip pilgrimages to Black Creek Pioneer village.


Rachel C July 23, 2021 at 5:08 am

Thank you for introducing me to Rajiv Surendra! What an amazing person!


Linda Gertig July 23, 2021 at 5:37 am

The $1500 we paid yesterday to our tree guy might seem like a frugal fail but saving our trees save on A/C and takes CO2, a greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere. The 90 mph wind gusts that took broke those big branches also took out electricity for much of eastern Nebraska, so we all had to throw out the contents of our refrigerators and freezers. Ouch!


Heidi Louise July 24, 2021 at 10:07 am

Yes to saving trees! Our house is clearly warmer this summer without the shade from two dying trees that were removed in our yard and the neighbor’s.


Alexandra July 23, 2021 at 6:14 am

The Rajiv Surendra was phenomenal! Thank you for sharing. I shared with several people.
I was annoyed at one person’s response which was:
“Good grief! You too can have all this with loads of time, talent, skill, want-to and MONEY!”
I replied to her that I appreciated how deliberate he is with his life.

He did not show all the things he DOESN’T do, like drop $75 on crap at Target or the like.
I believe we have choices about what we do with our time and resources. I find him inspiring.
His work, patience and skill: 10 years apprentice with a potter, painting a copy of a master for 8 months, 1 year to learn to play a nocturne, no one is handing him anything, he is choosing this life. And I’m so glad he is.
I love what he has done!


Anne July 23, 2021 at 6:49 am

I have to admit that when I read that you spent $12.50 for a book you really wanted to read, that I smirked a tiny bit inside. I love books and order used ones all the time and I thought, “Ah, Katy has a chink in her armor.” But when I then read that you turned that into a sale of $50 I had to really laugh at myself.

Could you, just once, do a Five Frugal Fails so we’ll know you are really human? 😀 😀 😀


Lindsay B July 23, 2021 at 11:28 am

1. Four cups of foraged mulberries are in the freezer for later use.
2. Have been completing “Wellness Workshops” to receive HSA money from our insurer. I love being rewarded for healthy behaviors, such as having a flu shot or doing a biometric screening. So far, I have earned $175.
3. Spent some of the above HSA money on an eye exam this week, covering the copay and an extra retinal scan that insurance didn’t cover. Grateful for HSA and decent insurance!
4. After an unusual online ordering situation involving a new bed frame ( sent us a different bed frame than we ordered, although it appeared identical to the one listed online??), my husband called and was refunded the price difference between and a different website.
5. I expect to hear back about a (very) part-time job any day now. Their hourly rate is less than I would like (it’s appropriate if it was a salaried position with benefits, but not for an hourly employee without benefits), but I am willing to negotiate.
6. Using up a facial cleanser I didn’t like by putting it in the shower. I hate to throw away resources, and in the shower I can use it on my back or chest where my skin isn’t as sensitive.
7. Picked up a free Kit Kat and cake donut from local gas station for using their app.


MB in MN July 23, 2021 at 2:38 pm

Katy: Beautiful backyard transformation! And many thanks for putting Rajiv on my radar. I’ve watched the video (twice!) and am currently reading his book. Such a gifted human being.

1. Enjoying the annuals I purchased from a school fundraiser (much better option than wrapping paper and food items I don’t need).
2. Picked chives, snipped into little pieces, and dried for future use.
3. Used a gift certificate to a local garden store that I had received as a thank you for a donation to keep our local paper in business.
4. Nearly lost my entire mind trying to figure out husband’s health insurance when he turns 65 in September. Then I remembered that our financial planner offers the services of a health insurance specialist at no cost to us. Soooo relieved.
5. Adopted a rescued beagle mix. The adoption fee, subsequent unexpected vet bill, and cost of supplies have been well worth it for this wonderful little dog.


Lea Stormhammer July 24, 2021 at 6:30 am

Congrats on your new puppy, MB!



janine July 24, 2021 at 11:53 am

Congratulations on your new family member! We thought we had adopted a Beagle-Coonhound mix. (We previously had two Beagles).
He turned our to be a less known Harrier who had heartworm. Expensive Vet bills. Well worth it – he is an amazing dog, but definitely NOT a Beagle!


Bee July 26, 2021 at 4:10 am

Congratulations on adding a new dog to your family. I hope that this is indeed the beginning of a long and wonderful friendship.


MB in MN July 26, 2021 at 12:13 pm

Thanks, all, for your kind comments about our new pup!


Kara July 23, 2021 at 3:15 pm

Sewed 2 needed pillowcases out of an old flat sheet that someone gave me. Also using same sheet for the lining of a car seat cover (drapes over the top) that I’m making my grandson. Sewing elastic in a pair of shorts that have become too big (lost a bit of weight). The shorts are ugly as heck but they fit, which is rare for me. I do only wear them around the house/yard.
Ran the gray water out to water the fruit trees. Hung 2 loads of laundry out in the sun (same as all the loads I do). Line dried sheets are the BEST!
Made an appointment to take some clothes to the consignment store.
Sold a hose on FB marketplace.
Trading my zucchini for neighbors tomatoes (I think I get the better deal!)
Cleaning out files we no longer need. Frugal because it takes less space and square footage isn’t cheap!


Christine July 23, 2021 at 3:20 pm

1. I cut DH’s hair. My Wahl clippers have paid for themselves over and over again. I think one of the reasons they are still performing at top level is the Wahl oil I apply in drops to the blade every other time I cut his hair.
2. I hit the Salvation Army store on a half price sale and purchased a very good quality black sleeveless blouse. It’s a top I can wear in the summer with nothing over it or in the cold weather with a cardigan sweater. I wore it to my grandson’s graduation party with a pair of hand-me-down-from-a-friend dressy capris and was happy with the result.
3. I worked all week at my old job to fill in for someone. DH is hiking another section of The Appalachian Trail and we will be going out of state together so that I can drop him off at the trail. I’ll use some of the money I earned for gasoline, to stay overnight at a hotel near the trail, and food for the trip and we will make a mini vacation out of it. Then home I go while he hikes. Return trip when he’s ready to be picked up.
4. I stitched another bra together after discovering one of the metal parts on the strap disappeared.
5. My neighbor went on vacation and encouraged me to pick the ripe vegetables for myself and DH that would otherwise go to waste while she was away. We scavenged wood from the vacant lot next door at the invitation of the owner who had multiple trees cut down. Using my library regularly. We had record breaking rainfall in our region this month so I barely didn’t have to water the outdoor plants and I never water my lawn anyway. This is frugal for us since we have town water and have to pay for every drop. Walking the neighborhood for free exercise. Making our own iced tea, tea and coffee. DH and I went blueberry picking at a nearby orchard and paid $2.50 a pound for them. One pound already went into blueberry crisp (same recipe as apple crisp just substituted with the berries) and the other pound will go into a pie. Enjoy the summer everyone!


Bettypants July 24, 2021 at 2:14 pm

Your #5 made me laugh. You took a page out of Katy’s book – 20 little frugal things strung together.


Christine July 27, 2021 at 8:00 am

After I finished with my first four frugal things more things kept popping into my head. What about this…what about that..? So I threw them all together and posted! Lol.


t July 23, 2021 at 3:51 pm

Still working on dishwasher installation. Lol. Meanwhile, cat loves sleeping on top of it.
I have an upstairs neighbor and the other night woke up with water dripping on me from the ceiling. I can’t help but laugh, gurgle, gurgle.
I was ok here in my cozy gray cloud in the sky as long as I was left alone. Not so anymore. So many vacationers in town, I guess they come to get covid. The news focuses on a large city near us as the covid numbers there are maybe still the highest in the country, but we have a higher infection rate here. I should make and sell t-shirts…”my family went to _____, and all they got me was the lousy delta variant”
Stay safe. I know of a couple of dozen fully vaccinated who have delta. Most don’t end up in the hospital but are sick like a bad flu. I know of one partially vaccinated who they had to life flight to get special care for electrolyte and blood pressure problems, and check for blood clots. Her husband was found dead in his bed. They were 40s and 50. Many unvaccinated even younger are in local hospitals which are full and requesting federal help. I’m saying all this because I know the idiots here running maskless and in crowds are coming home to unsuspecting places all over the country. Stay safe.


Shona July 23, 2021 at 4:59 pm

1) Got the part time job I wanted at the French bakery 4 blocks from my house. After years of stressful work in health care, I love serving people pastries.

2) Walking to work I get a discount on my auto insurance.

3) I’ve been enjoying eating only 2 meals a day and on work days I get a shift meal. Staying away from pastries and opting for healthier lunch offerings on our menu.

4) Reducing stress has lead to reducing my alcohol consumption.

5) Many coins found.

Bonus: Boxes of matzo ball mix on the clearance shelf at Kroger. 79¢ a box so I stocked up for fall and winter comfort soup


MB in MN July 23, 2021 at 5:53 pm

Shona: Yay to all the good things related to your job change!


Jill A July 24, 2021 at 9:14 am

Congratulations!! Your new job sounds like a dream.


Bettypants July 24, 2021 at 2:17 pm

Goodness, I am jealous of your walk to work part time bakery job!


Sandra Hendry July 23, 2021 at 5:23 pm

Your backyard really does look transformed. Great job!


Ecoteri July 23, 2021 at 8:22 pm

OMG. The elephants in my backyard : a memoir / Rajiv Surendra. I was only at your #3 and decided to see if the book was available at my library. Oh, Look, I can get the E-book out. Needless to say I have a bottom that has gone to sleep, because I INHALED THAT BOOK. Thank you for the recommendation, what a lovely delight. Now I have to find Mean Girls to watch! LOL. Bless you.


Katy July 24, 2021 at 3:43 pm

Happy to have contributed to your numb butt!


Marilyn Eleanor Bain July 23, 2021 at 9:45 pm

I live in Vancouver, WA and the Ridgefield Sanctuary is just up the road. I have only been there once and it was a number of years ago. I went early in the morning with 3 friends. We heard that early morning is the best time for bird watching. It was a great day, we all enjoyed it so much. Thank you for reminding me that is something I would like to do again soon.


Katy July 24, 2021 at 3:43 pm

They are open until 9 P.M. also.


Hawaii Planner July 24, 2021 at 10:52 am

I’ll have to plan a trip to the sanctuary when I visit my sister (she lives in Vancouver).

Your backyard looks amazing! I attempted to get “The Elephants In My Backyard” via my library, but no dice. I will look elsewhere. Thanks for the recommendation.

Here are my frugal wins:
1) We are so, so, so close to paying off our mortgage. It’s been a long journey, but we should be there in a few months. Every available dollar is heading there.
2) I’ve continued to list & sell things on eBay. My husband used to wear expensive Italian shoes for a job in sales. I’ve already sold a few of those pair, & they are worth quite a bit. Love cleaning out the closet & making money.
3) We’re eating a lot out of our garden. Zucchinis, peppers, chiles, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, & strawberries. Excited for the watermelon, cantaloupe, & pomegranate.
4) Used miles to book a flight for my parents in October. They’ll come & hang out with the kids, & we are going on a long weekend road trip to celebrate our anniversary.
5) Used a gift card, reward, & iBotta/Fetch at the grocery store, plus sale items. Groceries are still expensive, but doing what we can to minimize the cost.


Katy July 24, 2021 at 3:42 pm

My library didn’t have it either, which is why I bought it.


Jennifer July 24, 2021 at 11:00 am

I’m just so thankful my dh is handy! The seal around the pipe that brings water in my house gave way during the last horrible several day rain storm. Flooded part of our basement.

1. We spent the first day drying things out, throwing away the carpets, etc. We actually didn’t have to throw any of our stuff away because we keep everything in rubbermaid tubs down there. And the water stopped just before the couch due to the carpet and then a rug. Carpets were gross anyway, so this is an improvement.

2. Spent the second day (had to wait for it to quit raining) digging a 5 foot hole down to the pipe to determine what the problem was. Had it been a weekday we might have called someone. Not willing to pay for a weekend charge we wanted to at least figure out the problem. We did and $10 later for cement compound or something dh fixed the problem. A crappy 2 days but only $10 to solve the problem.

3. I got yellow squash from the farmers market and used other ingredients on hand to make a massive squash casserole that I am freezing for dh’s lunches.

4. Freezer door didn’t shut all the way but by chance I happened upon it before the damage was too bad. We ate what we had to right away, are eating the rest as quickly as possible because it will have freezer burn with the refreezing process (ice cream, berries for smoothies, etc). Freezer is now an iced over mess so I am defrosting it today and getting organized. I have too much ice cream I discovered.

5. Working summer school. I don’t like to, but my student needed me (I’m a 1-on-1 aide) plus the school offered a bonus. It really is pretty easy, is only 4 hours, and the funds will go straight to the college account. 2 in this year.


Audry July 24, 2021 at 12:17 pm

I’m so sorry about the freezer. That bites! However, there is no such thing as too much ice cream!


cathy July 24, 2021 at 3:36 pm

1. Sold a really cute wood toddler activity table. My “baby” is almost 19. Listed it on NextDoor and sold it the same day.
2. Gifting a bunch of stuff through the Buy Nothing group: printers, bag of charcoal, DVD/VHS player, random electronics. Mostly big stuff that takes up too much room. I count this as frugal since all that’s required of me is to take a photo and create a post. Then people come for a porch pick up. Received one of my best Buy Nothing gifts ever: an antique brass compass that I’ve set aside for husband’s Christmas gift, and a handmade wool blanket.
3. Earned a $10 gift card for my local, indie bookstore in the library’s summer reading program. Splurged on my favorite book from one of my favorite authors, and had to pay only the $7 difference.
4. Beginning to harvest from the garden: tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, herbs, and baskets full of blackberries!
5. In Utah, we celebrate Pioneer Day. Those of us a bit more irreverant celebrate Pie ‘n’ Beer Day. Baking pies for the family. All ingredients on hand. Using an ancient Groupon for “pie” pizza for dinner.


Ruby July 24, 2021 at 3:49 pm

Your backyard is so beautiful now, Katy. And what a lovely day trip you had.

I did all the usual stuff this week: prepped languishing fruit and veg as part of my brown bag lunches, so no waste; wore cute thrifted outfits every day; and hung up my office clothes to let wrinkles fall out so they can be worn again, thus saving on laundry-related costs. After a lot of hunting, bought fabric for a chair makeover as a remnant and saved 75% on the cost of the fabric. Bought winter shoes for myself on deep clearance through a retailer’s eBay store, where the shipping is cheaper and faster.


Bettypants July 25, 2021 at 5:34 am

1. My library had their first book sale in well over a year. Although I am fully vaccinated, I was glad I had my mask. I was astounded by how tightly people (and their young children) were wedging themselves in.  

2. I have been selling and shipping a lot of items, burning through my stash of shipping bags and boxes. Asked a couple people at work to start saving boxes, and my sister brought me a huge stack of shipping bags.

3. Found King Arthur organic bread flour on sale, 12 bags (2 pounds each) for $12.45. Sale price because it is best by December 2021. Gave two bags to my sister and have already gone through 2 bags myself, so I’m not worried about the date.

4. A freebie site I use frequently offers me free magazines subscriptions, but the  selection is quite limited. Sent Bon Appetite to my brother and Runner’s World to my sister, and they were both pleased.    

5. Repaired the wobbly leg on my coffee table with a few screws. Stitched up the loose lace on a yard sale dress, so it is wearable.


Kimberly Fish July 25, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Where did you get the deal on the flour?


Bettypants July 25, 2021 at 2:00 pm

It was on Amazon. I saw it posted on a deal site.


MommaL July 25, 2021 at 7:23 am

Productive weekend. My sister in law’s husband passed so we cleared out her garage and his closets, which were full of 60 years of accumulation, he kept it all “just in case”.
1. Put out a very large free pile by the curb. Many people came to get those treasures. I met a man who is working on a fixing up his house in the mountains, determined to spend no money on the job. Happily gave him a lot of lumber.
2.Cleared out the kitchen cupboards, culled it with her and organized what she is keeping. Now she knows what she has and won’t duplicate it. Same for the wraps, foil, cleaners etc. Donating unopened current food that she didn’t want to the local food pantry.
3. Gleaned a couple of things for myself, including a pretty Bundt pan I’ve been wishing for.
4. Used paper bags saved from the grocery store to bag up all of his clothing, took it all to the local thrift store.
5. Found jars of pennies stashed in closets. Will take them to Coinstar and send her the $.
Hopefully lightened her load a bit, so she can move on.


Lisa M. July 25, 2021 at 10:45 am

MommaL – Seems like a time of loss for many, although it is a part of life. What a wonderful, compassionate gift you provided for your sil, while ensuring that excess goods were utilized or donated to those who who could benefit. Bravo!


Momma L July 25, 2021 at 12:04 pm

Thank you. It feels very good to clear out clutter, and I was happy to do it.
I learned something while doing it. In one closet, I found many gifts that I and others had given to them over the years, still in the gift bags. I’m resolving to only give gifts I know people will use from here on. Food they’ll eat, chores to help, or tickets to somewhere they’ll go. No more “fun” gifts, knick knacks, theme gifts, or snacks they’ll never eat. They had EIGHT bottles of flavored vinegar, that were all gifts. I’m really rethinking how I give gifts, so I don’t give anyone one more thing to store.


Lisa M. July 26, 2021 at 6:07 am

Wow, how incredible to find gifts still in their gift bags! When we were helping my parents downsize, I was similarly shocked @ the # of gifts I had given my DM over the years, all of which were returned to me. Granted they weren’t in original gift bags but nevertheless it was shocking to see how those non-consumable items accumulate. What an amazing opportunity to glean incredible insight! Thank you for sharing.


Mary in Maryland July 27, 2021 at 12:09 pm

Cleaning out my gourmet friend’s house, I think everyone he knew gave him artisanal vinegar as gifts. One friend wanted to give me a “big” gift and I suggested the mushroom of the month club. Not a thing–she just drops off a few once a month on her way home from shopping. And we stand in the driveway and chat. My best-received git to others is mending, especially sweaters.


Lisa M. July 27, 2021 at 3:04 pm

Who knew flavored or artisanal vinegar was such a thing? My vinegar inventory is determined by whatever type the recipe calls for. How boring…

Those practical gifts can’t be beat – food that will be eaten, chores (including mending) & tickets that will be used. Words of wisdom, ladies.

Bee August 3, 2021 at 3:53 am

Whenever I would buy a gift for my MiL, my husband would say, “Make sure you buy her something that you like.” She would give everything back to me. Once I brought her some gold and diamond earrings for her 80th birthday and she told me she couldn’t wear them. She said her earlobes were too fat. After that, we took her to dinner at a nice restaurant and gave here flowers. That worked just fine.


Christine August 5, 2021 at 6:45 am

My father and his siblings did something similar to celebrate their and their spouses’ birthdays. After exchanging the same old gifts for years, they decided to go out to dinner as a group and split the cost of the birthday girl/boy’s meal instead. It worked well.

April July 25, 2021 at 7:37 pm

1.) just got back to work after a foot injury and received a small hourly promotion; I’m also working catering jobs on the weekends
2.) I’ve been using my local Buy Nothing group as I have decluttered prior to a move in a month
3.) lots of meal prepping & packing my own lucnhes
4.) I do online counseling & emailed my provider to receive an extension as my counselor is going on a hiatus
5.) I didn’t buy a Lear Jet!


Plaidgirl July 26, 2021 at 4:57 am

Thank you Katy for the Rajiv Surendra recommendation!!! Just watched his home tour video and am hooked. He is a true Renaissance man and seems like such a dear person!!


JudyS July 26, 2021 at 3:21 pm

I watched it twice, I am now going to make my sister watch it. Thanks!


rebecca July 30, 2021 at 6:59 am

1. Going away for a few days next week and trying to use up some food before I go. Also trying to plan to bring some food and coffee pods up to offset the restaurant meals.
2. Watching the Olympics for entertainment
3. Not frugal but took a good friend out to say goodbye as they are moving with their family across the country. I will miss them.
4. Not spending money on things right now feels good.
5. Trying to let go of some things and thinking about selling on ebay or just donating them. Letting go of things from my sister is hard. I know they are not her but feel like every time I give something away there is less of her near me….


Jill A July 31, 2021 at 5:06 am


#5. I understand not wanting to let things go. I still haven’t gotten rid of anything that belonged to my husband. I’ll give the kids the things they want. Someday though. Take your time.


Bethany M July 31, 2021 at 2:05 pm

Moved out of CA to IN last week. Husband’s employer took on the moving expenses. Instant upgrade on quality of life and budgeting.

We moved 90% of the items prohibited by the moving company. Gave away the flammables but kept ever ounce of liquid soap, batteries, and all my house plants. They traveled really well.

My parents live 3 hours away from our new house so we’ve saved a lot by visiting them while we waited to close on the house.

About to gain the victory over this pink eye with the help of vitamin c, raw garlic, and eye drops. (The first two items were only oral, LOL)

Grandpa took the girls to church with their practice books. They got to play on a world class organ. He wanted to practice for the Sunday service.


Kara August 1, 2021 at 7:52 am

I can imagine the quality of life improvement moving out of CA. We keep looking…


Bethany M August 1, 2021 at 4:46 pm

Good luck!!!


Cindy in the South August 1, 2021 at 11:37 am

Frugal in the sense that I won’t have to be running to store this month for meat for middle son, who eats four meals with me every weekend now. I stocked up on chicken and ground beef, and turkey tenderloin because he does not eat pork. At the moment I have a ground beef, rice, onions and cheese casserole, a broccoli, cheese and rice casserole, and sautéed spinach in oven. He can eat whatever he wants and I will take the rest with me when I go back home for the week to work, since he doesn’t like to cook. Works for me. So basically I make a couple of meals and eat them all week. I am not picky.


LB August 5, 2021 at 6:38 am

Happy summer!

1. Just returned from a road trip where I drove my friend’s car home from Phoenix to upstate NY for her. Her family was planning to ship it and I’ve always wanted to do a USA road trip. Between credit card points, low cost airbnbs, and the car being a hybrid, I made out on a 5 day trip for -significantly- less than the cost of shipping the car or renting one would have been.

2. Not necessarily frugal, but felt important–I managed to do the trip with zero trips to chain restaurants or coffee shops. I collected stickers from local places to decorate my laptop and sipped iced americanos walking around towns I’d never heard of.

3. Returned home in time to start packing to move apartments–while we did have to buy boxes, I pulled out our supply of towels, reusable bags, and stored paper bags to use as packing supplies. Take that, bubble wrap!

4. Souvenirs from my travels are exclusively consumables. BBQ sauce from Kansas City, bath bombs from a small business in Oklahoma. Excited to use these items and think of the trip knowing I didn’t give any cash to tourist traps or big stores.

5. I did not buy a vacation home in Santa Fe, New Mexico (although damn was I tempted!)


Lindsay B August 9, 2021 at 8:59 am

LB, I love your #2! Every time I visit a local coffee shop or restaurant I have warm fuzzies. I think it’s a small but important thing!


Kim from Philadelphia August 21, 2021 at 3:52 pm

Katy, did you expand your back deck? Looks awesome from what can be seen in the pics!


Katy August 25, 2021 at 10:08 am

Not expanded, just mulched!


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