Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 16, 2021 · 83 comments

  1. I stopped at Goodwill after a dental appointment and picked up a $6.99 blue Westclox Moonbeam clock, which I decided to keep. I then went onto eBay and sold the green one I already owned for $35, as the blue one looked prettier in my soft grey bedroom. Literally — one thing in, one thing out!

  2. My husband and I schlepped 1,200 pounds of garbage to our waste transfer station. (Sorry, minivan shocks.) This may sound like an excessive amount of stuff, (and frankly it was) but the weight was greatly influenced by a huuuge pile of dirt that had been sitting in our driveway for so long that it’s actually visible in our house’s Google Earth photo.

    Everything else was broken and un-fixible stuff from the our basement, backyard and attic that we’d held onto for some unfathomable reason. I believe that we do-gooders have a tendency to hold onto our stuff long after it’s become unusable, as we feel guilt from having transformed something useful into straight-up garbage.

    However, it’s not a healthy mindset to allow useless crap to crowd our lives. My husband and I repair and mend our possessions, but some things simply can’t be fixed and reach the point of no return. (I’m looking at you, cheap plastic!)

    It’s best to admit defeat and get rid of the stuff and then set a goal to do better moving forward. To buy used whenever possible, fix what you can, forgo low quality un-fixible stuff and most importantly think twice before buying impulse items that serve no purpose beyond that momentary dopamine release.

    Curious about what we took to the dump/hazardous waste site?

    • A 32-gallon garbage can that had split down the side.
    • A rock hard bag of cement that had somehow gotten wet.
    • A broken floor lamp.
    • Concrete chunks from who knows what?
    • Empty paint and stain cans.
    • A broken plastic milk crate.
    • A twin mattress that was too gross to give away.
    • So. Much. Dirt!

    It goes without saying that you should do what you can to find new homes for still useful items. Buy Nothing Groups are an amazing resource for this goal, as is the lowly “free” sign taped onto a curbside item.

  3. I sold a ton of stuff through eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, including:

    • A pair of ass-less leather chaps, which I bought for $14.99 and sold for $52.

    • A Herman Miller Aeron chair, which I bought for $25 and sold for $350.

    • My beloved, (but extraneous) library card catalog coffee table, which went for $260.

    • A distressed vintage STOP sign, which I bought for $5 and sold for $25.

    • An antique mirror, which I bought for $2.99 and sold for $34.50.

    • Two vintage lighting globes, which cost me $1.50 and $4.99 and then sold to a local store for $45.

    • A 1965 Barbie case, which I bought filled with dolls and clothes for $15. The case alone sold for $45. The rest is listed separately.

    • A Guitar Hero controller, which I bought for $4.99 and sold for $40.

    • A marble, which was part of a $2.99 jar and sold by itself for $28.80.

    Three yards of wool fabric, which I bought for $2.49 and sold for $25.00.

  4. I washed my car in the driveway, (it was impressively filthy after driving through that wildlife sanctuary) I was gifted a bag of fresh figs from my father’s tree, I returned some supplies to a hardware store after realizing I’d bought the wrong stuff, I threw a neighborhood potluck using non-disposable dishes and silverware, my son and I picked free blackberries from my secret spot, my husband and I drove to the beach for the day to celebrate our 28th anniversary, (day trips are so much cheaper than renting a motel room!) and I listened to both Crying in H Mart and The Chicken Sisters through the library’s free Libby app.

  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.

{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa M. August 16, 2021 at 7:18 am

Double 5+FF: Surviving Summer

1. Weekly shopping wins: Week #1 found 2 clearance bakery rack items @ big box & a penny in the CoinStar machine, as well as used a 50% off coupon on brats won in summer sweepstakes @ gas station for savings of $4.17. Week #2 found item on big box clearance bakery rack & item on general clearance, as well as purchased sale item & found a penny @ the gas station for savings of $2.75. Week #3 found item on big box bakery clearance rack & used electronic coupon @ gas station for savings of $2.45. Week #4 found 4 big box clearance bakery racks items & used manufacturer’s coupon for savings of $4.95. Four weeks’ combined savings of $14.32 with minimal effort. Aldi savings > substantial but difficult to quantify.

DH & I are using daily MyPanera Perks for free daily coffee – 8 & counting thus far. Utilized Panera free half salad perk for DD; dealership coupon for brake inspection of DD’s SUV; & PetSmart 15% off coupon & Treat Points for total combined savings of $22.75.

2. Picked up monthly free card from card store & replenished get well stock. Used a free card from my stash for nephew’s birthday inc. complimentary sticker & free stamp.

3. Recent kitchen creations: Surprise Slaw; Aegean Salad; Crested Butte grilled chicken tenderloins & later boneless chicken thighs; Deli Potato Salad; Cornbread Salad; Pasta Primavera; BLTs; Tomato Juice Salad; Chicken, Rice & Black-Bean Salad, Tomato Pies.

4. DD’s online rebate for 12 months of contacts approved.

Received a motivating $5 rebate from Kellogg’s Family Rewards but 2nd rebate requiring additional efforts. 2 offers per customer but difficulty encountered both submitting & receiving advertised 2nd rebate.

5. Signed up for Freecycle as a learning experience, as don’t do FB so Buy Nothing Groups not accessible. Able to utilize in short order – 3 free wooden Garage Sale signs to add to my eclectic inventory. Couldn’t have better timing as next GS scheduled with neighbors this week.

In prep for sale, bought large bottle of super glue with brush & tacked down soles in DD’s tap shoes, along with repurposing fabric for elasticized ties. Also repaired a hole found in a clothing item belonging to DM.

6. No-cost financial/retirement dinner seminar provided bountiful quantities to accommodate generous leftovers for lunch the next day.

7. Our neighbor generated a giant free pile by the curb. Our haul: NIP Cop Cam, mega power strip, holiday lights stake, rolling carry-on bag (with a nickel inside), rug for garage door & electric curlers for DD. My DF stopped by & found several lawn & garden supplies.

8. Birthday month offers flooded in. So far have used Red Robin ($14.50 savings), Caribou Coffee ($4.59 savings), Denny’s ($5 savings), Famous Dave’s ($6 savings), Panera ($2 savings) with Perkins, Chipotle & IKEA to go. Genghis Grill closed all locations in state & local Buca di Beppo closed d/t fire. ☹

9. Gifted large variety of giant tomatoes, jalapeno peppers & red & green peppers from DH’s friend. Fantastic late summer treats that coincided with my birthday.

10. Sadly, our upstairs toilet bit the dust. Was able to use a coupon towards new toilet installation saving $64.00 that helped a little.

11. Working variable hours to provide coverage for appts. last week & this week.

12. Continue using Netflix for entertainment – after watching new episodes of “Virgin River”, watched series “Hit & Run”.


Christine August 16, 2021 at 9:14 am

I’ll start with the frightfully unfrugal. The boiler in our basement had a leak of hot steam being released into the air without our knowing it. I thought the cellar felt warm and sticky due to the excessive rain and humidity we’ve been experiencing in the Northeast. Fast forward a week and there was a puddle under the boiler reaching into a corner. I called our oil company who immediately dispatched someone to repair the boiler. Among things broken in it was a coil which had released the hot steam into the basement, silently. The end result is mold covering most surfaces. We’ve thrown a lot out of items with permeable surfaces and cleaned others with bleach and water. The mold on the walls, ceiling, insulation, stairs and stairwell are too big a job for us. For the first time I’ve had to file a claim with my home insurance company. A whole other Sh__show. Well, onto the frugal things which will help us to meet our current expenses.
1. We’re happy to have built an emergency fund which will help or cover our expenses from the steam leak in the boiler.
2. I went blueberry picking at the farm down the road from my house with a
friend. At $2.50 a pound, we each picked only 3/4 of a pound as the season is way at it’s end. So $2 for each of us. When we inquired about the U-pick peaches, the owner told us they were free! He said he’d rather people picked them than they go to waste. We each picked about 5 or 6 pounds but each of us left him $3 in his cash box. The cheapest peaches in this area go for $1.49 a pound so this was still a bargain. Does anybody have any advice on freezing peaches? I don’t want to can.
3. There is apparently a bird virus in the Mid-Atlantic states that affects the birds eyes and is fatal. To keep it out of our state of Massachusetts, the authorities have encouraged people to stop feeding wild songbirds so they will not gather in groups and spread it…similar to us humans staying home and social distancing to avoid Covid. DH has elected to quit one of his favorite hobbies of feeding backyard birds. This will save us anywhere from $20 to $30 a month and protect the birds at the same time.
4. I was thinking of putting together a Care Basket for a sick family member but decided to make his favorite cookie recipe for him instead. Not only more frugal but I know this will mean more to him as he is the first to attack these peanut butter cookies every Christmas Eve.
5. As we may be moving, I’m trying to purge and whenever possible sell unwanted household and decorative items. After reading a post in the NCA about someone finding gifts given over the years while cleaning out someone’s house really made me pause. Great food for thought as continue to clean things out.


Jenn H August 16, 2021 at 11:19 am

I like to cut peaches into bit size chunks and freeze in silicone cupcake wrappers. Once they are frozen you can pop them out of the silicone and store in them in a zippy bag in the freezer then you have a 1/4 cup puck of peachy goodness for baking or smoothies or oatmeal or whatever. If you don’t have something small enough to make a usable portion that it would easily pop out of, I would lay the chunks flat on a cookie sheet and freeze then store in a zippy bag. They will sort of be individual like that so still usable. I do my blueberries like that and it works a treat. What you don’t want is a giant 2 lb bag a peaches in the freezer all in a clump! Speaking from experience here, lol


Christine August 18, 2021 at 6:17 am

The cookie sheet approach sounds great. Thank you!


Bee August 16, 2021 at 12:19 pm

I’m sorry to hear about the boiler situation. That sounds terribly stressful. Good luck with the clean up.


Christine August 18, 2021 at 6:18 am

Thanks Bee. Things are coming along.


Liz B. August 16, 2021 at 10:09 am

Hi, Christine! Lucky you on the free u-pick peaches. For freezing peaches, I peel and slice them off the pit, then put the slices in a zip top bag, label and freeze. I usually measure the amount of peach slices by the cup before putting them in the bag, so I have a relative idea of how much is in there (enough for a pie, or a crisp, for example). If you want to be able to pull out individual slices, you might want to lay them out on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper – freeze them – then put the individual slices in a zip top bag, or other freezable vessel. I’ve never done that with peaches, but I’ve used that method to freeze fresh berries.
I also am a bird feeder/newbie bird watcher and photographer, so I, too, have taken down my feeders until the all-clear is sounded about that wild bird illness. (I live in the Midwest). From what I understand, they still don’t know what’s causing the illness.


Christine August 18, 2021 at 6:20 am

Thanks for the peachy advice! We miss the birds too but, like you, will keep the feeders down until a resolution is achieved.


Lindsay B August 16, 2021 at 10:09 am

1. Mailed off receipts for a $15 rebate.
2. Redeemed coupons at Starbucks won while playing previous games: a free drink and ½ off a breakfast sandwich, which I used a gift card to pay for. Total OOP cost: 38 cents for treats to share with my DH.
3. Enjoying two large bags of basil and some homegrown tomatoes gifted from a friend. Her dad grows massive amounts of produce, so fingers crossed for more tomatoes!
4. Needed a larger size of dress pants for work, which I found at Goodwill along with several other needed clothing items.
5. Received a job offer for a per diem job, finally! Minimum shifts will be 2/month, and while I would prefer more I am grateful to have the job and will be as available as possible for picking up additional shifts.
6. The usual: cooking beans at home, etc.


MB in MN August 18, 2021 at 10:03 am

Lindsay B: Yay to the job offer!


Cindy in the South August 16, 2021 at 10:41 am

1. I made chicken with vegetables. I then transformed the leftovers into a casserole by adding rice and cheese. I cooked hamburgers at home. I made a hamburger, onion, rice and cheese casserole. I picked free figs. I took my lunch to work every day, as usual. It has consisted lately of a cheese sandwich, carrots, and apples. I bought apples, cheese, etc. at Aldi. I also made turnip greens and rice, with a dash of horseradish. This is for a few weeks worth of food stuff.
2. I walked in the park for free exercise.
3. I had my oil changed and tires rotates, along with a filter put in my car since I travel a total of two hours a day for work. Preventive maintenance will hopefully help my small car last longer.
4. My car is older so I dropped down to liability insurance only.
5. I took a nap on Saturdays. That was nice.


Chris in MN August 16, 2021 at 11:20 am

1. A friend gave me a fit bit that she wasn’t using/didn’t intend on using again. Not something I would have purchased but my doctor had just encouraged me to add 10 more minutes of exercise to my day so good timing.
2. Found a you tube yoga class that is good for a very beginning beginner to help with that same 10 minutes.
3. Rather than use a dog kennel for our trip out of town, we are leaving him with our daughter and taking her dog in October while they are out of town.
4. Spent 2 hours with my 20 year old (unofficial) nephew discussing home cooking, food waste and composting – and some girlfriend issues – send him home with a large chunk of carrot cake.
5. Reading library books, cooking from home, all the standards.


Ava August 16, 2021 at 11:30 am

1. Friend gave me an enormous box of tomatoes after she had canned as many as she could stand. I canned 10 quarts.
2. Made a quart of Korean pickles for my husband from cucumbers that were not getting eaten fast enough.
3. Eating home grown grapes. This is the first year they have produced and the vines are loaded.
4. Found a dime and 2 pennies.
5. Watched library movies.
6. Had to get a new AC unit. I am not sure we did the right thing in going for replace over repair. The old unit was 12 yrs old. We may have been hoodooed in replacing but we did resist the sales pitch for a special filter that would have added almost $1000. We also went with buying the unit outright instead of paying a monthly fee that guaranteed free repairs for 10 years, but that also added thousands of dollars to the total cost. After 3 days in roasting temps, we just wanted the problem solved.
7. Put a wheel barrow/ cart/ rolly thing that I never used out on the street and someone took it away, so frugal for them.
8. Have begun to check the glass recycle bin every time we haul off cardboard. I almost always find at least one canning jar. I share them with my friend.


Joanne August 18, 2021 at 6:35 am

Since you replaced your old unit, think of the savings on your electric bill! It’s more efficient than your old one.


Ava August 18, 2021 at 1:01 pm

I hope it works that way. Or will it use more because it is bigger?


rebecca August 16, 2021 at 12:06 pm

1. I’ve been using my beach pass that I paid for to enjoy mini vacations for a few hours at a time. It’s costing me gas $ but priceless for my mental health.
2. I made a decent stir fry from csa vegetables and other stuff from my freezer. Also, using up more stuff from my freezer.
3. It has been so hot here but keeping my ac at a steady 73 degrees.
4. Made brownies for my neighbors who are moving to wish them best wishes and a sweet beginning of a new chapter in their lives. I thought I might buy them something but they didn’t really need more stuff. It didn’t hurt that I am feeling a bit broke after paying estimated taxes.
5. My lovely neighbor shared a plethora of flowers leftover from a family engagement party. I saved four of the brownies and brought them over to say thank you.
6. Containers for both brownie deliveries were takeout containers so at least some plastic gets reused before (hopefully) being recycled.


K D August 16, 2021 at 12:15 pm

We took a trip to meet up with family. It was not very frugal as it involved flying, a rental car and a hotel stay. However:

1. I book the hotel using an AARP discount. My husband and I split meals a couple of times. We ate airline provided snacks and drinks instead of purchasing in the airports. We received a ride to/from the airport and my husband found a couple $20 bills in the roadway while getting into our ride home (and no one had recently exited a vehicle).

2. I stopped and chatted with a friend today while near his house. We’d
talked about doing lunch but neither of us could think of anything we wanted to eat out. It was also a bit early for lunch time so we sat outside and talked then I received some tomatoes from his garden and I went home and ate leftovers.

3. I am working on our full refrigerator freezers, using up the miscellaneous items in them. We had more food than I realized.

4. I called to pay a doctor’s office co-pay instead of sending it in. We have had a rash of co-pays not being collected during office visits, the way they would have been in the past. I need to call about our heating oil delivery, we were billed at a higher rate than I was quoted on the phone. $15 is $15. I am going to ignore an email showing we have a credit balance on a credit card I closed in January, they sent a refund that I cashed months ago.

5. We tried out the library’s latest digital offering, hoopla. We watched a couple episodes of My Life is Murder. It’s easy to watch, lighter than most “detective” shows.


K D August 16, 2021 at 12:17 pm

“booked” not ” book” for item 1.


Bee August 16, 2021 at 12:17 pm

That is an impressive list of items sold and a great job on the clean out! Thank you for reminding people to re-home things that are not of use to them any more. There is nothing more wasteful then allowing things to just rot away. I just helped clear the home of an elderly woman who was entering assisted living. I threw away 38 contractor’s bags of unusable items as well as many large pieces. Sadly, much of it once had a great deal of value but it was improperly stored in a shed that did not have any type of climate control. After 20 years in the hot and humid climate of Florida, things like tools, wood furniture, vintage clothes and books were unsalvageable. This is hard for a thrifty person and an antique lover.
My 5 FFTs —
1. I attended a birthday party for my Great Nephew. He is a lego fanatic, so I purchased a really cool set for him. (IMHO, legos are really great toys.) I used a gift card which I received during a promotion to cover part of the cost. I used a gift bag from my stash of pre-owned bags. Along with a card and tissue paper purchased from the dollar store, it made a colorful presentation.
2. The young daughter of a family friend was also having a birthday. All this child wanted was a typewriter which of course is not the easiest thing to find. My friend sent a text request asking if anyone had one. I was actually able to give her one and make her birthday wish come true. I had one that had belonged to my son who was happy to pass it along. The little girl and the mom were thrilled as was I. I love my adult children, but they need to come home to get their “stuff.”
3. I sold some beautiful Waterford Crystal grapefruit bowls that I picked up at the thrift store. I also sold some costume jewelry and 2 designer purses that I purchased at the Goodwill Bins pre-covid. I also scraped some sterling silver last month when the price was high. I collect odd pieces that I find in a shoe box. When it is full, I exchange it for cash.
4. I have begun collecting ephemera and am trying my hand at making a junk journal. My theme is flowers and gardening. This is fun, cheap, creative and relaxing.
5. I’ve been doing all the usual things cooking from scratch, reading library books, enjoying the outdoors when it’s not too hot or raining, drinking primarily water, brewing my own coffee, combining errands, and watching streamed television.
Wishing everyone peace, good health and frugality.


Anne August 17, 2021 at 7:16 am

The answer to No. 2 is to tell your adult children to come get their stuff by a certain date or you are donating/trashing the items. You will be amazed at how little they really want those artifacts. 😀


Bee August 18, 2021 at 4:11 am

A very good idea!


Marce August 18, 2021 at 4:06 am

Bee, we’re did you bring your old silver for cash? I would like to do the same.


Bee August 18, 2021 at 10:54 am

I sell nicer pieces on eBay especially popular flatware patterns and some antique pieces. However, I sell rough and unpopular pieces for scrap. I have a local dealer whom I have used for years. However, there are silver recyclers all over. You can do an internet search for local possibilities or ask a local antique dealer or estate liquidator.
Before you sell. I suggest that you weigh your items and look up today’s scrap price online. This gives you a bench mark for what your item is worth. For example, if your item weighs 100 grams and today’s price is $0.75 per gram, then you should expect something in the $75 range for the item. Some dealers will give you slightly less to cover their expenses. This should never be more than 20% less than scrap price. The value of weighted silver can be difficult to determine.
I hope this helps!


Marc August 19, 2021 at 3:38 am

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer me. It was appreciated.


Hawaii Planner August 16, 2021 at 1:15 pm

Those chapless pants are definitely my highlight today. There’s a buyer for (almost) everything, isn’t there?!

1) Lots & lots (& lots) of garden produce. We’re overrun by peppers & zucchini, and have enough tomatoes that we haven’t bought any since late May. I’m able to share a lot of the produce with friends & neighbors, which always feels good. For the first time in at least a couple of months, I’m without a zucchini in my fridge, due to said giving away to friends & neighbors. I feel so free! 🙂 Next I need to sort the hundreds of Serrano peppers that have taken over one garden bed.
2) We’ve continued to list & sell things on eBay. Several years ago, I discovered on this site that you could repurpose mailing envelopes. I had no idea. Once I ran out, I put out an ask on Buy Nothing, and have so many again. People are thrilled to keep them out of the recycling/landfill.
3) My husband went through his extensive Italian shoe collection, and decided that he had way too many. These shoes have moved with us twice, so I’m very happy to see them go. I’ve sold four pair on eBay so far, and they go for ~$50/each.
4) We sold our vacation house, and paid off our mortgage. Huge & satisfying wins.
5) I signed up to do volunteer hours for my teen son’s soccer club. The volunteering is a cleat exchange, which I’m passionate about (reducing waste), & it saves $100 off of the season fees.


Katy August 16, 2021 at 2:44 pm

I love each and every one of your five things!


Shona August 16, 2021 at 4:22 pm

A big congratulations on paying off your mortgage!!!!


Katy in Africa August 16, 2021 at 2:00 pm

1. Accepted some free potatoes, oranges and painting canvas.
2. My husband will be helping with some electrical work where we are lodging for the week. In return they will take some off our bill. $40-80 saved!
3. We went shopping and bought multiple things on sale, cookies, cereal and milk powder.
4. We have been enjoying being in the big city and have ordered out 3 times, but now I plan to cook most or all of our meals until we go home.
5. My husband is trying to resell some clothing.


t August 16, 2021 at 3:14 pm

Kids must be back at school as the crowds here are the smallest yet so I went to Aldi’s. 85 cent grapes! I made grilled chicken, ham, and cheese sandwich. Was really good. I’ve been making rice tortilla pizzas lately. So yummy, quick, and cheap. Found best way to keep rayon knits looking new. Turn inside out, put in mesh bag, delicate cold cycle, shake out and hang to dry. Works. Continue meetings and visiting on Zoom. Even went to funerals on Zoom. Entertainment is mostly do it yourself videos, plan to build my own small house when I find some land. Keep getting offers to sell my place, I will be happy to go. I question my ability to live off the grid though. How much electricity do I need for a small refrigerator lol.


sharon August 17, 2021 at 6:53 am

t – be sure to check what the state laws in your area are concerning living off the grid. In our state, North Carolina, you cannot live completely off the grid per state law. You must be connected in some fashion. However I do know two families that are off the grid up in the mountains. The homes are next to impossible to find if you don’t know that they are there. They both have solar panels with storage batteries for powering a few items. It’s kind of a case of the local government being ” We don’t see it, you don’t exist”.


Shona August 16, 2021 at 4:11 pm

A variety of frugal and un-frugal but we are still living well below our means.

1) Two loaves of fresh baked sourdough came home from work. So good and two weeks of bread we don’t have to buy. A gallon of milk also came home as the due date was approaching and there was not enough room for the new milk shipment. We’ve not been buying a lot of groceries which is good because in our area the shelves are looking a bit sparse.

2) Local roast coffee at work takes care of my coffee 4 days a week. Again, lowering grocery costs at home. (My husband doesn’t drink coffee).

3) Spending some $ on a couple updates to our second house/ rental (my husband’s house before we got married) we are putting on the market hopefully next week. Real estate agent is raising the asking price to cover these changes. It’s in a red hot market so we are hopeful.

4) Watched a video on YouTube called “Dead White Man’s Clothes” about the influx of unsold thrift store clothes in Ghana from Western nations. I’ve made a FREE box at the curb to redistribute give aways to my neighbors. Many items left by our last tenant went into the box. I kept the left behind variety of Seventh Generation cleaning supplies and craft beer.

5) $1 bill found in a grocery parking lot. I’ve also noticed a lot of people don’t collect their change at self checkouts.


Ruby August 16, 2021 at 4:27 pm

1. Gathered together all the discounted upholstery fabric and sewed new covers for our Mission chair cushions, a new slipcover for our giant ottoman, and three throw pillows that were stuffed with the filling from an old king size pillow. Had only a handful of scraps left over. Used some vintage buttons bought at the Salvation Army to decorate one of the pillows.
2. Put together some yard sale fabric and a flannel sheet bought at the humane society thrift shop ages ago to make a really nice sofa throw.
3. Dropped a bag of stuff at Goodwill and popped in for a look around. My car is so old it still has a CD player, and I found some nice CDs for four dollars. Hours of entertainment!
4. My clever husband repaired our recycling bin, which has a step to open lid, when the plastic pin that lifts the lid wore out. His vast collection of screws yielded one that replaced the pin.
5. I have been moved to a new office at work and needed a pencil cup, paper tray, little boxes for paperclips and such. Made everything out of stuff from the recycling bin covered with Contact paper and calendar art.


Bee August 18, 2021 at 10:58 am

Ruby, I always admire your creativity! I would not have thought to make my own desk accessories. You are a supreme upcycler!!!!!


Ruby August 18, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Thank you. One of our dogs gets a medication by mail every month in the handiest little square boxes that flaps that unfold. I save them because there are so many uses for them. They made cute desk accessories.


Jennifer August 16, 2021 at 5:09 pm

1 – More water issues in the basement. I know most places are in a drought, but not OH. Dh thinks it was a problem with the gutter shooting the water straight towards the foundation. $43 to repair it ourselves.

2 – I’ve been stocking the freezer with quick meals for working kids or dh to take for lunch. Chicken burritos, squash casserole, broccoli patties, meatballs, breakfast sausage – using ingredients I had on hand + what I bought at the farmers market. Also canned peach jam.

3 – Finding and inspecting our masks. Looks like we will be wearing them a lot again. I did have to buy a bunch of black ones for my ds going to military college. Hoping to repair what we had from last year. Wearing them all day everyday meant they were barely hanging on by early June when school let out. I refuse to buy disposable ones.

4 – Switched car insurance companies. This is where having a broker really helps. Ours had gone up to over $400 a month (for 6 people). Switched to around $220 a month for 6 people. We got a $600 discount to pay for the year in full. I had to pull money from a different account to do it, but it was worth it. I will pay it back each month + some so we will have the money next year to renew.

5 – Cleaned out my crap corner (yes I have a box labeled this that my kids made me). I found a $25 Starbucks GC and a $25 Panera GC. Paid to clean – I love it!

6 – I used a $100 GC to book a hotel room to take my ds to college. We will be gone 3 nights. Every little bit helps.


Marie-Josée August 16, 2021 at 5:20 pm

What a beautiful clock! I always admire them when I see them in the L.L. Bean catalogue. They retail at $ 99, what a score.

I continue to monitor our spending and have cancelled one streaming subscription and am about to cancel my New York Times subscription, as I can read it via my library for free. Amazon Prime will be culled as well. Food remains the biggest expense.

We have officially begun counting down the weeks until my husband reduces his work days and eases into semiretirement: 20 weeks to go!

Cook most meals at home, very much helped by my gluten allergy and FODMAP intolerance. I continue to save so much money by on transportation, wardobe renewal and coffee and lunches out with colleagues by working from home. I am not at all looking foward to returning to the office which will be in hybrid mode at 8 days per month. The surge in infections in my province will certainly delay our return which was planned for late October.

After working at home at my kitchen table for 6 months, I will not disclose how much I paid for my Herman Miller Aeron chair when I finally set up a proper home office. I love it!


kathleen August 16, 2021 at 7:23 pm

1. I have a soft touch for a fruit salesman that comes to our office occasionally, and bought some really beautiful plums. They were at peak ripeness and were fabulous. However my husband was away for a week, and no way would I eat as many as I bought, so I made plum jam. We now have 8 half pint jars and 1 pint jar of yummy jam in the pantry.
2. Husband had two teeth pulled today, and will have a couple more pulled tomorrow. Tonight I made chicken & dumplings (using chicken thighs that have been in freezer awhile). Tomorrow I will make lentil soup which I may or may not use my immersion blender on to smooth out a little. Leftovers of each meal will be going to work with him for the coming week.
3. We went to visit mother-in-law over the weekend. She does not need gifts cluttering up her tiny assisted living space so I have found a free gift that she loves receiving and I love giving…long luxuriant foot rubs. Helps with the fluid retention in her ankles and feet too.
4. I found an art shop that takes donations of arts and crafts supplies and sells them at low prices. I have TONS to take, and will be working on gathering up a box (or six) to take to them this week.
5. Brewed a pitcher of tea; taking hubs’ leftover (from last night) half sandwich for lunch tomorrow (after today/tomorrow dentist visits, no way can he chew the sourdough roll it is on); delivered some family hand-me-downs to daughter; made some birthday cards.


MommaL August 17, 2021 at 2:09 am

I would LOVE foot rubs as a gift!


janine August 16, 2021 at 8:44 pm

Impressed with Katy’s ability to re-purpose and/or sell unusual items. It takes a wide-ranging discerning eye to accomplish that list.
1. Donated to two good charities as a memorial to friends who passed. Not frugal but a better value than sending flowers.
2..Received a $15 gift card from a favorite restaurant. Looking forward to a (rare) visit.
3. Visited an overstock grocery outlet and found Harry and David Lime Curd for $1. I assume it can be used in place of lemon curd in recipes. Last week also found good prices on snack-type food so stocked up. Sadly our family is not into self denial so plan to return to my old method of buying a minimal amount of junk food.
4. Bought a couple of books at a used book store. I try to patronize these places; feel it is important for them to stay in business.
5. No major purchases of summer clothes, shoes or other seasonal items. In addition, we checked our bills carefully and noticed that we were double billed for a hotel stay last month. We are taking care of that mistake which would have cost us several hundred dollars. (The place we stayed had recently changed hands and we think that the new folks haven’t quite got the hang of it yet.)


MommaL August 17, 2021 at 2:08 am

Somewhat frugal week. SIL came to visit, first visit since her husband passed.
1. SIL’s new dentures were hurting her, so I used what I had to make meals with rice, potatoes, and pasta. She was able to eat everything I made, and learned about ground turkey, which she has never purchased before.
2. Lots of roma tomatoes are getting ripe, so they were in every meal.
3. Easy, relaxing evenings in the pool, or watching movies we already own.
4. Helped her sort through some expenses that she could pare down now, like cellphone bills, subscriptions her DH had.
5. Looked up what year she graduated from high school, found a Pandora station to play from that year. It really cheered her up and she told us stories about growing up, instead of worrying about the future for a few hours.


Heidi Louise August 17, 2021 at 7:40 am

What wonderfully personalized attention you gave your SIL!
Missing her husband, she must be missing someone to help her with these daily interactions and decisions.


MB in MN August 18, 2021 at 10:31 am

I second that! Such lovely and loving ways to help your SIL as she grieves.


Heidi M August 17, 2021 at 6:54 am

Katy, I hear you about holding onto stuff because we “might” use it or try to find an appropriate home for it (other than the garbage). We are moving from our 27-year household into a somewhat smaller home after having a third floor attic. We had 3 kitchen tables up there! Held them “just in case” one of the kids moves out and needs them. They never needed them. If you have the space, it fills itself. Hoping to do better this time. Sometimes frugality needs a dose of reality.


Amanda P. August 17, 2021 at 8:05 am

What a caring and lovely way to bless your SIL, it sounds like a truly refreshing and encouraging visit for her and that you looked for kind ways to meet her just where she was.


Tonya August 17, 2021 at 2:48 pm

Ass-less chaps! Wins the internet this week.

1) Moving kids back to college. Many items for apartments were thrifted. I’m grateful my kids value thrifting as much as I do.
2) Bringing leftovers to work for lunch has gotten harder with three people (my college kids and myself) at home. I lose track of all the uneaten things and waste more food. It probably sounds a little pathetic, but it will be nice to live by myself in my empty nest and be able to keep tabs on food and household items more simply.
3) Stopped for an oil change and found out the garage shares space with a Norwegian bakery. Took home a free, delicious loaf of cinnamon raisin bread.
4) My peach tree is starting to produce! So many peaches. It’s wonderful.
5) Denver is still polluted (last week we were the most polluted city in the whole world) from the Dixie fire. Poor Californians. Sheesh. We must do better about our environment and the changing climate. I am recommitted to my no new clothing promise this year.


Mary in WA August 17, 2021 at 8:19 pm

So good to see a new post, Katy!

I’m not sure if I have five frugal this week, but I’ll try.
1. I have a new LGD pup, a 5 month old Anatolian Shepherd girl. She’s not safe unsupervised around chickens yet, and a number of our chickens, mostly preteens, have been killed and eaten. Eventually, she will be guarding them, but first we have to teach her that chickens are out of bounds! I was able to borrow a shock collar from one of my neighbors, and we used it for the first time this afternoon. She didn’t stop with the chirp or vibration, but the lowest shock setting worked well, and she didn’t associate it with humans, but just the chicken she was after. This loan will not only save me the cost of buying our own collar, but will save our chickens and allow her greater freedom to protect all our stock against coyotes.
2. The same neighbor bought 2 dozen eggs and gave me a bag of frozen soup bones for the dogs. Another $10 in the chicken and egg fund. It’s almost $250 to the good so far this year. I will offer same neighbor some fresh picked green beans tomorrow.
3. Harvested the first ripe tomatoes (yum!) and the last picking of bush green beans today, as well as the first picking of the purple bush beans. I will leave the rest of the beans on the bush green bean plants to ripen for seed to plant next year. By the time I pick the purple bush beans again, the green pole beans will be producing. I try to time planting so that the pole beans start producing about the time the bush beans finish, and then I can pick pole beans until frost.
4. Our pool got an accidental dose of iron from our well, far more than could be easily filtered out, so we drained it, giving the ground a good soaking. It gave us a chance to wipe rust remover over the interior, smooth out some lumps underneath and do a thorough cleaning. Now we can refill it over several days to avoid getting another dump of iron, and by the time temps go back up, I’ll be able to paddle and cool off. I’m very thankful for the cooler temps over the last few days…the 90s were getting old!
5. I shopped for homeowners insurance last week and ended up with better coverage for less money, haven’t been in the stores all month (but do have to go grocery shopping this week), have been eating garden produce for a good part of my diet, used my pool and judicious use of a small window ac unit to stay cool during the hot weather we’ve been experiencing up until a few days ago, opened the doors and windows at night and shut everything down at dawn to keep the house cooler, worked on weeding and other jobs early in the day and have been working jigsaw puzzles and watching YouTube videos for entertainment during hot afternoons and after dark. I’ve tracked spending to the penny all year and am well under budget, and it’s time to apply for SS so I can start drawing the month after I turn 62. All that and no Lear jet, lol.


Mary in WA August 17, 2021 at 8:53 pm

SS application is completed! That was much easier and faster than I thought it would be. Hopefully, there won’t be any glitches along the way.


Bethany M August 18, 2021 at 7:04 am

While unpacking from our cross-country move, I found 2 dented cans. Set them aside to use first.

Kept notes about a few other damages and submitting for compensation which is included in our relocation benefits.

Received 2 refund checks totaling $3200 that I wasn’t expecting. They went straight into the bank.


MB in MN August 18, 2021 at 7:14 am

1. Before printing the daily crossword puzzle on the back of scratch paper, I use the “to save ink, adjust the slider” feature so that all the black squares are gray instead.
2. Helped a friend clear out her deceased father’s apartment and brought home at least $100 worth of pantry items along with many useful things for our home.
3. Received potatoes, onions, cukes and green beans from a friend’s garden. So generous. Also received a loaf of delectable blueberry bread from another friend. And then my sister brought lunch for us to enjoy together at my place.
4. Saving $1,400/year in medical premiums now that my husband is 65 and elected to go with my former employers’ excellent medical advantage plan. These savings will be offset by some higher co-pays, etc. but we still expect to save some money.
5. Made a bed pillow cover out of the top part of a fabric shower liner that did not have iron stains from our water.


Mary in WA August 18, 2021 at 11:44 am

MB in MN, re: your #5: I know all too well about iron stains from our water. I’ve found 2 products that really work to take rust stains out of fabric. Neither is inexpensive, but both are cheaper than replacing stained clothing, shower curtains and other items repeatedly.

The first is for whites only and is called Iron Out. It works best in really hot water. I tend to set a tote in my bathtub, fill it with really hot tap water and soak whites in the tote. That way, I can use the same water for soaking multiple items in succession, saving some money by using less Iron Out than it I did it in the washing machine. Plus, it helps remove the iron stains from my tub! It will remove or change colors, so DON’T use it on anything but whites.

The second is color safe and is called Whink Rust Remover. Wear gloves when using it. I recently saved my neighbor’s Honor Guard shirt which had been hit by a shot of heavy iron when their filter malfunctioned. I put it inside a kitchen garbage bag, doused it in a bottle of Whink, and it turned white again before my eyes, while leaving all the patches their original colors. Since it works on more than fabric, I also took the opportunity to wipe my white Corelle dishes on the wet shirt, removing the iron stains from them at the same time. I also used a rag dampened with Whink to remove the iron stains from the inside of our pool.

Anyway, I hope these suggestions help with your iron water problems. I don’t get a thing for the recommendations…just am happy to have found products that work!


MB in MN August 18, 2021 at 5:08 pm

Mary in WA: Thanks for these great tips!


Texasilver August 18, 2021 at 10:00 am

I put a mattress & box springs on the curb along w/ an area rug. An immigrant couple took the mattress & area rug. I know many people would not take a used mattress. My sister reminded me that perhaps the couple or their children were sleeping on the floor. A used mattress is better than a hard floor. My husband cut up the box spring with a saw & we put it in a nearby dumpster where a construction project was taking place. Mattresses are hard to recycle. I’m glad this one did not go in a landfill. The area rug was like new. I’m glad someone could use it.


Marie August 18, 2021 at 12:55 pm

Glad to see a new post, katy.
1. Was gifted a nearly new 8 by 10 area rug, from my local buy nothing group. It is exactly what I wanted 4 years ago, when I bought my other rug. Cleaned old rug, and passed it along to someone else.
2. Canned sweet relish, zucchini relish, and made pickles.
Tomorrow is dilly beans.
3. Made 8 mini loaves of zucchini bread. Will freeze them. As there is only 2 of us, mini loaves work best.
4. Still going to local food bank for fruit. They have such a surplus, they beg people to come get it. Watermelon, peaches, grapes, certainly helps the grocery bill.
5. Finally sold the fondue pot, took awhile, but no dickering, guy was thrilled.
6. My extra is harvested 20 lbs of carrots, 40 lbs of onions, and maybe 20 lbs of potatoes. Now just waiting for tomatoes, I’m in far nw oregon, so next month.


Jill A August 20, 2021 at 4:45 am

Very cute clock. I’ll have to keep my eye open for one of those.
This is a family vacation edition which feels like it should be a lot of frugal fails but here are the wins.

1. I used my credit card points to pay the over inflated price of a rental car and one night of hotel stay.
2. We did a lot of hiking while on vacation which thankfully was free (except for the stupid parking ticket).
3. We purchased some river floats and used two cars (one at the beginning of our float trip and one at the end). We floated down the Truckee River in Tahoe and had a beautiful day. This was half the cost of using a float company.
4. We used the purchased floats when we found a charming little lake surrounded by mountains in the national forest near Lake Tahoe. We brought a cooler with a picnic (purchased at Grocery Outlet) and canned cocktails and spent a lovely day floating on the lake and sipping cocktails and enjoying each others company.
5. We all stayed one night sleeping at my daughter’s house in Reno. Hotels were overpriced the first night because of an event happening there. We used an air mattress, camper in the backyard and a couch and managed to save over $300.


Mary in Maryland August 20, 2021 at 7:59 am

Chaps are usually assless. It’s only the front of your legs that runs into bad stuff when you’re riding a horse.


Lisa M. August 20, 2021 at 10:07 am

I noticed the same thing, Mary, as I was watching “Mountain Men” to pass the time while exercising. One of the characters living in the mountains of New Mexico rode a horse & his chaps were mostly front-side only.


Heidi Louise August 20, 2021 at 11:35 am

Otherwise, they would just be called “pants.”


rebecca August 22, 2021 at 7:25 am



Katy August 24, 2021 at 7:00 pm

I know this, but will never turn down the opportunity to use the word “assless” in a sentence.


Pam E-P October 7, 2021 at 11:37 am

I love you.


Isa August 22, 2021 at 5:36 am

* Brought food from home to the cottage instead of relying on expensive grocery store there, or restaurants

* Found 70$ on the floor at the grocery store… Looked around for a while, to see if someone seemed to be looking for it, and asked the front desk if anyone mentionned losing money. No and No on both front, so I’m 70$ richer. This one is bitter-sweet because I’m thinking “What if it was someone on a strict budget and now they could not afford grocery shopping this week!”. But, hey, no point leaving it on the floor for another random person to pick it up. I then turned around and cleared my pantry of unwanted (but still good) food and gave it away on Kijjiji. I added fresh organic kale from my garden. The senior lady that came for it was very happy.

* Still shopping sales and clearance racks art the grocery store, and using the food at home in various creative ways.

* Went throught daughters clothes to know exactly what they need for school. Will visit Value Village today (wth a 20% off coupon, of course!)

* Eating less meat, more beans and vegetarian meals. Just to save money (I don’t believe meat to be unhealthy)


janine August 25, 2021 at 8:13 am

Isa – Lucky you finding $70! Also paying your good fortune forward to someone else.


CINDY BRICK September 16, 2021 at 12:16 pm

Katy, it’s been a month. Are you EVER going to post again? I am getting very tired of coming over, and checking…


Lisa M. September 20, 2021 at 7:32 am

Technically, 5 weeks today but who’s counting? 🙂


Ruby October 7, 2021 at 12:51 pm

I believe from looking at her Twitter account that she’s have technical difficulties with the blog. She’s probably far more frustrated with things right now than her readers are.


Christine October 9, 2021 at 8:21 am

Thanks Ruby. I appreciate you adding this. I follow Katy on Instagram so I gather she and her family are okay. That was initially my main concern about not seeing new posts. Well, I hope this blog comes back if the technical problems are remediated and if that is indeed the reason we haven’t seen any new ones. Always fun and interesting to read.


Jill A September 17, 2021 at 3:21 am

I’m missing your posts also. I hope everything is okay and you’re just busy having a good summer.


Lisa M. September 22, 2021 at 6:43 pm

Ditto what you said Jill but now it’s officially fall!


Bethany M September 23, 2021 at 7:10 pm

I hope you’re okay, Katy! How’s everyone else doing?


Shona September 24, 2021 at 1:17 pm

More things crossed off the calendar, but otherwise hanging in there while being frugal.

Happy fall everyone.


t September 24, 2021 at 9:04 am

Groupon has their yearly Costco membership offer. 40 dollars off membership and 40 online shopping card. It’s an online offer and they only take Visa. Offer ends Oct. 3.


Christine September 25, 2021 at 10:23 am

Awww…wish I had one near me. Nice of you to let everyone know though. Thank you.


Bee September 24, 2021 at 12:07 pm

Katy,I do hope you see this. I realize your blog has been a labor of love for you. Since you have not posted for some time, I can only assume that you have moved on and are pursuing other interests. I want to thank you for sharing your quirky sense of humor and frugal wisdom with all of us over the years. I learned a great deal from you and the NCA community. Your posting kept me motivated to live frugally and to tread lightly upon the earth. As you move forward, I wish you and your family the best now and in the future.


ellie September 24, 2021 at 6:45 pm

Hello Bee, It’s nice to see your comment. I miss Katy a lot, but I also miss regular commenters like you. I wish you well. Ellie


Christine September 25, 2021 at 10:27 am

I second Bee’s sentiments. If indeed you have decided to move on to other pursuits, I want to thank you for starting this blog. I’ve probably saved thousands of dollars on what I ‘ve learned from you and the others who post their comments here. I wish you the very best and know you will be successful in whatever you choose to do. It’s been fun!


Ruby October 7, 2021 at 12:53 pm

Bee, I follow Katy on Twitter and it looks like from something she posted there that she may be having technical difficulties with the blog.


Kara September 24, 2021 at 4:21 pm

Made homemade tomato sauce for the first time, with tomatoes gifted to me. I even dried and then ground the leftover skins and seeds. It makes a powder with very intense flavor that is delicious. I forgot to save some of the seeds from the best paste tomatoes-Goldman’s Italian. I have asked the lady who grew them if I might have one more, so I can save the seeds, and she has offered me a bunch more!
I bought an electric bike. Not frugal up front, but great for the planet, and will save me money on gas by not using my car. I travel to see my older parents, and my husband has a long commute to work, so we aren’t able to become a 1 car family yet.
I hope everyone is well!


Diane C September 28, 2021 at 6:45 pm

Wow, almost six weeks with no updates. As long-time NCA devotee, I just want you to know how much I am feeling your absence, Katy. I hope all is well with you and yours.


Dori October 3, 2021 at 4:08 pm

Miss seeing new posts on your blog! Hope you are well and enjoying the start of fall. 🙂


Katy October 9, 2021 at 1:09 pm

Yes, all is well. Sorry about the absence.


Ruby October 6, 2021 at 8:38 am

Katy, I miss your bright presence and hope all is okay with you and yours.


LaNell October 6, 2021 at 1:12 pm

miss you and your posts. Hope all is ok with your bunch!


Cindy in the South October 8, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Hope you are ok Katy.


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