Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 25, 2022 · 91 comments

  1. I schlepped my 2021 Found Change Challenge jar to my credit union’s coin counting machine to discover that I’d gathered a mere $11.91 in dropped money over the course of the year. (Even though I’d found two one-dollar bills!) This shouldn’t have surprise me though, as I was serious about minimizing outings last year. Being a homebody doesn’t exactly open up opportunities for found money.

    I really miss the before times.

  2. I read some free library books:

    The Bookshop of Second Chances, by Jackie Fraser.

    The Curator’s Daughter, by Melanie Dobson.

    Confessions of a Curious Bookseller, by Elizabeth Green.

    Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella.

    The Show Girl, by Nicola Harrison.

    I’m currently halfway through listening to the Nobel Prize winning Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk, but am struggling as it doesn’t have a traditional plot structure, and my brain wants to make connections which don’t exist. I think I just need to listen in bigger chunks to bring it all together.

  3. I organized an overstuffed dresser drawer that holds my husband’s and my pajama bottoms, shorts, track suit bottoms and sweat pants. I was able to identify maybe five garments that hadn’t been worn in ages to donate, but most importantly I rediscovered a cute pair of sweats that I’d forgotten about.

    Like shopping, but for lazy cheap gals such as myself.

  4. I picked up a vintage glass lighting globe for $4.99 which I quickly sold to a vintage shop for $20, a childhood friend dropped off a bag of bubble wrap for me to reuse, (thanks, Deborah!) I’ve created a million-and-one homemade meals that keep us on budget, I’ve gotten better about properly organized grocery shopping trips that deter popping into the store for “just one thing,” but inevitably leads to impulse purchases, I used a coupon for a free pint of Häagen Daz ice cream as well as a $3.99 Red Baron pizza rebate that earned $4.49 through Ibotta, I returned a Goodwill rug I’d bought to resell but later realized had condition issues and I treated myself to a decent size $4.99 jade plant from The Grocery Outlet, which I transplanted into a cute garbage picked crock.

  5. I didn’t go on an ego driven space jaunt with my fellow billionaires.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

Mand01 January 25, 2022 at 8:10 pm

1. We are hiding out from the omicron surge, only going on urgent outings, which means we are not really spending any money I guess. Frighteningly frugal?
2. Our garden is offering at least something to eat everyday. Today I picked a big zucchini, some eggplant, a couple of tomatoes, a big bowl of vine leaves, four eggs, three apples, tarragon, a bunch of carrots, and a handful of green beans. We also give a lot away. It has been a coolish and humid summer and I’m happy to be picking anything.
3. The other day it was pouring rain all day, so instead of going out to the garden like I was planning, I made rhubarb ketchup and pickled onions from my produce. I found the recipes in a book I found on the Libby app.
4. We have been cooking mostly vegetarian and vegan food at home, with almost no ordering out. I’d say we have gone from ordering out or eating out once a week to once a month. I don’t miss it but the kids do, which is why we still do it at all. I would also be happy to give up meat entirely, but keep preparing it for the kids. They are happy enough to eat fewer meat-based meals though. I made a great black bean dish from the NYT website that everyone went crazy for.
5. Getting up earlier and going for a walk with my husband each day. As we are both currently WFH, it’s a good way to spend some time together before we move off to our offices and focus on work. Free exercise. I already have the shoes and the workout gear, most purchased secondhand.


Jill A January 26, 2022 at 5:53 am

Rhubarb ketchup sounds very intriguing. It’s always fun to hear about your garden when we are well into winter here.


Texasilver January 25, 2022 at 8:19 pm

1. While on a walk Sunday afternoon I found a Cuisinart food processor on the curb. The house was being cleaned out to sell. It is a vintage model from 2000. I tested it when I got home. It works fine. I will sanitize the blades & accessories in the dish washer next.
2. On Tuesday evening while out for a walk I found a box of food on the neighbor’s curb marked “Free”. There were peaches in jars, sacks of lentils, cheese crackers. All from Costco. They are out of date by a few months so I can’t take them to the food bank. I guess we will eat them.
3. After I went to the hardware store I drove down their back alley. There were 5 gallons of milk in the Dollar General dumpster. The milk was cold & still in date. I sanitized the jugs & froze them for later use. It has been cold here so I wasn’t worried about spoilage.
4. Cleaned out my closet so I have a box of discards to take to the thrift shop my church runs.
5. I visited the aforementioned thrift store last month. I got a new pair of black leather boots (designer brand) for 5$. I looked them up online & they were 200$ or so at Nordstrom’s.
My best friend said I’m a natural born scavenger. I prefer the title of urban forager.


Lindsey January 25, 2022 at 9:03 pm

I am genuinely envious of all your food freebies! Especially the milk. Good for you for foraging in the Dollar General dumpster.


Anne January 26, 2022 at 8:53 am

Very impressed by your urban foraging.


Julia January 27, 2022 at 5:31 am

I love the turn “forager”. I find wonderful useful things all the time.


Lindsey January 25, 2022 at 9:21 pm

1. Had some milk that had started to turn, so make an Amish sour milk cake.
2. Did a mystery shop at an oil change place. Paid for our oil change plus $30.
3. A friend called to say that her home schooled son needed phys ed credits, so could he come shovel our sidewalk and driveway? It had snowed about four inches the night before, so “Yes please.” Made him some peanut butter cookies to take home. In my experience very few teens don’t love cookies and he was happy to take home 2 dozen. My husband is too old to be out at 20 below shoveling, so this saved me having to hire someone.
4. Library for four books and a puzzle.
5. Cleaning out the freezer I discovered a chicken carcass I had apparently intended to turn into stock, although it must have been some time ago because I don’t remember it. There was enough chicken left on it that when I was done, I made soup using up the chicken bits and threw in four different vegetables taht had been lingering in the fridge; they were not dead, but they had seen better days. We ate it for three days, thus using up things I probably would have tossed when I was less frugal than I am now. I have come to love refrigerator garbage soup.
6. We were unhappy with our credit card so got another that promised $400 after we spent $3000 in the first three months. I promptly prepaid various utilities to reach $3,000, got the $400 rebate put on the card (I could have had it in the form of a check sent to me) and paid off the other $2,600 from our emergency fund. Now I just have to build that back up…but it was worth it to make an easy $400.


A January 26, 2022 at 3:53 am

I’m trying to do more things like all of these. Here’s what I did this week:

1. Remembered to redeem the points I’ve earned from taking Pinecone research surveys and added 10 dollars to my Amazon account.
2. Took a survey I received via email from CVS that gave me a 5 dollar off coupon to redeem in the store. I sort of suspect they do these surveys just to get you in the store, but I’ll stop in later this week and try to find something I need that costs around five dollars anyway, because why not?
3. Requested and already got in the mail two free samples of dishwasher detergent. Bonus–they came in nice, reusable mailers that I’ll save to reuse.
4. Signed up for a free professional development book club through work and checked out the book from the library, since it wasn’t provided. I’ll learn useful stuff and save money.
5. Found out our library now has state park passes available to borrow, and planning to do that sometime in the future.


Jennifer January 26, 2022 at 4:26 am

1. I ordered the year supply of dd’s contacts and submitted for a $100 rebate.

2. Been seriously eating down the freezer and pantry and have only spent $210 on groceries this month when usually it is quadruple that.

3. My boys went hog hunting in OK with my dad. Yes, it was expensive but they came home with 3 hogs worth of processed meat. And my dad sent back a cooler full of wild game – antelope, deer, elk and bison. The only meat I should have to buy for a long time is chicken.

4. Dd is doing spring semester in DC. She applied for a scholarship and got it, it covered her tuition for the semester. We paid $6000 for housing (ouch!). She then got a $3300 grant for her unpaid internship AND the same day found someone to sublet her apartment at college. She is having the best time and her grant will cover her living expenses while there.

5. I’ve been carpooling with a friend to the gymnastics meets. We pack food so we don’t stop.


Jill A January 26, 2022 at 5:48 am

I love the shopping for lazy, cheap gals. That’s me too.

1. I’m continuing to help my daughter and her fiance with fixing up their new/old house. We’re all learning new skills in the process. Frugal for them but hopefully they can move into it soon which mean less expenses for me.
2. I found my daughter two solid brass sconces at an estate sale for $5. She found the same ones online and they sell for $550 apiece retail.
3. I continue to cook meals with free food my daughter brings home from work. Last night was curry. My mother gave us some spiral ham and a ham bone so I’ll be making scalloped potatoes and ham and a very large batch of split pea soup. Groceries have gotten so pricey it’s nice to have these options and I’m trying to make sure we waste none of it.
4. I managed to snow throw my own driveway again. This saves me a lot of money because my driveway is very long. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but this was my husbands job. He bought a new snow thrower attachment for his tractor the winter he died. I’ve had to learn to do many new things since then.
5. I’ve read two library books on my kindle in the past week. We’ve ordered free covid tests. I fixed a wooden step stool that sits in my kitchen so I can reach the tall stuff. I continue to sell my finds and my own unused items on Ebay for extra cash. I’ve thrifted two Christmas gifts for next year already. I continue to keep my thermostat set low and wash my clothing in cold water and dry on racks.


Heidi Louise January 26, 2022 at 7:26 am

Hooray for new skills, Jill A! But so sorry to hear the reason you had to learn to snow throw. May good memories of your husband surround you.


Bee January 27, 2022 at 5:22 am

I love an estate sale! It’s my favorite type of thrifting. Five years ago, I helped my son renovate his fixer upper. It was a wonderful experience for us all but hard work. I hope all is going well, and there haven’t been any major surprises.


Jill January 26, 2022 at 5:53 am

My daughter in law passed away in September from a cerebral hemorrhage leaving my son a widower with a 4 month old baby. So all of our plans for retirement changed – I was already retired and my husband retired this past month -and we are now moving cross country to live in Colorado and help taking care of our grandson. We are renting an apartment in the same building as my son and unfortunately, it’s not cheap. So life hasn’t been frugal lately. But I do have a few wins.
1. We received a quote from a moving company to pack and move us cross country for $10,500. So we hired a uhaul and packed ourselves for the grand total of $2000. It’s been more work for us old folks but there is no way I could spend that kind of money for a move.
2. We are using hotel points accrued while my husband was employed to stay for our four day journey to our new life. And a cooler will be packed, of course.
3. My husband worked one day in January before he retired so we could take advantage of medical and dental insurance for the month before we moved. So mammograms, physicals and check ups ensued.
4. We managed to sell quite a bit of our things online – moving from a 5 bedroom house to a 1 bedroom apartment means much less things – and donated the rest to thrift stores and Goodwill.
5. I sold a massive amount of books at the used book store and used the credit for another good amount for our grandson to be used for our daily reads.


Jill A January 26, 2022 at 5:58 am

I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so good that your retirement means that you can help your son at such a terrible time. Your support will be priceless.


janine January 26, 2022 at 7:14 am

Jill, Sorry for your loss but very admiring of your efforts to assist your son at this time by moving such a great distance. You truly are the embodiment of family values. You give help when needed.


Christine January 26, 2022 at 7:09 am

I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter in law. My heart goes out to your son. Wishing you and your family the very best in this new life you’re all living. Please keep us updated as to how everyone is doing. Hugs.


Ruby January 26, 2022 at 7:21 am

Jill, I am so sorry. I hope the changes brought by this tragedy turn out to be wonderful in the long run.

There’s a lovely memoir written by Roger Rosenblatt about helping raise his grandchildren after his daughter suddenly died. It started with a piece in the New Yorker titled “Making Toast,” that you might enjoy:


Katy January 26, 2022 at 10:38 am

All my love to you and yours. May your daughter in law’s memory be for a blessing.


Linda January 26, 2022 at 11:03 am

So sorry for your loss.


Madeline January 26, 2022 at 11:08 am

Don’t know if you have moved already but if not, with your rough situation you can use all the help you can get.Moving is not easy! I am not Mormon but I live in an LDS-heavy town and I know that the young men and women in that church are usually available to do community service work and you can call the local LDS church where you will be going and ask for help..they may send a few strong young men (and women?) to help you unload your truck! Don’t try to do it alone! We have received assistance more than once from LDS young folks and they are incredible, polite,hard working and sincere.

I am so sorry for your family’s loss. Your family is blessed to have you and your husband to help in this dire time.


Lindsey January 26, 2022 at 12:43 pm

I have nothing profound to say. I am sorry for your family and admire your willingness to uproot yourselves and go in a totally different direction than you had planned.


MB in MN January 26, 2022 at 5:23 pm

Jill, I’m so very sorry this happened to you and your family. I am holding all of you close to my heart as you grieve and carve out a new future.


Jennifer January 26, 2022 at 5:49 pm

I’m so sorry about your daughter in law. Your son is blessed to have you. Good luck with the move.


Texasilver January 26, 2022 at 7:53 pm

How kind of u & your husband to move to help your son. My father died when I was 7 leaving my mother w/ 4 small children. I was the oldest & my brother the youngest at 3 months w/ 2 more in between in age. Our relatives helped a bit but it is a hard situation for everyone. Have a safe journey. I’m sure your son is so grateful for your presence as he grieves & tries to adjust.


Patricia Koernig January 27, 2022 at 1:01 am

Much love to you, Jill and yours as you begin this new stage in life.


Bee January 27, 2022 at 5:27 am

Sending you wishes of love, strength and peace as you begin this new journey. It’s a blessing that you and your husband can be there to offer love and support for your son.


Julia January 27, 2022 at 5:47 am

My condolences. What a tragedy for the whole family. But what a blessing to be able to help your son and grandson. I’m thinking that this is such a gift for your grandson to have his grandparents so close! I was always a bit envious of my friends who could walk down the street to visit their grandparents.


Fish January 27, 2022 at 5:56 am

That’s huge, love is love Is love. You’re all amazing


Jill January 27, 2022 at 6:00 pm

Thanks so very much everyone! It’s been an incredibly difficult time but the support from family and friends (including internet friends) has been incredible. I appreciate all your kind words and hugs – and the tips on dealing with our move and helping with our grandson, too – it warms my heart that so many people that I don’t know have taken the time to offer support and encouragement.


Lynn January 28, 2022 at 3:34 pm

So healing to hear these words of kindness and encouragement. Your son and grandson are fortunate to have you both.


jo January 28, 2022 at 5:07 pm

I don’t have any advice but I admire the power and love of family. Best wishes on your move.


Ruby January 26, 2022 at 6:04 am

Katy, I thought of you Saturday while at half-price day of an estate sale down the block from our house: a bookcase bed matching the mid-century modern cabinet with woven door panels that you rehabbed so successfully was up for sale. It was in perfect condition. Alas, that was not what I needed, but I did buy a little lamp for our living room (the reason for going to the sale), a roll of quilt batting and an enamel and brass candy tin made in England for total expenditure of $5.50.

Other frugal things lately:
1. There were meals delivered at work that no one wanted, so I put them in the office fridge and used components of them to make up freezer meals for my own work lunches. Also took home a big bag of bananas no one wanted, so there will be a lot of banana muffins in our future.
2. Returned two eBay purchases that turned out to be not as described and used the refund to purchase an out-of-state membership card to the Brooklyn N.Y. public library. It’s $50 a year, but I “got the good out of it” in the first week by reading an e-book a day. The membership allows me to check out as many as 20 e-books at once and keep them for 21 days. As we Southerners like to say, I am in hog heaven. This, incidentally, is the same cost as a one-year membership at the city library here, which let me have only two books at once for ten days, and in a year I found only four books worth reading. BPL for the win!
3. My husband discovered after some research that his Nissan sedan is covered under a lawsuit against Nissan for delaminating headlight lenses and is making arrangements to have the headlights replaced free of charge. This saves us a huge amount of money.
4. Our cotton bathmats and hand towels have bleached out spots from shower cleaner and a chemo cream my husband used on his skin cancer spots (successfully, his skin is clear now). Rather than replace them, I bought some dye from a fabric store with a coupon and will re-dye them this weekend.
5. Totally rocking the thrifted/secondhand outfits. Today everything I have on from head to toe was acquired from alternatives to regular retail. My favorites are the little gold hoop earrings, acquired one at a time in the 1990s during a promotion by Mr. Clean liquid cleaner. Certain size bottles had a single earring inside. I bought two, using coupons, of course. 🙂


Katy January 26, 2022 at 10:34 am

Mr. Clean giving away gold hoop earrings? That is marketing genius!


Ruby January 26, 2022 at 12:50 pm

It was totally marketing genuis! You had to buy two bottles to get a full set. I just love them and have cherished them for 30 years.


Jill A January 26, 2022 at 2:59 pm

I love the gold hoops from Mr. Clean. That’s great. I love thrifted clothing. No buyers remorse at all. I didn’t know you could buy a library membership. That sounds like a great deal. I may have to look into that.


Bee January 27, 2022 at 5:36 am

Goodness, Ruby. Your local public charges a membership fee? Is this common?


Ruby January 27, 2022 at 7:04 am

It’s a city/county thing. If one lives in the county, as we do, there’s a membership fee to use the city library because we don’t pay city taxes. Our county library branch is a one-room facility that depends on donated books. So I had a city library membership one year, thinking it would be much better for e-books. It wasn’t.


Bee January 29, 2022 at 5:39 am

Interesting and a bit disconcerting. That does make it difficult for readers, especially those in need, to have access books. Where I live, the libraries are funded by the county, and we are able to use any of the many facilities throughout. I now know that I have taken this wonderful resource for granted. Something that I will not do any longer. Thank you for educating me. I’m glad that you found a way to enjoy so many books.


Christine January 29, 2022 at 3:31 pm

I believe I have taken funded libraries for granted too. I’ve never lived in an area where the library wasn’t free. In addition, we have the interlibrary loan system at our disposal. On the bright side for Ruby, even paying $50 a year still saves a lot of money compared to purchasing the books. The Brooklyn Public Library sounds like a great choice!

Vickey February 13, 2022 at 7:54 pm

I think it may have been on this very forum where I first learned that any resident of NYS can join the NYC public library for free.
Repeating it here in case anyone else on here is in NYS and didn’t know.


Hawaii Planner January 26, 2022 at 6:06 am

Oh, Jill. I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter in law, and your plans for retirement changing so drastically. Sending you & your family good thoughts.

Let’s see, what have we been up to:
1) Picked up a few items we needed at the store, using a gift card. They also had iBotta/Fetch offers, and I was able to cash out $25 from iBotta to Paypal. I also put a few extra carts away, and a couple had receipts in them. I scan them on Fetch, & got some extra points.
2) We’ve been keeping an eye on the grocery bill, and eating from the freezer pantry/where possible.
3) I was able to use a companion fare (Alaska) with our credit card to book flights for my mom & sister for my Mom’s 70th birthday trip.
4) I made some super creative lunches for myself, using up random ingredients that needed to be eaten. I also made sure to prep lunch for the teens. They are normally on their own, but when I fix it, I can weave in a few “must go” items.
5) My husband repaired our very $$ & elaborate espresso machine. It took 8 hours & had lots & lots of parts, and took him a few tries. He mostly got by with watching YouTube videos, & some experimentation. A repair shop said it wasn’t worth fixing, so it would have ended up in a landfill otherwise. Very happy to keep it in use.


Heidi Louise January 26, 2022 at 7:45 am

Nothing particularly money related, but small time and effort saving habits going on here in the cold.
1. Had early morning blood test today. Tried to drink lots of water the last few days, as I heard that blood draws and infusions are more comfortable when the patient is well-hydrated.
2. We have no garage. Parked our two vehicles closer to the street than the house, so we would have less distance to shovel before backing them out, if we had had enough snow that we needed to shovel.
3. Always park with a plan of “If I would need my battery jumped, can another vehicle fit next to me?”, though I am not skilled at reversing into parking spots.
4. Parked with windshield facing the bright sunshine, so the sun would melt some of the frost.
5. Received a notice I can sign up for a new free medical information source somehow connected to the health care group I go to most often, not be confused with what I have been offered through my insurance. Ignoring them all, as I don’t need more information, especially giving my personal conditions to another entity, and don’t need the mental clutter either.

Every U.S. household is eligible for four free covid tests by mail.
Have not yet looked for the free N95 masks, to be available soon at local stores.


Lindsey January 26, 2022 at 12:47 pm

We bought one of those battery jumpers that do not require another car to be involved. We got it because many Alaskan roads have no services for literally hundreds of miles but have used it in town more often! (We finally broke down and bought a new battery for that vehicle.) Anyway, it spares you the “can another vehicle fit next to me” issue. We have had two of them and the one designed to work with pickups was more expensive but sturdier in the long run.


Heidi Louise January 26, 2022 at 1:48 pm

Thanks for the comment– Never heard of those before!
Fortunately, the most we have needed jumper cables in the last few years is when the neighbors would borrow them to start their riding lawn mower.


Julia January 27, 2022 at 5:59 am

We have one of those battery jumpers in each of our cars. We love them! You don’t need another car to jump you if your battery is dead. It can also be used to charge your phone in an emergency.


Lynda January 28, 2022 at 8:10 am

Can confirm good hydration helps with blood tests from personal experience.


SC in MN January 28, 2022 at 8:46 am

Thank you for posting this link!


Christine January 26, 2022 at 7:57 am

1. I received two free Covid test kits each containing two tests at the local library. Like many on this site, I love my town’s library and recognize it has many uses besides checking out materials (which I frequently do). I miss the live programs they offer but am looking forward to Covid subsiding when they can start up again.
2. I shop for groceries once a month. This prevents me from impulse buying and it helps reduce exposure to the public. It also nudges me into preparing meals with what I have on hand. We freeze a lot but run out of fresh fruit and milk so I bring a list and try very hard to stick to the items I need. We spend around $300 for two people. The down side is I don’t buy the weekly sale items on the weeks I’m not shopping.
3. I cleaned out some old clothes from closets and drawers that we no longer wear. I will donate the usable items to our church’s thrift shop and the others will go to St. Vincent dePaul where they ask for donations of any type of cloth.
4. I took a painting done by a friend who has since passed away and which my DS and future daughter in law have admired and had it reframed and matted with a half off coupon for a wedding present for them. This painting is dear to both of them since it is a painting of the park care taker’s house which my great grandfather and great grandmother lived in during his time as the caretaker there in the early 1900s. The house is gone now but my soon to be daughter in law’s grandmother lived near the park and she remembers seeing the house while playing at the park as a child during visits to her grandmother’s house.
5. For DH’s birthday in January we used a gift card we received for Christmas from our kids and went out to eat. I found a funny card for him in a box I bought at a thrift shop for .25 with about 30 cards in it. We don’t give each other gifts as we both have everything we need.
Stay warm and healthy everyone!


Bee January 29, 2022 at 5:43 am

What a lovely wedding gift!


Christine January 29, 2022 at 3:23 pm

Thank you, Bee. I’m very excited about giving it to them!


Bee January 26, 2022 at 8:45 am

It’s so nice to have another post to read so soon after the last one.

I also have been reading several books from the library. This month I’ve read Amor Towles new book, The Lincoln Highway. I wish this was my book club’s selection, because it had a rather interesting ending. I have also read The Last Thing He Told Me and LA Weather. I’ve used the library’s Hoopla and Libby apps to listen to The Lost Apothecary and The London House. My holds seem to be coming through rather slowly. Perhaps more people are reading.

I sold an item on eBay that I have had listed for quite a while. I shipped this in gifted packing materials. I also have listed several more things during the last few weeks I am trying to get through my death pile. Since having problems with eBay, I don’t use this selling platform as much as I once did and have lost my momentum.

This month I concentrated on clearing my freezer by using at least one thing that has been lingering each day. Last night, I used a bag of cauliflower rice. Tonight, I will use some butternut squash and Turkey stock. Last week, I used up bits and bobs in veggie soup. However, this is causing a new problem for me. Suddenly, I don’t have room for all the storage containers that I’m emptying.

I have accepted two gifts this week. A friend gave me two magazines that she was finished with. I’ll read these and pass them on to my sister. My sister is renovating her kitchen and has purchased an induction range. This requires special magnetic pots and pans. She offered her old ones to me. I accepted the sizes I could use.

I am doing all the usual things – drinking primarily filtered water, brewing my own coffee, cooking from scratch, and buying secondhand. Like Katy, I haven’t booked any trips into the stratosphere. However, I can’t help but to wonder why the rich and powerful want to escape earth. Do they know something we don’t?

Wishing everyone peace and good health.


Jill A January 26, 2022 at 3:08 pm

I just finished The Last Thing He Told Me. It was so good. I’m waiting on The Lost Apothecary. My holds always seem to come all at once for some reason. I also wonder why the rich and powerful are so interested in leaving earth.


Bee January 29, 2022 at 5:53 am

The Lost Apothecary is interesting and I enjoyed it. It was a great book to listen to, but I’m sure it is also a good read. My holds also seem to come up together even when they look evenly spaced. Why is that?


karen January 31, 2022 at 10:46 am

Bee, I just read The Last Thing He Told Me and am currently reading The Lincoln Highway, which I am not enjoying as much as A Gentleman in Moscow. So thanks for the heads up about the ending it will keep me going.


Jackie January 26, 2022 at 1:34 pm

With Covid and all its various forms still causing problems, I have been staying home as much as possible.
1. Saves on gas. I’m retired so I don’t have to travel to work. Now I only fill up about once per month.
2. Using up what I have in my freezer, as well as the items I canned and stored all summer. Grocery bill cut pretty much in half. I only seem to spend on fruits and some veggies (lettuce mostly).
3. Taking the time during this bitter cold weather to go through my clothes and if it doesn’t fit, or I’m not crazy about it, I send to thrift store. I find I seem to wear the same outfits over and over.
4. I’m a crafter and have so much stuff I’ll never do again. I’m letting go of the materials and yarns. I don’t want my adult kids cleaning out my crap when I’m gone.
5. I save all my change throughout the year. This year when I cashed it in at my Credit Union, I received $72.

I’m staying busy making craft items so that I can use up my stash of stuff and when the craft shows start up again I won’t have to do stuff at the last minute.

Stay healthy and frugal!


Michelle H January 26, 2022 at 2:20 pm

Got my free Red Baron from Ibotta yesterday! Love me some freebies.

1. Reused a small box and bubble wrap from a recent online order to send girl scout cookies to a friend.

2. Every January I limit grocery shopping to just perishables and try to use up the stockpile in my pantry and freezer. Still haven’t made a dent in it, gonna see how long we can go!

3. Also applying same principal to non-food items as well and trying to use up various toiletry, hygiene and household items I’ve gotten free over the past year.

4. Planning our summer vacation and booking camp sites at state parks, and researching free stuff to do nearby, as well as checking for partner museums we get into free with our membership as a backup plan for rainy days. (That tent trailer gets awfully crowded when we’re stuck inside!)

5. Husband picked up inflatable kayaks and stand up paddleboards on Marketplace this week to bring along this summer. Cost of buying used is about the same as renting them all twice, and we can sell them later if we decide not to keep them.


Roberta January 26, 2022 at 2:24 pm

1. I got 10% off my shopping trip to Grocery Outlet because it was senior’s day. They did not ask. I am 48. I am trying to be grateful.
2. Working on gifts while I’m subbing. I have one pair of socks done for my dad’s Christmas present next year.
3. Instead of spending $100 on new wool socks through REI, I made a pair for myself out of scrap wool. All you can see when they’re on is the white top color. The other weird colors are covered up by the boots.
4. I received a two-person subscription to Purple Carrot as a Christmas gift, but there are four of us in the family. I contacted them, and they switched the subscription to feed four of us for fewer days. I really like the subscription, and I will probably pay for it in the future as an alternative to dining out. Plus, I get to keep the recipes, and they’re something really different than what I usually pick out. Enjoyed African peanut soup and artichoke-spinach grilled cheese so far.
5. Went through my busband’s closet (and mine) and upgraded. Everything we don’t love got donated. We bought new things from the thrift store. And we feel better in new, fitting clothes than stretched out tee-shirts. Not as frugal as not buying clothes, but way better than buying new!


Jill A January 26, 2022 at 3:40 pm

I’m laughing at your #1. They offer senior discounts at Salvation Army if you’re 55 and older. I also am trying to be grateful.


Bee January 27, 2022 at 5:53 am

I was given the senior discount at my favorite thrift store recently too. Since it was for 65+, I didn’t know if I should be upset or grateful. I’m not even close. It was not good for my self image, but thankfully this does not happen often.


Christine January 29, 2022 at 3:33 pm

I didn’t know The Salvation Army offers a 55+ discount. Thanks for the heads up.


Katy January 29, 2022 at 5:19 pm

The Portland area Goodwills also offer their senior discount for those 55+. And I am 54!


Marie Smysor Watson February 5, 2022 at 9:18 am

I’m only 44, but I have a headful of gray hair – paired with a mask, there ain’t much of my face to look at, so it’s a constant refrain of “Senior Discount?” Ah, well, worse things than to look “old”!

Vickey February 13, 2022 at 8:08 pm

Same here! Thanks for the “news I can use.”


Michelle H January 27, 2022 at 5:59 am

Your #1 brought back memories of 8 months pregnant me waddling into the daycare to pick up my toddler, and a snot nosed kid yelling “Hey, Mark, your Grandma’s here!” I was 37.


Shona January 26, 2022 at 4:30 pm

1) 26 days into my not buying things year and I found a much wanted women’s black t-shirt in a parking lot. It’s my size and will get a lot of use in the warmer months. Also found 2 gell pens- score! I’ve not bought a pen in over a decade. The ground provides!

2) Bringing home more food from my work, out of date by restaurant standards, still in date by my standards.

3) So much snow, but still finding many coins on my walks.

4) My credit union installed a new coffee/tea/hot chocolate machine. Free “decadent hot chocolate” has become a twice monthly thing in my life.

5) I love that my friends are cheap dates. Lots of hiking.


Mary in Maryland January 27, 2022 at 8:22 am

I hear you on the pens. I find so many that I donate all but my favorite kinds.


Shona January 28, 2022 at 5:02 am

The medical clinic I worked at was non-profit and we were always needing pens for patients to use so I brought in my street finds.


Christine January 28, 2022 at 8:08 am

Pens seem to reproduce. A couple of years ago I noticed I had way too many including red ink pens. What? When? I donated a bunch of them to our town’s elementary school along with books my grandkids were no longer interested in reading. I don’t know if teachers still correct papers in red ink but hopefully they were of use to someone.


rebecca January 26, 2022 at 4:35 pm

1. Last week I really wanted pizza. I got a frozen one on sale instead of buying one. Not as good but did the trick.
2. A friend came over for a visit on Sunday morning. I made apple cinnamon mufins with all ingredients already here and coffee. We had a lovely time.
3. I am taking on as many clients as possible. I am over capacity but really need the $.
4. Still working from home and realized I haven’t filled my gas tank in 3 weeks.
5. Decluttering and donating them. I am always amazed at how stuff I accumulate. Cookbooks for one-I have a ton of them. Some I never cooked from. They are going.


cathy January 26, 2022 at 5:34 pm

Nothing earth shattering, but here goes.
1) Ordered our four free Covid tests from the US government. USPS alerted me they’ve shipped.
2) Reading SO MUCH. Most are library books, downloaded to my kindle. Some are books I own that I’ve either never read or are favorites I’m rereading. Katy, thank you, thank you for providing links for the books you read that do not go directly to the Amazon website! I, for one, would be interested to know what you thought of each of your reads.
3) In December, one local grocery store offered a free $25 gift card for every $100 GC you purchased. We bought two, figuring we’d just spend on groceries. In the past couple weeks I’ve been able to tap those GCs for groceries.
4) Decluttering and donating random things through our Buy Nothing group. I’m forever asking “What can I get rid of now?” Free entertainment.
5) As always, cooking/baking from scratch.


bettafrmdaville January 26, 2022 at 6:09 pm

1. I made $8 on Swagbucks by buying Baby Ruth candy bars. Now I just need to parcel them out as special/rare treats (to myself). I now have enough points on Swagbucks to cash out a gift certificate, but will wait until Feb. 1 when I can get one for discounted points.
2. Pitched some ideas for a small freelance writing project for some extra cash, because I don’t have the skills to resell found treasures like Katy.
3. Listening to audio-books through library. I think I got the recommendation here? The Little French Bisto: A Novel
4. Doing well on food waste, including using produce that was a CSA box that wasn’t picked up and given to us.
5.Picked up free tofu and can of soup from monthly grocery give away.


Bethany M January 27, 2022 at 8:13 am

Had a rough day so decided to leave the kids with my husband and go to the thrift store and the library. Could have used some jeans for me or a coat for my oldest, or a big piece of decor for the bathroom wall. They didn’t have any of that, so I left without spending. Picked up 12 items on hold at the library and the Salvation Army had a clothesline of coats outside the library for anyone needing one. Picked up a cute Calvin Klein coat for her.

Cooked up my $4 Turkey and our favorite Thanksgiving sides that my mom didn’t make when we visited. We ate 3 dinners with it and stashed away a bunch of Turkey in the freezer for soup and pot pie. Made 2 gallons of stock and froze in quart size bags.

Made cinnamon raisin swirl bread. It was nice alongside a veggie soup on a cold day. I like baking on cold days feels like you get double duty off the heat.

Keeping the heat down to 62 during the day and bumping it up at night. I literally cannot sleep if I am cold. It was 2:00 when I decided to bump it up last night. These gas prices are no joke, and we’re trying!


Mary in Maryland January 27, 2022 at 8:20 am

1. Had my first telehealth visit yesterday. Nine minutes and no time taken for the half hour drive each way. The wave of my future.
2. Working on no food waste. My jambalaya called for greens and suggested I remove and reserve (for what?) the tough stems of collards or kale. I chopped the stems fine and put them in to cook with the beans. An extra cup of greens for the win. I’ve also been chopping up the cauliflower leaves and tossing them into soups—ribolita or minestrone.
3. Combining grocery orders with a neighbor.
4. I offered to make quilts for the four children of the Afghans moving into the neighborhood. Using nothing but stash. Keeping me off the street.
5. My iron died. Found another via an ask on Freecycle.
6. Accepted several bags of weird yarn from an elderly friend. Not letting it grow roots at my house—it’s going to a group of middle-schoolers who’re learning to knit and crochet.
7. Billionaires never want to play with me . . . and the feeling is mutual.


Joyce January 28, 2022 at 5:27 am

Thank you for thinking of your new neighbors! I wish we all could be so welcoming. The kids learning new handicrafts are also fortunate you thought of them.


Christine January 28, 2022 at 8:15 am

Bless you for your kindness to your new neighbors.


Alison January 28, 2022 at 2:06 pm

I love that’s you’re making those quilts. So very kind of you.


Selena January 28, 2022 at 8:07 pm

One of my kids volunteers to help immigrant children in her city (and sad to say she lives in a “red” state in a “blue” city). The organization periodically posts “needs” lists and family sees if we can meet the needs.
The problem I have with telehealth is this – it is NOT any less costly than a regular office visit yet my insurance company continually shoves it down my throat. Also not happy with my pharmacy – do NOT run a prescription thru my insurance unless I request it. I ended up paying as much for a 30 day supply as a 90 day supply via GoodRx. The *only* time I run a Rx thru insurance is the rare (think one time in my life time) that I reach my out of pocket maximum. What a racket.


janine January 27, 2022 at 8:44 am

!. Trying to count my thrifty blessing which include: longer messy hair, but fewer trips to the hairdresser; not eating out as much which saves some major $$; more face time with hound dog which we both appreciate.
2. Found cheap but good pizza sold from an old shabby building on a side street. Two huge slices ( not much flavor selection) and a can of pop for $5 – delicious!
3. Ordered free covid tests and look forward to N95 masks being made available from local pharmacies.
4. Admire those of you who mange to get by on a tank of gas for a whole month! Am buying my gas at Costco, but son and husband love to drive my car and use my gas.
5. Having some success at “eating down the freezer” but still have lots of stored zucchini and rhubarb left; found large bag of fresh green beans on discount table at produce market which were delicious. Froze the remainder and hope I remember to use them before next January’s “eat down the freezer” project.


Kara January 27, 2022 at 7:18 pm

1.Brought home fava bean tops from the community garden. I was going to buy kale that day, so it saved me a trip to the store. Sauteed them quickly and they were delicious! Free food is always appreciated!
2. Sold a vertical bike stand that I’d picked up for free.
3. Sewed a pair of pajama pants (I was down to one pair) with fabric bought with a gift card I received for my birthday last year. I used the gift card during their black Friday sale, so the money went farther.
4. Sewed a burlap plant pot cover. I had a plant that needed a bigger pot, but I didn’t have any nice ones. I put it in a black 5 gallon plastic pot that I’d received for free, then sewed the burlap cover with burlap I was given for free.
5. Much eating of leftovers.


Christine January 28, 2022 at 8:19 am

Very clever use of burlap! I’m sure it looks way better than the plastic pot.


Becky February 6, 2022 at 11:01 am

My favorite substitute for expensive ceramic plant pots are the lonely crock pot liners I find at the thrift store!


Bettypants January 30, 2022 at 1:38 pm

1. I found a frozen Carhartt knit hat in a parking lot near my car. Looked brand new after it was washed up, and my teen has been wearing it.

2. A client brought in lunch for everyone at work, pizza, breadsticks, and an XL Caesar salad. I took home the leftover dressing, as it would definitely just go to waste sitting in the work fridge.

3. I have knitted dozens of cotton dishcloths while watching Ozark. Took them in and passed them out to a few coworkers.

4. My local library posted that they had free KN95 masks, courtesy of the health department. I walked up as soon as they opened in the morning and received 10.

5. I bought a pair of Sanita clogs, new in the box, for $5 yesterday. That brand must run small, because they are my size, but I can’t even get them on. Resale it is.


auntiali January 30, 2022 at 2:35 pm

My frugal things including one from December:

1. On December 13th I had gastric sleeve surgery. I have since lost 60 lbs since the beginning of November.
2. Gastric sleeve means less food. No junk food or fast food for sure.
3. Resting at home means no gas used.
4. Had the surgery done when I had met my out of pocket deductible for the year and the surgeon took what insurance paid. No payments from me.
5. Working on the Nissan headlamps recall.


Jill A January 31, 2022 at 11:56 am

Wow!! Congratulations on your weight loss. That must feel great.


Christine January 31, 2022 at 12:16 pm

60 pounds since November 1st! That’s a great weight loss. Congratulations!


K D January 31, 2022 at 5:37 am

What isn’t frugal in my life these days?

1. I am only doing a little grocery shopping since I’m mostly staying home. We are using items in the freezer, refrigerator, and pantry. I buy some produce and a few other items each week, as I want to be in and out of the store. Also, the sales lately do not amount to much.

2. Entertainment is mostly walks with friends. I have years/decades old gear that keeps me warm even on cold winter days. Now that Covid numbers have declined greatly I did see a couple of friends last week and one stayed for lunch.

3. Some of my regular gatherings have been on Zoom the past several weeks. It saves time and the cost of driving but I do miss being in person. Hopefully that will change soon.

4. I did my annual female checkups last week. My GYN is retiring soon but she gave me a couple of names of others she recommends. I guess at age 65 you no longer need Pap Smears so I guess I am done with those for life. I also went for my mammogram. It’s better to catch any problems early, though hopefully there won’t be any.

5. The library is awesome. We watched the first three seasons of The Good Karma Hospital on hoopla! through the library. I am always reading and listening to digital books borrowed from the library and we have also been borrowing DVDs.


isa February 1, 2022 at 2:30 am

* Using public library (like crazy!) for books and board games for me and the kids

* Getting 5 free hours with a therapist through my school health insurance. I can also add 5 more hours for free through my work health services, if needed. Saving about 1200$. DD and DH are seeing private psychologists at the tune of 160$/hour, for autism and anxiety stuff (they need more specialized help, I need a place to vent. Therefore, they get the pricey help and I get the free one!). Very grateful for our private health insurance paying up to 1600$/year/person for psychologist sessions! Will still cost a lot but this helps.

* Grateful to have a house with enough space for everyone to be quiet as needed. We love spending time together, but we are 4 introverted people who also need their private space to replenish. As much as I love tiny houses, this would not work for my family!

* We are doing good on our resolutions for a frugal 2022. We are spending for needs, not (many) wants, and it`s going well so far

* Grateful for Youtube. It’s pretty amazing all that you can find for free (viewing) on there! And free workouts too.


Heidi Louise February 1, 2022 at 8:16 am

Isa: Good for you for using the available therapy money!
(We need to encourage each other to do so, just as we encourage each other to take care of any other kind of health, so I am writing).


Kathy February 1, 2022 at 11:28 am

1. We moved from our rented home to our paid for in cash home last Wednesday.
As we had moved 14 months earlier the majority of our stuff was still packed. We saved $500 as we saved boxes and wrapping paper from
prior move to use.
2. Received $24 in class action settlements
3. Took books to 1/2 price book store. .83 later I bought 3 new books for gifts
4. Went to Hallmark and got FREE card for .26
5. Multiple sales online so I’m motivated to purge closet


Katy January 29, 2022 at 5:21 pm

Portlanders have passed library bonds which are tacked onto our very high property taxes (no sales tax here) and are much more than $50/year. Worth it though!


Christine January 30, 2022 at 12:28 pm

It’s frugal to get some of your tax dollars back in the form of library books and materials. I try to use all the amenities my town has to get my money’s worth.


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