Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 16, 2022 · 107 comments

  1. I participated in a short (ten minute?) online study that rewarded me with a $5 Amazon gift card. This worked out well as my husband and I accidentally rented the movie Mulholland Falls on both Apple TV and Amazon Prime at $3.99 apiece. Oops . . . Frugal fail and win?

  2. I hauled home a curbside vintage diner table that I’m currently in the midst of restoring. It’s got a distinct Luke’s Diner from Gilmore Girls vibe, which I enjoy. Sadly I’ve neither need nor space for it, so I’ll be putting it up for sale through Facebook Marketplace. You know . . . after I’ve scoured it with Barkeeper’s Friend and then plucked the 1,001 spiders’ nests from the underside.

    Edit: I sold the table locally for $65.

  3. I made full use of my county library system by reading:

    Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan

    The Sea Keeper’s Daughter, by Lisa Wingate

    The Last Story of Mina Lee, by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

    All of these books were written by women, with deep and intricately written characters. There were zero descriptions of glossy hair, the length of legs or  skinny women who bit into huge cheeseburgers.

  4. My friend sharpened my cheap-o gardening shears that I’ve had since nursing school, I picked up (and actually finished!) a huge tub of fresh mixed greens for $1.69 plus a bag of sliced mushrooms for 69¢/pound from the sketchy food outlet store that’s next door to Goodwill, I happened to take a bus trip on a free day that honored Rosa Parks, I gave my son a like-new Ikea bowl from a neighborhood “free box” and my son and I brought our laptops to IKEA and sipped on free coffees.

  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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{ 107 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy February 16, 2022 at 2:59 pm

1. Took advantage of all of my birthday freebies. Cookies, lunch, $5 of at Kohls, $5 off at DSW
2. Reimbursed $500 for travel to judge a dog show. That covered our pet sitter, gasoline and taking our hosts out to dinner. We stayed with friends on their working cattle ranch.
3. I received a $50 visa gift card for judging. I used it to treat myself to a much needed pedicure
4. Heated up chicken and dumplings for Valentine’s Da
5. Sold 4 items online since first of month


A. Marie February 18, 2022 at 2:28 pm

Kathy, that’s cool about being a dog show judge! What groups/breeds do you judge?


Mand01 February 16, 2022 at 3:30 pm

1. Made a batch of spinach pasta dough using homegrown frozen spinach and eggs from our hens, that has fed us for three dinners and two lunches.
2. Bought a box of tomatoes at a bargain price and made a pot of passata.
3. I also made a batch of pear chutney using pears from my daughter’s tree.
4. Spent a pleasant couple of hours planting seeds for autumn and repotting spider plant pups.


SMazzon February 16, 2022 at 4:45 pm

I did my first ever survey and got a 10 dollar Amazon card.
Spent 73 dollars at grocery store. Saved 41. This was just a happy accident with in the app coupons and shopping sales.
Cook and eat at home.
Continue driving 2006 Honda Accord. Just spent 38 dollars on her to get oil change. 217900 miles. Still pep in her step and great speakers to jam old school free radio!


Dusty February 17, 2022 at 12:35 pm

Congrats on keeping the old car running. I have a 2004 Hyundai…138k miles…still goin strong. People always comment that I need a new car…wby? She’s doin just fine!


Bee February 18, 2022 at 9:48 am

My DH has a 2006 Acura with 220k miles. The one before that made it to 270k. Now we want to see how long it can last.


A. Marie February 18, 2022 at 2:30 pm

I’m the piker in this group, I guess: My 2010 Honda Element has only 68,120 miles. And given the current new/used car market, I hope it can go twice that.


Auntiali February 18, 2022 at 10:47 pm

I have a Honda CRV that is a 2010 and it will be 12 yrs in July and it has 65K miles on it and we bought it new with least amount of acessories. I didn’t need a souped up car. Just a reliable car that got from point A to point B.

Ruby February 20, 2022 at 11:31 am

My 2010 Honda Fit has just under 58K miles and will be 12 years old in May. The only fancy thing on the car is the ability to play music off a memory stick. It’s never needed anything but routine maintenance, sips gas, and suits me perfectly. I hope to keep it as long as I’m driving.

Shona February 16, 2022 at 5:23 pm

1) Received a survey from the Nielsen ratings people with two crisp $1 bills included. My husband filled out the survey (we are definitely not what they are looking for in a Nielsen family) and later received a thank you for our time letter with a crisp $5 included.

2) Snatched up a bag of Blue Buffalo cat food for 1/2 price on the Kroger clearance shelf. Not on the grocery list, but I make exceptions for really good deals on needed items.

3) Continue to receive free food from work including 3 loaves of fresh baked sourdough bread which freezes really well.

4) Faultered on my year of not buying stuff but I’m not going to beat myself up, I just continued the next day.

5) Nearly $4 found in coins and a $1 bill on a recent 5 mile walk through the university.

Milk is the new hard to find item in my area.


Ruby March 8, 2022 at 12:23 pm

I snagged a Nielsen survey that came addressed to our work office and hope to get the promised $10 for filling it out.


Virginia Allain February 16, 2022 at 6:26 pm

1) Gathered colorful parts from old greeting cards, bits of lace, and ribbon, and created my own Valentines to send my sisters this year.
2) Took along a banana and an energy bar for the 6-hour wait while my husband had hand surgery. Didn’t have to hit the vending machine or go out for a sandwich.
3) Sent off my first box of unwanted clothes to ThredUp. If I’m lucky I’ll get a little from the sale of them. If they don’t sell, ThredUp will donate them to charity. At least the items are out of my house using their prepaid postage label on my own box.
4) Found a way to use the very hard, natural peanut butter from Costco that we didn’t like. I stirred it into some no-bake cookies that are cooked on the stovetop. Also used up a sugar substitute that we didn’t care for, an unpopular trail mix, and some chocolate smoothie mix. Amazingly, the recipe turned out tasty, fudgy cookies from that mishmash of ingredient substitutions.
5) Sold some vintage Valentines from my collection by listing them in a Facebook sales group of Valentine collectors. I still have more to list, but at least got started after planning to do it for the last 3 or 4 years.


Jill February 16, 2022 at 6:38 pm

1. On my last Frugal Five I stated that life hasn’t been very frugal for us with the death of our daughter in law and subsequent retirement and move cross country. We safely made it to Denver, moved into an apartment in the same building as my son and grandson and have started our new job as “day car grandparents.” And we love it! But not paying for day care is a step in the frugal direction.
2. We purchased a $20 tv antenna which has enabled us to skip cable and still get a good number of channels. Being exhausted after a full day of chasing a 9 month old around, we have been total couch potatoes enjoying the Olympics.
3. My husband traveled for work in his former job and decided a few years ago to save all of his hotel points for retirement. We are going away for the weekend to enjoy some much needed down time and using those points.
4. We have finally gotten back into cooking and eating at home. During the 6 prior months to our move, we ordered way too much delivery food or ate out or in airports – or anywhere but home. It’s so nice to get back to enjoying a home cooked meal.
5. By being frugal and prioritizing where our money went, this enabled us to start a scholarship fund in our daughter in law’s name – she was a high school science teacher at a lower income school – and I think she would absolutely love this. I know I do.


janine February 16, 2022 at 6:44 pm

RE: #5 – Scholarship sure to be appreciated by a talented student! A wonderful way to remember your much loved daughter-in-law.


Coral February 16, 2022 at 10:25 pm

You are dealing with adversity in such a gracious and loving way.I sympathise with your loss, and admire your handling of it.


Marie-Josée February 17, 2022 at 1:01 am

I am happy to read you are settling in your new abode and life. Your son and grandson are so fortunate to have you in their lives. The scholarsip is such a wonderful way to honour your daughter in law’s memory.


MB in MN February 17, 2022 at 7:45 am

So glad for this uplifting update and that you can find cheer and purpose within your grief.


rebecca February 17, 2022 at 7:53 am

My sincerest condolences on your loss. Please share where people can donate (if that is ok, Katy). Maybe people will be willing to donate found change for a month or something like that or give up a coffee and donate the price of that?


Christine February 17, 2022 at 8:41 am

Happy to hear you are settled in and have found a place so close to your son and grandson. How fortunate that in the midst of grief and adversity you all have each other. Hugs and best wishes for you all as you move forward.


Kathy February 17, 2022 at 9:14 am

Your son and grandson are blessed to have you and your husband


Terry Bee February 17, 2022 at 9:16 am

What a lovely and blessed tribute to your daughter-in-law in establishing this scholarship. Her memory will always be cherished and appreciated.


Erika February 17, 2022 at 2:52 pm

This is one of the sweetest stories of loving parents and grandparents that I have ever heard! You both have hearts full of love. Good luck to you and your son and grandson.


Bee February 17, 2022 at 4:42 pm

I admire you and your husband. Your kindness and the love you have for your son shows in every word you write. Thank you for keeping us updated and as always sending lots of love your way.


A. Marie Sprayberry February 18, 2022 at 2:32 pm

What everyone else has said, Jill: Yours is a wonderful story. Blessings on you and your family.


SC from MN February 25, 2022 at 9:04 am

What you two are doing is an amazing sacrifice that will have positive consequences for years to come. You two are an inspiration and a blessing!


Cindy in the South February 28, 2022 at 11:57 am

Virtual hugs.


janine February 16, 2022 at 6:38 pm

1. Looking for ways to beat/contain inflation.Have decided to extend low-spend January into February.
2. This includes borrowing most books read for my book club from the library. (I exempted a book written by a friend). Confession: I also have a unused gift card from Barnes and Noble to fall back on.)
3. Cooking more from scratch: plan to use frozen rhubarb in a conserve which will be used as a spread on bread and cheese.Weekend meals will include soup, scalloped potatoes etc.
4. We have plenty of firewood. Gooey roasted marshmallows and hot cider make staying home a little more palatable.
5. Have been notified that our free Covid tests are on the way -UG! Better than paying for them under the circumstances.


Lindsey February 16, 2022 at 7:56 pm

1. When I was 32, I had to have open heart surgery for a birth defect. Four of my friends got together and begged the local Christmas store owner to open her shop in July so they could buy me a gorgeous fused glass platter (that fails to describe the beauty of this one of a kind object) as a get well soon gift. I am now 70 and have used it exactly once. I just don’t do parties but I have felt so honored by their act that I have kept it around for 38 years. I finally sold it because when I die it will just go to the dump or perhaps Salvation Army. $74 made.
2.Took on a three day court contract that made me $1040. Worth the aggravation.
3. I cancelled a magazine that was on auto renewal.
4. Did a fast food mystery shop, so a burger meal and pop were free, plus I was paid a miniscule amount. We go to fast food for my favorite Filet ‘o Fish but that is about it, so this was a rare trip to a place we have never gone to before. Husband and I shared the meal so a cheap lunch.
5. Traded some fish for moose with the next door neighbor. We no longer hunt so appreciate how often they share their harvest with us. Usually I give them garden produce but we have way too much geoduck so I was happy to wave goodby to six pounds of it!

Frugal fail: husband hit a snow berm and knocked off the front fender. It will cost us hundreds to repair and he cannot do it because some electronics cords were ripped out, too.


Lindsey February 16, 2022 at 7:59 pm

geoduck is technically a gigantic, obscenely shaped clam, but if it comes from the sea it is fish to me.


bettafrmdaville February 16, 2022 at 8:49 pm

Lindsey, I think it might have been you and your mentions of being a Mystery Shopper that got me to sign up to be one as well! I just did my first, which is at a well-known/expensive grocery store. I have to buy a list of pre-set groceries, but they are staples (eggs, cheese, chicken, bread, etc), and I get reimbursed for them + and an extra $20. I think this will take place every 2 weeks or so, for the next year, and I am thrilled with it to keep my grocery bill down. So a GIANT thank you!


Lindsey February 17, 2022 at 12:26 pm

Glad to hear it! We don’t get many grocery shops here, the town is too small, but gasoline shops have really paid off for us.


kim hansen February 20, 2022 at 1:39 pm

bettafrmdaville Would you mind sharing the Mystery Shop Company you use? Please and Thank You!!


bettafrmdaville February 21, 2022 at 11:34 am



Marie-Josée February 17, 2022 at 1:30 am

Thanks for sharing your reading list, Katy.

My husband has finally begun pre-retirement, working 4 days instead of 5 and it is life altering for both of us. He runs errands on his day off and this frees up so much time for us during the weekend.

I am hoping my employer will allow me the same privilege in May, when my work load will allow it.

I’ve reviewed our expenses and have decided on cancelling my New York Times subscription and will read it via my library portal. It’s a small hassle to cut a $120 yearly expense. I will cancel our Prime membership, not just for the savings. We don’t need same-day shipping and we don’t watch Prime Video or Music. $74 saved!

Food is our largest expense and I use an app weekly to scan for deals on the gluten free, organic, free-range foods we eat.

Making lists of items I want, like large Pyrex bowls with lids, and asking my daughter to scan the thrift store she frequents for those items.

Enjoying our simple life: work, good food, long and lovely walks during the weekend, time with family and friends COVID restrictions allowing.


Heidi Louise February 17, 2022 at 8:40 am

Amazon Prime prices are going up as of tomorrow, 2/18. so you might have saved even more than you thought!


Jill A February 17, 2022 at 4:29 am

Really cute table.

1. Reading free library books on my kindle. Last one was The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth.
2. I used a Panera gift card to take my Mom to lunch after taking her shopping for a garden fountain which will be a combined birthday gift purchase with my siblings.
3. I’ve finally run out of shampoo. I scrounged for some that one of my daughters is no longer using. Once that is finished I’ll use whatever hotel mini’s I still have before I purchase more. I also cut open my toothpaste tube for a few more days of clean teeth.
4. We’ve been eating the free food my daughter brings home from work. I’m cleaning out my freezer so I’ve thawed some ground turkey for some chili tonight. It’s a couple of pounds so I’ll have to come up with a second meal for the rest of it.
5. I used credit card reward points to purchase a plane ticket to go pick up my daughter. We’ll be road tripping home in her car. I used my rewards card also for a hotel reservation to receive the yearly $50 credit.


Ruby February 17, 2022 at 6:15 am

That is a very cute table. Someone is going to snatch it up when you get it all cleaned up.

My frugal five largely consist of keeping on keeping on with the regular stuff of cooking, mending, making do: Used up the last of the bananas rescued from work to make snack muffins for my work lunch. Pulled out frozen cherry tomatoes and chopped sweet peppers from last summer to add to a homemade skillet dinner. Made the family a killer gourmet homemade pizza for $7-$8 in ingredients, as opposed to the last take-out pizza we got, which was $23 and simply terrible. Sewed up a little rip in my husband’s suede house slippers with some thread given to me by a long-ago neighbor: the thread is so old the spool is marked 45 cents, but it was still strong and great quality. Trimmed by own hair around the edges to stretch out the time between haircuts.


Michele Davidson February 17, 2022 at 6:39 am

1. Cancelling Costco, as it is too far away- will keep Sam’s as it is more on my usual “route”.
2. Cancelling Prime, as I can usually wait or make do for what I need.
3. Making dinner each night and packing leftovers for lunch.
4. Going to my son’s appt. so we can can clear up his large medical bill. He has really tried, but is new at “adulting”. 🙂 Also a nice way to spend the day with him.
5. Using up almost too gone produce for tonight’ stuffed cabbage soup.


anna chan February 17, 2022 at 7:52 am

Please show us an after picture of the table when you are done with it. I love seeing new uses for old things


anna chan February 17, 2022 at 7:58 am

Please show us an after picture of the table when you are done with it. I love seeing new uses for old things.


Katy February 20, 2022 at 12:50 pm



rebecca February 17, 2022 at 8:05 am

1. I’ve been watching the Olympics for entertainment. I love them.
2. Neighbors came over to watch the superbowl and brought part of our refreshments. We had a great time and ate well. Bummer about the Bengals.
3. A friend has offered to watch my senoir dog when I go away this summer. She won’t get in the car anymore so I can’t have her go to a petsitter and, it appears no one wants to stay at someone’s home anymore. I am sad on many levels because of this. I also want someone I know, or someone knows that I trust for obvious reason.
4. No valentines this year. I also didn’t buy candy 1/2 off on 2/15.
5. I accepted 2 classes for Fall 22 semester. I am hoping for a third. Summer classes at my university are so low in enrollment, not much is being offered. I have to start saving now as summers are pretty lean financially as it is.


Christine February 18, 2022 at 11:02 am

I skipped the 1/2 off Valentine candy this year too but not because I didn’t want to eat some. I’m sliding into home base here with dieting for DS’s upcoming wedding at the end of this month. That dress WILL fit.
Glad you found a friend to watch your pup this summer.


rebecca February 21, 2022 at 8:57 am

Thanks Christine


Christine February 17, 2022 at 8:32 am

I love your description of the absence of description of the long legged, silky haired women in the books you’ve read!
1. I received a water bottle and an exercise band free from a local hospital for participating in an online heart health study which took about fifteen minutes to complete.
2. Youngest grandson came over for dinner last night to celebrate his 14th birthday. I made chicken enchiladas and a cake from scratch, we played cards and watched a couple of episodes of a series he likes and he opened his gifts of a mug and a gift card to my friend’s indy bookstore. He thanked us and told us how much fun the night had been. Hearing this from a 14 year old…score!
3. My old food processor finally bit the dust. At first I panicked thinking how am I going to chop cabbage, make pie crust, make frosting, etc. Well, I have since chopped cabbage with a cutting board and knife, made frosting with my mixer with the attachment for whipped cream and am pretty sure the mixer using the bread dough hook will suffice for pie crust.
4. Currently reading C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series. Well written and gets this East Coast girl out into the mountains of the West.
5. According to The Olde Farmers’ Almanac, Winter’s back broke yesterday. Like clockwork, a flock of Red Winged Blackbirds came up on a waft of warm air and descended on our back yard this morning. They are the first harbinger of Spring here in our marshy neighborhood where they like to nest in the Cat Nine Tails. Frugal in that we love to watch and listen to birds. Cheep thrills.


Liz B. February 18, 2022 at 10:51 am

Christine, “cheep thrills”….I see what you did there! 😉

Red Winged Blackbirds come to my area later in the spring, and stay all summer and into the fall. My favorite local park must be a perfect habitat for them, because there were a ton of them last year. I think they’re so pretty.


Christine February 18, 2022 at 11:05 am

Our Red Wingers arrive in late Winter and are almost always gone by August 1st. We enjoy them while we can!


Christine February 18, 2022 at 11:07 am

I forgot to say, the C.J. Box series are borrowed from the library.


Julia February 26, 2022 at 5:42 am

I love C.J. Box!


A. Marie February 18, 2022 at 2:34 pm

Another source of “cheep thrills”: I’m taking part in this weekend’s Great Backyard Bird Count, via the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Costs nothing and is great fun.


Bee February 19, 2022 at 6:09 am

This is a wonderful event. I just read all about it. I think I will also participate. Honestly, my DH and I bird watch every day. We live in an area with many types of birds, but I have never recorded my daily sightings.


Liz Bishop February 19, 2022 at 4:55 pm

A. Marie and Bee, I’ll be participating tomorrow at a local park. I’m new to bird watching and bird photography, and it’s very exciting to me when I can recognize a bird by sight or by its call.


Katy February 20, 2022 at 11:08 am

I’ve been enjoying yellow warblers in the tree in front of my house lately. Birds here tend to be very earth toned, so the yellow is extra special here in Portland. Also, their bird song is so sweet it almost sounds like a Disney recording.


Bee February 20, 2022 at 2:12 pm

I saw a bald Eagle today!!!! I do see them from time to time. What an awe-inspiring sight !


Jill A February 22, 2022 at 11:36 am

Your grandsons birthday sounds perfect. I’ve also been enjoying some “cheep thrills”. My daughter, Mom and I went on a walk on a nature trail near her new home and saw many sandhill cranes and some swans fly over head. It was wonderful to see and hear them.


Ava February 17, 2022 at 8:33 am

1. Cooked some freezer burned broccoli for the dogs.
2. Baked some withering apples and made a delicious clean out the refrigerator soup.
3. Took a short vacation. Out of five nights away, one night was free with points. We had 3 free breakfasts and all attractions we saw were either no admission or free with national parks pass.
4. Was given raspberry plants by a friend.
5. After a period of very slow Etsy sales, I finally sold 2 items for a total of $31. One item I paid $1 for and the other came from a box in the attic.


t February 17, 2022 at 8:58 am

I saw a news blurb that some person’s wife has eaten the same meal of salmon and vegetables for 25 years. I didn’t know you could do that. So now I guess I don’t have to hide my addiction to Costco canned salmon and Birdseye garlic mashed cauliflower anymore. No more sneaking the empty cans and packaging to the dumpster in the middle of the night.
I haven’t sold anything. I did buy a new liberty print top at thrift store price.
Entertainment usually hugging a fluffy kitty and tap dancing to a made up song. Free free free.


Vickey April 2, 2022 at 4:24 pm

t, I love how you make me laugh. And think!


Bee February 18, 2022 at 4:49 am

I love the “Gilmore Girls” diner table. My daughter and I would watch that show together when she was a teenager. Just the mention of it brings back good memories.
This week’s FFT include:
1) I needed a pair of Wellies/muck boots to wear to the dog park. The area around the lakes and trails get really muddy as does the dog. I found an exceptionally nice pair at the community thrift store for a mere $12 after had dropped off some unneeded items.
2) I will become a grandmother for the first time in July. I saved my son’s favorite teddy bear, Benjamin Bear, which I took out the storage chest, gave him a bath, made a big red bow for around his neck, and put him in the Valentine’s gift bag that I had put together for my eldest son and DIL. My son was so excited. This bear went everywhere with him during his first 5 years of life, and he treasured him.
3) Wordle. The whole family is playing – my husband, SIL and adult children. My younger son who lives 2500 miles away will check with me everyday to see if I solved the puzzle. Fun and free!
4) I sustained a head injury right before Christmas and received a ride in an ambulance. It took me three tries, but I finally was able to get the city to file a claim with my insurance company. The claim was paid and it saved several hundred dollars. Ambulance rides are as expensive as pre-Covid flights to Europe.
5) I have been doing all the usual things – drinking primarily filtered tap water, brewing my own coffee, cooking from scratch, shopping carefully, reading library books (many by female authors), selling on eBay, and trying to be a good citizen of the world.

Wishing everyone peace and good health!


MB in MN February 18, 2022 at 9:42 am

Bee, congratulations on your first grandbaby-to-be! The Benjamin Bear gift is so sweet.


Christine February 18, 2022 at 11:14 am

Wonderful news about your new grandbaby! I always say to first timers: Grandchildren are all of the joy and none of the stress of being a parent. My 4 grandkids range in age from 14 to 20 and I can tell you this still holds true.


Kara February 18, 2022 at 12:51 pm

Congratulations! I became a grandma for the first time last year.
Well done on getting the ambulance ride covered. A ride in the med-evac helicopter is an amount you want to be sitting down for when you hear it. Truly mind boggling.


Jill A February 18, 2022 at 2:33 pm

Congratulations on your new grand baby. I hope you are fully recovered from your head injury. They are no joke. Scary.


A. Marie February 18, 2022 at 2:37 pm

Cheers for the new grandchild and Benjamin Bear, Bee! And kudos on your success with the ambulance ride claim.


Bee February 19, 2022 at 6:14 am

Thank you! I am excited. It will be wonderful to have a baby in the house. I am all healed and will try not to have any more accidents. I promised my son that I would act my age. I’m not sure what that means. Hmmm…


Katy February 20, 2022 at 12:46 pm

I agree that ambulance service is incredibly expensive. However, patients are charged for the specialized care from the skilled paramedics as much as the “ride.”


Bee February 20, 2022 at 2:11 pm

The paramedics were wonderful!!!! They did the job with effectiveness and kindness. One cannot ask for much more.


Jill D March 11, 2022 at 3:01 pm

It was an EMT who correctly and immediately diagnosed my heart ailment after years of fruitless visits to cardiologists. “Skilled” doesn’t begin to describe these paramedics.


Vickey April 11, 2022 at 5:58 am

It’s telling that the number one cause of death for cardiologists is….heart disease! I’m forever grateful for the leadership of their past-president Kim Williams in speaking out widely about the value of plant-based diets.

Staying as healthy as possible for as long as possible is cost-effective!


K D February 18, 2022 at 5:30 am

I love the descriptions of the books you read. I too dislike reading about how gorgeous and fit everyone is in certain books. A waste of a readers time and energy.

1. It’s been a low spend month. Some groceries have been purchased but I have been having more meat free days.

2. We donated a small amount to a fund raiser that helped them secure a generous matching grant. The grant was based on the number of donors rather than the amount donated.

3. Entertainment this week consisted of walking with three different friends and visiting with a couple others.

4. A friend that is moving to another state gave me a bag of Einkorn flour. I used some of it to make a loaf of Cuban bread (a recipe I first encountered in The Tightwad Gazette).

5. I purchased a digital copy of Turbo Tax while it was on sale. You are allowed to use it for up to five returns so I’ll share it with our daughter. Next up is checking to see if the final documents we need are available today.


Katy February 20, 2022 at 12:42 pm

The worst part is that it’s almost as often written by women this way as it is by men.


Ava February 18, 2022 at 7:38 am

For those looking for a book with realistic non glossy female characters, I just finished Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly. I thought it was excellent. It reminded me of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine books, though it is not a mystery. Highly recommend.


Roberta February 18, 2022 at 12:14 pm

1. Picking up three subbing jobs a week. I’m knitting lots of socks, working on wool bought at thrift shops, and reducing my stash. They’ll make gifts for later.
2. We went to Disneyland (not frugal) but kept additional spending to a minimum. Brought in food, and only stayed one day (which, by the way, was all anyone expected when I was a kid). No souvenirs. It was a quiet day, especially with the caps on attendance, which I appreciated, so we were able to get on rides quickly without long lines.
3. Hung out a load of laundry after work. We’re not expecting rain, so it should be dry after work today. Getting chores done while working requires creativity.
4. Reading The Book Woman or Troublesome Creek with my mom, free on Libby, and watching Sister Boniface mysteries on BritBox.
5. Stopped by the discount store, and found my probiotics for 80% off, melatonin for less than $2.00, a couple other things we use. My family hates shopping there, but it’s worth it to me to save the money and use up surplus. I found 100% linen sheets for $60, and they’re amazing.


MB in MN February 18, 2022 at 2:13 pm

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is just fascinating. I learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed it, as did my entire book group.


Katy February 20, 2022 at 11:09 am

I loved that book, and took it as an opportunity to text with a friend from Kentucky and make sure she read it as well.


Jill A February 18, 2022 at 2:35 pm

Linen sheets sound amazing


Bee February 19, 2022 at 6:16 am

What a deal on the linen sheets!!!!


Liz Bishop February 19, 2022 at 4:31 pm

Roberta, my mom worked at Disneyland back in the late 1960s – early 70s, so we went there fairly frequently when I was a kid (it was a lot different 45+ years ago – still expensive and a special treat, but Mom got discounted tickets). A one day trip was all we ever expected. We also loved Knott’s Berry Farm, and the Japanese Deer Park.


Shona February 19, 2022 at 6:43 pm

Growing up we went to Knott’s Berry Farm every New Year’s Day. As for Disneyland, in the 90’s they had that great rate for locals with certain zip codes and I recall entrance was $25. But I don’t know about this more than one day thing, the park was small, pre- Californialand. Since moving away in ’98 I’ve not knep up with any other developments, but for not a lot of money ($5 clam chowder bread bowl in the French quarter, best deal in the park!) it was a fun day.


Jill A February 18, 2022 at 2:39 pm

I also forgot to mention I finished a book called Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny if anyone is looking for a lovely book with really fun characters who are also not thin or perfect. I was really enchanted by it and I think it’s my favorite book that I’ve read recently.


Katy February 20, 2022 at 11:01 am

Thanks for the suggestion, I’m always looking for new books to read!


Selena February 18, 2022 at 8:32 pm

Received an obscene bonus at work – absolutely no desire to change spending habits. Though I did order a slightly different meal on date night tonight (we’re not talking a mega buck difference in price).
It is time to a) get the grew-during-COVID-19 pile donated and b) make another cull of the house. Despite better half’s “proclamation” of how much “stuff” we had, we really didn’t have much compared to most people.
Forgot to post that we PAID OFF THE HOUSE last month. We’ve been making double payments for five years then decided to just pay it off. The double payment amount will go to savings from here on out.


Patricia Koernig February 19, 2022 at 1:37 am

Congratulations on paying off the house! No mortgage…true freedom!


Bee February 19, 2022 at 6:17 am

Woot! Woot! What an accomplishment!


Ruby February 19, 2022 at 6:26 am

Congratulations on paying off your house!


bettafrmdaville February 19, 2022 at 9:09 am

Woot, woot! No more house payments!


Christine February 19, 2022 at 9:33 am

Congrats on being mortgage free!


Jill A February 20, 2022 at 5:02 am

Congratulations on paying off your house. Yay.


Katy February 20, 2022 at 11:01 am

I’m piling on to be one more person congratulating you on paying off your house. Woo hoo!


Selena February 20, 2022 at 8:09 pm

It is such a sense of accomplishment and security. Yes, still have to insure it (but will have more say-so over the insurers replacement cost. Well, septic, and foundation are likely to NOT going to be damaged in an area that is not in an earthquake zone) and pay taxes.


Bethany M February 19, 2022 at 6:45 am

Bumped our temps down one more degree. My dad called wondering how bad our gas bill was and it has been manageable with our careful usage despite the 40% increase. Really looking forward to Spring!

Kids made me a Valentines breakfast. Cold, half-cooked eggs. Lol! I couldn’t let my farm fresh eggs go to waste so I topped with cheese and popped it in the microwave when they weren’t looking.

Got my Costco reward check and I have one return item. I’m trying to hear my month of Costco shopping to net $0 when all is said and done. I like a good fiscal challenge.

My life is more home-based than it’s been for a long time. I’m formulating a plan to get my kids some new dress clothes, particularly Easter. Checking thrift stores first. Being home more I think about the spending more before I go out and do it. Save a little gas too.

Bundled and saved. Our car insurance was pricier to switch over to State Farm but the total package went down substantially with bundling, and we were super glad to kick Geico to the curb as they mistreated us once when another driver carried them.


Hawaii Planner February 19, 2022 at 3:31 pm

Let’s see:
1) Cancelled Amazon prime
2) We are going to a formal wedding (my kids first ever wedding, and they are teenagers) & my kids own three total pair of shoes: slides, soccer cleats, & sneakers. They needed dress shoes, so I ordered them each a pair, and then realized that my 16 year old is the same size as my husband, and my husband (for reasons known only to him) has multiple pair of black dress shoes. Score! This means we only needed to buy one pair of black dress shoes. Both boys are going to a sports banquet, so they will wear their “dress outfit” one additional time plus the wedding, and hopefully won’t grow out of it for awhile. Perhaps that’s unrealistic. I would have liked to buy used, but my kids are pretty lean through the waist, but have very muscular legs from years of soccer. They needed a weird cut/size, and I came up empty.
3) Rebooked my flight to Hawaii (taking my mom for her 70th birthday) when Alaska ran a sale, saving $200 over the original price.
4) Ate creative meals ahead of a trip out of town, using up what was in the fridge. As long as everyone gets fed, it’s a win.
5) Stocked up on free reading material ahead of a trip.


EssexFish February 19, 2022 at 9:52 pm

1. Found two white Ikea Skruvsta swivel chairs in great condition left out for trash and brought them home
2. Canceled my landline phone, which saves about $12 a month
3. Saw an excellent classical music performance at a historic mansion for free
4. Sold a vintage Chinese wood and ceramic screen I found curbside for $1200
5. Submitted a claim as part of an $85 million class action settlement for all users of a certain teleconferencing platform for privacy and security issues. Should get about $10 from that


Katy February 20, 2022 at 10:46 am

I had to look up what you chairs look like. Very cute!


Katy February 20, 2022 at 10:55 am

And by the way, all five of your “frugal things” are insanely impressive!


Selena February 20, 2022 at 8:15 pm

A bit jealous you could cancel your landline. I could also BUT since reliable internet (think snow, thunder storms, and trees) is only available via the phone company, what I’d say canceling landline will likely increase my internet cost. Work from home so internet is a necessity. Was hoping the infrastructure bill would bring high speed to my area but not holding my breath. A bit tired of of welfare states – if your state refuses to have skin in the game, my (and others) tax dollars should go elsewhere.


Jill A February 22, 2022 at 1:17 pm

$1200 for a free item. Awesome. I also would like to cancel my land line but I use it at least once a week to find my cell phone. LOL. I also have elderly family members who might need to wake me during the night and my cell phone doesn’t do the trick.


Selena February 20, 2022 at 8:16 pm

What I’d SAVE not say. Katy – we need an edit option LOL


Lulutoo February 22, 2022 at 8:19 am

There’s another blog I enjoy, called and this week he found a table, too. Must be the week to get rid of tables! (He is in Canada.)


Cindy in the South February 22, 2022 at 11:02 am

Love the table, Katy! 1. Brought all lunches to work. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches are not exciting, nor are roast beef and cheese but they were frugal.
2. Washed my delicate clothing by hand and hung them up in the breeze to dry.
3. Cut my own hair. My hair is thin and straight so fairly easy to cut to chin length.
4. Fixed all meals at home. I made potato salad (I ran out of onions so I used water chestnuts, salted, and sprinkled them with onion powder. They were a decent fake onion.) I made hamburger rice with cheese and onion (the reason I ran out of onion for my potato salad), and various other thrown together meals.
5. I walked in my neighborhood. Nothing glamourous but I don’t care.


MB in MN February 22, 2022 at 2:48 pm

Cindy in the South, kudos on turning a water chestnut into a faux onion! That’s brilliant.


Isa February 24, 2022 at 11:15 am

* Booked to do a secret shopper mission at the eye care clinic. They require I get an eye exam and try on glasses, which works since I was due anyways. 50$ in my pocket.

* I now avoid restaurants. Prices are going up, up, up! I take pleasure in calculating the price per portion of what I cook. Big difference

* Since DD is off her gluten-free diet, it has gotten so much easier and cheaper to feed her.

* Library books again, and again, and again! Too many books, to little time

* Borrowed 10 DVD from my school library. Also, at school : parking in the street and walking 10 min there instead of paying 15$.


Julie Hamann March 4, 2022 at 11:22 am

Still working from home full time while taking care of my mom. She turned 99 back on November 14th.
Temperature was up to 86 earlier this week so it was nice to turn off the heat and have the door open. Don’t laugh, it can get cold in Tucson Arizona in the winter months.
I had asked for a Thred Up box back in 2020 and never received it. I’ll go back to the website and see if I can download a mailing label. I have a pile of clothes to hopefully sell.
Still cooking all the meals at home. The shelves at the grocery store are not as bare as they were several months ago but cat food is still hard to find.
Continuing to pay extra on the principal balance of the mortgage. I’m still on track to have it paid off in three years when I turn 65.


GC March 8, 2022 at 2:00 pm

1. Had a consultant appointment for my daughter with the same consultant that my son wasca patient with before, when he realised this he only charged us for a return visit rather than a new appointment which saved us 90$!
2. Managed to borrow a book my son was looking for from a friend (I was unable to source it through the library).
3. Returned an exercise bike that was broken out of the box – they took it back without any fuss and even refunded me 49$ as I got the same one again, but it had been reduced in price!
4. Continuing to use my cellphone with a cracked screen (it’s been like that for a year). This seems to really bother some people as I get asked why I’m not replacing it a lot. 🙂
5. A friend who cleared out a room gave me a pair of nearly new walking shoes (they fit!), a bathrobe (went to my daughter) and a dress.
I have started Frugal 5 entries in my diary. I have finally figured out why this is so therapeutic for me – with all that’s happening in the world right now, all that madness that I have no control over this is something that I can control.
I am re-reading the old blog posts on here by moth, ie this March I am reading the blog posts of March 2020, 2019 etc. Can we please bring back Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will???!!! Love those!


Ecoteri March 24, 2022 at 5:05 pm

Oh, I love your diary entry idea of your Frugal fives. gives me an idea. I find that I am happier when I remember all the things I have accomplished, be they frugal wins or simply projects completed..


GC April 14, 2022 at 10:35 am

That’s great that you like the idea! I’ve been a very sporadic diary writer but the frugal 5 entries have been a game changer, loving it! I’ve also started to list what I’m currently reading (and giving each book a rating out of 10).


GC March 8, 2022 at 2:06 pm

1. Had a consultant appointment for my daughter with the same consultant that my son was a patient with before, when he realised this he only charged us for a return visit rather than a new appointment which saved us 90$!
2. Managed to borrow a book my son was looking for from a friend (I was unable to source it through the library).
3. Returned an exercise bike that was broken out of the box – they took it back without any fuss and even refunded me 49$ as I got the same one again, but it had been reduced in price!
4. Continuing to use my cellphone with a cracked screen (it’s been like that for a year). This seems to really bother some people as I get asked why I’m not replacing it a lot. 🙂
5. A friend who cleared out a room gave me a pair of nearly new walking shoes (they fit!), a bathrobe (went to my daughter) and a dress.
I have started Frugal 5 entries in my diary. I have finally figured out why this is so therapeutic for me – with all that’s happening in the world right now, all that madness that I have no control over, being frugal is something that I can control.
I am re-reading the old blog posts on here by month, ie this March I am reading the blog posts of March 2020, 2019 etc. Can we please bring back Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will???!!! Love those!


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