Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 8, 2022 · 100 comments

My husband and I have been hit with a series of unexpected expenses over the past few months, (related to his mother’s passing, car maintenance, storm damage to our backyard tree and helping our son out after he was laid off.) and although we’ve had the money to cover everything, our savings definitely took a hit. Keep in mind that our youngest just graduated from college last year, so we hadn’t been able to prioritize savings until recently. This means that we’re tightening our belts more than ever, which you might think wasn’t even possible. Turns out it was!

  1. Last night I took four iffy apples and baked up a delicious apple crisp, which included juice from squishy lemon.

    I then incorporated the rest of the lemon juice in a Greek-style orzo chicken soup. I’d boiled up the last of a Costco rotisserie chicken a couple weeks ago and froze both the broth and the scraps of meat. I seasoned the soup with a scoop of Costco “Better Than Bullion,” bulk purchased dill, paprika, pepper and seasoned salt from Dollar Tree. This soup also included sautéed onion, carrot and celery that I’d frozen as ugly little clumps after recently buying a large bag of pre-chopped celery for 33¢. This was such a time saver and I’ll likely repeat this hack in the future. By the way, the soup was superb!

    Click HERE to see the ugly celery/onion/carrot mix.

  2. My husband and I are long term lending our 2007 Prius to our son who just landed a decently paying tech job that’s unfortunately outside of Portland. He’d been saving to buy a reliable used car, but his plan got derailed when he was laid off in late May. (Right after moving out!) Luckily my husband’s job is only a couple miles from home, so he can commute by bike most of the time. This leaves me at home with our 2005 minivan for errands, although I’ve been making a concerted effort to drive as little as possible lately.

    None of us want car payments, so we’ll just make do as long as possible. Used cars are suddenly insanely expensive, so anything we can do to hold off on buying at peak pricing is just smart money. This is making me extra thankful that our daughter can walk to work!

  3. My husband and I aren’t planning any plane travel this summer, so instead we’ll just enjoy the Pacific Northwest. I do plan on burning up some airline miles to cover the cost of one night at a schmancy Columbia Gorge hotel, plus my husband has a two day class in Tacoma, Washington that I’ll tag along for in September. (The cost of his hotel room will be covered.) I’ll then drive the 45 minutes up to Seattle to visit with old college friends and enjoy getting away from home for a few days.

    Add in that one of my best friends is coming to Portland later this month for a wedding and is coincidentally staying in my neighborhood! I usually see her when I visit New York, so it’ll kind of be like traveling. I do plan on driving her and her husband around to do some sightseeing, which counts as a staycation in my book.

    It can be hard to see friends traveling to exotic corners of the world, but it’s also perfectly acceptable to explore your own corner of the world.

  4. I power washed my kitchen garbage can, recycling bins and an outdoor rug as part of borrowing my neighbor’s power washer, I shared some extra fruit smoothie with a neighbor, I grabbed six bottles of 48¢ shampoo and conditioner and two bottles of 10¢ chili powder from the Winco clearance shelf, I cobbled together a hodge-podge decent meal when my husband was on the verge of ordering Thai takeout, my husband and I watched the movie Pride through my sister’s Prime Video account, (this movie was fantastic, I highly recommend it!) my friend Lise gave me a small jar of yeast which I returned filled with everything but the bagel seasoning from a huge container I bought at Costco, and I watched an amazing YouTube Frontline PBS documentary titled Two American Families about two different Milwaukie, Wisconsin families and their struggles with poverty.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, as aviation fuel no longer fits in our budget.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Ava July 8, 2022 at 1:30 pm

Oh, Katy thank you for posting again so soon. I am sure all your fans will be delighted.
1. Rejoined the senior center. Our membership had lapsed due to covid. This time our insurance paid for the year long membership because the center has an exercise room. Otherwise our fees would have been $15 a month each.
2. Put my drying rack on the deck and have been hanging out laundry when weather permits. A nice side effect is that hanging laundry outside causes rain showers, which have really helped relieve the drought we have been in.
3. Neighbor gave me cucumbers, tomatoes and potatoes. I offered her an outdoor lounge chair that we need to rehome. We were both very pleased.
4. Finally made a couple of sales on Etsy which has been very slow. I need to list more. I have plenty of items and they can’t sell if no one sees them.
5. Making extensive use of the library for movies.


Katy July 8, 2022 at 4:07 pm

So you’re the cause of all the rain? Thanks!


Shona July 10, 2022 at 11:17 am

I should suggest that my mom in LA put out her drying rack, maybe that would help things there.


Jill A July 8, 2022 at 1:44 pm

I sympathize with the car situation. The used car prices are ridiculous. I just hope the chip problem resolves before my car dies.

1. My daughter cut my hair for me. We’ve been cutting each others hair since the pandemic. She watched an advanced tutorial and did a fantastic job cutting off several inches into a layered bob. I love the cost savings and the fact that I don’t have to leave my house.
2. I’ve repaired a pool vacuum head and an outdoor table that needs to be soldered with some cable ties. I also found a cable tie while out on a walk. I’m out of the longer ones so I picked it up and will use it next time I need one.
3. I stocked up on several things at Costco – dog food, laundry detergent, coffee, cheese, bacon and butter. While I was there I filled my car with “cheaper” gas and used their free tire air.
4. I’ve been relaxing a lot lately on my front porch. I’ve added beautiful outdoor pillows to my rockers that were thrifted from the Goodwill bins. They look brand new and are exactly what I’ve been searching for for the last several years. I’ve been reading library books on my kindle and sipping on free iced coffee (my daughter brought home from work) out of my also Goodwill bins thrifted Tervis tumbler. By the way Seven Days In June was a great book. I also just finished Into Thin Air by Jon Kraukaer. It’s an old book but I’m fascinated by Everest and they people who climb it.
5. I’ve sold a few things on Ebay and I am slowly listing more. I’m using as many free boxes and packaging as I can. I did find some new boxes at a yard sale for cheap and have put them to good use. I order pick-up from the post office which is free, saves me gas and the postal worker gets paid extra to pick-up.


Liz B. July 9, 2022 at 10:47 am

@Jill A,

I, too, am fascinated by Everest and the people who climb it. Into Thin Air is a favorite book….it brought to light the ongoing issue of people who are not climbers paying to be “taken up the mountain”. (I’m not a climber by any stretch of the imagination). There was a local man in the news pre-Covid who has tried to summit twice, but both times had to turn back k because of altitude sickness.


Bee July 10, 2022 at 2:49 am

I also enjoyed “Into Thin Air.” I read it several years ago and found it fascinating. There is an interesting documentary entitled Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey. (BTW, Dirtbag is slang for a mountain climber). Fred Beckey was from the Northwest and scaled some of the most difficult peaks in the world. He wrote many books on the subject and kept climbing until he was 94. My middle son is a climber. I’m not sure how that happens to a child who is born and raised in Florida, but it did.


Liz B. July 10, 2022 at 6:43 am

I’ll have to look for that documentary! Thanks!
Funny how our children find their passions.


Christine July 10, 2022 at 9:07 am

Thanks Bee! Just let my husband, another mountain climber, know about it. He’s heard of Fred Beckey but hasn’t seen the documentary.


Jill A July 13, 2022 at 4:03 am

Thanks Bee. I’ll look for that documentary. There’s also one called Meru? It’s about three climbers. I’m going to try to look for it. I think it might be streaming on Crackle.


Bee July 13, 2022 at 5:40 am

Jill, this is very true. It also struck me that the guide acted recklessly. He had enough experience to know that he should not have continued to Everest’s peak. Mother Nature is a formidable force and should not be underestimated. Many people overlook Her dangers even while participating in less demanding activities. For example, living at the beach, I see people ignore rip current warnings all the time. The Beach Patrol will post warning flags and post signs. Yet, people seem to swim specifically where they are told not to. I never can figure out why.

Jill A July 13, 2022 at 4:09 am

Liz. I think the book clarified for me why it would be allowed. It’s so dangerous and it’s crazy to me that people who aren’t qualified are allowed to climb it. All I can think is if some of these people had been better equipped then maybe so many people wouldn’t have died. I guess like so many things it all comes down to money.


Mary in Maryland July 8, 2022 at 1:49 pm

1. Adventures in making mustard continue. Someone on the internet recommends white wine vinegar. The 5 liter jug is much cheaper per unit (and comes by Fedex). Found two neighbors willing to go thirds with me.
2. Bulk order from the spice place—chili powder, smoked paprika, 5 lbs of mustard powder, and a huge splurge on a pound of imperfect porcini. The porcini I brought home from cleaning out my friend’s house made last winter’s borscht such a delight and each batch of 16 cups only takes an ounce of the shrooms.
3. Batched a PT appointment and picking up my serviced sewing machine. Maintenance of body and tools is ultimately frugal.
4. My sewing tools include two sizes of straight pins. Used for separate tasks and not to be mixed. I’ve had a pin cushion on a slap bracelet for the larger pins and want to make another for the other set. Someone from Buy Nothing dropped two of the slap bracelets in my mailbox.
5. The Mister is impressed (perhaps overly impressed) by retaurants that serve things on a bed of greens. Due to a surge of greens in our CSA, he is now impressed twice a day.
6. I have been slogging through my 25# of millet. Cheaper than rice, cheaper than quinoa . . . but not very inspiring. I have mostly been hiding it under wet dals. But today at lunchtime I sautéed the dregs from the fridge—onion, garlic, red pepper, watercress, snow peas—and tossed that and some oil and vinegar with the millet. It was actually delicious. Served on a bed of greens.
7. No travel plans in our short or mid-term future.


Katy July 8, 2022 at 4:04 pm

Your #5 made me laugh!


Selena July 8, 2022 at 7:00 pm

My first thought #5 is I know who does the meal prep in their household.


Danielle C July 9, 2022 at 6:58 am

#5 is awesome! 🙂

My grandmother used to make millet for breakfast. She would add a little bit of butter and serve with maple syrup.


A. Marie July 9, 2022 at 9:17 am

I’ve been thinking of trying to make bulghur wheat for breakfast as soon as I’m fully healed from my recent tooth extraction. I’ve got a big jar of bulghur with which I haven’t been making tabouli, now that my tabouli-loving DH is in residential care. Has anyone else tried this?


Bee July 11, 2022 at 3:24 am

Although I do not eat wheat, my aunt used to make bulgar and serve it in the place of rice. She would serve it with stews etc. Everyone seems to have enjoyed it with beef stew.


Suzanne July 11, 2022 at 7:24 am

As a vegetarian, I used to put bulgar in my homemade chili in place of meat. It gave the chili a meaty texture. Now I used quinoa since it has more protein.

Nancy in Eastern Washington July 11, 2022 at 10:49 am

My father used to make bulghur wheat. He would melt some butter, then fry onions and mushrooms, if we had them and the wheat until the wheat was toasted a little. He would then add beef broth or the cubes dissolved in water (2 cups water for each cup of the wheat) and some oregano. simmer for 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Yummy. I still make it that way. A friend once told my dad “Well of course it tastes good. Shoe leather would taste good if you cooked it that way.”


Ringo July 11, 2022 at 5:46 pm

It sounds like cream of wheat, I imagine it will be very tasty for breakfast.

I’ve also seen bread recipes that incorporate some cooked bulgur, like this one, fyi if you’re a bread baker.


Mary in Maryland July 14, 2022 at 12:40 pm

I used to make a bulghur pilaf–some oniion, carrot, celery, and mushrooms. You could make a big batch and reheat (or not) every morning.


Kathy July 8, 2022 at 2:25 pm

1. We’re sweltering here in central Oklahoma. Our home needs insulation ASAP
2. I’m working an additional 6.5 hours a week which is definitely needed and our checking account will appreciate it
3. I sold 2 items on Mercari and am searching the house for more things to
list or take to consignment store
4. Used our $50 OTC allowance to get the usual vitamins and other OTC items
5. Sending out a birthday gift using a recycled padded envelope.


Christine July 8, 2022 at 4:04 pm

1. I bought a rotisserie chicken for dinner last night. Tonight, I cooked up the remains, added rice, celery, onions and some freezer burned mixed veggies which somehow taste fine in the broth.
2. I have $8 in points at the pharmacy which I will use for needed items. I had a small patch of skin cancer on my face removed a few years ago and was warned by the dermatologist to wear sunscreen 35+ even on cloudy days to help prevent future issues. The only kind which doesn’t cause me to break out is Neutrogena which is not cheap but with the points and being on sale it takes the ouch out of the cost.
3. We’re doing some day trips and one 3-day trip in our own region here in New England. Our 3-day trip will be to Acadia in Maine to see the sun come up on the East Coast and explore some trails. Katy, you are not alone! We had hoped to take an anniversary trip to Alaska but with the price of airline tickets and Covid still around we’ve decided to postpone it for now.
4. Just heard my state of Massachusetts will be giving people in our income bracket $500 to offset some of the costs of inflation.
5. Happily enjoying life as a couple sharing one car (we gave one of our vehicles to our cash strapped daughter years ago and never looked back )… it did help that we worked together and are now retired together…making our own coffee, tea and iced tea, pulling together stuff for a yard sale…what doesn’t sell is getting donated…enjoying the back yard, recovering from Covid which meant we barely drove for 10 days, DH received his check for working at a town vote (I wanted to work but tested positive for Covid that day), hanging laundry outside and enjoying the good weather.


Marie-Josée July 8, 2022 at 4:56 pm

I am loving these frequent posts, Katy!

You and your husband are such loving and committed parents. Paying your son and daughter’s college and supporting them in their launch.

My husband is really enjoying his new job! There are ups and downs: he began on Monday, wanted to quit on Tuesday morning and has since been enjoying it more and more. He clocks in 5 minutes from home and the job is very low stress compared to his official (locked-out) job. It will be a hard decision for him to take when and if the lock-out ends.

I have been logging lots of overtime. I feel super energetic, but mentally and emotionally drained. Wired would be a good description.

We continue to cook our own meals, clean our own house, take advantage of sales to bulk purchase and enjoy the simple delights of taking beautiful nature walks, chatting/seeing family and friends.


Katy July 8, 2022 at 7:37 pm

Thank you, we do enjoy these young adults.


Mand01 July 8, 2022 at 5:33 pm

1. Started up our daily 5K walks again now that it’s stopped pouring rain. Free exercise, relationship time.
2. A big event we were planning has been canceled due to Covid surge. We now have a lot of food to work through. Fortunately it’s food we like and generally will not get bored of, so many quesadillas in our future.
3. Because event canceled I get to spend whole weekend doing more relaxing and productive things like making lime marmalade from my own limes and gardening. Introvert’s dream.
4. Reading on Libby, listening to audiobooks on Libby, listening to free podcasts, and that’s about my weekly entertainment.
5. My husband won free movie tickets.


Jill A July 8, 2022 at 10:15 pm

Lime marmalade sounds amazing


Joanne in the U.K. July 9, 2022 at 4:03 am

We have a lemon & lime marmalade in the U.K. called Roses’s. I despise it but the men of the family adore it. I buy it occasionally and shudder when I catch a glimpse of it in my fridge :). I wonder if it is available in the US??


Christine July 9, 2022 at 6:50 am

I’ve never seen it here but then again, I’ve never looked for it. Now you have my curiosity up. I love citrus and enjoy Marmalade on toast so I will look for it when I shop next time.


Juhli July 9, 2022 at 11:42 am

I haven’t seen lime marmalade either but keep hoping Trader Joe’s brings back their grapefruit marmalade. It was delicious.

Mand01 July 10, 2022 at 3:59 am

Rose’s is available in Australia, but I can’t recall trying it – I probably have. Homemade lime marmalade, with a shot of whiskey added at the very end of cooking, is lovely. I ended up making lime, lemon and orange, because I had a heap of organic citrus. I prefer just lime marmalade though – the colour and flavour is lovely.


Liz B. July 10, 2022 at 6:48 am

I’ve seen Rose’s marmalade for sale here in the US (Ohio), but I think it’s been the orange flavor. Mand01, I’ll bet your homemade marmalades are amazing!

Ruby July 11, 2022 at 11:50 am

Rose’s Lime Marmalade used to show up at some U.S. discount stores on clearance from fancy supermarkets, and we used to find it at World Market, which sells a selection of British foods. But lately World Market sells only orange marmalades and one mixed citrus. I haven’t seen the lime anywhere in years. My husband loved it.


janine July 8, 2022 at 6:15 pm

1. Cars, or the lack thereof, constituted much of our summer angst. As I posted a while ago, my car needed a transmission part but supply chain issues interfered. Dealership had car for two months but finally got a “remanufactured part” in stock. We decided to take a chance and they will keep the new part on order and only charge us for the part when/if it ever shows up. Like other posters, we gifted another car to our son who has a long commute. That meant we were driving our 20 year old Alero around town. Shabby fun but not a feeling of security! We also looked into new/used vehicles but as other posters mentioned, the prices are gasp worthy!
2. Ordered library book for book club next week
3. After a large number of’ ‘Black Swan’ expenses, plus run-away inflation, we may forego a trip to Cape Cod in favor of a few days in Northern Minnesota this summer.
4. Trying to batch shopping trips and catch grocery store loss-leaders- scoring a few notable wins such as $1.77# pork roast which I cut up into manageable portions.
5. Trying to keep a detailed budget so I have a better idea where my impulse buying habits are taking root.


Kara July 8, 2022 at 6:39 pm

Thank you for posting again so soon!
1. Made a double batch of butternut squash with a massive trombocino squash from last year. Used the last of the old apples in it, and a few carrots past their prime.
2. Listed items on ebay and etsy. I sewed a stole for a clergy woman and had enough of the pieced fabric to sew another one. Here it is!
3. Ordered OTC meds from Costco-much cheaper than Target! I take 2 OTC meds daily, so it really adds up.
4. In the midst of sewing a large cushion cover (4 fit by 2 ft) using a linen curtain that a friend gave to me. It’s the 4th thing I’ve made with this enormous curtain, but it’s a gorgeous heavy linen in a sage green color, so it’s been a joy to work with.
5. If we only eat zucchini, cucumbers, kale, collards, tomatoes and lettuce, we are 100% self sufficient in vegetables. Occasionally I buy carrots. I have green beans growing that aren’t ready yet-that will give us a bit more variety. I regularly gift neighbors zucchini and cucumbers. I’m still watering with rain water (from water barrels, we don’t get rain often), and all the seeds were free from the seed bank. The compost was free from a city giveaway. So this all is truly free food.


Katy July 8, 2022 at 7:35 pm

That’s fantastic, I love zucchini.


Liz B. July 10, 2022 at 6:50 am

That stole is gorgeous! You are very talented.


Kara July 10, 2022 at 1:55 pm

Thank you!! That is so kind.


Lindsey July 8, 2022 at 8:30 pm

I loved the movie Pride! Glad to see your comment because it might lead to other people watching it. The more people watch, the more they will continue making movies like that.
1. Cleaned and inventoried the freezer and salvaged meat, onions, tomatoes, cherries and puff pastry by using them in several meals. Years ago I would have looked at the slight freezer burn on the items and thrown them out.
2. After several years of barely seeing people or going out, three different friends contacted me to invite me to meet them for lunch. I suggested eating here to each one and all accepted, with each of us dividing up what we would contribute. Saved money and also avoided being in crowds when our hospital has again seen a rise in covid hospitalizations.
3. For the second week in a row, I argued the insurance company into covering something they denied several times over. $89 in pocket instead of in the CEO and shareholder pockets.
4. Talked myself out of buying two books and got on the library hold list. I find it VERY hard to wait when I want to read something.
5. Did a mystery shop that gave me two IMax tickets, concessions and a small payment to see a movie I wanted to see. I was masked and it turned out there were only four of us in the entire theater so it was pretty safe!


Gayle July 9, 2022 at 7:46 am

Lindsey..would you and others share which legitimate mystery shops you use?


Lindsey July 9, 2022 at 10:52 am

This URl will led you to a column by a lawyer who left the profession soon after entering it and pretty much concentrates on living through the gig economy. This particular piece reviews all the legit side hustles—it is exhaustive. Scroll down to secret shops and you will see his recommendations for mystery shops. I have been a shopper for most of the ones he mentions and they are all legit. Some pay faster than others or are more annoying than others but all pay as promised if you fill out the evals you do on the places you are shopping for them. I have only had one shop ever rejected and it was my fault for not reading an instruction correctly. I hope this helps you. I do gas shops and food shops and the rare movie shop (I would rather enjoy the film than keep track of the number of people who come in and leave and how many times an employee walks through to check on things), but there are lots of others.


Gayle July 9, 2022 at 5:05 pm

Thank you so much for the information!


Jennie July 9, 2022 at 5:06 am

Thank you for writing about both good things and challenges. My son was laid off in March and I have been helping him since then. But in doing so am finding it challenging to cover expenses this month especially when taxes are due. After reading your latest blog, took the time to figure out where I can cut down more on expenses. And will have a talk with my son this weekend about his doing the same (he is on the West Coast and I on the East). I also watched “Two American Families” last evening. It was an amazing, eye-opening, poignant documentary. Looked at my expenses again afterwards and found creative ways to make even further cuts!


Kathy July 9, 2022 at 6:01 am

We have also been helping our son in California since January. He’s been out of work since then, going through a divorce and has some major health issues. He does have a job offer which means relocating near us in central Oklahoma. He’s having major repairs to his truck


Bee July 10, 2022 at 3:09 am

Thank you for keeping it real. I have helped all my children from time to time. I found the early 20s were especially difficult for all of them as they tried to navigate adulthood after college. It takes a while to gain your footing in this world. I am thankful that I’m able to help. Frugality is a gift yourself and your family.


Katy July 10, 2022 at 8:51 am

You are very right about early twenties. Our son’s apartment, (a house with roommates) is walking distance from our house which is a stroke of luck as our neighborhood has become very desireable. We still see him most days, which is actually more than we see our daughter who technically lives with us. Having a positive relationship with our adult kids is a gift.


Lindsey July 10, 2022 at 9:36 am

You have such a loving attitude toward your kids. It is a pleasure to read about your interactions with them.


christina July 10, 2022 at 1:43 pm

Having a positive relationship with our adult kids is a gift.

this is so true. Both our adult children live with us and it’s great. My son is 27 and works for the state(Ca) and my daughter is a Librarian. Both cannot afford to get housing in our area and we are happy to have them here with us. They do pay us rent in case anyone is wondering.


Hawaii Planner July 9, 2022 at 6:26 am

We weren’t very frugal, as my son got COVID while at my parents house , & my husband drove 12+ hours each way to pick him up. The gas…whoa.

1) Used points to offset some of the hotel cost I booked for my husband. It was a very last minute booking (night of) on 4th of July weekend, so I’m grateful I was even able to find anything. It was in Medford, Katy, which I think you’re familiar with. 🙂
2) Used up many, many garden items this week. Dried mint, juiced lemons, made chimichurri to go with steak, multiple caprese salads, lots of pico de gallo to use tomatoes/jalapenos & cilantro. I could go on & on. I stress cook/bake, and made the most of the day while my husband was driving.
3) Used the leftover items from my 4th of July cake (enhanced jams, and a sour cream glaze) to make baked oatmeal for some easy breakfasts.
4) My son hasn’t been super hungry, so found some applesauce in the freezer, which he was thrilled by. He also requested Subway, so I picked that up for him, and it came with a second free sandwich, and I used a gift card for his lunch.
5) Used a gift card to pay for some clothes for my 16 y.o. He’s still wearing Costco Adidas shorts purchased four years ago, because he cares nothing about clothes, which has saved us a lot of money along the way. He’s also grown a lot, and his shorts are now bordering on scandalous. Will give away his shorty shorts on Buy Nothing, and he’ll now have some new clothing items. Also, he owned the same pair of shorts, x6. Because, that’s how he rolls. I have a 15 y.o. who has incredibly specific taste, and earns money to ensure he can buy himself things like …. orange high tops. The two kids could not be more different.


Julia July 13, 2022 at 6:00 am

Our sin also wears the same clothes year after year and I buy multiples. So he often looks like he never changes his clothes. Lol.


Juhli July 9, 2022 at 7:59 am

We seem to have finished buying supplies, equipment and training for our new puppy but it was a happily spendy month for that reason. Some frugal successes.
1. Saved a small amount on new dog supplies. Dog training treats – buy 3 get one free and fixed rip in squeaky toy from previous dog and gave it a wash.
2. Bought multigrain bagels from in store bakery reduced rack. Made baked oatmeal with strawberries, blueberries, almonds and vanilla. Eating and enjoying it with plain yogurt for breakfast. Froze half.
3. Free exercise including a brisk 1 mile walk early each morning with the pup plus other shorter ones throughout the day.
4. Ordered replacement racks for dishwasher that came with house purchased 5 years ago although they are on back order.
5. Started process to have Hubby’s Social Security payments start near his 70th birthday in November.


Heidi Louise July 10, 2022 at 5:23 am

Not sure what your dishwasher needs– I once used a product for dishwasher repair coating. It came in a little bottle like fingernail polish and was tinted the appropriate pale blue color. It was applied to cover little rust spots as they were starting. Seemed to be helpful.


Julia July 13, 2022 at 5:57 am

I was able to replace our bottom dishwasher rack for free when a neighbor threw out their old dishwasher. I grabbed the bottom rack and it fit our dishwasher! The new replacement one was expensive.


Ashley Bananas July 9, 2022 at 8:53 am

I resemble your post photo….and a few other things. We too are mostly staying close to home. We set up an inflatable pool on the front porch and refill it every week or so to keep the water fresh. Maybe a higher water bill, but we really enjoy it in hot FL Summers. My 20 year old vehicle also decided it needed repair and is currently having the steering wheel column rebuilt. However, the parts take so long to come in I ended up having to get a new car. So, there goes my whole budget. I bought a new to me Kia Soul and have been enjoying the air conditioning and some of it’s other great working features my older vehicle didn’t quite have anymore. You are far better at food savings than I!!! Thank you for posting. It’s so nice to come on your page and see new posts.


Cindy in the South July 9, 2022 at 9:05 am

I am pretty bummed at the price of airline tickets. I only fly to see granddaughter and was not able to for almost two years bc of Covid. Now, the tickets are so high… sigh. Also, the airports were an absolute nightmare at Christmas,
and this past June. I really do not know when I will fly again because the tickets went up… again! So, I have been staying home except for work. I cook at home and take my lunch to work. That is all I have other than my standard walking in neighborhood and a weekend nap. Our electric bills are outrageous because of the extreme heat. The air went out also… sigh. Not much frugality going on here.


A. Marie July 9, 2022 at 9:38 am

FFT, A Tale of Two Book Sales Edition:

(1) On my way home from visiting DH at his nursing home yesterday, I stopped in at my city branch library’s book sale, which is down to $1 a bag. I only got 5 books, but 2 of these are ones I’ve been hunting forever, so I’m pretty pleased. And 20 cents a book…well, only Little Free Libraries can beat that!

(2) This morning, I went to the book sale in the filthy-rich suburb about half an hour west of here. I ended up spending $19 on 7 books. But 2 of these will be presents for friends; I had various reasons for buying the other 5; and my 2-day total for 12 books is $20. So that’s still pretty good.

(3) After the second book sale, I stopped at a small country-crossroads consignment shop and consigned a few collectibles with the cheerful, energetic proprietor. She’s such a human serotonin pump that I expect to be doing further business there.

(4) I virtuously avoided various options for lunch out, came home, and finished off the persistent beef noodle soup I made earlier in the week.

(5) And a note in solidarity with Katy and everyone else who’s eliminating or downscaling summer vacation plans: I’m not going anywhere either, for multiple reasons. I no longer fly at all (this is one-third environmental concern, one-third a wish to avoid TSA hassles, and one-third a horrendous flight with a crazy, drunk fellow passenger 9 years ago). And DH’s condition has taken a couple of downturns recently, so I’m a bit nervous now about getting more than a few hours’ drive out of town. But my gardens and my part of Upstate NY are at peak summer loveliness now, so I don’t feel I’m suffering any great hardship.


Selena July 9, 2022 at 7:15 pm

I understand your hesitancy to be to far from your DH. Truth be told, I like being home. I work from home too (a money saver these days, that’s for sure).
While I visited my folks (short distant, they have health issues) all during COVID-19 stay-at-home, it didn’t really bother me to stay-at-home.


Selena July 9, 2022 at 7:15 pm

*too far.


Kate July 9, 2022 at 10:53 am

1. I trimmed my 11-year-old’s hair, which was long overdue. It’s still long enough for a ponytail (her preference) but easier to brush, saving us both a ton of time every morning. Sadly, she didn’t tip me.
2. Picked and froze 4L of saskatoon berries from the city-owned tree on my street. These will go into pies.
3. Biked to the gym and a bunch of other places instead of driving, since the weather, though warm, hasn’t approached the temperature of the sun yet as it often does in July. (Related: haven’t had to use the a/c in a week as nighttime temperatures and humidity have been bearable.)
4. Redeemed a bunch of credit card points for groceries.
5. Signed my older kids up for a bunch of free library programs to keep them busy and entertained.


Jill D July 9, 2022 at 1:57 pm

Sad to hear of everyone’s car woes. Glad to hear I’m not alone. My mechanic is patching together my 1997 Ford Taurus station wagon with industrial strength duct tape while we wait for prices to come down. Hah. He told me to check out a newly opened used car lot that had about 60 cars in inventory, two for about $20K each and the other 58 for $40K and up. I am not spending $40,000 for a used car.


Bee July 10, 2022 at 3:18 am

We have 2 vehicles. One has 180k miles on it. The other has 220k miles on it. I want to see how long we can go now.


Jill D July 10, 2022 at 7:34 am

My problem isn’t mileage — the car only has a little over 100,000 miles on it (tells you how little I drive). It’s age that’s the problem — parts are simply wearing out and it’s difficult to impossible to find replacements. Better to have a younger car with more miles! So I know time’s up, but it’s a rotten time to be looking.


Shona July 10, 2022 at 11:39 am

Luckily my ’96 Olds finally gave out before all this used car buying mess and I was able to find a reliable well priced Honda. Prior to that I had the same issue with a low mile old car needing worn out replacement parts that were no longer available.


Texasilver July 13, 2022 at 9:02 pm

My husband’s 4 Runner has 280k & is 23 yrs old. I’m wondering how long it will go also. I bought a 1997 small Toyota from my sister. It had 220k miles on it but was running well. A drunk driver hit a telephone pole in front of our house. The pole landed on the small car & that was the end of it. I bet many people are holding off on buying a car unless they have no choice. Fortunately my late model car (2013) was in the garage when the light pole came down.


Patti July 9, 2022 at 4:33 pm

I am home this summer with a hip replacement surgery so no income (I work part time) and no plans to go anywhere either.
1) Reading “The Abundance of Less” by Andy Courturier which I highly recommend as each story, maybe each paragraph, has a nugget of wisdom about living more consciously. I checked it out of the library but am definitely putting it on my “To Buy” list so I can reread it often.
2) Not going anywhere so not really buying anything but when I do, I think long and hard about the decision. This has lead to buying less but more expensive, better quality. One dress is all the clothing I have needed and one set of sheets when ours “blew out”.
3) we are eating from our garden mostly with accents from the depths of the freezer because I need the room for putting up these vegetables. One soup we had was a lot better than I remembered (which was why it was not eaten) – maybe the flavors melded together while in there.
4) I baked two loaves of white bread today for a family picnic tomorrow. We are bringing fresh palm size tomatoes, Dukes mayo, salt and pepper so everyone can have a good tomato sandwich!! And homemade peach ice cream from the peaches we bought last week.
5) we have tried to have no food waste because that is such a drain on our food budget. I have an old “Use It Up” cookbook that has great tips.
6) my entertainment has been sitting on my screened porch watching the birds and enjoying the cicadas while dusk appears. It has been close to 100 degrees most days but I love it as it cools down at night. No vacation needed!


Christine July 10, 2022 at 9:21 am

Best of luck with the recovery from your hip surgery. It sounds like your screened porch is the perfect place to recover. Thanks for the book recommendation, “The Abundance of Less”. Looking forward to reading it.


Shona July 10, 2022 at 5:55 pm

Thank you for the book recommendation. My library doesn’t have a copy, but I’ll try an Interlibrary Loan.


mary July 11, 2022 at 1:02 pm

I don’t suppose that old use-it-up cookbook has an isbn or other way to track down a copy? Because I need that book or something like it!


Jennifer July 9, 2022 at 6:03 pm

You are right the car market royally stinks. Just bought a car and it was a 6 month long process. Ugh!

1. My garden is producing, yay! I picked 2 cucumbers today and some fresh basil. I have the ingredients for pesto that I will be making this week. I will freeze it in meal size portions.

2. Dh carpooled to a lacrosse tournament to referee. He was reimbursed for travel but it’s still good to share. He is also sharing a hotel room.

3. Borrowing random 1-time use items that I need for my dd’s grad party. Also, I ordered Chic-Fil-A nuggets and mac n cheese (I will provide the rest) and signed up for the Chic-Fil-A rewards program. I will earn over 21,000 points with my order that should provide us with numerous free meals. We don’t normally eat there, like ever, but we will make an exception for free. This is what dd wanted to have for her meal at her party, so…here we are.

4. Dh changed his oil himself. He cut his own hair and fixed the light I had dismantled a few weeks ago after the wires went wonky and melted the outlet.

5. We have an out of control flower bed. I started planting stuff in it 16 years ago – I had a plan in the beginning but things died and I replaced with different things. It is very overgrown – both the plants and weeds. This is the first thing you see when you see our house. I physically can’t deal with it, and dh refuses (plus it’s filled with poison ivy and he is very allergic). So I am paying my ds who is currently out of work. I have a few things we are keeping, a few things I will move to other parts of the yard but most things are just going bye bye. I will redo the bed with minimalist landscaping. We will do all the work ourselves and my plan is to buy reduced plants at the end of the season.


Heidi Louise July 10, 2022 at 5:31 am

I am also in the highly allergic to poison ivy category. This video has an interesting take on the subject: Basically, if you think you have the (of course invisible) oil on your skin, wash and scrub at least three times as if it were motor oil to get it off.
Fortunately, I haven’t had to try his advice, but note it is much more comprehensive than the brief hand washing I used to do.


Ruby July 9, 2022 at 7:19 pm

We’re not going anywhere either. Gas is too expensive for a driving trip and flying is out of the question. I started using my accumulated vacation time at work to leave early every Friday, and that makes me wildly happy every week.

Frugal stuff:
1. Altered a pair of cute thrifted denim capris to fit short-waisted me. Also took up the waist of some too big bike shorts while I was at it.
2. Bought new without the box sneakers for myself on eBay at a screaming deal price.
3. Moved around the den furniture so that the sofa and love seat cushions will wear evenly. That way we don’t have them refurbished for awhile. The cushions are attached, not loose, so I can’t repair them myself.
4. Used a stack of store coupons to knock $10 off our grocery total today.
5. Used a brown marker to touch up a picture frame that had some scuffs.


Kathy July 10, 2022 at 4:16 am

FYI average car payment is $712
Airlines have increased air fares 45% and decreased flights 25%
I doubt we will be doing any real traveling. I do have a judging assignment in September. The airfare from OKCity to St. Louis was well over $500.
I’m ok with finding local things to do.


Christine July 10, 2022 at 9:27 am

Eye opening numbers there. No wonder a lot of us are staying put this summer. At this point I am so grateful to have a well functioning car. I feel for those who are forced into buying a vehicle, new or used.


Jann in Maine July 10, 2022 at 3:10 am

Summer in Maine is glorious. Came downstairs to make coffee and there was a doe and fawn cavorting in the field. Such are these moments that no Disney ride can rival!
We heat with wood pellets and ordered them early this year–I anticipate with the continued high price of heating oil that there will be lots of pressure on alternative heating forms and price pressure and availability as a result. They are on pallets in the garage so all set. I am also watching the price of oil while we don’t use much we do use some and will wait for a dip to fill our tank.
Garden is producing and that is always a highlight. Sort of our own version of Chopped when we survey the what’s ready and what to do with it.
Still going for my monthly massages which I believe save me $. With back problems in the past I prioritize this for my health and cutting other corners to make this happen . And the last time I was there my body work person taught me a tip ((more like a PT therapy) that helps keep me in less pain in between my visits. A win win. Oh and I support a small local business as well.
While I did go on a road trip it was to provide respite for a friend’s husband who is not going to be on earth much longer-and because she cannot leave him with just anyone due to his fragile medical condition this gave her some relief however brief to just be. Taking a walk, going to run errands etc she cannot do because of that-so a gift for them and me to spend time with him.
Making coffee at home, making do with what is in the refrigerator, walking, and spending time outdoors…


Liz B. July 10, 2022 at 7:00 am

@Jann in Maine,

What a kind and loving gift you gave to your friend……having helped take care of my mother in law during the last year of her life, I know all too well about caregiver burnout. I’m sure your friend will never forget your kindness.


Julie July 10, 2022 at 7:12 am

1- met up with a group of friends last night for a potluck. Such an economical way to hang out. This is a group I found in a local women’s group and it’s amazing how much we have in common.
2-many of them are in my local buy nothing group so we also used it as a chance to exchange the things we were gifting each other and saving everyone on fuel.
3-I was the lucky recipient of some clothes last week and proudly sported my free outfit.
4-I received 5 dozen eggs earlier in the week from one of these friends. So lots of eggs on the menu.
5-the bunnies ate my kale before I got the garden fenced in and was grateful to find someone giving away their extra plants. Fence is in so the kale is safe.


Shona July 10, 2022 at 11:14 am

Katy, I am so sorry to hear that your mother has passed away.

Having had several non-frugal months, I tightened my belt a bit.

1) Four 2# bags of organic quinoa on the Sprouts clearance rack for .99 each- all came home with me. Original price was $9.99.
2) Eating up what we have in the freezer, fridge, and pantry.
3) Weekend expeditions have been kept very local, within miles of home, to conserve gas.
4) Shift meals, free bread from work, walking to work, using my drying line, picking up every coin I find, and all the other frugal things.
5) For our anniversary I used a connection through work to get dinner reservations to a local fancy restaurant. At the end of the meal we were informed that the check had been paid for by a friend. I’m not supposed to know, but I figured out that the owners of the bakery I work at paid for our dinner as an anniversary present.

Not my find, but my brother found a $100 bill in a parking lot.


Vickey July 11, 2022 at 5:35 am

Oh! Katy, I’m so sorry!! I’ve really enjoyed reading about the adventures the two of you had together, and admired that you were such good friends who genuinely enjoyed each other. May her memories be a blessing.


Katy July 12, 2022 at 9:38 am

Thank you for your kind words, but it’s my mother in law who died, not my mother.


Jann in Maine July 10, 2022 at 12:34 pm

Thanks for the kind words. He has a Jtube and needs morphine administration through the tube but only when he gets bad. That’s why she cannot leave them with just anybody. She has a fabulous support group there but none are nurses. She has an offer for me to go back if needed which I will do. It was an honor really–I love them so much.


Auntiali July 10, 2022 at 10:09 pm

I’m finally able to do laundry my way after years of not being able to climb down the stairs to the basement. But I’m 98 lbs less and PT has helped and I can go up and down stairs. So I’ve been doling out laundry detergent in 1 tablespoon amounts – I have a HE front loader washer – and have been ripping a dryer sheet in half for the dryer which I run for 30 minutes. Then I use the dryer sheet again.

Dh has discovered the joys of making home made pizza with already made dough (1.99) from the grocery store, a 1.99 bottle of pizza sauce grocery brand good for 2 pizza and $7 fresh mozzarella makes us two pizzas for about $6.48 each. I’m going to try and make dough with my kitchen aid. That will lower the price a lot. Plus it is sooo good.!

Doing a somewhat in depth inventory of our stock up stuff we have enough toilet paper to last a long time as well as paper towels. I have a whole other set of crocheted dishcloths that will last me a lifetime perhaps. I’m still using the 1st set she made me. Lots of cereal – raisin bran – lots of tooth paste, 8 cans of tomato soup with other items to donate. Ten jars of peanut butter, enormouse amt of tooth paste as well as bath soap. Laundry detergent must be a supply of at least a year. Deoderant, shampoos, conditioners are set for the next year. All this makes me very happy. We’ve got items to assemble meals as well as Aldi and Walmart and our local shop rite. I’m not worried at all. I even jumped back on the library train to get books to read during out vacation at the Jersey shore this summer. We will do good take out food, eat our own breakfasts and lunches and perhapx treat us to desert on the boardwalk. Beach is free condo is not,There are a lot of fresh seasfood restaurants there so we can enjoy ourself by reading books, cruising the boardwalk and play arcarde games – I want to get good at ski ball – and drive around looking at the old “do whop” hotels of the 50’s. Just hubby and me living large after a 2 year pandemic.


Shona July 11, 2022 at 3:51 am

We are find of Alton Brown’s pizza dough recipe, made in big batches and it freezes well. Congratulations on the weight loss!


bettafrmdaVille July 11, 2022 at 4:56 am

I use the Serious Eats recipe:

No machine & no kneading! We also use the Serious Eats pizza hack (stove top/oven/stove top) and find that the recipe makes 6 thin crust pizza. It also freezes really well!


Vickey July 11, 2022 at 5:40 am

Auntiali, congratulations on getting healthier! It’s such a joy to regain lost abilities, to be able to do things our bodies formerly couldn’t. Even if it does lead to doing the laundry. 😉


Bee July 13, 2022 at 5:11 am

I’m so glad that you are feeling well and getting stronger everyday.


bettafrmdaVille July 11, 2022 at 5:08 am

1. Brother-in-law generously rented a house for us, in-laws, and his kids on Cape Cod for a week. My colleague/friend (my work and she are in a different state) will stay here, getting her a free vacation and getting us free cat care. I’ll bring 2 dinners centered on free mystery shop food: chicken, ground beef, hamburger rolls, ice cream.
2. I had some points from OpenTable and booked one night’s stay in Venice for $27 (NOTE: although I tried, nothing frugal about the rest of our planned fall trip, although with exception of the flight, I’m hoping to finance with side hustles & overtime)
3. I went foraging for black raspberries – I got about 1 quart for free.
4. Offered to bring dessert to friends’ house for dinner. Made sauce from the black raspberries and a “no bake” cheesecake. Cream and cream cheese were in the freezer, and I had 2 ounces of sour cream left over from a mystery shop. It cost me .36 for the graham crackers that I had to buy. I felt a bit guilty until I 1) made a dessert cocktail to go with it from everything that I had in the liquor cabinet and 2) found out that host had gotten all of the ribs for free as they had rung up incorrectly at the grocery store!
5. Harvested our first 2 summer squashes from the garden. Brought one over to friend as a “hostess” gift. Also harvested 1 green bean (not sure how I will prepare it for 2 people! 🙂 )
6: Bonus: bacon was BOGO free. I was able to find a coupon online for an extra $1 off.


Deb from SD July 11, 2022 at 5:48 am

Auntiali – I got a great pizza dough recipe from a website called I only use my Kitchen aid for mixing and kneading this dough and it turns out every time.


April D Nelson July 11, 2022 at 10:30 am

Here’s the additional heartbreaking thing about the PBS “Two American Families” you referenced. It was produced in 2013. Now fast forward 9 years and…yeah. The landscape has not improved and so many more are struggling just like these families were back then.


Katy July 12, 2022 at 9:34 am

So true, thanks for pointing that out.


Christine July 12, 2022 at 9:51 am

April, I watched it too and was thinking the same thoughts. It’s another positive reason to carry on with our frugal habits.
Using my “frugal eye”, I did pinpoint a couple of things I would have done differently had I been in their situations the major thing being to quit smoking. I noticed Mr. Neumann smoked. Also, instead of buying the kit to sell beauty products as Mrs. Neumann did and losing money on it, I think I would’ve tried to pursue a job instead outside the home working opposite my husband’s hours. I also found it sad the Stanleys were only able to send one child to college. Then again, I have not been in each of these particular family’s boats so maybe I’m wrong about choices I would’ve made for them.


Mindo July 11, 2022 at 10:52 am

1. Broken wrist means no driving = no gas consumed.
2. Gave 2 patio chairs on Buy Nothing, someone gets a fun project and they were saved from landfill. They were previously acquired on the same group so no monetary loss to me.
3. Used air miles, accumulated long ago when I traveled for work, to book a late summer trip to see my son and his family. They have moved to the East Coast so I’ll have to be on the look out for ways to squeeze trips into my budget.
4. Too hot to eat much which is a blessing with grocery prices so high, and ensures I fit into my existing clothes!
5. The local Dollar store is within walking distance so I added to my stock of canned goods, even at $1.25 this is cheaper than the one grocery store near me.


rebecca July 12, 2022 at 7:31 am

1. I’m taking on a few new clients even though I would love a month off.
2. I bought all my groceries on sale for the week and using up what is in the freezer.
3. My sister gave me some dog biscuits her dog can’t have anymore.
4. I am going with friends to the beach tomorrow. I will drive and they are bringing lunch and will pay for parking. Win-win for all of us. It is a new beach for me so I am excited.
5. A friend came to visit yesterday. We sat in the shade, let the dogs play in the wading pool and catch up. Lovely and free.


MG July 12, 2022 at 4:49 pm

Can you recognize how it’s the height of American privilege (where just about everyone lives luxurious lives compared to global standards) to declare “My husband and I aren’t planning any plane travel this summer” and to then describe awesome trips to the Columbia Gorge, Tacoma, and Seattle? That’s called travel. It’s odd to be so privileged that we don’t count this as travel and somehow think we’re roughing it if we don’t go to Thailand (or similar). You also write “It can be hard to see friends traveling to exotic corners of the world.” Note that the places you’ll be visiting would be dream trips for millions (actually, billions) of people around the world.


Katy July 18, 2022 at 8:58 pm

These trips would be just a couple hours from our house. The Tacoma/Seattle trip will be part of a work trip that my husband is required to take.


MB in MN July 19, 2022 at 10:31 am

Katy, thank you for your simple response to an aggressive comment. I know you can handle it but my sensitivity is raised after just finishing the thought-provoking book “I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening).” Although the religious aspects didn’t resonate with me, I very much appreciated the two authors’ views on how we can communicate more gently and politely by putting understanding and relationships at the forefront. It can be more challenging to do that online, where I think it’s extra important.


LB July 13, 2022 at 10:46 am

1. Shifted my monthly budget to make room for a gym membership, which has brought me joy and stress relief. Less takeout will likely make feeling healthy easier too! Feeling very grateful to have the kind of wiggle room in my budget to swap things in and out.

2. Booking some closer-to-home travel as well. Lots of day trips to avoid hotels and staying with friends. Excited for some lower stress adventures without worrying about flights!

3. Avoiding the siren song of buying a new dress for a (very chic) friend’s bridal shower. I would love to be best and trendiest dressed at this specific event but it is just simply not necessary. Going understated in something I already own and was able to use that cash i would have used for shopping to buy her a nice gift.

4. Was thankfully able to recoup some money I spent on a family airbnb from my siblings. I don’t know about y’all, but I have trouble asking/reminding my family about the stuff they owe me. Setting this boundary set a great precedent for future trips together.

5. Finding comfort in boring routines–meal prepping lunches Sunday, eating from the freezer, and drinking tap water all help me feel better and less worried about where my money is going 🙂


Kristen July 14, 2022 at 9:30 am

Just wanted to say YAY for your son’s tech job. Woohoo!


Mary Tate July 16, 2022 at 9:48 am

Oh Thanks, I have all the weird little bundles and the squishy lemon. Think I will borrow your soup idea.


Bethany M July 18, 2022 at 5:13 pm

Resisted the urge to get a pop and a snack at the gas station.

Hubby and I weeded and mulched a flower bed ourselves. The crab grass was off the charts, and I would have hired it out if I were fancy-rich!

The kids were gone for a week, but we ate at home. I got stuff to make sushi so that was our treat. Hubby said that the bad news is that he doesn’t want to do sushi dates anymore. Had extra to share with my lovely neighbor!

Made my own Mayo, granola and yogurt. Delicious, therapeutic, cheap, healthy!

Eating a lot of yellow squash, spinach and basil from the garden. Dried and stored some dill for my homemade ranch powder.


Dicey July 23, 2022 at 6:42 am



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