Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 2, 2022 · 85 comments

 

  1. I’ve continued to inexpensively cook from scratch even though I’m sick to death of the endless routine of it all. Black bean chili, vegetarian tacos, stir fry, pasta dishes, soups, burritos, breakfast for dinner, sandwiches, rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

    Update: I wrote the previous paragraph last week when I’d been exclusively cooking from scratch. However, I apparently snapped and have since dined out for brunch three times. Once with an out of town friend, once with my husband and lastly with a local friend who invited me at the last minute to a restaurant in the neighborhood.

    I guess it all comes down to balance. Cook inexpensively at home so you can later enjoy the occasional meal out with friends. I regret nothing.

  2. My foot keeps me mostly at home, which does save money but is far from socially engaging. I did get a proper diagnosis with an MRI, (it’s NOT plantar fasciitis!) so hopefully should start to see some improvement over the next few months.

    The best way I have to describe the pain is that I feel like I’m constantly stepping on a Lego, but that Lego is inside my foot. My foot Lego.

  3. We finally hired an arborist for our imposing backyard maple tree who not only replied to emails, but efficiently completed the job! This is in direct opposition to the guy we hired to come “the first week of March,” and then ghosted us. You may remember that Portland experienced a freak snowstorm the first week of April, which brought down three major branches.

    I’m aware that hiring an arborist has been a dull subject over the past year, (sorry!) but it’s damned expensive and the bids were all over the place. We ended up paying $1440, which was a full two thousand dollars less than the highest bid!

    I know that the standard advice is to never pick the lowest bid when hiring contractors, but this guy did amazing work and I’m 110% happy with the work. He knew we were trying keep the budget in check, so his bid specified leaving all firewood size logs in the backyard. No worries though, as my husband’s friend was happy to snap them up.

  4. I scored six boxes of clearance priced fettuccini for 25¢ apiece from Fred Meyer, I used the free Libby app to listen to The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, my husband borrowed his brother’s truck to schlep rotten boards from a disassembled treehouse to the recycling facility, my son and I prepared every single one of his decidedly unwelcome Hello Fresh meal kits, a friend brought me unopened Tabasco and pasta sauce she wasn’t going to use, my friend Lise and I brought our laptops to IKEA to work and fuel ourselves with their free coffee, the motor for our clothes dryer pooped out, so my husband watched a couple YouTube videos and ordered a $70 replacement motor, and then we rehung a backyard clothesline that had been snapped to pieces from the April snowstorm/falling branches fiasco.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, and instead borrowed one from Taylor Swift.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

bettafrmdaVille August 2, 2022 at 2:22 pm

I’m a fan of seeing laundry outside hanging – I think you backyard looks lovely and relaxing! (and I hope your heel heals quickly).
1. I’m grading like a mad woman before I start my sabbatical. For some reason, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to also crush some mystery shops. Yesterday I did 4… and this week will be 13 in total. It is starting to feel like a job rather than a fun side hustle. Still, I’m getting free gas, free lunches, free dinners, free groceries and some cash….
2. For the other meals, I’m trying to cook from the freezer, pantry, and garden. Oxheart tomatoes for the win this year! Also making coffee at home, turning any leftover coffee into iced coffee for the next day.
3. In a moment of weakness, I bought some new clothes (haven’t bought anything in about a year). Luckily (?!) 3 of 4 items do not look good on me, so I’m sending them back.
4. I batched errands with mystery shops to limit gas consumption (and one mystery shop was a gas station, too).
5. cut some flowers from the yard and put in a vase. Fresh flowers in a house always make me feel fancy…. frugal fancy.

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Ruby August 2, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Katy, your yard is beautiful and that is a tremendous savings on the arborist. I hope your foot starts to feel better with treatment.

I have also cooked all the meals. It felt like I spent the whole weekend in the kitchen turning stuff from the pantry and freezer into lunches and suppers.

For frugal things, I bought a 24 count pack of street taco-size tortillas off the grocery clearance rack for 57 cents. Also scored a KIND bar for a dollar. Used a button from my big tin of saved buttons to replace one on my husband’s shorts. Bought a used cookbook and music CD off eBay. Traded some free packs of hand wipes with a work colleague for a box of facial tissue.

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Kathy August 2, 2022 at 2:27 pm

Katy I’m wilt you on cooking at home. I’ve run out of ideas.
1. Cobbled together birthday gifts for a friend and my daughter in law plus a gift for a friend who is going thru a rough patch from things I had. Upcycled packing materials, gift bags and used cards from my stash
2. Filled out some class action claim forms and will submit them
3. Enjoying free lunch at work
4. Gathered a bag of items for consignment store
5. Sold an item online

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Kara August 2, 2022 at 3:17 pm

1. Blanched and froze green beans from the garden.
2. Rode my e-bike to pick up shirt for my husband from Buy Nothing.
3. Sold a bookcase that I picked up from the curb.
4. Scheduled a free consultation with an attorney to update our will/trust.
5. Used $5 off $5 or more from Ace (reward for birthday month) on a needed item.
Bonus-borrowed air compressor and nail gun from neighbor to do a repair. Gave them 2 zucchini and a cucumber in return.

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Juhli August 2, 2022 at 3:35 pm

You found a good arborist – that is a lovely tree!

1. Our older son and DIL stayed with us between travels and in return left opened partial packages of wheat germ, chia seed, celery, flax seed and Pinot Grigio plus homemade lemon sorbet and some hand sanitizer.
2.The Pinot is not my favorite so I’m freezing it in ice cube trays to use in cooking later. Of course we fed them, etc. while they were here so it might be a trade!
3. Our grocery bill has suddenly skyrocketed so I am actually menu planning which I do despise.
4. I made overnight oats for five no effort breakfasts.
5. The hem came out of a summer dress so I sewed it by hand.

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Margie MCarthy August 2, 2022 at 4:08 pm

Clotheslines are simply the best. My husband who does our laundry, uses ours YEAR ROUND and we live in Leamington, Ontario,Canada. Nothing beats the smell of line dried laundry… even if it is slightly frozen when you bring it inside. We just spread said laundry over a spare bed and it dries quickly… adding free humidity to the dry house in the winter. I love your blog, K.

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Christine August 2, 2022 at 4:39 pm

1. I had a fairly successful yard sale last Saturday. No advertising necessary as the town in the state next to mine (I live about 200 feet or so from the state border) was holding their annual townwide yard sale. I put up a big sign at the corner saying YARD SALE in big letters with an arrow pointing down my street. It worked. I made $125 and purged so many things DH and I no longer care to own.
2. DH is hiking another section of the Appalachian Trail this month so I will not be cooking meat for the entire time. I love animals and our planet but I just don’t like the taste of it unless it’s doused with gravy or sauce. Never liked it even as a small child when my mother had to coax me to eat some. So I’ll save some $$$ on that.
3. Today a friend invited me over for coffee, sweets and a swim in the lake she lives on. Two of her daughters were there and we sat around and talked and just relaxed. No money spent except a bit of gas money to drive the 11 miles to her house.
4. One cat’s wound on his hip is healed using daily Bacitracin applications and the other cat’s rash on his ears is subsiding with time saving me the cost of 2 vet visits.
5. I lost 20 pounds with much effort and now most of my summer shorts and capris no longer fit me. I’m not complaining! Instead of buying more I’m wearing skirts and hitching up my shorts and capris with belts. I need to get to the Salvation Army store here in town to pick up a few new pairs that fit me.

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Kathy August 2, 2022 at 5:16 pm

Congratulations on dejunking and weight loss

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Christine August 2, 2022 at 6:21 pm

Thank you. It feels great to be free of extra weight and too much stuff.

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MB in MN August 3, 2022 at 7:20 am

Congratulations! This reminds me of the book “Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight” by Peter Walsh, an interesting perspective on the link between excess stuff and weight.

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Christine August 3, 2022 at 4:32 pm

Thanks. It sounds like an interesting read.

Bee August 3, 2022 at 2:15 pm

Woot! Woot! Well done on the weight loss and the garage sale. I hope DH enjoys his hike on the AT. It’s always an adventure to be on the Trail.

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Christine August 3, 2022 at 4:36 pm

Thank you. He’s on his 3rd night out and loving every minute! At age 67, he made the decision to section hike it instead of the whole 2,200 miles at once. His bum knee agrees!

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LB August 2, 2022 at 6:01 pm

1. I won a scholarship for school! My fall semester will be a low enough cost I can pay out of pocket without loans. Another semester debt free is a huge relief.

2. Trying to eat out of the freezer and get through everything. I keep forgetting about our frozen food and really want to make sure I’m getting what i paid for!

3. We’ve been in our new apartment for a year and it is so nice to have a place we can call home. We invested in nicer furniture when we moved and it is such a relief a year later to not have any issues!

4. Focusing on the “moments not things” part of frugality–family trips, birthday experiences, and the like. The year has not been cheap but it has been really rewarding.

5. Similarly, I finally invested in a gym that I love. 3 days a week feels like nothing. I’m excited in this investment in my long term health!

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Lindsey August 2, 2022 at 8:25 pm

Congrats on the scholarship! No small thing for a semester to be debt-free.

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bettafrmdaVille August 2, 2022 at 8:28 pm

Congratulations on the scholarship!

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LB August 5, 2022 at 12:19 pm

Thank you both!!! <3

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Jill August 2, 2022 at 6:19 pm

1. My husband was invited to visit his college roommate in May for the weekend. Unfortunately, he was ill and had to cancel. The airline gave him about 40% of what he paid for his ticket as a refund. Had to be used by mid August. So we searched for the cheapest fare we could get from here, booked it and are using hotel points for a weekend stay. It’s in the Southwest so we expect it to be extremely hot so we will be enjoying our hotel breakfast and pool. Not ideal but hey, a getaway is a getaway even if he didn’t get a full refund.
2. All buses and trains are free for the month of August in Denver. We have decided to use this service to dine out this coming weekend. I searched for places that have a good Happy Hour menu(meaning reasonable prices) so that’s where we’re going – and forgoing the price of gas.
3. Living in a rural area previously, we have always cut down our own Christmas tree from a local farm. Now that we are city dwellers, we are in need of an artificial tree. I was blown away by prices of artificial trees but I found a deal online for a 6 feet tree for $150 with free shipping. I’ll keep my eye out at Goodwill still but just never saw one there.
4. I borrowed a DVD of one of my favorite series from the local library, The Brokenwood Mysteries, we passed the emissions test for our vehicle and got our Colorado license plate with one day to spare before expiration, took our grandson to the local swimming pool which is a bargain for $7 for all of us for the afternoon (fantastic pool with splash pad included), read The Good Left Undone by Adrianna Trigiani from the library, froze some less than lovely bananas and spinach to put in smoothies and used several free photo book offers at Shutterfly (have to pay shipping, though) to print vacation prints.
5. Had an incredibly fun week with friends who came to visit from South Carolina. We spent several days in Denver seeing the sights and then rented an Air BnB in Grand Junction visiting wineries and enjoying the patio in the evening. Low cost, or free, was visiting Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Monument, Colorado National Monument, driving Grand Mesa and Mt. Evans Scenic Byway. Planning to do it again next summer!

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Marilyn August 4, 2022 at 9:08 pm

I enjoyed the Brokenwood mystery series too. And, of course, like you, I watched it on DVD from the library.

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Christine August 2, 2022 at 6:27 pm

Check out church thrift shops and church sales for artificial Christmas trees. People frequently donate them to our church and we sell them cheap, like $10 cheap. Hope this helps.

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Jill August 3, 2022 at 5:55 am

Thank you! I am new to the area so still finding my way but I know there have to be some thrift shops around. Just haven’t found any yet in the downtown area where I live‍♀️

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Marybeth August 4, 2022 at 3:05 pm

Also check estate sales

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Lindsey August 2, 2022 at 8:43 pm

1. received a $150.54 check as part of the Amazon pricing lawsuit settlement. I did about an hour’s worth of paperwork over a year ago, if memory serves, and I am sure glad I did!
2. Did a grocery mystery shop that paid plus I had to buy $18 worth of food that they will reimburse.
3. Husband cut my hair. I hate my hair. I would like to shave it off. And I hate going to the hairdresser’s because they play music that I hate and LOUD, and the person is very nice but always talks too much.
4. Eating out of the garden and freezer still, plus processing food for the winter. I have so many raspberries that I finally asked the neighbor to help herself to them, too.
5. Accepted 31 quail eggs from said neighbor because I will not turn down free food, even though we have four hens who are productive and quail eggs are a pain to work with. Unless the free food is cilantro, that I will run from because it tastes like soap.
6. Sold a pair of fur earmuffs that were given to me as a gift for $80; my parka has a giant hood so I never use earmuffs. I know fur is a controversial subject but trapping is a common activity here and part of a subsistence lifestyle in our rural areas. Also, I have stood outside when the wind chill was 110 below zero and fur is warmer than any man made fabric. So while I had no use for the muffs, my parka has a fur hood that sort of telescopes out and if needed it can be pulled forward so it completely closes off my face to the wind and cold.

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A. Marie August 3, 2022 at 4:31 am

Lindsey, I share your feelings about haircuts. But since DH didn’t feel brave enough to cut my hair even back in the day, and since I don’t have any friends who can trim me for free, I went to Supercuts yesterday for the first time since March. But (a) I skipped the shampoo, and (b) I got a senior discount. A semi-frugal thing.

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Christine August 3, 2022 at 6:36 am

You may already know this interesting little fact: whether Cilantro tastes good to us or tastes like soap is a genetic trait. One or more of your ancestors shared the same “funny” taste of Cilantro as you.

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Lindsey August 3, 2022 at 9:04 am

Cilantro is not the only thing I experience differently than a lot of folks. I also find the smell of skunk lemony–when I was a kid we used to go for Sunday drives and I thought for years that we were passing lemon fields and finally my father figured out I thought lemons every time he thought, “Yuck, skunk.” Cannibus also has a faintly lemon smell to me.

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Christine August 3, 2022 at 4:38 pm

Interesting. I wonder if there’s a connection.

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Bee August 3, 2022 at 3:13 am

“Like stepping on a Lego” is a wonderful description for a horrible hurt. Oh do I remember doing that! I hope you heal soon.

1) I have been focusing on listing items on eBay and Facebook Marketplace. I also donated several items to Goodwill and my favorite thrift store. Things are slow now, but you can’t sell something if you don’t try.

2) I used a $25 Whole Foods Gift Card that I received by scanning my receipts to Fetch. I know this is a mixed bag in the area of frugality. However, I am gluten- free (not by choice), so I used this to buy items at the expensive Whole Food that are not available elsewhere.

3) I have started to get my dog food delivered by a large online pet store. Prices have gotten quite high locally. With auto-ship, I save $20+ a month and I am saving gas and time.

4) I took advantage of a $10 Costco membership offer that came in the mail. They have open a brand-new store — the first in our county.

5) I am doing all the usual things — cooking at home, brewing my own coffee, and drinking primarily filtered water. I am using the library. I recently listen to The Paris Apartment which was engaging but not particularly fine literature. I borrowed Season 4 of Yellowstone and borrowed a book club selection – The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It is the first of the month which meant it was time to pay bills and work on the budget. Of course, I used my bank’s Bill Pay system so no postage costs!

Wishing everyone peace and good health.

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Jill A August 3, 2022 at 3:49 am

It’s funny how that memory of stepping on a Lego comes right back. I felt it when I read it. I’m also considering the auto ship option. It’s getting harder to find a good deal on my dogs food. Can I ask what food you’re feeding your dog? I’m thinking of switching.

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Kathy August 3, 2022 at 4:00 am

I feed Purina sensitive skin and stomach salmon thru chewy.com

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Bee August 3, 2022 at 6:47 am

I feed Rescue Pup Blue Buffalo Chicken. She was eating that when we adopted her. She also gets 1/3 of a can Blue Buffalo wet food on top. I started feeding her wet food to hide her medicine. Now it’s a must. I save $0.80 a can and $10 a bag over the local market price on Chewy.com. They often have coupons for new customers. They offer a variety of foods including prescription foods.

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Jill A August 3, 2022 at 10:56 am

Thanks for the responses. I do order from Chewy. I miss getting coupons. I’ll have to reconsider the auto-ship once I’ve decided whether to continue with her current food. I’ve been feeding her the Nutro Chicken & Rice formula.

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Jill A August 3, 2022 at 3:41 am

I hope your “Foot Lego” gets better soon and your backyard looks beautiful.

1. I also have been cooking meals from scratch and also made more yogurt in the insta-pot. I used frozen yogurt from the last batch for starter so cost was just a half gallon of milk. I made more dog ice cream with the yogurt and I’ve been enjoying some with blackberries I picked from my backyard.
2. I made some cold brew tea using some of the tea my daughter brought home from work so cost was free. I’m still trying to kick my soda habit but sometimes I just really want a diet coke. Now if I could just kick my wine habit. It’s amazing how much grocery budget is consumed by soda and wine.
3. Instead of making the trip to the beach an hour away we decided to stick closer to home. We took the dogs on a nice walk to a local nature preserve a couple miles away. They got to play in the creek and cool off and we got to enjoy the beautiful wetlands.
4. After our walk we dropped the dogs at home and I broke down and treated everyone to an inexpensive local pizza buffet and my Mom treated us to ice cream at a delicious local ice cream shop. Overall an inexpensive outing. Definitely worthwhile and I also have no regrets.
5. I walked with a friend at a beautiful trail in the forest. Great exercise and company. I’m reading library books on my Kindle and watching Yellowstone DVD’s from the library. I’m hanging my laundry to dry. I’m doing my own yardwork and cleaning my own house.

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Kathy August 3, 2022 at 4:02 am

I kicked the soda habit…not the wine

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A. Marie August 3, 2022 at 4:44 am

Jill, I’m in your boat re: both soda and wine (except that my soda addiction is to Diet Pepsi). But making a lot of sun tea this summer is helping with the DP habit.

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Katy August 3, 2022 at 12:41 pm

My foot Lego and I thank you for your kind words.

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Ava August 3, 2022 at 5:02 am

1. Received yet another gift card from our insurance company for various dr. visits. Husband got one too..
2. Purchased two bags of reduced peaches for. 99 each. They looked pretty rough but were just fine once they were peeled and cut up.
3. Altered a thrift store top. It was too big and I almost put it in the donate box. But after taking it in on the sides, it fits great.
4. Had a movie night with friends. Movie came from the library. Friend made popcorn.
5. Poor dog got skunked for the 3rd time. He is a slow learner. We didn’t have any cleaner made for skunk scent but rubbed him down with some ancient spray designed to remove cat pee smell. It worked remarkably well.

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A. Marie August 3, 2022 at 5:10 am

FFT, Old Folks Drinking Prosecco Edition:

(1) As described earlier this week on The Frugal Girl, I too attended a brunch recently: an early birthday celebration, hosted by the Bestest Neighbors, for a friend who will soon turn 96. I was the baby of the group at almost 67, and the combined ages of the six guests totaled 487. Sometimes just being able to say “I’ve survived” in the company of other survivors is a frugal (and uplifting) thing.

(2) I put together a small boodle bag of things I thought the honoree would like and use: a little Folio Society volume of quotes from book lovers (found at a library book sale), a pack of three “Field Notes” pocket notebooks, a bar of locally made soap, and a booklet of Forever stamps. I think she was very pleased.

(3) Among the many topics of conversation (including the discussion of a possible generational difference in preferences for natural-finish brown wood furniture vs. painted furniture, as described on TFG) was the fact that we all have too @#$!! much stuff–except for the honoree, who moved to senior housing three years ago. One result of this is that the Bestest Neighbors, the other neighbor couple present, and I may be having an early fall tag sale, if we can get our elderly rears into gear. This is still very much in the talking stage, but stay tuned.

(4) Hot, dry weather has returned, and with it my recurring role as Our Lady of the Perpetual Watering Can. To save at least a few gallons, I’m collecting the water that drips into the basement sink from the condenser on the central AC.

(5) And I’m making yet another half-gallon jar of sun tea. As noted in a comment above, this is saving at least a few of the dollars I’d otherwise be spending on Diet Pepsi.

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Gina August 3, 2022 at 5:13 am

I think I have a few worth mentioning….
1. I used coupons at Kohls when making a purchase and saved $26.49
2. I got a little bit of paint on a pair of jean capris. I caught it right away, rinsed in water, sprayed with stain remover and threw in washing machine. The paint came our & I saved my pair of capris.
3. I received 4 free covid tests in the mail from the USPS offer.
4. I used rewards at CVS towards my purchase, saved $4
5. Our daughter was taking care of a friend’s animals while they were on vacation and said she could take whatever eggs she wanted from their chickens. She brought a few dozen home.
6. We were gifted 2 zucchini and a yellow squash from friends’ gardens

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Nicole August 3, 2022 at 6:06 am

I’ve been having a similar issue with my foot. My doctor did an x-ray and saw inflammation. I took a steroid which didn’t help, then I got a cortisone shot in the area which temporarily made it worse. It got better, but it’s still there from time to time, although overall better than before.

What was your diagnosis and treatment plan? Maybe I have what you do.

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Katy August 3, 2022 at 12:37 pm

It’s a plantar fibroma that’s actually imbedded in the ligament. Not sure the treatment plan yet as my appointment isn’t until next week.

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MB in MN August 3, 2022 at 7:13 am

I hear you on making all the meals. This week my husband made two delicious, original dinners, and I told him that I would pay him to retire if he would do all the cooking from now on. Glad you were able to enjoy several brunches out.

1. Mapped out errands like a FedEx delivery pro by minimizing the number of left turns in order to save time and gas.

2. Received a call from our tax advisor that we’ll be getting a $900 property tax refund. I’m gobsmacked over this unexpected windfall.

3. Needed to bring something to a potluck so I made a big batch of fresh basil hummus that called for several cups of packed basil leaves. That made good and frugal use of our bountiful basil and other things we had on hand.

4. Saved several tablespoons of jam from a restaurant brunch. It pays to bring a variety of containers to the restaurant for any and all leftovers! I have a kit that I keep in my car.

5. Successfully placed netting over the lettuce to discourage bunnies from eating it. Later we learned the threat was from within – some critter came up through the bottom of the raised bed and chewed through the lettuce roots. #$%&!

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Julia August 3, 2022 at 8:09 am

Can you share what you keep in you “taking leftovers home” kit that you keep in you car? I usually carry ziplock bags with me but not containers. Great idea!

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MB in MN August 3, 2022 at 8:59 am

Happy to! My kit contains several small glass jars and a set of nested stainless steel bowls with lids, inside a small tote bag. For places that use single-use dishes and flatware, we bring our own stainless ones (like for camping) in a separate small tote.

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Sarah August 3, 2022 at 7:51 am

Hi Katy,
I’m so sorry to hear about your foot pain. I do hope it starts to feel better soon.

I live in the Portland area and am due for another round of tree maintenance. I was wondering if you could share the name of your arborist?

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Katy August 3, 2022 at 12:35 pm

I used the company Limb by Limb.

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Sarah August 4, 2022 at 7:08 am

Thank you!!

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Nicole August 3, 2022 at 8:22 am

I left a comment earlier today asking about the foot thing since I’m having the same issue and it has disappeared. Was it deleted? I don’t think I said anything that should justify deleting my comment.

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Katy August 3, 2022 at 12:34 pm

Nope. It was simply the first time you had ever commented, which meant your comment went into moderation and had to be approved by me.

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rebecca August 3, 2022 at 12:23 pm

Katy, I hope you feel better soon.
1. My ever-so-friendly dog and I stopped to chat with some neighbors and they offered me zucchini, tomoatoes and kale.
2. I found street parking the other night in downtown Boston. It sure beat $25.00 or upwards for garage parking.
3. Other neighbors came over for an impromptu dinner and all I needed to get was a small yogurt and parsley for the chicken marinade and watermelon for dessert. We laughed a lot and had a lovely time. Good neighbors are the best!
4. A shop near me has a bunch of wood palletts that have a “free” sign on them. I am tempted to take them for my fire pit but always feel that someone else might need them more than me. If they are still thre th next time, I may take a few.
5. The usual-coffee and iced coffee and cooking at home and I hung a few thing to dry outside. It’s been so hot here, I swear they dried faster than what was in the dryer.

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K D August 3, 2022 at 12:25 pm

Katy,
I hope your foot pain subsides quickly. That sounds like misery.

1.We had flight credits on Southwest Airlines, from a couple of trips we didn’t take during the early days of the pandemic. They were set to expire in early September. Southwest eliminated expiration dates last week so we will be able to use the credits in the future. I had kicked myself a few times for not waiting to see if at least one of the flights was canceled (March and April 2020) so that we would have received a refund, oh what fun to remember how quickly the pandemic was going to be under control because we stayed home. Now we will be able to use the funds (and some of them can be transferred to others). We have flown, but not Southwest, in the past two years.

2. One of DH’s Rxs was discontinued from prescription drug insurance coverage at the beginning of the year. He did not want to change to an alternative medication. Working with his doctor’s office he was able to get a co-pay card that made the out of pocket cost about the same as it had been, after a lot of time, effort, and phone calls with many parties. It appears the insurance coverage has been restored as of this month but the lower co-pay will still apply and we won’t have to worry about exceeding the maximum benefit for the year with the co-pay card.

3. A neighbor shared more tomatoes, some beans, and a couple of bananas. The other day I used frozen bananas to make chocolate nice cream, ridding the freezer of bananas.

4. Every week I load my Giant and Safeway accounts with the new weekly offerings. This time I had an offer to save $5 on a $5 purchase at Safeway. I also had a $3 off produce reward and a reward for two free cups of Greek yogurt because of points earned when I bought gift card to take advantage of another offer. I stopped in when near by and paid just over $4 for two plus pounds of cherries, two jars of clearance priced marinara sauce, and the two yogurts.

5. We have a no annual fee American Express Blue Cash credit card that I use at the grocery store for 3% cash back. AMEX has expanded the categories where they give 3% cash back to include gas and online shopping. I will definitely use it for those purchases. Three percent is more than the two percent I earn with our everyday credit card.

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bettafrmdaVille August 3, 2022 at 5:10 pm

I have no-fee AmEx as well, but they just sent me an upgrade for their preferred card which gets 6% off groceries/3% gas and no fee for a year. I’ll take it, and then return to the 3% no fee next July.

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Vickey August 4, 2022 at 5:43 am

We have that same card. The break even point on the annual fee, based on qualifying groceries alone, is $1583\yr. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t spend that much on groceries per year. The annual fee has paid for itself many times over here, especially with also including 3% back on gas, given the many miles DH has to drive.
Ymmv. So to speak. 😉

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Jennifer August 3, 2022 at 1:53 pm

Your yard is gorgeous!

1. I picked enough cucumbers from my garden to make relish. I canned 10 half pints. I have also been picking the tomatoes, peeling and dicing and freezing them. When I get enough I will can them.
2. We are painting our hallway and stairs ourselves. Paint is expensive these days! But doing the work yourself really helps.
3. I dove into my oldest room – he moved out in May and left a disaster zone. Hours upon hours! I threw away so much trash unfortunately but I also made 2 trips to good will with donations, some items went to my younger son, some for sale on ebay, and some home with my son. I used his college bedding (after washing lol) to make up the bed for later. I have a pile to take to the school nurse in case of accidents and a few items to take to Play It Again Sports.
4. Listing a bunch of things on ebay – 1 item sold immediately. Hoping more sell.
5. I have been very good about cooking from scratch the past week. Even some homemade breakfasts in there. I have used up the last of numerous things in my recipes which feels so good.

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Cindy in the South August 3, 2022 at 3:37 pm

Beautiful backyard! 1. I continue my no air conditioning saga. The fan is working well. I am at work so much, despite being part time, that it has not mattered. I will get it fixed when I get it fixed. To be real, I am not wanting to spend the money and I know I will have to bc the lightning did fry the unit. My electric bill st work house should be awesome! 2. Gas is &3.44 gallon in college town at SAMS. 3. Sandwiches are the name of the game for the most part. Specifically, tomato and Mayo sandwich, cheese sandwich, and peanut butter sandwich. I don’t want to turn on stove very much although I did heat up a can of carrots and peas.4. I went to the local state park lake and swam for $2. That is the reduced price if you are 62 or older 5. I also walked at local parks for free.

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Virginia Allain August 3, 2022 at 8:50 pm

Our 5 frugal things all involve a trip. We traveled 5 days in our campervan and totally skipped RV parks which have gotten more expensive. Our battery recharges as we drive down the road and we were able to have air-conditioning at night with that and use the microwave for cooking and run the fridge.
We boondocked for the nights in a state welcome center and in a truck stop parking lot. We were able to empty our holding tanks for $10 at the truck stop. RV parks would have cost $50 to $80 a night.
We used the food that we brought from home and didn’t eat out at all on the trip.

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Shona August 4, 2022 at 5:08 am

Thank you to Shelly who recommended “The Abundance of Less.” I got a copy via interlibrary loan. I discovered a great YouTube channel on frugality, Austin Williams, who is a wise young man at 28. I binged all his videos Sunday afternoon.

Not a frugal month between car and HVAC repairs, but in reframing my negative emotions towards the situations I am thankful that in both situations the parts were immediately available, we were never without A/C during this heatwave, and the car issues never left me stranded having to call a tow truck. Most important, we had the money to cover expenses.

Little bits of frugality: Two .99 bags of limes at Kroger which included 21 pieces of fruit, avocados were priced at $1.14 but rang up at .92 (I went back for more), free bread from work, shift meals, I happily can walk to work which has helped even more through the car issues, and besides these repair issues, generally staying home on my days off with the curtains drawn to keep the house cool and reading.

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Mary in Maryland August 4, 2022 at 5:27 am

1. We ate down the freezer. Then I defrosted it—the ones that require one to do this manually are cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, and enough simpler that they break down less often.
2. Bought 25# bags of garbanzos, lentils, and kasha. Checked for stones and frass and repackaged them in jars and tubs. Put the containers in the freezer for three days. We have a small freezer—5 cubic feet—I froze it in three batches over nine days.
3. A friend bought me a huge can of tomato paste at Costco. While the freezer has space, I’ll freeze the paste in ice cube trays for easier use.
4. Was given a carful of non-quilting fabric from a friend-who-died’s stash. Without bringing it into the house, I triaged and divvied. Eight trash bags for the refugee sewing project. Two trash bags for the teacher of grade school crafts. Two trash bags to be sold to fund school supplies. We’re comfortable enough that I get a thrill from helping others be frugal. Second hand frugality?
5. We got an IKEA futon for sleeping in the basement several weeks ago. I had been putting off patching the holes in the cover. This morning (happy trash day!) we came upon the exact same futon set out for the trash. With its cover and two matching pillows. They have been washed and are hanging outside on the line as we speak.

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Katy August 5, 2022 at 11:43 am

Interesting, I didn’t know that about freezers. And your futon cover/pillow score is fantastic.

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Anne August 4, 2022 at 8:31 am

Katy, I have total hydrangea envy. They are my favorite flower and so difficult to keep alive here in the So Cal desert. I currently have three in small pots on my patio, which I try mightily to protect from afternoon sun. But I envy people who have giant bushes of them.

We lived in Portland for five years and there are several plants that I fell in love with that simply can’t take the heat down here.

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Katy August 5, 2022 at 11:43 am

Thank you! My father rooted all the hydrangeas from scratch and grew them in his greenhouse. We planted them when my son was an infant, so . . . 24 years ago. I planted them closer than was recommended, as there’s a cinder block wall in the yard that is UGLY. Problem solved!

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Christine August 7, 2022 at 8:58 am

Just watched a segment of Sunday Morning about Hydrangeas. Apparently, Cape Cod in Massachusetts and the Pacific Northwest are the ideal places to grow them.

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Kate August 4, 2022 at 9:47 am

1. I cut my husband’s hair instead of shelling out for a haircut (around $25 locally).

2. I went to Expensive Grocery Store to get an item not carried at Discount Grocery Store and found two 1 kg bags of our preferred brand of coffee marked down to $5 each after the company rebranded. Since the last price hike due to inflation, the price of these bags had skyrocketed to $36.99 and I had resigned myself to quitting coffee altogether. Total savings: $63.98. I am well-supplied with the elixir of life for a few more months.

3. Put myself on the library holds list for several to-be-released books so that I can read them as soon as they hit the shelves.

4. Booked a local (2.5 hours away) holiday instead of flying two of my family members to another province. It’s still an expense, but not as much as a rental car at the original destination, for which my sister-in-law is paying $2K over two weeks. Insert screaming emoji.

5. Enjoyed an incredible dinner with two families we haven’t seen much since even before 2020. Everyone contributed food, and the host’s teenagers grilled some delicious main dishes and then entertained my kids. A huge boost to well-being!

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Katy August 5, 2022 at 11:40 am

I applaud your coffee score! I rarely (if ever) drink coffee at home, but my husband would wither and die with it.

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Erin August 4, 2022 at 2:09 pm

I have been dealing with a heel issue thay i 2qs told was plantar fasciitis (that spread throughout my legs and back) for over a year now. I was finally properly diagnosed by a physical therapist and was told it was heel pad syndrome. I’m sonannoyed that my PCP and 2 podiatrists couldn’t pick up on it but I’m so thankful that I finally have a clear path to recovery. I wish you the same success!

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Katy August 5, 2022 at 11:38 am

I feel for you. Literally.

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Marilyn August 4, 2022 at 9:56 pm

Katy, I hope your foot gets better soon. I stepped on a few Legos when my son and daughter were young Lego fanatics and it was no fun.
1. Cleaned out and organized my home office aka my dining room. I work about 50% at home. Found all kinds of office supplies I forgot I had. I now know I will not need any pens, file folders, highlighters, rubber bands, paperclips, binder clips, computer screen cleaner, etc for years to come.
2. Used fans rather than AC for much of the recent heatwave here in the NW. I was actually fairly comfortable most of the time.
3. Organizing errands so I get gas, visit library and shop for groceries in one trip. Saving time and money, I hope.

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Q August 5, 2022 at 7:25 am

I have not been a poster, just a happy reader, but I am going to try to post consistently, to help keep on track, now that I am RETIRED!!
1. I lost almost 30 pounds this year, so I took in some of my clothes: I have not bought new clothes in almost a year, and decided in January to try to limit myself to 3 new items of clothing this year. So far, I bought one baseball cap, with a longer brim than I usually see. But, I have had plenty to wear. I did get some very nice shorts at goodwill: a size 12, woohoo!

2. I have continued cooking from scratch, and make a lot of bean dishes in the crockpot. I went vegan (hence the weight loss) and that is frugal, too. Later today, I will pick some blackberries for a treat. I find that preparing some food in the morning, using the crockpot, makes it much easier for me to stay on track. I am going to try to remember to plug the crockpot in on the screened in porch.

3. Speaking of said porch, I returned an outdoor shade to Costco, and instead hung an old racing sail that a friend gave me. When I was walking with another friend and told her of my plan, she was very happy and kind to give me the hardware to do so, as she had been thinking of doing a shade awning but changed her mind. The sail looks awesome!

4. This week, I have been getting up early (to beat the heat) and doing interval walking with DH. It has been wonderful, although I was a bit sore earlier in the week. This is instead of joining a gym, and it gets me started outdoors while it is cool out. When we get back, DH makes a nice oatmeal and fruit breakfast, which he leaves in a Thermos for me, for when I come in from the yard.

5. When we come back from the walk, I am already up and moving, and so I did yard work for two or three hours every morning: our yard looks much better for it, I get exercise, and it saves me having to hire someone, as our yard was literally hit by a tornado last November.

6. A bonus, as this is my first posting in a very long time: the usual, reading library books, drinking water, etc…

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Katy August 5, 2022 at 11:37 am

I love your energy!!!

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Q August 6, 2022 at 3:15 pm

Thank you!

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MB in MN August 5, 2022 at 12:37 pm

Great list! Congrats on the weight loss and healthy living!

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Q August 6, 2022 at 3:21 pm

Thank you, I had been trying without success for a long time to lose weight. My doctor suggested I talk with a nurse who specialized in helping people beat diabetes(my husband is diabetic, though I am not), and I was able to have Zoom meetings with her on a regular basis. She even had a scale mailed to me that reported results to her computer as well. It is all covered by insurance. I went from obese to normal bmi. It was some work, but I enjoyed preparing new foods. My husband, who is a vegan at home, due to that being what’s available, is also down quite a bit. It has worked out really well. It is a funny benefit that it has even saved us money, as prices have risen.

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Heidi Louise August 6, 2022 at 7:07 am

The racing sail shade sounds rather dashing!
Congratulations on your retirement! You sound like the kind of person your former colleagues and customers would miss.

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Christine August 7, 2022 at 9:04 am

Congrats on both your retirement and your weight loss!

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Joyce August 5, 2022 at 11:59 am

Frugality during a HOT summer
1. Eating from our garden. It makes meal planning simple since a bunch of stuff did not come up.
2. Cut my husband’s hair
3. Use the air fryer rather than the oven.
4. Haven’t used our portable a/c so far this season.
5 baked squash bread first thing in the morning, see #s 1 and 4.
6 graciously accepted eggs, yogurt, salad mixes from neighbor returning to their home state.
7. Blueberry picking at neighbor’s house

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janine August 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm

1. We are experiencing hot weather and drought conditions so much of the landscape looks a premature brown. However, our garden is producing a few edibles for which we are grateful. (who popularized zucchini any way?)
2. As with other posters, we are cooking from scratch while all the while yearning for local chefs to take over our meal production duties.
3. Meals included chicken parm, baked sweet potatoes and fresh green beans followed by peach cobbler. Leftovers followed. Food mostly purchased on sale
at deep discount.
4. Voted early in the primary today at our library polling location and picked up a mystery and an interesting old National Geographic magazine from the free table. It’s nice to get something free in addition to an “I Voted “sticker.
5. Glad I started our frugal journey pre-inflation which includes drinking water and homemade iced tea, utilizing “gently used” stores, borrowing books for my book club from the library etc. Good luck to everyone in these challenging times!

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Selena August 6, 2022 at 4:15 pm

Zucchini is actually quite versatile – you can grill it, add to spaghetti sauce (spiraled or pieces sized to your liking), sauteed for taco topping, added to stir fry or other Chinese recipes. fried (yes a naught treat but better than junk food), sauteed and diced to add to soup. Of course grated for zucchini/quick bread or frozen for later use. Plus it contains lutein which is good for your eyes.

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Joyce August 6, 2022 at 7:03 am

One more frugal adventure:
Our departing neighbor gave me a full gallon of 1% milk— oh, ick. NO one I knew wanted it.
I made cottage cheese and ricotta from the milk..only got a small amount, about a regular 15 oz container of it but put some of the whey into compost and cut the rest 50/50 with water add used it on our tomato plants.
I saved the cost of a container of cottage cheese, about $4.00! I use it to bribe my old dog to eat.

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Terri Cheney August 6, 2022 at 11:02 am

I worked for an ortho surgeon and when I had an issue with my foot (heel) that wasn’t plantar fasciitis either, he suggested I wear my athletic shoe to bed at night. Of course, it was awkward, but I can report that it did help. It kept the foot positioned in such a way that it was far less painful and within two weeks or so was much improved. I’ve not followed the complete line of this so not sure if you had an injury but I am aware that you spend a lot of time on your feet and walking on hard surfaces so it might help.

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Bethany M August 6, 2022 at 6:08 pm

Made fried potatoes two days in a row so I could reuse my oil. It satisfied my French fry craving too!

Drying the oregano and thyme my friend hacked out of her garden for me.

Washing and reusing my Kirkland brand cheese ziploc bags. I hate doing this, but I definitely need to save more money!

Getting my Indiana teacher’s license and going to substitute teach some this year. Also going to the school board meeting to ask for better pay. It’s disrespectful pay!

Gathering in my wooly lambs ear flowers as they dry. Making seed packets to put in EBay.

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Auntiali August 7, 2022 at 1:44 am

Hi Katy, hi everyone!
We may not have been that frugal this past week but we enjoyed ourselves. We had a barbeque with my two sister in laws, one who came out from San Diego. We also took a trip with the sister in laws to Atlantic City. It was a nice time for me as I do like to gamble but haven’t been able to in the last 4 years. So I gambled and was blessed enough to break even. Enjoyed a nice supper outside on a deck over the sand.

During our heat waves we’ve kept the black out curtains closed in the living room. That gets the most light from the sun, especially from noon to sunset. Using the ceiling fan in the living room to circulate air. Have the AC on but not too low as I get cold easily now.

Water heater – 14 years old – started leaking so we got a new one. It was $1800, and I had a wish of earning that back in Atlantic City but alas, didn’t work out that way. We had the money in our emergency account.

Hubby used the air fryer out on the deck to make his stinky Buffalo chicken wings. Our water bill will be outrageous as he keeps topping off his blow up pool.

In a couple of weeks we are going to the Jersey Shore – in New Jersey – for a week’s vacation. I’ve saved up money and want to have seafood every night or at least every other night. With my gastric sleeve surgery I can’t eat mass amounts of food. I want steamed clams or steamers as we call them here. I want to go to the boardwalk, may go on the free beach – not many in NJ are free – and the aquarium. All things I wasn’t able to do in the past due to my extreme obesity but now I can. I am down 98 lbs since December 2021. I was 309 before surgery, lost 15 pounds before surgery with protein shakes and now I have a bit more to go to get out of the obesity range so I can get my knees fixed.

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Christine August 7, 2022 at 9:10 am

98 pounds is fantastic! Nice that you can now do things which were out of reach for you before. Have fun at the shore! We’re headed to Acadia in Maine and like you, I plan to eat seafood every night.

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isa August 7, 2022 at 7:07 am

* Vacation week : we spent quite a lot yesterday (315$) on a restaurant meal and an escape room, but for the rest of the week we stayed in (played board games, kids played with friends, etc) so it evens out. Next week is also vacation for hubby and kids, but I`m working so $$

* School supplies have been bought. We looked at what we already had anf bought the missing items by going to 2 differents stores to get the best prices. Got 15$ off school books using a promo code.

* I am so bored with my clothes! I don’t have a lot so I rotate quickly. I’m always in the mindset of losing weight so I never buy much. But now I’m really (really!) tired of my summer wardrobe consisting of the same 4-5 dresses and the one pair of shorts with a couple different t-shirts. But, hey, summer is almost over so that’s what it is going to be for the next 4-6 weeks. Then I’ll go thrift shopping for a couple autumn pieces.

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Jann in Maine August 7, 2022 at 8:40 am

90 degrees here in Maine and the fan is going. Not too bad. One of the positive effects of having a well insulated house is it keeps you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
Same old same old here. Drinking coffee made at home, walking while it’s cool out,driving less,cooking at home especially nice since the garden is producing and thrifting and yardsaling.
Got a booth at an antique marketplace and first 3 weeks they were open I netted $580. That is a good boost to my ebay sales. And interesting that some of the things that sold sat on FBMP for months yet sold quickly there…
Praying we get some rain and that the weather pattern changes as we are in drought conditions.
Just called AAA to try to get a price reduction. They are offering new customers a $26 rate, We have been with them for 42 years and are paying $161 which I don’t think is right. Supervisor is supposed to call me back tomorrow. We shall see if that happens.
Just completed our updates of our wills, POA’s , and Living Wills as things have changed since we last did it. This has the potential to save us $ but right now the peace of mind is really great.
DH harvested 161 heads of garlic which we have drying in our garage. Believe it or not after I send some to friends and family it hopefully will get us through the year.
Still hanging laundry out and have not used dryer all year! Hopefully it still works.

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Hawaii Planner August 7, 2022 at 3:22 pm

I was visiting my family for a few days, & then we had a vacation in Bend. Vacations are rarely frugal, but a few wins:
-Brought a giant shoe box of garden tomatoes with me on the flight, mostly so they wouldn’t be wasted. But, we all enjoyed them, and I made caprese several times.
-We rented a large house, which had a kitchen, washer & dryer, & was significantly cheaper than staying in a hotel.
-My sister was awesome enough to drive me around (she was at all of the events I was at), so we could avoid renting a car.
-I talked my mom into a lovely lunch on the patio of our rental house, vs eating out. We had an extra bottle of wine we weren’t going to finish, so we had wine & caprese salad, while watching the deer eat through the open space between houses.
-We priced driving to the airport & using long term parking, vs taking Uber, and the parking option was much, much cheaper. It was a bit of a hassle to pick up our car at SFO, but we made it work. Similarly, we flew into SFO, as we had United credit, and could fly out of the Redmond airport. Only SFO offered that particular leg (SFO -> Redmond). The San Jose airport is closer to our house, and much more enjoyable than SFO (smaller, easier to get around), but it was nice to use up those United credits!

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