Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 12, 2022 · 104 comments

  1. My husband and I used our local Buy Nothing Group to give away two outdoor chair cushions, a guitar shaped cake pan, a cardigan sweater and a full-on drum set that my husband had great plans for, but had unsurprisingly collected an impressive amount of basement dust.

    We then scored a full-size bed frame that a neighbor offered through the group. I’d been passively keeping an eye out for a new bed frame as our son’s had followed him when he moved out. (Also a Buy Nothing find!) We’d unceremoniously dumped a futon onto the floor as a stop gas measure, but that’s simply not an acceptable option for aging house guests. Luckily the new bed frame is the style that doesn’t require a box spring, so it’ll support the futon without issue. For the very low price of $0.00.

  2. I somehow erected a mental barrier to putting up new eBay listings. I’d built it up in my mind as difficult, even though I’ve been selling on eBay since 2005! Every day I’d write “List five items on eBay” on my to-do list and then accomplish everything except that task. I finally wised up and wrote “List one item on eBay” which narrowed it down enough so I could get over myself.

    So I listed a single item on eBay. Something both easy to photograph and simple to describe. And then two days later I assembled all the things I needed to list and got to work. There’s a term in the reselling community called a “death pile,” which is essentially all the stuff you’ve bought, but never list My death pile wasn’t actually all that impressive, but the guilt clouded my brain. Things are starting to sell again, which is both a relief and the perfect motivator to continue listing.

  3. My husband had a two day work class in Tacoma, Washington last week, which  we forced somehow blossomed into the perfect getaway. The hotel reservation was for Thursday and Friday, so we left Thursday morning and checked into our room and immediately drove up to Seattle where we enjoyed a somewhat crappy meal, (we’d eaten at this restaurant a number of years ago, but apparently they’ve taken a nose dive.) and then took the ferry to Bremerton and back.

    The round-trip ferry tickets were just $9.25 apiece for the two hour trip, which was both the perfect length and price. Add in that our waiter had slipped me extra bags of oyster crackers and I even came prepared with snacks!

    The rest of our trip was equally satisfying, as we were able to meet up with multiple Antioch College friends, (Hi, Lisa, Ed and Ben!)  as well as hit up multiple thrift stores, (Hi, Tacoma and Seattle Goodwills, American Cancer Society Discovery Shop and that one estate sale!) I do value getting out of my routine, or as I shared with my friend Lisa,” It’s just nice to look at something that’s not my living room walls!”

  4. My husband fixed a broken side rail on our daughter’s bed, I was twice able to eat enough at the hotel breakfast buffet to skip lunch, I fed my friend’s cat while she was out of town and she gifted me with tea and honey from her travels, I brought home three impressively sturdy takeout containers from one of our meals in Seattle, I scored a few things from a Seattle free pile, (the above Daenerys Targaryen wig, a cute pair of earrings and some Yakima rack component pieces) I returned two tubes of expensive sunscreen that took two weeks in transit, I went through my closet and identified a dozen or so pieces of never-wear-em clothing and donated them to Goodwill, I helped my mother shampoo a filthy rug and in return she fed my family some delicious barbecue takeout as a thank you, I took my sister’s excellent advice and listened to Death at Wentwater Court through the free Libby app  and I took a Griswold Dutch oven that wasn’t selling on Facebook Marketplace for $125 and listed it on eBay, where it sold overnight for $150!

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, and my ego-driven rocket ship didn’t explode after liftoff.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me and costs nothing extra to you.

{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

Auntiali September 12, 2022 at 5:08 pm

Glad you had a good getaway. Always nice to look at something besides the four walls of the living room.

My frugal five:
1. I’ve been buying really reduced clearance from Walgreens for my Toys for Tots donation. I got two glow in the dark 100 piece dinosaur puzzles for .60 each and a crystal growing kit for $1.79. Got some cute no seem um socks for girls that were .75 each.
2. Got two free lip balms from CVS with extra care bucks.
3. I put some money into an 11 month CD that will earn more interest than what hubby and I are earning in a savings account.
4. Finally got the I-bond account opened.
5. Used two free from credit card points $25 gift cards to have takeaway Outback. Final cost after my AARP 10% discount was $20.xx.


Selena September 12, 2022 at 6:36 pm

Make sure to leave a note so whoever did *not* open the I-Bond account has access in the event of illness/death. I need to update my “hey kids, we’re dead, and here’s all the financial stuff you need to know”.


A. Marie September 13, 2022 at 6:49 am

Good point about the “Hey, kids, we’re dead…” folder. I keep putting this off and shouldn’t–especially as there are no kids and my folder needs to read “To whom it may concern,” depending on who in my designated chain of command ultimately does the takeover.


Shona September 14, 2022 at 5:09 am

I’m planning a trip back home to not only see my family for the first time in 3 years, but to assemble all the information for a “hey kids, we’re dead…” folder, although I think I’ll not use that exact phrase while there.


MB in MN September 14, 2022 at 2:01 pm

We gave our designees a sealed envelope that reads: “To be opened in the event we have become incompetent, incapacitated, or dead.” Inside is an Important Information document with instructions big and small (right down to where we hide our house key) along with current copies of our health care directives, power of attorney forms, and wills. This document will also be invaluable to my husband if I go first.

Heidi Louise September 14, 2022 at 4:29 pm

Don’t forget to leave them appropriate passwords for online accounts as appropriate.
I don’t know about the legalities of closing accounts for someone who has died by using the person’s login. On the other hand, online work to close things like Netflix without having to prove death would be a lot easier than making phone calls and proving you have the right to act on the deceased’s behalf.

Vickey September 17, 2022 at 5:23 am

We’re fortunate in that our designee is also the family member who’s our tech support. They’ve got the keys to the kingdom, and will delete/lock down things as needed.

Generally speaking, it might not hurt to include “_______ has my permission to delete my online accounts” in a power of attorney or some other written permission piece.

We’re also looking at putting all of our very modest assets in a living trust, to make the transfer that much easier when the time comes.

Auntiali September 14, 2022 at 4:00 pm

I’ve got an I’m Dead Now What? book for the kids. I filled it in with all important stuff.


Liz B. September 13, 2022 at 10:06 am

Okay, dumb question, but what’s an I-bond account?


Cindy in the South September 13, 2022 at 4:10 pm

It is a government bond that you buy off Treasury Direct, I think.


Liz B. September 13, 2022 at 5:18 pm

@Cindy in the South, thank you! I’ll have to look into it.


Auntiali September 14, 2022 at 4:01 pm

Liz, it’s paying 9% interest until October. You have to keep it a year. The rest of the info should be on the Treasury Direct website.

Vickey September 17, 2022 at 5:25 am

Auntiali, is that the same as a Treasury Inflation Protected Security (TIPS)?

Christina September 15, 2022 at 8:35 am


I love the great bargains you found for your Toys for Tots donation. I can just imagine those happy little ones when they get their gifts! Made me smile. 🙂


Kym Hopkins September 12, 2022 at 5:11 pm

I hope you didn’t have to pay the shipping on the Dutch Oven!


Katy September 12, 2022 at 9:36 pm

Oh no, I never do free shipping!


Laurae September 13, 2022 at 5:49 am

The shipping cost was the first thing I thought of! 😉


Lindsey September 12, 2022 at 5:17 pm

1. The husband goes out to lunch with his four singing buddies once a week. One of the men got extra sausage and gave it to my husband to bring home for pound hound. What?! I sliced it in half, making two paper thin rounds of sausage and turned it into a breakfast of a homemade sausage egg mcmuffin for our breakfast this morning.
2. Gave a neighbor 10 pounds of potatoes from my garden. This is not immediately frugal but it is a wonderful way to pay back that neighbor for all the times she has shared homemade spring rolls with us. Being a good neighbor is always frugal in the long run.
3. Picked up a 40 pound bag of dog food from our buy nothing group.
4. Dropped off a box to Salvation Army and took home my tax receipt.
5. Continued to harvest food from the garden, as snow will soon be here. I am thankful tht I planted all these seeds back in June, even on days when I did not feel like it. SOme years we get enough food that after subtracting expenses we end up with about $1000 worth of free food. So far this year, it is only $620 but still a profit from our efforts.


rebecca September 13, 2022 at 2:05 pm

Being a good neighbor and having good neighbors is priceless. I completely agree with you.


Marie-Josée September 12, 2022 at 5:23 pm

Sounds like you had a wonderful time, Katy! I’ve noted your sister’s book recommendation. Always on the lookout for great reads. How is your foot?

Both my husband and me have been working six days a week. We barely made it to the grocery store between work and spending time with our daughter and grandchildren, so I guess that’s a frugal win.

We are going on a four day vacation in early October and I scored a 45% off deal for our stay which includes all meals and beverages.

I had added my husband to my private insurance at work during his lock-out and removed him as he is now covered once again by his own work plan. This benefit is paid by my employer, but is a taxable benefit.

Looked up a tandem electric bike: $ 10, 500. Nope!

Dreaming of retirement – seven more years to go. Dreaming is free!


Katy September 12, 2022 at 9:32 pm

My foot is okay. The first steroid shot helped a tremendous amount, but it began wearing off around a week before the second shot. It still hurts, but I’m not thinking about it all the time, which is an improvement.


Marie-Josee McDonald September 13, 2022 at 8:56 am

So happy to read that treatment is working! Chronic pain is awfull!


Katy September 13, 2022 at 1:58 pm

Thanks, it truly is.


MB in MN September 12, 2022 at 5:25 pm

I like how you tackled your eBay listings!

1. Helped family clear out the over-filled home of an aunt who moved into a nursing home. Such a sad situation as her decades-long shopping and hoarding disorders were so severe she had hundreds of items in every single category you can imagine; most of which went unused. We feel both compassion and exasperation. The only things we’re grateful she collected are storage bins (at least 200 and we filled them all plus lots of cardboard boxes, a dumpster, etc.). Her possessions were offered to family members before heading to several lucky non-profits. I picked out some nice and useful things and enough tea and toiletries to last a very long time.

2. Husband decided not to renew a print magazine that he’s received for 40 years. He chose the online subscription option instead, saving $20/year.

3. Repurposed plastic takeout containers to bring items to the Household Hazardous Waste site. Ever since COVID, they want us to leave the container with our donations (batteries, lightbulbs, printer cartridges, etc.). I know they will continue to reuse my containers for something else so that makes me happy.

4. Used a $10 gas station gift card that my husband received from his volunteer organization.

5. Continue to load up on free boxes from the library and the thrift store for our eventual move.


Heidi Louise September 12, 2022 at 6:25 pm

“U.S. Postal Service Announces Proposed Temporary Rate Adjustments for 2022 Peak Holiday Season” –
Domestic package rates increase from October 2 until January 22. Not sure how this plays out in practical terms or for personal mailings.


Auntiali September 14, 2022 at 4:09 pm

Heidi Lousie – all I can say is ugh. Guess the kids in Singapore/Korea will get money for Christmas.


Heidi Louise September 14, 2022 at 4:19 pm

It is for domestic mail only, not international.
But international mailings seem to cost their weight in gold already.


Roberta September 12, 2022 at 7:55 pm

We’re back to the straight and narrow. We have, over the past two-ish years, been spending more on dining out (and tipping) because we have been earning more, and we’ve felt we should share the wealth with local business that are struggling. But our income has come back down to about where it was, and we are no longer going to be living the vida loca.
1. Went to see a play starring my brother-in-law Saturday night. Instead of dining out, I made salad and pasta at home. We lit candles to be fancy. The food was good, easy, and the conversation couldn’t be beat by a restaurant!
2. I stopped by the random-bits store. They had a wheel of black truffle French brie for $5. A big wheel, they kind stores divide up to sell! I took part to a family birthday (with some leftover baguette slices I had sliced and frozen before they went stale). It was well received, and all gone before we left.
3. I stopped by Costco for a big box of spinach to put in a pot of pasta and the afore mentioned black truffle brie. (It turned out excellect, the family raved, and I have enough brie left to do it one more time.) My dog food had gone up in price, but was currently $8 off per bag. So I impulse-bought three bags worth.
4. My daughter wanted a loaf of bread to go with dinner Saturday, but very little was used. I turned half of the leftovers into “bread and tomato soup” (it sounds better in Italian). It was a new recipe, and the family loved it! All it took was some stale bread, a can of tomatoes, and some veggie broth made out of vegetable scraps. I will definitely be making it again.
5. I am successfully losing weight, almost effortlessly. I ask myself if a “healthy person” would do something, and I act accordingly. A “healthy person” will drink water, not a second glass of wine, with dinner. A “healthy person” notices when she is no longer enjoying what she is eating. I’ve dropped almost 10 pounds like this, and leftovers stretch a lot farther.

Bonus: my daughter just got her first job, as a lifeguard, and my son just got over a dollar raise at Target! We did splurge on celebration cake at Trader Joes (because it’s too hot to turn on the oven for brownies).


Christina September 15, 2022 at 8:41 am

Wow, that black truffle brie deal sounded amazing!!! It must’ve been so delicious.


Christine September 15, 2022 at 5:52 pm

Your #5: Congrats on your weight loss. I love your strategy using the “healthy person” questions. I say whatever works to bring about successful results is the right way to go. I like to look at each ten pounds gone as a 10 pound bag of potatoes I no longer have to cart around. For me it’s a good impetus for further weight loss and keeping lost pounds off.


geri September 16, 2022 at 5:50 am

Thanks for the Italian bread and tomato soup idea. Just looked up a recipe and it is on the list if fall ever comes to Texas!


Karen B September 12, 2022 at 8:06 pm

1) Gave away a sack of recyclable bottles with refunds on them. I dread going to the refund center, so it made me happy to give them away to someone happy to do so.

2) Picked up 2 small patio tables in our Buy Nothing group. We wanted 2, one of which is to replace one with a leg nearly gnawed through by a wild animal (probably squirrel).

3) Stopped at 2 thrift stores on the way home from picking up the table. Got a new condition shirt for hubby, new glow in the dark skeleton socks for son (who loves them), an ice cream scoop to replace the one that broke recently, and a waffle maker (I’ve switched from buying frozen waffles to making them, saves money, especially on mine which are gluten-free).

4) Had a nice family camping trip in a county park with low rates.

5) Enjoyed our exceptionally nice weather today with 2 walks in the park with our dogs.

6) One of our regional grocery store chains a few times a week is posting a small handful of really great deals on their Facebook page a few times a week. Today they had 3 great deals on items we like plus there were a couple other items I wanted that were low priced anyway. 4 bags of groceries for $21! I would guess it averaged out to half price.


Jen September 12, 2022 at 10:15 pm

Ah, the Death Pile! One time long ago you referred to listing items on eBay as “Gifts to Your Future Self”. My son and I both list items and use that phrase. It is so true. The only thing better than a great, cheap find is a SALE.

Your trip sounds nice.

Always a delight to see a post. Thanks for taking the time to entertain and teach us.


Katy September 13, 2022 at 2:21 pm

Thanks for the reminder, I need to start using that phrase again.


Denise September 13, 2022 at 1:24 am

I’m slowly getting myself back to a more frugal way of living but it’s shocked me how alert to “just spending” I need to be. I’m out of the habit, and so I’m working to get back into the habit!

Baby steps:

1. I had to had to cancel a big trip (from England) to the U.S. in May – allergic reaction to new drugs. It was for my sister’s 60th, Vegas, Grand Canyon and San Francisco. £5k on flights and I’m still fighting with the travel insurance people for my refund. My equivalent of “death pile syndrome “ had set in – “I must do that tomorrow “. Finally did one small thing and, once started, carried on with everything. £5k. What a plank I’ve been dithering!

2. Started meal planning, shopping the pantry and freezer first and buying accordingly. I’m putting £20 in cash in an envelope weekly for forgotten and top-up items. Have brought my weekly spend down from £85 (1 person!) to £65. Baby steps but hugely encouraging.

3. I’m on a water meter and always have higher than average bills, which has particularly mystified me. We’ve suffered drought this year and have hosepipe bans in place. My water company sends out water saving tips by email. I’ve reduced my laundry wash loads from 8 to 4, I have been taking much shorter showers, turning off the water while washing in the shower and various other strategies. Then one of Thames Water’s emails suggested looking to see if you have a constantly running toilet. Can lose up to 40 litres a day. Realised that both of my toilets run slightly all the time. Gas heating engineer came to service my boiler and he dealt with the toilets for free. Saving water and money. Win!

4. Have changed credit card to get vouchers. Cash back card (AmEx) wouldn’t consider me due to having retired early and therefore having a massively reduced income. Vouchers for a business called The John Lewis Partnership, upmarket (not luxury) chain of department stores and supermarkets called Waitrose. Holding out for vouchers to use for Christmas presents.

5. After the U.S. holiday debacle in May, I got a special offer on Eurostar trains for 50% off. Booked for a trip to Belgium (Bruges) which I took last week, having saved for it. Returned on Sunday evening. Moved the savings over to my current account and paid the credit card bill in full.

Book recommendation(s): J K Rowling of Harry Potter fame writes a crime series under the pen name of Robert Galbraith. Protagonist is a private detective called Cormoran (not a typo!) Strike, army veteran who lost a leg in Afghanistan. Really excellent books.

Someone (Katy?) mentioned suncream. Not sure if Amazon US carries it but there’s a brilliant brand called Altruist developed by a Consultant Oncologist/Dermatologist who specialises to address people’s problems with sunscreen: easy to apply, absorbs quickly, highly effective and cheap. Highly recommend it: I’m pale and easily burned but this has been excellent through a very hot and dry summer.


Denise September 13, 2022 at 1:30 am

“…Consultant Oncologist/Dermatologist who specialises in skin cancer…”


Katy September 13, 2022 at 2:20 pm

Wow, I’m so happy that were able to get your full refund, that must have been a huge relief.

Although I did buy all the Harry Potter books while they were coming out and read every word aloud to my kids, she is someone that I can no longer support. Her hateful stance against trans people is baffling and deeply offensive. I can’t be part of ever giving her another penny from my wallet.


Selena September 14, 2022 at 7:06 pm

I no longer read John Grisham books due to his disgusting opinion re: child porn and pedophiles.


Denise September 15, 2022 at 11:54 am

I’m not on social media and I don’t engage with traditional news outlets so I’m going to have to look into JK Rowling’s views: haven’t heard about them before and I hope that I haven’t offended anyone by recommending her books.


Jenny September 19, 2022 at 10:51 pm

I also was not aware of the JK Rowling and John Grisham issues. If we are positive that the ugly opinions are valid, then, yes, the best way to get someone’s attention is to not give them money or attention.


Anne September 14, 2022 at 6:53 am

I adore Bruges. Who doesn’t? My sister lives in Belgium. but I’m in So Cal and major travel is getting harder for hubby and I.


Jenny September 19, 2022 at 10:46 pm

It’s late, but I wanted to say if anyone here likes to read, check out You trade books with others, and can read all of the details on the site. I just listed two of the JK Rowling aka Robert Galbraith nice nearly-new hardcover books in that Cormoran series. They will be free to whoever requests them first! There are millions of other books listed. The sites become a bit irritating due to some technical-Amazon related issues, but it’s so worth it to me.


Denise September 13, 2022 at 1:32 am

Advice please: is a slow cooker/crockpot worth buying?


Ruby September 13, 2022 at 2:44 pm

Yes. They are great for making stews, cooking tough cuts of meat to tenderness, making chili, soups, cooking dried beans and so many things without running up the electric bill.


Amanda P September 14, 2022 at 4:28 am

100% agree with @Ruby! I use my crockpot almost every day. Two things I love are that it doesn’t heat up the house to cook, and you get a much larger window to cook in, if you need it. If something cooks on the stove or in the oven, you have to keep a sharp eye out or it will burn fast. Unless you let a Crockpot cook dry (hard to do but I’ve done it), you can watch and stir every few hours. I also feel much safer about letting it be on while I’m gone (like cooking baked potatoes while I’m running errands).

I would put out the word that you’re interested in trying one, often folks are gifted them and don’t use them. They’re happy to have it out of the cabinet and you’re not out $100!


Roberta September 14, 2022 at 3:44 pm

And when it’s really hot outside, I stick my slow cooker on the table outside, to keep the heat out of the house.


Michele September 14, 2022 at 8:55 am

Sometimes I have two going at once!


Denise September 15, 2022 at 12:22 pm

Will ask around amongst friends – rather embarrassingly, I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks for your advice.


Susie's Daughter September 15, 2022 at 6:21 pm

Denise – I am also a huge fan of the crockpot and can often spot them at our thrift shops in every size from small (think melted cheese dip) to huge (houseful of hungry people needing stew). Like Michele, I am sometimes using two at once by way of my instant pot which has a slow cooker option. So perhaps someone has one of those recently super popular items they would like to part with also!


Vickey September 18, 2022 at 10:02 am

I second the Instant Pot/slow cooker combo – more versatile, fewer items congesting the kitchen, less $/£ spent, fewer embedded resources, etc.

Jill A September 13, 2022 at 3:53 am

1. I just returned from a one week vacation in Breckinridge which included 9 other family members. My mother had three weeks at her timeshare to use up and was able to get three rooms which was very inexpensive accommodation.
2. Our rooms had a full kitchen so we were able to buy some very expensive groceries in town to make breakfasts and lunches. The lodge had grills available for use so we also made steaks one night for dinner but all other dinners were eaten at restaurants. With the cost of restaurant meals in that very expensive town I was able to easily recoup the money spent on groceries.
3. We hiked and walked around town and enjoyed the hot tubs and pool. We left our cars at the hotel and used the hotel shuttle most of the time which was very convenient. Very little gas was used on this trip.
4. We rented two cars which was about the same as renting one larger vehicle. I used Costco for the rentals which saved us about $60. The rental agency was out of the vehicle we had rented so we were upgraded to an SUV and now I know what vehicle I don’t want to own.
5. Google maps rerouted us on the journey from Denver to our lodge. The ride ended up being so beautiful and I am thankful to have been able to see that beautiful area of Colorado. A friend stayed with our dogs which saved us a couple hundred dollars off the cost of a Rover dogsitter and she was at the house more than they would have been. I’ve promised to return the favor in the future.


Kathy September 13, 2022 at 4:51 am

1. Although the food at work is boring, it’s free so I have lunch there every day I work.
2. Sold several things online and in turn bought some skin care less than what it retails for
3. Finally got my free Fitbit provided by insurance company charged. I walked 10000 steps yesterday
4. Had 2 Amazon gift cards from taking surveys. Used one to buy dog food for a rescue organization and the other for the newest book about Diana for a friend in a rehab facility
5. Received a class action rehab settlement for Massage Envy. I’m going to book an appointment


Martha Sell September 14, 2022 at 4:47 pm

Depending on why you think cafeteria food is boring, perhaps take hot sauce or salt-free seasoning to add to your meals. I find ketchup redeems many not so good meals.


Mary in Maryland September 13, 2022 at 5:12 am

1. I darned several socks whose heels were getting thin. A friend mocked me for darning cotton socks, but it does double their life span.
2. The elastic of the knit capris I wear to bed had died, so I had to hold them up en route to the bathroom. I sewing pieces of an old shoe lace to a piece of elastic and threaded it though the existing casing. Very comfortable. I can tie to the correct tightness and still take them off without untying.
3. While on a roll I dug out my winter PJs and mended the crotch
4. Per “The Curly Girl Handbook” I dry my hair with a cotton knit. I turned a blown-out cotton knit nightgown into a cotton knit towel.
5. A friend gave me two sets of quilt blocks sewn by her grandmother. Neither she nor I like them. (The fact that they were unfinished after 120 years suggested that many people hadn’t liked them.) I sold them via Quilters Flea Market.
6. Eating at home, drinking water, taking our 17-year-old Prius out to do errands every second Thursday morning.


Denise September 15, 2022 at 12:25 pm

“(The fact that they were unfinished after 120 years suggested that many people hadn’t liked them.)”

Hilarious! Thank you for such a witty observation.


Geri Elkins-alexander September 16, 2022 at 9:05 am

Soooo envious that you know how to darn socks! It fascinates me. Your friend shouldn’t mock you for knowing a valuable talent which has been mostly lost.


Ruby September 13, 2022 at 5:42 am

Katy, it is always great to see a new post from you. Your frugal doings are so inspirational!

1. Sewed a cover for a reading pillow I made a few years ago for my husband, using some fabric bought at a yard sale that coordinates with our bedspread. Also mended the dogs’ rug, altered a blouse and a pair of slacks so that they fit better, and used some upholstery foam and fabric from my sewing stash to make a cushion for my husband’s old recliner. Hemmed two pairs of jeans bought for an excellent price on eBay. One pair was hemmed with a spool of thread given to me a dozen years ago by a neighbor who inherited her mother and grandmother’s stashes of sewing thread. All but the brightest colors have been used up now.

2. If decluttering is a frugal thing, I also took two bags of stuff to Goodwill and stopped at a clearance store in the same shopping center to buy new pot lifters (hot pads to you non-Southerners). I had burned a finger pretty badly because all the old ones, now a decade old, had developed thin spots. Bought three swanky new pot lifters for less than half price.

3. Made a super effort to be organized and inventoried the fridge and its freezer, then made my work lunches from what I found BEFORE going grocery shopping. This about cut the total spent in half. Inventorying revealed we had a lot of carrots and a big onion that needed to be used up, so I found a pretty good price on a chuck roast and made pot roast. My carnivore husband will eat this for lunch all week instead of expensive cold cuts.

4. Used store coupons to buy almond milk and a roll of foil, which knocked $3.00 off the cost.

5. Made two homemade pizzas for our Labor Day meal. One used up some mushrooms and an onion saved from going bad by sautéing and freezing for a future dish, along with the last of some precooked sausage chopped fine. It was an excellent pizza!


Katy September 13, 2022 at 2:08 pm

I have to know — what’s a “reading pillow?” I think I need one!


Ruby September 13, 2022 at 2:20 pm

It’s made from an old king-size pillow folded in half and held in a triangle shape with an elastic strap sewed on each side. This makes it just right for him to prop up on and read in bed. I made it a couple of years ago and finally got tired of looking at it without a cover.


Auntiali September 14, 2022 at 4:42 pm

Pot lifters? Pot holders? I just asked my sister in law to make me a set a la’ Tightwad Gazette. She can sew and has a sewing machine. I copied the directions out of The Tightwad Gazette volume 1.


Ruby September 15, 2022 at 4:42 am

I have sewn them in the past using the TG’s directions, but did not have any heavy denim or heavy cotton fabric in my sewing stash to use this time.

Heidi Louise September 15, 2022 at 6:45 am

I am very poor at remembering to put my pot holders in the washing machine, so they don’t look good for very long. I was sucked in by pretty ones at Dollar General, but they were nowhere near thick enough. I added a layer of denim on the back and quilted them, (running stitches randomly through the middle).

Ruby September 15, 2022 at 11:40 am

Heidi Louise, my old ones were from Dollar General and Big Lots, and they developed thin spots. I burned one finger pretty badly and that’s when I decided all the old ones needed to be retired. The new ones are thick and a combination of a sheet of silicone and a traditional pot holder. They are really nice.

Hawaii Planner September 13, 2022 at 6:12 am

It hasn’t felt particularly frugal lately. I also most definitely need to get through my eBay mental block, especially since frequent listings appear to really help sell through the older inventory as well. I almost always have a “list 5 things on eBay” to do item that gets ignored. 😉
1) My husband is out of town, and he’s the big “dinner looks a specific way” person in our house. I’m using this time to get out freezer odds & ends, which is great for getting things used up, but also led to an inexpensive grocery run this week.
2) Helping my kids with their driving lessons/permit applications. (They are a year apart). While not frugal in the money sense, very frugal in the freeing up more time in my life sense. One teen is incredibly busy with working, volunteering, and sports, and needs many rides. Getting his own license will be a game changer for all of us.
3) Changed my parents flights for an October trip & saved $60
4) Remembered to use a gift card to buy DS1 Subway, while out between soccer games. Better would have been a packed lunch, but I’m giving myself a free pass, as I had just come back from an international work trip, and all the jet lag.
5) Froze leftovers, meal planned, uploaded receipts to Fetch, line dried the majority of our clothes…the usual.


Alexandra September 13, 2022 at 6:20 am

It has been ages since I’ve posted my FFT but I love to read other’s comments. So inspiring! Thank you for sharing your creative ideas and hacks.

1. We started intermittent fasting a month ago to get some blood sugar under control. We’d tried Keto but found it so limiting. Now, after following the writing of Gin Stephens, we’ve made it 4 weeks and feel fantastic. Consequently our food bill has dropped a lot!
2. In anticipation of potential food prices rising more, I stocked up on flour, sugar, canned goods, and rice. God love Aldi for this.
3. We are eating out much less often than ever (which was about 1x per week). Eating what we have in the freezer/fridge/pantry.
4. I’m job hunting hard while taking classes to up my skill set. Free time is study or apply for jobs time, which saves money going out and about. I’m applying for 25 jobs per day. Exhausting but I’m determined.
5. We let go of all streaming except for Amazon prime for a while. If there isn’t anything worth watching on that one, library, library, library!

As another inspiration, here is a list for those who love to read. My good friend T Marie Vandelly is one of the authors!


LB September 13, 2022 at 6:43 am

1. Went on an expensive grocery shopping spree a few weeks ago to try and avoid frequent trips now that I’m back in school. This week is the first test of what is in the freezer (not the fresh stuff I got to use first) and it’s going really well. First up: vegan “chicken” fajita bowls. Not bad!

2. On the other side of that, we got back from a weekend away and I did not have the gumption to cook lunch yesterday. I was grateful I had stashed a delivery gift card from christmas last year. Sushi rolls for everyone and only cost was tip for the delivery driver.

3. Finally actually used my CVS bucks on a wedding card for my cousin. I always forget to use them before they expire. I also had gotten a number of coupons–I browsed the categories they were for and came away unsatisfied, so I avoided any purchases I might have not really wanted.

4. Did you know you can make your own pumpkin spice syrup? For folks that love fall drinks (guilty!) you can make simple syrup with brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and some pumpkin. We omitted the pumpkin and it still came out lovely. My tea tastes wonderful this morning.

5. Found a pair of convertible heels on Poshmark for 1/3 of the price of new. They are perfect for my bridesmaid dress for a friend’s wedding in October–and i’ll be able to run around without my feet hurting!


Michele Davidson September 13, 2022 at 9:08 am

1. Packing all my breakfasts and lunches, which is snore boring, but saves me SO MUCH.
2. Wanted to go on a weekend getaway, but prices convinced me to postpone for a bit
3. Reading every night- my sister and library keep me in series.
4. Going to batch some errands tomorrow with my planned haircut- it takes me to an area I don’t usually shop.
5. Boosted my mini- emergency fund up a little- makes me feel better knowing it is there just in case.


Ruby September 15, 2022 at 4:47 am

The fixed price for breakfast and lunch at the cafeteria at work is $5 and $8, respectively. I figured out one time that eating both meals at work every work day 50 weeks of the year would mean spending a whopping $3,250 a year. (And I know work colleagues who do it.) That figure is a huge motivator to me for prepping my breakfasts and lunches, even if they do get a little boring.


Ava September 13, 2022 at 9:43 am

1. Got free juice at the grocery.
2. Got 2 bottles of detergent free with drug store points.
3. Mended yet another t shirt.
4. Needed a frame for a painting. Found an ugly picture in a wood frame for $2.50. I will just remove the picture and glass, paint the frame & stick the canvas in.
5. Husband mentioned seeing a DVD of a movie he wanted to see selling for $1.25. I said we could get it from the library. He said “But $1.25!” I said “But FREE.”


Katy September 13, 2022 at 1:57 pm

Plus you don’t have to own it and let it clutter up your home afterwards.


Ava September 14, 2022 at 9:50 am

Yes, I was thinking of that too, since it probably wouldn’t be watched multiple times.


Cindy in the South September 13, 2022 at 11:16 am

That wig is perfect for Halloween! 1. Gas was $2.98 in University town but $3,59 two hours further south. It seems the closer to the coast the higher the gas. 2 I am still slothlike post Covid so lots of naps and sleeping a lot. 3. I made soup out of odds and ends. That is all I can think of at the moment. Glad your foot is feeling better.


Katy September 13, 2022 at 1:56 pm

Take those naps!


Selena September 13, 2022 at 7:10 pm

I highly recommend naps. While I can’t officially nap on lunch break, I do rest my eyes. Always nap on the weekends/days off – mind and body need the rest IMHO.


Marie-Josee McDonald September 14, 2022 at 1:09 am

Hope your energy returns soon, Cindy.


Cindy in the South September 23, 2022 at 3:16 am



rebecca September 13, 2022 at 2:20 pm

Glad to hear your foot is a bit better, Katy! Chronic pain sucks.
1. Bought gas for $3.65 the other other day.
2. Bought dog food and treats for my girl with a 25% of coupon.
3. I hung wet laundry to dry.
4. My neighbors invited me for dinner the other night. The food was fabulous. They sent me home with delicious leftovers.
5. I needed a hobby so I started an instagram account. It’s called @notboredinboston. It has helped me do things for fun and find frugal ways to do it. It’s helping me on different fronts.


Bethany M September 13, 2022 at 7:40 pm

Headed to Costco this week for a second interview. We need this extra income like never before. The extra orthodontic benefits would really be helpful to my daughter down the road too.

Cooking from scratch at home. Using up leftovers. Zero food waste.

I have a little circuit of turning off all electrical when the kids head out the door. Hoping the bills are lower next round.

Batched errand once this week. Will top off at Costco after the interview, but other than that…me’s stayin home!

Bought lil man a new size up in tennis shoes on EBay. Saved a little more than 1/2 of new price.


Bee September 14, 2022 at 3:14 am

My eBay sales have been fairly flat. Therefore, I have lost my motivation to list. I guess I need lots of positive reinforcement. The 4th quarter is historically a good time to sell on the site. So I guess I need get moving. You can’t sell if you don’t list!

We have experienced huge price increases in everything from haircuts to homeowners insurance. It doesn’t seem that others who post on the frugality blogs are seeing the same kind of inflation that we are in our part of the country. Concern over making ends meet has me questioning absolutely everything.

1. I had a huge framing nail in my tire last week. Unfortunately, it could not be repaired. Grrrr… I decided to replace both front tires and I was given a quote of $497. I told the man helping me that I believe that the tires they provided last time came with road hazard insurance. Apparently he had overlooked that and suddenly my quote was $267. Grrrr… again. Saved $230 by asking a simple question.
2. I was out of dog shampoo and stopped into the pet store to pick some up. It rang up for $6 more than the shelf price. I questioned this nicely and the price was adjusted. Saved $6
3. I used my Target App to save this week. I need a handful of items including dry dog food. ( I have my canned food ship from Chewy) Target Circle offered 15% off of dog food this week. I also had a $10 gift card from a previous purchase and some Target Circle earrings. Saved $19.20
4. Frugal for my son and wonderful for me. I am taking care of my 2-month old grandson today while my DIL goes to the doctor. I dedicate every Wednesday morning to this pursuit. He is just adorable ! IMHO, he is the cutest baby ever. I’m not at all prejudice.
5. All the usual things, I am drinking primarily filtered water, brewing my own coffee and eating simple meals. I am listening to a book using the library app Hoopla and reading a library book, Sea of Tranquility. I had my first “free” visit with a nutritionist. This is one of the perks of my health insurance. I am trying to take good care of myself as I age. I want to remain strong, healthy, and productive. It’s cheaper too.
Wishing everyone peace and good health!


Katy September 14, 2022 at 10:37 am

I’m also reading “Sea of Tranquility” and am loving it so far.


Shona September 14, 2022 at 11:00 am

One of my favorite books this year! I had read The Glass Hotel and didn’t realize this was a sequel.


MB in MN September 14, 2022 at 2:14 pm

Emily St. John Mandel is a phenomenal writer!


Patricia Koernig September 15, 2022 at 1:08 am

Bee, I also live in Florida (South), and I agree about the increase in prices, specially homeowners, and flood insurance. My increase was 30% but for many here it has doubled. Like you, I am questioning all expenses.
Enjoy your grandson, grandmothering is the best.


Bre September 15, 2022 at 2:52 pm

My homeowners insurance doubled this year. It’s nearly $4500 annually adding nearly $200 a month to my budget, I’ve been shopping it and trying to find a new carrier. The process although started is not complete,


Christine September 14, 2022 at 5:20 am

1. Bought a toilet seat for $14.99 we needed to replace a cracked one. It was on a Crazy Deal at Ocean State Job Lot so we ended up receiving a Gift Card for the price of the toilet seat minus the tax. Free toilet seat.
2. Friends of my cousin gave us a paper bag full of tomatoes and jalapeno peppers.
3. Our raspberry bush is producing a second crop so we’ve been enjoying these as snacks or dessert.
4. I’ve been reading a lot of library books, doing crossword puzzles in an old book I found while thinning out stuff for donating and listening to NPR podcasts for entertainment. There is a free outdoor concert at the library tomorrow night which I plan on attending.
5. Slooooowly pulling out my fall decorations and delighted no new purchases will be necessary aside from the pumpkins I will buy for the front porch. Oh and one mum which I will plant after it goes by. Sometimes they come back the next year, sometimes not here in Massachusetts.


Katy September 14, 2022 at 10:34 am

Hooray for free toilet seats!


Christine September 15, 2022 at 6:18 pm

Lol! I never thought a toilet seat would make me so happy.


Shona September 14, 2022 at 6:01 am

1) Low on gas, I filled up for $2.96 a gallon

2) Reduced my grocery trips to once a week. We had stocked up during August tax free grocery month in my state so now it’s small trips for perishables.

3) After some unexpected car repairs, HVAC repair, tree trimming, and a plumber is at my house currently as I type this, I have not been spending on unnecessary items. Unfortunately we are not handy so we do hire out repair services. (Initial reports from plumber are better than I anticipated).

4) Got my dad in on picking up change in parking lots. He gets very excited and texts me pictures of his finds. We have a fun competition, he found a dime vs. my finding a nickel the other day.

5) Glimpses of fall are in the air and I’m now able to open up windows most days instead of using the AC.


Linda In UK September 14, 2022 at 8:57 am

I love the idea of you and your Dad having competitions about picking up dropped coins. What fun and a lovely way to connect regularly!


Christina September 15, 2022 at 8:32 am

I love that coin-picking with your Dad, too. I lost my Dad last year, and he was so frugal – I can totally imagine him having done that. 🙂 It’s such a sweet thing for the two of you to do together.


Katy September 14, 2022 at 10:34 am

That is a great price for gasoline! And I might need to get in on your coin finding competition as I’ve recently found three different dimes!


Christina September 15, 2022 at 8:22 am

I want to quickly post mine (to encourage myself that I am in fact still being frugal!!) and then go back and read everyone else’s. What all of you share is so helpful to me.

Katy: I feel that kind of block with a whole lot of things!! Super proud of you for breaking through that block, and making a very impressive start on your eBay items.

Okay, frugal things!!

1. Had some lovely, frugal gluten free mac & cheese and cauliflower for lunch. When I saw all the whiteness of those two dishes on the plate, I had to show my hubs and we had a good laugh. It looks very uninspiring, to say the least, but tasted lovely. AND there are leftovers for today’s lunch.

2. Continuing to make all lattes at home. It is so easy to do, and tastes nearly as good as the pricey Starbucks ones that I haven’t had in months and months.

3. Also making lovely hot chocolate at home. I use xylitol in it rather than sugar to keep it glycemic-index-friendly. Why does this matter? Because I’ve REALLY been eating too much sugar lately, and this little treat does indeed feel like a treat without getting me ever more addicted to sweets. (It’s so simple: just cocoa powder, a spoonful of xylitol and then a few drops of vanilla. Add some boiling hot water to mix, and then top up with milk and heat either on the stove or in the microwave.)

4. Making homemade pizza tonight. That way it can be gluten free AND dairy free (ugh) without costing a fortune like it would if we ordered out.

5. This is a weird one! lol We have been trimming the fur around our cat’s bum (Sorry, it is really weird!) to try to stretch out the length of time before we need to take him to the vet for a proper shave. The poor little fellow has such a hard time with the length of his fur, but this way we can keep him happy and healthy and spread out the time before we need to spend more to take him in. I’ve never had a longhaired cat before, and boy they’re more work! (But he’s worth it, my little crazy boy.)


Ruby September 15, 2022 at 8:36 am

Christina, we have three small-ish long-haired dogs and have to do the same for them, otherwise the vet has to give them what is referred to as a “hygiene cut” (shaving their behinds). I think we do a better job striking a balance between keeping them clean and having them looking nice with some fur back there.


Christina September 15, 2022 at 8:54 am

Thank you Ruby! Like I said, I’ve never had a longhaired cat before, so this is very different. We’ve had him for years now, but I’m still learning so much. He gets agitated and anxious when the fur gets too long and yet he ALSO hates getting shaved. lol

I think we’ll still eventually need to take him in because we just can’t seem to do as thorough a job as the vet does. And he needs to be sedated in order for that to be done, or else he is so anxious and he gets VERY aggressive and bitey. So the sedation is needed to keep everyone safe! But, I’m thankful to be able to do the ‘in between’ trims with the trimmers. They actually work very well.


Denise September 15, 2022 at 12:41 pm

Xylitol is a double win, as it’s good for your teeth too. In Finland, xylitol chewing gum is given to every school age child after lunch break and they have had a significant reduction in tooth decay as a result.


Lindsey September 15, 2022 at 3:11 pm

Had to do the same with our Irish wolfhounds. I miss the breed desperately but I don’t miss wrestling a 6 foot long, 160 pound dog into position to trim his butt hair. It took two of us and the promise of some sort of treat afterwards for me, the husband and the dog.


Susie's Daughter September 15, 2022 at 6:27 pm

Lindsey – you are making me laugh out loud AGAIN with the dog stories. The peanut butter shower one is still cracking me up…

PS – Some tasks should only be done with the promise of treats at the end. Washing out the compost buckets is one of those things for me. Makes everyone else in the family gag so I’m the lucky winner!


Geri Elkins-alexander September 16, 2022 at 9:28 am

Lindsey, I really like the mental picture of you all agreeing to the 160 lb dog butt-hair trim for a treat for each of the three of you. Did you all shake hands/paws on the deal?


Susie's Daughter September 15, 2022 at 6:50 pm

1) I’ve decided that buying and cooking chicken for new baby puppy is far preferable and cheaper than buying the recommended canned food which was both expensive and smelly – a terrible combo. Cooked quickly in the instant pot, chicken leg quarters are easy and extra is frozen for the next week. Does the dog actually need a teeny bit of chicken on her kibble? Probably not, but until she’s conquered puppy propensity for “dietary indiscretion” and done with puppy food she’ll have it.

2) DS is eating school breakfast and lunch most days of the week with this family’s grateful thanks to our state for Universal Meals. He is at the age of being hungry most of the time so he regularly has second breakfast and elevenses. These meals help a lot. They help even more for the families who are struggling to afford food daily. We should feed all school kids every school day for free. Period.

3) Reading books on Libby app which helps with marital harmony as I can read on wakeful nights without turning on the bedside lamp.

4) Headed into full on squash processing season with late coming zucchini and summer squash. Will be shredded or sliced and frozen for addition in the winter to soup, meatloaf, chicken pie, spaghetti sauce, muffins and anything else that seems plausible.

5) Good coffee made at home as life is too short for bad coffee and uncomfortable underwear, hanging laundry on the line on sunny days, walking for exercise and streaming Katy’s “Yummy Vicar” (Grantchester 🙂 on PBS when time allows.


rebecca September 17, 2022 at 3:55 am

100% agreed on #2. There is absolutely no reason why any child should go hungry in this country.


Vickey September 20, 2022 at 2:39 pm

Agreed! And same for healthcare. Imho.


Dori September 16, 2022 at 5:04 am

What? No Lear Jet?!! hahaha Also, I am loving that awesome wig – what a find!


janine September 16, 2022 at 6:48 am

1. Nearing the end of summer without using AC! However, energy prices may skyrocket this winter and we live in an old large and drafty house in a cold climate which will probably eat up most savings. Decided to purchase plastic sheeting for windows. May save a few $$.
2. DH is facing heart surgery next week so we will not take anticipated fall vacation. Prefer the expense of vacation however.
3. Veggie lasagna is on the menu this weekend plus shredding and cutting up large zucchini in our on-going battle to make use of this prolific garden provider.
4. Hosted a family steakhouse dinner to celebrate son’s birthday. Brought home extra steak for sandwiches the next day for a small savings on an enormous bill.
5. Shopping at a great thrift store which which has a loyalty card and points to be earned for purchases. They also have a web site featuring special sales and friendly clerks which is a bonus.


Jennifer September 17, 2022 at 5:54 pm

It’s been a busy few weeks. But definitely tried to be frugal.

1. Flew to see my parents. Only spent money on food while traveling and a mug for ds and a bookmark for dd for Christmas. I did pack snacks, but my travel days were long and over meal times so I had to do what I could as cheap as possible in the airport.

2. Major back issues and I knew I needed meds. Tried to do a virtual visit online but it was going to cost me $65. Opted to go sit in the ER and get seen for free (we have hit all deductibles this year)

3. Dh and I had a night free and were in the mood for a baseball game. We work many of the MLB games near us but never get to watch. We opted for the local AAA team rather than drive to the big city. MUCH cheaper for a night of entertainment and fabulous seats with cheap beer.

4. Made another sale on Ebay. Made a little money while keeping something out of the landfill. Slowly my listed items are selling.

5.Doing the fall hiking spree and watching college football as our fall entertainment – both free. We did go out to eat once last week but went during happy hour so saved money there.


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