Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 10, 2022 · 98 comments

  1. My 27-year-old daughter moved out last week, which was an almost seamless process. She took her childhood bedroom furniture to her new apartment, which differed from her college apartments, which were wholly furnished from thrift stores. After all, we still needed to keep her room a functional space for when she came home on breaks.

    Here’s what she took:

    • An antique dresser that my husband refinished to use as her changing table in 1995. It came to us after the passing of a family friend.
    • An antique full-size bed which was a hand me down from my late aunt in 1991 or so. My husband and I slept on it until we switched to a queen, and then put it in her room room after she moved home from college. (Very few adults enjoy sleeping in their childhood twin bed.) My husband has repaired both side rails through the years, but unlike a particle board piece, the solid wood is almost infinitely repairable.
    • A thrifted wooden bookshelf that I painted when my daughter was little.
    • A pretty wood and upholstered chair that I curb picked a few years ago. It later sustained some cat scratches from our naughty feline, but a few minutes with my sweater shaver erased most of the damage.

    These quality items are all classic designs that’ll stand the test of time and should continue to do so throughout her life. I think of all the cheaply manufactured  furniture that has come and gone over that past 27 years and wish that more consumer goods were designed for longevity. Whether it’s flimsy construction or falsely rapid design cycles, people now replace their furniture in a way that would be inconceivable to our grandparents.

  2. I curb picked a new looking ceiling fan for the living room. The Portland, Oregon of my childhood had a few hot summer days here and there, but that infrequency is long gone. 2021 and 2022 tell a different story of multiple 100°+ days, plus endless 90°+ days that are melting both me and my 108-year-old house.

    My husband and I quickly installed the fan and are quite satisfied with the results. It’s not a complete eyesore, (some ceiling fans are U.G.L.Y.) and the “oil rubbed bronze” color actually coordinates with the dining room chandelier.

    I know a single ceiling fan won’t magically chill the house, but I know it’ll help and the price was definitely right.

  3. I broke my buy-nothing-new rule to buy my daughter a new pair of sneakers for her birthday as her old ones were embarrassingly raggedy. Portland is the North American headquarters for Adidas, which means that we have an employee-only store where merchandise is 50%-off retail. However, the passes are relatively easy to procure if you dig through their app. So I downloaded the app, located the pass and drove across town to grab the sneakers.

    50%-off and I was in and out of there faster than you can say “their music is so loud it’s surely a OSHA violation!” Seriously, the thumping music was entirely too loud for the poor employees who must go home to ringing ears.

    Then I deleted the app off my phone.

  4. I used a digital coupon to get a free box of macaroni and cheese from New Seasons, I grabbed four 48¢ bottles of Newman’s Own salad dressing from the Winco clearance shelf, I defrosted some old pie dough, which I then chopped into chunks, rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked on top of cut cinnamon sugar apples and was *chef’s kiss* spectacular, I sold a Kitchenaid bowl for $30 and a $25 framed print on eBay, I listened to a so-so audiobook through the free Libby app, (I won’t link to it) I accepted an orchid plant from a neighbor who didn’t have a good spot for it, my daughter took a number of miscellaneous items from the house which she would otherwise have needed to buy, (silverware, a TV, dishes, etc.) and I nabbed a sofa table for my daughter and a huge glazed flowerpot for myself from a tasty free pile.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill A October 10, 2022 at 6:01 am

Wow. You’re up early.
1. My daughter and her fiance also moved out of my house this weekend. They rented a Uhaul and friends and family helped with the move. Their home is furnished with estate and thrift store finds and parent donated items. Breakfast was provided by fiance’s parents and kids bought lunch for everyone as a thank you.
2. My oldest daughter and husband also recently moved into a new place. I’m looking forward to dividing up my husband’s tools and other equipment to both households which saves them some money.
3. I’m dog sitting for my daughter while she’s at work. Her dog is a little put out by the move and my dog is sad to be separated from her best friend. My daughter will be happy to return the favor.
4. I took my dog to the dog park on Sunday. It’s close to Costco so I stopped and filled up with gas and put free air in my tires.
5. My Mom, daughter and I visited my mother-in-law and brought along some lunch. I made minestrone soup and made some turkey sandwiches with delicious bakery bread. The last time I brought lunch it came from Panera. It was over $50 for three of us and she only ate a small amount of it. She seemed to enjoy this more as the bread was softer and easier to eat and she loved the soup. We played a game with her which we all enjoyed. She has some dementia and lives alone so we visit often. I also went for a walk in the woods with my mother which she really enjoyed so overall a really good and frugal day.


Katy October 10, 2022 at 8:39 am

Ha, I scheduled the post to publish at 5 A.M., but please be assured that I was still snug in bed at that hour!


Jill A October 11, 2022 at 3:40 am

Good. You were making me feel like a lazy


MB in MN October 10, 2022 at 6:28 am

1. Had telephone company install fiber optic for our Internet, saving $10/month, and took advantage of free modem and installation.

2. On a mission to use up what’s in the pantry and freezer before we move. Such a fun and creative challenge.

3. We had a productive visit with the new buyers to identify what we’ll be leaving in the house for them. This will save us from moving items that we don’t care to keep or don’t know if we’ll be able to use wherever we land.

4. Purged papers and am using the blank backs for making (endless) lists and printing documents.

5. Bought my husband plant-based hot dogs that were practically inedible. We’re both vegetarians, and I’ve always found hot dogs (meat or not) revolting. Cooked and chopped up the rest for our pup, who loves them so much that when I open the refrigerator at meal time, she quivers in anticipation, licks her chops and does a little dance with her front paws. Quite a reaction for just a few pieces added to her regular meal!


Bee October 11, 2022 at 3:02 am

It sounds like vegetarian hotdogs may be on your shopping list on occasion.


Katy October 11, 2022 at 10:44 am

I like the vegetarian hotdog at Ikea, which are topped with pickled purple cabbage and crunchy fried onions. All for $1.15!


Katie from Buffalo October 10, 2022 at 7:46 am

Trying to get back into a frugal mind-set. It has been a very spendy summer/early fall.
1. I’m meal planning this week based on what is in my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.
2. I purged and organized my clothes this past weekend. It was needed in post-pandemic and new-job times. I got rid of 25% of my clothes and gave them away on my Buy Nothing group.
3. Instead of paying for an outdoor guided sunrise hike at a local nature preserve, I opted to sign up for a volunteer event later in the day at the same preserve. Free and was able to lend a hand with some plantings.
4. I’ve been on the hunt for a new journal as my current one is almost full. I found one a liked but it was a bit pricy. I received a gift card yesterday for taking part in a study, and was able to use that for the journal.
5. I’m taking part in Sober October, which is saving me lots of money on alcohol.


Val from the midwest October 10, 2022 at 5:50 pm

I feel you on winding down from a spendy summer. We had several fun vacations (the fruits of our labor). It sounds like you’re finding great ways to be frugal!


Katie from Buffalo October 11, 2022 at 8:53 am

Thanks, Val! I hope you enjoyed your vacations – traveling is so enjoyable!


Ruby October 10, 2022 at 7:53 am

I love the story of the bedroom furniture. That’s a lovely testament to long-term frugality.

My five frugal things this week mostly involve dejunking:
1. Donated to Goodwill a jewelry box that I have not liked for years and was also too large for my small dresser (along with a bunch of cheap jewelry). Took the very sturdy small box my Samsung tablet came in, covered it with fabric, affixed a fabric-covered foam pad inside and sewed braid around the edges to make a right-sized box for the little bits of jewelry I wear. The fabric was some bought at the Salvation Army: small remnants that were so cute and waiting for just the right project.
2. Altered the neckline of a blouse so that it fits better.
3. Cleaned out the bottom of our china cabinet and donated a big box of stuff to Goodwill after asking myself how many platters we really need. The answer is two, not seven!
4. Also cleaned out my dresser, desk, nightstand drawer and part of the closet and sent another bag of too-big clothes to Goodwill, along with some shoes that never fit me right.
5. Got myself together enough this week to check the sales flyer for our local grocery store online and saw that the long-awaited BOGO sale on bagels had finally arrived, along with pork loin at $1.99 a pound. I bought a lot of bagels and pork loin for the freezer, and used store coupons for canned beans, orange juice and $4 off $35, with $35 being laughably easy to hit these days.
Bonus points for cooking all the things this weekend, having made my family of carnivores two delicious meals of burgers, chicken and all the fixings that were at least 75% cheaper at home than eating out, without the aggravation or the exciting risk of food-borne illness! 😀


MB in MN October 10, 2022 at 8:52 am

Ruby, I’m always impressed with your sewing/crafting skills! Your #1 is so thrifty.


Ruby October 10, 2022 at 9:06 am

Thank you. I had so much fun doing it.


texasilver October 12, 2022 at 9:00 am

Good plan for the jewelry box. For some reason most jewelry boxes are expensive. I always wondered why they cost so much if you wanted to get a well made one.


geri October 10, 2022 at 3:14 pm

“without….the exciting risk of food-borne illness!”. I laughed out loud. Thank you!


Bee October 11, 2022 at 2:38 am

I had to laugh at this too!! I am someone who has occasionally taken this risk only to succumb once. Bad bacteria in the belly is no joke.


Joyce October 11, 2022 at 10:18 am

A friend of ours has just recovered from her SECOND bout of e-coli in one month. Sure you can get thin but who wants to like that! Not fun at all


Ruby October 12, 2022 at 5:41 am

Oh, your poor friend! I am ferociously lactose-intolerant and it’s getting really hard to eat out because cheese is in everything. I was laid low by our favorite inexpensive neighborhood restaurant not long ago because they put a dairy ingredient at the bottom of a salad bowl under a scoop of guac and didn’t mention it. I ate a huge forkful of guac and thought, “Hey, that tastes different.” It was a long night in the bathroom after that.


susanna d October 12, 2022 at 7:32 am

Ruby, I’ve been lactose intolerant for most of my life so I can really empathize with the adventures that follow discovering surprise dairy in foods AFTER I’ve eaten them. Lactase tablets make it possible for me to eat some dairy products without too much trouble. But the hidden stuff…that’ll get me every time.


janine October 10, 2022 at 8:30 am

Katy’s recounting of her daughter’s moving out reminded me of furnishing our son new house:
His bedroom set from home; upscale second hand store for quality dining room set and two fabulous wing chairs; art work from grandparents former home. Rec room sofa was a discard from friends. A brand new sofa was purchased for his family room. Miscellaneous stuff such as dishes, silverware and small appliances from IKEA, our house and yard sales.
Recent Frugality: Since DH retired, cutting dinner out in favor of lunch which is still expensive. Increasing meals at home; Batching errands, making iced tea – mostly the usual stuff. Haven’t vacationed in Florida for the past couple of years due to covid and looks like that trend will continue this winter! This may save us $$ but definitely not a wished for savings.


Lindsey October 10, 2022 at 9:36 am

I find the daughter taking her changing table very sweet.

1. I love dahlias. I hate having to dig them up, brush off the mud, let them dry and then then find a place to store them for the winter. I had already done all that with my flowers but this week someone gave me a dozen dinner plate dahlia plants in pots (she wanted the pots back). I forced myself to pull out the storage table and do all the associated chores. This is well over $200 worth of flowers and will give me great joy next summer but it has been spit-snowing all week and I am so over doing gardening chores in cold temperatures.

2. The pound hound jumped the fence and about an hour later came home with a friend. Filthy, skinny, matted hair and pretty scared of everything. Washed him, fed him, cut out the matted hair and let him spend the night. Our dog was thrilled to have a companion, although he stayed in the other room during bath time. Posted him in FB and got a frantic call from a kid whose dog had been missing for about a month. They were reunited with happy yelps all around. This is frugal because having the stray around reminded me that, No, we don’t need a second d0g even though it was fun to watch them interact. We have almost always had two dogs and I was waxing nostalgic about how it took no more energy to have two dogs than one dog. If I didn’t know better, I would think my husband engineered the whole rescue operation to remind me why we don’t need another dog.

3. For the first time ever, convinced the husband to look for a new belt not in a store but at Salvation Army. $5 for a leather belt that looks to never have been use. Bonus: found him a pair of jeans for another $5, tags still on them.

4. Months ago got a free frozen cauliflower pizza in a grocery promotion. Finally ate it, although really I had no interest in it. Edible, just. Frugal to use up free food. Convinced me that cauliflower needs to stay in its own lane and quit trying to be pizza crust.

5. A friend canned a bunch of salsa and gave me a giant jar. Looked good, smelled good but was full of the dreaded cilantro. It was like eating shampoo. I offered it to a neighbor who would not be grossed out to accept food that someone else had opened. She is always raving about the nachos she makes so I knew the salsa would be put to good use.


Ruby October 10, 2022 at 9:48 am

I am so glad Lost Pup was reunited with his family. And, yeah, “another won’t be any more trouble” is how we wound up with three dogs and three cats. I love them all dearly, but six is a lot more work than two.

Your feelings about cauliflower pizza correspond exactly with mine!


A. Marie October 10, 2022 at 12:30 pm

My feelings about Lost Pup and cauliflower pizza (blech!) are the same as Ruby’s. And I still think there’s potential for a children’s book in The Adventures of Pound Hound. He seems to have more adventures than the average dawg.


Lindsey October 10, 2022 at 3:19 pm

A. Marie: I think he ran wild for some time after escaping his house of horrors, so he is pretty independent minded. He’s brought home strays before, like an injured cat, an injured bird, uncountable numbers of half dead voles. I feel like he stays behind our fence because he wants to, not because he can’t get away. Sometimes he jumps over it and goes around to the front and waits for us to open that door. He has certainly jumped out of our car window when he saw a squirrel he wanted and another time a cat. We kept the window barely open and he manages to squeeze out, like Elasto Dog!


Mary in Maryland October 10, 2022 at 12:55 pm

When our first dog had settled in, a friend told me that two dogs are easier than one. I decided to foster to check out this theory. Two dogs are at least twice as much work as one–but we kept fostering for decades. 32 fosters at last count. I believe we have ended our fostering when we adopted this little fellow a week ago.


Christine October 10, 2022 at 2:31 pm

Your #4 quote: “…cauliflower needs to stay in its own lane…” struck me as so funny! Thanks for a good LOL moment.


Katy October 10, 2022 at 11:14 pm

Damned uppity cauliflower!


Jill A October 10, 2022 at 3:02 pm

I love the pound hounds adventures and warmed my heart to hear of the reunion. A whole month. Wow.


Anne October 10, 2022 at 3:10 pm

Your number two just melted my heart.


Bee October 11, 2022 at 2:55 am

Pound Hound sounds like an amazing dog. I’m glad he found a home, love and acceptance with you. On a completely different note, I have learned to like the cauliflower pizza crust — not by choice. As someone who is allergic to wheat, it is often my only choice now. I prefer crust made with alternative flour.


A. Marie October 10, 2022 at 9:41 am

FFT, Wins and a Few Fails Edition:

(1) Looking around my homestead, I estimate that about 80% of our furniture is secondhand (thrifted, bought at auction, trashpicked, reconstructed from salvaged parts by DH or his father, etc.). But I can’t claim to have passed any of mine on to the next generation yet, as Katy can. That will probably have to wait for my eventual estate sale.

(2) I ended up not participating in the “Junk in the Trunk” event I mentioned last week after all. It rained all night Friday and into Saturday morning, and although I was never notified that the event was canceled, I bailed out of my own accord. Bummer/frugal fail. But I decided that I was OK with donating about 40% of the junk I had in the Element’s hatch, so I took that over to Goodwill. The rest, I’m either repurposing here or saving for a future sale. Partial frugal win.

(3) I then shopped at the Goodwill and at one of our Thrifty Shopper stores for a seriously ill relative of Dr. Bestest Neighbor, who is back with the BNs after spending most of the summer elsewhere, and needs winter-weight clothing suitable for an invalid. I got two flannel shirts, a pair of flannel PJs and another flannel PJ bottom, a sweatshirt, and a pair of sweatpants (practically brand new from Cuffy’s of Cape Cod; Dr. BN and the relative have family in Cape Cod, so this gave them both a smile) for a total of about $30.

(4) I had our longtime HVAC company (DH and the owner did a lot of business together back in the day) here for the annual furnace check. The price for the inspection was up from last year, of course–but the tech did find a few things that I’m glad to have had fixed. Having a surprise furnace conk-out in January would be a definite frugal fail.

(5) And the tech happened to notice the pile in the furnace room of DH’s HVAC testing equipment from his home energy performance rater days. Both the tech and the owner, when notified, have expressed interest in buying this equipment from me–and I’d be delighted if they did. Stay tuned!


Katy October 10, 2022 at 12:35 pm

The unfortunate consequence of my kids taking their furniture when moving out is that we now have two non-functional rooms in our house that need to be furnished.


A. Marie October 11, 2022 at 1:00 pm

I’m confident that you are up to the challenge!


Karen B October 10, 2022 at 10:25 am

1) My hubby polished headlights for both vehicles (kit $35 per vehicle vs. $70-120 parts each plus someone’s labor for replacing) and will soon fix a bumper (a piece popped off with a minor curb bump, not actually damaged), change oil, change filters, change blower motor, and change the resistor pack for the blower mower.

2) I received a lovely piece of metal wall art in my Buy Nothing Project group, well suited to the decor of our bathroom.

3) Continuing my plan of cooking dried beans every week to rotate stock, I made Frijoles Charros (cowboy beans) which all of us liked. I included several odds and ends that needed to be used up and a little of a meat bargain I’d picked up for 1/3 the price per pound I had been paying.

4) I’d returned a $200 online purchase for my son, something he’d wanted badly, it immediately went out of stock the day released, he’d waited months for it to come back in, and that he’d said yes, he definitely wanted when I texted him after receiving an e-mail alert that it was back. After it was too late to cancel without shipping, he changed his mind because he realized he’d been happy without it. I made the return, shipping it back, got confirmation that it had arrived, and after 2 weeks still hadn’t gotten a refund. I collected the needed details, contacted the company, and they got the error fixed, money returned. If I hadn’t been keeping an eye on the account, I’m not sure I would have gotten it back.

5) Combo frugal improvement/frugal fail: I found out my husband has been buying snacks at the vending machines at work. He’s not going to give up the unhealthy expensive snacks, but I bought his favorites for less than half the price per serving that he’s been paying and he’ll be choosing from those instead.

6) Camping trip: low priced county park with beautiful views and trails just as the leaves were starting to change. Thoroughly enjoyed. Stumbled upon a flea market that was great fun and purchases were minimal, half were useful items, and all but one was secondhand (1 was a still-sealed jigsaw puzzle, exactly son’s taste, and under 1/2 of retail). 1 item was a staple gun to replace the one that went missing in a move years ago–$3 and I plan on using it soon to recover the vinyl seat of a piano bench I got for free. I am happy I decided not to get a very tempting item, a vintage ukulele. I play ukulele and the aged wood of a vintage ukulele has a special sound. Only $15! But it had a needed repair and while it looked easy enough to do, I don’t need another project or another ukulele. I did go back the next day and look again, but found an old repair that wasn’t done very skillfully and another needed repair, so I left it again.


Jill October 10, 2022 at 10:59 am

1. I procured a free “ticket” to a twice annual kids consignment sale to see what I can get for my one year old grandson. My niece volunteers at the one where I just moved from and she purchased all of the things – clothes, toys – for her kids up until a few years ago when they hit double digits. Hoping to have the same success.
2. Headed out to the mountains for one night for some leaf peeping. We noticed that our 2011 car had been slow to start so looked up an auto parts store on the way. They tested many things and determined we had a dying battery ( it was original to the car) Not cheap but “getting stuck out of town” crisis averted and the cost included installation, which my husband would have done if he needed to. We used hotel points for our one night stay and the rest of a pizza chain gift card for our dinner. (We did, however, pick up fast food breakfast the next morning) Then we hightailed it back to the city for a play at a community theater that my husband had purchased tickets for my birthday – it was delightful. (The Drowsy Chaperone)
3. Cleaned out and rearranged the food cupboard, freezer and refrigerator to make sure there is no food being wasted. Ate a very lackluster lentil soup from a can – that I tried to doctor but wasn’t very successful – for dinner. But it filled me up and no food waste.
4. Started on a new mystery series – Verity Kent – from the library, have been savoring the once a week release of Shetland on Brit Box, am eagerly awaiting Somebody Feed Phil new season on Netflix (those are our two paid streaming services, otherwise we watch network tv with an antenna) and have been thoroughly enjoying many varied you tube videos – from travel to budget meal planning to canal boat living in England to living on the Amalfi Coast in Italy.
5. Both my husband and I miss living on the lake we used to live on and had planned to visit one this past summer. It never happened so I did some research and found a lake with an old farmhouse on a rental site for next summer. The price is reasonable, it’s large enough for the whole family and includes a kitchen so it’s booked for a long weekend. I find it’s always good – at least for me – to have something to look forward to.


Katy October 10, 2022 at 12:29 pm

Ooh . . . I love Shetland, but will wait to add Brit Box until the entire season is available.


Jill October 15, 2022 at 6:58 pm

I believe I can get the series from my library but not the current season. And I, too, love the music and the opening. I savor every minute of it!


Lindsey October 10, 2022 at 3:23 pm

I even love the music and opening scenes from Shetland!


Bee October 11, 2022 at 3:08 am

I love Shetland! It one of my favorites. Like Lindsey, I think the opening is well done.


karen October 10, 2022 at 10:59 am

I thought of you this weekend when I was at a very good yard sale. BTW I have been waiting for a good yard sale since before the pandemic. Finally finally we had multiple yard sales Yay. Hope this is the beginning or come back of good sales.

Anyway back to the yard sale. It was make an offer and they must have had over 100 Christmas tree ornaments. One zip lock bag had 7 wrapped in bubble wrap and they were obviously some sort of collection (like snow babies). One had a tag marked $37. I thought Katy would make an offer and sell these for a lot of money. Also had Lenox in original boxes never been opened. I bought those for presents .

And you are lucky your daughter wants her old stuff so many children just want Ikea.


Katy October 10, 2022 at 12:27 pm

It’s much better than Ikea.


Mary in Maryland October 10, 2022 at 1:06 pm

1. I altered a harness to fit the new dog. I have a collection of fasteners from harnesses that have gone belly up, and I was able to rig an extender for this currently chubby pup.
2. Switched summer clothes for winter in my dresser drawers. I’ve listed some winter things I haven’t worn in years on Buy Nothing.
3. I have too much yarn. Most was trash-picked or second hand. I listed several lots of it on Craigslist today.
4. I have books to mail to friends, but had no mailers. I asked on Buy Nothing and had to decline offers after accepting the first three.
5. A neighbor refused my offer of a spaghetti squash and told me how delicious it is. I cooked it in my Instant pot—on top of some rice. The squash was useful in diluting some overly spicy chili I made. And not too noxious. It might be useful as a crunchy thing in tacos, but I won’t buy any more.


Christine October 10, 2022 at 2:54 pm

So much of my furniture is hand me downs from my parents and grandparents years ago. I even have and still use my great grandmother’s dresser. Considering she was born in1879 and used it during her married life I’d say it is well built. My husband uses my grandfather’s dresser which is in excellent condition as well.
1. I found a book by a friend’s favorite author in a Little Free Library which will become part of a gift for her upcoming 90th birthday. I know the ones she has read as she passes them onto me, and this is not one of them.
2. DH and I have been walking trails for free exercise and leaf peeping, all within a few miles of our house.
3. After a disappointing meal at a chain pub/restaurant, my resolve to cook meals at home has strengthened.
4. I enjoyed a free night out at the library listening to a storyteller telling tales of strange New England happenings.
5. I mended a pair of DH’s sweatpants, gave him a haircut, starting a new library book by my favorite cozy mystery author, I’m listening to free Spooked podcasts in preparation for Halloween fun and I switched my summer clothes to my winter clothes from above mentioned great grandmother’s dresser to my mother’s dresser (her and my father bought the set as newlyweds in 1947) and will donate the clothes I no longer wear.


Kim October 10, 2022 at 3:01 pm

You can DELETE apps?!!
Game changer.
It was bulk trash pick up week, and I got rid of a bunch of stuff I’d rescued from other people’s trash over the years, got rid of just plain garbage and recycled a bunch. It was a free way to improve the functionality of my garage and my quality of life.
I canned another couple batches of stuff I grew this summer – spaghetti sauce and pepper jelly.
I bought a second hand tool that removes the skin and seeds, and it does make the job easier. I think I have enough for another batch of sauce.
I laundered and stored my summer clothes and put away my sandals. But ready for next year!


susanna d October 10, 2022 at 4:24 pm

Frugality is getting kicked into high gear due to a tree falling in the woods and creating mayhem despite no one being around to hear it. The first tree to fall (yes, my story includes multiple trees) fell across our driveway. The good part? It was near the road and far from any structures. The bad part? The size of the tree. After determining it was 37 inches in diameter, I measured the circumference. Nine feet around. Did I mention it was across my driveway? We were effectively trapped. Then I saw that the tree’s sibling (I’ll refer to the largest trees as the triplets because they grew in a clump) had also fallen, but that one fell into the woods. The third triplet was still standing but if it fell, it would fall across the road. All three trees were of similar size- huge. Luckily the tree company I called deemed it a true tree emergency and within an hour had someone out to clear a car’s width of tree from our driveway so we could get out. Since it was a Friday, they left with the promise to return the following week to cut down the giant tree that was still standing, cut up and remove the two fallen giants, cut down another tree of the same species (although not quite as massive), and cut and remove the dozen or so trees the giant trees had either bowled over or broken in half.

On to the frugal front. Which involves a mini vacation. Yes, seriously. We had planned to leave town the following Monday for a conference for my husband and some fun time for me tagging along with him. The frugal things included:
1. As a retiree, my husband’s room at the hotel (which would of course be my room as well) was paid for by the organization. Free hotel room!
2. We packed food for our lunches on the drive there and the drive home. No fast food stops!
3. The hotel furnished a decent breakfast, which was substantial enough that I didn’t need to eat lunch either day we were there (my husband’s lunch was furnished in between meetings). Free food! We only needed to pay for supper both nights.
4. While I did a lot of sightseeing with a couple of friends and some (mostly) window shopping, I stuck to my hard and fast rule for souvenir/vacation purchases: If I buy something, I not only has to be something I love but it has to be made/produced in the place where I’m visiting. A small wood carving by a local artist fit the bill perfectly and was very reasonably priced.
5. We visited a nature based organization and were given lots of free coloring books and activity books for our grandchildren. Free stuff! Even better, we were given very nice paper shopping bags with rope handles to hold the free books. When I got home, I grabbed the free stickers I’ve been sent in the mail from various organizations and designed a gift bag for my granddaughter’s birthday presents – her birthday is later this month. This saved me the $1.25 a gift bag would have cost me at “Dollar And A Quarter Tree”. Small savings add up.

Happy ending. By the time we returned home, all the trees were gone and the affected areas of the woods had been cleaned up beautifully, which made coming home even sweeter. I’m happy and very thankful to have had an emergency fund that could cover this little woodland adventure. I’ll be working on restoring the emergency fund to its original balance in the coming months. I’m up for the challenge.


Anne October 11, 2022 at 8:03 am

I can’t even imagine the cost of having all that tree removal, it must have been staggering. Too bad you didn’t know anybody who could use some fire wood.


A. Marie October 11, 2022 at 8:34 am

What Anne said. And if I lived closer, I’d have taken the firewood if the tree company could have cut it into usable lengths.


susanna d October 11, 2022 at 11:42 am

Unfortunately, the giant trees were of a species that isn’t very desirable to burn for firewood. Our arborist calls it gopher wood, because if you have a fire with it, you will constantly…go fer wood. Groan. Years ago another one of this type of tree fell, and since it was marginally smaller – and only one tree – we did cut it up ourselves (over the course of an entire summer), season it and use it in the fireplace. And yes, we were constantly getting up and down to feed the fire each time so we can verify the go-fer aspect. Good exercise though…


Ruby October 12, 2022 at 5:45 am

Poplar is like that: gets huge, grows in triplets, falls over if you sneeze on it, burns like matchwood. The only redeeming feature for a homeowner is that they are beautiful. The inexpensive furniture industry likes them, though.

Cindy in the South October 10, 2022 at 5:34 pm

Wonderful scores on the furniture, fan, and shoes. 1. I only bought cabbage and mayo this week. I made coleslaw to top my sandwiches for work. Everything else was fro my freezer or pantry. I made chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole. I made refrigerator mulberry jam from the mulberry tree in my yard I am always talking about. I made cheese grits and egg salad. 2. I walked at the river park and at home. I seem to have recovered mostly from my previous slothlike state although I am still sleeping a lot. When I am awake, I can get things done now….lol. 3. I started to clean house. That will take me months… I would blame it on Covid except it was a disaster before. My housekeeper style definitely says I am a bit ck woke her in that area.


Cindy in the South October 10, 2022 at 5:36 pm

Obviously, I still don’t proofread before I hit submit. Yeah, things are definitely getting back to normal… lol


Hawaii Planner October 16, 2022 at 7:02 am

Happy to hear you are starting to feel better, Cindy!


Jean October 10, 2022 at 6:10 pm

I am inspired by all the great comments.
1) Took another stab at sorting through my clothes during the season transition. Finally was able to part with a number of them (which was definitely past due) and sold some for store credit at a local consignment shop and donated the rest to the thrift shop I volunteer at. Feels good to have more closet space.
2) I get notifications for local estate sales and never go. However, looking at the photos that accompany the notifications never fails to make me want to get rid of more stuff so as not to have to tackle such a big future project (or worse, leave it for someone else to deal with it). Luckily my weekly shift at the thrift store gives me an easy outlet for that. I donated 2 boxes this past week.
3) Made tomato soup with last of the garden tomatoes. My husband dolled it up with a little sugar to cut the acidity and some judicious use of hot sauce and spices – it was delicious.
4) Am slowly using up toiletries and get so much satisfaction from finally getting the last drops out and discarding the empty containers. Have discovered that for some reason I still have what feels like a lifetime supply of a few things. Pays to occasionally take inventory.
5) Have enjoyed so many books from my wonderful library- including their participation in a state-wide lending library which gives us free access to so many books. I live in a rural area so have to pay for an annual subscription to my nearest city library but it is SO worth it. Libraries are my happy place.


Marie October 10, 2022 at 6:50 pm

Agree so much about the new junky furniture being sold. I bought my dining room table in 1985! Occasionally, I feel the need to change it out, but nothing new would last that many years.
1. I bought 2 bar stools on marketplace, sold the old ones, so my newer ones ended up being $10
2. Finally tomato time here. Canned 15 pints of tomatoes, 14 pints of salsa, made numerous trays of roasted romas, gifted many more pounds to 2 friends, and still have more to ripen. Having a late summer is great!
3. Still drinking well water, home brewed coffee, and making my lunch for work every day!


Bee October 11, 2022 at 4:14 am

My dining room table has been in my family for 6 generations. (1840) When my aunt was breaking up her home to move into assisted living, I paid to have it shipped to Florida. She wanted to make sure it stayed in the family. I’m currently looking for antique casters that will raise the table an inch or two. People were much shorter 150 years ago. It is amazing to think about all the meals share by my family around this lovely table. Today’s fast furniture is much like fast fashion,


Selena October 11, 2022 at 6:43 am

Our kids too have plenty of furniture/items from family but we intentionally purchased them good, well made bedroom sets and desks when they were young.
It shouldn’t take long to find an inexpensive/free well made bed frame. I’ll presume the west coast also has places that sell mismatched box springs and mattresses.


Katy October 11, 2022 at 10:27 am

Yes, I’m sure we do. There’s no hurry, so I hope to score nice free furniture for the kids’ old rooms.


susanna d October 11, 2022 at 12:04 pm

Bee, I love that your table has been in your family for 6 generations. Mine hasn’t been in the family quite as long. After my grandmother passed, I asked for the table and chairs that had been in her house. My mom was surprised, since the set wasn’t in the greatest shape and because “it’s so OLD” (mom liked new things). Her parents had bought it the year her sister was born. If Auntie was still alive she’d be 102 years old, so it’s easy for me to remember my table’s age. We’ve refinished it several times, our son used it for a few years in his first house (we’re still unclear as to why the table now has a BB hole but it adds character), then the table came back to us. I think it’s pretty safe to say it’ll be the last dining room table I ever own.


Bee October 11, 2022 at 2:19 pm

I love this!!! Having raised a couple of rough and tumble boys, I can only imagine where the bb came from.


Christine October 13, 2022 at 9:33 pm

I love that you’re still using furniture that has been in your family since 1840. Speaks to the durability and staying power of furniture made back in the day. Sometimes I feel like we live in such a disposable world. When I hear stories like yours about your dining room table I feel better!


Jill A October 14, 2022 at 4:11 am

Bee, I love this. This is what I imagined when I bought my dining room furniture 25 yrs ago.


Joanne in the U.K. October 11, 2022 at 2:29 am

Slowly recovering from a spendy September (3 birthdays and our wedding anniversary) but October is going ok at the moment.
I made yummy garlic croutons from 1/4 of a fancy loaf I’d bought on a yellow sticker bargain which went well with the sausage casserole I made for tea last night. Religiously meal planning and an ‘eating all the food’ mindset really helps.
Worked a couple of shifts at my previous job on the farm, good time get out in the fresh air, reconnect with the farm animals and earn extra £££ which I’m keeping for Christmas gifts.
MIL spotted turkey crowns were on offer at her local butchers and I persuaded her to not only buy one but to store it in her freezer til Christmas. She’s anti-frugal in the extreme so it’s a win for me and educational for her 🙂
Signed up for counselling at my new job, it’s a four week wait time but I will get six weekly sessions where I hope I can work on some unresolved gaslighting/bullying issues from the job I had during covid. Grateful to be able to have this available to me but nervous as well as I’ve never had counselling before and even the thought of having it is strange, I suppose I’ve made the first step in signing up.
Switched a credit card dept to a 0% interest rate offer on my other credit card, this immediately made my credit rating jump up into the excellent sphere, which is good as we will be looking for a new home in 6 months as our landlord is going to be selling our current rental in April next year.
Still resisting the temptation to put the central heating on, snuggling under blankets on the sofa whilst watching tv is the way to go I think especially as the fuel costs just keep on going up!


Heidi Louise October 11, 2022 at 7:14 am

Yes: Good first step on the signing-up-for-counseling!
Sounds like having someone to safely talk through the previous bad situation with will be helpful.


rebecca October 12, 2022 at 11:07 am

Hi Joanne in the UK,

I am a therapist and applaud you for taking advantage of this benefit. I hope it is a good therapeutic match for you and you get relief from the aftermath of your covid job.



Shona October 12, 2022 at 4:49 pm

I went through the same issue at my previous job which resulted in therapy and a short stint under the care of a cardiologist. It’s so important to seek mental health treatment when needed. I wish you all the best.


Liz B. October 15, 2022 at 6:12 am

Hi, Joanne in the UK,

Great job signing up for a therapist. I have had therapy several times over the years (the first time after a bad break up with what I now know was a sociopathic boyfriend), and working with the right therapist is a tremendous help. I hope you get the help you need.


Bee October 11, 2022 at 4:02 am

My life is a bit unsettled. I pick up my list every morning and work until it’s time for dinner. I hope I will be through this period soon.
1) My dearest and oldest friend had a garage sale this weekend. I helped her with the advertising. She really wanted me to participate along with her sisters, so I put together a a table of small items. (I really did not have time for much else.) I made $60, found homes for a few new items, and enjoyed a few hours of fun.
2)I acquired a new set of chairs for my kitchen table from my friend’s sister — beautiful antiques. She was trying to sell them at the above-mentioned garage sale and there wasn’t any interest. At the end of the sale, she was thinking about donating them. I asked her if I could buy them for $60 – all the money I made. She accepted my offer.
3) The stress of the dress continues as I try to find a mother- of- the – groom dress for my son’s wedding in 10 days. I just boxed up and sent another back. I make sure this is done promptly. I do not want to end up paying for multiple dresses.My problem is the bride want me to wear pink… I have been at this for months. Women’s sizes are so inconsistent!!!! I do have an option but I’m still not sure!
4) I continue to deal with the insurance company as a result of my accident last month. They are understating the value of my vehicle while overstating the cost of repairs. This pushes the vehicle into a total loss territory. Your insurance company can declare your vehicle a total loss of the cost to repair it is 70-80% of its value. (Depends on your state) To declare a car in excellent mechanical condition a total loss for front fender damage goes against my non-consumerist instincts. I keep asking questions and providing documentation to contradict their assertions. Why can’t companies just do the right thing? Im tired and they are stealing my joy.
5) I’m doing all the usual things. I eat whatever is in the refrigerator. I seem to be eating a lot of PB&J. I am brewing my own coffee. Listening to books on my library apps because I haven’t really had time to read. I sold two items on ebay last week. I applied for and used my new Southwest Visa to pay for some wedding expenses that can be paid off next month. I garnered 80000 points which could pay for 4 round trip flights.
Wishing everyone peace and good health!!!!


Danielle C October 11, 2022 at 6:57 am

I wonder if you could find more variety in white or ivory and then dye it pink?


Ruby October 11, 2022 at 7:29 am

Bee, you may have to go nuclear option on your car insurance company and call your state’s insurance commission (or whatever name the state oversight of insurance companies goes by there). That generally puts the fear of the Almighty into them.


Bee October 11, 2022 at 8:53 am

That is my next step, Ruby. I’ll see what happens over the next few days. I have been trying not to overburden Florida’s Department of Insurance. However without them, the decision of the adjuster may not be overturned. The adjuster may not want to push it up the food chain because she is afraid it will reflect badly on her. I sent the Company another email today. I think it was my sixth or seventh. Maybe they’ll figure out I’m not going away without a fight.


A. Marie October 11, 2022 at 8:38 am

Bee, you may be able to get some help on the #4 insurance issue from Lindsey. One of her many talents is helping people out of insurance jams.


Lindsey October 11, 2022 at 9:44 am

I wish I could help but I am a ninja with medical coverage for folks who are in the midst of a catastrophic or terminal illness; I don’t know much about other insurances. My one boxing match with other insurance ended up requiring the help of our state’s insurance commission, since nothing else worked.


Katy October 11, 2022 at 10:42 am

I have no advice on dealing with the insurance company, just sending you a big virtual hug and huge cup of your favorite coffee.


Susie's Daughter October 11, 2022 at 10:23 am

1) We had a short getaway for the long weekend and packed most of our meals. This habit of bringing our own food that we like was affirmed when we ordered a very mediocre take out meal for $40 as a treat. 90% of the time what we eat at home is as good or better than what we can order out.

2) Hanging out three loads of laundry today and several more tomorrow while the sun shines. Shorter days mean less laundry drying capacity outside, but I’ll take it while I’ve got it.

3) Reading books at home that I have had aside for a while, specifically the Maisie Dobbs series. I am almost through book three and am reminded what a wonderful writer and gifted story weaver Jacqueline Winspear is!

4) Reevaluating my wardrobe as I would like to own fewer clothes, but have ones that are more comfortable and more flattering. Less is way more in this case I think.

5) Dear neighbor is venturing into selling on Mercari and has offered to post some things for me. I would be delighted to split the earnings with her if she is willing to do the posting, etc!


JC October 11, 2022 at 11:54 am

I have a 1950’s retro cool metal ding set in my garage…again. Every time someone in the family moves and needs a dining set, it gets lent out and when they get what they really want it comes back to my garage. kind of like a rent a center. LOL
1. Making granola for yogurt parfaits. Kids had been buying it until I reminded them, I make it, cheaper and better.
2. Still drying laundry on lines outside.
3. Brought in some more plants, they are supposed to be annuals in this zone but I think I can keep them going.
4. Found some really good dark roast coffee (expensive brand) for 1.99 per pound! Trying it tomorrow morning and if it is any good at all I will be buying more.
5. Harvested 7 butternut squash from plants planted with saved seed. Will save these seeds for next year. We have not had a good growing season, lucky to have 7. Usually we have dozens.


Christine October 11, 2022 at 1:22 pm

Still hanging out laundry here too but as you said, the days are getting shorter. The sun no longer makes it over the peak of my neighbor to the south’s roof so the laundry is in shadow for a good part of the day at this point. After about 4pm it is back in the sunlight for a short time and then the sun drops down below the oak trees and that’s time to pluck the clothes down. I think another week or two and that will be it for the season.


Marilyn October 15, 2022 at 10:01 pm

Just picked up a Maisie Dobbs book from the library. I believe it’s the first in the series. Only a couple chapters into it, but really enjoying it so far. Thanks for the recommendation.


JC October 11, 2022 at 11:56 am

dining set…I need to proofread


Heidi Louise October 12, 2022 at 6:52 am

The highly annoying pop-up ad that appeared last week in the lower left corner is gone. Thank you for working that out, Katy!
I support your blog being monetized to recognize your work. And I am glad that slow-loading ad is gone.


rebecca October 12, 2022 at 11:02 am

1. I made soup from cauliflower and cheese that had been languishing in the fridge. It wasn’t bad.
2. Lately, I am feeling broke like I did in graduate school. It is an uncomfortable feeling and a bit scary.
3. I made plans with a friend and we decided to go for a walk instead of spending money.
4. I continue to remind my self to be grateful that I am paying my bills and that a lot of people have it worse than me and that I am actually pretty blessed.
5. Feeling a bit overwhelmed financially by things lately. Thanks for letting me vent.


MB in MN October 12, 2022 at 11:49 am

Rebecca, I’m sorry you’re feeling overwhelmed, uncomfortable and a bit scared. That is hard. You’re safe here with people who are supportive.


Christine October 13, 2022 at 9:38 pm

You’re not alone Rebecca. Like you and many others, I’ve had periods of time when I felt broke (and often was) but looking back, the blessings seem to outweigh the hardship. Hope things resolve in a timely manner for you.


Bee October 14, 2022 at 2:27 pm

I’m sorry things are rough right now. I get anxious about the future too, wishing strength and peace.


rebecca October 15, 2022 at 5:21 am

Thank you for your kind words MB in MN, Christine and Bee. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.


Mand01 October 12, 2022 at 2:07 pm

1. switching to a vegetarian diet has cut our food bill by $100 a month
2. I’m working so much I have no time to go anywhere or spend any money
3. Listening to free audiobooks and podcasts while I work
4. Cooking at home (or my husband is)
5. Eating lots of veggies from the garden – mostly spring greens and eggs from our chickens


Susie's Daughter October 12, 2022 at 4:33 pm

Mando1 – It cheers me so, as the days shorten here in New England, to think of your spring coming along down under. And spring greens are a tonic for body and soul!


Shona October 12, 2022 at 4:55 pm

Mentioned to my mom that I didn’t think my 2 sweaters and a sweatshirt were enough to get through winter and she offered to send me the handknit wool fisherman’s sweater she bought in Scotland several decades ago but never wears because she lives in Los Angeles. Thank you mom!


Liz B. October 15, 2022 at 6:20 am

Hi, Shona,
That sweater sounds amazing! Yay Mom for passing it on to you!
I have a bright red mohair sweater that was my mom’s….it’s from the 1950s, and I have photos of her wearing it.


Joyce October 13, 2022 at 11:54 am

Five frugal…
1. Cut my husbands hair as I have for the past 36 years!
2. Used one pound of lentils from Dollar Tree, one small onion, some frozen tomatoes from our garden and some frozen kale from our garden to make a yummy lentil stew for about $1.50. I figure we have 4 meals for the two of us!!
3. I picked up a pack of gnocchi from The Buck and Quarter Tree. I will brown that in some butter and we will have it with frozen veg from our garden. I think it is enough for two meals.
4. I have been making an heroic effort to only hang clothes outside to dry.
5. We received six free LED light bulbs of various wattages and a low flow shower nozzle from the state.


Bethany M October 14, 2022 at 8:36 am

I switched a service to paperless to save $1.50/month.

Cleaned out my neighbor’s fridge, because it was the last chore before moving and she ran out of steam. She will pay me, but I also got a load of nuts, ice cream topping, and cheese.

Covered my pepper plant and saved it from the frost. Hopefully I can get some more produce. Gave it a warm watering this morning too.

Covered my son in the starchy paper-like residue from our morning oatmeal so he could be Naaman for Bible Character night. Lol! He had a blast!

I gave blood in September with ARC, but I recently heard about $200 plasma payouts. I’ll be switching over soon.


Heidi Louise October 14, 2022 at 1:32 pm

Enjoyed the idea of your son’s Naaman leper costume. Bible character night, especially the Old Testament, has a lot of potentially tragic figures.


GC October 14, 2022 at 12:54 pm

1. I stopped dyeing my hair blonde during the lockdowns in 2020. Still embracing my new look: brown hair with lots of white and silver ‘natural highlights’! I’ll never now go back. Not only am I avoiding carcinogenics but am also saving on buying hair dye and hair products – my hair is in so much better condition now! If anyone is also considering taking the plunge – I really like the FB group Going Grey Gracefully, a lovely positive and encouraging community!
2. We used to use 2 fridges but as my work schedule has changed I am now able to go grocery shopping more often which means one fridge is enough now. This should help a good bit with keeping the electricity bill down.
3. My daughter asked for a satin pillow case (her hair is rather frizzy and that’s supposed to help) – I knew my mother bought one years ago so I asked if she still has it. She does and was very happy to pass it on to my daughter as she never uses it!
4. I have gone off meat lately – I just don’t like the taste of it at the moment. So I have decided to go vegetarian for a while. Surprisingly, my husband decided to join me! Even though our kids still eat meat I have already noticed a reduction in grocery spending.
5. One of my friends gave me some cat food that her cats hate but our cat eats without complaint. Another friend gave some lounge wear she no longer needs to my daughter. I in turn also passed on clothes to a friend’s child and lent some gardening magazines to another.


Selena October 14, 2022 at 6:42 pm

I’ve given away cat food my cats wouldn’t eat too – it wasn’t the cheap stuff by any means and I waited time between giving it to them (3 different times!). Usually the two newbies aren’t fussy at all but nope to this. So off to my neighbor it went.


GC October 15, 2022 at 12:01 am

Cats are such little characters, aren’t they!


isa October 16, 2022 at 9:00 am

I’m not grey yet (I’m 42) so this is not a concern for me, but at the moment I do intend on keeping my natural color when they start turning grey. I admire women who age gracefully, accepting their age and what comes with it (grey hair, wrinkles). Growing old is a privilege, not something to hide or be ashamed of. Plus, I’m too lazy and too cheap to take care of dyeing my hair and the chemicals involved, well, I’m not interested.


Liz B. October 15, 2022 at 6:27 am

I stopped coloring my hair during Covid….when the salons shut down, my hair grew out (I wear it short), so my first hair cut when the salons re-opened cut out all the colored hair. I have embraced my gray hair, which a dear friend says is “ombre”, which people pay a lot of money for, lol (it’s darker gray in the back, lighter in the front). Love the Facebook page you mentioned.


GC October 16, 2022 at 6:28 am

Yey for us silver sisters! It’s been such a confidence booster for me, too, I feel that I can I can be 100% me


Texasilver October 20, 2022 at 2:34 pm

That is what I did when I stopped coloring my hair. My hair was past my shoulders so I had to get the colored part cut off gradually. I did get some highlights initially to break up the regrowth. Now it has natural highlights with gray & platinum. It is liberating to break away from the hair color routine.


Isa October 16, 2022 at 8:55 am

* Well… I don’t know if this counts as frugal but I’ve dedided to not pursue university so for the next 12 weeks I can work more in prevision of another course starting in January

* Made an inventory of the freezer, will eat all the meat in there before buying more

* Ordered clothes and accessories on Shein. Good prices for Plus Size clothes

* Got Halloween costumes for the kids at the thrift store

* family entertainment is cheap : walk in the forrest, boards games, Netflix shows, reading library books, etc


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