Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 24, 2022 · 73 comments

  1. Our freezer stopped keeping the frozen food, well . . . frozen. We do have a basement chest freezer, but it was already close to full. I’d normally punt this task to my husband, but he was at work, and I’m inordinately pleased to announce that I fixed it by myself by simply scraping frost off the back wall and running a hair dryer over some blocked vents.

    We’ve had this refrigerator for 24 years, which I’m aware is a very long time for a modern era appliance. I was worried that it was a big picture repair which would require a big dumb new purchase, (B.D.N.P.) but occasionally a simple fix actually works!

    Update: Pride comes before a fall. My husband spent a couple fruitless hours trying to figure out why the refrigerator also stopped working properly. To the point where our milk prematurely curdled and the eggs smelled like Dante’s seventh cicle of hell. (Violence, they smelled like violence.)

    My husband and I found a bare bones white refrigerator on for $649, which includes delivery and removal of the old fridge. It’ll be delivered on Monday between 7 A.M. and 9 P.M., no joke. Big. Dumb. New. Purchase.

  2. I’ve spent the last week ferrying visiting family members around the Portland area. My mother turned 80 this week, so my aunt and uncle flew in from Nebraska, as well as my sister from NYC. As such, I’ve been treated to a tremendous number of restaurant meals and hosted a party at the house. I filled my minivan with octogenarians for a day trip to the beach and planned out a week of meals.

    The week was a huge success, even though one night’s main dish was dropped to the ground before reaching its destination. Leftover homemade lasagna stepped up to the plate, which luckily lived in my aunt and uncle’s functional AirBnb refrigerator. There’s no such thing as everything going smoothly, but sometimes these glitches make the best memories.

  3. My husband finally completed our backyard deck, which was mostly pieced together using wood from our disassembled treehouse. He did end up buying seven decking pieces, plus two lengths of treated lumber as he accidentally cut two of them too short. (Oops!) We also shelled out for a roll of landscaping fabric, new screws and metal support thingies. We luckily had enough waterproofing stain leftover from building our Little Free Library.

    The overall cost was around $450 for a 10′ X 10′ platform deck, which hardly sounds like a bargain, but the price of wood these days is astronomical. I initial entertained a goal to keep the project under $100, but was quickly snapped out of that hallucination. Nothing is cheaper than you think it’s going to be.

  4. My college friend Diana flew into town and instead of going out instead we visited at the house, I rooted rosemary stems and planted them in a garbage picked planter, (I need plants for the deck!) my aunt and uncle insisted that I take all the food that they didn’t eat from their AirBnb, I was treated to multiple restaurant meals this week, (Bob’s Red Mill restaurant!) my neighbor gave me a bag of rice when I realized that I’d somehow forgotten to add it to my shopping list and I mended my son’s mohair sweater.

  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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P.S. I wasn’t able to go to the library’s tech help session, but have arranged to go this week instead. Again, I’m sorry about the crass pop-up ads!

Update: I drove across town to the library tech session with their WordPress expert only to find that she’s taken a personal day off from work.

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Shona October 24, 2022 at 5:21 am

A collection of old appliances in my house as well. I thought my washing machine was toast, but I think it was just an air pocket in the water line, if that’s a thing because it sounds like a thing. Given the jump in appliance prices your refrigerator purchase sounds like a bargain!

Not too frugal lately as big yearly expenses have been coming up- property taxes (higher) & car registration (lower because my county eliminated emissions testing due to improved air quality). Keeping to my grocery list and for the time being I can still hang laundry out to dry. We turned on the heater during a cold snap. I was hoping to go a month without, but sub freezing temps at night without the heater would have resulted in frozen pipes and that expense would have been astronomical.

In my area the price of gas and avocados have dropped, so there is that good news.


Denise October 24, 2022 at 6:32 am

I recently stumbled on a website (in England) selling ex-display and second hand kitchens: cabinetry, work surfaces (countertops in the U.S. ??), taps and appliances. Told a friend whose dishwasher and washing machine were dead in the same week. She found two Miele ex-display items, so never actually used. £1150 washing machine for £600, an £800 dishwasher for £400. Miele is an amazing German brand – last forever and always have parts available, so she was delighted. So was I: frugality by proxy!

Katy: pictures of the finished deck, please . Mr Non-Consumer deserves his day in the sun (on his deck, even…)!


A. Marie October 24, 2022 at 8:18 am

I join Denise in the request for deck pictures. Even if cost (c) turned out to be c + x, and even though “Measure twice, cut once” (DH’s mantra as a contractor) remains a truth universally acknowledged, I’m still impressed as heck by the total actual cost of $450 or so.


Katy October 24, 2022 at 3:20 pm

I need to style it cute so I can take photos. The plain pictures I’ve taken so far don’t give a sense of how big it is.


Katy October 24, 2022 at 3:23 pm

It started raining the literal day after he finished building it, so I haven’t had a chance to put plants/furniture/etc. on it yet.


Jill D October 27, 2022 at 2:37 pm

“Frugality by proxy”! Love it.


Ava October 24, 2022 at 6:35 am

1. Big frugal fail: out of town guests with way too much eating out. Trying to get better with a trip to Aldi, homemade chili from dry beans and a cobbler from withered apples.
2. Had a flat that required towing. Sent the insurance company the towing bill and were reimbursed in full.
3. Received a gift card from health insurance for getting a mammogram.
4. Got a bill from doctor’s office for my flu shot. Called to see why it was not submitted to insurance. Learned that my insurance was listed as inactive. Had that corrected and shot should be covered.
5. Wanted to watch a series we didn’t have access to so we got it from the library. Disc wouldn’t play so I cleaned it and then it worked.


MB in MN October 24, 2022 at 6:46 am

1. Roasted pumpkin pieces and made five pint-size jars of puree.

2. The clear-out of the freezer and pantry continue ahead of our move. Some of the concoctions we’ve made are almost comical, but very edible.

3. Able to unplug the garage freezer to save some electricity.

4. Up on the North Shore of Lake Superior as I finger type. This is an annual week-long vacation to the same simple cabin for the last 15 years. This year was the first time my husband and I drove up together; typically I go earlier to have a few days to myself. Going together saves 300 mile round trip in gas/money.

5. Packed most of our meals. While we do treat ourselves to several meals out, we often share plates or bring back leftovers. And I never order a beverage.


Alexandra Evans October 24, 2022 at 6:51 am

1. Cleaning out the cupboards I found two sashes of mulling spices for cider. When I looked at the ingredients I realized most of the spices or what I need it for gingerbread. I cut them open and dump them in with the flour and it came out pretty darn good.
2. The night before the temperature was supposed to drop to below freezing our heat stopped working. We live in an apartment and have work to cultivate a very friendly relationship with the maintenance team. They came over within a few hours and fixed it. They got half the warm gingerbread! Keep those fellas happy!
3. I made a very soul satisfying clean- out-the- fridge stew with a small amount of leftover beef short ribs and their cooking liquid. Cabbage, tomatoes, carrots etc. Delicious.
4. Continuing to bring lunch every single day to work. I also make a point of washing my dishes at work using their hot water and soap. Little things add up.
5. We are working hard to keep our electric bill low. Our apartment has lousy windows and so using towels and heavy curtains to minimize the draft. Also layering more clothes when we are in the house. The cats have a heating pad which they adore.


Denise October 24, 2022 at 7:14 am

Get bubble wrap and roll i into thin sausage lengths, then use a flat headed screwdriver to wedge the rolls into the gaps around your windows. Smaller gaps = thinner rolls of bubble wrap. Worked a treat for me with rattling windows: blocked the draughts and stopped the intrusive rattling in the wind.


Katy October 24, 2022 at 3:21 pm

You’re very clever.


Regina November 12, 2022 at 6:48 pm

Spray a mist of water on windows & put bubble wrap on window & hold for few minutes, should adhere to window & act as insulation on window. I also am going to put up tension rod & hung towel as curtain then hand your (normal) curtains. If still drafty put plastic over window & wrap edges around cardboard strip & staple gun into wall under normal curtains.


MB in MN October 24, 2022 at 8:55 am

Alexandra, I love your use of mulling spices in gingerbread. Brilliant!


Isa October 24, 2022 at 8:03 am

* Decided to can 15 pounds of pickled beets (for super cheap, in season here in Quebec), instead of buying them at the grocery store. I LOOOOOVE pickled beets, so even if it’s a pain to make, I`ll do it to save the $

* Kids got their Halloween costumes at the thrift store

* Working full time for a while instead of my usual part-time



Marie October 26, 2022 at 4:23 pm

I too love pickled beets. May I ask where you found the recipe?


Ruby October 24, 2022 at 8:24 am

Considering how many times your husband has resurrected the dryer, he basically paid for the fridge with his work there. I hope the new fridge lasts you a good long time. And that is awesome about your mostly recycled deck!

1. Repaired the mostly broken cap strap on a Rubbermaid 2-quart bottle with some colorful duct tape bought years ago.
2. Added strap rings from my stash of recycled sewing notions to a Baggallini purse (bought for $8 a Goodwill last year) so that a shoulder strap can be put on it. Also sewed a snap on a pocket inside another purse. My sewing stash is like a time capsule, as it still had a card of sew-on snaps from making baby clothes for my son, who is now 32 years old.
3. Goofy upcycling thing of the week: Filled in the decorative cut-outs in my suede sneakers with navy neoprene fabric salvaged from drink can cozies, which were free items leftover from a work event. It took careful cutting of the fabric and a lot of tedious hand sewing, but it worked and the sneakers are now warm and snug for winter.
4. Pulled the last precious package of “bought on sale with a coupon” bacon out of the freezer and made my family their favorite meal of pancakes and bacon for supper. Way cheaper than eating out, but unlikely to happen again soon in these days of $11 bacon. *sigh*
5. Happily caffeinated on a budget: Made a gallon of iced tea this weekend using our “rescued from a trip to the trash” electric kettle. (All it needed was a good boiling out with white vinegar.) Been making coffee every morning in a $4.99 Mr. Coffee from Goodwill and a bag of pumpkin spice coffee marked down for quick sale because the best buy date is next month.


MB in MN October 24, 2022 at 8:57 am

Ruby, once again I’m amazed at your creativity in #3.


A. Marie October 24, 2022 at 9:35 am

Ruby, what MB in MN said re: your sneaker winterizing (and all your other creative hacks, for that matter!). And don’t despair of deals on bacon; I’ve been able to score some for $5/lb. or so on various grocery specials and Reduced for Quick Sale. (That said, I’ll be glad to pay whatever my friends at a local farm store want to charge me for the bacon that they raise and smoke themselves. But they’re all sold out till early next spring.)


Lindsey October 24, 2022 at 11:16 am

Bravo on the “goofy upcycling.” I would never have thought of that.


Katy October 24, 2022 at 3:18 pm

We do have Bionic appliances!


A. Marie October 24, 2022 at 8:41 am

FFT, It’s for the Birds Edition:

(1) Now that the local birds have finally finished eating all the seeds out of my sunflowers (this is one case where I don’t mind the wildlife eating my crop!), I’ve hung up all my bird feeders outside the living room windows, where they keep Betty the cat and me entertained all winter. The cost of seed is way up, of course–thanks partly to general inflation and partly to international events (China and Ukraine are two major sources of sunflower seeds). But I’m glad I bought several bags of my favorite types back in August, when Country Max was having a 20% off sale.

(2) I decided I could get one more year out of the oldest feeder. The price of feeders has gone up as well. (And this particular feeder is one I trashpicked, so it doesn’t owe me a thing.)

(3) A while back, I overbought on unsalted peanuts in the shell at Ollie’s (not realizing that these were going to be incompatible with the dental work I’ve been having done). I put some of these peanuts out in my tray feeder yesterday and waited. The blue jays and red-bellied woodpeckers are now competing to see which of them can shove the most peanuts down their gullets. One blue jay managed three, though his/her throat was bulging!

(4) In other news, Katy’s rosemary cuttings remind me that I recently took several of these too, after a cousin of Ms. Bestest Neighbor gave the BNs three huge, misshapen rosemary plants that were best used for cuttings. Some of my cuttings didn’t take, but I think that two will make it. (And I’m envious of folks who can grow rosemary outside year-round. It has to be brought inside during Central NY winters.)

(5) And as another part of winter prep, I retired a beloved planter–my oak feta barrel, trashpicked from behind a small Mediterranean market many years ago–after many years’ service. But I did so respectfully: The soil has been returned to one of my garden beds; the oak staves and what’s left of the bottom will be used as kindling in my woodburner this winter; and I’ve put the hoops in my growing pile of scrap metal.


Jill A October 24, 2022 at 10:45 am

Ann Marie, I love that your oak barrel planter has gotten so much use and now it will be used to heat your home. It reminds me that I once saw someone use the metal hoops as lawn ornaments. They partially buried them in the ground sideways if that makes sense and it looked so cool.


A. Marie October 24, 2022 at 11:34 am

Thank you for the kind words, Jill A–but these hoops are so bent (after the stave removal process) and have such sharp edges that I think the scrap metal pile is the best place for them.

And for those who may be curious, the A. in A. Marie stands for Agnes. I loathe the name but like the initial.


Jessica October 24, 2022 at 12:43 pm

Where I grew up in Glasgow in Scotland girls called Agnes were usually known as Senga .


A. Marie Sprayberry October 24, 2022 at 1:06 pm

My full backwards name is Senga Eiram Yrrebyarps. My darling mother kept us occupied for over a week once figuring out all four of our full backwards names.

Kathy October 24, 2022 at 8:44 am

Sold 2 items via Mercari
Traded a new kimono for face cleansing gel
Panty and refrigerator look like old mother Hubbard cupboard.
Making shopping list and sticking to it
Enjoying rain as it’s been so dry here in central Oklahoma


JC October 24, 2022 at 9:05 am

Kathy, I know you meant pantry but I got a huge charge out of “your panty” looking Like Old Mother Hubbards cupboard…. what exactly do you keep in them LOL!!!!

1. not buying anything in the way of groceries that was not on sale.
2. cleaned and defrosted a freezer, soup was made.
3. Still able to hand laundry outside, such a savings. I have been known to hang laundry out even when it is cold. As long as it is dry I try to use the lines.
4. Heat has been off more than on, bundling up and using blankets if watching TV
5. Cooking and sharing with family, they make the sides, and we all eat well, at home and enjoying each other’s company.


Jill A October 24, 2022 at 10:37 am

Oh wow. I guess I’ll hold off on having my deck re-done. Ouch.

1. I made a salad with the parsley I have in planters before I put them away for winter. I used mint from my patch. This was called Jennifer Aniston’s favorite salad which used up a red onion and most of a bag of bulgar that I had leftover from making tabouli. It was very similar but had chickpeas & feta cheese in it. It was delicious and made enough for several meals.
2. I went to dinner with a friend. We shared an entree. I took the leftovers home for a second meal.
3. I’ve taken several walks enjoying the gorgeous fall colors and warm weather before it gets cold again.
4. I picked my Mom up at the airport an hour away. I stopped at the Goodwill bins for a couple hours since we don’t have one here. I picked up a couple things on my want list including a plain white bedskirt. I also picked up some items to sell on Ebay.
5. I’m reading library books on my kindle. I just finished It Girl by Ruth Ware. It was good.


Bee October 24, 2022 at 4:18 pm

So jealous of your trip to the Bins. Ours closed during the Covid crisis and had not reopened. One of these days, I will make the 60-mile trip to dig for buried treasure.


Ruby October 24, 2022 at 4:37 pm

That is such a good salad. I could not find fresh herbs to make it and had to sub in some dried ones, but still so delicious and filling.


Lindsey October 24, 2022 at 11:11 am

The two rules of life: projects will always be more expensive than you thought and projects will take longer, much longer, than you thought.
1. Over the last month I have done a number of grocery store mystery shops. Last night I totalled up how much we have made in free groceries–$174!
2. Between the mystery shops and eating garden produce from the freezer and dehydrator, and eggs from our chickens, we have spent $31 on groceries all month so far. All of that was for milk.
3. For about the 100th time, I repaired the pockets and polished my husband’s over 20 years old leather bomber jacket. He is always sticking keys and random tools or nails in his pockets and the material ends up fraying. Personally I don’t see the allure of this smelly and cracked old leather coat but it is warm and he loves it, so I will keep fixing it.
4. I dropped a box of glass pumpkins, shattering they all, so that pretty much wiped out my fall/Halloween decorations. A few days later we stopped at the dump to put some blankets in the exchange platform, where you leave stuff you don’t want but still is useful. What should I find but two glass pumpkins, blue instead of orange but I am happy. I am not a big decor person but I do like to put some fall stuff on the fireplace mantle.
5. Sold a gorgeous cut glass platter that I love but it has not been used in over a decade, since I am not a person who likes to entertain people in my house. I cannot describe how beautiful it was but I am happier with the $40 it made me and that the platter will get the attention such a work of art deserves.


Katy October 24, 2022 at 3:09 pm

I hate how much your two rules ring true.


K D October 24, 2022 at 11:17 am

1. It was mostly a quiet weekend at home since DH was not feeling well. He Covid tested twice, both times negative, using tests they gave us when we early voted in the July primary election. He is working on getting a tele-health appointment with his PCP. That will save the time and expense of a drive to her office.

2. I bought a couple bags of on-sale apples and used them, with two aged pears, to put on a slow cooker pot of applesauce. I just use a little water for cooking and will add cinnamon when they apples are cooked.

3. I am soaking some beans and will make bean soup for dinner, in the Instant Pot. I will rinse the dregs of marinara and BBQ sauce jars out to add some flavor. I will also use a sale purchased onion and some carrots from a five pound bag.

4. I took a picture of a couple of cute Mandalorian themed gift items in an ad and texted it to my daughter telling her I was not going to purchase the items for her. She agreed that they were cute and unnecessary.

5. The seasons have changed and I have switched to my cold weather clothes. I am so happy that I am able to wear the same clothes year after year.


Juhli October 24, 2022 at 12:26 pm

I feel for you on things in the house breaking. We are waiting for a new dishwasher to arrive as repair was 50% of the cost of new but there were no guarantees and no one would schedule an appointment to come out anyway. As we may be selling our home soon we have to fix everything. I did find a plumber to come see if we can repair the complicated shower faucet system that came with the house or replace it if necessary. Our HOA fixed all the drip line leaks caused by thirsty critters and a leaking sprinkler caused by the mowers. That was included in our HOA fee.

We have an 8 mo old pup and need a crate at our son’s for visits but they remembered they had one stored at a family members – free is best. We are also brainstorming free nearby excursions with said pup to both give him new experiences and wear him out lol. First one was Sunday and it was a hit with all of us. I remembered I still had a nearly new pair of walking shoes that didn’t fit well pre-bunion surgery but they do now so no cost there and need met.

Watching for any advertised discounts at the grocery and drugstore as well as using money off offers from the drugstore to stock up or flex our grocery shopping to match what is discounted as much as possible. Have gone out to eat a couple of times but we have always mostly cooked at home and used all leftovers. Noted that we have switched to winter time of use electricity rates and adjusted our use to match as much as possible. Water is included in our HOA but trying to cut back to help keep the cost and thus HOA fee down. It is hard without a water meter for feedback but it’s not our first drought so just doing what we did before.


rebecca October 24, 2022 at 12:28 pm

1. Passed on magazines to my neighbor. She will pass them on after she reads them.
2. Made dinner for visiting family instead of going out. It was really good and a lot less than going out.
3. Trying to put off going to the grocery store as long as I can.
4. Trying to keep the heat off as long as I can as well.
5. The usual-eating leftovers, making my own coffee, hanging wet clothes and using up what I have.


Q October 24, 2022 at 2:26 pm

Katy, the deck sounds clever and wonderful. And you have inspired me to root some rosemary from a plant that is dried up on one side and has lovely young green branches on the other,

It has been a month since I have posted, so some of these are from the past month, not just the week.

1. I, too, was on the “recycle all available wood train.” I wanted to make some planters, so I took down my vegetable garden fence (which was useless at keeping at the tunneling groundhogs) and used the posts for the planters. (some of them we power washed first, using my brother’s power washer.) We also built a beautiful fenced area for compost, using reclaimed pickets that are very worn but serviceable for this. We took pickets off some of the panels and added them to the backside of others so that the fence is more private. For this project, we mostly just had to buy nails. The panels are old and covered with lichens, but I like how they look! We also used some of the posts to define other areas of the yard.

2. We’re still rebuilding the sides of our landscaping trailer, replacing 30 year old wood, but here we had to buy some new wood: very expensive. This project has been dragging on a bit. I am wondering if I would have been better off selling the old trailer as a flat trailer, and buying a new-to-me used one with sides. If I were in this situation again, I would definitely be checking out Facebook Marketplace before rebuilding. Still, the trailer saves me a lot of landscaping money. I use it to haul yard trimmings, to pick up free compost, free mulch, etc, and it should be done this week.

3. We visited our daughter and her family in Baltimore for a very long October weekend, and she asked me to teach her to make some of the vegan foods I had prepared for our last get together. We cooked while the 2 year old napped each day. I brought almost every ingredient from home. It was very enjoyable, and delicious. We made enough for healthy lunches and dinners, and she had leftovers for a week’s worth of lunches. Plus, the baby loved the food, especially the black bean soup. My daughter has a heart condition, so I was really glad she liked the healthy soups, etc, that we made. Even better, she texted me the next week that she was making a big batch of the black bean soup! I felt really good about that. I had tried to select recipes that were quick and easy. She is trying to eat healthy, and this will be a big help. For an outing that Sunday, rather than go to the zoo, we visited a magnificent farmers market, which was great, and had a great time. On our way down, we visited a native plant nursery that I had long wanted to see, and picked up several baby plants for our yard.

4. A frugal fail and a win: I went out to lunch with two dear friends who really wanted to go to a fancy place. It was an expensive lunch, even though we did not have anything to drink there, only entrees, no dessert, etc. The next day, another old friend was in town, and I made a lunch for three people to have at my house. They loved it, and kindly gave me a tasty gift of homemade pasta, some delicious marinara, and some wine biscuits.

5. I went to a wonderful potluck Halloween party, and had so much fun. Our costume was “Wordle.” I got the idea from a magazine: I printed out a blank Wordle form from the internet onto some heavy legal paper, and made up sets of words that I colored in the boxes. We wore all black, and safety-pinned the Wordles to our shirts. I did not have a black knit cap, but used a black neck gaiter positioned atop my head like a hat. We actually got a lot of compliments! It is a very simple costume, but was effective.

6. Bonus list (it has been a month, after all): I went to a wonderful biannual consignment pop-up shop where I bought nice clothes for grandchildren and snagged stocking stuffers for ridiculously little money, mended clothes and a jacket for granddaughter, made homemade crackers, plus the usual: borrowed books to read from library, home-cooked meals from scratch, attended weekly potlucks, combined driving trips, hosted family dinners, lent and borrowed tools, worked on yard, hung clothes to dry.

Have a great week everyone.


Katy October 24, 2022 at 3:02 pm

You’ve made me wonder if we have enough wood to make some scrappy planters. Thanks!


Q October 27, 2022 at 9:53 am

Katy, you will smile every time you look at them!


Bee October 24, 2022 at 3:01 pm

My son’s wedding is over. It was a beautiful weekend, and now it’s time yo tighten our belts. Weddings are expensive…
1) I sent all the centerpieces from the Rehearsal Dinner/Welcome Party home with the guests and service staff.
2) The flowers from the actual wedding and reception were bought to the nursing home that services Medicaid patients. They were too pretty not to share.
3) I sold an item on eBay — a rare patch advertising fishing lures. I shipped it in a recycled envelope. Of course, it sold in the middle of the wedding. I only seem to sell things when I’m really busy.
4) A friend allowed me to cut some ferns from her yard for the Rehearsal Dinner decorations. When doing so, I took some cuttings from her red-tipped pencil cactus. The seem to be doing really well.
5) I can’t say that I did any of my usual frugal things, but we are back on track today. Dinner is in the oven. We made coffee at home this morning and drinking water.
Wishing everyone peace and good health!!!!


Heidi Louise October 24, 2022 at 3:11 pm

So glad to hear it was a beautiful weekend for the wedding!


A. Marie October 24, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Thanks for the report from the wedding weekend, Bee, and I’m so glad that all went well.


Christine October 24, 2022 at 5:09 pm

I love your second one. I’m positive those wedding flowers were very appreciated by the residents. Glad everything went well at your son’s wedding.


Jill A October 26, 2022 at 4:17 am

Congratulations on surviving your son’s wedding and yes, so expensive. I love that you shared the flowers.


Christine October 24, 2022 at 5:24 pm

You and your husband did well keeping the cost of materials needed for your deck to $450. We have a 10 × 10 deck that needed new floorboards. For the floorboards, the screws and the stain alone it was about the same.
1. We’re on a short vacation here in Maine. My husband bought a senior National Park pass for $10 plus a $10 handling fee when he turned 62. We used it today in Acadia National Park in Maine and saved the $30 entrance fee.
2. While here in Maine, we’re walking to town for exercise and to save gas money.
3. Our hotel is half price of what it was a week ago because it’s considered “off season” now. Foliage is past peak but still beautiful.
4. We’re eating free hard boiled eggs and drinking free tea from the hotel lobby. We have splurged on seafood twice while up here.
5. My daughter and granddaughter who live one town away, are feeding our cats for us while we’re away.


Bee October 25, 2022 at 2:52 am

Have fun!!! I love that part of Maine. It’s beautiful.


Christine October 25, 2022 at 9:36 am

Thank you Bee. The scenery really is spectacular!


Marilyn October 28, 2022 at 11:37 am

The National Parks senior pass has been a good deal for me here in southwest Washington. I bought it several years ago for $20 (I know the price has gone up substantially). I use it when we have friends and relatives visiting from out-of-town. We have visited Mt. St Helens which is a Forest Service site, but the pass is accepted there. Also have taken visitors to Fort Vancouver using the pass. In addition, the state parks around here accept the pass. When I visit my son in San Diego, we used the pass to visit the Cabrillo National Monument.


Christine October 30, 2022 at 6:23 pm

Shortly after we purchased his senior pass, the price shot up to $80. That was almost six years ago so it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s gone up since then. Thanks for the heads up about using it as a state park pass. I’m going to look into it here in Massachusetts. Our library also has a state park pass we borrow when we plan on visiting state parks.


auntiali October 24, 2022 at 5:56 pm

Must get on the frugal wagon again as hubby has started pricing our trip to Singapore for son’s wedding. It’s a lot of money – woo!

1. Have heat off. Wearing a nice flannel shirt or a fleece sweatshirt to keep warm as well as socks.
2. Eating at home.
3. Will pay property taxes on time.
4. Keeping an eye on electric usage.
5. Staying mostly at home so using of gas.


Mary October 24, 2022 at 10:59 pm

Sometimesnyou have to give in…my parents kept their appliances until they died..literally. My brother still has the Maytag washing machine which is 53 years old. They only changed the fridge after it caught fire…

1) Menopause is a frugal ally bc no way is my husband turning on any heat source. I have made all his warm sweaters readily available.
2) Am still on track with no toiletries or cosmetic buying until everything in the house is used up. (Toothpaste will be soon) and I feel very good about this and we smell just fine and my skin looks great…maybe due to no home heating to dry it out.
3) Met up with an old friend and lots of walking vs any dining out.
4) Have extended the lifenof sweet pumpkins and butternut with soup and desser making. Have no nutmeg but found a jar of 4 spice andnused that…all tasty.
5) Used Eurostar points for a free ticket so off to London tomorrow for a day trip and the museums on my list are free and I have enoigh GBP lying around I can use that to buy somethong for lunch. I hopenit will be chilly there…I am sooooooo hot all the time.


Christine October 25, 2022 at 4:26 am

Your #1…never thought of menopause as a savings besides not having to purchase “supplies” but the home heating savings is one too…lol…love this!


Katy October 25, 2022 at 7:58 am

Frugal tip = go through menopause. Thanks, I think I’ll try this one soon!


Ecoteri October 25, 2022 at 1:42 am

What fun lists everyone
Here are some Frugal things from the last recent while.
1. I, too, had some deck work done. I have a covered porch off my kitchen that is apparently on its last legs, according to my friends who have been eyeing the sagging roofline and evaporating wooden flooring. As the budget for the addition is still several years away, my excellently capable yard man “Wonder James” powerwashed it, top to bottom (who knew the ceiling was white under that layer of spider webs), then screwed down a plywood patch over the rotting floorboards (using fasteners returned to me when my brother emptied his workshop into my barn, said fasteners originally from our Dad’s workshop – we have enough to build a house, I think, if we aren’t too picky about the nails and screws being consistent throughout). James then proceeded to apply structural paint to all vertical surfaces (paint from our existing supply of structural paint) and structural porch flooring paint to the horizonal surfaces. the result is rather stunning, all references to silk purses/sows ears to the contrary. amazing what one can disguise with a thick layer of bright paint.
2. Wonder James continues to hack at the many random corners of my place. He was trying to shovel/scrape large tufts of grass off a patio, when I suggested he simply remove the paving stones. Since the patio was made by someone with no sense of Euclid geometry nor any awareness of tripping hazards from random space filling concrete and rock patches, as well as paving stones very much the worse for wear, the disassembly and reassembly was a delightful challenge. James was beyond successful, as he made the decision to rebuild without all the strange corners. He got it reassembled, swept and washed off in half a day, and I am smiling every time I go down my back steps.
3. #1 daughter came up to visit and we went on a long shopping expedition. She had a comprehensive list of things needed to finish kitting out her new living space. First, we shopped Mom’s Basement, where there are frequently items of interest. Then, we went to the Dollar store, where she spent a serious sum, however she avoided almost all temptations and stuck with needs from her list. There were a few items she hadn’t thought of yet we discussed almost everything she put into the cart. I had the time and energy to be with her to suggest, consult, advise – and the new-to-me awareness that my role is different now, and that she has the capacity to do this. However, she is uncertain at many times, my job is to support and encourage. We then went to Canadian Tire to get a microwave, and watching her thinking and exploring the options was a treat. We had the time to look and really decide what made the most sense for her. We made a couple of other purchases using the same contemplative process, what a treat to have the time. Then, after a much needed pitstop at Micky D’s, we did a slow and deep grocery shop, as well. She has challenges buying and preparing foods to eat. Our careful exploration of options, after we had eaten and we weren’t stressed for energy or time, was so successful. We came back to my place and used flashlights to pick tomatoes and peppers for her, and she went home with a chicken breast from my meat birds and a couple of small turkey shepherd’s pies I had frozen for her. Getting her to spend her own money on herself can be a challenge, however this mom kept her wallet in her purse – and my daughter felt GOOD about what she got for what she spent.
4. Soaking beans tonight to pressure can tomorrow, my supply of black and garbanzo and pintos in jars is at a dangerous low. Yes, i know I can cook them quickly in the intant pot, and I do at times, however I feel RICH when I have a couple of dozen jars ready to open and use, and the cost is minimal as the jars have been around the block a few times, the beans are much cheaper dry, so my expense is time and lids.
5. Replaced a burned out headlight on my little car. Took a bit of time to get the right part, as the first cheap part I got didn’t fit. Asked #2 son to come help me assemble as the first try had me wanting to shoot someone. He uses this car, so he came down cheerfully enough to help. My arthritic hands had suffered on the first try. Second try, with the proper lightbulb? He pressed the right parts together, I fit the bulb in and screwed, and we were done. Whoops, wasn’t a two person job. However, he wisely asked for the keys and started the car so we could check if the light actually worked. Made me laugh that he does know how to take a job to completion – I was still stunned that it was done so fast. Probably saved $100 on the labour costs for a simple fix, I learned a number of things, and got to smile with my boy. Priceless.
I am cooking from the garden and pantry, batching my trips to town, reading library books on Libby, drinking coffee and water at home, and burning firewood in the woodstove to reduce electrical costs, even though I will be ahead with my hydro as I have a huge solar bank and it earned me a lot of credit this summer. Yet, if I burn the firewood, of which I have a quantity, I will get even more back from Hydro next March.


Patricia Koernig October 26, 2022 at 1:28 am

I need a Wonder James , in my life!


A. Marie October 26, 2022 at 2:29 am

Patricia, I *do* have a Wonder James. And if Ecoteri hadn’t mentioned Canadian Tire and Hydro (thus placing her north of the border), I’d be seriously wondering whether we have the *same* Wonder James!


Jill A October 26, 2022 at 4:19 am

Your “Wonder James” sounds wonderful.


Marie October 26, 2022 at 4:54 pm

Never thought of pressure canning beans. Thanks for the idea!


Julia October 28, 2022 at 5:33 am

It’s not every day one reads the phrase “Euclid geometry” lol. Currently reading The Golden Ratio by Mario Livio. Very interesting. I’ve leaned so much homeschooling our kiddo.


Cathy October 25, 2022 at 9:28 am

Kudos to you and your husband for DIY-ing your deck. My husband and I just finished a massive deck remodel. Since we did it ourselves, it took about 6 weeks from start to finish and saved us over $3k. We were able to repurpose a lot of the wood, which was a life (and massive money) saver. Now we stand out there, either nodding with our hands on our hips or high-fiving each other because we are so proud of ourselves. Funny, not funny!


Katy October 26, 2022 at 10:40 am

We’d do the same, except that it’s rained everyday since the deck was completed.


Bethany M October 25, 2022 at 6:12 pm

Had an interview today. This seemed very hopeful. They are looking for clients to fill my schedule.

Stopped by Meijer to pick up a Flashfood order. Huge savings on ground beef!

Picked up a bucket of free compost to refresh my pots for next year.

Saved $20 on tennis shoes and $20 on a mattress cover by shopping around.

Thrifted some pants for my growing boy.


Kristen October 26, 2022 at 11:13 am

Oh, I am so excited to see pictures of the deck!!


Francine October 26, 2022 at 10:36 pm

With the price of electricity rising, your new fridge might prove a frugal win in the not-so-long run. Seriously, if you compare yearly electricity usage, the purchase might be amortized in just a few years.


Katy October 27, 2022 at 10:06 am

Yes, I’m very curious to see if our electricity usage goes down.


Francine October 27, 2022 at 11:55 am

Found a link to a “fridge retirement calculator” here.
Those 12 cents per kilowatt sound dreamy, we are paying more than thrice that here at the moment (not in the US), and consider ourselves lucky still compared to what we would need to pay if we needed a new contract right now.

So my own recent frugal wins are all about conserving electricity and gas at the moment:
1. Keeping myself warm when sitting at my desk all day with heating pads that take just a few min in the microwave instead of turning up the heat.
2. Washing with a washcloth instead of showering.
3. Reducing waterflow in our showerhead for when we do shower.
4. Heating all my tea water for the day at once in the electric kettle and keeping it in a thermos flask.


Francine October 27, 2022 at 11:56 am
Marilyn October 28, 2022 at 11:46 am

Katy, just 2 days ago, I had a dinner fall on the floor too. I had made a meatloaf and was taking it from the over when it slipped right out of my grasp. I’m afraid, I did not take it well. Big mess to clean up, dinner ruined, end of a l-o-n-g day. My husband — trying to cheer me up — said “Well, at least you didn’t fall on the floor.”


Katy October 28, 2022 at 9:52 pm

I recently made a batch of 6 scrambled eggs with melted brie and promptly dropped the pan upside down onto the kitchen floor. I had to fight my instinct to grab the pan which would have burned my hand. It very much happened in slow motion and I told my disappointed daughter, “at least I didn’t burn myself.”


Hawaii Planner October 30, 2022 at 1:04 pm

It was pretty much the opposite of frugal in every way (we were on vacation), but we found a few wins here & there:
1) We got upgraded to premium economy both ways on the flight, thanks to status from work travel
2) I made banana bread from over ripe bananas in the freezer, and brought that as our breakfast option, along with mixed nuts.
3) I took advantage of a few free hotel options: yoga on the beach, block print card making (which came with 12 cards) & a poke’ & wine event. All were lovely & fun.
4) My amazing parents came to watch our teens, and I used flight credits to cover their travel here.
5) Picked up a few “fancy” lunch items from Trader Joes, to avoid eating out with my parents. More expensive than a scrappy lunch from pantry/fridge ingredients, but I’d been out of town & didn’t have the mojo to pull that off. Still much cheaper than eating out or takeout.


auntiali October 30, 2022 at 11:07 pm

Thought of a couple more:
1. is it hypermiling when you coast down hills in your car? Whatever it’s called I take my foot off the gas when going down a hill.
2. got some Halloween candy from Walgreens where the packages were $2.49 for 11 pieces. I don’t know if I’ll get any trick or treaters. If I don’t the candy will go to the food closet so they can hand it out to the people living in the boarding houses.
3. Got diapers for my friend’s granddaughter and earned a $10 register reward at Walgreens. Used the rregister reward to get some diabetes supplies.
4. All three of us in the house got Covid and got that over with. Hubby and I had our fall booster but daughter did not. I’ll stock up on more free tests that our insurance pays for.


Regina November 12, 2022 at 8:07 pm

I love reading all your posts, it reminds me that there are still lots of people that enjoy living frugally & sharing their thoughts/experiences. Just wish I got to read/share more recent instead of later as seem to not get these in timely fashion.

I have not been as frugal as could be but with having to get new items (all on sale) because old ones no longer fit the need I do feel good that I have gotten everything (new) & on sale which has been cheaper than goodwill (which prices at all second hand stores have drastically increased).
Was able to donate some of my old stuff to new homes which helped the reciever. Took my old sectional couch to my youngest sister (whose dogs had eaten hole in one of her couches) & she unexpectedly broke the other couch while trying to move it because I was bringing my old couches to her. So she took both her old couches to curb (free trash pickup with her city services including large items) & I rearranged living room with existing other furniture plus my old couches. Looks like new living room. Remembered to leave open area for Christmas tree that will be put up soon.
Moved old archway & freestanding metal partition from one side of house to other side after drastically cutting back seriously overgrown landscaping. Will try to spray paint (if gets warm enough again) with rust converter spray paint purchased earlier. Got plenty of firewood to set aside after all the cutting back overgrown scrub trees & took more than few truck loads to compost. Eyeing free piles of compost for raised flower beds around few trees going to do in spring. Need to start picking up rocks on side of road to add to pile needed.
Went to free store & found teen son 3 new long sleeve dress shirts (few bigger sizes) luckily because ones currently have too small. He just went through clothes again (just did in May) & have pile to donate to free store. Picked up few dishes & dish rack (after I purchased dish rack at store–$20+ $8 for bottom). Now can do twice as many at same time since we have not adjusted very well to now having to hand wash dishes since no more dishwasher (was in our previous house sold in June).
Been breaking down large cardboard boxes & using as landscaping fabric to keep weeds for growing in areas then put down landscaping rocks. Better for environment & wallet.
Thanksgiving grocery sales have been stocking up on items that regularly use & have freezer full & some items for pantry.
Found Target discounting my dish soap (half off & had coupons) so stocked up & should not need for few months.
Early Black Friday sales I was able to get new extension cords $3/10 feet (limit 4) which will come in handy since only have longer cords.
Was able to get teen son Dewalt power tools kits $99 each & accessories half off from Lowe’s.
Been scanning all receipts on cash back apps (seems some now have lower limit) & cashed in all apps to get paypal money & gift cards, which use for expenses. I actually only paid for part teens gift after using rewards.
Waiting for Menards cash back to use to get more insulation to help with heating costs.
Was able to insulated garage door myself ($200) instead of $2000+) for new insulated garage door. My dad told me about this silver insulation is thin but very high rated to put over top of garage door insulation to look better & add more warmth. Cheaper than regular insulation but special order. Going to get one roll to try.
Bought holiday gift 20% off (never goes on sale) for my Aunt & got coupon on receipt for 40% when donate to giving tree. I usually donate to toys for tots so decided to do my donation to giving tree instead & will be getting 40% off gift for myself/garden decoration posts (that never go on sale). Usually get $ from Aunt so will put that towards what gift costs.
Luckily that will be all need to get for holiday gifts for upcoming season. Using other items already purchased for upcoming gifts when found on sale.


Katy November 13, 2022 at 11:55 am

Wow, you could surely teach me a thing or two!


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