Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 14, 2022 · 107 comments

  1. I unlocked a new level of non-consumer achievement after sixteen years of participating in the buy-nothing-new Compact. I bought a used toothbrush for the family to share! Yes, you read that right.

    Okay, perhaps some clarification is necessary. My husband and I share a Sonicare toothbrush system, which means we use the same motorized handle but each have our own toothbrush head. You know, like normal people. However, the rechargeable handle had gotten to the point where it no longer held a charge. Normal people would buy a new system.

    I believe that every newly manufactured item degrades our planet a little bit more, so I found a “refurbished” handle on eBay for just $9.40, plus $5.90 for shipping, (An equivalent one would be at least $80.) Saving money without overtly killing the planet is kind of my jam.

    Would you buy a used toothbrush handle?

  2. I took advantage of an instant Portland General Electric rebate to get a $249 programmable Learning Nest thermostat for just $25. You likely already know what a Nest thermometer is, but just in case:

    “The Nest Learning Thermostat programs itself, automatically helps you save energy when you’re away and can be controlled from anywhere.”

    I’m very curious to see whether we’ll save an appreciable amount off our gas bill as we already have a Honeywell thermostat that we keep at 63° during the day and 58° at night. This may sound extreme, but I bump it up to 67° if I’m home and chilly. My thinking is that it’s easier for me to turn it up than it is for me to actually remember to turn it down.

    However, I’m not perfect and I did leave my empty house at 67° a few days ago, despite being away for an extended period. A Nest thermostat would’ve allowed me to adjust the temperature through the app and I’d have avoided this waste of natural gas. It’ll be interesting to see if I can game the furnace to use less gas. I see that this program is available through many different utility companies throughout America, so check and see if yours does as well.

  3. I’ve started back up on thyroid medication as I’ve been feeling supremely cruddy and my labs backed up the lethargy. I had enough leftover Synthroid (Levothyroxine) to not need any for awhile, but still took this as an opportunity to look into Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company as a way to save money on future prescription medications. I have health insurance through my husband’s employer, but the American health care system is horrifically profit based, so it’s often cheaper to buy discount medications outside of the insurance you’re already paying for.

    Cost Plus Drugs charges patients the actual cost of their medication plus a small percentage for preparation and shipping. For some meds the price difference is shocking, (think $26 vs. $500 for Albendazole!) so go ahead and click HERE to check if your meds are available through them.

    Click HERE to read their mission statement. By the way, this might read like it’s sponsored, but I assure you that it isn’t.

  4. My husband installed a”new open box” ice maker that we bought off eBay, I remembered to bring my houseplants back inside before they succumbed to freezing temperatures, I scored a free squatty potty off my Buy Nothing group, (don’t worry, I gave it the scrub of a lifetime!) I accompanied my son to Trader Joe’s and only bought the stuff on my list, (toilet paper and hummus) I made sure to use the $10-off-$50 Winco grocery coupon that I poached from my neighbors and I watched Last Holiday through my sister’s Prime Video account.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or spend 44 million dollars to ruin Twitter.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 106 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Robinson November 14, 2022 at 5:11 am

I had to laugh at this post, Katy!! Just this weekend I re-read the ‘demon’ Goodwill post of yours and now this!! Also, once I found a ziploc bag of USED toothbrushes at my Goodwill store. Ewww!! So glad to hear you only purchased a handle!! Hahahaha!!


Katy November 14, 2022 at 12:28 pm

How could you not take advantage of such an amazing bargain?!


Hawaii Planner November 14, 2022 at 5:27 am

I’d consider buying myself a great used condition Sonicare handle (we also have that type), and then scrubbing the heck out of it. Once I got it into prime condition, I would not be sharing it with my family members on a daily basis. We have some drippy brushers around here.
1) Bought a few ingredients I’ll be needing for my one kind of holiday baking (cardamom bread) during our grocery store’s 3x points day. Earned enough for a $3 reward. Double bonus, the yeast also had an iBotta bonus, saving another $.50. On the same trip to store, I picked up the Friday Freebie drink for the kids.
2) My teens love boba, but it’s very pricey. I picked up hot chocolate yesterday, to get them to have that as the occasional sweet treat, vs boba. The weather is chilly here, so that’s also an incentive.
3) We’ve been doing a good job of eating more from the freezers, which is essential, given they are packed to the gills. We also did a really solid job of eating leftovers & having some creative meals last week.
4) I sold my Fitbit, listed another item on eBay, and gave away a bunch of stuff we don’t need on Buy Nothing. I consider all of them wins, as I hate having stuff in my house we don’t need.
5) Used coupons & points to pick up a couple of Christmas gifts.


Whitney Archer November 14, 2022 at 5:33 am

If you have a trader joe’s nearby, I’ve discovered their boba is pretty good! About $1 a glass.


K D November 14, 2022 at 5:27 am

I have sold and given away Oral-B toothbrush bases.

1. We were out of bananas so I planned to go to Giant the next day to buy a few. I checked the Flash Food app and there were some fruit boxes available. I purchased two of them which was too much food to walk home with. I drove to the store and after picking up bananas, and a few other sale items for Thanksgiving dinner, I checked the diary clearance section. There was a lot of yogurt marked down 75%. I bought several cartons since it keeps past the Best By date. Some of the same yogurt was available in the Flash Food app but it was only reduced 50% there.

2. CVS sent me another $4 in Extra Bucks. That’s $17 total over the past few weeks. I go past the store 3 times a week. I will stop in and use the Extra Bucks today. Last week I used the $9 to pick up store brand “Pedialyte” for a sick neighbor.

3. I needed to put fuel in my vehicle. Gas was much cheaper at Sam’s Club than at the stations I drove by on my way there. There was quite a line so I went across the street to Safeway where there was no wait and gas was only $.10/gallon more than at Sam’s. It was only $.60 more to fill my tank and I saved at least fifteen minutes.

4. I stopped at Lidl to buy $2/# butter and $.39 lemons.

5. I did not embark on an impromptu trip to Disney with a friend. She made last minute plans and was providing lodging (using Disney Vacation Club points) but the flight and the park tickets would have cost more than it was worth to me.

We also are not doing yet another remodel of our house, as are some neighbors.


BettafrmdaVille November 14, 2022 at 8:02 pm

$2 for a pound of butter?! I haven’t seen that price in 2 years!


Liz B. November 18, 2022 at 10:33 am


My local Aldi had butter at $2.49/pound last week.


Whitney Archer November 14, 2022 at 5:43 am

We’re settling in a new home in a new state, which brought so much spending. Hopefully, that will stop soon, especially as finding a job has proven to be difficult for me.
1. Replaced washing machine discharge hose and dryer vent setup. A very frustrating project and parts were $, but of course, way cheaper than calling a professional in. It’s working great so far!

2. Discovering the local libraries have great classes, often with nice supplies. This weekend I was given a whole rug hooking kit with a class, all for free. It was great.

3. Getting to really know how Goodwill outlet works – it’s been a fun experiment and you can’t beat the price!

4. Will try to sell some leftover hardwood kitchen island legs that we found in the house. They’re cherry!

5. Watched a few youtube videos to figure out how to save some very sweat-stained workshirts of my husband’s. The collar rings were rather awful, but I scrubbed it with some Bronners, then some dish soap, and then oxyclean. It took a while, but they look brand new. Whew!


Kathy November 14, 2022 at 5:50 am

1. Got free tickets to hear army band holiday performance next month.
2. Sold another item on line
3. Took my sisters clothes to consignment shop $10
4. Took books to resale shop and used that $$ to get a birthday gift
5. Scored a big box of Christmas wrapping, cards, etc for $15


Ruby November 14, 2022 at 6:14 am

Katy, I am sure you guys are not putting the handle in your mouths and you santized it like whoa, so go for it!

1. DH and I checked out a venerable local restaurant that built a new building by going there for lunch. Lunch was delicious and reasonably priced. Our burgers were $2 each less than if we’d gone there for supper.
2. It started due to fatigue, but we have switched to buying groceries only once every two weeks. This is saving us about $30 a week.
3. Bought a pretty winter blouse at our little Goodwill (it serves largely to accept donations and has a tiny sales floor). It was $4.29 there, $59.00 at the local ritzy department store that originally sold it. Wow!
4. I am doing a personal no-spend November and any discretionary spending, like the blouse in #3, comes out of my pocket money. Been carrying around most of the same $20 for a month.
5. Keeping on keeping with all the daily frugalities.


Katy November 14, 2022 at 9:38 am

Yes, I don’t mean to brag but I’m very good at which end of the toothbrush goes in my mouth.


dawnelle November 14, 2022 at 11:24 am

this made me actually laugh out loud


Ruby November 14, 2022 at 1:54 pm

😀 You are so funny!


geri November 19, 2022 at 9:13 am

I am so proud of you right now, Katy.


Kathy G November 14, 2022 at 6:52 am

It would have never occurred to me to buy a used toothbrush handle, but you’re always opening my eyes to new possibilities.


Katy November 14, 2022 at 9:37 am

I’m here to push those boundaries of “how cheap is too cheap!”


Christine November 14, 2022 at 7:18 am

The on/off switch on my Waterpik stopped working so I am in the same boat as you were. I never thought of buying a refurbished base but will give it some thought and mull it over with DH.
1. I helped clean up after a church function and was sent home with two large sandwiches, various homemade sweets, a half- gallon of marinated olives/mushrooms/red peppers and about 20 slices of delicious dill pickles.
2. We’ve been using up the last of our leftover Halloween candy as desserts. Sadly, we’re at the end of it except for a small bag of Skittles with no takers.
3. I broke out a Christmas themed 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle I bought for $1 at a thrift shop. When family and friends come over they can work on it with me if they want.
4. If you could see my house you might laugh or nod at the familiarity. Sheets and pillowcases hanging to dry over doors and backs of chairs, recycled aluminum foil and food storage bags drip drying over the sink and partially painted walls due to us doing our own painting and being short on time. Our goal is to finish the downstairs walls by Thanksgiving.
5. DD invited us to her house one town over for Thanksgiving. She asked me to bring an apple pie and corn pudding. I will make them both. I still plan on buying a turkey or two for my freezer as Market Basket has them for .89 lb.


Brooke November 14, 2022 at 7:24 am

One thing to note with Cost Plus Drugs, GoodRx, and others like them is that while they can be a good deal, you *really* need to know your insurance. I meet my deductible each year due to my husbands yearly cardiology appt and associated labs, after which everything is covered 100%. Going through GoodRx would make our drugs cheaper, but since they don’t count towards my deductible because they don’t go through insurance, I would actually end up paying more out of pocket than just billing through insurance. If you never meet your deductible or have crappy prescription coverage, go at it – just know there is some situations where it’s not actually the frugal choice.


Ava November 14, 2022 at 8:25 am

1. Broke the laminator. Spent several hours trying to fix the unfixable but was finally successful. Works just fine again.
2. Scrounging for food several different days to avoid the grocery store. Made some excellent mac and cheese from ingredients in the house. It did not taste like scrounged food.
3. Covered my last tomato plants to protect them from frost.
4. Added many fallen leaves to the garden box to boost the soil.
5. Listed Christmas items on Etsy and have many more to list.


Lindsey November 14, 2022 at 12:00 pm

I love laminating things! Soon after we married my husband asked me what I wanted for a birthday and thought I was lying when I said a laminator. He got me a top quality one and that baby ran for 2 decades before I wore it to death. I have no idea why it thrills me to encase things in plastic but there you are…


Ava November 15, 2022 at 2:13 pm

Lindsey, our car insurance cards used to be light weight plastic. Now they are just paper and if they get damp, the ink runs until they are unreadable. That is why we got the laminator in the first place but I have found many other uses for it.


Katy November 14, 2022 at 9:16 am

That’s a really good point, thank you for bringing this up.


Isa November 14, 2022 at 8:15 am

Hmm…. don’t know that I would personnaly go for a used toothbrush handle, but no judgement here!

* I (gave and) received a lot of stuff for Buy Nothing in the last week

* Still at it with my free favorite hobby : reading. I get all my books at the public library or from free piles

* Working full time at the moment, as opposed to my regular part-time/on call

* decided against going back to school for a lower paying job. My current job is much more demanding physically but also pays almost double, so…… As long as I can do it, I’ll do it.

* Went out with like-minded friends. I got a free appetizer for the table by combining 2 billes (needed 40$). Then my friend used her member’s card to get unlimited refills on a large popcorn, that we all digged into.


Jill A November 14, 2022 at 9:08 am

Yes I would absolutely buy a used toothbrush handle. Great idea. I use the “free” toothbrush from the dentist but if I ever go to an electric toothbrush I will definitely look into a refurbished one. I know they are very expensive.

1. I took my daughter and her fiance to dinner for his birthday. Not frugal but I brought my own take out container and saved what I didn’t eat which has turned into two additional meals.
2. I’m deep cleaning my kitchen including going through all the cupboards and pantries. I’ve cleared out a ton of things I never use and will add them to my next garage sale or donate them. I have a clear picture of what I need to use up and restock in the pantries. I’ll offer the Christmas cookie plates to my neighbor who bakes for the neighborhood as I’m pretty sure they came from her anyway.
3. I’ve been eating up all the leftovers in the refrigerator even when I don’t want to. The moroccan stew I made was delicious but boy did it make a ton.
4. I raided my Ebay stash for a blanket for my bed. I usually prefer to have the money from the sale but I need a second blanket because my house is so cold. This blanket looks new and I only paid $5.
5. I did purchase a couple books at an event at a local library. One for me and one for my Mom. Wade Rouse was speaking. He writes under his grandmother’s name Viola Shipman. He’s from Saugatuck MI and bases his novels in charming little Michigan coastal towns. I especially like his memoir “At least in the city someone would hear me scream” which I loved and read whenever I’m feeling down since he has such a great sense of humor. The event was free and offered wine and cheese. His events are otherwise sold out and it feels good to support a local author.


Katy November 14, 2022 at 9:13 am

I feel you on eating up leftovers from accidentally enormous meals. I finally finished a chicken pot pot-ish dish that everyone else had lost interest in the other day and I was happy to be done with it!


Heidi Louise November 14, 2022 at 10:36 am

My son uses an electric toothbrush and the costs of the replacement heads have been increasing by multiples since we got it. Store brand ones work, though with a painful noise.
So do think to the future if you get one.


Roberta November 14, 2022 at 9:16 am

I love Last Holiday! I bought a copy from Goodwill, because I love having it on hand when I need a boost, and don’t love when it disappears from streaming.

1. Paid off our mortgage early!

2. The rest of the ordinary stuff: hung out laundry, cooked at home, decluttered the house. Still working up to posting things on ebay, but we took two totes of books to the Friends of the Library shop, so they’re out of the bookcase. Instead I stored a box I use for pricing things for my mom’s shop, and a quilt I use instead of a heater. It looks tidier, and I’m happier


Katy November 14, 2022 at 10:32 am



Ruby November 14, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Huge congrats on paying your mortgage off early! We did so in December and the peace of mind has been awesome.


A. Marie November 14, 2022 at 2:14 pm

Roberta, I add my congratulations to the others. I can’t tell you what a relief it is under my present circumstances to have the house paid for.


BettafrmdaVille November 14, 2022 at 8:15 pm

I paid off my mortgage last summer & every month, I still get a happy thought when I do not have to write that check! Super-duper congratulations!


Jill A November 15, 2022 at 3:15 am

Congratulations on paying off your mortgage. Yoo Hoo!!!


Bee November 15, 2022 at 4:03 am

Woot! Woot! Congratulations on paying off your mortgage.


Roberta November 15, 2022 at 11:45 am

Thanks, everyone! This is the only place I feel like I can really celebrate it, since so many people in my life are laboring under payments still (and many are new homeowners!0


Bee November 14, 2022 at 10:16 am

I often see Sonicares for sale at estate sales. They are almost always purchased. At first, it gave me the heebie-jeebies. After some thought, I realized that it is much like buying drinking glasses or eating utensils. The base of the base of the toothbrush can be put in the dishwasher in most cases and totally sterilized.

On another note, thank you for providing the information on Mark Cuban’s cost plus drug plan. I take thyroid medication also. With my prescription plan, the local pharmacy charges approximately $30 for a three-month supply. However, it is a little under $7 with Cost Plus. That is a savings of nearly $100 a year.

1. I have been busy decluttering. I have been gifting things via Buy Nothing and listing things on eBay & Facebook Marketplace. I have made a little money and have made some people happy. All good things!
2. Despite all the decluttering, I did acquire something new for my garden via Buy Nothing. Some really nice heavy duty wrought iron edging which will be beautiful around the flower bed near my mailbox. It just needs a good cleaning and some paint. That’s this week’s project!
3. While I was picking up a movie at the library on Saturday —Mrs Harris Goes to Paris — I stopped in the Friends of the Library Book Store. They had a large selection of books on mountaineering. This is not something you find often in Florida. I picked up three books for my younger son for Christmas. I also acquired a board book of The Night Before Christmas for my Grandson. All in all, it was $10 very well spent.
4. My dishwasher was not running very well, so I spent yesterday morning doing maintenance on it. Cleaning the filters and drain is not among my favorite chores. (It’s up there with changing the kitty litter.) however, the dishwasher is now working well and I saved the expense of a service call. Thank you, YouTube!
5. I have been doing all the usual things. I have been cooking from scratch, brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily filtered water, and managing leftovers. I am using the library. My latest book is Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. It reminds me in some ways of The Goldfinch. I am also listening to a book called the Northern Spy via Libby. Audiobooks make the time spent decluttering much more pleasant.
This week’s “OMG I can’t believe how expensive food has gotten” item was a package of 4 ears of corn. My husband paid $6.15 for this. He doesn’t really pay attention. Although it was on my list, I would have done without.
Wishing everyone peace and good health.


Katy November 14, 2022 at 10:31 am

I have that book non hold at the library. And I’ve never heard of such expensive corn!


A. Marie November 14, 2022 at 10:32 am

FFT, Winter Is Coming Edition:

(1) We’ve had our first snow here in Central NY–just a dusting, and certainly nothing that would impress Lindsey and the other Alaskans or Canadians, but it’s Mother Nature’s warning that more is coming. I’ve just started the first fire of the season in our woodburner, and am thanking past DH and past me that I probably still have 2-3 years’ worth of wood left.

(2) Although I no longer own a chainsaw, since no one in their right mind would trust me near one (I sold or gave away all of DH’s), I still scored two plastic bins’ worth of wood that was already cut to the right size from the felling of two trees up the street. DH would have wept to see how much of the rest of one very dead ash and one (unfortunately) very much alive red maple got picked up by the DPW brush crew. But so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut (whose 100th birthday was last week) would have said.

(3) Thanks to an unusually warm and sunny October, to the solar panels on our garage (another shout-out to past DH), and to prudent use of the gas and electricity (like Katy’s), National Grid has just lowered my monthly budget payment again–to $105. With winter coming on, this probably won’t last long, of course. But the Bestest Neighbors have already jokingly accused me of being the “efficient neighbor” who throws off everyone else’s NG reports for the entire street.

(4) Since Katy also mentions stopping at Trader Joe’s, I’ll mention that TJ’s currently has large 85% cacao dark chocolate bars for $1.79 each. I routinely buy good-quality chocolate bars as holiday stocking stuffers for friends, and since I have paid $3-5 for these in years past, I grabbed six of the TJ’s bars.

(5) And since I’ll be driving to the next city over to the west for a regional JASNA meeting on Saturday, I’ll be wrapping and packing Xmas gifts for my best bud over there and will hand them to her at the meeting. Shipping prices these days are no joke.



Lynne November 14, 2022 at 10:46 am

I don’t know if you ate opposed to Walmart and or generic drugs but you can get generic synthoid for $10 for a 90 day supply at Walmart


Katy November 14, 2022 at 12:20 pm

Thanks for this, I’ll keep that in mind!


Katy November 14, 2022 at 12:24 pm

This is where you and I are on differing sides of the debate as I loathe dark chocolate.


A. Marie November 14, 2022 at 12:35 pm

Different strokes for different folks, Katy. But all of my peeps are on the dark side as regards chocolate, or I wouldn’t have done the bulk buy.


Teri November 14, 2022 at 3:05 pm

Totally agree on the dark chocolate debate. Let me know when some high quality milk chocolate goes on sale, meanwhile I have a stash of Cadbury in my freezer!


Katy November 14, 2022 at 4:25 pm

Thank you for validating my trauma.


Selena November 14, 2022 at 8:16 pm

The darker the chocolate, the better. And to think of all the Hershey’s Special Dark I snubbed as a kid (not that it top shelf but it is dark).

cathy November 17, 2022 at 11:15 am

Since Trader Joe’s doesn’t run sales, you’ll probably find milk chocolate bars for the same price.


Geri Elkins-alexander November 19, 2022 at 9:23 am

Although dark chocolate is not my favorite, Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder for baking or for hot chocolate is fantastic. Makes brownies or chocolate depression cake{or Whacky cake-no eggs or dairy} really rich tasting.


Cindy in the South November 14, 2022 at 11:01 am

I would have totally bought the brush but I buy the pack of 5 at DG for $1….lol, although you probably come out ahead because of better dental health with the motorized one. 1. I did my usual, brought a sandwich to work for lunch, made my egg and tomato sandwich for breakfast, and made mixed greens (collards, turnip greens, and mustard greens) soup with Rotel tomatoes for supper. I used leftover turkey bones to flavor the soup. I am trying not to gain weight during the holidays. We shall see how successful I am because I usually eat anything and everything….. oh look, pie!!!!! 2. I walked in the neighborhood, so I didn’t have to drive anywhere for exercise. 3. I told y’all about my refusal to replace the lightning struck air conditioner/heater this summer and making do with a fan in the deep South. Well, now that it has turned cool, I have decided to challenge myself and see if I can make do with just an electric roll around radiator looking heater that was purchased for under $60. I realize I can only get away with this because of where I live, and I have a small house where I can shut the bedrooms off. It will be my luck that we have record cold…….crossed fingers and hoping not. Will keep you posted. We went from a high of 84 degrees last week to in the 30’s this week at night 50’s during the day, and, so far, I am fine. I only run the heater when home. I tend to stay at work more during extreme heat or cold so I don’t have to pay for electricity. 4. I washed out my jeans in the tub using leftover bathtub water. They are hanging up outside because there are not many birds at the moment. 5. I groomed my own eyebrows, or what is left of them…..


Katy November 14, 2022 at 12:21 pm

“Oh look, pie!” is the name of my soon to be published memoir. 😉


Anne November 15, 2022 at 7:40 am

Sisters from a different mother.


Lindsey November 16, 2022 at 5:32 pm

I think a more accurate title would be “Oh look, free pie!”


Ruby November 16, 2022 at 6:05 pm

We celebrate Dec. 26 by having pie for breakfast.


Texasilver November 14, 2022 at 12:40 pm

Cindy in the South: have you considered an electric blanket? They don’t use much electricity to keep you warm.


Cindy in the South November 15, 2022 at 5:35 am

Texassilver: I bought one for my middle son and he uses it up at the retirement house. I haven’t bought one for myself because I am “that” cheap….lol. I may reconsider getting one in the middle of a cold snap. I sleep in a sleeping bag rated for 10 degrees outside, but use it inside on the couch, and toss an old fashioned quilt I got at a thrift store years ago, over the sleeping bag. So far so good…lol


Marie November 15, 2022 at 6:16 pm

I have an electric mattress pad. I like them better. The foot area is warmer, then progressively gets cooler as it heads towards your top!


Jill November 14, 2022 at 11:42 am

1. Booked flights to go see our daughter in NYC next May. We’ve had an imbalance on her visiting us – and she has to take vacation days and we don’t – over the last few years so it’s time we saw her new apartment and neighborhood. Flights were quite reasonably priced – not cheap but I didn’t shudder at purchasing them. And they are non stop plus we will stay with our daughter. I always need something to look forward to and this is a biggie since I only see her maybe twice per year. (Thank goodness for Skype)
2. Found an extremely well stocked Dollar Tree near our soon to be neighborhood and did a little grocery shopping. Even splurged on some chips 🙂
3. My husband is having a colonoscopy this week. He is at high risk for colon cancer as his father had it. I’m proud of him for making sure he gets them every 3 to 5 years . And this was no easy feat – his doctor recommended him to another colonoscopy center which was not under our insurance. So that started a coupla month round of phone calls to finally find one that was covered. Perserverance.
4. Rounded up a few Jenny Colgan books that I haven’t read and put them on hold at the library, rewatching all the Miss Marple shows on Britbox (watched them so long ago I can’t remember whodunit), ordered Christmas/ Change of address postcards to mail out next month (2 birds, 1 stone), stayed home all of the weekend to not spend money and bundled our new house insurance with car to save a little.
5. Resisted the 80 trillion emails that I receive with fantastic travel deals. Oh how I would love to book them all!


Lindsey November 14, 2022 at 11:55 am

I bow before you as the most frugal person ever: buying a used handle is GENIUS and I would never have thought of it. We have the same system that you do and my husband was just complaining this morning that he thinks it is dying, so I will be on the hunt for a used handle today.
1. I snagged three free ice cube trays from a local face book posting.
2. Received a perfectly lovely gift that I will never use, so I rewrapped it and am giving it to someone who loves puzzles and sunflowers so will be happy to have a puzzle of these flowers.
3. Did two mystery grocery shops, snagging $64 of free food for about an hour’s work.
4. Sometimes I make the mistake of buying aspirational vegetables, as in “I know we hate spinach but this time we will learn to love it so I am buying a Costco sized bag of it.” And there the bag sits in the fridge, giving me stink eye every single time I open the fridge. Saturday morning I spent a few hours making homemade spinach/feta raviolis with the latest spinach I had purchased last week. We now have at least four meals worth of them in the freezer, plus we ate a plate of them for dinner last night. So it appears we do like spinach, as long as it is enveloped in cheese and pasta and covered with marinara…
5. Library for books and a puzzle not of sunflowers.


Katy November 14, 2022 at 12:18 pm

That is the best compliment I’ve received all year, thank you! I love that however long I’ve been practicing extreme frugality there are still new tricks and ideas out there to be discovered.

By the way, the toothbrush handle came today and I brushed my teeth without the handle dying and it was an excellent experience! That is, after I wiped it down a couple times with a disinfecting wipe.


Karen B November 14, 2022 at 12:50 pm

I hadn’t thought of buying a used electric toothbrush base, but I do remember that back when I had braces (1980-ish) my mom bought a used Waterpik and new tips.

1) Gave away a bundt pan (I hardly ever bake and had too many of these), 17 egg cartons (I save these because I know someone will ask for them), and an extra slow cooker lid in my Buy Nothing Project group.

2) Continuing my goal of cooking dried beans frequently (to rotate stock and eat more frugally) I made pinto beans with some summer sausage chopped up small in them. One of us is finding that the fat content of summer sausage is now too much for them, but half a small package diced up and added to 1 1/2 pounds dried beans was enough to add good flavor and not be too much fat.

3) Son and I picked up a bookshelf that was being offered for free.

4) We go to a store that sells overstocks, food mildly past best by date, and returns. I’ve bought a box of snacks that were both gluten-free and due to the portion size were a wise number of carbohydrates for me to have as a treat for 30 cents per treat (food manufactured to be gluten-free tends to be expensive, so this is a real deal), cookies slightly past best by date, but sealed, soft, and tasting very fresh for 78% off, acoustic foam for almost 75% off of typical retail (hubby had been wanting to reduce the noise in the part of the basement he does a hobby requiring quiet, but the typical cost was preventing him from doing it, 4 days after new stock comes out, what’s left goes in a dumpster and it doesn’t appear others realized what it was or needed it, so it may have ended up trashed), 14 packages of Miracle noodles, at least $70 worth for $2.80 total, and 10 boxes of Teamonk turmeric lattes, over $80 worth, for $1.60 total. These last couple items I bought just before closing on the last day before the bins are cleared out before the new items arrive. Prices per item are the least on the last day when it’s all you can stuff in a huge bag for one low price, and no one else was going to have the chance to buy them, so I bought all figuring if I didn’t like them myself I would offer them in my Buy Nothing group (there are quite a few people who are gluten-free as I am and also many people happy to receive food mildly past date). I like both very much and the noodles I will use up myself, but I may offer some of the boxes of the Teamonk turmeric lattes due to the huge quantity.

5) I bought L.L.Bean snow boots in what appears to be brand new condition except for the insoles had been replaced for under $6 at a thrift store.


Katy November 14, 2022 at 4:35 pm

That’s a screaming deal for LL Bean boots!


MEM November 14, 2022 at 1:35 pm

1. This has never happened before, but I had way too much money left in my FSA account – like $1200! DH75 is very bad about using the FSA card for anything other than doctor and drug co-pays. I had him round up all of the OOP receipts he could find for things like eyeglasses and eligible OTC products. It took me a few hours over a few weekend days but I got the total down to $30.29. I did get myself a new pair of glasses for distance but I used the FSA card for that. Should get a check or direct deposit for $900 or thereabouts.
2. I had several containers in the freezer of chicken and vegetable broth left over from recipes. Added some frozen meatballs – quartered – and mixed vegetables. That fed three adults.
3. I gifted some women’s clothing via my Buy Nothing group.
4. Hung my clothes to dry on two racks in the laundry room, as usual.
5. I’m collecting some spare Christmas decorations for a very young single mom in my Buy Nothing group who put out an ISO. She might actually have TOO much stuff now as people have been very generous.
6. This one is hard. Very, very hard. My sweet old lady dog passed away a few weeks ago at 16 1/3 years old. I donated her meds and some prescription food to her veterinarians. They offer unexpired things to people who are having difficulty paying for what their dogs need – fully transparent about it and no charge.


A. Marie November 14, 2022 at 2:16 pm

MEM, re: your #6: I’m so sorry. And kudos to you for your donations and to your vets for making compassionate use of them.


Lindsey November 14, 2022 at 2:26 pm

I am sorry about your sweet old lady passing. Losing a pet so so hard!


MB in MN November 14, 2022 at 4:25 pm

MEM, I’m so very sorry for your loss. How kind of you to think of others at such a difficult time.


Katy November 14, 2022 at 4:34 pm

So sorry to hear that you’re mourning your dog, big virtual hug! (( ))


Selena November 14, 2022 at 8:25 pm

So very sorry your fur-baby has went to the Rainbow Bridge, she’ll be waiting for you.
I donated my stock of meds and pill pockets to a no-kill shelter when we had to euthanize our senior cat (during Covid no less AND I had just replenished the supply). Our vet will allow you to return unopened meds for credit but I opted to donate. Same with a bottle of an antibiotic you don’t need to refrigerate – the other cat took one dose and it made her vomit. The no-kill shelter graciously took that too (our kiddo volunteers there so that may have been why they took it). The bottle was-not-cheap but it would have otherwise went to waste.


Jill A November 15, 2022 at 3:17 am

I’m so sorry for your loss. Pups are family. So hard.


Bee November 15, 2022 at 4:23 am

So sorry. Wishing you peace and happy memories.


rebecca November 15, 2022 at 1:42 pm

#6 My sincerest condolences


Christine November 16, 2022 at 4:42 pm

I’m so sorry about your old girl’s passing. They really are family to us animal lovers. Hugs.


JC November 14, 2022 at 3:51 pm

Katy, that was a wise purchase. I would have no problem doing the same.
I have to really think about my 5 frugals because I do them so regularly that they don’t register with me.
1. all food and drinks from home. Thankful that I can replicate so many restaurant type meals to satisfy my own and my families wants.
2.stilll hanging laundry outside on the lines, as long as it is dry and with a slight breeze they will dry. It might take all day in the colder weather but I have the time to wait LOL
3.Started the wood stove, it is chilly/cold and while I don’t need to burn hard I can burn broken up fallen limbs and junk wood and it works just fine.
4.making and using homemade fire starters. toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer lint and a very small dribble of candle wax. cut them in at least 2 pieces . You can ask a laundromat to save lint…if like me you seldom use the dryer. or ask a dryer user to save it for you.
5. soup made of just about anything. I store it in pint and half pint jars so family can just take a jar in the morning and by lunchtime it is thawed for microwaving and eating. They also take jars of overnight oats.


Regina November 20, 2022 at 6:16 pm

I keep forgetting about making fire starters with dryer lint & toilet paper tubes. I do recycle toilet paper tubes but throw away dryer lint. I need to start doing that & storing them safely.


MB in MN November 14, 2022 at 4:30 pm

If I used a motorized toothbrush, I would buy a used handle.

1. Made a quick and easy tomato soup with ingredients on hand and later added some leftover basil pesto. Delicious!

2. Roasted four more small pumpkins to make puree for the freezer. We give our pup a tablespoon of puree in each meal to add fiber to her diet.

3. Forgot a couple things at our cabin rental. Owner asked if we wanted her to hang on to them (we go every year) or mail them to us (which is the option we chose). I’m out the money for postage but still cheaper than replacing the items.

4. De-pilled a decorative pillow using an old disposable razor.

5. Started assembling the outdoor holiday pots. We re-use natural items year to year (like red twig dogwood branches, birch limbs, eucalyptus and pine cones) and then fill in with free leftover boughs from a Christmas tree farm. I want these to look especially pretty since we’ll be leaving them behind for the new owners of our house.


Norma J Burke November 14, 2022 at 4:37 pm

1. Talking to my son who was injured in a motorcycle accident about grocery delivery. He said he liked to go to the store so he could find bargains because he was raised by a Cheap Mama. I wear this title proudly!!
2. Took two grocery carts back to Aldi for 50 cents. Ca-ching!!
3. I’ve never been able to find good plus size clothes at thrift stores. However after recent weight loss found a cute orange pair of shorts for 99 cents.
4.Found a very dressy blouse at another thrift store for an upcoming cruise.
5. Applied for a credit card which took $200 off our cruise. Balance was paid off as soon as bill was received.


Katy November 14, 2022 at 4:45 pm

It sounds like your son is okay, which I’m happy to hear.

Also . . . I so wish Aldi would open locations in Portland!


Jill A November 15, 2022 at 3:19 am

We have Aldi which I like but I’m greedy and would like a Grocery Outlet too. I’ve shopped in the ones in Reno when I’ve visited and love it.


Shona November 14, 2022 at 6:13 pm

Keeping to a short grocery list to fill in some holes creating meals from what’s on hand.

Helped plant garlic and beets at a local organic farm and was given 2 bags of veggies in return. I was happy to spend time in a beautiful place and get my hands dirty in the soil and they were grateful for the help.

First snow so the laundry line will come down until spring. Setting my 3 drying racks over the air vents.


BettafrmdaVille November 14, 2022 at 8:34 pm

1. Drove up to Maine to stay with the in-laws, & brought our cats with us and saved on cat-sitting fees. It feels like a vacation but with free housing.
2. We cooked dinner twice while here, using milk, eggs, ice cream and ground beef that was free from mystery shop; package bacon that I ultimately paid $.01; beef chuck that I got at 50% off from Flash food; and the very last of our arugula from our garden
3. Friend in coming into town to stay with us. We debated going out or cooking at home and decided on the later.
4. Frugal fail: I told my partner that we need to only purchase one type of cheese for an appetizer. He insisted on two. Sure enough, we only ate one.
5. Did not buy a used tooth brush handle…. but I totally will when I need my next one!


Katy November 14, 2022 at 10:29 pm

Is “used toothbrush handle” the new Lear jet?


Mary in Maryland November 15, 2022 at 10:55 am

In case you are wondering where the line is on “too frugal” I’ve met folks on the other side twice. One was a friend’s cousin who had carved his own dentures. He was a civil war reenactor, but still over the line. The second was a relative who saves single shoes that are still good and wears mixed pairs. To be honest, I was tempted because I have worn exactly the same shoes for years. Alas, it’s always the right one that wears out.


Christine November 17, 2022 at 4:05 pm

The hand carved dentures…oh my! Brings us back to the days of George Washington and as I remember from American History, his fit non too comfortably. Have you heard of the money saving trend of doing your own surgery? A friend told me about a couple of instances she had seen on a talk show: one person attempted to take out their own tonsils and yet another attempted an appendectomy! Ouch. Just…pain, infection and possible fatality all rolled into one. I can’t even imagine.


Katy November 17, 2022 at 4:30 pm

Horrifically, George Washington’s false teeth were made from the teeth of enslaved people. This is from the official Mount Vernon website:


Christine November 18, 2022 at 5:49 am

That really is horrific.


Sewfast November 15, 2022 at 3:03 pm

I have a love and hate relationship with Estate Sales. When I walk in to see some poor souls life spread out on tables or the bathroom cabinets thrown open for all to see and go through it gives me the willys and I think of my kids and if they would do that to me when I am gone?
I have gotten some great deals at those sales including a brand new in the box Oral B electric tooth brush with all the bells and whistles you could imagine for $20. And I have filled my pantry with canned goods I have gotten for fantastic prices. And I haven’t had to buy toliet paper or kleenex at the market for years because I have tons stored in my linen closet obtained for pennies on the dollar from these sales.


Bee November 16, 2022 at 4:40 am

Estate sales are great for bargains. I have shopped them for years. That being said, every estate sale is different. I have attended some that feel as though I am invading the owner’s privacy. However,I have found when an estate sale is held by a professional service, all personal items are usually removed. Household items and furnishing are displayed so potential buyers can see them. I don’t find myself rummaging through someone’s underwear drawer, medical records or household bills.


Jill A November 16, 2022 at 5:13 am

Estate sales do feel a little sad to me too but not only are there great deals but also it can help the family out by getting rid of things and possibly paying for the cost of a funeral.


Bethany M November 15, 2022 at 4:55 pm

Wanted a wall ring for holding a plant. I tasked my husband to make it for me. He’s a welding instructor but he’s actually never made anything for me. Out of scrap, it would be zero expense. Could save me a nice little chunk.

Neighbor is moving and gave me a King size bed and box springs. Went over to the thrift store to see if they had rails. They said they aren’t allowed to accept rails without a headboard, but someone dropped some off and so they just gave them to me. Of course I gave a donation, but it was still a killer deal!
Without spending hardly anything I now have a beautiful guest room set up!

Did a cleaning job for a little extra income.

Suffered through a unidentified illness at home here the past week. Let the fever do it’s thing. Fluids and rest are FREE! Thankfully I can see the doctor for a $20 copay but I try to just use the doctor once a year for a $0 copay preventative appointment if possible. Stubborn, yes, but it also saves room for others in the scheduling who may be more vulnerable. Our medical professionals here are spread thin!

Voted! We had several victories that should really help our county operate more efficiently and hopefully lower some taxes and the cost of city provided services! The commissioner even assured me she was planning to put pressure on the electric company to get them to start a medical baseline allowance which my husband and I could both benefit from!


Jann in Maine November 16, 2022 at 1:58 am

If you have any colored toilet paper (think pink,blue or yellow) it is work $$ on ebay. So look through your stash.
Home for past several days-listing on ebay (slow slow slow) ,drinking my own coffee, walking my neighborhood, reading library books. These of course are things I have always done and will always do. Made some impossible meat ball pasta sauce–neighbor gifted me them impossible meat balls as husband could not tolerate the pea protein in them. Meh. Hanging laundry out and plan my laundry days with the weather forecast-
Will cook on Thanksgiving. And while the food will be yum it won’t have the course after course so that by the time turkey is served people are too full. Will have a “nibble board” and then the spread. A few items will be from our gardens and that will be nice. We have had an unseasonably warm Fall here in Maine and have only run our pellet stove 2x which is most unusual. Any little break from having to use it is a bonus. Katy thank you for your Monday columns it really is something to look forward to!


Katy November 16, 2022 at 9:16 am

Thank you, I’m somehow able to keep myself to this schedule and I’m enjoying it immensely.


MB in MN November 16, 2022 at 10:07 am

I’m enjoying it, too! Thank you!


Christine November 16, 2022 at 4:50 pm

Thank you for your Frequent FFTs. Always good to have some inspiration for the week ahead.


Jenny November 16, 2022 at 9:34 am

I replaced our wearing-out Sonic Care handle with one from our Buy Nothing group awhile back. Someone hadn’t liked how it brushed so they were giving it and two unused replacement heads away. I’m a former field biologist so my default is not to be super squeamish (I’ve seen some stuff, man). I mean we eat off of used plates at restaurants and sleep on used sheets at hotels. At least at home I know how well I cleaned and disinfected something used!


Heidi Louise November 16, 2022 at 12:00 pm

I had read a “frugal hint” that to buy replacement toilets, ask plumbers if they have any used ones. Some people replace toilets in homes when they buy the house, because the toilets are used and unclean.
Ah, no.


Katy November 16, 2022 at 1:55 pm

Good frugal hint.

Do y’all remember when I garbage picked a toilet seat?


Heidi Louise November 16, 2022 at 2:59 pm

Trash picking the seat makes perfect sense to me.
Thanks for the link, enjoyed reading the lists.


Katy November 16, 2022 at 1:53 pm

So true. Plus you wipe you mouth on a used cloth napkin when you fine dine.


Jennifer November 16, 2022 at 6:20 pm

Since my electric toothbrushes are always dying, I never thought to look for a used one because I assumed none of them lasted very long. Learn something new every day!

1. We drove to my dd’s college 4 hours away to see her present her capstone project. We packed a dinner for the way down. Had breakfast free at the hotel, lunch free with dd’s group. We ate dinner out (pizza) before leaving to come home but it was cheap and fast because it was late. We had the leftovers for our lunch today.

2. Processed my last 2 pie pumpkins. Roasted a ton of seeds, froze several 2 cups worth of puree and 4 ice cube trays worth.

3.Did not pay to wear jeans this week. I do try to support fundraisers that allow this but I can’t do them all so I sat out of this one and saved $20.

4. The usual packing lunches, fixing dinner at home (except when we traveled), filling up with gas at Costco.

Sometimes it doesn’t seem like things are very non-consumer or frugal, sigh…


Selena November 16, 2022 at 8:03 pm

The Nest is a non-starter for me as are any items that can be hacked – requires an app and/or the internet. I’m glad our current microwave does not display “enjoy your meal”. A lifetime in IT has left me somewhat jaded I admit – all it takes is sloppy programming and/or testing for bad things to happen.


Katy November 16, 2022 at 10:29 pm

That is a good point. I think I’ll hold onto the straightforward Honeywell one just in case.


Selena November 17, 2022 at 7:57 pm

Wise woman – always good to have a back-up plan.


rebecca November 17, 2022 at 11:57 am

1. Working on only buying loss leaders for groceries. It’s going ok.
2. I am without my kitchen for the next few weeks as I am updating as it is 20 years old. The dishwasher broke the night before the contractor came so there’s that savings on a repairman. lol
3. I have scrimped and saved and refinanced last year for this. It is still hard to see how much it all is. Kind of scary but this house is my retirement plan unless I win the lottery or marry a rich man lol.
4. I donated some pans and a clock to a charity shop. I hope they find a new home.
5. I set up my coffee maker and toaster as a makeshift kitchen. So far, it has gone ok. I typically brew coffee but I was able to find a box of coffee pods on sale so each cup is only 20 cents. Not bad.


EssexFish November 20, 2022 at 12:30 am

1. I dropped off some old houseware I don’t use and picked up an armload of books (Christmas solved) and some flimsy hazmat suits (Halloween solved) at a local swap event.

2. I attended a free literature night event to hear some excellent international poets read their latest work. Wine, canapés, and a copy of a literary magazine included! Found an unopened can of Negroni on the sidewalk outside the event. I don’t usually go for premixed cocktails but couldn’t pass it up. Lime helped.

3. I helped a guy move his unsold items from a yard sale back into his garage in exchange for a pair of vintage uranium glass cups and saucers.

4. Found a Serena and Lily table lamp left curbside. The same one currently sells for $250 online.

5. Signed up for a “culture pass” through my library that’s good for free admission to dozens of museums and other institutions across the city and used it to get a ticket to a play based on Chekhov’s abandoned first script.


Katy November 20, 2022 at 9:48 am

Although my library has some cultural passes, they’re extremely limited so that’s amazing!


Regina November 20, 2022 at 6:30 pm

I keep forgetting about making fire starters with dryer lint & toilet paper tubes. I do recycle toilet paper tubes but throw away dryer lint. I need to start doing that & storing them safely.


Katy November 21, 2022 at 11:34 am

I do this and it works great. I’ve already laid the fire for Thanksgiving and it includes maybe six filled toilet paper tubes as I want to not add “endless fiddling with the fire” to an already busy day.


Regina November 20, 2022 at 7:26 pm

Have been as frugal as can be since moving & now having to get new place weather proofed & getting yard cleaned up. Finding new things to fix everyday.
Got first real snow that stayed (6+” in 3 days) then deep freeze (single digit real feel temps). So figuring out new house & what it does & don’t do. Getting lots of insulation put in (what seems like everywhere). As is many others this time of year as supplies are not as cheap as last year. Scheduled a free home energy analysis from utilities company. They do home walk through & give overview of findings. Also receive free bag of energy saving products.
Picked up teen son xmas gift (before Black Friday) & got cheaper than Black Friday sale prices. He knows part of gift but not worried because will use for many years. Only need stocking stuffers.
Unpacking boxes (from move) & found enough holiday cards to send so won’t purchase any this year.
Got few items from free store & have box ready to donate clothes next week when go while r<nning errands on day.
Donating holiday wrapping paper & bags to local church that does holiday baskets for families. Tried to sell at yard sale for 3 years now & still have & won't use.
Bought Thanksgiving cards & got 40% off coupon (with donation for local shelter) so did donation instead of toys for tots this year & got expensive yard pole wanted for price of medium size which will be gift.
Shoveled snow (& teen helped do neighbors for his community service hours needed for graduation). Found used shovels left in shed which were in decent shape.
Cooked all meals at home. Stocked up on Thanksgiving food sale & freezer full. Using leftovers.


Katy November 21, 2022 at 11:33 am

I had someone from the utility company do a home energy analysis maybe twenty years ago and basically received an F- on our 106-year-old house. It’s not insulated and it’s easier to throw on an extra layer than spend the thousands of dollars it would cost to insulate.


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