Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 9, 2023 · 78 comments

  1. I turned 55 this week, which is especially exciting as I now quality for a 10%-off senior discount at Goodwill. (At least on Wednesdays.) As is our custom, we celebrated my birthday by eating stuff and doing stuff.

    Here’s what we ate:
    • Dim sum at Excellent Cuisine for brunch. (So so so good!)
    • Tacos from our friendly neighborhood Mexican food cart. (Also so so so good!)
    • A Costco cheesecake, which might actually have been cheaper than making one from scratch.

    Here’s what we did:
    • Hit up three different Goodwills.
    • Stopped at a Starbucks for a free birthday drink, which was then split into two cups.
    • Found a sopping wet fleece neck gaiter, which I washed and added to our winter gear basket.

    I prefer to not receive much in the way of gifts, but my husband did order me a two-pack of Dundee orange marmalade, (my favorite) which should arrive at any moment.

    I sadly didn’t find anything all that interesting while out thrifting, but it was still fun to scour the Goodwill shelves while on a birthday high. Wednesdays just got a whole lot more interesting!

  2. My dad spent an entire day with me as his car was being serviced by a nearby mechanic. He brought over a loaf of homemade bread, which is his signature dish. He also packed a book of Chekov short stories in case the day ran long, but instead we filled the day chatting, playing cribbage and eating toast. Very frugal.

    My mom and I spent a day together that was supposed to center on hitting the Goodwill Outlet/bins. Unfortunately the parking lot at the bins was 100% full, with six competing cars for every potential spot. We circled and circled and finally gave up. After all, we are still mid-pandemic and a crammed parking lot equals a crammed Goodwill.

    Instead I drove my mom to my house and placated her with fish tacos, McVitie’s digestive biscuits and multiple episodes of Resident Alien. I then assembled a simple dinner of omelettes with Swiss cheese, mushrooms and sautéed greens. Very frugal.

  3. I went to the dented vegetable store and scored two big-ass packages of organic mixed greens for $2 apiece and five enormous avocados priced at 5/$1 (I gave one of the salad mixes to my friend Lise and one of the avocados to my father) I found a penny and then a dime on the ground, (11¢ in 2023 so far!) my daughter brought me three packages of pancetta from her grocery store, I bought five jars of half-price Bonne Maman mixed berry jam for $3.98 each, my neighbor let me put out an extra yard debris bin with her pickup and my friend Lise brought me a birthday goodie bag filled with handmade crackers, cookies, chocolates and cheese.

  4. 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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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Gina January 9, 2023 at 5:16 am

Bon Maman is my favorite jam. I was just lamenting on my irritation of the price hike from $4 to $5.68 in my area – your jar says regular $7.99…YIKES! Just $5.68 has me thinking I’m going to can my own this summer. Not as good but I’ll get used to it. Glad you found a bargain!


Katy January 9, 2023 at 9:49 am

I usually remember to stock up when a specific grocery chain has all peanut butter and jam for half-off right before back to school. This year I forgot, so yay!

And half-off Bonne Maman jam brings it down to a slight splurge price.


Jackie B. January 13, 2023 at 1:53 pm

If you sign up on Bonne Maman’s website, they will give you a $1 coupon on your birthday.


Jill A January 9, 2023 at 5:23 am

Happy Birthday!!!


K D January 9, 2023 at 5:37 am

1. One of our vehicles was due for emissions testing. We went early Saturday then stopped at a Lidl store near the inspection station. This Lidl is much larger than our local store and they had some great holiday clearance. They had organic cinnamon infused maple syrup for $2.49 for an 8 ounce bottle, they had 12 ounce boxes of Niagara chocolates for $1.49/box (regularly $9.99), and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for $.49/bag. I also bought sale priced produce and marked down mushrooms. I also bought Celestial Seasonings herbal tea, the holiday flavors were $.89/box.
2. A friend gave me a pair of cute Vivonic shoes that she never could make work for her.
3. In the past week I bought two $5 produce boxes and a package of turkey chops using the Flash Food app. The grocery store is walking distance from our house. They have all been good deals.
4. I accepted “expired” shelf stable food from a neighbor and have found it new homes via Freecycle. It was food items we do not eat but I was happy to pass along. I try to keep items out of landfills and help the community.
5. I walked with a friend as we had not caught up for a while (she had knee surgery in mid December). DH sealed our kitchen counter, back splash, and tile floor grout using sealant we had.


Christine January 9, 2023 at 10:12 am

Great score on the food from Lidl. Wish we had one around here. Sigh. Although I did find Christmas napkins at Price Chopper for .37 per pack of 16. Bought two packs for next Christmas as I have Christmas Eve every year.


Jill A January 9, 2023 at 6:18 am

Your birthday celebration sounds wonferful. 5/$1 Avocados Wow!!!

1. I went through all of my expected & fixed expenses for the year and put myself on a strict budget for all the rest of the non fixed negotiable expenses – grocery, gas, dining etc. etc.
2. I invited my daughter and her fiance over for dinner this week. We’ll go over the wedding budget and expectations. I’m hoping they can come to a compromise between them. My daughter who just wanted a quicky Taco Bell Chapel wedding in Las Vegas when they visited in October and then save the wedding money for a new furnace/air conditioner or other things they need for their new/old house and her fiance who wants the whole big wedding and all the expense that come with that.
3. I went thrifting with my Mom & sister. I purchased only one item to sell on Ebay. A Lanz Of Salzburg flannel nightgown that was new with tags. We also stopped at a Grocery Outlet store in another town. It’s not like the west coast grocery outlets but small and many expired items and zero produce. I found a good amount of items that were not near or past their sell by date…99 cent spices, fancy baguette with olives baked in…We decided that next time we’ll bring a cooler because there were many things we would have liked to buy but we hadn’t planned this trip.
4. I turned many of the leftovers in the fridge into makeover meals. Beef stew with leftover roast, scalloped potatoes and ham with leftover ham, spaghetti carbonara with a few pieces of leftover Christmas bacon. All of these made many meals for youngest daughter and I. I also took all of the little bits of leftover veggies, potatoes etc and made a meal for myself last night. My fridge is clean and ready for the next round of leftovers.
5. My daughter gave me a large container of Ethiopian coffee beans from her work where they are trying out new coffee vendors. I clipped the new/old lights to my Christmas tree and we hauled it downstairs. I resisted the urge to purchase a new pre-lit tree that was 75% clearanced. I’ve started a new kindle library book. I shipped a couple Ebay sales in recycled boxes and packing material.


Katy January 9, 2023 at 9:41 am

I’d say the avocados were a minor miracle except that it was actually quite major!


Selena January 9, 2023 at 5:22 pm

Did you see someone invented a machine that will tell you (at the store) the ripeness of the avocado? Sounds like a lot of them end up in the landfill. And no surprise, the article stated the US has the most food waste.. sigh..


Katy January 9, 2023 at 9:44 am

I had to look up the Taco Bell wedding to see if that was a real thing, and it is — complete with a sauce packet bouquet!

Very fun!


val January 9, 2023 at 6:30 am

Happy Birthday, Katy!
I remember being excited when I turned 55, for being able to make use of “Senior Day” at Walgreens on the first Tues of the month. Now, at 63, Senior day is decidedly less thrilling to me than early on. I’ve become jaded! ha. Anyways, happy 10% off at Goodwill, and also congrats on finding all the marked down jam. And cheap avocados!


susanna d January 9, 2023 at 8:01 am

Happy birthday, Katy! Enjoy that new “senior discount”! I sure enjoy my discounts. I remember my mom never failed to ask – anywhere and everywhere – if they offered a senior discount. Her thoughts on discounts were “I’ll be old and gray whether I like it or not, so I might as well get some perks for it.” So true.

My 5 frugals:
1. My semi-ancient, old school pedometer was no longer accurate. I decided to replace it with an updated version of its old self, since old school step counters are generally much cheaper than the newer fitness trackers. So I ordered a new pedometer, and shortly after that…
2. My husband informed me that our Medicare supplemental insurance provider was offering free FitBit or Garmin fitness trackers. Are those capable of doing way more than I want or need? Yes, but those are FREE! I signed up for one and it arrived in two days. Which is a minor miracle up here; I’m still waiting for the pedometer I’d originally ordered (ten days ago) to arrive. When that one finally does arrive, it’ll be sent right back for a refund.
3. For Christmas, my eight year old granddaughter gave me a painting she’d made of a wolf (my favorite animal) on a mountain top, with the suggestion that “This would look really good near your front door, so everyone can see it when they come in.” Unfortunately, I’d exhausted my supply of free picture frames. My husband came to the rescue (yet again; that’s twice in one post) and suggested gluing the picture to one of the blank canvases we keep for the grandkids to paint on. Worked perfectly; no frame necessary.
4. The basement garden is burping forth mass quantities of lettuce, which means we have not had to buy the antique greens that pass for “fresh produce” up here for several weeks now.
5. Lots of freezing fog and ice have had us staying home for the past week plus. Or at least, not going anywhere that requires driving; we still hike daily. But not a penny has been spent on gasoline or shopping in stores. Which is making me and my wallet very happy.


Gina January 9, 2023 at 8:39 am

I would love to hear more about your basement garden! I assumed you lived in a warm part of the world. I am tired of the antique lettuce from the market this time of year.


susanna d January 9, 2023 at 12:18 pm

Gina, I live in northern Wisconsin so I’m definitely not in a warm part of the world. We can – and do – get snow as late as May.

While we grow a number of items in our outdoor gardens, the growing season is very limited due to our climate. Between what we grow and what we purchase from a local organic farm, we could cover our veggie needs in summer and part of autumn. But we sure missed super fresh lettuces and greens the rest of the year, so we looked into growing things indoors. We use LED grow lights, which have very little impact on our electricity usage. We started with one long planter of lettuce, and have since added three more planters and an additional grow light. We grow mainly baby mesclun lettuce, along with some chives, scallions and radishes. Those are what we found grew best for us.


Jill D January 9, 2023 at 8:59 am

I wonder if the “free” fitness tracker from a supplemental medical insurer is really a fitness tracker in exchange for your personal data. A simple pedometer that doesn’t connect to an “app” is one thing. A “tracker” that connects to an app so your insurer can “track” you is something else. Just wondering…


susanna d January 9, 2023 at 1:01 pm

Jill D, that’s an interesting question. The fitness tracker was just one of a number of fitness freebies they offered – weights, yoga mats, and several other items, all of which I already owned and did not need any more of. Because of that, I’m more inclined to think tracking wasn’t the reason for the freebies. But even if it was, I’m not worried about them tracking me. From what I read, if I don’t pair the tracker with my phone or computer, it still works on a very limited basis – as in, it’ll count steps. Period. Which would mean I now have a step counter that I can wear on my wrist instead of carrying it in my pocket or clipped to my waistband.

What I wonder about is accuracy (I’ve known people who said their wristband fitness tracker step counts were very inaccurate) and longevity of the device. I’ve had simple, old school pedometers that lasted for years and years whereas my husband’s fitness tracker lasted him exactly one year before going wonky. But it was a different make and model, so I’m hoping for better results.


rebecca January 9, 2023 at 8:28 am

Happy Belated Birthday, Katy!
1. Cooked all week from from scratch except for a rotisserie chicken.
2. Made chicken soup from bits from the above rotisserie chicken and lots of vegetables. So good. I will freeze the carcass for another day.
3. My neighbor let me use her trash and recycling bins for things that would not fit in mine saving me time, energy and money figuring out how to get rid of too much packaging.
4. Watching “The Last Kingdom” on netflix. It is so good. Medieval politics, changing alliances, complex relationships and a gorgeous leading man. A lot of violence, though. Similar to GOT without the dragons.
5. Had a low spend weekend, found free parking, met a friend for lunch and
spent only $20 except for gas.


Joyce January 9, 2023 at 8:32 am

My frugal five
1. Trimmed my hair..meh
2. Cut DH’s hair….stellar
3. Used free fabric to make a rag rug….mostly in pink, not my color
4. Buying only marked down meat as “toppers” to encourage my 12.5 year old dog to eat. Her dad and I keep vegetarian so it works out..
5.did all the ironing at once, saving electricity. See, it pays to procrastinate
6 making a Herculean effort to eat up all the frozen produce from this past garden. I only have about 30 more zucchini, pumpkin or yellow squash breads to bake!


A. Marie January 9, 2023 at 8:42 am

FFT, Welcome to Geezerhood/Rocking the Thrifts/USPS Edition:

(1) Congratulations on attaining senior status at Goodwill, Katy. I try to get over to one of our Rescue Mission/Thrifty Shopper stores on Tuesdays for the 25% senior discount there whenever I have a chance.

(2) The RM/TS chain also had a sale on its gift cards before Christmas. I bought two $100 gift cards for $75 each. The cards have no expiration date, and I will certainly use them (probably sooner rather than later). So this is the equivalent of $50 in free money.

(3) I’ve been working the thrifts in the New Year (for the year-end donations, of course) as my schedule permits. I’ve already scored several 2023 birthday and Christmas/Chanukah presents for friends (what, isn’t everybody shopping for these already?)–including a pair of black Eddie Bauer jeans, size 8 tall, for a tall thin friend.

(4) In other news, for those who may not have heard, the USPS has another offer of COVID testing kits going on. Mine are already in the mail. (I still have to test negative every time I visit DH in his nursing home.)

(5) And the price on first-class Forever stamps is going up to 63 cents on January 22. I’ve been stocking up for some time now–and anyone who, like me, is enough of a geezer to be using snail mail may wish to do likewise.


Katy January 9, 2023 at 9:35 am

Team geezers!


Heidi Louise January 9, 2023 at 9:07 am

Happy birthday, Katy! May your Birthday High last all year long!


Roberta January 9, 2023 at 9:11 am

I have been off school for the past two weeks, which has been wonderful! Lots of walking, eating at home, reading library books. I imagine this is what retirement will be like, and it sounds wonderful.
1. School started today, and I took a substitute assignment that started really early, instead of waiting until second period (when my husband and carpool buddy) needs to be at school. At least I knew I had a job for the first day back! (We carpooled anyway, he just got to school early.)
2. We also have a very full fridge, full of odds and ends leftover from the foodbank, and leftover dinners. Our dinners are looking a little random as well, but it fills everyone up! Tomorrow night it is supposed to rain, and if the okra makes it, we’ll have gumbo for dinner. 🙂
3. At the surplus store, we found a 25 pound box of granola. I looked it up online, and the sugar content isn’t too crazy, especially if you cut it with some of the 40 pounds of bulk pecans we bought a few weeks back. Granola was $13, pecans were about $14. Breakfasts are sorted for the forseeable future! Does anyone know if you can cook up granola like oatmeal? If no one has tried it, I’ll do the science and report back.
4. Used foraged nettles from the front yard in lieu of spinach in garlic soup, and in stuffed mushrooms at Christmas. If you let them wilt for 15 minutes after you pick them, you can clean them without them stinging you.
5. Found a couple balls of crochet string at the thrift store, that I’m using to expand a rag rug that the kids use as a bath mat. The one I made before was too small, so this will make the mat more useful and give me something to do with my hands while watching shows.

Sadly, we also have to have a tree trimmed this week. It will cost the very earth, but it should prevent the tree from falling apart, which would be more expensive and less like having a beautiful shade tree in the yard.


Katy January 9, 2023 at 9:34 am

Tree work is crazy expensive, but them when you see how many people it takes, how dangerous it is and how much equipment they have to own it starts to make sense. But yes, it’s a stab to the wallet.


Selena January 9, 2023 at 5:29 pm

Liability and Workman’s comp are major expenses. We should all thank our lucky stars we have no need to call in a crane service.
A good tree service is worth every penny. Even better is after you hire them, they hire you (as in the better half) to do some work for them.


susanna d January 10, 2023 at 7:26 am

Having had an unexpected $6000+ expense a few months ago when two giant trees fell (one of them across our driveway) and those two fallen trees played dominoes with over a dozen other trees, I totally understand the sting of the cost. But I appreciate the tree company so much that I cried – literally – when the person I talked to said “You mean that if you needed emergency services, they couldn’t get to your house? I’ll have someone out in an hour to at least get your driveway cleared and we’ll do the rest next week.” Living in the woods, we have chainsaws and can do small cuttings ourselves but these trees were giants. Our tree company has been a blessing to us over the years, even if it’s sometimes an expensive blessing.


Amanda P January 10, 2023 at 5:28 am

Yes, I’m happy to report that you can cook granola like oatmeal and it tastes great. I’ve tried it in a Crock-Pot with milk and also just microwaved with milk, both were great and I’m sure stovetop would be good as well.


MB in MN January 9, 2023 at 9:48 am

Happy Birthday, Katy! I’m so glad you were born.

1. Travel travails continue! We had to evacuate our Airbnb in Sacramento twice due to ongoing storms. We didn’t feel safe and comfortable there anyway, so our host offered to refund the rest of our stay. He didn’t have to do this, so it’s an unexpected gift. Checked into hotel until we can find another place for the rest of January and February.
2. This hotel also waived the pet fee for us – unasked for. Second time this has happened in two weeks.
3. Picked up a lemon that had fallen from a tree in the neighborhood where we stayed. (I almost got an orange, too, but my 2-year-old great-nephew threw it at the tree in an attempt to put the orange back where it came from. So cute that I didn’t mind losing out on free citrus.)
4. The Airbnb needed a few kitchen items so we went to Goodwill and Target. We’ll be able to use them whenever we find a permanent home.
5. Donated finished books to Little Free Libraries.


Bee January 9, 2023 at 2:37 pm

California is really getting pummeled. I opened instagram this morning to see my favorite California seaside coffee shop flooded by waves Since I live in Florida, I have seen this many times here, but never have I seen this in California even in the winter. Stay safe and I hope you find a great place to stay for the next two months. Do you want to stay in Sacramento?


MB in MN January 9, 2023 at 5:31 pm

Bee, thank you. All the damage is so sad and surreal. We’re in Sacramento to help our niece and family with new baby #2. If it weren’t for that, we’d flee!


Bee January 10, 2023 at 11:22 am

New babies are so special!!!! It’s lovely that you are able to help,


Christine January 9, 2023 at 10:06 am

Happy Birthday Katy!
1. I found a dime in the road and one on the floor in a store.
2. I made a cake from scratch with from scratch frosting for DH for his birthday. We had a few friends and relatives over to help celebrate.
3. Keeping the heat at 65 degrees during the day when we are home, 60 degrees at night or when we’ll be out for more than an hour. This winter hasn’t been as cold as usual in the Northeast and that has been such a plus.
4. Reading lots of library books and books I picked up for .25 at a thrift shop. My library has initiated some new programs, one of which is Spice of the Month. This month is Cardamom. Each patron can receive 2 Tbsp. of ground Cardamom and however many printed recipes of the five that are offered.
5. Frugal fail: We have a screw in one of our tires and need a new one. The good news is the other three tires are still good and we have an emergency fund to cover the cost of the new tire, about $270.


Jill A January 9, 2023 at 11:38 am

I’d love a spice of the month club!!


Christine January 10, 2023 at 2:09 pm

I’m excited about it! The recipes that are offered all use Cardamom. My mother was Swedish and I have tried without success to make a good Swedish Coffee Bread using Cardamom. I’m going to try two recipes from the library’s printouts: Cardamom Pound Cake and Snickerdoodle Party Cookies. Hopefully I’ll have better luck than I did with the Swedish Coffee Bread!


Ava January 9, 2023 at 10:37 am

1. Took turns with the husband being sick, so we didn’t go anywhere or eat much for days.
2. On husband’s turn to be sick, I made him matzo ball soup from mix purchased on sale. Used frozen chicken broth from a previous rotisserie chicken carcass.
3. Read library books and did a Christmas gift jigsaw puzzle while recovering.
4. Found a penny.
5. Started working on Christmas items to list on Etsy next year.


Lisa January 9, 2023 at 10:53 am

Frugal Five:
— My oldest moved back hom into the basement. Bad for him (broken heart caused the decision to move home) but good for me. Since we’re in the same household now, we sat down and combined some streaming accounts. Mostly savings for him, but that’s OK. He’s in the basement where the wood burning stove is, and keeps it going on cold days — reducing the need for other heat. He’s a good cook, and diligent about using up things. and he has instituted Thursday night game night — free entertainment!
— I do Microsoft Rewards every morning. A quick quiz and other clicks while I’m having my morning coffee. I’m easily entertained, what can I say? I’m not diligent about cashing in the points, though — so today I ordered a $60 spotify gift certificate that will take care of the family account for 5 months. And I ocasionally redeem for Amazon gift cards — but don’t enter them into my Amazon account, but instead save them for Christmas. Well, I forgot to use them this year — so I redeemed them today for a total of $140 added to Amazon. It will sit until there’s something that we need. I prefer to shop local, but sometimes there’s something that’s so much cheaper on Amazon that I just can’t bring myself to spend double in order to spend local.
— COVID got me away from spending cash, but I have coins mostly gathered pre-COVOD that have been sitting. I finally cashed them in this weekend — $124.39 – more than I expected.
— Lunch yesterday was inspired by an instagram post by Diane Morrisey. I don’t think she’s a chef, but has good, practical ideas. Her post was about using up leftovers by using crusts to make a sort of free-form pie. I pulled mustard, ham, spinach, cheese, garlic (someone chopped garlic and left it in the fridge?) out of the fridge and added onion + egg wash on top + everything bagel seasoning. Used up a bunch of leftovers, including the crusts that have been hanging in my fridge too long (but I couldn’t pass them up at $0.50 ea). A big hit with the fam, and finished off the ham I bought at an after Christmas sale.
— Dinner yesterday was Turkey & Rice soup and Turkey & white bean chili — both from the freezer that had been made using our Thanksgiving Turkey. So Thanksgiving is officially over in our house, LOL.


Ruby January 9, 2023 at 11:23 am

Happy birthday, Katy! Your birthday celebration sounds great.

My whole household has been sick with some coughing crud, but I felt well enough Friday to mask up and go grocery shopping with a list and a tight budget. Big score of the trip: a chuck roast marked down to $11.74 that was big enough to make plenty of pot roast and a pound of diced soup beef for the freezer.

The pot roast made a huge amount of gravy. I froze the excess for making roasted veggies with gravy.

We buy paper towels mainly to clean up pet messes and were running low. The best deals are at the drugstore. Today I caught the sale and used $2 in points on my shoppers card to pay $6 plus tax for 12 rolls.

Mended a tiny hole in the tail of a super cute shirt that cost all of $1.58 at the thrift shop. It was a matter of four quick stitches by hand.

Our electric bill went up only three dollars from the November bill to the December bill, so everything we are doing to keep electric use down seems to be working.


Katy January 9, 2023 at 12:10 pm

Pot roast is my favorite dish!


Lindsey January 9, 2023 at 12:41 pm

1. Accepted the leftovers of a casserole the neighbor offered since her family refuses to eat leftovers. It was not made of my favorite ingredients but since the costs of our Christmas day frozen pipes saga continue to show up (rebuilding furnace, new washer that was destroyed when pipes burst, dryer that fried from the water hitting the electronics, and new garage door that shuts automatically after 5 minutes so this won’t happen again at 20, 30 or 40 below zero…) I took it with thanks and we ate it. Free food means less to spend on eating this week. We are not destitute by any means but I feel naked with our emergency fund having been emptied by all this.
2. Did a mystery shop for $100. It is not often that I find something terrible about a store but this time I was in my wheelchair and the cashier checking me out actually made a crack about how she has to stand for her entire shift and it must be nice to have an excuse to sit all the time. If I were not sitting down I would have fallen over in shock. So, I made money and hope that when they read my comments, the store will do some sensitivity training about things not to say to folks in a wheelchair.
3. Sold an item on eBay, packaged it in a box we had saved, and picked up a post office shop so that paid for the postage. This is the second time I have managed to do this and I always feel a little thrill that I get paid for the shop and also manage to make a slightly higher profit on the item being sold because I get to keep the money I would have spent on postage.
4. Made homemade halvah as a gift for a friend’s birthday, from ingredients I already had.
5. Someone on our local free group had three bags of hedgehog food, as their pet had died. I asked for a bag and when no one else wanted the other two bags, a week later she contacted me to see if I wanted the remaining two. Yes, please.

Happy birthday and many more. Thanks for keeping this blog going.


Ruby January 9, 2023 at 1:45 pm

Oh, Lindsey, the hits just keep on coming with the garage door disaster. 🙁 And that was just horrible about the cashier thinking sitting in a wheelchair is taking it easy!


Katy January 9, 2023 at 2:06 pm

You took one for the team by eating that casserole.


Hawaii Planner January 9, 2023 at 2:17 pm

What an insensitive thing for the clerk to say, Lindsey! I’m sorry they made that thoughtless comment.


Bee January 9, 2023 at 2:23 pm

Oh no! What an incredibly rude thing to say to you! So sorry.


Christine January 9, 2023 at 2:53 pm

Lindsey, is halvah a Polish food? I work in a Polish deli and a woman came in the other day and asked for it. We had some before Christmas but sold out. What is in it?


Lindsey January 9, 2023 at 4:20 pm

It is Middle Eastern/Jewish in origin, I have been taught. It is like a seseme fudge. There are a lot of recipes on line but the one I use came from the NY Times cooking section and uses tahini, sugar or honey, vanilla bean, lemon and salt. I add chopped pistacho and then put chopped nuts on the top, too. I am Lithuanian and centuries ago Vilnius was once the capital of Jewish learning so a lot of the foods have a Jewish connection. I was raised Catholic and grew up eating it and thought it was a Catholic food until I was an adult! My father often gave it to us on Friday as a sort of reward, so I somehow connected it with eating no meat on Friday. It is still my favorite sweet.


Katy January 9, 2023 at 5:27 pm

My dad loves halvah and we’d have it as a special occasion treat. I’ve always thought of it as Jewish, but had never done any research.


Lindsey January 9, 2023 at 5:54 pm

If your father likes halvah and chocolate (and I know he bakes bread) he may want to try making halvah and chocolate challah. The problem I have is not eating it all in one sitting, so seldom make it. My father also loved halvah. As a single father of six, back in the 60s when that was very rare, the end of his work week meant he was totally exhausted and he didn’t like cooking fish. He would take us all to McDonalds for filet of fish and, if we had been good all week, halvah for dessert and TV for the evening.

A. Marie January 9, 2023 at 5:17 pm

Lindsey, your #1 and #2 are both appalling, in different ways. Best wishes on rebuilding your emergency fund. And I hope that the store management listens to your comments about the insensitive cashier.


MB in MN January 9, 2023 at 8:03 pm

Lindsey, I’m sorry you were on the receiving end of insensitive stupidity.


Jill A January 10, 2023 at 6:05 am

I’m going to have to go back on the posts and read about the garage door disaster. Wow. That sounds terrible. That cashier…no words.


susanna d January 10, 2023 at 7:55 am

Lindsey, I had missed the original post on the garage door disaster so I went back and read it. Oh my gosh! That’s a Christmas day to remember, but definitely not in a good way.

And I’m absolutely stunned by the complete lack of compassion and sensitivity from the cashier. I’m so sorry you were subjected to it. Hopefully management addresses the issue immediately, and your comments help prevent others from being subjected to that kind of ignorance.


Ava January 10, 2023 at 1:03 pm

Lindsey, I suppose the cashier was trying to be funny and chatty but some people don’t think before speaking whatever pops into their heads. You must have been stunned to hear such a thing.


Bee January 9, 2023 at 2:18 pm

Happy Birthday, Katy!!!! I’m jealous of your senior citizens discount. In Florida, everyone is old; therefore, few places have a senior citizens discount until the age of 65.

My DH had a big birthday this weekend too, We also celebrated by having fun, but not necessarily frugally. My eldest son and I took the whole family to lunch at his favorite restaurant on the Intracoastal Waterway. This is a big treat! It was a picture-perfect January afternoon in Florida. Then my eldest took him to a football game where they tailgated with friends. He had so much fun. It made me happy to see him so happy.

I did bring home half my lunch from the restaurant which I ate the next day.

We don’t regularly exchange present, but I did buy him two gifts meant to save money in the long run.
A) I bought him a water bottle with a built in filter. He travels for work. Although the airports often have refill stations, the water- especially in the Atlanta airport—is unfiltered and tastes terrible. Now he can foregoing bottled water.
B) I also gave him an RFID blocking wallet. There has been an enormous upsurge in credit card theft recently. DH has had the info on his business card stolen and our personal American Express card. Most likely this occurred in the Atlanta airport. Many of his colleagues have also had their cards compromised. They cards that have been stolen have the tap payment feature. Be careful especially when traveling. I have enrolled in the text feature on all our cards. I receive a whenever a charge occurs on one of our cards.

I have been eating down the pantry, refrigerator and freezer this January supplementing what’s on hand with a few perishables. Tonight’s dinner plan includes some spinach that needs to be eaten and frozen cod.

I loaned some of my cold weather clothing items to my sister who is traveling out West unexpectedly for a funeral. We often share things like this.

I have a stack of library books on my nightstand. I hope I’ll get a chance to read them all. All my holds came up at once. I also have downloaded books to listen to as I work around the house.

Wishing everyone peace and good health.


Jill A January 10, 2023 at 6:08 am

Your dinner plans sound a lot like mine lately. My freezer really needs to be excavated.


Hawaii Planner January 9, 2023 at 2:25 pm

1) Eating lots of leftovers, & things from the freezer. Sometimes, they are not my favorite, but often I’m surprised & enjoy them, wondering why it took me so long to get to them.
2) Made homemade protein bars for my hungry teens, who want quick & easy pre gym/soccer snacks.
3) Listed a few items on eBay.
4) Went through two closets (hall & coat) & decluttered a bunch, and gave a ton away on Buy Nothing. Frugal for other people!
5) Took the time to go through all of the ski bags, in hopes of finding the mates to two missing gloves. One was located. The other is still gone, but I’ve at least saved the cost of one replacement pair.


Kathy January 9, 2023 at 4:13 pm

1. My jobcation from central Oklahoma to Palm Springs ended up with me coming down with the flu. $44.11 for tamiflu plus 3 days off work is costly
2. Received 2 class action settlement checks which totaled over $150
3. Missed my plane by 2 minutes as my flight was 20 minutes late arriving. United booked me on the next flight which resulted in an overnight stay plus $30 in food vouchers paid by United
4. Sons girlfriend works for a dermatologist so she brought skin care samples that will last a long time
5. Happy Birthday Katy. Love long and prosper


Katy January 9, 2023 at 5:29 pm

Did you mean “live” long and prosper? The trekkie in me needs to know.


Kathy January 10, 2023 at 5:06 am

Yes live long and prosper


Bee January 10, 2023 at 11:24 am

Love long and prosper is a nice sentiment too.


Katy January 10, 2023 at 1:11 pm

It really is.


Mary Ann January 9, 2023 at 4:48 pm

1. 2 boxes of graham cracker crust for .99 at grocery Outlet. I added them with dried gojiberries, our walnuts ( we farm walnuts) and little bits of dark chocolate about to bloom. I food proceed it all and put it over yoghurt thus meeting my goal for no more Starbucks or frozen yoghurts in January.
2. Mom came to our house in Central Valley because of flooding. She likes Doc Martin. I signed up for a free Acorn subscription and will cancel it.
3. I returned a $150 dollar pair of shoes. I know, I know but I have very bad feet and I teach for a living. There is no price for painfree. The shoes I decided were just for their looks. Nope. I replaced with a a consignment version for $37.
4. I froze persimmons that were squishy. I will make bread out of them.
5. Frugal fail: I signed up for Delta American Express and neglected to connect automatic payment ( like I always do.) Amex Ex charged me $40 late fee and interest. A $70 lesson. Wow I had never had to deal with Amex Ex before. I will cancel the card as soon as I have used the miles because apparently they disappear if you do it early.


Donna January 9, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Happiest of birthdays, Katy! You have inspired me to start the birthday day of adventures. I enjoy reading about the fun you have!


Katy January 9, 2023 at 5:25 pm

Thank you! What things do you like to do on your birthday?


Cindy in the South January 9, 2023 at 5:51 pm

Happy birthday!!!! It is especially divine you now qualify for the Foodwill discounts! Happy hunting!!!!


Cindy in the South January 9, 2023 at 5:52 pm

Goodwill, although a Food discount somewhere would be awesome also!


Katy January 9, 2023 at 5:53 pm

Mmm . . . “Foodwill.”

Seriously though, thank you for the birthday wishes!


Jennifer January 9, 2023 at 6:21 pm

Happy, happy birthday! I hope you had a good day – it does sound like it!

1. We “gave” my old car to my ds and are trying to turn over all responsibility of it to him. Today he went to Wal-mart and bought a filter and oil and came home and changed the oil himself. Win-win! I guess he had to call my dh several times but he did it! Next time I bet he can do it without calling at all.

2. Cooked large meals twice over the weekend and we have had plenty of leftovers for lunches for beginning of the week.

3. When I realized only my dh and I would be home for dinner I changed my dinner plans to use the last of the pierogies from the farmers market last summer. Just enough for 2 people. Since we still have leftovers from the weekend I didn’t want to cook the large meal I had planned and have a ton more right away.

4. Have successfully taught 2 of my children to transfer half their paychecks to savings each time. They have been doing it for a few months and their savings accts are growing rapidly. They don’t have many expenses but when it was sitting in checking they were more tempted to spend. If only I could get my other 2 to do the same, but they are older with more expenses and life is just expensive right now.

5. Kept my grocery spending to $65 last week and I am starting to see space in the freezers and pantry. Only ate out once and that was preplanned with friends prior to a concert. I’m glad I got back in the habit of cooking at home because for a few months there I was really struggling and we were eating out way too much.


Katy January 9, 2023 at 6:46 pm

Thank you for the birthday wishes!!


Crunchycon January 10, 2023 at 4:43 am

Happy belated birthday to my fellow Capricorn. And enjoy the discounts. I’ve gotten pretty good at just asking “do you have a senior (or military – I’m married to a veteran) discount? I’ve been pleasantly surprised many times.


Julie January 10, 2023 at 2:09 pm

Happy Birthday Katy!
My frugal things are lots more of the same everyday stuff.
1-Doing my usual January eat from the pantry/freezer challenge. Its always interesting to see what we have stashed away.
2-There has been no take out not even a coffee this month. That always feels like a win in the dreary days of January.
3-I was picked for several nice items in our BN group, 5 rolls of never used Christmas wrapping paper, yes please. I was down to the last roll & have room to store this until next year. Then some very expensive hair product, I have curly hair so I am always on the lookout for something to manage them and I would never spend $25.00 on a cream for my hair.
4-I took the time to submit some claims before the deadline expires, its not a lot of money but it all adds up.
5-Sorted through my coupons and am going to try and make a point of increasing the grocery savings through rewards and coupons this year. Like every where our grocery costs are crazy, now only if I could convince DH and the city chickens are pets.


Katy January 10, 2023 at 2:25 pm

The “same everyday stuff” is actually the big picture.


Jann in Maine January 11, 2023 at 2:10 am

Happy Belated Birthday,Katy. I also had a day of events thrifting for my Dec birthday and ended up with Covid! Despite masks we did eat in a restaurant and that was my birthday present. Sigh. We have a dearth of chains up here (good thing) so all those birthday discounts are lost on me.
You are right the things that we do that we don’t think that they are money saving skills. And during these times of higher food prices our skill set is being tested and shown to work. Baby steps add up.
Our electric rates went up Jan 1 by 40% here in Maine. Should be interesting especially for those with heat pumps which tend to increase the bills during the winter months.
Eating from the refrigerator and freezer. My refrigerator is a condiment refrigerator full of things that are used to make other things.
Still making coffee at home. drinking well water, cooking at home and trying to live gently. That’s really important to me.
Happy New Year and may it be a wonderful one for all!


Katy January 11, 2023 at 10:51 am

It’s important to be able to pivot with change.


Karen A. January 11, 2023 at 11:24 am

1. Returned a duvet cover that turned out to be made in China, not the USA, as I thought. Even though I had to pay a return fee, I then found a cheaper, more comfortable cover that was not made in China, so I figure I came out ahead in the end! I know I could hunt around the Goodwill stores for bedding but….even my frugal husband would balk at that, I think. Plus it would require a lot of driving, which I try to avoid.

2. Hung up several loads of laundry inside to dry rather than use the dryer. Even with a fan on in the laundry room to aid the drying, it uses much less energy. We’ve saved about 10% on our electric this past cycle, between that and switching two computers to laptops rather than desktops.

3. Used my toaster oven to bake brownies, a pan of lasagna, and make personal pizzas, saving energy over using the big oven. When my kids move out eventually they’re going to be advised to get a toaster oven, rather than a toaster, and to get one that can fit a 9×13 pan, because it is SO handy. Even with a larger family, I find myself using the toaster oven for baking, say, a pan of brownies. The oven is only for when I have to make three (or four) pans of something.

4. Because our bedroom is near the kitchen, to avoid being woken up by kids coming in to get a drink of water in the middle of the night, we had put a small fridge in the hall bathroom. We had been stocking that with small bottles of water, but finally got around to getting everybody their own, unbreakable bedside cups. A jug of water fits in the small fridge. People can get refills easily, and there’s so much less waste and expense. (I can hear all the people reading this crying out “What about tapwater?” Our tapwater tastes absolutely horrible, and we have so many random boil advisories, and we rent, so installing a whole house filter isn’t an option. We do catch rainwater and filter that and drink it/use it for cooking, though.

5. Used Amazon rewards points for some needed items rather than impulse items–my NY resolution is to buy fewer books! This is a hard one for me, but I really do need to curb that desire to collect books.

6. Decided eggs are going to be for baking only, no longer a lunch or breakfast item–they’re just too expensive for me to justify scrambling a couple for myself. But I can justify using a couple (or four) in a big pan of brownies or cornbread, because that can stretch to feed the whole family.


Katy January 11, 2023 at 3:05 pm

That’s a good reminder about using the toaster oven for baking. Mine is currently in the basement as it takes up too much room on the counter.


Selena January 11, 2023 at 12:22 pm

Customer service leaves a lot to be desired as of late – the differences between two locations of a business can be night and day.
Upgraded our cell service but decreased the bill by around $8/month. Nothing earth shattering but a hard (or soft) dollar saved is just that.
Despite January electric billing period being 5 degrees colder, we used less kilowatt hours. While we did pay an electrician to replace a couple of items (better half is really good at knowing his limitations when it comes to electric/plumbing). We’ve been recouping what we paid the electrician.


Bethany M January 13, 2023 at 7:19 am

Sold a file cabinet that I didn’t need anymore. $20

Had leftover night last night.

Spending Jan 15th at my parents and doing the Levi Coffin House for free on MLK day.

Going to Costco today. I’m just spending my rewards check.

Paying down our HELOC rapidly. We are so thankful that we didn’t trust the Feds and go with a variable rate. We locked a year and a half ago while rates were incredible, but paying it down as fast as possible anyway because even low interest is no fun!


Selena January 13, 2023 at 7:59 pm

We too locked in a fixed rate HELOC at the lowest rate it hit (not a lot of financial institutions offered fixed rate HELOCs). We’ve had a HELOC for a long time, used it once years ago. Used to be the term was open ended but now most are for a five year term (at least in my area). When this one expires, not sure if we’ll open another or not. Might be better to earmark the money (aka written down in the back of the register and not reflected in the register proper) for the one major repair these days that the HELOC would cover. Might be more prudent to open a couple of credit cards that we use periodically (we always pay off the balance every month) for that purpose. Then the house is not “at risk” IF for some reason, we could not make HELOC payments.
I’m a few years away from that and it will be part of my retirement planning. Our line is but a fraction of our home’s value. Since the age for RMD has increased to 72 1/2, I’ll have to rethink my retirement as better half is older than I am. Then again if the debt ceiling isn’t raised (debt ceiling exists so we can pay what the country OWES so it irks me to no end when the nutcases act like it means the federal budget will increase.. sigh), we’ll have a global meltdown and I’ll have to REALLY rethink things out!


whoiscall September 20, 2023 at 9:58 am



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