Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 24, 2023 · 88 comments

  1. My daughter continues to gift me with random groceries from her job at a high end grocery store. This week it was two huge hunks of pre-cooked ham. Ham’s not my favorite, (so rubbery!) but I do like how it adds a smoky richness to bean soup. My friend Lise had panic bought a survivalist amount of black eyed peas at the beginning of the pandemic and later foisted a big bag on me.

    Free ham + free black eyed peas = a tasty combination.

    I cooked up the black eyed peas and added onion, rice, diced carrots, celery, chicken bullion and chopped ham, which created a flavorful, albeit heavy meal. (Or four meals!) I then diced and froze a gallon-size bag and thinly sliced the last of the ham for my husband’s work sandwiches.

  2. My mother gave me $100 for my birthday, which I used to purchase a robot vacuum cleaner, which I’ve secretly coveted since they first rolled off the assembly line. I follow John and Sherry over at Young House Love, and they recently mentioned on social media that the Eufy vacuum they recommend was on sale for just $96. John is an obsessive researcher of products, so I felt I could trust the product.

    I’ve used the same plain Jane vacuum cleaner since 2001, with no plans of replacing it for something cuter. However, I’ve grown sensitive to dust and pet hair and felt that a robo-vacuum could better clean under our bed, which collects a shocking amount of dusty grey matter. For reference, the above photo is from the second cycle of cleaning of our clean looking bedroom!

    I’m only on day two of using the robot vacuum, but am unabashedly ecstatic with it. The amount of crap that it vacuums up is impressive, not just from areas I know to be dusty, but from other rooms in the house as well. To quote my neatnik father, “It’s not a chore if you’re a clean freak.”

  3. My niece and her boyfriend visited Portland, and although they mostly stayed with my father, I still had them for a couple nights and spent multiple days ferrying them around and hosting dinners at my house. My mom did spring for takeout one night, but I also cooked, including a frugal yet delicious taco buffet night that accommodated their vegan lifestyle.

    Thank you, versatility of black beans!

  4. My daughter also brought home three tubes of Pillsbury croissants, I can’t find my laptop charger, so my son is bringing me an backup one to borrow, (which is directly correlated to the lateness of this blog post) I lent my niece some extra hats, gloves and scarves to go cross country skiing, my husband was able to fix our whiny bitch non-functioning oven with a $40 part, I’m almost done listening to Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin through the free Libby app, and one of my husband’s co-workers gave him a dozen eggs from his backyard chickens.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

Madeline January 24, 2023 at 3:35 pm

EGGS!!!?? You got free eggs?????????? Score!

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Melissa January 24, 2023 at 5:33 pm

EXACTLY what went through my mind!

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Mar January 24, 2023 at 4:11 pm

I could never live without my Robot vac. Never ever.

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Selena January 24, 2023 at 4:26 pm

I should seriously consider renting out my spouse. He initiates the “it’s time to move and clean” on a regular basis. Rotation of area rugs/mattresses are also on “the schedule”. Let me know when a robot duster is invented and worth the cash outlay.

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Selena January 24, 2023 at 4:27 pm

Kudos to your blog software – it remove the words insert-name-of-furniture-or-appliance I have placed between a less than sign and a greater than sign after the “it’s time to move”.

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Ruby January 24, 2023 at 5:25 pm

A box of eggs is like getting a little box of gold. And we freaking love our robot vac, who we named Thing after the disembodied hand servant in The Addams Family. We have three long-haired 20-ish pound dogs and three large cats. Without Thing, even if we vacuum conventionalky every day, pet hair tumbleweeds waft across the floorboards.

My five frugal things: altered three blouses to make them fit better (two were too big, one needed better button placement); took a bunch of just past best by date food and turned it into lovely dishes; cooked and ground up a tough as a shoe pork loin roast for the dogs, who are loving it; crocheted a table mat with thrifted yarn; and gave my hair a pretty good trim because money is tight and no 25 buck trips to the salon are happening for the next few months.

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Christine January 24, 2023 at 6:25 pm

1. I bought an in-the-package tube of Great Lash Mascara at my church’s thrift shop for .50.
2. I purchased a new shower curtain marked 75% off for $10 and change with a gift card I had received for Christmas. Put up my new cloth shower curtain and used the old cloth outer one as a liner. DH decided he wanted my old plastic liner because he didn’t have one in his shower. I had just “de-molded” it using Katy’s method of scrubbing the moldy area with an abrasive cleanser and sponge so it’s still in good shape.
3. The cast iron Dutch oven I use to make bread weighs 17 pounds. Instead of continuing to drag it out of my pots and pans cabinet every time I make bread, I set it up with a decorative dish towel I already own spread out on a pretty table I purchased at a thrift shop for $10 a few months back. Easy to get at when I want to use it and I think it looks homey and cozy in the corner of my kitchen.
4. Entertainment this wintry week has been a $1 thrift shop jigsaw puzzle and library books. It’s been too cold/drizzly/rainy/snowy/windy to enjoy walking trails or the neighborhood.
5. Still setting my cruise control at 64 mph on the highway to get the most out of my gas money. I could go slower and get more bang for my buck but impatience overtakes me. That’s about all I got today.

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:43 am

“Katy’s method?” I’m famous!

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Nicola January 24, 2023 at 7:16 pm

I would like to highly recommend the style of rug/clothing lint/hair remover where one is a copper implement and the other part of the set is plastic, for clothes. They look like a squeegee shape. I recently bought one and omg it’s just as good as the fb ads show!! The amount of loose hairs and fluff it pulls from a freshly vacuumed rug is outrageous. It’s so fun too.
My most frugal activity this week was catching the rabbit that someone had dumped in the Provincial park just up the road, and that had taken up residence in our yard. It was a sweet little thing, but I do need to grow food, so it is being rehomed with a responsible person who has a colony.
The few new seeds I needed are starting to arrive, and the planting is going to start soon :-).

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Bee January 25, 2023 at 5:03 am

I have a family of wild rabbits that has moved into the natural area behind my house. It makes me happy to watch them, but I am finding it difficult to keep Rescue Pup from seeking them out. She began life as a hunting dog in South Georgia. Old habits are hard to break!

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Kathy January 24, 2023 at 8:00 pm

1. Hubby’s quarter prescription is now $250 less than last time
2. Received a $10 visa gift card from health insurance by filling out a survey
3. Staring to receive birthday freebie emails
4. Sold an item online
5. Packed cliff bar and to go cup this am

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Cathy January 24, 2023 at 9:10 pm

My son has a robot vacuum and a robot floor washer. He’s named them Dusty and Sudsy. They’re both programmed on his phone and send him reports as they clean. It’s so Jetsons! (and they do amazing work)

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:41 am

I’ve dubbed mine “Amelia Bedelia!”

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MB in MN January 24, 2023 at 9:13 pm

1. Got a long overdue haircut. Found a Great Clips and was pleasantly surprised at the price here in California.

2. As a new Great Clips customer, I received a coupon for a $13.99 haircut within 60 days. Good at any location.

3. Split a chai tea latte with my husband at a coffee shop.

4. Received a free bag of dog food from my niece. She had bought it for her dog who didn’t like it.

5. At Sprouts, we got a coupon for $5 off our next $50 purchase.

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Bee January 26, 2023 at 4:18 am

I’m glad things have quieted done in California. I hope you can enjoy the rest of your visit.,

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MB in MN January 26, 2023 at 1:29 pm

Thanks, Bee! The weather has been wonderful, our housing is settled, and we have more of a routine.

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Ecoteri January 24, 2023 at 11:02 pm

I am so glad I have chickens, although with the price of feed my eggs aren’t cheap, and I tend to gift them to my mom and kids so… however, the yolks are so orangey-red they astonish anyone who hasn’t had them before, as the chickens are escape artists and supplement their kibble with many bugs from outside their run.
1. Girlfriend loaded 5 bags/boxes of clothing into my daughter’s car for me to give to a friend working in a thrift store. Daughter’s eyes lit up and she and I did a thorough fashion show – lots of mens style clothing that she lusted after, some was baggy on her but worked, she took away two bags worth. The larger clothing was put aside for her MUCH taller brother, #2 son, who gave me a fashion show out of the pile we saved for him. HE went away with another bag’s worth of lovely sweaters and one pair of pants. He is uber-skinny, so some of the pants have been put aside for #1 son to take a look at. Thrift store pile reduced to one box, with another couple of bags containing items for the local homeless shelter. Repurpose for the WIN!
2. Same girlfriend returned to me the dehydrators that she had borrowed to make some camping meals for her husband and son, who are doing some fancy boat racing in the Caribbean. The boats are pretty stripped and basic, and her son has learned that mom’s camping meals beat out the freeze dried by miles. Girlfriend only needs the dehydrators a couple of times a year, so this is frugal for her and we do lots of sharing of resources (see #1 above, LOL)
3. picked up three big 1 pound bags of sugar snap peas for $.99 each from the Flashfood app. I am on a get-healthy for an adventure-of-my-lifetime trip, which includes calorie reduction. Sugar snap peas are satisfying to crunch on and mostly contribute protein and fiber. Deal on the price, usually $8 for these bags This is the second time I have purchased them at this kind of discount, and now I know that I love them so I will keep an eye out for another offer.
4. Located a thicker yoga-style mat in one of the spare bedrooms – added it to my current two thin dollar store mats, as now I am doing (FREE YOUTUBE) pilates as well as my other exercises, and my tush likes the cush!
5. Reading tonnes on Libby app, limiting my errands to maximize efficiency and reduce retail therapy spending, walking the dog and doing youtube programs rather than joining a gym, working hard on reducing food waste and eating out of the pantry, fridge, freezers, basement canning extravaganza room….

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:41 am

Yes the yolks on our home laid eggs were a delightful rich orange!

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Danielle C January 25, 2023 at 9:08 am

Oooo I’m super curious about DIY dehydrated meals! My son discovered backpacking this year and I have a feeling this is going to get expensive.

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Ecoteri January 25, 2023 at 9:36 pm

@Danielle C, my friend seems to make up fairly oil-free chilli or pulled pork or other flavourful meats/meals, spread them thinly on the trays and dehydrate until REALLY dry. reconstitute with boiling water and keep warm for a bit so it rehydrates. Decades (literally) ago I had a lovely book called ‘simple foods for the pack’ but it appears to be out of print. If you cook up rice you can dehydrate it and it reconstitutes nicely. same with noodles, those I would put a tomato sauce on . Some folk dry things separately and mix when they are heading out, others make up the meals. You can dry most veggies (carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, etc) some are best blanched first, some best cooked first. the Excalabur Dehydrator website has a lot of information (I have watched videos for hours) oh and you can dry frozen veggies to get them out of the freezer and reduce storage!

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Lindsey January 25, 2023 at 10:51 am

I grow a lot of orange marigolds, as they are one of the husband’s favorite flowers. I feed the heads that are too small for vases to our chickens, which makes the summer yolks even more vivid.

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Em January 24, 2023 at 11:35 pm

1. Found a lovely Anthropologie duster sweater at a local resale shop. I grabbed it for 17.99 , knowing I could easily flip it. I paraded around in it for a day, then realized it was absolutely not practical, so I listed on Poshmark and sold for an 80 dollar profit in less than 24 hours!
2. We also occasionally receive gifted grocery store *destined for the dumpster* food. I pulled out frozen baby carrots, peas, and shredded chicken from the stash of free food and was able to make two nice casseroles to give to someone who has just had a baby.
3. Husband made chicken broth using chicken wing scraps and frozen veggie scraps from the freezer. Used to make casseroles above as well as chicken and rice soup. Dug out a packet of celery salt from a home fresh box. Delicious!
4. Followed up with Chase for the millionth time regarding a dispute. Ordered two chairs from tjmaxx that arrived broken , but because we used PayPal to chase, they would only give store credit (fun fact, tjmaxx has stipulations of PayPal was used!). Finally was settled and awaiting return labels.
5. Been struggling a bit with crappy January weather, a recent death in the family and general burn out from work. Instead of going to target and impulse buying crap, I chose to take dozens of pictures of my dog for entertainment and good vibes.

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:37 am

I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had a loss in the family. Big virtual hug!

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Felicity January 25, 2023 at 12:53 am

Found $50 in a bag I’d forgotten I had. Also found 10 cents by cleaning my nightstand and one dollar in the washing machine after washing husband’s work clothes. The latter is a regular source of income for me.

Sold an item. Had found it in the spare room cupboard so no cost to me. Listed a surfboard for $230 which I bought for $30. It’s summer here and good weather finally, so here’s hoping.

Counted the coins in the piggy bank and will cash in. Husband finally trained to mostly use the piggy bank for random coinage.

Picked and ate from the garden: strawberries, yellow button squash, zucchini, purple beans, nectarines. Also duck and chicken eggs. Used tank (rain) water on the veggie beds. Tomatoes not fruiting apparently because it hasn’t been hot enough. This has not impacted the squash which somehow go from button to football sized overnight, and the zucchini also tend to hide until they are marrow sized. Rats are eating the apples.

Trigger warning: a bit gross. Trapped the mouse that has been living in our pantry. Found that it had been in the potato cupboard so husband finally (belatedly) repaired the door to prevent further ingress. Threw out one potato. Salvaged seven others by chopping off the tiny chewed portion, peeling, washing, washing again, slicing, and cooking with salvaged cheese that I cut the moldy portions off, together with milk, & spring onions from the garden for flavor. Ultimately yummy and made potato bake for two people for three meals.

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:36 am

Your garden sounds both delicious and colorful!

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Selena January 25, 2023 at 8:11 pm

I have a stash of money found in the washer. Sad to say that when we moved, better half found said stash and shanghai-ed it. But I just restarted my stash at the new house and after 15+ years, I’m probably at the same $ amount or more than before. This time I have a better hiding spot.

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Ecoteri January 25, 2023 at 9:40 pm

Oh, that mouse story is funny/sad/successful? Good for you for salvaging the potatoes, I think your approach will have solved the ick factor (and hey, the cheese was equally as challenging) !! go you! and yay that the mouse was CAUGHT.

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A. Marie January 25, 2023 at 3:09 am

FFT, Partially Recycled Edition:

(1) See #1 and #3 of my most recent FFT at The Frugal Girl for the saga of my scrubbed trip to the luncheon in the next city over, and my eventually solving the car’s warning-light problem through RTFM. I’m still sad that I didn’t make it to the luncheon–but I did save myself half a tank of gas and a trip to my usual garage.

(2) And see #5 of that FFT for the story of my major scores (a whomping win in store credit, and an excellent find) at my favorite local secondhand-book shop. I realize that Katy and other Portlanders are lucky to have Powell’s, but I also think I’m very lucky to have a good working relationship with this store’s owner.

(3) I gave some of the “sort of” boeuf bourguignon I made on Saturday (see #2 of the TFG FFT) to the Bestest Neighbors, who enjoyed it. In turn, they are having me over to dinner tonight. We try to dine together (either eat-in or takeout) at least once a week when they’re at home. This is especially important in breaking up the monotony of a Central NY winter.

(4) Another item from this January’s round of decluttering: Last week, I sent off three of DH’s four high school yearbooks via USPS media mail to the one high school friend of his who’s kept up with us through thick and thin. This friend was in the class ahead of DH, and evidently his parents didn’t buy him any of these yearbooks. (I’ve kept only the one from DH’s own senior year, when he was the yearbook editor, a star in debating and dramatics, and otherwise a BMOC.) The friend just received the yearbooks and is absolutely thrilled. The feel-good factor on this = priceless.

(5) And 1/25, in addition to being Burns Night, is my dear cat Betty’s 8th “Gotcha” day (the anniversary of the day she adopted us at the local Humane Association). She’s now 11 years old and has been a great comfort to me, especially since DH’s move to the nursing home. Adopt, don’t shop!

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Bee January 25, 2023 at 5:18 am

A. Marie, you have been so thoughtful when finding new homes for DH things. It warms my heart to see that you put the right things with the right people. I do agree with the adopt don’t shop sentiment. Many rescue organizations offer training support for first time dog owners. My rescue pup came with a few idiosyncrasies, but a little love and security was all it took to iron those out.

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Jill A January 25, 2023 at 7:35 am

I love that you gave away the yearbooks to someone who appreciates them. My pup is a rescue and I adopting has worked well for me.

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:31 am

By the way, you win at acronyms!

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Jill A January 25, 2023 at 9:19 am

It took me awhile to figure that one out. RTFM. I’m going to use that.

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A. Marie January 25, 2023 at 2:07 pm

And over at TFG, this blog is generally known as the NCA!

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Ecoteri January 25, 2023 at 9:47 pm

A. Marie I teared up when I read about your yearbook share. What a kind and thoughtful thing to do! Keep on modelling that behaviour, girlfriend, I aspire to become as generous and kind as you. (And yes, I know that there are certainly “THOSE DAYS” for you along with the rest of us. What you seem to do, however, is continue to turn to the light again and again, and you bring me with you when you share)

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Christine January 26, 2023 at 3:40 pm

Awww…I love how you wrote Betty adopted you and your DH. Sometimes I think animals are put right where we need them to be.

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A. Marie January 28, 2023 at 12:00 pm

Christine, as I think you know, the cat has to pick you before you can pick the cat. In Betty’s case, she sussed out DH right away as a softie. DH was all in after about 15 seconds. I insisted on taking 10 minutes to vet her for temperament, but I really needn’t have bothered!

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Christine January 29, 2023 at 5:15 pm

So happy things worked out purrrrrfectly!

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Pauline in Upstate NY January 30, 2023 at 7:41 pm

Hello, A. Marie – I’ve been running into your comments on various frugal websites and just wanted to reach out and say hi, from one CNY person to another! Curious about what your favorite used book store is that you mentioned. I’m guessing you might live somewhere just off the Thruway?? I’m in that centrally isolated, gorge-us town in the FLX. Stay warm as this arctic blast covers us for the next few days… Good weather to clean out and defrost the chest freezers!

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Bee January 25, 2023 at 4:47 am

I am currently reading Tomorrow, And Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. I am enjoying it. I read 1/2 of it three weeks ago. I did not have time to finish it and could not renew it. I picked it up again from the library a few days ago. a
My holds always come in at the same time even when I try to manage them. I end up with too many books and not enough time. Did you read Zevin’s book, The Storied Life of AJ. Fikry?

Life is continuing to provide little challenges. The dishwasher needs to be replaced, and I have had fraudulent activity on my cellular phone account. Grrrr…. I’ve had six months of this kind of craziness. I keep waiting for the tide to turn.

1. About 3 months ago, I joined Costco again, created a price list on my phone, and started to build a really workable pantry and freezer. My grocery spending is starting to stabilize and head downward. This makes me very happy! Costco is a bit of a challenge. Those large quantities seem much cheaper and can be so tempting. Yet, they would be silly investments. But there are some things that are obviously great buys — 10 pounds of gluten-free oatmeal for less than $11, 40-ounce bags of Starbucks coffee for $20 or less, or 25 pounds of jasmine rice for $18. I passed, however, on the 64-ounce jar of capers. It would take me the rest of my life to use up that jar.
2. I went thrifting last Friday with a friend and didn’t buy anything. There is so much junk in world.
3. I went to the “Dollar and a Quarter Tree” to purchase notebook dividers. Much cheaper than office supply stores. I also took a little time to pick out greeting cards for my card file. I do try and purchase most of my office supplies at estate sales, but every once and while I need something.
4. I filed a fraud claim with AT&T. This situation is the impetus I need to find another carrier. I am 99% certain that the fraud was committed by an AT&T store employee. When I was trying to deal with mess, I had to deal with a really stupid AI system and an even worse customer service person. For years , I have resisted going elsewhere even though I knew I was paying too much. It is such a pain to change over when you have a family plan especially when your kiddos don’t live nearby. They are old enough now to help me negotiate this mess.
5. I brought some magazines to the library to put in the share bin and I picked up two copies of Architectural Digest. I have been drinking primarily filtered water. I have been cooking from scratch and have been laser focused on food waste. I have brewed all my coffee at home. I have done all the usual things!

Wishing everyone peace and good health.

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Jill A January 25, 2023 at 8:00 am

I’m sorry to hear about your fraud troubles. If you haven’t chosen a carrier I’m on family plan with my kids with Verizon and I really think their customer service is great. There are five of us and the cost is reasonable. We also get free Hulu & Disney+ as an added benefit.

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Kathleen in Kansas January 27, 2023 at 12:34 pm

I switched to Ting. Two lines, unlimited calls and texts, shared data we don’t use. At the time of the switch, the old carrier was beyond NOT helpful, to the point of obstructing the change. The Ting guys were incredibly helpful, worked with us and tried to work with old carrier with no success. I put it on auto-pay and they notify me every month that it is paid. With the two of us old farts, we spend $26.48 a month. If it is available in your area – they’re not everywhere yet.

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:28 am

I haven’t read anything else by Zevin, although I’ll look that one up.

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K D January 25, 2023 at 5:40 am

1. Both yesterday and one day last week I bought a Flash Food $5 Produce Bag. There is a lot of variety and they are well worth the price. Yesterday I received a Sumo Citrus large mandarin and it was delicious.

2. I digitally submitted a claim/receipts for orthotics to our FSA provider for 2022 purchases. We still have 2022 funds that need to be spent by March 15th. Reimbursement was direct deposited a few days later. I did not realize the were eligible for reimbursement until recently.

3. I cancelled my digital subscription to the Washington Post. It was only $10 the first year but not after that. Our public library just started offering free access to it. Every week it takes just a few moments to request a weeks worth of access.

4. In a moment of weakness I paid for Amazon Prime for one month in December (it was a discounted rate) because my husband needed a holiday themed tie for a work party and I could not find one locally. Amazon was unable to deliver as scheduled so I cancelled the order. I did not use Prime for anything else that month so after the month was over I requested, and received, a refund for the membership. It took a few minutes but I went through my emails while waiting. I was able to borrow a tie from a neighbor and they said to just keep it.

5. CVS sent me $3 in Extra Bucks two weeks in a row. I drive by a CVS at least a couple times a week. I stopped in both weeks and bought on sale food items. Out of pocket was $.49-$.97.

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susanna d January 25, 2023 at 7:26 am

Five frugal things (three of them “$2 and change out of pocket”):

1. Used a Menard’s merchandise credit rebate to get a pair of safety glasses, a dowel to repair grandchild-caused breakage, five packages of seeds (spinach and cucumber) and three packages of fire starters for the charcoal grill. While we make our own firestarters for the fireplace and fire pit, we use spent candle wax (which is often scented) in those so we don’t use homemade firestarters for outdoor cooking. Out of pocket cost was $2 and change.
2. I’d gotten two Eddie Bauer “gift certificates” recently, and used those to get hiking socks for me and my husband. $2 and change out of pocket for two pairs of socks. I’m happy with the price.
3. Walgreens discontinued a rewards program that I’d used for years – where tracking healthy lifestyle activities resulted in my getting enough rewards points that I was able to get free (or just about free) laundry detergent all that time. I did have a bunch of points left, which I used to get three jugs of laundry soap, two packages of laundry pods (we like those for traveling) and some eye makeup. This ends my streak of “$2 and change” shopping sprees.
4. Since I no longer have a source for “free or just about free” laundry soap, I’m planning to make what I have last as long as possible. I’m talking years, hopefully. My front loader uses very little detergent, so I always get way more loads than what the jug promises. I put a Sharpie pen next to the laundry soap and I’ll be tracking just how many loads I get per jug. And how long each one lasts. Does that count as free entertainment? Bonus!
5. Continued eating from the freezers and pantries has resulted in grocery spending of under $40 for the month so far, and I should end the month under $50. Depending on the price of eggs…

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:26 am

You can always use my trick of stretching laundry detergent by having a tiny scoop to measure the amount to use. Our huge buckets of Costco laundry detergent last for at least a year this way.

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Mary in Maryland January 26, 2023 at 7:03 am

A neighbor gave us a huge bottle of unscented laundry detergent when she got her front loader. I attached the plastic two tablespoon measure from cough syrup to the bottle. Plenty of suds and the level hasn’t gone down much in two years.

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Christine January 26, 2023 at 3:51 pm

Your #4…my form of cheap entertainment is writing the date on the package of aluminum foil to see how long I can make it last. The last one I purchased was a 200 foot roll in February 2021, which is still going strong. I use then wash and reuse each piece many times. I also rarely use it or plastic wrap to cover dishes of leftovers. These I just put a plate or bowl over. When the pieces of aluminum foil are at the end of a useful life, they get recycled.

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Mary in Maryland January 27, 2023 at 6:47 am

Perhaps as a result of having worked in a lab I write the date I start most everything. The Mister was baffled to find a date on the toothpaste early in the relationship. We got that tube to last 17 months and eleven days. We can get a roll of toilet paper to last about three weeks unless a dog gets involved. It’s also good to know when one purchased a food item.

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susanna d January 27, 2023 at 2:49 pm

I was a moderator on a frugality website a number of years ago, and I’d often do a dish soap challenge (with myself) and post the results. How long could I make the soap last and how many uses could I get from one bottle? Unfortunately, that site is long gone so I no longer have the exact numbers from my challenges. (Oh, and I’ve never had a dishwasher so this was all about handwashing dishes). Anyway, the company that manufactured the dish soap seemed determined to make my challenges even more…challenging…by shrinking the product again and again. The first time I did the challenge, I think the bottle of dish soap was around 12 ounces. The next time it was either 11.6 or 11.3. The last time I did this challenge the bottle size had shrunk to 9 ounces. The price of the bottle didn’t change though, lucky me. I was determined to get the same number of sinks of dishes despite the shrinking size. But 9 ounces was my limit for this challenge.

I buy the ginormous sized bottles of that dish soap at Costco now – cheaper and fewer plastic bottles to deal with. But the next time I open one of those bottles, I’m taking the Sharpie to it and tracking again. It looks like I’m in good company here with tracking product usage. I kind of love these challenges, and you guys have given me new ideas for items to track.

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Lindsey January 27, 2023 at 4:15 pm

OMG!!! I love keeping track of things. How have I never thought of doing this? Once my soon-to-be husband was watching me write down something and he suddenly said, “My God, do you keep track of how often we have sex?” Since no one on this site knows what I look like, I can tell the truth just as I told him: “Well, yes I do.” I don’t anymore but this was early in our relationship and I was still evaluating how things were going. Anyway, I am going to start putting dates on things we use to see how far I can make things stretch.

Jill A January 25, 2023 at 7:54 am

For some reason I thought that photo was going to be food…I was really relieved to find out it was vacuum cleaner dust. Phew.
1. I visited my oldest daughter for a couple days. She lives in a larger city with lots of discount shopping options. I purchased three bags of coffee beans for 50 cents apiece and boxes of 40 count chips for $2.50 a box which I shared with family.
2. I packed a lunch for my youngest and I for the long drive to my other daughter’s house.
3. I cooked dinner and brought it over for a friend who just had surgery instead of picking up takeout which I was tempted to do.
4. I fixed my vacuum cleaner hose which had split with a piece of duct tape.
5. I’m continuing to list my Ebay finds and working through my death pile. I picked up only items on my list at the grocery store. I’m working on eating up items in the freezer and pantry. I’m stretching meat and eating many meatless meals. The usual stuff also.

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:24 am

Very happy to report that the above photo is not food!

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Cindy in the South January 25, 2023 at 9:09 am

Free eggs….score!!!! 1. I made pumpkin soup from pumpkins I got, deeply discounted, after Halloween. I also roasted the seeds. 2. I channeled my inner Elvis and took peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunches at work. 3. I washed my jeans and work skirts in my tub because I thought the laundromat washer would be too rough. No, I have not bought a washer nor a dryer because I have enough trouble keeping fridges working. Long story. Appliances and I do not get along well. 4. Idk, I cannot think of anything at the moment. Nap maybe???

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:02 pm

Hooray for free naps!!!

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texasilver January 25, 2023 at 9:15 am

1. Publix overcharged me for some turkey bacon. I took a picture of the actual price & went back to the service desk. The clerk credited the entire amount back to my CC. I offered to repay the correct price but he said he was giving it to me free.
2. Walked to Publix with my wheeled cart so no gas used.
3. Had some cottage cheese in the freezer that thawed out rather grainy. Put some of it in scrambled eggs to increase the protein.
4. Used the community filtered water spigot at my condo rather than buying bottled water.
5. Drank coffee drinks from the free coffee machine at the car dealership as I waited for my car service. The oil change was free. My neighbor who sold me the car had a free service remaining. She called the dealership so that I could use the offer. I couldn’t get their car wash as it was raining. I’ll go back later for that. I did have to wait for 2 hours. If you want to save money then sometimes you have to wait. (That’s what I tell my husband when he is impatient.)

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 7:58 pm

I consider it an opportunity to read a library book while covertly doing some people watching.

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Anne January 25, 2023 at 9:36 am

My experience with the self drive floor vacs has been interesting. It certainly is nice to just turn it on and then get on with your day, the biggest win is that we vacuum far more often. This is actually because the noise from our upright terrified our cat, and even when we put said cat in the yard with all doors and windows shut, he could hear it and always tried to head for a new home in the next county.

So now we vacuum far more often which is really good because we had no idea just how much cat litter was actually being dragged around the house. We recently decarpeted the joint and now with fake wood floors we have realized the cat is filling his pockets with litter and sprinkling it all around the house on a regular basis.

We know this because there is far more cat litter than could possibly be carried out of the box on four little cat feet.

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A. Marie January 25, 2023 at 11:09 am

Anne, “filling his pockets with litter”? LOL! I’ll have to check Betty for pockets as well. (She’s not, ahem, a thin cat, so there are plenty of places she could be hiding them.)

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Ruby January 25, 2023 at 12:53 pm

My Dora Kitty is super-sized with a fluffy butt, which is where we usually find flecks of litter. She is really nice about letting me trim the hedges back there, though.

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A. Marie January 25, 2023 at 2:10 pm

Ruby, “trim the hedges”?? Geez, you guys, stop it already!

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Ava January 25, 2023 at 4:36 pm

Ruby, you have a super sized Dora kitty? I also have a super sized Dora. She was about 6 months òld and hungry when she arrived on our porch. She remembers her hard youth and is packing away pounds in case of future famine. She is over 20 lbs now.

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Ruby January 25, 2023 at 5:37 pm

Mine was rescued from an abandoned homeless camp, where she was catching birds to keep herself alive while nursing four kittens. She weighed only six pounds when the rescue ladies showed up to save them in April but her babies were healthy. She’s about 14 pounds now and eats like it’s her job. She’s a big cat, so we think she’s supposed to be large. We’re hoping she’s going to level off now.

Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:07 pm

I’ve now run it three times in our single wall-to-wall carpeted room and it keeps picking up a tremendous amount of dust/crud. Keep in mind that I thoroughly vacuumed it a couple weeks ago and the room sits empty as it’s my adult son’s childhood bedroom.

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Christine January 29, 2023 at 5:19 pm

That’s a lot of dust. I never seriously thought of getting one before but now I’m wondering if it would improve things for DH’s allergy to dust. Reconsidering.

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Selena January 25, 2023 at 8:22 pm

Multiply this by 3 – all shoot out of the box like being shot out of a cannon. I’m impressed-but-not-impressed by the length of the trail. All of mine are rescues too. One has *never* been overweight, one is solid but not overweight (I should have her energy), and the “boy”, well let’s just say I watch his intake more than the others so he doesn’t get “portly”. At least the two newbies are short haired. And I do so get the “hedge” trimming. BTDT with a no-longer-with-me cat.

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Lindsey January 25, 2023 at 10:46 am

At my age, a lot of lust has evaporated from my life, but I have to say that a mere picture of a robot vacuum sets me to drooling. Lead me not into temptation…
1. A week of no grocery purchases has now extended into this week. This goes in tandem with cleaning a shelf in the cupboard or freezer every day, to unearth elderly foods that need to be used up. How did I end up with three jars of harissa, when I have only ever used it once in a recipe?
2. Under the “a good deed is rewarded” category of savings: after the fiasco of leaving the garage door open at the coldest of our temperatures and ruin

ing our furnace and our washing machine, we decided to spring for a garage door that will close automatically after a preset time and will also text you to let you know it is about to close the door. Husband went to the garage door store and when the owner saw him, he pumped his hand vigorously and thanked him profusely for pulling him out of a ditch at 30 below zero a few years ago. His little kid had been in the car and they, stupidly, did not carry extra winter

gear for such events…he gave my husband the door at cost as a delayed thank you. This is the second time this week we have had a delayed thank you, which has had the effect of making every day seem brighter. It is easy to feel like you extend yourself and it doesn’t even matter. But it mattered a lot to this guy.
3. The ice maker went out on the fridge. I hate that thing anyway and even more after finding out it would be about $600 to fix. We dug out ice cube trays and are going to use those until the rest of the fridge dies. (I hate that thing because several times I have backed my wheelchair handle into it, triggering a shower of ice cubes on my back. I also don’t like appliances with a lot of extras that I am convinced lead to an earlier demise of an expensive appliance. Even if they don’t, I am convinced they do…)
4. Made applesauce and threw in several small bags of random berries that had been languishing in the outdoor freezer since being harvested last fall.
5. mended, mended, mended a wide assortment of socks.

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Ruby January 25, 2023 at 12:51 pm

Lindsey, the too fancy fridge that came with our house had an exterior ice dispenser that would clog up and not drop the ice cubes. But our dogs could hear them melting inside the chute and would sit in a semi-circle around the fridge waiting on the cascade of half-frozen ice cubes to chase all over the house. Such fun for the pups! So bad for the floor!

I was so glad when that thing finally died and we replaced it with something sturdy and simple.

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Jill A January 25, 2023 at 12:52 pm

I laughed out loud at your elderly food comment. Your delayed thank you is heartwarming.

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 7:57 pm

After all your garage door woes, it makes me so happy for something to go your way.

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 8:08 pm

Note that I did NOT link to the vacuum.

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Christine January 26, 2023 at 4:03 pm

It seems that so many people I know have had issues with their ice cube makers. After hearing theirs and your woes, I’m glad I stuck with the Spartan refrigerator model. I was this close to buying the one with the ice cube maker too. 21 years and still purring like a kitten.

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Jennifer January 25, 2023 at 12:05 pm

Free food for the win!!!

1. It’s the depths of winter in OH and we are staying home more – that is cheaper on all counts.

2. In an effort to get control of my weight (dd was diagnosed with an eating disorder this time last year and we did FBT – which means I ate exactly the same as her and have gained a good bit of weight – something I have never struggled with) – anyway I got an app to track my calories now that she is in college and not around. It is shocking how much mindless eating I was doing – hello stress! I have cut it out this week and that alone has got to be cheaper and better for my health.

3. Reading books from the library and doing a puzzle bought long ago on vacation as our entertainment. Haven’t turned the TV on all week.

4. dh and I are planning a trip to Franklin, TN for spring break. We are traveling during the week to save money and allow him to work his side job of lacrosse referee on the weekends. I had previously saved an air bnb that was pretty cheap. I went to book it today only to find the price had risen by $50 a night. I then found a different place for cheaper.

5. Still plugging away at our pantry challenge and using up lots of random items that have been sitting around.

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Anne January 25, 2023 at 12:41 pm

What is FBT?

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Jennifer January 25, 2023 at 5:59 pm

Family Based Therapy – so we all modeled the correct behavior so to speak. All portions were the same size and everyone ate the same thing. Studies show this type of treatment leads to better long term recovery.

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rebecca January 25, 2023 at 2:20 pm

1. I made lentil soup in the crockpot and threw in a bunch of vegetables that were languishing in in the vegetable drawer.
2. I didn’t buy groceries for a week.
3. My neighbors were sick and baked them some goodies with ingredients I had on hand.
4. My chicken broth making was a success. I used it in my lentil soup. I will continue to save chicken bones.
5. Coffee from home, bought gas for the car @ $3.29 a gallon and gave my friend my old kitchen table and chairs- frugal for them and nice to get out of my house.

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LDA January 25, 2023 at 2:51 pm

FFT –
1. DH noticed our next door neighbor was having work done on his gutters. Neighbor reminded DH that we both have the same brand of gutters which come with a lifetime guarantee. So DH promptly called the company to correct an issue we’ve been having. The company sent someone the next day to fix the problem. I love it when there’s no out of pocket expense.
2. Our health insurance began a spending card program this year. So between us both we have $100 to spend on a host of options. So far I’ve used it to purchase OTC medicines, paper products & cleaning supplies.
3. I used my accumulated points to offset the price of a plane ticket to visit my son, dear DIL & granddaughters next month.
4. Cooking at home. Our pantry & freezer are pretty well stocked so I have no reason to eat out- or to go out in the cold weather to do so.
5. Replenished my reading material from the local library.

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JC January 25, 2023 at 6:11 pm

Katy I have the same robo-vac and it has changed my life. 2 long haired dogs, 1 long haired cat and 1 short haired cat. I have had my about 2 years (?) and need to order a new battery but well worth it!
I am not good with acronyms, can’t figure what RTFM stands for….help please. LOL
Katy does your family like ham salad? I am not big on ham either but family likes it and so I make it. I use bits and pieces in various dishes like scalloped potatoes, ham salad and on chefs salad. It can be added to mac and cheese along with frozen peas.
1. all meals from home, many cooked on top of my wood stove.
2. all laundry done and hung around the wood stove to dry. Moisture added to the air as a bonus.
3. have bought very few groceries this month and anything purchased is either on markdown or on sale.
4, have found many bagged salads on the markdown rack, this is huge for me because I love salad and eat it every day. Maybe people don’t think of it as a winter food? Bagged salads work great for me, because the individual veggies are so pricy and then as a single, I can’t eat it fast enough. But bagged salads are 2/3 servings for me. Awesome deal for me.
5. Eating down the freezers and eating well!

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Katy January 25, 2023 at 7:49 pm

RTFM means “read the fucking manual.” 😉

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Michelle H January 26, 2023 at 1:11 pm

We have a Eufy robovac too, and I also let someone else do all the research. My sis in law is very particular and has 3 big shedding dogs, so if she was happy with it that was good enough for me. My only complaint about it is that it tries to get trapped in very strange places, so I only run it when I’m home to run interference.

Quite a score on the free food! That’s awesome.

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Katy January 26, 2023 at 6:20 pm

Yeah, my couch isn’t tall enough for the vacuum to not get trapped, yet is tall enough for it to sneak under it. I’m thinking I can probably do something to raise the couch a couple inches though.

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Ruby January 27, 2023 at 5:59 am

Katy, see if your talented husband can put some little wood blocks on the feet to raise it up just a bit. You can stain them to match if they show. My husband did this for a pregnant friend of ours who was having terrible trouble getting up from her too-low sofa late in her pregnancy and it worked great.

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Van January 26, 2023 at 11:38 pm

@Katy – If your Eufy is the one that uses two filters (1 white, 1 black), I have a 7 new OEM sets I’d be glad to give you. You’d be set for the foreseeable future.

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Jann in Maine January 28, 2023 at 3:53 am

I have no doubts that Katy can figure out and execute a leg conversion for the couch.
Not having an electronic vacuum I kept looking at the photo till I realized it was a dirt trap for the vacuum. Duh
Not cheap but had to have a radon remediation system installed. It would be necessary to have it done if we wanted to sell our house. This way our health benefits as well.
Continuing the tightwad routine. Coffee at home, running our pellet stove, batching any errands, and cooking at home. Routine and a good one.
Almost Feb so that is always an optimistic turn if the calendar here in New England.
Did buy seeds for 40% off at Ocean State Job Lot as we are going to be putting in a rock garden at DDs new home. I noticed the price of garden en center plants last year took a huge spike up. We started many sets of vegetables at home and it was not only fun but so much less $. Will do that this year as well.

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Bethany January 28, 2023 at 7:34 am

Using up a pancake mix from my neighbor’s move. Made it into a really nice pumpkin bread.

Did a stay-at-home day today. I considered going to the library to return a book, but I knew I’d have to go later in the week to pick up some books on hold so I just held off.

Got free cube steaks from Flashfoods with referral rewards. I absolutely LOVE cube steaks!!!

Picked up a free after Ibotta rewards Core bar from Target. It bumped me up to my $20 minimum to cash out and I had it deposited in the bank.

I did spend on Fleece-lined brutal-weather pants for my son. They were originally $20 and he has really enjoyed them. Today they were marked down to $9.97 so I bought one more pair in his size and 2 pairs in the next size up. I figure next year at this rate they’ll be starting at $25 or $30, so $9.97 is a steal. Still cheaper if you can thrift but that kind of this isn’t available usually.

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Selena January 28, 2023 at 8:10 pm

I have not had cube steak in decades – was a regular during my youth. Thanks for the reminder – will see if the cook is game. Mom used to dip in egg and flour then fry. Is that your method or you have another cooking method? Swiss steak was another regular (baked) with boiled potatoes was another regular. Snowing here today and both of the above would be comfort food.

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Sandra Hendry January 28, 2023 at 9:10 am

While I was at an early morning appointment my daughter made a delicious strata using assorted bread from the freezer and a variety of other leftovers. She served it with bargain markdown veggies from the grocery
salvage store. Best part was enough leftovers for two more breakfasts.

1. I recently made a Butter Board to take to an activity. A friend had recommended the idea and after doing some online research I decided to make an assortment of three butters with different toppings. I also made a baguette to serve with it, but crackers would be fine. It was a hit with everyone (12) and easier and cheaper than a charcuterie board.

2. Made a batch of homemade salsa and also homemade mayonnaise.

3. A grocery store near us repackages there eggs from broken or damaged cartons and sells them for about a third the cost of a regular dozen. Sometimes they are mixed sizes and colors, but still a great deal when available.

4. Found marked down seasonal flavored coffee, which we love, on clearance for under a dollar. Stocked up on 9 bags.

5. I keep a zip lock bag in the freezer for vegetable trimmings along with a bag for leftover chicken bones. When I want broth I pull out the bags, add a couple quarts of water and boil. It makes delicious broth. I then use what I need and freeze the rest in smaller containers. What a joy to always have homemade broth ready to go.

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Ginny January 31, 2023 at 5:39 pm

Thanks to you I just bought a Eufy – I had a gift of $$ from my students’ parents (I am a preschool teacher) and I hadn’t really wanted anything immediately. But as our son who vacuums is now working two jobs and my feet and knees hurt when I get home from work…. I sprang for it. Oh My Goodness!! It is doing a great job and it makes me so happy to have a cleaner house. I am usually a person who refuses to spend on things I can do myself the old fashioned way, but this has improved my quality of life… Even with three dogs spewing hair every day this little vacuum seems to be keeping up… sometimes spending is okay…

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Katy January 31, 2023 at 5:53 pm

It’s so satisfying!

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