Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 30, 2023 · 85 comments

  1. My son was tasked with picking out a houseplant for his office, so the two of us drove to Portland Nursery to browse their selection. I tagged along to ogle their pretty wares and maybe get a few ideas for my own horticultural menagerie. I have a wide variety of house plants, although most of them are cuttings I’ve snipped and then propagated on a windowsill.

    One of my favorite plants to propagate is the above picture, as it grows fast and easily. It thrives in low light and isn’t too picky about how often it gets watered. My mom gave me a cutting a couple years ago and its since provided enough babies for multiple plantings. However . . . I hadn’t known its name until today! Say hello to “Fuzzy Bunny.”

    Propagating plants is not for those who need instant gratification, but it is an easy frugal hack for people who enjoy plants but hate wasting money. Want more info about how to propagate? Click HERE for specifics.

  2. I bought two books on eBay:

    • The Forgotten Arts & Crafts, by John Seymore. I can thank Rajiv Surendra for this one, as he recommended it in one of his informative YouTube videos. This Dorling Kindersley book is filled with detailed information on everything from the details on historic roof thatching to how peat was cut, dried and then burned to heat homes. The pen and ink illustrations are exhaustively detailed and I highly recommend this fascinating book.

    • A blank baby book that’s an exact match to the one I filled out when my oldest was born in 1995. I was leafing through the kids’ baby books the other night and realized the information in my daughter’s book no longer matches her proper name and gender. By recreating the original book, she’ll be able to enjoy this record of her babyhood.

  3. My friend Lise and I hit up Goodwill on 10%-off senior discount day and I bought:

    • A pair of $19.99 Blundstone boots in my husband’s size.
    • A pair of Museum of Modern Art mugs for 99¢ apiece and a pair of Anthropology mugs for $1.99 apiece.
    • A pretty Rejuvenation glass shade for $4.99.

  4. My daughter brought over a pound of bacon and two tubes of biscuits from her grocery job, I cleaned out the fridge and only had to toss a couple of things, I’ve made all meals this week from scratch, I’ve been listening to Agatha Christie Tommy and Tuppence stories through the Libby app, I printed another free label at the library and I mended a split seam on my son’s sweatshirt.

  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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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie January 30, 2023 at 6:34 am

First, a fun fact about the Tradescantias: They’re a family of plants that were discovered in Virginia in the 1600s and taken back to England by a botanist, traveler, and royal gardener named John Tradescant the Younger. (JT the Older, his dad, was also a botanist and traveler.) I’ve seen the Tradescants’ tomb in the churchyard of the former St. Mary Lambeth in London, which is now a Museum of Garden History. But I can’t help imagining there’d be some spinning in that tomb if they knew that one of the Tradescantias is now called “Fuzzy Bunny”!

Now, FFT, RTFM Rides Again Edition:

(1) My temperamental garage door got stuck shut late Friday afternoon, and I couldn’t budge it. (Fortunately, my car was outside the garage and not inside!) So I made an appointment with the garage door repair folks for this morning. But over the weekend, I RTFM (for those who missed Katy’s explanation last time, this stands for “Read the F@#$%&g Manual”), tried A, tried B, and finally got the f@#$%&g thing going again. I’ve just called and cancelled the appointment. Since the repair folks charge a minimum of $100 just for pulling into the driveway, I’m pretty pleased.

(2) As a small reward for (1), I took myself to one of our Thrifty Shopper stores yesterday and had two interesting finds: a “Zen Art Box” containing 40 suitable-for-framing 7 x 9 flashcards of Zen calligraphy art with explanations on the backs, and a “Louisville Slugger” backpack that’s built like Fort Knox. I’m keeping both.

(3) I spent the rest of Sunday reading Diane Rehm’s book On My Own (a recent find in a Little Free Library). It’s been a long time since I finished a book in a single day, and it really speaks to me in my current status as an “Alzheimer’s widow.” (Rehm’s second husband, John Rehm, had a lengthy and severe case of Parkinson’s.)

(4) I’m starting to pull together my tax paperwork. Not a chore any of us enjoy, I’d guess–but I’ve been doing it long enough now (since I took over from DH 7 years ago) that it’s pretty much old hat.

(5) And I’ll be doing a low-spend February as proposed by Donna Freedman over at Surviving and Thriving, since I’m getting my actual dental implant (the latest stage in the lengthy process of dental procedures I’ve been undergoing since last summer) tomorrow. I’ll be paying by check to get the 5% discount, of course–but this stuff still ain’t cheap.


Jill A January 30, 2023 at 7:47 am

A Marie, I am now inspired to RTFM in the future when I have a similar problem.


MW February 1, 2023 at 7:18 am

Closely related to RTFM- check you tube. There are many lovely people out there that demonstrate all sorts of home repairs. I’ve fixed a washing machine, replaced a head light, figured out the wiring on my dish washer and replaced a faucet courtesy of you tube. I’m not particularly handy, but I can follow instructions.


Joyce Forbush January 30, 2023 at 9:31 am

Yeah, I had to read the @#$& manual just this morning. I’m guessing the 18 month old grandson re – programmed it…again!


Liz B. January 30, 2023 at 11:14 am

A. Marie,

Fascinating info on tradescantias! Thank you! I had one that I managed to keep alive for many years. My current home is not very conducive to growing plants, besides the two (out of three) curious cats and three clumsy humans who live there.
A friend of mine at work needed a dental implant last year….I was floored by the cost she mentioned. I’m glad you can get the discount they are offering you.


Katy January 30, 2023 at 11:57 am

Thank you so much for sharing the history of the “fuzzy bunny” plants! Super interesting. I am applauding you from afar for avoiding a repair person for your garage door!


Texasilver February 3, 2023 at 8:15 am

What type of plant did your son select for his office? A Fuzzy Bunny perhaps?


Katy February 3, 2023 at 10:20 am

He ended up buying an Epipremnum Aureum.


Christine January 30, 2023 at 3:33 pm

I read and enjoyed reading Diane Rehm’s book On My Own quite a few years ago although the subject matter in regard to her husband’s illness was tough. I know I don’t have to tell you that. The love they had for each other was very evident in her words though. She was always one of my favorites on NPR. I really miss her interviews. I’m guessing she has retired so good for her.


Coral Clarke March 20, 2023 at 8:35 pm

I live in Brisbane Australia, and chckecked with my library for Diane’s book. They have it as an electronic audiobook!! When I go in later this week they will show me how to use my iPad to get it. I lost my mother ( almost 98) last year, and she had dementia towards the end of her life, so I’m interested to read this, Thanks for the recommendation!


K D January 30, 2023 at 6:55 am

1. I called our health insurance provider to ask about a claim I submitted online last September. They don’t know why put will put it through. The claim is for reimbursement of rapid Covid tests. I’m hoping $56 will be coming my way soon.

2. My husband wanted to buy some Vick’s Vapo Rub as our generic brand is many, many years old. By looking online to see which local stores carry it and at what I price I discovered we could use our FSA account to purchase it. We still have 2022 funds to use up by mid-March. We walked to the store and bought Vapo Rub and two tubes of sunscreen that were 75% off. All were paid for with the Flexible Spending Account debit card. I sometimes forget how many items qualify these days.

3. Meals at home, meals at home, meals at home. We are still working on using up some excess but the freezers (we have two refrigerators) are no longer looking stuffed.

4. Giant Food added some new Reward Redemption offers. I added the offer of a dozen eggs for 200 points and plant based milk for 100 points. Both are great deals.

5. Most of my socializing last week was getting together with friends at their homes/our house. We are happy to just spend time together and don’t need to be doing anything fancy.


Katy January 30, 2023 at 11:56 am

Meals at home, meals at home, meals at home . . . I’m there with you.


Ruby January 31, 2023 at 11:09 am

I have been working our little chest freezer hard this month. If we excluded the 10 packs of bagels bought on sale, it would have gone down by about one-quarter.


Ruby January 30, 2023 at 7:01 am

Katy, you are an amazingly thoughtful mother in all ways. (((Hugs)))


1. Bought three books off eBay related to a project I will start next month. Chose a seller who offered free shipping and 20% off on three books.
2. Our low spending January with a tight grocery budget will extend through February. Things will ease up in March when our financial picture improves.
3. We had a planned evening out with friends and made brownies from scratch (a Frugal Girl recipe that uses cocoa, two eggs, and only 5 Tb. of butter) as our contribution.
4. Am continuing to lose weight as part of sparing my arthritic knees. My thrifted jeans are too loose, so I took the waistband apart on a pair to experiment on taking them up. All of my jeans/slacks are in the same simple, straight style so that I can alter them to fit quite a bit, once the intial tinkering is figured out.
5. Dug through the freezer last night and pulled out some beef that will be tough as a boot – absolutely no fat on it – to cook and grind up for making a treat for the dogs.


Ava January 30, 2023 at 10:52 am

Ruby, my husband has complained that all the ground beef he buys lately is tough. It ends up going to the dogs. I tried cooking some with meat tenderizer. Problem solved. I never expect ground meat to need tenderizing but I was glad to find a solution. Now we don’t have to keep trying different stores, looking for beef he is happy with.


Lindsey January 30, 2023 at 11:51 am
Geri Elkins-Alexander January 31, 2023 at 6:20 pm

This is how you “velvet” chicken if you are making some of the Chinese restaurant copycat recipes. Had no idea you could do it with other meats. Thanks, Lindsey.


Merv February 15, 2023 at 8:42 am

Thank you for that tip, helpful


Ruby January 30, 2023 at 2:30 pm

I noticed that the marked down beef and pork from the fall was all fatless and tough, which made this former farm girl wonder what kind of scrawny animals were being sent to slaughter.

All the beef I cooked and ground up today was mixed with cooked rice and vegetables for the dogs. They absolutely loved it.


Jill A January 30, 2023 at 7:44 am

1. I made the dogs some molasses and peanut butter treats to replace the ones I normally buy. They have gone up in price to over $5 and I swear they have less in the box.
2. My daughter and I cleaned up the leftovers in the refrigerator which were two single portions from different meals. To supplement the small portions my daughter had a sandwich with egg salad I had made earlier.
3. I made egg salad in an amount that will be eaten before it spoils. Instead of buying lunch meat and cheese which seem to mold before we can eat it all. Even with the high cost of eggs it is still less expensive.
4. I mailed a check to the sprinkler company for yearly maintenance to avoid their 3% fee for using a credit card.
5. I received a $50 yearly cash back reward for booking a hotel using my credit cards travel site.


Bee January 30, 2023 at 2:42 pm

Dog treats of all sorts have gotten incredibly expensive like everything else.


Carla January 30, 2023 at 7:47 am

I just want to say that that is such a thoughtful and loving thing to do for your daughter in buying the babybook and adjusting it for her. I welled up just feeling the love you have for your kid, and I’m all warm and fuzzy now from that boundless love just touching my life, even just as I read this. Thank you for sharing this.


Anne January 30, 2023 at 8:28 am

Katy, I wanted to say the same thing. How very thoughtful of you.


EmilyG January 30, 2023 at 8:35 am

I also clicked through to say that re-making the baby book so your daughter can enjoy it is thoughtful and lovely. Thank you for sharing!


susanna d January 30, 2023 at 9:13 am

I agree! The new baby book story warmed my heart on this very cold winter day.


Lindsey January 30, 2023 at 11:52 am

Not just loving but so creative. I would never have thought of that!


Christine January 30, 2023 at 3:41 pm

I’m with everyone else in saying what you did for your daughter with the baby book you came across was one of the sweetest and most loving things I have ever heard of. She’s one lucky girl to have you for a Mom…and I’m sure you’re just as lucky to have her. If I lived near you I’d want to hang around with you!


Ecoteri January 30, 2023 at 8:31 pm

And I, too, was thrilled to read of your kind plan to re-do the baby book for your daughter. Such a love-filled way to ensure that she can easily and safely revisit those shared and important milestones, you are a rockstar @Katy! There are not many guidebooks on how to behave and communicate with folk who are courageously showing us their authentic selves, selves that might be different that what we had been assuming they were. Every Single Person who finds creative and loving ways to show their beloveds that they are welcome and wanted and loved, just as they are, is a person who shines a light on the path for others to also move forward. You are one such person, Katy


Amy January 30, 2023 at 8:03 am

Love, love, love that you are re-creating your daughter’s baby book! I’ve been thinking of doing the same for my kiddo. 🙂


Coral Clarke March 20, 2023 at 8:39 pm

Here in Brisbane Australia, loving your total commitment to loving your kids the way they need to be loved!


janine January 30, 2023 at 8:19 am

Books seem to be a theme here this morning:
1. Stopped by the $1.25 store yesterday and in addition to purchasing toothpaste and Q-tips, found three obscure but interesting books to take home with me. Annoyed with the 25% price increases but still a bargain since I can look at them at my leisure and give/sell them back to the used book store when I am finished. I also like old fashioned hard copy books.
2. Found 10c while doing son’s laundry – finders keepers of course.
3. Attended a luncheon last week featuring a local artist who sketches and uses water colors – beautiful local river scenes. Gifted some of his art to his audience. Plan to visit thrift store to look for a good frame for my piece.
4. Rescued Thanksgiving Turkey carcass from the freezer. Dinner and soup plus still had enough left to freeze for the future. “The gift that keeps on giving.”
5. Below 0 degrees F. here this week so plan to stay home, have a fire in the fireplace and make brownies. Also am committed to cleaning out bedroom of old clothes and investing in much needed reorganization.



Marie January 30, 2023 at 7:20 pm

That’s what call the Doll


Marie Roush January 30, 2023 at 7:22 pm

Dumb tablet! Grrrr.
That’s what I call the Dollar tree , the $1.25 store. 2\$1.00 greeting cards are the only bonus now!


MB in MN January 30, 2023 at 8:59 am

1. Found a muddy bandana on the ground, cleaned it thoroughly, and am using it as a dinner napkin.

2. Spent $5 on several books at the Friends of the Library sale. When I’m done with them, they’ll go to a Little Free Library.

3. Needed carpet stain remover after dog vomited on guest house carpet. Noticed that the remover marketed especially for dogs was $1 more than the regular one and the ingredients list was the same. Bought the cheaper one and it worked great.

4. Niece gave me a bottle of honey mustard dressing that she gets in a two-pack from Costco. Delicious!

5. Treated my niece’s family to an annual membership at a children’s venue. It was a $60 membership reduced by $21 for the daily tickets we had already purchased.


Katy January 30, 2023 at 11:54 am

Hooray for muddy finds that only need a thorough washing!


MB in MN January 30, 2023 at 5:25 pm

Katy, I’m pretty sure I got the idea from you!


Anna Chan January 30, 2023 at 9:01 am

For any other Agatha Christie Fans out there, I highly recommend the, “All About Agatha” podcast. It’s a deep dive into the works of The Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie.


Bee February 1, 2023 at 4:07 am

Passed this tidbit on to my daughter. She loves both podcasts and Agatha Christie. Thank you for sharing!


Mich January 30, 2023 at 9:17 am

I LOVE that you are redoing the baby book, an act that simply says ‘love’. Your daughter is blessed. I wish all kids had parents who loved them for who they are, no matter what.


rebecca January 30, 2023 at 3:22 pm

So wonderfully stated. Love and acceptance are so important.


Christine February 1, 2023 at 5:24 pm

Love and acceptance have always gone hand in hand for me. Rebecca, you stated your feelings wonderfully too, as did Mich.


susanna d January 30, 2023 at 9:57 am

I love the name “fuzzy bunny”!

1. We took a short vacation to see the sun (while it’s been cloudy up here, sunshine is apparently still a thing further south in the state). Found a good rate on a hotel, and knowing that restaurant food options were limited in that area, we brought all our food from home. Refrigerators and microwaves in hotel rooms make “eating in” much more varied and interesting than in the past.
2. In my quest to keep grocery expenses under $40 for January, I went through the freezers and unearthed all the little dribs and drabs that I’d frozen in my past quests for zero food waste. My husband looked at all the little items on one of those nights and was shaking his head. I told him to think of it as a Vegas buffet “and look at how much money we’re saving! I mean, have you seen the prices of those buffets lately?” I’m not sure he agreed with my way of thinking but he ate that “buffet” – and a few more – without complaint.
3. Two years ago I posted about our front loader washing machine throwing an error code, and how a bit of research – and a good cleaning – got it working again. While we’ve tried to clean the machine’s hidden areas more frequently, apparently we didn’t do it often enough because it played the “error song” last week. At least we knew how to fix it and didn’t panic the way we initially did the first time.
4. Also on the topic of the washing machine, this time it threw the error code while in the rinse cycle, not the spin cycle. There wasn’t much water in the machine, but the door was locked. After a few minutes the lightbulb went on in my brain and I thought to TURN THE MACHINE OFF. Which instantly unlocked the door. I probably could have solved that problem even quicker by RTFM-ing. My gosh I love the term “RTFM”.
5. We use a particular essential oil in a diffuser to help with my husband’s sinus issues. Living in the middle of nowhere makes it necessary to order this, and this time I was sent the wrong oil. I checked to verify I had in fact ordered the correct one and contacted the company. I was told that I couldn’t return it. After nicely asking to speak with someone else and explaining – again – that the error was not on my part, the person immediately said they’d refund the price or replace it with the correct oil – and that I could keep or discard the wrong one. I was going to opt for “discard” but my husband wanted to try it since we don’t open the windows in subzero weather and the house can get a little stale. While this oil is not a favorite, I don’t hate it. Nothing wasted – it’ll get used.


Katy January 30, 2023 at 11:54 am

I love the reframing of leftover stragglers as a Vegas style buffet. Way to sell the sizzle!


Roberta January 30, 2023 at 11:04 am

1. Made minestrone last night, using up the unloved leftover free spaghetti squash, some of the farro I bought in bulk thinking we’d love Buddha bowls for lunch, veggie broth from veggie scraps, and some broken up pieces of spaghetti. Family was fed and happy, and there is less in my fridge with less food waste.
2. Ate at home before the Irish music concert at the church Saturday night. (The concert was $20 each, but it was a fundraiser.) Enjoyed beautiful music, and free hot chocolate and conversation during the intermission.
3. I excavated a bag of free cranberry sauce and combined it with some frozen pineapple I shouldn’t have bought, to make a side dish for breakfast. A little sweet for my taste, but it cut the richness of the biscuits and gravy.
4. Spending time with the kids at home playing board games we’ve had since the year dot.
5. Working three days a week, which keeps me out of stores. I feel like I’m buying things (food and drinks) faster than we’re using it. Which is wasteful, both in terms of money and global resources. So I’m trying to eat down the freezer (again!).


Katy January 30, 2023 at 11:53 am

I’ve never made minestrone soup, but now I’m thinking that I should!


Coral Clarke March 20, 2023 at 9:01 pm

Brisbane, Australia. Like you, I make an exception for fundraisers, one of the reasons I’m frugal is having wealth to share!I always wished I had a talent, but was so unhandy, an artistic eye, but zero ability, appalling at sports etc. Then I discovered my talent! I can find and redirect unwanted goods to those who need them! I managed to find bicycles for 5 young Muslim refugees, released into the community with health issues ( both physical and mental) and very minimal support.I was able to buy helmets and bike locks to go with the donated bikes, and now they are enjoying the freedom of Brisbane, a beautiful city, and getting healthy exercise as well.One young man, Mustafa, has stayed in touch with me, has earned money doing food deliveries on his bike, and cleaned my floors when I had back issues last year.One of the best things I have been able to do for him was asking for his help, people get so tired of being perpetually grateful, and relish a chance to be the giver!


Katy March 21, 2023 at 9:31 am

You last point is an interesting point, I’d never thought of it that way. I agree 100% and feel that way myself.


Katy January 30, 2023 at 12:01 pm

Thank you to everyone for your kind words about remaking my daughter’s baby book! I love and support my kids and nothing could ever change that.

It’s sad that parents of trans kids get applauded for doing normal parental things, but I totally get your responses. It’s sadly not done by everyone.


Roberta January 30, 2023 at 2:48 pm

I think part of the reason I am so amazed by your action of going back and recreating your daughter’s baby book is because I wouldn’t think to do something like than unless my daughter was expecting a child. We just don’t look over it any more. But being presented with a corrected version of her childhood makes so much sense once I see it implemented.


Katy January 30, 2023 at 3:55 pm

It wouldn’t have occurred to me, except that I did pull the books out the other night.


Kim January 30, 2023 at 12:03 pm

What a sweet idea for your daughter! This never occurred to me and is such a special treasure. You are an inspiring parent. Long time reader, first time poster. Thanks for encouraging me to be more sustainable and sell junk.


Kathy January 30, 2023 at 12:06 pm

1. Reheated leftovers instead of buying snacks to eat during playoff games.
2. Organized and inventoried cosmetics and skin care. Other than mascara and maybe foundation I’m not buying anything this year.
3. Listed multiple items. If they sell great, if not gifts for the entire year
4. Received $10 gift card from health insurance company
5. Freebies for birthday are coming in so organizing them so I don’t miss any


Lindsey January 30, 2023 at 12:11 pm

1. Not sure how I acquired two pounds of buckwheat flour, but there it was, hiding in the bottom of the freezer. Made blini for us three days running and then made a bunch more for a friend who came over. Also made four loaves of bread and used some of it in that. Almost gone.
2. I managed to store a box of last summer’s onions (why do I grow so many?!) but they were starting to show some aging. I bit the bullet and peeled and chopped up 8 pounds of them. I borrowed the neighbor’s largest-I-have-ever- seen slow cooker and made caramelized onions. It was too cold to put the cooker outside, as I usually do for onions, so for 10 hours we smelled them cooking away. I put them in plastic bags, flattened and froze them. It is pretty easy to crack off the amounts I need for future recipes. I gave the neighbor some for sharing her slow cooker.
3. Ground up a gallon of egg shells I have been saving (after I rinse them) and added it to the hens’ food so that their shells will be nice and hard. You can buy them but why would I spend money on something I can get for free from my own chickens?
4. I like using wood cutting boards. Husband sanded and refinished all three of them, so they are as good as new for another six months.
5. Went to the dump and there was a stool lying there, in two pieces. Basically the top came off so someone threw it away. Husband sanded, glued, screwed and painted it and now I have the perfect seat for my greenhouse, assuming the snow ever melts.


Bee January 30, 2023 at 12:17 pm

I also like to propagate plants. This is something I just started to do a few years ago. A girlfriend encourage me to make a Forsythe pot. We used inexpensive materials purchased at an estate sale, of course.
I also have been very successful propagating Fiddle Figs and succulents of all sorts. But even better, I love to garbage pick my plants. It amazes me that on “lawn trash day” people throw out all sorts of plants. When I find an orchid that is no longer blooming, I’m giddy. It’s always a surprise when they bloom again and I to see what kind they actually are.

1. I had a dozen or so apples that were getting soft. I made baked apples using my Instant Pot. Very easy and very good. I ate them in my oatmeal several mornings.
2. Made chicken broth from a small carcass. I have so much broth in the freezer! So I cooked carrots in it as a treat for Rescue Pup. I’ve topped her food with these mashed carrots the last couple of nights. She is very happy.
3. Not frugal for me, but helpful to someone else — I have a friend that is much older than I and technologically challenged. We have had some interesting Conversations about the recent increase in the cost of living. She confided that her cable bill was $300+ a month with Comcast. Although She has a smart TV, she has never set it up. So I’m walking her through the process of switching over. She will save approximately $260 a month. She’s very excited.
4. I’m not really certain that one would consider this frugal, because it is certainly a totally unnecessary purchase. However, I love antiques, and I have bought and sold them for years. At the food pantry thrift store, I bought a beautiful English silver butler’s tray circa 1880 for $40. I bought it for the sideboard in my dining room where it fits perfectly. I know this is not everyone’s style, but it is really amazing what can be found in the thrift store. Whether your style is totally modern or country craftsman … Art deco or eclectic, one can indulge oneself for very little.
5. I am doing all the usual things — Cooking at home, brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily filtered water, streaming the occasional TV show and reading library books.
Wishing everyone peace and good health.


Heidi Louise January 30, 2023 at 3:23 pm

Had never heard of a Forsyth pot and appreciate the link. The silver tray sounds lovely!
My sister-in-law in Florida grows her (perhaps trash picked; I’m not sure) orchids on the bark of the trees in her yard. I think she leaves them in their pots and lets them climb and attach.


Bee January 31, 2023 at 5:10 am

I hope you find the link helpful. Orchids love being beneath the trees – shade, humidity and heat. They will grow well in the house too – in the right spot.


Coral Clarke January 30, 2023 at 3:36 pm

Frugality, for me, is about living better for less,and living joyously is a big part of this!Your butlers tray will delight you daily, I am happy for you!


Bee January 31, 2023 at 5:15 am

Thank you! I agree wholeheartedly. Learning to live well on little is the ultimate in frugal. I have often said that I am frugal so I can live richly.


Christine January 30, 2023 at 3:53 pm

Your #3…what you are doing for your older friend that will save her $260 a month is such a caring and thoughtful act of kindness. This week, my hat is off to you and to Katy for redoing her daughter’s baby book. You two are the bomb!


Jill A January 30, 2023 at 4:10 pm

It’s wonderful that you’re helping your friend. I wish I could talk my Mom into switching. She pays so much for cable. Also the tray sounds lovely and a bargain especially if it makes you happy.


Bee January 31, 2023 at 5:21 am

Thanks for you kind words. Streaming saves so much money over a standard cable bill. For my friend, she had difficulty understanding that she could still have access to all the shows she loves. Of course, it can be a little frustrating loading the apps and even more frustrating to cancel them. However, the savings is worth it!


Coral Clarke March 20, 2023 at 9:06 pm

The whole point of frugality for me is getting maximum value for every single dollar I spend, and your butlers tray will delight you for ever! That’s Value with a capital V!


Ava January 30, 2023 at 12:38 pm

1. Got free juice and frozen fruit with store coupons.
2. My son saved the Thanksgiving turkey carcass for me and I was finally able to collect it from his house. It made 2 1/2 qts of broth for the freezer. The dogs enjoyed the scraps left over after I removed all the bones.
3. Used some ancient red beans in chili and ancient oats in granola.
4. Listed several items on Etsy.
5. Started working on ornaments for this year’s craft shows already. I plan to be better prepared than I was last year.
6. Had a friend over for a movie and popcorn.


Christine January 30, 2023 at 3:00 pm

I love houseplants. They add some greenery to help beat the winter blahs and the oxygen they emit makes me feel I’m doing something passively healthy for us. The Fuzzy Bunny is not only beautiful, it has a cute name as well.
1. DH took the car to get the tire with the imbedded screw in it taken off and a new one put on. Best news of the week when they said the new tire is covered under our warranty. $270 saved.
2. I found a penny on the floor at Walmart. Big and little wins make a difference overall, I think.
3. I made a Get Well card for a neighbor using one I had in a batch of miscellaneous greeting cards I stash away. I pick these up for pennies at thrift shops and yard sales. I also signed a sympathy card for another neighbor whose husband recently passed away from said stash. I will deliver these to them personally as they each may want a visit.
4. I found a long sleeved white T-shirt and a white tank top to wear under it at Walmart for $6.00 and $3.00 respectively. I rarely buy new but as someone on this blog said: used white shirts are usually in the same condition as our own used white shirts…not too great.
5. The usual things to keep me on the frugal track: Reading library books, making my own tea, iced tea and coffee, taking it with me in a travel mug when I need to go out (I like sipping tea while doing errands), keeping the heat at 64 to 65 degrees during the day when we’re home and turning it down to 60 at night, walking trails for exercise (thanks weather, for not dumping a lot of snow on us this winter) eating down the freezer and cooking at home.


rebecca January 30, 2023 at 3:38 pm

1. Watched “White Lotus” for entertainment. Excellent. I get the hype and awards.
2. Buying loss leaders and using what I have.
3. My brand new five week old oven stopped working. It is under warranty but waiting until next Saturday which is the soonest they could come.
4. Horrified by what happened to Tyree Nichols and makes me appreciate, even more, all good people.
5. The usual-cooking at home, making my own coffee, hanging laundry when I can and buying loss leaders.


Katy January 30, 2023 at 3:56 pm

I wasn’t in love with the first season of White Lotus, (too cringey) but the second season was flawless!


MB in MN January 30, 2023 at 5:37 pm

Rebecca, re your #4: Me too, times a million. Plus, it costs nothing to be a good person.


Bee January 31, 2023 at 5:28 am

Heartbreaking and disconcerting…


Mary Ann January 30, 2023 at 5:21 pm

1. Used credit card points on my IHG card to book 3/4 of my hotel nights for free for a dream trip to Italy coming up. I don’t know what deal I got with this card. I don’t know if it is still available but I have spent dozens of nights in free hotel rooms. I use to get a cash back card which was only about$300 a year. This is much better. I believe it is only $35 a year and I get that back at the end of the year.
2. When the airports first opened up I book an $400 flight to Venice. It was unbelievably cheap but restricted luggage. This weekend I used a capsule wardrobe template to plan 13 days in Italy in an under – the -seat roll on luggage. Most of the clothes are consignment and or small batch local shops/artisans. I am pretty proud of this. The ski jacket was on Poshmark with internal pockets for passports. When I don’t wear that, I have a infinity scarf from Etsy with zippers sewn in to stash goods. I did splurge on merino wool leggings which should be a buy for life.
3. Listed another clothing item on Poshmark that I just don’t need.
4Made a to go box for a 60th bday at a Chinese restaurant. So much of the food would have been thrown away.
5. Saved a half a cup of soup that I would have thrown away. I had it for snack.


Mary Ann January 30, 2023 at 5:24 pm

OOps wrong link for the wardrobe;

The other link is the zero landscape I did to remove all the grass from our drought stricken California


MB in MN January 30, 2023 at 5:40 pm

Mary Ann, I enjoyed both links. Beautiful!


Bee January 31, 2023 at 5:32 am

I love to hear about bargain travel! Hope your dream trip is a dream!


Morgan January 30, 2023 at 8:41 pm

I haven’t had a chance to read through the comments yet but I wanted to come down here to say that your thoughtful gesture to update your daughter’s baby book brought me to happy tears. What a lucky human they are to have you as their Mom.


Ecoteri January 30, 2023 at 9:17 pm

Thanks for the John Seymour reminder, I think I have several of his books on my shelves – there is a cheaper version of the one you got under a slightly different name. I just love that style of book – my kind of eye candy! And thank you for sharing your baby book story – My poor daughter (kid #3) has a totally empty book, I am afraid to say (and she is now 22)
1. “Meals at home, Meals at home, Meals at home” is the theme. #2 son enjoyed the cabbage/carrot slaw that I had made up for my daughter to take home (and we had kept half) so I made more, which all got eaten. He asked for yet more, so I invited him over (he lives on the property in a loft over the ‘barn/workshop’) to learn how. Two people making slaw goes way faster. He cut up the cabbage and then used the food processor, I busily peeled carrots and washed celery and he sliced and grated those. I had a scary old cabbage that I rescued and we chopped up, ended up with a lot more for our gleeful healthy munching.
2. We don’t usually make dressing however he complained that the new slaw was ‘sharper’ than the first (older cabbage likely not so sweet). I made up some 1/2 yogurt, 1/2 mayo, lots of lime juice, some garlic and onion powder dressing using the yogurt I had made with stale dated milk, some of the limes that I got from “Flashfood” at a huge discount, my own garlic and onions dehydrated and powdered. That dressing I could just drink, and other than the mayo it is pretty good for us – and used what we have on hand.
3. I continue to use the Metabolic Renewal exercise program I purchased last year. one impulse purchase that has proven itself over and over – the Facebook group alone has kept me very positive, and the results are measurable in both body and soul.
4. I’ve been tempted by online pilates exercise programs for people of a particular age. Instead I frugally researched free Youtube series. I have saved two different series, which I have been working my way through for over a week. I am on a mission, and these YouTube video plans, the Metabolic Renewal, walking, and watching my food intake, are all beginning to pay dividends in the form of more strength and flexibility, as well as endurance. And the weight is also beginning to decamp!!
5. Tonight I wanted Pizza just because I was tired. Instead, I cooked up the chicken that I had taken out to thaw yesterday (my own meat birds, trying to remember to eat down that freezer). I also cooked some potatoes that have seen better days – then needed to be peeled as they were green, I cut off the spouting bits and have set aside to put into the garden once it thaws. For the remaining potatoes, they were sliced very thin and rinsed in water, got a couple of teaspoons of olive oil rubbed over them all in a bowl, then they were carefully placed on parchment lined cookie sheets and baked in the same oven as the chicken until brown and mostly crispy. Mmmm, no current money out of my pocket. Shall have salad later tonight as my snack, as my get-fit plan and calorie reduction means that a big huge bowl of salad is key to feeling full.


Alexia Sabor January 30, 2023 at 10:06 pm

I love that you did that for your daughter.


Hawaii Planner January 31, 2023 at 6:40 am

I took a work sabbatical a few years ago, and discovered that my second child’s baby book was nearly empty. In my defense, my surprise second kiddo (now a teen) is 13 months apart from my first child. The mini pill & breast feeding are not 100% effective as birth control, as you probably know! I’ve thought about trying to recreate it, but it’s hard to go back without any “artifacts”! I love that you’re recreating your daughter’s book. Well done.

1) Used a $10 off a $10 purchase coupon at Safeway. Picked up treats that we normally wouldn’t buy the teens – including cereal & chocolate milk. Okay, and a small clearanced out dairy free (Fairlife) ice cream for myself. So delicious. I also uploaded my receipt to iBotta, saving a bit of additional money.
2) Similarly, used a $4 CVS reward to pick up some candy to go with the cash we’re giving our teen for a birthday gift.
3) Ensured I had a store discount (pay $25, and it’s a lifetime 10% off at the local sports store, and they also donate 10% of every purchase to your favorite charity) before I bought my other son’s 16th birthday gifts, on behalf of myself & my mom. Saved quite a bit, and it turns out, I already had the discount membership.
4) Continued to do the normal stuff: eat at home, menu plan, eat out of the freezer, charge our car for free at work, take advantage of free work meals, etc.
5) Listed a few things on eBay. Gave away a ton of stuff on Buy Nothing (which, frankly is such a high for me, because decluttering is one of my favorite things to do). This week, I was able to fulfill two “ISO”s, which is the best.
6) My son has been wanting a pull up bar for his birthday & Christmas. We ordered one, it didn’t work, & returned it. A neighbor was giving one away on Buy Nothing, so I picked it up this weekend, & it’s perfect! Teen is thrilled.


Dmarie January 31, 2023 at 8:17 am

well done, you, on the supremely thoughtful baby book fix!! *heartwarming* <3


Bethany M February 1, 2023 at 12:18 pm

I used up the 7 grain pancake mix my neighbor had leftover in her move. Made it into lemon blueberry bread. Don’t ask for the recipe I just dumped stuff together and stirred. Lol!

Stretching out my shopping days. We have plenty of milk. No rush! Saving gas, using stuff up, saving money!

I really wanted to stop at Taco Bell or McD for lunch after Bible Study. It doesn’t fit any of my goals and I just drove my growling stomach home and made a yummy wrap.

Uncovered a $50 gift card to Lowes that was lost in our move. It was shoved in one of those pockets of the luggage you never use. I’m sure hubby will put it to use. Got a $20 rebate check from our CA doctor this week too. I don’t remember giving them our new address. $70 recouped!

Been able to use up school supplies we ordered through the CA charter schools. Gave some to the kids’ teachers. It was nice to have a surplus and not have to buy so much this year.


Selena February 1, 2023 at 8:01 pm

Slices of any quick bread can easily be made into French Toast. Better half (the cook) is into meal planning. I have to admit I am far more open to discussing “next meals” when it is NOT first thing in the morning. He’s already discussing Saturday lunch (using what we already have in the house).
@Katy – big hug from a pretty much non-touchy-feely-person re: baby book. I will say I never have and never will understood a parent/parents (especially a mother) turning her/his/their back on her/his/their child(ren) based on the child’s/children’s gender choice.


Ava February 2, 2023 at 11:53 am

According to a charitable organization in our county, more than half of LBGT youth are kicked out of their family home due to their sexual orientation. My church is one that once a week provides a meal, hot shower and a safe place to sleep for these homeless youth, ages 18 through 24. I can’t imagine disowning my child for such a thing but it is more common than we would like to think.


Coral Clarke March 20, 2023 at 9:16 pm

Brain boggling! When you’re pregnant, you are looking forward to wonderful surprise, and sometimes, further down the track, you get another one! The loving continues.


Jann in Maine February 2, 2023 at 11:24 am

Botanist here Tradiscanthia is also known as “wandering Jew” –and as a member of the tribe I always thought an “interesting” plant name. Katy I imagine your daughter was very touched by your baby book work. And you must be thrilled to have found the duplicate book to carry that out with. Kudos.
Going to be super cold here (actually the way Maine used to be before global warming) at -40 to -60 below tomorrow and Saturday. Will stay home and safe and will omit my walk most likely for those 2 days…
Staying on task with everything that is part of my routine to save $. Clothes are hanging on drying rack as we speak.
Bought my Valentine’s Day cards at the Dollar Store 2/$1 which is my speed. I showed my DH one of the cards and told him it was his card but I was mailing it off. He gets it and is on task with me. So much easier to have a spouse that supports rather than sabotages tightwaddery.
Stay warm and safe to all those impacted by the storms in the South!


Michelle Porter February 2, 2023 at 6:54 pm

First time posting but it’s time.
1. Went to my favorite thrift store as this week everything is 80% off. She amazingly still had designer purses left. I bought 3 coach bags and a….Dooney and Bourke beautiful bag. All for….$16. I’ll keep the Dooney and bourke and sell the other 3
2. Bought a dirt cheap accident insurance policy through my employer for my 19 year old twins and myself. Hate that my kids are clumsy but glad I bought it. 2 claims in the past 3 months. $600 back in mypocket.
3. Discovered the Goodwill bins. Amazing items. Resold clothing items to the tune of $150 from 2 visits.
4. Went through all of my old purses. Jarred up all coins to the tune of $48.62. I’ll save all change for a couple cool treats over the summer.
5. All food from home and only buying sale items at grocery store.


MB in MN February 3, 2023 at 2:37 pm

Michelle, you had some great wins!


Marie-Josée February 4, 2023 at 8:03 pm

Just chiming in to express what a supportive and thoughtful mom you are.


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