Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 27, 2023 · 76 comments

  1. I sold:

    • A Donner party monument brass bookmark. I paid a few pennies (pay-by-the-pound Goodwill, baby!) and sold it for $20.50.

    • A trio of Cutco kitchen utensils. I paid $6.99 and sold them for $50.

    My stupid foot (plantar fibroma) keeps me from doing anything that requires me to walk or even be on my feet more than necessary, so I’m rarely thrifting these days.

  2. My husband and I took a day trip up the Columbia Gorge to Hood River. We stopped on the way to grab free IKEA coffees and then stare up at Multnomah Falls for a few minutes. (I always stop at Multnomah Falls as it’s free and I love how it changes throughout the seasons.) We then enjoyed lunch at a brewery overlooking the Columbia river and kept the bill under control by drinking water. I chose the salmon chowder, which was delicious and filling, yet $7 less than my husband’s cheeseburger. My secret skill is that I’m wickedly skilled as finding the best choices off a menu.

  3. • I took advantage of more Safeway loss leaders, specifically 99¢/pound chicken breasts, 25¢ Totino’s pizza rolls, (I almost didn’t nab these as they’re straight up junk food) 97¢ half-gallons of milk and 99¢ packets of sliced Swiss cheese. I stupidly forgot to use the Safeway gifts cards that I earned from participating in a study.

    I froze half the chicken and cooked up the rest in the instant pot to be used in recipes. So far I’ve made a huge pot of chicken soup and assembled what I need to make a couple pans of enchiladas for the freezer.

  4. • I sewed a name patch onto a uniform jacket for my husband. He got this jacket for free from a former co-worker who no longer needed it as he’d moved onto a new job.
    • Our minivan suddenly demanded a new battery and alternator. My husband bought the battery and installed it himself, but he farmed out the alternator replacement to a mechanic friend who does favors for friends. We paid, but it was significantly less than it would have been with our regular mechanic. To be specific, we paid $370 total for everything instead of the approximate $1000 it would have otherwise cost.
    • I turned off the furnace and opened windows on a couple of warm days. This is the annoying time of year when we either get snow flurries or sunny days.

  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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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer March 27, 2023 at 12:11 pm

Sorry to hear your foot is still an issue, that sounds really awful!

Now that you have chicken and swiss cheese have you thought about chicken cordon bleu? I make a deconstructed version where I dice up all the chicken, ham and cheese (I use 2 kinds, but essentially whatever I have on hand) as well as the ends of bread loaves from the freezer. Toss all together, pour melted butter over the top and I usually use some kind of cooking wine – whatever I have on hand, but white wine is the best. Bake for 45 minutes and serve over rice or cous cous. A normally fancy meal that in the end uses up the remains of things for me.

1. Staying home for spring break and completing small tasks on our home project list. Today we painted the ceiling in the dining room that somehow got missed when we painted the whole downstairs a few years ago. Yesterday was spring yard clean up. So much fun!

2. I have been craving a good wood fired pizza so I looked up a rustic pizza crust recipe and am going to try to make something myself tonight. The dough is rising right now.

3. An appt got canceled so I didn’t have to drive 30 minutes away today. My dental appt was not canceled and I’m glad I was able to fit in my routine cleaning on break and not have to miss work for it.

4. We re-evaluated our college savings to see if we were on track for our youngest 2. Both kids have changed from a traditional 4 year school to a community college for ds and an associates degree for dd. Neither child will have to take out student loans to finish their chosen path (they both took $3500 federal subsidized loans for the 1 year).

5. Listed something on ebay, made homemade muffins for breakfasts and freezer, forced myself to use the disgustingly limp broccoli that I received in my wal-mart pick up,


Katy March 27, 2023 at 12:55 pm

I hadn’t though out doing chicken cordon bleu, thanks for the inspiration!


Sandra March 31, 2023 at 6:32 am

I’ve never made a deconstructed Chicken Cordon Bleu, but it sounds good. Thanks for sharing.


Mary in Maryland March 27, 2023 at 12:37 pm

1. Last night I heard a crash in the kitchen as the Mister did dishes. The glass beaker from the French press coffee maker bit the dust. This morning on the early walk we saw neighbors setting up for a yard sale. I asked about French press coffee pots—and she brought out one marked at 3 dollars. I also bought an electric kettle and a two-quart jar with a gasket lid for a dollar each.
2. When our plates are full enough and there are only a couple tablespoons of the dish left, I used to just give us extra-big portions. No longer. Now I save those dribs and drabs and when I’ve two or three jars of not much, I empty them all artistically (!) onto a bowl of grain and call it dinner. Since I usually just cook one item per meal, this grouping of leftovers is regarded as something special. It’s good to set the bar low.
3. I woke in the night with jaw pain. It felt like I needed a root canal, but since all three teeth in the area had already had root canals, I decided it must be sinus pain. After two more sleepless nights I called my dentist. He tapped the suspects and sent me to the endodontist the next day for a 3-D CAT scan of my jaw. Fascinating images, and worth $350 to find out which tooth was the troublemaker. The endodontist said I had an abscess and bone loss under #19. Both dentists agreed that #19 needed to come out. The oral surgery group I was referred to could see me in late May. The pain was so excruciating that I didn’t want to wait, but also—isn’t having a bone infection for a couple months a bad idea? I called every group within 20 miles. I made a chart so I could call my eight new best friends (oral surgeons’ receptionist/schedulers) twice daily scouting for cancellations. I nabbed an apt less than 24 hours after my diagnosis. The surgeon was not personable and gave me the local much too quickly. But one awful minute was far better than a horrible month or two, so I expressed nothing but gratitude. He gave me the tooth to take home. Alas, the tooth fairy left nothing to help with the bill.
4. I have a tiny refrigerator and can’t justify storing a bottle of ketchup that I only use for a couple of recipes. Yesterday I scored a baggie of ketchup packets from my Buy Nothing Group. Pad Thai, Indo-Chinese noodles—here I come.
5. I cooked a pot of beans in my solar oven for the first time this year 3/26. Soaked them for 16 hours, drained them, and then topped them with 5 cups of boiling water from my new electric kettle. Fabulous after 5 hours at 250-300 degrees. Easier now before the trees leaf out here.
6. We finished off the post dental surgery gruel by topping it with a spicy dal. Waste not, want not.


Katy March 27, 2023 at 12:52 pm

Yes, it’s always good to temper one’s expectations.

BTW, I think I need to have you take care of all assertive appointment making from here on out!


Jennifer March 27, 2023 at 5:10 pm

So sorry about your tooth! I have been there and it is awful! Hoping you feel better soon and can get away with no implant as those are painful and expensive. After having my 2nd tooth pulled in the same area I was forced to get an implant. I’m glad I have it but the process was awful – physically and financially.


lulutoo March 27, 2023 at 7:16 pm

By coincidence, I had a root canal last week and thought it went very well, I also found the oral surgeon to be ‘not very personable’ (to say the least–NO ‘charside manner’. This was in contrast to my regular dentist who explains and is quite pleasant.


Mary in Maryland March 28, 2023 at 5:50 am

I think that superspecialists are in their specialties because they don’t have the skills to sustain long-term patient relationships the way my primary dentist does. They are already talking implant but want to see how #20 is doing before they do anything else. Now on day four I’m feeling much better and have made up my sleep deficit.

As regards snagging appointments–I combined charm, bathos, and persistence. My super power is that I make people feel better.


Lindsey March 28, 2023 at 9:02 am

Mary, I wish I had your super power. I can piss people off even when I am giving them good news!


Mary in Maryland March 28, 2023 at 9:49 am

I’m sorry. I once did a big favor for a friend with your problem. She had several awful clients who she wanted to fire, but she couldn’t make herself deliver the bad news. I did it for her. None of the dropped got upset, and she even got a couple of compliments on her new receptionist. (Me)

Anne March 27, 2023 at 8:03 pm

“It’s good to set the bar low.” I think that will be my new motto.


Mary in Maryland March 28, 2023 at 5:58 am

That’s been my motto for decades. I met my husband for our first date with day four hair wearing running shoes. No sense in setting standards I have no intention of living up to. On the plus side I did invite him to dinner at my house before our second date (he got theater tickets for my birthday, which was eight days after we met.) He was also stunned when I started giving him lunches of leftovers to take to work. About six months into seeing one another he marveled that this was the first time he had more money while he was dating rather than less. It still warms my heart to think how well he “gets” me.


Mary in Maryland March 28, 2023 at 9:51 am

Think of that motto when you’re deciding what to take to the potluck or how much to clean before book group or whether to spend a day washing windows. It will change your life.


Lindsey March 28, 2023 at 8:57 am

Just reading about your tooth made me cringe! And how resourceful of you to call all the possible docs in the area until you found one that could take you. I am afraid I would not have thought of that.


Marilyn March 28, 2023 at 2:58 pm

Good for you for finding an oral surgeon who could help you in a timely way. No one should have to experience dental pain for weeks or months.


texasilver March 28, 2023 at 6:09 pm

It is a bummer to have a tooth removed that had a root canal & likely a crown that you had to pay for & at a high cost. All that money spent & then the tooth still has to come out. That happened to me last year. Then I had to get a bridge. More money spent. Like you said when pain is involved then take the tooth out & quickly!


Mary in Maryland March 29, 2023 at 9:59 am

The offending tooth had a crown and root canal already, but it was about twenty years ago.


Selena March 28, 2023 at 6:44 pm

Not waiting is also a good health call. Dental problems are *not* good for your heart.


Nalani March 27, 2023 at 12:41 pm


1. The biggest savings lately was using all my saved up airline miles and credit card rewards to pay for the airline tickets and hotels for my trip to Japan in May to visit my new nephew. This is also my first trip to Japan since pre-covid times so I am very excited.
2. Work supplied a few dinners and lunches last week as my office had a deadline and we worked late all week. Got my free birthday Starbucks drink and my parents took my husband and I out to lunch for our birthdays.
3. Haven’t rejoined the gym and just continue to do free workout videos at home.
4. Skipping food shopping this week and just eating what we have and what’s in the pantry and freezer. Already prepped my lunches for the week.
5. Resisting the urge to update a few things in my wardrobe since in a month and half we will hopefully go back to a hybrid work schedule and I’ll be working a home a few times a week anyway.


Katy March 27, 2023 at 12:51 pm

That is so fantastic that you get to go to Japan and meet your new nephew!


MB in MN March 27, 2023 at 2:28 pm

Agreed! Safe and happy travels.


Ruby March 27, 2023 at 12:57 pm

Those falls are gorgeous!

I have been under the weather with touchy digestion for a week, so nothing spectacular is happening in the way of Five Frugal Things:
1. Persuaded my son to clean out his room and took a carload of stuff to Goodwill. Did not go shopping: I have enough stuff.
2. Repaired my husband’s house slippers yet again and added to the darn on the toe of mine.
3. Mended the ripped hem on my husband’s jeans.
4. Scooped old dirt out of pots to fill in holes in our back yard left by tree roots decaying underground.
5. Used part of a spool of heavy duty braided fishing line to sew a mesh privacy panel to our chain link fence. The panel had to be extra secure to keep our dogs from yanking it. I bought the spool of line years ago. It is endlessly useful.


janine March 27, 2023 at 3:23 pm

Ruby -you are endlessly talented with your needle! #5 – fishing line to mend a fence- who knew?


Ruby March 27, 2023 at 4:22 pm

It worked really well. I used a big yarn needle and pinched the mesh panel to find the raised links in the fence to stitch around. It’s very firmly attached now. The dogs can’t get hold of it to yank on the fabric now.


K D March 27, 2023 at 1:08 pm

It has been a quiet week.

1. I made anew to me cookie recipe, Peanut Butter Cup cookies. I had bought bags of Reese’s peanut butter cups on super clearance after Christmas. and used one in this recipe. The recipe is a keeper.

2. I finally received a check from our medical insurance company for rapid Covid tests. I submitted the receipt in September and the claim was never processed. The same thing happened after I called in January. I called again a few weeks ago and a helpful person put the claim in the system while we were on the phone. I used the app for our credit union to deposit the check, we almost never go there in person these days.

3. We walked to the Breadery and bought three bags of specialty rolls from the clearance shelves. The sell by date was a few days away and I threw everything in the freezer. They grind their own flour and make a high quality product. By not being picky about what we buy/eat we are able to get good quality at a good price.

4. I continue to read and listen to audio books borrowed from the library. I also use the library for digital access to the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Soon I will do so for the New York Times as well. Our tax dollars at work.

5. I continue to redeem Giant Flexible Rewards for grocery items at a good price. The rewards can be redeemed for savings on groceries or Shell gas but the best deals are their Special Offers. I think they are trying to show shoppers the quality of their store brand products. I have a lot of points from buying a gift card during a promotion.


Katy March 27, 2023 at 1:16 pm

I need to figure out using my library for NY Times access.


Connie C March 28, 2023 at 7:28 am

I had no idea this was a thing! I will definitely have to check ours.


K D March 31, 2023 at 9:00 am

I suspect every library system is different but in our system they are available under the Research Databases category. I would guess the availability is system dependent.


Bee March 27, 2023 at 2:26 pm

The falls are breathtakingly beautiful. Multnomah Falls is on my bucket list of places to visit. Although I have travelled many places out West, I have never been to a Oregon.
My husband is in the middle of a big project so I’m not sure if we are going to have much fun this year. 🙁

1. We used our Hilton Honors points to book a hotel for three nights during our daughter’s graduation. Hilton has a wonderful awards program. This saved us about $700.
2. I have been making sure that I am using up absolutely everything in my frig. I chopped up some steamed broccoli finely and added it to my taco meat. I made a pot of clean-out-the-crisper vegetable soup. I added some grape tomatoes – different but tasty – as well as leftover steamed cabbage from St. Patty’s Day.
3. I have a stack of library books by my bed. It was finally my turn to check out Demon Copperhead. I did not realize this was loosely based on David Copperfield. I am very glad to have this book and the others. My husband and I both have Covid — again. I have a little more time than usual to read.
4. I paid for my video doctor’s visit and medications with my HSA.
5. I have done all the usual things. Brewing our own coffee and drinking primarily filtered water. We have been eating at home and not going anywhere. (This isn’t really by choice. See #3) I sold several items on eBay suddenly. I listed some things on Buy Nothing and donated a few things to Goodwill. I gave a friend of mine who teaches art school some art supplies that one of my adult children left behind.
Wishing you all peace, good health, and prosperity.


Christine March 27, 2023 at 2:39 pm

I hope you and your husband both feel much better soon. I just talked to my neighbor who told me she has had three bouts of it since 2021. No fun at all.


Katy March 27, 2023 at 6:28 pm

Yes, Multnomah Falls is very beautiful. I pulled this photo from the government website about it.


susanna d March 28, 2023 at 6:35 am

Re: #1 – Bee, I totally agree about Hilton Honors. I love their awards program. They often have promotions where you can earn double points AND a bonus (like 1000 or more additional points), which helped us to get a number of free nights since joining.


MB in MN March 27, 2023 at 2:37 pm

Katy, so sorry your foot is still a problem for you.

1. Found a way to use less dental floss. Instead of a long piece that I wrap around my fingers on both hands, I now use a shorter piece that I knot together at the ends. So easy to floss this way.

2. Followed up with the consignment shop where I had brought numerous items a few months ago and received $410. I will be picking up the items that were not sold and will either keep, sell or donate.

3. Got a new library card and have already picked up five holds. In my book, a life without a library is not worth living.

4. With our purchase of a used vehicle, we received a card that will give us 10 cents off each gallon of gas and $6 “the works” car washes at participating gas stations.

5. Car dealership didn’t charge us anything for the parts and labor needed to fix the electrical issue that started during our trip, although we were outside of the warranty period when the issue started. They gave us a brand new loaner car to use for almost three weeks. Fantastic dealership.


Christine March 27, 2023 at 2:45 pm

Your #3…I wholeheartedly agree. When Covid shut down our town’s library for three months, I had a feeling of being disconnected. I was happy to have some books I hadn’t read yet at home so those filled in, but I still missed browsing and choosing books in person. I also missed the anticipation of picking up books I ordered through the interlibrary loan system. My eyes bother me from reading too much on a screen so online books wouldn’t have helped. The day our library reopened was a happy one.


Selena March 27, 2023 at 6:50 pm

I too missed the library – ordered a few from Abe Books to make do. We share books among family members so off they went or got donated to the library. I’ve noticed that some authors aren’t as popular with younger than me readers so those I try to donate.
BUT.. the library has this slick new pickup option. The lockers are outside and you are NOT limited to picking up during library hours. Put your card in the reader and your locker opens up.


Lindsey March 28, 2023 at 9:11 am

Our library is closing for extensive renovations and will be closed all summer and fall. We will have to drive out to North Pole, 17 miles each way, to check out books and I am already dreading it. Some people commute back and forth each day for work, but that is unfathomable to me. I may be forced to read all the books I have purchased and piled up in various places.


Mary in Maryland March 28, 2023 at 9:52 am

Maybe you could commission a commuter to drop off and pick up your library books?

Bee March 28, 2023 at 5:06 am

I have to agree that life without the library would be dismal. I use mine for so many things and have saved so much money over the years while garnering hours and hours of enjoyment. I utilize nearly every service ours offers. I have access to the Wall Street Journal and NYT. Audio books through Libby and Hoopla. I have the Hoopla app downloaded on my TV which gives me free access to Acorn.
Christine, like you, I love the process of picking out a book. I enjoy it in the library as well as the bookstore. And Selena , on the rare occasion that I buy a book, I love to share it with someone else. BTW, I love the locker idea for pick up. Some days, I cannot make it to the library when it is open. This would be a wonderful solution.


Mary in Maryland March 28, 2023 at 6:03 am

Regarding you #1–I use dental floss without tearing it off the roll. When done I tear off only the yucky part. Uses just 7 inches per floss.


MB in MN March 28, 2023 at 4:13 pm

Mary in Maryland – that’s brilliant!


Mary in Maryland March 29, 2023 at 10:00 am

Brilliant –or totally weird? It’s a fine line. I grew up in Northwestern Minnesota.


Heidi Louise March 29, 2023 at 1:34 pm

Mary in MD– What? In one of the many towns that claim to be “the Heart of the Red River Valley”? Or farther north?
(I am well versed in the interface between brilliant and totally weird).

Mary in Maryland April 1, 2023 at 6:34 am

We were “The Twin Towns”. I grew up in East Grand Forks.

Mary in Maryland April 1, 2023 at 6:36 am

There is nothing north of the Red River Valley–it goes all the way to Hudson Bay. I canoed an old voyageur route from Grand Forks to Winnipeg with a group for the Manitoba provincial centennial in 1970. One of my favorite adventures.

Heidi Louise April 1, 2023 at 7:40 am

What a great canoe trip! Crookston was my home.
(By farther north, I meant north or east into the lakes areas).

Mary in Maryland April 2, 2023 at 9:33 am

I went to Crookston for Diocesan Book discussion club when I was in high school. When I was in grade school I was very excited to learn we had a cathedral only 28 miles away. I was expecting Chartres or Notre Dame and quite disappointed to see a church even smaller than Sacred Heart.


Christine March 27, 2023 at 3:07 pm

1. I am slowly putting a raffle basket together for my church’s Harvest Fair in November. The theme is Game Night so I’ve been putting aside new games and puzzles I see at thrift shops. A friend also donated two puzzles and two games, all brand new. On Saturday I bought a chess set and a checkers set, both in beautiful boxes and brand new, for $2 each from the church thrift shop. As the time gets closer, I’ll add snacks.
2. Spring has crept into New England so I’m able to hang all laundry outside again.
3. DH and I took a ride to a river to walk the beautiful nearby wooded trails. I left some painted rocks for others to find and took some photos to remember our day. On the way home he mentioned he was craving pizza so we pulled into a pizza parlor. He wanted a large pizza, but I talked him into ordering a small. We ended up with leftovers to take so it was more than enough. While there we noticed a sign advertising a Monday special of large cheese pizzas for $6.95. We rarely eat in restaurants but decided we’ll be getting pizza on Mondays often.
4. I’m reading Windfall by Erika Bolstad, a non-fiction library book about her homesteader great grandmother in North Dakota at the beginning of the 20th century. Excellent, so far…about two chapters in.
5. Got my yearly mammogram today. Last year for the first time, insurance didn’t cover the total cost. I ended up paying around $30 out of pocket but still well worth it.


Mary in Maryland March 28, 2023 at 6:06 am

Thanks for the book recommendation. My maternal grandparents were both homesteaders in ND. Grandpa lost his farm in the depression, but Grandma was able to keep a couple of milk cows on hers.


Christine March 28, 2023 at 2:49 pm

I hope you enjoy the book. What an interesting family history you have! I’ve always felt the homesteaders in such harsh climates are a huge part of the backbone of America. I’m descended from four grandparents who were all city folk! Hard workers in their own careers though.


Cindy in the South March 27, 2023 at 7:45 pm

1. Son replaced a bad electric breaker in my outside box. He is actually a painter but his certified electrician friend has trained him as a helper. 2. I walked in neighborhood and at park. 3. I trimmed up my hair. Having thin, straight as a stick, mousy brown stick to your head hair, is always an advantage bc you cannot really screw it up and make it look worse… lol. It is football helmet length. Plus, I don’t really care. Not really caring is frugal also….. 4. I cooked at home and made hamburgers, sautéed spinach, corn, sugared milk strawberries, tacos, hot dogs, and a pizza for the kid mentioned above. Of course I took my sandwich to work for lunch. I made scrambled eggs with sliced grape tomatoes for me because I felt like it. 5. My fav is that I took a nap this weekend.


Bee March 28, 2023 at 5:10 am

Grape tomatoes are good in many things. I often use them as a substitute for larger size tomatoes during the winter months. A beefsteak tomato brought in January is pretty tasteless.


susanna d March 28, 2023 at 6:28 am

1. I just spent several minutes staring at that amazingly beautiful picture of Multnomah Falls, and I’m feeling happier and more calm than I was prior to seeing it. I’m calling it frugal entertainment, since I get pretty tired this time of year from seeing nothing but snow, snow, SNOW when I look around me. Thank you for posting the picture, Katy!
2. I’ve been tracking how many loads of laundry I can get from a “25 load” jug. 51 loads and counting as of today – and there’s still a decent amount of soap left in the jug. How many loads will I ultimately get? Stay tuned…
3. I bought a couple of containers of sale priced blackberries. One was fine, the other…kind of tasteless. So I immediately froze the less than stellar berries to use in iced tea if…okay, when…warmer weather finally gets here. Frozen fruit is a nice flavor boost for iced tea.
4. My husband gave me a bracelet that I love for my 50th birthday. And for the past 15 years, it’s gotten very little wear due to the almost impossible to fasten, too-small teardrop lobster claw clasp. While decluttering the grandkids art supplies, I found a bag of jewelry fixings that included magnetic fasteners. Knowing those magnets are darn powerful, I spent a little time with a pliers and glue, and made a modification to the bracelet. It’s now SO easy to fasten, and I’ve worn it just about every day since. It’s not a money saver in that I already had the bracelet, but I’m calling finally being able to wear the bracelet whenever I want without frustration and cussing a frugal win.
5. My yogurt loving family did not eat much of the yogurt I had on hand for their visit last month, so I froze what they didn’t eat and have been slowly eating it for lunches/snacks. While I’m not a fan of yogurt, I dislike wasting food even more.


Lindsey March 28, 2023 at 9:18 am

In our house we use a lot of sour cream. If I have too much yogurt, I mix it into the sour cream, one fourth yogurt to three fourths sour cream. (I am the only yogurt lover and sometimes get carried away with how much I make.)
No one notices if I don’t go beyond a fourth and it uses it up. I cook a lot of Eastern European foods and sour cream features heavily in many of them. Also, I like sour cream instead of butter on toast, which makes my thoroughly American husband gag.


susanna d March 29, 2023 at 6:22 am

Lindsey, thank you for the idea of mixing yogurt with sour cream. I’ve tried using yogurt in place of sour cream and it was not a success. I never thought of adding a smaller percentage of yogurt to sour cream. I just happen to have sour cream in the house and was planning to use it this week, so I’ll give it a try!


Kristen | The Frugal Girl March 28, 2023 at 6:57 am

Ohhhh, those falls are beautiful!!

In my second most recent meet a reader post, Amanda shared a pic of her family in front of those same falls:

And now I really want to go visit them one day.


Hawaii Planner March 28, 2023 at 7:53 am

1) Remembered to cancel a night at a hotel. We’re going to a wedding this summer, but are only able to stay 24 hours. I’m not thrilled about the logistics (it’s a lot to spend, for such a short period of time), but, we are saving one night at the hotel, & saving $150. I’m glad I remembered that I booked two nights, because the hotel was booked months ago.
2) Sold a luggage tag on eBay. I almost tossed this, when I was cleaning out my hall closet, and a few days later, a coworker mentioned that they can be worth some money. Woohoo!
3) I’ve been wanting to try an easier meal option, as a 1-2 week reprieve during some really crazy weeks. Noticed that our company rewards program had an offer for a meal service that brought the price down to $15 for the first week (for 10 dinners) & $50 for the second week. While it’s definitely too pricey for regular use, the intro offer was too compelling to skip! I also love that I can choose 10 completely different dinners (we have a variety of allergies), which is a gift, & takes the burden off of planning & cooking all of those meals myself.
4) Finished using a container of non-dairy milk in smoothies. I purchased this before I gave up coffee, so it’s been lingering. Also, I gave up coffee several months ago, and have been able to stick with it, which helps drive down our coffee spend a bit. (My husband has always had 3-4x more than my lonely cup, but at least it’s a small decrease.)
5) Figured out a less expensive transportation option for last week. I was at a conference in the city, and we had a fixed transportation cap. Parking as insanely expensive, and I hate driving in the city. I’d originally planned to Uber to/from the conference, and pay the difference over cap. Instead, I drove to our office that’s in between my house & the city, and Ubered to/from there. Parking was free, and my expenses came in just a smidge under the daily cap. I saved myself about $80 by doing this. I also submitted my expense report promptly, and it’s already approved.


Ashley Bananas March 28, 2023 at 9:17 am

I’ve been trying to pan out this week to find some peace of mind that will allow me to make better financial decisions.
1. Despite paying for an entire surgery in advance, I have continued to receive small bills for blood work, and dr visits in and around the hospital. I also received a bill for the nurses that was almost $900 additional, I called to ask about this and was told it should be about $200 and my Dr’s office would call to have it adjusted. Because of this I did not pay and am waiting for the second bill, which I hope the draft will be smaller.
2. I bought a second car last year that is only 5 years old. I kept my older car which had serious work done on it last year and has been paid off for 14 years. My cost issues is coming in the form of insuring both of them. The newer car is 700 for every 6 months to insure. The older car is about 300 a month to insure per 6 months. I took the newer car off the insurance today. I find that paying 2k a month for two cars when I am the only driver is excessive. I plan on reinsuring the newer car closer to Summer as it has great AC, and otherwise saving the money and redistributing it in my budget to make more sense. I am keeping both cars as my son will be a new driver in two years. Both cars are paid off. I’ll drive the newer car around the block a few times a week to keep it going.
3. I have wanted to eat out several times this last week or so but have cooked in instead. I am struggling after weight loss surgery to find things I can eat and my son can eat, otherwise I am often making two meals for two people. I’m going to continue to try and eat in often as I’m still learning my diet.
4. I am continuing to go through my clothes new and old. I have lost about 70lbs so far in the last year. To save money I am working with the clothing that I have. Laundry thinning party coming up soon… A coworker who is also working on losing weight will get my nicer clothes 😉
5. I saw a curb alert for a free working lawn mower. My son and I ran over and then brought it to another neighbor who doesnt have a mower. We know personally because they have been using ours for a few years. It was like Christmas came early on our street. Next to find them a weed whacker. They appreciated. Sometimes it’s juts connecting people with things they need when they’re free or on sale that make sense.
Bonus – I told my son if he got straight A’s I would buy him an Occulus Quest at the end of the semester. I also told him he had to start paying the water bill because he has started taking hour long showers. At the end of our conversation he asked if he could not pay the bill if he just took shorter showers. I laughed….


Christine March 28, 2023 at 3:00 pm

Nice of you to snag that lawnmower for your neighbor and to be on the lookout for a weedwhacker. You sound like a great neighbor who also has great neighbors.
Good lesson in finances there for your son BTW!


MB in MN March 28, 2023 at 4:20 pm

Ashley Bananas, congrats on the weight loss! Loved your bonus story about your son.


Bee March 29, 2023 at 5:22 am

You may know this, if you do ignore me. I am not an insurance specialist, but I don’t trust insurance companies at all. You can run into trouble in the state of Florida taking insurance on and off your vehicle. If your vehicle is registered (tagged), you are required to carry 10k in property damage and PIP (personal injury protection.) There is a way for you to suspend your coverage legally when a vehicle is in storage. Its sounds like you might have done this. However, you may want to make sure that you have coverage if anything happens when you are driving the vehicle around the block. If anything were to happen and you weren’t covered, it could result in a big mess. Sorry for butting in …,


Ashley Bananas March 29, 2023 at 9:22 am

Bee, Thank you. I appreciate your knowledge on this!


Lindsey March 28, 2023 at 10:21 am

1. I won a 4.5 quart enameled Dutch oven. I already have one so I looked up the brand online and sold it for just $5 less than it sells for in the store. Sold it through FB Marketplace, so no postage involved.
2. Revived some dismal pak choi using a poster’s suggestion to put sad greens in a vase of cold water. Worked perfectly, so instead of throwing it to the chickens as I would have in the past, we made a meal of it.
3. Ground up a huge container of eggshells, part of them from shells I had saved and part from a friend who saves her shells for me. They will be fed to my chickens so that the eggs they lay will have good shells. Some people buy ground calcium.
4. Buy Nothing group person was giving away a case of snack sized crackers that were a year pat their use by date. I took them and they were really not very tasty, even after spending some time on cookie sheets to try and revive them. The chickens not only like them, but they come running when they see the bowl in my hand. My chickens are such good recyclers and so entertaining.
5. This morning I did a mystery shop on my way to the doctor’s office, for $6 in gas and 2 diet pops.


Marilyn March 28, 2023 at 2:48 pm

Living in SW Washington State, I’ve been to Multnomah Falls a number of times.
But no matter how many times I’ve stopped at the falls, I’m always in awe of how beautiful it is. Even on the coldest winter day, when it’s a like an icicle cascade, it’s a lovely sight.

I’m sorry to hear about your “stupid foot”, Katy. Must be so frustrating. Hope it heals soon.


Deb Devo March 29, 2023 at 5:46 am

I’m not sure why I stopped getting your blogs in email, but when I come to your website now and re-click on ”subscribe” I go to a page that looks like computer code. :~(

Is there anything you can do to get me on the list of people who get notified when you put a new post up?


rebecca March 29, 2023 at 8:48 am

Plantar faciitis is awful! I hope it gets better soon.
1. My heart, my lab actually, is turning 14 this week. I invited a friends and few neighbors that love her over for a birthday party. I will grill hotdogs that are from the freezer. I just need to buy a few things and it will be fun for cheap. I asked people not to buy her any gifts as she doesn’t play with her toys much anymore and doesn’t need any. I asked if they felt so inclined to bring her treats or donate the $$ they would have spent to a dog rescue.
2. I will have 3 classes to teach in the fall. This is a huge financial relief.
3. I like to give my dog pumpkin in her meals as it is good for digestion. Sweet potaotes have been loss leaders lately so buying those and cooking them in my toaster oven for her (me too). Even though it isn’t a huge savings, every little bit helps!
4. Friends are coming to town. I offered to cook dinner instead of going out. I have a .99 cent per lb whole chicken in the freezer, above sweet potaoes and a couple of apples I can make a cake with for dessert. A delicious and healthier meal for all for less than the cost of 1 person’s meal out.
5. The usual-not using my car every day, loss leaders, coffee and water from home, hanging some laundry ect.


MB in MN March 29, 2023 at 1:43 pm

Rebecca, love your #1. Happy birthday to your pup!


Bee March 31, 2023 at 6:24 am

I love your #1. Your pup’s birthday is a great reason for a party! I thoroughly applaud donations to animal rescue. My current Rescue Pup has brought us a great deal of joy.


Bethany M March 29, 2023 at 10:02 am

Started a side business of proofreading. I’ve proofread for a major elementary curriculum before and I have a M.Ed. I’m now wondering why I’ve never done this before. If it’s a flop, I’m out no start up expenses and I’ve already learned some things and gained experience.

Had to take my daughter to urgent care this week. Called ahead to nail down pricing. I’ve gotten a $2500 bill from a local urgent care that does ER billing codes. I called and said, “She just needs a doctor to look at her ears and throat. We don’t need a bill that indicates a heart monitor and IV fluids.” There are legit scammers here, but thankfully we found a GOOD one!!!

Traded house cleaning for certified electrician help. (Church friends) Saved me $450 over the dude that ended up being a no-show when I refused to give him a $200 deposit.

Made tallow out of drained hamburger. Made homemade rolls with it instead of butter. Sounds weird, but it’s ok, and gave you seen the price of butter lately?

Hubby got a pay adjustment and a merit-based raise for a total of a 5.5% raise. He submitted for a second increased pay adjustment. His underlings got a 10% pay adjustment and he only got a 2% for that portion. He is so grossly underpaid for being a corporate employee that there was little difference in his pay and those he manages. I’m proud of him for respectfully standing up for himself!


Katy March 29, 2023 at 11:38 am

I am vicariously proud of your husband!


Ashley Bananas March 30, 2023 at 8:15 am

Happy for your husband and household. When I worked in the corporate world for 13 years the company I worked for was on a perpetual salary ‘freeze’ and wasn’t ‘giving bonuses’. I found out that was all bologna and they just did it quietly to keep more talented people in place and rewarded.

I have enjoyed working for local government where there is transparency in salaries and also annual cost of living adjustments, as well as studies to indicate if they are on par with salaries, and they give adjustments periodically if they are not. And a pension after 8 years of service.


MW March 29, 2023 at 11:35 am

1) I snagged a free gift card for local restaurants at the beginning of the month, today I used up the last of it before it expired to treat myself to lunch. I tipped as highly as the app would let me and left full and happy.
2) After buying new Easter shirts for my boys I fully grasped how awful they look in yellow (a beautiful color, just not with the boys’ coloring). I returned the shirts and they will use the white ones that they already own. That were thrifted and handed down . . .
3)I scooted some savings over into a CD at a promotional rate at my credit union. I didn’t need it quite that liquid and a better interest rate was appealing.
4) I’m finishing up a blouse for myself from thrifted fabric, then I’m going to make a pile of scrub hats for my sister-in-law using an old pattern and various gifted novelty fabrics. It’s too busy for a shirt or pair of pants, but just right for scrub hats. And she is always tickled when somebody makes something for her.
5) Still making my lunches (outside of today), making my coffee and taking the bus when I work from the office.


Danielle C March 30, 2023 at 7:42 am

1. We reserved a car rental for an upcoming trip months ago when we initially booked our flights. I just took a fresh look at rental options and was able to rebook the same vehicle at a much better rate – saving $400!

2. Postponed grocery shopping for 4 additional days by getting creative with what we have on hand and moving around my meal plan for the week.

3. I have a significant number of American Airlines miles that were about to expire. I could keep them active by spending or earning miles. After a few trips around their website, I found an “opinions for miles” site that lets you take surveys to earn miles. I did one survey and 3 miles posted to my account within 48 hours. Now my miles are active until 2025.

4. An elderly friend with an terminal diagnosis has been cleaning out her house while she still has the energy to do so. We went over to do yardwork for her and left with an SUV full of stuff. Some of it we will trash/donate for her. Much of it is party supplies and we are paying those forward by sharing them at every opportunity and letting her know how wide her generosity is reaching.

5. I’m currently using up a bar of bath soap that we brought home from our last weekend trip to a hotel.


Heidi Louise March 30, 2023 at 8:19 am

Thank you for the note on American Airlines miles. I have to do something by May and will check out that option. For some points program, I “bought” a magazine subscription to extend the points for a year.

I do not like that companies often seem to hide or make it difficult to find the expiration dates of points programs. If I recall correctly, American sent me a notice, which I appreciate.


Heidi Louise March 30, 2023 at 8:20 am

Also, #4, It is great to hear that your elderly friend has you to help her as she shares with people and says good-bye to things!


Katy March 30, 2023 at 12:10 pm

That was really smart of you to figure out how to extend your miles. Brava!


Sandra April 1, 2023 at 1:39 am

1. Using Easter decorations from years past to brighten up the house. I always enjoy doing seasonal decorating and it’s like having old friends come for a visit when I bring them out each year.

2. My bread machine died. So sad, I used it every week. I searched on FB Market place and found one for $10.00. I’m already using it and saving money with every loaf.

3. Picked up jigsaw puzzles at our local community center. We enjoy working them in the evenings occasionally. Free entertainment.

4. If we have coffee leftover in the morning or after friends come over, I put it in a jar in the refrigerator. It is good for iced coffee or a quick reheat in the microwave.

5. Took a two hour trip with my daughter and she put on an audio book. I was introduced to a new author and am continuing to listen to the rest of the book while I’m folding laundry or working in the kitchen. More free entertainment


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