Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 3, 2023 · 87 comments

  1. I got a “new” tall bookshelf from my Buy Nothing Group for my daughter’s old bedroom. This was a much needed item as her room is littered with her old stuff, yet there’s not enough furniture to contain it.

    This newest piece is part of my snail’s pace project to build her old bedroom back into a functional (and hopefully attractive) space instead of the junk room that it currently is. Hopefully this is a light at the end of tunnel, as all that’s left to source are a dresser and a rug.

    She and I are slowly but surely going through all her stuff and are compiling quite the impressive Goodwill donation box. I will get this room back in order!

  2. My husband and I are planning a night away from Portland at a Columbia River lodge that’s only an hour out of town. I’m a big fan of spending a single night away from home as it’s not only cheaper, but also simpler in terms of cat sitting and such. We’re lucky here in Portland, as we’re close to the Pacific Ocean as well as Mt. Hood and other Pacific Northwest attractions.

    Our thirtieth anniversary is coming up this summer and we’re talking about maybe going up to Vancouver, Canada for a visit. Of course, that would be for more than one night. I’m actually flirting with the idea of an Alaskan cruise, but that would take some convincing on my husband’s part.

  3. • I remembered to use a free spinach coupon during the narrow dates when it was valid.
    • I’m reading a library copy of Immortality: A Love Story, by Dana Schwartz.
    • I drove to Costco for cat litter and picked up three four-packs, which each had a $4.10 rebate. Cat litter is the least interesting way to spend money, so I might as well be as strategic with it as possible.
    • I got a free Just 4U frozen pizza through the Safeway app. Future Katy is going to be very happy when she remembers that it’s in the freezer!
    • I gave away an adorable vintage corner medicine cabinet through my Buy Nothing Group. I curb picked it a couple years ago with full intention of figuring out a way to use it, but finally decided to move it along to a new home.
    • I’m continuing to spend the Safeway gift cards that earned from participating in a study a few weeks ago.
    • My neighbor gave me a dozen eggs from her produce delivery, as they’d been out of town and didn’t need so many.

  4. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.

{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen | The Frugal Girl April 3, 2023 at 5:48 am

If you end up going on the cruise, I want a full rundown. I want to know what a frugal person’s thoughts about cruise life are!

(I’ve never been on one. Soon-to-be-ex husband had seasickness so I figured I would probably go to my grave without cruising anywhere. But now, who knows?/ Perhaps I will cruise. 😉 )


Anne April 3, 2023 at 8:08 am

Kristen, my husband and I have traveled a great deal, cruises, bus tours, road trips, etc. And we’re cheap as all get out. Cruises can vary a great deal in price depending on lots of different factors. So do a lot of research.

Some people love them, some people hate them. Here are my three favorite things about them.
1. NOT havin to repack and change hotels every day or two. We always saw multiple cities on all our travels and moving between them was exhausting and time consuming.
2. We rarely spent any money to eat off the ship. The ship food was already paid for and food in touristy places is almost always sub par.
3. One of my favorite parts is getting to know your assigned dinner companions. We would meet over dinner at the end of each day and share our travel and life stories, some of which I still remember and retell. Only once, in over a dozen cruises, did we have a dull group of dinner companions.


Lindsey April 3, 2023 at 9:01 am

An alternate to a conventional cruise is to take the Alaska state ferry from Bellingham to any of the ports along the way. There are a lot of places in Southeast Alaska that are only accessible by boat or plane, so the state ferry is how people get around. You won’t have luxurious accommodations, only very plain state rooms, and no one waits on you or cleans your room. And you have to buy from the cafeteria or bring food in a cooler or get off at various stops and go to a grocery store. (In some small towns, the ferry coming in is when people go out to eat–on the ferry because there are no restaurants in those towns.) But the ferry goes to places that someplace like a Princess cruise does not and you will be around a lot of Alaskans who are going or coming from home, so you will meet people who really live here. No entertainment either. It goes through the inland passage, which is spectacular and there are usually whales and other sea life around. You can take your car and get off at various stops, stay in that town until the next ferry and get back on. If you have the time, going down the Aleutian chain is really spectacular. Just something to consider if you want something different. Plus, no fancy dressing for any reason! And you can take your dog, although the dog has to stay in the car until you are at a port, when you can take him off the ferry and walk around outside. In between ports, there are specific times people can go to their cars to feed and water their animals. We once brought two Irish wolfhounds and two miniature sheep down to Bellingham, in the back of our pickup, and we managed fine in terms of having time to feed and water and walk. Just something to consider if you are not the cruise type but want to spend a lot of time on the water in very casual circumstances.


Jill A April 3, 2023 at 9:11 am

That sounds like a really interesting option. Great information. I’m always amazed at the resource this blog provides.


Jill April 3, 2023 at 11:26 am

We, also, used the Alaska Ferry System a few years ago and absolutely loved it. We didn’t book cabins but used the ferries as transportation between 4 cities/towns where we stayed in hotels. No need for a car rental as we walked around the towns and the hotels we stayed at had minivans pick us up to their lodging. Saw whales breeching, some incredible scenery and got to visit the towns while there were no cruise ships in port. The Alaska Ferry system has a phone number with trained professionals to help you plan your trip. We called them and told them where we wanted to go and they did all the planning for free – no fee required. Also if you’d like, some of the ferries allow tents on their decks so you can camp on the longer ferries which is much less expensive than a cabin. We prefer hotels but if you are on a really tight budget, that’s something to think about.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 12:16 pm

Ooh . . . interesting information, thank you!

Bee April 3, 2023 at 3:03 pm

We spent 2 weeks in Alaska in 2016. We did not take a cruise. We wanted a more authentic experience. We flew, took the train and the ferries. It was an amazing trip. I found it difficult finding nice hotel options that were not on the expensive side. I really, really want to go back.


Lindsey April 3, 2023 at 3:45 pm

That train ride between Anchorage and Fairbanks is jaw dropping, especially in the winter. It is the last train in the US where you can hail it and it will stop and pick you up. During the dog mushing season, I have seen it stop for the musher and an entire team of dogs. They sit in a cargo car all together and you can go back there and visit. To me the summer vistas are okay but in the winter, the snow makes it astounding. Come in the winter and go to the ice carving festival where carvers come from all over the world to compete.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 10:59 am

I’ll be sure to share, although it’s far from being a done deal. Covid is far from being over, so that’s a real concern.


Mary in Maryland April 3, 2023 at 6:34 am

1. First, a fail that will cost us thousands over the next few years. We should still be wearing black arm bands in memory of the sweet terrier we lost in February. And we are . . . but the foster coordinator begged me to take an overweight ten-year-old with medical issues for just a couple weeks, because we’re so good with the sick, fat dogs. Well, the dog is feeling better—stitches out, excised mass found to be benign, thyroid and allergies being managed appropriately, lots of walks. Trixie’s a sweetie who sleeps quietly all night in the living room. Fairly deaf so we can be as loud as we want without waking her. My rescue group did waive the $350 adoption fee thinking we’ll be spending plenty on meds.
2. Trixie was always shivering. Scored much dog stuff—including coats—on Buy Nothing. I kept what we can use and moved the rest on to four others who had inquired of the original donor. And I threw in a couple of dog things we don’t need—I scored a small water bowl and rehomed the one we needed when we had two 35-pound dogs.
3. Yesterday afternoon someone on Buy Nothing offered several boxes of food if anyone could come immediately. We went. He filled our car. I think he’s cleaning out an apartment after a death in the family. Kosher and vegan—except for the gefilte fish. I moved on the bulk of the goods to a group that feeds the food insecure but kept a whole case of hearts of palm. And renewed lots of my spices. I also kept water chestnuts, cute baby corn, and several kinds of weird pasta.
4. Spent time enjoying my new quilting templates. A woman asked if I’ll make a quilt for her friends who are getting married. I’m hoping I can talk her into a double wedding ring so I can test drive my new templates and perfect my skills on a lap quilt that will live elsewhere.
5. We have not eaten out since 2/28/2020. I’ve decided to splurge a bit and buy some fun groceries. Mushrooms, Korean radishes, mustard greens.
6. No penthouse, no Tesla, no space flight. But mushrooms and hearts of palm and a dog snuggled beside me.


Lindsey April 3, 2023 at 9:05 am

Bless you for taking on a dog with issues! It is hard to find people willing to do that. And we eat a lot of hearts of palm, too, in noodle form instead of pasta.


Jill A April 3, 2023 at 9:15 am

That is so kind of you to take in an elderly health challenged dog. What a great life your new pup will have. I know my sweet rescue pup is such a blessing. It’s a justified expense in my opinion.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 10:58 am

No space flight?! I’m so proud of you!


Christine April 3, 2023 at 6:47 am

I’m on the East Coast…about forty miles west of Boston, a cruise port…I’ve taken four trips to Bermuda on a cruise ship. Probably the biggest $$$ saver is not having to purchase airline tickets to get to the cruise ship. I’m thinking it might be the same for you living so close to the West Coast with an Alaska cruise. Look online for deals and NEVER pay for food that is not included in your package.
1. My rubber boots I purchased about ten years ago at a yard sale both sprung leaks. I was going to try repairing them with that As Seen On TV rubber goop that promises to mend just about anything. While shopping for seed in a farm store I came across a display advertising all their clearance rubber boots on sale for $5. They were a lot cuter than my plain black ones too. I picked up a pair and figure I saved money on not buying a tube of goop that I may never use for anything else.
2. I’m cooking Easter dinner at home. Leftovers are the best!
3. We had friends over on Saturday night. I mistakenly thought we were going over to their house. Found out they were coming here when I awoke from a nap at 1:20 PM and they were arriving at 5:30 PM. Yikes! I made a large casserole pan of Rotini and meatballs and threw together a simple cake for dessert. I had a tub of hummus I had bought on sale and pita chips to go with it for a premeal appetizer. I cleaned the bathroom and DH swept the floors. He also ran out and bought some beer. At 5:30 we were ready and waiting for our friends. Whew.
4. I’m doing a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle given to me by a friend for entertainment. Should keep me occupied for a few weeks. This same friend gives me crossword puzzles she prints out for me on paper. Thoughtful friend she is.
5. Dug around under the furniture and discovered about 8 cat toys that had been missing. Cats are happy.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 10:56 am

Yes, Alaskan cruises leave from Seattle, which is only 3 hours from Portland.

Your #3 gave me vicarious anxiety, but I’m happy that you and your husband pulled together and made it work. Impressive teamwork!


Bee April 3, 2023 at 3:07 pm

Your #3 made me laugh. Good for you for accepting the challenge. I might have cried and ordered pizza.


Christine April 3, 2023 at 4:53 pm

Thanks Katy and Bee…although full disclosure: the meatballs in the Baked Rotini and Meatballs came from a bag in my freezer (store brand AND on sale) so it wasn’t as elaborate as it might have sounded.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 7:26 pm

Hey, take the win! 😉


geri April 24, 2023 at 3:17 pm

On the bright side, the bathroom got cleaned and the floors swept. Panic-cleaning is the best! I used to beg a friend to tell me she was coming over so I could get the house clean. Bonus, I never knew whether she’d really show up or not so the cleaning had to get done just in case.


lulutoo April 3, 2023 at 7:07 am

Katie, I just want to say how much I love this group. I love reading your weekly reports and truly enjoy all the comments from like-minded people. I had a ‘frugal fail’ this weekend–went to see a play that a friend was appearing in. I treated another friend to the tickets (she was driving us there so it was good for both of us) BUT when it ended, she said, “Let’s go to a Starbucks for coffee.” I said, “I’ll treat” (thinking she meant COFFEE, which is what I get when I make a very rare trip to Starbucks). Well, I got my usual coffee and she ordered a (something something with something something and something swirled and topped and….) and her drink came to seven dollars and change. I was really kicking myself for that one!


Katy April 3, 2023 at 10:53 am

Yeesh, that’s a faux pas on her part. I was taught that you order on the lower end when someone else is treating.


lulutoo April 3, 2023 at 4:53 pm

Yes. And I’m sorry I spelled your name wrong, Katy!


Coral Clarke April 5, 2023 at 5:39 pm

Planning on moving later this year, will be able to afford to buy a ( smaller) apartment, as opposed to renting, thanks to adding an inheritance to my super. Now going through my ( large, old) apartment and rehoming at least one item a day. If I pick an easily achievable target, I don’t want to break a perfect run ( 42 days!) , and I ALMOST always do more! At 75 I don’t do large scale entertaining any more, and I have freed more than 1000 books to other book lovers, knowing I won’t read them again. I’ve kept 125, favourite authors I will read again, Diana Gabaldon, Sara Donati, Bill Bryson, Donna Leon, Omar Khayam, and others I will dip into for reference from time to time. The less I move, the less it will cost!!


Cathy April 6, 2023 at 1:20 am

Coral I like your give away each day project. And I can hear your excitement in reaching your goal as I read your post. Well done!


A. Marie April 7, 2023 at 1:34 pm

Coral, I’m with you on Bill Bryson. I still can’t read his memoir, The Life and Adventures of the Thunderbolt Kid, without laughing uncontrollably.


A. Marie April 7, 2023 at 1:38 pm

And, yes, that should have been The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Whoopsie.

Shelley April 3, 2023 at 7:53 am

I listened to your podcast episode with How to Money yesterday while walking, and I just wanted to tell you how delightful it was! I’ve read your blog for years, and I especially enjoyed hearing more about your philosophy of non-consumerism and how you approach it from such a positive, encouraging, and non-judgmental way. It was a bright spot of my day and helped me to rethink my approach to purchasing, so thank you!


Katy April 3, 2023 at 10:51 am

Thank you, that was my goal.


Ruby April 3, 2023 at 8:37 am

1. Cut my own hair, thus saving myself $24. Also cut my husband’s hair and trimmed up my son’s hair, saving each of them $15.
2. Used up some bags of mulch that had been taking up space in the garage for a year on the front flower bed.
3. Made a use-it-up salad of sliced tomato, cucumber, celery, olives, some aged Swiss cheese and a little ham for lunch one day. Also baked a batch of muffins to use up the last banana and a spare egg.
4. Cooked up all the languishing root vegetables in the fridge in chicken stock to make a quart and a half of curried parsnip-carrot soup for lunches on other days.
5. Continuing to declutter my house, with another carload of stuff going to Goodwill this week.
Bonus: Improved the unmortared stone path in our backyard by digging random slabs of stone out of the grass and moving them, with the help of my burly son.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 10:50 am

It’s so cathartic to use up the bits and bobs that would otherwise go to waste! I made a meatloaf this week that used up a small amount of leftover sautéed onions/peppers, some cut onion, the last of a bottle of BBQ sauce and four slices of stale bread.


Jill A April 3, 2023 at 8:52 am

1. I took my youngest daughter to Auto Zone to have her car battery tested. The battery was bad but still under warranty so we received a new one for free.
2. I visited my oldest daughter who moved closer to me but is still over 4 hrs away. My mother and sister came also and we shared hotel and gas/toll costs and brought food for breakfast and lunches. I parked my car at my daughters to avoid the $23 valet parking only charge at the hotel. It was only a half mile away and we either walked to her place or she picked us up.
3. We visited the aquarium in my daughters new home which she had never been. We were able to apply the purchase of our two tickets to a membership for her and her husband. We also visited the museum in which my son-in-law is the new director and he gave us a very nice tour. It was free.
4. I shopped with my Mom at Costco and we bought a few things that we were able to divide and share the cost. Neither of us needed 4 lbs of bacon or a huge box of crackers but half was just enough.
5. I continue to use up food in my freezer, fridge and pantry. I turned leftover rice into a meal of fried rice and the leftover fried rice will be turned into some weird dish my daughter wants to try called Omu-rice which is basically an omelet filled with fried rice and topped with ketchup. The things we do for our children.


Jill A April 3, 2023 at 9:06 am

Also I was able to add Hoopla to my Roku and watched an Acorn show free. Thanks Bee for the inspiration.


Bee April 3, 2023 at 3:10 pm

Awesome!!!!! It’s nice to have free entertainment choices.


Lindsey April 3, 2023 at 9:21 am

1. Did a grocery mystery shop, so $32 of food for free. And it was a curbside pickup, so took about five minutes to pick up the groceries and less than 10 minutes to do the report.
2. We have a friend who comes to dinner to our house once a month and we alternate who provides the food. She does not like to cook, so always brings Chinese food. The restaurant makes such huge portions that husband and I each get two meals out of it. She does not eat leftovers so leaves hers for our dog or chickens. Tonight we and the dog will be on day two of enjoying Chinese food.
3. Another friend makes very fancy Easter rolls. We supply the eggs for all the rolls she makes, so usually 18 or two dozen, and she gives us a dozen tasty buns. With our chickens, we almost always have an excess of eggs, so this is a great trade for both of us.
4. The buy nothing group had someone offering a large pot still with dirt from last year in it. I figured I could refresh the soil so I eagerly brought it home. When I dumped out the dirt, there was a rose root in it. I started to throw it away but decided it cost nothing to see if I could resurrect it. And I did!! Two weeks later, it is sending up shoots. If this works, I will have a $40 rose bush for free (that is what they cost locally and you have to overwinter them so a lot of people just throw them away at the end of the season. She had her pots in the corner of her garage, pretty perfect for over-wintering.)
5. Husband fixed the dishwasher for about the 11 hundredth time. It breaks down about every six weeks but in-between times does a terrific job so he is willing to take the 15 minute it takes to fix it. An appliance repair guy we talked to said there is no permanent fix, so most people just junk them. This one cost us $800 10 years ago, so I am willing to keep it on life support as long as we can.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 10:39 am

Hooray for your husband’s dogged determination to keep that dishwasher functioning!


K D April 3, 2023 at 9:37 am

1. My Safeway offer this ad cycle was $5 off a purchase. I bought on sale sweet potatoes, fresh pineapple, and Short Cuts. I also bought a couple containers of mustard on clearance for 75% off. I often use mustard in marinades/coatings for chicken breasts.

I stopped at Aldi and bought clementines and Brussels sprouts, both of which were on sale.

2. Our suburb’s library is closed for renovations. I was going to be near the next closest library in the county system, so I stopped there to drop off books that were due and pick up a couple that I had on hold.

3. A friend and I carpooled to a Pilates class and I paid for a multiple class pass with a March discount code. My friend was wearing an Athleta shirt she bought for $5 at Goodwill and mentioned that we should go Goodwill shopping together some day. That is my kind of shopping. This is a friend that always tries to use everything more than once, when feasible. She has a system for opening at large packs of Costco toilet paper so that she can reuse the packaging as a kitchen trash bag.

4. I submitted a claim for Covid tests to insurance. Even though the reported number of cases is low these days I know several people that have had Covid recently.

5. The weather is warming up and I’ll be wearing clothes I have from previous seasons. I don’t care about the latest fashions.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 10:12 am

I should have added that I used a $10-off-$50 Safeway coupon and added two cases of canned cat food to bulk up my shopping.


Ava April 3, 2023 at 10:14 am

1. Traveled to see family. $ was spent but we stayed with family once we reached our destination.
2. Stopped at Goodwills in route & picked up craft supplies and stuff for Etsy.
3. Neighbor gave us a dozen farm eggs.
4. Wonderful pet sitter washed the dogs while they were at her house. Since he was already clean, I took the mutant terrior in the back yard and trimmed the areas the groomer usually does. Overdue groomer visit skipped.
5. Using up some harsh toilet paper that was purchased during the great covid toilet paper famine.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 11:00 am

Your #5? A true commitment to frugality!


Lindsey April 3, 2023 at 11:02 am

At our house we call harsh toilet paper Soviet toilet paper. When I would go to visit family in the former USSR, the tp was so rough I swear it could give you instant diaper rash. I took to bringing my own rolls when I went, although I always ended up giving them away as gifts. We were not allowed to stay in the homes of our relatives, always at a hotel where there were older ladies sitting at the end of each floor, documenting your arrivals and departures every day. The cleaning people searched your luggage and one day I returned to find all my gum and toilet paper had been taken.


Whitney Archer April 3, 2023 at 11:15 am

That’s amazing. My parents visited eastern europe in just after a communist country opened up and they brought back some toilet paper I swear would give you splinters.


Ruby April 3, 2023 at 11:46 am

Now I know where my last employer was buying the office toilet paper from! The stuff was so stiff and harsh that a length of it could be twisted into a little paper rope.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 12:21 pm

That is so interesting! My parents went to the USSR in 1979 for an article my mom was writing for a British magazine. (We lived in London at the time.) They have some very interesting stories that I don’t think I can even share in writing all these years later. I can say that people assumed that my father, (who is a darkly bearded Jewish man) was a Soviet and officials thought he was trying to trick his way out of the country.


Lindsey April 3, 2023 at 3:56 pm

The first time I took my husband there, we were assigned a translator who was not aware that I spoke Russian and Lithuanian. She did not speak Lithuanian and when we were in Vilnius she overheard me talking to the hotel manager and went ballistic because I could communicate without her. We were questioned by some very severe men, which really freaked out my poor husband, and prohibited from leaving Vilnius even though the original plan was to go to the town to visit my paternal grandmother’s grave. It was years before my husband would agree to go back, and that trip ended up even worse. People who thought Russia meant the end of Soviet style control were kidding themselves. I cannot imagine how your poor father was treated.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 4:16 pm

I understand your husband’s hesitation.

Jill April 3, 2023 at 11:38 am

1. We had friends from out of state in for the week. We took a weekend trip about 3 hours away to an independently owned motor lodge where we shared a room with the goal of visiting a local hot spring and seeing the area. Unfortunately, my husband came down with a stomach bug and spent most of the weekend in bed. Realized the hotel had a fantastic hot tub so we switched the plans to soaking there and just enjoyed being together. The hotel also had a grab n go breakfast which we took full advantage of (well, not ALL of us)
2. Our friends bought groceries for the week and I cooked for them one night so we ended up with leftovers and lots of food after they flew home.
3. I’m currently out of library books but my daughter bought me two books for Christmas so I’m reading one of them, Michelle Obama’s The Light We Carry.
4. Decided this week would be a freezer/pantry challenge week. Cleaned out both and will merge the leftovers/food our friends bought with using up what we have on hand.
5. My friend bought some rosemary and started it for me to transfer to a pot for a sunshiney area of my tiny yard. Always up for free plants. 🙂


Katy April 3, 2023 at 12:15 pm

Rosemary is so easy to grow!


A. Marie April 3, 2023 at 12:07 pm

FFT, Big Apple Edition, Part I (first in a series of reports on my week in NYC with JASNA BFF):

(1) The biggest win, of course, was simply spending a much-needed week out of town with BFF. Over the 14 years since we met on the JASNA 2009 tour of England, we’ve helped each other through various life crises–and now we’re doing widowhood together (my Alzheimer’s version and her actual version; her DH died last May of complications after cardiac surgery). Multiple in-person heart-to-hearts = priceless.

(2) The second biggest win was staying in BFF’s spacious Upper West Side apartment with a glorious view of the Hudson. For free. With BFF. It doesn’t get any better than that.

(3) As BFF is not a foodie and we’re both trying to economize, we ate as many meals as possible at the apartment. Of course, even Big Apple grocery prices came as a shock to me–but the costs of eating out more than we did would have been even more shocking.

(4) BFF is working on cleaning out her late DH’s endless books (he was a professor at CUNY), so I helped her walk bags of books over to her nearby Housing Works thrift store on two separate occasions (the daily limit on books at HW is two bags/boxes per day per donor). I gained a new appreciation of how easy it is for me just to toss a load of stuff in the back of my Honda Element and buzz it down the hill to my Salvation Army superstore.

(5) I naturally browsed the Housing Works store on both trips, but avoided the temptation to buy anything. There was a close call with a pair of Hermes designer sneakers (who knew that Hermes does sneakers?), but (a) HW priced them at $100 and (b) they didn’t quite fit. Phew.

To be continued tomorrow at The Frugal Girl, with an account of frugal things I did in the city.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 12:14 pm

I too have had to be creative with donating books in NYC when helping my sister pack for a move. It ain’t easy.


Bee April 3, 2023 at 4:48 pm

I’m so happy to hear that you had a nice time with you BFF! Restorative indeed!


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

1. Needed new walking shoes per my foot doctor. Went to DSW and signed up for emails in order to get a 20% discount. The shoes were expensive so this was well worth the aggravation of daily emails before I unsubscribed.

2. Made a tasty, filling and thrifty soup using celery, onion, broth, milk, spices and egg noodles.

3. Got an eye-popping $700 estimate to reupholster a small armchair that originally belonged to my parents (same estimate from two different reupholsterers). Uff da, I won’t be doing that no matter how solidly built or how wonderful the memories. Instead, I plan to thrift a throw to hide the hideous upholstery and place it where you can’t see the back of the chair. Or I may contact an upholstery school and see if they need some practice pieces.

4. Scored a loaf of bread at a bakery for 50% off.

5. Friends and family treated us to groceries and meals during the weekend we moved into our temporary apartment.


Coral Clarke April 5, 2023 at 5:48 pm

Check out “painting upholstery” on Google! Amazing!!


MB in MN April 6, 2023 at 3:13 pm

Coral, thank you for your suggestion! I wonder if brushing on fabric dye would also work. It couldn’t hurt!


Bee April 3, 2023 at 4:46 pm

The last two weeks have been quiet as DH and I have experienced a bout of Covid — again. Fortunately we were not sick at the same time.

We still managed to be frugal:
1. A friend gave me a cutting from her Night Blooming Cereus. ( Florida Snowball) I have wanted this plant for a long time. I’m nursing it along.
2. I picked up several small terra cotta pots that had been placed out for garbage pickup.
3. I was not happy with my regular service on my vehicle the last time I went in for service. I nicely let this be known and my service representative offered me a free service. When I made the appointment for my service last week, I reminded him of this. This saved $150.
4. I received a $30 gift card from Chewy. I used it to buy kitty litter again. Not very exciting, but I love not paying for kitty litter.
5. I’ve done all the usual things – eaten my meals at home, brewed my own coffee, read library books, used up all the leftovers, batched errands, listed a few items on buy nothing and eBay, and scanned my receipts to iBotta and Fetch.
Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 7:10 pm

Team “not paying for kitty litter!”


Jill A April 4, 2023 at 3:49 am

Feel better. I’m so sorry you have covid again.


Bee April 4, 2023 at 10:49 am

Thank you!! I’m getting better.


Heidi Louise April 4, 2023 at 8:46 am

Thank you for your comment, Bee! Your new plant reminded me of an old favorite book. In “The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax”, Mrs. Pollifax grows a Night Blooming Cereus on her apartment balcony and has her garden club over at midnight to see it blooming. She says later in the book that raising it is a way of slowing down in a threatening or too-fast world, something like that about hope. Dorothy Gilman books always had a good people realizing they had to do what is right, and usually succeeding.


Bee April 4, 2023 at 10:48 am

Thank you! Thank you! I will add that to my reading list. It sounds like a charming book.


Katy April 5, 2023 at 8:03 am

Thanks for the book recommendation, I’ve also put it on hold!


MB in MN April 5, 2023 at 3:37 pm

Me, too! Some of my favorite books are ones I’ve learned of on this blog.


Bee April 5, 2023 at 4:39 pm

It looks like a NCA book club selection!


Jennifer April 3, 2023 at 4:50 pm

I love how you are so patient in redoing your dd’s room – and that you are actually doing it lol. I have 2 kids that are completely out and 2 that are partly out of the house. I have yet to redo anything, it’s too overwhelming to think about.

1. We stayed home for spring break and enjoyed our quiet town with most people gone.

2. We did a day trip to the big city and went to the free art museum. Found street parking ($2 in coins) rather than the parking garage for $14.

3. Tried 2 new coffee shops during the week – yes money spent, but a much cheaper date than dinner or lunch out.

4. Dh changed dd’s oil at home. I put a Wal-mart pick up order in for a few items for us for the week and some dorm food items for dd to take back to college with her. I’ve been really liking the pick up order thing because it prevents impulse buys for me.

5. Our washer was not draining very well and throwing error messages. Taking me all day to finally get 1 load done. Dh took the back apart and cleaned the filters really well, so we are hoping that is the easy fix. I’ll know tomorrow when I do another load.

6. Had the water softener people out to fix whatever was wrong – dh knows I think. Everything under warranty we just had to pay the service fee. They told dh what to do to help with the well and possible issues with build-up. That should also prevent the issue from happening again. Hopefully that is now fixed. I am tired of things breaking around here.


Katy April 3, 2023 at 7:26 pm

It’s really important to me that she still has a room of her own at the house. A spot to chill out when she’s at home for extended periods. Our house has four good sized bedrooms, plus a large storage/attic area, so it’s no sacrifice to keep the space for her.


janine April 3, 2023 at 5:22 pm

Cheers for a possible Alaskan cruise or Ferry! Coming from the middle of the country, friends have partaken of these adventures and absolutely say they are among the best vacations ever. One friend gifted her husband an anniversary cruise sponsored by his university, complete with experts to guide and lecture along the way. We plan to look into the Ferry option.
1. Purchased a ham for Easter on sale, then found cake mix for 79c per box at another store.
2. Would love to dine out for Easter, but after checking brunch prices have decided on home cooking.
3. Husband and I had Costco hot dogs for lunch after filling up our gas tank – an exciting morning for sure. Gas prices are rumored to be on the rise again.
4. A dear friend passed and donations were sought in her memory for a hospice run by nuns for low income seniors. We were happy to comply. These women are known as saints in our community and years ago, we used to donate liquor to them received by my husband from clients during the holidays. They loved it!
5. More of the usual – staying home, participating in a book club, and acting as our hound’s chef, adventure coordinator, and sanitation consultant.


Connie C April 4, 2023 at 9:31 am

Nuns + Liquor = made me laugh!


Ginny April 3, 2023 at 5:31 pm

My husband and I took an Alaskan cruise out of Seattle a few years before the pandemic – we usually vacation very frugally and this was a big splurge for us. We really loved it! The combo of being able to get off the ship and have active adventures hiking and kayaking and then get back and shower and have a really nice meal and sleep in a comfortable room was awesome. Do not pay upcharges to eat in the fancy restaurants on board – the main dining room food is usually pretty good… The only upcharge we went for was to spend more for a balcony room – we found we used it a great deal to sit and watch the scenery and be able to go inside and warm up. We got room service and ate on our balcony a few times watching whales and seals… This was our 25th anniversary trip. I also learned about the ferry system and would love to travel that way as well – if you do it I hope you post about it!!


Danielle C April 6, 2023 at 7:18 am

I second the value of the balcony. My husband is more introverted than I am and it gave us a peaceful and quiet way to enjoy the views every day.


Christine April 6, 2023 at 2:31 pm

We splurged on a balcony room on a cruise too and from that balcony we were able to see whales spouting and breeching. Also Flying Fish and as we got closer to port, many dolphins. It was worth extra money, at least once.


rebecca April 4, 2023 at 8:33 am

1. I made a casserole from bits and bobs in the fridge and pantry. Not great but sure is cheaper than takeout.
2. Had neighbors and friends over for a birthday party for my pup. I had leftover candy from smores so I made cookies from them with all ingredients I had on hand and then distributed to folks who came.
3. Found free parking for a performance I went to. I sure do love me some free parking!
4. The usual-coffee from home, loss leaders ect.
That’s all I can think of right now.


Marcia April 10, 2023 at 9:12 am

Re #1 When I make food at home and it’s ‘not great’ I remind myself that even restaurant food is often not great.


Katy April 10, 2023 at 1:12 pm

That’s so true!


Norma April 5, 2023 at 3:46 pm

I had to talk my husband into going on an Alaskan cruise as cruise and cold weather don’t go together. He had a great time and actually wants to go back more than me. If this is a special occasion like your anniversary I would suggest a land/cruise tour. We stayed in Fairbankss two nights with excursions each day. Then took the train from Fairbanks to Whittier (an incredible ride) where we picked up our ship. Ended up in Vancouver. Cheap? No. Worth every penny? Yes. It’s why we live a frugal life.


Danielle C April 6, 2023 at 7:20 am

Ours was in August and the weather but nice but of course not tropical. I laughed out loud when I saw that the chairs around the pool had rolled flannel blankets on them instead of pool towels. 🙂


Michele April 10, 2023 at 7:40 am

Norma- that’s how we travel. Save money all year round so we can travel like we want to!!


texasilver April 5, 2023 at 8:35 pm

1. I have found about 2.00 in change this week.
2. I found a large double matted framed numbered print of bison in a dumpster. I gave it to my sister for her new home. She looked up the print online and it was priced at 300$ unframed. Who knew?
3. I found a 20 lb box of scoopable cat litter in a dumpster behind Dollar General, a bag of dry dog food, and a large box of plastic yard waste bags. The dog food will go to local animal shelter.
4. I found a rubber car mat at the car wash. It is for the passenger side. Last year I found a rubber mat for the driver’s side. They are both black & will help protect the car’s carpet from mud & other filth.
5. I trash picked a few more clothing items for donation.
It was a fruitful week for urban foraging. Most of the items have been delivered or donated. It is nice to get my car emptied out.


Christine April 6, 2023 at 2:35 pm

What is it with all the free kitty litter I’ve been hearing about on this site lately?! I want to join the “Team of Not Paying for Kitty Litter” too…LOL


Joyce Forbush April 6, 2023 at 9:11 am

A few years ago we were moving back to the “lower 48” from Alaska and used the ferry. While in the lounge, I was talking to some of our companions . I asked where the were from and they mentioned a small town in south Florida. I said, I lived there as a child! They asked which street and they lived across the street and down a ways!


Bee April 6, 2023 at 10:31 am

It’s always interesting when this sort of things happen. Many years ago my eldest child was in graduate school in California. He had complications from an emergency appendectomy. I flew out on the first plane to LA. I was exhausted and hungry when I went into the hospital store. The Pink Lady working in there was most kind. I needed some info and we began talking. To make a long story a bit shorter. This women was the grandmother of my daughter’s prom date and ended up having s photo of her with her grandson. It is a small world!


Christine April 6, 2023 at 2:43 pm

Truly strange coincidences! Here’s another one. I’m from Massachusetts. While at a cook out with my husband’s family in south Georgia where his father’s side is from, his cousin’s wife mentioned she once lived in Columbus, Ohio. I said “Oh, my grandparents lived there when I was a kid. I remember their street was Sullivant Avenue.” The cousin’s wife said “That’s where I lived in Columbus!” Turned out they lived there during different time periods but I thought it was quite the coincidence.


Norma April 7, 2023 at 6:01 pm

I don’t post a lot because I generally do all the usual boring things. However, I had a most unusual week of savings.
1. Purchased gas for $2.599 at Kroger using 80 cents a gallon off with points earned from purchasing gift cards with 4X points. Gift cards will be used for nieces and nephews at Christmas and whiile travelling.
2. Found a large under bed storage container for $1.99 at thrift store. Have been looking for one for a long time. Savings of at least $20+.
3. Purchased six oversized forks at same thrift store for 24 cents each. My husband likes larger silverware but couldn’t see paying full price when silverware we had was perfectly fine – in my opinion.
4. Found spiral sliced hams at Aldi for $1.00 a pound. Two in the freezer.
5. Found a book I have been wanting (will not mention name to keep politics out of it) for 99 cents at another thrift shop.


Katy April 9, 2023 at 12:57 pm

That’s a good deal for under bed storage, well done!


Selena April 9, 2023 at 7:27 pm

One year the better provided a hint re: my Xmas present. Kept saying it belonged under the bed. Yep, an under the bed storage unit. Served me then the kids. It finally gave up the ghost after 25+ years. Then after removing the wheels, became kindling for the burn pile.


Cindy in the South April 8, 2023 at 3:53 pm

Somehow I messed up my back ( I think it was picking up they Gatorade in SAMS) . I have had back issues since I cracked three vertebrae in lower back as a child. So I have been on a cane, could barely drag myself to car for work, and went through drive thru for breakfast a couple of days, which I never do. Thank goodness for microphones and elevator was working at work. Not a frugal week but hey, it is somewhat better now. I can stand to make simple meals without being in pain. The upside is that I definitely didn’t waste any money otherwise. My son says I am crabby tho… lol


Cindy in the South April 8, 2023 at 3:54 pm

Excuse my usual typos… lol


texasilver April 9, 2023 at 12:45 pm

The conveniences are there when our back if up against the wall. I don’t usually pay to drive on the toll roads here but last week I had 10 minutes to get to a work destination. Bam! I got on the toll road & made it on time. Girls gotta do what they gotta do! Your drive thru breakfasts came to the rescue.


Katy April 9, 2023 at 12:55 pm

Ugh, back issues are the worst! Sorry that you’re having pain and subsequent crabbiness. Send a gentle virtual hug.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: