Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 17, 2023 · 74 comments

  1. I went to Goodwill and came across a cardboard box marked “all hoodies $2.99.” I’d been keeping a passive eye out for a new-to-me a zip-front hoodie, so I dug around until I found one in my size. They were all the exact same Target brand and style, which was a dark charcoal color and neutral enough to work with any outfit.

    It’s a far cry from the quality of The Frugal Girl’s beloved $138 American Giant hoodies, but the $2.99 price made it an easier impulse purchase to work into my budget. Sorry Kristen, I had a Goodwill gift card.

  2. I gave away a number of items through my Buy Nothing Group, prompted by a neighbor who asked for a pizza stone. We were given one maybe 15 years ago, and not only did it collect dust, but the behemoth also took up a tremendous amount of space. (Win-win!) Yes, we used it initially, but I don’t actually like working with it and I can’t remember the last time I made pizza from scratch as my daughter can’t eat gluten and pizza grosses me out due to having once eaten most of a pizza that turned out to have a used bandaid baked into the crust. Yes, you read that right.

    I then replied to someone asking for tomato cages and decided to keep the momentum going. I dragged a huge bag of fabric from the attic, which quickly went to someone who sews bags to sell and then sorted through some random stuff and pulled out a collection of dollhouse accessories that were snapped up by a preschool teacher.

    It can be hard to let go of stuff, as each item holds possibility. What if I start being a seamstress or have a kid to the house who’d like to play with dollhouse accessories? Instead, all these items are now back in circulation and that makes me (and my house) happy.

  3. My neighborhood association is hosting a free neighborhood cleanup event this coming Saturday and I’m beyond excited. This is a special opportunity to get rid of bulky items in a responsible manner and I’ve already rolled our rusted out barbecue to the front yard to make it easier to heft into the back of the minivan. I also have my eye on a bucket of bent and rusted hardware from when we disassembled our treehouse last year and I’ve temporarily dedicated a corner of the living room for worn out, broken and useless stuff that’s too crappy to donate to Goodwill.

    Neighborhood cleanup day is my favorite holiday!

  4. • I found a dime on the ground and picked it up even though it was in an awkward spot and the store clerk was staring at me.
    • I spied an unused patio umbrella base at my mom’s house and asked for it. Mine somehow went missing a few years ago, so I was happy to mooch off of her put hers to use.
    • We defrosted and grilled four bison steaks that my Nebraskan aunt gifted us as a thank you for ferrying them around town for my mother’s 80th birthday. I normally don’t like steak, but these were amazing!
    • I took my mother to Kalama Harbor Lodge for a Mother’s Day lunch, which was a splurge, but infinitely better than buying her some unneeded tchotchke. Experiences > stuff.
    • I dropped our election ballots at the library. This action used to save us the price of four stamps, but Oregon ballots now have prepaid postage. I guess I just like going to the library.
    • I read a library copy of Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. I read this Newberry Award winning classic as a kid, but was prompted to revisit it after recently reading an excerpt.
    • My husband and I shared a free Starbucks matcha Frappaccino on his birthday.
    • My friend Lise and I had an IKEA date, where we dropped off battery and lightbulb recycling and then sipped free coffee and caught up on each others’ lives. I also enjoyed one of their $1.15 veggie hotdogs.

  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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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy May 17, 2023 at 10:15 am

May Day May Day
1. Daughter in law hosted Mother’s Day dinner. She sent the leftover awesome pasta dish home with us.
2. Scored marked down ground pork and a good price on bell peppers. So I made stuffed bell peppers also using leftover saffron rice. I now have 9 bell peppers in the freezer for future meals
3. Sold a couple of items online
4. Sold $13 of books online
5. Worked 4 consecutive shifts. I am a front desk agent at a large hotel.


Selena May 17, 2023 at 7:01 pm

Corned beef hash stuffed in peppers is also good. Optional is an egg on top.


Deana Fruth May 17, 2023 at 10:17 am

1. Discovered a $500 mistake when I cashed in two saving bonds. The bank clerk thought one bond was $200 instead of $500. A phone call later and a correct deposit was in our account.
2. Found $1 on the floor by the exit when leaving a store, I snatched it up since there was no way to find the owner.
3. Donated several bags of clothing after I decluttered my closet. Easiest way to get rid of them, and I have already had my yearly garage sale.
4. Visit my daily money making sites, Swagbucks, Microsoft Rewards, Shopkicks, Receipt Hog and Fetch. I am always on the look-out for receipts to scan when out and about. I may make only pennies a day on some sites, but it all adds up.
5. Made air fryer chicken nuggets and tater tots at my daughters instead of take out. We visit twice a week to help her and play with the grandkids. Once in a while we get takeout, but usually we bring food for lunch that we made at our home – chicken noodle is a winner. We either make fresh or have our supper leftovers. We have even stopped for lunch meat and snacks at the grocery store before we get to their place. Another winner is Grandpa’s chocolate chip cookies.


A. Marie May 17, 2023 at 10:29 am

Katy, I particularly enjoyed your #2-3 this week. I wish we had something like your #3 here. (We sort of do, unofficially: We put things out on the curb and they usually get taken. See #2 below.)

(1) See my #1 over at yesterday’s FFT at The Frugal Girl: I bartered some of my DH’s tools and equipment for a good friend’s labor in installing my new water heater for me. Anyone who’s had to pay a plumber for labor recently will appreciate this one.

(2) The friend and I rolled the old dead water heater out to the curb. It was taken early the next morning by a metal scrap collector, and I watched in amazement as he tossed a couple of beat-up bikes off his already fully loaded Toyota pickup, bungee-corded the water heater onto the truck, tossed the bikes back onto the pickup, and rode off into the sunrise. Awesome.

(3) I’m using the mini-greenhouse given to me by neighbors 3 years ago to get the few seedlings I’ve started for the garden this year through this night’s freeze warning. Thanks to these neighbors, yet again.

(4) I’ve now sold three of the four books that a friend of a friend with an eBay account kindly put up on eBay for me. I still have no desire to open an eBay account myself, for various reasons, but I’m grateful to this FOF for letting me do this, also for various reasons.

(5) And I keep on keeping on with the usual stuff: cutting almost-empty tubes in half, rinsing the last few bits in bottles out with a little water, hanging laundry to dry on my indoor racks, etc., etc. These things are so automatic for me by now that I usually don’t mention them, but they still count.


Katy May 17, 2023 at 11:50 am

Yes, I love that one’s person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Literally. I put out the sturdy but empty plastic Costco detergent bucketon the curb with a “free bucket” sign on it and it was gone by the time I remembered to check on it.


Anne May 19, 2023 at 6:24 am

Katy, I have to let you know I’m still reeling and nauseated over your pizza story …….and I wasn’t even there. The worst of it is getting put off pizza for life, which is one of God’s special foods.


Katy May 19, 2023 at 9:09 am

I’ll eat pizza, but I’m never the one to suggest it.


Christine May 17, 2023 at 2:02 pm

Your #1…why yes, I did have to pay a plumber recently and the payment was no joke. Over $500 for some issues we had been getting away with neglecting but needed tending. Bartering for services is the best when one can do it…glad it worked out well for you.


Roberta May 19, 2023 at 12:29 pm

I also paid for a plumber this week. Three hours of work, $1200. Now there is no longer water leaking into the house, and he had to work under the house, but at $400 an hour, I went into the long line of work…


Anne May 19, 2023 at 6:20 am

I’m absolutely stunned that you put your old water heater on the curb with the expectation that someone would want it. If I did that here, the trash police would haul me off to the hoosegow,


Pennie Oehrtman May 17, 2023 at 10:29 am

I don’t have 5 frugal things to share. I just want to say that I recently joined a local but nothing group and have so much fun gifting and receiving free items. It’s a great way to keep items out of the landfill


Katy May 17, 2023 at 11:48 am

I agree, It’s so simple . . . yet genius.


mary in maryland May 17, 2023 at 11:14 am

1. I’ve read six library books in the past week—procrastinating on starting quilting on a top I love.
2. Got lots of practice on a new to me quilting pattern by finishing someone else’s top for my guild’s quilting for others project.
3. Mended a jacket for a younger friend (we’re so old, they are all younger, but still).
4. Cooked three dishes in my solar oven on one day—batch of quinoa, batch of beluga lentils, and a reheat of some home-fried rice. I give grains and beans a head start by using boiling water from our electric tea kettle.
5. Buy Nothing—moved on dog eating mat, dog shampoo, sewing books, odd canned food, and a tray that holds one’s keyboard under the desk.
6. Buy Nothing—received a fabulous bag of leftovers of self-striping sock yarn. Plenty for fingerless gloves, although they might not match.
7. Ate lunch with a friend in the front yard. Good conversation.


Jill May 17, 2023 at 11:24 am

1. We came home from a weekend away and heard a strange noise in our house which we deemed to be the sump pump running, with no water coming out.Our house is still under one year warranty (it’s new) so we called the next day. A repairman came out and determined that there was construction trash in the area where the sump pump was placed and the plumber just installed the pump in the trash instead of cleaning it up. Trash was blocking the exit for the water. Mind boggling.
2. I wear white footie socks around the house in the winter and they were looking quite dingy and gray. I used the “gray wash” method to clean them, along with some of my husband’s. (None had holes so they were salvageable) They aren’t the brightest white of brand new but are much better now.
3. Took a 3 day trip to visit our daughter in Brooklyn. We were able to stay with her at her place, schlepped our luggage on 3 trains to and from JFK, got breakfast food at the grocery , binge watched Jury Duty on freevee with her and she got us free tickets to the Brooklyn Museum from her library. We spent too much money eating out – but we managed to do dinner only. Hadn’t been to see her in two years – she’s come to us – so it was really good to see her new apartment and visit in her world, short though it was.
4. My sister arrives today for a 5 day visit. I have planned a few dinners, we will go out for one or two meals and I got any ingredients I need for us to make a favorite recipe of my grandmother’s. Planning some low key and low cost things to do besides just visiting. We’re both happy with that.
5. I’m currently reading Life in Five Senses by Gretchen Rubin from the library along with countless books for my grandson (all having to do with trucks or animals), downloaded the King Soopers (Kroger) app to receive digital coupons, continue to cook dinner once a week for my son and grandson- not super frugal but saves him money and time plus I’m cooking and not eating out – and got rid of a credit card that didn’t give us much value anymore.( Instead of using points/miles that we had accrued, we opted for a $1200 check before we closed the account.)


Katy May 17, 2023 at 11:46 am

I love the Brooklyn Museum, it’s often overlooked by tourists.


Kathleen in Kansas May 18, 2023 at 9:24 am

@Jill: Please, what is the gray wash, and how can I do it? We have a whole bag full of dingy socks.


Mary Beth Danielson May 17, 2023 at 11:33 am

Katy, per your getting rid of toys and what if you regret it later? I have grandkids now and we still have many of our kids’ best toys – but I also save TP rolls, paper towel rolls, interesting boxes – enough to keep one large box stocked. When the kids come they make a beeline for those items and then “build stuff.” I’ve been asked very politely if they can take the “extra” TP rolls and egg cartons. Makes me laugh.

1. I started volunteering at the local food pantry. I like meeting new friends and being helpful in my community and I ALSO like bringing home food too damaged to put out for customers. (Bruised veggies, overripe bananas, broken packages of stuff I can cook and trust but would not be offered to patrons).
2. This is for people who are possibly/probably allergic to penicillin. In this past year I was prescribed antibiotics which gave me c diff. Yuck. Recently I was referred to an allergist who tested my ancient penicillin allergy – I was told I got hives from PCN when I was 2; I don’t remember and my parents are gone. Anyways, I just learned I am NOT allergic. This will hopefully save me future misery plus all the $ one spends to manage an unhappy gut.
3. I’m not planting a veg garden this year. My urban yard is bossed by tough city squirrels, plus, the cost of water has risen dramatically. I planted last year’s leftover herb seeds in leftover pots; squirrels were digging within hours. I deconstructed political signs, stuck those sign-holder wires in the pots and tied ripped plastic grocery bags to them. This has kept out critters for weeks. I didn’t even know it was possible to fend off squirrels. I still have to plant the seedlings into the dirt. The herbal battle is not yet won.
4. I never use chemical week killers and I’ve lived here 8 years so I have lots of dandelions – I’ve been eating them.
5. Goodwill had one 5-pack of unopened flower seeds for $2. One pack is for flowers I’ve never seen before and the writing is in Polish. Lwia paszcza? The expiration date is 2005 but who knows?
6. Made inexpensive 2-night reservations, with friends, for a badly decorated Airbnb in rural Indiana for April 7th and 8th of next year. Total eclipse is Monday 4/8/2024. Motels in the Path of Totality already run at $200-800 per night!! We saw the 2017 eclipse and it was worth the $ and effort.


Katy May 17, 2023 at 11:45 am

I’m holding onto the kids’ Brio train stuff and all Legos, but other than that I’m not going to worry about grandchildren that are far into the future. I keep this stuff for when friends come over with kids.

Hopefully I’ll get nine month’s notice when/if I ever become a grandparent. Clutter really stresses me out, which is how I personally feel and I understand that others feel differently.


Ruby May 17, 2023 at 12:49 pm

I was tested in the spring to rule out my childhood penicillin reaction as an allergy. It cost me $120 in co-pays, but was well-worth it to get that settled and avoid extremely expensive antibiotics in the future.


Ashley Bananas May 17, 2023 at 2:06 pm

I am curious to see this critter keeper outer mentioned in #3 if there is anyway you can show a photo.


Mary Beth Danielson May 18, 2023 at 9:47 am

I posted a photo of my squirrel de-incentivizer at my website, here. I hope this comment ends up close to the questions people asked. thanks.


JC May 17, 2023 at 2:19 pm

I looked that flower name up, we call them snap dragons….one of my favorite flowers! I hope they grow for you.


Heidi Louise May 17, 2023 at 2:24 pm

I’ve had success at squirrel repellant with plastic forks stuck into the dirt, with the heads/tines sticking up. I saw some trendy advice to line them all around a plant, but I only use one every few inches, depending how many clearance salads I have been buying to get the forks.
I got a bag of organic chicken manure at a yard sale for fifty cents, and the squirrels don’t seem to like the smell.


Katy May 17, 2023 at 4:35 pm

Does anyone? 😉


Heidi Louise May 18, 2023 at 9:08 am

True. In any case, they must have sensed me talking about them and for revenge they put on their tiny gas masks to stage a stealth attack early this morning. Took out the three pots of seeds I knew they like best.


lc May 28, 2023 at 7:05 pm

I used to also deal with tough city squirrels, nothing would stop them from ruining any plant, eating through any christmas or patio light, and CHEWING THROUGH MY WINDOW SCREENS and terrorizing my kitchen repeatedly. I duct taped glass pot lids over the screen holes because my landlord wouldn’t help and I couldn’t keep the windows closed because the apartment smelled forever after someone else’s ..clog.. flooded my kitchen up through the sink and surprise.. landlord didn’t care about that either. what a terrible time. anyway, i hate squirrels, i’ve seen them eat chicken wings i put out for a cat. don’t trust them!!!

Selena May 17, 2023 at 7:09 pm

Not only do I have toys from my youth as well as my children, my Dad has toys from his youth (think the 1940s). I know a few of my kids are Made in USA toys but mine and Dads definitely are. While there may be not future generation to enjoy them, a tidy sum will likely be made when they are sold.


JC May 17, 2023 at 12:31 pm

Oh how I wish we had a neighborhood clean-up day! We are rural and only have 15 houses but the opportunity to have stuff hauled off would be amazing.
1.Mothers Day was a family potluck and it was wonderful!!! Good food, good company and time to visit.
2.Made a huge load of chex mix using cheap cereals from Aldis as was the Worcestershire sauce and butter. Lots of snacks for taking to the ball games.
3. washing machine on the fritz again…..washing out cleaning rags and such in the tub….spin in washer and hang to dry.
4. garden planted and trying to get last years harvest eaten before garden comes in.
5. planted several packs of seeds that were out of date but they are still germinating. Can’t hurt to try.


Mary Beth Danielson May 17, 2023 at 12:44 pm

My son is in his middle 30’s now. In the fall he and his HS buddies go deer hunting – and they take with them a big tub of their Legos of Yore. I guess Legos go pretty well with beer if hunting doesn’t go well.


Jill A May 18, 2023 at 10:56 am

I love this


Ava May 17, 2023 at 12:55 pm

1. Cut up a threadbare pillowcase for cleaning rags.
2. Borrowed my neighbors’ grass killing idea. I am trying to keep our row of baby trees from being suffocated by tall grass. I cut up boxes and layered the cardboard pieces all around each tree. I think I can keep adding cardboard as the first layers decay. Much easier than trying to clear out the grass and weeds.
3. Got 24 points from Swagbucks for searching for The Nonconsumer Advocate.
4. Had some good Etsy sales. Picked up a plush Minnie Mouse for my friend who sells on Bay. It doesn’t fit the criteria for Etsy.
5. Was given 3 dozen farm eggs by my friend. Gave her some homemade granola. Not a fair trade but she was happy.


Katy May 17, 2023 at 4:39 pm

I approve your #3!


Selena May 17, 2023 at 7:13 pm

Well I also approve of #3. But seriously “I normally don’t like steak” – girl, have you no farmer genes in you? Come the day I can’t eat steak/red meat will be the day I say “been nice knowing you”. I guess you just can’t change 300+ years of farmer diet. DO NOT tell me you don’t like potatoes lol.


Katy May 18, 2023 at 7:19 am

Sadly, I have 0 farmer ancestors on either side. My grandfather did own fur stores, but no one’s chowing down on a nice mink steak.


Ruby May 17, 2023 at 12:55 pm

1. Finally finished decluttering, cleaning, and reorganizing every closet, cabinet, cupboard and drawer in the house. This massive project involved 13 once-a-week trips to Goodwill to drop off donations and two to animal welfare agencies to donate old towels and blankets. I spent only $38 on organizing supplies and shuffled around bins and baskets from one room to the other to make it work.
2. On the last drop off to Goodwill, I popped inside to take a quick look at the shirt rack and the pickings were insanely good: brand new, stylish shirts already marked down, and then realized it’s college move out time. I scored three winter tops and one summer one, all new, for just under $6 total.
3. Found a favorite style of bra on sale, and it was even more on sale if one bought three. As three is what I needed, hooray!
4. My husband used some of his spare time to comparison shop for home and car insurance and is saving $1K a year.
5. I have lost 52 pounds and my old Columbia fleece jacket is now miles too big, but fits my son. It’s unisex charcoal gray with just a zip front and looks nice on him.


Katy May 17, 2023 at 4:39 pm

Wow, I wish I could come to your house to get a tour and inspiration!


Selena May 17, 2023 at 7:14 pm

Kudos to #5 – may you never find the lost pounds.


Lindsey Goodwin May 17, 2023 at 12:58 pm

I love hearing about your Buy Nothing Group successes! I, too, have had some success with ours these past couple of weeks:

1) I was behind several folks “in line” for a free Meyer lemon tree, complete with a half-barrel planter and trellis, so I had no real hope of actually receiving the tree. But, a few days later the tree owner messaged me asking if I had enough space to plant it in the ground, as it’s apparently not meant to thrive in a pot and other takers did not have the yard for it. We have space to spare, so I’m now the proud new owner of said lemon tree AND after planting it, I used the barrel for my #2 below and the trellis to support my rapidly growing raspberry plant.

2) After taking the lemon tree out of the barrel, I planted a Trader Joe’s basil plant into the soil and added some compost (thanks for the inspiration, Katy!) BUT, I think the tender basil leaves were getting too much sun (is that a thing?) and dried up quickly. Just as I was planning to buy another TJ’s basil plant, a Buy Nothing member in my neighborhood posted several basil plants for free! So, I promptly rode my bike over to collect one and immediately planted it in the barrel. Hopefully, this one does better.

3) I sold a tent our family used once last summer via FB marketplace and used the funds for a better-sized tent for us. With 3 tween/teenage boys, we are wanting more space, so we now have 2 tents (one small curb-picked tent that holds 2 people, and the new Costco tent that will hold 3 or 4). I will now sleeping in the back of the car, as I get cold. We’ll see how long this sleeping arrangement lasts for our camping trips.

4) Speaking of camping, I am in hot pursuit of a beach campsite for 1 night of solo camping (with our dog) at a campground about 30 minutes from my house. So, while working on my computer today I am refreshing the reservation website about every 10 minutes to see if I can nab a cancelled site. I’ve been lucky before in getting last minute sites, so hopefully I will be again. This particular campground is of interest to me as I have a regional parks annual pass that comes with 1 free night of camping. My pass expires at the end of this month and I usually use the free night well before the expiration date, but that didn’t happen this year. Fingers crossed I can get a spot.

5) Speaking of solo camping, it’s actually something I have wanted to do for a while but have chickened out. I always feel like I need the “perfect” setup to make it happen (i.e. my dream Sprinter campervan), but I am determined to overcome some fears I have associated with solo adventuring. I also realized I have a nice, thick foam sleeping pad that fits perfectly in the back of my SUV. Much cheaper than the Sprinter or any other sort of camping trailer.


Katy May 17, 2023 at 4:37 pm

I’m so envious of people who live in areas that grow citrus!


Roberta May 19, 2023 at 1:28 pm

I’m envious of people who can grow berries!


Bee May 18, 2023 at 6:01 am

I have never had any luck growing citrus in a container. I’m glad you have rescued it.
On another note, my BN group does not advocate giving to the first person that responds. We are supposed to let it simmer. If I have more than one interested party, I put all the names in a hat and draw one.


Lindsey May 17, 2023 at 1:06 pm

OMG, after reading your pizza bandaid experience, I won’t be able to eat pizza for a long time! Yuckola.
1. Library for books and puzzles.
2. Used glue to repair the top of my favorite Allbirds, torn open when I caught my foot in the door as I closed the chicken run. Before I started reading this blog and Frugal Girl, I would not have known about using various products to repair shoe tops, so thanks everyone.
3. The neighbor mowed her lawn and offered me a bag of grass for mulch. She does not use weed and feed products so I happily accepted, giving my chickens first chance as pecking through the stuff. Later this week it will go around my raspberries as mulch—this is frugal because it reduces the need for water. It also keeps weeds down.
4. A neighbor was going to the recycling place and he took our load too, saving me gas and time. We take turns doing this every month.
5. Mended, mended, mended.


Katy May 17, 2023 at 4:36 pm

The “incident” was 36 years ago and I’m still not over it.


Selena May 17, 2023 at 7:17 pm

You will get over it. I had a bad experience with bacon in my youth. I did get over it albeit with better bacon than in my youth.


Christine May 17, 2023 at 2:47 pm

I love the photograph of you and your Mom, Katy. Very pretty, both of you.
1. DH and I went through our winter clothes and culled out what we haven’t been wearing for various reasons: weight gain/loss (him), worn out, hopelessly out of style, and donated it to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. I like this organization because they will also take cloth and items like one sock to recycle. I know there were single holey socks in there and a ripped, very thin old pillowcase.
2. Granddaughter and I went “thrifting” at the Salvation Army store where for $15 I purchased 2 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of yoga pants, 1 cotton dress, 1 shirt, 1 cashmere sweater in perfect condition (this for .99!) and 1 book.
3. Using my store savings card and coupons plus getting .03 off for each of the two shopping bags I brought, my grocery bill went from $28.06 to $22.18.
4. DH and I worked the town election and received our paychecks in the mail the other day. We enjoy this job and the extra source of income it offers.
5. As A. Marie said in an earlier post, frost warnings posted for our area (New England) as well. I’m keeping my heat off and will bundle up in the AM. Glad I haven’t planted anything yet…not because I haven’t wanted to but instead due to being busy and lazy! Guess it panned out for me. Perennials are up but are generally pretty hardy. I have three packages of free seeds to plant, two veggies and one wildflower plus a heart shaped paper to bury with more wildflower seeds imbedded in it. These will go in closer to Memorial Day.


Katy May 17, 2023 at 4:35 pm

Thank you. It’s never the most flattering photo when taken from below, but I still love this photo.


Susie's Daughter May 17, 2023 at 4:36 pm

Christine, I too am VERY glad we have not planted or transplanted anything as well. It legit snowed here today – multiple times. The first time was when I was out walking the dog early this am. I thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of pollen.” Then I thought “Wait a minute, pollen doesn’t melt when it hits you…” I will continue to nuture my teeny little broccoli and zinnia starts on the dining room table and keep my hat and mittens in the front hall. Spring in New England!!


Ashley Bananas May 17, 2023 at 2:50 pm

1. I have been playing grocery store games and getting some items for free or reduced price. I scored a 2 ltr of soda last week for free from Winn Dixie, this week was buy a loaf of their brand bread get the money back in points. I used the points to get a half off freezer meal for free which is great for my son. At CVS I do their Carepass promo where they take $5 from my bank account but give me $10 back to spend. This month I used it on sale grocery and snack items. Aldi continues to mark chicken 50% off and I continue to buy it. Eggs were also $1.62 at Aldi this week, they are double at other grocers.
2. On Sunday my son and I took some time to do yard work. It felt great and also cleared up the yard a bit. Our pollinator garden is doing well, and this week we added a hummingbird feeder I was gifted for free at work.
3. I was recently asked to become the craft programmer at my branch. I am very excited about this as I dont have a masters degree, it’s not as typical in my system for me to be asked to help with this. If anyone has low cost craft ideas for adults or web pages they can recommend, I would love to know them.
4. A neighbor posted that she had food she wanted to give away for free. It was mostly shelf stabilized food and definitely things we use. I asked for the box and was happy to find that it had 2 lbs of rice, 2 lbs of spaghetti, and several canned goods. We’ve already started using the rice, and I know the spaghetti wont go to waste at my house. It was a great addition to my pantry.
5. I continue to do DoorDash and it is helping balance bills and reduce some debt that I incurred over the last month. I am thankful that I can do this in my extra time and help make things balance.


Katy May 17, 2023 at 4:33 pm

I’m seeing egg prices going down here as well.


Texasilver May 17, 2023 at 7:20 pm

Low cost craft- you can make luminaries from empty tin cans. Remove the label & wash the can out. Punch holes in the can. (You can fill with water & freeze if needed to keep the can from getting dented. My can split when water froze tho.) After you punch the holes spray paint the can. After the paint dries you can put a candle in a votive cup or use a battery powered tea light to illuminate it with. You can also make a pattern with the punched holes like a circle or a cross.


K D May 17, 2023 at 3:51 pm

It is trash night (pick up early tomorrow morning) and I just watched a neighbor use a hand truck to take home the pottery base of a birdbath that another neighbor put out. It was broken but the claimer is an artist and will find a way to use it.

1. When we went to CT last month we used Marriott points to reserve a hotel room for two nights. We later shortened the stay at that hotel to one night, three days before it was too late to change without incurring a cost. None of the points were refunded to our account. I tracked down the customer service number, persevered beyond the attempt to have a non-human help me, and finally spoke to helpful people. Hopefully the points will be refunded within the week. The points were earned years ago with a promotion opening credit card account promotion.

2. A friend that is moving to a senior community gave me some of her yarn stash as she can’t fit it all in their smaller home. I will use the yarn for charity knitting.

3. I have been making a concerted effort to walk places that are a mile away or less. On Monday I walked to my dentist appointment. Last Friday I walked to a friend’s house. On Sunday DH and I walked down a trail that takes us to the neighboring suburb, more than a mile but a saving on driving.

4. The spring weather has been pleasant and I have been opening windows when appropriate. It’s nice to have days and weeks where no HVAC is run.

5. I booked rental cars for a couple of upcoming trips and have set an alarm on my phone to check every week for better rates. Often the price will drop and it just takes a couple of minutes to book a new rental and cancel the old one. I booked through Costco Travel as they usually offer the best rates.


Katy May 17, 2023 at 4:32 pm

I think I need you to manage all my travel details!


Jennifer May 17, 2023 at 5:12 pm

OMG, your statement on how getting rid of stuff is hard because it holds potential sums up exactly why I have trouble getting rid of things. I hadn’t realized that was the reason, so hopefully this helps me part ways with stuff quicker from now on.

We had to go out of town for 2 nights for my dd’s graduation from college. Here is how we attempted to save money.

1. Rather than paying the $1000 a night (booking 1 year in advance) to stay in her small college town, we paid $200 a night (still overpriced IMO) to stay in a big city about 40 minutes away. Yes it was a pain to drive it 3 days in a row, but hello at least $1500 in savings.

2. Saturday after the main ceremony and nowhere to eat lunch (I had not made reservations months in advance for every meal in town) dh and I headed to Kroger and bought fixings for sub sandwiches and went back to dd’s apartment.

3. We went out to dinner 2 times with dd’s fiancee’s family. We paid once they paid once. We all drank water both times and picked low cost items on the menu.

4. I packed a snack bucket for the car and our water bottles. We snacked on the way home rather than stopping for yet another meal out.

5. I arranged for my 2 younger kids to hold down the fort at home since they both had work while we were gone. They took care of the dog for free.


Katy May 17, 2023 at 6:24 pm

$1000 a night?! That’s predatory, pure and simple.


Selena May 17, 2023 at 7:22 pm

For the life of me, I cannot think of ANYTHING that would warrant $1K per night. IMHO, more to keep certain people out of said hotel. What a gouge.


Heidi Louise May 18, 2023 at 5:53 am

I suspect gas prices were higher in that town over the weekend. Move-in day, graduation, homecoming, and the like were always just a little bit higher in our college town.


Christina May 18, 2023 at 6:58 am

I can’t quite fathom charging $1000 a night. That absolutely boggled my mind!!


Christina May 18, 2023 at 6:51 am

Good for you for picking up the dime! I would have been cheering you on. LOL

My frugal five:

1. Drinking loads of ice water. Not super exciting, right? But we have wildfires here in Alberta and I seem to need to stay hydrated more than ever. And the ice makes it tastier and more satisfying.

2. Saving money by continuing to groom our (partially) longhaired cat. Shaving a cat’s bum is certainly not glamorous, in fact it’s about the least glamorous thing I can think of. But it keeps our little buddy clean, happy and saves us a LOT of money.

3. We finally had a little getaway in the mountains. We had planned on only staying one night, but when we got there I asked the receptionist if they had our same room available the next night and if so could she give us a deal?? She gave us $60 off (!!) and so we stayed an additional night. And really enjoyed our stay. (This was in Canmore – very pricey in general, but we did ok. This was also before the smoke descended, so we had sunshine.)

4. Enjoying some older apples from the refrigerator, sliced up and sprinkled with cinnamon. Really, really good that way.

5. Going to try making spaghetti with red lentils instead of meat today. Adding in sauteed peppers, onions and mushrooms. I think it should be great! And we have a huge bag of red lentils we were gifted that I’d really like to use up.


Katy May 18, 2023 at 7:14 am

My whole family loves this Red lentil soup:


Christine May 18, 2023 at 3:35 pm

Thanks. Looks easy and delicious.


Christina May 18, 2023 at 6:53 am

Quick question Katy: Is there a way to remove the ad from over the comment box? I can’t seem to find an ‘X’ to close it, and was wondering if I might be missing something obvious.


Katy May 18, 2023 at 7:12 am

I am so annoyed with that ad, I need to contact SheKnows and complain!


Marie May 18, 2023 at 7:20 am

I also find it annoying. Just scroll up until its below what you’re trying to read. If I try to cancel that little ad out, it takes me to the ad! Grrrr


Heidi Louise May 18, 2023 at 7:47 am

Yes, the little “X” disappeared about a month ago, and the ad goes halfway up the screen.
I use a laptop; not sure if this is different on a phone or tablet.
Thank you for whatever help you can get!


Ashley Bananas May 18, 2023 at 8:34 am

If you put your mouse icon over the add an X appears in the upper right hand corner to close it out. However, it seems to make me watch an ad or two before it gives me that option.


Kathy Sell May 20, 2023 at 2:32 pm

This procedure worked for me today, though X was in upper left.


Christine May 18, 2023 at 3:38 pm

I found the ads distracting and then discovered next to me on the kitchen table a little Daily Blood Pressure Log that came with our blood pressure cuff that was the perfect size to prop up on the edge of my laptop screen to obliterate the ads. Take that, annoying ads!


Selena May 18, 2023 at 6:38 pm

I don’t see that ad over my comment box (not that I am complaining mind you).


rebecca May 18, 2023 at 7:38 am

1. I returned another shirt and was refunded $17.99
2. I made brunch here for Mother’s Day and made a delicious french toast casserole at my mom’s request. So much less hassle and $ than actually going out on Sunday.
3. I had to buy dog treats and used a credit I didn’t remember I had.
4. The usual coffee, lunch and h20 from home, using quick cycle cold water washes in washing machine, loss leaders and using deli and other plastic bags for dog poop bags.
5. Eating from and using up what I have in the freezer.


Blue Gate Farmgirl May 18, 2023 at 7:42 am

Bartered fencing materials for grunt labor (spreading barkdust). win!
Hosted a tomato swap with family and friends. We each grew 3 varietals and potted them into 1 gallon pots and swapped, we now have 15 heirloom varieties to grow and save. We are planning to do this with peppers and cucumbers next year.
I picked up 12 yards of horse manure for my huge compost bin along side the big barn. I use our cow manure in the manure spreader for our fields, but our neighbor has sundried/cured horse manure. She will get a basket of veggies and bouquet of flowers per week for her contribution.
I scored 25 cent cheese at my local scratch and dent store. It is gruyere and freezes well. I also picked up 1 gallon of whole milk organic yogurt for $1.
I made up a big batch of bugout spray and filled up the neighbor’s spray bottles that I gave them last year.


Tonya May 18, 2023 at 11:10 am

1) Costco $5 rotisserie chicken is coming in clutch for fast dinners this week.
2) My 20 year old moved home for the summer- my grocery bill is going up, but mostly, my happiness quotient is rising exponentially. I will be doing a better job of grocery shopping while he’s home, since I mostly just live alone and don’t worry too much about stocking up on loss leaders.
3) I have been going to my $16/month gym and it’s so worth it! The sauna especially feels luxurious and the massage chairs are lovely. I feel like I’ve had a spa day every time I leave there.
4) Using my grocery store fuel points to fill up the gas tank. And limiting driving when I can. The weather is nice, walking is a great alternative!
5) Reading all the library books, having happy hour at home, drinking coffee at home but allowing myself a fun budget for takeout coffee (one of my great pleasures).


Cindy in the South May 18, 2023 at 4:24 pm

I am attempting to clean and purge. Did I mention I suck at cleaning and purging?


Valee May 19, 2023 at 6:24 pm

$2.99 is a great deal for a decent zip-up hoodie. Good job, Katy!
I ordered Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry from the library because you reminded me what a good book it is. It’s been many years since I read it and I know I’ll enjoy the re-read.


kathe May 20, 2023 at 5:59 pm

1 and 2: cleaned out under a bed in the guest room and found a large box of cross-stitch stuff. I don’t even remember where it came from! It prompted me to clean out my cross-stitch drawer. I photographed it all and listed a lot of it on line. And much of it sold! It’s out of here and I got some cash out of it.
3 and 4: we finished emptying out the attic—that has only had stuff going IN to it for the past 35 years. I sorted and organized so much junk, but not much of it actually went to the trash. It got sorted and and photographed and listed on line. A lot has been sold and the rest is filling a garage sale that is planned for this coming week. I’m counting it as two things since it was such a huge, hot, hateful task! And it basically was divided into 2 things—stuff to go & stuff to organize, distribute, or label/store for my kids. The stuff that’s left here includes the story of where it came from. Bonus: we cleaned/swept the attic that has not had anything done to keep it this side of absolutely disgusting for all these years. Again, stuff out of here and some cash in hand!
5. worked on a few sewing items—repair, complete, begin the prep work for next steps and got them Finally done!


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