Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 22, 2023 · 76 comments

  1. We finally had our neighborhood clean up day, which was nothing short of miraculous! I joked to my husband that it’s “my favorite holiday” which is only 49% true. For those not in the know, a “neighborhood cleanup day” involves a huge parking lot with multiple dumpsters for specific obscure recycling as well as straight up garbage. There’s also a pay-what-you-will area for reusable items and a plant exchange. It’s put on by our neighborhood association and a once a year occasion.

    Remember how my husband disassembled our rotten tree house and rebuilt it as a deck? Buy-bye, rotten wood, as well as all the associated rusted hardware. We also took punctured sport balls, cracked wooden baseball bats, styrofoam and an absolutely rusted through barbecue grill. Some of the stuff I walked  the three blocks to the event, but we otherwise filled the back of the seat-free minivan.

  2. We celebrated our son’s 25th birthday with dinner at the house. I invited my mother, step father and son’s out of town friend, and put out a bagel and lox spread, which was a huge hit. I also made a pot of chicken soup to round out the meal, although I was the only one to eat any. I put together a “dirt cake” using Oreos, pudding and gummy worms. (From the Winco bulk section!) Unfortunately, I arrogantly chose to not follow a recipe and it was truly foul. Like scrape the whole damned thing into the compost foul. Oh well, live and learn.

    Our gifts for him were Timbers soccer tickets, plus a coffee theme arrangement which included a Bodum pour-over coffee carafe with reusable filter, coffee grinder, two nice mugs from my eBay inventory, plus a pound of coffee I got for free with a coupon. My sister added a Yeti travel mug, and my parents handed him a crisp $100 bill.

    The evening was a big success, despite my husband having to work. The highlight? when my son asked his grandfather for a good Yiddish phrase and my step dad without missing a beat gifted us with “Geyn hobn shilshl,*” (גיין האָבן שילשל) which means “Go have diarrhea!” Gotta love those Yiddish sayings, they’re always the best!

  3. I thrifted an under-bed wheeled plastic storage container for $4.99, which prompted me to reorganize our bedding. (Don’t worry, I gave it a thorough scrub!) Our 1914 remuddled house doesn’t have a linen closet, so I’m always trying to puzzle out a deliberate and practical way to store our sheets/towels, etc.

    I’m a sucker for organizing paraphernalia, but luckily there’s a steady stream of it at both thrift stores and free piles here in Portland. I may never get my big weird house “perfectly” organized, but I doubt that standard is actually attainable in the first place.

  4. • I complimented a volunteer at the clean-up event on a pretty blue glazed flowerpot and she insisted that I take it for free.
    • I planted some free spider plant babies in the free flowerpot.
    • I bought a bra on eBay for $9.80 (with free shipping!) instead of $48. I have the same bra in a different color, so I’m not worried about trying it on in person.
    • I started rooting some begonia starts from a plant I already own.
    • I donated two blue Ikea bags of miscellaneous stuff (including three sets of sheets!) to Goodwill.
    • I mailed a package to my sister in NYC and used to save on postage.

  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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    * I think this is what he said, the Yiddish might have been slightly different.

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

mary in maryland May 22, 2023 at 1:48 pm

We also enjoyed plant things for free!
1. We went to a neighborhood outdoor concert with a food truck offering pizza. Yay! Alas, the online ordering revealed that we’d be paying $36 for two ten-inch pizzas. Nope.
2. The next day I scored a Chef Boyardee pizza kit on Buy nothing. I loved these kits when I was in high school. I whipped it up adding soy curls, black olives and mushrooms—all from Buy nothing in the past. While not the best pizza I’ve ever eaten, it scratched the itch. I ordered a six pack of the mixes for 3.68 each.
3. We went to the Senior Village plant swap. Two hours of fun. I off-loaded some seeds and scored a pot of basil seedlings (in the ground as of yesterday), an aloe plant, and some cute pottery holders for African violets. I was dubious about the latter, but when the emcee asked who likes African violets, I had been the only person to raise a hand.
4. Got violet leaves for potting via Buy nothing, stones from a neighbor, and small plastic pots from another neighbor.
5. I blow my nose seldom enough that tissues shred in my pockets. I’ve switched to small, hemmed pieces of flannel without any decrease in the quality of my life.
6. On Thursday we’ll take the car off the blocks (metaphorically) and drop the dog at the groomer, stop at Aldi’s for the specials, take a load to the thrift store for an elderly neighbor, drop some baby quilts for a charity project, pick up a bulk order at the Co-op, and return a book to the university library. All while the cleaning person cleans.


Jill A May 23, 2023 at 2:28 am

Oh the memories. I grew up on those Chef Boyardee pizza kits.


Michele D May 23, 2023 at 5:15 am

Me, too! My husband worked at a pharmaceutical factory that had a company store that sold them cheap!


Mary May 24, 2023 at 11:28 am

That brought back memories for me also. I guess I was about 10 and my mom bought one of these kits for me to bake. I was so impressed with myself. It became a weekly thing, I did not know tey were still on the market.


Ecoteri May 26, 2023 at 6:50 pm

oh, Me three, and as @mary says below, I was so impressed with myself, too!


Mand01 May 22, 2023 at 2:11 pm

1. We have a bumper crop of limes this season. I’ve picked twice so far and there’s still more on the tree. I’ve given some away, made marmalade and a lime pickle. Now I need some new recipes. Our oven died, so I can’t bake.
2. I thought I’d make lime curd and some more pickle. I used all the jars I had so asked on the buy nothing group for more and got some more from two people. My other option was to buy some, so I saved $20.
3. I have been working toward an early retirement. The past two weeks I’ve had less work (I’m self employed), and I’m reconsidering this plan. I’ve been very bored. I might plan for financial independence but not retirement. I don’t think I’m suited for it.
4. We paid off my husband’s student loan and are now debt free except for our mortgage.
5. We continue to eat a vegetarian diet supplemented by our garden, that keeps our food bill down.


Marie-Josée May 22, 2023 at 3:21 pm

I can relate to your comment about revising your early retirement plans. I suffered a concussion about two years ago. I followed the doctor’s orders to the letter and did not look at a screen or read for about six weeks. I discovered podcasts which saved my mind, as reading is my favourite hobby. I gradually reintroduced screen time and reading to my recovery routine, but the whole experience really showed me that I was not ready for early retirement. I enjoy the intellectual stimulation from work and the structure it provides to my days. I am moving to a four-day work week in two weeks and may reduce to three days when my husband retires in three years.


Denise May 23, 2023 at 2:58 am

Limes: Margarita anyone??


rebecca May 23, 2023 at 12:20 pm

Try this marinade for chicken-
or this key lime pie recipe ( I’ve used regular limes and zest with it, still really good.)


Marilyn May 23, 2023 at 3:47 pm

I think you are wise to consider carefully before retiring early. I am currently on medical leave while recovering from hip replacement surgery earlier this month. It has been pretty boring.


Ecoteri May 26, 2023 at 6:52 pm

I have begun throwing citrus into the freezer- saves it for later, you just thaw and they juice MUCH better…..


Ruby May 22, 2023 at 2:32 pm

Hooray for neighborhood cleanup! And your step-dad is awesome — what a wit!
1. Had a single well-worn footie sock. Cut it into loops, looped them together to make a cord, and used it to tie up tomato plants. Used some leftover sticky back Velcro from the junk drawer to corral the charging cords for my husband’s phone and tablet after a cord was eaten by the vacuum cleaner.
2. Baked a loaf of homemade bread and muffins for our meals. Made a gallon of iced tea using tea bags on hand.
3. Cut my husband’s hair with clippers and my own hair with a razor comb.
4. Altered another pair of my jeans to make them smaller. Mended another hole in my husband’s old jeans. Recycled some elastic from another garment to take up the waist of my pajamas.
5. Bought shelf-stable almond milk at Dollar Tree as an experiment and it turned out to be very good and 44 cents less than refrigerated milk. Scored a soft drink at the drugstore for my husband for 50 cents using customer points. He was having a rough day and appreciated it.
Bonus: Watched a free movie on Hoopla through my library card.


Barbara May 23, 2023 at 5:36 am

I am intrigued by the razor comb. How does it work? My hubby has been cutting my and daughter’s hair since Covid, but his arthritis has gotten increasingly worse. How difficult is it to cut your own hair (especially the back) and will it work on thick hair? Inquiring minds want to know.


Ruby May 24, 2023 at 7:35 am

It’s a Tinkle razor comb that uses two double edge razor blades like you put in a safety razor. It’s lightweight, easy to replace the blades, and easy to use. I bought it on Amazon during the pandemic for just a few dollars.

It takes a little practice, but basically you just section damp hair and use the comb to trim the sections. For the back of my head, I comb lightly just like combing my hair to create layers. My hair is worn in a pixie cut, lightly feathered to cover half the ear, layered a little longer on top, and is trimmed at the hairline in the back. It’s cut in side parted bangs because of a big cowlick on one side of my forehead.

I use two mirrors to see the back of my head and a pair of Goody hair trimming scissors to neaten things up at edges. The trick is to work neatly but carefully, with a light hand, and know that you might find slightly longer hairs to trim up for a few days.

There are probably YouTube videos out there that can explain it better. Pro-amateur tip: damp hair, fresh razor blades every time. That way the razor won’t pull your hair.


Barbara May 24, 2023 at 9:59 am

Thank you for all the helpful information. Love the description of your hairstyle as I have always wanted to go shorter. Did you have the original haircut/style done at the salon and you just keep it shaped/trimmed? Not sure I would know where to begin.


Ruby May 24, 2023 at 1:13 pm

I usually have it in a pixie or a layered short cut. My hair is thick and very slightly wavy, but will lie straight when cut short. I really like the razor comb because it gives softer edges than cutting with scissors. It’s faster too, once you get the hang of it. I can cut it in about twenty minutes now.

My son and husband much prefer that I cut their hair. I got some books out of the library years ago to learn how to do it and then practiced on myself. We all look pretty decent. 😀

A. Marie May 22, 2023 at 3:44 pm

FFT, (Warning: Politics) Edition:

(1) I have been keeping silent about this for a long time, but I no longer can. I am an alumna of the small college on Florida’s Gulf Coast that is being systematically torn to shreds by Ron DeSantis and company. Last week, I donated to the GoFundMe that was set up by current students for an alternative graduation ceremony, and considered it money very well spent. Sorry, folks, but what’s happening to my beloved New College of Florida is an outrage–and the donation has helped lower my blood pressure, which is certainly frugal.

(2) And since I was alerted to the GoFundMe through a link a friend sent me to the sympathetic post put up about it by Bill Penzey of Penzeys Spices, I ordered three discounted mini-packs of spices from Penzeys for future gift-giving. Money also very well spent.

(3) OK, I’m off the soapbox now. Since I’m in a bit of a cash flow crunch at the moment due to various large expenditures (the new water heater, the final phases of my dental implant, and some upcoming masonry repairs to the house), I am concentrating on keeping spending to a bare minimum (except for #1 and #2 above).

(4) I used the last two frozen packages of beef stew from last year’s 1/4 steer to make an Indian beef stew, for which I found a recipe on the Internet. Yes, beef isn’t usually associated with Indian cooking–but this stew was utterly delicious, as confirmed by the Bestest Neighbors (who came around at my invitation for a share of it).

(5) And I’m actually getting a good crop of cilantro for the first time in a couple of years, since my formerly resident woodchucks no longer seem to be with me. I noticed on her one appearance earlier this year that the mama ‘chuck seemed to have injuries, to which she may have succumbed–and one of her kids, who was also in residence, seems to have decamped as well. (The local deer don’t care for cilantro, but the woodchucks loved it.)


Ruby May 22, 2023 at 3:54 pm

Good for you for supporting your college. And I love Penzey’s too, for the spices and the activism.


MB in MN May 22, 2023 at 6:53 pm

A. Marie and Ruby: Same!


Christine May 22, 2023 at 4:29 pm

Woodchucks seem to love anything green…grass, weeds, vegetable gardens and now Cilantro!
The more I see and hear about DeSantis, the more worried I get. I would love to totally boycott everything Florida to help bring attention to his lunatic ideas but if everyone did that, the whole state would suffer and that’s not fair. I’m glad he’s not doing too well in the primary numbers department for now.


Selena May 22, 2023 at 6:48 pm

But money is the only thing that gets their attention. So put your energy into getting voters registered and to the polls.


Christine May 23, 2023 at 7:45 am

Money may be an attention getter but I wouldn’t want the people if Florida to suffer in any way by any of us withholding our US dollars. They count on tourism which right now is doing great. I work at every election in my town and I would love to see a larger voter turnout. Any suggestions besides going door to door?


Selena May 23, 2023 at 6:50 pm

I would start with relatives/circle of friends. Then reach out where you go – library, gas station, shops etc. to encourage them to vote. If you don’t vote you can’t bitch is my mantra.
Of course the wing nuts have made it even harder to do voter registration drives but persevere. All those 17 who will be 18 by primary/election eligible to register (my state does this)? If so, off to volunteer at high schools. I suspect a mega turnout of college age voters next election. Perhaps college(s) near you need volunteers to register/ensure knowing the date and their voting location.

Selena May 22, 2023 at 6:47 pm

As a huge Suze Orman fan – people first, then money, then things. Your #s 1 & 2 are spot on. I’m thinking my state (and other blue states) will experience the second great migration but for all the wrong reasons.


Jill A May 23, 2023 at 2:47 am

I think I’m going to give up on growing cilantro. It seems to always bolt before I get a chance to use it. Also your stew sounds wonderful.


A. Marie May 23, 2023 at 8:32 am

Cilantro lives to bolt; my own does the same. But my volunteer seedlings come up at different times, which helps. And if you’re into coriander seeds, wait till the seeds ripen and then harvest them. You can even grind the seeds for coriander powder. Cilantro and coriander = the same plant.


Jill A May 24, 2023 at 3:44 am

Thanks A Marie. I think I might save the seeds and see if I can grow instead of just buying the plants. Normally I just pull the plant once it bolts except last year I left it. Having them maturing at different times would work much better. I had one volunteer last year that I harvested from under the snow when I was desperate for some cilantro for a dish.


Mati June 3, 2023 at 3:00 pm

The entire bolted plant still tastes good and can be used, from roots to flowers. Even the unripe seeds can be crushed into a paste or sauce and are very fresh and flavorful.


Patricia Koernig May 23, 2023 at 5:19 am

Thank you, A. Marie.As a Florida resident, I have to laugh every time I hear “the freest state,” in the nation. We have reason to be concerned.
Wishing you the best.


janine May 23, 2023 at 6:24 am

We recently returned from a visit to Sarasota. Newspapers were full of the governor and his minion’s college takeover. Loved how the grads reacted with their own graduation ceremonies! Sarasota City Council also voted unanimously to fly LGBT+ flag during the gay pride art festival.


Bee May 23, 2023 at 8:35 am

As a life-long Floridian, I wish that the American population would boycott Florida and quit moving here. There are so many people here now! Seriously, however, I totally respect A. Marie’s point of view and believe that she should support the causes she believes in. I admire this greatly. Even if I only know A. Marie in real life, I look forward to hearing from her every week.

I must tell you all that Florida is booming and there appears to be no end in sight. Although I try not to enter into political debate online, some of the comments made in this thread about Florida and other political things have made it difficult for me to ignore them. They highlight a trend that I find very troubling and feel that I must respond.

I ask all to dig deep into all media reporting and get your news from multiple sources. Better yet, go directly to the source. Read the bills, executive orders and speeches yourself before reading or listening to the news. Don’t let the talking heads tell you what is happening in your world. Has anyone reading this actually read the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill ( a misnomer to be certain) in its entirety? Does anyone know why this bill was presented? Do you know the arguments for and against the bill?

The headlines are one thing but the truth is another. Not everything that is being said about Governor DeSantis is true and some national media sources are not reporting things in a balanced manner. If things were as dire here as the media has said, 60% of the population would not have re-elected DeSantis as governor. He carried all but 5 of the 63 counties in the state in November of 2022. In many ways, he has been an effective leader even if it difficult to embrace his ideology in its entirety.

The media is not just misreporting the political environment in Florida but in other places as well. For example, if I believed what some news sources say about Portland, I would reach the conclusion that it was a crime-ridden, liberal dystopia taken over by drug addicts and Antifa. I would think that businesses were exiting the city in great numbers, boarding up their buildings, and leaving behind urban blight. Although Portland does face some challenges as does Florida, the picture that Katy paints of her beloved city is much different and is much closer to the truth.

I find this trend in the media scary, because it is designed to polarize us all for political gain. I think that most of us are good to one another on a day to day basis. However, the last 20 years has been about generating hate and discord. I refer to this as “Divide and Conquer Politics.”

I personally have friends that are Democrats, Republicans and Independents. I have friends and family that are straight and gay. I have friends that are Black, White, Asian, Middle-Eastern and Hispanic. I have friends that are religious and some that are atheist. I don’t agree with them all politically, but it is amazing how many things we actually agree on.

As far as Penzeys goes, I do NOT buy nor will I ever buy Penzeys spices. Any business that uses its position to generate hate for half the population does not deserve my support. I have read the CEO of Penzeys online tirades against Republicans. They are over-the-top. Imagine doing this on an individual basis to friends and acquaintances! This certainly would not be tolerated or applauded if this about any other group of individuals.

I realize as I wrote this I am probably not really welcome here on NCA because of my moderate and pragmatic view point. I do believe in frugality, mindful spending, kindness and using our resources wisely. However, my background in political science and economics as well as being a strict constitutionalist puts me out of step with so many of you. I wish you all peace, good health and prosperity regardless of your political party; whether you live in a Blue State or Red State; and no matter your race, creed, color or sexual orientation.


Teri May 23, 2023 at 8:48 am

Thank you for expressing so many of my thoughts. I posted here a long time ago but was berated for my comments. This is why I no longer post. I appreciate your thoughts, especially regarding the “hate and discord” that has been generated in our country (and here…).

Thank you


Katy May 23, 2023 at 10:08 am

Thank you for your thoughtful comment, lots to think about here.

Portland has been greatly effected by homelessness, crime and the drug epidemic. There have been publicized store closings, supposedly due to this. However . . . some of these stores closings were due to employees trying to unionize. Yes, we all need to get our news from multiple source and we certainly need to use our critical thinking skills all day every day.


MB in MN May 23, 2023 at 10:43 am

Bee, I appreciate your thoughtful response. It oozes with respect and knowledge. Of course you’re welcome here and I hope you’ll stay. I don’t dwell on differences. We all have more in common than not.


A. Marie May 23, 2023 at 11:12 am

Bee, darling, I would never disrespect you or cut you off. However, what DeSantis is doing to NCF is based on his complete misunderstanding of what NCF has been all about since it was founded in 1960: independent, student-directed education. I’m truly sorry that we disagree on this issue.


Bee May 25, 2023 at 6:58 am

A. Marie, my goodness, I think it is wonderful that you are supporting something that you believe in. It is NOT your thoughts on the situation at New College that I found troubling. I completely understand your POV and your decision to support you alma matter.

There were some comments that resulted from this thread (and others) that I found troubling. The first was the demonization of Republicans as a group. I find attacks such as those being made by Penzey’s unfounded and counterproductive. There are good and bad people – and ideas – on both sides of the aisles.


Selena May 23, 2023 at 6:57 pm

I’ve seen, read, and heard words out of your gov’s mouth to know he is bad news, pure and simple. “Free” state is a joke and he shows his ignorance re: the definition of woke. But then again, his cult followers are the problem. I had no desire to go to FL in the late 70s, even less today. I avoid states where I myself don’t feel safe. Much those who’s voices and needs are tossed by the wayside. As A. Marie says, agree to disagree.


Selena May 23, 2023 at 7:02 pm

And remember Rosa Parks wasn’t African-American, she just refused to give up her seat on the bus.


Christine May 23, 2023 at 9:55 pm

Bee, in my eyes and ears media coverage, good or bad reporting, can never make up for a politician ‘s words or behavior. Have to disagree with you on this one. I hope we can agree to disagree, as they say. Your frugality is valuable to the NCAs here on this site and I hope you feel your opinions are welcome. My late father always reiterated “Differences are what makes the world go around and keeps life interesting. ” I see it that way too. Hope you keep offering your ideas of any kind.


Jill A May 24, 2023 at 3:33 am

Bee, thank you again for your thoughful comments as always. Although I don’t know and haven’t read anything about the situation in Florida with A Marie’s College I do know that I am struggling to find the truth in reporting and have had to take everything with a grain of salt. It’s just sad that the news has turned into what it is. It’s really hard to stay informed when you can’t trust the information you’re receiving. I’m becoming more and more cynical as I realize that everyone has an ulterior motive and what you see isn’t what you get…


Anne May 26, 2023 at 7:26 am

Hear, hear. You nailed it, Bee.


Lisa M. May 28, 2023 at 7:20 am

I haven’t posted in some time but thought it might be additive to this discussion to share my long-term experience as a Penzey’s patron. I am fortunate to live 2.3 miles from a Penzey’s store. About 12 years ago, my daughter’s friend’s mom introduced me to Penzey’s with a coupon for a free bottle of cinnamon. In the ensuing years, I have been the grateful recipient of literally hundreds of dollars’ worth of either free or low-cost spices through various coupons & deals which enhanced the quality of my cooking exponentially. It wasn’t until recent years that Mr. Penzey became > vocal about his political views. Penzey’s has benefitted me personally in such a profound manner with my frugal efforts, that I will continue to patronize his store indefinitely. I admire Mr. Penzey’s courage to be clear about his beliefs despite potential consequences to his business. Tolerance of differing political views is critical to our democracy.


MW June 14, 2023 at 1:57 am

I live “up the street” from you in JB, FL and I totally echo your comments.



Marilyn May 23, 2023 at 3:23 pm

I have read several articles about New College of Florida. It sounds like a wonderful, exicting place to spend one’s college years. I’m so glad you and other alumni are fighting to keep it that way for the next generation.


Joyce Forbush May 24, 2023 at 4:17 am

I lived in FL from when I was 3 until 20 yrs of age. My heart breaks. My sister is a retired teacher from the FL public school system!
I will look up the Penney spice assortments for gift giving!
Our resident ‘chucks have so far left our gardens alone, could be the dogs scare them off.


Michelle Porter May 28, 2023 at 2:28 pm

My heart goes out to Floridians right now for the path this Governor is taking. He seems to have a God complex following the path of some certain little orange man. It is my opinion though that my hard earned dollars are best spent somewhere else. I cancelled my family vacation to Florida and will not go back until the state is ran with sense, compassion, and a parent not losing their rights over their children to the government who needs to step back. The state will recover from a boycott but not so much from the ruling of DeSantis and his good ole boy cronies.


Christine May 22, 2023 at 4:55 pm

Your stepfather sounds like a live wire!
1. I threw together a lasagna type casserole using the leftovers from last night’s supper: Sausage and penne in spaghetti sauce layered with Ricotta cheese and Mozzarella cheese I had on hand.
2. I went to buy flowers for the cemetery and saw the bark mulch was on sale, 5 bags for $10. About the amount I need so I purchased 5 huge bags.
3. My stepson gave us his patio furniture cushions and pillows. He and his wife got new ones to better fit their outdoor furniture and wanted to know if we would like their old ones. Yes please, since they are in better shape than ours. Our old ones will be donated to my church’s thrift shop.
4. I found two loaves of my favorite whole wheat bread (Gold Medal Bakery) at the Dollar Tree for $1.25 each. They don’t always have it, so I was happy to get it.
5. We were invited over to a friend’s house for dinner and conversation, hanging all laundry outside on my umbrella clothesline, making my own iced tea, tea and coffee, walking for free exercise, reading library books…anyone read William Kent Krueger’s latest, “Lightning Strike”?…fabulous…Enjoying watching Paramount TV since we ended our cable subscription, DH brought my huge and ancient Christmas Cactus up from the cellar where it spends its winters basking in the sunshine from the South facing windows to its rightful place on my back steps, popping popcorn in a pan with a little oil for a snack, keeping my speed to 64 mph with cruise control on the highway to conserve gas and all the hundreds of little things we all do to stay on a thrifty path.
Thanks to Katy and everybody for keeping the frugal ideas coming.


geri May 30, 2023 at 2:45 pm

Pluto TV app has 2 Paramount TV channels. Might be worth checking out, because the app is free. Not the same as having the Paramount app, but it may have something you want to see-it looks like one channel may show more movies and one show more TV shows.


MB in MN May 22, 2023 at 7:03 pm

1. Paid forward the generosity of those who let us stay in their homes over the last few months by donating money to causes that are important to them.

2. Spent another 30 minutes on the phone trying to receive the free one-night’s stay that we had requested – and were promised – from the hotel chain (rhymes with Hampton) that maddeningly cancelled our reservation because they had overbooked the hotel. This was the third time I called so hopefully the third time’s the charm. They said it would take up to 30 days to receive. I’m patient.

3. Enjoyed some freebies at our temporary apartment: dog poop bags and a bagel breakfast in the common area.

4. Received some new neighbor coupons in the mail including a free meal, free bottle of wine and a $10 oil change.

5. Now that we no longer live out in the country, I continue to marvel at how quickly I can go to any number of places within just a few miles. Not to mention the savings in gas, oil changes, and vehicle wear and tear. And in an ironic twist, now that we live by more restaurants, I don’t feel like going out to eat as often!


Denise May 23, 2023 at 3:04 am

I love, love, looove the blue pot!
Wonderful gift to have received.


Jill A May 23, 2023 at 3:29 am

Beautiful pot. I love your “favorite holiday”. What a great way to clean up your neighborhood responsibly.
1. I’m enjoying discounted good quality chocolate and cheese from a discount grocery outlet I visited while I was in the area for an estate sale.
2. I purchased tickets for a lantern festival for me and my kids. They had four tickets for the price of three. My son-in-law drove. We carpooled with my mother and everyone had a wonderful time.
3. I fed everyone dinner before the festival. I used mostly items I had in the freezer and pantry. I did pick up some fresh fruit to round out the meal.
4. I picked up some cleaning supplies from an estate sale. I also found several t-shirts and and some like new shorts that are much needed.
5. I’m drinking tap water, making my own coffee, reading library books and walking for exercise. I’ve been eating oatmeal and homemade yogurt with fresh fruit and some gifted granola from a friend.


Ava May 23, 2023 at 5:35 am

1. Cut up more cardboard boxes for grass killing purposes, layering pieces around plants.
2. Got a nice wine rack from a free pile. If we can’t find a spot for it, we will donate it.
3. Searched the Goodwill in a more upscale neighborhood for à green saucer for craft purposes. I was shocked to see that all single good quality saucers were $3.99. Fortunately I found the exact thing I needed at Dollar Tree.
4. Adapted a recipe to make sugarfree oatmeal bars for my husband when he is needing a treat. High fiber and filling when he is trying to resist sugary snacks.
5. Sold a pattern for $6 that I got for free.


Juhli May 23, 2023 at 10:53 am

Could you post the oatmeal bar recipe please? It sounds great.


Ava May 23, 2023 at 2:35 pm

Julie, here is the recipe for the oat bars.
2 cups quick or rolled oats
3 tbls agave syrup
5 single serve envelopes of Splenda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut or any nuts
1/4 c melted butter
1 teas vanilla
1/2 c milk

Mix all ingredients and let the mixture soak for 30 min. Press into a parchment lined 8 x 8 pan and bake at 350 for about 30 min or until brown around the edges. I grated a square of baking chocolate over the top. Sugar free chocolate chips mixed in might get a better result but my husband is very sensitive to ingredients in many artificial sweeteners so I use what works for him.


Ashley Bananas May 23, 2023 at 6:06 am

I should organize a neighborhood clean up day for my neighborhood like yours. A lot of people around here put out gorgeous things and scrap. It’s all fair game, but I think some of it ends up in the trash if someone who needs it doesn’t find it.

1. I’ve embraced working part time for Door Dash more fully this past week and made just over $500 dollars. I’ve decided to change my perspective from being… grumpy about needing extra money to cover unexpected expenses, to being happy that I have this opportunity to make extra money and get my finances back to a place I want them to be. I have been putting extra time in to make that goal happen faster and shorten the amount of time I HAVE to do this.
2. I usually grocery shop a few times a week on Wed or Thursday, and then on Sunday. I didn’t shop this Sunday. We are working on using what we have on hand completely and not eating out. Due to weight loss surgery I eat a lot less and find that we dont go through food and have had some leftovers go to waste. I believe this strategy will help avoid food waste by buying less and cooking less.
3. My sneakers are very worn out. I have an old pair of nonslip sneakers from a job I had many years ago. I dont often wear them because they’re more of a work sneaker. But, to avoid buying a new pair, I am going to start wearing these instead to use what I have.
4. I continue to buy gas at Costco and now that the refineries have ended up their cleaning stages prices are finally starting to go down. Although the price difference is only 8 cents, I’ll take it!
5. I have started to follow a few youtubers who do coupon matchups for paper/digital/rebate apps and was able to get my grocery bill down to less than half the original amount when I did a big haul last week. Grocery shopping has become so dubious to me lately that the savings feel great.

Additionally, we are road tripping to New England next month and if we drive, very likely at this point, we will be going North on i95. If anyone has any good places to stop along the way we would love to see some cool places and different parts of our country. We’re traveling from FL to CT.


Katy May 23, 2023 at 10:13 am

I’ve been grocery shopping less, and yet my fridge is somehow always overfull.


jannine May 23, 2023 at 6:53 am

Loved the blue striped pot. Spider plants look great.
1. Scored a free tomato plant from someone who insisted that they produce the best tasting tomatoes and urged others to try this variety.
2. Low cost iced tea for the win. Bought a BOGO of my favorite tea while on vacation. No calories or desire for soda as an added bonus.
3. Found an old GC in my stash that I will use to replenish my supply of expensive olive oil.
4. Treated an old friend to Sunday Brunch at a nice restaurant. We have lunch together about once a month and she always provides coupons and finds discounts which have added up to some significant $$ over the years. We also attended a free classical music concert. Taken together it was a frugal outing.
5. DH is planting a front yard garden. City cut down a 200 year old boulevard shade tree which we dearly miss, but we now have sunshine which the prolific zucchini appreciates.


Roberta May 23, 2023 at 8:26 am

First, a disclaimer. I recently said I had talked the family into canceling Netflix. Then they dropped the next season of Queer Eye. So we will have Netflix until we finish that.

1. Utilizing my library for a free painting class, and a date night.
2. Bought fancy mushrooms for dinner, to cook at home after our date night.
3. Going out to a jazz concert put on by our high school. We’ve seen the group before, at a museum concert, and they are really good.
4. Working too many days this week, but I’m looking at our retirement plans, and I’d like to have to money to pursue them earlier if we choose to.
5. Walking at the park for exercise, added stretching at home, eating more veg to lose weight and lower dh’s blood pressure, and so we’re healthy enough to enjoy travel when we get to retirement. And the dog loves it when I sit on the floor to stretch — he sneaks up to give me kisses!


Katy May 23, 2023 at 10:11 am

Free painting class? That sounds like fun!


rebecca May 23, 2023 at 1:04 pm

1. I cancelled part of a cable package and will now be saving $30 a month.
2. My neighbors came over for dinner last night. I used a $1.29 lb chicken, gussied up a rice mix, vegetables and apples (for a yummy french apple cake recipe I wanted to try) from the crisper. It was a delightful evening with lots of laughs.
3. A friend and I were going to go out for dinner one night this week. They cancelled. Kind of relieved as I have a fairly full fridge and I won’t be spending $.
4. I was craving Chinese food the other night. I made my own chicken with cashews. It was delicious.
5. The usual-coffee and h20 from home, cold water laundry, loss leaders, not using my car every day ect.


K D May 24, 2023 at 3:45 am

1. I had a cabbage that was languishing in the produce drawer. I cut away the dark spot and cooked it (after chopping it) with some carrots and half an onion. I seasoned it with pepper. I’ve been eating it for a few days and am really enjoying it. Good thing, since I only used half of the cabbage.

2. I bought a large cantaloupe for $3 and it when I cut it there were at least 12 cups of fruit. I have been cutting a lot of large pineapples lately, with similar results. I also picked up a watermelon for $3.88 on sale at Safeway. Cutting fruit results in so much bang for the buck.

3. I will walk up to the nearby grocery store in a minute to buy a few bananas, an onion, and a free (with rewards) package of sliced cheese. Good exercise, good for the environment, and no cost transportation.

4. DH will have dinner at work this evening so I will eat something easy that he would not enjoy.

5. Same old, same old. Wearing the same clothes, using the same items, walking where feasible. We are having a spurt of wonderful weather and are using neither heating nor cooling.


cathy May 24, 2023 at 9:32 pm

Oh, the Yiddish sayings! My grandparents and great grandparents used to have a never-ending supply. I’m sure it went well with the lox & bagels and chicken soup.

1) Had to replace our 15-year-old range (wayyyy past its built-in obsolescence) after the element almost caught on fire. Found the simplest one for our needs and it turned out to be on sale because Memorial Day sales.

2) Scored an awesome vintage wood cupboard from someone in our Buy Nothing group. She used it for garden/potting supplies, which is exactly my plan as well.

3) I recently found Louise Penny’s first Inspector Armand Gamache mystery in a Little Free Library. Once I read it, I was hooked. Am now working my way through the entire series, courtesy of the two local library systems we have–one for the city and one for the county. Also recently read the latest Kate Shugak book by Dana Stabenow and the three Thursday Murder Club books by Richard Osman, also from the library.

4) Last year I got a wood and metal park bench from someone in the Buy Nothing group, but it had a couple of broken slats. Husband discovered that leftover floorboards from replacing our hall were exactly the right width. Repaired the bench and we put it on the patio by some roses.

5) Doing all the usual stuff: washing in cold water, cooking all meals, baking bread and other carby thing for my kid who’s allergic to wheat, making coffee at home and, now that the never-ending winter is over, enjoying it in the garden.


Katy May 26, 2023 at 9:39 am

My father also knows an endless number of Yiddish phrases, but he never said any of them when I was growing up.


Bethany M May 25, 2023 at 12:55 pm

Made mayo, honey mustard salad dressing, ranch and two kinds of granola. Sticker shock leads us to healthier eating. One silver lining in this inflation.

I signed a contract to teach 6th and 8th grade Science at my kids’ new school. My wardrobe is limited after homeschooling for 8 years. Stopped at a thrift store and picked up a nice pair of dress pants for $2. Will hem them up myself even though, I hate that chore! Lol!

I checked into martial arts for my son. He would love it, but it’s $168/month. I was hoping for about $50-60/month. Church started a free baseball league on Saturdays. There’s a huge field they never use. I think this will sort of fit the bill. Got gloves for the kids and my husband from the Buy Nothing group. They even came through with a lefty glove for my husband. Totally awesome!!!

I picked up free compost from the county. Filling in bare spots in the yard and seeding it. Dividing plants and filling holes in our flower beds.

Paid off our HELOC. I had planned to finish it off in June when we get our extra biweekly pay check, but I looked over all the bills and we could handle all the expenses between now and then so I saved us just a smidge more in interest. I never want to use that again. I hate debt!


Katy May 26, 2023 at 9:38 am

Doing a chore you hate to save money is such a key component to living a frugal life. It may sound unappealing if I’m trying to recruit people to non-consumerism, but it’s an important life lesson that doing unpleasant stuff id simply part of life and won’t kill you. I absolutely loathe scrubbing out the tub, but I do it anyway just to get it over with.


Marie May 26, 2023 at 4:40 pm

Katy, I would rather clean a tub anyday( being a housekeeper I do at least 3 tubs daily) over mending. But I finished my mending pile. Other than the one seam on the comforter. That can wait for another day


Tonya May 27, 2023 at 2:59 pm

Yes! I hate pulling weeds, but did so for several hours today in the name of frugality.

Also, regarding the political discussion, this is such a respectful group. I really appreciate reading the exchange of thoughts and not just name calling and attacks that are so common nowadays. Thanks for being a great group!


Ava May 27, 2023 at 4:44 pm

Such true words, Katy. I just finished cleaning the car’s interior. I really really hate that job but it is something I can do without having to go to physical therapy after. I did take a three hour nap half way through.


Katy May 27, 2023 at 10:41 pm

That is an annoying job, so much awkward positioning to get to where you need to clean.


Ashley Bananas May 27, 2023 at 8:45 am

Got a good laugh out of the list. I’m not doing any of these things, maybe I should try!!! lol


Ashley Bananas May 30, 2023 at 8:30 am

…I think I meant to post that somewhere else…


Joyce May 28, 2023 at 3:30 am

I hate to clean the inside of the refrigerator! I think my mother traumatized me…it was such an ordeal for her, involving wrapping food in newspapers, boiling water, scrapping with anything sharp. She sure got cranky!


Heidi Louise May 28, 2023 at 3:06 pm

Ooh– The pop-up ad moved to the bottom right corner of my screen instead of blocking the left where the posts are. Much appreciated change– thank you!


Katy May 29, 2023 at 9:26 am

Yes, there was much behind the scenes work to make that happen!


geri May 30, 2023 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for making that happen. I was so happy to see it moved. The last time I was on the site I had about an inch of reading space due to the pop up. Now the ad runs constantly but on the side, which is fantastic! Thanks for whatever was done to fix it. I checked back today to see if it was any better, hating to give up the site but unable to read posts and IT’S SOOOO MUCH BETTER!


Katy May 30, 2023 at 3:17 pm

Thank you for not giving up on me!


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