Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 29, 2023 · 80 comments

  1. My daughter brought me a free $58 Diestel Cook-in-Bag turkey breast from her schwanky grocery store. I’m unlikely to pay this much on my own, but it was by far the most delicious turkey I’ve ever eaten!

    Her store gives unsold food to their employees, so she gifts me with a variety of random bits and bobs. She’s also recently given me an orchid plant, a bag of lil’ crostini, four chicken breasts and some slightly wilted broccoli. This work perk means her own grocery bill is almost nothing.

  2. I passed by a promising free pile while driving through the neighborhood and actually remembered to swing past it later in the afternoon. Everything was gross and dirty, but that’s not an issue for solid items. Here’s what I carried home:

    • A knife sharpener, gravy spoon and mini spatula.
    • A 1950s-era fireplace screen to replace the one I started disliking soon after I brought it home in 2002. This one looks much more natural in my 109-year-old house and the price was right.
    • Three vintage metal lidded glass jars from Hills Bros coffee and Skippy peanut butter. Super cute vintage branding.
    • A groovy 1960’s era avocado green metal kitchen waste basket. This specimen came with revolting smears and long dead bugs, so I wasn’t surprised that no one had brought it home yet. However, I’m a sucker for vintage kitchenware and that “Waste” graphic was just too cute to leave behind. I’ve given it a thorough scrubbing and left it in the sun to dry. I’ll likely go over it once again and call it good.

  3. • I sold another $4.99 vintage lighting globe to a neighborhood store for $20. I thrift these whenever I can as this store always buy them from me. Such an easy sale as I don’t have the burden to research, measure, list, pack and mail. Instead I just hand them over. Easy money.
    • I lugged a wrought iron patio chair to the corner and it was snapped up in under an hour. This long ago thrifted chair weighed a metric ton and we didn’t need it anymore, so I’m happy to have it back in circulation.
    • I used interlibrary loan to borrow a copy of The Diaries of Nella Last from my local branch. I usually forget this feature exists, which makes me extra appreciative of this library book.
    • I caught an unnecessary online prescription being automatically refilled. I was able to go to their website and click “cancel” before it was fully processed.

  4. Frugal Fail — I met up with a college friend for lunch and forgot to look through the restaurant’s online menu ahead of time. I normally do this so I can A) choose the yummiest option, but also B) stay on budget. Instead I was overwhelmed by the obnoxious QR-code menu on my tiny phone and chose what my friend recommended. $17 and downright meh. Next time I’ll remember to follow my own advice and ALWAYS LOOK UP A RESTAURANT’S MENU AHEAD OF TIME!

  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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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Madeline May 29, 2023 at 5:35 am

Thank you for book recommendation: I found the Diaries on my cloud library. Our local library works with that app and I can order books online to be sent to my kindle via my library card!!

Your vintage finds are fun to hear about.. would love to see photos!

It’s always a treat to open my email and find a new post.. I love your blog and Kristen’s over at the Frugal Girl and also The Prudent Homemaker. Do you have any other frugality/ sustainable living and happy life type blogs you can recommend?

Thanks for sharing!!!!


Katy May 29, 2023 at 9:25 am

There aren’t as many frugality blogs as in years past. There’s, but I can’t think of any others at the moment. I haven’t read their blog in a long time though.


A. Marie May 29, 2023 at 9:28 am

I enjoy Donna Freedman’s blog, Surviving and Thriving, but she doesn’t post all that often.


Linda M May 29, 2023 at 10:35 am

I like Cheryl’s Frugal Corner.


Kathy Sell May 29, 2023 at 1:35 pm

“Living Rich on the Cheap” offers frugality blogs in it’s sidebar. And those often give titles of other similar blogs. Everything from reuse and recyle to food similar to 40s rations and vegan/vegetarian.


MK May 29, 2023 at 3:26 pm
Selena May 29, 2023 at 6:48 am

I too look at the menu via internet. I dislike QR codes period – I find it cumbersome to look at a menu (my phone is medium size) and QR codes are a security risk.
Cool waste can and the packing today is mostly plastic which I do try to reuse/repurpose.


Katy May 29, 2023 at 9:22 am

Hmm . . .

I hadn’t thought about them being a security risk.


Marcia May 29, 2023 at 9:40 am

Re QR codes in retail situations: I hate them. While you are getting that menu, some businesses also upload things like tracking software to your phone. Many (most?) restaurants will still provide a hard copy of the menu if you ask.


Anne May 29, 2023 at 6:49 am

I’m on my second of the three Nella Last books. I love her. I’m a huge fan of homefront wartime memoirs and have read many, many. I don’t know how I have missed her up until now.


Lindsey May 29, 2023 at 12:29 pm

We were in London and happened upon a cooking demonstration by Marguerite Patten, a woman who taught cooking classes to wealthy women left to their own devices when their kitchen staffs left to better jobs in munitions factories. She also published recipes in newspapers, teaching women how to make the best of wartime rationing. She was very, very old by then and had help to walk to the table, but then she summoned the energy to prepare a meal with things like powdered eggs, and mock chicken and mock apple pie. The audience was small (this was at the War Museum) so we each were able to taste her creations. The entire time she cooked, she spoke about conditions then, cooking then, rich people forced to tend to their own meals when some of them had never boiled water in their entire lives, and living with so many men off to fight. When she was done, after about two hours, it was almost like she deflated, energy all gone, and had to be helped to her seat. I feel lucky to have had the experience.


Katy May 29, 2023 at 4:03 pm

That must have been fascinating.


Ecoteri May 29, 2023 at 9:20 pm

@Lindsey, thank you so much for sharing that lovely vignette. what a wonderful experience for you! I would have been fascinated…


A. Marie May 31, 2023 at 4:11 pm

An amazing story, Lindsey. Thank you.


Coral Clarke May 29, 2023 at 4:20 pm

I loved that she showed that we can choose to be the hero in our own small corner. She did the best she could with what she had, and shared with those who had less, the kind of frugality I admire!


Christine May 30, 2023 at 6:20 am

Agree wholeheartedly!


Ava May 29, 2023 at 6:55 am

1. Used a $5 coupon my eye doçtor gave me to purchase over the counter drops he recommended.
2. Cleaned the car interior myself. A terrible job.
3. Picked up a wine rack from a free pile. We will donate the old one which is not as nice.
4. Went yard saling for fun and profit. Picked up a cookie tin for .50. Planned to use it to gift treats . But when I saw that the same tin has sold for $13, I decided to list it instead.
5. Going to start another thrift store jigsaw puzzle today. We go through them pretty fast. Can’t imaging paying new prices.


Lindsey May 29, 2023 at 12:31 pm

At the suggestion of patrons, our local library started a puzzle exchange corner. It is very well used.


Jill A May 29, 2023 at 7:02 am

I like all of your frugal five. The wastebasket is great. My daughter also brings food home from work which I am thankful. Her grocery bill is lower, the food isn’t thrown out, the food is mostly prepared items so eliminates the temptation for takeout. She also gets fed breakfast and lunch. A hidden benefit of her job.

1. I’m in the midst of the crazy and overwhelming spring preparation of my property which has eliminated any time to spend money except on necessities.
2. An exception to the above has been a couple lunches out with my Mom and sister. I also check menus online beforehand and order water to drink.
3. Friends hosted dinner at their home and I brought brownies for dessert. It was simple burgers on the grill. We had a fun and relaxing evening which was so much nicer than a restaurant meal as well as frugal.
4. I passed on purchasing comfy additional new deck seating and instead bought some nice cushions for the chairs that I already own. We can move them around where we need them since it’s mainly me and my youngest using them.
5. Today I’m hosting my family for a cookout instead of going out to dinner. It will be a potluck.


K D May 29, 2023 at 7:05 am

I agree about the menus. I did read that diners are sick of the QR code only menu access.

1. We did have returned 30,000 Marriott points that should have been returned automatically after a shortened stay. I had to call about the issue but it was finally resolved.

2. I received $3.50 from TopCashBack for shopping online through their portal.

3. I bought another watermelon and a cantaloupe. Lots of fruit for not much money. It sure beats the anemic looking Bing cherries on sale for ~$3/pound.

4. We hauled home a nice Sterling Cedar Chests brand cedar chest. It needed a bit of love but will be great for storing linens. Our small 1950s era house does not have a ton of storage.

5. A neighbor is coming over to borrow a cordless saw. We like to share items that aren’t used that frequently.


Katy May 29, 2023 at 9:16 am

Hate those menus!


Heidi Louise May 29, 2023 at 9:24 am

I don’t carry a cell phone and wait staff looks at me like I am from outer space when I ask for a printed menu. I suspect they don’t keep them completely up to date, either.


Lindsey May 29, 2023 at 12:34 pm

Perhaps I eat in the wrong places, but I have never been to a restaurant with a QR code menu. I was not aware they existed until I read an article about people hating them. Plus, I never carry my cell phone except to the greenhouse in case I fall over, so I would not be able to use them anyway. Another benefit to living in northern Alaska, fads are slower to reach here.


Heidi Louise May 29, 2023 at 1:15 pm

I have encountered them in airports, where I also encountered “cards only, no cash” for the first time. Clearly, I don’t fit the role of a modern traveler.


J May 29, 2023 at 3:24 pm

Last week on a plane, I was offered a “free” can of pop if I would show my airline credit card, which I did. They do credit-card only- no cash. Beer was $7, wine $9, pretzels $4. I only got it because it was to be complimentary- otherwise, it would have been $3.99! I don’t even pay that much for a six-pack! Well, guess what- the attendant charged the pop to my credit card after all. And I don’t have time to fight it. I LOVE the waste can!


Katy May 29, 2023 at 3:57 pm

Yeah, you have to weigh how much work and frustration it would’ve been to fight that $3.99.

Katy May 29, 2023 at 4:02 pm

I’m rarely without my cell phone. I want to make sure I’m reachable in case of emergency.


Ruby May 29, 2023 at 7:17 am

That is an awesome wastebasket, and what a great return on selling the light globe

My FFT, and one painful fail:
1. Sewed new covers for the sofa and love seat throw pillows with some fabric that turned up while decluttering. Refreshed the stuffing with some polyfil bought for $1 at an estate sale.
2. Made two meatloaves with some sale ground meats, the last two eggs, the last two long-frozen bread heels and the last of a bottle of ketchup.
3. My husband decluttered his shoes and gave two barely worn pairs to our son, who really needed them.
4. Decanted a big bag of store brand popcorn kernels into a recycled applesauce jar after the second time the bag spilled. The bag is one quarter the cost of buying kernels in a plastic jar, but next time we’ll pour the popcorn into our jars right away, as we are terribly clumsy.
5. The usual stuff: drinking coffee and tea made at home, reading e-books and magazines from the library, baking bread and muffins every week for our meals, not eating out.
Frugal fail: I stupidly let the staff at the optometrist’s office talk me into buying prescription sunglasses, which are ridiculously expensive. Like “bake 200 batches of muffins to recoup the cost” expensive! I haven’t had my arm twisted over a sale there ever before and was taken completely off guard.


Heidi Louise May 29, 2023 at 7:53 am

Like you, I hate the hard sell!
One advantage of the sunglasses is that unless your prescription changes dramatically every year, you can wear them even if they are a bit of an older prescription. I got a pair for free when the lab my optometrist used kept messing up my (very strong) regular lenses and it was their way of compensating me for my patience. Wearing them is much more convenient than figuring out how to attach some filters to my regular lenses.


Katy May 29, 2023 at 9:05 am

Oh yes, I buy popcorn in bulk and it immediately goes into a glass jar at my clumsy house!


Kristen June 7, 2023 at 5:54 am

That’s why my chia seeds are in a glass jar too! lol


A. Marie May 29, 2023 at 9:31 am

Ruby, I feel your pain on the prescription sunglasses. The only time I had a pair, I felt major pain twice: first when I purchased them, and then when I left them in the airport on St. Thomas, USVI. It’s been strictly clip-on-flip-ups for me ever since.


Lindsey May 29, 2023 at 12:36 pm

It is Zenni all the way for us when it comes to glasses. I just got four pairs of glasses for just over $200 and they fit perfectly.


Ruby May 29, 2023 at 3:57 pm

My prescription is completely weird due to a couple of eye conditions caused by being a preemie baby in the late 1950s. I’ve always been afraid to try a discount optical shop, but am definitely changing where I buy glasses after that experience.


Christine May 29, 2023 at 3:53 pm

Your #4…like you, I learned the hard way not to keep popcorn in its plastic bag. It now goes into a quart sized clear glass canister I picked up at a yard sale and sits next to the similar-in-appearance sugar and flour canisters at the back of the counter (Formica, I have to say).


Ruby May 29, 2023 at 4:01 pm

It took me 20 minutes to pick up all the spilled popcorn and pry it out of the sink drain after my son spilled the bag. Gotta love those applesauce jars!


Ecoteri May 29, 2023 at 10:00 pm

Oh, those prescription sunglasses – however, as I am getting older I am becoming happier with having some, usually driving. I discovered an older pair (how old? so old I don’t remember ever buying them) in my travel stash when I was getting stuff out for #2 son. Of course, this was after I purchased new glasses for my trip to Ecuador, so not really frugal, except I now keep one pair in each of the vehicles, and I now USE THEM almost all the time. The old pair is just fine for driving. I occasionally regret not paying to have readers installed but then tell myself that is foolish, I just take the glasses off and can read just fine for those rare moments I need to. Sheesh. However, the amortization of the sunglasses is pretty good if they last for a decade, which the old pair clearly has….


lc May 30, 2023 at 8:33 pm

i’m so clumsy i don’t even just pour the popcorn in the jar anymore… i put the bag directly in the jar and rip a small hole and pour or scoop it out that way.


Christine June 2, 2023 at 8:22 am

Same here lc! I also keep a small scoop in the glass jar so I don’t spill the kernels pouring them into the pan to pop them!


mary in maryland May 29, 2023 at 7:19 am

Katy, I love the trash can. I claim our house is totally up to the minute, but the minute was in 1940. Mid-century pre-modern.
1. We had a neighbor’s dog for four days, gaining us future dog care and a blueberry- peach pie. Also got knowledge–two dogs are too many for us. Group barking was SO MUCH FUN. Not.
2. Had friends to lunch on Sunday. She likes much blander food than I do, so I made her favorite–pasta fagioli. I used up a bag of Buy Nothing macaroni and a bag of spinach that had been aging in the fridge.
3. Pasta fagioli—actually made a double batch in each of two Instant Pots. Two extra meals for us, and I sent the friends home with two meals for them. My CSA is gaining on me—I feel like we need a larger family.
4. We’ve had some clutter buildup of late, so I decided to purge 500 items in 30 days. I moved out 325 items in the first four days—freecycle, buy nothing, the cleaning person, the trash, and Value Village. Everything is feeling lighter and I’ve started another box for quilting friends. The Mister is helping a guy in his nineties who’s planning a move by taking his stuff to the thrift store so I just add stuff from our house.
5. No bitcoin, no space travel. And I talked myself out of buying a second book on fermenting vegetables.


Katy May 29, 2023 at 9:00 am

Up to the minute in 1940? Funny!


Christine May 29, 2023 at 7:33 am

I loved Nella Last’s two books, Nella Last’s War and Nella Last’s Peace. I tried to get her diaries from the 1950s through the interlibrary loan system in my state but was not successful. That means I will keep my eyes peeled (as my father used to say) at thrift stores and used book shops.
1. DH has to use Aveeno soap and shampoo due to a dermatological issue so I nabbed his barely used bottle of Suave Clarifying Shampoo. My hair did not respond well at all and I am so not fussy about shampoo. Dried it out like straw. I tried using it as body wash but it left a coating on my skin. Finally poured it into some hand soap pump containers I already had. Works fine on hands with good rinsing.
2. A friend invited me over for a Memorial Day cookout today and asked me to bring a cake. I stopped at the dollar store and picked up a $1.25 Pillsbury cake mix and used blueberries from a buy one pint get one pint free deal.
3. Our car had a loud rattle which wasn’t there before so we took it in to have it looked at. Turns out we also needed front brakes done. To fix the rattle was largely covered by the warranty with a $200 deductible but the brakes were an unexpected $500. Ouch. However, I’m so grateful we had this money in savings.
4. I transplanted a Spider Plant into a hanging pot for my front porch.
5. I volunteer at my church’s thrift shop once a month. I am always happy to see people in the community come in and buy things at a low price which helps them stretch their money, helps the church raise some funds and helps to stop the purchase of new goods which cuts down demand and keeps things out of the land fill longer. Just a few of the goods I saw going out with the shoppers: Costume jewelry, clothing for all ages, four drinking glasses, two pillow cases, a set of 12 soup bowls, two men’s ties, four boxes of lightbulbs, numerous books, a child’s craft kit, brand new (the buyer said she will use it as a gift for her soon to be nine year old granddaughter’s birthday), CDs, two vases and a coffee mug. I can’t recall everything and it was a slow day being a holiday weekend and gorgeous out but it describes some of the “stuff” people need and want. Of course I shop a little between customers and snagged a summer nightgown and 3 books, all for $4.50.
Happy start of Summer everyone!


Michelle H May 29, 2023 at 8:48 am

Sorry your meal was disappointing! I take forever to decide what to order in a new restaurant, so I usually check the website before going also, so I’m not making everybody wait on my indecision. I rarely go out to eat, so I hate paying good money for something meh.

That garbage can is adorable!


Katy May 29, 2023 at 8:56 am

Good money should only be for good food.


jannine May 29, 2023 at 11:32 am

I also like to check out restaurant menus for interesting looking food and prices. Last week a restaurant where I was meeting a group of friends previously listed prices; now only lists menu items. Prices may be going up so fast that they don’t want to scare anyone off??


Selena May 30, 2023 at 6:52 pm

They’d have to pay someone to update the website .


A. Marie May 29, 2023 at 9:56 am

FFT, Early Bird Garage Sale Specials and Water Conservation Edition:

(1) Ahead of this coming weekend’s street-wide garage sale, I’ve started giving sneak previews of DH’s tools and other stuff to neighbors who’ve asked. Over the weekend, I sold $115 worth of stuff to one neighbor, his son-in-law, and a friend. (This is the group that bought DH’s old dead generator and old dead lawn tractor last summer. This time, they bought DH’s old dead chainsaw, among other things.)

(2) Also, Ms. Bestest Neighbor wants to barter some of her gardening books for some of the hand tools, and I’ll probably be giving more previews as the week goes on. It is a truth universally acknowledged that we’re all each other’s best customers.

(3) I’ll be putting an ad for the sale up on Nextdoor, and a neighbor who uses Facebook has agreed to put an ad on Facebook. An improvement over having to pay to put an ad in the newspaper in the olden days. (Of course, this is also part of what’s killing newspapers, unfortunately.)

(4) We’re having an unusually long spell of warm, dry weather for late May, much to the chagrin of us gardeners. Back in April/early May, it seemed we couldn’t get it to stop raining; now we can’t get it to start. And the dry spell will be lasting through next weekend, so even having a garage sale isn’t going to make it rain. So I’m doing what I can to conserve water even more than usual (bucket-flushing the upstairs toilet with used bathwater, etc.).

(5) I also found two old carboys of water in the basement (found by DH in a rental property years ago) and lugged those outside for garden use. And whenever I find only partly consumed bottles of water on my bottlepicking rounds, I empty those into my watering cans. (It’s wasteful enough buying bottled water, but buying it and then not finishing it compounds the environmental crime.)


Ruby May 29, 2023 at 4:07 pm

We have multiple large water dishes around the house for the cats and dogs. DH changes the water daily, alternating between putting the stale water on the front yard and back yard plants. Ferns seem to thrive on a little dog drool. 😀

I do have to take a watering can to the tomato plants, as they are in huge clay pots and get thirsty.


MB in MN May 29, 2023 at 11:33 am

Nice scores from the free pile!

1. Realized that the TV in our apartment’s common area carries the channels that my husband needs to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs. He had been going to a neighborhood bar/restaurant to watch the games and spending money on food. Now he makes popcorn at home and saves a bundle.

2. Friend made us a loaf of homemade bread and gave me a lot of yeast so that I can try making my own.

3. Went to the county’s free fix-it clinic where they repaired the knob on a lamp for me. Great program to keep things out of the landfill.

4. Participated in my Buy Nothing group. Gifted some items and also received several useful things. It is so wonderful to see the matches that are being made and the sense of community among the members.

5. Took advantage of a BOGO offer on carrots. And then made sure we used them all up before they went south.


Jenny May 29, 2023 at 3:34 pm

It sounds amazing that your county has a fix-it clinic! Anyone else? How does it work? I assume handy volunteers? I wish we could have that, and if I knew more maybe I could help start it! Any links or info?


MB in MN May 30, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Lindsey May 29, 2023 at 12:21 pm

1. A friend bought and then learned she hated some bags of frozen vegetables that are made for roasting. She gave the remaining two bags to me. She was right, they were awful. Mealy when cooked and an unappetizing mixture. We gave up after two forkfuls. When they cooled, I threw them in some chicken stock and boiled them for a few minutes. Pulverized, which also thickened the soup, with an immersion blender. Threw in some melty cheese bits from the freezer and the next two nights we ate a delicious cheese vegetable soup.
2. We are out of the chicken hobby as of yesterday. This winter the husband fell several times while retrieving eggs, and due to the temperatures we cannot do an adequate cleaning of the coop all winter which used to be fine but we are in our 70s now and it is getting a bit much. The next door neighbor bought the entire coop, equipment and three chickens for a really good price, plus we get a dozen eggs a week for the next year. They brought over three sturdy young men and the husband and men moved the coop and cleaned things up. I will miss them in the summer but not the winter chore. Getting old is a process of letting go. Better no chickens than a husband with a brain injury from falling. It does make me very sad, though. It also ruins the first line of composting, since our leftovers were fed to them and turned to poop before we put the straw in the compost.
3. Puzzles and books from the library.
4. Grocery store shop so $32 free food.
5. Husband and I cut each other’s hair.


mary in maryland May 29, 2023 at 1:21 pm

Getting old–we’ve given up bicycling, driving after dark, and big-time gardening.


Lindsey May 29, 2023 at 2:31 pm

We are at 24 hours of daylight now so can drive at all hours. In the winter, though, between 10 and 2 is the only daylight so makes for a short driving day!


Katy May 29, 2023 at 4:05 pm

I’m not at the “letting go” phase yet, but hope to remember this bit of wisdom when the time comes.


A. Marie May 29, 2023 at 4:31 pm

Lindsey, you and the husband have my sympathy re: letting go of the chickens. I too have had to learn the fine art of letting go these past few years. As Joy Davidman says to C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands (the BBC version I remember, at least) re: her cancer diagnosis, “It’s like getting arrested. You might as well go quietly.”


kathy May 29, 2023 at 1:12 pm

1. Spent 4 days in So Cal working my other job. My only out of pocket costs were $28 for food and adult beverage during the flight.
2. Completed another Noom survey which gave me a $25 gift card. I bought a table top ironing board as I don’t have one plus some new cotton socks. I work the front desk at the hotel and have to wear shoes with socks.
3. Volunteered 3 days to help at a dog show. No I didn’t get paid, however I got a lot of kudos and thank yous.
4. Sending a get well gift and 2 birthday gifts from my stash. Only cost is postage.
5. Stretching out washing clothes by changing work clothes when I get home. I then don my causal clothes.


Juhli May 29, 2023 at 1:49 pm

My frugal list for last week is mostly accepting free items.

1. A Little Golden Book from Free Library. Left 3 books I had finished.
2. Lots of food items from someone who is moving plus a couple single food items and a baby toy for grandbaby from others. Also gave away a lot of stuff via Buy Nothing group.
3. Curb alert produced just the kind of under bed storage box I want.
4. Mended a top while wondering where all those little holes in knit tops come from.
5. All the usual of eating leftovers, walking when possible, pulling weeds, etc.


Dmarie May 29, 2023 at 2:06 pm

the thing that stuck with me from reading Nella Last’s War (my fav of the diary books) was that she shared cooking oil with her neighbor. When she got it back, the oil had been burnt but she was able to “wash” it. Still trying to figure that one out!! Mix with water & strain several times??? (if I remember right, I thought burned oil meant the neighbor had burned foods in the oil, so it had burned bits throughout.) Thanks for the Five Frugal Things post, Katy, these posts always remind me of my desire to be frugal, the hows and the whys.


Katy May 29, 2023 at 4:00 pm

They keep me on track as well! 😉


geri May 30, 2023 at 2:26 pm

Adding water to oil might be dangerous, but here are some ways to clean oil. She may have called it “washing”. I often strain oil and reuse after keeping it stored in a tightly closed container.


Dmarie June 8, 2023 at 9:43 am

wow, thanks, geri!


Mary Beth Danielson May 29, 2023 at 3:23 pm

1. Before our (then) town provided garbage/recycling bins to all citizens, I’d bought a big outdoors plastic garbage can. Last year my husband bought and installed a kit that turned it into a rain barrel system. 50 gallons of “free” water is a good thing for gardens.
2. I’d run out of dishwasher soap but the dishwasher was full of dirty stuff so I ran it without soap. Everything got clean! I immediately switched to the cheapest powder, fill a glass canning jar with the powder/granules and use 1T or less each wash. Dishes are as clean as ever.
3. At Aldi’s a woman struggling to get her groceries and toddler into her car just gave me her cart. I held out my quarter to her but she laughed and declined. When I came out of the store later there was an abandoned cart in the parking lot, quarter still in it. So, I spent $40 and netted $.50. Doing better than Musk with Twitter.
4. Husband and son installed a new water-saving toilet. We tried to donate the perfect condition 30-year-old one but no one takes them that old anymore. We paid $8 to dispose of it at the town recycling center.
5. I volunteer at the local Food Bank. There was a plethora of bags of parsnips but many had icky parsnips in them, so they got tossed. I brought some home (this is allowed), threw out the bad ones and discovered that parsnip spice cake is a lot of work (peeling and shredding) but even tastier than carrot cake.


Katy May 29, 2023 at 3:59 pm

I buy powdered dishwasher detergent so that I can choose how much to use. It’s in a canister with a tablespoon measuring spoon so I’m not mindlessly using too much.


Ashley Bananas May 30, 2023 at 8:54 am

1 . This past weekend I weeded my clothing and brought a bag to goodwill. I brought five bags to second hand resale stores and was able to sell about a bag of clothing collectively for about $70. $50 was in credit to one store, the other $20 was given to me in cash at the second store. I have set myself up to be in two online auction groups locally who will let me list 20 items in their sale. Decluttering clothing is slow going, but I have started and that was probably the biggest task.
2. I was in need of a new pair of sneakers but did not want to add to my expenses right now. When at the store Clothes Mentor that was willing to give me store credit at 25% higher than the cash out value, I found a pair of sneakers in my exact size that looked like they had never been worn. They were Aesic Gel Ventures which retail for about $40-80 a pair. This pair was marked $22 with 20% off for the holiday sale. I used credit for the shoes, making it more of a barter than a buy. I’m pleased to have these, as my day to day sneakers were getting tread bare, and I couldn’t beat the pricing.
3. My son graduated 8th grade on Friday. To celebrate we had dinner on Sunday with some close friends and neighbors. I made crockpot spareribs, corn on the cob, and a red velvet cake. The spareribs were on sale $1.99 a lb, corn 4 for $1, and I did semi homemade cake with a box mix of red velvet made as a pudding cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. Our neighbors brought baked potatoes and green beans. Dinner was delightful. We all played cards afterward and had a great time.
4. I continue to work for Door Dash part time and am grateful for the flexibility and ability to work and bring in some extra income right now. This past week I made $380. I will use this to help pay down a credit card that was used for emergencies.
5. With a combination of money from selling clothes, and cash tips I was able to fill up my gas tank yesterday =)


Katy May 30, 2023 at 8:55 am

Nice score on the sneakers! And hooray on the full tank of gas!


rebecca May 30, 2023 at 1:12 pm

1. Neighbors came over for coffee this weekend. I made a broccoli quiche with all things on hand and coffee, one couple brought coffee cake and the other fruit. Lots of laughs.
2. I was able to declutter a bit with giving a neighborhood college kid old dishes for their new apartment. I also shared some duplicate cookbooks (I inherited some) with another neighbor.
3. I didn’t do much driving as beach plans were cancelled so gas $ saved.
4. I watched the whole season 4 of “The Bay” on either britbox or acorn (can’t remember which) this weekend. It was good.
5. The usual, coffee and h20 from home, cold water clothes washing, no thousands of dollars spent on Celtics-Miami playoff tickets ect


Karen B May 30, 2023 at 2:52 pm

Katy, your daughter’s work bonuses sound wonderful!

1) Fuel use efficiency by combining trips: my son just graduated high school but hasn’t finished getting his license yet, so he will be my personal chauffer for many errands until he does. (We do not have great public transportation here. In my location, there is a driver’s permit available which lets someone learning to drive drive with a licensed driver beside them.) We combined 4 trips plus driver training in a loop to use as little fuel as possible.

2) One of the stops was a place with rummage bins that are filled with items (frequently they appear to be store returns) and each day in a set the price per item decreases. Today was $1 day, $1 and $3 days are our favorites. My son and I each got 1 toy (not very useful item, mine will be used once by me for sillyness/costume and then given away for a child in my Buy Nothing Project group) and one tool (useful thing) for a grand expenditure or $4 dollars total. I am the bargain winner today. I’ve been using a hand mixer I inherited from my mother-in-law, who was always such a great cook and hostess, so I love the hand mixer for that. However the motor has been on it’s way out and I’ve planned to keep using it until it quits (I don’t do much baking, but appreciate it when I do). In the bins today, there was not one, but THREE hand mixers! All without the beaters. However, they happened to be the same brand I thought as mine, so I thought for $1, certainly worth the gamble to buy 1 I tested before leaving, and if it didn’t fit I’d either order replacement beaters or offer it in Buy Nothing in case someone had the matching mixer with a dead motor. It WAS a match for mine! Yay! $1 instead of $22 and I will still be using my mother-in-law’s hand mixer beaters. The model is one that comes with a dough hook, too, so I’m hoping it is sturdy.

3) My son’s graduation party was a couple days ago. He and I evaluated what decor items would either be reused or enjoyed long term and posted the few that wouldn’t be by us but could be reused by another graduated in our Buy Nothing. The hand-painted sign was a definite keep to both of us, but we both agreed the foil palm tree balloon weights, frisbees, and a couple commercially-made signs were okay to pass along for re-use by someone else. 2 of the 4 have already been requested.


Christine June 2, 2023 at 8:27 am

Nice score on the hand mixer!


Alison May 30, 2023 at 10:07 pm

1. Sold a 12 gallon water heater for $300. We replaced it with an on demand heater heated by propane, and had stored the old one in our shed. Noticed it was there when looking for something else, and said to my DH, “why are we keeping this, let’s sell it”. Two days later, gone.
2. Went to visit my cousin who lives on a nearby island. There is a car ferry, but I usually walk on, and he picks me up. Yesterday, sailings were cancelled for the morning, but there is a water taxi for the foot passengers, and it’s free! It was quite pleasant, and is much faster than the ferry.
3. Received my property tax notice. This is the first one for this new house we have moved to in the country, and I was pleased to see that my taxes are about half of what I paid for my old house in the city.
4. We are on a well on the property, and DH has planted a lot of grass, and I have put in some raised beds for veggies. So we are doing a lot of watering, and don’t have to pay for it, like we did in the old house, and it was expensive.
5. Gave away a bunch of clay pots for plants on my buy nothing group. The person picking up also took some older, ugly plastic pots. She was happy to get free pots, and I was happy to get rid of stuff.


Marie June 3, 2023 at 2:19 pm

A well is a bonus for living in the country. My summer water bill was huge when I lived in the city.


Liz May 31, 2023 at 4:05 am

Thank you for this amazing site and for organizing this community. You are my people! I love all the great suggestions, useful tips, awesome finds and discoveries from this group. I’ve been a longtime lurker. First Post!

I retired last month (i’m 57) locking in retirement health insurance for my husband and I at a discounted rate! I needed to retire on this soon to expire contract to lock this in. It was an extremely toxic work environment so I am grateful to be done.

I do a lot of volunteer work in my community and am always picking up free curb stuff to either donate or resell. im also an artist and use thrown out items to repurpose into art. I’ve included my instagram that has some of my stuff.

have an amazing and joyful day! xx Liz


Julie Hamann June 1, 2023 at 2:04 pm

Congrats on retiring! I’m retiring from my job this month for the same reason.


Christine June 2, 2023 at 8:29 am

Congratulations on your retirement! Enjoy!


Marie June 3, 2023 at 2:19 pm

A well is a bonus for living in the country. My summer water bill was huge when I lived in the city.


Hawaii Planner May 31, 2023 at 10:19 am

1) Used up stuff in our garden (lots of green & red leaf lettuce + romaine, basil, etc). I picked a bunch of lettuce that we wouldn’t have time to use, and gave it away on Buy Nothing. I’d much rather someone enjoy our time & effort, than see it go to waste.
2) My mom was visiting, and while we did go out for one dinner (more on that below), We did an at home wine tasting. We typically go out, but I prefer our outdoor/pool area, and we picked up wine & nibbles at Trader Joes. Probably half the cost of the winery tasting, and much more enjoyable. We lounged for a few hours.
3) My mom was in town while I was completing my volunteer hours for our soccer club. Because I have two kids at the club (twice as many volunteer hours required), she was able to join me in volunteering at a tournament. Upon completion of the volunteer hours, I save $100 per kid on club dues. So, we saved $200 in a few hours.
4) As a thank you, I took my mom to dinner at her favorite restaurant. The teens even cancelled their Friday night plans, so they could hang out with “Nana”, whom they love.
5) Kept our weekly shopping to a minimum this week (in part to offset some entertaining & fun stuff purchased for my mom’s visit), and took advantage of a few grocery store sales & the like.


Jennifer May 31, 2023 at 5:27 pm

I love free food from work! You are really making out with your dd’s job, I love it!

1. We did our every 3 year mulch order a couple of weeks ago – I ordered through our local PTO for their booster drive – same price, supports the school and free delivery!

2. We had a very large stash of boxes and we have been breaking them down and putting them in the beds prior to adding the mulch. Free, keeps the mulch down and will breakdown in the beds naturally.

3. Celebrated the last week of school by going out with coworkers – making sure to go during happy hour and getting the best deals on drinks and appetizers.

4. Used the lasts of several things to make homemade pizzas of sorts on tortillas. Kept us from going out and used up stuff that otherwise probably would have gone bad soon.

5. I never would have thought that my ds totalling my old van would be frugal. BUT, somehow it is benefitting him in the end. 14 years old, over 200,000 miles, no working heat or AC, etc. He was actively saving for a new to him car when someone pulled out in front of him (he was not hurt). Our insurance deemed the van a total loss and are mailing us a check for over $5000 – I have been laughing for days over this. Other driver was at fault but had no insurance. Between what he had saved and this check he will be able to buy a much better car.


Christine June 2, 2023 at 8:34 am

Your #2…when I had a vegetable garden I used old newspapers with rocks to hold them down for the same purpose. They were great for keeping weeds down and they could be rototilled or turned over with a pitchfork into the soil the next spring.


Katy June 7, 2023 at 7:44 am

Yes, we do love our free food!


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