Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 31, 2023 · 66 comments

  1. We moved our yard debris can from the side of the house to the back yard, which caused an increase of nasty flies around our back porch. (My husband is working on the foundation for this side of the house, so it’s a temporary issue.) Excessive flies are nothing new, as the neighbors have a magnolia tree right on the property line, and magnolias predate bees so they’re pollinated instead by flies. Yuck, yuck and more yuck!

    I’ve seen a hack where people hang Ziploc bags filled with water and a few pennies outside to deter flies and although I’m skeptical about the efficacy of this goofy method, it’s a low stakes starter effort. So I hung a couple bags out this morning to see if I can solve this problem with what I already had on hand.

    I’ll let you know if it seems to work.

  2. My son and his girlfriend went raspberry and blueberry picking last weekend and we still had a half cup of squishy berries hiding at the back of the fridge. I didn’t want them to go to waste, so I dropped them into a Dutch baby and holy hell was it delicious! The baked pancake didn’t puff up in the way it normally would, but it was still absolute ambrosia!

  3. Portland houses have very pretty tile address numbers, back from when the whole city was standardized in 1931. Portlanders tend to be a bit sentimental about their address numbers, including my sister who just bought a house in The Bronx. Luckily there’s a local artisan who makes reproductions, so I drove across town to Hippo Hardware and snagged her numbers. I even brought in a thrifted lighting fixture piece to sell to them, which got me $10 off the purchase price.

    I now have a hostess/housewarming gift for when we visit next month, and I know It’ll be a big hit for my sentimental sister.

  4. • I returned some library books a few days after they were due, but my system no longer charge late fees. Not purposely late, but it’s nice to not worry about fees anymore.
    • I drove around with Goodwill donations in the back of the car for a few days until I was in the neighborhood of a donation spot. This saved me from driving for a single errand.
    • I emptied out, cleaned and organized our “art cart” which is a rolling six-drawer cart and was in a frustratingly jumbled state. I tested every pen and hand sharpened every pencil. I then sorted the 200+ colored pencils and then put a hundred or so in our little free library. They were gone by morning, which made me very happy!
    • I hand painted some standard sticky labels for last week’s blackberry jam. I then gave a jar to my son’s girlfriend and one to my mother. I plan on berry picking one more time this week.

  5. I didn’t forage a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruby July 31, 2023 at 7:14 am

I love your jam jar label. Your whole family is so creative! And the house numbers for your sister is such a thoughtful gift.

1. Used a diverted from the trash pillow sham to cover the extra foam padding that peeks out from under one end of our daybed.
2. Using up the last of some protein powder that I did not particularly like.
3. Made a huge pot of black bean and veggie chili to use up some of the many bits and bobs of frozen veggies in the depths of the chest freezer. It turned out so yummy.
4. Also pulled out half a bag of blueberries to make breakfast muffins. When blueberries were buy one, get one free this summer, I froze lots of the extras.
5. Took up my now too large nightgown with the fancy neckline by taking it up down the back and taking in the sleeves. It was wrapping around me uncomfortably in the night. Fits great now. Also mended the slightly worn front corners of a beloved thrifted black suede handbag with thread and a few dots of permanent marker.


Katy July 31, 2023 at 8:38 am

Thanks, I had fun painting the jam labels, although my artistic/creative skills are nothing compared to my sister!

Sounds like it was yummy week at your house! Apart from the protein powder.


Mary Ann July 31, 2023 at 8:24 am


1. I bought a discontinued frig model to replace our dying one. I looked on Consumer Report to find the one that lasts the longest. CR costs me $3.00 a month and I like supporting an organization that is not directly tied to a company. This new freezer will be a side by side which I am excited about. I am doing a 100 day Non- Processed Food challenge and since I am starting work again, freezing portions of home cooked is critical.
2. I finally cut the cord with direct tv. Instead of buying a new tv I used a firestick for internet capability. DH had been the major sticking point because he hates working new tech and he never really asks for much. TV is all the he really wants after a hard day farming in 108 degree heat. I get it. The new remote and hulu bottom can get him right to his shows. He is happy and thrilled to be saving money.
3. I defrosted the half loaf of bread dough I made in my MIL’s bread maker. I defrosted it and cooked it in the air fryer. I have bread for the week. Excellent.
4. I paid cash for my 60th bday cruise this December with my son and my husband and save 3% with viking.
5. I have lots of dental work coming up and will pay cash for my 50% of the cost. That will save me another 3%
3. I reviewed all my other subscriptions. Canceled Netflix, Apple, Paramount,


Mary Ann July 31, 2023 at 8:26 am

Grant a little mercy on the typos. Still finishing my coffee 🙂


Katy July 31, 2023 at 8:35 am

Farming in 108 degree heat is exhausting to even read about!


Q July 31, 2023 at 12:02 pm

1. Researched a grant from the water authority to get $500 rebate for buying $500 of native plants. The plants were on sale so I got quite a few. Plus, good for the watershed and my water bill.
2. Am recycling a friends 6 foot cedar fence by cutting it down to a 4 foot fence( bottom was rotten ) to use in my yard in an area where I need screening. (Am hiring someone to help with this. )it’s funny, I loaned the friend my tools, and they asked if I would be able to use the fence. As Katy says, win win!
3. Marketplace yield a whole lot of slate for $150. The catch? I picked it up myself on a very hot day. But, it will look beautiful, and I skipped the gym that day. Another friend says the slate would be very expensive to buy.
4. Cooked many things from scratch. I cleaned out fridge and rescued a bunch of food just in time, although some still had to be composted. It is so much easier to eat healthy when you cook at home. I am prepping for a lot of company next week, clearing out space.
5. I hosted 3 guests to save them money. They just sent me a $150 gift certificate to a very practical store, which was very sweet.

Doing the usual drying laundry outside, consolidating trips, repairing small things around house. Library books , water bottles, cloth not paper, etc.


Katy July 31, 2023 at 3:41 pm

Fences are expensive, that is a win-win-win!


Jennifer July 31, 2023 at 5:35 pm

Someone in our neighborhood was getting rid of slate a few years ago. We snagged it for free and created a patio for a fire pit. What an exciting find for you! And the fence! We bought a used split rail fence 15 years ago – a couple hundred for 400 feet of fencing. Worth paying for, but your free deal is better!


Mati August 2, 2023 at 11:42 am

Cutting down the fence is brilliant!


TEGYWG July 31, 2023 at 9:40 am

My library has access to Consumer Reports.


Ashley Bananas August 1, 2023 at 8:28 am

My library also carries Consumer Report, however we hold it behind the reference desk. If you dont see it out with the other periodicals ask someone if it’s stored somewhere else. A lot of people like to pick up magazines and take them home, so they may be keeping the ones that walk more behind a desk.


TEGYWG August 2, 2023 at 3:57 pm

Consumers Report is accessible digitally at our library. Specific issues and specific topics can be researched:)
We have a horizontal alphabet list with drop down information on page with information on what the library offers.
Book clubs, resume writing workshops, digital magazines, digital access to over 500 newspapers of the world, tool lending library, musical instruments. It’s awesome!!


Ashley Bananas August 3, 2023 at 6:49 am

Hi Tegywg, If you feel comfortable I would love a link to the horizontal alphabet list for your library. I work at a library and we are always looking for ways to improve our services.

TEGYWG August 8, 2023 at 7:19 am

Ashley Bananas I hope you see this:)

This link takes you to an info page at the bottom is the a-z link I mention.

I would encourage you to contact the library mentioned here. They put on a presentation for representatives of newcomer groups in our city of an overview of services. They seemed like a genuine group of librarians expanding knowledge of what library resources are available. Amazing!!

Even as I was looking for the link to send you I went down a rabbit hole of interactive presentations they had for children. Gosh I remember registering my children and my mother registering me:)

Ashley Bananas August 8, 2023 at 8:42 am

Thank you. It’s nice to see positive reviews of library services and websites and also. We have something similar on our library website we call ‘online resources’ they are often digital reference resources that not many library users look at or use. It’s great to hear that you are using these!!!

Coral Clarke July 31, 2023 at 7:33 pm

When a small spend keeps a good spouse happy , it’s good value!When someone doesn’t want much I’d consider it money well spent!


Kathy July 31, 2023 at 11:57 am

1. Discovered I had multiple Netflix accounts. Got a refund on the duplicates
2. Picked up free card from hallmark
3. Received a $10.50 class action settlement and $5.00 gift card for answering a survey. Took them as Amazon electronic credits.
4. Listed several items on line
5. Made airline reservations using miles so tickets only $30 to visit friends in Maine in August


MB in MN July 31, 2023 at 12:06 pm

1. Pulled annual credit reports for both me and my husband. Since we’re allowed a free report every year from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), I space them out and request one every four months.

2. Also renewed our fraud alert. Renewing with one bureau automatically adds the alert to the other two. I do this annually to help protect ourselves from identity theft.

3. Helping a friend declutter her clothing and accessories and some of her late husband’s things. It’s fascinating to see her maximilism vs. my minimalism. Two examples: She decluttered 30+ purses; I haven’t owned that many in all of my almost 64 years on earth. I have two pairs of jammies, she has 30+ (after decluttering). She has been very generous in serving delicious lunches and giving me and my husband many items, several new with tags on. Plus we’re having fun.

4. Went out of town with my husband for a few days. Ate everything (except condiments) from the fridge before we left. Since almost every restaurant was adding a 3-4% charge for using a credit card, we paid cash for our meals. Spent enough on one restaurant dinner to qualify for getting kicked out of the frugal club.

5. Friend came over for lunch and brought all the food, all homemade. Better than restaurant quality, and there were enough leftovers for three more meals.


Katy July 31, 2023 at 3:38 pm

I froze all of our credits a few years ago, which came in handy recently when my husband got a notification that his credit card application had been denied due to his credit being frozen. Dodged a bullet.


Lindsey July 31, 2023 at 12:14 pm

This was my clean out the house week:
1. Took a load to Goodwill.
2. Took three GIANT garbage bags full of plastic grocery bags to the food bank. They are always in need of boxes and bags and I was happy to have a place to take them. I do attempt to use every plastic bag we get over and over, and whenever possible we bring in bags, but some of my mystery shops require letting the store supply the bags so the types and numbers of bags can be listed. I just end up with too many.
3. A woman in town posted that she was looking for broken jewelry and beads for crafts projects. I forced myself to go through every corner, looking for those items and delivered a box of them to her. She turned out to be 89 and teaching great grandkids the crafts. I ended up spending two hours drinking tea with her and talking about old time fiddle music. It was a really nice visit and we plan to have tea again and listen to some of the fiddle recordings I have.
4. We leave on the Last Hurrah trip this Sunday, so really are down to eating the worst and last things that have been hiding in fridge and freezer. Last night it was dill pickle soup with some thawed shredded zucchini from last summer thrown in, which I actually like but it is really a winter meal. We shared an elderly bagel with cinnamon sugar for dessert.
5. Some clothes are just too old or tattered for Goodwill or the like. I found a place that makes rugs out of rags so dropped off my rags and had to stop myself from buying some of the completed rugs—they were really colorful and looked durable.


MB in MN July 31, 2023 at 1:47 pm

Lindsey, wishing you safe and happy travels!


Katy July 31, 2023 at 3:43 pm

I just spent the afternoon concocting make ahead meals with the sole goal of using up our perishables as we leave for our two week vacation next week. I may have to freeze some, but that’s okay.


A. Marie August 1, 2023 at 4:59 am

Lindsey, I wish you, the curly-headed husband, and Pound Hound safe and happy travels!


Christina July 31, 2023 at 2:27 pm

1. Uploaded my review for my free sample 3M/Scotch dish scrubber. I love my 3M panel samples because they are so useful!
2. Canceled Netflix subscription ($20.89 savings per month)
3. Completed a survey for $40 visa gift card
4. Used two coupon codes to get my teen free classes on Outschool ($40 value)
5. Baked a cake from scratch and used frosting from pantry when needed unexpected dessert
6. Used up the last of the to-go jelly/jam that came with our last breakfast pickup when family was in town. Made yummy pb& j for on the road lunch.
7. Have been eating from the pantry/freezer. Close to being ready for a grocery run. Shopping all ads in comparison to coupons/app rebates to make the most of the trip.
In addition to my frugal endeavors I’m also working on being more minimal. I also…
-Sorted school supplies and offered up a bunch in our local buy nothing group.
-Continued pulling items for giveaway/donation as part of summer purge


Mary Beth Danielson July 31, 2023 at 2:30 pm

First of all – frugal people with Superior Provisioning Skills!! Maybe read this and then help out your local food pantry?

1. Just home from my weekly volunteer gig at the local food pantry. I work with 2-3 others to step down pallets of donations into separated crates of fruits, vegs, meats. If we want, volunteers can take home rejected items. I reap far more food this way than I ever did with a garden, plus it’s satisfying to be active and helpful. Today I brought home an opened tray of pork chops (which I will cook thoroughly), disheveled bananas, a tired bag of shredded cabbage, 3/4ths of a good melon, and green beans about to go over to the dark side. I’m seeing chop suey in my future.
2. Cleaned filters in tower fan and two window ac units.
3. Close friends just got married. (They are gay and have been together 40 years; the wedding was small, simple, and absolutely overflowing with affection and love.) I put magnolia and orchid petals in a heavy book months ago, made a heartfelt card with those pressed flowers and a poem.
4. I’m now buying clothes detergent sheets. One (recyclable) box of them lasts far longer than plastic bottles of soap – probably because they are premeasured so I don’t overmeasure.


Mati August 2, 2023 at 11:47 am

Have you found a brand of detergent sheets that is a good value?


Heidi Louise July 31, 2023 at 2:40 pm

Thank you for the Food Pantry post, (and your work there). I have never been hungry and I find the thought of not being able to feed my family to be heart-breaking.
My public library had boxes out for food pantry donations the last six weeks, and the results were nowhere near as generous as what they gather at the December holidays.


Christine July 31, 2023 at 2:52 pm

What a terrific gift the house numbers will be for your sister! A gift that is both nostalgic and useful.
1. I saved $2 on a prescription at the pharmacy with reward points. Along with insurance it brought the price down to $3.
2. I found better deals at Walmart on school supplies than the dollar store, so I spent $10 on supplies for the elementary school my church helps to support. When the cashier saw the items, she remarked that some parents in a nearby city couldn’t afford their kids’ school supplies this year. I said, ” That’s exactly where these are going.” My happy moment of the day. While there I used a .50 coupon on deodorant.
4. Still picking Raspberrys from the yard but not enough to make jam. I did use some in a fruit salad I took to a friend’s house.
5. Made an appointment to have the boiler serviced before any cold weather sets in (not soon hopefully) so it will run more efficiently this coming winter.


Bee July 31, 2023 at 4:40 pm

It’s been a manic Monday!!! I had a long to-do list today ahead of my week away.

1. I batched my errands. I returned some books to the library and picked up two for my trip.
2. I picked up my prescriptions for the month paying with my Health Savings Account.
3. I returned two items leftover from a DIY project to the Home Depot and received a refund.
4. I picked up a BN gift – a pet heating pad for Calico Kitty who is 15 this year. She loves it!
5. Since tomorrow is the first of the month, I paid bills using my bank’s bill pay service saving the cost of stamps. I put the remainder of another Costco chicken in the Instant Pot (again) and made a pot of homemade ramen for dinner. As much as I wanted to stop for coffee today, I resisted and had a cup of iced coffee from this morning’s leftover brew when I returned home.
Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity.


Jennifer July 31, 2023 at 6:03 pm

1) Found clearance Yeti cooler mugs for those skinny tall drinks that are so popular now. Half price! Will make a great Christmas gift so I bought 2. This too was on vacation. The benefits of driving is you can bring deals back.

2) Paid some bills online.

3) Dh and I were traveling for over 2 weeks. I left 3 adult children home in charge of the dog. Apparently they were doing a pantry challenge and refusing to spend a penny on groceries themselves. I was able to deep clean the empty fridge and reorganize what was left of my pantry. I definitely had stuff that had been lingering that was consumed, so I will call that a win.

4) Walking the dog and biking for exercise – free!

5) Did a lot of yard work today – ourselves for free! I would say 90% of my neighborhood pays for lawn care


Katy July 31, 2023 at 7:28 pm

I like that your adult kids did a pantry challenge, I’m curious how odd the meal got.


Ashley Bananas August 1, 2023 at 8:44 am

Laughing at your children’s pantry challenge. They must be frugally minded 😉


Mati August 2, 2023 at 11:51 am

Ashley Bananas, it is astonishing how paying our own way can clarify the mind!


Ecoteri July 31, 2023 at 9:23 pm

The last couple of months have been more expensive than I like, so I feel as if I am starting August almost in deficit. SO I am planning on keeping outa the grocery stores other than for milk/cream. I cannot seem to avoid spending money on offers when I go in, so I need to abstain. Pantry has plenty of options for interesting meals, other than fresh milk and fresh fruit.
Watermelons are seriously on sale but I think I will send #2 son in to purchase himself a couple, as he is the one who eats them!
1. Garden is almost in full production – I have now officially eaten my first homegrown cherry tomato of 2023. More tomatoes expected but the deluge will start in about 2 – 3 weeks. Meanwhile, the carb we are mostly going to be eating is potato – the tops of some of the volunteers are dying back, as well as some purpose planted, so I have been harvesting with gusto, and making a point of cooking them up. Such a great savings to cook more potato than I need for a meal, we use them the next time we are perusing the fridge.
2. My beans are now in full flood. Yellow, purple, green, scarlet runner – picked another couple of gallons worth yesterday, planning some bean salad. However, we also just love them cooked and ready-to-eat in the fridge.
3. the broccoli is also doing very well. Last years has been kept from bolting and I am now discovering babies that I can pull off at the roots and plant elsewhere. Again, pre-cooked and ready to eat is the way we seem to use it.
4. although it wasn’t frugal to buy a year’s gym membership, (other than the discount for paying for a year) I continue to go to the gym and work very hard while I am there. am meeting a girlfriend there which gets us both being accountability partners – even if we don’t do the same workout, we show up to smile and groan at each other. I also continue to use the one-time-purchase 12 week exercise program that I bought more than a year ago, cycling through each week at a slower pace than outlined, yet making progress and seeing results. The older I get, the more I am aware that balance and strength need to be maintained and actually increased, so that is what I am doing.
5. picking blackberries on the dog walk, and blueberries from our own plants – will be years before the plants pay for themselves, but this year I am determined to get out there and pick every couple of days rather than let the birds take it all!


rebecca August 1, 2023 at 7:00 am

1. Stayed home for a few days so I didn’t use my car.
2. I was taken out for lunch and brought leftovers home for another meal.
3. Baked some muffins using all ingredients on hand.
4. It has cooled down the past few days. I turned the air conditioner off. Nothing like fresh air and a breeze throughout the house.
5. The usual-h20 and coffee from home, loss leaders, cold water washes and hanging some laundry and not buying stuff I don’t need.


Ashley Bananas August 1, 2023 at 7:13 am

The label on your jam jar is super cute. And I relate to going through the pen/pencil/marker collection once a year or so to see what can be let go of and what can live on.

This past week in frugal land…
1. I earned $640 working my part time side gig of Door Dash. I was a little like a zombie by Sunday, but it works out great because it really will impact my ability to pay off a credit card this week and then shift the money to the next task at hand.
2. I watched Youtube videos about coupon/rebate grocery shopping and made my own lists. I scored a bag of free pretzels at Winn Dixie this week, 2 health bars through the ibotta app, and a free cookie dough through Shopmium which bought out I also had a $5 of 30 coupon for Winn Dixie. I did very well with shopping this week. Until I went to the dreaded Costco and bulk shopped several things we did need. Balance!!
3. When doing Door Dash I stopped at the dumpster of a high end apartment complex. Someone left three unopened boxes of MREs which I took home to add to our food storage and hurricane preparedness stockpile. Someone also left an unopened artificial pre-lit Christmas tree and a new in box but opened dart board with solar electronic panel. Interesting assortment of items. I decided to take them home.
4. A neighbor posted on the neighborhood Facebook group that she had a rather large but open bag of cat food she wanted to let go of. I claimed the item and when I went to her house she also had a large bag of cat liter she was letting go of. She has a senior cat who is rather picky. I thanked her for her generosity.
5. Saturday when Door Dashing I went to pick up an order at Little Caesar’s. The manager explained that they had a new person working in the kitchen and he had goofed up the order. Could I wait ten more minutes? And, she would be happy to give me the goof up pizzas. I waited and was able to delivery to the customer and also bring home some pizza for my very hungry teenager.

It was an interesting week on the frugal and free side. Hope you are all having a great week!


Jennifer August 1, 2023 at 9:06 am

I just want to recognize your hustle! You are doing fabulous, keep it up and your goals will be crushed.


A. Marie August 1, 2023 at 10:09 am

What Jennifer said about your hustle, Ashley–both with DoorDash and with the dumpster diving and other freebies. You go, girl!


rebecca August 1, 2023 at 1:53 pm

Ashley, dittio to both Jennifer and A. Marie’s comment. You are a force to reckoned with.


Katy August 2, 2023 at 10:58 am

I have “dumpster envy,” Is that a thing? I join the crowd of readers who applaud your Doordash efforts!


Christine August 2, 2023 at 3:03 pm

I want to just echo what the others have said…ya did good Ashley!


Ashley Bananas August 3, 2023 at 6:50 am

Thank you all!


Roberta August 1, 2023 at 6:00 pm

1. My husband and son spent HOURS under the house (raised foundation) replacing the drain in the bathtub. The other one cost over $1000, but they did it for the $20 cost of parts!
2. Posted to Craigslist some storage jars. We’re trying to get rid of everything unnecessary before we move next year. I figure posting everything to Craigslist is better than having a garage sale. But we’ll be having one of those, as well.
3. Eating hot dogs for dinner tonight. Once again, I’m trying to eat down the pantry and freezer. Both kids are going to college this year, so we’ll just need less.
4. I haven’t bought anything from the scrath-and-dent store for two weeks, since we got home from vacation. That’s we’re I get my pantry stockpile, but since my pantry is full, it’s unnecessary spending.
5. On vacation, we never ate out more than once a day, and often less. It made me appreciate making easy meals, like quesadillas, and reorienting our menu plan for time without children.


Katy August 2, 2023 at 10:52 am

Your husband and son get a big hooray and pat on the back from me!


Cindy in the South August 2, 2023 at 4:47 am

I love blackberry jam.


Katy August 2, 2023 at 10:51 am

It has such a rich deep flavor!


K D August 2, 2023 at 7:12 am

I can’t think of much but I’ll give it a try:

1. Frugal for the planet. I listed a bunch of stuff on Freecycle that a relative was getting rid of. A lot of it was unopened recently “expired” OTC meds. I know they’re still good but we didn’t need them. They have been given new homes instead of going to the landfill.

2. Meals at home, including a pizza that was 75% off at the grocery store because it was a discontinued item. It was greatly lacking in cheeses so I added some, from an open package of shredded Italian cheese, before baking it.

3. I was driving home from a volunteer gig and someone had left a cucumber at a curb with a free sign. I sliced it and have been adding it to meals the past few days.

4. I really enjoyed Lady Tan and Her Circle of Women, which I borrowed from the library. We have also been watching a couple of TV series on DVDs borrowed from the library. We have a few streaming services but sometimes we waste time looking for something to watch. This seems easier.

5. I enjoyed reading this post:

Most of the ideas resonate and are frugal.


Katy August 2, 2023 at 10:50 am

Glad to read that you enjoyed Lady Tan!


Susie's Daughter August 2, 2023 at 10:02 am

1) We have all discussed this before, but good relationships are one of life’s greatest blessings. Dear Wife had a planned surgery and Dear Mother (Susie) had an unexpected accident with two ER visits and two MD appointments resulting and Dear Me was absolutely frazzled beyond measure. DW put out an emergency distress beacon to our close friends who graciously supplied us with 5 dinners last week. Good friends are a Godsend. Family members are recovering, thank goodness, and almost everyone has their dishes back now along with a thank you note. And I was spared grocery shopping and cooking for a whole week!

2) Garden is almost a total loss due to excessive rain and absolutely rampant grass, but I picked two kinds of peas, a few string beans and whispered sweet nothings to the slow growing vine plants (zucchini, cukes and winter squash). Here’s hoping they produce before the first frost which is potentially 6 weeks away…

3) Shopped the closet to solve the dog-making-nighttime-toenail-tap dancing-noise in her crate. We got the “new” bathmat, which I have had for several (think 10) years on standby for when the old one gave out. Except I kept just trimming the old one’s strings etc and washing it and it was lasting just fine. So puppy’s crate got the old bathmat, we have a new bathmat and dog catalogs have none of our money as a result.

4) DS got a pile of hand me downs from our dear friends (who also supplied delish mac and cheese- see #1) and we went through them together. The substantial pile he didn’t need went to the next boy in the age ladder. DS just dropped them off on his bike, saving me a trip!

5) Using instant coffee to make iced coffee and liking it just fine at ¼ the cost (instant was on closeout sale). Eating what’s in the house. Picking blueberries from family land. Making juice and lemonade from concentrate. Feeling grateful for my family, my friends, my health, my safety and for this forum.


Katy August 2, 2023 at 10:48 am

I love how you solved the clicky dog nails problem with what you had on hand, very ingenius! So sorry to read that your loved ones are going through hard times, sending a big virtual hug and a virtual casserole.


MB in MN August 2, 2023 at 2:50 pm

Yes to good relationships! I’m so glad your wife and mom are on the mend, and that others answered the emergency distress call. In true Minnesota fashion, I am sending a virtual hot dish.


Christine August 2, 2023 at 3:07 pm

Happy to hear your family members are getting their health back. And cheers to good friends and family for being there when needed!


Sandra August 2, 2023 at 10:03 am

Good neighbors gifted me with cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes before they left on vacation. They are all favorites and will be put to good use.

Defrosted half of a rotisserie chicken and made several meals including a large chicken pasta salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, kalamata olives and feta cheese, so good.

Made a stir fry and used the outer leaves of a head of cauliflower as part of the vegetables. At other times I might have discarded them or thrown in the compost, but just as I supposed, they were delicious.

Saving leftover coffee for afternoon iced coffee drinks.

On a trip to my community center I turned in three puzzles, a couple of books and several magazines. I have often picked up similar items and am always glad to share.


Katy August 2, 2023 at 10:45 am

Delicious neighbors!


Mati August 2, 2023 at 12:05 pm

Cauliflower leaves are so often wasted, but they’re just as good as their relatives in many dishes, and the toughest ones soften up when fermented. The Nepali restaurant in my neighborhood sells an addictive cumin-rich dried ferment, gundruk, traditionally made with wilted cauliflower leaves, that makes any savory dish a hundred times better. It’s a complex process of wilting, pounding, fermenting, and drying, so I leave it to the experts and it’s worth every penny.


Regina August 2, 2023 at 10:35 am

I so miss making homemade jam & veggies. Hopefully next year can get back to it.
Frugal things this last week.

1. Found 2 medium sized boxes of strawberry plants with FREE sign next to road that picked up & brought home. Was able to keep few strawberry plants from old house (in pot) & had started raised garden bed for strawberries but need to finish now so to get the new strawberry plants planted. Sin commented that already starting to have berries.
2. Used $10 off coupon got in mail from Meijer on clearance garden center items needed that did not find at any yard sales/flea market.
3. Used my birthday 5% off discount on last day on groceries & clearance items. Got some MSU beach towels & 6′ thick beach towels because most of our beach towels were in camper that I was unable to get anything out of during divorce. Hoping to get few more 6′ thick beach towels next week on clearance & use another $10 off coupon that have.
4. Borrowed neighbor extended ladder to put up on rest of gutter solar lights. Teen son was gracious enough & climb up to do since was much higher than I am comfortable with.
5. Quit my job because becoming very irregular in hours & being asked to pay for many things company said would reimburse but did not see. Paycheck not regular & company policy no time off. Waiting for 3 weeks paycheck, hoping will be mailed. Not worried because will find another job.
6. Have had broken tooth few weeks & not able to get into dentist. I do not have insurance & was reminded by friend that local clinic has dental help. Was able to get in quickly & got tooth taken care of $30. Getting few fillings taken care of ($5 each) after healed from tooth extraction.


mary in maryland August 2, 2023 at 10:54 am

Wage theft is a big problem in US, and not usually specifically illegal. Glad you were able to cut your losses.


Mati August 2, 2023 at 12:14 pm

mary in maryland, wage theft is absolutely illegal, but is sometimes difficult to prosecute. It’s worth calling the state department of commerce and a labor lawyer, if not for oneself, then to protect other employees.

Unreimbursed expenses can be summarized in a letter that includes the sentence “I would prefer to resolve this matter quickly and without litigation.” Most cheaters are just seeing what they can get away with.


mary in maryland August 2, 2023 at 11:22 am

1. The folks next door were moving back to their home in Europe. Two days before leaving, the Dad asked if we’d like anything before the junk truck came. OMG. Bedside tables from the girls room, boxes of art supplies, dresser and matching bedside tables from parents’ room, bookshelves, dining table and chairs, a leather loveseat, some metal racks, file drawers, two office chairs, and a king size mattress and box springs. Yes. Yes. Yes. We turned our first floor into a furniture showroom.
2. Dresser and bedside tables to a friend who helps set up apartments for refugees. I was tickled that she wanted them for herself. She said her current furniture was too trashy for refugees, but her sons could use it. Many things left via Freecycle and buy Nothing, but the bulk went to a family just in from Afghanistan. Was able to throw in king-sized sheets and pillow cases I had trash-picked a couple of years ago, towels from cleaning out a friend’s house, a bathmat, and cleaning rags.
3. I asked a recently widowed friend if she had any kitchenware to give them. She was happy to be asked and had a spare set of dishes for six in her attic. Had a nice chat when I went to pick them up.
4. A few years ago a friend told us that his wife was a sucker for designer bags. The Mister responded that his wife was attracted to pressure cookers. Causing me to snort lemonade out my nose. On behalf of these refugees I was able to let go of a darling three-quart pressure cooker I got on freecycle six years ago. I also sold one of my large pressure canners to a young fellow just starting canning. It felt good to thin the herd of pressure cookers.
5. Last night despite having two end of the line eggplants in the fridge, I was hungry for a Portobello and roast garlic pizza. I made an eggplant pasta sauce and enjoyed eating it despite being hungry for something else.
6. The dog crate has a pillow with a dog bed cover at least twice as large as needed. The dog loves pawing the excess around to rearrange it at bedtime. From Freecycle.
7. Reading books on Hoopla, watering vacationing neighbors’ garden and having picking privileges.


Ashley Bananas August 2, 2023 at 2:51 pm

It’s really nice that you are able to connect good items that are no longer needed with people who do need them.


mary in maryland August 4, 2023 at 5:27 am

It’s my superpower.


Katy August 2, 2023 at 3:46 pm

Wow, wow and double wow!!!!!


Mati August 2, 2023 at 12:41 pm

1) on my way to pick up garden produce from a neighbor, spotted an epic free pile and snagged a solar oven and a bunch of mechanics’ books I’ll ensure get to someone who will use them. There’s an odd structure, probably part of a workbench, that would make a sturdy base for a chicken coop, and I’m thinking of going back for it, as I’m ready to replace the last one, which was made with almost entirely recycled materials for less than $20 (I know, extravagant, but I only gave myself a few days to get materials together).

2) started a slop jar at the side of the sink for dribs and drabs of coffee, tea, rinse water from milk glasses, cooking water, egg shells, etc. It’s a free light fertilizer that brought a sulking trashpicked mandevilla into bloom in a matter of days.

3) bought another NWT vintage tea cozy on eBay of the type my mother had, on the lower end of typical prices. The style is deeply sentimental for some family members and it will make a great housewarming gift for my sister, who just moved in with her wonderful fiance.

4) stocked up on huge, good quality beach towels for under $9 apiece during the Land’s End sale. My husband prefers beach towels as bath towels, and the older set is ready for demotion. Also, two swimsuits and a simple pima cotton robe that fits well and will last.

5) the thriving colony of black soldier fly larvae in my compost is quickly disposing of all types of waste, including usual compost no-nos like grease and meat scraps, while yielding delicious snacks for my friend’s chickens and good fertilizer. I’m a bit evangelical about these little friends – they rapidly reduce the bulk of organic waste by 90% (more, in my experience), convert more energy into feed instead of releasing decomposition methane, are self-cleaning and self-harvesting, and their presence repels other insects. In the long run, I hope to see municipalities using them for organic waste disposal. In the past, I’ve kept the colony going over the winter by insulating the compost bin, but could not hack it while recovering from long Covid. Fortunately, the colony has re-established every year, and I should be up to it again this year.


Christine August 2, 2023 at 3:19 pm

Your #5…so interesting. I knew flys pollinated plants but haven’t thought of them as useful for anything else. I have a whole new outlook on flys!


Terri Cheney August 4, 2023 at 3:02 pm

My former Coast Guard son said they used spray bottles with pine sol and water in them to spray in the areas where they wanted to keep flies down. Worth a try…


Katy August 4, 2023 at 7:58 pm

That’s an idea I could try.


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