Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 11, 2023 · 78 comments

  1. I calculated our food spending for the month of September and we’re up to $135.82 so far. I don’t have an official number that I’m trying to stay under, but secretly I’m trying to spend less than $400. Super secretly I’d like to have it be much less, but we’ll see how the month goes.

    Although on paper our household is just me and my husband, our son does stop by for dinner most nights. I know he’ll get further into his adult life and we’ll have to schedule these meals, so they’re special for now.

  2. My husband had fallen into the habit of drinking flavored canned seltzers. He started with La Croix, which morphed into the gateway drug that is Spindrift sparkling water. These pseudo-sodas are expensive, especially when you start taking them for granted and mindlessly down multiples of them per day.

    I’ve put a stop to this canned water addiction. So if you run into my husband, please be kind to him as he’s going through the painful process of enjoying tap water all over again. He’s also probably dehydrated.

  3. I looped a smattering of errands to minimize my driving.

    • I returned an remote control that I’d bought for my sister’s air conditioner unit. It turned out to be the wrong model, so I initiated a return on the app and dropped it off at the UPS store for free.
    • I returned an armload of overdue library books and checked out two new ones.
    • I bought two more helium balloons at Dollar Tree to deepen my anti-pigeon campaign.
    • I walked the couple blocks from Dollar Tree to Trader Joe’s to buy two bunches of 19¢ bananas and nothing else. Of course I nabbed a Mandarin Orange Chicken sample.

  4. • I scrubbed out my daughter’s Mr. Coffee coffee maker left behind by her old roommate. It was revoltingly filthy and I actually considered binning it at a couple points. Instead, I ran it with vinegar a couple times over, twice with soapy water and then probably a dozen times over with plain water.
    • My neighbor across the street gave us two pieces of her homemade lemon blueberry cheesecake.
    • I stopped at Safeway for milk and eggs and glanced over at the yogurt aisle and noticed that some of the 37¢ ones were an additional 50% off! I bought six and then checked my Ibotta app (referral link) and uploaded my receipt to get an additional 50¢ rebate. The math worked out to be 9.6¢ per yogurt.

  5. I didn’t buy a sparkling Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle H September 11, 2023 at 5:11 am

Sending Dale good vibes on adjusting to tap water – the struggle is real!
I am great at drinking tap water all day long, but finally got my diet soda consumption down to just 1 a day.
I try to make it an occasion in the afternoons, to sit down and savor it, usually while reading a book or relaxing on the deck. Makes it seem more like a treat than just slamming them back while I’m doing something else and not really tasting it.


Cynthia September 11, 2023 at 6:29 am

Wow–you “put a stop” to his seltzer drinking? Please tell me that is a joke, and that you both retain free will. I am a devoted reader, and this brought me up short.


Katy September 11, 2023 at 9:06 am

He’s welcome to buy it for himself, but I’m not going to pick it up when grocery shopping.


Marie September 11, 2023 at 3:02 pm

That would stop my husband, he hates grocery shopping, And spending money.
I kind of like the cheap Cascade Ice sparkling water, but after reading ingredients, ill just stick with my well water.


Christine September 11, 2023 at 2:09 pm

Any frugalist would most likely agree groceries are a big part of budgeting with the goal of spending as little as possible on a healthy, varied diet. As a married couple, choices are made with mutual agreement. Something tells me Katy does not infringe on her husband’s free will. I would venture a guess he’s more than okay with giving up an expensive habit of non-nutritious seltzer. For the record, my husband enjoys diet Coke which I refuse to buy, too. Tap water and homemade iced tea for the win.


Jill September 11, 2023 at 11:24 am

Diet Soda consumption is a problem for me as well, Michelle. I love this idea! Gonna try it out.


Coral Clarke September 11, 2023 at 3:36 pm

I’m trying to cut my Pepsi Max habit down to 1 a day, and sympathise with Dale, I have tried every kind of flavour enhancing, but my tastebuds still think water is for washing in! I’m in Brisbane, Australia, just out of our winter, and have been drinking lots of tea as a ( very poor) substitute, but the days are warming up now, and I want COLD Drinks! Yummy ones! For both environmental and financial reasons, I gave up all my other addictions( including expensive men) , and I’m finding this last one so hard to shake!


Katy September 11, 2023 at 6:58 pm

I guess I’m in the minority as I love plain water.


Ecoteri September 11, 2023 at 10:52 pm

@Katy I am a water or coffee girl myself, however the water thing? HA! I live on a small hobby farm and we have our own shallow well, the water is filtered and UV treated and has a bit of an anti-acid treatment, too, but it has NO chlorine or any other enhancements. I Love the water here, and can guzzle it no problem. When I am in the ‘big city’ and get a glass of water, I am astonished at how awful the chlorine is. I am just realizing that my daughter, who doesn’t like water, has been drinking that chlorine stuff for 5 years. Maybe time for a Brita or getting her to let it off gas for a day before drinking…


Bee September 12, 2023 at 3:28 am

Water really does taste different in different places. Many cities do use high levels of chlorine to make the water “drinkable.”

Carla E September 11, 2023 at 5:56 am

I am strangely invested in your pigeon campaign – good luck.

My husband and older child are recovering LaCroix addicts. I refuse to buy the cases of them (even though that would be less expensive per can) so every once in a while a few single cans are brought in and people seem to really enjoy that treat.


Ruby September 11, 2023 at 6:38 am

I feel for him. I used to have quite a canned drink thing going on, but switched to decaff iced tea and big mugs of iced water in retirement.

1. Made the Tightwad Gazette clone of Rice-a-roni (seasoned rice mix), which I like better because the sodium can be controlled and the portions made smaller. When the recipe was published, Rice-a-roni was 88 cents a box and the clone was 44 cents. It’s $1.79 a box now in my neck of the woods. Did not price the cost of my clone but it had to be super cheap due to having a bag of rice free with a store coupon and herbs from Ollie’s Outlet.
2. Also made three cups of light brown sugar by whisking molasses into a bowl of white sugar with a fork. So easy and low tech! The ratio is about two tablespoons of molasses to a cup of sugar.
3. Vacuumed out the vent system of our dryer from the outside wall to the lint screen and repaired the loose felt seal around the lint screen. DH took the vent hose outside and blasted it out with the leaf blower, which was a lot of fun. The dryer is working a good bit better.
4. Painted the wall behind our washer, which was badly chipped, by mixing gloss almond and flat white oil enamel to match the original 70-year-old satin antique white oil paint. The new paint came from our stash of small cans.
5. Cleaned out the buffet cabinet that stores our glass dishes and liquor. Found two glass pans without lids that will go to Goodwill and disposed of a couple of items.
Bonus: Line-dried a quilt. Ate the last of a pack of cheese, the last slice of a loaf of bread, and the last peach as lunch. Glued a broken piece of wood back on the screen door. Gave my son some of our super cheap Ollie’s cat litter, so we bought more and poured it up into saved buckets.


A. Marie September 12, 2023 at 1:12 pm

Ruby, thanks for the reminder about the TG Rice-a-Roni clone recipe. I’ll look that up and have a go at it, since I too would prefer R-a-R cheaper, with less sodium, and in smaller portions.


Vickey September 17, 2023 at 11:58 am

Good reminder to check the dryer lint trap seal, thanks!

We *are* diligent about cleaning out the lint/vent system whenever dry time starts to increase. Our next door neighbors had a devastating house fire one snowbound Valentine’s Day that started in the clogged dryer vent in their basement. We learned later that were 15,000 dryer fires/yr. in the U.S., and that figure is from almost two decades ago.


Mary Ann September 11, 2023 at 6:40 am

I love Spendthrift. They are the only seltzers I can drink on my clean food challenge. I snagged a box for 3.99. I just drink one or two a day.

1. I made an instapot batch of 11 bean soup mix ( Anderson House) and added nitrate free bacon. Hubby loved it and it will be several dinners and lunches.

2. For a date with hubby, we went to our gym which has an indoor outdoor pool and spa. I especially enjoyed the pool and the cold plunge. Taking advantage of a sunk cost membership is super frugal.

3. My latest incarnation of coffee is a Real Cream Chobani creamer and instant coffee Starbucks in a tin. The Via is way too expensive. The tin is about 30 cents a cup which is the cheapest I have been for coffee in a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

4. I am off to work instead of retiring last year. I have the one more year syndrome but that isn’t a bad thing.

5. I did not purchase the Patagonia hiking trip I was eyeballing last night.


Bee September 11, 2023 at 7:12 am

Your grocery total is quite impressive for the first 11 days of the month.
1. After too much food waste during the month of August, I have made an concerted effort to reduce this significantly. Last week was very chaotic as my second grandchild was born. My husband and I took care of Baby #1 while Mom and Dad were in the hospital. Needless to say, I was unable to adhere to my original meal plan. Yesterday, I did some batch cooking in order to curb food waste. I made chicken broth and picked the meat off the carcass. I put this in the freezer for use later. I made a batch of sheet pan fajitas and made a pizza. These items will be the center of my meals this week.
2. I toasted the heel of my gluten free bread and ate some yogurt that I didn’t love. I brewed my own coffee and drank primarily water.
3. I was out of stainless steel cleaner so I cleaned my appliances with a lint-free cloth and rubbing alcohol. It left everything shiny and sanitized. I will be using this from now on.
4. I sold a vintage baseball cap on eBay for $60. I only sell things at the most inconvenient times and inevitably I did not have a shipping box. I called my sister and plucked just the right box out of her recycling bin.
5. Since the weather is still warm, I gave Rescue Pup a bath in the backyard. The Pet stores charge $10 to use their bathing facilities, and the groomer is $35 just for a bath. DIY is always cost saving. Since we are dog people, I have often wished for a special dog shower, but we’ve managed without one for 25 years. I suspect that we will continue to do so.
Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity.


mary in maryland September 11, 2023 at 8:43 am

We leash the dog to the grab bar in the shower and bathe her there.


A. Marie September 11, 2023 at 9:25 am

Bee, congratulations to you, your DH, and the proud parents on your second grandchild!


MB in MN September 11, 2023 at 2:44 pm

Ditto what A. Marie said!


Jill A September 11, 2023 at 9:55 am

Congratulations on your new grandbaby.


Christine September 11, 2023 at 2:19 pm

Congratulations to you and your family on the newest addition!


Bee September 11, 2023 at 4:07 pm

Thank you, Everyone! It’s such a blessing to have them nearby.


Katy September 11, 2023 at 7:10 pm

Congratulations on your birth of your grandchild!!!!!


MB in MN September 11, 2023 at 7:24 am

Wow, great savings on the yogurt!

1. My sister took me and my husband out to lunch for our birthdays. Plenty of leftovers and still full enough later in the day that dinner was unnecessary.

2. Received lots of veggies and herbs from other people’s gardens.

3. Attended an event that was catered by a local restaurant. The party hosts were going to throw away all of the serving pieces (what?!) so I took them home, washed them, and called the restaurant to see if they could take them back. They could and they did. If they weren’t going to take them back, I was going to offer them on Buy Nothing and/or donate to the thrift store.

4. My husband and I went out for breakfast and, oh my stars, the portions were ginormous. Next time we’re going to buy one breakfast and split it rather than bring home leftovers.

5. Based on other readers’ comments, I looked into online newspapers and magazines at my library. The system isn’t very intuitive so I signed up for a free class the library is having to learn all about it.


Ann Y. September 11, 2023 at 7:34 am

Yes, portions are huge these days. Did the same with a dinner out. Also getting veggies from neighbor gardens…no work for me and lots of good stuff. LOVE the free stuff from my library….Flipster is what they use and is amazing for magazines. I am shocked at the price of magazines at the checkout line…I tally up what I am saving as I wait in line !


Bee September 11, 2023 at 4:16 pm

Happy Birthday to you and your DH!!! Yes, portions are huge in restaurants. I have notice that they are shrinking as food cost are increasing. When my husband and I travel or on the rare occasion that we go out to dinner, I often find myself ordering off the appetizer menu.


janine September 12, 2023 at 12:22 pm

We are hosting son’s birthday dinner this week and I made reservations for the bar area of our restaurant where they are offering $3 off appetizers for early diners. My kids will likely order entrees, but I plan on the cheaper option. We also have a $10 off coupon. Still expensive, but a few $$ saved.


Ann Y. September 11, 2023 at 7:32 am

Good saving week –
1. Used my 15 dollar Talbots coupon to buy a comfy top that was 59.95 for 5 dollars.
2. Husband needed a new tablet, got 60 back from Ibotta.
3. Noticed that the tablet and vacuum I bought at Costco were even lower in price this week…took in my receipt and got a 50 dollar credit.
4. Hosted new people to our retirement community for dinner ( free ) and took home what I did not eat of my shrimp and grits…just the grits. Enough to be a side for grilled chicken the next day.
5. Found “sell by today” Perdue chicken at a great price and had a dollar coupon so I stocked up for the freezer!


Ashley Bananas September 11, 2023 at 8:01 am

Kicking any caffeinated beverage is hard. Even reducing it. Best of luck to your husband. I’ve been soda free since Thanksgiving last year. Don’t miss it or the cost. Laughing about your pigeon balloons.

1. I was off this past Friday and took advantage of the time to go to four different stores to score the best deals. The stores are all within two miles of each other so it’s not a huge time investment with travel. I was able to get about $300 worth of groceries for about $90. Yay!!! It felt great.
2. After grocery shopping I stayed home and cooked and cleaned. This always sets me up for a good week. I made spaghetti sauce, two kinds of noodles, and garlic bread. I also baked off a dozen cookies for my son. I made myself breakfast; an egg with two pieces of bacon.
3. Friday night my best friend came over and we made homemade pumpkin bread. I did small loaf pans and was able to give several to friends and neighbors. We kept two for our house. This used up one of the two cans of pumpkin pie I had in food storage and spread a little joy.
4. Friday night my friends daughter texted to see if we could find someone to foster seven kittens who were surrendered by owner at the emergency hospital she works at. We were able to find a neighbor to foster, pick them up, and make an exchange. Seven little lives saved!! If no one was willing to bottle feed them they would have been put down.
5. I failed to buy a lear jet or new car with better working AC than mine.


Bee September 11, 2023 at 4:21 pm

Your#4 makes me happy!


Selena September 11, 2023 at 6:45 pm

#4 makes me happy and a bit mad – did owner not surrender mama?? Why was mama not spayed (not sure where Ashley is but in my area, plenty of no-cost/low-cost spay/neuter available).


Ashley Bananas September 12, 2023 at 7:09 am

I didn’t get a lot of details on the background of the surrender. At that point my desire was to make sure the kittens were fostered and not put down.


Jill A September 11, 2023 at 8:39 am

I feel for your husband. I’m trying to break my own fizzy water/ soda habit.
1. The power company turned off our power for eight hours overnight to make some planned upgrades. Instead of running my generator like many of my neighbors I took a gamble that my food would stay cold. I froze jars of water and placed a penny on top in both freezers. Everything is good and I opened my windows to enjoy the cool nighttime air.
2. I made some minestrone soup which I shared with my Mom. It used up the sad carrots and celery in my crisper as well as some canned green beans that are past their best buy date. I also took one for the team and ate the disgusting eggplant parmesan that I purchased a year ago and has been taking up room in my freezer.
3. Free plants – I gave my daughter some volunteer butterfly bush plants that were growing in my stone pathway. I transplanted a blue mist spirea volunteer to a spot that needs something and I have several others that will be going to my Mom’s garden. One of my perennials actually seeded itself in a bare spot in my lawn so I’ve moved several to another spot that need to be filled in. My mother gave me columbine seeds from her plants that I sprinkled in an area that has no plantings.
4. I have also sprayed my driveway cracks, stone patios and walkway with homemade weed killer. Gardening vinegar, epsom salts and dish detergent.
5. I saved my coriander seeds to plant more cilantro, I’m reading library books on my kindle, drinking tap water and coffee at home, trying to eat up leftovers and use up what I have before I buy more.


Heidi Louise September 11, 2023 at 12:26 pm

I enjoyed imagining your plant movements!


Bee September 12, 2023 at 3:39 am

I use a similar weed killer and find it quite effective. Best of all, it nontoxic ….and cheap!!!!


Dori September 11, 2023 at 8:52 am

Good luck on your grocery challenge (dang, that was the cheapest yogurt I’ve ever heard of!!) AND on your anti-pigeon campaign, of course! I feel your pain – we had a similar bird problem several years ago except it was a woodpecker who was drumming on our roof stovepipes at ungodly morning hours. We were researching allllll the bird things to find a solution.


A. Marie September 11, 2023 at 12:23 pm

Unfortunately, Dori, there isn’t much anyone can do about a sex-crazed woodpecker. Drumming on stovepipes and any other available metal objects is what the guys do to try to impress the girls. For several seasons, we had a yellow-bellied sapsucker that did this on street signs.


Laura September 11, 2023 at 9:16 am

I recommend looking for a soda stream on one of your goodwill trips. I got one as a gift and love it. You do have to pay for refill CO2 containers, but they last awhile.


Coral Clarke September 11, 2023 at 3:47 pm

I tried the Soda stream, used the official Pepsi Max flavouring, taste wasn’t remotely like the original, and not nearly as fizzy, either. A friend has tried a few variations, but the lack of lots of fine bubble made it a “no” for her also.


A. Marie September 11, 2023 at 9:51 am

First, commiserations to Dale and all the other recovering fizzy drink addicts out there. I too have worked my Diet Pepsi consumption down to a can a day, but since the price of soda around here just passed Mars and is still climbing, I’m going to have to work harder on substituting iced tea.

Now, FFT, Fun with Day-Old Panera Bread Edition:

(1) My JASNA bud in the next city over works at a Panera (her version of her job title is “pastry wrangler”). She brought me a big bag of assorted Panera day-old breads when she, I, and JASNA BFF from NYC met in her city for our annual Triple Birthday Celebration a few weeks ago. I dropped all of these, which included two round Asiago-laced breads, into the freezer as soon as JASNA BFF and I got home from the trip. This Saturday, I fished one of the rounds out of the freezer and made a successful personal-size pizza out of it: I put it, still frozen, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (to minimize mess); slathered it with pizza sauce; and topped this with some ancient Parmesan, olives, onions, and mushrooms. I baked this at 400 F for 20 minutes. The edges came out a bit crunchy, so I won’t leave it in for more than 15 minutes next time–but it was delicious, crunchy edges and all.

(2) I passed this story on to the Panera friend, and here’s her take on it, since she doesn’t digest tomato products well: “Based on the ingredients in my frig, I decided to try making a white Chicago-style pizza. It turned out great! My Asiago focaccia was in the frig, I also had baby spinach, garlic olive oil, baby bella mushrooms, and five cheese shredded cheese mix from Aldi. I drizzled olive oil on the bread and then slightly pre-cooked the spinach and mushrooms to put on the bread. I covered the spinach and mushrooms with the shredded cheese and a little more olive oil. I cooked for about 10 minutes. So excellent!”

(3) And I’ve still got one Panera Asiago round, plus a regular loaf and two smaller round loaves, in the freezer. My advice: Make friends with someone who works at a Panera! (With this hoard plus the Arnold breads I bought for sandwiches at our local bakery outlet last week, I’m awash in baked goods.)

(4) I’m about to assemble another in my continuing series of summer stir-frys–this time using boneless chicken thighs from the freezer, snow peas bought on Saturday at the Regional Market, onions, garlic, and two small zucchini that one of my regular pickle “customers” brought me yesterday. As noted earlier, when I get tired of this, I’ll let you know. (Winter is coming, and I’ll have plenty of opportunities for soups and stews then.)

(5) And one frugal fail/win: I succumbed to temptation at the Salvation Army superstore down the hill this morning and bought a brand-new pair of men’s black Clarks Wallabees high-tops. (I wear a men’s 7.5 very well.) I paid the extravagant sum of $35 for these, but that’s still a lot less than any price I saw for these online.


Jill A September 11, 2023 at 10:01 am

Your pizza sounds delicious. My mouth is watering .


COral Clarke September 11, 2023 at 3:51 pm

NEVER pass up a good shoe buy if you can manage it at all, or the day will come when you need them, and your options will be full price or cheap nasty and quick to wear out!


Katy September 11, 2023 at 7:08 pm

Your makeshift pizzas sound delicious!


Norma September 14, 2023 at 3:31 pm

My son worked at Panera for a while and always brought goodies home. I swear I gained 25 pounds!! But I enjoyed every bite!!


Marybeth from NY September 17, 2023 at 12:41 pm

My son worked at a Panera for 2 years. He would bring home large bags of items. We shared with friends and family. It was very sad when he left.


E September 11, 2023 at 10:50 am

I confess to giving in to the carbonated water gremlins, but for good reason. My husband has a kidney condition that, combined with one of the medications he’s on, requires him to drink an obscene amount of water. Just plain water gets old, and his condition also limits his tea (decaf or otherwise) and caffeine intake. Waterloo, etc., are a zero calorie way to help him hit his daily hydration goal. He does his part to keep the cost down by alternating cans with a liter of plain water from the Brita pitcher in the fridge and the water cooler at his job. His lab results have been amazing, so I make up for the uptick in our grocery bill by squeezing harder elsewhere in the budget and buying the cans in bulk when I catch them on sale.


Anne September 11, 2023 at 11:10 am

The best home made yoghurt – 200g of milk powder in a yoghurt maker container, cover well with warm water ( around 35 celcius), lid on and shake to mix. Add 2 Tbsp of cultured yoghurt and more warm water. Shake again. Top up to fill with more warm water, then put it in your yoghurtmaker 8- 12 hours. In New Zealand we can buy milk powder in bulk.This makes yoghurt super cheap and I freeze a new starter from each batch. Yoghurt starters need to be fresh as the active content deteriorates. Add your own flavouring.


Jill September 11, 2023 at 11:23 am

1. Frugal Fail: Had a fantastic birthday trip to San Diego visiting with friends and family. Spent way too much money, though, and also brought home my first ever case of Covid. (I’m assuming I contracted it while there – arrived home Tuesday morning and tested negative on Wednesday and then positive on Thursday) Fortunately, I am fully vaccinated, including boosters, and therefore, my illness has been mild except for the first few days.
2. For my birthday, my husband upgraded my ancient phone and he spent the morning getting the old one ready to trade in. I love that our frugal abilities yin and yang well – things that I do to save money are things he wouldn’t do and vice versa.
3. Our shower is pure tile with no place to put toiletries. I had a Bed Bath and Beyond gift card that I used to buy a over- the -shower- head thingy. It started rusting like crazy so I used steel wool to make it like new again. (My husband said just buy a new one and he would never try to clean it up – see above – but I knew it was worth a shot)
4. Got some reduced price blueberries which turned out to be very sour so making some muffins today along with a homemade batch of play dough (former preschool teacher and I really prefer homemade to store bought) now that the weather has dipped out of the 90’s. Seems like a good day to bake – edible and non edible.
5. We flew Southwest to San Diego which allows for two suitcases per person in the price. My niece, who lives there, has been mailing us hand me downs for our grandson. I told her to hang on to them and we brought an empty suitcase to fill up. Wonderfully, she had put out the call to friends who were done having kids and we came home with two winter coats, two swimsuits, 3 sweatshirts, and more pants and shirts than I can count. (And in different sizes so we didn’t have too many for one child) Bless her.


Coral Clarke September 11, 2023 at 3:56 pm

I was delighted to see you could use your homemade play dough to make muffins, so disappointed to discover my error.My mind has a very surrealist twist, affords me endless free entertainment!


Ecoteri September 11, 2023 at 11:07 pm

@Coral Clarke, I was kind of with you with the muffin/playdough confusion, but for me it was sour blueberries in the play dough… oh, our minds do jump to conclusions!


Katy September 11, 2023 at 7:07 pm

I love the deliberate hand me downs!


geri September 13, 2023 at 2:41 pm

You might try a clear coat of spray paint on the over the shower head thingy. It may solve the problem of rusting, but will have to be reapplied if you scratch the finish while doing routine cleaning. My son redid bathroom fixtures years ago with metallic silver spray paint, and then clear-coated it and none of them has needed to be redone-and it’s been about 20 years.


Alexia September 11, 2023 at 11:50 am

FWIW — Spindrift is not actually seltzer in the truest sense because it contains juice. Whereas actual seltzer — such as LaCroix, frequently goes on sale for something like $3-$4 for an 8 or 12 pack. That works out to 37-50 cents a can, which is actually pretty cheap. I drink about 1 can/day, which at max turns out to be $11-$15/month. That’s not nothing, but for something that I consider a treat, and which gets me to drink an extra 12oz of water a day (health benefits!) with pleasure, I would actually say that’s pretty frugal and on par with the cost of your Yoplait (which does have some calcium but also about 1.5 tablespoons of sugar per 6 oz serving).


Lisa M. September 12, 2023 at 6:27 am

I admire your stellar nutritional assessment of store-bought yogurt. I discovered the high carb content back when my daughter was young, so only purchased the “Light & Fit” variety. The carbs in Yoplait Original 6 oz. equals an entire meal for those who follow a diabetic diet.


Vickey September 19, 2023 at 2:54 pm

Depends on the “diabetic diet”. See nutrition, also Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro’s “Mastering Diabetes”. The carbs aren’t the bad guys.


Heidi Louise September 11, 2023 at 12:45 pm

1. Watched the tiny local parade for our town’s festival this weekend. Politely avoided the political pamphlets offered to us, and had no small children so didn’t have candy rained on us. Received a giant wet-wipe from the walkers working with the car-wash float. Skipped the unnecessary “coozie” from the farm implement people.
2. Received an amazing check in the mail today, a couple hundred dollars rebate from my health insurance company for 2022, as part of the Affordable Care Act, Medical Loss Ratio, or 80/20 rule. Seems insurance companies under the ACA must spend 80% or more on actual health care costs and 20% or less on administrative etc’s. Based on the review of the appropriate time period for my state, the company was off by 3.2% and had to provide rebates to us all, figured by the amount of premiums we each paid. I had not heard of this before. Heh, heh, heh.
3. Thanking Mrs. Johnson for teaching “Personal Typing” in my high school so long ago. I still can’t do numbers or the top row of characters without looking, yet I am fast with the letters.
4. Grocery shopping carefully and only buying things we know we like.
5. Had enough almost-rain and damp to skip a week of lawn-mowing.


Anne September 11, 2023 at 2:50 pm

What is a “coozie”?


Heidi Louise September 11, 2023 at 3:01 pm

Probably have many names. A sort of slip cover for a can or bottle, fits over the bottom half, made of flat foam, to keep a drink colder, keep your hand dry, absorb condensation, and serve as a coaster. Often printed with sports or business logos.
I looked it up, and the official trademarked name is “Koozie”.


Karen B September 11, 2023 at 2:57 pm

1) Son and I went to a store with rummage bins (most items appear to be overstock, end of season, or returns). All items were $3 today. I got 2 shirts for myself and and adorable stuffed toy Guinea pig in original sealed packaging for a little relative who loves her grandma’s Guinea pig (Amazon’s price for the same item was $23.)

2) On the way home stopped at a gas station to pick up 29 cent per pound bananas and 99 cent per dozen eggs. (They frequently have a very few great deals, so I’d checked their ads online beforehand.)

3) We don’t buy soda often (we have a Sodastream, bottled soda is mostly for roadtrips or when we’ll be out of the house for hours), but over the summer we’d accumulated enough it was time to turn them in for the deposit refund. I hate that job. A member of my Buy Nothing Project group collects them, turns them in, and donates the money to a local food bank, so I avoided a dreaded task, they still got recycled, and it helps others.

4) Gloriously nice weather today, so the dogs and I went for a 1 1/2 mile walk in a lovely park and will be going again tonight. Free flowers to look at and no gym membership.

5) My volunteer cherry tomatoes have gotten to the prolific stage, so I will be oven roasting them tonight and freezing them to use over the winter.


Katy September 11, 2023 at 7:04 pm

Saying “no” to branded freebies takes a lot of self control. Well done!


Kristina September 11, 2023 at 1:00 pm

I spent most of the day Saturday cooking our food for the week. My only non-homegrown inputs were olive oil, salt, onions, panko, cheese, lemon, tomato sauce, and 1 avocado. All hail September abundance!

Sunday morning I took the 2 pounds of basil leaves I’d plucked from their stems and made a mammoth batch of pesto, which will be Christmas gifts for friends and family.

I couldn’t do any gardening because of the atrocious mosquitoes, but I resisted the urge to go out for retail therapy instead by cleaning the house.

I offered to let a friend “adopt” my bread machine, which I only use 3-4 times a year since we went keto a few years ago. Another mutual friend chimed in to ask if she could have partial custody. 😀


Katy September 11, 2023 at 7:02 pm

Wow, that’s an impressive amount of basil!


Christine September 11, 2023 at 2:42 pm

What a score on those yogurts!
1. My bill at CVS went from $24.12 down to $4.45 with the help of bonus points and sales.
2. DH and I went to Home Depot to purchase two panels to cover up holes in closet walls where a plumber had to access the pipes. Instead, he decided to put up the sheetrock squares that were cut out of the wall and use wall repair fabric (on hand) and plaster (also on hand) to hold them in place. In mean, how often do those pipes need to be accessed? Once in 21 years of living here, so far.
3. While at Home Depot we purchased other needed items for home repairs and used a $20 off more than $100 spent coupon. 4. I received a $10 check from my doctor’s office for overpayment. It was my money anyway but nice to know someone is being honest.
5. DH went to DS’s house to watch a football game on TV and came home with potato salad, corn and two different breads from their leftovers. Enough to pair with tuna salad for supper tonight.


Selena September 11, 2023 at 6:52 pm

IF it happens again, make a door. Better half did that for access when he remodeled a bathroom in our home. No one will see it so no points deducted for craftsmanship (though ours is well crafted).


Katy September 11, 2023 at 7:01 pm

I’ve never tried to figure out the CVS thing, maybe I should!


Leslie September 12, 2023 at 5:15 am

Katy. Kristen , Frugal Girl, did a terrific write up of CVS frugal hacks on her blog. Worth a search.


Kara September 11, 2023 at 2:59 pm

1. Selling many items on FB marketplace. So good to see them go. I emptied and washed the spare compost tumbler, holding it over the compost tumbler I was keeping so the wash water would moisten my dry compost pile.
2. Asked for kids picnic table on Buy Nothing. Received one that retails for $144 on amazon! Will take it grandson when I next visit.
3. Send 2 bags of clothes to ThredUP. They don’t pay much but the items would have gone to thrift store anyway. Many I had tried to sell on ebay and it was just time they went. So this was my last-ditch attempt to get some money out of them.
4. We are in full prep mode for daughter’s wedding in 2 weeks. I’m assembling all I need to take (she lives 4 hours away and is getting married where she lives). I’m re-wearing dress that I wore to son’s wedding 6.5 years ago and bought new for $25 back then (bridal shop final sale). It’s a classic navy gown, floor length and flattering. A bargain all round. Same shoes and necklace are also being worn (can anyone tell I’m not a shopper?). I did buy a dress on sale for rehearsal dinner, as I didn’t have one, and I found today it coordinates beautifully with a collared shirt that I’d found my husband at the thrift store a while ago. That pleased me very much.
5. Though no skill of my own the shop where we took our car did not charge us for the repair-“a quick tighten” of some belt was all that was needed. Very thankful!


Katy September 11, 2023 at 6:59 pm

RE: #5 — that’s always such a relief!


Elizabeth September 11, 2023 at 4:54 pm

As of today my grocery bill is exactly the same as yours – $130! Our youngest just left for college and we had so much food in our fridge, freezer and pantry that my husband and I committed to September being use it up month. We’ve really made a dent in our food so far and I’ve been kind of enjoying the challenge of putting together meals! We’re basically just replenishing basics – bread, milk, eggs, lettuce, etc.

Today I got a free lunch! There was a meeting for a group that I’m part of. It was rainy and I was feeling kind of blah and didn’t want to go. One of my friends texted that she was going. So I got changed and went because sometimes when I don’t feel like I’m in the mood to see people and am too in my head, seeing people is just what I need to do. Plus they had subs, chips, fruits, veggies and cake. And I got to take one of the leftover subs home for my husband for dinner!

Now that both kids are in college we should see a savings in groceries, electricity, etc. In fact, we’ve had the air off for a few days and should be able to keep air and heat off for the remainder of the week.

I’ve been paying more attention to wearing all my clothes (doing that turning the hanger backwards when I wear it thing). I’ve been decluttering and giving things away to members of my Buy Nothing group.

Not buying new books and reading the ones I have or borrowing from the library.


Katy September 11, 2023 at 6:56 pm

Grocery twins!


Jennifer September 11, 2023 at 5:23 pm

Great find on the yogurt!

1. Last week I got $100 out to cover groceries for the week. Due to several factors I walked out of the store having spent just $50.07. I instantly made it my goal to spend only $50 this week as well. Success after combining coupons at CVS netted me a bag of Starbucks coffee, 2 boxes of cereal and a bag of candy for just $7. And then $42 at a local grocery store to fill in with what I had at home. Challenge completed!

2. Dh’s FIL has covid and was in the hospital since Saturday. His parents are both frail. We were about to hit purchase on a plane ticket for dh to go take care of them but talked again to MIL and gave it one more day. FIL turned a huge corner and is going home today and totallly taking care of himself. I will purchase dinner for them later this week instead and save minimum of $200.

3. AAA to the rescue for my dd who got a flat on the highway today. Free tire change. We ordered new tires from Costco and will have them installed later this week. We knew we would need to replace all 4 tires before winter and had the money in the bank to do so. We price checked 3 other places to make sure we had the best deal for what we needed.

4. Made a menu plan for the week! Also did some scratch cooking to prepare for the week. Made a double batch of turkey sausage, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and an apple cobbler.

5. Does watching lots of football on TV with our antenna count as frugal entertainment. Yes for the dh, a maybe for me.


Katy September 11, 2023 at 6:55 pm

Sitting at home watching free TV definitely counts as frugal!


K D September 12, 2023 at 2:59 am

1. We took a day trip to celebrate my birthday. We visited a museum with free admission, though we did make a donation. We also visited a national wildlife refuge and used our Senior pass for admission. We packed a lunch as we were not going to be near restaurants and I usually like meals from home better than meals out anyway.

2. For my birthday I requested a specific pair of slippers to replace my five year old pair. I also received a hanging basket of mums. They can be planted later and in theory will come up again, perennial or not I have never had good luck with that. A friend gave me some Gluten Free treats that a nearby store recently started selling. I love useful and consumable gifts.

3. A friend loaned me another jigsaw puzzle. DH loves to build them and this eliminates both the cost of purchase and the need to decide what to do with it after it has been built.

4. I gave away many more unneeded items using Freecycle, including nine large Mason jars that I loved but wasn’t using. I have a tendency to save glass jars but sometimes I have too many so it becomes time to share the wealth. It is good to know that you can survive without things you like but don’t need. I read an interesting thought yesterday in the book On Our Best Behavior: “Peter believed that if your generosity wasn’t making you a bit uncomfortable, you weren’t giving enough.”

5. I rebooked three times a rental car reservation for an upcoming trip. The last price is $65+ less than the first price. It takes just a minute or two to make a new booking and cancel the old one.


Heidi Louise September 12, 2023 at 7:25 am

Happy birthday to you!
Mums seem divided into two categories. Old classic ones are truly perennials. New ones that are purchased in bloom now don’t seem to have the stamina bred into them to come up again next year.


Cindy in the South September 12, 2023 at 6:43 am

Your bird deterrent is hilarious!


Pat September 17, 2023 at 5:25 am

Anyone ever had the sulfur water experience? It smells like rotten eggs right out of the tap!
Even making coffee or spaghetti is awful…
Cooperstown NY,is well known for it


Marybeth from NY September 17, 2023 at 12:51 pm

My son worked at a Panera for 2 years. He would bring home large bags of items. We shared with friends and family. It was very sad when he left.


Felicity September 21, 2023 at 10:01 pm

Chickens Ducks, Eggs & Bread

I have chickens & ducks which were free-ranging in my garden, then roosting & being locked in at night. Problem was losing many eggs to wild crows (ravens) which arrive as soon as a chicken announces an egg, and check the open duck house each morning to steal eggs.

Not cost effective as feed has become expensive.

Chickens are now penned during the day with no crow access, and ducks (which lay at night) have eggs collected each morning then their house closed until they come back to roost.

To renew the flock last season I bought two supposed pullets which turned out to be roosters which we’re not allowed to keep. Thankfully we have different neighbours to the ones that complained & sent the ranger around last time this happened, so have managed to retain one boy with minimal noise disruption (but he eats so costs lol).

Before penning the chickens i found a clutch of eggs in the potato patch so waited to determine which girl….. having transferred the eggs into an old plastic shopping basket (still in the potato patch) which she got into herself to lay. Ha! Got her! Moved to secure night accommodation.

Twenty or so days later when i went to lock everyone in I heard peeping coming from the basket.

She & so far seven chicks are now in the basket on the floor in my panty as it’s the only place I can keep them warm and protected from the dog while waiting to see if any more hatch. (They come out a couple of times a day for water & crumble.)

Hopefully female!!

Also, I’ve been eating an egg a day for lunch on expensive gluten free bread which goes mouldy before I can finish a loaf or sticks together if I freeze it.

Figured out that the little plastic bags my GF noodles come in are perfect to freeze single slices of bread.



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