Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 18, 2023 · 73 comments

  1. We’ve passed the September halfway point to Recalibrate Our Food Spending, which means it’s time to share my numbers. (Mind you, I didn’t set a specific numerical goal as I didn’t want to set myself up for failure.) I’m shopping pretty normally, which means stocking up on sale items, shopping for the pantry instead of specific meals, hitting different stores for different items and making sure I have a general plan for meals so we don’t succumb to impulsivity.

    It would be easy to cook increasingly odd meals from my pantry, but I’m not interested in a stunt. I know I could succeed at one of those “$100 grocery challenges,” but it would be cruel to not take my husband’s quality of life into consideration.

    We spent $165.87 by September 15th, which didn’t include cleaning supplies, toilet paper, shampoo or other random grocery store items. Here are a few highlights:

    • I made jam from the 6 pounds of strawberries that I bought for 50¢/pound, which meant I used up all our granulated sugar. I’ve been putting powdered sugar in my tea, which isn’t that noticeably different. (I’ve held off on replacing the sugar until I could get back to Winco which is the cheapest option for staples.) I gave away a couple jars to neighbors and friends.
    • My husband and I dined at IKEA for lunch, which meant a $1.15 veggie hotdog for me, a $8.49 plate of meatballs/mashed potatoes with gravy/peas and free coffees for the two of us.
    • One trip to Winco when I did buy a grocery cart of staples such as fruit and veggies, grains, chicken, dairy, tortillas, canned goods, spices and treats.
    • A couple forays into Trader Joe’s for their 19¢ bananas.
    • My father gifted me a loaf of his sourdough bread.
    • I had my daughter pick up four jars of assorted jams from her schwanky grocery store, as her 30% employee discount on top of the 50%-off sale made for a mighty fine deal! This may seem odd since I’m flush with homemade blackberry and strawberry jam, but I can now add lemon curd, blood orange marmalade, blueberry jam and mango preserves to my arsenal.
    • I swung by Safeway since their 18-packs of eggs were priced at $1.47 apiece.

    This may sound insane to shop at so many different stores, but I’m lucky enough to live in a “grocery oasis” with multiple stores within a mile or so from the house. The inflationary prices on standard grocery store goods are insane right now, so it’s very satisfying (and necessary) to work my magic.

  2. I’m making a concerted effort to up my reading game. I love reading, but fall too easily into screen time hypnotism. (Those Instagram reels are physically addictive!) So I’ve invented a “chain reading” rule for myself.

    Think of “chain reading” like chain smoking, but instead of using the end of one cigarette to light another, you read just the tiniest bit of a new book as soon as you finish the last. Maybe just part of the first chapter or the prologue. Enough to pique your interest in the next book to avoid losing momentum.

    Here are the library books that I chain read this week:

    Pineapple Street, by Jenny Jackson.
    Sisterland, by Curtis Sittenfeld.

  3. My son finally brought his kitten home from her foster family, so we’re temporarily a two cat family. (He’s moving into a new apartment in January and will take the kitten with him at that point.) We turned his old bedroom into a kitten friendly space and are keeping the two cats apart while they get used to each other. She’s a tortoiseshell kitty and almost impossible to photograph as she’s either asleep in a dark spot or in constant motion.

    The expenses are all his.

  4. • I brought home a free homegrown tomato from someone’s free box.
    • Both the books I read were from the library.
    • I took my next door neighbor out to lunch to thank her for watching over our cat while we were in New York for two weeks. She would never accept payment, but was happy to accept a meal.
    • I brought home the leftovers from my $15 lunch, (I’m not including her lunch as part of our monthly food spending) and added extra rice noodles which expanded it into two more meals.
    • The mylar helium balloons appear to have driven away the pigeons and my neighbors are having the same success since adding balloons to their own house.
    • I’m bringing packages off a different neighbor’s porch while they’re out of town.
    • I made a couple small sales on eBay and Facebook Marketplace. A ladybug costume through Facebook; plus my son’s old toy and some University of Oregon football stickers through eBay. I haven’t been thrifting or listing lately, which is reflected in my sales.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, even though they were on sale.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Roberta September 18, 2023 at 1:23 pm

We dropped our son off at college this week. We spent a week there, learning the area and teaching him where the Aldi’s is for cheap food. He’s made good use of the time we spent, and we have some happy memories of the place together. But we spent so much money!
1. We left our daughter home, so we didn’t have to pay for a dog sitter, a fourth airfare, and she was able to work.
2. We walked to the rental car place the first morning, instead of paying cab fare again. There was no hotel shuttle. And we figured out how to use the bus to get from the hotel to the airport at the end!
3. We ate out no more than once a day while we were there. We bought some groceries while we investigated the neighborhood. Our AirB&B was literally two blocks from our son’s dorm, so we feel we had good perspective on how far groceries will be. All leftovers were left for him, to set up his lodging.
4. We flew in with cast iron pots and pans, a weighted blanket, a case of refried beans (comfort food), and a Captain America shield, and *still* didn’t go over weight on our luggage. We stepped on and off the scale a LOT of times before we came up with the perfect combination.
5. We hit the charity shops for a lot of things he still needed: reading lamp, cups and plates, jacket he forgot. A lady at the charity shop gave him free hangers. We did spend some new, but not very much: sheets, a baking dish, lightbulbs.


Julia September 19, 2023 at 4:18 am

I love that you took all of that in the plane!,


Bee September 21, 2023 at 1:08 am

A Captain America shield? Does it have special meaning? I loved that it was on your list.


Roberta September 22, 2023 at 9:21 am

The shield was part of his Halloween costume one year, and it reminds him of good times with his friends, so it is very cheering in his dorm room. Plus, he loves the synergy of being the American kid at an international school, with the shield.

His room is pretty cell-like, so I’m glad it adds color and cheer.


Sarah September 21, 2023 at 8:20 am

It’s so great that you scouted out the Aldi and then thrift shops for so many items! Terrific work!


Ruby September 18, 2023 at 1:39 pm

What an adorable kitty! My youngest cat is a dilute tortie girl who is the sweetest cat.

The frugal five at my house:
1. Cut my own hair again. Saved $26.
2. Ate a homemade microwave meal created out of leftovers for lunch. The dog helped eat the less than awesome fish patty in it.
3. Did my own yardwork, which included moving some bricks and large rocks. There’s not much need for a gym membership for the one doing our yardwork.
4. Used a $1 coupon to purchase toilet paper on sale at the drugstore.
5. Bought muffin cup liners and baking powder at Dollar Tree, thus saving about 50% over grocery store prices.


LDA September 18, 2023 at 1:43 pm

I also live in a “grocery oasis”, with Aldi, Kroger & Meijer within 3-5 miles from my house. I regularly shop at all 3. There are also the Costco, Sam’s & Walmart Supercenter stores, but I rarely venture to those.


Katy September 18, 2023 at 7:31 pm

I’m walking distance to a Fred Meyer, (Kroger) New Seasons, (like a Whole Foods) and H Mart. I’m a seven-ish minute drive from Safeway as well.


Mary Ann September 18, 2023 at 2:07 pm

Five frugal habits for which I am grateful:

1. I pay for Every Dollar ( Dave Ramsey’s budgeting app.) It s $139.00 for the year but it has payed for itself in giving me perspective, keeping me out of denial, and detailing my progress. I know people use lots of different methods to keep a budget. My opinion is budget systems are like diets. The best one is the one you will actually comply with over long term. I am closing in on 2 years with Every Dollar.

2. Using my budget app as accountability I have been focusing on paying down what I borrowed from my emergency fund to buy my 60th birthday cruise in February. Buying with cash gave me a 3.3% discount. So Yeah! I know I am not suppose to use the emergency fund for things that are not an emergency but hey, life is life. As of next month, the travel budget is officially paid off. Three cheers for having a cushion.

3. I have crunched numbers big time regarding my decision on a retirement date. Numbers really do matter at this stage in the game. If this is my last year, I will retire with 70% of my current income. ( I cannot collect social security.) If I wait two more school years, I will retire with 80% of my current income. Tempting but after careful review of past budgets and taking into consideration current life, I have decided this year is my final victory lap. I am healthy and having a great year. I do not want to go out as anything but the best version of myself. My parents are 88 and 92. I want to optimize time with them. I have no debt and a few other investments. I am ready.

4. Part of my retirement requires a choice between a smallish lump sum ($26,000) and a lifetime payment of $173. I researched and chatted with experts. I finally decided that the 6% rule would be my guiding star and I am going with the lifetime annuity even though it would be cool to get the lump sum and buy two tickets to Antartica.

5. I am using all this research to let Hubby know my choice. Our finances are separate . It is my call. I have been working on being confident on my decisions despite his concerns.


Katy September 18, 2023 at 7:43 pm

I used to use the free version of Every Dollar, I liked its simplicity.


Jill A September 19, 2023 at 6:37 am

I feel like a 60th birthday cruise should be considered an emergency as long as it can be replaced.


Bee September 21, 2023 at 1:11 am

I will be celebrating THAT birthday soon. I feel like it’s an emergency on so many levels.


Vickey October 27, 2023 at 5:52 am

Aww. It’s not so bad, Bee. Come on in, the water is fine! I’m finding that if I take good care of myself wrt diet, sleep, exercise, etc. that these are very enjoyable years. Except perhaps for the part about being invisible! (My friends and I joke about turning to a Robin Hood inspired life of crime – since apparently nobody can see us, we’d get away with it?)


Michelle September 18, 2023 at 2:20 pm

Wonderland creek by Lynn Austin is a wonderful book . I highly recommend


Ava September 18, 2023 at 2:34 pm

We went south for an anniversary trip consisting of 2 nights in a hotel and 3 in a B&B.
1. My smart husband used points for both hotel nights. No cost.
2. We ate the breakfast provided by the B&B. One day we ate 3 meals. All other days, we ate 2 meals only.
3. The only money we spent on attractions was $5 each to tour the courthouse museum in Monroeville AL where Harper Lee watched from the balcony to see her father try cases. It was a treat.
4. I got a call from a dental office because the doctor who was supposed to do my treatment was not in network. I was able to change to an in-network doctor on another day. I appreciate them giving me the option.
5. I can’t think of anything else significant. Reading and listening to library books. Shopping thrift stores first. Eating leftovers. Rehoming unwanted items.


Pat September 18, 2023 at 4:12 pm

Like the scene in the movie,where Scout,Jem & Dill sneak into the courthouse to watch Atticus?
In case you can’t tell,it’s my favorite book of all time,15 in tenth grade till today,69.


Ava September 19, 2023 at 4:35 am

Pat, the movie was not filmed in the courthouse but the set was a duplicate of the real thing. I asked my 15 yr old granddaughter if she had read the book. Her response was “No. We were supposed to read it this year but someone said it was inappropriate so we are not going to.” I was horrified. I asked my teacher daughter in law about showing granddaughter the movie and she said she is going to make her read the book first. Yay for shreds of common sense left in the world.


A. Marie September 19, 2023 at 6:05 am

Ava, the report from your granddaughter that TKAM was deemed “inappropriate” is appalling. I’m glad your DIL is going to have your GD read the book before she sees the movie.


Ava September 19, 2023 at 8:27 am

A. Marie, I told that story to my son in law, also a high school English teacher. He said that he loved TKAM and had taught it many times in the past but that it had become “problematic ” now to teach anything that even mentions race. I am afraid of losing some great classics.

Selena September 19, 2023 at 6:56 pm

We won’t lose classics as long as those of us ensure others read the books. My Mom *never* censored what I read *EVER*.

Roberta September 22, 2023 at 10:18 am

My daughter’s teacher was going to cut it from the curriculum. I came at him with the fact that it was the only book in his reading list that wasn’t written by a white man. He added it back.

I also gave him a list of authors that were not white men, both women and authors of color, for future years. I was always a treat to have as a parent. :p


MB in MN September 22, 2023 at 10:57 am

Roberta, good for you! A range of authors and perspectives is critical to learning.

Katy September 18, 2023 at 7:41 pm

Your #5 may seem “significant,” but these mundane money saving acts are what add up.


ava September 18, 2023 at 2:35 pm

Katy, that is a very cute kitten. How old?


Katy September 18, 2023 at 7:50 pm

She’s twelve weeks old and we’ve been visiting with her since she was just a few weeks old.


Christine September 18, 2023 at 3:12 pm

Your son’s kitten! I can’t take the cuteness! I would have a hard time parting with that one but since she is going to live with your son, you can see her when you want to.
1. DH and I used the gift card I won in the free library raffle for a meal out on Saturday night. We hadn’t been out to eat at a “nice” restaurant since our buy one get one half off Cinco de Mayo.
2. Switched our two cats over to less expensive canned cat food. They’re not too thrilled but seem to be slowly getting used to it.
3. Our Rite Aid pharmacy is closing and they had some pretty awesome deals. I got my hair color and some Aveeno (doctor recommended for both of us) body wash all for 50% off. Bought the last two of each.
4. Reading a library book by one of my favorite authors, Alexander McCall Smith, wonderful writer of cozy mysteries.
5. I put together a pile (6) of puzzles I’ve already completed, a board game my grandchildren no longer play and a new word search book someone gave me to bring to my church’s thrift shop. I love this shop as it helps the church financially, it helps the community to buy goods at very low prices and it keeps things out of the landfill.


Katy September 18, 2023 at 7:39 pm

She is sooo cute and super snuggly!


Kathy September 18, 2023 at 5:03 pm

The good, the bad and the ugly
1. Traveled last week to Olympia, Washington for a national dog show. My airfare was free using a friends air miles. As much as I travel
I still haven’t mastered carryon luggage so I did have baggage fees
2. I took several items that I sold or traded (a new to me show outfit, some home grown and home made pickles, peanut brittle, jam) with friends there
3. Only bought $5 in raffle tickets
4. Shared a room with a friend and she brought beverages and snacks for the room
5. Took advantage of free breakfasts, coffee and box lunches
6. Hubby made a comprehensive list while I was gone and shopped $345 later. This was all edibles except $50 in adult beverages.
7. My work hours are only 8/week plus the dress code has been updated which will require me to buy black blouse/shirts. We’re supposed to get those supplied however in 6 months it’s yet to happen


Katy September 18, 2023 at 7:38 pm

I love that you traded home canned foods with friends. What did you get in return?


Jennifer September 18, 2023 at 5:18 pm

You are doing great on groceries! I had 2 weeks where I spent very little and then I went to Walmart and spent $200.The average in the end is lower though so I will take it.

Frugal fail – Lowes was having a huge appliance sale and our dishwasher was broken/unrepairable. Got a great looking dishwasher for under $600. Due to many screw ups by Lowes we never got the dishwasher and I refuse to buy an appliance there again. So we went to a small appliance store 30 minutes away and drove home a new dishwasher – for $200 more. Still cheaper than Costco, Home Depot, etc currently as the appliance sales seem to be over. Ugh!

1. Got home late and dh had wanted to go out to eat. I used one of our “emergency meals” and made spicy chicken sandwiches (Tyson frozen patties) and tator tots in 30 minutes.

2. Still picking cherry tomatoes from the garden AND I planted radishes a month ago and they are growing great.

3. Worked on cleaning out my dd’s room who just moved out. She had cut open a very large stuffed animal to use a small portion of the insides to fill a crochet project. I removed the remaining stuffing and set it aside for her future projects and thew away the shell. yes, the shell will go in the landfill but it is much less than the whole bear. And it prevents the purchase of stuffing at the craft store.

4. Paid some bills online. Received a $20 refund from the hospital for over payment. Got a notice our heating gas is going down this winter.

5. Found a book of stamps on the floor of dd’s room and $11 in a bag she told me to throw away. Both are considered payment for the doing the dirty work.


Katy September 18, 2023 at 7:36 pm

So sorry about your appliance fiasco.


Kathy Sell September 19, 2023 at 5:28 am

I’ve reused stuffing from pillows by washing the pillows first. This is on a to-do list as several of my pillows have lost their loft (lift? fluffiness?) The stuffing is polyester fiberfill so easily washed and dried.


Amy September 19, 2023 at 5:31 am

My experience with small appliance stores has been that they are more helpful when the appliance fails. The machines also seem less disposable. I am not hoping you have problems but if you do you might be grateful for the smaller shop.


Texasilver September 19, 2023 at 6:34 am

I had a similar experience w/ Lowes. I tried to order a fridge online on 2 occasions but had trouble w/ using gift cards I had earned from various endeavors. I then went to the brick & mortar store in Texas three times to try again. Once to look in-person at models & twice to order. Finally, was told the Texas store could not order a fridge for a Florida delivery. Then I went in-person to FL store to purchase it. The next day the fridge went on sale for 50$ less. I called customer service & got 50$ deducted. FL was running a promotion & I did not have to pay sales tax. I opened a Lowes account to get 5% off. The new fridge was 1400$. I paid 872$ using GCs, discounts, etc. A long & tiresome experience but perseverance paid off. I promptly paid off Lowes account so I didn’t have to pay interest. My 23 yr old fridge (still working) will go someone who needs it here in FL. The handyman will take it to a site that will give it away to a person in need in the Haitian community in South FL.


Pat September 23, 2023 at 4:44 am

My daughter and son in law have horror stories with Lowes,1 involving a 14k fence that was a joke and the 2nd like you with a dishwasher.
Lowes needs to do better vetting their 3rd party contractors apparently they don’t seem to care


Frugal Lisa September 26, 2023 at 6:49 am

I quit shopping at Lowe’s because they always ignore me. I’m like the Invisible Woman there. During the pandemic when everyone was required to wear face masks, I told one of their Customer Service clerks, who had her nose sticking out from the mask, that it was doing her no good and please don’t get close to me when your nose is exposed and possibly breathing out Covid viruses. She was really rude and irresponsible doing that. And one time, while I was in the middle of asking a Lowe’s clerk a question, he saw a male customer and just walked off while I was in mid sentence; he waited on the man instead of hearing me out. No more Lowe’s for me!( Luckily, I get excellent customer service at Home Depot, Ace and True Value.)


Selena September 18, 2023 at 6:54 pm

Torties rule – pure and simple. Lots of personality and interaction (some are more vocal than others however). Plenty of “catitude” too!
Discovered we missed digging a potato plant so 4 nice size bonus potatoes were plenty for a couple of meals. Garden is done for the year. Tilled in compost then we had *way more rain* than predicted which worked out quite nice. A bit too soon to plant garlic – unless the forecast changes that is. Deer are already winter colored and other wildlife “signs” so I’m thinking short fall, early winter this year.Have a few more items to stock up on but we’re in pretty good shape.


Katy September 18, 2023 at 7:34 pm

I bought a ten-pound bag of potatoes for $3.99 today. Does that also count as bonus potatoes?


Selena September 19, 2023 at 7:02 pm

I’ll allow your bonus potatoes lol. If you’re in WA state, I suspect you could get a 25-50 lb bag pretty cheap at a farmers market – especially at end of the season. While it was a few years ago, we scored 25 lbs of taters for around $5 at a farmers market (last day of market on our way home – not in WA mind you). While taters store well (better half never grew up harvesting taters every year), we did share some of them.
Bonus points for anyone who hauls their taters in a gunny sack (I am territorial with my gunny sacks – hard to find these days!).


Jill September 18, 2023 at 7:06 pm

1. When we moved in December, I set aside all the things I wanted to list on ebay. I finally got around to listing them this weekend. There are various and sundry items that were from around the house so I won’t be making a fortune but “crap out, money in” – maybe.
2. Covid is on its’ way out the door – unfortunately, every one of my family members got it. Being sick made for some very frugal days at home.
3. We have my grandson for about 40 hours per week and rather than buy him new toys when we get bored with the ones we have( I’m including myself in that “we”) I rotate them out. Spent a few hours organizing them over the weekend. And now we have “new” toys
4. We had an ikea coffee table that had seen better days – so much so that Goodwill wouldn’t even take it. I would like a shelf over my washer and dryer so my husband decided he could take that coffee table and make it into a shelf. He needs a project and I’d like a shelf. Win win.
5. All the usual suspects – library book reading (Landlines by Raynor Winn), visiting a state park for a walk using our pass, watching Netflix (the Blue Zones documentary) and eating down the pantry and freezer – grilled chicken kebabs, crockpot italian chicken and smoothies to use up sour blueberries.


Katy September 18, 2023 at 7:32 pm

I like turning a broken down table into a shelf. So smart!


Teri September 18, 2023 at 8:15 pm

Pretty sure you meant “pique” your interest.


Ecoteri September 18, 2023 at 11:32 pm

@Teri, I had to go ask the google machine, as I also thought “Pique” but then wondered if I was mis-remembering… Now I am re-taught the differences between peek, peak and pique (If my Grade 5 teacher knew that I was second guessing myself she would be laughing at me right now – grammar and language lessons up the yin-yang and she made it FUN!)


Katy September 19, 2023 at 10:17 am

You are so right, necessary changes have been maid! 😉


Ecoteri September 18, 2023 at 11:42 pm

FFT – the holiday with Mom edition
1. Went on a rather expensive holiday with my mom – but she is 93 and it was a real trip up memory lane for her. We got a lovely cabin with a good kitchen, and did a grocery stock up as part of the adventure, so we mostly ate what we had brought from home or bought on purpose.
2. I received a $30 Birthday gift coupon for the hotel restaurant, from the hotel. If mom hadn’t bought a $12 glass of wine, our “appetizers” that were enough for supper would have been covered (save the tip). However she did. Not really a fail as we had fun.
3. #1 daughter came up to visit once I got home, I (as always) cut her hair. big savings for her, other than perhaps one salon haircut I have always cut her hair. Good thing it grows fast, I always say… And that she is cheaper than she is fashion conscious.
4. I continue to do the hoop jumping necessary to benefit from switching from a big bank to a Credit Union. There was a $400 offer if I opened an account and set up one recurring deposit and two bill payments a month for 6 months. Got the recurring deposit paperwork completed, and am busy moving my money over and paying my usual bills. In 6 months a bonus deposit should show up!
5. related to #4, same Credit Union offered $300 if I put $1000 into an investment account and didn’t take it out for at least 6 months. That is the kind of investment I wish I could do all the time! Investment made, shall look for that bonus soon!
6. also related to #4 – opened a new Credit Card with said Credit Union – the offer requires some hoop jumping but I should be seeing more $ showing up. Frugal fail is that the card isn’t working suddenly so I wasn’t able to pay the hotel bill with it, which would have gotten me a long way through one of the hoops….


Katy September 19, 2023 at 10:14 am

We bank with a credit union and love it! And making $300 from a $1000 investment? That’s amazing!


Selena September 19, 2023 at 7:19 pm

Just be warned you might get a 1099 – no such thing as a free lunch.


Ecoteri September 19, 2023 at 10:09 pm

@Selena, as I am Canadian I won’t get a 1099, whatever that is!


Selena September 20, 2023 at 7:24 pm

“Form 1099-MISC is often considered a catchall for income that doesn’t fit into other categories.” In the US, the $300 you received would have been considered income. Back in the 1990s, my employer offered a deal on purchasing computers. Catch was the “discount” would be taxable to me. I passed on the deal as it was a wash $ wise.

Jill A September 19, 2023 at 3:59 am

1. I called my garbage company and negotiated a new price for service. This will save $100 over the year.
2. My daughter and I drove around a neighborhood that was having it’s semi annual bulk trash pick up. I found a squatty potty which was on my Mom’s wish list. I scrubbed and disinfected it before handing it over to her. I also found a ceramic garden stool which is now sitting on my daughters front porch to be used as a table. I also found a like new dog bed with a washable cover and free jewelry gift boxes. I have used one box already to ship a small pin I sold on Ebay.
3. My Mom loaned me her power washer last week and we washed the north side of my house which was green with mildew. I used my chainsaw to cut down some dead branches from several of her spruce trees.
4. I glued the lid to my salt box that I’d dropped and broke. It doesn’t look pretty but it will do.
5. I used some reward points to book lodging for a small trip up north with my girls.


Katy September 19, 2023 at 10:12 am

I got my daughter a squatty potty from my Buy Nothing group awhile back, and yes, I too disinfected the hell out of it!


A. Marie September 19, 2023 at 4:31 am

FFT, Simulcast Edition (I’m putting this same comment up on The Frugal Girl):

(1) I’ve received my check for 2 cents from Chase, for which they have nobody but themselves to blame for (a) cancelling DH’s Chase Amazon Visa card on me and (b) then messing up their own arithmetic. Will be looking for a frame for it among DH’s stash of frames in the basement!

(2) My JASNA friend in the next city who works at a Panera gave me three frozen Panera souffles and a frozen muffin when I saw her on Saturday. They arrived home with me in good shape in my cooler, and I had one of the souffles for lunch yesterday. Nom nom nom!

(3) Two neighbors and I went to the home of an ex-neighbor (she and her husband now live in senior housing) to celebrate the ex-neighbor’s 90th birthday. My contributions were a vase of flowers from my garden, plus all the plates, napkins, and utensils we’d need (we didn’t want the ex-neighbor to lift a finger on this). I packed the equipment into a nice picnic hamper I found recently at a Thrifty Shopper for $4.50.

(4) And the ex-neighbor, who shares my interest in the British royal family (she’s the one who, as a teenage schoolgirl in Kent, got together with two schoolmates to send a wedding gift to the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947) gave me a bunch of royal magazines she’d saved, covering the Queen’s funeral and King Charles’s coronation. (It still seems weird to say or write “King Charles.”)

(5) Finally, a frugal fail: I’m visiting my dentist at noon today to have a new crack in one of my teeth checked out. This means $ for this appointment plus, probably, $$$ for eventual repairs. But I don’t feel comfortable letting this go till my next scheduled appointment in December.


Amy September 19, 2023 at 5:32 am

I love it. Chase messed up their arithmetic.


Jill A September 19, 2023 at 6:35 am

I love that you’re framing the check. LOL


Katy September 19, 2023 at 10:10 am

Kristen and I are buddies and happy to share your lovely comments! <3

I love that you brought a cooler for your free Panera goodies. Free food just hits differently!


Marcia September 19, 2023 at 7:43 pm

I don’t think your #5 is a Fail. Taking care of the crack now rather than later is, in the long term, a thriftier choice.


MB in MN September 19, 2023 at 7:28 am

As usual, I marveled at the number of things you put in your #4 frugal thing!

1. Rescued a large, sturdy bin from a dumpster, cleaned it up, and gave it to my husband as a replacement for a battered one he had in his truck.

2. Found a tube of lip balm on the ground. Cut off the top part of the product and cleaned the outside thoroughly.

3. Went to an apple orchard with my sister and bought a half peck of apples that we split. Came back to my place afterward for bring-your-own-lunch instead of going out to eat, which used to be our default.

4. Needed some small loose scratch paper so I took sheets from a composition notebook and cut each sheet into smaller pieces. I had received the notebook from a Buy Nothing garage sale where everything was free.

5. Received an annual credit from our electricity co-op.

I, too, did “chain reading” last week (thanks for that term). Mine were “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin and “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus. I may have heard about them here. Highly recommend both.


Katy September 19, 2023 at 10:07 am

Well done rescuing the dumpster bin!!!


Bee September 21, 2023 at 1:28 am

I loved Lessons in Chemistry. The lead character reminded so much of my mother who worked on the space program in the 50s. Tomorrow is also an excellent book. Enjoy!


Ashley Bananas September 19, 2023 at 8:29 am

The last week has been very quiet, which is good for savings.
1. A neighbor was giving away clothes in my size. Myself and another neighbor went over yesterday and I left with a large bag of clothes. I’m wearing one of the new to me shirts to work today. I’m thankful to have a wardrobe in my current size without going to a traditional store or spending retail.
2. This weekend a neighbor had a yard sale. I bought three items for a dollar a piece. I bought these with a dollar and some change in my car and purse.
3. I too live in a grocery oasis and played the grocery store game with sales and coupon deals on Friday night at Publix, and then Saturday morning went to a few more grocery stores leading me to marked down meat at 50% off at Aldi, and clearance red, white, and blue M&M’s at Walmart. I went to Winn Dixie and bought Lipton soup/dip mix which came with a free 16 oz tub of sour cream. Total cost $1.49. I used rewards points making the purchase free. I needed more eggs pronto and went to Aldi where they were $1.17 a dozen. I scrounged the car for change and used that instead of credit/debit/etc. A neighbor gave away watermelons in the neighborhood Facebook group. I took half of one and then halved it giving some to my next door neighbors. My son will eat the rest. Yay for reduced cost or free food.
4. I did a ton of cooking this weekend grabbing some food out of our freezer and pantry and also using a few canned goods. I brought more canned goods in from the garage food storage and gave a few more cans to the neighbors. My goal is to go through at least half of the food storage by New Years as I bulked up two and three years ago and now some dates are coming up. I’ve started using the canned beans more. I feel chili coming on in the near future.
5. I needed wine corks for the craft club I teach. I posted on the neighborhood Facebook and was gifted with a large stash from a neighbor. Score!

Feeling thankful for being frugal. I haven’t added up all my numbers but I know that intentionally spending less saves more and cuts the notes of inflation down.


Katy September 19, 2023 at 10:06 am

Wow, that is an impressive frugal five. Well done, you!


Ruby September 20, 2023 at 5:51 am

Ashley, that is wonderful about the clothing gift from your neighbor. That’s how neighborhoods ought to work.


Tonya September 19, 2023 at 12:02 pm

I loved reading these comments, so much inspiration from each person’s small and intentional frugalities here.

1) my senior cat has lost an alarming amount of weight. Took him in today. $370, for exam and comprehensive blood work. I guess this is why I’m frugal, so a big bill doesn’t freak me out.

2) Borrowed a wheelbarrow from a neighbor instead of buying one. Took him baked goods as a thank you.

3) submitted for reimbursement for my professional license renewal fee. It’s great that work covers these costs for me.

4) picked up a free igloo cooler, a beautiful potted plant, and a toaster in a curb free pile in my neighborhood.

5) I’m making lots of creative meals at home. I’m also trying to put ground pumpkin pie and cinnamon.cinnamon slices in my homemade coffee, instead of succumbing so often to pumpkin cream cold brew.


Ashley Bananas September 19, 2023 at 3:17 pm

When cats lose a lot of weight at once I consider having them checked for worms, and also especially if they are older having their thyroid checked. Wishing you and your kitty the best <3


Selena September 19, 2023 at 7:16 pm

When my dearly departed cat (DDC) turned “teen”, I had baseline blood work done. Was helpful a few months later when DDC wasn’t feeling well. Warp ahead 3 years, DDC had also been losing weight. Did the worm check (inside/outside cat), negative. I knew something wasn’t right – I suspected diabetes. Sad to say it was cancer. She fulfilled her bucket list.
Had baseline blood work done on both “dumps” I took in. Not inexpensive, that’s for sure but was budgeted (though I hate the word “budget” – all money is meant to be spent, just a matter of when, including one’s estate). Besides knowing the general health of a “dumped” cat, it will likely save money (and heartache/worry) in the long run.
Hope kitty is doing better.


Cindy in the South September 19, 2023 at 1:42 pm

Kitty is soooo cute!


Texasilver September 19, 2023 at 5:34 pm

Free kitten love & cuddles! I hope the elder cat will welcome the baby. They can have fun together. I bet the kitten is getting attached to you.


Katy September 19, 2023 at 6:30 pm

Yes she is!


Selena September 20, 2023 at 7:28 pm

Either cat sitting at your house in the future will happen or kitten will miss someone being at home during the day thus will reside with you. Torties are very social even if just hanging out with you. Your son might have two cats sooner than later.


Bee September 20, 2023 at 10:23 am

Did you enjoy Pineapple Street, Katy?


Katy September 20, 2023 at 5:57 pm

I felt like the way that it switched back and forth between characters was choppy.


Bee September 21, 2023 at 1:24 am

Mmmmm… I just picked it up at the library. It was finally my turn. I am trying to prioritize my reading at the moment. So many books, so little time. I may push that one down the pile a little.


rebecca September 22, 2023 at 7:45 am

Cute kitty, Katy!
1. Eating what I have until I go grocery shopping this weekend.
2. Ignored the siren song of takeout.
3. Working to tick things of my long term to do list. Ugh! But I’m getting it done, slowly but surely.
4. I started dropping pennies in my neighborhood. There are a bunch of children on my street and I love the thought of them being excited to find them. Maybe a little crazy, but also maybe a little bit of magic for them?
5. The usual-cold water washes, coffee from home ect.


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