Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 6, 2023 · 120 comments

  1. I washed our towels after everyone was done showering and then hung them back up a couple hours later. The standard advice about linens and towels is to own three full sets so you can have one in use, one in the wash and one folded and ready to go. Instead we have one decent set, plus a variety of scrappy backup towels. So what if this requires me to run a full cycle of laundry on a single day? I don’t mind, and it means that I don’t have to buy and store multiple towel sets.

    I share this “frugal thing” to let you know that you’re not required to follow traditional advice, you and you alone get to choose the household routines that make sense to you. Just say “no” to big towel!

  2. I ordered a free “Emergency Pizza” from Domino’s, which I earned from buying my daughter one of their gluten-free pizzas last week. Then when I went to pick it up, it took too long so they automatically sent me an email for another free pizza. A chain of free pizzas for the win!

  3. I only went through one of my bags of Costco Hi-Chew Halloween candy, so I’ll return the other (unopened) one back to the store for a refund.

  4. Just a ton of boring frugal things like cooking from scratch, batching all errands, raking my own yard, planting some grocery store garlic cloves in an unattractive backyard flowerpot, wearing sweaters on cold days, baking my own bread and eating leftovers.

  5. I didn’t buy any Lear Jets.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 120 comments… read them below or add one }

MB in MN November 6, 2023 at 6:18 am

Katy, I have one set of bathroom towels, too, that I hang back up after laundering. Same for bed sheets. For your “boring” #4, those are all things that make my heart sing!

1. Made a batch of truly terrible homemade tortilla chips. They looked and tasted like cardboard, with a dash of elephant dung. Apparently I had both amnesia and deja vu, as I had forgotten that I tried making these chips before with similar results. I abhor waste, so we topped those terrible chips with black beans, corn, shredded cheese, salsa and sour cream in order to eat them. I made those chips specifically to use up some jalapeno peppers – and then I forgot to use them!

2. Found a large roll of dog poop bags on a walk. A few days later, I found another one. So that’s twice in my lifetime, within one week of each other.

3. Walked two miles with my dog to pick up a Buy Nothing item.

4. Went on a fascinating factory tour of the Faribault Mill here in Minnesota. It cost $10 and was worth every penny to see how blankets and other items are manufactured, in some cases using the same machinery from 150 years ago. Afterward, I bought an item that was 75% off. Did I need it? No, but it’s a treasured memento from a wonderful outing with my sister.

5. While on vacation, I went thrifting with my husband. This was only his second time and he is already a pro. Our favorite fun, unnecessary find was a wooden cake stand that was in terrible shape but we restored it to its former glory using an old can of Scott’s Liquid Gold and an old rag. Since we have no need for a cake stand, we’re going to use it to hold fruit; and when we entertain, we’ll use it for appetizers.


Katy November 6, 2023 at 9:21 am

Happy to read that you liked my “boring” frugal things. I posted a “Tiny” frugal things blog post the day before writing this, so I was out of more interesting ideas:

Sometimes I’m a homebody, which can be hard to make interesting.


Judi November 9, 2023 at 8:49 am

Honestly I don’t know how many sheet sets I have, I make sure to rotate their use and some I’ve had for a looooong time. What I do is buy sheets that can be mixed and matched, since the first thing to wear out is the fitted sheet, then the pillow cases and lastly the flat sheet. Mine are mostly in blues, plain and printed. When the fitted sheet wears out I use the unworn corners to make pillow cases. We use a down duvet in the winter, I made the cover from two flat sheets, one side printed the other plain. I also have a duvet cover I got for free so there is always a clean one.

What I want to know is what do you do when there is an “emergency”, someone is sick or there are bodily fluids. I have lots of spares so the dirty bedding can be soaked and washed and the bed remade right away.

Also, my husband has asthma and allergies so pretty much everything is stripped off the bed and washed weekly (the duvet is aired out or “fluffed” in the dryer if weather is bad. And the mattress is vacuumed. It has made a tremendous difference for him over the years. The biggest problem was with the mattress pad, most are made too cheaply to take the washing but I finally got some with a lifetime guarantee and they are holding up well.

I don’t think there is anything thrifty about only owning one set of bedding. Buying the when they are on sale (which I do) allows you to wash on a nice day and dry outside saving on power bills. And they smell so great afterwards.


Katy November 9, 2023 at 10:11 am

I do have multiple sets of sheets, although I tend to launder and put back whichever ones are my favorite at that time.


Jean C November 6, 2023 at 2:59 pm

Oh my gosh – the Faribault Mill comment brought back memories of my wonderful aunt whose standard wedding gift was always a queen sized wool Faribault Mill blanket. I recently saw a beautiful Faribault throw in the thrift shop I volunteer at – I had to restrain myself from purchasing it for its sentimentality.


MB in MN November 7, 2023 at 2:34 pm

Nice! Faribault Mill makes such nice, long-lasting products. And I learned they purchased a mill in Maine that produces cotton items for them.


Bee November 8, 2023 at 3:42 am

I bought a beautiful Faribault plaid lap blanket at the Good will bins. It was tremendous quality. It is primarily red and does not match anything I own, but I love it. (I have a thing for vintage textiles) I thought about repurposing it and using it as a Christmas tree skirt.


Kathy G November 6, 2023 at 6:18 am

Even when I ‘followed the rules’ I never had more than two sets of sheets per bed. Now that I have more time to cycle through the laundry, it’s easy to strip the bed/wash the sheets/and return them before bedtime.


JC November 6, 2023 at 6:31 am

I have more than 2 sets of sheets because I have 2 extra guest rooms.
1. cleaned and processed 3 large free pumpkins they yielded 20 cups of very thick solid pumpkin. I drained the pulp overnight in the fridge.
2. used the last of the jalapenos from my garden and some given to make some truly hot jelly.
3. drying laundry outside on lines because I can for the time being
4, cooked chicken on the wood stove, using it on salads and wraps
5. made rosemary hair rinse with given rosemary, on top the woodstove.



Katy November 6, 2023 at 9:18 am

I drain my pumpkin puree after I defrost it, maybe I should do it before I freeze it. Hmm . . .


Alexia November 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

Pro tip: don’t drain it at all. Bake the pumpkin halves cut side up until tender enough to scoop out of the shell. Because the dry heat is evaporative you will have minimal liquid left in the puree.


JC November 7, 2023 at 8:52 am

I do this but still can drain over a quart of liquid off each pumpkin.
They were really big.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:46 am

Good to know, thanks!


Val November 6, 2023 at 6:55 am

The phrase “just say no to big towel” made me smile!
Thank you!


Katy November 6, 2023 at 9:17 am

Then my work is done!


Marybeth from NY November 6, 2023 at 7:16 am

Most of our towels are from dumpster picking on college move out. Our local college is half international students. They buy lots of stuff and throw it away at the end of the year. Old worn out ones get turned into rags. We rarely use paper towels. Hubby gets a 3 pack every Christmas and it lasts him all year.
1. I made banana chocolate chip muffins with brown bananas.
2. I picked up a garbage can of leaves from the driveway. We do our own yard work. I try to pick up a can a day.
3. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were leftovers. Hubby is still away for work. I brought home a leftover pizza on Saturday from work so it will last me a while as I eat one piece with a salad.
4. Still dehydrating swiss chard. I filled another pint worth. I do chop the stems and freeze them. They are good in soups and stir fries.
5. I ran the dishwasher full, washed laundry on cold water and hung 95 percent of it up. I throw my jeans in the dryer. I hate crunchy jeans. The heat is set to 65 when we are home and 60 when we are at work. I booked a library pass to take my cousin’s kids to a kids museum over Christmas break. She has to work.


Katy November 6, 2023 at 9:15 am

I assume you’re growing your own Swiss chard?


Marybeth from NY November 6, 2023 at 9:22 am

Best year ever for it. And my best friend’s died in August. I can’t kill it at this point.


Marie November 7, 2023 at 4:15 pm

I will have to grow some Swiss chard next year. I grow kale for my 5 sheep, and discovered we like the new small leaves in salad. And the bigger leaves cooked up in pasta. Always looking for healthy eating for cheap


Wendy November 6, 2023 at 7:32 am

We have nicer towels and scrappy towels. We save the nicer ones for guests. Funny enough, one of our scrappiest towels is my favorite one!


Katy November 6, 2023 at 9:12 am

Scrappy towel for the win!


kathy November 6, 2023 at 7:35 am

1. Although I downsized linens when we moved 3 years ago. I have 4 sets of sheets for our bed (2 light weight, 2 flannel). Only one set of sheets for guest room which is occupied by our 46 year old son since 8/2022. I did go thru all of our throw blankets last year and donated to homeless outreach.
2. Our younger son gifted us 3 sets of towels a few years ago for Christmas. I have those plus older son brought a couple of sets with him when he moved in.
3. I have numerous kitchen towels many “holiday” related. I love linens
4. Went to concert last night and didn’t stop at bar for a drink
5. Working today and packed my bottle of water and granola bar.


Katy November 6, 2023 at 9:11 am

You must have better towel than we do, as we don’t have a linen cupboard.


Kathy November 6, 2023 at 1:54 pm

I had a wall of storage space in old home. Downsizing I now have small areas to store linens.


Queen of Fifty Cents November 6, 2023 at 7:43 am

May I respectfully suggest that you give up raking your leaves? Much better for the environment, and time saved is a form of frugality. Pollinators will thank you. I have a quarter-acre yard surrounded by maple, linden, oak, walnut, cherry and filbert trees, and those leaves stay put. Any that haven’t disappeared over the winter (most do) get raked to an appropriate area. I do clear the public sidewalk with a rechargeable blower – done in five minutes!


Katy November 6, 2023 at 9:08 am

The raking that I did was off our sidewalk, wood deck and brick patio.


Selena November 6, 2023 at 8:07 pm

We put leaves on the garden and into the compost bins. Which doesn’t make a dent in what falls – 5+ acres of trees = a lot of leaves. We do mow what falls in the very small yard (perhaps 1/4 acre?). But I concur – environmentally better to leave them. I will say you do need to watch any low lying areas as too much leaf build up does a number on grass. Aren’t rechargeable blowers great – especially when you buy a brand where the batteries work in multiple implements.


Mary Ann November 6, 2023 at 8:00 am

Good Morning,
Five non- frugal but much appreciated luxuries:

1. I have two sets of sheets at our home and the cabin. Super important at the cabin because guests ( who always want to help) strip the sheets, put them in the laundry and make up the bed with the second sheet.

2. At home I have the luxury of a house cleaner twice a month who also strips the bed.

3. A Friday afternoon visit to the emergency dentist an hour away to determine pain WASN”T a root canal. Urgent Care declared it an ear infection. I had insurance for both.

4. After Urgent Care, I found myself near the Sacramento area famous BRA FITTER. She is a tiny take no prisoners Babushka. She bullies and compliments at the same time in the dressing room fitting every bra she sells.I had been in denial of the pain my bras were causing me because of a ten pound weight gain and five years of post menopause. I spent $300 in bras that are beautiful, improve my posture, boost my moral and support a small business. I went from a 34G to a 36G. Anyone who is large breastedt can understand the life changing math.

5. I walked around the century home that has still not closed and dream of all the future renovations.


Katy November 6, 2023 at 9:10 am

I do have backup sheets, although I end up washing and putting the same ones back on the bed most of the time as I have my favorites.


Kathy November 6, 2023 at 1:57 pm

I’m envious of the bra fitter. We had one in so cal called the wizard of bras. Nothing like that in central Oklahoma


BettafrmdaVille November 6, 2023 at 3:33 pm

Is your favorite set LL Bean brand? 🙂


Mary Ann November 7, 2023 at 7:48 am

I don’t have a brand. I just buy clearance sheets. Recommendations?


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:42 am

I have just the one LL Bean sheet set. Too pricey to buy extras!


Jill A November 7, 2023 at 4:30 am

I sympathize with your #4. I wear the same bra size or was until I lost weight. A comfortable bra is everything. I’d love to find a good bra fitter.


Q November 6, 2023 at 8:13 am

1. Attended high school show for a free evening out. I enjoyed it as much as a Broadway play: they performed Peter and the Starcatcher, and it was terrific. This supported my neighbors, who loved having friendly faces in the audience, and was so much fun!

2. My husband is starting to get on board the cancellation train: he brought home his work bills, and asked if I could cancel some annual software subscriptions he no longer uses. It took me about 15 minutes, tops, to cancel $350 annually: in 5 years that is $1750. Plus, he reexamined his apps again, and found he had a duplicate of a weather app that was super expensive, and cut $3/week from that, for another $750 5 year savings. I look at the 5 year savings when cutting subscriptions, because it seems like we sometimes let things drift by, and then 5 years have passed…

3. I was going to buy special freezer tape to label soups, etc, but looked online that masking tape works just as well if you use a marker. I cooked some beautiful collard greens (a high source of available, absorbable calcium) this morning, when I am fresh and in a cooking mood. I am also making up some vegan meatloaf, and will freeze some, and mixing a batch of no-knead bread, cooking up some beans from scratch, etc.

4. Yesterday my husband drove me up island. While I was busy, I sent him to Sagamore Hill, which has a really cool guided tour for $10, and then he hiked the grounds, etc. I had to log on in the morning to the reservations site at exactly 9;30 AM, as that is when they release the tickets. DH is a real history buff, and he said the tour was great. (I researched things to do in that area on Trip Advisor, and it had received high marks.) It was a frugal use of time and gas.
5. I am buying my round trip to Baltimore from NY Easter train tickets now: two round trips will be a total of $110, as opposed to $576 if we were to buy them one month before! The train is quicker and more comfortable than, and actually faster than, flying, when you account for TSA lines, etc!

will do yard work in the beautiful sunshine today.


Katy November 6, 2023 at 9:07 am

I love canceling things, it’s the same catharsis as donating unused stuff to Goodwill!


Suzanne November 6, 2023 at 11:50 am

Katy, I feel the same! DH used to be much more resistant, but now that he sees how much money is adding up, he is loving it!


A. Marie November 6, 2023 at 9:46 am

I’m delighted for your husband that he got to Sagamore Hill. Although I know that TR has been criticized in recent years for various valid reasons, JASNA BFF and I have both been TR fans from childhood (hey, we both wore glasses from an early age and were unabashed brainiacs, and so did/was he). One of our best day trips in the NYC area was to SH.


Suzanne November 6, 2023 at 11:51 am

A. Marie,
TR made many mistakes, but it was an interesting tour, DH said. I’m glad you enjoyed the tour, also.


Ashley Bananas November 7, 2023 at 12:48 pm

You just reminded me to cancel a subscription – and I did!! $5 a month back in my pocket.


W November 7, 2023 at 4:37 pm

Ashley, that’s great! This community really inspires each other!


Danielle C November 6, 2023 at 8:47 am

1. My husband and I had been wanting to create a living trust but didn’t know where to start. An attorney offered a seminar and half-priced trusts for those in my husband’s line of work so we signed up and are well on the way to complete the process. Of course I called a local attorney to compare the cost and we are actually saving even more than half price.

2. A friend invited a large group one for a nacho night but was a little worried about having the right quantity of food. I brought a few items as backup to help her feel better but kept them stashed away. They ended up not being needed so I took them home.

3. Food delivery. Two of our family friends were recently released from the hospital (one had a baby, one nearly had a heart attack) so I made a double recipe of our favorite meal and dropped dinner for each family that night using carefully saved and cleaned takeout containers that I won’t need back.

4. I have a stash of string lights that we bought on clearance for party decorations a few years back and I haven’t used in a while. I listed the whole lot on Facebook Marketplace so we will see if they can find a new home.

5. A family dinner got rescheduled twice due to work schedules and illness but my contribution was three bottles of wine so they kept just fine.


Katy November 6, 2023 at 9:04 am

That’s very nice of you to put meals together for you friends!


Selena November 6, 2023 at 8:14 pm

Meals in time of need – regardless of source of need – seems to be a lost art. Even when reheating a meal is required, it is a lot less work. I’m sure your friends appreciate the meals.


Jill A November 6, 2023 at 9:25 am

I also don’t follow the rules for towels or sheets. I hate folding sheets so I only have one set for my bed. I was them and put them right back on.
1. I visited my daughter who lives a four hour drive away. I prioritized eating the leftovers that would spoil while we were gone. This meant some strange meals were eaten but no waste.
2. My middle daughter and her fiance watched my pup while we were gone. I often dog sit for them and they are always happy to return the favor.
3. We packed sandwiches and snacks for the drive so no food was purchased. Lunch was so filling that we just ate cheese and snacks for dinner also.
4. We made a Goodwill stop on the way. I found some great items to fill in my wardrobe. I have lost 17 lbs and want a few things for when I go out. Baggy clothes at home are fine though.
5. My kids all love bookstores so we visited a few. I didn’t purchase any books. My son-in-law questioned why and I explained that I only read books from the library since I rarely re-read a book, I don’t need to own them.


Marcia November 6, 2023 at 10:30 am

I enjoy solo road trips, and one of my favorite things is to stop at thrift stores in Other Towns. The kinds of things on offer vary with each locale. And also since I live in a fairly expensive city, the thrift prices at home are sometimes unthrifty since the stores have to cover their rent costs. Smaller towns and cities often have better prices.


Katy November 6, 2023 at 10:59 am

I do like that your capitalized “Other Things.” And I agree about thrifting while traveling.


Jill A November 7, 2023 at 4:36 am

The thrift store I stopped at had an amazing selection of high quality clothing. I think it’s the only thrift store in that area so they must get it all.


Q November 6, 2023 at 11:56 am

When my kids were little, we always stopped at the library in other towns. We all had cards in their grandmothers’ towns, so that when we stayed there, they could get books, do the programs, etc.

I bought my Alaskan souvenir in the St. Vincent’s thrift shop in Juneau: a tie-dyed long sleeved t-shirt emblazoned with all sorts of local hockey championship logos. it cost 99 cents, and I love it.


Coral Clarke November 6, 2023 at 12:25 pm

At 75( gloriously solo, no TV) I’m a heavily addicted, couple of books a day reader, and lifelong library member, 5 years ago I set free all the books I knew I would never either read again, or refer to again.I’m down to about 125 now. I pick up catalogues for several book stores when they come out, and can order most from the library. I only buy books I have read and know I need to own( Hans Rosling’s “, Factfulness” , “;and The Mirror and the Palette ”,or new releases by Diana Gabaldon ( Outlander series) Sara Donati (Into the Forest series) Donna Leon
( Commisario Brunetti books).These are my Time of Trouble Valium books!


Mary Ann November 6, 2023 at 2:48 pm

I teach Factfulness at High School. It was a life changer for me in terms of world view. I, in turn, teach it to my students.


Ecoteri November 6, 2023 at 8:43 pm

“Factfulness” was an eye opener for me, too. Hans Roslings other book written at the same time is more of a biography “How I learned to understand the World”. I got Factfulness from the library due to someone here recommending it, and currently have that #2 book 3/4 read. delicious.
I admire your ability to purge books, perhaps I can make that a goal going forward. However, there are some books my library hasn’t gotten in and some that are old that I order from as used books because I know I will read and reread…


Marilyn November 6, 2023 at 10:47 pm

My husband and I both enjoy the Commissario Brunnetti books too. Our library also has videos of the Brunnetti series which we both enjoyed as well.


Jill A November 7, 2023 at 8:39 am

Oh I like that “Time of Trouble Valium Books”. I have a couple of those too.


Christine November 6, 2023 at 3:12 pm

Congratulations on the weight loss! 17 pounds is not easy to lose. And I agree about the clothes: at home, anything goes.


Jill A November 7, 2023 at 4:36 am

Thank you


iforonwy November 6, 2023 at 9:25 am

1.On Sundays our utilities company has a deal of half price electricity between the hours of 11am and 4 pm and so I used the time to cook a no-egg yoghurt cake, a large chilli and a cottage pie. I came in from church at 1 minute to 11am to find hubby hovering over the kettle waiting for it to be 11.00 to boil the kettle for coffee!
2.Hubby had a notification from the car club that he had free membership for for 12 months telling him that his card was still valid and that he could take the car in for a free 10-point winter check up. We popped along for said check and car sailed through and it saved us £15.
3. Neighbours who are moving put out a set of classic metal garden furniture 2 chairs and a table to take for free. These are now awaiting some better weather for us to refurbish them.
4. Picked up some books that we had reserved from the library.
5. Sold 3 items on e-bay this morning.


A. Marie November 6, 2023 at 9:59 am

FFT, My Boring Frugal Linens (and Other Things) Edition:

In keeping with today’s “boring FTs” theme centering on household linens, here are mine:

(1) I do have seven pairs of towels in active use–but three of these were rescues from either DH’s rental properties or college dorm cleanouts, and another two had been put on DH’s trailer for transport to the dump by DH’s sister, who micromanaged the whole process of cleaning out my MIL’s house almost 20 years ago. (As soon as we were out of sight, I rescued the towels, along with DH’s cherished statue of the Buddha from his teenage bedroom and various other treasures. My SIL, as I have indicated in comments over the years, was not one of my favorite people.)

(2) The towels are accompanied by gloriously mismatched, but reasonably color-coordinated, washcloths and bath mats–all from “alternative” sources.

(3) I own three sets of sheets: one for the master BR bed, one for the guest bed, and one for backup. I honestly can’t remember how old all these are.

(4) And I too have a good supply of “scrappy” towels. DH and I always called these “dog” towels because we used them for drying off our two dogs at the door on wet days, but they have umpteen other uses, as many of us know.

(5) Finally, as I have noted in earlier comments, I dry all clothes and all linens except the sheets on my Antiques Roadshow set of drying racks–all but one of which were rental property salvage, and at least one of which must now be pushing 80 years old.


Katy November 6, 2023 at 11:24 am

I feel like your towels have such a rich history and could be woven into a novel. I’d totally read it!


A. Marie November 6, 2023 at 12:21 pm

Or possibly just a memoir titled “Scavenger Hunt”? Dang, Katy, you’ve got me thinking…


Selena November 6, 2023 at 8:21 pm

I marked the set of barely past scrappy towels with a Sharpie. Those towels could leave the house – vacation, swimming etc. Yeah, I hoped they’d come home but if not, so be it. I did 99% of the laundry over the years and knew which towels/wash clothes were “scrappy” and not to go in the linen closet. But the rare time it wasn’t me, it saved me time.


mary in maryland November 6, 2023 at 11:34 am

1. We have one set of bed sheets. I have a backup for the fitted sheet. I do have three sets of fabulous pillow cases make from torn or thrifted sheets. I wash the pillowcases every time I do laundry, as the mister has an oily head.
2. When we cleaned out his mother’s house we divided the towels between the three sibs. Each got a selection from the good, the bad, and the ugly. My uglies were a pair of avocado print florals. I made them into reusable baby wipes for a sort of gag shower gift, since they were already the color of meconium. The friend’s children are in middles school and the wipes work for cat messes.
3. I extend towel life by zigzagging the edges with my sewing machine when they start fraying. I hate the monster heavy towels. I am smitten with the idea of waffle towels but suspect they need to be dried in a machine. My sisters were all lifeguards in their teens. They gave me abandoned towels for gifts when I was in my twenties.
4. My guild filled my car with scraps for the school fund raiser. Quick triage turned up two huge unassembled knit sweaters and twelve damask napkins monogrammed in Hebrew. I freecycled both items—yarn to someone who crochets baby blankets and the napkins to someone who said she’d change her name to match the monogram. It reminded me of the time I stopped at an estate sale that featured linens with MY monogram. I only had $2 but got twenty linen napkins with my initials.
5. I haven’t purchased any mode of transportation since 2005.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:53 am

I love that you have swimmers’ forgotten towels!


Indigo November 6, 2023 at 11:38 am

1. I admit I still own a lot of towels. I inherited my Grandparent’s nice towels. My partner had some nice when we merged households 7 years ago. The scruffiest were donated to the shelter, the next most worn became dedicated dog towels. At one point we had 5 dogs between my partner, step daughter, and myself… we needed to keep plenty of dog towels. I also teach art in my home studio… that means I need towels.

2. It is soup weather. I try to always have some in the fridge for a quick meal when things just get busy and freeze the rest so there is a good varity in there now. This is priceless whenever a cold makes it’s way through the house, as it will do with my 4 yo nephew is living with us.

3. Thrift store children’s book haul. 50 cents each or…. 25 cents each if you buy 4 or more, 10 cents each if you buy 10 or more. We have a lot of bedtime reading material now.

4. I am over wintering our pepper plants. We have several varieties that didn’t produce much this year due to colder night tempertures sticking around too long but… You can bring them in, let their leave drop, trim them back, and keep them fairly minimally watered in a cool room and they will come back and produce wonderfully the next year giving you a huge headstart.

5. I helped haul my in law’s broken stand up freezer across the field with a tracor to their new house. Why? It has great organization and is lockable meaning she can have a dog proof pantry and storage for less often used pots and pans.


Ava November 6, 2023 at 11:53 am

We probably have more towels than we need but ì always think about leaks, overflows, freezer defrost, etc. There have been times when we needed extra towels for mopping up disasters.
1. I had a very successful craft fair. I also saved $15 by paying for next year in advance.
2. I made granola.
3. I received a $25 check from a medical facility I haven’t been to in years. I have no idea why.
4. We had no trick or treaters this year. I am taking the left over candy to the senior center so i won’t eat it.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:51 am

Soup season is my favorite season!


Blue Gate Farmgirl November 6, 2023 at 12:54 pm

This is to go along with A.Marie’s boring frugal linens:
I have one set of nice (Costco) towels for the guest rooms, the family use what i find at goodwill by the pound. All of our towels are bound like a quilt with a coordinating color to go with each family member. We have 2 sets of sometimes matching sheets each and I keep a stack of single use face cloths or flannel cloths to dry hands at each sink. We use linen towels as napkins. I bought a 4 roll of paper towels 10 years ago and still have 3 1/2 rolls left. I wash my grubby rags from the barn and shop with my grubby work clothes.
Totally frugal winter crafty/sewing/quilting project:
I went to a quilt show recently and they had a boutique. I started fabric shopping for a quilt that I’m gifting to my brother’s vacation cabin and I carried my choices around with me until the 50% off bell rang and then I purchased my haul. For $60 I will make 1 lap quilt and 1 king sized quilt. Had I bought my fabric at a quilt store, it would’ve been $12/yard instead of $2.
I collected more acorn tops, slow baked them and now am felting alpaca wool acorns for a local florist. It is a fun project to keep my hands busy while watching a movie or the dreaded sports whatever is on the tv.
My favorite thing to do while vacationing is thrifting and garage/estate sales.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:48 am

Those acorns sound absolutely adorable!


Ecoteri November 7, 2023 at 1:58 pm

@Katy @Blue Gate Farmgirl, I agree – I would love to see a photo of your acorns!!!


Christine November 6, 2023 at 3:01 pm

1. I stashed away my Halloween decorations and pulled out the Thanksgiving decorations. I don’t have too much…just a large ceramic turkey I bought at a yard sale eons ago, a small ceramic turkey I’ve had for ages and can’t think of the origin of but remember it was secondhand and two wooden Pilgrims I did buy new at the Christmas Tree Shop, a New England chain discount store which recently went out of business. That’s all. They go well with the fall decor already up.
2. A coworker gave me an aloe plant.
3. I made a big pot of 15 Bean Soup today to take us through the week and a banana chocolate chip bread with overripe bananas.
4. I have one set of mismatched cotton sheets put together from different sets whose counterparts have fallen apart and one set of flannel sheets. The flannel ones I use from around December to March, so they don’t see as much use. We have about five towels and that is more than enough for the two of us.
4. I cut back some of my plants in the yard today and noticed I still have a few raspberries in spite of having a frost already. A nice surprise.
5. Reading library books, walking around my neighborhood for exercise (can’t be on wooded trails except for Sundays due to hunting season), cooking all meals at home, making our own coffee and tea, keeping the heat at 64 during the day and 60 at night with the help of sweaters, sweatshirts and slippers, invited friends over next Saturday for a mean game of Trivial Pursuit and I found a nickel.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:45 am

Hooray for board games and found change!


Kara November 6, 2023 at 3:15 pm

1. I turned the collar on a good work shirt of my husbands. The shirt looked like new, but the collar had worn through along the top edge where it folds down. Now the whole thing looks new.
2. He wore the above mentioned shirt to the symphony-we were given 2 free tickets ($60 each).
3. I’ve learned I quite like pineapple guava, which are abundant here and many people seem to be giving them away. Free food? Yes please!
4. Sewing a quilt for my grandson. Most fabric was free. Also keeps me busy and away from other spendier pursuits.
5. Gifted a huge stash of yarn on buy nothing. I kept what I wanted and have put the rest back on Buy Nothing for others to look at today before I donate it to the fabric/craft thrift store run by the senior center.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:43 am

Turning a collar is an impressive skill from an almost bygone era!


Lindsey November 6, 2023 at 3:41 pm

1. My office chair is a recliner that will stand me up on my bad days; we have it on a backup battery because the electricity goes out with some frequency. My desk swivels over the recliner so easy access to my computer. Anyway, the furniture stores had a sale going. Between the sale, the fact that we took the floor model, and a salesperson who gave us free delivery when my husband gasped and clutched his chest over the final price, we saved over $600. For me a recliner is not a luxury but a necessity, so I am pretty pleased that we were a frugal as was possible.
2. Did a grocery store pick-up mystery shop. They made an error and gave me four pounds of cheese instead of one pound. It was already on sale, so this error meant I got four pounds of cheese total for just under $10. We won’t have to buy cheese for a long, long time.
3. Husband went to the grocery store this morning to pick up medications. He found a bag of apples sitting in the bottom of an abandoned cart, so he rescued them. They were pretty frozen, so at this moment they are sitting on the counter waiting to be thawed enough to peel and make into apple sauce. They would not be good for much else in their current condition. Usually I only find run away singletons, so a full bag is unusual. Husband was reluctant to take them, figuring the owners would come back to them, but their frozen state made that unlikely.
4. Husband replaced the rubber at the bottom of the garage door, as the old rubber was cracking and flaking off so cold air was coming into the garage.
5. Received four dollars and some change from an Amazon lawsuit settlement.

Since we are reporting in, our towel supply was greatly reduced a few weeks ago when we went through our stash and took over half of them to the animal shelter. We have only two sets of sheets.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:42 am

I wouldn’t have thought to make applesauce, that was very resourceful of you. Gold star!


Juhli November 6, 2023 at 3:57 pm

Oh the towels. I was just sorting through them a bit ago to see if I could reduce the number but cars need to be washed and dried as does the dog. A towel is perfect for just inside the front door when it is wet outside and another for the wet shoes and another for the wet dog. And then there are guests. The list goes on. The sheet collection is 2 sets for each of 2 different size beds plus one old set for the air mattress. We have two sets for each bed because when you are sick you need a quick change. It all does last for years though.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:39 am

We don’t have dogs, so we can be more minimal with towels.


Ruby November 6, 2023 at 4:41 pm

Your veterinarian may also have a need for old towels. Ours is always thrilled to get them.

So far lately, I have been sick with a rotten head cold but managed to do the grocery shopping with a handful of store coupons and scored deals on saltines, almond milk, ham and a frozen meal. Did some hand sewing to alter the neckline of a shirt. The cold snap killed our basil plant but the cat mint was doing fine so it got transplanted with the basil’s dirt as a booster. Politely asked an eBay seller to combine shipping and it worked. Cleaned all my earrings with hydrogen peroxide, some diluted rubbing alcohol, and a drop of dish soap, plus a toothpick for a pair with recessed backs.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:38 am

We donated scrappy towels to the Humane Society a couple years ago and they were happy to accept them.


Sandra November 6, 2023 at 5:18 pm

I have an abundance of towels due to the fact that in a previous house all (4) bedrooms were ensuite. Some have worn out, but mostly we are still using the towels we bought twenty years ago. I really liked the idea of having ensuite bathrooms for each bedrooms, but it also meant sheets and towels for each room and a lot of cleaning.

I cooked a pot of beans a few days ago, specifically for eating on bread. I grew up eating beans or baked beans on bread and I still enjoy it. Lots of protein and fiber and low fat as well. Of course, as a child I just knew that they taste good.

The Halloween decorations are all put away so now the turkeys and pilgrims take center stage. I have collected many items of seasonal decor over the years and love to get the pieces out again for each holiday. No money spent now and most of the decorations were thrifted originally.

Finishing reading the book, Onions in the Stew, by Betty MacDonald. It was recommended by one of your contributors. I am really enjoying it. It is an older book, first printed in 1954, but still a good read and a slice of mid-century life living on an island in the Pacific Northwest.


Roberta November 7, 2023 at 9:42 am

I just checked, and it looks like Onions in the Stew and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle were written by the same author! I loved reading Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle as a kid, and my kids enjoyed them in turn. I will be looking for a copy to read! (My library doesn’t have it, so I’ll have to request it.)


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:10 am

The Betty McDonald books are all really interesting.


Jill D November 7, 2023 at 11:21 am

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle!!!! Loved that book as a child.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:37 am

I try and remind myself that our one bathroom means one bathroom to clean, which is good since cleaning bathrooms is the worst chore!


Jill November 6, 2023 at 5:31 pm

We, too, have one set of towels plus some scrappy back up towels. Same goes for sheets.

1. Headed to Kroger for grocery shopping. Got a big bag of Hershey’s candy for 70% off which I will use as stocking stuffers. My kids are grown so they don’t care if candy is Christmas tree shaped or not. Candy is candy and the fun size is perfect for stockings.
Also if you download the digital coupon and buy one item at Kroger, you can get a free doughnut every time you shop until December 31. I’m picking one up and then freezing them for when I have a house full of company at Christmas. (My 95 year old mom has an incredible sweet tooth- she eats a doughnut per day)

2. Attended a birthday party for my brother in law at his house this weekend. We stayed in my in laws guest room, they provided food (I got some new recipe ideas), we watched some football and visited with family and took a very fun autumn walk. Fantastic weekend and I like hanging out with family who don’t believe you need to spend a lot of money to have fun.

3. I
– ate leftovers for dinner and included a pepper that was looking sad
– put my outdoor plants in the garage before we went away for the weekend
as snow was predicted here. Trying to get them to last as long as possible.
– watched my newest show, Annika, that I picked up at the library on DVD

4. I take one medication – a statin – and the refill was free. Even better, my new doctor gives me a 90 day supply so that is less errands to run as opposed to a 30 day supply.

5. Frugal fail: Found a pint of strawberries – that I didn’t remember were in the refrigerator – that were full of mold. Wish I would’ve remembered them. Still working on the food waste.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:35 am

I checked and the “free donut” deal doesn’t appear to be at my local Kroger. Sad face.
Sounds like a lovely visit with family!


Lindsey November 7, 2023 at 11:23 am

My grandmother ate donuts like she was being paid to do so, and followed them with a full sugared Pepsi. It drove my uncle, her son, crazy that she did this but grandma was still living on her own in a third floor walkup apartment. so uncle could not control her access to these items. Grandma died at 99 and 11 months. She did not go out much, but a bodega was right across the street so she would get her donut and Pepsi supplies from them. The owners sent a lovely card after she died.


K D November 7, 2023 at 3:47 am

I have not bought any towels, except hand towels in fifteen years. We have extras but none are super fancy. I also wash sheets and put them back on the bed the same day. I switch to/from flannel in the fall and spring.

1. I was walking to the grocery store and found a run over Home Depot gift card in the road. I took it home and discovered it has about $70 on it.

2. DH repaired the 30 year old cookie scoop. It looks different as he replaced the spring with a screw, washer, and nut but it looks like it should work for another 30 years. I love keeping a quality item in use and not trying to find a suitable replacement.

3. We went to a fund raiser at a local church. They had a silent auction and I “won” a couple of gift cards. One was discounted more than 40% and the other will be a gift for a friend (we will keep the nice box of chocolates that came with it). DH picked up a couple of puzzles for $1 apiece at the white elephant sale.

4. I used some of my grocery store rewards points to get large bags of apples to donate to the local food bank. I stopped by while running errands yesterday. I know fresh produce is something they like to receive.

5. I met a friend for lunch yesterday and I brought lunch for both of us. The main point was to catch up with each other.


Bee November 7, 2023 at 4:23 am

What a week! These are my five frugal(?) things. Today, I am trying to mitigate the damage to my budget as life is devolves into chaos…
1. My 14-year old washer has quit working and needs to be replaced. I had suspected this was going to happen soon. I have been waiting for the Black Friday Sales to begin this week. So I brought my laundry to my son’s house and did my washing while I watched my grandson on Sunday.
2. I purchased a new washer and dryer. It will be delivered at the end of the week. I shopped for the best price and was able to get no-interest financing for 24 months. This is a sweet deal for me.I can earn a little interest on my money rather than handing it all over at once.
3. I’ve been working on a little home refresh. In the midst of repainting the family room and kitchen this weekend, I realized that the 5-year old refrigerator and freezer had quit working properly. Of course, this occurred after my monthly trip to Costco.(Grrrr…) in order to save as much food as possible.
• I packed up 8 bags of food and brought them to my sister’s where I put my groceries in her garage refrigerator.
• I filled a cooler with asked and am using it to keep some necessities cold.
• Some of the meat in my freezer had partially defrosted. So it won’t go to waste, I have been cooking it and then freezing it at my sister’s home.
During this process, Rescue Pup decided that the wild boar sausage smelled quite good and helped herself while it was cooling. I think that I startled her when I walked back in the kitchen. She knew that she had been caught being bad. She knocked two full jam jars off the counter. The jars shattered all over the floor spraying sticky jam everywhere! I’m not sure what brought this on she is generally extremely well behaved.
4. Although my house looks like a bomb went off — piles of laundry, sticky kitchen floors, garbage bags of food that can’t be rescued, a 1/2 painted room, drop-cloth covered floors and furniture, and everything out of place – I haven’t given up quite yet. However, I did buy myself lunch at Panera on the way to the appliance store. I batched my other errands – post office, dollar store, gas, and library. I brewed my own coffee and used my shelf stable milk from my hurricane supplies. I figured this was a type of disaster.
5. I been listening to books using the library’s Hoopla and Libby Apps as I attempt to clean this mess up. The Club and a Mrs Polifax adventure are in the queue.
Today I have to decide what to do about the refrigerator. Wish me luck as I try to return things to normal.
Wishing everyone good health and prosperity.


Jill A November 7, 2023 at 4:51 am

Oh my. What a week is right. Congratulations on keeping your cool. I’d be falling apart right now. I wish you all the luck in solving your refrigerator issues. They sure don’t make things like they used to.


MB in MN November 7, 2023 at 7:50 am

Bee, that’s sure a memorable week. Things are bound to get better!


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:17 am

Wow, you paint a very vivid (and sticky) picture of your home! Sorry about your appliances.


A. Marie November 7, 2023 at 11:42 am

Whoa, Bee, that was some week! Hope you get a grip on the chaos soon. If I’d had all that going on at once, the sticky mess in the kitchen would have been me as well as the jam.


Ecoteri November 7, 2023 at 1:56 pm

@Bee, my family had the theory if the event(s) led to a good story, we could ‘eat off it’ for a lot of years. You will be eating off this story (regaling your friends with it while they feed you) for a LONNNNNG time. Thanks for sharing with your signature aplomb and humour. and GAH! the fridge/freezer/dog/jam section had me cringing and cringing again. Thank heavens for family with washers and spare fridges …. Hope the fridge gets fixes/replaced sOOOOOON


W November 7, 2023 at 4:52 pm

Kudos to you, B, for the triage, and keepin calm and carryin on!


Q November 7, 2023 at 4:53 pm

Kudos to you, B, for the triage, and keepin calm and carryin on!


Bee November 8, 2023 at 8:49 am

Thank you for your sympathy. I’m making headway.


Cindy in the South November 7, 2023 at 7:20 am

Boring frugal things are great because that means I am enjoying a quiet life.


Katy November 7, 2023 at 10:10 am

Boring is a gift.


Reese November 7, 2023 at 11:53 am

Question (not to judge or anything. Just honest question): I tend to not return food stuffs to stores because I found out, through working at various ones, the stores can’t take them back and put them on the shelf. They literally throw them away. Would it not be better to keep the food that is good (such as the candy) and stick in a little free pantry, give as a gift, share with friends, etc. than return to the store for $8-10? I wonder where the line is drawn for frugality vs. reducing waste? (Again, no judgement! Just figured a discussion would be nice since I struggle with this myself).


Val November 7, 2023 at 1:55 pm

Reese, I found out that Aldi puts anything (non-food and food both) that customers bring back as returns for any reason (including unopened things) into their Dumpster. I found this out from a YouTube dumpster diving channel, Freakin Frugal. Tested it out myself on New Year’s Eve 2020 to see what I found. Here’s what we found. An air fryer that looked like it had been used once and returned. A window air conditioner. An electric cooler that doesn’t need ice (it was still in its cellophane). An unused hammock with a metal stand (hadn’t been used). 2 bags of organic cane sugar, unopened in their plastic ziploc bags, with expiration dates over a year away. It was all on top of their dumpster. We took it without having to “dive”. We are using the air fryer and electric cooler, consumed the sugar, gave away the window air conditioner and hammock. I wish I knew what the answer was to getting stores to stop doing this.


MB in MN November 7, 2023 at 3:34 pm

Wow, just wow. Good for you for rescuing so many perfectly good items.


Val November 7, 2023 at 5:13 pm

Thanks, MB. I wish I was braver and could do it more regularly. The best time to dive (and not have to worry about being confronted by employees) is a couple hours after the store closes, and by that time, it’s dark.
I had finally talked my husband into accompanying me , and not being alone made me braver–we went at about 4 AM. It qualifies as weirdest thing I’ve done in the middle of the night in my 60+ years of life. If you want to be really amazed, watch some Freakin Frugal videos on YouTube. You won’t believe how much food and even non-food items they find. One time they found hundreds of loaves of bread that wasn’t even near sell-by date, and donated them to a soup kitchen. This was during the pandemic.


Bee November 8, 2023 at 8:48 am

I believe that most retail stores and other vendors throw away any and all returned consumables. This is to protect themselves from liability claims that might arise if the item has been tampered with. Think about such things as the Tylenol Poisoning cases.

However. I did not realize that this practice has been extended to included other types of consumer goods. In an increasing litigious environment, I can see why some businesses might choose to do this. Although I think it’s important to exercise common sense when setting store policy, I think many stores have been told to do this by their legal team and/or insurer. It is certainly wasteful, but throwing away a $10 item is less expensive than a million dollar lawsuit.


Roberta November 8, 2023 at 9:22 pm

For what it’s worth, my son’s Target on California returned to shelves non-refrigerated items. Refrigerated items went to the food bank.


Katy November 9, 2023 at 10:21 am

That’s good to hear!


Kristen | The Frugal Girl November 8, 2023 at 5:18 am

I worked at Nordstrom, many years ago, in a department that sold some foodstuffs, along with other gifty items.

At that point, there were regulations that prevented us from reselling any food item that got returned, and I remember that Nordstrom let us explain that to customers before they returned the item. Sometimes it would make someone reconsider the return.

I think a lot of people just hadn’t realized that their return would go into the trash.


Marybeth from NY November 8, 2023 at 7:33 am

I got hot dogs that were on sale at Target. I was talking to my daughter and not paying attention. They came up for the wrong price. I went to the returns and asked for a price adjustment. She refunded me the money and told me to go get more and she would make sure I got the right price. I said just ring up those(8 packs). She said that anything returned got tossed. I asked for a manager. He came over and said the same thing. I said I want those so figure it out. He had to reverse the refund and then alter the price and give me a credit on a gift card for the money difference. I now always watch when I check out. I never left the store. I thought the whole thing was crazy.


Val November 8, 2023 at 9:51 am

Some of the things I found in the Aldi store dumpster on New Year’s Eve were not food, and had not been opened. I cite specifically the electric (or as they called it, Iceless) cooler, which was still in its cellophane, as well as a hammock which was unopened, and in its fabric carrying case. Also, obviously never opened. I also once found in another Aldi dumpster an Aldi brand wet/dry vac, which was also still in its box, unopened. There is no excuse for throwing these type of non-food items, that are still boxed and unused, into a dumpster. There is no reason anyone can give that will make any sense to me. I was unable to rescue the wet dry vac and get it to someone who could have used it, because an employee came out.
I encourage everyone to watch one of Freakin Frugal (that is how it’s spelled: Freakin with no apostrophe or g at the end) videos on YouTube. You will just be amazed what Amy and Duane have found at Petsmart, Aldi, Walmart, Dollar Tree etc. Very enlightening!


MB in MN November 8, 2023 at 11:21 am

Marybeth, good for you for standing your ground at Target. That was crazy to the nth degree.

These stories about stores tossing returns and perfectly good items have me discouraged and depressed. But I am glad that I’m now more informed.

Reminds me of a situation a few years ago when I tried to return a $400 outdoor dining table that I had ordered and had delivered to our home. When I called the company, they told me that I could keep it and they would refund the purchase. What?! I sputtered that my conscience wouldn’t allow it and that I couldn’t use the table. Then they suggested that I give it to someone else or donate it. The table was super heavy, would not fit in our vehicle and, at the time, I didn’t participate in any online free/resale groups, so I asked if they could please pick it up, which they did. Now I’m thinking that they probably tossed it. Grrr.


Jennifer November 9, 2023 at 4:26 am

I got married 27 years ago. We got like 8 sets of towels at our showers. We are still using them and they were a better quality than what you buy today. I do have newer towels for guests and our wedding towels are definitely falling apart at this point. But we still use them!

1. Dd totalled her car. Dh has been riding his bike to work ever since so that dd can have a car to get to school (1 hour commute). We are looking for cars but don’t feel the pressure to buy one NOW since dh can ride

2. Went car shopping last night and almost stopped for dinner on the way home. But we missed the turn lol and just came home. Chicken patty sandwiches (on bread, not buns) for the win. Used up the going bad quickly brussels sprouts as well. We ate late but we ate at home.

3. Sold something I was sent by mistake on Ebay. The company did not want it back so I just made $25

4. I have found a few pennies, a dime and a nickel in the past week.

5.Dh cut his hair. We gave the dog a bath ourselves. I volunteered at an NFL game and came home with numerous dessert treats as I worked a dessert stand.

Little things but they add up


Judi November 9, 2023 at 8:19 am

I think I still have towels in my house from when I worked for M & S in the 70’s but they are now in a different form. I read a money saving tip years ago about cutting down towels to use in the kitchen and that’s what I do. When they become very worn they are cut down to dishtowels and dishcloths, serged around the edges and used for many years. Then I layer them, sew through all layers and use them for pot holders and I’ve made oven mitts from them as well. My husband regularly burns our pot holders so I don’t want fancy ones, they just get ruined.


Katy November 9, 2023 at 10:15 am

I love this!


Katy November 9, 2023 at 10:20 am

I love that you sold the shipping error item!


Judi November 9, 2023 at 8:14 am

Honestly, I don’t get what is frugal about 1. Do your towels last longer? How exactly do you save money? If you buy 1 towel a year or five towels to last five years there is no difference in the cost (except the towels will probably cost more each year). I believe in having lots of towels and linens, “just in case”. I buy them on sale or if I find a good price but they last years and years. I wait for a sunny day and wash and hang then out to dry, saving on the cost of electricity. That’s frugal, not wasting power.


Katy November 9, 2023 at 10:17 am

I got my current set of “good” towels from my mother when she shut down her last AirBnb. I do have backup scrappy towels.


Judi November 9, 2023 at 8:31 am

1. Sorted through the ripe tomatoes in a bowl on my kitchen table. I picked all the tomatoes from our plants when it got cold, many are in our cold room wrapped in newspaper but I had a large stainless steel bowl in the kitchen with the ones that were turning. I canned four jars of sauce with all the ripe ones several days ago but most of the others had turned and needed dealing with. I only had enough to make maybe one jar which I don’t think was worth canning (cost of heating up the water on the stove) so it is in the fridge and will get used for pasta sauce soon.

2.Used half of one or our home grown pumpkins to make muffins. I only used one cup of pumpkin so the other half was measured (one cup) and frozen for use next time. My husband made pumpkin soup with the other half of the pumpkin and used skim milk powder instead of milk (1/2 the cost) in the soup and to make the rolls.

3. Washed all my bedding and hung it out to dry on our one sunny day.

4. Paid both of my credit cards in full saving interest cost while still accumulating air miles and points.

5. Redeemed $20 at the grocery store from one of my points cards.


Katy November 9, 2023 at 10:13 am

Wow, impressive “five things!”


Judi November 9, 2023 at 8:34 am

We rarely buy pizza as it is not expensive or hard to make. The time consuming part is the crust, so I will make several batches of dough in our bread maker, roll then out and freeze them in stacks between cardboard. Want a pizza, grab a crust, open a jar of tomato sauce, add the spices you want and then toppings and cheese and away you go.


Iris November 9, 2023 at 11:37 am

Nann from Aldi’s makes great crust for pizza. Learned this trick from Martha Stewart.


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