Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 15, 2024 · 79 comments

  1. My son and I spent Friday traversing Portland in our attempt to source the furnishings he needs for his new apartment. This took us across the river to the William Temple House thrift shop, which dedicates a larger percentage of their store to furniture than a standard Goodwill. They had one couch with the midcentury aesthetic my son is seeking, but the quality was really low. (The couch cushions had icky cheap fabric on the underside, which meant you wouldn’t be able to flip them.) So that was a “nope.”

    We also hit up the N.E. Broadway Goodwill, the main Goodwill, a very cool vintage furniture store on Hawthorne Boulevard and a consignment shop.

    We didn’t end up buying anything, (other than a Barcelona soccer scarf for him and a pair of socks for me.) but it was still really good to see what’s out there and have conversations about what my son actually wants in his home. I’ve since sent out a couple inquiries on Facebook Marketplace, which haven’t materialized into anything. Luckily he doesn’t move in until February 1st. Deep breath Katy, patience is key.

  2. Portland just faced a dramatic winter storm, complete with 50 mile-per-hour wind gusts! Unlike thousands of others, we were lucky enough to not lose electricity, plus no trees fell on our house. We spent over a thousand dollars having our enormous maple tree pruned in 2022 and it was the best investment, as it was less likely to blow over and damage our neighbors’ homes. It’s right on the property line!

    I did run out of milk for tea, which constitutes a crisis in my home. However, my lovely neighbors poured a couple glugs of milk into a jar for me, for which they received a jar of my homemade blackberry jam. I told them it was the “Jam For Milk Program.”

  3. My nephew didn’t end up flying in from New York as he was sick and told not to travel, which is a bummer, but understandable. We’d made reservations for rooms at a hotel in Seattle for a couple of nights, which we were able to cancel without any monetary consequences. Unfortunately, the cancelled plane ticket only refunded as credit, but we’ll use it at a later date.

    It’s a good thing that we’re no longer living paycheck to paycheck, then again we wouldn’t have bought him a ticket if we had been.

  4. • I found a penny and a nickel at one of the Goodwills.
    • We loaned our snow shovel to our other next door neighbors.
    • I’ve been fighting a cold over the past week, which has kept me at home more than normal. Nothing cheaper than going nowhere and doing nothing!

  5. I didn’t thrift any Lear Jets.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Lesley January 15, 2024 at 6:16 am

Katy, awesome socks! (Like awesome sauce, only better.)


Bee January 15, 2024 at 6:50 am

I think it’s wonderful that you are shopping with your son. I hope he finds exactly what he is looking for. I
have found that it is easy to find something that will fill my need, but it’s often hard to find something that I actually want.
Although 90% of my furnishings, accessories, and household goods were inherited or bought through a secondhand source, I admit to giving up on few occasions and buying new. I am currently looking for three things for my home — a small bookcase or cabinet for my office, a piece of furniture to use as a kitchen island and a coffee table for my family room. I have been searching for all of these things for 6 months or more. Next week is the Renninger’s Extravaganza in central Florida. Maybe I will find something there.

It has not been a busy week but not exceptionally frugal one. But here are my FFTs…
1. I went to Costco and bought the bulk items that I needed for this month gf bread, russet potatoes, organic milk, half and half, and a 25-pound bag of rice which will last approximately 6 months and saves $13 over grocery store prices. Shopping at Costco can be challenging. I keep a price book and try only to buy items that will result in considerable savings. I confess that I was lured in by a giant bag of Harvest Snaps which were on sale and happen to be my favorite snack. They were less expensive than the grocery store, but it will take a while for us to eat this giant bag.
2. We have had a death in our extended family. I tried on my “funeral dress” and it no longer fits correctly. (Nothing fits well on my post-covid body, but that’s a different problem) As much as I try, I can’t always find appropriate clothing at my favorite thrift stores. So I purchased a new dress from Talbots for 50% off, I used a promo code to receive an additional 20% off, I signed up to receive emails which saved an additional 15%. There was no shipping and it’s a sales tax-free period in Florida. This $169 dress was around $40. I consider this a win under the circumstances .
3. It was a beautiful clear night last night. (Finally!!!) So we watched the Space X rocket launch in the southern sky. My mother worked on the space program in the late 50s and early 60s. I am still amazed by space travel.
4. I borrowed the movie Oppenheimer from the library this weekend. I’m reading Good Night, Irene as it is my book club’s selection this month and listening to Romantic Comedy (Katy’s selection) on the library’s Libby App.
5. I am currently drinking home-brewed coffee and cuddling with Rescue Pup who thinks she is a lap dog despite weighing 95 pounds.
Wishing you all peace, good health and prosperity.


Christine January 15, 2024 at 9:05 am

Condolences on the death of your family member. Considering all the discounts you received on the purchase of the “funeral dress”, you did very well. I find myself in the predicament of needing a proper, well-fitting outfit for a special occasion every once in awhile and head to a discount store or a sale for a new one. My son’s wedding and my father’s funeral are two that come to mind.
Love the description of Rescue Pup’s belief she is a lap dog at 95 pounds!


A. Marie January 15, 2024 at 9:27 am

Bee, I’ve seen two launches from Cape Canaveral in my life: the last Apollo launch in December 1972 (a bunch of us carpooled over from our college on the west coast), and one of the space shuttle launches in the 1990s from my mother’s retirement village south of Orlando. (Even at that distance, she and her neighbors could just stand out in their parking lot and watch it.)


A. Marie January 16, 2024 at 3:45 am

Also, I’m sorry about the death in your family. (And we know we’ve reached a certain age when there’s a dedicated “funeral dress” in the closet.)


karen January 16, 2024 at 1:17 pm

Also when you buy bulk sympathy cards.


Nancy from mass January 15, 2024 at 6:16 pm

Bee, Sorry to hear about the death of your family member but you did get a great price on that dress! Here’s hoping the rest of the month goes well.


MB in MN January 15, 2024 at 7:15 pm

Bee, that’s quite a savings on the funeral dress. I’m sorry you needed one.


Jill A January 16, 2024 at 6:37 am

Bee, I’m so sorry for your loss.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:30 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about your family’s loss. May their memory be a blessing.


Bee January 17, 2024 at 5:27 am

Thank you all for your kindness. She was a wonderful person, did much for the community, and tried to make world a better place. Her family, friends, and community will miss her greatly.


Katy January 17, 2024 at 12:23 pm

Sending a virtual hug.


Marybeth from NY January 15, 2024 at 6:54 am

1. Hubby and I went to Panera for lunch. We shared a salad and each got a soup. We used a coupon each and I had a gift card for the rest. We both brought our Britta water bottles to drink.
2. We went into Aldi after lunch that was in the same shopping center. We got 2 carts to return because it was cold out. Only spent $19.
3. We drove over to the beach for a little while. It was beautiful and quiet.
4. Came home and Hubby watched football. I heated us up leftover lasagna for dinner.
5. It is cold here and getting colder. I pulled out more blankets. Heated Hubby up a rice pack when he said he was cold. Gave him another blanket too. We keep the house at 65 when we are home.
6. Cooked up 4 days of meals for the dog. She was very happy to help clean up and lick the pot.


Iris January 15, 2024 at 10:54 am

If you haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity to use a free three-month trial of the Sips Club, I highly recommend, especially if not out of the way. I just finished one that was offered to me through Petsmart. You can go every day, every two hours. The drinks can be large to take even more advantage. One large cold dark brew coffee makes three hot cups at home. I really enjoyed it.


Iris January 15, 2024 at 11:00 am

Rice packs are awesome for getting warm.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:28 pm

I had to read your #6 twice as you’d just written about your “hubby.” Happy to hear he’s not “licking out the pot.”


Vickey January 28, 2024 at 4:17 pm

Re your no.5: We filled a tube sock with rice to make a heat pack for an overnight guest one wintry weekend. She named it the “Sock of Awesomeness”, and that’s been its name ever since.


Jennifer January 15, 2024 at 7:14 am

Ah tree work…we have an expensive tree removal coming this week. We had a dead tree fall out back and of course it is heading for my ds’s window. But it is hung up on a live tree that is preventing it from falling all the way. Hopefully they can get it down before the next wind storm. And hoping they can save the fence in the removal process.

1. spending bare minimum at the grocery store

2. delaying buying new clothes in hopes that I will fit back into my old clothes post surgery. I did buy a few leggings and sweats after surgery so I would have something to wear but that is not what I want to wear to work – at least long term. My abdomen is still pretty swollen

3. using up a lot of odds and ends with meals this week. It always feels good to use the last of something that has been lingering

4. ds went to a weekend retreat and came home with a full gallon of milk. Other ds actually went to the grocery store twice this week and got food for his lunches. lol my avoiding the store has made him actually buy his own food – finally (he is 25)

5. dh added a strip of something to the inside of the door to the garage. There has been a breeze there since we moved in and we have tried various things. Finally we hit on something that seals it tight and we no longer have a breeze coming into the kitchen. He had the piece downstairs so no money spent


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:22 pm

RE: Your #5 — that must be such a relief to finally fix your garage door issue!


MB in MN January 15, 2024 at 7:49 am

1. Used a free 7-day trial for Adobe Acrobat Pro to convert a document. Made sure I cancelled before the monthly billing started.

2. Received $160 discount on our homeowner’s insurance premium due to our new HVAC system.

3. Went to the grocery store to get fixings for a nacho bar. Bought the chips that were buy 1, get 1.

4. Posted around 30 items on Buy Nothing and most of them have been taken. Such a great feeling.

5. Spent a large sum on a new dishwasher, but we chose one that had a free installation offer. And then we bought the service plan. I have bought two service plans in my life, both in the last month. The way stuff is being made to break these days makes it worth it to me. When the installer arrived, we learned that the dishwasher was not going to work with the way our electric was configured, so it was either pay more for an electrician to do extra work or pick out a different dishwasher. We went back to the store and found a model that was somewhat less expensive than the first one.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:21 pm

YES! Decluttering is so cathartic!


Kara January 15, 2024 at 7:59 am

1. Sold an item on FB marketplace. Gave away an item on Buy Nothing. Yay for more space.
2. Cleaned out cupboards in garage. Found an item there that was useful to my husband. Also consolidated like items so they’re easier to find, and got rid of a few things. Frugal because it means I don’t need to purchase more shelving.
3 Made soup with homemade broth, used the last of the leftover Christmas cheese, my husband made granola.
4. My husband got a little side job over the weekend which brought in almost $100.
5. Attended a free concert and gave a friend a jar of homemade quince jam as a thank you for picking me up from biopsy last week.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:20 pm

RE: Your #2 and consolidating items. It also makes your future life so much easier as you’re less buried in your own belongings.


BettafrmdaVille January 15, 2024 at 8:49 am

1. yesterday, my BFF and I went to see Momix perform. We bought our tickets for 50% off during a holiday sale, used free parking, and we did a mystery shop at a wine bar/restaurant for brunch so that was free.
2. On the way home, we stopped at a grocery store that I rarely use so that I could get a bag of potstickers for $2 and I bought .75 of a pound of broccoli with a $1 off produce making it $.49
3. Doing 2 more grocery store mystery shops today. We have to purchase certain items and I will pass along the items that we won’t eat to a colleague who happily will take them.
4. Last week, while both my partner and I were away, we had a cat sitter come stay at our house. She left 1/2 jar of tomato sauce, which I made into soup, also using some chicken stock that we had open in the fridge. I added 1/2 can of beans and some pasta to make it a complete meal.
5. Our old humidifier died and partner wanted a new one. I was able to source one for free using our Buy Nothing group.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:19 pm

It sounds like all your mystery shopping makes you a very fun friend!


Ruby January 15, 2024 at 8:54 am

Katy, do the Habitat ReStores in your area have furniture? I have seen some lovely vintage pieces at ours, but have no need of furniture as we are in the getting rid of stuff phase of life.

The FFT at our house:

Snowing hard today, which is unusual where we live. We are staying home and I’m organizing the fridge for optimal use of leftovers.
Except for a Chewy order of pet food we can’t buy locally, January has been online order free so far.

Read a library book on Libby.

Made the mistake of accidentally putting off my regular grocery shopping until Sunday, the day before a holiday AND a major snowstorm. Aldi was slammed but everyone was very polite. Did not buy anything off the list except a bag of crab cakes, which show up there once in a blue moon.

Expensive but necessary: spent $700 to get the failing electronic door lock on my 14-year-old car repaired, as it was more economical to do it before it completely failed. This is the only thing, aside from wipers, that has ever worn out on it.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:18 pm

The Habitat ReStores here do have furniture and I’ll certainly add them to the rotation as there’s one maybe four miles from the house.


Christine January 15, 2024 at 8:56 am

Hope you feel better soon. My daughter read a headline that said “Is everybody sick? Yes, they are.” Seems to be true.
Those socks are adorable and very warm-looking.
1. I found another penny on the floor in a store. Only pennies found so far this year, but they make good seed money for the found change jar.
2. I repotted my faster-than-lightning-growing Spider Plant baby in the glazed pot I found at the Salvation Army store. I’ve read that Spider Plants are great for air quality in a home, so with the house sealed up tightly for winter I thought it was a good idea to have one around.
3. Going for walks around the neighborhood with DH for exercise.
4. I added some butter beans I had previously frozen to a vegetable soup we have been eating to stretch the protein content.
5. I had another coupon for $5 off Friskies cat food if I bought $25 worth. The cabinets are now well stocked for the two kitties for awhile. I have a little bag that once held Taste Temptations (DH spoils them from time to time) that I keep refilling with regular dry cat food so they think they’re getting a treat but costs us very little. The $5 off covered a bag of dry food on sale for $4.99 so these “treats” are actually free.
Stay warm everyone! Beating the cold here in New England with sweatshirts, longjohns, heavy socks and slippers during the day and extra blankets at night. And plenty of hot tea and coffee made here at home.


Selena January 15, 2024 at 7:33 pm

Had a few of those $5 off $25 a couple months ago. I don’t buy that brand but a neighbor does so I passed them along to her. Decent coupons via the newspaper are getting to be a thing of the past much less expiration dates with a week or two. I’ve yet to see a short expiration coupon that motivated me “use it or lose it”.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:15 pm

I am staying warm here and realizing I would be miserable living in a cold weather climate. We’re forecasted for an ice storm within the next hour.


Mary Ann January 15, 2024 at 8:56 am

1. One of my tires needed air according to a light on the dashboard. The gas station wanted 2.00 in quarters. i went in and said I was a regular. Dude said bring a receipt. I told him to watch the window when I was done I would be filling up. So he just pressed the button.

2. A friend who is a reforming HSN/QVC shop-aholic is remodeling her house and coming to grips with all the clothes and jewelry she has. I told her I would set up a Poshmark closet for her. She gave me about forty Awesome huggable hangers – all coordinated color. I got rid of my husban’s side of the walk in island of mistfit hangers. I use to the time to purge another 6 square feet of stuff.The Goodwill took the stuff and not the nagers. I ended up dumping in a trash can. It is not great but I have a rule once it leaves my house it doesn’t come back. My closet is clean and coordinated which makes me less likely to bring anything else into the house.

3. Non frugal was my new Macbook Air. But it will be well loved. I usally go longer between computers but my Mom’s 2009 Mac wasn’t updatable anymore so I gave her my 2019. It should last at least another 5 years. She is 89. I took her old Mac, cleared it out and cleaned it up with my timemachine. It has a rare DVD player in it so it is going up to the cabin which doesn’t have a tv.

4.I turned in my retirement paperwork which is a big deal after 35 years of teaching. I discovered the health benefits for retirees were alot better than I expected. The district allows us on the their plan with vision and dental included until 65. I can keep my son on it. For hubby and I will be 568 a month. Awesome.

5. I organized my medicine drawer. Now that I have decided to go off HRT at 60, I will only be taking two pills – an SSRI and a reflux inhibitor that is caused by the SSRI. Both are most likely lifetime meds and I am grateful for them. So happy that diet, exercise , good genes, and luck have kept me off everything else that my friends are on at 60.


A. Marie January 15, 2024 at 9:33 am

Congratulations on your retirement, Mary Ann. I retired 3.5 years ago, and although I probably would have kept working another year or so if DH hadn’t needed me, I don’t miss work a bit.


Jill A January 15, 2024 at 10:41 am

Congratulations on your retirement!!


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:13 pm

I have that same rule about stuff not coming back into the house.


Ecoteri January 17, 2024 at 2:33 am

Ah, I wish I had that rule about things not coming back into the house, however #2 son and I alternate with vehicles – the truck for short trips, the car for longer. I had stacked the car with about 6 bags of things for an errand day, and he (kindly) brought much of it in when he started a regular work schedule and began to always take the car. my ‘to go’ pile is ‘too mobile’ for my liking. however, there is always tomorrow…


A. Marie January 15, 2024 at 9:58 am

FFT, It’s @#$!! Cold Here! Edition:

It’s 23 degrees F right now, which is probably the warmest temp we’re going to see for a week. I doubt that this will impress Lindsey or any other Alaskans among us, but it’s cold enough, thankyouverymuch.

(1) I’m keeping the heat at 63 and bundling up today.

(2) But I turned it up yesterday evening for my next-door neighb0r’s 85th-birthday party, since giving the birthday girl blue lips wasn’t on my agenda. The Bestest Neighbors joined us for a nice chicken dinner, most of which I sourced from ingredients already on hand.

(3) Like Mary Ann’s, the tire pressure light in my Honda Element went on today. I know it can do this when the weather’s cold enough to freeze the ears off a brass monkey, but this has been happening about once a month for a while now. I’ve just scheduled a free winter car care check at my Goodyear shop (my go-to garage for everything except factory recalls), with special instructions to check the tires for slow leaks.

(4) The expensive, hard-to-find, hard-to-replace bulb in my Verilux floor lamp died (again). Rather than replace it (again), I’ve decided to ditch the lamp, move another floor lamp down from the guest room, and put my gooseneck desk lamp in the guest room on the rare occasions when I have guests.

(5) And inspired by Christine’s remarks about spider plants, I’m going to repot my two latest spider babies this afternoon. They’ve both outgrown their nursery pots. (And they’re both direct descendants of a plant my MIL had for decades.)


anne January 15, 2024 at 8:40 pm

You keep your thermostat at 63? You are one tough broad. For years we kept ours at 70, but this year we are occasionally bumping it up to 72. And we’re in So. Cal. And every time that we do we say out loud, “This is why we have been frugal all our lives.” We’re in our 70s and 80s.


A. Marie January 16, 2024 at 3:47 am

Well, yes, I am one tough broad. But I also have the advantage of, let’s say, a good deal of natural insulation.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:11 pm

I love spider plants, which are so easy to propagate. I have two, which are both hidden in my daughter’s south facing old bedroom as the kitten finds them irresistible.


K D January 15, 2024 at 10:11 am

1. We received a list in the mail from our FSA provider of items that that account can be used to purchase. There were a few on there that I still had receipts from and there are plenty of 2023 funds so I electronically submitted the receipts. The reimbursements will be direct deposited into our checking account.

2. I bought an electronic copy of Turbo Tax Premier from Costco while it was on sale. DD will be able to use it too as up to five federal returns are allowed. It is easy to efile in MD for free, regardless of income.

3. We had 3+” of rain the other day. While walking the next day I found a reusable store tote. It was not near any vehicles and will filled with mud/mulch so I didn’t think anyone would claim it. I dried it out and will wash it with a load of laundry.

4. In December DH gives boxes of local chocolates to several people that work for him. I ordered the usual, boxes of dark chocolate nuts, but we later discovered that the order was filled with a dark chocolate assortment instead. I contacted the company and they apologized and said they’d replace or refund the purchase but it was a lot of chocolate/money (10 one pound boxes/almost $300) so we decided to just let it go and next year to check on the chocolates at pickup time. We later received a $50 gift card and another apology. It felt like a good compromise and I emailed to thank them. They again apologized. Now that is customer service.

5. On Saturday I set out to walk in our neighborhood and within a few blocks discovered a coffee table with a FREE sign on it. A friend of our SIL is planning to move to our area from three states away and will not bring much with him so I thought he might find it useful. I went home and drove down the street to pick it up. I dried it off (it rained overnight) and it will never be beautiful (particle boards and the like) but it will be functional and if it is not wanted I’ll list it on Freecycle.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:08 pm

Great score on the coffee table, and your friends can always trade up when they find something better. But they’ll have a functional piece until then.

By the way, I am very judgmental about people who put furniture out in inclement weather which ends up ruining something that could have still been useful. I’m glad your rescued this one.


Janice January 15, 2024 at 10:29 am

Remember that he can live for a while without ALL of the furniture; it’s better to sit on the floor for a bit than to buy furniture that he doesn’t love, and that isn’t good quality!
warm hugs from frozen solid Chicago,


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:03 pm

True, that’s a good point.


Ava January 15, 2024 at 10:40 am

1. We dropped off two boxes of stuff at GW. My husband is working on his closet and has already started another box. Our neighbor brought a few things to add to our donation and there was an item I think I can sell.
2. Our oldest grandson sells on eBay to help with his college expenses. He mentioned that finding boxes was a struggle since he and his roommates don’t get many deliveries. We save almost all our boxes for my Etsy sales. We put together two huge boxes of previously used and still reusable boxes and padded envelopes as well as tape and packing material. I want to encourage the industry of youth.
3. I made the cutest cat bed. I used the bottom half of an old suitcase I have had for ages. I had a piece of foam that I pulled out of the recycle bins to use for the mattress. I added legs that used to be on a bookcase I gave away. The top cover is a baby blanket I picked up in a parking lot. I placed it near the fireplace and it has been in near constant use by the two younger cats.
4. We are snowed in, so no money will be spent unless we do it on line.


Christine January 15, 2024 at 4:21 pm

The cat bed sounds adorable. What a great idea! Sounds like your cats would agree with me.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:04 pm

That cat bed sounds so cute! Does it come in human size!


Ava January 17, 2024 at 8:10 am

I was just wishing for a human size version of the cat bed as I look out on the snow. The cats feel so toasty warm after they have been on the bed by the fire for a while.


MB in MN January 16, 2024 at 3:43 pm

Ava, when I die I want to come back as your cat.


Jill A January 15, 2024 at 11:04 am

I like that your son is buying used for his apartment and that he isn’t just buying the first thing he sees. A little patience and hopefully he’ll find everything he wants.
1. It is freezing here. Today it is 0 degrees. We had a big dump of snow on Friday & Saturday. I used my tractor to clear the driveway and in the process the tire fell off. My future SonIL made it over on Sunday and took the tire off and tried to reseat it but it didn’t work. I took it to the tractor repair today and they put a tube in and reseated it for $30. A service call would have been $$. My SonIL will put it on for me. Hopefully my tractor will start after sitting out in this weather but one problem at a time.
2. I used a 25% off coupon to buy dog food. I also explored the rewards site for this pet store. I was able to add to my rewards by doing a few simple things. I have enough for $15 off next time I go. Every little bit and like everything else, pet food has gone up.
3. My mother picked me up to take me to the tractor store since her car is better in the snow. We got the car stuck trying to back out of my hilly, curvy drive. I managed to get it unstuck with a little shoveling and patience. Tow truck charge avoided.
4. We’ve been staying home due to the weather. My youngest daughter and I cleaned my basement. We reorganized a storage room. I recycled old gift boxes and made a garage sale pile of other items that I will no longer need – gift bags and wrapping paper and excess Christmas decor. I may try Freecycle for some of it.
5. I’m cooking at home, using up leftovers, reading library books and curling up under lots of blankets to stay warm.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:02 pm

If only life gave one problem at a time. My husband and I joke about police procedural TV shows that always have one crime to solve at a time. Ever.


kathy January 15, 2024 at 11:27 am

Spent most of last week sick. Finally rallied on Thursday so we made the trip to Costco. Stocked up on Chicken and Salmon which should last us for at least a month
Listed 6 items on Mercari and sold 3. Daughter in law was going into town so dropped them off at UPS store
Received $5.15 class action check and $6.40 check for selling books
Single digit temps so we’re bundling up
Used our OTC benefits to get our vitamins, etc


Katy January 16, 2024 at 3:01 pm

Glad you’re felling better!


Fru-gal Lisa January 15, 2024 at 11:48 am

Katy and son, another really good place for used furniture, esp. that in the styles of yester-year, would be at an estate sale. I’m not sure how they conduct such sales in your neck of the woods, but where I am, they usually have them over 2 or 3 days and the last day, toward the last several hours, everything is half price or better just to get rid of it. (You can make an offer if you think its still too pricey. The best selection, of course, is early in the sale, but there isn’t as much incentive for them to negotiate with you. ) Usually, the heirs don’t want to fool with Grandma’s 1950s living room set or bedroom suite (it’ll likely be twin or full-sized beds, but they’re great for one person) or household items. I’m betting you can find some mid-century sofas and a whole lot of other good stuff at such sales.
OK, here are my frugal 5:
1. Our city water tastes not very good; the water in the suburbs is much better. So instead of buying bottled water, I took a good-sized jug to work with me and filled it up in the water fountain. They have water fountains with a spigot for water bottles, designed so you can refill an individual water bottle, and it says it is filtered water. I filled up my jug and took it home.
2. “Regifted” (donated) some unwanted Christmas presents to Goodwill for a coupon good for 20% off. I always take something and get a coupon when I shop GW. Didn’t find the sweater that I wanted, but I did find a plastic trashcan for a dollar. Cans that size sell for 7 or 8 dollars at Walmart, Dollar Stores, etc. Since we always need trash cans, I got it. I didn’t even use my coupon, preferring to save it for something bigger. Also had them bag the trashcan, thus getting my first trash bag (the large GW shopping bag) for free.
3. I hardly ever spend $ for entertainment, but the local high school was putting on a big production. So some friends and I shelled out a whopping ten bucks a ticket and carpooled there. It was Broadway quality and you soon forgot the actors were only in high school. A good time was had by all. Figure that was pretty inexpensive for a night out.
4. A coworker didn’t like her frozen microwave dinner that she’d brought for lunch so she gave it to me before she cooked it. I was already eating my sandwich, but I got a free supper that night.
5. Accepted the dealership’s offer of letting them do the first oil change on my new (to me) car (actually a used car). Got an oil change, checkup and carwash free.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 2:57 pm

Filling a jug with nice filtered water for use at home may win you the “Most Frugal” of the week award! Take a bow!


Lindsey January 15, 2024 at 11:49 am

The husband is gone for 10 days to check in on an ailing family member. I cannot remember the last time we were apart for more than a few hours, so it feels very odd. While he is gone, I am afraid my eating has gone feral, which leads to my first frugality: I am eating odds and ends from fridge and cupboard, even if they normally don’t usually go together in the same meal, like popcorn and cottage cheese. (And, horrors, I am eating supper while sitting in front of the TV!)
2. We had a box of defunct equipment, including a printer, a CPAP machine, a CD player. We had planned to take it to recycling but my teen snow shoveler asked if he could have it because he is building some sort of robotic thing and might be able to use various parts. Happy to pass it on AND as a thanks he shoveled our driveway and refused payment. He promised to take anything he cannot use to the recycle center.
3. The 10 year old neighbor brought over a plate of cookies she made and a dozen eggs from their chickens (which were our chickens until last summer, when we at long last gave up chicken keeping. Too much work to tend them at 20, 30 and 40 below.) I gave her a loaf of bread that was still warm from the oven.
4. Filed two rebate forms electronically. Years ago I was not very organized and sometimes would neglect to file for rebates, but no more.
5. Made more dog biscuits. I grow a lot of pumpkins and have bags and bags of pumpkin pulp from as far back as three years ago, so I cleared a bunch of them out of the freezer and made pound hound happy. I was happy to warm the house up baking bread and making dog treats.


Marie January 15, 2024 at 4:35 pm

Lindsey, I also have pumpkin puree in the freezer.
Interested in sharing dog treat recipe?
I grow a big garden with good intentions of pumpkin pie, and bread. But?


Lindsey January 15, 2024 at 11:19 pm

Here is the recipe I use. I have no idea where I got this, I have been using it for so long. When I don’t have any rye flour, I use all whole wheat.
¼ cup non-fat dried milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
2 cups of pumpkin pulp
4 cups cooked white or brown rice, cold
3 tablespoons molasses
¾ tablespoon salt
1 cup of oatmeal—not instant
4 cups rye flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

Mix all the ingredients together. This is an extremely stiff dough, so you will need a very sturdy mixer—a Kitchen Aid is perfect. While the stove is preheating to 350 degrees, roll the dough out to about a quarter inch of thickness. Use a cookie cutter and bake them for 15 minutes on each side. If they are not dry enough, they will mold, so cook them hard or keep them in the freezer.

(P.S. I sneak pumpkin pulp into chili, in case you are looking for another way to use it up. You don’t taste it.)


Marie January 16, 2024 at 2:07 pm

Thank you


Alison January 15, 2024 at 8:56 pm

My dogs get about 3-4 tbsp of pumpkin purée every night on their kibble, along with some herring oil. They love it, and I heard the pumpkin is good for their digestion. I used to make dog treats with pumpkin, peanut butter, flour and eggs, but my dog did a lot of vomiting then. I realized it must have been the treats, and think maybe it was the eggs.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 2:54 pm

I love eating dinner while watching TV. I was an absolute stickler about my family eating at the dining room table while my kids were growing up, so this is my reward for all that self discipline.


ValY January 15, 2024 at 3:27 pm

Those socks have all the colors of the rainbow. So pretty. What a great find. And just in time for the coldest of winter.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 2:51 pm

I’ve worn them twice already!


Nancy from mass January 15, 2024 at 6:13 pm

It is definitely NOT been a frugal month for me so far this year. I have suddenly started having water again in my basement (that hasn’t happened since 2010). I had to move stuff around, I stubbed and broke my second toe. Then I had more water in the basement (4 inches) the dehumidifier that I bought in 98 that I use roughly 300 days of the year died on me so I had to buy new dehumidifier (But I did get my moneys worth from that one). And the other one that was only about 10 years old wasn’t working very well so I had to buy a second dehumidifier for the basement. I need a sump pump put in and, my plumber pointed out that the pipe going from the street into my house for the water meter is the original 1938 pipe that was installed when the house was built and it definitely needs to be replaced because it is rusting out.

But I did find a penny!


But I did take out a knitting project that I started two years ago (fingerless mitts) that I’m working on now to keep my sanity. I will probably give them to a coworker who is always cold.


Jill A January 16, 2024 at 6:40 am

Nancy, sorry your month is starting out so badly. I hope it gets easier soon. It’s so difficult also when you have to deal with it all on your own. As a fellow widow I am feeling for you.


Alexandra January 16, 2024 at 8:38 am

I spit my hot tea when I read “but I did find a penny!”
Good for you for keeping your sense of humor and keeping us amused.
Hang in there.
Big hug.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 2:51 pm

Thoughts and prayer for your 1938 pipe. That’s not news anyone can use.
Congratulations on the penny!


MB in MN January 16, 2024 at 3:47 pm

Nancy, oh my goodness that is a lot. Here’s to better times ahead.


Jill January 15, 2024 at 7:44 pm

1. We have experienced negative temps (and snow) for three days now with this morning’s wind chill being -21. Obviously didn’t want to take my grandson out in that so made do with pantry items to make dinner. Had a hankering for my mom’s meatloaf – only happens when it’s really cold – but didn’t have the necessary tomato sauce. Found a can of tomato paste which I made into sauce. Finished up with the last of a bag of potatoes and used some cornmeal and the last egg to make corn muffins – my grandson’s favorite.
2. Booked a hotel in Ohio for March (AARP rate) to celebrate my mom’s 96th birthday. Splitting it with my sister and we will drive together to save money. Was going to surprise her but hey, she’s turning 96. This will give her something to look forward to and no unnecessary health problems due to a surprise.
3. As always, the library is one of my favorite places. Storytime for my grandson, and reading the fascinating The Art Thief.
4. My son’t birthday is at the end of the month and I’ve decided that I will give his house a thorough cleaning as his gift – something he rarely has time – or motivation – for as a single dad of a 2 1/2 year old.
5. Frigid temperatures mean not leaving the house. Took advantage of being house bound by organizing a “playroom area” for my grandson and cleaned out my bathroom taking inventory of my toiletries and medicines. Also Skyped with my daughter in Australia which is so strange – she’s talking about extreme heat and we’re wrapped in blankets and complaing about frigid temps!


Heidi Louise January 16, 2024 at 8:00 am

Jill, your #2 and #4 are both very thoughtful! Although I don’t know that happy surprise would hurt your Mom, giving her something to look forward to is an excellent choice. (She also will have time to get things or ideas ready for you and your sister in advance). And for your son, getting ahead on cleaning is wonderful.


Katy January 16, 2024 at 2:49 pm

A “thorough cleaning” sounds like the best gift ever! He’s a lucky guy.


JC January 16, 2024 at 10:17 am

We are so cold here…..high today of 5 but into the negative double digits with the wind chill. The cold saps my get up and go and I am very ready for it to be over with.
1. staying home because of the cold and wind means no $ spent.
2. making sourdough bread and using the discards for other things.
3. local family saving their garbage/peels and such and feeding them to the chickens.
4. eggs sometimes freeze before I can get to them, still usable for cooking. Just not boiling.
5.saving water when I turn on the taps for hot water, using it on my many house plants and I have a huge pot of water on the wood stove to add humidity to the air.



Katy January 16, 2024 at 2:47 pm

I’m cold just reading your “Frugal Five!”


Ecoteri January 17, 2024 at 3:07 am

Well, the cooked pumpkin was put to use with a homemake pumpkin muffin kit that I discovered in the back of my pantry while trying to find pearl couscous. No luck on finding the pearl couscous (I had to settle for smaller sized couscous in the recipe…) but the ‘kit’ was just what I needed to make muffins!. Mixing the pumpkin with 3 of my eggs, a half cup of some very old yet viable buttermilk, some butter and the kit – added some old raisins that I soaked in boiling water then squished (they were kind of hard) and some chopped pecans found in the nut fridge. Not my best effort yet I am certainly not complaining. Shall have to schlepp most off to #2 son as a) he has freezer space b) he is taking lunches to his new job and c) he is 6’2” and has a 28” waist – the boy has GOT to eat a bit more!
Back on track with my ‘use it up’ food journey. Friday it was assembling the cauliflower and bacon/garlic braise, just delicious. And prepping for my Best buddy who is coming for dinner on Saturday.
I walked the dog for exercise – on Saturday there was about an inch of snow on the ground, wind chill to minus 20 Celsius, it is SO unseasonal for here (we rarely go below freezing … this is shocking weather). I was well wrapped but my face was really sore so I decided to curtail the outside movement and just dance a bit in the kitchen. Tonight we are getting MORE snow, it is sliding off my roof with a swish and thump – probably 6 inches out there, so I suspect #2 son won’t be driving to work tomorrow. We have a Snowstorm warning out – in the ‘don’t drive if you can avoid it’ kind of warning – so he for sure will be wise (I hope?) anyway, if this keeps up he won’t get the car out the driveway… Last night I went to get water at the kitchen sink and it came out at a dreadfully slow trickle. OH NO! (that tap is fed with a hose that goes through an unheated crawl space, but this is a first for me.) I ran it on both cold and hot until I got a good flow, then turned it to a trickle – and opened the crawlspace cover to let some of the basement heat in. Did i mention it is very unusually cold here?
Best Buddy has given me a guest subscription to Blinkist, which is a coles notes audio app that gives 15-25 min or so outline of what is in a book. I have been using it when driving to see my mom = not all is great, but some of the books I will never read so at least I am getting the gist. I did listen to a very fast version of The Odyssey which was quite useful = and makes me wonder if I could slog through the whole thing. Nice when a newish app offers ‘friends and family’ links when someone gets a subscription. I shared my cheapo Craftsy subscription friends and family’ link with her a couple of weeks ago. Wonderful when we share.
Frugal annoying fail – my $20 bread machine isn’t stirring – it was questionable the last time but this time just made whirring noises and no action. I dumped the mess into a bowl, stirred until it was a wet come-together, and dumped it on the counter to knead. Good thing I really know how to do this (for years I made bread by hand). But annoying. Anyway, I put it back in the machine to proof, then in disgust I put the dough into a bowl in the downstairs fridge. I will deal with it tomorrow…. I AM annoyed about the machine, because so much about it was perfect (look, weight, handles, cleanliness). I am currently trying to take it apart but can’t get the base to come off. Will google/youtube when i am a bit less annoyed.
And I finally got in to my family doc- appointment made before christmas for Tuesday, she was away for three weeks (good for her!!!). It was supposed to be a checkin but I presented my sore toe and suddenly I was getting very minor surgery – thank you Canada for ‘kind of’ free medical aid. Anyway, the toe already feels better even if there was surgery, and if I can get to the pharmacy tomorrow I will pick up the antibiotic…. Sigh. The wheels keep falling off.


GK January 17, 2024 at 4:47 am

Those socks look so comfy! Best of luck with the continued hunt for furniture!


* continuing to use our 10 year old dehumidifier even though it is very hard and awkward to move from room to room as the handle broke off a few weeks ago (the thing weighs a ton!)
* I was using a kneeling chair in my home office but have noticed that it affects circulation in my legs. Instead of buying a regular office chair I am now using one of our dining table chairs (with a wedge cushion that I already had).
* I wanted to gift my sister a silver necklace as I had given her a silver pendant for Christmas but didn’t realise she doesn’t own a silver necklace! Instead of buying her a necklace chain I decided that I will never wear two silver necklaces at once and gave her one of mine.
* I sold a mini exercise bike locally and a book (collector’s item) on EBay. I re-used packaging to mail the book. It went to Saudi Arabia!
* Accidentally stepped on my husband’s phone charging cable while it was plugged into the adaptor on the floor, did not get a replacement though, we are now sharing my charging cable.
* Gave freebie dark chocolate to my vegan friend who always gives me her non vegan food freebies.


Ashley Bananas January 17, 2024 at 9:03 am

1. This past week has been super rainy here in SWFL. Because of this I spent a lot of time at home avoiding potential road hazards and localized flooding. This saved on gas and let me just be at home which is so nice.
2. My son and I were invited to BBQ at a neighbors house. The free meal was wonderful. Additionally, my neighbors is about my age, single, and funny….and I met his mom and nephew, and his mom and I hit it off really well. It was kind of amazing. Side note, this is a neighbor I have never mentioned before. He kind of looks like Tom Cruise…
3. My best friend and I spent an hour cleaning my house together. Whenever we’re together we rarely engage in retail activities and instead do things like cook, clean, or walk together. I dont know if we’re boring or interesting…but I’m so thankful for a friend who doesn’t want to be at shopping malls or restaurants all the time.
4. I went on a nature hike at a park on MLK day with a friend. I paid $2 for parking. It was a great time. I consider this a frugal time out.
5. My son went to basketball practice and the entire team was fed Zaxby’s. When I picked him up he wasn’t ravenously hungry. Thank you amazing coaches!!!

Hope everyone is having a great week.


Jill A January 17, 2024 at 12:18 pm

Your neighbor sounds like a catch. I hope we here more in the future.


Katy January 17, 2024 at 12:22 pm

Oh, I remember the era of ravenous teenagers! And RE: Your #3, it’s good to have friends who can pivot to pair socializing with stuff that actually needs to get done!


Ecoteri January 17, 2024 at 3:06 pm

Your #3 is awesome. I have a buddy who I really don’t see enough of, however sometimes when we get together it is all about sorting a room or making decisions about releasing old stuff. she has had an ongoing project to clear out the downstairs of her house to make an AirBnB rental space – it has two bedrooms, a living room and a decent kitchen, but her boys were living down there and it also became a catch all. She and I have, over time, gone room-by-room – sometimes she is just weary of the whole thing but I pump her up and we carry furniture around, I go away with stuff for various thrift stores or homeless shelters. we have got the bedrooms done, and the kitchen (lots of family stuff that she doesn’t want but -what to do?) and she just needs to do a bit in the living area (which is a great space yet her husband is still finishing some trim as they replaced windows). What we find it that when she gets clearing and sorting done, her husband will finally finish a 98% done project. We have fun, we laugh and support each other. I am hoping she can help ME in my home next time we get together,, just for some big sorting.


LESLIE January 23, 2024 at 11:00 am

I found a new pair of Bambas sock still in the package. I love Goodwill!


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