Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 29, 2024 · 76 comments

This weekend was my son’s big move across town, so please excuse the lateness of this blog post as my days have been busy and I feel like I may have been hit by a Mack truck. Maybe two.

  1. My husband was able to scrounge dozens of sturdy cardboard boxes from his employer’s recycling dumpster. We then tipped them back into the dumpster at the end of the move, literally in the dead of night. And because my husband works in healthcare, many of them had fun branding on the outside that said things like “Fentanyl resistant gloves.”

  2. Although my son did pay for the furniture to outfit his new apartment, only a couple items were new and many of the items were free. He already had everything required for his bedroom, but he needed to start from scratch for the living room and dining room.

    • Free Ikea Poang chair with ottoman that his old roommate was going to donate to Goodwill.
    • Free Ikea coffee table from Facebook Marketplace.
    • Free console table that his old roommate was also going to donate to Goodwill.
    • Vintage guitar pick side table that I thrifted maybe six years ago.
    • Free banker’s lamp that he sourced through Buy Nothing a few years ago.
    • $50 rug through Facebook Marketplace.
    • $250 couch through Facebook Marketplace.
    • $30 for two bar stools through Facebook Marketplace.
    • $30 dining room table from Goodwill.
    • His big splurge was a $199 Dyvlinge chair, which is actually super comfy.

    We still need to source dining room chairs, but I stopped looking because my son wasn’t sure he even needed a dining room table. We’ve put the table I thrifted in his apartment and he can let me know if it’s a keeper. Otherwise I’m reselling it.

  3. My son’s bedroom consists of:

    • A bed frame, which I got for free through Buy Nothing.
    • A free desk, which he got off Facebook Marketplace.
    • An antique dresser, which I thrifted and refinished over twenty four years ago. We used it as his changing table.
    • This small bedside stool, which I painted in an argyle pattern in 2013.
    • A wall shelf, which my husband configured from a curb picked wooden board.
    This Ikea glass cabinet, which he set up for houseplants a few years ago.

  4. • I drove through for mid-move burrito plates and found a quarter on the ground.
    • My son’s old roommates were abandoning their possessions left and right, which is how my son ended up with the Poang chair and the console table. Also some other random things like potholders and spatulas.
    • My son moved into his last rental house when his roommates had already been living there awhile. They didn’t have him pay a security deposit, which is good as he definitely would’ve lost it, as his roommates were neither clean nor tidy. His room was left immaculate and we made sure to take both photos and video in case it’s ever an issue. Good guys, just slobs.

  5. I didn’t thrift or move any Lear Jets across town.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy in the South January 29, 2024 at 3:46 pm

What a fabulous chair! I love mid century furniture!


Katy January 29, 2024 at 9:56 pm

It’s a comfy design, I had to check it out for myself.


Q January 29, 2024 at 4:17 pm

Nice work on furnishing the apartment: it has great vibes in the photo! And wise to take photos of the old one!

1. I reviewed my Southwest bill and found out that I have enough miles, from many years, for a round trip, and will use it in the coming year, I hope. Then, I will cancel that card. I called another credit card company that charged a minimum monthly fee and cancelled the card.
2. I am not sure if I posted this, as it was earlier this month, but I am continuing to find hidden recurring charges: as I have eliminated some, others have become more obvious. I found that we were paying for duplicate Adobe software licenses for my husband, listed under personal and business emails, and cancelled 2 of the 3 of them, saving substantial money. I am amazed at how many little bills there are, and how they add up, and I am a little embarrassed that it is taking me so long to discover all of them!
3. I made an appointment with an ophthalmologist, rather than an optometrist, as my insurance plan covers the former but not the latter.
4. I am continuing on my low cost home revitalization, and was able to donate lunch boxes, small electric space heaters, Tupperware, etc, to someone who works at a school who will get them to families who will use them. We are going to have a pancake cook-off to send off one of our two large pancake griddles, which are from the days when our children were young and their cousins all came to our house for big breakfasts on the weekends. (I do miss those days!). I think the griddle will be quite handy for someone else. The paring down is taking time, but the result is that we already can clean up much faster than before.
5. I continue to cook from scratch, hang items to dry, keep temps low, and batch my driving together. I shopped on a fuel oil comparison site, used a promo code, and am paying cash. This will save me over $70 tomorrow when they deliver the fuel. (the downside is I have to be home for a 4 hour window, but that means I will get a little more housework done!)


Coral Clarke January 29, 2024 at 5:40 pm

Did I understand you correctly? You felt that getting more housework done was a PLUS?


Q January 29, 2024 at 6:55 pm

Ha ha! That does sound strange! I’ve been on the go quite a bit, so I have some chores I want to catch up on. Now that you mention it, it does sound weird!


Katy January 29, 2024 at 9:55 pm

At least you discovered the duplicate subscriptions!


Q January 30, 2024 at 6:05 am

Katy, yes. It was tricky, because of the timing of the bills. They looked like different things, but I called and spoke to various reps to get it untangled. It feels good to be saving the money going forward.


Jill A January 29, 2024 at 4:20 pm

It sounds like a busy weekend. It’s great that he was able to source so many things for free or inexpensively. I really like the guitar pick table.
1. My daughter and I wanted to watch the Lions game on Sunday but Fox channel wasn’t coming in well with the antenna. We loaded the Fox Sports app on the Roku and they gave us an hour free. When that ran out we put it on the other TV with Roku for another hour free. Then we ran back and forth between TV’s because they’d give us an extra five minutes. Finally we watched it on my laptop and when that hour ran out my daughter watched the last few minutes on her phone. I couldn’t bear to watch anymore at that point.
2. The snow plow knocked my mailbox over and broke the post in three pieces. My daughter and I managed to put it back together like a jigsaw puzzle with nails and screws. We’ll see how long it lasts.
3. I combined errands today. I went to the township office and paid my property taxes and got a new dog license saving four stamps. I dropped a package at the post office and washed my car at the inexpensive do it yourself car wash.
4. During a family outing we stopped at the library downtown and my youngest picked up some books and we all were given a free box of covid tests that they were giving away.
5. I paid a catering deposit with an E-check to avoid the 3% credit card fee. I bathed the dog at home. I read another library book on my kindle – The Christie Affair – it was very good. I made a delicious new recipe that used up some things in my fridge that needed to go.


Katy January 29, 2024 at 9:53 pm

Ooh . . . thanks for the book recommendation! And you must really like football!


Jill A January 30, 2024 at 5:26 am

Do not like football really. I never watch but it was a special one.


Katy January 30, 2024 at 5:52 pm

I have zero interest in spectator sports, but do see how so many people get pleasure from it. I didn’t watch any sports as as a kid, so maybe you have to be raised with it.


Mary January 31, 2024 at 5:31 am

Can they charge a convenience fee in debit cards? I get charged this fee when I use my debit, the waitress said they can but I though with debit the money is taken out right away. Just wondering


Selena January 31, 2024 at 7:44 pm

Yes they can. The business is charged a fee for debit also. Some establishments don’t accept debit for less than $5 due to the interchange fees.


Karen A. January 29, 2024 at 4:22 pm

Impressive thrifting!

Some run of the mill frugal things:

1. Library books (both physical and e-variety).

2. On YouTube (no subscription, just the free version) I found the entire run of Alien Nation free for watching, no ads! I don’t know how, but some very kind person curated them and uploaded them, so now I am happily revisiting one of my favorite 90s-era sci fi shows.

3. We realized our new kitty was not enjoying the placement or manner of his water dish, i.e. he wasn’t drinking much and was constantly agitating about his food dish. By dint of ousting a slowly-malfunctioning keyboard, that nobody was playing anymore, and repurposing the hutch from a desk, we made Clark a lovely eating platform, far away from his box. We have a small one story house, so finding space for his litterbox was a challenge alone, so at first we had his food and water kind of near there. Pro tip: Cats do NOT like having their food and water by their box, and I don’t blame them!

4. To upgrade Clark’s water experience, DH scrounged in the garage and found an aquarium pump and some water pipe and borrowed a small stainless steel baking pan I haven’t used in ages, and made a lovely DIY cat fountain. Clark was so delighted he jumped right up there and started slurping away.

5. Gave up coffee right before the New Year, and make tea at home. Using up the teas I have before I splash out on any new ones.


Nancy January 29, 2024 at 4:45 pm

Do you have more details on the DIY kitty fountain??


Karen A. January 30, 2024 at 6:20 am

Nancy, I wish I could post a picture! I hope I describe it well enough. He used a submersible aquarium pump (Google 90 GPH Mini Submersible Pump, Small Fountain Pump (5W 350L/H) for water feature, Aquariums, Fish Tank, Tabletop Fountain, Pet Fountain, Indoor or Outdoor Pond Fountain), and some flexible water hose, and put the pump in the brownie pan, placed the pan on a shelf, next to a taller bookshelf, and looped the hose from the pump up into a loop and secured it to the taller bookshelf with a screw-on clamp, so the water would be pumped up and out the hose back into the pan. Happily there was an outlet right behind where he wanted to put it.


Karen A. January 30, 2024 at 6:22 am

He says the water line is like this: and it’s stainless steel on the inside, as is the pan.


A. Marie January 30, 2024 at 5:09 am

Dang it, Karen, I shouldn’t have read your description of Clark’s cat fountain to my Betty. Now she wants one.


PatGaudreau January 30, 2024 at 5:56 pm

Miss Bella won’t go near anything that makes noise, I’d love to get her & her brother one but she’s moving into her senior years so I try to accommodate her.


Vickey February 14, 2024 at 5:42 pm

Thanks for the chuckle, A. Marie!


Kathy January 29, 2024 at 5:32 pm

The good, the bad and the ugly January
Finally some sun after too many days of grey, wet icy days.
My work schedule has been minimal between my trip to Palm Springs, a week sick and shorter hours
I sold multiple items on line and was able to buy a baby shower gift for a coworker.
On to February and my birthday feebees


Katy January 29, 2024 at 9:51 pm

Hooray for birthday freebies!


Lindsey January 29, 2024 at 5:50 pm

Your ability to get something for nothing (or close to) astounds/impresses me.
1. Husband’s 12 day trip to see his brothers in San Diego cost him a total of $563 because he used airplane mileage left from when he used to fly Alaska Airlines into remote villages on a weekly basis, the two nights he stayed in hotels he used points from a credit card to pay for them, when family wanted to go to expensive restaurants he offered to cook and they all chipped in for the food so only two nights did he take them out for dinner as thanks for putting him up. He bought only one item to bring home, jerky from a place he loved as a kid. If he had not been careful, those 12 days would have been a lot more expensive. He also was lucky enough to leave two days before it flooded in San Diego.
2. We are still eating out of the freezer and cupboard, with the emphasis on foods that are running toward or have already succumbed to freezer burn, or the dates on the cans in the cupboard are almost from the last decade. As a result, so far our food costs for this month are less than $50, most for milk and flour. This saves money because if we did not do this, eventually the food would get thrown out instead of eaten.
3. I finally transferred my and the husband’s prescriptions to the insurance mail order pharmacy, which means we get them for nothing. If I get them filled locally, it is at least $4 per fill and sometimes more. I should have done this a long time ago and my only excuse is that when I got the first fill, they were needed right away so mail order was out. Then I got lazy or forgetful or something.
4. Again with the medical: we have a defibrillator in our home and the pads get old and have to be replaced (or you use them and they have to be replaced. Thankfully it has been several years since that happened). Getting them locally is four times the price of ordering them from a Seattle medical supply house, so I finally did that this week. Insurance doesn’t cover this cost, which is odd since they paid for the machine.
5. A lot of other savings are due to weather. It has been 53 below zero at night (thank God this is not a windy area of the state or it would be worse with wind chill) and minus 30 during the day until today, when it is 17 below. That means we left the house only when we absolutely had to and then we made sure to run every errand we could think of while we had the car out of the garage. There is very little that is tempting at those temps and even if one is tempted, a lot of things get cancelled at 40 below. We made sure to draw our heavy curtains when the sun started setting, to preserve heat. We wore/are wearing insulated underwear in the house so we can keep the temperature set a bit lower than we would like–but not too low, lest pipes freeze. We keep the furnace room door open despite the noise, since it gives off heat. I am baking bread even though most of it is going into the outdoor freezer (known as the back porch when it gets above 32 degrees) just to help with heat.

We did discover that Pound Hound will only go outside to pee if one of us stands out there with him. That is easier than talking sternly/ trying to shove him/fantasizing that I am going to return him to the pound the next time we take the car out, and still having him lie down and splay out all four limbs so he is unmovable.


Katy January 29, 2024 at 9:50 pm

Again, I cannot even imagine what those temperatures must feel like! Good reason to bake bread though.


Denise January 30, 2024 at 12:25 am

Me neither. We use Celsius in England and I assumed that-53F would translate to about-10 degrees C. Holy moly: -47 degrees Celsius. I can’t imagine going out at all at those temperatures. You mentioned Alaska Airlines earlier in your post. Do you live in Alaska? When you mentioned thermal underwear indoors, I laughed. I wear that stuff now (+5 Celsius, so 41 degrees Fahrenheit). I’m a thermal lightweight. We don’t know we’re born over here. Thank goodness for the Jet Stream!!


Ecoteri January 30, 2024 at 10:12 pm

@Lindsey, I am so glad that your husband shares your frugal ways. I have had several partners who have not, however since they are all now ex-partners I guess I need to let go of any of that old resentment along with their non-frugal ways and get on with my single and frugal-my-way life. So funny about Pound Hound, but I can see it. mine likes the snow (rare here) but when it was -11C she was out and in like a flash of black light.


Bee January 29, 2024 at 6:03 pm

Moving is hard work!!! Will Mana’s Little Meatball be moving too?

January is such a long, long month. I feel like it has gone on for years. This weekend’s FFT are small.
* I am continuing to work on eating down the pantry and the freezer. During the holiday season, I purchased several gluten-free baking mixes. Because of extenuating circumstances, very little baking was done. So over the weekend, I baked pumpkin muffins, blueberry lemon scones, quiche, and waffles to put in the freezer.

* I listed several items on eBay today. My goal is 10 items this week and I’m half way there. This is a slow time of the year in the resale markets, but if these items aren’t listed, they’ll never sell.

* I use air purifiers in our home to help reduces allergens. It was time to replace the HEPA filters in these. To make this rather boring purchase, I used a gift card that we received last month as a rebate. I also elected FREE standard shipping which saved nearly $9.

* I have been looking for a new coffee table for our family room for months at estate sales, in thrift store and on Marketplace. I finally found just what I wanted. I messaged the seller first thing this morning and didn’t hear back. So I tried again only to find out it was sold.:-(. The only thing more frugal than a $40 coffee table is not spending any more at all.

* I am planning a pollinators’ garden for my backyard. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who dug up several small, volunteer shrimp plants from her garden. Butterflies love these. A photo is here . One way to be a thrifty gardener is to be friends with a thrifty gardener.

Of course, I have been doing all the usual things – brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily filtered water, eating home cooked meals, walking Rescue Pup, going to the gym regularly (finally) and using the library. I’m currently finishing up reading Hello Beautiful and I’m listening to “Book Lovers” by Emily Henry. The later is a bit of fluff which I’m enjoying after reading a series of WWII historical novels. One can only digest so much war, unhappiness and death.
Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity.


Bee January 29, 2024 at 7:21 pm

Please forgive the “typos.” I wish spell check would quit correcting me incorrectly.


Katy January 29, 2024 at 9:47 pm

Mama’s Little Meatball needs to be spayed, so she’s going to stay here so I can care for her afterwards since my son works long hours. Then yes, she’ll move across town.
Bummer about the coffee table, but hooray (?) for the savings.


A. Marie January 30, 2024 at 5:12 am

Bee, I had to follow your link to find out what a shrimp plant is. For one crazed moment, I had visions of seafood!


Bee January 30, 2024 at 2:52 pm

The flowers on these native plants are appropriately named. However, there was a time in Florida when a shrimp plant was a totally different thing. It had nothing to do with flowers, but the processing of seafood.


Jill A January 30, 2024 at 8:26 am

It’s nice that you’re getting plants for free. I love those shrimp plants. I’ve seen them before but didn’t know what they were called. Beautiful.


Bee January 30, 2024 at 2:55 pm

They also come in a shade of green which is very rare. I’m hoping they’ll have them at the garden club flower sale this year.


Christine January 29, 2024 at 6:14 pm

Your son has a great start in his new apartment thanks to frugal ingenuity and a good sense of style.
1. DH had his sons over to watch the football games yesterday and suggested we get takeout pizza. I suggested using what we have on hand and he agreed. I pulled chicken drumsticks, boneless pork ribs and a pound of hamburger out of the freezer in addition to a pound of dry navy beans. I made marinated Chinese chicken, Mesquite rub spareribs and Swedish meatballs. Also, Boston Baked Beans and brownies from scratch (we had vanilla ice cream in the freezer to go with them). He thanked me twice afterwards for cooking all the food and the bonus is we have lots of leftovers.
2. Using an old bar of Naphtha soap, I got a stain out of DH’s favorite sweatshirt.
3. I cleaned out a cabinet and found lots of plastic utensils which I’ll donate to the church’s kitchen.
4. I found a ceramic pot in the cellar which I’ll use for repotting a succulent that has gotten too big for its original container.
5. Brewing coffee and tea at home, I found a penny (that’s six so far this month), keeping my highway speed to 64 mph to save gas and avoid a ticket, I went grocery shopping and stuck to my list which resulted in coming at $40 under budget, keeping the heat at 64 during the day and 60 at night (I need it cold to sleep), DH still wants to shovel the driveway for exercise and I’m wearing clothes from years ago that are still hanging in there. Maybe using the clothesline 7 months out of the year helps? Hopefully.


Katy January 29, 2024 at 9:45 pm

Your freezer contains much more exciting food than mine does!


Kathy Sell January 30, 2024 at 4:44 am

About Naptha soap…My grandmother made lye soap and I still have a soap bar plus a good size chunk. With it, I was able to remove a stain that commercial stain removers couldn’t. (I am 77 [and how did that happen] so just imagine how old that soap is!)


Jill A January 30, 2024 at 8:24 am

I feel like Naptha is one of those things that never runs out. I’ve had an old bar forever. It’s nice that it’s plastic free too.


Lindsey January 30, 2024 at 10:32 am

I still have a bar of Naptha that I found in my grandmother’s kitchen when she died many, many years ago.


Christine January 31, 2024 at 5:14 am

Who knew Naphtha and lye soap would be something to be handed down through the generations?!


Jill January 29, 2024 at 6:37 pm

1. I’ve been making the most of my Kroger app and planning meals around the loss leaders. Love it when my receipt shows all items on sale.
2. Was cleaning out a cabinet and came across a free photo book coupon on Shutterfly which expires tomorrow. Getting it done.
3. Enjoying my library DVD copies of Foyle’s War and Brokenwood Mysteries and re-reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (haven’t read it since high school)
4. Getting all my grandson’s outgrown clothes and toys together for a consignment sale in two weeks.
5. Weather was glorious today and is expected to be this whole week so we are heading out to take advantage of our state park pass as much as we can.


Katy January 29, 2024 at 9:43 pm

Ooh . . . now I need to see what the loss leaders are at Kroger this week!


Christine January 31, 2024 at 6:43 pm

I reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as an adult too. Still love the character of Francie and still a great read. Have you ever read Maggie Smith’s other novels? Good but not as good as Tree.


BettafrmdaVille January 29, 2024 at 7:42 pm

Frugal-but-not: the eating out while visiting parents edition
1. I took my mom out to lunch and ordered the cheapest thing on the menu (which I happen to love): a grilled hotdog. I ordered seltzer and it happens to be one of the few restaurants that still gives seltzer for free.
2. My parents took me, my sister, and her family out for dinner Friday night. I split an entree with my dad.
3. On Saturday, I took my parents out to a mystery shop for lunch. My mom and I split a burger and we all split one order of fries. I ended up making $10 on our lunch.
4. On Saturday night, the 3 of us went out to dinner AGAIN (my parents are elderly with mobility issues and they live in the country, so I think eating out is one of their forms of entertainment). I split an entree with my mom and drank more FREE SELTZER!
5. Saturday night, I went to my nephew’s 30th birthday party. I had sourced some free 30th birthday decorations from my Buy Nothing group, I brought a big bottle of tequila that was left over from my partner’s 40th birthday party (ummm, more than a decade ago, but it is tequila….) and just had to buy some margarita mix, and I was supposed to bring some snacks but my mom had chips & salsa that were languishing in her cupboard so she “chipped” in those.
6. Mom and I were supposed to…. go out to lunch with an aunt on Sunday, but the weather was cruddy so we stayed home (and saved that money). I made soup for lunch using what they had already (tomatoes: best by 2019!) and dinner using free mystery-shop chicken, but my parents ruined their appetites by eating popcorn….


Katy January 29, 2024 at 9:42 pm

I have to ask — what restaurant gives free seltzer?


BettafrmdaVille January 30, 2024 at 7:28 pm

Growing up in the 70s, the local ice cream shop/restaurant Friendly’s (New England) always gave free seltzer. The one that I’m referencing, however, is an independent restaurant called Gina Marie’s in Hebron, CT.


Christine January 31, 2024 at 6:45 pm

The Friendlys in our town sadly closed last year. I had no idea they had free seltzer! Too late for me now…


Ruby January 29, 2024 at 9:08 pm

Katy, you and your husband are great parents for helping your son move. It’s rough on middle-aged bodies.

I spent $60 on organizing supplies at Dollar Tree and two days working on our mess of a garage. My son helped me move heavy stuff and clean. I filled my car to the roof with donations to Goodwill and Habitat. The improvement is huge.

Other frugalities include plating up leftovers as individual meals for the freezer, mending my son”s jeans for the fourth time, cleaning and polishing my old shoes, and repairing the bottom of the $1 laundry basket we’ve been using for 12 years.


Katy January 29, 2024 at 9:41 pm

Ugh, please come work on my garage next! I do love that the value of the basket is not the initial cost.


LDA January 30, 2024 at 4:50 pm

Ruby, one of my best purchases as a newlywed was a heavy plastic laundry basket labeled “apartment size” (it’s square!) I still use it now, 43 years later. This is obviously the longest lasting, useful plastic item I’ve ever had.


Ava January 31, 2024 at 8:02 am

I am still using the laundry basket that went overseas with us when I was pregnant with my son. He is 41 now.


K D January 30, 2024 at 4:13 am

1. I noticed that part of a board on a porch step was cracked near the front. I didn’t want anyone to get hurt should the board give way so DH drove a couple of screws into the board from the front and it is now sturdy and safe.

2. I chopped walnuts, and plan to chop pecans today, and put them in jars for refrigerator storage. It is a big savings over buying them chopped. I buy large bags of nuts at Costco or Sam’s Club so they are reasonably priced. I like to have them on hand for baking and for topping oatmeal and yogurt.

3. A neighbor shared Grocery Outlet coupons she wasn’t going to use. She gets them in the mail and we do not. I used one to save $5 on a $25 order the other day.

4. I made of BBQ Baked Lentils in the Instant Pot. They are stored in Bonne Maman like jars for easy reheating/eating.

5. A friend and I walked to a local cafe. We sat outside near a self-serve flower stand that sold small bouquets of “locally sourced” flowers. I did not buy any but I did notice they take donations of “jars you don’t use” which are used as vases. I have a bit of a problem recycling/throwing away nice jars but I have more than I need. On Sunday I knew I would drive past the cafe so I stopped to donate ten jars I was unlikely to use that will make good vases.


A. Marie January 30, 2024 at 5:15 am

K D, your #5 is a good idea, and I’ll try to remember it come summertime. Several of the flower vendors at our Regional Market use repurposed jars in this way.


Lindsey January 30, 2024 at 10:34 am

I wish we had someone local who needed jars. I am beginning to look like a jar hoarder.


Katy January 30, 2024 at 5:51 pm

That’s great to find a business that can reuse the jars!


A. Marie January 30, 2024 at 5:49 am

FFT, Simulcast Edition (I’ll be putting this up at The Frugal Girl next):

(1) I managed to get out to a Thrifty Shopper store I don’t often visit for a bit of thrifting on Saturday. I found a pair of Marmot activewear pants, a book, a dozen more votive candles, and a few odds and ends for $15.

(2) I stopped at four Little Free Libraries on my way to and from the Thrifty Shopper. I found two very nice children’s books that I’ll pass on to JASNA BFF for her grandchildren.

(3) Peanuts in the shell are back in stock at my Ollie’s, so I used the Ollie’s 15% off Valentine’s coupon to buy several bags. The peanuts should keep things lively during next month’s Great Backyard Bird Count.

(4) I made a quick chicken cacciatore with some of the boneless/skinless thighs I found Reduced for Quick Sale last week, plus a jar of Wegmans Italian Classics sauce that was nearing its best-by date.

(5) And I’ve gritted my teeth and started in on my tax paperwork. (Whoever it was on either the NCA or the FG who said recently that she enjoys preparing her taxes is cordially invited to help do mine!)


Bee January 30, 2024 at 11:55 am

Are the peanuts at Ollie’s suitable for making boiled peanuts or are they truly bird food!


A. Marie January 30, 2024 at 1:31 pm

Bee, a lot of the ones in the current batch look over-toasted to me, so I don’t think I’d use them for boiled peanuts. Fortunately, my blue jays, red-bellied woodpeckers, etc., don’t mind.


MB in MN January 30, 2024 at 6:28 am

Your son’s place looks amazing! Love the stories behind all the great finds.

1. Used up not-great bread in a delicious tomato and bread soup.

2. We took our niece and nephew out to dinner. The bill was higher than expected and we noticed that when my nephew changed his order, his original order wasn’t removed. Got that fixed. My entree was so large it made two more meals. After dinner, instead of going to an ice cream shop, I suggested we buy a container of Talenti to split since we were returning to my nephew’s apartment anyway. Everyone was so excited to have gelato that no one realized I suggested it in order to save money. Spent $6 instead of much more.

3. Received a can of hot cocoa mix and found that using 1/3 of the recommended scoop is plenty.

4. Was tempted to treat myself at Dairy Queen after a yucky medical procedure on both feet. Instead, I went home and made a yogurt parfait with ingredients on hand.

5. Received a packet of “welcome to the neighborhood” coupons for freebies of a bottle of wine, two meals, a dog wash, a car wash, and an oil change.


Katy January 30, 2024 at 5:53 pm

Plus there was no dilemma about tip-flation.


Mary Ann January 30, 2024 at 7:27 am

1. I listed a Uno de 50 statement necklace that has really held its value. It was part of a set Hubby gave me ten years ago. I wear the others constantly but this is just too long. New it is $265. I listed it for $100 and will use the proceeds to buy a new pair of work shoes for my last six months as a teacher.

2. I hosted my Dad and brother at the inherited River House. They were excited about the project. Brother packed us lunches and I took them to sushi with some ancient gift cards we found.

3. I had decided that I will try to live on half my paycheck for the next six months in prep for my retirement in June. I want to live very modestly until I turn 65 so I don’t touch my 403B. I wanted it to do that magical grow thing. I cut my food bill this month by over 300 dollars. My huge bag of Kale for $3.00 and picked home produce along with homemade yogurt is stunningly making a difference.

4. I went over my Everydollar budget and swept all extra allocated money into my HSA account for this month. I plan to put $1,000 a month into it until I reach the limit but I was able to sweep in another 182 from odds and ends. It all adds up.

5. I decided not to upgrade hotels for Hubby and my trip to Cayman. For another $1500 we could have stayed at the poshest of posh. Now I can save my extra hotel points for several mini vacations over the coming years.


Katy January 30, 2024 at 5:54 pm

I love how deliberate you’re being with your finances!


lulutoo January 30, 2024 at 9:21 am

Wow, that Dyvlinge chair looks comfortable. Now I want one!


Katy January 30, 2024 at 5:54 pm

It’s so cushy!


Nancy from mass January 30, 2024 at 10:15 am

My boss jinxed me yesterday by asking if I was working until 5 (I work 7-3:30) he was joking when he said it. 1 ½ overtime yesterday. When I saw him this morning, I asked him to not jinx me again!
You know how my husband said he would leave dimes instead of pennies? Well, the other day, I got in my car and felt something fall on my foot. Yes, it was a dime. Then, 2 nights in a row, I was wakened by being ‘tapped’. I thought it was my male cat (he does that to make me pet him) but he wasn’t even in the room.
I bought a $5 scratcher the other day. I won $5, so I got another one. I won $10, so I got another one and won $20. I’ll stop here….although it’s tempting to see how far I can get for my initial $5 investment
My son and his BF are looking to move out on their own (they rent their place with another couple). I’ve been keeping my eyes out around my house for things they will need and I can give them.
I found a gc of mine that still had $85 on it. It was at the “we’re going to charge you $3/mo, if you don’t use it” phase. Sooo, groceries for me and extra for my kid!

Everything else for me is $$$. But it needs to be done on my house


Jill A January 30, 2024 at 11:58 am

I love that your husband is letting you know he’s still there. Mine does that too.


Nancy from mass January 31, 2024 at 4:19 am

The whole tapping thing to wake me up is more of his way of annoying me.

When it happened on the second night, I said out loud “I’m just trying to sleep“.

But really, I don’t mind


A. Marie January 30, 2024 at 1:35 pm

Nancy, my late DH doesn’t drop dimes, but he calls in regularly via the words and phrases we used to share: “It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick,” “Might as well do [insert unpleasant chore here]; can’t dance and it’s too wet to plow,” etc., etc. I sometimes feel I’ve got DH on one shoulder and my beloved mother on the other, since (a) they were the two people I loved most, and (b) they were two of the funniest and most verbal.


Nancy from mass January 31, 2024 at 4:21 am

I was talking out loud to him when I couldn’t get the water transfer pump working when I had the first boat of water in my basement. He and I used to work water issues together. I end up buying a new one after I took it apart to see if something was broken. (the gearbox was broken.)


Katy January 30, 2024 at 5:55 pm

Know when to walk away, know when to run!


mary in maryland January 30, 2024 at 3:37 pm

My father occasionally speaks to me from beyond the grave, but mostly he just asks, “Any reason you’re not doing that over the sink?”


Nancy from mass January 31, 2024 at 4:16 am

That’s hilarious!!


Ecoteri January 30, 2024 at 10:26 pm

FFT Jan 30
FAIL! I neglected to cancel the three bank accounts at the bank we were leaving, giving me and my daughter $4 fees (oops). I now realize that my son (who also had the fee but has elected to keep the account for now as he is travelling) can pay the 90 cent e-transfer fee himself when he moves the rest of his money, later this month, so I will cancel my account tomorrow. Sigh, small frugalities but still!
1. I finally got in to the eye doctor (fully paid for, thanks benefit plan that I got when I ‘retired’ from teaching 30+ years after I actually last taught…long story, will save for another time, but the benefit plan was offered when they offered me my pension (!!) so I took it and use it with abandon). The sudden appearance of a ‘stuck floater’ was exactly as I had self diagnosed, very visible and not worrisome although troublesome. I got an education about what a detaching retina looks like and the urgency (under 24 hours and best to go to emergency and say ‘retina’ to get immediate surgery). And also was told they are rare and unlikely. I did get the short version on the phone when I called to make the appointment, so we figured it wasn’t THAT – and so I delayed until the date when I would get the full medical coverage. Good phone advice, good visit (no need to get new glasses!) and relief to hear the floater might dissolve and my brain will accommodate. Sheesh, getting old and the wheels keep falling off. I am running low on duct tape.
2. My mending Sunday event was under-attended – however my best buddies came, along with a beloved and over busy friend. SHE claimed she “didn’t do these things”, then promptly and competently sewed up her daughter’s jeans and her puppy’s chew toy. Another friend sewed many missing buttons on shirts that had been in the mend pile for ages – and got them all finished. The third was knitting socks from her stash, and I was doing subtle repairs and reinforcements on the Cuddledy Blanket that my son was given 35 years ago. Advice was provided for the backing, I will de-pill the flannel blanket/sheet that I picked up for $1 (under the ‘painting drop-sheet’ label as it has some stains but I can cut around them). Dinner was random and satisfying and time with friends was priceless
3. I made dough with the now repaired broken bread machine (GO ME!) although I have stuffed it (the bread) into the downstairs fridge as no time/energy. Thank heavens I know about the Bread in 5 Min a Day book – I have no qualms about storing dough covered for a few days before shaping, warming, proofing and baking it. So pleased that I was able to disassemble, diagnose, repair and re-assemble the machine. Hate to see it go to waste.
4. I am schlepping my huge bags of ‘free mulch’ down to the lower garden, two or three bags at a time in the wheelbarrow, when I go down to the sheep. The pile down there is getting bigger, but I can’t really say that about the pile up here…huh? I used one bag to wrap some garlic bulbil pots that I was late getting planted – just in case the weather gets super cold in February which it can do here (we are always shocked, though)
5. In the same gardening vein, I am finally getting ready to plant the discount bulbs I purchased at the end of season. I have taken the bags/boxes/packages apart in the house so i can recycle them while clean, and created labels from my re-purposed window blind plastic. The pots have mostly reclaimed dirt in them, I will plant the bulbs on top, and cover them with new potting soil, then wrap them all in more ‘free mulch’. The bulbs are all looking quite plump and happy and some are bursting to grow – sending up shoots. It is TIME!
6. #2 son turned 25 today – he has gone to Costa Rica with his Dad, which is bittersweet for me. His dad and I don’t see eye-to-eye, and #2 son doesn’t have much in common with him, however my Ex got some bad health news and my son is taking the time to be with his dad while he can. I, on the other hand, do wonder why I don’t get to spend this special birthday with the boy who was so much work to deliver 25 years ago… grumble grumble, ok, Higher Ground time again, hard as it is. Be proud of the boy for choosing to go on a trip that he isn’t excited about (the travelling companions, not the country!!) because he knows time is fleeting with his dad


Bee January 31, 2024 at 5:16 am

It is impressive that you could fix the bread machine. Well done! Also, great job on taking the higher ground. It’s not always easy.


Michele January 31, 2024 at 6:11 am

Love all your furniture finds!
1. Having my MIL over for pizza pasta tonight. It’s just our normal dinner. We have been having her over once a week since my FIL passed. We live far from town and it’s just easier (and cheaper) to eat at home.
2. Keeping track of all our expenses to see if we can live on my husband’s retirement income. My retirement will be dismal, but I’ve been an RN 30 years in May and I’m thinking of retiring. No regrets, as I worked jobs I enjoyed and part time when our boys were little.
3. Filled up gas tank, as one station was .22 less than all the ones surrounding it.
4. $505 this month on all groceries and household and pet. Pretty happy with that, as I was up to $800 at one point.
5. Doing all the normal like packing breakfast and lunches, turning off lights and unplugging appliances when not in use, using lap blankets instead of turning up heat, and using my library.


Ashley Bananas January 31, 2024 at 9:36 am

Good job Mom!! I have always thought a house could be furnished completely for free over time, you prove you can do it for free or very cheap and still have all the looks and functionality that you would like. It also points out that with the help of family or a community a younger person can be guided into these new environments without going bankrupt. Thank you for showing this to your younger generation!!

My frugals lately…
1. I did a large grocery shop this past week utilizing rebate apps, digital coupons, and store promotions and sales. I spent about $100 dollars but left with about $300 or so worth of food. It was exhausting but I’m glad I tried to save money. I am finding grocery shopping to be my most expensive necessity lately.
2. My son and I were invited to our neighbors house for dinner. We had meatloaf and amazing company. We gifted the neighbor with a bottle of shine I got as a gift at a wedding I went to. We also gifted him a large candle I made with recycled wax. He was super appreciative. It was a great night.
3. I’ve been making an effort to eat at home this week. My son asked for take out last night and I challenged him to eat something we had instead. He made pulled pork tacos for himself. Very proud of him for being so mature.
4. A tree died in my yard. A neighbor suggested it was in the right of way, to call the county and ask if they would cut it down. It took a month and a half, but they cut it down yesterday, hauling away soon. My highest quote was $13,00 plus $100 for stump grinding, lowest was $800. So thankful.
5. I went Door Dashing last week and made an extra $260. I will use this to help with finances.


Katy January 31, 2024 at 1:09 pm

Wow, you owe that neighbor a casserole!

And I agree that you can furnish a home completely free if you were patient enough.


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