Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 5, 2024 · 119 comments

  1. The credit union where my husband and I bank doesn’t offer a high yield savings account (HYSA) for current members, so we stash our savings with CIT, an online bank. Their interest rate is currently 5.05%, making it worth the hassle of setting up an extra online account.

    But I prefer to keep our accounts simple, which is why a lightbulb went off when I received a notification that our credit union would be merging with another local credit union by the end of the year. I’d seen their billboards around town touting a HYSA for new members, so I got the idea to transfer savings to this credit union. Essentially setting myself up for a grandfathered HYSA with my own credit union.

    The process was a bit of a pain in the tuchus, as we had to unfreeze our credit, (an anti-fraud precaution) renew my driver’s license, (oops, it expired at the beginning of January) and pull together all necessary information. Plus, I noticed that there was a $100 bonus for a friend if she referred me, so I needed that code before going forward.

    Was it worth it? Yes, because our savings is now in a 5.25% interest HYSA, plus I stuck $5 into their 5% savings account, which is guaranteed at that rate for a full 15 months. (The 5.25% account can fluctuate, so I’ll transfer funds if need be.) My friend gets her $100 and we now have our savings in a local brick and mortar credit union that’s actually walkable from the house.

  2. My son loves to cook, but had been mostly using our house, as his last kitchen was teeny and shared with four other people. Add in that he lived five minutes from our well appointed kitchen, so he did almost all of his meal prep cooking at the house. He now lives waaay across town with a functional kitchen, so I offered to set him up with herbs and spices.

    My mother buys the Oui brand yogurts which come in glass jars, so I asked her if she’d part with some. She happily agreed and even threw in eight bamboo lids. (Thanks, mom!) I bought another box of lids from Schmeff Schmezos, which added up to 16 jars. I buy my spices in bulk at Winco, so I had enough of everything to share.

    Not only was this a frugal project due to the free jars, but Winco’s prices on bulk herbs and spices are insanely cheap. Think 35¢ to fill a Bonne Maman jam with basil! I hate to see my kids overspend their hard earned money, which made this a deeply satisfying endeavor.

  3. I wrote last week about how I got a great vacuum cleaner through Buy Nothing after getting a less than ideal vacuum from the same group. As in the woman told me that “This vacuum should work fine, I guess you could tape the carpet attachment into place.” I should have declined it in the moment, but politeness took over my critical thinking.

    Tag, I was it!

    It wasn’t in good enough condition to donate to Goodwill and it was too rainy to set it out with a “free” sign. Anyway, I finally took photos and put it back up on Buy Nothing with a proper and honest description this time. Someone is coming to pick it up tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed!

  4. • I made a huge pot of Mexican-style soup using a picked clean Costco rotisserie chicken and pressure cooked black beans. I added a can of chopped tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, frozen corn and various savory spices. So good, especially with a sprinkle of shredded cheese on top!
    • I successfully repaired my Birkenstock clogs using Dollar Tree super glue and an unholy number of clamps.
    • I finished listening to Remarkably Bright Creatures on Libby and immediately started listening to The Wishing Game, also on Libby.
    • My mother took my daughter and I to lunch, (thanks mom!) and I chose a soup that I know is big enough for leftovers. I then fed to those leftovers to my daughter that evening as she was hanging out at the house to watch a show on Disney Plus.
    • We only have Disney Plus, as my son has a friend’s login. Frankly, I never watch it.

  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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{ 117 comments… read them below or add one }

Bee February 5, 2024 at 6:44 am

Although the plot was a bit predictable, I loved Remarkably Bright Creatures. It’s not often that an octopus is a character in an adult book. It was charming!
Also, the Oui Yogurt containers make perfect spice jars. Now, if there was only a Winco nearby, I would be all set.

My weekend of FFT:
1. My husband’s employer introduced an rewards based fitness and health program this year. You can earn points for walking 5k steps, 8k steps and 10k steps. Since Rescue Pup requires two walks a day rain or shine, he linked up his fit bit. Last month he earned a $50 gift card to Home Depot. He is being paid to walk the dog which tickles him. and we will have free spring flowers which thrills me. That is a win-win.
2. Because DH works in another state and I’d gone 3-5 day nearly every week, he is not using our YMCA membership at this time. I have switched from a family membership to an individual membership. This saves $60 a month.
3. My DIL’s father is seriously ill, so she is out of town for a few weeks with the two little ones. My son was feeling a bit lonesome, so DH and I brought dinner over last night. I pulled gumbo out of the freezer then made a pot of rice and a salad. We visited for a while and Rescue Pup played with his dog in the backyard. I love frozen assets. They make impromptu dinners easy.
4. I have gather up some old towels and coverlets as a local charity has expressed a need for these items. This organization rescues shelter dogs and trains them to be service animals for veterans with physical and emotional challenges. They have a wonderful track record and do great work.
5. As always, all the usual things – eating food I cooked myself, brewing my own coffee, drinking primarily filtered water, using the ingredients I have on hand when I cook, batching errands, reading library books, and trying to get back into shape.
Wishing everyone peace, good health, and prosperity.


mary in maryland February 5, 2024 at 7:04 am

1. I tried a spiffy manufactured seat pad/riser from Buy Nothing. It was not an improvement over the pant leg stuffed with old pillow that I’ve had on my dining room chair for the past couple years. So I’ll move it on.
2. A Buy Nothing member who lives a couple blocks away put out a desperate plea for a drain snake. Ours has been everywhere. When making the offer I asked if she’d have enough curry powder to spare for me to make supper. She did. When she emailed asking how to use the snake, I suggested youtube. She brought the snake and some muffins back the same afternoon.
3. On the back of an envelope I keep a list of all the produce in the fridge/house and a list of dishes I could make with what I have. When I make something I note the date next to its listing. As the oldest of six sibs I usually cook enough for four meals for the two of us. I note the dates that we eat the leftovers as well. I am seriously devoted to eating the pumpkins in the basement. We’ve eaten seven and have fourteen left. I’m also gifting pumpkins to neighbors with a copy of the fabulous soup recipe I found. I don’t like them as a substitute for sweet potatoes in recipes we are used to but have developed a lasagna-like dish using pumpkin, corn tortillas, and leftover chili. Chipotles are my best friends.
4. I’ve been doing minimal grocery shopping on my way home from other obligations.
5. I fell down the cement steps at the vet office Saturday after picking up meds for my leaky dog. I landed on my right hand knuckles and my left knee and ankle. Once home I applied reusable ice packs to knee and ankle and taped the left ankle with an Ace bandage we’ve had for years. Takeout was tempting, but we had enough meals in the fridge to tide us over.
6. Katy—A. Marie and I have both asked for one another’s email addresses, so that I can send her my coronation tea towel. Could you do that, please?


Katy February 5, 2024 at 8:12 am

Sure, I can do that.

My husband and I joke that he was an army cook in a past life. I don’t think he’ll ever learn to cook an appropriate amount of food.


A. Marie February 5, 2024 at 12:38 pm

Katy, thanks for doing this. Mary and I are now in touch. (And if you haven’t seen today’s news, Chaz III’s “ascension” may be even briefer than we thought. He’s just been diagnosed with cancer.)


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:58 pm

You’re welcome. It must be a serious diagnosis for them to actually share about it.


Mary Ann February 5, 2024 at 7:04 am

The Oui lid hack is brilliant. I buy them when they are on super sale for Hubby.

1. I went on my shopping rounds about 7 am Sunday morning. I need two items I have to get from the regular supermarket. Chobani natural creamer and Fairlife milk for hubby. Both expensive and both with irritating parking. So in and out and I was done. Then my beloved Grocery Outlet which I realized in the last month just doesn’t have the bargains it use to have. I now spent a long time in a completely empty store comparing prices with my Sam’s club . Found a few key bargains like 98 cent Butoni pesto in the deli section. Then off to Sam’s at 10 am which is super crowded. But I had a list and was in and out in 30 mins. Done for the month. There will be another fillin in two weeks.

2. The renovating River House a rusty metal flower art in the back yard. I have been researching how to tastefully add to it. I realized our farm is a good place to start. DH and I spent the afternoon scrounging wheels, bars, cans etc. . . It is like salt, too much ruins the effect. This summer will be fun. I did discover a fantastic Hot point enamel oven from the 20s, it could be my first restoration project when I retire.

3. I listed a Gucci Angry forrest necklace on Poshmark. It is an expensive item. How long does it take for your ebay items to sell?

4. I am in hot pursuit of a concrete white bench to put in the rose arbor at the River House.

5. Not Frugal: I am taking a wonderful trip to ski in Banff, Canada. 2 of the seven night’s hotel are free. I am using an Ikon ski pass I bought months ago when the prices were low. There are a few luxury stays like a Unesco Heritage site in Lake Louise but I have paid for the trip in cash and the flight was free because I had an Air Canada credit i had to use up. Excited


Katy February 5, 2024 at 8:06 am

Most eBay items take either a day or two years to sell. I have a lot of stale inventory from when I was less discerning about what I picked up, but the effort to list it in already done so I keep the listings up. The copper pan that recently sold took maybe three weeks to sell.


Hawaii Planner February 6, 2024 at 6:24 am

Banff has been our list to visit for a while as well! We went with an Epic pass this year, but will likely switch back to Ikon next year. Would love to hear what you think about Banff, Mary Ann!


Marybeth from NY February 5, 2024 at 7:49 am

I did the same thing for my son when he moved out. My jars weren’t as cute as yours. I grow lots of herbs so I always have extra to share.
1. I used some pumpkin that I wanted to finish and made the dog a bunch of peanut butter/pumpkin dog treats. The rest of the pumpkin went into her dinner. She was very happy.
2. Hubby and I went to Cheesecake Factory for lunch and used gift cards. I had my leftovers for dinner that night. The only OOP was tip.
3. Since we were at the mall I went into B&BW and used a free product coupon to get body wash. It went into the gift closest.
4. When I went to Aldi I got a free cart that someone left in the parking lot. I also found a dime in the store.
5. I made a batch of 36 pumpkin muffins to share. Hubby brought in pumpkin muffins to work. His boss had brought in donuts. He told him to take the extra’s home since we are always sending in food. 6 donuts and 2 spotted bananas. The bananas went into the freezer.


Katy February 5, 2024 at 8:03 am

Oh how I envy people who have Aldis in their area!


Marybeth from NY February 5, 2024 at 9:33 am

I’m jealous of your Goodwill bins. Closest to me is either NJ or Pennsylvania.


Julia February 6, 2024 at 6:15 am

The Goodwill bins in Middletown PA are wonderful! The lady who runs it has it running like clockwork. It’s clean and she doesn’t slow any running, pushing, shoving or hoarding of carts.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 1:09 pm

I so rarely go though as I hate to clutter the house.


breadandglitter lc February 6, 2024 at 8:25 pm

the nj bins are not great, don’t feel too bad :/


Q February 5, 2024 at 8:11 am

That is a bummer about those nice cans, Katy. I hope they make their way back to you. But, the spice jars are both beautiful and brilliant!

1. Mixed up a za’atar substitute from internet recipe rather than ordering from Amazon. Stored it in an empty spice jar.
2. We drove a couple of states to visit in-laws, and stayed with SIL instead of hotel. Brought salad and veggies (and homemade fudge) to MIL and FIL’s home, with pizza, instead of ordering them as takeout. Had a meal in their cozy apartment, which allowed them to be host one night.
3. We wanted my in-laws to have a special day. My MIL’s heart’s desire was to go to Target and Staples, where my MIL could use a cart as a walker, and enjoy being out and about, while FIL and DH drove around. We had lunch at the assisted living dining room, and DH sorted through his parents’ financial papers at their kitchen table, while SIL and I visited with them. They are anxious about finances, but also nervous that anyone else will lose papers. We’ll be able to follow up on some questions now, and may have found some funds that they can use. We treated everyone out to a nice dinner and it felt good that our frugality in other areas allowed us to treat them.
4. Ophthalmologist, checked my vision while wearing glasses from two years ago, and said prescription was still correct. They suggested to skip refraction test for a new prescription, saving the $60 fee. Of course, I agreed! They did the cataraca, glaucoma tests and inspections for retina, etc. Next time, I will be 65, and there will not be a copay for that.
5. Combined many errands, including dropping off de-cluttered items at thrift shop. Picked up hubs at doctor on way home from my own checkup. Continuing with simplifying: it is helping to strengthen my non-consumer muscle, as I realize how much we have!


Katy February 5, 2024 at 8:47 am

That was very kind of you. And thank you for complimenting my “nice cans,” that cheered me up!


Jill A February 5, 2024 at 11:57 am



Michele February 5, 2024 at 8:57 am

Love the jars and especially impressed with your high interest savings musical banks move. I have been using CDs because I LOVE my local credit union, but it does tie up the money for a while.
1. Did not leave the house at all yesterday, so spent no money. This is really unusual for me.
2. Continue to keep track of all variable spending in categories monthly. Have narrowed categories down to 1. grocery/eating out, 2. house/farm, 3. gas/car maintenance, 4. wants, 5. donations, and 6. medical.
3. Meal prepped all breakfasts and lunches for week.
4. Opted out of a party that required a gift exchange gift. I’m not a joiner and I HATE stuff like that. Each year the exchange gifts become more and more expensive (think Stanly cups!).
5. Semi- fail- Paying an accountant this year. They are a little different this year and I think we will owe- for the first time ever. Maybe their expertise will help us break even?


Jill A February 5, 2024 at 9:00 am

I was really hoping to hear you’d gotten your cans back. I like your spice jar hack. I’m planning to do the same with some oiu jars I have saved.
1. I’m cleaning out paperwork. It’s a slow and painful process. Literally, my shoulders are killing me. How is this frugal? My children can rent a smaller dumpster when I die.
2. I sold four items on Ebay over the weekend. I reused packing materials to ship and the post office just picked them up. Money in, crap out.
3. I reused a folder from the opthamologist to corral my tax paperwork.
4. I vacuumed and cleaned my car at home.
5. We are eating all the leftovers. I’m making my coffee at home. I’m walking for free exercise. I’m reading library books on my kindle – I just finished Happiness Falls. It was very good.


Jill A February 5, 2024 at 10:54 am

Also I forgot, I can cross antler off my shopping list. My dog found a deer antler . She likes to chew on them and they’re kind of pricey.


A. Marie February 6, 2024 at 9:41 am

We currently have three white-tailed deer bucks roaming our street, one with an impressive rack of antlers. I’m hoping he sheds one or both of those in my back 40. (Dammit, if the creatures are going to deprive me of most of the pleasures of vegetable gardening, I think they owe me a tip.)


Vickey February 24, 2024 at 4:02 pm

A. Marie, I’m with you on the deer owing us a tip. And then some! I have a photo I took at dusk one wintry evening as a herd of *nine* deer headed for my elderberry shrub. And I don’t live out in the country! Took quite a bit of using my outside voice to shoo them away.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 1:16 pm

Alas, there’s no update on my stolen wastebasket bins.

Clearing out and organizing your paperwork is a gift to both your kids and your own sanity!


MB in MN February 5, 2024 at 9:01 am

1. Cashed in credit card rewards for a statement credit. I do this several times per year. Since the money has been flying out the door of late, I expect to do another statement credit sooner rather than later.

2. Was given a jar of maple syrup from the person who came to pick up several Buy Nothing items. We both feel like we hit the jackpot.

3. Continuing to get stuffed animals via Buy Nothing for our dog. She disembowels and beheads every toy no matter how sturdy or expensive or whether they’re intended for dogs or children.

4. Cut up old manila file folders to use as scratch paper. Also saved a few folders to repurpose as mailing envelopes.

5. Used up remaining fig spread in a grilled cheese sandwich.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 1:14 pm

Maple syrup for your unwanted items? That’s a score!


Lindsey G February 5, 2024 at 9:17 am

Did you love Remarkably Bright Creatures? It’s one of my new favorites! I even got my teenage sons to listen to it last summer on a road trip. They loved it too, which warmed my heart.

Checking out The Wishing Game now, as I’ve been in a reading rut after a hard January. Thanks, as always, for sharing your TBR’s.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 1:13 pm

I did love Remarkably Bright Creatures. I think it’s a book that’s stay with me, unlike so many that fade into the background of my muddled mind.


BettafrmdaVille February 5, 2024 at 9:18 am

1. I returned to Ocean State Job Lot without my impatient partner so that I could go down all the aisles to see what I needed/part of their 40% back anniversary sale. I left with toilet paper/paper towels/EVOO/birdseed [the last one requested by my parents]. It was really hard to not start chucking food/treats into my basket but I did resist (as I don’t ever buy them, so not really a bargain, I suppose).
2. I stopped on my way home to do a super-fast mystery shop that required me to buy some deli meat and make some quick money. While there, I realized that I could combine sales, in-store coupons, and Swagbucks to make $.10 by buying some Welch’s fruit and yogurt snacks. Again, I don’t normally buy these, but they will become part of my “eating dinner on the road” for my Thursday night dinner during my long commute.
3. There are workers here replacing drywall on ceiling and walls that had water damage from the upstairs neighbors. Luckily, their insurance is paying for it all since it was their toilet that overflowed. So fresh paint at no-cost to us, other than emptying our bathroom, which has forced us/given us the opportunity to go through all of the cabinets and clean out.
4. This weekend, we are doing a GREAT job on no food waste, which was a focus of mine. We’ve planned out what we will eat and nothing going to waste, other than egg shells, which, apparently, are edible. We do save the potato peels (from tortilla español) and roast them off to snack on – these are DELICIOUS!
5. Made chicken stock from freezer scraps. All of the chicken was free from mystery shop, so it feels EXTRA frugal!


Katy February 6, 2024 at 1:12 pm

You’re so inspiring with all your mystery shops!


Shona February 5, 2024 at 9:58 am

1. I moved the emergency fund to a HYSA.
2. The outlet grocery had Pomi Italian crushed tomatoes for .39/ box. I bought 2 flats as a can of crushed tomatoes is an ingredient in my weekly pot of veggie bean soup.
3. I wear my mom’s old Swatch from 1984. I found out you can order free replacement batteries though the Swatch website. They sent 2!
4. Last spring I procured a pair of heavyweight black sweatpants from the curb and love wearing them around the house this winter.
5. Not frugal, but working for a small family own business, I will support a small local business over a bargain any day. Placed an order for my regular supply of locally grown and milled organic Scottish oatmeal. There is absolutely no comparison in taste!


Christine February 5, 2024 at 7:00 pm

I haven’t thought of Swatches for years! They were quite popular as I recall. Nice you have your mom’s.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 1:08 pm

That’s an amazing deal on Pomi tomatoes, so smart to stock up!


Lindsey February 5, 2024 at 10:30 am

I would never buy expensive Oui yogurt except I needed to for a bunch of mystery shops last year. As a result, I have 23 jars in a cupboard and was cursing that there were no lids. SO, thank you for educating me that there are lids available.
Also, I just finished Remarkably Bright Creatures; what a creative mystery, although how someone could have recommended it to me without pointing out that an octopus was a main character I do not know.
Anyway, I have no great frugal triumphs, only some failures that I am going to share because my friends who are less thrifty will not really understand why I get so annoyed about them.
1. When it is more than 20 below you really need to plug your car in or the engine will seize up after a few hours. (When you buy a car here you get a winterization package that includes a block heater with a cord that hangs out the front of your grill. You plug it into a regular electric outlet, using your own heavy duty extension cord. Employers or places like long term airport parking have outlets for their people.) For 8 days it was between 40 and 50 below and while my husband was at singing rehearsal, some asshat stole the extension cords off all of the cars of the choir folks. While our vehicle started, others did not so it took hours to either jump start vehicles, although some were too frozen, or go buy new extension cords. A nightmare in the dark and ice fog and, sadly, none of the members are younger than 60 so old people were scrambling around in the dark helping each other. If husband had done what we usually do, which is run one tire over your extension cord so it cannot be stolen, we would have saved the cost of a new cord (and the ones that will not crack in these temps are expensive). Not one person in the choir parked that way. So, money spent.
2. I did not leave the door between our attached but unheated garage open slightly. The floor, which was poured directly on the soil so no basement, got so cold from the temperatures that it froze the washer pipes; having the connecting door slightly open would have prevented that. It is only luck that we caught it while still in the slushy stage, so with two space heaters we were able to thaw it before any damage took place. Our electrical bill will take a hit.
3. A friend took me on an errand to the bookstore and I, already annoyed at money wasted on the extension cord, consoled myself by buying two expensive puzzles, one on the history of Broadway and one on the history of American films. Usually our puzzles are second hand. I don’t care, I am keeping them.
4. I was not paying attention and I bashed a hole in a wall with my wheelchair (which really happened because I was angry at having a wheelchair day after nearly a week of being able to use my legs). I had kept paint aside just for this sort of issue. Too bad I stored it improperly and it was dry and useless. I will now have to spend more and try to match the color.
The only frugal thing I managed was making soup that used up cauliflower just slightly kissed by freezer burn, a leftover quarter tube of anchovy paste, and some frozen cheese. There were other ingredients, too, but these were things that really needed to be used up. And it even tasted really good.
At least it is only -18 today which makes a huge difference.


Lesley February 5, 2024 at 11:06 am

Lindsey … oof! How you keep your spirits up is a marvel. You are made of hardy stock!


A. Marie February 5, 2024 at 1:10 pm

Those of us who have been keeping up with Lindsey’s posts about her father KNOW that she’s made of hardy stock. Back in the day, they didn’t come any tougher than Lindsey’s dear old dad.


Jill A February 5, 2024 at 11:09 am

I’m sorry about the theft of your extension cord. What a terrible thing to do. I can’t imagine living in those temperatures and how much more difficult it would make it to go about your business.


Christine February 5, 2024 at 7:06 pm

“Gggggrrrrrrrrr” on that jerk or jerks who stole the extension cords. What will these thieves think of next? Disheartening to say the least.


Ecoteri February 5, 2024 at 9:27 pm

Oh Lindsey!!!! Your stories of insult and injury are horribly entertaining, which is appalling to notice in myself. I sure wish that these challenges had spread out over weeks, so you wouldn’t be feeling so (righteously) put upon – but still, perhaps this is just going to be a memorable week-from-a-frozen-hades and you can return to your usual programming. Hang in there, and enjoy the softening in the weather. (sorry to hear that you were set back to a wheelchair day – after a week of good it probably is even more discouraging). Stay warm up there!


Katy February 6, 2024 at 1:08 pm

I totally get your #3 mindset. It’s “I’m spending money in stupid ways, I might as well spend some money on something that’ll make me happy.” Puzzles are a great purchase!

P.S. So sorry about everyone’s extension cords. That’s so shitty!


K D February 5, 2024 at 12:08 pm

1. I picked up a couple of board games from a Buy Nothing listing. They will be perfect to play with my friend’s grandson. Bonus: I walked the mile to the house for pick-up and then back home. It was a good brisk walk on a cool morning.

2. I bought gas at a station I don’t usually use. I heard on the radio that gas was about $3.20/gallon in MD. On my way past some stations they all had gas for about $2.90/gallon. I was low and didn’t want to think about it any longer so I pulled in and filled my tank. I later saw that it was $3.269 at the station nearest our house.

3. We helped a neighbor take down and put away holiday lights. Her husband did not have the time or energy to help. Many hands make light work.

4. I just made a double batch of GF Cranberry Sauce muffins. I filled in the shortage of cranberry sauce with pumpkin and some Craisins (which are so cheap at Costco when they are on sale). I used some languishing Pumpkin Spice Nog in place of milk. Most will be thrown in the freezer for future breakfasts.

5. DH had a 1/4 zip fleece with a zipper that came apart. I told him I didn’t think it should be washed in that condition. He used tools in the workshop to restore it.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 1:01 pm

That was very nice of you to help your neighbor take down their lights. I have some leftover cranberry sauce, maybe I should make muffins.


Roberta February 5, 2024 at 12:27 pm

1. Ate leftover pumpkin curry for lunch, over leftover farro. The curry is tasty, but does not look appealing, and I feel like a hero for taking it, not wasting it.
2. It will be too rainy to hang out laundry this week, so I’m taking a job every day except my food bank day. I usually like to take one day to do laundry, groceries, etc so I don’t have to do it on the weekend.
3. Using up dry beans to make tortilla soup tonight, when the rain arrives. I am trying to use up So. Much. Food. stockpiled from when the kids lived at home.
4. Our tiny dog collaborated with our lab to steal the leftover scones off the table. So we had to make a different plan for breakfast this morning, and I will make banana bread with leftover frozen bananas. I will store them better so the dogs can’t steal them again.
5. We’re looking at buying a Great Courses course on art appreciation. It’s not offered at our library, and the course will be a lot less expensive than an online course at our community college.
It’s hard to come up with a list of interesting things, when most days lately are go to work, go for a walk, make dinner, watch something. We’re trying to eliminate “watch something” as a default.


Heidi Louise February 5, 2024 at 1:08 pm

I was going to ask if your library had Great Courses until I read the rest of your #5 and see you already checked there. Many major museums have various “tours” online that might be interesting to look at and add to what you are learning.
Also, the Web Gallery of Art is an extraordinary online resource of European artworks.
I mention it partly because you can create and send your own electronic postcards with their images.


Hawaii Planner February 6, 2024 at 6:29 am

I’m sure it was irritating, but they way you described your dogs collaborating to steal scones really made me happy. 🙂


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:59 pm

You took one for the team with your curry dish.

And never feel bad about including dull tasks on your “frugal five,” as sometimes life repeats.


Bee February 6, 2024 at 1:02 pm

Rescue Pup (RP) is a very good dog. Despite her rather tall stature, she never counter surfs or takes things from the table which is remarkable considering how underweight she was when she came to live with us. However, RP has a thing for cream puffs. Although I knew this, I left a plate of goodies wrapped up on the kitchen table this past Christmas. Somehow she manage to remove the plastic wrap without making a mess and then proceeded to eat only the cream puffs. Dogs are funny creatures.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 1:17 pm

Okay, that is hilarious!


A. Marie February 5, 2024 at 1:37 pm

FFT, Here Comes the Sun Edition:

(1) The sun came out here yesterday, continues to shine on us today, and is supposed to favor us till Wednesday or Thursday. I started taking advantage of this today by yanking the last two dead kale plants out of my garden (one actually still had a few usable leaves) and playing pick-up sticks in the backyard. Spiritual benefit = priceless.

(2) The Bestest Neighbors and I will be paying a call tomorrow on another neighbor, who is decluttering in preparation for a move, to inspect her late husband’s crammed-full garage. (Hey, I thought that DH left me a full garage? This neighbor’s husband was a certifiable hoarder.) We’re primarily interested in the late husband’s vast holdings of interesting flowerpots and planters. More tools, I don’t need.

(3) I did get to the new-to-me Asian food market I mentioned late last week, and spent almost an hour there getting acquainted with it. (But, somehow, I managed to hold my spending there to $35. I may not be so restrained next time, though.)

(4) I admire Katy’s handsome pairings of yogurt jars and bamboo lids for her son’s herbs and spices. My own reuse cycle for herb jars is less photogenic but still works: I have been saving some of the same Spice Island, Penzeys, and McCormick’s jars for years, and encourage all my herb “customers” (family and friends) to do the same and to return their empties.

(5) Finally, I’m happy that I’ve inspired a good friend to go thrifting. The assistant director of the family service program at DH’s nursing home–my lifeline in many ways during DH’s long decline, and now one of my Sunday morning walking buddies–recently needed clothes for a client, as well as a new winter coat for herself. (Her rescue dog chewed her coat to smithereens after she made the mistake of leaving dog treats in a pocket.) I directed her to the nicest store in our local Thrifty Shopper chain. She found what she needed and was delighted.



Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:57 pm

I like bigger jars for my own herbs and spices, as I buy in bulk and am a fan of flavorful food. Happy to hear you’re enjoying some better weather, it’s too bad it wasn’t there for your Jane Austen event a few weeks ago.


Christine February 5, 2024 at 3:59 pm

1. I helped a friend with coffee hour after church and was sent home with the remaining Halos (tangerines).
2. I mended a tear in one of my favorite warm shirts.
3. DH and I, along with our favorite (or as A. Marie would say “Bestest”) neighbor, went for a walk on some wooded trails near our neighborhood. It was sunny and there was no wind, so it didn’t feel like the 40 degrees the thermometer showed. We saw what was left of a tree after it was blown apart by a lightning strike, coyote tracks and sat on a downed tree by a pond and listened to the ice. The water under it makes a soft, hollow blub every few minutes. Free awe.
4. Leftovers for supper tonight. I’ve been craving summer food, so yesterday I threw together a potato salad and cooked up some cheeseburgers (had to fry them, as we don’t own a grill) and we had our own little cook-out. Luckily, we didn’t eat everything, so we get to have it again.
5. Keeping up with the usual…making our own coffee, tea and iced tea, cooking meals at home. Batching errands and keeping my speed down while on the road, keeping the heat down to 64 and 60 at night and when we leave the house, utilizing the library and wearing our warm clothes around the house.


Plaidkaren February 6, 2024 at 3:41 am

Christine, “Free awe.” I love it!!!


Jill A February 6, 2024 at 5:28 am

I also love the “free awe” comment. Walking in the woods is one of my favorite things. It’s my happy place.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for sharing about the sound that water makes under the ice, I never knew about that.


Nancy from mass February 5, 2024 at 3:59 pm

I had no idea those lids were available, I picked up some silicone lids for mine. I may rethink that.

1. Grabbed a rotisserie chicken and used a rain check for two, 12 pack Scott extra soft toilet paper for $7 each. I made stock with the bones and cooked up a chicken pie today with enough leftovers for 4 servings. (I had chicken yesterday as my main meal.)
2. My son found a Sprague & Carlton MapleLux chair at savers the other day. He used part of the gift card I had given him at Christmas (it was only $15) and a friend with an SUV picked it up for us yesterday and delivered it to his apartment. It is a pristine condition chair. He really lucked out.
3. I cleaned out the downstairs bathroom cabinet today, tossed some old stuff and consolidated other things. I can now find things that I’m looking for in there.
4. Had a typical Gen X supper last night. A bowl of Cheerios. (I had a big lunch with the chicken.)
5. While I cleaned the cabinet, I found a bunch of dentist sample dental floss, and a few other smaller items that I won’t use. I need to figure out where I can drop them off (or if I can drop them at my local food pantry.) I know I also have shampoo, conditioner and razors.


Ecoteri February 5, 2024 at 10:04 pm

Re your #5 – our local homeless shelter is really happy to take items like these (as well as gently used sox and underwear, and actually any decent even if slightly worn clothing) . so many folk needing help, and hygiene supplies often are the last thing they receive.


Nancy from mass February 9, 2024 at 5:22 am

Unfortunately, neither the library nor the regular town food pantry, nor the police department will take any of these samples. So I’ll continue to cart them around until I can find a place that will.


A. Marie February 6, 2024 at 9:54 am

I’m pleased to say that our local branch library (and, I assume, the whole county library system) has a collection box at the door for personal care items, to be passed on to those in need of them. Other libraries may do the same.


Nancy from mass February 6, 2024 at 6:04 pm

My library does have a drop off box for our town pantry, I don’t know if they do take personal care items, but I will swing by there tomorrow after work.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:43 pm

I had to do an image search for that chair, nice score!


Nancy from mass February 6, 2024 at 6:06 pm

It had a tag stating it had just been cleaned and sanitized. Pretty sure the fabric on the cushions was original. It looks very similar to the image that pops up in a search. It’s a beautiful chair.


auntiali February 6, 2024 at 6:25 pm

My town library – of which I am a trustee – has recently put a bin out for collecting food for our local food closet. Good for me as I can drop off there because the food closet has hours that don’t work for me.


Jennifer February 5, 2024 at 6:21 pm

Cute jars!

1. I worked a local hockey game. Came home with 2 artisan pizzas, bosco cheesy breadsticks with sauce and a fruit cup.

2. I made a batch of pumpkin scones for our breakfast. I saved the rest of the can of puree for muffins later this week.

3. Now that I am back to work and no one is home during the day, we reset our thermostat to drop down a couple of degrees during the day.

4. I brought home half a very large muffin from work. My boys are always hungry so it will get eaten.

5. Used up 2 items from the pantry and freezer for dinner tonight. Items that had been sitting around for too long.


Ruby February 5, 2024 at 8:02 pm

1. Saved $11 off a haircut  with a coupon, though  I tipped the usual amount because the stylist is awesome.
2. Cooked homemade pizzas, iced tea and chocolate pudding Sunday, using up ingredients from the freezer and pantry. There was enough leftover pizza for two more meals for our son.
3. The hardware store put winter stuff on clearance and I bought a fleecy knitted headband/ear warmer for $8. I have a big skull (just like my dad) and this is more comfortable than a hat. The hardware store sends us high-value coupons for shopping there, so it’s a total win situation.
4. Used up all but a tiny bit of the Paul Mitchell dog shampoo bathing my pups, so I finished off the bottle washing my own hair, which came out wonderfully smooth and shiny.
5. Managed to not swallow the crown that popped off my molar while I was eating today. The dentist can see me tomorrow afternoon, so I hope it won’t be a major production to fix it.


A. Marie February 6, 2024 at 10:07 am

Ruby, I hear you on your #3. I too have a cannonball head (my mother complained loud and long about it bouncing off her pelvis during her last few months of pregnancy with me, and DH and I wore the same hat size and routinely swapped headgear). One of Ms. Bestest Neighbor’s Xmas gifts to me this year was a hand-knit cap, and she said nervously as I tried it on, “Are you sure it’s big enough? I used a men’s pattern and the biggest size!”


Ruby February 6, 2024 at 10:49 am

I was breech and had a big head. There’s a reason why I’m the youngest: my mom never stopped complaining about the production required to get me out, even though I was a teeny baby. Dad thought I was awesome, looking just like him! 😀


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:21 pm

This is hilarious!


Christine February 6, 2024 at 4:16 pm

My mother always told me I have a big head. It never looked that big to me and then one day I finally figured it out. If anyone would know my head is big, it would be her.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:40 pm

Hooray for not swallowing such a precious item!


Kara February 5, 2024 at 9:13 pm

1. A non profit that I support is doing a ‘coffee cup swap’ to connect donors. I wanted to do it but am too cheap to buy a new mug (new was specifically stated). However, I had been gifted a new mug which I did not want and had put in my gift stash. Now that mug is on it’s way to the donor I was paired with. I love it when I can participate for free.
2. I stepped outside today to find that a tiny viola plant had bloomed. I had dug it up at the community garden as a tiny sprout. Spirits lifted for free.
3. Ate homemade soup for the 4th or 5th night in a row. Dh ate homemade chickpea curry for the 4th night in a row-happily I might add.
4. Sold an item of FB marketplace for my daughter. I sell so much more on FB marketplace than I do on ebay, many of them cross listed.
5. My daughter brought over a bag of clothes to donate. I gave some away on BN, kept a few for myself, and added the rest to my donation bag. I’m very happy my children all shop used and donate.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:38 pm

I have to ask, what coffee cup did you get in exchange?


Mand01 February 5, 2024 at 9:21 pm

1. Made a tomato and peach salsa using just one of the yuuuuge tomatoes I grew and a peach given to me by a friend. It was so good. We ate it with:
2. leftover zucchini fajitas made from the abundance of delicious zucchini we have in the garden and homemade tortillas.
3. The yuuuuge tomatoes were grown from seeds I saved from a delicious store bought tomato that I had last year. I’d forgotten what kind of tomato it was. Huge and delicious, is the answer. Each tomato is as big as my hand.
4. Listening to the Britney Spears memoir, narrated by Michelle Williams, on the Libby app. Worth it for the Michelle Williams reading alone. I’m not really a fan of Britney’s music (bit late for my age group) but it’s been interesting to listen to.
5. Have eaten every meal straight from the garden this week.


A. Marie February 6, 2024 at 10:03 am

Your #5 has me pea-green with envy, Mand!


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:37 pm

So smart to have saved seeds from a tomato you knew to be delicious!


Ecoteri February 5, 2024 at 10:15 pm

FFT Feb 5

1. Working toward Fire-Smarting my house and property, which could be uber -frugal if a forest-style fire occurs here (the firefighters will work hard to save a home that has been fire-smart prepared, but leave one harder to defend, as they will have limited resources). I got a free assessment from our local government, and have applied for the rebate program that will give me as much as $1000 back if I spend $2000 doing the upgrades/improvements/retrofits. I can pay someone, pay for materials, or even pay myself, and am going to be doing all three. “Wonder James” (the very lovely ‘young’ man who originally came to remove many blackberry brambles from the property 2 years ago, and who has returned multiple times as he can do just about EVERYTHING I need help with out in the fields, gardens, orchards and on the sheds and buildings) is coming through with a vengeance, chainsawing holly trees (very flammable, who knew), caulking many ember-holding spaces, replacing vinyl dryer vent with metal, stucco repairs on exposed wooden slats on my old farmhouse, building hardward cloth containment under my porch to prevent ember entry, pinning hardware cloth on a long stretch of my woodshed, fixing new plastic sheet ‘doors’ to hang over openings in case of a fire event, etc etc. With what I have paid him plus what I have spent on materials, I can already submit my claim for $1000 back.
2. Part of the project resulted in a jungle of holly branches. James had bucked up anything fire-place worthy, but the branch and firewood piles were waiting for good weather. This weekend he worked on the Fire Smart projects, and intermittently he helped me fill my truck (over and over) with holly for the local yard waste dropoff. The Dropoff is free, it is only 7 minutes from my house, and it is becoming VERY familiar – 15 trips but the holly is gone.
3. My woodshed needed a bit of flooring improvement/repair. James and I found some abandoned wood – that wouldn’t be used for anything else – on the property, and laid it down. Then the holly firewood rounds were wheel-barrowed by yours truely (pant pant) and Wonder James stacked. Woodshed is ready for more ‘found firewood” on one side, as we continue to burn through the dry stuff on the other.
4. My planned ‘be fit for the Grand-baby’ program got a boost with all I did on the weekend, today I was back at the gym. I had been propping myself up with my accountability buddy, (only going when she could meet me there) however it is now time to commit to myself. Currently I’m repeating this affirmation “I am a committed weightlifter and I go to the gym”. Takes a few repeats to get me up and heading that way, mind you! I paid for the gym for a full year last April, and have been budgeting to do that again this year. However, I am mindful that I need to commit to frequent visits in order to justify the expense.
5. My kitchen is being taken over by the annual SEED SORTING EXTRAVAGANZA – where I figure out what is left from last year, what i have already purchased, what I saved (so many seeds this year) and then try to organize in recycled squre yogurt tubs so I can plan for early plantings. The good weather and outdoorsy activities have my spring spidey-senses tingling.


Julia February 6, 2024 at 6:38 am

We have a “Wonder Chris” who has come over this AM to discuss some projects with DH.


A. Marie February 6, 2024 at 9:57 am

Ecoteri, I too have a “Wonder James”–aka “King James,” my yard care and snowplowing wizard. His services don’t come cheap, but his boundless good nature and wide skill set make up for that.


Lindsey February 6, 2024 at 12:09 pm

All the work involved in making your house fire safe and you still have the energy to lift weights? Just reading all you have to do exhausts me!


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:35 pm

Wow, that must have been multiple multiple holly bushes! I’m very impressed with all you did to earn that $1000!


Ecoteri February 6, 2024 at 1:47 pm

@Katy it was a Holly bush that had become a 60 foot tree/bush. so lots of branches (the biggest are 16 inches across, many are 6 inches) and LOTS of leafy (prickly) branches. piles and piles….
@Lindsey- the weights are a challenge but I MUST get in better physical strength shape if I want to be truly Active with the grand baby. gotta say it is compelling. Also gotta say that the mantra “I am a Weightlifter and I go to the Gym” is getting a serious workout.
@A. Marie and @Julia, yes, our “Wonder X” folk are so helpful. often I get three times as much of my own work done when he is there, he inspires me to work harder and longer … and worth every penny


texasilver February 5, 2024 at 11:28 pm

Those small jars w/ spices are seriously cute.
Our big $ save for the day involved a need for towing. My husband was at the health club swimming. When he came out his ancient Toyota SUV would not start. He is a mechanic by the way. He started calling wreckers. The charge was 175 to 300 dollars. He called me to tell me the truck broke down. I asked “Are you going to call AAA? He didn’t remember that I got a membership a few months ago nor did he have his membership card. I sent him a pic of my card. Triple A came, towed the clunker home for free. The AAA membership was 40$. Money well spent. Tomorrow, they come to tow the clunker to the repair shop. More towing charges saved.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:32 pm

I agree. I forgot to mention that I just used cut up blank index cards and packing tape for the labels. I don’t have particularly attractive handwriting, so I just wrote in capital letters, which gave it a consistent look.

And hooray for AAA! I have towing insurance as part of our car insurance, does yours not come with that?


texasilver February 6, 2024 at 9:54 pm

We previously had roadside assistance with our car insurance. However, the agent told me that if you were in a remote area there might not be a wrecker available. Triple A also offers assistance if you lock your keys in the car and a few extra things. I cancelled the roadside assistance on the insurance & thought we will try Triple A for a year. I got it mostly for me when I travel with my gal pals. But the husband used it first. We will see how it works out.


Teri February 6, 2024 at 12:41 am

As usual, I learn so much from the comments but the best today was “free awe” and “spirits lifted for free”. You all lift my spirits!


Alexandra February 6, 2024 at 5:00 am

1. DH is an avid dumpster diver. He checks certain ones daily and has been amazed at the treasures he has found. Tools, pieces of usable, wood for shelving, clothing, items, magnets. He’s a huge fan of magnets.
2. he also checks trash cans. Our next-door neighbor had thrown away at least $40 worth of nuts that have not been opened. They were all expired November 2023. He grabbed them all and they are just fine.
3. I belong to a couple of hotel point programs. I travel monthly for work, so I’m earning points while doing my job. My mother had a stroke recently and I went to visit her her. One night of hotel was completely free. I paid for the two extra nights, because having my own space, during the stressful time was really worth a lot.
4. I recently had to pay a $200 medical co-pay. The peace of mind I have because we are frugal and could pay it without blinking an eye is worth well, it is priceless.
5. DH and I continue to practice our frugality with repairing things, keeping things clean, organizing the house, the fridge and the freezer. Eating leftovers. Meal planning. It is a game to us, and we get great satisfaction out of winning!


A. Marie February 6, 2024 at 10:50 am

Re: your #5, Alexandra, something I’ve quoted here in the past and will quote again now applies: “When this [frugality] stops being fun, you’ll see my tail lights!” One thing I think we all have in common is that we take joy in the quest.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:18 pm

So true!


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:29 pm

You have a very resourceful husband!


Hawaii Planner February 6, 2024 at 6:38 am

Love the spice jar hack!
1) I’ve been in “use it up” food mode. I have several pantry/fridge/freezer challenges going, and it’s been useful in a few ways. The obvious clearing out the items that need to go, but also reminding me of what we already have, which makes me feel guilty if I ponder takeout or the like.
2) I’ve listed a bunch on FB marketplace, eBay & have had a few sales
3) I’m also continuing to do plenty of decluttering, which involves trash, recycling, BN, etc. Yesterday I found a missing item, as well as a tax document that I would have entirely forgotten about (a settlement that I need to report). I’m grateful for the reminder, to avoid being audited, or having to redo my taxes. Nothing is less fun than that!
4) We hosted a soccer party at our house (teen soccer players) & opted for Costco pizza & cookies. It made the event pretty inexpensive, and I had enough leftover pizza for a bonus dinner for our teens on another night.
5) I went through and updated our tracker of gift cards, travel credits, etc, which always helps to ensure we don’t forget about, waste money or otherwise not spend what we already have.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:28 pm

Teens and leftover pizza, what kind of sorcery was that?!


Peg February 6, 2024 at 7:16 am

Inspired by you fixing your Birkenstocks. I too need to do same on 2 pair of Keens. For a long time they’ve been my favorite brand of shoes but won’t buy anymore after these are wore out. It’s a known problem with the more recent ones, too expensive (in my opinion) to continue to need repair.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:26 pm

Repaired shoes for the win. Low quality shoes for the loss. ☹️


Fru-gal Lisa February 6, 2024 at 8:53 am

I know I’m a day late on your FFT postings. I usually list mine every Tuesday on Frugal Girl’s site but she doesn’t have hers up today. This week, I had some exciting (to me) things to post, so that was disappointing. A day late for NCA, sorry, but here are mine:
1. Returned a gallon of varnish we ended up not using to the hardware store. Was refunded $54 and change.
2. Went to Batteries Plus to see if they could get some new batteries for my handheld phones (I still have a landline, dinosaur that I am). They could, and those phones are back in business! The whole bill came to under $50. Much cheaper to fix than having to buy a whole new landline phone set up….assuming I could even find one.
3. Got a paperback novel from a Little Free Library box (Danielle Steele’s “Complications.”). Also left a couple of books I no longer need.
4. Signed up for the 5% cashback bonus Discover Card is sponsoring. This time around it’s for drug stores (which I frequent often) and restaurants. I don’t go to restaurants very much but I did go out to eat with our church ladies’ club and getting 5% back really helped. (Of course, it should be noted that this is only a good deal if you pay off the card every month; otherwise, the regular interest rate will eat up your 5% savings, and more…)
5. Attended a home improvement fair in our town. Even though it was $5 admission, I got my money’s worth and then some IMO. I talked to a credit union rep who tipped me off as to when to refi my car loan (they will run a big promotion in a couple of months, which will knock off some % points); that alone was worth the price of admission. However, I also picked up 4 shopping bags (useful since I go to Aldi), dozens of pens and pencils, a compact mirror for my purse, 4 tubes of lip balm, many handfuls of candy (which I put in a cannister and save for candy-giving occasions such as Easter, Xmas or Trick or Treat, great that I don’t have to buy candy for same), a rain gage , calendars and more. Also got useful free information about redoing countertops and roofs, saving water and energy, installing solar energy and whole house generators.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:25 pm

I’m giving you a virtual gold star for returning that gallon of varnish!


Anne February 6, 2024 at 9:14 am

For reasons completely unknown to me, I seem to be livimg under a library black cloud even though I reside in the largest county in California.
1. I stopped physically going to the library years ago as I am a voracious reader and there was rarely anything new for me that I wanted.
2. I tried ordering online so my local library could reach out to others in the county system. The message was always the same.
“We don’t have it.” This seemed so unlikely that I thought I might be ordering incorrectly, but it’s a fairly straight forward process.
3. Recently I thought I would try again because I read so much, only to find out my entire county no longer participates in Libby. WHAT? Is that even possible? Now, I am back to having to purchase an armload of books each month from Thriftbooks.
What have I done to offend the literary gods?


Fru-gal Lisa February 6, 2024 at 10:15 am

Oh, wow! I feel your pain. As a former high school English teacher, I also find myself needing/wanting books of all kinds. Here are some ideas re: obtaining books:
–Like you, I also get a lot of good used books from Thrift Books (really good site and there are others), and from used bookstores in my city. Often you can trade in books for credits at used bookstores. There’s one in my city that dumps books it didn’t want for trades (damaged covers, categories they don’t stock, etc.) in a bin outside and people can pick ’em up for free.
–See if there are any “Little Free Libraries” in your area. There is a website listing all LFLs that register with the mother ship. What are LFLs? They are outside boxes in which one leaves books they no longer want, and picks up books for free. You don’t have to sign out the books, and you can keep them. We have some LFLs in my city and I’ve gotten quite a lot of good reads from them.
–Another source of inexpensive books may be your local thrift stores. Our Goodwill Industries’ stores are jam packed with donated books, which they sell for very little money. In the summer, they even have Free Book Fridays, where schoolchildren can come get one free book every week.
–Perhaps libraries in other towns have library book sales. Ours is an annual event, and it is HUGE. It’s worth coming from out of town to attend! On the last days they’ll have it where you can buy so many bags full of books for X number of dollars. (They supply the bags, usually paper grocery bags).
–I’ve never used it but there is a website called Paperback Swap. You trade paperback novels and books with others. Here is the e-addy I found for it:
–You can also do informal book swaps. My grandmother and her sisters did this. The wealthy sister would send boxes of her used murder mysteries to the next sister either by Greyhound bus or via someone who was driving to the other sisters’ towns. We’d have tons of books each summer! When Grandma finished, someone would go to the third sister’s home and deliver them. At a former job, they organized a book swap in the break room. You brought your unwanted books and put them on the table, and you could pick up the same number of books as you brought. It worked great! Perhaps you could organize a book swap party.
–Garage sales, particularly citywide sales, multi-family garage sales or church rummage sales, usually have lots of books mixed in with the other stuff.


Fru-gal Lisa February 6, 2024 at 10:19 am

Oops, I forgot to put in the website for Little Free Libraries.

It tells you all about them, has an app for finding LFLs and also shows you how to set one up where you live.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:20 pm

I love all these ideas, thank you!


auntiali February 6, 2024 at 6:37 pm

Or you can request your local library to purchase the book for their collection. I’d go to the county library board of trustees meeting to find out why no Libby.


Lindsey February 6, 2024 at 12:19 pm

I love our library system anyway, but reading your situation makes me want to publicly thank our local and state governments that support our library and are paying for a massive improvement project for the building.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:22 pm

You can check and see if you qualify for a library card in a different district, which you could then use for Libby.


Ringo February 6, 2024 at 6:02 pm

If you have a state university nearby, you might call their library and ask if community members can get or buy library cards and check out books. The one I work for sells them for $60/year and you can check out books, DVDs and CDs. I figure $5/month for a heavy reader/viewer isn’t too bad. Community college libraries might offer this kind of thing too.


Ashley Bananas February 7, 2024 at 8:07 am

I looked up the largest county in California and found it to be San Bernardino county. I looked up their library system and was surprised to see that they have a large number or branches, but don’t offer inter library loan.

I checked out their digital resources page and it seems they do offer Libby…

But was underwhelmed that they don’t offer Hoopla or Kanopy, which gives video lending digitally. It doesn’t appear they have video lending digitally with any other services.

Then I searched for a ubiquitously popular author, Janet Evanovich, and found her newest release only has 13 copies in the system, her last copy has 17 in the system. Those are pretty low thresholds considering the number of branches, 33, for your library system.

Not sure how your library system is funded. Mine is funded through a tax line for all property tax in the county. I always consider funding when I see systems that offer less.


Anne February 7, 2024 at 9:39 am

Actually, I was guessing on county size, I’m actually in Riverside county. There is only one LFL in my city with apparently very little movement as I have crammed it full myself, gone back two weeks later and the same books are there. NO used bookstores in this city, though the selection at Thrift books is more extensive than most book stores and the prices are really not bad at all.

A large part of my problem is that I’m not looking for piles of books to paw through. After reading for 70 years I’m pretty focused on what I want to read. For instance I might be reading something that just casually mentions Marie Curie, and I think to myself that I would like to know more about her life and I want a biography. Nothing at the library and no Libby.

But I did pick up a couple of good suggestions here. There is a nearby community college and I should look into that. Also, someone mentioned other purchase sites besides Thriftbooks. Would love to hear more in that vein. Fortunately, a lifetime of frugality has given me some cash to throw at used books.


Selena February 7, 2024 at 7:56 pm

No county library system here but per state law, if you have child(ren) in school, you can get a card at no cost from a library that serves your school district. Residents in my area will *never* opt to join the closest library even though it would cost a pittance per year (think $127 on a $150K home). So I pay for a card.


Karen L February 6, 2024 at 10:16 am

I try to check out eBay before buying from Amazon. I can often find the same things in both places, and then I have the option of buying directly from the small vendor instead of the huge corporation.


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:19 pm

I do the same whenever possible.


Ashley Bananas February 6, 2024 at 11:01 am

I too need to look into high yield savings accounts. I have not found any banks near me who are competitive on this. But if anyone has online banks they suggest I would love any recommendations (although online banking only scares me a bit).

1. This past week I did some Door Dashing and made just over $250. I will use this for financial needs.
2. I started to work on my taxes through Turbotax but found they will charge me $89 to submit this for me. AARP does taxes for free at the local library. I signed up to do this next week saving me the cost of submitting online.
3. A neighbor generously gave me homemade chocolate fudge from his aunt in Michigan.
4. My son and I both stayed home one day this week and watched movies on the couch on Kanopy and Hoopla, provided to us for free through the gift of my library card.
5. I bought ribs for sale at 1.69 a lb, and bacon for 3.99 a lb


Katy February 6, 2024 at 12:18 pm

The online bank I used is CIT. I was really happy with them and was getting 5.05% interest on my savings.

So smart to do your taxes for free with AARP! And thanks for the reminder about Kanopy.


mary in maryland February 6, 2024 at 1:52 pm

My husband has spent weeks retraining to be a tax person at the library via the AARP program. Today is his first work day.


Christine February 6, 2024 at 4:30 pm

That’s a wonderful thing your husband is doing! So many people out there need help with their taxes.


Shona February 6, 2024 at 5:50 pm

I went with Ally bank


Vickey February 24, 2024 at 4:55 pm

Re your no 2: the IRS is also trialing a file-online-with-them-for-free program. (After some scandalous behavior by some or all of the corporations they had previously contracted with to provide this service.) It’s not available in all states, but would be worth looking into for some.


Bee February 6, 2024 at 1:30 pm

This is a great list. I want to mention two other things;
*Goodwill sells books online and through eBay.
If you are a member of a BN group, you may want to put out an ask from time to time.


Donna February 8, 2024 at 7:23 am

I don’t have five…but I have two. I signed up for Medicare in November…rcvd a debit card with 750.00 on it. Went to dentist and teeth cleaned and they did my X-rays early so I could use the card! Left there and went to eye doctor…eye exam and two pair of glasses. I used the entire amount which was great because it expired at the end of January. This is a nice perk unfortunately only 250 this year but will pay for a couple of teeth cleanings woohoo!!!


Katy February 8, 2024 at 4:51 pm

So smart to not let it go to waste!


Blue Gate Farmgirl February 8, 2024 at 1:58 pm

What a nice “mom thing to do” with the spices. I love Winco’s spices, especially when I make spice blends for gifts.
Best Neighbor is almost finished helping me cut up a huge oak tree that fell in Dec ’21. It has yielded 8 cords so far. He is running a chainsaw that is too big for 2 of me to handle, so I appreciate him so much. I pay him in diesel fuel and bar & chain oil and an occasional pkg of ocean fish.
During our cold snap, I figured our gas bill would be double, it went down $10, whaaaat?
Brilliant plan, Katy, on opening the new acct. golf hand clap.
I did something similar with a local credit union when the big corp bank left town.
I fixed my birkies with E6000, it took 72 hours to cure and now they are just as good as new. Once upon a time I took them to be fixed at a shoe repair and he let me watch…nice guy, now he only resoles my boots.
I bought fruit flavored candy canes for an emergency sugar fix. They are super tasty and a box only cost .17 for 12 canes. I bought 10 boxes, should last me til next year.
I have been purging clothes and shoes to donate to the free community clothes closet in the neighboring town.


Katy February 8, 2024 at 4:50 pm

Thank you for the golf clap! And that tree sounds like a real behemoth, lucky to have a good neighbor.


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