Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 19, 2024 · 74 comments

    1. Fred Meyer sent me coupons for free Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Hazs ice cream, which prompted me to walk to the store and buy the ice cream and nothing else. The Ben & Jerry’s Tonight Dough was unpleasantly gritty, like it had defrosted and refrozen, but we ate it anyway as I was free.

      I guess you occasionally get what you pay for.

    2. I cut forsythia from the garden to force an indoors flower arrangement. My father propagated the forsythia from a shrub at his house/my childhood home. As scrappy as it looks 11-1/2 months of the year, its yellow flowers are so cheering and hopeful when winter otherwise looks like it’ll never end.

    3. I mixed up a batch of brown sugar using nothing more than granulated sugar and molasses. Using 1-2 tablespoons of molasses per cup of sugar, it’s about the simplest kitchen hack around. I didn’t start making my own brown sugar until recently so it still seems like magic when I mix up a batch. I used a food processor, but I’ve made it before using a pastry cutter. I suppose a simple fork would work as well.

    4. • My husband and I watched the movie Past Lives through the library’s free Kanopy app. Amazing movie, I highly recommend!
      • The woman who organized the free haircuts for my local Supercuts training center moved away and I haven’t had luck finding her replacement. I decided to ramp up my efforts and called a couple different Supercuts locations until I found someone with the email address for the new training director. Apparently there’s a training session for their newly hired stylists at the end of the month and they’ll need models (ha!) at that time. Crossing my fingers that my email finds the right person.
      • I walked to the library to pick up my hold copies of Katrina Rodabaugh’s Mending Matters and Make Thrift Mend. I’ve only leafed through them so far, but they’re very inspiring. However, they were extremely heavy which was noted on my walk back to the house.
      • I stopped into the Trader Joe’s in my son’s neighborhood and picked up two bunches of 19¢ bananas. I had the checker run them as two transactions as we have to use this debit card twelve times per month to qualify for 1.5% interest on our regular checking account.

      We recently opened a different credit union account to get a 5.25% high yield savings account, as well as their checking account which kicked back an extra $100 if we used their debit card twelve times in a month. So yes, using two different debit cards, twelve times apiece. Don’t worry, there wasn’t anyone in line behind me.

    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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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy in the South February 19, 2024 at 5:39 am

I wish I could find 19 cents bananas. My son eats a lot
If bananas. They are 59 cents at Aldi, Target, and Winn Dixie. Target ir across the road from Aldi so I have noticed on some items, like eggs, they try to stay in the same price range as Aldi.
I have just walked in my neighborhood and eaten at home. Same as usual.


Jill A February 19, 2024 at 5:53 am

I think those Aldi bananas are 59 cents a lb vs. 19 cents for each banana. I think it ends up being about the same cost.


Cindy in the South February 19, 2024 at 2:15 pm

Oh, I thought Katy meant 19 cents a lb! My bad…. Lol


MB in MN February 19, 2024 at 6:04 am

1. Cleaned out the refrigerator and repurposed some baskets and trays as organizers before I put everything back. (I admit to opening the fridge door just to enjoy a peek inside.)

2. Created a dresser inside my closet using a rolling wire shelving unit and baskets that I had on hand.

3. Went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboreum with my sister and sister-in-law. SIL has a membership so free admission for all of us. Then my SIL treated us to a beverage in the cafeteria.

4. Treated to lunch by another sister-in-law.

5. Redeemed a coupon for a free meal including a beverage. Instead of a fountain drink, I asked for milk instead and my wish was granted with a smile.


Jill A February 19, 2024 at 6:23 am

I like your brown sugar hack. I think it would be a great way to eliminate one of my pantry staples. I bake less often now that I only have one kid at home and I only use it occasionally.
1. I made dog biscuits. They are a nice substitute for the Blue Dog Bakery biscuits that my dog loves and saves a few dollars.
2. I made a very large batch of split pea and ham soup. This used up the ham bone and package of ham and some of the onions I froze the other day. I’ll froze some for later and will share with several family members.
3. I sorted through more paperwork and now have three large bags ready for the next free shredding event in town.
4. I contributed the max amount to my HSA for 2023 in order to save on taxes.
5. We ate a forgotten package of cookies that were well past their sell by date but still tasted fine. These weren’t diet friendly but one must do, what one must do. Taking one for the team.


BettafrmdaVille February 19, 2024 at 7:17 am

1. I made homemade chicken stock from freezer bits. The chicken bones came from free mystery shop chicken.
2. Met up with bestie for a walk around a park for free catch-up time.
3. After our walk, I needed a restroom. Rather than going to a coffee shop where I would feel obligated to buy a coffee, I went .5 mile further to use the one at the grocery store where I did NOT feel obligated to buy anything.
4. I stopped by a different grocery on my way home to get a box of Welche’s fruit and yogurt. Regular price was $2.79, but I paid $.59 for a box of 8. I don’t usually buy these, but they make a good snack on my Thursday night loooong commute of 3.5 hours during dinner time.
5. taking my partner out to a fancy steak dinner. The prices are absurd, but it is a mystery shop and we pre-decided what we would order so that we can stay in budget and pay nothing out of pocket.


Terr February 19, 2024 at 8:14 am

There are great tutorials on YouTube for haircuts. The butterfly cut is so simple even for the scissors challenged like me. I’ve gotten more hair compliments than when I payed $50+ at a salon.


Lindsey February 19, 2024 at 11:53 am

Three and a half hour commute! I used to feel put out when I had to drive for 15 minutes to get to work. I hope that is a great job so worth it!!


Kara February 19, 2024 at 8:20 am

1. I ordered Columbia beanies for 10 of my 12 nieces/nephews for this coming Christmas at 60%+ off. I am VERY pleased to have this jump on the holidays. My under $10 per person budget is difficult to stick to now that they’re all teens/adults. Giving a little something at Christmas has been keenly evaluated and I’ve decided it’s something that’s important to me. Many of them do not live close and I value all the connections.
2. Drying laundry on the racks in the house. Since the house is kept at 62, the laundry can take a while to dry…
3. Soaked 2 different types of heirloom dry beans that my mother had bought a while ago for $9 per pound!!! She decided she couldn’t be bothered with them. I kept some to plant and am making sure to eat the rest.
4. Sewed some totes from old pillowcases. I use these lightweight totes to keep food organized in my chest freezer. I sew different colored handles on them which give me a clue what the bag holds-red handles have homemade tomato sauce. Yellow handles have butter.
5. My husband has 2 jobs through task rabbit this week. He’s a teacher and is off today for President’s Day, so has time for a job today. The other is after school. He offers moving and assembling furniture. So far everyone who has hired him has been so appreciative and he enjoys the manual labor tasks as balance to his teaching job. He uses the money earner to fund his pickleball hobby!


MB in MN February 19, 2024 at 10:04 am

Love your color-coordinated totes!


Shona February 19, 2024 at 8:20 am

1. The Grocery outlet had Blue cat food 1/2 price.

2. My free pile was a great success.

3. Reading. I find I’m watching very little TV (True Detective Night Country ended and there is nothing else I wish to watch) and much prefer reading a book in my cozy bed.

4. Soup

5. Went to our favorite hole in the wall Thai restaurant for Valentines and the portions were so big we also had lunch for the next day.

When my friend (and my sweater) return from Kyoto I’m going to take a break from the Gram. When she’s out of the country we communicate through DM. Another step away from information overload and tech noise.


Ruby February 19, 2024 at 8:23 am

I had not thought of using the food processor to make brown sugar. Thst would be a lot easier than smooshing it with a fork, as I have gone for ages.

1. Refurbished the clean/dirty magnet on the front of the dishwasher by printing out a new color piece and wrapping it in clear Contact paper. I made the original years ago from an advertising magnet and it was getting worn out around the edges.
2. Mended my son’s sweat pants (three holes and new elastic in the cuffs). Also mended a chewed up dog toy. New rescued pup has a mouth like a shark!
3. Cooked for our Sunday lunch an easy budget recipe by Gordon Ramsey that used stuff we always have in the pantry and freezer and it was a big success. Learned a couple of useful techniques from the instructions as well.
4. Inventoried the upright freezer and did some meal planning.


Mary Ann February 19, 2024 at 8:29 am

1. I reposhed a Prima Donna bra on Poshmark. It was one of two I bought. The first one was the glass slipper . A perfect fit and I went surfing to find four more exact make and size by serial number. This second one dug into my sides and was a torture chamber. Off it goes. I lost 65% on the initial investment but it was worth finding one that fits and being able to buy its clones at a discounted price. I am willing to go to any lengths on bras and shoes.

2. I bought on EBAY a rare copy of one of my favorite author’s early paperbacks. The last book of her’s I have not read. It was 45 dollars. I planned to resell. Then the cover ripped traveling last week. There was a super nice little bookshop at Lake Louise. I gave the book and cover to the owner and said if she wanted to repair it she could make a bit. Easy and she was smiling.

3. Went through my receipts from my vacation. I use Ramsey’s Everydollar. I made sure everything was within budget and nothing was overcharged. I am in no way a number’s gal. I add 2 plus 2 and get 5. But I do keep watch and try to catch mistakes. It works out somehow.

4. I am saving to surprise my husband with a check next month to pay the mortgage six months in advance. He could use the money now. That feels good.

5. I canceled an order for an impulse buy on matching Smartwool hoodie for the sale smart wool leggings I bought. How many times do I run around in leggings and a hoodie? This was tough. I am a sucker for matchie matchie.


Danielle C February 19, 2024 at 8:32 am

1. Picked up a beautiful $50 arm chair off Facebook marketplace. I have been on the hunt for years for new furniture for my office. I don’t sit there much but I see it behind me every time I’m on Zoom. I just couldn’t make the decision/justify the expense. I saved a number of options and went over them with my husband to help me decide. It took a couple of messages to the seller but she chose us to get the chair and we snapped it up. She said she had 100+ messages about the chair, we just had the right timing. I couldn’t be happier.

2. Rehomed the 23 year couch that used to be in my office. There was a moderate amount of sun fading but it was clean and neutral in color. We listed it on Facebook Marketplace and our local buy nothing groups but at first, no nibbles. I contacted our local garbage service as we get two free “large items” pickups each year. The soonest pickup was two weeks out so I got on the schedule, but the very next day someone reached out and picked up the little couch for their kids playroom. I’m so happy the couch has a new home.

3. My “holds” list in the Lobby app was looking pretty weak, so I went thought my pinned “someday” book list, the suggested purchases in my Kindle, and other books by authors I’ve recently read. This built up the holds list. I should be set for months as these come available. I love my library.

4. For a date night, we got my B-12 shot (free happy juice), returned some items to Amazon via the Whole Foods drop off, walked around a nice shopping center, made a dinner of Happy Hour appetizers at Lazy Dog, and caught a matinee movie. And we were back home in our comfy pants by 7pm. 🙂

5. My son was having his cousin and a friend over on short notice and I told them I’d make tacos. It turned out I didn’t have enough ground beef… then I remembered I have a whole sleeve of frozen hamburger patties. I defrosted three of those and broke them up and the kids never knew the difference.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 11:12 pm

So smart to use what you already had for the tacos!


Bee February 19, 2024 at 9:44 am

It was a rainy weekend. It drizzled continuously for 36 hours so many of our outdoor plans fell by the wayside.

1. Yesterday was my eldest child’s birthday. Sometimes I can’t believe that I’m old enough to have a child that age. My DIL invited us to dinner. I brought a bottle of wine and made a salad to go with the homemade bouillabaisse which was delicious. My son is an outdoorsman. I found a beautiful, hand-forged fishing knife from Finland at an estate sale. It had it sheath and it’s original box. This was his gift. Next Saturday, DH and I will also take care of the kiddos as part of his birthday gift, My DIL planned a celebration road trip providing the weather cooperates this time.
2. Since there were few distractions on a rainy Sunday, My husband and I cleaned out and organized our closet yesterday. I have 3 piles: give-a-way, sell and recycle. The sell pile consists of a few authentic Hawaiian print shirts and a pair of vintage Frye boots.
3. Rescue Pup had a bath at home in the backyard and in the rain on Saturday after chasing a flock of wood storks into a brackish lagoon near our house. It was completely necessary as she smelled of swamp water. I would love to have an elevated dog bath, but 90% of the time this method works just fine.
4. DH and I continue to review our budget. Approaching retirement age with such high levels of inflation is frightening. Although we really don’t have much fat in our budget, we are still finding a few ways to save. We look through my husband’s employer’s Added Benefits page and found that the company will pay for part of our gym membership. Evidently many of the Medicare supplements do this too.
5. I went to the YMCA to run (trot) on the treadmill, brewed my own coffee, sold an item on eBay, scanned my receipts to Fetch and iBotta, read a library book and enjoyed an episode of Northern Exposure on a shared Prime subscription.
Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 11:11 pm

I love Northern Exposure when it was on. Does it hold up?


Bee February 21, 2024 at 4:29 am

For the most part, I think so. There are a few things that fall flat, but the world has changed a lot in 30 years. I am not sure younger people would understand some of the references.


Isa February 19, 2024 at 10:33 am

* Got a coupon for a free small pizza

* Got 2 dozens of eggs for free due to a mistake from the grocery store (… but then got overcharged 12$ at another store and didn’t catch the mistake before I got home, so I lost that 12$)

* Working an extra shift this week

* Received a bunch of chocolates from a coworker who didn’t want them

* Buying food at the discount store


Katy February 20, 2024 at 11:07 pm

Free eggs is big deal right now!


Lindsey February 19, 2024 at 11:50 am

1. Must be the week for making brown sugar as the husband likes it on his oatmeal and we were out. But I hate cleaning my food processor so I do it with a fork. I make it in one cup amounts since it goes a long way so fork method is no trouble.
2. Apparently the husband has wolverine toes because I am forever mending the toes of his socks. He does the laundry, so I now have a box by the dryer and if he finds one as he is folding things he throws it in there until I get around to mending. This weekend I did seven socks so am all caught up.
3. Sold a book and combined it with a mystery post office shop late Friday. You have to use Priority shipping for the shop and I managed to do that. That meant I did not have to give up any of the price for shipping and the buyer will get it faster than media mail.
4. Made a new recipe called Marry Me Chicken (hideous name). Tasty but too rich so the leftovers were combined with chicken stock and some cauliflower and turned into soup. That also extended one night of leftovers into two nights.
5. Resisted the urge to buy a new stove after a food explosion that left the oven so dirty that even the self-cleaning cycle didn’t fix it all. Really, I actually did that once in my past because I just did not want to clean up the mess. I am exploring ways to clean what remains (and has now been baked on by the self-clean extreme temperatures) without ruining the finish of the stove. I bought this fancy schmancy hideously expensive European stove years ago, in a fit of stupidity that I attribute to having been through a grueling series of medical treatments so I did not give a rat’s butt what things cost. I wish it would die so I could replace it in good conscience.


Jill A February 19, 2024 at 12:01 pm

I was going to try that chicken recipe too. It is a hideous name. I haven’t tried it yet but there’s a hack that uses a dishwasher tab ( the solid ones) to clean off baked on food. You wet it and scrub with it.


Ecoteri February 19, 2024 at 8:49 pm

OHHHH the oven. Gah. I recently read something about an overnight clean your oven option – a bit of google gives a few options, some using ammonia (GAH imagine THAT smell). but the vinegar water (1/2-1 cup vinegar in a casserole dish of hot water) in a 450 degree oven for 45 min or so, remove dish, let cool enough that you can wipe but not so much the gunk sticks on – might loosen a lot of the frustrations? I boil baking soda and water in pans with burnt on food, but I don’t know if trying to boil baking soda and water in an oven would be something I would try (Imagine THAT volcano).


Ashley Bananas February 20, 2024 at 9:35 am

I looked up Marry Me Chicken and think it would be a hit in my house. Thank you for the mention!


Katy February 20, 2024 at 11:07 pm

Oh yes, I am also of the brown-sugar-on-oatmeal camp!


A. Marie February 19, 2024 at 12:22 pm

FFT, “I’m the Wreck” Edition:

Kind of a blah week here: The Central NY late winter blues are setting in, with a huge boost from hugely missing DH. Nevertheless, here are the few small things I’ve been doing to keep my chin off the floor:

(1) My JASNA region’s February meeting was on Zoom (thank goodness I didn’t have to drive to it through more snow), because our speaker was a British expert on carriages in Jane Austen’s time. In pre-meeting chat, she mentioned that she’s also a vicar’s wife, so I told this old joke: A British lady was paying a call at the home of her local clergyman, except that she couldn’t remember whether he was a rector (so the house would be a rectory) or a vicar (in which case the house would be a vicarage). She got confused at the front door and asked, “Is this the wreckage?” The lady of the house replied, “Yes, and I’m the wreck.” Considerable mirth ensued–and mirth is always frugal.

(2) I made a pot roast yesterday with a nice chuck roast from my 1/4 steer, and am in the process of turning the leftovers into beef barley soup, which I will share with my next-door neighbor and the Bestest Neighbors.

(3) I spent yet another weekend of @#$!! weather doing some cleaning of areas that are off limits to my cleaning crew, as well as more culling. I took the opportunity of vacuuming my closet floor to go through my footwear, and I’ve set aside three pairs of Keen sandals that (alas) no longer fit me but may now fit JASNA BFF.

(4) I also filled two more boxes with books and CDs, which I will again donate to one of our local libraries for its upcoming book sale. This makes seven such boxes I’ve filled since New Year’s.

(5) And I’m about to file a report on eBird for the Great Backyard Bird Count, which I’ve faithfully been keeping from Friday to now. I had a good if not outstanding turnout of birds. And the folks at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology can use all the “citizen data” they can get.


Bee February 19, 2024 at 1:25 pm

Hang in there, A.Marie. The cold dreary days of winter are almost over. I wish for you peace, love and strength for I know that you miss DH dreadfully.


Lindsey February 19, 2024 at 2:14 pm

I hope your spring comes quickly, to lift your spirits. I wish I had something to say that would help with missing DH. I am not a hugger, but hugs to you.


MB in MN February 19, 2024 at 5:10 pm

A. Marie, I’m sorry for your sadness. Sending you a hug from the heartland.


Christine February 19, 2024 at 5:16 pm

I love the “wreckage” joke! I think most of us have been in the position of the wreck from time to time. And my house has certainly classified as wreckage at some point or other.
Thinking of you today, A, Marie. There’s no way out of missing someone except through it as I’m sure you know. Still, I wish there was something I could say to help ease your loneliness. Like I’ve read somewhere (?) once: There’s something missing and it’s in the shape of _________. Fill in the blank. Virtual hugs sent across the Northeast snows to you.


Jill A February 20, 2024 at 4:13 am

I’m so sorry A. Marie. I read a quote that struck home the other day. Grief is a process of finding comfort. Take care of yourself. Missing your husband will never go away but you’ll get used to carrying around the sadness. It will become a part of you.


A. Marie February 20, 2024 at 4:50 am

Thank you all for the good wishes and kind thoughts, my dears. I’ve been saying that “there’s a [DH]-sized hole in my life” for some time now, but I’ve been particularly aware of it the last few days. (And I finally let loose and had a good cry last night, which helped.)


Susie's Daughter February 20, 2024 at 11:23 am

A. Marie – Grief can be sneaky and walks on quiet feet. And it doesn’t help that we live in an American culture which tries so hard to dismiss grief and vigorously ignore death. So huge kudos to you for sharing and hugs to you from nearly the same latitude. More light is coming!


Ashley Bananas February 20, 2024 at 12:01 pm

I’m sorry for your loss <3


Katy February 20, 2024 at 11:05 pm

Sending a big virtual hug your way.


Marybeth from NY February 19, 2024 at 1:26 pm

1. I am turning 50 in May and Hubby and I are doing a little getaway. First day and night we will be staying at our oldest daughter’s house.
2. 2nd night we used hotel points to stay for free. I made sure to pick a hotel that offered free breakfast.
3. I had $5 in Kohl’s cash and Hubby needed something returned to Amazon. I got a 20% off coupon from the return. I got 3 sushi sponges for my son for 80¢. It will go towards his birthday gift in March. The sponges are regular size just with sushi pictures on them. He loves sushi. They were originally $20. I like my price better.
4. I made a new to us mushroom soup and we were not in love with it. I am adding some stuff to it tonight and going to put it on some egg noodles instead of it being a soup. Wish me luck.
5. Found a penny in Aldi’s.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 11:03 pm

Best of luck with all your mushroom soupy endeavors.


K D February 19, 2024 at 2:11 pm

1. The frame on a pair of reading glasses broke (the part that holds the lens in). I fixed it with a dab of glue.

2. I had a $10 off coupon at Safeway from buying a $50 gift card. I stopped and bought two 7 count packages of small avocados, three cartons of Silk yogurt, and a couple boxes of mac & cheese (to donate to a food bank). It was $.24 out of pocket. I also picked up four cans of vegetables and two cans of tomatoes free after redeeming rewards.

3. I cut DH’s hair using electric clippers. It’s fast and cheap and what he prefers. It’s been a couple decades since he paid for a haircut. I regularly pay for haircuts as my hair is short and cut in a lot of layers.

4. We drove a mile to a local trail that was once a trolley line. It’s woodsy and ends at a river/county line. It’s worth the drive for a nice walk.

5. I looked at Kanopy and I’m happy to see the movies/shows available are less niche than they were years ago. Our library allows use for free, with a library account.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 11:01 pm

You’re a smart grocery shopper!


Christine February 19, 2024 at 3:16 pm

1. I cleaned out the cabinet under my bathroom sink. I found ten hairclips I wore when my hair was longer. It’s been years. I’ll give these to DD and her DD to use since they both have long hair.
2. Also in the stash was eleven…eleven! combs. Needless to say, I will never need to buy another comb.
3. Found a box of Valentine chocolates marked 75% off which I will be bringing to dearest friend from childhood who is now in a nursing home.
4. I gave DH a haircut.
5. I made a pot roast using something other than a McCormicks envelope. For years I have been addicted to the Savory Pot Roast envelope recipe but decided to save a little money and go online for a recipe. Using the Prairie Woman’s recipe, I made a great dinner. I even had everything on hand except tomato paste (substituted spaghetti sauce) and Rosemary (substituted Marjoram…small amount).


Katy February 20, 2024 at 11:00 pm

I always use The Pioneer Woman’s pot roast recipe, although I haven’t cooked it in years. So yummy!


Blue Gate Farmgirl February 19, 2024 at 8:29 pm

Planted pea pods per my Great Grannie’s “always plant your peas on President’s day”.
Made smothered pork chops, scalloped potatoes and layered salad for friends who are grieving a loss.
Cleaned and organized part of closet in order to put a dresser in there. Got rid of 2 large bags of clothes. Once upon a time I was a minimalist and am now returning to that lifestyle. The community closet was thrilled to get them.
Sold 4 pairs of shoes on Poshmark (well, the cousin listed and did all the work while I played with her 2 mo old)
I bartered with a neighbor for some hog fencing. Saving me about $200. Cool.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 10:59 pm

I know to prune roses on President’s Day, but the peas is new to me.


Selena February 21, 2024 at 7:54 pm

And you plant potatoes on Good Friday. I continue that family tradition.


Vickey March 21, 2024 at 3:34 pm

Depends on your gardening zone. Here, peas planted that early would simply freeze and then rot. IF one could even work the frozen soil to plant them. Locallore says to plant on St. Patrick’s Day. But nope, this year, the ground was sill frozen.


Katy March 22, 2024 at 8:53 am

I’m still scarred from the April snowstorm we had two years ago. I actually have the spider plant in the dining room to enjoy some nice southern exposure until I’m sure we are past the low temperatures.


texasilver February 19, 2024 at 9:27 pm

1. Found a 5$ off coupon in the Walgreen’s parking lot. I used it to buy a small tube of cover cream makeup.
2. Found 3 pennies today & added them to my change challenge for 2024.
3. I had some leftover meat loaf. I cubed it & made beef taco soup.
4. My friend saved me a haircut coupon that came in the mail last month. Hubby will use it to get a haircut.
5. I turned in my continuing education paperwork at work. We can get 200$ per year for 8 hours of continuing education. I also need the CE to maintain my license so a double win.
6. I found a can of cream of tomato soup which I like.
7. I gifted my goddaughter around a 100 coffee pods that I found. We don’t have a Keurig machine. I was glad someone could use them.
8. Found 4 cartons of iced coffee in the Dol Gen dumpster. They were still cool. I put 3 of them in the freezer as I can’t drink that many before it spoils.
9. Found around 3 dozen Kind bars & other brand protein bars in the Dol Gen dumpster. I gave them to hubby to share w/ his golfing buddies. They like a snack while playing golf. The bars were in their cello wrap & still in the display box.
10. I also found 3 cartons of cottage cheese. I plan to make a layered Italian casserole & I can use a carton to sub for ricotta cheese.


Bee February 20, 2024 at 5:13 am

Have you ever kept track of the dollar value of all your finds?


MB in MN February 20, 2024 at 11:14 am

Your dumpster finds are fascinating!


A. Marie February 20, 2024 at 11:58 am

texasilver, I think you’re our new Dumpster Diva!


Jill A February 20, 2024 at 12:10 pm

Your posts always make me want to scope out the Dollar Generals around here.


Ashley Bananas February 20, 2024 at 12:14 pm

Dumpster diving is so intriguing. There is an old documentary about a guy and his friends that were dumpster diving, and how it was very impactful on their budget, diet, and more.


texasilver February 20, 2024 at 4:53 pm

I haven’t kept track of the $ value of my finds. Perhaps I should start. I think the most valuable things I have found was the champagne last week (55 to 70$ retail) and a man’s gold wedding band in the drawer of an end table. I was going to sell the ring, but my husband has been wearing it. He likes it better than the one from Walmart.
Merchants have run me off from looking in the dumpster on occasion. Really! Is it against the law to remove their trash? I have to use some discretion.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 10:58 pm

Ugh, why can’t they donate their perfectly good food?!


Ecoteri February 19, 2024 at 9:28 pm

1. Speaking of Haircuts – #2 son politely asked if I could cut his hair today. I set a time and he promptly showed up (also switched his laundry around as he seems to be a bit organized since his trip). I had cut the top quite short before he went away, so he only needed the sides and back buzzed. Nice looking cut, if I do say so myself. What happened to the boys in my youth with the beautiful long locks? These short styles have taken a while for me to get used to, but I am developing a dap hand at creating them. I repeat my mantra of “it’s only hair” while I cut, which reduces my anxiety about bloopers.
2. Painting at my daughter’s new-to-her condo took up two of the three days of this long weekend. I am retired, but I still seem to have weekend brain – so giving up two days is a true indicator of my love for her. I also was practicing for Grandbaby by doing a lot of stretching, crouching, reaching (and at one point due to a conversation about the make or brand of it, crawling on my back under her kitchen table). Many positive observations about the benefits of weightlifting and how much endurance my arms now have. Many positive observations about how great my daughter is, and how great it is to do a big huge project with another enthusiastic human, even if they are still a beginner at all the tasks. Many more walls to go but we did get the fiddly entrance mostly done. Going to have to book some afternoon/evenings down there in the next month to continue assisting. Will stack that task with visits with my Mom.
3. Thanks to all the reminders here, I am continuing to work on using food in my fridge and pantry. Tonight was leftover rice stirred into a melange of many chopped veggies – onions, celery, some older baked potatoes chopped up, some aging snap peas, some uber-sad carrots and a delicata squash that wasn’t delicate anymore – but peeled, deseeded and chopped up fine it worked. Threw on a madeup sauce and #2 son has a couple of days of lunches (along with the tofu I marinated then fried up). What really worked for me was that I chopped everything earlier in the day so when it was time to make dinner it was so fast. I was tired, and yet all the work was done so why not cook?
4. Speaking of tired, after the painting days, my step count is way down, however the rain is happening so I instead took myself off to the gym by myself !! Go me. (Gym buddy was busy). It is a holiday here so the gym closed at 5 – another trick I am using on myself is cramping my available time so I am forced to take action. Keeping an eye on the clock due to the early closing meant that I got myself there without my usual time-wasting procrastination. And then home to the Past-Me chopped veggies!
5. I am continuing to inhale my new fantasy series on Kindle Unlimited – not that I need a cutoff date to encourage me to read, of course! However, each book I read helps me justify my three month trial for $9 ….


Ecoteri February 19, 2024 at 9:33 pm

*dab hand. I think? is it Dap hand or dab hand?


A. Marie February 20, 2024 at 5:57 am

It’s “dab hand” (a Britishism). Around here, “DAP hand” was what DH used to get after applying too much DAP caulk during remodeling jobs.


Bee February 20, 2024 at 5:20 am

Spending time with your adult children is such a gift. My heart always runneth over.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 10:57 pm

You’re such a helpful mom and grandma!


Michele February 20, 2024 at 5:55 am

Not sure I can come up with 5……
1. Got two free laundry pods at the Sam’s sample kiosk. Not my preferred brand, but free is me!
2. Made up 4 oatmeal bowls for work breakfasts this week. Will make cauliflower rice/ bean/ salsa/cheese Mexican bowls tonight for the rest of my work lunches this week.
3. Husband sold many car parts to a “picker” yesterday. He handed me a wad of cash and said, “Spend it wisely”. Guess this is on my frugal 5 list, as I plan to save it for paying taxes.
4. Had a Bday celebration for my husband on Saturday. Had a “use it up” weekend. We ate leftover chili and leftover appetizers all weekend.
5. Going to my yearly appt. with Ob Gyn. Taking care of yourself keeps little health problems from turning into big health problems.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 10:52 pm

“Free is me?” I’m stealing this!


Roberta February 20, 2024 at 9:05 am

1. Continuing to eat down the pantry and the fridge. I can actually see progress! Gave away a jar of farro and a jar of quinoa to my niece, because the two of us are unlikely to finish it before it goes bad.
2. Took a nap two of the three days of this long weekend. It felt decadent. We babysat the grand-nibblings (one-year-only twins) Saturday, which reminded me why we went to bed so early when my kids were young!
3. Managed to get most of the wash line-dried before the rain came. Only needed to finish one load in the dryer (it was mostly dried on the line, but still damp).
4. Our natural history museum is open late one night a month, so we went Friday night. It was free with our park pass, and we loved some of the special exhibits. We’ve even added it to our calendar for the next two nights, so we don’t forget! Not frugal but yummy: we went out for Ethiopian dinner before the museum.
5. Spent 15 minutes decluttering our clothes closet. I got rid of two pairs of shoes. This will be frugal because having less to move will cost less in the long run.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 10:50 pm

Yum, I love Ethiopian food!


Susie's Daughter February 20, 2024 at 11:45 am

I have two big frugal things that I am delighted to share.

1) I questioned a bill for DS’s trip to the ER for a foot xray (foot is fine, thank goodness) since it didn’t match my EOB and BCBS called hospital on my behalf to correct it/have hospital refile. This saved about $500 (adjusted amount plus prompt pay discount).

2) Our family qualifies for the Advanced Premium Tax Credit as we self pay our health insurance (both DW and I are self employed). This reduced our health insurance by $1300. EVERY MONTH! Huge win!
2 a) AND here’s the reality check – it took 8 hours for me to get it straightened out with BCBS. Yikes. AND I am fortunate that it worked out. AND I previously worked in health insurance. AND I speak English as a first language. AND have 2 hours in the middle of my Tuesday to be on the phone with the insurer, have internet access to apply in the first place, and and and. How do people manage? I think there are a fair number of bean counters who calculate how many of us will just give up and pay. Our healthcare system is deeply, badly, appallingly broken. *End rant/return soapbox*

3) Still eating out of pantry and freezer. So far, everyone’s favorite is a version of the Tightwad Gazette casserole with rice, turkey broth (hello Thanksgiving turkey) and various shredded veggies (carrots, zucchini etc). Dear Teenage Son remarked that it didn’t look very appetizing and nicknamed “Cat Puke Casserole”, but he loves it. I have renamed it “Cat Food Casserole” and folks jostle one another for the leftovers for lunches.

4) Snow tromping and cross country skiing (my favorite) for exercise

5) Ordering new (to us) clothes for DS from online resale site. Saves me gas mileage to the resale stores in “the big city” and keeps clothes in circulation. (And keeps growing boy’s wrist and ankles covered till the weather warms up!)


Lindsey February 20, 2024 at 5:32 pm

It is a good thing we don’t know each other because I am afraid we would spend all our together time fuming about the healthcare system. One of the few community contributions I make these days is getting calls from doctor offices or hospice folks about someone they know who is desperately fighting insurance companies and my job is taking on the fight for those who are too ill or don’t have the verbal or writing skills to fight for coverage, so I have lots of horror stories in my back pocket. I like to imagine myself as the Equalizer, only for paperwork. If Congress members did not have health coverage, and had to scramble around for it and then find that even having it does not mean coverage without a fight, you can bet we’d have nationalized health insurance in a month.


Susie's Daughter February 21, 2024 at 5:36 am

Lindsey – First of all, thank you for your advocacy for your community. It is such a blessing to those folks I am sure. And I completely agree about Congress. DS needs an EpiPen – which until some member of Congress’s grandson needed one and was shocked by the price – was outrageously expensive. Now, it’s like a regular prescription. Proof enough for me that change is possible, but not wanted badly enough (yet).
And yes, we could yitch about healthcare over tea, but we could probably have interesting and funny conversations about our parents and grandparents, rural life in cold places and most certainly our dogs. Our 45lb black mouth cur’s best friend is a giant greyhound/black lab mix. I’m betting our little girl would be fond of CP and PH as well. Dog stories make everything better!


Marie February 22, 2024 at 6:46 pm

For me, the healthcare problem is being on hold for hours on end. Then being hung up on.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 10:49 pm

Yes, it’s an almost unheard of combination of skills and circumstances to deal with bill issues.


Ashley Bananas February 20, 2024 at 1:29 pm

I’m impressed with your card/account hacking. This is a great way to make extra money if you have the tenacity to follow through with the demands of the card/account.

Gas seems to have gone up a lot recently. I was wondering if anyone knew why? Because of this I am considering how deep my desire to Door Dash really is lately. I will work to only Dash during peak times to make the most of my time/gas.

1. I decided to open a new credit card with the potential to get $300 back after spending $3k in the first 6 months. Also earning frequent flyer miles. I used it for our plane tickets, car rental, and several other expenses that popped up this last month. Spending 3k is easy lately, so getting about 10% back of the 3k is great. I keep trying to find the bright side to things.
2. Before traveling out of state we ate down the fridge. We came home and found two containers of milk (regular and chocolate) had expired. Next time I will push for us to have milk with cereal or cookies to not waste.
3. A neighbor offered me three bottles of wine. I don’t drink, but decided to accept the gifts to re-gift later on as I enjoy giving gifts when visiting other people’s homes. I recently re-gifted a bottle of moonshine to a friend who invited us to dinner. The moonshine was a wedding gift for guests I received about ten years ago (it doesn’t expire).
4. On the plane trip back I binge watched a TLC show I really like but have not watched due to lack of subscription. It was a great guilty indulgence and now I can avoid doing the digital subscription dance a little longer.
5. A few years ago I curb picked a box of seeds from a house clean out. I planted a bunch of them in my garden beds. A week later and I have a bunch of sunflowers starting already. Excited!!!

This week….may it be more frugal than the last!!


Katy February 20, 2024 at 10:46 pm

I do enjoy paying attention to financial details. And coming home to sour milk? Gag.


Jennifer February 20, 2024 at 5:06 pm

Katy, here we have a Paul Mitchell School and a Brown Aveda Institute – both which offer discount services. Maybe there are other schools in your area you could look into

1. We traveled to see my brother for the long weekend. Other than gas our only expense was ordering in breakfast as a thank you for having us. As usual I packed snacks and water for the car.

2. Found $0.08 in the dryer after ds did a load of laundry.

3. Used our Ez-pass on our trip to get discounted tolls

4. Got the itch to try a new recipe and created my own buffalo chicken pasta using the ingredients I had on hand rather than run to the store. It made a huge pan that is giving us a bunch of leftovers even after dh and my boys had 2 helpings.

5. We had a PD day last week. Usually coworkers take that time to go out to lunch together. I organized everyone to eat in as a get to know you event. Most people packed including me.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 10:44 pm

I’ve had a number of students cuts through the years and haven’t been happy with them. The nice things about the Supercuts training center is that the newly hired stylists often have many years of experience.


W. A. February 20, 2024 at 6:53 pm

Started back to full-time work after years of being part time. I always forget how tiring a big transition is!

1. While I’m not getting a raise, I go from PT to FT, so increased income ftw. Ended up buying a lunch unexpectedly on my first day, but it was good to see what food options are nearby for those days when I can’t pack a lunch (I always try to, but I’ve learned the hard way to expect some disaster days).

2. Sold one small item and one large item on ebay.

3. Starting my transition from all online sales to trying a local antique mall. So far, it’s gotten some piles OUT of the house. The $ pile awaits!

4. DS needed underwear – he’s growing like a weed. I’m learning to take advantage of Target pick up. I can place an order for ONLY what I need and I just saw a sign that they’re allowing returns to be done from my car as well. Anyway, it makes a quick stop for the necessities and I’m not browsing.

5. Found a copy of a book I loved as a kid on thrift books and realized I had a free book credit. Ended up paying $1.45 for shipping, and I’m excited to see it again.


Katy February 20, 2024 at 10:39 pm

Hooray for eBay sales, both big and small!


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