Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 25, 2024 · 98 comments

  1. My husband’s friend gave him four last minute tickets to a Trail Blazers basketball game, which at this level start at $105 apiece. (Plus we got free parking!) Although our son was up for the spontaneous adventure, we did let one ticket go to waste as we weren’t able to scrounge up a fourth person.

    We resisted the delicious pricey food options at the stadium and instead hit up a British pub afterwards. My husband and I split a huge plate of fish and chips and our son had a reuben. While my husband enjoyed an IPA, (Nasty bitter drink, blegh!) my son and I drank water. Cheaper by far than the cost of a single NBA ticket!

  2. I put an hour or so of research into whether the recent $488 screen replacement on my 2022 Apple Macbook was covered under our credit card’s extended warranty coverage. I looked through our statements from that month for our airline credit card as well as our credit union one, (which barely gets used) and couldn’t find a record of the transaction. It turns out my husband used his Apple Card, which ironically does not provide extended warranty coverage, even for Apple products.

    How is this frugal? It’s this attention to finicky finances that keeps us financially above water and often yields the best rewards. It didn’t pay off this time, but now I know to make sure all future electronic purchases are made on the airline credit card as they actually double the manufacturer’s warranty!

  3. My mother treated me to a one woman play about Eleanor Roosevelt, which was fascinating. I’d never given a moment’s thought to the woman, so it was all new information to me. However, the 105 minute production was without an intermission and had church pews as seating, so my back is sore as f— today.

    I guess that’s the price of infotainment.

  4. • I spent an hour or so prepping food this afternoon to use up some bits and bobs of random fridge food. I made veggie fried rice, red lentil soup and then peeled and rough cut carrots to ready them for roasting. I love roasted carrots, but my energy level seriously lags by dinner time.
    • I submitted an invoice for some reimbursable expenses.
    • I ran a loop of grocery errands, buying nothing more than what was on my list. Gluten-free soy sauce at H Mart, 39¢/lb bananas at Safeway and a pair of raspberry Hamantaschen from New Seasons.
    • I needed to switch up this summer’s flight to NYC and was able to do so without paying any extra. I’d paid with airline points and was actually refunded 1000 back into my account.
    • I went to Trader Joe’s with my son and saw for myself that their infamous 19¢ bananas indeed increased in price to 23¢. A sad moment for certain. I thought they were like Costco’s $1.50 hotdog deal — a loss leader and a gift to their customers. Perhaps it’s a sign time to take a break from Trader Joe’s and their union busting practices.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

Marybeth from NY March 25, 2024 at 5:15 am

1. We took my son out to a Japanese restaurant for lunch for his birthday. Hubby and my son drank the free tea and I drank water. It is my son’s favorite restaurant. The server is a kitty robot.
2. After lunch we went to our house. My husband helped my son put his 2023 IRA contributions into funds. My son is still learning about stocks and such.
3. My neighbor gave me a cabbage that she had leftover from St Patrick’s Day. I made a huge bowl of coleslaw and brought her over a container.
4. Hubby finished the remodel of his closet and it came out amazing. While refilling it he tossed some stuff. I went through it all and have a donate bag for the church. A few items were too far gone and got their buttons cut off and became rags.
5. I made banana chip muffins from bananas in the freezer.
6. Hubby always has coffee at work. He usually has a soda at some point too. He keeps Peanut Butter in his office because their is always bread and/or bagels. He keeps canned tuna their too and a few cans of soups for when he gets stuck late.


BettafromdaVille March 25, 2024 at 11:27 am

A kitty robot??!! You definitely need to give us more information.


Marybeth from NY March 25, 2024 at 1:17 pm

It is s a 2 shelved rolling robot with the face a kitty cat. It talks and everything. It is programmed which table to go to and you take your food off it. You then hit a button that you are done. It tells you to enjoy your meal and it heads back to the kitchen. It is really cute. I love seeing peoples reactions to it.


Marybeth from NY March 25, 2024 at 1:20 pm
Katy March 25, 2024 at 1:19 pm

Okay, now I want a robot kitty to serve all my meals! And your husband is so smart to keep food at work to pair with the free bread items!


Selena March 25, 2024 at 7:16 pm

I agree with keeping “pair able” food at work. Robot kitty, not so much. Treated younger kiddo to lunch this weekend – we’ll likely never frequent the place again. Kiosk ordering which is not easy unless you know all the vernacular for their food AND don’t get me started on paying cash.
I go out for a sit down meal, I am more than happy to generously tip a human server. Robot kitty likely is not a good conversationalist.


MB in MN March 25, 2024 at 5:38 am

1. My husband gets a shot in his eyeball every 6 weeks (I wince just typing that). A stronger shot is now needed that costs considerably more. Through the recommendation of his doctor, he contacted the Good Days Foundation and will be receiving up to $4,200 of annual assistance from them. I thought for sure we wouldn’t qualify but we did. Check out – a national non-profit that provides financial assistance to patients diagnosed with chronic or life-altering disease.

2. Used an old razor that I had saved to de-pill a sweater.

3. Went to my county’s monthly fix-it clinic where they sewed some items that I could not do on my own sewing machine.

4. Ordered a salad at a restaurant and had enough leftovers for two more meals.

5. Made two more loaves of homemade bread and got some unwanted adventure. When I used the microwave to melt the butter, it exploded (the butter, not the microwave) and butter was dripping everywhere. I thought of all of you when I took a rubber spatula to rescue as much as I could. My helpful dog positioned herself under the open microwave door where the butter was dripping onto the floor. Then, after I used the stand mixer to knead the bread, I couldn’t get the bowl off the stand. Eventually I ran very hot water and added it to the bowl to expand (or contract?), which allowed me to eventually twist the bowl off.


Ava March 25, 2024 at 7:21 am

MB in MN
My husband gets the same treatment and also switched to a different medication. He just got a letter from Good Days. We are looking forward to seeing how it works.


Lindsey March 25, 2024 at 10:18 am

Thanks for the info, as my husband also gets the shot in the eye. He keeps telling me it does not hurt…


Katy March 25, 2024 at 1:17 pm

Such a helpful canine, lucky you!


Bee March 25, 2024 at 2:09 pm

Thank you for the information about this wonderful organization. I did not know it existed. Although I am fortunate not to need help at this time, I will keep this in mind if a need should ever arise.
It reminds me a bit of the work the Minnesota millionaire Percy Ross did many years ago. Many small gifts that change the course of an individual’s life.


Selena March 25, 2024 at 7:18 pm

Thanks from me too – I will pass along the information to a co-worker whose spouse has a life threatening disease.


Susan March 26, 2024 at 1:48 am

Very familiar with exploding butter. Now I cut the butter into smaller pieces and use the defrost setting on my microwave which is level 3. No more explosions/messes.


MB in MN March 26, 2024 at 9:26 am

Great solution. I didn’t cut mine and I put it in a too-small container. Lesson learned!


Vickey March 28, 2024 at 6:30 pm

I am very sorry your husband has to go through that, but glad for the support you’ve found.

This >>my county’s monthly fix-it clinic<< makes me happy just knowing such a thing exists. Why, it’s enough to give one hope!


A. Marie March 25, 2024 at 5:49 am

FFT, Mostly Books Edition:

(1) First, a sad note: The wife of the former neighbor couple that some current neighbors and I visited last Thursday (see my #3 in the most recent FTFT) emailed late Sunday afternoon to let us know that her husband died Saturday, suddenly but painlessly. He was 93 and had lived a very full life–but I’m sad for his wife and sad at the loss of a dear old friend. However, my fellow visitors and I are now **very** thankful that we visited when we did. Lack of regrets = 100% frugal.

(2) The rest of this FFT is about books, which my late friend would have appreciated, as he was the most complete bibliophile I’ve ever known–although my tastes are much less scholarly than his. I did attend the “vintage” book sale at the FFL as planned, and was able to present the lovely Barbara with her very own copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette, also as described in the most recent FTFT. She says she feels she’s now an official member of the frugalista club!

(3) Barbara, in turn, presented me with two Jane Austen-related books–one of which is a completion of JA’s unfinished work The Watsons by an eminent British writer, and both of which I’m delighted to have. Thank you, Barbara!

(4) Another purchase was the 50th anniversary edition of Peg Bracken’s The I Hate to Cook Book. I’ve always been sort of surprised that my mother didn’t own this one, as she was another ’60s wife who hated to cook. At first glance, Bracken’s recipes don’t look like much of an improvement on my mother’s cuisine, but I’ll reserve judgment till I’ve gotten further into it.

(5) And a real highlight was a 1948 reprint of an 1879 cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia. Endorsements on the front flyleaf from “Mrs. President Rutherford B. Hayes” (hey, who wouldn’t want a plug from Lemonade Lucy?) and “Mrs. Governor George B. McClellan” (the wife of the unsuccessful Union general who went on to become a not terribly successful governor of NJ). But I happened to open the book at p. 151, where–I kid you not–there is a recipe for “Brain Croquettes.” My laugh may have stopped traffic on the nearby state highway. (I’m well aware that cooks of that era used every part of an animal, but this is the furthest I’ve seen that concept taken!)


A. Marie March 25, 2024 at 5:54 am

P.S. to preceding: “Another purchase…” in my #4 is a slight misstatement (Barbara’s two books were gifts). I had a #4 before that about the other book I bought (a Sherlock Holmes “encyclopedia” for JASNA BFF, who’s a Sherlockian), but cut that item when I realized I had two #4’s. And, incidentally, my total purchases came to $15, which I regard as money excellently spent.


Lindsey March 25, 2024 at 10:22 am

I am sorry about your friend’s passing. I am so very thankful that my grandmother did not come upon that cookbook, as I am certain that at some point we would have been served Brain Croquettes after an appetizer of headcheese.


Selena March 25, 2024 at 7:21 pm

LOL re: head cheese. I was reading the “x number of years ago” in a small town paper where a local grocery store advertised they now carry head cheese. How things have changed in 90 years…


Leslie March 25, 2024 at 11:52 am

As President Lincoln said of McClellan, “he has a bad case of the slows”.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 1:16 pm

It’s funny that you mention Peg Bracken as Margie Boulé, the actress who played Eleanor Roosevelt lived in Bracken’s old house here in Portland!

I’m so sorry about your friend, but it sounds like he lived a good long life.


Mary Ann March 25, 2024 at 1:41 pm

Thanks for mentioning The Watsons. I just put it on hold at the library. I am a huge Jane Austen fan.


Bee March 25, 2024 at 2:22 pm

I’m sorry about the loss of your friend, A. Marie. I am happy that we are able to celebrate his life with this discussion about the love of books.
I have never run across the I Hate to Cook Book. I find cook books fascinating. They are almost anthropological. You can tell so much about a town or city by thumbing through the local Junior League or church cookbook.


Ecoteri March 25, 2024 at 3:25 pm

A. Marie, I am sorry about the loss of your friend, and I really am FEELING that gratitude for you and your current neighbours who ‘heard that little voice’ and went to visit last week. I visited a friend one summer after several years of not seeing her, and she died not a month later (of a very rapid cancer that hadn’t even been detected when I visited). Although I sobbed when I heard she was gone, and still tear up thinking of how much she meant to me, I am full of gratitude that I did get some visits in with her before we knew what was going on. It meant for gentle joyful time together, not that shocked-and-trying-to-hold-it-together time that it could have been


Selena March 25, 2024 at 7:23 pm

Too many don’t realize that far too often, there are no do-overs. Even sadder is that some just don’t care.


Fru-gal Lisa March 25, 2024 at 6:03 am

It’s a rainy Monday and the frugality of rain means I do not have to water my yard. (Does that count?)
1. “Shopped” my closet and found a good skirt to go with the springtime jacket I bought from the “GW Boutique” (aka Goodwill thrift store) for Easter Sunday next week. For the last several years I either wear something I already have and just change it up a bit, or get a secondhand garment from a thrift store or consignment store, for my Easter attire. It’s cheap, it’s frugal and I enjoy doing this a whole lot more than shelling out lots of money for something from a dept. store.
2. Our area will be in the “path of totality” for the upcoming solar eclipse. The merchants are milking this for all it’s worth, it’s supposed to be a big deal, and predictions are we’ll have a crowd of eclipse viewers come into town. It’ll be a school holiday. So I let the manager at my retail store PT job know I’ll be happy to work that day.
3. Instead of buying a special T-shirt for Eclipse Day, I scrounged around in my closet. Found an old t-shirt from a Moody Blues concert that’ll work. It has an outer space scene on it; I figured that’s close enough. Also bought a pair of eclipse viewing glasses for 99 cents just in case I don’t get scheduled to work that shift.
4. Was gifted some free coupons to use at a burger joint here in town. No purchase necessary if you get the items listed on each coupon. Got myself a kiddie burger meal and two breakfast wraps, all at different times. That’s 3 meals and counting…I still have some more coupons. Love getting free meals; I just go through the drive-thru and take it home; I have drinks at home so I don’t buy them a the burger joint.
5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, but I bought another coffeemaker just like the one I had that quit working, at the aforementioned Goodwill store. It was $4.99 but I had a 20%off coupon. That took almost a dollar off the price. I had earlier gotten a Keurig at the same store for $7.14 (thanks to another 20% discount coupon) but it doesn’t produce enough coffee to fill up my large (non-Stanley) commuter cup, just regular coffee mugs, unless I make coffee 4 time in a row– that takes too long in the morning. Oh, and I got another large commuter cup at another thrift store for $2, as opposed to the $14 or higher price they usually charge at regular stores. It holds 2-3 cups, just perfect for my 4-cup coffeemaker. Oh, and since I got the same model coffeemaker as before, I now have two glass coffeepots that’ll fit it. Woo-hoo!


Lindsey G March 25, 2024 at 8:36 am

Lisa – I wonder if you live near my hometown in Texas, which is very much boasting their 4 mins and 23 seconds of totality. It’s a big deal for the small town near Dallas. My dad still lives there and reports that the town is anticipating quite an influx of people.


Fru-gal Lisa March 25, 2024 at 8:39 am

I’m in McLennan County, midway between DFW and Austin; you know the city. They’re going to have a big to-do at McLane Stadium and other places.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 1:10 pm

Rain absolutely counts!

And your commitment to coffee is very impressive. Have fun with the eclipse!


Bee March 25, 2024 at 2:27 pm

A Pink Floyd t-shirt would also work. Cosmic concerts were a thing when I was a teenager. The music from The Dark Side of the Moon was a favorite at these events.


Ecoteri March 25, 2024 at 3:35 pm

I am jealous about your eclipse pathway. Last one that came close, here, my daughter had booked her Drivers license exam (very very hard to get bookings at that time – we had booked it months in advance.). We had a conversation and decided that the license was more important. I waited while she did the exam, and went outside with the special viewing stuff as other people at the MVB were also hanging around and were sharing – and I wasn’t really impressed (maybe it was incomplete here? can’t remember) … anyway, the license has served her well, so in our case it was a good choice.
Your coffee exploits are delightful (and the big mugs rock – I have a 16 oz mug, that keeps coffee hot for hours..). Glad you found another machine. With all you have spent on used machines and used mugs, you are still WAY ahead of the cost of a new machine.


Fru-gal Lisa March 26, 2024 at 6:08 am

I am a great believer in buying secondhand — if someone is crazy enough to discard a perfectly good _______(fill in the blank with the product name), I’m crazy enough to buy it cheap or pick it up from the curb. There is just no way in the world I’m going to pay $45 for a Stanley Cup, or $14 or more for other brands.


Ruby March 25, 2024 at 6:11 am

A. Marie, brain croquettes! AHHH! But the Peg Bracken book is good and fun.

I took two matching old throw quilts and machine sewed them together to make a throw for the daybed in DH’s home office.

Took our adult son shopping for shoes at a clearance store and found him two pairs and a pair of shorts. He has sensory issues due to being on the autistic spectrum and is hard to shop for. I looked up the shorts online and found the same item on eBay at a 30% discount. Bought four more pairs, so he’s set for work this summer.

Used the last big, juicy lemon from Trader Joe’s to make a lemon wacky cake inspired by Katy’s post.

As part of hand therapy for arthritis, I have been handwashing some dishes every day. The hot water soak helps with pain and stiffness. It also gives me the opportunity to shine up the pots with Barkeeper’s Friend.

Sewed up yet more puppy-gnawed dog toys.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 1:07 pm

My daughter used to play something something we called “sinky” when she was a preschooler. Basically we just filled the bathroom sink with bubbly warm water and put a few plastic dinosaurs in the water. The warmth was almost therapeutic and she absolutely loved it. Perhaps add a few dinosaurs to your dishwashing routine? You know . . . for your hand therapy?


Ruby March 25, 2024 at 2:35 pm

It would be fun to put my son’s collection of toy rubber duscks in there. 😀 I borrowed s couple of jingle ball toys from the cat for an exercise that requires moving small balls around in my palm with just the thumb. Kitty is rather puzzled as to why I won’t throw them for her.


Jill A March 25, 2024 at 6:32 am

1. I spent most of last week in Cleveland with all of my daughters. We stayed at my oldest daughters home there. So no money was spent on accommodations. Which is helpful since we ate our way across town.
2. We went to a free immersive art installation at the library, wandered through beautiful historical buildings downtown, one building was a bank turned into grocery store that was so beautiful and had self service wine tasting.
3. We also wandered through some very cool architectural salvage stores. My daughter and her husband are selling their townhouse and turning the basement of a four-plex building they own into an apartment for themselves so they can live mortgage free. They are using a lot of salvage building materials. It’s going to be fun to see the finished product.
4. I picked up a very nice carry-on suitcase for my daughter’s fiance at an estate sale. I paid $10 and it retails for $275. It looks almost new and even has the battery bank in it to charge your electronics. I spent some time figuring out the combination to the tsa lock. It took a while but by trying each number methodically I was able to figure it out. I contacted the company to see if they could help me reset it but since I bought it from a third party they would not. The best part is he really needs one for their honeymoon.
5. I stopped into Meijer’s super sale and picked up some loss leaders which were mostly veggies and fruit which is what I needed after being out of town.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 1:03 pm

Okay, your daughter sounds very cool! As does that suitcase!


Liz B. March 26, 2024 at 4:48 am

@Jill A,
My family and I just adore Cleveland. We’ve been twice, and have only done the touristy stuff (The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame each time, because we’re huge rock and roll fans, in addition to other spots), but I would love to explore the downtown building and those artictectural salvage stores. We live at the opposite end of Ohio, which is about a 5 hour drive. Cleveland rocks!


Jill A March 26, 2024 at 11:03 am

Liz B.,
I really like Cleveland too. It’s a nice city with lots to do. We visited the Arcade building which was also beautiful and the Heinen’s Grocery which is in an old bank. The ceilings in both were amazing. There’s a large chandelier in the middle of the street downtown. The architectural salvage company Rebuilders Exchange or RBX was very cool as was the other one but I don’t remember the name of it. The Habitat restore is a lot of fun also. My kids went to the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame and Art Museum which is free. The Botanical Garden is beautiful and the Rockefeller Cultural Gardens is really nice and there’s a really beautiful greenhouse there and these are free to wander. If you get a chance to go to Little Italy the Presti’s Italian Bakery is so good. My daughter’s townhouse is a short walk from there and if I lived there I would go every day. The Koko bakery is really interesting too and is a very cheap lunch. I could go on forever. It’s always a lot of fun.


Mary Ann March 25, 2024 at 6:51 am

Eleanor Roosevelt is one of my heroes. She came down from the ivory tower and walked with the people through the depression as well as supporting the grandma of frugal efforts – home ec courses at Cornell. She made Frugal a science.

Recent thoughts and frugalities.

Someone mentioned that a food pantry could be a sunk cost of resources that doesn’t pay off. I have been thinking about it this weekend. I know many people don’t have space. But if there is space, I have saved a tremendous amount by buying in bulk. The trick is a commitment to organization, restraint from impulse buys and creativity. I try to buy Non Ultra processed food so that means cooking from scratch. Shelf life can be tricky. But my focus is forced home with foods that are better for me if not as tempting. All in all, it works for me because I treat it as a game. ( More practical than Candy Crush.) Also, this month I am practicing living on my pension. I have refused to go to the store. It is amazing how long I can last when I put my mind to it without letting Hubby suffer. HEehas enjoyed the variety.

On that note: I have used up all frozen fruit except persimmons. That will start tomorrow and I am nearly done with one giant canister of nut protein canister. Three cheers smoothies.

I went to a fancy restaurant and used a four year old gift card with no OOP costs.

I cracked a bag of pecans from our trees. My American made electronic cracker shells one at a time. I filled four quart mason jars with halves while listening to a playlist of 80s music in my garage. I feel compassion for people who live on Costco pecans. There is zero resemblance to sweet, fresh pecans. A byproduct of shelling was to clean a third of my garage putting everything back.


A. Marie March 25, 2024 at 7:08 am

Mary Ann, I second your thoughts on Eleanor Roosevelt. (I didn’t know about her support of Cornell home ec, but that’s another star in her crown.) And you probably know about this, but ER survived an emotionally abusive childhood (her mother made fun of her looks and called her “Granny”; her father, TR’s brother Elliott, drank himself to death; and the grandmother who took charge of her thereafter was a horror) to do everything she did. I won’t even get into the ups and downs of her marriage to FDR.


Cheryl March 25, 2024 at 10:05 am

She was a great lady, and also did not discriminate during a time of segregation! I just read a great book (“The First Ladies”) about her long friendship with Mary McCloud Bethune!


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:58 pm

A lot of this was covered in the play.


Kara March 25, 2024 at 7:19 am

I had commented about the cost of a pantry. I agree with you that buying in bulk can save a lot of money, and I do that to the extent that I have space. I think your point is key-being organized and using the food. I also do try to be aware of how much I have invested in the food in the pantry because if I’m short on money for daily needs and have 3 years worth of beans in the pantry, perhaps I would have been better to have 18 months of beans and more cash in my wallet for a need today.


Coral Clarke March 25, 2024 at 7:59 am

Wraps are a good pantry buy if you live somewhere prone to weather emergencies! I can usually find some with “ best by” dates a good 3 months out( no refrigeration required) , and have used a forgotten pack at the nine month mark ! I normally rotate them, use and replace, save valuable freezer space, essential for many proteins


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:55 pm

Yes, I joke to my husband when he overbuys whatever, that “It’s hard to get ahead financially when all our money is tied up in __________” Examples would be milk, combs, Q-tips, etc.


Heidi Louise March 25, 2024 at 12:11 pm

I have not read but will mention Susan Wittig Albert’s book about the long relationship between reporter Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt.
(Albert has written several mystery series and several books in what she calls her “Hidden Women” books, based on her research, including from letter archives : Rose Wilder Lane, Hickok and Roosevelt, Mamie Eisenhower and Kay Summersby and Ike, Georgia O’Keefe and Maria Chabot).


Liz B. March 26, 2024 at 4:55 am

@Heidi Louise,
Those books sound fascinating. Putting them on my TBR list. Thank you!


Katy March 25, 2024 at 1:01 pm

I’m impressed that you held onto and were able to locate a four year old gift card!

I too find great satisfaction in assembling meals from what’s on hand and no one suffers as I’ve become a pretty good cook.


Christine March 25, 2024 at 7:12 am

1. We took our oldest granddaughter out for lunch for her birthday. She chose Mexacali, a chain Mexican food restaurant which is actually very good. Granddaughter and I had water (DH imbibed with one of their Margaritas…no worries…I was driving) and no one had dessert, even the birthday girl. I took half of my veggie burrito home and had it the next day for lunch. The frugal fail was I misplaced the BOGO half off a meal coupon. Still worth it as we were able to spend a wonderful couple of hours with our busy now 23-year-old granddaughter.
2. I’m reading a book I picked up at a used book store for the Massachusetts Reading Challenge. Every month the genre changes. March’s challenge was to read a book whose protagonist has a different culture or lifestyle from you. I’m almost finished with J. M. Coetzee’s Age of Iron, a book set in apartheid South Africa. How have I not read this author’s work before?! Phenomenal, especially the protagonist’s speech to Mr. Verceiul, a homeless man who has become more like a friend to her.
3. I’m still working the free jigsaw puzzle given to me by a friend. Lots of hours of free entertainment.
4. DH and I hiked on wooded trails yesterday to a favorite place of ours. A clear, crystal stream has replaced an old farm road fed by a spring in the hillside. Nearby is a well-worn rudimentary marker with CT (Connecticut) and RI (Rhode Island) carved into it denoting the two state’s border. A few hundred feet to the south and up a hill is the tri-state marker denoting where Massachusetts joins up with them. The best part of the day was seeing our first Skunk Cabbage poking up and beginning to unfurl through the wet soil.
5. Batching errands, cooking at home, walking for exercise, watching “Jack and Alice” on PBS…good so far…also Henry Louis Gates on Finding Your Roots…fascinating…In addition to Age of Iron reading Braiding Sweet Grass for my book club here in town at the Indy bookstore. Happy Monday everyone!


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:57 pm

Thanks for the book suggestion!

Bummer about the misplaced coupon, but hooray for time spent with loved ones and leftover burritos!


Kathy March 26, 2024 at 1:24 pm

Thanks for book tip, I really enjoy nature books and science, intriguing title braiding sweetgrass. Book sounds really interesting. Enjoy


Kara March 25, 2024 at 7:25 am

1. Did a mystery shop at a gluten free bakery! Free GF cupcakes, and $25 payment-yes please!
2. Pulled beans and rice out of the freezer for my husband’s lunch at work. He always makes his own lunch but he arrived back from England last night at 11pm and was heading out to work at 7am this morning (teacher). So I thought I’d help him out with lunch.
3. Good days for drying clothes outside, an activity I love and is deeply frugal.
4. Sewed a shirt for my grandson. The pattern was easy and I can see making a lot more of them. Bonus is that the pattern has a huge range of sizes, so this will go for a long time.
5. While my husband was away I kept the thermostat set between 58 (day) and 63 (evening) degrees. It didn’t kick on very much. Made me happy.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:53 pm

I too keep the temperature low when it’s just me at the house. I do have an electric heating pad that I set on my lap if I’m couch potato-ing.


Denise March 25, 2024 at 10:58 pm

A few years ago, bought myself an electric heated throw blanket. Heating wasn’t used till late November! My sister then bought me (as a “silly” Christmas present), a heated foot warmer. Genius idea. I usually have cold feet and when I stop for a snack, a meal or just a sit-down, I use it. My birthday is Christmas Day so I asked my adult nephews to club together for birthday and Christmas presents and buy me a dual control heated underblanket for my bed. Different temperatures on each side (including one on, one off, timers and heat settings). Switch it on when I walk into the bedroom. Hot five minutes later. Bliss and saves heating too. If it’s cold enough to wake me in the night, just set it for one or three hours, soon go back to sleep. Highly recommended!


Ava March 25, 2024 at 7:41 am

1. I found apples reduced to .99 a bag. I was able to make 11 pints of applesauce for the freezer for $5.
2. I planted lettuce, radishes and cucumbers . The seeds were free from the library. I planted kale last fall and thought I had planted too late, but it is coming up now.
3. I edged the garden box with upright branches close together in an attempt to keep the giant mutant terrier out. I hope it will work for him. It is working pretty well to keep me out.
4. We had our handyman paint the bathroom and put up new light fixtures. The painting was frugal because his rates are very reasonable, he did it in one day and it was cheaper (and less painful) than my going to physical therapy for weeks after. I bought a new shower curtain and rug but I put the old shower curtain in the other bathroom where it is much more attractive and a better color match than what was there before. I switched trash cans and soap dispensers from one bathroom to the other for a better look.
5. I pulled a heavy glass pitcher from the recycle bins. It is in perfect condition. I will list it for sale eventually.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:51 pm

I love how you used what you had for your bathroom refresh! And that is a screaming good deal on apples!


MEM March 25, 2024 at 8:37 am

1. This past weekend was my husband’s 77th birthday. He and I do not exchange gifts, mostly because I prefer experiences to things and he says my “standards are too high”. He is a WWII buff and a Veteran (USMC). I almost never receive anything from our Buy Nothing group as there are four resellers who claim nearly everything. Well last week someone was giving away some like-new books on WWII. A person had been tagged on the listing so I asked to please be considered as back-up. The “gifter” messaged me the next day and we picked up the four books. That was my gift to DH.
2. Frugal Fail – DH, DS29 and I are all sick with a virus that was circulating in DS Day Program. We tested negative for COVID but we are all pretty miserable. We were going to take DH out for his birthday dinner but decided it should wait until we are well. Instead I ordered dinner from Shake Shack in the next town over. They don’t deliver so DD and her BF picked up the food. It arrived cold and underwhelming even though the location is about five miles from us. It’s a one and done for me. I did remove the bacon from my burger and saved it to sprinkle on the kibble of my three rescued chihuahua-mixes. Should last a few days and wow, do my babies get excited!
3. I started using the “speed wash” cycle on my washing machine – only 15 minutes – and have to remind DH that we aren’t coal miners. Kind of an inside joke as I am originally from Pittsburgh and have coal miners and steel workers in my family tree.
4. DD27 lives next do0r and has her own recycling barrel – these things are huge – over four feet tall. She doesn’t cash in her returnables so I pick out the ones I can reach while being vertically-challenged with arms like a T-Rex. I actually thought of A. Marie a few times as she works much harder for hers.
5. Continue to try and live this year on what will be our budget when I retire at the end of 2024. Taxachusetts is so expensive but at least we have a lot of things to do within reasonable driving distances.


A. Marie March 25, 2024 at 8:54 am

MEM, thank you for the shout-out in your #4, and I hope you all feel better soon. And it’s probably about time I came clean and admit that I too scarf returnables out of recycling bins. (There’s a guy on the next street over who has put so many returnables in his bins, I sometimes feel I should write him a check.)


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:49 pm

We should all be as industrious as A. Marie with her can collecting!

I make almost the same joke about us not being “ditch diggers,” when it comes to how much laundry detergent I use with each load. My dad is from Pittsburgh, (Squirrel Hill) so I appreciate any and all Pittsburgh references.


MEM March 25, 2024 at 1:35 pm

Oh neat! I received my BA from Pitt so I’m familiar with the Oakland-Squirrel Hill area. Isn’t Jeff Goldblum from Squirrel Hill? I want to say that he is…


Karin March 25, 2024 at 3:22 pm

Current Pittsburgher here. Jeff Goldblum is from West Homestead, other side of the Mon River.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 3:23 pm

I just looked it up and it said that he grew up in the suburb of West Homestead.


Bee March 25, 2024 at 9:11 am

Trader Joe’s has indeed increased the cost of bananas. I paid $0.23 apiece today. Since bananas are primarily grown in Central America and imported into the United States, I figured it would eventually happen. Bananas are heavy and bulky to ship. I imagine that keeping temperatures low during shipment to prevent ripening can also be problematic. Of course, there has been increased pressure on many fruit suppliers recently. Disease, drought, and temperature changes have resulted in decreased yields of some fruits. Since fruit is a commodity, I suspect that we will see some additional price increases in this food category this year.

DH and I went to visit our son for his birthday. He is a graduate student and studies at a University which is a day’s drive away. These trips are never inexpensive, but family time is important. Our efforts to keep expenses in line include these FFT:
* We used our Hilton Honors points to secure a hotel room free of charge for 3 nights. Hilton has a generous loyalty rewards program. Since my husband travels for business, we have been able to enjoy many free nights over the years.
* We enjoyed our free breakfast and coffee each morning along with warm chocolate chip cookies and herb tea at night. DH had the cookies. I had the tea.
* My son, husband, and I took a hike on a gray, misty day to a dramatic waterfall in a National Forest. My son loves to hike, and he graciously put up with the slow pace of his “old” parents. Hiking has always been one of our favorite no-cost, low cost activities.
* I borrowed an audiobook using my library’s Libby App for the trip. The 8-hour drive went quickly as we listen to the moody thriller, The Sanatorium. This was one of those books that had the potential to be great, but was just bit too wordy. But if you are a fan of mystery writers such as Ann Cleeves or Ruth Ware, you may enjoy this story as it is filled with twists and turns.
* After a day bumming around together, we had a birthday party for DS back at the hotel. The hotel does not serve lunch or dinner so they allowed us to use the breakfast area. We had take-out pizza, salad, and cupcakes. We sang Happy Birthday, opened silly presents, and hung out together. Our daughter who lives 3 hours away also drove over to celebrate. A nice time was had by all.
Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity.


Edie March 25, 2024 at 11:31 am

Thank you for pointing out the situation with TJ bananas price increase. I think we need to keep in mind what fruit pickers are actually paid to keep prices so very low, and all of the inputs that go into bringing tropical fruit to the tables in the Global North. I just picked up strawberries that were marked down to 2 quarts for a dollar, and I bought them and processed them knowing that each berry was picked by hand.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:45 pm

That sounds like a perfectly lovely trip, what a lucky son!

I was always aware that 19¢/banana wasn’t covering the true cost of fruit, but I thought it was a loss leader to get me in the store for their pricier items.


Bee March 25, 2024 at 2:44 pm

Where I live TJ’s bananas still qualify for a loss leader at .23 each. Most bananas weigh between 6 -8 ounces each. That makes TJ’s bananas about .46 – .58 a pound depending on size. The cheapest that I’ve found them at other stores is .89 a pound which is approximately .36 – .46 per banana. ( I know that I’m a total nerd). We just don’t have the grocery store selection that you have in Portland.

I think they tried to go with smaller bananas before they finally reducing the price. Banana Shrinkfation.


Vickey March 28, 2024 at 7:25 pm

Bee, I celebrate your thrifty nerdom ! (Said the woman who did a kitchen experiment today to gauge if Store A’s tofu really was as much denser as Store B’s tofu as Thrifty Friend claimed. “Nancy Drew and the Case of the Competing Tofus.”)


Blue Gate Farmgirl March 25, 2024 at 9:19 am

Oh, I haven’t been to a Blazer’s game in decades! fun!
An elderly lady that I’ve adopted has a fresh food subscription and each week she receives 2 double walled cardboard boxes lined with 1 inch denim insulation wrapped in silver mylar. I take her recyclables to the county depot and have kept the insulation to reuse it as wall insulation for my 20×40 shop/office. I am finishing off the walls with salvaged carsiding. The boxes are being used for my canned goods as they qt jars fit perfectly in them and stack nicely on the larder’s shelves.
I bought a $20 raffle ticket and received a free unit of barkdust! Woo Hoo!
Frugal Fail: I bought a qt of a local dairy’s natural coffee creamer in hazelnut. I was not sure I would like the nut flavor…um, no. It tasted like wet dog and gym socks, bleh. I asked the neighbors and one said she’d try it. Yay.
Same neighbor gave me 300 tulip bulbs that she never planted. I planted them in my north facing raised bed that gets shade in the afternoon. I hope to one day have thousands of tulips lining the driveways, gardens and backyard like my dad once did (a combination of my deceased brother’s penchant for spraying as well as 40 wild turkeys who love tulip bulbs killed off all of them in just a few years). The turkeys got rehomed by the folks at Fish & Wildlife and I have been working on growing the tulips for the last few years.
I trimmed the apple trees and had about 1 cord of larger limb wood that I placed on a pallet and listed it for sale and a local pub bought it for my listed price and he gave me a gift card for $50. I will give him all of my wood from now, barter style. He also wants my prune wood that has not been cut up yet as the tree fell over in a winter storm and I haven’t started cutting it up yet.


MB in MN March 25, 2024 at 10:06 am

Blue Gate Farmgirl, your repurposing of insulation is brilliant! I also love the barter arrangement with the local pub.


texasilver March 25, 2024 at 6:48 pm

Could you please tell me what “carsiding” is?


Denise March 25, 2024 at 11:07 pm

It’s tongue and groove planks of wood. (I had to Google it too – English – never heard of it!)


Selena March 26, 2024 at 6:13 am

Unfinished tongue and groove wood. Think sheet of non-smooth plywood and costs (usually) considerable less.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:42 pm

I love that the pub bought your apple wood and gave you a gift card!

And I had to laugh at the “woo-hoo” at winning a unit of bark dust, you are a practical woman! Love it!


Bee March 25, 2024 at 2:47 pm

This is a super creative list.


Ecoteri March 26, 2024 at 1:42 am

@Farmgate Blue Girl (sorry, I have somehow mixed up your name in my head….) I do love the creative adventures you are having. using the insulation in your shop is brilliant. wonder if you have a Buy Nothing group locally – you could list there and ask if anyone else has insulated boxes to spare.


Jill A March 26, 2024 at 4:08 am

I love the barter with the pub owner. I wish this kind of thing happened more often.


Michele March 25, 2024 at 9:37 am

1. We had a get together for my MIL’s Birthday last eve with her visiting brother and a drop in by my son and DIL. We had spaghetti, salad, and bread and our guests brought an apple pie and chocolate chip cookies. We really had a nice time to visit and cheaper than a restaurant. I appreciate my young son always being game to “make an appearance” even though he is a new homeowner, new husband, and working full time.
2. Packed up 4 days of breakfasts, snacks, drinks and lunches for my work week. Makes it easier to resist the fast food calling my name.
3. Gave my MIL a soft side cooler and flashlight that she requested. Cheaper and more meaningful than the gift card I would have given her.
4. Called about a travel check I had not received and was told that they had received it and it was “in the works”. Like Katy, it’s the attention to “finicky finances” that will allow me to retire someday.
5. Printed the “wacky” cake recipe for those instances when I don’t want to make a whole brownie mix!


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:39 pm

Finicky finance twins!


BettafromdaVille March 25, 2024 at 10:33 am

Pre-5: 1. For those interested in E.R.: there is a great chapter in Laura Shapiro’s great book: _What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories_ (actually, all of the chapter are fascinating !). AND, perhaps, the next time you visit your sister in New York, you can take the train up to Poughkeepsie, and visit Val-Kill, Eleanor’s house, which is also remarkable. It is where she hosted both JFK and Krushev after her husband’s death (okay, FDR’s presidential library, which is nearby, is also pretty interesting 🙂 ).

1. Went out to brunch with BFF. Of course, I found a mystery shop so it was free.
2. I made $1.16 profit buying 2 jars of Hellman’s mayo.
3. I got 2 packages of pate, for free, using $5 off coupon from FlashFoods and $3 that I had in my referral account
4. 3 yellow peppers from “dented” vegetable rack.
5. Free birthday sandwich at McDonald’s for my looong commute home. And I ordered a free large seltzer to go with it.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:38 pm

I do love a house tour! You are so creative and clever with your “frugal things,” it’s always so impressive!


A. Marie March 25, 2024 at 2:03 pm

Betta, I’ve visited the FDR home and library in Hyde Park, but I confess I didn’t make it down to Val-Kill. Good for you. (As you know but others may not, ER never felt at home at the “big house” in Hyde Park because FDR’s mother ruled the roost there, so she created her own space at Val-Kill.)


BettafromdaVille March 25, 2024 at 6:56 pm

My *bookclub* (okay, we’ve been a group of friends that started as a book club some 30 years ago, that still meet up despite living in 3 states) went to Val-Kill several years ago. And, if you are every back in the area, let me know and I’ll give you a tour of a close college where I work – that you’ll enjoy IF you like food!


Ashley Bananas March 25, 2024 at 10:52 am

1. This past week I used proceeds from items sold at the yard sale for groceries and for us to go out to eat Saturday. We went to a local hibachi place. My son had never been. He literally cleared his plate. I will have left overs. It was nice to go out to eat as we have been doing it very infrequently.
2. On Sunday my son and I went out to see the new Ghostbusters movie together. I had two ticket stubs from Costco/Regal I bought in 2020. They had no expiration date and were still good. We loved the movie, and ended up spending about $20 on popcorn and drinks. It was a good less expensive date.
3. I have been slowly going through our MRE’s from hurricane Ian. I have four packages left in the pantry, then 4 boxes left in the laundry room. I am considering giving away some of the laundry room boxes…it’s nice to have the stockpile, but I dont need to be a food hoarder either.
4. I have not done Door Dash in a while and have found that I only fill my gas tank up once a week or less when not Dashing. I am trying to find pet sitting and other odd jobs for extra income without all the driving. I may consider Door Dashing again, but with gas prices, I am waiting a bit to see if they come down.
5. I am working on thinning out my laundry room and other areas of my house. I curb alerted several things that didn’t sell in yard sale, or I just really didn’t want to keep looking at. I did a post in ye old neighborhood Facebook group and let them go. I am going through things in sections. This week it will be candle making supplies. Then onto the Christmas stuff in the laundry room we never look at. My goal is to make the laundry room a work out or art space. Right now it is just storage and I’m ready to make it function better for us.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:36 pm

Hooray for non-expiring coupons. It sounds the perfect mother-son date!


Denise March 25, 2024 at 11:15 pm

Yayy for your coupons. Booooo for me losing the £125 of vouchers £75 a birthday gift, £50 from credit card usage). So, so irked about it. I really wanted a cordless handheld vacuum to help keep the carpet around the fireplace/wood burning stove clean. Won’t spend cash but I would have spent the vouchers as a treat.


T March 26, 2024 at 7:20 pm

Ashley Bananas , I knew someone who regularly found jobs on the app Rover.
So much so that she would turn off for weekends she was not able to work.

She took jobs staying in homes and looking after multiple pets. She also had jobs going to the homes to walk and feed animals. Sometimes the owners needed someone to just come in during the day.

She also found jobs like this on FB for her neighbourhood. On Rover in large cities you may have a hard time getting into the pet sitting market( many people do this work as a full time job). If so have your friends who know you write recommendations about your pet handling skills as your references. Persons interested in hiring her would phone her great references and she frequently stayed with animals as many pet parents don’t like boarding the animals out.

If you know any vets in your area they frequently have ads on their bulletin boards for individuals who would pet sit.


Edie March 25, 2024 at 11:00 am

5 frugal things from my week:

1) During the warm spell of weather I met up with friends and had dinner under the spring cherry blossoms on the waterfront- we all brought good food to share and drinks! We listened to buskers and tipped them- an affordable time for all.

2) I found storage jars outside a house- the exact sizes that I have been wanting. I took them home and ran them through the dishwasher on the sanitize setting.

3) I found a place out in east Portland that sells seconds of fruit and veg for a 1 dollar or 2 for a dollar. I bought six quart boxes of strawberries for $3 and turned half into low sugar jam and half into frozen berries for smoothies and baking with rhubarb.

4) I got out there using my HC transit card and my bike!

5) I received quotes for power washing & caulking the siding for my house- and will just do myself by renting a powerwash and ladder.


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:34 pm

Great score on the strawberries!


Mand01 March 25, 2024 at 11:33 am

1. Made a big batch of veggie stock from saved peelings in the freezer. Then put the stock back in the freezer and the peelings in the compost. My favourite trick in circular economy reuse and recycle.
2. Still picking zucchini, basil, tomatoes and peppers from our garden, but pulled up a bunch of old plants over the weekend to make space for autumn planting. Sowed seeds for the winter garden in the greenhouse.
3. Made a vegetable soup last night from the vegetable stock and the zucchini from the garden, plus some potatoes, carrots and some broccoli stalks.
4. All Easter gifts for children and family were purchased half price.
5. Listening to free audiobooks on the Libby app – currently working the Outlander series. 33 hours each! That’s a lot of free entertainment!


Katy March 25, 2024 at 12:32 pm

I read the first Outlander book, but the sadism was too much for me.


Mary Ann March 25, 2024 at 1:55 pm

Totall agree. it ruined an otherwise compelling story.


MEM March 25, 2024 at 1:57 pm

Same. I didn’t bother to finish it.


texasilver March 25, 2024 at 7:03 pm

The AC in the condo in FL stopped cooling in Nov of ’23. A part was ordered that still has not arrived. Hubby called the AC company & gave them a tongue lashing, w/ no results. He then called the company who made the AC unit. He got a voucher for 250$ for his trouble. Hopefully the part will finally arrive. It is paid for under warranty, but the wait time has been awful.
My next- door neighbor in FL needs to take her car in for an engine repair due to a recall. The dealership said it would be a 60- to 90- day time frame. (I wonder if they are saying that to discourage customers from getting the repair.) My husband, a mechanic, went to talk to them w/o much result. Anyway, I told the neighbor take your car in & leave it. She can drive my car while hers languishes at the dealership. If I decide to go to FL (when the AC is fixed) then we can share the car. She works full-time & needs to get to work. No offer from dealership for a loaner car. It is an expensive repair so it will be worth it to her if she can wait it out.


Liz B. March 26, 2024 at 5:19 am

Listening to the first Outlander audiobook (many years ago) hooked me as a fan. Loved the whole series.


K March 25, 2024 at 8:48 pm

If you haven’t read first ladies, I highly recommend it!


Hawaii Planner March 26, 2024 at 6:48 am

Winning with those free Blazer tickets!
1) We’ve been using fresh mint in our salads (DH loves it) & yesterday I cut much of it back & dried it, then crushed it with a mortar & pestle. It’s now in our mint spice jar, which we use quite a lot of for a yogurt/cucumber sauce that DH makes regularly.
2) We’ve planted a bunch of seedlings, and almost all of them are sprouting. Including the “mystery” tray. We keep everything labeled, but inevitably, a few seeds get out of their labeled envelope, and this year, we decided to indulge in planting a try of mystery seeds. I am super jazzed to see what comes out.
3) Cut oregano, thyme & rosemary for a chicken dish on Sunday. You would think we are quite enthusiastic gardeners, but in reality, we just live in a climate where it’s pretty easy to grow things.
4) I’m using my “funemployment” time to work in the yard. I set a goal to fill up one of yard waste containers (not the huge rolling kind, but about 1/2 that size) daily. Lots of tree trimming, weed pulling, etc. I’m a lot cheaper than a yard service. 😉
5) I’ve been on a huge decluttering tear, and have given away a ton on Buy Nothing. I’ve also sold 3 items on eBay.


Sweta March 26, 2024 at 10:46 am

I combined Shell fuel rewards and upside to save $.31/gallon and I used my Costco credit card which will give me 4% cash back on a Costco voucher.

I redeemed Microsoft rewards and Fetch rewards for a Target gift card and only bought staples like lotion, tp, floor cleaner, etc.

I redeemed ibotta rewards for paypal cash ($20)


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