Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 22, 2024 · 81 comments

    1. I made a loaf of no knead artisan bread to serve with breakfast. (Houseguest = fancier breakfast than normal.) So easy and all it took was three cups of flour, a half teaspoon of yeast, two teaspoons of salt and a cup-and-a-half of water. I still have some 99¢ flour from last November, which made this loaf literally cheaper than dirt!

    2. I gorged on watched The Great Canadian Throw Down pottery competition show on YouTube, which made me nostalgic for the ceramics classes I took at Antioch College in the late 1980s. I kept just two items from that era, although a couple of my friends somehow held onto my pottery pieces, including this fun vessel that lives on at my friend Maura’s house.

      There’s endless content on YouTube, (including entire movies) so you really could subscribe to zero paid streaming services and still find quality content to watch. Especially when you consider free apps like Freevee, Kanopy, Hoopla and Tubi. I then think back to my childhood of the four strikingly dull TV channels and it resets my perspective.

    3. My son’s living room is poorly lit, so he asked if I could keep an eye out for a cheap or free floor lamp, so I was jazzed to come across this functional specimen while out on a walk. Not amazing, but also not bad in any way. Not everything needs to be a show stopper.

    4. • I cut some dogwood branches from my mother’s tree to put together some floral bouquets. So gorgeous!
      • I sold a thrifted $3 American Girl doll for $40.
      • I made wacky carrot cake, (no eggs, no butter) and somehow omitted the oil, but we still ate it. The texture was dense and chewy, but it kind of grew on us.

    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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{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruby April 22, 2024 at 5:57 am

1. Cleaned the paint off the cheap, scratched-up light switch plate in the bathroom and snazzed up the plate with some vinyl wallpaper we used in another part of the house. It will do until a brass plate appropriate to the age of the house turns up.

2. Also repaired a bit of the grout in that bathroom.

3. Scavenged two large ceramic pots from my husband’s pot collection to expand our vegetable garden.

4. Made a quick and easy flatbread to go with supper.

5. Mended another chewed-on dog toy with sewing thread gifted from a long ago neighbor. After 14 years, the thread stash is down to a lot of neon green and hot pink, which happens to be the colors in the puppy’s favorite and much-abused plush dinosaur toy. Nice how that’s working out. 🙂

Bonus: I despise ironing but ironed a pair of thrifted trousers to wear to a social event, which greatly increased the classiness of my outfit without spending a dime.


Katy April 22, 2024 at 8:59 am

As in “Ooh . . . look how smooth her trousers are — she’s so classy!” 😉


Heidi Louise April 22, 2024 at 9:15 am

Before he traveled, a friend would have his jeans professionally laundered, meaning they were crisp and starched. They held up longer between washings because the jeans were less likely to look droopy or stained.


Michele April 22, 2024 at 9:29 am

My Mom hated ironing and when my sister and I were little, she said the “heat of our body” would take the wrinkles out. 🙂


Marybeth from NY April 22, 2024 at 10:02 am

My mom taught us all how to iron as kids. I hated it.


Lindsey April 22, 2024 at 10:33 am

When my father was in a displaced person camp and the residents were desperately trying to impress the authorities of different countries that came through so that someone would allow them entry, the men would put their pants carefully under their mattresses every night and that would reinforce the creases on their pants and would iron out some of the wrinkles. The mattresses were very thin and some of the men had to train themselves not to toss and turn when sleeping because that ruined the “ironing” that the mattress did. It always made me so sad to think of my young penniless father trying not to move while sleeping so that he would look less ragged and more worthy of respect.


Jeanine April 22, 2024 at 11:59 am

My father did the same after he traveled from MS to IL to find better work.
My mama had the final say in all appliances of the house, except the iron. Daddy chose, and it was always Rowenta.


Ruby April 22, 2024 at 1:34 pm

Lindsey, please write your father’s story so that it has a place in history after you are gone. People should know what he survived. When we are ignorant of others’ suffering, we tend not to try to prevent it from ever happening again.


Joyce April 22, 2024 at 2:38 pm

Great idea Ruby!

Katy April 23, 2024 at 8:23 am

Wow, I can see why that story stuck with both him and now you. Thank you so much for sharing it here.


Vickey April 23, 2024 at 4:01 pm

I don’t do it very often these days, but actually kinda like ironing. I love the smell of cotton when the iron heats it up, and find the whole process sort of meditative.
Plenty of other household chores I despise, tho’. 🙂


Bee April 22, 2024 at 6:07 am

Those pink dogwood blossoms look absolutely beautiful against the purple-blue wall. Have you ever thought about doing pottery again?

• We needed to do drainage project that required us to purchase rocks. There are very few rocks in Florida, so there really isn’t a way around buying them. My husband‘s Company has an exercise incentive program which allows him to earn money towards gift cards merely for walking 5000 steps or more a day. He trade in $100 worth of these exercise points for a Home Depot gift card. With just a little bit of sweat and time, we were able to complete the project for $9.26.

* I substituted a little flat Prosecco for cooking wine in a recipe that I made this weekend. It had been lingering in my refrigerator for a few weeks as it was leftover from Easter-morning mimosas. It was just fine. I had planned to make a champagne vinaigrette with it, but never got around to it.

* I bought three items at the grocery store on Friday. Each qualified for an iBotta reward. This pushed me over the $20 balance requirement for withdrawal, so I transferred the available funds into my little mad money account.

* Sold a vintage paint brush on eBay for $14. Old crusty paint brushes are currently popular in farm house decor. This one was especially interesting, large, and garbage picked. So after fees, it’s all profit. This brush was sent to the new owner using reclaimed shipping materials.

* Our garden hose sprung a leak at the faucet fitting/adapter. Rather than replacing the hose (BTW – they now cost more than $50), we spliced the hose and replaced the fittings. The cost was less than $5. Money saved and less trash I. The environment! Hooray!!!!

* I found a 1943 steel wheat penny. Unfortunately, it is not particularly valuable, but it is really cool! It is worth more than a penny. •I’m listening to Ruth Ware’s book, The It Girl, on Libby. • I just finished a book, so I’m looking for something else to read. I picked up 3 books at an estate sale for $1. • I have purchased several books recently. My book club’s selections have not been available at the library or the wait list is just too long. After I have finished reading them, I have boxed these books up to share with my cousin.• I Picked up a roll of doggy poo bags that were in the street. I am opposed to paying money for poop bags.

Oops, I think that’s 6!
Wishing all of you peace, good health, and prosperity.


A. Marie April 22, 2024 at 6:52 am

Re: old crusty paintbrushes as farmhouse decor: I absolutely had to Google this one, and my jaw dropped. If I had a nickel for every old crusty paintbrush DH eventually discarded in the course of his career, I’d be flying over the Bahamas right now! (Hmmm, did he leave me a few? I’ll have to check the basement and garage…)


Katy April 22, 2024 at 8:56 am

I had to stop in the middle of reading your comment to go check eBay for “vintage paintbrush decor” to see how much crusty old paintbrushes are selling for. It seemed like $10-$15 apiece although sellers seem to be lotting them up in multiples. I love this!

I rarely qualify for Ibotta rewards as I don’t buy many national brands, which is why Fetch works better for me.

Ironically the value in a 1943 penny is if you find one that’s copper, as they were almost all steel.


Jill A April 23, 2024 at 2:59 am

I had to look up the crusty paintbrush too. I’m always amazed at what people will pay for. Also thanks for the inspiration. I have some leftover prosecco from our wine tasting adventures and I think I’ll try some champagne vinaigrette after we make some mimosas.


Heidi Louise April 23, 2024 at 6:27 am

I just saw a crusty paint-spattered screw driver in my garden tools. Not sure where it came from. It has the look of something used to open paint cans and stir paint. Wonder if that has a future as well.


Vickey April 23, 2024 at 4:13 pm

Dang! And to think I *just* gave away a wallpaper scraper and a couple of joint compound knives to the sweet new neighbor across the street.
I don’t really mind – the lad is kind, generous, and works in human services, so will likely never get to retire.


Nancy from mass April 25, 2024 at 6:16 pm

People are buying old paintbrushes? As someone who just finished painting a large crate to hold my albums, I may have to let it dry out. I can’t imagine decorating with a crusty paintbrush.


Christine April 22, 2024 at 6:10 am

Nice find on the lamp for your son!
1. I would’ve hung my laundry outside anyway but it being Earth Day today I found a bit more meaningful than I normally would.
2. My 16 year old grandson took me to see The Cascades, a gorgeous waterfall in a nearby city. We hiked up to the top and saw some early spring wildflowers along the way. On the way home we stopped at an overlook to see a panoramic view of the city. It being my hometown, I was very excited and plan to return with a pair of binoculars. Free fun.
3. I stopped in at my friend’s indie bookstore and received a free cup of hot chocolate for my birthday. Also, a card signed by all the “regulars” at the store.
4. DH found a quarter on the trail while hiking. Into the found change jar it went.
5. I went to the mending with embroidery class at the library and learned how to mend while adding some style and beauty to basic mending.


Susie's Daughter April 22, 2024 at 6:59 am

Christine – with you on #1! And #5 sounds fantastic. “Visible Mending” is a hot – and often pricey – thing now. Go you!


Katy April 22, 2024 at 8:46 am

I love that your library offered a “mending with embroidery” class, that’s so perfect!

Speaking of Earth Day, I was in my backyard with a library book when I suddenly heard music, which really did sound like live music. It kept going, so I walked to the front of the house and found a full-on Earth Day parade going down my street complete with elaborate homemade costumes. I wish I’d seen the whole thing, but it was still cool.


Bee April 23, 2024 at 3:30 am

The hike sounds wonderful. I would love to learn how to mend using embroidery. I saw a little lady bug embroidered over a hole in a black cashmere sweater. It was really sweet.


Hawaii Planner April 22, 2024 at 6:43 am

Those flowers are beautiful!

1) Brought snacks with us on our spring break ski trip.
2) Hotel rooms were free, which saved us quite a bit.
3) Bought lunch for the teens at Costco along the drive, so under $5 for lunch for two. We also filled up on gas at Costco.
4) Used previously paid for ski passes, which means the skiing cost zero extra dollars. (Season passes.)
5) Sold a bunch of stuff on eBay, used a $10 off of a $50 grocery store purchase, earned a $2 store reward, cashed out $10 of Fetch points into a gift card.
6) Bonus: received a $524 settlement. I wasn’t expecting this, as I received an initial settlement in 2022. Apparently, the case is now closed, and they redistributed the remaining funds to folks, hence the bonus money.


Katy April 22, 2024 at 8:40 am

I’m super impressed with your frugal ski trip! Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised as your name/handle literally explains that you’re good at planning travel!


Susie's Daughter April 22, 2024 at 6:57 am

1) Marked down milk became yogurt and clam chowder. Also the bowl of cereal that DS wouldn’t eat because he thought the milk didn’t taste “good anymore” (it was *fine* btw) became a cross between honey o’s + bran cereal muffins. I also used a frozen banana in the muffins for character.

2) Long, beautiful walk this morning with Dearest Neighbor and DW and assorted dogs. Small green things are beginning to grow here in the woods, even with the dusting of snow we had last night.

3) Nice enough to begin hanging out laundry in earnest on the line. A good Earth Day thing I guess, but I try to do it for 6 months of the year.

4) Mondays are usually my day off and I try to overhaul the fridge/pantry for what needs using up. I’m attempting a curried chickpea and potato salad today to use up potatoes and a red onion that is well past its prime. Our favorite market makes a version. I figured I would give it a whirl.

5) In the slow process of cleaning out my deceased aunt and uncle’s house with my brother. He took a car load of stuff home on last visit (hurray!) and in the process of spelunking around in their basement, we found depression glass and a bread maker. Depression glass went to another family member who loves it and bread maker will come home with me. Severe sesame allergy in the family makes it hard to buy commercial bread since the passage of FDA labeling for sesame. (Bread companies now ADD sesame rather than invest in the cleaning process to make items truly sesame free. Ugh.)


Katy April 22, 2024 at 8:38 am

I’ve never made clam chowder before, even though I love it.

And chickpea and potato salad sounds super yummy!


Selena April 22, 2024 at 7:01 pm

Depression glass is cool. Color and pattern determines its worth but to me, the fact a relative owned it makes it special.


Kara April 22, 2024 at 7:03 am

1. Sold an item for $50 which I had picked up for free.
2. Did 2 mystery shops, one walking distance from my house, one under 10 minutes away. $60 total, plus the free items from the shops. Thank you to Lindsey for the information on Presto Shopper!
3. Staples is offering rewards points totaling $10 for Staples rewards members who recycle an item this week (offer ends April 27). I recycle 10 ink cartridges a month at Staples and which earns me $5 a month and keeps me in any office supplies or paper towels.
4. Mended a pair of my husband’s jeans. There’s more miles in them yet.
5. Given away a couple of things on Buy Nothing. This group has saved me thousands over the 4 years we have lived here. Plus I’ve met some really nice people.


Katy April 22, 2024 at 8:35 am

I love it when I can sell something I got for free, even better if I saved it from the landfill to begin with.


Lindsey April 22, 2024 at 10:55 am

I am always so happy to see that mystery shops help some people!


Marybeth from NY April 22, 2024 at 1:29 pm

Do either of you have a code for the mystery shopping? I would love to do that as I am currently unemployed.


Lindsey April 22, 2024 at 5:42 pm

Go to that blog site and scroll down until you see secret shops. He lists the most reputable places and I have had no disagreements with his recommendations and have been doing mystery shopping for years. The number and variety of shops depends on where you live and how many other folks are doing it in your area. Some shop payments are too low for the work required, but you end up having to do a few of those before you get the general price point for yourself. Good luck.


Katy April 23, 2024 at 8:15 am

Thanks for sharing this link!


A. Marie April 22, 2024 at 8:00 am

FFT, Sandbagged by Illness Edition:

(1-5) Since Wednesday, I have been laid low by one of the worst colds of my life (or at least that’s what I hope it is): nasal congestion, bad sore throat, and a cough that sounds as if I’m trying to hack up a lung. For what it’s worth, I’ve now tested negative three times for COVID (using the last of my free USPS COVID tests), and I’m fully boosted for everything including RSV, so i hope I’ve ruled out the scarier possibilities. But my PCP has penciled me in for an appointment this afternoon.

In the meantime, I have been enjoying (not!) the benefits of passive frugality by going nowhere and spending nothing. I’ve canceled four social engagements and several other plans already. 🙁


MB in MN April 22, 2024 at 8:15 am

A. Marie, I’m wishing you well!


Jill A April 22, 2024 at 8:31 am

Feel better A. Marie


Ruby April 22, 2024 at 9:28 am

A. Marie, I hope your doctor can get you feeling better. DH has the same thing and finally went to the walk-in urgent care yesterday. He got a steroid shot and a bagful of meds. His cough is so bad, and high-pitched, that it sounds like adult croup.


Lindsey April 22, 2024 at 10:57 am

Yikes! Hope your PCP can fix you up!


Bee April 23, 2024 at 3:36 am

I hope you will be on the mend soon!!!


Vickey April 24, 2024 at 5:54 am

A. Marie, I’m so sorry you’re sick. Hope you’re soon on the mend if not already.


Blue Gate Farmgirl April 22, 2024 at 8:13 am

I visited a gorgeous country estate sale on Saturday (1/2 day). picked up LED can lightbulbs for $0.50 ea, 4 gallons of vinegar for the upcoming pickling season (0.50 ea , canning jars and lids ($4/doz), mineral oil for my butcher block counters, 2 containers of (1 gal) concentrate allergen free laundry soap (2/$1), 50 paper back books for $5 (I live outside the city library system, library cards are 60/yr), Deer/bird netting for the garden.
Will recycle my former printer’s cartridges at Staples today while I’m in town
Offered to sell my friend’s husband’s dress shoes, sold 3 pair the same day I listed. I am using the monies to donate to a local family in need.
I made 2o new starts of geraniums to make mixed flower pots to give to my friends and neighbors.
I tried to buy a new to me tractor, but missed out by 15 minutes. I am currently negotiating on a better machine for 1/2 the price. Crossing fingers!
My favorite cousin gave me yet another “tune up” lesson, this time on my atv (I use it more than a tractor on our farm) and this lesson saved me hundreds of dollars for just $5 in parts. He is priceless.
Planted late cabbages, more beets, transplanted basil and cilantro. We added asparagus to our harvest this week.


Katy April 22, 2024 at 9:43 am

Your “frugal things” are always very different from mine. No tractors, ATVs or country estate sales. As always, I love your comments.


Ecoteri April 23, 2024 at 8:08 pm

oooo, good luck on the potential “better price better quality Tractor”. I am on such a small piece of land that even an ATV seems a bit more than I need. Currently, the ‘steps’ I get on a good farm day are priceless, however I am also glad I can drive my truck fairly close to the raised beds/greenhouse and alongside the field, and plan to use it more for harvest rather than just compost delivery. frugal use of my limited time and energy resources – saving those for what I love to do down in the gardens.
I am envious about your estate sales, they aren’t really a ‘thing’ here, as far as I can tell. I particularly jones after your household supplies (Vinegar! lightbulbs! canning jars! Laundry detergent!!) And I, too, can never resist a good sale on books… better for me than a bar of chocolate!


MB in MN April 22, 2024 at 8:13 am

1. Free entertainment in our backyard watching the turkeys. The Tom tries so hard to get the hen’s attention. The hen seems indifferent or disdainful as I imagine her saying, “Show me a commitment and then maybe.”

2. Husband subscribed to Sling TV so he could watch the Stanley Cup games. Made a note in my calendar to cancel the subscription after the final game.

3. Subscribed to our local community newspaper. Definitely worth $32/year to make sure that we have a source that reports on local happenings and helps make sure our elected leaders are kept accountable.

4. Attended a sourdough breadmaking class and received a jar of starter to take home, not to mention the delicious slices (yes, plural) spread with Kerrygold butter and Maldon sea salt. My sister-in-law treated me to the $70 class!

5. Walked by the home that had an estate sale a couple weeks earlier and noticed that the family pulled remaining items out to the driveway and were giving them away free. Picked up a basket, planter and a small spatula. I had been eyeing that $20 planter during the sale and I had purchased a smaller version of the same basket for $6, so I’m extra pleased with my freebies.


Katy April 22, 2024 at 9:39 am

Hooray for freebies!

And now I want some turkeys.


MB in MN April 22, 2024 at 12:53 pm

They are beautiful (the Tom’s plumage during the mating ritual is particularly stunning) and also act as a free alarm clock. Their gobbling wakes me almost every morning.


Selena April 22, 2024 at 7:06 pm

Ever see the “who is top tom bout”? Hooked necks while the crowd of “boys” watch. It is something to behold.
My little cat is just fascinated by turkeys – be they hen or tom. Sad to say we all too often have the “I’m sick” turkey, usually a tom, spending his last days in our yard. Plenty of water and food so I feel a bit better his/her last days are not starvation and s/he are usually safe.


Monica April 22, 2024 at 8:26 am

Nice boobs! (on your pot)


Roberta April 22, 2024 at 8:45 am

1. Finally brought inside the free 1920’s highboy I found along the roadside. It looks beautiful where our china hutch used to be! It makes the room so much more spacious! Now we have to rehome the china hutch.
2. Found a convertible coffee table, with ice box fixtures, for free. I’d like to use it as a tv stand, but my husband likes the old one’s color. I found it online for over $600, so if we choose not to use it, I can flip it.
3. Sold some cedar closet liner on Craigslist. It had been sitting there for probably 6 months, maybe more. I was ready to drop it at Habitat, so I’m really glad to get money for it! The buyer gave me two spaghetti squashes and two bags of dried chickpeas, as well.
4. Completed the table saw saga. I posted it for free, and someone came by the same afternoon and took the old one away.
5. Ran into a woman I haven’t seen in years. We chatted for a while, I dropped her at home (she had walked into town), and she gave me the doggy diapers from her dog. We now have enough to get through more than one week without doing doggy diaper laundry. (I’ll do it more often, but I don’t HAVE TO.) Fewer loads of laundry is good.


Ecoteri April 23, 2024 at 8:18 pm

I love your #5. Friends share all kinds of stories and out of those shares come all kinds of gifts…


Sandra April 22, 2024 at 8:52 am

A friend gave me two starts of Sansevieria. I was delighted to have the opportunity to grow these plants again. I had to give away two beautiful pots full of Sansevieria when I moved.

I found red glass tomatoes (2) and a red glass bell pepper at a garage sale. I wanted to make a small vignette around a blue teapot and a red geranium. They were the perfect shade of Fire Engine Red to match the geranium.

I arrived early for my book club meeting at the library so took the opportunity to look over the 25 cent paperback books. Luck was with me, I found one of my favorite genres, seafaring tales. I have read all of Patrick O’Brien’s books, as well as other authors. I hadn’t read one in a few years, but this one looked promising. I count it a small investment for many hours of vicarious seafaring.

I have attended two free concerts this week. One was cowboy folk songs. and the other was Baroch chamber music. I also attended a bluegrass concert that was almost free. I guess you could say from Baroch to Bluegrass. As you might guess, my taste in music, as in other things, such as fashion and food, is very eclectic.

Cleaned out a closet a few days ago and found some decorative pillows I had forgotten. They are perfect with the comforter I replaced in the guest bedroom last fall. Another one was a great match for an occasional chair in the other bedroom. It’s so much fun to shop at home.


Jill A April 22, 2024 at 9:14 am

Those dogwood blossoms are beautiful. Dogwood is my favorite tree. They are so beautiful and graceful looking especially in the wild where they are an undergrowth tree. Those flowers against all the brown trunks and green leaves. It doesn’t get any prettier than that.
1. I made a 7 layer salad twice last week that fed several people over several days. It’s inexpensive, filling and everyone seems to like it.
2. My mom gave me three large terracotta planters she no longer needed. I will use these to plant more veggies or herbs this summer. Yay for more free planters.
3. We have begun tasting wines for DD#2’s wedding where they are providing their own alcohol and bartender. My daughter is using the website Reverse Wine Snob to find good but inexpensive wines. The first two we tried were both delicious but one was $20 and one was $7. Although we both preferred the $20 bottle the $7 would be more of a crowd pleaser and was really good and you can’t beat the price.
4. I took styrofoam and three bags full of documents to be shredded to a free event the county provides.
5. I picked up my prescription at Costco. While there I stocked up on sale dog food, sale dog treats and softener salt. I filled up on free samples and put gas in my tank.


Marybeth from NY April 22, 2024 at 10:00 am

I am also still using the flour I got for 99¢ around the holidays.
1. Hubby and I with another couple went upstate for a long weekend. We stayed at my sister’s best friend’s lake house. They offer it to family and friends to use except May-September. We are happy to go off season.
2. We brought food with us and cooked everything except 2 meals out.
3. They ask that you either pay $200 cleaning fee or clean yourselves. We spent about an hour cleaning before we left. We are not messy people so it was basically laundry, garbage, wash dishes, vacuum etc. We have done it before and it has never been a problem. Several people do not have this option anymore as they don’t know how to clean properly.
4. All activities were free, we rode their Gator, walked by the water, watched Paramount plus(we don’t have this), sat by the fireplace , went in the hot tub, played games and read books.
5. As a thank you gift I made a gift basket up from my sale/thrift gifts. It was 2 board games, a candle, a fluffy blanket, 2 pairs of fuzzy socks, and a few snacks. Our friends gave us 2 bottles of wine to add to it.
Now back to reality.


Katy April 23, 2024 at 8:25 am

I feel like your sentence of “Several people do not have this option anymore as they don’t know how to clean properly” has a quite the backstory!

That is so nice of you to give the gift basket! Perfect items for a lake house.


Marybeth from NY April 23, 2024 at 9:47 am

It is a large lake house in the woods. There are bears, skunks, deer and other critters. People have left food outside and garbage so animals come and spread it all over the property. Someone didn’t put the garbage in the garage for pick up so ants were all over the kitchen. The dishwasher has been left full and no-one came for several weeks so it stunk up the whole house. Most of the people that use the house are very well off so cleaning is not something they do. They all have house keepers. I don’t so paying $200 to do basic cleaning seems crazy to me. We also only used 2 of the 7 bedrooms and 3 of the 8 bathrooms. If we had used all of them, then I might think about it. She isn’t asking us to scrub the floors, just basic cleaning but lots of people don’t know how to do that.
Someone stayed after us one time and opened the basket we left. She was not happy. Her daughter and my daughter are friends and talk so she was looking forward to it. We put snacks that we know she likes. It is clearly labeled because I stick a card on it with their names.


Katy April 23, 2024 at 10:47 am

Thanks for spilling the tea!

My dad and step mother have a mountain cabin and my friend used it once and left a note and a thank you card when she left. Two other people used the cabin before my parents were able to come back, at which point there was a pile of gifts for them as the precedent had been sent. Most people don’t leave a gift even though they don’t charge anything.


Marybeth from NY April 23, 2024 at 3:17 pm

My sister said I am the only one that leaves a gift. They use her apartment in the city so it is a good exchange. I know a few have 2nd homes too that let them use their homes too.

Elizabeth April 22, 2024 at 11:17 am

1. My husband and I went to the opera this weekend and only had to pay for parking downtown. Our library has passes occasionally to different events or groups for first timers. I happened to log on when they had tickets to “La Boheme”. They were good seats too – I looked them up and they were $55 seats!
2. When I went to visit my parents my mom sent me home with 3 Bath and Body Works lotions and 4 shower gels she’d decided not to use. Yes please! (I also brought a bag of clothes to pass on to my sister and nephew and two sweaters to my aunt.)
3. Finished the audio version of “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” from Libby through my library for book club. It’s a 1963 classic spy novel that was on Time Magazine’s 100 Best Novels list. I wouldn’t have chosen to read it on my own but I enjoyed it more than I anticipated. Finished 2 books that my friend let me borrow.
4. Picked up some IKEA drinking glasses from Buy Nothing to hold on to for when my son moves into an apartment at school after this next year in the dorms. Also picked up some protein drinks someone didn’t enjoy and I’ve been drinking those.
5. Yesterday my husband and I went to a free community concert with a chorus, band and symphony. Came home and my husband made one of my favorite dinners – pork with a mushroom cream sauce. It tasted like a restaurant meal. And he bought a 2 piece pack of cheesecake from Aldi that we had for dessert – other than the occasional cookie here or there we don’t often have dessert so it felt like a treat!


Katy April 23, 2024 at 8:22 am

That is so great that you got to go to the opera for free! My library’s “cultural passes” are snapped up so quickly they’re basically impossible to use.


Tonya April 22, 2024 at 12:26 pm

It’s been a great month in my neighborhood for free curb finds. And I have deep regard for free curb finds, especially since both of my kids will be getting their own apartments in the upcoming months. Some of the items I’ve scooped off of neighbors’ curbs include:

-a beautiful armchair
-a cute little side table
-several large planters
-a small bookcase

I also hosted a friend group and baked banana bread with free to me flour and freezer bananas. I’m taking lunch to work, and I just found “Iron Wing” on the library lucky day shelf, and can’t believe my luck (I was way down on the hold list). My campus gave away free plants today for earth day, so I got a pepper plant and will start it inside in one of my free planters (Colorado still has snow, so no outside planting yet).


Katy April 23, 2024 at 8:20 am

Hooray for free plants and free furniture! I wish the blog had the functionality for you to share photos of your curb finds.


Mary Ann April 22, 2024 at 2:55 pm

1. Did my last grocery store for the run. Nearly $8.00 left for from the $200 challenge. Grocery Outlet is on my way home and I stop weekly to see if there are cheap prizes for my student store. ( That is another line item in the budget.) For groceries I bought dried cranberries, spinach and marked down bananas. Hubby is getting a spinach salad tonite. I will dip half the bananas in chocolate and freeze the other half for smoothies. That is a lot of nutrition for.51 cents an organic pound. Total grocery was .87 over for the month. I love it. I have spent about $375 less this month on food. That is nearly a midweek ski pass at sugar bowl.

2. I went through my gift cabinet. I am running out of tea. I have a “Teas Around the World” gift. I broke it open and have been using it up. I did the same for soaps since i had run out of hand soap. It felt quite luxurious to have nice items brand new. Both these items had been in the cabinet quite sometime.

3. I had to toss three lunches worth of broccoli salad. Nothing is ever for sure in terms of who will eat what/when/ and how much and I don’t want to eat just to eat. Oh well.I also tossed a half a jar of bleu cheese stuffed olives. Not bad for the month. Progress not perfection.

4. I don’t bake much. My sugar jar was beginning to smell a little off. Sugar could be years old. I used u sugar, old molasses and an unopened jar of coconut oil to make molasses cookies. Hubby and I are really enjoying them.

5, I have a credit for Jet Blue that I have to book soon or will loose thousands ( long story.) I decided to go to Scotland. I have hotel points to get 8 days free in Edinburgh with breakfast. Jet blue hasn’t opened up its October calendar yet so I am checking often. They seem to book up quickly.


Katy April 23, 2024 at 8:18 am

That sounds like a fun trip. My sister and I went to Edinburgh for a short trip in 1988 as it was a relatively easy thing to do from London where we were living at the time. I’d love to return, maybe not in December next time!


Laura April 23, 2024 at 6:28 am

Hit and miss lurker here, but here goes!
Dad’s getting a cochlear implant today. So, I’m cooking 3 meatloaf(s). 1 to share, 1 for us, 1 for the freezer.

Returned a borrowed bull to Dad yesterday. He won’t have to stress about that while he recovers. I saved the cost of buying a bull. He saved the cost to feed a bull over the winter.

Yesterday was the last day of spring break. My son needed some Momma time. He’s 5. He went with me farming all day. We had a total of 5 new calves born yesterday! Built fence, fed hay, and gathered the bull. Beautiful weather and the best company. Enjoyed homemade cocoa as a snack. He lights up at the little things and of course it’s infectious.

Ate food from our farm, wore the same old stuff, and turned down the heat.


Katy April 23, 2024 at 8:14 am

I had to read the sentence about the “borrowed bull” three times before it clicked in that you really meant the animal! What an interesting life you’re living, so different than my own urban existence, thank you so much for sharing!


Cheryl April 23, 2024 at 9:56 am

What, pray tell, does one”borrow” a bull for? Inquiring minds….


Katy April 23, 2024 at 10:44 am

Whatever could be the seminal reason?


Anne April 23, 2024 at 2:50 pm

Good one, Katy.


Laura April 25, 2024 at 2:34 pm

Bulls lead a charmed life!

BettafromdaVille April 23, 2024 at 7:32 am

Not a particularly frugal week, but grades are due, so I’m just in survival mode!
1. Made a tortilla española to eat using free eggs from mystery shop and potato (bought on sale) that were beginning to sprout.
2. Drinking coffee at home. Drinking tea at home.
3. Was able to clean an oil stain off a spring jacket by 1) using dish detergent (wash) and 2) Oxyclean soak. Mom had bought the jacket for me on clearance years ago.
4. Got 8% back from a Chewy order by going through Swagbucks.
5. Used heating pad to take the chill off, while sitting under a blanket, rather than turn the heat on.


Katy April 23, 2024 at 8:12 am

Hooray for stain removal! It may seem like an obvious part of daily life, but I think the majority of Americans would just donate the jacket, which would then either be thrown away or never bought due to the stain.


Bettypants April 23, 2024 at 9:01 am

Excellent curb find! I found a cobalt pottery lamp several years ago on the curb. I was sure it probably didn’t work, because it was so pretty and it had a suspicious looking cord. But it did work and it’s still one of my best curb finds.

1. Our push lawn mower started sputtering, and my friend the internet said to check the air filter. Yup, it was gross and the mower worked perfectly after we replaced it.

2. My job offered me a third day working from home. It saves me a 30 minute commute and the cost of gas. I’m super happy.

3. My new-to-me shelter dog seems to have no walking experience. He likes going, but gets tired easily. I bought a $4 baby carrier from FBMP so we can look dorky AND go on longer walks together.

4. A friend of mine had a food chopper with a metal grid that cuts vegetables into uniform cubes, which falls into the realm of kitchen gadgets I don’t really need. But then I found a brand new looking Oxo one at a thrift store for $1. At that price, I did need it. Still kind of dumb, but I love using it.

5. The breaker my dishwasher/garbage disposal is on kept tripping. I diagnosed and fixed the problem myself, which turned out to be minor, and I felt so accomplished. My friend removed her dishwasher to install a beverage fridge in the space instead, and I will never understand the appeal.


Katy April 23, 2024 at 9:39 am

I’ve decided to buy one of those when they start hitting the thrifts. I like a chopped salad!


Selena April 23, 2024 at 6:52 pm

In the days before a majority of readers/posters were born, there was the Veg-o-matic. Originals manufactured in the 1960s (maybe even late 1950s, aka before my time), still in use these days. I consumed many french fries fresh “sliced” from it. What I see on schmezos site is a poor imitation of the original.


Heidi Louise April 24, 2024 at 6:24 am

Or the Salad Shooter. I still use mine to grate carrots or chop walnuts or chop cranberries.


Bee April 24, 2024 at 5:25 am

I love that you are taking your rescue pup with you even if she isn’t a walker. And a big thank you for stopping at the shelter first! There are so many wonderful animals waiting for a home. Many are fully vetted.


Texasilver April 23, 2024 at 11:03 pm

I was sick over the weekend so no urban foraging for me. I was grateful sickness hit on Saturday night instead of Friday night as I work on Saturday. I went on my usual 3 to 4 mile walk on Tuesday. I inspected the dumpsters along my way. I saw a thing called a Litter Robot 3. I called the husband to come get it as it was too heavy for me to lift up & out. He brought the Litter Robot home. It is a self- cleaning litter box that retails for 400 to 500 $. We plugged it in, and it works. It tumbles the clumping litter & sifts out the clumps of urine & poop & returns the unsoiled litter. We have 2 cats so this contraption will make litter box upkeep much easier. There is a phone app that you can install so you can run the cycle if you are away. Who knew such a thing existed. One cat has used it & the older cat is investigating the new set-up.


Ecoteri April 24, 2024 at 8:09 pm

You find the darnedest things, @Texasilver! Who knew such a contraption existed (and $4-500!! sheesh). Glad you de-dumpstered it and are putting it to the use it was designed for. keep us informed about kitty #2!


Nancy from mass April 25, 2024 at 6:12 pm

Don’t forget Pluto TV! That is also free and they even show old hogan’s heroes reruns.

While I still have two arms, I’ve been washing all of my windows. Five left. It’s quite the task.

My son, his boyfriend and their best friend have been apartment hunting. So I’ve been spending my evenings googling to see if I can find them decent apartments. It’s difficult because they are 24 and 22. Although they have good credit ratings and two of the three have rental history, I think people are afraid to rent to three young men. They may have found a place. Not ideal, but better than where my son and his boyfriend are living now.

Lunch was purchased twice for me this week since it is admin week and I am technically still an admin. I was also gifted a beautiful pink hydrangea and a gift card to Michael’s. I work with a nice group of people.

My son told me that this a new season of The Circle is up on Netflix. It’s the only reality type show I watch.

Made a batch of yogurt earlier this week. I haven’t done that in a while. Also have been going through my freezer for dinners.

I’ve not donated to help a grifter pay his legal bills.


Selena April 25, 2024 at 7:23 pm

May son, BoF, and BeF use the current place as a stepping stone. Being an adult is just not easy. But easier when they have someone else (you) in their corner.


Katy April 26, 2024 at 12:12 pm

Yes, thanks for the reminder about Pluto!


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