Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 14, 2024 · 40 comments

  1. I had a nice low key Mother’s Day with the kids here at the house and a simple brunch. No pressure and the kids staggered their visits, which expanded it into a nice long afternoon.

    I then took my mother out the next day for belated fun, just the two of us. I picked up a Starbucks mocha along the way, (her favorite treat, plus I had credit on my Starbucks account) and we browsed an antique mall in the neighborhood. I also took her to Montelupo for their mushroom focaccia with fresh ricotta and arugula. She also received the rooster planter that I curb picked a few weeks ago, now freshly planted with hens and chicks from my backyard.

  2. We were almost out of Palmolive bar soap, so I stopped into Dollar Tree. I heard a rumor that their prices are going up again, so I also grabbed extra toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. I miss the era when their soap was 3/$1 especially since it’s now 2/$1.25.

    Those were the good old days . . . .

  3. My father-in-law passed away last month, so my husband’s been busy going through their house and scrambling to find places to donate their belongings. There’ve been multiple loads of their stuff to Goodwill, (clothing, books and kitchen items) plus a number of dump runs as many items were no longer in any condition for usefulness. My late mother-in-law was an art teacher and had an overwhelming amount of unused art supplies. We donated those to the kids’ high school art department, which was a perfect solution. She also sold semi-precious stone beads, which we took to a bead shop in the neighborhood. The money will help a bit with all the sudden expenses. (Cremation, probate lawyer, bond and associated costs.) Everything is complicated by there being no will. There’s also a storage unit that we’ll have access to after my husband is named the official executor. Luckily the storage unit is in Portland.

    This project is nowhere near completion and is complicated by them living two and a half hours away on the Oregon coast. This means that we spend a couple hundred bucks on a motel room every day my husband works on their house.

  4. • Our daughter needed a bicycle and my husband was able to put one together for her out of two bikes that were collecting dust in our garage.
    • Our neighborhood is having their annual “neighborhood cleanup day,” and although I can’t think of anything we need to take over, I’ll still do a sweep through the house and see if there’s anything we can get rid of. I’m extra inspired at the moment to not burden my kids with a house filled with excess Stuff!
    • My friend’s daughter is training as a volunteer docent at a local museum, so we’re going over there today to be her guinea pigs. Free museum entry!

  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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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Kara May 14, 2024 at 10:06 am

I’m sorry about the loss of your father-in-law. My aunt died last year and I was responsible for some of her things. It did inspire me to be more ruthless about my own house. We have a trust and will, so that is easier for our kids when the time comes.
My husband was asked to house sit and will get paid $70 a day to sleep at someone’s house and eat their food this weekend.
I’ve got a couple of days of subbing this week.
Still eating the wretched purple carrots from the freezer, but we’re on the last gallon bag of them.
My nausea has made my unable to eat my homemade yogurt. I put what remained in individual jars so my husband would take it to work for lunch. I froze a small portion to use as a starter, which is my hope for better times in the future. I also froze the gallon of milk (in pinto containers) that I had bought for yogurt before
my nausea hit. No food wasted there. And I don’t have to look at it in the fridge, which also causes nausea.
Enjoying the nice weather and the fresh air in the house.

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Katy May 14, 2024 at 10:52 am

Boo to nausea! Hooray for trusts and wills!

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Amanda May 14, 2024 at 10:31 am

I was informed at the Dollar Tree the other day that their prices can go up to $7 and the prices are indicated on the shelves now. I don’t go in there enough to know these things as the cashier advised me I was “behind the times.” I don’t see many more trips to the Dollar Tree in my future and feel like this will destroy the company.

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Katy May 14, 2024 at 10:51 am

$7 is no bargain.

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Jill D May 14, 2024 at 12:11 pm

Shouldn’t they be required to change their name to All the Way Up to $7 Tree? Truth in advertising and all that….

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Fru-gal Lisa May 14, 2024 at 10:31 am

I also got bit by the declutter bug. So I’m starting my spring cleaning (late, I know, but school is about to end) and going through stacks of “stuff”. My friend is a missionary and going to help start a church in the ghetto. She is looking for books for their soon-to-be church library. I have tons of books! So I started gathering up some for her church plant….just the Bibles and religious books, of course. I even found that I had 2 copies of the same title, oops.
They also don’t have hymnals. Neither do I, but I have a bad habit of bringing home my church’s programs and stacking them on the dining room table (intending to look; the programs print the music and words to the hymns we sing and they could use those pages for a makeshift songbook until they find some better ones. I’m excited to be able to help and happy that my old books will hopefully be enjoyed by others for years to come.

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Katy May 14, 2024 at 10:51 am

It’s the only bug I’m happy to be bitten by!

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Autumn May 14, 2024 at 10:43 am

I’m sorry about your father-in-law passing. My thoughts are with you and your family!

My five frugal things…
#1 – Utilized the local AAUW Book Sale. I set a budget, and stuck to it. I can get a year’s worth of reading from this sale, which- while I spent about $100 which saves me just as much (if not more) in gas. Plus, if books are in good shape after I’m through with them, I can take them to a bookshop in town that will purchase books from me. Any others I will donate back to the AAUW for selling next year.

#2 – Spent only $47 at Aldi for our weekly necessities. I did the math and figured out that Aldi is about 10% cheaper than my nearest Walmart. I’m fortunate not to be tempted by the Aisle of Shame. I like getting my basics and getting out!

#3 – Renegotiated my cellphone bill- it’s down to $88/month rather than $97/month. I have to talk to a representative to have my Apple Watch S4 taken off of my plan. It’s at the end of its life and I don’t want to pay for having a second cellular line that I’m not using.

#4 – Unsubscribed from Spotify, BritBox, and MyFitnessPal. In three weeks, I only watched BritBox once. I only used Spotify to listen to podcasts, and I can listen to those on Apple Podcasts and have the same ad-free experience. MFP simply makes me feel awful about myself. I don’t know how Younger Me thought these things would change my life, but it’s been a lot of money down the drain for a while.

#5 – Paid my homeowner’s insurance, in full. Paying annually and paying within a certain date gets me 5% off the actual cost. It’s cheap to write a check, take it to the post office, and make sure it’s postdated before May 15th.

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Katy May 14, 2024 at 10:50 am

Unsubscribing is so cathartic, congratulations!

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Jann in Maine May 14, 2024 at 10:44 am

Not sure the cause of your nausea but I have found Prince of Piece Lemon Ginger Chews to be incredibly effective. They are inexpensive and maybe they will help. Had Long Covid for 15 months and was barely able to look at food. These were a godsend.
Spring is SLOW here in Maine. Rhubarb up but not ready to be harvested. And of course with cold soil we cannot put some things in until after Memorial Day. Our seedlings are doing well. The perennial plants I grew for my daughter’s rock garden (from seed) are starting to bloom again. They overwintered very well. Have more varieties growing right now.
Still cooking, drinking my own coffee, hanging clothes out on the line and walking. Works for me!
Katy is there a way he could bring or buy a cot or something for his Dad’s house so he does not have a $$$ hotel bill? And while that and mileage are deductible expenses to the estate if he is personal reporesentative (keep track of it all) that may vary from state to state. But if he has the receipts and mileage /days he can submit it. Might just help.

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Katy May 14, 2024 at 10:48 am

The house has cleanliness and odor issues that make it an unacceptable choice to sleep in.

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Lindsey May 14, 2024 at 10:58 am

This is a retread from the Frugal Girl blog, since I did not have a lot of other frugal happenings this week. (Not to say that I stopped doing the usual things like use dog food bags for garbage bags, husband made coffee at home instead of using a drive-thru, etc., but there were few newish frugal activities.)

1. Found a bag of four cups of rhubarb from last summer’s garden; how I did not see it in previous freezer rearranging baffles me. Combined it with three elderly apples and made rhubarb/applesauce, which we eat as one does regular applesauce. It made enough for several days.
2. Clobber paws has not escaped from the yard since we turned our backyard into a prison yard by extending the height of the fence by two feet to almost 7 feet tall. Too bad the neighbor brought over a bunch of spring rolls and left the gate open. Clobber paws took off and promptly jumped into our mailman’s truck that was parked down the road. He was delivered back to us, no postage charged. This saved us the $300 it could have cost us to get him out of dog jail if animal control had picked him up, and I chalk it up to cultivating good relationships with neighbors and the post man and the newspaper delivery guy. Good neighbors make the frugal life easier.
3. To my immense dismay, the new medication my husband has been taking has the side effect of hair thinning. The doc said this will slow down but his lost hair will not reappear and his hair will continue thinning. He offered us expensive treatments and husband turned him down because he doesn’t care about thinner hair. I agree about not spending the money for a vanity issue, but it pains me to see that gorgeous mane of white curls growing thinner and receding. I am basically vain over his curls, which is faintly embarrassing. Not giving in to vanity once removed is frugal.
4. Binge watched several series so I could cancel a streaming service after one month. I keep a running list and then sign up for a particular service for a month so I can watch the list. This means winter is really over since in the summer we are too busy to watch the amount we do in the cold, dark winter.
5. Attended a seed exchange, a tool exchange, and a transplant exchange this week. All gardening related.

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Anne May 14, 2024 at 1:29 pm

I can’t help laughing at your description of your prison yard to keep Clobber Paws in. I’m picturing gray-clad prison guards patrolling the perimeters with bull horns and rifles.

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A. Marie May 14, 2024 at 11:19 am

Katy, I add my sympathies to everyone else’s about your FIL’s passing–both the death itself, and the situation your DH and you have been left to deal with. I think I can read between the lines and guess at the issues–which are similar to the ones my next-door neighbor’s other close friend and I are seeing with NDN.

There’s been a tiny breakthrough with NDN, however: Of her own accord, she has begun bringing out dead houseplants, since I have assured her I will dispose of these in my “organic fence” (the vertical brush pile between my back 40 and the apartments behind me). And I know for a fact that there are a *lot* of dead houseplants. With hoarders, any baby step they’re willing to accomplish on their own is progress.

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Jill A May 14, 2024 at 11:47 am

I’m so sorry for your loss.
1. My mother’s town was hit by a tornado. It touched down one mile from her house so no damage to her. I’d dropped my car off that afternoon for an oil change the next day. The garage I use was within the path. Luckily they had no damage (houses right across the street had multiple trees on top of them). My car is fine. The amount of damage is overwhelming.
2. My daughters and I picked up a few groceries at the discount store. We found a whole wheel of delicious gourmet cheese for 1/4 the price. We were able to share it with family and friends.
3. My daughter and her fiance made breakfast for Mother’s Day. It was so good – breakfast burritos and fruit. We sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather. It was a perfect day.
4. I found two nice terracota pots in the bulk trash pick up for the next township over. They are nice enough I would have paid for them (estate sale prices of course). They were perfect for what I needed. I also found a vintage metal watering can for my daughter which was on her wish list.
5. Not frugal for me but my oldest daughter lives near a college campus and she found a Patagonia rain jacket in her size in the trash on campus. She walks through there on her way to work everyday.

Frugal Fail – I got a speeding ticket the last time I visited my oldest daughter. It was a camera ticket. I’m not a speeder usually but I am unfamiliar with the area. Bummer.

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Bee May 14, 2024 at 4:30 pm

DH received a speeding ticket in our trip to see our son. I warned him and was a bit grumpy about this.

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MB in MN May 14, 2024 at 12:21 pm

Katy, my condolences on the death of your father-in-law and the resulting work to close out his life. It’s an exhausting, complicated process.

1. Update to my update: Katy, I can’t thank you enough for putting missingmoney.com on my radar. Among the higher amounts, one friend is receiving $600 and one is receiving $3,500! They are so grateful.

2. Attended a free community presentation on turning lawns over to pollinator and rain gardens. Learned about grants and other free resources that are available from our county.

3. Went to a discount food store and scored some excellent deals (including four pounds of walnuts for $12, orange bell peppers 3/$1, 1 lb. of organic strawberries for $1, box of Almond Nut-Thins for $1, six Ciabatta rolls for $1, and free milk that was past its best by date but still fine). Would have saved another $10 if I had gone on the correct day to receive the 10% customer discount.

4. Attended a high school play that two of our neighbors were in. Spent $12 for a very delightful evening.

5. Visited a free wildflower garden and bird sanctuary and packed a picnic lunch. It was a beautiful day and we saw the cutest owlet.

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Jill A May 14, 2024 at 1:30 pm

I checked the missing money website and although I wasn’t missing anything my daughter was. She filled our the application and it looks likes she’s getting almost $1200 back in unpaid wages at a previous job.

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BettafromdaVille May 14, 2024 at 5:47 pm

How did she not notice $1200 in missing wages? (Not accusatory, but fascinating! – I would imagine my partner doing this, too, tbh. Me, on the other hand, would notice .28 cents missing!)

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Jill A May 15, 2024 at 3:10 am

I know. I said the same thing. Crazy.

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K D May 14, 2024 at 2:45 pm

Katy, I am sorry to hear about your FIL’s death and your husband’s need to deal with a house, and storage unit, full of stuff. I am trying not to leave a lot of stuff when I go.

1. I renewed my driver’s license online. My eye doctor submitted vision information online which made it easy to do. It saved time and a drive to another suburb.

2. We made a trip to Grocery Outlet and bought inexpensive Lara Bars and a few other items. They are a healthy-ish snack.

3. A friend is in town for a few days and she came over to visit while I waited for HVAC annual maintenance.

4. Safeway gave me $5 off a $5 purchase. They also offered a $10 coupon when purchasing $50 worth of certain gift cards. We were near there so DH gassed up his vehicle and I grabbed some sale items (after purchasing a gift card) and paid $.96 out of pocket.

5. Same old, same old.

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Brooke May 14, 2024 at 3:48 pm

I’m sorry for your loss. I wonder if it might be more frugal (both from a money and time expenditure) to load it all into a pod and bring it back to Portland to sort through? Just an idea to consider.

1. I scored free tickets to NatGeo lecture on sharks from Buy Nothing on mothers day earning me the title of Best Mom Ever from my shark obsessed 10yo.

2. Not to be left out, airplane obsessed oldest will get to enjoy the free aviation day at our local airport.

3. My mother’s day gift to my siblings is the gift of time. Childcare is expensive and I relish the time with my neieces and nephews so win/win. Memories will last longer than flowers.

4.

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Edie May 14, 2024 at 3:59 pm

I am deeply sorry for your loss, and the work that goes with grief and kinkeeping.

1) Now that I am working from home, I am prepping all my meals from scratch! What was very okay and affordable during the winter is another case entirely with spring and fresh farmers market produce. That’s right: I bought way too much fresh greens at the farmer’s market! BUT I have been eating some glorious salads with delicious homemade dressings, grilled young onions and asparagus, sweet new potatoes and more. And I am getting loads of amazing sweet spicy radishes and flower buds from over wintered collards (raab). I feel like a gourmet chef in my kitchen!
2) I unsubscribed from LinkedIn Premium now that I have a gig. My new gig has LinkedIN learning AND I have access to Metrix via the employment department.
3) I bought 4 more rose plants, bringing my total to 10. I got them from Home Depot instead of Portland Nursery, which I love but I was able to get 4 for the price of 1 1/2 potted roses. I love having my own rose garden, honestly. It was a dream of mine when I was a kid to have my own rose garden, and it’s nice to see that dream come true.
So not so frugal, but good for the soul!
4) Saw the magnetic storms with friends, going up to Rocky Butte to escape the light pollution. Hours of wonder for FREE.
5) I did not pay hush money.

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Christine May 14, 2024 at 5:27 pm

Nice to see you’re able to make a childhood dream come true. And what better dream than having a rose garden? The enjoyment you’ll get from it is priceless.

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Bee May 14, 2024 at 4:12 pm

I am sorry to hear about your in-laws passing and the challenges that you have been confronted with. When you must clear the home of a loved one, it certainly gives you a different perspective on stuff. My in-laws’ 1600 square foot house took approximately 8 months to clear out. My SIL who was the executor became upset by the entire process and moved everything left in the house —- even stained bed pillows — into storage where it remains 9 years later. If my husband and his siblings had not pushed her, everything might still be just as it was. It is never a good idea to make the family member with hoarding tendencies lol in charge of an estate’s liquidation.

I went to NC last weekend to help our son pack to go to Alaska for the summer. He was able to sublet his apartment while away, but he unable to find storage for his personal items. So we brought his things home with us. Yes, this is not cost effective for us, but it takes a lot of stress off of him. Grad school is stressful enough as it is.

To keep cost down, I packed, coffee, water, lunch, and snacks for our 8-hour trip. Breakfast was free at the hotel where we stayed. Lunch was from the grocery store deli and eaten in the park. We then drove for another 3 hours and put him on a flight to Alaska. Then we made the long trip home. I am tired!!! This kind of thing is getting harder as I age.

We had a particularly awful hotel stay while away. I have written an email to customer service division of this international chain. There were so many things that were just wrong! However, there was one thing that really annoyed me — the toilet paper roll was not within arm’s reach of the commode. Only someone the size of Shaq could possibly reach the TP. Grrrr… First- World problems.

I used Libby to download several audiobooks to listen to on our trip. This happily passed the time.

Mother’s Day was simple. My son, DIL, grandchildren (2 under 2) and sister came over and played in the pool. We had takeout bar-b-que on paper plates. DH ordered too much as always. He forgets our kiddos do not eat like teenagers any longer. He has been eating the leftovers and is extremely happy about it. Maybe this was the plan after all.

I have sold two items on eBay – a lot of vintage beaded push pin satin Christmas ornaments
and a pair Gorham sterling teaspoons Circa 1890. Both were shipped in previously used boxes using recycled packing materials. I am reading a fun, cozy mystery – The Framed Women of Ardmore House borrowed from the library. I batched my errands today. I’m drinking primarily filtered water from the refrigerator, brewing my own coffee and eating simple meals.

Wishing all peace, good health and prosperity.

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Marie-Josée May 14, 2024 at 4:44 pm

I’m sorry for your family’s loss and send my condolences. It’s such an emotional and physical burden when we are left to sift through loved ones’s belongings when they pass. We accompanied my grandmother through the different phases of her late life, and she felt deep sorrow and anguish at letting her things go as she lost autonomy and needed to move into three types of different assisted living homes as her needs for care increased. It was really difficult to console her and she did not accept her limitations with grace. She passed in 2013 and I can honestly say that not a week goes by that we do not reminisce about her. What a wonderful day you planned with your mom.

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Jennifer May 14, 2024 at 5:32 pm

I am sorry to hear about your FIL My FIL is battling a glioblastoma and it is not going well. My dh has taken a leave and is now living with his mom in another state and taking care of both parents while trying to clean out their house before they die. I did channel my inner Katy and put together a spreadsheet of places to donate or recycle various items in their area.

1. Cooking for 1 is cheap. My adult boys still live at home though and feeding them is not. I am trying to stay on top of having food made but boy do they just want a microwavable grab and go

2. I went through my stash of items I would like to list and got things a bit organized to list some summer clothing. Small progress but better than a landfill and hoping to make some money rather than donate everything to make my life easier. I do have a donate box going though.

3. I hadn’t realized a library book was overdue until I got a notice that I was being charged to replace the book. Oops. I quickly returned it to avoid the charge

4. I am trying to have days each week where I don’t spend any money. I have been successful several days a week for a month now.

5. I found a quarter on the playground at recess. There was a used book sale and the kids had all brought quarters to buy used books. lol I don’t normally find money on the ground at school and if I do I turn it in because it is rare kids bring money to school. But the whole school was bringing quarters so no way to know whose it was

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Christine May 14, 2024 at 5:46 pm

Condolences to you and your family on the death of your father-in-law.
1. DH and I took a walk around the neighborhood for exercise today and found a quarter. I found a penny in front of a counter in a store.
2. We had the pleasure of seeing our oldest granddaughter graduate with her Masters Degree last Sunday. The original plan was to go out to lunch as a group after the ceremony but it being Mothers Day, the plans changed as the restaurants were packed. We drove home afterward, about an hour to our house. Now her parents are having a smallish party for her at their home next weekend. I was asked to bring one food item. Yes, yes and yes. In my opinion, much less expensive for everyone than going out in a group and much less stress than a noisy, crowded restaurant.
3. I made a large pot of vegetable and white bean soup. It’s almost the end of soup season here in New England so I wanted to fit one more in.
4. I had bananas and blueberries that had seen better days, so I followed my grandmother’s old Banana Bread recipe and tossed in the blueberries before baking. Delish but I’m eating too much of it. I also baked a loaf of no-knead bread.
5. Youngest granddaughter asked me to make her “breakfast for supper”, an old favorite from when she was little, for her birthday. She had originally talked about going out for dinner, so this is a better alternative. We can spend more time together this way.

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BettafromdaVille May 14, 2024 at 5:58 pm

I’m sorry about the passing of your fil. I’m really blessed that my mom did Swedish death cleaning several years ago, although my parents will still have plenty of things to go through at some point.

1. My nephew was seeing my mom on mother’s day, and so he picked up a plant for her at Trader Joe’s for far less than it would have cost to send her flowers.
2. Partner and I did a mystery shop at a restaurant that we’ve never eaten at, so it felt like we were on a big adventure, for free.
3. Signed up to bring hot dog rolls and ice cream to a colleague’s house for dinner – both items were free through a mystery shop.
4. Ate Swiss chard from the garden, from chard that had (surprisingly) wintered over.
5. got grinders from partner’s favorite grinder shop using a gift certificate. Brought chips from grocery store (store brand!) and beverage from home – at at the beach.
Frugal Fail: we need a new hot water tank. This is the third in 18 years…. grrr.

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Selena May 14, 2024 at 7:13 pm

Do you periodically drain some water out of your hot water tank? We do it at least once a year – we have a softener. Otherwise best to do it every six months. A quick search pretty much explains it. If you have a floor drain in your basement, it is really, really easy. Hard water is tough on hot water tanks and fixtures. A softener costs money to purchase (a good one is salt thrifty however) but saves money in the long run.

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Michele May 15, 2024 at 4:04 am

Sorry to hear about your FIL. My FIL died a year ago March and my husband has been purging for a year. He was a hoarder and luckily it was all in a barn, so my husband can do at his “leisure”.
I put in my notice for retirement on Monday!!!!! It was my 30th anniversary of being an RN and seemed a good time to be done. 🙂 Our frugal life choices have allowed us both to be retired early. We will have more freedom to visit our son and DIL in WY and care for our 3 remaining parents.
1. Investigated my HSA account and submitted a bunch of claims. $700.00 back in our pockets. I tried to use the account a while ago and it didn’t work, and then I forgot about it. I checked my balance and had $1300.00 in there!
2. Packed all my lunches, snacks, and breakfasts this week, as always.
3. Went to a thrift and bought nothing, as they didn’t have the Pyrex storage bowls I was looking for. BTW, I love those bowls. I think they help with leftover management because you can SEE what’s in there.
4. Using my library like crazy. Every time someone here suggests a book, I request it and voila- it’s at my little tiny library in a few days.
5. Investigating Marketplace for health insurance. I’m eligible for Cobra, but it is so expensive.

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Ruby May 15, 2024 at 5:54 am

Katy, your husband has my sincere sympathies both on the loss of his dad and the monumental task he has to deal with. Been there and done that with two deceased family members. It’s made me an extremely selective consumer and constant declutterer.

Frugal things: Needed a tire replaced on my car thanks to the big city’s famous potholes. Checked the two shops near my house and the price range was starting at $200 at the flashy place versus $62 with free mounting and balancing at the one-bay Latino tire shop. Guess where I spent money!

Otherwise, my son and I ate the leftovers this week supplemented with some eggs that needed to be used. Repaired sections of grout in both bathrooms with supplies on hand. Saved a grubby window blind by cleaning it the bathtub and repairing the wand. Canceled a pre-order on a book after losing interest in the subject. Mended a worn spot in the hem of a pair of shorts and mended a spot the puppy keeps gnawing on the rug.

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Marybeth from NY May 15, 2024 at 6:16 am

I’m so sorry about your FIL. The distance makes it even harder. One of our goals this year is updating our wills.
It is college move out. I went yesterday with my daughter. It amazes me every year how much gets thrown out. I have a midsize SUV and we filled it up. The amount of perfectly good sheets, comforters, decorative pillows, towels and clothes that get tossed always makes me mad. We rescued as many as we could. Most of them will be brought to the church that gives to a lady’s rescue center so I know they will be used. Some of the clothes I kept for us or for resale. I found a Cuisinart hand mixer. My son recently mentioned he would like one for his apartment. Lots of crates, plastic storage bins, vases, perfumes, colognes, shaving cream, soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face masks, wires, portable chargers, screen protectors, and phone holders. We found a blow-dryer. I will be giving it to the friend that let us borrow her lake house. She can put it in one of the guest rooms. A pair of almost new sneakers are going to my cousin’s son. She is a recent single mom. He will also see if he likes any of the clothes. Hubby’s favorite was a nice pair of scissors and a brand new roll of gorilla tape. I should be good for another year on laundry detergent and pods…so many. Lots of garbage bags, Clorox wipes, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. I will share with all of my kids. The amount of unopened food was crazy. We are set on chips sacks for a while. Unopened boxes. A friend works at a half way house and I will be giving her a box of ramen and foods that we won’t use. I will be busy listing items the next few weeks. Hoping to go again this week.

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Ruby May 15, 2024 at 8:39 am

I used to work at a university and my last year brought home a year’s supply of toilet paper from spring move out. Charities will not accept opened packs. I figured it’s less worse than using the paper in a public restroom and brought it home with me.

All the staff did the best they could to donate canned food and clean bedding shoes and clothes, but the amount of stuff wasted is horrifying.

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Ashley Bananas May 15, 2024 at 6:47 am

Dear Katy, I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your in-laws. It’s a gentle reminder when someone passes that perhaps we want to re-evaluate our end of life decisions and paper work to make things easier on our loved ones. I hope that everything goes quickly in court and with cleaning out the house. I was recently asked by an elderly neighbor to do a yard sale and get rid of her stuff. I hate to tell her, but I don’t believe she will get a lot for her things…most of them are repaired or reworked. It’s hard to tell someone what they have isn’t likely worth a lot.

At my patch…
1. Yesterday the company I bought my used washer from sent a repair man to my home. He fixed the washer in about twenty minutes, citing a clogged level tube. They didn’t charge me for the repair because I was about a month out of their warranty. Finally – I am back in the business of washing my laundry!! And the fix was free except for some time and patience.
-When doing laundry I last night I pulled out my two clothing racks. I par-dried my clothes in the dryer to remove cat hair and lint, then hung them inside to finish drying and avoid longer times in the drying machine.
-I typically only do laundry once a week. I am going to try unplugging the machines to avoid energy vampires. Has anyone tried this? Do you find the bills go down if you unplug items not actively in use?
2. My son was accepted into a Summer camp at a local college for a week this Summer, the camp is free. My son earned a technology certificate at high school, hopefully the first of many as he is a freshmen. These certificates can cost quite a bit of money to take and pass. The school district pays the cost for their students. Very proud of him.
3. This weekend a neighbor asked if my son and I would trim her palm tree. We went over, pole saws in hand, and trimmed a very over grown palm, which had been poorly cut previously, forcing us to recut the poorly trimmed areas before getting to the new top growth. My friend handed us $30 which we then used for take out a few times this week. Very grateful.
4. I have kept my gas usage down to $70 so far this month. This is great considering I commute 30 minutes to and from work each way daily. I have been looping in errands and shopping to minimize gas use and mileage on the car. Considering the age of my car and the cost of gas, this is pretty amazing.
5. In grocery shopping adventures…
-I have set my grocery and take out budget at $200 this month. I am just about there…
-Last week I used my CVS Care pass (Give $5, they give you back $10 in ECB) for an 18ounce bag of trail mix, a container of chocolate covered nuts on clearance, 6 poster boards on clearance, and a clearance five pack of mini candy bars for a grand total of .34 after clearance pricing, in store coupons, and the Carepass promotion.
– I started using Shopkick recently and scanned my way to earning a $10 gift card to Target. I live near a Super Target (are they all super targets now?) and will use this for groceries this weekend to help us get through the month.
– I continue to scan items on Shopkick in my down time, and am almost at the thresh hold for another $10 gift card.
– I redeemed $23 from Ibotta this week. Thank you quirky shopping apps!!
-The up for grabs table in the kitchen at work rendered six large lollipops I brought home for my son, as well as an expensive bottle of facial cleanser for me.

This month I am truly living on less!

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Heidi Louise May 15, 2024 at 7:23 am

I am pretty sure energy vampires only affect appliances that have something constantly “on”– a clock, the ability to be started with a remote, an app-activated function, a programmed list in memory that is cancelled if you unplug it (like a satellite box), and so forth.
So a basic washer and dryer won’t be drawing energy; a computer-ready one could be.

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Blue Gate Farmgirl May 15, 2024 at 7:52 am

Wishing you and hubby strength and condolences during the many steps of this journey. I am thanking my family for saying ‘yes’ to going to a symposium on end of life organizing (trusts, wills, business transfers, etc). I have witnessed it done the messy way, the hurtful way and the horrific (favorite child gets the money and the rest can clean up the mess and split the difference…no joke).
My friend had a major clean up in Central Oregon, he bought a nice used RV and used it to live in while working on the property, once the project was done, he sold the RV for the same price he paid for it.
I am deep into Swedish Death Cleaning at my house/farm. Methodically going thru each bay of the shops/barns/tool sheds. Getting ready for a mondo garage sale in a couple of months.
I wish you would’ve been at the estate sale I went to last weekend. She was a collector of french milled soaps and they were 5/$1. I bought enough for my lifetime and the bars are so big that I can cut them in thirds or they don’t fit the soap dish.
The chicken planter turned out well! I made my mom 3 hanging plants from her favorite geranium “velvet” hot pink/red combo, I made 9 new plants fr om cuttings last fall. I also made her a chewing gum potted mint (spearmint to the rest of us, lol) and a lemon thyme plant. She can sit on her back porch and pinch off a leaf and smell it.
I scrubbed, wire brushed, primered and painted 6 yard gates black this week. Such a small task that makes a huge visual difference. I only kept the garden gate French blue.

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Dori Moerer May 15, 2024 at 8:03 am

There are certain events in life that can inspire decluttering and cleaning, etc. Sometimes a death in the family is one of those. Very sorry to hear about the loss your father in law! Thinking about your family right now and sending love.

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Dori Moerer May 15, 2024 at 8:04 am

P.S. Love how your chicken/hens and chicks planter turned out – absolutely (thriftily) adorable!!

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Hawaii Planner May 15, 2024 at 3:39 pm

My condolences on the passing of your father in law, as well as the work associated with his end of life.

1) Chased some missing rewards from my credit card, which will likely be enough to be redeemed for a hotel night. We have a teen about to start college, and the back & forth will definitely mean hotel stays, so this will come in handy.
2) Sold a patio set we bought (used) during COVID, for having neighbors over on our front porch. We don’t use it in these post-COVID days, so I listed it & sold it in a day. Also, on FB marketplace, I meant to list it at $150.00…I forgot that the site doesn’t accept the second decimals, so it listed as $15000.00 It wasn’t quite that nice of a set. 😉
3) Our teens are borrowing white dress shirts from DH for upcoming prom.
4) I picked up graduation decorations from someone on Buy Nothing last summer, and dug those out of the closet this week, so we can get ready for DS18’s quickly approaching graduation!
5) We continue to eat things we’re growing in our small garden: lettuce, chives, mint & basil.

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