Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 10, 2024 · 80 comments

  1. I assembled my bag of tricks and picked up two Popeye’s Chicken meals for a mere $3.49 after my son’s evening soccer game. I paid with points (from his birthday dinner) for one of the meals, plus had done a “back of the receipt” survey to earn the second free (with drink purchase) meal. It was a bit finicky to do the transaction, but well worth it as it fed the three of us.

  2. My neighbors, (whose house I’m caring for while they’re on vacation) let me set our yard debris bin out with their weekly pickup. It’s not so much about a full bin, but rather the smell which is currently seventh level of hell horrific, and I need to spray the demons from its depths. We share garbage service with our other next door neighbors and it would’ve been another week before it was our turn.

  3. My son and I walked over to the local consignment shop, where I picked up a Jumbo Fiestaware “peacock blue” mug for just $2. My sister likes these mugs, so I thought it would be fun to provide one for her upcoming visit. They sell for around twenty bucks on eBay,* so I knew it was a bargain.

    We then went to a new/used outdoor supply shop as my son is seeking Army surplus pants. They didn’t have any, so we nipped over to the closest Goodwill thrift shop. They also didn’t have any, but I did find a half-price $7 T-shirt for myself. My summer wardrobe is lacking, so this is a necessary purchase. Decades of working as a nurse means that I put absolute zero effort into my home clothes. Sure, it was amazing to never pay for a work wardrobe, (not even scrubs, as they were hospital provided!) but owning just a couple of decent T-shirts becomes a problem in warmer weather.

  4. • My daughter gave me a handful of gluten-containing food items, which were leftover from her old roommate.
    • I started listening to Jodi Picoult’s Wish You Were Here through the library’s free Libby app.
    • My husband and I have been eating black bean tostadas with sautéed onions and peppers on repeat as they just hit the spot. Needless to say, clearance price onions and peppers, tostadas from Winco and bulk purchased beans cooked in the Instant Pot. Cheap, healthy and yummy!

  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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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Hawaii Planner June 10, 2024 at 5:30 am

Nice work with your Popeye’s meal!
1) We had some food waste this week, as we were feeding seven & had meals all planned out. It means that we didn’t have any “be creative & use up leftovers” type of dinners, and a few things got pushed to the back of the fridge & not eaten. Drat. As a result, I’m very focused on cleaning out the fridge this week & ensuring nothing gets missed.
2) Picked up curbside lemons from Buy Nothing
3) Met a friend for a morning hike. Free entertainment, plus a bonus workout!
4) Spending this first week of summer, where DS17 doesn’t have to work, helping him get started on the college application process. We paid someone last year, and I wasn’t impressed. I’m not working currently, so will do this myself for DS17 this year. Luckily, my teens are only a year apart, so nothing has changed between the two, in terms of process.
5) DS18 got called into work this week. Each teen gets four weeks of work at a summer camp, and one week on call. They’ve never been “called” on the on call week, but one of the coaches was sick. It’s a nice chunk of extra money for DS18. I’ll make him a packed lunch & a big water bottle with electrolytes (picked up as a Friday Freebie, from the grocery store), as he’s out in the sun for 8 hours running around.


Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:19 am

We all waste food here and there, don’t beat yourself up too much.


MB in MN June 10, 2024 at 6:13 am

1. Found an adult shirt and kids’ shorts in the park. Since they’d been there for more than a week, I brought them home, laundered them and gave them away.

2. My sister gave us several food items that she wasn’t using.

3. Our niece gave us a concoction she made and disliked. It was protein cottage cheese cookie dough that is meant to be eaten raw. I love traditional cookie dough but not this. I wanted to save this concoction from going to waste so I made it into “real” cookies by adding baking soda, eggs, oats, walnuts, and dried cranberries.

4. Our niece also gave us various leftover dried fruit from her kindergarten classroom. They were in miniature bags so I opened them all and put the contents in glass jars for our mason jar pantry. My love of free food is eternal.

5. Took a book from my neighborhood’s Little Free Library that has been on my reading list. Will return after reading it along with some other books that I have to donate.


Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:17 am

Those “protein cookies” sound absolutely atrocious! You are a hero for adding the proper ingredients into them.


Kara June 10, 2024 at 6:35 am

I hear you about clothes. I run on lean/lacking in the clothes department and realized I’m on the lacking side right now. And speaking of clothes and uniforms, our son went into the Marine Corps at 19 and served for 6 years. When he got out he started wearing all his scruffy college clothes, which looked ok on an 18 year old but not so much on a 25 year old. But since he’s frugal and the clothes were unworn since college, he thought they were perfectly fine. I have volunteered to watch Buy Nothing and the thrift stores for some better pieces since he’s heading to grad school in the fall.

1. I baked English flapjacks and brownies at the same time in the oven. I gave some flapjacks to a friend for her birthday (consumable gifts for the win) and brownies are being mailed to my dad for Father’s Day.
2. Picked my backyard blackberries and enjoyed eating a lot.
3. Have a hopeful buyer for a item I got for free
4. Working summer school today.
5. Picked up 3 new packages of Pampers diapers from Buy Nothing for new grandbaby coming in August


Christine June 10, 2024 at 11:49 am

I love it when people give me consumable gifts…the sweeter the better! I try to avoid having sweets in my house but a gift? Well, I just have to eat it…I mean, I don’t want to offend anyone…


Katy June 11, 2024 at 8:59 am

It just makes sense!


Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:16 am

Ooh . . . crossing my fingers for your “hopeful buyer” transaction!


Christine June 10, 2024 at 7:12 am

1. I took my 92 year old friend and her granddaughter to the free cookout at our church. Hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, watermelon and chips, soda or water. Great time at no cost.
2. There was a community yard sale at the church that day and some free items were put out. I snagged a long folding table with a surface that needs minimal cleaning up. I’ll use it for a yard sale I have planned for the end of July.
3. It poured cats and dogs two nights ago and there is still water in the plates under my Marigolds. No need to water that day or today. I do think our resident woodchuck has eaten all my sunflower plants though. I’m glad I only spent .50 on the seeds.
4. DS and DIL gave me a large box of about twenty made in Sweden items including two pieces of Orrefors glassware and seven Dala horses. I’m in Heaven! My son got it from a customer on his mail route whose Swedish mom had passed away. He told me on the aside: “I got it all for a great price.” A boy after my own heart! Mostly I’m happy they feel comfortable giving me previously owned gifts as I’m all about keeping stuff out of the landfill.
5. I found a quarter in the washing machine so into the found change jar it went.


Denise June 11, 2024 at 12:34 am

Your quarter in the washing machine: the ultimate act of recycling??


Christine June 11, 2024 at 5:21 am

I love it! LOL. I guess you could say that’s true. At any rate, I now have a very clean quarter!


Fru-gal Lisa June 12, 2024 at 6:08 pm

Christine, you have some laundered money! I am shocked! LOL


Christine June 14, 2024 at 2:35 pm

Who…ME? Ha ha! Good one Lisa! I’m still chuckling.

Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:15 am

I am a firm believer that whoever does the laundry keeps all found money as a reward!


Christine June 11, 2024 at 12:25 pm

I’m in total agreement with you Katy. Of course, I do the laundry 95% of the time so…


Susan June 10, 2024 at 7:15 am

For as long as I’ve followed you, and it has been years!, you haven’t bought that jet. I’m beginning to think it will never happen!!


Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:12 am

Some day, Susan. Some day . . .


Mary Ann June 10, 2024 at 7:28 am

1. I have recently invested in some high price bras. I am a 36DDD AFTER a breast reduction. This wardrobe item is critical for my neck and shoulders. I want to persevere them as long as possible.I have read several sources that say to wear the bras no more than twice before washing. Also, it helps to alternate the two days of wearing. In my closet is an adorable three hook clothing hanger we screwed onto the wall. It is daisies. I put a old fashioned clothespin on each. One is marked Monday Thursday, the next is Tuesday Friday and then Wednesday Sat. Now i take off my bra and hang it on the appropriate day. I have six bras. When I have used the first three (twice each) I put them in the lingerie wash bag and soak in the mudroom tub. I start with the next set. Am I overthinking this? Who cares. I love organization.

2. I used a old brass sun napkin holder to tie up ancient cello wrapping on a gift basket.

3. My history department gave me a fabulous large framed world map with multi colored pushpins. On it is a plaque that says the Adventures of Mary Ann. I decided to use gold pins on all the country capitals I have visited. I can’t believe I used 20. I did not realize that i had actually been to the capital of Ukraine – Kiev – because I went in 1985 when it was the USSR. Yes, I taught Geography. Always learning.

4. I now have an official hiking schedule for the big 16 day backpack to finish the Tahoe Rim Trail. I need to seriously train. I went through old work out clothes. I released to the universe my 30 year old bell bottom spandex. Anything without pockets is donated. When I gym-train I start on the stairs and then hit the water. I have figured out how to do this without changing clothes by using an over size mesh workout shirt and tankini top for support with skorts on the bottom. I have cut down the gym time by 20 minutes and don’t have to change in and out of wet clothes. I purchased on sale two more sets.

5. I am spending the week moving stones and decomposed granite to finish my front yard xeriscape rather than going shopping.


Christine59 June 10, 2024 at 11:45 am

Good system with the bras!


Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:12 am

Your number five is pretty funny. It’s like some kind of Draconian anti-shopping prison camp!


Ashley Bananas June 11, 2024 at 11:16 am

I try and treat my bras like people treat jeans and wash them as little as possible. I’m also an underwire advocate and try not to disturb them as much s possible. When I was heavier I only bought expensive Lane Bryant Bras. I have not bought any bras in years.


Blue Gate Farmgirl June 10, 2024 at 7:39 am

Love that mug, Katy!
I went to a community garage sale and picked up a few vases for share bouquets, an exterior motion light for $5, a small point and shoot underwater camera to keep for when I babysit my great niece and nephew (I love kid’s perspectives…so entertaining), a pair of helly hansen rain pants for $10, 4 pairs of nice jeans/$3 ea and 3 graphic tees for $.50 ea, a collection of Jodi Picoult to share in my brother’s new rental vacation home’s library. I have a rule of if I bring it into my home, the item’s equal has to be removed x 2. 4 pairs of jeans, 8 pairs of pants went to the community closet. I gave my cousin a full camping kitchen set up for his family’s vacation…rule is if you take it, you must keep it…no backsies.


Susan June 10, 2024 at 9:36 am

Love your rules. Wish I was as disciplined Sadly, I am not


Denise June 11, 2024 at 12:38 am

Never heard “backsies” before. Brilliant word for a brilliant concept!


Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:09 am

Your personal rule is great, although I’d soon be living in a nudist colony if I followed your rule!


Lesley June 12, 2024 at 4:00 am



Ruby June 10, 2024 at 7:44 am

1. Ate one of the “use up all the frozen veggies” meals yesterday for supper. It was surprisingly good, especially since I threw in some smoked cheese, which elevates any dish.
2. Mended another gnawed-up chew-proof dog toy. How a 15-pound dog can wreak such destruction is a wonder to behold.
3. Did some minor alterations to some summer shirts. I never use those straps to secure rolled-up sleeves and the feel of them inside the sleeve annoys me. So all the straps and the outside buttons were removed.
4. Did some “use what you have” redecorating yesterday by taking down artwork all over the house, cleaning the frames and glass, and then rehanging it in a more pleasing arrangement.
5. Picked several green sweet peppers from my container garden and chopped up the excess to freeze. If you like mild green peppers that will ripen quickly, I highly recommend Cubanale plants. They have been a delight to grow and produce heavily for their size.


Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:08 am

I love cleaning and rearranging for a satisfying new look! And yes, smoked cheese the best!


Bee June 10, 2024 at 8:56 am

I wish that I could say I have done something interesting and frugal. We are experiencing extreme heat along with intense sun and low humidity. We have not had any significant rain for more than a month which is unusual for this part of Florida. This crazy weather pattern has driven me inside, and I am using this time to declutter and re-organize. At this moment, my home looks like we had an earthquake. It all began with the purchase of a bookcase last week.

As I was placing books in my new-to-me bookcase, I began sorting them. I now have four bags in the entry way that I will be donating to the Friends of the Library Book Sale. I also have started a box to ship to my cousin who has similar taste to me in books, and I have two design books that I’ll list on eBay.

One of the bookcases that I already had prior to my new purchase is in my husband’s office. Although I was removing some books from these shelves to sort, I became distracted by the clutter and the dust in that room. Since DH is traveling for work this week, I decided to dust and put things where they belong. It looks slightly better, but my DH prefers piles to files. I also took a few items out of the room that needed to go such as a lamp that needed to be rewired.

In order to safely move furniture around to accommodate my new bookcase, I emptied drawers and cabinets. Currently, my dining room table is stacked with stuff that I have squirreled away for years. I’m trying to sort through these items, but I’m having a hard time of it. Does anyone really need 3 antique/ vintage domed butter dishes? Apparently I do because I can’t decide which one I like the most.

I am doing my best to make it through the weather pattern without spending a great deal of money. Because it is so hot, we have our ceiling fans going as well as the AC. Rescue Pup who is part Great Pyrenees lies on her back under the fan to stay cool. We are both drinking lots of filtered water. Rather than running the irrigation system more than twice a week. I have been watering in areas where plants and grass appear stressed. My hydrangeas are rather small because of the drought. I do make sure that the bird bath is filled everyday.

I’ve been doing all the usual things … cooking simple meals at home and brewing my own coffee. Reading library books, listening to library and doing most of my own chores.
Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity.


Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:06 am

For a Floridian to complain about the heat means it must be bad! I’m sending cool breezes and a day of steady rain your way.


Ashley Bananas June 11, 2024 at 11:43 am

Hi Bee, Not sure where you are in Florida, SWFL here. We are predicted to get 10 to 16 inches of rain this week. I am excited for it to give us relief from the heat. Hoping some of it comes your way!


Bee June 11, 2024 at 5:24 pm

I live in Northeast Florida. We were also expecting rain, but the forecast was updated today. Our next chance of rain is June 21st.:-(. It’s going to be a long summer.


Christine June 11, 2024 at 3:54 pm

It’s wise to stay inside during extreme weather. I once asked my SIL in south Georgia how she gets through the hot, humid summers and she answered: “The same thing you do up North in the winter…you just stay inside.” We all must do what we must do. Glad you’re finding some relief indoors with the A/C and fans.


Bee June 12, 2024 at 11:15 am

Your SIL is 100% correct. I’ve seen a major change in the weather pattern over the last decade. :-(. It getting hotter.


Q June 12, 2024 at 2:38 am

It sounds like you are literally in a “B” movie: the Thick of Things!” Books, Boxes, Butter dishes, Bad weather! But, you are the heroine: I wish we could see before and after pictures: it is going to be great to have that bookcase filled!
Dana K. White (who my daughter recommended to me) might say to put the books on the bookcase, and then, as you come across more books, decide what books have to go to make room for the new ones. I think, if you can’t decide which butter dish to keep, would you be able to part with more books, would the butter dishes look interesting on the bookcase? With maybe a shell inside, like a museum vitrine? A wacky suggestion, I know! If they are opaque, maybe a fun “treasure” (not too valuable, because you might forget it’s there) for someone to find.
Here’s wishing cool breezes come your way.


Q June 12, 2024 at 2:45 am

“Bee Movie!”


Bee June 12, 2024 at 11:12 am

I am making headway and will be putting many things back in circulation. I love your idea for the butter domes — quite creative. I have plenty of shells too. I’m not so certain that this “Bee” movie would interesting, but it would definitely be a cautionary tale. Thanks for the encouragement!


Jean C June 10, 2024 at 9:38 am

I went to ‘summer starter” camp last week with 3 friends. It was great to be in a tourist area before the onslaught of tourists. The weather was a mixed bag but that gave us opportunities to do different things or just relax and read. Each day we were able to pack a box lunch so we only ate out once (other meals were breakfast buffet or family style dinners at camp). One day I brought some clothes to consign at a favorite shop and picked up a few items I did not know I needed until I got there. It was a very economical vacation.

I purchased some flowers made of hand painted paper at an art gallery. They are truly unique and make me smile. I popped them in a $2 vase I got at a thrift store and it is perfect.


Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:04 am

What a lovely way to vacation, you can plan my next trip!


Jill A June 10, 2024 at 11:16 am

My daughter #2 got married on Saturday so all my frugals are wedding related.

1. I offered up all of my peonies for my daughters wedding because they are normally blooming that week. With the warmer weather they ended up blooming three weeks before. After seeing a facebook post on saving peonies I cut them just before they bloomed and wrapped them individually in plastic wrap and stored them in the refrigerator in XL ziploc bags. My friend and her mother also gave up their peonies to the cause. We put them in water a couple days before the event and they all bloomed. It worked remarkably well. We had about 70 or 80 peonies. These were used for the centerpieces which turned out beautifully.
2. The remainder of the flowers were purchased at Trader Joe’s. We also cut some ferns, columbine and yarrow from my property to use in the bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages. Extra flowers were tucked into the centerpieces and we had more than enough. We spent less than $200 dollars on flowers.
3. The vases were thrifted, already owned or borrowed.
4. The venue only allowed beer and wine. My daughter hired a bartender and the beer and wine was purchased at Costco and Trader Joe’s.
5. They did not hire a DJ but my daughter downloaded music to her phone and used the venue’s sound system to play the music.
6. My daughters dyed cheesecloth a pale pink to use as table runners. The cost to purchase the cheesecloth and dye was the equivalent of buying one runner pre-dyed.
7. The Uncle of my new son-in-law performed the ceremony as his wedding gift to them. He wore a kilt and performed a hand fasting ceremony which was beautiful and unique.
8. My daughter’s new sister-in-law loaned her all of the candlesticks and flameless candles that she had used in her wedding the year before.

A wedding isn’t frugal at all but we were able to keep the costs down in many ways.


Bee June 10, 2024 at 11:43 am

Congratulations! It sounds like a beautiful wedding. It is wonderful that you were able to save the peonies. I admire your determination. When my son wAs married I bought flowers a TJ’s for the rehearsal dinner’s centerpieces. It was quite a savings.


Heidi Louise June 10, 2024 at 12:46 pm

Great peony save! They are such wonderful flowers, though certainly wouldn’t be practical if purchased through a florist.
And congratulations to the bride and groom.


Christine June 10, 2024 at 3:07 pm

The wedding sounds absolutely beautiful. I love all the frugal ways you and your daughters used to keep costs down and it certainly sounds as if the decor was perfectly lovely.


kathleen June 10, 2024 at 7:32 pm

I do love hearing frugal wedding ideas, and LOVE the peonies info…would have loved to see them! When my daughter married, I booked the church for the day the florist delivered all the poinsettias before Christmas and offered to help set them out. The sanctuary was gorgeous, and all I had to buy was bouquets and boutonnieres. A friend of mine owned an art gallery right across the street from the church; she had never rented it out for a reception, but she let us use it and decorate it as we wished as long as we put everything back as we found it. It was convenient and beautiful.


Katy June 11, 2024 at 8:56 am

Reception in an art gallery — how perfect!


Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:03 am

Congratulations to your family!!!

Your daughter sounds like a very clever woman, I love her creative (and frugal) mindset!


Mati June 13, 2024 at 3:04 pm

Sounds lovely!

I love a frugal wedding, especially when everyone pitches in. My brother and his longtime partner just got married, and it was so wonderful to see how all of their local friends and family supported them. The wedding was held at their friends’ house in a beautiful natural area, their friends worked together to prepare and decorate the space, and one friend did a beautiful, professional-looking charcuterie table after watching some YT videos. The best combination of luxurious and frugal I’ve seen in a while.


Kristen | The Frugal Girl June 10, 2024 at 11:18 am

I’m about to have to buy scrubs, because my soon-to-start PCT job doesn’t provide them. But if I end up in Labor and Delivery like I want to, I’m not gonna need to buy them anymore (as you well know!)


Katy June 10, 2024 at 4:39 pm

Yes, because labor and delivery nurses are also operating room nurses and infection control requires you to wear sanitized scrubs. Not ones you wore at home with a cat on your lap!


Ashley Bananas June 11, 2024 at 11:48 am



Fru-gal Lisa June 12, 2024 at 6:22 pm

Not sure how it is in Virginia, but down here, the thrift stores have oodles of scrubs for sale. Most of them are pretty new looking, and of course, they’re sold at thrift store prices. I hope you are lucky enough to happen upon a bag sale on half-price day in a thrift store that is overloaded in scrubs that are just the right size and color for you.


A. Marie June 10, 2024 at 11:27 am

FFT, It’s “Eat Your Weeds” Season Edition:

(1) I just came in from collecting greens for the second in this year’s series of early summer stir-fries. To some of the spinach I’ve been growing in my old Easy Washer tub (covered with a fire pit lid to keep Bambi out of it), I’ve added purslane, lamb’s quarters, and redroot pigweed. I’ll add these at the last possible second to a stir-fry including a small package of boneless pork I picked up Reduced for Quick Sale at Price Chopper, some of my self-seeding scallions, a carrot, and some mushrooms that need to be used up. Eat your weeds, folks!

(2) I’ve added more items to my donations to the garage sale that the local peace-and-justice group is having on Saturday, and will take these down to the group’s HQ late this afternoon. Crap out of the house…

(3) I’m also continuing to work on the pile of donations I plan to make to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The ReStore has tightened up its donation criteria recently, but I still think it’ll accept some of DH’s tools and equipment.

(4) After a hot dry spell last week, the weather here in Central NY has turned cool, dank, and rainy for the last few days. I don’t mind, because (a) the gardens can certainly use the rain, and (b) I’ve been able to shut off the electricity-gobbling AC. (Bee, you may be envious!)

(5) And I’ve been experimenting with using up the half bottle of kefir that Grad School BFF left behind (she’s into probiotics). I tried using it as a buttermilk substitute in the strawberry pancakes I made yesterday morning (local strawberries are in), and although I think I’d thin it with some water next time, I certainly intend to keep trying.


Lindsey June 10, 2024 at 5:00 pm

I went behind our shed to get a wheelbarrow of compost from last year. It is COVERED in young chickweed. I thought “A. Marie would love this!” I was making chili for dinner and I usually hide spinach in it, since the husband won’t eat greens. Instead I used chickweed and also used it in the salad. Free, nutritious food!


Katy June 11, 2024 at 9:02 am

Maybe use the kefir in a smoothie?

And using the fire pit screen top to deter “Bambie?” Genius!


Marybeth from NY June 10, 2024 at 2:31 pm

1.My daughter and I went to an art class at the library for free. We signed up for 4 craft classes. I borrowed 2 books and 2 movies. We love libraries.
2. Made pancakes with strawberries from the garden. I am picking about a pint a day.
3. Picked my first real bunch of sugar snap peas. I have been picking a few at a time and eating them. These will be cooked for a meal. Fresh ones are my garden snack.
4. Hubby is working from home this work since we are having work done in the basement. no gas.
5. Cooking at home. If I turn on the oven I load it up with potatoes or muffins. Otherwise I use the crock pot or BBQ to keep the house temp down. Only used the AC 2 times so far. Line drying the laundry.


Katy June 11, 2024 at 8:59 am

You can alway use my hot summer months cooking hack and plug in the crock pot outside to really not heat up your kitchen!


Ruby June 11, 2024 at 5:07 pm

I used to put our electric skillet out on the porch to fry chicken in the summertime. That appliance made the best chicken. Alas, we are old now and anything fried is no longer on the menu.


Katy June 12, 2024 at 11:53 am

Not even in moderation?


Kathy June 10, 2024 at 2:50 pm

1. Downloaded United Healthcare rewards for hubby and I to use at Walmart
2. Sold a couple more things and frankenboxed the poly mailers I had
3. Did an online survey $5 reward
4. Bought a plant arrangement on clearance $4.99. I’ll split the plants into two containers
5. Watched queen pins. I need mindless entertainment


Katy June 11, 2024 at 8:57 am

Your list is great and the perfect example of how all those small (to medium) savings add up!


Ecoteri June 10, 2024 at 9:13 pm

1. An anti-LGBTQ2s+ woman was booked to speak at our local community theatre. She had been booked before, and the written protests (and proof that she indulges in hate speech) got her booking refused. This time – for whatever legal reasons – there was nothing the theatre could do, so her talk was on.
I joined a lovely loud and colourful and kind and celebratory crowd of all ages (and genders) for an hour or so of ‘showing the colours’ – and since it was my first physical protest I am feeling rather proud of myself, although quite exhausted by some of the experience.
You all would be proud of me as I went into my (very bland ) cupboards and drawers and was able to cobble together a ‘costume’ (as a friend there called his outfit) of some bright colours– for no financial outlay.
I also dug around in the barn and found a big piece of coro-plast (corrugated plastic) that I have been saving for at least 10 years… Cut off a small rectangle (that was sticking out one end of the sheet, anyways), wiped it off and wrote on it with Sharpie. Bam, sign and ‘costume’ and a bright red cowboy hat (also a random item that was the right bright colour) and I was good to go.
2. My morning walking buddy gave me another suitcase on its ‘almost’ last legs/wheels, which I promptly delivered on my way home (!! GO ME) to a friend who travels to South America each year with suitcases full of donations. She needs dozens every year as of course they don’t ship them back home. Several birds fed with one crust for that small errand – walking buddy got several cubic feet out her house, travelling friend got a needed suitcase, and I got to do a good deed immediately (I am the procrastination queen as my travelling shed of a car can attest)
3. Made a new-to-us lentil dish out of the pantry, with the instant pot. I am not thrilled with it but a) we will eat it up anyway and b) I suspect I just need to double all the spices… I thought I had a heavy hand but clearly I needed a bigger spoon. ** Update, #2 son LOVED it and gobbled it up, is now holding out the gruel bowl saying “Please, may I have some more?”. LOL
We were eating it up with some bolting arugula from the big greenhouse (the arugula is on all the pathways because it bolted all over the greenhouse last year. I am slowly removing it but not until I need that section, as the bees and other polinators LOVE the flowers. The leaves aren’t too spicy if I get them soon enough). Also with rice and more rice, and the other fridge-foods that I have been putting together so my ‘I want pizza’ brain can be convinced that there is ready-to-eat food at home.
4. Visited my family doctor (free, I am Canadian) – the wait was 5 weeks as I wasn’t in a hurry, and she is so marvellous I was more than willing to wait to have a later visit, as I usually take a list.
Turns out many of my concerns are, as she quietly said under her breath, probably due to my weight. I think she was rather astonished when I crowed with delight! She wasn’t pulling the classic ‘it is all your weight’ that we read about, she was specifically pointing out how weight affects acid reflux which affects both my voice and my swallowing… and my challenge to reduce cholesterol will be easier if I drop a few (well, quite a few) pounds.
She also made me VERY happy by telling me that another medication I take is CONTRIBUTING to my weight gain.
It isn’t all my crappy willpower, friends! So, I am going to actually try Ozempic, which is off-label if used for weight loss with no diabetes (so out of pocket), but if it can get my scale to read a better number, I think I will find it easier to be vigilant. It has been so discouraging to be trying and failing. Now that I know that there are ‘evil forces’ at play, I am hopeful that we have a solution that will help me out here.
Of course, the funny thing (not ha-ha funny) is that Ozempic can lead to reflux, which is one of the reasons I am trying it (as weight leads to reflux), so this will be interesting…
5. ‘Wonder James’ was using the rototiller, and got the job 99% done, then the tiller stopped powering the wheels. He pulled it up to the house (and it is UPHILL) and we were GOING to load it in the truck to ‘take it in’, then I thought of Blue Gate Farmgirl and decided that we would do a bit of an investigation.
We took off a cover (cursing the tight bolts) and discovered a belt was off. Since this lovely tiller has had hundreds of hours of work, no wonder the belt is loose. I picked up a new one and laughed when I discovered that I had purchased the tiller in 2013 – so that old loose belt doesn’t owe us anything.
This will save many dollars of shop repair time as well as the hassle of getting it into and out of the truck.- and I am meeting my urge to be a bit more proactive with the machinery.
6. And speaking of machinery, the new-to-me $900 riding lawn-tractor and trailer have been earning their keep! There have been a few trips down to the field with a trailer full of 5 gal buckets full of chicken manure – which I am spreading on my field. The chicken guano has been in a pile by their pen and they have been making an unholy mess of it (look! Fun!! play in our own droppings! Spread them everywhere!!) but moving it to the field WAS going to be an awkward wheelbarrow job – buckets don’t work very well in the wheelbarrow, but buckets are great for moving it to exactly where I need it. The trailer takes a bunch of buckets, so Wonder James and I were busy – along with other chores, he was doing drive-by manure drop-offs for me in the field, swinging by again to get emptied buckets, and mowing lawns on every pass up and down. I was dumping and spreading and (of course) weeding. And getting sunburnt. And 21,000 steps. Friday was a day for the records.
The tractor is genius for bringing a full trailer of flats down or plants back up from the big greenhouse. I had been convincing myself that walking things up and down increased my step count for the day, however (see above) this is no longer necessary.
Spring has sprung, and I am springing along after all the riz grass as well other plant -related events. apologies to ee cummings


Bee June 11, 2024 at 4:05 am

My sister took ozempic in the US until the insurance companies started making changes. It now runs roughly $1260 a month ( US Dollars). Do you know what the cost is in Canada?


Ecoteri June 11, 2024 at 9:56 am

OMG @Bee, I was wincing at the ~$250 CDN I will be paying a month. At $1260 I would be declining…. As others have stated here, there is some US Company (Mark Cuban? something like that ) who offers much cheaper prescription drugs… maybe try there>


Bee June 11, 2024 at 6:01 pm

Yes, I was curious. That’s a big difference.


Patricia June 11, 2024 at 2:58 pm

Wow! Just paid 141.00 after insurance.


Katy June 11, 2024 at 8:55 am

Wow, you’ve been busy, I’m very impressed. That is a great use for your friend’s less than perfect suitcase!


Ecoteri June 11, 2024 at 9:57 am

@Katy, didn’t you hear me talking to you as I drove it from my friend’s to my other friends? I was asking if you would be proud of me! LOL


Kym June 11, 2024 at 1:13 pm

Must admit I’m jealous of your mug find. Fiestaware is few and far between at our thrift stores, and it’s what we use. Still, I did manage to find a cooler for my daughter, a heavier North Face sleeping bag to replace mine so I can stop freezing on May and September camp trips. Also thrifted a few cute tops so I can quit wearing ratty t-shirts when we go out.

We’re downsizing and had a garage sale with a lot of out extra stuff. Between that and honey sales, it was a ka-ching couple of days!


Katy June 12, 2024 at 11:54 am

I see Fiestaware pretty frequently here, but it’s usually marked up in price.


rebecca June 11, 2024 at 4:16 pm

1. My friend came over the other morning for breakfast. I suggested I cook to save some $. I made a frittata with on sale ingredients, apple muffins from some apples that had been rolling around for a few months and watermelon I brought home from a relative’s graduation party. I love breakfast/brunch entertaining. So affordable.
2. Having good neighbors is a wonderful thing. I am watering some neighbors plants while they are away. We have keys to each other’s homes. Friendship and trust is priceless.
3. I watched Roland Garros tennis for entertainment.
4. I made chocolate chip muffins as a thank you with ingredients I had on hand.
5. The usual-coffee from home, loss leaders ect.


Katy June 12, 2024 at 11:53 am

I’m sure your friend appreciated your cooking, having someone prepare food for you is such an act of friendship.


Alison June 11, 2024 at 8:45 pm

1. I’m a beginner gardener, but now eating lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale and radishes from my raised bed garden. Also planted green onions, leeks, beets, squash and tomatoes. The garlic bed is doing really well, 116 cloves planted this year, almost double than last.
2. DH has been doing some labour to help out the contractor that’s building our home’s addition, I’m sure saving us significant $.
3. The dirt dug out from the excavation for the addition was dumped in the back of our property, keeping the cost down as it didn’t need to be trucked elsewhere. DH used our tractor to spread it around the property.
4. Swapped tools with my cousin who lives on a nearby island who had a chain saw that was too much for him, giving him a smaller one we had.
5. Noticed that my thrifted teapot was severely cracked (don’t know when that happened!) and have been looking for another. Couldn’t find one, asked my dad if he had an extra one and he gave me his as he never uses it. It’s perfect.

Frugal Fail:
I spend $65 CDN to attend a painting class with 4 other ladies (including my sister and my niece), given by a friend and her sister who is an accomplished artist. All materials were included in the 2.5 hour class on impressionist painting. My piece turned out better than I thought it would, (not wall worthy), but it was a fun time with great camaraderie, I learned something, and it was something different.


Ecoteri June 12, 2024 at 8:05 am

Hey Alison, that Frugal Fail is a win in my eyes! Like my painting class that turned into a stencilling class, there was benefit at the end for someone. In your case, the artist got paid for her efforts – (and the materials cost a bit) and everyone got some time with a group focussed on creating! In my case, I let go of the need to be creative and simply filled in the holes of the stencil, however I got to meet some lovely people and my event was a fundraiser for a charity I strongly support. We are frugal so we have the money for living our lives with joy and in relationship! You did great!
As for the gardening, well done! so satisfying to eat food you grew with your own hands. And I love the tool swap – always a good idea to share with a friend what you need, often they are in the same boat for something else. Same with the teapot – clever of you to ask your dad what was unused in his house. There is a LOT of that in my family – although mostly me giving the kids something I have in “Mom’s Pantry”


Katy June 12, 2024 at 11:52 am

I’m here to chime in that class was not a frugal fail!


Q June 12, 2024 at 3:15 am

Alison, I don’t think that was a “fail.” You are thrifty in other things to be able to have experiences like that, and build community and support an artist.

1. Lending tents, outdoor chairs, large salad bowl, to a friends for a large family party, saving her rental.
2. Transplanting “volunteer” native plants to fill in holes in my garden beds. I am trying really hard to avoid buying mulch this year, and am instead going for “living mulch” to keep weeds down. I am also using small pieces of slate that I bought for very little money (and much labor on a hot day) last summer. I am placing the slate between plants.
3. Decorating front yard with an interesting piece of wood I picked from a free pile. Am organizing garage with crates from same free pile, and spray painting a cool basket from there, to plant up and give as a gift.
4. Am using recycled pieces of old fencing to reinforce inconspicuous areas on gate, etc. I have a side yard with “resources,” and I am trying to use up some of those resources to make things for the rest of the yard, to restore a little order there!
5. The usual: Cooking at home, wearing thrifted clothes, planting more library seeds in old salad containers, recycling shower warm up water to water tomato plants, and reading more library books.


Ecoteri June 12, 2024 at 8:07 am

“Resources”! OH, I Must remember that term. I love to explain my need for a ‘selection’ when defending my hoards of food and building material and dirt and …. Resources is a much better term


Katy June 12, 2024 at 11:51 am

I love the idea of “living mulch!”


Jill A June 13, 2024 at 5:10 am

I also love the term “living mulch”. I’m also attempting to fill in with plants to take the place of weeds.


Christine June 13, 2024 at 2:16 pm

I think along the same lines as far as mulch. Some years I just don’t buy it. This year, due to a lot of Spring rain I believe, my perennials too off and have filled in the garden nicely. No need for mulch this year.


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