Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 17, 2024 · 78 comments

  1. I invited a childhood friend over to the house who’s going through some tough times. I’d made an inexpensive pot of chicken soup with dumplings, which she remembers eating at my house when we were little kids. I also threw together a loaf of no-knead artisan bread because everything’s better with warm buttery bread.

    Had we met for coffee or lunch (her suggestion) not only would we have spent money, but our time together would’ve been limited by how long is an appropriate amount of time to monopolize a restaurant table. Instead we got to sit on comfortable furniture without external stressors — no one listened in on our conversation and we both saved money. Plus I enjoyed a couple days of leftover soup.

  2. I’ve been enjoying walks lately, (mostly evenings) sometimes with my husband or a friend, but mostly on my own. I’ll either listen to a Libby audiobook or a podcast or — shocker — think my own thoughts. Sometimes I come across great “free boxes,” but I’m just as happy to walk without gamification. I’m not marching to reach a specific number of steps, but am simply enjoying the longer days and the luxury of feeling safe after 8 P.M.

    Just today I walked a mile or so to a real estate open house I’d seen on Zillow. I’ve admired this house in the past and welcomed the opportunity to explore the interior. (I was honest with the real estate agent about simply being a curious neighbor and she assured me that many others were doing the same thing.) I then meandered to the library to pick up my holds and nipped over to Fred Meyer to grab ingredients for scampi, (my husband’s sole Father’s Day request.) I was probably out for around two hours, yet my only expense was the $21.25 for dinner ingredients.

    Extreme frugality is often viewed through a lens of deprivation, yet I got to indulge my interests without spending money. Free exercise, free open house, free books (more Roz Chast!) and $21.25 for a special occasion meal that’ll serve meal four people — likely with leftovers!

  3. My husband invited a friend to dinner, as they were headed to a punk rock concert that evening. (Very much not my thing!) The friend had initially suggested a restaurant, but my husband instead offered to barbecue some chicken kebabs.

    There have been times when the prospect of spontaneous guests was stressful, as the state of our house veered more towards messy than clean and tidy. I’ve put a metric crap ton of work into decluttering and organizing the house through the years and I no longer live in fear of the spontaneous stop by. It’s just so relaxing to exist in an orderly home that can welcome guests without those inevitable feelings of panic.

    Not gonna lie, it helps that the kids are grown and flown.

  4. • I scored a $1 bag of apples from the Fred Meyer clearance shelf.
    • I’m watching over our neighbor’s house as they’re traveling again for a couple of days.
    • I walked over to the tail end of our block party and enjoyed conversation and a slice of overly sweet bakery cake.
    • I stopped into H Mart for gluten-free soy sauce and curry paste, yet somehow didn’t succumb to any impulse purchases.
    • I combined errands when I needed to drop off probate forms with our estate attorney and then swung through downtown to pick up a repaired pair of earrings.

  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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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Bee June 17, 2024 at 5:38 am

My giant decluttering process continues. I hope to soon be free of all the little piles all over the house. You are an inspiration! My FFT are small this week.

1. Since the berries and melons are so good this year, we did not eat the 5 pounds of apples that I bought earlier in the month,and they were becoming soft. I sliced them up and put them in the crock pot for several hours with cinnamon and a little brown sugar. These are just so yummy with vanilla ice cream or yogurt.
2. I have been running my sponge through the dishwasher every time I wash a load. This is keeping it sanitary and seems to be extending its life.
3. I sold an item on eBay. I took a low but fair offer. The item was free, so I didn’t have any cost to cover. So I felt is was best to bless someone else. Of course, I used previously loved packing materials.
4. Not frugal for me, but for my son. Costco has their store brand diapers – made by Huggies— on sale this month. 160 diapers are only $35. This is a huge savings over the big box stores and named brands. I purchased two cases for my son’s babies. He has 2 children under the age of 2. Diapers can be a big expense. Of course, I bought a$5 chicken as well as my monthly essentials while I was there.
5. Father’s Day was spent on the beach as a family. My Grandson loves the water just like his dad and grandfather, and my granddaughter apparently thinks beach sand is quite tasty. We set up the cabana and played until nap time. After nap time, we cooked a family dinner together at my son’s home. We all contributed skills and food. It was a very relaxed day. No fighting breakfast and dinner crowds, plenty of time to enjoy each other’s company, and no mediocre food at high prices.

Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 9:54 am

What a perfect sounding Father’s Day. Especially the tasty sand!

I love that you bought sale priced diapers for your grandchildren, I can only imagine how happy that made your son and daughter in law.


Kathleen June 18, 2024 at 9:38 am

Lightning bolt! Sponge in the dishwasher…doing this!!!


A. Marie June 17, 2024 at 5:45 am

FFT, Heat Wave Edition (paging Martha and the Vandellas):

Much of the US, including Central NY, is bracing itself for the first day of a 4- or 5-day heat wave. So here’s what I’ve been doing to prepare for it frugally:

(1) My garlic was ready to be dug Friday (2 weeks ahead of schedule, but then every green growing thing has been 2 weeks ahead of schedule this year), so I went ahead and dug it Friday afternoon when the weather was pleasant instead of waiting till this week. I’m now the proud owner of 17 fine, fat, healthy heads of garlic. (The variety I grow is a hardneck called Music, in case anyone’s wondering.) I let the plants (scapes and all) dry in the sun on my brick driveway for a couple of days, and have just finished toting them up to the attic and spreading them on newspaper on the floor to dry further. The scapes actually grow a little more while the garlic’s in the attic, and they produce bulblets that I like to use in soup stocks.

(2) I managed to dig the garlic without putting a divot, nick, or scratch in a single head (a possible first for me). And I also managed not to drive over the garlic while it was in the driveway, though I came close once. 😛

(3) Between an early morning walk (my usual habit) and three trips to the attic with the garlic, I’ve gotten today’s exercise requirements out of the way. No interesting curb piles on my walk a la Katy, but I did find $1.25 in deposit containers.

(4) I spent part of Sunday afternoon cooking so I wouldn’t have to do much in the kitchen today. With one 3-quart saucepan of boiling water, I did the following: (a) hard-boiled 6 eggs; (b) steamed some asparagus, using the Revere Ware steamer that fits into the the saucepan; and (c) boiled enough potatoes for a potato salad, into which I put 2 of the hard-boiled eggs.

(5) Also into the potato salad went a generous quantity of fresh dill. Dill volunteers all over my gardens, and I had to pull some of it just to make room for other stuff. I was also able to furnish a neighbor with dill at his request (he was making his own Father’s Day dinner!), and I’ll keep doing this plus picking dill for my own fresh use and drying as long as the greens are usable. Once the flower heads start forming, it’ll be refrigerator pickle time!


Katy June 17, 2024 at 9:49 am

I’m propagating some dill right now on the kitchen windowsill and hoping to have my own garden dill in the near future. I planted garlic last fall, but the squirrels got them.


Alisomn June 17, 2024 at 10:15 am

Now I find this very interesting Katy. This is my second year growing garlic. My very experienced gardening friend told me that vermin, etc won’t touch garlic as it’s too strong. Did the squirrels dig up the bulbs when you first planted? Did they get a chance to sprout at all? How annoying for you.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 10:22 am

They dug them out soon after I planted them. Three or four survived the winter, although they’re pretty puny.


Blue Gate Farmgirl June 17, 2024 at 10:38 am

The gophers and voles love garlic, too! Before lining an entire raised bed with hardware cloth, I purchased crawfish traps at a tag sale and cut open the tops of them, sunk the trap into the soil, planted the bulbs and zip tied them close, covered with more soil/mulch and finally got a good crop! So much work, but I love tasty fresh garlic and scamps.

A. Marie June 17, 2024 at 11:15 am

To add to the garlic discussion, I did have 1 runt along with the 17 fine, fat, etc. The runt got dug up by unidentified rodents not once but twice in the early spring. But I replanted it both times, and it did its best, bless its little garlicky heart.

And here’s my pro tip for folks who want more dill than they know what to do with: Scatter some dill seed in your gardens in the late summer/early fall, and wait till next year. Dill plants have long taproots and don’t transplant well.


Ecoteri June 17, 2024 at 5:13 pm

Ah, Dill, the herb that keeps on giving. One you have let a a few plants go to seed, you won’t have to worry about planting dill again. Cheerfull little volunteers pop up all over the place, and if in inconvenient spaces, they are darn tasty weeds.


Selena June 17, 2024 at 7:24 pm

Interesting you did not cut the scapes. I did not have any scapes last year and see no signs of them this year. But if I don’t cut them, my garlic heads are much smaller. Never had an issue with any critters digging/eating my bulbs. But then again I am rural with not only the seed I put out, plenty of other seed/berries/insects (aka getting fat on Cicadas) for them to consume.


Christine June 19, 2024 at 7:58 am

A. Marie, I always add dill to my potato salad. Also a little pickle juice (DH’s request…his mom made it with pickle juice). I’m thinking I need to plant some fresh dill though as I use dill from a spice jar. It sounds pretty easy to grow.


Marybeth from NY June 17, 2024 at 6:13 am

Part 2 of the basement work is done. The French drain and sump pump are in. Next is the electrician later this week. We were given a 10% discount for paying cash.
1. Hubby had a great Father’s day. My son took him to the range in the morning. They stopped and grabbed egg sandwiches on the way. They brought drinks and snacks with them. On their way home they stopped by my FIL’s to say hi. They ate lunch when they got home(2:30). We played board games with the kids, Hubby’s picks. My youngest treated to pizza for dinner. I gave her a coupon I had. Everyone has leftovers for lunch today. I offered to get Hubby Carvel but he said lets wait until Wednesday(BOGO).
2. Saturday we got more compost for the garden free from the town. We also got a new recycling can. 2nd one since we have been in the house(25 years). It was beyond repair. They asked if we would like free paper lawn bags so we got 25(limit). They are trying to get people to use paper instead of plastic. We already do but were happy to get some for free.
3. I am picking strawberries and sugar snap peas every day. Lettuce every other day. We are enjoying it all. String beans and cucumbers are all in. Almost done planting now that we got more compost. 1 more load and we should be good.
4. Currently reading “How to retire with enough money” from the library. My daughter and I did 2 library classes last week, garden art and candle making. We had fun at both. I have a stack of books to read as does she. I grabbed a few DVD’s for Hubby.
5. Hanging laundry out side. Keeping windows open as much as possible. Enjoying the hot tub and fire pit as much as possible. Being content and grateful for what we have.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 9:39 am

Your life really does sound ideal. Delicious food from the garden, time spent with daughter at the library and a husband who’s happy to wait a couple days for half-price ice cream. Nicely done.


Selena June 17, 2024 at 7:26 pm

My strawberries are done (last picked Wednesday of last week). Likely just as well as this heat would have ended them. However you cannot beat farm-2-mouth in 30 minutes or less strawberries.


Selena June 17, 2024 at 7:28 pm

Actually Thursday last week. Got tired of the “oh ripe berry, crap bottom is bad” physical exertion lol.


Marybeth from NY June 18, 2024 at 6:16 am

I’m still picking about a pint a day. They are so delicious. I am on LI so the heat isn’t supposed to be as bad as the rest of NY. Stay safe.


Hawaii Planner June 17, 2024 at 6:15 am

Ooh, let’s see:
1) Sold a few things on eBay & did a survey for $25. It was quick & easy, which made it seem particularly worthwhile.
2) Picked up some additional veggie plants on Buy Nothing, after the squirrels decimated one of my garden beds. DH & I replanted the bed yesterday, and put up more of a flexible “fence” around the beds which seemed to deter the squirrels in the other bed. Fingers crossed that this one lasts.
3) Packed lunches for DS18 (we haven’t done that in years, as CA offers free lunch to all school going kids since COVID), as he’s working this summer. Also made him lots of electrolyte water, as it’s been hot & he’s outside all day.
4) Used CVS rewards to also buy DS18 Gatorade,w which we don’t keep on hand, as it’s often unnecessary, but is useful when you’re outside teaching kids games for 8 hours & it’s 80 degrees.
5) Made DH a cake for his birthday this weekend, using all ingredients on hand.


Fru-gal Lisa June 17, 2024 at 7:05 am

I’ve heard that if you get some red fox urine (from the animal, not the comedian, LOL), and sprinkle it around, the squirrels will stay away. In fact, they’ll run for their lives; they think a predator is nearby and they don’t want to become his dinner. You can get this stuff at sporting goods stores or departments; I think Walmart’s sporting goods dept. sells it. Maybe that will help.


A. Marie June 17, 2024 at 7:27 am

Fru-gal Lisa, I don’t know whether the fox urine will work on squirrels, but I can sadly report that it has no effect whatever on either deer or feral cats. My next-door neighbor’s late husband, a retired botanist, tried every type of commercially available predator urine to try to keep both the Bamboids and the Catoids out of his gardens–with no detectable results.


Lindsey June 17, 2024 at 4:46 pm

Commercial urine products don’t deter moose either. I made my husband systematically pee around the perimeter of our backyard, to no avail. The only thing that worked for wild animals was a neighbor who installed one of those sprinklers that have sensors that make the sprinkler go off if it detects motion. Works great until your in-laws come for the week and get up before you do to have coffee and enjoy our 24 hours of daylight and end up getting a shower.


A. Marie June 18, 2024 at 1:17 pm

As I think I have reported previously, DH always said (and Dr. Bestest Neighbor still does) that one good pee outside was worth three inside. It’s a guy thing, even if it doesn’t deter the wildlife.

And we too found that motion-activated sprinklers were the best deterrent we ever used. Unfortunately, there is the problem Lindsey mentioned with unsuspecting folks getting an unexpected shower. In addition, they’re a bit delicate to maintain; DH lost the ability to do so as his Alzheimer’s progressed, and I never had it. So I gave up on them.

Katy June 17, 2024 at 9:26 am

You are such a nice mama!


Julia June 17, 2024 at 2:36 pm

Just FYI Gatorade comes in a powder form
and the large containers are Sooooo much cheaper than buying bottles of the drink.


MB in MN June 17, 2024 at 6:38 am

Katy, that sounds like a delicious comfort meal for your friend. And thanks for sharing the link to that beautiful home. I especially loved the front porch, floors, kitchen sink and back deck.

1. Gave away and received many items on Buy Nothing. Best score was a stick vacuum cleaner that we’ll use in the lower level so we don’t have to haul the larger vacuum up and down the stairs.

2. My husband cancelled his subscription to Sling TV once the Stanley Cup finals were on network TV.

3. Used homemade veggie broth for making brown rice. Added some chopped cilantro to use that up. Very tasty with or without accompaniments.

4. To keep the squirrels from upending the flowers in patio pots, we placed black, barely noticeable deer netting over them (the flowers, not the squirrels!). That looked fine for a while but then I realized I could just cut up some small pieces of netting and place those around the flowers. Much better. This was netting we had left over from when we grew pumpkins for fun.

5. Attended a high school graduation open house with my husband over the dinner hour. Had plenty to eat and enjoyed talking with new neighbors.


Danielle June 17, 2024 at 6:58 am

We just got back from our first trip to Europe, which was not at all frugal but it was amazing. However there were a few things we did that helped the cost;

1. I booked our flights with miles that we had accumulated by opening a British Airways card pre-pandemic.

2. For the cruise portion of the trip, we booked through Costco which was not only the best deal for the itinerary, it also gave us a shipboard credit that paid for two excursions, a $300+ Costco gift card, and a 2% rebate on part of the cost of the cruise.

3. For the land portion of the trip, we booked airbnbs and hotels that were centrally located and gave us the most flexibility for the price. It was a lot of research, but each one was perfect for us.

4. We didn’t shop for souvenirs. We know our family well enough to know they DO NOT want a magnet with the name of a place they’ve never been. We have 800+ pictures on our shared album with the family we traveled with and that’s enough souvenir for me.

5. My husband spent much of his free time listening to podcasts about investing and retirement so he’s hot to max out our retirement accounts and really tune up our budget for the next few years. That’s a win in my books because as it turns out, our favorite places in all of our travels were the ones that remind us of home.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 9:23 am

Your planning for this trip is very impressive, I’m happy to read that it was a success!


Katy June 17, 2024 at 9:24 am

The kitchen sink was so cute in person. The real estate agent made sure to point it out as “vintage,” even though it was newly installed. Score on the vacuum cleaner!


maeve June 17, 2024 at 10:30 am

I hope the next owner replaces the porch columns. Corinthian columns in a Craftsman? No.


Bee June 18, 2024 at 2:41 am

I love the wood floors laid in a herringbone pattern. Just beautiful! I agree about the columns, Maeve.


Sandra June 17, 2024 at 7:12 am

1. I found an author of historic seafaring stories ala Patrick O’Brien. They carry the author’s whole series at our library, 18 books in all. I checked one out a couple of weeks ago and liked it. Since then I’ve been back twice to get more in the series. With 18 it should keep me reading for a while.

2. My daughter, daughter-in-law, and I discussed going out for Father’s Day Brunch. My daughter-in-law looked into it and found that it would be $60.00 per person. I offered to host and planned a Fiesta Brunch. We started with a Sangria Blanca cocktail (inexpensive white wine with lots of fresh fruit and a little orange liquor) then an overnight Southwest casserole, two sides, a salad, coffee and dessert. I served five and it was under $60.00. As Katy mentioned, best of all we could relax and enjoy a good long visit without feeling rushed to free up a table.

3. I still had leftovers of everything from the brunch so future lunches and snacks. I’ll repurpose some of the leftovers for a Tex-Mex soup and I see a taco salad coming together pretty easily, too.

4. My over-wintered patio pots are all doing well. Most of the begonias and geraniums have started blooming again. All of the succulents, grasses, ornamental fillers such as dusty miller and creeping jenny have come back strong. If you have the space, it definitely pays to overwinter your patio pots. Replacing with new plants every year is expensive. A few may not make it, but most will.

5. A dear neighbor brought over leftover barbeque. It is enough to do two dinners or lunches. So sweet and since I don’t barbeque – a nice change from my standard fare.


MB in MN June 17, 2024 at 8:10 am

Sandra, I love your tip about overwintering pots. What ways have you found to be the most successful? Thank you!


Sandra June 17, 2024 at 12:28 pm

I think it depends on the plants. As I mentioned, various grasses always seem to winter over well. Tropicals, such as Mandevilla don’t do well. On the other hand I did winter over a Gardenia that seems to be thriving now – several new buds. Petunias don’t overwinter, but geraniums do. I have had success with Sun Begonias, but not with Tuberous Begonias. So I guess it comes down to just trying things out. If I end up throwing a few things out, I still have many that survived.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 9:19 am

Ooh . . . I love discovering a new favorite author. Especially when they’ve been prolific with their publishing! Your brunch sounded delicious, well done!


A. Marie June 17, 2024 at 10:20 am

Sandra, who’s the author of the sea stories you mention in your #1? I confess I’ve never really gotten into Patrick O’Brian because my heart belongs to C.S. Forester and Horatio Hornblower–but I’m open to suggestions.


Sandra June 17, 2024 at 12:20 pm

As you might have guessed, I’ve read all of the Hornblower series as well. Aside from the fact that my husband was in the Navy, I can’t account for my fascination with historic 19th century British seafaring. I also enjoyed Two years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana. The current series is a reprint from the 1960’s. The author is Dudley Pope and the principal character is Ramage.


Kathleen June 18, 2024 at 10:19 am

If you haven’t read Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew by Brian Hicks, I HIGHLY recommend. I absolutely loved it!


Julia June 17, 2024 at 2:42 pm

I’ve over wintered my potted geraniums for several
Years. I also cut it back and am waiting for the slips to grow roots. More plants!


Fru-gal Lisa June 17, 2024 at 7:34 am

Oh, if I only had a spare million dollars lying around, I think I’d buy the house you visited and move to your state. The homes in my grandma’s post-World War I era neighborhood looked like that; only thing is, her old neighborhood is now a slum complete with drive-by shootings — and all the once beautiful “Arts and Crafts” style homes are in disrepair. But thanks for sharing!
Meanwhile, I have some yard work-related frugalities to share today:
1. The yard men cut some tall shrubs, without my permission, and also slung them over the back fence, also without my permission. The heavy, long branches stuck on the wood pickets, remained standing against my fence, and I was not able to push them off. Trouble is, the other side of the fence is considered city right-of-way and you’re not supposed to do this. I don’t have a gate on that section of the wood fence, and certainly can’t climb it. So yesterday evening, I hiked over to the other side (I’m in the middle of the very long block, so it was quite a distance) and took down the tall limbs. I cut ’em up with my loppers as best I could and stacked them into the kind of piles the city mandates. This was near sunset but it was still really hot and humid. And miserable! But I didn’t have to pay for the work to be done. Hopefully, the city will pick up the wood when it mows its right-of-way.
2. Hauled the yard waste dumpsters (rolling trashcans) to the curb for city pickup. I’d already cut up the brush that those same workers had left in my yard. This will keep me from having to pay them to haul it to the city landfill. (Which is probably what the yard man intended to have happen, and he charges quite a bit.)
3. Went out to the country, to a friend’s place, and we collected some rocks to use for a flower bed border in front.
4. Got up at sun-up and pulled the weeds that were choking out my bed of English ivy. Got a huge sack filled with same and worked until it was too sticky and hot to stay outdoors.
5. Asked the neighbors’ lawn care service what they’d charge. Sure enough, I will get a discount if I contract with them and agree to have my lawn cut on the same days they cut the other yards on the block. My current yard man, very unreliable, is supposed to mow my yard today, but chances are he won’t show up. Whether or not he actually shows, he’s going to be very surprised that I’m going to fire him.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 9:15 am

It sounds like your yard is soon to be pretty terrific, your yard care employees do sound pretty flaky and lazy though.


Ecoteri June 17, 2024 at 5:42 pm

My yard guy (“Wonder James”) is a bit swamped with his other job these days, won’t be to see me until Friday (two weeks after his last visit). It has been raining many of the days in between, so not great for mowing grass, but great for growing grass. With the news of his later than expected arrival, I pulled out the new-to-me riding lawnmower and have begun to mow the bits that I am comfortable doing (there are some STEEEEEEP bits that I will leave for him!!) I figure that by Friday I will have mowed everything I can, saving time that James will use for the never ending list of projects. Besides, it is pretty satisfying to learn how to do a new-to-me thing, and riding a mower isn’t hard on a flat lawn – I just need to transfer that skill to riding our very bumpy and hilly yard. If I do 30 min a day, it will be done! When I have used the mower and trailer to pull things down to the field, I have made a point to mow there and back, taking new routes, so even with the rain the worst areas have been kept knocked back.


Mary Ann June 17, 2024 at 8:05 am

This blog and others have been talking about Tightwad Gazette. I am enjoying the author’s writing style. She is self deprecating and non apologetic .f

Most helpful:

She did the math in the mid 90s and said that washing ziploc bags earned $30 an hour. Her formula is simple. How long does a economical action take? How many times you can do it in an hour. Multiply this by how much it saves you. So if an action take you 10 mins, you can do it six times in an hour. It save you $2.00 for every action which results in being paid $30 an hour. She makes a chart. The other two columns are value and satisfaction on a scale of 1 being only valuable for economics as opposed to a 3 which could add helping the environment, and teaching children life skills. The idea is to find what you like doing, what is worth your time and what has multiple values. This is so perfect to me because it can be transferred to my modern life.

I am not raising 6 kids and packing lunches like she was. So I am not interested in washing ziplocs. But landscaping myself for several weeks turned out to save about $10,000. All the materials are on the farm account ( actually were mostly free because we do so much business with the rock yard.) I didn’t actually track the hours but even at 50 hours ( an over estimate) I would be making $200 an hour. Added values: exercise, creativity, time away from food, knowledge to apply to the river house. Satisfaction was high because I like being outside.

I spent money intentionally on two important items:

1. Important to me if not to others. I follow a few authors who are releasing new books. In this case, rather than waiting for the library I buy new. I do this to support my authors. If everybody uses the libraries all the time, our artistic community does not thrive in my opinion. I bought through It was more expensive but money goes to small bookshops instead of Amazon and I am making a concerted effort to limit my shopping with Amazon.

2. I bought the annual premium Myfitnesspal. My health is now suffering in many ways from a 10 pound weight gain in 6 months. GERD has increased. I am exhibiting some prediabetic symptoms. I am about to outgrow my pants. Exercise is not the issue because I have been active like crazy with landscaping 3 – 4 hours a day and haven’t lost a pound. I have done lots of research, set my caloric goal ( which sounds ridiculously low but matches what the Mayo clinic, Harvard and a few other reputable orgs suggest) and my carbs and protein %. Just for today I will log what I eat and use all the tools at my disposal now that I have paid for them. I will NOT be distracted by ads. Totally worth it to me.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 9:09 am

Yes, I also read The Frugal Girl’s recent blog post about rereading “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” and dusted off my copy. I’ve gone so far as to set it on the coffee table, but perhaps today’s the day to crack it open.


Q June 18, 2024 at 7:44 am

Thank you for I am also trying to avoid Amazon and support independent booksellers.

I have used Amy’s calculations for many years, and find yard work has a high rate of return, as does cleaning my pool, propagating new plants, and making healthy dinners.

I also think about when I save money, how that is after tax money, and much more I would have to earn pretax to pay someone.


mary in maryland June 18, 2024 at 1:25 pm

Yes, a penny saved is worth much more than a penny earned!


Jennifer June 17, 2024 at 8:51 am

I am on summer break, which means lots of hikes in the woods and walks in the neighborhood. Great free exercise but I never find free piles or money.

1. I had to replace my iphone due to no storage to run any of my apps. Technically I guess I didn’t have to but I have been struggling to manage storage space for 2 years now and I reached my breaking point I guess. BUT I had been planning for this occasion and had been slowly cashing in my credit card points whenever they ran a discount on apple giftcards. I had $600 in gcs to go towards the new phone which meant my OOP was around $100. Also I traded my old phone for a credit and it won’t go in the landfill. I had my old phone 7.5 years and hope to have this one for just as long. I do not succumb to frequent upgrades when it comes to – well anything

2. Hit the library for new reading material to fill my new downtime

3. I finally found the garden seeds I purchased in mid-May and got radishes, beets and pie pumpkin seeds planted.

4. Listed a few things on ebay, made 1 ebay sale, and added more to my donate pile. I also donated to 2 more Little Free Libraries

5. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking once and eating 2 or 3 times which cuts down my my energy needed for cooking AND saves electricity


Katy June 17, 2024 at 9:05 am

Wow, I’m impressed with your patience and planning for your new iPhone!


Jill A June 17, 2024 at 9:14 am

What a beautiful house. That’s some frugal entertainment I could enjoy.
1. My youngest daughter and I both received a $30 gift card for completing a travel survey for our state. I just received another invitation for another longer distance travel survey which I accepted.
2. I picked up a few things at Costco and was given some free dog food and cat food samples. They allowed me to take extra dog food and the cat food for my daughter. I also filled up on cheap gas and used the free air to fill up my tires.
3. My daughter found some golden oyster mushroom growing at the nature center she is working at this summer. We sauteed them in butter and garlic and they were delicious.
4. My refrigerator is full of beer and sodas from the wedding rehearsal dinner I hosted. It’s more than we can drink so I shared some of the beer with a friend and will take more to my oldest daughter when I go to visit her this weekend. Not really frugal for me but I’m happy to share and it won’t be wasted.
5. I used some soon to expire milk to make yogurt. I made an interesting salad using a lemon goat cheese I purchased for a dollar at the grocery outlet, some beets, a can of mandarin oranges that have been sitting in the pantry and some homemade lemon vinaigrette dressing and a lone chicken breast that’s been in the freezer and served it with a free sourdough loaf that the thrift store was giving out.

I hope everyone stays cool in the dangerously high temp regions this week.


Ruby June 17, 2024 at 9:40 am

Got a free vaccination at the pharmacy this morning. While there I did some price-checking and my two OTC meds are still way less expensive at the grocery store, which was my next stop. There were no bargains at the grocery except pet food was on sale and chicken drumsticks were at a decent price, so those were bought.

Cooked a big pan of chicken for our lunches with a side of tomatoes and cucumber from the container garden. Got two library e-books to read.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 10:09 am

Good for you for doing the work of price comparisons, I’m guessing that most people don’t.


A. Marie June 17, 2024 at 11:48 am

Amy D of The Tightwad Gazette was way into price comparisons, as I’m sure Ruby recalls. Amy used to do it in a hard-copy notebook, but I imagine that most folks could do this with smartphones now. And kudos to Ruby for her wins.


Ruby June 18, 2024 at 6:00 am

Online shopping has made price checking a breeze. I used to just fail at keeping a paper price book, so this is a zillion times easier. It does help that we buy a limited number of items these days. Groceries are too eye-watering expensive to try any new things.


MEM June 17, 2024 at 9:47 am

1. I’ve been trying to use up bits and bobs of food in my fridge and pantry – with mixed results. I found a recipe for crustless quiche that called for Greek yogurt instead of milk or cream. I had exactly one cup left that had been opened a while ago. The recipe also called for some water to thin it out. The quiche didn’t seem to want to set up but was getting very brown on the edges. I took it out of the oven and when I cut it, it oozed onto the plate and then when it hit the air it solidified. Did not look appealing at all (tasted ok) and I couldn’t help but imagine what the Chef of @chefreactions would say about this concoction. If you don’t follow him on FB, TikTok, YT or IG, he hilariously critiques “cooking” videos. I can’t recall the last time I laughed so hard. The “cooks” in the videos are either clueless or looking to increase views and deliberately prepare garbage.
2. Refilled my foaming soap dispensers that were originally foaming soaps from Trader Joe’s.
3. Raided DD28 recycling barrel for beer bottles and cans – a whopping 80 cents.
4. Started washing just about everything except sheets, towels and undies on cold, Speed Wash. Hanging up to dry.
5. My electric bill for May was obscenely high – I live in the Boston area and I hadn’t been running the A/C much. The Delivery Fees were higher than my usage! I raised the temperature to 74 degrees (from 72) but I have 3 dogs including one old man so they need to be comfortable. I won’t be using my electric oven much this Summer so we shall see if these tweaks make any difference.
6. I have not been to any yard sales since last Summer and that is saying a lot. I need nothing. However, there is a huge neighborhood-wide sale next weekend and I have a stash of cash to take in the event I find something I “must have”.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 10:07 am

I haven’t been going to yard sales either so far this year. However, a wealthy neighborhood nearby is having their annual garage sale day, so I’ll drive around after it’s all over to pick up free stuff.

And your runny quiche does not sound appetizing. I already don’t like quiche, so big blegh . . . .


MEM June 17, 2024 at 12:33 pm

Yep. Institutional “powdered eggs” came to mind when I saw what I created.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 3:40 pm

Not appealing.


Fru-gal Lisa June 17, 2024 at 11:21 am

I often get household goods at garage sales and estate sales. Church, school or neighborhood rummage sales are the best. I once got a half-full spray bottle of store-brand Windex for 50 cents. A new bottle would’ve been about 3 bucks; I refill it using big jugs of window cleaner designed to be poured into a spray bottle. I’ve been doing this for years and have most certainly gotten my 50 cents’ worth! I got a trash bag holder for the yard from a garage sale my old teacher was having — it was much heavier and sturdier than one I’d recently bought at a dollar store; I got some wooden drying racks from another yard sale. Those racks are usually around 20 bucks at the store but I got mine for $3. I’ve probably saved a ton of electricity by drying stuff on those racks instead of using the electric dryer. I’m about to pull out my lightweight 50-cent summer top, as well — got that at a super ritzy neighborhood yard sale. People go to these things looking for valuable antiques; I look for the common stuff and save a wad of cash.


Bee June 18, 2024 at 10:04 am

Fru-gal Lisa, I agree 100%! PI know that I’ve said this before, but it is worth repeating estate sales, downsizing sales, and moving sales are a treasure trove of useful and inexpensive household items. Cleaning supplies, yard equipment, clothing, office supplies, cards, wrapping, ribbon and so much more. Have you gone online to and put in your zip code?


Blue Gate Farmgirl June 17, 2024 at 11:00 am

Had a fire in the woodstove yesterday and today. That is a record!
Made a big batch of taco soup and corn bread muffin tops, shared with next door neighbor and gave a quart to a neighbor who is taking off on an epic camping trip.
Found very old and forgotten salmon in the freezer, cooked it up for the pup and her kitty friends.
Harvested 3 gallons of peas, washed/blanched and froze them on a cookie sheet for future out of season stir fry dinners.
Picked up used straw from a mushroom farmer. I use this in my garden to mulch around all of the tomato, peppers, corn, squash and cabbages. It cuts down on water, reduces fungal issues and there were a few baby mushrooms to use for dinner.
Sold 4 pairs of vintage Levi’s on Poshmark. Made a walking track around the back field, it has dips and hills, so it is a good work out. I put a walk thru gate in the back pasture for my back door neighbor to access the walking trail. We met up for a rousing convo this morning!


Fru-gal Lisa June 17, 2024 at 11:24 am

My friends who were stationed in Alaska say the natives there harvest “dog salmon” for their Huskies. That’s salmon that have spawned/mated, completed their life span, and are now dying. The meat is still good for dogs, not so much for humans.


kathy June 17, 2024 at 1:18 pm

Paid another medical bill and quarterly taxes today which prompted me to have a scavenger hunt in the house
1. Listed two sets of routers son left behind when he moved out 2.5 years ago. Listed them and already sold a set and will ship tomorrow
2. Checked out gazelle and sold old iPhone to them. Ready to ship tomorrow
3. Found a couple of things to return to Walmart. Will use the return $$ to buy perishables
4. Organized cleaning supplies. We’re in great shape
5. Ordered replacement legs for my mini trampoline. Somehow the legs walked off.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 3:37 pm

I love the idea of doing a “scavenger hunt” in the house to find things to sell or return.


Christine June 17, 2024 at 2:01 pm

1. I told DH we could do whatever he wanted to do on Fathers Day since #1DS was working and #2DS was too tired to do anything (he works a gazillion hours). He wanted to pack snacks and climb a nearby mountain. On the way to the mountain, I remarked that had I known we would be climbing this particular mountain which is in a state park, I would’ve borrowed the state park pass from the library to get free parking. When we arrived, the parking attendant informed us parking was free due to issues with their register! Nice surprise and a savings of $5.
2. I need a specific water filter cartridge for my pitcher. I know of nowhere else to get them except Amazon. Ugh. Their website offered us free Amazon Prime (no shipping costs) for one month. I will be stocking up and ordering several more filter cartridges over the month to save on shipping.
3. I made some peach ice tea. Prepping for the hot blast coming this way.
4. I have 4 chicken breasts cooking in the crockpot which will become chicken salad to feed us during the expected heat wave. Tomorrow I’ll make a large potato salad to go with it to feed us for a few days.
5. Reading a library book: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin, an Irish writer. Good read about the immigrant experience in Brooklyn, NY in the 1950s. Speaking of the library, I went to a great free concert there last Thursday. The band was Crocodile River with African instruments and songs. The 5 band members were all from different countries on the African continent. It was hard to stay in our seats…in fact, some didn’t! This Friday I am volunteering at the Friends of the Library annual book sale. Should be fun and I may even come home with a book or two.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 3:36 pm

How fun to go hiking and to enjoy some free live music!


Julia June 17, 2024 at 4:39 pm

1. DS wanted to go to
Red Lobsyer tonight since DH was working late (DH is allergic to sea food). I asked DS what he would get if we went. Answer was shrimp
Alfredo. I said I can make that. And I did. Two big plate fulls. Total
Cost about $6.50 total
2. Found a huge box of Harry Potter birthday decorations. Listed them on marketplace. In the same free pile I got a metal rack for firewood. I’ll touch up the paint and replace one screw and then I’ll list that too.
3. Sold 3 Himalayan salt lamps I picked from
A different free pile for $20
4. Found some new fire starter logs we will use in our fire pit.
5. Found a beach cart in a free pile. I’m
Giving it to my friend who is going to the beach this summer.


Katy June 18, 2024 at 9:13 am

Wow, you’re on a roll! Your son must have been happy with his shrimp Alfredo, especially since your portion size would’ve been better than in a restaurant.


Lindsey June 17, 2024 at 4:42 pm

1. The food bank tries to get rid of all perishables on Fridays, since they are not open on the weekends. Volunteers get the first pick. I came home with veggie trays, milk, and 6 dragon fruit.
2. One of the jobs I do on my volunteer day is take 50 pound sacks of rice and break them into four cup baggies that also include a page of cooking instructions and recipes. Turns out they throw out the bags, which are very heavy duty and the same size as dog food bags we use for trash. I came home with 11 of them! They are thrilled to recycle them and I am thrilled not to spend money on plastic garbage sacks.
3. Went to a free bag pipe concert on a church lawn. We brought the dogs which was a mistake because they started howling along with the bagpipes. We could get the Dane to shut up so the husband left with the dogs and I stayed to enjoy my free concert. I have always thought that one of the best things about being Queen Elizabeth was that every morning she was woken up by a piper playing under her window.
4. Took some books to the used bookstore that funds our literacy council. While there I found the Tightwad Gazette, volumes 1 and 2 for 50 cents each; they have been making an appearance in The Frugal Girl blog so I figured I would read them. I also received a tax write off for my books.
5. It is 80 degrees here and we are wilting. Neither of us wanted to cook yesterday or today so we are eating shredded wheat that we got for a dollar a box on clearance many months ago. Tonight will be our fourth meal of shredded wheat so I think by tomorrow I will go back to cooking.


Katy June 18, 2024 at 9:11 am

I love shredded wheat, although we don’t buy cereal anymore now that the kids are grown. My father used to serve the big shredded wheat with warm milk, a pat of butter and a sprinkle of sugar.

And I love that you’re giving those rice bag one more use.


Susie's Daughter June 18, 2024 at 11:11 am

Lindsay – Your #3 had me laughing out loud and wishing I could send you the video of our puppy reacting to the bagpipes at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on TV. Her head swiveled around instantly and she scanned the room for the threat. And then she looked at me as if to say “What IS that???” I would venture to say she is not a fan.


A. Marie June 18, 2024 at 1:37 pm

Lindsey, it’s currently 93 degrees in my part of Central NY, so I too am wilting from the heat–especially as I had to go out in it to get the final crown put onto a tooth I’ve been having work on for a while. I made up for this by being extra sassy to my long-suffering dentist, who fortunately is used to me. (In fact, I think I may be a welcome change from his usual clients.)

And I’m sorry your doggos misbehaved during the bagpipe concert. But tell Houndini and Clobber Paws that Aunt A. Marie still loves them anyway.


Christine June 19, 2024 at 8:13 am

Lindsey, I’m sorry to hear your DH had to miss most of the bagpipe concert but I must say the picture in my mind of a Great Dane howling along with the bagpipes is quite funny! My grandmother had a dog (mutt) who “sang” along with the music she played on her piano. It probably drove her nuts but I can remember laughing my head off anytime the dog accompanied her!


Ecoteri June 17, 2024 at 6:24 pm

FFT June 11
1. Made a new-to-me Dal recipe – I looked up “Instant Pot Cabbage and Lentils”, as the fridge was storing a container of sliced cabbage, grated carrots and chopped cabbage that wasn’t calling anyone’s name.
The recipe I found looked simple, so I threw it together – doubling the chana dal as I had exactly twice the amount in my glass jar. (I doubled the water, natch) and of course I used the quantity of cabbage etc that I had.
It called for some hot peppers, so I pulled from the freezer a couple of small jalapenos from last year, as well as 4 small thin Indian peppers, and just threw them in whole as I was in a hurry and didn’t want to bother with gloves and knives. Then I read the recipe and saw it called for crushed pepper flakes, or something similar, so I threw some of them in.
Due to my last Dal adventure, which was under-spiced, I added more of the mustard seed and cumin seed than the recipe called for (even doubled). I sauted the onions with the spices, threw in the soaked dal and its water, and then poured the cabbage etc on top (no stirring).
I discovered that putting all those random spices in made for a HOT dal. Tasty and spicy!
Yogurt rescued my mouth, however I did experience a warm throat – and my poor daughter (who isn’t a hot spice lover) was cheerfully eating the dal a day or two later (it had tempered down to not hot) when she ate one of the whole peppers. GAH! More yogurt for her – in a jiffy.
Someone has suggested coconut milk which I might try in the next hot batch.
Simpleindianmeals (dot) com/cabbage-kootu/
2. A third Dal used up a cheapo cauliflower – and, according to #2 son, it is a winner too.
My latest approach to cooking is to see what I have and google “XXX Dal Recipe”. I have a lot of lentils to use up.
3. I keep cooking rice – in chicken broth from a previous adventure – and more black beans, including a handful of cilantro from the never ending bag a friend gave me. My Instant Pot is getting a workout these days, as it was also used to cook up some baby potatoes again, those are currently in the fridge awaiting inspiration.
Due to my very limited counter space I put the IP away on a high shelf that I can JUST on my tippy toes manage. I consider it part of my stretching routine.
4. I picked a huge handful of the volunteer arugula that is madly growing in my tomato bed. I was going to make a salad, however managed to eat it all before I had walked 1/8th of the way back to the house.
I have lots of volunteer dill in that same bed (YAY) which always cheers me up – and a tonne and a half of volunteer nasturtiums, which are less popular to me this year – at least where they are showing up. (They tend to smother tomato and pepper plants as they are vigorous growers) Their cheerful flowers do make me smile, however I am getting ruthless in the greenhouse as I approach those beds overflowing with nasturtums in full bloom. I have visions of planting actual Vegetables there! So the huge displays will be torn down as I get to each section of bed. I filled two 1 gallon pots with babies dug out of the tomato bed – some will be planted outside where they can spread with less interruption to my harvesting plans, some will go to a friend, and I might even put a few out on the road with a free sign.
5. I checked the free roadside carseat and it is a good brand name, and was manufactured in 2019, so we are golden. I have just pulled off the fancy cute covers and read the cleaning instructions, it is in the machine as I write. Of course I will give the plastic and the straps a good scrub and sun bath once the sun comes back… – baby isn’t due for 2 months so I have time, still. (fingers crossed)
6. Frugal for my #1 son – I lent him my second car for another couple of days, they are a one car family with the knowledge that I have both a car and a truck and am willing to lend. He always brings it back with a full tank of gas, and as a bonus he helps me clear it out when he picks it up – so it is cleaner than usual in there, LOL.
7. I am still saving $ by not renewing my gym membership –I am walking in the far-too-early morning with my girlfriend (bonus mental health time together that we have been sadly missing), and adding more steps in the garden, as well as whenever I drive somewhere – parking at the outer reaches of a parking lot increases my count. Using the timer on my phone for my watering – which I need to do to manage my many sections of veggie garden with a slow well – means I run down to the field every hour to switch things on an off. Watering day adds a lot of mileage to these old bones, which I remind myself when I feel like complaining. Exercise is priceless!
8. Reporting on the Ozempic – it seems to be discouraging snacking at night, and apparently my scale is going in the right direction. I am holding my breath, though, so that might be contributing? LOL. I will continue experimenting. Not buying snack foods is the best way for me to eat real food, though, so shopping when hungry (which I did today) is a serious N0-No! I was disciplined but not totally disciplined. However I didn’t buy chocolate, which is good as I would simply inhale without tasting…..


Katy June 18, 2024 at 9:07 am

Your theme of “yogurt to the rescue” made me laugh!


Ashley Bananas June 18, 2024 at 8:53 am

1. Frugal fail? I decided to try my hand at estate sales. My friend found someone who wanted to do one in our neighborhood. An older single woman. What turned into an ‘estate sale’ which to me is a big weekend sale, has turned into instead us moving her knick knack shop from one town to her home, selling all her plants on her driveway 100 + ….they all had styrofoam and bottles in the dirt to save on cost of dirt, I had to repot all of them. She has an expansive milk glass collection etc collection in the garage. She wants me to now price all pieces and wont do a buy out. She wants an itemized list of all items sold. She says she will split the money in half with me. She also wants me to find a tenant for her one bedroom apartment on site. It’s spiraled out of control. A lot of her items are broken or otherwise damaged. I foresee me spending more time chasing after dollars than making them. I have sold $500 so far in items. Then $200 in plants for a fundraiser. I’m exhausted and this isn’t worth my time. Lesson learned write down what you offer and agree to what you offer, do not agree to more along the way.
2. My 22 year old vehicle has sprung a leak in the roof. This has happened before. I dont feel taking it to a mechanic is financially worth it. I bought a car cover from Smeffrey Smezos for $50. I am now more eccentric in the car department, but will not have a moldy car. $50 for preservation!!! Over repeated money spent on a mechanic.
3. My son went a to a free cyber camp on a local college campus. He loved it. It was amazing. It was the esteem boost he needed. It was a great start to the Summer. I’m so glad he had this and the college made it possible.
4. I am hosting the neighborhood book bag drive with my best friend and a local non profit. I am driving myself insane but we are making it happen.
5. I went for a walk last night. It was cooler out, the alone time I needed, and good for my health. Self care can be very cheap. Mental headspace. I need it lately.


Katy June 18, 2024 at 8:59 am

I am so sorry to read about your initial foray into running an estate sale. It sounds awful and I’m sending a big virtual hug your way.


A. Marie June 18, 2024 at 3:27 pm

Ashley, I’m sorry about your #1. I recommend extracting yourself from this situation as quickly and gracefully as possible. And hands across the miles to you in the meantime.


Ashley Bananas June 19, 2024 at 6:09 am

A Marie, thank you. It’s good to hear the perspective of others. I do need to extract myself from the situation.

I plan on having a formal yard sale the first weekend of July 6th and then being done. Yesterday she messaged me to let me know her friend came and put more things in her garage. It seems like she’s beyond a hoarder. I will move her stuff and fulfill the yard sale. I cant waste all my free time doing this though.


Katy June 17, 2024 at 11:00 am

That is a very creative solution!


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