Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 26, 2015 · 44 comments

  1. I booked a motel room to stay in during my son’s two-day college orientation next month. He stays for free in a dorm, (ha, not really free at all!) but I needed a place for little ol’ me. I spent some time clicking around AirBnB, HomeAway, Priceline, TripAdvisor and such and finally chose a place. My son’s college is in adorable Ashland, home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and more cutesy-wutesy than the Dionne quintuplets. (Like my timely reference?) However . . . this means that the hotels are expensive. We stayed in a nearby untrendy town last year, but the 30+ minute drive added up. I went ahead and booked a non-fancy, but recommended motel (with kitchenette!) that’s almost on campus. I’d planned on staying three nights since I didn’t relish a five hour drive at the end of an orientation day, but we need our money for tuition, not motel stays! To make the most of any discounts I booked through eBates –> Priceline, making sure to compare the price of booking directly with the motel. (I always pat myself on the back when I remember to use eBates!) This may sound like a pain in the tuchus, but I saved $20+ per night. Plus . . . kitchenette!
  2. I plan on being deliberate and judicious about bringing our own food and drinks on this trip. Hello . . . rest stop picnics and thermos coffee breaks!
  3. I worked the past two days and brought my lunch and drank the crappy free coffee instead of walking down to one of the hospital’s cafes for a lovely latté.
  4. I stopped by The Grocery Outlet the other day and stocked up on 33¢ packages of organic angel hair pasta, $1.50 boxes of Luna bars and 3/$1 fancy yogurts. Man, do I love that store!
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Now your turn, What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan July 26, 2015 at 1:08 pm

I’m home for the summer holidays so
1. I’m drawing again. I’m currently working on a lino print. It’s been ages since I did a lino print so I spent the afternoon working on it. Tomorrow is my practice print.
2. Eating at home. Home cooked meals and planned menus.
3. I’m knitting from my current yarn stash and resisting the temptation to buy any more yarn or fabric. I have a stash of both items acquired from Birthday and Christmas presents and vouchers.
4. I’ve walking when possible.
5. I didn’t buy that Ferrari.


Christa July 26, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Five frugal things….

1. Just finished cutting my 14 year old sons hair. 11 year old son is up next! I’ve been cutting their hair since they were little and can do a pretty decent job.

2. Packed my husband snacks for his job related airplane trip this morning. No need to buy expensive snacks at the airport or convenience stores while gone.

3. Blanched and put 2 gallon bags of green beans in freezer.

4. Made grilled cheese and turkey for dinner rather than bringing home pizza.

5. Took photos of my marigolds to place on the seed packets that I will give away in my Christmas cards at work. Marigolds are really easy to save seed from and really easy to start from seed.


Katy July 26, 2015 at 2:49 pm

I used to save marigold seeds when I went to the University of New Mexico. They grew like shrubs, although it was the sun, not the variety.


Ruby July 26, 2015 at 2:01 pm

1. Made a homemade pizza for the family’s supper. Had iced tea instead of beer, which would have been perfect but pricey.
2. Sent my husband to the grocery store with a detailed list and a fistful of coupons. He did very well and saved us $7 with the coupons.
3. Repurposed a cardboard box into a little rack to hold all the rolls of $1 shelf paper I have stashed in a cabinet. Runaway rolls no longer rain down on me when I open it up.
4. Made up a week’s worth of iced tea today by making a 3X-strength tea concentrate.
5. Used an old toothbrush and a paste of Barkeeper’s Friend to scour the hard water build-up off our vintage bathroom faucets.


Beth July 26, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Katy – Some colleges/universities offer cheap rooms you can rent for the night within some of the dorms, maybe your son’s does too? Might be worth looking into for future stays, may need to book far in advance for parent weekends, etc. 🙂

1. When I was on my “work-ca-tion” (dog/house sitting at someone elses home last week) I turned the water heater down several notches as we would be gone a several days, saved a few pennies.

2. This months electricity bill was way down compared to last year, yeah! I keep unplugging things like a mad woman and had the air conditioning off for most of July. Only downer is my water bill went up by 20% due to county increases and fees all the cities are being charged. We already use a shower timer, do all the turning off water things i.e. while shaving and brushing our teeth, I don’t water the lawn, and I put out pails to collect rain water, very frugal with the water while washing dishes. Haven’t resorted to collecting water after our showers yet to water plants with outside as I think I will make a mess going up and down the stairs. 😉

3. Batched errands yesterday, volunteered at the library and – checked out a exercise video and Cedar Cove season one for free. I volunteered in the used bookstore and didn’t buy any books this time since I have stacks I have not gotten around yet to reading! Made daughter come with me she got a book and used their computer to work on summer required math units. We brought snacks and didn’t buy them from the library or stop for ice cream even though I was REALLY tempted after walking a dog in 90 degree weather!

4. Was paid to walk two dogs yesterday, need the extra cash as my regular job hours were cut to 25 for next week. Also booked a walk for Monday and the owner gives a $5 tip each time.

5. Returned all our returnable cans and bottles and got $5.20 back. Used it to buy a few groceries we needed and only needed to pay $3.33. Treated us to a carton of ice cream on sale vs. stopping and buying cones. We will get many more servings vs. the single cones and it will cost about the same.

6. Just got a $25 PayPal from Swagbucks which will also help because of my reduced work hours.

7. Every Dollar budget this month is going much better than June, not as many surprise expenses as last month – knock on wood it stays this way!


Katy July 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm

I love all your frugal things! Very similar to me.


Katy July 26, 2015 at 2:54 pm

And I have until 8/8 to cancel my hotel reservation in case I can figure out something cheaper. I would definitely go for a dorm room, which would free up money to enjoy some restaurant meals.


Isabelle July 26, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Do you guys have “youth hostels”in the U.S? It’s cheaper than hotels and usually open to all ages (despite the name).


Lynn July 27, 2015 at 1:58 pm

We do have youth hostels in the US, but they are usually only found in big cities, or tourist destinations. For example, I live in St Paul, Minnesota. Its a city of about 250,000 people, but we don’t have a hostel. But there is one at the headwaters of the Mississippi, which is more a backpacker’s destination.


Jane in Seattle July 26, 2015 at 2:48 pm

5 frugal things.
1. My glasses broke, having them fixed instead of buying another pair for 700.00.
2. Bought an electric toothbrush (dentists idea) , toothpaste, 6 pair of sox for granddaughter, and a package of dried cranberries for a total net of 1.09 at rite aid. used points, ,Ibotta,and PNG coupons from todays paper. Paper is a buck at the dollar store all week. Starting the Day before Sunday.
3. Used FAV AFO to find the bargains because we don’t get our rite aid ad until sometime between Wednesday and Friday after the beginning date of sales.
4. Shopped at Winco and Fred Meyers, and Costco to get what we need and the cheapest prices.
5. I cooked last night instead of going out to dinner like I wanted to.
6. My husband went to court to protest a ticket he thought unfair,mmthe win, 125.00 ticket dismissed.
And one bad thing…….our 50.00 back up printer we started using when our good printer made its way to printer heaven, went to printer heaven after it ate two sets of coupons. We are replacing it after researching for a computer that was reasonable and didn’t eat expensive ink cartridges.


K D July 27, 2015 at 3:14 am

A black ink only laser printer is cheap to own. We have used Brother brand for years.


Maureen July 26, 2015 at 3:14 pm

1) Went to a new local supermarket because they were advertising whole chickens for 99 cents/lb. Unfortunately, the chickens came 2 in a package and were huge — too big for the 2 of us. But I’m glad I know prices around here and wasn’t taken in to foods that were too expensive.
2) Was able to group my errands today after church so I didn’t waste gas.
3) Made dinner tonight and have plans for other dinners during the week. Well I’ll be making them for lunch as my husband is working second shift this week.
4) Started an on line classroom with some of my classmates so we can study some medical terminology so we can pass our test come September.
5) Going to take the dog for a walk not anywhere where they sell Lear Jets.


lori July 26, 2015 at 4:47 pm

I don’t think I have been very frugal this week, so I must make up for it this week and praying no surprises pop up to sabotage me. Our dog got sick this week which set us back about $500.00, the stress cost much more to me than the money. I am so relieved he is on the mend.
Made homemade mango bbq sauce, frugal and healthy (on my blog if you want to check it out)
Went to pick the last of the seasons local strawberries and made some freezer jam for the winter.
Definitely will be taking home packed lunches and snacks to work this week!


Joy July 28, 2015 at 11:05 am

Glad to hear your furrybaby is on the mend! I understand what you mean about the stress of it…we had one with Cancer and that was awful.


Betty Winslow July 26, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Frugal win this week – found out my husband’s work dug up a large plot of ground next to the plant and divvied it up among interested employees and he got one, planted it, and sort of forgot about it. We went to do some work on it and brought home two large zucchinis and 2 large summer squash. Already sliced and sauted one zuke, seasoning it with herbs from our side garden. We’ll have cherry tomatoes soon, too!


Chris July 26, 2015 at 6:02 pm

1. Frugal frustration – our neighborhood FB page had two offers of free pack and plays – missed them both – first grandchild due in early Sept and I would love to have something for him here but will soldier on to find one free/reasonable.
2. My husband was supposed to leave for a 3 night vacation for a friend but they decided to leave tomorrow to minimize stress – used the chicken I had planned for their first night for our dinner tonight.
3. Worked a funeral yesterday and was gifted 5 pink roses – so pretty!!
4. Sold a set of books on etsy that I hadn’t listed thinking there was no market for them – 3 days later – sold!
5. Bought the first of my Christmas gifts (LED personal flashlights) at Menards with rebates for 100% of the cost. Great stocking stuffers!


Mrs.LC@loosechangeliving July 26, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Five frugal things:

1. No air conditioning today even though it was quite warm and humid
2. Went to the gym during the warm part of the day to enjoy the air conditioning there and used their shower facilities to save on water, electricity, and soap
3. Took potatoes and onions from the garden as our contribution to a cookout with friends
4. Let friends pick raspberries from our garden today in exchange for watching our house when we go out of town
5. Had oatmeal for a frugal breakfast


Isabelle July 26, 2015 at 6:27 pm

I wish I had a grocery outlet around!

* Went to the farmers market and got 3 big cucumbers, 3.5 pounds of organic potatoes, 6 corn cobs and 10.5 pounds (!) Of cabbage for 9$. Well, 8.95$, since I found 5 cents on the ground.
* My mom bought my daughter’s school supplies and paid school fees, saving us 180$. Ok, first year of school (she’s 5) and it’s ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY BUCKS!?!!! WTF????? (Includes the big items like running shoes, backpack, lunch bag, thermos, etc, but still!)
* Picking up my book clubs meetings by the fact that I can (will attend) or can’t (won’t attend) get the books at the public library.
* Got 3 loafs of wheat-free bread at 50% off and froze them
* Made a big pot of vegetables soup with cheap veggies, homemade chicken broth and a ham bone. Cooked black beans to add to it. Cheap and healthy.

Have a great frugal day!


Isabelle July 26, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Oh, yes, and daughter 2 needed running shoes (we don’t buy used shoes). We got her a pair from the clearance rack, 11$. And I refrained from buying shoes for myself, even if they were on sale, because it is part of my one-year shopping ban and I don’t NEED new shoes.


Sharon H. July 27, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Isabelle, you inspired me to put on a pot of my grandmother’s vegetable soup for supper tonight. 🙂


tonya July 27, 2015 at 3:59 pm

I saw a story in the weekend newspaper that said back to school spending per child is over $600! And I thought, “who are these people?”


Kristen July 26, 2015 at 6:54 pm

1. I baked up some aging strawberries for a snack. I saved all three containers to reuse as dainty containers for Christmas. I will decorate them with paper on top and fill them with Trader Joes Cowboy Bark

2. I requested some books I wanted to read from the library. I will pick up next week.

3. I picked up 10 cans along my journeys today….. $1 in my jar coming right up! I literally stopped the car to pick it up. My kids thought I was crazy!

4. I used my bread maker and made a load of bread and buns
5. I researched ideas to resume Pringles cans. I am going to recover them and store them in a wine rack to store little things!! Thank you Pinterest!!!



Deb July 26, 2015 at 6:56 pm

I’ve shopped at Everyday Deals on Stark twice this week. It’s hit and miss sometimes, and you have to watch expiration dates, but I’ve saved so much money!


Charli July 26, 2015 at 7:24 pm

It’s very interesting how in The U.S. it appears that many of the college students leave home to study. I think it would make you grow up and take responsibility quick. In Australia this happens if you live out of a big city, but if you live in a big city many kids choose to live at home and study locally. I know of no one who travelled to a different state to study. We have 4 good universities in my city (Brisbane). I hope my kids choose to study here as the expense must be huge.


Gina July 26, 2015 at 10:59 pm

There are four excellent universities very near (all within 15 miles) my home in the U.S. too but that doesn’t necessarily mean local students will attend. Depends on acceptance, scholarships, finances, area of study and preference of staying home or exploring another area of the country. For many it’s a rite of passage to go away for school. A bit less so these days with the economic times – it is less expensive (discounts given to home state students). In my opinion students who go away do mature and become independent much sooner than those that stay home to study.


Trish July 27, 2015 at 8:14 am

Yes, the cost of living away from home is very significant, but those who want to go to a 4 yr college or university typically must go that route. In fact most schools consider it part of the experience, coping with roommates and being accountable to oneself. By the way, I was lucky enough to spend a year in a Brisbane suburb in the 1980s during high school and absolutely loved it!!


Lynda Bowen July 26, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Ask me again when I’ve moved flats (apartments), isn’t it amazing how you run out of basics just before a move?
Then again, this move will save me £2020 ($3136.88) in rent over a year and should be warmer in the winter. I’ll come back to you on that last point 😀


another trish July 26, 2015 at 9:41 pm

1) bought a box of henna to color my hair at home without harsh chemicals
2) quit using conditioner on my long, thick wavy hair. I’ve noticed a lot of extra bounce and waviness and while it feels weird not to comb out my hair with something slimy to detangle, it’s surprisingly not tangled when dry. I run my fingers and a natural brush through to distribute natural oils. I’m hopeful that this is going to be a good solution for my hair.
3) picked tomatoes and basil from the garden and made a basil, tomato, tuna pasta salad with a lemon vinaigrette. Inexpensive and so yummy. Like where has this salad been all my life yummy.
4) using lipstick that isn’t quite right as a cream blush.
5) collecting rinse water in the kitchen sink and pouring it on dry spots that the sprinkler system misses


Gina July 28, 2015 at 6:17 am

Do you mind sharing your lemon vinegarette recipe? Your tuna pasta salad sounds amazing! Te recipes I find online call for garlic & Dijon mustard which seem a bit heavy…but maybe not. Thanks!


Bobbi July 26, 2015 at 9:46 pm

1. Ate at home all weekend, including leftovers today from last night’s dinner.
2. Free exercise: hiked this afternoon, and did a workout DVD at home yesterday.
3. Made coffee at home this weekend, and carried my water bottle everywhere, so free beverages all weekend.
4. Whole Foods had gigantic organic cantaloupe on sale for $1.98 each. I bought four because we all love cantaloupe! Two got eaten this weekend, and we have two to enjoy during the next couple days.
5. Started two jars of homemade sauerkraut with some organic cabbage that was also on sale.


Canadian Lilly July 26, 2015 at 10:44 pm

This has been a pretty good week.
-My stay-cation has included free day trip to the beach (packed a lunch and drinks)
-My stay-cation also turned into a wonderful 4 days away vacation at a friend’s cottage-7 women having an outrageously fun time. Cottage was free, we all brought our own drinks, all meals were made and cooked at the cottage-(the 7 of us divided the grocery bill). Only cost was our share of the groceries and gas to get there and home.
-During our days away my step son stayed at our place to watch our pets. We bought him some groceries–much more frugal that paying to board them.
-I have worked in children and adolescent mental health for 23 years and do not want to give it up totally. I have decided to only work 2 to 3 shifts per week and take on some house cleaning and organizing side jobs-something I really enjoy doing.
-Planning on no food shopping until August 1–will be using what is in the pantry and fridge and freezer.

Hope you all have a fantastic and frugal day!


Mand01 July 27, 2015 at 1:44 am

1. Took my lunch to work today – homemade veggie soup made with homemade chicken stock, along with a roll leftover from yesterday’s burger party with mates. It was delish.
2. Came home and packed my lunch for tomorrow, which is again all homemade.
3. Came home and changed into workout gear to make myself get on the tready. Realised most of my workout gear is secondhand, along with my treadmill.

Have a fail….was suckered in by a promotional email and bought a coffee and a zeppelli so I could get bonus points on my coffee card. When I am trying to give up and everything. Gah. Such a sucker.


K D July 27, 2015 at 3:29 am

1. All meals at home this weekend. Friday night I made Buffalo Chicken calzones (I just made it up based on what we had) They were good and provided lunch for the weekend. Saturday I put marked down beef in the crock pot and made pulled beef. I will freeze some of the meat, as there is a lot left. I also put on-the-verge-of-going-bad baby carrots in the crock pot with the meat. We like the spicy flavor they pick up.

2. Aldi had seedless watermelon for less than $3 this week. I bought one and cut it up. That will last for at least a few days.

3. I walked to the grocery store to buy a few bananas. I found $.45.

4. Charity knitting and crocheting using yarn I have.

5. We have a couple of butterfly bushes and there are almost always butterflies on them. The Swallowtails are beautiful. We were afraid the harsh winter did them in, but they finally flowered. I love looking out the window and seeing butterflies. Cheap entertainment, along with reading e-books borrowed from the library (Some on my Kindle and one on my phone).


Diane July 27, 2015 at 4:09 am

Staying out of stores except for groceries, using fabric on hand to begin a new Scrappy Stars baby quilt, enjoying the balm of nature on my early morning walks and porch sits, rescued a forlorn side table and after spraying with alcohol and then hot water to ensure no crittters were in the crevices painted it a soft turquoise with paint on hand and listed it on craigslist, swimming blissfully every afternoon in my “private” complex pool completely alone under the bluest Texas sky and feeling so thankful to have found a 21 day free online meditation experience with Oprah and Deepak Chopra. Learning to meditate is making such a difference in my life.


Denise July 27, 2015 at 5:15 am

Our HEB Grocery Store had a garage sale this week, and I estimate that I bought about $600.00 worth of groceries for $190.00…cash only, no tax. I stocked up on great items like Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent, Mrs. Meyers cleaning products, Sensodyne toothpaste, “K” cups for my Keurig, and numerous food items, many of them were organic, such as oatmeal, cereal, snack bars, salad dressings, etc. Most items were $1.00, pastas and canned goods were 4/$1.00. My pantry is fully stocked!


MW July 27, 2015 at 6:46 am

1- Made a hosin chicken and broccoli pizza (from a left over crock pot meal) with homegrown cherry tomatoes for dinner.
2- Scored a pair of name-brand, perfectly fitting pants at Salvation Army for $0.67. I’m slowly weeding out my ill-fitting, per-pregnancy wardrobe.
3- Scoured thrift stores for a new baby gift for a good friend. In addition to some clothes, I scored 3 new sleep sacks for $1 a piece. Perfect for a November baby!
4- Hit up the church’s annual rummage sale for a replacement lamp (one was broken by my toddler) and some Christmas/ birthday gifts.
5- I worked this weekend on perfecting the no-knead bread recipe. I’m still not completely happy, but it has been a delicious (and cheap!) learning experience.

A grocery store garage sale?!?! Stupendous!


Amanda July 27, 2015 at 8:43 am

1. We have made it almost completely through July with getting takeout only once. That one was a complete planning fail on my part. The next couple days are looking good for no eat outs as we leave for vacay on Wednesday, and we’ve got food in the house we need to eat up.
2. Other than buying my husband a new sleep pillow because we couldn’t find his anywhere (a nessesity as we are spending 24 hours in the air) I am fully preped for this trip without buying any extra toiletries or travel gagits or cute travel bags. I will buy a box of granola to compliment the lunches we are bringing from our own kitchen.
3. Our grocery budget has run about $50 a week this month because I’ve been shopping at Aldi, and I can tell my husband is eating less in his campaign to get back to his fighting weight.
4. We made salads for lunch yesterday to use up bits of veggies.
5. I’m planning to make the one hour one way drive to school tomorrow for books and to visit a friend who is leaving in a few weeks to move back home. Luckily a professor is flying back into the airport near my house and needs a ride to school. For the chauffeur duties I am earning $50, which will more than pay for the gas, and it is a trip I would be making at about that time any way.


Carol M. July 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Katy, you make it sound so easy.

1. I’ve been getting use out of a slip that I bought 15 years ago at a thrift store–still as good as I bought it!
2. Eating ramen for lunch–save money and calories! (However, nutrition could use some work.
3. Going to relist some Craigslist items, including a cute nightstand that I found on the street.
4. Used my Michael’s gift certificate plus sale to frame drawing at lowest possible cost–only went $1 above certificate value.
5. We stayed in on Saturday and had vegetarian Indian food instead of going out–frugal and kind to the earth.


Betsey July 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm

I have been having a hard time not buying clothes. So I checked out an older simple living book by Elaine St. James (remember her?) that suggested we adopt a uniform and wear it. Always.
So, I went through my clothes and kept one pair of black slacks and one pair of black over the knee shorter pants, 3 dressy tops for each season, and this I will wear to church or out to concerts, etc.
Next I decided that my at home wear always seemed to be jeans whether long or shorter and a tee shirt. If I go to the store, I will put on one of the three cotton knit three quarter length tops I already have and go. I need one pair of yard shoes, one pair of clogs, and one dressy pair of black pumps.
I kept one good winter coat with a zip in lining, one parka, one spring jacket, and one shawl that I wear for good. In the winter I need the same good black pumps, good boots, I still wear clogs, and house slippers. I wear sweaters over my cotton tops…I kept three. I also love sweats!
The rest of my stuff I either donated or put in storage in my other closet where I go to shop first.
The upshot is that I have not spent a dime on clothes since winter ended. I got curious about the new styles, so I did go shopping the other day with a 50% off coupon and saw nothing that I liked well enough to spend money on.
I think I have broken the habit of buying clothes just for the fun of it.


Vickie July 28, 2015 at 8:00 am

Good job!!
I have 3 pairs of khakis and 2 pair of black slacks that I pair up with my blouses. It’s so easy to match things up. I cleaned out my closet last Winter and downsized too, it’s much easier to find something to wear now.


tonya July 27, 2015 at 4:04 pm

– Took my firstborn to get her driver’s permit today. It cost $17. I gave her the first, free driving lesson in a parking lot on the way back to our house.
-made a batch of homemade freezer bean burritos today for quick work lunches.
-Took a walk for exercise.
-picked up a library bold book and started reading it this afternoon.
-requested a library movie for this weekend’s family movie night.


Vonlipi July 27, 2015 at 5:21 pm

I bought steak at 30% off just before the best before date.

I planted green beans and arugula…they taste great

I made sandwiches to bring to cheapie tuesdays at the movies

I bring ground coffee at the office so I don’t have to spend for a cuppa

Once my t-shirts are old and full of holes, they become rags!

I didn’t buy a yatch!


Vickie July 28, 2015 at 7:50 am

1) We ate breakfast at home Sunday morning, before taking off to drive my grandson to camp in Missouri.
2) I decided after taking the turnpike to get him there on time, I’d take a more scenic and less expensive route back home. No turnpike fees on the way back. I plan to take this route back up to get him on Friday and back home. It adds about 30 minutes to the trip, but it’s a safer route and no turnpike fees!
3) I rested at home yesterday and cleaned house, so no spending on gas or food – plus, I cleaned out a drawer in my kitchen and started a box for donations to my daughters August yard sale.
4) I’m thankful my work provides my iPhone. I love the GPS map on that phone!
5) I don’t plan to buy a Lear jet this week.


Christina neumann July 30, 2015 at 7:42 am

Let’s see:
1. We camped for 3 nights and used the senior pass so it was 1/2 off. $45 instead of $145.
2. We ate all our meals in camp although we did go to the store to pick a few things.
3. Realized I had already paid a bill I was expecting to clear our account. So, I have $200, to pay something else.
4. I’m home now with piles of tomatoes and zucchini to process for winter use.
5. It’s my sons birthday next week…nothing frugal so far, ha! Still not getting an answer on what he wants?


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