How I’m Spending Less Money

by Katy on May 29, 2024 · 76 comments


You already know that I try to spend as little as possible whenever possible, but I thought it would be interesting to break it down a bit. Please let me know what I’m forgetting or how your household differs!


• My childhood best friend came over and we hung out for a couple of hours. She didn’t want anything to eat, but she did accept a cup of tea. We sat in the garden until it got too cold, then we moved our play date inside. My socializing is usually just visiting with friends in their houses or mine or going to walks. I even have a friend that can be counted on for grocery shopping buddy trips.

• I like to watch free YouTube videos related to nonconsumerism and recently caught up on all the Rich House, Poor House episodes that I could find. Almost endless inspiration and ideas on YouTube!

• I take advantage of free streaming services to watch TV. Whether it’s the free Peacock which comes with our internet service or the endless ad supported apps on our Roku box. We do pay for Netflix, but don’t get the highest cost plan.

• I pay attention to the free available activities in my city. There’s lots to do without an admission cost.


• I have a tremendous number of clearance price carrots from the other day, so I’m on hyper alert to include them in just about everything. I’d planned on making a pot of carroty red lentil soup, but it turns out I overestimated my lentil stash. Instead I made a huge pot of yellow split pea soup which also paired well with my how-many-carrots-can-I-cram-into-this-recipe mindset. The split peas were purchased from the Winco bulk bins. Avoiding food waste is an active choice as it’s so easy to forget about food you’ve paid for!

• I’ve been enjoying yummy breakfast fajitas over the past couple days, which is just throwing a handful of sautéed sliced frozen peppers plus scrambled eggs into a warm tortilla. The peppers were on sale for 25¢ apiece, so I bought the limit and froze them for future use. (The tortillas were free with annoying Safeway points.) Stocking up when things are on sale is necessary, although I wish food prices could just be straightforward and consistent.

• I keep our groceries simple, which helps keep the food bill under control. So you won’t find me buying those $5 containers of adorable little tomatoes to make that viral tomato feta pasta recipe. Instead I keep cheap canned tomatoes on hand for when I need to make a classic marinara sauce. We buy no junk food and almost no snack food.

• We save eating out for special occasions which makes it more enjoyable. That it unless there’s some super cheap deal I’ve learned about, which I suppose is also a special occasion!

• I have almost no brand loyalty when it comes to groceries.

Self Care

• I get my hair cut every year or so and wait until the Supercuts training center is doing free services. Choosing a longer style means I don’t need frequent cuts.

• I buy our shampoo, conditioner and bar soap at Dollar Tree.

In The Home

• I spent maybe an hour and a half weeding the parking strip in front of the house. I really hate this chore, but I’m an adult and can do things I don’t enjoy without it being a big deal. Having a yard that I can maintain on my own is a huge money saver.

• My request for free wood chips fell off the Chip Drop website, so I renewed my request. I prefer to go the free route for almost everything and that often means practicing the art of patience.

• My husband and I repair our belongings whenever possible. YouTube is an amazing resource for tutorials and we both take great satisfaction from keeping items out of the landfill while saving money. My husband recently repaired his late father’s Kitchenaid mixer by watching videos.

• I replace the big scoop that comes with our powdered Costco laundry detergent with a tiny one. We’re not ditch diggers so our laundry is not all the dirty. I’d estimate that this trick easily quadruples how long it takes to use up the detergent. I choose powdered dishwasher detergent so I can choose how much to use, (1 Tablespoon per load) as those dishwasher tablets don’t give you an option of how much to use.

• I critically think about our monthly bills. I recently called our internet provider and was able to lower our cost by $31/month.

Free Stuff

• I have a Little Free Library in front of my house and I check it each morning to tidy and remove any non-book related items. It’s not uncommon for me to choose a book for myself.

• My husband and I like to walk around the neighborhood after dinner and I’ve start stuffing a tiny reusable grocery bag in my pocket in case I come across any enticing free boxes.

• We lend out and borrow with our neighbors on a regular basis. Whether it’s a muffin tin for the teenager next door to bake cupcakes, a couple cloves of garlic, a snow shovel or a wheelbarrow, we can all save money by sharing our resources.

Okay, what did I miss? I know there are infinite ways to live frugally, so please add your two cents!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean C May 29, 2024 at 5:20 pm

I would add “my library” which provides me with so much pleasure – an endless supply of books, free Hoopla and Libby services, enrichment classes, seeds, the ability to suggest new titles for purchase and access to a statewide library system for books and AV items they don’t have in their collection. It is also my happy place and a quiet peaceful place to hang out.


Katy May 29, 2024 at 5:40 pm

Duh! I had that in there and took it out for different post and forgot to add it back in.


Marybeth from NY May 30, 2024 at 8:06 am

Love the library. I am always shocked when people I know don’t use it.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 11:39 am

I know, right?


Selena May 30, 2024 at 7:10 pm

My state has a law that *if* you aren’t in a library district BUT you have a child(ren) in a K-12 school in a district that does, you get one free library card. For a number of years, we owned a rental so I could keep my free library card. After we sold it, I gladly pay what they charge for an out of “district” card.
Upside is I haven’t heard of any of the BS banning of books there. If I do, I will be front and center. You don’t want your kid to read a book, then do your d*mn job as a parent and don’t let them check it out. If the school library, pony up the money for the software so you can mark off books you don’t want Suzie or Sam to read. Or you can go to the library and vet any book your (poor) children want to read. You DON’T get to tell my child what s/he can or cannot read.


Auntiali June 7, 2024 at 7:14 pm

As a trustee on my local library board I applaud all that you have written, Selena.


Kathy May 29, 2024 at 5:41 pm

1. I ditched magazine and newspaper subscriptions years ago. Either read online or don’t read at all
2. Ditched satellite for you tube tv
3. Make many of our cleaning products using: dawn, baking soda, vinegar
4. Drink homemade ice tea or water with generic flavored crystals added
5. Franken box (thank you Katy) items I mail out
6. Ditched hug end skin care/cosmetics for items from target or Walmart
7. Use Libby app to read books


Ecoteri May 29, 2024 at 6:23 pm

1. Batch errands to save gas (and TIME!). When I am going to the local town to volunteer with hospice is when I go to the library and the produce store and any other town errands. I plan trips down to see my Mom when I am also going to see my daughter – hopefully at least one other thing – which now is including Costco again for their loss leader chicken (and 12 croissants to go with) – I stretch that chicken three ways to Sunday and it is a super fast meal when I get home after a tiring bunch of driving to the town 1 hour away.
2. Shop with a LIST (particularly Costco) – I have things I buy there, and other things I keep an eye on at my very few favourited grocery/produce stores. I have a well stocked pantry, however edges can be filled in and I love to grab whatever loss leader bargain they are offering.
3. speaking of pantry, if you run a stocked one, just like Katy noticed she was short on lentils she had other options – and you bet your boots that Katy has put lentils on her LONGER TERM list. I keep one of those in my phone and review frequently, comparing to sales.
4. Check the discount racks when you shop – and ask the meat folk when they discount (of course their racks function differently in my world, so learning to notice the stickers is key)
5. Know the sales cycle of your favourite (or not favourite but you go for sales) stores. If you know that you are running short on PB, but that it hasn’t been on sale for a while so likely will be, soonish, don’t buy a tonne just wait it out.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:40 pm

Why yes, I did put “red lentils” on my list for when I next shop at Winco. Yes, that Costco rotisserie chicken is such a saver on days when you’re too zonked to cook. I threw my mostly eaten one in the freezer the other day so I can cook up some chicken soup later on.


Blue Gate Farmgirl May 29, 2024 at 7:05 pm

I love that Costco detergent for everything. 1/2 tsp in 1 gallon of warm water makes my laminate floors sparkle. 1 tsp detergent, 1 Tbsp oxyclean and 1 tsp dawn detergent in 3 gallons of warm water make an amazing house wash and my windows are streak free.
Frugality really takes patience. The reward of finding just what you need for a great price, buying used or deeply discounted is a great feeling.
I had a heartbreaking frugal fail this past weekend when I discovered my meat freezer malfunctioned and I lost over 100 lbs of meat. I only figured it out when the turkey vultures were very interested in the shop…whaaaaaa.
We will make do with what we have in the other 2 chest freezers. We still have beef and moose, some pork and all of our fish. A blow for sure as we did not plan for butchering beef this year, but I will hopefully fill up on venison and elk this coming fall.
To get over the sadness of the loss, I took a great hike up into the coast hills to go trout fishing (came home with enough for 2 meals).
Bought bananas at the scratch and dent store (.70/bunch) & GF pasta for .99/lb.
Sold a walk behind lawnmower to a friend’s kid who is mowing yards in his neighborhood this summer. Offered him a place to dump the trimmings as long as they are organic (no sprays or synthetic fertilizers).
Thank you, Katy, for this awesome, inspiring blog!


Lindsey May 29, 2024 at 8:20 pm

After losing a year’s supply of moose and salmon, we bought a buzzer that goes off (LOUD) if the temperature in the freezer gets too warm. Worth every penny.


Fru-gal Lisa May 30, 2024 at 4:15 pm

BGF, so sorry you lost all that meat. Even sorrier you have to clean out all that yuck. I speak from experience: I once had a Kenmore chest freezer, its light stayed lit but its motor quit. Didn’t know for a week or more, since it was used for long-term food storage and was in a back storeroom, and boy was it stinky when I opened it up! (No more Kenmores for me!)


A. Marie May 30, 2024 at 4:39 am

BGG and Lindsey, my sympathies to you both on your freezer disasters. I may need to get one of those buzzers for my own basement freezer, where most of my meat is kept.


A. Marie May 30, 2024 at 4:39 am

And of course that should have been BGF, not BGG. (More coffee may be needed.)


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:35 pm

I’m so sorry about all the lost meat, what a terrible loss. I do love that you went for a hike and came home with fish!


texasilver May 29, 2024 at 7:07 pm

1. Be observant. I find change when I walk by looking about.
2. I use plastic grocery bags for waste basket liners. (I forget the reuseable ones on occasion.)
3. If I make an entree that I don’t like I can usually use it disguised in another dish. I made spaghetti sauce using a meatloaf we didn’t like. The Italian seasoning covered up the disliked taste.
4. Eating slightly out of date canned goods. When I volunteered at a food bank, I took the cans that were recently expired. The food bank would throw them in the trash.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:33 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever bought a garbage can liner!


Ashley Bananas May 31, 2024 at 6:14 am

I am completely open to eating slightly expired canned food. A neighbor close to me puts out boxes of canned items they dont want once or twice a yea on their curb. I suspect they are items from a food pantry they don’t want. I have taken them and used them or given them away.

A different neighbor cleans houses and cleaned out a pantry for a woman who ‘preps’ and was told to take all expired items. The neighbor gave them all to me and I then gave most to another neighbor with no fears about expiration dates. We saved a lot of food from the landfill and it will all go to good use.


Auntiali June 7, 2024 at 7:19 pm

New Jersey has a ban on plastic grocery bags so I have my daughter, who lives in Maryland, save hers for me to use for my trash cans in the bathroom and my room.


Selena May 29, 2024 at 7:19 pm

@Blue Gate Farmgirl – tough loss on the freezer failure. Another blogger I read cans most meats for this very reason (be it grid or mechanical failure). Perhaps a check on a regular basis might help. Though I admit three freezers are more than most folks have. And why so many in the “stroke belt” suffer when their grid becomes unreliable.
I too prefer powder for the dishwasher BUT when pods/tablets are scratch-and-dent discounted OR buy X get Y back, I’m in.
Weeding is good exercise and no offense, an hour and a half is nothing when it comes to weeding. And I know you are younger than I am.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:24 pm

I hate weeding so much, especially since the parking strip is essentially peed in a hundred times per day by all the neighborhood dogs! Yes I wore gloves, but still . . .


Selena May 30, 2024 at 7:12 pm

Oh you are so NOT a farm girl lol.. Excrement (or large poison ivy) would have me wearing gloves too.


Katy May 31, 2024 at 11:39 am

Two dogs came and peed in the area while I was working on it!


Selena May 31, 2024 at 7:29 pm

Seriously, you did NOT use your mega, I-mean-business outside voice to stop them in their tracks? I promise I won’t tell your (or my) cats.

Cindy Brick May 29, 2024 at 8:22 pm

Attagirl, Katy — it’s so much fun to read about what you’re doing, even the small things. I too am a dedicated “found money” person — Husband thinks this is hilarious, but I remind him it all adds up to a dinner out!
A few things:
*Take your freezer-burned items, especially meat, fish, etc. — cook them all together in a big pot, add some rice and oatmeal — then freeze in sandwich bags for your dog. (Ours prefers it to kibble.)
*If you’re going to get a drink at a restaurant, pick something refillable — and share it with Husband or partner. (Or both drink water. That works, too.)
*ALWAYS look for travel bargains. Travelzoo’s Top 20 can be dry for weeks on end — then something wonderful pops up.
*Take time at the end of every month to write down expenses and income. Every single month. (Husband would prefer an Excel sheet, but I am old-fashioned and keep a notebook.) This is an excellent way to see what you’re overspending in…and make corrections the next month. It also reminds you what fixed expenses you have — and when they come due. I’ve been doing this since December 2022 — and really regret I didn’t do it sooner. It helps so much.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:22 pm

I used to do a written budget, but stopped as I don’t have an issue with impulse purchases. I might need to start back up just for fun.


Julianne in MN May 31, 2024 at 8:08 pm

Entertainment: We hike, swim, bike, paddle board, and canoe in free nature areas.

I belong to a book club and love our come-as-you-are meetings.

HH plays baseball with a very low cost men’s league.

Food: I shop for loss leaders and stock up during sales to reverse meal plan around pantry and freezer inventory.

Self care: My friend cuts and colors our hair as a side gig for far less than the cost at a salon. My beauty care routine is very basic, some may say nonexistent.

In the home: Our landscaping consists of flowers and shrubs grown from seeds, divisions, cuttings, and half-dead clearance plants. We mulch heavily and have relatively little grass to make caring for the yard manageable without hiring a lawn care service.

We purchase quality household items and care for them to make them last as long as possible. We keep belongings and decor to a minimum to make housekeeping manageable without hiring a cleaner.

We have excellent relationships with our neighbors and frequently lend and borrow tools.

Free stuff: I received free hair and skincare products through my previous employer.

I receive free internet and TV through my current employer.

HH works in the food industry and brings home free food products.

We take full advantage of the credit card, hotel, airline, rental car and parking rewards which HH earns through business travel and use them for our family vacations.

HH was issued a company car, home office equipment, and an cellphone.

HH entertains clients on an expense account and enjoys restaurants, sporting events, outdoor activities, music and theater events.


Lindsey May 29, 2024 at 8:52 pm

Entertainment is always at home when I am having a wheelchair day/week. It is just too tough to get around in the snow if you are not ambulatory. In the summer, we do a lot of entertaining at our home because we have a house on the river and a large yard for BBQs. However, in the summer we do go to the many, many free concerts our town offers. And the library gives us plenty of ways to entertain ourselves, with books and movies and puzzles. I still do buy a new book a month, as I have several writer friends and I want to support them. I also pay for a newspaper subscription to our local paper; without them the politicians would run wild with spending and I would not know who has died. And I pay for digital subscriptions to Wash Post and NYT because without their investigative reporting even more shenanigans would go on undiscovered.

In the winter, when we have the van in the garage, getting to the front of the washer to use liquid detergent is a pain. So, since we run our washer at night for a cheaper rate, we throw pods directly into the top loader. But in the summer, when we park outside, we use smaller than recommended liquid detergent because it is easier to reach. We also wear things more than once, except for underwear and socks, to save money on washing and wear and tear on the clothes. We have had luck buying replacement clothing on eBay, but then we don’t have to replace that many clothes since we are still working our way through clothes we used for work.

My husband is the handy one, so he will fix and refix until things are worn to the nub before we replace them. I am the gardener, so although I have to pace myself, we have a large garden that saves us on average $1000 after expenses.

We trade with neighbors for tools, food that we each raise that the others do not, our finished compost for eggs, a loaf of bread for empty 40-pound dog food bags that we use as garbage bags…

We do grocery store and gas station mystery shops. So far this month we have spent less than $25 on food because we have done 6 food shops. They are easy and more lucrative than many other shops. In the summer, when we grow a lot of our food, we use the shops to store up things like tuna or mayo for the winter. I also do a shift a week at our food bank, doing things that can be done sitting down like sorting through fruits or repackaging 100 pounds of beans into smaller individual pouches. Volunteers can take up to 10 pounds of expiring perishables home at the end of each shift—you can’t put brown bananas or really soft avocados into food boxes, but they always go home with volunteers who look for softer fruits for baking. Sometimes, if it is the end of the week and things will be thrown away if no one takes them, I bring them home for our neighbor’s chickens (who used to be ours, so we still get some of their eggs). I make most of our bread, yogurt, ricotta, spaghetti sauce, and snacks.

When we go to the dump, we always search the exchange platform. We have collected outdoor furniture, among other things, for free. And we sometimes declutter by leaving things at the platform for others.

And despite what I consider to be a frugal life (to pay for non-frugal trips and things our insurance won’t cover), I still find more I could be doing when I read this blog and The Frugal Girl. So thanks to the people who keep posting.


Christine May 30, 2024 at 10:01 am

Lindsey, I’m with you on buying one book a month but in my case, it’s at the indie bookstore my close friend operates in our small town. I belong to her monthly book club, so I buy the current book we’re reading from her. Her store is a gem, so I want to do my part to keep her in business. I have also occasionally bought books from budding authors who give book talks at her store because I feel they may need a leg up as they begin to publish.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:20 pm

I’ve done a few mystery shops, but it’s only been for “fast casual” food. I wish they had grocery stores!


K D May 30, 2024 at 2:22 am

Clothing is a spendy area for many, both the cost monetarily and time wise. I have stripped down my wardrobe over they years. I manage to fit in clothes from year to year. I acquire clothes secondhand, mostly from relatives and friends (and most recently from a clothing exchange). I wash most items in cold water and after a quick spin in the dryer on low I hang them to dry. I wear clothes more than once before laundering them, as long as they are not dirty, saving electricity, water, detergent, and wear and tear on both the clothing and the washing machine.

I also adhere to the idea that if my husband does not need something new to wear to an event then I don’t either. Another time and money saver that benefits the environment. How many times do women buy a new dress for an event and only wear it once?


Lesley May 30, 2024 at 7:56 am

Same as K D, here! Wear a capsule wardrobe, and don’t automatically wash everything just because it’s been worn once. Turn things inside out, hang back up, and they’re fresh for next time (within reason!). Love all these tips. Like Katy said, there is no end to the ways frugality can improve our lives.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:17 pm

Plus who’s paying attention to whether other women are repeating outfits anyway?!


Ashley Bananas May 31, 2024 at 6:37 am

I think unless you’re a star or the British Royal Family, no one is paying attention to what you wear or if you wear it multiple times. Most of us have so many clothes we will never be able to wear them down or use them up in a life time.


Katy May 31, 2024 at 11:35 am

Plus middle aged women are generally invisible, which works in our favor when it comes to choosing clothing for formal events.


maryann May 30, 2024 at 12:49 pm

BTW: I bought a Stand up Steamer Years ago. I have an enzyme liquid that will clean the underarms on many closthes espcially dresses. This allow me to not wash as often and really preserves the clothes.


Marybeth from NY May 30, 2024 at 4:06 pm

My sister and I are similar sizes. I borrow clothes from her for weddings all the time. She is bringing a bunch for me to try on this weekend when she comes to get her dog. She is always going out and has the money to spend. I rarely go to events so I don’t feel the need to buy a dress.


Ruby May 30, 2024 at 3:37 am

Great list, Katy!

It takes only 2 tablespoons of powdered laundry detergent for our washing machine, so I replace the manufacturer’s scoop with a 2 tablespoon coffee spoon, For powdered dishwasher detergent, I marked the correct level on a reused drink powder scoop and put a note on the top of the detergent canister.

We have a small upright freezer. I find we get maximum use out of it by inventorying it every two to three weeks and planning meals to use up what’s been there a while. A master inventory document lives in my laptop and I tweak it as needed and put it on the freezer


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:16 pm

I keep a tablespoon in with our powdered dishwasher detergent. I then remind my husband that it doesn’t need to be a rounded scoop. I suppose I should add that we use a solid shaving soap with a brush instead of cans of shaving cream. The shaving soap lasts for like 3-4 years!


Cindy in the South May 30, 2024 at 5:29 am

Dollar Tree for the win! Glasses, shampoo, soap, and for some reason I love their canned asparagus (it is in a glass container here) for $1.25. I douse the asparagus with lemon juice.
Grass yards in the deep south shoot up overnight because of the rain and humidity. I use a pair of hedge clippers I got from Dollar General, years ago, to top off the tallest weeds so I can go longer between grass mowings. No HOA. Really, I would like to turn my yard into a no mow yard and plant vegetables and flowers but that is a project for when I fully retire.
I am the only one who has cut my hair in the last 12 years but I am debating getting a hair cut by Super 8, or JC Penneys.
I keep peanut butter at my office for simple lunches or breakfast.
I suppose my winter tip is that I use a sleeping bag rated for ten degrees on top of the bed and I crawl in it and throw a wool blanket over it. I am really not sure if that would work as well in colder climates though.
I try so hard to keep the air off or set high in our humid climate. I have discovered large shade trees help.
Really my biggest money saver is eating at home or taking my lunch/breakfast to work.
My big entertainment, since my retirement house is in a college community, is to attend free concerts given by students at the school. The local state park lake is $2 if you are over 62 so I take advantage of that. It is my favorite place to swim. I do walk at the local river parks but also in my neighborhood because it costs zero gas to go out your front door and walk. My front and back porches are great for reading and shade covered. I too get free books from the library or the Little Free Libraries that are all around here.
Since it rains fairly often I try to wipe down my car after a good rain. I also drive it dirty (to be real)….lol
I have tons of the local University’s tshirts, all were purchased at thrift stores.
I admit I wear clothes and shoes (and carry purses) until they fall apart.
I buy meat, ground beef specifically, because my middle autistic son will eat that. But I am just as happy with peas or beans so I generally cook peas or beans for me and lightly flavor them with whatever meat he will eat for the week.
I, fortunately, don’t have any allergies to ingredients in laundry detergent, so I just get whatever is cheapest and dilute it.
I have a friend and colleague on hospice care for breast cancer who is approaching the end of this life. I guess the most frugal thing of all is something that we don’t have complete control over, and that is our health. We just do the best we can and hope/pray for the best.


Bee May 30, 2024 at 6:22 am

You are a frugality define by forgo AC in the heat of a southern summer. I am sorry to hear of your friend’s illness. Good health is a true blessing.


Bee May 30, 2024 at 6:23 am

Let’s try that again. You are frugality defined by foregoing AC during a southern summer.


Cindy in the South June 2, 2024 at 12:35 pm

Bee: I turn the air on in my retirement home when I cannot stand the heat. I still have to fix the air in the work house since lightning destroyed it a couple of years ago. I guess that is forced frugality but really, I just run up to the retirement house usually if it gets too hot…. Lol. But I do try my best to not turn it on until it is 92 outside.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:14 pm

Oh yes, I was always a “bring my lunch to work” person for the 24 years that I worked as a hospital nurse. Not just for the savings, but I also didn’t want to waste the half-a-freaking-hour I got on a 12-hour shift walking down to the cafeteria to buy lunch! You’d be surprised by how many nurses did this every day.


Jen in Santa Cruz June 1, 2024 at 10:21 pm

But I was always so happy when you splurged on the cafeteria salmon lunch! It looked soooooo good. And then there was the free good tea and crappy coffee. I have been reading for a longgggg time. 🙂


GK May 30, 2024 at 5:50 am

I don’t have any big saving tips other than – keep tipping away at it! Here are this week’s frugal 5s, a mix of fails and wins:

* Recent favourite library read: Faithful Place (Tana French)
* Our hoover was no longer functioning. Thankfully my husband found out this was caused by a blockage that he was able to remove. We do have extended warranty for the hoover but the fix saved us a one hour round trip to the shop where we bought it.
* The power shower has been acting up for over a week now. It cuts out after about 5-7 minutes. I have asked a repair person to call and check it (we are renting and do not have to pay for a repair like this ourselves) but if it wasn’t for the fact that it will probably stop working completely at some stage I would love to keep it as it is – my teens are terribly fond of long, steaming showers!
* Continuing with the theme of things that are malfunctioning – my husband’s iPhone needed a battery service. We had bought it used from an online platform and the service need came up during the 1 year warranty they give. They serviced the battery fast enough but unfortunately we discovered that they replaced the original battery with a non genuine battery which will affect the phone long term I believe and will also decrease it’s resale value if we ever wanted to sell it. We have written to the seller but they are referring to their t&c which I had not read in its 24 page smallest print entirety. Unfortunately it seems this is one battle we will not win.
* I painted our garden furniture and it looks like new now. I thought I would have to buy paint but it turned out we still had a can in the shed!


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:10 pm

Freshening up your garden furniture using paint you already owned is such a flex in this community. I love it!


Hawaii Planner May 30, 2024 at 6:01 am

Love your list! Mine is a bit more about what to do with money you already have:
1) I like to look for side hustles (& do similar eBay sales/FB as you),as well as other small things
2) For money in the bank, i’m always looking for better returns
3) We have a few typical large yearly expenses that can’t be avoided in our current life’s phase (property tax, college fees), so I charge them on a credit card (pay off the balance in full every month) & earn plenty of travel rewards.
4) I do a lot of pre-planning to maximize travel rewards. I still have a bunch leftover from work travel, so I have elaborate trackers & enjoy the process of ensuring we’re not wasting any.
5) We buy gift cards on sale for travel. We have a lot of upcoming travel to Portland in the years ahead (DS18 is going to OSU in the fall), so Alaska & Southwest gift cards, paired with sales & thoughtful planning, will come in handy.

We also help our neighbors, which I love. Living in a great neighborhood that you enjoy is priceless!


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:08 pm

Yes, I had a friend over the other day who has moved a lot through the years. She commented on how she misses knowing her neighbors.


Bee May 30, 2024 at 6:11 am

I must say this is the most frugal group on the internet. I feel absolutely extravagant compared to most of you.
Entertainment – I am a “joiner” and belong to several groups. Some provide service to others, but some are mostly fun.
When it isn’t miserably hot, I also spend a lot of time outdoors. I also belong to the YMCA where I exercise especially in the summer months. Being treated for heat stroke is not frugal.
I have a digital antenna for local channels and have been using streaming services for years. I do donate $5 a month to the local PBS station to have access to their streaming app.
We travel using loyalty points and credit card points

Food – We rarely eat out. I occasionally have lunch or coffee with a friend. However, I must be careful where I go because of food allergies.
I buy in bulk and fill in with items from the grocery store or farmer’s market. I used to receive a farm share which I loved. However, now that my children are grown and DH travels for work, I cannot use a full share or even a 1/2 share.
I rarely buy snack foods or prepared foods. I drink primarily filtered water from my refrigerator as well as home brewed coffee and ice tea.
I use my freezer a lot, but I try to clear it as much as possible this time of year ahead of hurricane season. It is a distinct possibility that we could lose power for more than 24 hours.
I do try to batch my errands. I also consider distance and time when determining cost savings. For example, I don’t have an Aldi’s near me. It is a 30-minute drive to the closest one in hair raising traffic. It’s not worth it to me to save $10 a week. I also have had issues with Aldi’s food quality.

Self-care and clothing – Although I am far from extravagant, this is one area where I could be much more frugal than I am. I use make-up on occasion and some cosmetics. I try to get the best price possible when I do buy. I checked out the book out of the library called, “Don’t Go to the Cosmetic Counter without Me.” It rates cosmetics by purity, effectiveness and ethical standards. This helps me buy well.(I think Amy D. mentioned this in the Tightwad Gazette. It has been updated throughout the years.)
I also get my haircut regularly. My hair grows at least an inch a month. I used to where it long, but it texture has changed with age. The same person has cut my hair for 20 years.
Although I enjoy clothes, I try to buy these second-hand as much as possible. On occasion, I find this difficult like my son’s wedding or an event requiring certain dress such as a funeral. I do buy new only if I must. I’m very careful with my purchases. I try not to spend unnecessarily or irresponsibly. I also try to buy quality.

In Home — I question everything. A few times a year I review our household expenditures and see where there is potential for savings. I just did this again and am focusing on auto insurance and mobile phones this month. I also try to make the most of employment benefits.
We do as much as we can ourselves. ( YouTube is a DIY dream.)However, we do employ a yard service. My husband travels for work and we live in Florida. The grass needs to be cut 10 months out of the year! A friend of my son started a service many years ago, and I hired him. It comes out to $35 a week, but he does everything but trim the trees. This also reduces the cost of equipment and the hassle of servicing it. This leaves me time to tend my flower beds which are primarily perennials that I propagated myself from cuttings.
Most of my furnishings and household items were purchased secondhand or inherited. I am an absolute lover of estate sales. Of course, there are some free items and curbside mixed in!

Life can be good on a budget!


Christine May 30, 2024 at 10:17 am

I am with you on only eating in restaurants occasionally. In our case, it’s the sodium in the food (DH) and the olive oil and calories in it (me). Wish I could partake in olive oil…I like it, it just doesn’t like me.
Bee, I wanted to catch you up on my thoughts about the book Horse. My book club just finished it. I mentioned before I didn’t like the way the book jumped around from era to era. Never mind! It all ties together at the end and what results is a book built around a horse but is actually all about racism and injustice. I won’t be a spoiler and tell you anything else. Astounding ending!


Bee May 31, 2024 at 11:29 am

Thank you for your insight, Christine. I just put Horse on hold at the library.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 12:07 pm

Having to factor in “hurricane season” is certainly a different thing to have to consider. Thanks for sharing everything.


A. Marie May 30, 2024 at 6:30 am

I’m late to the party here, since I have a houseguest (Grad School BFF is visiting until next Tuesday). But in any case, I’d be having trouble coming up with something that someone here hasn’t mentioned already. This group rocks!


Katy May 30, 2024 at 11:57 am

Yes we do. 😉


Mary Ann May 30, 2024 at 6:45 am

Looking “well turned out” in my clothing is important to me. It gives me confidence, a creative outlet and incentive to keep a healthy weight. After 60 years I finally know what works and what doesn’t, where to scrimp and where to splurge. I like to support small batch designers as well. If I find a piece that really works I buy one or two more of the exact size on Poshmark new with tags for a huge discount. I just bought a different color of a Free People Prairie dress that I received about 5 compliments on yesterday at school. I have notice that if I take the time to dress, other teachers do as well and the atmosphere is a little more profession.

I mend and sew which helps keep the maintenance of my now well curated but fairly small wardrobe.

Everything in my wardrobe fits. There are no “incentive to lose” clothes which only serves to defeat me. I did that for too many years.

Shoes are a problem since I have plantars facciits from so many years of teaching. I will easily pay $150 for a pair if my feet are happy. I don’t have many pairs but they are critical.

We are only at restaurants for social occasions or when I travel. I have now taken to eating something before and ordering a soup or side to save 50% of the cost.

I do love to travel and it carries a hefty price tag. But I put in lots and lots of research for the best bargains. I charge all my bills on my IHG credit card I signed up for when they gave me 150,000 points. When I travel, the fourth night using points is free. I get a free reward night every year and they paid my yearly membership this year. If I have a special trip in mind and they have a 100% point sale I buy 2 for 1 points to complete the trip.

I like IHG over the others because they have the cheapest line of Holiday Express and some luxurious lines such as Intercontinental ( where I stayed in Europe.) The airline cards are far more expensive in IMHO

I spent last Saturday researching how to use expiring airline credit with IHG points. Rules: no out of pocket. I finally settled on 10 days at Wrightsville North Carolina beach resort flying mint on Jet blue. I will cook most of my food in the hotel room. Lots of fun youtubes on hotel room meals. If i splurge it is a lunch meal which is a better deal and less food.

Cash Tracking:
It is critical to keep track of what goes out. It keeps me out of denial. i use a budget app.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 11:42 am

I love that you eat a bit before going to restaurant, it probably also helps to feel less crabby if the food is taking awhile to come out.


Fru-gal Lisa May 30, 2024 at 4:33 pm

Mary Ann and Katy,
Your comments about eating before going out to eat remind me of a scene in Gone With The Wind, toward the first of the movie. Right before the big barbecue, Mamie brings Scarlett O’Hara a big meal up in her bedroom and urges her to finish it all. She doesn’t want Scarlett to feel hungry downstairs at the BBQ because, in the Old South’s society, “ladies don’t eat.” LOL!


Katy May 31, 2024 at 11:39 am

This lady eats!


Ashley Bananas May 31, 2024 at 10:25 am

I really enjoy your information on IHG. I have been working to maximize my return on Delta Sky Miles with a card I opened this year. Once I maximize my return on that card I then want to find another and work on maximizing the return on those. My son and I have traveled a lot to visit family this year. So, it really helps.

Can I ask what does flying mint on Jet blue mean? Thank you!


Rcj276 May 30, 2024 at 8:55 am

We live in an older, small house in an expensive city and have made it as efficient as possible with better windows and insulation. Instead of upsizing as we could afford it, we’ve made changes to make it what we wanted and stayed put. We have an efficient woodburning stove and get our own firewood (combined with camping trips) and rarely run the furnace or the A/C. Our front yard is xeric and our back yard is very small but still has grass for our 3 dogs. My husband is extremely handy and built us a garage that we lived in for 9 months while we remodeled our house to remove interior walls and raise the ceiling. It feels much larger now even though the total square footage is still under 700 total sq ft. We found discounted stainless steel appliances at a Sears outlet years ago that look great in the kitchen. We don’t waste food and my husband hunts, so a freezer in the garage has elk and deer in it, and hunting trips were combined with time off spent camping. Groceries come from Costco (after checking the monthly sales first), Winco and Grocery Outlet.

After paying a lot for a labradoodle, and then trying to groom her ourselves which was miserable for everyone involved, we paid for her to be groomed 3-4 times a year. After she passed we’ve gone with small, short haired dogs from rescues or the animal shelter and saved thousands on not paying for grooming. Smaller dogs also tend to live longer and eat less than larger dogs.

We bought a used camper 8 years ago and take cheap vacations by camping for free on Federal land, and bringing our own groceries and beer. Essentially the only cost is the fuel as we bring the dogs and don’t pay for a dog sitter. We try to go out a few times in the local towns to support the local economy and check out new places, but primarily we get away to hike and bike.

We use a high efficiency front loading washer and hang dry some of our clothes. We’re fans of Costco’s powdered detergent too and haven’t found the need to use special HE detergent. The washer seems to not wear our clothes out the same way that my sister’s top loading washer with an agitator does. Friends and family know that we gladly accept hand me downs so some of our clothes are used. We’ve used thrift stores, ebay, Poshmark and Thred Up for used clothes too. We’re both public servants and his daily work uniform is provided, as mine was for years until I moved into an office position. We use bar rags to clean.

It wasn’t a financial decision, but not having kids has of course turned out to be frugal, as was a vasectomy and using a Diva cup.

We use a cash back credit card paid off each month, earn dividends on our checking accounts and invest around 50% of our take home pay in retirement accounts including Vanguard index funds. When we want something we ask if we can live without it, or try to find it somewhere used for less. We’re big fans of Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for things like used motorcycles, a whitewater raft and a raft trailer (also used to get firewood). Sierra Trading post is a good resource for discounted outdoor gear if we decide to buy.
We have tried to stop exchanging gifts with friends and family as everyone already has enough stuff.

We bike when we can and drive our used electric car for errands around town. It’s great that a yearly $10 fee covers the parking meters downtown for unlimited use up to the maximum time on the meter, and we especially love it when we can use the free charging station parking spot downtown.

It probably goes without saying given this audience but we don’t buy new vehicles, we wash our own cars, we don’t pay for manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, dog day care, lawn mowing, car loans…we don’t upgrade our snowboards or mtn bikes or clothes yearly, and just enjoy using what we already own (ideally obtained at a discount). Hiking is cheap, biking is cheap, having friends over to hang in our backyard is cheap, and we were fortunate to find a gym that’s $15 a month.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 11:39 am

Okay, you are officially inspiring!


Christine May 30, 2024 at 10:42 am

Thanks so much for this particular post Katy, and thanks to everyone for posting. Lots of valuable information here.
Like many here, one of my biggest money savers is the library, not only in terms of borrowed books but by attending the many interesting programs held there. Concerts, authors, speakers on a wide range of topics and practical life skills are some of what they offer. Our director and library board are thoughtful, hardworking and diligent about the monthly events offered.
I was never a “clotheshorse” except perhaps a few years in my teens, so I haven’t been big on fancy clothes. Most of the jobs I’ve had required uniforms, such as the post office and healthcare, so I never had to come up with outfits every day. At my most recent job at a deli, we could wear whatever we wanted to wear. As a result, almost all my clothes are secondhand or bought with points on an Old Navy credit card (paid off every month) although lately I don’t feel comfortable with ON’s fast fashion, knowing what I do about that industry. I do buy new underwear, bras, socks and shoes. I try to wear things more than once, especially dungarees. I think my record for them is wearing them x 4. At least that’s the time I kept track.
I always pick up change I find. Still hoping for the paper money! I’ve found paper money three times in the past but it’s been a dry run for many years.
Cooking at home is a huge money saver for us. I don’t love to cook, but I don’t hate it either. I tell DH that I don’t mind cooking, which is true. I do love to bake in the cool weather.
DH finally gets why I like to batch errands. He doesn’t care to be jumping in and out of the car but realizes I do it to save gas and time. So he stays home (most of the time) but if I have something heavy I want to donate, give away, etc. he needs to come.
We have friends over to our house or go to theirs for socializing. We have a couple coming over Saturday for an easy supper…hotdogs and macaroni salad. They can stay as long as they want or at least until I start to fall asleep! Lol.
I love this blog and what I have learned from it and always have my mind open to new ideas.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 11:31 am

Thank you for the kind words!

I was very lucky to have accidentally landed in a career where I didn’t need to have a work wardrobe. I didn’t even need to buy my own scrubs as they were hospital provided due to me having to circulate in the ORs and infection control issues.


Heidi Louise May 30, 2024 at 10:52 am

The library is at the top of my list!
I appreciate the notes here about spending money on things important to us, specifically independent book stores and authors, local community events, and local newspapers.
And the points about taking care of things, causing less waste, and other environmental caretaking.


Katy May 30, 2024 at 11:28 am

Very much take care of your belongings so they last longer!


Kathy G May 30, 2024 at 12:33 pm

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred my Sam’s Club or Costco list only has a couple of items on it. I bring in a shopping bag or find a box on the shelf so I have to carry my purchases. If I can’t carry it I don’t buy it!


Mary Ann May 30, 2024 at 12:55 pm

I have used my Sam’s Club for cardboard to use in my eriscape yard as a weed barrier.
I can’t stand the look of the black tarp stuff.


Fru-gal Lisa May 30, 2024 at 4:10 pm

I would be careful re: the free wood chips. If the little pieces of wood are not treated for termites, the little buggers may chew through all the mulch — and then go chomping on your house as an “all you can eat buffet.”


Fru-gal Lisa May 31, 2024 at 5:50 am

Another yard tip:
Our area is coming off a few years of severe drought. They are making us ration water. So instead of growing lawns/grass, many businesses and homeowners are now “rocking it” — they are putting in rock gardens (sometimes just areas of rocks, no plants) in parts of their yards or parking lots (medians where grass or plants used to grow). Others are replacing grass with drought-tolerant plants that don’t require mowing or much water. This cuts down on your water use/water bills, and also not having to mow that area saves you time, effort and money (don’t have to pay the yard man or don’t have to pay for lawnmower wear/tear and gasoline.) It’s a newer trend and, sadly, becoming more necessary in this era of climate change. Look up “xeriscaping” for ideas, and if you’re in the U.S., your county (agricultural) extension service will have free information for you. If you use what you already have around your house, such as rocks your kids collected from vacations years ago, garden statues you already have, or existing plants you can propagate or transplant elsewhere, it can be a frugal thing.

A tip for garage sales:
Re-use yard signs advertising Vacation Bible Schools or old political campaign signs — repaint them or fasten cardboard or paper to them that announce your garage-, yard- or rummage sale. We’re also using a very large political sign we nailed to the fence as a table surface for our yard sale goodies — we just turned it to its blank side (no need to anger the opposing party’s followers) and set it on 2 sawhorses.


Katy May 31, 2024 at 11:40 am

Good to know. I’ve done the “free wood chips” probably five times through the years and have yet to have it be a problem. I’ll look carefully through it.


christina May 31, 2024 at 5:48 am

Top of my list is the library. I have always been a big reader and average about 150 books a year.
We shop costco , but mostly Winco and Trader Joes for some things.
We live on a fixed income(SS) so we don’t have musch wiggle room, but I budget and we get by.
We are and always have been big campers( the only vacations we ever took were camping) andjust got back from 3 days at Tahoe. Camping fees were half due to the Senior Lifetime pass, just gas to get there, and a few groceries to round out the menu.
I wear the same thing daily, levis, T shirt and a denim shirt over. That’s it.
Where we live there aren’t free piles and I wish there was but we have on occasion left things at a corner for free and they have been taken. It’s not really encouraged around here though.


Katy May 31, 2024 at 11:39 am

That must have been a wonderful camping trip! I went to Lake Tahoe once as a kid and loved the area.


Bethany M May 31, 2024 at 6:15 am

Bought a set of silverware at a garage sale (proceeds send kids to camp) I only needed the spoons so I paid full price and then donated the forks and knives. Hopefully they got double the $!

Taking advantage of Meijer’s 7 for $7. 2 pack of nice looking toothbrushes (not the cheap ones that are like, why bother…?) For a buck that is a screaming deal!!!

I keep my eye on Flashfoods. I used to buy all of my meat there, but now just salad usually. I saw some meat on there for the first time in forever and before I checked out someone else had purchased it already.

My bariatric vitamin supplier sent me calcium chews instead of my multivitamin. They let me keep the calcium chews and sent out my multi. A month of calcium for free. They’re too expensive so I usually get my calcium from Costco. These are so tasty though. Fun freebie!

Harvested a ton of oregano and dill already. I washed and patted them dry and letting them air dry.


Ashley Bananas May 31, 2024 at 12:36 pm

Lawn Care – We do our own. In Florida. There is a lot of weeding, mowing, trimming. We’ve backed off on the frequency of mowing to lower the use of gas.

Water – I take navy showers. I use water that’s brown but not soapy to water plants. I look at my bill and know I pay a rate for water out of the taps, and a separate rate for water going down the drain. I try and reduce both and treat them separately. Flushing happens less often.

Eating – This past month my budget for groceries was $200, and $100 for eating out, for myself and my 15 yro son. I ended up spending $424 with great efforts to buy on sale, clearance, and use rebates and coupons. Making it $212 a person for food a month, or $6.83 a day for each considering a 31 day month. I’ll try again this month. It will be hard with him staying home from school. It’s part of life, he eats a lot right now.

Money – I try and always have an extra income stream or two. This month I have done lawn care for two neighbors, and dog sat for another. Combined those things brought in an extra $180. It’s not a ton of money but it’s honest money. I also try and utilize rebate apps like ibotta, as well as coupon scanning for points for gift card apps like Receipt Hog and Fetch. Receipt Hog gives cash back. Fetch let’s you select from gift cards, I usually pick a restaurant and we have a day out. We used our last one at a chain, Outback, when traveling. It made for a nice lower cost to us meal with the gift card. I have started using Shopkick where you scan items, sometimes buy them, and get points for gift cards. I get the Target gift cards and use them for grocery items I cant typically coupon like dairy products.

I track all spending on a spreadsheet monthly in categories. I based it off of Budget Girl on Youtube, she has a spreadsheet which she also sells online somewhere. However, I made my own and have been tracking this way for a few years. It helps to see how much I spend in categories, then I can recalibrate my spending in those categories if it gets too high.

Clothing – I don’t buy clothes for myself anymore. I have taken many hand me downs from friends and neighbors who have provided me with more and higher quality clothes than I would have bought on my own. My son has been a recipient of our neighbors son’s hand me downs for years. However as my son is now taller than our neighbor, who is a bit older, that will change. Thankfully my son doesn’t care about fashion at all.

I’ve taken to buying shoes second hand at resale shops, I just look for ones that are new or like new. Similarly online groups for ‘auctions’ on Facebook have been a great way to buy from home instead of going to yard sales in person. then because it’s local we do local pickup avoiding shipping. For example I bought a fairly new pair of Brooks in my size for $5 on a Facebook auction site. They’re the best shoes I’ve ever had! I will probably buy more of the exact style on Poshmark for $20 or so in the future. Even so, I have cut back on this form of shopping.

Groceries – Every week I watch Youtube videos on grocery shopping at Publix. I search ‘Publix Couponing this Week’ and there are several channels that have solid videos every week that show the best deals and how to achieve them. Instead of me trying to create the wheel, I take the best from what other people have already put together that I need or want for my house. This let’s me stock up on items on sale at a best price. From doing this I am able to buy in bulk and reduce my cost greatly. There are videos for other stores, sometimes I watch them too. I buy in bulk on clearance when I can as well. Example, I found cat food on clearance at Walmart and bought two months worth for less the price of one months cost. I participate in CVS Carepass where I give $5 they give me $10 in ECB back.

Driving – I try and only buy gas at Costco as I have a membership and it’s the cheapest gas in town. I try and loop in all errands to and from work to save on gas and time. I will often grocery shop before or after work to help minimize my time in store. Because I have started to vary my stores this helps to not make trips so daunting.

There’s more….but well, that’s a start. Oh, and I work at a library =) Can’t say enough good things about them!


Brittany June 3, 2024 at 5:01 pm

Under self care I would add that you live within your means and don’t invest a lot of energy in wanting things you do not have. I have been reading your blog for years, and I have never commented. But I am so impressed with the satisfied mind you have developed through years of living your values. That is self care indeed and a real inspiration. Thank you!


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