Mary Beth Writes

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3. Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.


  • We like “Imperfect Vegetables” which is a subscription service where one receives weekly boxes of imperfect produce that would otherwise be thrown away. The price of the produce is good, but delivery is $5. We realized we could order a larger amount every OTHER week, thus saving the $5 charge twice per month.
  • Talked a while with a friend I am getting to know better. She has, as a side hustle, run flea market sales for decades. She mentioned this interesting tidbit. “Call an auctioneer when trying to empty out your house (or someone else’s house).  Estate-sales people will look, sort, prep, and sell for weeks.  An auctioneer will come in and pack up every single thing in a few days.” I’m (MB here) assuming one might earn less money this way but the job is in and done and no one has to mess with stuff for weeks on end. Of course, kids or friends or whomever should go through the home first to take what they want before the auction company is scheduled. I didn’t know this was a choice or option.
  • Len did our taxes. (Len volunteers via AARP to do taxes for others. Check AARP and your zip code to possibly get your taxes done for free. You don’t have to be old or poor.) Len retired last year. Len did freelance work last year. I did some preaching. It wasn’t easy to predict what was going to happen with our taxes. We are relieved we are getting money back.
  • Decided to sell some knick-knacks that I’ve owned for decades, some from my parents. A figurine sold for $50. I don’t have lots of valuable stuff, but I do have some. I’d rather have a new experience than keep an old bauble.
  • I didn’t carve my Halloween pumpkin last fall. I meant to, just didn’t get around to it. I put it on a shelf in my kitchen where a few observant friends have politely (and humorously)  asked why I have a pumpkin for Christmas,for  January, for Valentine’s day. This past week I cut it, baked it, and scooped the veggie into nine 1-cup packs. They are now in the freezer for oatmeal or – pie?
  • Today we are having 50-60 mph wind gusts. The office windows rattled – I looked up to see that an exterior screen was not snug in the frame so wind was catching and flapping it. By the end of this long day it would have pulled the whole thing out and set it sailing so I opened the window pulled the screen inside. I bet I saved the cost and aggravation of obtaining a new screen.

What have you done lately to be frugal and thoughtful?


I spent the morning at the gym from nine until noon trying to keep myself limber and healthy. I take my soaps and creams and a towel and shower there, thus saving my own water bill and I get to drive home clean and not smelling of sweat.
Mary Beth's picture

It makes frugal sense to shower at the gym. I come home anyways. because I do not like to think about collecting soap, shampoo, cream rinse and all the rest. But you have a good point.

Franc, I know a well-to-do man who always showers at the gym. He says he does it to “ save money”. Really smart. His family may snicker but he does not care! In our house we endeavor to use up every bit of food , it makes for some interesting “ planned overs” . I bring home leftovers from church dinners, sometimes the dogs are the ones who benefit. I cannot bear to see food in the trash. Saving a bit here and there allows us to spend elsewhere or save for our dotage.

Auctioneer. We are at this point with my Moms house. That’s the exact same advice we got from her attorney. We are on vacation. So I suppose we aren’t being frugal. Although, we did go to the grocery store here and we eat our lunch in the room. Only eating out two times a day.
Mary Beth's picture

I'm sitting here talking with Len about feminism, sexism, and frugality. It absolutely makes sense to shower at one's gym. But if one needs shampoo, cream rinse, maybe one extra potion (I use a special soap on my eyelids) ... Then one needs deodorant, lotion for one's skin and face cream for one's face... and a hair dryer and round brush - these are all regular for me (and I seldom wear makeup), My life is simpler if I shower at home. Len will be taking his bike in to be tuned up this week. There is nearly always a good bike shop within 30-40 miles of where one lives. But I threw a bra away this morning because one strap kept falling down. There are not women's bra experts within 30-40 miles of most women. There's an essay in here somewhere.

Joyce I applaud your friends frugality. I bought a never used gym bag on Saturday at my local St. Vincent's for $4.99 that when I looked it up sells for over $50.00. I found a portable soap dish for .50... The main compartment holds my gym shoes,shorts and T-Shirts. It has Two end pockets and I keep my water bottle, lock & headphones in one and my soaps,body wash & lotions in the other. Those never leave the bag so I don't ever have to run around the house looking for them... I bought multiple's so the bathroom has the same products. The ShopKo here and in Kenosha are closing so I stocked up on those at a discount. One of the side pockets holds the a pair of new shower slippers I picked up for $1.99... As for food waste I eat the same thing until its gone, granted I only have to feed myself and I like my cooking so that helps... Ms. Maya & Ms. Seema also benefit from my cooking so it cuts down on waste. I try to shop in a way that saves on waste and I'm always looking to get the least amount of packaging with what I buy so I take those produce bags back to the store and reuse them.

But I am inspired to get some of my antiques on Etsy. I have a basement of stuff used in photoshoots that I won't use again. Just need to get it listed.
Mary Beth's picture

There is no "just get it listed" to this endeavor! It takes time and effort. I hadn't put anything on eBay in half a year - so I decided to JUST use my phone, nothing was going to be done if I had to take a photo, download to the laptop etc etc. It was so much less effort doing it strictly from the phone ... as everyone who sells on these virtual sites knows.

As I was walking to nowhere this morning and watching my fellow gym rats wiping down the equipment, it dawned on me that by bringing my own small towel to use for that purpose I can help to cut down on the amount of paper waist going on there...
Mary Beth's picture

One towel per day - adds up!

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Frugal? Road Trip to New Mexico

If our finances were stretched we wouldn’t have gone to New Mexico. We are doing fine despite the advice that says one ought to retire with a million dollars in the bank. Imagine that.

1. We and, at this point, about half the nation, have had our Covid vaccines so we felt safe and ready to see something new. However, we traveled to a place where they had worked WITH the effort to fight this pandemic. This limited our choices and is the #1 reason we didn’t go to the Badlands. How we spend $ is our power.

The Mindful Chickens are Wordy Today

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

  • Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).
  • Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.
  • Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.

This is my collection of wise choices and dastardly schemes from the last two months.

ONE: Our electric toothbrush/water pick would no longer hold a charge but a new one costs more than $100. Len took it to the battery store where they replaced it for $15.

Mindful Chickens - Plastic & Hunger 12/20/2020

I went for a walk on Wednesday and saw this mitten on a sidewalk. When I was at the same spot on Friday, it was still there, so I brought it home because it is a hand-knitted kid mitten, ya know? Any knitters out there interested in making it a mate, so that we could give it to a kid in my community or your? It's 7" from top to ribbed bottom. 


The point of “Mindful Chickens” is to spend less money while being mindful of the environment and our human values. We can try, right?

Holy Mackerel! Mindful Chickens 12/12/2020

Yamiche and Weijia licking out the mackerel bowl this morning.


I said I would write “mindful things” we did this week. The agenda of “Mindful Chickens” is to spend less money plus be mindful of the environment and our other values at the same time. Sometimes, one of those purposes wins over the other, but we can think before we spend, right?

1. I cut my hair. This is not a particular skill of mine, but I can do it well enough to not look like the Pittsburgh Paint Dutch boy.

Who Let the Chickens Out?

Mindful Chickens i.e., being frugal and living by our values instead of by blithering consumerism is how this blog started. Yet I seldom post lists anymore about choices Len and I make that hit that marker because I can tell from who follows me that this is not why most of you are here.

But today I have a lot of things I want to accomplish. Preparing the Light Posts takes me a long time so I am not going to do one – I do plan to be back at it Monday.

7-6-2020 Mindful QUARANTINED Chickens

(Thanks, KJR, for the funny fluffy chicken photo!) 

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

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