Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 20, 2015 · 72 comments

Table Talk pie

  1. I found myself wandering aimlessly around Safeway this afternoon, when I suddenly remembered that I was packing a “free turkey or ham” coupon from work. (My Christmas bonus.) I bought an enormous spiral cut ham, which I presented as tonight’s dinner and will serve for multiple meals. Of course, I immediately put the bone into the crock pot with some split peas. Soup!
  2. I went to the grocery store near my sister’s house before hitting Laguardia airport. I bought three bagels with cream cheese, three bananas and an adorable sweet potato pie. Thus fortified, I was able to avoid paying for airplane or airport food, despite missing my connecting flight in Chicago which gained me an unexpected four hour layover.
  3. I made sure to arrange for my older son to renew his lifeguarding license over winter break so he can work next summer. Last year this important detail got missed and he had to get licensed from scratch. This process is the work of a few hours versus a four (five?) day process. Not only does the renewal cost less, but the peace of mind is priceless.
  4. I was able to score a wonderful big Christmas tree for a mere $22. It’s from an otherwise out of the way location that’s close my the house of my son’s best friend. I was picking my son up anyway, so there was no extra driving involved. I popped that bad boy into the back of my Prius and drove sloooowly home.
  5. I figured out that I could spend my thousands of worthless Verizon Points to bid on a gift card through their auctions. The points are otherwise essentially useless, (think Groupon-style discounts on overpriced stuff) so I had no qualms about spending them all in one fell swoop. I was able to win an auction for a $100 Verizon gift card, which I’ll use to buy new earphones for the boys. Hooray for a decent Christmas present without spending any money. Well . . . except for the thousands of dollars we’ve spent on our cell phone service, but I’m going to ignore that aspect of the transaction for now. 🙁

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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{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie December 20, 2015 at 10:03 am

(1) Xmas shopping is done, and all but one of the presents are wrapped. (Thanks to the neighbors who moved out last January for leaving a generous supply of wrapping paper–the good stuff from Target–on the curb.)

(2) The last present (the annual Martha Stewart parody calendar for Bestest Neighbors) is in progress. This year’s calendar is film posters from the Library of Congress, and all the movies are getting the Martha treatment. (My own favorite conversion thus far: “A Streetcar Named Desire” = “A Streetcleaner Named Martha,” with Martha wielding a mop.)

(3) DH and I just topped off the Prius for $1.91 a gallon at Sam’s Club. DH is going to go back later this afternoon and fill up his various gas cans. (They’d ordinarily be for the snowblower, but he was running the lawnmower here in Upstate NY last week!)

(4) DH also scored a lot of free firewood off curbs last week (we had a lot of high wind, which brought down a lot of big branches).

(5) It’s thawing a bit this afternoon after a freeze yesterday, so I’m going to go out and dig the last carrots out of my carrot barrel in the garden before I forget them.


livingrichonthecheap December 20, 2015 at 10:04 am

1. I used up a 3 months expired box of lemon square mix (won in a gift basket last Christmas from grocery store). Hubby loved them but I don’t usually buy box mixes so it was a treat.
2. Found a vintage collectible Holt & Howard candle holder for 25 cents at my new favorite thrift store. I am keeping it as love vintage christmas stuff – but if I ever choose to sell it it is worth 50 to 80 USD on ebay right now.
3. Donated some airline points to charity as they expire in 15 days and there was literally nothing I could order as it is for a european airline (other than a baggage tag which I don’t need) and no way to extend their expirey as a flight would have had to be taken. I got a warm and fuzzy and the points didn’t expire uselessly.
4.Refused to pay $4 a bunch for celery (*required ingredient for my Christmas stuffing) and the very next day what should appear but $2 celery bunches in the flyer. That plus bought 20 lbs of potatoes for $3.96 at the same store.
5.Today I am making sugar cookies with only ingredients I have (*refuse to buy cream of tartar for 1 batch of sugar cookies per year so chose a recipe that does not require it).


Jenny December 20, 2015 at 10:26 am

You might want to check out a bulk store or section of the grocery store for cream of tartar. Then you can buy just the amount you need for your cookies, no need to deprive yourself.

I did this making meringue, didn’t want to spend 6$ for a large container of it at the grocery store and have so much extra, so I found some in a bulk store, and bought just a few tablespoons for less than 1$.


Katy December 20, 2015 at 10:26 am

Grocery stores will often let you buy just a few ribs of celery. Just ask!


Beth Anne Brink-Cox December 21, 2015 at 7:12 pm

If your recipe calls for baking soda and cream of tartar, I would just use baking powder. One teaspoon baking powder is equivalent to 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar.


Ruby December 20, 2015 at 10:17 am

Katy, I had no idea Verizon awarded points. Will have to pay more attention to that.

The frugal stuff:
1. Used some leftover curtain material to make an arm cover for the sofa. Our youngest cat suddenly started clawing at that spot, so this will thwart her. (I hope.)

2. Have continued making a loaf of homemade bread every week so that my husband has bread for his brown bag lunches. He used to buy a loaf at the bakery for $4 every week. So this saves an easy $200 a year.

3. Cleaned a bunch of clutter out of the garage/closets and donated the best stuff to my favorite thrift store.

4. My son accidentally bought unsalted saltines (is that an oxymoron?) at the grocery store the other day, which we didn’t notice until the box had been opened. I have taken one for the team and been eating them with salads and as a snack because no else can stand them.

5. Made very judicious use of free shipping/percentage off offers by a couple of online retailers to finish up some Christmas shopping.


Katy December 20, 2015 at 10:24 am

Unsalted saltines? Blegh! Your team owes you big time!


Jennifer December 20, 2015 at 11:20 am

Could you put those crackers in meatloaf or make the snack crackers that you add the oil and spices to then shake in a bag and bake? I couldn’t eat those as is, they make me think of thin cardboard.


Ruby December 20, 2015 at 3:49 pm

I toughed it out and finished them off. Our neighbor gave me a big bowl of what she called dip but is essentially a corn-black bean-avocado salad with tomatoes and spring onions. It was very spicy and I used the unsalted crackers in place of chips.

With enough peanut butter and honey and a glass of milk, they made a passable snack. I sure am glad they’re gone, though.


Marcia December 20, 2015 at 8:16 pm

Those crackers are USUALLY just unsalted tops. The crackers still have salt in them. At least I can only find those at my store–I am a LOW salt person, so I always buy the unsalted tops. It’s just a bit less salt for me, which I save wherever I can.


Robin December 21, 2015 at 9:23 am

Unsalted saltines? Say it isn’t so!!


Amy December 21, 2015 at 1:01 pm

I did the same thing recently, so I made mock toffee out of them. Easy and delicious. Just Google mock toffee for an easy recipe. – Amy


priskill December 22, 2015 at 8:36 am

ooo the mock toffee — that stuff is stellar!


Krystal December 20, 2015 at 10:32 am

I have been very un-frugal recently, unless talking myself out of coffee runs MOST days count. And not participating in Christmas gifts! I have used my Verizon points as well for gift cards but never won 🙁 I did manage to find a few local deals to keep date night cheap, 2 for 1 for Indian food at a new restaurant for example. I generally avoid Groupon type deals unless it is a savings on a spend I was going to make (already in the monthly budget).


Bee December 20, 2015 at 10:37 am

I am trying to be frugal despite the holiday season.
1) Last night, the family decided to enjoy the lights and dinner in the historic district of our city. Unfortunately, so did the million people that live in our metro area. Traffic was terrible so we turned around and headed home. We had clean out the frig vegetable soup. It was tasty and there is enough for lunch today! Fate intervened for a frugal save!
2) My adult son was in need of some clothing. I ordered it online. The jeans and shoes he wears were cheaper than in the store and shipping was free! Saved time, money and gas.
3) My dining room chairs really needed to be recovered. I found a printed linen table cloth for 1/2 price while shopping. The fabric is perfect for this project. So for $17 and some staples from my staple gun , my chairs have a fresh new look.
4) My daughter is in town so we went by to see one of my good friends. My friend, who will soon be downsizing, had set aside many items that my daughter needed for her college kitchen. It is great to have considerate friends.
5) I finished reading a book recently that I thought my cousin might enjoy. Since she lives 1000 miles from me, I have popped it in the mail for her to read next.

Happy Holidays to all and may the new year bring frugal blessings to all.


Cornelia December 20, 2015 at 10:54 am

Joining in for the first time!
1. I did the math and realized that bringing in lunch and tea every day over the semester saved me over $950.

2. Did my own laundry instead of having it done by the laundromat, and used one washer instead of two – saved at least $10!

3. Made chicken soup and lunches to bring for the week of finals, when I happened to get sick, and didn’t just buy out as many of my classmates are doing.

4. Began doing yoga again at home, not spending money on classes, and I am still feeling really great to get back into it.

5. I took my MacBook to the Apple store and got the all-clear on some things I was concerned about, as well as some tips to help it run smoothly for longer, saving me over $1000. I had saved up and was ready to use the money if necessary, but I’m happy to keep it tucked away longer.

Happy Holidays!


Jennifer December 20, 2015 at 11:12 am

1. My husband was outside cleaning up the yard. I noticed some bad onions I’d thrown out were sprouting right there on top of the ground like beautiful flowers. I’m scooping those gems up and bringing them inside to see if I can salvage them before they get frozen.
2. Cleaning up for company. Realizing how bad I have been slacking in this area. Gonna try to do one room a day till Christmas. Staying away from the stores and doing what needs to be done=frugal.
3. Going to make some homemade centerpeices out of pine branches from my yard like the ones I saw at Kroger =free
4. Enjoying kids being out of school so I don’t have to pack lunches, Christmas music turned down low, and hearing crackles in my fireplace.
5. Getting another wonderful half gallon of reduced frozen milk out of my freezer. I love knowing it’s in there when I need it and having more control over when it actually expires.


Tracy December 26, 2015 at 4:05 am

In Ontario the milk normally come in 4 litre bags or 1 or 2 litre cartons. I have never seen the bags discounted but the cartons are . I have found good savings at Shoppers drug mart where they will mark there 2 litre milk down to a dollar when it sells there regularly for five dollars. The cartons always cost way more then bags here. Less milk more money makes no sense. The cartons freeze well and I have not had an issue with leaks yet. This deal is worth watching for they usually mark down about four days before expiry date.


Amanda December 20, 2015 at 11:20 am

The Verizon points thing is genius! I also have zillions that I figured I’d never lose. I’m about to go do this now!!!!

Here are my frugal things:
1. A friend was done with cloth diapering. She traded as many of her diapers as she could for store credit and brought me all the rest. She must have had millions because what she brought me is enough to fully cloth diaper for the first year. And these diapers are way nicer than the basic diapers and rubber pants I had.
2. Tried the Frugal Girl’s pizza recipe, and it was phenomenal! We’re making it again to night to perfect it!
3. Made pancakes for lunch that were made with puréed pumpkin snuck in. The pumpkin was one we were given and never carved. A month ago I roasted and puréed it for future meals. A cup also went into Friday night’s chili.
4. I was going to buy a bicycle chain to secure our riding toys on the front porch. Then I found one that we had bought years ago for securing the furniture on the porch. One thing I don’t have to buy and one less thing in my house.
5. I am breastfeeding our third right now. So nice to not buy formula.


Tracy December 26, 2015 at 4:18 am

When I had my last child there is a considerable age gap between the last two so I had given away every thing before he came along. I wanted to use cloth diapers again but the cost of investing in cloth diapers for one child was not appealing so I was at a get together and one of the other moms told me the local foodbank had a cloth diaper lending service. It was a new service so all the diapers I got were new and besides bleach kills lots of germs and we are talking little babies for all the squimish out there who don’t tend to have contiguous diseases . I could bring the set back once my son out grew them and get next size. It was a great service and completely free. If your city food bank does not have such a servic might be worth pitching to them.


Chris December 20, 2015 at 1:09 pm

1. Most of the shopping is done – 90% at Lands End with 50% off each purchase and free shipping.

2. Used my REI last year’s refund to buy Smartwool socks (plus a bit out of pocket) during a time that they will match the REI $$ used thus doubling that.

3. Used click and ship for USPS saving me a few $$ on each package sent – but more importantly could breeze in and out avoiding the super long lines yesterday.

4. Using the Dave Ramsey plan of “every dollar has a name”, I have been putting at least $50 if not $100 out of each paycheck into the saving account – so easy to spend the “leftover” money without this plan.

5. My goal this week is to finish up a project a started this fall, repainting/recovering a piano bench. Will put it on craigslist and if it doesn’t sell, I’ll sell it at our annual garage sale. Then just 3 more pieces to paint and list/sell. Whittling away at a pile that had gotten out of hand……


tonya December 20, 2015 at 1:12 pm

We decided to do only gifts for the kids this year. We are getting them phones from Republic wireless. Hubby and I have had Republic for two years and like the $12/month plan. Will be awesome to only pay $48/month for service for all 4/of us.

I stocked up on inexpensive staples at the grocery store. Used about $6 in coupons the store had sent me. Probably won’t do a big shop until the new year.

Hubby has a work potluck and will bring a cake made from a mix. Last time he signed up for a more expensive dish, so I think this time he can hit the easy button.

Hosting a big extended family dinner tomorrow night. Going to make cheap, easy delicious green chile enchiladas and pinto beans. Can’t take the NM out of this girl!!


Nancy December 20, 2015 at 1:48 pm

You’ve struck a cord with the Verizon points! I’m watching the auctions now! Thanks for the idea, I had no clue what to do with those points.


cathy December 20, 2015 at 3:02 pm

1. Went to our local Kroger-affiliate store. Had coupons for free bag of Hershey’s miniatures, free pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, $1 off Knudsen sparkling juice (I stock up this time of year as it’s on sale for the lowest price). Also picked up flannel sheets on sale as a gift as well as pens/pencils for stocking stuffers. Some were discounted, others were BOGO. When I got to checkout, I also discovered we had almost $35 in credit due to transferring prescriptions from other pharmacies!
2. Decorating the house with free cuttings of fresh greens which I’m putting everywhere–on shelves, in various hanging containers (terrarium, willow baskets, planters). Adding pinecones of various sizes we’ve gathered over the years (huge cones from sugar pines that came out of friends’ yard in the Sierras and teeny hemlock cones that fit in a bird’s nest). Adding other things I have on hand. It’s more of a wintry look, so I can keep things out for a month or two. Put up my rosehips & winter greenery on a grapevine base wreath. Brought out a winter scene snow globe, red votive candle holders, and my favorite Marimekko trays w/ a scene of evergreens (a gift from my mom last year). We also always set out our copy of Winter’s Tale by Robert Sabuda, the cut paper artist. If you haven’t seen his books, they’re gorgeous.
3. Checked out a local Goodwill that’s further from my house, but I was batching errands. I found items needed to fill in my wardrobe (lol) that turned out to be 1/2 price that day, but overall the selection and prices weren’t any better than other, closer thrifts.
4. Husband and I attended a late-afternoon wedding reception on Friday. Though they served light fare, it was filling enough that we didn’t need to eat dinner. Purchased the gift online through the couple’s wedding registry, which was set up to ship free directly to them.
5. We watched a movie the other night using a free Redbox rental code.


cathy December 20, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Yikes! Maybe I need to be more frugal with my words (see above)!


Jennifer December 21, 2015 at 4:56 am

I enjoyed your post


priskill December 22, 2015 at 9:14 am

Me too!


K D December 20, 2015 at 3:11 pm

We have Verizon (residential ) Fios and the points we earn can be redeemed for gift cards, but we almost never receive points.

1. Went to look at dining room furniture (our 25+ year old furniture just didn’t work with the size and style of the house) but didn’t want to buy anything. I’ll start looking on Craig List and we’re considering painting whatever we get.

2. Rented the new Mission Impossible movie from the RedBox using a free rental code.

3. Dinner last night was imported Italian pasta (tortelli) obtained free with a store coupon. Not delicious but filling and relatively nutritious.

4. Walked to the drug store to pick up a prescription, which was covered 100% by insurance.

5. Still trying to figure out what to have for Christmas dinner. It will not be a meal prepared by a grocery store. They look neither delicious nor frugal.

Bonus: I bought the Aldi version of Girl Scout cookies. My husband says the peanut butter cookies (Tag-alongs in Girl Scout language) are better than the actual GS cookies. I believe they were $1.39/package and the Thin Mint knock-offs were $1.25/package.


Marcia December 20, 2015 at 8:27 pm

In defense of high priced GS cookies–your contributions do help send girls to camp as well as pay for the cookies themselves. I know that some bakers have come out with similar cookies, although I don’t buy them myself. My SIL has requested them before as gifts! So when you buy GS cookies, it’s more frugal if you think of it as cookies and a donation!


K D December 21, 2015 at 11:38 am

I volunteered with Girl Scouts for several years. The troops received about 15% of the sale price, the cookie baker about 30% and most of the money went to the council (which I thought did not employ frugal practices). Now, when someone asks me to buy GS cookies I make a donation to the troop, I’d rather they get the money.


Bettypants December 21, 2015 at 4:42 am

I saw the mint cookies at Aldi and wondered how they were. I always buy the Keebler ones when they are on sale. I must have missed the peanut butter ones. Thanks for mentioning they are good.


Bettypants December 20, 2015 at 3:14 pm

1. I bought 15 Xbox games from a local FB site for $25. Keeping one for a Christmas gift, and have sold 9 of them on ebay for $89.

2. My coworker gave me two gallons of unopened paint. I mixed them together and painted our entire dining room today. It’s a much lighter color than before and really looks beautiful.

3. Also sold two books, two electric window candles, and a wooden sign on ebay.

4. Christmas goodies are rolling in at my office from clients. It’s so much fun to see what turns up.

5. I’m done with my Christmas shopping and have everything wrapped. Feels good being prepared and not stressed out this week.


janine December 20, 2015 at 3:32 pm

1. We were going out for Christmas Sunday dinner today to a new highly recommended restaurant on the other side of town. When we got there it was closed so we eventually stopped at a coffee shop for lunch. My lunch came with a free coke which I gave to my husband so he didn’t need to order one saving about $2.75. Every small amount still counts!
2. Set up an almost no spend budget for January and will put’ keeping the budget’ in my New Years resolutions.
3. Making Xmas dinner with ham sourced from my freezer and purchased on sale months ago.
4. Need to get my car fixed – using a local shop which is slower but less expensive.
5. Comparison shopped for a Blue Tooth gizmo one of my sons wants for Xmas and saved about $13 .

Katy – have been reading some archives and loved your depression era stories post. Would love to hear more stories about how our ancestors managed at that difficult time as well as remembering my own frugal grandparents!


Marilyn December 20, 2015 at 5:55 pm

1. This year, for the first time, I decided to sell some Christmas items. Over the years, I have accumulated too much Christmas decor. I selected 8 items and last week I sold item #5. In all, I took in $80. I don’t think the last 3 items will sell, but I re-listed them anyway.
2. Using gift boxes, gift bags and wrapping paper which I have saved from Christmases past. I have not bought new gift wrap for many years.
3. A few days ago, I actually broke my toothbrush. From brushing too vigorously, the handle snapped right off. I tried to tape it back together and that actually worked for a couple of days, but I could tell it wasn’t going to work forever. Yesterday, at Winco, I found a package of 2 Colgate toothbrushes on special for 87 cents. So now, I have a spare toothbrush and a New Year’s resolution to fix my tooth brushing technique.
4. Sent gift cards to my 2 sisters in CT this year. They really appreciate them and there are no big shipping costs for me.
5. Reminded myself that I am happier if I do not spend a lot of money at Christmas. If I am happy, my family is happy too, so we all win.


Tricia in NC December 21, 2015 at 6:11 am

1. My son took a hunting trip gifted by a generous Uncle and took presents with him so no postage due.
2. He returned with a headboard for our bed from a relatives basement.
3. Used a Bath and Body free coupon for my son’s Secret Santa at work.
4. Decorated a wreath from supplies on hand.
5. Son given a full sheet set for Christmas for college apartment.

Merry Christmas!


Mary G December 21, 2015 at 9:14 am

1. Ordered new running shoes for my son using a cashback site and a $15 discount code, along with 20% off. They weren’t cheap even so, but it saved me about $30 not including the 6% back on the site and 1% on my card.
2. Used a very ripe pear that came in a gift fruit box to make crumb-topped pear muffins.
3. Am serving leftover white bean soup tonight from the freezer with home made ciabatta bread. I’ll add a simple green salad for a nice inexpensive meal.
4. I used a gift card sent from Eddie Bauer to buy myself a short-sleeved tee for 62 cents. That was the tax after I used the gift card. The shirt was originally $20, so I hope it is decent.
5. I gathered some wild “berries” (some were actually rose hips from wild roses) along a rural rode where I walk to add to clipped branches from our Christmas tree to make some decorations. They actually look quite nice.


Tina December 21, 2015 at 10:49 am

1) Took the kids to Winchester Christmas market and didn’t pay the ridiculous price for the ice-skating. We re-used our annual passes to the Cathedral and listened to the choir practising for the carol concert instead. Just beautiful. We did buy a tree decoration from a local glass-maker. Eldest kid was pleased to see a sculpture by an artist they are studying at school, so she is pasting photographs into her sketchbook, which might get her some brownie points!
2) Wore last year’s dress to my work party, and the year before’s dress to my BF’s work party. I figure no-one remembers that far back!
3) Made a wreath for the front door using foliage our garden. We’re lucky to have spruces and hollies to hand.
4) Made about one third of our gifts this year, including damson gin and jam, fig jam, jewellery, a cushion and lotion bars.
5) Invested in a high quality fake tree. This did take an up-front kick to the balls, but it’s the same cost as three real trees (our open log fire would dry them out in days and make them enormous dead twigs) and I reckon we’ll get a good decade out of it.

To Katy and family, and all of the commenters, thanks for always being a great read. Have a wonderful festive break, and a brilliant new year from here in little old England! x


A. Marie December 21, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Ooooh, you live in/near Winchester! As a Jane Austen devotee, I’m madly envious. I’ve visited the city and the Cathedral twice, once in 1988 with DH and once in 2009 with a Jane Austen Society of North America group.


Tina December 23, 2015 at 9:23 am

Hi there!

I actually live in a little village about 4 miles from Chawton and Jane’s house! We go to the pub opposite regularly and always take visitors. Our whole area is known as “Austen Country” and it’s so lovely to welcome people who love her work. I always visit with her when we go to the Cathedral 🙂 I’ll make sure I blog about it the next time we go, and do shout if you’re coming over again – we could have tea and cake!


A. Marie December 24, 2015 at 8:41 am

Alas, I don’t think that DH and I will be in England any time in the near future–but thank you for the kind offer of tea and cake, Tina. Have a pint at the Greyfriars for me the next time you’re in Chawton, and give JA my love and thanks the next time you’re in the North Aisle of the Cathedral!


Vickie December 21, 2015 at 11:16 am

1) I took my grandkids and a friend’s young son on the Christmas Train yesterday, at the Railway Museum. It was a LOT cheaper than the Polar Express version I took the youngest granddaughter on last year and much closer driving distance. They had a great time.
2) My daughter (single Mom) provided lunch for friends yesterday, who graciously helped her by putting together the trampoline my ex-husband got them last Spring. They also put together a wagon & picnic table I’d gotten them last year and a doll house my daughter got them for Christmas this year. Praise the Lord for good friends!
3) I’m saving lots of gas for the next two weeks, since I’m off for Winter Break from the University. Yay!!
4) I’m going to cook up 2 lbs of ground beef I had frozen, from last month, and fix at least 3 meals from it – lasagna, spaghetti and beef tacos.
5) I plan to give myself a pedicure today. Cold weather is hard on my feet, but it will feel so good to soak them in some warm water and put on some warm footies afterwards. I can save $35 by doing my own pedi.


Isabelle December 21, 2015 at 1:47 pm

* Trying to find free stuff to fill hubby’s stocking. So far, I got my hands on 9 individually wrapped herbal tea pouches and some chocolate/candies (people give them everywhere this time of the year). I also put a 10$ gift certificate for the movies that I paid 4$ for, and a still wrapped 1000 pieces puzzle that I got at Goodwill for 0.75$. And I got a package of gluten-free cookies usually costing 7$ for the low price of 0.96$ (wird price!) And some other little things.
* Saw a pair of Firefly snow pants at Goodwill for 3$, but put them back after seeing a small part of undone seam. Then googled it once back home to realize those pants are worth 100$! So I’ll go back tomorrow and hopefully they will still be there!
* Bought 3 shirts for 7$ with a 30% off coupon (at Value Village).
* Searched a bunch of used stores for a Christmas outfit (or at least a fancy top) without luck. So I’ll be wearing something I already own. I guess this is frugal… It’s also a bummer because I don’t have any “special outfits”…. Oh well, I’ll live.

Have a great frugal day!


Ruby December 21, 2015 at 2:55 pm

A red scarf can make a plain outfit look Christmas-y. Or you might find a nice holiday-themed pin to go on your jacket. My Christmas outfit this year is my black suit with a red turtleneck jersey (stuff I already own), but spiffed up with a silver/crystal snowflake pin found for $1.75 at a second-hand store.


Jennifer December 22, 2015 at 5:46 am

My mom added a blingy pin to the center of her plain black dress where it was already gathered in the front to jazz it up and got compliments the entire night. Sometimes Goodwill will have one of those stretchy belts with a big blingy jeweled center. They can make a plain dress festive.


Isabelle December 22, 2015 at 1:12 pm

I don’t even own a dress, if you can believe it….
But you two have good suggestions, thanks.


tonya parham December 21, 2015 at 7:19 pm

1. I got married today! And, we just went to the courthouse and got hitched. It cost $150 but $150 is less than the 10K I see people on tv spending! (We’ve been together 26 years and never married because it wasn’t legal- both being women, but once it became legal, it was sort of a question of “do we need to do this? Do we want to do this? We decided, yes!)

2. I’ll be on my wife’s insurance and can stay home more. We live simply enough that with the insurance combined, I don’t have to work a traditional job.

3. I made dinner– BLTs and cut up bell peppers.

4. I decided to make her a reading catalog for her books next year! (Should cost less than $10 and will be a Christmas gift she can enjoy all year!)

5. Bought 10 pineapples to cut up and freeze while they were on sale for $1 each so I could freeze them for smoothies. A frozen pound of pineapple is $4!!!!


Jen T December 21, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Congratulations to you and your wife!!


dusty December 22, 2015 at 3:59 am

Congratulations!! My partner and I have been talking about getting married as well, we will also make a trip to the courthouse!!


Gina December 22, 2015 at 7:00 am

Congratulations to you and your wife!!


Diancy December 22, 2015 at 7:45 am

BLT’s for your wedding dinner, I love it! Congratulations on your marriage. DH and I got married at a courthouse, too. So much less stress and a tiny capital outlay. Just found out his daughter’s BF is about to pop the question. We hope to convince them of the idea’s brilliance as well.


Alison December 22, 2015 at 9:13 am



priskill December 22, 2015 at 9:44 am

Aww, congratulations and many happy years to you!


Canadian Girl December 22, 2015 at 9:47 pm

Big congrats sent your way!!


Bobbi December 23, 2015 at 1:21 am

Congratulations to you and your wife! I was overjoyed when same sex marriage became legal, then after my teenage daughter came out, my joy morphed into ecstatic rejoicing and relief that she will become an adult in a world where she can marry who she loves. All my best wishes to you!

(Also, what an awesome bargain on pineapples!)


Tina December 23, 2015 at 9:25 am

Congratulations to you both!


Vickey March 1, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Tonya, congratulations to you and your wife! And Katy, thank you for hosting a blog where we can comfortably say these things!


Isabel December 22, 2015 at 2:11 am

Thought I would have nothing to be proud of with my shopping as I had a trolley full! But they have new smaller trolleys and I had half filled it with 2 bags of kitty litter and 2 bags of potting mix! Than you for the hint of mixing kitty litter to use up on’s the cat is not used to! My cat is 18 yo so rather set in her ways, had written and asked they get smaller bags as they used to of both these items so I could handle them!
Have been eating lovely container grown potatoes and was given nice fresh home grown beans! Have been having a lot of luck growing things from seeds in containers too!
Bought an attractive t shirt for $2 at charity shop! Thought I would wear it a lot! Gave them a donation too!
Have been watching a lot of Dave Ramsey on you tube lately!
Hope you all have a peaceful and safe holiday season! Xxx


Isabel December 22, 2015 at 2:17 am

Best Wishes to you both Tonya! Had a Courthouse marriage myself …. Very wise!


Jennifer December 22, 2015 at 5:48 am



Betty Winslow December 22, 2015 at 5:55 am

1. Using up a lot of bits and pieces of baking stuff (chips, almond bark blocks, dried fruit, etc.) to make goodies for Xmas eve party.
2. Made up an online potluck invite and sent the link to all the guests, which produced a lot more food being offered to bring than usual, which will save us money and end up with a better selection.
3. Trying a brand of whole wheat bread our local Dollar Tree started carrying. If the family likes it, it’ll be a savings of $5-10 a week – our temporary guests (two grown sons) eat a LOT!
4. Packed up a dialysis patient meal cookbook (which was left to me by my parents) to send to a friend to use when cooking for her husband. Used some plastic grocery bags as the packing material instead of purchasing stuff.
5. Rescued 5 Ideabooks at work that they were going to toss – $2 each and my younger son, who’s still looking for a job and is bored, was able to get each of them working. Gave one to him, one to hubby, one to older son, and will be giving one to DD when she comes over. The last one is mine. I’m considering buying some more when school starts back and giving them to son to refurb and sell.


Diancy December 22, 2015 at 7:52 am

At $2 each, what is there to think about? If the resale is strong and your son is willing, I’d grab as many as possible without a second’s hesitation.


priskill December 22, 2015 at 9:47 am

Table Talk mini pies! That is a happy east coast memory — also, Drake’s Cakes (competitor to Hostess). Never saw the sweet potato — that must be new. Nice airport save, too. Happy Holidays!


Bobbi December 23, 2015 at 1:49 am

1. I’m planning a spending fast for January. When I looked over my spending for the last few months, I was pleasantly surprised that most of it already falls within the “needs” category for the fast, with the exception of Christmas shopping for family gifts, and some thrifted clothes for myself that I didn’t really need. It will be interesting how (or if) an official fast will feel different.
2. My older daughter asked me for Goo-Gone to get the residue from price tags off of some bottles (she was using bottles for homemade gifts of vanilla extract). Instead I taught her the trick of using a vegetable oil and baking soda paste in place of Goo-Gone. Worked like a charm!
3. My younger daughter (age 17) had her wisdom teeth out several days ago. I made two different kinds of homemade soup (tomato and squash/carrot) based on ingredients I already had at home, and I also made her fruit smoothies. I did buy her ice cream though, because I’m not a monster! Basically she was fed soft and healthy foods, very frugally, while she recuperated.
4. Less frugal than the library, but I picked up a few paperbacks at Goodwill to read. Sometimes I just don’t want to worry about due dates or losing a book (I travel for work regularly).
5. Some of my Christmas gifts this year are homemade: lip balm, body butter, limoncello, and a scarf I knit for my mom from deeply discounted yet gorgeous yarn.


Denise December 23, 2015 at 9:46 am

I pick up books at Goodwill also. I will often stock up on books when they are .25/each. I read them when I get around to it without worrying about due dates. Some I keep after reading, some I give to friends, and some I donate (again) to Goodwill.


Bobbi December 23, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Yes I donate the books back to Goodwill, or give away! 🙂


Vickey March 1, 2016 at 3:31 pm

It *is* more frugal to buy super-cheaply than to incur lost or late fees. You’re wisely making a choice based on your particular set of circumstances. And you could also leave books behind for others in cafés, etc. that way.


Tish December 23, 2015 at 7:42 am

1. We could not get motivated to get our Christmas tree and were concerned we wouldn’t be able to find one. Was at Kroger to pick up marked down bread and apples and they were giving away their last few trees. Free tree!
2. Made apple chips using our dehydrator for a healthy snack over the break and a couple batches of soup since everyone is home for lunches this week.
3. Stayed out of restaurants even though we didn’t feel like cooking
4. This is last week, but it was such a great deal! I had a mystery shop scheduled at Lowe’s foods and they happened to have super double coupons and pork shoulders on sale for 87 cents a pound. I bought two 9 pound roasts using $2 smithfield pork coupon that doubled so they ended up being $3.50 each, but I was reimbursed $10 for my grocery shop that day. Also ended up with free Pantene, free pasta, free canned corn using coupons and free produce with the rest of the reimbursement.
5. Made new bars of soap from all the scraps DH brings home from hotel stays. I never tried this, so we’ll see how it turns out.


Michele December 23, 2015 at 9:22 am

1. We’re still in school…argh… and some friends ordered pizza yesterday, but I resisted and ate my frozen dinner.
2. Used all last years’ cards to make tags for this years’ gifts. Hate to buy them and I liked to match the card to the gift.
3. Decided to make mashed potatoes for Christmas this year instead of pricier potato concoction I usually make. Cheaper ingredients and good.
4. A friend brought subs for lunch today. I will reciprocate by getting her the steel cut oatmeal she likes at Aldi’s.
5. Cut up my whole container of Bounce today. I cut them in half and re-use them, too.


Jennifer December 23, 2015 at 11:45 am

I, too, am making simpler dishes with less ingredients. I think this is a major savings. Making just regular sweet potatoes or green beans instead of casseroles uses far less ingredients.


Beth Anne December 23, 2015 at 10:52 am

1. Took the free napkins they offer at Little Caesars with our pizza order. With just two of us they usually give us a enough to last us a week.

2. Enjoyed lunch on the boss yesterday, yeah!

3. Using the phone at the office as much as possible as I am down to one phone now with 250 minutes a month. I have never used them all up but have come close.

4. Re-gifted a gift received that I will never use and would probably just have sold through the thrift store. Also did that with a Bath and Body liquid soap I didn’t like, traded it out with one I had bought for a gift for someone else. On that vain I also gave a gift with liquid B & B hand soap I had bought with a cute kitchen towel and hot pad set I had received as a gift and never used.

5. Put together my daughters Christmas stocking last night and realized most of the stuff in it was free or from the dollar store. Examples: got a free Photography magazine subscription for her which came in time for Christmas. Snagged them from the mail and putting in her stocking along with the large B & B peppermint lotion I got through a free coupon, Dollar Store fuzzy socks she loves, etc. I wrapped and organized stuff last night and used all materials from past Christmases such as the fancy decorated gift boxes others had used (slapped a new gift giver tag on it), gift bags, bows, etc.

6. Before the library closed for the holidays took daughter in and got her several books for over holiday break. Going to order online the Star Wars movies to watch hopefully over New Years long weekend.

7. In wrapping daughters Christmas gifts felt a little consumerismy but realized everything but about $50 worth was clothes (coat, boots, pj’s, robe, jeans, etc.) because she has grown out of everything!!! Many things I think most people just give there kids as par for the course but I saved it for Christmas.


Jill December 23, 2015 at 7:48 pm

1. When my kids are home for a long break, we set up a Monopoly game on the living room floor. We stop and start at random times and keep it going.
2. Checked out a couple of movies we have been anticipating from the library.
3. Scored the $10 cards at Macy’s (we each got one!) plus a Sports Authority card. Had my kids buy each other something and put it under the tree. I got something for my husband.
4. Made soup from ingredients I have in my cupboards.
5. Took my sister to do her Christmas shopping and I had coupons to all the stores she wanted to go to.


Jackie January 3, 2016 at 3:03 pm

In regards to Verizon points go to auctions and click points only and bid points for gift cards I have gotten two Home Depot ones


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