Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 10, 2016 · 76 comments

  1. I had a mostly low key weekend, as I worked at the hospital on Saturday and then just puttered around the house on Sunday. I did run a quick errand yesterday, but it was just to The Grocery Outlet and Fred Meyer to pick up food staples. Of course I brought my own food to work and drank the free coffee and tea.
  2. The house was a chilly 60° degrees when I got up this morning, (that’s 15.5° C for non-Americans) so you can understand that I was tempted to turn on the furnace. However, I chose instead to grab my warmest socks, an extra layer and a throw blanket since I was going to be sitting still in front of the computer. Add in a mug of Red Rose tea, and I’m a cozy as a bug in a rug. No reason to heat an entire 2000 square-foot house when I can simply heat myself.
  3. My husband and I drove down to see our younger son at college on Friday. It was a bit of a schlep as the two-hour drive expanded into four due to accidents and rush hour, but we were in no hurry. Our son needed a few extra things from home and we figured it would cost less to drive in our Prius than to mail everything. We took him out for dinner and got to hear about his classes and new friends. Well worth the cost of dinner.
  4. My husband had earned a free Starbucks coffee through their app, so he ordered an enormous  mocha which we split for the potentially sleepy ride home. As always, I whipped out my reusable mug.
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsay October 10, 2016 at 11:48 am

1. We ate for free at a family birthday gathering yesterday, and we got to take home a bunch of fresh fruits and vegetables and other snacks.
2. We recently discovered that our cat loves Aldi cat food, which is a score since it is only $2.50 a bag. (We have tried to switch our cat to a variety of different kinds of higher quality cat food, but she just doesn’t like them. The only ones she has ever enjoyed have been Purina and Aldi brand.)
3. I’m sending a college care package to a former student, who is a first-generation college student who is struggling a bit with the transition. The care package is composed of convenience food and instant coffee she can make in her dorm from Aldi, and school and laundry supplies from the dollar store.
4. My students used up my pencil supply, so I restocked at the dollar store, rather than Staples.
5. My mom has been looking for a secondhand fur wrap to wear to my wedding. I found her one today at a vintage clothing shop.


Kate October 10, 2016 at 12:44 pm

re #3 – Some colleges have special programs for first-generation students. She might want to see if her school has one. I’m sure your kindness will brighten her day. 🙂


Katie October 10, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Your #3 warms my cold, cynical heart.


Shae October 10, 2016 at 7:17 pm

#2. I’ve tried Blue Buffalo and PurinaOne. Darned if my cat will turn up her nose at them! But she loves Friskies!! Little cheapskate kitty!


Reese October 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Mine both LOVE friskies. Except the food was making one eat so fast he would gorge himself and puke it all back up. SO..we switched to Merrick, and so far…. we’re good. Sad I have to pay more for him to not puke. Maybe Friskies is like potato chips? Can’t have just one?


tonya parham October 14, 2016 at 9:11 am

Cat food that is small seems to be a problem for some cats because they can swallow it without chewing it and that doesn’t sit well in the tummy.

Cats often will eat cheap food for the same reason that we humans will eat a snickers instead of an apple– loaded with things that change the chemistry of the brain to encourage overeating.


K D October 10, 2016 at 12:26 pm

1. I have used up most of the fruit and greens I froze this summer, in smoothies the past couple of weeks.

2. We did not run any HVAC the past two weeks, the weather has been kind to us.

3. I had a digital coupon for a free deli side dish at the grocery store. I selected Buffalo style macaroni and cheese as a gift for a friend that gave us several green peppers and many tomatoes this summer.

4. A friend was having noisy work done on her house so I invited her over for a simple lunch. We had sandwiches, chips, and fresh fruit. We were both happy with that and the cost was minimal.

5. I’m part of a group that just started making chemo caps. I’m trying out a promising knitting pattern with passed along yarn and a circular knitting needle borrowed from a friend.


Lindsey October 10, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Thank you for making chemo caps. I used quite a few during a prolonged bout of illness; for almost three years I was always, always cold and they and knit slippers saved my husband from turning into a grease puddle on the floor because I could stay warm without jacking the heat up to 90 degrees in the house. Bless you.


Nancy October 11, 2016 at 10:26 am

I also thank you for making chemo caps. When I went through chemo, I wore hats instead of a wig or scarf. I really appreciated the box they had at my cancer care center. They just let me pick out a few hats when I visited with the individual who did counseling to help you get through the issues of dealing with chemo other than physical ones. When my mother said she didn’t understand why the hair loss mattered so much when it was caused by the medication that killed the cancer, I just said you totally lost privacy, and anyone looking at you would know, and I would rather be in control. I will admit that I did have some cute hats, and one person I knew, but did not see frequently, just asked if I was having a bad hair day when she saw me with a hat. I told her, “You could say that” and then took off my hat and we had a good long talk and cry. So anyway, bless you.


Gloria Guerra October 10, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Frugal weekend at home included cooking all meals. Ever nutritious conscious after hubby’s angioplasty of 2009, we ate chicken, eggs, and beans for proteins. Mostly we ate fried rice and veggies and chicken. Made a great sauce from pan drippings, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and seasonings. We ate well. Since I am in charge of our family’s purse strings, I shop as frugally as possible. Friday night a Craigslist alert popped up for a portable garage. Texting the guy immediately, I arranged to drive 19 minutes to Ripon. For $40 got a brown metal tubed carport, 10×17 feet, already color coordinated to fit our brown and green home. Yup. Saved about $400. Did I mention we paid 30k cash for our fixer upper home four years ago. I joke it is a money pit, and our to do list has at least 7,000 items on it. We are retired and in no rush doing all the work ourselves. Now the carport will provide a workshop for me to make built in cabinetry for our home. How is that for frugality?


Vickie October 11, 2016 at 6:04 am

That’s awesome! I like hearing stories of retirees free of debt. We will be retired in about 5 years and we’re working to be completely debt free by then. 🙂


Alison October 10, 2016 at 1:03 pm

1. Today is Canadian thanksgiving, and we were invited to dinner at my neice’s house yesterday. Frugal for me as I didn’t have to cook for a crowd, and of course I contributed with wine, sparkling apple juice and orange glazed carrots. It was lovely.
2. Today is being spent cleaning and trying to figure out how to use up leftovers and avoid going grocery shopping.
3. Had our furnace serviced, and DH has applied for a $50 credit from the gas company because of this. Still haven’t turned it on though.
4. Decluttered some sheets, and found two pairs of men’s slippers that DHs wasn’t wearing. Gave sheets and slippers to friend with two teenage boys. NCA for her, and clutter out for me.
That’s all.


Krystal October 10, 2016 at 1:12 pm

1. I had requested free tickets through our library for a museum (this is such a cool program I just found out about!) for a cheap date night. We decided to try a fancy new place during Happy Hour prior, which ended up being not a great value and kind of bummed me out. A dollar or two off draught beers are only a deal if it’s a pint, and these were shrunk down, and they have a mandatory 20% no matter how good the service is (it wasn’t great). We’ll call the dining out portion a frugal fail. Took the bus to avoid stressful driving and parking fees.
2. Had a very nice dinner with my mother-in-law which she treated us to, and therefore was free (financially speaking).
3. Took another free exercise class from my friend in training.
4. Cashed in our “buy 2 get 1 free”compost coupon from Cedar Grove to supply dirt for our new planter bed. We’re growing garlic, onions and shallots, which store so well.
5. Made some budget trims and turned down an extra (for face value) Sounders ticket to put more money toward building up our emergency fund again. We took around $5k from it this summer for emergencies and will have it replenished by end of November.


Denise October 11, 2016 at 11:06 pm

I laughed out loud at “…it was free (financially speaking)”.

So what did it truly cost you??


A. Marie October 12, 2016 at 11:55 am

I’m with Denise on that one. My MIL is long gone and I don’t wish to speak ill of the dead, but…


Amy K. October 10, 2016 at 2:00 pm

My husband, kids and I live in a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale. We were under a hurricane warning this past week. I did quite a bit of clearing the yard and schlepping in regards to storm shutters, but I think my most frugal act was to pack emergency evacuation bags with items on hand. I put a change of clothes for all of us in large freezer bags to stay dry, flashlights, pocket knives, lighters, granola bars, sunscreen, cheap dollar store sunglasses, sunhats that were gifts or souvenirs, etc. I also included basic toiletries. I grabbed spare toothbrushes and a new bar of soap from the closet, as well as a couple of tubes of travel sized toothpaste that we get from the dentist. I also threw in a couple of our older hand-towels that won’t be missed.

I have a number of zippered toiletry bags we use on trips, that originally held samples of baby stuff, and I’ve had them since my kids were born. I repurposed one to make a first aid kit. I usually carry a small one in my purse, but I wanted this to be more comprehensive. I added Band-Aids, Ace bandages gotten from doctor visits and saved, ointment, alcohol swabs, disposable gloves, lots of those things I find at the dollar store, filled little containers with pain relievers from the larger bottles we have on hand, labeled everything, etc. The storm missed us, thankfully, but now I’m determined to be even more organized and ready should this ever happen again. Today I divided up the items, and made a second first-aid kit and used an old duffel bag. I’m going to have these emergency bags in each vehicle.


janine October 10, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Amy: glad you are safe! our in-laws also returned home to S.C. and were untouched. I am impressed by your bug-out bag organization. It is always so much better to have these supplies within arm’s reach. In the north country I don’t bother with sunscreen and bug spray in the winter months (although they reside in the trunk of the car during the summer) but include old winter jackets and scarves in case of a vehicle break-down in cold weather. Otherwise everything you listed seemed right-on.


Savannah October 11, 2016 at 2:53 am

I’m what you might called a “prepper”…and your post makes my heart happy! 🙂


Amy October 11, 2016 at 3:30 am

Thank you both. I’m so glad I found this blog. This community has such great ideas and is so supportive. 🙂 Janine, I’m glad your in-laws made out well with the storm. I have friends that live on Hilton Head Island that had to evacuate, and friends in Virginia dealing with flooding. So grateful for our early warning systems! I had plenty of time to prepare for the worst. Savannah…I joked that I was prepared for anything…zombies, end-times, you name it! lol. Me and my trusty pink baseball bat and manual can-opener…


Juhli October 10, 2016 at 2:02 pm

1. Our entertainment for this 3 day weekend was a 4 mile walk on a rails to trails walkway where an art installation show was in progress.
2. Made really good chicken barley veggie soup from store bought rotisserie chicken carcass. Now if I can just remember what I did to make it tasty!
3. Husband is diligently painting interior of house each weekend to prep house for sale.
4. Playing with new clothing combinations vs buying new clothes.
5. Did not buy a trip to Europe.


Mand01 October 10, 2016 at 2:06 pm

1. We took a week off and painted our house. We got the paint at 25% off and it looks great. We also gave the rooms a thorough cleaning and found stuff for our upcoming garage sale. We did not order takeaway at all the whole time even though we were very tired and busy.
2. Our youngest is participating in Junior Parliament camp this week. She needed business clothes to wear to Parliament House, where the kids will be debating legislation. She is pre teen so she did not have any business clothes and of course mine were too large. We went to the thrift store and found that she fit size XXS women’s. Pencil skirt and pin striped shirt for $13. She looked so cute I could have cried. She will be on the floor of Parliament today.
3. I made vegetable stock from scraps and chicken stock from our chicken after roast chicken.
4. Made croutons with bread crusts.
5. Back at work! Earning money is frugal.


Vickie October 11, 2016 at 6:12 am

Wow! Congratulations to your daughter, that’s impressive. Glad you found what you need at the thrift shop, that was a good save.


nancy from mass October 10, 2016 at 2:12 pm

1. Started Saturday hiking with a womens group I belong to. a 3 mile hike on state land and a lovely view from the top of Boston.
2. then heading 1 hour north to visit my mom in the nursing home. She’s so happy there and I always enjoy my visit with her. Had dinner there (free and good) and then drove home.
3. finally went through my embroidery floss I hadn’t sorted/put away in months and got it all put away after 2 pleasant hours.
4. found a nice counted cross stitch pattern of a cowboy snowman for a gift for my niece. (she has horses – frugally too – one was given by someone who was moving the other by the state when she fostered it and they realized they couldn’t separate it after from her other horse.)it will only be about 4×5 when complete and I had all the colors on hand. She’s hosting Christmas and will love it.
5. I had $20 in Kohls rewards and a 20% off coupon. I ended up buying a bottle of Tommy Hilfiger cologne and a Polo watch for my son. cost me less than $10 after. I was debating between them both when the jewelry counter lady scanned the watch to check the price and it was $6!!! My son loves watches and this is a nice watch to add to his collection. His Christmas is almost complete, just socks, underwear (every year) and a shirt. He’s 17 but when he was about 7, he met Santa and after his cousins asked for expensive gifts, he asked for a shirt. I always buy one and wrap it in the Santa wrap for him. Can’t stop doing that now!
lastly, made irish potato soup for supper with leftover mashed potatoes. mmmmm.


Stephanie October 10, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Where were you- the Fells or Blue Hill?


Nancy from mass October 11, 2016 at 2:26 am

Noanet hills in dover. Love that hike!


Bee October 10, 2016 at 2:26 pm

My FFT are a bit odd this week. The last few days found DH and I fleeing our coastal Florida home to avoid Hurricane Matthew. The storm is now gone and has left a wake of destruction in its path. We are fortunate. Because the storm turned ever so slightly, we did not suffer as much as our neighbors to the north and south. Our governor and emergency service teams did an absolutely amazing job, and we are home. These kinds of situations are financially draining so I did my best to watch our funds. I also learned some valuable lessons. So here it goes:

1) We evacuated to my SILs house which is inland about 40 miles. We dragged our 85 pound dog and our frightened kitty. We stayed for 2 1/2 days along with 10 members of our extended family. This saved us money, but it also saved our sanity. Living in a shelter with strangers or competing with 1.9 million evacuees for hotel rooms is the definition of stressful. I do not know how we can ever begin to thank her, but I will think of something. Lesson learned: Friends and family are frugal blessings.

2) We lost water , electricity and communications. Fortunately, prior to leaving home, I filled 15 quart-size mason jars will filtered water. This allowed us to flush toilets, make coffee and wash hands. Lessons learned: Mason jars are awesome.

3) I lost most of the things in my refrigerator. However, our carefully stocked pantry made it possible to keep the grocery bill in check. Of course, I will be over budget this month, but it isn’t as bad as it could have been. Lesson learned: The items in your pantry really can makes everything a bit easier.

4) We had some minor damage. Since hurricane deductibles are relatively high, my husband did the repairs and clean up himself. Lesson learned: DIY skills are a must.

5) When we returned home late on Saturday, we were visited by the company who replaced our roof this past spring. The owner , without being called, checked for leaks and made sure everything was ok. Lesson learned: Going with the company with the best reputation is better going with the cheapest every time. It is often the most frugal choice and sometimes you get more than you paid for.

Have a blessed and frugal week.


pattilou October 10, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Bee, glad to hear all is well. My brother and his family also evacuated and came back to little damage as well. They had their power restored on Saturday night by a group of volunteers from Alabama. A big shout out of thanks to all who are giving their time to help others dealing with the aftermath of Matthew.


A. Marie October 10, 2016 at 3:59 pm

I too am glad to hear that things were no worse for you and DH, Bee. As I noted in an earlier comment, my mother was forced to evacuate her retirement community in Kissimmee for two of Florida’s four hurricanes in 2004. This was very stressful for her, but would have been far worse if she and her elderly cat hadn’t been able to take refuge with a cousin-in-law on the other side of Orlando.

And, as you note, basic emergency prep is essential. Amazing how many people still don’t get that.


BJS October 10, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Bee! I was thinking about you during the storm. It was interesting to me that I was worried about someone I’ve never met in person, but I was. So glad you’re okay and back home. Loved your five frugal things and the five lessons learned.


Krystal October 10, 2016 at 7:45 pm


Glad you fared alright in the storm!


Susie's Daughter October 11, 2016 at 7:12 am

Bee – I was thinking of you and the other NCA folks in the path often. Thank you for this great update!


Savannah October 11, 2016 at 2:56 am

I love to see your “lesson learned” at the end!


Bee October 11, 2016 at 3:49 am

Thank you everyone for your kind words and support. BJS, it is so true. We do get to know each other through our posts — a 21st century community. Pattilou, without first responders, emergency teams, and volunteers; we certainly would not be able to put our lives back together as quickly. These men and woman are amazing. (BTW glad your brother is well) A. Marie, you are absolutely right that basic emergency prep is essential. Amy K had some great ideas above. I didn’t even think about bringing a first aid kit.


Vickie October 11, 2016 at 6:20 am

So glad you’re okay! My cousins in Chesapeake didn’t fare so well. Prep is so important. Lessons learned are very valuable.
We lose power sometimes during ice storms, so I keep about 10 one gallon jugs of water stored at all times. Better prepared than sorry!!


pattilou October 10, 2016 at 2:53 pm

1. I too woke to a 60 degree house. I bundled up like Katy did and kept busy to stay warm. I washed my electric blanket, which I will use to keep warm instead of turning the furnace on. I heat up the bed with it while I am reading then turn it off when I am going to go to sleep.
2. We were fed a meal at work this week and there were enough left overs for lunch for the next two days.
3. a friend gave me bagels that were going to be tossed and into my freezer they went and another friend had us over for salad and pizza to watch the debate.
4. I took advantage of the free grocery downloads this week. I got yogurt and a smoothie which will be a lunch this week.
5. I spent part of the day re-potting and dividing my house plants. I had picked up some very discounted new pots at the end of the summer. 3 of the newly potted plants will go to my niece as a house warming gift for her new home and 1 will go to a co-worker who said they had no plants but would like some. All of the others are no longer root bound and much happier I am sure.


Barbara October 10, 2016 at 3:15 pm

By Australian standards, 15.5C is a toasty warm house!


Denise October 12, 2016 at 11:32 pm

I worked in Sydney for a year and everyone squealed if it went below 21 degrees (about 71 degrees Fahrenheit)!

Have Aussies toughened up in recent years?

Confession: I turned my heating on this week at 16 degrees Celsius. Gosh it was lovely coming home after working late and walking into a warm house….


Mand01 October 12, 2016 at 11:45 pm

I have to admit that I’m an Aussie wuss! I loathe the cold.


Melissa October 13, 2016 at 9:17 pm

I’m in Sydney, Australia and I never complain when it’s below 21!!! It gets so humid here in summer now that when it drops to about 17-18 I am loving it lol!


Mand01 October 14, 2016 at 1:13 am

I can’t take it when it’s below 15. I think I have become intolerant to the cold over the past couple of years. This winter has been interminable! I used to hate the heat but I love it now. Can’t wait for 35 degree days.

Melissa October 16, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Don’t mind the heat, just hate the humidity! Nothing worse than walking outside and your glasses fog up lol!


Marilyn October 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm

(1). It was cold in the morning at my house as well. The thermostat was registering 61 degrees, but it felt colder as it was rainy and damp. I pulled out my trusty old fleece jacket. The jacket has seen better days, but it’s still the best thing for a damp, cold day. Today is much warmer and sunny, thank goodness.
(2) Listed a bunch of things on Craigslist. I debated listing a group of children’s books as I did not think they would sell. So far, the children’s books are the only items which have sold. I guess you never know.


Emily Wyman October 15, 2016 at 6:55 am

I just found a Ralph Lauren zip up fleece at goodwill for 3.75. It was looking dingy, but wanted to get something for my bf to last him until Christmas (when I plan to get him a north face in some frugal fashion). I used a little wire brush and went over it then washed it and put it in the dryer with some tennis balls and it looks awesome! Now he doesn’t even care to have the north face!


felicia October 10, 2016 at 4:49 pm

1. I sold a large table and chairs set on Craigslist for the same price I had paid for them a year ago. Bonus- it was a seamless transaction, between 2 well-off college kids who didn’t care to bargain though the chairs clearly had wear.
2. I purchased a (smaller) set of table and chairs for $100 less than the price IKEA has them for. Sifting through the CL ads paid off!
3. Babysat over the weekend because extra income never hurts and it’s a nice break from my office job.


BJS October 10, 2016 at 4:59 pm

1. Got an email asking if I could work an extra two hours last week. Love getting those emails.

2. My husband had another medical procedure at a downtown hospital. I made sure to get my parking garage ticket validated.

3. While I was in the hospital waiting room I enjoyed two free cups of hot chocolate. I hadn’t had hot chocolate since last winter and it was a real treat. (I had a bag with my books and paperwork I’d packed for the wait, and instead of gathering everything all up I just mentioned to the elderly woman next to me that I was going to get some hot chocolate at the free machine and that I’d be right back. Her response was, “Go for it! There aren’t many things in life that are free!”)

4. I’d bought a 10-pound bag of red-skinned potatoes to use in two casseroles and had a bunch left over. I looked online for recipes to use them and found one called roasted red garlic potatoes. I’ve made that recipe two separate times now and used up all the potatoes in the process. The recipe was a good one.

5. Have been doing some carpooling with another school family for a few birthday parties recently. Their son and my son get invited to the same parties and sometimes the locations are 20-30 minutes or so away. I love when it works out, and the boys have so much more fun in the car when they’re together.


Betty Winslow October 10, 2016 at 5:44 pm

1. Bought a silver Sharpie and printed the letters on my laptop that were worn off. Less stress now and no need to buy a new laptop just because of worn-off letters!
2. Joined a cookbook club through our library, which combines three of my favorite things: reading cookbooks, eating, and talking about food. And it’s free!
3. Helped younger son move out this week. We’ll miss him, but it’ll sure cut down on the groceries and utilities!
4. Am thankful for good insurance – my son (who has none) just paid $14.99 for a Z-pak. I paid 36 cents.
5. Took advantage of the end of the Italian foods promo at Kroger – everything is marked down, so got breadsticks for 50 cents a box, a jar of sauce for $1.00, linguine for 50 cents…. yum.
6. Took advantage of CVS’s 90% off summer/back to school sale and bought prizes for a contest we’re running at school, things to put in the Operation Xmas Child boxes this fall, and a chalkboard for the garage freezer. Most of it was 10 cents each or less!


Bee October 11, 2016 at 3:03 am

I also love reading cookbooks. It is an interesting look into the history of food and society. It’s funny though that I rarely use recipes or measure. I feel my way.


Carla October 11, 2016 at 7:07 am

I love #1! I will use this soon. Such a simple and brilliant fix.


Susie's Daughter October 11, 2016 at 7:16 am

Betty – I love cookbooks also and recently found this book at our local library – 97 Orchard Street: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement – and have really enjoyed it so far. It is a study in frugality, ingenuity, tenacity and cultural tradition!


cathy October 11, 2016 at 9:58 am

That sounds like a great read! Checking with my library now…


Gina in KY October 13, 2016 at 9:17 am

Ooh, this book sounds really interesting! I am adding it to my library list. Thanks!


jennifer October 11, 2016 at 9:07 am

Betty, did you use the GoodRX app for your son? I just purchased a Z-pack this morning. With the GoodRX app it was $9.70 at Kroger, $11.22 at Walgreens, $13.33 at Walmart, and $20.36 at CVS. You can guess where I got mine at. I know if you live in a small town with limited pharmacies it won’t work out but since I have lots of choices it says me a lot of money. HTH, someone.


Emily Wyman October 15, 2016 at 6:57 am

Ah I need to hit that up!


Beth L October 10, 2016 at 6:50 pm

I love reading these! I have learned so much. So, here is my first attempt in sharing:

1. My husband loves bagels. But, sometimes deems the last couple in the package too stale. I’ve been freezing those bits. I finally pulled them all out and made a big batch of bagel chips and croutons.

2. I cleaned out our clothing drawers. All our ratty tee shirts (and there were a ton) have been cut up for painting, cleaning rags and dog toys. (My dogs like nothing more to play tug with a knotted XL tee, much cheaper and less wasteful than a toy from Petsmart).

3. I walked the mile to the grocery store to pick up a free instant mashed potato packet (I try to cook from scratch but, this will be handy when I am running out of time and carryout seems appealing). Exercise and a back-up meal plan!

4. I washed all our rag rugs, bathroom rugs and pillow covers and hung them outside to dry.

5. I listed two name brand fleeces that I never wear on ebay and sold them! The extra money will go to paying more towards the mortgage. Also, less STUFF around the house.

Have a frugal week!


Bettypants October 11, 2016 at 3:38 am

1. Sold a flower pot on ebay for $7, that I had bought at a garage sale years ago.
2. Sorted out my fabric stash, washed and ironed everything I wanted to keep, and freecycled a bag that I didn’t.
3. Found an MCM style nightstand sitting by the dumpster at work. There is a bit of veneer chipped off the bottom, but I can paint it and think I can patch that area. Unloaded it into our garage and found it had some stink bugs inside. At first I was afraid they were bedbugs, then I calmed down.
4. Found a good recipe for sweet rolls that could easily be halved, which is a better size for us. Made a batch of those on Sunday and a batch of cranberry biscotti.
5. Took our portly dogs for walks on Sunday and Monday. Trying to keep at a daily walk until the snow comes.


LisaC October 11, 2016 at 4:27 am

Major flooding here, but thankfully not inside my house.
Prepped for the storm by NOT buying anything for the freezer or refrigerator. Made sure we had candles and flashlights.

While the electricity was on, but neighbor’s went out, made a big batch of chili. When ours finally went out, divided it up and shared with neighbors.

Shed toppled over, so I went through what was in it, took out stuff I never use, and reorganized it after putting it back up.

Staying in means no shopping! Ate from the pantry.

Cooler weather made me start to think about the holidays. Making lists of useful items for family members. Making a calendar for a family member with all of our birthdays on it.

Once electricity came on, went online to make sure I reenrolled in our health insurance, filling out the proper paperwork to get the lowest rate (i.e. no smoking attestation).


Vickie October 11, 2016 at 5:45 am

1) We headed a few hours south on Saturday to see friends. I made a pot of coffee and filled up my thermal mug for the drive. I’d filled up the car on the way home, since the station closest to our house has pretty cheap gas.
2) We spent the night at our friends house. Now that they are empty nesters they had an extra bedroom. We ate all meals there and had so much fun visiting with the gang of friends hubby grew up with.
3) I picked up microwavable meals at the Dollar Tree for my weekly lunches this week and a box of oatmeal for breakfasts.
4) I picked up my glasses in their new frames yesterday – no cost since they were under warranty.
5) I’ve been leaving the our furnace turned down too, but 65 degrees is about all I can handle. Otherwise the arthritis in my hands screams at me.


Denise October 11, 2016 at 11:34 pm

Several posts have referred to furnaces. In England, that would be a huge metal thing which burns wood or coal. Is that what it means in North America?

Over here, we generally use gas-fired boilers like this:

Are we divided by a common language again?


Mand01 October 12, 2016 at 1:39 am

I’d like to know what they are as well. We don’t have furnaces in Australia.


Bettypants October 12, 2016 at 3:17 am

In the U.S. we refer to pretty much any large house heating unit as a furnace, that uses wood, propane, or natural gas for fuel. We only say boiler when it’s a unit that sends water through the pipes and has steam heat.


Denise October 12, 2016 at 11:28 pm

Bettypants (great name by the way!)

Sorry to go on about heating methods – fascinated by this!

Thanks for the explanation- so does a furnace just do ducted hot air heating? Our boilers heat hot water both to shower/wash with and to circulate hot water to radiators (or to underfloor heating which is embedded in a special latex/concrete base – which can also be electric pads under the floor covering).


Denise October 12, 2016 at 11:37 pm

I’m obsessed! I can’t believe how big it is!!!

Mrs. Picky Pincher October 11, 2016 at 5:52 am

It’s finally starting to cool down here in Texas, but I can’t imagine the house being that cold!

This week:

1. I got free galvanized gutters, a bed headboard, and curtain rods on Freecycle. These were all things we were going to buy anyway, so it was a real boon to get them for free! Naturally they need a little bit of sprucing up, but it’s nothing we can’t handle. I’m particularly excited about the headboard; it’s made from real wood and looks to be quite old.

2. We’re doing very well with our homemade meals. Over the weekend we managed to have homemade minestrone on Saturday and kebabs on Sunday. I changed my focus to quick-fix meals instead of more elaborate meals, and it’s working in our favor!

3. We poured concrete counters in our kitchen over the weekend and now we’re waiting for them to cure. But we’re super close to having the kitchen remodel completed! Everything else is cosmetic, like installing the tile backsplash and ventihood.

4. I made a cloth covering for our front door windows out of a pillow case I bought at Goodwill for 99 cents.

5. To save money on movers, Mr. Picky Pincher and I are moving 90% of our stuff. We are only paying the movers to relocate all of our heavy stuff, like couches and appliances. Since they charge by the hour, this could save us about $200. I’ll take it!


jennifer October 11, 2016 at 6:47 am

3. I have been wanting to attempt concrete counter tops in my home. How thick did you make yours? I had a friend that has these and they look to be about 2 inches thick. She also acid stained hers and they are gorgeous.


Gina October 12, 2016 at 10:58 pm

I always preferred to move everything but furniture myself. I even took the drawers out of my dressers (filled with my clothes) and moved them myself. Most movers are not as careful with your things as you will be.


BGR October 11, 2016 at 6:43 am

I went out to dinner last night for a friend’s birthday/anniversary/going away celebration. I paid for my meal and brought a card/cash gift for my friend. It felt so good to go and celebrate with her. Being frugal in my day-to-day activities allowed me the opportunity to spend money without guilt.

1. I’m eating breakfast from home, drinking free coffee and water at work, and eating lunch from stuff I already have at the office.
2. Went to the Goodwill outlet this weekend specifically looking for 12-month boys long-sleeved tops to supplement LO’s current wardrobe. Found a couple, and since everything is $1/lb., it cost me pennies.
3. Have been making most of LO’s food from things we are eating already, which forces me to eat healthier and at home more often than usual (I cannot in good conscience feed my 8-month old McDonalds, you know?)
4. Am still carpooling with a friend two days per week, which means I am only driving to work 4 days per week instead of 5. Woohoo for gas savings 🙂
5. ???


jennifer October 11, 2016 at 6:44 am

1. My husband finally decided to go to the regular doctor after the eye doctor told him he would go blind if he didn’t get tighter blood sugar and blood pressure control. He has pancreatic cancer and after stopping chemo he has tried to avoid most all doctors but he does value being able to see so he did get new glasses and took the eye doctor’s warning seriously. So long story short, we are all trying to eat healthier. At Kroger I found boxes of quinoa for 99 cents, 69 cents boxes of brown sugar(only for holiday cooking), several cans of organic tomato sauce for 39 cents, cans of mushrooms for 29 cents,yogurt for 19 cents, padta for 39 cents, and more stuff I can’t think of right now. I also picked up my Free Friday downloads of Bush’s hummus kits and Breakfast cookies. I do love hummus but it causes my gout to flare so I am going find other things to make with the hummus kits that use tahini type blends to skip using any type of beans. For breakfast this week my kids will be having 19 cents yogurt cups with free breakfast biscuits.
2.My husband and I went out of town for the weekend and spent way too much. We ate out so much more than we usually do when we go on trips. The most frugal thing we did was drink water from home.We did eat continental breakfast each morning and took a few extra apples each day for snacks later on but somehow we never ate them. I also chose a hotel that was reasonably priced and had free parking. When I noticed that it costs $15 to $20 to park in most places, I realized we saved quite a lot. We were able to walk most everywhere feeling sorry for other people that were in bumper to bumper traffic for hours. We had a lot of fun and we can afford to splurge a little sometimes so it’s okay.
3.My daughter’s school is having wear your favorite team gear at school this week. The bag of hair bows I got for 50 cents(which including a nice hounds tooth black and white bow)and Alabama sweatshirt I got for $1 at the yard sale a couple of weeks ago came in handy.
4.I am enjoying Ellie’s real good food on public TV. She has some great recipes that fit right in with our attempts to eat healthier and it’s free to watch.
5. Last night we had a dessert of baked apples made out of all the extra apples left over from our continental breakfast from the hotel. I just cut them up, crumbled a few graham crackers on top, sprinkled with cinnamon, then drizzled with a very, very tiny bit of maple syrup, and then baked them for an almost free healthy dessert.


Amy wescott October 11, 2016 at 6:48 am

I telecommutes 1 to 2x per week and have a home office. Instead of turning the heat up (we keep it around 70 degrees and I sometimes venture up to 72 degrees; in Minnesota skimping on heat is too intolerable as we sometimes have up to a 7 month winter period). Anyway, I use a ceramic heater in my office feigning tropical temperatures. It helps a lot with my overall well-being and attitude to be able to work without too much layering. Amy W.


JD October 11, 2016 at 6:58 am

So glad everyone is safe from the hurricane! We had east coast family take refuge with us, and every hotel/motel in our small town was full. The Walmart parking lot looked like an RV camp. Bee, I heartily concur with all of your lessons learned!
1. I mentioned before that I discovered I was charged the wrong price for a bulk bin item — $13.00 a pound for an herb, instead of the bulk beans on sale I actually bought. I dug through the trash and found the tag on which I had marked the item number — it was a simple mistake, the clerk entering 7 instead of 1 when ringing it up. I took the tag and the receipt to the store this weekend and got $11.11 back with no fuss, only a smile and apology.
2. I pulled items out of the freezer to cook a big meal for my “evacuees” and they really appreciated it. I didn’t have to go to the store even one time, which is good, because the stores were crazy full of people during the storm.
3. The weather finally cooled off enough (58 at night is cool for us Floridians) that I baked some bread, after a long hot summer. I buy yeast in bulk and I buy organic wheat berries and grind them in my second hand mill, which actually takes the price of organic flour down quite a bit. I love Dave’s Killer Bread, but my bread is really good, and much cheaper.
4. I turned off the AC. Finally.
5. I paid another insurance bill in full instead of on the monthly plan. It feels good to be able to do that again, and it saves money, of course.


Sheila October 11, 2016 at 8:12 am

1. I did my first swap in a FB backyard fruit exchange: my pineapple guavas for pomegranates. Such a great way to share!
2. Since my guava tree keeps producing, I figured I’d try my hand at making jam. For my first time, it was pretty darn good!
3. I had a few jam jars that I’d accumulated but didn’t have the tops – until I found some I’d bought at Goodwill in the bottom of a drawer. I was dreading going out to the store for just that, so it was a nice score!
4. There must be something that died under our kitchen because it really stinks. My husband, who is so handy, has cleaned out the a/c ducting, cleaned under cabinet kickplates, and still hasn’t found the little bugger (we’re hoping it’s not a big bugger!). Tonight he’s planning on opening up another cabinet since it seems like the scent is worse there. All this in order to avoid hiring a company to come out – which would probably be big bucks. Proud of my husband who keeps thinking of more ways to find this critter, fingers crossed.
5. Since I work from home, I’ve had to be creative about how to survive the stench. I have lots of candles that friends have given me that I now have burning in the kitchen while I work. Sometimes I take a big sniff of a scented candle and keep on going.
And a bonus 6. I wanted to make a succulent topped pumpkin, but didn’t want to make a trip to the craft store to get the moss (I have lots of succulents and picked up a pumpkin at Trader Joe’s for such a reasonable price). This was on Thursday. Then I remembered that Michaels/Joanns usually has 40% off coupons on Sunday. So I waited, and when I checked our paper, there was a 50% off coupon – yippee! Plus we were driving right by there on Sunday so I didn’t do a separate trip.


jennifer October 11, 2016 at 8:56 am

4. Oh my, I hate when things die and you cant find the smell. A squirrel died somewhere around/under our house once and we never did find it! The smell can’t last forever. It can take a while to finally dry up and go away though.


amanda October 11, 2016 at 12:31 pm

I’ve been crazy busy and not as frugal as I’d like to be, but I’ve tried my best!

1. I’ve driven about 300 miles a day over the last month, stopping at the cheapest gas station on my route, on the reservation, averages about 60c cheaper per gallon than off-reservation, so at least the fuel prices are somewhat easier on my wallet.
2. While I’ve been busy, our garden has continued to produce wonderfully and my kids and hubby have preserved every bit of it! Turning the tomatoes into soup and marinara sauce, apples into sauce, etc.
3. I’d been eating horribly while on the road, so my wonderful hubby started packing my lunch.
4. My boss came to town last week and bought me breakfast, lunch, and took my whole family out to dinner one night, then again took me out to lunch the next day. I’m STILL eating leftovers!
5. My friend’s hubby has late stage ALS and we’re all helping make meals for their family. One less thing for them to worry about in this rough time. I was able to make them a nice stew with all the fixins from food in our freezer and pantry.


Lindsey October 11, 2016 at 2:28 pm

What a kind person you are, to make food for the family coping with ALS. I hope your thoughtfulness is repaid to you in spades in the future.


Chris October 11, 2016 at 2:41 pm

1. Worked 2 catering events this weekend – brought home enough soup for lunch yesterday and some in the freezer for later, dinner rolls (most in freezer) and apple crisp (most already eaten!).
2. Went out to lunch on Sunday with a buy one, get one coupon – our first lunch out in probably 6 weeks.
3. Went to Joanne’s this week – haven’t been there in months – spent less than $10 everything was at least 50% off – only bought things that I will use for Christmas and I’ve felt that I need some creative outlet.
4. Library holds are coming in fast and furious so I have been reading to keep up with the onslaught!
5. Went to the thrift store with a $4.00 credit and found a shirt for grandbaby and a metal tray for re-selling and still have .07 credit!!


janine October 11, 2016 at 5:49 pm

1. Cooked dinner and brought it out to my older son. He isn’t feeling well and only needs to heat this up. After delivering the food, I took my husband out for lunch. Special today was BBQ ribs and the portion was so large that it also fed him for supper. Filled in with leftovers from last evening.
2. I am a backslider when it comes to soda but try to limit myself (mostly) to iced tea and water.
3. Husband cut up a large box of firewood for the coming cool evenings. We always have fallen branches on our property. If we remember to cut it all up in manageable pieces we get free winter firewood.
4. Our neighborhood group is sponsoring a cider- fest this weekend – free samples! Putting together a recipe that shows how to make vinegar from apple scraps to hand out to the crowd.
5. Beautiful fall weather – warm afternoons and cool evenings. Keep a sharp eye on the thermostat – found out it was set at 72F and promptly turned it off!
We have different comfort levels, but when I am alone in the house, frugality and sweaters rule!


Amy K. October 14, 2016 at 3:05 am

Woke up to a notification that I sold another item on eBay. Woo hoo! My husband used to work for a company that hosted formal holiday parties. I had a few long gowns that I wore once and then they sat in garment bags. So glad to be parting with them. I bought them on clearance in the first place, so I feel great about the prices I’m getting for them. I started sorting through tchotchkes in my garage. Too. Much. Stuff. In addition to trying to be more frugal, I’m also ready for minimalism. I stood in my garage for some time yesterday, a little overwhelmed at where to start. 🙁 So I took a deep breath and grabbed one bin and got started. Slow and steady, right? As I looked at each object, I took a photo of it. Posted it on letgo and Craigslist. If something is particularly collectible, I looked it up on eBay and posted it there instead. I love that having a smartphone makes this process easier. I put the items I posted right into shopping bags and have them near the front of the garage so they’re easy to grab. My “selling spot” is the grocery store parking lot a block away.

So many are talking about the cold. I moved to South Florida, near Ft. Lauderdale, about four years ago when my husband got a job in Miami. We had been living in Ohio for five years, and there were mornings in JUNE that were so chilly, I had to turn the heat on. Every winter I hated the cold, wet, lake-effect snow and slush, more and more. I also slipped on our steep driveway many times. We downsized to a three-bed bungalow with a pool. Okay so yes we have the occasional hurricane scare…but I love being warm.


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