Five Decidedly Un-frugal Things

by Katy on December 10, 2017 · 166 comments

I’ve been sharing my New York City frugal thing lists over the past week, but it would be disingenuous to hold back the truth, which is that not everything was perfectly frugal. Because, let’s face it . . . shit happens.

  1. I carefully and lovingly packed up yummy snack food for my six-and-a-half hour flight back to Portland. I even included a meal to enjoy at the airport, as well as enough for dinner on the plane. Instead I left the whole damned thing (including my newly thrifted neoprene lunch bag) in my sister’s refrigerator! This left me at the mercy of airport food options like dried up $13 sandwiches and gummy $4 muffins. I was pretty hungry and verging on tears by the time I’d braved three subways, one train, one airport shuttle and then one very long security line. I finally admitted defeat and ordered a bowl of soup and a coffee from the Ruby Tuesday next to my departure gate. Luckily the waitress took pity on me and plied me with extra Saltines, for which she received a very healthy tip. Thank you, Taheera!

  2. I already mentioned that I took a late night Lyft from my friend Greta’s apartment back to my sister’s house in The Bronx, but I’m going to bring it up again because it set me back $48!

  3. I spent a lot of money eating out. Period. Not as much as a normal New York tourist would. . . but still.

  4. I only found 17¢ on the ground while out and about in the big apple. I prefer it when I find folding money, like the time I came across a twenty dollar bill that was innocently blowing around outside of the Whitney Museum.

  5. I was only able to fit in a single trip to the Greatwill Goodwill up in New Rochelle. I really need a few more clothing pieces, and had hoped to pick up some amazing bargains. (This store is riddled with castoffs from the 1%-ers.) Instead I found a $9.99 Patagonia down jacket that which unfairly fit my sister. I walked out empty handed and never got a chance to return. Also, we only had a short time to shop as my sister’s dog went on a solo adventure right as we were leaving this house, which ate up a half hour or so.

Now your turn. What un-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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{ 166 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy in the South I December 10, 2017 at 11:41 am

I totally understand. Life happens.I still think you did great!


Bee December 10, 2017 at 12:34 pm

I think you did quite well. New York can be sooooo expensive and 99% of your choices were frugal.
I have been trying to get a cold this week. I have been fighting it off. Since I have been under the weather, I have not made the most frugal choices.
1) I went to the store to by Zicam. I had a $2.50 coupon in my email, but could not get it to print. Since I wasn’t feeling well, I didn’t bother to fix the printing problem. I just went to the store without the coupon. The next day when I felt a bit better, it took me 3 minutes to fix the printer.

2) While at the store, I decided that I wasn’t going to cook the dinner that I had planned. I bought a rotisserie chicken instead. There was already plenty to eat at home.

3) I went to the Goodwill today. I was looking for a pot lid to replace one that broke. I didn’t find one, but I bought a shirt that I really don’t need and 4 items for resale. Unfortunately, I already have a backlog of things to sell online.

4) I threw out a serving of soup that had gotten pushed to the back of the refrigerator along with some fresh spinach.

5) I stopped at Trader .Joes’s yesterday. Along with the items on my list, I bought a bag of cocoa-coated almonds just because they are my favorite treat. At $6 a bag they are not inexpensive.


Jennifer C December 11, 2017 at 11:00 am

I believe some stores (like I believe CVS) will let you come back with your receipt within a certain amount of time, maybe 7 or 14 days, and use the coupon. Worth checking out if it doesn’t require a lot of driving just to go back to the store.


Bee December 11, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Good idea. I will tuck the receipt and coupon in my purse. I only live a mile from the area stores which is both a curse and blessing.


Denise December 12, 2017 at 3:52 am

Given that you were UTW (Officially under the weather), you will find that your almonds actually constituted a medicinal necessity. Hope you get well quickly!


Cindy in the South I December 12, 2017 at 9:12 am

Cocoa almonds are the best!


Karen December 10, 2017 at 12:47 pm

1. This past week we had to go sign papers to close (finally!) on the house we were selling, and we ordered Dominos pizzas for the kids and offered to pay them to watch the youngest. We used a 50% off coupon, but still. Then on Saturday we ordered Dominos again, but I refrained from getting anything and had leftovers.

2. My husband wanted to get our son a Lego Star Wars set for his birthday this coming week, and my son prefers the old Star Wars to the new stuff, so he found him a Battle on Endor set that has been discontinued..and I don’t want to think about what it cost, because I know eventually it will be in little bits of Lego Shrapnel, after it gets built, but our son will be delighted because: Ewoks!

3. I decided to switch my diet to mostly AIP (autoimmune protocol) to see if it will help with some health issues I’ve been having, and it’s been less than frugal for the grocery budget, even though I’ve been taking it slow and hunting for the best deals on coconut oil, alternative flours and such. On the other hand, I will save on my pizza bill.

4. I bought what I thought were Epsom salts with magnesium in them for soaking, and when I put some in the bath it turns out they’re just moisturizing bath salts. Not horrible, but not what I wanted to spend nearly $5 on.

5. I’ve already decided to ask my husband to just pick up some rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for dinner tomorrow–not as cheap as roasting my own, but I am horrible at roasting whole chickens and I think we’re tired of drumsticks alone, and I have a big birthday meal and cake to make for later this week.


denise December 11, 2017 at 4:34 pm

When I glanced at #1, at first I thought you offered to pay Dominos to watch your kids!! lol 🙂


Denise December 12, 2017 at 3:55 am

Me too!

D for Denise. Maybe we should remove the “I” in DENISE.

Left with Dense!


Susan December 12, 2017 at 4:18 am

Might be a silly question as things are different here in the UK but could you just buy a large bag of Epsom salts from your pharmacy? I know they’re a great help for muscle pain. Hope you find some at a better price!


Alison December 12, 2017 at 5:03 am

I’ve been on the AIP for 9 months now. It makes a world of difference! I am very strict with it. No way around it though, it is TONS of extra expense in the grocery dept (the government subsidizes the food that is the worst for us). For those of us who weren’t coffee-consumers & restaurant visitors, there is no savings to be had. The grocery budget just goes up!


cathy December 12, 2017 at 9:38 am

We buy brown rice flour, white rice flour, tapioca flour/starch, and potato starch to make our own gluten-free flour blend. Not sure what alt flours you need, but if you have a Natural Grocers near you, I’ve found they consistently have the lowest prices plus they’ll give you a 10% case discount. Since we buy Bob’s Red Mill products, there are four bags/case.


Amy December 10, 2017 at 12:50 pm

I stopped Natural Grocers JUST to buy thyme (soooooo much cheaper than at other groceries!). $48 later, after getting some Christmas gifts along with the thyme, I left. Got home, decanted the bulk thyme into the glass jar and then went to put the remainder away, and subsequently found that I already had half a bag of bulk thyme in the cupboard… I SWEAR I checked! Now the Christmas gift items WERE needed, but there MIGHT have been less-expensive options. And now I have thyme to last me for two years.


Diane C December 11, 2017 at 9:41 am

Can’t help it. Sing it with me, “Thyme, thyme, thyme is on my side. Yes it is.”


Kathleen in Kansas December 11, 2017 at 3:40 pm

Or: Thyme after Thyme.


Denise December 12, 2017 at 4:00 am

You need to stop worrying and just dill with it, Amy.


A. Marie December 12, 2017 at 11:49 am

Parsley you are over-thinking this. A sage suggestion: Just savory the moment and then let it go with the passage of thyme. (And don’t put too much marjoram on your toast.)


Ruby December 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Life does indeed happen. And for most people, NYC might be a once in a lifetime trip because it’s so expensive. You did a great job keeping the expenses down to reasonable while having a wonderful visit with your sister.

Into the not-frugal confession booth I go:
1. Bought lunch out three times last week, which cost $33 total. That is a heavy penalty to pay for not wanting to cook at home and not resisting the temptation of having restaurants next to the office that can accommodate someone who eats vegan.
2. Bought on sale (but still!) a handbag and blouse I truly did not need. Both were a little too large, which makes them slightly annoying to use, but I’m keeping them as a reminder to not get fashion stupid again.
3. Forgot to add a bag of dog treats suitable for my dog with many, many allergies to her ships-for-free food order, so I will have to pay shipping to get them.
4. Forgot to ask for a senior blood panel for our 10-year-old cat while he was getting his check-up and rabies shot Friday. It will cost another office visit fee to get it done separately.
5. Did not read the fine print on several high-dollar coupons and wound up letting them expire or throwing them out. Literally $13 into the trash!


Jill A December 10, 2017 at 1:40 pm

1. I procrastinated on buying a christmas gift which means it cost me $45 more than it should have.
2. I went to the grocery store with my husband to pick up some staples and forgot my coupons.
3. I went way overboard on Christmas shopping this year. It won’t break the bank, but still…it hurts a little.
4. I needed a new wallet and I tried using one I’d bought my daughter a couple years ago that she didn’t like….I don’t like it so I bought a new one.
5. I went shopping with my Mom. She was looking for a new outfit for a Christmas dinner. I didn’t purchase anything. I almost made it out of the mall and then I smelled Olga’s. We ended up eating lunch which was bad for my pocket book as well as my diet. It was an impulse. I did drink water and skip the fries.


Michelle H December 11, 2017 at 12:30 pm

I can relate to your number 4. I’m currently packing around an old lady purse that my grandmother had SPECIFICALLY picked out for me to buy her for Christmas last year, and then a month later decided she didn’t like it. It’s not my style, but I’m getting my money’s worth out of the stupid thing. And since I hate it this will probably be the most indestructible handbag ever.


Linda M December 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Michelle…That is too funny! It seems if I have something that I don’t like, it just refuses to die!! But if it is an item I am crazy about it goes kaput in no time. And these are all things used daily. Karma??


Cynthia Huntington December 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

I love the “confessions” thread. Here’s one: last night I had planned to go to a surprise birthday party for a friend but was turned back by a snowstorm. So tonight I am going to a pub to play trivia with friends. I’m thinking about getting supper there, as well as a drink. I rarely go out and once I got set to go last night I was surprised to find I was disappointed. So instead of a free party I’m off to spend some money.

I’m sure there are more frugal fails I could report but that’s what comes to mind right off.


Cynthia Huntington December 10, 2017 at 7:02 pm

It came to just over $25 with tip, so not terrible for a night out and a very good whiskey.


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary December 11, 2017 at 5:11 am

Sounds well worth it for the socializing. Hope you enjoyed.


Cynthia Huntington December 11, 2017 at 8:14 am

I did–thanks Barb!


Juhli December 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Just one word: Starbucks (again)


MW December 10, 2017 at 2:32 pm

December is expensive. 3 birthdays and Christmas. . . We’re eating a bean-based diet until the bank account recovers.

On the plus side, my soon-to-be 7 year old made a fleece blanket for his new cousin and play dough for other gifts from supplies we had around the house. So adorable how much he wanted to make something for the baby. . .


Kate December 10, 2017 at 2:33 pm

Oh! I’m going to be much better at this than 5 frugal things! 🙂

1 – I realized that the thing about Christmas that I most hate AND can do something about is our tree stand. It was an upgrade from our first one, but still awful on my prematurely-arthritic hands when I had to tighten those bloody screws. So, I splurged big time on a fancy-pants tree stand that has a pedal one pumps to tighten up the teeth on the tree. My holidays are better already.
2 – Gave up spending energy on finding a frugal gift for the great uncle who needs nothing. We’re getting him salmon from local fishermen. It’s amazing, he’ll enjoy it, but it’s far from cheap.
3 – Made an appointment for a haircut. I’m letting my hair grow out in part to save money and partly because I’m too lazy to keep up with short hair. Unfortunately, one side looks really weird, so I’m getting a trim to tame things a bit.
4 – Bought more Christmas lights for outside. We only put them on our back deck railing, where really only we can see them, but I wanted them to go further down the rail, so I bought more. A totally unnecessary purchase.
5 – Christmas stocking fillers. Picking them out is my favorite part of holiday prep. We actually give very few actual presents in our family, and never gave our now-teen kids gifts from Santa other than their stockings, so I sometimes go a wee bit overboard on them.


Connie B December 10, 2017 at 7:09 pm

When I was a single mom with a young daughter, the battle with the tree stand would have me in tears every year. The best gift I gave myself was the expensive no-fuss tree stand. Put the happy back in holidays. Good for you!


Denise December 12, 2017 at 4:23 am


Your opening line is exactly what I thought when I read Katie’s post title.

Suspect I can (yet again) out-hopeless/out-lazy everyone on NCA. On this occasion, I have managed to drop my standards of non-frugal stupidity to a new low.

I had to pick my cornices for my period property refurbishment. My boss told me to be careful about getting something too big, as it could look great as a one metre sample, but (as with his choice for a Georgian property), with a whole room done, it could be overpowering.

So I spoke to the specialist plasterworks company about my choices. The lead guy agreed that he was concerned that my choice may be overwhelming due to the level of detail, and he recommended an alternative.

Idiot that I am, I didn’t get a sample (he didn’t insist either). He sent me a picture of an elegant, period-appropriate moulding which had been fitted in someone’s house and I picked from that picture. Fitter started Saturday morning, I got there Saturday afternoon and had to send him home.

Tiny. Minuscule. Worse than having nothing at the wall-ceiling junction. I don’t know how that picture shows it as the size it appears.

Am now looking at a £1550 Extra bill to add to an original quote of £4880.

I confess I cried. And yes, my sister (who very rarely swears) told me that I am “a f***ing idiot”. While it has the benefit of being (a) true, and (b) deserved, for reasons surpassing understanding, it hasn’t helped.

My main negotiating weapon is that they never took the 50% deposit, so I’m holding all the cash. But that’s not the point…I am so terribly disappointed with my own stupidity and I know better, so why didn’t I do better??


Bethel December 12, 2017 at 6:44 am

You’re not an idiot, Denise. And furthermore, your sister should know better. Her words matter, and she should choose them more carefully.

I’m so sorry things are going so terribly with your new home! Here’s hoping that in the end, it’ll be worth the multiple headaches and tears 🙂


Vickey December 22, 2017 at 9:23 am

This. All of it.


Cindy in the South I December 12, 2017 at 11:44 am

Denise: I just had a sewer drama yesterday. My mom’s house sewer just, for lack of a better word, exploded Sh@#$ everywhere. OMG. Total line repair, or replace, or put in because the lines were never put in correctly 20 years ago,..$5,000 dollars. Since my son, who took care of my mom until she passed, lives there, and since he did not have $5,000 (newsflash: neither did I because I have another son with huge med bills, and who is in college), I had to go borrow $5,000. I have cussed, cried, screamed….been a total drama queen…. sigh. Soooo, I have to go borrow it. I am now crawling back into my hole to scream, cuss, cry and make pitiful kitten sounds.


Denise December 13, 2017 at 12:43 am

Oh Cindy

That is so, so awful. I’m terribly sorry to hear that, and on top of your other burdens.

Thinking of you: not so much brothers-in-arms as sisters-in-poo. My Poo-Gate cellar isn’t sorted yet, so I smell your pain!


Cindy in the South I December 13, 2017 at 9:11 am

“sisters-in-poo”….love it…lol Denise!

KJD509 December 10, 2017 at 2:37 pm

I don’t think I want to number my confessions because I suspect there could so many more than 5 . . .

> Just could not get my act together for birthday gifts for Littlest. Sent hubs to the store to handle it, with the vaguest of suggestions. At least triple what I would have spent.
> Just could not face making dinner Friday night, so picked up giant deli sandwiches and some accompaniments at the butcher shop where I was grabbing some of hubs’ favorite stuff to cook while he was here this weekend. 3.99/lb sausage turned into a grocery bill of $30, somehow.
> After spending near-full-price for a lacy thing to throw over an existing dress for the office party, I didn’t have it in me to try them on together until 20 minutes before the party and it looked terrible. Wore the dress on its own and will try to return the lacy thing, but sometimes special occasion clothing is harder to return.
> Just couldn’t face the office party when the time came so stopped at hubs’ favorite pub for a beer on the way (just a block away). It worked! We made it to the party! But then didn’t “spend” our free drink coupons at the party. Frugal in the long run to not drink so much, but silly to skip the free drinks in order to pay for some.
> Have not started Christmas shopping. Not a single item, not even a plan. Have finally admitted to myself that we are not in fact going to sell this house and find and buy a new one in the next two weeks, so Christmas will have to happen here. Really not sure how to make this work inexpensively. Another year when we had an unexpected budget crunch in December we wound up taking animals that people were getting rid of (guinea pigs, hamster, fish etc.) for free or cheap and putting them under the tree for the kiddos. It got us out of a pinch and they remember it so fondly as a favorite holiday. . . but I don’t think it will work a second time.

Thanks for the chance to admit ongoing defeats. Now – back in the saddle –


Denise December 12, 2017 at 4:28 am


I’m in a pickle but I don’t have children to consider. I can only say that I’m sorry you’ve got so much on , while juggling your children’s excitement and expectations. Two weeks to go – you can do it!


tonya December 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm

1) After years of being a dedicated thrifter for my son’s pants I have come to the sad conclusion that his size is so rare that I just have to buy new, special order. We ordered him three pairs of jeans and winter pants, size 30×36. I used a coupon and ebates, but it was $130.
2) I buy Starbucks coffee three mornings per week on my way to work. It makes all the other frugal efforts (packing breakfast and lunch, cooking dinner at home) worthwhile having one indulgence to look forward to on those long days. I just buy plain coffee, nothing fancy.
3) We took the family out to eat this afternoon. It is a rare indulgence, and was a really special time together.
4) Wine. Worth the cost!


Roberta December 11, 2017 at 6:53 am

Can you take in your son’s trousers? I have a 15 year old beanpole, and we are currently using a belt to keep his trousers up. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on something he will outgrow soon. I just bought 30×34 dress pants for him, and I’m hoping to figure out how to take them in a little.


tonya December 11, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Roberta, funny story here. I decided to take in my daughter’s thrifted choir pants ( she’s also thin, go figure) a few years ago. Threaded the needle, set it down to pick up the pants, and when I turned back around, the cat was just gulping down her last swallow of threaded needle. $800 emergency needlectomy…..not frugal!! The cat survived, but I remain traumatized by mending.


Vickey December 22, 2017 at 9:31 am

Tonya, how traumatic that must have been! If you ever decide to brave handstitching again (go, you!), you might slip that threaded needle-in waiting through an inch or so of your shirt or sweater, above the breast on the side opposite your sewing hand. I find I’m much less likely to lose track of them that way. And you’d know instantly if kitty was getting into mischief with it.


Ruby December 12, 2017 at 8:20 am

I was also the mom to a little beanpole. It’s not too hard to run elastic through the back waistband of pants to take them up, and then it stretches some with the child as he grows.


Pam E-P December 11, 2017 at 8:43 am

My husband has a 34″ inseam and we have a terrible time finding jeans for him. Every Black Friday Belk has Izod jeans buy 1, get 2 free. They usually still don’t have his size, but we found out last year that they will order them for you and give you the deal. We bought him 3 pairs last year and another this year. We should be set for years! They are really quality, comfortable jeans.


Diane C December 11, 2017 at 9:57 am

Men’s clothing expert here, courtesy of ten years of selling them at Nordstrom. There is a world of difference between 30 x 34 and 30 x 36. The former are hen’s teeth, the latter is a unicorn. No way would it be a reasonable use of your time to hunt for them secondhand. Maybe using social media to find someone with a formerly similarly sized kid, but not any activities that require your physical presence. Give yourself the grace of buying them new without guilt. Tonya, you have enough skills to economize elsewhere.

BTW, try Costco Online. Sometimes they have tall sizes. You don’t have to be a member to search. If they have something, the cost savings will easily cover the cost of membership.


tonya December 11, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Also, yes about his size being a ” unicorn”!! Thanks for your support.


tonya December 11, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Good tip!!


Diane C December 15, 2017 at 8:32 am

Hi Tonya,
I hope you see this. I was messing around online and did some research for you. Apparently Costco and Old Navy are a bust. Nordstrom has some, but OMG, the prices! Perhaps the Men’s Sale, which starts soon might be better, but you’re probably set for a little while now. It also looks like you got a really good deal for three pair pants, so you might have to edit your “Fail” list, lol!


KJD509 December 11, 2017 at 9:17 am

Been there, Tonya. My hubs and sons have all filled out now, but we needed tall skinny jeans for years. (Now we need big and tall, which are hard to find too but not impossible.) I’ve had luck googling by size – you’ll sometimes come across a site that has seconds or last season’s leftovers from places like Levis. And Lands End has a lot of choices that long – I’ve bought expensive flannel-lined jeans for a bargain in the summertime, but you never know when they’ll have some leftover.

And don’t give up on thrift stores! I think I mentioned it once on this site, but we have a basketball powerhouse university nearby, and I found 3 or 4 pairs of 40″ inseam jeans at a Goodwill once. Only once, but they kept my tallest kid clothed for years. I’d never heard of the brand and never could find it online, but that one score has kept me thrifting hopefully ever since.

Good luck!


tonya December 11, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Basketball team thrift stores!!


Denise December 12, 2017 at 4:34 am




What wondrous things Americans have introduced to my life!!!

It’s my birthday on Chrimbo Day, and I’ve asked for an external back up drive for my first-ever laptop for my birthday.

Now I know that flannel-lined jeans are the gift I’ve wanted my whole life!!

Off to do a search right now!


Jennifer C December 11, 2017 at 11:08 am

Have you tried Ebay, Poshmark, or Thredup? They may have some more expensive than a thrift store but less expensive than retail?


tonya December 11, 2017 at 6:42 pm

Those sites are so hodgepodge, with a rare size it’s hardly worth the time.


Laura December 12, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Tonya, on eBay you can set up a search specifically for that size. . . and they will email you when one is listed that fits your criteria. I do this for several oddball things that I am looking for. Saves tons of time and you get the email when one is available.


susanna d December 10, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Unfrugal things happen. And just as they’ve happened with you Katy, they’ve also been happening with me.

Every year we go away to a lakefront condo sometime during the month of December to celebrate my husband’s birthday. I’ve always done this because when we met my husband said his birthday was nothing special because it was in December and so close to Christmas. His parents told him he’d get an extra present for Christmas but there was no special day just for him when he was growing up. Okay, that’s the back story. My first 2 unfrugals involve that trip:

Unfrugal thing #1 While we normally bring almost all of our food and prepare our meals in the condo, this time I decided we were going to go out to dinner Every. Single. Night. Having been in that area with friends and family many times – heck, we even got married in that area – we know where the “hidden gem” restaurants are. Not quite as unfrugal as I planned, though – due to the incredibly massive portions that are served up as dinner, by the third day the refrigerator in our room was full of takeout boxes. We ended up having leftovers two nights and going out to dinner two nights. Still, we managed to spend a good deal of money on those two dinner-out nights.

Unfrugal thing #2 – The birthday dinner was at a pricey steakhouse. I had a coupon for 10% off that I’d gotten at check-in. My husband and I made it to the restaurant; the coupon…did not.

Non-trip-related unfrugals:

Unfrugal #3 and #4. My grocery spending at one of the two stores I shop at was $48 and change. I thought my list had hit the $50 mark but figured I must have miscalculated. If it had been $50 I’d have gotten $5 off. Wait, the unfrugal gets better (worse?) – when I got home I realized I’d forgotten to buy the butter THAT WAS ON MY LIST. And yes, that would have brought me up just past the $50 mark. Double frugal fail.

Unfrugal #5. Went to a different grocery store a few blocks away and once again forgot to pick up two items that were on sale. Yes, I’m really on a roll with grocery shopping fails. Living where I do, I’d spend more in gasoline to make a repeat trip to pick up the sale items than I’ll spend by waiting until next week and paying the regular prices.


KJD509 December 12, 2017 at 12:03 pm

I know how frustrating all of these things are, susanna, but I roar with sympathetic laughter every time I read this. I’m so sorry.


Denise December 13, 2017 at 12:47 am

Me too. Especially the image of the coupon hanging round at home, saying “I thought we were going out tonight??”.


susanna d December 13, 2017 at 10:38 am

I console myself with the thought that maybe the coupon enjoyed itself in the hot tub while we were at dinner, then dried itself out by the fire. Strangely enough the coupon showed up to taunt me yesterday, when I found it hanging out IN MY WALLET. Where it really should have been last Tuesday night. Since it had an expiration date that will happen well before we plan on spending that kind of money on a dinner again, said coupon is now residing in the recycle bin.

End of coupon (mis)adventure.


A. Marie December 10, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Most of my unfrugals involve concessions (some less and some more graceful) to increasing age and infirmity. (Don’t judge us harshly for any of these, younger folks. As Muhammad Ali used to say about the coffee brewed in his home, you may be old and weak yourselves someday.)

(1) We pay to have a housecleaning team come in every three weeks.

(2) We started paying this summer for lawn mowing. (We have a double lot, and DH is no longer up to keeping any of his three lawn mowers operational. I’ve watched him struggling with this long enough.)

(3) We just arranged with the same energetic contractor to do our snowplowing/snowblowing this winter. (See #2.)

(4) We probably still subscribe to too many hard-copy magazines. But we pass these on to friends whenever we can.

(5) And I confess to still buying Diet Pepsi (albeit at rock-bottom sale prices whenever possible) and Yellow Tail chardonnay (albeit by the case at a local store that gives 20% case discounts).


Kate December 10, 2017 at 3:43 pm

My husband and I happily pay a man to mow our slightly-tricky yard. My husband HATES mowing and I have allergies that make mowing impossible. We’re still giddy every time we come home to find the lawn has magically been trimmed. Well-spent money in our opinion. I’ll happily scrimp on other things to pay for it.


KJD509 December 10, 2017 at 3:46 pm

A. Marie, if we all had to add “buying wine to make it through” to our list of unfrugals, there would be no frugals. Believe me. Buying it by the case to get the discount is frugal in my book!


MommaL December 11, 2017 at 12:28 pm

KJD I agree! Sometimes I go one step further and get it on the 20% off times, and go on the Senior Discount day for an additional 5% off. Way cheaper than buying by the glass at the bar or restaurant.


Bee December 10, 2017 at 5:38 pm

We also have a yard service. In the intense Southern heat and humidity, the yard needs constant attention. This is hard on the equipment as well as on the person. I have run the numbers. When you consider the initial cost of the equipment, its upkeep, and the skill necessary to keep things tame; this service ends up be fairly cost effective.


Cindy in the South I December 12, 2017 at 11:55 am

My friend’s lawnmower kept getting stolen and mine kept breaking so I decided to pay for mowing $30 every two weeks in the summer..Best.Money.Ever.


Anne December 10, 2017 at 10:31 pm

Oh yes, age. We used to do EVERYTHING ourselves, because, well, for all the usual reasons. All house repairs, car repairs, cleaning, yard work. Now, my husband is 75 and I want him to have a happy life, and we pay for LOTS of things; digging out large plants I no longer want, painting the fences, changing the oil on the car, house cleaning, the list of things we no longer do is longer than the things we do. But this help at this stage of life is brought to you by a previous lifetime of being cheap. 😀


Ellie December 11, 2017 at 2:19 pm

This sounds a lot like us – but add 10 years. For the first time ever, at age 85, my husband had the car’s oil changed at a shop. I think its the first time he has really felt old. He felt slightly better when I found him a coupon and bought him an ice cream cone while we waited.


KJD509 December 11, 2017 at 2:57 pm

My husband gave up changing our oil at age 48. Best decision ever. But the decades-old picture of him under the car and a red-headed toddler crouched nearby “helping” one of my favorite things ever.


susanna d December 13, 2017 at 10:45 am

When he was in his mid-40’s, my husband announced that he was taking “early retirement” from doing his own oil changes. He’s very handy with all things building trades related due spending his entire adult life (and some of his youth) doing those things. Way more than makes up for paying someone to do oil changes, especially since I wasn’t willing to have the oil change torch passed on to me.

KJD509, “helpful” toddlers are absolutely precious!

Roberta December 11, 2017 at 6:57 am

My Christmas present to my husband is hiring a yard service. It won’t be cheap, because we have a large yard, but it will reduce his stress so much! We’re frugal where we can be to afford the things that are more important to us!


Danielle December 11, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Our library sells hard copy magazines that are less than 6 months old. Makes me feel better about my few subscriptions when I know they’ll get more than one read too.



Diane December 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Starting early on my 2018 mission to eater lighter, fresher, healthier dinners. I am copying a local meal delivery service’s menus which they post online. I know I can make then for much less than they charge.

I have also begun a freezer and cupboard clean out, making meals from what I have on hand with a few add ins. Tonight I used up some barley from my cupboard, leftover turkey and turkey broth from Thanksgiving and veggies from fridge to make turkey stew. It was divine!

I bought 2 books at my library book sale for a total of $2.00, Christmas gifts for my family.

I walked around town looking at all the pop up shops and vendors’ wares and bought nothing, but came home with so much visual inspiration.


CatherinefromFrance December 11, 2017 at 2:28 am

When you buy books at your library book sale are they like news ? I ask you the question because I am french and in France usually libraries don’t sell their books.It intriguites me a lot !!!


Diane December 11, 2017 at 5:27 am

I realize I saw Katie’s final words as What Frugal Things are you up to! Just not accustomed to seeing Unfrugal, I guess!


Diane December 11, 2017 at 5:30 am

It depends, Catherine. The ones I have bought look brand new. Most of the books are donations to the library I think, not used library books.


CatherinefromFrance December 11, 2017 at 5:46 am

OK. I understand !!! More in France (as I supose in the USA…°the books are covered in transparent plastic with the number according the internationnal Dewey classification.Thanks a lot for your answer .I tried to send you an email by your blog but it was impossible.And sorry for the fact that I questionned again the readers down.I was sure that nobody readed the replies to their own comments ! Have a nice day.Catherine.


Vickey December 22, 2017 at 10:34 am

Catherine, many libraries here also sell used books that are no longer being circulated. If a title isn’t checked out for a certain period of time (years, perhaps), they sell it to make room for newer or more popular titles. Hope that helps.

Ava December 10, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Not sure I have specific non-thrift issues, but I have plenty of recurring ones.
1. We eat out way too much, even though we both know it is cheaper and healthier to eat at home and I am a pretty good cook.
2. Lately we have massively overspent at the grocery store. It seems I am not organized enough to write down things we are out of as soon as I think of them. Five minutes later, they are forgotten. We get home from the store and realize that we didn’t get things we needed, meaning another trip to the store, where there is more opportunity for impulse buys.
3. We have someone cut the grass. That was a present my husband gave me even before we were married and I thought that was very romantic. I was mowing myself and my knees were hurting. We also have a handyman who does lots of small repairs for us, as well as anything that requires getting up on a ladder. His rates are very reasonable and I have come to the conclusion that I would rather spend the money than live with sticking doors, broken ceiling fans, and outlets that don’t work.
4. I have trouble remembering to get my husband to do money saving things, like submit his towing bill to his insurance. It will get done eventually, but he is very unconcerned about it.
5. As for specifics, we may end up having to pay twice for the same car repair. That one does not involve deliberate non-frugality or carelessness on our part, rather a repair done wrong by one mechanic and needing to be redone by another. It may end up costing us a bunch of money. That situation is still ongoing. At this point , it is looking like another tow will be needed. We shall see what develops tomorrow.


Bettypants December 10, 2017 at 5:26 pm

The frugal fail threads are some of my favorites!

1. I made a batch of cashew brittle and it is off the charts bad. The texture is all wrong, way too chewy. We’re calling it the cashew gum and it will get thrown out which is a sad waste of cashews.
2. I met a friend for drinks, which I almost never do. I had a good time, but I got caught up in the fun and ordered more than I needed. I have a good time with this friend doing more mundane things, so this felt like unnecessary spending.
3. Ordered a set of flannel sheets from Target not because we needed any, but because I fount the print irresistible.
4. Have not been walking on the treadmill or in town. Why am I such a slug?
5. Had to throw away some broccoli and chicken that was past its prime and I should have eaten.


Roberta December 11, 2017 at 7:01 am

My husband makes peanut brittle, and swears that a candy thermometer is the difference between success and disappointment. If you don’t have one, it might be worth trying!


Bettypants December 11, 2017 at 8:43 am

The recipe I found online and tried didn’t call for a candy thermometer, but the next recipe I have marked to try does, and I’m really hoping for a much better result. Thanks!


Jennifer December 11, 2017 at 12:01 pm

4. Hi! Fellow slug here. I’m hoping to be motivated to move my body more after Christmas. I think this time of year causes me to be lazy as much as I possibly can fit in between the hustle and bustle.


Mary W December 12, 2017 at 12:34 am

Can you soak the brittle in hot water until the sugar dissolves and rinse it off the cashews? At least that way, you would still have the nuts and could try again to make the brittle.


Diane C December 13, 2017 at 7:00 am

Betty, if you haven’t dumped it yet, try this: Reheat the failed batch on the stovetop. Once it’s melted, scoop the cashews out with a slotted metal spoon. Place the cashews on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet and pop it in the oven long enough to make the residual coating crisp. I promise you the result will be delicious, especially if you sprinkle a little salt, cinnamon sugar (or both) on top before baking. Wasting cashews is far worse than losing a little sugar and butter.


Vickey December 22, 2017 at 1:23 pm

And then could the leftover coating be used to top ice cream or muffins or coffee cake or…?


ouvickie December 10, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Wow! I thought Lyft was supposed to be the most economical ride. That’s pretty expensive – however, I’ve never been to NYC, so I’ve no clue what the prices are like there.
Unfrugal stuff:
1) I was going to treat my grandkids to Long John Silver’s Friday evening, on our way to my house, but they apparently closed the one in Norman. So, we ended up at Buffalo Wild Wings. Good food, but not economical. I hadn’t gone to the grocers and the kids were starving, so dinner out.
2) We headed into town for the Christmas parade Saturday afternoon and half way there they were hungry, even though I mentioned eating something for lunch before we left. So, we ended up at Jack in the Box. Not frugal, but cheaper than BWW.
3) I now have an extra dog to feed. Our neighbors pretty much ignore their husky, but now they’ve either gone on vacation or moved and abandoned her. I’m not about to let her starve, so I’m feeding her, too, until I can find her another home.
Definitely not a frugal week and as you can see, most of my frugal fails are food oriented.


Bee December 10, 2017 at 5:47 pm

Feeding an extra dog may not be frugal, but it’s kind. So I don’t think that counts as a negative.


Gina in KY December 17, 2017 at 8:04 am

Oh, couldn’t agree more…poor love! Thank you for being so kind.


Ava December 10, 2017 at 7:26 pm

Please keep feeding the dog. You will be rewarded.


Lindsey December 10, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Bless you for feeding the dog. I stole a dog once because the owner kept him outside at 40 below zero and the water in his bowl was frozen solid (no dog house, no straw, nothing). I used to walk past that house every day on my way to work. I started throwing him food and then petting him. The owner stormed out one day and screamed at me that I was making his dog “too nice” and to stop bringing him food or talking to him. Three days later, in the middle of the night, I stole the dog and gave him to someone way out of town. I am not usually a thief but I could not stand the thought of that dog staying out at those temperatures, on a very short piece of rope and no drinkable water. It makes me mad all over again to think of it. Anyway, thank you for tending to an animal being mistreated or neglected.


Mic December 10, 2017 at 11:18 pm

That’s not stealing-that’s rescuing!


That Other Jean December 11, 2017 at 8:28 pm

What you said. Nobody who treats a dog like that should have one. Lindsey, you did good.


Bettypants December 11, 2017 at 4:43 am

You are a wonderful person for rescuestealing that dog.


A. Marie December 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Lindsey’s a wonderful person anyway, but this story takes the cake (or at least the kibble). And kudos to OUVickie for her similar act of animal kindness.


Christine Joiner December 11, 2017 at 2:36 pm

A necessary steal in my book Lindsey! Nice work.


Denise December 13, 2017 at 1:36 am


I didn’t have the courage to do this and the dog had to be put down due to neglect.

I live with that shame. You have the peace of mind to know you lived your values.

Go, girl!


NatalieC December 21, 2017 at 9:34 am

Thank you for taking care of the husky. I would report to the authorities. They are to check on the animal if it is reported(depending on where you live, this probally does not always happen). Make sure you tell them you are feeding and giving it water, not the owner. I also would tell my vet. They usually know what other steps can be done to help the animal in need.


Teddie December 10, 2017 at 5:33 pm

Katy ~ I think you did great on your trip ~ so many positive and memorable times ~ experiences not stuff! I am also glad to see others who have frugal fails as sometimes I feel like I am alone in that venue.
1. Food fail ~ one tomato and one leftover pork chop had to be tossed.
2. Had a $5 rewards and 25% off coupon for my favorite store of which there is only one in our area and it is small and poorly stocked, but I still spent more than I had planned as it has gotten cold here and grandson needed some long sleeves shirts. Bought 3 new shirts for him when I should have bought one and then gone thrift store shopping.
3. Bought a new pair of shoes I did not need, but wanted for next summer. They were on sale, but still…


Jennifer December 11, 2017 at 12:04 pm

1. I, too, lost food this week. 2 bags of Brussels sprouts forgotten in the produce drawer.


Christine Joiner December 10, 2017 at 5:42 pm

I feel like a jerk confessing my frugal fails because this morning I posted FFTs on Katy’s blog with the matzo ball soup. I’m cringing with embarrassment but here goes.
1. I kept saying to my husband, “I want to invite ______ & ______ over for dinner. We haven’t seen them in a long time.” This is a couple we’ve known for years and really enjoy their company. Lesson learned: Don’t procrastinate. Yes, they beat us to the punch and asked out to go out to eat at a restaurant for dinner. Guess they missed us too. Okay, I said to myself. I’ll drink water with lemon and no appetizers or desserts. Hah! I managed to resist the appetizers but the wine list and the dessert menu overcame me and I indulged in both. Set us back $73.00. Not a good frugal fail right before Christmas.
2.We have credit card debt totaling about $2,000.
3.I turned my heat up to 65 degrees today instead of putting another layer of clothes on. Too lethargic while watching television and sipping coffee this morning to drag myself up the stairs to get my thermals. The thermostat was right on the wall next to the couch and I succumbed. Will try for 60 degrees again tomorrow.
4.I was very happy that I had won about $300.00 worth of very high end meat, mostly beef, at a meat raffle last month. I spent around $60.00 for raffle tickets, drinks (it was at a VFW Post) and a hotdog for lunch. Yes, I still came out ahead but what I didn’t tell anyone was I went 4 times last year and spent about the same $60.00 each time and never won a thing! Ugh!
5.I spent money on a de-wormer for my cat in October and just found the medication under a pile of papers. Better late than never, I guess. The cat is fine.


That Other Jean December 10, 2017 at 5:50 pm

1. I took my car to my mechanic for other reasons, only to find the transmission is dying, not all that slowly. And now I’m car shopping–used, for a specific make and model, because I loved my VW beetle (not the newest ones, though)—trying to find a car that may last me reasonable time for a reasonable price. I hate car shopping!

2. I bought a yard of silver cloth (the kind that lines silver chests) to make pouches to hold my silver jewelry to keep it from tarnishing. I’m not sure when I thought I’d have time to make them and polish my jewelry, though. That may have to be a New Year’s resolution.

3. We had to hire someone to rake the leaves and clean the gutters, because we’re just plain too old to face the cold weather for the time it would take, and not all that steady on ladders any more. Or maybe that’s more frugal than falling and breaking something, or developing hypothermia.

4. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m taking my husband out to a fancy sushi restaurant for his birthday at the end of this month. It would be more (if not very) frugal to go for the pretty-good sushi served in the mall, but not very festive. He deserves festive.


Teddie December 10, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Your #3 is very frugal. Falling off a ladder can lead to a very expensive trip to the ER and dangerous. I had a good friend whose husband decided he could clean out the gutters, fell, and died as a result of his injuries. Being safe is frugal.


A. Marie December 12, 2017 at 11:54 am

A good friend of ours fell off a ladder several years ago while stringing Christmas lights on his house and broke multiple bones in both feet. +1 on staying off ladders after you hit a certain mix of age and bad balance.


Alison R December 10, 2017 at 6:28 pm

Unfortunately some weeks are just……………..crap on a cracker!
A stomach virus hit our house this entire week, every single person.
All are much better now.
Lots of chicken soup, crackers, sprite and gatorade were had by all.
Lost a week of Christmas prep due to illness.
No eating out since no one was eating.

Hopefully next week is much better!!


whitney December 10, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Had a semi-not-really frugal outing today: it’s been a crazy couple of weeks and we needed some family time, so we went to a local small town and explored. We discovered a Santa Village (which we paid to get into but we loved the Santa and I laughed watching DS discover an instax picture. “Woah, it just appears!” Lunch at a local favorite diner, then a new coffee shop, and finally some consignment shopping at a little shop down the road.

So yeah, we spent money, but it was fun and I MUCH prefer exploring and spending money in restaurants and small stores without stress.


Marilyn December 10, 2017 at 7:28 pm

I visited my son in San Diego the first week of this month. I think that city rivals NYC for being expensive. My main downfall was eating out almost every night. Restaurants sure are budget-busters.


Roberta December 11, 2017 at 7:11 am

I’ve seen a couple people here who have visited San Diego lately — or maybe you’ve just mentioned it a couple times, and I’m not observant! If you are visiting someone here, check the county library for free museum pass checkouts! You can even get a library card here, for free or maybe $5, even if you’re from out of town. Not every museum is available, but check the options!

San Diego can be really expensive — touristing anywhere is expensive — but there are better options everywhere. I’d love to be able to share my cheaper San Diego tips somehow!


Marilyn December 11, 2017 at 8:02 am

Thank you, Roberta! The library is a very good idea. Since my son lives in San Diego, I do visit as often as possible.


Alison December 10, 2017 at 8:01 pm

1. I’ve been sick with a cold for 5 days now. Last night I craved something with real flavour for dinner, so ordered Thai red curry and rice takeout. $15 and it only fed me, which is fine, because DH doesn’t really care for Thai food. It tasted so good.
2. I bought a pair of purple shoes. They were half price, but still just under $100 before tax. I will wear them a lot. I had to get them.
I also had to look for purple laces, as the ones they came with were beige. Yuck.
I found then, but they were $4. Still, I bought them.
3. Got a call from our insurance agent. Seems there was a mixup with our house insurance payment, and the $1800 payment that we thought we had made two months ago had not gone through. So it will go on Decembers credit card. Sigh.
4. Still in a lottery pool with my former coworkers. There are 14 of us who buy tickets together, I should stop, as I am retired, but then for sure they would win!
5. I seem to always be throwing out hummus. I buy a particular brand that I love, and it often goes bad before we finish it. I think I have two containers in my fridge that need to be thrown out right now. It’s very expensive and wasteful. And the silly thing is, I have a good food processor and could make my own. I will start doing that.


Bettypants December 11, 2017 at 8:46 am

I have a pair of purple Sauconys and I have gotten more compliments on those than any other tennis shoe I’ve ever owned.


Alison December 12, 2017 at 8:39 am

I hadn’t been wearing them more than a minute before I received a “wow, those are great shoes, where’d you get them?”And they aren’t tennis shoes either, but more of a casual, flat shoe. My tennis shoes, or runners are we call them, are pink . LOL My DH rolled his eyes when he saw them, because he thinks everything I own is purple, or pink, which it is NOT, (it just seems that way, ha ha).


Lazyretirementgirl December 11, 2017 at 11:20 am

The hummus might freeze well. My homemade does.


auntiali December 10, 2017 at 8:47 pm

My unfrugals:
1. Hubby went grocery shopping while hungry today and therefore bought lots of junk food.
2. Hubs didn’t use the one coupon I sent with him.
3. I bought myself a flannel nightgown, which I wore all day, and I can lower the heat cause I’m nice and cozy.
4. Having problems checking out of Amazon which is all of dh’s Christmas gifts. One item is now unavailable. I’ve got to get that straightened out.
5. Must call Old Navy and get a pre-paid postage printout so I can return my daughter’s clothes and get $158 back.


janine December 12, 2017 at 5:45 am

Flannel is frugal isn’t it? All my flannel is in tatters from overuse – need to find a way to justify another purchase. Best fabric to wear in winter evenings!#3


Bethany M December 10, 2017 at 9:05 pm

1. Staples emails me $5 coupons all the time. I got another one, and on my way to a craft night at my friend’s house I decided to stop in and get some free tape for wrapping gifts. When I went to check out, it didn’t work and the cashier said it needed to be UPS services. I bought the tape anyway.

2. After church today, we stopped at Taco Bell. Our family is growing. We used to get in and out for $13, but we’re up to $19 a visit now. The bummer even more was we had lunch ready to go and my husband said, “Lets eat that for dinner, and get some Taco Bell now.”

Man, that’s all I got right now.


janine December 10, 2017 at 9:22 pm

W were on our way to Florida for some R&R on Saturday. Scheduled to take an early flight out, we scheduled a taxi to pick us up at an astounding 4:00 AM. I woke up an hour earlier and flu/food poisoning hit (leaving the details to your imagination) DH had to cancel all reservations which turned out to be last minute expensive even though it was not a whimsical cancellation! We figure we lost around $500. The silver lining is that this all happened before we hit the airport and heard that 700 flights were cancelled into Tampa due to bad weather on the east coast. Twenty-four later I am feeling much better but have decided that a January trip is what we most need at this point. We are now too close to the holidays to reschedule. I have decided that the snow and cold is beautiful. I will sit by my fire and contemplate the beauty of life in the north country.


Bee December 11, 2017 at 4:51 pm

I am sorry that you were sick and missed your trip. However, it is cold here in Florida. A wet and windy cold front started moving through on Friday morning. There was ice on our cars this morning. Our first freeze in two years.


Lisa December 10, 2017 at 10:11 pm

I now live in Hawaii. It is the most un-frugal place I’ve ever lived. It’s so depressing going out and buying food and even more depressing to get the bill for eating at a restaurant. And no, you can’t make up for the highest electricity costs and food costs in the nation solely by noting that you don’t need to buy winter clothes. And Katy…Sh*t does happen, but you don’t want to do that here in Hawaii either. Apparently Hawaii has the highest priced toilet paper in the world according to Newsweek. So that’s four decidedly un-frugal things I have zero control over until we move again. I’m so glad I’ve lived a frugal life up to this point so we aren’t going into debt over this.


CatherinefromFrance December 11, 2017 at 5:55 am

Hello Lisa.To improve my english Ijust finished to read “Paradise news” from David Lodge.The story is at Hawai. Did you read it ?


Teresa December 11, 2017 at 9:30 am

Save on TP and order a bidet toilet seat… heck in HI you can drip dry (almost, lol). Hey, at least the beauty of Hawaii is free!


Lisa December 12, 2017 at 3:23 pm

No, I have not read that one! Cudos to you for working so hard to improve your English! I have been working on my German and can’t seem to read beyond elementary school age books.


Roberta December 11, 2017 at 7:15 am

I feel for you, Lisa! We visited Hawaii with my parents this spring, and I could not get over the prices! We stopped by the grocery, so we could eat breakfast in out room and bring picnics for us on the road, and I cannot get over what that cost! Hawaii ended up on my “I could never live there” list after that!


Diane C December 13, 2017 at 8:35 am

Lisa, is there a Costco near you? Best prices on the islands and not a huge premium over mainland prices either. The savings on TP alone could pay for the membership.


CatherinefromFrance December 11, 2017 at 5:04 am

Sorry if you have already me up in a reply to a comment but I think that I shall have numerouly answers if I post may question here as a new comment:
“CatherinefromFrance December 11, 2017 at 2:28 am
When you buy books at your library book sale are they like news ? I ask you the question because I am french and in France usually libraries don’t sell their books.It intriguites me a lot !!!”
In fact my husband told me that some french libraries sold ancient books to buy new editions.But I never heard about it.Sorry for my poor english .I adore this blog and I love to learn how people are living all around the world.Catherine from Provence ,the south of France.


karen December 11, 2017 at 7:06 am

Welcome to the blog. I hope you post often about your frugal life from Provence. I love reading about different areas in the country and world.


Jennifer December 11, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Me too!


Mary W December 12, 2017 at 12:45 am

Me, three! And trust me, your English is MUCH better than my French. 😉


Susanne G December 11, 2017 at 7:20 am

My library sells some retired books from their stacks but mostly it is donations from the community and the books have to be in great condition. The rooms are separated by non fiction and fiction with sections in each. Rare books are separate and are priced differently from the dollar hardback, .50 for paperback. Ours is held three times a year with thousands of books (many brand new) available! I live in a small town in upstate New York, Glens Falls. Btw, your English was understandable!


Mary W December 12, 2017 at 12:44 am

Susanna G, my family lived in Glens Falls in the 1700-1800s – I probably still have cousins there that I’ve never met! Your town is on my bucket list as a MUST visit. I want to find all the Ogden tombstones and see if I can find any of those cousins! 😀


Jennifer December 11, 2017 at 12:14 pm

We are glad to hear from you. I feel like when someone posts from France, Africa, Alaska, Australia, or anywhere, really, that I get a small glimpse of a place I may never get to visit so please keep posting so we can follow your ideas. We don’t mind typos, language, or grammatical errors here. I think most of us would agree that the errors worth it to get good information.


Christine Joiner December 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Very much agree.


Tracy December 11, 2017 at 5:05 am

1. Grocery bill has been WAY up, partly due to holiday entertaining and partly due to fact that I am stockpiling snacks, treats, goodies (and some staples) for post-Christmas week at beach with my 4 20-something kids, 3 significant others and Mom. Good sales now and prices are at least half again as much at the coast so I’m hoping this isn’t ultimately unfrugal…
2. Hubs wanted to take his folks out to dinner at a nice restaurant for the holidays; we also invited his brother and sister and their spouses. Hubs and I don’t drink, the other couples enjoy nice wines and ordered three bottles. We ended up splitting the tab three ways (going in together to treat the parents) and our share with tip was just over $200. MUCH more expensive than our usual meal out (since we don’t drink and generally tend more toward ethnic or neighborhood places). BUT it was definitely a special occasion and his folks are wonderfully generous in a number of ways all year long so it felt good to do something special for them.
3. Have spent more on Christmas than I intended.
4. Hubs paid someone to put up (and eventually take down) the Christmas lights for the first time ever. While this expense is clearly NOT a necessity, they do look lovely and I really don’t want hubs on ladders/roofs.
5. We too have a yard service.
6. Have been driving to/from work recently instead of taking the bus. Sets me back $12 in parking every time I do this. No excuse except once the rain started I got out of habit of bus. Today I need my car but tomorrow — the bus!


CatherinefromFrance December 11, 2017 at 5:05 am

read me up *


Mrs. Picky Pincher December 11, 2017 at 5:41 am

Dang, sorry to hear about that! I’ve had un-frugal adventures. I think it’s healthy to share the things that don’t work out. After all, nobody has a perfect life and things happen!

This week:

1. In an ultimate un-frugal move, I booked last-minute tickets for Mr. Picky Pincher and I to visit San Francisco this weekend. I got a $1,200 bonus at work and that’ll go towards paying for this trip. I was hoping to apply the extra funds to debt, but I don’t feel guilty enough to actually cancel the trip. 🙂 We haven’t gone on a vacay since we got married, so it will be a nice, big adventure.

2. I threw away food scraps in the fridge that had gone bad. I should have been better about freezing and storing food for later.

3. Over the weekend we visited a brewery, grabbed barbecue, and toured a little tourist town. I think we spent about $100 on the affair, which wasn’t crazy-frugal. However, I did walk away with a jar of food-grade lavender, which I’ve been searching for! Lavender cookies are in my future. 🙂


nancy from mass December 11, 2017 at 5:45 am

1. went tree shopping at my favorite place that has sold and this is their last season. you know how when you’re hungry and you load your plate….well…i was apparently very happy to buy a tree and bought a 6′ Fraser Fir for $45. After putting it in my house and it warmed up, it ended up being about 6′ wide also. Little TOO big for my room so i had to trim up a few branches (i already moved my TV over 3 feet to accommodate it!) bought a wreath for the front door too.
2. had to buy a few more 100ct boxes of bulbs to light up the tree.
3. also bought another 4o0 bulbs (4 boxes) to decorate my ceiling beams in my living room.
4. bought a wreath for hubby at the big diy store instead of buying one when i bought my tree. spent $3 more than if i bought it at the other place. (but remembered i had a small shepards hook in the back yard to place it on). Decorated at the cemetary with the wreath (made a bow out of wired ribbon) and a white poinsettia.
5. my thermostat has been set at 65 lately. i used to turn it down at night but…whatever.

My husband would have hated all this decorating! my living room is so bright that i can knit and crochet without turning a light on! 400 lights on the ceiling and 1000 lights on the tree. Oh my!


KJD509 December 11, 2017 at 9:19 am

Sounds lovely 🙂


Jennifer December 11, 2017 at 6:05 am

My frugal fails/wins….mostly fails
1. I’m going to start with the big glowing fail that is still nagging at me. I bought both my girls an American Girl Wellie Wishers doll. They are $60 per doll. They have asked for American girl dolls for the past few years and I declined. Then I saw that American girl came out with a Wellie wisher line of dolls that are smaller and don’t cost $100+ per doll. If they play with these dolls alot, I wouldn’t mind paying the $100, but dolls tend to sit in the bottom of the toy box so we shall see.
2. A huge fail follows so brace yourself. My husband and I went to a new restaurant because we were kid free for the weekend, which is rare, so we decided to splurge . We both ordered fillets, also rare for us. When they brought our drink refills of diet cokes, my husband noticed his tasted funny, he then noticed his drink had red lipstick on the glass. Since neither of us were wearing lipstick we were completely disgusted. I alerted the waitress. She said we must have switched glasses then she looked at my pale, dry, chapped lips and realized she was wrong. She apologized and brought us new drinks which was Dr. Pepper!! My husband is an insulin dependent diabetic so I alerted her again that this the wrong drink and she made us look like we were problem customers to the other staff. On to the food, the mashed potatoes were over whipped to the consistency of toothpaste, and the steak wasn’t cooked properly. Normally, this would be fine with me since I can eat about anything but this was a $28 plate!! A manager came over to see if he could do anything about the food but my husband couldn’t eat after putting his lips on another woman’s slimy, waxy lipstick. They also served us a salad in a bowl that was so tiny that every time I stuck my fork in to get a bite, parts of my salad fell out into the table. I lost most of my salad trying to eat it. The appetizer was pretty good. That’s the only positive I can come up with. Our bill was $84!!! They didn’t offer to do anything. Somehow that waitress made me feel like all this was our fault with a smile on her face. I think she put Dr. Pepper in the glass on purpose to make her not look as bad about the lipstick mistake earlier so we could look like chronic complainers. This incident completely ruined our date night. I have never felt so anxious and uncomfortable while trying to have a nice meal.
3. I packed my kids lunch this morning and just found my daughter’s lunch box left home by the front door.
4. I put my Charlie Brown lights out in the yard and they wouldn’t come on. My husband bought a small strand of lights to replace the old lights. He worked on them for about an hour and got them working, I put them back in the yard. This morning, they are out again…..ugh!
5. My husband asked me what I needed from the store. I said please get the kids some fruit snacks to take to school. He brought back a huge bag of gummy works from Sam’s club. How is this fruit snacks, ugh?? Must be more specific. It will take us forever to eat all those worms!


Cynthia Huntington December 11, 2017 at 8:17 am

You might leave a thoughtful, measured, but unhappy Yelp review on this restaurant. If they won’t make it good at least you can warn the next victims!


Jennifer December 11, 2017 at 10:00 am

I have never left a review on anything but I have one typed up ready to copy and paste on Yelp when I get a second to let my husband read it first to make sure nothing needs to be added.


MommaL December 11, 2017 at 12:35 pm

I think you could call the restaurant manager and let him or her know what happened. I think they would want to know, especially since she put your husband’s health at risk, twice.


Bee December 11, 2017 at 6:03 pm

I am sorry you had such a terrible experience on date night. I agree that you should can the restaurants’s manager. Food safety should be an important issue to him or her. The restaurant that you patronized may have violated the health code. Once you remove a drinking glass from the table, you must bring a fresh, clean glass back in its place. This rule is in place to prevent the spread of illness.


Bee December 12, 2017 at 4:31 am

That should be call the restaurant’s manager. Using the word, can, must have been an unintentional but appropriate slip.


Jennifer December 12, 2017 at 5:17 am

Maybe you all are right. I may just call the manager.


Kim in Maryland December 12, 2017 at 6:18 pm

My DH has worked in the restaurant business for what feels forever. I also worked in the business and both sons have worked in the industry. In fact one still does on his winter and summer breaks from college. I say all that to tell you please call and let the General Manager know what happened.

The best time to call is normally around 2-4 in the afternoon as it’s normally the quietest time at a restaurant. When I have received horrible service I call and say how disappointed I was and that I want them to know because they can’t fix it if they don’t know about it. I say maybe it was a bad night or maybe some staff need additional training but my visit fell far short of what I expected based on what I’d heard about the place and the cost of my check. At this point, they are normally offering to comp my meal and or sending me gift cards to come for another visit. Trust me they want to know so they can correct the problems and make you happy.


Cindy in the South I December 13, 2017 at 9:18 am

Jennifer, that is awful…I had something similar happen at a local restaurant a couple of years ago and I have not been back since.


rebecca December 11, 2017 at 7:20 am

1. Had to throw out chicken I didn’t get to fast enough
2. Have been gotten take out recently when I could very easily make/eat something from home
3. Bought a ticket to a performance and left halfway through because I was bored and unimpressed and the ticket was pricey!
4. forgot to use a coupon yesterday
5. I bake a lot and baking supplies are on sale so I keep buying and I now have more than I have room for


Roberta December 11, 2017 at 7:26 am

1. We ate out twice this weekend! However, we did get a free burrito at one place as they mixed up my daughter’s (vegetarian ground) burrito and my father’s (meat ground) burrito, and she ate a bit before realizing it. Yuck! However, the waiter was really nice and apologetic about it!
2. Drove several hundred miles this weekend, back and forth for my daughter’s performances and other things.
3. I forgot my shopping list, and didn’t get as much at the 25% off grocery sale as I needed. I will have to buy spices full price, and spend an extra day grocery shopping.
4. My daughter broke a bracket on CHOCOLATE! If she breaks another bracket, we will be charged to fix it. 🙁
5. I spent way too much on a stocking stuffer for my son, and I didn’t even really want to get it for him! But my husband swears he’ll love it. ($25 with shipping for a Firefly flash drive.)

Wow, that was too much easier than compiling a list of frugals!


Sarah D December 11, 2017 at 9:00 am

How funny! My husband and I were in Las Vegas for a work trip over the last few days, and I was so excited to come here and share how I made it a frugal time in “Sin City!” So I guess I’ll mix the frugal and un-frugal parts!
1. We drove, to save on airfare, and we took our own snacks and lunches to avoid nasty and high-priced fast food along the way. That’s the frugal part; the unfrugal part is that we drove my dad’s Suburban, which is a major gas-guzzler. Still cheaper than flying, though.
2. I’d never been to Las Vegas, so it was fun to see the lights and all the stuff on “the strip.” Amount we spent on gambling/prostitutes/drugs/shows/whatever else people do there = $0. We did take a hike near Lake Mead for entertainment, but that also cost $0.
3. We did, however, eat out a LOT. There are some amazing restaurants in that city! My husband and I are vegetarians (trying to eat vegan) and we were in veggie heaven! None of the restaurants was cheap, but we saved by finding coupons to some of the places and by eating breakfast in the hotel so that we only had two meals out each day.
4. We also like to sample the local craft beers when we travel. Instead of paying big bucks for drinks in a brewery or on the strip, however, we bought our own six-packs to drink while walking around the strip (you can do that there!) and looking at the lights and fountains at the casinos. For the cost of less than two drinks, we had a whole six beers to drink and share (and our hotel room had a fridge!).
5. Apparently one of the big things to do in Vegas is shop. It was amazing how many giant luxury stores there were. I didn’t go into any of them (not tempted; not my thing) and I didn’t buy anything (other than a CVS humidifier for our hotel room – somehow Las Vegas air was even drier than the air in New Mexico, where I live!). I did buy our daughter a hand-painted Christmas ornament as a souvenir from the Lake Mead visitor’s center for $15, which might be high for an ornament but supports a local artist AND the Lake Mead National Recreational Area, which are things I like to support!


Amanda December 11, 2017 at 9:09 am

I feel ya! Travel does it to us too. You have a plan, you spend way less than other tourists, but you still end up spending $4 for a single diaper at the airport because you packed just too few. Then you buy a $5 Pepsi to medicate yourself. The best laid plans!

I like the idea of listing un-frugal things.

1) We are planning Christmas gifts, and so far nothing is thrifted. We are giving each boy a hand written and illustrated book. But everything else is brand, shiny, new and shipped to our house on a fuel-burning airplane in an over-packaged box.

2) Last year I cooked dinner for our employees to celebrate Christmas and thank them for their hard work. And it took all day. And I had to clean the house. This year we have more employees, but I don’t have more time. We are just going out. The tab will be enormous, but less work and stress.

3) We are giving my mother in law cash for Christmas. A lot of cash. She needs it and has reached that point in her life where she needs her kids more than they need her. It has been hard for my husband to accept, but we are very blessed and she is on a very low, fixed income. It is time for us to give back. It will most likely turn into an annual gift from us to her. But it’s time.

4) Last week we picked up dinner from McDonalds one night last week. And then I bought lunch at Taco Bell.

5) My husband and I will spend money on each other for Christmas.


Teresa December 11, 2017 at 10:38 am

It is so nice that you recognize that your MIL needs help, and that you are willing to help her. I’m sure that your husband appreciates your support in this. What a great daughter you are! <3


Peg December 11, 2017 at 9:28 am

I don’t like to needlessly spend money either, but you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. When you look back after a period of time, are you going to remember the money you “wasted”? Or the time spent with your sister, niece, and friend?


Teresa December 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” … It’s the holiday. C’est la vie. My frugal failures: The fabulous $4-with-coupon-&-free-ship-Chicos-red-Xmas-t-shirt fit like a sausage casing. 🙁 Worse yet, it is the big size! Also, Xmas outings have been more expensive than planned, as every holiday activity has ended with eating out. My friends are not frugal and meals are a social activity for them. To save money, I’ve been ordering dessert instead of a meal (maybe that’s why my red shirt didn’t fit…) Oh well, I’m having a good time and will enjoy the free memories.

1. Attended the night-time lighted boat show at the bay. Beautiful, free, outdoors and included a nice long walk with a friend.

2. Walked the canals to look at the amazing Xmas decorations and homes in the upscale neighborhood. Took cute pics of my 92-year-old mom.

3. Was invited to Disneyland (again) as the guest of an employee. Entry was free, which made the visit more fun because we didn’t feel pressured to see/do everything. Our host gifted us lighted Mickey Mouse Xmas ears that we wore for goofy pics. I will pass the ears along to a friend for her nephew. (Theme park junk is not NCA but I could not refuse… in passing them along they’ll be reused and bring joy to the kids.)

4. Decided to scan ancient photos as a Xmas gift for my brother and cousin. It will take time but will be more meaningful than dollars or stuff I can buy.

5. Maybe I’ll put the Christmas tree up today… It will help me get into the holiday spirit. Merry Christmas!!


MommaL December 11, 2017 at 11:04 am

Oh I’ve been doing horribly, the Christmas “spirit” got a hold of me:
1. Went to a party that featured hand painted ornaments, hand made jewelry, cute crazy socks….spent way too much on colleague gifts.
2. Bought a mug for a bus driver, it slipped out of my hands and broke as soon as I got home.
3. Broke down at CVS when I saw the soft socks for a dollar a pair, bought some for just about every female in my family, even though I already had enough gifts for them.
4. Bought (with a Groupon at least) a DNA kit for my husband, he was curious one day about them and I’m even more curious. Not the practical agreement we came up with to buy only useful gifts this Christmas.
5. Also gave in at the cologne counter, the cologne my DH wears when we go out that smells absolutely wonderful on him was on sale and he is out of it, but sheesh still way too expensive.
I think beans for dinner is in our future in January. And keeping the heat very very low…


Jill A December 12, 2017 at 4:39 am

My husband and I bought DNA kits for each other last year and we’ve had so much fun with it. Unfortunately we didn’t realize last year that this was something we could have gotten on sale and we paid full price.


Jennifer December 12, 2017 at 5:23 am

I have read that some of those DNA kits have an extra charge after purchasing where you pick which package you want. Is this true?


MommaL December 12, 2017 at 10:26 am

I got this one for about 1/2 of what it usually costs, and no extra charge. The only charge I saw that was an upsell was if I wanted to know if anyone else was related that used the service. This kit, I think (haven’t used it yet) just tells the nationalities.


Jennifer December 13, 2017 at 5:24 am

Oh ok, thanks


Danielle December 11, 2017 at 1:12 pm


1. Bought two new chairs for my living room. Frugalish at $150 each and because I really thought had about this. Un-frugal because now my. 12 year old could looks even worse and will probably be replaced this year. Ugh. I tried contacting LaZBoy about replacement cushions, so we shall see…

2. Promised son we could build him a skateboard ramp thing – hubs and he went to store and spend over $150 on supplies! Ouch! I think it will be worth it in the end because I won’t have to hang out at the skatepark so often, plus they’re going to have lots of fun building this thing together. I should have had him price it out and share the cost but accidentally said yes before my brain kicked in. I’ll be sure to take pictures of them building this! Memories!

3. Same son is super diligent about following instructions from his orthodontist. He just informed me that he will need these particular shaped “Platypus” dental picks to maintain his braces cleaning routine… $6 for 30 from Amazon, times how many months he’ll be in braces?! Ugh.

4. Already shared this but I’ll share it again to hopefully help someone else…. Didn’t realize that Ortho expenses could be tax free in a flexible spending account – until exactly one week after open enrollment closed for us. By the time we could sign up again, we won’t be paying for braces anymore. I’m estimating that would have saved approx $400.

5. Wine. 🙂


Mary Beth Danielson December 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm

This posting and these comments made me remember how I visited NYC for a mere $1 a day. Um. In 1974. You can read the rest here.

I also wrote about either a frugal savings or an un-frugal loss on our car insurance.


Leah December 11, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Unfrugal. (phew.) Let’s see. Tomorrow will begin the unfrugal-ness, as I will purchase two pecan pies for group meetings tomorrow and Thursday. Granted, the cost will be less as they’re coming from a wholesale club that I belong to, but still.
Tomorrow I will be sacrificing a bottle of homebrewed wine for judging and input by other homebrewers.
Thursday is a gift-giving extravaganza and it is a potluck style event. As many of the attendees live a very frugal lifestyle out of necessity, I feel that some leeway may be appreciated here.
I received a bundle of ball bearings in the mail that had been so ridiculously low priced that I couldn’t resist. ($2.) So now I am trying my best to make all of the things rotate, free from resistance.


Bee December 12, 2017 at 4:40 am

I have to ask: are you a mechanic or science teacher? People seldom buy ball bearings even at bargain prices.


Liz B. December 11, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Amazing how easy it is to go off the rails…..
1) Two words: eating out. Way too often. Without coupons, gift cards, or taking advantage of happy hour prices. The horror, the horror!
2) Hubby and son went to Home Depot to buy a new outdoor holiday decoration (a “tradition” for the two of them). Came home with a $100 inflatable Santa/4 tiny reindeer. I have to admit, it’s pretty awesome in our big corner lot.
3) Shopped for stocking stuffers for son at a local discount store. Except I walked out with a new skirt and a new pair of shoes for me, in addition to the stocking stuffers. The shoes are truly needed (replacing a worn out pair) – the skirt, not so much.
4) One word: Costco. ‘Nuff said.
5) Buying breakfast at work, because I kept forgetting to bring my own.
Good to know I’m not the only one! Hey, life happens.


K D December 12, 2017 at 4:27 am

We all have un-frugal things in our lives:

1. I bought knitting needles yesterday. I already had the same needles but they were metal and these are bamboo, which are easier on the hands. I did stop on my way to an appointment and used a coupon and a discounted gift card.

2. The person checking out ahead of me at Staples could not find her money. The total was less than $6 so I just paid it for her. I told her to pay it forward. It turned out she was headed to her church to prepare holiday gifts for those in need.

3. I bought Star Wars Nerf guns for my adult child and her significant other, for holiday gifts. Totally unplanned and frivolous.

4. We will spend a bundle of money to visit family for the holidays. Because of the time of year and our schedule the flights were very expensive. We’ll try to save by making home cooked meals and staying with a relative.

5. I pay for a monthly membership to a yoga and Pilates studio. I could do the same thing at home but would not. I so enjoy the classes, teachers, and other students.


Tracy December 12, 2017 at 5:41 am

K D — I love your random act of kindness — we need more of that in our world, made me smile, thank you!


Elizabeth December 12, 2017 at 5:58 am

Unfrugal things:
1. Splurged on Papa John’s pizza on a busy night so I didn’t have to worry about making dinner between getting my daughter ready for her play, dropping her off, and then returning to volunteer as an usher. Whew I am glad that is over!
2. Fed our beloved dog cooked soft foods and bought wet dog food to get her over an illness this past week. She just couldn’t be tempted to eat her usual dog food so we took pity on her.
3. Bought bacon…we love it and it wasn’t on sale….
My all time worst non frugal thing I have ever done was forgot to mail off a student loan payment which added on .25% interest for the rest of the loan as a penalty (In my defense I was 41 weeks pregnant and rushing around to get things ready for my baby to come. I didn’t even realize I forgot to mail it until I got a late notice in the mail and found the forgotten envelope in the bottom of my purse…so ouch!)


Julie C December 12, 2017 at 7:55 am

If you are a good standing customer and explain the situation the loan company may forgive the penalty…it is worth a phone call.


Bethel December 12, 2017 at 6:51 am

1. Picked up takeout on the way home from the grocery store last night…$15 for the three of us isn’t terrible, but STILL.
2. Haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet.
3. Went away for the weekend to a remote mountain vacation home and forgot to pack a few simple toys for my toddler, who was the only child in attendance. He was so bored and was getting into everything (the house wasn’t toddler-proofed). We finally had to buy him a toy in town for my sanity. I chose a good toy that will last him a long time, but it set us back $20.
4. Made a couple of impulse buys at the store yesterday.
5. Had to throw away some raw organic chicken that I didn’t cook in a timely manner.


NatalieC December 21, 2017 at 11:26 am

Thank you for taking care of the husky. I would report to the authorities. They are to check on the animal if it is reported(depending on where you live, this probally does not always happen). Make sure you tell them you are feeding and giving it water, not the owner. I also would tell my vet. They usually know what other steps can be done to help the animal in need.


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