Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 28, 2015 · 57 comments

Katy Wolk-Stanley Clark Howard

  1. I worked yesterday and packed up a couple squares of leftover frittata from our Christmas brunch. Yummy and frugal, but the kids weren’t into it, so there was a fair amount available as leftovers. So yes, I took one for the team.
  2. My $100 Verizon gift card didn’t arrive before Christmas, which was a problem since I’d planned to use it to buy new earbuds for the boys. However, I called up the Verizon store and asked I could simply apply the $100 toward my cell phone service. The answer was “yes,” so I went ahead and bought the earbuds at Fred Meyer for $30 apiece; which was $10 less than I’d have spent at the Verizon store! (I won the $100 gift card on a Verizon auction using my otherwise useless Smart Rewards points.)
  3. I was able to thrift for the vast majority of my Christmas gifts. This included new-with-tags socks, a suitcase for my son, a cell phone case, tins for cookies, a flowerpot and an American Girl necklace kit. New, I bought the aforementioned earbuds, art supplies and art supply gift certificates, (from the store where my son works) a Rehab Addict Nicole Curtis T-shirt for my mother, gift cards, Goodwill gift cards and many delicious edibles. In all I spent $276.99, which included three birthdays. However, $60 was the earbuds which I’m counting as free since I paid nothing for the $100 Verizon gift card.
  4. I relisted my Craigslist posts, and will list a brand new Uggs care kit that someone left behind at one of my mother’s guest cottages. (Don’t worry, my mom e-mailed previous tenants and no one owned up to leaving it there.)
  5. I submitted another Clark Howard article and am starting a draft on another one. I’m cleaning a guest cottage tomorrow and I worked a 12-hour shift yesterday. Plus, January is a three paycheck month for me, which means a five paycheck month between the two of us. Money for college tuition, and whatever else life throws our way!

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.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda December 28, 2015 at 12:14 pm

1. Was invited to a Christmas dinner by a wonderful family, so zero cooking for me. As a way of thanks, I did gift them the wonderful boozy truffles that I make every year as gifts. We buy no gifts, instead everything is hand made.
2. Visited a sick relative yesterday. We had a huge breakfast and skipped lunch so we wouldn’t have to buy any fast food (or gasp! restaurant food) while on the road.
3. Invited friends over to go sledding at our house and served cookies, truffles, and a cake that we had been gifted.
4. Received a movie theater gift certificate. We were planning on splurging to go see the new Star Wars movie while in theaters, but now we can go for free. We only take in 1 movie/year. Last year 2 of our kids won 4 tickets in a gingerbread house contest.
5. Found 3 dimes and 4 nickels on the ground when taking in the after Christmas clearance sale. Stocked up on gift-wrapping for next year and found money!


A. Marie December 28, 2015 at 12:35 pm

(1) DH and I greatly enjoyed our low-key, frugal celebrations with neighbors on Xmas Eve and Day. We can’t claim either to have made all our gifts or to have spent as little as Katy did, but almost all the gifts we both gave and received were either (a) thrifted, (b) consumable, (c) home-produced, or (d) “experience” gifts (such as a book of 10 tickets to our local minor-league baseball team’s games). The neighbors, God bless ’em, are totally on board with the non-consumer concept.

(2) It’s still abnormally warm here in Upstate NY–although that’s supposed to change soon–so I’m still harvesting leeks and kale from my garden (even the Tuscan kale that normally gets winter-killed early). Made a kale/apple/carrot salad yesterday and am planning BKT sandwiches for today (bacon from our 1/2 pig, tomatoes from a local greenhouse).

(3) Just came back from a walk with DH. He found a big bundle of burnable deadwood in a nearby field, and I found a big bag of NY State deposit cans next to the dumpster at a nearby apartment complex!

(4) Am about to try turning a pair of DH’s alpaca socks with holes in the heels into fingerless gloves. There’s a “reader tip” with this idea in the Mother Earth News a friend passed on to me on Boxing Day.

(5) Wishing Katy and all my fellow commenters a happy and thrifty 2016. And, Katy, I’m looking forward to that “found money” grand total!


Jennifer December 28, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Hmmm let’s see what I can come up with..
1. Got another one of my fabulous marked down 1/2 gallons of milk out of the freezer. I also tried freezing marked down acidophilus and thawed it yesterday. Tastes exactly the same as fresh. Hopefully it still has nutritional value but even if not it’s delish. If you aren’t already freezing marked down milk, please try it, it’s lifechanging!
2. Scavenged a few Christmas bags out of the garbage bags my family used to clean up after opening gifts to put up for next year.
3. Still eating leftover Christmas goodies yet feeling like a busted can of biscuits.
4. Purchased some fresh organic produce to go with things I already have in the freezer. Not so frugal but I felt we needed some healthier food since we have been eating heavy southern holiday favorites for much too long.
5. Starting to drink mostly water again which is always frugal and makes me feel so good!

My post seems to be almost completely food related. Obviously, I need to focus my energy elsewhere.. Lol


Deborah December 28, 2015 at 1:46 pm

#3 Love the busted can of biscuits description of eating leftover goodies–I can relate.


A. Marie December 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm

I second Deborah on the “busted can of biscuits” (having grown up with a mother who totally believed in the Pillsbury Doughboy, and having felt like the P.D. after a few holiday meals myself!).


Marilyn December 28, 2015 at 2:05 pm

A busted can of biscuits – perfect description!


Elizabeth December 28, 2015 at 2:11 pm

I too enjoyed the busted can of biscuits and use that saying from time to time. Still made me lol! Been feeling just the same, even though trying to eat less to save money and lose weight. 😉


Mariana Cisowska December 28, 2015 at 1:44 pm

1. I just returned a frame that I got as a gift from Bloomingdales. I got $22 on a gift card. I will use it when I am back in NYC – I am thinking with current sales / clearance I will be able to get a really nice bra 🙂

2. Bath & Body Works has their annual clearance now. Got 3 body butters (my faves!) that went down from $13 to $3.25. That was a good deal in my book as I really enjoy them throughout the year

That’s all I can think of right now!


jennifer December 28, 2015 at 1:47 pm

It’s a total snow day here in Iowa so we’ve stayed home.

Since my 9 year old has been out for winter break, we’ve been cleaning out leftovers from the fridge and freezer for lunches. Getting my pyrex dishes back, rather than buying more! Cleaning out the freezer is allowing me to see what we have/need.

Went to the library last week so have plenty of reading material.

Was able to store away all the gift bags from gifts with my stash.

Wearing my sweats and slippers today, to keep the heat a little lower. The humidifier is running and that sure helps warm up the air!


Juhli December 28, 2015 at 2:02 pm

1. We had a lovely Christmas dinner at a friend’s and brought a veggie dish and homemade cookies. Low cost to make and popular.
2. The only night we have gone out to eat in a long time was Christmas Eve and that is our empty nester, long way from family tradition. Thai food and not too expensive.
3. Made a big pot of minestrone soup using homemade chicken broth.
4. I have been shopping my closet and creating and documenting outfits that work. Finding new ways to combine the clothes I already own saves me from wanting more.
5. Our basement flooded with the heavy rains on Christmas Eve. I pulled out the shop vac manual and we figured out how to clean it up ourselves! Saved the dehumidifier from working too hard.


Mand01 December 28, 2015 at 2:16 pm

1. We had another Christmas event yesterday (two more to go, although they will really be New Years events I guess). We took homemade potato salad made with Christmas ham and potatoes we already had, and a big plate of Christmas cake, mince pies and pfeffernusse. Hoping to rid myself of the mince pies and pfeffernusse, but some still came home. Oh well – getting through it all!
2. I am going into the after-Christmas sales this morning. I was gifted over $200 in gift cards by work and family, so I am going to see what I can get at half price. I have already ‘shopped’ online for what I think I need, and then will see if I can get it at a good deal. New shoes for work, and some pjs. Those are things that I do buy new as I never find good secondhand work shoes – they never fit properly, and I just don’t quite like the idea of secondhand pjs.
3. We moved this year, and spent last night going through some more boxes. They were old photos and frames. Most of the frames were no longer to my taste, so we removed the photos and are donating the frames. My husband repurposed one really expensive frame though, and painted the backing, and it is now on the wall with a piece of comic book art in it – my friend gave me a book of Marvel comic posters for my birthday. It looks great – professional, and cost nothing.
4. Just had homemade bread and homemade strawberry jam for breakfast. Yum.
5. The dress I am wearing cost $5 from Savers.


Cheyanne December 28, 2015 at 2:16 pm

1. Stayed at home most of the Christmas weekend just enjoying my company and relaxing. Went for two long walks at the harbor and enjoyed seeing all the Southern California kids bundled up in beanies with giant pom poms (It’s been in the 40s-50s which is pretty unheard of for us!).

2. Made lasagna for Christmas and will finish the last of it tonight for dinner. I’m already planning a “use up everything in the vegetable drawer” soup for lunch and dinner tomorrow (and probably the day after as well).

3. Will celebrate Christmas with my mom and brother on New Year’s Day this year. I’m *almost* done making the gifts (just have to weave in the ends — my least favorite!) and will wrap them in newspaper.

4. I’ve been looking for a mini-stepper at thrift stores, yard sales, Facebook garage sale groups and Craigslist for about a year now with no luck. I received a gift card from my aunt for Christmas and will use it to buy a new one (and spring for the $4 2-year extended warranty).

5. Even though it’s the first day back at work after the holidays (and our last day to get all the financial stuff reconciled for the year), I didn’t go to get a coffee this morning. I’ve been drinking black tea from home instead. I’m on my third cup already but STILL. 🙂


Jennifer December 28, 2015 at 2:37 pm

It is unusually hot where I live. My kids and I are in t-shirts and shorts.. Strange weather lately.


Pennie Oehrtman December 29, 2015 at 6:45 pm

What’s a mini-stepper?


Marilyn December 28, 2015 at 2:25 pm

I just sold a Christnas item I listed on CL. I was getting ready to put it away as I didn’t think it would sell after Xmas. I guess you never know.

DH and I went to a live performance of “The Santaland Diaries”. This was our Christmas gift to each other this year. We really enjoyed it.

Cleaned out a closet in my daughter’s old room, now that she has moved to Seattle. Found several things which I will try to sell and a number of things for Goodwill. When I went to Goodwill, there was a long line at the donation center. I think everyone is making donations before the end of the year (possibly for tax purposes). Perhaps this would be a good time to shop at Goodwill.


Ruby December 28, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Katy, that was a great article you wrote for Clark Howard. We have managed to do four of the five. Have not yet automated charitable giving because it’s been a year of ups and downs.

The frugal five:
1. Am wearing one of my favorite thrifted outfits (blouse, jeans and sweater) today. It cost less than $5 for the three pieces.
2. Found a bag of Pink Lady apples on clearance at Save-a-Lot the other day that made an awesome pie. I went back today to buy green beans and more of them were on clearance, so I bought two more bags and will make pie filling to freeze.
3. Saved all the plastic mesh apple bags and made them into a nice big pot scrubber. All it took was five minutes and a little hand-sewing with some nylon thread.
4. Cleaned out another closet today and gleaned another bag of thrift store donations to make before the end of the year.
5. Reused some tension curtain rods as drawer dividers in the wide drawer of our china cabinet. Now it stays neat, as all the utensils in there don’t slide around and get mixed together from the force of the drawer being opened and closed.
Bonus 6,7 & 8, courtesy of my awesome husband, who this weekend rewired the lamp in the living room, took down our bedroom door and sanded the edges so that it finally closes quietly, and built a low L-shaped barrier that conceals the kitties’ litter boxes from our view AND keeps our two dachshunds out of them. The cats seem really happy with their new loo.


Su Mama December 28, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Ruby, how do you use tension rods as drawer dividers?


Ruby December 28, 2015 at 4:02 pm

The drawer is somewhat shallow in depth and very wide, so I put two rods spaced equally apart across the width of the drawer, just like you would to put them up for curtains. This divides the drawer into three sections and helps corral the utensils and cooking tools.

Previously, everything would slide around so much that the drawer never stayed organized. Now everything stays in the section where I put it.

I forgot to mention in recounting frugal things that we boiled down the carcass of the Christmas duck and made soup from the broth and meat. It is so delicious!


Bee December 28, 2015 at 3:04 pm

1) I have dealt with all the leftovers. Whatever we were unable to eat has been frozen to use later.
2) When cooking for the holidays, I froze the ends and bits of veggies to make vegatable broth this week. Also peeled and froze really ripe bananas for use in smoothies.
3) I saved tissue, gift bags and ribbons for use next year.
4) The weather in the Southeast has been absolutely beautiful. I have spent time outdoors taking long walks with DH and our dog. Free doses of vitamin D and excercise It is certain that the weather will soon change.
5) I have spent some time counting my blessings. I am grateful my wonderful family and the love we share.


Krystal December 28, 2015 at 3:41 pm

1. I picked up a spare dogpoo bag on my walk with my dog, which will save us a few pennies when we use it next walk. Ironically, I accidentally dropped a bag I had already used SOMEWHERE in our neighborhood–apologies to the next pedestrians on the sidewalk–hopefully it makes it into a garbage can (it was tied up neatly and not too full or stinky).
2. My husband swept under the bed and dresser and found a non-stretched-out (!) hairband. He was going to toss it because he thought it was gross with all the dust bunnies, but salvaged it when I protested.
3. Our cat passed away very unexpectedly around Thanksgiving and we wanted to get rid of all her belongings as it reminded us of her and was very painful. We thought about it for a bit and decided to keep all her toys and dishes since we cannot live without a cat (or dog!) and will be adopting a new-to-us cat soon–what’s the point in donating her stuff and buying new? Time heals.
4. Made coffee and tea at home today. I always use my tea leaves more than once as well.
5. We received around $1100 for Christmas gifts from parents and grandparents. We stuck to our plan not spend out of budget, despite the additional cash, and put it into our vacation fund for our summer trip.


Jennifer December 28, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Awe, sorry for your loss. Keep those old toys it will bring u joy to see your new animal play with them. I speak from experience.


Lucy December 29, 2015 at 5:21 am

Ditto what Jennifer said.

When I awarded a new-to-us dog a previous dog’s collar my hubby said to the new dog “I see your status has risen!”


K D December 28, 2015 at 4:51 pm

1. I used leftover cranberry sauce and out-of-date carrots to make Cranberry-Carrot Muffins. It was a new to me recipe and they are delicious.

2. My daughter shopped for gifts for my husband to give me. They came from an expensive store at the mall. I asked her to return them and even though she did not understand why I would not keep them she did make the return. I would have been happy if the same amount of money (or more) went to Free Wheelchair Mission or to Heifer International (or any other well run organization doing that type of work) on my behalf.

3. I stopped by Staples and they had bags of Ghirardelli on sale for $2. I used a 20% off store coupon and $1 off manufacturer coupons, to pay $.60 bag (plus tax).

4. I stocked up on $.59 avocados, $.49 bags of baby carrots, and $.89 containers of blackberries at Aldi yesterday.

5. I am cat sitting for a friend. I asked her to not get many anything (as a thank you).


Florencia December 28, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Those muffins sound tasty! We have tons of cans of cranberry sauce to use up (we don’t eat the traditional Christmas dinner). Would you mind sharing the recipe? 🙂


Nancy December 29, 2015 at 1:41 am

Leftover cranberry sauce is also delicious mixed with plain yogurt. I also mix mincemeat pie filling with plain yogurt and that’s good too.


K D December 29, 2015 at 4:28 am

This is the recipe I used:

I read the comments and ended up using a whole can of cranberry sauce for a double batch of muffins.


Florencia December 29, 2015 at 2:46 pm



Dawn December 29, 2015 at 6:29 am

we have cranberry orange sauce for our holiday dinners. after the turkey leftovers are gone and I have nothing else to spread it on I use it for toast or mixed into oatmeal……tastes amazing…..great idea with the muffins though I’ll have to try them!!


Jennifer December 29, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Seems like cran-orange sauce would be delicious over some baked pork chops. I have a recipe that uses those ingredients.


Odette January 8, 2016 at 9:20 am

Our cat sitter requests that she be paid with a giant-sized Hershey bar. Works for me!


Beth Anne December 28, 2015 at 5:10 pm

1. Treated daughter to a A& W float, kept the extra napkins for home.
2. Didn’t feel like cooking tonight. Coming home in a ice storm from dog and cat sits I said no to the drive through and we each contentedly had a bowl of cereal. Some nights are just like that I guess.
3. Returned some clothes gifts daughter got which turned in to a lot of money. Proud of her. She walked around while I was returning things and didn’t see anything she wanted. Instead of spending to spend she wisely decided to hang on to it for another time.
4. Wisely made myself bank the cash payment received for some dog walks vs. letting it stay in my wallet a while to “tempt” me to spend. Excited we have amassed a good chunk of change to put towards daughters braces down payment or towards my car repairs.
5. Rented San Andres, Pan and Turkey Hallow all for free through a Redbox code.
6.Took snacks to my parents house and brought things I already had at home vs. buying potato chips and dip as my dad originally requested. Turned out I think he enjoyed the Cherry mixed nuts and butter pretzels and I think they were a little healthier snack.
7. Requested all the Star Wars movies through the library and The Martian.
8. Still using up home grown tomatoes for salads. Green ones are ripening in the kitchen window. Still have enough for a couple of more weeks! I have never had them this late before. 🙂 Also eating the delicious ham leftovers my parents gifted us, gotta love ham! Air dried a load of laundry.


cathy December 28, 2015 at 5:19 pm

1. We hosted family for a Christmas Eve open house. Gave gifts of home-baked cookies, homemade beeswax candles, and a few other locally-sourced goodies. Packaged in recycled gift bags and/or free printable gift wrap, labeled w/ free printable gift tags. Wore my favorite new-to-me thrifted jeans w/ my favorite thrifted shirt & sweater.
2. Made a big pot of chili the day after Christmas. Started it w/ chicken broth/meat from a carcass (roasted before Christmas).
3. Also roasted a turkey. We had houseguests, but it turns out they had other plans so I immediately put about half the turkey plus the carcass in the freezer for future use.
4. The pilot on our hot water heater keeps going out. My husband has been coaxing it for the past week. The company that serviced it for the previous homeowners said (over the phone) that they were pretty sure the problem was X and the repair would be almost $1,000. To replace: almost $2,000. For a hot water heater??? Husband was able to buy a pilot light kit (it’s electronic) today and fixed it himself. Under $75.
5. Ordered EpiPen refills today. Last refill we can use the zero co-pay coupon. So…free life-saving meds. Very grateful.


tonya December 28, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Five frugal things is my favorite post from NCA!!

-My most exciting thing is that I found an awesome, wool, work sweater for my hubby at the thrift store. He loved it for Christmas! He went online today out of curiosity (he thought he might order another) and found that it’s a fancy-ass, $140 sweater!! Score!

-Tonight’s dinner is the Christmas hambone with beans.

-Katy, we also saved most of the third paycheck from hubby’s job. He gets paid every two weeks, so the third paycheck is an awesome event!! We were happy we budgeted based on two, so we could save money.

– We went to our yearly movie with the kids. Not frugal, but it’s a really special and memorable tradition since it just comes once yearly at the holidays.

– Non frugal thing- we went mattress shopping. I can’t believe how much they cost! We need it, ours is 20 years old. I think we’re going to be taking a chance on Tuft and Needle. At least half as expensive as what we have seen in stores.


Melissa December 28, 2015 at 7:45 pm

I don’t know if you read The Frugalwoods blog but they did an article on their experience buying a mattress online. Might be of interest/help to you also.


Tonya December 29, 2015 at 8:56 am

Thanks for the tip!


Tracy December 29, 2015 at 7:54 pm

If you have a restore habitat for humanity runs them they sometime get new mattresses donated to them. I was able to get a new pillow top king size mattress for 160 that retails for 1800. If you have one in your area might be worth checking out.


Gina December 28, 2015 at 5:33 pm

I hope everyone has a happy New Year!

My Frugal Five:
1. I, too, have been taking the dogs for long walks to enjoy the mild weather. It’s great exercise for us all.

2. I have my parenting time this week for winter break (shared custody arrangement with ex) this week and my boys and I have been eating meals made with items already in stock in the pantry or refrigerator. I also have leftovers from Christmas at my mom’s (we have traditional Mexican each year and she sent the extra vegetarian burrito filling home with me. I am the only vegetarian in the family). I was also gifted a whole bunch of cookies and candy and we have been enjoying them very much.

3. The cat tower gift I built out of driftwood was a huge hit! I almost second guessed whether my mom would like it, but everyone raved about how cool it is! I solved the problem of safety (making sure a rambunctious cat doesn’t knock it over) by putting a safety tether under the top sleeping pad and gifting a cheap decorative hook bought on clearance at Hobby Lobby. Once tethered to the wall, it eliminates any chance of it being knocked over.

I can only think of three things. Starting at the New Year (and really even now) I plan to participate in a Compact Year. I will be buying nothing new except for a very small list of exceptions (fresh veggies/fruits up to $50/month, some garden supplies in spring, TP, home repair items*, pet food and gas). My hope is to pay off post-divorce debts and get my life organized a bit. I am already a thrifter, so buying second hand is common for me, but I am even eliminating shopping the thrift stores unless it is for something really specific that makes the “need” list than second hand will come first. I love a challenge and I am looking forward to being a better non-consumer in 2016!!


Isabelle December 28, 2015 at 7:23 pm

* Exchanged PC Points for 30$ worth of free groceries
* Doing online surveys to accumulate points for free gas cards
* Went along with the family for a bit of Boxing day shopping and bought nothing
* Travelling today. Packed lunchs instead of buying junk food on the road.
* Kids are off school/daycare tommorow. Hubby and I are working. Grandma will babysit for free and I only work half-days so I’ll be spending quiet time with them in the afternoon, waiting for friends to show up for a (non frugal!) racquelette.

Have a great frugal day!


Carol M. December 28, 2015 at 8:12 pm

1. Made a pair of slippers for my mother for Christmas out of yarn from a previous project. Total cost =$0. Also made my dad a small basket for desk supplies out of twine that I got for $1.
2. Got a book from the Little Free Library to give as a gift. A beautiful, old edition Emily Dickinson poetry book.
3. Took a plane ride with my parents, and ate the free snack on the plane and also free snacks in the United Lounge beforehand as dinner (my father is a frequent flyer, and can use the lounge.)
4. Wearing some new fuzzy red socks that came in a stocking that my fiance won at a fundraiser. Unwearable for him, since they’re for women, and free for me!
5. My fiance needed new work pants for Christmas, and I found a perfectly good pair of Dockers in exactly his size at the thrift store. He said I shouldn’t have told him they were used, because they looked perfectly new to him.

Frugal fail: went overbudget by $80 or $100 on my gifts. But I know I got some good things, and it was almost worth it to make people happy.


Jean December 28, 2015 at 9:03 pm

Katy, I thank you for writing about the Verizon Smart Rewards–can’t believe we have been customers of theirs for 10 years and never knew about this. Even if all we used them for is Verizon gift cards we could apply to our account, it would be some savings. Once more you have given me something new to add to my frugal toolbox!


LisaC December 29, 2015 at 5:06 am

I received a gift from QVC, with no receipt. does anyone know how to get a refund or exchange?


StaceyW December 29, 2015 at 7:37 am

Just give QVC a call. If you tell them who purchased it they should be able to pull up the account and track the purchase. They are wonderful to work with.


Jill December 29, 2015 at 5:16 am

We drove cross-country to see family for Christmas. Granted, we spent money but we did use hotel points for most of our stay, ate out of the cooler for all lunches and snacks and some breakfasts. I found a free family pass online for the Denver art museum where we spent an afternoon. We also attended Tuba Christmas (I highly recommend this!), my kids found a ski deal that included rentals plus a rebate if they went early in the morning, which they did, and my son’s girlfriend asked for and received a full refund after she fell and hurt her knee on the slopes (on her first run) And my husband dropped us to see Christmas lights at the Opryland hotel when he found out it was $24 for parking and came back to get us. Plus we saw 6 days of the US and spent some quality time with my college age daughter (she might say a little too much time with us!) Great vacation!


JD December 29, 2015 at 5:38 am

1. We have almost eaten or given away all of the Christmas dinner leftovers. I am happy to gift my kids with leftovers to take home — they’ll do the same for me next time. No food is going to get wasted.
2. Cut my gift shopping budget almost in half this year. My goal is to keep cutting it lower and lower while not reducing the quality of gifts.
3. Gathered up all the gift bags, bows, fold-up boxes and tissue paper that was still usable, and put it up neatly.
4. Soaked and washed the nicer table linens used at Christmas, to use for the next special occasion. All of the napkins were gifts to me, as I make it known I like to get them. I had to buy the tablecloth, but it’s several years old.
5. I had used almost all of my after-Christmas sale purchased wrap that I bought about 3 or 4 years ago, so I went to K-Mart and got wrap at their after-Christmas sale, paying with a rebate card from my contact lens purchase. I got a “$1.00 off of my next $10.00 purchase” coupon with my wrap purchase, so I carried my gift wrap out to the car and came right back in to get toilet paper on sale and used the $1.00 off coupon. No extra trip and no risk of losing the coupon. I used my rebate card again, too. I have about $12.00 left on it.


Michele December 29, 2015 at 5:42 am

Dropped off a ton of clutter yesterday at The Key and walked around inside and didn’t buy ANYTHING!
Have kept track of my grocery expenses the whole year and getting ready to do the math and try to beat in 2016.
Made bean soup with the hambone from Christmas dinner… It was great.
Organized fridge to prevent waste. Two hungry teens and friends home a lot and I want to minimize waste.
Driving my Dad to a doctor’s appt. today and looking forward to spending some time with him.


Beth Anne December 29, 2015 at 6:32 am

I like your grocery challenge idea, may have to try it too. 🙂


Bettypants December 29, 2015 at 5:52 am

1. Brought in Christmas leftovers for lunch both yesterday and today.

2. I don’t like the feel of bracelets. Gifted my mom a silver bracelet (with other things) for Christmas that she had given me a couple years ago. I knew she wouldn’t have any recollection of it, and of course she liked it, since she had originally picked it out. I filled my aunt in and we were giggling while my mom was admiring her new bracelet.

3. Bought a down coat for my son for $15, but it’s two sizes too big. Instead of holding onto it, sold it on ebay for $38.

4. Took down our tree yesterday and set aside a bag of ornaments to list on ebay, and one to give to my mom.

5. Returned a few items after Christmas and forbid myself to look at any of the Christmas clearance. I’ve gotten rid of most of my excess Christmas decorations – definitely don’t need any more.

Frugal fail: spotted a set of throw pillows at the Sears return desk that I really loved. I figured they would be quite expensive, so I only admired them and made myself leave the store. I looked them up online Sunday night and they were on sale for $15 each. I dithered for two days, and ordered them this morning.


Denise December 29, 2015 at 5:53 am

We have had unusually cold weather in Texas (snow, sleet, ice), so I have been housebound since Sat. I plan to run some errands this afternoon when it warms up and melts the icy patches from the roads. Right now it looks like a winter wonderland outside! I decided not to spend any money until Jan. 1, so I have done many frugal things!

1) Like many of you, we have been finishing leftovers! We had brisket with various sides and desserts on Christmas day. We made brisket burritos for several leftover meals. With the turkey we had Christmas Eve, we’ve made many turkey, green chili, pepper jack, grill cheese sandwiches.

2) We received homemade hot sauce from a friend and homemade tamales from a lady who works for my husband. These have been wonderful to have on-hand.

3) Before we broke for the holiday, we had a school-wide party. Several of my students didn’t want to carry home their leftovers, including two gallon-sized bags of homemade pumpkin/chocolate chip cookies. I put them in the freezer and we have been snacking on those the last few days.

4) I have been doing yoga at home and wearing a pedometer, with a goal of at least 10,000 steps a day, to counter all of the eating noted above!

5) My son is home from college, so we have enjoyed staying home, having meals together, playing games, playing with the dog, visiting, and seeing his friends who have stopped by since he’s been home.

Everyone have a great day!


Dawn December 29, 2015 at 6:40 am

Happy Holidays to everyone
1) bought a box of Mr.Clean magic sponges and a box of Brillo. Came home and cut each of them in half and bagged them & put under my sink
2)Found a whole box of brand new puzzles still wrapped in plastic at Barnes & Nobles while diving and gifted them to nieces & nephews at our “after Christmas” get together at my moms…..our family is so large now that we just do Christmas at our own house Christmas day & then do the get together afterwards(no fights with spouses over whose parents house we’ll be going to Christmas day LOL)
3)found $1 bill & .83 in change in pockets during doing laundry
4)Kids are home this week from school & quite content with staying home so I’ve had a tank of gas almost going on 2 weeks now. Friend had to do last minute shopping so I tagged along with her and we used her car for last minute things I had. Found some gift cards to Target & Macy’s which is where we had gone which each had over $20 left on each card so I was very happy about that yet surprised cause I’m very cautious with the cards and even have a little metal box I keep all of them in.
5)Treated us both to coffee & a donut with another gift card I had found from last year to Dunkin Donuts from one of my students


janine December 29, 2015 at 7:43 am

As usual, spent above budget at Christmas and now is the time for serious reflection, then actions to get back into frugal NCA shape.
1. Joined the Compact (with certain exceptions.)
2. Searching through my cookbook collection and on line for cheap, yet interesting meals to serve to my family in the new and hopefully more frugal year.
3. Had a number of funerals and memorial services to attend this month. Donated to recommended charities in their names but used a box of blank cards to express our sentiments instead of individual more expensive sympathy cards.
4. Used up Xmas Ham bone for split pea soup for a couple of frugal meals.
5. New Years resolution to be better organized so I won’t be tempted to buy unnecessary items. That said, I do plan to do some after-Christmas shopping – especially in specialty food shops who often mark down their wares by a large percentage.


Jennifer December 29, 2015 at 8:21 am

Love the blank card idea, seems so much more personal.


Amanda December 29, 2015 at 8:06 am

1. We have our house rented on airbnb while we’re gone, so December is an $1800 airbnb month! Just in time to pay our $3761 health insurance premium. It covers us until the end of July, so it’s actually very affordable for the five of us. It’s just a big pill to swallow when the bill comes around.
2. We received $1200 from the kid who smashed our back bumper. That covered the estimate to get it back to where it was, but I found a place that will patch it and make it almost new for $700. Almost is close enough for me.
3. My dad brought us the rest of his Christmas turkey and part of a ham. Both have and will become sandwiches this week.
4. I used a gift card to cover part of my Walmart run yesterday.
5. I’ve been using quick books for years to do the bookkeeping for our business and I hate it with a passion. Our accountant told us that quick books now offers a simpler cloud version for a monthly fee. I’m going to do the free trial starting January 1. If it works like it should the time and aggrivation I save should be worth the monthly fee.


Amy Jo December 29, 2015 at 9:01 am

My Frugal Five:
1. Gave my daughter a thrifted talking tea pot tea set for Christmas. She loves it!!!
2. Gave mostly consumable gifts, as well as clothes and books to my sons for Christmas.
3. Turned the thermostat at home down 2 degrees and told the boys if they get chilled to wear their new hoodies they got for Christmas.
4. Went to the store for laundry detergent and actually stayed away from the after Christmas sales. I didn’t even walk to that end of the store. YEAH ME!
5. Ate leftovers from Christmas dinner several times (my family doesn’t mind at all!), and using the leftover ham bone and ham for ham and beans tonight.


Vickie December 29, 2015 at 12:24 pm

1) I cooked the Christmas turkey, dressing and gravy. I split the turkey leftovers with my daughter, whose house we celebrated at. She cooked all the sides. We’ve eaten a lot of turkey leftovers. I switched it up and baked potatoes last night for chili-cheese potatoes with salad.
2) My daughter gave us a $25 Red Lobster gift certificate, so we’re going to use that to eat out Thursday night when we attend a musical performance in the city.
3) I’ve been home since after church on Sabbath, due to the weather, so no money spent on gas. I doubt I will go anywhere until tomorrow.
4) I’m off on Winter Break from the University, so I’m cleaning, decluttering and finding stuff along the way. I found a basket to organize the jams in the fridge. I realized I won’t need to buy jam for quite a long while!
5) I keep Lavender essential oil on hand for everything – especially burns. Thank goodness, because I burned my hand removing the dressing from the oven on Christmas morning. I slathered the burn with Lavender oil and it never blistered up. That stuff is amazing. It diminishes the pain and never even leaves a scar. It’s completely healed over now. The fact that it can be used to make sachets and as a body oil, instead of perfume makes it very economical to have around. It’s a good thing, as Martha Stewart says!


Marcia December 29, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Does it count as frugal if it didn’t quite work out? I needed bananas. I walked to a new store that opened up near my office. (Half of our local grocery stores went out of business a month ago, so grocery shopping is a challenge!)

Anyway, turns out it’s a 1.85 mile round trip. I should have eaten before I left. Anyway, they had regular bananas and “red tape” (ripe) bananas, for 0.69/lb and 0.39/lb, respectively. I opted for the red stripe.

Half way back I realize the charged me for regular. Alas, as I was hungry, I opted to just suck it up and keep heading back to the office. They were still cheap.

On a side note, I just (re) found your blog. I got “American Wasteland” for Christmas, and have been enjoying the book immensely. You are mentioned several times.


Adriana December 29, 2015 at 7:29 pm

First time commenting…I really dig Katy’s writing style. It’s like she’s talking to me in person!

1-bought 2 button ups from goodwill as a gift for my daughters 18th bday.
2- bought seasons 1&2 of “Saved by the Bell” for the hubby for Christmas.
3- found11¢
4-bought gas using gas pt for 49¢/gal. Max of 35 gallons.
5-used my Coke rewards(I know, I know don’t kick me off the group…reducing in progress) to get a $5 go to Walmart.


Chris December 30, 2015 at 8:59 am

1. Have not been after Christmas shopping.
2. Used just a bit of gift wrap – still have many unopened rolls from buying a few years ago – will probably donate next time I go to value village just to empty the box under my bed.
3. Have been jones-ing to freshen up the house – went to the library and got a huge stack of decorating/craft books and magazines for inspiration.
4. Eating all meals at home – making a schedule of menus for both lunch and dinner really help keep us home.
5. Had every intention of going to a movie on Christmas day but decided that between Netflix and Hulu, we had lots of things to watch.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: