Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 7, 2016 · 93 comments


  1. I prepared a dinner using the last of a bag potatoes, some defrosted Grocery Outlet sausages, peas, shredded cheese and diced avocado. Both frugal and delicious!
  2. I had a childhood friend over this afternoon. Instead of going out for lunch, I served home brewed coffee and then ham and cheese panini sandwiches with a side of orange wedges. Also, frugal and delicious! (Okay, okay   . . . the sandwiches were prepared using my humble George Foreman grill, not an official panini press.)
  3. I had the opportunity to stay at home instead of going to work yesterday, but called my charge nurse and told her I wanted to come in to complete some online education. I quickly got a laboring patient, but was given the opportunity to go home again after she delivered. I repeated my wish to stay at work, and someone else happily accepted her offer. My pushiness earned me hundreds of extra dollars. It would have been nice to cozy up at home, but work is the best place to go when funding a college account. Of course I brought a lunch of homemade leftovers.
  4. We made the $7017 payment for our son’s winter tuition, room and board, and were able to do so without borrowing a penny. Earning as much as possible, combined with extreme frugality is a powerful tool. (That reminds me, I should put some pinto beans into the crock pot for tomorrow’s dinner.)
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen January 7, 2016 at 7:14 pm

So true…it takes a lot of penny-pinching to compare with hundreds of dollars earned from working.

Congrats on avoiding student loans thus far!


Katy January 7, 2016 at 7:16 pm

We’ll see how it goes next year when we have two in college!


Lindsey January 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Your kids are so fortunate! My parents were quite wealthy but when we each finished high school, we were told, “Have a nice life” and were given $200 the day we moved out and $50 a year for Christmas and on our birthdays after that. I completed college and grad school but my brother and sister did not go beyond high school and have suffered financially as a result. Intellectually I know it is their money and my parents are entitled to spend it how they please, but it was hard not to be resentful when I was trudging to a second job while still in college and they were off on another round the world cruise (Even with scholarship money, not everything is covered). My point is, your sons are not only lucky you are paying for college, but lucky that you cared enough to do so.


Katy January 8, 2016 at 1:26 pm

That is unusual. Sorry about that.


tonya parham January 9, 2016 at 10:02 am

I don’t know– my best friend’s parents were financially well off, at least for the area and they flat out refused to pay for any of their three kids education. Only one of them went to college and that was much later when she was in her 30s.

I always thought it was shameful….

Anne January 8, 2016 at 6:47 pm

My parents were not wealthy, but I had the same thing happen. No medical care, no money, almost nothing after high school. We do what we can and they live here free as long as they are in college if they want, we’ve kept paying their medical insurance and bills, and paid for school books and cell phones. Two have finished college and are independent now! A few years and a little work are worth it to give your kids a firmer foundation in my opinion. My parents picked one grandchild and doted on her and spent at least six figures on her, which she wasted, which increased my bitterness… I’m working on it mentally still, I know it’s not good for me.

I have a friend who barely paid for anything when her kids were minors, much less after they finished high school and he complains that they haven’t gone to college or did anything with their life…they’re too busy trying to survive 🙁


Betty Winslow January 7, 2016 at 7:24 pm

1. Been making meals all week using up things from frig/freezer/pantry.
2. Spent half the usual grocery amount, because of #1.
3. Downloaded a book from the library in the series I’m reading on my new Kindle (bought dirt-cheap before Xmas), instead of buying it. Saved gas by not driving over to library to check out paper copy.
4. Made 4 loaves of zucchini bread using some of the shredded zucchini left from this summer, brown sugar left from holiday baking, and applesauce (in place of some of the oil) made from neighbor’s free apples.
5. Mailed a small gift to my GD’s mom, using a previously mailed to me padded envelope, with address taped over mine. I love to reuse padded envelopes and boxes!!


Kim from Philadelphia January 7, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Your son attends a very reasonably priced school!!! Wow, that semester fee includes room and board? Pleasantly shocked!


Jill A January 8, 2016 at 10:31 am

I agree. I’m a little jealous.


Mary January 8, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Oregon public universities are 3 terms a year rather than 2 semesters, so the cost is that amount x3. It may still be a good deal though, as I’m not sure how that compares with other state’s universities.


Jill A January 9, 2016 at 5:01 am

That’s interesting. It would be about the same as most Michigan Universities. I guess I won’t be moving to Oregon then.


Jade January 7, 2016 at 7:26 pm

First time poster – thanks for an inspring blog. Since finding you I have become so much more frugal with my money , and I draw just as much inspiration from the comments left by your readers (Five Frugal Things is my favourite post!) My five frugal achievements for the week:

1. Rang bank a few days ago to talk about my interest rate that I am paying on the mortgage. Switched to a no-frills package that better suits our needs, effectively saving almost half a percent or $50 per week.
2. Entertained at home rather than eating out – had a yummy BBQ and a picnic in the backyard.
3. Cooked from scratch using cupboard staples, including some sad looking vegies lurking at the bottom of the fridge.
4. Have cut my diet coke habit since the NY – saving many dollars (plus health benefits). Trying to drink more water.
5. Attended an afternoon tea at the neighbours – was told not to bring anything so cut hydrangers from the garden. Wrapped it in pretty tissue paper and brown string that I had in my gift stash.

Jade – Australia.


Joan January 7, 2016 at 8:20 pm

1. Called my mail away pharmacy. I have gotten too far ahead on prescription meds. Inexpensive at the end of the year, but quite expensive at the beginning of a new year. Plus need to use up current supplies.
2. Ordered insurance on new old car my aunt left me. A 2002 cream puff with 56000 miles. Nice second car, low insurance rate.
3. Made quiche and soup from food in freezer, fridge and pantry.
4. Yesterday’s crockpot sale roast will be at least four meals. Roast and veggies last night, sliced roast for sandwiches, two portions for pot pies twice.
5. Wrote two thank you notes, one to cemetery caretakers for services delivered and one to CEO of senior living center whose rehab department gifted me with twelve sessions of Physical Therapy, at no cost, as they are trying to attain outpatient certification. I have always found that being polite, thanking people when they go above and beyond for you and appreciating gifts given serves very well.


Mand01 January 8, 2016 at 12:32 am

Could not agree more. I took my kids’ thank you letters from Xmas in to post, including one to friends in the States. My daughter was with me, and asked what I was posting. When I told her, the lady at the counter was so amazed. A thank you letter is such an appreciated touch, especially from kids.


Jennifer Haynes January 8, 2016 at 2:43 am

So true. I am a generous auntie with no kids of my own. I have stopped sending gifts to the kids that didn’t send thank yous. I’m fine with a text, a phone call, an im, a letter, whatever. But if there is no acknowledgment I don’t send anything else. Getting crotchety I guess, lol.


Anne January 8, 2016 at 10:33 am

Totally with you on this, Jennifer. No “Thank you”……no more gifts.


Isabelle January 8, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Right there with you! I have also cut off gifts to people who don’t even seem to care, who never reciprocate even with a thank you or a basic card year after year. Iam dooooooone!! I’ll spend my moneyon people who actually deserve it.

nicoleandmaggie January 7, 2016 at 8:23 pm

I picked up a second copy of a side-hustle check that the post office never delivered to us (it was mailed in November!). One really has to keep track of these things. It would suck so much to pay taxes on a check that we never cashed(!), not to mention actually having done the work.


Queen of Fifty Cents January 7, 2016 at 8:34 pm

1. Entertained self and family by team-cooking a huge number of potstickers for New Year’s weekend fun. Lots still in the freezer – mine and theirs.
2. Fed some of the potstickers to nephew who in return updated the drivers on my computer so I can use my external monitor again, saving a technician’s call.
3. Knitting warm socks for SIL from a lovely variegated skein of wool that cost fifty cents at a yard sale last year.
4. Returned library books on time (no extended-use fees!) and checked out almost $100 of new books for free.
5. Hand washed husband’s cashmere sweaters using the bar of Zote soap plucked from a yard sale free box last summer (great soap, BTW).
6. Didn’t buy a yacht. ;o)


Gina January 8, 2016 at 7:10 am

Ugh! You just reminded me I need to return or renew some books! Thanks!


Pattilou January 7, 2016 at 8:41 pm

Katy, I use my George Forman to make paninis all the time.
I’m recovering from a not so frugal holiday. You all inspire me to get back on track.
1. Have been keeping the heat low even though it has finally gotten cold here.
2. Was invited to dinner at two different friend’s houses this week. I brought jam I made as a hostess gift to one dinner and chocolates I was given for Christmas and a baguette were my contribution to the other.
3. I also ate dinner at a work event this week too so the grocery bill has been very under budget this week.
4. Used two different free codes from Redbox to rent two movies this week.
5. I’ve been reading books I borrowed from my sister instead of buying my own copies.


janine January 7, 2016 at 8:51 pm

1, A no-spend day at home. Cooked dinner from scratch, did some laundry, made husband’s lunch for tomorrow and relaxed.
2. Yesterday found a Metropolitan Museum date book for half price. Waited until after the new years for good deals.
3. Have French Toast made with day-old bread scheduled for breakfast tomorrow AM.
4. Son got new job and wants to celebrate at a restaurant. I will order a side salad and he can have the entrée.
5. Am motived towards a no/low-spend January – now to find the supporting habit!


Marilyn January 7, 2016 at 10:04 pm

1. Finished putting away all of the Christmas decorations. Carefully folded wrapping paper, gift bags and ribbons to be saved for reuse next year.
2. Received as a Xmas gift 2 turtleneck t-shirts. They were very nice, but I have a pile of turtlenecks in my dresser drawer and do not need any more. I returned both and exchanged them for a nice sweater which I can wear to work.
3. Asked for and received practical Xmas gifts, things which I know I will use. Now I have enough shampoo, lip gloss and hand cream to last all through 2016.
4. I skipped my regular morning walk for several days due to icy sidewalks and roads in our neighborhood. I really missed this little bit of exercise and was happy to get back to walking yesterday.
5. Cleaned out a closet in my daughter’s old room. Found 24 cents in change, several items which I can sell on CL, and a some clothing which I can donate to Goodwill. This closet cleaning is a work in progress – very slow progress.


Jennifer January 8, 2016 at 6:59 am

Totally feel you on the closet cleaning.


Mand01 January 8, 2016 at 12:48 am

1. Picked up the books I have had on hold from the library. Both were books I have been considering buying for a while, but I am trying not to buy when I can borrow.
2. I’ve started a frugal food blog that is helping me to be very accountable to my food budget. Went grocery shopping today and really considered every purchase. Plus, the blog is keeping me very entertained for free.
3. I’ve been making my own ice cream. It tastes incredible.
4. Had a friend and her daughter over for lunch today. I made vegetarian lasagne, garlic bread from the freezer (homemade bread, homemade garlic butter) and fresh salad. While at the grocery store today I was amused to see fresh cheese sauce in the fridge section for $3.99 for 180 grams. That is less than one cup of sauce! Our lasagne today would have used at least 2.5 cups and would have cost about 70 cents.
5. Took a bunch of my daughter’s clothes to the op shop. I combined three errands this afternoon, saving petrol and time.


Melissa January 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm

Can you tell me what your blog address is? I’m in Australia too and would love to read it!


Mand01 January 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Hi Melissa,
Thanks for asking, I’m having a lot of fun with it. It’s called 365 Days Of Cheap Eats:
Hope you like it!


Juhli January 8, 2016 at 2:42 am

1. We have been eating dinner at home every night so far this year. Making some interesting but healthy combinations as I clean bits of leftovers out of the freezer.
2. Only getting books & ebooks from the library whereas last year I pressed the buy now button for ebooks way too often. I have started a list of ones to request through inter-library loan.
3. My winter wardrobe is sparse and our winters short. Still, I get cold and thrift shopping produced any pullover sweaters that fit me well. I ordered 2 on sale from Lands End with free shipping and an average price of $20 so I am happy.
4. Bought a 10% off gift card for my haircuts.
5. Looking for ways to make up an unexpected expense. The dog chewed up one of my retainers while on no food/no water restrictions the morning of her dental cleaning. She has never destroyed anything before! I think it will have to come out of our food budget with more careful grocery shopping and even less eating out. Fortunately she didn’t need any extractions. First dental work in 6 1/2 years so we are doing well in taking care of her teeth which saves lots of money.


Brandi January 8, 2016 at 4:06 am

What kind of sausage is that?


Jennifer January 8, 2016 at 4:29 am

Wow, I am so impressed you paid for college in cash. Very exciting. My son will start in the fall and we are scrambling to figure out how to pay for it.


Anne T. January 9, 2016 at 10:55 am

Jennifer! I used to read your Getting Ahead blog and enjoyed it very much! I was always inspired by your saving up and paying cash for things like your children’s braces. I can’t believe you will have one in college in the fall! So nice to “see” you again!


Jennifer January 9, 2016 at 6:51 pm

Thank you Anne! it has been awhile since I blogged at all. As the kids got older I just felt like it should be private. We are still trying to pay cash for everything, but looking at the price of college might do us in. But we are trying. So nice to hear from you.


Bettypants January 8, 2016 at 4:42 am

1. Bought three items at the Salvation Army for $1 each, including a Brooks Brothers 100% silk cardigan. The fleece I bought was a good brand, but covered in pills, which I’m sure is why it was donated. I used my sweater shaver and it looks almost new again.
2. Depilled fleece is quite similar to the Lands’ End fleece I bought on sale, so I will be returning that and getting my $22 back.
3. Made a chicken tomato pasta soup for dinner with breadsticks, and took leftovers for two work lunches.
4. Ordered a pair of shoes online for $18 (clearance) before Christmas, but they were not to my liking. Sold them on ebay for $30.
5. Ebay sent me a $15 gift card as a “thank you for selling.” The other people I know who sell on ebay did not received one, so I’m not sure how that works.


K D January 8, 2016 at 4:46 am

1. My Brother laser printer stopped printing because it wanted me to replace the printer cartridge. I put a piece of black electrical tape over the eye, reinserted the cartridge and am happily still able to print. I opened the cartridge nine months ago and I hope to keep printing with it for at least three more. When it really is exhausted I will price match the Amazon price at Staples and use gift cards, received from redeeming Discover points (at a discount).

2. I ordered socks from, on clearance. Only two pairs were in the three pack I ordered. I called to let them know and they wanted to refund 30% of the price I paid. I told them this was unfair, as I did not receive 70% of what I ordered. I held out for a one third refund (it was not a lot of money but fair).

3. I found $.26 plus a Mercury dime in the CoinStar as I was leaving the grocery store (where I obtained a red pepper and a bagel with my $5 purchase).

4. All meals and beverages have been at home or packed (lunches) since we returned from our trip to the Northeast on the 31st.

5. I submitted receipts for Flexible Spending Account reimbursements, it doesn’t do any good to have money sitting there. With the ACA you never know how much you owe for a medical visit until after the insurance EOB is generated.


Bettypants January 8, 2016 at 7:19 am

I placed two orders with last month. They cancelled the first order three days later. They never could find the second order, and after assuring me my card would ONLY be charged when the order shipped, they charged it anyway. I contacted them 3 times about the charge and finally disputed it with my credit card company.

You have confirmed my decision to never shop there again.


K D January 8, 2016 at 7:45 am

I had the same feeling about never shopping there again. Many companies would have refunded even more (given the mess up) but I just assumed that the person answering the phone, and her supervisor, were not very good with numbers.


Bettypants January 8, 2016 at 9:40 am

Yes, I agree offering a 30% refund is odd and chintzy. I think many companies would have sent you a replacement three pack and let you keep the original two received. And if they were no longer in stock, I think they would offer a full refund …. and let you keep the socks.


Bee January 8, 2016 at 5:12 am

1) Now that the new year is upon us, I have been trying to use up the bits and pieces that I have in my refrigerator, freezer and pantry. I have made veggie stock with the stems of herbs, end of carrots, onions and celery; two batches of granola from coconut, dried fruit, and nuts; buttermilk biscuits with the last of the 1/2 gallon; and cooked a large bag of dried black beans. Today I will make chicken stock and a batch of pumpkin waffles to freeze.
2) I reviewed last year’s expenditures, developed a budget for 2016, and set up my new tracking spreadsheets. This helped me to set frugal goal for the coming year.
3) I picked up a small check at the consignment shop for clothing items I sold. While there, a bought a lovely sweater that I needed. It was not as inexpensive as the thrift store, but still an excellent price. I still left with more money in my pocket than I came with.
4) I am reading “The Paris Wife,” a story about Ernest Hemingway’s early years in Paris and his first marriage. I purchased it for $0.50 at an estate sale — not as cheap as the library but much less than the book store. I will pass it on when I am done.
5) I made a call and was able to increase the data on our cell phones at no cost. However, I was not as lucky with our television service. I think that I have finally talked my husband into cutting the cable cord. This will be a huge savings.


isabelle January 8, 2016 at 6:19 am

* Receiving 2 friends for a game night tonight. Will buy one bag of corn chips, use salsa I already have on hands and pop corn in my machine+butter. Drinks will be juice I already have, water, tea and beer if they want some (beer is not cheap, but I can’t just serve water, tea and juice (right?), and I doubt they will drink much beer anyways)
* Made 2 big batchs of veggie soup that ended up costing me approx. 6$ and will feed us for at least 6 meals (x 2 people) + proteins
* Eating more lentils/beans and less meat
* Sticking with cheaper veggies/fruits when grocery shopping and keeping in mind our 500$/month budget (trying to stay under it, actually).
* Did not spend anything on the personal front since the beginning of the year except 1.70$ for medication (after insurances) and 6$ on a popcorn at the theater (used a gift card for it). Yay! And being very careful for all other expenses (family), evaluating if it’s worth it or not before buying.

Have a great frugal day!


Bee January 8, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Ditto on eating more lentils. I am making a shepherd’s pie tonight in which the meat is replaced with lentils. I am hoping it’s good!


Isabelle January 8, 2016 at 7:28 pm

We had that last week too.


Gina January 9, 2016 at 1:32 am

I made the lentil shepherd’s pie for winter solstice meal. I ended up making two and freezing one, but they are very good!


JD January 8, 2016 at 6:41 am

1. I bought mineral makeup that wasn’t the color I usually get, but the little test patch I tried looked right at the store. When I got home, it was much too light, so when my usual color was back in stock, I got it. Later, my correct color having run out, they were once again out of it, and I bought a slightly darker color. It was much too dark when I got home. So, I am wearing both the too light and too dark at once (they are very light and sheer) and ta-da, they look just right. I’ll get only half the use of each using both at once, but I don’t waste them and the cash this way.
2. I finished off the last of the Christmas ham by making deviled ham with a recipe I found online. It’s good, and much better for us and cheaper than the canned stuff, which I don’t like, but my husband does and insists on buying.
3. There’s been a dearth of found change in the last month or so, but I found a penny yesterday, so maybe the dry spell is over.
4. I’m wearing some Lands End cotton socks I bought for my daughters when they were pre-teens/early teen. The daughters are now both over 30. I’d say I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of the socks.
5. Katy, we did the Florida Pre-paid tuition which became available when the kids were very small, which is not an option for everyone, I realize. They also each worked to get a Bright Futures Scholarship. They worked side jobs all through school to cover living expenses. We paid rent, insurance and got them a used vehicle, and a few times helped with books, but they graduated with no student debt, and to this day, they are both SO GRATEFUL not to be saddled with student loans! We took no loans for it either. It is wonderful to be able to do that. Good luck to you on your college costs, and I hope you can all be just as debt free when they are done with college as we all were.


MW January 8, 2016 at 7:20 am

Thank you for the suggestion of deviled ham! Through a Series of Unfortunate Events, I have more ham in the freezer than I know what to do with. One more way to mix it up is most appreciated!


Jennifer January 8, 2016 at 8:34 am

Ditto MW’s comment. Can’t wait to try. I have been making turkey salad a lot to to mix up the overabundance of turkey.


JD January 8, 2016 at 8:57 am

It was a Food Network recipe online, and it was easy.
You’re welcome!


Lindsey January 8, 2016 at 12:51 pm

My husband LOVES deviled ham and I never thought of making it from scratch. I will be doing that soon, thanks for the suggestion. He also loves spam and those Vienna sausages. There is no accounting for taste, I keep reminding myself.

Jennifer January 8, 2016 at 7:51 am

1. I am currently down to one pair of jeans. I wear them almost daily. I am washing them very little to try to extend their life. I take them off as soon as I get home to hopefully make them last. Must thrift new jeans soon! Dressing like a scarecrow is almost an understatement here but I am clean if that counts.
2.I purchased some more 1/2 gallons of milk for $1 to freeze. I so enjoy not being a slave to the expiration date. #wishIknewsooner
3.I also purchased a small package of reduced gound beef, zucchini, cutie oranges(kids fav), 4 cups of shredded cheese, and large packages of cheese slices. Taking sandwiches for lunch this week out of free Friday downloaded Kroger bread, frozen Christmas ham slices, and the cheap cheese.
4.Made hamburger steaks last night from the reduced ground beef.Had zucchini and potatoes on the side. While that was cooking, I browned the leftover small portion of ground beef. I have found that family doesn’t miss it if I add just small amounts of meat and jazz it up with veggies. I chopped up a shriveled bell pepper from the fridge with zucchini and threw that in. Then I boiled 2 packages of noodles to make a large baked spaghetti. I topped with some of the cheap shredded cheddar. We will eat half tonight and the other half on a night I am too tired to cook.__Gosh, that was so wordy!
5.Went to Walgreens this morning and got wrapping paper for next year for $.29 per roll, normally $2.99. I haven’t been able to give up gift wrapping yet but I do it as frugally as possible. I also picked up some nice Christmas candy and small toys to put up for my kids a Valentines Day treat. They will never be able to tell it was from Christmas and only spent a few dollars. It is very enlightening to look at the rediculously high priced Valentine’s Candy that sits right next to the Christmas markdowns.

Frugal fail or just plain fail- My 7 year old daughter and I made a beautiful large strawberry shortcake out of cake from the freezer, reduced strawberries, and a whole carton of cool whip. I put it in fridge, opened the door to get something out later and the entire cake plopped out. Words cannot describe how messy a cake with a whole carton of cool whip is when it gets spilled on all the condiments in the refrigerator doors then plops all over the floor. My daughter rectified the situation by serving orange slices for dessert instead.

Lesson#1 Clean out fridge so stuff doesn’t try to bust out!
Lesson#2 Sent straight from the Lord that I didn’t need that strawberry cake in the first place


Gina January 8, 2016 at 7:52 am

Fives years, I am thinking, are going to go by quickly and I’ll have my first one in college. I need to start saving again for it now (long story, but short version is a divorce changed things radically for me in the finances area. I get bitter thinking about it, so I will just say I got back up, dusted myself off, and am slowly getting it back together again).

1. I have ate ALL meals at home and I have not bought anything at the market or restaurants. It’s getting easier now, but I am trying to keep the boredom from it all. I packed a lunch for a work road trip I needed to take and was bemoaning that all the fresh fruit was gone. I decided to look in the crisper to see if maybe there might be a stray apple and, lo and behold, I found an entire bag of pears! I forgot I had purchased them right before the holidays. And, this is why I am doing a pantry challenge.
2. Reading already owned or library books. Keeping my promise to myself to not buy any new (or used) books in the NY until I reduce the stacks I already have…everywhere! I just finished _Hand to Foot: Living Bootstrap in America_(library) and have started _American Wasteland_ (a book I bought used at Half-Price books at least a year ago).
3. Entertainment: I have been taking my dogs for daily walks along the river. I found three (unused) old rusty railroad spikes in a dirt pile (near some tracks) and will be on the lookout for two more (I had one already). I want to make a wine/beer rack for someone next Christmas using the spikes and driftwood. I have months to find them all.
4. Found a dime while putting air in work truck!
5. Making sourdough pancakes and freezing them for later meals from the sourdough starter you discard in the process (still following along on a FB tutorial for making a wild culture sourdough. It’s been fun, educational and I have a lovely living culture of sourdough starter!)

Happy Friday, All!


Ruby January 8, 2016 at 7:55 am

1. Stopped by my favorite thrift shop and found an Eddie Bauer winter dress shirt, new with tags, on sale for $4. My husband was thrilled with his beautiful, warm new shirt.

2. Bought ground pork on sale and used a breakfast sausage seasoning recipe from the ‘net to make two pounds of delicious sausage for the cost of one pound ready made.

3. Matched coupons to sales and stocked up on cat food and cat litter while using $11 worth of coupons.

4. Mended a shirt for my son. Also realized that some old sofa throw pillows can be recycled into components for a bed I’ve been planning to sew for the dogs.

5. Repaired two cracks in the living room ceiling with spackle bought with an Ace Hardware rewards coupon and tools/paint we already had. It took me most of the day but it’s very rewarding to look up there and see a smooth ceiling again.


Jennifer January 8, 2016 at 8:40 am

1. Used some thrift store credit to pick up another scrub jacket for work. Would much rather wear a scrub jacket than long sleeves under my scrubs.

2. Going to the kid consignment shop to look for a pair of snowboots for my boy. Checked their online inventory last night and see they have his size.

3. Making meatloaf today for my weekend meals at work. My husband nor my son like it and I am craving it.

4. Cash flowed my BSN tuition this month. I will get reimbursed after each 8 week class from the hospital where I work. And I rent my textbooks, rather than buy.

5. Found scholarship opportunities in work newsletter that I will apply for. Hospital only covers $3000/year and with this term, I’ve hit my max.

6. Using up pantry and freezer stash so only spent $52 at the grocery this week!

7. My 9 year old took his lunch 3/5 days this week. Not only saves us money, but it helps with the destashing of the fridge and freezer!


Monica January 8, 2016 at 9:02 am

1. Used a depth store cash reward to buy my daughter the pair of cowgirl boots she had asked for for Christmas. Only cost me $5 after reward was applied!
2. Received my yearly “birthday cash reward” coupon from another store and used it to buy a much needed new winter sweater on clearance. Final cost…. $1.32!!!!
3. Will re-gift apretty bracelet I received at Christmas as a Bday gift to my neice…I have one just like it already and to return it is not worth the hassle. I know she will love it.
4. We made turkey last week and have finally finished eating or freezing all we can. Sick of it at this point. But, we had gotten it as a supermarket reward in November! Free!
5. Tried out the new no frills grocery store in town. Saved maybe a few cents on some of the produce I bought, but not an amount significant enough to stop me from shopping at my regular store.


Krystal January 8, 2016 at 9:28 am

Congrats to you on the tuition+ payment! College can be done debt free and it’s a great lesson and gift for your son. Nice work!


Beth January 8, 2016 at 9:43 am

1. Spent well under my grocery budget last week (which is good because we ate out a couple of times and it evened out). I think from now on I’m going to set my food budget $10 or $15 dollars lower each week so that unexpected expenses don’t blow it for me.
2. Drank free coffee/water at work today
3. Forgot my lunch at home, but have a hard-boiled egg, some tuna salad, and part of a zucchini already in the work fridge. I’ll make due with what I have instead of going out-anyone know how to cook zucchini in a microwave??
4. We are expecting our first baby soon, and so far I have only spent $8 on baby things, all at the Goodwill Outlet ($0.99/lb., yes please!). I will say though, that my company and various coworkers, friends, and family members have made this possible with all of the things that they’ve gifted us-It’s been a good reminder to me to not be stingy when giving gifts to others!
5. I washed a freezer bag to reuse last week-I really need to start looking for non-disposable freezer alternatives though.


Iris January 8, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Have you thought of glass jars? I use them for soups, etc. I just use a piece of wax paper to put between metal lid and glass. Works well.


Monica January 8, 2016 at 10:02 am

Wanted to add my thanks to Katy and all the Commenters out there…today I get laid off after 19 years at a company where I built a successful career. The hunt for a new job might be long an difficult. I have been working steadily since I was 13, so this is foreign territory for me now. Thanks to you, Katy, and the Commenters, over the past few years I have picked up so many living frugal tips, that I feel very confident in my ability to penny pinch with the best of them, and these tips will help my family get through the tough economic times ahead, until I find a new job and health insurance.


Shannon January 8, 2016 at 11:05 am

I’m very sorry Monica. I am so glad that you have the skills to ease the worry for you. I hope you find some work you love very soon!


Julie C January 8, 2016 at 11:10 am

Good Luck with the job search.


Marilyn January 8, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Best of luck with your job search, Monica. I admire your positive attitude.


A. Marie January 8, 2016 at 2:17 pm

My best wishes to Monica as well. And, considering that a lot of us may be in the same situation if the economy keeps tanking, she’s setting us an excellent example.

Also, congratulations to Katy on making the *cash!* tuition payment. That’s huge, in many senses.


Monica January 8, 2016 at 4:32 pm

You are all so sweet for your well wishes, thank you!


Debra January 8, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Very sorry Monica. Remember, when one door closes another one opens!


Isabelle January 8, 2016 at 7:36 pm

Woah, this suuuuucks!!! Hopefully you will find something else fast. Good luck with that!


Erica January 8, 2016 at 10:02 am

It’s been a good but strange week, busy but yet still in holiday mode.
1. Brought lunch for wrk all days and got to save Friday’s lunch for Monday as a company that works with us took me to lunch today.
2. Managed to use the free parkinglot at work all week which seldom happens as there are 3 of them and we are 110 employees. It saved me 12 $.
3. Bought most of out groceries at discount due to too much left after the holidays- saved about 100$.
4. My DD desperately needed a winters jacket and we have been looking for ages at thrift and regular stores. We finally found the perfect one and of very good quality and brand. Originally 250$ and now we spent 80$. She finished growing so I gather She will wear it for many winters. Maybe not totally NC but it felt as a good deal.
5. I haven’t consumed any coke at all for 8 days- money saved and hopefully a few grams lost.
Enjoy the weekend!:)


Susan January 8, 2016 at 10:13 am

My non consumer week involved pretty much 13 hour days 5 days this week…so no opportunities to spend money.


Lori January 8, 2016 at 10:14 am

1. I suppose the most important is that I have stuck strong to my resolution to quit smoking, and while I was at it I figured there was no point in having my daily wine either as it would only make the craving for smoking stronger.
2. Took a huge clean pickle jar and created a spreadsheet and attached it to the jar so I can deposit my cigarette and wine savings into it weekly. I find it being a big motivator for me.
3. Like most of us here, have been utilizing the leftovers and staying out of the grocery store. Eating leftovers for dinners and work lunches.
4. Put up 14 quarts of Churkey (turkey & chicken) stock from freezer bones & scraps.
5. Made all the returns and exchanges that needed to be made from Christmas “stuff” which netted more money in the miscellaneous envelope.
6. Set up my 3 month budget in my planner. Every dollar a job.

Have a great weekend!


Jennifer January 8, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Congrats on putting down the cigs! It’s really tough and no one else gets the time at your place to say it I wan’t to take the time to tell you I am proud of you!!


Jennifer January 8, 2016 at 2:34 pm

If no one else and I want to , lol. Sorry for the screw ups, I’m tired.


Nicole from Canada January 8, 2016 at 6:50 pm

Hi Lori
Great job on giving up the cigarettes. I quite 11 years ago this winter and it’s the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Sometimes I like to calculate how much I have saved during this time and it’ll really shock me.
Keep it up 🙂


Bobbi January 8, 2016 at 10:53 am

That’s terrific about your college payment, Katy!

1. Worked from home all week, which saved gas, wear and tear on car, laundry generated, time, and stress. My dog likes having me around, too.
2. Cooked all meals at home this week, including two big pots of soup to use up all our veggies.
3. The only money I have spent this week has been for some groceries and to pay utility bills, except…
4. I was in Goodwill with my older daughter, who just graduated from college last month and is starting a new job. She was looking for some work clothes, which she paid for herself (she just left a job at Starbucks), but while we were there I found a KitchenAid mixer for $49.99. I have never had a quality stand mixer, making due with a $12 hand mixer I bought about 20 years ago. But we (me, 2 daughters) all love to bake, and I couldn’t resist buying this KitchenAid. I kept the receipt in case it didn’t work, but it works great! And it came with three attachments! I am super happy because I avoid purchasing new items in general, and I would never spend the money on a new KitchenAid mixer.
5. Made more veggie stock from the scraps of all my soup making. I keep pints and pints of the stuff in my freezer and use it up almost as fast as I make it this time of year.


Lindsey January 8, 2016 at 1:00 pm

You will never regret buying a Kitchen Aide! I have used mine for 10 years now and it is still going strong—and I really put it through its paces because we grind roasts to make our hamburger and that can take literally hours if we run across a good deal on roasts. I used to put it in the cupboard between uses but then I realized that sometimes I would not use it because it took a lot of effort to lift it out and up onto the counter (bad shoulder), so now I just leave it in plain sight.


Ruby January 8, 2016 at 3:50 pm

I leave my Kitchen Aid on the counter too, with a colorful homemade cloth napkin draped across the top of the bowl so that it stays clean.

After a quarter century of faithful service, mine needed its first repair last week when I had replace the screw that secures the rod holding the mixer head on. It cost all of 30 cents at Ace Hardware — more reasons to love that mixer. 🙂


K D January 8, 2016 at 1:39 pm

I hope you love your KitchenAid as much as I love mine. It’s great for making yeast dough (with the dough hook) as well as general mixing. I have the slicer/ shredder attachment that I love. After 19 years mine is still going strong, I’m sure I use it at least once a week. You really scored.


Beth January 8, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Congrats on the KitchenAid. What an amazing deal!


Bobbi January 8, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Thanks everyone! Yes, I’m beyond excited. KD, one of the attachments it came with is the dough hook and you can be sure I’ll be using it!


Amanda January 8, 2016 at 11:03 am

1. Discovered a fancy new Goodwill. I bought a bunch of children’s clothes, almost all half off.
2. Returned a toy my daughter had received in duplicate for Christmas and used the store credit for new socks for her brother.
3. Stopped when I passed a Kroger and got gas for $1.63/gallon with fuel points.
4. Ate a lunch of leftover bits and pieces from the week.
5. Planned dinner for tonight to avoid takeout.


Amanda January 8, 2016 at 1:38 pm

1. My dollar store bath poof broke and I fixed it with a quick google search and a zip tie I had hanging around.
2. Had a free pizza lunch today for a co-worker’s going away party.
3. My friend is a huge couponer and she gifted us with a huge shopping bag of shampoos, razors, toothbrushes, toilet paper, and school supplies.
4. My family participated in the World’s Biggest Ski Lesson for the Guinness Book of World Records at Mt Hood Meadows this morning. Lift tickets, gear, and lessons were a mere $20 each! We have been wanting to teach them to ski or snowboard, but even with the homeschool discount, it was over $200. This was a nice intro for them (and now my husband can’t get them off the slopes to come in for a home-packed lunch!)
5. Took the Christmas tree down and my hubby cut the limbs off to feed to the goats. They love their snack!
6. Went to a matinee see the new Star Wars movie, used a gift certificate we received for Christmas, snuck in some candy, but bought a large popcorn for us all to split and ordered the free tap water. I need my annual fix of that fake butter!


Frugal in the Valley January 8, 2016 at 3:41 pm

My bills aren’t as big yet as my kid is only 13, but even so it is a great feeling when you can pay their tuition/camp/uniform etc fees without a panic. It’s a great feeling that you know everything else can still be in place. because you’ve made the adaptations in living, saving and not wasting in order to this. Well done that girl!


Debra January 8, 2016 at 3:44 pm

1.Scored big with a huge box of greeting cards that our campus bookstore was going to put in the dumpster. A clerk offered the box to me and I selected 26 cards from it which were going to be trashed. At $4 a card I netted over $100 in cards free!
2. Used a Starbucks gift card to pay for coffee this week.
3. Took my lunch to work every day this week
4. Rooted several cuts of a philodendron plant to plant in a pot I already have instead of buying a $35 plant for my office
5. Got several jars of free pesto to cook with


tonya parham January 8, 2016 at 5:55 pm

I really don’t know if I have five things, but here goes;

1. Bought bags of marked down oranges at the grocery (8 in each bag) for $1. Am cutting most of them up and freezing them to put in green smoothies.

2. Wanted steak for dinner– NOT FRUGAL– but have been wanting it for a while, over a month, so I went to the grocery and got steaks, potatoes and all fixings for a nice steak dinner at home, plus stuff for two spaghetti meals and a huge jar of olive oil for about what it would cost to go out to Longhorn.

3. Finally used some swagbucks to get a Starbucks card so I could sign up for the star rewards.

4. Hooked my deep freezer up to a timer so that it would cut off for 8 hours every night and save electricity. (Used to do this but for some reason unbeknownst to me I stopped.)

5. Got frozen pork verde out of the freezer at lunch and made a pork “taco” salad.

YAY! I did get 5! Though #2 might be dubious!


auntiali January 8, 2016 at 7:51 pm

1. As Katy did I paid my daughter’s tuition in cash for her final semester. It was $7900 plus change. Put it on my credit card so I can earn frequent flier miles and will pay it off in full when the bill comes in.
2. Batched errands today to use least amount of gas. Hypermilling going down the hill I live on.
3. Kept the heat off for most of the day and turned it on tonight.
4. Went over my friend’s house tonight and brought a snack that I had in the cabinet.
5. Went to Pizza Hut which isn’t frugal, and it was crazy busy. Hubs and I drank water and daughter chipped in $5.


Denise January 9, 2016 at 6:06 am

1. Paid for my son’s second semester in college. The bill was $3,500 for dorm/tuition/meal plan. We did a Texas Tomorrow Fund when he was younger, so that has helped tremendously.

2. One of my students gave me a gift certificate to Starbucks for Christmas. I bought two bags of their Holiday Blend when in went 1/2 off. Zero out of pocket.

3. I am starting a gift closet this year as I find deals. I received at $10.00 off coupon in the mail from JCPenney’s, and I used it to buy my neighbors their next Christmas gift. I bought a set of 4 decorative dessert plates and a coordinating ornament to put on top of the gift. The plates and ornament were on Christmas clearance. I paid .39 out of pocket. The plates were regular $42.00.

4. I bought 3 boxes of Special K at Market Street for $5.00. The almond milk I bought to go with it was $2.50. I guess $7.50 for a month of breakfast food isn’t too bad…about 25 cents a day. I guess I might have to buy more milk at some point, even though Almond Milk seems to last a long time.

5. I quit using bottle water at work and am now refilling a large bottle at home with Brita filtered water. I make my own coffee in my classroom, and I always keep a cup of water on my desk at school, so I go through a lot of water.

I enjoy reading all of your posts. They keep me encouraged and help me reach my goals. Wishing all of you a very happy new year!


Vickie January 9, 2016 at 7:48 am

Good job, Katy!
You can do it – a friend of mine put two sons through College for several years by being frugal and saving every penny like you do. She paid cash for their tuition too. Her husband was a High School Math teacher and an adjunct college Professor in the evenings. She works in our Telecom office at the University. One son is now a Pharmacist and the other is an Engineer. During this same period their old mini-van gave up the ghost. Her husband was able to find a really good used car and paid cash for it.
Her husband is retired, but still teaches as an adjunct and she’s still working, saving and being frugal!
I truly admire her.

1) It’s snowing here, so I’m staying in this weekend. That will save gas money.
2) I stopped in at the grocers last night and picked up chili meat. I’m going to throw it in the crockpot with some beans and that will do us for at least 2-3 meals. I also bought some stew meat. I love soup, stew and chili during the Winter.
3) I put 3 audio books on hold at the Library and picked those up yesterday at lunch. Love shopping with my Library card!
4) My daughter owed me some money. When she paid me back I deposited it in Savings instead of putting it into the checking account. I’m determined to bank as much as possible and follow the Compact this year!
5) Giving myself a mani and pedi today. I love being pampered, but saving $40 is more important.


Chris January 9, 2016 at 8:39 am

1. Been doing lots of cleaning which means I’m staying home and feeling very accomplished (and a little freaked out by how much funk was in my house!).
2. Cooking all meals from home – planning not just dinner but breakfast and lunch each day.
3. Watching Nurse Jackie on Netflix – love it!
4. Reading lots of decorating books/magazines from the library and working with things in the house to freshen things up.
5. Nothing like cold weather to keep you home and out of stores. Still keeping heat low(ish) at 64 during the day with a comfy down vest to ward off the chill.


LisaC January 9, 2016 at 11:50 am

1. Raided my husband’s closet, got out two long shirts to wear over leggings. Now he says they look better on me than him, so I get to keep them.
2. Sold two things on ebay that were decorative things in my home. Don’t have to dust them anymore now.
3. Husband used scrap wood that we already had to make a nice cat tower. Used staples and glue gun that we already had. Did buy rope and carpet new, but it was much less than buying a new tower.
4. Went to Goodwill, didn’t buy anything!
5. Took advantage of super double coupons at a local HT, but only bought staples to make things from scratch.


Ruby January 9, 2016 at 12:33 pm

That’s a brilliant idea about building your own cat tower. My husband as an impressive stash of scrap lumber right now, so I’m going to run the idea past him about making one for our cats.


LisaC January 10, 2016 at 6:49 am

He had fun once he started. I’d show you a pic if I knew how to put one in here. I made a Pinterest board of different designs for him to get ideas, and he noticed that they like to scratch our Berber (sp?) carpet, so we went to the hardware store and got some cheap, with the rope.


marie January 9, 2016 at 3:07 pm

At first, couldn’t think of much, since with the weather and being broke, I haven’t left the property much in 2 weeks.
But then, It occured to me, that my grocery budget is $25 this month. That is how much cash I have, since husband didn’t work much in december. Only $25 cash will be used. I won’t touch savings, since we have at least 6 months food on hand. So, the $25 will be for dairy and produce. I will make my own bread, and I have 2 gallons of milk froze.
Along those lines, I made a wonderful beef stew. Had all ingredients on hand, even carrots, and green beans frozen from last summer’s garden.
Oh, and received a new robe for xmas from my husband. I’ve been wearing the same robe for 10+ yrs, and though it’s not ratty or even faded much. I just kinda wanted a new one. Well, they don’t make robes as nice as they did 10+ yrs ago. Wore it twice and it just felt flimsy. So, I returned it, and am fixing a couple of bad spots on my old robe. I’ll save the money from the return until I need something new for me!


LisaC January 10, 2016 at 6:54 am

Question for you all: We went to dinner with some old friends as a special treat. We asked for a box for our leftovers, and I noticed that our friend didn’t touch his twice baked potato. He didn’t ask for a box, just sent it to be thrown out. I felt weird asking him for his leftovers. I hate seeing good food thrown out. What would you do?


amanda January 10, 2016 at 11:11 am

We raise chickens & pugs. I’m always asking for everyone’s table scraps. Lol.
I would have asked him for the potato claiming that you hate to see food wasted.


Vickie January 10, 2016 at 11:21 am

I don’t mind asking for scraps/leftovers. One of my good friends always takes a to-go box home. I think you did the right thing!


Jen @ Frugal Stepping Stones January 10, 2016 at 4:15 pm

I’m a float pool nurse, and the same thing happened to me this week. The person I was going to cover at work decided to only take a half day, and they offered for me to start work a half day later. I offered to do anything they needed me to do, and I ended up entering discharges to help our nonclinical staff. Easy peasy work, and most importantly- I got paid!


Katy January 10, 2016 at 5:19 pm

People complain about the never ending continuing ed, but I’m happy to sit at a computer and be so well paid to read policy changes. Every word.


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