Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 10, 2016 · 65 comments

Free cat food pouches

  1. I brought home a box of cat food pouches that someone else’s cat was too much of a “snob” to eat. So far my cats are demonstrating their egalitarian values and having no issues of snobbery.
  2. I stopped at Costco yesterday after picking my son up from a friend’s house. I bought exactly what was on my list, (cat food, laundry detergent and eggs) snacked on a few samples and then treated my son and I to $1.50 Polish dogs with soda. Of course I filled the tank with $1.99/gallon gasoline.
  3.  Tonight’s dinner will be the last of the leftover turkey noodle soup.
  4. I finished reading my library copy of Primates of Park Avenue and picked up an armload of books that I’d put on hold. This included a couple books that my son had seen at Powell’s bookstore and wanted for himself.
  5. I spent an hour or so working on our January budget. I’m not sure what we’ll owe in taxes this year, so we”re going to prepare them ahead of time and then we’ll know how much we need to put aside. Of course, we won’t actually file them until April 15th.

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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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda M January 10, 2016 at 1:22 pm

1. bought a half-price rotisserie chicken….DH and I have had a chicken taco main dish salad, ramen chicken veggie stir-fry and I have the legs and thighs for another meal and the carcass is simmering in the crockpot for broth for other dishes.
2. Took a coffeecake to church coffee hour that I made with items on hand. Shared with others and others also brought items. I had enough leftover to take to another function I need a snack for tomorrow. No new baking required! Yay!
3. When I bought the chicken, we also found a flatbread pizza for 1.99 and a loaf of French bread for 50 cents. Much cheaper than I could make them myself. It will be a spot I will be checking out when I am there in the future.
4. Wanting to give small gifts to some friends that are visiting. I am crocheting head wraps. They require very little yarn and not much time. I think they will be well received.
5. Went to a potluck this week. Costs each person 50 cents each to cover your drink and paper goods. You bring a dish to pass. Again, I made a casserole with cheap yet delicious ingredients on hand. My husband and I were able to enjoy a nice gathering with others and had a very abundant and delicious meal for very little money.


ann a January 10, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Is there a frugal benefit to waiting for the 15th to file?


Katy January 10, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Yes. We’ll owe money, so we might as well wait to file.


Maureen January 10, 2016 at 2:37 pm

If you owe money and pay it before April 15, the government has more time to acrew interest.

Just like you don’t want too much taken out of your paycheck so you get a big refund. That’s the government borrowing your money interest free.

Its hard to figure out, but I’m sure there are websites that can point you in the right direction.


ann a January 10, 2016 at 3:04 pm

Thank you both


ElleKC January 11, 2016 at 7:47 am

Actually, you should be able to file at any time before April 15th, and schedule your payment transfer (from you bank account) any time the week before 4/15. That way, you have the security of knowing your taxes are files (and no one can file fraudulently for you) and that the Gov’t doesn’t get your interest.
Although, how much would that interest be anyway?

Lindsay January 11, 2016 at 8:33 am

Long time reader, first time commenter – 🙂
You can file anytime before April 15th, but as long as you pay on or before April 15th, you are fine. You can file and pay at different times, as long as they are both done on time.
I have many clients who file in February or March, but don’t have their funds transferred, or check sent, until April. This way they know what they owe in advance, and have some time to prepare (fiscally or emotionally). And if, by chance, they end up getting a refund instead, they get to have that money in their account for that much longer.
( I am an Enrolled Agent)


A. Marie January 10, 2016 at 1:56 pm

(1) DH and I had a “grand day out” (to quote Wallace and Gromit) yesterday at our small local zoo. Admission is half price through the month of January, and DH’s was free because he brought his cameras and expressed a wish to participate in the zoo’s photography contest. And we enjoyed the animals and yet another winter thaw hugely.

(2) I’m also making use of the thaw by (a) harvesting the last of my leeks and (b) clipping cilantro (yes, I still have usable cilantro in Upstate NY in January!!).

(3) Am currently making a chicken and veg curry (including cauliflower from the fridge that was “use it or lose it”), over which I will sprinkle the cilantro.

(4) I hope all you thrifters out there are having as good a January at the thrifts as I am. (For me, January is prime thrifting season because of year-end donations and other people’s unwanted holiday presents.) I haven’t bought all that much for DH and me, but I’ve made tremendous headway on this coming year’s birthday and Winter Solstice presents for appreciative friends.

(5) And the laundry still hangs, the wood-burning insert still burns curbside-acquired wood, and so forth.


Linda Mitchell January 10, 2016 at 1:57 pm

I set my food budget to a pretty aggressive $300/month. If I have to eat peanut butter or cereal for the last days of the month, I’ll do so, but I’m being creative so I don’t think it will come to that. Also, I got All detergent (36 load bottle) for $.49 yesterday: it was on sale for $2.99 then the store circular had a coupon for $1.00 off, bringing it to $1.99. I used a manufacturer coupon for another $1.00 off, and then got a $.50 rebate from the Ibotta App that I use!


priskill January 11, 2016 at 11:37 am

wow, that’s less than 2 cents per load — nice :)!


Beth Anne January 10, 2016 at 2:07 pm

1. Hung loads of laundry to dry in the house.

2. Went to the library and checked out books and two videos – season 2 of Cedar Cove and season one of Sherlock, the British series.

3. Did one dog walk this week and worked a sporting event for extra cash for daughters braces.

4. Worked on Swagbucks this weekend.

5. Went shopping with daughter to buy her sports bras (no luck on that) and a calendar from the Dollar Store for me for home. I decided not to buy the $5 calendar at Wal-mart I liked and kept the Dollar Store one. Didn’t buy anything else even though we went into Michaels, Petco, Old Navy too. She on the other hand did. I had a hard time not advising her on not to buy the stuff she did. I figured that is how she learns how to use her money and budget.


Bettypants January 10, 2016 at 2:22 pm

1. Most importantly, I have been sticking with my resolution to find 5 things every day in my house to list on FB sale boards or ebay. Today I cleaned out my son’s dressers. I never have much luck with selling clothing, so I listed it all as a huge lot for $10, hopefully making it a bargain someone can’t pass up.
2. Bought a nice down coat locally (with tags in the pocket) for $10 and sold it on ebay for $50.
3. Made two batches of cookies yesterday, a loaf of bread for us and one for the neighbor today, and I have a loaf of apple cider bread in the oven now. I guess it’s Carb City here.
4. Checked out The Minions movie from the library (all DVDs are free) and watched it Friday night with bowls of homemade popcorn. It was more entertaining than I had expected.
5. Also checked out Ruth Reichl’s new cookbook, which I am really enjoying reading.


Marilyn January 10, 2016 at 7:34 pm

I’ve been doing a lot of closet cleaning this month too. I like your idea about selling clothes in one huge lot. Think I will try that. Thanks.


Ruby January 10, 2016 at 2:31 pm

1. Cleaned out my car and used two old blankets we kept in the trunk for years “just in case” to (a) make a cozy blanket for our elderly cat and (b) make the cover for a new bed for the dogs. Once everything was laundered and assembled, the critters have really liked it.
2. The stuffing for the dog bed was the remains of a worn-out egg crate foam mattress topper. The extra blanket on top of it was a throw we used to use in the house until it shrank so much that it was too short to even cover 5-foot-tall me.
3. Used the extra beef trimmed from a chuck roast and frozen three weeks ago to make a big pot of beef-barley-mushroom soup for supper. We like to have a big pot of soup made for when the weather’s bad, just in case we lose power and have only the gas stove top to heat food on.
4. Used the insulated backing from one of the blankets from the car to shroud our dwarf fig tree and protect it from the worst of the cold weather.
5. Mended a tiny worn spot on a cute embroidered vest bought off the $1 rack at my favorite thrift shop. The thread used was a long-ago gift from a friend, who gave me the brightly-colored spools of thread in her granny’s sewing box when Granny passed away.


Canadian Lily January 10, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Happy to report that since joining The Compact last April I was able to get through Christmas without debt AND all 3 sons said it was the greatest Christmas ever–they loved the thrifted and home-made gifts.
5 Frugal things this week: 1- made a large pot of lentil, rice and veggie soup to enjoy for lunches. 2- My work gave us all cell phones with paid monthly plans so I cancelled my own cell and plan and am happy to save the $90 per month. 3- Will be cancelling cable once football season is over but called cable company yesterday to lessen the plan we have and will save $50 per month. 4-Packed my lunch for work everyday and have this weeks lunches all planned as well. 5-We received a gift certificate to a very high end restaurant as a gift, instead of going there right away we put it aside–glad we did as a very dear friend is having a birthday dinner at this restaurant and we will use the gift card then.


JD January 11, 2016 at 7:39 am

Your first sentence says it all — congratulations! What a wonderful statement to be able to make.


Gina January 10, 2016 at 2:43 pm

Month is already 1/3 of the way commenced! So hard to believe!

1. Needed to get out this weekend so I went to a free seminar on language learning using aps and the internet at the local library. I shared some highlights of what I learned on the NCA FB page.

2. Still eating from the pantry and food has been anything but boring. I had planned to make chickpeas in the presser cooker this weekend, but it seems I have made a dent in my stock of legumes. Instead, I cooked up a batch of fava beans that I’ve been ignoring and then made a *fabulous* vegetarian stew that reminds of me of beef stew.

3. Also attended a free discussion, movie and potluck with a local environmental group. I attend now and then, but it was nice to meet new people and eat great food.

4. So far in this day 10 of 2016, I have only spent money (beyond bills) on gas, laundry soap, and stamps. Oh, I did use some loose change and bought a lottery ticket (this is my non-NCA confession).

5. We finally received our first snowfall today and so I layered up, drink tea, but left the thermostat alone.


Jennifer January 10, 2016 at 2:50 pm

1. Stayed home today which always saves money.
2. Made a huge pot of chicken noodle soup from a pack of frozen ground chicken I had forgot about. I added carrots from a reduced fruit/veggie tray I got a few days ago. It’s so warm and delicious and it’s perfect for the super cold weather we are having and will last throught next week.
3. Hubby made a cozy fire in the wood burning fireplace which makes a huge difference in the heating costs. I may let my kids roast their own hotdogs tonite and give myself a break from cooking.
4. Watched 2 redbox movies for date night with my husband which is a lot better than going to the movies.
5. I plan to start exercising again tomorrow. I have been nursing an ankle problem for about a week now but I think it’s time to ease back into it. Also, I traded my fancy battery operated scale for a plain old scale that doesn’t require any. My kids were constantly playing on it and running it down.


LisaC January 10, 2016 at 2:58 pm

Today was a GREAT day!
1. I’ve been looking for a bigger dining table for years, and found exactly what I wanted: style, color, sturdy, in excellent condition on a yard sale site for 50 dollars. (I thought she’d left off a zero from the price, but nope). Easily worth several hundred, but she wanted it out of her house asap because she bought a brand new table.
2. Borrowed a neighbor’s truck to pick it up.
3. Called a friend to help get it off of the truck, fed him snacks we got as Christmas gifts while he was here.
4. Put the old, smaller dining table, minus a leaf, in my home office. Used the leaf against the wall to hide the computer cords. It looks nice!
5. Listed my too small office computer table on a selling site, sold it immediately for 20 dollars.
Total out of pocket spending today: 30 dollars, I’m happy with my dining table and office desk, and gave a small end table from my office to the friend who helped. What a great day. It pays to be patient and wait to buy things until they come up at the right price. 🙂


Sarah January 10, 2016 at 3:39 pm

I love it when things work out that way! Great work! 🙂


LisaC January 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Thank you! 🙂


Lynda January 11, 2016 at 2:17 am

Oddly enough, Lisa, when I moved to a new place, the first thing I got offered was tables. 8 in total 😀


Betty Winslow January 10, 2016 at 3:25 pm

1. Sold another book off my page (betty1008w), mailed it in a padded envelope I bought at Dollar Tree (2/$1.00).
2. Went to a potluck today to honor a pastor who is moving to a church in TX. Free lunch and got to catch up with some friends who attend there.
3. Spent the afternoon at the library with our adopted daughter and her little girl, chatting and watching Vera play. (Babysat another little girl yesterday – have gotten my grandma jollies met for the week!) Free fun for all.
4. Resisted buying a new calendar, since our friend who’s a realtor sent us a free one.
5. Enjoyed putting on kneehigh nylons for church, under my pants, since I realized they are probably a year old. I put them on and remove them wearing light nylon gloves, wash them in the washer in a lingerie bag (along with my bras), and air dry them, so they last a long long time. Yeah, they’re cheap to replace, but making them last is even cheaper!


tonya January 10, 2016 at 3:29 pm

I ate leftovers for lunch.

I am reading a library copy of The Nightingale.

We are going to a potluck tonight and I am bringing refried beans (made from scratch) and salsa.

I already have chicken out to go in the crockpot for tomorrow. There will be leftovers for another dinner later this week.

We cancelled a couple of small, recurring, monthly charges. We are focusing intently on building up savings and paying off our last remaining debt, our car loan. We should have it paid off in August if all goes well.


Katy January 10, 2016 at 5:20 pm

I loved that book!


Elizabeth January 10, 2016 at 3:42 pm

1. Only bought groceries this week and stayed home except for going to the grocery store.

2. DH and I decided no eating out at all through January, and have stuck with it.

3. DH wants to cut back on salt so I made him a homemade no-salt with ingredients on hand.

4. Decided to cut back further on how much sugar we use in our iced tea, but mostly drink water anyway. I’ll never go back to soft drinks.

5. Using my flannel wipes (urine only, and nothing dirty about it, imo) is saving us a small fortune on paper.


Vickie January 10, 2016 at 3:56 pm

1) Eating the leftover homemade chili from last night.
2) I just finished The Moses Code, from the Library and getting ready to read Prepper’s Financial Guide.
3) I stayed home today and enjoyed reading, puttering around on the computer and doing some housework. It’s cold outside, so I saved gas and stayed warm.
4) I made reservations for the hotel room hubby won with his NBA tickets for February 1st. We’re sharing the extra tickets with friends – if we give them the parking permit they can drop us off at the hotel after the game and neither of us will have to pay for parking. Win-Win.
5) Tomorrow a co-worker and I are starting a walking regimen at work. We both want/need exercise, but neither of us want to spend time or money on a gym.


Bettypants January 10, 2016 at 5:10 pm

I’m jealous you have an office walking partner. The girl I used to walk with hurt her hip and can only walk s-l-o-w-l-y now, which isn’t any fun. And the guy I was walking with for awhile is a baby about the weather.


Megg January 10, 2016 at 4:12 pm

I received a handmade throw on my local buy nothing group which I’ll use for my mom’s birthday this month. She broke her foot and spends a lot of time on the couch.

We, too gassed up at Costco while we were in the area. Also bought a few things for lunches this week…and a shelving unit for organization in our garage (which wasn’t exactly frugal, but it did cause me to purge and organize!)

I finished a baby quilt gift for a friend, and started another quilt that will be a Christmas gift. I decided to start early this year and do more handmade things.

We bought a take and bake pizza at Costco for lunch rather than going out, and now we have food for lunches this week too.


Marcia January 10, 2016 at 4:25 pm

Frugal eating this weekend—easy enough when I stop running all over town and stay home. (Had things to get done last week.)
1. Last night’s dinner included a fresh loaf of bread, broccoli-cheese soup using good leftover broccoli from a night when I apparently cooked way too much. I also made DH a pot of chili, which he ate after his soup–but five meals worth were also put in fridge/freezer for his future use. I had a sloppy joe which I pilfered from the ground beef/onion I started the chili with, and put in a separate pan for myself–don’t care for chili myself.
2. Had discussed using a gift card and going out to eat today but decided not to. Good choice, as the 6 PM news says we’re the hardest hit with blowing snow in the area–although it is expected to end within the next hour. Was raining and warm earlier but quickly changed and so happy we’re cozy and inside while it’s happening!
3. Tonight’s dinner another frugal concoction: had some sliced, roasted beef frozen for future use when a roast turned out to be bigger than expected a few weeks back–and also had some leftover rice. Simmered the beef in some bouillion to heat it, and made gravy from it. Served over rice. Side was leftover noodles and cabbage from another night when I vastly overcooked! My estimator was off this week, but we ate it all up eventually. Could have used pickles with that dinner but didn’t have any in the cupboard. Put it on the grocery list for this week.
4. Dessert both nights was from the remaining Christmas cookies, still fresh in Tupperware.
5. Can’t think of another one, so I guess I didn’t buy a Lear jet.


Alison January 10, 2016 at 4:35 pm

1. Hubby made us all sorts of delicious, homemade food today, including chocolate chip pancakes, artisan bread, and poutine with homemade fries. Not the healthiest day, but we had giant kale salads for lunch, so I’ll call it even. 🙂
2. I decided against a shopping trip today to find a birthday gift for my daughter who turns 6 on Tuesday. It was just Christmas, and she had a party with some gifts yesterday. So… I have a nice book I bought before Christmas, plus I’ll make her a couring book using free online colouring pages I print, and I’m going to shop my house for another little something to give her.
3. I’m planning to stick close to home this week in order to make my 1/4 tank of gas last until payday if I can.
4. We made homemade facial masks and filled the crockpot with warm facecloths for my daughter’s spa-themed birthay party yesterday. We also served homemade cake, and a platter of tortilla roll-ups and fruit, plus gave each guest a small jar of homemade sugar scrub made with things we already had. Fun was had by all. 🙂
5. During my oldest daughters’ theatre class yesterday morning, I just hung out with the baby in our van instead of going somewhere that would have involved spending money. I nursed her and called my dad to wish him happy birthday while we waited.


Katy January 10, 2016 at 5:47 pm

Okay, I’m borrowing your husband!


Pattilou January 10, 2016 at 4:53 pm

1. Attended a potluck and brought a fruit salad as my contribution
2. My friend doesn’t like leftovers which often works out in my favor. I came home from the pot luck with enough chicken for two more meals.
3. I cut a large bunch of parsley that was still growing in my container garden and dried it in the microwave. I certainly got my money’s worth from one small 1.99 plant!
4. I am making an infinity scarf for a gift from left over yarn.
5. Bundled up in a blanket to keep warm, reading and waiting for Downton Abbey to come on.


Bee January 10, 2016 at 4:58 pm

Totally impressed that you are already thinking about your tax return. Did you take your tuition tax credit? These credits were helpful when all 3 of my children were I in college at the same time. Thank goodness that is over!!

My frugal five:
1) I think that I have finally finished using all the bits and pieces leftover from the holidays. I used the last of the sour cream in tonight’s dinner. Finally!!!!
2) I joined a CSA. Fruits, veggies, and fresh baked-bread will be delivered every other week. I am not certain if this will result in a great savings. However, supporting community-based agriculture is beneficial in other ways.
3) The sun was out today for the first time since the beginning of the year. My hubby and I took a long, free walk on the beach.
4) I am in need of a few clothing items and have been scouring the thrift shops looking for items I need. I have found very little except a white blouse. This is good and bad — good because I have spent very little and bad because I can’t find what I need.
5) I was in desperate need of a metal spatula. Since I couldn’t find one used, I stopped at the dollar store. Although it would have been tempting to look around, I stayed focused and only bought what I came for.

Frugal fail — after 10 days of gray days and rain, I was going stir crazy. So my hubby, son and I went to a movie. The boys had to have popcorn. We enjoyed ourselves, but we blew our entertainment budget for the month. Totally worth it!


Janelle January 10, 2016 at 5:29 pm

I wouldn’t say it’s a frugal fail if it was within budget and “totally worth it!” Sounds like a frugal win to me!


Katy January 10, 2016 at 5:46 pm

We haven’t started on the taxes yet, but we will be taking that tax credit!


Elise @ Simply Scaled Down January 10, 2016 at 5:53 pm

1) Despite my laziness I cooked some rice (in the rice cooker, of course), and threw some pork in the oven for dinner. Then I sauteed up the rest of our (starting to wilt and look gross) spinach. Everyone ate it and no one died. I say we’re 1-1.
2) I started our taxes. Look like we will be getting some back, and while I’m not thrilled to have given the US gov a free loan I’m pumped to not owe.
3) I ate a free lunch at a church meeting. Sure it was just lettuce and tortilla chips, but it filled my belly.
4) I line dried (inside) 2 loads of laundry.
5) We stayed home and had a movie day rather than going out and (inevitably) spending money.


Jennifer January 11, 2016 at 8:23 am

Thanks to your post I just remembered I have spinach in my fridge right now that has a few slimy pieces in it. Thanks for the reminder!


Mand01 January 10, 2016 at 5:55 pm

1. Back at work today after 3 weeks off. Brought in my own ground coffee and made a French press.
2. Yesterday had a pool party with friends. We all brought fixings and made our own pizza. Lots of fun, and cost us nothing except what we already had in our fridge and freezer.
3. It’s almost the middle of January and I have bought nothing new. This was not deliberate, but it feels good.
4. Blogging about frugal food has kept me very accountable and I have stayed right within my food budget and not wasted anything. Plus, cheap hobby.
5. I was ironing clothes for work, and as I was putting everything away in my wardrobe, I noticed that everything bar about two items (not including the shoes, although about half of them as well) was thrifted. I work a professional job (I’m in the corporate world, as a manager), and always have to be presented well, but it can be done without spending a bomb. It made me chuckle. I’d say nothing cost more than $20 – and that was a two-piece designer suit that cost right on 20 bucks. Who knows why people get rid of some of the stuff they do, but I make out like a bandit.


Bobbi January 10, 2016 at 7:55 pm

I can relate! I have to dress professionally and my wardrobe is primarily thrifted, high quality clothes in great condition. I’m so proud!


Mand01 January 11, 2016 at 2:13 am

I have to say that I felt pretty proud too.


Tish January 12, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Where do you go to find professional clothes? I’ve had no luck at Goodwill, but need to put together a professional wardrobe.


Kay January 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm

What is your food blogs name?


Mand01 January 12, 2016 at 5:57 pm

Hi Kay
My blog is called 365 Days Of Cheap Eats.
It’s about meal planning and saving money on food.


Mand01 January 12, 2016 at 4:40 pm

I go to every op shop (thrift store) I encounter. I probably go to at least two a month. This includes little ‘hole in the wall’ places, and big places like The Salvation Army or Savers. We don’t have Goodwill here anymore. I only look for certain labels. I’m in Australia, so I look for Basque, Cue, David Lawrence, Veronika Maine, and Sportscraft. About half the time I leave with nothing. I will pay up to about $20 for a high quality item. Everything I am wearing today is a label and was thrifted, shoes included.


Krystal January 10, 2016 at 7:35 pm

I feel that I haven’t been that frugal at all. I started to feel guilty about it and then I realized, my discipline allows me to splurge on the stuff that I love (wine and travel) because I often pinch pennies to make it happen, and refuse to go back into debt. That said, I found a few items that help contribute to the splurges.
1) I am volunteering at a tax center for low income individuals. My training reminded me of some deductions I had left off my list as an independent contractor. I made a list and am adding them to my documents for my accountant. (Hint: you can deduct your miles for volunteering)
2) We went couch shopping and didn’t buy today. We saw what we liked , but are first going to dig around for deals, check reviews, etc. We bought on clearance last time and have paid for it with backpain and a sofa that has to be replaced after 5 years. Sometimes spending more and wisely can save money in the long run.
3) We stayed in this weekend as I recovered from a work trip. Tea at home and good conversation!
4) Scored some free pre-made crab wontons I was eyeing at Whole Foods. The head of the department made me promise to report back on a new preparation besides frying. Free quality seafood!!
5) Meal planned to save money, time and food from heading into compost!


Lazyretirementgirl January 12, 2016 at 6:01 pm

I am with you, Krystal. Travel and wine are my two extravagances, but I otherwise run a tight ship financially, so I (mostly) don’t feel guilty.


Bobbi January 10, 2016 at 7:47 pm

1. Sunny Portland weather, so I hiked today for free and gorgeous exercise. It’s supposed to rain all week, so it was great to spend time in the sunshine while it’s here.
2. I batched errands on the way home from my hike: grocery store, and my office for some paperwork I will need tomorrow when I’ll be working from home, saving me the trip tomorrow.
3. Made a cauliflower-lentil stew for dinner, and I will eat the leftovers for lunch this week.
4. I have been hyper-miling in my Prius with great results. I have used barely a quarter tank of gas in the past week. I also batch errands, and work from home a few days a week, to save gas. This is less a financial thing than an environmental one, honestly.
5. The only money I spent this weekend was for a few things at the grocery store (cauliflower, red onion, fresh ginger) for tonight’s dinner. I had a nice weekend doing low- and no-cost things like watching Netflix, walking my dog, hanging out at a friend’s house, cooking, and taking a Sunday afternoon nap.


Jake January 10, 2016 at 7:51 pm

1. I Still have not replaced the clothes dryer that died a few months ago.
2. Late in the summer I found a couple of small pots of neglected daffodils bulbs in the basement (spring decorations), instead of composting them, I repotted them and stuck them in the back of the fridge to root/grow.
They have been blooming indoors since January 1st. About a dozen blooms. Cheerful in this cold, snowy weather. I will treat them better this year.
3. Cooking with stuff on hand: vegan split pea soup with smoked paprika, a loaf of sour dough bread, blueberry muffins. Set for the week with apples, carrot sticks, a bag of spinach for salads. Dinner was freezer pasta sauce, leftovers for tomorrow. A spare fruitcake for treats. I love oatmeal for breakfast in the winter – about 20 cents a bowl with a bit of milk and brown sugar.
4. No drive weekend. Parked the truck after work on Friday. Walking and hanging out at home.
5. I did not book a winter vacation to Hawaii – the low Canadian dollar makes me sad.



Barb January 10, 2016 at 8:14 pm

Just be aware that the sooner the school in question can get copy of your filed tax return from the ies, the more likely you are ti get grants and non loan assistance. Our college advises us to file before the end of Feb and then submit an amended return. It is advantageous to us to file without paying. You may want to speak to your schools finaid office on this one.


Katy January 10, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Ooh . . . good to know!


Freda Farmer January 11, 2016 at 4:30 am

Resolved to eat up everything in my cabinets this month, except for what I find on super sales that I eat regularly, such as: almond milk, beans, tomato sauce (for almost no cost vegetable soup), etc. Quite a taste adventure thus far!

Used the pulp that my son-in-law has left over after juicing to make a huge pot of veggie soup, for only the fifty cents can of tomato sauce.

Made a thank you card out of my grandson’s paintings (they are 2 and 4 years old.) Looks like abstract art!


K D January 11, 2016 at 4:51 am

1. I was out of garlic so I walked to the Asian market. I paid $.22 for a head of garlic. They also had golden delicious apples for $.49/# and large avocados for $.79.

2. I made a pot of split pea soup. I had everything in my pantry/refrigerator. It is wonderful for lunch on cold winter days.

3. I made macaroni & cheese, emptying two partial boxes of pasta and using the shredded cheese that was in an opened package.

4. I listed several items on freecycle. I like to list a bunch at a time, I don’t mind if one person asks for more than one item. Less stuff makes for a more serene home.

5. I am meeting a friend for a walk this morning. It is cold but we’ll bundle/layer up. Free exercise while socializing.


priskill January 11, 2016 at 7:26 am

Egalitarian cats — so inspiring!

After a very NON-FRUGAL month, here are my 5 things that are getting me back on track:

1. Made chili using combo of pantry and bought items, including a can of kidney beans that was best before (gulp) 2013. Made husband open and inspect — he is the germ guy — and so far, no bad effects . . .Eating again tonight providing no one keels over from, well, whatever it is that one might contract from vintage cans of food.

2. Back to work so made lunch with veggies and nuts from before Xmas. Crackers marked down, tangerines starting to deflate. Eat up next couple days.

3. Remembered pineapple purchased for Xmas that never got used; looked sad but opened it up et voila! except for a couple brown spots on one part, delicious and sweet! Added to lunch box.

4. Tried to prep cereal but milk was dated Dec. 25. Sensing a pattern. So pulled out loaf of bread from fridge from before Xmas and toasted with the last of peanut butter from not sure when.

5. Wearing jeans from — can’t remember what year (but they didn’t fit for a long time so they look nice), Shirt from can’t remember when, marked down underthings from Tj Maxx and Ross and Sneakers from excellent deal last year at shoe store.

6. Plan — bring lunch every day except Friday; dinner in everyday except Book Club Wednesday when I bring Wheezer’s Cheese Pie to share. Quick, cheapish and yummy. Bought husband Lean cuisines ($1.47 per on sale) so he doesn’t expire from hunger in my absence.

Good luck to all and Happy New Year!


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary January 11, 2016 at 7:52 am

I also went to Costco this weekend and bought only what was on my list. I consider it a huge accomplishment.


Katy January 11, 2016 at 11:22 am

Yes, I agree! Where are our awards?!


JD January 11, 2016 at 8:02 am

Let’s see…
1. We were out and about in Nearby City right through lunch time, but did not stop to eat out. We had a cheap snack and came on home when done with errands.
2. Bought only groceries on my list. No impulse buys, whew!
3. Was finally able to hang dry some laundry indoors. It’s been too warm for the heater, too cool for air conditioning, and the humidity has been running around 95%-100% with overcast/rain for almost 3 solid weeks. Nothing was drying, in or out. Now that it’s cool enough for the heater to come on sometimes, I can air dry again.
4. Made sandwiches last night with a little leftover smoked seasoning bacon ends, which I then fried, a single, sliced tomato, and sourdough bread that was starting to get stale. I toasted the bread so it didn’t feel stale anymore. Side dishes were leftovers pulled from the refrigerator.
5. I wanted a small particular type of work table and my husband spotted a perfect one — for $100. I left it. I can make do without it. That’s not the same as passing up on a Lear jet, but still….


jennifer January 11, 2016 at 9:13 am

1. I did not set foot in the hospital cafeteria this weekend! I usually buy breakfast both days I work, but I ate toast on the unit and had a banana from home! I brought leftover meatloaf both days and leftover green beans one of those days. Need to reign that in!

2. Worked both days this weekend, full shifts. My unit tends to slow down over the holidays (adolescent behavioral health) so lost 18 hours over the course of 2 weeks. That’s a lot when you only work 24 hours/week!

3. Pulled out some frozen cornbread muffins to pair with the chili I will make for dinner.

4 Wearing my sweats and slippers around the house today to keep the thermostat a little lower, even though it’s only 15* in Iowa. (Much better than the -9 we were at yesterday!)

5. Started a “found change” jar for around the house/what we see out and about. Today is the first day all year that I “found change”. I told my son we will collect it all year and see what we end up with.


janine January 11, 2016 at 9:21 am

My list is somewhat in the planning stages- but writing it down will help me make sure I follow my own instructions!
1. Plan to attend a free workshop on Fri evening on indoor winter salad gardening. Will bring a plate of goodies to share.
2. Stayed home most of weekend, then drove around with husband to look at lingering holiday lights in area.
3. Stopped at Target on the way home – bought some clearance priced cheese; husband treated me to a package of sushi – definitely not frugal.
4. Worked on budget and menu plans for January.
5.Have resisted – so far- buying colorful wool socks for winter wear. Bought one pair of mukluks before Christmas and will probably wear them out this month.


Beth January 11, 2016 at 9:33 am

1. Found some baby clothes at the $1/lb. thrift store to round out baby’s newborn wardrobe (I would guess that I paid about twenty-five cents per outfit). Also, I talked to a coworker who is going to borrow me some of the things that I don’t have.
2. Eating up leftovers in my fridge like a starving person so that I don’t waste food.
3. This isn’t frugal per say, but it did teach me a good lesson. I went to the grocery store using my debit card and selected the cash back option so that I could do the rest of my grocery shopping throughout the week using cash. And then I walked away without my cash (which had been dispensed in the machine’s dispenser). I realized it the next day and went back to the store with my receipt-luckily for me, someone had turned the money in! I almost didn’t go back because I figured FOR SURE that the money was gone-but sometimes it pays to just ask. It would have been a huge bummer to waste even a small amount of cash in such stupid way!
4. Drinking free water/coffee at work
5. Packed my lunch for work today using leftovers (see #2)


Kim January 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm

God bless that honest person…


janine January 11, 2016 at 3:12 pm

I’ve done something like that and sometimes the store/customer is honest! Good for you for going back and checking – and also a good idea to have cash on hand for future purchases. Nothing like using cash to help contain the budget.


Amanda January 11, 2016 at 10:30 am

1. The fridge was just about empty last night, but I managed to make a dinner of breakfast sandwiches on homemade bread with carrot sticks on the side.
2. Shopped at Aldi today
3. Started more bread in the bread machine before lunch.
4. Did most of a draft of my next column while rocking the baby last night.
5. Got a check in the mail on Saturday for my last column.


Rachel January 11, 2016 at 1:51 pm

We are working at being more mindful as travel, gifts and food took a toll on December spending.
1. We’re doing a pantry challenge and aiming to spend less than $100 on fresh groceries this month, on pace for that so far. (Family of 7)
2. Used up 1/2 a package of spring mix last night in a soup. Thankfully the soup was a hit and no one complained about the greens.
3. I mentioned that we still needed a family picture for New Years cards and a friend who is trying to build a portfolio offered to take them for free. We had a great photo shoot in a snowy park. I’m trying to think of something nice as a gift for her time and kindness, perhaps a big pot of soup and homemade bread.
4. I wanted our clothes to coordinate for the photos and only bought a new shirt on sale for myself to pull that off. It is a classic chambray that will be used a lot.
5. Sold two items I’ve had listed for a couple months. I’m glad to get rid of clutter and the buyers got great deals.
Bonus – 6. Finally got the courage to ask my extended family to stop exchanging gifts for kids’ birthdays. We live in 4 different states and there are 17 grandkids so it adds up. Everyone was glad to stop, and it was a relief to some to take that stress off.


Isabelle January 12, 2016 at 6:13 am

* Went to the 50% off sale at Value Village and got 6 shirt, a bra, a sports bra, a winter coat for next year for my daughter and a pair of new-looking shoes all for about 20$ out of pocket using money I received as a gift for Christmas and using free money Value Village gave me just because I bought gift cards there before Christmas (5$ free with every 20$ purchase. I purchase 100$ in gift cards for myself that I will use later on, so got a 25$ gift card for free to use in January, yay!). I really needed those items so it’s an awesome deal!
* Using PC points to get 30$ worth of free grocery this week
* Bought 2 games at 50% off for daughter’s friends birthdays coming up. So a gift valued at 20$ for 10$ makes a great gift.
* Really keeping an eye on our expenses (evaluating needs vs wants) and putting every cent spent in our spreadsheet. Keeping up with the budget.
* Figuring out a way for our daughter to eighter stay home with one of us (working form home) or coming to the office on days the school is closed instead of having to send her to daycare and pay for this.

Have a great frugal day!


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