Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 15, 2016 · 89 comments

Multnomah County Library

  1. I stopped into the Verizon store on my way home from dropping my son at school. I ran this errand to have them apply my $100 gift card towards this month’s cell phone bill. (This was the card that I won from using my points in one of their auctions.) I’d unsuccessfully attempted this transaction online, and needed to do this in person. They scanned the card and sent me on my way! Of course I did no other shopping while at the mall.
  2. My mother and I went to go see Book of Mormon last night, (so hilarious!) which was her Christmas gift from my step-father. (Seriously, so hilarious!) Afterwards we sat in the historic bar at Jake’s and ordered food from their happy hour menu. $2.95 cheeseburger with steak fries? Yes, please! I forget what bargains you can get from happy hour menus!
  3. I needed to renew my library books, and went through the extra step of clicking through Swagbucks. Six swagbucks is directly 6¢ towards a $25 Paypal giftcard. Free money, people!
  4. My friend’s Airbnb guests asked about renting bicycles during their stay, which means I’ll rent her our unused bikes for half of what she’d otherwise pay. Bargain for her, extra income for us!
  5. I used the last of our free Chipotle burrito cards to cover last night’s dinner. Two of their whale-sized burritos fed the three of us and I didn’t have to worry about making dinner, while also making it across town for the play. (My son and I were wholly absorbed with completing a program specific college application, so making dinner was simply not going to happen!)

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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{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey January 15, 2016 at 12:58 pm

This frugal move took so much effort, I feel it should count for five instead of one! Where I live in Alaska, the cheapest ground beef is $4.99 a pound. We happened to go to Sam’s Club with a friend, since we don’t have a membership, and saw brisket by the case on sale for $2.99 a pound (individual briskets were almost a dollar more a pound). We bought a case of it and that evening spent about five hours cutting off visible fat and grinding up the meat. We weighed the final result and found that we had hamburger that cost us $3.37 a pound. I then spent the next day rendering the fat; as each pan came out of the oven, I strained out the meat pieces that had been clinging to the fat when we trimmed the briskets. These was set aside to cool and then put into bags and frozen—we use them as training treats for our two Great Danes, so will be pulling them out of the freezer as we need them. Not sure how much this saved us in money we won’t be spending on commercial treats for training. Then, before the fat left from straining out the dog bits had cooled completely, I poured it over bird seed that had been put in small pans. Before it completely hardened, I used a spoon to make a hole in the top. The next day, after they were hard, I popped the squares out of the pans and ran twine through the holes so they could be hung up as winter feed for the birds. My husband, who does not have the fear of heights that I do, will hang them off upper tree branches; if we put them too low, the moose who wander into our yard will eat them. I would not mind that except if they learn there is food in the yard, they will come back in the summer and eat up my garden. We have a six foot fence around the garden but they still manage to jump that and we rely on our garden for all our vegetables and berries in the summer and the canned and dried garden foods well into the winter. Not sure how much we saved by buying loose birdseed instead of premade birdseed tree hangers. I kept out five of the homemade birdseed hangers to give to a friend as a birthday gift—if you don’t adore birds like she does, it probably seems like a stupid gift, but I know she has trouble affording bird food and she will appreciate not only the food but the fact that I made them so frugally!

It felt very good to use save money for the burger but felt even better about using up every bit of the brisket in different ways.


Beth January 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm

I think it definitely counts as five. You 1) gained free access to Sam’s, 2) bought and processed meat cheaper than normal, 3) made free dog treat,s 4) made almost free birdseed tree hangers, and 5) came up with a frugal, yet thoughtful gift for a friend.


Ruby January 15, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Definitely five, as Beth said. Awesome job on saving money and creating a wonderful gift for your bird-loving friend.


Kathy January 15, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!
I think you did a terrific job. I needed to set down for a rest after reading this. Well done!!!!


lori January 16, 2016 at 5:36 am

Wow, you really used up every bit! Loved reading your comment.


Linda January 16, 2016 at 11:40 am

Wow, Lindsey, you should have a blog, too. Great reply to Katy’s (fabulous) blog.


priskill January 16, 2016 at 3:04 pm

Wowee!! Pretty amazing!


Lindsey January 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Yikes! These were, not these was put aside!


Jennifer January 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Great job!


janine January 15, 2016 at 2:05 pm

What a great post! So glad you were able to use sale meat for so much frugal gain including a gift for a friend!


Marilyn January 15, 2016 at 7:06 pm

Very impressive!


Jennifer January 15, 2016 at 1:02 pm

I love Chipotle but don’t have one in my area. When I did travel nursing I would go to one in Northern California near where I was staying more than I care to admit.

1.Found another pair of jeans in the bottom of a drawer that I had forgot about so I can put off a thrift trip for a bit longer. Two pair will last much longer than the one pair I have been making due with.
2.Finally we got our new roof installed so we forked over $4000. We talked to roofer down from $4900 so remember it never hurts to ask. He is also now doing business with us so it’s kind of a win. No more the biggest win, actually.
3.Ate hamburger steak last night with homemade mashed potatoes and wilted spinach. I picked out all the slimy spinach then rinsed well, and it was great. The potatoes were kinda awful. I peeled, cut up, blanched, then froze, an enormous amount of Russet potatoes last year after reading a tip this could be done. No matter how I thaw and prepare these, they are grainy and yucky. I refuse to throw them away because I used my expensive freezer seal bags to store them in, even though I got the potatoes for free.
4.Downloaded my free Friday download again from Kroger. It’s yogurt today, yum!
5. I got a huge pork loin for $8 at Kroger yesterday. I had the butcher slice the whole thing up into thin( but not too thin, lol) chops that will last for several meals. I always freeze them into meal sized portions for easy use. Should be 5 or 6 meals for us so I’m excited about that. I’m fighting the urge to eat out tonight so maybe I will grill a few of them.


A. Marie January 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Re: Jennifer’s #1, I’ve been doing “let’s go shopping in the closet/bureau” quite a bit in the last month myself. Have realized that due to previous thrift shopping, DH and I probably have enough clothes to last us from now till the nursing home. (We’re both in our 60s.) Am accordingly planning to cut down on thrift shopping except for gifts.

And re: her #3, I’m doing a split pea soup this afternoon with back-of-the-fridge stuff (slightly over-age carrots, celery, onions).

Re: Lindsey’s post, kudos on Operation Brisket (shopping in Alaska must have its rugged moments!). Can’t equal her effort, but I did find leg of lamb marked down 50% at my favorite local grocer today. Easter and Christmas 2016 are taken care of.


LisaC January 15, 2016 at 2:24 pm

I wonder if you could use the potatoes in a bread? Or some kind of creamy soup, and mash them?


Jennifer January 16, 2016 at 10:41 am

I have a lot of potato soup base in the freezer so I really don’t need more. I am really thinking about your bread idea, never even occurred to me to use it in bread. Thanks for that idea!


Patience January 17, 2016 at 5:41 am

Consider gnocchi as well. I often intentionally make extra mashed potatoes so I can use the leftovers to whip up gnocchi later in the week


Marilyn January 16, 2016 at 6:20 pm

Reading your post about free Kroger items reminded me that Fred Meyer’s (the grocery store around the corner from me) is a Kroger company. So I went online to see if I could find free yogurt too and sure enough I did. There was free popcorn too. I love free food. Thanks for this info.


Teri January 17, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Could you post the website for Fred Meyer? I have wondered since they are a Kroger company if they would make the same offers.


Beth January 15, 2016 at 1:15 pm

1. Eating leftovers for dinner tonight
2. Grocery shopping tonight, and am going to use ibotta for the first time ever-we’ll see how it goes. Also, hoping to keep my groceries under $50 (which is $25 less than our weekly grocery limit-every penny counts, right?).
3. Drinking free work coffee and water, and packed a lunch. I did splurge and buy a donut on the way to work today-using spare change from my wallet.
4. Have been downloading my Free Friday download items this week for Kroger (a sincere thank-you to the commenter that brought that up-I had no idea they were doing it all week!).
5. A coworker lent me some swaddle wraps for my soon-to-be-born kiddo! I won’t have to buy them, I won’t have to store them indefinitely. And, if I end up not using them, it’s not a huge deal because they didn’t cost me anything.


Jennifer January 15, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Your welcome to #4!! And the downloads are actually really great stuff that most people use. I love these comments because I am learning so much. It’s like frugal school..which there should totally at least be a class!


Jennifer January 15, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Hey, also Kroger is doing an instant win game called “game day greats” this week. I haven’t won anything this year yet but I have in the past. If you win they just load the digital coupon to your card. Last year I won a box of Cheeze-its and some graham crackers.


Susan H. January 15, 2016 at 2:04 pm

On January 1, I made a commitment to buy no clothes, shoes, accessories for 3 months. Baby steps for me. I may extend the no shopping ban to a year, I’m just getting my feet wet now. And really, I’m commenting to agree about Book of Mormon. I live in Seattle and saw it on Sunday. I haven’t laughed so hard in forever. And my husband, who usually doesn’t enjoy Broadway shows, loved it too. I’m glad you got to see it.


Ruby January 15, 2016 at 2:29 pm

1. While waiting for my cat to finish having dental surgery on Thursday, I made a quick trip across the state line to Aldi to do a little stock up shopping and went to the feed store there to buy cat food. This little jaunt saves 6 percent in sales tax on people food, plus egg and dairy prices are lower in there.
2. The veterinarian gave us a 5% senior citizen discount on the surgery bill, which saved us $21. Every little bit helps.
3. On a rather cold day, I am wearing a warm and beautiful sweater from the Salvation Army. It’s a much nicer brand than I could ever afford buying new.
4. Have a big loaf of homemade oatmeal bread rising in the kitchen. Our kitchen is rather cold, so the bowl of dough is set to rise on top of a heating pad and wrapped in towels.
5. Reorganized our little chest freezer and took an inventory of what’s in there so I know what meals to make in order to use the stored food most efficiently.


nancy January 15, 2016 at 11:08 pm

when I make bread in winter I turn my oven to 100 degrees and let it raise in the oven.


Tracy January 16, 2016 at 5:07 am

When I make bread I put it in the oven with the light on and the light creates enough heat for the bread to rise. I also put a clean dish towel over top of bowl instead of Saran Wrap. You can also put the bread bowl on a heating vent.


Ruby January 16, 2016 at 7:54 am

Our heating vents are all up at the ceiling, or I’d try that.

The heating pad trick works really well. With it set on low, I don’t think it uses more than a few pennies’ worth of electricity.


Ruby January 16, 2016 at 7:52 am

I wish my oven could be set that low. It can’t go below 170 F., which I think is probably a food safety measure.


Jennifer January 17, 2016 at 5:23 am

My oven is the same. I turn it on 170, and then kick it off when it reaches around 100. If your oven doesn’t display the lower temps you can kick it on for a few minutes and then shut it off. Works great for proofing bread! I think I will go make some now and warm up the house a bit today =)


Madeline January 15, 2016 at 2:56 pm

1. Like A. Marie,I have shopped my closet and figured out I need to NOT SHOP,even at thrift stores,this year,maybe even next!!!!

2. Got a hankering for a hearty portion of barbecue ribs for supper, so hurried to to the grocery and bought some and will make,with homemade barbecue sauce ,with leftover mashed potatoes and some cole slaw.The rack of ribs cost $10.50 and we will get TWO MEALS out of it, vs. $18.99 EACH for rib dinner at local restaurant.MINE TASTED BETTER ANYWAY!!

3. We live not too far from Algodones,Mexico where many retirees go for dental work and eyeglasses with good reviews. For MUCH MUCH MUCH less than in the U.S.– I spent time reviewing which doctors have the best reputation, and we will be going there for dental work when our soon-to-need-help old crowns need fixing.This is controversial for some, but so many Arizonans do this,I am not worried.Crowns can cost $300 vs. 1000 or more!!!!!!

4. Was feeling porky and bloated so I did an apple fast one day,saved money on breakfast lunch and dinner.Ate apples all day, after about 4 you don’t want any more apples. Lots of water. Husband usually joins me on this. Once in a while,maybe once every 2 months or so..

5. Scored GIANT containers of gourmet lettuces at the grocery store for $1.00 each–bought two containers….very fresh still! We have been eating HUGE salads all week!!!!

It’s not hard to save money or simply not spend it, when you just think a little, and make a tiny effort!!


momsav January 16, 2016 at 8:04 am

I’ve been wanting to try the apple fast; the Nearings did that, i believe. Sounds doable..


Kim January 15, 2016 at 3:14 pm

My five frugal things parent of 2 college students version-
1. I took DS #2 back to college this past week (over 500 miles one way). Got gas and filled tires to proper inflation to maximize gas mileage before we left. Got it at the convenience store that has cheapest gas prices and free air machine.
2. We filled a cooler with drinks and food from home for the trip and for DS to take back to school. We did stop at a family owned restaurant for lunch in the late afternoon. It’s much too cold for any sort of picnic!
3. I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn that’s adjacent to campus. Not cheap but I don’t have to drive from miles away to get to the university while I’m in town. Plus DS can walk to the hotel since his dorm is 2 blocks away. They only provide valet parking at $10/day plus taxes so I park a block away which puts the car halfway between my son’s dorm and the hotel. I park in front of my son’s friends house.
4. It was so cold and snow flurries so we had a change of plans. Instead of him playing a pickup Ultimate game, we hit the grocery store and 2 thrift stores. At Aldi got him milk, cheese and crackers. Christmas candy(M&Ms, Rolos and Hershey Kisses) was marked down to 99¢. I use these for baking so I bought several of each. At GW we got him 2 pairs of pants that he really needed. So hard to find pants for his skinny waist! At Amvets we got him a couple of shirts so he’s set for clothes. I also got a book I will list on Amazon which the profits should pay for what we spent.
5. Got gas for 1.62 a gallon in TN! Before I left town I filled the tank and went back to Aldi and filled the cooler with 4 dozen eggs($1.19/dz.), 2 hams($3 off), 2 quarts of 1/2& 1/2 marked down to 59¢ and a bag of 8 lemons for $1.99. Also got Kraft caramel bits for 69¢/bag. So much cheaper than at home!


Jennifer January 15, 2016 at 5:48 pm

#5 jealous of $1.19/dozen..Grrr…never get good deals on eggs here. Good for you though!


Bettypants January 15, 2016 at 3:38 pm

1. Bought a Cuddl Duds base layer shirt before Christmas and determined I didn’t care for the feel/fit, so I returned it today.
2. Sold a set of melamine dishes for $15 that I had bought previously for $10, after deciding the pattern wasn’t for me.
3. My friend and I decided to have a dollar yard sale (everything is one dollar) in the spring, so I have been tossing items into a box. She had one last year and said she sold a ton of stuff. At least we won’t have to deal with pricing.
4. A friend gave me some beautiful patterned folders.
5. I have 3 DVDs out from the library to watch this weekend.


Bonnie January 17, 2016 at 8:23 am

Your post reminds me I have a return to do too. I sometimes forget so long it’s too late. Not this time!!


Bettypants January 17, 2016 at 11:16 am

Good for you! Once I decide to return something, I put it in my car with the receipt, so if I am out running errands unexpectedly one day, I can cross that off the list too.


Tracy Morrell January 15, 2016 at 3:47 pm

Five Frugal things and two frugal fails
1. Found Ives fake ham for 1.99 a package. We are vegetarians and the fake meat costs a small fortune so when I see it on sale I stock up so I bought everything they had on the shelf.
2. At a Treasure Hunt store scored three packs of valentines for 60 cents each, I know it would be cheaper to make them, but life is just too busy right now.
3. Our Kitchen facet broke and I was able to get one at a Moen brand one for 25 dollars that retails for 300 dollars.
4. Used up greek yogurt and sour cream making pancakes this week.
5. Saved a bunch of frozen fruit from the garbage it was underripe and tasted horrible even in smoothies so I separated the different fruit out and boiled the strawberries and peaches with some sugar to make them jammy and this made them taste pretty good and the pineapples which were the worst I covered in brown sugar and baked them and they tasted great with the pancakes.

1st fail . I took 4 kids and myself to get passport pictures in May and never got around to getting the actual passports done, turns out the pictures are only good for six months, which makes no sense because the pictures go on passports that are good for 5-10 years. So I had to take them to get them all done again. I was so mad.

2nd fail. I had a groupon for a cut and highlight that I bought and it was going to expire today, I have been trying to find a time to get an appointment for weeks to use it up and really I did not want to get highlights right now because my hair is so dry, so I thought I will take my two kids and see if they could get cuts, they both have short hair, and use the groupon which I thought would be a win for the hair dresser because she did not have to give me a 100 dollar cut and color, for 49 dollars but the girl was young and refused to see this as a bonus for her. I was already there and it was pretty far from my house so I just paid to have the kids hair done and paid out of pocket and now I have an expired groupon. So I am out of pocket 49 dollars for the groupon because if I go back for the actual cut and color the groupon was for it will still be an additional 50 dollars on top of the 49 I paid and I also had to fork over 45 for the kids cuts. So frustrating.


C Snyder January 16, 2016 at 12:27 am

Tracy- I think that even though your Groupon expired, the $49 is still available in your Groupon account to use on any other deal. The cash amount should never expire, so keep your eyes open for another great deal! Double check- I live in Canada, and that is how it works here, but expiry laws in the US may be different?


Isabelle January 16, 2016 at 6:11 am

Groupon in Canada : if it expires you can still use it for the amount you paid but not anywhere, just at the place you bought it for. Groupon does not credit it for whatever you want.


Jennifer January 16, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Tracy, the cost of passport photos drives me crazy too! And the fact that you only get 1 chance and if it’s a meh picture you are stuck with it. This last time I used the website It is GREAT! It allows you to upload photos you have taken yourself (in front of a white background) and sizes them to US (or whatever country you live) in passport specs and then you can print them at your local drugstore for .35c a print! Works like a charm!!


Teri January 15, 2016 at 5:15 pm

1. Price matched groceries at Walmart, saving about 20%.
2. Took lunch to work.
3. Bundled errands.
4. Stopped by car repair to ask about “squeak”, they offered a free belt and will call when it comes in. I didn’t even have to ask (long time relationship here).
5. Didn’t buy anything close to a Lear Jet.

I do have a question, how do you figure out what books you buy at a thrift store are worth re-selling? (amazon, etc)


Susanne g January 16, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Amazon – I do it by entering the ISBN number on the back of every book. Then when your book comes up you look to see what the book is selling for used. There is an explanation for every condition so you know how to rank your book. Many times the cheapest price (first listed) is way too low to make any money for the time. But every book gets 3.99 for shipping (media mail USPS) regardless of weight, so you COULD make a little from that difference.

Very popular works are usually not worth re-selling on Amazon. Art books, current textbooks, rarer books may be. Did I answer your question!


Teri January 16, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Yes. Thank you very much.


kim January 15, 2016 at 5:58 pm

I used Swagbucks a lot, and have earned a good bit of money through them, but I finally called it quits after getting my umpteenth virus! This one was so bad I’m still having problems, despite running a gazillion programs to be rid of it.

Makes me sad, too. I bought my son’s laptop with proceeds from Swagbucks!


Katy January 15, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Yikes! I have not had that experience, but I use a Mac which is not so vulnerable to viruses.


Kim January 15, 2016 at 9:30 pm

Kim, My husband is an IT specialist. He always recommends the free version of malwarebytes to clear up viruses. It is very highly rated. Sometimes you have to run it twice. It’s worth a try.


momsav January 16, 2016 at 8:12 am

I recently quit swagbucks because it’s such a time suck for me. I always wonder how people can get a CC every month when it takes me forever. Back to picking up loose change and selling on ebay! Ha! Bummer about the virus’s; I have a mac, too. Maybe that’s the answer..


Beth Anne January 16, 2016 at 10:38 am

I just do Swagbucks when I am watching TV or working on my computer and will grab my daughters laptop to have the videos run while working on something else or even when I am reading. I am happy with the $25 Paypal money I earn each month. It can be a time suck for sure but if I am doing something else already I feel like its a win win. 🙂

I am disappointed I can’t watch videos on our Kindle anymore as I could have that and a laptop going at once and use it at work, supposedly they are working on getting them back.


pattilou January 15, 2016 at 7:12 pm

1.Went to a work event at our local Science Center. We were given free admission, free parking and dinner. We also got to explore the exhibit and watch the planitarium show.
2. I wore a sweater this week that I realized is over 20 years old. I love it and it still looks great because I take good care of it. It’s a big warm cable knit Irishsweater that never goes out of style.
3. I got a fantastic deal on beautiful winter dishes (white with a snowflake on them) with platters and a large serving bowl to match. These will be Christmas gifts for my nieces next year. They were 75 percent off
4. Had dinner at a friend’s. I brought a jar of the parsley that I dried as a hostess gift and was sent home with leftovers, which I ate for lunch today.
5. I’m watching two movies this weekend that I borrowed from a friend.


Marcia January 15, 2016 at 7:15 pm

1. Snow almost every day this week with wind. Only left the house twice–first time to visit a friend, bought a dessert at the grocery store to take with me, as it was a post-birthday visit! Other time was yesterday to shop for groceries. Therefore spent only the extra for dessert–groceries would have been bought anyhow.
2. Skipped yoga this week because storm was supposed to hit right when I’d have been driving home. It didn’t come until an hour later, so that was a fail! Wasted $7.50 by paying for class and not going.
3. Car didn’t start when I wanted to go to grocery store. Husband got it started with his battery charger, which barely worked. I told him to order a new battery charger, and he found a tiny one today for $50. Well worth it–current one was a gift about 1997 or 8. Living in snowy WNY, we need battery charger a few times a winter for somebody’s car.
4. Had leftover bratwurst from last night’s dinner, which I made into Bratwurst, beer and cheese soup, using the last beer in the house, and had all the rest of the ingredients handy in the pantry as well. Ate it tonight and have enough for another whole meal. Also made ABM bread today so had fresh homemade bread with the soup. Great meal!!
5. Started cleaning kitchen cupboards to make room for new stuff from Christmas—-and it will probably take most of the day tomorrow to finish (including washing stuff that’s been sitting a while) so won’t be spending any money tomorrow either. Have a Netflix movie to watch tomorrow night if there isn’t TV to watch.
6. Almost bought chocolate this week at grocery store–but remembered we still had Christmas chocolate that we hadn’t started yet, so put the $7.99 bag back on the shelf. One kind at a time is plenty.
7. Eggs were 3 doz for $5 LAST week so I bought 3. THIS week I need to figure out how to use some of them up. Quiche may work for one meal, and maybe rice pudding or custard or something similar for another.


Jennifer January 16, 2016 at 6:00 am

You may know this already but eggs freeze well.I usually freeze individually in ice cube trays then pop into a container to use whenever I need them. They also have a long shelf life in the fridge though.


Vickie January 15, 2016 at 10:38 pm

1) Had the day off, so I made stew for dinner. Picked up potatoes at the grocers, so I bought a hen to roast on Monday for $5.
2) Gas keeps getting cheaper. $1.55 at the store where I shop. Propane prices are low too, so I’m not spending much to travel or to heat the house.
3) A friend bought me the movie War Room for my birthday. Now I don’t have to rent it and I can lend it to my daughter.
4) We’re headed out of town to visit friends tomorrow. I have Monday off, so this is a four day weekend for me. Two days having fun with friends and two days at home. I love long weekends – especially when I get paid for the extra two days off!
5) I bought my granddaughters a microphone for their Wii console. They had a used one at Gamestop for $8.99. The oldest bought two used games with her Christmas money and we got $6 off with our Power-up Rewards card. My daughter said that Wii is great entertainment for them during the Winter. That helps save the sanity of one single Mom with 3 kids. LOL!


Mand01 January 16, 2016 at 12:00 am

1. Today was a baking day. I made bread, rolls, banana bread, muffins, chocolate chip cookies, ricotta spinach rolls, pizza scrolls. I’m wiped but it will be hot next week and now my kids will have plenty of lunchbox options.
2. Went grocery shopping and got only what was on the list.
3. While baking I continued watching Mad Men on Netflix. I’m behind the rest of the universe, I know.
4. Made my own muesli. Made about 3 kg for $10. Husband and daughter eat a whole box easily in about 4 days so it’s cheaper to make it.
5. Muffins were made using up a carrot, the bottom of a box of cereal and half a jar of cranberry sauce that no one was eating. They’ll eat it now, heh heh.


Marcia January 16, 2016 at 1:33 pm

I used to make a honey wheat bread and always put the crushed cereal crumbs from the bottom of the boxes in it. It was supposed to be cracked wheat, but the cereal crumbs worked just fine!!


Tracy January 16, 2016 at 5:12 am

Groupon does not work like that here in Canada. What I paid can only be used at the specific store for the specific service. Which is unfortunate. I like your idea better.


Laure January 16, 2016 at 10:38 am

It’s like that in the US, too 🙁
I also have an expired groupon I likely now will never use.
Maybe suggesting your great idea to them would help them grow again…they are hurting as a business.


Isabelle January 16, 2016 at 6:00 am

* Bringing daughter to my gym pool today. It’s free for her (included in my membership at no cost)
* Got invited to a girls night out. My friend won tickets to go to an inside amusement center geared towards all ages. Should be interesting! Going to the restaurant before hands. Will look for the cheapest item on the menu. Hopefully we are going somewhere where I can use a gift card I got on Christmas.
* Feeling a bit depressed lately, related to the weather (lack of sunshine). Looking for natural solutions (less sugar, more Omega 3, going outside, less screen time, socializing, sleeping more, exercising, taking vitamin D, etc) instead of specialized supplements or medication. Note : I have nothing against meds, took them for years and it probably saved my life, but I don’t seem to need them anymore.
* Using the wood stove periodically. Hubby tells me it saves on electricity (but we had to buy the wood, so….??). I enjoy watching it, so I guess I can count it as in-home entertainment!

Have a great frugal day!


Betty Winslow January 16, 2016 at 10:07 am

My husband suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder; I bought him a desk lamp with a full spectrum light in it, helped a LOT!


Rhonda MacLeod January 16, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Good to know, Betty! We have a Health & Wellness program at work, that allows us $300.00 annually for things that will help with your personal health goals, running shoes, fitbits, gym memberships. I found out this year, I could purchase an SAD light therapy lamp and be reimbursed. Waiting for it’s arrival.


Isabelle January 16, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Yes, I researched it and might come to a point where I will buy one, but I’m trying to do without for now.


K D January 16, 2016 at 2:01 pm
priskill January 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm

You might want to go to Surviving and Thriving, Donna Freedman’s wonderful blog. Look for a fairly recent post about exactly this — her post was beautiful and brave (She lives in Alaska — talk about SAD) – and her comment thread had wonderful suggestions, just like these.

Sorry, not techy enough to actually link you. But it’s worth typing out her address for! Wishing all the best!!


Lindsey January 16, 2016 at 3:52 pm

There is a subgroup consisting of Alaskans who detest the 24 hours of sunlight in the summer and hunger for the darkness of winter. I lived in Barrow, where the sun set in November and did not come back up until February. It was heavenly!


Bee January 16, 2016 at 6:53 am

I feel as though I have not been thrifty this week. I have had as many frugal wins as frugal fails. But here it goes …..
1) As always, saving money in the kitchen while feeding my family seems to be a focus. Leftovers was yesterday’s theme. I used 3 chicken carcasses to make broth in my crock pot. I turned a small piece of pork and leftover rice into pork fried rice for dinner last night. I mixed a small bit of leftover spaghetti sauce with some tomato paste to convert it to pizza sauce. I froze the broth and the pizza sauce to use later.
2) I continue to stock up on this month’s grocery store bargains. I only buy what I know I will use which really isn’t much. This week’s purchases included chicken,dried beans, and pasta.
3) The grocery store had $10 off a $50 gift card for gas. The store allows you to buy one for every $50 spent on groceries. Since this saves 20% at the pump, I purchased one — just one. It is hard for me to spend much more than $50 on groceries. I also used a few other coupons and saved additional $9.45 !
4) My tube of face cream seemed empty — nothing coming out. I cut off the bottom, and I have gotten another week out of it.
5) We had some simple plumbing repairs that needed attention. I bought the supplies and my hubby did the work. The cost of labor was $0, and I thought the plumber was really cute.

Frugal fails:
1)I brought our dog to the vet for a bath this week. It was too cold to wash him outside, and he is too big to wash in the tub. This $30 trip turned into a $150 trip. Evidently he was developing an ear infection! Well at least now I have a happy dog!
2) My aunt who is in her 90s is breaking up her home. She offered me several pieces of furniture that belonged to my great grandmother. I don’t need these items, but I want them. I will incur the moving expenses; however, I will try to sell the furniture it is replacing to pay for these expenses. It seems a little frivolous though.


janine January 16, 2016 at 8:07 am

1. Visited gift shop /art gallery with friends featuring beautiful Native American Art – bought only a small jar of honey although I lusted after a number of beautiful items.
2. Son is treating us to dinner out tonight.
3. Remembered to bring home leftovers from my contribution to a gathering. (My husband loves treats made with sugar.)
4. Am keeping strict track of my expenditures but realize that the rest of the family is not quite on board with the new program!
5. No Lear jet


Betty Winslow January 16, 2016 at 10:17 am

1. Made a cheesy tuna casserole for dinner, plus a pan of bread pudding. Used up the rest of a bag of shredded cheese, two cans of tuna, some frozen broccoli, a can of creamed soup, and the rest of a large box of rotini, plus part of a loaf of stale bread (pushed behind the dog food that my son keeps on top of the garage frig out of his dog’s reach, meant for Xmas, got stale instead). The casserole was a hit. Pudding, not so much, but I liked it and will eat it for the next few days as part of breakfast.
2. Husband invited to our nephew’s diaper party; told him to buy a gift card from the grocery store instead of diapers, since my SIL has stocked up on them for the happy couple.
3. Downloaded several free video games on my Kindle, to have on hand for down time.
4. Bought two packages of marked-down pork steaks; froze one, “let” son make dinner with the other. So far he’s made dinner twice and is planning on doing one today, for the football evening. It’s sort of a wash, though; he’s a chef, so his recipes tend to be a bit pricey, but hey! I don’t have to cook, so….
5. Finished buying my 3 y0 granddaughter’s birthday gifts for her March birthday: leggings, a My Little Pony top, a tutu, and Hello Kitty sunglasses, all marked way down! Also went to Target with a friend and found a pair of cute fox socks (her last name is Fox…) for her, plus a pair of MLP socks for my nephew’s soon-to-be-born daughter (an inside joke with her grandma) and a Darth Vader keychain for my older son’s Xmas stocking (spent $3.20 total!)


Katie B January 16, 2016 at 10:23 am

1. My car died this week and we were quoted $400 for the repair. After watching some instructional Youtube videos hubby was able to fix the car for a grand total of $49 and 1 hour of his free time.
2. Made a huge batch of tortellini soup. It fed the six of us several meals and it is so healthy and delicious.
3. The kids earned free hamburger certificates for making the honor roll. They were able to treat themselves to a burger from their favorite restaurant.
4.Sold a freezer on Craigslist. It was given to us so the sale was 100% profit.
5. Found a shirt for my daughter at an outlet store for 36cents. Better than thrift store prices.


Teri January 16, 2016 at 12:39 pm

I have found thrift store prices quite high lately. Must be because there are more people thrifting?


Katie January 16, 2016 at 2:05 pm

I have found that to be true with the chain thrift shops. Goodwill and Salvation Army’s prices have increased a lot here. There is on thrift shop in town that has “dollar days” but the pickings are usually slim.


Ruby January 16, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Our Salvation Army does “Wacky Wednesdays” in which certain items are on sale 50 percent off. It also runs very good sales. This past summer, women’s jeans and jean-like trousers were on sale for a month for $1 a pair. I restocked my wardrobe with five pairs for $5, which is the cost of one pair of jeans not on sale.

But if there’s not a sale on, I think their prices are a bit high. Goodwill here is so picked-over that I’ve never found anything there, although their prices are lower than the SA.


Bee January 16, 2016 at 5:24 pm

Goodwill used to be on my regular thrifting route, but I rarely go anymore. Last time I was in the store, the “designer” jeans were $29.95 and someone was arguing with the cashier about a dress which was $39.95. Silly!

Beth Anne January 16, 2016 at 10:27 am

1. Started the savings program where you double what you are saving everyday – i.e. start with 1 cent, 2,4, etc. My goal is to save enough to use for a vacation this summer. Its supposed to be over $660 some dollars saved when you are done. Also keeping up with my January budget in Everydollar.

2. My usual hanging loads of laundry this weekend to dry in the house. Also going to take down the holiday candle plug in Christmas lights in our windows this weekend and sadly the tree. I LOVE my Christmas tree, I will miss its prettiness. I am going to SPEND money (gasp) to get some clear lights on white electrical cording for my stairs and add decorative ribbon etc., throughout the season, will help combat the winter blues. My daughter and I love it and just haven’t replaced the old ones we had to take down which stopped working, we had them for several years.

3. Did the Swagbucks team challenge this week which helps make it fun plus if you check out your team postings often their are tips for easy bucks. Friday someone posted if you searched a word you got 39 swag, which I did and got them. Swagging this weekend and will break a 1000 – $25 Paypal money is in my sights!

4. Checked out two videos from the library for $1 each – still cheaper than Redbox – Paper Towns and a Sherlock series videos season one – second disc.

5. I felt hot several times this week so I turned down the heat each time. Also closed the bedroom doors when we left each morning at 7. Shoveled last week instead of getting the snow blower fixed, paying daughter $5 to shovel which is still cheaper. 😉

6. Went through the freezer to plan some meals and borrowed Katy’s last post savings tips, added a gallon of water to the freezer.

7. Went through the grocery sales flyer this AM (while doing Swagbucks videos) as I like to stock up on the sale meats for soups etc. and planned our groceries for next week around what’s on sale.

8. Have 10 pet sits this weekend and booked another one today for Thursday night. These are great as my night clerk job on Wed. and Thursday nights I will not be working this week as the office is closed so these will help fill the gap on that.

9. My Med Flex account deductions started out of my Friday paycheck yesterday, excited about the savings as I took the max in the amount I can save (gulp) because of daughter getting braces but nervous as its a lot of money per paycheck. All the extra money I make on Wed. and Thursday nights working will go to this account basically so the day job pay will stay the same.

10. Wearing my Fitbit faithfully each day, I bought that instead of a gym membership and/or joining Weight Watchers. Still struggling to meet the 10,000 steps goal each day but working on it. Now I have to find time to log my food and water intake and get in the habit for that.



tonya parham January 17, 2016 at 9:56 am

I’m with you on the Christmas lights. After the tree came down this year (my spouse won’t tolerate the tree after Dec. 26th!) we decided to put some lights in our bedroom around the window– it’s very pretty and romantic, as well. They can’t be seen from the outside and just provide a nice light that makes me happy when I see it.

We also have a nonfunctional gas fireplace (it works but we rent and it’s not up to code so I won’t use it) that I really resent because it is hard to decorate around. I decided to put a string of lights inside it around the logs and it is gorgeous! Instead of resenting the fireplace, now I can’t wait to plug it up!

Frugal happiness is just such good happiness!


Beth Anne January 17, 2016 at 6:20 pm

Great fireplace idea. 🙂 I don’t have a fireplace but LOVE them so I put on a fake fire dvd I have with sound effects and everything. Nice background when I’m working, puttering around and its cold out.


K D January 16, 2016 at 2:17 pm

1. I walked up to the drug store to pick up a prescription (free with our insurance). I stopped at the Asian market on the way hoe and bought golden delicious apples for $.49/#. They are picture perfect but will taste great.

2. I used several coupons printed from Swagbucks to save on toilet bowl cleaner, cheese and chicken at the grocery store the other day. I should get $.10 per coupon redeemed. I also picked up the free bag of baby carrots (for spending $5 and clipping a coupon).

3. My spouse had minor surgery and they prescribed a regimen of ibuprofen and acetaminophen to combat pain and swelling. We don’t generally use acetaminophen so I bought a bottle of generic.

4. Raise has gift cards on sale this weekend. I looked at the Michael’s gift cards but then reminded myself that I have plenty of yarn and it would be a waste of money and very non-Compact to buy the gift card.

5. We let the thermostat setting drop during the night so I added another layer to our bed, now that we are having colder days.


LisaC January 16, 2016 at 2:20 pm

I accidentally wrote on last week’s post, is it ok to repeat it here?
1. Using a gift card for a lunch date with my husband (cheaper than a dinner date). I actually paid for the gift card in a silent auction, but the auction supported a friend with cancer, so..that’s one thing I will always buy!
2. Sold a desk quickly after another buyer backed out. Texted all the others with a first come, first served message and 30 minutes later it is out of my house.
3. Found a gift card to LL Bean I’d gotten from a gift return. I need socks, so I ordered four pairs, got free shipping too. Everything else there is too expensive.
4. Haven’t done this yet: but looking for new sheets. Our are very old and tearing. I don’t buy used sheets, so I’m looking for a deal on soft, long lasting sheets.
5. Cleaned out my fridge, planning meals around what I have. Threw out some expired sauces that were gifts. Wanted to use them creatively, never thought of a good way to use flavored sesame oil and yum yum sauce.
6. Bought a cookie jar from Goodwill to use as an indoor compost keeper, it looks nice on my counter, and I will take the scraps to our compost pile every day. Or my husband will. Well, mostly my husband will.
7. My husband has been wanting one of those things on TV that peels eggs. I finally found one at Goodwill. Not necessary, but he is really happy and I didn’t buy it new.

Help! Looking for a good recipe to use some leftover (in my freezer now) steak stuffed with garganzola. Maybe a cheesy beef broccoli soup? Ideas, anyone?


Bee January 17, 2016 at 5:59 am

Make a French dip. Sauté with onions and mushrooms. Serve on crusty French bread with broth or bullion for dipping.


LisaC January 17, 2016 at 7:00 am

Yum, good idea, thank you!


Chris January 16, 2016 at 3:29 pm

1. I’ve realized that if I cook/prep dinner at breakfast time, I eat a whole lot less during the day – not sure why but I am saving $ and calories by not munching throughout the day.
2. Super cold this weekend – especially tomorrow – and my husband who really wanted to eat lunch out tomorrow, just suggested we stay in and eat here instead.
3. Sold a box of fabric on craigslist late this week and the buyer sent me a photo of his daughter in her first ever clothing project using fabric from the box – so cute – she made a shirt and a headband.
4. Made 6 doz cookies that are in the freezer for future use.
5. Brought home 12 clear bags that held hot dog buns from a church event – they will be great for freezer use!


Monica January 16, 2016 at 4:44 pm

1. Dishwasher’s clean light was blinking. Manual indicated it was malfunctioning & to contact for support service. Nope, I googled the problem instead. Fixed it and saved $150.

2. Sold some things on eBay , Etsy & Swap.

3. Added some change to my found change jar.

4. I try to run my errands one day out of the week, but a doctor’s appointment & emergency replacement of car tires, had me out of the house three days in a row at opposite ends of town. I combined every errand I could to maximize my trips out.

5. I found a new in box Kitchen Aid mixer attachment at the thrift store for my daughter’s mixer she got for her birthday.


Alison January 16, 2016 at 7:03 pm

About four weeks ago, the zipper on my 10yo winter jacket stopped working – the bottom wouldn’t stay closed after zipping up. I found two jackets for sale for $5 each on our local Upcycle page, which was awesome! But neither one was as warm as my old one, AND the zipper on the best one started doing the same thing a few days after I got it.

Fast forward a few days, and while on YouTube looking for a no-sew apron, on the side I spotted video for “How to Fix Your Zipper.” Sure enough, three minutes later, I knew exactly how to fix both jackets with a pair of needle-nosed pliers. It was a super simple fix, and now I have my old warm jacket working again, pus one extra jacket I can keep in the back of my car in case I get stuck on the side of the road in a snowstorm. I’m going to give the third jacket to our local clothing closet to pay it forward in recognition of my sheer gratefulness to the person who took the time to post the video to YouTube.


Jade January 16, 2016 at 7:35 pm

1. Reading borrowed books – have a heap of borrowed / thrifted books that are waiting for me to read.
2. Continue to cook all meals at home, making an effort to use of items that have been lingering in freezer / fridge for a while. Used up some sad looking cabbage in a stirfry.
3. Completed some surveys that I trade in for e-gift cards to supermarkets (in $10 increments).
4. Took Katy’s advice and filled up an empty 2L juice container with water. Placed in deep- freezer to make the freezer more enegery effecient and also to have more emergency water on hand. Will continue to do this as containers become available.
5. Have spent the last two weeks nesting at home. I have not been anywhere which has saved much $$, but more importantly, the rest has helped to recharge and relax me.
Bonus – harvested some tomatoes from the patch. Much of my produce is being eaten by possums and other native animals. I am looking to build a large cage around the patch in a few weeks t0 help combat this issue. We have planted many fruit trees and shrubs over the past 12 months, hopefully we will see the fruits of our labour in the coming years.


tonya parham January 16, 2016 at 9:47 pm

I’m ashamed to admit how unfrugal I’ve been the last few days– AND I added up all the times we ate out over the last 4 months….too much! I don’t want to say the amount. I’m ashamed of the amount! Needless to say, that’s changing! But, I want to focus on things I am doing right!

1. Made vegan taco salad at home tonight and stayed in to read instead of going to a movie or OUT TO EAT! (Did I mention I’m horrified at how much I WASTED eating out last semester!)

2. Went through and added up all my and my spouse’s debit charges for eating out and came up with a game plan to change this!

3. Made $60 training for certification to grade standardized tests– I didn’t pass. For some reason, I rushed through it. But, I’m doing more training and taking the test tomorrow again so hopefully I will pass and have a nice little part time job doing it.

4. Renewed my library books and avoided a fine.

5. Decided today not to go to Bonnaroo even if PJ plays there. I live two hours away from the site of the festival but after looking at the cost of the tickets and realizing that for the cost of tickets for the both of us we could make a car payment, buy the entire set of PJ show bootlegs from last year ($395), go to the movies with popcorn, out to dinner (sushi) and have a nice latte afterward, we just agreed that it was too costly. We both love love love PJ and most of our trips and vacations have been planned around seeing them– but that’s simply TOO MUCH! (And doesn’t include food or lodging!)


Isabelle January 17, 2016 at 3:50 am

Who is PJ??


Susanne g January 17, 2016 at 5:15 am

Pearl Jam?


tonya parham January 17, 2016 at 8:41 am

Yes, Pearl Jam! Love them!


Ann Y. January 17, 2016 at 11:00 am

Oh my – love to read your blog and was thinking of you yesterday as I went about my day …”this is a 5 frugal thing kind of day”…
1. Went to public library to get all the Alan Rickman DVDs I could to binge watch – scored 3 and a great new book. All FREE because libraries ROCK!
2. In the entrance of the library there was a box that had a sign “Free Grapefruit” – I almost took a photo of it to share on this site – so I snagged one of those. Don’t know if somebody got a bunch for the holidays or what, but it is ripe and looks great.
3. Got a free cup and a half of coffee when I stopped in to make a deposit at the bank.
4. Used a free Redbox code to get yet another movie…what can I say, long weekend.
5. Made sure the grocery store clerk took off my 1.50 that I loaded to my store card…it did not come off, glad I checked, she corrected it, and due to the cereal I bought I know have a whopping 1.90 off a gallon of gas. Waiting until I am on fumes to make the most of my fill up !
LOVE being frugal !


cathy January 17, 2016 at 3:33 pm

We always watch all the Harry Potter movies just fore Christmas because we just can’t get through December without them. But Rickman was in SO MANY movies. We’re getting ready for a binge-watch ourselves, but I’m not sure what we’ll include. Sad days.


Stacie M January 17, 2016 at 1:15 pm

I just want to say first of all how much I enjoy these posts and all the comments. Sometimes being frugal just gets boring, or you feel like an odd duck. It’s nice to see all you other frugal folks and get inspiration from all you do! 🙂

1.) Downloaded an awesome free kindle game. It’s a bit like those books from when you were a kid where you made a decision and turned to page x to see the outcome. Keeps my bookworm self happy and amused. 🙂
2.) Got 30$ of amazon credit from an online survey group I’m in. Used it to buy a steam mop from Amazon warehouse deals. I am so excited, it was reccommended by one of my friends. Also, I hate getting on my hands and knees to scrub the floors, ugh!
3.) Cut up a cantelope today and fed the scraps/seeds to the chickens and ducks. It makes them happy since they can’t scrounge around in the winter.
4.) Finally used up the last of a super cheap 500 count box of tea bags to make homemade iced tea. Yum!
5.) Had a water supply valve with a small leak in the bathroom (while putting in a craigslist vanity). Husband thought he might have to replace but checked youtube instead. Ended up just needing to be tightened, wahoo!
And my bonus 6.) Had no idea for side dish for dinner. Thumbed through Budget Bytes cookbook and found recipe for autumn lenil pilaf…and had just enough craisins in my bag for the recipe. Fate! 😉


cathy January 17, 2016 at 3:49 pm

1. Just returned from a cross-country trip for my MIL’s 90th birthday. We managed to buy 2 fares w/ SkyMiles and 1 ticket w/ a companion fare. Car rental w/ our Costco membership made it super cheap. Since we’re a family of 4, there wasn’t anyone to stay with, so we rented a little cottage we’ve stayed in before (thanks VRBO!). Even though we had to pay for accommodations, it was a) cheaper than a hotel room, and b) had a full kitchen. We ate in every meal (except the birthday party). Since kids have allergies, we took a lot of hard-to-find food with us and bought tother groceries there. Then I tetris’d almost all our leftover food into suitcases & lunchboxes and brought it home. Gave a few leftovers that wouldn’t travel well to family.
2. Home & exhausted (drove 2 hours back to airport, and had to be there early enough for a 6am flight), pulled out the frozen carcass of our Christmas turkey. Simmered for several hours then made turkey black bean chili, which my husband and I have been eating for two days now.
3. While out of town, we had the heat in the house turned way down. Can’t wait to see how it affects our bill.
4. Enjoying a lazy weekend–reading library books and watching TV. Sherlock special was on PBS again last night and we watched it one more time. I LOVE the series, but sometimes the episodes go FAST and it’s easy to miss dialogue or clues.
5. Oldest son’s letter of acceptance to college came yesterday. Our local university has one of the top programs in the country for what he wants to study. So he plans to live at home (at least freshman year), school is 10 minutes away (and right on our bus line), he’ll get a major discount because Dad works at the university, AND we’ve already got enough in savings to cover it! #happydance
6. Bonus item: I’m working hard to buy as few groceries as possible this month. Made a list of what we need, but also made another list of possible things to cook/bake to use up what’s on hand. I’m hoping to come in $100 under budget for January groceries.


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