Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 17, 2016 · 85 comments

  1. I brought leftovers as my work lunch, even though it wasn’t an exciting meal. I’d made a black bean chili and added rice, which was fine at the time, but became extremely dry as it sat in the fridge. I could have added water to reconstitute it, but instead I took one for the team and ate it is-is. Of course I drank the free crappy coffee and drank the lovely free tea.
  2. I filled another empty milk jug with water for our chest freezer.
  3. I mailed a card to my uncle for his 90th birthday. I used a blank card from my stash of thrifted and garbage picked greeting cards.
  4. I cleaned one of my mother’s guest cottages on Friday, although this’ll be the last one for awhile since the upcoming tenants are staying for a full two months.
  5. I had a very satisfying conversation with a friend’s husband, who is a garbage collector. (He had no idea that I’m The Non-Consumer Advocate.) I unabashedly geeked out over his stories of perfectly good stuff that people put out as garbage. My favorite was a wealthy doctor on his route whose wife wanted new furniture every few years. His family scored a new looking set of leather furniture. I could have talked to him for hours!

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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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather January 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm

1. Cut open a tube of lotion since I knew there was more but couldn’t squeeze it out! Added water to a face wash to stretch the last bits.

2. Are leftover dinner plus an egg for brunch.

3. Re-used last year’s display boards for this year’s science fair. Used wrapping paper to recover the boards.

4. I had been a little run down with the new baby and was getting chills so I had raised the temp a few degrees. I lowered the thermostat back down after getting the gas bill!

5. Put used coffee grounds in my garden.


Katy January 17, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Ah, yes . . . the cut open tube. Such a satisfying amount left!


Jenny January 17, 2016 at 8:07 pm

I’m doing something similar with a bottle of face lotion. It is the pump style, so when it stopped pumping, I just screwed the top off and pull the stem out and use the lotion clinging to that. Sometimes I swirl it around a little to get more, but I’ve been doing this for I think around 6 months, and there is still plenty left in there. Although I do only use it a couple times a week, still beats buying a new one and throwing out so much usable lotion.


Diane January 18, 2016 at 5:32 am

My utility bills are high too. But, staying healthy is my top concern and if that means keeping the thermostat higher to ward off chill, I do. You need to keep up your strength if you have a little one depending on you.


Heather January 18, 2016 at 10:04 am

Thanks, Diane. I’ve been sleeping much better these past few weeks and the chills have subsided, so turning it back down wasn’t as big a deal. i definitely allowed myself those few extra degrees without (too much) guilt!


Hobart Chic January 19, 2016 at 4:44 am

May have been post pregnancy hypothyroidism. If it continues a visit to your doctor is probably a good idea.


Ruby January 17, 2016 at 3:18 pm

1. Am wearing four thrifted/secondhand items of clothing today. Also using a handkerchief that belonged to my grandmother, so that makes five.
2. Made a homemade pizza for supper with cheese, pepperoni, sweet peppers and sweet red onion from the freezer, along with our homemade pork sausage. It was amazing! I drank the last small glass of the Christmas wine with mine.
3. After supper, I whipped up a batch of dog biscuits to use up some whole wheat flour, powdered egg whites, nutritional yeast and peanut butter powder. The flour is not expired but it’s gotten a freezer-taste to it. The dogs won’t care.
4. Washed a full load of cleaning rags and cloth table napkins this afternoon.
5. Leftover pizza sauce will be added to a can of diced tomatoes and some extra spices to make spaghetti sauce tomorrow.


Alison January 17, 2016 at 3:40 pm

1. Made a pasta sauce with tomatoes that were on their last legs, and ingredients on hand. It was delicious. In the past I would probably have chucked them in the compost!
2. Darned several socks. Also would have chucked them in the past! Took a few seconds to make them wearable again.
3. Hung two loads of laundry by the gas fireplace.
4. Filled a nearly empty bottle of hand soap with water, and am using that for hand washing to get every drop of soap.
5. Had a glass of wine from an open bottle from before Christmas, and it was just fine. Still have about a glass left. I had to admit I have often thrown partial bottles of wine away.


morgan January 18, 2016 at 5:53 am

You can tell when wine turns bc it will start to smell like vinegar. I always just give the it ole sniff test and if it smells ok, drink away! 😉


Bee January 18, 2016 at 10:40 am

I keep leftover wine in the frig to cook with or I make my own wine vinegar to use in salad dressing.


Katie B January 17, 2016 at 4:03 pm

1. Found drumsticks for 39cents a pound. Bought several pounds for the freezer and dumped a package in the slow cooker with bbq sauce for a no fuss dinner.
2. Found 24oz boxes of spaghetti for $1. I bought 3 boxes and plan to buy several more each week to stock up.
3. Finally having some winter weather so we are cutting the heat down at night to cut costs.
4. Found a 6cents on the ground for my found change jar.
5. Listed and sold several items on Ebay to fund my girls’ weekend next month. I want to fund 100% of the trip with “found” money.


Marilyn January 17, 2016 at 4:11 pm

1. After work on Friday, I was very tired and did not feel like cooking. All I had by way of leftovers was leftover pizza. Normally I do not think pizza makes a good leftover, but I re-baked two slices anyway and it was fine. I’m glad I did not go for takeout.
2. A friend gave me a free sample of very nice hand cream from France. It feels almost luxurious using it on my chapped hands. Nothing like free luxury.
3. A neighbor is bringing over her copy of the Oregonian after she reads it. I am a big fan of crossword puzzles and I love doing the daily crossword in the newspaper.
4. I still have five household items listed on CL, but I did sell one item yesterday. They are all things I found cleaning out closets – things we have not used in years. I am not making a profit, but I am happy to get something for them.
5. I am still using an old “flip phone” which was not working well last week. I took it in to the store where the rep inserted a new SIM card and told me “If that doesn’t work, it’s time for a new phone.” But it does work now, so I guess it’s not time for a new model.


Sharon January 17, 2016 at 4:28 pm

I, too, am jealous of trash collectors and the treasures they find!
My five are:
1) Breakfast was slow cooker porridge made from whole grains just languishing in the pantry (brown rice, barley, quinoa and oatmeal) all given to me by people that did not know what to do with them or had too much. Delicious!
2) Walked the dogs twice for exercise (free).
3) dropping off 2 boxes of donation, picking up a free bag of dog food then to the grocery for all the free downloads… All as part of night driving lessons. Multi use of the same fuel!
4) Dinner was leftover mashed potatoes turned into potato pancakes and sausages.
5) Found a dime in the mail today.


Deb January 18, 2016 at 7:20 am

I’m curious. Was the dime in the mailbox? 🙂 Bizarre.


priskill January 18, 2016 at 7:29 am

Wow — never thought of making a porridge of bits and bobs of grain — great idea!


Brenda January 17, 2016 at 4:49 pm

1-had a sleepover for my daughter last night until this morning, then family over this after noon to celebrate, then my husband had friends over for football tonight. Had food that could be carried over from one party to the next! And for football, everyone brought food which fed my immediately family dinner and everyone leaves the leftovers for us.
2- planning a vacation. Renting a house with friends for spring break. It’s very reasonable since it is off season(before summer), will drive the 12 hours, buy groceries and cook while there. Already started my menu planning and grocery list!
3- my father-in-law called to say he loved our Christmas gifts to him- a jar of homemade jam, a bottle of kahlua, and framed pictures of his dog. Only thing I bought was the frame.
4-for my daughter’s birthday we got her a corn bag. I paid $14 for it, but now I will examine it, measure it, and use it as a guide to make a bunch for Christmas next year. Also, it was the only gift we got her(although I do think the parties count as gifts too!) and she was thrilled!
5- for my daughter’s sleepover, I didn’t do favors because I don’t like them, and we did games with what we have around the house. The best one was to take 2 t-shirts, wet them, roll up each into a ball, and freeze in separate bags. Then the first team to work on getting the shirt thawed enough to put on wins the game. Kept them busy for an hour!!


linda January 17, 2016 at 5:31 pm

what is a corn bag?


Jennifer January 17, 2016 at 7:09 pm

I don’t know what a corn bag is either.


Jenny January 17, 2016 at 7:36 pm

It is a cloth bag filled with dry corn that can be heated up in the microwave or put in the freezer, and then used on sore muscles, headaches, or just warm and cozy for sleeping with (or cool in the summer, I suppose). They are also sometimes called magic bags, and can be filled with dry rice or wheat grains instead.


Jennifer January 17, 2016 at 8:29 pm

Oh yeah, I have seen the rice ones.


Ruby January 18, 2016 at 6:17 am

A friend gave me one of those once that’s made of fleece and has some velcro on it so it can be fastened in place. It sure is nice for when my neck aches.


Jennifer January 18, 2016 at 9:22 am

Nice! I think I’m gonna try to make me one of these from an old sock.

Betty Winslow January 18, 2016 at 11:24 am

I’d have thought the corn would pop! 😀


Kim January 18, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Feed corn is used for the corn bags. You can buy it rather reasonably at a feed or farm store. It is also what is used to make the bags for corn hole games. Not all corn pops only popping corn pops. 🙂

Marion January 18, 2016 at 2:12 am

A few dried herbs added to the bag make it smell great when you warm it up.


melanie January 18, 2016 at 9:46 pm

I had never heard of corn bags either. Wheat (barley) bags are common here in NZ (we also use them in the palliative hospital I work in). Many have dried lavender in them also – very soothing. You heat in the microwave for a few minutes ALWAYS with a glass of water as well. I accidentally put one to heat for 30 mins instead of 3 mins once – luckily I smelled it before it fully ignited but it scorched big time and the steam was blinding when I doused it! Needless to say, a refresher page on ‘wheatbag heating policies’ was distributed the next day… whoops


melanie January 18, 2016 at 9:50 pm

Also, MIL gave me a ‘slipper’ version for my birthday – furry top with elasticised opening and wheat filled fleece sole. Very snuggly on a cold night watching Netflix!!


Carol M. January 17, 2016 at 5:51 pm

1. Have skipped cutting hair for four months. Have been bobby pinning my bangs out of the way. Will go next weekend, but I’ve saved a haircut’s worth of money during the wait.
2. Instead of going to happy hour on Friday, we went to a taco stand near our house and got some nice veggie burritos. Made margaritas at home. We must have saved over half what we’d spend at a restaurant.
3. Saturday saw us bringing our own bottle of wine to a restaurant instead of buying it there, and it only cost us $12. It would have cost at least twice that at a restaurant.
4. Ate some leftover split pea soup today that would just go bad.
5. Listening to 99 cent records on our secondhand record player. My fiance got me Helen Reddy “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar” for Christmas. It’s amazing what the spoils of capitalism are…something that was once $20 is now 95% off because it’s used.


janine January 17, 2016 at 5:51 pm

It is extremely cold here in the Midwest. Not too far from our house, an abandoned warehouse is burning – so sorry for firefighters forced to be out in this weather!
1. Returned Xmas gift of pistachios – large expensive tin – bought several meals of groceries at the upscale store from which it came with the store credit I received.
2. Collected a small debt which was added to my $$ for shopping this afternoon so no out of pocket costs.
3. Still using old non-smart phone although I know it can’t last forever.
4. Planned menu using all pantry items on hand for next week, but thankful I was able to do some shopping “for free” today.
5. Spreading the news about the compact to the uninitiated.


Teri January 17, 2016 at 6:54 pm

1. Making my own pom pom trim (I need 3.5 yards and its $4/yd) from a $1 skein of yarn. A little time consuming, but I do it while watching tv.
2. Lovely free meal after church today, I only had to bring a salad and help w/set up, clean up. Brought home several left overs for tomorrow night.
3. Went to a fun surprise party last night, which (surprise to us) turned out to be dinner!
4. Still keeping house at 63-65 even though its 35 degrees outside.
5. Only found a dime this weekend.


Jennifer January 17, 2016 at 7:05 pm

1. I,like Carol, have skipped haircuts for awhile. I foil highlight my own hair, which saves a fortune, but am even quite overdue on that.
2. I am ashamed to stay I have a small gym in my home that I never use. I can even see it from the spot where I sit and let my butt get broader while watching too much TV. I am right now commiting to make use of this asset again. Free exercise indoors is a luxury not everyone has. I am gonna try to not abuse this privilege anymore.
3. I went scuba diving to the bottom of my freezer. I got out three bags of frozen tomatoes that were stuck to the bottom of the freezer AND stuck together, lesson learned. I made a delicious tomato soup that we have been eating on all weekend with grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s very cold here so this is perfect.
4. I made sandwiches for lunch out of the $8 pork loin I had the butcher slice up for me. I froze these in meal sized servings and ended up with 5 packs. I figured that each meal will cost $1.60. That’s pretty good I think!
5.I made pancakes with a few bacon peices in the batter this morning.I made too much batter so I cooked the extra and froze them. These are perfect for the kids to pop into the toaster by themselves for a quick breakfast before school.


Ruby January 17, 2016 at 7:46 pm

I just love “scuba diving to the bottom of my freezer.” That is pretty much what it’s like. 🙂


Jennifer January 17, 2016 at 8:36 pm

I actually had to use a broom handle to unstick the bags from the bottom. I also had to take everything out just to find the tomatoes. I moved stuff I plan to use in the near future closer to the top. I have to literally work for my food


Ruby January 18, 2016 at 6:15 am

We use plastic shoeboxes and baskets ($1 each at dollar stores) in our small chest freezer so that all the soup veggies, fish, etc. has its own home. I still have to do some diving, but taking things out to get at the bottom is a lot easier.


Gina January 17, 2016 at 7:14 pm

1-Still eating from the pantry for the most part. Mostly, I have been making soups, but I did make delicious stir-fry with a frozen package of tofu, crisper veggies (the usual: carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions), bottle of stir-fry sauce uncovered in the pantry and jasmine rice. I feel like I am eating really well!
2-I had to break down and buy some fresh vegetables/fruits. I went to Aldi’s and stocked up on their loss leader stuff like Avocados (49c each), a couple of mangoes (69c each), mandarin oranges (forgot $), celery and flour tortillas for my boys (I prefer corn). It was less than $20 and I have spent less than $30 or my $50 allotted grocery budget this month.
3-I was invited out by friend to “spaghetti night” at a local bakery. On Thursdays, with the purchase of a bakery item ($2-5), you can order a plate of spaghetti for $0.09 (not a typo!) It’s a fun, cheap dinner out. My friends bought my spaghetti and huge oatmeal-raison cookie so complete frugal win for me!
4-To get to the bakery, you can cross a large pedestrian bridge over the Ohio from my city to the neighboring state where the bakery is located. It had warmed up to almost 60F and made for a nice walk and exercise. I am going to try to walk the bridge more often.
5-We had cabin fever, so my two sons and I went to the second-showing (aka cheap) theatre to see “In the Heart of the Sea” over the weekend. It was pretty good!


Gina January 17, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Make that an oatmeal-RAISIN cookie (that is a typo! 🙂 )


Bettypants January 18, 2016 at 4:22 am

Raison cookies sound fancier.


melanie January 18, 2016 at 9:57 pm



Gina January 18, 2016 at 12:39 pm

What’s the name of the bakery?


Gina January 19, 2016 at 7:58 pm

LOL! It does sound more fancy! 🙂 The bakery is called Adrienne’s and is located in Jeffersonville, IN.


Gina January 21, 2016 at 1:41 pm

Thank you! I was thinking it might be in KY. We have a pedestrian bridge across the Ohio river too.


Monica. January 17, 2016 at 7:19 pm

1. We made Italian meatloaf for dinner, using up an opened red pasta sauce in place of tomato sauce.

2. DH cleaned out the freezer and thawed an extra pumpkin pie and rolls from the holidays.

3. I hung 2 loads of laundry.

4. We watched The Martian for free, thanks to doing Google reward surveys & earning credits.

5. Cashed out $10.50 from a survey account to go into our emergency fund.


Beth Anne January 17, 2016 at 7:37 pm

1. $3 in returnable bottles deducted from my grocery bil.

2. Made 8 quarts of beef barley vegetable soup out of things in the freezer/pantry and froze a lot for future meals.

3. Got great deals on meat at the grocery store – 49 cents a pound chicken legs and 99 cents chicken breasts. Stuck to my shopping list made from the sale circular.

4. Inputted my Everydollar updates today, so far so good, nothing extravagant.

5. Saved 12 cents a gallon on gas today compared to the other stations in the area.

6. Earned an extra $100 this weekend doing pet sitting with my daughter which will go into her braces/my car repair account. Had fun to boot! She has fun playing with the dogs and cats.

7. Reading the free magazines I signed up for through Hip to Save.


Kim January 17, 2016 at 7:49 pm

1. Did 3 quick mystery shops(display audits) Friday on my way home from work and 2 on Saturday while doing errands. $24 now in my PayPal account. Picked up 3 to do tomorrow before work to make another $12. College fund!
2. I was at charity shop when they opened for their every other Saturday 50¢ clothing clearance. Bought 32 pieces for $16. Got 2 pairs of Nautica khakis for DS#2, 2 pairs of pants for me and a brand new pair of Dockers for DH. Lots of Hollister, AE and Aeropostale which I will take to Plato’s Closet for cash since it’s for girls and I have boys. Also got Lucky, Ralph Lauren and 7 for Humanity jeans plus 2 men’s London Fog raincoats which I will probably EBay. All like new! Again college fund.
3. Found 19 handcreams in the Christmas clearance at Walgreens for 90% off while doing #1. Our church will be doing Winter Relief for the homeless next month so these will be perfect for the women’s hospitality bags.
4. Made a lovely dinner of pork loin(marked down $2 so $2.75), scalloped potatoes(used up potatoes that were getting a little shriveled and some whole milk left from son being home from college)and broccoli which I got 50¢ rebate from an app. Delicious and I’ve already packed my lunch for tomorrow!
5. Enjoying the case of 3 dozen Honeybell oranges we received as a gift. They are delicious and I’m soaking the peels in vinegar to make natural cleaner.


Bee January 18, 2016 at 4:50 am

I wish our charity shop was that inexpensive!


LisaC January 18, 2016 at 5:27 am

What is your recipe for the natural cleaner?


Tina S. January 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

I’m not Kim, but I make a similar natural cleaner: soak citrus peels in vinegar for 6 to 8 weeks, then strain. Use the vinegar for cleaning (but do not use on granite or marble). Works great and smells good too.


Isabelle January 19, 2016 at 9:43 am

Tina, you’re having me worried!!!! I use my mix of vinegar+water on my marble (or granit, can’t remember) counter!!!! Why shouldn’t I?


Kim January 18, 2016 at 4:59 pm

I soak them in a large canning jar for 3-4 weeks and then strain. I then pour it into a spray bottle and add 2 parts water to 1 part citrus vinegar. You can also set some aside to use as straight, but much better smelling vinegar for cleaning.

I just read where someone, after making her orange vinegar, puts the peels in an ice cube tray and adds water and pops in the freezer. She will than use a cube or 2 to clean the garbage disposal every week. What a great idea! I have always just put the peels in the compost after their vinegar bath.


Lee January 17, 2016 at 8:15 pm

1) Found a 4-kb package of ground beef marked 50% off. It came out to $1.99/lb and will provide at least 6 meals.
2) Brought my lunch to work 4 days this week, using food we already had in the house. I have a project to use up the odds and ends of condiments lurking in the fridge so my salads have had a lot of capers recently.
3) At a day-long work event, I was provided with free breakfast and lunch.
4) I joined a carpool for one of my kids’ activities. This will save time and lots of gas.
5) The carpool group had a potluck. My daughter and I brought two salads and the leftovers were my lunch the next day. We had a good dinner and a great time.
6) I found organic chocolate bars and seaweed snacks (coveted by my kids) in the clearance section of the local market, so the chocolate bars were 99 cents and the seaweed snacks were 50 cents.
7) I packed the kids’ lunches for school mostly using leftovers from dinners in reusable containers. They bring filtered tap water in their stainless steel water bottles.


priskill January 18, 2016 at 8:00 am

Man — condiments — they reproduce in there. Good idea.


Lee January 18, 2016 at 3:15 pm

Oh, I forgot to say that I brought home a box of leftover pastries (scones and muffins) from work. They were from a local and very delicious bakery and usually each item costs $3 so this was a highly unusual treat for the family.


tonya parham January 17, 2016 at 9:51 pm

1. Ate every meal at home today–hummus toast for breakfast, black bean taco salad for lunch and popcorn for dinner. (I love popcorn for dinner. Odd? Yes! Make me happy? YES!)

2. Did another 3 hours to try to earn certification for the grading job I wanted– I didn’t pass. So, no job there. I’m pretty sad about that– because it paid fairly decent and I could work from home. However, I did make about $100 doing the training and that’s nothing to sneeze at. It will go directly into savings.

3. Canceled my Amazon Prime as my spouse and I both have Prime accounts. We will keep just my spouse’s as it is connected to our Amazon firestick. ($49 for Student account!)

4. Signed up for the Overdrive app so I can listen to audiobooks on my phone and cancel audible, ($16 a month!)

5. I didn’t leave the house today which means I didn’t go buy ANYTHING. I’m going to have more of those days in the coming weeks as I seriously have to reign in my spending for the next month!


Bettypants January 18, 2016 at 4:36 am

1. I sold a boy scout shirt on ebay for $10 that I had bought at a rummage sale previously for $1.
2. Bought a huge bag of russet potatoes from Aldi this week and I am determined not to let any go to waste. We had baked potatoes for dinner on Friday night, and I made a new recipe on Sunday – seasoned parm wedges.
3. Sticking with my resolution to find five items each day to get rid of, and listed many assorted items on our local sale boards. I have meets pending this week for $54, including two lots of outgrown boys’ clothes.
4. A big chip in the paint on one wall in our kitchen has been staring at me. I filled the nail holes, sanded down the chip, and touched it all up with fresh paint. Free project and it looks so much better.
5. Finally ordered the $3 part to fix the one side of my shower door. I should have done that a LONG time ago. It was a snap and now both sides roll again.
Frugal fail: two of the Xbox games my son asked for and received for Christmas require an internal hard drive, which we don’t have. So I will be ordering one of those.


Bee January 18, 2016 at 5:23 am

I am so happy that I found the NCA! It is nice to know that others try to live frugally and mindfully. It is very encouraging. It also made me realize how ingrained my frugal habits are. Every time I think that I can’t possibly come up with five, I do.
1) I just filled the crock pot with chicken broth and a dozen large boneless chicken breast (8lbs). They were 1/2 price this week. When cooked , I will shread them and freeze the cooked chicken in 2 cup servings – the basis for a lot of quick and thrifty meals.
2) At the grocery store this week, they had large basil plants for the same price as a bunch of basil. I bought the plant instead. I will keep in the kitchen now and plant it in the spring. Hopefully I will have basil through the summer.
3) We had popcorn for snack yesterday which was popped by my hubby on the stove top. Total cost was probably $0.20.
4) It was sunny this weekend. I took two long walks. One on the beach and one on a walking trail. I love to walk and hike! Also, I found a penny when out.
5) I am reading Amy Tan’s book, The Valley of Amazement. It is a thrifted copy. It is not as inexpensive as the library, but a lot of entertainment for $0.50.


Diane January 18, 2016 at 5:30 am

Pretty much a No Spend January for me beyond food and gas. I am allowing myself to use free money I receive from surveys for small pleasures. (Scarborough Research actually sends you small amounts of cash in the mail!)

I went to a free library printmaking demo and exhibit during Print Austin month this past weekend. And was inspired to make my own prints from materials on hand. I’ll use the prints for cards I give to hospice. Also made bracelets for Craft Hope using bits in my craft closet. So much fun fora wonderful cause.


LisaC January 18, 2016 at 5:33 am

1. Brought home a veggie tray left over from an event at work. Divided it up: froze the carrots, put the cucumbers n squash in the fridge for snacks, chopped up the broccoli for soup, used the lettuce that decorated the tray for a great salad.
2. Made soup from the broccoli and leftover steak I brought home from a family holiday meal: made enough for two meals.
3. Found some good bread from a holida meal that we never used, baked it to serve with the soup.
4. Cleaned my bathroom with vinegar: there was some mildew up high in the corners.
5. Natural gas is cheaper than electricity here, so I used the fireplace to heat the living room and turned down the electric heat pump.

Frugal fail: My crockpot wasn’t heating like it used to. It is over 20 years old, so I went online, found a coupon for $5 off and free shipping, and bought a new one with good reviews. I love cooking in a crockpot, and I don’t want to cook at an unsafe temperature, so I didn’t want to risk looking for a used one.


Jennifer January 18, 2016 at 6:30 am

Probably not a fail because it will pay for itself in no time. Also, it’s very sad to have to throw away a pricey cut of meat that was cooked inappropriately making it unsafe to eat due to a crockpot failure.


LisaC January 18, 2016 at 12:22 pm

You’re right, Jennifer, thank you! I’m excited about the crockpot, the inside can be used on the stove first to sautee, then put inside the base to slow cook. One less dish to wash. 🙂


Lucy January 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Getting 20 years of use from a small appliance is frugal in my book!


tonya parham January 18, 2016 at 2:57 pm


I have a big crockpot that is twenty now and I don’t think it cooks any less hot that it did– but I’m also vegetarian and mostly use it for oats and they are done in the morning so it’s all good.

I did read somewhere that older models (pre-1999 I believe) all cook at a lower temp than they do now and the company made them heat hotter to avoid any food safety issue.


nancy from mass January 18, 2016 at 6:46 am

I’ve been doing pretty well the last week….
1. picked up my mom for the long weekend – it’s her 88th birthday today. I was going to bring her home yesterday, but my brother is picking her up after work (he works in Boston so instead of heading north to NH to go home, he’ll head west to my house and then north with my mom – dropping her off on his way). saves me 160miles in gas! dinner will be burgers (with vacuum packed 90% lean in the freezer), mac and cheese and HM rolls. all pantry items.
2. On saturday, my wonderful nephew and his wife and 2 girls came to visit to see us and my mom. Had a large roaster in the deep freeze and a split chicken breast. Roasted that with carrots and made my moms baked rice and homemade rolls from Frugal Girls recipe. also had home made pudding made from dry milk powder my mother received for free from the senior center (she didn’t want it). didn’t buy a single thing for the entire days worth of meals!
3. meals yesterday were chicken rice soup (broth made in crock pot from bones) and leftover rolls for meals.
4. sent hubby to grocery store for .59 pasta sale so we could stock up. 5 boxes is all he bought. will last us a while.
5. brought my mom to the new AC Moore near me so she could buy some yarn (she makes wheelchair blankets to hand out at the nursing homes she sings at (still singing at 88!! 🙂 I didn’t buy anything, but brought my coupons so she could take advantage of some savings.
6. having my windshield replaced tomorrow – free because of our insurance.


K D January 18, 2016 at 7:10 am

1. I made pancakes for dinner last night. I always make a triple batch so there are leftovers. Frozen pancakes (reheated in the microwave are one of my husband’s favorite breakfasts).

2. I checked our credit reports. There are three credit bureaus and you are allowed to check each one once a year for free. Every four months a I check one of mine and one of my husbands.

3. I signed up for Hungry Harvest. I will receive a box of “recovered” produce each week, a “poor” person will receive free produce and homeless people will be employed. It might not be as cheap as loss leaders at the store but I am willing to try it (I can cancel at any time). It may not be frugal for me (we’ll see) but should be good for the environment and economy overall. We have wiggle room in our budget, at this stage in our lives, so I think this is a good use of our money.

4. I went to Walgreens to get vitamins. They had buy one get one 50% off, I printed and used two $4 off coupons, found the bottles with 10% free and used a store coupon to receive 5000 points (equal to $5 or more) for my purchase. I also received 5000 points for spending $30 on vitamins. So it was 440 Centrum Silver vitamins for $12.

5. It is cold out but I will bundle up and walk to the grocery to buy vegetables on sale (and score a free bag of baby carrots).


Gina January 19, 2016 at 8:04 pm

Hungry Harvest sounds like a great concept!


priskill January 18, 2016 at 7:51 am

1. Ate up leftover cheese pie for breakfast and last bit of lentils for lunch yesterday.
2. Roasted $3.50 whole chicken for dinner (with marked down precut butternut squash and 5 little red potatoes leftover from sometime in December). Repeating meal on Tuesday and plan to make leftovers into soup. Salad from combo of way marked down “Bag o” iceberg and head of red leaf lettuce.
3. Backside of Speedo wearing out (Aquafit classes several times a week). Had bought a replacement that didn’t quite fit, so returned it and bought a $4.00 pair of little running shorts to cover up the backside — I think this will last til Summer, maybe? Would not be caught DEAD in minuscule shorts anywhere else 🙂
4. Making birthday cake for husband — 49 cent Pillsbury cake mix with addition of marked down dark chocolate bits and maybe kahlua and 1 can of chocolate frosting. Husband believes, “Dessert should be Brown!”
5. Will use the overabundance of lettuce to take salads to work this week . . .


Is it a need or a want January 18, 2016 at 8:16 am

When I was a student we frequently would wear two wearing out suits on top of each other when this situation would occur.


MW January 18, 2016 at 7:57 am

1- Scored several next-size-up pants for my older son from Salvation Army for $0.67 a piece. I’m finally figuring out their tag system.
2- Made enough dough for six pizzas for the freezer. Easy dinners for later.
3- Found bits of cotton worsted yarn in my bin and I’m making some replacement pot holders for my worn out ones.
4- My Dad is going on vacation, so I got a load of perishables from his fridge. I’m pretty excited by fresh veggies. My budget dictated frozen vegetables for this week, so fresh broccoli is pretty darn exciting.
5- Getting creative with meals to use up odds and ends (see entry #4). I have more sour cream than one family should ever have. Thankfully it is my preferred brand.


priskill January 18, 2016 at 8:12 am

Can one ever have enough sour cream? 😉


cathy January 18, 2016 at 1:50 pm

MW, when I make pizza dough, I try to make enough for extra pizzas (sometimes mini pizzas). Instead of freezing the dough, I started par-baking the crusts and freezing those. Now, whenever I need a quick meal, all I have to do is pull out the frozen crust, add toppings and bake. It works even better if I use leftover sauce since it also needs to heat up.


Beth January 18, 2016 at 8:30 am

1. I used up a limp zucchini by making zucchini muffins this weekend-and they were delicious, which means that I ate them all. I’m not sure my waistline will appreciate it, but at least I didn’t waste the zucchini!
2. Ate leftovers all weekend to avoid food waste
3. Did not buy anything new this weekend-in fact, returned a few things that I received for Christmas. Now, I have a small cash fund to use for coffee (which may not be frugal for me, but it’s frugal for my local, neighborhood coffee shop).
4. Remembered to download the free Kroger coupon on Saturday (a bag of popcorn!!). Although Frugal Fail: I did not remember to download Sunday’s free coupon 🙁
5. Washed out a freezer bag, reused a paper lunch sack (and will continue to reuse it as it’s still in good shape), cleaned my house without purchasing more disposable Clorox wipes, made a batch of clean-out-the-fridge soup for lunches for me this week, and spent $20 under my grocery budget.


Florencia January 18, 2016 at 9:48 pm

I forgot to get that freebie! I did remember to get Sunday’s. I hope you remember today’s! It’s a 6-pack of bottled flavored water.


JD January 18, 2016 at 9:06 am

1. Cut up a whole chicken and cooked part of it by roasting pieces in the oven, and the rest of it by making chicken tenders in the skillet the next day.
2. I saved all the bones, cooked and raw, and made a nice stock in the crock pot by adding celery leaves, onion ends, and rosemary and chives from our yard. I try to use a minimum of three ways to cook a chicken, which is usually easy because I get local free-range chickens that weigh about five pounds each. That gives me plenty to cook.
3. Watched “Master and Commander” this weekend for free with my TV antenna.
4. Hung laundry up to dry, both outside and on my drying rack.
5. Created a small-sized cheesy potato casserole with leftover boiled potatoes that I heated, mashed and mixed with cheese, milk and butter and topped with breadcrumbs then baked along with the main dish. My husband is now asking for a big dish of it.


Cheyanne January 18, 2016 at 9:11 am

I wanted to be a garbage collector when I was a kid because I thought trash trucks were SO COOL! Now I kind of want to be a garbage collector because hello government job with great benefits! 😉

1. A pharmacy rep brought lunch in to the office including 15 (FIFTEEN!) pizzas for a staff of 23. I took a whole (medium) cheese pizza home along with a leftover container of hummus and a couple of cookies for a (FREE with NO CLEANUP) hot date at home 😉

2. Totally cleaned out the fridge and freezer Saturday morning which only took about 20 minutes (progress!) and I didn’t have to toss as much as I was worried I might. Had a hod-podge brunch of a bunch of leftovers that were about to go bad before heading to the grocery store.

3. Made some vegan red beans and rice from items I already had in my pantry/freezer/vegetable drawer. They were DELICIOUS.

4. Tried to make my own yarn bowl out of some air-dry clay I had on hand. With hilarious results. Whatever, it was a fun (and messy!) way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 🙂

5. I didn’t buy anything that wasn’t a necessity this weekend 🙂


Vickie January 18, 2016 at 9:36 am

Wow! Leather furniture? That is awesome!!

1) We headed south to see friends over the weekend and had a wonderful time. Hubby pitched in on the food & beverage cost and the meals and company were divine.
2) I’m off today, so no fuel cost.
3) I used my Harbor Freight coupon last week to pick-up a tarp we need here on the farm
4) We stayed in a hotel while visiting our friends, so I scored more shampoo & conditioner samples – I use them to shave my legs.
5) Fixing baked chicken, potatoes and veggies for dinner tonight – all from my freezer and cupboard.


Isabelle January 18, 2016 at 9:55 am

* Working an extra 3.5 hours today. Hoping for another extra 3.5 hours tomorrow.
* Because the extra hours were unexpected, I didn’t have a lunch. Lucky me, there was an extra tray (I work at an hospital) so free lunch for me.
* Took an inventory of the freezers and cupboards and wrote it down, so this way I’ll be able to actually use ingredients instead of just buying more because I’m unsure of what I have.
* Promised daughter we would do something special just her and I this week. Usually this would involve something costing money, like eating out. But since our budget is reduced, I am looking for something free like going swimming at my gym (not free, but already paid for) or going skating, or going to the museum (free from 5h pm to 9h pm on Thursdays). She understands that money needs to be spent carefully.
* Needed a basket to contain my multiple Tupperware plastic lids, so I just grabbed a box holding clementines and it fits perfectly

Have a great frugal day!


morgan January 18, 2016 at 11:03 am

I love reading these, so now I’m going to contribute 🙂
1. Finally have enough points from doing surveys for a $50 amazon gift card.
2. Went to a local children’s store to create registry for baby #2 (only need a few more cloth diapers) Purchased some used at $10 each (a steal!) and got $10 coupon for registering there! pays to shop local!
3. Batched errands in town and returned some Christmas gifts, $50 in my pocket.
4. Only spent $30 on groceries instead of the $75 allotted, but left a bag at the store 🙁 this would be a frugal fail, but I called Kroger and they said I could bring my receipt in and get the items again at no extra cost!
5. Did some side work grant writing for a local charity so at the end of the month I will get a small check 🙂


A. Marie January 18, 2016 at 11:16 am

I’m late to the party, but here’s my FFT, Snowbound Federal Holiday edition:

(1) Working on a count of birds at my feeders for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch. This project helps keep me sane in the dead of winter when the garden’s finally shut down.

(2) Completed my page for a celebration journal that a dear friend’s daughter is putting together for the friend’s 90th birthday. (A great birthday idea for an older person who, like my friend, absolutely does not want any more stuff.)

(3) Am enjoying the various comments about garbage collectors and their great trashpicking scores. An ex-stepbrother-in-law who died last month (RIP Jimmy) once drove a trash truck for a medium-sized Southern city, and had his own set of stories.

(4) Am also enjoying Katy’s latest series of Goodwill photos on Instagram (to which she links through Twitter, which is how I see them).

(5) Have just finished reading Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home (purchased with a Barnes & Noble Xmas gift card). My response is a lot like my response to the Marie Kondo book on tidying up: I think the author is over the edge in some respects–but she also has many good ideas, so I’m trying hard to focus on those.



Diane C January 18, 2016 at 11:23 am

Our across-the-street neighbor in the house I grew up in was a trash collector. He told the best stories and brought home the neatest things. In our town, the trash collectors started early and were done when they finished their routes. He was often home in the afternoons and was kind of a neighborhood Dad. He was a ton of fun, and I think his tales and generosity (he and my dad would rebuild and donate bikes to needy kids from the stuff Bud scavenged) influenced my frugal approach to life. God bless you, over there in the frugal part of heaven, Bud Fisher.


cindi January 18, 2016 at 11:30 am

My brother-in-law has a small river house next to a fancy river community…
Some months back he showed us an ultra large house where the owner ended up in jail for running a Ponzi scheme…while I was horrified by that, (apparently he bilked his own family!) I was more upset by the stories I heard of their profligate behavior, apparently they threw out their pool furniture and pillows, grills, etc. at the end of every year rather than store them…
The neighbors would divy up the goods as soon as their car left and I think I sat on a purloined pillow later that day!


A. Marie January 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm

“The Case of the Purloined Pillow”? Wasn’t that the title of a mystery by Agatha Cheapskate? 🙂


Betty Winslow January 18, 2016 at 11:40 am

1. Enjoying free video games on my new Kindle Fire, plus several books downloaded from our library.
2. Continuing to drink unsweetened homemade iced tea rather than Coke. Cheaper, better for me, and my older son likes it too.
3. Cleaned out under the bathroom and kitchen sinks this week – oh, my, I have a LOT of cleaning supplies! Maybe I need to clean more often? Definitely need to not buy any more for a long while!
4. Had some cider that turned to vinegar; instead of pouring it out like I have in the past, I decanted it into jars and will use for cleaning. (I know, more cleaning supplies…. LOL)
5. Sold a thick hardcover book that was on my list on; the padded envelopes I bought weren’t big enough, but I had a larger one I’d salvaged from something I got in the mail, so I’ll just cover the labels!


Amanda January 18, 2016 at 11:55 am

Ugh, the energy and work it would take to buy all new furniture every five years is almost as much a deterrent to me as the expense and the waste. My goal is exactly the opposite. To one day have a house full of well-loved, high-quality pieces my grandchildren will pass to their grandchildren. I’ll be it was an interesting conversation.

Here are my five:
1. At the Goodwill today I found two pair of jeans that fit my weirdly shaped post-partum body, a bunch of clothes for all three kids, a nice pair of black shoes to replace my worn out black church shoes, and a table lamp for my husband’s desk. For everything that wasn’t already 50% off, I was able to use my 20% off discount card that I received for four donations.
2. I resisted picking up lunch even though I was out at lunch time and hungry (my mom took the kids to see family for a couple hours, and I had to take advantage of the time–lunch can wait!).
3. I shopped at Aldi. I am always stunned how a full cart doesn’t even add up to $100 at that store. And it is so well-organized and efficient. I love that place.
4. Cooked up a bunch of things that were about to go bad last night.
5. Bought another car seat base. We haven’t needed a second one until now (and we’re on kid number three), but our complicated lives means my husband and I both need a base in the car. It will cut down on multiple trips across town, not that saving gas generates a lot of savings these days. 🙂 I was able to use some Amazon credit I had just sitting there for most of the expense, so the hit to the wallet didn’t feel as sharp.


cathy January 18, 2016 at 2:12 pm

1. Baked orange-chocolate chip biscotti last night, which my family loves. All ingredients on hand. I plan to bake a few more batches to use up the oranges. Two of them were purchased when we were in Florida for my MIL’s birthday and brought home along with other leftover food.
2. I’ve been cleaning the house this month using a variety of motivating tools: Apartment Therapy’s “January Cure”, Peter Walsh’s “31Days2GetOrganized”, and Mario Kondo’s new book “Spark Joy” (a gift). Have found items to put in our yard sale box. Also organized the drawer where I keep greeting cards. This was useful for…
3. We just learned a friend and former colleague of my husband’s passed away. Have an appropriate condolence card in my stash.
4. Continuing efforts to use up food in fridge/freezer/pantry and avoid grocery store as much as possible. I knew I had beets in the fridge, but discovered I didn’t use the greens and they were all slimy. This (of course) led to a complete clean out and wash down of the drawer. Now I know what else needs to be eaten right away. 🙂 Tonight we’re having roasted beets & yams and husband is making steak, defrosted from packages bought on sale several months ago.
5. Husband just got a brand new winter coat, a gift from his employer!


Charli January 19, 2016 at 4:29 am

I’m making good headway using up things in my pantry that have sat there unused for too long. I used a movie voucher gift to take my son to the movies. My daughter refused to come. Really wanting her to come with us I said she either had to come or stay home and clean the house. Believe it or not she chose the 2nd option and I returned from the movie (having had a great time) to a really surprisingly clean house! We drove to the beach really early rising at 4:30 to have a 6am swim and a bbq breakfast at the beach before returning home for my husband to go to work at 9am. The kids are on school holidays right now. We did this 3 days in a row and it felt like a holiday. We met someone we knew who was renting a (very nice) holiday unit over the Rd from the beach and she was paying over $2000 Australian dollars for the week. Hearing this we felt pretty happy that we were only paying for a bit of fuel and enjoyed floating about in the beautiful ocean even more.


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