Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 29, 2016 · 85 comments

Cheapo burrito

  1. I served delicious yet frugal burritos that featured red peppers from the scratch-and-dent produce shelf at The Grocery Outlet. (I had to cut a small soft section from one of the peppers, but that’s it. 99¢ for two red peppers, plus a head of broccoli.) I cooked the black beans in the crock pot and shook out the last crumbly bits from a bag of Juanita’s tortilla chips for extra crunch. Yup, living frugally is a terrible sacrifice.
  2. I darned a sock for a co-worker while watching the last few episodes of Jessica Jones last night. This is my version of “Netflix and chill.”
  3. I received my third every-other-week paycheck of the month today, which is always an enjoyable payday. Frugal is great, frugal plus extra income is amazing!
  4. My husband will be spending a few days at the Oregon coast with his family to celebrate his father’s 80th birthday. I’ll be sending him with a cooler of food and pre-prepared meals to minimize the restaurant action. Eating out is special and to be savored, but not when it’s every meal.
  5. I brought my own food for every work shift this week, I enjoyed my library books while wearing my Dollar Tree reading glasses, I listened to Dave Ramsey podcasts while puttering around the house, I gave away some unworn socks through my buy-nothing group, I submitted another Clark Howard article, I cut my husband’s hair and I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexia January 29, 2016 at 10:36 am

Just in case you aren’t aware — “Netflix and chill” is not a way of saying relaxing while watching Netflix. It’s code for having sex. So maybe you meant what you wrote, but I figured there were reasonable odds that you didn’t. 🙂


Katy January 29, 2016 at 10:52 am

Oh no . . . I meant what I wrote.


Bettypants January 29, 2016 at 11:02 am

Ha ha!

My coworker kept using that phrase around the office for his weekend plans. Although I found it to be hilarious, I finally filled him on the slang.


Jennifer January 29, 2016 at 11:03 am



Alexia January 29, 2016 at 11:14 am

Now I feel you desperately need to add a “Like” button to these comments!


SKM January 29, 2016 at 11:29 am

HA – I did not know that was what “Netflix and chill” meant. I am grateful to this group for your ideas on frugality **AND** saving me from faux pas. ;-p


Jennifer January 29, 2016 at 11:51 am

My mom says this all the time! She totally doesn’t know, bet she tells it to everyone she works with.

Bee January 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm

You learn so much reading the NCA!

Krystal January 30, 2016 at 4:44 pm

OMG this is funny. I use this term all the time and in our house it means, pizza, beer and Friends reruns 😀


Marilyn January 29, 2016 at 12:53 pm

This is news to me!


Ruby January 29, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Me too!


Isabelle January 29, 2016 at 3:47 pm

Ah! Didn’t know that!


Bobbi January 29, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Several weeks ago, I had to ask my two daughters (late teens, early 20’s) if this phrase/code was common knowledge, because I had run across it in a deposition transcript at work, and it was news to me! My kids were like, “Duh!”

Betty Winslow January 29, 2016 at 10:41 am

1. The PTA was serving dinner after school for the teachers who had conferences, so I stayed after to get some stuff caught up and had a free dinner (soup, salad, and cut-up fruit from Costco).
2. One of our teachers is cleaning out her basement of primary materials (she now teaches 4th) and it was up for grabs, so I grabbed some of the stuff for my 3 yo granddaughter and a friend’s dino-mad grandson, plus a couple of things to add to our visiting-toddler toybox.
3. Got some great grocery deals this week, but they were offset by my husband’s buying the wrong sized items for the buy 6, get $3 off deal.
4. Son spilled a bottle of beer all down our carpeted steps, but instead of running out to rent a Rug Doctor, I’ve got a FB call out to borrow a rug cleaner.
5. Salvaged some institutional sized items from our church kitchen that would not get used and will be taking them to the local soup kitchen.


A. Marie January 29, 2016 at 10:43 am

Very pretty burrito! That’s a better food photo than some of the ones Martha Stewart Tweets from restaurants. FFT from Upstate NY:

(1) Finally got that haircut, but skipped the shampoo and saved $4.
(2) Dropped some donations off at a thrift shop, but managed to avoid buying anything except a metal strainer (for use as a cat litter scoop) and two votive candles (which I use in the winter to lift our spirits).
(3) Have been remembering to bring my own bags and/or refuse plastic bags all week. Working on that Bea Johnson Zero Waste thing, although I don’t agree with a few of her ideas. (I had a similar reaction to the first Marie Kondo book.)
(4) Working on repotting/dividing houseplants as another winter spirit-lifter.
(5) Hosted Neighborhood Watch meeting here last night. Keeping neighbors alert, aware, and looking out for each other = priceless.


Katy January 29, 2016 at 10:53 am

I’m curious which Bea Johnson (Zero Waste Home) ideas you disagree with.


Alexia January 29, 2016 at 11:16 am

I’m curious, too. There were some things that I found impractical to implement for my family, but nothing that I disagreed with in principle.


A. Marie January 29, 2016 at 11:19 am

In general, I’m not likely to buy as many things in bulk or lug around as many glass jars as she does. (But this is my 60-year-old, incipient-arthritis, half-of-a-childless-couple perspective; I do realize that other people’s situations are different.)

I was also mildly irritated by a few recommendations reflecting a higher socioeconomic level than the one many of us live at. (I’m not, for example, likely to “choose a delivery service so [I] don’t have to deal with pickups and dropoffs” for dry cleaning; I’d rather just do without the dry cleaning!)

All that said, I’m also glad to say that the book does have a great many useful ideas, and I’m not throwing the baby out with the bathwater by any means. I’m only just now getting around to commenting on the book because I’ve only just read it (I got it at Barnes & Noble with a Christmas gift card).


Katy January 29, 2016 at 11:51 am

Ahh . . . thank you for the clarification.


Mand01 January 29, 2016 at 2:52 pm

I haven’t read the book, and I hate it when people drop their two cents in when they haven’t read it. But I’m doing it anyway. It strikes me that in this particular example (the dry cleaning example) choosing a delivery service is not really zero waste. It’s just pushing your waste onto someone else to create. I guess if that person is bundling a batch of deliveries it might reduce the net waste of many people picking up single dry cleaning. Overall though that one truck would still be going to individual homes so the waste reduction would be minimal in real terms.


cathy January 29, 2016 at 11:16 pm

This has been a complaint I’ve read about Bea Johnson–that *she* might be zero waste, but sometimes it’s because she’s shifted the waste to someone else. Another example I’ve seen cited is that when they subscribed to Netflix DVD service (in and of itself not zero waste, and certainly not compared w/ getting the streaming service), she protested the fact that the DVD mailer had an extraneous tab by mailing the tab back to Netflix with the DVD. I guess she figured it was their waste? I was also surprised that she purchased compostable toothbrushes online from…Australia? I think she could have sourced toothbrushes that were, at least, recyclable without as few air miles.
All that said, she does have some excellent ideas and I thought her book was well worth the read (and trip to the library to borrow it!).

A. Marie January 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Mand01 and cathy have made an excellent point about the “side-shifting” of waste, and I wish I’d thought of that myself. What I was trying to say originally boils down to this: I think that a few pieces of Johnson’s advice don’t work for those of us who may be older, differently abled, and/or living in less “desirable” areas on more modest incomes. As another example, I’d take her recommendations about home-swapping/short-term home rental during vacations: I don’t think this would quite work for DH and me, given our rather eccentric residence in the dear old dirty Rust/Snow Belt. 🙂

MW January 29, 2016 at 11:33 am

1- Made spectacular tostadas with odds and ends from the fridge- even baked shells!
2- Made 1 hour home-made bread- thank you for the idea!
3- Made a vat of soup, then froze servings for work. I’ll make more this weekend to have a touch of variety in my work lunches.
4- My husband didn’t like the haircuts I was giving to the boys, so now he’s taking over. I don’t care WHO does it, as long as we aren’t paying for it.
5- Signed up for a tasting panel, hopefully I’ll be picked. I’m exploring ways to pick up some money around my already full-time job. My husband has been job hunting for 2 years, but trying to find something that pays enough to cover the price of daycare for two small kids is a challenge.


kathleen January 29, 2016 at 11:38 am

1.) I made and mailed 2 birthday cards and 4 notecards all from supplies on hand this week. (I included a letter in each, which puts me well on my way for yet another year of mailing 52 letters in 52 weeks. Have I told you lately how much I appreciate your inspiration for this?)
2.) We are having a VERY mild winter (even for us) here in South Texas, which means our heating bills are really low. Not really a frugal effort on my part, but very nice!
3.) We have massively reduced the number of meals we eat out and food waste at home. I did have a pretty awful FAIL this week experimenting with leftovers, but hey, no one was harmed, no one left the table hungry, and no $ was spent.
4.) I found two unopened rolls of my favorite shelf liner tucked away in a cupboard, which means I won’t have to purchase any to put on newly painted shelving in our laundry room.
5.) I stayed home rather than going to an auction this week.


Linda January 29, 2016 at 5:27 pm

We live in South Texas too (Rio Grande Valley) and we’ve even had to run the a/c some this winter. I will take it–mild winters are why we live here. Mild winters with not much heat being used, however, are offset by our brutal summers in which a/c has to run almost 24/7.


kathleen January 29, 2016 at 7:08 pm

Had to laugh, Linda, because I would bet $ that you wouldn’t think I am in ‘South’ Texas at all. When I moved here from the coast, I sure didn’t, but after 30 years I have given in to what the majority here call it. I’m near San Antonio.

Texas summers are BRUTAL. I do not like them one bit. My entire family does however, and I kind of like THEM, so I stay. 🙂


Elise @ Simply Scaled Down January 29, 2016 at 11:39 am

Great job!!
Today was shopping day (which doesn’t feel frugal) but I swear it was!
1) I stopped by aldis and got 3 big bags of grociers (mostly produce) for $50
2) I filled up my car with Costco gas which was $1.89! woot!
3) I said no about a bazillion times to my kids begging for candy or toys!
4) I returned our library books (no fines! woot) and checked out a few movies for the weekend.
5) I got my first sponsored giveaway products, so now I get a free product and hopefully can give some away, too!


Bettypants January 29, 2016 at 11:46 am

1. Walked to the library on my lunch hour and picked up my hold book, along with a stack of magazines and a few cookbooks.
2. Sold a pair of lamps today for $10, and $17 of household items yesterday. The annoying woman who was picking up a $5 dog leash no-showed and rescheduled 4 times. I wanted to clunk her in the head with it when she finally arrived.
3. My frugal fail Lia Sophia order arrived and I’m not in love with 2 of the items, so I listed them on ebay.
4. I got a raise at work. It’s just a cost of living one, but still.
5. Rounded up a bunch of plain pencils at work (promotional ones – nobody here uses plain pencils EVER) and gave them to my son for school.


Jennifer January 29, 2016 at 11:47 am

1. Skipping shampooing my hair some days. Still haven’t got that trim either. I am shaving my legs,pits,etc. Actually a little less because it’s winter*wink. I’m also still wearing my old clothes and am happy to do so.
2.My husband and I have been bartering services. We just had a roof installed on our home and our roofer needed some work done from us so we struck a deal that saved us both money. We did the same thing with the endodontist that did my root canal. Never hurts to casually bring it up even if you don’t feel you know the person well. A lot of people would rather barter services than hand over actual money.If you can’t trade even then you might at least get a significantly reduced rate.
3.Picked up Free Friday Downloads from Kroger today. Trident gum, Uncle Ben’s flavored rice, and Butterfingers candy. These are such great freebies. Trident gum will go with my daughter’s Valentine’s treats. The butterfingers are mine!
4.Put my youngest daughter in preschool 2 days a week*sniff, sniff. It’s going to cost a little more than staying with me at our business but I think it will be worth it. She really wants to be around kids her age more and feels left out when her older sister goes to school. -Beaming smile on her face when she pulls art projects out of her big girl backpack that she did at school to show mommy-PRICELESS!
5.I had planned on having a date night of watching a movie for free on Netflix and chill tonight but my husband wasn’t interested…NOT!


K D January 29, 2016 at 11:59 am

1. I stopped at Aldi yesterday to pick up $.49 avocados, $.49 bags of baby cut carrots, a dozen eggs and bananas.

2. We received a check today from our medical insurance company. It was for claims I submitted when a family member went to a doctor that does not accept insurance. I have also done this with Lens Crafters when they won’t file insurance for you if you buy glasses as part of a special deal. I just print off the claim form, fill it out, attached the required paperwork, mail it, and wait for a check.

3. I made a pot of chili and corn muffins. That will feed us for 2-3 meals. leftover muffins will be eaten for breakfast. Leftover chili will either be made into a burrito or used to top baked potatoes.

4. I did buy a new refrigerator thermometer. Our old one is at least twenty years old and doesn’t seem to be working right. A few dollars to make sure our food is kept at the proper temperature seems like a good deal.

5. I am continuing to shovel the snow in the street in front of our house. The roads are okay but there is still a lot of snow, from the 30″ we received last weekend. Free exercise and fresh air.


Bonnie January 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Please don’t shovel your snow into the street. It will melt a little and then re freeze at night, making the road icy for cars.


Jennifer January 30, 2016 at 5:55 am

I thought she meant she was shoveling the snow that was in the street not moving her snow onto the street. However, I know nothing about snow as I am in the south.


K D January 30, 2016 at 2:52 pm

I am shoveling snow from the street into our yard. I too dislike when people put snow in the street.


Ella January 29, 2016 at 12:04 pm

-I walked to work this morning. It’s only a 25 minute walk, and I have a laptop backpack so it totally works.
-Brought my lunch using the last bits from a CSA box.
-Planning a trip to Grocery Outlet which we FINALLY have in SoCal! (We’re also getting an Aldi sometime this year- so excited).
-Made coffee at home and am drinking tap water at work (no fancy bottled water here).
-Planning an evening with a friend, but we’re picking up cheap fish tacos and watching a (free) movie at home.


Florencia January 29, 2016 at 7:28 pm

I wish I could do the same. My work is almost 25 minutes by car! :/


priskill January 30, 2016 at 2:37 pm

No way — we are getting an Aldi and Grocery Outlet?? Is this LA area?


Ruby January 29, 2016 at 1:01 pm

1. Dropped a bag of donations off at the humane society thrift store yesterday and did not buy anything there, but did purchase two needed kitchen items at Goodwill for $2.19 total. The same items would have been $13 plus tax and shipping if bought online.

2. Ate out as a family last night for the first time in ages, but it was at the very reasonably priced Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood, so we ate cheap and supported a great local business.

3. Had a coupon for $1 off anything at the drugstore, and “bought” a packet of three cloth hankies off the $1 shelf with it. Hand-washed them and have them hanging on the drying rack.

4. Had a couple of conversations today about a part-time job possibly starting next month, which would be perfect.

5. The weather has warmed up a little, so we’ve been able to keep the heat mostly off during the day.


Beth Anne January 29, 2016 at 2:14 pm

1. Took one for the team and ate rice and a portion of the chicken I made from a posted recipe of bbq sauce, applesauce and onion with chicken cooked in the crock pot. Turned out okay but DD did not like it. Will be freezing portions for my lunch.

2. Watched season two of Cedar Cove and rushed to return it last night to save on a late fee. Changed out of pj pants and everything so I looked presentable to walk into the library at 8:40 last night, lol.

3. Doing a dog walk tonight which will pay for our pizza dinner.

4. Statement came from the bank for w2 with mortgage interest info. and tax information. Noticed they only reported $400 of the $2200 I had paid for taxes last year. Called the bank to see whats going on.

5. Going to have a frugal weekend. Was feeling bad as four of my daughters friends are going to a water park out of state and spending the weekend as they didn’t have school today. Daughter didn’t make a big deal about it but I know she felt sad as they were close friends. My dad called last night and invited us to come visit and go see a ice show in a local town giving us something to look forward too, will go spend the day with them. I won’t be spending money not budgeted or credit carding something to keep up with the Jones.


Juhli January 29, 2016 at 2:24 pm

That burrito looks yummy!
1. Spent the $50 I earned from doing an online health survey at my insurer’s website on a Dr visit and prescription. Less out of pocket.
2. Submitted the bill for replacing my retainer to our flexible spending health account for reimbursement.
3. Hosted my book club and ended up with an unopened bottle of wine left by an attendee.
4. Wearing my thrifted new to me warm sweaters and feeling cozy.
5. Found a penny in a parking lot.


Mand01 January 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm

1. Successfully argued with our electricity company about a $65 overcharge. Didn’t have to pay it. That was an effective use of five minutes of my lunch break.
2. Made a delicious puttanesca pasta for our date night, and watched the last two episodes of House Of Cards on Netflix. Looking forward to S4. That Claire Underwood is fantastic, in a terrifying way.
3. Asked my kids what they would like to do on the weekend. Their choice was a visit to the thrift store. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
4. I’m cooking pea and ham soup and fresh rolls for dinner tonight, using the ham bone that has been in the freezer from Christmas.
5. After dinner we are meeting our friends at a free community concert. We will sit and chat while the kids run around and have a good time.


Bee January 29, 2016 at 3:10 pm

1) I had to wait at the doctor’s office. I passed the time doing suduko puzzles. I purchased the puzzle book from the Dollar Tree. Hours of fun for $1!
2) I worked a side job yesterday. I brought my breakfast, lunch, coffee and water. Better yet, I brought home extra $$$$$$$.
3) I was tired last night, so we ate leftovers. I didn’t even bother to disguise them as something else. No one complained.
4) Our family is sharing a cold. I made a pot of chicken soup with egg noodles from stock I had in the freezer. Chicken soup always makes it better. Frozen assets are wonderful.
5) I am wearing a $5 cashmere sweater that I bought second-hand many, many years ago. Quality lasts forever.


Isabelle January 29, 2016 at 3:42 pm

* Been using my Netflix subscription like crazy lately, after months of barely any personal use (kids used it periodically). We don’t have cable.
* Stuck to my personal 50$ budget for entertainment this month. Looking to lower this amount in February
* Grabed a banana, milk and peanut butter from the surplus at work to add to my oatmeal this morning
* Got a pass for a free visit to the museum. Will use it with the kids and hubby tommorow. Will park for free in the street and bring a snack from home. Then my daughter is sleeping over at my mom’s, including supper.
* Used my gym membership to go to a Zumba class today
* Made a bed protector for daughter’s matress using 2 big garbage bags and duck tape. After yet another pee in bed I can confirm it works just fine!
* Due to renew my CPR and will do so at work since it’s paid by the hospital I work for when done on-site.
* Did not participate to a going-away party for 2 doctors leaving our unit. Why would I contribute money for 2 MD that never gave me the time of day? Didn’t even sign the cards. Don’t care at all. (Noooo, I’m not bitter…. ahah)
* Giving a big bag of children clothes through Freecycle. Frugal regarding my time and energy NOT trying to sell, and I believe that you receive back what you give in life.

Have a great frugal day!


Anne January 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm

I totally understand how you feel about the “going away” gifts/party for the two doctors that you barely know. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have been pressured to toss money towards a gift for someone making five times what I did and who didn’t even really know my name, and who would not have gifted me for anything.

Sometimes it was uncomfortable, but I learned early on to say, “no.”


Lindsey January 29, 2016 at 9:32 pm

Gifting on leaving and birthdays caused so much grief at our workplace that the group decided that each employee would give $5 a month to a gift fund. If people elect not to give, no one bugs them about it. There was also a limit to the amount spent on the gift, since it seemed that higher ups, who make more money anyway, got more expensive gifts than lower wage workers who probably could have used the gift more. If a PhD manager is not happy with a $25 gift, then too bad. For folks we know are suffering financially, we give either a grocery gift certificate or some form of food (like a turkey or cheese. Once we gave a Jewish person a ham. Ooopps, now we do a better job of not making an error like that again—mostly by not leaving the selection to the ham person, who also managed to get a gift certificate to a restaurant and wrapped it with a note suggesting it be used for a “Really special shrimp dinner.” The recipient was a Seventh Day Adventist and they don’t eat shrimp or pork.)


marie January 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm

1. We got a real fatty ham at christmastime, so I e-mailed Cook’s Ham co, and received 1 $10 coupon, and 2 $5 coupon. Was great since I only paid $12 for the ham. Gave my daughter one of the $5 coupons. Share the wealth.
2. Cleaned up my greenhouse, and added to my thrift store pile. 1 more empty rubbermaid container. yay.
3. While in greenhouse I started my tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and other assorted veggies. Score for reasonable priced veggies. We’ve had a desert here, with no fresh vegetables, and I’m Not payinf $2 lb for lettuce.
4.since we heat our house with a woodstove, the white lamp shades get dusty, and yellowed. Instead of spending $22 for new one’s I sprayed them with Awesome, then hosed them off. Not new looking, but considerably better.
5. We are putting in laminate floors, and you can’t use rubberback scatter rugs. After looking for rug pad’s and seeing how spendy they are, I used a felt moving blanket, and cut it to size for my long runner rug. Now I have to find more felt moving blanket’s for the rest of the house!!
Yay, I had 5


Lindsey January 29, 2016 at 9:35 pm

Why can’t you use rubber backed rugs on a laminate floor? I’ve never heard that before and one of my friends just put in laminate flooring and I think her rugs are rubber backed…Thanks for any information.


JoDi January 29, 2016 at 10:27 pm

I’m not sure why they would be a problem either. The house we bought 2 years ago has laminate floors, and we’ve had 3 rubber backed rugs on them for 2 years with no effect on the floors whatsoever.


Diane C January 31, 2016 at 7:05 am

They can cause discoloration. YMMV, but why risk it?


auntiali January 29, 2016 at 5:09 pm

1. I haven’t ventured far from home this week so I still have a full tank of gas.

2. Dropped dh’s shirts off at the dry cleaner. While not really non-consumer I hate ironing them. I don’t have pick up/delivery and as my town is only 2 square miles I spend little gas going to get them and dropping off. I always combine with other errands.

3. Didn’t make dinner but dh scrounged in the fridge and found something to eat. I’m eating store brand cereal right now.

4. Picked up the books I requested from inter library loan. While talking with our librarian (small town) I found out that the one shed type thing attached to the historical building was once a cold room. When the outside of the library is renovated the cold room will be part of it. Can’t wait to see it finished.

5. Didn’t go to Costco tonight for date night with dh. I like to go in and get what’s on my list and get out. Dh likes to meander around looking at everything and putting stuff in his cart. My in and out thing is from long years of frugality.


Jen T January 29, 2016 at 5:29 pm

1. Day 29 of not smoking- saving tons of $$
2. Had to take a trip for work. Packed some snacks and only bought one thing at the airport- a coffee I desperately needed!
3. Brought $40 in cash for my three day trip. Gave the last dollar as a tip this morning (and I only spent that much because I knew I would be getting flight sized saline and toothpaste once I got there).
4. I was hungry but waited until I got home to eat leftovers I made on Tuesday.
5. Spending a quiet night at home with my family


Marion January 30, 2016 at 4:55 am

You’re doing great with the NOT smoking! Hang in there!


Jennifer January 30, 2016 at 6:04 am

#1 congrats!!


Nicole from Canada January 30, 2016 at 7:36 pm

Great job on not smoking! Congrats 🙂


Amy January 30, 2016 at 7:40 pm

Congrats on not smoking!!!! Saving money on smoking, but also doctor bills down the road. KUDOS!


melanie January 29, 2016 at 6:05 pm

1. My boys start a new school year on Monday. The school informed us where requirement stationery packs could be bought. I went to the outlet and requested a breakdown list. Saved $27.00 by purchasing as separate items (+ reusing ruler and glue from last year)!
2. Found 10c on the ground twice this week.
3. Purchased 2 will-be-much-needed woollen jersies (aka jumpers?) for partner’s birthday on Feb 1st. 100% NZ wool, classic (ie timeless :)) styles for 75% off! (Originally $215 & $198). It is the middle of Summer here in NZ but best time for offseason bargins!
4. Given a free truckload of topsoil (& delivered by digger) from a neighbour who is digging out part of his section. We DIY landscaped our sloping section a few years ago and the ground has settled and needs re-levelled in places. Had put it off due to costs but now it can be fixed!! Plus free workouts moving the mountain:)
5. A Frugal Non-Frugal thing… we have decided to have a surprise wedding at my 40th birthday celebration in May. We have never been worried about getting married (been together 16 years & have 2 kids, mortgaged instead) but thought we’d ‘celebrate’ our achievements together one day. However, my Dad is living on borrowed time and I would love for him to be there (I am the oldest child and the only unmarried one). By doing it at the birthday we will have just close friends and family for drinks and nibbles anyway, and just need to add a celebrant, a small cake & a bouquet! Looking forward to the look on our parents faces (they gave up wedding questions years ago, lol)!
Frugal start to the plans – Stainless steel ring for partner – $10, Diamond and sterling silver ring for me – $50. Both marked down big time & we both love them! Not wanting an engagement ring anyway!


Jennifer January 30, 2016 at 6:06 am

5. So fun! Congrats!


melanie January 30, 2016 at 7:14 am

Thanks Jennifer! I am pretty excited and am enjoying the challenge of making things budget but ‘classy’!!


Gina January 30, 2016 at 3:18 pm

How fun! Congrats! The rings sound lovely!


Nicole from Canada January 30, 2016 at 7:38 pm

#5 – so lovely!!! Sounds beautiful and I bet everyone will get a kick out of the surprise


Diana January 29, 2016 at 10:39 pm

Katy can you write an article or respond to this on the break down of your work schedule. I mean I’m not asking for stalker like details. I’m just newly dealing with more kiddos & responsibilities & I cannot figure out how to make work & frugal home life work. I cannot figure out which shifts are better…& hours to be home to pick up & after school activities? 24 hours & get it over with but everyone suffers? 12 hours? 10 hours? 16 hours? 0 hours is not an option…I need the mo00000ola… Are there shifts that work better for different aged kiddos? Help!


Momof3 January 30, 2016 at 7:51 pm

I work from 7pm-11:30pm. My husband gets off at 5:30am-6:30pm. This way we can avoid using a babysitter. The downside is I only spend 5 minutes with my husband on these days.


Isabel January 29, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Knew it would show up eventualy, and it has, my more frugal ways! Electricity bill considerably less than one this time last year!
Unexpected lovely lunch at beautiful place provided and even could take the sweet home …. Cheese cake with strawberries ….. Heavenly!
Have decided to reward myself with little of the cash I have saved from budget since October! Will let you know when I do!
So glad to have been introduced to Dave Ramsey and watch his show daily now!
Was a nurse for 30 years …. Trained in the times of apprenticeship with hospital!
Super career … Great jobs! No such thing as student loans then! Am horrified when I hear of such debt! Can remember when credit cards started here! Was the very first person I have ever heard of who cut one up when I realised the damage they could do!
Still haven’t found any money on the ground in my town! Think I am more likely to find a Lear Jet!


Nicole from Canada January 30, 2016 at 4:31 am

I’m thrilled I think I actually have five things this week. I don’t usually comment but enjoy reading everyone’s list.
1. took my son’s too small clothes to Once Upon a Child and sold them with some books for about the same that I spent buying him a spring coat, 2 pairs swim trunks, a pair of Vans and two shirts.
2. Sold some movies at Deja View for the first time, they didn’t take all the titles but they paid me $15 for the ones they took and it’s in the same plaza as Once Upon so it worked out
3. Found a cat carrier and two cat dishes at Salvation Army and since I donated while there I was given a $10 off $25 purchase coupon so along with a teapot it all cost me $15 (thank you deja view!). We just got two new rescue cats, Harry and Neville, but after our last cat past on Thanksgiving I cleaned everything out so we’re starting new
4. Made dinner every night this week and brought my lunch to work – every day except one when I forgot it on the kitchen counter 🙁 And it was homemade stuffed peppers too!
5. Have been using homemade panty liners for the past two months and it’s really not bothering me (I thought it would be a little ick). Since I’m already using hankies figured I’d might as well. I think I’m going to try to spend $40 less on groceries so I can buy a Diva cup in February though.


Florencia January 30, 2016 at 4:35 am

I’m wondering, how are your pantyliners? I always shop on sale, but have been leaning towards making the jump and being waste-free there. 🙂


Nicole from Canada January 30, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Florencia – they aren’t very fancy (I’m not a good sewer). I cut up my son’s old flannel crib sheet and doubled it up with another layer of fabric and just sewed together with the sewing machine. I usually do one load of laundry each weeknight so they don’t sit around for too long. The only trouble I’ve run into is at work – it’s not something I want to bring home with me in my pocket! (sorry if that image was too gross for anyone) Which is probably why the diva cup would be more practical for me. But for when I’m at home, and especially over night I like them.


Chigdon January 30, 2016 at 6:09 am

I got my diva cup on Amazon. It was only $28.


Nicole from Canada January 30, 2016 at 7:12 pm

Hi Chigdon
Is that in US or Canadian $?
It’s $38 Canadian from a local store which sells enviro products and is run by the owner so I would like to support her, just means maybe going without ice cream and pop for a month (which might be a good idea anyway!)


Chigdon January 31, 2016 at 7:43 am

Nicole from Canada – oops my bad I should’ve realized from your name that you were saying $40 CAN. Yes I got mine on amazon for $28 USD. sorry.


Nicole from Canada February 2, 2016 at 6:54 am

Hi Chigdon, thanks. It’s good to know my local place isn’t so far off on the price once you figure in our horrible exchange rate right now

janine January 30, 2016 at 7:30 am

1. Tonight I will harvest my indoor garden – only about 10 days to a salad! The inspiration for this method is author Peter Burke -( book may be out of print? his website states that they are waiting for a new edition) – recommend his methods to all would-be winter indoor gardeners.
2. Went to Aldi – good deals EXCEPT on seasonal items – cashier wouldn’t give me marked down price. Caught one overpriced item (marked down in aisle) but another one eluded me and I paid double the marked price. I understand they are understaffed, but until recently never had occasion to question their receipts. This has happened twice at two different area Aldis.
3. After reading Katy’s Grocery Outlet bargains, looked up location in our area ;- unfortunately quite far from us, but will keep it in mind if I am in
the neighborhood or might make a special visit when I find time. Thanks for the info.
4. Convinced husband to purchase modem – found we had been renting one from Comcast.
5. Entertained friend at appetizer buffet at club last evening – didn’t have to use a coupon because it was free to members. We split the tab for drinks. Both of us signed a fun card for a friend who recently retired which I thrifted from a small church-run second hand shop.


tonya parham January 30, 2016 at 3:23 pm

1. I had a devil of a time finding cumin for a reasonable price, but once I thought about it, I went down the street to the local DG (Dollar General) and sure enough, they had 2 oz bottles for $1. I felt rather stupid for all the previous hunting I did.

2. Had leftover chicken with 40 cloves of garlic for lunch today.

3. Am getting reading to report for jury duty Monday–actually would like to get chosen because I think it’s a civic duty, I’d like the experience, and I wouldn’t mind the pay since I wouldn’t miss work doing it!

4. A friend’s mom went into a nursing home and I helped him pack up her house. She had a gorgeous chenille bedspread that I asked if he wanted to keep and he told me he was going to check with his sister and make sure she didn’t want it. She didn’t, so he gave it to me! And, I bought a nice cedar chest from him for $40. I have no idea what it’s worth but I imagine it’s worth more than $40! (I’ve always wanted one! )

5. Went to see The Revenant yesterday. Went to matinee, didn’t buy any concessions. (What a great movie. Brutal, brilliant, and not for everyone!)


priskill January 30, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Kudos to all and delicious looking burritos!

1. Still finding tons of markdown stuff at the local reconfiguring Ralphs –“dented” but yummy produce, dried pasta, 39 cent scrubbies for dishes, food chocolate, etc. Still trying not to get sucked into buying stuff I don’t need, no matter how cheap.

2. Still trying to eat up what we have and just supplement with fresh veggies and fruit– leftover lentil soup, leftover meh meatloaf, bit of leftover raw turkey, various frozen things. The almighty frozen chalupa — that eternal brick, which mocketh me each time I peek in the freezer — well, that thing has got to go. We must EAT it soon.

3. Heating up the $3.49 ginormous fresh pepperoni pizza (2 lbs., 13 oz) from Walmart tonight with added toppings (peppers, mushrooms, etc.) Will cut leftovers into individual portions and freeze for quickie snacks/dinners. Figuring 1 dollar or so per serving.

4. Serving half-priced beer with the pizza and marked down bag o salad. Netflix for free entertainment.

5. Keep adding water into shampoo bottle that seems empty but continues to dispense lots of suds. Going on 2 weeks now. Cheers!


Reese January 30, 2016 at 3:55 pm

I love these frugal posts because they force me to think of things I’ve done (or want to do)…

1) I used a sharpie to fill in the scratch on my faux leather boots. My real ones bit the dust after 9 years and two resoleings. I’d love to get a new pair, but those will cost a good deal of money (I like to buy quality so I replace far less). So I’m saving up for those, and wearing these cheapie ones until it happens. No one will get close enough to my foot to see I colored in a space….
2) I went home for lunch to let out the dog. Made food there. I’m an active Weight Watchers member, so eating out can be more stressful than I like…. and I know exactly what is in the food I make at home! Plus it’s cheaper.
3) I brought coffee to work this weekend so I could enjoy it while the weather turns bad (we’re expecting some snow in the Rocky Mountain region this weekend…). I could have bought coffee at our café, but at home was far cheaper.
4) I bought a used dresser on an area garage sale Facebook page. It fits perfectly into my closet and is solid wood.
5) I’ve been going through my wardrobe and getting rid of items I just haven’t worn in AGES. I’m still holding on to a few items because I keep asking myself, “But what if I wear it this summer?!” Thinking that they probably need to go…. Very difficult to find a balance in clothes when you need work clothes for winter and summer, regular clothes for winter and summer, work out clothes, and pajamas…. How to find a healthy balance?


Krystal January 30, 2016 at 5:05 pm

I have used the sharpie trick before for a bleach spot on a black shirt, and also used a blue one for some small cracks on wallpaper! Love it.


Reese January 31, 2016 at 2:18 pm

I use sharpies of various colors for picture frames too! If a corner gets dinged or scratched…. just dabbing a sharpie against the spot truly helps.


Krystal January 30, 2016 at 4:55 pm

A mix of frugal combined with a little splurging is what it’s all about, right? I kept all the splurges within our budget, so I’m happy.

1) Went to a free movie last night (working through my stack of Fandango coupons for 2 free passes) Spotlight, which was obviously a sensitive topic for many and I thought it was amazing. Brought refillable water bottle from home for our “snack.” Had a robust and tearful conversation post movie.
2) Went out to dinner prior to said movie (not frugal), kept is pretty cheap, but the bill came VERY cheap–the server left off our entrees! We told her and she was grateful, and then only charged us for one. Win-win.
3) Took a not-cheap ferry ride to our neighboring island to return cat crates to the shelter. Brought our dog, took a walk to a lovely park along the beach, stopped into the pet store and they gave us a free bag of toys for our cats, as we adopted from the island’s only shelter. Made the most out of a $22 ferry ride!
4) Meal planning, budgeting planning for Feb and finishing projects around the house for the rest of the weekend. If there is no plan, the money flies out the windows!
5) We both started Roth IRA’s this month. I am so excited to be fully funding Baby Step 4 while still tucking money away for eventual car replacement and vacations. Thrilled to have 3 contracts lined up for 2016 and the discipline to save money for the things that matter (I was truly not born with it!)


Jade January 30, 2016 at 6:38 pm

I am the same, Krystal. I was not born with the discipline to save money and my mother lived pay check to pay check. I only became disciplined with money in my late twenties, when I got serious about wanting to save for a house. Now, with the inspiration taken from blogs like NCA, I watch every dollar. I follow the matra; a dollar saved is a dollar earned. A dollar that attracts no tax!

The blog world is a huge inspiration for me as sadly I don’t really have friends and family that strive for a simpler and nonconsumeristic lifestyle.
However, I am so lucky that I have a husband that has the same mindset as me. Being frugal is a fun challenge and I like to think that it is helping me to tread a little lighter on our precious earth.


Krystal January 31, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Jade, you described my situation nearly perfectly. My mother is struggling at 60 to keep her home due to money mismanagement, my friends spend spend spend themselves into debt, but my husband and I are on the same page! I feel like I could have written this comment myself 🙂


Jade January 30, 2016 at 6:53 pm

1. Harvesting lots of cherry tomatoes from the patch. Eating them as snacks and plan to make pasta sauce tomorrow.

2. Went on a lovely long bushwalk yesterday. I have made a promise to get out more and enjoy the wonderful national parks that we live near. Free fun and free exercise – so good!

3. Found $2 in the carpark – YAY! I told my husband about the Katie’s Found Change Challenge. So now our balance for 2016 is $2.

4. Most of our frugal achievements revolve around food. We have continued to shop from the pantry and freezer, allowing in us to skip this week’s grovery shop. This money has been put towards our holiday at the end of the year.

5. My friend is a thermomix consultant and she brought her machine over. I think it is an amazing machine but i am not convinced I need it – $2000 saved, hehe. I did ask her to blitz some of our out-of-date Vita Weets biscuits into bread type crumbs (x3 packets that were given to me). I can use these to crumb chicken.


Debbie January 30, 2016 at 8:06 pm

1. Hung out a load of laundry to dry outside in our Texas “winter”.
2. Made smoothies out of some wrinkly oranges and nearly-overripe bananas, which was a hit with the family, and prevented food waste.
3. Enjoyed a bike ride outside with my family in said Texas “winter” (70 degrees F today!), getting exercise and family time all in one shot!
4. Continued reading through my stack of books from the library.
5. Used old check and chocolate boxes covered with used wrapping paper to look pretty to hold office supplies in my reorganized desk drawer.


Vickie January 31, 2016 at 9:13 am

1) I fixed a cheesy turkey-noodle casserole Friday evening for dinner with frozen turkey leftover from Christmas, spaghetti noodles, mushrooms & onions from the cupboard and some cream cheese and shredded cheese from the fridge. Yummy!
2) I ate leftover casserole for lunch after church yesterday and spent the day doing a laundry, a little housework, walking in the sunshine with the dogs and reading a novel from the Library.
3) I spent $40 at the Tribal grocers yesterday and got enough food for the next week. They had avocados for 39 cents a each. Yay!
4) I’m reading and watching PBS today, while I finish up laundry for the next week. I need to color my hair with the box of color I bought a few weeks back.
5) We’re having a dinner out tonight to celebrate my oldest granddaughter’s birthday. A friend gave me a pair of mongoose roller skates, in excellent shape, that will fit her and I bought her a used Wii “Just Dance” along with a pair of earrings and necklace I bought her last Fall and put up specifically for her Birthday.


LisaC January 31, 2016 at 9:59 am

1. Hubs is still recuperating from surgery, so no meals out, not even fast food.
2. Missing some annual fundraiser events we usually attend, so no spending on tickets or silent auction items.
3. Eating from our freezer, spending less on groceries.
4. Lots of quiet time in the house, so I’m catching up on organizing.
5. Went to Goodwill and found his favorite sized bowls in my Yorktown Pfaltgraft pattern for 59 cent each. Made him smile! Got a sugar/creamer set too, for 99 cents, plan to sell it.

Frugal Fail: Grandson loves Under Armor. WOW is it expensive. Got an outfit for his birthday at a department store (close by, I don’t like to leave the hubs for long) for 25 percent off, no coupons applied. Before mailing it, I’m going to try a local tjmaxx today to see if I can find a better deal.

Update on the crockpot: I LOVE it. This one has a metal bottom on the insert, so I can sautee the meat and onions on the stove, then put it directly in the heating part. Only one dish to wash. And it works so well, I feel like a good cook again. 🙂


LisaC January 31, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Found a better outfit, for less than 1/2 what I spent at the dept store. Returned the first one with a smile.


Mariana January 31, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Thrifty week here in Queens:

1. Free lip balms – Celestial tea has a promotion and puts a lip balm in their tea packages. I found three! (tea purchased for work so no money spent0
2. Free notepads and pencils from a hotel
3. Free (new) shoes that HH brought from him trip / found in his old boxes
4. Ah all the home cooking – all means but one
5. Free entertainment as much as possible (TV, walks, reading, etc)


Sandra J February 2, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Love everyone’s comments and ideas! Katie – how do you make your black beans? Do you do more than follow the package directions? Thanks.


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