Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 16, 2016 · 85 comments

Cheap Converse

  1. My husband, son and I each participated in a Chipotle promotion last week to get a voucher for a free burrito. Which means the three of us enjoyed a lovely meal out this afternoon without spending a penny.
  2. I took advantage of a sale on chuck roast to cook up two of The Pioneer Woman’s perfect pot roasts for Valentine’s Day. Not only was there enough to include my mother and step-father for last night’s dinner, but also plenty for tonight’s French dip sandwiches, and likely at least two more meals. There was so much leftover broth that I think I’ll make French onion soup later in the week.
  3. I was able to remove almost all of the crust from my Goodwill cast iron skillet by setting it over the gas barbecue on high. I understand that this is a controversial method as it can make the pan crack or warp, but I was willing to take the risk on a $5 skillet.
  4. I sold my extra bookshelf for $15 through Craigslist, I bought four dozen eggs at Fred Meyer since they were on sale for $1.49 apiece, I accompanied my son to the Nike employee store and bought nothing, (even though they had shelves of $5 Converse high tops) I earned Swagbucks by clicking around while watching TV, I bought myself a Moonstruck chocolate bar, which was free with an e-coupon, I”ll bring leftovers for tomorrow’s work lunch and . . .
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

K D February 16, 2016 at 4:28 am

1. Yesterday was a snow/ice day. Everybody was home and nobody spent money. Meals were leftovers and calzones.

2.I used potato water (from boiling potatoes) to make bread. Cheap and delicious. I used a heating pad to get the bread to rise, a great frugal tip I gleaned here a few weeks ago.

3. We applied for an AMEX Blue Cash card. We’ll receive a $250 credit after spending $1000 in three months (there is no annual fee and you receive 3% cash back at grocery stores). I can always buy gift cards for future purchases if I’m having trouble spending the $1000.

4. I noticed that our auto insurance premiums have gone down on our daughter. Either it’s because she turned twenty or has had her license for 3 years (incident free). It’s good to know that there was some decrease (by about one-third, but still way more than we pay).

5. I did not get a haircut. It’s still cold (with short layered hair you really feel the cold after a haircut) and I’m feeling cheap so no haircut.


AFS February 16, 2016 at 8:12 pm

two other options for rising bread.
1)after a load of dishes, while the dish washer is still steamy use the dishwasher as a proof box. A proof box is an appliance commercial bakeries use to proof (rise) yeasted products.
2)boil a cup of water in the microwave. Use the steamy oven to rise your bread.


Marcia February 17, 2016 at 8:25 pm

If my kitchen is cold, I set the bowl with the bread dough on a cooling rack over a large bowl of hot water from the tap. Cover the bowl with the dough with a kitchen towel. Rises well this way. Been doing it for years.


LisaC February 16, 2016 at 4:39 am

1. I looked through the trade in program at Amazon and found 2 books that I could send back that were just sitting around. They sent me the free shipping, I will get almost 20 dollars in Amazon credit.
2. I looked at my Amazon wish list and didn’t buy anything.
3 . Used Ebates to buy some new tube socks, on sale with free shipping at Hanes outlet.
4. Breakfast has been sausage and cheese sandwiches, the sausage was brought home from a staff breakfast.
5. Didn’t buy any wine this week at the grocery store, cutting back, way back, for Lent.


LisaC February 16, 2016 at 6:51 am

I forgot to tell you my favorite frugal thing: I have wanted a clock for my living room for a while, but they are so expensive. I finally took an old plastic clock that my husband didn’t want anymore, printed out a nice photo of my pets, cut it into a circle, wrote numbers on it, and put it in the clock with double sided tape. It looks awesome. Hubs couldn’t see the hands very well, so I tipped the hands with white-out. Wish I could show you, it turned out pretty cute, and it makes us smile.


Elizabeth February 16, 2016 at 7:11 am

Very creative! 🙂


Kim from Philadelphia February 16, 2016 at 4:50 am

Ah-how do you get involved in a Chipotle promotion?

I’ve had a no-cost-to-me two day getaway. My friend was headed to DC for a work trip, so she flew into Philadelphia, stayed with us for 2 days, then I drove her to DC where we stayed with another friend. This friend totally spoiled us for 24 hours; delicious homemade meals, a comfortable guest room, free parking.
The next day we departed to the hotel of my friend’s work event (a lovely place) where we indulged in a free happy hour buffet/wine bar. We later went out to a small
Meal and my friend treated as a thank you for driving her there. Before I left I ate a hearty breakfast, then browsed World Market and bought nothing!


Jennifer February 16, 2016 at 9:11 am

I think that promotion was a just available for a few hours one day last week if it’s the one I’m thinking about.


Kristen February 16, 2016 at 4:50 am

I wish I could have had you mail me some of those shoes! Black converse high tops are Joshua and Lisey’s footwear of choice at the moment.


Kim from Philadelphia February 16, 2016 at 4:51 am

The hearty breakfast was free, of course!!


Elizabeth February 16, 2016 at 4:52 am

You really are getting your money’s worth out of the roast! Awesome! Now I want a french dip sandwich. 🙂

1. I started a new grocery store price book. I did this years ago and don’t know why I ever stopped. What a simple way to see where the real deals are.

2. I bought a 5 gallon bucket each of laundry detergent and dish detergent for $25 each. What was heartbreaking was to see a couple days later that someone else is selling them for $20. But I’ll know where to buy from next time. It will be a very long time before we’ll need to shop for either again, though.

3. I’ve been saving egg shells for planting for our garden. Natures own seedling pots. A Sharpie can be used to label the outside of the shell.

4. We’ve been making our own garden compost for a while and it won’t be long that we’ll put to use the fruits of our labor.

5. With the cold & nasty weather, I have been staying in. Staying in = no spending, gasoline and wear and tear on the car. I would love it if we lived in an area where we could walk everywhere we needed to go. Not needing a car would be the ultimate in frugalness!



Stacie M February 16, 2016 at 6:56 am

Ah, I totally agree with your #5! I like living rurally, but sometimes it’s a bummer to have to drive anywhere you want to go. We are looking to buy in the next few years and that will definitely be a factor in our decision.


Allison February 16, 2016 at 4:27 pm

What is a grocery price book? 🙂


Elizabeth February 16, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Hi Allison, I made my price book using a loose leaf binder and alphabet dividers. It’s simply a record of grocery prices at different stores where you shop. It helps you see where the best value on each item is. I looked up a webpage that has an example. I think you’d enjoy making your own because they really do help save dollars. Hhmm I can’t paste here, but if you Google “how to make a grocery store price book” you’ll find many pages that explain it. If you have any questions I’ll be glad to help. 🙂


Allison February 16, 2016 at 5:07 pm

I have always thought about doing this but wasn’t sure if I would be crazy. How do you manage the fact that some items may go on sale sometimes? Do you track the weekly ads, or just shop at the lowest price that is recorded in your book?


Elizabeth February 16, 2016 at 6:03 pm

I track weekly ads. Over time you’ll see when certain items go on sale at certain times. This way you can stock up when you find a good deal, enough to get you through until the next sale of that item.

I think the savings will be worth the effort. As I said, it’s been a long time since I’ve done a price book (wishing I’d suck with it). But look forward to keeping this one up because I know it works.

If you decide to make one, I’d love to here how it works for you 🙂

cathy February 16, 2016 at 8:47 pm

I think the easiest way to start is with your receipts. Depending on how large/small your book is, make a page (or half page or whatever) for each item you typically buy. Then make a line for each store you might reasonably shop at. (No reason to include stores you’ll never go to.) By going back to your receipts, you can see how much you spent for the item and you can write in that price. If you shop at more than one store, look for the item(s) at the other stores and write those prices in your book. Then you can start to see who regularly has the best price as well as the best sale price (and when those occur).
For a great explanation (and visual), I still think The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn is one of the best. Either the first book or The Complete Tightwad Gazette, which is a compilation of her three books. Some of the info will be really dated, but most of it still applies. Check your library for a copy.

Elizabeth February 17, 2016 at 3:12 am

Allison, I was a little side tracked when I replied to you yesterday so I hope to explain in a little more depth. As Cathy said, it’s best to start with your receipts. This is true, which is what I did initially. But I am comparing weekly ads to the lowest price I have in my book, also. Or if it’s something we buy but I don’t have in my book yet, I’ll add it.

An example of a page: Top right corner, name of item: “Cat Treats”. Then I have columns for Date, Store, Brand, Price/Size, Unit Price. To get the unit price (as I’m sure you by dividing ounces/lbs. into the price.) The page I have for cat treats shows that at my Dollar General the 3 oz. pouches of Temptations cat treats were on sale 3/$5, making them .56 per ounce. Then at Walmart, their regular price on a 16 oz. box of Temptations treat is $7.98. Comparing the two, the unit price at Walmart is .50 per ounce. Next time I thumb through the weekly ads and see Temptations on sale anywhere, I can compare that price to the Walmart price listed in my book and see if it’s a better deal.

I also take my book along when shopping so if I find a sale on an item we use I can compare the unit price to the unit price listed in my book to see if it’s a true deal.

I hope this better explains things and answers your question. And I agree with Cathy that Amy Dacyczyn does explain it well in her The Complete Tightwad Gazette. If you’re interested in the book and your library doesn’t have it, you can buy used copies very inexpensively at Amazon, which is where I ordered mine from. A lot of the book is outdated, but it’s a treasure trove of thrifty tips and articles and is an inspiration for frugal creativity.

Shevaun February 18, 2016 at 12:02 pm

I only make my book once every 5 or so years. I don’t take into account sales because I figure it’s a snapshot of the store as a whole at that moment. Generally, I start by making a list of what’s in my house, then I visit stores near me: Aldi, Wegmans, Big Lots, Walmart, etc. and record their prices. **NOT big surprise: Aldi wins by like a million percent!** Then I just make my choices of how to shop for the next few years. Like, I shop at Aldi for pretty much everything, but they don’t carry parsley or full-fat yogurt, so I swing by Wegmans for those things. Or, paper products and toiletries are cheaper at Wegmans than Aldi.

You learn interesting things when you do a grocery book. I learned that Walmart is the MOST expensive grocery option where I live. Weird.

Just for the record in case anyone has a baby, Aldi diapers are great. The only place that has comparable prices is Target if you get the Super Jumbo Packs and they are also on sale. Although I am a sucker for the Huggies Newborn diapers–but only for the first couple weeks.

Elizabeth February 16, 2016 at 4:59 am

You really are getting your money’s worth out of the roast! Awesome! Now I want a french dip sandwich. 🙂

1. I started a new grocery store price book. I did this years ago and don’t know why I ever stopped. What a simple way to see where the real deals are.

2. I bought a 5 gallon bucket each of laundry detergent and dish detergent for $25 each. What was heartbreaking was to see a couple days later that someone else is selling them for $20. But I’ll know where to buy from next time. It will be a very long time before we’ll need to shop for either again, though.

3. I’ve been saving egg shells for planting for our garden. Natures own seedling pots. A Sharpie can be used to label the outside of the shell.

4. We’ve been making our own garden compost for a while and it won’t be long that we’ll put to use the fruits of our labor.

5. With the cold & nasty weather, I have been staying in. Staying in = no spending, no buying gasoline and no wear and tear on the car. I would love it if we lived in an area where we could walk everywhere we needed to go. No car expense would be the ultimate in frugalness!


Bettypants February 16, 2016 at 5:01 am

I probably would have bought a whole bunch of those Converse shoes to sell on ebay, had a tough time time selling them, and regret all the time/energy I spent on it. So good for you.

1. Made a big pot of chicken spaetzle soup for Sunday night dinner, and brought the rest for lunches yesterday and today. I have the perfect holey pan for pushing dough through for spaetzle and I marvel at the process every time.
2. Sold several small household items locally yesterday for $11. This is the third time this woman has bought items from me. Makes me happy to have repeat buyers that are attracted to the things I post.
3. Listed our full set of Harry Potter books on ebay and they sold in less than an hour. I think maybe I underpriced them. Oh well, they are out of my house for someone else to enjoy.
4. Found an i-clean Microfiber Cloth from the Container Store in my library bag that must have fallen out of a library book. It’s a nice little cloth for cleaning electronic screens.
5. Bought a pair of Under Armour workout capri pants locally yesterday for $5. If I don’t care for the fit, I am sure I will be able to sell them on ebay for a profit.


LisaC February 16, 2016 at 5:11 am

Don’t ever be sorry you sold something quickly! You got it out of your house, and made money, that’s how I see it. 🙂


Bettypants February 16, 2016 at 5:23 am

That’s exactly what my friend said! Don’t second guess yourself – just be happy it sold. I think I have seller’s greed, which is the flip side of buyer’s remorse.


Bee February 16, 2016 at 9:15 am

Perhaps, the price you set was exactly the right price. If the books were priced higher, your buyer may not have contacted you. I always believe in setting a price so it is a win for everyone.


A. Marie February 16, 2016 at 11:50 am

I wish I could embroider. I’d be doing “Seller’s greed is the flip side of buyer’s remorse” in cross-stitch this minute!


Kim in Los Alamitos February 16, 2016 at 6:06 pm

*And then you could sell those!

Carol M. February 16, 2016 at 6:32 am

1. I went swimming in my bathing suit that has been the same for five or six years. It was 90 degrees yesterday, but the pool was still frigid, so I basically went once across and jumped out, just to cool down.
2. Renewed library books to prevent fines.
3.We were on a Valentine’s Day trip this weekend, which included a cabin stay, dinner, bubbly in your room, and a wine tasting (I know many readers would NEVER do this, but we are DINKs (double income, no kids)). They didn’t include wine with dinner, so we brought the champagne from our room to save money.
4. Found a Trader Joe’s gift card in a Christmas gift bag that I did not know about.
5. Stayed an extra night over Valentine’s day, but chose to tent camp instead, saving $100 over the cabin price.


Marilyn February 16, 2016 at 7:59 am

1. I also picked up the free Moonstruck candy bar (free Friday download from FM). My husband and I had a movie night on Friday – a Redbox video and Monstruck chocolate. It was delicious!
2. My husband found a Peet’s coupon — buy any one coffee drink and get a second free. We used it to enjoy 2 mochas at Peet’s on Valentine’s Day.
3. My neighbor’s dog apparently ate some chocolate and got sick when my neighbor was walking him past my house. I used a shovel to scoop up the stuff. It wasn’t really too messy but my neighbor felt so bad she came over with a gift for me – a nice vanilla-scented candle in a jar. I love having a candle burning on a gloomy, the rainy evening. It creates a warm, cozy atmosphere. (Her dog is fine now).
(This post seems to be all about chocolate. How did that happen?)


Jennifer February 16, 2016 at 8:59 am

1. I loved that Moonstruck chocolate bar, also. I shared it with my kids but I didn’t really want to, lol.


Jennifer February 16, 2016 at 9:04 am

5. because chocolate is everything, lol


JD February 16, 2016 at 8:13 am

1. Had an appointment that required me to eat lunch early so I was hungry by late afternoon. I refused to buy anything at a store and I wasn’t near home yet, so I just told my screaming fat cells to hush until it was time for dinner.
2. Loaded my crock pot this morning with chicken bones and scraps to make broth for soup tomorrow.
3. Gave my husband a Valentine card from a stack of cards I had bought years ago. I’ll keep pulling one out every year until they are gone. They are vintage, and remind us of our childhood Valentine cards.
4. Getting ready for the birth of another grandchild but we are not shopping. I have deliberately kept myself from buying cute clothes and baby toys– there are plenty leftover from the older child. I’m happy to see my grown kids following suit. I plan to make some make ahead freezer dishes and will volunteer again to stay and help clean and run errands.
5. I’m happy that my monthly bills are now cut down to five from about 15. It makes life simpler and cheaper. I’m working on that fourth and fifth one now, to pay them off, then I will have only things like utilities left to pay monthly.


Anne February 16, 2016 at 2:37 pm

“Told my screaming fat cells to hush”. I just love this, and wish I was better at getting mine to cut it out. Sometimes they hush, sometimes they just get louder. 😀


priskill February 17, 2016 at 7:05 am

Please have your screaming fat cells talk to mine — too too funny!


AN February 16, 2016 at 8:19 am

1. Filled up my gas tank this morning for $1.69/gallon. There are several gas stations on my route to work, so I always try to find the cheapest one without going out of my way. I also track my mileage and am pretty pleased with my 30 mpg.
2. Enjoyed a snack of leftover celery and hummus rather than taking one of the chocolate chip cookies someone left in our work kitchen. Both options are frugal, but the celery is better for my health!
3. Used up some whipping cream that was about to expire and made scones on Sunday. I am now enjoying scones for breakfast all week!
4. Worked on Swagbucks while relaxing in front of the TV last night. Am so close to a $25 gift card!
5. I mentioned to one of my friends that I was going to start looking for a workout DVD to do at home. She mentioned she no longer uses hers and is going to loan it to me for awhile.


Jennifer February 16, 2016 at 8:55 am

1.I got a great deal on eggs too! $1.90 for 3 boxes of the 2.5 dozen. I rarely get good egg deals so this made me happy.
2. I still haven’t got a haircut or colored my hair in awhile and it’s not really bothering me. I have noticed a lot of the celebrities have long dark roots, not that I am trendy at all with my only 2 pair of jeans, but I am rockin’ my roots as well.
3. I saved my 3 year old daughter’s favorite pink tights from the trash. She plays in her daddy’s shop and they had black stuff all over. After multiple stain removal attempts, I made a risky move of soaking them in a little bleach water and the stains came out. The tights are still functional and pink. I was afraid it would ruin the elasticity in the tights but they are fine.
4. My husband brought home ALOT of reduced ground beef. Like 16 meals worth! I had to break all this down into meals sized packages to freeze. I know it will take awhile to eat all this so it had to be appropriately packaged to avoid freezer burn. It took awhile but it will be worth it. I have mentioned before that my husband has terminal cancer so I know he got this because he thought it would make me happy. He usually buys whatever he wants at the store, no matter what it costs, and that’s just fine. We balance each other out.
5. I have been playing Kroger’s instant win game and won 3 times. I am now shopping the produce clearance bins for fruits/veggies to go with all the protein and junky carbs/sugar I seem to have an abundance of right now. So far all I have found is 2 shriveled bell peppers.


LisaC February 16, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Jennifer, I’m so sorry about your husband. 🙁 When my husband was ill (he’s had cancer once and a pulmonary embolism), I spend whatever it takes to make him happy and for us to make memories. Not sure that’s frugal, but I can tell you I don’t regret it.


Jennifer February 16, 2016 at 4:25 pm

Awe, thanks! He has pancreatic cancer. We are running a successful business in spite of everything so he can afford to buy a few things. Some days are good, some not so much. He is a really amazing man. Not sure I would handle things as well as he does. He has made it past the 5 year mark and with pancreatic cancer that is remarkable. I want him to work less and travel more but that’s just not him. So I gues he is frugal in his own way. I just try not to harp on things too much because I feel that he has spent his whole life making money so he should be able to spend what he wants at this point. Thanks so much for your comment.


Stephanie February 17, 2016 at 6:29 am

Five years is amazing! My grandpa made it for two and the doctors were seriously impressed. I hope your husband continues to do well.


Jennifer February 17, 2016 at 7:16 am

Yeah, if you have to have cancer pancreatic cancer is the one you would choose last for sure. The life expectancy is very low. I’m glad you got to spend those 2 years with your grandpa. We try to think of it as living with cancer rather than dying with cancer around here. He doesn’t take chemo anymore and is kind of against taking it at this point. He is doing well at the present and we hope for more of the same.Thanks for your well wishes!

Allison February 16, 2016 at 4:39 pm

What is this Kroger instant win game? I have the app and an account but not sure how to play this. 😉


Jennifer February 17, 2016 at 7:08 am

It’s called “fast track to savings”. I don’t have the link because I always play it on my phone and I am on my desktop.You just type in your email and password and when you win it automatically puts the digital coupon for the freebie onto your Kroger card. I have been playing everyday and I won a jar of pace salsa this morning! A lot of times I don’t win but this makes the 4th time winning so it’s worth a try.


Ruby February 16, 2016 at 9:28 am

1. Used up the last of a head of iceberg lettuce (shhh! don’t tell the food cops!) making two salads: one for lunch at home and one for lunch at work. They were topped with homemade croutons made from the heel of a loaf of homemade bread that was going stale. It was very yummy.
2. Bought a pair of slacks off the $1 rack at the thrift store to use the fabric in altering a coat. Beats the alternative, which was $5 a yard at best. Will also harvest the hooks and zipper from the slacks for future projects.
3. Splurged and bought a small box of Valentine chocolates at 50 percent off yesterday. For $1.99, it’s made a very nice treat.
4. Cut my own hair, as it was finally long enough for a straight trim of the ends. It came out really cute and I’ve had several compliments on it.
5. Have been practicing baked goods management: Turned the dough for one large loaf of rye bread into two smaller loaves and froze one, so that the heel of the one in the bread box doesn’t start to dry out before it’s eaten up, and froze packages of homemade breakfast bars for my husband. I dole them out to the container in the fridge three packs at a time so that he doesn’t eat them all up in a few days.


Shevaun February 18, 2016 at 12:12 pm

This is my favorite poem of all time: an ode to iceburg lettuce.

The Iceberg Theory
Gerald Locklin

all the food critics hate iceberg lettuce.
you’d think romaine was descended from
orpheus’s laurel wreath,
you’d think raw spinach had all the nutritional
benefits attributed to it by popeye,
not to mention aesthetic subtleties worthy of
verlaine and debussy.
they’ll even salivate over chopped red cabbage
just to disparage poor old mr. iceberg lettuce.
I guess the problem is
it’s just too common for them.
It doesn’t matter that it tastes good,
has a satisfying crunchy texture,
holds its freshness
and has crevices for the dressing,
whereas the darker, leafier varieties
are often bitter, gritty, and flat.
It just isn’t different enough and
it’s too goddamn american.
of course a critic has to criticize;
a critic has to have something to say
perhaps that’s why literary critics
purport to find interesting
so much contemporary poetry
that just bores the shit out of me.
at any rate, I really enjoy a salad
with plenty of chunky iceberg lettuce,
the more the merrier,
drenched in an Italian or roquefort dressing.
and the poems I enjoy are those I don’t have
to pretend that I’m enjoying.


Ruby February 21, 2016 at 9:31 am

Oh, that is wonderful! I bought some more iceberg and made salads again this week. A trick told to me long ago by a guy who sold produce is to get the lighter weight heads, because they will have more loose green leaves. The heavier ones have more of the tightly furled white ones.


JoAnne Brooks February 19, 2016 at 3:16 am

Homemade breakfast bars sound great! Can you share the recipe?


Ruby February 21, 2016 at 9:28 am

Sure! Here they are:

Coconut Breakfast Bars
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×12 inch baking pan.

Cream together:
3/4 cup of butter (or margarine) and 3/4 cup light brown sugar.

2 large eggs and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract and beat well.

Add & mix in well:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 cups shredded coconut — can be sweetened or unsweetened, as you prefer.
1 cup dried fruit (we use cranberries and raisins)
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts are good and not too expensive right now)

Note: If you don’t have three cups of coconut, two cups of coconut and one cup of old-fashioned oatmeal is great substitute.

Also: If the batter seems too thick, you can add 1/4 cup of milk, almond milk or soy milk.

Spread into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and firm in the center. Let cool in pan, then cut into an equal number of squares. Two squares is a serving. These freeze well.


Mariana February 16, 2016 at 9:50 am

Oh, the free burrito. I got it as well 🙂

The biggest accomplishment this week was negotiating (between my doctor and insurance) to switch to medication that will cost me $0/month. As compared to $120/month as originally prescribed. The most ridiculous part was that I was going to be charged $120 for generic while brand name is $0. So confusing, it took me a couple of weeks to realize what the problem was and why I was asked to pay so much. I don’t understand how United Healthcare Oxford calculated all of this. Makes no sense to me. Anyway, switching from generic to brand name means $1,500 / year savings. Craziness!


Stacy February 16, 2016 at 8:04 pm

I’ve had the same issue where brand name was zero or cheaper and generic more expensive! Makes no sense.


Lazyretirementgirl February 18, 2016 at 10:53 am

What I have read is that, in some instances, while the non generic is in fact much more expensive, the manufacturer picks up the copayment so the patient insists on the branded product and the insurer eats the higher cost. More perverse incentives in our healthcare system.


Beth Anne February 16, 2016 at 11:55 am

1. Finally treated myself to see Star Wars on Valentines Day. Went to the first matinee show to save $ and didn’t see the 3D. Loved it! Such a throw back. I remember when I saw the first one – 5th grade with my friend and my Mom.

2. Went to the Dollar Tree to buy a snack and drink for the show – $2.00 and I didn’t feel deprived not having the movie snacks. Bought Tropical Trail Mix so still got the crunch but a healthier alternative.

3. Got gas at Costco for the 1st time. Estimated I saved an additional 88 cents over the other cheapest gas station in the area.

4. While at Costco ate samples for lunch. Bought only the things that were on my grocery list and only if they made sense. Buying four things of butter did not with just my daughter and me. Will go to Aldi for some stuff still. I bought milk, eggs, clementines and instant pre-packaged oatmeal. Didn’t see a big coast savings over my usual shopping.

5. Did two receipt surveys last night earning free food.

6. Reduced my electricity by over 2.5 points compared to last year at this time. Hung a load of laundry to dry last night, heavy wet towels so have to be some cost savings there. 😉


Jennifer February 16, 2016 at 12:40 pm

5. Thanks for the reminder. I need to pay more attention to my receipts.


Diane C February 18, 2016 at 4:11 am

Butter lasts a long time in the fridge and freezes quite well. At about 2.49/lb, Costco’s the best quality/everyday price I’ve found. IIRC, the 1lb. blocks are slightly cheaper, but they are cumbersome, especially if you freeze them. Usually, Costco’s price dips around the holidays, so I lay in a large supply and freeze it, but it didn’t dip much this time, alas.


Amy February 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm

1. Over the weekend, we stayed in, watched home movies, made food from the pantry, and played musical instruments. It was a nice lazy, simple, frugal weekend with the kids and the hubs. I couldn’t have made it better with any amount of money!
2. We homeschool, and sign up for the READ IT program every year. I present the coupons for 1 personal pan sized pizza to the boys through out the school year as they finish reading a certain amount of books. So dinner this Friday for the boys will be FREE personal pan pizzas. Hubs and I will make do with something else.
3. Window shopped for all kinds of CRAZY expensive dream items over the weekend with the hubs. Some we even researched and wrote down prices for, etc. THEN, decided we would be responsible with our tax refund and put some in an emergency fun, pay up our car insurance for a year at a time (we do this every year), fix the vehicles, and invest in our health by buying me a bike, so the family can go biking and get healthy this year. 😉
4. Making a new batch of laundry soap. I love the way it cleans our clothing and it smells fresh.
5. Dinner tonight is leftovers from the freezer. 😉


Amy February 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Oh and we got eggs on sale this week for 99 cents a dozen (limit 2). WHOOO HOOOO!!!!!


Isabelle February 16, 2016 at 1:55 pm

* I was considering going to university to take a part-time sociology certificate just for the pleasure of learning. At a cost of about 7000$ spread over 5 years… pretty expensive for a (useless for my career) piece of paper. But then I discovered MOOC’s!!! I found a couple of sites, like and already registered for 2 classes (positive psychology and Dinosaurs 101!). The concept is amazing and it’s free!!!! Yay! So university is out for now, and this money stays in my bank account.

For the rest, the usual : groceries from the sales, entertainment at home (Netflix, mainly), books from the library, used clothes, 2004 car still running great, etc.


tiff February 16, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Edx is amazing for free classes..I took one through Harvard..


Juhli February 16, 2016 at 1:59 pm

1. Thrift shopping success with my “rebuild my wardrobe” list. 2 pairs of Columbia shorts for $3.50, silk shell, really nice charcoal cardigan and a graphic t for sleeping/lounging. Spent a total of $27 and am quite happy.
2. Semi-diligently doing PT exercises meant I don’t need any more sessions (at $60 for 30 min) and no more pain.
3. Returned items to CVS that DH had bought as he decided they were the wrong version.
4. Walking for exercise every day the weather cooperates.
5. Did not go to Paris


Tish February 16, 2016 at 2:39 pm

1. Four no-spend days last week and no food waste!!
2. Also picked up the Moonstruck chocolate bar and the Snickers bar from a few weeks ago for my teen for Valentine’s. Did not go out or buy any other gifts for Valentine’s. Having been in foodservice for many years, I’m not a big fan of the holiday.
3. Ate all meals at home except for take out on Friday, I was weak and had just got news of a bonus from my employer.
4. Will use most (if not all) of bonus to finish funding IRAs and new carpet. Previous owners had used a weird cleaner on dog/cat accident areas, after I steam cleaned it trying to get some of the grossness out, those areas had bleach looking stains.
5. Transferred a prescription for DH (trying to get him off it quickly, but doc wants him to take it for now) to Harris Teeter. Prescription was $11 and received a $25 credit for transferring. I’m hoping to hopscotch it around several pharmacies while we’re trying to get him off it.


Tish February 16, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Forgot to add that I found lots of markdowns which makes my grocery budget happy, I guess that makes 6 things, but I love markdowns for produce and meat – 29c each for 2 8oz containers of lettuce, 49c each for 2 1lb containers of artisan lettuce, $2.99 for a 2lb bag of green beans, 99c for a lb of yellow squash and $1 a lb 90/10 ground sirloin. I bought all 9 lbs of sirloin at that price!


momsav February 16, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Wow! What great prices! Even though i don’t eat meat, the Mr. does; We never have meat markdowns.


Kim February 16, 2016 at 3:14 pm

1. Went to SC for the weekend to see DS#2 and his team play in a tournament. Nine hours each way, unseasonably cold weather but so worth it to see my son who goes to school in TN, 9 hours away from home! We had major issues with the room next to ours, making so much noise until after 2 AM and starting again at 6:40 AM, that I insisted that our room be comped because I had no intention of paying for not being able to sleep. The motel agreed.
2. Packed snacks and drinks for the car and also made 4 regular and 3 small loaves of Amish chocolate chip bread for DS and his team. I made a loaf when I went to a tournament in GA in the fall and when DS told them I was coming to see them play they all asked if I was bringing the bread! They loved it and were very appreciative.
3. Found 49¢ in the Coinstar machine when I had walked across to the grocery store to get a yogurt for breakfast. This is the 3rd time I have checked the Coinstar and the 3rd time I have found $!
4. Got gas for $1.29/ gallon on our way back home! Sure beats the $1.69/gallon price at home.
5. Took 3 pairs of pants that I had found at the thrift store for DS#2 so I didn’t need to ship them to him. Happily they fit him perfectly and he liked them.
6. Sold 5 items on Amazon while we were away which I shipped today. College fund!


Lesley February 16, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Wow, great list!


Lesley February 16, 2016 at 3:46 pm

1. Stocked up on eggs at Aldi ($.97/dozen, finally back down in price)
2. Trimmed my hair
3. Wore like-new Uggs handed down from a friend with a shoe fetish
4. Used up a stale bag of Goldfish by crushing them with some butter atop a casserole
5. Walked to the library for free DVDs


Teri February 16, 2016 at 3:50 pm

1. Got burrito and hamburger free coupons this week.
2. Daughter collects all the “coke codes” from family members near and far (ok, we probably drink too much, but I always buy on sale) usually netting us 2 or 3 free 12 packs every 4-6 weeks.
3. Did usual price-match, coupon shopping at Walmart.
4. Bought discounted lift tickets at Costco, took our own lunch and enjoyed President’s Day skiing with our daughter.
5. Used the Penney’s $10 off $10 or more purchase on a box of chocolates for a friends surprise birthday, which I can’t attend, but definitely want to acknowledge.


Jennifer February 16, 2016 at 4:40 pm

2. My husband loves diet Coke and drinks a lot of it. I have to scope out all the sale papers each week to find the best deals. I drink water mostly but I occasionally can’t resist a dt. Dew.


Teri February 16, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Thats the situation around here as well. I have my DDP with my popcorn on Sunday night.


Bee February 16, 2016 at 4:44 pm

I love French onion soup and French dips. What great ways to use your leftovers.
1) I picked up a signed contract for a freelance job today. I am looking forward to a little extra income.
2) My husband and I decided to avoid the crowds and not go out to eat for Valentines’s Day. Instead, we took a short road trip to a nearby fishing village where we purchased fresh shrimp, clams and oysters. We brought it all home and cooked together. We had a seafood feast for much less than it would have been in a restaurant.
3) Encouraged by many who comment on this blog, I stopped into the Dollar Store. (I know that I am a little late to the party.) I was able to buy many personal care and household items: Dental floss, Yardley Oatmeal soap, garden gloves, spray bottles and legal pads. I was very pleased at the savings.☺️
4) Reducing food costs is a 2016 goal for me. I continue to cook from home with little food waste. I finally used all of the giant Napa cabbage. It took 5 meals! I saved the broth when we cooked clams on V-day. I froze it to use in clam chowder later on. Used avacado that was getting very ripe in salad tonight. I have plans to cook a good deal tomorrow: chicken soup, granola, etc.
5) I reviewed my budget and spending for the week of February 8th through the 14th. My expenditures were nearly 40% less than the first week of the month. I had my most frugal month of the year!


Jennifer February 17, 2016 at 7:20 am

2. I love your date night idea, simply perfect.


Krystal February 16, 2016 at 5:37 pm

1. I did NOT buy this special wine I really wanted to try. We love wine, LOVE WINE, and we budget for it accordingly. Guess what? We don’t have room in the budget this month. We are saving to pay cash to go to France, among other things. I’m going to be proud when I can winetaste in person that we said no on smaller things to say yes to the bigger experiences. I worked and saved for this!
2. I cashed in a birthday reward at Starbucks today. Free latte!
3. I have a second birthday reward at the local cafe on my LevelUp app. Another free latte on Thursday!
4. I batched cat vet visits (with the help of my husband, of course). This was their first visit with our existing vet, which means FREE exams for both of them. We also discussed how we can use some of our old cat’s still-good flea meds with no concerns, and learned both of our new cats are GEMS at the vet, which means we can trim their nails at home and save the $30 each time we need to get their nails trimmed, which was the cost of our last cat’s nail trims at the vet (though she was wonderful, she was also a vet/grooming nightmare).
5. I received a birthday check of $200 and a $25 Target GC. Some of the $200 went straight toward my new rainboot purchase (expensive, but one of those lovely splurges I afforded myself since I buy 95% of my other clothes used, and I needed rainboots), and I banked the rest in my Roth or savings. The $25 will go toward a new t-shirt that is my favorite fit and hard to find used, as well as a pair of leggings I love for PJ’s. Both will be worn until I the holes are so big I might as well be naked. I have a history of not letting go of favorite clothing items 🙂


Bee February 17, 2016 at 4:42 am

I could definitely do without wine if it meant that I could go to France. I would travel all the time if I could!


Val :) February 17, 2016 at 2:23 am

Yesterday’s frugalness –
1. Fought the urge to go peruse Target and won!
2. Made .49 cent potpies, baked potatoes, and buttered bread for a frugal but filling meal.
3. Combined driving to and from work with running errands thus saving gas and time.
4. Walked on my in perfect condition $10.- garage sale treadmill – still to cold to walk outdoors.
5. Kept the heat at 67 degrees and left the blinds up to use the sunlight to keep the house toasty.


Jill A February 17, 2016 at 7:58 am

1. Used a $20 off coupon on 50% off sweater at my favorite clothing store. They send these coupons all the time and I can’t turn them down. Ended up paying $7 and bought a christmas gift on clearance for next year.
2. Gas suddenly went up by 30 cents while I was out. I zipped into the Shell station that hadn’t upped the price yet and filled up, saving a few dollars.
3. Picked up some shredded parmesan and swiss cheese on super sale at Meijer. I used a $10 gift card given by Consumers Energy for answering some questions, and reading some energy saving tips.
4. Picked up a few items I needed for dinner at Aldi, and didn’t fill my cart.
5. Sauteed some mushrooms that I’m trying to use up. Friend gave them to my husband. Someone she knows, who works at Pizza Hut, gave her a whole box of mushrooms they were going to throw out. They didn’t meet their standards, but were still good. I still have more to use up.


Vickie February 17, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Yum! That pot roast sounds delish!

1) Hubby bought my lunch today at Zio’s. We rarely have lunch together so this was a nice surprise. We both got full, so I doubt I will need to worry about dinner tonight. YAY!!
2) I love buying over-the-counter meds at the Dollar Tree. No point in spending $3-5 dollars on stuff that I can spend a $1 on instead and stash in my desk here at work.
3) I ate a free Panera bread bagel & free coffee at a work meeting this morning. It’s nice to be pampered without having to spend my own money!
4) I watched two Dave Ramsey videos yesterday to help me get back on track with my budgeting.
5) I’m enjoying my gifted Teaoli Orange-Grapefruit tea this afternoon. So yummy & fragrant. I am truly blessed!!


Reese February 17, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Ohhh what videos?

I’m using my tax refund to zero out—paying off all the credit cards, putting a good chunk in savings, and paying back my mom (she lent me some $$ when I was remodeling my house).

Which Dave Ramsey videos did you find the most inspiring?


Madeline February 17, 2016 at 3:20 pm

1.Used up piece of soup- beef in freezer that I had bought on sale a while back–made a crock pot of beef vegetable soup out of ingredients from the refrig. and pantry,to feed company visiting tonight.

2. Husband and I went on a free weekly date — to a gorgeous local park with a riparian path for exercise. Walked around the lake. Free environmental education center on premises too. A nice outdoors day!

3. Stopped at Goodwill on way home from park, and found a replacement lid for crock pot.The cheap plastic one cracked. Now I have a glass one that will last a long time for 99 cents !

4. Roasted up a big pan of odds and ends vegetables from refrig. – Leftovers will be scrambled with eggs and potatoes for dinner tomorrow.

5. Enjoyed a day at the Desert Botanical Garden free.. I am a volunteer! Met interesting people from all over the USA. (Gloated about our Az. weather!!!) and drank free coffee from our volunteer kitchen.Took home some free lemons another docent brought in to share.


Sharon February 17, 2016 at 7:07 pm

Katy, I know you often sell online…why not sell the Chucks for a profit?


Katy February 17, 2016 at 7:27 pm

I’m pretty sure that the Nike employee store has a rule against buying for resale, and it’s not an area where I felt the need to cross the line.


Marcia February 17, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Having cold weather (-30 wind chills) over the weekend set me on a cooking binge—so three nights this week will be leftovers for dinner! Not bad investing the time when the house was so cold anyhow.

Called medical insurance today over big run around with one of my meds no longer being in the “formulary.” Turns out it was a mistake–after about an hour on the phone. This did not make me happy because I ended up paying out of pocket $30 for a refill that should have cost me $1. Guy on phone apologized nicely for that, but it still didn’t help my wallet. The problem was that the medicine is not recommended for people over 65–and I have had an indefinite waiver through my doctor since 2012. Even though I turned 65 in 2008. But I knew nothing about it. So when they told me they took the drug off the formulary, I believed it. Then my doctor apparently “didn’t call the pharmacy back” which I also doubt—and I was going on vacation, so I paid out of pocket. What kind of stupid run around is this? I called the drug in this morning and there better be a $1 refill for me when I get to the pharmacy tomorrow!! I believe I have been royally screwed here. All the apologies, but no refunds!!


priskill February 18, 2016 at 7:10 am

That stinks!! At least you have figured it out so no more extra pay but still . . .
Kudos for pursuing it and getting to the facts!


Florencia February 17, 2016 at 9:17 pm

1. Remember I was selling perfumes for Valentine’s? I sold plenty, maybe half of my inventory, so I recouped my investment and made some profit. I will sell all remaining for mother’s day. Those will be all profit. 🙂
2. Attended a leadership conference at the U today. I paid for it last week, $5. Included dinner and while there I chatted with a teacher who advised me about my career path and an advisor who works at my college who informed I quality for a student advocate position that has a stipend. Will see this last lady on Tuesday and will make future plans to meet with the teacher.
3. There was a lot of food left from the conference, so they said to take some home. Delicious chicken fajitas dinner. I brought a plate 2/3 full of chicken fajitas and the rest cilantro rice. I would have brought some more but I didn’t have a bag. Still really nice.
4. Parked for free at the institute of religion again.
5. Went to a food bank with my mom on Sunday. They have us so much food! Such a blessing! I’ve been sick since last Thursday and this is the first day I feel considerably better, so I’ve been missing work.
6. Went to a nutrition class at Whole Foods yesterday. They fed me two little bowls of soup and orange slices. They gave me a $5 card for attending it. Everything is out of my budget there! I needed to get some lettuce for salads, but I would have still paid $1 plus tax if I got some. So I got an 8oz brie cheese that was in sale for $4.99. I only paid 14¢ for tax.
7. Found marked-down bananas, bell peppers in oil, and a gallon of milk, along with a head of lettuce and one tomato and only paid $5 and a few cents at the grocery store.
8. Ate food at institute yesterday (grilled cheese and salad). Rounded it out with applesauce and animal crackers from my trunk.
9. Bought a big, big, drawing pad (18×24) with drawing board, portable bike pump, lined paper, printer paper, and an Ikea ribbed grill pan for $15. I’m super happy! The pan is for my mom and I really need the drawing pad for art class. My current one has just one sheet left (given to me by my friend). A new one costs $23 for 24 sheets and this one has 21 sheets, practically new!


Florencia February 17, 2016 at 9:27 pm

I forgot to mention they #9 was through a Facebook yard sale group.


Ruth February 18, 2016 at 3:49 am

1. My ex husband gave us 2x2litre ice coffee cartons, my son is the only one who drinks coffee and he has already finished one carton.

2. Went shopping with my daughter (21) she bought 2 dresses I looked at some clothes but bought nothing,

3. I was supposed to have lunch with a girlfriend but she cancelled so saved the lunch money and ate at home

4. Was texting same girlfriend telling her how I have aches and pains from prepping and painting our bathroom and toilet, she told me she understood as she is having her house painted next week….difference is I’m doing it myself while she is paying someone else…aches and pains plus a few paints and rollers etc are a lot cheaper then paying someone else

5. Having a celebration BBQ this weekend for my daughters 21st , have asked everyone to bring a salad or sweet, and also asked my Ex husband to go halves financially in everything else …. He agreed …luckily we have a decent post divorce relationship …makes things a lot cheaper and easier


Deb Krow February 19, 2016 at 9:04 am

Just a note on the Cast Iron Skillet. Your Gas Grill will not reach a high enough temperature to induce stress into your skillet. The skillet must reach a temperature of 1020 and 1200°F in order to change the micro structure. If someone had this experience, then skillet was already cracked, but had not yet failed.


Katy February 19, 2016 at 9:33 am

Good to know, thanks!


Morgan LeFaye February 19, 2016 at 1:56 pm

1. Bought most of my grocery items on clearance this week. Milk, produce, donuts, bread, yogurt, etc.
2. Finished my library copy of ‘brining up bebe’ and learned a lot!
3. Kept konmariing (sp?) my house and received $35 from the consignment shop.
4. Found a klean kanteen at goodwill for.99! This is unreal because I’m always looking for those and thermos cups for my LO, but this is the first time I have seen a kk there. I was with my MIL and may have gotten a little too excited about this find! Pic on my ig m_lefaye
5. Filled up the gas tank for 8.50 using Kroger rewards


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