Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 10, 2016 · 101 comments

  1. I hung a load of laundry in the backyard this morning. The last couple of days have been rainy, so it’s nice to crank up the solar clothes dryer again.
  2. I’m planning a dinner that’ll be concocted using stuff from the fridge and pantry. Even though I’d rather get burritos from the amazing Mexican food cart that’s three blocks from the house.
  3. My father treated me to lunch yesterday, which was doubly enjoyable since I ran into an old friend that I hadn’t seen for years and years.
  4. I bought another Goodwill doll for resale. So far she hasn’t generated any interest, but I only paid $6.99, so I can list her for less and still make a profit.
  5. I work both Friday and Saturday, I’m working on another Clark Howard article, I relisted a Craigslist listing, I found a penny on the ground at Fred Meyer and I redistributed some potting soil from a free flowerpot.

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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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

tonya parham August 10, 2016 at 5:11 pm

1. Finally got a clothes hanger thingie on clearance at Kmart and brought it home to hang up a metric ton of new clothes given to us by SIL. Nice stuff, barely worn.

2. Picked up the new Harry Potter and a couple other books at the library. Finally finished my audiobook _The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace_ what a moving book.

3. Did groceries at Aldi and go only list products — all unprocessed food. (Fruits and veggies mostly.)

4. Went to Goodwill last night with SIL and the missus for the missus’ birthday and SIL bought us dinner. I made her a pone of cornbread to take home as a thank you.

5. Went to Target to get our prescriptions today. Bought nothing else while in Target!


Caroline August 11, 2016 at 2:32 am

#5 is huge!


tonya parham August 11, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Right? Target is like my kryptonite! Luckily, the pharmacist and his tech are funny and will talk to me a few minutes so that I feel like I’ve had a pleasant experience without browsing at merchandise.


BJS August 10, 2016 at 5:31 pm

1. A few weeks ago I got a bill in the mail for $7 from an urgent care facility I’d gone to earlier in the summer. I always match up doctors’ bills with the explanation of benefits forms from my insurance company, but I wasn’t seeing anything from the insurance company that said $7. After putting it off, I finally called (adulting is hard for me sometimes!). My insurance company person said it wasn’t a valid charge and that I should dispute it. The urgent care billing person said that she’d have someone research it and let me know within a month. I don’t have an answer yet but at least I did what I could, both people I talked with were helpful, and I didn’t just blindly pay it.

2. Saved $1 by remembering to use my bonus card at the grocery store.

3. My husband traveled last week, and he makes a little bit of money on each trip. His company pays him a per diem for meals, and he never spends that much on food (his breakfast is included with his hotel stay, his lunch is usually provided by the company he’s visiting, and he almost always gets something from a fast food restaurant for dinner). I can’t take any credit for this one, but I’m listing it anyway. 🙂

4. I fixed brisket for dinner tonight, which I had “shopped for” from my freezer.

5. My daughter’s school clothes from last year still fit her, so we don’t need anything for her as of now.


Krystal August 10, 2016 at 6:13 pm

1. Sold a dozen mason jars on Craiglist I had just taking up space in our pantry, pocketed $15.
2. Took my dog in for a free check up from his surgery, and will take advantage of his complimentary rehab session that was part of his surgery. It was a big expense, but we plan to get every benefit possible out of it.
3. One of the tires on our car seems to have a slow leak, I called our tire company and they said if that’s the case, it is a free fix. Will drop it off tomorrow and do other errands nearby on foot.
4. Running a stale baguette under water and popping into the oven to enjoy with dinner.
5. Resisting a few items in CL and eBay–free listings!


JD August 10, 2016 at 6:21 pm

1. Went to Goodwill because I am still on the hunt for non-plastic spice containers. Found an unopened pack of six stainless containers plus three loose matching ones and they are for spices. Score!
2. Dried another load on the drying rack inside as we are still getting rain.
3. Found an overlooked banana in the freezer that was really too far gone. Fed it to my worms so it will be fertilizer soon.
4. I’m keeping up with my brand new budget effort. It makes me think more about my purchases.
5. This is involuntary but I’m saving electricity because my power is out!


Lindsey August 10, 2016 at 6:22 pm

This has been a week for battling businesses:
1. Appealed an insurance company denial for repairing a front tooth that broke in half. I had appealed twice already, as $456.oo was a lot for me to pay. I finally sent a letter of me smiling with half a broken tooth and asked them whether they would hire me for their front desk receptionist with this smile—if not, then it was more than cosmetic. I don’t know if it was the picture or what, but they paid all but $10.

2. I appealed a health insurance claim to the tune of $7,000 plus, where they claimed I had not needed the hospitalization so were refusing to pay. It took some time but the admitting doctor finally wrote a blistering letter about how during that supposed unneeded hospitalization they had stuck a needle into my chest area and pulled out two liters of fluid leaking out of an organ and pooling around my lungs. During part of the time I was fighting this bill I was so ill and tired and weepy that I felt like giving up, so am proud of myself for sticking to my guns.

3. My Dane needed surgery for a tumor. We carry insurance on him and it should have paid for the tumor removal with no fight. But, you guessed it, they initially paid only $50 (??). Again, took time but letters from the vet finally convinced them to pay.

4. I got home from the grocery store and found that the expensive berries I bought were half rotten. It was too far to drive back so I called and the manager told me to find him next time I came in and he would fix it. Went in today and he refunded my money AND gave me a free basket of blueberries.

5. Two years ago, against my better instinct, I loaned an acquaintance $400 because she was about to be evicted. Suddenly she stopped being my friend. Our town has an annual fair and I read in the paper that she won $1000 drawing…I hate this sort of confrontation, but I found her on FB and messaged her I expected to be paid back and if she didn’t I would publically shame her on FB and twitter. I explained that I am still ill, suddenly financially strapped because I cannot work right now and that she has never made any attempt to pay me back even five dollars over the last two years. She is an attorney so I was sure she would not want a public fuss. She had the money back to me within a day and, to her credit, she added on interest I would have made if the money had been in the bank. I don’t think I would have put anything on social media, but it was remarkably effective.


kathleen August 10, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Fighting insurance and billing departments is my absolute MOST hated thing in the world to do. And collecting the old debt! You deserve a BIG pat on the back and ‘Way to go!’ Considering you are not feeling well and still used shrewd and spirited initiative in all these matters makes me think that you are someone I want in my corner and not on the other side. 🙂 Wishing you and your Dane excellent health very soon!


Bee August 11, 2016 at 4:09 am

Good for you! I hope your story inspires others. So many people just let the denial of claims go. Many years ago, I had to fight our health insurance company. They refused to pay for medical care that my son had received. It was a covered expense, and this was clearly stated in their 100 page Certificate of Insurance. I finally contacted our state’s Department of Insurance, and they helped me to get my appeal to the “right” person. I finally received a check for $7800. I fought for 6 years! Never, ever give up.

I hope you are feeling like yourself again soon and your pup is well and by your side.


Katy August 11, 2016 at 6:16 am

Wow, inspiring story! Good for you for persevering through what must have seemed like a never ending struggle.


Bee August 11, 2016 at 7:46 am

I learned two things that might be helpful to others. If you are having difficulty, request a copy of your Certificate of Insurance. This often contains your proof of coverage. Once it is in hand, contact your state’s Department of Insurance. Since they are responsible for regulating the insurance companies, they may provide you with the help you need to get past the lower level claims processors.


Krystal August 11, 2016 at 8:37 am

Lindsey and Bee, you two should go into business fighting insurance claims for those of us who don’t have the energy or backbone. There are a lot of people that could use your persistence and communication skills!


Jill A August 11, 2016 at 5:00 am

Way to go!!!


JD August 11, 2016 at 6:39 am

I’m officially impressed by your efforts! That’s how to do it. Love the way to get the tooth repair covered!


Isabelle August 11, 2016 at 7:00 am

Wow, suprising #5 worked, but good for you!
My husband lent 500$ to a “friend” 5 years ago and when we asked for it back he always has a good excuse…. Bottom line, hubby will never see that money again. Live and learn I say. I’m pretty sure he will never lend money to a friend again! Some people have no shame.


Gina in KY August 11, 2016 at 7:33 am

Wow, I’m sad to hear you’ve had to fight so hard with the insurance companies, especially while ill. On the other hand, you are an inspiration and deserve an award for persevering through the fight.


IsabelI August 11, 2016 at 8:26 am

Good on you! You certainly made the world sit up and take notice! You are an inspiration! Hope you and the dog feel well soon! Had a laugh about the photo ….. How could they refuse that !!


Lucy August 11, 2016 at 4:30 pm


Hope you and your Dane are feeling better soon.


Marilyn August 10, 2016 at 6:57 pm

I love that you sent the dental insurance people a picture of you with a broken front tooth. Way to get them to pay up!


Is it a need or a want August 10, 2016 at 7:56 pm

(1) A member of my dragon boat team had an extra yellow squash seedling at the beginning of June. She gave it to me. It is enormous and has lovely blooms and squash starting. I sent her a photo and additional thank-you:)
(2) Neighbour going halves on replacing shared fence. Previous neighbour had told us it was ours. This owner said never mind we’ll share the cost.
(3) Too soft nectarines are being frozen and added to the miscellaneous fruit bag in the freezer.
(4) We have enough essential groceries till the weekend. This is good as the new weeks flyers come out on Thursday and take effect Friday. On Thursdays I determine if I need to reshop that weeks sales or wait for the new sales on Friday.
(5) Fridge has been acting up freezing things. After I have thrown out one too many cucumbers, dawned on me to leave them on the counter.


Bethany August 10, 2016 at 8:03 pm

1. Went to alDi’s and bought breakfast and snacks for vacation tomorrow.
2. Was able to research online a hotel room for this vacation at a much cheaper rate. I am excited because the room will have a refrigerator and microwave for us to keep food and even make popcorn at night while watching the hotel cable . The other hotel I looked at was the same price but did not offer the refrigerator and microwave or free coffee in the room.
3. Will turn down air conditioning and hot water heater while we are gone to save money.
4. Daughter wanted more school supplies was able to use money from a Walmart gift card we had leftover.
5.can’t believe it I already got the new Harry Potter book from the library instead of buying it, so far so good 🙂 looking forward to reading it on the beach while I’m vacation.
6.every day I keep picking one or two tomatoes love it!


Kim August 10, 2016 at 8:05 pm

1. Taking DS#2 back to college for year #2! First apartment so lots more stuff. Friends lent us their SUV so we can move his stuff 535 miles from home! Neither of our sedans would get it there.
2. Bought a beautiful 9×12 rug for DS#2’s college apartment from FB yard sale group for $10! It’s really soft! Also, painted a lamp I got free last year from FB group for his apartment. It was a scary bright yellow and now it’s a rich oil rubbed bronze with a $3 thrifted lamp shade.
3. Made 2 key lime pies and a dirt cake for his going away.
4. Found 51¢ at Aldi.
5. Sold a book on Amazon for $10.


kathleen August 10, 2016 at 8:17 pm

1. Benefited today from the cook once/eat twice work put in previously. I thawed meatloaf that had been prepared and frozen when I made another, along with twice-baked potatoes that I had made a huge batch of a month or so ago and frozen individually. I was right. My present me is EXTREMELY grateful to past me for the easy home-cooked meal I fed my family today!
2. Didn’t leave the house today so no gas or $ spent.
3. Working Th and Fri this week.
4. Both work days will be in a town about half an hour away. So Fri before I head home, I will need gas and will fill up at a station there that has much lower prices than they are in my own town.
5. Still putting off haircut.


Lynda August 12, 2016 at 2:06 am

Ooh, the present me and future me! Trying to work on this one…


Denise August 10, 2016 at 11:25 pm

1. I have finally put my 4bed house up for sale. I live alone and it has been inspired by Katy and you guys and simplicity sites, so thank you for giving outwards to the world.
2. I have a fancy en suite shower room, so to keep it looking its best for unexpected viewings, I am using another one. Much weaker water pressure so I am using less water each day. A win as my water is metered. And more environmentally friendly.
3. Am bringing my lunch to work with me. Offsets the $10 sushi I bought yesterday. Oops.
4. Dropped in to see my sister and family last night – just in time for pizza and salad. Great company, scrummy food. Best things in life are free…
5. Not sure that this is frugal, but I loaded up my dining table with stuff I don’t want or need, and a friend took it all away to sell on her family’s behalf, as they are struggling to get by. I could have sold most of it, but I know that I am lazy (which is why it was tucked away in cupboards) and I feel better knowing it is helping someone who needs it.

Total frugal fail: I used my tumble-drier for nearly all my laundry, because of the house sale. Didn’t want airers full of clothes hanging around. Forgive me, please!


Denise August 10, 2016 at 11:28 pm

P.S. It is 8.30a.m. here in England: you guys are my morning commute companions!


K D August 11, 2016 at 10:51 am

#5 was kind to your friend and the environment. I applaud you and expect good karma to come your way.


A. Marie August 11, 2016 at 12:09 pm

What KD said. Kindness and strong friendships = the greatest frugality in the long run.


rjr August 12, 2016 at 5:05 am

You are putting a huge deposit in the karma bank by helping your friend. Free pizza is such a lovely treat!


realBKW August 10, 2016 at 11:30 pm

I’m kind of offended -well, NOT kind of, I AM offended when people get something from a charity with the intention of SELLING it for PROFIT! That defeats the purpose of these stores, where they sell quality, gently-used and sometimes new items that people have DONATED the items so that someone who has few financial resources can acquire clothing, furniture, kitchenware, and, especially, things for their children, like the doll you purchased.. While you’re off profiting from the sale of this doll, it’s quite possible a mother, who had seen the doll last week and was excited to find something her daughter wanted for her birthday next week. Last week she realized she’d need a couple more dollars to pay for the doll, so she waited til after she cashed the meager paycheck from her minimum-wage, part-time job, subtracted the two more dollars she needed from the food money, and excitedly went back to Goodwill to buy the doll. But she was too late. While she was hard at work, you swooped in and scooped up the doll, hoping to resell it for, what, a three dollar profit? You should be very proud of yourself. You should also look up the definition of the name of the store. Then look up the store on Wikipedia; read its mission, it’s purpose, and what they do with the goods donated. Maybe next time you’ll think twice about using them as your “wholesaler” instead of as a dedicated resource for the needy that uses its resources (profits) to help train and provide jobs to disabled and disadvantaged folks. But you go on with your bad self and grab that money you’ll make. Maybe you can go off the frugal grid and splurge on an iced latte from Starbucks. After all, you earned it, right? Enjoy it. But while you’re drinking it, just avoid the looks you’ll get as you walk down the street, past the panhandler or that kid wearing sneakers with his toes practically bursting through, or the little girl in the adorable dress, the one that went out of style last year and is too big for her. The one her mom thought she’d get it even though “it’s too big now but , but she’ll grow into it. It was the only dress Goodwill had anywhere near her size. They didn’t have many dresses that day.” Yes, avoid their envious, sad faces as you prance down the hot pavement with straw in mouth, trying to enjoy your reward without getting brain freeze.

With just that one act, using Goodwill as a source for your resale stock, you’ve erased all the credit you earned with the other frugal actions you took. Are you hurting Goodwill? Not financially. But you are hurting their intended customers. And destroying the store’s purpose. You know, it’s Goodwill. Congrats.


Katy August 11, 2016 at 12:07 am

Actually, Goodwill’s mission is to raise as much money as possible through their retail stores to support their mission of helping people with barriers to employment. They do not now or ever attempt to keep prices low for low income consumers. I am in close contact with Goodwill management, and I know they love for people to scour their stores with an eye for resale.

Dale Emanuel, the P.R. person for all of this region’s Goodwills always says “We have Beemers and beaters in our parking lots.”

The goods are there for anyone to buy. No shame to my game.


K August 11, 2016 at 2:52 am

Well said! Imho, if Goodwill was at all interested in keeping their items low for those with little $, they wouldn’t sell in online auctions and such.


Susanne g August 11, 2016 at 5:04 am

I’m thinking the realBKW doesn’t shop thrift stores. Nobody, rich or poor, expects an item to be there next week, the turnover is today or never. Even our little church thrift store knows that people resell, but they get so much stuff their prices are low to keep it moving. It’s a big part of what I call the secondary market. Your story shows you do not know thrift shopping. For really poor people, for example, our store lets them fill a bag for each family member each month for free. I resent the implications of your rant.


janine August 11, 2016 at 5:51 am

Many years ago I worked for a self sufficiency food program. We bought food wholesale and then resold it. The idea was that together we could keep the prices low, sponsor community programs and provide good food to everyone for a low price. I can’t tell you how many people believed despite my assurances to the contrary, that they could not buy our food because it was for the “poor”. The idea was that the more food we bought the better deals we got and everyone benefitted.

The same basic idea is true for Goodwill. They seem to have plenty of merchandise and welcome everyone who seeks a bargain. Volume is a key part of this effort and shoppers like Katy who not only buy put publicize their business should be sought after.

tonya parham August 11, 2016 at 1:13 pm

I think not only does that post illustrate they don’t shop thrift stores, they don’t read this blog very often at all.

And I sort of resent reakBKW’s attitude too because even though I don’t resell items, I don’t just barely scrape by. I do however see value in not letting items go to waste. It’s sort of like saying “well, you make over x amount of dollars so you can’t shop thrift stores. If you need to buy things, you are karmically limited to places that aren’t for the poor!” Really? Come on!

Also, I just found the idea of Katy bopping down the street sipping a latte to be ridiculous. We all know that’s a birthday treat she splits !
And he has her Rose tea! 😉

Bee August 11, 2016 at 5:54 am

Wow, I see nothing wrong with buying items for resale. I believe this for several reasons:
1) Thrift stores exist solely to raise money for a specific organization or cause. The only way for these entities to turn donated items into cash is to sell them. A wide and varied base of support means more sales and more money for the group.
2) Since GW and other stores like them are given hundreds of items everyday, they have a constant supply of merchandise. The doll that Katy purchased will soon be replaced by another toy, doll or stuffed animal. There is enough for everyone.
3) The sheer volume of items donated makes it impossible to get the maximum value for each and every one. However, I think GW especially tries. Besides having tons of retail stores, Goodwill sells online and has outlets. In my area, they also have a Bluetique which is set up like a boutique and items are priced as such.
4) Lastly, the GW in my area excepts vouchers from social service agencies to supply clothes to those in need. This customer chooses from the same stock as anyone else and presents his voucher for payment..


Katy August 11, 2016 at 6:17 am

Hundreds? Try thousands! The sheer amount of stuff that crams our thrift stores means there are never enough customers for all the donations that come through their doors.


JD August 11, 2016 at 6:31 am

Thanks, Katy for that calm, good reply. My cousin is on the board of Goodwill, and I’m right with you on what you said about their mission and purpose.
I shop at Goodwill because our money is very tight, and because I hate to keep buying new stuff when good used stuff is out there. Do I care if others find a deal there and resell it? No. These re-sellers may have very small regular incomes to augment, may have huge medical bills, may be putting kids through college, may be financing a dream of starting a small side business, who knows? It’s perfectly fine with me.


gepee August 11, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Wow, through all this discussions here I learned a lot. Because while I never thought of Katy as prancing the street satisfied to have gotten the better of some poor people (but would love to see a photo of katy prancing because I wish her many joyful moments 🙂 ) – I have also asked myself if it is ok to make money from goodwill. But I now realise that is because I am not from the US. In my country there are some goodwill-shops, but many of those are really meant to sell things cheaply to poor people, and to poor people only. In these shops normally one has to present some sort of proof that one really has that little money to be allowed to shop there. Perhaps because of that I always associate goodwill with “poor customers only”. But I realize that this isn’t always the case, and even in my country there are some goodwills with the aim to raise money like the ones katy buys in. And getting more, I am glad to say – I think it’s sad that it still is not so easy to buy used here, because of landfill and all that. A shop like that will open in my town in october or november, and I’m courious how it will turn out.

Anyway, before ranting it always helps to check the facts.


jennifer August 11, 2016 at 6:28 am

1. I went the to the new Walmart Market in town to buy gas. I don’t really like Walmart but, I guess since it is new, it has the cheapest gas. I went into to store to pay cash for my gas and she put my money on a gift card to use at the pump. When did it become not normal to pay with cash?
2. This morning I realized that I needed to move 8 bottles of reduced milk from the fridge to the freezer. As I was pouring off a little from each milk to give space for expansion while freezing, I realized one smelled funny as I was already pouring it in with the other milk. I guess I will refer back to my tightwad gazette to use up 2 jugs of soured milk. This is technically a frugal fail but I think I can flip it into a success somehow.
3. I am continuing to drink only water daily. I do seem to feel a lot better when I do. I can’t believe I spent so many years letting myself think I had to have Dt. Mountain Dew to stay alert when it is actually quite the opposite. I worked long hours as a nurse in the emergency room. I didn’t realize soft drinks were robbing me of all my energy. Not to mention, how expensive it is to support that habit daily. I can finally say I enjoy drinking water.
4. I got some peanut butter and crackers at the grocery store to eat for breakfast and lunch. I chose not to get a bag at the self checkout. I have noticed on here that a lot of people use reusable bags most of the time. I don’t know if it is just a southern thing or what but most people here do not use reusable bags in the area I live. Of course that needs to change, hopefully in time it will.
5. No Lear jet for me


Kayleigh August 11, 2016 at 6:27 pm

I shop Walmart for gas all the time. The cashier put your gas money on the gift card to save you money, 3 cents per a gallon actually.


jennifer August 12, 2016 at 5:52 am

Yes, I noticed that, which is great! I am just new to the concept because at Kroger and other places I just put in my number on a keypad, after paying with cash, and get the discount. Just feel like cash is outdated, I guess. The cashier made me feel as though it had to be done that way to pay with cash, which is fine. I guess most people do use cards now.


Emily August 14, 2016 at 7:44 am

I live in the south and I have noticed that too, except when I shop at Aldi or Whole Foods (more like go and look around whole foods and cash in on some free samples lol). I also cant recycle in my apartment complex. It’s ridiculous. It’s 2016 for gosh sakes!


Beth August 11, 2016 at 6:34 am

I am offended by you and your hypothetical scenario. Also, I don’t know that Katy prances much…just sayin’.

Let’s forget about the gazillion emotionally manipulative triggers you forced into your post. Let’s talk about some facts.

1. Anyone can shop at Goodwill. Anyone. Who are you to say otherwise? Are you Jim Gibbons in disguise? I think not.
2. What defines a need? The mother in your story didn’t need the doll any more than Katy did. A doll is not a need. It’s a want. And even if Katy had purchased something that could be defined as a need, is she any less worthy of that item?
3. Since I mentioned it, let’s move on to worth, shall we? Who is more worthy of the doll: a mother who wants to give it to her daughter, or Katy who wants to sell it to add to her kids’ college fund? Is Katy’s cause of making sure her kids start their adult lives without mounds of stressful debt really less important just because she makes more money than your made-up mother? Sounds like discrimination to me…

If you care so much about underprivileged people, get off your computer and go do something about it. Go find the little girl wearing the too big, outdated dress and buy her a new one. Oh wait…she only exists to shame Katy.


jennifer August 11, 2016 at 7:09 am

I hope Katy sends us a picture of herself prancing now just because you said that, lol!!!!


Katy August 11, 2016 at 7:19 am

Yeah, that’s not happening. 😉


Lindsey August 11, 2016 at 10:29 am

I second wanting a prancing Katy photo.


Gina in KY August 11, 2016 at 7:40 am

Beth: Well said!!


jennifer August 11, 2016 at 6:45 am

Pardon me, but wth?!? So if I buy a high end pair of shorts at Goodwill then after my kid outgrows it I sell it at a yardsale for more than I paid for it I guess that’s bad too? What about when I buy furniture at Goodwill then paint it myself to resell for a profit. What someone does with an item after they pay the price that Goodwill set is irrelevant. I think sometimes people post rants like this just to get others to respond…or this person just has a knowledge deficit regarding Goodwill’s intent..or they are pissed because they saw Katy snag the very doll they wanted…or they are having a bad day and wanted to lash out at someone. Oh well, it matters not.


Isabelle August 11, 2016 at 7:18 am

What an aggressive post!
Question for you : I make good money. We are not poor. Should I NOT shop at Goodwill, in case someone else wants what I’ll buy? Where do you draw the line?
It’s a store. It’s there to sell stuff, and anyone can go in and buy it. If they had a policy about it and asked for a revenue proof and accept only certain people, then you could complain. They don’t. So if you have a problem with it, how about bringing it up directly with Goodwill’s management? It won’t do any good to attack an individual on a blog. This is actually pretty coward.


Karen August 11, 2016 at 7:31 am

Good Grief! Are you aware that thrift stores use their revenues to aid those who cannot shop AT ALL? Did it occur to you that the mother might have been ahead of Katy and perhaps got an even better doll for less? Have you thought about the volume of donations that would end up in the landfill if only the poorest of the poor shopped thrift stores and could not deplete inventory? Do you realize many people donate to thrift stores because it is easy and know the items are intended for resale? Is there a legal or ethical limit to the number of times something can be resold?

I hope you have a better day tomorrow.


Karen August 11, 2016 at 9:59 am

Frankly, the only people of any means at a thrift shop that get my goat, are the ones “donating” the sofa dear Poopsie ate the stuffing out of, from their luxury SUV, after hours, to deflect the dump fees to the charity. A truck full every day from our local Sally Anns.

Anybody buying is contributing to the charity’s cash flow, which also has to cover dump fees.


melanie August 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm

Such an ignorant rant! I doubt a charity shop would fail to help someone in genuine need for a start. Where I live there are places to donate items that give required items to people in need or sell for profit. Sometimes people in need require monetary support/ items not sold at charity stores and not just more ‘stuff’. There are thousands of donated dolls and more to come – maybe they just want to make profit as fast as possible to fund something not donated , like tampons. You are basically unhappy with the charity shop’s discretion of customer, anything beyond that is none of your business.


Teri August 11, 2016 at 9:36 pm

You owe Katy an apology, realBKW.


Heather G. August 12, 2016 at 5:45 am

After reading the rant from BTK (busy troll King?),I can only come to the conclusion that you got trolled… I read another blog written by a very sweet lady in Las Vegas who had a similar rant on her blog several months ago regarding Disney World. The readers all responded with solidarity. The bright side is that your words are so popular now they are attracting poor sad folks who vent their frustrations on random folks. Don’t worry some people always throw rocks at things that shine.. Keep up the hustle sister and get those kiddos through college.


Mand01 August 10, 2016 at 11:54 pm

1. I was basically working from the car today. I packed a wrap and fruit and ate in the car.
2. Managed to fill the tank with petrol from the last cheap servo in my town. All the rest had raised their prices.
3. Got my raise today and put it straight into savings.
4. Tonight’s dinner is homemade chilli with ALDI tortillas for low cost quesadillas.
That’s all, folks!


Mand01 August 11, 2016 at 12:13 am

I don’t understand why you would be offended. Goodwill is a business. I’ve worked for NFPs before and believe me, they are big business.


Katy August 11, 2016 at 12:31 am

They are certainly profitable, but they are indeed a non-profit. Here are a few stats:

In 2013 GICW served more than 62,700 people with barriers to employment through their Job Connection, Employee Career Enhancement and ESL programs.
Total 2013 revenue was 152.4 million dollars!
GICW has been the #1 Goodwill-retailer in North America for 23 consecutive years.
Goodwill’s administrative costs are less than 5% of annual revenues.

Read more here:


Mand01 August 11, 2016 at 1:33 am

Yes I’m aware that they are an NFP. My point was that often we assume that because an organisation is a charity or an NFP, they are not a business. An NFP most certainly is a business and therefore I don’t see what is offensive about you reselling items purchased from Goodwill. They use the profits of the sale of goods given to them for nothing for a charitable purpose, and you make a savvy profit. Good on you, I say.


Lindsay August 11, 2016 at 4:20 am

1) I sold our stick vacuum, which my mom recently replaced with a more effective vacuum as a wedding gift.
2) I’ve been drinking lots of homemade, iced, Aldi coffee instead of filling my iced coffee craving at cafes.
3) Today I’ll make a big batch of slow cooker marinara sauce out of the free organic tomatoes I received.
4) A few months ago, I received a hand-me-down Kindle to replace my broken one. It wouldn’t connect to Wi-Fi so it was a struggle to download my library books. I traded it in to Amazon for a gift card credit, and I bought a used Kindle from Amazon that works great. Now I can download library books!
5) A dear friend sent me a box of classroom supplies for the coming school year.


Diane August 11, 2016 at 4:48 am

I am at the finish line of a baby quilt that I made entirely with fabric leftover from other projects or pieces that were given to me. It certainly has been a labor of love and has turned out beautifully. Now it just needs to find a loving home.

The intense Texas heat has kept me indoors and away from stores which is a very good thing. No money spent beyond basic needs in the past few months and my bank balance shows it.

For dinner today street tacos made from scratch. I’m grilling the chicken early in the day before it gets to 100F and have everything else in the freezer.

So thankful to have AC, cold ice water and pools to swim in when the temperatures are so high.

You can peek at my quilt here:


jennifer August 11, 2016 at 7:05 am

Awe, great job Diane! I took a gander at your other work too and it all looks so cozy.


Diane August 12, 2016 at 2:52 am

Thank you!


Kimberly August 11, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Your quilts are beautiful!


Diane August 12, 2016 at 2:52 am

Thank you!


Emily August 14, 2016 at 7:52 am

Wow you are so talented and patient. I would really like to get better at sewing. My mom gifted me a machine for my birthday a few years ago and I’ve only tried a few things. The women in my family before me were awesome seamstresses, and I still have a quilt that was made for me when I was little. It’s a wonderful thing to have!


Beth August 11, 2016 at 5:50 am

First, way to keep it civil, Katy! I am shocked at the things people feel comfortable posting on a public forum (I’m side-eyeing you RealBKW).

Second, I’m doing much better on the FFT front than I have in previous weeks. Okay, months. But I’m doing better now!

1. I am still not eating out, and am trying to use up my leftovers so that the food I purchase doesn’t go to waste. My dinner last night was leftover noodles and leftover chili, mixed together. I was going for a chili mac-type meal. It wasn’t super tasty, but I used up two separate leftovers.
2. A coworker and his wife are avid gardeners and brought in their over-abundance of zucchini. I took a large one home with me to make zucchini bread.
3. Carpooled with a friend to work today. I posted this last time because we are trying to do this 2 days per week, but since today was my day to ride with her, I saved on gas today 🙂
4. Drinking free coffee and water at work today.
5. ???


Bettypants August 11, 2016 at 6:14 am

1. Sold a skirt on ebay for $15 that I had bought at a yard sale a couple years ago.
2. My office bought doughnuts for us this morning.
3. I walked over to the library on my lunch hour yesterday and picked up several books from the to read list I have created on Goodreads.
4. I have three pending meets set up for this week for items posted on local FB boards. I am doubtful all three people will show as I’m having a run of bad luck with cancellations.
5. I’m very lucky that my office has a super nice mailman who doesn’t mind picking up my ebay packages when he drops off our mail. I’ve mailed out so many that now he asks if we have any outgoing.


Susie's Daughter August 11, 2016 at 7:17 am

#5 – Yay for nice postal people! I still miss our mailman from our previous apartment building. His kindnesses went a long way.


Bettypants August 11, 2016 at 7:56 am

The mailman at our house is equally nice. He always walks packages up to the house to drop off, and I really appreciate it.


Isabelle August 11, 2016 at 12:17 pm

How dare you sell a skirt you bought at a yard sale?!?? What if someone else had needed it and because of you they are now going around butt naked??? Ok… I just couldn’t help myself


Isabelle August 11, 2016 at 12:18 pm

* insert silly face! *


Jennifer August 11, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Bah ha ha ha!!!


Tammy August 11, 2016 at 6:57 am

We are settling into our new house. And there have been so many things crop up that need attention, we’re trying to figure out storage and what to keep and what to get rid of, etc. We’ve been to Home Depot more times than I can count (much to my daughter’s dismay!). Home Depot isn’t always frugal. 😉 But I guess we do have some frugal wins!

1) The master closet was horribly configured. We took out the center bar and left the two side bars. That left the center of the closet unused, and we had an extra bookcase that we put in the closet as storage for shoes, scarves, hats, etc. We added three more shelves to it to make even more storage. The bookcase was something we had, the shelves we bought at Home Depot for much less than anything new. Three additional shelves were under $20. We spent a few dollars for support to raise one of the bars/shelf higher as needed. Closet systems are crazy expensive, so I feel like our fixes (while not entirely *beautiful*) were quite frugal.

2) Besides Sunday (the day after we moved) we haven’t eaten out this week. I haven’t had time to properly go grocery shopping but I’ve picked up a few things here and there so I could cook dinners and tonight we’re having beans and rice because that’s what we have on hand for me to make and I don’t have our car!

3) Our bed post blocks the fan in our room from running, so we bought a new light fixture. We chose one of the more economical ones (which still looks just fine and pretty) instead of one of the more expensive prettier ones which I was eyeing.

4) Same with faucets – both bathroom faucets needed to be replaced and we picked out very nice functional faucets. I wanted rubbed bronze but it was 3x as expensive as the silver matte we went with. We got two faucets for around $60 instead of one for $100. My husband installed them last night.

5) I recently earned enough Swagbucks to cash in for a $25 gift card. I chose Home Depot and plan on buying houseplants with it.

and one bonus: as we’re unpacking I am collecting things for a yard sale. I have quite a large pile going. I hope to have the yard sale within the next month, and that will definitely help offset some of the moving expenses we’ve had!


Vickie August 11, 2016 at 7:04 am

1) Ate a banana for dinner last night.
2) Neighbor brought me some joint supplement for my horse that someone else gave him and introduced his best friend, who is moving in south of our place.
3) Going to work out at lunch today, so I’ll eat my tuna & crackers afterwards.
4) Picking up our cat from the vet today, after having her spade and getting her shots. They kept her two extra days for free, since she’s an outside barn cat and I told them I didn’t have a way to keep her confined after surgery.
5) I found more change in the car and in the phone pocket of my purse. I hide money from myself very well!


Gina in KY August 11, 2016 at 7:47 am

Frugal Five in where I am social for the first time in a very long time:

1. I went on a “first” date last night (for the first time in years!) and he bought my drinks. 🙂
2. I wore clothing to the date I already own and the cotton blouse was bought on clearance for thrift store price from an outlet store. I finally had an occasion to wear it!
3. After a couple of drinks, we went for a walk around the historic neighborhood he lives in and it was a lovely evening and talk is always cheap!
4. Today, I am going to ‘spaghetti night’ at a local bakery where bowls of spaghetti are only 9 cents ($2 min. must be spent, so I pair the bowl of spaghetti with a cookie I save for breakfast the following day). I meet friends there and it’s become a cheap tradition for us, full of interesting conversation.
5. I am also going to 50% off at the thrift store today with another friend. I have $20 cash to spend if I find something I can’t do without (or maybe I’ll find something to resell!!)


Bee August 11, 2016 at 8:01 am

Spaghetti night sounds like fun an your #5 made me chuckle. Good luck at the thrift store.


Susanne g August 11, 2016 at 8:33 am

I’m intrigued at “spaghetti night at local bakery!” Sounds amazing and strange all at the same time!! Perfect for me. Love your #5 comment too. As Katy said, “no shame in my game.”


Mand01 August 11, 2016 at 7:29 pm

Oh no, don’t open the can of worms again!!! Lol


Gina in KY August 12, 2016 at 6:31 am

Ha ha!! 🙂

Gina in KY August 12, 2016 at 6:35 am

Spaghetti night was the brainchild of the bakery’s owner Adrianne. She noticed sales were very low on Thursday for whatever reasons, so she and her staff brainstormed on ideas to bring folks into the bakery. Someone suggested spaghetti because it is so cheap to make (we are talking angel hair pasta with basic marinara sauce). I’m not sure why only 9c a bowl. Anyway, they have a $2 minimum on the order so you can order $2 worth of spaghetti (which would be a ton!) or add on meatballs and garlic bread or just buy something from their bakery counter (cookie, bar, cupcake-my usual option). The spaghetti is simple, but yummy! This idea has now made Thursdays one of their most profitable nights as people have made it a tradition to eat out with family and friends.


K D August 11, 2016 at 11:08 am

1. I went with three friends to an orchard to buy peaches and nectarines. One friend and I split a half bushel of peaches and the four of us split a half bushel of nectarines. The fruit is much cheaper per piece/pound when bought in the half bushel size than in the smaller sizes they sell. I refrigerated most of the fruit and will just pull out a few pieces per day for consumption.

2. Dinner last night was leftovers: soup for me and chicken and potatoes for my husband. There is always fresh fruit.

3. I found a dime in the Aldi parking lot and only bought blueberries ($1.29/pint).

4. My schedule is erratic this week but I think I’ll still manage to get four yoga classes in. Since I pay by the month this gives me a lower cost average per class, as well as making me feel good.

5. A friend invited me to come for lunch tomorrow. I’ll bring dessert, baking whatever I have the ingredients for.


Ruby August 11, 2016 at 4:11 pm

1. Did not go out on our usual Thursday night extremely cheap date. The Mister and I stayed home and ate leftovers because (a) leftovers and (b) we’re tired.
2. Bought a 99 cent bottle of cherry seltzer to make homemade wine coolers with. Cherry seltzer, some sweet blackberry wine and a few ice cubes: so refreshing and it will make the wine last longer.
3. Mended my favorite jeans, which had ripped along the back seam, and a summer blouse that needed new buttons. The new buttons were 25 cents at the humane society thrift store. Both items of clothing came from the Salvation Army, where I have proudly been shopping for 33 years.
4. Packed my lunch to work all week and drinks too.
5. Needed some black flats to wear to work with dresses. I bought a very lightly used pair of Clarks dress shoes off eBay for a third of what they would have cost new, and they’re perfect.


Bobbi August 11, 2016 at 4:19 pm

I’ve been reading NCA for a few years but I’ve never commented until now. I just Googled Jim Gibbons, who is the CEO of Goodwill Industries. In 2013 his reported income was $434,252. If he can not feel guilty about making that kind of money working for a NFP, I don’t see any harm at all with Katy making a profit by being a very smart shopper in order to put her 2 sons thru college debt free! In my book, Katy rocks!


Amanda August 11, 2016 at 7:00 pm

1. Attended a political picnic yesterday, my friend decided to tag along and he bought dinner/drinks/Baskin Robbins as a thank you for the whole family.
2. Dinner was green beans fresh from the garden. Sooooo good.
3. My daughters are selling Italian Sodas at the local Saturday market and they need signs advertising their wares. Luckily, I’m able to use the color printer at work to make them.
4. The lady who bought my burley trailer last week also wants to buy my Rody Horse toy that I had listed on craigslist. Woot!
5. I didn’t buy a lear jet.


Teri August 11, 2016 at 9:56 pm

Love that moniker: “middle class frugalista”, aka, readers of the NCA.


jennifer August 12, 2016 at 5:55 am

me too!


Karen August 11, 2016 at 11:47 pm

Like Mand01, this has bothered me too.
It crossed my mind that realBKW might have been describing some personal scenarios and subsequent intense frustration. It didn’t really sound like it, but maybe. In that case they need to speak to someone at their local thrift store, and will be directed to the agencies that can and will help.
Then I wondered if realBKW’s reaction would have been different if the hypothetical mother of the insufficiently clothed children had found the doll first, resold it exactly as Katy did, for the same profit, but used it to buy the needed clothing, housewares, etc. Would that have been smart? Would it be smarter still, to do something similar at every opportunity so those kids could have a university education AND decent clothes?

And why, realBKW, are you not deeply offended by a parent looking at buying dolls with grocery money when their hypothetical children desperately need clothing?


Marianne August 12, 2016 at 3:33 am

Interesting complaint. Perhaps GW patrons vary from area to area but it’s mostly middle class shoppers in my area. I doubt they could stay in business without them shopping there.
A friend of mine has made a living off of reselling vintage items she picked up at Goodwill. She is a wiz at knowing clothes labels. She also buys at GW and resells them to Platos closet.
When she says you are getting something from charity…not. It’s a retail store that happens to take donations. If you are in my area and you are shopping at GW there are other much less expensive to get clothes or items (namely garage sales) as our GW prices are really high here. Most of us only shop on 1/2 off color tags Sundays.

This is GW mission stmt: Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.


LisaC August 12, 2016 at 3:39 am

I shop at a local GW and other thrift stores that support various charities. One charity is for a domestic abuse shelter, and the thrift store is what supports this shelter. I would rather spend my money on a place that takes that money and uses it for good, so I shop there.
I also see many of my students’ families who can’t afford to shop in a department store, shopping there for furniture, clothing, household needs. We smile at each other as we shop for different items. Usually I buy things I need, every once in a while I see a bargain I can use for a gift or resale. Either way, the money is going to support a good cause.


rjr August 12, 2016 at 5:25 am

1. Made part of my parents 57th anniversary dinner last night, a key lime pie and salad. Bought corn at the farmer’s market and supported a local farm.
2. Seeing 7 clients today until 8pm.
3. Went grocery shopping yesterday and only bought what was on sale.
4. Watching Olympics for fun and increasing my sense of awe and amazement by the feats of Michael Phelps, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and other atheletes.
5. Stopped by Aldi and got eggs for .59 a dozen. I see frittats and baking in my future.


Jennifer N. August 12, 2016 at 6:35 am

1. Bought the 5 qt container of oil for cheaper than the price of 4qts. My car has a slow oil leak (it’s 15 years old!) and I know I’ll need it all eventually, even if I only needed 2 to top it off. Plus my car takes the expensive 0W40 stuff, so anywhere I can save money is a good thing.

2. I’ve started an experiment with bullet journaling, but rather than buy the fancy-pants journal everyone recommends, I’m using one I received for Christmas that I haven’t really been using. This way if it doesn’t stick, I’m not out any money. (I do love it so far, though.)

3. After realizing we have not been to the beach once this summer, we decided to go this weekend. My dad lives close, so we have free accommodations and he’ll feed us – so a mini vacation for the price of a tank of gas!

4. I neglected to pack my lunch today, but I also forgot my wallet… so by my own general scatter-brained morning self, I managed to turn a frugal fail into kind of a win, if you consider starving all day a win, lol. I will probably leave work a bit early so I can eat something before I have to round up the kiddos.

5. Today, the outfit I am wearing came from the thrift store. My favorite j. crew jeans and the Tommy Hilfiger sleeveless blouse would be out of my financial reach at the mall, but probably cost me less than $8 at Goodwill. Both were in “Like New” condition when I bought them. Admittedly, these jeans are starting to get pretty worn, so I’ll need to start looking for a replacement, which makes me sad.

And to chime in on the Goodwill debate: Almost everyone I see shopping at Goodwill appears to be at approximately the same income bracket as me. I have occasionally re-sold items from Goodwill at a small profit and I don’t feel bad about it, as I need that money for my own priorities. I caught a glimpse of my favorite GW’s storage/sorting area one day and could not believe the amount of inventory they had that had not even been looked at. There is plenty for everyone. If Katy had not bought that doll, rest-assured that someone else would have, and it’s likely they were not “poor,” either.


LisaC August 12, 2016 at 8:48 am

I live close to the beach, and I love it when family and close friends visit. They always provide at least one meal for me, either cooked or take me out, so its even nicer. 🙂


Gina in Ky August 13, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Or it could end up at the GW outlet where people poke and prod through bins of store rejects before it heads to the landfill. Good points!


Emily August 14, 2016 at 6:38 pm

you could probably find an identical pair on poshmark for a great price!


Jennifer N. August 15, 2016 at 7:18 am

They do! I’ve never heard of Poshmark before. Thanks for the intro!


Emily August 14, 2016 at 8:09 am

1. My boyfriend and I had a great “date day” yesterday. We played tennis, went geocaching, and made dinner! We bought a big steak and split it, then made baked potatoes and veggies we had on hand. BONUS: He took me out for dessert after, and used a freebie we got over a year ago when a restaurant messed up my birthday dinner. The manager wrote it on a business card and he had kept it all this time! They do catch on to our frugalness ladies!!! Great date and no money spent other than steaks!

2. My goodwill has a 20% if you spend over 20 dollars this week for back to school shopping! I bought some nice items for re-sale.

3. Bought some romaine lettuce yesterday. It is very wilted so I think I will return it. Tried to dunk a piece in ice water and make it crispy again, didn’t work :/.

4. First day of school is this week at my charter school! I won’t get paid until next month, but I am excited to have a steady paycheck again. I was frugal enough (although have been spendy lately) this summer and I think I should have a chunk of cash left over. I don’t get paid in the summer so I have to put money away during the year. I will either pay off one of my student loans or open a Roth. Maybe split between two?

5. I bought a bottle of day time and night time cold medicine on clearance from target yesterday. They were about 3.65 each after cartwheel and my redcard. Last time I got a cold we were fresh out and ended up wildly overpaying for something out of convenience.


sarah m August 14, 2016 at 6:57 pm

1. wanted to have some jam, so made an orange and a lemon into marmalade.
2. cooked chicken with veggies- should get about 4 meals from it. used garden rosemary and thyme.
3. made my own yogurt.
4. likely have a job interview coming up. bought a new blouse to wear with my suit, since the one I used to use has pit stains now :/ but i’m keeping a formal budget and have room for this, and it will match almost all my work pants.
5. ironed a patch onto the wrong side of a pants that had torn in the seat. they don’t look like new but they are decent to wear in public now.
6. picked a few more tomatoes from my garden.
ran into a friend recently who is job hunting. we’re scheming some cheap/free things to do around town.


Mand01 August 11, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Two more points before I stop adding my two cents on this topic – which clearly really has grated my cheese:
1. A friend of mine was a Manager at our local foodbank. They used to sell boxes of food to other charities because it was easier for the charities to buy pre-packaged ‘food parcels’ to give away than to collect and package them themselves. One Xmas we got one because our daughter goes to a special school and a charity decided that the families of disabled kids must all be poor and in need of food. Our kids all attend a fee paying, private special school! I was so embarrassed that I ended up donating the contents to a homeless women’s shelter. My point is that we all make assumptions about the needs of others that may be based on no or limited understanding.
2. I spent an hour on a plane with a CEO of a textile recycling company. He said very few ‘poor’ people shop at op shops nowadays. He pointed to me and said ‘it’s all you.’ Meaning middle class frugalistas trying to save a buck.


Isabelle August 12, 2016 at 10:05 am

Mandy, this makes me think of something similar happening to me :

1. We participared in a “mommy and me” group offered free of charge by the city. When Christmas time came, all the kids got gifted really great gifts from “santa” that I knew had been collected for “underprivileged kids”, which isn’t the case at all for our kids. I felt really bad accepting the gifts, but I could not let all the kids getting some and refusing it to mine (remember that SANTA was the one giving them) so we accepted gracefully. We did mention it to the staff afterward and they didn’t seem to care about it.

2. Similarly, I went to a community house (maison de la famille in french), paying for an activity with the kids, and at the end of the session they had all the kids pick a new book donated by anonymous buyers. We have a ton of books at home, we can buy some ourselves or use the library, and all the other families there seemed to be in about the same financial situation, yet our kids are gifted new books bought by generous people thinking they are giving those to underprivileged kids….
Let’s just say that those 2 instances makes me think twice about giving “for the underprivileged”, unfortunately.


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