Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 21, 2016 · 84 comments

  1. I used up some beef broth leftover from a roast to make French onion soup. I already had a large number of onions on hand, so it was just a matter of carmelizing them overnight in the crockpot. My house smells heavenly, and since I’ll substitute Tillamook white cheddar cheese  for the gruyere, (bought on sale, of course!) it’ll be an extremely frugal dish.
  2. Today is my mother’s 74th birthday, so I’m having her and my step father over for dinner. I’ll assemble a lovely meal that treats everyone without draining my credit union account.
  3. I’m going over this afternoon to Portland Nursery to load up on local apples that are leftover from their annual Apple Festival. Priced at just 69¢-per-pound, I can justify buying enough to convert my kitchen into an applesauce factory.
  4. I spent a few dollars on a small birthday gift for my mother, but her main gift will be a birthday day of adventures, which will neither clutter her home nor exceed my budget. We’ll spend a day together having fun and creating memories. Much better than any doodad, tchotchke or dust collector.
  5. I sat down to work on my election ballot this morning. (Oregon is exclusively vote by mail, which I absolutely love!) I feel strongly that the right to vote should never be taken for granted, especially since there are millions (billions?) of people across this great planet who don’t have access to this privilege. There are always a few ballot measures that I’m unsure about, so I start early in order to do my research. Make your voice heard in your government, both at the local and nation level, people!

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

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

Betty Winslow October 21, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Katy, how do you do the onions in the crockpot? I love caramelized onions, but never have the patience to stand over them!


Patti October 21, 2016 at 12:45 pm

I would love to know that, too! Just bought onions on sale with the thought of making French Onion Soup (it is finally becoming cooler here) but dreaded the thought of cooking them on the stove top.


Susan October 21, 2016 at 2:11 pm

I don’t know about the crockpot, but the Pioneer Woman has a great french onion soup recipe that calls for carmelizing in the oven. It makes your house smell wonderful!


Jennifer October 21, 2016 at 6:30 pm

Not Katy but it’s supereasy: just chop onion, add salt, set on low.


Bari October 21, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Thanks for the reminder about the apple sale at Portland Nursery.

I drive past the nursery (on SE Stark) everyday on my route home from work, so it will be a “frugal stop,” avoiding the higher apple prices at the (unnamed) one-stop shopping center.

Have a great frugal weekend and celebration of your mom’s milestone!


amanda October 21, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Last week I transitioned from temp to permanent at my job. Unfortunately, my paychecks are now 2x/month rather than weekly. Due to our frugality and being out of debt, it doesn’t affect us waiting 3 weeks for my first check.

My boss offered me a stay at one of his timeshares as a ‘congrats and thanks for being so patient’, but we’re going to decline. Although it was incredibly generous and inexpensive, we have a farm and trying to find a last minute critter sitter is hard.

I’ve been bringing leftovers to work for lunch and my ever-present canning jar of tea that I top off with hot water from the water cooler as the day goes on.

Last week I made dinner for a friend’s family. I doubled the recipe and kept half. After 2 meals, I froze the remainder and pulled it out for dinner last night.

I arrived at an interview quite early last week in Seattle, so I shopped at REI, the first hour of parking is free, so I set a timer on my phone and lollygagged around without buying anything!


BJS October 21, 2016 at 12:53 pm

1. I had to leave work immediately after my shift one day last week and didn’t fill out my timesheet afterwards. Since my memory is like a sieve I wrote myself an enormous note to fill it out the next time I was at work.

2. Emailed my supervisor to confirm that I’m able to work several extra upcoming shifts that we had talked about a while back.

3. Used up all the strawberries in the carton before they went bad. I don’t know why this is so satisfying to me, but it is!

4. A while ago my son had asked for a different flavor of mouth rinse, thinking he might like it. He didn’t. I finally remembered to take the bottle out of his bathroom where it would’ve sat and rotted, and put it in mine. It’s actually not my favorite flavor either but I’ll use it up.

5. My daughter is almost done with her braces, except for one slow-growing tooth. The technician at the orthodontist’s office gave me two choices: wait for the tooth to grow a little more so they can put a brace on it (braces on longer), or take her to an oral surgeon to make a small cut in her gum, then put in a device that would pull the tooth up (braces off sooner). All I could see with option #2 was dollar signs. I asked for option #1.


Beth October 22, 2016 at 6:05 am

BJS, #4 is “taking one for the team” is what we call it 😉 I had to do the same thing this week. I made chocolate zucchini bread and instead of freezing one loaf kept it out for us to eat this week. Daughter thought it was to dry and wasen’t eating it like I thought she would so I have been eating the bread every day this week until it was gone.


Dmarie October 22, 2016 at 8:45 am

I made a bread pudding last time a bread came out too dry…Hubby ate it up!


nancy from mass October 24, 2016 at 7:14 am

I’ve made bread pudding before with dry zucchini bread – it was WONDERFUL!


Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 9:26 am

I made banana bread that was a little dry so I sliced it up, toasted it, then put a spread of butter on there with a good smear on apple butter on top and it was gone in a flash! The kids ate it for breakfast a couple days and were begging for more when it was gone.


Bobbi October 21, 2016 at 12:58 pm

I’m in Portland too, and hoping my ballot arrives in today’s mail. Can’t wait to vote!

This weekend is shaping up to be frugal due to some prep on my part:
1) I made a double batch of veggie soup from scratch last night, to eat all weekend, using what I had in the fridge.
2) I also made a casserole from ingredients on hand (pasta, cauliflower, mushrooms, peas) for dinner last night, and there are lots of leftovers to also eat all weekend.
3) Working from home today, saving on gas and time and making it easier to not spend any money. I made a big pot of coffee this morning and I’m cozy and productive at home.
4) No big plans this weekend, just the usual frugal but fun activities – Netflix, dog walking, catching up with friends and family.
5) My older daughter left last month to teach in Thailand for six months, and we have found all of the free ways to stay in close touch: skype, what’s app, facebook messaging, etc.


Mand01 October 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm

I’m always intrigued about the differences in political systems in other countries. We have compulsory voting in our country: compulsory in that it’s a requirement to turn up, be signed off the register and mark a ballot. Some people protest this with an informal vote, but most people vote correctly. I have been listening to the US presidential debates online this year out of a grim fascination- first time I have ever done so. I hope the election goes well in your country and is peaceful.

1. We cooked ahead some curries and casseroles last weekend that saved us during this very busy working week.
2. We are doing the same again today as I have a deadline this week and am working late three nights to get it in.
3. We are spending this afternoon gardening before we have more wet weather next week. Our new fruit trees have leaves!
4. I’m decluttering my wardrobe ahead of a planned garage sale next month. I only buy designer labels at thrift shops which means the resale at garage sales will be quite good. I could try a consignment shop or eBay for a better price, but I’m not going to do that – my time is pretty limited. If I have paid $5 for something and worn it a while and sell it at a garage sale for a few dollars I’m ok with that. It’s the circle of thrift!
5. Tonight’s romantic date night is brought to us by a homemade curry, ice cream, and Luke Cage on Netflix.


Susie's Daughter October 21, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Mand – Thank you for your good thoughts about our upcoming US election. So many people I know here are praying for the same outcome!


Ellie October 22, 2016 at 9:55 am

Mand – I live in a vote by mail U.S. state and am pleased to vote early – then I don’t have to pay any more attention to the hoop-la! I’m very curious about your compulsory voting system. What happens if people just don’t show up and vote?


Laura October 22, 2016 at 12:12 pm

You get a $20 fine – not frugal! But voting is fun here – lots of schools take advantage of the fact that they are polling places and run sausage sizzles, cake stalls and and jumble sales etc to raise money


Is it a need or a want October 22, 2016 at 5:19 pm

That’s so creative. I’m already thinking how I can incorporate that in our next election.


Mand01 October 22, 2016 at 6:26 pm

There’s even a website telling voters where polling stations with sausage sizzles are – just in case we don’t make a mistake and turn up to a BBQ-free station! God forbid we should vote without a snag! (Snag = BBQ sausage)
It’s an Aussie tradition- don’t turn up to vote without $5 in your pocket for a couple of sausages!

Kim October 21, 2016 at 1:54 pm

1. Took box of books to used book store yesterday that I had pulled from my Amazon inventory because they were no longer worth selling on Amazon. They took them all and I received $33.50 in store credit which I will use later.
2. Took a box and Big Bang of wire to recycler. Got $19.20. Not bad for stuff that would have been thrown away, that DH brings home from his IT job.
3. Found Odwalla bars on the clearance rack at Giant for 37¢, originally $1.49. Chocolate peanut butter which my son loves so I bought the 20 they had.
4. I had another free Starbucks tall coffee drink on my Safeway Just4U account that was expiring shortly. Redeemed it for a salted caramel mocha. Yummy!
5. I’ve pulled together 2 shopping bags of clothes to take to Plato’s Closet. Purging and money!


Teri October 21, 2016 at 7:53 pm

I find our Platos takes only fast fashion clothing for teenagers, is that your experience?


Kim October 23, 2016 at 2:53 pm

This will be my first time to take clothes there but I did stop in once to see what clothing labels they had on the racks. We live in a higher average income area so better quality classic and preppy clothing was a lot of what they had. Polo, J Crew, UA, Lands End, Nautica, Vera Bradley, etc. I’ll let you know how it goes.


tonya parham October 21, 2016 at 2:21 pm

1. Went out to lunch today at Olive Garden. I got the Duo and did the soup (had two bowls and two breadsticks and brought the sandwich home for dinner. Yes, eating at home would have been cheaper but lunch and dinner for two for $25 including tip isn’t too expensive for a nice afternoon.

2. I’m working on completing my William Faulkner paperback Vintage set. I’m only buying them when I have a coupon. I got _The Hamlet_ for $8.18.

3. Windows are open and I’m enjoying not running the air conditioning.

4. Went to Goodwill and got nothing but one picture for the dining room.

5. Re-wearing my around the house clothes, taking short showers, and not running off to Memphis for dinner and a movie.


Carol October 21, 2016 at 3:20 pm

1. Spotted some wild rocket growing at the school where I was subbing today. After school, I surreptitiously picked some while avoiding eye contact of parents taking their kids home. Munched it on the way home. Love wild food!
2. Really wanted a copy of The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics on Monday. Instead of going out and buying it, I waited until I had time to go get it at the library on Tuesday.
3. Macrobiotics means cooking with simple, humble foods, many of which I already had, so I used up some lentils and rice to make a kitcheree, which has lasted several meals. Cost=$0.
4. Currently eating a piece of whole wheat bread with a litlle guava jam (not very macrobiotic), both of which have been sitting in the fridge forever.
5. We stayed in last weekend, saving restaurant money.


Susie's Daughter October 21, 2016 at 3:48 pm

1) Mended a turtleneck that I rediscovered in my parents attic earlier this year. All set for winter wearing and none too soon since snow is forecast on Sat night.

2) Made apple crisp topping (which I store in fridge for later use) and oatmeal almond butter breakfast snacks at the same time since both use the bulk container of oatmeal I got at Costco. Less hauling supplies in and out of the pantry.

3) A few weeks ago I found a set of “outdoor” headphones in three pieces seemingly abandoned on the side of the road – the kind that provide noise protection and have am/fm radio. I don’t know if I would ever have had the gumption to pick them up before NCA, but I sure do now. I cleaned and reassembled them and was delighted to discover that they still work! I am thinking I will list them on our “local” Craigslist which is – no joke – for the entire state of Vermont.

4) DS and I had a great time decorating the house for Halloween this rainy afternoon – all decorations saved from years past. He loves the sticky things that go on mirrors and windows and did them all by himself (age almost 6).

5) Dear wife and I had a lunch date today since we were both unexpectedly free. We shared soup and sandwich for $20 from a local restaurant and the food was underwhelming. The upside was reaffirming that my cooking is really pretty good and WAY more affordable. The other big upside was the company. 🙂

Bonus 6) When I went to the PO yesterday to get our mail, I discovered that our post mistress had put out two big boxes of books for free. They had belonged to a family member who was a retired teacher and I think I took home 7 total – 2 Christmas gifts for nephew and a bday and Christmas gift for DS. I was so grateful for her thoughtfulness.


kathleen October 21, 2016 at 4:14 pm

1. Two chickens roasting in the oven. Will have some for dinner, some will be packaged and frozen for future soups casseroles, and the bones will go in the crockpot tonight. Tomorrow morning I will have some lovely stock.

2. Hubs has vacation to use before the end of the year. We had been hoping for a trip, but with end-of-year expenses and new puppy to arrange for, it’s simpler to just plan a staycation.

3. Reading a looooooong library ebook. Turned off wireless on my Kindle…book stays on Kindle for me to finish as long as I leave wireless turned off…library can still retrieve their copy from my Amazon account so not putting out any other library patrons or incurring any fine. My favorite thing about my Kindle, and the reason I keep my old one specifically for library ebooks.

4. Made bread crumbs from a loaf going stale. Spread them out on a large sheet pan to dry for a couple of days. They are now in an airtight container in the freezer awaiting Thanksgiving dressing preparation. Mmmmmm.

5. Had $13.58 remaining on a prepaid Visa card that was soon to expire (had received card as a reimbursement when we cancelled satellite service). Remembered to use it when I purchased some fabric needed for a project that I could only find on Etsy, with shipping it came to $13.50. 🙂


Mand01 October 21, 2016 at 4:34 pm

We have ‘old’ second generation kindle keyboards- we bought them circa 2010. They just keep on going and we love them. We paid a fair bit for them at the time because kindles were not available in Australia and we had to pay shipping to get them here – now you can buy them for under $100 AUD. but I still think they were worth the price we paid. Until they actually die we will not be upgrading.


kathleen October 21, 2016 at 7:26 pm

My ‘old’ one is the keyboard version as well, and I love it. I have a newer Kindle Fire, but I use it more as a tablet and less as an e-reader as it is heavier and not as comfortable to hold for long periods of time. Since I often don’t finish my library books before they are due, it’s nice to have the old one as my designated ereader so I can use wifi on the one I use as tablet.


Denise October 22, 2016 at 3:21 am

I was an early adopter, as the advertising industry says, and got The 1st gen Kindle.

The battery stopped charging two years ago. I got in touch with the Kindle team about a replacement battery- they didn’t do them, I’d have to buy a new or refurbished Kindle. I carefully stripped down my one and recycled what I could.

A week later, my original 1st generation iPad died. It could be repaired by apple but it would cost more than a new one.

I bought the new iPad. I am still so mad with amazon that I just downloaded the Kindle app and I won’t buy a Kindle again. But I do miss my old one, and the iPad is definitely more cumbersome. However, on my morning commute into London, I do. Get to go on the internet and catch up with The NCA site!


tonya parham October 24, 2016 at 7:11 am

The missus has the second generation kindle with the keyboard and it finally just died because she didn’t plug it up and the battery went completely dead. Won’t even plug in and charge to get the screen saver up!

I now just read the kindle on my iphone and find that if I want to read something from the library that’s past due, I just turn it to airplane mode before I open the app. I read the entire Steve Jobs bio that way! LOL But you HAVE to turn the airplane mode on BEFORE you open the app because if it’s even open for a second, then WHOOSH your book is gone.

It’s a pain in the butt a little but it’s also very good for memory! Plus, you get to say, “I’m being frugal” every time you do it!

Jennifer October 21, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Here in Iowa, my husband and I sent in our ballots last week. We could go stand in line and vote, but this keeps the door to door people away.

1. My son and I ate dinner at home tonight. Our tradition is a “date” night on Fridays after his swim team (hubby works overnight) but we had tacos, which is pretty much his favorite.

2. Decluttered my closet and going to donate some sheets to my sister’s many sewing projects. Have some items to donate and some to take to consignment.

3. Visiting my parents tomorrow and taking my dad all the extra (new, in packaging) nebulizer supplies our son no longer has a need for. I gave him one of our old machines and he likes it a lot better than the one from his RT. Gets them out of my house!

4. Hung laundry out on Monday–in Iowa! In October! Sadly, we are back down in the 30’s overnight after a high of 89 on Monday.

5. Used up all the frozen bananas I had yesterday and made 4 loaves of banana bread. I used my big Kitchen-Aid mixer and made them all at once. I usually do 2-4 loaves at a time, stirring them together individually. This sure saved a lot of time! All baked in the oven at the same time. Gave a loaf to a friend today and apparently, that was all her 3 year old wanted for lunch.


janine October 21, 2016 at 5:55 pm

We also have early voting in MN this year. We now have three choices – regular November voting, absentee by mail, and showing up in person at voting headquarters in your city. Because one of our sons has uncertain working hours, I accompanied him downtown and voted last week. Husband also voted when he was in downtown area. All of us are glad we will not have to stand in line on November 8! Not sure if this is frugal, but MN always has very high turnout and I wouldn’t want to jeopardize our bragging rights!
1. Spent some time re-organizing my refrigerator in the hopes that I won’t have to throw out so much food in the future. It is a constant battle to make sure we eat up leftovers.
2. Made a French Toast casserole with stale bread to use as a dessert tonight.
3. Taking a trip north tomorrow – beautiful fall colors plus a Wisconsin cheese factory that has good prices on cheese which we love to visit.
4. Great bargain at a local department store’s clearance outlet prices on summer goods. 4 pairs of summer slacks and shorts for $1!! This seemed to be their last rack – prices were marked down from $28-$38 per piece. Almost unbelievable.
5. No Lear Jets.


JD October 21, 2016 at 6:18 pm

1. Bought a Christmas gift today using my $40 swagbucks at Amazon. Thanks to this blog for turning me on to SB.
2. The husband wanted shrimp but I had ground beef thawing. We had ground beef.
3. I replaced a Compact fluorescent bulb that died with another LED bulb. Most of my lighting is now LED.
4. I hung three loads of laundry out this afternoon. I love when it’s sunny and breezy on days I work just half a day.
5. Tomorrow we go on the annual farm tour, visiting area organic farmers. Admission is free. We just pay for the gas to drive to them and several are decently close to us. My husband and I both come from farming families so we love this sort of thing.


Mrs. Picky Pincher October 21, 2016 at 6:34 pm

This week:

1. There were a few meals that we ended up eating out for. So instead of tossing the food that we were *supposed* to eat, I froze it for later use. It’s a small win, but I’ll take it.

2. I managed to grow three new green onion plants from green onions purchased from the store. I just got plants for 48 cents apiece! 🙂

3. Instead of throwing away produce that was far past its prime, we’ve started to compost it in our back yard! Woohoo!

4. We have movers coming to help us move into our house tomorrow. To minimize our costs (since they charge hourly), we moved everything that we could possibly carry.

5. We used a 10% off coupon at Home Depot. Oh yeah!


auntiali October 21, 2016 at 7:36 pm

1. Had my usual breakfast at home. Love my oatmeal!
2. Got two tubes of estrogen cream from my GYN at my annual visit. I need to have a couple of procedures done and this will help lessen the pain.
3. I had half of dinner cooked already tonight. Dh had grilled sausages last weekend. We had spaghetti and sausage.
4. Picked up a book I wanted at the library as well as two movies – free!
5.. Stopped at drugstore and picked up prescriptions. They were free as I’ve met my out of pocket for the year.
6. Procedures will be free as I’ve met my out of pocket for medical too. I’ve got a couple of doctor appointments scheduled before the end of the year to take advantage of this.


Jill October 21, 2016 at 7:46 pm

I love your birthday day of adventures! I have a friend who drives to his mom’s in Florida every year for a birthday week for her – he does all the around the house things she needs and takes her out to eat a bit while she also makes him all his favorite meals for the week. It’s just the two of them and I am sure she relishes it and looks forward to it all year.


Jennifer October 22, 2016 at 4:45 am

1. I found a nice new crispy dollar in the parking lot of our business. The wind has picked up so I think it blew down from the restaurant next door. I am going to walk around to the front door of our business daily from now on to see what turns up.
2. I have not been bringing lunches from home much lately but we have been eating at Subway with coupons. I have signed up for their texts so I often get free cookies or discounted subs. My husband and I can both eat for $6 and we skip the chips and just drink water. I know I can do better when I bring food from home so I will start back soon but I have enjoyed fresh subs.
3. I downloaded my free Friday download from Kroger yesterday which was a Hershey bar, yum. I will pick this and the candy I downloaded last week up today. I will also pick some up canned tomatoes that are on sale and paired with a coupon they will be 24 cents a can.
4. My husband got started on 2 new blood pressure meds yesterday. I asked the doctor to hand write the prescriptions so I could price check each one on my GoodRX app. I sure am glad I did because one was $36 at CVS and only $4 at Walmart. I hate Walmart but that is where I will going this morning.
5. We have had a cold snap the past couple days in Mississippi, finally. I am so glad for all the high quality winter clothes I have found at yardsales or thrift stores for my kids throughout the past couple of years. My mom found Rothschild coats for both my girls for $2 a peice a couple years ago that fit perfectly now so this year I have to buy them NOTHING.


Diane October 22, 2016 at 5:19 am

You mean no voting booths at all anywhere? Everyone votes by mail?


Karen B October 22, 2016 at 5:44 am

I’m stunned! Do other states know about this? I will be standing in line in Virginia!


Lilypad October 22, 2016 at 11:42 am

We have voting all by mail in Washington State too, since 2009 I think. It’s wonderful! And you don’t even need a stamp, you can drop it off at certain boxes (they look like giant mail drop boxes) in bigger towns and cities. It’s so much easier. I got mine on Thursday and my husband and I plan to go over the issues this weekend and vote.


Diane October 23, 2016 at 5:00 am

Thank you! We have early voting in TX, but in the voting booth. I never knew there was such a thing as exclusive by mail voting in some states!

I will be in the voting booth tomorrow and cannot wait for this election to be over.


Gail October 22, 2016 at 9:04 am

In TN we have early voting at the Election Commission office in my county. It started October 19 and ends November 3. I work as a registrar on Election Day.


Sue October 22, 2016 at 3:42 pm

In every state you can vote by absentee ballot, without any reason! Today you can request a ballot on line, but you do have to mail in a photo ID.. each state a little different, but now on line to request a ballot. I did not check every state, but every state, has absentee ballot.
Many states have early voting also. People who can not stand in line, or have obligations at work or family etc.. or anyone. Check your county or city for the info. I live in a “town” next to city of a 100,000 and I can go in after a certain date and vote in the town hall early.

I thought I was well educated.. and guess I missed that there is compulsory voting in other countries! I did some reading, and what I thought about the pros and cons. Some countries enforce it, some do not. I can not imagine, big deal here in my state, about showing an ID to vote, let alone have to vote. Funny the same that complain have no issue showing ID to buy booze and some stores, no matter how old you are, ID required!


isabelle October 24, 2016 at 8:44 am

So… let me get that straight… you DON’T have to show ID to vote? But… how do they ensure that the same person does not vote 20 times? Or that they are actual residents?
We (Quebec, Canada) have to provide ID without fail.
And we can’t vote by mail. We have to present ourselves to designated areas, mailed ahead of time to us.
Once you give your ID they cross your name off the list and you get your voting card, which to fill and deposit in a box in front of an election worker (witness).
But it’s not mandatory to vote.


cathy October 24, 2016 at 2:41 pm

I’m in Utah and we’re moving toward mail-in only. You have to register to vote by a specific date. Then they mail you a personalized ballot, so when you mail it back it has only your information pre-printed on it, and you have to sign it (and that signature has to match your voter registration). Once it’s received at the county election center, your name is crossed off the list, so you can’t vote more than once. I suppose, if you moved and forgot to update your address, someone could use your ballot and forge your signature, but it really doesn’t happen. There was a study done, nationally, and they found only 31 instances of voter fraud in one billion votes.
FWIW, we can still vote in person, and have the choice of early voting or waiting until November 8. My husband, son and I all voted in person, using a voting machine, last week. On any other election, I would have mailed it in. Somehow, this time, it seemed important to do it in person. But, honestly, I can’t wait. ’til. this. election. is. over. Can you say “election fatigue”???

Beth October 22, 2016 at 6:00 am

1. Booked a last minute dog walk last night, got paid to exercise. 😉

2. While on the dog walk we found a like new black woman’s med. Patagonia hooded running windbreaker. I wasn’t going to even look at it but then I thought why not? Daughter wrinkled her nose at the thought of wearing it even after washing so I will sell it at the resell shop, have an appt. Nov. 2.

3. Doing well sticking to my October budget.

4. Got unexpected child support money this week so have been debating do I pay an extra mortgage payment or save it towards the 6 month emergency fund, will probably just save it.

5. Still driving around looking for free meter time (parking spots with no one parked there but time on the meter) when I’m in town going to the library, scored 40 minutes the other day. 😉 Makes up for the 75 cents I put in Monday night to attend the library board meeting.

6.Going to the store today so read the store circular and reviewing online coupons.


Kim from Philadelphia October 22, 2016 at 7:55 am

Wow, I never knew Oregon was an only vote by mail state!
I have to admit that I really, really like voting in person. Yes you have to wait, but it’s just so…,cool. I can’t accurately explain the patriotism I feel when I’m in line to cast my ballot.
We are so privileged to live in a country where we can vote. It’s democracy in action!


K D October 22, 2016 at 7:57 am

1. I just had a “take one for the team” lunch: pumpkin bread from the freezer and leftover sweet potatoes and cauliflower.

2. I am streaming an audio book courtesy of the library.

3. My husband will leave in the morning for a 3 day work trip. All meal expenses will be on his employer.

4. I damaged my stove top but everything still works so we’ll take our time figuring out what, if anything, to do.

5. I figured out that there are some eRewards surveys that I qualify for that I do not get notified about. Now, if I have time in the morning, I go directly to the website. I redeem my earnings for Southwest miles.


Denise October 23, 2016 at 11:34 pm

I keep on seeing “take one for the team” comments – and it’s always the posters who are eating slightly grim mixes of leftovers.

Do the menfolk ever volunteer to take one for the team with their lunches, or is it just the women on here who suffer??


WilliamB October 24, 2016 at 5:40 am

At least some menfolk take a culinary one for the team.

Given that women (judged either by self-identification or screen names) are the most frequent commenters on blogs such as this one, it’s going to look as if women do this more often. To get a more reliable picture, we’d have to assess male and female ‘taking for the team’ eating by percentage, not by absolute numbers.


Mand01 October 24, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Just after I read the first comment about men or women taking one for the team, I came home and my husband was testing whether the whipped cream was off – by tasting a spoonful. I’d call that taking one for the team!


Shannon October 24, 2016 at 5:50 am

My husband happliy eats all of the questionable items at our house. 🙂


isabelle October 24, 2016 at 8:45 am

Ahah, my husband takes one for the team way more often that I do! Yay!


Denise October 24, 2016 at 11:27 pm

Excellent point, WilliamB – and I did wonder if you’d comment when I scrolled down and saw your post (first time I can recall seeing a man’s screen name on here – but I’m newish to NCA,so what do I know?).

So pleased to read the other posts too! Yay for the frugal chaps out there.


Melissa October 26, 2016 at 7:14 pm

My partner unknowingly takes one for the team sometimes lol!! I just don’t tell him that something is questionable and I turn it into something else!


Alison October 22, 2016 at 8:18 am

1. It’s almost November and I still haven’t turned on the furnace! Tho’ DH returns from a warm trip on Monday, and will probably feel the damp cold here and need it turned on. I’m okay with that.
2. Running the dishwasher on express with a teaspoon of soap. Cleans just as well as the longer cycles.
3. My sister is visiting and wanted to go out to a movie. Instead we stayed home, made popcorn and watched Netflix.
4. Had my hair coloured at the usual salon, but with a different person. She charged me less and when I told her it wasn’t enough, she shrugged and said it was okay because I am so nice (!). So I tipped her well.
5. I made a conscious effort to not use my credit card this month, and it showed when I got my statement. Will use extra funds to pay down a small line of credit debt.


Alison October 22, 2016 at 8:33 am

Oh, and I totally agree about voting. As a Canadian, I will of course not be voting in the upcoming election. When I was younger, and I said that maybe I couldn’t be “bothered” to vote, my mother would chastised me and say that many women suffered terribly and some died for “your right to vote”. My mother passed a long time ago, but I always hear these words when it’s election time. She was referring of course, to the women’s suffrage movement. My own daughter was in Australia during our last federal election, but did the necessary paperwork to vote from abroad, so I guess she listened to my repetition of my mother’ s words. (It probably helped that she’s a political science major).


Mand01 October 22, 2016 at 6:31 pm

I also love to vote. I think it’s because I’m opinionated and it’s a way of registering my views!


Denise October 23, 2016 at 11:38 pm

Me too.

Although we’ve got a right shower, politicians-wise, to choose from over here, I feel for US voters. You’ve got a right pair to choose between: talk about Scylla and Charybdis!


Melissa October 26, 2016 at 7:17 pm

I have to admit I think it’s a disgrace when women choose not to vote when they can – lots of women suffered for this right! Whether you like the candidates or not, vote. You’d hate for the right to vote to be taken away!


BJS October 22, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Alison, I love your #4!


Krystal October 22, 2016 at 9:06 am

1. I will also be working on my ballot this weekend for cheap “entertainment.” I am pretty solid on my initiatives and other measures, but unsure about judges and a few congressional races. I am making an effort to vote for most positions this year, as I am generally only an initiative/ballot measure voter. It’s a TON of research! I will also save a stamp and drop off my ballot at a ballot box around my neighborhood when completed. Now, just imagine a world where the campaign drama ends when you are finished with your ballot 🙂
2. We are finishing up building a garden box in our back yard which takes some initial cost up front, but provides us years of food and cheap hobbies. This new box will be for shallots (I saved some bulbs from last year), garlic and onions. All which if done correctly, store very well.
3. I am batching some more costly errands tomorrow out in the suburbs, including picking up wine, new shoes for my husband, and coffee with a friend. He will come join me over there after the soccer game by using his free bus pass from work, so I don’t have to waste time, gas, and frustration by coming back into the city to get him. These little thing make some of the splurges possible.
4. I took my friend’s free Barre3 class a few days ago, and will today in a couple hours as well.
5. Attending a clothing swap this afternoon–I don’t have anything to bring, but there are always bags more of clothes than people take, so it’s totally okay with the group to show up empty handed, as the rest gets donated to Goodwill.


LisaC October 22, 2016 at 9:49 am

1. Took advantage of Harris Teeter’s B2G3F sales, stocked up on things we use regularly.
2. Used my calculator to see what things really cost per pound (thanks Prudent Homemaker for that wisdom). Put the pre cooked chicken back on the shelf, even at 1/2 price it was too expensive. Funny how the little packages seem like a good deal on sale until you figure out the cost per weight.
3. Transplanting bulbs in my garden to spread them out. Right now, my original three tiger lilies (gift from a friend) are up to over 30!
4. Meal planning for the whole week, using what I have.
5. Sister in law gave me two beautiful large blue and white flower pots she wasn’t using any more. Put them on the front porch, will dig up some baby cypress to go inside.


Mariana October 22, 2016 at 10:52 am

1. I finally ‘cashed out’ for a $10 Amazon code through Receipt Hog App. It does take forever but with minimal effort so I continue to snap a photo of a receipt every time I get it. It added up to $10 since June.

2. Got $10 coupon to use at TJMaxx or Home Goods. This is for spending every $200 with their credit card. It took me a year and a half and I was totally surprised to get the reward!

3. More boring home cooking

4. Fixed a couple of pairs of socks. I still DO bother to fix socks. My husband thinks I am a bit ‘overboard’. But hey, I saved myself a dollar for a new pair


WilliamB October 22, 2016 at 6:00 pm

I fix my white cotton athletic socks as well, usually with whatever thread is in the needle. For me it’s as much to keep them out of the garbage as it is to save a buck. Although I’m happy to save the buck as well.


Gina in KY October 22, 2016 at 1:17 pm

1. Found a working pen and a dime on a street corner while waiting for the light to change.
2. Making veggie chili with already stored items (tomatoes whole and juiced, chili beans, onions, peppers and seasonings)
3. Working on some more paper mache art. It’s an ongoing process and I fit it in here and there.
4. Reading library books
5. No furnace despite the temp change to 40-50s. I sleep with blankets. I do this every year.


tonya parham October 24, 2016 at 7:21 am

#5 Me too! It helps I have at least 4 cats who want to sleep in the bed with me, too!


Denise October 24, 2016 at 11:38 pm

Sadly, my little black English Cocker Spaniel died last May but I do miss his snuggly warm dogginess on cold nights (miss him all the time but that’s just another example of doggy heaven). But man, could that dog snore. Right in my ear, too, on cold nights: he knew which side his bread was buttered!

Not my Paddy, but a darn good lookalike, just because:


rebecca October 22, 2016 at 2:57 pm

1. Even though it’s 10/22/in New England, I have yet to put on my heat.
2. Found 11 cents
3. There was a butterfinger bar in the vending machine-just sitting there, don’t know if someone bought it ot if it fell. I took it and ate while doing paper work.
4. Took a 1 1/4 lb pork tenderloin from the freezer and will make pork with black beans and roast some for meaks this week.
5. Got Bruce Springsteen’s book from the library. Love him!


Anna October 22, 2016 at 4:46 pm

I’m late to the game, but:
1. Went to the library today. One of my favorite frugal outings.
2. Returned a shirt I bought that didn’t quite fit/feel right when I got it home. I refuse to keep something that isn’t *just* right. If I don’t want to wear it every day, I don’t keep it.
3. I’m doing free yin yoga tonight, at home, courtesy of my gym. They have a streaming membership they can share with up to 50 gym members. I do a different yin practice nearly every night, and it’s a great way to end the day.
4. We went to a friend-luck with two other families. Everyone brought a couple of dishes to share. The food was great and MUCH cheaper than going out to eat.
5. I didn’t buy new home decor, which I am positively itching to do.

Happy frugal wins and fails, all! Enjoying the journey with you all.


WilliamB October 22, 2016 at 6:22 pm

Had a frugal spendy day today.

1. Went to Goodwill, hoping to find the clothes I need for a Halloween costume. Didn’t find the clothes but found two ceramic pumpkins for $2 each, and a nice charging station – much more functional than the one I have, and at least as nice looking – for $4.

2. Got a free flu shot at Target, then used the $5 gift card (for getting a flu shot) when I bought the clothes.

3. Returned the not-quite-right floor lamp to Crate and Barrel. Since I routinely keep every scrap of paper and plastic, the return was trouble-free.

4. Habitat for Humanity’s Restore had neither wood stain nor a floor lamp. It did, however, have a small cabinet that’s perfect for my place. I have a wall-sized mural of an underwater scene – dolphins, fish, coral the whole nine yards. The pattern on frosted glass front of the cabinet is fish, seaweed, and coral. (I wish I should share a photo.) The fake wood top was damaged but the rest is in perfect order. The damage yielded me another 20% off the $45 price.

5. I’m going to use paint the top blue, using paint and brushes left over from the mural, add decoupage underwater decorations (fish? coral?), then poly it.

6. Looking for the paint in a cabinet I barely ever open, I found some poly as well. Another thing I don’t need to buy.

7. Also found some Minwax wood stain in the cabinet! I can practice for free on the wood I nabbed from a pile of scraps. The goal is to stain a small shelf I bought at Goodwill for $10. The shelf turned out to be maple rather than pine (whoo-hoo!) and I don’t want to to ruin it.


Denise October 23, 2016 at 11:47 pm

I vote “coral” on the top of your cabinet – love it and it’s “sooo on trend, dahhling” in Europe. Or so my Scandi websites tell me (I wouldn’t spot a trend if it smacked me in the face!).


WilliamB October 24, 2016 at 6:07 am

For the TL;DNR crowd: I found a way to do the paint job right (underwater scene, pictures, sealant) using only materials I already own.

Since I was already messing with wood & paint over the weekend, I pulled out a kit I won a couple of years ago, that used blue colored stain applied to wood with a bristle brush. I discovered the most coincidental thing: it goes on striated and streaky!

I promptly painted some scrap wood the same color blue that I’d used on the cabinet top, the painted the stain on top. Looks like an underwater scene; I mean a good one, done by someone who knows what he’s doing. (Which is not me.)

I also learned how to use water-based polyurethane (which I have) over oil-based paint or stain. Now I don’t have to buy oil-based poly.


Emily October 23, 2016 at 10:28 am

1. Went to the grocery store this morning. Picked up two free things that I had a coupon for (liners and a granola bar). I don’t use that type of fem product, but I can donate to a women’s shelter nearby.

2. Was able to hit 50 dollars, so was able to buy a discount gas giftcard. I now have 2 of these stashed away. I like to buy a few, then use them when we drive back north for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s always an extra cost I forget to budget for, and gas prices haven’t dropped (UGH NC WHY!?) . My paychecks always suffer from the long school breaks in Nov and Dec too, so planning ahead!

3. Have ordered a few things off Amazon this week instead of battling traffic after work to get the same things at 3 different stores. I truly think amazon prime is an investment. Saves me a lot of time, frustration, and driving.

4. I am a huge hockey fan, but we don’t have cable and live out of state from my home team. I was able to get an NHL tv subscription for 70 dollars because my boyfriend is a full time student (it is typically 120). This is something that I truly enjoy and brings me happiness, so I don’t mind paying 70 dollars to watch months of hockey. GO PENS!

5. Really need some new gym clothes. Have found a few things second hand, but am in need of some capris/long pants. Shorts for kickboxing aren’t really working (no free shows here, folks), but am trying to be patient to find some second hand. If I don’t manage to find any by black Friday, I will probably hit some sales in PA to save some cash and avoid NC sales tax. My favorite pair I have now had for 8-10 years (yes, I have had since HS!), so I tried to find more at T.J. maxx. I just cant deal with all the crazy colors and patterns that are popular now. I wouldn’t mind buying new on sale if I could find a nice PLAIN pair. But currently doing laundry 3x a week to follow this gym plan I signed up for is getting a bit ridiculous!

–Anyone have suggestions for affordable/well made work out clothes?


K D October 23, 2016 at 10:41 am

Maybe eBay.


jodi October 23, 2016 at 11:37 am

I don’t know if you have a Savers near you, but I’ve gotten all my workout pants/capris, shorts there. They are under $10 for great brands like Nike and Underarmour. Goodwill carries them too, but they aren’t in a separate location so you have to really comb through the racks.


Emily Wyman October 23, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I don’t have a savers, but many goodwills. I haven’t had much luck there. I find really nice everything else, but pants seem to be very worn unfortunately. Going to try and keep looking, but may have to go outside my normal second hand purchases for this one!


K D October 24, 2016 at 3:33 am

If you have a Nordstrom Rack you could check there. Not second hand nor cheap, but cheaper than a lot of places.


WilliamB October 24, 2016 at 6:08 am

Have you tried Goodwill’s online store?

You could also ask your kickboxing classmates or teachers.


Jessica Hollinghurst October 24, 2016 at 9:11 am

Our petrol is costing around $6.50 a gallon at the moment so journeys have to be thought about. Jessica in Scotland


Chris October 23, 2016 at 3:03 pm

1. I buy groceries for funerals at my church – used my Discover card because they have 5% back at Sams Club for this month. Also got an additional .20 off per gallon on gas at the other store we use.
2. My daughter was given a cute tote bag for her birthday full of suckers – not her thing – she left them here and I will use them for Halloween – free candy!! And I don’t like them so no temptation!!!
3. Put in the storm windows today – no heat and no air conditioning for well over a month – running a good sized credit on our energy bill that will help us when the MN winter hits.
4. Menu planning is still going strong – lots of left overs for lunch.
5. No Lear jet/no second car/live in a very walk-able community!


Bettypants October 24, 2016 at 4:23 am

1. Stopped at a yard sale on Saturday morning and found a Nike pullover windbreaker for 50 cents and an Underarmour jacket for $1. Gave one to my dad and will list the other on ebay.
2. Sold a hat on ebay for $13, that I had bought a yard sale previously this summer for 50 cents.
3. I was going to order my son a Packers hat from Kohls, but I found one at a yard sale on Thurs for 50 cents. That was oddly lucky. I also found a Thundershirt, 2 hardcover books, and a pair of Lands End snow pants, all for $7. I sold the Thundershirt on ebay for $15. I also listed the snow pants, but not one view yet. They are brand new, and retail for $70. I thought for sure I had a winner.
4. Someone listed 2 pair of Lularoe leggings on a FB sale board for $5 each, and I snapped them up. I listed both pairs on ebay, and have several watchers for each.
5. Met my sister for lunch and shopping, and only came home with socks, which I needed.


Vickie October 24, 2016 at 8:33 am

1) Brought hubby home from the hospital yesterday. We dropped off his RX for meds, then headed home. After I got him settled in I headed back to town to grocery shop and pick up his RX – $4 at Walgreens. Pretty good considering the price w/o insurance.
2) I bought stuff to make salads, chili, breakfast stuff and some tasty Marie Callendar microwavable stuff on sale to make things easy for him during the day.
3) Fixing homemade chili and stew this week, then popping it into individual servings so he can heat them up for meals.
4) Even though I ate out a few times last week, while he was in the hospital, most of my meals were at home and kept snack stuff in my tote bag. I carried my water canister back and forth all week.
5) The nurse loaded me down with dressings for his surgical incisions. She gave me the surgical tweezers and scissors she used to dress his wounds, since they would have thrown them out. I loaded down the small tub with all the personal care stuff they gave us, including the facial tissue. I told him “they charge us for it, we’re taking it home to use.”
I know it’s going to be expensive but we reached our $3000 maximum and I will claim that on taxes at the end of the year. Plus, the hospital he was in took excellent care of him – wonderful staff and great at infection control there. Worth every penny.


isabelle October 24, 2016 at 8:52 am

* Used Airmiles to get 50$ worth of free groceries
* Cut my own hair. Also cut hubby’s hair.
* Using my gym membership a bit more… Aiming for a least 3 times/week.
* It was worth it to pay for massage therapy since my shoulder injury is feeling so much better than before!
* Still line drying clothes even if it’s cold out here.

Have a great frugal day!


Lindsay October 24, 2016 at 1:38 pm

1. We went to a birthday party this weekend. I took chips and homemade salsa made from Aldi ingredients. They were a hit and were very affordable. We bought a small, locally made gift, but I used a birthday card from my free/thrift store stash.
2. I’ve been sending thank you cards for my shower gifts using thank you notes that I got from a wedding flea market. The pack of 40 note cards was $1.
3. I’m using up some old cream cheese by stuffing it in an old bone for my dog.
4. I got an Instant Pot as a wedding shower gift, and I bought a used copy of Epic Vegan Instant Pot Cooking with an Amazon gift card. I LOVE the Instant Pot and am feeling much more motivated to cook meals at home, even on the super long days when I am usually tempted to get takeout.
5. Currently trying to sell our CrockPot online, since the Instant Pot can also function as a slow cooker. Wish me luck!
Extra: I just got a lovely thank you card from the first generation college student I sent a (frugal) care package too. It made my heart smile. Frugal generosity is my favorite.


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