Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 3, 2016 · 71 comments

Rancid almonds

  1. I worked yesterday and brought lunch from home, even though it was a banana and an uninspired bowl of leftover chicken soup. I drank the free coffee as well as the free tea. I drove my used, (but paid for) car home and then sat on the couch with my husband to watch the end of the world series. I lived in Chicago for a summer in 1987, so I was thrilled with the result. (Although I did go to college in Yellow Springs, Ohio, so I kind of liked both teams.)
  2. I’m returning a $6.99 bag of whole almonds to Fred Meyer, as they were both stale and slightly rancid.
  3. I’m cleaning one of my mother’s guest cottages this afternoon which will add a little extra to the kids’ college fund. The next $15,000 payment is due on January 1st, so I’m focused on creating a big ol’ pile of cash. I’m taking a week off from work in early December to visit my sister’s family in New York, which will create one crappy paycheck. (I’m in a position at the hospital where I don’t receive any sick or vacation pay.) I know we’ll have enough money, but I don’t want it to be a last minute scramble.
  4. I’m researching frugal hacks for my trip to New York City. I’ll be flying into Newark airport in the afternoon, and then plan on taking a short Amtrak trip into Penn station, where I’ll be able to catch the subway to The Bronx. It sounds convoluted, but only the first part is something I haven’t done before. I’m also planning on dragging my sister on a free tour of the Fifth Avenue library, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve certainly been into this building before, but I’ve never done more than wander aimlessly. So much great free stuff to do in NYC! Plus I’ll be able to bring holiday and birthday gifts to my sister’s family in person, which will save me around $35.
  5. My friend Lise is giving me three uncut pumpkins, which I’ll turn into puree and freeze in two-cup portions. This seems to be a standard amount for recipes, which has worked out well in the past. I do need to buy new freezer bags, but I’ll wash and reuse them.

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.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

susan November 3, 2016 at 12:30 pm

The Museum of Modern Art used to have a day during the week when admission was either free or “donate what you want to”… cannot remember but it is a nice little museum on 53rd Street just a bit west of 5th Avenue. And very central to other things. Check out the Travelzoo website, as sometimes there are some great deals on theater and restaurants.


JD November 3, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Ugh, I hate it when nuts are bad when you buy them! And I would faint if I had to pay $15,000 for tuition right after Christmas! Good for you, Katy, for staying focused on covering that tuition.
1. I’m working steadily on Swagbucks to help pay for Christmas.
2. I am going to take my homeowner’s insurance policy to a different company and see if they can beat the price. It’s due in December, so I need to get that done soon.
3. I washed my cleaning cloths and mop pads last night, to be ready for the usual housecleaning this weekend. I still haven’t bought paper towel for the home in months; it’s approaching a year, I think. I took my paper towel holder down and sold it in a yard sale.
4. We have started some cuttings of yard plants — it is a cheap way to get more plants and they seem to be making it.
5. The low-cost vet clinic is downtown this Saturday, where I can get my dogs’ nails clipped for 1/3 the normal price, plus it will support the organizations that support the animal shelter. They are working hard on making physical improvements to the shelter, and are ever closer to making it completely no-kill, which is their goal. I’ll be happy to help them reach it. Both of my dogs are rescues.


Bee November 3, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I am impressed by the fact that you do not use paper towels at all. I wish that I could get DH on board for that one. We are literally throwing money away everyday.


Mariana November 3, 2016 at 8:04 pm

It was tough to get used to at first but once I started using reusable rugs for everything it became easier and easier every day. I purchased two rolls of paper towels in June and I still have half a roll! I know, crazy. I am using it only to take off grease after I make something greasy like potato latkas, etc.
Ps. I have probably 50 reusable rags at this point as they do get used and tossed into laundry super quickly!


JD November 4, 2016 at 6:07 am

My husband was the most difficult part of the process, believe me. He still complains once in a while over a particularly messy mess (hairball, anyone?) but he now automatically reaches for a rag or cleaning cloth when something needs to be cleaned.


Ella November 4, 2016 at 9:09 am

I keep a separate bin of rags on their last legs (too many holes, getting too thin) and socks with holes that can’t be repaired (that aren’t otherwise very useful as rags) to use for very gross things like pet messes, so I can just throw everything out instead of washing the rag. That is what convinced my fiance we could live without paper towels. My cat is pretty tidy, so we don’t have to use them very often!


Val November 3, 2016 at 6:33 pm

Bravo for #5! Rescues are the best! I rescued two stray puppies that were left to fend for themselves by a negligent family. They grew up to be the best dogs one could ever ask for! It makes no sense spending hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars to buy a thoroughbred when there are so many dogs available for adoption that would make awesome family members! Thanks for helping your local shelter in its goal to go no-kill!


JD November 4, 2016 at 6:30 am

We love our rescued dogs. We have had pretty much only rescues for decades. My daughter’s awesome friend has been a big factor in getting a fostering system started here and locating rescue organizations willing to take un-adopted dogs to better locations. She does it all as a volunteer. And kudos to our two local vets (it’s a small town) and their staffs, who donate Saturday mornings six times a year to work the clinics, outdoors, in all kinds of weather. Since they started doing this a couple of years ago, they’ve donated over $26,000 to the shelter-help organization.


Isabelle November 3, 2016 at 12:46 pm

* Going to book club tonight. My contribution to the potluck: 2$ pastry (on sale) arranged on a cute plate. Cheap and easy!
* Making a Frittata for dinner using past-prime veggies and on-sale goat cheese.
* Picking up 2 books for book club at the public library instead of buying them (I never buy books)
* Christmas gifts are already done for my husband, our kids and my mom. And hubby takes care of his side of the family. So as far as I am concerned, my Christmas shopping is done! The frugal here is : saving the stress of shopping last minute and being tempted to buy more just because of the ambiance in stores. Plus, what we got for the kids was all on sale and hubby is receiving a 2-days retreat from me, so no material crap. Mom is receiving a gift card and a custom-made calendar (family pictures). Voilà!

Have a great frugal day!


Juhli November 3, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Have a great time in NYC with your sister!
1. Raking, raking, raking – doing the job myself for free again this year as the neighbors pay for their leaves to be cleared up.
2. Our bathroom remodel just got $200 cheaper because the tile we had picked out was not available any longer and the new choice is cheaper. We are doing this to help sell our house in the spring so as long as it looks nice we are happy.
3. Just noticed some pasta sauce sitting in the frig so put it in the freezer. I’ll make eggplant parmesan next week to use it up.
4. Needed some warmer sweaters/tops for when the cool weather eventually gets here. Shopped carefully at my favorite thrift store and ended up with a zip cardigan, fleece vest and pullover sweater for great prices. The first was bought on senior discount day for 15% off too.
5. The usual frugals of washing ziploc bags unless raw meat was frozen in them, using leftovers for lunches or another dinner, ordering food & treats for the dog via Amazon subscription for 5% off and free shipping, etc.


Bee November 3, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Katie, I admire you for working so hard to pay your children’s tuition bill. $15k is one easy to cash-flow. My FFT

1) I did a little side job today only a mike from home. Brought a snack and a mason jar of iced coffee to enjoy when I had a little break. I waited to have lunch until I arrived home. No money spent.
2) While working, I also had an interesting conversation with a client about the importance of using resources wisely. He told me that he and his wife by used whenever possible to prevent stress on the environment . It is always great to meet a kindred spirit.
3) I am cooking 5 pounds of chicken breasts in the crockpot. I will shread this, freeze it, and use it later in chicken burritos, chili, pot pie, and jambalaya.
4) Making pork fried rice for dinner with leftover rice and roast pork. I am using it up and no one will know that they already saw it once this week.
5) i have been using herbs from my garden and sharing with friends.


Bee November 3, 2016 at 3:30 pm

I meant to say that $15k was NOT easy to cash-flow.


Ella November 3, 2016 at 1:38 pm

1) I’m meeting up with a friend tomorrow at a (very) expensive hotel at the beach about 45 minutes from my house. Friends of her parents had already paid for a week there and had to leave early, so we get to stay in a very swanky room for free for a night. Girl time! I also just picked up a bottle of wine to take with me because I know drinks at the hotel are going to be very pricey.
2) I used a $25 voucher from a class-action settlement to get a few new bras, which I really needed.
3) We’re having chicken tonight that I got on clearance from Grocery Outlet.
4) On a trip to BevMo yesterday I noticed that our new Aldi’s was open, so I got a free reusable bag and some cheap staples.
5) Used rags and homemade cleaner to clean the house.


Jill A November 3, 2016 at 1:42 pm

We will have two in college next year also. Dreading those bills. Enjoy your trip to NYC.

1. Packed my daughters lunch using plastic containers that I wash and reuse. I’ve packed my kids lunches everyday while in school and have saved thousands. She is the last one. Soon I won’t have any lunches to pack.
2. Sold a rug and a set of sheets that I purchased on clearance at Target, on a local Facebook group. Made $50 on top of what I paid.
3. Stayed home the last two days. I’ve listed 32 items on ebay. No money spent and hopefully I’ll make a few sales.
4. Ordered my Christmas cards from Costco. I’ve saved about $40 off Shutterfly costs and Costco had a voucher I purchased that would save me another $5.
5.Stocked up on meat sales the last couple of weeks. My freezer is full. This will help keep my grocery bills down.


Teri November 3, 2016 at 2:04 pm

1. I, too, ordered my Christmas cards from Costco and will pay with the voucher.
2. Taco dinner at church on Monday. TOO. MUCH. FOOD. They insisted I bring home the pumpkin pies, cookies and bars. I will be sharing these, for sure.
3. Car in shop for repairs, dealership wanted to fix it for $5,000. I don’t think so! Got another opinion and will limp along on oil and spark plugs until we can find an affordable used vehicle.
4. Found 48 cents and a coupon for a free ice cream cone!
5. Keeping temp at 64, and candles most evenings, for ambiance :).


Jill A November 4, 2016 at 3:38 am

Our mechanic calls the dealership a stealership!!


chris November 4, 2016 at 4:48 am

The only service we get from our dealership is oil changes. For whatever reason the oil changes are the cheapest in the city for our kiddo hauler. Every other kind of service happens elsewhere. My family owns muffler and brakes shops so those are free! We do my brother’s pest control for free, too.


Jill November 3, 2016 at 2:17 pm

My daughter is a student in NYC so she is always on the lookout for free and reduced price events. There is a website/app called spoiled nyc and do nyc which list free events – mainly concerts- but things to do in parks and food/drink specials too which might be worth looking into.


Is it a need or a want November 3, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Enquiringly minds want to know.Will the tuition payment be for one or both of your sons? Does it include room/board? Is this an amount you have to come up with in Sept. And Jan.? How long will you be doing this for? Is there anything present Katy would tell past Katy about university tuition saving?

Onto my FF.
(1) I received some free Christmas cards in the mail. They are nice, I’ll use them.
I am not happy with the Red Cross as I know they sold our name and address to this other charity. How do I know? Donation made through my husband’s work place using unique name identification only given once in this donation to the Red Cross. This is how you can figure out who is selling your name.
(2) At a fund raising dinner I was a part of ,two other volunteers made 300+ cut out sugar cookies for the dessert with cookie cutters unique to our group. This is the second year we have done this as the dessert.
(3) leftover trays from my MIL ‘s funeral were used to hold fruit and pack up leftovers to donate.
(4)Went to a school presentation this afternoon. Free coffee, juice, chips and granola bars. Many of the presenting groups had large bowls of Halloween candy, plus paper pads, stress balls and pens.
(5) Son received a gift card to a mall I rarely go to, I knew they carried some specific items I could use with the GC. It was in the area that the school presentation was in so I combined errands.


BJS November 3, 2016 at 2:45 pm

1. Working two extra shifts this week.

2. Stopped in at Goodwill on their half-off day, but didn’t buy anything. Just as a side note, the line for the checkout was wrapped almost halfway around the store!

3. Recently bought a 2017-2018 calendar, and in addition to putting family and friends’ birthdays in there, I’m also writing “CC” on the 25th of every month for both years. That’s to remind myself that my credit card payment is due that day. I missed it twice in the last few years, and in addition to paying interest, I also had to pay the current month’s amount due so as to not carry a balance forward. Ugh. The last time I did it I was annoyed enough with myself that I vowed to make a note on every month on every calendar from that point forward!

4. Continuing to use up food from my freezer, thanks to LisaC talking about doing that. I’m doing the same thing with my pantry. I was a little nervous at first thinking I wouldn’t have enough backup meals, but realized I don’t need as many of them as I was keeping around. It’s good to have extra space in my freezer and pantry, and to be a little more deliberate about meal planning.

5. My daughter returned her school sports uniform before a fee was incurred, without my even telling her to do it!


Julie C 2a November 4, 2016 at 3:00 am

Call the cc company and see if they will wave the late fee. We had a payment that was received 1 day after the due date. Since our account was always paid on time they waived the extra fee.


Beth Anne November 3, 2016 at 3:08 pm

1. Picked up Subway BIGO tonight for dinner – less than $7 for two subs and a drink. Also turned in a receipt for a free cookie, the Pumpkin Spice cookie was delish!

2. Drove home for lunch costing money for gas there and back but at least the food was free. 😉 Heated up some delicious homemade Cauliflower soup and leftover pumpkin spice cornbread muffins.

3. Earned over $25 in rewards from purchases for Meijers I can use for the next grocery bill.

4. Spent $5 on candy this year for Halloween at the Dollar Tree name brand candy i.e. Snickers, Tootsie Pops, Whoppers, Smarties, and Peanut Butter M&M’s had plenty to distribute with plenty for us to eat while passing it out. My goal was to have enough so my daughter did not feel sad about not trick or treating this year. Maybe I was more sad than she was, lol.

5. Parked at the library for “free” using someone elses time leftover on the meter. Picked up one of the books I looked at at Barnes and Noble this weekend and requested through the library.



Krystal November 3, 2016 at 3:53 pm

I always check meters for leftover stickers, and leave mine as well (our parking uses window stickers). Definitely saved some cash that way!


Krystal November 3, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Katy, I did the Newark to Penn to Brooklyn on transit before, and after a red-eye flight during Thanksgiving week. You’ll be good! I wish I had some tips on the Newark part, but it was long ago. Moral of the story, if my husband and I can do it after a red-eye, and stay married, should be a breeze.

1. I saw an ad on our local neighborhood blog about opinion research for my job. I set a time to speak tomorrow with the company and I will be paid my normal hourly rate I charge my clients. Sounds like a fun side project.
2. I batched errands yesterday, and had a $39 check at the consignment store waiting for me when I dropped off some items. I picked up a pair of jeans and a top, both items were on my shortlist for wardrobe replacement items, and it cost $25. I am still on the hunt for a nice pair of tan or brown pants, and one more pair of shoes that match my existing wardrobe.
3. Walked my dog today for some free exercise, and walked to and from the school I volunteer at. I’ll take the dog for another short walk when my husband gets home. Lovely day today!
4. Bought my cats’ flea meds in a pack of 6, which nabbed me 2 doses free. Will last for 4 months!
5. We have been digging into Gilmore Girls for the first time for our new TV series, cheap entertainment!


Roberta November 4, 2016 at 6:14 am

I’m glad to hear the train station is near the airport in Newark. This summer we found out that the LAX train station and LAX airport are not near each other. Two hours by city bus or $35 by shuttle apart! Live and learn! The shuttle bus was a better price than parking in the airport lot, but still an unpleasant surprise.


Jennifer Brown November 3, 2016 at 4:25 pm

I feel for you on the tuition payment. We also pay for our eldest 2 children that attend college. However our payments for both including room and board are about 11.5k , in Jan and again in August. They have summer jobs and work study positions that they have to pay for their books and extra curricular spending out of.
This week we:
Used a fuel rewards card to save immediately at the gas pump.

I renewed our books and videos online from the library to save late fees as we’re still enjoying them.

Collected the last of this season’s basil and used it in a few meals.

Purchased a new bunch of green onions and will regrow more from the bulbs, my last bunch lasted 3 years.

Accepted another small vacation rental cleaning. We live off my Husband’s income and we pay for the tuition from my cleaning business.

Have a great week everyone!


Diane November 3, 2016 at 4:27 pm

Would love an update on your Newark to Penn Station experience (ease of catching the train/time spent and if the cost was worth it) once you try it. We have a son at school in NYC and still figuring out travel options to and from our home north of Boston. Found some reasonable airfares out of LaGuardia, but no good public transportation options to the airport from the UWS. Forums recommend a $40 cab (or Uber) ride.


janine November 3, 2016 at 4:42 pm

1.Continued to practice some frugal habits – making sack lunches to take to work, turning off lights as soon as I notice them, turning down the thermostat when husband isn’t home , ( we have different comfort levels), working out budgets so we can continue to live comfortably without overspending etc.
2. Son had today off and we had lunch at his favorite deli. I ordered only a side which was just fine.
3. Our elderly beagle has passed away and we are beginning the process of looking for another dog. Visited a humane society just north of us – loved them all of course. Also talked to some beautiful cats!
4. Husband cancelled an expensive professional subscription which he decided he didn’t need, saving us over $100.
5. Have coupons for $10 and $5 for JC Penneys and Target respectively and will redeem them tomorrow in a spending “spree”. Found heavily discounted Halloween candy and will freeze it for later use.


Marilyn November 3, 2016 at 6:15 pm

I received the $5 Target coupon too even though I have not shopped at Target for several years. Coupon was for $5 off purchases of $10 or more. Decided to be very practical and only bought a one item — a new ink cartridge for our printer, something we have needed for weeks.


janine November 4, 2016 at 5:19 am

Our local Target has just finished remodeling their store and seem to be offering a number of deals to lure patrons back in. I don’t shop there much either, but plan to pick up their specials this week.


Jessica November 3, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Katy, with the trip into NYC, maybe check online to see whether it’s cheaper to take the bus to Penn Station than to take the AirTrain + new jersey transit train. It’s definitely easier. I did it last time I was taking a trip for work.


Is it a need or a want November 3, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Could he go from NYC to Boston via the Mega bus or Bolt bus?


Diane November 3, 2016 at 6:49 pm

I don’t approach this as a need vs want, but look at all options and consider which trade-offs are worth it depending upon the circumstances. After researching all modes of transport I have found airfares (some less than $75 RT) which are comparable or less than Amtrak or bus fares. Also, reviews for the bus lines haven’t been good. The really low-cost bus companies have been alleged to run the drivers so close to their 10 hour drive-time limit that they have been known to strand buses full of passengers for hours at rest stops waiting on replacement drivers. Factoring in traffic during busy times, a 4-5 hour bus trip can turn into an 8 hour+ trip.


Is it a need or a want November 4, 2016 at 2:48 am

Great finding the plane fares.
My own experience was taking the bus from NYC to Washington . Inexpensive , on time , air conditioned and wifi. Ours had easy pick up/drop off options. We had a great experience , I always recommend looking at travel forums to new cities . Pretty accurate descriptions and usually the place to find the inexpensive alternatives that the locals would use.


Diane November 4, 2016 at 4:10 am

Appreciate the info and haven’t ruled buses out as an option if needed. Regarding finding low airfares, if you aren’t familiar with google flights, it’s a great pricing tool and really useful if you have some travel flexibility. I’ve been using it more than kayak, as it has a monthly calendar option showing the lowest fare options each day.

Brenda November 3, 2016 at 5:43 pm

1-on a trip with my sis now. She has a conference so the hotel room is covered.
2-we went to subway and had a buy one get one sub, apparently it is National Sandwich day so they have this offer today.
3- tomorrow we are touring the Grand Canyon, I paid for part but my sis is paying for the rest because I took senior photos of my niece, which was a discount for her. Win- win for both of us!
4- we walked to a nearby store for snacks to have on hand during our trip, brought books to share, and enjoyed time by the pool today- free!!! And got my exercise in too by swimming laps.
5- shared a meal and appetizer for dinner so we could each try more things and save money and not overeat. Fail-We were planning to walk to dinner and take a cab back but it was pouring rain so took a cab both ways- never knew how expensive a cab is! At least we’ve saved in other ways, so not as bad as it could be!


kathleen November 3, 2016 at 7:45 pm

1. I’ve had the same credit card for years and years which pays reward points. I periodically check their reward merchandise, but never anything I want, so I’ve never redeemed any. Last night I thought maybe I could find a Christmas gift or two that way. Still didn’t see anything that warranted purchase EXCEPT Amazon gift cards. Hello, lover! Had enough points to get eleven $50 gift cards…no expiration, no fees…no Christmas bills in the New Year. 🙂

2. Cooking from freezer and pantry, and made beef broth from beef bones this week.

3. Loads of birthdays in November. Last night I made four birthday cards and six blank cards from supplies on hand. Six went in the mail today with handwritten letters inside.

4. Deeply discounted after-Halloween candy…the good stuff. 🙂

5. Hubs has three weeks off. Had hoped for a trip, but it’s been a lean year, and I’d rather stay home and work on some projects than rack up bills.


Bee November 4, 2016 at 1:00 am

I also have used credit card points at Christmas time. One year, we traded our points for Best Buy gift cards and used them to buy my daughter the computer that she desperately needed.


Mariana November 3, 2016 at 8:12 pm

1. I haven’t done it for a while but this week I brought home from work all the ziplock baggies I used. I washed them all tonight and have like 7 drying as we speak.

2. I have been good with returning stuff as well. If we don’t like something or it tastes stale – we take it right back. Both Costco and Trader Joe’s have ‘no question asked’ return policy and that’s why we LOVE to shop there.

3. I did a couponing trip to CVS tonight. I literally ‘robbed’ the store. With emailed coupons, red machine coupons, extra bucks and manufacturers coupons, I paid $29 for $130 shopping. All items I got is what we actually needed, no junk!

4. No lunches out – I am going strong with this one. I literally hated the chicken soup I brought from home today as I had it three days in a row (same lunch as Katy, ha!) but I ate it regardless. Just trying to keep money in my wallet!

5. Entertaining myself for free. Free library books, free coffees, apple TV, etc.
So far so good.


Carrie November 4, 2016 at 3:44 am

Switched phone to TING from Verizon.
Biked to WalMart twice last week instead of driving.
Bought LED bulbs from ALDI to replace dead bulbs
Cooked everything from scratch
Got a Don Aslett book for free from PaperBackSwap


Ellen November 4, 2016 at 4:27 am

Look into a shuttle from Newark to Jfk, it use to be free or a small fee. Also the train has a stop at Newark airport, and will take you into penn station. (just have to take the monorail from the airport to the train station.


rebecca November 4, 2016 at 5:02 am

1. Bought everything on sale at the grocery store.
2. Hung laundry up to dry.
3.Turned the heat off for 2 days as it was in the 60’s-crazy New England weather
4. My nephew asked me if I would bake him some banana bread-I have all the ingredients and everything was bought on sale. Bananas from the freezer and from the sale rack.
5. Coffee and lunches from home.


Vickie November 4, 2016 at 6:21 am

1) Hubby was released by his surgeon yesterday to go back to work next week. He’s glad he won’t be sitting around anymore and back earning money. I’m just glad he’s doing well!
2) We are going to my 40th HS reunion on Saturday night and staying at the hotel across the street from the venue. Parking at the hotel is included in the stay and so is breakfast the next morning. This will likely be our one outing for the next several months and I’m really looking forward to seeing my HS classmates again.
3) Our entertainment last night was watching the OU football game and then turning over to watch the Thunder play basketball. Although I ended up going to bed before the basketball game was over.
4) I drank the coffee at work this morning and ate my oatmeal – even though I was really wanting a breakfast biscuit from Braums, I just kept driving.
5) Heading over at lunch to p/u two more audiobooks at the Library with my favorite shopping card. 🙂


Ann Y. November 4, 2016 at 6:26 am

You will LOVE the Library – they always have some kind of display or presentation…several in fact, and you can learn so much. And the tour is free and that is fun. Also…walk down Library Row and there are beautiful brass plaques in the sidewalk with quotes by favorite authors. Just up the street is the JP Morgan Library with SO many neat things….there is a cost to get in, but I am sure you can find a coupon somewhere. Have a fantastic time in NYC!


Ruth M November 4, 2016 at 1:11 pm

The Morgan Library and Museum has a pay-what-you-wish evening on Fridays, I think. It’s a great place!


Roberta November 4, 2016 at 6:32 am

1. Made spiced pears in the crockpot before all the pears went bad. Family was appreciative.
2. Made butterscotch pie to take to FIL’s last night. Use leftover graham crackers for the crust, much faster than lemon bars, cheaper than buying something at the shop. Tasty, my husband thinks we should have it at Thanksgiving.
3. Went (grocery) shopping with my friend at Grocery Outlet and the like. I got wine and chocolate to take to a birthday party this weekend, olives for 79 cents, other necessities.
4. Posted some more things on ebay. I love decluttering and getting money at the same time!
5. Sold a bag on Craigslist, and met the woman at my daughter’s dance practice. I was able to combine errands, make her life easier, and make $20.


tonya parham November 4, 2016 at 6:32 am

1. Watched the World Series. It’s good that even paying for cable every month, I come out cheaper watching the world series for what I pay for the year of cable. Tickets and travel to Chicago and Cleveland would have been outrageously expensive. (I’m a baseball fan and became a Cub fan at 12 when I met my future Missus– so texting with her whole family and watching all the postseason– it’s been a delight.)

2. Stopped by Subway yesterday for national sandwich day and got two footlong veggies for less than $8. More than eating at home, but I felt I needed to push the easy button after only having 4 hours of sleep and a veggie was better than a fast food burger! (Gross!)

3. Dinner was baked potatoes covered with crockpot black beans, salsa, green onion, cilantro, and lime with a side of California medley frozen veggies that were steamed in the microwave and then had a squeeze of lime and dash of hot sauce added.

4. The missus took a lunch of Thai pineapple rice I made early in the week. I’m sad there was only enough for her lunch! I’ll find something around here, though.

5. Need cat litter so I am using a 15% total purchase at PetSmart. I’d love to get it online and pick it up so I can get swagbucks but it shows my store is out of litter. I am 1000% sure they are NOT. Still, saving is saving. I would just like to double my score if I could!

6. Semi frugal. Dr. Strange comes out today and I am going to the matinee and buying no food. (I LOVE TO GO TO THE MOVIES but I hate the theaters in my town so I only go about 10% of what I did when I lived in Memphis. I’d hoped to go there to see this, but I have to help with a school function tomorrow so I don’t want to travel today and tomorrow. Hence, I will go here– and it is cheaper here– and just forgo popcorn, drink, etc which is healthier anyway!)


tonya parham November 4, 2016 at 6:35 am

And I really do mean that about texting with the in-laws. I realized it could sound snarky. I love (most of) her siblings and being included in that family dynamic felt very good.

It was also one hell of a series!!! Seven games. Tied. Rain delay. As the missus said, “Of course there’s gotta be drama. Chicago can’t get it the easy way.”


BJS November 4, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Tonya — #3 sounds really delicious!


janine November 5, 2016 at 5:04 am

I happen to have limes on hand and am making vegetarian chili. Probably would benefit from a squeeze of lime in addition to cilantro. Great menu in #3!
Also loved the world series. Hollywood could not have invented a better cliff-hanger. Now we have an election cliff-hanger except fun to watch is not how I would describe it!


jennifer November 4, 2016 at 6:34 am

Oh my, I purchased the exact amount of pecans I needed from Kroger to make a cheese ball for my daughter’s gender reveal party(admittedly not frugal) and they were bad! I didn’t figure this out until after I served it, gah! I was in such a hurry making appetizers that I failed to test the nuts before I put them on the cheese ball. #hardlessonlearned #bitteryuckyball #redfacedandmad


Mrs. Picky Pincher November 4, 2016 at 6:39 am

Great score with those pumpkins! I have four bags of pumpkin puree in my freezer as we speak, and this weekend I’m breaking down yet another pumpkin for more puree. We plan to make pumpkin ravioli for dinner next week. Yum!

This week:

1. We haven’t eaten out for dinner once. I am SO HAPPY about that.

2. Our A/C broke and we used our home warranty to get a repairman. We still don’t know how much it will cost, but the warranty will hopefully soften the blow. The warranty was bought by our house sellers, so it was free to us, which is awesome!

3. I’m breaking down the aforementioned Halloween pumpkin this weekend to make pumpkin puree. Pumpkin is surprisingly REALLY DELICIOUS when roasted, so it’ll be good to have later in the year.

4. I planned next week’s menu based on items we already had in our pantry. It’s Mr. Picky Pincher’s birthday, so we’ll spend a little more on groceries than usual, but our normal meals are lookin’ good!

5. I also didn’t buy a Lear jet. 🙂


Dogsandbooks November 4, 2016 at 6:41 am

YSO!!!!!!!! I’ve been reading you faithfully for months and it was such a lovely surprise to find this out today! I did not go to Antioch but visited often and went to Europe my junior year on a program they ran. Sweet!!


Katy November 4, 2016 at 10:49 am

You guessed it!


shelia November 5, 2016 at 2:25 am

Young’s ice cream!!!!! It’s still as yummy as ever. And in the spring, there are Young’s coupons on Diet Pepsi cans. At one time they offered a free one dip cone or a game of Udders and Pudders. Now you have to pay .99 but still. Great entertainment for a family. I buy several 6 or 12 packs and that’s our entertainment for the summer in addition to the free Summer Arts Festival at the park! Love living in the area!!!!


kathy November 4, 2016 at 7:30 am

1. I called and complained about an “inferior product” so they are sending me coupons for my complaint
2. Returned two tops from I have plenty of clothes.
3. Joining my office for a pre event dinner tonight (FREE)
4. Did not walk to Starbuck’s..made my coffee at home.
5. Gathered up unused groupons/livingsocial deals that I will either use for me (fitness) and convert the others to holiday gifts with a few $$


Jessica November 4, 2016 at 9:24 am

I can’t decide whether this is frugal (now) or ridiculously irresponsible (then), but I bought a bunch of groupons that I purchased in 2012 and forgot about. They no longer have the full deal value, but are still worth what I paid for them, to those stores. So I am planning a few cups of coffee, a massage, a date night and 2-4 trips to our local iceskating rink… All funded in 2012…


Barbara November 4, 2016 at 9:46 am

I am working on Christmas presents for my 4YO granddaughters. I am making doll clothes for them, and the fabric I’m using is kid’s clothing from Goodwill. It has been quite a fun challenge to figure out how to use the parts of something to yield a whole doll outfit! Plus, there are FREE patterns available on the internet.


Lisa L November 4, 2016 at 11:00 am

You may want to look into taking the PATH train from Newark to World Trade Center. The PATH does not go to the airport but there may be a shuttle bus that goes from the Newark airport to Newark Penn Station to catch the PATH train. I bring this up because the PATH train is only $2.75. So I imagine that’s way cheaper than an Amtrak ticket, even for a short Amtrak ride. Once you are at World Trade Center you can connect to several subway lines very easily, the 2,3, 4,5,A,C,E,R trains.


Katy November 4, 2016 at 11:14 am

Good to know. It looks like the shuttle from Newark to Penn station is only $5.50, but it’s weirdly vague.


Ida November 4, 2016 at 12:34 pm

During my holiday I took a normal bus (forgot the number) from the Newark airport to Newark Penn station around 1,50 and from there the Path to the city. My hotel in Newark had a free shuttle to the airport.
So even a Dutch girl can be frugal in New York 😉


lauren November 4, 2016 at 8:14 pm

Also, being inside the Oculus at WTC is an incredible experience!
I love the PATH and ride it to work every day (not from newark or to WTC though) I definitely think it’s more reliable, safer, and cleaner than any other transportation in the area.


Ash November 4, 2016 at 12:48 pm

1) Hit up after Halloween clearance. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I always make up little buckets for my kids with Halloween jammies, books, movies, etc. Bought everything I needed for next year. Will hand make outfits next year.

2) My daughter really has been wanting a fancy dollhouse. At Goodwill yesterday, I found her a KidKraft dollhouse that looked brand new for $24 plus I had a gift card and student discount. This is her big Christmas present. She also needed a new dresser and I picked one up for her for $9 as well as a brand new mirror for her room that she also needed.

3) Tomorrow, I am taking the kids to a free fall festival in our area. We leave in time for a late lunch/early dinner at home.

4) Husband and I our having a belated anniversary celebration since he had to work. I have a $30 voucher to Texas Roadhouse after a bad experience there so free meal for us!

5) Might not seem frugal but is in long run: Had my annual appointment to the eye doctor and learned I developed atrocious astigmatism in my left eye. I already have extremely poor eyesight. With my insurance, I ended up paying $196 for my frames, lenses to be thinned, anti-glare, high definition, high index, etc. All things I needed. Would have been a bit more on Zenni for all the things I needed to make my vision more bearable.


Mand01 November 4, 2016 at 1:34 pm

We are finally emerging from 2 months of endless bills – including an unexpected car purchase and dental work – and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
1. Our health insurance covered more of my husband’s dental work (so far) than expected. One more lot of work next week and then hopefully it’s done. Fortunately our kids checkups were fully covered and they needed no work done.
2. We saved enough from our budget last fortnight to pay for our daughter’s birthday party next weekend.
3. We signed up for a new internet provider three months ago. Part of the deal was a new TV, which we were going to use for our daughter’s ‘teenage retreat’ (god, I sound a thousand years old when I type that). We never got the TV. I contacted them yesterday and they were out of stock but they offered me a tablet and smart watch instead. They credited the shipping cost so I got $450 worth of new IT equipment for $0. We are giving the tablet to our kids for Xmas.
4. My husband and I are spending the weekend landscaping our front and back gardens. Our budget is $100 for plants for both yards.
5. I received a lot of compliments on my healthy appearance this week. The secret- 45 minutes on our secondhand treadmill five nights a week. We spent $250 on that thing and it paid for itself many times over in gym membership savings.


Jen@FrugalSteppingStones November 4, 2016 at 1:50 pm

I started using the Shopkick app this past weekend have enough for a $5 Target gift card already, and hope to have a second $5 card by the end of the weekend. I started hitting the Swagbucks hard too, so I can feed our monthly pizza habit with a gift card.


Chris November 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm

1. Had a day at home with a plan to run a few errands – instead stayed home and worked on wreaths for my sister’s vintage/handmade sale next weekend.
2. Was planning on meeting a friend for lunch and had planned to pay since she has been a godsend lately – she had to cancel and I ate at home. But still want to treat her …
3. Started watching Netflix’s “The Crown” today while crafting. Enjoying it!
4. Changed my mind about a few supplies I had bought and have the receipt, so those things will go back next time I am out and about.
5. My husband and I are going to a free library talk about how to research the history of your home tomorrow. Our house is only 60 years old but think it will be interesting!


auntiali November 4, 2016 at 8:07 pm

1. Used a groupon today for a massage. It’s wonderful to not have my jaw aching, along with hips, knees and back.
2. I ran errands in a circle, got home and realized I didn’t go to the dry cleaners. Went back out and picked up dh’s shirts. Two miles round trip and I coasted as much as I could.
3. Gas tax went up 23 cents this week in NJ. Up to $2.23/gallon which is still much cheaper than it was 2 yrs ago. Will vote on my ballot that the extra three cents go into the transportation fund along with the 20 cents.
4. Cancelled Netflix this week and then learned of the The Crown which I want to watch. Maybe I’ll sign up for another month.
5. Got furniture cleaned yesterday. Used a coupon to clean the one chair and got a free ice scraper for the car. This furniture is getting beat so I’ll have to start saving for new.


Denise November 5, 2016 at 1:06 am

Try not to give in to “The Crown” craving – I bet the urge will pass, if you just forget about it! I don’t watch TV now – it was a gradual decline, then I went “cold turkey” and don’t miss it. I am between homes at present so am staying with my sister and her family. I actually can’t stand to stay in the room when the TV is on. I just find it a nuisance and an intrusion. So I’m hoping that missing Netflix will pass for you!


Rachel Thibault November 5, 2016 at 8:46 am

Five Frugal things!
1) i gave a talk alongside some other new PhD grads at a reception last night. The organizer (my dissertation advisor), sent me home with the veggie platter (carrots, celery, broccoli and cherry tomatoes) and 3 pounds of grapes! This means I don’t have to buy veggies this week and will eat some with lunches and cook the carrots/broccoli to go with dinner. (I’m a solo gal!)
2) Received a $5 off a $25 purchase coupon for whole foods. don’t make it a habit of going there, but will use this to stock up on some organic meat, which often goes on sale.
3)hardboiling eggs for breakfasts for next few days instead of going out for breakfast sandwiches.
4) scored a free table off my street where a house is being cleaned out. it’s a tiny wire/metal thing, and the bottom shelf is actually made for records and 45s! It’s not in the best shape but i needed something small to fit in a corner of my bedroom.
5) Using my college ID to ride local transit for free. I am carless so my transportation costs right now are ZERO. #winning


Beth L November 6, 2016 at 1:21 am

1. My husband is a third generation Clevelander. We live in Washington, DC now. But, his love for Cleveland baseball is deep. His mother, as a child, saved her allowance and would take the bus to the games and score them. We inherited some of the score cards. So, when they made it to the world series, we thought, we’d drive down, take the dogs, pack snacks, and splurge on two standing room only tickets. We reasoned that this trip would be Christmas/birthday/vacation etc gifts for the next couple years. We usually drive down to Cleveland a couple of times a year and thrift shop and just walk around (buy home perogies!!). After much research, we booked at an old favorite downtown hotel. One room for the night of the game was marked up from $119 to $700 – yep, that’s not a typo. I looked for days at ticket resellers and Craigslist. The best we could do for standing room only tickets was $999 (EACH! after taxes and fees). So we scrapped the trip. It makes me sad that lifelong baseball fans that care about money can’t go to these games (unless they are season ticket holders). We watched on television and had a nice home cooked meal. Given the outcome, I am happy – but still a little bitter that tickets, hotels, etc are out of reach for the average fans.

2. I have started buying used clothes on ebay or thrift stores. I’ve adopted a one in, one out mantra, I either donate, give away or reuse old clothes (make pillows, cleaning rags, dog beds, etc).

3. I have a stockpile of old frozen odds and ends bread. I converted to stuffing cubes and what I don’t use will be given to friends.

4. Purchased a half off 7lb chicken which will be converted to stock and a dozen plus meals for the family.

5. A party at work over ordered pizza. I took a veggie one home. It was converted to five lunches!!


Kathy November 7, 2016 at 6:43 am

On the transit front — my guess is that NJ Transit trains from Newark to Penn Station are cheaper than Amtrak. You might also consider the multiple rideshares which are pretty reasonable: Via, Uber and Lyft (not sure if Via goes to the Bronx, but it definitely would get you up to 125th Street).


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: