Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 29, 2016 · 90 comments

Cheap Cole Haan-Nikes

  1. I did a quick TV appearance this morning on AM Northwest, and although I thought about freshening up my wardrobe for the occasion, I chose instead to wear my everyday clothes. I knew I wouldn’t be seen from the waist down, plus it’s not as if I’m a fashion or beauty blogger. I presented about making holiday wreaths from Goodwill ornaments and managed to work in the phrase “over manufacture of consumer goods” even though the segment was just a few minutes long. Click HERE to watch my TV appearance.
  2. My son scored a pair of $250 Cole Haan-Nikes for a budget friendly $12.50 at Goodwill. They were in excellent condition and exactly his size. Now I want a pair! Seriously, I would so rock these shoes!
  3. I listed two big bags of Christmas ornaments on my local buy nothing group just now. They’re leftover from the TV Goodwill crafting project, and will be much more welcome in someone else’s home than mine. I’ve been assembling the holiday wreath materials for a couple of months and am sick to death of the space that they take up!
  4. I learned that a close-by business will eagerly give away free packing materials such as bubble wrap and those awful bags of air. This was good information to tuck into my brain as I’d just used up the majority of my packaging stash for a recent eBay sale. I have a few fragile items that I’ve been meaning to list, so this should inspire me to put those listings together!
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a gold plated apartment in the sky.

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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{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey November 29, 2016 at 11:26 am

1. Accepted five pumpkins from a friend, leftover from her holiday decorations. They were painted, not carved, so I was able to salvage all the flesh for future breads and cookies and to sneak into chili for some added nutrients.
2. Two weeks running I was too lazy to bake our bread so I designated today for baking. It is 31 below zero at my house this morning, and I have no obligations outside the home, so I got up at 6 am and now either baking or rising and waiting for a free oven space are six loaves of bread and 24 soft dinner rolls. In the winter our freezer is a plastic container on the porch, so I have plenty of room to freeze the loaves. Plus the house smells great and it is warm from the baking.
3. Found a ragged Christmas wreath in our basement and was able to refurbish it—it looks like new!
4. Made a birthday basket for a friend, using a salvaged basket and filling it with two different jams, tomato confit, salsa, amaretto steeped berries that are great as a cake or ice cream topping, and sweet relish. I canned all of these this past summer. I’ll add a loaf of the bread and deliver it tomorrow.
5. Convinced the insurance company to reimburse me $311 for a treatment I paid for that they initially refused to cover.


Jennifer November 29, 2016 at 11:31 am

3. I too am refurbishing wreaths that a friend gave me. They look sorta pitiful but with a few bits a baubles of leftover ornaments they should look good as new.


A. Marie November 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Lindsey, you live in Alaska, right? (That might explain the -31 a.m. temperature.) On the other hand, I live in Upstate NY and it’s +55 outside right now. Go figure.


Lindsey November 29, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Yes, northern Alaska. The southern and eastern parts of the state are always much warmer. These temperatures make you very thankful for a warm home!


Denise November 29, 2016 at 2:47 pm

I’ve just had to do the conversion of-31F into centigrade.

Good grief: -35C. I have never been anywhere that cold, I just can’t imagine it. How on earth do you live with that extreme?


Lindsey November 30, 2016 at 12:22 am

We’ve had it get as low as 60 below and a wind chill on top of that. It takes a lot of clothing and adding block heaters to your car and insulating your house really well (I had one house where my bed was next to an outside wall and I would wake up to find my hair frozen to the wall!). School is not cancelled until 40 below. But we have it easy—the Native peoples lived here with far fewer conveniences long before we came along. Those were some hearty folks!


hanna November 30, 2016 at 4:12 am

It is 32 here and I am freezing! 🙂


Cindy in the South I November 30, 2016 at 10:54 am

It was near 80 F (with tornadoes) here yesterday. I cannot imagine temps that low….wow!


TriciaSM November 30, 2016 at 8:57 pm

Frozen to the wall!! Omgoodness!! =) Supposed to snow here in Chicago this week. I like your idea of baking on those cold days! I did it a couple times in fall, but most likely again soon.


Robin November 30, 2016 at 7:49 am

I had to look three times at the temperature you posted!


Marlo November 30, 2016 at 9:39 am

I love the new subtle politics in your lists. It’s putting a smile on my face!


Jennifer November 29, 2016 at 11:28 am

I loved the video! I made one of these wreaths a few years back but I did not use the garland and a lot of the balls would pop off. It’s like the hot glue would stick to the paint on the ball then pop off, paint and all. I did have it hanging on my front door so it probably should have been placed in a more stable local. Great job!


Katy November 29, 2016 at 11:39 am

The temperature fluctuations of being outside probably contributed to the ornaments popping off as well.


Jennifer November 29, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Probably.. I got the idea from an old Martha Stewart magazine and she had hers hanging on the front door. Should have known it wouldn’t work for me in Mississippi.


Bethanne November 29, 2016 at 11:34 am

1. Went for the experience and took my daughter to see Wicked this weekend, totally put by budget over but worth it! Prior to we went to a restaurant which didn’t require a tip and still enjoyed a great lunch with the mom/daughter who went with us to the show.

2. Trying to live frugal – still turning off lights, turning the heat down several notches, closing doors to rooms, etc. I will admit to going back to using my dryer, will switch out soon to air drying but my house is still really humid and doesn’t need the extra moisture.

3. Took advantage of a Kohl’s $10 off coupon for a gift for my daughter. Going to take advantage of some Kroger free coupons for things for her stocking. Also cashed in some rewards points on my credit card I saved for the year to pay this months payment.

4. Just committed to a dog walk tonight, which will go towards days I will not get paid when school is closed end of December. I also get “paid” to exercise. 😉 Looking forward to the walk as it will be in a pretty downtown park with lots of holiday lights and an opportunity to chat with my daughter as well as some great pet therapy with someone else’s dog. Did six dog/cat sits over the thanksgiving holiday weekend.

5. Earned and cashed in a $25 Paypal card through Swagbucks. Was tempted by my daughter to use for a gift card but I decided cash is less limiting.

6. Took advantage of my Amazon Prime account to listen to the Wicked sound track instead of buying the cd like I originally planned to do, saved $5.65.


Jennifer November 29, 2016 at 1:40 pm

3. Did you see the Kroger freebie today? It is a whole box of Dove frozen ice cream novelties. Some days it’s just coupons but today it’s a freebie!
Download it to your card before midnight, but you probably knew that already.


Marilyn November 29, 2016 at 5:49 pm

I already picked up the free Dove bars. Yum!


Kim November 29, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Jennifer, thanks for mentioning the Kroger freebie! I hadn’t checked and probably wouldn’t have thought about it today. I live in Maryland but my son goes to school at U of TN so I shop at Kroger when I go to visit and refill his fridge. I always load the freebies even if I don’t think I’m going to redeem them in case I go to visit. I’m going next Thursday to pick him up for winter break so I will be sure to get my freebies!


jennifer November 30, 2016 at 6:41 am

You are so welcome! I picked up my free candy Santa book of Lifesavers and Snickers Christmas tree this morning. I have not actually paid for stocking stuffers for a few years now. I haven’t picked up the Dove bars yet because I don’t have a freezer at work but I am gonna try to remember to before I go home today. I hope it’s not annoying to others that I keep mentioning the freebies but I know I tend to forget some myself.


Kim November 30, 2016 at 6:59 am

I saw this morning that Kroger has a text alert that you can sign up for this holiday promotion. I signed up so I won’t forget to load any good ones! I too use all the store freebies for stocking stuffers.

Emily November 29, 2016 at 2:27 pm

I LOVE WICKED! Ugh. Money well spent. I have seen it 3-4 for times lol.


Gina in KY December 1, 2016 at 5:10 am

I have too! The books are so wonderful too!


Mand01 November 29, 2016 at 11:50 am

Welcome back!
FFT and a frugal fail:
1. I made all my cakes and puddings for Christmas over the weekend.
2. I’ve started to drink the work-supplied coffee. It’s actually fine.
3. My challenge to ‘cashflow’ Christmas instead of spending the money I have saved is working well so far.
4. After weeks of illness between us our family is back in good physical health and my husband and I are back to our evening workout routine on our secondhand gym equipment.
5. Our new secondhand car is using less petrol every week.
Frugal fail:
We have had a very difficult week so far with our daughter, who has autism. After two days of extreme stress, we had forgotten to organise anything for dinner last night. We ended up at McDonalds. For four people, that place can be really expensive!!


A. Marie November 29, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Mand, my sympathy re: the frugal fail. DH and I have wonderful neighbors who have a son with severe IDD and autism, and I also edit a fair number of textbooks on psychological/psychiatric topics, so I do have an outsider’s understanding of the issues–which, of course, can’t begin to compare to your insider’s understanding. Peace and love to your family.


Is it a need or a want November 29, 2016 at 12:08 pm

(1) Was at one of my favourite volunteer run thrift stores. Picked up two pairs of pyjama sets for husband half price. He likes 100% cotton and thought these were awesome.
(2) At same thrift store fur coats were 25% off. I live where it is cold and snowy.
Purchased a full length mink coat . Two separate people came up to me to say how lovely the coat looked on me. This will go well with the silver fox stole that was gifted to me last year from someone’s mother.
(3) Needed new winter boots, finally found my size In a style that fit at a local store. Used the 10% coupon I had from a school fundraiser.
(4) Was hoping to purchase some gift cards for Christmas gifts . Purchased through a program , a few friends have adult children with disabilities attend. They get a percentage of the sales on something I was purchasing anyways:)
(5)Daughter arranged a flight to her home and stopped in our city for a few hours. Family met at a business of friends outside of airport and left extra cars. Carpooled in one car to airport to visit with her.


denise November 29, 2016 at 12:14 pm

I have the women’s version of the same shoes, black with a grey bottom. I bought them at TJ Maxx and they are in their 3rd year of use. $29.99. I have been looking for another pair on ebay, very comfy and good for work and play.


A. Marie November 29, 2016 at 12:24 pm

(1) I sort of fell off the NCA wagon over T’giving weekend, but in a good way. Not having had a lot of time for thrifting this fall, I hit three local thrift stores on Friday and Saturday, and scored some major finds–most importantly, two pairs of brand-new size 9W New Balance walking shoes. Those of you who are also orthopedically challenged will appreciate that one.

(2) Incidentally, DH and I had all three thrifts to ourselves. “Go where the Black Friday crowds ain’t” is our T’giving weekend motto.

(3) I got sick with a 24-hour bug the night before T’giving Day, so DH and I weren’t able to go where we usually go for the day. However, this saved us a total of 7 hours travel time and a tank of gas, so I’m trying to console myself that way. (Not altogether successfully.)

(4) We did get stuck with an unholy lot of marinated Brussels sprouts as our contribution to the dinner we couldn’t go to. Fortunately, they keep well in the fridge, and we’ve almost finished them. (Although it may be a good while before either of us can consider eating sprouts again.)

(5) Working on frugal gifts for the out-of-towners on my Xmas list. Almost there; only the packing remains to be done.


Vickie November 29, 2016 at 1:02 pm

I love # 2 – I loathe Black Friday and don’t participate, but last year my daughter and I ended up checking out the new GW thrift store in the town east of us. It was fun! I think I spent $25, but we ended up with clothes for the girls, a pair of shoes, a purse and some other odds and ends – and NO crowds.
Good motto!!


Denise November 29, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Brussel sprouts: chop them up and stir fry them with flaked almonds and some finely minced garlic. Delish with leftovers but even better with fresh sprouts – just keep them crunch


jennifer November 30, 2016 at 6:46 am

I love the Pioneer Woman’s Balsamic brussel sprout recipe. It has a yummy thick ,dark, glazey syrup over roasted brussel sprouts and dried cranberries. I make two big sheet pans of it every Christmas and never have leftovers.


Susie's Daughter November 30, 2016 at 9:34 am

#1) HUGE score on the NB shoes in W! They are one of the only makers who can fit my square feet.


Madeline Kasian November 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm

1. After much thought, and calculations, we’ve decided to do the repairs on my 14 year old Highlander which is in basically great shape, but needs a few things. A new car is not on my agenda.. in fact, if it came to that we could be ready to go down to one car (retired now, no commuting.) With a small payout, the Highlander should be good at least another 5 years!!!! Woo hoo!

2. I brought a HUGE BAG of clothing, shoes and old purses to the local consignment shop.My closet looks good and it’s a joy to see everything and just have what I really wear .

3.I’m researching old marbles, as I have 4 jars full that my Dad gave me from his antique store days. Wanna sell them on eBay!!!!!!

4. I colored my hair at home ($4.00 a box on sale with coupons vs. who knows how much in a salon..)

5. Bought 6 ready to be rotten bell peppers (organic!!) for $1.98 total! Made a big batch of stuffed peppers to freeze into dinner portions..

Life is good.

Well,except for that who-is-going-to-be-president part.


Vickie November 29, 2016 at 12:46 pm

1) Eating up the last of the Turkey. I love it, but hubby’s tired of it.
2) I had a tire going flat, so I popped into Discount Tires at lunch. They couldn’t find anything wrong with it, so topped it off with air after making certain it was still in good shape – FREE.
3) I shopped with my favorite card yesterday at the Library and picked up 5 more audiobooks. Two are Charles Dickens books. I love listening to the classics being read in a British accent.
4) A coworker made candy over the weekend and it’s all sugar free, so I’ve been partaking of snacks without guilt of gaining weight.
5) I’m attending a Women in Technology conference tomorrow evening at the Devon Tower downtown. Food, drink and attendance all free.


BJS November 29, 2016 at 6:18 pm

#3 – “I shopped with my favorite card at the library” … I love that!


JD November 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

1. We had an upper-30’s night this weekend — and 70 degrees last night. Gotta love that North Florida weather. Anyway, for the upper-30’s morning, I wore a GW thrifted pure camel cashmere coat to church. I paid $10 for it about 15 years ago, and it is still in perfect shape.
2. We are eating up leftovers from the holiday weekend. I plan to freeze what we have to quit eating because we are too tired of it, before it gets too old.
3. I needed some decent clothes for church — my stash is getting smaller and smaller as they get too old and worn — so I ordered two dresses from Thred Up with the Cyber Monday sale plus free shipping.
4. My salvaged fruit cake, the one that stuck in the bundt pan and I had to rebuild, is looking better as I keep it basted in brandy and as time goes by. Thanks to those who suggested ways to keep that from happening again.
5. I was looking for cheaper dog shampoo for my two little rescues, when I realized I make my own shampoo for me. Um, why not for them? One of the pricy “pure” brands is basically flaked soap, water, glycerin and a little vinegar. And I have all that.


Bee November 29, 2016 at 2:25 pm

Your coat sounds lovely. I have had the same winter coat since 1996. When you live in Florida, they never wear out. I am back in shorts today!


LisaC November 29, 2016 at 3:10 pm

I own a beautiful wool coat. I’ve outgrown it..Bleah. I’m thinking losing weight will be the most frugal thing I can do this winter.


Denise November 30, 2016 at 7:37 am


100% with you on losing weight. I’ll spend less on groceries and I’ll fit in to all my clothes.

I lost 19lbs between February and July this year, and as I’ve been getting stressed and distressed in the last two months, the cake and biscuits (i.e. Cookies) have somehow been slyly shoving themselves down my throat. It’s beyond comprehension but I shall have to wage war on them: the War of Mindfulness & Gritted Teeth.

I can already picture myself only looking four months pregnant after I lose the weight. Not kidding, a 73 year old woman asked me if I should be moving house “so close to my due date”. I did howl with laughter as I told her “sorry:I’m fat not pregnant!”. She was utterly mortified, poor woman. But then I told her that I was flattered that she thought I was young enough to have a child. She blew her chance at redemption, by saying “oh no, I’ve read about you much older women having IVF. Anything’s possible these days, isn’t it, dear?” She wasn’t being a cow, just utterly clueless, so I chose to keep laughing. Her husband, after hustling her into their car, said “if there’s an open mouth somewhere, Judy will put her foot into it”….

Sneaky biscuits.


Kim in Los Alamitos November 30, 2016 at 8:50 am

Needed to hear this cute story this morning!
I’ve been on both sides of the “pregnancy comments”.
Horrifying to all involved I’m afraid – but can be motivating.

Cindy in the South I November 30, 2016 at 10:57 am

I have looked like I was six months pregnant….for the last 25 years

Stephanie November 30, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Your #5 is what frugality is all about–finding our way to a more frugal option wherever we can.


Elizabeth November 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

– Sold on eBay 2 perfume bottles I wasn’t using for $80 plus $100 in additional eBay sales the past two days
– Working hard to get to gym to get enough points to earn $50 off my membership in January. Only need twenty more points (you earn a point when you check into the gym, check in to a class or hit 10,000 steps on your Fitbit).
– Resisted the urges to go out to eat several times this week and just ate at home. Made a big homemade Mac and cheese that served 3 of us for dinner, 3 of us for lunch the next day, plus two more servings for my son
– Purchased several Christmas gifts with a gift card my husband got from work and have saved enough Amex points to order my daughter the camera she wants for Christmas. Have ordered additional gifts on eBay, using the money in my PayPal account (that I got from selling stuff sitting around the house).
– Went to the trees from around the world display at our botanical gardens and got to hear a beautiful holiday concert instead of buying separate holiday pops tickets like I was thinking about. Will also be going back tonight to hear carolers.
– Sent Christmas gifts wrapped and home with my sister when they came for thanksgiving to avoid paying shipping charges to mail to her.

Decidedly not frugal, our furnace went out the night before Thanksgiving when we had company coming in town for the weekend. Ugh. We had someone come out and look at it and he discovered a crack in it and had to disable and unplug it to prevent carbon monoxide from leaking out (thank goodness). We had to get a new furnace which is just being installed today. And in the meantime we had to buy space heaters for the bedrooms to keep my guests warm since we were without heat for the weekend. And the furnace is so not cheap….and it’s right before Christmas! Ugh. But it broke on us last month too and at least this way we know it won’t break (you can’t not have heat in the winter in Michigan) and we won’t have to worry about carbon monoxide. And hopefully at some point, it will pay for itself in the reduction we see in our utility bills because it’s much more energy efficient.


Denise November 30, 2016 at 7:45 am

Do you have a carbon monoxide alarm? I bought two (one for the kitchen, one for my bedroom) after my SIL was hospitalised from CO poisoning from a faulty gas boiler in the laundry room. They said it was only mild poisoning but gosh, she was ill for a week or so after discharge from hospital.


Bee November 29, 2016 at 12:54 pm

I love your wreaths!

1) Like so many NCA readers, I have been dealing with Thanksgiving leftovers. I have frozen some items to eat later. I used the remaining turkey, gravy and green beans to make a pot pie. I also made a batch of turkey soup. Although no one wants anymore turkey at this point, two weeks from now it will be nice to have on hand.
2) I reorganized my refrigerator this morning before heading out to the grocery store. I designed my menu for the week to use up some of those special ingredients that I purchased for Thanksgiving dinner Items such as buttermilk, cream and red wine are not usually available to cook with. I don’t want them to go to waste.
3) Today when walking the dog, I came across two perfectly perfect pumpkins that had been put out with yard trash. I picked them up and brought them home. I will toast the seeds and roast the flesh for soup. I never would have done this before I started reading the NCA.
4) Tomorrow is payday. I scheduled my payments for next month using my bank’s bill-pay service. No postage and no late for me in the month of December. I also updated my spreadsheets. My spending has gone down approximately 25% since I started reading the NCA . Thank you, Katy and community. You keep me on track.
5) I signed up to take a free art class at the library. It revolves around field sketching. I am really looking forward to this!


K D November 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Congratulations on your big spending decrease.


jennifer November 30, 2016 at 6:52 am

1. I have been chopping up bits of turkey and throwing it in side dishes. Last night we had chicken(turkey)/broccoli/ cheese rice. The night before, stroganoff noodles with turkey added. My favorite thing to do is just make chicken salad sandwiches replacing the chicken with turkey. You can hardly tell the difference.


Nancy November 29, 2016 at 1:06 pm

I’m coming to Portland just to visit your Goodwill store


Mrs. Picky Pincher November 29, 2016 at 1:19 pm

1. We adopted a kitten this week and his adoption fee was paid for by a corporate sponsor. The adoption center also gave us a free bag of food for him and discounts on his accessories.

2. We took my dad’s old couches that he wanted to get rid of and now have spacious seating in our living room! We used to have an itty bitty single couch and it wasn’t very good for entertaining.

3. I sent off a rebate on a KitchenAid I bought on sale, so I expect to get a $50 rebate in the coming months.

4. We bought a Christmas tree on sale and decorated it with ornaments inherited from my parents.

5. We ate from our freezer after a week of travel–when eating out would have been more convenient. To save money we had beef street tacos and a pot roast–they were delicious and didn’t cost us any extra money!


Marybeth November 29, 2016 at 1:50 pm

1. Made turkey soup with leftover turkey and veggie platter. Threw in some pasta from an open box.
2. My daughter moved out earlier this year and asked for tools for Christmas. I called my Dad and sisters to see who had extras. We have a very nice collection for her and my sister had a tool box.
3.I’m dog sitting for my sister for free since Saturday. She is coming tomorrow to pick him up.
4. I work at a movie theatre so my sister and I are going to see Allied for free tomorrow.
5. Pulled out our 10 year old Christmas tree last night to set up.


K D November 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm

I love the shoes and the morning show segment. It was fun to hear your voice Katy.

1. We did not shop on Black Friday nor on Cyber Monday. On Saturday we picked up some cards to be used with Christmas gifts. They were about $2/box, at Ollie’s.

2. I’m home alone for dinner tonight so I just made a pot of Red Lentil & Vegetables soup. Leftovers will provide lunch for me the rest of the week.

3. We dug out our holiday decorations. We’ve had the same tree for many years and everything else even longer. My daughter brought home a few nice decorations a friend’s grandmother was getting rid of, due to downsizing.

4. I made a triple batch of Pumpkin Cranberry Waffles. The recipe is a keeper:

Cranberries were 3#/$3 at SAM’S Club the other day.

5. I didn’t buy a new car, though my old one needed expensive repairs today. I made sure to thank the service adviser for all his help when I went to pick it up.

A friend told me today that her husband bought a new vehicle and they charged the whole thing on their credit card, to earn 50,000 points (which means the expense was $50K, O-U-C-H)


LisaC November 29, 2016 at 3:09 pm

50K for a car? Wow.


Jo November 29, 2016 at 5:26 pm

In Cleveland, Ohio, near my neighborhood, 50K buys you a house!


Lindsey November 29, 2016 at 8:25 pm

We thought about doing that but when we told the dealer that was our plan, he said that they would lower the price by 4% if we paid in cash instead of using the credit card. It saved them some money and us, so a double win. It also reinforced how it had been worth saving the money in advance and driving a beater until we could afford to pay cash. (But it was not $50,000!!)


tonya parham November 30, 2016 at 11:04 am

I just fell out of my chair! 50K for a car!!! On a credit card!!!! HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL!!!!


Vickey December 3, 2016 at 3:16 pm

XD Exactly!


LisaC November 29, 2016 at 3:08 pm

1. Had Thanksgiving dinner out of town, so no leftovers . A friend gave me a LOT of smoked turkey when I got back. YUM. Working on a second night’s meal with the turkey.
2. Bought a year family membership to their local zoo for the grandkids. Will probably find something small to open, like a pad and crayons, or coloring books.
3. Bought a lot of 9 West shoes, and some other name brands, off of a local FB yard sale site. I’ve had good luck on ebay with 9 West. They are all in excellent condition.
4. Throwing away every catalogue that comes into my house. No peeking at what I might be tempted to buy.
5. Hubs and I have a no gift rule this year: I have a big medical bill and he had some leaning (after the storm) trees removed. We are considering those our gifts.
6. At work, my 2 colleagues and I agreed to no gifts, and are sponsoring a family instead.


Bee November 30, 2016 at 12:35 pm

What a great gift for your grandchildren! When my children were small, my parents gave our family a zoo membership. It was our favorite gift. They bought the membership that allowed you to bring two guests. They wanted to come along of course. 🙂


LisaC November 30, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Yep I bought the one that allows guests too. I plan to go when I visit!


Marybeth November 30, 2016 at 12:53 pm

My sister is giving my daughter an aquarium membership for Christmas. She is going to love it!


Carol in CT November 29, 2016 at 3:16 pm

1-kept a keen eye on Thanksgiving leftovers, freezing stock (future soup), diced turkey (future tacos), ground cooked turkey for upcoming “sheppard’s pie” experiment later this week. Zero waste
2-took advantage of black friday deals, shopped from home
3-mended a 40 year old quilt, putting it back in service for a living room wrap as I recently lowered the temperature of the central heat
4-kept a sharp eye on reimbursements, deposited monies into my checking account
5-took advantage of sales plus coupons to get personal care items to flesh out my kid’s Christmas stockings


Sherry November 29, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Katy, twice recently when trying to access Non-Consumer Advocate a notice came up that “There is a service resource overage report open for this account in the User area.” In a few days it disappears and we are reconnected. ” I have never had this pop up for any other web address before. Is this legit or do you know any reason why this might happen? ~Sherry


K D November 29, 2016 at 6:49 pm

I have had the same experience.


Katy November 29, 2016 at 9:52 pm

The blog went over allowable executions per month for the plan that I pay for. Price of success.


Sherry November 30, 2016 at 5:26 am

Thank you, Katy. Just wanted to make sure that I didn’t need to do something on this end to correct it.


Denise November 30, 2016 at 1:14 pm

I had the same thing. What are “allowable executions”?


kathleen November 29, 2016 at 4:28 pm

1. Just did a ‘secretarial’ chore for a friend. Easy for me, got to visit with her, and she often ‘pays’ me with lunch out.
2. Have given up my Sonic habit.
3. Weather continues to be mild, so power bill is nice and low this month.
4. Back and neck pain today and don’t want to cook. Hubs is happy with frozen meals made from our leftovers. I think I’ll have a turkey sandwich.
5. No gasoline usage for almost two weeks…no news on car’s condition since accident, so no decisions made. 🙁


susanna d November 29, 2016 at 5:53 pm

We had to go to Costco for a hearing aid adjustment for my husband. Since Costco is 2.5 hours from the house (each way; we live in the middle of nowhere – or so it seems), and since I had already called a recent 5 frugal things comment of mine “the Costco edition” this is FFT, Costco Edition, part 2:

1. Did a few errands in towns that we’d pass through on the way there/back. If we’re going to be doing that much driving, I’ll try and lessen the impact by taking care of multiple things while on the road.
2. Filled the gas tank at Costco, meaning it was 20 cents less per gallon there than it would cost in my town. Love Costco gas prices!
3. Husband’s appointment was delayed, so we got a lot of walking in by pacing up and down the aisles – looking, but not buying. Free exercise. Okay, we also tried some of the amazing food samples – but again…exercise!.
4. Husband got two free packages of hearing aid batteries.
5. I had a coupon for a free rotisserie chicken. My gosh, those things are much bigger than some of the supermarket ones we’ve had. We had some of it for dinner tonight, will have chicken burritos Thursday, chicken salad sandwiches for lunch tomorrow – and I’ll make broth from the chicken bones to freeze for a future meal or two. I rarely buy deli rotisserie chickens, but I may be making an occasional exception for a Costco one. It was delicious as well as being huge.


Marilyn November 29, 2016 at 6:11 pm

The wreaths are terrific, Katy. I loved seeing you and the Goodwill lady on AM Northwest. I was inspired to stop at the Salmon Creek (Vancouver, WA) Goodwill this afternoon on the way home from work. About 25 percent of the store was filled with holiday decor.


Katy November 29, 2016 at 9:53 pm

Thanks, glad that you enjoyed it. The segment was very short, so I had to talk really fast!


pattilou November 29, 2016 at 6:47 pm

1. I had purchased a few toys for Christmas, on sale, only to stop in the store the next day to find that there was 30% of all toys that day. 30% was more of a savings than I had gotten the day before. Customer service said they couldn’t give me the difference without returning the toys and re-purchasing. I did exactly that. All it took was an additional 15 or 20 minutes of my time but I saved $34.00.
2. I didn’t cook on Thanksgiving so no left overs. I planned on making a turkey over the weekend. When I took out the turkey I noticed that the whole seam of the plastic wrapping was ripped open, which I couldn’t see when it was frozen. I returned it to Aldi and received my money back and a free turkey. I know people say returned food is tossed but there is no way I was going to feed it to my family because it wasn’t sealed.
3. I got flour on sale for 99 cents. I bought two so I am ready for cookie baking.
4. My Mom and I went to a free ornament making workshop at the local historical society. We also got to tour the beautiful home where the society is housed. The woman who ran the workshop gave me some left over supplies so I could make some ornaments with my nieces. It was a really great way to spend the day with my mom and we have some ornaments for the tree to remember it.
5. My Mom wanted to treat me to lunch. Instead of eating at the restaurant we got take out. They were having a buy one get one free soup sale so we only spent $10.50 for enough soup for 3 lunches for two. And the soup from this place is amazing!


Marcia November 29, 2016 at 8:32 pm

I only have one frugal win—my granddaughter is going on a vacation — she paid for the ticket with a voucher from her last (work related) flight which was badly delayed and money she got for selling outgrown clothes on line. (She’s lost weight so they were too big.) She gets 6 days in Los Angeles, is staying with a friend while there, and will only have to supply “spending money” for those days. She has never been to that area before. She also worked some extra shifts over the Thanksgiving weekend so she won’t have a moneyless paycheck when she returns. I don’t wholeheartedly approve this trip because she could have spent on more necessary things, but I do admire the fact that she figured out how to finance it frugally. We have been working on her budgeting skills for the last 3 or 4 years. She’s a spender whom we hope to reform!


Bee November 30, 2016 at 4:21 am

That is wonderful! Putting together a trip takes planning skills. I think travel is good for young people — old people too. It allows you to expand your horizons and experience new things.


Bonnie November 30, 2016 at 6:30 am

I agree with Bee. For me, travel is the most necessary thing. If done right, it forces you to see life through a different perspective. A change pf viewpoint can never be a bad thing.


Mariana November 30, 2016 at 4:55 am

Biggest frugal accomplishment of the week was lowering the price of a crown I am getting tonight. My insurance will pay $490 and I was quoted $510. Since I have done 3 other crowns, Invisalign treatment and multiple other things at this particular office (spending loads of money through the years) I called the manager and managed to get the price down to $350. Still painful to spend but better than $510!


Bettypants November 30, 2016 at 5:55 am

Nice find on the shoes!
1. FB has changed the format of the buy-sell groups on FB, so we can no longer bump albums or photos to the top of the page. Items have to be listed individually, and the bumps don’t always work. It stinks. I did sell a couple items, but it’s a pain.
2. Gave away some Halloween decorations and plant pots on freecycle.
3. Picked up the free Twix Santa and Skittles Christmas book at Kroger, set aside for the stockings.
4. Sold a silk scarf on ebay for $5. Doesn’t sound like much, but I had paid a dime for it at a yard sale, so it was fine with me.
5. We are moving, so I have been hunting for free boxes. I asked at several stores before finding one store that gave me a stack and said I could come any day to get more. Whew. They are a great size and sturdy.


Val November 30, 2016 at 7:57 am

I enjoyed your tv piece. You looked wonderful Katy! Good job mentioning not buying new, and over production of consumer goods!


tonya parham November 30, 2016 at 8:13 am

1. I fasted most of yesterday, trying to improve a three day headache (Thanksgiving feasting always makes me feel bloated and bad) so I just juiced some apples and carrots for lunch. Had dinner after class and it was a wrap with homemade hummus the missus made (turned out really good, too!).

2. Picked up four books (Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day, The Walking Dead Compendium 2, The New Trail of Tears: How Washington is Destroying American Indians, and Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist) and a movie (Tarzan). Also renewed my other books yesterday so no late fees!

3. Used a 30% off coupon (and my Barnes and Noble discount) to get a William Faulkner book (The Collected Stories. I’m trying to get all the Vintage editions, but only buy one online when I have a coupon and then go through Swagbucks and get a Shop and Earn credit as well. This isn’t a buy nothing thing, but since Faulkner and Steinbeck are my favorite writers, I want to have nice editions of the books for my living room. I’ve read the books, but want to read them again…anyway, I’m using moderation when buying this is my point! LOL

4. Oats with pumpkin for breakfast, sent lunch off to work with the Missus.

5. Made my own almond milk last night so I would have it for today’s breakfast. Tastes so good! Saved a piece of packaging going to a landfill, as well.

This is perhaps an aside and ventures a little into political things, so skip if you like.

I have a friend who is utterly distraught that Trump will be our next president (I am too, but “so it goes” and I feel like we have to find meaningful ways to deal with the situation without vilifying those who voted for him– like standing up for other’s rights and speaking out) and finds one new thing a day to be horrified about. Yesterday, it was the environment. So, he’s telling me how Trump’s going to ruin the earth and accords and treaties this that and the other. So finally, I tell him,” look, you should know that much of what the media says about this negates the fact that you have the power to stop a lot of that polluting by buying wisely, driving less, and following a more plant based diet.”

I don’t think I made much progress with him, but it did remind me that every purchase I make has an impact in mulitiple ways. It’s not just about saving money– and it can’t be, not for me, not any more. I hope that this election makes everyone more aware and also forces us to look at both our words and our actions and see if they are in line– I think talking to him yesterday helped me to realize that in some ways, mine aren’t and I need to take action to prevent that.

In any case, I hope I don’t offend– such was not my intent, but I simply want to say, we do have power as citizens and as consumers. I see quite a bit of that on here and I want to also model it for my own life.

Thanks, Katy, for your example, and for this community!


cathy November 30, 2016 at 10:34 am

Good points. I think no matter what your political leanings are, that it’s good to remember that we can each make a difference by aligning our actions with our beliefs. And even though we may feel that one person can’t make a difference, collectively we can.
Thanks for the insight.


Gina in KY December 1, 2016 at 5:34 am

I think you said that so well and wise, Tonya!

I am really interested in reading a couple of the books on your list.


rebecca November 30, 2016 at 9:10 am

I have had HUGE frugal fails this week-
1. My car needed new brakes, shocks ect for a cost of 2200.00. GULP!!! I was able to put on a credit card for points and paid it off right away. Living frugally helps me do that and it is cheaper than a new car but ouch!
2. Ate out 3 x this week. One with a groupon and all choices I made and am eating leftovers.
3. Returned library books that were way over due.

The frugal news is
1. a friend asked me to go out next week for dinner. I suggested dinner at my house. I have a chicken in the freezer and will eat that for days after.
2. I bought a groupon for 12 bottles of CA wine with their 20% off cyber sale and it comes to about $7.40 a bottle after shipping costs. I like having wine on hand to bring to friends and parties. Saves me from buying last minute, more expensive things.
3. My brother-in-law helped take care of some plumbing issues when he was here at Thanksgiving saving me the cost of a plumber.
4. The only thing I have purchased in other peoples’ holiday shopping frenzy is the wine.
5. Didn’t buy a new car!


Kim November 30, 2016 at 9:48 am

Seems we have a car and food theme going on this FFT!
1. Took my car in last Tuesday for needed routine maintenance, in anticipation of our 1100 mile round trip journey to see DS#2 in TN. UT holds classes on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, making it impossible for him to come home. The car place, a national chain where we’ve gotten great service in the past, says all is well after tune up, oil change, tire rotation and brake check. Couple hundred $ which I am pleased with for my Saturn with 136,000 miles. DH picks up car and when I drive it later that night I realize something isn’t right and then flashes Service Traction and ESC codes. WHAT!!! Have more issues as I take it the 8 miles back. They can’t get to it on Wed. so no trip to TN. Turns out they put in the wrong length spark plugs which caused all the problems. Suggested replacing original spark plug cables which we said fine. Suppose to be ready on Friday, then Saturday and finally got it on Sunday at 5! Ended up not being charged for the cables ($60) and after letting service manager know what happened, he is replacing a tire pressure sensor for free tomorrow. He was appalled at the service we received. DS was invited to his friend’s home for dinner and he said he had a good time. His last exam is 12/9 and then he will be home for a month!
2. Using freebie coupons at Kohl’s $5, Staples $5 and B&BW (free product) before they expire. Got a 24 pack of TP at Staples for $1.05 oop, free body wash and 3 pair of earrings for less than 3 dollars. Earrings are for gifts. Also free Ghirardelli from grocery store for stocking stuffers. I also took advantage of all the free items at Rite Aid over the weekend. I rolled my Plenti pts and got 3 toothpaste, 2 earbuds, 4 scotch tape, 3 Kleenex, hair elastics and a brush for no oop.
3. Sold 7 things on Amazon in the past week. Listed more.
4. Put all of my beautiful geraniums into paper bags for the winter. You shake of all the dirt, put in bags, keep between 55-65• and then water roots once a month. Then cut them back in spring and repot. Figured it’s worth a try!
5. Sending DS#2 a finals week care package. I do a lot of mystery shops in grocery and discount stores and always check the clearance shelves. I got Odwalla bars for 37¢, large bags of Oberta beef jerky $1.37, peanut butter M&Ms for $1.24, which will all go in the box. Now that it’s cooler and he wants to take a warm beverage, he realized he didn’t have his travel mug. So I’m sending a Starbucks travel mug that was never claimed from our church lost and found. I’ll bake some pumpkin bread and mail it in a Regional Rate Priority Mail box.


cathy November 30, 2016 at 10:40 am

FWIW I’ve successfully overwintered my geraniums in the house (and have a few that I never bothered to put outside at all last summer). Just treat them like houseplants, and make sure they don’t dry out too much. I had half a dozen in various stages of blooms & buds when I brought them in two weeks ago and they’re still blooming!


tia November 30, 2016 at 11:53 am

1. taught a friend how to make lemon curd. He loves it and asked where he could buy it. That stuff is expensive so now he can make it for the cost of a couple of lemons and eggs, some sugar, butter, and water…and no container to recycle. I didn’t save money but he will.
2. I started looking at sale flyers and coupons locally and realized almost every good deal is on junk and things I don’t need. Decided to save time, money, and internet data by not doing the whole sale/coupon/offer thing.
3.I really never buy much new or used. I’m really cheap and don’t like clutter and stuff so it’s just my everyday.
This isn’t the one thing pissing me off post but I’m going to add mine. The Smokie Mountains are burning, that beautiful refuge for plants, animals, and people. I’m super sad for all the loss and the poor vacationers caught unawares. So tragic.

one thing making me smile though, NonConsumer Katy having a website as thrifty as she is, it shuts down when we over consume!! ; )


Gina in KY December 1, 2016 at 5:27 am

Yes, the wildfires are so tragic!


janine November 30, 2016 at 8:00 pm

1. Non frugal thanksgiving – we all got sick over the weekend so not interested in food. Tossed everything today – however, got the turkey on sale and with a $5 coupon so not too large a monetary loss. Still – we will miss opening up the frozen leftovers and the turkey soup.
2. Got a new phone today – they had one on special left-over from black Friday and sold it to me at the sale price (half off). However, activating the plan caused us to somehow incur double billing so need to get that straightened out tomorrow. Otherwise will return it .
3. Both our sons are going to need “newer” cars soon so we are investigating how to get them at a reasonable price (lower than $50,000). As so many posters have stated, it is best to be prepared for large $$ outlays.
4. Stayed home tonight for a sandwich and soup supper. Really would have liked Chinese or pizza take-out.
5. Toted up my small gifts for friends, colleagues, and Toys for Tots purchases and I think I am almost finished with holiday shopping. Now only need to find suitable family gifts and send out a few cards…….


TriciaSM November 30, 2016 at 9:28 pm

So fun to see/hear you in action Katy!
My frugal five for the past week:
1. Drove our rv from Chicago to Golden, Co for Thanksgiving, gone for 7 days.
Paid only $90 for three nights in a campground, the other 3 nights we found places to park it for FREE. 7th day, we were home again.
2. Managed to spend only about $40 more on incidentals not packed into the rv: Root beer floats as a treat to my hubby and 2 kids on Thanksgiving after a fun hike, some fun rings for me and 2 kids, Pumpkin Pie(twice that week).
3. Through happenstance conversations: learned how we can fulfill a dream to move to Colorado, AND live in our rv (almost free) while we look for a place there to buy a home and or land. So Excited!!!
4. Have been selling things since Sunday we won’t want to take or need in Co. and managed to put over $425 in the bank already! So Excited to move!!!
5. Used the last of a bday freebie: free movie tix for up to 8, just had to buy a drink or snack. Invited a good friend to join us. Bought kids sundaes and myself a savory snack using gift cards earned by doing focus groups. Free. & Priceless!! <3


janine December 1, 2016 at 11:18 am

You really do have exciting news about being able to move. We will all be interested in following your progress!
You really did seem to have a wonderful and frugal Thanksgiving.


cathy December 2, 2016 at 10:06 am

Just got off the phone after a long chat with one of my closest friends from…Golden, CO! They have plans to come visit us this summer, and then we’ll go there for a quick trip. Good luck with the move. Golden’s a beautiful place.


IsabelI December 1, 2016 at 4:26 am

Glad other people got that weird note! Was quite suspicious as have never seen anything like it before! Anyway didn’t give them any information and am pleased to see this column back! , love reading what everyone is doing! Have been steadily saving this year but tend to save myself as well as cash!


Gina in KY December 1, 2016 at 5:23 am

I haven’t participated in some time. Life has been crazy and expensive!

However, I did manage to squeak in a few frugal things…
1. On Thanksgiving day, I took the dogs for a long walk and a romp at the community garden. Most of the beds are cleaned out, but we are at the point of free-for-all gleaning for whatever is left. I picked a small bucket of cherry tomatoes that had not been frost damaged and picked up some left-over sweet potatoes.
2. I made a delicious cherry tomato soup and used the wee bit of leftovers the next night to make shakshuka (Isaeli dish featuring poached eggs in tomato sauce). The eggs came from Hazel, Flora, Charlotte and Acorn (my 4 urban hens).
3. I have donated so much stuff in the past month. It is not really frugal (although most of it was originally thrifted at some point in the past 20 years), but the space and calm my house is giving me with less clutter is so wonderful. I did pick up receipts to take off my taxes. It also doubles as a sort of post-divorce therapy as I have let go of many painful reminders of my past.
4. I bought a small Yule tree which “per foot” was more expensive than a large one (still $10 cheaper). I love the scent of live trees. I actually haven’t put one up in two years, so it is a welcome return. I decorated it using vintage Shiny Bright glass ornaments I bought for $1 a box years ago. It is simple and lovely!
5. My boyfriend and I saw Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children at the second run theater for $2/each. I love me some Tim Burton (I also read the book and I have to say this will probably not be one of my favorites by TB). We splurged and bought the large bin of popcorn. It included free refills, so I dumped out the stuff we didn’t eat, refilled and now it is waiting transformation into caramel corn for the holidays.


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