Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 4, 2016 · 65 comments

Air Train signage

  1. I was able to successfully navigate the public transportation from Newark airport into Manhattan by taking the “Air Train” to Amtrak. I was nervous about figuring this out, but told myself that zillions of other people do this on a daily basis. Luckily, there is great signage throughout the airport. Plus, there were women wearing “Need Help?” buttons available to assist and answer questions. The cost was a flat $13, which was much cheaper than it would have been to take a cab. Plus, I was able to help an overwhelmed Oklahoma woman to do the same thing.
  2. I found a dime on the floor of the Newark airport bathroom. It was nowhere near the toilets, so yes . . . I picked it up. #collegefund
  3. We went straight from Penn station to go see Othello: The Remix, which was great. (So amazing and surprisingly funny, I highly recommend it!) My plan had been to leave my roll-aboard suitcase in the coat check area during the play, but it turns out that they didn’t have one. I ended up tucking it in a corner of the lobby next to the concession stand, which made me nervous about having it stolen. I didn’t have to tip a coat check person, so I guess this was frugal, although frankly I would been happy to pay for the piece of mind.
  4. I packed two sandwiches, a couple of bananas and some almonds for my nonstop flight from Portland to Newark. It ended up being more food than necessary, but it kept me from paying the inflated prices of an inflight meal.
  5. I packed my niece and nephew’s Chanukah gifts in with my luggage, which saved the cost of shipping.

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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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie December 4, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Shopping around for best prices on all Christmas gifts. Getting up an hour earlier to make sure i am making the school lunches from scratch. I had become slack in this area.
Putting together my diaries next year to make sure i keep up to date and thorough records.
Looking at retraining or attempting to get part time work next year.
Going over all financial areas to see where i can improve.
Using up fridge and pantry items
Re-reading finance books . purchasing motivational books from library.
Exercising and eating right to stay in good health.
Staying positive and motivated knowing that frugality brings happiness!


Denise December 5, 2016 at 2:13 am

Wow, Marie

Your post is very humbling and inspirational. I am stuck on so much at the moment and you’ve given me a kick-start!

Good luck with all the plans.



kathleen December 4, 2016 at 7:54 pm

1. I made an Apple Brown Betty for Sunday dinner dessert using the end of a bag of apples that weren’t getting eaten and a loaf of cinnamon bread that had been in the freezer for a year.
2. I started and finished a hand-drawn primitive embroidery piece for my laundry room all from supplies on hand, while binge watching Season 2 of Outlander borrowed from the library.
3. Many no spend days without a car.
4. Enjoying the new adaptation of Anne of Green Gables on PBS tonight.
5. Haven’t bought a car.


Beth L December 4, 2016 at 8:12 pm

1. We have an English basement that we rent out for airBnb. The front entrance was looking a little shabby. So, I spray painted the brass outdoor picture a coastal blue color, removed the old wound up hose from the brick wall, spray painted an old frame with chalk paint and made a “hello” sign. The sign got a big dose of Shellac to weather proof it. A little elbow grease and a power wash and it is looking a lot fresher! All things I had on hand- just cost my time.

2. I cleaned out our two horrifying catch all drawers. Found some winter cards that will double as holiday cards, a book of stamps and used the old mail for kindling for our fireplace.

3. Bought a used paper shredder off of eBay. Will shred all these magazines and excessive mailings for packing “peanuts”. We have a little eBay store and I can’t stomach buying packing supplies in this age of over wrapping, packing and loads of useless mailings.

4. Made a huge batch of chili. I stuck with it until the bitter end. My husband got tired of it after dinner and two lunches. I had it for six meals last week. That will have to be removed from my recipe rotation for a bit.

5. Making my annual baked goods boxes for neighbors and coworkers. Have been stockpiling flour, nuts, sugar and chocolate things for the last six months when they are on sale (or I have coupons). I wrap the boxes in recycled comics and use the same bakers twine that I have had for years. Festive and green!


Beth L December 4, 2016 at 8:14 pm

light fixture not picture!


Denise December 5, 2016 at 2:19 am

I was wondering about the picture – had concluded that it was obviously an American “thing”. Fixture makes sense of it!

Number 3 is an ace idea: I shred but then put it all in the recycling bag. Will remember this tip. Frugal and green.


Jan December 5, 2016 at 2:43 am

I smiled at your description of your “horrifying catch-all drawers.” Yup, I’ve got a few of those.


Susie's Daughter December 5, 2016 at 5:42 am

#5 – I love wrapping things in the Sunday funnies!

cathy December 5, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Next time you make chili, you might consider freezing part of it for future meals. I do this all the time–make a huge batch, then portion into quart size ziploc bags and freeze flat. Then whenever my husband and I are in the mood for chili, I just thaw in a pot on the stove.


tonya parham December 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm

1. Had my writing group today and had them come to my house for coffee and tea here rather than at $tarbuck$.

2. Wanted soup, considered going out. Did not, but made Black Bean Hominy Soup and cornbread instead.

3. Dinner was an egg sandwich, some grape tomatoes, and clementine oranges.

4. Discussed joining a gym as it’s cold here now and we really aren’t exercising like we should. The missus really wants to join one and I do have to say, I think since we moved to 5 minutes from the place, it’s not a bad idea. I at the very least would use it all summer for the pool and during the rest of the year for the very good yoga classes.

5. Went to Goodwill and got some great Xmas decorations for very little money. Decorated all day yesterday. Love the look of the house!

6 Am going to do the Compact starting in the new year. Am nervous about it, but think it would be a good thing to do. I want to save money for a trip out west.


Bee December 5, 2016 at 6:01 am

#6 — Buying second-hand items is not only responsible, it is really fun once you get used to it. It is a modern day treasure hunt! I started purchasing used items as a matter of necessity many years ago. It became a habit and now I buy very little new. I am glad you are going to try it.


Elizabeth December 5, 2016 at 4:58 pm

I think you should definitely join the gym if you’re not really exercising now because of the weather. I live in Michigan and it’s definitely not possible to exercise outside all winter. My gym is kind of expensive but I go 4-5 times a week and work out harder and more often than I would on my own. Your health is worth investing in…less time and money at the doctors office since you’re taking care of your health!


Emily December 5, 2016 at 6:16 pm

I totally agree with this. When I moved to start my first job I didn’t get a gym membership. i can’t really excersise outdoors because of my allergies, and you tube wasn’t cutting it. I finally bit the bullet and joined one and I’m so glad I did!


Debra December 4, 2016 at 10:14 pm

1. I bought a prelit tree from a church for $20. I made garlands from old xmas cards and crocheted and knitted ornaments from my stash yarn.
2. I do all my internet via my phone. I had a 4g limit of 5gb; after I hit that it would slow considerably. I looked at upgrading and found a special for 8gb for the same money with my current carrier.
3. Used a JCP save $10 on $10 and bought a large quick drying white bath towel which I cut into 6 pieces. I will sew the same size cotton fabric on them to make dish drying mats. Saw them on Etsy. Will give 5 away as xmas presents and keep one for me.
4. Used points from my Amazon credit card to buy 2 $25 gift certificates for xmas presents. (I use my credit card for most everything and pay the balance every month)
5. Looked into making a small weaving loom. Haven’t decided if I will make one or use my amazon points to buy an inexpensive one. if I make one I will have to look around for scrap wood pieces as I don’t have any.
6. Picked up one holiday pay and several weekend bonus shifts this check.
7. Went to my favorite thrift shops (local, both for the food pantries) and got a couple free books and a loaf of bread at one and spent $2 at the other.


Denise December 5, 2016 at 2:54 am

1. I sold my house in October with nowhere to buy, so have been living at my sister’s house. First month, because of having to pay for two structural surveys, I was close to zero on my bank account. It was frugal in the long term. The first survey (£1000) discovered that the 18-month old tanking in the converted basement (master bedroom and en suite shower room) of the two storey flat I was buying had failed, so the damp levels were off the scale, so I withdrew from buying it. It resold within days and I suspect that the vendors won’t disclose my survey information and will hope that the buyers will just get a “Homebuyer’s Report”, a much more lightweight inspection, and not pick up on the damp issues at all.

Anyway, have found an even lovelier flat – first and second storey (which I think means second and third storey in the US. We call the floor at ground level – not the basement – the “ground floor” so our first floor is the upstairs one…). And the survey on that cost £1200 – but it came back with a clean bill of health.

2. I am now living rent free with my sister, so I’m buying all the groceries for five people and doing chores to help out. Still waaaay cheaper than being in a four bed house. I shall move in to my new flat on 9 January, so still got a way to go.

3. I have saved each month into a savings account designated as “Christmas & Birthdays Fund”, so I have enough money to cover Christmas comfortably. I feel sorry for my family. My mother’s birthday is on 21 December and mine is on Christmas Day, and there’s none of this “doubling up” on presents either! Inspired by Katy, (not least because I have given away about 70% of my belongings in the past year), I have asked for theatre tokens from my family for Christmas and birthday prezzies. No clutter and as I am moving in to London, and work a ten minute walk from London’s great theatres, I shall finally get to go to more productions this year. Hamilton is coming across the pond, so that’s on my list.

4. As well as working four days a week in an office, I spend Tuesdays at University, studying for a Master’s degree. We finished the term last Tuesday, and I have been a near-prisoner in my bedroom since then, trying to do the two essays I have to hand in by 11.59pm tomorrow (Tuesday) night. One done, other is a struggle. Only good thing is that, having become the Academic Prisoner of Zenda, I have only spent money on a litre of milk in the past week. Bad thing: my body is killing me, from being stationary so much. Another bad thing: when your life horizons have narrowed to the point that going to the supermarket for a litre of milk becomes a “nice little outing”. Yes gods and little fishes. What will I be like when someone let’s me go and buy a biscuit (cookie)? Uncontrollable- or institutionalised!!

5. Sorry about this one, because I know that I bang on about our NHS (I truly believe that healthcare that is free at the point of delivery and paid for by everyone out of taxes is a human right). I sprained my ankle badly a week and a half ago. Agony. Free trip as always to my family doctor, who wasn’t satisfied that it was just a sprain, off to the hospital with a form for an X-ray at A&E (accident and emergency), and the reassurance that it’s a bad sprain but no bones broken. Offered to refer me for NHS physiotherapist (free) but I have private medical cover through my employer so I’ll use that and leave the NHS to spend their money on someone less fortunate.


Denise December 5, 2016 at 2:58 am

That’s “Ye gods and little fishes.” Bloody autocorrect.


Susie's Daughter December 5, 2016 at 5:47 am

Denise –
Well done you on plugging away at the papers. Think of the euphoria (exhaustion) when you are finished!
And excellent discernment on the initial flat. You know the old (para) phrase, buy in haste, regret in leisure. 🙂


Jenny December 8, 2016 at 10:28 pm

Haha. I always thought the phrase was marry in haste, regret in leisure. I guess they both work though.


Tonya Tawana December 5, 2016 at 7:49 am

I love that you guys have NHS and wish we’d get our acts together and get something we could be as proud of. I hope that yours never gets gutted.

And, honestly, I wish I could come there for the next four years or so….

As a woman married to a woman, I truly do worry that my marriage will be nullified, Or, perhaps, worse.

That, I suppose, is a post for another place, still…I love England, the UK, and am such an Anglophile that I always love to read post from you!


Denise December 6, 2016 at 2:14 am

Thank you all for the kind comments. Tonya: I hear you! I read something in (I think) The Times that visa applications from US citizens are up nearly 10% since the election. I hope that everyone sees that the status quo on gay marriage is preserved.


Cindy in the South December 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm

I rented my home for two years before I decided to buy it….I am a true slowpoke when it comes to something as major as housebuying. Congrats on your new home!


Val in MN December 5, 2016 at 3:17 am

1. Stayed out of a favorite mall that I was very near to over the weekend.
2. Brought own food/snacks to seminar I attended and avoided over priced and unhealthy options available.
3. Doing a pantry/freezer challenge the next few months – only purchasing necessities.
4. Making gifts with what I have on hand or what has been purchased at a great discount.
5. Cashed in credit card cash earned offers and put the cash towards a payment – $170.00!


Bettypants December 5, 2016 at 4:34 am

1. We are preparing to move, so I sold our gigantic fake Christmas tree on CL for $100. I have been scouring the FB sale boards for a smaller tree. We picked up a 7 ft tree for $10 yesterday. Comes apart in 3 sections (which I strongly prefer) and 2/3 of it was strung with lights. Added more lights, fluffed it out, and it’s perfect.
2. The Christmas gift from my company this year was a package from Omaha Steaks.
3. Sold three items on ebay this week, two of which were clothing items. I’m always most pleased & surprised when clothing sells.
4. Sold two items on FB groups for $25, and bought two items from other people for $18. Sounds silly, but the items I bought will be listed on ebay, so I will end up more of a profit.
5. Was gifted a restaurant gift card that was blah to me, but my son was excited about, so I treated him to lunch.


Jan December 5, 2016 at 4:40 am

1. I cleaned and waterproofed 2 pairs of leather shoes so they’d last another winter.
2. Cleaned & organized the garage so I can find stuff I need instead of buying duplicates. I put spring gardening stuff to the rear & winter salt & shovels to the front, to save fumbling in a cold garage.
3. Found several things I can donate or re-gift, & lots of stuff I can pitch.
4. Cancelled Netflix DVD subscription – it’s fun but I can watch DVDs that I have, or borrow from the library.
5. Reduced newspaper subscription from daily to Sunday only – no time to read the paper every day and I end up just getting frustrated.


Jan December 5, 2016 at 4:44 am

I forgot!
6. Found a brand-new kid’s knit hat as I walked to work this morning. It’s like a Santa hat & very cute, although a bit wet. After a good washing I’ll donate it.


Mariana December 5, 2016 at 4:56 am

My husband and I used a freed week pass at the local gym. That included a yoga class which we both joined.
Found a hat on a pavement which after being washed appears really nice.
Stocked up on paper goods at bed bath and beyond using store credit
Returned a gift I did not want. Will use store credit for gifts for others 🙂


Laura December 5, 2016 at 5:50 am

Set a realistic budget for Christmas.
I have some family that lives out of state, I made sure to order all of their gifts at once through amazon to take advantage of free shipping.
My MIL wanted to know if my husband and I would be interested in a beef package from the local butcher shop as a Christmas gift. We said YES. We would much rather have something consumable that we need then another trinket or a household item that looks neat but would rarely get used. I thought that was a great gift idea and am grateful.


Carolyn S December 5, 2016 at 7:50 am

I wholeheartedly agree about the beef package! My husband and I have been trying to get his family (the source of many well intentioned, but useless clutter gifts) on board with the idea of consumable gifts.


Sharie December 5, 2016 at 2:31 pm

We have a wonderful local meat market. We have started giving gift certificates for wedding gifts!


K D December 5, 2016 at 6:22 am

1. Entertainment yesterday was baking a sweet potato pie (I had bought a 3# bag at Aldi) and a sugar pie. Wow, was the sweet potato pie good. My husband took the rest of the pies to work, so we wouldn’t eat too much pie.

2. I have had trouble with our internet and home phone service contract bill for almost two years. They periodically give me a credit for the $5/month they overcharge. It was time once again to make the call to request the credit. Today they offered me an “Early Renewal” deal that will lower our monthly bill by at least $15/month. I said yes, but supposedly have 30 days to back out. All for a phone call I was almost too lazy to make.

3. I’d been wanting new dishes. We looked at the Corning Ware/Corelle store but there were so many choices and the prices did not seem good. On the way to the car we stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond and they had only a few sets, one of which was marked down and I was able to use a coupon with it. Fewer choices usually works better for me.

4. We decorated your many year old Christmas tree. It’s fun to see all the old ornaments, especially the ones we have made over the years and tree skirt my MIL made.

5. Sometimes you don’t have time to think of more than four.


Mrs. Picky Pincher December 5, 2016 at 6:22 am

This weekend was quite frugal for us!

1. I had two bags of leftover hot dog buns from Mr. Picky Pincher’s birthday. Instead of throwing them away, I shredded them and made bread crumbs. These are perfect for cooking meatballs or meat loaf!

2. My sister-in-law gave us a free TV that was actually brand new, since their TV had broken under warranty and were sent a new one. She decided to upgrade anyway, which meant we got her new TV! It’s much bigger and nicer than the one we have, so it’s a real improvement! We’ll probably sell our old TV on Craigslist since it’s in great condition.

3. I made DIY Christmas gifts this weekend. For Mr. Picky Pincher’s side of the family we’re doing homemade gifts to save money and to have a more personal Christmas. So far we’ll well under budget for Christmas, and hopefully we’ll be able to sock more money away into savings because of it!

4. I pre-cooked meals over the weekend. I made briscuit chili to eat this week as well as single-serving portions of jalapeno popper dip. We needed a more jazzed up snack for work and this does the trick!

5. I used food scraps from my DIY Christmas gift-making to make a tasty snack. I used leftover cherries and oranges to make my version of an ambrosia salad. I tossed it with Cool Whip and chopped almonds and called it a day. This stuff is addictive! As a bonus I made it for “free” with scraps that needed to be used up.


Robin December 5, 2016 at 6:50 am

1. Took a weekend trip to the in-law’s house. Only spent money on gas, tolls, and a gift bottle of wine. Everyone had a wonderful time and not stopping for drinks/food on the drive is a big improvement for us.
2. Only groceries needed this week are bread, fresh fruit, and a box of cereal. We are trying to use up stuff in the pantry/freezer this month.
3. Have managed so far to keep the number of Christmas presents for the kids reasonable this year. The three weeks before Christmas tend to be my downfall, so I’m trying to stay off of Amazon.
4. Keeping the heat off (it’s still above freezing here) when we aren’t home and just keep wearing coats until it warms up a bit when we get home. The four year old tends to wear his snow cap all evening, resulting in super cuter photo ops.
5. We need new twin sheets as we are down to one fitted twin and no flat twin sheets. Waiting until we find used or a very good price and using full flat sheets in the meantime.


jennifer December 5, 2016 at 7:14 am

1. I just left Kroger where I picked up my free Kraft BBQ sauce, Planters nuts, and Craisins. I was so glad to get these because they are things I would actually buy. I will use the Craisins in the Pioneer Woman’s Balsamic Brussel sprouts recipe for Christmas.Whole Del Monte pineapples were on sale for 50 cents, too. Not sure why so cheap but I snatched up two.
2. I am wrapping Christmas presents in wrapping supplies that were gifted to me by friend whose mother who passed away. He never wraps anything so he was glad to pass it along. I enjoy wrapping each present with all the beautiful old wrapping paper that I can tell she had been collecting probably her whole life.
3. I am am making gingerbread houses with my kids tonight. We are actually just using graham crackers,home made frosting for glue, and leftover Halloween candy.
4. I made a chicken pot pie over the weekend from a leftover pie crust and some of the fresh spices Thanksgiving. It was so delicious and perfect for our cool rainy weekend. I also made a sweet potato pie by whipping up my quick no-roll pie crust. I actually didn’t have quite enough sweet potatoes so I just added a big spoon of applesauce instead and it turned out great!
5. I went to Goody’s( not sure if these are everywhere but it’s a store with clothing, perfumes, and gifts ) because I had a $10 off a $10 purchase coupon. I found a nice set of lotions for $10 for another free bingo prize. We started a tradition of bingo last year instead of buying so many gifts. I spend the whole year getting free things to give as prizes. It’s really fun and I love the challenge of seeing how many good free prizes I can come up with. This year so far.. a brand new crock pot, a nice sharper image pillow, a tarp, craftsman LED flashlight, a pairing knife, Carmex, and several other smaller things. Can’t wait, should be so fun!


Roberta December 5, 2016 at 7:30 am

!. Made bread pudding to take to a friend’s party. Used up all sorts of odds and ends — leftover, frozen hot dog buns, bread ends, half a nice roll — that were cluttering up the freezer. Used oranges off the neighbor’s tree, and buy-two-get-one-free cream cheese inside. Turned out really yummy — I will be doing this again this winter!
2. Made appetizers for another party with leftover spinach, super-cheap feta. A different appetizer with leftover cranberry sauce and cream cheese, both in wonton wrappers. Not very good — much better last year with puff pastry. But live and learn, and at least I didn’t spend much for the lesson!
3. Using leftover paint, pinecones and seed pods to refurbish the greenery swag on the front porch. My husband wanted to buy a new one, but I think I can keep this going for a while longer. (I’m hoping to keep it up for 10 years, when the kids have moved out and we’re talking about moving to something smaller, easier and with more of a neighborhood. Kids are in middle/high school now, but I figure they’ll live here for at least part of college.)
4.Made super inexpensive gifts for extended family that I won’t see again this season. Marinated feta ($1.99/lb), leftover sundried tomatoes (marinated) and bulk olives. Embellished flour sack tea towels I was given. Vanilla in an upcycled, scavenged starbucks bottle. They were well received, inexpensive and not cluttery for the recipients.
5.Went for a walk by the river with my husband yesterday. A nice “date,” talking without interruption.


Ethel December 5, 2016 at 7:54 am

1. Downloaded the Free Friday item from King Soopers
2. Eating leftover scrambled eggs for breakfast
3. Am not eating out today. Not sure what I’ll be eating, but it won’t be fast food.
4. Someone gave us a frozen pizza, so we ate that for dinner last night
5. Carpooled this weekend, and to work today


Carolyn S December 5, 2016 at 8:09 am

1. Have been cooking out of the pantry lately. We’ve been spending too much at the grocery store and need to just eat through the staples we’ve already got.
2. Stopped by Kohl’s on my way home from work and used a $5 credit I had to pick up some chocolates for stocking stuffers.
3. Picked up some more library books to read. I love, love, love my library and it’s been a huge help in kicking my book-buying habit.
4. Made a couple of big batches of soup over the weekend for my husband and I to take for lunches during the week.
5. Line dried all the laundry I did this weekend. I’ve got an older house with a larger laundry room (that is also the furnace room, storage and the pantry), so I strung a really long laundry line back and forth across the length of the room 3 times. That, plus two drying racks means I can keep up with the whole family’s laundry without resorting to using the dryer.

Frugal fail: The unplanned $1500 car repair from Friday. Sigh. But the car is paid off and we’re trying to keep it as long as we can, and save up for a replacement in the meantime.


Marilyn December 5, 2016 at 8:15 am

1. I have been binge-cleaning at our house as our son and his girlfriend will be visiting this week. I found a dime, a nickel and 2 pennies on the floor between the washing machine and the dryer. That little space almost never gets cleaned and I had to wash the coins (money laundering?) before putting them in my change purse.
2. I sold 2 more items on Craigslist. November and December seem to be good months for selling things – or maybe, I’ve just been lucky lately.
3. Gathered up some children’s books which we still had and put them in a package to send to my niece who has a 3-year-old. The Post Office has a special “media rate” for books and videos, so the cost to ship was very reasonable.
4. My neighbor gave me a box of Swiss chocolates which she received as a gift. She can’t eat chocolate. I am really enjoying them.
5. Picked up some of the freebies at FM which we will use when my son and GF arrive.


Bee December 5, 2016 at 8:39 am

“Money Launderinng” made me giggle. It is amazing how dusty and sticky those hard-to-reach places can get in a laundry room.


Bee December 5, 2016 at 8:25 am

It is nice to read about everyone’s thrifty holiday activities and decorating — inspiring! My FFT are not very festive, but here they are:
1)I have a batch of French onion soup started in the crock pot. I will also be making granola today and a batch of waffles for the freezer.

2) My hubby travels quite a bit for business. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, he actually bought his trail mix and snacks from the grocery store prior to leaving. He decided that $15 trail mix and $6.50 M&Ms from the airport newstand were ridiculous purchases. Even worse, they were not a reimbursable expense. Now if I can just get him to carry a refillable water bottle.

3) I have continued with my fall clean out. I worked on my closet this weekend. I have three bags of clothes to go to the food pantry’s thrift store. There are also a few high-end items that I may consider selling. I also made a list of items that I needed to pull my wardrobe together. I am going to try to stick to my list.

4) I sat down and wrote out my Christmas lists. I have a gift list, a to-do list, a Christmas card list, a baking list and a grocery list. I hope that this will save me time and money. It is so easy to buy in haste over the holidays.

5) I went into the dollar store to buy gift bags. They had a great selection. However, I ended up buying several rolls of plain brown craft paper to wrap my packages in. (It can easily be recycled. ) I had bought many rolls of fabric Christmas ribbon at an estate sale several months ago. I thought that the brown packages with red, green, gold and plaid bows would be lovely. I could use candy canes or evergreen boughs for an extra touch. I also made old-fashioned gift tags out of file folders. Simple cut into shapes, punch a hold, and tie on with twine. Total costs for gift wrap $5.


nancy from mass December 5, 2016 at 11:37 am

i use that brown paper all the time. easy to write who it goes to and you don’t have to worry about matching the bow or ribbon color!


Vickie December 5, 2016 at 9:37 am

1) I attended a retirement party for one of my academic mentors on Friday evening. Food and entertainment were free and I made a new friend. It was awesome!
2) I stayed home all weekend, so no money spent on gas. Saturday I watched the bedlam game between OU & OSU with my neighbor, in his game room. He shared his snacks and beer and we had a great time cheering OU to a win.
3) I bought some groceries Thursday evening and fixed steak, mashed potatoes, carrots and salad for dinner last night. I plan to use the leftovers this evening, if hubby doesn’t eat it all for lunch. Either way, plenty of food in the freezer and pantry.
4) I’ve been carefully measuring out the animal feed, so I don’t have to buy food too often.
5) I did go out to lunch last Friday with my work Team, but I bought special at Chimy’s so less than $7.


Betty Winslow December 5, 2016 at 11:33 am

1. Got my Instapot this week, bought on sale from Amazon for $60. Can’t wait to try it out!
2. Was given two more jewelry jobs at church Sunday. Spent a few minutes today putting a bracelet together and repairing some other things. When I get paid, it’s be $27 in the bank!
3. Pulled out 3 of my dad’s ties that I think will sell (a silk Pierre Cardin, a Tabasco Xmas tie, and a tie made especially for the Mack Truck company). Will list them later.
4. Rescued a wooden artist easel off the curb a while ago, finally sold it for $10.
5. A friend is dropping off material for making a Xmas wreath today and is going to pay me to put it together for her. Easy peasy and a few more bucks in the bank!


dawn December 5, 2016 at 11:50 am

1. I found my daughter a pair of pajamas at the Goodwill Bins in two different visits. A Hanna Andersen top and brand new Old Navy bottoms. They look like a matching set (same color scheme) and since everything is by the pound I estimate the pair cost less than 50 cents.
2. My orange tree has dropped some inedible, very damaged fruit. They work just fine for zest though, so have been adding that to cookie and cocktail recipes and whatever else seems like it needs zest.
3. Bought frequently used spices in bulk at Penzey’s. No more picking up spices at the grocery store, too expensive and Penzey’s deserves our business after taking a stand after the election.
4. I found this large, thick sisal doormat from Pottery Barn new with tags at a thrift store last year for $2. One side has a Halloween design, the other is blank. I was a little late in flipping it to the blank side this year but its done now. I’ll be happy to flip it back over next October.
5. Pulled out a beautifully illustrated Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer book I picked up at the thrift store for 10 cents the day after Christmas last year, to read to my daughter.


Karen December 5, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Dawn, I agree about Penzeys! I bought several gifts there because of their policy of inclusiveness and will continue to be their customer. Their spices are of excellent quality, too.


JD December 5, 2016 at 12:04 pm

1. I needed a few items from a healthy type grocery store and happened to walk by their clearance and discontinued rack. Whoa! I found organic white flour that I can use for Christmas baking, $2.00 for a five-pound bag, with an expiration date of June 2017. I bought two and froze some. I also picked up a bag of organic coffee for my husband for $3.50, normally over $6, and two cartons of organic chicken soup for $2.15, normally about $4 each. I usually don’t find anything I want on their rack, but this time I did.
2. What I had needed in the first place was mascara from some of the natural, cruelty-free makeup that they sell. I discovered that they were discontinuing one brand and had it all marked half price. I got two mascaras and two eye shadows. I will definitely use them.
3. We are getting quotes on our homeowner’s and car insurance policies to see if we can do better.
4. I went out in the yard after we got home from church and cut blue cypress, pine, and Leyland boughs, along with some English ivy growing up our oak tree, and decorated my grapevine wreaths for my doors. The wreaths are from our own grapevines, and I can use the same ones for years. I pulled the ribbon out of the Christmas supplies, where I had stored it last year after using it. I am very slowly decorating, since we observe Advent before Christmas and it isn’t time to go all out, yet.
5. I made pizza from scratch for supper Friday night. I had leftover spaghetti sauce in the refrigerator and some cooked sausage in the freezer. I only had to add cheese, spinach from our yard, and Italian seasoning. I had to buy the cheese, but everything else, I had.


Kim December 5, 2016 at 1:22 pm

This whole time I thought it was pronounced “rollerboard” suitcase – roll-aboard makes much more sense!


Nancy Drew December 5, 2016 at 2:12 pm

1. Finally confessed to our librarian that we couldn’t find one elusive book that was overdue. Paid the $16 fine. Which means that a week later we…found the book at home. Luckily the fine was reversible, and paid only a $2 late fee.
2. Dredging up ghosts of Christmas past by dusting off our 17 year old artificial tree for another go-round, and will use leftover wrapping paper from last year that was saved in a see-through recycling bag in the basement (so as not to be lost forever).
3. Have been doing my Christmas shopping on-line using coupon codes, and always going through the ebates website first for a few bucks back.
4. Wanted a small empty plastic bottle to transfer face wash into from a bottle that had gone wonky on the bottom. The drugstore only sold groups of travel bottles for $12, but I found the perfect pump bottle at the dollar store for a buck.
5. Cut our last few butternut squash into cubes and stashed in bags in the freezer to use for soup this winter.


Marybeth December 5, 2016 at 3:50 pm

1. Got 4 more free pumpkins from friends. Now I just need to cook them.
2. Worked today even though I was supposed to be off.
3. Had a long day yesterday and didn’t want to cook dinner. My husband and son got Buy one get one entrees with a coupon and I ate leftovers.
4. Didn’t have cold cuts in the house but still made the kids take lunch to school. No one starved!
5. Renewed library stuff online. I was nowhere near it so it was just easier this way. I will be over that way later in the weak.


Elizabeth December 5, 2016 at 6:22 pm

1. Went to the new class releases at the gym today that they do four times a year. They often have giveaways. I won a really cute workout tank top. And got a great workout in with a new class.
2. My friend and I trade trashy magazines. I have a free subscription to Us Weekly and she has probably a paid subscription to Life and Style and when we’re done reading them we exchange them.
3. I’m hosting a Favorite Things party on Wednesday and I went to Aldi today to get everything that I could that was on my list before heading to Meijer for the rest of it. I was also able to get two copper mugs at Aldi for $8. I have a set of four and I’m making Cranbery Moscow Mules and having six people over. I looked at Homegoods last week and a set of two was over $10 so I was pleased to find them for $8.
4. Project Use It Up: a big Olay Daily moisturizer, a Revlon foundation, and almost a Peter Roth sample sized lotion
5. Have someone scheduled to come over tomorrow to buy an old pair of my son’s snow pants; selling our thermostats on eBay that we just upgraded when we had to buy a new furnace (gulp!); selling a vintage Faribo blanket that we just had sitting in a drawer in the basement not being used.


Julie December 5, 2016 at 6:24 pm

1- our washer died, it’s 20 years old and has never needed service. We have a great guy we use and for 100.00 it is now working fine. He said this type never dies and to just keep repairing it. In fact he said if we every plan to get rid of it he would buy it. Lol, he does not realize I am an NCAer. That baby is staying.
2-wrapping gifts with paper bought years ago at 95% off.
3- Eating from the pantry and freezer in anticipation of the extra groceries the month brings
4-still packing my lunch. I have not missed a day all year.
5- took advantage of an offer from my credit card in which they offered me a 25.00 credit for spending 25.00 at Amazon. Easy to do for stocking stuffers.


pattilou December 5, 2016 at 6:34 pm

1. I spent some time winterizing my Mother’s house for her. It helps keep her heating bills down.
2. I bought 3 gifts from Heifer International on Giving Tuesday. They had a match donation so 6 families will receive animals for the price of the 3 I brought.
3. My niece gave me two large bags of clothes. I kept what fit and took the rest to consignment.
4. I did a grocery stock up at Aldi and made a menu plan for the week. That has been a hard thing to do lately because of my schedule.
5. Spent the weekend with my family going to some fun holiday free events around town then made a big pot of Chili and decorated the tree. It’s always fun looking at some of the ornaments we made as kids that my Mother saved.


Susie's Daughter December 5, 2016 at 6:55 pm

#2 – Heifer International is one of my most favorite organizations! DS and I have been working on a reading project this year to raise money for them as well.


AFS December 5, 2016 at 7:04 pm

re: #3
I’m so glad that someone didn’t report your rollaround to the police as a suspicious unattended package.


Susie's Daughter December 5, 2016 at 7:10 pm

1) Baked bread (for the first time in months), made one kind of cookie dough for Christmas and made stock in the crockpot. It was snowing most of the day so perfect for cooking and using the oven.

2) Made bookplate labels for DS and Christmas gift labels today using a $5 package of labels and free Avery downloads. Many blanks sheets of labels still available for other projects.

3) Used a few labels from #2 for the Chocolate Pudding Cake Mixes I made to give as gifts. Packaged one in recycled applesauce jar and one in white paper lunch “gift bag”.

4) Shared magazines with my neighbor and put aside a pile for the free area at the library. Decluttering in prep for holiday decorating and found my favorite missing pencil in the process.

5) Paid many bills online today and thought of Bee’s bill posts, who inspired me to list this as a frugal win for today.


Sandra December 5, 2016 at 7:12 pm

1. Went to TJ Maxx yesterday and found some very inexpensive gifts for two families. We all agreed we would not exchange expensive gifts so this fits the bill.
2. Have been spending much less this Christmas but I think the gifts, although smaller, will still be greatly appreciated.
3. During this cold snap I have not turned the heat up but have put a space heater in the room where I spend most of my time.
4. Made soup this weekend so I would have it for lunch every day this week. Inexpensive and slimming.
5. Pulled out my old fitbit, which is somewhat crumbling but still works, and am trying to monitor my exercise and get more active. I need to take off a few lbs and I detest going to the gym. Self monitoring is the way for me! Plus its cheaper.


Fairy December 6, 2016 at 3:47 am

1. Ate tuna mornay left over from dinner for lunch today.
2. Found an old curtain to provide shade for lettuce seedlings during very hot weather.
3.Make extra off-peak train trips during the day so the remainder of the commuting for the week is free (after 9 trips) – saves over $50/week.
4. Ate overripe bananas that no-one else wanted from last week’s fruit box at work.
5. Made freshly squeezed orange juice from more fallen oranges from the tree.


rebecca December 6, 2016 at 4:11 am

1. Taking leftovers and coffee from home to work.
2. Was gifted a lovely bottle of rose
3. Using holiday cards to send from my stash that are leftover from years gone by and purchased on sale.
4. I buy at least one item for the food pantry collection at the grocery store when I go. The item/items are always on sale and remind me how lucky I am to have weekly food security.
5. Friends are coming for dinner Thursday night. I will roast a chicken purchased on sale, roast vegetables from the vegetable drawer and bake apples I have on hand and use all ingredients I have on hand.


Ruby December 6, 2016 at 4:19 am

1. The usual: packing my lunch and cold drinks to work and wearing cute thrifted outfits. Using the drying rack for the heavy stuff that takes a while to dry.
2. Snagged a large pork loin on markdown Saturday (use or freeze date was one day away) and slow-cooked it on Sunday with clearance onions and carrots put in the frezer earlier this year.
3. Gave Kohl’s cash to a friend because we did mot need more stuff, free or not.
4. Favorite organic seeded bread from the bread outlet for $1 a loaf!
5. Sometimes 4 is all you got.


Cindy in the South I December 6, 2016 at 6:16 am

1. I roasted pumpkin and pumpkin seeds from a free pumpkin given to me by a friend after Halloween. It was large and I have pumpkin for all week!
2. I have kept my heat on 62 and below, using a rated 10 degree sleeping bag, thermals, thermal socks, hate, quilt, and a warm cat….here is hoping that my heating bill stays reasonable this winter. I live in a warm climate, but I do not “do” cool weather (30 -50 degrees) very well….lol
3. I listened to the free radio on public radio station. I love their opera, bluegrass, big band music, jazz, etc…..such a large selection!
4. I made lentils and Harvard beets. I had supplies at the house and made enough to last a couple of days!
5. Packed my lunch for work..peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…not exciting but filling…


cathy December 6, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Does your utility company have an equal payment plan, where you pay the same amount every month? We heat with natural gas, so instead of a super low bill during the warm months and an expensive one during winter, it’s reasonable all year. We do the same with electric (since our AC is electric). It means no surprise huge bills and is much easier for budgeting.


Emily December 6, 2016 at 6:20 am

1. Debated between publix and Aldi this week for groceries. Picked publix because they had a few things Aldi did not, and they are in opposite directions. Used a spend 50 and get a discount gas card promo. Will use gas card for trip north for Christmas.

2. I am sick and missed work yesterday and today. I don’t have sick days; so this is quite the money loss for me. I tried to list a few things on eBay yesterday to cut my losses, one jcrew shirt sold in an hour!

3. Sponsoring 2 kids for Christmas. -‘ mostly done. Found a whole “Justice” wardrobe for the little girl over the weekend. 2 dollars a piece for kids clothes!

4. Dogsitting and babysitting this weekend thankfully.

5. Ate ramen for dinner and probably will for lunch. Not healthy, but all I really want to eat when I’m sick. Add a little Siracha and green onions and tastes more than 25 cents 😉


LisaC December 6, 2016 at 1:58 pm

1. Got accepted as a secret shopper in my local grocery store this month. Its been fun so far!
2. My friends and I decided together: no gifts.
3. Using cards I got free in the mail for some staff $ gifts. We give a donation to our custodians each year, they work so hard for so little.
4. Making my own soup at work in the tiny crock pot my daughter gave me.
5. Using free coconut oil I got via a FB review group. I’ve never used coconut oil before as a moisturizer, its amazing.


Crosby December 7, 2016 at 6:28 am

1. Was home sick yesterday so I made peanut butter. We had just run out.
2. Did some laundry and used my 3 dry racks instead of my dryer (one of which has been repaired with duct tape and another was a thrift store find).
3. Read a free book and watched TV/movies from streaming services that we cost-share.
4. Wearing my favorite dress to work today. I get so many compliments on it and I bought it 3 years ago at a consignment shop.
5. I have leftovers for lunch – butternut squash from a friend’s garden and pesto made from carrot tops.
Frugal Fail: Since I was sick yesterday, I didn’t think about my car and ended up getting a parking ticket since we have alternate street parking.


tia December 7, 2016 at 5:03 pm

1. Finally turned the heat on. I warm the house in the morning when we get up to 68 and once we all get dressed and moving around I turn it down to 58. In the evening when we all are home and sitting around I turn it up to 68 and then around 10 or 11 I turn it down to 58. When we’re home I turn the ceiling fans on low going clockwise…it’s supposed to push the warm air down from the ceiling, I turn them off at night and when noone is home. We also watch the use of exhaust fans, they pull warm air out of the house. And open blinds/drapes on sunny days, leave them closed on cloudy days.
2. I’ve been making more soup, I even made a recipe for salmon with artichokes into soup instead of an entree. I tend to overeat warm foods in winter {{{warm}}} with soup I don’t overeat.
3. Still enjoying my free antenna tv shows and reduced my phone data even more.
4. Batching all my errands to save time and distance and buying cheapest gas when needed along the route.
5. ??


VanessaKC December 7, 2016 at 6:37 pm

1. Really trying to eat the pantry down. We spent under $30 on supplemental groceries last Sunday. I’ve been making hearty soups and breads from scratch. Tomorrow I’m making Swamp Soup from Budget Bytes. It’s perfect for the cold and comes together fast.
2. It snowed a whole hundredth of an inch today. Some fool rear ended me at a stoplight. No damage to the car, so that’s a win for both parties. My car is 15 years old and long since paid for, it’s beautiful (to me) and I take good care of it. I’d be pretty ticked if something had happened to it.
3. Tomorrow is my day off. Planning to stay home, make veg stock and play with my son. No need to go out and spend.
4. Almost finished with the spare time rebuild of my bug engine. Yes, getting parts machined cost some money, but it’s small potatoes compared to having someone else build and install one for me.
5. My dad was going to scrap a really old toolbox with a few messed up drawers. I asked him if I could have it (I need it) and found the drawer slides online for $3 a pop. I’ll sand and paint it with a nice, leftover enamel at work. Really stoked about this project because I’ll enjoy doing it, and wind up with a much nicer box than I could afford. It will be beautiful!


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