Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 7, 2016 · 66 comments

  1. I didn’t buy a $750 Christmas tree here in New York City. ($1000 when you include “extra like delivery and a stand”) Good thing I live in Oregon where a gal can either garbage pick an artificial tree or buy a fresh one for $25.
  2. I didn’t rationalize spending $20 by calling it as a $23.50 purchase. $23.50 rationalization

Especially since the example of the uncle’s gift is this bafflingly ridiculous moose eggnog glass, which is possibly absolutely the worst gift ever!

moose glass3. I was able to do my laundry in my sister’s washing machine, as well as borrow a long sleeve shirt, since I accidentally left my favorite one at home. Being able to launder while on vacation is key to packing light!

4. I took pictures of some books I want to put on hold from my own library while out and about yesterday.

5. I made dinner for my sister’s family, since she wasn’t home until 6:45 this evening.

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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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Patience December 7, 2016 at 7:37 pm

My Frugal Five:

1). Bottled up a two gallon batch of my home-brewed Kombucha tea today (been making my own brew for about a year and a half now).

2). Walked to the post office (about a mile away) this afternoon to mail letters instead of driving. Took my dog along and we both enjoyed the exercise.

3). Made a uber frugal scratch meal for last night’s dinner : Three vegan meat(less) loaves (one for our meal, two for the freezer) that had a base of leftover bulk-purchased navy beans, leftover wild rice, bread crumbs made from the end of a stale loaf of homemade bread, a handful of stale corn chip crumbs, and home-canned ketchup (which, contrary to what it probably sounds like, all turned out actually quite tasty). I served it with mashed potatoes from garden-harvested potatoes, homemade gravy using garden sage, plus a chopped veggie slaw utilizing garden-harvested green cabbage, green pepper and red onion.

4). The peelings from last night’s potatoes went into the freezer, along with other veggie scraps and pieces (carrot tips and peels, onion skins, pepper tops, etc etc), to be made into homemade veggie broth later this week.

5). Avoided purchasing the Hope Diamond.


Tonya Tawana December 7, 2016 at 8:01 pm

1. Made limeades with some of the plethora of limes I have on hand. Tried using part coconut sugar which made it a lovely brown…but drank it anyway.

2. For my best friend’s birthday I just made him a pie which he always loves and gave him a fun Xmas ornament which is sort of a tradition because he LOVES Xmas and has three trees (and no kids…so the trees are just for him!)

3. Raked my own leaves today and helped my elderly neighbor clean the storm drain of leaves that is in front of her house but adjoining mine. It was nice to just chat.

4.Took back library books and avoided a fine and checked out three more.

5. Stopped in Aldi and spent only $11 on jalapeños, garlic, cilantro, green onions, avocados and soy milk. List–stuck to it, didn’t break the bank.

Frugal Fail– I went out for Indian food tonight. Always too expensive. I just eat out too much. I’m blaming this on that it’s the end of the semester and students are harassing me. Still, I do wonder if this is in part a reaction to attempting to go vegan. I seem to always eat out more when I go vegan, but i do feel better when I am, even eating out. And, honestly, it’s perhaps just an issue of when I am busy, I’d rather get vegan food out than have to spend time deciding what to eat at home…I don’t know. I have to figure out with this, which is the priority– being plant based and eating out more than I would if I had things that were super easy (like tuna and boiled eggs) or eating at home and being lacto ovo vegetarian.


Practically Waste Free December 7, 2016 at 10:05 pm

I hope you don’t mind my 2 cents on the plant based thing. First, I think making a lifestyle change at the end of a semester and during the holidays is bound to be tricky … So totally give yourself a break!! A couple of vegan cookbooks I like are Appetite for Reduction and Everyday Happy Herbivore for easy go-to meals (the Happy Herbivore site also has some recipes). As for some quick snacks, you could try keeping roasted chickpeas and some baked tofu in the fridge (I like my tofu sliced and sprinkled with soy sauce, baked for 30 min at 425) There are also some easy recipes for nut/seed based vegan parm that is tasty on pasta and rice. I am jealous of your Indian food, though!!


Cindy in the South I December 8, 2016 at 5:56 am

I love baked tofu sliced and sprinkled with soy sauce!!!


Amy December 7, 2016 at 8:25 pm

Today I did 2 things that saved us money.

1. Called an apartment complex we lived in 6 years ago. They had openings that fit with our timeline and since I filled out the application today I was able to lock in the special they have going on. That means $300 less a month rent than usual. Over the year that’s $3600 extra that can go towards paying off our student loans.

2. Reserved a truck for a mid-week move. Saved $250 over picking it up on the weekend.


Marie December 7, 2016 at 9:53 pm

Busy preparing 3 diaries for next year.

1/ My Dreams and Goals
2/ Decided to use up an old years unused diary just to total my grocery spending and keep better on track.. this year was my worst grocery spend year of them all.
3/ very pleased to spend$20 at ww total and pay nothing…was so funny….they had had a promotion spend $100 and get $10 off next spend…so mum and i shopped together put mine through the register.. totalled then mums.. went home and we paid each other.
4/Going for a free xmas outing tonight dinner included…by local hardware store.
5/Managed to cook and meals and lunches this week…big job…but big savings.
6/Taking bottled water everywhere.
7/Booked children into all free school holiday activities.
8/Gave unworn or rarely worn clothes to goodwill…they seem to be low on stock.
9/Rejoined and plan on joining some fitness sites..apps…to keep me motivated.
10/Watch you tube documentaries free entertainment.
11/Took mother to bulk bill pedietrist…was really happy for her to have this care at no cost.
12/Attending some free christmas groups from facebook we are members of.


Julia December 8, 2016 at 8:55 am

What kind of diaries are you preparing? Curious.


Marie December 8, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Well…i always get into the diary and planner fever ..and purchase a few each year then only use one.

So i am going to use one old one to record my grocery purchases.. .i totally all purchases then add them to the front of the planners year chart…then total monthly and yearly…have done this for about 25 years ..still have the fadde copies.

Another is a kmart rose gold planner which was $10. .its beautiful ..going to make this dreams and goals diary.

Last is my everyday diary which contains bulls to be paid etc.

Here in Australia we receive huge discounts for paperless bills…up to $2.50.. but i am having a hard time juggling this remembering ..Paying online..easy to forget ..because we pay down bills Fortnightly so they come in almost paid on the quarter.. .but if you miss a payment throws the whole plan out.

One of my mentors said:

What you focus on expains…

so… by working on the small things on everything…meaning attention to Details.

2017 i am going to focus back to fruality basics aldo closely montor the children’s school work and activities….as i feel that school is underated be able to received an education for free or almost is just a wonderful thing…coming from someone who just showed up at school…i don’t want the children to miss out on this and not make the best of this and themselves.

Thats why if i dont plan it. it doesn’t happen!


Lyn December 7, 2016 at 10:45 pm

1. Actually took the time to sit down and plan out my shopping trip. Spent 42 cents for $25.78 worth of food. My grocery shopping is done for the week!
2. Pulled out bins of old clothes, and actually found a lot of pieces I forgot about. I got to change up my wardrobe without spending any money!
3. I started using my kindle again, and have been renting books from my local libabry. I forgot how much fun reading is!
4. I took the time to do an online survey and got a coupon that allowed me to get free bedding for my pet rat.
5. I took advantage of my perks of being a college athlete, and went to our schools athletic trainer for free instead of paying to go see a doctor.


kathleen December 7, 2016 at 11:33 pm

1. Have been making do without a car for almost three weeks now. Not fun as we live semi-rural and husband has been working out of town for two of the three weeks. Rental was not part of our policy, so managing without.
2. Gasoline bill should be way down this month.
3. Roasted a turkey, and it was a fiasco. Managed to save it with extra work, extra time, and the slow cooker. Now I have lots of meat and broth stored for future soups and casseroles, and we had a fabulous tortilla soup for supper.
4. Groups of lights on my five-year-old pre-lit Christmas tree are going out. I managed to turn the tree so those sections aren’t noticeable instead of trying to replace them right now.
5. Paid off balance of hubs’ truck loan.


Julia December 8, 2016 at 12:35 am

Five Frugal Things.

1. I, too, did not buy the Hope Diamond.
2. Sold a box of books that our son has outgrown for $19 — gave him the slip so he could go collect the money.
3. Have been changing banks and changing all bills to electronic. Hoping to save on stamps and avoid late fees, etc, in the new year. Planning to be ready to roar on Jan. 1.
4. Walked to pick up prescription and mail package; I have home postage meter, but missed the mail carrier. A walk was good exercise — it’s a mile round-trip.
5. Watched shows we missed under warm quilts on the sofa this afternoon and evening. It was a free day after several challenging days in a row. Saved on the heating bill and enjoyed the perks of cable instead of paying for a movie at home or out.


Marybeth December 8, 2016 at 4:26 am

1. My son got accepted into his 1st choice college. We are so proud of him. It is a local SUNY so he can live at home saving us a lot of $.
2. We went out to eat to celebrate. I got just a sandwich as I know my daughter never eats her sides. We all drank water. Brought home all the leftovers to eat today.
3. My husband had a doctor’s appointment and they were giving out 2017 daily planners. He took one for me. I don’t need a fancy one.
4. Got some free toothpaste and feminine products thanks to CVS.
5. Filled my car up with gas yesterday as they charge 7cents a gallon less on Wednesday. It was on the way to CVS.


Bee December 8, 2016 at 4:56 am

Congratulations to your son and you! It is exciting when your child gets his acceptance letter.


Shannon December 8, 2016 at 5:29 am

YAY SUNY! I am a proud SUNY Geneseo grad!


Michele December 8, 2016 at 3:11 pm

SUNY Plattsburgh! My sister, Mom, and Dad are alumni, too.


Marybeth December 8, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Thanks. My sisters and I all went to SUNY. Its a great price if you live in state.


Kristin December 9, 2016 at 5:36 am

Congratulations to you and your son! SUNY is great – I am a Geneseo and University at Buffalo grad. Both my sisters went to SUNY schools, and my husband has been to four!


Shannon December 9, 2016 at 7:17 am

woo hoo! SUNY produces great nonconsumers, or do nonconsumers go to SUNY schools? I think the latter! 🙂 My husband went to Fredonia for Undergrad and Albany for his Master’s. I did both at Geneseo. 🙂


Hana December 8, 2016 at 4:47 am

1) the windshield in my car developed a huge crack. The first place quoted me about $2500 to replace it. I found it online for $250 – $500. Now I need to see if it can be repaired but if not, I am sure to pay a lot less than $2500

2) cooking from my weekly menus (I got 4 menus and cycle them). That eliminates impulse grocery buys which then go bad

3) taking streetcar instead of car = using less gas
4) darned two pairs of socks. The third one was worn through at several places so I would have to darn a whole new sock.
5) did not buy a castle


nancy from mass December 8, 2016 at 4:59 am

1. since i have shingles and am still contagious, i have not been commuting to work and WFH instead = gas savings! (other than my son driving my car to school since it was available)
2. went through my old pillsbury bake off books and put a pile aside to sell on ebay.
3. brought my outdoor bench swing inside my basement for the winter and have been stopping to swing every time i go downstairs. makes me happy and it’s better then it staying outside during the winter not being used!
4. cleaned the gutters from all the leaves – hopefully it will stop any ice/snow issues this winter. not liking the 24 foot ladder climb to clean the second story though. i have to come up with something for next year. my son isn’t afraid of heights either but it makes him incredibly nervous too.
5. printed out a coupon for a free item from the Freihofer bread outlet. I buy my country white bread there for .89/loaf.


nancy from mass December 8, 2016 at 5:02 am

Oh! i have a 6th thing!
My friend, who had shingles a few years ago, brought me a hank of beautiful wool/mohair blend fingering yarn and a mitten pattern to keep me busy while i recover. 🙂 so thoughtful and the yarn is amazing! this will keep me warm this winter.


Bee December 8, 2016 at 5:56 am

I hope you have a speedy recovery. Shingles can be so painful. I wish you the best.


nancy from mass December 8, 2016 at 6:46 am

Thank you Bee!


kathleen December 8, 2016 at 11:23 am

I feel for you. I had shingles at this time of year a few years ago. Complicates holiday prep. Hope you are well soon!


Susanne g December 8, 2016 at 5:54 pm

May I ask if you have had the shingles vaccine? My brother did, got shingles later that year but it was a light case. My mother had years if nerve pain so everyone in our family has had vaccine. Just wondering your experience. If it’s too nosy, pass on replying. Thanks.


nancy from mass December 9, 2016 at 5:08 am

When i had my last physical a few months ago (just prior to turning 50) i spoke with the dr about the vaccine and we decided to wait until next year for me to get it. oops. bad idea!

i did catch mine early (like day 3 or 4) so i had a mild case and the anti-virals worked well. it didn’t spread beyond the 6 welts i had and they have been drying up without the oozing/scabbing everyone else gets. when i touch it, it is itchy and painful though.

I would get it, if you have a chance….one you have it, you are twice as likely to get it again!


Bettypants December 8, 2016 at 5:22 am

1. I bought two items on Saturday from the local FB boards for $18. I sold both items on ebay this week for $80. I also sold a jacket for $22 that I had bought at a yard sale for $1, and a fur coat for $42 that had come from an estate sale.
2. Sold one $10 item on the local FB boards, and gave away a puzzle on freecycle.
3. Forced myself to walk to the post office yesterday to drop off my ebay packages.
4. Dropped the price on two of my CL listings and listed a rattan table and wicker chairs set.
5. Made four batches of caramel corn for snacking.


Bee December 8, 2016 at 5:53 am

I really cannot imagine paying $1000 for a Christmas tree. Of course, I can’t imagine living in New York City for that matter. Although I love the hustle and bustle, the shows, and the museums; it is a very different lifestyle from the coastal Florida town that I live in. Of course, life here can be downright boring — and hot– at times. Here are my FFT

1) I did a little grocery shopping at the beginning of the week. I saved $23 using digital coupons and buying BOGO specials.

2) I sold 4 items on eBay yesterday after a little dry spell. I have several more to list today. I can’t believe how much stuff I have hidden in drawers and closets, but I am really attempting to clear it out. I feel lighter already.

3) A friend who works for a health food distributor often gives me gluten-free items to try. (I have food allergies). At the end of November, she gave me a case of pancake/waffle mix and two cases of noodles. It was too much for me to eat, so I put together a large bag to share with a friend who has Celiac disease.

4) I ordered one of my daughter’s Christmas gifts online yesterday. I had a 25% off coupon and free shipping was included. I had shopped around, and this was the best price available. Best of all, I won’t have to make a 45 minute trip to the other side of town to get it.

5) I belong to a women’s group that had a holiday party and gift exchange last Tuesday evening. Although I have tried to talk them into doing Toys for Tots or something similar, we have a few members who love to exchange presents. The theme was “my favorite things” and the limit was $12. I really did not want to buy junk, so I purchased a beautiful orchid in full bloom. It was surprisingly one of the hot gifts. It was stolen several times. On the otherhand, I ended up with inappropriate cocktail napkins and bar of soap. At least they are consumable and useful. 🙂
I hope the joy of the season touches every heart!


janine December 8, 2016 at 7:43 am

I would have loved to have gone home with that orchid! A great original gift.
Sorry about what you ended up with. We go to a party every year where they ask for Toys for Tots donations and it is fun assembling the toys as I see them on sale throughout the year.


April December 8, 2016 at 9:45 am

You live in the type of area we dream of–coastal Florida. We try to visit at least once a year. Of course, we aren’t too far away, in South Ga. 🙂


Tina December 8, 2016 at 6:11 am

Hey Katy,

Your post this week has me craving the knowledge of the costs in NYC as a real person. I know that people often talk about living in NYC on average, but I think it would be fascinating to hear about how an average family spends/lives. Like maybe you could talk about how much more money you would need to make in order to frugally live in NYC. I just can’t stop thinking about the tree. Insane.


Danielle December 11, 2016 at 7:15 pm

You may enjoy reading/be horrified by the Money Diaries on this website:

Some are in NYC and I’m sure they don’t represent everyone, but it does tally someone’s actual weekly spend.


Cindy in the South I December 8, 2016 at 6:24 am

I love Katy’s statement that she does the same things in New York as she does in Portland!. I am the same way. I am going to walk in a park, if possible, wherever I go anywhere, not shop, and try to find inexpensive food if I have to eat out. I do not pay to tour anything, and have refused to pay to tour the old homes down here during their Christmas tours. I WILL pay to go to a state park or a National park, that is really my only exception. I also only go to free concerts, when I go, which is very seldom, because I live in the boonies. Where I fail frugally, is that I notice y’all seem to get free toothpaste and toothbrushes. I have never been able to coupon correctly to do this, or get free deodorant from my sons (I just use a little bit of baking soda, usually applied with two damp fingers) or free shampoo. How do y’all figure out how to do the CVS thing? I have a card, but their toothpaste and brushes are so much more than the dollar store, which is where I have been purchasing these items. A dollar is a dollar, and I am paying that dollar and would prefer not to…I only play the car radio, or my radio at the house on the local public radio station, so I do not use a DVD, tv, or computer (library only)….just my $38 cheap smart phone, which is not working very well, after using it for 9 months.I do need a new pair of work pants and I would like to get them from JC Penney’s because the pair I have on fit me perfectly, and are the Worthington brand, purchased from a thrift store. I am eating peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch today, as usual, and that is ok because who wants to think about lunch? I have some repairs I need to do to my car and my house, neither of which will be cheap, so I am trying to not spend more than I have to. I also need major dental work, but I always need major dental work because I have sorry teeth (genetic)… I totally spend way more every year at the dentist than I do at the doctor’s office…sigh.


Marybeth December 8, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Look up Iheartcvs. I go on it every week and they tell you what coupons to use on what sales. I have been couponing for years. My mom did them and taught my sisters and me. My daughter moved out earlier this year and coupons all the time. My 2 younger ones know how to do it to. I only do stuff we use or free stuff I can donate to the shelter. If its going to cost me money and time and we don’t use it then I don’t buy it. Good luck. You’ll get it.


Cindy in the South I December 9, 2016 at 6:31 am



Mrs. Picky Pincher December 8, 2016 at 7:06 am

All great things! This week:

1. I discovered Mr. Picky Pincher and can combine our Google FI accounts to save $5/mo. Sure, it’s just $5, but that amounts to $60 in a year!

2. We’ve been very good about eating at home this week. Love it! I think our success is due to trying more new recipes to keep things exciting. In the past I’ve been slacking on this, so it feels good to make the time to meal plan again.

3. Mr. Picky Pincher earned a free movie ticket, so we plan on paying half price to see a movie this weekend (a rare treat!). We’ll use the car trip to also drop off items at Goodwill to declutter our home. I’ll also purchase Christmas gifts at Trader Joe’s for my sister, who lives in the middle of nowhere but loves that store.

4. I ordered a Time Turner necklace as my niece’s Christmas gift. I was pleasantly surprised when the Etsy seller also included a free Deathly Hallows necklace with my purchase! I was thrilled to be able to give that necklace to my niece as well, since she’s a huge Harry Potter fan! 🙂

5. We used our home warranty again this week to fix our plumbing issues. It did cost $75, but most of our plumbing problems were fixed in two hours. It would have taken us three times as much money and way more time to get these things done, so it was worth the money. I was skeptical of this warranty since the company has gotten so many awful reviews, but (knock on wood) it’s really worked out for us financially.


Bettypants December 8, 2016 at 8:17 am

I misread that as a “Tina Turner necklace” and spent a minute imagining what that would look like, before I read it again.


priskill December 8, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Yikes! I thought it WAS Tina Turner til I read this . . .


Is it a need or a want December 8, 2016 at 8:20 am

(1) Picked up free calendars from my church, featuring some awesome paintings and from a favourite social justice volunteer organization.
(2) Daughter received house plants as house warming gifts. I have picked up pots to repot them from my favourite volunteer run garage sales and thrift shops. I gave myself time to look . The most expensive pot was a new African violet pot for $2.50, the remainder were a dollar or less. This included 4 Villeroy and Bosch pots.
(3) Made an awesome meat and barley soup from freezer bits and bobs. I tend to make broth weekly and freeze it. Needed to free up freezer space. One of my frugal skills to learn in the new year is how to use the pressure cooker my BF gifted me when she switched to an induction cook top. Awesome gift, but not helpful if I don’t put it to use!
(4) Used left over milk and bread in freezer and previously sautéed onions and celery along with a too hot BBQ sauce to make two meatloafs. Nothing like converting ingredients into present and future meals.
(5) For any Canadians on this list, I have been self clearing/brokering all my UPS, FedEx and Purolator packages received from outside Canada purchases. Look on the Internet , there are instructions and there was a W5 show about it that shows how much you can save .This year I have paid GST/PST on a few packages, but still saved $200-300.00 overall


MW December 8, 2016 at 8:37 am

– Sifted through the closet o’ hand-me-downs and pulled out snow boots for my boys.
– Swung by Grocery Outlet and got a $12 ham for the boys birthday dinner (they are exactly 3 years and 5 days apart, so I can get away with ONE birthday dinner). The leftovers will be well used.
– Pulled together a menu and grocery list for the week. With the extra holiday festivities, I want to avoid extra trips to the store.
– I scored a couple of t-shirts at Salvation Army for $0.69 a piece, so I’m making a few pairs of much-needed underwear.
– While at Salvation Army, I found two shirts and a record for my husband for Christmas for about $3.


kris December 8, 2016 at 8:52 am

Those eggnog mugs look like the one’s Clark Griswald drinks out of in the movie Christmas Vacation. Totally worth it — Not!


MW December 8, 2016 at 8:53 am

Yes. My husband got one a few years ago in a white elephant exchange. I got a pocket knife. I think I won that one.


Vickie December 8, 2016 at 8:57 am

1) I have a smaller Christmas tree I bought from GW a few years back, so I won’t be spending money on a tree or decorations either. I donated my old one. It was still in good shape, but I no longer wanted a large tree.
2) I’m going to eat one of my Michelina’s frozen meals for lunch that I purchased at Sav-A-Lot on Monday for 88 cents on sale. Plus, I’ll save gas by not going anywhere today, other than work.
3) I drink the coffee here at work. I’m the one who orders it, so I order a premium brand that is cost effective. I add 1/2 & 1/2 and vanilla to it, so it tastes more like a Cappuccino. May not be as good as Starbucks, but I’m not paying $5 per cup either.
4) I fixed tamale casserole for dinner last night with the tamales I bought from the Church Youth fund raiser, the chili I had in the pantry and the bag of cheese my daughter left us during Thanksgiving. Although I wasn’t hungry, Hubby said it turned out good.
5) I chew peppermint gum as a breath freshener and an antacid. I can get a bag of twenty pieces at the Dollar Tree for $1.


janine December 8, 2016 at 9:32 am

What a wonderful thrifty vacation Katy must be enjoying in NYC. It is cold and snowy here and I am fighting a head cold so my thoughts are turning to sunny Florida. In the meantime we are enjoying a fire in our fireplace. A little warmth and cheer.
1. Son got a large ham at work and gifted it to us. Basis for many meals plus extras to other son.
2. Potluck this weekend – will bring salad and small gifts for other guests. Focusing on consumables such as flavored oils and gourmet chocolate sauce. Potlucks seem to be a less expensive way to entertain plus good food and drink.
3. Trying to keep the faith: packing lunches, driving less, looking for free and low priced entertainment etc.
4. Using up cards and giftwrap from last year.
5. As another poster mentioned – I was also gifted a pressure cooker and will make it a goal to use in the new year.


sheila December 8, 2016 at 9:52 am

1. This has been a tough time as we said goodbye to our beloved black lab last week. He’s been with us for over 12 years, sigh. I’ve been noticing that I’m eating, drinking, and especially shopping more, I think, as a way to deal with this loss. I guess I have to shop this time of year anyway, but I had a Frugal Fail of ordering a ton of stuff at a high end store (Anthropologie) using their 30% off everything deal. Well, I must be used to the quick shipping of Amazon, but it’s been 2 weeks and I still haven’t received the bulk of my order (totally irks me that they send one or two tiny items separately!). Since it’s taking so long, I’ll end up returning a bunch of stuff, as I needed some gifts this past weekend so maybe it won’t be so rough on my pocketbook after all.
2. One good thing came out of not receiving the gifts I ordered was that I needed to get inventive: for a couple of friends, I found 2 brand new ceramic mugs with built in tea strainers, and cute little tops at Goodwill for $3 each – frugal win! I hosted them at my house and for lunch and made a yummy chicken stew that used the dark meat from a Costco rotisserie chicken and loads of veggies and water. I usually use chicken stock but since I’d had this at a friend’s house and she used water, I did too and it was really delicious and quite frugal. I’m planning on making this when we have family in town for the holidays.
3. Now that I think of it, much of my shopping has been done at thrift stores, so I can’t be that mad at myself. I’ve done rather well lately, finding a red linen tablecloth the day I was hoping for a holiday tablecloth (that almost never happens, actually finding what I’m looking for!), as well as those rattan chargers that I’ve seen at Pottery Barn for upwards of $20 each. I found 4 for 99 cents each. They look great on my red tablecloth with family heirloom holiday plates on top.
4. Oddly enough I’ve been needing tablecloths, and found a round one for a glass table I have outside. It was at the best thrift in my area (DAV) and marked down to $3. I almost bought a new one at Target but couldn’t see spending $16 on one that will only get sun bleached (we live in So Cal). This thrift also had beautiful men’s pure wool sweaters from J. Crew for about $10 each – they were a bit too big but I considered buying the largest one and trying to shrink it for my son who wears a size small. Anyone have luck shrinking wool and not having it end up doll sized?
5. Since my niece will be with us for the holidays, I wanted to have a stocking for her and a few gifts. At the DAV thrift store I scored a beautiful linen stocking for . . . wait for it . . . 65 cents! There really is treasure is some older thrift stores and this is the best one in my area.
6. I went to a craft fair with a friend with the thought I would buy some gifts for my niece. I found some body scrub and a pair of earrings that I think she’ll love. I don’t even think I would have paid more at a mall store, and I’m supporting independent artisans, so that’s a win there.


Mia December 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm

So sorry to hear about your lab. I know they are a family member. Best wishes to you and your family.


Marybeth December 8, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Sorry for your loss. My dog is one of my kids.


sheila December 9, 2016 at 4:55 pm

Marybeth, so was my dog – but it’s getting a little easier


sheila December 9, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Thanks so much Mia –


sheila December 9, 2016 at 4:58 pm

Whoops I think I replied in the wrong place – Mia, they are definitely part of the family xo


Denise December 9, 2016 at 5:08 am

I am so so sorry about your dog. They leave a doggy-shaped hole in your heart, don’t they? Big hugs from a bereaved dog lover: Paddy was my best buddy.


sheila December 9, 2016 at 4:55 pm

Denise, I like the doggy-shaped hole you mention 🙂 That sounds about right.


K D December 8, 2016 at 11:46 am

1. We’ll celebrate my daughter’s birthday this weekend. She wants to eat lunch out so I bought gift cards at SAM’S Club, for a 13% savings. I also printed a 20% off coupon for the restaurant. She wants homemade cupcakes, a delicious and inexpensive choice.

2. The grape juice my husband likes was reduced in price. I assume that means it is being discontinued, so I stocked up. It’s shelf stable.

3. I claimed a few credit card rewards. Bank of America will send a check, while Discover and Citi will send gift cards. I’ll be able to use the gift cards as gifts.

4. I made a big pot of split pea soup. I used carrots that had seen better days and a few of my generous amount of potatoes.

5. A friend treated me to lunch at her family’s restaurant and then we stopped at the mall. I didn’t buy anything and she paid $2 out of pocket for $22 in purchases at JC Penney.


susanna d December 8, 2016 at 1:20 pm

We’ve been on vacation this week – my husband’s birthday is 3 weeks before Christmas. Growing up, his parents told him that his birthday was too close to Christmas to have its own celebration. When I first met him, he told me his birthday “isn’t special”. So I’ve made it my mission to make his birthday extra special – therefore, the annual birthday vacation.
1. Rented a condo in a big touristy waterpark hotel area of the state – during the week – in the off, off, OFF season. Cost per night was around 1/3 of what it is during high tourist season.
2. Since we were staying in a condo, we brought all our own food for breakfasts and lunches. As well as three night’s worth of dinners prepared in advance and frozen from home – spaghetti and meatballs, pulled pork, and tortilla soup. I mean, the condo has a dishwasher – something I don’t have at home. So cleanup WAS a vacation for me. We did go out to dinner one night – birthday person’s choice. But only one dinner out, rather than every single meal for four days.
3. The condo had a its own washer and dryer – yes Katy, I totally get the “packing light” concept of your #3. And since I’m spending a year (at least) dryer-free at home, having a dryer made laundry really easy. An additional bonus: no mountains of dirty laundry to deal with when the vacation is over.
4. Realized on Monday night that the $45 in Kohls cash I had been given by a family member was expiring that night. Got online and ordered a bunch of hand towels to replace the sad, sad, SAD ones we have in our bathrooms at home. The old hand towels will be donated to the local animal shelter.
5. Did not buy a timeshare – they always try to get us to sit through a timeshare demo when we’re here. I don’t answer the in-condo landline (that’s the only reason the phone would ring) – and I smile and shake my head “no” whenever I’m approached while passing the timeshare sales booth.


Andrea December 8, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Katy, we will be visiting NYC for a few days next month and are looking forward to Koreatown! Can you recommend any good and cheap places to eat?


Katy December 8, 2016 at 5:10 pm

I can only recommend the one place that I’ve been:

And you can always check for restaurants when traveling.


Teri December 8, 2016 at 5:21 pm

1. Treated my DH and DD to Starbucks specialty breads they love with a $5 coupon rebate.
2. Continuing to find pennies where ever I go…I’m over $25 for the year so far in found $$.
3. Going to church Christmas party tonight where the dinner is provided… not even a potluck!
4. Working 3 days on a great schedule–getting paid for way more hours than I actually work.
5. Have been able to find many Christmas gifts (like Melissa & Doug) at Ross Dress for Less. A greater selection there at this time of the year.


Beth Anne December 8, 2016 at 5:29 pm

1. Used my Nordstrom $10 reward and bought a scarf for a Christmas gift for 56 cents!!!! Included free shipping. 🙂

2. Went to Aldi and bought flavored water and a bag of veggie chips for snack at work for a few days and much cheaper then the vending machine.

3. Went to Krogers on Sunday and got some great deals – free Dove ice cream Bars, Kraft Tri-snack pack, as well as some great coupons. Bought a $25 Michaels gift card for my Mom for Christmas which I was already planning on buying and got back $5 off my bill.

4. Doing a dog walk tomorrow night.

5. Taking Coke bottle caps someone keeps leaving in the return container for Coke points, leaving the bottles.


Denise December 9, 2016 at 5:13 am

Brand name conflicts: in England, Dove is a soap bar/shower gel brand. Confess I did have an ughh moment when I thought of soapy ice cream for an instant!


Julie C December 9, 2016 at 6:05 am

In the US, it’s a also a soap brand as well as an ice cream brand. It can be a little confusing, lol


Sandra December 8, 2016 at 6:30 pm

Holy cannoli! People really PAY that for a fir tree? (Looks outside window and see’s nothing but Douglas Firs…) That’s insane. That has to be a joke, right?

1. We had an ice storm here in NW Oregon today and I stopped at the grocery to get some food instead of picking up lunch. I figure it’s best to spend the money on groceries that will last several days/a week vs. dropping $15 on one lunch.
2. Asked the library if they would consider ordering a book for the library patrons instead of purchasing it myself. I think it’s something everyone would enjoy and the library encourages patrons to make book suggestions.
3. Finished a few homemade Christmas gifts this week with yarn I had already purchased. One infinity scarf and one pair of socks. Check!
4. Keeping the heat low instead of turning it up with this literally freezing weather. Heating pads, flannel pants, hot tea, and a blanket help keep things toasty warm! It’s nice to watch the weather once you are home safe. 🙂
5. Sewed a button back on a shawl that I made so I could wear it to the office today. I work in a 100 year old building that has single pane windows. The cold really blows through on days like today, so it was nice to have that fashionable heavy shawl to wear!


Chris December 8, 2016 at 6:34 pm

1. Went to Trader Joe’s and had forgotten my list – came home to find the list and realized that everything I had forgotten was unnecessary and not missed.
2. Like most weeks, have a written plan for lunch and dinner using up leftovers. Made white turkey chili for the first time – yum! – lots for the freezer.
3. Oversaw the twice a year library book sale – made lots of $ for the library – shared unsold books with local “little free libraries” as well as a group that brings books to nursing homes. Still have to find a home for 35 boxes of books but that is next week’s job. Brought home a great collection of things to read.
4. Needed a new fleece jacket – layers for keeping warm in MN – found one at the thrift store on seniors day for less than $5. So much fluffier than my old one.
5. Haven’t listed anything in my etsy shop in over a month given how busy I am with work but have concentrated on buying things at estate sales and thrift stores that have worked out very well for re-sale in the past. I don’t work the last 2 weeks of December so if nothing else will draft listings to actually post later in the winter/early spring.


Elizabeth December 8, 2016 at 6:57 pm

– Normally my parents make us a photo calendar but they’re not going to this year. I got a free calendar in the mail that I’m using instead of buying one.
– Project Use it Up: Bath and Body Works Balsam Fir three wick candle
– Hosted a favorite things party yesterday and was gifted some really nice hostess gifts
– Dropped daughter off at dance and had an hour and fifteen minutes to kill. Went to the grocery store across the street and hung out in their cafe area and read instead of going into any of the expensive stores nearby.
– Hit 400 points finally today at my gym which earned me $50 off of my membership fee in January.
– With my current sales on eBay I sold $600 in the last two months with stuff that we’ve outgrown or don’t like anymore or don’t use.


rebecca December 9, 2016 at 3:23 am

1. Found an old starbucks gift card that I thought had a dollar at most on it. Turns out, I had never used it. I treated myself to a skinny peppermint mocha.
2. Funnily enough, a website I follow sent a recipe for a copy cat skinny peppermint mocha. It was in my mailbox this am. I am going to try it from home.
3. I need to have a grade-a-thon this weekend. Inexpensive weekend!
4. Bought gas for $2.07 yesterday.
5. Made a “crustless” apple pie yesterday. It was meant to be baked apples but it was happening with the coring. I kept breaking the apples. I sliced up the apples instead, added cinnamon, a little brown sugar, a TBS of maple syrup and a some chopped pecans and made homemade whipped cream. My guests loved it.


rebecca December 9, 2016 at 12:34 pm

wasn’t happening


Amy January 2, 2017 at 11:59 am

Uncle Eddie and Clark Griswold drink out of those moose glasses in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, so the ad is cute in that regard and less “bafflingly ridiculous.”


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