Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 14, 2016 · 76 comments

  1. My sister’s eBay listings are starting to sell, so I borrowed from her enthusiasm to get a couple listings going for myself. (What I currently have up isn’t generating much interest, but things can only sell if I get off my tuchus to list them.) It only takes a few minutes to throw together a listing, so I’m going to scour the house for more stuff. Remember . . . the alternate tagline for The Non-Consumer Advocate is “Crap out of the house, money in!”
  2. My younger son and I met up with my mother to clean one of her rental cottages, although we first stopped at a local Goodwill. I bought a vintage Ball canning jar, and my son bought a pair of Balenciaga sneakers that can sell for as much as $400 on eBay. However, we need to research them first to ensure that they aren’t knockoffs. If they are, we’ll return them.
  3. Last night’s dinner was straight up leftovers from the previous day. Luckily, I’d made a pot roast with mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots and onions, so it was amazingly delicious. I usually make much more food than needed for a single meal in order to stock the fridge with indulgent leftovers.
  4. Portland is expecting a snowstorm this afternoon with cold temperatures lasting for days. I’m going to take it as an opportunity to cook up multiple meals for the boys to eat, as both my husband and I will be working long hours later in the week. My hospital is at a higher elevation, so there’s a possibility that I’ll be stuck there for days. I am sure missing my Subaru Outback this week.
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a ridiculous 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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{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs. Picky Pincher December 14, 2016 at 11:38 am

This week:

1. I dropped my phone in water and the screen stopped working. Instead of throwing in the towel, I have it sitting in a bag of rice right now and I’m getting a free consultation my a phone repairman tonight. Hopefully it will be fixable and I won’t have to spend $600 (!) on a new phone. Ugh.

2. We ate out last night (fail), which meant we didn’t have a lunch planned for today. Instead of eating out again we had some chili leftovers I froze from last week.

3. I made a toy for my cat using boxes, ribbon, and duct tape. I made him a tunneling system with stuff to play with and bat at, which he adores. Total cost was $0. 🙂

4. My dad is coming over for Christmas this weekend, so I started wrapping presents with Dollar Tree wrapping paper, name tags, and ribbon. This stuff was super cheap, which was awesome!

5. We arranged for the Salvation Army to pick up our old fridge this weekend. We’ve been trying to sell this thing for months on Craigslist, so it feels good to finally be rid of it. Just in time to host Christmas!


Kristen December 14, 2016 at 11:44 am

Lisey’s phone went thru the wash at a friend’s house, and we had more success with putting it in a bowl of old-fashioned rolled oats. Maybe try that?


Kim December 14, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Our electric company has a program that pays you$50 if you recycle an old but working refrigerator or freezer. Might want to check your power company’s website.


Sandra December 14, 2016 at 7:29 pm

I, too, second the old fridge pick up with your power company. Mine came, picked it up, and gave me $75.


Denise December 15, 2016 at 12:08 am

I’ve done that too: I put it in the airing cupboard to dry out slowly and it was fine. Admittedly, it was an old school Nokia, rather than a smartphone. Good luck with the resuscitation!


Jill A December 15, 2016 at 10:28 am

If the rice doesn’t work try a blow dryer. My husband fixed mine that way.


JD December 14, 2016 at 11:39 am

1. I’d been so busy lately I forgot to feed the worms in my vermicomposting bucket. Luckily, I caught them before the poor guys up and left. I had made a chopped salad and gave them the bits and ends of it, plus grounds and tea leaves, to top them off again. I think I’m about ready to move them to a new bucket and use the castings in the old.
2. I’m wearing a clearance shirt, gifted slacks, and Goodwill shoes to work.
3. I’m not changing out my everyday towels, bedding, napkins, placemats, pot holders, shower curtain, salt and pepper shakers and dish towels for Christmas themed ones. I have a friend who changes her décor every year for fall, spring, and Christmas. Why? And where does she store the stuff when it’s not in use?
4. I’m getting my Christmas fix at work by playing some CD’s my daughter got when she was in high school as a gift. She’s now 34. They still play, so I use them.
5. I wrote a letter to our Compassion child online and downloaded pictures to go with it. I don’t pay postage and he gets the letters faster when I do them online, although I write by hand, too, as it’s more personal. It’s wonderful to see how much more personal, open and loving his letters get as he grows older and we communicate regularly. He ended his last letter with a hug and a kiss which melted my heart.


Karen B December 14, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Wow, I’m with your friend! I get out my Christmas dishes, including salt & pepper shakers, candlesticks, dish towels etc. At the other holidays, I like dish towels at least just to holiday up the place. Makes everyone happy and it’s not stuff if it’s being used and enjoyed !


Hana in Prague December 15, 2016 at 4:20 am

I have a friend like that too. I have white plates, four table runners, and a white tray with summer seashells, fall pinecones, winter tree ornaments, and spring colored eggs. We turn towels so often I would have to buy 8 themed ones! Oh, and season themed napkins from Ikea sales because – nobody wants greasy stains on kids sleeves.


Cindy in the South I December 15, 2016 at 6:23 am

I bought Christmas towels on sale years ago. They are the only ones I use…year around….lol


Diane C December 16, 2016 at 12:07 am

Re JD’s #3, here’s my take. I was single until I was in my fifties. Over the years, I frugally acquired a nice selection of holiday decor. Then I married a recent widower who had two young adult children. We sold both houses and bought one together. When combining households, I was very careful to save most of their holiday decor. Then his mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and we moved her in with us. We cleaned out both of her houses and kept some of her holiday decor, too, including their trash-picked fabulous fake tree. Then my mom died. I saved a few of her holiday things and shared the rest with my siblings.

To the untrained eye, you might think I was a spendy shopper. To my eye, our home is a lovely amalgam of many years of family holiday memories.

And, yes, upon retirement, my mother decorated for any and seemingly every holiday. Everything was stored in neatly labeled bins. It made her happy to mark the turning of the year.

To each their own.


susanna d December 14, 2016 at 11:47 am

Wow, I love that maple leaf sauce pan! So pretty!

1. Temperatures have been hovering around zero degrees F for the last few days. To me, that means it’s “make soup” weather (well, among other things, but I’m trying to focus on the positive). I thawed out a chicken carcass, various bits of chicken leftovers, and trimmings from cutting up chickens (like backs and gizzards) earlier this week, and made a big pot of chicken soup. I froze several quarts, but left some in the fridge for what I very loosely call my “chicken tortilla soup”. Dumped in some home canned salsa, some thawed out garden bell peppers, and heated it all up and ladled it out. Topped with a few going-stale tortilla chips, it was the basis for soup night last night. The leftovers were lunch today – and lunch tomorrow.
2. Managed to spill some of the above mentioned soup down the front of a newer shirt (why couldn’t it have been one of my ratty old flannel ones? Murphy’s Law). Mixed up a batch of homemade stain remover from a recipe an online friend shared (1 part baking soda, 1 part blue Dawn dish soap, 2 parts peroxide) and have it pre-treating now. That stain remover has worked wonders in the past, and hopefully my favorite shirt will look as good as new.
3. Went to the winter farmers market today and bought several more jars of honey to give as gifts. I always buy honey from one particular vendor – it’s absolutely amazing. Yes, I could buy grocery store honey cheaper, but I try to buy from local farmers, bee keepers, etc. whenever possible – and there’s no packaging waste, since I always try and return the jars to the vendors so they can use them again, and again. And they appreciate it as well – this particular vendor gives a pretty nice discount for returning her jars.
4. Had to drive downstate again yesterday to pick up the big power tools our son had borrowed – our ancient pickup truck doesn’t handle well on snow, and yesterday seemed to be relatively snow-free throughout the state. We packed thermoses of coffee, breakfast biscuits ( a freebie), crackers, cheese, apples and nuts, so we were good to go without hitting a restaurant for both breakfast and lunch. Since we knew the drive would get us home around supper time, the meal was planned in advance – a big made-ahead salad, and a heat and eat entree (the soup mentioned in #1).
5. Picked up a few grocery store freebies on the way home. We were going right past a store in that particular chain, so no extra trip was involved – driving to one of those stores near our home would involve using at least an extra gallon of gasoline.


Denise December 14, 2016 at 4:03 pm

The main question to ask bee keepers whose honey you are buying is this: what happens to your hives in winter, given that you sell so much of their honey?

Many large-scale commercial honey operations strip out so much honey that the bees don’t have enough to eat through the winter and either starve or, more usually, are all killed because they will die anyway.

The right answer to the question is that the bee keeper ensures that plenty of honey is retained by the hive so that it can thrive, year by year.

That’s why I only buy from people whom I know do the right thing and show respect to their bees.


susanna d December 15, 2016 at 7:30 am

I agree about doing the right thing. The person I buy honey from is someone I know, and I know her practices for both farming and bee keeping (and how they overwinter their hives. She doesn’t sell on a large scale – honey makes up a very small portion of her sales.


Crosby December 15, 2016 at 8:18 am

Thank you for this information! I buy honey locally as well, and didn’t know to ask this!


Jill A December 14, 2016 at 11:48 am

1. Replaced all the strings of burned out lights on my pre-lit tree with new ones. This was most of the tree. Hopefully it will last a few years before I have to do it again.
2. Have my heat set at 62 degrees during the day. Just wearing warm clothes and slippers to keep warm.
3. Made gift card boxes out of Christmas cards that had no envelopes.
4. My husband is helping a friend fix his snowthrower tomorrow night. They will do it in our garage. I plan to make homemade pizza instead of ordering out. We will drink the free wine he was given as a gift from a vendor.
5. No lear jet for me.


Bethanne December 14, 2016 at 11:53 am

1. Used my $10 JC Penney free certificate for gifts – two pairs of gloves and a holiday snowflake pin – paide $2.11 over, not bad.

2. Used my $10 Kohls free certificate for gifts for family – nice holiday towel pack and a candle.

3.We were tempted by the food court as it was 6:30 and smelled great – but said no and went home and cooked a quick meal of sausage and buttered noodles, carrots with homemade holiday cereal rice crispy treats.

4. Went to Kroger at lunch and picked up my free 7-Up and Planters nuts.

5. Received in the mail earlier this week another Christmas gift I will be giving away- a beautiful new scarf using the free $10 Nordstrom certificate for signing up for their rewards program, paid only .56 cents.

6. Walked half a mile to pick up my snowblower that was getting fixed and walked it back the half a mile to my home saving $45 for the pickup and delivery fee. Did stop at a bakery on the way home to treat daughter to a pastry for helping and to warm up. Counter person joked that “You know you live in Michigan when someone parks their snow blower in front of your business before coming inside,” lol.


Kim December 14, 2016 at 12:15 pm

1. Our 19 yr. old monster TV died rather dramatically while I was watching the news yesterday. I’d bought an older small flat screen TV at our church yard sale 2 years ago for $10. I was determined to use my old TV until it died before using the “new” one. Happy that I’d anticipated its demise and didn’t have to go buy a TV.
2. Went to doctor yesterday for a preset appointment. Told her I’d aspirated a piece of popcorn on Thursday. Gave me sample of Affair. Sent me for X-ray that came back clear.
3. DS#2 maintained his GPA needed for his out of state scholarship! He actually raised it a bit. 17 credits in Nuclear engineering and Russian so no fluff courses.
4. Did a mystery shop at a grocery store today. Made $17.44 in 30 minutes. They had all the Christmas trees on sale half price for $15, so I splurged and got one.
5. Checked my Safeway 4U offers this morning. Had a digital coupon for $25 giftcard for filling a new Rx, limit one. Had 3 scrips from the doctor, got my GC and punch card that you get $50 GC when you fill 5 more.


Kim December 14, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Ooh, I forgot while I was at Safeway they announced free gingerbread frappucino samples at the Starbucks. Got the last one. I also checked the Coinstar on the way out. Found 7 coins- 1929 penny, 1948 silver dime, 1¢ CND, 7¢ Euro and a game token to a pizza place that’s not in this area.


Roberta December 14, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Good for your son! You must be so proud of him — Russia and Nuclear Engineering!


Kim December 14, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Thanks Roberta! His major is Nuclear Engineering with a minor in Russian. I figure he’s sure to get a job!


Bee December 14, 2016 at 12:37 pm

1) Like Katy, I also have been attempting to get crap out of my house. I have been shipping things all week. I intend to list a few more items on eBay before taking a break for the holidays. I also have gathered up another bag to go to GW. And I have earmarked some large items to go on a local Facebook page. I just keep plugging away. It’s odd but I never thought my house was cluttered, but everything feels a bit lighter now.

2) I had an appointment with my doctor this week. I had her write a 90-day prescription for my thyroid medication. Someone posted the link to the Walmart medication list last week on this blog. I can get a 3-month supply at WM pharmacy for less than the cost of one month at my current pharmacy saving over $100 a year.

3) I updated my spending spreadsheet this week to make sure that I stay on budget especially since there are so many additional Christmas expenses . Tomorrow is payday so bills have been paid using my online banking service.
I have filed and made sure there is no any additional paperwork that needs to be done before the holidays. No need to worry about this “stuff” until the New Year.

4) I have ordered many of my gifts on line this year taking advantage of coupons and free shipping. This is a first for me. I am able to shop for the best price and avoid all the retail craziness. I also avoid any impulse buys. I am not driving all over town wasting gas and time.

5) I took chili out of the freezer today for dinner. I will make a salad and be done with it. I love having meals ready to go. Cooking in bulk saves money and time.


Kay December 14, 2016 at 3:25 pm

About #2… anyone know date that link was posted, I couldn’t find it. Extremely non frugal month but with much gratitude.. after a fall a blood clot went to my husbands heart. He had to be air lifted and we spent a week in the hospital far from home. He survived and is doing much better, YAY.
But what a list of ne meds. Gulp.


Denise December 14, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Great news about your husband, so pleased that something so serious has turned out well.



Kim December 14, 2016 at 5:15 pm

Here’s the link for you. I google it and it popped right up in case you need to find it again. 🙂 Glad your husband is feeling better!


Bee December 14, 2016 at 5:45 pm

I hope that you find what you need on the list and that your husband has a speedy recovery.


janine December 17, 2016 at 7:58 pm

Heard a program on the radio today about insanely expensive meds. Advice was to contact pharmaceutical companies as opposed to insurance providers – they are aware of or sponsor grants that are provided to help folks out who may have high deductibles or other problems. Not just for “welfare” recipients. These companies apparently do not want bad publicity about their admittedly high prices so sometimes may be of help to people who are forced to use these drugs.


A. Marie December 14, 2016 at 1:08 pm

My FFTs this go-round are about gratitude:

(1) Gratitude for good physical health at DH’s and my ages. Two of our neighbors are going into this holiday season with dates for serious surgery scheduled in the New Year. We’re already planning to do what we can to support both families when the time comes (food, laundry, etc., as needed).

(2) Gratitude for being debt-free, and for the modest nest egg we have accumulated.

(3) Gratitude for the frugal smarts we have picked up over the years, including all the advice from Katy and the NCA commenters.

(4) Gratitude for all our good neighbors and other friends.

(5) And gratitude for all our favorite writers. I led the traditional toast at the December meeting of our Literary Society (no prizes for guessing that it’s the local regional group of the Jane Austen Society of North America), which is the epigraph from Rudyard Kipling’s short story “The Janeites”: “Jane lies in Winchester, blessed be her shade…”


Bee December 14, 2016 at 1:42 pm

What a lovely reminder to count life’s blessings! My cup runneth over.


Susie's Daughter December 14, 2016 at 2:25 pm

A. Marie – Thank you for this post. Gratitude is the best attitude. 🙂


Lazyretirementgirl December 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm



tia December 14, 2016 at 2:42 pm

1. I’m getting this rotisserie chicken thing down. 3 lb. roasted chicken I slice the breast for sandwiches or with mashed tates and salad, drumsticks make a meal, take off rest of meat and chop for soup or quesadillas, simmer the carcass for 1 hour in my dutch oven(this uses same energy as overnight in crock pot), take all the bits of meat off boiled carcass for kitties(they love it). I’m making chicken and dumplings and will freeze what we don’t eat tonight. The package says use chicken meat within 3 days so I’ll freeze what we don’t eat. I just wish I could find a way to recycle the container it comes in.
2. Most of the sale flyers have really good sales on chips and soda and candy, I don’t eat them but some family spends their own money on junk, so I buy the stuff they like at ridiculous cheap prices and they can buy it from my “discount store” and save some money on their junk.
3. I’ve been figuring the lowest price I can regularly buy soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, toilet paper and other staples, and I keep a list on my phone so when I see a sale a quick calculation lets me know if it’s really cheaper and worth buying.
4. My next project is figuring out how all of you sell things on ebay and craigslist and if it will work for me.
5. Still keeping the heat low and wearing warm woolies to stay cozy.


susanna d December 15, 2016 at 7:40 am

Re: #1 – I’ve only recently started buying rotisserie chickens, after getting a coupon for a free one from Costco. I can’t believe how many meals I can make from one of those chickens! Chicken and dumplings sounds yummy – thanks for the idea!


Crosby December 15, 2016 at 8:26 am

I love that you host your own junk food store! That’s such a good idea.


Nicola December 15, 2016 at 8:29 am

If you grow your own vegetables, those chicken containers could make great mini greenhouses.


Diane C December 17, 2016 at 1:46 pm

I’m lucky enough to live in a community where they can be recycled curbside, but I love Nicola’s idea even better! Alas, DH has dietary sodium concerns, so they only grace our table occasionally, even though Costco is my primary grocery store. I usually just try to avoid walking past the rotisserie chicken case. I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly thirty years, but they still smell delicious!


Shari December 14, 2016 at 2:57 pm


1. Started opting for cheapy store brand coffee instead of premium Starbucks beans.
2. On that note, didn’t go to Starbucks even once all week – a huge deal.
3. Discovered the bulk spice section and spent a whole $3 on the 6 different spices for the curry recipe that I tried (unfortunately, the curry was terrible).
4. Working on using up the beauty/skincare products that I have instead of buying new ones. I haven’t bought a new moisturizer or lotion (etc, etc) in a month.
5. Participating in a family secret santa instead of getting wacky with the gift exchanges.


Katherine from AL December 14, 2016 at 3:19 pm

1. So far I’ve been able to cash flow our Xmas gift buying even though the battery in my 15yo Volvo wagon died and I also had to buy tires for it. It’s paid for, has been a tank of a car and I’m attached to it. So there’s that.
2. Making applesauce out of bruised apples as I type this. The house smells delicious.
3. Lighting up my homemade Leg Lamp really does wonders for the holiday blues. Hubby constructed it for my birthday last year for very little $.
4. We are hosting a holiday party Saturday. The menu will be dips and things. I have most ingredients on hand.
5. Found two pennies on the ground today and a dime yesterday.

Question for readers: The family I have picked to adopt has 4 children middle school aged and younger. I would also like to do a little something for the parents (the mother just lost her mother last week). Keep in mind they live in a rural area (no big box stores) and have no transportation. We would also like to remain anonymous, so nothing that might give us away. What gifts would best serve this family?


Bee December 14, 2016 at 5:55 pm

If you had an address, perhaps you could have household essentials delivered through Amazon such things as toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc. Amazon or other similar company could deliver food items and clothing.


Katherine From AL December 14, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Bee, Thank you for this idea! I didn’t want to overlap other services and the things you listed cannot be bought with SNAP benefits!


WilliamB December 14, 2016 at 7:08 pm

Fantastic idea. You could also buy sanitary supplies, something else I understand is expensive and not covered by many social programs.


Betty Winslow December 14, 2016 at 6:14 pm

I would buy some board games, jigsaw puzzles, and art supplies, stuff they can all use and that can entertain the whole family. And maybe a pampering package for the mom? Lavender bath salts, a candle, an eye mask you can put in the freezer, a rice neck wrap (the kind you put in the microwave to heat up), some fuzzy socks…. that kind of thing.


Katherine From AL December 14, 2016 at 6:17 pm

Thank you Betty. I want the mother in this family to feel special and I love your recommendations!


L. bryant December 14, 2016 at 3:57 pm


How can you return anything to Goodwill. The stores in Georgia are clearly posted All Sales final. Is it different on the west Coast???


Katy December 14, 2016 at 7:08 pm

The Goodwills here allow for returns within 14 days if the tag is still on and you still have the receipt.



JD December 15, 2016 at 9:15 am

Ours doesn’t allow returns and no longer has colored tag, senior, or any other sale days. Pooh! I still shop there, but I have to be careful, because if I buy it, I have to keep it.


Ruby December 14, 2016 at 4:01 pm

1. Our middle dog wrenched her back, so we made a trip to the vet this week. Used the GoodRX card to get a discount on Tramadol for her. The vet wrote her a scrip so it could be filled at a people pharmacy.
2. My husband met his annual deductible for medical insurance and has a procedure scheduled for Jan. 16. He’s going to call to see if it can be done this month, thus saving us a chunk of money.
3. ’tis the season for sharing, snd my co-workers have been bringing in cookies, fruit and cake slices to share.
4. The usual daily: packing lunch from home, wearing cute combos of thrifted and secondhand clothes, hanging laundry to dry on the rack.
5. Sometimes 4 is all you got!


Marybeth December 14, 2016 at 5:03 pm

1. My daughter’s friend is in the hospital. Went to dollar tree to get some activities and gifts for her. Went home and got out a recycled gift bag and tissue paper. Added some waters and snacks to it that I had. My daughter and her other friend made a giant get well card for her.
2. Went to see the friend in the hospital today as she was up for visitors. I offered to drive the other friend and her mom. The hospital is 40 minutes away. Had offered to bring dinner for the sick friend and her mom. They requested Panera. When it was time to pay, the mom I was carpooling with said she wanted to pay because she didn’t have time to get a gift. She also insisted on paying the hospital parking.
3. Went to the library this morning and got the Christmas cd by Pentatonix. We listened to it driving to the hospital and sang along. Also picked up a book for my son, my husband and 3 for myself.
4.We brought water and snacks for the car ride.
5. My husband was treated out to lunch for a work lunch. He brought home the leftovers. They became my dinner when we got home. My son and husband had leftover soup while we were gone. My daughter had a PB bagel. Not the best but 1 night won’t hurt.
6.Very grateful for my healthy kids!


Sandy December 14, 2016 at 5:04 pm

–Bit of a non frugal day today. Had 3 packages that had to be mailed today. Contents of 2 packages were items I made as gifts. Mailing packages is not something I do very often, thank goodness!
–Eating from freezer and pantry, and eating well!
–Not decorating the house for Christmas. But, did take advantage of a sale and coupons to pick up a few things from Michael’s for decor for our soon to be built home. Some items will be spray painted next summer, when the weather is suitable.
–Planning dessert for Christmas Eve, Black Forest Cake. Found the very cake pan on sale and with a coupon at Michael’s. It will look beautiful on a plate my sister gave me for Christmas last year! This will be my brother in law’s last Christmas, he has terminal cancer. So, making his favorite cake is worth getting the right pan! All future cakes made in that pan will remind us of him.
–we’ve had the opportunity to help our local Police Department distribute toys to needy children. After Christmas, I will look for bargain prices on wrapping paper and tape for next year’s wrapping needs!


Lindsey December 14, 2016 at 8:25 pm

There is a special heaven for people who do thoughtful things like you are doing with your BIL’s cake.


Roberta December 14, 2016 at 6:14 pm

1. Listed a bunch of things on ebay, but nothing I have up has been selling lately.
2. When I stopped by the food bank to see if they needed butternut squash they said yes, but I also was able to take the surplus bread they wouldn’t be able to use today. Some of that went with dinner, and some will be bread pudding later this month. Will drop off butternuts tomorrow when I take kids to school.
3. Dropped off butternut squash and avocados to the teachers at school. We have a good, small school and I like being able to support the excellent faculty. Butternuts and avocados grow at my neighbors, and he yells at me if I don’t eat them all.
4. Made pasta sauce out of avocados and spinach. Was popular enough to make again. Creamy like pesto, and no one guessed what it was made out of.
5. Dance class is out, so I get to stay home and watch George C. Scott in A Christmas Carol instead of driving 45 minutes to class!


Betty Winslow December 14, 2016 at 6:29 pm

1. A friend’s GS’s winter coat was stolen and she can’t afford a replacement, so by asking on local FB groups, I was able to get him a brand-new coat he can wear now (paid for my some random lady) and two (one spring, one winter) he can grow into, donated by some other random lady. All i had to do was ship them and since I had a 10% off coupon for UPS from Staples, I went there and was pleasantly surprised it was less than $12 and they’ll get it tomorrow! Way better than what the PO could have done.
2. While I was at Staples, I checked out their clearance bins and found a micromini binder and 4 refills (for my purse), 2 packs of 24 mechanical pencils for $1.00 a pack – wow! – some neon colored pencils for 50 cents which will make a great add-on for a Xmas gift bag, a gorgeous Cross pen for $5 for my son who’s picky about pens, and a 2 pack of 8 gb flashdrives, one Superman and one Batman, for $2!! More Xmas gifts done, plus a start for next year’s Operation Xmas Child and this summer’s migrant worker project (where we make up bags of school supplies for the kids).
3. Making dinner for Friday for a friend whose daughter’s been in and out of the hospital for several weeks – made enough that we had some tonight, and all I’ll have to do Friday is heat and deliver!
4. Bought a bunch of sale items at Kroger today, including a carton of pumpkin eggnog for less than $1. Had coupons and got some really good deals ob stuff I would already have bought, but my fave is a shrimp ring for Xmas eve, normally almost $20, after a 50% sale and a coupon, for $8! It’s frozen, so it’ll keep till then. My boys will be so tickled!
5. Had 5.5″ of snow this past week, so got to use my new-to-me boots I bought off my nephew’s GF last spring for $7: a pair of knee-high riding boots (faux leather, but cute and waterproof, but not very warm) and a pair of BearPaws, cute and warm. She was happy to get rid of them – I actually bought the BearPaws and she threw in the other pair!


Is it a need or a want December 14, 2016 at 7:34 pm

(1) Am part of a sponsorship group for a family from Syria. Mother was aghast at cost of yogurt , told us about the vat she is able to make with 4 litres of milk.
(2) Same mother wished to make her families bread. She has a physical impairment and is unable to knead bread. Put a call out for a stand mixer and dough hook. Someone responded quickly with a donated one.
(3) Large pre made salads are the same price here winter or summer. Have been purchasing them reduced this winter . Where I am, the container of cherry tomatoes, single red and green peppers, cucumber, romaine lettuce and dressing packages cost more individually then when used in the assembled salad.
(4) husband brings home Subway cookies from meetings. Today’s container hadn’t been opened. Put in freezer, these will be welcome in January or February .
(5)Made refrigerator cookies with ingredients purchased last year ,after the holidays ,when store was clearing seasonal baking supplies. Placed the dough in a cereal bag to mix and roll into tube shape for chilling.


kathleen December 14, 2016 at 8:22 pm

1. Bathed dog, cleaned his ears, trimmed his nails. No grooming fees.
2. Picked up my best friend from the airport for a week’s visit. Since I just finished a free Kindle book, I grabbed a book out of the bookcase before I left home to keep me entertained while waiting for flight arrival.
3. Parked in the free cell-phone-waiting parking lot. Waited for friend to call when she was through baggage claim, then picked her up curbside.
4. We stopped for a leisurely Thai dinner instead of sitting in the rush-hour traffic. We drank water and shared an appetizer and entree. Still not exactly frugal, but oh SO good.
5. Something had bubbled over in my oven recently…a LOT. I ignored it and then forgot entirely. The next time I went to use it, it baked on real good, and in the process smoked and lent a nasty flavor to what was currently baking. Since I knew I would be baking this week, I bit the bullet and gave it a good cleaning last night using baking soda, vinegar, and elbow grease. It has a self-cleaning function, but I’ve read that the high temps during its cycle can blow fuses and/or control panels. Didn’t want to risk that during the holidays.


Hana in Prague December 14, 2016 at 10:08 pm

1. Bought absorbant mats for my incontinent cat. Then found them half price as a baby changing pads. Returned the expensive ones.

2. Still using a streetcar instead of my car so my gas usage is at half of what it was last month

3. Boiled a big pot of pasta. Put pesto sauce in it for lunch and cheese sauce for dinner

4. My son wanted dumbells for Christmas. They were $10 cheaper in Tesco than in a sport store

5. Frugal fail – bought a scented candle for $5 in a desperate hope to make the house smell Christmasy. However, I came to a conclusion that I can’t smell anymore due to multiple sinus infections 🙁 At least the kis can enjoy it.


janine December 14, 2016 at 10:11 pm

The weather is really cold!
1. Inspired to make scrap soup, I spent the morning cleaning out my refrigerator of bits and pieces that would go well with a chicken carcass. It was really good on this cold evening plus the price was right – almost free.
2 Frugal Fail: I thought our new dog had fleas which was information we obtained from place we adopted him. They said they had given him flea preventive. Took him to Petsmart for a flea bath and grooming.. They said no evidence of fleas (Yay!) BUT, he has dry skin because he does a lot of scratching. Took the advice of other posters and will add ground flax seed to his food as well as coconut oil.
3. Told friend of predicament and she gifted him supply of flax seed plus a duck toy.
4. Found some incredible deals today at a local overstock store. Plan to return tomorrow with a friend for some family holiday gifts.
5. No Lear Jet, no gold plated sky-hi apartment, just gratitude that our lives are full of interesting, wonderful family and friends.


Bee December 15, 2016 at 3:40 am

I have another suggestion relating to the dog, our vet gave us fish oil capsules. My dog will not eat oil on his food. Now that he is no longer a street dog, he has become very particular about what he eats. It is super easy to give him a capsule.


Nan December 15, 2016 at 1:53 am

Two things here- can you have a post explaining how to start selling on ebay? I’m not interested but I have some things I’d like the grandsons to sell and they can have the money. Thanks. Also, the hospital where my mom worked for years would pick up staff in the bad weather- I believe it was the police who escorted her to and from work.


Roberta December 15, 2016 at 6:44 am

Getting started on ebay is SUPER easy. Go to ebay, click on the “selling”link at the top, and they will walk you through all the steps. If you have any questions or problems, you can call them (seriously!) or online chat, and that too is easy. I started recently, and called when my first post didn’t go live right away (they screened my first post) and the guy I spoke to on the phone was very helpful and nice.


Nan December 15, 2016 at 8:37 am

Thanks- the boys will be home for 2 weeks for holiday break. I have several Dooney purses, Beatrix Potter collectibles and Barbies I’d practically give away. I want them GONE!


Carolyn S December 19, 2016 at 10:04 am

This might be a silly question, but do you have any tips for shipping items after selling them on eBay? I’d like to sell some things online, but I almost never ship packages and am not sure where to start for figuring out costs/best method, etc. Thanks for any suggestions!


Elizabeth December 15, 2016 at 4:37 am

1. Got another coupon for a free photo book. It’s good until March so I’ll probably wait until Christmas is over and make one of Christmas. This is how I’ve made all my photo books…wait until I get a coupon for a free one!
2. Went to Goodwill yesterday. It’s been quite a while since I’ve gone because I’m just trying not to bring more stuff into the house. But I ended up finding four pieces of workout gear that I’ve had on my list. A cool jacket that’s similar to another one I have but I like the fit of this one much more so I’m going to get rid of the other one (and it was only $5!). A beautiful plaid wool coat. And a pretty wreath for the door for after Christmas ($4). And a gorgeous eucalyptus leaf, greens and pinecones candle wreath ($3) that I have as a centerpiece on the table. The older I get the more I want decorations that are natural and winter looking and not cutesy snowman type decor. Decluttering my decorations of those sort of items.
3. Went to an accessory exchange. Bought my gift last winter on clearance. Bringing a peanut ginger dip and green beans (I already have all the ingredients to make it).
4. A woman who came to pick up a toy had asked if I had any other kid stuff (before she came over). I looked around the house and sent her some pictures and sold her another $45 worth of stuff. More clutter out of my house, more money in my wallet.
5. Somone came to pick up my daughter’s old winter coat for $25. I’ve made $100 on the Facebook selling group in the last couple days!


Bettypants December 15, 2016 at 4:53 am

1. Sold 7 video games on ebay yesterday. Video games sell like hotcakes this time of year.
2. My son had no cavities at his dental cleaning yesterday.
3. Ordered a video game for Christmas from ebay, instead of buying from a store.
4. Listed a bunch of cookbooks on the local FB boards. Sold two yesterday, and have 3 pending for today.
5. Picked up free 2 liter of 7-up, Kraft snack trio, and package of Werthers for free at Kroger. Also found Noosa Salted Caramel yogurt on clearance. I love trying new yogurt flavors.


gina in KY December 17, 2016 at 5:28 am

I love the Noosa yogurts! I haven’t tried that flavor (I will when I find it on clearance! Ha!). The pumpkin one is so good! When I see it on clearance I buy 3 or 4 and put some in the freezer.


Nancy from Mass December 15, 2016 at 6:32 am

1. Went to a luncheon at a vendor our company uses (they are in our building) yesterday. They host us every year and the food and conversations are wonderful. One of the gentleman i ‘speak’ to all the time was there and i finally met him in person. Turns out, his in-laws had a cottage on the same lake I practically grew up on. We talked about how wonderful the lake was then and how much it’s changed.
2. picked up a tree with my son (hubby was sick). we have an old house so we can’t buy a giant tree (short ceilings). I wanted a 5 1/2 footer but my son chose a really nice 4 1/2 footer. $18 and it looks great! only needed 400 lights instead of 800 and minimal ornaments. Good choice by my son.
3. Hubby was laid off and unemployment benefits haven’t kicked in yet so we are definitely eating from the fridge/freezers and cabinets. Picked up a gallon of whole milk at Aldi’s for 1.59 and 2 dozen eggs for .47 each. that should hold us for 7-10 days.
4. Found my son’s favorite candy on clearance so i bought some for stocking stuffers. the rest of his shopping was done a few months ago. (thankfully since we are down a paycheck)
5. ,my son has been helping with the gas spending by not jumping in the cars to ‘drive around’ when he’s bored. instead he has been pulling out old games we haven’t played in years and we’ve been playing games every night for almost 2 weeks. it’s been awesome! 🙂


Tracy December 15, 2016 at 7:14 am

1. No Starbucks so far this week — breaking the $5/day habit!
2. Bus to/from work every day so far this week, saving $12/day in parking fees (and helping the environment!
3. Brought breakfast and lunch to work every day this week, saving $10/day over purchasing.
4. My office “adopted” 39 head start kids (5 & 6 year olds) to buy Christmas gifts for this year. Each child is getting a good winter coat, a hat, an outfit, socks, underwear and two toys. I was part of a group that bought for six of the kids and offered to get the coats and hats. I found six very warm and high quality coats which originally retailed for $85-100 online for $22-28 each. Similarly got hats for 75% off retail. Total = $161 very well spent. Frugal because I got high quality items for great price instead of crap from big box for same price. Yesterday we put the bags together in HUGE dollar store holiday bags, with the toys individually wrapped. They look great and am very proud of my office for perhaps making Christmas a little more special for families who struggle financially.
5. No meals out this week, leftovers or crockpot meals for dinner after work.
Frugal fail: Am starting a “buy nothing new” year January 1 and in anticipation of not being able to shop for new clothes bought myself a couple of clothing items (sweater and top) I could have done fine without. Am looking forward to resetting my bad habit of using shopping 1) for entertainment 2) as a reward and 3) when I’m stressed.


Gina in KY December 17, 2016 at 5:33 am

Aww, what a great project for your office!

I will be right there with you on the “buy nothing new” project in 2017. Maybe we can all support and encourage each other! 🙂 I am also going to try to only go to small businesses for necessities (like farmers markets, etc.) My only exception is Aldi and Kroger for very specific items.


Vickie December 15, 2016 at 8:55 am

1) I ate lunch yesterday at our Department holiday event. It was fun to see coworkers and visit for awhile. The meal was excellent. Since it was over late in the afternoon, we didn’t have to come back to the office. I ran errands.
2) I paid off the used desktop computer I bought for my daughter & grandkids at the pawn shop. It cost me $149 and included everything.
3) I’m going to make stew in the crockpot tomorrow, so I have something to feed hubby and the grandkids. I found the diced tomatoes and corn on sale at the store a few weeks back.
4) I thought I had some Christmas cards left at home, but couldn’t find them this morning. I’ll look again, but I saw them at the Dollar Tree, so I’ll grab a box when I run errands later. I only send out a few to older relatives, so a box lasts me for 2 or 3 years.
5) We’ve quit exchanging gifts with my in-laws. We’re all older and don’t need anything or the cost of mailing/shipping stuff. My MIL likes to read and I have an Erma Bombeck book at home I picked up at the goodwill. I think I’ll send it to her as a surprise with the Christmas card. I did that a few years back for her birthday and she loved it.


Susie's Daughter December 15, 2016 at 11:10 am

Everyone’s posts are keeping me calm and inspired these days!

1) Sat down yesterday and produced my monthly bill checklist for 2017 and for the first time, I included all set expenses (mortgage, insurances, taxes etc). It was sobering, especially since we are investing in a new business in ’17, but more information is better than ‘head in the sand’!

2) Returned shoes for DS that were too big.

3) Went to my women’s church Christmas party this week and brought items from the gift bin for the exchange. The fancy cocoa and ornament were a hit.

4) Eating from freezer and pantry like so many other NCA’s right now. The weather is cold enough (below zero tonight and tomorrow) that the “walk in cooler” (aka the porch) is in use for storing leftovers that don’t fit in fridge.

5) Made a variety of mixes (chocolate pudding cake, spicy muffins, lentil soup) to give as gifts and have a couple of extra just in case.


Susanne g December 15, 2016 at 11:40 am

1. Signed up online for Cuisinart replacement blade ( Seeing as there were 8 million purchased with the riveted blade, it’s worth checking out.
2. Made Winter Solstice cards as usual with exact time and date (Wednesday Dec 21, 5:44 am EST) to check in with local friends and those around the country. Included “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” song lyrics to remind my friends to be the light this year in the midst of political “darkness” to some.
3. Regifted a beautiful, hand knit mermaid blanket to the “lunch lady” who helps my teacher brother. Although I appreciated the gift, I will not get as much glee from it as this woman will, who works hard and helps teachers and children.
4. After re-homing 465 items, I am still finding stuff. Will get back to eBay and etsy in 2017 even though now is the season. No energy for that right now.
5. Is any of this frugal? Not really. But it’s not un-frugal either. Oh dyed my hair myself for $7 saving $100 beauty shop appointment. Now that’s frugality!!


Gina December 18, 2016 at 5:00 am

Thanks for the reminder about the Cuisinart blade recall/replacement!


Vickey December 21, 2016 at 9:38 am

There’s frugality evidenced here, all right. And I *love* the Solstice cards and lyrics idea! Thanks for the inspiration!


rebecca December 16, 2016 at 9:26 am

1. a friend bought me coffee this am.
2. went to cvs, used a $3 off coupon.
3. my car started in 5 degree weather
4. this weekend I have a ton of grading to do so no$$ spent.
5. Had dinner at friends last night. We have been trading thursday nights every few weeks. So fun and keeps costs down.


Amanda December 17, 2016 at 11:07 am

1. Best laid plans for supper Monday night went out the window when the baby came down for a fever. Luckily I always have the items on hand for spaghetti, so we made a quick meal that was cheap, easy, and edible for my little picky eaters.

2. We got the kids a few store bought items for Christmas, but I am also planning to make my own version of the shark blankets I’ve seen around. I think I can make a higher quality version for less than the cost for the cheapo store bought ones.

3. Even though we had a couple of sick family members this week we still avoided take out meals and other expensive conveniences.

4. I am planning meals for the week we will spend in the country over Christmas plus Christmas presents that consist of food. If I plan now we can hit Aldi on the way out of town and avoid the normal grocery store.

5. I turned in my last paper of the semester yesterday, so I am done driving to school for a while. It should save me at least $150 in gas per month.


Alison December 18, 2016 at 9:50 am

1. DH did some plumbing work at our rental. He hates plumbing, but saved us the cost of a professional, as it was an easy fix of a slow draining toilet, and a dishwasher that wouldn’t drain at all.
2. My office sponsored a single mother this Christmas, she asked for grocery gift cards, so I used $80 worth of airmiles to buy her one.
3. Saved over $10 by purchasing a cookbook for DH on Amazon, rather than the bookstore.
4. DH was mailed a free tube of Voltaren that we both use for back pain. Doesn’t know from whom, or why, but saves us at least $10.
Fail: have used up my allowance for chiropractic for the year, so it now costs me $50 a visit. Have paid for one this year, and have one to go, so not too bad. In January I’ll start over again and won’t pay until around November. I go every two weeks, so it adds up.


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