Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 10, 2017 · 134 comments

  1. After a weekend of iced over roads, I finally drove my younger son back to college. He had to switch dorm rooms, which unfortunately means he’s now in a teeny tiny room as opposed to the 3-person room that he’d been sharing with a single other roommate. We’ll get a small refund as a result.
  2. I found a nickel on the ground in the housing office and a penny on the ground outside of Trader Joe’s. Hey, that college tuition is not going to pay itself!
  3. I batched errands while running my son to college which included Dollar Tree, (pinto beans, white beans, salt and garlic powder) Trader Joe’s, (nothing but toilet paper) and Costco (cat food, yeast and gasoline.) After three days of barely leaving the house, it felt good to be out, about and semi-productive.
  4. My son and I ate dinner in the dorm cafeteria using his meal plan points. All classes had been cancelled yesterday due to the icy conditions, so I knew he’d have extra points on his card. I brought a travel mug which I filled up with coffee for the two-hour solo drive back home. I gotta say that college food is a million times better now than when I matriculated back in the mesozoic era.
  5. I updated our budget, (which is key to deliberate spending) I answered a couple of short surveys on Swagbucks*, I proposed a couple of Clark Howard article ideas and got one new assignment, I’m cleaning one of my mother’s guest cottages tonight, I’m wearing my recently darned socks, I’m cooking navy beans in the crock pot for soup and I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a tacky AF 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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{ 134 comments… read them below or add one }

tonya parham January 10, 2017 at 12:16 pm

1. Been craving cheeseburgers so instead of rushing out to the nearest fast food place, I’m making them from scratch tonight. And attempting crockpot caramelized onions to go over them! EXCITED!

2. Was snowed in for 5 days here and didn’t leave or spend any money so I have $40 left from my monthly budget!

3. Finally finished cleaning my office for this upcoming semester. Listened to Jill Lepore’s _Secret History of Wonder Woman_ and was very impressed.

4. Realized I have gone so little over the last month that I have only used about 2 gallons of gas. (I think I filled up 5 weeks ago!)

5. Went to a training session at work yesterday and picked up three little bottles of hand sanitizer. I have large bottles at home, so these will be great to refill one I use what is in them.


tonya parham January 10, 2017 at 12:18 pm

With #2 that should be my WEEKLY budget it! So far, I’m $100 below budget for the month!


Bee January 10, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Good job on the budget! Are you using a cash or envelope system?


tonya parham January 10, 2017 at 7:29 pm


All our bills are paid online so it just seemed practical to have cash every week as “living on” money for food, gas, cat supplies, etc. So far, it’s worked very well. Instead of rushing out to get the first thing I think I might need, I go “Well, I have $40 left and if I break a twenty for that $20 item, it will pretty well be gone…so it’s only 2 days till I get next weeks cash, so if I go without, I can just tuck this away!”

It’s made it much fun for me now and I don’t feel deprived!


Bee January 11, 2017 at 9:35 am

Interesting. I am looking at ways to reduce my expenses more. I am thinking about going to a cash system also. I think that it is harder to hand over cash than plastic. Its really money you are spending. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

A. Marie January 11, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Very interesting sub-thread here on the cash budget. DH and I definitely saved money during the week we were waiting for replacement credit cards to arrive. Food for thought.

Karen January 11, 2017 at 4:23 pm

I use cash also and I really really think before I buy something. And I hate to break a $20.

Mand01 January 12, 2017 at 12:46 am

Also what I’ve noticed is shop assistants never expect cash anymore. When I hand it over, they always say “Oh!” as if I’ve handed them magic beans.

Marybeth January 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Cash really makes you think about what you are buying. We have been doing Dave Ramsey’s plan the last 2 years and its really been working for us.

Teri January 10, 2017 at 12:17 pm

1. Found $21.10 yesterday–almost my total for all of 2016.
2. Discovered leak under sink last night, husband was able to repair with only one trip to Home Depot.
3. The snow continues to fall and we aren’t going anywhere (except to Home Depot), so gas and $$ saved. Fail: school is cancelled so no job for me :(.
4. Eating out of the freezer/pantry.
5. Returning items from Christmas I decided I (nor children) needed.


Katy January 10, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Wow, great find!


Gina in Ky January 10, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Wow, commendable on your husband’s part-I don’t think I’ve ever made it through anything plumbing related without multiple trips to the hardware stores!!


AFS January 11, 2017 at 6:03 pm

I’m impressed with your $21.10, did you find all the money in one place? or pick up little bits in lots of places?


Ella January 10, 2017 at 12:18 pm

I’ve been back to my alma mater, and the food is infinitely better than when I was a student. Way easier to eat healthfully, too!

1) We cancelled plans we had for this Thursday after taking a look at the menu for the restaurant we were to meet at. Way too expensive. (It was for a club meeting, so we didn’t want to ask the group to change plans just for us. It did send a message, though, that more budget-friendly venues need to be chosen in the future.)
2) I have ongoing neck and head pain issues, for which I go to physical therapy (thank God for good health insurance). One thing I needed was a good heat therapy solution for my neck, and my stiff heating pad wasn’t cutting it. So I’m making a microwavable heat pack with rice that has been in the cupboard for maybe a litttttle too long and some fabric scraps.
3) I put the cat on a diet. I have come to terms with the fact that I’ve been too indulgent with him. I’m now measuring his food in the morning and putting it in a separate container to feed him from throughout the day, instead of just scooping from the bin when his dish is empty. This will save money on food and probably vet bills down the line, and, most importantly, will result in a healthier cat. (I’m using food amounts my vet recommended.)
4) I have a sweater I wear around the house. It’s old and not very attractive, which is why it’s just a house sweater. I think I’ve had it for 17 years. I’m mending the sleeve on it again today!
5) I made homemade mushroom ravioli last night, which was a success. I have a lot of pasta dough and filling left, though, so I’m going to make more today and freeze a bunch for later.


Denise January 10, 2017 at 1:40 pm


Do you have any lavender you could add to your heatpad? Smells amazing when microwaved!

I hear you on house jumpers- although I realised a few months ago that I only had “house jumpers” due to wearing them into submission. I asked for a cardigan/jumper hybrid thingy for Christmas so I’m fit to be seen outside now!


Ella January 10, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Good idea about the lavender. I don’t have any on hand, but I bet a friend does, and she wouldn’t mind letting me have a few drops for the project.

Ha, yeah, I realized that last fall; I did get a nice zip-up sweater and I thought about getting rid of the house sweater, but it’s still wearable, and I figured this way the nice one would last longer. 🙂


mel January 11, 2017 at 8:37 am

Try dried lavender flowers


Mand01 January 10, 2017 at 12:28 pm

1. As we are back at work but our kids are not back at school, we are ferrying them to care arrangements. So we have had to more heavily plan than usual. Last night’s dinner was a whole chicken cooked in the crockpot, with rice from the freezer and vegetables from our garden. Tonight we are having quesadillas using the leftover chicken.
2. The chicken carcass is back in the crockpot for stock.
3. I’m working a side gig as a writer and it is more work than I was expecting but also more money than I was expecting.
4. I’m wearing a thrifted silk blouse I bought last week for $7. It goes perfectly with the thrifted Jag jeans I bought last year. Hehe.
5. I have started to shift my excess Christmas weight caused by too many puddings. Yay for secondhand treadmills.


Denise January 11, 2017 at 11:21 am

Yay for too many puddings, I say!


A. Marie January 10, 2017 at 12:35 pm

(1) Facing iced-over roads today in Upstate NY, again. Here where bad winter road conditions are a way of life, we go out when we can, and stay home and don’t spend $$ when we can’t.

(2) Although the blessings of credit card service have been restored to us (the replacements for the card DH lost arrived in Saturday’s mail), we are doing our best not to abuse the privilege. No wild parties on Amazon or other online retailers.

(3) Tried out two new recipes Sunday: pork medallions with red wine from the NY Times (with $1.49/lb. pork loin from Aldi’s), and cabbage, apple, and kale salad from Epicurious (cabbage left by Bestest Neighbors when they departed for London, apples on hand, homegrown kale). Both were hits.

(4) Finally getting around to reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, and enjoying it. (I know I’m a little late to the party, but I only just found it at a library book sale.) 🙂

(5) Finally getting ready to move the work project that’s been draining my brains and soul since late October outa here. Eagerly looking forward to reclaiming brains and soul. Can’t get more frugal than that.


SKM January 10, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Hooray! I bought some terrible red wine and now I know where I’m going to use it. 🙂 (It’s the pork or some “drunken” pasta dish.)


A. Marie January 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Yeah, I was trying to use up some red wine I wasn’t thrilled with, either (left over from Xmas). No problem at all in the pork, however.


Mindy Moots January 10, 2017 at 12:54 pm

1. Ate two “fancy” dinners at home instead of going out. We had purchased a package of NY Strip steaks Costco. The first steak fed three of us for New Year’s eve. The second we had for my husband’s birthday with sides of garlic bread, salad, and green beans. He puts the steaks on the smoker and they are wonderful. Better than any restaurant. I made him a single serving of lava cake for his dessert. Had we gone to Fleming’s that meal alone would have been over $200 for both of us. I calculated it cost us about $40 to have it at home, and most of that was the expensive (for us) bottle of wine my husband bought to have for his birthday and we didn’t do any other gifts. I still have another steak for later.
2. I made a bean soup using some dried beans that were languishing in the pantry and used the ham bone in the freezer from Thanksgiving. That fed us all week with enough to send some home with my son for a couple of meals.
3. My mother was redecorating and gave me a set of 4 curtain panels. I used two in my dining room and two in a bedroom. I moved a shade (a Goodwill find that cost only $3, but someone had custom made) from the bedroom to the kitchen window. All of which resulted in heavier layers on the north facing windows which should help keep the energy bills down. Plus the panels were free.
4. I have only been buying what is needed at the grocery store. I compared last year’s food and grocery spending for December, to this years, and we have spent almost $1200 less. This included Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and a birthday.
5. I found a pair of Dr. Marten hiking boots at Goodwill, in like new condition, and in my size, for $10. They have come in handy for my trail walks.


Roberta January 11, 2017 at 7:32 am

Congrats on finding the Docs! I broke down and bought a pair new, because I had wanted them so long and I needed boots for my trip. I LOVE them and wear them almost every day. I can’t believe you found them second hand!


Bee January 10, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Every nickel and penny matter! It takes a lot of them to pay those tuition bills.

This week my FFT have to do with my personal goals.

1) My found change jar was full, so I took it to be counted. A total of $18.73 went into my savings account. I guess this is a little late for the found change challenge, but I will begin again for 2017. This year I will save, save, save!

2) I sold another large item on eBay and listed a dozen more as I continue decluttering. I have a vision of simplicity, and I am working towards it. I also brought a bag of things to the thrift shop that I support and a stack of new magazines to the library for sharing. No one would have know that I had all this stuff. I hid it well.

3) Like many others, I have committed to a low spend January. After the holidays, this actually feels good. I have been preparing most meals from the freezer and pantry. Sunday’s leftover pork roast and broccoli became Monday’s pork-fried rice. I made a yummy smoothie from 1/2 a frozen banana, mango and some sad spinach. Lunch was leftover onion soup. I am making some granola to use up Christmas nuts and coconut. It is amazing what you can make from very little if you put your mind to it. No waste!

4) While dropping my eBay package at the FedEx store, I stopped at Trader Joe’s to purchase an orchid ($12.99) and a sympathy card ($0.99) for a friend who lost her father. The reasonably priced orchid has become my go-to for those time that I need to say, “thinking of you.” I need to do this more often for those I love.

5) I reviewed last year’s expenditures and have set a challenging budget for 2017. As suggested by the Frugalwoods, I have put a piece of paper in my wallet that sums up my frugal goal in one word. It is easy to lose sight of why I am frugal. As Steven Covey says in 7 Habits, “Begin with an End in Mind.”


Susie's Daughter January 10, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Bee – You always give me something to think about!
#5 My frugal goal in one word is a fascinating idea. I will be pondering that over the next few days…

And on the subject of #4, I am trying to send thinking of you and sympathy cards as soon as I think of it. I sent three yesterday and it is one of my goals for the year. After a bad ankle break in 2015, I realized again how lovely it is to receive a card from someone.


Bee January 10, 2017 at 3:32 pm

It’s a fun and enlightening excercise. It is so personal. It can be a small thing or a big dream. It put things into focus for me quickly.
I was thinking that I will wrap my piece of paper around my credit and debit cards to give me pause when I make a purchase.
Have fun with it!


Denise January 11, 2017 at 11:26 am


I too love your posts. You are so inventive in your frugality that it inspires me to try harder.

Coming up with a goal ,writing it on paper and wrapping it round the spendy cards: pure genius!


Bee January 11, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Thank you for your kind words and support. In a world of spendthrifts, the frugalistas must stick together, 🙂

BethC January 12, 2017 at 10:41 am

I try to purchase sympathy and get well cards when CVS has a greeting card coupon or Extra Bucks deal. I also belong to the Hallmark rewards program, which mails out gift certificates periodically. Sometimes I will buy gift packs of sympathy or get well cards to have on hand, and I also pick up 3 months’ worth of birthday cards. All of this saves on both gas and mental energy!


Bee January 13, 2017 at 3:58 am

Good ideas! I think that it would be helpful to keep cards on hand. I also think shopping for birthday cards once quarter is helpful. This month I have 9 family birthdays. I don’t want to make nine trips, but I don’t want to miss anyone.


Marybeth January 10, 2017 at 1:14 pm

1.Watched Money Monster and Now You See Me 2 over the weekend with my husband. Rented them from the library. Also got a bunch of books. Love my library!
2. Kids wanted tacos for dinner but wasn’t sure we would have enough meat so I made rice and beans to go with it. Also only had a little cheddar left so threw in some yellow American and no one noticed. Wasn’t running to the store for one item.
3. My son is really into coffee (he is a senior in high school). They charge $1.50 for a cup. I make a pot and it lasts 3 days. He brings it in his reusable cup.
4. Went to Dollar Tree for a few items. I needed pinto beans. They had them in 2 sizes, 32oz or 24oz for the same price. I got the 32oz of course. They also had eggs 18pk or 12pk for $1 got the 18pk. Even if I didn’t have a family I would get the bigger sizes. Beans last forever and eggs can get frozen.
5. Wasn’t feeling good this morning but I was supposed to work. My sinuses have been a mess. I work part time so I only get paid if I work. I put my big girl panties on, took some meds and sucked it up and went to work.


Bee January 10, 2017 at 1:24 pm

When my kids were young, I always added black beans and corn to the taco meat. It not only made the meat go a little further, it snuck in some extra veggies and legumes.


Jennifer January 11, 2017 at 5:51 am

I saw on a healthy eating blog where you can shred butternut squash to use as cheese. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t taste the same but I was thinking of shredding some, adding some spices, then roasting for a bit in the oven then maybe just adding a small amount of shredded cheddar in with it. As long as it’s not going to be melting in a recipe it should be pretty good, add flavor, and cut down on using so much cheese. We have sodium restrictions in my house so I am looking for new ways to enjoy foods.


Roberta January 11, 2017 at 7:36 am

I put the butternut in with the taco “meat” (we’re vegetarian) and make use it’s really mashed up. My family doesn’t notice it’s there, it makes the filling stick together better (so it doesn’t fall out of the tortilla) and it sneaks in some veg.


Mary January 10, 2017 at 1:21 pm

1. No work today – school closed – paid day off, but worked a couple hours at home, will be paid extra time.
2. DH and I went to an auction on Saturday – purchased 7 boxes of food saver bags (retail for $50 each) for $50. Plan to sell 3 boxes and have ours for free.
3. My DH also bought 4 new dress shirts for $10.00
4. Received a replacement coupon in the mail after emailing company about a drink I purchased that tasted off.
5. Ordering a $25 gift card with expiring hotel points my DH earned on a business trip.


Amie January 10, 2017 at 1:26 pm

1) Joined the Found Change Challenge and scooped up $1, all in quarters, on three different errands! ( outside the post office, in a vending machine coin return, and stuck in the track of my van door)

2) Not going to the grocery this week, as one of the adults in our household is traveling for a few days. Using up pantry and freezer stuff.

3) Eating less meat, focusing on getting in 8 servings of fruit and veggies daily. ( clementines are cheap this time of year!)

4) Convincing myself to start menu planning. Sat down and looked at what we spent each month on groceries and dining out last year, and seeing if I can lower those numbers. I often find we end up at restaurants when it’s 4:00 and I have no plan for dinner. Dining out keeps getting more expensive as our 3 kids get bigger!

5) No Lear Jet here either.


Amie January 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm

oh, wait, I got forgot my big one for the week! Got rid of an unloved treadmill from our basement for $50 on Craigslist. As Katy says, crap out, money in!


Katy January 10, 2017 at 2:55 pm

That “Katy” person sounds very eloquent. A real classy broad!


Amie January 10, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Ha! I came for the frugality, but stick around for the classiness. Hee hee!


Odette January 11, 2017 at 6:55 am

Your #1 reminded me of my younger son who would always check vending machines and public telephones (remember those?) for coins. He was the master of found money. Sweet memory of the son we lost 10 years ago.


Vickey January 15, 2017 at 9:20 am

Odette, I’m so sorry. {{}}


Amelia January 10, 2017 at 1:27 pm

I was in Bean (a tiny dorm) when I went to U of O, and honestly that is how I learned how to downsize my stuff and be clean. Maybe he’ll end up liking it.


Mariana January 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm

1. Fixed a hole in my nice cashmere sweater. I wear It to work most days so one of my elbows created a hole in It :/
2. Brought home 3 leftover salads from work’s lunch. Free and healthy dinner 🙂
3. Snatched a super cute free basket from work. It was the last remains after the Holiday treat baskets that arrived in december. Again, no takers for the basket so it was going to land in trash anyway.
4. Got a great deal on razors on Amazon subscribe and save. I will cancel once I receive the first order.
5. Staying away from all the sales.


Jenzer January 10, 2017 at 1:47 pm

1) I spent almost two hours in the dentist’s chair this morning getting prepped for a crown (UGH). Afterwards, though temptation was strong, I did NOT succumb to self-pity and run to the Wendy’s drive-through for a chocolate Frosty.

2) Since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped by the Salvation Army thrift store after my appointment and picked up more cups and mugs for our new office. Most of the items I bought were tagged with the color of the week, so I got them for 50% off.

3) The rain and strong winds this afternoon shook a few dozen cones loose from one of our spruce trees. I gathered them up and tossed them under the bushes in the front landscaping. Free — and attractive — mulch.

4) My 12-year-old daughter’s decluttering efforts this weekend yielded four empty storage containers. These will move over to her 10-year-old brother’s room to help him corral and organize his Stuff.

5) I finished off a bottle of bubble-bath-turned-body-wash this morning. My kids have been taking showers for a few years now, so our bubble bath collection hadn’t been touched for a while. I unearthed about five partially-full bottles a few weeks ago, and after consulting Google, decided to try using it like shower gel. It works just fine.


Frugal In The Valley January 10, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Well done to your daughter.


Denise January 11, 2017 at 11:41 am

I used to work for Sara Lee in England- it owned several market-leading bath/shower brands. Generally, the only difference between bath foam and shower gel is the amount of foaming agent (more in the bubble bath). Only watch-out is, if you are prone to thrush and the like, then don’t use it in delicate areas!

I’ve just switched to using soap again as it’s so much cheaper, but am having a crisis of conscience, as mad as that may sound! (I’m having lots of crises of conscience at the moment – more on that below in my own post.)

Soap: do I use the cheap, lovely one I’ve found (not the cheapest I’ve tried but good with my very dry skin), or do I go for the ethically made one, with no chemical nasties in it? I can afford the latter.

Views welcome!


Carolyn S January 12, 2017 at 9:59 am

Oh I feel your pain on number 1! I had a similar appointment to get a temp crown on two days ago. My mouth still hurts. 🙁 Only frugal thing about it was being able to wait until the new year to get the crown so my dental insurance benefit would reset (blew through the coverage with the root canal last year). Sigh.
Good luck with the permanent crown. Fingers crossed for a good dental year!


Frugal In The Valley January 10, 2017 at 1:49 pm

God you are an inspiration. My kid doesn’t go to college for 5 years and hopefully will live at home with me when the time comes. We live in a small place with only one university on the island…fingers crossed,


Annye January 10, 2017 at 2:01 pm

“…a tacky AF gold plated apartment in the sky.”

I snorted at that, loud enough to wake the dogs! Thanks for a much-needed laugh, Katy! (Because yes, that apartment — and everything about that man — are tasteless and tacky as f….)


Katy January 10, 2017 at 2:53 pm



Nancy from Mass January 11, 2017 at 11:53 am

there is a folk singer by the name of John Gorka who wrote a song about him around 15 years ago. it’s called “Where the bottles break”. “money talks and people jump, ask how-high-low-life Donald whats-his-name”. good song.


Nancy from Mass January 11, 2017 at 11:54 am

well, it’s not technically about him, but he’s definitely in the chorus!


Lynn January 12, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Love the John Gorka reference! One of my favorites!!


Vickey January 15, 2017 at 9:41 am

Thanks for the tip! I wound up listening to the Ani DeFranco version, too, which included some pretty funny pre-song patter.


Michele January 10, 2017 at 2:03 pm

1. Got teeth cleaned, eyes checked, and MD check up today. Not cheap, but necessary. Cheaper in the long run?
2. Eating planned meals- no drive thru!
3. Picked up unexpected ahift for tomorrow. 8 hours!
4. Forgot to pack my lunch, but used my “emergency” soup cans I keep in my desk.
5. My husband got a Netflix movie for tonight.


Cindy in the South I January 10, 2017 at 2:13 pm

1. I dyed my hair, and trimmed it myself.
2. I did my nails myself.
3. I brought my lunch to work, and ate breakfast at home.
4. I am taking my laundry to a kind relative’s house, who offered to let me use their machine for free, rather than using the laundrymat.
5. I am taking my thermos with me to the relative’s house.


Cindy in the South I January 10, 2017 at 2:14 pm

By the way, Katy, your son looks like a handsome, nice young man and looks a lot like you! I wish him much success in his college career!


Elizabeth January 10, 2017 at 2:27 pm

1. Sold four items on eBay and relisted ones that didn’t sell. Plus took pictures of five of my jackets and two of my son’s and listed them on eBay.
2. Had a meeting yesterday and had a nice lunch snack of tea, veggies and dip, fruits, and mini donuts. I was starving since I’d had a small breakfast three hours earlier so it was perfect timing.
3. I’ve been looking at fashion blogs and writing down outfit ideas from things I’ve seen on the blogs that I could make work with what’s already in my closet. Sounds silly but I find that I tend to gravitate to the same pair of jeans and handful of shirts or sweaters. This was I use the stuff that I currently own and is just sitting in my closet and feel like I’ve discovered a new outfit! It’s been fun to put things together this way that I maybe wouldn’t have thought of before.
4. My husband had two free pick two offers in his Panera account and he’s been out of town so I treated myself to a free lunch last week and once yesterday. It was fun to get two Panera lunches for free (I love their baguette and butter!).
5. After doing a freezer inventory cooked a bunch of stuff this weekend. Used up a roast and some brown rice pasta. Cooked turkey meatballs and used up a spaghetti sauce packet. Used an expired gingerbread cookie mix to make gingerbread brownies which were insanely delicious. Made a pot of Melissa McCarthy’s broccoli soup which I’ve been eating for lunch.
6. With the three items that I sold this past couple days I made enough to use my PayPal account to pay for a waterproof, windproof jacket for myself. We are going to a rainy, cool place over spring break and I don’t own any waterproof jackets. Luckily I found a great sale on the jacket and used the money I made from selling a couple items recently to pay for it. Plus, following the old rule of one in, one out…I listed five of my jackets on eBay (I guess that would be one in, five out!).


K D January 10, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Again, congratulations on your paying for your sons’ college expenses.

1. I went to Walgreens yesterday to pick up an Rx. They had holiday stuff 90% off and I managed to leave the store without anything but the Rx. It was mainly due to the No Spend January effort.

2. I have a big pot of chili on the stove. It will make for a few meals and extra will be frozen.

3. I am continuing to walk outside, despite cold and damp weather. The exercise is good for both the mind and body.

4. I am keeping track of savings bonds that were purchased almost 30 years ago. They stop earning interest after 30 years so I made a note about when to start cashing them in next year.

5. Every day I am attempting to find a new home for at least one item that we do not want. So far this week at least five items have found new homes.


cathy January 12, 2017 at 12:00 pm

K D,
Where did you find information about the savings bonds? I seems like it should be easy to find it, but I’m having a hard time. My kids were given savings bonds when they were born, and I don’t want to hold them too long.


Vickey January 15, 2017 at 9:51 am

I’m not K D, but you can find out the value and maturity dates of the bonds by going to If you input your bonds’ serial numbers, you get a report that lists all the details.
Or you could take them to a bank, and they can look them up for you.


Emily January 10, 2017 at 3:10 pm

1. Tomorrow will be snow day number 3 for my school. I’m in NC, and even though the snow hit Saturday , it is still creating havoc. I am listing as much as humanly possible on ebay, as I do not get paid when I don’t treat kids, so 3 days of no work is killing me a bit.

2. Found a nude strapless VS bra at goodwill today in my size. I needed one all last summer but bras are expensive. I was happy to pay 2.99 and wash it in some warm water.

3. Found a nice diaper bag and some other things at GW today. Already have them listed.

4. Will probably make some returns to GW tomorrow, and head to the outlet for some REALLY cheap stuff. Paying by the pound is the best way to make profit.

5. Bought 3 bags of marked down chicken breasts and a 2.00 dollar rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. Great way to stock up on meat!


Sheila January 10, 2017 at 3:11 pm

1: cooking from the freezer/pantry this week (whole month)
2: It’s been very cold for our area so instead of turning up the heat inside, I turned it down a degree. Go outside for 30 minutes it feels nice and toasty when you get in. (electric heat and gas, used the gas fireplace once this week to take the extra chill off)
3: a local seasonal grocery store was having it’s final winter clearance before closing until February, and I stayed home instead of going to stock up on yet more things to hide in the pantry
4: cancelled my birthday plans due to illness and saved $$ there
5; cancelled the land line and reduced the cable to basic (dh loves his tv, baby steps, baby steps)


AFS January 11, 2017 at 6:32 pm

I love #2.


Sheila January 12, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Found four more today

Instead of going to the grocery store and buying milk and other stuff I don’t need yet, I made cookies and asked dh to bring home milk. He’s already driving past a store. If he drank powdered, I wouldn’t have even bothered to ask him to do that.
Instead of buying flour to make cookies, I used a mix of whole grain flours for gluten free bread that was languishing in the cupboard. The cookies are just fine.
Instead of thawing out more meat for a new meal, I’m making soup from dried beans, that I had prepared a couple days ago, to serve with last nights leftovers, making the leftovers stretch out further.
instead of turning the heat up in the house I’ve grabbed a blanket to sit with (instant dog magnet)


Marcia January 10, 2017 at 3:19 pm

Hi Katy,
I just wanted to stop by and say hello and tell you how much I love your blog. Even though I don’t comment often, I have been a faithful reader of your posts for many years.

I recently won the Rewarding Moments 1,000 SBs on Swagbucks for emailing my story. In that story I mentioned that I came upon Swagbucks through your blog and your blog was mentioned! Here is the link to the Swagbucks blog post if you are interested in reading it.

Thank you so much for sharing all that you do!

Many Blessings,


Bettypants January 10, 2017 at 3:49 pm

1. I made a batch of yeast dough on Sunday and had breadsticks, pepperoni, and sliced cheese for dinner the last two nights. Also baked a batch of cookies.
2. Sold a set of vintage dishes on a FB board. I had meets set with two other people but they backed out at the last minute. That’s the downside to using those boards, plenty of frustration from lack of consideration.
3. Sold one item on ebay and relisted a handful of losers.
4. Checked out The Secret Life of Pets and Captain Fantastic from the library. All DVDs are free at mine, which is a nice perk.
5. Have bought nothing thus far in January, except for food.


KJD509 January 10, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Your #1 is genius. I made my favorite bread dough this weekend as well, but it makes 2 (or more) gigantic freeform loaves, and we just get tired of it, especially because we missed berry season last summer and are out of jam. Breadsticks! They’re easy to freeze, too!


Bettypants January 11, 2017 at 3:59 am

Thanks! I put the dough in the fridge and roll a handful out every night to have fresh breadsticks until it’s gone. Sorry about your jam shortage. 🙁


Betty Winslow January 10, 2017 at 4:24 pm

1. Made a big pot of soup from the bits and pieces I’ve frozen for it, plus a few odds and ends out of the frig.
2. Cleaned out the bins I keep out Xmas ornaments and other stuff in, sorted out some stuff we no longer want, repaired two items that were broken, and repacked it all. I have several more bins to do, but it was a great start. The unwanted items will go into a copy paper box in the bottom of my office cabinet and get donated to the annual Xmas sale in November. I have room for it there and it’s out of my hair. 🙂
3. Been using up bits and pieces of various things, making room for other things that needed homes – feels good!
4. Scored some spools of ribbon, a package of ornament hooks, and two gift card holders at Kroger, each for 25 cents.
5. Being very thankful for our health insurance through hubby’s work: I picked up some generic blood pressure medicine and a Z-pak for my sinus infection and all together it came to 54 cents. That is not a typo. Whoot!!


Mrs. Picky Pincher January 10, 2017 at 4:34 pm

This week:

1. We returned our broken dishwasher thanks to our warranty. A new dishwasher will arrive tomorrow!

2. I packed leftover cake as a sweet treat at work. This way I won’t be tempted to buy candy bars at the vending machines when my sweet tooth acts up.

3. I worked out for free this morning using my elliptical machine that I bought on sale. No gym memberships here. 🙂

4. We cooked tostadas for dinner tonight. We used beans that we pre-cooked a few weeks ago and bulk cheese we bought on sale and froze.

5. I made rosemary oil using the rosemary that grows in our yard. I just steeped it in olive oil in the crock pot on low for 5 hours. The result is a floral, flavorful oil. I’ll use it as a spread on my homemade ciabatta bread with fresh cracked pepper.


Denise January 11, 2017 at 11:49 am

Is there anything in particular which one needs to do to cheese before freezing it (or thawing it), Mrs PP? I have genuinely never thought of freezing it!


AFS January 12, 2017 at 6:04 pm

When take a brick of cheese from the freezer it will have a crumbly texture. The way I deal with it is I freeze cheese slices (separated by wax paper) to use on hot sandwiches and a bag of shredded cheese to use in casseroles. I also keep shredded mozzarella in the freezer to make pizza.


KJD509 January 10, 2017 at 5:40 pm

Oooh, school food: I remember being appalled at the florescent orange dining hall food when I went away to college in SoCal. Most people gained the “freshman 15” – I lost enough to be worrisome. Then one day early in my sophomore year, sick of salads, I tried something from the hot-food line (there was only one) and discovered that everything was orange because it was slathered with cheese. The little old Mexican ladies in the kitchens (many of them really did cross the border to come to work – no wall back then) cooked with love and cheese. Oh, man, they were awesome, and it was delicious.

My college-aged kids have multiple dining hall choices, local food bars, etc., etc., but they don’t have those amazing cheese-filled dishes. In retrospect I can’t believe I went so long eating nothing but salads and ice cream when my parents were paying for the full meal plan.

1) Last week our coffeemaker died. Just gave up the ghost mid-brew. Hubs took it apart, cleaned it, we’ve tried a lot of fixes, but the electronic brain has given up. According to our records, we’ve bought 3 $100+ coffeemakers in the past 4 years – usually replacing a broken one within an hour or so of its demise. Not this time: we’re boiling water in the kettle, pouring it hot through the filter and into the pot. If it ever stops snowing, I’ll look for a French press at a thrift store (broken a few of those over the years, too) or put the word out on the neighborhood “buy nothing” page – which I have yet to join. This might be the catalyst.
2) Ran to the vending machine for a Coke for a colleague who was on deadline and discovered 55 cents in the change slot. Apparently my coworkers don’t pick up their change! Frugal for her – only 45 cents for her Coke when she was expecting to pay a dollar! And now I know to swing by there and check regularly.
3) Like the “house sweater” folks, I’ve realized I’m wearing out my work clothes wearing them around the house, so have been changing into the grubby jeans and sweatshirts from the bottom of my drawers (too good to throw out, to worn to wear out of the house) before I cook dinner. Bonus frugal: more wearings for work clothes between launderings because they don’t smell like dinner.
4) Really a wimp about the snow this time around. Worked from home a couple of days and skipped some social events, saving gas. Will need to reach out pretty soon, though, snow or no, because not enough people time + dark days = bad mood and bad choices for me.
5) Used almost all the spinach from the Costco-sized bag before it turned: 3 salads, some greens in a casserole, and a massive batch of creamed spinach. Made myself a note: not enough spinach-eaters left in the house to buy the big bags anymore.


Jennifer January 11, 2017 at 6:02 am

I am at the hospital with my daughter who is in labor. I am wearing my “should be a house sweater but I’m wearing it in public” sweater. It feels so good, though, like a warm blanket!


KJD509 January 11, 2017 at 8:34 am

Congrats on the new baby! Hope all goes well.


One of God's January 10, 2017 at 5:47 pm

Unfortunately two nights back, one or more vandals were in the apartment complex. My car’s front passenger window was broken out but nothing was taken. I went early to the appointment at the glass place hoping to get out sooner so I could meet friends. The place seems to run on a tight schedule but took my car in late and gave me a great discount. I was late but quite satisfied.

Met DD for lunch and shared sandwich and drank water.

Stopped at thrift where Tuesday is senior discount day. Picked up a heavy duty steam iron for $3.78.

Bought just fresh spinach, bread, milk, onions, an avocado and a rare purchase of low sugar jam for myself and a small cabbage and a green pepper for a dish for my Friday games group. A fair portion of the cabbage will be used here.

Eating homemade yogurt for snack later.


rebecca January 10, 2017 at 6:09 pm

1. Made a batch of chili from turkey in the freezer and canned beans, tomatoes and a jar of salsa.
2. Even though it has been freezing here (5 degrees this morning), I have kept my heat at 63.
3. Got a refund check for $37
4. Bringing dessert to my cousin’s house tomorrow night from ingredients on hand.
5. Got home from work tonight at 8pm. I made dinner instead of ordering out.


JD January 10, 2017 at 6:40 pm

1. I decided to use up the last of a mass of kale or die trying. I now have a big jar of fermenting sauer-kale or whatever you call it sitting on my counter.
2. I’m eating my sale purchased bulk organic oatmeal for breakfast every day, which I love. I bought this for $1.09 a pound.
3. I wear my clothes until they are worn out too. I wore a shirt today that I bought 11 years ago. When my daughter was in a contest her senior year of high school we had to submit photos of her from birth up for their little slide show. I suddenly realized at the contest that the picture of her at age three also showed me in a shirt I was wearing that night.
4. I had leftovers tonight. Leftover beef and the gravy mixed with freshly cooked rice. My husband loved it.
5. Leftovers of the leftovers will go in my lunch tomorrow.


Susie's Daughter January 10, 2017 at 6:50 pm

1) Made a double batch of cranberry orange muffins with leftover cranberry sauce from fridge. Enough extra to give some to my parents, three sets of neighbors and a friend who hosted me for lunch yesterday. Thanks to the NCAer who suggested this idea!

2) Had to take Dear Wife to “city” last week to the airport and had a chance to take advantage of the $10 for 10 items clearance at Once Upon A Child. I brought a bag of clothes and DVD’s to sell with the goal that my 10 things would be “free”. Sold several items for $9.55 total and paid the remaining .45 for 10 tops for DS for next season. Woohoo!

3) Committed to spending $1 per day for groceries for as long as reasonably possible. Spent $10.33 for the ten days from 6th -16th.

4) Battling the germs of cold/cough going around with all my home remedies – Throat Coat tea, Elderberry syrup, zinc drops and good old chicken soup. Used the last container of frozen stock for chicken won ton soup tonight.

5) Flying this weekend to see family on the West Coast and planning to bring as many of our snacks and entertainments for the travel as will fit comfortably in my carry on.


janine January 10, 2017 at 8:28 pm

Impressed by your #3!


Susie's Daughter January 11, 2017 at 8:46 am

Thanks Janine – We’ll see how it goes. Mostly it is a sign of how much food there is already in the pantry and freezer. 🙂


Denise B January 11, 2017 at 9:59 am

I am impressed by #3 too!


Marybeth January 12, 2017 at 1:18 pm

Thanks for the idea in #1. I made cranberry walnut muffins last night to use up open cranberry sauce.


kathleen January 10, 2017 at 7:50 pm

1. The pump on our water well had a malfunction while the handy hubs was out of town. Handy s0n-in-law volunteered to ‘look’ at it. An hour or so later he had evaluated, bought necessary part, repaired, and checked every tap in the house to make sure all were working. He refused reimbursement for part. Handy hubs = winning the lottery…daughter also having handy hubs = power ball! 🙂
2. Went to Costco today and stuck to list. Three of the items on said list had nice rebates at register saving me around $9.00.
3. Internet was out all weekend. After long conversation with tech support, I was told that it was a problem with my laptop and to take it someplace for repair. After hanging up with first tech, I wanted clarification and called back. Had to explain entire issue again with 2nd tech. Different answer. Not my laptop’s problem. Router issue, and a repairman was issued. Their problem. No cost to me. Back online!
4. Hubs picked up two extra days of work.
5. Haven’t replaced car yet.


janine January 10, 2017 at 8:24 pm

1. Spent the evening at Barnes and Noble using up a gift card – nice not to pay Starbucks prices at their coffee shop.
2. Returned a gift we couldn’t use. With the $$, I had a mini shopping spree – purchased a travel mug for one son, an old movie for the other one, natural orange marmalade for husband – most on clearance and without any expenditure.
3. Trying to economize in my cooking habits – planned on loaded potato casserole this evening but many ingredients not in cupboard. Found a small amount of a gourmet cheese I had forgotten about which made an interesting, but unusual casserole.
4. New dog has chewed through numerous leashes – now using duct tape to mend successfully.
5. No longer funding college – now helping to fund retirement accounts for kids who may not have defined benefit pension plans to look forward to.


Bee January 11, 2017 at 3:54 am

Duct Tape! It has so many uses. 🙂


Nancy from Mass January 13, 2017 at 4:56 am

my mother used to tape packages she was mailing with duct tape. We used to give her a roll every Christmas. I have a sister that lives in northern NH and she went to the post office one day. as she was leaving, they yelled for her. A postal truck had just pulled in with mail and when they opened the back, the postal worker saw a package with duct tape. sure enough, it was for my sister!


MamaMinou January 10, 2017 at 8:29 pm

1. Have been really tracking spending this month, which means paying more attention to lights and the thermostat! It’s sure easier to turn down the thermostat now that it’s not 18 degrees outside….
2. Wearing my hand-knit and hand-me-down clothes just about every day (since they are 85% of my wardrobe)
3. Didn’t buy a cookie that I really wanted today…since I would never pay to buy a snack at work! Thankful to a coworker who shared some chocolate that she didn’t like. 🙂
4. Still eating a big pot of veggie-tomato-bean soup made from CSA farm box veggies frozen at the end of the summer, when veggies were coming out our ears
5. Walked to work, 2.5 miles, instead of asking my husband to drive me 5 miles round trip (we’re a one-care family)


MamaMinou January 10, 2017 at 8:30 pm

I mean, one car! Certainly more than one care….


Nalani January 10, 2017 at 9:13 pm

1. Walked to the farmer’s market during lunch to pick up ingredients for a Thai dish I made for dinner. Much cheaper than the grocery store.
2. Was able to keep my discounted rate at the gym. I enjoy working out there so was glad I was able to work it out instead of canceling my membership (the regular price is an amount I am not willing to pay).
3. Signed up for a marathon at the end of the year using the early bird rate.
4. Enjoying a bunch of new clothes courtesy of some hand me downs from my very stylish mother in law. I hate shopping. The clothes that don’t fit or aren’t my style will be donated to the women’s shelter.
5. Reading free ebooks from the libarary and rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD. Free entertainment.


Gina in Ky January 10, 2017 at 9:18 pm

1. I’m working with another agency this week on their turf. So far they’ve treated us guests with pizza, homemade baklava, and cookies! This is a third shift deal and I’m not used to the hours, so I’m also drinking their free coffee.
2. Since I’m off during day hours, I visited a Goodwill while on travel. Since I’m in No/Low Spend, I was very selective. I only bought a great pair of casual boots for $6 and an eBay-able coffee mug.
3. Eating my brought from home microwave Indian meals at the hotel. They have been languishing in the pantry for some time.
4. Since hotel is super-crappy, I had to go buy soap (I know-right?!). Visited a discount store close to it and scored 8 little cans of name brand enchilada sauce for $.25 each. These will store well and, again, made exception to No Spend month. I’ve had on my goal list forever to make homemade corn tortillas. I can use the sauce with them! Tortillas are also cheap to buy.
5. Watching tons of YouTube videos on “Freeganism”. It’s an interesting topic. I plan to start volunteering with my local branch of Food Not Bombs this year and looking up info on the group lead me down the Freeganism rabbit hole.


Bee January 13, 2017 at 4:50 am

Gina, if you are working to help those who are food insecure, you may want to look at the free farm in San Francisco. It is an interesting and successful project.


Tish January 11, 2017 at 4:37 am

Katy – You are an inspiration. My teen is a sophomore and we are planning on cash flowing the first half of her college expenses, I love your posts because it proves to me that it can be done!

1. Used expiring Kohls cash, Discover $10/$30 coupon and a Kohls reward to get two badly needed medium sized rugs for our bathroom for $10. GWs here are terrible and I’d probably pay more than $10.
2. On my 5th day of being snowed in and have been updating our 2016 financials to get ready for taxes and also going through closets to see what is in there. Several years of buy nothing for DH and I (other than business clothes for him) have resulted in wardrobes that are pretty threadbare. We’ll continue limping along, but I found some things still in boxes that I’ll use to supplement. 3. Five days of being snowed in means no spending, but also DH couldn’t get out to work. He still gets a salary, but no working means no commissions. Fingers crossed he can make it out today.
4. We’ve been eating from the freezer and pantry, milk and fresh produce will be gone after today, but we’ll survive. I was planning on eating down the pantry and freezer this month anyway.
5. DH and I both came through layoffs with jobs, again. I’m so thankful we both have jobs, but the roller coaster of layoffs is nerve-racking. It also caused me to look through our plans again and even with college, we are still on track to retire in 4 years for him, 5-6 for me.


Ethel January 11, 2017 at 7:10 am

1. Cooked at home so far this week (I spent a lot on groceries, so I had better actually cook them)
2. Continuing to carpool to work 2 days per week
3. Brought lunch from home for work today
4. Drinking free coffee and water at work today
5. ???


Tracy January 11, 2017 at 7:57 am

1. Watched The Minimalists documentary on Netflix with my (young adult) daughter on Sunday — while I don’t think I’ll ever be AS minimalist as some of the folks in the movie I did find it inspirational in its message that more stuff won’t fill the “hole” inside or make us happier (past the point of having enough, that is). I also realize that I am blessed to be in a position where by “problem” is too much stuff.
2. Crazy snow day in Portland today, work cancelled (will do some work from home) so no need to go out = no opportunity to spend money (as long as I stay off internet shopping sites, which I will)
3. Am exchanging a pair of Birkenstocks I had offered as a gift suggestion at my mother-in-law’s request and which she was incredibly gracious to get for me. They almost but don’t quite fit — too wide. In the past because I will have to tell her I am exchanging and because they have to be sent back via UPS I would have said “close enough” put them in the closet and worn once or twice but not after because… they don’t quite fit. Now, I’m doing a nothing new year and love the style so will make sure and exchange for the right size as in the right size I will get LOTS of use from them, for years to come.
4. Have spent no money Monday or Tuesday except for work parking Tuesday (had to drive as I had a dentist appointment before work that couldn’t be accessed via transit, 100% covered by insurance though). Took breakfast and lunch to work both days, no coffees purchased!
5. Saved at least $35 or 40 making instead of buying the ice cream cake for my daughter’s 13th birthday which was a big hit! Also made all the other food for her party Monday and ate the leftovers for dinner last night. Will have more party leftovers for dinner tonight!
6. Am going to make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for a treat today with my daughters from stuff already in the cupboards.


Vickie January 11, 2017 at 9:26 am

1) I picked up two audiobooks and a DVD at the Library yesterday. Shopping with my favorite card makes me happy.
2) I bought a lean cuisine and 3 other microwavable meals, frozen blueberries and a box of Oatmeal at Sav-A-Lot on Monday for breakfasts and lunches here at work – about $10 total.
3) I volunteered for an Academic Technology Expo run by I.T. here at the University and was given a free t-shirt. I’ll use the tshirt for my gym workouts, after the Expo and was told drinks and food would be provided at the Expo – which is also free to attend.
4) The desktop I bought at the Pawn shop as a Christmas gift for my grandkids was crashing. My daughter thought I needed to take it back, but I went over yesterday and cleaned up the hard disk and deleted some programs that weren’t needed. When I left it was working fine. No need for a return, yay!
5) I have another gift card for a meal out our daughter gave us for Christmas. I’m hoping hubby is up to dinner out on Sunday (his day off). Saturday is my birthday and I would like to eat out one night and not have to cook or eat leftovers. Might as well get a free meal as well!


Denise January 11, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Well, where to begin? I preface the following whinge-list of frugal fails by acknowledging that I am very lucky overall. Nonetheless, I am in Personal Pity-Party mode at present, so here goes…

1. I moved in to my new flat on Monday. What. Have. I. Done??! The survey confirmed that there is a three year old boiler, with annual service history, so I didn’t bother getting my plumber/gas engineer to check the heating system generally. Two radiators don’t work at all, the rest are only at the “hot end of warm”, so the flat is cold. Or it would be if I wasn’t leaving the heating on 24 hours a day. I am sooo looking forward to my gas bill. And to the bill from said heating engineer who is coming round on Saturday to see if he can simply do a power-flush of the radiators , refill with fresh water and an anti-rust/corrosion chemical and get it working again properly.

2. And my electricity bill: one of the dead radiators is the (small, pathetically inadequate) one in my attic bedroom, so I’ve had to put a portable oil-filled electric radiator on up there all the time.

3. On the upside for my electricity bill is that I’m using fewer lights as several of the lighting circuits have blown: on Monday evening. The day I moved in. Going to bed at night using a tiny key-ring torch to find my way upstairs. Luckily, my heating engineer (“Perfect Peter” as he is lovingly known to my sister and me) also holds the highest standard of electrician’s qualification, so he can also assess if there’s a temporary fix to the lights and tell me how much it will cost to fit the new fuse board.

4. Cause of the problem is the older fuse-board, which the surveyor had said needed to be replaced. Still, more than a bit miserable on my first night in here.

5. The windows at the front of the flat are gorgeous Gothic arched double sash windows, single-glazed and original to the house, which was built in 1879. Single-glazed = bloody freezing, not least because one of them doesn’t close, so there’s a one inch opening at the top, with the nice winter wind howling through. Curtains closed. Boy am I regretting leaving my expensive silk interlined curtains at my old house! The thin curtains left by the sellers of my flat are actually moving with the wind. Hallway is freezing anyway – no radiator (which I had realised before buying) but there is actually wind movement from under the spare bedroom door keeping it nicely chilled.

6. To add insult to injury, the flat is much shabbier than I expected- although that is often the case, once furniture, rug, pictures etc. are removed. But this is waaay worse than anticipated. With all the rugs and runners removed, I have realised that every single carpet on three storeys needs replacing: worn, saggy and baggy. Which is how I’m feeling tonight, to be frank.

7. And. The. Dirt. Good grief. I had today off (now 8.30pm in London) and have been cleaning the 12 foot long by 8 foot wide kitchen since midday. And I’m still not finished. It didn’t even look dirty when you walk in. Then you touch a cupboard handle and it’s caked in grease: top layer, slimey, bottom layers, gone solid. Fifteen minutes per handle to clean.

8. It’s a really good area, but this is reflected in the supermarkets. I had Asda (part of Walmart now) and Aldi. I now have Waitrose (top of the range of the supermarket choices), and Marks & Spencer Food. I can’t think of a US equivalent – it’s the shop where you buy a treat meal from, not your weekly shopping, unless you’re loaded. Such lovely, tempting food. But bloody hell. The prices…no idea how I’ll be frugal on food now, other than giving up eating altogether…

9. Which brings me to my crisis of conscience. I am fortunate that I am able to afford to buy free-range, organic food. I also need to be more frugal as my income will plummet in a year or so. Is it OK to buy the cheapest food, knowing that it might not benefit from the best welfare standards for the animals, for instance?

Sorry for the rant, whine and general sobbing in my tea post.

And if anyone has any suggestions for how to deal with draughty, single-glazed windows, I shall be very grateful- do those window film things work, for instance?

A somewhat miserable and hugely self-pitying



Vickie January 11, 2017 at 2:51 pm

I say put bubble wrap over those windows and duct tape them, at least until Winter is over and you can review the problem come Spring or Summer.
I pray for your sake Perfect Peter can get the issues with your radiators fixed. Winter is too brutal to go without decent heat.
In regards to the food, do you have Consumer Coops like we do in the States? We can order good, organic food once a month and not pay out the nose for it.
You have my empathy, because moving in the Winter sucks anyway, but then finding all those issues would make me want to have a pity-party too.
At least if you’re cleaning, you are exerting energy and hopefully staying warmer. (((HUGS))) to you, Denise!!


Mand01 January 11, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Ah Denise, how I can empathise. Our 70s palace was supposedly ‘professionally cleaned’ when we moved in. What a joke.
Plus so far we have spent $13,000 over the past 12 months on a new fireplace, fixing the air conditioner, and various other sudden ‘fix ups.’ The water heater is about to go. So many things. Every time another thing dies my resolve to avoid debt crumbles a little more – but so far I’ve managed to cashflow everything. Painfully.
And now my new to me car just developed a radiator leak two days before the warranty expires. The dealer is not happy but if he thinks I’m going down without a fight he’s picked the wrong crabby lady.


VanessaKC January 11, 2017 at 7:02 pm

The cheap window film really does help. Tape off that open area on top first, then follow the directions for the plastic. Try to get some heavier drapes, that will also help. Good luck to you!


Laura January 11, 2017 at 8:23 pm

Oh Denise, I have been through what you’re going through and you have all my sympathy. Don’t worry, once you have cleaned it up and done the basic repairs (expensive I know) things will seem much brighter. I have had to scrimp and save and slave away, but I am so happy in my little nest – I’m sure you will be too in yours.


cathy January 12, 2017 at 2:29 am

Oh Denise, sorry to hear your troubles. the window film does help. and one good thing about M and S is they do reduce their food massively in the evening (starting after 5pm round here) so you can pick up some excellent bargains which might help a bit


Roberta January 12, 2017 at 7:58 am

I agree with Cathy. If you can stop by M&S after work, I’ve found things marked down nicely.
A rolled towel in front of the gap will keep the breeze down, both in the window gap and the gap under the door. Not a permanent solution, but it can reduce the hassle until you can solve the problems permanently.


JD January 12, 2017 at 9:43 am

Denise, let me join with the others that we are wishing you the best! It will get better, it really will.
As far as the question about buying food, it’s a personal choice. I spend more than many do because I buy almost 100% organic, humane, etc. I have other areas where I’ve cut back or eliminated costs in order to do it. But you have to do what works for you. I’d say for now to start investigating places where you might be able to buy the foods you prefer at better prices. In a new area, it pays to ask around, check the internet, and just plain go look. Good luck, and hang in there!


Cindy in the South I January 12, 2017 at 10:22 am

I am so sorry, Denise. On the plus side though, it sounds like, from a previous post, your work commute will be cut significantly, and I gather you bought your flat, so it is yours, and you do not have to depend on a crabby landlord to fix things. I would stuff the crack with at least old clothes or rags, if you do not have access to any plastic film to put over it so that your heat is not escaping. It sounds a bit worrisome as to whether the electrical is up to par and I would have someone check that out because you do not want a fire. I will tell you that a sleeping bag, rated for ten degrees (U.S.), works wonderfully in a drafty, old house. Also, throw a quilt over it and that adds additional warmth and you should be ok, sleep wise. I have a drafty, older home and that is how I do it. I had read about the tip on the sleeping bag, on another frugal site and it actually works! As far as groceries, dried beans are good for you, and usually do not have many pesticides. If you base your meals around them, add rice, and a few cheap vegetables, you should be ok, no matter where you shop. Cheap vegetables where I live are carrots, turnips, collards, cabbage, potatoes etc., usually root vegetables and greens. They are good in stir frys with a side of beans. I have also found brands of Asian chili paste, available cheaply in Walmart over here, to add plenty of kick to dull beans. Perhaps you could go back to the grocery stores where you used to live, once a month, and stock up on your day(s) off? Best of luck to you. It is always an adjustment when you move, and stressful to buy a home.


cathy s January 12, 2017 at 1:08 pm

We used to live in a house built in 1886 that had beautiful, but thin, single-paned windows. The window film is amazing. If you can get it in England, 3M is the best product. If you’re not familiar with it, it comes with double-stick tape that you put around the frame of the window (we always used the outer edge of the molding), then attach the clear plastic fairly tight. Then you (carefully) use a blow dryer/hair dryer to shrink it up. Keeps the drafts out, but is still clear enough to see out of. Just be sure to get the right size plastic for your window(s), though you can get a larger piece and cut it to cover more than one window. We used them every winter for almost 20 years. One other possibility: just close off any unused rooms in the short term until it warms up. We had one of those large, in-the-floor heat registers for the entire house. One winter it was so cold we just hung a large sheet at the bottom of the stairs and closed off the upstairs for several weeks. We had to sleep on a futon mattress in the living room since the bedrooms were upstairs. On the upside, we were snuggled in front of the fireplace every night 🙂

RE your food budget: I’d suggest you give yourself permission to shop the way you need to. Maybe concentrate on buying organic produce of the foods most affected by pesticide residue when purchased conventionally? If you’re concerned about animal welfare, then maybe cut back on meat?

Good luck and hang in there! I bet once some of the heat/electrical issues get addressed and you make some headway cleaning the kitchen, things will look a bit brighter!


Maureen January 12, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Another reply to Denise,
I just read on a blog Mr. FW is going to build interior window insulation panels. I searched on Pinterest and Google and its simple enough that my husband and I are going to do this, but next fall.
In the meantime I have clearance sale microfiber blankets with sheets behind them hanging with curtain clips on my windows. No one realizes these aren’t curtains. They block everything and keep us snug here in AK, where it’s well below zero right now, and I think they look really good.


Bee January 11, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Oh my! Once you settle in, it will get better. You will make it so. I am sending good thoughts your way.
I have come to believe that buying local, unprocessed, and organic food is the best choice you can make for yourself and the environment. My own experiences and health challenges have led me to this place. However, I think it’s difficult for most people, including myself, to do this 100% of the time. Time, cost, locality, and availability are all factors in making this choice. You must do what is best for you and what is consistent with your personal priorities.


Bee January 11, 2017 at 1:42 pm

This is a reply to Denise’s question. I must have pressed the wrong button!


pattilou January 12, 2017 at 9:24 am

I agree with Laura. It will get better. I had major problems after closing on my house. My inspector was terrible and the home warranty was a joke. I remember lying on my sofa two weeks after I moved in and bawling my eyes out. Many years in now and I have done lots of work but I love my little house. I am sure that very soon you will too.


Denise January 13, 2017 at 11:01 am


I am so thankful to all of you who have replied with such kindness and warmth. I am very touched.

Window film: this weekend’s job.
Microfibre blanket clipped to the curtains: genius.
And when I actually find my towels, they shall certainly be used as draught-excluders. I’m embarrassed to say that I hadn’t actually thought of packing up the gaps with fabrics.

And, Cindy, you’re right about the good stuff – 45 minute commute each way instead of 90 minutes each way is great, and I have bought it (mortgage-free), so I know that I am so much luckier than so many other people.

I’ve been at work and trying to do cleaning of the kitchen in the evening. I shall finish it tonight, given that I’m home early due to the shorter commute. I am hoping that there will be a bit of a domino effect thereafter, as I can empty boxes of kitchen stuff, put everything away in the kitchen and actually have a clean and liveable space. Which then allows me to ove onto the next box and so on.

Roberta, Cathy – thanks for the mark-downs at M&S tip: would have thought that they’d be too posh to do mark-downs! Where are you both in the U.K.?

And I am so grateful for the food input. Cindy, I am going to get my new slow-cooker this weekend and go for it on the cheap and nutritious stuff you suggested.

Off to search for microfibre blankets and curtain clips…


Vickey January 18, 2017 at 9:22 am

I’m so glad to see you cheered and buoyed by the support here! I’m almost a week behind in reading these, but wanted to add my support and encouragement – things *will* get better, and I know that as smart resourceful as you are, you’ll make it a clean and cozy home to shelter you, in fairly short order. Best of luck!


Susie's Daughter January 11, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Denise – Remember also that moving is one of the top 5 life stressors – right up there with death and divorce – even when you WANT to move and have had choices about it. So be gentle with yourself for the next few weeks at least.

And I hear you on the cleaning front. I maintain that one of the best things we did when we moved into our current home was to have it professionally cleaned – once only, but worth it for us.

On subject the windows, in the years that we lived in a tiny apartment in an old house in Boston, snow would literally blow through the cracks of the window of the bedroom (of course). I used the plastic sheets that you adhere with hairdryer for some success. In our current house, we have a big piece of fleece hanging from a curtain rod in each bedroom window to slow down the draft.

As a short term help, you might try a couple of rolled up towels (the long way) secured with duct tape to jam in front of the spare bedroom door. We did something similar with some ugly extra throw rugs previous owners had left behind.

Hang in there! Sending positivity from across the Pond.


Nancy from Mass January 11, 2017 at 3:01 pm

1. found 2 bright, shiny pennies at 2 different places while running errands.
2. brought home a salad with spicy chicken for the boys to share (it was large)
3. was gifted a brand new London Fog peacoat!!
4. used packing from a box i received, a roll of kraft paper i found while cleaning out my moms apartment and a bunch of stamps (.34 cents) that i used to ship the package i sold on ebay

frugal fail: had to break down and buy my son a new iphone 5s (go-phone) since his was no longer holding a charge and the screen (which had already been replaced once before) was pulling away from the sides. he will work off the new phone over the next few months shoveling, roof raking and cleaning off the cars. maybe i’ll have him vacuum weekly also.


MamaMinou January 11, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Katy, how are you doing with Portland’s crazy snowstorm? Hopefully you are cozy at home and not stuck at work.


Katy January 11, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Nope. I’m stuck at work!


Marilyn January 12, 2017 at 8:40 am

Oh gosh, stuck at work. I can’t help but think of the famous “terrible hospital coffee” which you are probably drinking at the moment. Hope you manage to get home soon.


Cindy in the South I January 12, 2017 at 10:47 am

My mother was a nurse. North Alabama had a record snow in 1993, and she was stuck at work for a week! We are not equipped in the deep South for deep snow…lol. Hope you have better luck than she did!


Katherine in AL January 12, 2017 at 4:06 pm

I was in 4th grade during the 1993 “blizzard”. I live in NE AL. You must be close by.


Cindy in the South January 12, 2017 at 5:25 pm

I live between Selma and Demopolis now, but grew up in Lawrence Co. Mother was working in Decatur, AL during the blizzard. Where are you?

Cindy in the South January 12, 2017 at 5:29 pm

I was actually living near Tuscaloosa at time of 93 blizzard and we received almost 18 inches…..unheard of.. My four kids loved it…me…not so much..,

Katherine in AL January 13, 2017 at 8:09 am

I’m in a tiny town on the Georgia line called Piedmont. We’re 25 miles from Gadsden, a larger town you may have heard of.


MamaMinou January 12, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Have you been able to get home yet???
The video of the happy polar bear at the Portland Zoo was adorable….


Tiffany January 11, 2017 at 9:33 pm

1. Have been stopping at 7/11 on Wednesdays for free coffee. Bonus it counted towards my punch card and I got a free one to use later.

2. One of my classes had a book I need to purchase for 399.99..yes almost 400 dollars..with a lot of searching was able to pay 89 on publishers website..#gradschoollife

3. Had a procedure done on my toes. I could have bought a tube of gel for 35.00 or soak my feet 2x a day in a bleacher water solution..writing this on my phone as my feet soak..

4. Have gotten into coupons again and got some toothpaste for .49 and 2 bottles of name brand shampoo for 1.20 total

5. Made my mom some know jars out of old spaghetti sauce jars..I cleaned, painted and attached knobs to..she loved them..cost me only my time digging around my craft cupboard..


Sweta January 12, 2017 at 11:10 am

Why do you buy toilet paper at Trader Joes instead of Costco?


Susie's Daughter January 12, 2017 at 3:46 pm

I’ll be interested to know why Katy buys tp there. I buy almost all of ours there as it is the only affordable option for tp that has recycled/post consumer content. Also it comes in a 12 pack. 🙂


cathy January 12, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Susie’s Daughter, those are exactly our same reasons for buying TP @ TJ’s.


cathy January 12, 2017 at 4:33 pm

1. Traveling home Sunday from a family event, our plane was so full they were taking volunteers to get bumped. I couldn’t do it, but husband could. Got a $500 voucher good for a year. The airline put him in 1st class for his flight and he had access to their VIP room while waiting. Free drinks, snacks, and football on TV.
2. Husband had another $500 (or so) found money day Monday. Called our insurance company because both our auto and homeowner’s rates were going up a lot. He was able to negotiate a discount on the auto for our son who goes to the local university but rarely drives to school. They also discovered that we’d been overcharged on our homeowner’s last year and would have been this year because they (somehow) had our home listed as having custom kitchen and bathrooms. ROFL because we live in a 1950s ranch house w/ original kitchen cabinetry, one bathroom is cool but completely vintage and the other is tiny and was a DIY project. We’ll get a refund for last year and the proper discount this year.
3. Finally got everything from the holidays packed up and put away. Rescued a strand of string lights by figuring out which bulb was making everything flicker and replacing the bad bulb. Vacuumed the living room with our nearly-20-year-old trash picked Hoover. Someone put it out when all it needed was a good clean and a new bag.
4. Eating chicken noodle soup tonight, made from the carcass of last week’s roast chicken.
5. Reading library books (and returning on time) and enjoying season 4 of Sherlock on PBS. Watched the first two episodes on TV, but signed up for a free PBS account to re-watch online. I never catch all the clues the first time!


Bee January 13, 2017 at 3:47 am

Love Sherlock! I love PBS!


Mand01 January 12, 2017 at 12:44 am

We do this as well. For a while I was not doing it and I discovered, as Dave Ramsey says, that I was spending more at the supermarket. So we went back to our cash envelopes and we routinely end up with money left at the end of the pay period.


Denise January 13, 2017 at 11:08 am


What happened with your car? Has it been fixed yet? Did the dealer concede defeat in the face of La Frugalista’s Fury?


Mand01 January 13, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Yes he did – it’s being repaired Tuesday!


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