Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 8, 2017 · 102 comments

  1. I worked at the hospital all yesterday, and as always I brought my own food, drank the free crappy coffee and steeped mugs of delicious free tea. I packaged my leftovers in reusable Pyrex, and brought my own silverware and a cloth napkin. However, I broke my most recent Goodwill mug. But that’s okay as I saved the silicone lid, which I’ll match to a new Goodwill travel mug.
  2. I spent some random frequent flyer miles to order subscriptions to Real Simple and Money magazines. It’s not an airline that I regularly use, so those miles would never have added up to enough for a free flight. The website is MagsforMiles, and they contract with almost all the major airlines.
  3. I made my almost daily phone calls to senators Jeff Merkely and Ron Wyden to thank them and encourage them to continue fighting against Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Citizen involvement is free.
  4. My friend gave me a guitar-shaped Wilton cake pan, (which I’ll use for my son’s birthday) I renewed my library books, I fine tuned our February budget, I texted my daily to-do list to my sister, I picked up Costco dog food for my father, as he doesn’t have a membership and I proposed and was then assigned two new Clark Howard articles.
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar 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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{ 102 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill A February 8, 2017 at 11:24 am

1. I put a hole in one of my only two pair of jeans. I stopped at Goodwill while I was on that side of town and found an almost new pair. I also found a scarf that will match the hat I bought a couple weeks ago at another Goodwill.
2. I also stopped at the Salvation Army Thrift Store while I was out and picked up six champagne glasses that were marked 50% off. I love vintage glass items and I wanted some champagne glasses for New Years.
3. I had to drive 8.5 hours one way to pick my brother up after his car was totalled by a drunk driver. I had to drive my van as my brother was driving with a car full of his belongings to a new job, so gas was not cheap. I brought snacks and filled a couple water bottles before I left. We stopped for fast food on the way instead of eating in a more expensive sit down restaurant. We ate the free breakfast offered by the hotel and drank their coffee. Hopefully insurance will reimburse my out of pocket costs. We turned around the next day to return home, so only one night hotel stay.
4. I stopped at Walmart to pick up paint brushes to touch up the corners on the paint job I did in my powder room. While I was there I checked their clearance. They had rollers on clearance for my next paint project and sandpaper and other items we could use to finish our basement.
5. I gave my Mother a box of cereal and a bottle of mustard we won’t use, she gave me some cookies and macaroni and cheese that she didn’t want.


Roberta February 8, 2017 at 11:41 am

So glad your brother was ok!


Pattilou February 8, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Jill, I’m also glad your brother is ok and that you were able to help him. I’m sure it was a really stressful situation for him and you helped ease that stress.


Tammy Brackett February 9, 2017 at 5:35 pm

What a sweet and noble sister you are!


Dmarie February 11, 2017 at 10:36 am

LOVE the food swap!!


Lesley February 8, 2017 at 11:26 am

Katy, you and Lydia Polgreen keep tweeting a lot of the same things. I am loving the “stereo” effect!

Frugal wins of late:
1) took on a side gig with the lofty goal of paying off my mortgage by the time I’m 50 (just under 4 years). All income from this side gig will go toward extra principal payments.
2) Related to this, I will then throw myself a mortgage-burning-turning-50 bash at home, serving frugally made or purchased party pleasers!
3) Took my own coffee to work in a S’well container that my kids gifted me in December (which they purchased clearanced out for $7 at Target).
4) While my employer (a large university hospital) offers parking at a reduced rate to employees, I much prefer FREE parking and am willing to walk further in order to use a more remote lot. This also benefits me physically, and this time of year the brisk walk feels good before and after the long hours.
5) Ate eggs and homemade tacos all week, and never would I ever buy a jet or a gold-plated vulgarity in the sky.


Beth February 8, 2017 at 11:51 am

1. Took LO for a walk to the park yesterday, which amounted to free exercise and entertainment for both of us.
2. Went to the goodwill outlet to browse for clothes for LO. Found 4 like-new Anais and Aiden swaddle blankets folded neatly in one of the bins. LO loves these, so I took them home, along with a bib for mealtimes and a sweater for $2.
3. Have eaten most meals at home this week.
4. Am planning a free Birthday Day of Adventures for LO…hopefully it’ll be fun!
5. ???


Jennifer February 8, 2017 at 4:37 pm

5. Perhaps you would be interested in a Lear jet or the ever coveted gold plated vulgarity in the sky? Or maybe even a gold plated Lear jet?


Beth February 9, 2017 at 6:54 am

Hahaha, no I would most definitely not. But usually Katy tacks those things on in addition to her 5+ things, so it didn’t feel quite right to use them 🙂

I did come back on here though, to add a 5th thing, only to realize that it just adds to my #3. LO wasn’t home for dinner last night, and I was VERY tempted to order pizza. Instead, we ate leftover meatloaf and leftover rice. Woohoo for eating leftovers and not spending money on food we didn’t need.

So, I guess I still don’t have a #5, lol.


melanie February 8, 2017 at 11:55 am

1 I gentle washed and line dried our bamboo duvet inner. Came out perfect and saved on dry-cleaning costs & chemical cleaning
2 I transferred compost from one of my bins into the vege garden and around shrubs. I have 3 large bins on rotation and as so much of our waste goes into them, it makes georgous compost for free!
3 Free haircuts for my boys from my hairdresser sister and got brakes fixed for cost and a 6 pack by her mechanic husband… Love my family!
4 Took a load of bits and bobs to the scrap dealers… Made $17.50 whereas the rubbish tip would charge to take it
5 Swapped various sized school uniforms with a friend…The school year has just started. Between too small items from my older son and hers, we managed to fit out both our younger sons for this year at intermediate. Plus we can do this again come high school!


Roberta February 8, 2017 at 11:57 am

1. Hanging out laundry again. We have a break in the rain, so today’s the day!
2. Posting more things to ebay. We’re working as a family to put together old LEGO sets that we no longer want. I’m excited to find new homes for these things, to both get the money and get the space!
3. Emptying egg shells to make cascarones for Easter again this year. A sugar-free, clutter-free, zero-waste answer to Easter egg hunts.
4. Returned a library book, and got a couple of new books, including one of hygge. There’s been a lot of hype, but I’m really into being cozy, so it’s worth a library visit to me.
5. Putting together a quick tea this afternoon, before taking my daughter to dance class (5:30 to 8, with a 45 min drive there). By eating at tea before class I can skip dinner out with my friends. I get water, maybe an appetizer, instead of a meal.
Everything else seems to be pricy here. All three vehicles want service (oil change, etc). I have a Republican congressman, so I don’t even feel my complaints are worthwhile there.


Katy February 8, 2017 at 12:02 pm

I feel differently, as your Republican congressman needs to hear from constituents exactly like you! I feel like I’m preaching to the converted when I call my Democratic senators.


Leslie February 8, 2017 at 12:24 pm

My Democratic representative encouraged me to tell all those who are opposed to Trump’s policies to call because he usually only hears from the pro-Trump folks, perhaps because they are more focused and energized.


olympia February 8, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Yes, Republican congresspeople need to hear from constituents more, in my estimation. We can’t let them relax for a single second. Also, this may seem slightly random, but I really believe that no matter what party our representatives belong to, we need to let them know that Trump’s clear psychological deficits have not escaped us and that the dangers of this are also clear. I’m sure they all know he’s profoundly unwell- when I called my Senator, Bernie Sanders’ office, his staffer said they’ve received “many” calls on the subject. They really need to bring the topic out into the open, though.


Roberta February 8, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Thanks, I’ll do that.


A. Marie February 8, 2017 at 3:47 pm

I too feel as if I’m “preaching to the choir” where NY’s Senators (Schumer and Gillibrand) are concerned, although I’ve sent some emails to them already. But my Congressman is a Republican in an always hotly contested swing district. So far, all the important votes seem to have been in the Senate–but the minute important House votes start coming up, I’m going to start breathing down this guy’s neck.


Pattilou February 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm

I agree that we need to keep the pressure on. It is our right to be heard and it’s important that we voice our opinions.


Amy February 10, 2017 at 9:35 am

I’m in Ohio, so we have a senator from each party. My local member of house is republican – I have my hopes that he’ll lose reelection in 2018 if we can keep any of the current local momentum. Regardless of his party affiliation, he represents an entire district of people. His communications via email and FB look like he’s living in some alternate reality and has forgotten he actually represents anyone!

People across party lines are outraged with our republican officials, the DeVos approval was the last straw for many. Mine are not truly responding to anyone’s concerns and actively practicing avoidance, while just towing the party line. It’s completely disturbing.


Dmarie February 11, 2017 at 10:51 am

I live in Mitch McConnell\Rand Paul country. I used to phone\write\e-mail, but pretty much got this in response every time: “Thank you for contacting me. Regardless of your concerns for our country, here’s what I’m going to do, in accordance with my own agenda.” Pretty sure their staff members seal such letters with a bwahaha.


JD February 8, 2017 at 12:34 pm

1. Brought leftover pot pie made from leftover roast chicken to work as lunch. Leftover leftovers?
2. I’m going on a mission trip this summer, so I am looking for used items I will need to take with me. Bonus, we can donate our clothing (except for what we’ll wear on the plane, of course) instead of carrying it back at the end of our stay. They’ll wash it and give it to those who need it.
3. My flatiron died, and with crazy hair like mine, I use it daily. I’m wearing ponytails or braids until I can find a good deal on one and I’m building up swagbucks to help pay for it. It’s good practice, getting along without it, I guess, since I won’t be taking one along on the mission trip.
4. I had a doctor appointment that’s an hour’s drive from here. I was a little thirsty when I got done and my water bottle was empty, but I refused to buy a drink and a snack on the way home. I survived.
5. Planning birthdays on the cheap for some upcoming birthdays; we have four birthdays in a span of three weeks, the first one being 11 days away.


Shevaun February 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm

1. After my last pair of pants gave up the ghost, I went to Savers and bought four pairs for $25 total.
**Mommy Moment** I tied a long ribbon to the shopping cart. My toddler, who refuses to sit in cart seats any more, held the end of the ribbon, so I had both hands to look at items and push the cart. And our new little guy was in the chest-carrier.
2. I am working (with others) on my church’s budget, and trying to apply frugal principles to our shared ministry.
3. I am trying to start an inter-faith play group for moms and babies of all faiths. No prosthelitizing, just friendship, and especial invitations to new refugee families who maybe haven’t made local friends yet.
4. Waited to do laundry til there was a full load to save water, time, and detergent.
5. [[I want to make clever vulgar-gold-plated-apartment joke here, but can’t think of anything, and anyways, the baby woke up and is crying. so mommy’s me-time is over]]


Susie's Daughter February 8, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Shevaun –
Your #3 sounds like a great idea! DS was very small while we were living in DC and, with our church’s enthusiastic approval, I started a community playgroup for parents and grandparents home with children in our neighborhood. We had families attending from all kinds of religious and philosophical backgrounds and from many different parts of the world. The best part was watching people grow to love and support each other as many folks were living in the District without family near by. Go for it!!!


Carla February 9, 2017 at 1:20 am

I love the ribbon to shopping cart idea! My kids are bigger now so I don’t need it, but I’m sure it will come in handy at some point. Brilliant! 10 mom points 🙂


Shevaun February 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

Carla… There are mom points?! Can I turn them in for diapers?? Hahaha!

And Susie’s Daughter… thanks for the encouragement! If things work out for the baby group, I’ll post details. For now at least, I got our senior high youth director to look into inviting some ne arrival refugee kids on the youth group’s non-religious events (ice skating, pizza parties, etc.) . Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly.


Annye February 8, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Katy, you may not have a vulgar, gold-plated apartment in the sky, but you CAN get vulgar, gold-plated jewelry likenesses of POTUS 45 — just in time for Valentine’s Day/Oregon’s Birthday!

(I would have included an image instead, but the form wouldn’t let me.)


Vickie February 8, 2017 at 12:59 pm

1) I ate my microwavable meal here at work today. Filled up my water bottle from the bottled water provided here an watched online videos instead of going anywhere for lunch.
2) Last night hubby and I ate leftover meatloaf from Sunday’s meal. He loves meatloaf sandwiches, so it’s nice to get 3 meals out of one night’s cooking.
3) I had to p/u livestock supplies at the feed store yesterday and Tuesday is $3 Taco Platter day at Taco Bueno. So, I treated myself to a cheap lunch out with tacos, refried beans and guacamole.
4) I checked out about 8 audiobooks from the Library, last week, and I’m finishing up my second one. My work commute is made so much better by listening to someone read to me. And commercial free – even better!
5) When I’m not busy here at work I entertain myself with YouTube videos from channels I subscribe to. I learn something valuable every day and I’ve made new friends online I’d have never known otherwise.

Frugal Fail: I ate Chinese food out on Monday at lunch, while running errands. It cost me $9 but it was good food and it filled me up for the day.
Occasional lunch out pretty much covers my frugal fails anymore, but I’ve wisely cut that down to only a few lunches out per month. I’ve noticed a few more of my coworkers are bringing their lunch now, so no temptation to eat lunch out anymore.


Amanda February 8, 2017 at 1:44 pm

1. Made pasta on Monday night with leftover pasta, tomatoes, and spinach. The bacon that finished it out came from Aldi.

2. My husband and I were both invited to one last round of lunch takeout from a local restaurant that is closing. It would have been delicious, but eating leftovers was much cheaper and healthier. We’ll save our going-out dollars for special occasions.

3. My bicycle was stolen on Monday. I filed a police report, but I will never see it again. So I bought a new (used) bike from a local bike repair shop. It was cheaper than buying new, and the shop owner gave me a $50 discount I guess because that bike had been sitting there a while. I probably could have saved a few more bucks by buying off of Craigslist, but this saved me the hassle and time of driving out to the suburbs. Also since the bike came from a bike shop that had “rehabed” it, I am street ready.

4. This week is determined to throw us off our budget just as the month is beginning. We also had to have one of the inside door handles on the car replaced because it cracked in half. The good news is that our mechanic also noticed that we had a nail in one tire. A $25 repair was much cheaper than replacing the whole tire if we had kept riding around on it with a nail in it.

5. Supper tonight is meatloaf sandwiches (made with beef from Aldi) on homemade bread. My husband and I are ridiculously excited about it. The meatloaf is in the crockpot now and smells divine! Delicious homemade meals are one of the benefits of frugality.


Bee February 8, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Sorry about your bike. What a bummer!


Stephanie February 9, 2017 at 7:59 am

Meatloaf sandwiches are a real treat. Hope you enjoyed them!


kathleen February 8, 2017 at 2:21 pm

1. Just ate the last piece of homemade pizza. Two pizzas made from on-hand ingredients made dinner for 3 one night, 2 frozen dinners for hubs to take to work, lunch for me to take to a quilting day, and lunch for the hubs and I today.
2. Found a recipe online for Dublin Coddle that used up some ingredients on hand, and layered in a large amount of kale that needed using as well. It was so good, I will be making it again.
3. Discovered that diluting dish liquid a little makes it pour more easily from the decorative bottle I have sitting next to the sink. And diluted it further (way more water than wash liquid) to refill the foaming handwash bottle I have sitting there too…using it for foaming handwash cuts grease from my hands during kitchen chores better than regular handwash.
4. Bought car to replace the one that was totaled in accident. Took our time (2+ months) and found one we’re happy with. Used, low mileage, still under warranty, reasonable price. Brought it home two weeks ago, and haven’t needed to add gasoline yet.
5. I’ve made drastic cutbacks in snacking. Doing without car for so long there was no fast food, and groceries shopping only every two weeks. Saved money and lost 10 lbs.


Bee February 8, 2017 at 3:13 pm

You always find the most unusual recipes. I have kale in the frig, so I will be looking this one up.


kathleen February 8, 2017 at 9:13 pm

Bee, here’s the recipe I was inspired by and here’s the way I made it with the addition of kale


Bee February 9, 2017 at 3:55 am

I have all these ingredients in the frig and freezer. Dinner! Thanks for sharing. 🙂


Cindy in the South I February 9, 2017 at 5:07 am

Thanks Kathleen!. I am going to do this recipe but substitute with leftover bologna and leftover collards that I have and need to use up!


A. Marie February 9, 2017 at 1:52 pm

My thanks as well, Kathleen. I’ve got some still-usable kale in the garden (in Upstate NY in February, no less), and a whole bunch of breakfast sausage from the 1/2 pig we buy every year, so I too am planning to take the recipe and improvise with what I’ve got.


Pattilou February 8, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Congrats on your weight loss Kathleen.


Gina in KY February 9, 2017 at 10:44 am

I’m surviving without a car currently too. I sold mine back to VW as part of a settlement. I am hoping to find a replacement that has the same qualities as the one you found. I had to rent a car last weekend to make a planned trip and when I returned it at the airport, I realized a public bus services the airport and drops me off just a couple of blocks from my house. It costs $1.75 to ride the bus, $20 or more for a taxi. Hopefully I’ll lose some weight too!! 🙂


kathleen February 9, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Bee: You’re welcome.
Cindy & A. Marie: I never make a recipe without substituting/improvising. 😉
Pattilou: Thanks!
Gina: Best of luck!


Jennifer February 8, 2017 at 2:23 pm

1. I went to the grocery store to find boxes of junky cereal for $1 a box. I hate buying the stuff but at a $1 per box it was a nice treat for my family.
2. I am reading a book called ‘The Shack” that a friend brought by for me to borrow for some good free entertainment. She also brought by a few more books so I am enjoying my escape into a good read to rid my mind of political clutter.
3. I was gifted a few pineapples and some bags of oranges from another friend. I have great friends! Last night I made some sweet and sour chicken with rice with my fresh pineapple. It was delicious and I only used a small amount of chicken so it costs just a couple dollars for the whole meal. I also made a mini punch bowl cake from another pineapple for dessert.
4.I have been getting up at 5:00 am to walk on my treadmill and do some stretching. I have realized that as a mother of three, a grandmother, and caring for my husband whom is sick, I have not been taking good care of myself. I am getting up this hour early to hopefully do this. So far the only difference I have noticed is I am extremely tired and sore. I’m gonna keep it up because I think it will get better and eventually pay off. Healthy is frugal-Maybe I will frame that quote and put it on my wall in front of the treadmill, lol!
5. I am happy that I always get Valentine’s Day cards on clearance each year for 90% off and put up in the closet. I always choose some that don’t have a particular character on them so that they will work no matter what my kids are into the next year.


Bee February 8, 2017 at 3:23 pm

Speaking to your #4 — Good for you! I need to start doing the same thing. I excercise sporadically, but I need to do it every day.


Jennifer February 8, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Exactly my problem! I want this to be a habit. That is why I chose to get up an hour earlier. I HATE getting up earlier but it’s the only time I can carve out of my schedule that will be uninterrupted.


Pattilou February 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm

I admire your #4 Jennifer. I could never make myself get up that early. Keep it up and you will feel less sore and will start to feel and see the results.


Jennifer February 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Thanks so much!


Marybeth February 8, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Loved “The Shack”. They made it into a movie. I saw a promo for it the other day.


Karen B. February 8, 2017 at 6:07 pm

Absolute loved “The Shack”! I hope they do a good job of it for the movie!


Jennifer February 9, 2017 at 7:33 am

Can’t wait for the movie!


Bee February 8, 2017 at 3:09 pm

1) Today, I had my car serviced. This was regular maintenance, so it was a planned expenditure. I used a coupon that I had gotten in the mail from the dealership and saved $35. These coupons come every month and I always save them just in case.
2) I made my first visit ever to an Aldi today. There are very few in our area and this one happened to be on the way back from the car dealership. I bought a few things that I needed and some pantry items. I was impressed with the low prices on some items. Unfortunately, it is a 45 minute drive from my house in horrible traffic. However, I will stop again if I am over that way. BTW, it took me a few minutes to figure out how to get my quarter back, but I wasn’t leaving without it!
3) My son takes a rather expensive prescription medication. There is no generic equivalents and no similar medications on the market at this time. The co-pay on a month’s supply is $100. I googled the name of the medication and found the company’s website. There was a savings certificate that covered the entire co-pay and will pay all but $25 for the rest of the calendar year. Even the pharmacy tech was impressed.
4) I read and returned a library book earlier in the week. I put a book on hold, “Tools of Titans.” I am on long waiting list for two others. I also downloaded a book that is part of our community reading program, True Grit. Westerns are not a genre that I usually read, so I am stretching myself. I may actually take part in the community discussion. I love to read with others and am looking for a book club.
5) I having been baking quite a bit to use up items purchased over the Christmas holidays. Monday I made some GF banana muffins out of overripe bananas. This is not particularly extraordinary, but I started reducing the amount of sugar that this recipe — and many others –call for. Over the last month, I have found that I can reduce the amount of sugar by at least 1/3 before noticing any difference in flavor. This reduces the cost of the baked goods, but it is also better for us. I also have been substituting walnuts for pecans. Walnuts are half the cost of pecans!


Jenzer February 8, 2017 at 4:30 pm

My DD noticed the price difference between bulk walnuts and pecans on our last trip to the grocery store. I’m not much of a nut-snacker myself, but she is. She had wanted to get pecans but changed her mind immediately when she saw how much more pecans would cost. My lessons in frugal grocery shopping are having an impact — parenting win!


Jennifer February 8, 2017 at 4:49 pm

I have mentioned this before but did you try the app GoodRx. If it weren’t for that app we would be spending a small fortune on my husband’s medicines. The app allows you to find which pharmacy in your area has your med for the best price. I have a drug card through my insurance company but the meds are always cheaper through the Goodrx app. I saved a woman behind me in line at the pharmacy over $100 on her med by using it.


Bee February 9, 2017 at 4:12 am

I have used Good RX and it has been helpful especially when my didn’t have any insurance or when we had a high deductible plan that virtually left us without prescription drug coverage. I actually find my thyroid medicine is cheaper at Walmart than the pharmacy that is an insurance provider. Who knew. However, for those in financial need and/ or take expensive medications sometimes the actual manufacturer can be of assistance.


Jenzer February 8, 2017 at 4:07 pm

1) Our 8-month-old puppy had an unfortunate collision with a sharp metal edge Saturday evening, so we ended up at the 24-hour animal hospital for emergency surgery. While this was NOT cheap, we had funds available to deal with the situation, thanks to a well-ingrained habit of living below our means. Because I picked her up before 10am Sunday, I avoided extra charges for an additional day of cage time / care.

2) The canine ER incident threw my Sunday dinner plans out of whack. Pity-party takeout was tempting, but then I remembered the containers of sloppy joe and baked beans I had in the freezer. I combined the two for a chili-ish dish that we ate with oyster crackers and tortilla chips. My son said it was “awesomely delicious.” Bonus: I combined the last bit of that meal with some macaroni pasta and traditional chili to create Tuesday night’s dinner.

3) The animal hospital is just a mile from our closest Aldi store. After our follow-up vet visit Monday morning, I swung by Aldi to stock up on a few staples.

4) My 7th-grade DD has the opportunity to take the SAT this spring as part of a midwest academic talent search. We found a free SAT-prep course on Khan Academy that she’s been using to sharpen her skills.

5) I’m typing this while drinking spearmint herbal tea gifted to us from a friend. His father grows spearmint in his garden and dries the leaves himself.


Jennifer February 8, 2017 at 4:51 pm

4. Good info to know, thanks!


A. Marie February 9, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Full credit to you for your #1-3, Jenzer. Sometimes I think that the essence of frugality is being able to react frugally to what’s happening in real time. And I hope the puppy is OK!


Jenzer February 10, 2017 at 11:41 am

She’s healing very well, thank you for asking!


st February 11, 2017 at 6:19 am

Hope that your puppy is on the mend!


Patti February 8, 2017 at 4:22 pm

1) I found a vintage Salton Yogurt Maker at my local thrift store for $3.00 on Saturday. I have wanted one for years and am so pleased to finally have it. Since there are only 2 of us at home now, making yogurt in my crock pot is not economical – we simply can’t eat it all and it goes bad. I can now make 5 small containers for about 26 cents each, saving approximately $200 a year.
2) I have a list of items to purchase tomorrow when I am across town. I only go there once every 5 weeks when I get my hair cut. While I am there, I visit Sam’s, Joann’s, etc. Some of these items have been real needs, but I have managed to “make do” even if it meant soldering through for a few weeks.
3)I need some gifts for two new babies and one for my next door neighbor’s 5th birthday. I have cut up some remnants of fabric to make 4 baby bandana bibs, have knitted a baby hat, and will make a doll from fabric scraps. All will be “free” as I am using materials I have on hand.
4) Today I helped my son move more items to his home (he lives an hour away). It cost me in gas to drive there and back but we enjoyed long discussions about finances and the real world. I feel like he is finally “getting it” now that he has to pay for everything. He will be moving to a new one room place in two months – the rent and utilities will only be $350/month and he will be able to walk to work. He is investigating the best rates for car insurance as he will be making that payment for the first time starting in April. He also took a shelving unit I found for free on the side of the road. At first it wasn’t “good enough” but with some cheap materials to update the shelves, he has decided it is a good deal!
5)I have tallied up all of January’s expenses. I now have a baseline for the next month’s expenses. Hoping to match or lower the spending (but in both months, I am hosting groups for dinner which adds to food expense).
I have had some large unplanned expenses this week: a part for our heating unit and a tire blown out. Luckily, we keep an emergency fund just for these times when “life happens”.


Gina in KY February 9, 2017 at 10:48 am

Aren’t those commuting times with a son wonderful? Mine is only 14, but when he is “stuck” in the car with mom, I learn so much about his life.


Mrs. Picky Pincher February 8, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Bravo for being politically active. 🙂

This week:

1. I’m making barley cakes tonight with leftover barley. It’s the first time I’ve made them, but they sound pretty tasty. They’re dipped in a tahini-herb sauce.

2. I’ll make some molasses oatmeal bread sometime this week. Frugal Girl posted the recipe on her site and it’s just the thing to use up my big container of oatmeal.

3. I got a lead on a better-paying full-time job today, so hopefully that can lead to some nice benefits and income increases.

4. I sent a letter to a friend using stamps Mr. Picky Pincher got for free at work.

5. Mr. Picky Pincher will bottle his homemade beer this weekend using leftover beer bottles instead of buying new ones.


Pattilou February 8, 2017 at 4:58 pm

1. Had dinner and a movie night at a friend’s house. I was asked to bring chips and salsa which I already had on hand.
2. Stopped at the grocery store for a small bulb of garlic today. The self scanner would not take the weight and after a few tries the manager finally just gave me the bulb for free.
3. I then stopped at Aldi. I encountered a woman and her daughter with an overflowing grocery cart. We struck up a conversation and she told me she didn’t have a quarter for another cart. I thought I’d pay forward my gift of free garlic and I gave her a quarter I had in my pocket. I then ended up finding 27 cents on the ground.
4. I was able to avoid using the dryer for the last two weeks, which doesn’t always happen in the winter.
5. I used up the last of my emergency meals I had stashed in the freezer. Even though I haven’t been feeling great, I made myself throw together a few things to get me through the weekend until I can do some cooking on my day off. I often eat two meals at work so I need to try to stay ahead of the game.


Brandi February 8, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Thanks for calling your senators! I call mine daily to tell them how much they suck (I’m in Iowa). I guess I should call my awesome representative to thank him for standing up for what’s right!


Kim from Philadelphia February 8, 2017 at 5:12 pm

I just love Jeff Merkeley.
Can I trade my horrid PA Senator Toomey for him??


cathy February 8, 2017 at 7:51 pm

I’ll see your Toomey and raise you Orrin Hatch & Jason Chaffetz. You have no idea how disheartening it often is to be liberal in Utah. That said, Chaffetz did withdraw his bill to reverse Obama’s designation of Bears Ears as a national monument, and our municipal elections are much more balanced.


Lindsey February 8, 2017 at 5:12 pm

1. Did a mystery shop and got a free lube job for our van.
2. Did a mystery shop so husband and I had a free date at the movies, plus $15 worth of refreshments.
3. We had a few large unexpected expenses (like a furnace that decided to blow up and a tire that got a flat that could not be repaired) come up so rather than take money out of savings or emergency fund, I let a former employer who uses consultants know I was available and interested. My husband, who was in the same field and is retired, did the same. He ended up with a three month contract (from a different agency that heard he was available) that is paying him $12,000! I accepted a much smaller contract, for about $600, since I already have a job.
4. Still eating out of the tons of stuff in freezer and cupboard, so are only buying milk and apples this month. Hope to spend less than $50 for food. And we are eating very well—we have tons of salmon, a freezer full of stuff I grew and froze last summer, dehydrated vegetables…I did an inventory and we should be able to continue this until the end of March.
5. Did the usual of baking our bread, washing out and reusing plastic bags, visiting the library, drying only towels and hanging up the rest in the garage until it gets warm enough to hang stuff outside, trying to make sure the shirt or pants we are wearing need to be thrown in the laundry or can be worn one more day…


MamaMinou February 8, 2017 at 11:42 pm

Lindsey–I’m intrigued by the mystery shopping. How did you get not this? What does it involve? How often do you do it? Please, share more!


MamaMinou February 8, 2017 at 11:42 pm

I meant to write, get INTO this….


Lindsey February 9, 2017 at 11:48 am

We shop for HS Brands International. I see from the job board that there are many, many shops in other states that don’t make it to Alaska—when we go Outside, I am stunned by the number of food franchises because Fairbanks doesn’t have that many. (More than I would like, but fewer than even Anchorage.) Mostly we do Fred Meyer, Jiffy Lube, the move theater and one or two other places. I am sure you could do a lot more shops if you lived in a larger town; I have a friend who lives on the East Coast and I swear she goes out to eat once every other week on the tab of the mystery shop company.

You get emails about a shop that is opening in your zip code and you apply to do that shop. They tell you the next day or so if you have been selected; some areas seem to have lots of shoppers and more competition than others. In other words, even if there is a shop in your area you don’t have to take it. How much time it takes depends on the shop. Some are only 15 minutes plus paperwork and others are 45 minutes and paperwork. Different shops pay differing amounts. The auto lube place is a lube job for free plus $5 for your time. The movie is the price of two tickets plus $15 for concessions. You have to submit the report by the end of the night of the day you shop—some shops require nothing but yes and no answers, while others require a paragraph for each section. The shops are paid through PayPal, once a month.

As to how often we do it, that depends on my time and what we need/want. We usually wait to have our vehicle serviced until there is a lube shop. We can only do the same movie theater once every 60 days, which is about how often they pop-up, so we end up doing about four of those a year. I am more likely to do a shop in the summer because it takes a lot to pry me out of the house at 30 below zero. (Or even 10 below, truth be told.) If we are travelling and will be there for a while, like visiting family, I will look for shops in that zip code and at the airports we are going through, since you can shop anyplace and not just where you live. Mystery shop are not a way to make a living but I would estimate that during the last calendar year I made about $500 in shops and had some fun doing things like going to the movies.

Some shops have qualifications you must meet, even if you are already a shopper. For example, there was a shop this week and you had to be over 18 and under 59 in age and know how to ride a motorcycle.

I hope this answers your questions. There are other mystery shop companies but I have experience only with one other one. In that case my regular shop company recommended me to another company desperate to find someone in Fairbanks to do a shop.


MamaMinou February 9, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Thank you very much for your detailed answer!! This sounds like kind of fun side gig/hustle/hobby/way to access entertainment. 🙂


Bethc February 12, 2017 at 6:51 am

My husband and I have been ms-Ing for years. I started by doing banks when my kids were in college and then branched out into restaurants. We have even done a couple of hotels, although the reports for those can be lengthy. I work lots of hours at my full time job now, so I hardly ever shop. My husband is retired and shops part-time. His average income is $5,000-$6,000 per year. Not enough to live in, but nice additional cash. This total does not include reimbursement for meals, car washes etc. because this is not technically income. However, it keeps us from spending our own cash. If you are reliable and write well, the editors and schedulers get to know you and tend to offer higher paying shops. The websites and mystery shopper forum used to list companies that accept new shopper applications. The forums on these websites also discuss companies that pay reliably and companies that abuse their shoppers with low pay, impossible reports, or late payment.


Daryl Balod February 9, 2017 at 7:06 am

Which Mystery Shopping do you recommend?


Lindsey February 9, 2017 at 11:49 am

See my detailed answer above, Daryl. (I don’t want to repeat myself…)


Daryl Balod February 9, 2017 at 6:55 pm

Thank you! I didn’t see your earlier response


Tracy February 8, 2017 at 5:33 pm

1. Made dinner (again) last night even though I didn’t feel like it.
2. Am sticking to grocery shopping 1x/week which definitely helps me spend less.
3. Did NOT buy Starbucks after my 5:30 a.m. run in the rain this a.m., even though in the past I would have and even though I was sorely tempted.
4. Going to see Sarah Silverman tonight, frugal because my friend bought four tickets and invited three of us to join her, her treat (I offered to reimburse, but no go!)
5. Still haven’t bought anything except groceries and a birthday gift since January 1! (Well, no “things,” have eaten out a few times)

Frugal fail: Forgot to bring lunch today so bought a taco salad for $7 — ouch!


Marybeth February 8, 2017 at 5:48 pm

1. Helped run the concession stand at a Make a Wish fundraiser. Made homemade cupcakes with blue frosting that I already had. The fundraiser made over $20 thousand dollars! There were so many leftovers that all the volunteers got to take a bunch of stuff home. My husband , 2 kids and I helped. Came home with a dozen donuts(local bakery donated 200 donuts), cupcakes, bags of mixed chips, cookies, chocolate covered marshmallows and brownies. Not baking this week.
2. My 15 year old daughter won one of the grand prizes: a 50 inch Samsung smart TV. We couldn’t believe it. My husband hung it up right before the Super Bowl. Bracket cost $28. We had an old 35 inch tube TV.
3. Dinner was provided to all the volunteers(pizza). My husband is allergic to dairy and we worked this event last year so I came prepared. I brought him a sandwich.
4. Went to a friends art show. He is an amazing artist. It was a free event. They had snacks for all that were attending. Brought our refillable water bottles.
5. Cooked all our meals, used coupons on needed items, brought reusable grocery bags and my water bottle, hung most of my laundry to dry, batched errands together. Eating up all our leftovers.


Diane February 9, 2017 at 5:57 am

Thank you for raising funds for Make A Wish! My daughter is fighting leukemia and our family will benefit from this organization and the work of volunteers like you!


Marybeth February 9, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Our friend that runs the fundraiser, her daughter has cancer. She is one of the sweetest, kindest and bravest people I know. They went on an Alaskan cruise and she wanted to give back. We are all happy to help her in any way. Good luck to your daughter and your family. You will all be in my prayers.


Drasa February 9, 2017 at 9:22 pm

#2 Wow! That is really exciting! I love those random wins!


Caroline February 8, 2017 at 5:56 pm

1. Almost through eating down the fridge. To the point that I found a half a container of ricotta I forgot we had–and was bummed out!
2. Ate meals at home since last Friday, and that was delicious lunch at our local Mexican joint, so not too pricy.
3. Rode with colleagues to an offsite training this week in a work-owned vehicle. One is a real chatterbox but it was worth it to avoid putting miles on my car.
4. Stuck with the NPROne app long enough this go-around to allow it to customize the programming more to my liking (more pop culture and economics, slightly less Trump fiasco of the hour, ugh.) Technically free–but I sporadically donate so in reality, frugal.
5. Lost 4 pounds since Christmas. Easy on, hard off, but as others have mentioned, health is wealth!
6. Bonus! Read/lurked on NCA–kept me between the thrifty ditches more than once. Thanks, y’all.


Mand01 February 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm

We are in the middle of a heat wave so meal planning is hard. It’s 42 degrees Celsius and going to stay that way for a couple more days. Just trying to get through it!
1. My husband has been doing all the cooking this week. We have just been ‘planning as we go’ which we don’t usually do but it has allowed us to use up some pantry and freezer food.
2. I’ve been retooling our February budget. We have a lot of expenses for the start of the school year.
3. Our roof has been leaking. My husband climbed up (we have a very huge unfrugal two storey edifice) and discovered some tiles out of place and some insulation that had come away. He bought a $10 can of silicone roofing adhesive and repaired it. We had a deluge last week and no leaks! I appreciate his handiness and his bravery- he’s scared of heights!
4. My boss bought me a coffee today. As I am trying to avoid doing that myself it was a nice treat.
5. I’m traveling for work for the next two weeks. It’s not going to be fun (it won’t be terrible either but I’m going to some remote areas so it’s not a junket – think desert and red land. Beautiful, dry, isolated, and hot) but I guess I won’t be driving my car so we will save on petrol, and I will be fed the whole time as well.


Cindy in the South I February 9, 2017 at 5:12 am

I love beautiful, dry, isolated and hot…think of southern Utah!!! One of my fav places! Hope you have fun on your trip!


Krystal February 8, 2017 at 6:52 pm

1. Joined my yoga studio workstudy friends for a free dinner last night, paid for by our studio. I do trade for free classes, though this month I had the option of an unlimited pass for free as part of a studio program, and I am taking full advantage.
2. Dropped of my Terracycle at the post office–it’s free to participate in a brigade (they pay shipping) and I used free old boxes to ship my good in.
3. Finally paid for the $15 a year Chinook Book subscription, and dear lord am I going to get good use at of that. Used $6 worth of coupons today at the co-op for items I already buy.
4. Cleaned up some items I don’t use anymore (trendy hanging terrariums) and listed them on Craigslist.
5. Adjust a flight for our October vacation at no charge, and ended up with a $22 credit at the airline that will get used in April.


MamaMinou February 8, 2017 at 11:40 pm

I LOVE reading people’s lists from these posts.

1. I have gone as far as putting Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden’s numbers in my cell phone (fellow Oregonian here) but have not yet called them. What am I waiting for? I’m not sure. It’s a new step for me. And an important one.

2. Watched the second season of PBS Indian Summers from the library. If you like history, romance, and drama, it’s good.

3. Been knitting “crazy socks” with all my leftover little sock yarn bits. Since I’m not buying more until I knit what I have, better use it up.

4. Not too ashamed to admit that I had free work cookies for dinner on Monday. Not proud either.

5. Looking forward to a weekend visit from a dear and generous non-frugal friend, and considering how I can keep to budget while still hosting her well and enjoying our time. Ideas??


Shevaun February 9, 2017 at 10:25 am

What is a skill you have that she doesn’t? Can you treat her generously with your skill instead of spending a lot of money? When my sister, who has celiac disease, visits, I put a lot of research into making menus. We hang out at home or take walks (free), then spend the afternoon cooking and eating. We’d be eating anyway, so the cost isn’t the food; it’s the time and attention. What does your friend need that you could make available?


MamaMinou February 9, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Hmmmm, that is a very good question and idea. One skill I have is knitting, and I almost always gift her with handmade knitted items. I can certainly do that. And take her hiking…we both love this, and there are great hikes and places to explore not far away. Thank you for framing the issue in that way!


Nancy from Mass February 9, 2017 at 5:38 am

1. Found $.26 yesterday while running an errand.
2. picked up some ‘fire bricks’ yesterday at TSC. i chose the packages that had somewhat broken bricks and got 8 packages (3 in each package) for $11. would have normally cost me $24. That’ll hold us for today’s storm and the storm we are expecting sat/sun. i may run over again this weekend and get a few more packages. the fireplace will be working overtime for the next 4 days! 🙂 we’ll also use what’s left of our woodpile. but it’s dwindling down.
3. found out we owe for federal (my son is 17 so we lost some child credits), not a lot but, still. we are getting $ back from the commonwealth but then it’s going to pay the federal and the accountant. stinks because we really, i mean, REALLY need the money right now.
4. hubby (who is very ill and will not improve) has decided (with my urging) to give up his license. he will make calls today and then i will call the insurance company to drop him. his car has 300k miles on it and needs tires and suspension work. my son hates driving his car (prefers my jeep) and i can’t use it because i commute (wont hold up). mechanic told me he would help me find someone to buy it to help put some money in my pocket. my son and i will share my car for now until i have some money to pick up a new-to-me car. then my son will get the Jeep (which has over 240k miles). We definitely got our money’s worth from buying 1yo cars 12 and 9 years ago!
5. bare minimum for grocery shopping this month. trying to use up the freezer supply.

i am having a difficult time stomaching the news. you can’t run the government like you run a company. every news item makes me feel ill. and the EPA and NPS? Really? leave the park rangers and environment alone. ugh. i feel like throwing up.


Vickey February 25, 2017 at 8:56 am

Nancy, I’m sorry your family is going through such difficulties. {{{}}} I know what you mean about the added stress from the news! Some days I have to avoid it entirely for my own well-being.


Carolyn S February 9, 2017 at 8:06 am

I love reading all the comments! I always get great ideas from them.
Here’s my five:
1. Brought my lunch to work and am drinking water and tea I brought with me.
2. Washed clothes yesterday and hung them all to dry. I hardly ever use my dryer anymore.
3. Am stopping by the library on my way home to return my items on time and pick up some more books and DVDs from my request list.
4. Finished sewing a new (longer) pair of pants for my rapidly growing preschooler out of fabric and supplies I already had on hand. I love that I can sew most of my kids clothes and will keep doing it as long as they’ll put up with it!
5. Made dinner last night from pasta bought on sale and pesto from my freezer that I made with the abundance of basil my garden provided last year. My picky preschooler finished a big bowl of it!


Katherine in AL February 9, 2017 at 8:29 am

1. We were given a dryer by a family member who is combining households. I would like to sell it as it’s been almost 10yrs since we’ve owned one and we’ve been just fine but husband would like to keep it. We have yet to make a final decision.
2. Taking an online course found through Katy’s post. I love learning and needed a distraction from the disheartening news cycle. Thanks Katy!
3. I walked to the thrift store, library and grocery store. Only spent $.79 on whole wheat bread.
4. I have been in touch with a large group of college friends using direct messaging through Instagram. This allows me to save my text messages for urgent situations and keeps my phone bill at $13 per month. I also use an Ipod my husband won in a contest as I don’t own a smart phone.
5. No spray tans, gold drapes or fancy bathrobes.
I will contact my local politicians even though I’m in the deep Red and deeply discouraged.


Gina in KY February 9, 2017 at 11:12 am

I just want to say my heart goes out to all of you with a family member or self battling illnesses. <3

Today I have 5 frugal things and something pissing me off!

1. I obtained 21(!!!) free bell peppers (red, orange and yellow ones). I made lentil/rice stuffed peppers which were yummy. I froze four of them for later meals. I also cut up some of the others and froze them in reusable containers to use for future meals. And, finally, I roasted the red ones for later soup.

2. I am making King's cake this weekend (cheating a bit because I do not live in Louisiana, but I do live in another "fleur de lis" city). I found the recipe on Joy the Baker's blog (she lives in New Orleans). I only had to buy yeast packets and edible glitter as I have all other ingredients in the pantry. I am making two: One for my sons and me and the other to send out to a friend as a thank you).

3. Still eating from the pantry, although I was so tempted to eat lunch out today. I patently waited until I returned home to heat up one of the aforementioned stuffed peppers.

4. I am still without a car since relinquishing the VW. I am waiting until the loan is paid off by VW to buy another car. This payoff will boost my credit score from "good" to "excellent" giving me more buying power. Like Kathleen I am wanting low mileage, used, under warranty, good price. I despise the mysterious, biased credit rating system in so many ways (but that is not what I am pissed off about).

5. Despite sudden drop in temps around here, I am keeping the furnace low and layering up.

OK, the bad thing: According to VW I was supposed to have my payoff in three business days. They have the car. I did receive my portion of it as they stated, but almost two weeks later, my loan is still outstanding. I owe a payment next week and it is accruing daily interest. I also do not wish to take out another loan with one outstanding. After several phone calls ((and the customer service is actually great with VW), I found out the loan payment is held up at their "verification" office. Ugh!!!! OK, rant over.


A. Marie February 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Seconding Gina on good wishes to all of the NCA community with medical and psychological problems (your own or those of your loved ones). Too many of my neighbors on our wonderful street are dealing with same (we’ve got two new “cases” this week)–and my own DH continues to struggle with cognitive and memory issues. We’re all “stronger together” as we share our difficulties.


Vickey February 25, 2017 at 9:14 am

I third this! Thank you everyone, for sharing so generously your creativity in getting through tough times.


KJD509 February 9, 2017 at 11:31 am

Non-frugals outweighed the frugals recently, it seems, but we keep trying:

1) Made a very large batch of mac n cheese with mostly leftover ends of fancy cheeses from the holidays for a casual dinner party last weekend. Most guests got snowed in at home, so we sent leftovers home with the hardy folks who made it and still ate it for 4 days. Finished every single bite.
2) Froze the uneaten appetizers to re-use another time. I’m struggling to do the direct work of marching, calling, etc., but hubs and I determined we’re well suited to feed and encourage those who are on the front lines. So we have dinners set up for 5 of the next 7 or 8 weekends – the appetizers will definitely get used.
3) Took odd collections of leftovers for lunch every day at work – except today, we’re all iced in at home. We’ll eat leftovers here, too.
4) We had a (non-frugal) adults only dinner out last night to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It was lovely and worth it! I have a credit at the cafeteria at work, so I used that to buy lovely sandwiches at lunchtime and brought them home for the kids for dinner. They loved it, and no $ out of pocket.
5) Still carpooling, still chaining errands on the way home, still speaking to the hubs in spite of our very different commute styles, still no gold plated apartment in the sky.


janine February 9, 2017 at 12:38 pm

1. Found 10c on the ground.
2. Have been talking up library membership to son at his new location and yesterday, he finally suggested it himself – “if it didn’t take too long to make application.” After approximately 5 minutes he walked out of the library as a proud new member!
3. Agreed to split the cost of bringing fundraiser food and drink with a friend. However, she is ill and can’t go. Raided my stash for a bottle and purchased a tray of goodies – frugal neutral?
4. Sent colorful thank you postcards to my two senators and house member. They are all doing an awesome job. Will send an additional postcard to our attorney general who has joined Washington State in their law suite with regard to President Trump’s seven country immigration ban.
5. Stopped at a clearance outlet this morning and found a “holiday” sweater that didn’t look like the holidays for $2! Also found a sale shirt for DH who says he needed one. This clearance center is less expensive than most thrift stores. I still don’t like the environmental impact, but occasionally I will buy these goods at rock-bottom-impossible to make a profit prices.


LisaC February 9, 2017 at 2:41 pm

1. Mended some pj bottoms for DH. Before becoming a fan of this blog, I probably would have bought new ones.
2. Found some lentil soup in the freezer, thawed it, doctored it up with some spice and tomatoes, ate for three days. (one day on a potato, yum)
3. Sold an item on ebay I’d listed for a year and 1/2.
4. Making “hot air” popcorn in paper bags, no oil, in the microwave.
5. Took another secret shopper job at the grocery store I go to anyway.

Non frugal: Our year old cat is feeling bad/hurt, took him to the vet twice this month. Waiting for test results. He is DH’s favorite. 🙁


Lisa P. February 9, 2017 at 9:28 pm

I love reading everyone’s ideas on saving money! Thanks! Here are some things I did or do.
1. If you google amazon free ekindle books, there are tons on there daily for so many different categories that you can load onto your kindle. Make sure you click on the link at the top that says 100 free books.
2. Got some free collards from my uncle who brought bunches to share with church members.
3. Won a box of free corndogs on an instant win contest. It was added to my Kroger customer card.
4. Food Lion offered a free box of some kind of snack cake with teddy bears so I added that to my FL loyalty card.
5. Drank water at the restaurant when going out to celebrate my upcoming OH, google freebies for your birthday. I have gotten so many coupons. For example: free burger or salad from Ruby Tuesday, free talapia dinner from Captain D’s, free entree when you buy an entree from Fatz ( up to a certain price), Free ham sandwich from Honeybaked hams, bogo free meal at Golden Corral, etc… If you live in a big city, you’ll prob. have a ton to use. You may not be able to use them all, but hey, some freebies are nice!
You all enjoy!


Ruby February 10, 2017 at 8:04 am

1. DH finally retired a pair of boxer briefs he’s been wearing for about ten years. I had mended them several times, but they at least reached the point of “won’t stay up and worn thin to see-thru all over.” 😀 In true frugal fashion, I fished them out of the trash and cut the remains into garage rags.
2. Brought my lunch from home everyday except Monday, when I had a working lunch with my boss. This drove home the savings of brown-bagging, as my lunch of a cup of chili, a small corn muffin, a cookie and a glass of iced tea was $10 after with tip. Fortunately, we do these meetings only once every two months or so.
3. Waited until end of season clearance to buy some wool knee socks on deep discount. Our office at work is freezing and my feet were much happier this winter on the days when I wore my one pair of tall wool socks. (I used to work in the office across the hall, which is 85 degrees year-round, so heavy socks were not needed.) The rest of this winter and all of the next will be a lot more comfortable.
4. Got some free e-books through Bookbub.
5. Glad to have discovered I don’t need a Costco membership to order generic Zyrtec online from Costco. The savings is huge, even with the 5% service charge for non-members. Our allergy-plagued little rescue dog (she is seriously allergic to almost everything) takes a Zyrtec every day, and it was running us $30 a month to buy the store-brand at the pharmacy. Now it’s something like $20 for a year’s supply.


rebecca February 10, 2017 at 8:47 am

1. Cooking chicken breasts from the freezer.
2. Stocked up on library books.
3. There was a blizzard here yesterday so stayed home.
4. Got paid today and paid bills online right away. No sense in thinking I have more than I really do.
5. Am trying to figure out if getting rid of everything but basic cable and then purchasing things from my Roku is a cheaper and easier solution. Any thoughts on your experiences would be most welcome. Thanks!


K D February 10, 2017 at 11:16 am

1. I have been staying out of the store (physical and on-line) other than for a few groceries. Let the no-spend continue.

2. A friend invited a group of us for lunch at her house yesterday. She asked each of us to bring something. A fun, frugal, relaxing time. I baked some cookies and just brought some of them.

3. I made a couple loaves of gluten free bread. It tastes much better than store bought and is so much cheaper. I noticed that coconut flour was very reduced at SAM’S Club yesterday (less than $2 for a 5# bag) but I didn’t need any so left it on the shelf.

4. Found $.20 in the grocery store parking lot.

5. Continuing to give away excess items using freecycle.


Kim February 10, 2017 at 11:41 am

1. Taking advantage of sales and coupons to stock the pantry- free mustard, bbq sauce, canned beans and Pom juice. Also Arm and Hammer detergent for 99¢.
2. Found lots of markdown meats at Target. Things I wouldn’t normally buy like spinach and butter stuffed steak rollups and cheese and asparagus stuffed chicken breasts normally $9.99/pk. They all had $5 off coupons on them and also this week there is a $5off/$20 of meat cartwheel offer and another 5% cartwheel offer. Ended up with $48 of meat for $16 and some fast dinners.
3. I’ve found 26¢ of change during the course of the week.
4. Thoroughly cleaned my coffeemaker yesterday. Took it all apart, ran vinegar through twice and scrubbed it within an inch of it’s life. We use it a LOT, sometimes multiple times a day so want to keep it clean and healthy. It is the type that has a thermal carafe for the coffee and we bought it new at my neighbors’ yard sale for $5 several years ago. Trying to make it last forever!
5. Sold 8 items on Amazon in the past week, mostly things I’ve had listed for awhile.

Frugal fail- DS#2 informed me that his jacket disappeared when he was at a party, at his friend’s apartment, at college. When he went to leave, his jacket was gone. He thought maybe someone had taken his in error, it’s a black jacket and there was a black jacket still there, but no one has yet to say they have the wrong jacket. It was made by an expensive European sportswear company and normally retails for $180. I paid $20 at the thrift store since it looked brand new. It fit him perfectly and now he has no lightweight jacket so I will be looking for a replacement and will then have to ship it to him. Aggravating!


Betty Winslow February 10, 2017 at 6:47 pm

1. Today was my birthday, so have spent this week enjoying birthday freebies, like free coffee at Panera’s (where I also ate breakfast using a gift card), free coffee at Starbucks on Wed. when I was shopping at the grocery, a free book from the local used book store, a free birthday mini-massage from the massage therapist at my chiropractor’s office, and a free steak dinner at the restaurant my son works at. Tomorrow I’ll get a free dessert at another restaurant when hubs and I go out for the evening for our combined birthday/V. Day night. So far, though, the best free enjoyment today was the almost 200 birthday greetings I’ve gotten on FB!
2. Have always wanted to try Tai Chi, so took a free intro class today at our gym. It’s not for me, but at least I found out before I signed up.
3. Got chosen to be part of a research company focus group to discuss the environment. For 40 min of driving, 2 hrs of my time, and two print-outs of articles to back up my thoughts, I’ll make $100!
4. I usually don’t bother with the contest mailings we get, since it seems like you drive 20 min. to find out you won a travel mug, which I don’t need more of. However, the one yesterday was from a local bank, and I won a dollar bill and a golf umbrella!
5. Stopped at a local 5 & 10 cent store and found some marked-down jewelry findings I needed for a project I have in mind.


Betty Winslow February 11, 2017 at 9:57 am

An additional frugal from yesterday – I’m diabetic and on three meds for it. My doctor told me about a month and a half ago that if I didn’t get my A1C under control better, I’d have to go on insulin – and I am NOT doing that. So, on top of watching portion size and counting carbs, I started working out and walking at the gym 5 days a wk – and yesterday, he cut one of my meds in half. Healthy is frugal, and less meds is, too.


Bethc February 12, 2017 at 7:07 am

1. Two dear friends toook me out to dinner for my birthday. I requested Chinese food at an area restaurant I’ve wanted to try. They insisted that we eat family style and gifted me with the leftover food, which became dinner for my husband, son and myself the next day.
2. Had my monthly book club meeting and decided to look for items on hand to combine for a recipe-made a chocolate chip cookie dough dip served with graham crackers for dipping-Divine! Recipe here:
3. Office closed for a snow day Thursday. Made the executive decision to keep my work at home Friday in place-got more work done that way and saved on gas.
4. Rented a movie from the library at no cost. Consumed remains of leftover cookie dough dip in #2 with husband for dessert,
5. Heard about a $10 off T.G.I. Friday’s coupon that could be used for anything SupernBowl weekend-ordered $10.00 chicken quesadillas which provided me with 2 work lunches during the week. Sadly, coupon n was for Super Bowl weekend and NLA.


Mary in Maryland February 14, 2017 at 9:18 am

1. I did a single load of laundry today–can only hang one load indoors at a time, so I’ll do dog quilt, slipcover, and pillowcases (only do the sheets every six weeks or so) tomorrow.
2. I hung the smalls (underpants, socks, rags, and washcloths) on a rack in our bedroom. We need the moisture and it saves a trip to the basement for dry undies in the morning.
3. When I put on my clean navy knit pants, they had some of the lint smears one gets when one doesn’t use the dryer. Asking myself, “What’s abrasive enough to take off that lint?”, I noticed a slobber-free tennis ball under the dresser. It worked well.
4. The dogs went wild with a bath towel a few weeks ago. A stained towel devoted exclusively to drying wet dogs, but still… I cut out the frayed/chewed sections and zigzagged around the edge with some odd variegated thread I’d like to use up. The resuscitation was successful–it’s back on the crate and usable.
5. My husband is very sociable. I’ve realized he loves to eat out mostly because there are more people around. Last year I tried to arrange company for dinner at least twice a week. Last week we had friends for vegan cassoulet (that rocked) Saturday evening. On Sunday we went to a potluck funeral for a friend from community theater…at our community theater. My husband did the lighting. Even with all our company, our food at home for 2016 came to $1766 (we are two).
I know there’s a joke about no gold-plated condo, but we saved almost that much. I’m having mobility issues that make me less apt to go upstairs to my studio. I miss both the quilting and the income. We had been talking selling our paid for house and buying something with two bedrooms and a full bath on the first floor. But we love our neighbors, and now is not seeming like a good time politically to move. This week Bill offered to move his study upstairs and my studio down to the main level. What a gift/what a win! The room has dark paneling which I love, but need more light for quilting. Any ideas about things to turn the walls white reversibly? Drapes? Contact paper? Anything else I don’t know about?


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