Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 23, 2017 · 67 comments

  1. Day one of being sick was all adorable, with nicely organized (and zero waste) supplies, but this plague has now hit day six, and honey, it ain’t pretty. I’ve run through all my washable hankies/rags/napkins for the endless blowing of my nose and coughing, and have moved onto rolls of toilet paper. (Trader Joe’s, which is manufactured using 100% recycled content.) I’ve watched approximately 752 episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Firefly/Girls/Angel and am finally taking antibiotics to deal with a delightful ear infection that hopped along for the ride. (It did give me the opportunity to joke to the doctor that “That makes sense, since I’ve been really cranky and want to nurse all the time.”) Needless to say, very little money has been spent.
  2. I went through my inbox and deleted over 1,500 e-mails this morning. This reminded me to repost three Craigslist ads that never sold from a few months ago. (Okay, maybe not actually “this morning,” as I slept until 12:46 P.M.)
  3. I didn’t use lying in bed as an excuse to do any online shopping, even though there was much hubbub about $7-off ($9?) if you spent $50 with Amazon yesterday. (Or the day before? The days are swimming together for me.) I deserve extra props for this as I have an unspent Amazon gift card, but I couldn’t think of even one thing I truly needed.
  4. I picked up an extra hospital shift next month, as a co-worker needed it covered and I was only signed up to work a single 12-hour shift that week. Our next double college tuition/room/board payment is on April first, which looms closer and closer. Luckily, March will be another five paycheck month for my husband and I.
  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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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy in the South February 23, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Dearest Katy: I caught “it”, whatever plague is going around here, and it came on suddenly, in the middle of court….ya know, that weak, light headed, feverish, unwell feeling. I managed to remain upright and finished up at lunchtime. Instead of driving myself to my main office, I drove myself home. I am on the couch. This is my one.frugal.thing, I typed this.I am going back to sleep.


Katherine in AL February 23, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Katy and Cindy, I hope you both feel better soon!


Katherine in AL February 23, 2017 at 5:45 pm

1. Sold an item on Craigslist and renewed several other listings. The item sold was given to me so it was 100% profit.
2. Received more vintage fabric and dozens of vintage patterns from my neighbor who is cleaning out her seamstress shop.
3. The weather has been in the upper 70s this week so we’ve enjoyed fresh air and daffodils.
4. I’ve started garden planning and sowing seeds indoors. We won’t need to buy any seeds this year and we’ll have our largest garden yet.
5. Planning on completing my first mystery shop tomorrow. If all goes well I’m hoping to pick up a few shops a week.


Lindsey February 23, 2017 at 5:57 pm

Have bought only milk for two weeks, and it was delivered by a friend, since I broke my leg and husband broke his ankle the same week. No internet spending, because we are not going anyplace we have become shameless about wearing the same thing (except underwear) for days in order to keep laundry from piling up (the washer is down some stairs), and since we ran out of extra frozen microwaveable meals I prepared in the past we are eating potatoes with cheese or canned chili or just butter plus apples for most of our meals. Also oatmeal. It is a good thing the husband and I like each other a lot because we are spending all our time with each other; also a good thing that we seem to be taking turns being crabby about pain and nuisance of breaking limbs. He is having surgery next week and I will be getting a walking cast, so things should improve. What do single people or folks who have no sick leave or emergency savings do??? I think about that multiple times a day and am thankful for our good luck in having this be an annoyance but not a catastrophe.

Hope you get well soon, Katie. Since you are using it for your nose, I hope you buy the soft toilet paper and not the one that feels like sand paper!


Kate February 24, 2017 at 4:50 am

Lindsey – You have such a wonderful attitude about your and your husband’s injuries. I hope you get to eat something different soon and that all goes well with your husband’s surgery!


Bee February 24, 2017 at 7:04 am

I hope that you both heal quickly. The boot/ walking cast should help a bit. I have found when you hurt a foot or leg, you also lose the use of your hands because of the crutches. It makes everything so hard! Hang in there. I admire your positivity in the face of adversity.


Vickie February 24, 2017 at 9:09 am

Prayers of healing for you. You are a brave and positive soul!
BTW – On weekends I am lazy, when I’m home. I will wear the same lounge pants and t-shirt for a few days in a row. There’s no reason to make laundry for yourself, when you can’t get around. Hang in there, Lindsey!


Danielle February 27, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Just recovered from a serious foot injury myself – so much sympathy for you both!!!

Unsolicited advice: get a shoe leveller for the other foot once you have your walking cast. You can seriously mess up your hips and back if you walk around all crooked! My parents found me one (ugly!) at the thrift store for $2.50 and I wore it over an UGG style boot on my good foot. Even at full price on Amazon (less than $25) it will save you pain and many chiropractic visits. I also found I could move around much faster and did better on stairs with it.

Also, they found me a cheap second walking boot at the thrift store. I wore my nice one at home 99% of the time (including in bed) and wore the second one only when I went out. Keep those gross outside germs outside.

Best of luck!


Gina in KY February 23, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Still going No Spend strong (for the most part)…

1. Have not ate out since early January (I think) and have made some decent meals using ingredients on hand. I mean to say I have dug deep in the pantry and have been using those box mixed scallop potatoes, the frozen broccoli, the odds and ends of sauces and condiments with rice. It really is Chopped “Eat from the Pantry” edition around here. I plan to continue on until April (with maybe one visit to the grocery store for a few fresh veggies).
2. I also have not been shopping the thrift shops. This is so hard as I love the treasure hunt of a thrift store. Anyway, I need nothing and I have spent nothing and this is good.
3. I did curb-side “shop”, however, and picked up a lovely little Bohemian cabinet someone was throwing away. They also had a lovely vintage vanity with a big round mirror, but someone else beat me to that pretty thing! I put the cabinet in a nook next to the bathroom and it is exactly what I needed for storage (old house).
4. Can’t remember if I already mentioned this one, but I bought a car to replace my beloved VW. I scaled way back on amenities and cost and bought a sub-compact car that gets 40 miles to gal. I am trying to get used to it. I miss my Jetta.
5. Finishing up the book _The Seven Daughters of Eve_ (such a great read) which is an already owned book and simultaneously reading a couple of cookbooks from the library. I also checked out _Kindness and Warm Croissants_ and can’t wait to start it soon.


MamaMinou February 23, 2017 at 7:20 pm

1. Reading a library book for my inaugural book group (I’m very excited. And the group voted on which novel to pick based on the Book Group in a Boxes that were in at the library that week. I LOVE my library).

2. Learned today that I could save $109.00 by getting an injectable typhoid vaccine, which is 100% covered by insurance, instead of an oral typhoid vaccine, which is somehow flagged as being “for travel” and thus not covered. Thankful to the pharmacist who shared this tidbit with me.

3. For lunch, ate half of the pesto omelette and home fries I saved from lunch out with my mom yesterday (she treated me….)

4. Planning to use a $10 gift card to Fred Meyer’s for pinch-hit groceries tomorrow–milk, carrots, and lettuce. I won it at work.

5. I’m going to try again with cloth toilet paper. Just for me, and just for pee (sorry, I couldn’t resist that). I hate buying bleached paper, wrapped in cellophane, that I flush down the toilet.


Mary W February 24, 2017 at 10:35 am

Once you go cloth, you’ll never see to quite the same way. I made mine from terry cloth towels, well worn old towels that were getting a few worn spots and holes. Zigzagged the edges a couple times around to catch all the fray potential, and they’ve served me well for years now.

I feel they get me drier, are softer and don’t leave any bits of pulled up to on my bum. Add in money saved and not flushing so much tp down my commode (we have a septic system and tp isn’t really very good for septics), and I wish I’d done it much sooner.


Mary W February 24, 2017 at 10:37 am

Oh good grief. Could have sworn I typed pilled up TP, not puled up to. Stupid autocorrect!


Mary W February 24, 2017 at 10:41 am

And it strikes again. Just read to as TP in most cases, and puled as pulled, and hopefully this post doesn’t change itself after I hit send!


Sandy February 24, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Agreed. Crunchy Chicken did a cloth tp challenge years ago and asked everybody to try it for 30 days. #1 only for me! You won’t go back to TP. I save so much money and it is so, so, so much softer. I simply cut up old towels/washcloths that get too frayed for normal use. I have several lingerie bags and put the used ones in there and then toss them in with the wash a couple of times a week. No odor, no inconvenience, and I wouldn’t have believed that if I hadn’t tried it.


Denise February 25, 2017 at 1:37 am

Wow, never heard of this before. Sorry to be intrusive, but do you use it for (ahem) ALL of your “requirements”?

Presume it’s all washed at 60 degrees or higher?


Sandy February 25, 2017 at 8:04 am

Oh no, you aren’t being intrusive. Happy to explain and hope this isn’t too much for the squeemish:

I hope I’m not breaking any blog etiquette by posting the link to Crunchy Chicken…I apologize if I am. That’s how I found out about the TP challenge (back in 2008). I only use them for urine (#1) (Crunchy Chicken explains the process in that link if you’d like to use them for all your requirements! Many do.) I keep the clean cloths in a basket on the back of my toilet. (In 9 years nobody visiting has ever once asked what all the cloth squares are for. If they did, I would tell them.) The used ones go in the lingerie bag that I hook on the back of the bathroom door. Every day or so I just toss that bag in with the laundry and I wash them with the towel load. But the way I look at it people have been washing cloth diapers for years and they come clean just fine…think of it — it’s damp with a bit of urine. It’s not soaked with gasoline or something! People have been using cloth handkerchiefs for years and washing them in the wash and reusing them. I use cloth handkerchiefs and I think they are way grosser than a cloth square damp with a teensy bit of urine.

It’s actually very clean and sanitary, in my opinion it’s more comfortable to use, and you save money. What’s not to love?

Barbara February 23, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Day 6?!?! Major bummer but glad to read that you are on the mend. Great joke too!


Mariana February 23, 2017 at 7:34 pm

1. Payless has 60% off clearance +15% off online order. I actually put 3 pairs (!) into a basket but have not checked out. Winning. I don’t need any crappy Payless shoes.

2. I did not bring lunch to work today. I was just too tired to get it together last night and woke up last moment today. I did not buy anything, I just munched around and ate out all crackers, nuts and raisins that I had in all my desk’s drawers.

3. Unless it’s free, I am not engaging in any ‘entertainment’

4. I am trying to max my 401k for the year by end of April (which is when I will start looking for a new job) and I am happy to report I am staying on track.

5. I am spending $0 on myself. My needs and wants are very low in winter. Just give me some TV and a blanket.


Pattilou February 23, 2017 at 7:41 pm

Katy, hope you are feeling better.
My five are:
1. I went out to dinner for the first time in a long time. I used a certificate that has been hanging around forever. The company was great. The meal was delicious and I had lots of left overs and my out of pocket was $6.00.
2. Watched a movie from the library with friends.
3. We went to the movie theatre to see The National Theatre production of Amadeus. We did have to pay a lot for the tickets but it was definitely worth it. The theatre itself was very dirty and I write an email to the company. They responded quickly and offered free tickets to a future showing to our group so it evened out.
4. It has been unseasonably warm the last few days, although this worries me on the environmental front, I have been able to turn the heat off the last few days. This is something I have never done in February before.
5. Doing all the usuals: cooking, line drying clothes etc.


Roberta February 23, 2017 at 7:59 pm

I’m so glad that you’re again among the living!
1. My husband mentioned that, since I’ve been menu planning, we’ve been eating in every night. He still has spending money at the end of the month, even after buying movie tickets. I hadn’t realized how much we were saving at this.
2. Found a new source for used shipping boxes, for ebay.
3. I posted enough on ebay that I have to wait until the new month, to avoid paying posting fees. I’m using this time to take pictures and prep the things I want to post.
4. Remembered to water the seeds I planted. Because plants need water to grow.
5. We decided to sell out extra vehicle. It needs expensive repairs, because it’s an overpriced vehicle. I’m hoping to sell it to someone who wants the label and is willing to pay for the repairs. I will be upfront about what needs to be done (needs a new timing belt to avoid a broken timing belt and destroyed engine). We will get the cash up front, plus save on registration and insurance.
Grump: My washer is full of dirt because the dirt came off the clothes but won’t leave the drum. I had to vacuum it last week to wash this week. The repairman won’t be out until next Wednesday (!) and I want him to see what the problem is, so I can’t do laundry until then. Grrrr.


SueB February 25, 2017 at 3:58 am

I find menu planning really works for us. My husband hates it (he has many good qualities but being frugal isn’t one of them :p) but I found if I don’t menu plan then for some reason we tend to eat the same foods every few days. With a menu plan I can have a different meal every day of the month. It’s also a lot more flexible than I thought, if something unexpected comes up (like a free meal on spin to win – I can just move things forward day or so).

Without the variety my husband get’s the take out or eat out cravings much more regularly than our bank balance can afford at the moment :p

I’m hoping eventually to have maybe 6 weeks of different meals and a store cupboard of ingredients based around those things.


jhinnevada February 23, 2017 at 9:48 pm

1. I pack my lunch everyday. no exceptions. Prep food every Sunday night for the week. This really helps to stick with clean eating,
2. used cc reward points to donate to Red Cross
3. donated duplicate kitchenware to office kitchen
4. used up my last Starbux gc received from holiday
5. refurbished/painted existing heater vents, for ongoing
remodel project.
Hope you feel better soon!


Mand01 February 24, 2017 at 1:27 am

1. Back from a trip, very tired. Still managed to pack my lunch. Did still spend $10 today, shouting a coffee for a colleague and myself.
2. We have friends over tonight. Were going to order takeaway but I decided we would make quesadillas even though we are all tired.
3. We are watching Princess Bride on Netflix tonight and eating ice cream from the freezer. We didn’t have to buy anything.
4. I did not spend all my per diem from my work trip.
That’s all


Jill A February 24, 2017 at 3:09 am

1. Returned pop cans yesterday for the deposit. This paid for my groceries and I got an extra $10 back.
2. The grocery store didn’t have the ground chuck they had advertised so I got a raincheck.
3. Called to complain about a muffin mix and the company sent me 4 coupons for free mixes. The muffins are good, but the blueberry can wouldn’t open using two different can openers.
4. Had lunch with my mother at a restaurant that I remembered had a really good salad. The salad was $14…..I had french toast instead.
5. Planning to take my Mother to a restaurant for her birthday using gift cards we’ve had for a while.


Bethc February 24, 2017 at 5:07 am

1. One of the Macy’s stores in our area is closing and everything is 30-50 per cent off. We bought a new kitchen flatware set and sold the old set on EBay. The eBay sale just about covered the cost of the new set, and now we are not short on spoons.
2., brought salad and snacks to work for lunch.
3. Went out to lunch with a dear friend. Even those thought my birthday was in late January, she graciously insisted on treating.
4. Need a new bathing suit but decided not to be tempted by President’s Day sales.
5. Went to see Lalaland, not frugal-although we went in the afternoon and bought senior tix. However, my amc stubs credits gotus afreelarge popcorn and soda.


Kristen February 24, 2017 at 6:20 am

I hope you are all recovered soon!


Bee February 24, 2017 at 6:55 am

Bethe, I also splurged a few weeks ago and saw LaLa Land. I loved it!!!!
Katy, I am glad you are feeling a little better. You were missed.

1) I am traveling next month and needed a spring coat. Since thrift shops in Florida are not overflowing with coats and I needed it soon, I made an exception and bought new. I found a coat in a local department store marked down 90%. $27 for the perfect coat not bad.

2) I am trying to keep food waste low and the food budget in line. I am right on target so far this year. In order to help accomplish this in February, I have been looking in the refrigerator every morning to see if there is anything that must be eaten today; then plan accordingly. I have also combined coupons and BOGO offers last week and saved $37 at the grocery store. I have hung some fresh herbs that I had in the refrigerator to dry along with some from my garden. I also have continued eating leftovers and planning meals around my farm share.

3) My big clean out continues as I am slowly simplifying. After a slow start this month, I sold 6 things on eBay this week, and I have several more things to list. I also have some large things listed to sell locally. Lastly, I listed some books on

4) I have taken some side work to help pay for my travels next month.

5) I brought some older electronics which were no longer working, some paint, and household batteries to our Community Hazardous Waste Collection Day. These items will be recycled and/or disposed of safely. There was a huge turnout which made me happy. 🙂

Have a great and thrifty weekend ya’ll!


KJD509 February 24, 2017 at 8:30 am

Bee, your #1 reminds me of the way I acquired my favorite boiled-wool jacket: 90+% off during a Spring Break trip to Arizona. The temp hit 100 and my daughters and I left our unairconditioned lodgings for the mall, where we found astonishing sales on racks and racks of winter clothing. I think the jacket was $3, and I still wear it, years later. My daughters found equally good bargains, but they complained about the overpriced swimsuits.

It can’t be economical for the stores to stock so many climate-inappropriate clothes, but it certainly worked out well for us that day.


A. Marie February 25, 2017 at 11:02 am

(1) My Florida thrift shopping experience (as a broke college student 40+ years ago in an affluent community) was that the deals on coats, sweaters, and boots were actually pretty good. Folks would move down from the North with these things, discover they didn’t have much use for them, and donate them. I picked up quite a few good deals before moving North for grad school.

(2) We’ve been having almost Floridian weather here this past week. Like some of the earlier commenters, I feel bad about this on an environmental level–but we older folks are enjoying the break from having to walk like penguins on ice and snow. And I’ve been enjoying the can and bottle pickup. Should have a nice Feb. total.

(3) Best wishes to Katy and everyone else still on the disabled list, especially Lindsey and her DH with their simultaneous broken bones. Ouch!!!

(4) Made an exception to “buy nothing new,” although for a couple of good reasons. The Sierra Club thanked us for renewing our memberships by, among other things, offering us 20% off an order from the online store–and a T-shirt celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, with John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt on it, was on clearance. Since both my NYC BFF and I are TR fans, I bought two. Early birthday shopping for BFF, and more support for a pro-environment group.

(5) Won a round with Medicare Part D over coverage of one of DH’s medications, with help from his GP’s office staff. The “Medicare ninja” in that office is worth her weight in gold, and I told her so.


Bee February 26, 2017 at 6:03 am

I live in the northern part of the state, and we usually have a handful of fairly cold days each year with temperatures dipping into the low 20s or high teen. Sometimes we will even have snow flurries. However, in the last two years, we have not had a freeze at all. In fact, I can think of only one day in which we had a frost. The thrift stores had a good selection of cold weather clothes in early winter, but hardly any now. I suppose that they are not dedicating space to them or no one is bothering to replace what they have. Summer last year was unbearable. I hope this is not an indication of what lays ahead.


Mrs. Picky Pincher February 24, 2017 at 7:40 am

Eek, sorry you don’t feel well! Everyone around here is falling sick, too. Mr. Picky Pincher is fighting a man-cold again, poor thing.

This week:

1. My birthday is this weekend, so I made sure to sign up for a bunch of birthday freebie mailing lists. So far I can get a free cinnamon bun, ice cream, donut, and bundt cake. Not too shabby!

2. Yesterday Mr. Picky Pincher picked up a quarter of a cow that we ordered. It’ll be about $600 but it’s grass-fed, local, and organic meat. We know exactly where it came from and the taste is amazing. As a bonus, we definitely won’t need to shop for beef for a very long time.

3. I’m using a free Amazon gift card to order supplies to make homemade citronella candles. I’m using leftover tin cans for the candles and they’ll be perfect for the Texas summer.

4. I got to work from home today, which meant I didn’t need to use gas or pack lunch, saving me a bit of money. It also means I can clean/cook more than usual, which is always great.

5. I used homemade lavender spray to keep our furniture fresh and did a load of laundry with homemade soap.


Vickie February 24, 2017 at 8:31 am

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Picky Pincher!!


Crosby February 24, 2017 at 11:44 am

Hello! Would you mind sharing your recipe for your homemade lavendar spray?


Lori February 24, 2017 at 7:47 am

I hope you start feeling better real soon. 🙂


Vickie February 24, 2017 at 7:49 am

Get well soon, Katy, sounds like you’ve had a nasty week!

1) Our temps our up and down here and the warmth has brought on an early, horrible Spring pollen season. Thankfully I have allergy meds at home, so I’ve been taking one every morning, so I can at least get through work.
2) I picked up and dropped off more books & audiobooks at the Library this week, using my favorite shopping card – I love free knowledge and entertainment!
3) I made Lasagna early in the week, so I brought it for lunch yesterday. I’ve been using microwave meals from the freezer too – working to stick to my lunch budget.
4) I made a trip to Dollar tree yesterday for a few birthday cards and staples. They had 3 bags of dark chocolate covered Acai & Blueberries. For a $1 each, I bought all three. They make a great afternoon snack.
5) The grocers had 1/2 & 1/2, frozen blueberries and my breakfast oatmeal mix on sale this week, so I grabbed some the other day and this should last me for the next two weeks.
Frugal fail: I stopped for Chinese food during lunch the other day, while out running errands at lunch. $7 frugal fail, but geez, it was good!


jennifer February 24, 2017 at 8:15 am

1. I mended a few of my kid’s clothes yesterday. I also repositioned the fastener on my bra instead of buying a new one. At first, I thought I had lost a few pounds because it so loose that it wasn’t supporting well. After further inspection, I’m pretty sure the elastic just gave out…boo!
2. We had pizza casserole last night which is a family favorite. I added some shriveled bell peppers that I found for 75 cents in the reduced bin and some Hormel pepperoni from the Dollar tree(this is $3+at Kroger!). I also found a large pack of ground beef marked down to use in the recipe. I had a little left over so I ate that for breakfast instead of making something else.
3. I pondered buying my kids some rash guards for our upcoming trip as I haven’t run across any at the thrift stores. They have bad skin allergies so every time we have to use excessive amounts of sun screen it seems to irritate the skin. I decided thicker t-shirts would work almost as well so I will save that money for something else. We also plan to go snorkeling on our trip.We didn’t book a pricey excursion and plan to just snorkel on our own. The cost to rent snorkel gear is $15 per person. I purchased two snorkel sets for $5 to bring with us and we will just take turns using those.
4.I was craving chocolate custard from a local custard place. I bought a box of chocolate ice cream at the grocery store.It was just as delicious and the whole box cost less that the 2 scoops of custard I was craving.
5.My daughter has been complaining for 2 weeks with pain from the tooth that she recently had capped. I have spent a small fortune on her teeth, and thought everything was fixed, so this was especially worrisome for me. I took her to the dentist, they did an x-ray, examined her tooth, and couldn’t find any problems with the existing work. We think she irritated the surrounding gum by eating something hard. Crisis overted…for now. The best part is they didn’t charge me anything!


Bee February 24, 2017 at 8:32 am

Have you tried Neutrogena Sunscreen? We have used it for years after our dermatologist recommended it. It is not inexpensive by any means, but it works well. Of course, rash guards are great for kids since they spend so much time in the water. Don’t forget your hats!


jennifer February 24, 2017 at 8:48 am

I have tried Neutrogena and that is actually the brand I use for myself. There is a kind called Blue Lizard that is made in Australia that I have to special order from Walgreens. It seems to work best for them and their dermatologist recommended it. The Australians are very advanced in skin/sunscreen issues from what I have read. I have hats on my list so I won’t forget, thanks! I haven’t given up on finding cheap rash guards second hand just yet.


laura February 24, 2017 at 11:30 am

I’m not sure where you are going on your trip but as an Aussie I advise spending a little extra and buying “rashies” for the kids at least – they are much more comfy, dry much quicker and most importantly really protect against the UV from the sun, which a wet t-shirt doesn’t!


jennifer February 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm

We are going to the Bahamas. We go to the beach every summer but I normally just let them wear regular swimsuits and apply, then reapply.. again and again, the sunscreen. I may just do that again but was looking for “rashies” because I have to be so careful not to miss spots yet I worry about the effects of the sunscreen itself on the sensitive skin. I know t-shirts aren’t UV protective unless you buy the specific UV blocking type of t-shirt but they will help any spots I may overlook. Of course, rashies would be best. I still have a few weeks to look so maybe I will find a good deal. I always have spot on my skin in some weird place that I didn’t get sunscreen on that fries!


Josie February 25, 2017 at 7:07 pm

Delete if this is not ok, but I am happy to buy some rashies for you here in Australia and ship them to you – cheaper than through a shop and we do have the best ones!


Danielle February 27, 2017 at 9:02 pm

Laura makes a good point about clothes drying…. This is a cruise, right? I have tried everything to get clothes to dry in a cruise ship room, no luck. Even when we had a balcony and I specifically brought bungie cords to hang clothes – it’s just too humid! Swim suits will barely dry – regular clothes forget it!


Katy February 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm

I loved rash shirts for my kids when they’d spend all summer at the pool. My sons are very pale, so this was one of the smartest choices for them. Plus . . . no fighting to get sun screen on them.


Bee February 24, 2017 at 3:59 pm

If you are driving to FL, you could stop at Ron Jon’ s for your rash guards. There is now one off of International Drive in Orlando and one in Cocoa Beach. As the World largest surf shop, they should have a decent selection. You can always shop online I believe the swim outlet and zappos carry O’neil and Rip Curl for Kids.


Jennifer February 25, 2017 at 5:31 am

That is good idea, would be fun to stop there anyway!


Diane C February 25, 2017 at 11:57 pm

Re: #5. I’ve been having the same experience with a new crown. The tooth underneath just doesn’t feel “right”. It’s been examined, x-rayed and pronounced sound. Just commenting to tell your daughter she’s not alone and I hope that it turns out to be nothing more than a period of adjustment for both of us.


Jennifer February 26, 2017 at 7:22 am

Awe, thanks for mentioning this. She is a bit frustrated right now. She is still having issues with no apparent cause.

Ruby February 26, 2017 at 1:17 pm

I had a problem with a new crown hurting, and it turned out it was just a hairsbreadth too tall. The dentist had me do a bite test on special paper and then ground a miniscule amount off the biting surface. It never hurt again.


Michelle H. February 24, 2017 at 8:16 am

Hope you are back on your feet soon, Katy! No fun.

5 Frugal Things Vacation Edition. (Husband and I have not been away from the kids for more than 2 nights in about 12 years, we were long overdue!)

1. My aunt who lives in the frozen north and is sick of the snow offered to come stay for a week with our 3 kids in Texas if we bought her plane ticket. I had a Southwest voucher from taking a bump last summer which paid for her ticket, and still had $107 left over.

2. We chose the Florida Keys because friends who have a second home there invited us to use their guest room. We hit the grocery store and got stuff for breakfast and coffee at their house, and stuff to pack lunches for a few of our days out.

3. We flew into Ft Lauderdale instead of Miami. It’s only 21 miles farther north, airfare was a little cheaper, and we were able to use the $107 left on my Southwest voucher, bringing the price of 2 non-stop, round trip tickets down to $360 for both of us.

4. Rental cars were slightly cheaper at Lauderdale as well, and I was able to find a deal to pre-pay for the car and got a 2016 Ford Mustang for a week for less than we would have paid for an economy car. Husband had fun driving the sports car!

5. We stuck to mostly frugal activities while we were there. Toured Fort Taylor in Key West, the $10 entrance fee for both of us also got us access to a great beach, so we packed a lunch and spent the day. Bahia Honda Key state park was 10 minutes from our hosts’ house and had awesome beaches and some great hiking trails. $9 entrance fee for both of us, again packed a lunch and spent the day.

Our one big splurge was a day trip to Ft. Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas. I almost let the $175 a person price scare me off, but I’m so glad we did it. It was AMAZING! The highlight of our trip, and something that has been on my bucket list for ages.


Michele February 24, 2017 at 12:31 pm

We splurged ? 10 years ago for the Dry Tortugas and I remember it being expensive then but SO worth it!!!!


Elizabeth February 24, 2017 at 8:36 am

There’s so much sickness going around now. There’s actual school districts here in Michigan that are closed due to staff and student illnesses. Hope you get better soon. Being sick just plain sucks!

1. Project Use It Up: Arbonne skin care samples, almost a decade year old Bath and body Works Sweet Pea lotion (I cut it open and am using up the stuff at the bottom), a couple hotel samples of shampoo and conditioner on vacation
2. A sealed snack pack of rosemary flavored olives was on my seat on the airplane. Totally sealed. Had it for a yummy, free snack.
3. Free bagel and smoothie at Panera with rewards.
4. Second annual swap party. Amazing. Decluttered and got rid of stuff I didn’t want. Got some fantastic new to me stuff and put the leftovers in the trunk to drop off at goodwill. Got a beautiful 100% cashmere black sweater from Banana Republic, some brand new shoes, plus two pairs of barely worn shoes. Two beautiful dresses. A number of long sleeved shirts. A great new bag for the gym/traveling. It was an awesome swap! This is our second year of doing it and we all have a great time and leave with new to us stuff (plus declutter our own stuff!)!
5. Got 5 $5 dresses at goodwill for the summer. Really cute dresses and only $5 each. I haven’t purchase any dresses in years so it’s nice to have some new, cute summery ones.


Lisa P. February 24, 2017 at 8:43 am

.Got two free heads of collards from a friend.
.Won an instant win contest for gc to Applebee’s
.Talked to my sister about next time we want to go out, we can pack a picnic lunch, and I’ll make some healthier choices. Thinking of a chicken salad with toasted pecans and grapes. OR a salad with Bibb lettuce, kiwi , pecans? with I think it’s a yogurt and honey dressing. Saw the recipe in a magazine.
.Food Lion offered a free Diet Dr. Pepper two litter, just load to the card. Will prob. donate to the church.
.My sister gave me a bag of snacks and goodies she didn’t want.


KJD509 February 24, 2017 at 8:45 am

FFT – root canal edition

1) Was not able to get the failed root canal fixed on the dentist’s dime but I did get about $700 knocked off. Plus since the original root canal 4 years ago my dental insurance at work has improved, so OOP $350ish vs the $1700 I’d been originally quoted (in 2013). Hubs says that $4 per month out of my check is the best investment we’ve ever made – he might be right. The procedure itself was MISERABLE – the numbing didn’t quite take in all the right places – but I feel so much better now that it really was worth it.
2) Eating mostly from items around the house, including soup from the freezer. Current me is grateful for past me on this one.
3) Still working from home, even the morning of the surgery, so not using vacation days. (We get “personal days,” which are supposed to count for illness or vacation. In practice only the hardest assed of managers requires us to use them for illness – as long as we don’t miss deadlines or have to pass work off to colleagues, we euphemistically work from home on sick days. My deadlines are blessedly light these days, so it worked out well.)
4) Really, really getting our money’s worth from Netflix. And from the couch.
5) No gold plated vulgarities, not even tempted.


Amanda February 24, 2017 at 10:08 am

I’m so sorry to hear that you are sick. But I did love your joke about being cranky and wanting to nurse all the time!

1. My cleaning lady had a family emergency this morning. But we have airbnb guests coming, so the cleaning must go on. It is not frugal to clean when I have so many other things that need my attention, but it did save me the cleaning fee today.

2. I was complete oblivious to the Amazon deal you mentioned. I would have tried to take advantage, but honestly I don’t think I would have come up with $50 of stuff I needed too. Although I guess the kids always need new socks and under ware and we do have a birthday party coming up. Dern. I could have done it.

3. Took a nice long free bike ride yesterday.

4. Signed up for a new credit card to replace our current business American Express. The cash back bonuses were pitiful and it isn’t accepted everywhere we go. I’m not sure why in the world we kept it this long. I’m looking forward to better cash back soon.

5. Discovered that Aldi now sells Dawn, not the cheap brand that didn’t work. One less thing to buy at Costco!


Katy February 24, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Thanks, good to know I’m not the only one thinking that was funny! I crack myself up a lot, but I’m often the one one who thinks I’m funny.


janine February 24, 2017 at 10:40 am

Katy: Your photo closely resembled my room after two bouts with a cold. Feel better soon!
1. Our neighborhood group is going to sponsor a clothesline promotion around Earth Day. Will give away clotheslines and show samples of hardware needed to put it up. Asking participants to write a clothesline poem to be entered in a raffle for a wooden clothes rack as the prize.
2. Used up a gift card to half priced books – pure luxury non-spending.
3. Act of Nature: Snowstorm missed us – don’t have to pay for snow removal on our large property.
4. Husband has birthday next month. Received $10 coupon to his favorite restaurant where we usually celebrate as well as a couple of other birthday offers.
5. Due to work commitments and health issues we didn’t get in a winter vacation during the high season.


K D February 24, 2017 at 10:41 am

Oh, Katy, I hope you are recovered soon 🙂

1. I didn’t even know about the Amazon sale until reading this post. I am happy to have missed it. We have more than enough in our lives already.

2. I called the dentist’s office because several weeks after a check-up there was no evidence of insurance action. They said they’ll re-submit the claim.

3. I found a third pair of scissors, in a few months time, on the same stretch of road. Crazy! I kept the pair of kitchen scissors but will give the other two pairs away.

4. Grocery shopping the past few weeks has been vary sparse, just some produce and a few loss leader items. I have paid for them with Staples rebate cards, which were earned using gift cards received for redeeming Discover points. It feels good to have such low bills.

5. I checked on the rate for a rental car for a trip we’ll take in May. It was more than $20 cheaper for a better vehicle than what I had originally booked. Hello new reservation, good-bye old reservation. I will check again a few more times before we go.


Amy K. February 24, 2017 at 10:59 am

Oh dear. I am sorry you’re so sick!


laura February 24, 2017 at 11:17 am

I have never done this before, so here goes
1. I have been waiting a while for the perfect ottoman, got one on sale last weekend and stuffed him with the innards of clean but flat pillows I had saved especially for the task. Saved me money and kept them out of landfill.
2. Found a much need set of 6 EPNS teaspoons and a sugar spoon in their original box for $6 at the op shop. I prefer doing “afternoon tea” to any other kind of entertaining, so these were perfect for that purpose.
3. I also got a beautiful new-in-box embroidered Chinese handkerchief for $2. I only use hankies, so always need replacements!
4. Found the perfect piece of furniture for towel and facecloth storage. It is a hideous yellow and needs a bit of TLC. After a bit of discussion, the shop-owner got my measure and offered me 30% off for cash
5. Still buying a 4-serve packet of coleslaw, a 200 packet of smoked salmon cooking pieces and a small bottle yoghurt dressing on Mondays for lunches at work – it gives 3 days of very healthy yummy lunches for very little and it’s helping me lose weight.


Katy February 24, 2017 at 1:53 pm

OMG, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! I have a great armchair that needs more stuffing, but have been putting off the errand/expense of buying batting. However . . . I have a huge supply of horrible flat pillows. I’m going to do this project today if not sooner!



isabelle February 24, 2017 at 12:14 pm

* we were going to a free activity with (for) the kids and got turned away (closure for safety reasons). So we decided to go to a similar place but that is not free. I then remembered seeing a Groupon for that place, so we went back home first to buy said Groupon, saving us 15$
* Said no to buying maple taffy and sleight ride at said activity (saving us 22$)
* Eating out tonight. Kids, hubby and I will share 2 big plates of shawarma (30$), enough to feed us all
* Used a 2 for 1 coupon to get rental DVDs yesterday.
* Came to work today even if not feeling like it (cranky and PMS.) Feeling fine now.

Have a great frugal day!


Jenzer February 24, 2017 at 12:28 pm

DH attends a convention the weekend of Presidents’ Day every February. This year the kids and I did our own weekend away while he was gone. We went to a tourist town about 90 minutes from home and stayed at a hotel with an indoor waterpark. At 10 and 13, my two are *almost* at the age where waterparks are boring, but they’re not there yet. And though I’m heading straight for middle age myself, I still love me some waterslides.

Five frugals from the weekend:

1 – Because the kids had school off on Monday, we did a Saturday & Sunday night stay, rather than Friday & Saturday. That saved us a few dollars on hotel rates, since Sunday stays are less expensive than Fridays.

2 – Our hotel room had a refrigerator and microwave, so we were able to manage on just one restaurant meal a day, at lunchtime. For breakfast we ate cereal, milk, and fruit from home; dinner was leftovers from lunch. We brought the restaurant meal costs down even further by using coupons and paying attention to special deals and kid-vs-adult-menu prices.

3 – We stopped at one of our favorite charity resale stores on the drive up and scored a few items from our personal wish lists.

4 – We also stopped at my favorite used book store when we got to our destination. I’d brought some books with me, so I was able to get trade credit for them. At checkout, the clerk pointed me to the visitor coupon book in the tourist brochure rack. That included a coupon for another 10% off our book purchase. I broke my no-book-buying new year’s resolution, but I saved a few bucks doing it! 😉 The kids got books, too.

5 – We took advantage of unseasonable warm weather to spend some time at the public park, away from the crowds on the main street and in the shops. That gave us a break from the heavily-chlorinated air in the waterpark, too.


Tracy February 24, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Katy I join in the chorus of well-wishers and hope you feel better.
1. Stayed with my Aunt and Uncle Sat and Sun nights last weekend, they live a couple hours away and made yummy dinner one night and had things for us for lunches, we got pizza one night for which I pitched in $20 and I also brought some “goodies” from Trader Joe’s as a thank you (trying to often give gifts of experiences and consumables instead of “things”)
2. My mom went with me to visit Aunt and Uncle. Aunt, Mom and I all love thrift store shopping so we hit four thrift stores. I bought my first “new to me” clothing of the year (I’m doing a buy nothing new year), a Banana Republic work coat (in perfect shape), a Banana Republic T shirt also seemed new and a pair of J. Crew Bermuda Shorts for a total of $18. Also got my Aunt’s birthday gift, a lovely pair of sterling silver and lapis tear drop earrings donated to the thrift shop from an estate for which I paid $24, will save cost of mailing (and the “oh no I need something NOW” overspending that can happen for me when I don’t think ahead re gifts) . My mom paid for gas so total outlay for weekend away including gifts and shopping was $62
3. Bringing food to work (almost) every day.
4. Got a new stack of books from library yesterday.
5. Made a (delicious) pot of chili Monday when I got home which we’ve been eating all week!


Sandy February 24, 2017 at 4:54 pm

1. Have been decluttering my home like crazy. I don’t know if it’s the time of year, or what, but I’ve got the declutter bug bad. 2 boxes of stuff to goodwill today.
2. I also had a bunch of sheets that I no longer use. I don’t even have a twin bed, what the heck am I doing with twin sheets? I took them to the local no-kill shelter for the kitties. They can always use bedding material.
3. Went to the library and got books on CD for a long drive that I’m taking Sunday.
4. Didn’t go out to dinner last night when I really wanted to do so. Came home and ate leftovers instead.
5. Used my Walgreens points to rebate $10 on items purchased today. The whole bill came to $8.


SueB February 25, 2017 at 2:28 am

Glad you are on the mend 🙂

1. Poundland has a spin to win promotion on daily, most of it is money off or 2 for1 meals but I actually scored a meal for 2 upto £30. My husband is Canadian and it’s taken years to work him down to one meal a month out (rather than a couple of times a week) so that’s next month’s meal sorted.

2. Speaking of meals out, we visited my daughter and she treated us out for a meal in January, Feb has only 28 days so come on, no need to go out so a quarter of the year gone by without having to pay to eat out.

3. Bulk bought 6kg peanut butter, use by date is early next year (yep 2018) and I now have 9kg of the stuff in my stores. Husband eats it nearly every day and I feel as I’ve screwed him over on the meals out this year, he deserves a bit of peanut buttery love 😉 The bulk buy saved £12, every little bit helps 😀

4. We had a couple of old laptops that we were going to take to the tip but if you look online, there are places that will recycle them and pay you cash. We were paid £75 for what we thought was electronic rubbish.

5. Still using husband’s deodorant that he rejected, how can something so ineffective last so long? I use it twice daily (am/pm) and it’s still not as good as my usual cheap 48hr roll on. I might have another month of the stuff left so 3 months worth of deodorant that would have been binned albeit not great quality. I admit that when I go out I use my own unscented deodorant rather than smell manly 😛


Ruby February 25, 2017 at 9:00 am

Katy, this illness that’s circulating is evil. Hope you are on the mend soon.

1. We are being absolutely hammered by medical expenses, so this was a total no-spend week for me and the Mister.
2. I did take him out for cheap Middle Eastern food Thursday for his birthday, but used saved-up pocket money to pay for the meal and I made him a birthday card. He really enjoyed his super-inexpensive celebration.
3. Been felled by my allergy to red cedar, which is blooming like crazy here in the East. Been dealing with it with cold/allergy meds we have on-hand. Lord knows we’ve certainly spent enough on the stuff this winter.
4. Ran out of dog treats during this No Spending week and gave them plain mini-shredded wheat as a little treat. Our dog who is allergic to everything is not allergic to wheat (yet), so they thought that was great. They get a little treat for taking their pills without a fuss, so it’s necessary.
5. Did the usual all week: Drove with a light foot to make gas last longer. Brought my lunch, snacks and drinks from home to work. Wore cute outfits of thrifted/secondhand clothes every day. Read free e-books for entertainment. Went to a free supplies swap at work and snagged two good office chairs that we badly needed. Moved around some filing cabinets so that my assistant and I both have storage without spending any money.


Mary in Maryland February 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Feel better soon. I had it from the 23rd of December until the end of the year.
1. In 1979 I got a loose ring binder with plastic sleeves to store my own recipe cards as a wedding present. Both covers have fallen off in the past couple months. Most of my recent recipes are on the backs of envelopes rather than those little cards. A friend gave me 50 page-sized plastic sleeves and I bought a binder at the thrift store for a dollar. While not a scrap booker, I include a photo of the friend who gave me the recipe or an event where I served next to the recipe.
2. Half price sale at the thrift store last Sunday. I bought 14 skeins of nice yarn for $7. A couple of the women at meeting who knit for the homeless can’t afford nice yarn, and I hate to see them doing beautiful work with the cheap stuff. So, a gift for the homeless and my sister-knitters.
3. The thrift shop had a pack of four window candles that turn on at dark and off when it gets light. Perfect. We’ve put candles in the windows in the winter for years, but they require lots of fussing with the timers (which are dying of old age.) $2 for the four-pack.
4. I know I should not be using tissues, but hate the feel of handkerchiefs. And most are too large–I wind up soaking the whole thing after using very little of the real estate. So I cut a threadbare flannel sheet into 7 inch squares and hemmed them. I only made ten, but I suppose I could cannibalize the rest of the sheet and replace TP as well.
5. Back at the thrift shop this morning teaching a friend how to recognize quality, I found an XXL men’s fisherman’s knit sweater made of 80% wool and 20 % alpaca. Wool for the memory and alpaca for super warmth. And half-price ($5) because there was a sale on winter clothing. I’ve never bought a lottery ticket (a chance to get nothing for something), but brought the sweater home. It feels so good. I’ll either rip it out and reknit something in my size or steek the sides and take it in. This kind of yarn runs $20 for 100 grams, and I got 900 grams–enough to make the sweater I’ve been dreaming about.


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