Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 28, 2017 · 111 comments

  1. I stopped at Goodwill to drop off my husband’s slightly faded uniform pants that he was required to replace. They still have a ton of life left in them, so hopefully someone with a less picky employer will get some use out of them. I picked up a new looking twin sheet set that was marked $7.99, but was actually half-off. Perfect purchase as all of our twin sheets are mysteriously scrappy at the moment. Add in that I’m still plugging away on a gift card from my birthday, and the $4 was definitely in my budget.
  2. I browned a single pound of Trader Joe’s ground beef for both marinara sauce and a bean/onion/pepper mixture for burritos. My husband and I now have the anchor for a couple different meals for this week. Needless to say, the beans were Dollar Tree pintos that I cooked in my crock pot.
  3. I listened to the entirety of the Hamilton soundtrack through the free Hoopla app while running errands and puttering around the house today. Luckily I was home alone by the time Alexander Hamilton’s son died in a duel, as that’s my time to ugly cry.
  4. I signed up for the next month of hospital shifts, which meant I was poised in front of my computer at exactly 5 P.M. I spaced out this scheduled task last month and had to scramble to get enough work.
  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.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 111 comments… read them below or add one }

Mand01 February 28, 2017 at 2:34 am

I’m mercifully at home this week and have had some time for frugal activities:
1. Planned meals for the week.
2. Sunday’s dinner of roast lamb with vegetables from our garden also served for a second dinner and lunches.
3. Tonight we had pancakes for dinner for Pancake Tuesday.
4. Our garden is in Summer production mode. I took a bag of chillies in to a colleague. We have tons.
5. My outfit was thrifted including a shirt I paid 25 cents for at a jumble sale and a skirt I got for free. As soon as I walked in the door I was complimented on my outfit. Haha – I was probably the cheapest chick there.
6. Sat down with my husband and synchronised our calendar, which has become very convoluted. Dreamed of working from home or retiring or working part time. Feeling tired but at least blessed to have a job and a roof over my head and a belly full of frugal pancakes.


Denise February 28, 2017 at 1:25 pm

I can neither confirm nor deny that I may just have had two pancakes today…with sugar and lemon juice. Proper crepe type ones, not the lovely (but non-Pancake Day’ish) buttermilk American style ones. If I had them at all…


Karen B. February 28, 2017 at 8:15 pm

Don’t know what’s non -Pancake Day’ish about hot buttermilk pancakes, with butter and maple syrup!


Mand01 February 28, 2017 at 9:58 pm

Well we had them Australian style- with plums and bananas on top, whipped cream and maple syrup.
Actually I don’t know if that’s Aussie style or not, but it’s what we had!


Beth March 1, 2017 at 7:32 am

American here-I wouldn’t consider a crepe a pancake…it’s called a crepe, you know? Too funny!

I do, however, love all forms of griddle-cooked carbs. Pancakes, crepes, Swedish pancakes, waffles, and any others that I’m forgetting 🙂 I went a whole summer eating crepes with mint, lemon zest, butter, and slightly-sweetened whipped cream. Then there’s butter and my dad’s home-tapped and -boiled maple syrup, or butter and jam, or bananas and whipped cream, or peanut butter.


jennifer March 1, 2017 at 7:48 am

I guess I need to educate myself on pancakes. I’m in the south so most things here are fluffy with butter and something sweet added, lol!The only pancakes I know of are the fluffy, soft, thick, buttermilk style with butter and syrup on top. I do love crepes and waffles,too. Never tried with lemon juice so will have to add that to my to-do list!


Mand01 March 1, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Lemon juice and a sprinkling of sugar is how we grew up eating them. It wasn’t till I was an adult that maple syrup entered the picture.


Jennifer March 1, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Wow, so interesting to learn about how others do things. Different, yet the same!

mel March 1, 2017 at 9:31 pm

same! yum!

Cyclist February 28, 2017 at 2:45 am

I love how you can pick your own shifts!


Jill A February 28, 2017 at 3:50 am

1. We took my Mother to dinner for her birthday. We used gift cards. The cost was just 88 cents plus tip out of pocket.
2. My daughter made a delicious from scratch cake with lemon frosting and lemon curd filling. The cost was 2.50 for a bag of lemons and the rest of the ingredients came from our pantry. It was awesome. Grandma loved her birthday cake.
3. Bought my Mom a gift card to one of her favorite nurseries. She can purchase some plants this spring.
4. I broke the light cover for a bathroom vent fan. My husband found a replacement at Menards. He used a rebate check we got last month, so out of pocket was only $5. The same replacement was twice the price at Amazon.
5. My husband and I went to a movie, The Great Wall with Matt Damon, at the cheap theater in the next town. It was the first movie of the day so tickets were 2.50 each. We splurged and got a soft pretzel with cheese and a large pop. The total came to $9. My husband told me I was a cheap date…..awe, Thanks Honey.


Diane February 28, 2017 at 4:43 am

Today is my non birthday since February has no 29 this year! So my day to do exactly what I want. Since it is also Mardi Gras and I have a soft spot for my former life in New Orleans, I will celebrate with a box of Popeye’s chicken and WWOZ on my playlist. I received a huge box of fabric from a friend which will now be turned in dolls for Dolls of Hope and baby quilts for new babies that come into my life. Also making paper bunny garlands from paint chips picked up at Lowe’s. And I think a long walk around the lake in downtown Austin is on the agenda leaving Love Drops along the way.


Bee February 28, 2017 at 5:45 am

Happy non birthday! Enjoy your special day. I should take my gumbo out of the freezer for dinner.


janine February 28, 2017 at 6:31 am

Your non-birthday sounds wonderful. Completely forgot about Mardi Gras. Love New Orleans!


Katherine in AL February 28, 2017 at 6:18 am

Happy Birthday Diane!!! Does this mean you get the stay the same age for another year????


Bee February 28, 2017 at 5:39 am

I understand that Hamilton may be part of our Broadway in the Sunshine theatre series next season. Hope so!
My FFT this week include:
1) I re-made some veggie soup that I had made last month and had frozen. It was primarily onions, cabbage and carrots and no one wanted to eat it. I added some stew meat and bits and bobs of vegetables from the freezer. It was dinner Sunday night and lunch for me yesterday…and today…and tomorrow.

2) I stopped in at my favorite thrift shop on Friday. I was looking for two soap dispensers for my homemade hand soap. I was happy to find two very nice ones for only $3. I also bought 2 summer skirts –$6, and a pair of fabulous Hadley Pottery double egg cups for resale.

3) My eBay sales have picked up. The first part of February was quite slow. However, over the last week, I have sold 9 items. I am running out of packing materials. Today is garbage day in my neighborhood, so I walked it yesterday looking for boxes. I will walk it again this morning.

4) I stopped at Target to buy cat food on sale. I can’t resist looking at the sale end caps. I was able to purchase a nice ceramic space heater for 70% off or $8. The one had was no longer working. My bathroom is on the NW corner of the house and can be quite chilly on winter mornings. I have often use a space heater to take the chill off without putting up or putting on the heat.

5) I went to a Saturday afternoon movie with friends. I did not buy treats from the consession stand. We saw Hidden Figures which was just wonderful! It was worth the price of my ticket and the some.


Jenzer February 28, 2017 at 5:59 am

My husband inherited several pieces of Hadley pottery from his grandmother. We have some on display in our kitchen, and bring out the HUGE rimmed platter every year at Thanksgiving to serve turkey. He enjoys remembering his Grandma every time he sees the serving pieces on our table.


Bee February 28, 2017 at 11:03 am

I think Hadley is absolutely charming especially the vintage pieces. You and your husband are lucky to have a collection of such wonderful pottery. I am just a wee bit jealous. :-). However, I must simplify.


Gina in KY March 2, 2017 at 4:02 pm

My dogs Banksy and Orca drink out of a lovely custom Hadley dog dish I thrifted a few years ago. They don’t seem to mind it once belong to Riley (although sometimes I do think what happened to Riley?)

I still need to see Hidden Figures. I wrote about Katherine Johnson for our work’s EEO newsletter some time ago…powerful, brilliant women!


Amy K. February 28, 2017 at 6:01 am

I’ve been going online, putting lavish vacation packages in my cart, and then logging off. *sigh*


Jill A February 28, 2017 at 6:58 am

That sounds like a great frugal
way to fight the winter blues. I’ll have to try that.


Shelia February 28, 2017 at 6:13 am

The birthday freebies are rolling in this week and I used one yesterday when a friend treated me to lunch(she paid for my salad and tip). I ran fun errands while I was in town so I should be able to come up with Five Frugal Things!
1. Stopped on my way in to pick up the free breakfast minis from my cow calender from Chik-Fil-A. They also gave me my free senior drink.
2. Next stop was my favorite thrift shop for 25% off Monday. Found a pair of Totes boots that I needed(can they be washed in the machine?) and a pair of Ecco black shoes. The boots were 2.25 and the shoes 3.00. Also found a Christopher & Banks jacket for 1.50.
3. Stopped next at Goodwill to return a really nice Orvis heavy weight flannel that was too big for my husband. Someone will be thrilled to find it. Also, dropped off a small bag of donations including two items that were in a bag of items I bought at the first thrift store that I didn’t want.
4. Met my two good friends that I don’t see often enough and actually got two lovely gifts from them. A handmade chocolate Easter egg and a ‘blessing jar’ complete with small papers and pen. The two of them will be my on my first paper in the jar that looks charming on my desk.
5. Stopped at the last Goodwill on my way home and found a pretty scarf for 1.49 and a reversible Christopher & Banks vest for 4.29. It will go with a long sleeve tee and khakis I already own.
6. Dinner was leftover lunch-seafood stir fry and rice.
A great frugal and fun pre-birthday!


Bee February 28, 2017 at 10:45 am

I love the idea of a blessing jar! That was a lovely gift. Gratitude and simplicity go hand in hand.


Shelia February 28, 2017 at 11:40 am

Isn’t it though? It’s basically a 3 liter jar with a wood top that snaps on with a wire like the old fashioned mason jars. It has a blackboard circle to write on the top but it could be easily reproduced with any jar with that type of lid and a blackboard label on the front.


Jenzer February 28, 2017 at 6:14 am

1 – I combined the brine from two jars of pickles into one jar, and filled it with carrot sticks. Pickled carrots are a good snack.

2 – The hinges broke on our wheeled Coleman cooler. For $3 plus shipping, I bought replacement hinges from Coleman’s web site and saved us the cost of a new cooler. Ten years ago, the same cooler lost the cover to its drain plug — we just filled the hole up with caulk and now we drain it by turning it over.

3 – My homemade hot pepper spray is doing a fine job at keeping the rabbits away from my emerging tulips.

4 – Our decade-old dog bed got to the point where I couldn’t keep up with the patching/repairs it needed. Thinning fabric and two puppies in two years will do that. I passed the bed on to my mother-in-law to use for her barn kitties. In the barn, it won’t matter if the bed leaks fluff and cedar chips.

5 – I took part in a community health challenge last fall that was sponsored by the local wellness foundation. Last week I picked up my final incentive gift, which was a long-sleeved DriFit t-shirt. By participating and turning in weekly activity reports, I also received a nutrition book, a stress-management book, and a Garmin Vivofit activity tracker, all at no $ cost to me.


Jill A February 28, 2017 at 7:00 am

I like your caulk idea. Everytime we loan out our coolers they come back without the drain cap. I’ve replaced them twice. I’ll have to remember that trick.


Mary W February 28, 2017 at 7:20 am

I repaired the broken hinges on several coolers using pieces of plastic cut from a vinegar or bleach bottle. After removing the screws from the hinges, I used the hinges as a template, cut the plastic, and positioned the plastic between the cooler and hinges while I replaced the screws. Instant free fix! Years later, the repairs are still holding. Don’t use milk jug plastic for this, though. It doesn’t hold up if it’s in sunlight.

Love your #5. Wish we had something like that here.


Jill A February 28, 2017 at 11:39 am

This hinge idea is a good one. I’ve purchased hinges, I think they came in packs of two so I still have one left, but in the future. I never would have thought to do that.


Mary W February 28, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Thanks. I’ve shared that hint a few times on other frugal sites… always happy to have something to offer back to the wonderful people who have shared good ideas with me.


LisaC February 28, 2017 at 4:06 pm

What’s your pepper spray recipe?


Jenzer February 28, 2017 at 5:50 pm

One quart of water, one teaspoon Tabasco sauce, and one teaspoon of dish soap. Spray in the early evening, and re-apply after it rains.

If I’m feeling particularly ornery, I used habanero sauce instead of Tabasco. 😉


LisaC March 1, 2017 at 2:18 am

Thanks! 🙂


susanna d March 1, 2017 at 6:11 am

I will definitely be trying the pepper spray recipe in the garden this year.


Mrs. Daisy @ Dirt Road Daisy February 28, 2017 at 6:14 am

I’m so proud that I accomplished 5 frugal things on a Monday!
1. We budgeted for March. Yay for a 5 Thursday month!
2. I trimmed my husband’s hair and our daughter’s.
3. We picked up sticks outside because it was been crazy windy here. Free entertainment for our three year old.
4. I used a rewards app to purchase our dogs’ food, saved $10!
5. We took packed lunches to work, ate dinner at home, I drank the free coffee at work, and found a total of 64 cents on a walk.


Mrs. Picky Pincher February 28, 2017 at 6:18 am

Bravo for a frugal week! This week:

1. We bought non-GMO organic seeds from our local nursery. They ran a rewards promotion so we got $2 free to use on a future purchase.

2. We’re building raised beds probably next weekend using pavers and soil purchased in bulk and on sale. It’ll be a lot of work, but we’ll be able to grow our own food and save money over time.

3. I altered a few thrift store clothing pieces to fit me a little better. I bought most of these for .50 apiece, so I’m not complaining. 🙂

4. I’m signing up for some freelance work on the side. Hopefully I can start generating some good side income.

5. This week we used cloth napkins instead of paper towels and handkerchiefs instead of tissues.


susanna d February 28, 2017 at 6:29 am

1. While at Costco last week, we found Kirkland’s brand of lactase for less than half the price of what I’d been paying. With both of us having some degree of lactose intolerance, this should add up to a nice amount of money saved each year.
2. I’ve been having a case of the “I want to go out for dinners” lately. Fortunately there aren’t many options up here that don’t require a lot of driving. Still, I’ve been making “go out to dinner” type meals: beef broccoli and stir fry veggies to satisfy the Chinese food craving; manicotti, garlic bread and salad to satisfy the Italian food craving; enchiladas for the Tex Mex craving; and steak dinner using the $3.49 per pound porterhouse steaks that came with the half side of beef purchase (this one’s for my uber-carnivore husband).
3. Picked up my free Butterfinger candy bar at the grocery store. Not a need, but a nice treat.
4. It’s been a good week for found money. I found a $5 bill while hiking, and a quarter in the grocery store parking lot. Pretty sure $5.25 is my all time weekly record for found money – definitely it’s a record for living up here, where found on the ground money is a lot more rare than it was in the city.
5. Saw that gas prices at one of the stations in town had jumped 13 cents per gallon. Filled the tank at a different station – one that hadn’t price jumped YET. It’s pretty much a given that if one station has a big jump, the others will follow. Used my last $1 off gasoline coupon for February, which made the price even better.


Madeline February 28, 2017 at 6:30 am

1. Made a fresh lemon pie with lemons that fell in my yard from the neighbor’s tree.

2. Went to friend’s apartment clubhouse for our bi weekly game of Hand and Foot.We have a foursome.It’s a FREE morning and there is a keurig coffee maker in the clubhouse with FREE coffee for our break!

3. Walked all around a big beautiful lake near my son’s apartment on Sunday for our exericse.

4. Am giving up a volunteer gig that is 30 miles one way to drive in bad traffic.It’s become stressful and expensive. I signed up to find a similar volunteer activity at a local park NEAR MY HOUSE.

5. Did yoga and aerobics with old DVD’s I’ve had for years.. my favorite.No gym fees for me.


Vickey March 4, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Re your #4: good job on living more locally! 😀


Katherine in AL February 28, 2017 at 6:35 am

1. It was book character day at school today. The kids and I came up with frugal costumes using things we had on hand. They were super cute dressed as Matilda, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
2. We replaced our sofa with a 3pc set we paid $50 at a yard sale for. It’s in great condition and exactly the style that we were looking for. We also made friends with the yard sale host so that was an added bonus!
3. Sold the electric dryer that was given to us. An acquaintance of mine mentioned that her’s died so we did not have to bother photographing or listing it which made for super easy $$.
4. We are making a more concerted effort in reducing utility costs. My goal is to reduce laundry to one load per week. We’ll see how it goes.
5. Enjoying a book I paid .$25 at the library. I will mail it to a friend when I’m finished.


Denise February 28, 2017 at 1:36 pm

One laundry load a week, with three children???

I live alone and do five loads per week…what am I doing wrong (other than four loads too many, apparently!)?


Bonnie February 28, 2017 at 8:18 pm

You must do very small loads? We have 2 people and I do about 3 loads per week at most and wait until I have a fairly large load


Katherine in AL March 1, 2017 at 6:29 am

With the exception of under garments almost everything else can be worn more than once before washing. I always do a smell check before tossing clothes into the hamper and I wait until the hamper is full before loading the machine.


jennifer March 1, 2017 at 7:57 am

I have two small kids still at home and am embarrassed to say that I am washing at least every other day. I want to be one of those people that reuse towels to cut down on this but my family is gross! My kids grab dirty towels to clean up all kind of weird things that I don’t want to accidently rub on my body. Maybe after they grow up and leave home but for now, nope.


Denise March 1, 2017 at 3:06 pm

I can’t count. It’s six loads per week.

One load at 60 degrees for the king size duvet cover.

One load at 60 degrees for the fitted sheet and pillowcases.

One load at 60 degrees for 1.5 sets of towels.

One load at 60 degrees for 1.5 sets of towels.

One load at 40 degrees for whites.

One load at 40 degrees for darks.

It’s a Miele front-loading washing machine with a 7kg load capacity. Not sure if European machines have smaller capacities than the US top-loaders?


Kathy Hairston February 28, 2017 at 7:01 am

The joys of decluttering. Paid it forward by re homing a new CD, a box of buttons/broken jewelry. Repaired some costume jewelry.
Sold items on FB, eBay and Amazon.
A friend gave me some clothes she couldn’t wear so my wardrobe is refreshed.


Roberta February 28, 2017 at 7:05 am

1. I made a giant giant pot of black beans yesterday. They will be lunches for this week, with rice and sour cream.
2. Sold a couple more books on ebay, and packaged them in boxes I made out of scrap cardboard.
3. Received a bag of limes, which I will zest for making chili-lime salt for gift giving. The limes themselves will be frozen in slices for squeezing on rice and beans, a la Chipotle.
4. On my way to the doctor I will be dropping a pair of hand-me-down jeans at the consignment shop. It won’t be worth holding on to them until my daughter grows that much.
5. Made tortilla chips for tortilla soup last night, instead of buying a bag of chips. A bag would have been way more than we needed, and we don’t need snack chips (especially with a kid in braces!).


Lisa P. February 28, 2017 at 9:02 pm

Can you tell me more about how you make the chili lime salt and what you use it on? thanks, lisa


Momi February 28, 2017 at 8:04 am

Just a thought , could you use rit dye on your hubs faded uniform?


Mary W February 28, 2017 at 2:07 pm

That was my thought, too. I have a couple pairs of black chino-type pants that I freshen up occasionally with Rit dye. Unless, of course, his pants are a hard to match shade. I imagine if they don’t like slightly faded, the wrong shade of blue (or whatever) wouldn’t thrill them either.


Lazyretirementgirl March 3, 2017 at 11:10 pm

Does the dye mess up your washer? I have always been afraid of that.


Carrie March 5, 2017 at 7:27 am

You don’t need to dye in the washer. Products also have directions for hand dying. I do a lot of dying and use our big enamel canner. There is a certain amount of time work involved, stirring, rinsing, etc. but I find it kind of relaxing. Natural fibers work best (linen is awesome) and make sure you rinse out the dye at the end of the process as completely as possible.


Lazyretirementgirl March 5, 2017 at 8:16 am


sheila February 28, 2017 at 9:03 am

1. Made chicken soup by boiling the carcass and dark meat of a rotisserie chicken. Had made the stock the day before then just shredded the chicken, added carrots and thick noodles. That plus some Parmesan rosemary bread made a yummy and frugal dinner (and lunch for me today!).
2. Went thrifting at Goodwill and picked up several hardcover books that looked like they’d never been read. Usually I have to really look for good reads, but it looked like a fellow book club reader had cleaned off her bookshelves. With my senior discount *yay* I paid only $7 for 5 nice books. Bonus is that one of the books could be a book group choice which saves the last minute checking out at the library or buying new (which I hardly ever do anymore).
3. I took a long walk with a friend this morning, so I didn’t spend anything on exercise.
4. We’ve been looking for a new-to-us car and think we may have found “the one.” It is not right around the corner, so before we drive a couple hours, we’ll make sure to see pics of the interior. My husband is really brilliant at finding low-mileage, older model cars in pristine shape, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this car is what we’re looking for.
5. It rained like crazy yesterday. We’ve had our sprinklers off for months now, which is not usual for San Diego. While we had a minor bit of flooding in a shed, the rest of our place was fine. My planties are sooo happy to have a good dose of pure rainwater.


Karen February 28, 2017 at 5:57 pm

I go to yard sales looking for books, which is now harder to find due to ereaders. Anyway I stopped at one and knew right away the woman was in a book club because so many of her books for sale I had read in my book club.

We got to talking and sure enough she had been in a book club. She did recommend a book I had not read or seen before but I bought it.


isabelle February 28, 2017 at 9:21 am

Hey Katy!
Just curious as to how it works at your hospital, as I am also a casual in a hospital but here it works by seniority to get the shifts. Is it “first come first serve” for you guys??


isabelle February 28, 2017 at 9:33 am

5 frugal things:

* We were running on a 125$ table (bought used) for the past 8 years and it’s now pretty banged up. So we’ve decided to splurge on a new kitchen set. I’ve checked on Craigslist 1st but nothing was in our tastes. So we decided to buy new. We found a table we really liked that was on sale (saving : 400$) and asked the store to switch the cheap chairs coming with the set for better ones, which they agreed to do at no extra cost, saving us another 400$. 800$ extra in our pockets and a beautiful kitchen set arriving in 3 days, yay! Will use the old table for the kid’s craft/homework room.
* Bringing my lunch to work every day
* Lost 15 pounds. Fitting in old clothes (instead of buying new ones). Eating less = cheaper. Less restaurants too. Buying transitional (future) clothes at the thrift store.
* Daughter is at camp this week because of school march break. (we both work full time). I consider it cheap at 20$/day, considering they are doing a bunch of fun outings like sugar shack, movie theater, snow tubing, magic show… it’s cool! I want to go to camp too!

Have a great frugal day!


Krystal February 28, 2017 at 9:45 am

Congrats on the weight loss! This is on my to-do list 😉


Jennifer February 28, 2017 at 10:03 am

Maybe that’s why I haven’t lost weight…’s not on my to-do list! haha


Jill A February 28, 2017 at 11:43 am

If it makes you feel better, it’s on my to do list and I still haven’t lost any.


Denise February 28, 2017 at 1:46 pm

I think that Isabelle’s 15lbs has swum the Atlantic and parked itself with me. I swear my backside is beginning to look like it’s planning a double cheek infantry offensive against some innocent South Pacific island. Bet it can take them out. Squash them into submission!

Not boots on the ground, so much as butts on the ground…..

Krystal February 28, 2017 at 9:44 am

1. I injured my back (old injury flare up) on Wednesday afternoon, which left me pretty immobile for a few days. I drank tea, water, ate leftovers, finished two books and started another, and my husband made a library run on my behalf. An unexpected way to save money toward the end of the month (we only ordered out once in this time, which is pretty good considering I could barely walk, let alone cook). I had some increased expenses from acupuncture treatments, but I visit a community clinic, which has a sliding scale, and is much cheaper than a solo office visit.
2. I completed my taxes (on my own, now that I have been through training) and will receive nearly 1k back. The dream is to break even, but I am self-employed and I am still balancing that fine art of estimated quarterly payments. Every last penny will go toward our laundry room fund. We are almost fully funded OUTSIDE of our 3-6 month emergency fund. Cash only, we are a no-debt family (minus our mortgage).
3. We needed to hire an arborist to deal with our very large, lovely cherry tree. Our work prior with thinning and pruning what we could saved us hundreds of dollars in labor, and redefining our needs with the crew when they arrived saved an additional $200 off of our estimate. It ended up being much cheaper than we had thought. I asked them to leave behind some woodchips, and now we have a free solution to our garden walkways.
4. Next month will be a bit tight, but we wrote our our budget and I trimmed back a few extras to keep it zero-based.
5. Prior to (and how I triggered) my back injury, we had been spending about an hour a day outside in the garden and yard. Despite our insane weather, we’ve had some nice days and got a jumpstart on our garden. Keeping up our yard is a necessary and free way to spend time.


Kim from Philadelphia February 28, 2017 at 10:01 am

Alexander died in the duel,
with Aaron Burr,nonetheless!!


Mary W February 28, 2017 at 2:14 pm

I’m distantly related to Aaron Burr. Why do I always feel the need to apologize for his bad behavior, lol?


Kim from Philadelphia February 28, 2017 at 10:02 am

We are obsessed with the soundtrack. My 10 year old has it memorized!


LuAnn February 28, 2017 at 10:05 am

1. Whole Foods had organic boneless turkey breasts for $6.99/lb (yeah sounds high, but all meat & organic) so I bought 4, slow cooked 2 at a time at night, then added more water, stewed for a couple of hours, and canned. I get about 16 pints each time, with 1/2 being mostly meat and 1/2 being mostly broth.
2. Organic oranges were on sale and about to go out of season so I bought another 5 lbs, thin sliced, and dehydrated them. I eat the inside like candy now and if there are any left, will use them in tea during the summer when citrus is more expensive, plus the dehydrated rind goes into the garden.
3. Will sort sweaters that I bought at Goodwill that only lasted a season to put in a plastic bin & up-cycle into something as yet to be determined. I just can’t stand to toss out something knitted at this point.
4. Since we’re finishing out a tiny house, I’m learning to finish drywall (yikes) by watching Youtube videos and on Saturday found books on framing, other types of construction, and one on fencing from “found” materials at the used book store for 1/3 the original price.
5. I also did not buy that yacht, or hire a yardman, or book a flight to Paris even though Paris in the Springtime… 🙂


Bee February 28, 2017 at 1:54 pm

I have a friend who makes throw blankets from recycled / thrift shop sweaters. She particular looks for cashmere or merino wool? It does matter if there is a hole. After hand washing them, she cuts them into blocks and serges them together.


Bee February 28, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Oops. It does NOT matter if the have a hole because she cuts around them. Isn’t it amazing how one word can change the meaning entirely?


Pattilou February 28, 2017 at 4:14 pm

LuAnn, I desperately want to live in a tiny house, by the water of course! A girl can dream.


KJD509 February 28, 2017 at 12:07 pm

1) Like Susanna, I have also had a HUGE case of the go-out-to-dinners but have held off. Interestingly, none of the restaurant-type meals I’ve cooked helped, but last night I was tired and cold so made a quick meat and gravy on buttered toast concoction straight out of my grandmother’s 1950 kitchen, and it did the trick.
2) Unlike Sheila, have not found a new to us car to replace the one sitting broken in the driveway. Every time we try to sort out priorities (Fix or replace the car? Sell the truck? Both? Neither?) we end up, um, not exactly seeing eye to eye. This is frugal because we’re not spending when we’re not speaking. It’s not really a workable long term solution, though.
3) After Sunday’s egg salad debacle I totally forgot about the successful cook-ahead projects, so finding 12 dozen butternut gnocchi in the freezer yesterday ready to be bagged and labeled was a treat. We’ll get several fancy appetizer courses out of that for very little $.
4) Signed youngest up yesterday for after-school choir, after-school robotics, and after-school running club. She’s already participating in after-school math. She attends a non-neighborhood school, so these kinds of activities are such a treat – time with her friends, and no extra transportation costs. We skipped the expensive options – tennis, chess – so total cost for 4xweek through late May was $30.
5) Stitches out today from the root canal repair, and all is healing well. Not having to repeat the procedure (again!) = frugal.


Denise February 28, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Arguing about the vehicles? Look, since your husband is undoubtedly insisting on selling his truck, I vote that you give in gracefully and stop the dispute. buy him a Smart car instead:


KJD509 February 28, 2017 at 2:45 pm

drool . . .


Ruby March 1, 2017 at 9:55 am

I love your sense of humor! And it’s a good thing you have one, as it sounds like life is giving it a hard workout. Sending you good wishes that the work on your flat turns out to be a little less horrible than anticipated.


Vickey March 5, 2017 at 7:59 am



Vickie February 28, 2017 at 1:53 pm

1) I made out all my bills and mailed them by Monday, since today is my payday and thus avoided late charges.
2) I joined a Wellness challenge at work and picked up my FREE FitBit Tracker today. It’s charging as I write. Now all those steps I take to the bathroom, after drinking 4-5 glasses of water a day will actually count towards my Fitness/Wellness goal.
3) I went to the Feed store today and picked up oats for the horse, while they were on sale. Thankfully they had the dog food we use on sale too and this time it was 30 lbs, which will last longer.
4) My HE washer is acting up again on the spin cycle, so I used the unplug then open&close the lid trick, which seems to have worked. Last night it dawned on me the issue may be leaving the lid up when there are no clothes in it. The lid switch is part of the computer system in the washer. I’m going to make sure it’s closed when we aren’t using it and see if that fixes any future issues.
5) I picked up $1 frozen meals at the Dollar Tree to use for work lunches, while I ran errands at lunch. The meat & veggie combos are keeping me on the low gluten plan I’ve been trying to follow and saves me from eating out very often. If I set a monthly lunch date with my BFF/co-worker, we both get a once-a-month-treat after pay day and stay on track with our finances and lunch menus are pretty economical.


LisaC February 28, 2017 at 4:14 pm

free fit bit? Awesome!


Denise February 28, 2017 at 2:13 pm

I remain a frugal disaster area at the moment. I am definitely self-sabotaging, but knowing that cognitively, and being aware enough to stop the impulses, aren’t meshing at all.

1. I didn’t write a meal plan, nor did I shop the pantry, before going to the supermarket. I went out for three items, came back with three bags full of food. Not one piece of fruit in any of the bags (told you I am self-sabotaging).

2. On Sunday morning, I had to face the fact that I had allowed my avocado to go mouldy in the fruit bowl. And it had contaminated all my tomatoes, so they all had to be chucked out. I hate food waste. I am very hacked off with myself.

3. Not sure if I have whined about this already, but there are so many problems with my new flat that I am going to have to move out for three months to get the work done. Back to my sister’s house and a three hour a day commute. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get a refund on my Underground season ticket and I’ll be paying about triple the cost of travel for those three months.

4. That period coincides with me having to start clinical placements as part of my training to be a psychotherapist, so the travelling (I have to do them in the evenings, after my day-job finishes) will be a true pain. And exhausting.

5. To add insult to injury, I have to take out a £100,000 mortgage to pay for all the work. Just at the time (aged 51 and wanting to transition to being a low-paid therapist) that I most need to be mortgage-free.

I am so sick of whining, and yet, here I am again…


Mary W February 28, 2017 at 2:19 pm

That is awful, Denise, and totally”whine-worthy”. I’d be pretty hacked off, too.


LisaC February 28, 2017 at 4:15 pm

I really love it when someone is “real” on this blog. We need to support each other and know that we aren’t perfect. 🙂


Cindy in the South I March 1, 2017 at 5:46 am

I agree Lisa! I like it when folks are real also because, sometimes, life just sucks!


jennifer March 1, 2017 at 8:01 am



jennifer March 1, 2017 at 8:01 am

Ditto here, too


Cindy in the South I March 1, 2017 at 5:43 am

That sucks! Could you sell the flat and maybe recoup your money on the purchase price, and then not have to take out the loan to fix it? Maybe a builder who can do all that stuff cheap would want to buy it and resell? At any rate, your problems, have made me think twice about selling and moving. I could not find a house cheaper than the one I live in, and would have to pay moving costs plus, anywhere from bout $25,000 to $50,000 U.S. Dollars, more, for a house. True, it would be in a much more desirable location, but what if my inspection does not turn up hidden problems like you have? I suppose I could sue the inspector’s insurance, since they have to be licensed, insured, and bonded here, but what a hassle. Also, while my neighbors are a pain, they are basically just an annoying pain, I could end up with really psycho neighbors. You have given me something to think about, and I have paused my retirement house search. I hope everything works out well for you. It sounds so horribly stressful.


Deb in SD March 1, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Oh Denise don’t you know 5o is the new 30? So no worries about that mortgage!


Denise March 2, 2017 at 4:57 am

Thanks for all the supportive comments, as always.

Cindy – I have done the maths and it doesn’t stack up, sadly. The sensible thing is to stick with it, as painful as it is. It cost me £36k to move and I’d have to make full disclosure of the problems which I’ve discovered, so I wouldn’t get a premium price for it.

Plus – it’s a lovely space. Just don’t look at the walls, ceilings or fittings!

One humdinger I live with: the grotesque “Mommy, I made it in my woodworking class!” Fire surround. Come the revolution, it’s the first thing up against the wall.

Anyway, the ball is rolling now: I signed a contract yesterday for new windows, for nearly £15k. Turns out that all the box frames for the double-hung sash windows are either rotten (the leaky original wooden windows) or are so badly damaged by poor installation of plastic windows, that I need the whole shooting match replaced.

As soon as I get confirmation that my voter registration has been formally placed onto the Electoral Roll, it’s time to lodge the mortgage application, which allows me to overpay each month and to make lump-sum payments as well.

And sadly, Deb, while I genuinely am having my happiest years now I’m in my 50s, the size of my backside does not agree that it is a new 30!


Vickey March 5, 2017 at 11:02 am

Denise, I’m so sorry for your homeowner troubles! Be gentle with yourself – like you are with people here. 😉 It’s a pretty common thing to eat pancakes instead of fruit and vedge when we’re stressed.
I hope your tradesmen and contractors are thorough, professional, and much much more honest than the seller was. You deserve a break!
On the bright side, sounds like your resumed 3 hour daily commute will be during spring/summer months. Glad it won’t be over the winter.


lisa February 28, 2017 at 2:16 pm

I read a book (from the library of course, that I bought for the library as I am a book buyer for said library) called The Art of Frugal Hedonism: a guide to spending less while enjoying everything more, it made me think of Katy. It is a great book.


Jackie B. March 1, 2017 at 9:45 am

Thanks for the book tip. I just requested it from my library.


Bee March 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm

I love the title of the book, Frugal Hedonism — makes me smile, I checked out a good frugal book from the library yesterday,”Waste Free Kitchen Handbook.” Great for the new-to-frugal or the frugalnista.


Alyssa February 28, 2017 at 3:01 pm

1. Yesterday I bought about $17 worth of groceries at trader joes that will last me all week for my lunches. That kind of seems like a lot but if I buy lunch it’s easily $10. Today it was a can of their chicken chili (it was pretty good but it has a lot of sodium) with a tortilla – a $2 meal.
2. Didn’t buy any coffee or tea out, instead have just been drinking tons of water from my 10-year old nalgene
3. I’ve been buying precut mango even though it’s expensive and wasteful… The other day I bought myself a whole mango (.99), watched a video on how to cut mangos and now I am so excited to be able to afford my favorite fruit all the time.
4. Been pretty inspired to start selling a few things on eBay from people on youtube who make videos about it. Even an extra $50-100 a month would be great and it would go straight into savings.
5. I needed three flash drives for school, and my impulse was just to buy a three pack at walgreens. Instead I dug through a couple spots in my house and I actually found 5 of them and they all had more than enough space for what I was using.


LisaC February 28, 2017 at 4:13 pm

1. Using leftovers from DH’s party to make freezer meals.
2. Gifted some eggs at work from a coworker with lovely chickens.
3. Used candles and birthday banners we already had, picked up a sombrero from GW for $3 for the centerpiece. It was a taco party.
4. Used free Pandora for background music. Started with Cinco de Mayo type music (mexican restaurant vibe), then switched to 60s 70s 80s station.
5. Bought white jeans at a 75% off sale at a local boutique. Yes, they were new, but a soo soo comfy brand that’s usually pricey. I’ll wear them all summer at work. Used lycra tends to stretch quickly on me.

Frugal Fail: spending $$$ on physical therapy for me. Its working, so cheaper than surgery, I guess, but still. Also spending $$$ for vet bills for our young kitty who is in pain. (1/1/2 years old) I think he fell off of a banister or something when we weren’t home. He is so young. Never had to put down a young pet before, and not ready to now. Hoping he heals, on steroids for pain now.


Tricia SM February 28, 2017 at 8:33 pm

So sorry about your kitty. =( Sending healing vibes. <3


Nalani February 28, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Hope your kitten gets better soon!


Denise March 2, 2017 at 4:59 am

How is kitty-kat doing, Lisa?


Amanda February 28, 2017 at 4:31 pm

1. Finished February $117 under budget! It was touch and go there at the middle, but we kept it together.

2. Got our state and federal refunds and immediately transferred them both to savings before they had a chance to get comfy.

3. I cranked our federal and state tax contributions down to a level consistent with our 2016 tax bill. It will put an extra $240 in our monthly budget. Now that we are budgeting experts I know that money will go to savings (because we might actually need it for taxes next year. We are small business owners, so our income and our taxes are variable.)

4. My mom bought a birthday present for a little friend who had a scaled down party this year (meaning she wasn’t invited) We have a birthday party coming up, so she passed it along. We’ll get a book to go along (we will take three children to this party so one gift doesn’t seem like enough).

5. We decided not to have my husband join me on an upcoming business trip to Denver. We haven’t traveled sans children in seven years. It was going to be so fun. But the flight was just too high to justify when this is our year to rebuild the savings. Sighhhhh.


Pattilou February 28, 2017 at 4:39 pm

1. Watched the Oscars with some friends. I brought a frozen pizza that I had in my freezer as my contribution.
2. Took home left overs from Oscar night. My friend who hosted doesn’t like left overs. I love them!
3. Made a meal list for the next few weeks. I will be working crazy hours for the next two weeks so I am trying to plan ahead. I am freezing a serving or two of everything I make this week to make sure I have food made ahead.
4.My out of pocket medication costs doubled this month. It is a ton of money. I am required to use the mail order pharmacy at my insurance company so I can’t shop around for a better price. I can get some money reimbursed from the drug company though. I did all of the paper work and mailed the form as soon as I got my receipt from my insurance company in order to get my reimbursement ASAP.
5. My plan for the evening is to curl up on the sofa, watch a movie from the library and knit.


Alison February 28, 2017 at 5:38 pm

I always have such difficulty with this, but let me try.
1. I sold my 30+ years old “hope” chest, because I want to live more clutter free, and it was a large piece of furniture and I have never had anywhere to put it. A young couple paid $100 for it, and loved it. They assured me they would take good care of it. I do not get sentimental about material things really, but DH teased me and said I should feel guilty about selling it. I don’t.
2. Didn’t buy the expensive food processor attachment for our new Kitchenaid mixer after testing one out. It was lent to me by the home ec teacher at my school. I didn’t like the way it mushed the vegetables. Instead I will look for a second hand food processor.
3. Packing my own oatmeal, and lunch to have at work.
4. Found a 250 piece box of megabloks at my favourite thrift store for my great neice. For $5.00.
Frugal fail: didn’t get a chip in my windshield fixed soon enough, and now it’s cracked, and will cost me $300 after my insurance deductible is paid to replace.


kathleen February 28, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Just got home from a quilt retreat, so here are the frugal highlights.

1. A year or so ago, while attending an open house, I had paid the deposit on the retreat center saving our group 30% off of the regular rental fee. And I had forgotten I had paid that, so when it came time to ante up for the balance due, I only owed $19.

2. A friend and I carpooled, which is always more fun that riding by yourself.

3. I took works in progress and finished three. I also took on-hand fabrics to make a graduation quilt for grandson, and finished the top…ready to add a simple border and be quilted.

4. We cooked our own meals, saving over catering or eating out.

5. We visited a quilt shop, and I didn’t buy a thing.


Tricia SM February 28, 2017 at 8:28 pm

I haven’t posted my 5 in a while, but things are going well there, so I wanted to share!
1. Been posting things for sale on FB pages lately and have sold 4 things this past week. Best part – 3 of the 4 were rescued from the trash! Yay repurposing!
2. Continued eating down our pantry from January, (and as we are planning a move in June to Colorado!!) – made tasty veggie shepard’s pie with lentils.
3. Baked lots of cookies and treats for my 5th grader’s fundraiser, shared the unsold with our local food pantry the next morning ~ treats for all! =D
4. Rented two Oscar nominated movies from Redbox (my cost $2.50) to watch with a friend. I made popcorn and we had baked goodies from #3, she brought me vodka and wine for herself. I consider that a great win!
5. My favorite – redoing our kitchen, we had someone come in to give us an estimate to finish the drywall: taping and mudding. $1,000 – $1,400 was the estimate. While hubby does NOT like to do this part, he decided he would, and is saving us that money!


Teri February 28, 2017 at 9:42 pm

1. Received a $10 off $10 purchase coupon for Shopko so I stocked up on some baking supplies. Yes they were priced higher, but I limited my purchases to $10, so free to me.
2. Returned a Christmas gift that just wasn’t working and got $70 credit.
3. Snow has been melting and I’ve found a few coins on the grass and in parking lots.
4. I’ve had such good luck at goodwill lately, finding things on my “need” list for really great prices.
5. Decided to try the Goodwill Outlet, found some items for resale and made over 3x my investment.


HeatherLiz February 28, 2017 at 10:20 pm

1) Cut my 17 year old son ‘s hair using a buzzer we’ve had for at least 7 years and used for hundreds of family haircuts
2) Made red lentils and rice for dinner and lunches
3) Only spending on food and necessities this week
4) Washed and brushed my dog myself and filed down his long toenails
5) Borrowed same son’s deodorant for work when I ran out. Mm, Old Spice.


SueB March 4, 2017 at 4:56 am

I’m on the men’s deodorant at the moment, I think I have about a week’s worth of drakker noir left.

My preference is unperfumed but once this stuff is gone (note to family, no more toiletry sets for husband for Christmas) then there was a really good deal on Boots slightly perfumed roll-on deodorants, so I’m going to be smelling of that for a while 🙂


Kim in MD March 1, 2017 at 7:55 am

1. Made final tuition payment for DS#2’s sophomore year of college! Two years down, two to go!
2. Bought gas and used 50¢/gallon discount from grocery store gas rewards to pay $1.69/gallon.
3. Got an Ikea reading lamp from a fellow freecycler, which will go to TN for DS#2’s off campus house next year.
4. Our church was the host of the Winter Relief program for the homeless last week. My husband and I are both on the planning committee so we spent every evening at church. We ate dinner with the guests so no cooking and cleaning up at home. Low grocery bills for the week.
5. Brought home extra hot dogs and Chicfila sandwiches for DS#1 from church. When Winter Relief over there were some food items that next church didn’t want so DH, who did breakdown and cleanup, came home with apples, bread and some lunch meat.

Unfortunately I came home with the flu! So after doctor visit and 4 meds later, I am starting to think I will live. Half our team got the flu or strep last week. Flu A and B!


rebecca March 1, 2017 at 10:49 am

1. The usual-cooking and coffee from home.
2. Found 12 cents.
3. I found 4 lbs of bananas on sale for 75 cents. I put some in the freezer, some were still good to eat and I made a chocolate banana bread with a brownie mix (bought for 99 cents) for work.
4. 2 new clients at my private practice.
5. Had friends over for dinner, roasted a chicken purchased one sale and from the freezer, roasted carrots and brussel sprouts and made an apple dessert from ingredients I already had on hand.


K D March 1, 2017 at 1:23 pm

1. I am using the neighbors electricity this afternoon to run our refrigerator and wifi, as the power went out in a wind storm. They are on a different circuit so they know where to run a cord if their power goes out and ours stays on. Good neighbors are wonderful.

2. We received an email from the Mazda dealership that mentioned stopping in for car washes between service visits. My husband likes a clean car so this is wonderful.

3. I have not bought new footwear in years, due to adherence to The Compact.

4. I continue to borrow TV series on DVD from the library as well as ebooks and audio books.

5. It has been several weeks since we have eaten out. I did order a bowl chili a couple weeks ago when I took a friend to an appointment and she wanted to eat lunch out (she is currently unable to drive due to a health set-back).


Tracy March 1, 2017 at 3:17 pm

1. Haven’t eaten dinner out in ages. Wanted to last night but didn’t.
2. Took bus to work.
3. Been good about grocery shopping from list, making list from sale items.
4. Cleaned own house this past weekend.
5. Continuing not to buy Starbucks except on mornings I run with friends (tradition to take turns buying coffee, 1-2 x/week)
Frugal fail: Was doing great not spending money on clothes (my weakness) until a colleague turned me on to Thredup, an online used clothing vendor. After no online shopping for two months, and with a 40% off coupon, I went a little nuts and spent $83, got work pants and jacket from Ann Taylor, two high end spring/summer dresses, a pair of neutral leather sandals from Joan & David, an Easter dress for my 13 year old daughter, a pair of designer jeans and a top from a line I love but never buy because I can’t afford it! We’ll see how it all fits.


Tracy March 1, 2017 at 3:18 pm

P.S. At least it didn’t violate my “buy nothing new year!”


Lynn D. March 1, 2017 at 3:30 pm
Rissa Obcemea March 2, 2017 at 8:25 am

I was just listening to Hamilton on Hoopla too!


Gina in KY March 2, 2017 at 4:27 pm

1. Returned a run-away cart at Aldi, gained a quarter (although I was looking for someone to give it to and there was no one!)
2. I only bought garlic, onions and red curry sauce (it’s super good) at Aldi.
3. The free veggies I am gleaning from my weekly volunteering (the volunteers take from the stuff no one wants at the end of the events to save it from the landfill). There has been an influx of cauliflower and baby potatoes lately so I have been sneaking them into everything I make. Tonight I made a stir-fry with the veggie odds and ends and baked tofu from the freezer. I used the red curry sauce to flavor it.
4. A neighborhood business gave out free butterfly and mixed herb seeds and I have several pack to plant soon. I also dug out my rhubarb, garlic and cut slips from the raspberries at the community garden that is closing (boo hoo!!) this month (to make room for an apartment complex). I am really sad to see it go. We are searching for a new vacant lot to start the community garden again.
5. I was able to pay two large bills in full due to my frugal ways and the no spend I have been on since January. It’s a huge relief.


MamaMinou March 2, 2017 at 7:06 pm

I sure wanted pancakes (or even better, crepes) after listening to NPR on my way home Tuesday, which was comparing pancake traditions around the world! Did not make any however. I think I’ll do a frugal pancakes-for-dinner meal on Friday.

1. Have the Hamilton soundtrack on reserve at the library (I’m around the 500th in line)
2. Got The Knick from the library for weekend knitting and entertainment
3. A friend gave me a pound of tofu today, which I will sautee with olive oil and soy sauce–a bit like vegetarian bacon
4. Wearing my worn-out running shoes and will continue to do so until the tops and soles separate
5. Planning clothing for an exciting overseas trip with my mom–will make do and maybe borrow, but buy nothing new


Mariana March 5, 2017 at 3:32 pm

1. I found $1 on a subway stairs, I looked around first and then snatched it. 😉
2. I sold an item on ebay. After all is said and done, I netted around $98
3. To pack the ebay order I used supplies from a package that arrived for me a while ago
4. I attended a gala event from work one day this past week. I could have a ‘plus 1’ so I took a girlfriend. We had a chance to catch up and got a free three course dinner out of it 🙂
5. Keep doing the usual ‘frugal’ things – cook at home, make coffee at home, use cloth rugs, rewash zip lock baggies.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: