Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 13, 2017 · 57 comments

  1. I’m utterly exhausted from a grueling day at the hospital yesterday, so I’m mostly just sacked out on the couch and goofing around on Swagbucks. Of course I brought leftovers for my work lunch, drank the free crappy coffee and then drank the free wonderful tea. My cat thinks I should be petting her, but that would require physical effort.
  2. I watched a couple episodes of Outlander last night, as the library DVD’s are due in a couple of days and I don’t want to accrue any fines. (Oops . . . I just checked and the second season of Outlander was actually due yesterday. I guess the only responsible thing to do is to schedule some back-to-back episodes. What can I say? I’m committed to my frugality!)
  3. I made plans to clean one of my mother’s guest cottages this evening as well as meet up for a walk with a friend tomorrow. I rarely spend money to hang out with friends and I’ve always got a side gig or two to bring in extra money. This is key to my financial wellbeing.
  4. I seriously have zero energy today, but I’m going to force myself to cook up a few make ahead meals to make sure already bought food and ingredients won’t go to waste. Future Katy will be happy that today Katy forced her tuchus off the couch. There will be caffeine. Cascading waterfalls of caffeine.
  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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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren March 13, 2017 at 11:07 am

I talk to future Lauren and past Lauren all the time. Glad to hear I’m not the only one – like, thank you past Lauren for making ice cubes/ buying a rotisserie chicken / washing my warm socks/ moving to an apartment with 0 squirrels/ etc etc. 🙂


Katy March 13, 2017 at 11:15 am

Wow, that “past Lauren” chick is sure considerate about squirrels!


Vickey January 20, 2018 at 9:20 am

XD Thanks, Katy! Needed the frugal (free!) laugh right about now.


Mary in Maryland March 13, 2017 at 11:21 am

1. Future Mary is looking at ten inches of snow. So today Mary pressure cooked a pot of garbonzos (life on the edge). I have everything we need to host a blizzard party featuring Moroccan-spiced chick pea and sweet potato soup. All the neighbors will be home, and no one will diss me for last having vacuumed during the Obama administration. My husband has brought plenty of wood into the basement to dry, and he has set up kindling, etc in the wood stove.
2. All meals home-cooked, even the day we forgot to put the oatmeal in the crock pot for overnight. (Kasha.)
3. Using up all the orphans–millet, black-eyed peas, cooked beans. Also moved cooked left-overs to smaller containers so I can fit tonight’s chili leftovers in the fridge.
4. Gave someone the second can of adobe chilis I got on a BOGO in 2012.
5. Sold five sets of knitting needles, because I love using two circulars and will never go back to four needle circular knitting.


Nancy from mass March 13, 2017 at 11:37 am

1. Returned some indoor flood lights that I bought for the kitchen. I originally used one, but it hums annoyingly. I don’t want a kitchen full of humming lights.
2. Noticed my potatoes were growing eyes, so I made Irish potato soup for lunch. Super tasty and filling.
3. Mixed some of the 50# black oil sunflower seed bag (for $17) in the bucket with the cheap seed I bought. Filled the feeders to keep the birds happy during tomorrows storm and Hung a small feeder filled with just the sunflower and it didn’t take long for them to find it!!
4. Needed a notary in order to send in the final life insurance policy claim. Called the local, downtown bank and its a service they offer for free…even if my son didn’t have an account there!
5. Picked up as much kindling as I could and brought it in to get the fireplace ready for tomorrow. I don’t have a lot of wood left, but do have some sawdust firebricks to use up.
Bonus: spent 20mins on the phone with social security. Getting my incredibly large $255 check but, more importantly, my son will receive child survivor benefits through June. That money will help him save up for a newer car.


Cindy in the South I March 13, 2017 at 12:41 pm

I hope you are doing as ok as possible, Nancy… sorry for your loss….hugs


Nancy from mass March 14, 2017 at 9:52 am

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the check from SS, I just don’t understand how they derived of that number.


Vickie March 13, 2017 at 1:51 pm

I’m sorry for your loss, Nancy. You’ve certainly been thinking resourcefully through it all.


A. Marie March 13, 2017 at 2:10 pm

It’s awful that a death leaves the survivors with all this bureaucratic stuff to deal with, on top of the loss itself. Nancy, you have not only my heartfelt sympathy, but my admiration.


Lindsey March 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm

Ditto what A. Marie said.


Jan March 13, 2017 at 12:08 pm

1. Working my second job & eating my bagged lunch & drinking free coffee.
2. Enrolled in monthly online bill pay for our home & car insurance, which saved a processing fee of about $10/month.
3. Watched a DVD from the library that was actually pretty bad – so glad I didn’t buy it!
4. Reading a book from the library.
5. Resisting the urge to buy anything from the gift shop where I work. It’s hard, but I have to remember I’m here to make money, not to spend it!


A. Marie March 13, 2017 at 12:27 pm

FFT, March 2017 Blizzard Edition:

(1) DH and I did our stocking up over the weekend (partly because we needed some stuff anyway, and partly because we saw the weather forecast early). No fighting over the last jug of milk for us. And I worked coupons and store “instant rebates” to maximum advantage.

(2) Other than that, we’ll be doing pretty much what we normally do around here. Because I telecommute and I’m finishing a big project, I’ll be working unless we lose power. And DH will be stoking the woodburner, and running the snowblower as soon as it makes sense to do so.

(3) I made a big pot of chili yesterday (including frozen homegrown tomatoes and peppers, plus sausage from our annual 1/2 pig). This will hold us for a few days.

(4) Looking forward to another round of found money from snowdrifts as soon as this blizzard’s snow melts. As noted in an earlier comment, I’ve been finding money all over the place from the last snowmelt ($6.50 or so and counting since March 1).

(5) Went to one local thrift chain’s “boutique” store in the university area yesterday, and scored a like-new big Vera Bradley bag for a friend’s birthday for $20. I’m not a huge Vera fan myself, but at least three of my BFFs are, so I keep an eye peeled. (One friend says she suffers from VBBA–Vera Bradley Bag Addiction.)


Kari D. March 13, 2017 at 12:38 pm

1. Resisting the urge to get pizza for dinner tonight. Instead, I dug deep in the freezer, and am using up some “loose ends”.
2. Trying to think ahead for grocery buying/meal planning for the next couple of weeks. I’m never good at meal planning, ( I’m more of a look at what I have and figure out a meal type of gal), but I’ll be sub-teaching at preschool next week, and then we’ll be out of town the following week, so I don’t want to over buy/cook and waste.
3. I’ve been thinking about how to set up some raised beds in the backyard so I can grow some things that we eat all the time. Plotting and planning.
4. Last weekend we went on a little family jaunt. The hubby works for an airline, so we tagged along on his trip. Our daughter got to see all kinds of historical things, including the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall, and it didn’t cost us anything except food.
5. My daughter’s basketball tournament was out of town this past weekend. We split the hotel room with another family, ate takeout instead of sit down, made the takeout last for two meals, and ate the free breakfast at the hotel. We had a blast!


Mand01 March 13, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Hard to be frugal while travelling again but here we go:
1. Spent yesterday afternoon in the garden. Picked another mountain of chillies, the last of our tomatoes, and generally tidied up.
2. Made black bean enchiladas using half a giant zucchini from our garden (our last one, sob), and a chocolate zucchini cake. The enchiladas were so good, just what we needed after a week of poor eating.
3. I’m using free airport wifi although this is offset by an expensive airport cafe breakfast.
4. Parked my car in the long term parking at the airport, saving about $50 in cab fares. It’s not actually my money, as it’s a work trip, but still no need to waste it.
That’s it. I’m tired and don’t want to travel today.


Nancy March 13, 2017 at 6:25 pm

My dad always said that iif you are only frugal with your own money you are cheap but ii you are careful with everyone’s money you are frugal.


Laura March 15, 2017 at 11:11 am

Not sure if you are Federal or State, but as an Australian taxpayer I appreciate your frugality with work expenses!


BJS March 13, 2017 at 1:08 pm

1. Used the leftover water in my kids’ school water bottles for my plants.

2. Can’t take any credit for this one, but my husband checked three online stores for the tax software he uses every year. One had it for $90 something, one was $50 something, and one was $38 … all for the exact same product. I told him that was definitely a five frugal thing!

3. Brownie mix was on sale at the grocery store for a good price. I had one on my grocery list, but bought two instead. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I’m notorious in my household for not buying anything unless it’s “on the list!”

4. Daylight savings time = more after-dinner walks = healthier = frugal!

5. Had a fun talk with a dear coworker about what makes us happy. She said that going into a store and buying something brings her joy. Inwardly I felt thankful that that’s not something that gives me happiness, but I just listened without pointing out our differences. (Afterwards I found myself humming the “Diff’rent Strokes” theme song in my head!)


Vickie March 13, 2017 at 1:43 pm

# 5 – I feel the same way as you. I don’t mind shopping for necessities, but I hate shopping just for the sake of buying something. Once I gave up hobby shopping, I actually felt sorry for a friend who I knew was doing it to self-soothe her emotional issues. She’s doing much better now and I noticed she no longer shops much anymore.


Roberta March 13, 2017 at 1:12 pm

1. Making vegetable stock out of leek ends, in crock pot.
2. Hung white tablecloths and napkins out in the sun to bleach. It is hot and sunny today, and I’d like to be able to use them for Easter dinner without having to run a bleach load of laundry.
3. Soaking and cooking chickpeas for vegetarian Cobb salad for dinner tonight.
4. Found several things to post to ebay.
5. Zested and juiced oranges, limes and lemons for later in the year when citrus is not in season.
Not very exciting, but it is cheap!


Katy March 13, 2017 at 1:13 pm

1) I made homemade room freshener/clothing freshener
2) We continue to not need paper towels/paper napkins
3) we drink mostly water (which is cheap)
4) I made homemade breakfast bread
5) I meal planned for the week to avoid takeout!


Vickie March 13, 2017 at 1:31 pm

1) I’m reading The Scavenger’s Manifesto – what a great book. Free from the Library of course. Also, listening to the audiobooks I checked out. They actually help me enjoy my work commute, or just driving in the car, because I rarely listen to the radio anymore.
2) I listened to a talk by Daniel Suelo today (The Man Who Quit Money). I found a link on his website for The video chat he gave was wonderful in my opinion. Here’s the link if anyone is interested:
3) I spent $31 at the Tribal grocers on Saturday. I made enough food over the weekend to last us all week and fed my grandkids, while they visited us.
4) I picked up snacks at the Dollar Tree last week, to keep here in my desk at work. So much cheaper than vending machines or other stores.
5) A small spring on my curling broke Saturday. Hopefully I can find another one at home to fix it, so I don’t have to buy a spring. Either way, I refuse to buy another curling iron when this one still works perfectly and all it needs is a part to keep it functional.


KJD509 March 13, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Pretty envious of your day sacked on the couch, Katy.

1) Drove straight from work to youngest daughter’s math competition Friday night. She had been there since mid-afternoon; pizza was provided for competitors. Every single fast food French fry called out to me on the long drive home, but we made it past each and every drive through and hubs and I split leftovers and a beer at 10 pm and called it dinner.
2) That same daughter had such a snarl in her hair that we couldn’t brush it. After some, um, friendly discussion, she decided to ride her bike to a nearby walk-in haircut place. I sent $20 with her, but she only spent $8 – their policy is that if you’re not happy, you don’t pay. They couldn’t get the snarl out and had to cut it, so they didn’t charge her for the wash and style. After additional discussion, though, it became clear that the entire staff of stylists had worked on her for more than an hour, so we’ll be going back and leaving a MUCH larger tip this afternoon. It’s still frugal to have the hair brushable, especially since it’s her first haircut in more than a year.
3) My beloved 1960s electric range sparked and shot flames yesterday. It’s not going to last forever . . . but it has no computers or fancy sealed compartments, so my husband was able to take it apart, replace the melted wire connector, and put it back together. He even cleaned the whole thing, inside and out, while I was busy on a project for work. Total cost to repair: about 35 cents and some elbow grease. Man, I love that appliance. And that guy!
4) Brought fruit and leftovers from home for breakfast, lunch and snacks at work.
5) Frugal / not frugal: spent an hour at his favorite brewpub talking through the rest of the year’s finances with hubs. We are not skilled at having these discussions, but for the cost of 4 pints we managed the whole talk. With no shouting. And we have a plan. So I’m calling it an accomplishment.


Amy March 13, 2017 at 2:08 pm

My Five Frugal things moving home edition.

1. Rented a Uhaul instead of movers for our move.
2. Bought a dolly/hand truck so I could move everything myself easily without aggravating my back like I do most moves. Since I’m moving everything my husband has been able to work today which means we get an extra day of pay this month over what we planned!
3. Bought some frozen dinners to microwave tonight instead of getting take out.
4. Will be cleaning the apartment tonight myself instead of hiring cleaners. I kept out the bag of rags so I can get the kids to clean the baseboards and walls.
5. Bringing a cooler of fruits/veggies, waters and other snacks in the van with the kids & I so we won’t be tempted to stop on the way. We’re going through a really rural area with very few gas stations/stores and the few that there are have prices that are always much higher than usual.


Susie's Daughter March 13, 2017 at 2:59 pm

I haven’t posted in a few weeks, though I have been following along closely.

I spent a week in Seattle at the end of Feb with my beloved aunt who was on hospice. It was funny and sweet and sad, as most important events are. I learned that she died as I was walking in the house from the red eye flight.

Then last week, Dear Wife was walking the dog in a field across from our house and slipped and broke her ankle. She is having surgery with my awesome orthopedist (I broke mine badly in Oct 2015) Tuesday. 6 weeks non weight bearing. Lindsey – I’ve thought often of you and your husband! Ugh.

1) Grocery shopped today, mostly because it was my day to shop but also convenient in light of storm approaching. Was waiting to buy potatoes as I thought they would be on sale for St. Patrick’s Day. $1.50/5lb

2) Used coupons at CVS while nearby at a dentist appointment and saved $14 total. Bought pre-Easter treats for Dear Wife in her recovery and a few things for Easter baskets in addition to a bunch of necessary items.

3) Continue to accumulate the clothing in the house that needs to be mended – winter coat, turtleneck, one Spiderman glove, etc. I get it done if I have a critical mass staring me in the face.

4) Trying to cook, but not feeling it lately. I think this, in part, because my aunt was one of my biggest cooking influences and it just makes me miss her. This too shall pass, I know. Truthfully, she was a big frugal influence – she always cut my uncle’s hair and they religious saved her income and lived on his.

5) Eyed three new movies on the library website – Alien, Dr. Strange and Hacksaw Ridge. Continuing to read YA fiction from the “Kids Room” at the library – this week is Hope Is A Ferris Wheel – great so far.


Susie's Daughter March 13, 2017 at 3:00 pm

UGH – #4 should read “religiously”. Please pardon other typos!


Vickie March 14, 2017 at 8:06 am

I’m so sorry for your loss and for your Dear Wife’s accident. You had a tough week, so {{{BIG HUG}}}!


Susie's Daughter March 15, 2017 at 8:21 am

Thank you! {{{Hugging back}}}


kathleen March 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm

1. Booked a day of work for Friday.
2. Got a magazine article assignment idea approved.
3. The pantry and freezer have been shopped down pretty low, so I made a run to the store for some items that can work in unison to use up some of the remains. Will make a menu and list before doing another big shop to restock everything.
4. Returned one library book on time while picking up another. I have three more library ebooks on my Kindle, which are all extremely close to being due and are yet unread. I turned the wifi to my Kindle off. The books will be returned from my Kindle account on time to the library, but will remain on Kindle and will be readable as long as wifi remains off. My favorite frugal Kindle hack. 🙂
5. Bought some foldable storage cubes from Amazon for my office/craft room reorganization. Used a gift card purchased with cc reward points. Out of pocket cost to me 86¢.


Alexandra March 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

1, Made veggie stock with odds and ends kept in freezer for last two weeks
2. made “clean-out-fridge-veggie-soup” Good!
3. Helped DH hang new medicine cabinet and blinds for back door. Was tempted to ask handy man to do it but we did fine and DH was off work early so technically he got paid to do the work!
4. planned dinner but both snacking late in afternoon so put off until tomorrow. Our wallets and waist lines appreciate it!
5. worked a catering gig on Saturday and came home with four bags of leftovers from events. Specialty cheeses (that is the late afternoon snacking from #4), grapes, strawberries, starfruit, blood oranges, crackers (that were $5.99 a BOX!) and two bags of beets with their greens. Already roasted one bunch of beets, cleaned one bunch of greens. Going to add to greens to pasta and feta from online recipe I found. Put diced roasted beets with blood oranges in salad. Ooo la la!


tonya March 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm

1) Hiked today in sunny Colorado.
2) Picked up a free coffee on my way home.
3) Picked up both of my high schoolers in one trip, saving gas and miles.
4) Read a library book.
5) Called on several bills and saved a total of $150.
6) Planning on commuting to work on the newly opened train line this week. My employer charges me $7/motor unlimited rides. And I get to read and relax instead of sitting in horrible Denver traffic.


tonya March 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

$7/ month, not motor!!


Stephanie March 13, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Speaking of present and future selves…
1. Because my husband and I are frugal, and have lived below our means for most of our marriage of 36 years, we have a little cash for a 529 Education Plan for our grandson, who is nine months old. The money we put in now will be compounded for the next 17 years tax free, and when withdrawn to pay for higher education will still be free of taxes.
2. For the grandchild on the way, we will make a similar contribution in 2018. I am so grateful that we are in a position to help our grandchildren in their future, which our frugal life has made possible.
3. I made homemade yogurt today, along with rice and beans, which I served with leftover enchiladas.
4. Like others here, we are hunkering down for the Big Blizzard. We’re in good shape, but bought some milk.


Krystal March 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm

1. Sold a handful of glass terrariums on Craigslist for a quick $25.
2. Planned and executed a meal plan and grocery shopping trip yesterday, with a full belly, so no extras or impulse buys.
3. Picked up extra shifts at the yoga studio for free yoga trade. This is saving me at minimum $120 a month, and I love being there. Home away from home!
4. Stepped away from a contract. This doesn’t seem frugal, but it is. It gives me more time for thoughtful personal and family time, which means less stress and more frugal behavior, not to mention I had to plead and beg to get paid on time! A real mess of a situation I am glad to be done with.
5. My younger brother is coming to visit this weekend. He has autism, and wants to do everything and anything he can when he visits. He doesn’t earn much money, and needs extra patience setting boundaries and preparing schedules. We let him select a few things within a budget to do, and he’s doings great with his expectations. I tend to spoil him, so we are working with him to understand money a bit more.


Kim in MD March 13, 2017 at 4:54 pm

1. The power door lock on the driver’s side door of my car, stopped working in September. This was due to the fact that I left my windows down and we got an unexpected torrential downpour. After months of them not working, DH went to order the part at the dealership because it’s the only place it’s available. It would be $279! He went to the junkyard and got just the switch that was bad for $2! Only took him 10 minutes to put it in. Thanks YouTube! Woohoo!
2. Did 5 merchandising jobs yesterday and today before the snow comes! College fund!
3. DS#1 needed TI-84 for his college Calc class and DS#2 has it in TN for his Nuclear Engineering class. Someone in my Neighborhood group posted a curb alert for a free TI-84 Plus. So we are now the proud owner of another graphing calculator and have brotherly harmony!
4. There was a problem with a receipt for my Ibotta rebate app. When I resubmitted it only gave me credit for $1.50, not $7.50. After several emails back and forth, they credited my account for the additional $6. Money is money.
5. Making some mushroom soup and pineapple banana muffins before the storm hits in case we lose power. Also planning to start a batch of sauerkraut made from 17¢/lb. cabbage.


Mrs. Picky Pincher March 13, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Oy, it’s been a busy week around here.

This week:

1. We built our own raised beds, trucked in dirt, and planted crops in our back yard.

2. We’re eating meals at home each night this week–which we successfully did last week as well. 🙂

3. I crocheted a cute ear warmer over the weekend, which came in handy while working outside over the weekend.

4. I used up old eggs and lemons to make a lemon trifle. I baked my own ladyfingers and sponge cake from scratch too. Tasty!

5. I pre-cooked and prepped components for this week’s dinners to save time and avoid the temptation of takeout.


Teri March 13, 2017 at 9:02 pm

1. DH replaced a failing faucet and discovered other problems while under the sink. All repaired and good to go after only 3 trips to Home Depot–no expensive plumber was hired.
2.Continuing to clean out closets and get rid of excess, in effort to simplify life. Maybe going slow makes it easier to let go of things?
3. Only buying necessities or items for stockpile if they are free or nearly free (with sale and coupon) .
4. Another trip to Plato’s Closet to sell some of those items from my closet!
5. Found very affordable accommodations for visit to see son and family in April- almost a 50% savings.


Mrs. Daisy @ Dirt Road Daisy March 14, 2017 at 4:29 am

1. We no longer have to purchase diapers OR pull-ups. Our 3 year old is sleeping through the night in her big girl undies!
2. I was about to go to the store to buy a waterproof mattress cover for our toddler’s bed (because you know accidents will happen), when my husband reminded me that some hospital pads made their way home with us after having Little Daisy…so we put those under her sheets and they work perfectly. I’m sure Future Mrs. Daisy will be very happy that there is some mattress protection down 🙂
3. Mr. Daisy prepped his lunches for the week and has even started to rinse out his Ziploc bags and re-use them. {insert heart eyes Emoji here}
4. Little Daisy has her first dance recital coming up. I searched everywhere for a second hand leotard she needs but couldn’t find one. Luckily, I found one on clearance for less than $5.
5. I drank coffee and tea at work, unplugged unused items, called my insurance to see if we qualified for a lower rate, and dropped our cell phone bill by $30.


Roberta March 14, 2017 at 6:04 am

My daughter’s dance studio has a leotard exchange. When they go up a level (or when they grow out of a leotard) they just bring in a clean leotard and swap it for what they need. You might ask your school if they are interested in setting up a swap area. It doesn’t take up much space, either.


Diane March 14, 2017 at 5:16 am

I am completing all unfinished projects before beginning new ones. Right now working on a scrappy quilt with squares leftover from other quilts. I even stitched pieces of leftover batting together for inside. This is so difficult for me as I have so many new ideas I want to get to, but frugality reigns! I also made a sponge cake with the insides of eggs I blew to dye for spring decor. Waste not, want not! And eating from fridge and cupboard right now. On the free fun side SXSW is here in Austin and my neighborhood has its own celebration at a local small hotel called South By San Jose with concerts in the parking lot every day starting tomorrow. So wonderful!


Tracy March 14, 2017 at 5:20 am

1. Made a delicious stir fry last night which I’d prepped on Sunday. So much easier after work then starting from scratch.
2. Took the bus yesterday even though it’s raining AGAIN in Portland.
3. Got a letter from an outfit that said they had identified unclaimed money I was owed and if I signed and returned form they would collect it for me and take a cut. Went online to check them out and found the advice to check myself on my state’s unclaimed property site. Got the forms and filled them out myself, we’ll see what happens but it looks like I may get over $100 back for the price of a stamp!
4. Called and straightened out a mixup with a medical bill.
5. Continuing to plan ahead for a frugal trip to California for three days on Thursday. Sun!!!!!!!


Sandy March 14, 2017 at 5:24 am

1. While grocery shopping I saw a Seattle’s Best bag of coffee marked down to $4.99. Snapped that up.
2. Contacted State Farm to discuss my car insurance bill and found out that there was another discount to apply to my policy. Saved about $75.
3. On Sunday made lunches for the week and took them all to work. No excuse to buy lunch this week.
4. Invited knitting friends over this past weekend. Served coffee/tea/and a baked item from Great Harvest. Frugal fun had by all.
5. Frugal fail, but not my fault: had a blood test run by doctor. Was told by their office that they contacted my insurance company (they took my card) that it would cost me out of pocket $120. Next week looked on credit card and was charged $136 by lab. Figured I could live with that. Got my EOB from insurance company, who sent me a $400 check and told me I’m on the hook for another $1100 or so!!!!! As you can imagine I’ve sent the EOB to the doctor’s office and asked them to kindly inquire where the disconnect is because they told me it would be $120, not $1100! Hopefully there is some mistake and I’m not responsible for that amount. I don’t know if I have any recourse if this isn’t the case, but I’m trying to remain positive and let them work the problem.


Nancy from mass March 14, 2017 at 8:01 am

Keep after them!! I am pretty sure my husbands horribly expensive insurance co knew my voice because I fought bills like this all the time.
(Thank God he was switched over to mine prior to his final hospital stay or I would be on the phone with them constantly right now)

It could be something as easy as an incorrect code – like they used a hospital code instead of the lab.

Don’t give up fighting that one. Sometimes they clear the bill if they quoted you an incorrect amount. Use the Dr office too for the fight.


Vickie March 14, 2017 at 8:20 am

I agree with Nancy – do not give up and pay that bill!
They must have mis-coded something. I would not only harangue the insurance person at your Doctors office, if they try to let it go tell them you’ll turn them over to your State Insurance Commissioner.
I used to handle the insurance claim problems, when I worked for a company several years back. I called the claims processor and I would threaten to turn them over every time they didn’t handle a claim properly. I got results, because they do not want to get investigated, especially if one of their claim processors is mishandling paperwork.


Mand01 March 14, 2017 at 12:56 pm

So many stories I read here and on Facebook about medical billing mistakes and stresses.
In Australia we have a system called HICAPS. We swipe our health insurance card and the amount the company is paying is automatically paid to the health provider. Then we pay the ‘gap.’ It’s all automatic and immediate. That’s for services from private providers that are not covered by our Medicare system. I wonder why that ‘simple’ (I’m sure it’s not really simple- it’s probably very complex from the backend) system doesn’t exist in America, where everyone relies on insurance?


Vickie March 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm

That sounds heavenly simple! I think we were moving that way before, with the AHA system, but the new prez and Congress are dismantling all of it.


Melissa March 26, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Hi Mand01. I work for surgeons here in Australia and unfortunately it’s not always that simple. Usually it is but you would be amazed at the claims that Medicare reject! There is only one person that deals with these rejected claims and they take months to correct (we have one that is nearly 2 years old and still unpaid!) The system isn’t perfect but I have to say it’s a lot simpler (and cheaper) than what is available in America.


Ruby March 14, 2017 at 5:53 am

1. No blizzards in the Southeast, but last night was miserably cold, rainy, and dark so early that I went to bed at 8:30 p.m., wearing the wonderful red flannel pajamas I bought new for $3 at the autumn community consignment sale. Snug sleep is frugal.
2. Packed my lunch and cold drinks from home today. Drinking the free water from the office cooler as well.
3. Am re-reading some old cookbooks from my collection for cooking inspiration.
4. Getting some more life out of a favorite pair of shoes with drugstore heel pads under the insoles. It’s an inexpensive fix that makes them more comfortable.
5. DS started a new job this week and is packing a lunch from home. Glad to see the apple hasn’t rolled far from the frugal tree. 🙂


susanna d March 14, 2017 at 6:21 am

1. A couple of months back, I froze a bag of grape tomatoes that wouldn’t get used up before they went bad. Last week, I thawed them and used them in chili. Worked great – I gave each one a little squeeze and the skins popped right off. I’d frozen bigger tomatoes before but never tiny ones, and didn’t know how it would work out. The answer is “just fine.”
2. After looking at all the grocery ads, I realized I don’t need anything – and besides, there were no great sales anyway. I need to skip grocery shopping more often. We really do have a well stocked pantry and freezer – and if I miss a good sale, oh well. There will be others.
3. Cooked up a batch of black beans, and made black bean burgers for the freezer. I’ll also be making pumpkin/black bean soup today. Future Susanna will be happy to have these options at a number of lunches over the next several weeks.
4. Once again, the laundry will be hung on racks to dry. It’s been over 8 months since I decided to see how long I could go without replacing the dryer. So far, it’s been great – in summer and fall, just about everything gets hung out on the umbrella clothesline. Winter, it’s on racks indoors – adding much needed humidity to the house. Twice a month, I take two week’s worth of sheets to the laundromat – haven’t yet figured out how to hang king size sheets in the house without trapping people who walk by. But $3 per month (I can get 2 loads in one of their big old dryers) is a lot cheaper than a new dryer. Our laundry room is only a foot wider than the washing machine, so a dryer would have to be a stacker. EXPENSIVE. Okay – the “laundry room” is really like a laundry cubby.
5. Blanched and froze some of the 17 cents per pound cabbage I had bought earlier. While it doesn’t beat the 8 cents per pound that I pay at a farm stand in summer, 17 cents per pound is a really good grocery store price.


K D March 14, 2017 at 8:38 am

I 2nd #2. Lately the sales have been paltry so I’ve been using more of my stored goods. It has been a good thing.


K D March 14, 2017 at 8:45 am

My Five Frugal Things from our Mid-Atlantic snow day.

1. Most things are closed due to the weather. We will stay home all day and not spend money. We just finished shoveling and I’ll go for a walk later.

2. I knew bad weather was forecast so I made sure I attended a yoga class yesterday. Because of daylight savings time I can walk to and from a 6:00 class in daylight (no need to drive). The later class was cancelled due to the weather forecast and I’m not sure if there will be classes tomorrow.

3. RedBox sent a promotion code so we rented Hacksaw Ridge on Sunday. It was $.34 out of pocket. A very good movie.

4. On Sunday I went to Aldi and stocked up on strawberries ($1.29/#), baby carrots ($.49/#), apples, bananas, and GF pasta.

5. I have not had my hair cut since the beginning of December nor my eyebrows done since the end of December.


LisaC March 14, 2017 at 11:23 am

I hope you take care of yourself, Katy. Whenever I’m exhausted, if I push myself, then future self gets sick. Every time.


Rowen G. March 14, 2017 at 12:25 pm

1. My “senior discount Tuesday” thrift-store run netted a cast-iron Wagner Ware corn-stick pan for $4, a 2+ yd. length of 72″ wide white cotton damask for $1.99, and a new-with-tags batik sarong for $3.49. I will re-sell the pan and the sarong; the damask is going to turn into a new summer night-gown for me. (I did not buy the $14.99 Brother sewing machine, once I realized that the tension arm was bent.)
2. I found a quarter, a dime, and a penny in the grocery store parking lot. (All in different locations.)
3. I have been eating out of my freezer lately, but our neighborhood Whole Foods had local free-range whole chickens for $2.99 a pound; I fed three friends and myself an excellent dinner from a 3-lb. chicken, plus other things I already had on hand (and made some very good broth from the carcass.)
4. I don’t own a tv, but have recently gleaned some evenings of entertainment by watching online free episodes of things on PBS as they came out.
5. I bought an antique object that I have wanted for 30+ years. I consider this frugal, for it was *entirely* funded by sales of things gleaned from thrift stores and estate sales, and it really does give me joy, every time I use it, or see it sitting next to my (thrifted) antique candlesticks. (It was also less than half of other copies of said item which I have seen from time to time.)


Sandy March 14, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Present and future self! I love this! I was just thinking about restocking the freezer with meals for the future. I was heating the last meal from the freezer I made for my husband while I was out of town. Our future house will start building soon, and I will be on-site everyday, all day. Coming home to an easy dinner will be really welcome! I’ll be making lunches daily for my husband and me (I do it now, but, will make mine to go!)
Present Sandy learns so much from all of you, thank you!


Gina in KY March 14, 2017 at 6:46 pm

1. I have a date tomorrow night. I haven’t dated in a couple of years! I bought a sexy new (to me) shirt from a local thrift store and I found a Victoria Secrets bra (with tags) in just my size. I’m a cheap date!

2. I was craving Thai after passing a restaurant while working. I did not stop and, instead, came home and used odds and ends of veggies and a jar of Thai peanut sauce I bought at the outlet grocery store. It was satisfying.

3. I’ve been binge listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on YouTube. My friend is going to Philly for work and bought me a ticket to attend his concert there. This is a bucket list concert! Anyway, I immediately booked a cheap flight since it is in June and, while not going would be more frugal, it is an experience and I found an affordable flight. And how could I turn the generosity and kindness of a friend?

4. Someone gave me a bunch of browning bananas so I peeled and froze them for future vegan ice cream. Some were past the point of no return, but the urban hens loved them.

5. I remembered to download the free Friday coupon. Now I need to get in and pick up the last three weeks of items (hopefully, all are still current).


Maryanne March 15, 2017 at 7:56 am

Cascading waterfalls of caffeine. LOL!!!! Thanks for the chuckle! 🙂


Lindsay March 15, 2017 at 11:34 am

1. I bought as few groceries as possible this week in order to intentionally use up miscellaneous foods in the cabinets. It’s been working like a charm!
2. We have fought the temptation to eat out after house shopping in the evenings, instead eating home-cooked food every night.
3. We decided to put an offer in on a house that is listed for $20k less than the one we decided on at first. It is still a beautiful, spacious l house, but it’s missing some of the fancy touches that the original house had (bye, exposed brick!).
4. We are putting a 20% deposit down on the house to avoid paying PMI. This means that we are buying a home than is listed for much less than all the mortgage lenders’ calculations say we can afford.
5. We are buying a house in walking/biking distance of my husband’s job so he doesn’t have to buy a car.


Katy March 15, 2017 at 11:57 am

Wow, great frugal five!



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