Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 10, 2017 · 84 comments

  1. My son needed a few things from home, so I spent yesterday driving down to his university. Although the trip is generally pleasant, I roped my mother into coming with me as I knew she’d enjoy seeing her grandson’s dorm, and frankly it’s nice to have company during the five-hour drive. I cemented the deal by suggesting that we could do some thrifting. I packed snacks, (apples and carrots) as well as a reusable water bottle and travel mug. My mother was kind enough to pay for lunch and dinner. Sadly the restaurant where we’d planned on having lunch closed early.
  2. With my willing 18-year-old in tow, the three of us located a large Goodwill across town from his university, (thank you, Google maps!) where each of us found something to buy. For my son it was nice thermal knit shirt, for my mother a pretty frame, and for me a $2.99 mixed bag of miscellaneous sewing notions. What caught my eye about it, was that it contained not one but two vintage darning eggs! Again, my mother treated.
  3. I bought a $2 drip coffee at the grocery store for the ride home instead of going to the Starbucks across the street. The coffee tasted like it’d been brewed many hours earlier, but I was miles away before I realized the extent of the cold bitterness. But guess what? I survived!
  4. I mailed off another one of my son’s eBay sales on Saturday. So far he’s sold two soccer jerseys and a pair of sneakers for a total of $260. Of course I packaged it up with second hand supplies. My neighbors receive a lot of packages, so they bring me their padded envelopes for my eBay needs.
  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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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs. Picky Pincher April 10, 2017 at 11:09 am

Great job with thrifting and selling!

This week:

1. I harvested 1.5 pounds of radishes from our garden. I hate radish greens, so I decided to compost them instead of letting them go to waste.

2. I harvested enough strawberries from my garden to eat some in my yogurt for breakfast this morning. I haven’t had to buy strawberries lately, so that’s been awesome!

3. I baked my own granola bars over the weekend. It was a little pricey, but it’s more expensive to buy pre-made granola bars. The recipe I found used up some old quinoa as well as plenty of cheap oats.

4. Tomorrow I plan to made homemade gyro bread for dinner later this week, as well as homemade chipotle mayo.

5. I have a big job interview tomorrow and I plan on wearing my thrifted professional clothes there. 🙂


Bee April 10, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Wishing you the best with your job interview.


Pattilou April 11, 2017 at 10:56 am

Hope your interview goes well.


Krystal April 10, 2017 at 11:26 am

Those soccer jerseys on eBay–we’re suckers for selling and buying them. One of my husband’s favorite players just had a horrific leg break a few weeks ago, now he’s compelled to buy his jersey he saw on eBay. No comment since it comes out o his “personal” monthly budget…

1) I picked up a few extra shifts at the yoga studio for free class trade. This set up has been saving me hundreds a month, and it’s like my second home or being at a friends house. I would generally be there anyway, why not set up trade?
2) I used 2 Chinook Book coupons at Whole Foods for my meat-I-can’t-get-at-the-regular-store run (and a couple extras), and due to a clerical error, I received an additional $5 off and they let me keep it. I saved $16 on an original $60 purchase.
3) I picked up a restaurant secret shop last week and got paid an stipend and reimbursed for our $130 dinner.
4) I checked in with T-Mobile and cut our monthly phone bill by $18 and also improved my data on my phone–I hadn’t changed my plan in 5 years, and they had really changed (no new phones, no new contracts).
5) My friend offered me a free class pass to the barre3 class she taught yesterday, so I took her up on it, and I am feeling very strong from that extra weekend workout. I guess the confidence was part of the freebies on that one.


Lindsey April 10, 2017 at 11:29 am

1. Sold five cookbooks from my collection. All WW II vintage so worth a fair amount. My interests have changed so letting go of them is not as painful as I thought it would be.
2. Turned a bunch of old clothes into rags. We no longer buy paper towels, so need rags.
3. Took several boxes of items to Goodwill and one to our used bookstore that is owned by a local charity.
4. Again was shameless about asking the person in front of me for her Monopoly cards (Safeway promotion), since she told the clerk she didn’t want them. 12 cards and 5 of them had free items! Got a container of salt, a loaf of French bread, two bags of fresh baby carrots, and a box of pasta…all free!
5. Had a group of people over and served breakfast for dinner—sourdough pancakes and eggs and bacon. Sourdough is cheap to make but tasty, the eggs were free from a neighbor’s trading them for seedlings, so only the bacon cost me. The syrup was made and canned last summer, from my rhubarb. It was a tasty but pretty economical way to feed a group. (Any excuse to eat sourdough pancakes. The bacon was a gesture of love toward my husband because I detest bacon in any form.)


A. Marie April 10, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Lindsey: I’m with you on every one of your 5 except the part in #5 about bacon. (As various earlier comments of mine prove, I’m into pork.) But I too have wheedled folks in store lines out of coupons they *clearly* aren’t using, and I do versions of your #1-3 as well.

And Katy’s sewing notions remind me of my overlap between her #2 and Lindsey’s #1: Because my interests have changed, and because advancing age (vision and arthritis issues) make it very unlikely that I’ll do any more sewing beyond basic repairs, I recently passed on most of what I had left from my late MIL’s stash (she was a professional seamstress) to two friends who will be able to use them. (That said, I do admire Katy’s two darning eggs. I’ve been using a burned-out incandescent light bulb for years.)


Marion April 10, 2017 at 1:13 pm

I don’t do bacon. No way, no how, no bacon!
Extended family members LOVE Bacon.
Nope, not going there.


Alison April 10, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Bacon hater here too. Once a year, on Christmas morning, it’s cooked in my house. I hate how it stinks everything up, even with fans going full blast!


SueB April 11, 2017 at 12:51 am

Me too (and one of my daughters) the stuff reeks. And that foamy stuff in the pan while its cooking is gross.

Sadly I also have a husband who loves it so in the name of marital accord I put up with it (he puts up with more than enough from me ;))

I can’t say how nice it is to find a little group of bacon haters, I thought my daughter and I were some kind of one off genetic aberrants 😀


Vickey April 11, 2017 at 7:33 am

Definitely not one off. And sometimes those genetic aberrations turn out to have an evolutionary advantage – particularly with, say, foods that have a high embedded resources and environmental impact cost, and/or are proven unhealthy.

Susan April 11, 2017 at 1:02 pm

I think baking the bacon in the oven is a better cooking method. No splatters all over your stove, not as much shrinking of the slices and no baby sitting the skillet. Give it a try for your husband!

Madeline April 11, 2017 at 7:44 am

Lindsay, where do you sell vintage books? I have a few I may be ready to let go of, but want to get decent prices.


Jenny April 11, 2017 at 7:52 am

I’d like to know, too., for both buying and selling!


Mand01 April 10, 2017 at 12:04 pm

1. We are getting to go away over Easter. I planned our meals based on what we need to eat from the fridge before we go.
2. Borrowed hand luggage from my parents.
3. Went to two gardening markets over the weekend and got plants really cheap plus all the seeds I have space to grow. On ANZAC day I will be autumn planting, as is the tradition in my family.
4. Working from home one day this week, saving petrol and two hours at least in traffic.
5. No coffee purchased this week – I’m bringing it from home along with a flask of tea. The cafe across the road from my office must thinive died.


Mand01 April 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm

“Think I’ve died”


Jenny April 11, 2017 at 7:54 am

What’s ANZAC and DYAC? Lol!


jennifer April 11, 2017 at 9:31 am

ANZAC is a day of remembrance in Australia for all who served in conflict and then there is the Damn You Auto Correct. These two are not related at all.


Mand01 April 11, 2017 at 11:10 pm

Sorry – yes, not related at all.
ANZAC Day is a bit like Veterans Day.
It is celebrated on April 25, which is to commemorate the landing at Gallipoli in Turkey in WWI, when many Australian and New Zealand servicemen lost their lives.

Jenny April 12, 2017 at 7:12 am

Thanks to those who took the time to explain ANZAC Day! In the USA, yes, we have Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11, also commemorating WWI soldiers, and Memorial Day on last Monday in May. I have now read up and really appreciate your help! And also for DYAC, which I will get good use from!


Mand01 April 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm

We also commemorate Remembrance Day on November 11 with a minute of silence, but it is not a public holiday. ANZAC Day is.

Denise April 14, 2017 at 10:15 am

11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month: Remembrance Day, a minute’s silence over here too.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them

Cindy in the South I April 10, 2017 at 12:21 pm

1. Spoke with insurance dept at work regarding COBRA for kid. I mailed off more paperwork regarding the same. Again, this is frugal because my insurance is great.
2. Spoke with loan officer regarding house refinance to vest for retirement. I have turned in my paperwork, now it is up to their end to complete the transaction. Fingers crossed……
3. I have a mixture of pasta, dandelion greens, tomatoes, onions, spices, waiting for me at home for supper tonight. I also have a mixture of foraged figs and mulberries that I cooked, with a little sugar, for dessert. I think the meal cost less than 50 cents to make.
4. I intend to walk for free exercise tonight.
5. It is in the low 80’s, so no heat and no air conditioning… which means lower power bill… yay!!


Ellie April 10, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Your #3 sounds delicious. In my area of the NW foraging is not usually an option. Neither is 80° weather 🙁 I always enjoy your FF.


Jennifer April 11, 2017 at 6:51 am

3. Cindy, I love hearing the word “supper”. Reminds me of being with my grandparents in Alabama as a child. Grandpa would crumble his cornbread in a glass and pour milk or buttermilk over it for a snack after supper.


susanna d April 10, 2017 at 12:27 pm

1. Our son and our grandchildren are coming up for a visit this week. I’ve been going through the freezer and pantry to come up with a meal plan that should appeal to everyone. There aren’t too many things I’ll need to buy this time – what a difference from some prior visits, where grocery shopping broke the budget. But talking with our son and daughter-in-law revealed that I’d been overthinking – and over-buying – for their visits in the past. For example: Their favorite breakfast? Oatmeal. That’s been a huge money saver. Sometimes I have to remind myself that ASKING can be a very frugal practice.
2. Local grocery store changed their pump perks program, and not for the better. Now instead of two days per week when I could earn 2 cents off per gallon of gasoline for every $10 spent, perks are earned every day – at the lower rate of 1 cent off per gallon for every $10 spent. And they expire sooner. However, the store also gives a 5% senior discount on a day that hadn’t been a bonus day under the old program, so we hadn’t been taking advantage of it. I’ll shop on senior discount day from now on. I’ll still earn the (reduced) pump perks, but the discount should more than make up for the drop in accrued perks.
3. Picked up my grocery freebies at a different store the last time I was in town – flavoring for water (which we don’t normally buy, but well, FREE – and my son will use it) and a Larabar (which I do buy).
4. While in a town about an hour from here, I noticed that their gasoline prices were a whopping 15 cents per gallon cheaper than in all the towns closer to me. Checked my phone and found that they had a gas station two blocks further down the road that was part of the chain that sends out $1 off gasoline coupons – and yes, I had those coupons with me. The coupon further reduced the final price. First time in a long time I paid less than $2 per gallon.
5. Used a Menards rebate to buy 3 cans of spray paint for a refurbishing project. Out of pocket cost was 5 cents.


Bee April 10, 2017 at 12:35 pm

We had a quiet weekend. The next few weeks will be busy and slightly more expensive than usual. So we are being cautious and keeping our spending in line.

1) I went to the library book sale and bought a grocery bag full of books for $10. One cookbook may be of interest to other frugalistas: The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider. It explores the technique and flavor profile behind various recipes, so the cook can use whatever is on hand. It reminds me of the Tightwad Gazette’s Muffin Chart.

2) I bought three things at the thrift shop last week for a little under $10. I listed all on eBay and sold them in less than two weeks for $70. This tidy profit will be put into savings.

3) With Passover and Easter being celebrated this week, the grocery stores are having wonderful sales. I stocked up on grocery essentials at great prices including butter, sour cream, sugar, pasta, cereal and olives .

4). Although we spent most of our weekend working on a landscaping project, (I am beginning to wonder if we will ever finish,) I did enjoy Home Fires on PBS last night. This is one of my favorites and the 2nd season has finally started locally. Free TV!

5). Since my family cannot be together for Easter I am putting together goodie boxes for two of my children. To go along with her Easter treats, I purchase three beautiful dresses for my daughter for $6. As a graduate student and researcher, she doesn’t have time to shop. Since the dresses are well know brands — Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, BCBGMaximara– DD can sell them for $$$$ at Thread Up or share with a friend if they don’t work for her. My DS who is hiking the AT is expecting a supply box this week. I have been baking cookies to put in this box using a free jar of cookie butter given to me by a TJ’s manager. He needs the calories. 🙂

Have a great and thrifty week! May your spring days and celebrations be blessed with happiness.


Susie's Daughter April 11, 2017 at 5:22 am

4) I love Home Fires too! I have been missing the original broadcast on our local PBS, but have been able to watch online.

And your Easter boxes sound just lovely. There is nothing like a package from home.


Jennifer April 11, 2017 at 6:46 am

I always forget about Passover and Easter being a good time to stock up on certain staples. Also, I have noticed good ham prices. Thanks for the reminder!


tonya parham April 10, 2017 at 12:37 pm

I’ve been decidedly unfrugal lately. I’ve got to get my act together. Mostly eating out but other behaviors as well.

1. Lunch at home today (rice, steamed veggies (.79 a bag at Aldi), and a tofu cutlet) with some of the Sambal Oelek– or sriracha’s older muscular brother. Yummy, cheap, vegan!

2. Drinking water (tap water) and avoiding pop. Also had coffee at home.

3. Gathered up canned goods for the library to pay my fine ($3) which is probably about what the canned goods cost but since I’ve already spent that and it goes to the food bank, I’m gonna count it.

4. Am trying to finish Napoleon: A Life on audiobook from the library but I don’t think I will make it so I will have to put it on hold again. I did put in a request for a couple of new books and movies that i will get tomorrow.

5. I didn’t order pizza last night or today. The eating out thing has really gone out of hand– I blame this on the end of the semester which is always really screwy for me.


Leslie Gould April 10, 2017 at 2:44 pm

Well, he didn’t get through Russia either.


Caroline April 10, 2017 at 5:30 pm



Lisa P. April 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm

My frugal 5:
We had our church swap Saturday. I got like 6 or 7 pairs of shoes. I got two jars of homemade salsa and one of homemade kraut. I found some fishing line and fishing items for my Son in law. I found two old church cookbooks, I think. I was also given a brand new blouse that someone had bought two exactly like. My uncle brought stuffing mix and rutabagas to share with all. I got a few more items, but it was so much fun. One really nice part was hearing people talking about getting things they needed.
I’m cooking eggplant lasagna tonight. Cooking at home does save a lot of money.
I use coconut oil for my skin. I also give a little to my cat for his gums. Here’s an article that discusses using it with cats and the warnings also.
Friday, Sat., and Sun., there were freebies to load to the Kroger card, ( jello product, fancy feast treats, and nestlea tea)
Of course staying out of stores helps one not spend also.
Hope all of you are doing well! It’s beautiful and sunny in SC today!


Teresa April 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm

1. During my Sunday walk I stopped by Ralph’s and found fancy salad dressing, mushrooms and bread at marked down to $1 and a 2-pack of Marie Callendar’s pie crust for 75 cents. Note to self: Check Ralph’s every Sunday morning.
2. Took 92-year-old mom to see “Beauty & the Beast” at the $5 movie. The $ was worth it because she loved it and there is not much else we can do together at her age.
3. Made a nice Sunday dinner at home and ate in front of TV with my daughter. She rarely sits with me so this makes me feel better about my accidental purchase of HBO for a month.
4. Got my “free exercise” walk up to 4 miles today. Yay! (Not losing any weight though…)
5. Didn’t spend too much money because I don’t have too much!!


Jennifer April 10, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Love #2 and your #3, also. Both warm my heart so thanks!


Jennifer April 10, 2017 at 1:14 pm

1. I purchased a table deal that included a lot of Easter baskets from the auction this past weekend. I purchased it because it had so many miscellaneous items in it that I knew I would use over time. The baskets were just thrown in there as extra stuff and I considered them complete junk at first. Then the lightbulb went off. I carefully pulled out all the old candy( these are premade baskets from last year, think ones from Walmart for around $10) and added new candy. I also added coloring books, sunglasses, and other toys that came along with the table deal. I thought if I really hustle I can sell them all at $5 per basket since Easter is less than a week away. So far, I have sold 3. I only spent $6 on candy to refill the baskets so I’m pretty pleased with myself. So if I sell them all, I will have made $75. I only paid $50 for the whole table which included a new in the box queen size faux leather tufted headboard and footboard!
2. I already have a queen size mattress and box springs that a friend gave me when his mom died so I plan to put that with the new bed set and make my kids toy room into a bedroom for my 8 year old daughter. The table deal also had a framed mirror that will look great painted white to hang over the bed.
3. My husband and I went to a grocery store,that we had sorta forgot about, and got some great meat markdowns. We got 6 packs of ground beef for $1.60 per pack. We forgot that if you go early in the mornings they have unbelievable deals. I usually separate the meat out into meal sized portions but I didn’t feel well so I just threw them in the freezer.
4. I put my cat outside. Actually, I did this a few weeks ago when the weather got comfortable. She kept peeing on my furniture and my kids clothes no matter what I did. This is saving me a lot of money on cat litter and she seems to love it. Of course, I will have to keep a close eye on her as it gets hot really quick in the south and she is used to being indoors.
5. I am pretty sick right now. I have been taking meds to hopefully get better but it is slow. I am going to focus on eating better because my body doesn’t tolerate junky food well. Seems everyone around me can eat bad and feel fine but I can’t. Being healthy is frugal.


Karen April 10, 2017 at 5:13 pm

If your cat just started the behavior, there may be a medical reason for it! May be time for a check up.


Mary W April 10, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Could be a bladder infection or kidney/bladder stones.

Some cats are just brats, though. I had one who jumped up on the kitchen counter and peed on a plastic grocery bag, right in front of me, staring right at me!


tonya parham April 11, 2017 at 5:55 am

Yeah, after 25 years of having cats, I can pretty much say with confidence, their behavior isn’t based on our ideas of “bratty” and when tehy do that stuff they are trying to tell us something, It might be that they don’t like their new litter or they have an allergy to the litter or their aren’t enough boxes but I assure you, when they do things like that, they are trying to communicate in some way.

Human kids are “brats” but cats and dogs are not. They are communicating in the only way they can.


Jennifer April 11, 2017 at 6:33 am

We already had her checked for the kidney infection. The litter could have been the problem, I guess. I really tried to keep her inside but I had to draw the line at peeing on the clothes. I became more diligent about keeping all the kids clothes put away and then realized she was peeing under the bed upstairs in the girls room. She really does love being outside and pretty much stays right near the house so we can watch her closely.

Tammy April 15, 2017 at 2:33 pm

You can spray white vinegar on your furniture as well as wash your clothes with white vinegar to get the cat pee smell out.


Bee April 10, 2017 at 5:55 pm

Hope you feel better soon. I sympathize with the no-junk diet. Because of allergies, I have a restricted diet, but my family has adapted to this. It’s better for them too. It’s super frugal, because you must make everything from scratch.


Jennifer April 11, 2017 at 6:34 am

Thank you! I woke up this morning feeling a bit better other than some aches and pains. I do so much better when I prepare all of my own food.


AFS April 10, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Please keep cats indoors. U.S. cats kill an estimate of 1 billion native birds and other animals every year — possibly as many as 4 billion. A bell on the cat does no good, birds don’t know that the bell signals danger.


Jennifer April 11, 2017 at 6:37 am

I really tried to keep her indoors but it just didn’t work out. She doesn’t seem interested in birds but thanks for the information as I will keep it in mind.


Nancy April 12, 2017 at 7:36 am

That’s a myth. It is safer to keep the cats indoors for the CATS. I have indoor/outdoor cats and have had cats for over 30 years. Yes, they do kill an occasional bird, but well fed house cats are just plain lazy and want to bask in the sun and not put in the effort to kill birds.


Mand01 April 12, 2017 at 1:21 pm

I’m sorry but in our country that is just not the case. Cats, including pet cats, are responsible for the destruction of millions of native animals across Australia- and not just birds. Frogs, marsupials, birds: if they can catch it they will have a go. It’s not their fault, it’s ours.


Kate April 10, 2017 at 1:15 pm

1. Batched my errands today. These included a stop at the insurance agent to drop off my daughter’s report card to get her good student discount.
2. Worked out on my free treadmill. It’s not pretty and it doesn’t incline but, again, it was free.
3. Noticed I had a couple pounds of potatoes but didn’t have them in a meal plan for the week. So I whipped up some potato salad to go with dinner and made my husband very happy when he found out.
4. Opened all the windows while it was cool this morning then shut them and all the blinds before it got warm. I’ll try to keep my over-heated husband from turning on the AC for as long as I can!
5. Started planning our summer vacation by looking into free attractions and free museum days in the city we’ll be visiting.


Lauren April 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

1. A friend was clearing out her closet and gave me a jacket and sweater that she didn’t want anymore. I just moved to a cold climate country so this makes a few less winter items I’ll need to buy!
2. Picked up a beautiful fruit bowl for $1 and mug tree for $2 at a car boot sale. Both items were on my list of wants for the home. There were other items that were not on the list but I definitely wanted but I stayed strong.
3. Husband picked up extra shifts this week- this will go towards buying a used car soon.
4. Didn’t get a chance to meal plan AND we shopped hungry, but we shopped the clearance sections and didn’t do terribly.
5. We’re building a gate on the site where our mobile is going. I scored a free fence panel on a Craigslist-like app. My FIL will pick it up and install it for us as well- he’s excited as he was going to build one from scratch!


yvette from down under April 10, 2017 at 2:44 pm

A chilly blast of weather from the Antarctica has got me seriously thinking about getting wood supplies up to the house ready for winter , but as our autumn is still mild i will make do for a few more weeks by wearing extra layers of clothing . FFT
1.After the storm there was lots of fallen fruit in the neighbourhood, so I carry a bag when walking and pick up pears, apples and quinces to cook later.
2.time to dye my own hair which had grown long over summer, so got a friend to cut it first so the whole ‘cover the grey’ process was quicker and easier on short hair.
3. Have new no-fee credit card with low limit I use for online bill paying that also accrues ‘points’ so I got $10 off my grocery shop as points accumulated this week
4. Used up all bits and pieces in the fridge to make way for fortnightly grocery shop, made sausage rolls and lamb rissoles from small amounts of cooked meat mixed with vege ends and spices, really yummy!!
5. Gave some of the small jars of jam I made a couple of weeks ago to friends who traded some of theirs in return, lots of variety that way.
I will be having shoulder surgery in a few weeks so need to plan cooked meals to go in freezer, finish planting the vege garden and get my housework sorted as I will be out of action for about 6 weeks.
Has anyone got ideas about coping on your own after surgery? I have been trying to train my dog to fetch and carry but she’s not that willing!!!


Nancy from Mass April 11, 2017 at 4:12 am

One tip I can give you (after having full rotator cuff surgery on the right and tendon repair on the left one 2 years apart) is to get a hair turban towel. (It’s to wrap your hair up after showering). easy enough to do with one arm!

also, make sure you have things that can be easily carried with one hand. i purposely bought a smaller laundry basket that i could carry with one hand (against my hip). I used it for laundry, but also to carry misc odds and ends. I would just put stuff in it, pick it up and move them to where-ever they were supposed to go.

food is a harder thing to do with one arm though….

good luck with your surgery!


Susie's Daughter April 11, 2017 at 5:31 am

Yvette – My best tip is to set up a “station” very close to where you are likely to sit down/rest. Mine had a cardboard set of drawers that had supplies for paying bills/sending mail in one draw, some snacks in another, phone and computer chargers etc. Also I used a good sized water bottle almost all the time that had a lid that was attached by plastic loop so I could fill it, close it and carry it with one hand.

Best wishes for your healing!


gina April 12, 2017 at 10:48 am

I had shoulder surgery quite a few years ago & what worked good for me as far as clothing went is button down shirts. since you might not be able to lift your arm high you can slip that arm in first and finish with the other. i lived in those shirts for months. also, if anyone offers to help you, seriously take them up on it. any little bit of help is awesome. I had a toddler at the time so if someone offered to come help for the day, i let them. made it so much easier. Good luck to you!


Danielle April 12, 2017 at 8:07 am

Maybe wrap up your arm for a day and see what is hard to accomplish. Does your microwave need to be moved? Dishes need to be lowered from an upper cabinet? A non slip mat in the shower? Baby wipes because showering is hard?


Tammy April 15, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Check with your local high school career counselor. Maybe there is a student interested in nursing school you could have stay with you for awhile at a very low cost.

Sleep in a recliner. It is so much easier to get in and out of than a bed. So much easier on your shoulder too!


Katy April 10, 2017 at 2:59 pm

-I made some homemade cinnamon knots.
-I meal planned and meal prepped for the week, hoping to avoid takeout.
-I signed up for a new phone plan, saving me $40 a month!


Jill April 10, 2017 at 3:01 pm

1. Finished cleaning out our attic and spent most of yesterday completing listings on ebay. Did sell a few things last week.
2. Our neighbors recently sold their house to move to assisted living. They wouldn’t need their pressure washer which they gifted us with. So the hubs and I spent the weekend powerwashing decks and porches.
3.Decided to use a gift card to go out to eat Saturday night. Nice to sit and relax and not cook after all that powerwashing.
4.Picked up several books at the library that I had on request.
5. Feeling a bit tied to the house and housework lately as we’re trying to get it up for sale very soon, so I’ve decided to play hooky one day this week and pack my lunch for a visit to the park.


Caroline April 10, 2017 at 5:46 pm

1. Returned a book to Amazon. I can count on one hand the books I’ve bought in the last year so this was extra-disappointing. A bread machine book in which over half the recipes need to be baked in the oven?! Not today, Bezos. Not this day.
2. Ate overnight oats in a jar for standard work lunch and walked on my lunch break.
3. Completed my travel reimbursement paperwork. Used company car so saved my car miles and work $$. As another poster says, frugal is if you’re careful with everyone’s money.
4. Watched “Shetland” on Netflix — if you like Vera or Wallander you might enjoy it. Looking forward to Season 2 of Home Fires mentioned upthread.
5. Really cutting back on paper towel usage after being inspired by other posters here–thanks for all the tips, all!


Mary W April 10, 2017 at 5:51 pm

1. I agreed to sub at Bunco this morning, not usually a frugal activity because it costs $10 to play, but today I had 4 Buncos and won a $15 gift card to the annual FFA plant sale, which I love to shop each year. Unfortunately, the sale is a week earlier this year and I will be at a TOPS conference at the beach that day. One of my neighbors also won a gift certificate so I will give her my wish list and certificate and let her shop for me.
2. In our TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) chapter, they throw a little party for the person who loses the most weight each month. Last month, I won, and received several lovely gifts and a nice chunk of cash. Thursday, one of the couples that were unable to be there for my party brought me my gifts. $5 very appreciated cash from the wife and a pair of Mason bee hives from the husband. I had mentioned that I would like to make some a few weeks earlier, and he remembered. I was so touched by his thoughtfulness, taking a few scraps of lumber and making me a frugal gift I can really use. Plus, now I have a pattern to make a few more.
3. I’m using our town’s new free Wi-Fi to post. I have errands spaced out just far enough apart to have time to kill, but too close to drive home (not to mention, a waste of gas to do that). Wicked fast Wi-Fi, too.
4. I use Brita filters to remove the bit of iron our when house filter system doesn’t get (rust deposits in the pipes after the filter), but hate the price of them. Found Walmart has a generic version for a fraction of the price. Bought a 4 pack to try.
5. One of the ladies in my TOPS group brought me a really pretty sweater that no longer fits her. It fits me beautifully and is like new. I’ll enjoy wearing it until I get too skinny for it and then pass it on to someone else. She has reached her goal weight, and I’m​ on my way, but still have some pudge to budge.


Mary W April 10, 2017 at 5:59 pm

4. Should read whole house filter, not when. Autocorrect strikes again!


Megg April 10, 2017 at 7:11 pm

1. Instead of spending $60+ on apregnancy pillow I’d only use for the next 6 months, I asked my local buy nothing group if anyone has one. Someone did have one that didn’t work for them (also their baby is a year old now). I’ll regift it come October, as I’m not interested in storing it (and may not be pregnant again).
2. My insurance wasn’t going to cover my 20 week anatomy scan so I called around to find a place that would. It’s a bit further away but it beats paying over $1,100 out of pocket!
3. I packed a snack today for work and ate the free (provided at work) lunch with the kids.
4. I scheduled a routine (free through insurance) dentist cleaning. It’s frugal because taking care of my teeth means less cavities/expensive appointments.
5. I ate out of the freezer for dinner instead of getting fast food because my husband is out tonight.


Kim in MD April 10, 2017 at 7:35 pm

1. Shipped 2 Amazon orders using recycled packing supplies. Sold something tonight so will ship it tomorrow. College fund!
2. Noticed the binding of my quilted throw was coming unstitched in a few spots so decided to mend it by hand. Monday is Mendday!
3. Made applesauce in the crockpot to use up an abundance of apples.
4. Neighbor was getting rid of more landscaping bricks. We got lots from him last fall which we used to build a new retaining wall. These we’ll use to finish another project. DH said all of these would have cost us several hundred $.
5. DH went to auto recycler and found a new passenger window for my Saturn. Something was either thrown or flew up and cracked it when I was driving. For $40 he got the window and a front trim piece. The trim piece was going to be $40 at the parts store and the window would have cost several hundred. He watched a YT video to see how to install it. No $500 deductible paid!


janine April 10, 2017 at 7:36 pm

This group keeps me mindful of frugality – good for the pocketbook and earth both.
1. Husband divided my rhubarb plants – now have five – hope they survive the winter storm this evening! I am hoping for a bountiful harvest. Looking forward to pie and sauce.
2. Son treated me to lunch on his day off. Waiter admired a mystery I am reading and I will gift him the book I thrifted. (of course!)
3. Used gas affinity card at neighborhood gas station and received 2c off per gallon.
4. Last weekend was a no-spend weekend.
5. Picked up many downed branches in yard to use for free fireplace wood. Looking forward to warm fires on cool spring evenings.


Amanda April 10, 2017 at 7:37 pm

1. I batched errands today with the kids. (Spring break, you are so not a break for me.) We went to DSW to pick up a pair of shoes I bought with coupons, the bank to deposit a check that was too big for mobile deposit (I love those the most), and then Aldi for our main grocery haul.

2. I bought Easter candy at Aldi for the kids’ baskets. We have three now, kids and baskets, so I bought way too much candy. Like, even my husband thought it was too much candy, and he is sort of the candy king. Luckily I saved the receipt, so several bags are going back tomorrow.

3. I ordered tea and flour from because it is cheaper than the grocery store. I stocked up on flour (we make our own bread and pizzas) to get my total up to $50 so I could get a $10 gift card. I will use it to buy tea next time.

4. It was 5:45 before I realized it today, so I pulled together a quick stir fry with the last of last week’s rice, broccoli, and carrots, chicken I got for $1 off at Aldi, and the last of a bottle of sweet and sour sauce also from Aldi. It was so good. We had a couple of folks sick last week, so we didn’t eat everything I had planned to cook. The silver lining is that groceries were cheaper this week.

5. The kids and I had ham sandwiches for lunch made from ham my parents gave us, I made bread, I made croutons from the odds and ends of bread in the freezer, I read library books to the kids, I arranged a play date to come to us, I cut my younger son’s hair, I checked the balance of our online accounts to stay on top of charges and balances, we did a budget check in yesterday in the car on the way back into town, and I saw that travel funds are being transferred from my student account to my checking account. I had almost forgotten about that $300, so I plan to roll it over into savings without registering that it is there.


SueB April 11, 2017 at 1:05 am

1. Trying to lose some weight so OH and I calorie counting which a) means we eat more healthily and b) we spend less on crap so overall spend less on food.

2. Bathroom flooring somehow ruckled up, luckily as we’d only had it laid 6 months ago, it was relaid under warranty for free (that’s twice we’ve been lucky with warranties now – last time was the car).

3. Speaking of the car, the brake pads need replacing. As the car is actually out of warranty at the end of July, we’ve decided to use generics rather than Kia brand brakes.

4. Continuing to make paper rolls for the woodburner for next winter.

5. This one is a bit complicated but all our chickens are laying now, so yah 😀 but it turns out 4 chickens laying 3-4 eggs a day is too much for 2 people. Boo. But then some friends said they wanted eggs, yah, and would pay, double yah. Turns out they would prefer 24 eggs a week, hmmm. That doesn’t leave much for us (actually pretty much none). Soooo I’ve suggested getting another 2 chickens next rescue round. We have space for 2 more so no extra outlay on fixed costs. So two more chickens get to enjoy a nice retirement and the 6 of them together should provide all our egg requirements and cover their monthly food/bedding costs.


Pennonen April 11, 2017 at 1:34 am

This time FFT is almost all about travel plans.

1. Opened up an investment account. we can automatically invest our monthly grocery bonus, so essentially investing free money to grow.

2. Have been searching plane ticket deals for my group’s upcoming performace in a neighbouring country. This is so something I absolutely loathe doing. Managed to save about 100€ by checking deals on the site giving the best price using three different devices. The iPad gave the lowest price on the exact same flights. I don’t understand the algorithms…

3. Need to find accomodation and have a lead on super cheap apartment near the venue where we will perform.

4. Also booked a hotel for our annual summer road trip to a jazz festival. The accomodation flies off the shelf, so had to book early to get a decent deal. This trip is my only vacation in the year normally, all the others are work related.

4. Packing my office and will be spending the month of May in beautiful Slovenia. Instead of renting through Airbnb I found an apartment through friends for normal going rates on monthly rentals. The difference is about 400€, so worth the search. Airbnb and the like are not always the cheap option anymore.


Teri April 12, 2017 at 5:45 pm

#2 we absolutely hate looking for travel deals as well. Any tips?


K D April 11, 2017 at 4:06 am

1. I made three gluten free pizza crusts. I used one for dinner, with leftovers packed for lunch, and froze the other two.

2. I finally worked on the taxes. We owe the federal government so I adjusted the withholding level so we won’t owe a penalty for under payment in the future. There is no penalty this year but I can see where we could approach that level going forward.

3. We went out for burgers on Sunday, but drank water, just ordered entrees, and used a gift card to pay. We tipped generously as the server was very earnest. We had dessert at home.

4. My child will graduate college next month with no debt incurred by any of us. It looks like a job is in the offing. Yay!

5. Still driving my 2003 Honda, switching to warm weather clothes that still fit, etc.


Roberta April 11, 2017 at 6:59 am

I am sick, and I’m sick of being sick. Fortunately, the kids and hubs are on break from school, so I can just sit around in my horrible coughing misery.
1. We’re going away with my mom next week, and we’ve been eating up food that would otherwise go to waste. Ate baked potatoes and chili for dinner last night, so those things are taken care of. I think I have enough potatoes left for one dinner of mashed potatoes.
2. We were out of Nyquil. So was Grocery Outlet. 🙁 My husband spent a fortune on getting more BUT his spent a smaller fortune by checking two stores and going back to buy from the less expensive store. It was a good reminder to me that my frugal ways, which usually seem routine, do save money.
I think that’s it for today. Lying on the sofa, being sick.


WilliamB April 11, 2017 at 7:14 am

1. Still not meal planning, but doing enough food thinking that we’re not eating out because of my lack of planning.

2. Eating lots of shrimp and ground meat, because that’s what I have a lot of in the freezer. Spending the money on farmer’s market produce instead.

3. Rocked the sale+coupon last week, getting about 30 boxes of the soft granola bars I like for $.30/bar.

4. Since I’ve long known about needing to do couple of days of a clear liquid diet, I’ve been stocking up on jello. The other allowables – such as miso and chicken soup – are already stocked.

5. Asked many, many questions about the diet. Good thing too – their instructions were so imprecise (for example, specifies “2 eggs” but “toast” rather than “2 pieces toast,” and “no butter” rather than “no fat”) that following their instructions would have meant an improper prep. Which would have meant doing it all again – and paying for it.

Bonus question (since there’s at least one medical professional on this list): Does anyone know if vodka counts as a clear liquid?


Roberta April 11, 2017 at 10:19 am

It should! But probably your doctor would frown.


Jenny April 11, 2017 at 9:11 am

Lol, but no!
Jenny RN


Vickey April 11, 2017 at 11:08 am

1) DH planted out lettuces and escarole from seeds started indoors, put many-years-reused row cover over the transplants to protect against the upcoming cooler days while they settled in, and to discourage the very vigorous local groundhog population. (They nest under a neighbor’s garage, not something we’ve so far been able to affect.)
2) I picked up a bag of Trader Joe’s (!!) carrots at Wegman’s. When I got to checkout, their system couldn’t read the SKU code on this misshipped by the distributor item, and the cashier staff couldn’t figure out what to charge me, so I got them for free.
3) Made sea veggie patties out of the okara leftover from soymilk making. Not fabulous, but I will keep tweaking the recipe until we enjoy them. BBQ sauce makes a good condiment to give the current batch some zing.
4) Stumbled onto a 50% off sale at Savers. I stocked up on fabric and some other items. Makes me smile seeing the beautiful colors and patterns hanging on the line (in an attempt to get rid of that awful “fragrance” they seem to spray everything with.)
5) Got my 30% off “we’re sorry” card in the mail, applied it to the non-sale items I picked up during the fabric+ sale. Dropped off some items while I was there, got another full (30%) punch card.
6) Cut up hand-me-down t-shirts into rags for DH’s shop, and household dusting. I’m cutting up other old clothes to salvage fabric for crafts, mending, etc.


jodi April 11, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Re: #5, what’s a “we’re sorry” card? Also at our Savers, we can’t use our punch cards on those special days when there’s a sale .It always happens that on those days , I can’t find anything in the sale category but tons in the rest of the store!


Vickey April 12, 2017 at 7:38 am

Sorry I wasn’t clear. “We’re sorry card” was my shorthand for a 30% off card they sent me when I complained about not having gotten the amount of card punches I should have when I dropped donations off (and that I think I related the story of in an earlier thread so didn’t want to burden others with repeating). They did let me apply the 30% to non-sale items. You might ask your store manager to clarify their policy for you and to make sure the employees all understand it. That’s how I wound up with this card (I started with an email to their corporate customer service). And I’ve noticed their discount punches are very generous now at this store. Good luck!


jodi April 12, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Thanks for explaining. I was wondering if I was missing out on another way to earn a discount. lol. I never just drop one or two bags off, I wait until I have at least 4 and my store always fills up my card. I’m lucky too that my store doesn’t care about the expiration date on the punch card either.


Kathe W. April 11, 2017 at 4:49 pm

1. took another load of clothes to the consignment store, and deposited the check from last month.
2. shopped by my list of items on sale for my monthly trip to the grocer, including stuff I need for Easter. On track to spend less than $200 for the month.
3. sold another item on the local Facebook page for $50 so I met the lady locally and got the cash in hand in less than 18 hrs. after posting it.
4. canned sweet potatoes that I got at Aldi for $2/6lbs; got 12 16oz jars at less than 50cents/jar—less than store-bought canned sweet potatoes. Used jars I had, but I did have to use new lids (that I bought on clearance at the end of last season.
5. I need new luggage–really. I picked out one that met all my criteria and used promotions and coupons to get it. Then found a similar set with one less criteria—not the most important item on my list—for less than 1/2 the price. So I took the 1st back ($130) and got the second ($49). Spent that much less for just a bit of compromise—that I know I can easily live with.


Beth April 12, 2017 at 7:09 am

1. Am slowly updating my wardrobe with thrifted finds.
2. Have eaten at home all week this week
3. Because of #2, my grocery bill is higher. I’m buying really good quality, whole foods, but am trying to buy from the reduced-price section whenever possible.
4. Drinking free water at work today
5. Going on a walk this afternoon with some coworkers…free exercise is always a good thing!


Danielle April 12, 2017 at 7:55 am

FFT Picnic Edition

1. Organized a big potluck picnic for the weekend. All invitations and reminders​ went out via email, using a free template from Canva for the cute part. I printed that invitation for the handful of invitees who don’t use email and hand delivered.

2. All utensils and paper products were things I’ve collected from previous picnics or bought on sale.

3. I hate paying for ice, so I had started emptying my ice maker days before and stockpiling gallon ziplock bags of ice.

4. My food contributions were eclectic, but they worked with the overall picnic: a bowl of small pickles from the giant jar that my family swore they’d eat but barely touched. A salad dressing that no one loves. Four pork loins of different flavors that my grandfather had given me. And a basic green salad so that my vegan daughter and nut allergic son could avoid the fancy salads with cheese and nuts.

5. A few people asked my opinion of what they should bring and I was able to steer them toward food or supplies that fit their time of arrival, avoided food allergies, and filled gaps that I’d noticed in the past. My favorite is that my parents have two giant drink dispensers and were willing to manage the refilling of water and lemonade. With the recycling tax of 5 cents each on individual size water bottles, this was a big money saver for someone.


Danielle April 12, 2017 at 8:12 am

Re#4: I almost forgot, but I had gotten a free macaroni salad coupon from the Safeway Monopoly game. My family wouldn’t​ eat it, so I saved the coupon and brought that to the picnic too!


Tracy April 12, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Bad, bad week on the frugal front. Too many meals out. Too many parking charges. Too many birthday presents bought. Too many days driving and not bussing to work.

Ah well, time to climb back on the frugal bandwagon! Luckily I have all of you to inspire me.


Chris April 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm

1. went to Savers cause I had bought a bunch of 3T clothes for perfect grandson who wears 2Ts – got some cute stuff – and ready for next year.
2. worked today and brought home a take out container of ribs – already have some in the freezer so will offer them to daughter and if she doesn’t want them, these can go in the freezer.
3/4.working Easter Sunday brunch at church and can bet I will bring home leftovers as well as eating a good brunch. Our dinner at home will be a price reduced ham from Christmas plus potatoes on hand, kale salad picked up earlier this week and pound cake from a dear friend and raspberries from this past summers patch.
5. never went back to consignment store from last Jan – I know I have at least a bit of $ waiting – looking for new jeans so may be will walk out with jeans and $.


lee April 14, 2017 at 4:34 am

1. I used supplies from my scrapbooking stash to make an Easter card for my parents, and will do the same for my husband’s card on Saturday (while he’s at work). This year, I’m officially tracking how many cards I can make (v. buy at the store), and so far have saved myself the expense of purchasing 25 greeting cards for birthdays and other holidays. And yes, I could forego sending cards altogether, but that just wouldn’t make my heart happy.

2. I’ve only visited the campus coffee shop once this week. In March, I spent way too much money on snacks and drinks from there, so it feels good to be cutting back.

3. There was a rather full tray of cookies left over after Tuesday night’s Bible study that I was able to claim and bring to a meeting with a college group I advise. They enjoyed the treat, and I was able to save the cost of buying them myself.

4. On Monday, I did really well at sticking to my grocery list while shopping; and because I was also intentional in writing a menu that used up things we already had, the weekly grocery bill ended up being about thirty dollars less than usual.

5. I picked up my check from the yoga studio I sub at. It was only for one class, but I will be able to set that aside; and by being on the sub list there, I have the added perk of being able to take free classes. (The owner is very generous in that regard!)

Happy Friday, everyone!


Kandice April 17, 2017 at 8:30 pm

I’m not sure if it’s already been mentioned or you’re aware, but you can get free shipping supplies from USPS online and they’ll deliver them to your home. You have to pay minimal shipping charges, but you can save tons of money for when second hand supplies aren’t available. They generally come in sets of 10 or 25. Take a look here:


Mand01 April 11, 2017 at 11:15 pm

When I was pregnant with my second daughter I became obsessed with bacon and wanted to eat it every day. Now I couldn’t really care if I never eat it again. I only buy it because my other daughter likes it.
Interestingly, that daughter is now a vegetarian!


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