Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 14, 2017 · 122 comments

  1. My husband pulled a dashboard phone holder from the garbage at work. It needed something to keep it attached it the dash, but my husband was able to figure something out using stuff we already had on hand.

  2. My husband has another two-day inservice in Tacoma, Washington this week, so I’ll head up there after work to stay the night in his nice hotel room and then drive up to Seattle in the morning. My son and I will stay with a friend and enjoy another fun mini-vacation. (I feel like I’m perfecting the art of cheap vacationing this summer.)

  3. My son and I drove to Mt. Hood for the day and enjoyed a couple of short hikes, including the very easiest of hikes up to Little Zigzag falls. (Seriously, so gentle and slope-y even a Wolk-Stanley can do it!) All these day trips that we’ve been doing are exponentially less expensive than traditional vacations. Plus they accommodate my non-traditional work schedule.

  4. I sold a belt and a pair of vintage pantyhose on eBay, I sold a passel of Brio train track pieces on Craigslist, my son and I stopped into thrift store on our way to the mountain and just bought a soccer jersey to sell on eBay, and I brought leftovers for today’s work lunch.

  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.

{ 122 comments… read them below or add one }

Mand01 August 15, 2017 at 1:38 am

1. My soon-to-meet-its-maker grapefruit tree was allowed to have one last crop. I picked them and kept a kilo for marmalade and then took the rest to my local Grow Free cart, where I swapped them for homegrown oranges.
2. I turned the free oranges and grapefruit into ten jars of marmalade. I don’t like grapefruit but I do love marmalade in all its forms. The jars were of course all recycled. My only cost was $1.80 for sugar. I’m giving away a couple of jars, including to a friend who gave us a big delicious homegrown pumpkin.
3. I made lentil and pumpkin dal with the pumpkin, as well as pumpkin soup, and roasted the seeds for a snack. My kids and husband inhaled those.
4. Listening to an audiobook from the library about the abolitionist and writer Thomas Day, who was also a misogynist and general creep that adopted two orphan girls to train them to be the ‘perfect wife.’ Free book, fascinating story, horrible guy.
5. Fully thrifted outfit today, brought my coffee, lunch and snacks to work, dinner was leftovers from last night.


Minimalist45 August 15, 2017 at 2:05 am

I had to have a new battery for my car, but my man used his work discount and got it fo $130 instead of $200….yay


Bettypants August 15, 2017 at 3:40 am

1. I wanted to replace our rusted out shower caddy, but figured I could find one at a yard sale. Walked to a sale in my neighborhood on Sunday and found a nice big one for 50 cents. Also bought two items to list on ebay.

2. Someone posted u-dig Hydrangeas for $10. They were huge, and it was exhausting, but I divided the two I took (which filled my vehicle completely) into 13 medium-large plants and planted them all over the weekend. They are wilted from shock, but I have been keeping them watered and hopefully they take. She had a third, but I was just too whipped to drive back and dig it up.

3. On the way back from the dig up, I stopped at a yard sale and bought a pair of metal window planters for $1, which I sold on FB for $10.

4. My office had cupcakes, ice cream, and cake for a birthday yesterday. Downside: we had to sing to the person which was way awkward.

5. I have been taking my dogs for walks every night. I cannot believe how many people live in town don’t close their blinds or shades when it gets dark. This makes me sound like a Peeping Tom, but it’s super interesting to see the interiors of houses.


Mand01 August 15, 2017 at 4:54 am

Ugh it’s my personal pet hate. I don’t like cake much and I hate sitting there while they all sing at me. For this reason, Schroeder-like, I try to schedule a day off on my birthday.
Why can’t we have birthday cookies? I’d much prefer that if I’m going to be forced to suffer through an out of tune rendition of the dreaded birthday dirge.


BJS August 15, 2017 at 5:56 am

Your comment was funny!


A. Marie August 15, 2017 at 10:55 am

I get it about not liking to have “Happy Birthday” sung to you, Mand; I don’t like it sung to me, either. But let’s take a moment to imagine how the Queen feels every time “God Save the Queen” is sung to her. On the occasions when I’ve watched this on TV, her expression during the singing suggests either weary endurance or mild indigestion.


Mary in Maryland August 15, 2017 at 11:51 am

I’ve told most of my workplaces that my birthday is Dec 25. Very safe.


Mary August 15, 2017 at 2:47 pm

#5, ditto


nancy from mass August 15, 2017 at 4:00 am

1. Have been walking quite a bit lately. no gym fees!
2. donated a boatload of stuff yesterday picked up by big brothers big sisters (although there was one bag they wouldn’t take for some reason. i’ll drop that off later today). I’ll add the donation receipt to my tax stuff.
3. was gifted a fresh cucumber from a co-worker yesterday. it’ll be part of a salad today.
4. Hung laundry on the line sunday.
5. sold my Jeep to people around the corner. they have the knowledge to fix the few things it needs.

not frugal: bought a sofa saturday. my old sleeper sofa was about 14yo and not comfy at all. i had gone to the furniture store multiple times over the months and kept ending up on a leather couch. so comfy, top grain and a decent price. it’s being delivered on friday. I’ll get my moneys’ worth out of it! (because I don’t plan on buying another couch for at least 15-20 years).


susanna d August 15, 2017 at 9:20 am

We switched to a leather couch close to 20 years ago – the most comfortable couch on the planet, at least according to me and my husband. It’s still going strong, and while it’s not the pristine dark red leather couch it was when we first bought it, I just call it my “distressed leather couch” now. I mean, distressed leather is a look, right? It’s still super comfy.


A. Marie August 15, 2017 at 10:57 am

Another vote for leather couches–and another royal anecdote: We bought our couch the same day Prince Harry was born in 1984. We tell people now that the couch is the same age as Harry and much better behaved.


Isitaneedorawant August 15, 2017 at 3:01 pm

May 4th, 1984?
I have three different nephews who celebrate that birthday. Not sure if that’s his year?
We were living in the Netherlands at the time and an expat adopted a baby girl in Canada born on that day:)


Isitaneedorawanta August 15, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Argh….wrong birthdate for Prince Harry, Sept. 15th
Only the year is the same. Sorry( blushes madly)

nancy from mass August 16, 2017 at 4:05 am

Prince Harry? Handsome and Adorable, in my opinion. Doesn’t matter that he’s 18 years younger than me. He just looks like fun! 🙂


Nancy from mass August 15, 2017 at 5:40 pm

Glad to know everyone’s experience with a leather couch! I have a cat that sometimes went after the fabric couch, but never the leather shaker style recliner. I can’t wait until it comes in!


Mary W August 15, 2017 at 9:12 pm

Mine is definitely “distressed”…with a clowder of cats, mine has an awful lot of claw marks. Anyone have any tips on how to make them less rough and bumpy?


A. Marie August 16, 2017 at 11:07 am

Our “Prince Harry” brown leather couch bears the marks of two dogs and six cats over the course of the last 33 years. We slap on some leather conditioner now and then, and touch up the worst scratches with buffed-out Kiwi brown shoe polish even more occasionally. Otherwise, we just live with the fact that our couch is aging as naturally as we are. (We’ve got a few “distress” marks ourselves.)


Ruby August 17, 2017 at 12:42 pm

We do that same thing with a big leather ottoman that the dogs have claimed as their own. The top looks like it’s been whacked with chains from the dogs jumping onto and off it, but it spruces up nicely with brown liquid shoe polish.

Bee August 15, 2017 at 4:05 am

I love to hike. It is a wonderfully frugal and rewarding activity. I especially love hiking when waterfalls are the destination. That kind of hike is a feast for the senses. The sound, the sight, the smell of the forest, and the mist coming off the water make it a special experience. As a Floridian, it is one that I don’t get to experience often enough. I am jealous, Katy.
Here are my FFT:

1) I had bought an item at Target that went on sale the next day. When I was driving by, I stopped in and asked for a price adjustment. It was quick and easy. Best of all, I received $10.70 back.

2) My challenge-everything-month cost cutting initiative will save nearly $3500 over the course of the next year. This savings is primarily in two areas — auto insurance and discontinuing cable. Today I am looking into alternatives to our landline. I suppose that I could cut this altogether, but I have spotty cell service at home. I need to decide. Any suggestions?

3) My refrigerator is filled with leftovers. Since DH is away all week, I have no plans to grocery shop. Last night I made an odd pesto potato salad. Although I will never make it again, it was edible — barely. It was a fine side for leftover chicken. The chicken carcass will be turned into soup today.

4) I stopped at the thrift store yesterday looking for ice cube trays. I want to freeze the quart of homemade pesto that I have in the refrigerator. Although I could not find what I was looking for, I found a beautiful pair of Elle Tahari city shorts on the $1 rack. They still had the original tags including the $198 price tag. Unfortunately they are not my size, so I will resell them.

5) I am doing all the usual things: drinking water, eating at home, brewing my own coffee, buying used when possible, keeping food waste down, reading library books, selling on eBay, washing in cold water, hanging clothes to dry when possible ……


Jennifer August 15, 2017 at 5:56 am

My brother uses something called Pinger that is phone service that works kinda like Skype, without the pictures, through his wifi. That is his only phone and it costs him nothing. Not sure if this is something that would help you and I don’t know a lot about it but he texts/calls me all the time and it works well. Thought it was worth a mention.


Roberta August 15, 2017 at 6:12 am

I live in southern California, and I keep a landline in case of emergencies (which happen with regularity in this part of the country). I have a cordless for everyday (and for the kids to use when they call me, because they don’t have cell phones yet), but we also have an old fashioned corded phone that plugs in to the wall, in case of power outages … another common thing. I don’t know your situation, but the emergency benefits (reverse 911, power outages) make a landline worth it here.


tia August 15, 2017 at 8:34 am

I had very bad coverage where I lived and asked my neighbors…found out a different provider had great coverage there. Switched to that cell provider and it solved my problem.


Bee August 16, 2017 at 3:33 am

Cell phones are on my list of things to look into also. But like Roberta, since I live on the Florida coast, I am concerned with safety — specifically hurricanes. Of course, if I really think about it, I landline will not help me in the case of a catastrophic storm. I will look into Pinger and I also came across a suggestion for a Ooma.


Heather August 17, 2017 at 8:20 pm

Look into Magic Jack!


Crosby August 15, 2017 at 4:16 am

1. Thanks to the lovely ideas given to me through the NCA Facebook group, I turned over 2 pounds of plumbs from my CSA that were going to go bad into fruit butter last night. I threw in some frozen blueberries as well.

2. We’re going out of town this weekend so instead of getting my CSA and running out of time to prep and freeze everything before it goes bad, I’ve given it to someone in our Buy Nothing group.

3. My SO is catching on to the ways of non consumerism!! He made granola yesterday morning with ingredients we have on hand instead of buying the super sweet stuff from the store. It is absolutely delicious and makes greek yogurt palatable for me! Now to figure out how to make greek yogurt….

4. I threw my SO a 30th birthday party this past weekend and made it as NCA as possible: made a garland out of fabric from sheets I found at a thrift store and twine I already owned (can be reused for future parties), set up a DIY taco bar instead of ordering sub trays or other food. Most of the ingredients were from Aldi. The rest of the ingredients came from our grocery store, which has a new delivery service and several promotions surrounding the launch so I got free delivery, $10 off my order, and didn’t have to spend gas getting to the store. One downside? The groceries came in plastic bags even though I asked for paper. I did buy his birthday present new (he has wanted a GoPro for a while now), but I split the cost with my parents and purchased it during Amazon Prime Day so we received a decent discount and free accessories. I convinced my mom that she didn’t need to purchase disposable plates, napkins, cups, etc. as I have enough dishes and a lovely dishwasher. My parents and his siblings all came over and we had a great time for very little cost!
5. Last night’s, tonight;s, and Wednesday’s dinners will be leftovers from the taco bar! Not much meat left, but lots of beans, rice, and toppings. This meant we didn’t have to grocery shop this week which was nice since we’re leaving on Thursday for a long weekend.


Karen August 15, 2017 at 10:20 pm

I use the Frugal Girl’s yogurt recipe and then drain it through a coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth in a strainer. The whey that drains out can be used as the liquid in baking.


Crosby August 16, 2017 at 4:06 am

Thank you for the tip Karen!! I tried once with a sotre bought yogurt starter and it never turned into yogurt.


Courtney August 17, 2017 at 11:56 am

Oh! You definitely don’t need a special “starter” just use 1/2 cup or so from unflavored store-bought yogurt – I have had the best luck with Nancy’s, but other organic brands have worked too. I put a thermometer in mine and then it’s pretty easy (almost as easy as making tea) -preheat your oven to the lowest temperature. On your stove top heat on medium heat up some milk (however much yogurt you want) to 185F, turn off and let cool to 115F, pour a little of the warm milk into your yogurt starter in a separate bowl, then stir into your pot. Turn off the oven. Transfer the milk mixture to glass containers, and loosely cover with a cloth or loose-fitting lid. Leave overnight. Wake up in the morning to delicious yogurt. If you want to strain it with cheesecloth you will get greek yogurt. Leave it straining bit longer and you get a kind of cheese that is like a tart cream cheese called Labneh (very tasty!) Both the greek yogurt and the Labneh don’t keep as long as if it’s not strained. So I don’t strain as often anymore – cos I like to make a lot at once. If you like to buy organic, making at home is a really good bargain – like 1/3 the cost of buying.


Cindy in the South I August 15, 2017 at 4:20 am

1. I had yet another under $45 electric bill in the deep South (I think it was actually $43.29)… However, that is more because I have spent a lot of time in doctor offices, hospitals, and relatives homes while dealing with the doctors and hospitals than actually conserving electricity. Soooo, my car gas bill was significantly higher because of the travel so it sorta evened out….whatevah….
2. I brought my lunch with homemade tea to work (and I keep a stash of bread and peanut butter in case of emergency so that I do not have to go out to eat if I forget my lunch)…..I also used leftover tomatoes, combined with leftover plain yogurt, water, spices, and tomato paste to make a rather delicious tomato soup. I ate that for supper. I also have fried rice with vegetables in my fridge for the rest of this week’s supper. I had bought 59 cent for a dozen large eggs at Aldi, so I have been eating eggs for breakfast. While visiting my son, I saw where he had not eaten any of the hummus I had bought him, so I took it and enjoyed it. It was about to expire…or that is what I told myself…lol.
3. I have made the decision to attempt to reduce my phone bill even further to just talk and text unlimited…service is lousy in my area anyway and the phone internet is always going down. Total Wireless or Verizon work the best in my area so it will be about $25 bucks a month. It had been $35 with limited internet on my flip phone, but ten bucks for minimal usage is just nuts. I am really home only to sleep and prepare meals, late, so it does not really matter. Ten bucks saved a month for something I barely use is $120 a year…
4. I had some scraggly hairs, so I gave myself a haircut…very carefully. I also did my nails and my eyebrows. I saw a spot on my suit and used water to freshen it up, and it looks fine now. I really loathe dry cleaning, and avoid it when possible.
5. I managed to get my free walk in at the park by the river before yet another thunderstorm hit. We have had a lot of rain this year but the bonus to that is that it has kept temps down.
Mortgage payment, health insurance, and car costs are generally fairly fixed for me, so the easiest ways for me to conserve are to do free exercises, take care of my clothes and thrift when needed, eat cheaper but healthy foods, do my own hair, nails, eyebrows, do prepaid phone, and keep my electric costs down. It is repetitive but every little bit helps. I am like Katy in that my “vacation” stays tend to be work related, or day trips.


SueB August 15, 2017 at 5:36 am

Cindy, are you able to use Skype where you are?

I use it all the time, we speak to our Canadian relatives and relatives in London and Birmingham (UK). Unfortunately we have to have a landline (quirk of our internet provider) but it means we don’t pay anything for calls out.


Cindy in the South I August 15, 2017 at 10:58 am

Probably, but I do not have a computer (nor a tv) at home. The local library is next door to where I work, so I have a library card and can check this website there. I sorta like to “space out” of the modern age and pretend that I live in another era when I am at home (except I do like hot water and some electricity…lol)


JJ August 15, 2017 at 5:15 am

We’re getting back into the swing of things after a vacation (which was not frugal, but had been saved for over the past two years), so I was dealing with restocking an empty fridge. So my frugality this week is focused on the kitchen: (1) Quick dinner #1 was pasta with sausage and pesto, all pulled from the freezer – that saved the cost of takeout, and also provided lunch the next day. (2) The herbs in our garden are doing great, so I’ve picked basil, parsley, chives, oregano and thyme to preserve for the winter. (3) I want to defrost the freezer before making big batches of tomato sauce, so I’m digging deep to empty it as much as possible. A combo of frozen blueberries, black currants and tart cherries will be turned into jam. (4) I’m trying my best to stick to a meal plan this week and not let any produce go to waste. It ends up in compost, rather than the trash, but I’m still trying to use everything I can. (5) Remembered to check the Ibotta app after going to the grocery store and cashed in on a $2 rebate for something that I had just purchased (that was on sale and had a coupon in the Sunday paper). That brought my net cost down to 50¢ from the regular price of $2.89. The little savings add up!


BJS August 15, 2017 at 5:21 am

1. Paid for a high school activity that my daughter is going to participate in this coming year, within the early-bird discount time frame. Okay, it was the last possible day for the discount, but I made it!

2. Packed leftover food that we’d brought back from vacation (I’d made a ton ahead of time) for my husband’s lunches yesterday and today.

3. Checked my son’s school clothes for this coming year, and all the shirts he wore last year still fit him fine. A welcome break from growth spurts, although I’m sure it won’t last long!

4. Continuing to read The Tightwad Gazette. All these many years I’ve thought I was being so thrifty, but am realizing there are so many more levels of tightwaddery (as she calls it) that I’d never thought about.

5. I have just a few more school supplies to get, and heard about a tax-free time period coming up (I shop for new things so infrequently that I’m not usually tuned in to when that happens), so I’ll research the dates and try to line up my school shopping day with that. At least one item on the lists always strikes me as funny each year, and this time it’s a package of green pens. Not sure what they’ll be used for but I’ll dutifully get them.


Bee August 15, 2017 at 5:41 am

The Tightwad Gazette is truly an eye-opener. I admire her thriftiness and creativity. However, there are some things that I could never bring myself to do. For example, I could never use bread bags in place of plastic training pants on my toddler. However, I still have a price book nearly 20 years later. Yet, I think Amy D. changed my mindset forever and now that philosophy is supported by this blog.


BJS August 15, 2017 at 5:43 am

Bee, I agree with everything you said. And I laughed out loud at the bread bags comment! I haven’t gotten to that part in the book yet. I’ll think of you when I come across it!


Ruby August 15, 2017 at 8:10 am

The bread bag plastic pants thing was an experiment, and I loved it because she was willing to try things and write about the sometimes wacky results. It wasn’t really practical, but I could see how it would work in a pinch until one could get to the store and buy more plastic pants.

One of the best lessons from The Tightwad Gazette is that being frugal is a chance to stretch creative muscles and have fun while saving money.


Jennifer August 15, 2017 at 9:02 am

The bread bags for the toddler was a little extreme but I love that Amy got me to thinking of so many other ways I could use things.


Bee August 15, 2017 at 9:15 am

Good point, Ruby. It has been many years since I read the Tightwad Gazette and did not mean to misrepresent her column. Amy D was indeed creative and encouraged everyone to think outside of the box. Creativity and frugality go hand and hand.


Cindy in the South I August 15, 2017 at 11:01 am

I loved Amy and the Tightwad Gazette. I wonder what she is doing now?

Mand01 August 15, 2017 at 1:47 pm

She is extreme in some ways , beyond my capacity to reach her level of frugal zealotry. But I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. She saved us when I thought we would never dig ourselves out. Even when we lived on the lowest of low incomes we always paid our bills, rent and our kids were fed and clothed – that was her book plus my mothers lessons remembered from when I was a child.


Shevaun August 16, 2017 at 3:26 pm

One of the things I liked the best about the TWG was her application of the scientific method to daily living. I remember she unplugged every appliance in her house (to get rid of vampire energy drains) and ran one load in the clothes dryer to calculate the exact energy usage of a load of laundry. Inspired by her methods, I try to base my frugal decisions on actual data as opposed to just gut feelings. Math rocks!


Roberta August 15, 2017 at 6:19 am

I laughed at your #3. My son’s shirts still fit, too, but I’ve told him he’s not allowed to own long trousers until the weather changes in October, because his legs are growing so fast! (The last time I bought him long trousers they were 29x32s, and I just can’t find that in the thrift store. Thank goodness for ebay!)


BJS August 15, 2017 at 7:51 am

What you said to him was funny … did he have a response?


Roberta August 16, 2017 at 6:11 am

He just laughed. Thankfully, he still finds me funny!


Julie August 15, 2017 at 10:29 am

Where did you find a copy of The Tightwad Gazette ? I’m having a hard time
finding it.


A. Marie August 15, 2017 at 11:01 am

Oh, drat. I just saw a copy of The Complete TG yesterday in the thrift shop where I go while DH is getting chiropracted…and no guarantee that it would still be there if I went back. However, keep your eyes open at thrift shops and library sales. Around here, it seems to turn up fairly often.


BJS August 15, 2017 at 11:05 am

Hi Julie, I got it from the library. I kept reading about it on here and thought, “I need to get on the Amy D. train!” so I checked my library and put a copy on hold. 🙂


Juhli August 15, 2017 at 11:29 am

I always check it out of the library, read it, take notes and return. Seems in the spirit of the content LOL.


Amie B. August 16, 2017 at 4:56 am

Julie, I scored a good used condition copy on Amazon for very little. Might be worth a look there.


Shevaun August 15, 2017 at 5:39 am

1. The usual baby things: Aldi diapers, still nursing my little guy, homemade babyfood, handmedown clothes, toddler in undies all except sleep-time.
2. DD1 found really nice backpack for school and good price. Her old backpack had been used for 5 years and was irreparable.
3. DH and I have decided to homeschool DD2 and DS. Slowly collecting books and manipulatives at thrift/handmedown/reusing already-owned stuff. Made a big bin to collect goodies so we don’t purchase what we’ve forgotten we already have.
4. At our lake cottage this week. We must maintain the cottage regardless (pay taxes, utilities, etc.), so coming here doesn’t cost anything *more*. And we’re not all “oh, I have a lake house”… it is a family house shared among many adult siblings that has been in the family for 5 generations. The kids enjoy free entertainments like digging holes in the sand, finding creatures, and convincing mama that a lollipop and a cup of applesauce is a balanced dinner.
5. Remembering that being frugal is about recognizing *value*, acting on lots of opportunities to love our neighbors. Got groceries for a refugee family, celebrated with a newly married gay couple, shared prayers with our Muslim and Jewish friends, welcomed a friend’s newborn baby, comforted a friend at the beginning of a divorce, held hands with my teenager.


Roberta August 15, 2017 at 6:23 am

Good luck with homeschooling! I homeschooled my two for years, and it was fabulous. Don’t forget to check what resources your library offers. I just found out that our library system offers a homeschooler card, on which the first 25 checkouts don’t have a due date! Also, we homeschooled through a charter (I don’t know if you have those there) that paid for a lot of extracurriculars, so that was a help while we were homeschooling.


Robin August 15, 2017 at 7:36 am

I love your number 5.


A. Marie August 15, 2017 at 11:02 am

What Robin said. If there were a lot more of #5 in the world, we’d have a lot less of what’s going on now.


Shevaun August 16, 2017 at 9:58 am

I read somewhere that “faith” is the “long obedience in the same direction.” I think that regardless of our religious or political affiliations, we can work day by day, action by action, little by little, trying to build a world we want to live in.
NCA is such a cool community.


Karen B. August 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Your number 5 is beautiful!


rebecca August 15, 2017 at 6:11 pm

ditto to all of the above!


Gina August 16, 2017 at 6:45 am

Yes, such a great reminder is your #5! The comfort one gives and receives is pure gold. <3


Vickey August 27, 2017 at 11:03 am

Add me to the “Fans of #5” list! Those sorts of joys – giving and receiving love – seem to me the whole point to living in the first place. So much more satisfying, on a deep, deep level.


Beth August 15, 2017 at 5:58 am

1. Made dinner last night even though I didn’t feel like it.
2. Drinking home-brewed coffee this morning
3. Didn’t bring food for lunch to work today, so I’m going to the grocery store on my lunch break. We need groceries, and I can store what I buy in the fridge at work until I go home. I should save both time (by not having to shop tonight) and money (by not eating out).
4. Wearing thrifted clothing again (and so is LO).
5. ???


Kathy Hairston August 15, 2017 at 6:39 am

1. Upside of being sick for two weeks is other than doctors visit and rx I spent zip $$ take out food, no thrift store visits
2. Sold several items on eBay.
3. Received $20.65 from second spin (sold CDs)
4. No electricity bill as level pay covered this month
5. Enjoyed free concert in the park on Sunday night.


Mary W August 15, 2017 at 9:15 pm

Hope you are feeling much better now. Being frugal by being sick is not much fun.


susanna d August 15, 2017 at 6:45 am

1. I cashed in my “found on the ground” money that I’ve acquired over the past year. $13 and change. Not as great as when I worked in a big city downtown, but a record amount of found money for the me since moving to the rural northwoods.
2. As in the past, I spent the money on produce at local farm stands. 50 pounds of locally grown potatoes, two cabbages that weighed 15 pounds each, and 12 ears of corn. I still have the “and change” part left, which I’m putting back in the change jar in preparation for next year.
3. Took a picture of all the food I’d bought so I could once again tell people “Look at the food I found on the ground!” Because I’m strange that way…
4. I mentioned previously that I’d taken a pressure washer to four plastic/resin Adirondack chairs that came “with the house” but had never been used because they were beyond disgusting. While cleaning the garage (major undertaking) I found a can of spray paint with a label that said it “works on plastic, too!” It was the wrong shade of green for a project so it never got used on the original project – I mean, it was a bright, bright green. But having found myself envying the neighbors’ brightly colored plastic chairs, I used the can on one of the chairs. Husband and I both love it! Plus, I finally found a use for that can of bright green spray paint (which had been opened and sprayed to test the color, so it wasn’t returnable). Win/win.
5. Taking advantage of the cooler weather to go for a hike every day it doesn’t rain. Living on the edge of a national forest means even a walk along a road is a gorgeous experience. No driving required; most of our hikes start from our front door.


nancy from mass August 15, 2017 at 7:27 am

i love your “food on the ground” comment! i may just use that….


Ruby August 15, 2017 at 8:05 am

We kept four plastic Adirondak-style lounge chairs that came with our previous house going for 12 years with “works on plastic” spray paint. When they’d get sun-faded, I’d zap them again with the green spray paint and they’d look great for a couple more years. As far as I know, the people who bought our house five years ago are still using those chairs!


Jennifer August 15, 2017 at 9:08 am

I have one of those heavy black rubber floor mats that goes at my front door. Every couple of summers, I hit it with a a new coat of black spray paint on the front side only, where it gets faded from the sun. Looks brand new every time. Amazing what just a small amount of paint will do.


susanna d August 15, 2017 at 9:38 am

I really love spray paint. Apparently so did the prior owner of our house. Along with the chairs, another “gift” was two dozen cans of spray paint in assorted colors – most of them pretty out of the ordinary colors at that. We used what we could on projects, and used the others to mark things for demo in our house and stuff like that. I mean, I’m not really picky but that metallic florescent hot pink just had me at a complete loss, project-wise. But it DID make the trees in the woods that needed to be cut down VERY identifiable.

Ruby, it’s great to know how long you kept those chairs going with a freshen-up blast of spray paint. I hadn’t thought about sun fading! Jennifer, we have one of those mats, too – and it’s looking pretty faded. It didn’t occur to me to use spray paint on it – and I just happen to have some black spray paint in my ever-growing collection. Thanks!


Cindy in the South I August 15, 2017 at 11:06 am

I would love to live on the edge of a national forest. That is my dream house…..


VanessaKC August 15, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Any spray paint will adhere to plastic if you scuff the surface with a medium grit sandpaper. Just knock the shine off the plastic, clean/dry and paint.


Mary W August 15, 2017 at 9:24 pm

I have a bunch of those plastic chairs, too. Most of them are Washington Green (aka growing moss and that funky green algae) or totally cruddy…all of them trash picked or GW Outlet finds. I have a pressure washer and am planning to see how nice they look after a little blast.

I have some of the spray paint for plastic. I was planning to use it to turn all my mismatched pots into a coordinated container garden, but I might change my mind and paint my chairs, lol. Hmm, maybe another can of paint so I could have matching planters and chairs!


Ruby August 15, 2017 at 8:18 am

All the usual: packing my meals and cold drinks to work, driving with a light foot, hanging clothes to dry, wearing cute mostly thrifted outfits. My boss has started saying, upon seeing me in a new blouse, “Oh, that’s cute. Did you get it at Goodwill or the Salvation Army?” 🙂

I try really hard to also be frugal at work. Recently we were given a larger office, which is painted a rather hideous shade of yellow. Rather than immediately calling in a painter, I waited a few days so we could get accustomed to the space and then asked the staff if they liked the color. Most of them said no, they couldn’t stand it. But if most of them had said they didn’t mind it, I would not have had it painted.

Same thing with purchasing a new piece of furniture for the office space. We went to a used office furniture store and found exactly what we needed for a tenth of what it would cost new. (A cool tip I learned from the salesman: Banks tend to have rather nice furniture and they change out all the furniture every time a bank is sold to a new company, which happens constantly. It winds up in used office furniture stores, where it can be bought for pennies on the dollar.)


KJD509 August 15, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Ooh, that’s a good tip! My son’s veterinary clinic was changing out the entire staff break room because one couch had a tear in it. He offered to take the non-torn couch, but they told him it was all or nothing – so he took it all. Otherwise it was all going to the dump.

Now that he’s moving from a shared rented house to a very small but all his own apartment I have no idea what he’s going to do with all that furniture.


Ruby August 15, 2017 at 2:09 pm

Maybe he can have a sidewalk sale of the excess before he moves?

It was eye-opening to go to that store. They had everything, including a pool table, for sale for insanely low prices.


Tiffany August 15, 2017 at 9:10 am

1. Took my kids to a “party in the park” put on by a local church. They got to enjoy bounce houses, snocones, hot dogs and rides on a train. So grateful that this organization did that so I could give my kids some fun while things are tight.
2. Have been making Red Rose fridge tea in mason jars for work. I started my internship this year so had to go from full time to part time so no more starbucks!
3. Told my dentist not right now to a $350.00 mouth guard. My BIL is a dentist and told me that is a normal price but try one I buy from a store for 20-50 dollars first since its not in the budget.
4. Cashed in my Free Friday and put it in the lunch snacks bin!
5. Was able to get six uniform pieces for my daughter for 3.00 at the schools wear and share. 1 pants, 1 polo, 2 skirts and a long sleeve polo! Its a public school with standardized attire. So grateful for that!
Extra Credit:) My son came home with a pass to all the state parks for free for a yr! Wohoo! Picnics in our future 🙂


Cindy in the South I August 15, 2017 at 11:07 am

Awesome on the state parks pass!!!


readingmom August 15, 2017 at 9:26 am

new here…first frugal 5!

1. used the baking soda/vinegar/boiling water trick to unclog two slow draining sinks – free b/c already had the supplies

2. roasted a few red peppers that were getting wrinkly, they keep in a jar in the fridge for a bit, and always get used up before they go bad anyway.

3. have been purchasing clearance rack clothes for the new school year for me, managed to get two dresses, 4 tops, a pair of pants and three necklaces for $130. not as completely frugal as could be, but I didn’t pay anywhere near full price and I have a challenging figure to fit so I’m happy with the number of useful items for the amount spent

4. realized I have a lot of blue now in my wardrobe and instead of buying new navy/neutral closed toe shoes, I shopped my closet and have two pairs that will work. I’d bought them a few years back when I had a sitting office job but now that I’m teaching I’d gotten out of the habit of wearing heels. However, this year I have my very own classroom, so much less walking than prior years, so I’ll give these a whirl.

5. going to see a friends new baby tomorrow, making homemade oatmeal cookies to bring instead of stopping at a bakery.


BJS August 15, 2017 at 2:30 pm

5. Enjoy your visit! I’m sure your cookies will be deeply appreciated!


Carolyn S August 15, 2017 at 10:27 am

1. Mentioned in passing to my mother-in-law that I hadn’t managed to find a desk lamp for my son in the thrift stores yet. She called me back 30 minutes later to tell me she’d found a lamp in her basement that we could have. Less clutter for her and free lamp for my son. Score!
2. Baked birthday cupcakes for a co-worker using ingredients I already had, instead of buying cupcakes from the fancy bakery.
3. Brought leftovers to work for lunch, drinking water from the free water cooler, and coffee from home.
4. Blanched and frozen another quart of snap beans from the garden yesterday. The harvest is starting… Yea!
5. Accepted (with glee!) a coworkers offer of some free baby hangers for my toddler’s clothes. She seemed embarrassed to be offering me used hangers, but I was quite clear that I was delighted she had thought to ask if I wanted them before throwing them out (!).


Teri August 16, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Could you post the prices for blanching and freezing? I have always pressure canned my beans and I would like to try freezing them.


Teri August 16, 2017 at 4:19 pm



A. Marie August 15, 2017 at 11:19 am

(1) Preparing for BFF’s visit from the Big Apple this long weekend. She regards a day without a museum visit as a day without sunshine, so I’m working a few local museums (most free or low-cost) into the mix–but there will also be some vegetable picking and some thrift shopping.

(2) Harvesting tomatoes, cukes, and pole beans as fast as I can haul them in this week, so BFF’s assistance will be appreciated.

(3) Scooped 70 cents out of the Coinstar machine at our Wegmans last week. My number doesn’t come up often at this one, but when it does, I’m ready.

(4) Got a couple of much-needed skirts at our Thrifty Shopper chain’s 50% off sale on Saturday.

(5) A couple of other TS sale finds didn’t fit (there was no chance of trying anything on, given the crowd), but I’ve donated them back to the TS (along with three boxes of other stuff) and taken the tax deduction. I do donation runs fairly often while I’m running other errands, so that piles of things I plan to donate don’t build up.


Susie's Daughter August 15, 2017 at 11:58 am

1) I have found .87 in change this week, .67 of it in pennies and .65 of those were all in one 3 foot area in a parking lot of the Cumberland Farms. Pennies on the ground always remind me of my Nana and I was having a particularly rough morning when I found all 65. I figured she was telling me to cheer up.

2) Went through all of DS’s clothes to assess for school year. He is in really good shape thanks to the many hand me downs (for which we are grateful!), some heavily discounted consignment purchases and a couple of rummage sale finds. I will shop consignment for the 4 items of clothing he needs.

3) Eating well from the garden and freezing some excess (blueberries, broccoli and will freeze zucchini today).

4) It is 50% off store brand items at our local pharmacy chain this week and my list is ready. I will stock up on pain relievers, cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, tissues and hand sanitizer. I have been waiting for this promo.

5) We have a dear friend visiting and we have been enjoying meals at home, time at the beach and evenings sitting around talking. She took us to lunch today at an awesome local joint which was a real treat!


Bee August 16, 2017 at 3:47 am

In reference to your first frugal thing, I think you found pennies from heaven.


nancy from mass August 16, 2017 at 4:12 am

Around Christmas last year, my husband told my mother-in-law “pennies from heaven? Screw that! I’m leaving dimes!”. I have found MORE dimes this year than pennies!

I find dimes or pennies with 1985 (the year my dad died) whenever i seem to be having a particular rough day.


Susie's Daughter August 16, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Bee and Nancy – You both brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!


KJD509 August 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm

1) Totally exhausted after the freezer debacle of the weekend, so working from home. I’m still working, but doing so from my couch in my slippers saves gas and mental bandwidth. (I can tell when I’m too tired because I can no longer tune out everybody’s conversations throughout the office.) There might be a little Netflix involved, too.
2) Cooked at home all meals even though I cooked ALL DAY Saturday and really would love to just order pizza.
3) Not frugal for me, but: the college-aged son who’s home this summer has been, um, not exactly pulling his weight around the house. A dear friend of his moved into a rented room in a century-old house yesterday and he helped, providing most of the muscle and spending hours hammering nailheads that had popped out of the wooden floors, tightening doorknobs (he felt they were so loose she was unsafe), fixing light sockets, etc. All with his own tools and at no cost. Wishing I could see a bit of that frugal initiative around here, but proud of him and glad his buddy is cozy and safe.
4) The older kids are beginning to figure out where they will be living in the fall – eldest son has moved into a ridiculously expensive apartment in Portland, but pointed out it was definitely on the cheap side for the city, younger son and middle daughter have their college housing sorted out, and older daughter is focusing her job search and making good connections, so could actually be working in the foreseeable future. Furnishing their apartments for free is good for them, and knowing that the furniture we’ve had sitting in the basement for years will finally be getting out of here is priceless for me.
5) Spouted no hate speech nor otherwise devalued the privilege of living in a democracy. Not even one.


KJD509 August 15, 2017 at 12:38 pm


Sheesh, typos.


Betty Winslow August 15, 2017 at 2:01 pm

1. Started attending a women’s luncheon on Tu., given by a friend from church. I park several blocks away in a shady spot and walk, so I get a cooler car when I return and also am getting a bit of walking in while my gym is closed for maintenance.
2. Our church sent the core leadership team to a 2 day leadership conference. They were handing out bucketloads of bagged snacks and candy between lectures, plus bottled water and ice cream at lunch. The first day the church catered lunch for us, the second day hubby and I packed a lunch and ate outside at one of the picnic tables, to save $$ and enjoy the sunshine. We also got to bring home quite a few of the bagged snacks that went uneaten, and were presented with a gift book by one of the speakers.
3. Went to a baseball game with our church and the tickets had a BOGO for Subway on the back, so I took advantage of it for lunch yesterday and dinner today, plus a free cookie from the survey on the back of the receipt. I also scooped up several discarded tickets for future lunches!
4. Last night’s dinner was part of a book club series at our library, where we all read the same cookbook, then cook and bring a recipe out of the book, along with a copy of the recipe itself. We then eat and discuss what we thought of the book. Last night’s was pretty much unanimously thumbs down, but the food wasn’t bad and I think I will use several of the other recipes.
5. A friend is downsizing from a queen to a full bed, so she gave me all her unwanted bedding, which I am washing and prepping for a church event on Saturday in which we give a luncheon for incoming international students and faculty at our local college, and then give them their pick of donated furniture, bedding, and household goods, which we then help them move to their new homes. Not frugal for me, but it sure helped the new folks!!


Karen B. August 15, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I am so grateful for this blog and its readers! It was wonderful today to read how many instances of frugality helped family, neighbors and complete strangers! You folks are the best!


Nancy August 15, 2017 at 3:43 pm

Took a “vacation day” off work- made fermented Curtido (spicy slaw), processed some peaches, baked fruit, cleaned cabinets out, started an Etsy store to get rid of stuff. Good day! Nancy


Isitaneedorawanta August 15, 2017 at 4:48 pm

(1) Had spilt a container of salt. Scooped it up into a container. Used some with a bit of oil to remove a label “stuck” onto a jar I wanted to keep.
(2) Mended the waist band of a thrifted skirt for my daughter. Heard my mother speaking through me:) telling daughter that the sewing would hold if she got into the skirt by putting it over her head rather than trying to step in and pull over her hips:)
(3) Defrosted one of my freezers today in anticipation of my yearly chicken purchase occurring Thursday. Oh my, in addition to having more room, shoved various parcels into “other” freezers. Also saw how many chicken carcasses I have to make broth with ( I squish them down and pack them in an old cereal bag) and now that half our household has moved out I should have food stores to decrease my grocery budget well into the fall.
(4)My next door neighbour was having a cancer operation on Friday .Made a bouquet of flowers and hosta leaves from my garden, placed in a lovely green Hoosier glass vase I had picked up at the thrift store some time in the last year. The card was from the box of handmade cards my BFF gifts me every year on my birthday. Inside it, I had included a couple of meal gift certificates. They were purchased last Christmas as a fundraiser for a day program for adults with developmental disabilities. They have been awesome to gift throughout this year.
(5) I have been using up points and gift cards for groceries and meals. Every little bit helps.


Mary W August 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Let me guess…. Zaycon chicken?


Isitaneedorawanta August 16, 2017 at 4:55 am

Actually no, I made friends with a fellow years ago at a craft sale selling pork. I mentioned I needed to find a person to buy chickens from ( mine had moved out of the country),he said his wife raised them. Till last year she raised 1000 free run chickens. She cut down to 250 and I luckily made the cull ( bit of a pun there). Over the years we have found many similarities in our lives and she has kind of become a friend. Lucky me:)


Mary W August 16, 2017 at 11:18 am

Even better, then! 🙂


nancy from mass August 16, 2017 at 4:18 am

LOL #2 would never work for me…thanks to my mothers hand-me-down shape, I’m a 1X up top and a 10 at the bottom. it would end up being a skirt for my bra! :crying:


Shelia August 15, 2017 at 5:06 pm

1. The garden is going full swing. So far I’ve picked and frozen beans, made pickles and eaten a lot of tomatoes. I picked up a dehydrator at a garage sale so I’m going to try to dry tomatoes this week. I’ve also given quite a bit of produce to friends and neighbors.
2. Tonight’s dinner was homemade pasta sauce, green beans and cucumbers from the garden.
3. We have a large but odd shaped bedroom upstairs my husband uses as an office in addition to the guest queen size bed He really needed a large bookcase for one long wall. We’ve looked for a used one for a long time and priced out what it would cost to build one of wood and electrical pipe. I found exactly what we need on craigslist finally. It’s a top brand that probably ran at least 2,000 when new. Still in excellent shape and we paid 100.00 for it.
4. We have a wonderful opportunity to see most of the performances that come to our arts performance center at a bargain price. Monthly an email offers ten dollar seats to most performances. You have to act quickly to purchase them and the seats are ‘nosebleed’ seats but what a deal! This weekend we saw The Little Mermaid. I was also able to notify several friends who were able to take their families. All of us enjoyed it thoroughly.
5. My husband also reserved and picked up two movies for us at the library this week. We have been really well entertained this summer!


Krystal August 15, 2017 at 6:01 pm

1. Unexpected guest/invitation to go out, so my husband and I brought our own homemade dinner to the bar (they let you BYO or order delivery), and ordered off of the $4 pint night special list.
2. Picked up extra front desk trade shift at the yoga studio.
3. Sold misc. Mac no-longer-useful accessories found around the house on eBay for a quick $20.
4. Requested no contact fitting for my next eye appointment, they charge an extra $50 that insurance doesn’t cover and my vision hasn’t changed–just doing an annual check-up paid for by my insurance.
5. Attending a free exercise community session on Thursday, and did 2 last weekend!


Mindy August 15, 2017 at 6:15 pm

1. drug home, from my son’s new apartment, an Ikea bookshelf that was coming apart. My son and his girlfriend were going to throw it away. With a little wood glue, I had on hand, I put it back together and it is now sitting in my living room holding books and looking good as new.
2. We are leaving on vacation in a few days (decidedly not frugal) to the southwest. We are saving some by staying with my inlaws for a few days before we head back to the midwest. In-laws have a pool but I don’t have a swim suit. When I was in the Walmart I checked to see if they had anything left on sale, but that was a bust. But I ended up finding a bunch of workout clothes marked down to $3 (which is less than my local Goodwill), so I picked up some running shorts, a tank top, and a sports bra that I think I can wear around the pool and can get wet in.
3. I stopped at Dollar Tree to pick up a few snacks for our trip. I was looking for things in smaller sizes so that worked out.
4. I spent hours…and I mean hours…online comparing prices for hotel rooms. Between my research and a quick subscription to AARP, I managed to save a couple of hundred dollars on hotel rooms. We will pack food for our drive to our destination to save a little more.
5. I booked a room in the town we are staying in for a few days on our drive home that has, both, a complete kitchen and free breakfast, is within walking distance of the brewery my husband wants to visit, and provides a free shuttle to the main part of town. On top of which, it is $60 a night less than the hotel down the street that we stayed in last time we were through the town.


Alisona August 15, 2017 at 6:20 pm

1. Neighbours just opened a franchise of “The Chopped Leaf” and invited us for a free meal to test the staff before grand opening day. Delicious and healthy!
2. I told my daughter I would buy her a new duvet cover to replace the cheap IKEA one that was torn, then remembered I have been storing a lovely newish one that was used in a furnished rental. It’s in new condition and matches her decor.
3. Listed an IKEA wardrobe online, have had a couple of inquiries, it should sell quickly.
4. Took several books to the used booked store for $24.50 credit.
5. Gave a twin size duvet to a woman who inquired when I listed it for sale. I just wanted a good home for it, and she seemed to have several children, so I thought I would rather give it away than get a few $$ for it. Frugal for her, and more clutter out for me.


rebecca August 15, 2017 at 6:36 pm

1. I, too, did not engage in hatred and evil.
2. I have agreed to teach an extra class at the university I work at and maybe a second extra class. I will be absurdly and overwhelmingly busy but I really need the $$.
3. Talked with my friends about not eating out as much as we did last summer when we went away together. They agreed to save a little $$.
4. Instead of buying something. I am baking a cake, with ingredients on hand, to celebrate a fabulous person’s one year anniversary of working at our practice.
5. All the usual-making my own coffee, no take out, library book reading


Mary W August 15, 2017 at 10:02 pm

1. I checked out a “free” pile and found a doggie coat for a friend’s pup, a puppet to tuck in with a gift for the neighbors’ new baby (it washed up beautifully and looks new), a small bottle of vanilla scented hand sanitizer, a lightweight sweater in perfect condition and just my size, some cute shoes and clothes I can take to the kids’ resale store and a Duplo block to add to my grandkids’ collection.
2. I asked about a bike that’s been sitting in the hallway at the church after bell practice today, and it was gifted to me! Looks like it needs some air in the tires and some brake work, and then I can try it out. It’s one of the classic bikes with fenders and a fat seat…matches mine, lol. It was left over after a garage sale months ago, and they were thrilled to get rid of it.
3. I still haven’t managed to pick up a recumbent exercise bike from a friend in town, but since I absolutely must get a haircut before my class reunion this weekend, I plan to pick it up on my next trip in.
4. I’ve been walking with friends and my daughter in the neighborhood and the woods behind our place…free exercise and entertainment!
5. Probably staying home for the eclipse instead of fighting traffic just for under 3 minutes of darkness. It will get dim here, anyway.

Bonus:. I managed to resist throwing a shoe at the TV while watching a certain person reveal even more clearly that he is a racist, despite his claims that he is the least racist person in the history of the universe.


Mand01 August 16, 2017 at 1:38 am

Well that’s lucky, because your shoe and your TV are probably of value, and it will make no difference to a certain ‘leader’ if you put your shoe through your telly or not.


Mary W August 16, 2017 at 11:25 am

Lol, I fear you are quite correct.

I often wonder if the rest of the world thinks the US has lost its collective mind by electing him. Made me nauseous when I realized he’d actually won, and nothing I’ve watched him do since then has made me feel any better. I weep for our country.


Mand01 August 16, 2017 at 12:57 pm

My whole office just stopped working that day and watched the results come in with utter shock. That has never happened in any workplace in response to a US election. No one could believe it. I keep hoping he will be removed from office but of course that’s because I’m Australian and we change prime ministers any time they become unpopular. Which is not a good thing either.


Mary W August 18, 2017 at 9:35 am

If we had that system, he’d have been gone about a month in. Approval ratings in the 30-40% range are a historical low at this point in a presidency. Every time I think it can’t get any more embarrassing as an American to read another petulant, bullying tweet or listen to grandiose bragging and outright lies, he manages to go above and beyond. I seriously think he has mental issues and is not fit for office. Barring impeachment, resignation or death, we are stuck with him for at least 3 1/2 years.

tracy August 16, 2017 at 4:13 am

1. Avoiding restaurant meals this week even though work continues to be draining. Had my mom over for dinner with our family Sunday and needed to do my monthly Costco shop so bought one of their rotisserie chickens, — cheap, plenty for five of us with leftovers and I didn’t have to cook a main course!
2. Both son (21) and I need crowns (ugh, sadly my kids inherited my bad teeth). Luckily we have dental insurance to cover half and I can pay the other half with pre-tax dollars from my medical expense reimbursement plan from work, glad I signed up this year.
3. Ordered a pair of jeans (not frugal) returned them when they showed up (frugal).
4. Took breakfast and lunch to work.
5. I have a vacation with my mom coming up in a couple of weeks to Iceland, Stockholm and NYC (and these are definitely “not frugal” destinations). Still, doing some planning to make this special vacation as frugal as possible. Skipping the (expensive) Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik in favor of another less expensive hot lagoon we can hit as part of our “Golden Circle” day tour, staying in Airbnb’s with kitchens so we can eat in 1 or 2 meals/day (also cost is lower than a hotel), researching “cheap eats” restaurants in cities for when we do eat out, bought a “Stockholm Pass” which will cover almost everything we want to do in Stockholm (museums, bus and boat tours, castles etc.) at a discount, already have looked up the flea markets and thrift/vintage stores we want to hit in Stockholm, and planning lots of free activities (walking and people watching) in all three cities! Will use public transit. Also staying in a hotel in Long Island City (one subway stop outside of Manhattan in Queens) for free for 4 nights using my Mom’s credit card points. Got a great deal on our plane tickets as well.


Lynda August 16, 2017 at 11:01 am

Thanks for the advice on Iceland, I hope to go there next April 😀


tracy August 17, 2017 at 4:47 am

I will report back after the trip!


Jennifer August 17, 2017 at 5:21 am

Oh, I have always wanted to go to Iceland. Do tell us everything when you get back!


Liz B. August 17, 2017 at 7:08 pm

I just heard something about a restaurant in Reykjavik (spelling?) on an old Splendid Table podcast….dang it, I can’t remember details, though maybe there’s info on the Web site. Probably not a cheap eatery, tho. Have a great trip!!


tracy August 19, 2017 at 5:36 am

Thank you — love Splendid table, will see if I can find it!

ouvickie August 16, 2017 at 6:42 am

Those mini-vacations sound incredible. I hope to travel to the PNW in the near future to see family. The pictures they post on FB are incredible!

1) I’ve been stashing half the money Hubby gives me for groceries and such. Trying to re-fund my Emergency fund. I seem to have my budget worked out better now, thankfully.
2) I finally got in over 10K steps yesterday at the Campus Fitness Center. When I gave blood last month my cholesterol levels had gone down, which proves I just need to keep eating healthier and moving more.
3) A pair of my black work pants finally bit the dust. The thigh area was worn so thin there’s a hole there that I’m not able to patch or sew and still have them look professional. I think they are likely 7 years old, at least. They’ll make good scraps for quilting though. Since I still have 4 pair, I won’t need to replace them. I’m hoping the other 4 last until I retire in 2021 – keeping my fingers crossed!
4) I took the newest Sooner’s Football poster, with our new Head Coach on it, to my neighbor last weekend – he decorates his Rec Room with OU and Thunder sports posters. He’s always so appreciative and I love chatting with him. He’s a Widower & a Vietnam Navy Vet, so I get to hear lots of good and, often, funny stories. He honored me by showing me his Navy picture and a picture of his first wife, who died in the late 80s. We shared a beer and snacks then he sent me home with fresh eggs from his chickens. He’s such a wonderful neighbor and a real treasure!
5) I finished the audiobook “I Know How She Does It” (time management for women), so I need to drop that one back at the Library. I’m listening to “Where The Red Fern Grows” now. I don’t mind driving or even being stuck in traffic, as long as I have an audiobook to listen to and they’re FREE with my favorite shopping card. 🙂


susanna d August 18, 2017 at 10:36 am

I like your goal of trying to make your work pants last until you retire (#3). When I retired 5 years ago, I had 5 pairs of khakis and black pants that were still in relatively good shape (and most of those were several years old at the time of my retirement). I set the two best pairs aside in my closet to wear on those relatively rare occasions when wearing jeans isn’t exactly appropriate. The other 3 pairs – which were a little too worn to donate – became my “work in the yard” pants. It seemed strange at first, wearing my former “dress pants” to do yard work. But our neighbors are too far away to see what I’m wearing – and the deer and bears really don’t care. Strangely enough, I’m STILL wearing 2 of those pairs for outside chores. Those pants seem to outlast all my jeans.


K D August 16, 2017 at 8:03 am

Glad to be home edition:

1. I was away for a week helping with a sick family member. I was able to stay with a relative, figuring free lodging with extra driving (of a rental car) was a much better deal than staying close in a hotel. Plus time with family, priceless…

2. The battery in my car key fob is dying. I ordered a new one and will use a YouTube video to replace it myself.

3. Meals at home, meals at home, meals at home.

4. The local Aldi was remodeled a few weeks ago. I stopped in to buy their bargain priced fruit and vegetables. There is so much more food in the store, it feels like a new store. When I have time I’ll peruse the rest of it. I also received some tomatoes, peppers, and a cucumber from a friend. Free produce is wonderful.

5. I missed a lot of yoga and Pilates classes the past few weeks, with being unexpectedly away. I’m making up for it this week.


Jennifer August 17, 2017 at 5:26 am

Be careful replacing the battery in your key fob. If you break loose that metal peice inside it will have soldered back on. We repair those at our shop . It’s very common for people to break those loose.


Emily August 17, 2017 at 11:41 am

1. My boyfriend went back to our hometown to babysit. I chose to stay behind to dog sit and make some cash. While he has been gone I have barely left the apartment, and spent time cleaning/organizing, listing on ebay, and enjoying this little dog.

2. I have been living off of what is in the apartment. Mostly because I don’t like to cook, but also been frugal :).

3. Packed him snacks and a pb sandwich for his drive.

4. Tonight we are heading up to the peoples house I am dog sitting for. They live on the lake (a large one here in NC). We don’t often get the opportunity to go out, but the couple we know allow us to use their kayaks, paddle boards, and stay at their house if wed like. We are going to take the pup out on a kayak and have a picnic on the dock! Totally free, lovely date night.

5. Bought a box of solar eclipse glasses, and will share with friends (individual ones are sold out). I am in Charlotte so will have a pretty good view. Eye damage is expensive!


Liz B. August 17, 2017 at 7:35 pm

Seems like this month has been pretty spendy so far in my household, but there have been a few frugal moments…..

1) Spray painted our old metal patio table and chairs black – they look like new. Just need to dig out the cushions for some nice deck time.
2) We adopted a puppy from a local rescue organization. While there were some fees involved (to pay for the spay/neuter surgery, shots, etc), he (puppy) has a clean bill of health, which is amazing considering his rough start in life. The joy he brings to our household = priceless.
3) Bought three alpaca wool dryer balls (locally made) at a craft fair. While the upfront cost ($20 for three) seems high, the gal selling them at her booth (not the maker of the dryer balls, but a friend and local small businesswoman herself) told me she was told they last about 10 years – she herself has some that have lasted 4 years so far, and hers “aren’t as well made as these”. Will be happy to stop using those dryer sheets.
4) Painted our half bathroom this week….bought the “blue painters tape” on the clearance table at Krogers months ago; bought a Home Depot gift card at Kroger (4X gas points), which covered the paint cost; and bought various painting supplies from Menards, which will earn an 11% rebate. Also picked up a few more mark-down perennial plants (3 plants for $4.50). Frugal fail: the towel bar popped out of the wall when I used it to support myself at an awkward angle, and the ceramic ends broke – so, we need a new-to-us towel bar. Will search my usual thrifty sites for a new one.
5) Hubs and son went on a Cub Scout camping trip last weekend, and brought home some leftover food items, including several pounds of fresh, organic grapes that were stashed in a cooler placed in his truck. Yum!!
Bonus: got my annual mammogram earlier this week. The hospital where I work offers a new “3D” mammogram, which is reportedly better at detecting abnormalities, etc. AND our insurance covers the cost completely, just like the “routine” type of mammogram. My mom had breast cancer, so well worth the 3D kind.

To paraphrase a meme going around, perhaps blotting out the sun next week is a sign from God that a certain US leader should be impeached. Oh that it could be that easy.


Mary W August 18, 2017 at 9:39 am



Amanda August 18, 2017 at 7:59 am

1) I’m enjoying a homemade lunch of grits that were passed along to me, roasted veggies comprised of various things that needed eating up, and a soft boiled egg. I prefer this cheap, healthy, easy lunch to a restaurant meal.

2) I was thinking about how the idea of school shopping really doesn’t make that much sense for our family, but refreshing the kids’ wardrobes each season is a must. This weekend I’m planning to go through my stash of thrifting finds in the next sizes, weed out the clothes in their drawers that won’t fit them anymore, and then do a Goodwill run and maybe a Threadup order next week to fill in the rest.

3) My husband and I met with our new marketing consultant this week. She. is. amazing. For a completely reasonable rate she has written a marketing plan for us that we think will take our studio to the next level. So many good ideas that we could have never thought of on our own!

4) We have been taking evening walks this week. It is a free activity that we all really enjoy and that *bonus* keeps our little morning person awake late enough so that she sleeps to a non-insane time.

5) I drove to school this week, which is an hour away. But I was careful to plan so that I used my time wisely and got a bunch of campus things done so that I don’t have to drive again next week.


Kathleen August 19, 2017 at 5:04 am

1) Took my one and only vacation this summer (can’t really get away for a variety of reasons, none of them actually being the money—so all the more frustrating) to my daughter’s home in GR, MI. Stayed in her little apt. for free.
2) and entertained myself w/ thrift store shopping where I got lots of great deals for activities I do: jars for canning-I only bought the ones w/ good prices & I haggled w/ the GoodWill lady to give me a set for less than the individual price. Also, got lots of fabric at $1/yd for my pillowcase project (my giving-back-to-the community effort) of making a gross of pillowcases for the children’s hospital every year.
3) I also visited w/ some aging relatives (including my mother’s only sister who is disabled and no longer ambulatory) who I see less than 1x/yr. and took them homemade jam for the hospitality they extended to me.
4) Our big outing for the trip was a day trip to the public beach at the Big Lake—free w/ our license plate tags at MI state parks. We took our own picnic lunch and our 45 min./day walk there on the sand.
5) stopped at a grocery store mid-way between our homes where the prices are great as long as I don’t have to drive the 45 min to get there. Got the milk, bread, lettuce I wanted for very good price, along w/ complimentary coffee for the rest of the ride back home to the mundane…………..


Mand01 August 16, 2017 at 1:21 am

There is an interview with her on The Simple Dollar website.


Mand01 August 18, 2017 at 11:50 pm

I think our system has its benefits for sure, including the ability to remove someone like that from office quickly – but since 2007 we have had five Prime Ministers, one of them twice. That has some negative impacts as well, including a tendency for politicians to focus on polls and popularity more than just getting the job done.


Vickey August 28, 2017 at 12:31 pm

We still have that problem here….


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: