Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 21, 2017 · 82 comments

  1. My son picked up a $5 pair of eclipse glasses while downtown yesterday, and then my step father brought over four pairs that he got for free. This gave us two more than we needed, (my husband works nights) so I put together a hasty Craigslist ad this morning to sell two pairs for $5 apiece. Portland will be in 99.3% totality, so eclipse fever is frenzied here. Needless to say, I found a buyer within a few minutes. I could easily have demanded a much higher price, but that didn’t feel right.

  2. A woman in my Buy Nothing Group offered six brightly colored pairs of jeans that no longer fit her. They were my size, so I went over and chose three pairs. They’re exactly the style I like, (bright and stretchy) and I’m excited to have tripled my jeans wardrobe for the fall/winter season.

  3. I picked up a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography at the library, I used our free trial of HBO to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones, I cooked a batch of black beans in the slow cooker and I bought just $2 of gas for my Prius as the price had just gone up 40¢/gallon. (I’ll hit Costco later today to properly fill the tank.)

  4. My mother and I indulged in an afternoon of Goodwill Outlet shopping yesterday, and as always I scored some incredible bargains. Here’s what I bought for a grand total of $50.01:

  • A new looking Trek trail-a-bike that at $35 was a bit of a gamble, but I’ve already found a buyer at $90, so my instincts were right on this one. (They sell new for $274.99.)

  • A Brother sewing machine pedal/plug to sell on eBay.

  • A pair of DKNY sunglasses.

  • A handful of stainless steel silverware for my sons’ off campus apartments.

  • A silverware drawer organizer, again for one of my sons.

  • A Hudson Bay style blanket. (Always wanted one.)

  • Two T-shirts and a Pendleton Wool shirt that I’ll sell to the consignment shop. (Update: They bought everything and gave me $17.50 in store credit that I’ll  use towards a gift card for my son’s birthday.)

  • A Heelyz roller skate key.

  • A Thomas The Tank train car. We keep a bin of trains and tracks for friends whose bring their little ones by the house.

  • Two pretty outdoor cushions to replace the ratty ones on my wrought iron chairs.

  • A packet of piddle pads to set under our litter boxes. (Admit it, you envy my glamorous life!)

  • A bright and sparkly collar and a clip-on dinosaur tail for our dress-up box.

     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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{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth August 21, 2017 at 8:05 am

1. Brought food/water to work today and drank the free (delicious) coffee.
2. Went for a couple of runs last week-free exercise.
3. Found some amazing deals at the regular Goodwill this weekend: two medium-size mirrors, two picture frames, a vintage glass casserole dish with its lid, 8 metal skewers (one of them is rusty-I’ll need to clean it up, but the rest were in great condition), a good-quality 8-inch square pan, a coffee cup, disposable muffin tins, and a ladle. Almost everything was $1, though one of the mirrors was $2 and the coffee cup was 25 cents.
4. ???
5. ???


Isitaneedorawanta August 21, 2017 at 8:21 am

Love your awesome Good Will finds. Seriously this hobby/income stream never gets boring! I also have gifted kids moving out with some of these exact patterns in silverwear.
(1) Wearing an awesome bathing suit and coverup this summer. A couple of years ago I found them new at a rarely visited thrift store. The bathing suit is a bright pattern and I have received frequent compliments. I would have probably chosen a black bathing suit but this one was a well made brand and fit perfectly. Glad I went out of my comfort zone.
(2) was gifted a bottle of prize winning dark ale. Not to my liking but am planning some beer buns with the leftovers.
(3) Had a plastic covered foam pad and it was in my give away box, till I realized it makes a perfect pad for the dog when we go away. I found a comforter in the cupboard ready also to be donated. Voila, instant dog bed:)
(4) I like burning candles with evening meals during the summer. Pickup new ones all the time at church and garage sales. Generally pay about 25 cents per candle.
(5) Sometimes I think mending is my super power. I frequently “gift” it to my family and friends. One of the cushions on a “perfect” fitting sectional I picked up years ago has developed a hole in a cushion seam. This was a set with removable zippered cushions that make repairs so much easier. When purchasing items I frequently ask myself how I will clean, mend or alter the item when needed.


Amanda August 21, 2017 at 8:29 am

1) My dad has a bunch of welding equipment and used the the glass out of the masks to make solar viewers for us.

2) Eating leftovers for lunch.

3) Carpooled to work.

4) Our truck is right now being inspected by a garage in the same block as our office, so I didn’t have to drive anywhere to get it done.

5) Drinking boring tap water even though I really want a Mountain Dew. But it is bad for me and costs money, so I will probably settle for happily enjoying a cup of tea for a fraction of the cost after lunch.


Ruby August 21, 2017 at 8:39 am

I have the day off work because of the eclipse. Seriously! So I have been spending the day doing up a shopping list for the dollar store (bath soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc.) and tidying the fridge, freezer and pantry. Found some food items to help conquer my packed lunch burnout. Also put another $60 into savings for charitable gifts at the end of the year. Tidying turned up some plastic baskets to use as storage at work. And I think we are about ready to sell our old chest freezer, as we just do not eat that much now that we’re about to turn 60.


BJS August 21, 2017 at 10:20 am

Ruby, hope you’re enjoying your day off!


Ruby August 21, 2017 at 10:54 am

It’s been fun! I can go for the occasional odd ball paid day off. 😀

Got to say hi to all the neighbors while we were all standing in our driveways with our eclipse glasses on.


Cynthia Huntington August 21, 2017 at 8:56 am

The decluttering continues. My non-consumer life will never really get off the ground until I know what I have, use what I have, and know where to look for what I have when I need it!

1. Sold two books on Amazon. Both were pulled from the discard pile at the recycling center. Made $40 after postage.

2. Eating up the fridge. A large pot of delicious beef stew is diminishing slowly, and the remains of a roast chicken have become: (a) chicken salad with pesto and grapes, (b) soup bones, and (c) scraps for my dog. Also making smoothies with some berries gone past their best moment (how did I let that happen?)

3. Found a Tooth-Comb mushroom in the woods this morning. It was on the same tree where I found one just about a year ago: I had carefully left enough growth on the tree so it could grow back, and it did. One of the most delicious mushrooms I’ve ever eaten, and only my second find (two finds, same tree). This is frugal not only because it’s free gourmet food, but because I was careful to conserve when harvesting last year in order to have more this year. Needless to say, I left some on the tree this time as well.

Also found two beautiful Indigo Milk Caps: edible mushrooms that are almost too
beautiful to believe. (Sadly, the bright indigo turns blue-grey when you cook
them, and I do always cook wild mushrooms for safety. But the thrill of cutting into them makes me feel like a kid.)

4. On the same walk, I heard a flapping sound behind me suddenly when I was walking and discovered that the entire sole of my trail shoe had peeled off to the toe. I knew these shoes were going: was just hoping to get through the season before turning to hiking boots. I “saved” the other one a few weeks ago with super glue when it was coming off in only one place, but this time the devastation was total. Also revealing that the fabric was rotted, and that basically these shoes had been “used up,” “worn out,” “made do” and were headed to “without.” I don’t remember how long I’ve had them—years—and I bought them used, so yeah, this still seems frugal!
5. Chopped, shredded, prepped and froze two immense zucchinis gifted to me. “Don’t give up,” I keep telling myself as the summer bounty overwhelms, “let it keep coming!”


Kathy Hairston August 21, 2017 at 9:04 am

1. Sold 3 items on eBay, Mercari and Amazon
2. Daughter in law sent me solar eclipse glasses free
3. Dejunked spare room and ready for donation pick up today
4. Picked up 10 pack of bic pens for free using coupons
5. Cooked yesterday using items from frig and pantry


Beth August 21, 2017 at 9:08 am

1. Daughter away for mini vacation with grandparents giving me “me” time and savings with her gone.
2. Treated myself to seeing Dunkirk and used my $5 reward through Mjr rewards program, cost me only $1.50.
3. Had to go to outlet mall to pick up a specially ordered Christmas gift for daughter saving on paying shipping fee.
4. Made sure to eat lunch before I left so I wouldn’t succumb to the food court. Walked around and went in to many stores but only bought some great priced flip flops for daughter.
5. Picked up last minute dog walk this weekend banking extra money.
6. Best of all opened the mail today to find a refund check of $909 from home owners insurance as was double paid by my bank. Mad at bank but appreciate the extra cash.


tonya August 21, 2017 at 9:25 am

1) Sent a bag of clothes to Buffalo Exchange. I find great brands here thrifting in the South Denver suburbs and am hoping to make a few bucks.
2) Brought home lots of leftovers from a family cookout last night. Will take them to work most days for lunch.
3) Enjoying my homemade eclipse pinhole viewer and feeling very fancy.
4) Combining errands today. I have a crapton of dumb stuff to do, might as well combine them.
5) Frugal fail- after finding the cheap oil change bay backed up to an hour and a half wait (for the third time) I spring for the more expensive place. It was $30 more. But my time is worth while too.


Crosby August 21, 2017 at 9:33 am

People are really excited for the eclipse here in Buffalo as well! And it isn’t even going to be 75%. I’m going to head out in a bit with my coworkers to see.

1. Didn’t buy eclipse glasses, my coworker has a pair we’ll pass around.
2. Drove to NJ/NYC this past weekend to visit family. We drove our hybrid instead of flying or driving my gas guzzler.
3. Instead of paying to board our dog, we left her with my parents. Win-win because they love spending time with her and we love that she is with family.
4. I brought some veggies for my mom that would have gone bad while we were gone. She cooked up a delicious veggie side, along with a chicken and some pasta salad, which she sent us home with when we came back through to pick up the pup. It was great because we didn’t have to worry about picking up or making something for dinner. We did meal plan on our drive home and ordered our groceries to be delivered. Saved gas and time on shopping for groceries, and ensured that we won’t be tempted to buy lunch or dinner this week. In the past, this has always been our achilles heel when we travel since we usually get home late Sunday night and both have to work Monday morning.
5. While in NJ, my sister in law is a bit of a shopaholic and had a bunch of clothes, tags still on, that she hasn’t worn either because she didn’t like them as much or they didn’t fit. She gifted me with three dresses!


Vickey September 3, 2017 at 7:48 am

Hello, fellow WNYer! That makes four or five of us on here that I know of.


Vickey September 3, 2017 at 7:50 am

P.S. And we’re smack dab in the middle of the 2020 full eclipse path.


Vickey September 3, 2017 at 7:57 am



SKM August 21, 2017 at 9:50 am

I loved Pioneer Girl and also read my library’s copy. 🙂


Lindsey August 21, 2017 at 10:12 am

1. Driving down the street in our neighborhood and saw a rug rolled up with a free sign on it. I could not wrestle it into the car but called a friend who lived near by and stood there until she arrived and watched her wrestle it into the car. (A wheelchair day for me, so I could not even help.) Turned out to be two area rugs, both in great condition except for dog hair. Used one ourselves and sold the other on CL for $30.
2. Husband out of town and my Danes were getting stir crazy. This is a bad body week for me and I don’t have the stamina to take them for a walk and there is no way to walk them from a wheelchair. So, I got them into the van and drove to a road that seems to go nowhere and never has any traffic. I let them out and then drove so they ran after the car. They are used to this routine since I use it whenever I am poorly and husband is gone. I am sure someone witnessing this must wonder exactly how lazy a dog owner I am, but they are happy to run and I am happy with exhausted dogs. This is frugal because in the past I have hired a dog walker…
3. Dehydrated several pounds of tomatoes. I have canned and frozen other batches but wanted to do something different with them.
4. Did a mystery shop that didn’t require a lot of walking—some of them do, if you are evaluating an entire store like Fred Meyers. Made $25.
5. Desperately wanted a donut. Made cinnamon toast instead and it took care of the urge. I admire people who have banished sugar from their lives but the best I can do/care to do is practice moderation.


Kathy Hairston August 21, 2017 at 10:36 am

If you lived near me Lindsey I’d walk your dogs for free. I need the exercise and my bulldog can’t go any distance


Sonya August 22, 2017 at 6:22 am

Good for you, Lindsay. When I was sick I did the same thing.. took the dogs to where they could run free. I also love your rug story and the toms and I can’t seem to quit sugar either. Soldier on!


Liz B. August 22, 2017 at 3:21 pm

I struggle with the sugar thing myself….I want to stop using artificial sweeteners, too, but I have such a bad sweet tooth. Fortunately, I do love fresh fruit, so that helps. A little.


Vickey September 3, 2017 at 7:53 am

When asked if he has a sweet tooth, a friend of mine says “Yeah. Couple of ’em.” 😉


Cathy August 21, 2017 at 10:29 am

1. Working from home today for better eclipse viewing.
2. Made cereal box eclipse projectors from scrap materials at home
3. 15-year-old son bought his own back-to-school clothes with Target gift cards.
4. Was offered a promotion at work! Still negotiating hours, pay, etc. Yay!
5. Making lunches for school, starting tomorrow (first day of school).


Carol August 21, 2017 at 10:41 am

Katy, I’d love to hear how your sons feel about the frugal life and their frugal upbringing. I remember in my status-conscious town, I was embarrassed one birthday year when my mom bought the store brand of pop. Of course, that wouldn’t bother me now, but I remember it at the time. Your sons seem okay with it. Was there ever a time when they struggled?

1. Took public transportation to my doctor’s appointment today. Because I had to stop somewhere on the way home, I decided to walk home, saving myself $1.75.

2. Last Friday we were tempted to get takeout, but I threw together some ramen and vegetables instead. I think we may start replacing Takeout Tuesday with Ramen Tuesday–we’re at that point when spending so much on convenience food is not cute anymore.

3. Drinking less wine–I typically have about a glass a night, but I’ve been having it only half the time for my health. It can really cost a lot, too, especially when you become a wine geek and get in the habit of spending $20-$25 per bottle.


Jennifer August 22, 2017 at 6:21 am

I remember when I got made fun of as a child for having store brand mac&cheese. I think times have changed and most everyone has come to appreciate at least some store brands. There are a few store brands that I like better than the real thing. It seems like some of the store brands have a bigger quantity of product per package than some of the more expensive brands. Anyway, I’m not Katy, but there is my two cents worth. It would be interesting to hear her kids point of view. If they are anything like mine, I have been frugal their entire lives so I don’t think they even realize it’s not the norm.


Linda August 21, 2017 at 11:13 am

1.Watched the some of the eclipse from my Seattle area back yard with no cost cardboard box.
2-3.combined trip to bank and Library during said eclipse no waiting in line.
4. ate free watermelon and leftover pizza for lunch
5. A friend and I socialized over dogs and leashes at the park rather than meeting somewhere that would require a purchase.

I’d love it if you showed pictures of all your treasures.
what’s a heelzy skate key?


K D August 21, 2017 at 11:29 am

1. Gifted


K D August 21, 2017 at 11:36 am

1. I started making daily lists again. I’d switched to the big, never-ending to do list but making the list daily is helping me get a lot more done.

2. We watched Gifted on Saturday night, paying RedBox $.34 for the privilege. We walked to 7-11 to both pick up and return the DVD. We really enjoyed the movie.

3. I’m reading 13 Reasons Why. I borrowed the Kindle book from the library.

4. We attended an outdoor concert last night. I believe next weekend is the end of the summer weekend music. All free, though we usually make a donation.

5. I gave a friend a ride home and was gifted with tomatoes and peppers from the garden.


iz B. August 22, 2017 at 3:47 am

K D, I’ve started doing something similar list-wise…..I make a weekly list of things I want to accomplish that week. Some of the things are quick, easy tasks (i.e., fill out rebate form and mail it), where others might be one part of a larger task (i.e., buy painting supplies in anticipation of painting bathroom walls). It seems to help keep me focused, and I get a lot more done.


A. Marie August 22, 2017 at 1:14 pm

I generally keep two “to-do” lists, short-term and long-term. This works fairly well for me (of course, more things on the ST list get done than on the LT!). As ever, your mileage may vary.


Liz B. August 22, 2017 at 3:23 pm

A. Marie, I should have clarified – I, too, also have a long term to-do list, in addition to my weekly list. Those long term chores definitely take a back seat.


Joyce August 21, 2017 at 11:57 am

1. We have moved to new area and I needed a haircut! Did it myself. Probably will look hard for a beautician in a couple of weeks– or not.
2. Attended a free concert.
3. Ate at home this weekend.
4. Picked up soda cans along my walk. I will give them to a gentleman we met who redeems them to stretch his pension. 5 cents each, here.


Minimalist45 August 21, 2017 at 1:09 pm

That’s a wonderfully fabulous score on the jeans front, well done Katy!


tia August 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Found a pair of Burberry plaid bermuda shorts for 3.50 at Goodwill. They look brand new. hmmm. Guess I’ll just have to wear them.


Liz B. August 22, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Awesome find, tia!!


kathleen August 21, 2017 at 4:11 pm

1. Went to kids’ house to watch eclipse with the grands. They had made cereal box viewers. We took paper with pin hole. They had one pair of eclipse glasses that we all passed around. And we watched the shade tree shadows making lots and lots of eclipse crescents on the sidewalk.
2. Hadn’t made the week’s menu yet, so went to the freezer hoping to find something easy and quick to put together. Meatballs…YES! Swedish meatballs in the crockpot, and noodles and green beans ready to go on the stove.
3. Ceiling fan died. Going to Home Depot for a replacement may not be the most frugal way of replacing, but in this heat it was necessary. And having a handy hubby able to install it is definitely frugal.
4. Last week I mailed a handmade card made from supplies on hand to a sweet former client who has been on my mind a lot lately. She called me today to thank me, and turns out she had been undergoing successful treatment for lung cancer recently. That 49c postage stamp investment made us both feel like a million.
5. Staying home, reading, crafting from my stash, making memories with the family. Frugal doesn’t get much better than this.


Bee August 21, 2017 at 4:17 pm

1) Today’s meals were composed of an odd assortment of food that needed to be eaten. I would not win any culinary awards, but everything was nutritious. I cannot say, however, that any of it was delicious.

2) I headed to a local beachfront state park to spend the day and watch the eclipse. I arrived early and took a swim. I packed lunch, water, and a book. A friend had given me viewing glasses. I was able to see the first half of the event before a rain storm brought viewing to an end.

3) I have started a new book entitled “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George. It is a lovely story. I purchased this novel, along with 27 other books, at the Friends of the Library Sale on bag day for $8. Not free, but nearly so.

4) I have signed up for PBS Passport for $5 a month. This allows me to stream all my favorite PBS shows anytime. I have watched our local public television station for years, but I had never become a member. I am not sure why. It was time for me to do this. I can’t wait to watch the new episode of Endeavor tonight.

5) I sold 3 items on eBay. I listed two more for sale. I took a little side job this week. I am gathering up items to sell at a friend’s garage sale next month.


Bobbi August 21, 2017 at 4:23 pm

1. I sold a couple of items on craigslist, and dropped off several more items at my nearest Goodwill donation center. I’m doing a major downsize in preparation for a move next month.
2. I know Katy has blogged before about how it is the smaller frugal habits that really make a difference, and that’s definitely true for me. Drinking coffee at home and carrying a stainless steel water bottle full of tap water are habits that save me from “leaking” several dollars a day keeping myself caffeinated and hydrated. That really adds up!
3. Eating leftovers from my freezer for dinner tonight. It’s a dish I made a few weeks ago and got tired of before it was gone, so I froze it. Now it hits the spot. Sort of a chili/veggie dish that I made up from what I had on hand at the time.
4. More free exercise: walking in the woods. Yesterday I did five miles, today I’ll do about three.
5. I just made my first college account withdrawal, to pay my daughter’s freshman year fall college expenses. Being able to pay the balance from the college account is a combination of frugality and luck. Frugality: starting the account when she was young, and contributing bits to it as I could. I’m SO glad I didn’t listen to my negative inner voice that said things like, “”What’s the point, that small contribution will barely make a difference.” Because honestly, the balance on that account is not at all enough to pay for four years of college, but I saved what I could. The lucky part: my daughter earned a merit scholarship (OK, not luck exactly, she earned it because she is smart, she worked hard, and she applied to colleges that were good fits for her) so it looks like the college savings account will be able to cover most or all of my contribution, without causing me undue financial stress. The lesson here: anything you can set aside for your kids’ college, just do it! Any amount helps!


Isitaneedorawant August 21, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Bobbi, I agree with your comments about funding college. When my children were younger my MIL would give me a cheque at Christmas. I banked it into their college funds. I always purchased gifts with a portion of the funds. Frequently they were second hand or greatly reduced but pretty neat gifts:)
When my oldest found out how much we had been able to save for her she burst into tears. All of my children have expressed gratitude for our efforts and know the sacrifices made to achieve an education for them. They sometimes reminisce about the ninja frugality methods I employed in their childhood but so understand the gift they have been given.
I tell new parents when they ask, save as best as you can.
You may be astonished at what your children are capable of achieving.
I was:)
I also realize that everyone’s personal decisions and abilities are different in achieving monies for higher education. I know that it may not be as acheiveable for all of us here.


Kathy August 21, 2017 at 4:46 pm

It’s the drip, drip, drip effect. The bucket will get full. The best gift I ever got was an artic travel mug. Hubby has a yeti the kids got him for Christmas
My mantra is “Change is incremental”


janine August 21, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Congratulations to you for raising an outstanding daughter and having the self discipline to save a good amount toward here tuition fees!


Bee August 22, 2017 at 3:42 am

The advice given in your FFT is wonderful! I was fortunate to have had money set aside for tuition. I made my own contributions to a college fund and monetary gifts from family members were also placed in this account. This money, combined with merit scholarships, paid for a large portion of my children’s education.
I have 9 great-nieces and nephews. At Christmas and on birthdays, I would love to give them monetary gifts to be put into a college fund. I find it painful to buy toys that will soon will become clutter. They already have so much, and a college education is the gift of a lifetime. Although only one set of parents have money put aside for college, this idea was not well-received by family.


Liz B. August 22, 2017 at 3:27 pm

I would love it if my family would contribute to my son’s college fund, instead of buying stuff he gets bored with after a day or so. My family gave this idea a frosty reception.


Julie August 23, 2017 at 12:43 pm

I’m surprised that your family members didn’t like the college fund gift idea. Each of my kids (12 6 & 4 ) know that any $$ for holidays and birthdays go into their 529 accounts. When college payments come around they will be very grateful ! Currently the 4 year old (who will be starting pre-k in a few days) already has 13 college credits in his 529 account.
I just hope that most of their higher education will be covered.


karen August 22, 2017 at 6:58 pm

This is so timely my great nephew was turning one year old. The family is in debt so I know he has no college fund. I told MIL that I was going to get him a savings bond for Bday. MIL said she would go in with me.

Next day MIL calls me in a panic. I did not buy that savings bond yet did I? She had talked to her daughter (grandmother to the birthday boy) and said while the savings bond was a good idea he really needed clothes. Now there is 4 boys in this family and he is the youngest where is all the older kids clothes going?

I did buy the clothes and attended the party which was hugh. I sat there and watched plastic toy after plastic toy opened up. At the end of the party I was so uspset I told my husband I was not going to one of these parties again.


Mrs Stookey August 21, 2017 at 4:35 pm

my fft
1) our van fund now has 12.06 cents all in change going to the bank this week it is found change and change leftover after breaking a bill.
2) watched the Eclipse and had friends and my Mom there with me watching in the parking lot behind our apartment building so it was free and no traffic to deal with, Mom paid for the glasses and in return I am having her over for supper soon.
3) Had a migraine today, so I rested-took my perscribed meds- took a hot shower and avoided the stores cause I had everything at home.
4) avoided ordering Supper due to migraine by making hubby a microwavable meal and I made me a pb&J
5) got a pair of fall/winter pants mended yesterday by my friend whom sews so I now have 6 pairs of fall/winter/early spring pants yay!!


Mary W August 21, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Hope the migraine is over and stays gone for a good long while. I know all too well how painful and debilitating they are.


Mrs Stookey August 21, 2017 at 6:57 pm

Thank-you and yes they are very debilitating


Mary W August 21, 2017 at 5:29 pm

1. Like so many of you, I stayed home to watch the eclipse rather than drive to totality and face the crowds and traffic. The next door neighbors had welding hoods that we passed around. The eclipse was about 96-97% here, so it did get dim and the birds got quiet, while the sheep got LOUD. We walked around and visited with the next neighbors over in our rural neighborhood, looked through their eclipse glasses to see how different it was from the welding hoods. Other than color, no difference, and no money spent on glasses I won’t have a use for again for many years, if ever.
2. My class reunion was last Saturday, and I’d planned to treat myself to a salon haircut, but it looked so crowded when I went by that I came home and cut my own hair. Turned out really well, very cute and easy care short cut that saves me a ton of time and trouble in the mornings.
3. Since I knew I’d be there on Saturday, I chose to pay a day’s fines on my library books instead of making a special trip on Friday – it’s actually less expensive than paying for the gas.
4. Went to my free chair exercise class after the eclipse today and will be walking with a friend tonight. I’m averaging about 5 miles a day walking at least 5 days a week.
5. Wanted to make a welcome to the neighborhood gift for the family that just moved in – saw that they had built a nice firepit, so I put together a S’Mores gift bag for them – 4 Hershey’s Bars, a packet of graham crackers (one of the three that come in a box – store brand), and a bag of store brand marshmallows. I figure it came to less than $5 including the gift bag. I included a pretty note card with names, addresses and phone numbers for some of us that are helpful neighbors. Then I found out the mom in the family is the daughter of a classmate from school – someone I visit with occasionally, but hadn’t talked to for quite a while. Small world!


Jodi August 21, 2017 at 6:57 pm

Five frugal things, travel edition:
1. Spent the weekend in NYC with my husband for our 25th anniversary. NYC is not frugal, but we were able to keep costs down a bit. We took the LIRR at off peak times to lower transportation costs.
2. Booked our hotel in advance through Expedia, saving money and earning Swagbucks.
3. Breakfast was included, and wonderful. Tasty and filling.
4. The hotel has a daily happy hour, which includes free wine and snacks. We relaxed while eating veggies and dip, cheese and crackers. Both nights we were so satisfied, that we did not buy dinner at expensive NYC restaurants.
5. We saw two Broadway shows, purchased with discount codes. We mostly walked, instead of relying on taxis. We did some browsing in stores, but bought nothing at all! No tacky souvenirs or overpriced things for our kids.


Roberta August 21, 2017 at 7:40 pm

1. I remembered where my eclipse glasses were from the Transit of Venus (back when?) so I didn’t need to buy new ones. The kids and I enjoyed it greatly from our back yard, even though it was only about 55%.
2. Making black beans and rice overnight for lunches this week (back to school!). Yummy, filling, and cheap.
3. Took my son to his first ever college class tonight! He’s in high school still, so all we had to pay was his health fee (and his books). Hooray for free college classes!
4. I went to Office Depot for shop supplies, and as I was looking at the pricing gun ($51!) I called my husband and asked him to look it up on Amazon. It was only $5 there, but when I asked to store to price match it I was told that I had to prove the price and they were unwilling (but admittedly able) to look up the price there. So I handed the pricing gun back to them, said I would buy it through Amazon, and walked out. I am getting the gun, more needles, more tags and barbs, for half the Office Depot price. Of course, I am waiting for free shipping.
5. Hung laundry out, and I am sorting clothes for the shop in free paper boxes my husband brings home from school. Soon I will have everything sorted by gender, size and season!


auntiali August 21, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Katy, Katy, Katy..couldn’t you have given the eclipse glasses away for free? It’s not like anyone is going to get anymore use from them. Ever hear of the more you give the more you get?

My foolish thoughts were that when my kids were born I thought that they could pay their own way through school. How stupid was I?


Cynthia Huntington August 22, 2017 at 3:07 am

auntiali: your wording “Katy, Katy, Katy..” is unnecessarily condescending and seems rude to me. I know I did not appreciate reading it. When you are perfect you can nitpick over $5 glasses.


Jennifer August 23, 2017 at 6:32 am

Good grief, seriously, why did you even say this comment? The way you worded the comment is far more bothersome than Katy selling the glasses. I would have sold them, too, actually, since she paid for them. Plus, they probably never would have found a pair of glasses if they weren’t shopping around for some in the first place. I mean, they were purchased from Craigslist not Freecycle.


Roberta August 22, 2017 at 5:52 am

Her family paid for the initial pair, so why not?


Mary W August 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Then to go on to put her down for her choice to pay her boys’ way through college just added another condescending, unnecessary layer. If you want to have your kids put themselves through college, great, but that doesn’t make anyone else’s choice wrong….just different. We all “splurge” on something, sometime. Want us to pick on you for yours? Or if you never splurge on anything, I feel that tips one over the edge from frugal to miserly (just my opinion, and not worth much on the open market). Chill pill, lady,k chill pill.


AL Shoe August 22, 2017 at 3:32 am

Hi NC friends! I just wanted to say thank you to this group of blog commenters for almost ALWAYS being positive and constructive and polite in their words and tone. It’s been sad to watch the NCA Facebook group tone change (maybe I’m the only one who feels this way), and I’m really glad there’s still this positive, dedicated hive. Thank you all for adding your positive habits to the planet and positive words to this page. Much love!


MommaL August 23, 2017 at 2:37 am

AL I love the positivity of this group, too! I think FB in general is a place where people, in all kinds of groups, feel more inclined to be less so.


Jennifer August 23, 2017 at 6:33 am

I have never been to the NCA Facebook page and, after listening to you all, I think I never will. I like it here just fine.


Cynthia Huntington August 22, 2017 at 3:35 am

Katy, it’s fine that you sold the eclipse glasses for heaven’s sake.


Mary W August 25, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Agreed! It’s not like you scalped them – just got your money back and helped someone else who wouldn’t have found a pair at any price if not for you.


Katy in Africa August 22, 2017 at 6:10 am

1. I’m cutting back a little bit of the sugar in my morning coffee, this is mostly for health reasons, but hey, it’ll make our sugar last longer too! 🙂
2. Some people are going to be staying at our place a few nights next week, we’re borrowing some friends’ mattresses.
3. My son made a Sorry-like board game with Legos. Who needs to buy a new game when you can make one? Free and I love seeing how creative he gets!
4. Also in the kid front, yesterday and today my kids and some neighborhood kids have been making mud sculptures and letting them dry in the sun…no need for store-bought clay I guess.
5. Made peanut sauce over rice and used spinach from the garden in the sauce.


Jennifer August 23, 2017 at 6:36 am

3 and 4. Great ways to have good free fun with the kids. We do similar things here. Every Christmas, we make salt dough Christmas ornaments. They are my favorite ornaments on my tree and I love looking at them each year so much!


ouvickie August 22, 2017 at 6:16 am

1) I watched the solar eclipse through a pair of viewing glasses my co-worker happily shared with all of us. VERY COOL!
2) I dropped of the audiobook “Where the Red Fern Grows” back at the Library yesterday and picked up another one I had on hold. Shopping with my favorite card!
3) I brought some corn tortillas to finish off the sausage & eggs I brought for lunch from home.
4) I brought the last banana we had at home, which was getting too ripe. I spread peanut butter on two rice cakes I have here at work and topped them with the sliced banana – that was breakfast this morning. Yummy!
5) I signed up for a free Amazon selling workshop being held at the Embassy Suites here in town, this evening. I figure it’s put on by a salesman, but anything I can get out of it for free will be a plus for me.


Mariana August 22, 2017 at 7:36 am

1. Had a free work lunch yesterday (we do every Monday) and we will have another one today as it is one of our co-worker’s birthday. I brought my own breakfast and snacks.

2. Received a new package of 2 pacifiers and a diaper rush cream (for my upcoming baby) from a friend who have not used them with her baby

3. I posted a few things on ebay and received a bid on one of the items. Fingers crossed it will sell.

4. I received a maternity summer dress from my husband’s aunt. She got it on a yard sale for $1 and the shipping was less than $3. It fits me well 🙂

5. I am using food from fridge and freezer and also returned a couple of things to Costco (including a jar of weirdly tasting herring).


Mrs. Picky Pincher August 22, 2017 at 7:43 am

Wow! Great job with that thrift haul! I wasn’t able to get eclipse glasses, so I resigned myself to sitting on the porch and enjoying our partial eclipse. 🙂

This week:

1. I’m working from my office’s HQ for the next few days. And that means free food and coffee and snacks!

2. Since I traveled by car to my company HQ, that also means I’ll get a sweet li’l mileage check tacked onto my next paycheck .

3. We’re cooking from our pantry more this week. I was able to use up a few sheets of fillo dough for dinner yesterday and have many more to use up. I think I’ll make some bite-sized work-friendly snacks this weekend. 🙂

4. I strained my homemade wine over the weekend. Now it’ll sit for a month to age before I siphon it off and bottle it. It cost me $10 to make the wine and I’ll get about 6-7 bottles once it’s all said and done.

5. Mr. Picky Pincher is using our badass food dehydrator to make his own beef jerky instead of buying it.


A. Marie August 22, 2017 at 1:29 pm

FFT, NYC BFF’s Visit Edition: (Wow, is that enough acronyms or what?)

(1) Fortunately, BFF is not at all fussy about food, so we ate most meals at home. For the two lunches we had out, she picked up one check and I picked up the other.

(2) We visited two free museums and one NY State Historic Site with a $4 per person admission charge for seniors (which BFF, DH, and I all are).

(3) I also took BFF to two local consignment shops and a small library’s small book sale.

(4) After BFF and I had our Triple Birthday Celebration with a Literary Society friend in the next city over to the west (we all have b’days in the second half of August), we paid a call on the founder of our Lit Soc’s regional chapter–who, at age 91, is a bit mobility-impaired but continues to take a lively interest in both Lit Soc and world events. She concluded the visit by inviting us as usual to help ourselves from her “outbound” bookshelf–one of her ingenious methods of decluttering. If I make it to her age, I hope I can do half as well as she’s doing.

(5) Unpopular eclipse POV, I know, but here it is: We were not at all in the path of totality, so I saved some time and a little money yesterday by ignoring the matter altogether. (I was up to here in laundry and errands after BFF’s visit ended, anyway.)


BJS August 23, 2017 at 5:11 am

A. Marie, I was hoping you’d give an update about how your visit with your friend went! It sounds like it was lovely, and I imagine she did a lot of laughing because your comments always make me laugh. And happy birthday!


Mand01 August 22, 2017 at 1:33 pm

1. I’m running staff training most of the week, so lunch has been supplied by the office. Today is the last day, thank goodness, because I’m exhausted.
2. I turned in another article for the side gig I’m working- I write content for a website.
3. We dug around in the freezer for dinner last night.
4. The weather is slowly starting to warm up and I’m starting to harvest from my garden- carrots, onions, lettuce, kale, silverbeet (chard) and soon, peas and cauliflower.
5. I’m eating homemade marmalade on my toast for breakfast.


Ava August 22, 2017 at 6:24 pm

1. Broke down and called the fridge repair man a friend recommended when we couldn’t stand the water on the floor any more. He said we needed a new thermostat & quoted $325. When he came back the next day with the part and started working, he discovered that it was a completely different problem at half the cost to repair. No more water on the floor and we have discovered an honest repairman for future use.
2. After a break in production, the green beans are rapidly producing delicious beans. We got rain and they started to bear again.
3. Promised myself that I would weed the flower bed that got so overgrown last year. I almost finished it in only two days. I thought it would be a much worse job than it was.
4. Was gifted green beans, tomatoes, corn and apples from good neighbor friend.
5. Had an unexpected out of town guest who came to view the eclipse. Took her out to eat several times but didn’t mind at all since she is the person who introduced my husband and me. Other than some meals out she is very easy to entertain. We went to 3 thrift stores which are much better in our area than hers. She was delighted with her purchases. She brought lots of craft supplies and we had a craftstravaganza with another friend. We took the puppy to the dog park and sat on the porch swing . She said it was exacy what she wanted to do.


jodi August 23, 2017 at 4:01 am

Just wondering what the refrigerator problem turned out to be. We too have water on the floor from time to time and I’ve been putting off calling a repairman!


Ava August 23, 2017 at 6:24 am

I am not sure how to describe it. He pulled out a black plastic plug thingie and said “there’s your problem”. He said those used to be installed by manufacturers to keep warm air out of some area until it was discovered that they weren’t needed. They aren’t used any more. The fridge is only 4 yrs old. I asked him some questions but did not get answers I understood. But he was right-That fixed the problem.


jodi August 23, 2017 at 9:41 am

My fridge is only 2 years old so maybe that’s my problem too! Thanks for replying.:)


Kathleen August 22, 2017 at 6:35 pm

1. I took several fall items to the resale shop now that they accepting them. And deposited the check from last month.
2. I took more books to the book store to sell at their Used Book Department. I used some of my credit to buy other used books for the grandson for Christmas.
3. I’ve been staying on top of the garden & harvesting then canning the same day. Salsa and veg. juice done, tomatoes & stewed tomatoes canned, tomato soup made.
4. I picked all the plums, sorted them and sold about 1/2 at the neighborhood produce market.
5. Celebrated our anniversary with dinner out w/ a Groupon. Had a nice time out for a rare date, and didn’t break the bank.


Debbie from Delaware August 22, 2017 at 8:24 pm

1. Mended a seam that was coming out of a fairly new pair of undies so they won’t completely fall apart.
2. Checked out $2 Tuesday at our local Goodwill and purchased a like-new Speedo Endurance bathing suit in my size for $2.00. I wear a plus size, so this was amazing to find. I bought one at Value City years ago, and it lasted a long time even being worn regularly in a chlorinated pool.
3. Since learning that dry cat food contains nothing that would be found in a cat’s natural diet, we have been feeding our cat mostly store-brand canned tuna in spring water. She has lost most of the extra weight she was carrying. We usually pay about $0.70 per can, but it is on sale this week at Dollar General for $0.50 per can, so I stocked up.
4. In preparation for our annual replacement of our smoke detector batteries, I have found that name brand batteries are very inexpensive at, and there is a flat shipping rate of $5.99, regardless of how many you order. I am getting a list together of all the types of batteries we know we will need for our household and my mom’s household for the next year. As an example, 9 volt batteries are $1.25 each, instead of about $5.
5. Used my Walgreens Balance Rewards points that expire later this week to get 4 bags of Hershey’s candy free. They were on sale 2/$6.00, and I had 2 coupons for $1.00 off of 2 bags. Planning to use them for Halloween treats, but this may turn into a frugal fail if we eat them before Halloween!


Laur August 22, 2017 at 11:54 pm

1. Gave away an old bike in my local buy nothing group. Saves it going to landfill plus it needed some work done I wasn’t prepared to do. It was picked up so saves delivery. I’ll buy another one secondhand next year when my son is old enough to ride on his own.
2. Listed 6 unused toys on a local FB group.
3. Eating out of the fridge and freezer this week (besides fruit & veg). Cleaning out the freezer in preparation for moving house. I’ve also organised my pantry better so we can see what needs to be used up. I donated a few unwanted food items to the Food Bank.
4. Listed 3 unused kids clothing on eBay.
5. Have a date-trip to the city planned Friday night. I’ll bring snacks and water and we have split the hotel cost. I have a free train return voucher I will use for free travel.


nancy from mass August 23, 2017 at 5:27 am

Since i’m laid up with a sprained ankle (my right side), this week’s frugal 5 will be short:
1. can’t drive = gas saved
2. can’t grocery shop so i sent my son for the head of lettuce we needed. he bought that for .99 and some peppers for .38. that’s all he bought. if i had gone…would have cost me more in other purchases. (he hates to shop)
3. enjoying my new (leather) couch. so comfy and buttery soft!
other than that, i’m drinking water, using up cupboard items and eating my homemade yogurt with some honey. i miss my walks at night though….


Bee August 23, 2017 at 8:57 am

I hope you are on the mend soon and DS takes good care of you.


A. Marie August 23, 2017 at 11:35 am

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Nancy. My bad knee is my right, so I totally get it about driving. (This may not be a problem for the left-kneed, however.)


WilliamB August 23, 2017 at 6:00 am

1. Spent a day at the new jobsite, laying the groundwork for my transfer next month. Brought lunch, snacks, and drinks. (I did buy another drink and some chips.)

2. Since I was in the neighborhood, I bought produce at the cheaper supermarket and cruised the aisles for deals and coupons.

3. Dinner included
– box Mac & Cheese that a coworker gave me (he was moving),
– supplemented with the tag ends of mozz leftovers because Annie’s Organic doesn’t have enough sauce for my taste, and
– ham from half a pre-sliced ham I bought during the Easter sales.

4. Gave a coworker some pothos vines cut from my ever-growing pothos at home. They are living in a pretty glass bottle from the recycling bin.

5. Have been collecting boxes at work, to move my stuff from one site to another. While I don’t pay for the boxes, it pleases me to reuse something that would have been thrown out.

6. Coworker gave me a 3-L water bottle when he was done with it. He buys a couple a month and reuses them for a few weeks, so it’s already somewhat frugal and ecological. I ask for one when my existing one gets “old” and means I don’t have to buy a pitcher from Goodwill.


Amanda August 23, 2017 at 8:14 am

1) Supper last night was meatloaf (made with leftover ground beef from the freezer), mac and cheese (made with macaroni given to us by a neighbor), and broccoli (the only vegetable that all of my children will eat with abandon).

2) Lunch for me today is a bunch of veggies from Aldi roasted with olive oil and Italian seasoning, a soft boiled egg, and quinoa. My husband has a homemade salad. The kids have leftover dinner.

3) We took our truck in for a $16 inspection and left with $1445 worth of work to make it safe and legal. It is only worth about that much, but it is a good truck that we expect to last at least a few more years. And $1445 is still way cheaper than a new-to-us truck. And now we know it is safe to drive. Plus the nonconsumer in me secretly kind of prefers vehicles that are way older than most people drive them. Badge of honor, if you will.

4) I spent forever on the phone yesterday making multiple calls to straighten out an incorrectly denied claim to our health insurance. They have arbitrarily decided to stop accepting a specific procedure that they didn’t question last year. This year the law hasn’t change, the language in the policy hasn’t changed, and the procedure hasn’t changed. So I am fighting it. Bonus: I found out that some dental work that our oldest has coming up is actually covered.

5) My husband is buying a punching bag off of Craigslist. Ordinarily I don’t consider buying things frugal, but this time I’m making an exception. Exercise keeps him healthy (therefore health expenses over time should be considerably less), he has wanted a punching bag for a while, and he is getting one for half the price of new by buying used. I love that it is the culture in our household to always try to find a cheaper option first for whatever we want.


Bee August 23, 2017 at 9:10 am

In reference to number 4 — If your situation is not rectified, consider contacting your state’s Department of Insurance. An inquiry by an government official often makes the insurance company more cooperative. I fought a rather large insurance company for years. (Think John Grisham’s Rainmaker) I finally filed a complaint with the insurance Commissioners office along with all my supporting documentation. Sixty days later, I received payment for treatment.


KJD509 August 23, 2017 at 9:59 am

FFT – Non-restful vacation edition:

1) We had family coming from all over for a week at the beach (including the eclipse) and successfully arranged transportation so the cars going the longest distance were the more fuel efficient ones. One son had to work an extra day, so he took the train – less $ than a tank of gas for the pickup, and it would likely have been several tanks. However, that turned out to be miserable because he was developing appendicitis. By the time he got here after track repairs and a few other delays, he was seriously, seriously ill.
2) The local coastal hospital is not in-network for us – but the ER staff insisted on getting the instructions from our insurance IN WRITING to keep him there for the surgery rather than send him by ambulance more than 2 hours to the nearest in-network hospital. We were grateful for their attention to that financial detail, because at that moment I frankly didn’t care – just wanted him attended to.
3) Not frugal exactly but adorable: the hospital staff had a couple of pairs of eclipse glasses and spent the hour+ of the eclipse (we were at about 99% totality) ushering patients out into the parking lot to take a look. Seriously, the sight of ancient patients in their hospital gowns and with walkers getting so excited about being able to see it was the best part of the day. (Well, that and getting to bring a much healthier son home).
4) We are very large people (except for Littlest, who’s both the youngest and normal sized), so while we’re happy to buy used, for clothes we don’t always have that option. I try to do a lot of clearance and outlet shopping instead, figuring that if I’m only buying the rejects and remnants, I’m not contributing to any corporation’s planning to increase production. We’ve been making do and doing without for about a year in anticipation of a trip to a local outlet mall at back-to-school sale time. Got a lot of great deals and happened to find several xl, tall, x-long, and other various oddball sizes that work for us on super clearance in back corners.
5) Didn’t buy anything gold-plated, though we did have to buy a fridge to replace the 18-year old one that quit in the beach place. Ah, well, 18 years was a pretty good run.


Mand01 August 25, 2017 at 3:47 pm

It seems like a random thing to admonish someone about. I thought it was clever. The heart of economics is supply and demand after all.


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