Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 17, 2017 · 80 comments

  1. I remembered that I had a free trial voucher for the Chinook Book app. This was perfect timing as my plans for today included a movie theater with 2-for-1 Chinook Book coupons. This translated into my friend Nancy and I being able to pay $2 apiece for our theater admission! Again, yes, I am a unapologetic cheap date.

  2. I spent hours scraping paint from the midcentury buffet that’s been my summer project that somehow snuck in the fall season. I pretty much have all the paint stripped off, and should have the piece completed by the end of the week. I’ve toyed with the idea of keeping it, but I’m trying to increase my side gig income so I won’t have to work so many hours at the hospital. I figure I should be able to get $200-$300 for it when all is done, which will be a nice reward for all my hard work.

  3. I was leafing through a magazine when I realized that I miraculously had almost all the ingredients for a Quinoa and Roasted Pepper Chili recipe. Not only did it use up the 1/4-cup of quinoa that’s been slowly aging in my pantry, but I’d just picked up super cheap peppers and zucchini from The Grocery Outlet. Sure it called for kidney beans, but I substituted black beans, and sure it called for “fire roasted diced tomatoes,” but regular diced tomatoes did the trick. The end result was incredibly delicious and will most certainly be added to our rotation. I love soups this time of year, and am happy to welcome a new recipe into my somewhat tired repertoire.

  4. I have buyers who are interested in a cast iron pan and a vintage suitcase, both recently picked up at the Goodwill Outlet. I just got an email from someone who wants to buy a board game that I nabbed while visiting my son last week. I sold one eBay item and am working two days this week.

  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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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Roberta October 17, 2017 at 5:54 am

1. I made baked potatoes last night for dinner, and they were very well received by the family! I will definitely do this again, as they are a great way to use up bits and bobs. Assuming we’ll ever have leftovers around here again…
2. Which leads me to: made a crock pot full of black beans, to feed my growing, running teenage boy. I make a pot of beans a week now, and I still run out of leftover half way through the week.
3. Hung laundry in the incredible heat and dryness. I will appreciate it now, because laundry will become more challenging this winter.
4. Mended a Halloween costume for the shop. I found an incredible pirate costume, but the lace at the cuffs was coming loose. A few minutes stitching, and it is in beautiful, salable condition again!
5. Stopping by Grocery Outlet on the way to my daughter’s orthodontist. Frugal Fail: I need another gallon of milk this week (see: growing, running son) but last week they only drank one gallon of milk, and one spoiled. I need to create a list of things I can make to use up slightly spoiled milk. I have made muffins or banana bread in the past, but I need more ideas!


Sandra October 17, 2017 at 7:26 am

Re: Roberta’s #5. This is where your internet comes in handy. Anytime I have something to use up and sometimes even some quirky combination, I do a search and I always find good ideas. Best of all, you can freeze it in small containers (recipe size) and that way you won’t loose any of it. Most soup milk recipes are for baked goods, but even those freeze well so you don’t have to use them up all at once. When I make a recipe of waffles or bisquits I always freeze any leftovers. By the way both of these can be made with sour milk. You could also try cottage cheese or queso fresco.


Susie's Daughter October 17, 2017 at 9:27 am

Roberta – I make microwave homemade chocolate pudding when the milk is just about to turn. It counts as a protein and dairy serving and meets the chocolate rda as well. 🙂


Marion October 17, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Chocolate cake made with Hershey’s Cocoa baking powder.
Shades of my childhood.


Marcia October 17, 2017 at 6:49 pm

Sour milk chocolate cake. I use buttermilk and sour milk interchangably.


Roberta October 18, 2017 at 5:22 am

Thanks for the tips — I will definitely try the cheese next time! I also like the idea of freezing in serving size portions. However, I’m trying to cut down on desserts (I found 10 pounds somewhere, and I just can’t seem to put it back!) so the dessert recipes I find online are not as helpful, and mostly taunting. 🙁


Marilyn October 18, 2017 at 8:40 pm

I love baked potatoes for dinner. They can be topped with leftover veggies, cheese, anything really. Very satisfying meal and very frugal.


Liz B. October 21, 2017 at 11:59 am

Ummmmm…..I was going to suggest my banana cookie recipe, which calls for either buttermilk or milk you’ve soured with a little vinegar….but they call their siren song if you make them, “come, you can eat just one, riiiiight?”…..I guess that’s where my sneaky extra (ahem, cough cough) 10 pounds came from….


Kim in Maryland October 19, 2017 at 3:26 pm

I remember when DS#1 was running cross country in high school I was amazed at the amount of food and milk that he could put away! Concerning #5, when I need to use up milk, which is hardly ever, I make potato soup, mushroom soup, Autumn chowder or queso soup. I will also make French toast or bread pudding. Any of these freeze well so I will make them even if I don’t want to eat it at the time.


Karen October 17, 2017 at 7:30 am

1. The kids were wanting to get their pumpkins this week, and my husband gave me a budget of 50 bucks—we scored at Kroger, big pumpkins were $4 each, and they had little ghost pumpkins we couldn’t resist, so we got three big pumpkins and three little ghost pumpkins, and I caved and let the kids get a mini pumpkin each. I only spent half of my pumpkin budget!

2. Made my own breakfast cereal–oats, coconut and walnuts–and I like it. Cheaper than buying GF cereal, and easier for now than oatmeal. Oatmeal is my go to, but sometimes I get tired of cooking my breakfast every morning.

3. Free exercise by running in the park nearby. I’m not an early riser by nature, but I’ve been getting up earlier to go running before DH heads to work, and it’s been great.

4. Cleaned out my bureau and got rid of things i haven’t worn in ages. I told my husband I am tired of thinking of what to wear, and want a uniform. He said find comfortable things I like and we’ll get them–any ideas? I like to wear jeans, but jeans are so hard to fit comfortably. I have fit legs and a squishy middle. Right now I’m still wearing my jean shorts, stubbornly, even though it’s starting to get chilly.

5. Didn’t buy any first-edition books or fancy coffee drinks.


Beth October 17, 2017 at 8:07 am

Re: #4-you could try leggings and tunics (similar to a skinny jean look but probably comfier).

Personally, if you like jeans, I’d stick with them. Finding comfortable, good-fitting jeans that you love might be hard, but I’d say worth it. Especially if that’s what you’re comfortable in 🙂


Susie's Daughter October 17, 2017 at 9:32 am

#4 – My uniform (in cooler weather) is a long sleeved t shirt and pants (jeans or cords). Usually the shirts are solid color (easy to outfit if you find a brand you like) and I have a collection of scarves that go with at least one of each of the shirts, in case I need to dress it up. This started when DS was a baby since I needed stuff that could become dust rags if I couldn’t get the various baby related stains out. He is in first grade and it is still my go to uniform.

And in relationship to jeans, my most favorite pairs in the last three years have been from the thrift store. Almost all were Lee brand.


mary October 17, 2017 at 10:41 am

jeggings, according to my daughter counts as jeans even though they are basically stretchy pants.


Isabelle October 17, 2017 at 11:08 am

I live in yoga pants. I have 4 pairs of black yoga pants and that’s what I wear 90% of the time. With differents tops, of course. Now, I work in physiotherapy so this is appropriate, not sure it would fly in the corporate world!


Karen October 17, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Are there yoga pants with pockets? I’m a homeschooling SAHM, so no dress code, but I need pockets as I don’t carry a purse.

Ruby October 17, 2017 at 3:17 pm

I wear a kind of uniform: Lee cotton slacks with some stretch to the fabric and either a smocked cotton button-front shirt shirt or a patterned pullover jersey. Tops all have 3/4 sleeves that roll up. I wear a cardigan sweater in winter and a cotton undershirt when it’s really cold.

The slacks are all navy, dark gray or black, and the shirts all go with those colors. Socks match the slacks, so that’s easy.


ouvickie October 18, 2017 at 11:48 am

#4 – I wear Women’s Cherokee brand slacks with an elastic waist – one pair of black and 3 khaki – these are part of my work “uniform”.
I think they have them in denim too. My tops fit over the waistband, so you can’t even tell they have an elastic waist. If I gain or lose a little weight they still fit and they look nice with blouses or t-shirts either one. Plus, they don’t cost a fortune if you buy them new. I do have two pair of relaxed fit jeans, which I wear to work on Friday and on the weekends.
I can wear those black slacks when I want to dress up, too, they’re very versatile.


tia October 19, 2017 at 12:24 pm

At Goodwill I find Nike, Gap, or other exercise pants that are woven with a little stretch. I have a black pair and a navy pair and they have two side and two back zipper pockets. The zippers are small so the pants look mostly like dress pants. I wear regular tops or exercise tops with them depending what I’m doing. I pay $3.50-4.00 for them at Goodwill. They wash and wear easy peasy. Oh and golf pants have a little stretch and pockets too.


Danielle October 20, 2017 at 6:49 pm

Recently discovered Democracy brand jeans and I swear I could live and sleep in them! $40 at Nordstrom rack, they are a brillianr creation involving elastic in all the places and dark stretchy denim that looks like a million bucks. Just bought my second pair, gradually replacing other pairs that no longer fit.


Jennifer October 17, 2017 at 7:55 am

1. I am washing and cleaning my own car even though I want to pay someone to do it. A clean vehicle is satisfying.
2. I made chicken and dumplings last night.We have had a cool snap here in the South, thank goodness. I set aside enough of the chicken to make chicken salad sandwiches for lunch today.
3. I made 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies to send for the kids snack at school since I didn’t have anything on hand to send. They are delicious. I combined the contents of three peanut butter jars that somehow were lingering in the cabinet to equal a cup of peanut butter.
4.Today was 50’s day dress-up at school followed by a sock hop to celebrate the 50th day of school for my youngest daughter. She wore the poodle shirt that I made for my middle child when she was in kindergarten. I cut the poodle out of a old fleece baby blanket and sewed it onto a skirt from the thrift store. I purposely bought a skirt with one of those adjustable waists in it, with the buttons and elastic, so it can be made to fit each child for whenever a 50’s day occasion/costume wearing time arrives.
5. I made the kids cheese toast for breakfast. I got busy this morning, since it was also picture day for my middle child, and burnt the cheese toast. I simply peeled off the burnt part, cut off the crust, and served it anyway. I did add some banana slices with peanut butter to offset the slight loss of cheese, lol.


Cindy in the South I October 17, 2017 at 8:34 am

I love peanut butter cookies made from your recipe (eggs, peanut butter, and sugar?), and I always burn my cheese toast on purpose….weird I know…lol


Jennifer October 17, 2017 at 8:56 am

Yes,that recipe, an oldie but a goodie. I actually love burnt cheese, too, but my kids hate it. Kinda like I enjoy a burnt hotdog, lol.


Cindy in the South I October 17, 2017 at 8:26 am

1. I continued my cleaning out my house saga last night, after work. I packed up yet another bag for the homeless shelter. I am sad that I cannot fit into these clothes anymore, but happy that it may benefit someone else. I am happy that I have found a place for my mother’s things and my uncle’s things, without my house looking too junky. My back is still killing me from all the rearranging of my house but I am making progress. I still have not even touched my bathroom…lol. I hope to do a little more cleaning out work tonight.
2. I am too tired to do anything except eat the leftover lima beans, rice and mixed vegetables I threw together this weekend for supper. That concoction should be good for the rest of the week. I threw a homemade “ranch” dressing on top of it that contained liberal amounts of pickle juice, and Franks hot sauce, which was a gift.
3 . I brought from home a tomato and cheese sandwich on french bread for work lunch, with tea, and no bake cookies I made for dessert. I made these cookies before I embarked on my house cleaning.
4. Even though it is still in the 80’s, I did get my winter clothes out and checked to see if I needed to fill any gaps in my wardrobe.
5. I decided in the middle of all of this cleaning, to trim my hair. I cannot remember if I listed that a few days ago or not, and frankly, I do not care….lol.


Bee October 18, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Do you think it will ever cool off this year? I haven’t worn a sweater in 3 winters.


Kayleigh October 19, 2017 at 4:56 pm

I teach school. I can’t remember the last time we got an ice storm/snow day!


KJD509 October 17, 2017 at 9:01 am

1. Fought through a miserable cold all week last week because I had a huge deadline to meet at work, so the cold came back to bite me over the weekend. I’ve been at home since Saturday morning, which I’m counting as frugal even though it’s not by choice. Monday and Tuesday are “work from home” days – I still get paid, and my employer gets credit for traffic reduction.
2. Friday night, coughing like crazy, I remembered a commenter had mentioned a homemade “cough syrup” that helped her husband through the cold. Lemon, honey, brandy, hot water – eyeballed the proportions and slept like a baby that night. Which probably means it was heavy on the brandy. . .
3. Pulling things off walls and counters per the realtor’s instructions. We had a few very tall booze bottles that wouldn’t fit in the liquor cupboard, but would fit in the freezer if it were less full. Took one for the team and finished some ice cream, and now the top of the refrigerator is empty and clean.
4. Found someone who’s interested in an oddball collection of toddler and baby clothes – keep finding things in the back of closets and shelves as we clean out, even though Littlest turns 12 next month, and Eldest just turned 25. She and her adorable baby came over and took what they liked, plus she sorted enthusiastically through boxes of bigger clothes for her nieces and nephews. Frugal for her, saves a couple of Goodwill trips for me, and she had great advice about which thrift stores in town will take what when we start getting rid of furniture.
5. Hauled a stained pantry shelf up to the curb to put a “Free” sign on, then decided it would be more useful as a receptacle for free items. Things are disappearing rapidly, and so far no one has taken the shelf. (My “Free” sign says “please don’t take the shelf yet – there’s more to come!”) It is ridiculously satisfying to put out things that are still useful but too much work or money for me right now and have gone the next time I go out. And much more frugal and earth-friendly than hauling them to the dump!


Juhli October 17, 2017 at 11:32 am

Curb side free signs is also how we got rid of lots of things before our recent move. I also did email blasts for friends and neighbors (sold older car that way), put items as free for hauling on Took quite a few things to a thrift shop raising money for rescue animals and a few to Goodwill. Left some for the new owners with their permission. Very little was trashed.


Jill A October 17, 2017 at 9:19 am

1. I listed one thing on ebay and one thing on craigslist. Here’s hoping they sell.
2. Downloaded a free book from the library onto my kindle.
3. Finished off the last of the ground beef I had thawed and made some burgers with the homemade red onion marmalade. I also used up two more buns that are in the freezer from the last get together where we had burgers.
4. Still working on my swagbucks and the other survey site that I participate in.
5. My daughter is visiting. Her classes were cancelled due to heavy rain/flooding. Instead of going to lunch we are having a $2.50 frozen pizza that was in the freezer.


yvette from down under October 17, 2017 at 9:25 am

Spring cleaning down under !!
1. Reorganising furniture and cleaning underneath, found 5 cents, old lollies, dust balls and general muck
2. Decluttering book shelves and sending unwanted books to 2nd hand book shop, finding books to be reread this coming summer when it’s too hot to exert myself
3. Washed and polished my car, had some touch-up paint to repair stone chips and scratches, looks new!!
4. Jams entered in ag show didn’t win prizes but have been redistributed to friends and some used in baking
5. Resisted the urge to get liposuction and will try a new diet instead ….


Marcia October 17, 2017 at 6:57 pm

Love #5. I should do the same, but as soon as I start a diet I am extra hungry for some reason!!


Anne V. October 17, 2017 at 9:40 am

1) I’ve been really trying to stay out of restaurants. This Sunday, after visiting a relative in the hospital, I realized I would be too tired to cook anything for dinner. We picked a restaurant that I had a gift card leftover from last Christmas, and the 4 of us had a nice meal for $12 plus tip. I often order just an appetizer and salad – more than enough food for me. I did break down and have a gin and tonic (tough day).

2) I picked up a new release from a favorite author of mine (Jeffrey Eugenides – Fresh Complaint) at my library. I just got an email that another new release I placed on hold is ready. I’m set for free reading material for a while.

3) I sold a few more random items on Ebay – educational board game, yoga jacket and yoga pants. Several of these things needed multiple listings and/or price reductions before they sold. I’m glad I did not get impatient and pull the listings.

4) I donated a large, heavy 15 year old exercise bike that had been sitting (rarely used) in our basement. I would have liked to have tried to sell it on Craigslist, but we decided it would be better in this instance to remove the item from our home with a minimal amount of inconvenience and aggravation.

5) I spent an hour browsing around Target last night while waiting for my daughter to finish an activity nearby. I looked at all the books, sniffed all the new fall candles, and left empty handed.


Susie's Daughter October 17, 2017 at 9:46 am

1) Made myself a latte at home this morning with my gifted Aeropress – a treat every time even though I am still working on figuring out my coffee to milk ratio. Ate leftover chili for lunch. Hurray for leftovers!

2) Last renters of the season left eggs as did the renters before them. I figure I have been ‘given’ about $5.35 worth of premium eggs in the last two weeks. I am making zucchini (STILL there is zucchini!) quiche for teacher conferences tomorrow. Our PTO puts together a snack table for teachers on conference days.

3) Reviewed finances yesterday with Dear Wife. Made some plans for saving, allocating for home repairs/upgrades and Christmas shopping.

4) Planning some lower cost entertainment for DS’s five day school break this week instead of traveling out of town to the big city to visit friends. Saves money and also saves on my exhaustion factor.

5) Walked the dog for exercise, watched baseball and Poldark for entertainment, and enjoyed being at home.


Jennifer October 17, 2017 at 2:58 pm

I just wanted to let you know I did try your families’ apple impromptu recipe and it was delicious, easy, and very frugal. I only had a small amount of flour and some past prime apples so it was perfect to use these up with this dessert. I added some pecans that have been in the freezer for over a year and a snack size box of raisins, at the suggestion of another commenter. It was such a treat that I am adding this as one of my quick go-to recipes. Also, I also love that it makes my house smell like Fall…Thanks!


Susie's Daughter October 17, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Jennifer – Thank you so much for letting me know! My Nana would be very pleased. I think Bee suggested the nuts and raisins and your version sounds delicious. Yum!


Rb October 17, 2017 at 10:05 am

If u ever want that fire roasted flavor drain the liquid off the tomatoes (save it if u like) and spread the tomatoes on a jelly roll pan. Yhen pop em under the broiler till their as roasted as u like.


FrugalStrong October 17, 2017 at 10:15 am

1. Happened to be at the commissary when they still had marked down chicken and scored several family-sized packages of chicken thighs for $0 .40/lb. Cooked up one package last night (my oven baked “fried” chicken recipe using my homemade “Bisquick” recipe) and got 2 meals (for 4 people) out of it.

2. Picked up my last 3 freebies from Kroger this past weekend (chai tea latte, Noosa yogurt, & M&Ms). Also bought a gallon of milk for $1.99 but redeemed a $0.25 “any item” Ibotta rebate and my son found a penny as we were leaving, so net cost was $1.73! This rebate put me over the $20 cash out minimum for Ibotta, so I sent my $20.23 balance to PayPal.

3. I had coupons for free Grand Slam breakfasts from Denny’s with a drink purchase. I thought hard about taking my kids there after Mass on Sunday, but resisted. We came home and ate.

4. My husband is a commercial airline pilot (hint: LUV) . He brought home 2 free chocolate chip cookies from his stay at a DoubleTree hotel (paid for by the company) and I put them in the kids’ lunches.

5. Continued to eat at home, pack the kids’ school lunches, drink only water, and keep the thermostat at 79 (I’m in TX – it’s still in the 90s).


Caroline October 17, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Is there a way to collect the free Friday items when you use the Kroger Clicklist pickup option? I am new to Kroger and love the Clicklist, but I can’t figure out how to combine it with the free items. Thanks in advance.


FrugalStrong October 17, 2017 at 6:32 pm

I haven’t used Clicklist, but from what I’ve read, they accept digital coupons loaded to your card as well as paper coupons. So, as long as you’ve downloaded the Freebie Friday coupon to your card and have that item in your order, it seems like that should work. Good luck!


Caroline October 18, 2017 at 4:35 pm



Jen October 17, 2017 at 10:16 am

1. Made a no-knead bread for dinner yesterday that was out of this world yummy and so simple to make. I will never buy crusty bread again. It’s so much better homemade!

2. Sold my son’s Halloween costume from last year on ebay. Bought it at Goodwill, and sold it for probably 10x what I paid for it, so that was nice!

3. Bought a new-to-us jacket for my daughter off of a facebook group, then turned around and sold some of her now-too-small clothes on the same page. It all evened out in the end – so no cost for the jacket!

4. Looked up some fun free fall festivals to go to next weekend while friends are in town. There are plenty that cost money to go to, but also plenty that are free! We always choose the latter and always have such a good time!

5. Found a free pattern online to attempt to make my daughter’s Halloween costume this year. Store bought ones are so expensive for something she will only wear once, and the cost of materials will probably cost me less than $10, so fingers crossed I have the domestic sewing gene in my bones!


Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life October 17, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Good luck with the costume! I hope it turns out great!


Nancy October 19, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Whenever I wanted to make a costume, I always started out with a pair of sweats in the basic color I needed. I had boys though. anyway, it gets cold here, so that helped. I made a T-Rex, a teenage mutant ninja turtle and a Mr. Potato Head. All using sweats as a base.


Leslie October 17, 2017 at 10:29 am

1. After 2.5 years of marriage, and 2 years since closing on our house, the hubs and I finally have matching nightstands that I found at a thrift store. $40 for the pair. I just could not stand the idea of paying for new fake wood ones.
2. Our summer garden is producing it’s last gasp. Harvested a few tomatoes and a bunch of bell peppers this week.
3. Enjoyed a free lunch through work today.
4. Went to Target and bypassed the bullseye hypnosis and got only what was on my list.
5. Cooked for the week for the hubby since I will be out of town for work. This keeps him from hitting up take out while I’m gone. Bonus: while I was doing that, he did all of our laundry.


Susie's Daughter October 17, 2017 at 10:42 am

#4) “bullseye hypnosis” – Love it!


Vickey November 3, 2017 at 9:58 am

Yes! Especially the “bypass” part. 😉


Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life October 17, 2017 at 10:32 am

We went to Michael’s to pick up some poly-fil that I needed for a homemade pillow, armed with a discounted gift card, but they were out. Instead, we found a whole pile of 50% off craft supplies that are perfect for JuggerBaby and my husband to do together when I’m gone. Under $10, HOURS of toddler fun.


Isabelle October 17, 2017 at 11:01 am

My biggest resolution at the moment (just starting out) is to cut out ALL personal restaurant outings and all food that does not come for the grocery store (ex : stopping at the corner store to grab a pack of chips, no more). So I will eat out only if I am being asked to go (so I am also not “allowed” to suggest eating out, but I’ll go if someone asks). I spend so much money on food, junk food mostly, when I don’t eat at home, it’s ridiculous…. This will save a lot of $ and will hopefully help me lose some weight.


Danielle October 20, 2017 at 6:51 pm

Nice challenge!


Katy Hope October 17, 2017 at 11:54 am

1. Went for my annual doctor appointment. Haven’t seen a doctor in a long time. My appointment counted as my annual physical, so it was totally covered by insurance, didn’t even have the $20 co-pay.

2. Waited 2 months to get a coupon in the mail for the local framing shop to to frame my 6 YO son’s art from school. Got 50% off the frame. I love framing kids art so it feels like “real” art.

3. Finally got around to listing old baby items on craig’s list..diaper pail, baby monitor, changing pad, etc. Already sold one item, emailing with interested people about the others.

4. Last night was beautiful in San Francisco, so instead of eating in, went to the beach with the family to play and enjoy the sunset. Brought our own drinks and picked up cheap burritos on the way. Not totally free, but pretty cheap night out.

5. Sold an item on eBay. Used leftover pillow filling from an old craft project to package the item in a used amazon box, so didn’t have to spend any money on the shipping supplies.


Debbie October 17, 2017 at 12:01 pm

1. My kids want to be Jedi for Halloween this year and I put out a request on Facebook to borrow some costumes, and found a friend who had 2 to loan us!
2. Went to Target to buy a birthday gift and some items the school is asking for us to donate for “How Can I Help You Day”, a service-project day at school next month, and found everything I needed on sale and with Cartwheel coupons.
3. Batched errands and borrowed books from the library.
4. Passing on some baby items to a friend expecting her first child. Easier than trying to sell, and she gets some items she is needing so it is going to still be put to good use. Win-win!
5. Eating up leftovers in the fridge.


Lauren October 17, 2017 at 12:52 pm

1. Rescued some ground beef during its final hour by combining with some on the way out potatoes for Shepherds pie tonight. We tried a new method of making mashed potatoes by cooking the potatoes in milk and were really happy with the result! Super creamy mash in less time.
2. My brother and sister in law come over quite often for lazy nights in and our couches always leave someone odd man out. We have our eyes out for new couches anyway but I found a €15 bean bag on a buy and sell app that will do well in the interim! It will also transition perfectly to the baby’s room when it’s no longer needed in the living room.
3. Listed several items on the buy and sell app while I was at it. No bites so far but fingers crossed and it gave us motivation to get started clearing out the spare room.
4. Bought my first few cloth nappies for baby. Spreading out the purchases a bit since I’m not sure which ones I will like best. I’ll look into lending libraries as well.
5. Spent a nice day hitting charity shops in my MIL’s hometown. We also visited her sister who lives nearby for tea and cake. She had fun, we got out of the house for a while, and I found a few things I had been wanting for great prices- so it was a pretty successful way to spend a nice Sunday for everyone 🙂


tia October 17, 2017 at 2:24 pm

1. solved the mystery of the dissappearing tomatoes and saved my sanity… surely sanity is frugal and priceless?

the little girl kitty was getting on the kitchen counter and stealing fresh little tomatoes out of the bowl and taking them in her mouth down onto the floor to play “pat the tomato”…. they were all getting stuck under the stove and couch so she needed to refresh her supply each day to continue her fun….so cute when I caught her carrying a tomato in her mouth! I guess I need a recipe for slightly used tomatoes now.

2. I blew all my recent years of frugal savings in one single act of necessity. oh, well, here’s to starting over.
3.Adding some mayonaise to cold leftover chipotle bowl ingredients makes a tasty salad for lunch.
4.For some reason I never get used to using vinegar and baking soda to clean the house and long for the strong deadly aroma of Vanish, Clorox, and Lysol. But I refrain and keep on saving my pocketbook and the planet.
5.That’s all I can do. I need ice cream.


Roberta October 18, 2017 at 5:30 am

If you blew your savings in an act of necessity, at least you didn’t need to go into debt for your necessity! And isn’t that what frugality’s for?


A. Marie October 19, 2017 at 11:39 am

What Roberta said about the emergency fund. And I got a little misty over your #1, since the cat we had before the current one had the same thing going with my cherry tomatoes. Current cat takes no interest in them, which is actually good–but I’m still checking the floor for tomatoes and missing previous cat.


tia October 19, 2017 at 12:12 pm

awww, so sorry about your kitty…I never had a cat do this, I shouldn’t enjoy it so much but it is adorable!


Mand01 October 17, 2017 at 2:49 pm

A lot of my stuff is the same as usual:
1. Worked from home. Saved fuel and time and was more productive.
2. Made homemade kale pesto spaghetti for dinner and lemon cake for dessert. Happy kids.
3. Saw ‘Blade Runner 2049’ on cheap Monday. I found the violence toward and objectification of women very disturbing. But it was a good movie in other ways.
4. Did our budget with my husband and can make an extra mortgage payment and save for a holiday at the end of the year. Kids are excited to be going away for a little getaway.
5. The seedlings I am raising from saved seeds are poking their little heads up. I’m raising them in recycled containers so the only cost is the seed raising mix. Free veggies and gifts.


Pattilou October 17, 2017 at 3:47 pm

1. I had not been feeling well for a while and my work schedule had been heavy so that translated into staying home when not working and not spending much. Also it has saved on gas for the past month.
2. I did get out the other night because I was given a free ticket to see a play.
3. I parked at the garage furthest from the theatre because it is the least expensive one.
4. I have been able to keep the heat off so far, even when it went down into the 30s last night and it was 60 degrees in my house. I did have the furnace cleaned today so the house did warm up while the furnace was being checked. I turned it off again once the service call was over.
5. I forced myself to try on clothes in my closet. I found three pairs of pants that fit, which will be enough. I also filled a bag with things that I will never wear again no matter what I try to convince myself. The bag went right into the car to go to Good Will.

Frugal Frustration: One of the prescriptions I take is very, very expensive and I have been taking advantage of the drug company’s savings program, which was reimbursing me a percentage of my costs after my deductible. I received a letter today saying that the program will no longer be available.
My other frustration has been the fact that I have had to go gluten and dairy free. While I believe it has helped my situation, my grocery costs have gone up. I have been trying all kinds of packaged products to get me through until I started feeling better. I did find some crackers I like but I find fake cheese to be just gross. Man do I want a big old piece of pizza! Also, everyone keeps saying I must be losing weight. No. No my friends I haven’t because peanut butter has been my friend, especially on days when I have felt the worst! If anyone has a good gluten free bread recipe I’d love It if you would share!


Lisa from SC October 18, 2017 at 1:11 am

Hi Pattilou,
Have you checked on to see if it’s a better price there? I hope you find it cheaper! lisa


Marie-Josée October 18, 2017 at 3:40 am

Hope you feel better soon! Please look up Cookie and Kate – she has wonderful recipes (her granola is out of this world). Look up Against all Grain blender bread. It is made wish cashews and very delicous and hearty. King Arthur has a wonderful gluten free flour mix and I tried their gluten free chocolate cake recipe and it was to die for. It was moist, and stayed moist, just like a regular cake. My family could not beleive it was gluten free. I am sure they have a good bread recipe. Also look up Gluten Free Goddess. Good luck!


Bee October 18, 2017 at 4:11 am

Hang in there. After major health issues, I was told by my doctor that I needed to go on a gluten-free diet. My costs went up initially, because I tried to replace what I was eating before with processed gluten-free food. I now eat a diet that consists primarily of fruits, veggies, proteins and a few carbohydrates. Although I eat very little processed foods, I do buy bread, but I eat very little of it. I eat oatmeal, rice, potatoes and quinoa instead.

Trader Joe’s is a great resource, because they have many inexpensive gluten-free options. (Much less expensive than other markets in our area) I do on occasion buy brown rice pasta, pre-made GF flat bread, rice crackers, cinnamon bread, 100% corn tortillas and pancake mix. They also have a list available of all GF foods available in the store.

I eat out rarely. When I do, I ask for a GF menu. Many restaurants have these. I am not afraid to ask questions about the ingredients in a dish. So many people have allergies now, servers and chefs are used to making accommodations. The hardest thing are cocktail and lunch buffets. I usually end up eating raw veggies and fruit.

Although some people do lose weight, a gluten-free diet is not a weight loss diet. It does reduce inflammation and GI issues. Good luck! I hope you feel better.


Roberta October 18, 2017 at 5:35 am

We are back on gluten, but for a while (a couple months?) we were gluten free while tracking down my daughter’s allergies. Grocery Outlet was a great resource for us — they have a large gluten free section at our shop, and my sister and I have both found that if you ask them to get a product they are very happy to oblige.

I like for gluten free, dairy free recipes. She lists a bunch of substitutions for most of her recipes, as well, so you can adapt. My family really likes her chicken in coconut milk, subbing lentils for chicken, served with wilted spinach.

Learning to eat a new way is hard! Hang in there, and I hope you feel better soon.


Pattilou October 18, 2017 at 9:04 am

Thank you all for the encouragement and for the suggestions. I knew I’d find help and support here. I’m going to look for the chocolate cake recipe right now!


tia October 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm

I’ve been gluten free for years. I buy Uldi sliced bread so I can have sandwiches (be sure to toast or grill it first so it doesn’t fall apart)You can make a good gluten free pie crust with 2 cups Bobs brown rice flour, 1 stick butter, 1 egg and a little water if needed.Most things like pan cakes, cup cakes, and cookies you can make like normal just be sure there is 1 egg for every 2 cups of Bobs brown rice flour. I’ve never had a good gluten free biscuit or glazed donut and breading chicken strips or fish at home doesnt turn out so great. Pacific Gluten Free Crispy Battered Cod is good and Applegate gluten free crispy chicken tenders(not nuggets) are good but both real expensive.I’ve not found any good substitute for cheese and dairy, but….you can take a corn tortilla, toast it a little in a hot oven, add a couple of spoons of your favorite spaghetti sauce, a bunch of pepperoni, some italian spices sprinkled on, put on cookie sheet and bake at 450 till nice and bubbly and brown and it tastes pretty good when desperate ; )

ouvickie October 18, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Do you have an Aldi close to you?
They carry a lot of gluten free items and they aren’t expensive. I buy their GF bread, however, I only like it as toast. Also, Bob Mills (brand) has gluten free packaged items that I can often find at Big Lots. There’s a gluten-free brownie mix that I love, it’s very moist and rich. I eat a lot of salads with GF crackers I get at Aldi. I think you can even make Peanut Butter fridge cookies for snacks. My friend suggested Coconut Milk as dairy alternative, however, I like Cashew Milk and I found it at Walmart.


ouvickie October 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm

I, also, make sausage gravy with corn starch instead of flour. It’s easy to make and just as good.


Linda October 17, 2017 at 4:27 pm

who won the Bargain Hunt contest between you and your mother?


Mrs. Picky Pincher October 17, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Sounds like you’re a regular reseller. 🙂 I wish I had the know-how to do flips from the thrift store, but I’m not the most knowledgeable. It’s neat to see all the great stuff you can do!

This week:

1. I had a freelance writing project that was an absolute PAIN. Fortunately I got $100 for my trouble, which will be a nice boon to my blogging budget.

2. I’m going to a conference next week and, to save money, I’m already planning my own meals instead of buying them at the pricey downtown restaurants.

3. I washed laundry yesterday with my homemade laundry soap.

4. I purged our freezer to make room for meals that we’ll actually eat. It sucks to get rid of food, but it’s been a good lesson in cooking meals that we’ll actually eat, and not meals I THINK we’ll eat.

5. Even though it’s been a rough week already, I’ve managed to cook at home every day instead of eating out, which is a win.


Bethany M October 17, 2017 at 9:40 pm

Made a homemade soup with bone broth, leftover chicken, and bits and bobs.

Served the family a homemade honey oat bread with it.

Losing weight with the ketogenic diet. Doing it on my own, instead of paying some big corporation to hold my hand through it. Using MyFitnessPal to track my carbs, calories, fat, and protein.

Didn’t buy the pistachios or coconut oil I wanted at Costco today. I can wait a bit.

Refilled a soap dispenser instead of buying new. Got the refill from Staples free with rewards points.

Took advantage of our dental plan and got us in for a visit. I have the world’s best dental hygienist. She spends good quality time on our cleanings!


K D October 18, 2017 at 4:27 am

1. I took a friend out, that no longer drives, on an adventure. She bought me lunch as a thank you (I provided a $10 off coupon and the tip). It was fun to catch up with her.

2. A new acquaintance suggested I try using essential oils because I have been having trouble sleeping. I asked her if she buys the expensive (MLM) oils and she said she just buys the cheap oils. I will give her suggestion a try.

3. The weather is brisk but I continue to walk outside. I love the lower humidity and the look/feel of fall.

4. I spent money in an attempt to save money. I am getting a new electric toothbrush that will tell me when I am brushing too hard. I figure it’s better to not have receding gums than to pay for a new toothbrush. I have already switched to a softer brush head and it is still a problem.

5. I wrote thank you notes to my yoga teachers at the end of the last session, including a small gift card to a favorite establishment. They really appreciate it when I do that and it is a small price to pay for what I gain from their classes.


Tracy October 18, 2017 at 4:31 am

1. Wore thrifted outfit to work yesterday.
2. Brought a lovely and tasty fall salad to a family dinner party last night, using mostly things I already had on hand (except the lettuce) including pears, feta, walnuts (which I toasted and caramelized) with my homemade honey mustard vinaigrette. It was a hit and I was only out $4 at grocery store for 3 heads of butter lettuce.
3. Took breakfast to work and didn’t buy the Starbucks latte I wanted.
4. Bought a gift for the family party, an item requested by the (51 yo) birthday girl, looked online before ordering and found a coupon for $15 off and free shipping
5. My dear old friends and I set aside the last weekend in October for a “girls’ weekend.” We were originally considering locations that would require flights and hotels and I suggested that we instead go to my Mom’s beach house less than two hours away by car (as we have many times in the past). We are going to do that and even though we will splurge on spa treatments one day it will still be way less $ than the alternative as my Mon generously lets me use her place for free…


Emily October 18, 2017 at 4:35 am

1. Going to the farmers market today. I’m fortunate to have them open year round, and most days of the week. I usually spend about 15 dollars, and load up. Sometimes they mark certain bags down to 1 dollar, so hoping to score some of those.

2. While at target yesterday, I notice the planner I bought last week was clearanced to more than 50% off. I took that planner to guest services with my target red card and they happily refunded me 8 dollars.

3. I bought chai mix from Trader Joe’s to accompany my soy milk. I am not a huge Starbucks drinker, but I LOVE Chai tea lattes. At over 4 dollars with soy milk, I am better off making it home for about a dollar.

4. Purchases re-Usable cotton produce bags from amazon. Next up are stainless steel lunch boxes. Being in my 20s and still a few years from having kids, I worry about plastic, plastic, plastic. If it saves the planet and the health of myself and boyfriend, money well spent.

5. Going to make a big pot of meatless Chili. We eat it over rice (or even pasta sometimes). Hearty, healthy, and budget friendly!


ouvickie October 18, 2017 at 8:19 am

That Quinoa dish sounds delicious!
1) My tire pressure indicator light kept coming on in the car, even though I had the tires aired up last Friday – the tech at the tire shop, near our house, thought it was just due to the temperature change. I decided to go by Discount Tire yesterday and have it checked and I’m glad I did. The back driver’s side tire had a nail in it. They fixed it for free. Yay!
2) My in-laws were in town for one night, while on the way home from a funeral. They bought us dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse and my FIL had them put the reward points on my account. He’s such a sweetie and the food was so yummy.
3) I made certain to return one of my library books and the audiobook I’d been listening to, so I wouldn’t end up with fines. I couldn’t renew The Glass Castle, since it had a hold on it, so I’m glad I finished it. It’s an autobiography of a journalist who had very unconventional and neglectful parents. It made me feel blessed to have had good parents, who made sure we were fed, clothed and sheltered.
4) Atwood’s has their Blue Buffalo dog food on sale this week, so I’m going to buy a bag while it’s $5 cheaper and I won’t have to buy one next month.
5) We have chili leftover from Sunday, which will become dinner tonight. I think I might make hot dogs for dinner.


nancy from mass October 18, 2017 at 10:08 am

1. worked at home yesterday and did not go anywhere. no gas used.
2. made Dragon Noodles with leftover pasta (omitting the pepper flakes and cilantro but used chili oil instead). If you like spicy food, try this recipe. so, so good!
3. bought 1/2 cord of wood yesterday from my chimney sweep. (his grandparents owned the house before me and he loves seeing what i’ve updated since the last time he was there) he’s an older gentleman and he’s grateful someone loves the house as much as they did. anyway, LOADS of exercise for me and DS! only took us 1h20m to stack the wood!
4. was taken out for lunch today by my boss, the co-director and another co-worker. it was to celebrate my birthday last week.
5. finally got my butt back at my sewing machine to finish the blocks for DS quilt. ironed (pressed) the 100 blocks last night and will lay them out tonight to see the sewing order.


Julie October 18, 2017 at 4:10 pm

We do Dragon Noodles weekly in our house. The older teen son cooks it and it’s always yummy.


Leigh October 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Instead of going to my favorite salon with the fabulously dressed hairdresser, I went to Haircuttery. Didn’t get highlights. Saved a lot of money and my hair looks pretty nice.

Starting small…



janine October 18, 2017 at 6:57 pm

1. Just signed up for an expensive women’s environmental conference and took advantage of the “elder” rate thus saving $100. Not sure if that was the right thing to do but I am retired, and felt the full rate was a little high for my budget. It is hard to know how to allocate disposable funds particularly at this time when there are so many places that need our $$. I would love to hear from other posters about this dilemma.
2. Aldi has moved in down the road from Target . Therefore Target is offering some loss leaders including turkeys for 69c per pound which I immediately snapped up. Found out that son is getting one free from his workplace for Thanksgiving. This is where owning a deep freeze is good policy – at some point we will pull it out and be happy to have it on hand. (In other years we have purchased organic, free range birds but they are much more expensive.)
3. Have been lunching out way too much lately so a friend and I are eating at her house on Friday. I will contribute the dessert – a plate of really good brownies.
4. The holidays are almost upon us and at our house there are many year-end expenses that need to be included in the budget. Will keep my eyes open at thrift stores, estate sales and overstock places to find unique but useful gifts. Last year I scored a beautiful wood carving for one son at an estate sale for $5. Not sure I can match that this year – I don’t quite have Katy’s knack for finding treasurers, but it doesn’t hurt to add a few minutes to regular shopping trips to look for these items.
5. Free beautiful fall weather here in the Midwest. Feeling blessed when we hear about all the tragedies elsewhere.


rebecca October 19, 2017 at 6:39 am

1. The usual-coffee from and cooking at home.
2. Whole foods had organic chicken breasts on sale for $4.99 lb. It’s still expensive but a good price for them. They were out so I got a raincheck for 6lbs.
3. I have a few new clients at my practice.
4. The past few days have gotten chilly at night but I haven’t put the heat on yet. I am hoping to keep it off until at least Nov. 1st. #I love flannel sheets
5. Drove my parents to the airport yesterday. Frugal for them and I love them.


Alison October 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

1. Roasted a bunch of veggies, including some oldish carrots, made soup and gave some to my dad and stepmom. Also made apple crumble from a bag of disappointingly soft gala apples, and took them some as well. Frugal for them, clean out the fridge for me.
2. Mended the ripped lining inside my down coat. Took no time at all, even though it doesn’t look pretty, it works. Only took me a couple of years! I also mended a cloth bag I got in 1991 while travelling in Peru. The straps were coming off. A little thread used, and it’s as good as new. Now that I’m retired, I seem to have time for these small jobs.
3. Went to the first day of the Sears Liquidation sale. Fairly disappointing. Most things were 20% off the regular price. DH was looking for Levi’s, felt the sale price was more expensive that the Sears Days price. Left without buying anything.
4. I did cave and we turned the heat on a few days ago. Not the furnace, just our basement gas fireplace. It’s still warm enough that we only need to turn it on in the evening. Dressing in layers during the day, enjoying a cup of hot tea.
5. Reposted a few winter clothing items for sale on-line.


JESSICA October 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm

1. Wiped and sold a long-unused laptop
2. Working to back up a second laptop
3. Freecycled some framed prints from a free pile (not frugal but non-consumer)
4. Continued to declutter the house
5. Walked a lot rather than having a gym membership


Panthor October 22, 2017 at 10:20 am

1) Tracked my budget all this month and know exactly where I am
2) Avoided food shopping unless I had a list
3) Put off buying things I thought I “needed” and instead put them on my list of stuff to look for secondhand or my Amazon wishlist (since Xmas is coming up)
4) Brought coffee and lunch to work each day (or ate ready-made meals I had at my desk)

Fail: fitness subscription I didn’t use was renewed before I realized I hadn’t cancelled it. I’ll try to use it this round and put it in my calendar to remember to cancel.


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